Cupcakes and Tequila

Before it gets darker and I (again) don't stay up until midnight, while I sit here with my good friends (cupcakes and tequila) I'm working on my 2012 resolutions.

This is what I have so far:

More air, more sunshine.

Less cupcakes, less tequila.

More travel, less shyness.

More kindness, more salads.

More sunscreen, more walks.

More calls and letters to my 91 year old Abuelo.

Less TV (except for Jersey Shore, which starts January 5*)

More laughter, more stories.

A Rock Waits in Cuba

Today I applied for my first passport so that I can go to Cuba with my Mom, just like I promised at the end of Marvin's Book. Its in writing,  it is published.  I absolutely have to do it. 

 In the past two years I have seen the invisible wall separating us from Cuba crumble, and the scholar and historian and storyteller in me should be drooling over the opportunity to take part in and write about this moment in history but I'm not entirely ready.

The idea of being So Far Away makes my stomach hurt.

Except for my two year exile in the Great Mountains of Far Far Away Colorado and maybe a few trips across the border to Georgia, I'm not much of a traveler. When I do travel, it to places where there are fireworks, ChikFilA, Princesses and Monorails. 

I can't expect that in Cuba. I'm not sure if my blowdryer will work (if not, can I use my straightener? is there a Plan C for hair?) and  I don't think my iPhone will be able to generate my soothing Pandora nighttime channel.

 I'm scared.

But I'm going to go to Cuba, anyway.

I have a story to tell for my Abuela (and for you) and although I already know most of what I want and need to say, there is something I need to see.  There is a rock, a magic rock in Cuba and I know where it is.

I have to see it, it calls to me, laughingly. 

So today after stalling hour hours by sinking into episodes of Pawn Stars and Storage Wars, I turned on my computer and applied for my passport online.

At least, I filled out the form online.

Now I have to print it out, and in order to do that I have to set up the still-in-the-box wireless printer that Psychic Santa sent me, along with a pack of white paper.

And in order of set up the new printer I need to clear a great space for it, and to do that I have to tackle cleaning this post-Christmas house, do a few loads of  laundry, and while the laundry is rolling I should drag the kids to the grocery, then when I get home, cook and then clean some more.

But after all that, I'll set up the printer and print it out my passport application.

And then, I'll have to take a passport picture.

And actually go somewhere to hand this form in.

Maybe I haven't actually applied for my passport YET but I've taken the first step - I've started on my start to see the rock that waits patiently for me in Cuba. 

Now Can I Open a "Real" Present?

Zack hugged himself on the sofa, rolling and moaning. "I don't feel gooooood," he whined, making sure he had my attention.

It's hard to stop my pre-Christmas momentum -- it's Christmas Eve, I have to clean everything up so that we can mess it all up tomorrow -- but it's the holidays so I find a way to roll myself into park and settle next to my little guy on the kitchen sofa.

Poor guy, of course he's feeling  sick.

He was up half the night asking if it was Christmas Eve YET.  Around 6:15 he finally got out of bed (and got me out of bed) egging himself on by this inflated expectation of getting a gush of joy from  opening a gift ANY GIFT today.

 I stalled him until about 7am, but but soon enough he ripped into a present and  for about three minutes it was enough for him to parade around in his awesome new pirate socks.

After that wore off (and while my first cup of coffee was still mostly full, and also still very warm) he looked up at me and asked if he could please now open a REAL present.

Right. I knew that would happen.

Before "Just one present?" became "just one more?"  I packed both kids off for a romp to the mall.

In case you were ever afraid of going to the mall on Christmas Eve, let me tell you, it was tranquil and empty. As late as 10am there were only tiny threads of quiet people wandering among the shops. outnumbered by with bright eyed employees.

The entire trip was uneventful except for the part where Zack set an alarm off on a display while playing with a smartphone. The staff pulled out keys and cheerfully turned the horrendous beeeeeep off and consoled my sobbing red-faced son that this happens "all the time, in fact he was the third guy today!" but I knew that alarm hit his stomach, hard.

That's probably why my little guy is such a wreck, I tell myself, stroking Zack's hair as he sat next to me on the sofa looking sick and slightly moaning.

"You've had a tough day, little guy," I tell him.

Then I ask, "What can I do to make you feel better? Apple juice? Crackers? Want me to put something on tv?"

He rolls over and with suddenly bright green eyes, sits up a little bit and faintly pleaded, "Opening a present would help....."

I pushed him backdown and left him to his misery.

It's Christmas Eve, I have to clean the whole house today so we can spend tomorrow messing it up again

The Santa Tax

Ho, ho, hum, I thought I was almost done.

Last night, fortressed behind three locked doors, bopping to happy (not holiday) music,  I wrapped three bags of gifts and wrote names across each one in large scrolling letters (clearly mine) so there would be doubt who these gifts would be from.

After I finished wrapping the gifts (all of them! hooray!)  I carry them to the tree and scatter them in between and among the other gifts,  The kids watch silently, pretending to be transfixed by an episode of the Amanda Show.

 When I finish I head back to clean up the tape, the paper, the scissors, but before I can get out of earshot I hear Zack  announce "16 for each of us!" like it would be a Christmas miracle that I would remember to bundle and separate and wrap gifts so they would balance in their inevitable pre-Christmas ritual of counting and re-counting the gifts under the tree. He continued, "I wonder how many more Santa is going to bring?"

Santa? SANTA?'

I forgot about the Santa tax.

I will pay that tax, of course I will,  but dear powerful and mystical St. Nicholas, forgive me now for what I am sure will be meager efforts in your name, but my enthusiasm and budget expired hours ago.

Motherhood Chronicles: Porcelain Boundary

Today my son asked me sweetly and convincingly to sit on the cold hard toilet seat and warm it up for him.

I almost did it, I almost fell under his spell, then I balked.

I do enough, already.

I will not be his potty warmer.