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Saturday Morning Ramble


I already Twittered this but Fhwrdh and I lucked into Radiohead tickets for tonight and I am beside myself with excitement. I realized this is my first live music show since having kids.

Just for perspective, Jelly is ELEVEN.


The other day Birdy was skipping around singing The Battle Hymn of the Republic. I noticed the words were different and remembered how we used to sing it when I was in grade school.

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the burning of the school. We have tied up all the teachers and we’ve broken every rule.

My goodness if you sang that today you would be brought up on terror charges! Anyway, I asked, “What are you singing?”

“The ManU fight song!”

Note: Manchester United is a very famous soccer team from England. Not only does my precious little baby not know she is singing an American Civil War tune, she is supporting ManU? Even when they aren’t playing Chelsea? Ugh.


Birdy has a new little post up over at her little nest. This one she typed all by herself! Yay!

posted under funny, kids, thinkings | 1 Comment »

Mid- St. Patricks Day Update


Dublin is alight with color (or colour)  and merriment and tourists.

We dove into the city yesterday morning for the big city-wide scavenger hunt sponsored by Denny Sausages. Denny is the biggest brand in Ireland and even appears in James Joyce’s Ulysses. As a girl reared on Oscar Meyer Turkeydogs, I cant get used to the texture of the Denny Pork sausage, but if they want to sponsor a scavenger hunt, I’m all over it.

Right away we saw teams of people with their scavenger packs, many in crazy costumes, running to and fro, and getting quite soaked. Did I mention it POURED yesterday? No? Well my friends, it POURED yesterday.

Just a note about the weather in Ireland: the Emerald Isle is famous for being a rainy wet bog of peat moss. Though it does rain here, and, unlike Los Angeles, there are four distinct seasons, I have found it rare for it to rain all day long. My husband likes to say we get all four seasons every day.

Of course, yesterday, it  rained all day long. We looked at the locations the hunt was going to take us to and quickly decided that winning all that great Denny Sausage merchandise wasn’t worth getting soaked and tired for. We stuffed the papers into fhwrdh’s backpack and tried to find some lunch.

Tonight we have a babysitter and are going back into town for fine dining. Or, as I like to call it, foin doining.

I Tricked You!


Ha the joke is on you! You thought I was going to take off and leave my blog to moulder in the dank undergrowth of the internet - but no! I am still here. Time for the weekend in review:

Saturday was Birdy’s birthday and I dashed off that birthday post before we left for her special day out at the museum and out to dinner. We went to Collins Barracks in Dublin which houses the Museum of Decorative Arts as well as the Museum of Old-Time Soldiering*. Being with a nine year old birthday girl precluded us from seeing the soldier part and we enjoyed room after room of Irish design, from clothing to furniture and old collections of stuff that someone thought looked good together. Birdy especially enjoyed hanging out with family friends Side Order and her husband The Swede

Currently on exhibition is the Sea Stallion, an amazing example of living archeology. In Denmark, they dug up the ancient hull of a Viking ship. Through testing the wood, they discovered that the ship was constructed in Ireland, and they commenced to reconstruct the ship using computer blueprints created from the original vessel. When they finished they got a crew together and sailed from Denmark all the way to Dublin. They learned a lot about how tough vikings were! Near the Sea Stallion is a geocache but I wasn’t able to go look for it because it was raining and I was trying to be a good mom and focus on Birdy. Oh well, next time I take the kids to the zoo we are stopping and I am totes finding it.

After the museum we went to Birdy’s favorite restaurant Milano. It’s an Italian restaurant that has nice food, but my kids adore it for the children’s menu. They get to order a real starter, main, and desert and it even includes a bambinoccino: warm milk frothed and dusted with chocolate. The staff at the restaurant did a great job celebrating with us and we all had a delightful dinner.

I found it!Sunday was the day I was waiting for. No kids birthdays so I could go back to my selfish self and drag the family on a long cache-expedition. We walked all around Dun Laoghaire and out on the pier were to beautiful views of the Irish Sea. Check out my glee in these candid photos taken by fhwrdh.

Recording my infoFun!

*This is not really the name of the museum, it should be though.

First Day of School!


Yep first day of school - don’t they look like nice little children?

They are tricking you! Their rooms are a mess and they are up to no good!


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A Year Abroad


August 6 marked our first year as residents of Ireland. This has been the most amazing and wonderful journey of my life and I have learned so much. I realize I have not blogged as much as I should about all the incredible things I have been doing - but I have been out doing incredible things! (is that even an excuse?)

If you are remotely interested, here is a recap of this year:

We arrived and set about looking for a house right away. It was important to get the kids settled before school started. We found a semi-detached (we share a wall with the neighbors) in a little town called Glenageary. Glenageary means field of sheep and the towns claim to fame is being the childhood home to Sinead O’Connor. From our back windows we can see the Irish Sea, James Joyce Tower (where Ulyses begins), and a castle.

Our next big job was getting the kids into school. We had organized them places in a local school, but when we showed up the first day they looked at us like we were from another planet. Jelly picked that moment to show off the absolute worst behavior EVER. When the principal offered to shake hands with him, he actually grabbed it and licked her! AAAAAA!!! We were shown the door and I yelled at him all the way home.

To get Hellcat into a school I had to join the parish church to get the pastor to sign an entrance form. so I dutifully churched it up and actually enjoyed myself - until I shocked the entire congregation by slurping the communion wine a little too loudly. Helly got into a lovely little school with one teacher per grade. She is enjoying being a big fish in a little pond.

Jelly was another story. I wasn’t able to find my boy a place in school until December! I tried homeschooling him with some books lent to me by Helly’s school, but we both found that homeschoolers have a special kind of crazy we do not possess. He finally got into a wonderful boy’s school with an aide who is perfect for him.

We set about seeing Ireland and the rest of Europe. We took long weekends in London, Venice and Paris, as well as exploring Dublin, Galway, Cork and even took in an American Football game in Belfast (go Rebels!) Paris was especially my favorite - we had a little apartment close to Notre Dame Cathedral that made us feel like real Parisians.

The things I miss about Los Angeles are my family and friends. At first I was wishing for a CPK Barbeque Chicken Salad, but the withdrawal symptoms soon subsided as I enjoyed Guinness after Guinness and fish and chips after fish and chips.

Poker is stabilizing - I am starting to get my concentration back for the long tourneys and my finishes are getting higher and higher. Baby steps are good right?

I will blog more - now - the kids go back to school tomorrow! ROCK!

Decade Mom


Seven years ago I wrote this:

Three-year-old boys are usually not very interesting people.Perhaps you work with someone who is a parent of a three-year-old boy. Once you get past the general stats (yeah, my boy can throw a football - he’s got some arm I tell ya), the requisite compliment of the photo/original artwork/unrecognizable craft project (wow. Your kid made that gluesparklethingy himself? wow.) What is there to say after that? What? There are only two major things that can possibly make a three-year-old boy interesting:

Good Luck:
Inheritance - everybody loves rich people, right?
Beauty - Macaulay Culkin will never be so loved as when he was a preschooler
Talent - I saw a 3-year-old kid who could play zydeco accordion on a talk show once
Brains - that cuddly kid over there can compute pi to the 784th place! Woo!

and Bad Luck:
Poverty - Save the Children wouldn’t show those hungry kids if it made people turn the channel
Disability - did you see that poor kid with the deformity/wheelchair/freckles?
Mishap - orphans, toddlers who fall down wells, survivors of crime and accident are riveting.

I am a parent of a three-year-old boy. He is bad luck interesting. Pervasive Developmental Delay. Autistic Spectrum Disorder. Sensory Integration Disorder. Asperger Type Symptoms. He is still learning to speak. He is socially inept - he may mistake hitting or headbutting as friendly gestures. He can’t stand certain textures of food, strong smells, or high pitched sounds. People find him interesting. They ask questions.

“Autistic? Are you giving him extra oxygen?” Perhaps you thought I said Asthmatic.
” What’s his special talent? You think he could count cards in Vegas like Rain Man?” He can freeze water with his mind.
“Can he read your mind?” Ummmmmmmmm…

They comment:

“He doesn’t look autistic.” Uh, Thanks?
“I’m so very sorry - how is your family handling it?” He didn’t die. This is part of his personality. He wouldn’t be him without it.
“You are an inspiration.” You wouldn’t say that if you knew I served my child pizza for dinner 5 nights in a row.

My favorite is when people give me parenting advice. The best comes from people without kids.

“He just needs some attention.” I spend 20 hours a day with him - what more can I do?
“He just needs some discipline.” Oh yeah - I’ll be sure to crack the whip until he understands what a napkin is.
“Don’t worry - He’ll grow out of it.” Thank you Dr. Stupid. I feel much better now.

So what, you ask, am I supposed to say to you, mother of the little boy spinning in circles, eating rocks, humming, repeating the same phrase over and over? I’ll tell you. Find a Good Luck Interesting thing about him and say it.
“What a beautiful smile!”
“That is the fastest spinning I’ve ever seen!”
“He knows the names of all the planets! What a smart kid!”



My boy is ten years old today! Happy Birthday Jellyface! He goes to regular school in a regular class and if you ask him how he’s doing he will say “I’m great! A liiiiiiittle autistic, but great!”

He is still processing what autism means. Over the past two weeks he tried to see if he could get away with clowning in class “autism means I’m goofy!” and wiggle out of homework “I cant do all of it, I’m too autistic” but neither ploy worked. I guess he learned autism isn’t an excuse - but he also knows that it isn’t something he needs to fight. He has had fights with his sister over weather doctors should try to cure autism. My favorite quote from that was “I don’t NEED a cure. I LIKE being autistic!” yelled at the top of his lungs.

I like him just the way he is too. I only wish I’d known when I wrote the above piece how Good Luck Interesting autism could be, and how wonderful it is to have a goofy little kid as my son.

posted under kids | 6 Comments »

Guessing Game


My son is nine years old and does his own homework. Sure I look it over, but other than basic spelling and grievous grammar errors, I try to let him hand in work that is really his. Here is last night’s.

Can you guess who my boy is writing about?

It lives in Africa.
It is six metres long.
It is a shiny coat with spots.
They are for neck fighting.
In order to pump blood to its head.
It eats leaves and shoots from trees.
So that it can be immortal against attack.

An immortal, blood pumping neck fighter that eats leaves and shoots from trees?

It can only be a deadly ninja giraffe!

posted under kids | 1 Comment »

New Little Blogging Bird


So hellcat has a blog - she writes it, I help her edit and spellcheck - but otherwise its all her.


Check it out - though it is even lighter than mine on the poker content.

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How Not to Write


OK so I know I was all stoked about writing a book in a month. I did a good job on the first day and was all “man, I bet I could write about TWO novels in 30 days!”.

But then Jelly got into school. There were uniforms and track suits and books to buy. One more lunch to pack in the morning. One more kid to rouse out of bed at 7am GMT and nag until 8:20am GMT.

And Helly got headlice. Fancy Irish ones that were equipped with tin whistles and danced jigs as they gave you the finger and dare you to come at them with a louse comb. Luckily, there is not FDA or EPA here and you can put Malathion* on your kids head for twelve hours and napalm the little bastards just like Apocalypse Now. That will teach little parasitic insects not to live on my baby (or give me the finger).

Then I went to the Knitting and Embroidery Fair and picked up some sweet projects to cross stitch.

So lets just face it. I am an essayist. I have the attention span to write passionately for about 2 hours. Then I lose interest and move on to something else. Perhaps one day I’ll have a collected essays published. Then I shall sit at a desk and you can line up and I’ll sign a book for you. Rawk

(*I didn’t buy the 12 hour Malathion treatment, though that is the one the pharmacist recommended. I ended up doing a 10 minute poison conditioning treatment and hand combing the bugs out. One word: shudder.)

Factys Faves:

Election Commentary: Utter Wonder - The best explanation about what happened Tuesday on the internet.

New Stuffed Toy: a sampler of things - Shaky Bacon is Mister Toasts friend.

Internet Resource: stuff from home - mmmmmmmmmmmmm Jif creamy

posted under kids, weirdo me | 2 Comments »

Do You REALIZE How Great I Look in a Tiara?


This meme reached me as I was getting dressed for the Oscars. My daughter was resisting putting on her gown and gloves but I insisted - we were going to miss the opening!. She relented and we made our way downstairs. Suddenly she balked. She ran back upstairs and scrambled back with the purple bathmat from the kid’s bathroom.

“We need a red carpet, right?”

Thats my girl! We made fhwrdh pretend to take pictures of us as we blew kisses and regally walked over to the couch where our soda and cookies and popcorn awaited. I took off my tiara ’cause it was kinda itching me and we enjoyed the pageantry.


Four Jobs I’ve Had In My Life in LA:

1. Tour Guide at Universal Studios
2. Page at Paramount Studios
3. Personal Assistant to a Famous TV and Movie Producer
4. Script supervisor on an unreleased feature film

Four Movies About LA I Could Watch Over And Over:

1. Repo Man
2. Short Cuts
3. Adaptation
4. Clueless

Four Places I’ve Lived All Over L.A. (With Food Memories From Each):

1. Melrose Avenue (Sundried Tomato and Riccotta Ravioli at Cafe Luna )
2. La Cienega (Sag Paneer and Chicken Korma takeout)
3. Glendale (Armenian Mystery Meat from the lady next door)
4. Sherman Oaks (Tuna Melt and big Dill Pickles at Jerry’s Deli)

Four LA-Themed Shows I Love(d) To Watch:

1. Entourage
2. CHiPs
3. Emergency!
4. Arrested Development

Four Places I Would Vacation At In LA:

1. Disneyland
2. Magic Castle Hotel
3. Hollywood Roosevelt
4. Georgian Hotel

Four LA-Based Websites I Visit Daily:

1. Defamer
2. LAist
3. Bill Rini
4. Perez Hilton

Four Of My Favorite Foods Found In LA:

1. Steak at the Pacific Dining Car
2. Margaritas at El Cholo
3. Coconut Soup at Chan Dara
4. the Tasting Menu at Ca Del Sol

Four Places In LA I Would Rather Be Right Now:

1. sneaking onto a closed set
2. hiking through the scrub in Malibu State Park
3. catching a show downtown
4. showing the kids a museum (Except maybe MOMA - I’ll save that for when they are older)

The PTA Ladies (who are welcome to borrow my blog

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