Archive for the ‘Ponderosa’ Category

I Won The Pans!

Saturday, July 16th, 2011

So Carmageddon may be gearing up right now in hot old Los Angeles, but who cares? I WON PANS! A set of All Clad stainless steelers. How did you do it, PB? you ask.

I entered the Pioneer Woman contest and out of 30,000 entries me and another chick WON. Unreal! As my husband says, you can’t win if you don’t enter. I’ve been entering her generous contests for 3 1/2 years. AND I FINALLY WON!!! Can I use the pans? Well, since my husband burned up the bottom of my spankin’ cool Macy’s saute pan (still in the house—Mr. Wonderful STILL thinks he is going to “fix it”) and since I seem to have a saucepan inherited from my childhood and another saucepan and frying pan from Ikea, both as flimsy as the store (I don’t know about yours, but our IKEA is always shaking)—the answer is a resounding YES. YES I CAN USE THESE WONDERFUL PANS THAT I WILL HAVE FOR A LIFETIME.


O saute pan! So sad. But I don’t care now!

Thank you O Pioneer Woman!

Carmageddon? Pshaw. Bring it on!


On Toys…

Monday, June 6th, 2011

It took a while getting here—praise all that is holy—but we reached this phase: When I tell my son we are going to a store he immediately tells me there will be toys there and that he will be taking one home.

Roar! Mmmph…

I hear some parents in the toys sections of stores adamantly telling their kids, I CAN’T AFFORD THAT, WE DON’T HAVE ENOUGH MONEY, THAT’S TOO EXPENSIVE, NO, NO, NO. I have decided that this particular way of communicating with a child is not my style. I don’t want my son to grow up with money issues. I want him to believe there is enough money in the world for him. I want him to know that abundance, that money, that buying things is great—but not possible, practical or something to expect with each visit to a store that carries toys, cars, sailboats, RV’s, diamond studded watches, Go Karts, giant stuffed animals, remote controlled helicopters, Wolf ranges, golf clubs, silver barbecue units and anything else fantastic that catches his eye at any given time, etc.

Go, car, go!

So now, before we hit the store I say something like, “Today, we are going to the store to get such and such and we can also look at the toys, but we’re not buying toys this time.” Bam. Simple. End of story. I watch him nod and process this information. And—praise all that is holy and right in this world—I watch him accept it. Once we’re in the toy aisle, he may ask, “Can we take this home?”, but I stick to my guns and say, “Not today, remember? We’re just looking.” Bam. Simple. I watch him accept this. If we’re having an I-am-tired-because-I-get-up-so-darn-early-and-my-nap-wasn’t-enough sort of day, in which case he will press the toy issue to the point of, “What? Oh, no!” and tears, I calmly stick to my “Not today, Love,” story until the weepiness passes. If he continues crying, I say, calmly, “I’m sorry you’re upset. Maybe we should go to the car so you can finish crying.” At which point he snaps out of his distress, continues looking at toys and eventually comes willingly to the cash register.

I do remind him of all the toys he has to play with at home. This seems to help him accept not buying a new toy. I do assure him he has birthdays and that Christmas exists and other special occasions. Assurances help. They really do.


I have no idea if I’m creating serious money issues for him at 3 and a half years old, making his life better or worse, but hopefully better and hopefully I’m not screwing him up, like I feel I would be if I kept telling him, “No, we don’t have the money.”

And so: I carry on in the world of parenting, gripping my sense of positivity (sometimes hanging onto it by a thread) so that I can feel good about myself as a parent at the end of the day when he’s snoozing and I can finally run for the cookies and milk with a sigh like an earthquake and so much love in my heart for that little boy I’m amazed I haven’t burst. No time to burst! Onward, parent!

All boy…




The Website Of PB Rippey

When I’m Sick…

Wednesday, June 1st, 2011

This has been a rocky late Winter, early Spring when it comes to health. My Facebook wall is filled with many mommy tales of recurring colds, coughs that last a month and (arrrgh!) pneumonia. In my house, pink eye was the tip of the illness-berg eventually ploughing right into Good Ship Mommy. See? I only write sentences like that when I’m delirious. I think.

My little love cup!

Out here in the burbs, I don’t have family close by or the types of neighbors I would allow to watch my child while I writhe in flu-agony. I do have “Curious George”. He dropped in as I took over the couch in my bathrobe, weakly fending off the kitten’s attacks and the dog’s wet nose in my face. My son sang and danced and commented on George’s discoveries and suddenly it was almost noon. That was when I called my husband and told him he had to come home.

Many things to do while Mama writhes on couch!

I know from the past few weeks of battling pink eye and colds that there are deeply hidden energy reserves in me—but I couldn’t locate them today. On the one hand, this was devastating—not having energy. On the other, it made me let go, just let go, let him watch George, let him snack on pretzels and Goldfish multi-grain crackers, let him dance around in his pj’s at almost noon, just let him. It doesn’t happen every day. Let the dishes pile up and the dust balls laze through the house. Let both Facebook and my writing be.

I told myself: Do microwave lunch and dinner. Do phone it in from the couch. DON’T have a mommy-meltdown with husband. Do know he is doing his best to get home. Do utilize cold/flu medicine to knock self out once child is under Dadda’s supervision. Let go, let go, let go…

I have a feeling letting go will be this Mama’s monumental challenge through the next decades. Best to start practicing now. (O little Moofy Boofy Luffy Wuffy Love Cup! Wherever you move to after college, I want to move there, too!)

O woe is me…




Kitten, O Kitten…

Saturday, May 28th, 2011

Last Mother’s Day I received a pet from my lovely husband. Last year, I was more sleepless than I am these days. That beautiful thing called preschool hadn’t started for us yet. 5:00a.m. wakings were still regular occurrences. Another pet to care for in addition to the two cats was hard for my weary, toddler-focused mind to process. Last Mother’s Day, as my lovely husband was pulling Julian’s cage from the car, I believe I yelled out the kitchen window, quite rudely: “WHAT DID YOU DO!!!”

We love animals!

Then, suddenly, last October we adopted Tucker. I’m still in shock. I honestly believe my lovely husband is on a not-so-secret mission to start a home petting zoo. In addition to two cats and a bird, we adopted a dog who needs to eat 3 times a day and have regular daily exercise. Just when the toddler started sleeping until 6:00a.m., we adopted a dog who requires 3:00a.m. potty breaks. And yet—I love him dearly. Who knew I had so much love to give? I am a magical (possibly futuristic) battery pack of love. An endless font (in ocean blue). A—zzzzzzzzzzz.

We love him and his toddler ways!

My lovely husband and I discussed adopting a kitten and, I thought, were in agreement that 2011 was not the year of the kitten, but remained steadfastly the year of the rabbit—several rabbits, in fact—once domesticated beauties repopulating and hopping through all the front yards on our street, but in no way in need of attention from me beyond the carrots I toss out for them. “Whew! Thank goodness we’re agreed on the kitten issue!” I told my lovely husband. Yup. That’s what I said.


So this Mother’s Day we welcomed Diggory into our petting zoo home. Now, it’s like he’s always lived here. He is one of us. He is (other than my son, Al and Rudycat and the dog) my baby. See the picture below? Obviously he gets me.

Komputer Kitten! Kute!

My lovely husband’s reasoning: “I’ve always felt bad about you losing Charlotte right after we moved to our Ponderosa. I want you to have your own cat again. I mean, yeah we’ll all love him, but he can be—er, yours,” he said as the kitten ripped his hands to shreds with those kitten needle claws and teeth we’d forgotten kittens possess.

Wild Diggory! He hurts.

Of course I adore him, even though it looks as though I cut myself or shoot up because of all the pricks and scratches on my hands and feet. He’s fun to cuddle when he’s asleep. Although he wakes me up intermittently in the dead of night by sticking said needle claws in my back, you only live once and it’s nice for T to have a kitten, for Al and Rudy to have their sedentary cat lives shaken up a bit, for the dog to have one feline who doesn’t hiss at him, for the Mama to have another opportunity to spread her love around as she chugs her morning coffee and for my lovely husband to have his family w/pets—a unit, a joy, a blessing that was a long time coming—for both of us.

He loves books!

Rock on all you late bloomers. That’s right: Rock on! Now please excuse me while I nap before everyone wakes——-oh. Too late.

Playing together!



Easter, 2011 (With Sneezes)…

Monday, April 25th, 2011

It all started with the Easter Egg Tree. We painted/colored it and little accompanying eggs and added a large decorative egg and foam bunnies. We also made foam bunnies to send to relatives and T completed several Easter cards before totally burning out and threatening to throw his Thomas train (tucked into the cargo hold of his mega yellow submarine) at me. I put the crafts and cards away.

The EET (Easter Egg Tree, duh!)…

Until it was time to color eggs, but he made short work of THAT silly craft—or, rather, he turned coloring eggs into something fun, since I wouldn’t let him bash the hard boiled eggs on windows or couch arms or feed them to the dog. That’s my boy! Using your creative noggin! I was tired of egg stuffs, anyway—the dye takes so long if you are aiming for luscious shades. And, anyway, it’s not about ME at Easter. It’s about T. And J, of course, exiting dire circumstances. And the dog—shedding. And Dadda working overtime. Mama single-parenting. From 6:00a.m. to 9:00p.m.-ish. Sometimes. Without a dishwasher.

Monocle, or magnifying glass? Only T knows. And J, of course—along with The Universe.

Egg Dipper As Magnifying Glass…

The dog took matters into his own hands and, while T and I were in his room playing trains and space shuttles, got his nose up on the dining room table and made a meal of the 5 eggs we had colored. T and I returned to the living room to find egg shells and smeared yolk on the floor and a very unhappy doggy.

EEGD (Easter egg eating dog…)…

Then T’s preschool’s Spring Break hit and along with it sneezing fits that turned into a cold for T the day before Easter and, on Easter Morn, misery—6:00a.m.—when he woke for the day after waking every hour all night (poor little guy).

T and his basket in the early a.m.

His cold stopped us from driving to Santa Barbara and visiting the relatives and the beach, but luckily did not stop T from eating his chocolate bunny and jellybeans. This was hard for a mother concerned by her son being repulsed by green vegetables to watch, especially when she was helpless to add flaxseed or wheatgerm to the chocolate bunny and failed to find sugarless jellybeans—so she returned to bed and slept until after 9:00a.m. And, later, had a 2 hour nap with her son who had a 4 hour nap and when everyone woke up, the house smelled like honey wheat bread.

Looking for that jelly bean!

The day was gray, my son was sick, but the house smelled like honey wheat bread because not only had Mama’s first bread machine in her life arrived the day before, but she had survived the crowds at Walmart to procure all the right ingredients for making her first loaf, which her son loved, I mean which my son loved, and which I made, and—I have lost all perspective. There is much metaphor and simile and parallels to be had in this post, but I’m just too tired. As Ingrid told Bogey in that movie: You’ll have to think for both of us—and keep it to yourself.

My first loaf! Why does that sound weird?

After eating my bread, T felt so perky that he joined his dad outside in the yard and they made the beginnings of a vegetable garden and buried watermelon seeds in the earth. Thus, Easter reigned supreme in our house, or, rather, just enough for a little boy who doesn’t know what Easter is, except that chocolate bunnies are involved and Easter Egg Trees and a lot of bunny hoopla and consumer ads suggesting hams and garden sheds and festive outfits. Oh, little lovecup of mine—it’s all about love, love, love. That’s all you need to know. Much love, Your Chocolate Pimp And Ultimate Caregiver Of All Time.

Great garden beginnings…


Chalk Talk…

Friday, April 15th, 2011

Talk to the chalk, man!


I’m so confused.

Oh! Okay.

Love, love, love, love, love!




Happy Valentine’s Day

Monday, February 14th, 2011

Despite being given a hint of grief from one of T’s preschool teachers because I failed in my two attempts at making jello hearts over the weekend (I even bought silicon molds, then when that fell apart, tried cookie cutters this morning, then when that fell apart raced to Albertson’s and bought mini-cupcakes, which disappointed this particular teacher, who asked if I’d read the expiration date on the box of jello used, who let out a big sigh of disappointment, who shocked the hell out of me by saying the cupcakes were nice, but the kids shouldn’t have that much sugar—and jello is what???—but instead of responding like a Valkyrie, I took the high road and mostly because T loves the school————–you know? I did return with a plate of the leftover, fallen-apart jello, handed it to this teacher and politely explained, “Um. Here…”)—despite anything freaky in the world, it’s a glorious Valentine’s Day, sunny and temperate, and I have the next 2 and 1/2 hours to myself while my son enjoys his V Day party at school.

Valentine’s Day breakfast bear.

Life is hearts. Have a wonderful 2011 Valentine’s Day and remember to send a little love to yourself—because you deserve it. Even if you fail at jello hearts.


On Play…

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011

I’ve been thinking a lot about “play” lately and how much I do, or don’t, engage in it with my son. Reading, The Last Child In The Woods and Playful Parenting has me worrying about the last time T and I made a fort together or had a picnic in the Ponderosa’s semi-mangy, large enough for a small Civil War re-enactment backyard. Like any mommy, I’m caught up in mealtimes and Target and Trader Joe’s runs and vacuuming up dog hair twice a day and doing laundry before it becomes Everest-ish, so that rather than getting down and dirty with T in a mud puddle, I’ll let him get down and dirty while I glance at him through the windows as I cook veggie hot dogs or Google healthy waffle recipes for kids.

Mama! Play with me!

Oh, PB. Really? Listen: Step away from the Google. Leave Target for another day. Take the pot off the burner—your son is not going to starve if he doesn’t eat dinner right at six. Go outside and pick up that monster truck and take it over to him and make it make friends with his autos and dinos and giraffes and get some play-action going, Mama. He needs it. You need it. He’ll remember it.

He’s your only child and, to be quite frank, these days won’t be coming back, PB.

I think you’d better go for it.



Saturday, January 8th, 2011

He runs! I follow!

1. Pay closer attention to patience and being in the moment with all things concerning my son.

2. Lift my eyes up from the dishwater and enjoy myself. Lifting my eyes up from the DISHWASHER would be nice, but perhaps the happiness I feel lifting my eyes up from the dishwater and its endless supply of dishes needing attention, glancing out the windows, perhaps catching sight of the once-tame-now-feral big white bunnies digging holes in the front yard or frolicking along the sidewalk, catching sight of the many, many neighbors’ Christmas lights and air-Santas still in place, catching sight of a piece of red sky or red-tailed hawk swooping or that amazing palomino clopping along our road, its rider decked out in sombrero and spangly chaps—-perhaps these sorts of visuals will thrust me into such a happy place—happy, content, appreciating the background sounds of my son playing tug-of-war with the dog and his toy—that I will totally bliss-out and attract a silver dishwasher into my life. Dishwasher or dishwater, I resolve to focus more on these three words: All is well.

3. Not be all crabby about my February birthday (for once).

4. Continue to give to a charity each month, even if only $10, even if only $100.

5. Continue to write every day so that I can end the day knowing that I have written and stepped: Forward.

6. Remind my husband to remind me that we must remind ourselves to have our movie-night w/popcorn popped in olive oil, even if such a movie-night seems impossible that particular week.

7. Don’t sweat the small stuff.

8. Plant more beauty in the backyard because it’s important for writers and tired parents and young minds to look out the living room windows and see blooms that weren’t there the night before. Heck, turn the backyard into a forest with a non-brackish stream for splashing maniacally in and redwoods and blowzy ferns and foliage you can crawl under for a nap or pizza party—now there’s a resolution.

9. Keep thinking positively.

10. Keep optimism always close.

And it goes without saying, but here it is in writing: Read, read, read (to my book-loving 3 year old, for myself, forever).



Wednesday, January 5th, 2011

It’s a new year. What a concept! How marvelous to start afresh with resolutions carefully typed into Word, resolutions sought with open mind and heart in (extremely) rare moments of domicile privacy, or—fished for from the sweetly-art-deco-bottom of an emptied Mikasa champagne flute on NYE. Hurrah, PB! Hurrah for resolutions!

Sheer inspiration…

Please stay tuned. PB cannot write more this evening, as it is now 10:18p.m., ALREADY and one of PB’s huge resolutions, already broken, is to be settling down for sleep by 10p.m., every night, to abate the—difficulty—of her son’s 5.a.m. wakings and the dog’s I WILL BE WALKED IF ANYONE MOVES IN THAT BED AFTER THE HOUR OF 4:00 IN THE MORNING, and the cats’ SCRATCHING THE LAMPSHADE, WE’RE SCRATCHING THE LAMPSHADE AND MOVING ON TO THE HALL CARPET, WE’RE RUNNING ACROSS YOUR SLEEPING BODIES, WE’RE KNOCKING DOWN PICTURES ON THE DRESSER, WE WANT FOOD, WE WANT, WE WANT—listen, it’s just time to go to bed. Happy New Year. I heart resolutions. Mine have already come in handy this 4th day into year-bliss. Seriously! Peace. Um—resolution-on, man.

Manor owners.


Blog Break: More Christmas…

Saturday, December 11th, 2010

I don’t know about your house, but THESE are the kind of Christmas shenanigans going on around here:

Salmon and cream cheese, also pb&j

Not to mention early Christmas presents from Semi-Secret Santa Mommies:


Or Christmas caroling to the dog:

Fa la la la la…

But this, THIS is really what’s going on around here—every—single—second:

Christmas Mad Dog…

O perfect, metaphor-catching picture! Yes, I vacuum up dog hair twice daily, rise at 4:00 a.m. to allow the child into our bed, awake every 5 minutes until 6:00a.m., when it’s time to get up for the day because T wakes with his headlights on BRIGHT and is ready to rock and roll and eat pancakes I’ve secretly stuffed with carrot puree and applesauce, yes I’m still a sleepless mother despite preschool, but I can honestly say: I am enjoying the season. He is enjoying the season. My currently snoozing husband, too.



Preschool: An Introduction…

Sunday, November 14th, 2010

My son just turned 3.


A year ago he and I visited a preschool. It was very: science station, art station, monthly themes (pirates, the holiday stuff), and parents could hang out and peek around corners to see if their children were happy——

Ah, science!

Leave my son in that sweet, teacher-caring, we-provide-potty-training environment? A Mama’s worst nightmare!!!


A year ago, my son would not sit still for any storytime we attended. He parallel-played consistently. He did not engage in science stations (his sand and water table at home, dirt pile in our yard) for longer than a few minutes. At the preschool visit, he obsessed on the indoor pirate ship thingy and screamed when I tried to get him to look at what the other kids were doing, upsetting parents peeking around corners. I was scared of disrupting the entire school. So we left, with me telling myself that there is plenty of time for pre-school, that he is going to be in school for such a good portion of his life, why not stick to playdates and beach outings and park fun.

Water drums!

Tomorrow we’re returning to that preschool from a year ago. My son’s sleeping habits have reverted to his first year of life, when wakings were constant and urgent and why this is happening again is beyond me. I don’t feed him sugar. He doesn’t eat fast food. He drinks milk. Tonight he even accepted steamed green beans. I am. A. Vigilant mother. Especially when it comes to my finnicky eater. So why the wakings in his cozy, super-dark room (but for a little nightlight)? Why? Mama is so tired…

Interesting jeep!

So tired, that I AM READY for preschool. 3 mornings a week. As long as he likes it.


He does love being around kids on playdates and at the park, even if older kids don’t realize he is actually following them around and playing some game they are inadvertently involved with. He does crafts now (for about 10 minutes). He likes bugs and binoculars and anything pirates and rockets and marine. He won’t sit still for a storytime, but if the other kids are, maybe he’ll consider settling in, especially since he loves books. Tomorrow is a big day.

Says so much.

Because it’s not about me. Of course it is about me! But not really. You know?

A Mama learns to let go a little. And catch up on some sleep.

Little guy. Little pre-schooler (maybe). I will bring my box of tissues with me tomorrow. Happy Birthday!
Little guy!


Blog Break Ad Nauseum…

Monday, November 8th, 2010

There are reasons for all the blog breaks I have posted of late, instead of writing meaningful material. Ha ha! Place your mouse over each photo to receive an explanation. Or—not…

Uncle Bob’s Birthday!

“Papa” visits and brings miniature golf platforms.

My dad’s 70th birthday!
(One sister is not featured in photo as she lives in Iowa—however, we missed her greatly, although the Pater HAD TO ACT as if overwhelmed by female offspring invading his household. Could not cooperate and just smile normally for camera…

Dinner guest!

We love him and his toddler ways!
Newest addition to our family!

Frikkin’ Time Change!!!
Yes, that’s right: Frikkin’ time change!

Yeah, and this!
Which means I’m writing/editing.

And my son—

Candy Boy Buzz!

turns 3 in 5 days. November is a busy month! And it’s Christmas at Target. Ouch.

PB Writes

Blog Break #—oh, who cares? Woof!

Saturday, October 23rd, 2010


Tucker is in the house—and yard and car and—he is everywhere. Hooray!

Woofy Woes…

Sunday, October 17th, 2010

Recently a dog came to visit us, a potential adoptee. We were nervous before doggy arrived. We spruced up the house and my husband mowed the lawn. We brushed our hair and teeth minutes before the arrival. We wore nice clothing and had doggy toys on hand we’d picked up at a pet store earlier that day. We had been told that “if all went well” with the visit, then doggy might be ours that very afternoon. We were excited—and I was a little nervous. The last potential adoptee tried to nip my son and slam me down on a coffee table and chew off my shoulder. This latest dog, however, was listed as “kid and cat friendly”, and as looking for its “forever home”.

We really want a doggy. Sometimes we visit Lab Rescue Man’s home down the street from us. He might have up to 6 waggy doggies playing in his yard at one time. T is in heaven when this happens. He runs with the pack and throws balls for them. He pets them and kisses them, if they’ll let him. He’ll give them commands—sit, doggy drop ball, etc.


We are nice people. Responsible adults run this household and raise a child. We are all animal lovers. So of course we were excited to meet the doggy, even if we turned out not to be doggy’s “forever home”. As long as doggy didn’t try to eat us, we could at least give her some fun in the Ponderosa’s roomy yard, give her a chew-toy to take back to her foster home, have an afternoon of play.

Rudy! And dinosaur! Living together!

“THIS DOG IS NOT FOR YOU,” declared a Cruella-De-Vil with an unraveling eagle’s nest of auburn hair, her Mute Dude trailing after her. She hadn’t even made it to our walkway, but was shouting at us from way over there on the pavement. I stood dumbly on our front porch, my hand frozen in greeting, my mouth agape, my son behind me crying, eagerly, “Doggy! Doggy’s here!”

“I–um,” I stuttered as the wiggly black lab on the choke chain and leash yanked the woman closer.


Charcat—may she RIP. 18 1/2 wonderful years.

I stared at her, baffled, as my husband took over. He greeted the dog generously, then Mrs. Freakazoid and her Mute Dude. By this time, doggy had reached me and I bent to give her some love, my husband trying to calm Mrs. F with pleasantries. I knew he was as baffled as I was. Mrs. F had insisted, initially, that we meet the dog, had insisted that doggy was perfect for us, had already met my husband and son at an adoption fair she was running, had decided that the happy black lab licking my hands might be our “forever dog”. So—WTF?

“Well, why don’t you WALK her,” Mrs. Freakazoid said all suddenly sickly sweet and nice in a bi-polar, schizophrenic moment. “Just go ahead and WALK her.”

She thrust the leash in my hands and I obeyed, walking doggy along the sidewalk for about ten paces, during which doggy lunged, bounded and tested her choke chain. She was only a year old. She had tons of energy and no training. She was going to need some help, okay—but I couldn’t figure out why Mrs. F was sure doggy wasn’t for us.

Then, in his cute little voice, my son asked to hold the leash. Before I could answer, Mrs. Freakazoid jumped in.


She. Yelled.

My son was aghast. Who was this super scary lady? What had he done wrong? I saw these questions race through his mind. I watched his lower lip tremble. He turned and fled to my husband behind us (poor S desperately trying to lure conversation from Mute Dude).

Here’s what should have happened next: I should have handed Mrs. Freakazoid the leash and told her: Thank you for bringing this lovely puppy to visit us. I’m afraid we won’t be using your adoption agency. I’m sure you’ll find doggy the right home. Goodbye now.

Because how could it get better after that, after a total stranger yelled at my son, a wonderful little boy excited to see a dog. Mrs. Freakazoid didn’t wait for my response to my son’s question. She didn’t wait to hear me say, “Doggy is very excited right now, baby. Mama will hold the leash.” She didn’t watch and learn how I will introduce my son to a dog in our lives. She just jumped in, gnashing, rabid, threw us all to the ground and tried to chew our shoulders off.

Mrs. Freakazoid’s brain ALL THE TIME.

Instead of getting rid of the crazy lady, I said, “Why don’t we bring the dog into our yard, since you need to do a yard check anyway.” Sigh. Hindsight is one of my unfortunate talents (see holiday-cookie-recipe posts for other unfortunate talents). I guess at that point I was still thinking there might be hope, or I was being foolishly polite, or I was probably thinking that we “needed” this lady in order to find our family dog—but I have learned that I am the sort of person who must shut the door on crazy people, or bad things will happen, to myself, usually, but also, in this case, to my CHILD. Hello! I will never not trust my gut instincts again.

In the Ponderosa’s back yard, doggy and my son ran around the lawn beautifully, gleefully, having fun. For a moment, I felt vindicated—Mrs. Freakazoid was as mute as her companion while T and doggy romped—but when T tried to show doggy one of his large colorful plastic toys, one that made doggy a little nervous, Mrs. Freakazoid’s switch flipped again. She frothed at the mouth and shook her head, her hair pouffing so much it scared birds from the trees, her bi-polar/schizo-lunatic thing in full swing and after that she pretty much got out of our lives with the dog—forever: When my husband returned home from work the next day, his big news was that Mrs. Freakazoid had dumped us from the rescue’s list of possible doggy owners. She told my husband that until our son was 10, we would not be getting a dog from her rescue, that we were not a family fit for a dog at this time, that my son would hurt the dog.

We love animals!

My first reaction was to phone Mrs. Freakazoid and scream at her, but that would have made me as crazy and Freakazoid-ish as herself. My husband had dealt with her by calmly, graciously telling her that he disagreed with her assessment, that we were moving on to a new doggy rescue because yes we will have a family dog before our son is 10. “Let’s leave it at that, PB,” he suggested. I knew he was right, but it took me a day of teeth-grinding and one stern email to Mrs. Freakazoid—that I deleted—before I could move on. And I remembered something Mrs. F had said before leaving our house with Mute Dude. My husband had commented that she must really love dogs to be so involved with them, and she had answered (in a rare moment of quiet tonage), “Oh, well, I don’t LOVE dogs, I like them, but somebody’s got to do this, I guess, I mean, I’m not a dog FANATIC, not at all.” ??? I hope she is helping doggies, absolutely—but Mrs. F needs people-skills lessons and to spend time with toddlers and I need to never let anyone I don’t know talk to my child like that again without addressing it immediately, bottom line.

So when the home-check person from a different rescue came to visit us today, I was ready. If she showed any bi-polar tendencies, if she showed even a hint of displeasure toward my son, I would have her OUT OF MY HOUSE. You know. In a gracious sort of manner, but–out. Out.

Brotherly love.

The lady who visited us, however, was lovely, just lovely, an obvious dog lover/enthusiast, totally supportive of us, sure that she can find us a family dog. She told us how beautiful our son is, how perfect our yard is for a dog, praised us for wanting to help a doggy in need. She made no promises, but offered her help. An hour after she’d left, she sent us an email saying she enjoyed meeting us and hoped she would have some dogs for us to meet soon.

“Oooookay,” I said and breathed—no, I breeeeeeeeeeeeeathed. “Okay.”

A 3 mos old T loves his animals.

PB WRITES (PB’s Writing Blog)

Boo Here! Boo…

Sunday, October 10th, 2010

Here, we prepare for Halloween.


This year—as opposed to last year and although he has no idea how to respond when I ask him what he wants to “be for Halloween”—he is totally into the “Halloweeeeeeeen stuff, Mama!”


This year he doesn’t rip the decor down, is not frightened of it, or even wary, but holds its bony hands, or cuddles rat bodies, or gleefully pokes and prods all spooky bits hanging from trees or lurking in plants, thoroughly enjoying his eerie front walk and Pyrate Patio.



That’s my boy!You’ve come a long way, baby. Now slooooooow down with all the growing and attitude. DO NOT wake up tomorrow morning and ask me for the car keys. Thank you, baby. I appreciate it. (A Mama worries…)

That’s right! I said: Arrrrrrrrrrr!


Sunday Thanks…

Sunday, September 26th, 2010

T and I attended a birthday party yesterday morning, held in a park. It was hot at 10:00a.m., soon to reach triple digits. All the toddlers had red cheeks. Luckily there were shade trees so the cupcakes didn’t melt. And the kids didn’t notice—they bounced in the bouncer and played like crazy and wore their long princess dresses if they were girls. T played so hard I was sure he’d have a 3 hour nap, but unfortunately he didn’t transfer from his snooze on the car ride home, to bed. Before I could panic, my husband ordered me to have a nap. When I woke up, he and T were sitting on a sheet on the kitchen floor. They’d made a rocket out of a paper towel roll, duct tape and gold pipe cleaners. They had the paints out. Music was on the CD player. They were having fun. I stared at them, thinking, Oh yeah—this is family life—I have a family—I am a mother and a wife—oh yeah!

Even though T is almost 3 years old, this revelation still slams me.

Crayons make good rocktes, too…

I made pizza pinwheels and we piled in the minivan and headed for Zuma Beach for dinner, driving away from the boiling valley toward coolness. Of course T fell asleep on the way there, pinwheel in hand. He didn’t wake up until we’d spread the blanket on the sand and the breeze swooped in, sea air buffeting his gold locks, whirling around his nose, reviving him. He ran non-stop for the next 2 hours, his Dadda runnning with him as I watched from the blanket, seagulls circling our dinner. There were several falls, some crying, but mostly happy gallavanting. One canny mother had thought to bring a clear plastic container she filled to the brim with sand and seawater. Darting through the murk were sandcrabs, attracting kids like a magnet. Kids, and my son, loved sticking their hands in the water and having the crabs ricochet off their skin. Genius!

They found a hole!

Marriage, a BABY, all seemed, for so long, simply not for me. I was close-minded and probably judgmental of people who had kids—especially if screaming was involved on a transatlantic flight. I learned about children from my sisters’ kids, true. I babysat, I watched, slack-jawed, as they grew like those little pills you stick in water, that instantly balloon into dinosaurs or flowers. But it was impossible for me to have as much empathy for parents and children as I do now. Of course it was! Still, this revelation slams me, too—and I feel a little guilty.

Beach bunny.

My empathy meter these days? It’s in danger of bursting, I have that much. It can be hard to be a baby, it can be lonely being a mother/suburban housewife/part-time poet/outings-initiator, it can be frustrating when others have misplaced their empathy meters and fail to open doors for mothers with strollers or resort to dirty looks when a child has a tantrum in the aisles of Target, but the patience and understanding I have gained, the family I am an active particpant in? My husband and I may have come to this later than is traditional, but all I can feel is, yes, yes, yes.

Home from Zuma, the toddler passed out for the night, my husband tapping away on his computer, I pour a glass of wine and fold another load of laundry—as content as though I’ve swallowed a peace pill, as awed as if I’ve just watched a rocket take off for Mars. You’ve done it now, PB, I think.You’ve gone and got yourself a life.

Thank you, thank you, thank you…


Present Reminiscence (w/Sunday Sounds)…

Sunday, September 12th, 2010

“Okay, let’s go! Dadda’s coming. Dadda’s coming. Unh—gotta da teddy bear! Teddy bear! Let’s go. Okay. Let’s go. C’mon, let’s go. Hi, Mama! Okay. Now. Dadda. Let’s play animals. Get nice and cozy. Nice and cozy. Let’s go get da room, Dadda. We close the door?” (Door shuts—I listen to T and his dad play “animals”, which means T lies on the floor and Dadda places all of T’s stuffed animals on top of him, T saying the entire time, “Cozy, so cozy!”)

Where did he go?

I listen from my bed office, house finch chatter and Sunday sunshine pouring mildly through the windows, mug of coffee (my sturdy “Nepenthe” mug) on the side table, enjoying cool wafts of air, Julian’s chatter, strains of Crosby, Stills and Nash from the kitchen boombox, Al the cat banging on the front door to be let in— sounds of family life in the suburbs.

It’s moments like these when I am so thankful I’m no longer single and living in trendy Los Feliz, in a small apartment building filled with single people hiding out from audition rejections, writing rejections, date rejections, the heat, the sunglasses and ripped jeans wearing crowds at The Bourgeois Pig (and it’s pricy coffees and ugly art on black walls) and Birds down the block, hiding from each other, from everything.

Cozy, so cozy!

It’s moments like these I’m grateful I no longer live on a sailboat in Marina Del Rey, despite the beautiful neighborhood and ocean air and cheap rent and friendly neighbors with martinis on their minds, where living was camping every day, a long way from Hollywood business, and crazy-mad on the weekends when every single boat owner in the city showed up to play and writing was simply impossible.

It’s moments like these I’m grateful I no longer live in Echo Park in the building replete with grecian urns and mirrored hallways and views from downtown to Santa Monica–a fabulous view to write by, Elysian Park and its grassy lushness and hiking trails just steps away from the building, Chango for coffee just down the street, but so lonely at night gazing at the soup of city lights, listening to coyote howls and car crashes or high heels and dinner-party-laughter in the unit upstairs and mournful owl hoots in the fir trees as I sat on my narrow balcony with my glass of wine and my candle, view-gazing, licking my wounds, wondering if I’d ever meet Mr. Wonderful, trying not to wonder.

And he switches to animals on the bed.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

PB WRITES (PB’s Writing Blog)

On Folding Laundry…

Sunday, August 15th, 2010

Before T came along, I folded laundry meticulously—meaning even briefs and all t-shirts turned the right way out.

After T came along and I experienced severely broken sleep, laundry wasn’t folded, dishes weren’t washed, socks were shoved into whatever drawer and although I never iron sheets anyway, the term ‘balled-up-in-linen-closet’ definitely applied.

I knew the sleep I’ve been getting lately was catching up to me when, after 2 1/2 years, I caught myself turning my husband’s t-shirts the right way out again. Then I sorted the t-shirts drawer, putting plain, tanks and t-shirts-with-writing-on-them in separate stacks.

I once again wash dishes before my husband returns from work, so that he won’t have to do them, which he was, quietly and diligently, for which I’m very grateful—but since I don’t feel the need to collapse with exhaustion and acute brain fuzz when he arrives home, I can do them (we bought the only house on the block without a dishwasher…).

I’ve caught myself playing the piano every evening, while T and S are doing the bath thing. I’ve caught myself working on my writing until after 10p.m. I’ve caught myself remembering to put on fun CD’s in the morning, so that T and I can dance to the music. I exercise every day and have lost much 2 1/2 year old stubborn pregnancy weight. I’ve caught myself admiring my husband as he plays with our son—struck as though for the first time by how much I enjoy his laugh, his jokes, his storybook reading style.

Most importantly, I have more energy to devote to my toddler, meaning not feeling as though I’m lifting a giant boulder from my head in order to drive us to the playground in the afternoon. This means everything to me.

A suburban Rumplestiltskin, I’ve woken up due to receiving more sleep. I am relieved. Although my synapses aren’t firing at 100% and may never again (if they ever were), although I buy too many loaves of bread, or find my cell phone inside Julian’s bird cage, although the windows need cleaning of small, sticky handprints, the good news is in:

If, like mine, your child is a waker instead of a sleeper and your t-shirts and most of the rest of your laundry are the wrong way out and your sheets are balled up in the linen closet, don’t worry. When sleep returns (and it will return, even if you think it will never, ever return, it will return), so will you. Pretty much. Most likely. Seems to be the case! Ha ha. Whew.

Now THAT’s sleeping!

PB Writes

The Toddler Plants A Cypress…

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010

He insisted on wearing his red boots in summer. Of course he did! He’s a toddler.

Right off the bat he let us know he was in charge of every aspect of the planting of the Father’s Day cypress tree.

Oh yes, I will plant the tree with Dadda!

Digging! In DIRT! (said in his little, rough pirate voice)

I know exactly what I’m doing, Mama!

This is how we do it!

Back to work!

He did pause to fiddle with his navel and contemplate Dadda’s work—but just for a moment.

I will fiddle with my navel as I take a break–but only for a second!

This had nothing to do with planting the tree, but we’re just his parents, so who were we to question?

Doing this has nothing to do with planting the tree, ha ha!!!

And then: Success!

Planting completed, Mama! I did it!

And then: Time to strangle the tree.

And now I will strangle the tree!