Friday, May 29, 2009

Since it's Moo, is it the bovine flu?

See? I made one too many swine flu jokes and tonight I sit here with my little piglet behind me with a temp of 102.7 and the lethargy of an 87 year-old.

While of course it is not an official diagnosis of the swine flu, it is a crazy strain causing concern from the health department. It starts with body aches and high fevers and could last for 5 days. It's an odd symptom for a nine year-old if you ask me, and I can't remember ever seeing him this sick.

So we're watching, resting and fluid-ing, and trying to keep that fever under control. A good weekend to spend doing those things since we uncharacteristically have not much going on. Our big plans include making our new vegetable garden (yay!) and me moving out of my PC and into my new MacBook Pro. (Double-yay!) At this rate my next post will be from my Seattle lavender farm making homemade soap.

But tonight Matty fell asleep holding my hand so that's worth staying in town for.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Finding Amy

It wasn't that I thought that this day day would never come, it was that I didn't think it would come so joyously.

When Amy started preschool this year, to say I was leery would be an understatement. People kept saying, "She'll be fine," and I agreed but I didn't know if "fine" was what we necessarily should be going for. After all, countless doctors told me she'd be "fine" and then ignored her. I've also heard that not only wasn't she fine, but that I wasn't either because this speech therapist "knew that I want this to be a hearing issue, but it's not." Yes, every parent wants their child not to hear. That f-word has been tossed out for her whole life as it should be the ultimate goal rather than just a place card to something better.

So she started on a 3-day a week schedule as opposed to her classmates five. We continued with her speech therapy on those off days, continued monitoring her hearing every other month and rather quickly she became accustomed to her days.

She never complained about getting up early (much), and she would proudly display all of the wonderful creations she'd make.

Then she began to talk about her day. Unprompted, she'd tell a little story about a classmate, or what they made in art. Nothing out of the ordinary for most, but so extraordinary for the girl who couldn't talk for so long. But even more than her reports was that it was evidence that she was enjoying it. She liked playing with kids her own age, and they understood her and didn't notice anything different. If there was a word that she'd stumble on or couldn't recall, it was her friends that translated and even that was decreasing everyday. Her progress reports were just that--showing her progress in so many unexpected ways.

By April, we all agreed that she was more than ready to go 5 half days like everyone else. Again, she responded so well. She was singing her ABC's, counting--all of the things you would expect in a preschool class--but happily. Without frustration.

And I guess that was the difference--no frustration. It's so hard to make your way through a day navigating between what you can hear, say and understand when everyone expects you to. And it's hard to be happy when you're just trying to make it to fine.

So yesterday's preschool graduation was so much more for all of us. She got a little diploma that said she was ready for Kindergarten, but that's not what makes her ready.

Her teacher commented afterward that she had never seen such a "joy-filled" child.

Finding Amy has been the most heart-wrenching journey that I have ever experienced--filled with self-doubt, non-stop fight and maternal gut-checks every minute of her five years on this earth. There have been some monsters along our path, but there have also been some heroes--those who recognized that to get beyond fine may not be by a path that any of us could name, but that it was worth exploring.

Because there was a beautiful, healthy and happy little girl waiting at the end.

Thank you, Amy for waiting until we got there.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Unpacking my thoughts

Oh, Las Vegas, you flashing sanitarium in the desert. How I love to spend 72 hours within your loud, glittering confines gambling not only on the craps tables, but if I can safely escape that 73rd witching hour when one can turn into a Nick Cage screenplay. Let me see if I can appropriately capture your unique essence in one travelogue...

Traveling There

Las Vegas, Nevada is not the easiest city to get to directly. Every time I’ve been, it’s taken me several connections and hassle which seems pretty bizarre considering it is host to 40 million visitors a year. (Please do not be impressed that I have that number so quick to share--it didn’t come from Google, but from the 24-hour Vegas channel that played in our hotel room.) So this was no exception.

On the way there, we had to go by way of Cincinnati, and this adds needless hours of travel time. Not to mention having to arrive at the airport so ridiculously early so as to get through security. As an aside, might I say how disconcerting it is to me to disrobe in front of strangers. Call me a prude, but the only time I think I should be half-naked in front of an X-ray machine is at an M.D.’s office, not one belonging to a TSA. But I digress.

After logging as many flight hours as a Delta stewardess who still uses the word “aircraft” instead of “plane,” we arrived at McCarran International airport with 39 of those 40 million other visitors. It would have been faster to go by covered wagon pulled by harnessed manatee. The return trip was even longer by way of a delayed flight through Atlanta and one very drunk female passenger that shared her Vegas tales with us all. For 4 straight hours.


We stayed at the Bellagio this time. Of course, it is beautiful. Oceans 11-20 were not filmed there for nothing. They have everything from the world’s largest chocolate fountain, indoor botanical gardens, fine art gallery, premiere shopping and dining, shows, gorgeous spa and pools, and oh yeah, that casino thing.

So we decided to check in and then check out the hotel. We dumped our bags in the very elegant room complete with electric drapes (I must have sent countless Morse code messages to guest at Caesar’s for as many times as I opened and closed the curtains) and went down to explore.

The blackjack and craps tables.


After that, we went to dinner at a much fancier place than we intended, but I am glad we did. One thing I will give this crazy city is that they know themselves the food. The good stuff. The yummy, unpronounceable, delicious delicacies that make your tongue remember even if your head forgets. We said we would try something different every meal, so I had a salad with smoked duck breast and some lollipop lamb chops and Sean had an eggplant appetizer that was absolutely divine. We would dine like this almost every meal--eating at wonderful restaurants, feasting on wonderful food. Even the “snacks” poolside were absolutely delicious.

Saturday night we ventured out of the strip proper, and rediscovered a small French restaurant that Sean had vaguely remembered from a past trip. It did not disappoint. We had a pheasant pate (despite Kiefer’s--our maitre d’--penchant for all things not foie gras), filet with a morel mushroom sauce and some sort of veal chop that shallots were born to grace. It was that good. Other culinary highlights included a chocolate croissant for breakfast on Sunday and poolside mojitos that were the best I’ve ever had. If not the most expensive.


But somehow those poolside cocktails were well worth it. We spent our mornings not in the confines of the smoky casino, but baking on a terrazzo plank like a couple of salmon entrees. Dudes, it was hot. Freakishly hot--like we were in a desert or something. So we handcuffed ourselves to two lounge chairs at about 6 am every morning, and relaxed reading, people-watching and making suntan lotion tattoos. Sean is convinced that the “$” he painted on his belly was the reason for our success at the tables. I say it just confirmed that we spent $25 on useless Bellagio brand suntan lotion.

The Strip

They say that you can see the light beaming up through the Luxor’s pyramid from space. I say the only thing that it illuminates is all of the porn littered on the strip. But my guess is aliens can also see the giant drinks housed in plastic guitars that more than one reveler partook in 420 ounces of Tequila swimming around in a neon blue PVC replica of a Fender in the 125 degree heat whilst collecting Mardi Gras beads one thousand miles from the source.


It is one of those experiences that adds to the collective American suffering or triumph. Or is a pretty good deterrent to stupidity.

But I do love walking it as a means to tour the different hotels. There are sights there worth seeing, and it is a pretty fun way to spend an afternoon wandering.


Gambling is not the only way to get fleeced in Vegas. Consider some of the dumber tourist traps you can fall into if you aren’t careful.

“Minus 5” is an ice bar that sounds pretty hip, until you get there and realize that in this case “hip” means “idiotic.” We paid a ridiculous sum of money--even by Vegas standards--to be clad in down parkas used 5 minutes before by some other unsuspecting thrill-seeker and thrust into a walk-in freezer with a couple of ice cubes for chairs with the choice of 1 of 5 vodka/Chambord cocktails guaranteed to make you vomit before you finish it. I would post pictures, but one of the many, many, many rules in the Ice Age saloon is no paparazzi. But I hijacked this one is courtesy of The LA Times.

Perhaps just as well.


Like everything, there are trends that dominate. Right now in Vegas-style entertainment we are in the Cirque age. Cirque du Beatles, Cirque du Elvis, Cirque du Cirquety Cirque Cirquaroo.

A disclaimer right now--not the biggest Cirque du anything here. I have seen one, and I’m good for life. To me, it’s one of those events that is supposed to be more artsy than it actually is to make you feel better about partaking in the no-so artsy Las Vegas. Like your cultural sensibilities are somehow redeemed by gambling on a French acrobat not falling to his death from a silk ribbon suspended from the MGM Grand than on putting it all on black on the roulette wheel. Let’s just call it what it is, and have at that cup of $175 tea if that’s to your liking.

I’ll stick to my $14 mojitos.

And just so you don’t think my only shade of green this weekend was jade, one of the highlights of this truly wonderful trip was watching the fountains at Bellagio on a terrace watching the sunset with my husband, a Frank Sinatra song and a $22 mojito.

Worth every penny.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

What happens in Vegas goes on the blog. More later.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

I hate pushing wet shopping carts

The only way to really describe this week is wet. It is uncharacteristically rainy here--we've been in a drought for so long that at first we were all glad for the rain, but after 8 straight days, I'm kind of over it. Everything is wet--the floors, my hair, the cars, clothes, my nasal passages from a hideous cold budding--it's a film of water atop every blessed thing that doesn't have a chance to dry out before the next wave hits. It's rather unpleasant.

And I guess this has made my fingers soggy, too. Because I have all of these great ideas swimming around my head for things to write, but my fingers are not cooperating by typing them all out in those fancy sentences that are generally helpful in written expression.

So I'm sitting here with wet nails and a mud mask drying on my face. Because I figure a desert is a pretty good place to dry out from the rain.

Just sayin'.

Monday, May 18, 2009

I'm packing better shoes this time

Someone out there must have seen that baby needs not a new pair of shoes, but rather we need a few days respite from tripping over said shoes. Vegas is back on.

*deep exhale*

I need this. We need this. It's been even more chaotic than usual these last few months and a few days away in a desert might be pretty therpuetic. Besides, these last few days of school very well may have me jump from the Hoover dam. This International Peace Day project at school has some many components that I’m thinking we should withdraw from NATO and adopt an isolationist foreign policy. Seriously. We’ve got something like 10 school days left and unless we take a field trip to a tapas bar, I really don’t have much creative energy left for a tri-fold board on Spain.

Nevada, yes, Spain, no.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

The Weekend o' Stevie

If we could have squeezed one more thing in this weekend, Friday would have exploded into Saturday, and those pieces would have been littered all over Sunday. There simply was not an empty moment.

And most of those moments were filled with Stevie.

I don't often gush on about my oldest son--not because he doesn't give me ample opportunity--but because that's just not the way we usually roll. But he had a pretty awesome week, one of those rare occasions when he will later say, "It was pretty great to be 13."

He was elected Student Council President on the same day as the graduation dance in which all things 13 look 30 and their mothers weep like infants in the corner.

On Saturday, the whole family spent an afternoon on the beach swimming, lounging, eating and looking at boats. It's been a while since all six of us were together for a leisurely afternoon.

Sunday was the sports banquet at school, and while I knew he was going to win one individual award, we were both surprised with the two he won. The basketball award was presented with some very touching words from the coach, and I swear it took all I had not to weep again like an infant in the corner.

I wrote on Facebook that it was a pretty great weekend. Stevie wrote back, "It will be hard to top."

I'll make sure he knows that I am just as proud of him every single ordinary day, and always will be.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Follow before the birds get them

At some point I hope to have all of my various updates housed in a cute little bungalow on one beachfront spot on the Internet. That has yet to happen in this real estate market, so I am forced to leave little diva bread crumbs (I think a nice crusty baguette) to lead you to all things crazy.

So please check out for some updates.

Thank you.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Well, that was fun. Not.

Some days are just harder than others.

Not in grandiose major woe-is-me ways, but just a day when the smallest things are infinitely more complicated than they should be for no good reason at all.


When you spend most of the day uncharacteristically cleaning like a crazy person only to have Jessie find a tiny little bottle of gray nail polish (which should never be a hue chosen for nail polish which makes one wonder where this loathsome bottle came from anyway) and paints her belly because she doesn't have the nickname "messy Jessie" for nothing.


When you and your husband have been planning a little desperately needed, adults-only weekend getaway away coming up alarmingly soon and all of a sudden 8 days before departure with no details in hand you discover the person that was supposed to be arranging said trip has been let go without any warning or make-up plans or even someone else to take over and you can't even blame it on the Swine flu.

And of course....

You could always have the GE Security system return to your house because the boss of their lackey as described below, really wants to make sure you know what a good deal you could get. (But he's not going to tell you all that in one succinct message, he's going to make you guess because for some reason this company is more into the telepathic mode of advertising.)

And then...

Don't forget all of that other unbloggable drama and you've got yourself a day that needs to end with a glass of wine and a good book.


I think that's what I'll do.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Most Ineffective Sales Pitch of the Week

Today, more of my finite writing genius time was interrupted by a knock at the door.
A young man is standing there with a clipboard.

Him: Are you the homeowner?

Me: Yes...

Him: Ok, well I'd like to advertise in your yard.

Me: Um, for what? (This could be a multitude of services, and I'm not even saying I would have said no at this point.)

Him: (He almost made the "whatever" sign on his forehead, but instead, he points to the logo on his wrinkled, ill-fitting golf-shirt.)

Me: (I'm old and blind and holding back a killer Jingle dog. Seriously, dude, why are you making me work so hard?)

Him: It's GE Home Security systems.

Me: (Apparently, I'm supposed to either a.) be impressed that GE has gone beyond light bulbs, microwaves and television broadcasting into the home security biz or b.)swoon that my yard was chosen to hold an unsolicited sign.) Ah, no?

Him: (Smart boy. He anticipated my hesitation.) For compensation we will give you a home security system.

Me: (WTF? We had to go through all that for this?) I already over-pay for a security system. Thanks, though.

Him: (Quite skeptical-looking.) Really? (He looks around for a sign.)

Me: Yeah, and apparently I need to upgrade.

Get off of my lawn, you tool.

If I see one GE Security sign on my street tonight I'm totally selling that neighbor some magic beans.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Sorting through...



...the real and imagined.

...worthwhile topics.

....what I need to do and what I want to do. closet contents.

...psychic debris. desk.


It's an odd Monday to be sure.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Mother's Day plans

I'm wasting some time tonight on the Internet with this must-see,, just because I can.

Here's my dilemma du jour:

Tomorrow we all have loose plans to go to the zoo--which is forecast to be 175 degrees in the shade a strong northerly downwind from the orangutan cages. Do I a) take Sean's very generous offer to stay home and do whatever it is one does without kids (or interns) in the house for a few blissful hours, or b) go.

You're so choosing (a) aren't you?

Thursday, May 07, 2009

I don't normally do this, but...

...but today is different.

I posted my thoughts on Mother's Day here on Whoa Momma. If you know me at all, you know I'm not a fan of this day. (And if you don't know me, read the article for better insight.)

Sometimes I admit to still being somewhat reticent of posting this type of content because the more you put out there, well, the more that's out there, and the more vulnerable you are.

But you know what? Sometimes there's safety in numbers. And when you unwittingly touch people who share a similar experience, it actually ends up to be quite a powerful thing.

So even if you don't get through my long-winded post, read the reader's comments. It's so refreshingly beautiful to read an entire thread dedicated to just strangers being vulnerable with one another for a change, paying spontaneous tribute to their own wonderful mothers. I promise you, it will take your breath away.

I'm blaming it on the vodka sauce

I'm still fighting through a post-Cabernet haze, but there are so many wonderful announcements, that I am going to persevere.

First off, our friends at Hallmark are giving Sarah H. and Jeanellen V. some awesome greeting card gift packs for Mother's Day, Father's Day and everyday. Thanks to them, and to all who entered.

Secondly, the reason I had so much Cabernet was because last night's Suburban Diva Pizza Party at Vincenzo's was so delicious, I just couldn't help but linger over the food and company. The winning selections (which will be featured on next week's menu as the pizza specials) were a chicken Picatta pizza (yum) and a vodka sauce, prosciutto, arugula. But seriously, we tried so many delicious entries--it was a tough call. Here's a picture before the 4th bottle of wine.

We had so. Much. Fun. We had door prizes and Twitter fun, too. It was so enjoyable in fact, that perhaps I should start planning a Suburban Diva cocktail or entree contest next. (Hint: it won't be Cabernet...)

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

What's on my mind this Wednesday

So I think after tonight’s party at Vincenzo’s (which I will be Twittering live so you can tune in there and win some swag if you aren’t able to make it live and in person--follow me @Subdiva) and tomorrow night’s Mom’s Nite Out event at Tyrone Square Mall, I may just be done with the fun media events for a couple of weeks. Hmmm...maybe I’ll clean a closet or something.

But I probably won’t. Instead, I think I’m going to turn my attention to getting a new computer. Not a new pc, but a I dare say it aloud? Apple.

Yep, I’m going to become one of those annoying tech nerds that spouts off about the technical superiority of the Mac. So please don’t hate me, but I need the to load in less than 87 minutes and not shut down every other open window.

I can’t help it. Right now, after an exhaustive update on all virus, anti-spy ware, defragmenting, sweeping, and oriental massages that are illegal in 28 states; I have some sort of bug that only allows me to cut and paste every other Thursday and no backspacing at all. Apparently, Vista demands not only perfect typing skills, but a non-fickle mind as well. It seriously takes all of my finite patience not to rip the stupid thing from the wall and hurl it into the pool after every. Single. Email. I’ve got your clean disk right here.

So when I think about all of the time I’m going to save not fighting with this ridiculous OS, well, I just might be able to clean that closet after all.

Monday, May 04, 2009

A So Unlike Me Weekend

On Laundry Monday, I did...laundry. I was trying to come up with an alternative punchline, but I couldn't.

But before Laundry Monday, there was Go to the Mall Sunday and Make Your Own Crayon Saturday. The latter two activities are so unlike me, that they deserved a whole day name dedicated to the novelty of the occurrence in my house. And pictures because I know you don't believe me.

First, we took all of our broken crayons and mixed the colors in a mini muffin tin after spraying with cooking spray.

Then, we baked them at 275 degrees until they molten mini cupcakes of hot wax.

We placed in the freezer for just a second to harden and to spill on the frozen pancakes, and voila! Weird little discs o' crayon.

They were fun for about 4 seconds before they realized it was awfully difficult to color inside the lines of any other drawing than a large open sky or ocean. An orange-razzmatazz-Burnt Sienna sky.

The mall outing was significantly more fruitful since I spent $700 at Build-A-Bear. And $19 on the greatest T-Shirt ever.

But I did have to brave the haunted house-esque of Hot Topix--the most macabre retail outlet ever created this side of Hell, so the Sonic T-shirt's actual value is similar to the Build-A-Bear bill.

But I got a free birthday gift of lip gloss at Sephora, so it's all good.

P.S. Keep those comments coming on the gifts from Hallmark, and t-2days until Vincenzos. What's on your pizza?

Saturday, May 02, 2009

It was my birthday, but I'm giving you a gift

You know all of those wonderful cards you all sent me for my birthday revolving around drinking and sparkles? Well, right back atcha!

Hallmark is providing two of you lucky readers with some beautiful greeting card gift packs. These include those wonderful recordable cards for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, and some of their redesigned 99 cent everyday cards.

I have to tell you, I sent my Grandpa a recordable card of the kids for Valentine’s Day, and when we came up to visit he pulled it out from the drawer he keeps by his chair. He loved it and listened to his great-grandchildrens' voices over and over.

So leave a comment here or Divamail me by Wednesday, May 6th, and we’ll have a drawing for the winners just in time to get you hooked up for Mother’s Day.

Ready, set...Comment! (I even included a picture of my birthday cake to inspire you. Jerks.)

Friday, May 01, 2009

The Day After Tracey I guess

Day one of the last year in my thirties and the last year I tell the truth about my age...

So here we find ourselves on May 1st wondering how that happened. I know for me, April was pretty crazy, and while I certainly had some experiences I won't soon forget, May is looking pretty sweet. The countdown until the end of school officially begins even though I've been marking my calendar since Christmas.

My birthday was wonderful, thank you all who made that so with your kind wishes. The girls took me out for sangria and red velvet cake for lunch. I think there was other food involved, but who really cares after those two stars? Certainly not me. Dinner was at Vincenzo's which reminds me to invite you locals there for our Suburban Diva tasting on May 6th. Divamail me for details on that. And Sean and the kids got me some fabulous outdoor furniture to rest my old legs, and the Intern selected some wine for me to sit on said furniture and drink. Very, very nice. Matty had his whole class sign a card for me, and then made a wonderfully flowery art project that is very un-9-year old like. He even suggested crepes for dinner and he hates crepes.

So cheers and thank you dear friends.