Thursday, September 30, 2010

Cindy Crawford I Am Not

Yesterday I finally became a true Southern Californian. Did I decide to drive rather than walk to my mailbox? Wear flip-flops to work? Refuse to pronounce the letter 't' if buried in a word? No, ­the true mark of any So Cal resident is a dermatological facial wound.

I have had a 'minor procedure' to investigate a suspicious mole. I've had this mole for my entire life and only in the last few years has it become suspect. It is a birthmark on my right cheek that people somewhat generously called a 'beauty mark'. It turned lighter recently, and may have grown a little south but perhaps that's age more than anything. Well, that's what I was telling myself for the last 3 + years before I did anything about it. My doctor did not seem unduly concerned, but suggested we better be safe than sorry. Safe means results in a week and me rocking a weeping facial wound like it ain't no thang. Because that's what people do round here. You see them every day, feet in flip-flops, latte in hand, bandaid on face/shoulder/forearm.

Gauze, it's the new black.

When I woke up this morning my face looked like a war zone. I must have opened the wound in my sleep because the blood had seeped through the bandaid and down my face. Nothing says morning sex like a weeping facial contusion.

Of course the girls were all over it in a second.

"Oh Momma" whispered Anna. "Does it hurt? Can I see? Can I touch it?"

Lucy on the other hand was far more interested in the hows and whys.

"It's nothing Lucy, Mumma just has an owie on her face."
"It's nothing love, it doesn't hurt, but please don't stick your fingers right there"
"Nothing, but maybe now's a good time to put sunscreen on you"
"Lucy, we've been through this"
"I feel like you're not listening to me"
"LK, your baby. Bye!"

Needless to say I'm a little worried about taking the bandaid off. My girls will have a field day. I hope everything's fine. I hope I don't get a massive keloid scar the likes of which I'm sporting on my left shoulder. Apparently they don't generally appear on the face. I know I sound flippant, worrying about aesthetics when they are doing a biopsy, but it's the only thing I am allowing myself to be concerned with right now. The other stuff is unthinkable.

Still, if it truly is a dodgy mole it would be a great reason to move back to the cloud cover of dear old England. On the other hand it might just be cheaper to buy a sunhat.

Sunday, September 26, 2010


Ok, here's one for you:

Last week I had Anna's Back To School Night. For those of you, like me, who are thinking, 'what the chuff is a Back to School Night?' it seems to be a parents evening where the teacher outlines what your children will be doing in the coming year, and then strong-arms you in to volunteering in the classroom.

We all sat in a circle on comically small chairs and Anna's teacher asked us to introduce ourselves, say who our child was, and then pick a word to best sum them up.

Growing up, my surname landed me right at the bottom of the alphabet, and there's nothing a teacher likes to do more than go round the class in reverse alphabetical order. Consequently I have learned to think on my feet. I was sitting to the teacher's left and got to go first.

"Well," I said, "My name is Ali blah blah, my daughter is Anna, and if I had to choose a word to describe her I would say 'verbal'."

Laughter, from the parents of girls.

"She's got an amazing way with words, she's a great communicator and reader, and basically manages to express herself very well".

"Ha!" says Anna's teacher, "if I had to pick a word I would say precocious".


Is it just me or is that a hugely double-edged sword? WTF? Is she saying smart or smart-arsed? People laughed, but I was thinking, really? When has being a precocious child ever been a good thing? Obviously I would prefer precocious to 'brain like a slug', but every other child was described by their parents as 'happy, helpful, creative' etc and she felt no need to interject.

What does it mean?

Monday, September 20, 2010


And to think I had lofty aspirations of posting every day in September.

It's been a busy start to the month, anniversary (13 - lucky for some!), quickly followed by my birthday. That was really poor planning on my part, having my anniversary so close to my birthday. I think in my deliriously loved-up pre-marital state I thought an anniversary near my birthday would mean an Alipalooza of celebrations instead of a 'buy-one-get-one-free' approach that seems to be closer to the truth. Lesson quickly learned when on my honeymoon my birthday present from LK was nothing. He hadn't planned that far you see. Which brings me to one of my favourite sayings, 'why is it always men who seize the day? Because women are already planning for a week next Thursday'. Exactly.

How times have changed. Not only is LK much more on the ball when it comes to at least a birthday card, I now have two very, very, eager little girls willing to plan my birthday within an inch of it's unicorn-themed life. Anna suggested I might enjoy a trip to Pinkberry, followed by the carousel, followed by the candy shop on the wharf, followed by Despicable Me followed by McDonalds. Actually, I must be a 5 year old at heart because that sounds pretty damn good.

What no-one planned for was the nasty flu that slammed in to me like a Category 5 hurricane. I woke up on my birthday in Anna's bed (voluntary quarantine), to streams of mucous and glorious sunshine in equal measure. It was approaching 9 o'clock, and as I'm the only one in the family with anything remotely resembling an internal clock or the wherewithal to set the alarm, I was the only one awake. Anna, Lucy and LK were all sleeping away the first hour of Anna's school day in our bed.

As an aside there was a famous incident in our family where my Mum and Dad did not tell my brother it was his birthday until after he got home from school that day - my Mum found it quite amusing that he was so excited for weeks before and then completely blanked the day of. A tad heartless, but it probably made the morning rush out the door a lot smoother. Not so last week, Anna was more than happy to eat cereal in the car, wear her pyjamas to school, but she would not hear of leaving the house until I (she) had unwrapped my presents. In for a penny in for a pound.

I got an iPhone from LK for my birthday, and he of course got one too, otherwise how would we communicate on different plans?? He is so selfless!! He had been sneaking away funds for months which makes me a little hopeful that maybe he's doing that very same thing for the mortgage, college funds, Hawaii trip etc, except I doubt it.

I am obsessed with my new phone, and really am very grateful to the man who made it all happen, who even cunningly stole my old phone so my new one came complete with all my old contacts. I had the same Neanderthal phone for nearly 10 years. It survived two toddlers, me dropping it every other day, and it even went through several batteries - mostly due to the saliva of small children. It was a bit like my old beat-up Honda, it wasn't pretty but it got the job done and I was never worried about damaging it or having it stolen, but now OMG, like WTF I am a texting fiend (iPhone suggests you mean friend?).

Coincidentally our book club tome this month was 'Super Sad True Love Story' by Gary Shteyngart. At first I hated it; so cynical, so male, so bloody depressing, but the more I fell in love with my iPhone - setting up Pandora radio, creating a Tap Zoo for Anna (OK, for me), the more I appreciated how funny and unsettlingly accurate he was about people's dependence on their 'Apparats'. I am an addict. I no longer wish to 'verbal' with anyone, if you're in the next room I will text rather than bother clearing my throat. This may change when I get my first phone bill, but in the meantime I hope to be Skyping my parents from beachside restaurants, taking fabulous candid photos of the girls, and also buying a cheetah for my Tap Zoo.

Hopefully this will mean I will spend more time posting photos of the girls to this blog, and less time checking facebook but it's not looking good so far is it?

Edited to add, hot off the press:

Anna: "Mom, when you die can I have your iPhone?"
Me: "Only if I die from natural causes."

Friday, September 03, 2010

Don't Say Cock

Nothing reinforces the fact that you live in a questionable neighborhood more than the bible bashers knocking on your door, eager for converts, not having any pamplets in English. I feel like Jesus (sorry Hay-sus) is profiling us. Sorry love, no habla your church.

We do have a lot of Hispanic neighbours, and consequently a lot of chickens in our 'hood. Sweeping generalization? Check out the lower Eastside and tell me how many chickens you can hear, oh and parakeets too. Strange. Anyway, I was off for a walk round the neighbourhood the other day and we disturbed a backyard menagerie, and the rooster (don't say cock! not in this country!) started rooster-a-doodle-dooing. Anna turns to me and says "wow, Momma, I guess he overslept."

Thursday, September 02, 2010

What Is Our Children Learning?

Thanks to George W. Bush for the title of this post.

I love this picture. They look like an old married couple reading in bed. Not tonight Josephine, I have a brand new 'High Five' to scowl at.

So, what IS our children learning? I managed to offend Sissy in a post a few days ago by suggesting that nothing was going on in Anna's Kindergarten class. For that I apologize. Kindergarten is a new experience for all of us. As parents we are learning a lot; what to expect from the classroom, and also how we can contribute, both financially and with our time. As I write this, LK is at a meeting about volunteer options. We have to give 2 hours a week at this school. He has already texted 'is it too late to trade?!'.

Why yes, yes it is.

I do know that teachers work long hours and receive very little support and funding (my Mum was a teacher for most of my childhood). I think perhaps, to quote dear W again, that I have been 'misunderestimated'. I didn't mean that Anna is doing nothing, I was trying to explain that I couldn't get out of her what she had been doing in those 3+ hours a day. The brilliant Jennifer suggested I use some 'strategery' and ask Anna 'what's the weirdest thing that happened at school today?' and it's amazing how that will open up a dialogue, or at least grant you more than an 'I dunno'.

To be fair, most of Anna's replies have centered around the toilet, but I have learned the she's planted peas, drawn a self portrait, made a calendar and, that bastion of the American education system, participated in show and tell.

After much deliberation, she decided to present A UNICORN (falls off chair in surprise).The clues were:

  1. It has four legs
  2. It has a horn, and
  3. It doesn't exist
She was apparently ruthless in her put down of young Skylar* when he suggested a dinosaur, because, duh Skylar, they did exist, just not anymore, but their bones, they do presently exist so take that pleb! I destroy you with Kindergarten semantics....

Lucy meanwhile has been hanging out with some hot chicks:

Which is all the education LK would ever like to achieve.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010


I asked my family what three things have the power to cheer them up the most (being in a bit of a sad mood myself). Their answers:

  1. Flowers
  2. Love
  3. Being with my Mom

Lucy (we imagined):
  1. Ba (bottle)
  2. Boop (boob)
  3. Baw (ball)
  1. My three girls (points given for the speed of the response if not the honesty).

  1. Cash
  2. Check
  3. Money Order

That's terrible isn't it? OK, I'm only joking, my real three are:
  1. Picking my girls up from school at the end of the day
  2. LK making me a margarita
  3. Cash, check, money order.

What are your three?