A Mom’s Got To Do What a Mom’s Got To Do


Jane's soccer team

This was my last soccer mom weekend ever. Jane will continue to play but she won’t play at the park again because she’s planning on playing three sports in high school and you just can’t dance at two weddings. There were moments that it felt bittersweet but it’s mostly exciting that Jane’s moving on. She’s ready and I’m more than ready to have weekends back.

Friday night Jane’s friend Jill slept at the house with us. Her parents had to work so I was taking her for the weekend and with a 6am start to the day it seemed prudent. Well, the 6am start became a 6.30 start. The girls were fine but I seem to have a difficult time leaving the house gracefully. It’s who I am.

We got there in plenty of time and the girls played two games, walked around the UCSB campus and then we went to check into our hotel. My friend Brendan Wayne (yep that Wayne family) was going to stay at the same place and he had two girls with him as well and I can’t even bring myself to recount the 75 minutes we spent in the lobby of the hotel where 20 year old girls skittered and shook and explained to us that there was no hot water because of the earthquake.

Thank goodness for iphones. I happened to have a hotels.com free night available so I booked the Fess Parker and got $150 discount bringing it down to the price it actually should be. Listen, it’s a great piece of real estate but it’s still a Double Tree complete with outdated wallpaper and broken doorknobs and should be priced accordingly.

I took Jill and Jane and headed to the Fess Parker to collapse poolside. We all ordered vacation drinks (gin for me and a virgin pina colada for the girls), fruit plates and sandwiches while we waited for Brendan to show up with the other two girls. I figured they’d grab a room too or they’d join us for dinner and then drive home. What I hadn’t expected was for him to drop off two girls, not even slow the car down and then drive back to LA. Apparently he’s not afraid to jump off horses, but dinner with four teenage girls had him roaring down the 101.

That’s me, four tired and smelly girls and two queen sized beds. Okay. Cool. I can handle it.

I got three of the four girls showered and we headed out for dinner at Arch Rock Fish which was surprisingly affordable and absolutely delicious. Just don’t let anyone fool you into thinking that you can get a good lobster roll outside of New England. That thing they served us was barely passable but the cioppino was amazing.

By 10 everyone was getting into bed but Brendan’s daughter was sound asleep before the other three could stop screaming or turn the lights out. She’d just come back from a class retreat and was “very tired”. She’d also been in a head to head collision that I’d somehow missed. We’d later find out that she had both whiplash and a concussion. So scary.

The morning was easy. Getting girls dressed for soccer is no big deal, they only wear mascara. Really.

Soccer. We can put that on the list of things I’ve done. Rather successfully I’d say. And it’s over. Like, forever. Which is weird.



Y’all Told Me You Wanted to Know About Shopping


Jane had a soccer tournament in Santa Barbara this weekend. Well, it’s actually in Goleta on the UCSB campus, but that’s splitting hairs. I’m not crazy about traveling to soccer tournaments. This is what happened to us in last year’s tournament season.

It wasn’t pretty and I wasn’t prepared to stay at a roadside motel in Santa Barbara so I called ahead to the Bacara Resort and got a couple of rooms for us and for our friends.

Jane played four games. I saw one. Here’s the thing… I’ve watched approximately 4,000 volleyball matches this year and a few soccer tournaments. The kid either wants to play soccer or not. She can’t really enjoy it more with me there. She’s 13, time for a little intrinsic motivation.

Oh, also there was tennis at Bacara. I ended up playing a round robin with a really nice group of men. Two of them had played together in high school and in honor of the French Open one had come to town to visit the other (who lived in Santa Barbara) and they had a weekend full of playing tennis on clay courts at Bacara and eating French Food.

These are my people.

On Friday night we had a fabulous dinner on State Street and then went for a stroll. Alexander and Mr. G ended up slot car racing in one of the hobby shops and Jane brought me to Free People where she moaned to me about how she couldn’t afford any of the clothes there. I suggested getting a job and was met with an eyeroll. She held up the world’s softest poncho and made me try it on.

Since it was a size small and it fit me nicely I bought it “to share”. Jane knows I’ll buy just about anything that fits me in a size small, no matter how overpriced or tacky it is.

I later found out “to share” is code for “Mom buys it and Jane wears it.” It’s expensive and poorly made with a portion of the proceeds undoubtedly going to Romney’s campaign fund, but I don’t care. It made my daughter very happy and I remember having a poncho just like it in 1977.

Oh, except my poncho didn’t have shredded sleeves and cost about $15.

free people poncho longer in backfree people poncho

Alexander picked up a pair of sunglasses at Old Navy. He loves them. They were $5 and will probably last him a year.

On the way back into town we stopped at the outlets to search for Mr. G’s shoes. No luck for him but I was able to grab three pair of crocs (NEVER to be worn out of the house) and a pair of grade B UGG Boots for $120. They’re tall chocolate. I’m wearing them in the horrible picture above. crocs are ugly

I feel like this weekend’s shopping reads like a cautionary tale and I should never be trusted with a credit card.

The Saddest Compliment in the World


Jane has worked hard both in school and in sports. Mr. G. and I love that our children are smart and certainly we praise them for their natural abilities. Just as a workplace would, we reward them when they work hard.

Jane killed it on the soccer field this weekend and she’s been dying for highlights in her hair. So, after two goals and and a 3.5 GPA (we’ll talk about the B’s another time because they do have me unhappy) we decided that work begets reward and we walked to the salon at the corner for Jane’s first hair color.

The stylist has watched my kids grow from toddlerhood to now. She’s a soccer player and it was nice watching her talk to Jane about how important it is to be part of a team. She then put a few strands of bluish blonde color onto Jane’s hair which brought up a little bit of lighter streaks. I didn’t mention that Jane already has these streaks in her hair, but it made her so happy that I didn’t want to ruin her good time.

I was floored when it was time to pay for the dozen small streaks and found out that it was $70. Jane didn’t even have a blow dry. The good thing is that I asked plenty of questions of since I’ve been doing my own hair color for the past handful of years I feel equipped to add highlights as needed for about $10 an application.

As I stood at the counter writing out my check Jane popped over and kissed me on the cheek complete with a, “Thank you mommy.” Most often I’m Mom, but when I’m writing checks they switch it up to Mommy. The two women at the desk smiled and said how sweet she was. I smiled back and nodded. Then they went on to tell me how they never see kids thanking their parents.

I tried to defend the neighborhood kids, “Well, who would thank their mom for a haircut?”

“It’s for highlights, and tips.” Said one.

“And manicures.” Said the other.

They went on and on to list the very expensive services teenage girls get and the fact that they very seldom hear thank you’s and almost never see a kiss.

I felt pleased for myself that I’m raising a girl who knows just how lucky she is. It was nice to hear from strangers that my daughter is lovely, but it was incredibly sad that her kindness would be seen as unusual.

Store Bought Pumpkin Pie


pumpkin pie

Today Alexander’s class is having their Thanksgiving feast. Last week the room mom sent out an email asking everyone to volunteer to bring something and then there were eighty bazillion reply all’s and I set up a filter for the conversation so I didn’t have to be involved but I wanted to hijack the whole thread and put it into a form on Google Apps where it belonged.

I ended up being the pumpkin pie mom. I like pumpkin pie. My mom makes great pumpkin pie. Her pie is so great that I never bothered making it and instead spent my early adulthood perfecting my apple pie. If the class mom asked for apple pie I’d be taking out my mixer and chilled butter and those kids would have a kicky apple pie, but since I spent the last four days in Mexico and it’s the wrong kind of pie I sent my son to school this morning with a pumpkin pie from Trader Joes complete with all the plastic and even the price tag.

I didn’t even have enough shame to transfer the not very impressive pie into a piece of Tupperware like a good mom would.

Instead I’m busy getting the last pieces of paper together to refinance the house and I’m going on a crazy search to find the hibiscus liqueur that I brought back from Riviera Nayarit as a gift for my father, but it exploded all over our luggage instead. If I ever find that same brand I’ll be sure to give y’all the details as it’s a lovely shade of pink but still doesn’t stain clothes.

Alexander is totally obsessed with card tricks. He comes home from school, locks himself in his room and watches YouTube tutorials. After about an hour he’ll emerge to show us a trick. Sometimes it will be good, other times we have to pretend we didn’t see the first mistake and use our best judgment about the second time around.

Jane has her first final exams next week and I’m anxious for her. Today is a full day of school followed by soccer practice, tomorrow is a half day of school followed by more soccer practice and then a fright night sleepover. Fright Night sleepovers are a trio of girls who spend the night at each other’s houses watching scary movies. Thursday is Thanksgiving and then on Friday they play soccer at 8am, 2pm and 5pm. I’m not sure if there are games on Saturday but final exams begin Monday. Jane has an A in every elective and a B+ in every core subject, my hope is that the exams can bring up some of those B’s.

The real overload comes from the fact that Alexander is applying to a different school for 6th grade. It’s incredibly sad in every way because the kids go to a school that’s K-8 and I wanted both kids to have the experience of being in one school for an extended period of time but the fact of the matter is that Alexander had three bad years in a row. His teachers in second, third and fourth grades were let go at the end of each year with him. Jane had those same teachers but she had them in good years. I just can’t risk another year of teacher meltdowns.

There are a million great schools in our part of town but there is only one that appeals to us as a family that has a natural entry in the 6th grade. Alexander has an interview there next week and, being ten, he has a brand new dental appliance that acts as a permanent retainer so the boy now talks like he’s three years old. Totally unintelligible. When I first started exploring new schools I wasn’t firmly committed to making a change, but something happened when I went to this new school. In addition to finding the kids utterly charming, the campus itself is beautiful and there was no religion. I know it doesn’t matter for my kids, but I’m sick and tired of sending them to chapel three days a week. It’s not a real complaint, but it’s something I’m looking forward to closing the door on.

I never thought that this would be a chapter in my life. I never thought a handful of B+’s and a retainer would give me this much anxiety, but it does.

The Bubba Keg


At last night’s soccer practice Junior was in cute overload mode. He was freshly fluffed and bouncing around the sidelines looking for love wherever he could find it.

One of the moms on the team was sitting in her chair and put her hand down to pet him. Junior bounced over to her and we compared notes. We both have poodles.

Aren’t they smart.
Well yes they are.
And easy to train.
My goodness Junior was trained in a day.
They don’t bark.

We nodded at each other knowingly because all those other assholes at the park have horrible beastly barking dogs.

And then Junior lifted his leg and peed all over her daughter’s soccer water.

If anyone knows where I could find a Bubba Keg I’d be grateful.

bubba keg