Tiny Coconut

I have things.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Meet Snug!

I promise this isn't going to become a puppy blog or anything, but really...how can anyone resist this face, even with little bits of seed and grass all over it because he was just rolling all over the yard?

I am so in love.

Saturday, May 27, 2006


I know I'm been scarce around here this week. I've been working a lot, for one thing. For another, I've been a little distracted, getting ready to bring this guy home:

He's an 8-month-old chocolate lab, a stray who we met at a local Human Society. I wasn't thinking lab. I wasn't looking for a lab. But I fell immediately head-over-heels for this guy. And so, if all goes well, we officially adopt him on Tuesday morning, and get to take him home as soon as he's been spayed.

Right now, we have two name lobbies in our house: Em and I are pitching hard for Darwin. Noah, my bil S, and, to a lesser extent, Baroy, are pushing for Snug. (Baroy used to name all his cats after Shakespearean characters, and Snug is from, um, something Shakespearean.) I can't say I hate the idea of that name, either. He's definitely a snuggly boy, that dog. So incredibly well behaved, all three times we've gone to see him over the past few days.

Any other ideas? I was toying with Wonka, too. (Chocolate lab, Willie Wonka, get it?) Also on the short list was Pericles (Perry), Barnum, and Casey. Oh, and I really, really, really wanted to name him Bartlett (as in President Bartlett), but nobody was with me on that one.

Anyway, I'm off now to do a Girl Scout sleepover at a local camp site. The key? There are bunks. With beds. And I only have to be there for the actual sleeping part of the deal; the rest is being taken care of by a group of teens working on their gold project, or whatever it's called, and the adults who are guiding them through. So of course we're having a (relative) cold snap here in SoCal, and it's going to dip into the low 50s tonight.

I really do have to learn how to say no.

As an aside, check out the link in one of Rich's comments from my last post. I don't know why, but I'm really tickled by the idea that people I don't know at all are interested in our "can a man and a woman just be friends?" dilemma. It's like When Harry Met Sally Part II. Except it's When Rich Didn't Meet TC. Without Meg Ryan's really bad perm.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Pushing The Old Lady

[originally written on 5/12, in NYC]

Being in New York City for these past few days, surrounded by lots of people who've never lived here--and a few who've never left--led to a number of conversations in which I described the pivotal life-moment in which I realized that I not only should no longer live here, but could no longer live here. At least not if I wanted to retain even a scrap of humanity.

[I may well have told this story before, but I'm too damned lazy to look back through the archives to see. Sue me. Or ignore me. Or both.]

It was a sweltering summer day--and if there is one place that defines the word sweltering, that demands the word sweltering, it is the New York City subway system in mid-summer. The acrid scent of urine filled the air. I was waiting in line to buy tokens, and sweating my...well, I'd say I was sweating my balls off, but since I don't have any, you'll have to fill in the blank here.

The token line that day was so long that I began my wait on the subway stairs; by the time I'd reached the front of the line, it had been at least ten minutes. Which is a particularly long time when you're in Hell, you know.

So perhaps I can be allowed a twinge of annoyance when an elderly--nay, ancient--lady came tottering from the other side of the station, in a black veil and long black dess that made me hotter just looking at it, and stepped right in front of me to try to ask the subway attendant a question in extremely broken English. Certainly, I had a right to tap her on the shoulder and indicate the line of drooping people in front of whom she'd just cut.

But I'm pretty sure--no, I'm certain--that I had no business responding, when she narrowed her eyes at me only briefly and then went back to her conversation, by shoving her aside without another word and placing my $10 on the counter while shouting, "End of the line, lady. End of the line."

I shoved an old lady. I SHOVED and then YELLED AT an OLD LADY. An old lady WHO DIDN'T SPEAK THE LANGUAGE. There is simply no excuse, not even now, more than a dozen years later.

Six months after that incident, I got an offer to move to Los Angeles, and grabbed it. I knew I'd be fine here. Road rage. HAH. It's got nothin' on subway insanity.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

A Conversation With My Husband

Me: "Did you already turn off the pilot light on the heater?"

Him: "Yeah, last week."

"Shoot. Well, I guess I'll just put that log on the fire."

"It's really not that cold in here. Put on a long-sleeve shirt."

"That's an idea. Or I could put a log on the fire."

"We don't need a log on the fire. Just go put on a heavier shirt."

"I suppose I could put on a heavier shirt. Or, IF I WANT TO, I could put a log on the fire. Since I'm pretty sure I can make that choice for myself."

"Oh, fine. Whatever. I suppose the next thing you're going to want is the right to vote."

Friday, May 19, 2006

Self Absorption

[Written on May 11, in NYC]

So I told you all about The Zit That Ate Manhattan, which appeared just before I left on my trip, right? I guess it was almost to be expected, what with my having to have to have a photo shoot done today for the super-secret-for-only-a-few-more-weeks-at-most parenting website job.

[For the record, and as an aside, the makeup artist for the photo shoot? ROCKED. You almost couldn't tell how pathetically malformed my right cheek was, once she was done with me. And I think she will eventually recover from the shock of working on a 42-year-old woman who had never, not once, had eyebrow pencil applied to her face until today, and who still has never, not once, plucked a single eyebrow hair. She looked at me like I was from another planet, but I can't be the only one for whom eyebrows are not even an afterthought...can I?)

But if you thought Big Zit was enough humiliation for one person...you would be wrong, my friend. Because this morning? The morning on which my two-day orientation for this job began? I woke up without a voice. Gone. Nowhere to be heard. Now, I always get laryngitis after a cold, and I had a doozy last week. But, really. Tomorrow, at 9AM, I'm to do a video shoot for the website. Which will be interesting for, you know, a MUTE. A mute with a zit that deserves its own zip code. Hollywood, here I come!

By the way, here's a makeup-artist tip for you all: To dry up pimples asap, just put a dab of toothpaste on them. I feel so in the know now, and ever so glamorous, as I sit here in a Manhattan hotel room covered in little dots of Crest Whitening Formula. But, seriously, I had never heard of anything like that; had you? Oh, please don't tell me that it's yet another one of those Girl School things that I missed, along with the demonstration on how to use a blowdryer and a round brush at the same time, and the tutorial that explains why the hell anyone would ever want to put on foundation.

Oh, who am I trying to kid? I didn't just miss that day of Girl School. I missed ALL the days of Girl School. Except, of course, for the sex ed days.

[Edited to add: For the record, the only saving grace about the video shoot was the laryngitis. Because without it, I would have just sucked. This way, I sucked, but they also pitied me, and I came out looking somewhat like a good sport. A sucky good sport, but a good sport nonetheless.]

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Boy Friends

Rich and I had plans to get together last Friday afternoon while I was still in Manhattan. But after he'd left a few voicemails on The Cell Phone That Will Not Hold A Charge For More Than Seven Seconds confirming plans, I got an email from him Thursday night canceling them. Seems his wife, Maggie, wasn't really keen on the whole Rich-going-out-to-meet-some-woman-from-the-Internet thing.

I was, of course, really disappointed; I was, and still am, dying to meet Rich. But I was also more than a little flattered. I mean, I'm pretty sure that this is one of the very last moments in my life when someone's wife might actually worry about him meeting up with me. Sure, back in the day, I might have been someone to worry about. But now? Hee! I'm a soccer mom. A PTA maven. I have pimples on my age spots, for crying out loud. If Maggie, or anyone else, wants to consider me a threat, I'm more than happy to let her go right ahead.

In any case, my reply to Rich's note was something along the lines of "I completely understand. Baroy didn't have a problem with it, but then again, I hadn't even mentioned it to him." Which, of course, begs the question: Why not?

I was trying to remember if I told Baroy about what I was doing the first time I went to meet Tamar for lunch. I'm not sure I did, because I think it was still at that point where I hadn't even told him I was keeping a blog. But he knows now. He even knows about Rich, in that I often read him Rich's funnier comments, and there are only one or two other guys who are front and center here.

So, did I not tell because I was in New York, and it wasn't relevant to whether I could pick up the kids on time or take Em to Hebrew school or something? Did I not tell because I have this residual need to retain a sense of independence (I do) and resentment about the idea that I need to check in with him--with anyone--before I make or execute a plan (I do, again)? Did I not tell because I worried that he'd object, like Maggie, and then I'd feel compelled to cancel our plans? Did I not tell because then he'd somehow be part of the equation, and I'd feel like I had to measure myself, be sure not to be too friendly, too flirty? Would I have been too friendly or too flirty? Was Maggie right to worry about me? (Or was Maggie really just worrying about Rich, and I was never even part of the equation? Nah. That would mean this isn't about mememememe, and that wouldn't work for me. Let's pretend that isn't even a possibility, shall we?)

I've made a boatload of friends from the Internet. I can say without irony that some--hell, most--of my best friends are people I met online. But when I look back over that list, I realize that almost none of them are men. Why is that? Partially, it's because a huge majority of the places I hang out on when I'm online are geared for moms: birth month lists, parenting boards, working mothers' sites. But it must also be coming partially from me.

When I was younger, I was a guy's girl. All my closest friends were boys, men. Some were lovers, too, but most were really just friends. Even as an adult, I used to go spend the night at male friends' places all the time, especially those who lived a ways away from me, and especially because I didn't get a driver's license until I was 29 and living in LA. It's only since I've been married that I've made a near-total shift over to having girlfriends, rather than boy friends. I definitely never have sleepovers like that any more. I've never really examined why that sort of friend-shift has happened. Well, part of it is that most of my friends are now married, and so when we meet up, it's as couples. But I think it's also something in me, and maybe in them--or their wives--that makes us take a step back, to hold back in our friendships.

Transfer that new reticence--and whatever is driving it--to the internet arena, and you can see where an even deeper rift might form. Not only does it feel somehow wrong to forge relationships with men in general, now that I'm committed to being committed to Baroy, but there's the added reality that the Internet is notorious for creating matches between men and women--and for breaking up marriages while doing so. So, yeah, I can see why I might not seek out male friendships online.

But here's the thing: Rich has become a friend. And I have no designs on him beyond that, nor does he on me, as far as I can tell. All of the above simply doesn't apply in this case. Just as was the case when I started reading Tamar's original journal, Hidden Laughter, I've felt like Rich is one of 'my people' from day one. I haven't worried about linking to him, commenting on his blog, joking back and forth over email. I know there's nothing untoward going on here, unless forging a new friendship with a man is by definition untoward. It seemed utterly natural to try to get together with him while I was in town; it wasn't until he had to cancel that I began to think about whether I should have thought about it more before making the plan in the first place. I mean, I know I shouldn't have; I know it was and is no big deal, aside from the big deal of getting to meet a long-time friend in person for the first time. But. Still.

Then, yesterday, on the airplane home, I ended up having a long conversation with the man who sat next to me. He was funny and we had a lot in common, and at one point he mentioned that he'd be coming to town quite frequently and asked if maybe I'd like to get together some time. I'd already mentioned the husband-and-kids thing, and I'm assuming he meant it all in the same sort of meeting-my-blogging-friend-Rich way, but I reacted as if I'd been bitten. Go out with some guy I met on an airplane? What are you, kidding? I'm a married woman! How could that possibly be appropriate? What was wrong with him, trying to pick me up on an airplane? Can you just imagine me telling Baroy I'm going out to dinner with a guy I met on the NY-to-Ontario flight, see ya later? Sheesh!

OK. Actually, I didn't say any of that. I just kept talking about the hubby and kids, emphasis on the hubby, and he never mentioned it again. But I thought all of the above, and more.

Hypocrite, thy name is TC.

It's different. I know it is. But I can't quite say why, or how. And I can't quite figure out the rights and wrongs, can't quite find the line between appropriate and inappropriate, can't quite decide whether or not I'm making a huge deal out of a minuscule issue.

In any case, I'm sorry I missed you, Rich. Maybe some other time...with our spouses, of course.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006




Much to say about my trip.

No time (as yet) to say it.

So instead, I'll let Em say a few words, via the file folder entitled "Mom Files" that was sitting on my desk when I came home today.


My Mom is the best Mom in the world. She's sweet and kind. I love her soo much. She's the best Mom I could ask for. She's a author and a scince writer (as you can tell she writes scince books). She has me and my brother N. He's five and I'm eight. My Mom's husband's name is Baroy. My Mom and Dad have been married for TEN YEARS! She loves the color orange. Our whole kitchen is orange. She's also a great cook. I like a lot of the food she makes. I love her so much and I hope she has a wonderful MOTHER'S DAY!

List of things Mom Likes

1. The color orange
2. Cooking/me cooking too
3. Spend time with her family
4. Her family
5. Her husband
6. Writing
7. Seeing me and her family happy
8. Us having fun
9. Gardining
10. Spending time outside
11. A lot of my friends
12. The Pardereg [Partridge] family
13. Computer
14. Sleeping in
15. Warm weather

Sunday, May 07, 2006

A Very Smart Child Who Is Not One Of Mine

I'm heading to NYC (what is it about you?) on what is partly a business trip this Tuesday for a week, so I'm up to my earlobes in work, stress, and trying to figure out what to do about the zit on my cheek. (I'm 42! It is unfair to be asked to battle wrinkles and age spots as well as acne, don't you think?) (And can I paint a pretty picture of myself or what?) So I don't have time for introspection or any other spection right now. Instead, I have only this tidbit, from last night, when WeeyumWise came over for his very first mommy-less sleepover.

WeeyumWise's parents had left, and I had just allowed the boys a highly illegal, sugary snack and had gotten them ready for bed when I sank into an armchair in our living room and sighed.

"I don't know about you guys," I said to the two pajama'ed 5-year-olds in front of me, "but I'm EXHAUSTED."

WeeyumWise eyed me for a moment, and then began. "Every day, parents say they're sleepy, but they don't go to sleep! And kids say we're not sleepy, but we have to go to sleep. Why is that?"

Why indeed?


Talk to y'all from New York, I guess. And if I do get a chance to go hang with Rich, as I hope I will, I'll be sure to bring my laptop. It's times like this I wish I had one of those "I'm blogging this" t-shirts.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Whine, Whine, WHIIIIINE

Not the kids. Me.

My ribs and my back hurt from coughing. My tongue and the roof of my mouth hurt from being continually scalded as I chug hot liquids--from Theraflu to licorice-spice tea (licorice is supposed to be soothing to the throat, and I do have to say my throat is no longer sore) to bowls upon bowls of chicken soup. I have deadlines both at my university job and my (not-much-longer-mine if-there-really-is-a-God) alternative medicine journal that I have to meet before I leave, next Tuesday morning, for New York, where I am having an orientation with the so-far-very-cool-seeming gang from my new parenting website gig. (That last part is a YAY and not a whine, although the time pressure added by my leaving for a week adds to the too-many-deadlines part of the whine.)

[Yes, I do love me some compound hyphenated adjectives. Why do you ask?]

So, in other words, I'm sitting here worrying about meeting deadlines, wincing in rib pain every time I move, trying not to cough (so as not to incure more rib pain), and thus trying to drink some more licorice-spice (with lots of honey) tea, but wincing in pain with each sip, due to the tongue and mouth-roof burnage problem.

I'm a mess.

BUT. Bonnie, who I don't think I knew of before today but who is now my New Best Friend, left me a really sweet message on my last post, which made me smile, and since my cheek muscles are not involved in the general messiness of me, I didn't even have to wince while doing it.

Guess things could be worse.

Physician, Heal Thyself

The worst part about being The Mother and The Cook in the family is that when I get sick (like I am now) and all I can think about is gulping down a big ol' bowl of Jewish penicillin (in my house, that means not only chicken soup, but also big, beautiful matzoh balls), I'm the one who has to drag my ass to the grocery store, buy the ingredients, peel and clean and season the brew, and then wait HOURS (because no chicken soup should be served before its time) for it to be ready in all its chickeny, veggie-ish, matzoh-balled glory.

Where is my mommy when I need her? Oh, right. All the way across the country. Sigh. [Waving at my mom, who is reading here now...Hi mom!]

The good news? I now have two huge containers of the stuff in my fridge. I plan to eat it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner until this plague I'm infested with (coughing, sniffling, sore-throated goodness) is gone.

And, no, you can't have any. I'm saving it all for me.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

You Can't Make This Stuff Up

I was sitting in Barnes & Noble while Em had Hebrew school today, sipping a chai tea and doing some work, when I came upon the following line in an article on Ayurvedic asthma treatments that I'm editing for the alternative medicine journal:

Dhanvantara gutika--which is given in pill form--contains up to 16 ingredients. The ingredients are mainly plant-based, but may also include the excreta of a newborn elephant and the semen of the privet cat.

All I could think was: 1. Who the hell would think of putting newborn elephant excreta and privet cat semen into a medication? and 2. Number one on the list of Medications I Will Never, Ever, Ever Put Into My Mouth is dhanvantara gutika.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Code Orange

When Em was four years old, Baroy took her back East to visit grandparents; N was only 9 months old and I had to work, so we stayed home. During the five days they were gone, I found a black widow spider in the kids' toy box, I discovered an infestation of meal moths in our cupboards when the larvae began crawling up our kitchen walls en masse (and I do mean masse), and we had a minor but definite earthquake.

The night before they were to return, I called Baroy in tears. "Thank god you're coming home tomorrow," I said. "I can't handle any more of this by myself."

The next morning they headed to JFK airport for their 10 am flight. At around 6 our time, I got a call from a friend back East, asking what flight they were on, and whether I'd heard from them yet. Confused, I got up to turn on the TV, and saw these bizarre images that I couldn't at first understand. It was September 11, 2001.

Yesterday, Baroy left to go back East to spend some time with his mother, who is, um, having some issues. (It's not my story to tell, but boy is it a story.) He'll be back tomorrow. When he was leaving, I jokingly said, "Well, I wonder what fun is in store for me while you're gone THIS time."

Three hours later, driving on the freeway to a friend's kid's birthday party, a trucker began honking and gesticulating at me to pull over. Because I was near my destination, I continued on, but then grabbed several of my buddies and took them outside. The determination: My rear right tire was flat, and my two front tires too bald to be driving on. While the kids played, my friend A took me to the tire store and helped me figure out a) that I have wheel locks (who knew?) and b) that the key to said locks was in my dashboard holder thingy. I got two new tires, and had the flat repaired and, continuing to ignore the "check engine" light that's been on for about three months straight, I am now able to drive my car again.

This morning, I woke up with a raging headache and a sore throat, but had to drive both kids to their respective elementary and pre schools, and will have to pick them both up as well, even if I feel like something the cat drove over.

As I said to Baroy this morning when he called, that's it. I'm not taking any chances. If one more thing happens--even just one more tiny little thing--I'm calling Homeland Security.

[And in case you're wondering, yes, I am that self-absorbed. I've also spent the last 12 years convinced that the Northridge earthquake of 1994 was the result of the two-plus feet of hair I had spontaneously decided to have sheared off the afternoon before. Clearly, my drastic hair cut resulted in the shifting of tectonic plates. You got a better explanation?]

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