Sunday, December 28

My Casual Articulate

My Thing 1 wanted to be with mommy this week. It feels, well, you know, like the whole world is right when your kid wants nothing more than to love on you. We talked about love this morning and here's what he said:

Thing 1: "I don't really like it when people tell me they love me. I'm not okay with it. I feel like my Didj and I just 'power down' -- you know like, powering down?"

Me: "Yes, I can totally understand that. But people tell you they love you so that you never have to wonder whose side we're all on. Your family loves you so much that they want to tell you."

Thing 1: "Well, I love them, but I don't want to say that. It really makes me feel like there is a Disc Error. Like a bad disc error. Like when you can't read the hard drive?"

Me: "Yes, son. I know what it's like."

Thing 1: "That's how I feel about love."

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Thing 1 and His New iPod Shuffle Compliments of his Great-Granddad!

Tuesday, December 9


Boda, originally uploaded by Thing Family.

So little time to write. I have a damn dog. Okay, a good damn dog, but a dog none-the-less.

Boda is Spanish for "wedding," and although @LaGringa don't have the right to marry in California, we do have the right to have a damn good anniversary. This year, we spent it at the SPCA in San Francisco finding our new dog. His name means something to us.

Now you can say we have a wedding.

Go No Prop 8.

Monday, November 24

Next Door Solutions

I had a terrible experience years ago that reminds me of how vulnerable and precious the lives of mothers and their children are, and, every day reminded even more of how strong mothers and their children are.

The Next Door Solutions to Domestic Violence is having a holiday boutique where children and mothers pick from donated gifts to give to each other for Christmas. You can get the full list of items on their wishlist is here:

Next Door Solutions to Domestic Violence


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Wednesday, November 19

In a Flash

In a flash of light, life passes before me. Today was an exceptional day.

We woke this morning to happy booming children, footy pajamas, smiles. In a flash, the phone rang. @La Gringa's grandmother died in the night. Although not very close to her Grammy, the reminder of life and death came through the phone with my mother-in-law, stable, calm and sad. Mexican families mourn more outwardly.

By Noon, my son was in tears. A boy didn't want to be his friend. Why? Because. That's all. In a flurry, the rush of emotions came over my boy and the other sweet boy. Then, in a flash, the boys were playing again. Do boys rebound that quickly from pain? I took a few more hours to recover.

At 4 p.m., In a flash, I find out that a woman I know now sleeping in her car with her 5-year-old son. The economy, she says, did her in. She lost the room she was renting. They are *physically* cold. I have never been so embarrassed about having a big, warm home.

Before 9 p.m., I'd received an email about a boy that had died driving home from the *exact* soccer tournament my kids played in this weekend. I don't think there are even words for it. In a flash, a boy played soccer, then died. It could have been us. Oh, it could have been us so easily. You can help his family here:

I'm reminded again to live in the very moment. Life passes in a flash.

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Sunday, November 16

Sketchy at Best... My Letter to Secretary of State

Hello Secretary of State:

There is a question that has been strongly discussed in our community this week.

In short, without bias:

1. The Baptist Church of Willow Glen (in San Jose) has been vocal and strong advocates of pro-Prop 8. That is the church's prerogative, of course.

2.However, this same church was an official POLLING LOCATION for the county.

3. This weekend, the church, which donated funds to the Yes on Prop 8 initiative, gave a strong sermon on why Prop 8 should be upheld. (and lectured on the benefits of opposing same-sex-marriage).

My concern, and those of the community around us, is that the Willow Glen Baptist Church acts as a legal California voting location, yet financially and, more importantly, socially, strongly and verbally support Prop 8.

Although we do not allow demonstrators withing 100 feet, I believe, of a polling location, this church, Willow Glen Baptist Church, preaches strongly on political issues, then acts as a legal and official polling location for residents. I find this not only abhorrent, but unjust. And beyond unjust, it is frightening for those who are selected to vote at this location.

Thank you.

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Wednesday, November 12

Stolen Post from Let California Ring

I read this today on Let California Ring. I thought it was very well written.

10 Ways to Start Conversations About The Freedom To Marry

1. Think about it—what if you were told that you couldn't marry the person you loved? How would that make you feel, or change your relationship, your future plans and your life?

2. Two people in a committed, trusting and loving relationship deserve the dignity and support that come with marriage.

3. People can have different beliefs and still treat everyone fairly.

4. It is a joy to see my son/daughter and his/her partner together and a part of our family.

5. Discrimination is wrong no matter who it affects. We must work together to fight against discrimination, wherever it appears.

6. Tradition is important in our family. That’s why we’ve invited our son/daughter’s partner to be a part of our family traditions and celebrations.

7. It is not for me to judge other people. Just because I disapprove of something does not mean that it’s wrong.

8. Many couples stay together for years and not only face discrimination, but
many other challenges. In spite of these challenges, these couples remain courageous in the face of opposition and deeply committed to building happy lives together.

9. When gay and lesbian couples get married, they may finally be recognized as being part of the extended family.

10. Domestic partnerships don't provide the same security as marriage. They exclude people from marriage and create an unfair system that often does not work in emergency situations when people need it most.

...for the record, La Gringa and I have no plans to marry until the unions are federally recognized because only then does the tax break make sense for us (thank god for great CPAs who ran the numbers for us on the options of DP, marriage, single status). By the way, might we change our minds? Maybe. ;)

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Tuesday, November 11

Sale? Hardly.

In the past week, I've gotten sale emails from JCrew (20% Off Sweaters!), Old Navy (50% Off Outerwear), Kohl's (50% Off Sweaters!) and Gap (30% Off Friends and Family). I tracked down of these discounts. Here's what I found:

1. JCrew: Two words: FUCK OFF. It doesn't help one single bit to charge an average of $150 for a wool sweater. Are you kidding me? We're not talking cashmere here. In looking through all of the sweaters on, I found not one thing we'd buy.

2. Old Navy: I went into the store, and sure enough, the coats are 50% off. On sale, they're running between $50-$85. That's pretty good. Unfortunately, there is no lining in the jackets at all, so La Gringa would look cute this week in New York, but freeze her ass off.

3. Kohl's: See, now, this one is probably more me than the store. Kohl's in fact, was advertising 50% off all sweaters. The problem is the fashion of the sweaters was from the FLDS catalog, made at the Zion Ranch by underage children!

4. Gap: The sale intel came out two days ago with a serious viral campaign, but when I went to the store today, turns out the campaign is for Thursday only. Ugh.

Then there's the true idiots. The biggest offenders right now? Travel & Leisure Magazine, Luxury, One & Only Resorts. Okay, so I know I've opted in for these folks, but are you kidding me? What economy are they tapping into? What planet are you on to market to me in such a stupid way?

1. Travel & Leisure: Boasting luxury getaways to India and Saudi Arabia this month, I poured over the mag trying to remember my travels in the days before a shithouse economy and life with children. But I couldn't get past it -- what was the editor thinking? What crack are you smoking? Where is my Hunkering Down Travel? Or Find Leisure on a Budget? Idiots. I actually threw the magazine away before finishing it.

2. Luxury Link: I've purchased from Luxury Link before. Sometimes you can even find a deal. But not now. They seem to have completely lost their perspective. Giving $50 off of a $15,000 week-long getaway is not a discount. Offering discounted upgrades? Only if you win a prepaid bid ranging from $2500 to $25,000 for a week. You better damn-well upgrade me at the cost, whacker.

3. One & Only: See now, you're talking about the holding company of my favorite place on earth. About five years ago, they took over for the little La Palmilla, making it a massive celebrity destination and completely destroying the small, quiet hideaway it had been for 40 years. Those bastards are currently offering a "discount" of 20% off for holiday travel -- that would make the cheapest room just over $750 per night. For the record, I paid $200 for the same room several years in a row.

So here's my advice to the luxury travel and retail providers;

1. Do one single thing at a discount. One. Sweaters. Jackets. Hotel room. Spa services. Whatever. Do one. And kill it. Bring the cost all the way down, waaaay down. Low enough to get us previously engaged users to reengage (those of you who know me will know I'm talking about the second or third quadrant of the P&G user).

2. Don't call it a discount if you're gonna be obscene. It's so offensive. Say, "Escape the Economy" and forget about your life for a few days. Don't tell me it's a discount. Don't tell me you understand. Change your verbiage to convince me that you are one of us. It's incredibly insulting to send me a discount that isn't one.

3. Work my loyalty (yes, the P&G third and fourth quadrants). Work me slowly, directly. Tell me you know me and my loyalty to your product, your resort. Work my preferences, mine your data. Get me to engage. And reengage.

It's gonna be a long couple of years. I'm going to need more from my email marketers. You all get an F. Go back and come back with something more engaging. I have a credit card, La Gringa needs sweaters. Come get my business the old fashioned way: earn it.

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Licking the Bowl

Licking the Bowl, originally uploaded by Thing Family.

Sunday, November 9

Five Lessons for Michelle Obama from the First Lady of Class -- My Mom

Dear Michelle,

I don't think there are words to describe how we feel about you being the next First Lady of the United States of America -- I can't imagine how you must feel.

I had a dream about you last night. In my dream, I was at my mom's house, and you were at the kitchen island having a glass of wine. My mom was laughing, you were laughing. Your girls were playing with Thing 1 and Thing 2 in the backyard. My parent's house, always warm and welcoming, was filled with more of the same. You were one of us.

I asked what you were doing there and you said you were getting advice from my mom. I nodded and walked out of the room. Of course you were getting advice from her, who wouldn't?

I woke up smiling. My mom has spend decades advising, guiding, leading top women in business and life. Her lessons have guided dozens of famous and near famous, powerful and influential people. Here are a few of my favorites:

1. There is always a storm. You will be looked to to be the calm that sees the cloudless sky off in the distance. However quietly, subtly, you must guide the ship in the right direction. Be the calm in the storm, mama always told me.

2. No one cares as much about anything you are or do as much as you do. So, the dramas of life are only what you let on. Don't bother feeding into drama. It's a waste of time.

3. Never curse. Never. It is simply not ladylike. Always be a lady.

4. Women are generally not truly liked by other women in business. In most ways, they are more competitive than men are with one-another. Use your wit, your mind and your smile to defeat threatened women.

5. You are a mother. There is nothing greater than this. Work/life balance is easy to attain when you've got that straight.

You will never read this, but mom will. And it was a cool dream. And I'm still trying to master these top five lessons from the First Lady of Class.

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Wednesday, November 5

My Prop 8

Last night we as Californians gave more rights to animals and fewer to same-sex couples. It's mind-baffling.

I have never believed in the idea of gay marriage -- mostly for the icky visual. @LaGringa and I fighting over who had the better dress, nudging our way down the aisle, who would walk first? We've laughed about what a wedding to us would look like, and for both of us, it wouldn't look like anything. We've got our families, the bling, the house and, almost weekly, get the giggles after 11 years of friendship.

But what I've learned through this process is that I *do* believe in gay marriage for one single reason: I believe in the civil rights afforded to every person, irregardless of who they go to bed with at night. On Sunday night, I started to panic -- what if Prop 8 passes and we didn't do anything to help? Are we hypocrites? Are we failing a community we've so deliberately shied away from? Would people I know ever vote to take away my basic civil rights they themselves are afforded?

On Monday I Twittered about where to dig up a 'No on Prop 8' sign and I was directed to the Democratic HQ in San Jose. As I walked in, a group of people were leaving to go hold signs at the main train station. I grabbed two signs and ran home to change clothes. If I was going to stand up publicly, I wanted to look as girly as possible.

At the train station I was surrounded by other No on Prop 8 sign holders. Many of them were from my town, several had their kids in tow. These folks weren't some radical freaks, they were moms and dads giving an hour of their own time. An hour to a parent is so precious. Not even one person I demonstrated with was in a same-sex relationship. NOT ONE. These were parents of young children, smart, educated, friendly, kind people who stood by me on a rainy Monday night to fight for MY rights, not theirs. I have rarely been so humbled.

I carried my sign around all day on Tuesday, stopping at random places where Yes on Prop 8 folks gathered. I did not speak (and you know for me, that's a feat), instead, I smiled. I held my little sign that said, "Equality for All" on major street corners in San Jose and Campbell. I got waves and honks and smiles and thumbs up. Once I got a "boo!" and twice someone screaming out their car, "Yes on 8!", but hey, I was good a good target. A buddy of mine saw me and pulled over, came to the median to chat with me while I held my sign. He's a die-hard Republican. He told me not to worry, that all his Red friends were voting No on 8. His words, "Everyone knows that that's ridiculous."

Somewhere in the middle of this, I started to think about Portia and Ellen deGeneres. Were they freaking out? Calling their lawyers? Standing on street corners like me? I decided to txt @laGringa and call our tax accountant. If we were going to get enough of a tax break, that would be reason enough to head down to the courthouse. We agreed to go, made an appointment for 4 p.m. when a mass marriage was being held for folks that had the same idea we did. I drove to the courthouse and... well, that's as far as we got. I chickened out.

As the polls unfolded last night, @laGringa and I were profoundly sad. Were we such bad people that we should give more rights to animals and less to us? How do we explain that to our children?

Today, we have gotten condolence calls, hugs, txts, voicemails and emails. I sat on a bench rewinding the last few days and came away with this: I live in a community that stands by me, for me and grieves with me. I live where I am free, treated with respect and dignity. There is not one same-sex couple on my street, yet there are multiple "No on 8" lawn signs up and down the little suburban nook I live in. I am blessed.

Indeed, we lost basic civil rights last night. It is serious and grotesque and it's not over yet. But that was last night. The fallout for me has been profound: I gained a reminder of how lucky I am, how honored we are to live amongst such an extraordinary community. And further reminded how deeply I adore and respect my spouse.

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Tuesday, November 4

Follow 24 Hours of Election Day from My Perspective

I'm using the Flip to catalog events on this historic election day from our little town.

You can follow it here!

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Monday, November 3

1 - Obama and McCain are Like Tom and Jerry

Sunday, October 26

Too. Tired. To. Write.

Tuesday 1:30 a.m. -- Drive to Disneyland
Tuesday 9 a.m. -- Enter Disneyland
Tueday 9 p.m. -- Get to hotel
Wednesday 9 a.m. -- Disneyland
Wednesday 5 p.m. -- California Adventure Trick or Treat party
Wednesday 11 p.m. -- Get to hotel
Thursday 9 a.m. -- Disneyland
Thursday 5 p.m. - Drive to San Jose

Time was so fast, but so magical. I'm beyond tired. So tired I can't think straight. We got back on Friday and since have gone to school, ballet, a housewarming party, soccer game, block party, parents' housewarming, ran a 1/2 marathon, birthday party and Sunday dinner.

I'll write more when I can breathe. It's not now.

...hope these pics will suffice. Much love, Garza G.

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Wednesday, October 1

Three Favorite Kinder Games (so far)

The Sprout years are over (thank God) and I've noticed that other than sports of just about any kind, the Things are pretty bored with their toys. I headed over to Lakeshore Learning to find some more engaging toys. So far, I'm loving these three:

1. Great States Junior. It's a map of the US with three categories of questions: visual matching of state shapes, pictures of what is produced from the states and counting the number of states that have certain letters in them. The object of the game is to get as many cards as possible, but I like it because it has a CandyLand aspect of everyone winning by completing the trip around the US. Another reason this one's a hit is because it's got enough engagement for kids that are learning to read and those who are still iconographic learners. Buy it at Growing Tree Toys

2. Question of the Day. This game lives on our kitchen table. Each day we get to pick one of the 100 questions in 10 categories to ask the family. Questions range from "How do you feel when you go to school?" to "Do you remember your dreams?" Each person can pick from one of 8 icon answers or a blank card to give your own answer (you know the Things always use this one). The game comes with a big cloth board to put answers on, but we use it as dinner table conversation starters. The kids love it and so do we. Buy it at Lakeshore Learning

3. Spanish Bingo. I have to admit, this is not the easiest Bingo game to play, for one, there is no wheel to spin so the old schoolness is lost here, but this game is pretty. The shapes and pictures are beautiful the cards themselves are artistic and unique, making a relatively dumb game (unless it involves winning money), a lot more fun. We have the game in Spanish and there's a huge bonus here too -- they're learning the words associated with the pictures in their newly adopted language. Buy it at Genius Babies.

Got any great kinder games for us to try out? Would love to hear!

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Monday, September 22

Not Quite the Blue I Was Hoping For

I don't know why it is that I assume that every.single.person I know and respect must be an Obama voter. I didn't say Obama fan, freak or bumper-sticker-holder, but simply an Obama Voter.

But my view of the world, quite obviously isn't shared by all, and certainly not all that I know. Four examples this week kicked me flat on my face in disbelief. What can I learn from it? I'm not sure. Do I care enough to invest in trying to change just one vote? Nah, not in California since CA is going to go to Obama. But you have a look-see and tell me what you think:

Two hot girls walk into a bar and start chatting with the bartender...

Description: Tatooed dude, overweight but jolly, kind eyes.
Lifestyle: Broke and happy. Loves his life as a single dad, loves his kid, great smile.
On Obama: He's the worse of two evils.
On Palin: She's so fucking hot. Don't you think she's hot?
On McCain: ...
On voting Red: I am not that into the idea of scaling down the military since I'm a military guy; my dad was in the military and I was in the Navy. I didn't like it when Clinton did that. It pissed me off.

On being Anti-choice: I got a girl pregnant. I'd never let her have an abortion. She wasn't my girlfriend. I just was a man about it. You gotta step up. I stepped up, so that's not an excuse.

The Boy Next Door...

Description: White guy, medium build, football and sports fan/coach/ref.
Lifestyle: Family guy, divorced and remarried, young kids, straight laced, Catholic.
On Obama: He doesn't have hardly any experience. He'd better pick a good running mate, but that won't make a difference for me.
On Romney: He should be President. He knows how to run a business and America is just one big troubled business.
On McCain: ...
On voting Red: I'm voting for the most experienced candidate. And I don't want any more taxes.

Playground Whispers...

Description: Two white women with young children under age 12.
Lifestyle: Relatively upper middle class, married, church going, community involved, SAHMs.
On Obama: I wish they would have had him run for office in eight years. It's just too early. I am older than him!
On Palin: She's got it all together. It's great to see a woman who has it all: work and family. ...They are going to call her a bitch, but if it was a man, they'd call her tough.
On McCain: He's gonna die in office and Palin will be President.
On voting Red: She represents 'us'.

I'm a Libertarian, Right Dad?
Description: White first-time voter male
Lifestyle: Middle class, great family, junior college
On Obama: He doesn't know jack shit. He's trying to be too popular.
On Palin: She's cool. She's not going to be President anyway.
On McCain: He's obviously the most experienced one.
On voting Red: Since Ralph Nader isn't in the election, I'm going with McCain.
On Abortion: I only had one girlfriend have to have an abortion. Mexico is like a six-hour drive if abortion was ever illegal anyway.

I've had my ears open for a couple of weeks, trying to understand outside perspectives. I'm not going to knock on doors, make calls or invade people's privacy; it's just not me. Not to mention, in some cases, La Gringa and I could swing a vote in the wrong direction, so I'm trying to be mindful there too.

I am constantly amazed at how, like CNN reported today: "We keep telling them the facts, but people want to vote the way they want to vote, despite facts." (in reference to Palin lying about the Bridge to Nowhere fiasco). I wonder, is it just smart, sophisticated people that vote Blue in this election? Maybe that's why I counted 14 Obama lawn signs within 1/2 mile radius of my house, but not a single one for McCain. Are there lawn signs for McCain in Pennsylvania? I'd like to know...

And it's just not in my neighborhood that I'm seeing such strong, unexpected divisions: On Twitter, I've had to unfollow several people whose daily lives I've followed for more than six months because of the aggressive stance in favor of Sarah Palin and John McCain. One woman I correspond with sent me a "Which Candidate Kills Babies" document. In many cases, on Twitter, in particular, people are drawing lines bases on political affiliation in a zone I've thought to be agnostic and accepting.

Facebook seems to be much more in-line with my own philosophies, but a bit trendy in the Obama frenzy. It's cool to be an Obama fan. My ex-boss is a state senator in a swing state, and he even has backed off from being vocal. Facebook appears to be a popularity contest where Obama is king.

There is hope, though: I've yet to see a "McCain is my Homeboy" t-shirt.

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Monday, September 15

Grandma Loved the Cowboys I hooked her up tonight to watch them play Monday Night Football tonight on the big screen. You probably have a better view from heaven, but just in case, you know.

Love you, abuelita. Miss you.


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dear god

Dear God,

I hope you're doing well. Thanks for the awesome summer and the incredible kidlets and and family. All's good down here. Kindergarten is fine, except for that one little hiccup on the second day of school and we're really loving Spanish Immersion, even if the kids can't understand a thing, but hey, they didn't understand a word at their Hebrew preschool either. Leg-up, I say.

Anyway, the house is good, even though the disposal and dishwasher don't work which is kind of a mind-trip since this is only my third week as a nearly stay at-home mom. Are you testing me, God? Because I think you won the last round when I didn't know how much bleach goes in the wash and poured it all over my khakis (stay at home moms wear khakis).

Thanks, God for the awesome job you worked out for La Gringa. She really loves it. We now truly embrace the goodness of mobile porn like never before. But trust in her, truly, that if there is entertainment beyond porn to be found, La Gringa will make it happen. Before you know it, those booby videos will be slapstick somethingruther instead and that will please you, I'm sure.

I've got one small request (well, beyond helping me figure out the whole smudges on the baseboards thing), can you please, since she claims to speak to you in tongues, go tell your loyal follower Sarah Palin to step off my jock? In fact, can you help her find her way to, um, I don't know, Russia (since she can see it from Alaska), or even um, something a little more up her alley, like how about Steve Irwin's old job? She could be the Barracuda Hunter. She'd like that. And so would I.

Oh and one more thing, God, I think you're cool for doing this whole Women Can Have it All thing. It's really been an eye opener, um, sort of. WWMMD (What Would Mary Magdeline Do)?


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Tuesday, September 9

Threads that Suck

La Gringa and I are convinced that clothes have become increasingly cheaper in make, threading, ripping, shrinking, fading color within months. In honor of Fashion Week in NY this week, here are our Top 5 biggest offenders. Buyers beware, but don't let it stop you, it doesn't stop us.

5. Victoria's Secret Bras -- the Up in the Uplift only works for as long as gravity takes to unlift the little darlings. They stretch like mad too, especially the IPEX line. Victoria's Secret tops -- Okay, so if you're going to buy clothing from a mass market lingerie shop, then I'm not sure what I was expecting. However, I've pushed four shelf-bra summer dresses to a giveaway pile that I just bought in May and four halter tanks straight to the bin. VS can get you laid, but their color fades. Oh look, I rhymed.

4. Banana Republic summer tops -- the cotton fabric, albeit soft and good basic style has absolutely zero staying power. Cotton tanks with lace unravel like mad and the tag in the back causes little holes on either side of it, knocking the $24 tank into the tanker.

3. Crocs. These things are bullshit and we all know it. First, they make my kids trip all over the place, second, there is no true sizing on the things and third, they stretch out and lose shape very easily. We opt for Keens instead.

2. Costco-bought random wear -- I have no idea which sweatshop this stuff is made in, but it goes beyond even my deepest bargain shopping. This year alone we've thrown away (not even Goodwill'd) two bathing suits, two kids sweatsuits, about a dozen socks, two pairs of pajamas and an Easter dress.

1. The biggest offender of all in our house has absolutely no business charging $185 for one pair of fricking jeans. Shame on you, Joe's Jeans (petite fit) and Seven for All Mankind (boycut) for actually getting smaller. Do you know how hard we work to stay in our jeans and you f with us by progressively shrinking them? My Joe's were dragging on the floor five months ago, today they are above the ankle. That ain't fashion, honey.

Top 5 Staying Power Clothes to Invest In

5. Kids Levi's -- The kids actually outgrew them before they tore, shrank or faded.

4. JCrew cotton skirts -- Got mine at the outlets four years ago and wear them at least four months out of the year.

3. Bloomindale's brand basic sweaters -- The cashmere ones don't hold up quite as well, but the plain sweaters, from pima cotton summer ones to merino wool winter ones have great fit, quality and solid fashion (although not top fashion). Sweaters run from about $75 to $250 but worth every penny for everyday use.

2. Ferragamo Handbags -- Well, now, I didn't buy my own Ferragamo handbag, it was a handmedown from my mom, but I've seen her use them for years and mine gets compliments all the time (it's 8 years old). They quality is unsurpassed. The chances I'll ever be able to afford another? Close to nil. But I got one!

1. Wacol Bras -- Timeless, high quality, well built, well worth the near fortune for one set of booby holders.

So what's wrong with you? Get shopping! My favorite shopping sites: Zappos, Etsy , Bloomingdale's and, the necessary evil, Amazon.

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Monday, September 8

Feeling Right at Home

I've been waiting until I truly felt something to write about the kids first weeks in school, my seismic shift to being at home all the time, the advancements of La Gringa's work beyond our little company. There's been so much inspiration everywhere, just none that has sprinkled its dust on my urge to write.

My mom -- having been a mother, a senior executive, philanthropist, paralysis and war survivor, wife, sister, friend and role model -- has said for years:

Women can have it all, but not all at the same time.

I've never agreed with her, until now.

Somehow in the midst of female powerhouses from Dara Torres and the US women's soccer team to Hillary, Michelle and yes, even Sarah Palin, I've suprised myself that my sole focus has been CEM (Chief Executive Mommy). Now all the women I just named are working *and* raising kids, and maybe they're better at the multi-tasking thing than I am, but I've never been so certain that I am finally exactly where I should be -- home.

I completely got off today on finding this Mr. Clean thingy that gets rid of wall scuffs, and tootled around the house getting rid of marks on my walls while blasting the TechCrunch 50 (#tc50) through the wireless speaker system in the house. I've shot off a few emails to clients, potential clients and past clients with ideas that have recently popped up that I have been unable to muster for months; and amidst the confusion of figuring out the mystery of laundry darks and lights, I've managed to flesh out a couple of business ideas I've had on the back burner forever. I even had time to RSVP yes to my first-ever PTA meeting for tomorrow night moments after chit-chatting with a VC buddy of mine about a business plan I was asked to read.

So yeah, I'm scaled back... waaaaay back in one job and ramping up like a fiend in the mom gig, but I'm liking the balance, I'm liking how much more creative I am when the pressure is less intense, I'm amazed at how much I truly, truly enjoy my time with the kids and how nothing comes close to the feeling of doing this job well.

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Sunday, September 7

La Gringa's Got a Tattoo!

Well, some people get married, La Gringa gets tatted (Is tatted a word?). I could tell you about our date night of spending an hour at the tattoo shop, or the cool guys there, the wild music and how silly we felt being all dressed up for date night (dress and wedges somehow didn't fit the look there), but I think La Gringa's rear can say it all.

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Tuesday, August 26

HRC Baby, You Know Me

I feel like I need to get this on "paper" for my daughter: Thank you Hillary Clinton for your work tonight. You represented me, my mother and my daughter so well. You made history tonight; feminine, a pro, direct, American, a class act. I can't imagine what it was like tonight for you. But I'll tell you what it did in this family:

"Eighteen million cracks in the ceiling," makes it just a tiny bit easier for my girl to blast through it someday.

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Highlights from the First Day

1. Thing 2 stood at the door screaming, "Bye Mom, I'm going NOW to Kindergarten!" She did that for about a half-hour.

2. The class indeed is 100% in Spanish. The kids are already asking what this and that mean in Spanish. The word of the day? Helado! We got the kids ice cream sundaes at 31 Flavors after the first day today. (a nod to our own childhood special occasion place).

3. Thing 1 was a little shaky, but confident. His teacher is gorgeous, kind and smart. She's perfect for him. He's got three friends from preschool in his class.

4. Thing 2 found the most scared child around almost instantly and plastered herself to the girl. When the kids left the room, she took the crying girl by the hand and kept telling her, "Mommys always come back, don't cry." Later, when I praised her for her kindness, she smiled at me and told me, "That's my job, mom."

5. The Things teachers have very different styles. Somehow I expected a lot to be the same. One gave a PPT presentation while the other artistically floated between languages and conversation. I learned that not even the field trips will be the same -- I've got a lot ahead of me as chief mom.

6. The Things were EXHAUSTED after just a couple of hours. They are hankering for school tomorrow already and have picked out their clothes.

7. It takes about 25 minutes to walk to school leisurely; a lot longer than I thought it would. Good to know!

I tried to let go gracefully today, but I paled in comparison to my children who took every moment of change from teachers to new rules, clothes and friends. Today is a day I will never, ever forget.

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Monday, August 25

Home Changes

Mommy: I have to finish my chores, so I can't play anymore.

Thing 1: Why? (x300)

Mommy: I have to do more chores now so I can be the one to pick you up from school every day.

Thing 1, Thing 2: What chores can we do? Let's put away the clothes! Let's clean up! I can help! Clothes are put away! What's next Mom?

I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. No crying until after Wednesday, the first full day of Kindergarten. This is harder and more precious and more beautiful than I thought it would be.

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Saturday, August 23

Kindergarten Class Lists are Up

I don't even have words...

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Wednesday, August 20

Washable? My Sorry Domestic Ass

The top three stupidest arts and crafts products purchased this summer:

The Crayola Sidewalk Paint Sprayer

Riiiight. Unless Crayola meant wash and wear, this paint is not at all washable, leaving stains on my sidewalk, bricks and children's fingernails for days on-end (Yes, I washed the children and the bricks -- although I gave the bricks a better scrubbing since they don't yell at me.). Did the product mention the part about splattering out of the sprayer on all sides, leaving a massive green muck explosion on my walkway?
Rating: Colored Crap (CC)

Party Hair Color

Such a great day camp my kids attended that I'll even forgive the "temporary" hair spray. So temporary, in fact, that it wouldn't come out for six days. That's six long days of strangers asking me if we were "at a carnival today?" I sent La Gringa scrubbing poor Thing 2's scalp after photos from The Picture People came back a little, um, reddish on the noggin.

Rating: Colored Crap with bonus Chemicals. (CCC)

Elmer's Squeeze 'n' Brush

And the winner for the dumbest Target purchase of the summer season: The Squeeze 'n' Brush which is more like Squeeze and Burst (All Over My Kitchen Walls). Washable? Okay, fine, on the table, yes, on the walls, sure with a little elbow grease and Clorox Cleanup, but on the kids and me? NFW. I can't get that fricking paint out of my nail beds for all the manicures in Vietnam.

Rating: Exploding Colored Crap (ECC).

I'm sticking to Marks'a'Lot permanent markers. Even *that* washed off the kidlets easier -- well, at least with a little baby oil and a brillo pad.

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Monday, August 18

My Son, Michael Phelps?

My Son, Michael Phelps?, originally uploaded by Thing Family.

Friday, August 15

The Band Played On

Last night Thing 1 talked me into buying him a hotdog (guess the organic pistachios and flat fruit didn't cut it.) at the Music in the Glen at WGE. As we were ordering, the old Kwanis Club man serving the food, began to collapse, his brain, you could see was being attacked -- aneurysm? stroke? He fell to the ground right in front of me, shaking violently from the seizures that overcame him. I was horrified, frozen.

I couldn't move back and I couldn't move forward, I was trying to stay calm for the kids and people scurried to his side. A beer-filled EMT screaming at us to lie him down, people screaming into their cellphones to 911 operators trying to be heard over the live music. The man's body just kept writhing, splattering salsa everywhere. I was saying over and over to myself, STOP SHAKING.

I looked down and the Things were both crying.

I sat down in the crowd to talk them through what they just saw. Thing 2 said she was crying because she didn't know if the man was good enough to go to heaven. Thing 1, well, he said through his tears that he was crying because the man died before he could give him his hotdog and he was *really* hungry.

I wanted to laugh outloud. I'm not sure why. The absurdity? The truth that comes from children? The kids were truly let down: no music, no hotdogs, no stickers from the fire fighters. I wasn't quite sure what to do. We said a quick prayer together and to hammer home the message, Thing 1 finished his prayer and asked if the hot dog man was dead could he go see the popcorn lady?

The ambulance pulled away, the music started again with the band leader saying, "I'm not sure if we have something in our playlist for this moment," then began playing "I Get By With a Little Help from My Friends..."

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Thursday, August 14

Are We Wearing Sparkle Butt Jeans This Fall?

Are we supposed to be wearing sparkle bum jeans again this year? Are we going low rise (man, I hope not) again or the super high rise that defies all fashion on the planet?

And by the way, what's a mommy supposed to wear to the park? If I see one more pair of khaki 3/4 length pants and cut little shelf bra tank...

Anxious to see what the Wal-Mart 11 Moms think...

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Tuesday, August 12

Tennis Camp

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