Monday, August 19, 2013

Bumper Sticker Confession for Bindy

I better call Bindy. She's not gonna like this.

My younger bro and sister-in-law gave me a nice bumper sticker.

I do like to consider myself a Mom of Rescue. Not just in the dog realm.

But, who wants to be in a rut? What if I wake up one morning and I don't even want to deal? What if I feel more like a Mom of Destruction? It's not that I would reek much havoc. It's just that some days, I can't be holding up the rescue cause.

Well, no problem, because this bumper sticker doesn't stick; it's one of those commitment-free magnets. *POOF* It's gone.

Hear that, Bindy? I'm flying free.


Thursday, August 8, 2013

Beauty Treatment

A friend from college is getting married this weekend in Portland. The occasion has turned into a reunion of sorts, an event not to be missed, as the groom-to-be was never exactly pro-marriage, or even pro-commitment, yet he is ready to throwdown for a smart, accomplished woman who seems to authentically challenge and complement him.

Due to various circumstances, I haven’t been able to get my hair did and no spa time this week before my weekend trip. Not even a mani/pedi. So, today, in the middle of our slowcay, the girls and I got into some homemade beauty treatments.

It took hours. And patience. Lots of patience.

We started with coconut oil hair masks. We loved the result, but somehow waiting an hour to shampoo brought my kids to the brink, “Now, Mom? Can we wash our hair NOW? I’M GETTING ITCHY. HOW MUCH LONGER? AHHH! I CAN’T STAND IT!”

Not yet. Soon.


Shhh! I can’t hear. As soon as Interior Therapy with Jeff Lewis is over, it will be an hour. Do you need to give up and shampoo?

“No, I’m going to try. I’m just REALLY uncomfortable. MY HAIR IS GREASY. And I smell WEIRD.”

It was just the beginning.

After a shopping break for supplies, we returned to our day of beauty. There were exfoliation masks with frozen cucumber slices that continually dripped down the sides of our faces as the kids squirmed from their cold eyeballs a comfortable distance away from me. And yes, I realize kids don’t need exfoliation, but I do. I have learned that being a parent sometimes means making kids do beauty treatments they don’t need. What doesn’t hurt them helps mama.



Things got silly during our pedi-presoak, and I wondered how much more time I had left on the beauty treatment clock.



Not to worry. We were able to fit in all of it, even our foot masks.

Violet, my seven year old, dreams of being “the first American nail girl” after exclusively visiting salons where the predominant language is Vietnamese. That talk is on my list, involving a myriad of themes, such as speaking another language does not make one not American and there are certainly many American women who work in cosmetology. And, perhaps she will discover other fields she has passions for in college. On the other hand, she does a decent job, even at this age . . . a girl can dream, can’t she?

I went with blue, Daisy chose red-orange, and Violet opted for rainbow toes. Violet wasn’t very pleased with my rainbow handiwork when I subbed in as the nail girl, but I promised to help her fix it tomorrow.



The beauty treatments took hours and there are a few messes throughout the house still waiting, but toward the end of the night, Daisy turned to me to declare, “I am so relaxed! I haven’t been anxious ALL WEEK.”
That’s not entirely true, but I didn’t realize until that moment just how relaxed we had all become by day’s end. Home beauty treatments: not just for budgets.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013


I haven’t had much time for my own writing lately. It’s all work and kids and a couple hours here and there of trying to get everything situated in the condo once and for all. Not done yet. And, by the way, this whole being on a budget thing is really inconvenient. I cook regularly now. Oh, and there’s cleanup. So much cleanup. I make my lunch for work and stuff instant coffee packets and tea in my bag. And the bills keep coming like crazy, but it’s a turning point for me. A turning point with lots of prep work.

I had considered taking my kids somewhere for a little vacay, but my finances would have nothing to do with it. I realized all I wanted was quality kid time and where better to do that than in the place we never have enough time to enjoy – home. We are always so busy. Too busy to play the board games we’ve been pulling out of boxes, stacked in our garage since last winter. Too busy to use the pool and hot tub on a daily basis in our complex. Too busy to play HORSE at the basketball half-courts in the park across the street.

It’s only been two lovely long days of our slowcay, but here’s the strategy: sleep in and decide how to spend our day – no real plans, no pesky schedule.

Let me tell you about Sunday, Day 1.

We started with a 10-minute drive to a very late breakfast in the mountains.

We made a point to stop by Mountain Spirit, a store we’ve been eyeing for a bit, where the girls used their allowance money to buy crystals, beads, and a shark tooth. There I learned about a stone statue I bought for our balcony a few months back, which is where the kids and I have started an occasional meditation practice that I hope to make more regular (baby steps). I had been drawn to the goddess statue mainly because she wasn’t another male Buddha, but I didn’t know who she was until Sunday. Now, I know she is Green Tara, described like this:

Green Tara is iconographically depicted in a posture of ease and readiness for action. While her left leg is folded in the contemplative position, her right leg is outstretched, ready to spring into action. Green Tara's left hand is in the refuge-granting mudra (gesture); her right hand makes the boon-granting gesture. In her hands she also holds closed blue lotuses (utpalas), which symbolize purity and power. She is adorned with the rich jewels of a bodhisattva.

In Buddhist religious practice, Green Tara's primary role is savioress. She is believed to help her followers overcome dangers, fears and anxieties, and she is especially worshipped for her ability to overcome the most difficult of situations. Green Tara is intensely compassionate and acts quickly to help those who call upon her.

How inspiring is that? The statue had been a splurge that I officially no longer feel guilty about.

And, I found the prices at Mountain Spirit to be reasonable and the shopowner to be patient as the kids pawed through her merchandise. We are definitely returning to that store.

On the way to breakfast, we stumbled upon a hippie warehouse sale. Daisy ended up with two sets of sparkly bangle bracelets and a swirly green sundress I wish they had in my size – for a grand total of $12.

We also checked out Abbot’s Thrift, staring at the priest in his heavy black robes and long beard shopping next to us – was it the dude from the sign? Actually, it was one of many dudes affiliated with the Saint Lawrence Orthodox Church, the beautiful wood building next door.

Later, I was amused to read Father Thaddaeus’ Yelp response to an unhappy review of Abbot’s Thrift:

Greetings! I am Fr. Thaddaeus, intergalactic conspirator and dark lord of the "local and extreme religious cult" next door to the Abbot's Thrift. Oh! Wait a minute! I was momentarily confused by the suspicion-drive bigotry of the other review. I'm actually just the parish priest of St. Lawrence Orthodox Christian Church ( next door to the Abbot's Thrift. Our parish owns and rents the building the Abbot's is in, but as public record shows (tax records of all non-profits are publicly available) the only income our parish gains is from renting the commercial space.

The same records show that the Abbot's contributes to education and many charitable causes like St. Lawrence Academy (K-8), Valley Churches United Missions, and the Salvation Army, and has won public recognition for its charitable contributions to low income / destitute individuals and families (clothing, beds, furniture, appliances, etc.). So shopping at the Abbot's is not only a great experience for every customer (5000 square feet of deals) but also greatly supports local charitable causes and people / families in need. Fight ignorance and poverty while having a great time, shop at the Abbot's!

Then, it was home for our first ever completed game of family Monopoly. Or, in this case, San Francisco-opoly.

Of course, it doesn’t matter who won, only that we enjoyed several grueling hours of family bonding time. Who’s keeping score?

Yes! In your face!

We ended the evening with organic hot dogs on gluten-free buns, sliced organic oranges, and organic potato salad, all prepared fresh by mama who’s in first place for the Family Olympics (we’re bringing it back) and a quick swim/hot tub.

We haven’t even gotten to Monday, Day 2 yet.

The highlights of Day 2 included Scout-dog’s first beach experience during Daisy’s counseling appointment. He was pumped.


Later, there was evidence of Daisy’s rapidly improving playground skills, involving monkey bars and swings. Little sister Violet has been a playground monkey for some time now, and Daisy has recently decided she’s going to learn this playground stuff come hell or high water. She’s getting stronger by the day, and I couldn’t be prouder.

The day ended with swimming and hot tub, where I had a chance to get acquainted with a couple neighbors.

A slowcation is about removing a busy schedule to see what happens. I have purposefully not scheduled a single playdate this week and the only appointment I have allowed is with Daisy’s counselor. We have three more days.