Happy Birthday to Me

Disclaimer: I am 2 bourbons and a large margarita in

Disclaimer 2: I pour bourbon at home 3:1

I turned 46 years old today. It was the best birthday I can remember in a long time. I can say that now because I can actually still remember today. Tomorrow may be another story.

45 sucked ass. I made my birthday plans in July of the previous year feeling a strong pull towards a milestone birthday. I’d worked hard on my body and fitness since He Who Should Not Be Named But Kissed Lots showed up. So in an effort to prove something to myself and kick off the second half, I planned an epic ski trip. I envisioned testing my mettle on Mammoth’s treacherous backside, proving not only that I’ve still got it, but that I’ve gotten more of it than ever.

And then the fucking blizzard of the fucking century blew in. And I skied a ½ day of a four day vacation. And I drank. And I cried.

What I didn’t realize then was that 45 was actually the end of the first half. Time to retreat to the locker room for review and strategy. 46 is actually the milestone. 46 is the beginning of the second half and I’m up by a lot; a whole 46 years of life experience, good and bad (but not terrible) and I am a fucking force to be reckoned with.

46 is rad. At 45 you’re so much older than those goddam 40 year olds. But at 46! At 46, you’re so much younger than 50 year olds!

So today I had a pretty typical day but the sun was shining and I was so grateful for my health, my strength and the love in my life. I bill myself as an antisocial curmudgeon. But the truth is I just have a very discerning palate. Perhaps not my most lovable quality, but I put up a stone cold front. All of you within reach of this manifesto have worn down my edge and brought magic into my life. You have taught me things, made me laugh, challenged me to continue to grow.

Today I heard from friends all over, not acquaintances, but people that know the real raw me. And yet you are still willing to love me. You wished me a happy birthday. It came true. Thank you for your love and friendship.

It’s time to closeout with a nightcap. Bourbon #3 (9?) is calling. Cereal and school lunch for everyone tomorrow!

‘Twas the Night Before School Started: A Trip to Costco

Winter break has come to an end and so my carefree days of making umpteen staggered breakfasts and lunches, and cleaning the dishes that go along with them, do to. I headed out to Costco on Sunday to replenish sack lunch staples and refill the after school snack drawer.

There of course was the expected crowd of rude people but am I really the only one that understands the implied, albeit unwritten, rules of Costco?

1  At my Costco, flow of traffic is counterclockwise. You enter and track right. Seriously, there’s nowhere else to go. So why are people coming at me, three lanes wide, as if I have entered a one-way street the wrong way?

2  Costco has funneled the cattle call this way through unnecessary tools, unneeded sporting equipment and enough batteries to fuel your flux capacitor in order to guarantee you lose your husband and children in the first 3 minutes. By jettisoning sample stuffing, discretionary spending personnel, you are guaranteed to cut 15 minutes off your shopping excursion. It’s actually a perk to membership.

3  The rules of the road extend to carts and aisles. Drive on the right. Do not enter the flow of traffic from an arterial offshoot without safe distance or being given the right of way. Do not EVEN try to make a left from aforementioned arterial offshoot. Are you trying to kill someone? (see Rule 1) Do not double park in front of the sample table. Frankly, with your ass, it’s more like triple parked.

But that’s not the reason for my call today.

What I was most shocked and appalled by was the number of Christmas returns on January 7th. I’m not talking about, “Gee Johnny got a PS4 from both grandmas.” I’m taking about brightly colored lights, ornaments and strands of garlands. The return line was one after the other, a virtual parade of the ghosts of Christmas past.

My disdain and disgust quickly melted into astonished admiration. While my attic is crammed with dusty boxes of half broken ornaments and malfunctioning light strands, these evil geniuses are essentially renting fresh decorations annually, for free. To look the Costco clerk in the eye and ask for a refund 12 days after Christmas, knowing full well Costco demands no explanation and enforces no expiration. The glittering balls on these people!

Oh, and

4  Get your fat fuck of a kid out of my way because I will not be sorry when I “accidentally” bump him.

I Got You Something

Is this cynical and cutting or forgiving and encouraging? Depends on if your inner voice is Joan  Rivers or Oprah.

I’m not one for Resolutions. They’re kind of like Yom Kippur. Realistically, who has to apologize only once a year? I practically vomit Sorry daily.

So on this New Year’s Day, instead of Resolutions bound to be broken, let’s give each other a gift. One, two, three, we’ll open it up at the same time. It’s 365 days to improve on your perfection. A clean slate today. And if you fuck up, a fresh day again tomorrow and the next.

Wishing you your best year yet for your best you yet.

Shut up, Joan.

A Little Diddy About Jack and Emileen. Two Japanese Immigrants…and Our Hanukkah Dinner

My grandparents lived on Nob Hill in San Francisco. Not just in the ritzy neighborhood known as Nob Hill, but literally on the top of Nob Hill. Their neighbor was The Fairmont Hotel. They had two Japanese housekeepers, Jack and Emileen.

Emileen would arrive early every morning. She’d open the front hall closet and remove a crisp white pinafore with eyelet trim demarking a ruffled neck and ¾ sleeve. A la Mr. Rogers, she’d exchange her civilian outer layer for her designated uniform. Jack would arrive shortly after in slacks and a dress shirt. They never spoke. I’m not sure what his responsibilities were. I saw him wash the windows once.

A few things to note that didn’t occur to me until recently.
1) This was San Francisco and Jack and Emileen were of the age that they were probably interned as children in camps during WWII.
2) There’s no way “Jack” and “Emileen” were their given names.
3) My grandparents had two servants to maintain a one-bedroom apartment.

If this seems awkward and bizarre, you’re right. It’s a family trait. There’s a special chromosome. A whole company had to be renamed 24 and Me to identify my genetic relations. Which brings me to Hanukah dinner.

My family and I arrived for the miracle of celebrating one out of eight nights with my parents and in-laws. As we entered, my mother burst into the kitchen, threw up her arms, yelled “ta da”, and posed. In Emileen’s pinafore.

My grandparents moved from San Francisco to Los Angeles in 2003 and died almost 10 years ago. My mother packed, moved, unpacked, laundered and pressed said pinafores. How long had she been planning this performance piece? Frankly, I was disgusted. It was demeaning to the work Emileen had done and to the meticulous care she had taken in her appearance. I insisted my mother change. She obliged. Into a pink personalized chef’s coat.

And so dinner production ensued. The Pink Coat flitted about shoving chopped liver into the Guatemalan housekeepers’ (yes, there are two) mouths, while my husband and I prepared enough potato pancakes to serve the IDF. She had insisted on twelve potatoes.

Finally she declared it time to sit down and asked me to ladle the matzo ball soup. I scooped up broth and carrots. And tried again. Broth and carrots. Only. She had forgotten to take the matzo balls out of the freezer. (While they were premade, in her defense, they were homemade.)

As the rest of the family sat down at the table, my husband continued frying the remainder of the potato pancakes and I diligently defrosted matzo balls. We didn’t say a word. Jack and Emileen.

Gee, That’s Horrible, but What About Me?

The other day, a friend shared a NYT article about a young doctor who met the love her life during residency (yay) then left her husband after he figured out he was gay (boo) to start her life over (yay) before being stricken with cancer (boo) and finally dying (boo hoo hoo). I spent about 30 seconds contemplating the tragic trajectory of this woman’s life before I made it all about me.

I have conflicting responses to reading terrible stories like this. Both begin, Holy shit I’m so lucky that [insert tragedy, loss, insurmountable challenge, terminal illness HERE] isn’t me. My first response is to chastise the insolent child in me. Yeah you’re so fucking lucky. Why can’t you be more appreciative of your [insert abundant riches of blessings HERE]. You should meditate more, journal your gratefulness, leave loving notes for your husband and children and give up sugar. Contrite, my inner brat says yes, right, definitely, tomorrow.

Then she gets uppity. Holy shit that [insert tragedy, loss, insurmountable challenge, terminal illness HERE] could be me. Is this it? What have I contributed to the planet? Why did I wait to live my best life? Why would I have been so optimistic as to think I’d have plenty of time to start a business, get an advanced degree, learn to play guitar.

I know you’re waiting for this to end with my peaceful acceptance of bountiful blessings and that, you, Dear Reader, will then absorb my sense of calm and feel reinvigorated to embrace your own present. Sorry, but I think it’s high time we kick the shit out of life before it kicks the shit out of us. Go ahead and give up sugar and show your loved ones more gratitude, but take one step forward today towards your personal “I wish I [insert dream profession, hobby, altruistic endeavor, healthy improvement HERE]. And if you’re feeling brave, share it with us!

Signing Up for More Than One Item for the Class Holiday Party Doesn’t Make You a Supermom. It Makes You an Asshole.

Dear Mothers (yeah, there was more than one) Who Signed Up for Multiple Party Items,

First let me apologize for having a life and not seeing the teacher email with attached Sign-Up Genius for a whole 20 minutes after it was sent. You must have been panicked that the 18 or so requested items would never be covered by 25 separate families. How brave and generous of you to take on more than your fair share.

What you don’t understand is that it’s actually very rude of you and you have overstepped basic community courtesy. We all have been taught (or should have been) that you don’t show up empty handed to a party, but that’s exactly what you have forced me and roughly 5 other parents to do. Worse than that, my kid is going to be anxious and downright pissed when he finds out that we are not bringing anything to the party.

Don’t think for a second he won’t ask. He always does. He’s proud to contribute anything to his close-knit class. And he’s not going to buy my excuse that there was nothing left to sign-up for. (Except for washed, cored and sliced strawberries for 25 children. Which, by the way, fuck you. Do you have any idea how expensive strawberries are this time of year and how long it will take to wash, dry, core and slice roughly 4 pounds of strawberries?) He’s a cynical little fucker and he’s going to assume that I dropped the ball even though I never (ok, rarely) drop the ball.

What was your motivation? Did you think this would impress the teacher? I’ll tell you what she thinks. She’s been teaching for 20 years and her main goal is to turn out little people who can cooperate and work together (and exhibit good personal hygiene). Now she knows why your spawn is such a bossy know-it-all who still eats boogers.

Happy Holidays.

PS I am 100 years older than the other mothers and have made no effort to forge friendships so don’t worry, they won’t see this.

I Refuse to Let the Pharmacist do my PAP Smear.

I don’t need the analysis tools I was supposed to have learned while pursuing my Finance degree to know that the proposed merger between CVS Health and Aetna is a raw deal for consumers. It gives me the same foreboding feeling many young actresses must have felt when entering a Harvey Weinstein meeting to discuss their career.

You have to look no further than the terrifying corporate-speak catch phrases that are littered amongst the press releases to feel dirty. There’s going to be “a new front door for health care in America.” CVS stores are now going to be “health hubs”. They tout the “human touch” of CVS. The Chairman of Aetna, Mark Bertolini is quoted in one Washington Post article as saying,
“We want to get closer to the community, because all health care is local,” Bertolini said. “What was going to draw people into an Aetna store? Probably not a lot. We looked for the right kind of partnership.” I hear that in Kevin Spacey’s voice.

I don’t want a drugstore to be my first stop when I need medical advice or even preventative care. I certainly don’t want to touch anything in a filthy drugstore, especially the people working there. It’s not personal. I don’t think they want to touch me either. I’m certain that when making a career choice, the prospective pharmacist thinks something like, “ I love science and medicine but I don’t want to touch the human body.” I will say however, in a sweeping generalization, that the pharmacists I’ve encountered may excel at many other things in their lives but interpersonal communication skills is not one of them.

There’s talk of nurses being available and I have the highest respect for those in the nursing profession. I think many of them are capable of doing as good if not a better job than many with the MD designation. However, while I don’t mind having a different service writer when I bring my car in for an oil change, I don’t want to see a rotating army of medical advisors. I want my doctor to remember the various infections or injuries I’ve had to help connect the dots if there’s a more significant problem.

When was the last time in capitalism history that a vertical chain resulted in benefits to a customer? It is laughable that CVS and Aetna are touting choice and cost savings as benefits to the deal. If you have Aetna insurance, can you ONLY fill at CVS? Will CVS refuse to fill other prescriptions for patients with other coverage? Will they charge you more than an Aetna customer? Will Aetna refuse to provide reimbursement to doctors for routine services that your “health hub” provides?

The Department of Justice just nixed the AT&T/Time Warner deal. Like this proposed match, AT&T and Time Warner were complimentary but not competing companies. Still, the DOJ saw the danger signs ahead if those two combined. But this DOJ may have just been doing the bidding of President Baby who thinks the media is a big meanie and that this merger would have given them a larger slice of the schoolyard. Now maybe it’s time for the republicans to start paying back the lobbying support of Big Pharma and to reward insurance companies for providing the financial strangulation of the american public as proof of Obamacare failures. Don’t be surprised if this CVS/Aetna deal slides right on through. And if it does, you can be sure there will be additional consolidations.

PAP Smear by the pharmacist? No thanks. You can pick up my DIY kit on Etsy; a bottle brush and microscope slide. You’re welcome.

Time for the Sunday Paper. My favorite section…

I’ve read the obituaries for as long as I can remember.  I picked up the habit from my mother.  She reads very few things; catalogues,there should be a second thing because this is a list and the obituaries.  Like I said, very few things. 

My husband, and now children, tease me for flipping to the dead people section.  In truth, it’s the first thing I want to read when I open the paper. But in an effort to seem less Lydia Deetz, I make a good faith effort at the Front Page and Real Estate sections.

For most of my obit career, I was reading to reassure myself that more old people than young people die and when young people die, it’s from diseases of which I have no symptoms.  This practice may have actually contributed to my recovery from I’m Going to Die Young Disorder.

I digress but here’s a relevant case study for IGTDYD: I have a clear memory of sitting on my mother’s lap in the passenger seat driving home from Sunday dinner. I’m about 10 years old.  Gazing up at the star filled sky, I’m wondering how she will go on since I will die of cancer shortly.  If memory serves, I had a small swollen gland under my chin.  In retrospect, I should have been more anxious that I was sharing a single seat belt in a car with no air bags while hurling down the 101 freeway, my brother and two step brothers safely anchored in the back seat.

In the last couple of years, my interest in the obituaries has taken a curious and strangely positive twist. (Completely antitype for me.) People have led amazing and fulfilling lives!  They have devoted themselves to causes and careers, passions and hobbies, their family and friends!  They have taken up space with their actions and provided inspiration to their communities. Their absence will leave a vacuum, their vacancy truly mourned.  Now I started wondering what my obituary would look like.

Another quick aside and a fuck you to middle school teachers everywhere who made me and other kids write their own obituary as a creative writing assignment.  I had been nowhere, accomplished nothing, and had made no relevant contribution to human kind.  Your assignment contributed to my IGTDYD, made me think I’d go nowhere, accomplish nothing or make any kind of relevant contribution to human kind.  You should have a bumper sticker that says I was Common Core Before Common Core Sucked Ass.

And now back to my obituary.  Sure I’d be missed. But eventually my family would figure out how to decide what they wanted eat.

So I’ve been working on making this a life well lived.  I’ve dug down deep to rediscover interests I’ve had and dropped or hobbies and causes I always wanted to pursue.  I’m a little embarrassed to share with you yet everything I’m working on but here’s a small hint, you just read one of them.

About Me

It’s always awkward when I introduce myself to someone new. “Hi, I’m…”.

I have about 2 seconds to decide which me you’ll be meeting. When I worked full time at a real job (unwad your panties stay at home mommies), it was easy, “I’m Kimberly”. Inevitably, people felt entitled to truncate that to “Kim”. You may as well call me Fred. It’s as much my name as Kim. People lack listening skills and basic courtesy.

In most situations these days (because I’m a stay at home mommy and I no longer have to convince strangers to buy what I’m selling to keep my job), I expose the real me and I answer, “I’m Kimby”. And confusion ensues… “huh?”

“Yes, Kimby. Short for Kimberly.”

I’m not giving you my full name: Kim Bee or Kim Bea or my rap name Kim B.

You may not call me Kim.

I didn’t say Kimmy.

I didn’t make this goofy name up and give it to myself. I’ve been Kimby since the day I was born. It’s become me, my brand and my identity. It’s part of what makes me unique; my name, my curly red hair and for better or worse, my spitfire personality.

Once in the 2nd grade, another Kimberly in the class tried to exchange her “Kim” for “Kimby”. I punched her. Trademark infringement.

Someone once described me as a firecracker. I had to clarify; the pretty ones in the sky or the kind you accidentally blow your hand off with? Follow along and let me know what you think.

xo, Kimby

I’m writing a blog.  I know. I’m sorry.

I’m writing a blog.  I know. I’m sorry. You just vomited in your mouth, didn’t you?

You can look at this two ways, both equally valid: 

  1. I’m a complete narcissist who feels she has an important point of view and a voice that should be heard and heeded by all in the land.
  2. I like to write.  I think I’m pretty funny.  I think I can make you laugh a little and maybe if I share the little voices in my head, it may help you on your journey too.

If you like Door #2, please feel free to read along, comment and contribute. It would be awesome if when you read something you like, you’d share it. 

If you like Door #1, I always knew I was better than you.