Mustache Pete

I'm aging.
This is a derogatory statement. It never used to be.
My life has plateaued, my boobs are now a wardrobe hazard and my face is unrecognizable to me.
I'm aging.
We went over to Paso Robles last weekend and stayed overnight at a little guest cottage in the vineyards. The temperatures plummeted and my family and I all remarked how ill prepared we were for the freezing temperatures, both physically and mentally.
We like to get the biggest bang for our buck so we cram an insane amount of engagements into a very little period of time while we're in town. Then we race to the finish before we all collapse into a flaming pile of screaming crying temper tantrum babies. and as it turns out, we end up paying for our jam-packed weekend in the form of illness, whining and sleepless nights for exactly 5 days afterward. Do not try this at home. We are professionals.
Did I mention I'm aging? It happened all of a sudden. The day I turned 30 I began categorizing this development as a negative. Before this day, the word "older" arrived with privileges like driving, buying cigarettes and beer, gaining enough respect to sit at the adult table. And then, the year after I turned 30 I acquired battle wounds from my pregnancy (in unmentionable areas). I got hangovers for days instead of hours. I lost every ounce of baby fat I ever owned, which left me gaunt and sagging, accentuating the tired, drooping eyelids below my furrowed brow. I'm a day-old balloon, deflated, wrinkled, and limp.
And last weekend, I looked in the mirror and GASPED!!!! I was not in my own bathroom at my home, this was not the lighting I used every day before I went out in public. This cottage had a bathroom streaming with natural sunlight, and there, on my face, in the corners of my upper lip were tiny brown hairs! A whole colony of ten or so on each corner!!! I had a handlebar mustache.
"JOHN!!!! Jooohhhnnn!!!!! How did you let me go out in public like this?????" I shrieked.
He, of course, squinted his eyes at me, focusing in on my upper lip before asking, "Where?" like he couldn't see anything.
Yeah right!!! You might as well call me Frieda!!!
OMG I've been walking around in PUBLIC with a mustache.
All I could think about was the new budget I needed to make for facial hair removal. I already have one for pedicures because painting my own toenails is not as easy these days. I just started one for dying my hair-thank god that hasn't gone gray yet because I'm pretty sure I'd have cardiac arrest if I found a gray hair on the same day I discovered I'd grown a mustache.
I'm aging. And it sucks.


Focus, Christmas, Focus

The holidays never fail to bring with them a flurry of chaos, drama and countless reasons to be grateful for all the good amidst the dire. That being said, I'm not writing about my dear friend's newborn baby who rode in an ambulance this week, about the cousin who called 911 because he thought he'd had a heart-attack only to discover there was a growth the size of Texas under his sternum, about world hunger, a friend's kidney transplant or the raging fever my daughter has had for two days.
I'm writing about a children's book that is quite possibly my favorite for 2008. Santa's Favorite Story, written by Hisako Aoki, illustrated by Ivan Gantschev is the sweetest combination of Santa and Jesus that ever landed in my lap.
As you may know, the issue of religion is a touchy one with me. I was raised Catholic, mass every Sunday, Catechism School every Tuesday. I've been baptized, communioned, confirmed, and castrated, I mean chastised, I meant, well, you get the idea. If you haven't already guessed, I'm no longer a practicing Catholic.
My husband has no religious background, so quite logically, we spend our Sundays cooking bacon and playing dress-up with the kids. Last year I realized, upon my mother's urgings, that for all the vocabulary I had dauntingly exposed my daughters to over the years, I forgot one word: God.
And so the education began, on my mom's behalf, of introducing The Almighty God and Jesus Christ (not as a swear word). Shelby received a book from my Grandma called "Jesus and The Twelve Dudes Who Did" that my father mockingly read, much to our delight, with a Cheech Marin accent. Shelby thinks the twelve apostles finish their proclamations with, "essssaaay!" I'm currently on the fence about Him. Well, actually, He and I are just fine, it's the church I have a problem with. Naturally, I do not attend mass and neither do my children (John has only sat in a church pew twice in his life). But occasionally, like this Christmas, when my mom implores us to acknowledge her faith and go to church, I am intrigued by the offer.
As a fairly conscientious parent, I am ever evaluating the world in which my children live, the exposure I provide and deny them, and the choices I have made thus far in their upbringing. I do not regret spending my Sundays fidgeting on a hard wood pew, sneaking giggles, dressed in itchy tights, reciting the Our Father. I wouldn't be me without my understanding of the Catholic Church. Who will my daughters be without my same background? How will they cope with death and heaven? How will they see the world if they don't feel guilty about it all the time like a good Catholic does?
So I'm focusing on this children's book because it melded together two worlds, the common consumer's Santa Claus Christmas with the old-fashioned wood manger version just perfectly in my opinion. Go forth, and read.


C'mon Get Social Now

I threw my cell phone into the ocean today. It was swallowed by a whale who burped the tune "Have A Holly Jolly Christmas". I was hugged and loved by someone I wasn't quite sure about. I was uncomfortable. I was overwhelmed by a room full of chatty mothers, wild children and a dance instructor with a far greater threshold for stress than the entire committee of OPEC.
I admitted to having more than 4 social obligations in a weekend. And I did so like I was proud of it. Why would I be proud of being over committed? I secretly hated that I was over committed. Because what I really wanted was two whole days without any plans. Two whole "S" days of the week with my little family, wide open.
I put my head in a crate and pushed it down a steep embankment where it landed in a river of red wine. I seek out social, like a moth to the light. It encaptures my every being, I seek it out. And once I am there, once I am engulfed in everything that is society I FREAK OUT.
I dress the part, I crave the invitation. I revel in people. Until suddenly, I am surrounded. Until I am drowning in voices and sharing and caring and chaos and AUUUGHGHHHGHGHGH!!!!!!
I am a hermit in politician's clothing. I smile and wave and RSVP to every party but inside myself I am dressed in swishy black sweatpants curled up on my sofa, a glass of good zin in my hand and my sweet little family gathered around. I crave my life, uninterrupted.
Happy Hectic Holidays. I'm drowning. Are you?