Zombies vs. Birth Control

I am a mother. I am a wife. I am a professional. I have interests and hobbies. I work out sometimes. I cook at least once a week. Sorry, meant to say I cook at most once a week. But when I do, I cook multiple meals. And I don’t do white starches… bonus point!

I say all this to communicate the fact that I am a busy woman. I barely have time to floss my own teeth, but I do. Because it’s important. Unless I forget. Which I do. A lot.

Lately, I’ve been forgetting quite a few things — important things. Like packing the kids their lunches or my husband’s first name.

But last Friday was the kicker. I forgot to take my pill. You know the one. THE pill.

There are times when I could forget to take the pill every freakin’ day and it wouldn’t make a difference. There are other times, though, when it MATTERS VERY MUCH. This was one of those times.  I was in a semi-state of panic for 5 whole days.

And then I wasn’t.

I decided I needed some help.

Me: Hey you! Husband! Is it Russell? Yeah, Russell. I think you need to get snipped.

Russell: Okay.

Me: Really? You don’t mind.

Russell: Nope. I’m good.

Me: Wait. I’m serious here. You act like it’s no big deal. Like you don’t care one way or the other.

Russell: Of course, I care! This is a big decision. I mean, think about it. I am eliminating my ability to procreate and replenish the Earth should the need arise due to a zombie apocalypse.

Glass of white wineRecommended wine: If you or a loved one are planning on getting snipped, I suggest you give it serious consideration over a glass of wine. Try Zombie Zinfandel. It’s blood-red in color (of course) and horridly rich in concentrated fruit flavors with a finish that never dies!


100 Things You Probably Don’t Know About Me

I read somewhere that on your 100th blog post you should write 100 things about yourself. So, in honor of my 100th post, I present to you…

100 Things that You Probably Don’t Know About Me

  1. I am embroiled in an unhealthy and one-sided love affair with cheap wine.
  2. A colleague and I were once driving in South Africa when we were pulled over by men carrying big guns. When I tell the story now, I say we were pulled over “at gunpoint.” The guns were pointing somewhere… just not at us.
  3. When I was a kid, I wanted to name my future daughter Phronsie Brett, after a character in The Five Little Peppers.
  4. The first time I cried from joy was when my parents told my sister and I that they were going to have a baby. I was ten years old. It was Christmas morning, 1980.
  5. I resent getting old.
  6. The happiest hour of my life was the hour after my husband proposed to me.
  7. I can flip a quarter off my elbow and catch it in my palm.
  8. I learned to drive on a stick shift.
  9. The only time I ever heard my father swear was when he was teaching me to drive.
  10. During the summer between fifth and sixth grade I read 52 books. I thought I was a shoe-in for the Summer Reading Contest. Turns out I was wrong. Another girl won. She read 53 books. Her name was Sally Sokolowski.
  11. Some of my favorite family memories consist of holding séances with my cousins at my grandparents’ house.
  12. The last time I cried from happiness was when I received a 21-seond personal video message from Sean Stephenson.

  13. I once broke up with a boyfriend the day before my birthday. That night a girlfriend took me out to get drunk. Then we decided to dye my hair. It didn’t turn out well.
  14. The hardest I’ve ever laughed was the afternoon that my sister, Angela, and I decided to wax our underarms. I lost my nerve and couldn’t pull off the wax. We spent over two hours trying to melt it off my right armpit using matches.
  15. I am an expert in absolutely nothing.
  16. When my sister, Cori, was a baby, I used to take toys away from her before she was done playing with them. I then handed her something else that I thought was more interesting. When I was in college I was an intern for a PhD student doing a research study on this exact behavior. Turns out mothers who do not allow their children to naturally choose which toys to play with do serious damage to their kids. Sorry, Cor.
  17. I was once slapped by an old woman in the streets of Nepal.
  18. When I was a teenager I would regularly fantasize about going to a pep rally before the “big game.” In my fantasy I would be overcome by the heat of the bonfire and faint into the arms of a cute boy who would instantly fall in love with me.
  19. I’m judgmental and petty. Not all the time. But more often that I like.
  20. I have epilepsy. Several times I’ve lost consciousness and was caught by a cute boy. It sucks.
  21. I am terrified of screwing up my children.
  22. I broke my nose in high school when I was playing right field in a softball game. Pop fly. I lowered my glove for some reason, which allowed my face to catch the ball. When I tell the story, I played shortstop and the batter hit a line drive.
  23. The six weeks I spent in Africa were simultaneously the best and worst six weeks of my life.
  24. I’ve walked barefoot over hot coals three times, walked barefoot over broken glass twice, and broken an arrow with my throat.

  25. I got caught shoplifting from Wegmans grocery store when I was in middle school. Turns out that eating from the bulk food bins with no intent of paying for what you’ve eaten is considered stealing.
  26. I make killer ice cream.
  27. Parenting doesn’t come naturally to me. What? You didn’t know?
  28. I fish for compliments.
  29. The most emotional years of my life were in 1984, 1992, 1994, 2005, 2009, and 2012.
  30. I accidentally flooded my class toilet in Kindergarten because the bathroom was out of toilet paper. I used paper towels instead. The teacher was pissed. She made all the students in class put their heads down on their desks in silence. The intent was that we stay that way until the culprit confessed. I never did.
  31. I care terribly what you think. (It doesn’t even matter if I like or respect you.)
  32. I became engaged to be married at 5 years old. My marriage proposal came from a boy of the same age. He sent it by mail. It was written in white chalk on black construction paper.
  33. My first concert ever was Captain and Tenille.
  34. When Zaffron was born I was terrified of her. Russell took care of her almost exclusively for the first three days.
  35. When I was a kid I had a huge thing for men with mustaches. HUGE.
  36. I had a very happy childhood.
  37. I idolize Harry Chapin.
  38. I won “Most Original Costume” in my elementary school’s costume contest. I was a McDonald’s French Fry Guy. When the local newspaper lined up the various winners on stage to take a photo, my ping pong ball eyeball fell off and bounced off the stage.
  39. I’ve travelled to thirteen countries: Canada, Mexico, Japan, Thailand, Nepal, Swaziland, South Africa, Cote d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Australia, Belize, France, and South Korea.
  40. I’ve fallen in love exactly three times. I’ve never fallen out.
  41. When I was a kid the worst punishment I could receive was being grounded from the family typewriter.
  42. I was a horrible mother to Mgazi for the first 6 months.
  43. I do a mean imitation of a horse.
  44. Last August, I climbed the Waimea Bay rock with the intent of jumping off into the ocean. I lost my nerve. I’ve been marinating in self-imposed humiliation ever since.
  45. I once told a joke to a captivated crowd of family friends that lasted over twenty minutes. The joke was about a giant pink gorilla. I killed it. (The joke, not the gorilla.)
  46. Sometimes I think that Post-Paris Kristine is just a figment of my imagination.
  47. When I was in high school I had a pin on my denim jacket that read, “Once I thought I was wrong, but I was mistaken.” I thought it was original.
  48. My sixth grade class had an ornament-making contest. I made a balsa wood Christmas tree hanging in a balsa wood oval frame. I got disqualified because the teachers thought I didn’t do the work myself. The winner was Sally Sokolowski. She made a God’s eye. Have you ever seen a God’s eye? I could have made a stupid God’s eye in my sleep.
  49. In high school I had a pen name. Myrtle T. Clearwater.
  50. My favorite vacation with my husband was on a Disney Cruise. Don’t ask me. I’m baffled too.
  51. I cried during the last chapter of the last book of Harry Potter.
  52. I have a horrible memory. I don’t know how old I was when I lost my first tooth or got my period.
  53. I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was a kid.
  54. I was 26 years old before I realized that things don’t always turn out “okay.”
  55. I sucked my thumb until I was in sixth grade. The only reason I stopped was because I picked up a fan (while it was plugged in and turned on) and sliced all the skin off my thumb.
  56. I’m not one of those people who have no regrets.
  57. I have seen the Monkees in concert six times. No, this is not one of my regrets.
  58. I’m sometimes embarrassed to say I’m a blogger.
  59. My mom worked for NutraSweet when I was a teenager. Several types of candy used it as an ingredient at the time and they used to send her logoware. I used to walk around wearing a t-shirt that had “WHOPPERS — The Original Malted Milk Balls” printed across the chest.
  60. I think my first memory is of falling down the basement stairs.
  61. A 911 operator once hung up on me during an actual emergency. (Well, it was my friend, Sam, that they hung up on. But the story flows better if I substitute myself for my friend.)
  62. In sixth grade I auditioned for the lead in the Christmas play. When I sang “O Holy Night” for my teacher, she stopped me short and remarked, “Boy, you sure do sing with your mouth wide open, don’t you?” I didn’t get the part. Guess who did? Sally Sokolowski.
  63. I once had a “run-in” with Owen Wilson in a bar in Waikiki.
  64. My favorite joke of all time is The Pig with the Wooden Leg.
  65. If I knew any famous people, I would definitely name drop.
  66. I think I’m funnier than I actually am.
  67. I have a horrible memory. I have no idea how old I was when I experienced my first kiss or what I said in my wedding vows.
  68. In sixth grade I had the best friend in the world. Sally Sokolowski.
  69. My dad taught me that you never boo at a hockey game. And you always clap for a player who makes a good play. It doesn’t matter which team that player is on.
  70. In high school biology class I dissected a grasshopper and wore his leg on my yellow sweater the rest of the day — like a gruesome corsage.
  71. My favorite and boldest Halloween costume was a short dress accompanied by a a bow with a simple gift tag tied around my neck that read, “To: Men. From: God.”
  72. I adore hyperbole.
  73. My favorite books of all time are: A Prayer for Owen Meany, Life with Father, To Kill a Mockingbird, and Straight Man.
  74. I value honesty more than almost any trait. Honesty made more attractive by decorative details is even better.
  75. When I was a kid, I memorized the Announcer’s Test. My dad taught it to me and my sister during long drives. If we made a mistake, he’d stop and we’d have to wait until the next long drive to try again. My dad memorized it by listening to Jerry Lewis say it, just one time, on the radio. I can still repeat it to this day.
    • One hen.
    • One hen. Two ducks.
    • One hen. Two ducks. Three squawking geese.
    • One hen. Two ducks. Three squawking geese. Four Limerick oysters.
    • One hen. Two ducks. Three squawking geese. Four Limerick oysters. Five corpulent porpoises.

    And on and one until number 10…

    • One hen. Two ducks. Three squawking geese. Four Limerick oysters. Five corpulent porpoises. Six pairs of Don Alverzo’s tweezers. Seven thousand Macedonians in full battle array. Eight brass monkeys from the ancient, sacred crypts of Egypt. Nine apathetic, sympathetic, diabetic old men on roller skates with a marked propensity towards procrastination and sloth. Ten lyrical, spherical, diabolical denizens of the deep who haul stall around the corner of the quo of the quay of the quivery, all at the same time.

  76. When Russell and I were dating, I accidentally backed my car into his ex-girlfriend’s car in a parking lot. It was a total accident. I swear.
  77. I have an intense dislike for the aloha shirt.
  78. I scored in the 97th percentile on the verbal portion of my GMAT. Don’t ask me. I’m baffled too.
  79. I once had a fist-fight with a neighbor boy on my front lawn. I was protecting my sister’s honor. In my version of the story, I won.
  80. During my sophomore year of college I owned and operated a singing telegram company.
  81. I was baptized when I was thirteen years old. It was a full-on dunking.
  82. The first time I got drunk was in eighth grade. Gin.
  83. My mother used to say I was never happy unless I was complaining. Thirty-five years later, I think I finally agree with her.
  84. In sixth grade my friends and I put a girl on trial for stealing my Rubik’s Cube. We appointed her a lawyer and rigged the jury. The verdict came back guilty. We also planted the Rubik’s Cube in her locker. I’ve always wanted to apologize but I can’t remember who we did it to.
  85. My first job was at Kentucky Fried Chicken.
  86. I breast-fed Zaffy until she was 22 months old. By that time she could ask for it by name. (It got a little freaky.)
  87. I believed in Santa Claus until I was in sixth grade. When my parents finally told me the truth I locked myself in the bathroom and alternately sobbed and shouted “YOU LIED TO ME” through the door.
  88. I fervently defend my right to tell my children that there is indeed a Santa Claus.
  89. In seventh grade I started drinking Diet Coke. I hated the taste but kept drinking it because I thought it was cool. Now I crave it.
  90. At the age of forty-two I started drinking coffee. I hated the taste but kept drinking it because I thought it was cool. Now I crave it.
  91. As a kid, I loved to play the 1980 Atari 2600 version of Space Invaders. I even remember flipping the game. (When you reach 10,000 and the score flips back to zero.)
  92. Once I was trick-or-treating at a neighbor’s house and I stood on the wrong side (the hinge side) of the screen door. I could barely see out of my costume and when the lady in the house opened her screen door I didn’t move out of the way. The door knocked me off the porch and into the bushes. My arms were pinned to my sides and I couldn’t move so there I stayed, wedged between the house and her bushes until my sister grabbed my dad from the bottom of the driveway, and he came and pulled me out. The lady was mortified so I got extra candy. Such is the life of a french fry guy.
  93. I’ve gone to a nude beach. I even took off my clothes.
  94. Until recently, I believed that pride was a sin.
  95.  I have never had a cavity.
  96. The best I ever felt about my body was when I was pregnant with Zaffron.
  97. I’m a piss-poor long-distance friend.
  98. Growing up in Buffalo, New York, I had a very sheltered childhood. Everybody I knew was white. There were a couple of black kids in school and one Chinese boy in church. (Where’d you disappear to, Peter Ho?) Except for the congregation at my church, everyone I knew was Catholic. 90% of the kids at my high school were Polish. Imagine my surprise when I got to college and discovered that the Italian boy I had been dating for three weeks was actually from India.
  99. Five days ago I dyed my hair blue.
  100. I love myself.

The Old People Mafia is After My Husband

My husband, Russell, is 44 years old. Not that old, really, for a guy. (I’m 42 which is ancient, but that’s a different story.) Forty-four years old and the AARP will not stop hounding him. Every six months or so he gets another letter in the mail inviting him to “join” their little club.

First, they offered to “fight for his American dream” if only he would sign up for a six-month trial membership. Russell is a full-time executive with two demanding and adorable children, one talented and humble wife, two grossly overweight cats, a lawn that is in constant need of mowing, and a house falling apart at the seams. He simply doesn’t have time for a dream… American, Italian, Vulcan, or otherwise. He threw the letter away.

Then, they offered to send him a free magazine. Russell’s loves free magazines. Russell loves free anything. Luckily this particular magazine is already delivered to his office. Again, he threw the letter away. But I detected a hint of reluctance.

Last year, the AARP continued its relentless attempt to woo my husband into their fold. They offered a one-year membership in exchange for which he would receive hotel, flight, and car rental discounts. They hit the sweet spot. I caught him filling out the application.

“Hey, Russ, you can’t join the AARP,” I said.

“I can,” he said. “I’ve been invited.”

“You are only forty-three years old,” I said.

“They obviously don’t know that.”

“Drop the pen, Russell, and put your hands above your head where I can see them.”

He complied. But I could tell he wasn’t happy about it.

Ultimately, it’s a fight I can’t win. Russell’s latest invitation to join the AARP ranks arrived a week ago. I’ve been seeing the letter and it’s accompanying pre-printed membership card floating around various parts of the house. He’s obviously carrying it around with him as he contemplates what to do.

I know why he’s struggling too. They’re offering a bonus gift. A FREE INSULATED TRAVEL BAG.

He doesn’t stand a chance.


Mgazi Wants Her Own “Partment”

We are in the car. 

Mgazi: Mom, how old do I have to be to live in a room by myself?

Me: You don’t want to share a room with your sister?

Mgazi: No, I want my own partment.

Me: Well, I guess the soonest would be eighteen. You can live all by yourself in an apartment when you are eighteen.

Mgazi: I want to live by myself in a partment when I’m a hundred.

Zaffy: Lulu, you won’t have to live by yourself when you a hundred, you’ll probably be married by then.

Jesus Loves Me More Than I Will Know

Meat Loaf Bat Out of Hell

Go ahead, judge me.

When I was in college I loved music.  The more melodramatic the better. My favorite albums? Bat Out of Hell, Phantom of the Opera, and one of the Mannheim Steamroller Christmas albums. Notice I didn’t say I had any taste.

After college, when I lived on the mainland, I went to concerts all the time. I would like to think that my tastes in music improved (I generally listened to whatever my boyfriend at the time was listening to), but it’s doubtful, so I’m not going to mention my favorites. Since moving to Hawaii in 1997 though, my interest in music has dwindled. I play it for one reason and one reason only – to keep my kids quiet in the car.

Airborne Toxic Event

Airborne Toxic Event

In January, Russell and I attended the Airborne Toxic Event concert at Hawaii Theatre. It was ridiculously fun in no small part due to the opening band, a local group from Ewa Beach called Sing the Body.  They are an Indie Rock duo (Zack Shimizu and Eli Ogumi) and they have a blast on stage. We could feel their energy from our seats  – everyone could. Before Airborne Toxic Event finished their first song, I was telling Russell it was the best concert I’d been to in years. Suddenly, I wondered what I’d been missing music-wise.

So, when I heard that Sing the Body would be playing at Art After Dark on Friday, I was excited to attend. Not only do I like their songs (all six of them), but I give them a bit of credit in reawakening my interest in music.

I arrived at Art After Dark late and in a foul mood. A girlfriend met me at the bar and assured me that I hadn’t missed Sing the Body.  I quickly ordered a white wine and we headed to the area in front of the outdoor stage. It was just starting to drizzle.

My girlfriend and I were chatting about sex or religion or something “grown-up”, since we had left the children at home, maybe it was chocolate, when I noticed the drummer from Sing the Body walking our way. I nudged her, pointed him out, and said somewhat giddily, “I’m going to say something.” He was almost past me when I worked up the nerve to call out.

Cougar“He-eyy! I’m one of your fans!” I flashed him a smile and did a goofy little wave, accompanied by a clumsy curtsy of sorts.

Because he was almost past where we were standing, he had to stop and turn back towards us in order to acknowledge my comment. It was at this moment, when he turned to see who was speaking to him, that two very small but profound events unfolded.

First, the drummer guy blinked his eyes in a funky way right before he smiled and thanked me for liking his band. It was just a fraction of a second, but I think he was registering some sort of shock. I think he was accepting the unwelcome fact that a women old enough to be his mother’s older sister considered herself to be one of his “fans.”

Meanwhile, I was dealing with my own inner turmoil. As he turned, I noticed just above his red moustache and just below his intelligent eyes were cheeks an elderly auntie could not help but pinch. They were the cheeks of a boy. When this guy (Zack or Eli, I don’t even know) is on stage, I see a twenty-something MAN pounding his heart out on the drums. Standing in front of me in the rain might as well have been a fifteen-year old kid. A little gasp, barely audible I pray, popped out of my throat.

Drummer guy continued to smile and we exchanged some pleasantries that I don’t recall because I was too busy reeling from that one moment in time: right after the blink and just before the gasp, when I came to a very upsetting realization:

I am too old for men who are in their twenties.

Married to this guy

Happily married to this guy

This shouldn’t matter to me since I’m happily married. Yet, strangely, it does.

Now, I’ll admit, I could be totally wrong. I could have misread that blink and all that I perceive to be behind it. Perhaps a raindrop had hit the drummer guy directly in the eyeball causing that exaggerated blink, but I don’t think so.

Something is telling me I’m on the money. Something is telling me that the first thought that went hurtling through that musician’s brain was “Coo coo ca-choo, Mrs. Robinson.”

Mrs. Robinson

Glass of white wineRecommended wine: Today I recommend wine. Lots and lots of it. Brand and type don’t matter.