Sunday, April 30, 2006

Misc. Weekend Thoughts

It's Sunday evening, downright balmy (almost 90 degrees) here, and we just finished dinner. Ted made cheese tortellini with a tomato sauce, and salad with lettuce, spinach, and pears. Mmmm. So, here's a sort of weekend wrap up, mixed with a couple of thankfulnesses, and so on.

On Friday, we went to our Parent Teacher conference at Maya's school. The news is that she is a very good student, works hard, no problems. Good at math, good at science, good at reading, good at writing. I'm thankful for that. We know several people whose children have trouble with one subject or another, or many. Or behavioral problems, which Maya also does not have. So we are very fortunate in that way. Then, since Maya was at her best friend's house having fun getting dirty in a creek, we went to see a movie Ted wanted to see. He was in gymnastics back in jr. high and part of high school, so he wanted to go see "Stick It". It was funny and pretty good. Then we went to pick up Maya, and then to McDonald's for dinner. Ted and I had their new 'Asian Salad', which was suprisingly good. Maya had the fruit & yogurt salad, which was fresh and crispy. She liked it, though she wanted a milkshake, and didn't get one. We're not usually McDonald's people, but we both wanted a salad, and Ted had tried the Asian one at work that week, and this is the McDonalds that he went to when he was a little boy, and they may tear it down soon, so we made an exception.

Saturday, we went to Stockton to visit my Grandma (the one with the coat), and my two great aunts. I am thankful to have them in my life, and that Maya gets to know her great grandma at least a little bit. I knew my Great Grandma...she didn't die until I was 21, and I loved her a lot. Nice for Maya to have some of that. Driving out to Stockton, we were passing through all of the fields and pretty orchards...part of me misses that, that flat scenery, stretching out in all directions. It's built up a lot since I lived in the valley, but there are still fields and horses and cows to be seen. I'm thankful for that. But Stockton. If you ever find yourself in Stockton, CA, I have two things to say to you.
1. I'm sorry. Very.
2. Hie thee to Manny's California Fresh for some lunch! Pronto!

My favorite thing on the menu is the avocado burger, which is thick and juicy and lovely bread and nice nice nice. Their meat is pretty top quality, grass and grain fed, nice stuff. But they also have a pretty good selection of other things, especially for a burger place. They have rotisserie chicken, a lot of different sandwiches, they serve deep fried oyster sandwiches, a croissant stuffed with various veggies, a big artichoke, and a couple of salads. Also Portugese beans, which makes me think that whomever Manny was that started the place 49 years ago, was probably from Portugal. When I lived in Stockton, it was just Manny's. I'm not sure when they added the 'California Fresh'. Anyway, as Alton Brown would say, it's GOOD EATS. :) After that, we went to look at UOP (University of the Pacific), which is a very pretty college, and made Ted think, hmm...I should apply to work here...which made me say, um, who are you going to live with? Because HELLO, STOCKTON? Not so much. By the way, UOP has a beautiful chapel in which to get married, and I don't recommend it...I know of three weddings that have taken place there, and all ended in divorce. So don't get married in Stockton.

Ted went to Rocklin, CA last night to see his co-worker, John, play in a band. Maya and I did a bit of birthday shopping for Ted (shhh...), then we had dinner and did some bookstore shopping downtown. Then for a trip to Target. Then home. Maya did some stuff downstairs, and I got into my jammies and had some wine and read my book. Sometimes I really love the alone time, so I'm thankful for that. I was reading, "The Time Traveler's Wife", and as the title suggests, he travels through time, and she's his wife. Well, there was one thing that struck me last night, because he was off time travelling, and she was enjoying her alone time.

The quote said:
"Sometimes I am glad when Henry's gone, but I'm always glad when he comes back."

Today we slept really late, and I went and got a pedicure and a manicure. I feel ready for summer now. :) I'm thankful for was very relaxing and felt lovely. Came home, relaxed, finished my book. Wow, what a good book. If you haven't read it yet, I'm recommending that you do. You know, if you're a reader. Maybe if you have a commute and are looking for things to read on the way to/from work or something.

Tomorrow is back to work, blah blah blah. Oh well. It was a lovely weekend while it lasted, and I'm thankful for it.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Friday Dog Blogging

I've seen some Friday Dog or Friday Cat blogs out there, and this will probably be my only addition to the ouvre. We've had a lot of dogs around here lately. First, of course, is OUR dog, the beautiful Genevieve. She is a Keeshonden/Sheltie mix, and we've had her for about 3 1/2 years. We got her from a Keeshonden Rescue. She's a VERY good girl. Good girl, Genevieve, Good Girl!

Last weekend, Ted's parents went to Ashland, Oregon for a mini-vacation, and they left their dog, Nietzsche, with us. Nietzsche is an Australian Shepphard/Border Collie mix, she's about 13 years old, and they got her from the pound. She's a little stiff in the joints, but she's also a Good Girl! See, don't they look happy together? Good girls!

Last, but not least, we have Katie. She's Ted's uncle and aunt's dog. I'm not sure how old she is. She looks to us like she's part greyhound or whippet or something. Katie is a good girl, too, but she stresses us out. She walks around the house with a stuffed whale in her mouth, crying. She whines a LOT. She won't eat. We joke that she's a supermodel, because even if you put food in her mouth, she will just spit it out. Look at her. See how she's cowering? See how she's NOT interested in her food? She's like this about 75% of the time she's here. And the snubbing food? That's 100% of the time. She's on a fast until her folks come home tomorrow, I suspect. Honestly, we do NOT beat her senseless, no matter HOW much she whines. She's so tall and thin, she makes our gorgeous Genevieve look kind of dumpy in comparison. I can sympathise...I have several very tall thin friends, and when we get together, I feel dumpy in comparison. Such is life.

Last night, at yoga class, the instructor said something about holding a pose with grace...just a passing phrase, not the lesson or anything...but the word struck me. How does one live one's life with grace? How is that above and beyond the normal? I looked it up in the dictionary, and didn't find anything particularly helpful. But when I think of living with grace, I think of someone who has overcome adversity, who bears themselves with charm and kindness. Who doesn't have a bad word to say, etc. I don't know if that's an accurate description to anyone out there, maybe it's going to far. But last night I vowed to live my life with more when I got in the car and decided to pop a mixed tape into the Volvo's tape deck, and it jammed and didn't work, and I couldn't get it out, and now the radio won't play either, did I bitch and moan? No. I accepted it with grace. I listened to the sounds around me. (Other cars, whoop de do). When I got home, however, I came upstairs to check my email and blog, and Katie came in, whining with her stuffed whale in her mouth, whine whine whine, and I said, "KATIE, SHUT UP!" So, minutes lived in grace? 15. Oh well. Back to my snarkey self.

Thursday, April 27, 2006


Are you old enough, or young enough, to remember the thrill of the mixed tape? When you would pour over your collection of albums (vinyl, cassette, or CD, but vinyl were the best for actual mixing), think about what songs you would choose, what order they would go in, and put them on a tape. You could make different tapes for different moods...I had a tape specifically for breaking up, which was the mushiest crappola you would ever NOT want to hear, I'm telling you. Well, Ted and his brother have both paid their dues as Disc Jockeys, and BIL even had a pirate radio station out of his bedroom for awhile, so we could make tapes at his house where the songs mixed into one another, that kind of was great (except I'm not a patient learner, so when Ted was trying to teach me how to mix them properly, I was a brat). Anyway, do you remember the thrill of getting a tape from someone you liked, be it a friend, a crush, or an actual boyfriend/girlfriend? Listening to it over and over again...wondering if there was a message in the text of the songs they had chosen...hearing new songs that you hadn't heard before, mixed in with old favorites...the thrill of discovering that your new steady liked music that you had always liked, but you had never talked about with him/her? It was great. Ted used to make me SO MANY tapes, and he would make tapes for himself, tapes for trips in the car, tapes for riding BART, whatever. We had all of these tapes. Still do. Of course, now the only place we can listen to them is in the '86 Volvo, because our stereo area doesn't have room for the tape deck, and the Camry doesn't have a tape deck, either. (Oh, wait, I still have an old walkman around here somewhere...) But one thing I realized yesterday, is that this new generation won't have the thrill (or embarrassment) of digging through a box and finding an old tape, popping it in the machine and being transported back in time. I'm thinking that nowadays the thing to do is to make a playlist for your friends and significant others, and they can download them to their iPods and computers. When they get tired of that playlist, they just delete sad, never to be thought of again. And please don't tell me they could burn it onto a CD, lose it, and rediscover it in 20 years...that's not my point! point is that the burned CD will probably be the exception, rather than the rule. I'm sure there's some benefit to the new way, the downloading of playlists, that they won't melt if left in the car on a hot day, won't get stepped on and ruined, won't get lost so easily...but the old fuddy duddy in me is kind of missing the mixed tapes right about now.

Cast Your Votes Now!

Seems like the folks at Monopoly are making yet another edition of their game...I don't know if it will replace the Atlantic City version we all grew up with, or if it's just another added version to add to your collection, next to your Simpson's version, your Star Wars version, your Spongebob version, and your Lord of the Rings version. But the real estate will be from all around the country, and you can vote for your favorite landmark in your favorite city. For example, for San Francisco, they have the Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman's Wharf, and Lombard Street. Whichever one gets the most votes will be on the upcoming game. Fun, huh? Cast your votes here. Vote early, and vote often!

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

My Shotgun...

OK, drinks were offered...well, one drink, but I'll take it. So now I'll tell you the tale of my shotgun. Go ahead, sit a spell.

Now, I may be a card carrying liberal...I drink Chardonnay, give money to Planned Parenthood and the ACLU, I believe in gay marriage and a decent living for migrant workers. I'm a secular christian, meaning I don't really think there's a god above, but I love Christmas and Easter and Hannukah and all of that (I know, Hannukah isn't Christian, but maybe Jesus had a dreidel? You think? I don't know tech stuff.(quick, what's that movie reference? The tech stuff one?) ) But I have me a shotgun, and the 2nd amendment says you'all can't touch it. But you can, if you ask real nice, and bring me wine.

Gosh, I'm in a silly mood today...I've aborted a post or two already, because I just couldn't get to my point and started inserting stupid lyrics. Must be all this sleep I'm getting, now I'm working from home and I don't get up until 6AM. It's crazy.

So, on to my story. I am the kind of person who thought she would go her whole life without even touching a gun. I tend to think they're for killing people or animals, and I like to be a bit more removed from the food chain than that, so not so much a gun person. There are those who know that I did kill a salmon once, but it was for a good cause, and she was very yummy. Well, on Thanksgiving Day of 2004, my Grandma (not the one with the coat, the other one) fell and couldn't get up, and had to have neighbors come and help her. She hasn't stood much on her own since then, and since she was 88 and living all alone at the time, the decision was made to move her to a retirement home. Turns out she has a bit of Altzheimers disease, so the decision to have her somewhere where she can be cared for was a good one.

When we were talking about moving her out of her old house, where she had lived for about 60 years, that her husband literally built with his own hands, Ted said he fancied her shotgun. That surprised me. He's as gun-shy as I am, or so I thought. Then I thought about it a bit more...and I thought, why not? I asked my dad about the gun, and he said that it belonged to his Grandfather, who lived in West Virginia, near the Ohio border. He used to own some oil fields, before Standard Oil and that crowd made owning oil fields VERY profitible. He would take the gun with him when he drove around to look at the fields and make sure everything was OK, and he could shoot some squirrels for dinner. (As my dad puts it, they didn't have Whole Foods back then...) Well, my Great-Grandfather was killed when my Grandfather was about 4 or 5, because his car stalled at an inopportune time on the railroad tracks. My Great-Grandmother took my Grandfather and went to live with her side of the family, and the shotgun was all that we had from my Great-Grandfather for years and years. Please, don't tell me it needs to be cleaned. I know it does.

So, when I told Maya that we were going to inherit the gun, she cried, and said she was afraid that burglers would break into our house and shoot us with it and kill us. I told her that couldn't happen, because we don't have any shot for it, and it hasn't been fired for about 80 years or something, so we have nothing to fear. I told her how it was all we have from her Great-Great-Grandfather, and that it's a part of our family history, a link to how people used to live. Then she cried again, becuase I told her, no, she could not take it to school for sharing. I'm pretty sure that's against the rules, no matter how cool it might be. She could take a picture of it, or trace it, or something like that, but the actual gun? No. So, that's the story of the gun. It needs to be cleaned, and several gun-loving folks have told us how, but I suspect we'll just take it to a gun shop and see if we can pay someone to do it for us, because we're just THAT lazy. Genevieve is in the picture too, because she looks so pretty after her grooming the other day. :)

The other two things I wanted from my Grandmother's house were a pewter plate that says "Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread", and an old potbellied stove. The stove (which reminded me of one we had in the wilds of Alaska, when we burned coal for heat, with no regard for the environment whatsoever, but since our closest neighbors were two miles away, it probably wan't ENOUGH coal smoke to do a lot of damage) wouldn't fit in our trunk, and I don't know where I would put it in our tiny condo anyway, so we asked for the gun and the plate. I know, the plate is funny for someone who doesn't believe in a higher power, but I like it, and, reminds me of the one that Laura Ingalls Wilder had when she got married. You thought I was a dork when you saw the picture of the coat? Now it's CONFIRMED.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

My Fabulous Fur Coat

The world has gotten a lot more complicated in the last 50 years, I think. What I mean by that is that people (most, at least) used to feel no guilt about having diamonds and wanting fur coats. And if they DID feel guilt, it was for being too materialistic. Nowadays, however, we not only know how many little minks go into a fur coat, we also know how much suffering and corruption goes into a diamond ring, and it gives us pause.

My Grandma is getting older, as we all are, and is starting to give away some of her more prized possessions. This is partly because she's getting older, and partly because she was robbed a few years ago, and lost some of the things she would have liked to pass on, so she has decided to do some of this while still alive. She has already given me a BEAUTIFUL gold bracelet, which my uncle brought her from Saudi Arabia. I got it over the other female granddaughters, because I am the one who is closest in size to my Grandma, who has tiny bird bones, so it really wouldn't have fit anyone else. I have to soap up to wear it, and it cuts my skin a bit to take it off, so I tend to put it on and wear it for quite awhile. I'm wearing it now, and I put it on to wear for Thanksgiving dinner. Not joking. She has also promised me her diamond engagement ring, in her will. I'm not as fond of diamonds as the next girl, but I do like the sparkle, and there is no guilt for me in a diamond that was harvested lo those many years ago, because I didn't contribute to it by making a purchase. So I'm fine with that. (I have a diamond in my engagement ring as was from Ted's mother's engagement ring...any other diamonds in my possession were new. Full disclosure. ;) )

Well, a few years ago, while visiting my Grandma's house, she suddenly popped up with, "J, would you like my fur coat?" My mom was visiting from Alaska, so she got to watch the emotions cross my face...the revulsion, the not wanting to hurt Grandma's feelings, the secret love of something so soft and pretty, the "where would I wear such a thing"...I finally decided to take it, with the same logic of the diamond ring, that it wasn't new, and there was nothing to be done for those poor animals now anyway. They had been dead for a LONG time. Still didn't know where I would feel comfortable wearing it, since I don't hang out at Republican conventions or anything...but OK, it won't fit any of the cousins, so I'll take it. She went into the other room to get the coat, and brought out the coat. My Grandma's house is very dark and dim, and she brought out a lovely dark brown coat with a lighter shawl collar. I try it on. It fits me perfectly. I sink into its softness...wait...not so soft. I say, "Grandma, what kind of fur is this?" "Oh, fur, I guess. I'm not sure." "Where did Grandpa buy this for you?" (My Grandpa WORSHIPPED my Grandma, and would only have bought her the BEST) "Oh, Grandpa didn't buy it for me...I bought it for myself." So, I pack up the coat, wondering what being in a house with two people who smoke like chimneys for 30 or 40 years would do to a fur coat. Why isn't it soft? Where would I WEAR such a thing?

So I bring it home, and I think, I need to get it treated. It doesn't look quite so beautiful outside of the dim darkness, either. I need to fix it. I can't stand the thought of the brittle fur...the animals have died in vain, and they shouldn't have. They shouldn't have the indignity of smelling like cigarettes, either. So I look in the phone book, and find a man who will clean it for me, and also store it. STORE IT? Boy, I'm entering another world here. You should store your fur coat somewhere safe, humidity and temperature controlled, because otherwise it can be damaged...I'm thinking, you should see THIS coat...that's probably what's wrong with the poor thing. It's all dried out from the dry air in Stockton, plus the heat and the smoking... So I call him. Guess what? You don't go to him, he comes to you. He doesn't want anyone to know where his storage facility is, because he is afraid that someone will break in and steal all of the coats he is storing. Oh. OK. So, I tell him where I work, and he comes and meets me in the parking lot. I open the trunk of the car, somewhat ashamed that I am one of these people who owns a fur...even though HE certainly isn't about to judge me. He picks it up. Looks at it. Looks at me, pityingly. "It's fake." "It's fake?", I say. "It's fake." I am SO FUCKING RELIEVED!!! He was surely shocked to see the big grin on my face, as I thank him for his time and pack the smelly thing up. How many of his clients would be thrilled to have inherited a fake fur? I'm guessing not too many. He drove away, shaking his head, and I happily went back inside to work. Whew. No more worries. Then I start to wonder about the diamond in the ring...but no, my Grandpa bought that, and like I said, only the best for Grandma. She's just not as savvy a shopper as he was.

The end to the story is that I took the coat to the dry cleaners, and it no longer smells like cigarettes, but I don't wear it. I'm afraid some people will think it's real, and be horrified, and other people will KNOW it's fake, and think I don't know better, and think I'm an idiot. So it sits there, lonely, wishing so many cotton plants hadn't died for its creation.

Buy me a drink sometime, and I'll tell you about my shotgun...

(Sorry for the lame pic...I was just trying to take a picture of myself in the coat in the mirror...and we all know how well THAT works. HA! What a dork.)

Monday, April 24, 2006


Did you listen to music in high school, lay on the floor with your frinds in the dark and really LISTEN to the lyrics, let them wash over you, think about what they mean to you, to the artist, to the world in general? I know you did, Wendy, because, as you say, in some ways we were seperated at birth, but others...I don't know. I did. I analyzed the lyrics to my favorite music, analyzed the tone of voice that the singer used...I loved it. Loved music with such a was an amazing time. I rarely listen to music that way anymore, and I'm not sure if it's because there is too much noise in my head nowadays, from some stupid "things to do" list, or how to overthrow the Republican Neo-Cons, or what's for dinner....or maybe it's that the lyrics today aren't as good as they once were? (Don't quote "Jump" from Van Halen to me...I KNOW that not ALL of the lyrics were good back then...indeed, most of them sucked) Many songs have always been more about the beat, the sound, dancing or whatever...but sometimes you come accross a songwriter who can catch your heart in their hand when they write...really talk to you. Some of the best examples of this, to me, are Bob Dylan, Elvis Costello, Pink Floyd, the Beatles, Dire Straits, and Aimee Mann. Last night, though, I was sitting after dinner, and Ted had just finished the dishes...the lamb was yummy, thanks for asking, though the purple cauliflower tasted too much like cauliflower for my taste...I was enjoying a glass of wine and reading my book (The Time Traveler's Wife (glad you mentioned it, Wendy), which is GREAT, thanks...they just got engaged, for those of you who have read it.), and I was struck by the lyrics that were playing on my beautiful iPod Nano via the dock station in the was Laurie Anderson's Strange Angels album...the song was Ramon. All of her lyrics are very thoughtful and funny and clever and rich...but the ones that struck me, brought me up out of the depths of my book, were these:
So when you see a man who's broken,
Pick him up and carry him
And when you see a woman who's broken
Put her all into your arms
'Cause we dont know where we come from
We dont know what we are.
And You? You're no one
And you? You're falling
And you? you're travelling
Travelling at the speed of light.

Were any of you into Laurie Anderson? Or should I say, ARE you, since she's still around and touring and making music? I got into her in high school, when her album "Big Science" was in the nerdy science mag I liked, Omni. God, I thought I was cool, walking around with my Sony Walkman, listening to a performance artist who made music on a modified violen. Remember, I grew up in Fairbanks, Alaska, and Stockton, California. We barely wore shoes sometimes. This was culture.

So anyway, I'm not sure what my point is...but if you're ever thinking of trying out something new, assuming you're not already a Laurie Anderson fan, and if you're into something different, and you LIKE to really listen to the words...try Strange Angels. You may like it. Let me know.

(P.Ss, the ultimate objectifying men lyrics? Also Laurie Anderson, Strange Angels, the song is 'Beautiful Red Dress'...lyrics?
I've got a Beatiful Red Dress
and you'd look really good
Standing Beside It

You know...not that I'm condoning objectifying men or anything, but with all of the lyrics about women being just the object of lust or whatever, it's ironic and amusing...and the rest of the song isn't bad, either.)

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Happy Birthday Mom!

Today is my Mom's birthday...You may think you have a good mom, but my mom will trump her in almost any category...and since today is her birthday, we'll just take out the 'almost' and say, Any Category. She rocks. She was a single mom, who somehow managed to take care of two young children, go to school (Berkeley), and work to support us. She moved us up to Alaska when she was but 27 years old, still single, living out in the woods on a homestead with no running water and no telephone. She worked so hard to get us whatever we needed when we were growing up...I'm not talking about the popular jeans, the fancy shoes, that kind of thing. I'm talking about how my brother hated school, and she did everything she could think of to make school enjoyable for him. She put us in a fun yet fruity private school, she homeschooled us, she tried everything possible. She taught us at a young age to think for ourselves. We had a clothing allowance, so that we REALLY understood the cost of those fancy jeans...that in order to have one pair of fancy jeans, we had to give up 4 other pairs of pants and a few tops in addition. She taught us to cook, and we had to cook two nights a week. That included planning the meal, and figuring out what we needed for ingredients, all of that. When we moved out, we had SOME idea of the value of money, and we knew how to cook. At least a few things.

She taught us the value of education, that learning is more imporatant than grades. At my high school, we had the honors classes and the regular classes...I was smart enough that the regular classes were boring, but the honors classes were a bit too hard. Most parents would have encouraged me to take the regular classes, so I could have a higher GPA. She encouraged me to take the classes that challenged me, to do what I wanted to do. Had I wanted to take the easier classes, she would have praised me for being practical. Because I stayed in the harder classes, she praised me for wanting to learn. She always supported us in everything we did (except my brother's brief stint in the army, and if he had been happy there, if it handn't been the WORST place on earth for him, she would have supported him there, too.) There was never a day in my life when I questioned that she approved of me, approved of my (almost) every move, that she loved us unconditionally.

She taught us a lot about raising kids. She taught us by example. When we would hit, she would say, "People are not for hitting". We were not spanked, we were not sent to time out, we were not berated or made to feel ashamed for who we were. We were definately disciplined. We were taught "Logical Consequences" (sometimes I would have preferred a spanking, because it would have been OVER). She taught us so many things about how to live and love your family, to support each other and be kind to each other.

She has lived a life to be proud of...a life where she hasn't exactly been successful in terms of money, but she has been successful in so many other areas. She has worked for (still does) organizations work to help children, from her early days teaching Montessori School, to teaching parenting classes, working to prevent child abuse, and currently, working to reduce teen alcoholism. She is a kind, giving, wonderful person. I am so proud of her. I love her. I could have said so much more...but there are only 24 hours in a day, and I wouldn't really know where to all I will say is, my Mom rocks. Best. Mom. Ever. (She still drives me nuts sometimes, but that's part of the job description).

I love you, Mom. Happy Birthday!

No Thought Here...

I've read some pretty thoughtful blogs today...mostly Here and Here. I thought about writing a post about meeting my father when I was 21, what that was like...or the dangers of global warming...I don't know. Instead, I'll tell you that our garden looks nice after our Earth Day treatment yesterday, that we went to the farmer's market this morning and bought purple cauliflower for $7 (I hope it's good!), that I'm going to go downstairs in a minute and start a leg of lamb for dinner, which we will enjoy with the purple veggie, and that I'm gonna help Maya with her math. And, today is my beloved mom's birthday. Happy Birthday, Mom! Oops...maybe I should do a post about my mom. OK, it's coming....

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Happy Earth Day!

Happy Day to our Mother Earth, who supports us and gives us life in all of its many forms. How will you celebrate? I know someone who is going to clean out the gutters in her neighborhood, and someone else who's thinking of killing a rodent. Me? Not sure...I'm thinking maybe I'll go get some flowers and plant them, and do some cleanup in our postcard sized yards. :)

But first I have to get dressed and walk the dog, so she doesn't poop in the house.

So get outside, say thanks to the Mother, and enjoy!

Friday, April 21, 2006

Work/Life Balance

I was reading here about a discussion on the "Mommy Wars", and newer "Daddy Wars" (It's a good blog post, you truly should go check it out! Now! But come back, ok?) and it reminded me of an issue at an old job, which was who was going to put in the million hours of OT, and who wasn't. The argument went that the parents of small children couldn't be expected to work late, because they had to pick up their kids at daycare, they had to get to a soccer game or a ballet recital, they had to tuck their kids in at bedtime. These are very valid arguments, which always trumped those of the no-kid employees, whose arguments of, "I had plans with friends", or "I really want to watch XYZ on TV tonight, sit on my ass and eat some pizza" carried very little weight. Well, as a parent, I was on the winning side, but I always tried to bring up the more important issue, which was resoundingly ignored by all:

WHY DO WE DO THIS TO OURSELVES? WHY DO WE LET THE BOSSES DO THIS TO US? If there is too much work for people to do in a 40 hour workweek, why the hell can't we hire more people? The childless and/or single folks have ABSOLUTELY as much of a right to a life outside of work as those of us breeders. Why can't this be the argument? Why are we pitting the employees against each other, when the argument SHOULD be, "We are all valuable employees...valuable employees are more valuable when their lives are in balance...hey, we have too much work here for our valuable employees...let's hire MORE valuable employees, so we don't burn out the ones we have, and cause all of this resentment." Of course, I work in the software industry, and everyone is expected to LOVE their job and be there 20 hours a day, and 'take one for the team'. I suspect many industries are just as bad. It's bullshit. I hearby declare my right to have a LIFE, with or without a kid...when Maya grows up and moves out, I will NOT start working more hours so that those employees with little ones can leave after their day is done. It's just not right.

Seems like 'The Man' is always finding ways to pit us against each's truly just a way of keeping us down, so we don't overthrow 'The Man' and take away his MONEY. So, if stay at home moms and moms who work outside the homes fight about which is more valuable, and put each other down with their self-righteousness, and we get into all of these little battles about breast feeding vs. the bottle, crib vs. co-sleeping, spanking vs. no-spanking, we're diverted from the bigger issues out there, like how to support each other and raise the best SOCIETY of children that we can, not just our own kids, but help make sure that all of the kids are doing well. After all, these kids are going to be our doctors, lawyers, mechanics, chefs, unemployed, presidents, CEOs, musicians, teachers, etc. We should support each other in raising them the best way we can, and not focus so much on our different approaches.

If 'The Man' can keep us all fighting about who will put in the hours at the office, then that keeps our resentments diverted from the real issue, which is, "Who says we all have to work so damn hard to begin with? What the hell is so wrong about taking your time and doing something right, and having enough employees around to make sure it gets done that way, and people having the right to do whatever the hell they want after work, be it go to a movie with a friend or sit at home and have pizza or tuck their little ones in at night?"

Boy, I'm rambling and rant-y this week, huh? What do you all think? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Thankful Thursday 13

I've never done a 'Thursday Thirteen' before, and I'm totally NOT clear on the premise, so instead of trying to figure out the rules and make sure I do it correctly, I'll just jump in and bungle it, ok? OK. The way I see it, forgiveness will come easily and quickly if I talk about things for which I am thankful, like I promised to do awhile ago. So, here we go:
13 Things for which I am Thankful

1. I'm thankful that my husband is easy going, and even though he wanted to go out for a nice dinner last night, went along with my desire to see a movie instead. That meant we had to eat at the sometimes-good-but-not-last-night Yan Can in order to get to the movie in time. Ted's Pad Thai wasn't bad, but it wasn't as good at the Pad Thai we got on Easter, at the Hot Basil Cafe, and my Chinese Chicken Salad was yucky, due to the peanut butter flavored dressing. I like peanut dressing on my sate, but not on my salad. Yuck. We went to see Friends With Money, which Roger Ebert summed up pretty well when he said, "It seems to be more of an idea than a story." Hmmm. I liked it, and I thought the characters were all very believable and VERY well acted...but there wasn't much of a point to the film. Glad I saw it, and also glad Ted's not the type to say, "I told you so", because a nice dinner at a grown up restaurant would have been nicer, I'm sure.

2. I'm thankful to Maya's friend Jackie's parents, who took Miss Spring Break yesterday, and are keeping her until this afternoon, freeing me to do things like eat mediocre food and see so-so rated-R movies with Ted. :)

3. I'm thankful for the SUN. We haven't seen much of old Sol lately, and I've missed him. I do love me some rain, and I do hate me the hot heat, but I was raised in the central valley of CA, and so I can't see 6 weeks of rain (more than Seattle this year, btw) without starting to think..."Um...what about the grapes and the strawberries? What will happen to them? What of the cherries whose blossoms were rudely beaten off of the trees? Oh, the humanity!"

4. I'm thankful that we got to go up to Reno this last weekend, and that we don't have to live there. Beautiful country there, with the mountains and the dessert, but the culture kind of blows. I'm more of a city girl, or would like country, but the in between bugs me. Don't remind me...I live in the 'burbs. Hey, it wasn't MY idea. (Wasn't Ted's was the rent in SF that did us in...)

5. I'm thankful to be working from home. So far, it pretty much rocks. Don't like the computer problems I've been having, but we're working on those.

6. I'm thankful for our taxman...I did our taxes via Turbo-Tax back in Feb or so, and boy, did we owe. Ted said, let's take them to someone who knows more than a stupid computer program, and see if they can save us any money. It cost us $400 between 2005 and a few amended returns, but he saved us about $2,000, so YAY him!

7. I'm thankful for the HUGE pile of ironing Ted did the other day. I HATE to iron, but I do laundry almost every day, and it piles up quickly. I'm currently in keep it under control mode, so I iron a few things every day, when they need it, rather than letting it get to critical mass like that. But boy, that was ugly. And he tackled it like a pro.

8. I'm thankful for a lovely Easter. We brought the waffle maker with us, and everyone else brought nice things, too, and there was an egg hunt, though with Maya the youngest at 10, I'm guessing there may not be TOO many more of those in the future.

9. I'm thankful that we live close to family. I lived close to my grandparents for much of my childhood, and thus I feel very close to my grandmother (oops...need to call her later this morning about a visit soon...). I want Maya to have that. I wish she could have it with ALL of her family, but my mom and brother and sister-in-law live in Juneau, Dad and Step Mom and sister and nephew and brother in law live in Portland (Hi BMC!), and my other sister, niece, and brother-in-law live in Seattle. I swear, if there was ONE place, where all of our families lived, we would move there in a heart beat, and I would be SO happy.

10. I'm thankful for no cavities at our check-ups yesterday. Also very little tartar, which I would like to credit to my vigilant flossing habit, but since I floss at BEST maybe twice a month, I'm gonna have to credit to god or my genes or something like that. Why God would care about my tartar and let people die in earthquakes and stuff is way beyond my puny brain's comprehension, so I'm putting it with the genes.

11. I'm thankful that I got to drive (actually, we took BART) Maya on her fieldtrip to San Francisco last week. We went to the MOMA, and it was pretty cool. I am VERY thankful that there are artists in the world, who create such beauty and expressions of despair, that can touch us in so many ways. With paintings, sculpture, music, poetry, novels, etc. LOVE it. No talent myself, so I have to enjoy the work of others.

12. I'm thankful for Maya's AWESOME school. She goes to the best school in the country, or at least the county. It's a public Montessori charter school, which goes 1st to 5th grade. People move here for this school, for the opportunity to have their kids in a public (read "affordable, supposedly free") Montessori school. It's pretty new...been open 5 years so far.

13. I'm thankful to have 13 things to be thankful for...for listening to the birds welcome the morning, for our health, our families, our friends, and all of these little things that make a live worthwhile. Thanks. A lot.

Now, the thing that I have gleaned about Thursday 13 is that you're supposed to link to OTHER Thursday 13ers, to sort of get people reading new blogs that they haven't read before. And, at least one of my favorite bloggers did one a week or so ago. But you all rock so much, and now I can't figure out WHICH of you did the Thursday 13. So, if anyone is a member of this club, let me know, and I'll revise this post to add you. Right here. In the meantime, I'll link to this blog, because maybe they started it? Really, I'm far too lazy to do the research and find out. (and the pic at the top? Just had a 13 in it and it looked cool...that's my criteria...I like it, it's in...;) )

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Here's the post where I climb up on my soapbox...

Family Dinner Table
I've been hearing and reading about the "Family Dinner Table" lately, and I'm sure that I'm preaching to the choir here, but come on people what the hell is so hard about sitting down to a meal together? I keep reading reports that talk about how only 58% of families sit down to dinner together 5 or more nights a week, and then I hear that within this 58%, for a large number of these folks, that means they each heat up their own microwave meal and scarf it down, and then go their seperate ways. This is upsetting to me. Do you want to hear the statistics of how the #1 (that's right, number 1) thing you can do to keep your kids off of drugs and out of trouble is to sit down and eat dinner together at least 5 nights a week? Why would this be, do you think? Maybe that kids who are out there doing drugs, getting drunk, having casual sex at an early age are doing it for attention that they feel they're not getting at home? Or maybe they don't feel like their parents are watching them, caring who they're out with and what they're doing? No? You don't want those stats? Good, because I don't want to go into any more detail about the WHY of family dinner. I want to talk about the HOW.

So often, I hear how difficult it is for families to come home after a long day of work and make dinner. Or for stay at home parents, how difficult it is because they are tired from watching the kids all day. Then there are the sports/scouts/lessons to consider. Well, for me, the MOST difficult part of it is figuring out what we should all eat, and whether we have the ingredients to put a meal together. So, if we are devoted to the cause of the family dinner, we can solve this in several ways.

1. Do what my mother did. She would sit down on Saturday and make a menu for the week. She would list the ingredients we needed, and we would go grocery shopping to buy the ingredients. Thinking done. Sometimes this was done over a nice breakfast at a restaurant, if she could afford it, which made it a more pleasurable task.

2. Enlist help. Are your kids old enough to be cooking dinner? If they're in middle school or up, certainly by 8th grade, I'd say yes. They can think of things to cook, and figure out what ingredients are needed, and go with you to do the shopping. Have them cook once or twice a week. That's a load off of the parents, and the kids are gaining invaluable experience in the meantime.

3. Go European. Probably the most difficult way, but also the way that gets you the freshest ingredients. At some point in your day, every day, at work or at home, you stop and think about what you would make for dinner. Stop at the grocery store on your way home from work or errands, and get the ingredients. This has you going to the grocery store far more often, but some people prefer it.

4. Get take out, or go to a restaurant. Remember people, the goal is to eat TOGETHER. Bonus points if it can be homemade and healthy, but even burgers and fries from the place around the corner are ok sometimes, especially if you're all sitting down together to eat dinner.

5. Cook ahead of time. If you are a family that is always on the go, or you are truly, TRULY too tired to cook when you get home, realize this and plan for it. Make a couple of meals on Sunday that you can spread out over the week. You could make a stew, or soup, or lasagna, and then when it's dinner time, open a bag of salad greens, and maybe some bread, and dinner is served. Not so hard.

6. If your problem is kids' activities, what if you ate earlier? Or later? Or limited the number of activities, so everyone is home at a reasonable hour at least 5 days a week? Worth a try. And dinner in the car doesn't count.

By the way, PLEASE turn off the TV. Do we ever eat in front of the TV? Sometimes. Used to be the only place we ate. But as Maya got out of her baby stage and ate at mealtimes rather than whenever she was hungry, we stopped doing that. It's nice to come together as a family, talk about your day, make jokes and laugh...whatever. Now we eat in front of the TV every Friday during Battlestar Gallactica season. It's like a little party, and Ted's sister and her kids are there as well, since none of us have Sci-Fi Channel, so we all go to Ted's brother's house. Otherwise, it's maybe two or three times a year that we watch TV while we're having dinner. When I hear of how families these days of my coworkers family, the wife cooks dinner most nights, or gets a roasted chicken from Costco or whatever...but they all eat it seperately. Kids in front of the TV. Mom in her room, watching the soaps. Dad later, when he's finished whatever chores he's doing. Not together at all. I know, live and let live, but I think this is a bad way to live your life.

OK, that's my two cents. Anybody else have any ideas on how to get (healthy?) food on the dinner table anymore? /rant.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

You want some Yogurt?!?!

One of the blogs I sometimes read is the ever-popular Dooce. Sometimes it's interesting, sometimes boring, like all blogs. Well, this little post reminded me of when Maya was a baby, and would torture me by trying to get me to get her in and out of her crib over and over and over again. Don't tell me that babies don't have that kind of motivation. It was torture. So here's the scene...she's upstairs, and I'm downstairs. She's in her crib, in a loft, so her voice carries VERY well to the downstairs. She replays the things that I say to her, to get me to come up there. "What's wrong, Sweetie? You want some yogurt?" I would go up to her, and she wasn't wet. I'd bring her downstairs and see if she was hungry, but no. She was rubbing her eyes, and we were trying to keep her on a schedule, so back up to the crib. "What's wrong, Sweetie? You want some yogurt?" Back up. No, nothing wrong. It's amazing how many times a first born child can get you to go back up and down those stairs. The fact that I didn't have rock hard thighs and butt after that is testament to the power of Cheetos. "What's wrong, Sweetie? You want some yogurt?" And I go up to see, and she looks at me coyly and says, "What?" Back downstairs I go, determined that she will NOT drive me insane. Eventually, she's screaming, "WHAT'S WRONG SWEETIE!!!! YOU WANT SOME YOGURT!!!" and we're downstairs, not sure whether to laugh or not, frustrated, tired, and not falling for it anymore. Too bad I was born in this modern culture and wanted some autonomy, wanted my own bed and time alone with my husband, because I think she would have been happier in a sling attached to my body 24/7. Really.

On another note, Maya discovered yesterday that eggplant curry and cheese sandwiches are nasty. I'm not sure if she would have found them nasty if I hadn't laughed so hard when she told me what she had made. I'm sorry. I truly could not help myself. I used to make spaghetti sauce sandwiches as a child, so I understood her urge.

Monday, April 17, 2006

What are we eating?

Have you ever driven across the country in the summer on 80? What do you see? Corn. Corn corn corn. Well, I read a review in the Chron a few weeks ago about this book, The Omnivore's Dilemna, and now I'm listening to the author talk about his book on Science, amazing stuff. Did you know that ecoli is caused by feeding cows corn? And that if they stop feeding the cows corn for 5 days before slaughter, and feed them grass, we wouldn't have to irradiate beef? AMAZING. He says that we are eating SO MUCH CORN that it is starting to cause malnutrition in people who are actually well fed. That's what happens if too much of your food comes from one source. If you look at the products you eat, corn is in almost every single one. Our meat is fed corn, our processed foods almost all contain corn based sweetners, bread, canned foods, etc. Practically the only things we eat that don't contain corn is our fresh veggies. You know, except for the corn.

Now, I love corn. Corn on the cob, corn in my soup, etc. But that's not what we're talking about. We're talking about corn by products that take TONS of oil to produce. Not good stuff.

He talks about a lot of other things besides corn, like eating locally produced veggies and fruit, to cut down on the amount of oil required to get the food to the table, and to encourage farmers to keep their farms up and running. Eating family dinners. Looking for grass fed meat if you can find it. Cooking meals, rather than convience foods.

So here's his advice, if you want to take it:

Eat locally produced food. If it comes from Argentina, don't eat it. If it comes from a thousand miles away, within your own country, don't eat it. Tomatoes in the winter? No. Strawberries now? No.

If your great grandmother wouldn't recognize it as a food product, don't eat it. That means cheetos and gogurt and on and on.

I can't do it. I love my strawberries when I want them, and cheetos...give me a break. But I can go to the farmers market and buy local things, and I can look for grass fed meats...don't know if I can AFFORD them, but I'll look. Maybe we can all try, a little bit, and maybe we'll be healthier for it.

I highly reccomend listening to the podcast of Science's very interesting. Try to leave your preconceived notions behind. I don't read much non fiction, so I probably won't get the book, but it's highly reccomended if you DO read non fiction.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Overnight in Reno...

We went on an overnight trip last night to Reno, Nevada. Ted's friend from High School, Scott, loves making films, and about 5 years ago, he remade an old Twilight Zone episode into a 40 minute feature, "The Shelter". He was showing the film at a high school (Hug High School...mascot, the to say, Hug High Hawks) in Reno today, so we thought it might be fun to drive up and see the film, and maybe play in the snow. News flash: No snow in Reno. It was in the 50s. Anyway, we drove up yesterday afternoon, and found our hotel. We stayed at the Siena, which was NOT the best deal, economically, but still very reasonable, and had a lovely spa right there on the premises. We had a very lovely dinner (lobster bisque for M, shrimp and asparagus risotto for me, and duck ravioli for T) in the expensive hotel restaurant, and then Maya and I took a soak in the jacuzzi while Ted went and had a drink with Scott.

This morning, we went to see what there is to see of Reno. News flash: Not much. If you're like me, and you find casinos vaguely depressing, with the sense of desperation and the perfume of cigarettes and scotch, and you don't have time to drive far enough for skiing or snowmobiling, and you're not really interested in the car museum, there isn't much else. So we looked for a place to have breakfast that wasn't in a casino, gave up, and had buffet at Harrahs. We decided to drive around Reno and see what else there is to see. The University looked nice, and there were some cute houses. I LOVED the fact that there was a self serve (meaning pay at the kiosk, from the comfort of your car, using a credit card if you wish) car wash. The birds had a crap fest on our car, which WILL NOT DO. Then we went to view the film. Then we went to Sonic for any of you have Sonic near you? This one had a drive in, with a girl on rollerskates and a coin-belt who came out and served us our food. Do they all have that? It was pretty cool. Then we drove home.

Things I noted:
Donner Pass is quite messy, weather wise. Maybe that's why the Donner Party got stuck there. It was 55 and nice in Reno, and 50s and nice in Auburn and Sacramento, but in the pass, it was snowing, raining, and so foggy you couldn't see the car in front of you. That was the only snow we saw, by the way, up in the mountains between Nevada and California.

If you don't want to gamble and do the night life (aka, if you're there with your 10 year old daughter), there isn't much to do, other than maybe an $80 manicure/pedicure combo at the spa, which we OBVIOUSLY skipped.

The food at the buffet wasn't nearly as gross as I always make it out to be. Other than the fact that they were serving mussels at 10am, it wasn't bad. Overpriced, yes. Bad, no. The pie was even better than the pie place that we go to here, the Hickory Pit.

Although at first, when we were driving to Reno, looking at the snow in the pass, thinking of snowmobiling and making snow men, one night seemed like not enough time, it turned out to be PLENTY.

Glad to be home. Looking forward to Easter tomorrow with Ted's family. We do a pot luck brunch, and we're bringing champagne and waffles. Mmmm. Hope your Easter/Passover/Springtime celebration is lovely, and that it includes all of your favorite things.

Too bad it will be too cold to wear my Easter outfit. We'll have chocolate instead. ;)

Thursday, April 13, 2006


In yesterday's post, which was a meme of six weird things about me, I mentioned that my personal real life hero is Harriet Tubman. I admire her for her grace, her courage, her determination, and her strength of conviction. She was a woman who wanted freedom, and found a way to attain it...once she had tasted the sweet flavor, however, she determined that she must free others, so she went back into harm's way, so that she might rescue others. I'm assuming you all know of her work. Of how she, along with the help of the underground railroad, spirited slaves out of the south to their freedom in Canada. How she served as a nurse and a spy during the Civil War. How she became active with the suffragettes, and made speeches about women's rights. How many of us would find the strength to do 1/10th of what she did? Who among us would, after escaping with our lives, after having grown up suffering severe beatings at the hands of a cruel master, be able to muster the strength to go back, into danger, where our capture would mean horrors beyond our imagining. And she did this again, and again, and again. Her life was an example to us all.

I started this post with the simple idea of telling a cute Maya told me yesterday, that when she was little, and they were supposed to talk about heroes at school, and I told her about my hero, Harriet Tubman, she imagined her as being able to fly, and that she wore a cape. That she flew down from the sky and rescued slaves from the south, like Superman or Wonder Woman. I love that mental picture. But even that doesn't compare with the real Harriet Tubman.

Do you have a real-life hero?

Wednesday, April 12, 2006


Just a few things...First, today is the first day of Passover. Happy Passover everyone, and if you celebrate with a Seder, enjoy! We're only Jewish for Hannukah, so we won't be celebrating...but we wish everyone who does a lovely evening.

Second, today is national D.E.A.R. day. DEAR stands for Drop Everything And Read. Maya's class does this in the mornings when they get to school every day, which is nice. If you have time in your day, sit down today and read for 30 minutes to celebrate. Why leave all the fun for the kids? :)

Lastly, I'm getting a lot of SPAM email. Blech. Comes in looking like this:
Anonymous said...
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I'm going to try to avoid the comment verification where you would have to copy the yucky letters before you post, because I HATE that. I get so few comments, I think I can handle this by turning on Comment Moderation. That means I'll get an email with the comments, and I have to authorize them before they appear. So you won't see your comments appear right away. If it completely sucks, maybe I'll try the stupid verification thing. Sorry.

Because I was tagged...

Six Weird Things

I was tagged by Black Belt Mama, so I've got a new meme...Six weird things about me. Define weird. Would that be unique, or strange, or both? Hmmm. I don't know if I can come up with anything interesting enough for you folks, without giving away the store, (or using things that I've already used in my '100 things') but I'll try. :)
1. I hate cell phones. I hope I never have to get one. They suck.

2. My absolute hero in real life is Harriet Tubman. But one of my heroes in fiction is Scarlet O'Hara. How's that for twisted?

3. Everything in life seems to me to relate to Little House on the Prairie (unless it relates to Gone with the Wind...). The series of children's books, that is, not the stupid show. (Which I watched religiously as a child)

4. Sometimes, when I want to swear, I say "Christopher Columbus!" instead of "Jesus Christ!". Ma (see #3) would call that "Wooden Swearing", and it's just as bad. Kind of like sinning in your heart, maybe.

5. I very rarely wear lipstick, because it makes me feel like a fraud. I'm not mature enough yet. Since I turned 40 this year, I'm starting to suspect I'll never be comfortable with it. Lucky for me my lips are naturally kind of pinkish. I've been complimented on my lipstick when what I was using was chapstick.

6. I don't consider myself superstitious, but seeing an open umbrella in the house drives me nuts. Bad luck. And when I see a white horse, I make a wish. Has anyone else ever heard of that one? Sometimes I wonder if I made it up, because no-one I ask has ever heard of wishing on white horses. (If wishes were horses, beggars would ride...that just popped into my head....Sorry.)
That wasn't easy, but it was easier than I thought, once I got started. :)

I'm supposed to "tag" six people now, to do this meme on THEIR blogs, and come back and tell me in my comments section. I am a comment whore, though not a successful one, so I would do that if it would promise LOTS of comments....but I am one of those people who deletes chain letters, without regard to the safety of myself or my family, so if you want to play, consider yourself tagged. :)

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Wanted and Loved

We were watching "Six Feet Under" last night, and boy, that show has gotten pretty depressing. Wait, it has always been depressing. What am I saying? Anyway, David and Keith are looking into adopting or having a surrogate mother help them, so they can be dads. At one point, they go to the house of another gay acquaintance of theirs, who has some other friends over for drinks. They raise a toast to David and Keith's endeavors. The toast? "May every child be wanted and loved just as they are, because otherwise, life is hell." Wow. Now, I know this toast is coming from a gay man, and his personal hell has been fighting against prejudices against gay people, and mostly the hell of his parents not approving, their disappointment, etc. (I'm assuming...they don't give back story on this character). That quote got me to thinking, about how our desires for our children put so much pressure on them. We look at the things that we think of as faults in our children, and we hold them against the child. I mean, I HOPE I don't do that with Maya. I wish she liked math more...I hope I don't hold it against her that she doesn't. That she is who she is. But I think this issue goes beyond liking math, for many people. What of the thin parent who silently criticizes their child for being heavy? What of the educated parent who doesn't understand their bookworm? Or the parent who wants a lawyer for a child, and gets a mechanic, an actor, a slacker? Wanted an athlete, got a couch potato. Wanted healthy, got a child with disabilities. Can we let go of our ideals for what we want from our child, and let them know that no matter what, no matter what wishes we may have for them and their happiness, we love them JUST AS THEY ARE? Are these things mutually exclusive? Can you love a child unconditionally and still wish they were a bit different? Or do you have to open your heart in the way of Buddha, and let the whole child in, not just the parts we prefer.

Kind of rambling post here...just thoughts that I had after watching the show, watching the Fisher family love each other in their own way, hate each other in their own way, and their bubbling resentments come dangerously close to the surface.

Monday, April 10, 2006

A Weekend to Myself....Really?

For some reason I joined this group of bloggers called Crazy Hip Blog Mamas...maybe saw them on Wendy's Site, maybe the other J, not sure...I haven't checked them out very often, because hey, only so many hours in one day, and I have all of these blogs over to the right there that I MUST read, or I will wither up and die. Well, today for some reason I went over there and looked, to see what's up. They are positing a topic...What would you do if you had an entire weekend to yourself. So, here goes...

An entire I'm thinking I would either:

1. Sit around and eat Ruffles Naturals, drink Chardonnay, and watch stupid chick flicks, plus post about 15 blog entries, read everyone's blogs, etc., until I realized that I blew an entire weekend, and get really pissed off at myself...


2. Hop on an airplane and go to New York to visit Janet. She is one of my very best friends, and seeing as how she's currently single and w/o kids, it would be (hopefully) easier for her to take me out and show me a good time. We'd drink a lot, I'm sure, eat some tasty food, have a great time, etc. Maybe fit some shopping in there. (with Janet? Duh, there'd be shopping.) Catch up on life...her family, her divorce, which is of course painful, but the right thing. My family. My work. Her work. Then we might start talking about old times, like when we stole bowling shoes from the bowling alley and boy, we thought we were so funny. Or when we went to a Halloween party, and my costume fell through, so at the last minute I decided to dress like a tampon. Or maybe the times we would go to the karaoke bar every Thursday night and watch idiots make fools of themselves. And congratulate ourselves for never being stupid enough to do that...except maybe that one time...

We would have a GREAT time, I'm sure. Ted's been telling me I should go. Maybe I'll find a way.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Tired of the Rain Yet?

I'm guessing I'm the only person in Northern California who isn't sick of the rain. This year has set records for the rainiest spring ever, and the most rainy days. Add that to the fact that the snow up in the Sierras is about twice as wet as normal CA snow, and the reservoirs are getting close to capacity, and much of the Central Valley is below sea level, protected by an old and neglected levee system, and this could be a rough summer of flooding for CA, as the snow melts and overtaxes the reservoirs.

All of that is bad. Also bad is that people are SICK of grey, wet days. Depression increases when there isn't enough sunlight, and the news every night is filled with doom and gloom attached to rain, traffic, sinkholes, and mudslides. Mudslides occur when the ground is oversaturated, and we've cut back the trees and so on, and we're in a bit of a mess, the opposite mess from drought.

BUT...I hate the HOT weather of late summer. I don't like getting sweaty walking out to the car (though at least it's DRY heat here...), feeling the sun beat down on my head, being unwilling to walk the dog in the afternoon. I like the cool fresh feel of the air when it's raining, and a sunny day AFTER a rainstorm is like a godsend...the air is crisp and cool, and the pollution is washed away, everything is clear. The hills are pretty and green, everything is growing. Soon there will be baby ducks swimming around in the canal near Maya's school. I love it all.

I promise not to be mean if you complain about the rain. I promise to try not to get bitchy when it gets hot, and if I do, remind me that at least it's not humid, and I have a pool right outside my little will be ok. I promise to try, if you fellow Californians will try to enjoy our rare wet spring.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Happy HNT & Working from Home

Today is my first day working at home. The plus? These are my work shoes. Old, comfy slippers! (See that bit of ankle showing there? That's your HNT!)

So far, the best part is the comfy, and that I somehow seem to get a bit more done. The bad part is, it's right in my bedroom. No other place in condo living for the computers and desk, etc. Sigh. But Maya gets to sleep until 7, we have breakfast together (at work, we would go to our seperate computers and eat at desks...she doing neomail or reading Kim Possible fan fic, me doing work email, etc.), we walk the dog to her school, then I walk the dog back. There aren't a bunch of tempting snacks luring me into the kitchen. And trust me, there were always a LOT of tempting snacks at work...I think I might be able to get used to this. Even having two computers on the desk isn't as bad as I thought it might be. Plus, I can listen to tunes a bit louder now. Double plus good...

Talking 'bout TV....

Yesterday, among all of the challanges of getting my home office set up, I remembered that it was Wednesday, LOST night. It was just about 8:00, so I checked Yahoo TV to see if it was a new episode, or if they were pulling a LOST on us. Yahoo said they're pulling a LOST, and it was some other show. Two episodes of some sitcom I had never heard of. So I got pissed about how much they suck, and poured a glass of wine, and we sat down to watch some mighty fine TV anyway. Did any of you watch Dead Like Me when it was on? WOW, what a great show. We didn't watch it when it was on, because we don't have Showtime, but we've been Netflixing it, and LOVING it. It's done by the same person (writer, maybe? creator? Not sure) as Wonderfalls, which was a great network tv show that only made it 4 or 5 episodes before getting pulled, but was getting pretty weird anyway, so maybe that's OK. Anyway, there are elements of Wonderfalls here...snarkiness, odd family, a mission that the character didn't choose, slackerdom....but it's just really, really good. I highly reccomend renting it when you get a chance, if you didn't watch it when it was still on TV. It went two seasons. It even has Jasmine Guy (from Different World) as a tough as nails meter maid/cop. LOVE her.
So, last night we watched the penultimate episode of Dead Like Me, then were going to go to bed...(we're early to bed/early to rise, still broke and stupid folk around here) and I thought, let's see WHAT is on ABC, since they couldn't be bothered to show LOST. AAAAGGGGGHHHHHH! LOST was indeed on! Yahoo TV SUCKS! Face my wrath, Yahoo TV! I hate you forever! (And later, when I checked Yahoo again, they were THEN saying that Lost WOULD be on...trying to be all coy, like they hadn't right out LIED to me, right to my friggin' face! You can't get away with that, Yahoo TV, I know what I saw. I know what you did to me. You suck.) Luckily, it was very early on in the show, Hurley was just throwing out his hoard of food, so we watched until the commercial break/opening credits, and then I set the VCR to tape the rest. So, for those of you losers without TiVo, who still tape things on a VCR, remember how you have to change over to channel 4 to turn the VCR on? Well, I turned over to channel 4, and there was a VERY scary man who looked a little bit like Kenny Rogers! Autumn's Mom warned us, but I was still NOT prepared for what someone did to his face! No more nice laughlines! No more character! And while I find Asian people to be very attractive, generally, not so much when it's Kenny Rogers LOOKING like an Asian person. That's how much his eyes had been stretched. Poor Kenny. I'd sue the bastards.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Old Enough?

One of the comments on my post about boredom was that the person was surprised that I didn't feel Maya was old enough to be left alone...which got me thinking, "How old is old enough"? I'm not stupid like these people, who left their kids for the weekend while they go to Vegas. But I DO trust my daughter, and since there's no younger sibling around for her to worry about, when would be old enough? I know when I was her age, I was home alone, sort of, because my mom worked and my brother was there. He was 12 to my 10, so I would think that's a big factor. One of my coworkers said she wouldn't leave a 10 year old home alone, because you don't know what kind of weirdos are out there, that might find out your child is alone or what ever. Personally, I don't think the world is that different than when I was a child, as in the number of child molesters and freaks. Probably just as many now as there were then. We just know about them now. We can go online and find pictures and addresses for all of the registered offenders in our neighborhood. Knowing that there are some in every neighborhood, then, when do you let your child go out to play? See where this is going? Of course we don't want anything horrible to happen to our children, and of course it is our job to protect them and keep them safe, but it is also our job to let them be kids, to let them run around outside and explore the world. There has to be some balance there.

Back to the question of how old is old enough...well, we will leave Maya home alone while we walk the dog, or go to the grocery store. She's fine for that long. I suspect she would be fine home alone all day. But I'm not sure that she's mature enough to handle situations that might come up. What if she decided to scramble some eggs, and a towel caught on fire. Or what if the neighbor came over with a problem. Or the dog started throwing up. Or there was an earthquake, or the power went out. Or or or. Is she ready to deal with these things? Is she ready to remember to lock the door if she decides to go rollerblading? I'm not convinced. Part of that is because we have always been there with her, reminding her to look both ways before she crosses the street, locking the door behind us, that kind of thing. With me home this summer, I think I can give her some of these freedoms, and watch and see how she does. Teach her what to do if emergencies happen. Maybe practice. See how ready she is to be left alone for longer periods of time. All day? She might be ready for that when she's 11 or 12. Heck, I don't even know what the legal age is in CA for leaving kids home alone. We'll see. Thoughts? How old were your kids when you started leaving them home alone for a whole day? Or how old do you think you'd be comfortable doing so? Would it be different for girls or boys? City, suburb, or rural area? Would it depend on how close you were at work? I'm curious, what the criteria are that other parents use to decide how old is old enough.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Quote of the Day...

I'm cleaning off my desk at work, because soon I'll be working from home, and I have to figure out what to keep here, and what to take with me. I came across this quote that I found somewhere once...maybe Center for a New American Dream? I'm not sure. Anyway, I'm thinking you'll like it. I do.
"Money can never buy you love or happiness. You cannot go into a store and pay a person to be your friend. I mean, you could, but I would rather meet them under a big apple tree."
- Rebekah McConnell, 11 years, Meridian, ID.
I love the optimism of it, yet the knowledge in there that yes, you can buy friends. And no, they wouldn't be the best ones to have around.

Monday, April 03, 2006


Ted just finished reading A Sense of the Mysterious, by Alan Lightman. Here's a description that I found online:
Alan Lightman was horror-struck to realise that he has no spare time. He has become "a unit of efficiency". He has to reach back to his childhood for the last time he meandered through a day, when time was not cut into efficient byte-sized pieces for instant use. As he writes, the reader thinks. A Sense of the Mysterious is a collection of essays by physicist-writer Lightman, a great introduction to his work and pure pleasure for fans.

So Ted was telling me a bit about this book yesterday, which got me to thinking about my own childhood, and how different it is from Maya's. My childhood memories, from 4 1/2 to 9 1/2, are of Fairbanks, Alaska. Growing up there was so very different than growing up in Stockton, CA, where we moved when I was 9 1/2. In Fairbanks, right in the middle of town, there were whole blocks that were undeveloped wooded area. If you happened to live next to an empty lot that had a clearing, you could make your own ice rink in the winter. There were endless miles for exploring, which was a good thing, because we didn't have cable tv, computers, or day camps to keep us busy. In the cold dark winter, however, we were shut in a lot, and boredom could take over. There are only so many board games one wants to play, and nothing on tv, and I've read all of my books, so what now? And even in the summer, once again, no cable tv, no Nickelodian, Disney Channel, Cartoon computer or computer games. Sometimes...we got bored. And on long car trips? No DVD player in the car. I would look out the window and wonder how the moon was following us, and wonder what it would be like to live in another solar system, near one of those other stars. These are thoughts that don't happen, I don't think, if you're always busy and entertained...and if they do, it's because a character on tv thinks of them, not you.

I think that boredom is something that is missing in the lives of many children today. I know Maya is almost never bored. Between school, homework, girl scouts, and whatever other activity she might be involved in during a particular year, plus the tv, computer, and video games, she has almost no time to do....nothing. I think this is a problem. I think that children's minds (adults, too, really) are allowed to wander, to explore, to DWELL on things, if the child isn't always busy or being entertained. The problem that we've had is that we both work, and while Maya could come to work with us, it's just computer time here, anyway. She's not old enough yet to be left home alone, and if she were? TV and computer games.

This summer, though, things are work situation is changing, and I'll be working from home all summer. That means no day camps to keep her busy and 'enriched'. I'm thrilled. She'll get to sleep in late every day, and I'll bump her tv/game time up to 2 hours a day, and we can walk the dog to the park and things like that, but there will be large blocks of time every day when I'll be working, and she'll be....bored. She'll have to think about things and figure out what she wants to do with herself. I'm hopeful for art projects and books read and stories written. I'm hoping she'll go outside and sit and look at the clouds a little bit. I wish there were other children around for her to play with, but we live in a little condo complex, adn the parents all work and the kids are at summer day camps. Kind of lonely for a 10 year old, but I think we'll manage. Wish us luck.

Saturday, April 01, 2006


There's a lot of fuss about immigration in the news lately...and that, plus a couple of posts I've read, at Homesick Home and Angry Black Bitch, have gotten me to thinking. Mostly what I'm thinking is that ABB said it so well, I don't know if I could do better. She writes so well, so passionately, that I would just be repeating what she said, and not as well. So I'll quote her here:

"So, here we are debating immigration again. This bitch rejects the notion that anyone working in America should do so without protection and rights. A living wage and legal recourse for abuse are basic rights and we all suffer when they are tossed out the window.

America was built on the backs of exploited labor. The strong economy of the pre-Civil War South was born from slavery and the fact that wages didn’t factor in to that capitalist model. Our railroads, our farms, our docks and ports have long been served by the undocumented and the unprotected. And America learned those lessons well and has greedily exploited the undocumented for cheap labor and monetary gain.

So, when lawmakers take the stage and pretend to defend the rights of the over 12 million undocumented workers in America...when those same lawmakers then indulge in a pontification session about the role those workers play in our economy...well, a bitch hears something all too familiar. My ass hears that same tired ass song…that our economy needs an easily exploited workforce, that American thrives with an unprotected and underpaid labor class and that Americans are willing to turn a blind eye to human exploitation as long as it is dressed up in the trendy gear of the great American immigrant legacy with some ethnocentric charity tossed in for flavor.

And don’t get me wrong…a bitch isn’t indicting the multitudes who seek a better life, who risk their lives for work and wages…who aspire to that great American Dream that has been so brilliantly branded throughout the years. No, this bitch condemns the master, his adoration of the whip and it's profits and the collective willingness to view this modern day shit as something different, better or evolved.

César Chávez marched on behalf of the migrant worker and every worker in America…fighting for the rights of those who toil in our fields and put food on our overflowing tables. Lately, it seems that message has been watered down and the rally cry of decent wages, legal protection and dignity can barely be heard. What remains is the desperate call of the poor and the predictable reply of the privileged…

“Let me in! Give me hope!”

“Oh yes, we’ll let you in…sort of. Just come around to the back door and sign up for the company store first.”

So, hats off to those who took to the streets.

We have a lot of fucking work to do.

Because 'getting in’ and ‘being allowed to stay’ can never be the final goal.

Workers deserve more than the 'right' to serve our needs.

And the sad reality is that the masses remain huddled long after they cross the border...regardless of how they crossed it or how legal that crossing was."

Amen, sister.

(And yes, that's Maya in front of the Statue of Liberty, in 2000...we went on "The Beast" speedboat tour. VERY fun.)

Last mention, then never again...I promise

So the latest on the celebrity face match, in comments from readers, is that I look less like Evangeline Lilly, less like J.Biggs, and more like:
Meryl Streep (I'll take that)
Glen Close (I'll take that, too)
and Laura Dern (I'll definately take that!).

When I was in High School, I had someone tell me I looked kind of like Susan Sarandon, but after that, maybe 1993, I used to get Laura Dern more often. Laura Dern is a lot taller than me, I think, and much skinnier/flatter chested, but there are definately similiarities. The shape of the eyes, the shape of the mouth, though her lips are fuller...maybe make up or collegen, or just fuller lips? If I truly look something like her, does that mean when I get older, I'll look like Diane Ladd? (That's Laura's mom, if you didn't know) I could do worse, but if anyone saw them play mother/daughter in "Wild at Heart", I hope I don't turn out CRAZY like that. ;) Of course, Laura Dern is a beautiful movie star type, and I'm an average joe, but I'm definately happier with this comparison than with Jason Biggs, or even Matthew McConaughey. Sorry, M. You're just so...mannish. And I don't have dimples, much as I wish I did.