Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Halloween/Taco Tuesday

This morning was the Halloween parade at elementary school. On the way in this morning, Bob and I talked about how we're both a little sad that this will be the last one for him/us.

I sat on a bench on the empty playground before the parade started while all of the kids went to their classrooms for attendance. A Rubik's Cube squeezed out of the office door clutching a late slip, and hobbled to his classroom.

It was drizzling, and the loud speaker played Thriller, the Harry Potter Theme, and the worst October earworm ever - Witches Brew. There was a parental paparazzi situation as we jostled each other, "On the other side of the cones please, parents!"

A squid, a unicorn, and a tree walk into a bar...

Yes. I will miss it.

Monday, October 30, 2017

We Have a Situation

"Teddy. Off the couch."

"Levi, get down."




Sunday, October 29, 2017

Smacksy Sunday Links

The fabulous jack-o-lantern situation at the Staudenmaier's annual pumpkin carving party.

Why you should give money directly and unconditionally to homeless people.  

Forgotten romantic rituals of Halloweens past.

New York in the 1930s. Wonderful photos.

People matching art.

And a puppy learns to go down the stairs.

Happy Sunday.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Winter is Coming

"Baby? Sorry to wake you up so early but how do I get that plastic thing to stick on my face?"

"Spirit gum."

"Spirit what?"

"Gum. Spirit gum. It's what they use to stick special effect prosthetics to your face."

"Do you have that?"



"I'll get up."

"I'll make you some coffee."

This is how Thursday began.

The company where Mr. Rosenberg works make a gigantic deal out of Halloween. The different teams pick themes and then characters are assigned. There are group performances and themed workspace decor. This year Mr. Rosenberg's team picked Game of Thrones and he was assigned the giant, scarred, assassin, Sandor Clegane - a man known as The Hound. The celebration was today.

The Hound

Some weeks back, Mr. R purchased and $8 "Hound" facial-burn-scar rubber prosthetic. I ordered a Party City knight costume and plastic sword for him online. We hauled out the crappy witch wig left over from Bob's Black Sabbath themed 7th birthday party. The components were assembled.

The knight shirt was too small. Mr. Rosenberg walked out of the bedroom trapped in the knight shirt with his head stuck inside and his arms sticking straight up over head. We yanked him out of it and cut the back of the shirt to fit. I snipped handfuls of weird plastic hair off of the wig and slimed it up with cheap styling paste that Bob keeps for when he wants to smooth his hair down. We used mascara to turn Mr. R's grey whiskers brown. With no way to adhere the plastic scar to his face, I stapled the scar to the skull cap of the wig.

"You've never looked more Jewish."


"Kind of like Harry Shearer in Spinal Tap."

"Totally what I was going for."

"I recommend you take your sword out of your belt before you try to get in the car."

"'It gives me joy to kill people.'"

"Have a good day!"

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

99 Problems

While Bob is at science camp this week, he has missed the first two games of the World Series. He has also missed the failure of our very old air conditioning system. When he returns, I'll show him the highlights of both.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

It's Not a Loveseat But it Kind of Is

Since Bob has been gone at science camp, all 54 pounds of Levi have been trying to get in this one-person chair with me and sit on my lap. I'm not sure if he misses Bob or if he's trying to make me feel better because he knows I'm missing Bob a tad.

Both. I think it's both.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Things I Did Today Because Bob Left for Fifth Grade Science Camp for the Week and I'm Fine

Today the entire fifth grade got on school buses and headed to sleep-away science camp for the week.  He's been to sleep-away camp the for a week at a time the last two summers and it was great for all of us. This is not our first sleep-away rodeo.
I'm totally good.
For real.
No, YOU shut up.

Stuff I did:
  1. I had lunch with Karen without having to leave in time to be home by 3:00pm when Bob usually gets back from school.
  2. I left my phone on the table at lunch just in case I got an emergency call from camp. 
  3. I did not get an emergency call from camp.
  4. I ordered a dress from a Chinese website called "Easy Lady."
  5. I had Halloween candy for dinner. (Mostly bite-sized Snickers, if you must know.)
  6. I put away the tiny shampoo that I did not pack in Bob's bag because when I inquired as to the odds of him using the tiny shampoo while he was away at camp Bob replied, "The odds are safely a million to one."
  7. I took the dogs for a walk and made them sit still while I took a photo of the lovely sunset. 
  8. I started humming "Sunrise, Sunset" from Fiddler on the Roof  because of the sunset photo and because my tiny infant is at fifth grade science camp.
  9. I read the Auto Club magazine Westways that came in the mail today because I forgot for a minute that I'm not retired yet.
  10. I read the Vermont Country Store Catalog and learned that they still sell this:

I totally used Lemon Up shampoo in elementary school. Probably around 1975, fifth grade. Like Bob is in fifth grade. Bob who is at camp and not using shampoo. Camp that I am totally fine with. 

Four more days until Bob's home. 

Friday, October 20, 2017

Friday Night

Hi. One of has explosive tummy and one of us keeps sneaking barfs on everyone's beds. Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, October 18, 2017


"Buddy? I think you've been using my deodorant."

"No, I don't think so."

"Yeah, this one. See?"

"Yeah, that's mine, Babe."

"No, I bought it online. It's a fancy organic something-something."

"I got mine online too."

"Um... you never buy anything.  You don't even buy your own socks or underwear."

"I know but I saw an ad for it. It doesn't have aluminum in it so you ---"

" --- don't get Alzheimers. I know. That's why I bought it."

"No, I bought it."

"Have we been sharing a deodorant? I don't know why, but that kind of skeeves me out."

"I'm going to be late for work. I gotta get out of here."

"You don't want to talk more about stealing my deodorant?

"My deodorant."

Tuesday, October 17, 2017


This is Skelly. (So named by eight-year-old Bob.) Over the years, Skelly's left foot came off and later his entire left leg. If we keep him propped up just so, his dismembered bones can still do the job. It's sort of a sweet gig.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Midnight Run

Late in the evening, Mr. Rosenberg takes Teddy and Levi across the street to the tennis courts at the park. The dogs run laps and look for errant tennis balls. I'm pretty sure it's Teddy and Levi's favorite part of the day, except for maybe the cookie part of the day.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Smacksy Sunday Links

Holding my friend Kristen's puppy on Thursday was two hours incredibly well spent.

The ultimate hack: Letting Go.

Dr. Brené Brown on the leadership power of vulnerability.

California is still on fire. Here's how to help.

How to read aloud to children, from one of the masters.

You should be following Neil Kramer's Instagram account.

And the sweetest possum. 

Happy Sunday.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Smacksy Saturday Photo: Not Allowed on the Bed

Not allowed on the bed:

1. Dogs
2. Dirty baseball pants
3. Children wearing dirty baseball pants
4. Napping children wearing dirty baseball pants
5. Napping dogs
6. Extreme cuteness

Friday, October 13, 2017

Outta Dodge

Mr. Rosenberg sang a little extemporaneous song to us and accompanied himself on the ukulele while he waited for his Lyft to the airport. He's off to Michigan for his 25th high school reunion. 

These guys know what the suitcase means. They all got in as many last minute pets as possible. 

We all watched and made sure he got into the car safely. We got confirmation texts when he arrived at LAX, when he watched the Wonder Woman movie on his flight, and when he landed. He's going to have a great weekend. 

Thursday, October 12, 2017


We woke up this morning to find that Bob had outgrown all of his shirts overnight. I ran to Target this afternoon to get some t-shirts and for the first time, I had to buy them in the men's department. He's wearing a men's medium.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Well Then

"Mom? What did that Trader Joe's check out guy say to you?"

"He told me that I looked pretty today. He has great taste, am I right?"

"Yeah, and a super sweet mullet!"

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Today is a Good Day for a Good Day

After Mr. Rosenberg left for work this morning and Bob headed out the door for the walk to school, I sat in the chair in the living room and had a big cry. It's my sober anniversary. I stopped drinking thirty years ago today and the idea that I could have so easily missed all of this, my dear life, is overwhelming. 

Sobriety, just like life, is a fragile thing. There are no guarantees. All we've got is today. And today, is excellent. I am eternally grateful to the grace I have been afforded and all of those who have given me hope and help and a path to follow.

I'm getting teary again. You guys. My gratitude takes my breath away. Thanks for being here with me.

Monday, October 9, 2017

We're Hazardous

The moment when your neighbors wonder if you've got a meth lab in the garage.

"This is Fire Captain Chris, how can I help you?"

"Hi. My son dropped a mercury thermometer on our kitchen floor and it shattered. We looked on the internet about how to deal with a mercury spill and we tried some of the things we read to do but there's still mercury everywhere and the more we read the more we're convinced we are that we're going to die right now."

"First, you need to keep any kids and pets out of the area. I'm going to give you the number for the on-call County Hazmat Team. The hazmat crews are terrific. They'll take care of you."

While we waited for the hazmat team to arrive, I searched the web for information about mercury poisoning. Apparently the symptoms (insomnia, irritability, headache, decreased cognitive function) are indistinguishable from my regular peri-menopausal personality. We were screwed.

Two LA County Hazardous Materials trucks pulled up to the house. The Hazmat Team guys (Eric and Milton) measured the toxicity in the house with a machine called the "Jerome Mercury Vapor Analyzer." They Jerome-d everything in the vicinity including the inside of Mr. Rosenberg's car, where I had sent Bob and Mr. R and the dogs (after they touched everything) to drive around to keep them out of the way. Obviously I don't really understand how contamination works.

The car, miraculously, tested out okay but inside the house was testing high, as were my hands and face. I was able to fix myself up with hot water and soap. The rest took more effort.

Milton with The Jerome

Eric and Milton got to work. There was spraying and compound sprinkling and scrubbing and lathering and rinsing and repeating. In the meantime we talked about kids' sports and Nina Simone and I heard some cool hazmat stories. I also heard about the cost of remediation if they weren't able to get this stuff taken care of and I had to get a contractor to do it.

Covered in plastic. Just like grandma's couch.

They worked for over four hours trying to get the levels down. Finally, they covered the kitchen floor in plastic and said that the heat in the house would heat up the floor under the plastic to kill off more of the vapor. They returned the next day to take up the plastic and re-Jerome the area. At last, they gave us the all clear.

Eric and Milton, our heroes.

The fire captain was right, the hazmat guys were terrific. They were thorough and professional and kind. We gave them each a dozen chocolate chip cookies and our eternal gratitude. Only digital thermometers for us from now on.

Is it weird that I want my own Jerome?

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Smacksy Sunday Links

A guide to getting good at dealing with chaos.

Alibaba is the Amazon of China. Their warehouse robots are fascinating.

How Nobel Prize winner, Kazuo Ishiguro, wrote The Remains of the Day in four weeks.

Movies set in the fall.

I love Andrew Bird.

Photos of kindness on the NYC subway.

And cats napping on dogs.

Happy Sunday.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Night Reading

His door was cracked open, so I looked in to check on him. I could have just stood there watching him all night but, you know, take a picture it lasts longer and all that.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Angelika and Anton

Photo by Me

They were my piano teachers, now they are also my friends. Angelika Fuchs and Anton Smirnoff are brilliant classical pianists. She's from Ukraine, he's from Siberia. They are funny and smart and sweet and obviously easy on the eyes. Take the next nine minutes and watch the video of the hilarious Liszt duet they performed last Sunday at the Nixon Library. This will immediately improve the quality of your day. You are very welcome.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

The Flu: Day 3 or Something

I am always the last person to realize (admit) I am sick. I stare at my watery, blood-shot eyes in the mirror and convince myself that "it's just allergies." I can't lift my pounding head off the pillow because I "need another cup of coffee." (That's always true.) I am shivering because of "this crazy autumn weather." (77°)

Levi (Dr. Levi) is proving, as usual, to be an excellent diagnostician. He knew I was sick, first. Since the weekend, he has ramped up his usual following-me-aroundness x10. He is no longer allowed on the bed, but I don't have the energy to keep ordering him off. When I do get him down, he stands next to the bed and stares at me. When I get fever-y, he licks my forehead. He has not brought me chicken soup on a tray yet, but I believe that will be next.

Hope this will all clear up soon. Meanwhile, I am hydrating, napping, and listening to podcasts and dog snores. Just what the dog doctor ordered.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

A Package From Kolon Industries

I swear to you, this tag is attached to a dress. A pretty dress. How's YOUR Kolon?

Monday, October 2, 2017

Location, Location, Location

Mr. Rosenberg left me a message on his way to work. "There's a crazy-awesome spider web that appeared overnight on your car."

The top of it was attached to the tree, one side to the hedge next to the driveway, and the bottom and other side were attached to the antenna and backside of the Prius. It was incredible. It's hard to tell in the photo but it was a glorious web with a big brown spider sitting in the middle.

I stood in the driveway taking it in and then realized, that I was going to have to get in my car immediately or risk being late to volunteer in Bob's art class at school. I considered cancelling just to preserve the spider's work. (Yes, I am that weird. But you already know that.) Instead, I used a branch to lift the spider, and what I could salvage of the web, off the car with a branch and relocated her to a shrub on the side of the house.

I felt bad about evicting her but I couldn't think of an honest, non-insane-sounding reason to give for missing my volunteer gig. Hopefully, she understands.