My So Charmed Life

So Charmed

Last Night Iggy Pop Tried to French Kiss Me While Michelangelo Gave Me an Awesome Back-Scratching

07.20.07

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Yes, it was quite a night.

Oh, not Iggy the rockstar or Michelangelo the artist… what kind of girl do you think I am? I’m talking about Iggy and Angelo, our two new family additions and the sweetest, most adorable, most funniest kittens on the planet. Pictured above is the entire litter; Iggy is in the middle demonstrating his “all toys are mine” punk rock ethos, and Angelo is on the far right, twice the size of Iggy (and smart, very smart) but a much more pensive laid-back sort of Renaissance cat.

Molly and I adopted these babies last weekend in Adams Morgan at a MetroFerals event we stumbled into on Saturday. There were so many lovely kits that needed good homes, and after pondering it for about 5 minutes that evening over Chinese food, we decided we had to go back the next morning and choose from the “Eenie, Meenie, Miney, Moe” litter, as they’d been temporarily named. Needless to say, neither of us could sleep that night from the pure excitement of it all.
The scene at the foster house on Sunday was a loving four-ring circus! The litter had been so well-cared for by David and Norm (the Cat Whisperer) and we sat on the floor while the tiny ones dashed around the small bedroom in a gray blur of kitten energy! It was sooooo hard to choose.

At first glance the foursome looked completely identical and we wondered how we could ever tell two of them apart from one another. But Angelo quickly stood out as the grayest of the bunch, really beautiful, with no white or beige markings and the only one with a super stylish black nose and black pads on his paws. He was the biggest and super friendly so Molly picked him first.

Iggy and his two look-alike brothers were another matter. But Ig was the tiniest — the runt of the litter — and I’ve always had a soft spot for runts (Rosebud, RIP, was the runt of her litter too). We loved Iggy’s assymetrical white facial markings, and his too-adorable-for-words pink nose and pads, not to mention his joyful and reckless rock and roll personality. Sadly leaving the others behind, we made our way home with two furry creatures in tow.

I’m happy to report, the kitties are doing splendidly. They are really bonding and are sequestered in my bedroom until they feel a bit more secure. It’s been such fun hanging out with them, although I am getting tired of sharing my bathroom! Litter on the floor in the middle of the night and a perpetually knocked-over water bowl… not such fun. But more than worth it!

Iggy and Angelo have been keeping me awake at night too with the loudest purring I’ve ever heard, in stereo, along with this other simultaneous weird chewing/sucking noise that is also quite crunchy and loud! And it’s true, last night, Iggy really was trying to stick his tiny #4 sandpaper tongue into my mouth (ewwww, I love you but where has that tongue been???) while Angelo gave me a seriously awesome back-scratch with his tiny claws.

Kittens just rock, you know? I will try to get additional pics soon and before they grow up (kittenhood goes by SO fast), but thusfar, it’s all just a blurry mess of kitties in motion!

A Photographic Essay on Jersey Shore Cheese Fries. In Reverse. Or, How to Feed Five Hungry Children a Nutritional (Remember, Potatoes ARE a Vegetable and Are You Questioning My Parenting??) Lunch (Breakfast & Dinner Too!) for Under $5!

07.08.07

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7 minutes and 45 seconds into today’s cheese fry experience (yes, this is daily, sometimes twice daily) we have evidence of total decimation. Now let’s back up shall we, and see what happened. Who is responsible? How did they do it?!

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For Ethan, it’s all about quantity, dude.

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Bess, a bona fide cheese fry connoisseur, takes a serious approach to savoring the cheese. And the fry.
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Alex, youngest but possibly boldest cheese fryer of the bunch, mixes a little sand in (see chin for details) for that truly optimal beach cuisine experience.
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The olfactory angle must not be ignored, as shown by Molly. Remember, sniff your fries!

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Jake, a Jersey Shore cheese fry expert, knows that licking the grease and salt from one’s fingers is mandatory.

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With 5 hungry kids on deck (you’d be hungry too if you were digging giant holes in the sand all day), you can’t grab those fries fast enough.

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Ahhhh, the goods. A gooey box ‘o fries (the CHEESIEST ), piping hot and fresh from the Snack Shack, Ocean City, NJ. Yum yum!

My Office Door, by Jodi Bloom, Boss Lady

03.02.07

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I think you can probably tell a lot about a person by what is taped up on their office door, cubicle, etc. And because I want you to know everything about me, I have lovingly photographed the objects that grace my door… which as my employees will tell you, is open most all of the time.

Above is an early work of art by daughter, Molly. As all moms and dads do, I collect my kid’s artwork. And as a woman with “difficult-I-mean-fabulous” hair, I am drawn to Hair Goddess images. I love this collage… it’s visually gorgeous, the colors are great… I love the brown paper skin against the fluorescents and metallics, and I think this is a smashing hairdo. Does anyone know a good colorist?

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But there are also scary things on my door, like this image, courtesy of my dear staff who are always looking out for my interests with regard to finding Mr. Right. The post-it asks: Jodi, wanna go on a date with me? There are check boxes for Yes and No. As you can see, I have not decided and still need a little time to think about it.
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I love this portrait of me by Molly. The likeness is uncanny and it lets everyone know that this is the Queen’s office.

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designfarm proudly accepts Visa and MasterCard for your shopping convenience.

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I saved the best for last. This very scientific document depicts an invention by Molly: The Chicken Powered Skateboard. Is my kid a genius or WHAT??!! BTW, the chicken’s name is Elvis (with a creative spelling) and if you look closely you will see that he sports quite a fabulous pompador hairstyle.

Maybe Elvis Chicken would like to meet Sylvia! (see January.) Maybe Molly is going to be a hairstylist? Maybe Jodi needs some more mature office decor. Nah.

Why They Call Them Hermit Crabs

02.06.07

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I am not, in general, a fan of caged pets of any kind… be they rabbits, gerbils, birds or whatever. It never seems right to me, and living with such a situation would keep me awake at night wracked with animal-rights guilt. So why on earth did I ever agree to become the landlord for a sad-sack bunch of crustaceans? Answer below.

Despite my own moral/ethical dilemmas, there are a few things I end up doing just because the look on my kid’s face will wrack me with worse guilt than having caged pets in my home. I suspect this is the reason most caged pets end up living out their sad-sack lives in suburban homes and backyards all across America. Which doesn’t really make it any better does it?

Such was the case last summer at Rehoboth Beach. Dear readers, I’ll spare you the whiny details, the begging, cajoling and PhD-level manipulation that lead to my purchasing not one, but three crustaceans, and not some dinky mini handbag-sized cage, but the full-on super deluxe Hermit Crab Condo, complete with Egyptian pyramid (a wise decision) and various hippie-dippie hand-painted shells the crabs could move into when they felt inspired to do so (hasn’t happened yet), plus peripherals: hella-bright dayglo stones (something tells me that whoever conceived of the idea of Hermit Crabs as pets was, you know, “on something”), 2 jars of specialized food, spray bottle, driftwood and a Hermie Hut which turned out to be a yet another handpainted hippie-affair, a half-coconut shell with door cleverly carved into it.

We have since cleared half this crap out of the Hermit condo because there was no room for them to walk an inch, but that doesn’t matter really. Because all these creatures do is sleep (see title of post). That is, unless you rudely awaken them (they spend 100% of their time hanging out in the freaking pyramid) which you must do daily in order to spray them or they’ll dry out, and that is just too hideous to imagine. After you bother the heck out of them they will “enjoy” a period of wakefulness for about 7-10 seconds before lumbering back into the pyramid for more of what they love best: Hermitting, Hermitage, Hermittance. I hate waking them up. But it’s the only way to make sure they haven’t kicked the bucket.

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The death of a hermit crab is something you never want to experience. One of the three we brought home only lasted about 10 days. I hesitate to share this in any great detail. It was gross, slimy, stinky and sad. It depressed me for weeks. It depresses me just thinking about it and will haunt me for the rest of my life. I suppose an argument could be made that there is something dreadfully wrong with me. I’m TOO SENSITIVE to own pets. Even, or especially, crustaceans.

The fact is, they are extremely fascinating critters and despite everything, I sort of love them. They have this one freaky bigass claw in front, the cutest eyeballs, and you can actually have fun watching them haul butt across the floor or carpet. They move surprisingly lightening fast. They are comical and pretty sweet, unless they get become agitated and pinch you. This produces mad pain and will find you racing for the nearest sink to run your hand (or god forbid other body part) under cold water… the only way to make them raise the white flag and let go. After this happened once (early on, before I understood the limit of their desire for acrobatics) Molly decided she’d pretty much had plenty enough of caring for the crustaceans.

They now fall solely under my jurisdiction. They can die in 10 days or live for 20 years. Parents, be warned.
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The Naked Brothers Band + Other Hip Stuff for Kids

01.29.07

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Last night Molly planned a TV date for us that included viewing The Naked Brothers Band movie on Nickelodeon Teen Teen Nick (says Molly, gosh mom quit embarrassing me) and the consumption of delicious baked apples, made earlier in the day (core apple, stuff with as much butter, brown sugar, cranberries & walnuts as possible and bake at 375 for 1-1.5 hrs depending on how soft you like them), then warmed up in the microwave. YUM. If I’m discovering this movie late, I apologize; I see it was released in 05, and I don’t know how I missed it. INGENIUS, hilarious, sweet and seriously rocking. If you have kids, or ever were a kid, do not miss this flick

I think most kids either want to be in a rock band at some point or at least hang out with kids who want to… and this movie (as well as the series which is coming to Nick soon) treats you to a mockumentary style send-up of those heady days. The film, by Polly Draper, stars her two sons Nat and Alex Wolff, ages 9 and 6 respectively. For my money, Alex, the drummer who wears a do-rag, steals the show. When asked how they boys came up with the band’s name they answer: Well, we liked playing music. And we were naked. And we’re brothers. The humor is sharp and deadpan, and the music is sweetly adorable.

My 1960’s suburban version of this story was hanging out in the garage across the street where some “older boys” practiced in their band, Steel Tangerine. Leader, Brad, was super sexy and we all had crushes on him. The Tangerine played at my bat-mitzvah party (incuding their 20 minute cover of Innagaddadavida Baby), a major throwdown held poolside at the Columbus, Ohio, Howard Johnson’s where the indoor pool was housed under an enoroums clear bubble. I kid you not, I am not making this up. Unfortunately, at that very party, the star of the show (moi) got into some serious trouble, but that’s another story for another time.

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Another movie we’ve been into is Dinsey Channels Jump In, which is really just their “urban” (read: the actors are black and the film is shot with grittier [for Disney anyway] grafittied city rather than squeaky clean suburban sets) version of the ubiquitous and mostly intolerable Highschool Musical. Jump In is much better, and chronicles the trials of a rather lame all-girl double-dutch team whose boring routines are saved by Izzy, played by Brooklynite teen Corbin Bleu, who we think is trés awesome (see above) . Grown-ups will reasonably enjoy the movie once all the way through, but during successive viewings (if you have children you know they can watch stuff like hundreds of times until you want to kill yourself) bail out until the last scenes of the big double-dutch competition, which are wild and incredible to watch. Go Corbin! It’s Disney, so it’s not possible to call this film hip, but it has its moments.

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Then there’s the über hip Pancake Mountain starring a puppet named Rufus Leaking (above), not a movie, but a local DC-cable TV show that is available on DVD and really worth the bucks. Filmed at cool live music venues around town when bands are here to play shows, PM features dance parties for kids ages 3+, skits, and lots of goofy fun. And the band line-up is most excellent, including Subways, Shonen Knife, and the Go! Team, to name just a few. Molly and I attended the taping of the Go! Team show at the Black Cat, and it was fun. Fortunately, ear plugs were handed out… I’ve NEVER in my life heard music played so ear-bloodyingly LOUD. Please, if you take your kids to rock shows, be a smart mommy and bring ear plugs; it’s actually even more dangerous for their hearing than for yours.

Sweet Charlotte

01.27.07

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Before reading this post, please know that Molly, age 8 at the time, took all of these gorgeous farm photos with a disposable camera.

Each Fall, we spend a day visiting with our rescued friends at Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary–400 acres of heaven located a stone’s throw from the bustle of city life. We have our faces painted, roam the grounds, eat fabulous vegan food, and have all kinds of opportunities to snuggle up with the hogs, pet the goats and sheep, and (scroll down) hold a chicken… all while tens of thousands of dollars are being raised to support this dear place.

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On those warm sunny days, I often think of one of my favorite childhood books, E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web, the first work of literature that that I remember touching me deeply with its terrors (Farmer Arable and his errant son Avery dispassionately wielding their axes and shotguns at the baby pig!), joys (much of the rest of the story) and sorrows (death, particularly) regarding love, friendship and the cycle of life.

Reading the book again with Molly, it resonated in newly profound ways… still about love and friendship and life and death, but also politically, as well as a treatise on the sheer power and potential salvation of the written word (um, not to mention advertising, which is essentially my chosen profession).

If you haven’t read this book don’t read this next pp. At the end, White writes of Wilbur the pig’s love for his dear friend Charlotte the spider (who essentially saves his life but does in fact die): “She was in a class by herself. It is not often that someone comes along who is a true friend and a good writer. Charlotte was both.”

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Some pig! Terrific! Radiant!
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No, I am not trying to work a radiantly pregnant-at-50 look in this photo. For goodness sake people, I’M HOLDING A CHICKEN. Even the boy behind me knows how alarmingly special this is. But, I really do look pregnant, don’t I? Trust me. I’m not. And if you’ve never held a chicken, it’s well worth looking pregnant for, so there.

Butthead

01.24.07

When I finally stopped obsessing over my new blog it was just before 9pm and I scooped Molly upstairs to my room in an attempt to force her to watch the State of the Union Address with me partially out of some misguided attempt to raise a politically involved or at least aware child, but mainly b/c I wanted her snuggly company as I knew that watching our man in the WH would be oh so much lovelier with her warm adorable self cuddled next to me. She was super pissed off at having her cartoons interupted (btw, the answer is yes, she had done ALL of her homework + practiced violin though not without a HUGE battle prior to gluing her eyeballs to the TV set) so during all the pompy circumstance leading up to W’s entrance she stuck her tiny nose in a giant-sized copy of Little Women, having graduated suddenly from books that have pictures to books that might never end (YEEHA!). When the Man entered the hall, she turned her attention TV-ward and asked: “Are there any democrats there?” To which I answered: “Yes, honey, the democrats won loads of elections and took over the House and Senate so there are lots of them there, why?” and then I waited and watched as a slightly evil little smile danced around her eyes and mouth. You know the kind, right? Where you sense that your own sweet little darling princess is thinking of something akin to… oh, say, a deadly chemistry experiment in the kitchen that could theoretically wipe out life as we know it on planet Earth, or at least in Takoma Park, MD.

Freezeframe. In the 1/2 second I had before she answered my “why?” all sorts of things started playing in my head because I was certain she was going to come across with an answer involving bloody assassination and I started freaking out about what I’d say, and how I’d ethically and morally say it without my own sense of evil glee coming through as I muttered: Molly, that wouldn’t be… uh, nice.

Then she says: “What if someone calls him butthead?”

That’s my girl. :)

PS: Molly stayed awake ignoring the President, reading Little Women, whilst I fell asleep. Only to find myself awake at 2 am, all energetic-like, but hey. Now I have something marginally (debatably) useful to do in the middle of the night!

Free Day to Make Stuff

01.23.07

So, you know I have two jobs right? One is my day-job as owner of a small but hugely fabulous design studio called designfarm, the other is my nights&weekends gig as one-woman jewelry subverter, owner of www.so-charmed.com (So Charmed). Oops, make that three jobs. The whole mom thing? Regardless of the number of hours you think you spend on this, it’s FULLTIME. In fact, the mom-gig is pretty much always on overtime, if you ask me.

designfarm is located in a real office building, which, due to the first actual wave of winter-like weather, including snow and freezing temps, experienced a water main break causing a 1.5 day lockout. Evacuation yesterday at 1pm (NO YOU MAY NOT even run upstairs to get your stuff) and continuing through the day today.

Work at designfarm ground mostly to a halt, work here at the So Charmed World HQ (my converted garage studio), kicked into high gear. Radio blasting away and the beads were flying. Here are some fruits du jour… yeah, I’m heavy into the cakes!

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I’ve been working on this crazy series called Let Them Eat Cake that put to good use (I think so!) these totally amazing little Asian miniature cakes, both whole and slices. I could make a fourth fulltime job out of just collecting miniature foods, this stuff just really gives me mondo pleasure. Hopefully you can see why. Featured also are tiny little sterling silver guillotine charms… because too much sweetness gives mommy a toothache.

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I love this little collection of charms and goodies, the first in a series of these, all of which will likely be one of a kind. My studio is SUCH a mess right now, with all the lovely surfaces covered in supplies and papers and magazines and beads, and CRAP. Yet somehow, out of the crap rises something that (hopefully) gels together.

Molly is learning how to bead so she can help out when the orders for the new work start flying in. Child labor laws be damned, time for this kid to earn her freaking keep. Unfortunately, she has the patience of a gnat and can thus do about 5 beaded charms before becoming bored to tears and running off to some other activity. Snapped these pics just a moment ago, as Molly was backing out of the studio going: “Mom, it’s ok, you just hang out here and blog as much as you want.” Which means that she is upstairs glued to the tv set, brain cells dying by the dozen… bad mommy, gotta run.

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