Friday, October 29, 2010


Today students were allowed to wear costumes to school, and they only have classes until noon. 1+1 = mayhem.

Most of the costumes are appropriate: A banana, a Facebook page, kids dressed up as their teachers, etc.

Some could be considered offensive. Or is it still offensive when it's a hispanic kid dressed up as an illegal border crosser?

Couples who have been together longer than a week dressed up as Winnie the Pooh and Tigger, and as Thing 1 and Thing 2.

A couple who have been together less than a week dressed up as jailbirds (you know where their relationship is headed).

A few girls dressed as Pocahontas during that period of history when she posed for GQ. Oh, you don't know that part of her story? I guess our text books left it out...

And then there is a whole segment of kids who tried desperately to dress up as something scary, but since they aren't allowed to wear masks or face paint, or carry fake (or real for that matter) weapons, they just look like high school kids wearing black.

Personally, I had good intentions of dressing up today. Ok, I had half hearted intentions. Ok, I had extremely low intentions of dressing up. But I did think about it for at least a minute. And then this morning it was so cold when I woke up that I just didn't want to get out of bed, and by the time I finally rolled out all I had time to do was pump coffee into my veins and hope my clothes matched (it's questionable by the way - can you wear a dark grey sweater with brown boots?).

I thought of telling everyone I'm dressed up as The Pampered Bird, but then my co-workers might start reading this little blog and I'd be forced to stop talking about them.

And the last thing I'll mention for today... at 10am a group of kindergartners are coming through the school to trick-or-treat; and I'm fully prepared to be that awkward stranger following them around "oohing" and "aaahing" and breaking all social propriety. Please don't tell Mr. San Antonio. And please have a great weekend!

The Pampered Bird

Thursday, October 28, 2010


The older I get, the more I hope to become like my mom. I got to spend some time with her last night, and was thinking on the way home about how wonderful and unique she is, and how blessed I am to have her as my role model.

In some ways I already see her in me… in the way I cry when I feel sentimental, or stressed, or mad, or happy, or overjoyed, or really at any time…

And the way I get really excited about family traditions, and costume parties, all things Christmas related, and new home décor items.

But I keep hoping that other pieces of her are also hidden deep inside me.

Like her gift of organization and administration (currently this one is hidden very deeply…).

And her gift of making anyone who walks into her house, feel like they are at home.

I hope I have her gift of deeply caring for the people around me (from strangers to close family).

I hope I carry on her passion for family history and an appreciation for those who went before us and paved the way for the life we now lead.

I hope that one day I can love having pets.

I hope I can find a healthy way of balancing work and family. I admire the way she sacrificed her time, energy and resources to serve us by staying home to raise us when she could have easily become a top executive of a successful company.

I hope that I am able to be an encouraging support to Mr. San Antonio the way she has devotedly supported my dad during their 30 years of marriage.

And I hope that when big struggles and tests of faith arise in my life, that I’ll have her same faith in God’s power, grace, and love to pull me through.

I think some of these things come more easily to certain people. But that should not be an excuse for me to give up on the things I’m not good at right now. I can become a loving, hospitable, sacrificial person by making those things a priority and by relying on the power, grace and love of God at work in my life.

Thanks mom for being my role model. I hope I grow up to be more like you.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Nephew Update!

On our way back from Mr. San Antonio's homecoming weekend we got to stop in and say hi to three wonderful people....

This guy...

And the wonderful couple that made him. Thank you for giving us the cutest nephew in the world!

And thank you cutest-nephew-in-the-world for aiming your spit-up on my favorite sweater. It's my favorite because it's snuggable and washable... kinda like you!

I can't wait to see you in your lion costume this weekend!

And try to make you laugh, and stick out your tongue, and do your trick where you lap up water from a grown-up glass!

And now I'm going to stop because Mr. San Antonio is totally going to make fun of me for this post!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Frat Party Experts

Over the past few weeks Mr. San Antonio and I have been invited to a couple of campaign fundraiser gatherings. They have been eye opening experiences for me. Especially since I was not a member of a sorority in college, and didn't have the interest to crash frat parties when I was of the age and station in life when it would be considered appropriate to do so (i.e. when I was not employed and when I lived in a dorm).

What I envisioned a frat party being like, is basically what we have experienced at these events - Except for the gray chest hair peeking out from unbuttoned shirts; the enhanced aspects of women that typical college girls can’t afford; and the top shelf vodka.

This weekend we traveled to Mr. San Antonio's college homecoming. It was the first time I've seen his college campus, and I was finally able to see where he became intramural pool champion; and where he roamed as the campus heart throb.

I also got to meet some of his fraternity brothers – past and present. The most formal event was a reunion party hosted by current members at one of their homes near campus. Being an expert now at fraternizing, we decided to go, and made sure to bring lots of beer so the college guys would think we were cool.

I have to admit that I was a little bit nervous... what was I going to talk to these young guys about; how was I going to avoid being socially awkward; and would there be enough Purell in the world to make me feel comfortable touching anything in the house? (P.s. the answer to the last one is "no".)

As we pulled up to the house Mr. San Antonio warned me that he was going to "stir the pot" with these guys. At our recent "adult frat parties", anything beyond the question, "what do you do?" is inappropriate conversation. You do not stir the pot when you don’t have gray chest hair, and are 40 years younger than the guy who brought the top shelf vodka. But, you can definitely stir the pot when you're the one who brought the beer. And Mr. San Antonio was not going to hold back.

We walked in and were immediately addressed as "ma'am and sir". The beer produced wide appreciative eyes, and a general sense of awe toward people who have jobs. Mr. San Antonio was approached as a legend – everyone wanted to hear about the time he punched a shark in the nose (p.s. we have no idea where this story originated, but who are we to argue with legends?)

From there Mr. San Antonio wasted no time stirring the pot, and jumping in with questions about politics, religion, ultimate truth and the definition of racism. You know the incredible thing? The college guys fired back. They engaged, questioned, discussed, and thought critically for three hours. Three hours!

We were incredibly impressed; and had a great time; and graciously refused the shots that were offered to us throughout the evening. And at the end were able to shake hands with new friends, and young men who may one day call Mr. San Antonio for a job recommendation.

It was a fun night, and when we got back to the hotel we unwound by working out the permanent historic details to the “shark punching” legend, and taking a much needed Purell bath.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

If I could...

If I could quit my job and do something different for one week... here are three jobs I'd like to do:

1. Greeting card creator. (But only for a week... because how many different ways can I say “Happy Birthday” over and over and over again?)

2. Children’s book writer. (I’m convinced that kids would like to hear of the adventures of my fire breathing dragon who spits out cookies and homemade bread – how's that for a creative villain!)

3. And a professional spa critic. (It has got to be very exhausting to visit spas and try all their services and write about it in a way that convinces other people that they want to leave their job and visit those spas. Don't you agree?)

On the other hand... if I quit my job today, here is a short (but not at all exhaustive list) of jobs I would NOT want to pursue for a week:

1. Sushi saleswoman at our grocery store. (The hat they would make we wear is hideous... and doesn't work with my skin tone.)

2. Whale Wars (this is a TV show) ship navigator. (I’d get sea sick within minutes and be completely useless. Plus the show makes me laugh... and I don't think hard core whale rights activists have much of a sense of humor.)

3. Line Backer. (I know I’m tall… but I’m fairly small boned and not very strong.)

4. And watch repair-woman. (Because I don’t know how to fix watches and I have no desire to learn how to fix watches.)

What new job would (or would you not) want to try for a week?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Oatmeal gone wrong

I had a very strange morning.

It started with realistic dreams during my last hour of sleep that caused me to be disoriented when I awoke.

Mr. San Antonio had left early and wasn't there to keep me on track... and sane.

But I figured I'd be fine with some coffee in my veins.

And I went ahead and prepared my pumpkin oatmeal.

"Hm... that's strange. Why is my mouth on fire?!"

(Despite the quotation marks I only thought the above phrase. But I'm sure if we had a pet I would have spoken them out loud.)

Then I took another bite. (Because my cognitive reflexes are extra slow in the morning.)

"Hm.... the burning is worse. That's really strange."

So, I looked at the row of spices I had just poured on my pumpkin oatmeal...

Realized that I used cayenne pepper instead of cinnamon...

Desperately looked around for something to calm the raging inferno inside my mouth...

Decided that coffee is disgusting with cayenne pepper still coating my tongue...

Dumped out the bowl of oatmeal and started over...

Sadly discovered there was no more coffee in the pot.

Raced off to work because despite living two minutes away, I'm always almost late.

And prayed those whole two minutes that my clothes matched.

Monday, October 18, 2010

The "curse word" Black Truck

As of 7:05 this morning, we no longer like black trucks.

Specifically the kind that think they are too cool to park in one of the 10 available parking spaces, and instead choose to hang out in an unmarked spot, across a very narrow street, right behind our car....

So that when we come out of the coffee shop holding warm-fragrant-caffeinated-goodness...

And stretching our sore legs from the workout we just finished...

And thinking all sorts of positive thoughts about what a wonderful Monday morning it is....

Then carefully get into our car...

And try to see behind us through the darkness of the early morning as we back into the street...

We don't see the black truck.

But we feel it.

And it makes us want to use curse words.

And now I'm drowning my sorrows by eating a dozen of these banana cookies I made this weekend; and by calling my lawyer to complain of whip lash, and demanding retribution in the form of a neck rub!

Here's to hoping that there were no black trucks involved with your Monday morning.

The I'm-not-at-all-bitter-at-the-black-truck Pampered Bird

Friday, October 15, 2010

Tootsie Rolls

I despise tootsie rolls.

When I see them I cringe.
When I smell them I gag.

Here are four reasons why:

1. They smell like trash.
2. Their texture is a mix of chalk and gummy bears.
3. They are posers - they pretend to be "chocolate" but they aren't.
4. And they look like something that it is not appropriate for a lady to write out or say, even though I used the word in a blog title earlier this week (whoops).

Mr. San Antonio is amused by my abhorrence of tootsie rolls. And anytime he can get his hands on tootsie rolls, he hides them around the house and waits for me to find them...

I usually scream. Or karate chop him. Or throw the tootsie rolls out the back door (watch out neighbor cats!).

I've found them on my pillow, in my closet, in my dresser drawer, near my toothbrush, and in my shoes (to name a few places).

And I have reason to believe I will need to be on guard this evening for another tootsie roll sighting, because Mr. San Antonio just emailed to say he was "savoring a post-lunch tootsie roll." And I know he won't be able to control himself from bringing some home.

So, if you like tootsie rolls, you are welcome to walk around our place tonight and pick up the ones I'll be throwing out the door.

....Just don't be creepy about it.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Socially Awkward

Welcome to my life.

It has been one of those weeks. If you can think of the emotion... then I have felt it. And I've probably expressed it in an overly dramatic fashion that makes my co-workers avert their eyes, squirm, and rub their necks wondering how to make a quiet escape from the awkward situation I've created. 

Fortunately Mr. San Antonio loves me and is used to me "wearing my heart on my sleeve", as the saying goes. So he lets me rant while neglecting the dinner on my plate, or calmly hands me tissues, and doesn't try to guess which emotion will appear next. 

Once, in a candid moment, my sweet and very patient mother wrote that living with me is an interesting adventure... that you never quite know what you'll get, but as soon as I (Marissa) feel it, you (anyone within a mile) will be able to tell. (I'm paraphrasing her bit.) 

I've been known to pull more than one party foul. And if you're not sure what that means - a party foul is current lingo for being at a light hearted party/social gathering/soirée and initiating a conversation about poverty/injustice/your personal digestion issues/or your need for a gum graft (yes, I'm guilty on all accounts).

Welcome to my life. And thanks for hanging out with me. And please note that I can't tell if you avert your eyes or squirm through the computer screen. I just keep on going over here with no clue of the social awkwardness I'm creating in the blog-o-sphere. Oh wait, that my real life too (see above for examples).

On a completely and totally unrelated note (and in an effort to keep the awkwardness at bay); the following is a real email conversation that took place earlier this week.

Mr. San Antonio: "is there anything in pumpkin pie that can make you sick? I just ate a piece and I realized it's been unrefrigerated since yesterday..."

The Pampered Bird: "Since it's been cooked... I think it's ok? But there are eggs and milk products in pumpkin pie. I guess we'll see how you feel over the next couple hours. I am a little jealous... my sandwich and apple didn't quite cut it for me, I'll have to scavenge for more sustenance over here and I don't think there is any pie on campus. -m"

Mr. San Antonio: "here is a .pie attachment for your satisfaction. attachment: pumpkin.pie/thickcrust/whippedcream"

The Pampered Bird: "You're a dork."

Welcome to my life.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Hot rods, poop, Jesus and cake

On Saturday we went to a hot rod show. And just to clear up any confusion you might have - it was not my idea. But we found ourselves two blocks away, and I was with men, and I'm all about encouraging men to do manly things, and they didn't want to leave me behind, so I went.

Unfortunately I still do not hold the same appreciation for hot rods as Mr. San Antonio. I told him that I could only tell the cars apart based on their color. He was confused. "What do you mean you can't appreciate the unique engines, the various interior details, and the trunk-turn-seat-thingies?!" (Ok, he didn't say the last part, he knows the technical name... but I don't remember it, so I'm using my own interpretation for this retelling)

Sunday morning we woke up with images of dancing rims and prancing flame decals skipping through our brains. Then we remembered we were headed to double duty at church. Nursery duty during church hour, and teaching the 4-5 year-olds during the Sunday School hour.

Nursery was typical. Within 10 minutes of nursery duty one poor kid exploded in his pants. It was bad. Really bad. And Mr. San Antonio, being a man, is not allowed to change diapers at the nursery. So it was all on me.

While I ran operation clean-up, Mr. San Antonio consoled two kiddos who were standing in the doorway sobbing, sucking their thumbs, and calling out for "momma". It would have broken my heart, if I wasn't up to my elbows in explosive shrapnel, fighting my gag reflex, and reminding myself why I'm not ready to have a baby.

After nursery duty was Sunday School. If you grew up in church then you know that in Sunday School there are four basic answers (Jesus, God, the Bible, and pray/er) that apply to almost any question your teacher asks.

Mr. San Antonio started the lesson by reviewing what I taught the kids two weeks ago, "Who held the Israelites captive as slaves?" One of the boys raised his hand and said, "Jesus". When Mr. San Antonio said "no....", the same kid raised his hand again and said, "God!" Hmm... either someone (kid) knows all the Sunday School answers, or someone (me) needs to improve her teaching skills.

Last night, it was that boy's younger brother who stuck his fist into the wedding cake... because the bride and groom were taking too long feeding pieces to each other and he was ready for his cake. It was good cake too. I'm not so secretly glad the little guy got the process moving for the rest of us.

And that's it. I don't think there is any logical way to tie together hot rods, poop, Jesus and cake... but that was our weekend. So there you go.

Friday, October 8, 2010

The Ugly Truth of Emailing

I’m not as popular as I would like to be.

My work email inbox is embarrassingly manageable.

And to make matters worse, I write for a living. Which means I sit at my computer from 8-5 every day (minus lunch duty, and telling kids to stop making-out in the hallways), with my empty outlook inbox staring me in the face.

This means that when an email arrives, it’s like Christmas day. And all too often my enthusiasm and excitement takes over and I double click without thinking.

Occasionally when I do that, a little message pops up that says, “The sender requests a ‘read receipt’… would you like to send a ‘read receipt’ now?”

When this happens, I experience the sensation of my stomach doing flip-flops, sweat breaks out on my forehead, and I usually think something to the effect of “Oh dang-it”!

If I click “yes”, then the sender will know that I read it as soon as it was sent! They’ll know that I was sitting here at my desk, eagerly awaiting someone to contact me. They’ll know I have nothing better to do with my time than be punctual with my email correspondence. I can’t let this happen!

So I walk away. Literally. I will leave my office and walk through the hallways. I’ll ask a kid to please stop shoving a freshman in the trashcan; maybe make a stop by the ladies room and change my hair style; or perhaps go outside and enjoy the fresh air (away from the dumpsters outside the cafeteria).

And when I feel that enough time has passed where I can respond to the email without advertising my lack of importance or my nerdy enthusiasm for any kind of social contact, then I’ll click the “yes, send receipt now” button, and reply to the email.

Goodness…. this is so embarrassing.

Please don't tell anyone.

But feel free to send me an email anytime!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Our pet Chloe

I got a phone message today that said my pet Chloe was ready to be picked up from the animal hospital.

I called back and informed them that I do not own a pet.

The lady said: "Oh... well. Don't worry. I'm sure one of two things happened. Either we have the wrong number on file, or we miss-dialed."

Thank you vet lady, for clarifying.

Because I was worried, and about to run to the store to load up on pet food (one bag for every type of animal since you didn't bother to leave a message saying what kind of pet Chloe is); a pet house (again one dog bed, one cat crawling thingy, and one bird cage); and a variety of halloween costumes (because I refuse to be the only unknowing pet owner without a costume for my pet).

So thank you for clarifying, removing the guilt from my conscience, and saving me a bunch of money.

Now I can go buy some shoes.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Our Neighbors

We live in a four-plex. Which means we only have three sets of neighbors. And three sets of neighbors should be very manageable. Meaning I should know them....

But I don't.

I mean, every once in awhile (as in maybe every other week) I'll pass one of them as we simultaneously pull into the driveway, or as one of us is leaving and one of us in arriving. At those times we exchange "Hello, how's it going?" and both simultaneously mumble a "Finegoodandyou?"

I can remember only one neighbor's name.... and it's because the mailman likes to give us her mail every couple months.

But even without having very many conversations with the neighbors, I still know quite a bit about them.

First: Our neighbors appreciate cleanliness.

Two sets of neighbors have recently splurged and hired maid-services. That makes me jealous. And both times I've been tempted to say, "Um, excuse me Ms. Cleaning Lady, but I have a fire breathing dragon that really could use a bath..."

But I have held strong.

Second: Our neighbors like animals.

Our newest neighbors moved in a few months ago and brought with them two out door cats. I consider it training for having children, that I now always check around my car before I back out of the driveway. And I have to be extra careful while walking up our precarious steps at night, because both cats are dark and like to rest on our steps where they are well hidden, and susceptible to my size 11 feet accidentally stomping their tails.

Third: Our neighbors take care of their cars.

One set of neighbors recently cleaned out their garage compartment so they can park one of their cars in there. Our garage compartment is filled with empty cardboard boxes that I was convinced would one day come in handy.... so far I've been wrong, unless by "handy" I meant "handy at attracting broods of insects that I don't want to touch" or "handy at driving me crazy every time I look at the mess that I created".

Fourth: Our neighbors have normal stoves. 

I don't really need to elaborate on that one.

And Fifth: None of our neighbors are thieves or axe murders.

If they were, then they would have entered our home a couple nights ago when we accidentally left the keys in the door (the outside of the door) all night while we slept naively inside.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Special Brownies

Yesterday Mr. San Antonio was conversing with a friend of ours (we'll call him - Mr. Faux Pas). They were discussing their career dreams. Mr. Faux Pas was explaining how his unique blend of intelligence and people skills will serve him well in his chosen line of work.

While emphasizing the people side of his talents, he picked up a brownie. He sniffed the brownie. Wrinkled his nose and exclaimed, "Uuuugh... this smells like ground beef. Maybe it's because the pizza is sitting right here? I don't know... Oh man.... this really smells funky. What do you think this is?"

Mr. San Antonio calmly replied, "Oh, you're probably smelling lavender. I believe there is lavender in the brownies."

"How did you..... oh man. (picture Mr. Faux Pas' face turning white) Oh man! You're wife made these didn't she?!"

Mr. San Antonio nodded his head.

At this point I turned around, having only heard the "You're wife made these" line, and then what sounded like someone eating their shoe.

In between embarrassed laughing spurts, I was able to get the story. Then I assured him that I had used a mix, and was not at all emotionally bound to the herbal brownies.

Mr. Host overheard the comment about herbs in the brownies...

Which started jokes involving my California heritage.

Mr. Faux Pas continued to apologize profusely.

And I responded with grace by retelling the story on the Internet.

Thank you for sharing your people skills with us Mr. Faux Pas.

The Pampered Bird

P.S. Not everyone shared Mr. FP's feelings. Several people said the brownies reminded them of being at a spa, and they insisted that they liked the brownies.

P.P.S. It is quite possible that my other friends are just better liars than Mr. FP.


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