13 things you should know about me

This weekend I am doing something new – I am spending a weekend with 16 women I’ve never met before. No, it’s not rehab or a yoga retreat. It’s a blogging get-together in Sacramento called the Blathering. How could I pass it up when it’s only 2 hours away? Plus there’s going to be wine tasting and pedicures. And no children. Did I mention no children? And wine? And people rubbing my feet? Sold.

Here’s 13 things you should know about me ahead of time:

1. Wine makes my nose run. And get stuffed up. So if you see me sniffling while drinking, it’s not because the vino is making me all sappy. Apparently, the tannins or sulfur can do this to you when you age. So all you spring chickens still in your 20s, now you can see what’s in your future. And it ain’t pretty.

2. I have no problem whatsoever leaving my children for 2 days, especially since they will be with their dad. What scares me, however, is my husband (who is challenged in the housekeeping department) and what kind of shape my house will be in when I get back. If you see me descend into a panic, it’s not because I miss my little ones; it’s because I’m thinking of the time he let them empty the entire contents of the pantry into the living room and left it like that for me to come home to.

3. I am petrified of the vegetable aisle at the grocery store. It overwhelms me. This is partly due to the fact that I just started cooking last year. I know, late bloomer. But I’m trying. I don’t love it yet, but at least I now have a few recipes up my sleeve. Any EASY recipe advice is appreciated. By easy I mean minimal chopping and dicing, with as few ingredients as possible. If it comes with a professional chef, all the better.

4. I had a VBAC at home with my second child and am very passionate about homebirth but would never shove it down anyone’s throat. If you want to talk more about it, I’d be happy to share.

5. I am not a very good sleeper and have a tendency to wake up at 2 am and be up for two hours. I am hoping the wine, or Ambien, will help that. Or maybe a combination of the two.

6. I am finding it incredibly difficult to come up with 13 things about myself. What kind of a blogger am I?

7. I am a true journalist at heart and love getting to know people and learning about your background and asking lots of questions. Sometimes I can tread a little too deep and put my foot in my mouth, so if I do, just tell me to back off gently. Or distract me by bringing out dessert.

8. I love my children and I love doing things with them, but I am not a Mommy’s mommy. Mother’s clubs freak me out, same with the PTO. And the first time I took my son to a Mommy & Me class, I had an identity crisis.

9. Am I at #13 yet?

10. I have to pee like every half hour. And I’m not even pregnant. It could be because I drink a ton of water. Or I have a small bladder. Or two pregnancies have messed up all my lady parts. And if you see me stand still and squeeze my legs together when I sneeze, that’s my way of preventing an embarrassing situation from occurring.

11. Watching my 3-year old daughter in her ballet class has been one of the highlights of motherhood so far. For those of you with a girl, please enroll her in ballet when she is old enough. It’s ADORABLE. For those of you who only have boys, sorry. Soccer just isn’t the same.

12. I love jewelery. And not the expensive kind. Turquoise and silver and beads and all that. My husband is thankful every day that I am not a diamond girl.

13. Ahhh, I made it to the end! I am secretly freaking out that I am going to be one of the oldest women at the Blathering, as in 40 is just around the corner for me, whereas most of you seem to be starring at 30. But I still get carded once in a while, so I got that going for me.

14. I know, I know. I was complaining that I couldn’t think of enough things to write and now I have more than 13. This was added later because my husband would tell me I did a terrible disservice to you all if I forgot to mention this one small point – I have hiccups. Not regular hiccups. One really loud, surprise hiccup that occurs at random times. My sister shares this with me, so I am guessing it’s genetic.  So don’t be surprised if you hear a very loud sound coming from me at some point during the weekend that sounds like a hiccup on steroids. It even scares me sometimes.


Channeling Meg Ryan

balloonsSo, today is my birthday. A whopping 37. More specifically, 40 minus 3 years.

With this birthday more than any other, I cannot help but think of that scene in “When Harry Met Sally” where Meg Ryan is crying on her bed and Billy Crystal is trying to comfort her. When he asks her what’s wrong, she sobs: “I’m turning 40.” And he says: “When?” Her answer: “Someday.”

Well that “someday” for me is getting closer every year. Now it’s looming around the corner. I wish it would go away. But what can I do about it?

I can pretend it’s not coming. In fact, part of me would like to ignore this whole birthday thing. I mean, birthdays just aren’t the same anymore. Nothing beats birthdays when you were a kid. You would wake up and be soooooo excited for the day. It meant presents and pool parties and attention and lots of fun things. And when you got a little older, say 16, there were surprise parties and friends taking you out to lunch and whole days spent at the beach telling everyone it was your birthday. And then you turned 21, and there were drunken nights and dancing and you were the star of the show and boys wanted to buy you drinks, and, and……..

It’s all over now. No more of that. Now, it’s almost a regular day. Even if I wanted to do something fun during the day, who is there to do it with? My husband is working and all my girlfriends are either working or watching their kids. So it’s me, myself and I.  A raging party.

Don’t go playing that pitty-fiddle for me yet. I am going out to dinner with some friends tonight. And I stuck the kids in daycare for the afternoon so I can go to a yoga class. So it’s not all bad. It just used to be so much better.

I figure I have two more hum-drum birthdays until my 40th. Then I’ll go big. I’ll go dancing and tell all the boys it’s my birthday…and have my husband buy me a drink.


caddyshackMy children have no idea what my real name is.

It’s not just that they think my official name is Mommy. It’s that they so rarely, if ever, hear their father utter my real name. That’s because, for better or worse, Siig calls me Pookie. Or Pook. Or Pooks.

And yes, at times,  it’s slightly embarrassing.

He started calling me Pookie before we were even married. It began innocently enough, more as a joke than a serious term of endearment. It can all be traced back to one night when we were watching “Caddyshack,” that classic movie that most guys seem to be able to quote at the drop of a hat. We became infatuated with the line, “OK, Pookie, do the honors,” that Judge Smails utters to his wife before christening his boat The Flying Wasp with a bottle of champagne (which ends up breaking the sailboat.)

We kept saying that line over and over again to each other. We found it hilarious. It was the answer to everything. Who was going to unload the groceries? “OK, Pookie, you do the honors.” Whose turn was it to have control of the clicker? “OK, Pookie…” I think you get it by now.

Eventually it stuck. Well, I should say I got stuck with it. I am now Pookie. A name that conjures up a tennis-skirt-wearing, baby-blue-sweater-over-the-shoulders-upper-class WASP. Which is most definitely not me.

So now, if you ask my children what their mother’s name is, they will tell you, plain and simple, it’s Pookie. Duh! I’m not sure if they’ve even heard the name “Melissa” spoken in our house. On the rare occasion that Siig uses my real name, it scares me. I think I’m in trouble. It reminds me of when I was young and my mom would yell, “Melissa! Get in here!” Just like back then, now whenever I hear my name called my heart skips a beat and I think, “Oh crap, what have I done now?” I tell Siig not to throw around “Melissa” lightly. It could give me a heart attack.

Siig has no qualms with calling me Pookie in public. We’ll be out with friends and during a casual conversation he’ll say something like, “Oh yeah, Pookie did that once.”

And the friends will be like, “Who the hell is Pookie?”

That’d be me, the one cringing in the corner. The probably least-Pookie looking girl in the room.

After seven years, I am getting used to it. Sort of. It made me feel better when Siig told me recently that one of his good friends calls his wife “Fluffy.” Maybe we should hang out – Fluffy and Pookie.

I think we’d most definitely have to take up tennis.

Welcome, welcome

So, I have finally done it – started a blog. Now I am officially a member of the 21st century and the hip, techie crowd. I thought I had arrived when I succumbed and joined Facebook last year, but obviously that just isn’t enough. I am also on Twitter, though I confess I don’t quite “get” it and find Facebook to be much more fun. But being on Twitter does allow me to use the word “tweet” once in a while, which may make it worthwhile just for that.

I decided to start blogging because, well, I am a writer after all, and it doesn’t look like magazines and newspapers are going to be around much longer (OK, I’m being a little dramatic ,but if the SF Chronicle is on shaky ground, what publication can we trust to stick around?). Blogs are the way of the future, or at least my future, or maybe it’s my present now? Anyways, I love seeing my work published in magazines and papers, but frankly, it’s a lot of work to sell yourself and the pay isn’t always all that great, and here I get to write about whatever I want! And that does not include cheap ways to remodel your kitchen or make your deck look like new (yes, I have written those stories before).

Mostly, I like to write about funny things I observe in the world, the trials and tribulations of being a mother, and life here in Tahoe, with all it’s passionate, crazy-athletic and daring folks.

Yesterday, for instance, I was at a play-date…Well, let me stop right there. I do no like that word for some reason (as you’ll learn, there are a host of words that rub me the wrong way). “Play-date.” It sounds so so….1950s house-wife. Most of the time I take my kid to a friend’s house it’s just as much for me to spend time with my girlfriends as for Kaiden to see his (sadly, my 2-year old daughter Kaya ususally gets the shaft when it comes to playdates and gets dragged around to hang out with Kaiden’s friends. I’m taking her to ballet to make up for it.). What would I call it instead? I’ll get back to you on that one. Suggestions are welcome.

Anways, there were 4 moms and 7 kids and we were about to eat pizza when someone broke out the chocolate milk boxes and all hell broke loose. Total pandimonium. Kaiden and his friend Cooper were freaking out that they just had to have a chocolate milk box or they would absolutely die, while we were insisting they consume some food first. (Kaiden can go all day without eating or peeing, which is why I have nicknamed him “The Camel.”) I had to remove Kaiden from the room and have a little chat with him outside, and he finally calmed down and reluctantly ate his pizza. As for me – by then I needed a glass of wine.