Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Gosh I'm having fun in Colorado.

I'm spending a lot of time communing with nature.  I sure did miss nature.  There was no nature in Paris unless you counted the rodents and the nasty-ass pigeons and the wild poo piles dotting the sidewalks.  

I especially love to dangle in nature

but sometimes being in nature is hard work 

Our Christmas was a smashing success.  Here are two of my early-on favorite moments --

1.) Meeting my Texas sister at baggage claim.

I hadn't seen her since our meet-up in Rome, where we hung out with Italian Wine Guy and learned the fine art (a.k.a. insane free-for-all) of Italian driving and parking.  Ugh, that memory just made me miss Europe so now I have to crawl into a corner and gently rock myself back and forth.

and 2.) Meeting my Al at baggage claim.  Can't get enough baggage claim!

The picture is blurry because I was in a hurry to throw myself at his manliness.  I hadn't seen him in eight days and was pleasantly surprised to discover I still miss him when he's not around.  So weird!

Our Christmas together proved something I've always suspected about our family; something is way off with the womenfolk--

no idea

That's me and my Aunt Wyoming and a mean-spirited little T-Rex on a stick we called 
"Mr. T."

Mr. T. said Texas sister was hungry

Someone explain to me how the hell she is doing that

Thankfully, the family menfolk are their usual level-headed selves and are keeping us grounded --

My sister and aunts and cousins have left but my in-laws have just arrived.  It's a non-stop revolving door of fun and excitement in Colorado.

more nature, but with less tree dangling

We'll be back home in Seattle this weekend.  Then I'll be free to blog and obsess about getting the goddamn house because we're homeless as of February 1st when we get kicked out of our temporary housing.  2012 is starting off so exciting!

Mr. T says "YOU  HUNGRY NOW,"

Friday, December 23, 2011

Not-so-Great Expectations

This is so great.  Because we recently completed an international move, no one expects a damn thing from me.  If I'm a real dud personality-wise one day, everyone says, "It's OK, you just moved across the ocean! You must be so sleepy!" 

And it doesn't end there --

Me: "Sorry, I didn't buy you anything for Christmas."
Kind person: "Of course you didn't!  You had bigger things to think about!"

Me:  "I didn't bring a damn thing to your potluck."
Kind person: "Well why would you?  You flew longtime on a plane a few weeks back!"

Me:  "I don't know who you are.  Why are you hugging me?"
Weird person: "It's me, your mother, stupid." 

I wonder how long I'll be able to get away with this.  When will I no longer be forgiven for being a miserable person and friend due to my recent move suffering? 

Me: "Sorry, I forgot your birthday."
Kind person: "It's OK, you just moved!"
Me: "Actually we moved over a year ago."
Kind person: "But what a move it was!"

it's snowy here

This post is a shortie because it's almost Christmas and the house is filling with people, most of whom I want to talk to.  But one last thing before I go.

My parents invited a few of their friends over recently to meet me.  Their friends have been wonderfully supportive blog followers since the beginning but I'd never met them.  It was time to meet my public.
My mama got stuck in a holiday stampede at the grocery store so wasn't around to set up for our get-together, which was unfortunate because she was the only one who knew what to serve for snacks and drinks.  This left Dad and me running in circles wondering what the hell to do five minutes before everyone showed up.

Dad did a great job locating apple cider and gingerbread cookies.  But when I saw his presentation, I had a feeling it was not what Mom had envisioned --

   festive pile o' cookies in a basket

It's OK, Dad, we all understand.  You and Mom and your two kids moved back to the U.S. from Germany forty years ago.  You must be so tired!

P.S. My public is awesome and funny and brought booze, food, and a dinosaur book.  It's like they already knew us or something.

Happy whatever you celebrate, or don't celebrate, or whatever, posse.  Just go have some fun.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

See MJ Grow

Here's a quote from my parents -- "Hey, what happened to all our Double Stuff Oreos?"

No, I'm kidding, that quote hasn't actually been said, but it will be soon because I have chocolate crumbs all over my face and those Oreos are gone, baby, gone.

Here are a few quotes that really have been uttered here in Colorado the past handful of days:

"Your sister came into the room, found your brother in a trance, and decided she didn't want anything to do with that."

"I never could get very excited about fingers.  I mean, I can appreciate what they do, but really, what's the big deal?"

"Garden Jesus is still lit up... oh good, he's gone now, you got him."

"Your father was in charge of protecting Cleveland from intercontinental mussels."

It's not surprising another quote --  "What the hell are you talking about?" -- has been said a few dozen times since I've walked in the house, too.

Coco has decided to leave the Christmas tree alone but is now going after the manger scene with a vengeance.  Today she grabbed a Wise Man and a shepherd and made them fight.  Then she took both of them for a walk in a stroller, so I guess they're cool now.

We've done lots of fun things.  And by "fun" I mean "we're only doing this crap for the kids."  A couple days ago we went to the Colorado Railroad Museum in Golden, Colorado.  It was a mob scene with a billion children and an overwhelmed Santa Claus and a large cartoonish dog engineer mascot walking around shaking hands (to arouse the plushies in the crowd, I guess).

We took a ride on a coal-burning choo-choo and were rewarded for helping destroy the environment with large amounts of soot in the face. Lucien gave me some attitude when I refused to buy him a toy in the gift shop and a lady who overheard suggested we take a piece of coal home for his stocking.  Now that's a use for coal I can really get behind, crushing the spirits of small children on Christmas morning.

The next day we went to Dinosaur Ridge in Morrison where we saw real dinosaur fossils and real dinosaur tracks. It was actually interesting so there's not much to write because I like to write about stuff that's terrible.

Dinosaur fossil in rock.  Observe Lucien's face.  Mind is blown.

 My Dad and a Stegosaurus

Lucien's foot in a real Iguanadon track -- an Iguanadon, people, OMG, AN IGUANADON!!!!

I'm on American fast food overdrive.  My nose is pressed against the car window as we drive around town and I've been known to yell, "Oh my God, is that a Sonic?"  Between the Oreos and the Sonic and the huge American grocery store filled with things I've missed, I'm right on track to be normal American-sized (= big, holy crap we are so big) by the New Year. 

Speaking of American eating, my Mama just celebrated her birthday (love that Mama) and this is the size of the piece of birthday cake they served me --

I thought it was comically large and started laughing.  They thought it was normal and asked, "Why are you laughing at the delicious cake?"  I was laughing because this piece of cake is roughly the size of the average Frenchman. 

I had my hair colored by my mom's hair lady today.  She did a very good job and it was a great experience all around.  I noticed a few differences between the salons of Colorado and the salons of Paris, however.  There are more cowboy boots and vests here.  Also, more items of clothing containing the words "Biker Chick."  There is also a proliferation of bleached blonde hair on the womenfolk of the U.S. of A.  It doesn't look good, ladies.  Stick close to your natural shade.  I realize I don't have a lot of authority on the subject given my hair used to be orange, but please, listen to me.

Forgive this half-assed blog post.  People keep talking to me over here.  They're all like, "family, family, family YEAH" and I'm like "no, blog."

Hang on, hang on, is that a mother eff'g Kentucky Fried Chicken???

Friday, December 16, 2011

Colorado wiener bean

One great thing about living in temporary executive housing is you have housecleaning service.  The less-great part is you never know when the housecleaner is going to show up at your apartment and let herself in with her own key.  See where this is going?   

Our housecleaner showed up while I was in the shower, Lucien was watching TV completely naked, and Coco was walking around in the nastiest diaper that's ever existed in the history of sh*tting.

I was peacefully shampooing when Lucien ran into the bathroom and announced, "Somebody's here, mommy!  Somebody came in the apartment!"  After a few hysterical "Somebody's here?  Somebody's HERE?" I wrapped myself in a towel, shampoo still on my head, and ran out of the bathroom armed with a toilet brush.  I planned to germ the intruder to death. 

I scared the housecleaner more than she scared me.  After a few aggressive waves of the toilet brush, she got the message and promised to call next time.  Just in case she doesn't, the children will now be dressed in their Sunday best at all times and I will shower in my clothing.

We received our air shipment from France.  It was all clothes and toys.  I could have nixed the toys and packed more clothes because the kids only had eyes for the boxes.

The moving guys left without unpacking anything.  The head mover guy handed me a survey to fill out right in front of him that contained questions like, "Were your items unpacked to your satisfaction?" and "Were all boxes and other debris removed from your residence?"  I looked at the guy and said flatly, "You guys didn't do any of that" and he responded just as flatly, "Yeah, I know."  I circled a bunch of  "no"s and "not satisfied"s in front of his face and we moved on with our lives.

Box village.  These are their "houses."  They also both have "garages" and "offices."  A nice assortment of places to hide if we ever get caught unaware by the housecleaning service again.

Seattle used to feel like a big city.  Seattle no longer feels like a big city.  After living in central Paris, Seattle feels like a quaint village full of friendly little munchkin townfolk.  The drivers are so cute -- when I try to merge into another lane, they don't resist or try to push me off the road.  When I cross the street, nobody tries to run me over -- in fact, sometimes the drivers even stop and wave me across!  At first I gave those people the finger because I assumed it was a trap.

My sense of city has changed.  I bundled the kids up for a "long" walk to Pike Place Market and was perplexed when we arrived there in fifteen minutes.  I took a cab home from a night out with The Seattle Ladies and my jaw dropped when the fare was only seven bucks.  My recent ride to the airport was over before it began; I said to the driver, "We're already here?  My kids haven't even had a chance to get carsick and throw up all over the place yet!"

 Seattle, you're so tiny I just want to dunk you in my coffee

city seems a little sleepy when it takes five police cars to pull over one very drunk (or possibly just very bad at walking) driver.  

We took that (brief) ride to the airport because the kids and I flew to Colorado yesterday.  I thought the solo trip with the kids would be a disaster and I would have material to fill one hundred blog posts.  I was wrong.  The entire thing, from start to finish, was flawless.  Everyone was helpful, kids were perfect.  I'm totally bummed about it, too.

 Thanks for nothing, guys

Now that I'm in Colorado with my family (Alex will be joining us closer to Christmas) all is right with the world.  The only bad thing I can say about Colorado is the air is so dry you get lots of electrical shocks.  It makes for a lonely life when you're always yelling at people to keep their hands to themselves because you're afraid of the pain.

Coco is obsessed with the Christmas tree and has made it her mission to destroy everything on it.  She is particularly aggressive with the Canadian Mountie ornament, which is upsetting since she's half Canadian.

Coco!  Stop that!  Avert your eyes, Al.

Last night my mom made wiener bean casserole.  The following words were actually uttered in this house when the dinner announcement was made -- "Yeah! Wiener bean!"

If you grew up in Ohio, maybe you understand us.  If you didn't grow up in Ohio, maybe you're confused and disgusted by us --

We ain't in France anymore, folks.

the toilet brush ninja

Monday, December 12, 2011

Flu hugs, spilled wine, uppity butterflies

I am sick.  The American flu was so excited to see me again it wrapped its disgusting arms around me and won't let go.  It's always awkward when one person in a hug doesn't want to be in the hug.  I am desperately trying to extricate myself but I don't want to hurt flu's feelings; it apparently likes me very much and has been anxiously awaiting my return.

I'm feeling distressed about a few other things besides my flu hug --

1.  Gallon milk jugs are stupid and unwieldy.  It's difficult to keep the milk under control so there is more milk on my countertops than on my Fruity Pebbles.

2.  It is dumb that all U.S. cash is the same color.  I used to glance at my cash and know exactly what I had in colorful euros.  Now it's like, "ARGH, green stuff, I give up on life."


But in good news, I've seen a man wearing a skirt and a man with bright pink hair wearing a dog collar.  I'm not sure why that's good news, but it is.

 suck it, Printemps; Macys has a choo-choo

I've been stopped several times about the coat.  The coat is a real Seattle crowd-pleaser.  The problem is, if someone asks where I bought the coat, it's impossible to say "I bought it in Paris" without sounding like an insufferable snot.  I have since switched to the more vague, "Gosh.... I don't remember...boop boop boop... hey, where am I?" Better.

I was at Seattle Mom's house for dinner last week.  She lives across the street from Seattle Mom (this is going to get confusing, may need a new naming system)  I told First Seattle Mom, "Ima go see if Second Seattle Mom is home so I can say hello!"  I hadn't seen Second Seattle Mom yet so I was very excited about this.

I wanted to make our three-year reunion extra special.  I stood to the side of the front door and when the door opened I jumped out and yelled, "I'm back, bitches!"

A cute little white-haired man stared back at me.  I didn't notice him for a second because when I jumped at the door, I spilled the glass of red wine I was holding all over my white mittens.  I hopped around, shook wine off my mittens, and used the "s" word liberally.  When I looked up and saw the nice white-haired man looking at me with wide eyes, I got flustered and said the first thing that came to mind -- "I just lived in France for three years!"

Man, I really made that guy nervous.  He spoke softly but I managed to piece together he was babysitting while Second Seattle Mom was out with her husband (named Second Seattle Dad?  Jesus, how am I going to name these people, it doesn't make any sense at all).  I asked him to tell Second Seattle Mom and Dad I stopped by, then apologized a few times for "being weird or whatever" and ran back across the street with my wine glass and my stained mittens.   

I checked in with Second Seattle Mom the next day and she said, "Dad said you stopped by!"  He apparently didn't give her any details or voice any concerns so maybe he's willing to give me another chance.  He probably understands France can really mess with a person's brain.

Here are some fun things I did with the kids last week before it all went to hell on the health front:

Observed public art --

stunning use of popsicle proportion

Went to the Pacific Science Center --

because I can't get enough animatronic dinos

this photo was taken seconds before a sea anemone was aggressively mauled

she had her eye on that damn uppity butterfly in the butterfly pavilion, too

Walked the waterfront --

that there's a "modern city," my son...

Lucien calls Puget Sound "the ocean."  Kids are so dumb ha ha!

the running of the piers

And had our route blocked by a very long train for twenty minutes --

I forgot about this part

Except for the flu, I'm still riding the high of being home.  Virginia Mom has moved many times in her life.  She told me going home was going to be a bit like having a newborn baby.  At first it's exciting and new and crazy and everyone is fawning all over you but after a month or two everything quiets down and you're left thinking, "Oh great, now what the hell am I gonna do with this newborn baby?" 

I think what she's telling me is crushing depression, loneliness and disappointment is going to set in any time now.  I will prepare myself, and comfort myself with the fact I don't have a real newborn baby. 

Giant flu hugs all around,

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Well here we all are in a different place

Well hello there.  I am the blogger formerly known as An American Mom in Paris.  I am now a blogger called Seattle Moxie.  I hope that clears up all the questions nobody had.

I'm back in Seattle, posse, and I'm confused as hell.  Not only am I lost in the city, but also, surprisingly, French is still my go-to language.  Greeting people in English feels unnatural so I've coined a new salutation -- "Bonj-ello!" 

I also had a lengthy internal debate while riding in an elevator with a man about whether to say "hello" or "hi" to him.  I finally made my decision and yelled "HELLO" at the back of his head as he got off on the second floor.  He looked startled but gave me a cautious wave.  I've seen him a couple times since and he gives me lots of space.

Once the greeting has been decided upon and spoken, however, I can't shut the hell up.  I am using all the words I know just because I can.  Sometimes my tongue trips over itself because I'm in such a hurry to share all the words I know that you know, too!

I love that these guys are still playing downtown

To say I'm striking up conversations with everybody is not an exaggeration.  I walked the kids down to Westlake Center Tuesday to ride the holiday carousel and visit Santa and eat bagfuls of mini-donuts from the mini-donut stand.  I talked to people on street corners while waiting for traffic lights, people in Starbucks, downtown bicycle cops and one nice lady who stopped me to tell me SHE LOVED MY COAT.  I made her talk to me for hours and she was like, "Jesus, I'm sorry I mentioned your stupid coat."

I bought my first Real Change newspaper and struck up a conversation with the homeless man selling them.  Good guy, good heart -- he has two kids you know, both in the military.

I didn't realize how starved I was for conversation with complete strangers.  There's something incredible about smiling at a stranger on the street, sharing a few pleasant words, wishing them a good day and being on your way.  It's not that it never happened in Paris because of course it did, especially if I had kids in tow.  The difference is now I don't walk away from the interaction hitting myself in the forehead, thinking, "I just conjugated that verb like an asshole."

Miles, man, I don't know what to tell you.  Maybe try running forever.  Good news is they seem unsure how to spell your name.

The kids and I went to Top Pot donuts a few days ago (we may not have croissants but Top Pot donuts are a fine consolation prize).  While standing at the counter, Coco tugged on the festive holiday garland on the display case and pulled it halfway off.  I apologized profusely to the smiley young man behind the counter.  He did not seem to mind; instead he leaned over the counter and said, "It's OK, I have to resist pulling on it all day long, too!"  Then with great flourish, he pulled the garland the rest of the way off.  Coco laughed.  Lucien laughed.  Everyone in line laughed.  What the hell?  Was he judging me?

I asked smiley young Top Pot man if he had any orange juice for the kids.  He looked stricken and said, "Oh gosh, ma'am, I'm so sorry but we only have tangerine juice.  I'm so, so sorry; is that OK?"  I just stared at him.  What kind of sick game was this freak playing?  I agreed tangerine juice was a fine substitution for orange juice and he looked relieved.  Jerk.

We haven't seen too many friends yet, thanks to the jetlag that's had us in bed every night by 8:00 p.m. and a miserable clingy sickness on the part of Coco, but those we have seen have confirmed what we always suspected -- our Seattle friends are batshit crazy.

We went to a two-year old's birthday party and our friend Santa showed up to hand out toys.  Lucien's head nearly exploded when Santa handed him a dinosaur.  Things took a strange turn, however, when Santa started bending adults over his knee and spanking them in an aggressive manner.

It's like they can't help themselves; they're parents and "role models" or whatever but still... still...  things get said and sound effects made.  It was probably inappropriate for a two-year old's birthday party, and likely more than one child is now terrified of "that creepy guy in red."

I've finally been inside the goddamn house.  It's a total mess.  I love it.  I have not yet met the supermodel who lives next door but saw him from a distance -- in his downtime, it appears the supermodel prefers to look like a homeless lumberjack.

I have so many things to say.  So, so many.  It's tough with both kids hanging around me all day, which will be the case until after the holidays, but I'm committed to the blog, more so than to anything else in my life which is probably not good?

Thanks again for making the jump with me from Paris to Seattle.  I hope I don't let you down, but if I do, I hope I do so fantastically,