Wednesday, August 27, 2008


My sister recommended the movie “Once.”

It took my husband and me about three months to see it, meanwhile paying Netflix for the privilege of having it sit atop our television. When we finally took the time to see it, I was struck by the movie’s simplicity.

It’s about an aspiring musician with a broken heart trying to start a music career, and a Czech immigrant making her way in Ireland. What touched me were how these two people, who had so little monetarily, were truly living their lives and pursuing their dreams in a simple, yet profound way.

It made me think about how much I have, and how I should try to live life fully in the now, instead of waiting for more. I often think, mostly unconsciously,

My kids grow up;
We win the lottery;
I have a successful book published;
I appear on Oprah;
We live abroad for a year --

THEN,I’ll be happy.

I wait for these things today.

Not so long ago, I wanted to find love, get married, have children, and buy a house. I have all of that now, yet, the credits never rolled along with a moving soundtrack in the background when I got what I thought I wanted most.

I always find new things to covet.

I think it’s part of the human experience to yearn for more. As I start to feel the hunger pains for a future different than my present, I pause.

I try to notice one thing that I’m enjoying now. Today, it was my boys jumping and splashing in the little blow-up pool in our backyard. Yesterday, it was my youngest son “stealing” strawberries off the counter faster than I could cut them up.

I continue to have an insatiable craving for something new, different, more, than what I already have.

Perhaps one day I will find happiness and contentment in the present; aware that everything I have is already a gift.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

New Olympic Sport

I’m beginning early with the training of my boys. I believe in following their interests, and thus support starting a new sport: The Couch Jump*. These pictures document the new Swedish-American team (although their uniforms admittedly look Jamaican.)

In case you want to start a new league in your neck of the woods, the rules are:

1) No jumping when your fellow athlete is lying on the couch.
2) Performance-enhancing props such as pacifier and blankie are permitted for athletes under the age of three.
3) Spotting from the coach is permitted so the athletes don’t fall off the arm of the couch pre-jump.
4) Jumping on top of your fellow athlete is terms for disqualification.
5) Winners are awarded one marshmallow as their medal.

* Please play at your own risk. Many head bonks were barely avoided on this first night of the sport.

What future sport do you propose?

Monday, August 18, 2008

Writing Mama Dilemma

It’s 10:30 p.m., and inspiration hits. Stories flow into my head, and I can see and hear how they are to be written. The dilemma: do I write when inspired, or do I go to sleep in an attempt to get eight hours like I’d promised myself I would try for one week. Yesterday I went to bed early and my day was definitely better because of it. My two Energizer bunny sons do not yet have snooze buttons, at least that I’ve been able to find.

I’ll choose sleep this time. Maybe I can train myself to be inspired during the day when I’m at home, ready to write.

(1 hour later…)

Scratch that. I tried to just write a few notes to remember what had inspired me, and an hour later I’m finishing up. Writing won out this time. I’m happy with what I wrote. It’s about my not-so-smooth (forgive the pun) introductions to love and sex. No more about that, gotta wait for my book for those words.

Or one and a half margaritas and a designated driver.

(Photo by Mats.)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Olympic Influence

OK, it’s been 2 days without Häagen-Dazs ice cream. And I exercised again. Yep, that’s right, it’s the Olympics. Seeing these athletes who have worked so hard, and sacrificed so much seems to have subliminally inspired me to remove my butt from the seated position. So far the stories of the athletes’ workouts have not shown them sitting on a couch eating ice cream. Although I bet they’ll do that after the Olympics. I would.

But it seems I’m not the only one influenced. The pool that I take the kids to for swim lessons was packed on Tuesday. All the members (we’re visitors) were talking about how it was the busiest they’ve ever seen. I bet Michael Phelps is the reason.

So my journey to the prize continues. Some are working towards gold. I’m working towards my jeans not cutting off the circulation in my middle area. You gotta have goals…

P.S. This freelance writing thing isn’t easy. I keep sending stuff out, but sometimes it’s hard to keep motivated. Just thought I’d let you all know.

P.P.S. Due to the above sentence, I just treated myself to a few bites of Häagen-Dazs. I bet there are a lot of athletes out there that didn’t make it to the Olympics that are doing the same thing. This one’s for them.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Lose Weight the Jon Lovitz Way

On the finale of Last Comic Standing, comedian Jon Lovitz explained, “I discovered the secret to losing weight…As you all know, muscle weighs more than fat. So if you really want to lose weight, you really have to get rid of all that muscle.”

I think I’ve been on that plan lately. With both kids in preschool for the past three weeks, my body is changing. Where I used to be constantly on my feet, wiping bottoms, cleaning up spills, and running after bikes during the morning, I’m now happily seated, sedentary, rarely moving, in front of the computer, writing.

I’m loving my time, don’t get me wrong, but my butt seems to be enjoying it as well seeing as it has grown a bit. I haven’t gained weight, but my pants don’t fit anymore (except for stretchy yoga pants thankfully.)

And no, I’m not pregnant.

I’m happy with my body as-is, but would like to be able to wear my non-sweat pants again. So I went for a run/walk today. It felt good to exercise again. And I’m going to yoga when I can.

Of course, my nightly Häagen-Dazs habit doesn’t help. But a girl has to have at least one vice in her life.

What is your exercise routine? (or) What’s your vice?

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Impromptu Trip

If there is something Mats and I have not been since having kids, it’s spontaneous.

We love to travel. Or loved to travel, I’m not sure which tense to use these days. Traveling with kids is different. The sleep and exhaustion factor are always there.

But on Friday night, for perhaps the first time in over four years, we decided to take a weekend trip with the kids at the last minute. We left at 9 p.m. and arrived at my parents’ property in Central California at midnight.

The boys had a blast. Lucas was Grandad’s little helper the whole weekend, a title he was quite proud of. He even got paid a quarter and wants to buy something with it. The second night we all slept well. Mats and I went for a hike at the Pinnacles National Park, sans kids.

It was a great trip.

Arriving home today we were all a bit out-of-sorts, but we survived. And we have more memories than if we had stayed home. Time to start traveling again!

Lucas says he wants to go down next Saturday. OK, maybe we’re not that ready.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Another Prius Lover

After preschool today, I was loading both boys’ bikes into the back of our Prius. A man walking his two dogs stopped next to our car. He was a big guy with large biceps and a bald head. Normally I’m used to getting comments about the kids’ bikes, etc. from fellow parents, but he wasn’t looking at the bikes.

“How do you like your car?” he asked. I explained how much I love it. He asked how often I fill up the tank. I said every two weeks, but I actually have no idea. I fill it up when it’s close to empty. But I told him it gets about 45 miles a gallon. This I knew.

“Nice.” he responded, nodding approvingly like guys used to do when eyeing trucks on top of large wheels or some vintage Chevy. I’m not a car person, but I felt “cool” in that moment. It makes me happy that fuel-efficient cars are attracting attention.

Buddhism teaches that positives come from a negative. This is how I feel about gas prices right now. Yes, they suck. But they are making us look at gas consumption in a new way. I really wish my kids’ school was within biking distance. Maybe in the future.

As for the guy in the picture above, that’s my Swedish lover I sometimes hook up with. For more on that, click here. Just kidding, there isn’t more on that.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Gyno Gratitude

Yesterday was my annual OB-GYN appointment.

I was filled with such gratitude for the doctor who brought my boys safely into this world.

Without her, the outcome of my first son’s birth may have been different. During the twenty-four hours prior to her entry into my son’s birth story, the other doctor and nurses were expecting me to make important decisions and lead the birthing process.

I didn’t know what I was doing -- this was my first time!

When they gave me medication for nausea, I couldn’t keep my eyes open so they let me sleep. The next doctor took her shift. I was awoken from my slumber with her shrill voice filling the room and demanding, “What? She’s ten centimeters! Why isn’t she pushing?”

I had never met this woman, but my people-pleasing desire kicked in and I started pushing.

She made a crucial decision in the last minutes of labor by calling the specialized neo-natal team "just in case." When Lucas was born in a bit of shock (and who wouldn't be, really?), they were there to help him in the first few minutes of life. How can you thank someone for such an impact?

I've told her many times that she’s intuitive, but she would never call herself that. She's about five feet tall, dresses in fun clothes with artsy glasses and is probably the most energetic person I've ever met.

Her office is bright with pinks, yellows, and greens throughout, and cool quotes painted on the walls. I was happy to hear that she has hired a midwife. Almost makes me want to have another baby.