Have a zooper day.

We went to the Santa Barbara zoo. The nugget, my dad and I.

Lets get this out of the way: Zoos are a fucking weird part of the human existence, but I’m not about to get meta here.

The best part about this zoo is the train ride…and the collection of colorful parrots. The giraffes used to be cool when Gemina the crooked neck giraffe was alive, but now its just like starring at cows. The gorillas are just depressing,  but there is a cage with miniature monkeys AND armadillos which I highly recommend.

The train itself is probably a lawn mower with a plaster shell and it pulls three seat-belt-less passenger carts behind it that are made for children – cramp inducing. I am not sure why this train has not been sued into storage for there are no restraints keeping my toddler from diving head first from his seat into the duck pond (his favorite part). I have no problem with this rickety old school entertainment style (I consider myself a Darwin-esk parent) but I mean, my arms were tired from keeping him in a sleeper hold for the whole 20 minute ride while he tried to dive into the pond or off the trestle or into the condor cage….

There was a person that rode the train with us whom we shall call Visor Lady. Mid-sixties, large white socks,  horrible shorts, visor. You know the type.

She had some suggestions for the train staff (a mathlete with tomato-ey Bob Ross hair and his ‘ I used to be a mall Santa before the meth‘  boss) about how they could improve upon the experience. She suggested a more “kid centered” narrative for the tour guide/train conductor “Because kids just don’t know what ‘consume’ means, and they’re not going to get the subtle jokes…”

I have 3 rebuttles to this “suggestion” from Visor Lady that I was ready to hand out Foxy Brown style after she dished it to the poor defenseless Mathlete as we were exiting the train platform and he was giving us a stoned adios.

1. Kids are NOT supposed to get the subtle jokes about Gorillas having “afternoon delights” and lions sleeping all day from the tryptophan in the raw turkey meat! That’s what gets the adults through the afternoon, that’s the only thing we can enjoy in peace: witty quips that go over their heads!

2. None of the kids on the train were even listening to the droney babble they were too busy screaming “choo choo” and “quack quack”.

3. If you think that explaining to a 9 year old what ‘consume’ means is too hard and complicated and you’d rather just avoid it altogether… you shouldn’t be taking on any kind of child care position at all be it volunteer or otherwise, grandma.

But the Mathlete’s  actual rebuttal was way better than anything that I could have come up with…

“Look lady, I just read what they give me on the paper… have a zooper day.”    He seemed really genuine about it. But  Visor lady was not satisfied.

“I’m sure you are just doing what you’re told, but it might be an idea to pass up the ladder.” She gave a salute as she sipped her bottled water and walked her leathery ass away.  I don’t think she realized that the top of the ladder was ex-Mall  Santa.

I pictured him composing a new script  for Mathlete every time there was a shuffle in the animal line up. Maybe he works on it for days… maybe he has a notebook where he jots down ideas – a notebook full of witty quips about animals, trains, and zoos.

Firsts. (period stories)

My friend sent me this link today and it inspired me to share my own embarrassing period story. You’re welcome.

I’d also like to preface this story by saying that I grew up in the greater Los Angeles area.

It was freshman year… (ish?). One of my best friend’s dads was a composer for movie soundtracks…and so was invited to the Writer’s Guild Awards. He decided to take his daughter (and my best friend) Tatiana as his date who asked me and my other bestie Britt to go as her dates… (eeeee!) We would get to stay at the Beverly Hilton, attend a black-tie event, and spend the day “getting ready” which means, tanning by the pool, getting our hair done and over-doing each other’s make-up to look like Slovenian street hookers. Basically every 13-year-old girl’s dream date. And we go to stay in our own hotel room! Everyone jump up and down and squeal!!!!!!!!

(Aside: “getting ready” is a strange and luxurious custom of young girls… a sacred right. Now when I ‘get ready’ for a night out or even a walk to the grocery store  it’s 5 minutes of hiding from our puppy and toddler, frantically look for a clean shirt, while abrasively applying mascara. B.C. (before child) it was going over to some other girls house at like 5pm and hanging out in her room drinking stolen vodka and trying on 80 different outfits while we text all the different dudes we met last week so we can ‘figure out what we are doing tonight’ . Each of us would try to be the drunkest one so we wouldn’t have to drive… Frightened? Amazed I’m still alive? Me too.)

So after 3 weeks of shopping at Charlotte Russe and Claire’s with our babysitting money… we arrive at the Beverly Hilton, check-in and proceed to do what every girl does in a hotel room: order grilled cheese sandwiches and paint our nails. After getting in a fight as to who gets to sleep alone (two beds and 3 girls) We got ready and went down to the pool in  complementary white robes. We go for a swim and are laying out on the lounge chairs drinking virgin daiquiris… thumbing through magazines trying to find “our hairstyle” for the night. I think I settled on a picture of Kate Winslet…

We are walking back to the room to “start getting ready” and my two friends walking behind me start laughing hysterically and saying “oh my god, oh my god” in the way only 13-year-olds can. I had a huge pinkish-red stain blooming on the back of my nice white pool-robe. I panicked and dived into the elevator. The rest of the night is foggy. I remember calling my mom who told me to buy a tampon at the hotel lobby store – which was mortifying – I think I made my friends go buy some while I sobbed in the bathroom wondering who saw my period stain and what they would possibly think….!!!!!

( Dear 13-year-old Molly,

They probably just thought you got your first period and felt really bad for you.

Love, 30-year-old Molly

P.S. it gets better honey.)

The hairstylist ended up over-curling my hair that night so I looked like Shirley Temple or that really annoying one from the Dixie Chics. All I remember about the actual event was eating like 6 buttered rolls before the salad got there. But I did get to sleep alone because my friends were afraid of getting bled on…a plus.

It was this event and  few others around this time that I started to realize that I wasn’t like other girls, I didn’t quite fit the mold.. I mean who WANTS their hair to look like Kate Winslets?


I’d like to invite everyone who reads this to share their own “embarrassing period story”. It feels really great to say f-it, I’ve bled on things, and I live to tell the tail.

Mall Thoughts.

You know how some days are harder than others, but you still feel like a complete dick for complaining?
We go to the mall. I have to distract him with a cheese stick while I strap him against his will into a stroller so I can return a dress and buy instead, a practical pair of pants. On a whim I stroll us through the Urban Outfitters. I immediately want to scream “fish out of water!!!” But instead I pretend I’m shopping for my ‘younger sister.’ I take in the vacant stares of the nice 17-year-Olds folding pairs of cut-offs and think:
Two years ago I had a collection of native American print inspiried crop tops just like the rest of you… now you look at me with ’embarrassed for you’ face as I apologize and peel off the granola bar bits that my toddler flung at your stacks of $80 ‘refurbished vintage flannel ‘  from 1997. Guess what? I probably gave that flannel to  goodwill in 2001.
… now if you’ll excuse me I’ll go push my demon spawn around the excrutiatingly curated displays of muted jewel-tone ironic forest animal sweaters at Anthropologie where my  leather flats and “art teacher” blouse  and I feel right at home… *le sigh*
someone needs a pretzel….

Dog Thoughts.

There is a nice large hill that comes up against my mom’s neighborhood. Its a California hill. So it looks like an old pile of dirt  that someone left there after digging out room for the swimming pool. The vegetation is low and sparse. We like to take the dogs up there off leash, let them trot along side us or just rummage around in the sage. The soil is a slippery pile of off-white angular limestone pieces with little orange stripes that you could snap with two fingers. It sounds like you’re trying to climb up a mountain of broken ceramic plates.

Our dog is a small mutt, slick with short brown and black hair and a curly tail. He loves to run fast. The other, my mom’s dog,  a medium sized blue-Merle Aussie with no tail so when he “wags” his rear-end wiggles so hard he looses the footing on his back legs.

They just sit next to each other silently staring out with a low warm wind shuffling the bunch grass.  One fluffy, one thin. The hill falling away below them to a tidy suburb. Only rarely broken up by large rectangular playing fields, pink stucco shopping malls, grey snaking highways. Earlier I found my son’s plush Tiger half buried in the empty planter in the side yard. Upon excavation I found what I believe to be a pork bone buried next to it. Is this a message in the only language available to a pug/terrier?  A comment on extinction? A threat? How did he know to bury the bones? They must know that we bury our dead.

Everything the same. Everything different.

Humans need each other. We are sitting on the kitchen counter in her ‘grown-up’ house. It’s sometime between 3 and 5 am and she is one of my best friends. We live too far away from each other. We talk for hours and hours stopping only laugh hysterically (but silently) while we shove straws down the butt crack of our sleeping friend on the couch – a real couch that has a matching love seat in a living room that has a color scheme and coasters. We are back from a short night out on the town where-in we quickly became weary of the loud music and long bathroom line.
Who are we? we say…
When did we become so OLD?
I think the use of coasters has a lot to do with it.
We keep talking, whispering in the kitchen long after every one in the house has passed out – draped across couches and carpets. Because really when we are together we are still fifteen. Eating cold pizza and mixing sprite with vodka – just one more… a little one. Everything bears down on us; children, credit scores, sick family members, car payments, in-laws… but just for these few hours, while the real world has turned it’s head, we can time travel; that is power of old friendships.