Natasha, Ingrid, and cleaning out my desk

So I was cleaning out my desk this morning—no, really, true story—and I found a notebook full of writing prompts that belonged to one of the kids four years ago. Four years is an eternity when it comes to kids’ stories at this age, and let me tell you, it blew my mind that this stuff came out of the same too-cool head of the kid I dropped off at school this morning. And like SO MUCH ELSE in our life, it’s unprintable.

I’m gonna need to start selling Amway, because the ratio of stuff going on in our lives to stuff I am allowed to write about is the square root of nothing. It’s killing me. I’ve shifted focus to writing books, and the occasional inane Facebook update. Oh, look, I’m like a hundred million other people out there.

Back to the notebook. As I was flipping through the pages, a half-sheet fell out, with a poem. It was called “Unwritten.” Which is exactly my problem these days. (Months. Whatever.) The first and last stanzas were highlighted, and I know I didn’t do it so I offered a little prayer to the goddess of serendipity and decided to post those lines.

But THEN, I noticed that the author looked a bit like the singer whose song was playing as I pulled into the driveway after the school run. It’s called “You & I” and was part of our wedding playlist. I looked up the video for the song because it’s a happy song and if I do nothing else productive today I’m posting something happy. For Aunt Barbara’s sake, I CLEANED OUT MY DESK. I’m done for the week!

Ingrid. Natasha. Those aren’t real common names here, Rocky & Bullwinkle notwithstanding. I found a video of the first song—not a poem after all—right there on youfrickentube. So you get both.

“Unwritten” by Natasha Bedingfield

I am unwritten, can’t read my mind, I’m undefined

I’m just beginning, the pen’s in my hand, ending unplanned

Staring at the blank page before you

open up the dirty window

Let the sun illuminate the words that you cannot find

Reaching for something in the distance

So close you can almost taste it

Release your inhibitions

P.S. In the back of that notebook? I’d written the original organizational outline of chapters for the book I’m currently finishing up. Wasn’t THAT helpful? I’ve been looking for that for AGES. Guess what that means, honey? When you return from Shanghai this weekend, the dining room table will be covered in sticky notes representing 42 chapters, so that I can rearrange and organize and optimise the order of ideas. And there isn’t a thing you can do about it because it’s the kind of crap you’ve been trying to get me to do forever. So, HA! (My work is always a little more fun if the chaos it creates also accomplishes your personal wish fulfillment because I know you won’t dare touch it.)

P.P.S. I sure hope there’s Chinese food tonight after your meetings.

P.P.P.S. For context, the last time he was in Shanghai, his team took him out to dinner on the last night. “It’s a great restaurant, no one knows about it!” So they got into a taxi and crawled through downtown traffic for 90 mintes to travel about seven blocks. They had been in meetings 12 hours that day and were exhausted, so as Guy stepped out of the car and looked up at the restaurant, he said, “I sure hope they serve Chinese.” The team didn’t get it but his British boss was doubled over.

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Need fabulous desserts delivered for Easter?

Pull up a chair and look me in the eye:

chocolate-cake from RedEnvelope.comGo to RedEnvelope.com and buy as many 10″ Three Layer Cakes as you possibly can. Then, hide some. Then, put one out for your loved ones, just to show how awesomely fabulous you are and how much you love your family. THEN, walk around the neighborhood and offer to sell them for three times the price. Bring samples. You’ll make a bloody fortune.

Seriously, it is the BEST chocolate cake I have ever tasted, and that’s saying something.

We had chocolate cake at our wedding. It was lovely, but it wasn’t this.

We just got back from an all-inclusive honeymoon at a four-star resort with all manner of unlimited, yummy desserts, and I can’t even recall now what they were.

Every year since our eldest was born in 1998, we’ve gotten a chocolate cake from the local (and quite famous) bakery for every birthday for every family member, ever. It’s part of the Family Charter. It didn’t approach this.

It’s one thing to have great, thick frosting.

It’s one thing to have incredibly moist layers.

It’s one thing to have mouthwatering ganache layers of frosting in between.

It’s unheard of to have all three. It’s the Unified Theory of Chocolate Cake.

You have no idea how much I wish they were paying me to say this* but it WAS AMAZINGLY AWESOMELY DELICIOUS and I can’t physically defend it 24/7 and I am actually nervous right now because it is downstairs on the counter and at least half the people in the house know it’s there and I’m all the way upstairs and down the hall.

Maybe they have a Cake of the Month deal, and I can open a P.O. Box. No, they won’t deliver to boxes, as well they shouldn’t, because they are delivered packed in dry ice and can sit for three days with absolutely no drop in quality. I know this because I was in Mexico on my honeymoon when my cake arrived, and it sat in my ex’s kitchen from Friday to Monday before I got my mitts on it. In gratitude I cut him a 1/4 share, but now think I was hasty.

In fact, my eldest hasn’t come to stay with me since I got back because of his baseball practice schedule, so he’s been eating off his dad’s share, and when I saw him shovel a piece that filled his hand into his mouth, I was aghast. “No! Small bites! Small bites! You have to savor it!”

“Mom, I haff a mouf full ub cake, I’m still tasting thith.”

“Not the way it was meant to be tasted!” And with that I ran to my car, holding a hankie to my eyes.

*Disclaimer: I was not paid to write this, but I was offered a $50 gift certificate to sample one of their Easter gift offerings, and I ponied up extra for this item because I knew it would score me Mommy points for at least three weeks.

The UN-Holiday Gift Guide

Instead of coming up with a list of the latest must-have gifts, I thought I’d approach gift-giving in retrospect, with my UN-Holiday Gift Guide. These are the things that I love and use daily, and honestly don’t think I could have gotten through the year without them!

Of course, I fumbled with a few slideshow formats (how does Babble DO that??) and finally gave up and put it in my Amazon Store. Might as well, as you can buy just about anything there, including OBGYN supplies. Truth.

There were a few things I COULDN’T find on Amazon, so I’m listing them here. They make my life worth living. Good example: I couldn’t get Guy on Amazon. Perspective.

TAKE ME TO THE GIFT GUIDE!

 And now, the things I couldn’t find on Amazon.com:

  1. Lo & Sons bags. I am almost afraid to look, because they may not be making the bags I have anymore. Especially because I got the second one for a steal as they were getting rid of the old line. I cannot say enough about how well constructed, pocket-thoughtful, and useful these bags are. I use The TT computer bag as a purse, and if I have to travel, I use The O.G. I especially love that it has a zippered slot for a pair of shoes so they don’t touch your clothing. Genius. OMG I just looked and they have added all sorts of new bags, including one called The OMG. OMG!
  2. Marie Antoinette cotton nightgown. You heard me. Order in white. Your man will not be able to sit still around you.
  3. Gap underwear. Yummy , comfortable, sexy, and they last. LOVE. Order one cup size down, fyi.
  4. Big Pharma (price and mileage may vary). Self-explanatory.
  5. Malibu Beach RV Park Hoodie & tShirts. My kids each brought me back something from the RV Park when they went to Disneyland with Dad. I love them.
  6. Warby Parker Eyeglasses (frames and lenses included for $95, plus they donate a pair to someone in need for each pair you buy. I have four.
  7. Epiphanie camera bag. I have the Clover in pink, and while pricy, they are a perfect solution for those who want a camera bag that will keep everything compartmentalized and SAFE, while looking like anything other than a camera bag. Just ask Karen Walrond.
  8. Camera straps. I can’t find where I got mine, but I’m a braces and belt kind of girl. I use both the wrist strap and the shoulder strap, and the kids know they’d better be well and truly strapped in if they want to touch my camera. I always support Etsy, so that’s where I’m sending you!
  9. Physicalfix. I could devote whole posts to this (and have), but I can’t stop raving about it. Physicalfix is an online exercise/training program that constructs workouts tailored specifically to your body, strengths, goals, equipment handy, and time to devote to exercise. The best thing is that you can do it without leaving the house or having anyone watch, which for me is the single biggest barrier to exercise. I never exercised until this fall, and I’m down 14 lbs and am growing a six-pack. I have a waist again. Guy is chasing me around the coffee table. I no longer think that lipo is the only way for me to get my pre-baby body back. I’m a believer. And I pay for the program, not the other way around. I’m a paying member, and fully recommend you check out the food logs, weight trackers, and the bangin’ bod on this guy. Pfix President Josh Zitomer is a former strength trainer for the NY Jets, and a celebrity trainer (no, he won’t tell me who), and a lot of other things I can’t list to do him justice. He is sincere, hardworking, supportive, and dedicated to all his clients. That’s right, he WILL check in on you. He’s also a little bit crazy in that he does Triple Iron Man competitions and is training for the Death Race (HOLY SHIT, watch the video describing it. Only THREE people finished last year.). He has become a great friend, and I will support what he does as much as possible.

Next post: my favorite books from the year. There are a LOT of them.

Hey now! I didn't know our Kraft Family Fun Time: Tuesday Night Tickets vid was up!

Argh! Sorry, I don’t like videos to autoplay!! Here’s a link to the video. Ah, that’s much better. Ohm.