Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Starving Artists

My boys are great eaters. They will devour anything I put in front of them, as long as it's bread or cookies.

I'm not supposed to freak out about this, but I can't help it. I've been dismissed by seasoned parents with "they're not going to starve." I know this is true. I didn't eat voluntarily until 1986. I remember spreading mash potatoes around my plate to give the impression that bites were taken, because butter, cream, and starch with gravy were still "vegetables".

At 6'8" 225lbs I apparently haven't starved, but I'm pretty sure my 2000 calorie a year diet during those critical brain development years might have left a few holes. I often lose impossible things like pants, there is at least one full waking hour a day that I can not account for, and for the life of me I will never learn to correctly spell the word "excercise."

I'm picking the boys up tonight after work and I'm already anxious about what I'm going to feed them for dinner. Here's Liam's plate last night after he announced "all done".

An exersize in futility

He moved a few pieces of hot dog over to the opposite side of the shells and cheese, and wiped his hands on his pants. He didn't even spread it around. Finn isn't quite so bad, but he's catching up. He can already spot the color green through a corn tortilla fifteen feet away. He used to love bananas, and still requests that I peel them for him, he just doesn't eat them anymore. He'll stand there holding it like a prayer candle for a few seconds, then run off to find a good place to hide it. I eat a lot of linty day-old bananas these days.

I had the brilliant idea that a whole bowl of fruit might entice them. Not only was it attractive, but it put the power in their scurvied little hands.

I'm not sure who the culprit was but that's more apple than I ate prior to college, so it was a greater success than I could have dreamed. Plus my portion was much less linty. 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

We Interrupt your Regular Program...

If any of you have ever been in my store, Sprout, you may have seen the artwork of Sita Rupe. Those super-cool screen-printed onesies? Those are hers.

The fun artwork with great images printed on reclaimed shop wood then coated with resin for a super-shiny finish? Hers too.

Sadly, Sita's husband was recently involved in an accident and was unexpectedly taken from her and their two young children, Lola and Ford.

In an attempt to help Sita and the kids during this time and into the future, a fundraiser has been established, which you can contribute to by clicking here.

And, if you live in or near Healdsburg, I am setting up a temporary Women's Section in Sprout filled with fantastic clothes donated by some of my fabulous friends. There will be everything from casual tees and tanks to formal skirts and dresses - all sold to you for any donation amount you'd like to give. All proceeds will go to the fundraiser.

Sprout will be dontating 100% of the sale of any of Sita's artwork to the family, as well.

For event information, click HERE.

I appreciate you letting me pause from my normal tomfoolery in order to use this format to get the word out - please tell your lady friends in need of new duds to come check out Sprout's offerings (or men who like to wear women's clothing - no judgment!), and in turn help this sweet family.

Thank you,


Sita, Andy, Lola & Ford

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Lucky Number Seven

Monday was my daughter's seventh birthday!!

Only a week before this big event I was getting ready to search the yellow pages for my local band of roving gypsies (but let's be honest - who has paper phone books just laying around anymore? Also, I learned over the summer that 'Gypsy' is a derogatory term and so I didn't know what category to look under if I even found a phone book, anyway).

After a desperate cry to the universe for help with my unruly, head-spinning child, however, she suddenly went back to being the goofy, sweet, farting little ray of sunshine-with-occasional-dark, dark-clouds that I've come to know and love over the last eight years of my life.

Due to odd scheduling and traveling family and all of those other fun quirks that make up attempts at celebrating the birthday of a dual-homed child, Evie got a shit-ton of festivities this year. I don't really think she minded too much.

The first one was with family - we were lucky enough to have some out-of-towner cousins with us...although, being babies and all they were too young for Evie's requested main event:

What's going on here, you ask?

Duh - it's a pie-eating contest, of course!

The next day, we went to the Oakland Zoo. In case you were wondering, the Oakland Zoo is far superior to the San Francisco Zoo, in that only the Chimpanzees looked sad, as opposed to all of the animals. Now you know.

The obligatory Sun-in-Eyes pose

Even though we were in a wonderland of exotic, furry creatures, the kids spent most of their time chasing each other across grassy knolls, playing hide & seek, climbing on things...

Yay Zoo!
And, after the zoo closed, just spinning and spinning and spinning in the parking lot.

Spin! Faster!!

Finally, we had a quiet dinner (steak and mashed potatoes - again, per her request) at home on Evie's actual birthday. Earlier in the day I'd baked her a weird cake, which I tried to disguise as awesome under a lot of fruit. She totally bought it. 

One Happy Girl

It was great - all of it. This kid is clearly going to rock being seven. Sorry, gyps--er, I mean, Romani people...I'm keeping this one for a while longer, she's the freaking best!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Second Breakfast

In this new year I've had to change my "tax status" and I'm wondering if I can, in good conscience, list myself as "Head of Household." Any auditor witnessing life in the Bairdsmith Bachelor Pad would quickly see that's not the case. For example, even though I insisted firmly that it was time to take down the Christmas Tree, I couldn't take any action until Liam gave me his blessing. After some debate he allowed it on the condition that I used the Christmas lights to decorate the TARDIS.

At no time is my indentured servitude more apparent than at breakfast time. Monday was a typical morning:

"No egg! No toast!"

"It's eggy basket! You love eggy basket! Last Monday you left screaming on the bus because you hadn't finished the last two bites of crust from your eggy basket!"

"NO BASKET!...Quesadilla"

So I made a quesadilla. I wasn't surprised for a couple of reasons. The first was the fact that Liam had quesadilla on the brain because the previous night he'd been discussing quesadillas at length. My girlfriend and I were playing Trivial Pursuit and the round pieces with pie wedges apparently looked a lot like quesadillas (P.S. I have a girlfriend now). The second reason was Liam always prefers second breakfast. Fortunately the kitchen is stocked with all the good stuff for making whatever it is that isn't what I already just made.

As his Lordship wishes

Luckily I always make the first breakfast just the way I like because I know I'll end up eating it. Unfortunately, on Monday, it turned out Liam didn't want quesadillas either, even though I'd cut it into six pieces instead of the usual eight in order to give it that added Trivial Pursuit appeal. He was just saying "quesadilla" because he really wanted to take the game pieces that looked like quesadillas and hide them all over the house so I could enjoy finding them for the rest of 2014. My bad.

Luckily I have two sons

So with the bus arriving in just minutes to take Liam away to school, where some day he'll learn the proper use of "simile" (i.e. 'I want the thing that is like a quesadilla', 'Cooking for children is as fun as eating spiders', etc.), I had to figure out a third breakfast.

Enter the cereal bar

Monday, January 13, 2014

The Great Crafty Mod Podge Puffball Revelation

The other night I was searching for instructions on how to cover our boring switchplates with something not-beige. It's something I've always wanted to try, but sometimes I get intimidated by projects that are supposed to have an attractive outcome - especially those that people claim are 'sooo easy'...smug assholes.

In my search I mumbled aloud "I guess I need something called Mod Podge," to which Paul responded "uh, you don't have Mod Podge?!" like it was the craziest thing he'd ever heard!

"Hey!" I snapped (I was PMSing, for the record), "you said you'd never judge me!" Then I got a teensie bit defensive.  "I'm not, you know, one of these crafty people who just have, like, craft supplies just...laying around, jeez! God!"

He carefully and wisely replied "oh, I'm sorry, I guess that did come out a little judgy, didn't it?"

Yes Paulie, yes it did.

The next morning as I was driving to work I realized that I'd been wrong, though. It turns out that I actually am one of those crafty people. Well, hot damn!

As a kid my family made wind chimes, and our summers were spent traveling from town to town, selling our wares at the Cherry Festival, the Blueberry Festival, the Bridge Festival, the Peach Festival, flea markets, art shows, the Annual Flea Roast & Ox Market (where I met Ted Nugent, who might be the ONE celebrity I've ever met that I did not geek out on) - any event that involved people selling stuff, that's where you'd find me for most of my youth.

When I was old enough I borrowed a little corner of our booth space and set up my own table, making and selling custom beaded jewelry - my 'business' was called Amanda's Beadery. Clever, I know.

As an adult I handmade all of my own cards, cutting out bad or funny pictures of myself or other people, gluing them to cardstock, drawing in unexpected scenes, and adding speech bubbles. I had boxes of supplies for all of the crafting I did, I fucking loved sitting down and getting my craft on. So where did that all go?

Over the years and for reasons I will not mention here because this isn't a freaking therapy session, I lost my passion for a lot of things. Writing, crafting, music - you name it. If it had once been an important and major part of how I identified myself and brought me immense joy, somehow, somewhere along the line, it sputtered and died.

I've since re-claimed most of the joy I'd misplaced, and am once again blissed out by all of that I've got going in my life. But crafting - I'd completely forgotten about that. My best guess is that since I moved from a huge house (where my craft supplies were divided between the kids' rooms, which I left behind for them) into a teeny apartment, I just didn't have the space to rekindle that fire. It never occurred to me to allow myself a pile of fabric, Tacky Glue, pipe cleaner, jump rings, Mod Podge and all of the nuts and bolts that come along with creating crafty things.

But I'm not in that teeny apartment anymore. I have space to breathe again - in so many more ways than one. And things are gettin' crafty up in this crib.

Evie's birthday is coming up and we're not doing a party this year, but I still like to add a little flair to the celebration table. I recently came into possession of a shit-ton of yarn scraps, and I just so happened to have read this tutorial on making pom poms. I decided to try it myself.

I had to get creative with supplies

But I managed to get the right idea


It's a start.

Now to go find some of this 'Mod Podge' stuff. And a glue gun. And an exacto knife. And some fancy paper. And...ho man, this is going to be a fun day.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

2013: A Banner Year

It's a new year and I really just want to write about all the exciting and wonderful new things coming up in my life, but it seems ridiculous to ignore the entire year of 2013, so here's a recap...

On paper 2013 was absolute shit. Of all my 39 years alive, it should rank right at the bottom, just below 1991 (the year I farted so loud in geometry class I almost fainted and Color Me Badd was popular). But the odd thing is, even though it was my year for divorce, financial ruination, and autism spectrum disorder diagnosis, I can already tell I'll look back on 2013 with a weird kind of nostalgia. Here's why:

First there's the "official" autism spectrum disorder diagnosis Liam's school psychologist assigned him just days before Christmas. We saw this coming so it wasn't a shock, but I still found myself staring at the kitchen table for a few hours after hearing it. I take it very seriously but the bottom line is, in a few years, when my obviously brilliant son's communication abilities catch up to the other kids' his age, people will be astounded to learn he spent his early years in special ed. It will be that story I share with other new parents when they hear of their own child's development issues. It will be the story that assuages their fears, much like the anecdotes other parents have shared with me when they hear about Liam.

Next there was last year's financial ruination. Whaddayagonnado?! Five years in a house, dropping half of my monthly income on an impossible mortgage, only to be left with a home worth 30K less then what I still owe, a massive debt, and a credit score that would make an embarrassing bowling score. What a learning experience. Any one who has hit rock-bottom knows there's relief in having nowhere to go but up, and I'm on my way. It won't be long before I'm looking back wistfully at my $20 a week food budget.

And finally there's the divorce. I've heard some people say "divorce is the easy way out." I've never heard this from anyone who has actually been through a divorce. There's nothing easy about it. It's sad, painful, and stressful for everyone involved, so how could I ever look on 2013 with anything but bitterness? Well…I keep coming back to this great quote I once heard from Louis C. K….

"Divorce is always good news. I know that sounds weird, but it's true because no good marriage has ever ended in divorce…that would be sad. If two people were married and they really just had a great thing and then they got divorced, that would be really sad. But that has happened ZERO times."

Erin and I had a great run, we really did. And we have two boys who make me celebrate being alive every single day. In the end we weren't as happy together as we both deserved to be, so now we're not together and we can find the happiness we deserve, especially now that the most tumultuous part of the storm has passed.

2013 was a banner year for just about all things lame, but it's in the past and 2014 is looking pretty sweet. Here's to moving forward!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Why are we Facebook Friends?

In no particular order:
Girl I met once when I was out with other friends...some of whom are, apparently, our mutual Facebook friends. So you friended me the next day, and I thought I'd be an asshole if I ignored it because it was too early in my Facebook etiquette knowledge to know it was okay to just 'ignore' people's requests but then continue to be perfectly friendly in person, and they won't even mention it because then they'd seem like creepy stalkers.
Customer at my store who, again, caught me before I knew you could just brush people off. Now it's awkward. You see the cyber-me swear and talk about my real-time life, but we just have our very 'have a nice day' customer/store owner relationship the rest of the time. It's weird. But I can't unfriend you now, because then you might be offended, and we don't want that.
facebookOld classmate from school who I don't remember, despite the fact that our class had a mere 55 people in it, and most of us went to school together from Kindergarten until the day we graduated. I had to ask my best friend from that time who you are, and she told me that we used to hang out in the halls and have a good old time, but really, I have no idea. So I accepted your request because I felt like a jerk for not remembering.
Mom. I had a whole rant to go along with this, but I think 'Mom' is enough all on it's own. 
And on that note...
Most of my Family, or anyone who has a very, very different lifestyle than me and therefore just blocks me anyway. If you need to block me - because we all know I'm not going to censor myself on my own damn page just to cater to your moral code - then why are we Facebook friends? Especially if we literally never interact, at all, on Facebook - or pretty much in life, save the occasional bi-annual phone call or text, or a funeral now or then - do we really need to be FB friends?
Also, why am I friends with anyone who is deceased? I know this is super taboo and inconsiderate to say because we're supposed to hold on to the memory of people forever, and believe me, I'm fine with that. But as their Facebook friend, I don't exactly know what the fuck is going on there. I've unfriended dead people and I stress over it for days afterward - the guilt! But I don't really get it. When I look at old friend requests I see my grandma in there and I feel bad for not accepting it...but...she passed away two years ago (RIP Grandma, love you!), so...yeah, I'm not going to accept her request.
And pets. People - please. Enough with the pets. We all love our pets, they're cute! They do silly things! But pretending to be them on a Facebook page that you manage only shows that you have too much time on your hands and makes me feel annoyed and sad. I don't know why. Maybe I need a pet, and therefore a Facebook page for that pet which I have to update with kooky pictures, and then I'll understand?
But then there's my Facebook friend, These Chickens. Yes, that's right - fucking chickens! I am friends with chickens on Facebook. That's worse than being friends with someone's freaking baby on Facebook. The worst part about the chickens is that they never update their profile or offer funny status updates! Come on, chickens. Get with the program.
But anyway, I digress:
Guy that I went on one sort-of date with and we both knew right away that nothing was there, but we made the mistake of Friending each other before that. Which one of us is going to be the jerk here? We got along well enough and occasionally 'like' each other's shared links, but do we really need to keep up this charade? We don't. Let's not.
Ex girlfriends/fiancees of any of my brothers. You guys aren't together anymore. We will probably NEVER see each other again. Do you care that my tree got cut down? Do I care about who you're kissing now? I'm thinking... no.
Friends and family of my ex.  Some of you I genuinely like but, again, we never interact. You don't comment on my stuff, I don't comment on yours. Nary a 'like'  passes between our posts. Hey - it's cool: we all know the only reason we're still Facebook friends is because we all want the other to know that there's no judgement or hard feelings - no one wants to be the one to 'unfriend' the other. It's okay! Enough time has passed that we don't have to play this game anymore.
Anyone who I would not recognize or know the name of if we met out on the street. How did we become Facebook friends? Who are you? Have we even met? Was I drunk when I accepted that request? *Gasp!* Did I send that request? Shit.
Listen. If you wake up soon and find that we aren't FB friends anymore, don't be offended. It's not you, it's me. Let's just be...well, not friends, I guess. If we run into each other on the street, let's try having a conversation, in person, which we never did online. It'll be a fun experiment!
I'll even give you a thumbs-up.