Finding the funny in parenthood before somebody loses an eye...

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Paper? Plastic? Or perhaps you'd prefer to kill a Polar Bear with your bare hands?

So the continued shock to my system of being back in Los Angeles after weeks in the mountains continues - and the disparities between life here and there - hit me at every turn.  The most glaring of which happened yesterday at the market.

In LA, when you buy groceries, they ask you, "Paper or Plastic?"  We (meaning me and lots of other people I know) usually say "Both, please."

The concept behind this is that you have a more secure and stronger way to carry your heavy groceries and then once you get home you can use the paperbag for trash without worrying about leaking because it's covered with plastic.  Convenient right?  OH, and when you bring food to a friend's house for potluck?  You have a great, safe, clean way to carry your offerings.  Yes indeed, paper AND plastic together are a reliable, convenient and multifunctional option.

However, this combination is environmentally frowned upon.  Or so I discovered.

When I tried to use my "Paper and Plastic" combination this summer in Woodstock I was almost burned at the stake.  Good thing we weren't in Salem.

The first time I went food shopping at a supermarket there the pimply faced teen behind the register asked me "Paper or Plastic?"

And I reflexively said, "Both."

"Excuse me?" 

"Both paper and plastic."

"Together?" The confused look on the check out girl's face told me she had never heard of this before.  Her tone implied she couldn't have possibly heard me right.  My instincts signaled "Alert! ALERT!" and told me to abort my paper and plastic plan. 

"Oh NO...not TOGETHER.  I mean, if you could put the plastic around the cold stuff, that would be great.  Just so it doesn't make the bags wet.  Then the rest in paper.  So I can RECYLCE it.  Of course, not "together."  Save the planet!"

I had obviously read her right because the next words out of her mouth were confirmed enthusiastically by the equally pimply faced boy bagging my stuff.  "You know, I've heard of people actually doing both!  They take a paper bag and THEN they use a plastic OVER IT!  Isn't that STUPID?!"



I stood there.  Silent.  Guilty.

It was obvious they felt that any person irresponsibly and needlessly using that many resources at once might as well have been wrapping their hands around a baby polar bear's neck.  Or biting the head off a live Pacific Sea Bass. 

"Yeah! Wow!"  I tried to sound shocked too.  I think my guilt worked in my favor.  They bought the act.  I watched him put two cartons of milk into a thin, flimsy plastic bag I knew would rip before I even got it to the car.  The eggs and cereal went into paper bags with no handles.  The ones they used in old movies?  The ones you can only carry two, MAYBE three at a time?   Most inconvenient. 

I took my flimsily packed groceries and wheeled them to my non-hybrid car.  Bags ripped.  Paper tore.  I had to make a ton of trips back and forth from the car to the house in the rain - which did nothing to improve the strength of my poorly bagged groceries.  A bag tore open and a couple cans of Spaghettios fell out of a bag, rolled under my car and kept going till it fell in the stream next to the house.  "Oh yeah...Save the $%&&^$%# planet!"  That's what I was thinking.

So you can imagine, that when I hit that market here in LA for the first time since I got back, it was not entirely without relief (and a sense of guilt) that I had them use paper, foil, plastic, frozen storage bags, and WHATEVER else it took to keep my groceries insulated, manageable and safe.

So here's what I'm thinking.  YES, being eco-conscious is extremely important.  We only have one world.  I TOTALLY get it!  I ABSOLUTELY want to save it!  And I'll be happy to get reusable canisters and lunch box containers for the coming school year;  I'll clean my pasta sauce jars and milk containers thoroughly before I throw them away; I will make sure to not mix my recyclables with my garbage.

I'll do ALL of this, if I can just say "Both, please."

Yeah, yeah, I can hear those polar bears groaning.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


"In Point 5 miles...turn left..."

"In 200 feet...turn left..."



We've been back from our summer in Woodstock for almost a week now and the above monologue - which I heard from my navigation system all summer long - feels representative of how I feel being back in Los Angeles.

My Garmin was my co-pilot for the summer as I navigated the unfamiliar winding roads of the Catskills daily.  I would tell it where I wanted to go and it would agree to take me there via roads it had predesignated as best for me.  The agreement between us being that it knew the way and would get me there.  All I had to do is obey.

I would drive down to the end of my street – ready to head out somewhere new – and it would tell me to "turn left."

But I would go straight.   Just to see I could find a better way there.  Maybe stumble upon some cute town.


My faithful Garmin would accommodate me and come up with a new plan for getting me to my desired destination.   To get me back on track, it would tell me now to "Turn right."

And I would ignore it. Again.


I wasn’t trying to be difficult, I just wanted to see what else was out there – see what things I could find.   I knew if I got REALLY lost I could rely on it to lead me down tiny streets, curvy roads and unknown highways to get me back where I was supposed to be.

But it was obviously getting pissed.

I'd imagine the unit speaking to me with increasing urgency and adding the word "bitch" to every command.

"In Point 5 miles, turn left...bitch."

I’d ignore her.

"In 2 miles, turn right...bitch."

I’d ignore her again.

"Go straight for 16 miles...bitch."

Okay. Okay.  No need to be nasty…

And that's kind of what it's like being back in LA.  I have lots of plans and ideas about the things I should be doing, the places I should be going and the scenic view I want to enjoy on my way there.  But life in LA is on a completely different route.  Different from the one ingrained in my brain this summer.  And I am "recalculating."

Reestablishing the paths of my LA life is harder than I thought it would be.   The routes I reflexively followed pre-Woodstock have gotten dusty and indiscernible with my absence.  I want to “Turn left” and go on a hike up a mountain.   But I am forced to “go straight” and take my daughter to gymnastics.   I would like to “Turn Right” and take my kids frog catching in my friend Mari’s stream.  But I have to "Turn left" and go buy my kids’ school supplies at Staples.   I would LOVE to “Go straight” and find some pretty roads with tiny bakeries and fresh bread.  But I have "stay right" to go to the supermarket and buy Lunchables.

I’m in the passenger seat now.

And my Garmin is having the last laugh.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Los Angeles Magazine - Autism Issue - "Normal? Not My Izzy..."

Today, the September Issue of Los Angeles Magazine came out - it's their "Great New Shops / Autism" issue.   I WROTE a humor article about autism for them called "Normal?  Not My Izzy..." (see page 149)

This is my first article in a glossy newstand magazine and I was SO excited I cried when I saw the magazine on the rack today (the guy kinda went into "freak alert" mode but then I bought about 10 copies of the he didn't care). 

Please pick up a copy if you're in the vicinity or check it out on-line (the editor-in-chief even quotes me in her "Editor's Note".  (Then, if you're compelled, you can write a letter to the magazine telling them it's the BEST article you've ever read).


Saturday, August 21, 2010

Momma Want a Brand New Bag? Go to asked me to do a video exposing the contents of my Balenciaga to help kick off their "Momma's Got a Brand New Bag Contest."  (I surprised even myself)

Click Here to enter to win a BRAND NEW BAG (AND see what was in mine).

Thursday, August 19, 2010

"You (I mean "me") Reinvented" on "Shine! from Yahoo!

I just got this link to an interview I did with Shine! from Yahoo! while I was at BlogHer in NY.  It was for their "You Reinvented" section.

Do you have a story? I'd LOVE to hear it!

(Is it my imagination or am I TWICE the size of this lady?  Seriously!  I could eat her.  And she has TWO sets of twins!)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


PopBar - NYC

You Can Lead a Horse to Water...


So now that I'm back in LA, here are just a few of the things with which I am faced:

- Several enormous pieces of luggage buldging with dirty clothes that have been "marinating" for God knows how long - and a broken washing machine...
- Even more large boxes (in various damaged states) that were shipped home with crap I not only don't remember packing, but don't remember acquiring...
- A house that my housekeeper apparently totally abandoned
- 3 Guinea Pigs who desperately need a bath
- An empty refrigerator (which if you know me, you know is against all I believe in)
- AND a lice check necessitated by a call from the mother of a camper who bunked with my daughter (we JUST did this by the way - ALL clear!  PHEW!)

On top of that, I have 4 days to deliver final edits on my book AND a magazine article, and have a case of jet lag that is really cutting into my ability to get "reaquainted" with my boyfriend whom I haven't seen in 2 months.

I'm working on something for Mommy Lite too, but till I can make it worthy of your time, I am re-posting an article I loved from last summer that is representative of what's going on here right now - one year later.

This is going to be a tough week here so I would LOVE to hear the best summer stories you have!  I'll post the funniest and link back to you and your site!


* * * * * * * *

You Can Lead the Boy To the Playroom...

My daughter wanted to play with her brother today.  Not because she likes him...she doesn't. (okay, maybe she does, but she just doesn't know it yet).

The reason she so eagerly pursued her twin was because I had decided to put an end to all electronic activities in the afternoons after school.  No TV, no Wii and no Club Penguin.  I thought, they should "interact", "build a bond","play."  Boy, were they mad. 

"But MOOooooooommm...there's nothing to do!" and they gave me their most pathetic gazes as I stood at the kitchen counter breading chicken cutlets for dinner.

"Go play." 

They stared at me.

"...With each other!"  I added and motioned between the two of them with an eggy crumby finger in case they needed a visual to understand, which clearly they did.

"Alright.  Come on, Ben, let's go play house."

"I don't want to play house."

"I played Super Smash Mario Cart Brothers the last time you asked!"

"Fiiiiiiiiiine-a." he said with an extra "a" sound to emphasize his annoyance.

Livi smiled. "Okay.  I'm the mommy. What are you?"


Well, you can't say I didn't lead the horse to water.

Friday, August 13, 2010

My Love for my Blackberry - Caught on Video

I was sitting around Googleing myself (I know, I know...if you Google yourself too much, you go blind...) and I  found this interview I did for Mobile Test Kitchen while I was at BlogHer '10.

The interviewer was looking to get reviews of cell phones (personally, I just thought she was some bored lady - I didn't know she'd be posting it!).  But, she asked me my opinion of my Blackberry Storm 2...and I have a big mouth...and I had a lot of time to kill on line (two things that don't bode well for anyone asking me about anything...) so I told her just what I thought.  Exactly.  In many, many words.

I don't think they expected such an enthusiastic endorsement and my phone AND Verizon!

(I did NOT get paid for this or get ANY free stuff - this is just me and my love of my far)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Act of God or Just a Bad Samaritan? I took the kids to the beach.

I got the twins dressed, slathered in sunscreen (a big feat for me - I HATE the slathering process...), and headed for Cupsogue beach (or as I now call it "Coxsackie" beach).

I've been going to this beach for almost 20 years.  It's always been worth the drive because it was big, wide, clean and almost deserted.  Just the way I like my beaches.

Until a few years ago.  Now it's packed snack bar to water's edge with people...angry people.  Bitter people who think "public" means "mine."  Or worse, they think it means you don't have to give a crap.  Leave wrappers, smoke, play lacrosse over the heads of 50 other people.  People like that.

Now,  I'm a nice person.  A considerate person even.  (Stop laughing, Scott.  You too Laura...I can hear you...). When I go to the beach I make sure to find a little spot that isn't in anyone else's "personal bubble,"  doesn't "trump" someone's view, and isn't too close to anyone who might have a problem with small kids.  I don't even shake my towels out unless I'm far away from other people.  I am truly the picture perfect towel neighbor.

So today, after I parked our tiny troupe on a small patch near the lifeguard station (Single mom trick...I figure it's almost as good as having another grown-up with me) I laid down a couple of towels, smiled at everyone around me and set up our umbrella.

I really put my back into it too.  I dug a deep, deep, deep, deep hole.  I had both arms going.  Sand under my nail beds, sand on my elbows and my knees, sand flying through the opening between my pale thighs.  I was fastidious.

I put my umbrella in the hole, filled up the extra space with sand and stomped all around it.  You would have thought I was doing a rain dance with all my stomping.  The kids got in on it and we all stomped around and packed the sand.  Then I tested the umbrella.  Solid.  All good.

So I took Ben and Livi to the water - finding room amongst the throngs - and we jumped around in the waves.

Then I turned around.

My umbrella was flying across the beach.  I went flying after it.

I recovered my umbrella and was bringing it back to my little patch when an incredibly over-tanned, wrinkled, nasty looking shrew said to me "Sombowdy was awlmost stAY-Yabbed by yewur umbrellla!" (for those not familiar with the NY dialect that's "somebody was almost stabbed by your umbrella you negligent tart).

What a wench!  She scowled at me with her raisin face, shook her finger, and tried to make it like I had personally targeted her by my negligence.

Well you know what?  I didn't feel badly.  First of all, NO one was hurt!  Secondly, even if someone had been hit, my umbrella was as blunt as she was.  And third?  I had done everything in my power to secure that umbrella! 

So here's what I'm thinking.  This was an Act of God.  You read about these things.  Someone gets hit by a falling branch, someone falls in a sinkhole, someone gets struck by lightening.   Well if God wanted to use my beach umbrella to take someone out, I certainly have no control.  It was out of my hands.

And if she doesn't think so, she can just "suck it." 

Okay...maybe I'm not the nicest person after all.

Monday, August 9, 2010

The Funky Chicken

My kids are back with me after their week with their daddy in Hopewell Junction, NY.  They were dirty, matted, exhausted,  and a little stinky.  But their limbs were in tact and they were happy.  That's really all a single mom can ask for.

So after BlogHer 2010 I closed up the house in Woodstock and headed out to my mom's house in the Hamptons for a few days to "catch up" with my babies.  It was so nice to tuck them into bed and kiss them.

Ben said "Say Hi to Chicken!” And he shoved a chicken in my face and made it dance around.

My son has lots of stuffed animals.  Not the kind most little boys in movies have.  He’s not interested in those.  He doesn’t care for bears, or floppy dogs.  His favorite stuffed animals are a stuffed leopard shark (it’s really cool) and this fluffy chicken.  It’s a big chicken too.  Not like a tiny Beanie Babies chicken.  This thing is like a solid 18” from comb to chicken foot.  And he loves it.

I say “Hi Chicken.” I hugged the dancing chicken.

“I threw up on him a little.  But he’s okay now.”

I froze - chicken clutched to breast.   “Um. When did you throw up on him?”  I’m wondering if he’s remembering something from YEARS past.   Sometimes these kids like to bring up old history – you know, just to remind you of it.  And I'm hoping this is one of those times.

“Last week. When I was with daddy.”

No need to discuss the fact that Daddy didn’t tell me Ben threw up.   Ben throws up a lot.  This is not particularly newsworthy.  However, a barfy chicken is newsworthy – if only so it can be properly sanitized.

"How did you and daddy clean it?"

"With a wet paper towel."  I imagined Ben and his Dad taking a wet Bounty (or God Forbid, a lesser brand – love my Bounty!), running it under water and taking a topical swipe at the barf embedded in the stuffed bird’s long fuzz.

“That sounds “efficient.”  I said.  I was now holding the chicken by the beak with two fingers.

“You’re being dramatic aren’t you.”  Wow.  He knows me.

“You mean sarcastic.”

“Yeah. That.”   He smiled at me and smoothed the chicken's fur...uh feathers...wait...pukey feathers/fur.

“You’re right. I am being sarcastic….You might want to wash that.” I pointed to his hand.

“He’s fine. We wiped off all the big chunks.”

AND with that, Mr. Chicken went into the washing machine and I took a shower.

Next time I'm setting the bar higher for "Daddy Time".  "Happy kids with all their limbs" will just not be enough.

10 Things You'll NEVER Hear Your Teen Say

This article was sent to me by Vanessa Van Petten at Radical Parenting.

It made me laugh.   My oldest is only 10, but it really gives you something to look forward to.  (Or, makes you grateful you're not there yet).

10 Things You Will Never Hear Your Teen Say

We can all be hopeful, but here are a few things your teen will most likely never say to their parent:

Could you please drop me off at the dance and walk me in?
Mom, dad this is my new boyfriend he works at Planned Parenthood.
Dad, I don’t really want a mac, can I get a PC?
I feel that going to summer school could help improve my performance and educational development.
Boy: High school sucks, I never should have hooked up with so many girls. Boy 2: Ya, just think of all of the respect you would have from our football coach if you had turned down the hook ups, you would be so much cooler.
Mom will you please tell me all about how you are doing with your menopausal symptoms?
I think the reason why everyone respects me so much is because I am so in touch with my feminine side.
I joined the Math club to get with girls not for like the mathathons. Duh.
Can we just have some cuddle time later?
I think my Dad always hoped I would ask him to walk me into a dance, but that was never in the cards!

By Vanessa Van Petten, youthologist and teen author of the parenting book “You’re Grounded!,” manages, a parenting blog written by 119 teen writers, ages 12-20 to help parents and adults get an honest and open view into the world and mind of youth. Van Petten's work and blog have been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Teen Vogue, CNN, Fox News, Real Housewives of Orange County and much more! She won the Moms Choice Award in 2009 and her work is read by over 300,000 adults.

Friday, August 6, 2010

BlogHer 2010

I'm in NYC for BlogHer 2010 - the big blogging conference.

Great panels.  Great people.  Bad muffins.

I've been looking forward to this for months.  I woke up early, blew my hair out and got dressed in "nice" clothes, only to spill coffee on my white pants 20 minutes later (by the way, Tide To Go stick?  It's FABULOUS!!!!!!  Holy Moly!  Thanks Alison!) 

Just fyi, I'll be tweeting all weekend about such fascinating items  as "How old does Bruce Jenner really look in person,"  "When 2500 women get together, do they all get their period at once?" and "How many people ask me if I'm pregnant when I'm not (so far, just 1)."

My twitter handle?

While you're there, Tweet me back and tell me the most HORRIFYING question anyone has ever asked you?  (I died when she asked me when I was due.  I went straight back to my hotel and changed my outfit!)

(Blogher 2010, most embarrassing moment, Tide, Tide To Go, mom blog, mommy blogger, mom humor, dad humor, business conference)

Monday, August 2, 2010

The Trash Man Doesn't Even Ring Once...

I take garbage men for granted.

You put your garbage out in front of your house and they come and take it away.  You never see it again.  This is a wonderful thing.  And I'll never take them for granted again.

We had trash.  Lots of it.  And not everything could be recycled, composted, or burned.  We had real, solid, smelly, dirty trash and I wanted to throw it out.

I circled the house looking for the trash can.  I didn't see one.  I looked in the garage, in the back yard, at the side of the house.  Nothing.

I went to the foot of my driveway and peeked in bushes and poked around trees.  Again.  Nothing.  No trash can.

So I e-mailed my landlord.

"Hi ____.  This is Sarah, your tenant in Woodstock.  I'm just wondering...where's the trash can? You know the big one outside.  So sorry to bug you with something so stupid.  I just can't find it.  I'm sure it's under my nose.  E-mail me back.  Thanks."

I got an e-mail later that day.

"Hi Sarah.  We don't have trash service.   You need to take the trash to the dump.  Everything you need to know is in the "Welcome Book" on the coffee table."

I e-mailed him again.

"...You don't have trash service?"

He e-mailed me back...again.

"No.  We take it with us when we go back to the city."

I typed again..."In your car?"

He sent back: "Yes.  In our car."

Me: "The trash? 

Him: "The trash."

Me: "Goes in your car?" At this point I feel fairly confident he was thinking I was indeed the idiot he originally pegged me for.

"Yes. It does.  In your car.  I hear there's a dump in Saugerties that's cheap.  Here's the information..." and he gave me the phone number and address.

I was so confused.  I tried to wrap my mind around this concept.  NO trash service.  No truck.  No friendly men picking up cans of dirty diapers and discarded chinese food and taking it away so I never have to think about it again.  I need to put my trash in MY car...and I need to PAY someone to take it????!!!!

What kind of place is this????!!!!

So I put the kids, and the trash in the car and went searching for the dump.  30 minutes later ( was that far) we arrived at the address my landlord gave me.   Town Hall in Saugerties

They did not have a dump.  In fact, they had HUGE signs on their own cans saying "DUMPING PERSONAL TRASH HERE IS ILLEGAL.  WE PROSECUTE."  I'm looking at my wet, stinky white trash bag thinking...seriously?  Can't you just take this?  Don't you understand?  I'm from LA.  I don't touch my trash."

They told me the dump was back in the OTHER direction.  The direction from which I had just come.

They couldn't be more specific though.  They said it was about a mile past the  Emergency Vet Service place on RT 212.  That's the kind of directions you get here. "It's across the street from the junk yard."  or "it's near the fruit stand," or "It's near that farm with the black cows.  No.  Not that one...the one with the two other cows that are brown.  You can't miss it.  If you hit Woodstock, you've gone too far."

So we piled back into our every increasingly stinky car and tried to find the dump near the Vet place on Route 212.

We hit Woodstock. 

So we had to turn around and try the other direction again.  We made it as far as the Vet place.  Obviously, about a mile overshot again.  So I got out at the VET and went inside to ask "Where is the dump, exactly?!".  I tried to get the attention of the nurse behind the counter while a VERY large doberman pincher smelled me enthusiastically.  I had no doubt I smelled delicious.

When she got off the phone, she told me to look for a long asphalt driveway on the left.  Near the Car repair place.  It's RIGHT before that.

So back in the car I went and we drove - to the car repair place.  Too far again.  So we turned around and went back in the other direction...again.

There HAD to be a big asphalt driveway somewhere - they said I couldn't miss it.  Obviously, they underestimated me.

This was like one of those high-intensity, serious ping-pong games where the players start far apart and get closer and closer as they ping the plastic ball faster and faster between them as the suspense builds.  But the only thing building in my car was the smell of old pork dumplings.

FINALLY I saw an asphalt drive that COULD be the dump and I turned.  It was marked "Transfer Station" further up the road.  There was NO way to see that sign from the highway.  Are these people hawks?

It didn't matter.  I'd found the dump.

I felt like a pilgrim who had finally reached Mecca!  I swear, the trash bins beyond the entry kiosk glowed.
The woman in the kiosk said I had to buy a YEAR long pass and pay a PER trash bag fee before they directed me to the holy grail of trash bins.  So I did.  What else was I going to do?

When I get home to LA, I'm buying my garbage man a present.

(parenting humor, funny mom blog, best parenting blog, blogher, chores, teaching kids manners, recyling, green mom blog)

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