Monday, September 21, 2015

It’s the Great Pumpkin Spice Latte

Oh coffee, there is so much to say about you.  I did not like you at first, but at 22, I found that with a proper amount of sugar and cream, you were tolerable. We’ve been through so much, you and I, since then. I even thought I could get by without you, but lo, you waited patiently for me to lose my senses and dive back in.

In my single days in San Francisco, I frequented Starbucks, well, frequently. My Starbucks branded mug could journey to the nearest store with my office staff and the baristas knew what needed to be in it. That my friends, is an addiction. Fast forward many a few years, and I find myself practically intravenously attached to my local Starbucks. “I’m spending what?? I’m consuming how much??” You could stop to think about this and it will make you dizzy.

Time, Money and Calories – 
Save It Or Spend It?
The average Pumpkin Spice latte can cost about $6.50, give or take. If you take it as it’s listed on the menu, it can add up to about 470 calories. Now, I’m no math wizard, but a healthy diet can be in the 1300-1800 calorie range. Just one latte can cut into that by almost a third. But there is hope!

Don't know what or how to order? These aren’t new suggestions, but they are effective.

The Great Latte Swap
Option #1 
Order an Americano instead.
It contains steamed water instead of milk.
A Venti is about 20 calories and has four shots instead of the three in a comparable size latte.
Ask for one pump of Pumpkin Spice instead of the ‘half a bottle’ they put in.
Add flavor, sugar, milk, etc. from the condiment bar.
Cost: $2.95 +/-

Option #2
Have the latte, but add an espresso shot (.75 cents)
Ask for one pump (see above).
Request nonfat, soy or coconut milk.
Ask for extra foam. It has the consistency of light whipped cream, but it’s practically air. You feel like it’s a treat, and it fills up the cup, so less milk goes in.
Calories and price are still there, but lower.
Cost: $4.75 +/-

Now it’s your turn . . .

"Come here you big beautiful cup of coffee . . ." Oops. That's my line.

YOU: “I’d like a Quad Venti, Nonfat, one pump, extra foam, Pumpkin Spice Latte”. 


Friday, July 10, 2015


Back in April, I had the honor of reading an essay I wrote, at the 2015 production of Listen To Your Mother (Orange County)

I am grateful to my friends and family who came to see the show. Sharing the stage with 12 other amazing writers, we took our turns, crying, laughing and hugging, as each piece was read. It was a unique experience, and I encourage anyone, writer or not, to consider auditioning for a future production. 

A huge thank you to the producers of our show, Ciaran Blumenfeld, Cheryl Rosenberg, Angela Camacho and Katherine Kotkin. To my mother-in-law who flew all the way from Connecticut to be there, and also a very large MWAAAA to my friend Julie Gardner, who sort of held my hand to get me there. Lastly, to my fantastic writing group. I love you ladies!
Kim Tracy Prince
Charlene Ross
Rina Nehdar
Laurel Byrne

# # #

Created by Ann Imig (Ann’s Rants), Listen to Your Mother began in 2010 and is now produced in 39 cities nationwide! LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER offers an opportunity for 12 people to share their voice from a moment in their journey through parenthood. Not only is this a chance to go with each reader as they portray motherhood through their journey, but LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER gives back to the community by supporting those in need. This production supported the WISE Place in Santa Ana.  

                                                               # # #

Full text of my reading:

“There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”  
~ Leonard Cohen

I have missed whole seasons. Time has passed and all of a sudden it is 108 degrees outside. The past many months in hospitals has left us haggard and pasty skinned. I woke up this morning and realized that this time last year, we were only hoping to get pregnant.

The wreckage of my body after two plus years of fertility medication and an all too short pregnancy, left me ravaged. Now, my babies are fighting for their lives in two separate hospitals. ‘People’ say life will be easier once the kids get a bit older. Mostly I think these are people who do not have triplets born at 28 weeks gestation. I want to believe it. The reality is that every expectation I had ever had about motherhood has been shot to hell - instantly. One of our sons had just survived a major stroke and his first (of 13) brain surgeries. 

This day, as I hover over his NICU isolette, his rapidly paling skin connects with my gut, that primal, maternal howl deep inside that has no words, only action. I know something far worse is wrong. I run back and forth the two feet between his bed and the NICU nurses frantically, until they finally decide to transfuse him. But he is what they call a difficult stick. Every vein blows the moment the needle pierces the thin, premature skin in his arms, his feet, and finally, a vein in his scalp. I begin to lose my mind when I realize this is more than a transfusion can repair. I urge the Neonatologist to call UCLA and have Cole sent back there so his neurosurgeon can evaluate. 

My son has a neurosurgeon. MY son - has a neurosurgeon.

The blood test comes back just then. Cole has bacterial meningitis. How did I get here? Where is my breath? 

The room spins as I watch the transport team hustle in and painstakingly remove each line from this defenseless, tiny creature, only to reattach him to lines on the portable isolette. As the last one is peeled off his tiny face, I motion for them to stop. Confused, they let me know that the situation is dire and they cannot wait. But for one suspended moment, and for the first time, I am able to see Cole’s beautiful face. As our eyes meet something stirs in me that I cannot describe, and I quickly snap a photo of him on my phone before the lines are sealed back on his face with endless tape strips. 

I think I am collapsing. One of the nurses holds me up and points out that even though this is happening to my child now, if he had born healthy, there’s no guarantee that he wouldn’t suffer some other insult or injury later in life. Her intent is perspective, and it takes hold in my head, just not my heart. The immediate threat of his death terrifies me in a way I have never before felt. The flight nurses wheel Cole out and I run flights of stairs to the roof, desperately dragging my husband’s hand behind me. Barely able to choke back my sobs, I am relived to see that the helicopter is still there. I walk toward it as far as they allow me, clutching the flight wings pin they gave me for him, and watch my baby fly away into the sky. 

I call my parents and asked them to rush to the hospital, as they live a few minutes from UCLA. I cannot bear the thought of my infant son at the hospital, all alone and sliced open on an operating table. It takes us 45 minutes in traffic, though it seems like hours. Myriad obstacles seem to taunt me: parking the car, elevators, charge nurses with charts to show me. I finally walked to Cole’s post-op bed and look down at the piles of blankets surrounding his small body, in a bed much too large for him. I lift the sheet and run my fingers over his belly. Clear smooth skin that I knew had been sliced irreparably underneath the large bandages there, and the back of his bald and shaved head. 

I feel like I am going to crack into pieces. I am overwhelmed and want an escape. I hadn’t planned on having triplets at 40. I was uber-ready for one baby, not three. I try to take a deep breath and count to 10. But this is so far past that or any coping skill I know. What happens now? 

It breaks my heart that they bore a hole in Cole’s skull. It breaks my soul to realize my limitations. I feel selfish for being limited. I want to think it will pass, like a teacup that has broken and been repaired. I hope I can be tea-worthy again, ready to have more poured in, no matter the heat. 

You’ll only see the crack if you look closely. 

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Shower of Poetry

Its been long since the hour
I had time for a shower
Now I know why the French wear perfume

I can only hold hope
And pretend to not mope
That when I do enter a room

No one should wrinkle
Or be caused to crinkle
One single facial muscle

Their sensitive sniffer
Should be free of a whiffer

Of Mama.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Do you Wanna Be a Triplet?

(To the tune of “Do you Wanna Build a Snowman?”

Toddler Anna: Elsa? (knocks)                    Triplet: Neighbor? (knocks)      
Do you want to build a snowman?            Do you want to be a triplet? (KNOCK AT A FRIEND’S)
Come on let's go and play                           Come on let’s go and play
I never see you anymore                             I have so many siblings here
Come out the door,                                      My mother cannot hear
It's like you've gone away                           I’d like to go away
We used to be best buddies                       Mostly we’re best buddies
And now we're not                                       But then we’re not
I wish you would tell me why                    I wish I could tell you why?
Do you want to build a snowman?           Do you want to be a triplet?
It doesn't have to be a Snowman              Come on you can admit it

Young Elsa: Go away, Anna                       But I’m an only child
Toddler Anna: Okay, bye                            Okay, sigh

Young Anna: (knocks on Elsa's                Triplet: (knocks on bedroom           door)                                                               door)   
Do you want to build a snowman             Do you want to be a triplet?
Or ride our bike around the halls?           We’ll ride our bikes around the                                                                              block,
I think some company is overdue            It’s so nice to always have a friend
I've started talking to                                  Although we often blend
The pictures on the walls                                        
(Hang in there, Joan! )                              Triplet #1: Hang in there bro
                                                                        Triplet #2: Hang in there sis
                                                                        Triplet #3: Hang in there bro

It gets a little lonely,                                   It never gets the least bit lonely
All these empty rooms,                              Not an empty room
Just watching the hours tick by               To listen to clocks tick by
(Tick-tock tick-tock tick-tock tick-tock)  (NOISE, SCREAMING, CRYING,                                                                            YELLING)

Anna: (knocks) Elsa?                                   Friends
Please I know you're in there,                    We know you’re out there
People are asking where you've been,      People wonder what it’s like
They say "have courage”;                            They say “Are you identical?"
And I'm trying to,                                         And “Are you natural?"
I'm right out here for you                           We’re right in front of you
Just let me in                                                 Where have you been?
We only have each other                             We always have each other
It's just you and me                                      Just you and me, and me, and me
What are we gonna do?                               What are we gonna do?              
                                                                          (MISCHIEF OF ALL KINDS)

Do you want to build a snowman?            Do you want to be a triplet?
(sniff)                                                               (sniff) 

Monday, April 27, 2015

Things that are bad for you

What are some things that are bad for you?

This feels like a Family Feud question. So here into, running up to the podium and slapping that big fat red buzzer. Alarm clocks! Do we see alarm clocks? Why yes we do. Woot. I just bought my team some time.

It's a good thing too. Because they're bad for you. Why? Because people need sleep. I know I do. I have a variety of reasons for insomnia, and when it hits it hits hard. I am a night owl by nature, so when I try to sleep early I wake up at waaaay the wrong time of night and can't get back to sleep. Or, I stay up late hoping I can tire myself out but good, and as soon as I lie down - ha ha, joke's on me. My brain starts up, keeps going, flat out refuses to shut down. There are nights I am awake all night. Or at least until about 530am - right when the kids start waking up.

No way do I need an alarm clock. I just need to sleep when my body lets me. Because that's realistic with kids. How is it that they wake up at such early times? I just know that once they become teenagers they won't want to budge. I can't relate. I've ALWAYS been this way. But my kids will probably change. Just to spite me. But they'll be in for a surprise when they get alarm clocks for Christmas.

Yes indeed. Alarm clocks are bad for you.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Listen to Your Mother! #LTYMOC

I am honored to say that I have been selected to read at the 2015 production of Listen To Your Mother (Orange County)!!

If you are available this weekend, come see me read!

Created by Ann Imig (Ann’s Rants), Listen to Your Mother began in 2010 and is now produced in 39 cities nationwide! LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER offers an opportunity for 12 people to share their voice from a moment in their journey through parenthood.
Not only is this a chance to go with each reader as they portray motherhood through their journey, but LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER gives back to the community by supporting those in need. This production will be supporting the WISE Place in Santa Ana.  

Come see this. You will love it! #LTYMOC