Bravo to ME & MY Reality! Wednesday, Aug 10 2011 


It’s been basically 2 1/2 months since I have watched cable TV. If you had told me that I’d have gone this long without my Bravo, E! or reality TV fix, I’d have called you all Pretty Little Liars. For most of the last decade, both daytime and evening television have revolved around kid shows with the only time available to watch my own shows being late-night. Even that only came in the last few years when we discovered the wonders of the DVR. As the kids grew, I graduated from Baby Einstein to Playhouse Disney and Noggin. PBS Kids taught me how to craft, like I really cared, but none of that was anything I’d ever sit and watch on my own. Actually, maybe I lie… I’ve TOTALLY caught myself doing something in a room with the TV on for background noise and looking up to see what kind of trouble Zack & Cody get themselves into next. Pathetic! This isn’t quite “The Suite Life” but it is sweet and the apartment transition has been eased by the antics of those Disney twins since the kids see & relate to how similar apartment living can be to hotel living without a big yard separating us from neighboring houses. It’s so social here! (Zero room service here though and I’m pretty sure the kids have tried. Bummer!)

My plan was to save up a little money once I got back to work to buy another digital box, the time killing boob tube recorder, and watch my guilty pleasures again once the kids went to bed. Maybe I don’t really need that box though! Back at the house, that’s what I did nearly EVERY SINGLE NIGHT; I caught up on my shows and would watch all the reality I could handle after everyone was asleep because sometimes the sensationalized reality made my own look better. Shocker!!! Most of the reality on TV while entertaining is pretty negative too. We still watch it though, don’t we, like flies on the wall and talk about the “characters” and the big hot messes that embarrass themselves on TV while preparing their tell-it-all books and spin-off shows. The Real Housewives are tons of fun to watch and have fabulous lives and friends yet inevitably drama ensues when friends call each other Moose and Hefer and pull each others hair out. (God!!! If you didn’t see THAT one you missed out!) Here’s my deal now though: My reality is pretty freaking entertaining ifIdosaysomyself!! At the end of each day now, I make an effort to replay my own day’s episodes of calm, hilarity, drama, TLC & occasional hair pulling violence from the kids. I like to sit on the balcony, listen to the crickets & frogs, and take down notes from the day. I’ve learned some lessons this summer:

  • I’m a Survivor dammit. I’ll outwit, outplay and outlast. I already knew that, but I remember thinking on May 21st – the day the wackjobs said world was “supposed” to end – that nothing is ever really a catastrophic as it seems. I had somehow thought my precious little world would end if I didn’t follow the big house/white picket fence/2.2 kids & a dog route that I had somehow believed provided security in every way. Life goes on and I’d rather be in control of my own strategy in this game. My “perfect” world didn’t end the week after that when I left either just because other people had predicted it would. Wackjobs… all of ’em!
  • My sisters and I have more fun together than the Kardashians and have never gotten arrested for ANYTHING. EVER. YET.
  • I’ll never be a Top Chef, but I can manage to cook with less supplies & gadgets than before. Good knives are important!! I wish, “Please pack your knives and leave” had been running through my head when I packed up and left.
  • I can still cook my own outstanding version of The Soup but I’m glad Joel McHale doesn’t have any clips from THAT meltdown.
  • There are enough inherited OCD traits contained in these 1100 square feet for episodes of Flipping Out every day yet my sense of humor is back so it’s usually easier to handle in spite of the close quarters.
  • I don’t need Million Dollar Decorators to make my kids happy with their rooms. We’ve conquered THAT issue with tape, thumbtacks, posters & candy wrappers. I would’ve been embarrassed for my friends to think I had such poor taste or discipline to have decorated my HOUSE that way. Who CARES!! My kids think their rooms are fancy and EXACTLY how they want them to be.
  • This little apartment looks like a giant art closet, and as my friend reminded me the other day, Tim Gunn would be proud of the way we Make It Work now!

YES! That is a Skittles wrapper taped to the wall because he likes Skittles. That switchplate is also made from a video game cover. Who needs a decorator??

  • I’ve laid low on the social scene I guess partly because the kids are out of school but also because I don’t need or want any drama. I’m stepping back when the drama ensues because I’m just at a point where I don’t have the energy to work very hard at maintaining friendships. I have FABULOUS friends but I’m learning to set better boundaries in order to keep them. Besides, our fairly solitary summer has let me feel a little more independent from EVERYONE without worrying who’s gonna check me, Boo?
  • Crabs are super delicious! I guess that’s not really a deep philosophical observation, but I love Deadliest Catch and I’ve eaten more this summer from our waters than any other. Totally shallow – both me AND the crabs!
  • America’s most DEFINITELY Got Talent! I LOVE the crazies on the stage, I REALLY do, but the three of us have taken some time to actually WRITE DOWN both the serious and crazy talents we recognize in each other. We entertain each other as well, and some day my little ones are going to venture out into the big wide world and share their talents that have been developed and nurtured. I do my best (though admittedly fail at times) to prepare them for the world stage. I can TOTALLY see an E! True Hollywood Story in the future.
  • MY reality CAN be better than scripted reality! Andy Cohen can keep me up to date once a week with the 411 from what I’ve missed on the tube while I pay attention to what goes on around ME. I don’t want to miss things as they happen LIVE especially with my kiddos. Sometimes it’s fun to sit back and just Watch What Happens LIVE.
  • We’re more a Modern Family than we ever were before. We can all be funny and wacky and dramatic and neurotic. We’re not going to be like Leave It To Beaver though; we never were and it’s exhausting trying to be something that you just simply aren’t. I guess the Christmas card will look a little different, but surely it won’t mean any less. My life is often like a soap opera, but I think I can manage to keep the drama in perspective. After all, my name is ERICA and I can do it for All My Children. ūüôā
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Our Town Friday, Jul 1 2011 


I woke up this morning to my very own custom-made publication. No, I have not been published YET, but it seems that my daughter has taken an interest in writing as well. In her version of the local crime blotter, the cub has taken to¬†reporting the words¬†and actions of her brother. I’m thinking this is NOT going to win her a Pulitzer, however a Pull-At-Her (hair) may be in store once little brother can read. The¬†headline read, “Vampire In Town” so I’m not sure if this implied that¬†he bit her or what, but she had been sure to clearly depict the villain in his superhero pajamas.¬†There was a Style section, Sports section, and even an Entertainment section with movies and show times gathered from my little iPhone app. We seem to have created our own little city of sorts and every city needs a Town Crier. We have two, quite possibly three if I finally break by the end of Summer.

What got me going on this was my discovery a couple of days ago. A fight of sorts had broken out in the street, or hall, or whatever you want to call it. Sister was screaming that¬†Brother had locked himself in his room with all of the checkers, and she could hear them clinking together as he counted his stash. That’s what I said – CHECKERS. This should NOT be cause for alarm on a normal day because she is usually TRYING to get him to stay out of her room and in his own. So WHAT was the problem? As best I could tell through the tears and high-pitched siren-like cries, Brother had stolen all of the “checkers” from the Connect Four game and was hoarding them in his room. She then explained to me that this meant she could no longer¬†Do anything,¬†BUY anything, or have¬†FUN of any kind until she recovered her rightful portion of the loot. Slowly I began to understand. It seemed these two had reverted back to caveman days in more ways than one and devised a bartering system for goods and services here in Our Town. How civilized! Unexpected? Yes. Brilliant? Right on! I was so proud! This discovery meant there was hope for law and order in the Wild West after all. When one child wanted to borrow something from another, a price was set. If that price was mutually agreeable, then a deal was sealed, you checked out at the registers where checkers were exchanged and everyone was happy without calling in The Law, ME. “Now I get it! THAT’s what the little price tags posted in the bedrooms meant,” I thought. It was further explained to me that “reds” were worth¬†$100 and “yellows” were a mere $1, and Sister had slowly accumulated¬†ALL of the checkers.¬†This was where I was going to have to mosey in and reclaim my town however.

I interrogated Brother for a few minutes after dismissing the complainant¬†and found he had an understandable reason for stealing the checkers. The poor kid was literally poor. He had spent all of his checkers purchasing goodies from The Sister Store and had priced his own items in Brother’s Market unreasonably high. There was actually little demand for his supply of goods as the only thing he had become willing to sell or part with¬†was broken pieces of toys and pictures of himself. It had become a buyer’s market and Sis wasn’t buying his wares. He also wasn’t willing to sell any of¬†his alloted time¬†on the Wii as he was in desperate pursuit of some special badge or title or trophy¬†or something in his rat race with Mario. I had to feel sorry for the kid, but I couldn’t let The Village People run amuck. The was not the Y-M-C-A and boarders had to obey the law of the land. Once the situation had been explained to Sister, she took pity on the defendant and allowed him into her saloon with no hard time served. (Actually it’s really more of a¬†Salon since she doesn’t¬†serve the hard stuff¬†– only Koolaid- and¬†¬†Barbie Doll heads and nail polish are¬†scattered about.) (more…)

Beauty & The Bee Thursday, Jun 30 2011 


This summer my daughter attended a summer arts camp for budding young artists in the area, and an open house exhibit was held last night for all of the proud parents/paparazzi. I had been hearing all month about her creations, and her paint splattered clothes were evidence that she was truly and perhaps madly inspired. She is a fashionista and likes to design her own attire, so I am not going to lie. It crossed my mind a time or two that the clothes were splattered on purpose and when I arrived, I scoped out the exhibits and backdrops for very specific colors on the spectrum that I myself had scrubbed from her wardrobe. We just threw out the fabric SPRAY PAINT here since my walls have been shaded a nice Caribbean Blue by her talented apprentice/younger brother so this suspicion was not totally out of reach.

The big piece I had been dying to see was a large chess piece sculpture created from a glass jug, paper mache, plastic plates, styrofoam balls, and of course paint. Someone drank A LOT of wine to have emptied those jugs, yet I had not even been called. I would have volunteered my services for such a worthy cause if only I’d been asked. The day she came home and described to me her theme for this series was a proud one. She envisioned a series of chess pieces created around insects. Her first inspiration was “To be… a bee” and it was not a question. A queen bee represented her personality well and would not be too difficult or time-consuming to create in the amount of studio time she had alloted. Her second idea? A spider as a king piece. Why? Because it might easily freak out her brother should she sneak it into his bedroom in the middle of the night. Her third and final vision was my favorite though admittedly would have been difficult to construct. This masterpiece was conceived around the bishop figure for her class’s game board, and when she asked me to guess what insect would represent this piece, she folded her hands together and bowed her head. A PRAYING MANTIS was to serve as the bishop. That’s MY girl!! Take a bow, Honey! You have come a long way from the little thumbprint butterflies you made for me and have left a print on my soul that is as unique and individual as your creations.

She attended classes in 3-D sculpture, 2-D sculpture, and Cartoons & Comics this summer and had art on display from all of them last night in the gymnasium. She had constructed a board game with a heavenly theme and little angel game pieces where the object was to get into the gates of Heaven. Too bad the corner broke off as she was running away with it from Brother today. The poor little devil. She sculpted a giant Tetris game piece constructed of tin foil and blue water colors that we have discovered STAIN and may induce my own “Blue Period” if I discover it on my walls next to last week’s Caribbean Blue fabric paint. My little Picasso hand painted a set of dice and a hot pink and orange set of game tiles that were displayed with her cute little age and name for all the other parents and family members to see. We took pictures of her last night in all her glory standing in front of her maze she had designed, colored and hung. We were struck by her refusal to follow suit with her deck of cards picture in that she chose to draw a princess “like her” instead of a queen and decorated all fours corners with green shamrocks for luck instead of traditional black clubs. It was a proud night for all of us as this summer has been one of change, but our little family and the pride we show has remained a constant even though we may have joined a different club in the statistics. (more…)