Monday, August 30, 2010

Blood is thicker than juicebox


I don't know how it is with your kids or your people or you, but my kids know INTRINSICALLY that their cousins somehow rank higher than the other kids they know in the world. They just get that these kids are more important to them. And maybe it's because we happen to like our siblings and the kids pick up on the good vibrations. Even when my son could not imagine going over to anyone's house to play, he was always happy to be with his cousins. Well except for this one time, which we won't count. And this goes for his cousins who don't live near us too. He only sees them twice a year at the most, and still it's a love fest. It's true for my own cousins too. We hardly see each other at all anymore, but when we do, all the same funny stories and nicknames and dinner table games come out. I can't tell you how many times we sat around playing "this is a spoon. a what? a spoon. a what? a spoon. Oh, a fork." when I was growing up. Can't you just hear my mom and her sister cackling?

This weekend we went to another epic Jackie Green concert, spent the night with magical Aunt Jenny and then spent the rest of the next day with my brother and his family. At one point all four cousins were dressed up as princesses including the family dog. And personality-wise they're all as different as can be. So I'm not sure that it's the genetic cocktail that's making them feel the love or if familial gravitation is learned. Who knows what's at work when it comes to cousins. But it's working.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Crossing the bridge

Golden Gate

Yesterday you rode your two-wheeler
across the Golden Gate Bridge and back.
Today you started kindergarten.
I'll tell you one thing's for sure.
She's not the only one who admires your courage.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

My clear conscience is your loss

Rocket Circle Name Print

I totally blew it guys because I am paranoid and lazy and here's how it all went down.

Someone from a company that aggregates discounted designer stuff for kids emailed that she wanted to do a giveaway on my site. Ordinarily I would say no because these solicitations all seem like scams (one guy actually reached out to me a few times, from different companies, but with the same name and form email. Who do you really work for Sam Goroff? CIA? Mossad?). But I went to her site and saw a few things that I like and I said I might be amenable to the idea.

She was offering to give away a little Crocodile Creek backpack with the solar system on it and since I had just been searching for backpacks for my son who is starting kindergarten on Monday, I thought, well, I'm someone who has an opinion about backpacks, plus I just finished this little print with space icons on it (above), so I could probably tie all of these otherwise unrelated things together for a co-promotional blog post and one of you lucky readers would get a free backpack! Win win! And then she offered to send me one too! Even better!

But then I forgot to email her back. And then a lot of time passed. But I finally did email and she agreed to do the promotion but I would have to endorse two of the designer brands they were featuring. And of the twenty or so brands, the only one I would even consider buying is Tea Collection and only at a serious discount. Because I just can't get behind spending $40 on a mass-produced blouse for a three-year-old? And the other brands were altogether ridiculous. Baby Lacoste? Baby Burburry? For now I'm sticking with Baby Target.And Baby Hand-me-down.

So, in good conscience, I declined her offer. Sorry Tracey Lin*. You seemed really nice. My readers and I would have been psyched to have matching free backpacks. I guess it wasn't in the stars. I'll do better next time and get us some really kickass lunch boxes or something.

* this is a pseudonym in case Tracey also works for the CIA.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

From your Boccalone to God's ears


Hi. I've been thinking a lot lately about my life and my livelihood and I've decided to let you in on a little secret. I want to get paid for writing. Because shouldn't we all get paid for what we do best? For instance, I have a brother who is really amazing at spinning stuff on his index finger. I feel like someone should pay him to do that. And while I know that what I offer is not nearly as physically nourishing as Tasty Salted Pig Parts (see above), I think my blog does offer a kind of nourishment for the soul. Yes? Maybe?

(As an aside, we passed by this little shop, Boccalone, in the Ferry Building in San Francisco a few weeks ago. We didn't partake because we don't eat pork, but I like that when you go there, you know exactly what you're getting. And, incidentally, boccalone means big mouth, I think, in Italian American slang. You'll be needing your boccalone later on in the post).

I put this little message out into the universe a few years ago (about getting paid to write) and ended up with a copy writing job at Shutterfly which I didn't know at the time would be a first step toward starting my business and fulfilling my dream of being a working artist. So that's all good. Thanks universe.

But I'm understanding now that I needed to be more specific about the kind of writing for which I would like to be paid. I want to be paid money for writing this blog. Not that I want YOU to pay me money because lord knows none of us has any money. Seriously. But there are companies out there with a lot of money or even a little money and they should pay me because even though I don't get much traffic over here, my posts have above average grammar. This is something that many other blogs do not offer. Trust me.

Or maybe I could submit some of my funnier posts with a pitch for a BOOK to a publisher. How novel! A blogger that wants to write a book! That's just what the world needs! And how does one submit to publishers anyway? Just look up the address and send along a package? Would I need an agent? Maybe I should start with a magazine column? Self-publishing? A blog? YES! Maybe I'll write a blog! Wait.

I wish I could muster up some spirit, drive and enthusiasm on the subject but it all seems kind of big, daunting and impossible. I think that waiting for someone to find me would be more my style. I hang around and write little vignettes and you, marketer/publisher/editor, happen upon my work and we agree on a book concept and you write me a big check.

So while I'm waiting for that, here's what you can do, loyal reader:
  1. Subscribe to the blog, friends! It can only bring you joy and happiness. Just click the subscribe button and every post will come straight to your google reader or whatever your home page is. Then you don't have to rely on Facebook or check every five minutes to see if I've written anything new. You and your employer will thank me.
  2. Run up and down your street screaming my url. INNERTODDLER.COM If you do this without a shirt on it will really grab people's attention. You might also get arrested so be sure to tell everyone at the police department about the blog too. And if you're at the Mountain View Police Department, say hi to my friend Jill who works there.
  3. Call up the famous people in your life and let them know about me. A celebrity endorsement can go a long way. No doubt Tori Spelling or Nicole Ritchie could use some assurance that toddler erection (in a boy) is totally freaky normal. And all of those Hollywood Kabbalah junkies should certainly own at least one of my hamsas.
  4. Tell all of your publisher friends to come have a read. And mention that this blog ranks very high if not number one on several key search terms including, but not limited to, "toddler erection", "toddler mariachi costume" and "kiss my fannie mae".
  5. Send any of YOUR suggestions my way. I'll dedicate my book to you.
OK readers! Go forth! Spread the good word. Operators are standing by.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

A mishmash of Mishmish

Just in time for Jewish High Holidays, 5x7 Mishmish Studio greeting cards. Rosh Hashanah starts September 8 (coinciding with another auspicious occasion - my birth). So if you're a Jew, send your Bubby a card for God's sake! And if you're not a Jew, impress your Jewish friends by showing them a little pre-hannukah love.

pssst. you can also cut them up into 5x7 prints and frame them and give them as gifts and no one will know it only cost you $4 each. Such a deal! I won't tell.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Language Immersion

Spanish Immersion

¡Lo hicimos! Hooray! We finally did it. I signed my daughter up for Spanish immersion classes. I can't believe it's taken me this long. But now that she's three and a half I think that adding a third language to her repertoire will really be a boon for her college applications. And the amazing part is that it's ONLINE. I only pay $9.95 per month and we have 24 hour access to our incredible profesora. So we don't even have to leave the house. Or even get dressed in the morning!

The instructor's name is Dora and she is super energetic and really connects with the kids.  I can already see a vast improvement in my daughter's Spanish language skills. They use a lot of repetition exercises in class and Dora is always engaging them in fun interactive adventures. The assistant teacher isn't always on task and is sometimes even a little distracting, probably because he's a purple monkey, but otherwise I couldn't be happier.

We're thinking of contacting Dora to hire her as our online Au Pair. As long as the kids stay in front of the computer we feel like they'll be in really capable manos.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Good times in the OC

Petting Zoo

The rest of our trip to Southern California was a lot of fun. We took the kids to a little petting zoo at a park that's been open for more than a hundred years but this was the first I'd heard of it even though I spent the first seventeen years of my life living three miles from it. Hmmm...We also went to the beach once in Laguna and once in San Clemente. I even got a day to myself in LA to see friends I hadn't seen in years while my mom babysat. And there was the usual LA star siting, though we couldn't think of who she was at the time. But it was this girl. I'm sure she was thinking the same thing. Where do I know that girl from? It must be from the J Weekly Reader's Choice Awards...

We also overlapped a day with my cousin and her family visiting from Minnesota. Her boys are a few years older than my kids. Apparently after our day at the beach together her boys were giggling about something and mentioned my son. She asked what they were laughing about and they told her that when they were playing video games together earlier in the day at the friends' house where we all met up, my son lost his turn and said the "s" word. They asked where he learned that word and he said, my mom. Terrific. It's possible I said the "s" word a few times on the ride down.

Our drive home was uneventful and at no point did the dashboard mention STOP ENGINE. Camp is in full swing and I finally have a moment to catch my breath.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Dawn til Dust

Sawdust Festival 8

One of my favorite places to visit in southern California is Laguna Beach, especially in the summertime when a funky little alcove at the base of the Laguna Hills about a mile from the ocean becomes a quirky art fair called the Sawdust Festival. And as the name would suggest, the floor is covered in sawdust creating a very rustic atmosphere. I have been going to this place every summer since I was a kid and I think what makes it so unique is that it's all summer long and that the artists really spare no expense to create what amounts to a pop up gallery in a place that is otherwise pretty empty. (You can see a little fast speed video of building the festival on the front page of the website). I'm doing my first big show in October so I'm trying to get ideas for my booth and of course most of these booths are totally irrelevant because they're actual structures, but it was still inspiring. I snapped some pictures while my mom watched the kids make stuff with clay in the workshop area.

Sawdust Festival 1

Sawdust Festival 2

Sawdust Festival 3

Sawdust Festival 4

Sawdust Festival 5

Sawdust Festival 7

Sawdust Festival 6

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


circa 1998
Dear Mr. Rosen,

Remember that time when when we were getting ready for bed and while you were brushing your teeth I said, oh - you still use that brush? And you spit out your toothpaste all over the mirror and we laughed so hard that at first there was no sound at all because we weren't breathing and then we were so loud we almost woke the kids? And then we kept laughing until we fell asleep? And even the next day? That's one of many reasons why I love you.

Happy anniversary.


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The long and winding road

Interstate 5
photo courtesy of AARoads

Indeed we had a lovely week at my mom's in southern California, thanks for asking. It's a seven hour drive including two half hour stops for stretching and gassing and eating. That's, of course, when the stars are aligned.  When they're not aligned, it takes a lot longer. On this particular trip we were making very good time and the kids were both enjoying a mid afternoon slumber as I arrived at the Grapevine, specifically the exit right before you ascend 4,000 feet over the Tehachapi mountains and land in Los Angeles, but also referring to the winding stretch along the freeway itself. On a good day it's still a little harrowing and involves a lot of jockeying between big rigs. In the winter it's icy. This time of year it's windy and hot. So when your dashboard suddenly lights up with this cryptic message: STOP ENGINE - you know you're in for a super stress-free couple of hours. Ohmmmm...

This was not the first time I had seen the light. This particular light anyway. On our way home from camping the day before this trip, the oil pressure indicator lit up followed by anxiety producing beeping and the STOP ENGINE message. We stopped and checked the oil which was oily but we were two hours from home and it was dark so we kept driving. There was no logic in that decision; it's just what we did. The light didn't come back. Terrific! It's just a dashboard fuse thing! I brought it to our mechanic, a 97 year old German man who only works on German cars, and he confirmed that he saw nothing wrong with the car. It now appears that this is because, at his age, he can no longer see.

So four hours into our trip south and with three hours to go, possibly more as it is now approaching rush hour in LA, the light reappears and all I can think is we are so screwed.

Which incidentally reminded me of when I was birthing my daughter and at one point while her head was stuck right there in my vagina I thought well, this is a fine mess. She's not going back in and yet if she comes out anymore my pelvis will shatter. But I digress...

So we pressed on watching the light flash and beep, praying that I wasn't completely destroying the engine and, more importantly, that we weren't going to explode on top of a mountain in the Angeles National Forest. But, as was the case with my daughter, we white-knuckled through it and arrived home safely albeit completely traumatized. Fortunately the rest of the week went a lot more smoothly than the first day. Except the part where the VW dealership told me my Passat needed bypass surgery and, feeling my own oil pressure begin to rise,  I asked if they could schedule my bypass for the same time.


Monday, August 9, 2010

Friends Forever

Bear Valley
first day of trip

Best friends
last day of trip

We've been gone. Again! But we're back. Much to write about and reflect upon. Much laundry. Much to celebrate now that my kids are in camp for the next two weeks. I'm pretty much done with summer folks. Need me some Autumn.

Last weekend we went camping with a family that once lived close enough that we could get together on weekends for trips and hikes and adventures but then they abandoned us for the east coast so now we hate them. But they came for a visit and we had a great time camping in Bear Valley which is out in the Sierras. Our kids are about the same age. In fact our son and their oldest daughter are only five days apart and even though we never lived close enough to their family for the kids to be best friends in the whole wide world, they are fairly close and they recognize they have a special childhood bond. So they had fun reuniting. And we had fun watching them and planning their wedding.

And incidentally the day before we saw them I did a little video and photo shoot for Shutterfly talking about a photo book I had made for this same family as a going away present almost two years ago. I went to a fancy hotel and a real make up artist did what she could to make me look awake and for two hours I told them all about the book and our friendship and the kids and our upcoming reunion (and a bunch of other books I have made). And they paid me! Suckers. They thought that since they know me from work (I used to work there) that I'd be as charming and intelligible on camera as I am in real life. Little did they know that I am even less photogenic than 95% of the rest of the world by my last count and that in front of a camera I mumble and twitch and sometimes pick my nose unconsciously.