Thursday, September 24, 2009

Jack Rocks

I've seen a number of friends on FB ask for other people's suggestions for good songs for a workout or gym mix. It got me thinking about our Jack playlists. Before Jack was born, I made a playlist for the delivery room. Nipper made a whole series of mixes to play in the car. Jack mix one through a million now. We just wanted to surround the little guy with good music. I guess in some way, we feel like if we fill his developing brain with the blues, maybe he'll have a natural aversion to Radio Disney when he hears it. A mom can dream. 

Here is a playlist of some of our favorites. The songs we find ourselves listening to over and over. The songs that make Jack say "AGAIN!" when they play in the car. I'd love it if people would send their favorites along, either in the comments section or in an email. No Barney please! Can't wait to see what you all are listening too!

King Kong Kitchie Kitchie Ki-Me-O, Chubby Parker and his Old Time Banjo
M79, Vampire Weekend
Why Do You Let Me Stay Here, She & Him
The Underdog, Spoon
Happy, Dick Siegel
You Ain't Goin' Nowhere, Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova
That's Not My Name, The Ting Tings
All I Want Is You, Barry Louis Polisar
Sabotage, The Beastie Boys
When I'm Sixty-Four, The Beatles  
Home, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros
Search and Destroy, Iggy & The Stooges
Peg & Awl, Carolina Tar Heels
Sea of Love, Cat Power
New Madrid, Uncle Tupelo
Gold Lion, Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Heeby-Beeby, Dick Siegel
We're Going to Be Friends, The White Stripes
All Around The Kitchen, Dan Zanes

Heartbreak at 35,000 feet

SO I should have been writing little notes about this all week to help deal with my ever increasing anxiety, but I didn't. Mostly because I've been running around like a contestant on one of those game shows where they have to cram as many items in their grocery cart as they can before the buzzer. At one point this week, I thought, if I can get the laundry in the machine, the dishes done, my bag packed, Jack to sleep after feeding him something resembling dinner, and look at ALL of my mom's pictures from her trip to Scotland, Don Pardo will sing me to sleep. 

I should go back a minute. I'm getting ahead. A few months ago, Nipper Knapp and his writing partner, the delightful Andrew Newberg, were informed that two of their scripts had made it into the top 25 of the New York Television Festival Comedy Script Contest. Cool! We decided that he should probably go out, at least for the weekend, in case they won. Then we decided that maybe we should both go, and make it a fun grown ups weekend. Sans Jack. As in, me and Nipper Knapp alone in a big city for the first time since 2007. Sounds good, let's do it! 

Cut to last week, when an advanced schedule arrived in Nipper's email box. There were all kinds of official looking people, and talks, and panels, and mixey mixers, and hand shaking things that, we realized  maybe he and Andy should attend. So we changed Nipper's ticket so he could be in NYC for the whole festival. 

Our plan was for my mother to come stay with Jack at our house. She was going to be getting back from a trip to Scotland two days before, but said it would be fine, because she had planned to visit a buddhist nun at a monastery in Escondido, who was moving to France that very week. What? I know. That was really what she said. Which kind of makes her sound like a Wes Anderson/Angelica Houston type mom, which I guess she sort of is, only more kooky.  Ok, so Nana's coming. Mommy and Daddy are going away. No problem. 

Did I mention we have never left him alone? Except for one time on our Anniversary, we stayed in a hotel overnight in Palm Springs while he stayed at my moms. I don't know that he even noticed we were gone. Did I also mention that Nipper and I are the two softest people EVER? I know that lots of people leave their kids all the time. For work, for pleasure. But us Nipper Knapps, we're a tight group. You'll remember that we don't have jobs. So mostly are just together ALL THE TIME. 

We met a woman in the pool at that Palm Springs hotel, who was with her kids. She told us that she leaves her kids all the time. She said the only time she missed them was when she and her husband went to Bali for a month, when the youngest (who was only about a year old) was 6 months. Uhm, she couldn't even lift her head up on her own, and you left her for a month!!! My agent had to pry me out the house with a crow bar, and bribes, to go to an audition when Jack was 4 months old. And that was just across town. Ok, clearly, I judge. I just really like the kid.

So Nipper left Monday night. He was a little misty before he went, and I kept thinking "MAN UP", it's only a few days. Yeah, ok, whatever. I'm so callous. This morning, I said goodbye to Jack, kissed him too many times, smiled lots, so he wouldn't worry. I got into my car and SOBBED. I called Nipper, tried to leave a message. Called Sadie, tried to leave a message. But my messages were disasters. I cried on both of their voicemail's. OH GEEZ. Pull it together mama. God help me when this kid goes to school. 

I got this picture from my mom as I was sitting at the gate. She took him to the rosebowl pool. Looks like he's going to be just fine. Me on the other hand, I'll be the lady listening to Nico crying in seat 8A.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

mother nature is a cruel mistress

Just a warning to the feint of heart. This post contains descriptions of animal waste and phallic fungi. It's also long as hell. I have a lot to report. Read at your own risk.

I'm trying to do the right thing. I really am. I planted vegetables, I planted drought resistant plants. I'm watering most of it with our used bath water. But my garden is filled with nothing but heartbreak and danger.

It started with raccoons. Those playful little scamps think it's a delight to dig up the grass in search of delicious grub worms. They also think my lily bulbs are a treat. Last week, Nipper heard a sound one night, and when he looked out the window, there in the yard were three giant raccoons... playing. Two of them were rolling around wrestling at the base of the slide, and the third was pushing an imaginary raccoon in the swing. I could tolerate them sharing the playground if it wasn't for the bizarro turds they leave behind. They are scaly and viscous, and impossible to clean up. On a side note we had a pet raccoon when I was a little kid. I KNOW. Raccoons aren't pets, unless you're Davy Crockett or something. But we had one. Her name was Peaches, and she lived in a cage on our back porch. I don't know how long we had her. One week, two years. No idea. I do know that she was smarter than all of us, and was able to reach outside the cage, open the lock, no problem. She also enjoyed laying on her back with her butt up against the baseboards, so she could peel my mother's wallpaper off in what I'm guessing was very satisfying strips. Oh, Peaches! From this experience, I know that these raccoons will never be stopped, and I should just let them sleep in our bed, and be done with it.

Then came the menacing squirrel. I grew up in a college town where the squirrels were not only unafraid of people, they fully expected a little interaction, and possibly a snack. Here they are not so bold. Nearly two decades in California have lulled me into a complete mad squirrel lack of awareness. When we were teenagers, my friend Paige had a squirrel that lived in a tree in her yard that was so aggressive she would have have to take detours to avoid walking past it. The dude totally had a problem with her and would charge as soon as she neared the yard. I know this was the true. I just never thought it would happen to me. Cut to me planting sad little rows of plants in our front beds when we first bought our house. This was before I hired our dreamy landscape designer and her crew to make a garden out of our dirt yard. In my pregnant hubris, I thought I could do it all on my own. So there I am big as a barn, kneeling down in the dirt planting lavender and I hear this clicking sound. It's coming from a tree in the yard across the way that hangs over the street. I can see the leaves rustling, but I don't see anything. I go back to my gardening. All of a sudden, in my peripheral vision, I see something darting under the gate. Then in a flash it's running over my feet, down the hill, back under the other gate. It was a squirrel drive-by! It ran back up into the tree and continued it's crazy clicking and limb shaking. It was letting me know that I was on it's turf, and I'd better be moving on. It took me weeks before I could go out there without bobbing and weaving, ducking and tiptoeing.

The next outdoor nuisance are the cats. Our neighborhood is filled with outdoor cats. I'm all for cats. I had THREE when I met Nipper, including a striped one named Pagoda, who could jump onto my shoulder from the floor and remain there while I brushed my teeth or put on eyeliner. She was like a circus cat, and I loved her more than shoes. Soon after Nipper and I got married, she began pooping on his pillow. I guess this was her subtle way of saying "you betrayed me". So Pagoda went to live with friends, as did the other two cats eventually, because... oh, besides the whole crap on the pillow thing, Nipper Knapp is so allergic, they almost killed him. My dad finally shamed me into giving them away during a very tear filled New Years Eve dinner. Thanks Dad. Sorry Nipper. SO it's not like I'm not a cat lover. But these little m-effers have NO shame. I could deal with a little poo in the flower beds. I get it. The guy's got to go. BUT this is beyond the pale. These cats poo EVERYWHERE! They leave their poo on the lawn. They leave it on the patio. When we got our satellite dish installed, we noticed there was poo on the roof. Seriously? This is not normal cat behavior. Are these fight club cats or something? Just before a party we had last year, I opened the front door, and there was a little pile of kitty poo on the welcome mat. Same to you jerk.

Cue the plague of locusts. When we first moved here, I was 8 months pregnant. One night I was lying on the couch in the dark watching tv when I sensed something gliding over my head. Then WHOMP, a bird hit the coffee table. Ok, not a bird, but something heavy. In the primordial portion of my brain, I knew. There was only one thing it could be. I calmly walked upstairs and informed Nipper that we had to sell the house. And I was going to a hotel until it was sold. FLYING COCKROACHES. We had flying cockroaches. IN OUR HOME. The people at Terminix said they are American Brown Cockroaches, and our neighbors, said "oh the Junebugs?" Well, I don't care what you call them. They are crunchy and they fly, and I would prefer not to share the planet with them, much less my house. Since we hired the pest control people we've not had a single one in the house. But they don't seem to be willing to create a poison bubble around my house so thick, that as the bugs fly in, they just drop from the sky. So inflexible.

This next intruder, poses two problems. I find it alarming, and Nipper won't go near it. He's not "scared" per se. He's just a conscientious objector. Two days ago, while Jack was napping, I went outside to water the raised bed. I was too lazy to actually go down below and water from the ground. So I was running the hose off the side porch. As the water rained down over the blueberry bushes, I caught a flash of silver slithering, and then LEAPING from the bed onto the wall behind. What the what??? I thought it was a snake, and then realized, that snakes don't jump. OMG. It was a giant lizard, and it was trying to hide in the creeping fig on the wall, but I could still see it's foot long tail and a CLAW. A giant silver lizard has been eating my seedlings and burrowing under my watermelon. I was blaming the raccoons. Poor innocent Peaches.

Which brings me to the final blow to my dreams of urban farming. So this next bit of injustice, I might have brought on myself. The worlds most disgusting mushroom is sprouting in my front beds. These are the beds we water with grey water from the bath. Coincidence? I don't know. We don't have fungus spores in our bath water do we? The thing smells terrible. Like fetid frog farts. It's about 7 inhes tall, and slimy. It looks like, let's just say it, a hobbit penis. What is this thing, and why is it ruining my life?

When we moved here, I was all pregnant and glowing, and nesty. I had a vision of myself like Annette Benning in American Beauty, all stepford wifey in my clogs and pearls, plucking ripe fruit and placing it in a little French basket. Instead, I'm like Rambo out there alone on the front lines just trying to save my last little bit of dignity from the animals that run this town.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Love letter to Nipper Knapp

Dear Nipper Knapp,

Yesterday you met me at Le Pain Quotidien even though you hate it there. You ate an omelette and even said you liked it. You didn't sigh or heave your menu at me when you discovered they don't serve soda. You didn't roll your eyes when Jack refused the fancy soup, and ate only the slice of melon on the side of my tartine. When the waiter took 15 minutes to take our order, you didn't shout "You're effete and overpriced and I hate you!"

At my request you painted the entire downstairs of our house "apricot fluff" even when you knew it was in fact pink.

This is my favorite picture of you. I like it for two reasons. The first being that I think you look like the Marlboro Man (minus the cancer part). I also like it because I took it in NY. You hate NY. NYC did it's best to crush your tender soul. Still you go there with me on vacations. You eat sushi, and visit with friends, and take rides the subway. You never threaten to throw yourself off the Brooklyn bridge or throw poop at people who make a face when we tell them we live in LA.

You are a good man and I love you.

p.s. when you are done reading this, I need some help with this little problem I have in the downstairs bathroom. Won't take but a minute...

Sunday, September 6, 2009

1,2,3, MAGIC!

Ok, so we've had an interesting development this week in Jack's behavior. He's been testing his boundaries a little bit, which is totally normal. Everything is "No Mommy" or No Daddy". But nothing too devastating. He's just saying it. As in "Do you want to take a nap?" "No Mommy." And then 4 minutes later he's snoring.

There is however, one area where this "No" business is growing troublesome. Getting in the car. He likes to get into the driver seat. He likes to sit on the back seat next to his car seat. He likes to procrastinate getting to the car, by stopping short and turning to stone, immoveable.

Last week I saw a mother talking to her daughter who was not on her best behavior. She said "I'm going to count to three". I thought "Hey, that's a good idea". It's like saying, "I'm going to let you misbehave only so long, and once I've gotten to three, you'd better be done, or there's going to be consequences".

So, we're all getting in the car the other day, and Jack is noodling around in the front seat, and I say in as firm a mom voice I can manage "Jack, I'm going to count to three and you'd better be in your seat." Lo and behold, he hops to it, scrambling over the arm rest, leaping into his seat, and buckling his own seat belt, all the while saying in his most desperate voice "No Mommy, no Mommy!" Nipper looked at me like "What did you just do to our child?"

The truth is, I have no idea! I never threatened any consequence. It's not like one time I counted to three and then spanked him or took his toy away or anything. I just counted to three. It was like magic.

Two nights ago, he was dawdling at the bottom of the stairs. He didn't want to go up and take a bath at bedtime. Standing behind him, I said "Don't make me count to three". OH MY GOD. He was up the stairs faster than was probably safe for a toddler to climb. Again, crying out "No Mommy, no Mommy, NO!" Incredible.

The weird thing is, now, when he knows he's doing something bad. He asks me to count to three, so he can pretend to be terrified, and cry "No Mommy". What a strange family charade. We are raising a drama queen.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Can we just talk about a few things?

First of all, no one has any money right now. This I know. And I think it's just plain mean for designers to keep coming out with cute things that they KNOW we are all going to want to buy. Bastards! Since having Jack, and buying a house, and contributing to a retirement fund, so we don't end up like Jean Valjean, I don't have a lot of money laying around for pretty things anymore. There was a time in my life when I thought it was a totally appropriate treat to buy myself an $700 handbag, because I thought "Hey Sassafras, you've earned it". How I thought I had earned it, I'm still puzzling out, but none the less, my life was filled with pretty little treasures.

Nowadays, I'm agonizing over the sale prices on baby clothes, and trading in my former trinkets for new drywall, and better plumbing. But there are few small things, I've decided I can't get through the winter without, and I thought I'd share.

The first item is a pair of Marc by Marc Jacobs tights. Sadie saw them in the runway show, and emailed them to me. Both of us figured they would never actually sell them in the store, and they would just be another awesome runway accessory that we'd have to dream about. Last week, Sadie got a call that a dress she had ordered was in at the MJ store. Since it was more expensive than their usual stuff, she asked me to come along and tell her if it was worth it. It was a lucky day for both of us. The dress was cute, but it wasn't cute enough for what they were asking. BUT, there on the wall were our tights! We took a pair in each color into the dressing room and tried them on. They are thick like leggings. half silk, half cotton. They look like raggedy ann, dressing for fall. I got the turquoise and she got the violet, and we swear we are going to share them. RECESSION LEGGINGS!!!!

The next little treasure only set me back about $6. It's a new color by OPI called Russian Navy. I like to keep my nails super short because I can't stand the feeling of them catching on things, they don't chip as easily, oh, and, I think it looks tres chic with a dark color like this.

The next piece, is a little bit of a splurge, but it was heavily subsidized by a birthday gift from Nipper's mom (thanks Meema!) They are made by Fiorentini + Baker, and they are apparently very well made, but I don't really care about that because they are cute, cute, cute. Nipper Knapp asks me how things are going on Tatooine when I where them. Sometimes he just shouts "Luke, I am your father" as I pass by. What does he know. Sadie got them in dark brown, but I couldn't resist this delicate grey suede. SO girly for a motorcycle boot.

The last item up for bids is so pretty that my chest actually hurts a little bit when I look at it. My chest also hurts because of the hefty price tag and the knowledge that this little doodad will not be keeping my wrist warm this winter. J Crew is offering this through their personal shoppers. It's $2800. Which is, I'm told, a GREAT price for a vintage Rolex. Whatever. I had to include it anyway. I'm not usually big on jewelry. I'd rather accessorize with shoes, or a scarf, or a toddler. Also damn you all the hell J Crew. Quit trying to ruin my life...

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

I'm going to make like 5000 of these (sorry Nipper)

I was cruising
design sponge last week, and I found this bird mobile in their DIY section. It's from a fabric shop in Philadelphia called Spool. They have the pattern for the birds that you can download as a pdf. I'm kind of obsessed. I made two so far with bits and pieces of fabric I had laying around. I have mountains of fabric laying around, and I will apologize to no one. I had to stuff mine with cotton balls because when I sat down to sew, I forgot that I didn't have any cotton batting laying around, and I wasn't going to venture out into the inferno to get it. For those of you who live under rocks, or maybe my blog is the only source of news you have, Southern California is on fire, oh and Barack Obama won the presidency last fall. I'm sure some genius over at Fox news will find a connection somehow. Don't fret.

Here is an incredible view of it:

And here is a shot of it from the bottom of our hill:

Ok, so mine look like shit. They are overstuffed and look like they're on steroids.

I can't figure out how they got the ends of their tails to sew up so neatly. Mine are all Edward Scissorhandsy, like most of my sewing projects. I think my blog should be subtitled "memoirs of a craft disaster". I suck. I'll keep trying. The word of the day on Sesame Street was "persistent". Man that show is inspirational sometimes. Except when Baby Bear is on. That kid's a real downer, and a bad role model. Hate him.