June 26, 2009

WHOLE (FREE) FOODS PART 2: NO CHIPS

Yesterday, while exploring perhaps the most magnificent Whole Foods ever, I couldn't help myself as I passed by the pizza bar. With my small(ish) sample in hand, I headed to the salad bar to get my "real" lunch.  En route, I noticed the most tantalizing display of olives... literally calling out to me.  Just as I was about to be the person who believes in test driving everything, including (free) food, (eeeeeven if you've given a whirl before),  I noticed a little sign:

"No grazing?"  What am I... an animal?? As if I would just pick an olive straight from there. Who do you think I am? This sign can't reaaaaaally be meant for ME. I'm clean. I scrub my hands like Howard friggin' Hughes!  I am NOT the gross one....

Of course later that evening, as if I hadn't learned my lesson about pining for free food and all the subsequent humiliation that comes with it, I was faced with another fork in the free food road...

I decided to pick up dinner from Jersey Mike's, a new sub shop that I've heard is delish. When I stepped in, I couldn't tell if the place was like an upscale/cleaner version of Subway or a legit/ old school sub shop.  Either way, the "sandwich artists" were taking way too long with my simple #7 (Mike's Way) and I was going to be late for an appointment. Long story short, when he finally completed the sandwich and I handed him my card to pay, the guy said "uh oh... The register's crashed."  Crap! I had to go and had no cash on me. I told him I'd come back in an hour to pick up the sandwich but the manager insisted I take the sandwich and come back "whenever."  

Whenever? WHENEVER?!!  You mean this meal could technically be free? Was he giving me an "out" to not return?  Was this a test?!?!

An hour later, I marched back in. Too scared to fuck with food karma, I proudly pulled out my card and said "let's try this again." 
The manager smiled, "That was nice of you to come back. Would you like a cookie?" 
A cookie... Nah. But something salty sounds good. "No thanks,"  I said and without missing a beat asked, "Can I take a bag of chips?" I pointed to the Dorito, Sun Chips, Ruffles orgy on a shelf.
"What?" he said not hearing me.
"Chips. I'd like a bag of chips... Instead." The place, now crowded, seems to stop like a record scratch. I feel all eyes at the counter staring at me. Is this girl for real?
"Um, no... No chips. But you can take a cookie."
"Oh. Well. No, I just want chips, but--"
He shook his head 'no.' "No chips."
"Okay! Thanks!" I said embarrassed and dashed for the door. No chips.

The moral of the story is beggars can't be choosers.  But they can certainly keep trying... especially if it's free....




June 22, 2009

CEREAL ANIMAL

I'll admit, I've never really understood why the zoo is so fascinating. Despite the fact that I'm not a huge animal lover and the zoo in LA (no matter what time of the year you go) is always hot and smells like poo, I find myself mesmerized by the animals behind the fences and glass. They do nothing really.... No Animal Planet type of chase or fight as the Mama Leopard attacks a Hyena to save her baby... No herd of Rhinoceros chasing after an explorer up a totem pole (hey, that's what happens on the Jungle Cruise at Disneyland at least)... and certainly no wild, safari National Geographic type of animal in the wild sex that makes you blush (and gasp).... Nope. Just some Giraffes and Polar Bears chillin'... Waiting for some woman that looks like Steve Irwin's wife with horrible culottes to throw them a fish for dinner while the humans all gawk at them, waiting for them to do something that will be You Tube worthy....

But yesterday over breakfast, as I sat with Baby-Ko as he devoured what must have been 65 bowls of "Choo-Choos" (Cheerios) and ate his breakfast in a normal fashion, I realized I was that schmuck at the zoo. Fascinated and captivated by my little animal, I watched patiently and intently as he really did nothing spectacular or mind-blowing. He ate. With a spoon. Messily. Like most 21 month olds. But for whatever reason, it seemed video worthy. Like a moment in time.... Like the sweetest and cutest thing I ever saw. Like something I couldn't take my eyes off of or walk away from - even for some much needed coffee...

video

If only the cameras had been rolling later that day, when Baby-Ko decided post bath to pee on the rug and announced "Baby-Ko pee-peed day-err (there)!"... I just might have actually had something You Tube worthy...

June 18, 2009

TUCKED AWAY


Last year, during my SAHM stint, I accidentally dropped my blackberry in the toilet. Twice. The first time it happened because I had my phone wedged in to the back pocket of my Rock & Republic Jeans and when I went to pull down my pants to go to the bathroom, my phone fell right in to the bowl. Awesome. The second time, I honestly have no idea what happened. I think it just fell out of my hand and in to the toilet. This time, the water was not clean. 

Both scenarios sucked and of course ended up with me at the Verizon store begging and pleading with the mildly retarded customer service people, swearing that the wet/battery damage was in their imagination and totally impossible. 

Well, I've since wised up. I no longer try to stuff said phone in to my back jean pockets considering that a) those pockets aren't reaaaaaaaally pockets. They're just for show and, b) Should I try to stuff phone in to the world's tightest pair of jeans/pocket, I will inevitably call the 3 people in my phonebook that I never reaaaaaally want to talk to. Thus, I have had to come up with another solution --because just keeping my phone somewhere in the abyss that is my purse and/or diaper bag, really isn't a solution. (Ever tried to a return a phone because there are Goldfish crackers keeping you from using the #8 key???)  

SO, thanks to my ample bosom (yeah, I said it), which requires a bra with decent straps, I have come up with an alternative-- A" boob pocket", if you will. First of all, it totally works and keeps all things put. Second, I never miss a call or email and frankly, getting a little chest buzz/vibration is kind of a fun treat. I realize that from a distance, in a certain shirt, it may look like I have a weird pacemaker, but let me tell you, many a mom at the park have commented (commended, really) on my solution and I'm pretty sure you'll see this trend making it's way through the West side parks soon.  

Best thing about this look, there's still some room to hold my car keys.....

June 15, 2009

MOM JEANS

"You Can't Come in 'cause you old as shit.... 
Not in the general sense, 'cause I'd tear that ass up, 
but for this club..." -- Knocked Up

32 isn't old. I realize that. I know I have another 8 plus years of good solid uterus/baby making time and thanks to some decent genetics, even longer before my wrinkles become noticeable. That said, there are days, like today, when I feel old. When I stop myself and feel, well, "old as shit."  

One of the best/craziest things about sending Baby-Ko to a day care that a) I went to 30 years ago and b) that my friends send their kids to as well, is that:  a) I went there THIR. TY. YEARS. AGO. and that, b) my friends send THEIR KIDS there! My friends have kids? Since when??? Walking in to day care and seeing the son of a girlfriend who I literally had cocktails with last week, sort of grounds me... well, floors me really. (I'm pretty sure we were just talking about which is like, OMG, the hottest guy and like, what she was wearing to "the popular girls" party").

On top of it, I  just hired an afternoon helper/ nanny to pick Baby-Ko up from Day Care on long work days... Her name is AC and she's a sweet girl. And I can say "girl" because, well, I think I could technically be her mom. She's 19 years old and darling. So sweet, so responsible, and soooooo young. But when we went to go pick Baby-Ko up from Day Care (in her car, as she sort of "shadows" me), and "Boom Boom Pow" by the Black Eyed Peas came on, it took everything I had in me not to shout, "Like, OMG. I love this song. Let's blast it." Instead, I quietly hummed and discreetly bopped my booty on the seat.  

As I held back my urge to tell her that my mom was, like, being such a bitch and I'm, like, soo not going to class today (mommy and me class, that is), I wondered when I will officially be old.  A few months ago, my potential for all things Yenta reared it's ugly head during a staff meeting. But I have since felt young and lively. I haven't worried about my age or where I'm going and what I'm doing in a while.... But sitting next to AC, and forgetting that we are nearly 14 years apart, I wondered when it all might catch up with me.... When I will have no choice but to hand over my skinny jeans (which she and I were both wearing) and shop at Talbots instead of Brass Plum.... When I will stop knowing (and caring) who's who and listening to Ryan fucking Seacrest...   When will I grow up?  

I'm certainly in no rush to cross the mom jean threshold and cut off all my hair. In fact, I love being a young mom and feeling sometimes that I actually have no business being one yet. It's kind of empowering, kind of surreal, and definitely, like... way cool. In many ways, "I've got it all going on" right now... The prime of my life really. I mean, AC may look like a cast member of The Hills and get past the velvet ropes at H-Wood faster than I can say "No Nitrate Hot Dogs," but, can she recite her favorite Sesame Street scenes and get IN DA CLUB .... I think not....

June 9, 2009

CHEER FOR ME

There are a lot of transitions happening in the world of J-Ko right now... Transitions can be hard. I'm learning to gather strength and encouragement from within and it ain't easy.... Learning to be your own cheerleader is definitely empowering. And at some point, I do plan on talking about these transitions. But for now, I would like to focus on one major transition... okay, well, two...  

The first is that I'm sending Baby-Ko back to day care full time. It's a no-brainer, actually.... choosing day care over a full time nanny. First of all, a full time nanny in LA costs a friggin fortune and second, Baby-Ko is 21 months and definitely is ready for socialization. On top of it, I'm sending him to an in-home day care that has been in business for over 30 yrs, is run by A.R., one of my best friend's mothers AND, I went there myself when I was Baby-Ko's age. Again, no brainer. That all said, we're transitioning him in gradually and given the fact that, well, my boy loooves him some mama, saying good-bye when I drop him off, hasn't been easy. Each day, he's doing better and better, but the initial "no mommy no" when I leave is definitely heart breaking. What gives me hope is how happy all the children are there, and how they all seem to play so well together.... I know he'll be just fine.

In the meantime, I've bought Baby-Ko his very own potty. In fact, the rumor on the (Westside) street is that it's a potty that Wacky endorses. It's the Fisher Price "Cheer For Me Potty" and it apparently makes noise when the pee hits the pot. I'm not quite sure how to formally do the whole potty training thing, but I know that I will for sure not "oof off" during his poops and I won't push it unless he shows some interest. But let me tell you, he definitely shows an interest. In fact, it's his favorite new toy and he even dragged the Sunday newspaper in to the bathroom with him and sat down on the toilet.  (I'm not even making this up. Seriously. It was the best thing I ever witnessed, really). Anyway, little by little I will test out the waters (or urine for that matter) with the whole peeing on the potty thing. Poop is way down the road, but at least Baby-Ko will get positive reinforcement from a singing toilet, and of course a very proud mommy, encouraging him to go... 

Ahh, if only they made toilets to cheer on adults, growing up would be a hell of a lot easier....

June 5, 2009

MOMMY DEAREST



I realize that most toddlers like to throw their food on to the floor, but Baby-Ko is definitely testing his limits in this department these days. I've started to sit him at the table, on a booster seat, without the tray. I place his food on an (overpriced, but darling and alphabet laden) place mat, in hopes that my royal highness will enjoy his cut up (overpriced, but nitrate free) chicken nuggets without picking up his (overpriced, but supposedly ergonomic or some shit) fork and chucking it across the room for no real good reason. 

Unfortunately though, there seems to be nothing I can say or do lately to stop him from throwing said fork and the entire place mat with food on all over the floor. I've begged, pleaded, tried to reason, tried to distract, sung, danced, and even bribed. Doesn't matter: Without fail, meal time has turned in to a food fight. Literally.

But yesterday, it occurred to me that there might be one thing that will teach him a lesson: The Monster. The VACUUM Monster. Baby-Ko has neeeeeeeever liked the sound (or even sight for that matter) of the Vacuum. In fact, I rarely vacuum in his presence (oh, who am I kidding. I rarely vacuum AT ALL), just because it freaks him out so much and I feel bad. But last night, mean mommy surfaced and I decided to play hardball. After chucking his chopped spinach (which BTW, ain't so easy to just pick up off of carpet), and mac and cheese across the room, I said "that's it! Now mommy has to vacuum!" So I went and got the vacuum, and while Baby-Ko sat in his chair, I vacuumed everything around him. He did cry a little bit and said "no mo vack-oom," but he eventually calmed down. I put it away and looked him in the eye and said, "When you throw food, Mommy has to vacuum. Okay? No more throwing food." I kissed him on the head and put out strawberries. Without missing a beat he held one up and said, "Mo vack-oom. NOOO!" and stuffed it in his mouth. Friggin' genius. Mom-Mission Accomplished!

But alas, my hopes and dreams of being the smartest (but still dirtiest, of course) mommy on the block was thwarted, when breakfast time became battle time today. What started off as a calm and very un-messy meal, turned in to scrambled egg and melon hurricane. Before the storm hit, I praised Baby-Ko for keeping his food on his place mat and eating it like such a big boy (adding and naming every one of his friends that also eat like big boys).  But minutes later, toddler-ness kicked in and "eggies" went flying. 
"That's it!" I said not effing around. "I have to vacuum. We do not throw food. When Baby-Ko throws food, Mommy has to vacuum."  
"No!!" He cried as I got out the Monster. "Mommy no!"

But I did it. I got out the vacuum despite how scared he actually looked.  Suddenly I felt AWFUL.  Who am I, Joan Crawford???!?!  He clearly hates the vacuum. (It does make a really screechy kind of awful sound that bothers me too actually). I mean, I know this is just a phase - the throwing food everywhere - so should I be letting it go? Should I give up on trying to have a clean carpet? Is he too young to be taught a lesson? Is my vacuum method cruel and unusual punishment??? 

PLEASE parents, advise. Tell me what YOU do with your toddlers when they throw food, and clearly know they're not supposed to.

Oh, and PS....  If you have suggestions on how to teach your kid not to eat markers, feel free to throw that in too....



June 3, 2009

PUT TO REST

Everyone has that ONE  tee shirt. That shirt that you've had forever... That you got on a cruise when you were 10 and says "Cabo Wabo" ... It's a crappy shirt really. One that you'd never wear out in public, but you probably sleep in 5 nights out of the week and ignore the massive hole in the armpit and the who-knows-when-you-got-that-stain on the collar.  It's soft, it's old, and no matter what, you will wear it until it dies.

I have that shirt. I actually have three like that and I'm sad to announce, one of them must officially be put to sleep. The first of my beloved shirt dates back to 1988(ish). My great aunt and uncle owned a hot dog shop in Chicago called Abe's on Lincoln (best french fries ever). The tee shirt is red with a "Coke is It" logo on the front and a cartoon of Abe's on Lincoln on the back. Though it is incredibly worn in and should probably be washed on a delicate cycle, as far as I'm concerned , this shirt is no where near dying and will continue to be a part of the J-Ko night time ensemble (so sexy, I know) as long as I can help it.  

The second shirt, well, the second shirt is a classic. I stole it from my BF Lo in 8th grade at a sleepover. It's a U2 Joshua Tree shirt-- black, super soft, and writing totally faded. Honestly, it's kind of trendy and would probably sell for 80 plus bucks at Kitson or some place like that. Lo still asks me about this shirt and I still pretend I don't even have it. (Sorry, Lo). This is a shirt I debate on whether to retire at will; it's still holding up, though kind of see-thru (like if the cable guy showed up, I'd definitely need to put a bra on underneath). But the thing is, because it is "so cool" and has somewhat of vintage potensh, I'm thinking I should put it away and save it for my daughter (should I have a daughter one day).  Like one day, when she's in high school and vintage tees and doc martens have made a comeback, I can let her go through old boxes and show her that I am cooler than she thinks. 

The third shirt, well, it's a remnant of the days/nights of boyfriends past. I acquired it back in my college days. I remember sleeping in it then, knowing what kind of gem I was getting my hands on. It was a grey, old school NY Yankees shirt. It was faded and as soft as a Splendid tee then--- NOW??? Omg. NOW it's pretty much sheer, maybe a faint outline of an N or a Y... The shoulder is shredded and if I answered the door wearing this when the cable guy came, I'd get more than an HD/DVR hook up....

The point is though, it's time to put this shirt to rest... Baby-Ko likes to play with the tattered ends and the thought that this beloved shirt could be ripped to shreds voluntarily breaks my heart. So it's time to put it to sleep. Time to say good bye. Time to incorporate another shirt in to the line up..... I could easily rotate the U of A Wildcats tee in to my repertoire, but the Cher Concert Tee from 1999 seems to be the obvious pick.... pair that shirt with doc martens and my "vintage" True Religion jeans, and my someday "teenage daughter" will be one cool chick.... At least in the privacy of our own home....

June 1, 2009

WHOLE (FREE) FOODS

I have a secret. A dirty little secret: I am a sample whore. A food sample whore. Farmer's market on a Sunday... Would you like to try a homemade pickle? You bet I would! Costco (on any day really)... Would you like to try this shitty nut mix with a dollop of hummus? Sure! Why not. Whole Foods bakery section... A basket of  some seven grain zero taste bread that will back me up for days? Thank you sir, I'll have another!

It doesn't matter what they're passing out, if there is food, and IT IS FREE, I am in. Much like a wedding reception or any party where they are passing out hors d'oeuvres, I will bee line straight to the food source, ditching whatever conversation I'm engaged in, (in this case it's my shopping cart) to make sure that I get my hands on that spring roll (and yes, I would like to dip, please).... And I will then stake out the door that the waiter came through, coordinate with my fellow fat f*ck friends who also eagerly await the "tuna tartar," to make sure we've covered all points of exit/entry and have hit every different tray and option (BTW, Waiter with the caviar/creme fraiche- looks-fancy-but-really-just-filler-appetizer-BS?  You can keep walking. I prefer your friend with the fried stuff). But I digress....

The point is, I have taken food sampling to a whole new level and my "ahh, what do we have here" delight over a freebie, has tooooootally rubbed off on Baby-Ko.  No matter what, it seems that these days, when I go to a Whole Foods where they have their pizza bar, I am compelled (NO MATTER WHAT TIME OF THE DAY IT IS), to ask for a sample of the pizza. Yes. The pizza. Not a bite of the tuna in the case. Or a shaving the turkey they are cutting. A SAMPLE OF PIZZA, which if you are familiar with WF, means they are pretty much slicing me a goddamn piece and ME pretending that "Hmm, yes. So good. Do I want this for dinner? Huh. Hmm. The pesto may be a little too strong for me. I'm gonna walk around and think about it." (Cut to me in the check out line, thankful I had a little snack to tie me over to dinner.... In ten minutes). 

Today though, my compulsion to sample all things free and greasy made me feel a little guilty. As I was shoveling "today's special" in my mouth, prepared to make up an excuse for why I wouldn't actually BUY it, Baby-Ko started to beg me for  a bite of "pisa" (said like the tower).  I gave him the rest of my sample (more like a nibble since I had pretty much devoured it), but it wasn't enough. He wanted more.
"Mo Pisa Mo. Pisa, Mommy. Mo." 
"All done, baby. No more pizza," I said loud enough for the clerk to hear me.
"Oh, does he want some?"
"Aw, no. We're fine. Really. We're okay," I said eyeing the perfect end piece that could easily get stuffed in to my, I mean, Baby-Ko's mouth. 
Without missing a (my pathetic) beat, the clerk handed me a small slice. Wanting to keep it to myself, but feeling the entire deli line staring at me, I begrudgingly handed it over to Baby-Ko. "Pisa mommy," he said smiling and getting it all over his face.
"Yes, pizza," I said, about to bolt from the counter of shame.
He held up the slice in his fist. "No mo pisa, mommy. All done." WHAT?! Just like that? What about the starving kid act we had going? All done? Really?!  
With my now second slice of pizza in hand, I smiled politely to the clerk and said, "This is delicious. We'll take two slices to go please."
"Thought so," the clerk said (with his eyes).

Well... So much for being 5 pounds away from the coveted wedding weight. Looks like I'm having pizza tonight for dinner. Again....