Compliment Sandwich

I use the compliment sandwich a lot when I am criticizing people – especially people I don’t know very well.  If I know you fairly well or just know you aren’t a big cry baby, I’ll give it to straight.  For those unfamiliar with the compliment sandwich, it’s when you tell someone something positive, then state your negative criticism, followed by another compliment.

*You are so brave to get up and sing in front of other people.

When you sing it sounds like whales raping each other.

You’re hair looks cute like that.*

Pretty simple, right?  My children have yet to master this technique.  Instead, they are using what I refer to the compliment open-face sandwich.  Here is an example from each child.

First from Kamryn:

Mommy, you are really skinny.

No wait, I’m not done yet, your belly is kind of fat.

And then from Rory:

Mama, I like your shirt.

You have a baby in your belly?  Me touch it?

Any questions about my “problem” areas on my body?

*Actual compliments and criticisms I have received.




She Makes Being A Mom Awesome

Kamryn is 5 1/2 years old, finishing up her first “real” year of school and yet when I look at her, sometimes I see this very grown-up little person.  I watch her teach Rory simple arithmetic, sometimes including all of their fingers and toes on the really complex problems.  If he happens to guess the right answer, she praises him with a “Good job, Buddy!”  At times, her patience is infinite and her voice calm and soothing with the little 3 year old who idolizes and mimics her every move.

Kamryn reading books to Rory.

That version of Kamryn amazes me and leaves me in complete awe.  Luckily, that Kamryn is around about 95% of the time.  Those that know her, know she can be generally found with a big smile on her face.

The other day she told me, “I’m starting to be a mommy.  One, I drank a whole can of Sprite.  Two, I chew with my mouth closed.  And second, I take my own showers.”  (No, there isn’t a typo in that sentence, that is how she said it.)  She proceeded to tell me that now I only have to wash two people everyday…myself and Rory.

I have to admit that her stating that she was starting to be a mommy had me a little bit concerned because she does have a slight obsession with babies right now.  But after she explained herself, I understood what she was getting at.  I’m a mommy and although she is what identifies me as such, it’s what I do outside of being her mother that she associates as a mom privilege.  For example, every Wednesday night I go out with friends to sing Karaoke.  All of my friends are moms as well so Kamryn makes comments like “I wish I was a mom so I could go to Karaoke too.”

Karaoke makes me super happy.

I like that Kamryn thinks she has to be a mom to do some of the fun things that I do.  I know she’ll realize one day that isn’t the case, but it’s a nice reminder that my fun didn’t end once I had kids.  It’s a little different and possibly a bit tamer (except maybe on Hump Day Karaoke nights), but still fun.  And what Kamryn really doesn’t realize is that if I didn’t have her and Rory, I would be missing out on a lot more fun.  We’re going to Legoland today and if I didn’t have kids, I am pretty certain I wouldn’t be going to an amusement park on a Wednesday afternoon.

A picture from our last Legoland Adventure.


Weekly Menu 5/29 to 6/3

This week, as well as last, has been a bit crazy with lots of activities and goings on.  I’ll give you the menu as I have it written, but I don’t think we’ll get most of the meals in this week.

Tuesday – Pasta W/ Meat Sauce – I have about 8 billion 3/4 used boxes and bags of pasta.  You would think I would learn to just buy the same kind of pasta so I can easily make the unused portions, but that would be far too simple.

Wednesday – We are planning a little afternoon trip to Legoland tomorrow so we will either still be there at dinner time or on our way home in which case we’ll probably pick something up.

Thursday – I have a going away dinner for a friend who is moving across the country.  I have pizza on the menu, but in lieu of making it from scratch, I’ll suggest Ryan orders it from somewhere.

Friday – Orange Chicken – I love this chicken so much, but I’m trying to figure out a way to being a little more efficient when making it.  It’s a little time consuming, but it’s so good, it’s worth it.

Saturday – Ham & Cheese Turnovers – These are really good and the kids love them.  You really can’t go wrong.  Ham – good.  Cheese – good.  Bread – gooood.

Sunday – Gnocchi W/ Sage Butter – I haven’t made this for years and I kind of did my own improvisation of it.  I tried to grow a little container garden and the sage was the only thing that actually produced anything.  I kind of fried the leaves in butter and they were delicious.  They get nice and crispy.  I may try doing that again instead of using the dried sage like the recipe calls for.



Memorial Day

Today we remember all of our fallen soldiers and give thanks to those who have served and continue to serve to keep our country safe and allow us the freedoms that we enjoy.

A Lesson

I have said it before and I’ll say it again.  I have no problem with my age.  I am 35 and every once and awhile I wonder if I’ll get to an age where I find it difficult to admit to, but I kind of doubt it.  There are far too many age related cliches out there that I don’t think I’m allowed to be hesitant in stating my age.  You’re only as young as you feel;  Age is just a number; The older the grape, the sweeter the juice, etc.

With all that being said, nothing brightens my day more than someone carding me when I buy beer.  I know I look over 21.  Hell, I am pretty sure most people would put me over 31, but it’s still nice to have to pull out my ID.  Before today, the last time I was carded was at a bar in West Hollywood.  That bartender could teach a class on charming thirtysomething women, but he was also working for tips…which I gladly gave.

Today I was carded at my neighborhood market by a kid who was anywhere between 16 and 20.  I seriously have no concept of how old people are anymore, the older I get, the younger they look.  The first thing he rang through was my 6 pack of beer.  I could feel him looking at me, but I was fumbling around in my purse trying to see if I actually had my ID with me should he ask.

Two things could have happened:  he could have ask me for my ID, or after having taking a good hard look at me decided there was absolutely no reason to ask me for my license.  I’m clearly old enough, but I like that there was a little shadow of doubt somewhere in his head and he asked me to prove I was legal.  If I could have given him a tip, I would have.

Here are some additional tips to anyone working in the service industry or where alcohol can be purchased.  I’m not sure if guys like to be carded or not, but I have never heard Ryan say he was excited about it and he used to get carded a lot.  And while some of you aren’t working for tips, think of it as something you should probably be doing anyway so why not make someone happy in the process?

  1. Always look at the face of the person you are asking for ID.  If you just ask blindly, the gesture looses about 90% of its effect.
  2. If someone asks you if you need to see ID, the correct answer is Yes!;Absolutely!orWithout a doubt!   Unacceptable answers would be:  No.; Nah, you look old enough. or HaHa!
  3. Another nice touch when carding someone is checking to make sure that the ID is authentic.  The kid today flipped it over and looked at the back.  Nice.
  4. If you are sure that the person you are carding is way over 30, but want to go that extra mile to make them feel good, simply saying “We make it a policy to card anyone under 30.”

For all of you out there that hate getting carded, I apologize.



A Little Crafting

I decided to knock out a little craft that I have been hanging on to for about 3 months.  It was supposed to be a teacher appreciation gift, but Kamryn’s teacher was out for 6 weeks for surgery on her hand and it is specific to just her so I couldn’t even give it to one of the substitutes she had during that time.

We found out a couple of weeks ago that Mrs. M be back on the 29th to finish out the year and we’re so excited!  I thought I would make the gift and give it to her as a “Welcome Back!” gift instead.

I ordered two stamps from Pick Your Plum months ago.  One is a “This Book Belongs To Mrs. M…” stamp and the other one says “From The Desk Of Mrs. M…”  Only after I bought the stamps did I come across the idea to putting them in a little personalized box with some ink pads on the crafting blog, Skip To My Lou.

I did my own version – I’m not good with paper crafting so I painted instead.  First I took off all the hardware.  Normally, I would try and paint around it, but it was so small, I knew I would screw it up.Next I painted the box with Spa Blue acrylic paint.I printed out a little card to glue on the top to personalize the box.The ink pad and stamps fit perfectly inside.I also put a coat of Mod Podge on the box to give it a little bit of a sheen.  I forgot how tacky that can be, though.  Oh well.

Also, since I had the glue gun heated up, I fixed my shoe too.We’re going to chalk this day up to productive!

Flashback Friday

The Cedar Fire from my front door in October of 2003.

Last night there was a breaking news report on TV that was alerting San Diego County of the Banner Fire burning east of Julian, a small mountain town about an hour east of San Diego.  Some residents had already been evacuated, but as of this morning, firefighters had already contained a significant amount of the wildfire and luckily, the weather was cooperating.

Ryan and I moved to San Diego (the first time) in late September of 2003.  We didn’t have jobs, but we had a little money in our pockets that we received as wedding gifts from our August nuptials and figured we wouldn’t have trouble finding jobs once we settled in “the big city”.

We moved into a 2 bedroom apartment on October 4th, but didn’t have any furniture until at least October 20th, which was a bit of a cluster fuck because I had specifically told the moving company that I wanted the furniture delivered on the 4th.  In the fine print, which I did read and even discussed with the moving rep regarding language stating what date we were requesting our furniture to be delivered.  Apparently saying I wanted it on a specific date was actually saying I wanted it within 2 weeks after that date.   Irregardless,  we had enough foresight to pack an air mattress and a TV in the car when we drove out to CA so while it wasn’t ideal, it wasn’t horrendous.

We got our furniture and we devoted ourselves to getting everything unpacked and put in it’s proper place almost immediately because we were so happy to sleep in an actual bed as opposed to an air mattress that we had to re-inflate every morning.  I had all of the pictures on the wall, curtains hung, throw pillows in their proper places, dishes in the cupboards and clothes in the closet.  We were finally settled after being without our possessions for nearly a month.

And then the fires.  As a girl who grew up in the Midwest, the one natural disaster that I associated with California was earthquakes.  I knew nothing of wildfires.  We were right next to a seemingly infinite source of water, fires never even occurred to me.  My knowledge of wildfires came quick and was born out of absolute necessity.

Ryan and I lived in Mira Mesa at the time of the 2003 wildfires.  We were in a residential area that was encapsulated by 8 lanes of freeway on either side of the suburb – I felt pretty safe.  It wasn’t until the woman who lived upstairs told us that she was evacuating that Ryan and I thought we should go on a recon mission.  Yeah, not the best idea, but we had no idea that we were putting ourselves in danger.

We hopped in the car and took off south down I-15.  We didn’t even have to go one exit before we saw huge flames literally jumping across those 8 lanes of concrete freeway.  HOLY SHIT!  Things got real, really fucking fast.  We took that first exit and were back at our place within minutes of leaving and tried to decide what we should do.

I remember being pissed that we had just gotten all of our things and now there seemed to be a real threat of them burning into nothing.  I had no idea what we should take with us and where we should go.  After a long discussion, we decided to stay put and if we had to leave, we would just go with the clothes on our backs and some of the pertinent documents needed for survival – credit cards, license, social security cards and our recently obtained marriage license.

Shortly after this decision, I started to have trouble breathing from all the smoke and ash in the air.  I have asthma and for the most part it doesn’t cause me problems (if you don’t count the 5 day hospitalization in ’98).  I had a prescription for a rescue inhaler and a steroid inhaler, but hadn’t had a need to fill it for months.  I was feeling close to how I felt prior to being hospitalized 5 years prior and having no insurance wasn’t helping me feel better.  I waited as long as I could and finally went to the pharmacy and paid full price for both inhalers – a steep $350.

The next day, I opened the front door of our apartment and took the picture above.  The picture doesn’t do the image justice.  They sky was blood red and it was the most horrifying and eerie thing I have ever seen.  That picture was taken at roughly 3:00 in the afternoon when it is normally bright and sunny.  You can see that the outside lights had turned on because it was so dark from all the smoke.

I don’t know when the fire was actually completely extinguished.  Between the Cedar Fire and Paradise Fire, 16 people lost their lives and over 2000 people lost their homes.  My good friend, Rochelle, lost her condo, which sat in the very middle of a huge complex.  The surrounding buildings were unscathed.  She lost everything.  I didn’t know Rochelle at the time, but met her soon after once I started working at Qualcomm.  I remember the first time she told me about her experience and my heart ached for her.  Her home – all of her tangible memories.  The tangible memories of her brother, Eric, who passed away years earlier were in that home.  Pictures and trinkets that can never be replaced were reduced to ash.

Rochelle’s house was rebuilt, and with the help of many of her family and friends, she was able to obtain many pictures of her brother that she lost.  It definitely put things in perspective for me.

I still think about the fires and how scared I was. It was the only time that I can look back and think how grateful I was that I didn’t have kids.  If there ever comes a time when there is even a fraction of the threat that there was in 2003, you can bet your ass we’ll be off like a prom dress with only the things we can’t replace – Kamryn and Rory.