Thursday, September 17, 2009

Happy Furry Monsters

...I may not have much time. Monsters. There are monsters in my home. I’ve been observing them for some time now, and I think I’ve discovered their leader. Although small and outwardly cuddly, he carries a fiendish smile and sinister laugh...

...I think I’m safe for now, but I….wait a second…

…oh no…he’s found my son…..he’s…he’s singing to him.…..

….Max's eyes are transfixed on the furry red monster! He’s not moving! Oh my God, the singing has paralyzed my s… I must save…

….the music…it won’t stop! It’s echoing in my head now!

...Sing….sing a song….sing it loud….sing it strong……

I pictured all that as either scrawled out in a worn paper journal, or some static voice recording.

Clearly I watch way too many movies and video games.

Sesame Street has invaded my home. And the furry red monster in question is none other than ‘he who shall not be named’. I simply can’t get that squeaky high pitched voice out of my head. In fact, all the residence of Sesame Street have seeped into my mind. They hypnotize me with their catchy songs and linger in my head. All. Day. Long. Sometimes I wake up to “Sing a Song”.

Worse than annoying songs, is that my conversations with Jeremy usually involve some reference or random thought about the show.

Me: “I bet Gaby has a crush on Miles, although he looks completely disinterested in her”.
Jer: “I think Bob and Allen are secretly a couple”
Me: “Oh totally. Hey, that voice sounds like the girl from Avenue Q”
Jer: ”I was thinking the same thing”
Me: “I bet it is, let’s google it”
Jer: “Way ahead of you…yep, it is”
Me: “I knew it”

And if that wasn’t disturbing enough, these facts and questions spill over to conversations with other people.

Me: “Did you know the main girl from Avenue Q used to do lots of work on Sesame Street?”
Amber: “Really? Oh yeah, you can totally hear it in this song”
Kevin: “What?”
Me: “You know, Big Bird’s right hand is a gimpy hand since the puppeteer has his own right hand raised high above his head to do the beak movements.”
Amber gives me a sad smile.
I sighs with agreement over my new pathetic life

This is so not normal.

I swore I wasn’t going to be one of those parents that used kid videos to lull their children into a relaxed stupor. But, I’ve discovered that Sesame Street is to Max as the Pied Piper is to mice. I’ve never seen him stand or sit still for anything, but when that red furry monster starts to sing, he’s instantly hooked. And those that know of the Crazy that is Max, this small quiet down time is pure bliss. Needless to say, we’ve rented just about every dvd they have to offer.

As much as I hate the effects on myself, I have to admit there’s a small sense of excitement and nostalgia to see my son love a show that I grew up on as a kid. A few of the old skits they still play now are ones I actually remember, like when Cookie Monster wished the moon was a cookie.

Oh, and Grover is obviously the brains of the opporation. As are the sheep and pinguins, his minions. They rock.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Bitter Sweet Internet

I really love the internet.

I mean, I really love the internet. It’s an escape into a world full of life, information and answers to everything. It’s always there when you need it, even on the go. The internet embraces you like an old friend or at least a good therapist.

Click. Elly! I’m so glad you’ve stopped by! Click. Pull up a chair, rest your feet! Click. Here, have some of your favorite cookies, now what’s on your mind?

Need some social interaction, or some good gossip? Facebook it is. Duh.

How about random news and utterly irrelevant photos and events? Digg is always a good time waster.

Want a funny, clean online comic? Check out Daisy Owl. Steve the bear is a subtle comedic genius.

Ah, internet, you’re always giving and hardly ever asking for anything in return (other than the occasional login or password) and you remember all my favorite things. True friend, indeed.

However, I really need to stop looking at the long list of sites including smittenkitchen, bakerella and of course Etsy, as these craft and foody sites are doing nothing for my inner artsy/homemaker well being, which at the moment is yearning whining for freedom.

I light up with giddiness upon perfectly adorable deserts where I questions if I’m supposed to actually eat them, much like questioning using a cute guest bathroom towel with tassels and embroidery.

I tighten the proverbial belt when studying gorgeous photos of rich recipes as if though they were gingerly hung in a special food gallery that obviously endorses the use of butter…and lots of it.

I feel the creative gears turning from their rusty state of dormancy when I click through hundreds of craft, clothes and jewelry designs, ignoring the running total in my head from cost of supplies.

And just as the internet is a world of its own and friends should never overstay their welcome, I’m forced to step out of it’s warm glow and back into cold reality of harsh florescent lights.

Oh yeah, I’m at work.

It’s times like this I wish I could be that stay at home mom, with the perfectly clean and decorated home. The one where there’s always something baking in the over, simmering on the stove, fabric feeding through a sewing machine and buttons, pipe cleaners and glitter galore.

Although my journal is chalk full of sketches, designs and entrepreneurial ideas, I simply have no time to spend doing these things. Work is one thing, but Max is another job entirely. By the time I get my little free time I’m allotted each day after he goes down for the night, the exhaust from the day leaves me with not even enough energy to remove the stuffed monkey or toy keys on the couch I happen to be sitting on at any given moment.

And so, the dishes pile. The toys are still scattered. The pots and pans remain cold.

Now, this isn’t to say that maybe one day in the future I can transform into Ms. Susie, better yet, Empress of Embroidery, Contessa of Cakes, Baroness of Bourguignon...

Until the Internet can loan me a few dollars (legally) so I'm not tied to the necessity of working the 9-5, I’ll just have to visit my friend from time to time for a yummy treat.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Worrying about the small stuff

“Snakes. Why did it have to be snakes?” Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark

Despite rugged good looks, armed whip (and an occasional pistol) and an indestructible fedora, Indy still had fears to face. It wasn’t big giant boulders rolling inches away from his heals or a maniac tribal man attempting to pull out his heart. No. Indy feared the little stuff. Of all things, he was afraid of snakes.

When I returned to work after my maternity leave, I returned to an empty ‘in box’ that continued its void for weeks. Sales were incredibly slow and upper management needed to justify me occupying a place within the company. So, off they scooted me to another department to help out with random jobs. “Fine,” I thought “at least it’s work and I still have a job”. The only downside…I lost my little office.

Sure it was a dumpy little room in an aging little single-wide trailer that always smelled funny, especially when a family of rats would nest under the trailer, and then die (twice). Sure there was always a fine film of dirt on my desk and monitor that was kicked up from all the semi trucks passing by my window. Sure I shared a wall with the only bathroom within the other aging little trailers causing plenty of foot traffic past my door. But it was still my little piece of the valuable real estate here on the dusty nursery yard.

I figured, this would be a temporary move, just until work picks back up. Or at least that’s what I would tell people who wondered where I disappeared to, as I wasn’t there to say hi and chat a bit on their way to the bathroom.

This happened about ten months ago, and I’m still in my ‘temporary’ desk. I’m now in a nice air conditioned building that’s not built from aluminum. The people are truely great and at least I’m not the only female now. There’s tract lighting, a fire place and a kitchen. And it smells pretty nice, too.

But, somehow, I still miss my little office.

I still go in there every couple of days or so to grab labels for plants, and as I sit in my old familiar uncomfortable chair, I sigh a little.

That is until I yelped at what I saw.

Next to my beautiful vintage travel prints framed in serene blue mats and gorgeous mahogany frames, was a giant poster of different spiders thumb tacked to the wall. There I was, staring up at two dozen icky hairy spindly leggy spiders. I just about died. Not only am I completely disgusted and in fear of those horrible creatures, but…how dare someone attempt to 'decorate' my office! I then look around my desk and see that there are random papers and such that were obviously not mine. I glance at the phone that displays your name (which was blank since I’ve moved my extension next door) and see someone else’s name. Wonderful.

“So, did I completely lose my office?” I asked my boss on IM one day.

“Yep. Well, sort of. You’re sharing it with Antonio”.


So, now I’m ‘sub-leasing’ my little office.

I’m attempting not to complain, too much, because I am still getting work and training on more things which ultimately is grounds for further job security. But, I have to admit, it’s a bit of a punch to my ego and a shaking down a peg or two from the so called corporate ladder (not that I was particularly high up, but if I fell, I might have sprained an ankle). Considering, my official title is almost meaningless now, I have no clue what to even sign my email signatures as. Temp Girl? Grunt Worker? That girl who does random stuff for everyone?

I guess, as long as I still keep getting a paycheck, it shouldn’t matter, right?

Organ Grinder’s Monkey

Monday, May 4, 2009

Basket case

Yikes. Has it really been almost half a year? My bad ;)

It was a rough few months, which has zapped a lot from me, physically and mentally.

Once Max started crawling, the small 500sf apartment we rented became claustrophobic for me, an obnoxious cat, a busy husband and a fussy crawling baby. The stress from the insecurities of job security and finding a new place led me to mental breakdown #1. I always thought fainting was for Victorian women falling gracefully into men’s arms or onto chaise lounges. After a face plant straight to the floor practically breaking my nose, I’ve realized that’s just a Hollywood thing.

After moving into the new place, Max came down with the flu, and us being the sympathetic newbie parents, threw him snuggly between us in our bed. After all, we needed to be there for all the throw up, blow outs and fitful nights for him. Unfortunately, after a couple weeks of this routine, Max became vocal about where he ought to sleep; ie, not in his crib. And, since he’s the boss, I reluctantly agreed to the weeks and weeks of going to bed at 8pm.

This ultimately led me to mental breakdown #2. My choices were either to sell Max on ebay or to try the CIO method. And, since I don’t care for jail time, we resorted to crying it out. Thankfully, it worked.

I’m feeling on the mends. Getting constant sleep has helped, now that Max is now back to sleeping in his crib. Caffeine sure does the job, too. I’m beginning to feel human again, as opposed to the zombie caricature I became. Life was a fog and I dragged my tired feet through it on auto pilot. In fact, I’m surprised I remember half of the timeline events.

It’s funny, I once wrote about feeling ageless. How I never feel age appropriate. Well, screw all that. I feel a decade older after Max was born, and now turning 29 has really snapped the roll blind up into a spin. Realizing the 30 mark is less than a year from now is almost traumatizing.

My fear of growing up is about to slap me in the face, as if it’s somehow a countdown to an ultimatum for becoming a mature, responsible adult. Like I better stop wearing jeans and flip flops and stop watching Family Guy and stop thinking hilarious thoughts of the Chihuahua that got blown away (Don’t judge me, her owner was named Dorothy!) … or else. I figured having a kid would deactivate the detonations clock, but it seems to have just bought me a little time.

My dear friend, Amber, tells me that the 30’s are where it’s at. She also thinks 80% dark chocolate is where it’s at. Need I say more? (if it wasn’t for her love of Weird Al and Indiana Jones, I would have lost all hope)

I’m finding small wrinkles around the corners of my eyes that never were there yesterday. I’m not enthusiastic about new movies coming out, even the new Star Trek film that just screams my sci-fi fangirl inner calling. I referred to a Target employee as “that gangly kid who needs a haircut”. I'm needing my glasses more and more to see anything of detail.

I’m feeling o-l-d now. And, I don’t like it. One. Bit.

PS. On a positive note, Max started walking at 9 month, which is very uncommon among the baby world as I’ve been told. He makes me very proud.


Monday, December 29, 2008

A year come and gone

In just a couple of quick days, this year will be over. Just like that, twelve months have evaporated into a distant memory. Just over six months ago, Max wasn’t even here, and in two days, he’ll be ringing in a new year.

In reflection over the last year, well…I’ll be honest. It’s been mostly a blur and my aged mind can’t form a clear thought most days now. However, I do remember last Christmas, sleeping in till about 10am, sipping tea while lazily opening presents with Jeremy and thinking how great next year’s Christmas will be with the baby.

And, now that Christmas was here and gone, although not quite as imagined, it really was nice. Max woke us up bright and early at six o’clock (something I’m sure he’ll do purposely on Christmas mornings in years to come) and we had to take a break with the presents to put him down for a nap. With the crackling fire playing on the tv and Christmas songs piping softly in the background, the image of our little family was more than a cheerful thought.

The last half of the year went incredibly slowly and yet in some respect, quick as lightning. The first few months were truly a nightmare, with endless nights and days melted into one, crying battles for both baby and mom, embarrassed moments in public with hysterical and obviously tortured child and never a clean shirt to be worn.

But, eventually, the constant crying lessened and the crankiness was eased to a low rumble. Max was finally able to see the world without fear of melt downs (of Jeremy and I mostly). And, the best part was that his enormous personality began maturing and shining through his wide smile and sparkling eyes. In just half a year, we’ve watched our baby turn into a baby boy…and oh, what a boy! Rough and tumbling, tossed around and swung upside down until he laughs with glee.

And, ah, to hear him laugh….

I think that’s what being a proud parent is all about, at least at this stage. Not even forgetting the fact that he’s pulling himself up to standing position on his own and even taking his first awkward motions of crawling.

I look back on photos since June, and I stand in awe to think it wasn’t that long ago he was just an infant, helpless and motionless. And yet, here he is now, strong and healthy and babbling “dadadad” and the occasional “mommmamam”.

I remember a dinner Jeremy and I took alone not long after Max was born. It was a somber dinner as I broke down in exhausted complaints and worry as we shared our concerns and our truthful feelings about it all. I remember wishing that Max could just be a happy baby.

I think that day has come. He may not be the easiest baby, that’s for sure. But, Max wears his heart on his sleeve, a trait that I wish I carried myself. Anyone who catches the awareness in his eyes and gets his enormous and genuine smile can see that he is truly happy.

Here’s to a new year of firsts and lots of great and fun things to come!


Monday, November 24, 2008

Baby, people and coffee

Ah, it’s finally feels like fall here in Southern California. After what seemed like an eternal summer, this last Sunday I woke up to a chilly and overcast morning. The type that you wake up and suddenly realize that the sheets and comforter have transformed into the most luxurious fabric your body has ever felt, and so you snuggle deeper in, bringing them up right above your content smile and still sleepy eyes and snooze for another few hours.

Normally, that’s what weekend mornings were like…pre-Max.

Now, our weekend morning consist of waking up around 6am (or earlier, unfortunately), plucking him from his crib only a mere foot and a half from my side, and quickly fitting him snugly between Jeremy and I so that we can squeeze another thirty minutes or so of partial sleep.

That is, until he becomes utterly bored, restless and hungry and makes it known by squirming, screeching, smacking us in the face and yanking hair. Add to that the cat obnoxiously walking all over us, meowing for food….who needs an alarm?

By 7am, the boy was fed, changed and content. Oh and the cat got some food, too.

But, now Jeremy and I were getting hungry, and cereal wasn’t sounding so appetizing. Also, we were out of milk. So, I suggested we take a walk to the coffee shop a few blocks away - one of the perks of living walking distance to ‘old town’.

We bundled Max up, putting him in a new red zippered sweater (thanks to my sister Clea who knows what cold is living in CO) and then grabbed the stroller, but only after returning to the apartment for our own sweaters (it was chilly!).

It was a beautiful early morning. No one was around, the wild green parrots squawked, and the fog was thick around us, causing the street ahead to disappear in the distance. These are my favorite type of mornings :)

Fortunately, when we got to the coffee shop and ordered our drinks from a surprisingly curt lady, we found the only two leather chairs in the place. As I sipped my splurge of a peppermint latte, I began to people watch. This is my favorite type of watching :)

Since we sat next to the door, it was hard for someone entering or exiting the place to ignore the chubby and obviously adorable baby sitting on our lap.

However, not one, but two random people came and went without so much of a glance over to the babbling cute baby. It wasn’t because they were busy or lost in thought. Usually you can read those people. No, these people took a quick glance and then averted their eyes as if the Ark of the Covenant was opened and quickly scuttled out the door before their faces melted*.

*For new readers, Elly is a geek.

Eyeing these bystanders, I’ve come to realize that there are different types of “baby people”.

On one extreme of my theory are the “I’m just so not a baby” person.

These people either fear, hate or are indifferent to babies. They’d sooner pick up a strange dog off the street and let them lick their own face than dare touch a baby.

One example of such people was a couple who sat to our left, with both their noses stuck in a newspaper. As soon as they saw us begin to pack up, the lady turned to us and asked if were leaving, obviously eyeing our comfy chairs. As she stood over us like a vulture over a slowly dying rabbit, she looked over at Max who was being placed back in his stroller.

“How old is that?” she asked out of politeness.

‘That?!” I thought, as if Max were a lamp or cookie left on a plate.

Realizing her awkward choice of words, she quickly attached “boy” to the end of her question, only enhancing the odd pause.

“Five months,” I flatly say in annoyance, continuing to strap Max in.

“Ah,” she finished, followed by silence.

She was obviously not a baby person.

On the other extreme are the “Oh my God, what a chubby wubby wittle baby, yes you are!” people.

Of course one such Mother Hen sniffed Max out from the other side of the shop and suddenly appeared beside me out of nowhere and began to talk intensely without taking her eyes off Max.

“Oh, don’t you just love all the little sounds they make? I just love them, so precious! Oh, aren’t you precious! Yes you are! Yes you are! You should be recording all the sounds they make. I only wish I did that with my kids. They make such cute and sweet little noises and coos,” the lady passionately exclaimed.

As if on cue, Max screeched his prehistoric Terradactyl call to her. The lady squealed with excitement as I proceeded to wrap my arms tighter around him.*

*Warning: These type of people should be closely watched when around babies.

Now there are people somewhere in the middle of the spectrum. These were the people that acknowledged Max with a smile and possibly a subtle ‘Aww, how cute’ and continued on their way. This is the category I usually fall into, and I’m sure most others do, too. I'm sure there's other categories in the spectrum that I'll come across sooner or later.

I think this theory can be used with dogs and cats, too.

Which reminds me; there’s a lady that wonders around the town and hangs out outside the grocery store, pushing a stroller.

With a cat in it.

A real cat.

Gotta love people!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Photo dump!

I finally got around to unloading some photos from the camera, so I figured I'd share some here. I can't believe how big he's getting....

My two boys :)

Max size pumpkin (notice the drool action)

We couldn't decide on which pumpkin to get...
the orange one or the one in blue shorts....

He's mostly sitting up on his own!

Yep, that's my kid alright.

Like the pants I made for him? :)