Saturday, January 24, 2015

Once I When I Was Teaching, A Kid Was Upset And Came And Asked Me Something In Spanish. I Walked Him Back To His Table And Explained To The Other Students The Importance Of Sharing And Then Directed Them To Give Him Back His Scissors. AND After They Apologized, THEY TOTALLY DID! This COMPLETELY HAPPENED Even Though I Speak, Like 10 Words Of Spanish With Any Confidence. Which Can Only Mean One Thing. I'm A Magic Spanish Speaker. Obviously.

Overheard from Katie's room while putting away the laundry upstairs:

Katie: Oh, heya, la laa falup tu ittty.
Ellie: Meya hi la oin fram is nally gram.
Katie: Sulla?
Ellie: Sulla!
Katie: No! Tramish grati sabad oinala uti ma sulla!!

That's when I whipped out my SuperMom cape and busted through the door.
(Start humming theme song to "Cops". I did.)

Me: HEY! Excuse me! I don't know what's going on in here, BUT IT STOPS! RIGHT! NOW!
Katie and Ellie: (looking like baby angels, puppies, teeny tiny chinchilla kits and scoops of vanilla ice cream with rainbow sprinkles: all innocent like) What?
Me: (mom stare, you know the one, it comes with a disbelieving raised eyebrow) What. Are. You. Doing?
Katie: We're just speaking Spanish!
Ellie: Yeah! Like DORA! (add fluttering butterflies and rainbows here, because that's how people who are four years old talk)

And then I left, SuperMom cape metaphorically stuck firmly in the phone booth door.

Also, someone, please, tell me that there's a pair of siblings way off in Mexico City, sitting in their bedroom talking in complete nonsense, completely convinced they're speaking English. I have some pen pals for them.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

They Would Hang People For This Type Of Magic In Salem Times

Christmas vacation was magical this year.

And, I'm not just talking about the awesome six mile run through the Sonoran Desert Ginger and I took that one morning



Although, it WAS an unmistakably magical morning run.

I'm not talking about the magic Pearl, Chester and I viewed during our half mile walk through the most amazing living cave I've ever seen, either.

Kubla Khan
Which, let's face it, was more impressive until the park ranger used the word "Xanadu" and I started to giggle. Because I've seen that movie. With Olivia Newton John. On roller skates.

I'm talking about a shallower type of magic. A magic dealing more with the frivolous. The superficial. The cosmetic. You know, the fake kind.

See, we met up with an old high school friend of Jon's, and, as Jon and I went to the same high school and graduated the same year and all, obviously I remembered this guy too. This is how the magical conversation went:

Jon: Hey, Bob!
Bob: Jon! How are you?
Jon: Good. You remember Martha, right?
Bob: (blank stare)
Me: We had English together for like three years.
Bob: Huh. (pause) Are you thinner now than you were in high school?
Me: What!? Noooo.... (Begin to laugh, stupidly. Stop laughing, abruptly. Think. Process. Get. Smarter.) Yes. Yes I am. I am totally skinnier now than when I was in high school.

On a related note #1: Sadly, due to a horrible, um, recent, uhhhhh.., (looks around desk) oh! coffee accident this is the only picture that survives from my high school days:

On a related note #2: I've eaten next to nothing else but chocolate chip cookie dough, pizza and coffee for the last three days. And I feel gosh darn good about myself too.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Eating Tacos Made #1 This Year

A List of Things I'm Thankful For
Sponsored by Jon 
And His Fancy Clothes
And the Nutcracker
That Jon is Attending
For the Fifth Year in a Row
While Wearing a Tie

1. Eating Tacos.
Well, maybe more specifically eating tacos by myself, after slogging down to the nearest taqueria in my yellow rain boots and back, by myself, without any small voices complaining about not wanting to eat tacos "because I only like squashed up beans, Mommy", because I was all by myself. These are quite possibly the most awesome tacos ever! And, yes, I totally realize I'm eating tacos from Seattle. Presentation, man, it's everything.

2. Fleece leggings.
Jon bought fleece leggings to wear while biking in the winter, like six years ago. Biking in the winter is hard, so I'm totally not judging. But, his leggings have been sitting there, all lonely and neglected in the dresser drawer. Guys? I've never been so warm and comfortable! Pish! Yoga pants? So last week!

3. Santa Claus.
Because he does the bulk of the present wrapping for me each year. Hahahahahaha! Who am I kidding? That fat guy's been slacking ever since I left for college all those years ago.
But I eat all his cookies now.
So we're even.

4. Pandora.
Because where else can I make a Christmas radio station that almost exclusively plays Perry Como, Elvis Presley, Beach Boys, Dean Martin and, obviously, Gene Autry. It's not Christmas until Gene sings "Here Comes Santa Claus".

5.  Foam Board.
Jon wanted a fake Christmas tree this year. I gave in:

Anyone want to bet what percentage of presents under the tree are books?
Nevermind, that's too easy.

6. Coffee.
Because it's delicious. And because otherwise I might be tempted to sleep through all four hours I have to spend by myself instead of wrapping presents while Jon sits through yet another Nutcracker performance. Luckily Jon's dates are the cutest ever.

Merry Christmas to one and all! 

Now go away. I have tacos to eat.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

A Present! For Me!?! *rustle*rip*rustle*tear* Well. This is Embarrassing.

'Tis the season for White Elephant exchanges. Hey! No groaning and mumbling about "useless junk disguised with a sparkly bow"! Because, dudes, they're FUN! I mean, you never know what kind of awesome you'll find under that snowman wrapping paper! Is it a singing pig? An oil painting of a shih tzu? A set of perfectly matched jaguar salt and pepper shakers? Or the most awesome game from your childhood that you never owned!?!

That's right, Katie and Ellie, Mamma's gonna break out the yoga pants! We got a game to play!

But then.

There's the truly awful presents hiding under the tree.

What? I'm sorry, what's that you ask?

Oh! What was Jon's White Elephant score at the party?


Hahahahahahaha! He hates it so much!
But it's a book!

And you know what preschoolers like to have read to them, right?


You can't say no to their cute little chubby faces.

At least not at Christmas time.

So I did what any self respecting, educationally minded, mother would do.

I gathered all the little children unto me, and under the glow of the Christmas tree lights,

I read it to them.

And, in the spirit of all White Elephant exchanges happening all over the world this week, settle in, all cozy like, with that cup of hot cocoa, I have a story to tell.

Twilight: New Moon:
A Paraphrase for Preschoolers

Once upon a time there was a girl named Bella who liked hiking.

She liked hiking in the woods, specifically, because she thought apples were very interesting. And apples grow on trees and she wanted to study them in their natural habitat. She really liked science and stuff.

She also had a friend named Edward, that she thought was really interesting and cool and stuff, and she would invite him to go with her to apple orchards, farmers markets, botany lectures at the local university, you know, places to learn all the interesting things about apples.

But, Edward never seemed to enjoy learning about apples as much as Bella did.

In fact, he secretly thought apples were boring! (*gasp* I know!)

But, sometimes? Sometimes they seemed to have a lot of fun together.

But Bella thought they could still be friends if she pretended not to like apples all that much. (By the way, kids, this is never a good way to make friends.)

Then, when Edward invited her over to his house, Bella brought some special apples as a gift for his family to enjoy. It didn't go well.

Because they hated apples more than Edward.
In fact, the pro/con apple debate was fierce that night.

Jasper, especially, had a hard time
keeping his apple rebuttal civil.
Obviously, Edward's family was not using their polite manners.

And then? One day? When Edward leaned over and smelled Bella's hair (as he would do every once in awhile, which, let's face it, is weird and creepy) he said,

"Oh my gosh, Bella! You totally reek of apples! Don't you ever bathe? It's disgusting! I don't want to be friends with such a Stinky McStinky Pants!"
And then Edward left, and Bella was sad, because she thought Edward was her friend even though he wasn't very nice to her most of the time.

Until, one day, when Bella was headed to school, her dad stopped her and said, 
"Bella, he was a weird hair smelling guy who doesn't support your apple interests. I mean, did he even read any of your articles in the Scientific Journal about apple hybrids? No! He didn't! You're better than this. Move on." 

So, Bella found a new friend. His name was Jacob.

And they had a good time together. He seemed to be interested in her apple research.

Until he joined the swim team.

Suddenly, Jacob didn't want to hang out with Bella anymore. He returned all the botany and horticulture textbooks he'd borrowed because his coach told him to. This made Bella angry. So she confronted the swim team, to find out why Jacob couldn't be interested in apples and swimming.

It didn't go well. Because they used their angry voices. Which wasn't nice at all.

So, a little sad but still determined to be Jacob's friend somehow, Bella decided to join try and join the swim team.
And, one day, when the swim team was practicing their high headed crawl in the choppy waters of the Pacific Ocean, Bella swam out to join them. But, the combination of an extra large Grapple apple as a pre-swim snack and her open water swimming inexperience...
was almost deadly. Because, as everyone knows, you should wait at least a half hour after eating before swimming. Luckily, Jacob was there to pull her out of the water so she didn't drown. Which also proves how very very important swim lessons are.
After all that, you'd think that they would be friends again. But they weren't.

And Bella was sad again. Because Jacob didn't want to be her friend either, and it was obvious Jacob hadn't read one word of the horticulture books she'd lent him, because, apples totally float.

Bella was extra sad for awhile, until she realized that both Jacob and Edward were just really big silly heads who didn't know how to be good friends and that she shouldn't try and be someone she wasn't to keep their friendship. So, instead, Bella worked really hard on her school work and won a scholarship to Harvard, where there are all sorts of nice people, and where they have a really good botany program. While attending Harvard she was able to study all the interesting things about apples she wanted. And she was happy.

The End


Edward eventually realized what a bad friend he had been, and it made him sad. So he drew dots on his face with a marker.
Which was silly. Because we never never ever ever draw on ourselves with markers. 

Jacob never learned how to be a good friend to humans, which was very sad. So he began hanging out with wolves instead. His wolf pack name was Dory.

This is how wolves smile in selfies. 

PS Like with the preschoolers, I skipped all the awkward kissing parts. You're welcome.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Sometime Internal Editing Is A Good Thing, Geraldine. Just Ask Jon.

We were all out celebrating Mabel's birthday last weekend (completely good time, b-t-y) and, Dudes, I kid you not, Geraldine totally said, to my face, "You know? You shouldn't edit all the stuff that comes into your head so much. Just let it out!"

I know! (giggle, giggle) For realsie!

Unfortunately, Geraldine, this guy already made that video:

P.S. That last story time? The one with the snake? Guys, I totally did that to Jon when we were out hiking in the desert once. And, oh my gosh, it was awesome! I laughed, and laughed and laughed.... Buuuuut... I was kinda the only one laughing.  And, Jon kinda hates it when I tell that story. Because, apparently, it's "not funny, Martha, it was mean". But, Dudes! Did you see that guy jump in the video? That was hilarious! Right?... Guys? Um, hello.... Can anyone hear me? (tap tap tap) Is the Internet on?

Sunday, November 30, 2014

All Things TURKEY!

This Thanksgiving, as I looked around my nice warm house with the books and the coffee and the (at the moment) well behaved children, I realized something was missing. Something important. Something amazing. Something with feathers and a bright red wattle. That's right. My TURKEY! poster. It had become a sad, sad casualty of the moving process that we suffered through over a year ago. (WE suffered!?! What about the TURKEY! poster? WON'T SOMEONE THINK OF THE TURKEY! POSTERS?) And, truthfully, dudes, this amount of awesome shouldn't be kept, rolled and stored away in a dark, cold and lonely poster tube.
"Nobody puts Baby in a corner."
So, in honor of all the Thanksgiving celebrations that happened this week, including an extra 3 days off of school (Yes, over and above the traditional four day weekend the Pilgrims gave their school age children.) I finally hung the most awesome poster ever printed! In my office! Which is really just the far end of the dining room table. It adds that touch of class that'd been missing from all those formal meals we host, you know?

Now, on cold nights, cuddled up next to the fire, I like to think Benjamin Franklin is smiling down from heaven in all his turkey approval. (What-e-ver, Smithsonian. I wasn't even talking to you.)

So, this Thanksgiving? What am I thankful for?

An awesome TURKEY! poster finally displayed in all it's well earned glory.

And pie.

With ice cream on top.

And my family.

But not in that order.


Let's be honest. It all depends on how hungry I am.

But how about Jon? What's he thankful for, you ask?



Because otherwise my, one, elegant, understated, Audrey Hepburn-isc TURKEY! poster would be flanked by


like these...

that are...


Duuuude. Never mind! Audrey Hepburn was completely overrated.

I'm gonna need a bigger wall.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

All You NaNoWamO* People Are Crazy! How Do You Find The Time?

Ever wonder, just what the creative writing process looks like in the real world?

You know, by a person who actually writes.

Me too.

I mean, dude!, do they have some sort of secret system that enables them to churn out thousands of words per hour? Do they cheat and use some sort of computer program that does all the writing for them? (Yeah. You saw me. I'm totally looking at you, Daisy Meadows.) Or. You knoooow what? Maybe, it's drugs. Not like illegal drugs, people. More like those legal kind of drugs used by the government to lace all the food and coffee those Initiative army guys drank and stuff. *sniff*sniff*sip*sip* Huh. Pretty sure mine just tastes like caffeine.

(Side note: Joking about legal or illegal drugs is never funny. Because drugs are bad. Very bad. Which is why whenever I hand over my travel coffee mug for one of my kids to hold for a minute we have this conversation:
Me: (in my serious voice) Don't drop it. Don't drink it.
Them: (eye roll) I'm not going to drink it, Mommy.
Me: (eyebrow raised) Reeeally? (pause) Why not?
Which, in hindsight, is probably less a "This is your brain on drugs" talk and more of a way to make sure that with the dwindling coffee supplies in the world I'm still going to get my share. And Katie's. And Ellie's. Because good parents plan for the future.)

But now? The coffee is all gone and I'm still sitting here, looking into my computer screen, wondering, where exactly my writing process went wrong today:

Pour a cup of coffee. Open computer. Move a hairbrush, bottle of glue, six books, eight shiny rocks and one almost excavated dinosaur skeleton out of my work space on the dining room table.

Check email and various blogs. Don't reply to anything, because, you have stuff to get done!

See? Look at how much time I saved by putting all those emails off! I'm flying!

Write two sentences. Think. Realize my coffee cup is empty.

Fill coffee cup.
Note: Time includes reheating in microwave, because SOMEONE turned off the coffee pot when we all left the house for school drop off this morning. Again. Gosh. It's not like houses actually burn down from these types of appliances.

Check time. Shoot! Only, like, 35 minutes until preschool pickup! Yell, "WRITE SOMETHING!" Out loud. Because it's more motivating that way.

Writing. Realize I'm "this close" to finishing a WHOLE PARAGRAPH! Do the "I've Written A Whole Paragraph Dance". Include the jazz hands.

The call comes. I answer, because my rear doesn't fit on the tiny toilets they have at Ellie's school.

Edit half finished paragraph. Stare out window. Fall leaves are pretty....

Snap out of fall colors meditation. Realize I have less than five minutes until I have to leave and haven't eaten lunch. Run to kitchen, scoop up last week's pasta sauce with the expired corn tortillas people refuse to eat. (Even if I offer to spread Nutella on them.) Wash "lunch" down with the last of the coffee. Race out of the house.

Write the most amazing witty things! In my head. While driving. And fighting with Siri. Because she's deliberately misunderstanding me. Again. (What the heck does "NASCAR ice skates pretty messes circles around crackers hinge" mean anyway, Siri!?! Wait. No....I remember this one now. Never mind, Siri. My bad.)

Write this post. While Ellie is taking her "night night nap". (Spoiler Alert: She's really playing dress up. Upstairs. By herself. There's a skeleton involved. Because she likes skeletons. And tutus.)


Creativity. It's a hard knock life.

Personal and Private Note To Daisy Meadows: Um, Hi. Daisy Meadows? I'm sorry about that kinda whole you're not a real writer insult-ish kinda thing I kinda wrote, up there, at the top of the post. That wasn't cool. So, um, now that we're good, and, new found besties and all, do you think I could, kinda, stalk you for a bit? Just until I pick up some tips on your awesomely prolific creative process. Wait, uh, did I say stalk? No, there's a better word for that. A legal word. What is it...OH! Intern! That's right! (Mental note: interns are the legal stalkers.) Anyway, I could totally be your intern! Between the hours of 10 and noon. On Tuesday and Friday. Just, you know, think about it. Whatever you decide will be totally fine. Really. PS Your hair is pretty.

*NaNoWamO: (My) Abbreviation for National Novel Writing Month, which is in the month of November when everyone is supposed to write a 50,000 word novel. For realsie. Which is crazy, because by my math, that's like over 1,000 words a day. Do you KNOW how long it takes to count 1,000 words?

7 minutes 52 seconds.

I timed it.