Monday, January 15, 2007

Happy Birthday Julia!

These beautiful teenagers know how to work their host families. Ellen came over Saturday night, eager to pitch her "plan" to celebrate Julia's 18th birthday at a dance club in Portland. (For two Europeans and a Brazilian girl, it appears the nightlife in Tillamook is just a tad sloowwwwwwwwww).

Although I applaud the making of a plan (Lina is plan challenged) it hinged on me somehow talking Ellen's host dad "Chris from Tillamook" into driving them to a hip-hop Portland night club downtown that none of us had ever heard of, taking a nap at cousin Brad's house and then driving them home in the middle of the night. On a work night. After he spent the day elk hunting. With his mother in law.

I laughed out loud. I adore Chris and know he'd do a lot for his kids, but also know without a doubt that

a) he was going to be on the couch and drinking a beer before those girls even slipped into their stilettos
b) he wasn't going to be wild about driving over the coastal range in the snow and
c) he was not going to buy off on depositing three scantily clad teenagers at a downtown club for several hours

The fact that it depended on MY ability to talk him into it was even funnier.

However, all hope was not lost for the girls desperate for a night out that didn't include the cheese factory, or watching once again a Lindsey Lohan movie in one of the families' living rooms. I knew I needed to work in Portland today, and since it was a holiday from school, didn't see any reason why they couldn't come over and spend the night with me.

I logged onto Hotwire to see what kind of hotel deals we could get and secured a fabulous rate at my favorite downtown hotel, the 5th avenue Suites. And! understanding what a treat it was for the girls – the nice reservations man put us on the 10th floor with a great view of the Portland skyline lit up at night.
(Much squeeling and taking of pictures in front of the windows in the room).

Arguably this is MY favorite hotel not for the view or the proximity to a teenage dance hangout, but for the complimentary bath products. I tried to claim dibs on all the shampoo, lotion and body wash, but no doing once Ellen and Julia got a whiff of the Rosemary Mint wonderfulness. The hotel staff took pity and sent two people up to our suite literally loaded down with extra products to give to the girls.

Once I relalized where we were staying I secured birthday reservations at Red Star - the scrumptious yuppie onsite restaurant.

The food is divine but my little troupe of non native speaking girls had trouble deciphering some of the menu choices:

"Wood Oven Butternut Squash and Goat Cheese Ravioli with Spinach Pasta, Crispy Sage, Balsamic Glaze and Winter Squash Coulis" (the best I could do was explain that it would be somewhat like mashed pumpkin and goat cheese in big ravioli noodles – surprisingly no takers).

"Organic Greens with Roasted Baby Carrots, Sunchokes, Cippolini Onions, Zinfandel Vinaigrette, Shaved San Joaquin Gold Cheese" (Girls, that means salad).

We toasted the evening in Portugues, Dutch, Norwegian, English and then French for good measure (Enchanté! ) Рand then fished off dinner with sparkler clad chocolate cake which I snuck up to the room from the restaurant.
(I was terrified of setting off the fire alarm, though, so we lit it, clapped, sang and snapped a picture and then submerged the sparkler in the toilet all in a matter of seconds).

As we took pictures of every possible pose (these three girls are VERY comfortable in front of a camera) hotel guests literally stopped and gawked.

They wanted to go to the Zone - an underage dance club a few blocks from the hotel. After hours (hours!) of Googling, I finally came upon the club myspace page. I poked around until I found an address (! step 1), the hours of operation (why in the world would a hangout for teenagers need to be open until 3AM??? On a SUNDAY!), the corporate ownership, etc. and was able to convince myself the girls would be safe given a set of rules I planned to impose regarding checking in with me, curphew and getting to and from the club and hotel.

I waited outside the dance club in my urban assault mamamobile while they were in line flirting with the bouncers until I saw they were safely screened and in the door.

As requested I received text messages on the hour until the appointed "wake Deb up and tell her you are home safe time" assuring me that they were safe and having fun:

"No one has shot us yet!"

"If annoying guys try to pick up on us we just respond in our own language."

I left them early this morning tucked under the luxurious white down comforters sound asleep with their volumized shiny hair splayed out on their pillows.

From what I understand they had huuuuuge fun and we have been forgiven, at least temporarily, for living in Tillamook.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

"I have a Penis"

This week Charlie has started a unit in Sex Education courtesy of Tillamook School District 9. They have divided the boys and girls and are teaching them about reproduction and their bodies. I'm absolutely fascinated - and questioned him energetically on what he learned...
My favorite story from the curriculum so far was Charlie having to turn to the child sitting next to him and say, "I have a penis."

I asked him who it was, and found out it was a close friend of his next to him. Don't you expect he knew that already? Turns out he did. Cause he told Charlie he had one too.

They also saw a video showing some sort of erection in progress, close up. I told him my story of being a new mom when he was born not knowing that erections can happen very young, they aren't always associated with puberty. When I was changing his diaper once as an infant I was completely alarmed to find him at full attention and yelled for his father. I guess that's normal - but it completely freaked me out.

It was fun to talk to him about the class. Although we have been very open with our children about sex, it gave an opening and a comfortable fun atmosphere for me to ask him some questions about the changes his body may be experiencing and how he feels about it. He also was able to tell me how uncomfortably the teacher responded when one of the kids asked about being gay... (essentially he shut him off and said that was a topic for home).

I told him I didn't think it was an entirely bad idea to discuss those things at home either. I would hate for him to exposed to intolerance from other kids or worse yet from an educator.

I find each new chapter of parenthood, if nothing else, completely fascinating.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

A winter's worth of fun in one day...

No school on a snow day!
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We got dumped on last night! It is so beautiful here...
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With the help of his band leader... I have defaced my husband's bumper.
Some explanation of the sticker (also courtesy of the Band Leader from the first ever Rock the Barn evite):

Who is Christ I'm Chuck?
Well . . . Chris, Tim, Chuck, & Bryce.Chris - Rhythm GuitarTim - DrumsChuck - Lead Guitar, VocalsBryce - Bass

What does the name Christ I'm Chuck mean?
Simply put it is Chris Tim Chuck smashed together. Nothing deeper than that. The only reason that Bryce's letters aren't represented in the name are that you get confusing things like BUICK TECH SMIRCH CRY when you try to make an anagram out of Chris Tim Chuck Bryce. Try it yourself at the Internet Anagram Server.

What does Christ I'm Chuck play?
Classic rock & Blues. We may not be great, but we have fun, and think that watching us play songs that everyone probably likes makes us a fun band.

Can I hear Christ I'm Chuck?
Yes. Go to to check them out.

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