Friday, March 31, 2006

Small Things...

Last week I wrote a post about being thankful for the big things. I wanted to be thankful for the small things, but the big things were taking up too much of my mind. Well, I got on a tangent about health, and left another big elephant in the middle of the room, unmentioned. I'm thankful for my friends. I have always had such good friends in my life, and they have gotten me through times both sweet and sour, good and bad. I have friends that I've known since I was a kid, and friends I've met at work, and they are all dear to me and mean the world to me. I have friends who are liberal, friends who are conservative. Friends who are born again, friends who are athiest, friends who aren't sure. Friends who are younger, friends who are older...friends who are black, friends who are whte, friends who are asian, friends who are lovely blends. I love you all, and that you all love me and accept our differences and enjoy them. Thank you.

On to the small stuff....

1. STILL thankful for the new faucets. Thankful that we know a good plumber, because I stuffed the garbage disposal with potato peels the other day and killed it. I've done that before...maybe 15 years ago. So maybe I'll do it again, in 15 years...maybe I'll learn. Anyway, glad to have hot water in the kitchen, and to be able to actually turn OFF the water in the bathroom without straining my wrist.

2. My hair is blonde again. Got the do done on Monday, and I'm feeling much better about myself. :) Nothing wrong with being a brunette, but only Heather Locklear looks good with those dark dark roots. Actually, she didn't even look that good with them.

3. The project that has been consuming me at work is DONE. God, that was a pain in the ass.

4. It's Friday, which means sleeping in for two beautiful days. Ahhhhh. Love it. Love our newish bed, which is SO comfy.

5. The pain that was plaguing my back seems to have been banished by a combination of chiro, massage, lower heeled shoes, sitting up straight at my desk, etc. Thank the lord on that one.

6. Maya's birthday went well. She enjoyed herself. Tonight is the BIG night, though, because her best friend is coming over for a movie and a sleepover. YAY! Tomorrow night she and Ted are going to a Father Daughter dance through Girl Scouts. They will have fun, and I'll have a quiet evening at home.

7. Last, but not least, I'm thankful for my new friends in cyber space. I really am enjoying this whole blogging thing...cross between a journal and a newspaper column, I guess, and I love it. Thanks Al Gore, for inventing the internets. ;)

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Command Performance

It has been suggested by an anonymous reader that perhaps I should be getting back into the business of restaurant reviews. This reader isn't anonymous to me, but as he is kind, has had my family and myself to dinner at his home, supplies my coworkers and me with champagne and cake and sometimes eggplant, AND is one of my most devoted readers, I will comply with his request. Those of my 7 loyal readers who don't live in the East Bay, move along. Nothing to see.

The other night we decided to go out for dinner, and our objective was simple. Pie. Pie for desert. So we went to the Hickory Pit (used to be Emil Villa's Hickory Pit...not sure why that changed...), not only because they have pie, but they also have decent BBQ, and it's an old time restaurant, meaning it's been there since the mid 60's, at least. My loyal reader is a vegetarian, so I'm not gonna waste a bunch of time writing about boring things like 'food', because the hickory pit is a good place to go for dead animal type food, not so much for the yummy veggie type food. I'm sure they have grilled cheese or something on the kids menu, but there's not a lot of vegetarian options there. No, what is more interesting is the atmosphere. The waitresses here have mostly been around awhile. Our waitress had been there for 10 years, and it turned out she moved to Walnut Creek the year after Ted did, which was 1966. So she's been here since '67, and remembers the big peace sign that was on the side of the Hibernia Bank building to protest the Viet Nam war, she remembers the ranch (Am I remembering that correctly? I don't know...) that used to be over next to Las Lomas High School. We sat way in the back of the restaurant, under an aerial view of Walnut Creek, and she and Ted were talking about old times, and she jumped up on the seat of the booth next to Ted, to point out where Bullock's used to be, and the Co-Op, that kind of thing. She was a no-nonsense German or Austrian woman, but very friendly and chatty at the same time.

AND...they serve breakfast. I'm thinking if you want an old time breakfast in Walnut Creek, served by people older than your mom, this could be the only place to get it. It's not a small greasy spoon, like the Alamo Cafe, but I'm guessing they have a few spoons in the back with some grease on them. And, they have good pie. ;)

2nd try...

OK, I tried this again, with the picture here on the left. I don't like it quite as much as the other picture, though they are both of me on very happy days. This picture is of me at my 40th birthday party, which ROCKED because my husband is so damned cool, and he spoiled me all rotten by throwing me a big bash. The picture over to the right is of me at a place called, "Cheeseburger in Paradise", on Oahu. My first Hawaiian vacation, last June. I'm all happy and relaxed, because, duh, Hawaii, vacation, you know? Anyway, I ran the test again, and I got Evageline Lilly, who is WAY hotter than Jason Biggs, at least for a girl to LOOK LIKE. So I'll take that. I don't see it, but I'll take it. Also got Hillary Clinton, and Emma Thompson, either of which I'll take over a man. But that Matthew McConaughey match was pretty groovy...Boy, looking at Evangeline, I'm a WHITE girl, aren't I? Sigh. I don't tan. Not healthy, not good for the wrinkles. But boy, I miss tanning, and when I look at her, I think, maybe some bronzing creme would do a body good.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Happy Birthday Monkey!!

My first plan was to have a post, with 10 pictures, one from each year of Maya's life. But the pictures grew unruly, and though I loaded them all into blogger, because of different sizes, etc, it didn't look that great. Plus, it kind of took away from the post, rather than adding to it, because I was focusing on the captions, rather than the thoughts that I want to express. Then Ted came in with his Mac, and made a slide show in about 2 minutes, using all of the pictures I had scanned. So I will direct you to view my beautiful baby, as she goes from about 2 weeks old, to a beautiful 10-year old girl. If you click the silly picture of her at the top, you'll get sound. If you click start slideshow, you'll get a slideshow. If your computer doesn't have the right programs or whatever, you can just look at the pictures.

I wanted a baby for about 5 years before I had Maya. WANTED a baby. NEEDED a baby. I would sometimes cry because I wanted one so much. That was my heart. My head said to wait...wait until we finished our Masters' degrees, wait until we were married, wait until Ted had finished his coursework for his PhD. So we waited. But then, finally, we decided the time was right for a baby, and we thought we would plan it so that she would be born in the summer, after Ted finished his courses and exams. Well, life jumps in sometimes, and I got pregnant much faster than we expected. Should have expected that, somehow, since Ted and I were both accidents. I was SO happy, I was finally going to have my baby. But boy, being pregnant sucked. I was SO NOT one of those women who glow and love every minute of it.

From the first moment I met my baby, I was in love. I know this isn't true for all new moms, that some have to learn to 'fall in love' with their babies, and that that is normal, too. But I felt as though someone had knocked the wind out of me, I loved her SO much. I haven't recovered yet. I wonder if you ever do?

Those early years were full of the wonder of learning new things...showing her the world, the stars, fish...I remember so many little things, like the first time she smiled at me like I was the center of her universe, the first time she tried solid food, first steps, first day of school....then there are the bigger girl type things, like her face the first time we went to see A Christmas Carol in San Francisco, and she saw the stage all lit up and close...the first time she went over the edge on a roller coaster...the first time someone asked her what she wanted for Christmas or a birthday, and there wasn't anything she really wanted anymore. That was shocking for her, I think.

And now, 10 years old. If she moves out when she's 18 or 19, then my time living with her is already more than half over. Is it wrong for me to hope she'll live close, always, so we can have dinner together and visit and stay close? It breaks my heart to think of her leaving me, going on into the world and not being here for dinner, walks to see the duckies, swimming in the summer. I need to slow time down a bit, and cherish these next years, and hope that we will always be close, and yet, she will be the strong, independent person I know she needs to be to make it in the world.

But for today, she's 10. A wonderful, giving, funny, gentle, caring 10 year old. A girl who is so smart and beautiful and funny, with a wicked sense of humor already, who knows what the monks are chanting in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. A girl who loves animals and is kind to others. A girl to make us proud. I'm not sure how time passes so quickly, but I am sure that I like who she's growing up to be. She's going to be a good person, she already is one. What more could a parent want? She's my dream come true.


Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Feeling Pretty?

I've been thinking about pretty lately...and then I read on Wendy's site about a celebrity face match site you can go to, and you upload a picture of yourself, and they find your celebrity match. I tried it, and I used the picture over there to your right. I got Jason Biggs, 70% match. In better news, Matthew McConaughey came in at 67%. He's pretty, right? (Now you know why you like me, Lynn!) It took about 4 matches to get to a female. And one of the female matches? Margaret Thatcher. Sigh. Wendy gets to be Brittney Murphey, and I'm Jason Biggs? Just not fair.

So, I was thinking about pretty for several reasons. MIM's post from last week, which caused so much fuss that she had to shut off her comments, got me thinking about my hair. In her post, one thing she discussed (and I believe is SICK of discussing by now) is hair, and how some women grow their hair long when trying to attract a man, and then cut it off after they get married, which doesn't seem fair to her. Ignoring the main point there, since it's already been discusses ad infinitum on her site, I was thinking about how when I was younger, in my early 20s, it would not have occurred to me to keep my hair a certain way to attract men. For one thing, I honestly didn't know that many men prefer long hair. Never talked to any about it. I had my first boyfriend when my hair was long, and my second when my hair was a lot shorter, and so on. I chopped my hair so many times and in so many different ways, that at one point when I worked at a hotel in SF, an elderly Japanese tourist looked at me for about a minute, then asked, "You boy, or you girl?" I mean, I was wearing earrings and makeup, but this WAS San Francisco, so he had probably seen that look on some men outside. And the uniforms for men and women were the same. And I confess, that may have been the beginning of the end of the super short, shaved sides of my head look. I eventually did start growing it out. But it was for me, for me wanting to feel pretty, not because Ted would have cared one way or the other (he prefers me with short hair, poor guy). Which brings me to today...sometimes I think about getting my hair cut short. Not, "You boy, or you girl" short, but a bob, or a cute flip or something. Then I look around at other women in their 40s, and it looks Now, I do realize I'm kidding myself if I think I don't look mom-ish. I'm a mom, and there's nothing wrong with that. But short hair, which used to look so cool and cutting edge and funky to me, now looks so...practical. And who wants that, really? So for now, it's long hair. But I did have two or three inches cut off yesterday. ;)

The other thing, thinking about beauty, is an update on the skin care treatment I've been trying. So far, I really like it. Do I look more like Princess Diana or Julia Roberts? No. I look like Jason Biggs. But my skin does look better, fresher, and it feels great. I guess you could consider that an endorsement. Makes me wonder what the $1,000 salon treatment could do...Julia Roberts? No, probably not. But look at Jason...his skin looks fabulous, right? Maybe that's something at least.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Scared Shitless

10 years ago today was my last doctor appointment before Maya's birth. She was due the 17th, so she was at this point 10 days overdue. I was given the choice of inducing on Friday (the 29th) or Monday (April 1st). I chose Friday, because my mom was only staying with us until Wednesday, because I didn't want her to be born on April Fools Day, and because I was SICK OF BEING PREGNANT. So, they said, unless I went in to labor on my own, I needed to report to the hospital Thursday evening, and spend the night there. What? Spend the night? In a hospital? WAY TOO SCARY! I started crying in the doctor's office (she was a midwife, actually...I had cool insurance). Seriously people, what the hell did I think I was getting into, if I didn't truly, deep down realize that there was going to be a hospital stay involved? And then, I don't think it TRULY sank in that I was going to have to GIVE BIRTH until the pain started. I swear, they'll let ANYONE have babies these days. ;)

Implicit Association Test

My niece is a student at Berkeley, and took this online test for a class. It's called an IAT, meaning Implicit Association Test, and it's through Harvard Univesity. It takes a few minutes, but supposedly tests your implicit preferences on matters of race, gender, age, disability, weight, and so on. It will even test if you prefer FDR to George Bush. Wanna play? Click here.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Hold on to your.....selves....

Looks like mouse testicles have many of the same properties as human stem cells, and so they're thinking that human testicles may hold out a lot of hope for human more here. And boys, hold on to

Giving Thanks (and it's not even November...)

One of my blog addictions is This Piece of Work (aka, POW). Yesterday, she wrote about some blessings in her life. She got this idea from Mommygoth, at What happened to my rock and roll lifestyle?. I like the idea. Seems like it's about being thankful for the little things in life, and just talking about them on a weekly basis. Nice idea for a blog, right? For example, I can be thankful that we had the plumber come out last week, and now when I want water in the bathroom sink, I just turn the faucet, and I get water in the sink. Lovely. That kind of stuff. Not the big stuff. The problem is, while I was out walking Genevieve this morning, I couldn't think of the little stuff without the big stuff getting in the way. It's like the big elephant in the middle of the room that I was trying to avoid, but I couldn't. So, I thought, maybe I'll write this one blog about the big stuff, and then if I decide to revisit the idea of thankfulness, I can give appreciation to the water-in-the-sink kind of things at that time. So, here we go.

I'm thankful for my family. Well, duh, aren't we all, but really, truly, I am. I am 40 years old and I still have both of my grandmothers alive. I have both of my parents, and they're both healthy and doing well. I have all of my siblings, also healthy and doing well. No deaths, no terrible illnesses, no horrid car crashes that change your life forever in the blink of an eye. Do you know how great that is? I think we all know someone who has had their life changed by death, illness, etc., and so yeah, we all know how great that is. I'm thankful for that. Also thankful that there are no major dysfunctions there...we're all pretty normal people, loving and caring, in a protestant/whitebread kind of way.

I'm thankful for my husband. He is a wonderful man, my best friend, a very funny, handsome, wonderful person. He's the best father I could want for our daughter. The best husband I could want for myself. He's a wonderful son and brother to his family. These things all matter, and I'm thankful for them.

I'm thankful for my inlaws, who are a very close knit bunch, somewhat nosey and bossy, but it's a balance to my side of the family that is removed and doesn't discuss certain things, because it just isn't done. I'm thankful for that balance in my life, and that they are such open, friendly people, who have welcomed me into their family, and who know that I am more reserved and quiet, and love me anyway.

I'm thankful for my daughter. And here's where I'll spend most of my time in this post, because besides being thankful for her beauty, humor, intelligence, caring, and compassion, I am thankful for her health. There's not a thing wrong with her that braces haven't already fixed. Of course I know, this could change in the blink of an eye, but I'm thankful that at least for now, it's true. My dear friend, Neva, has two sons. Her older son, Sean, has epilepsy. Not the kind of epilepy that Danny Glover has...the functioning, controlled by medication type. Sean's epilepy is so severe that he functions at the level of a young toddler. He's 17. He wasn't always this way. Until he was 7, he had seizures periodically, but not debilitating ones. He was bright and energetic and smart, full of life. He loved math. Now, he loves his parents and his brother, he enjoys looking at numbers on calculators and calendars, and cannot communicate with his family. He recently had a seizure so severe that he broke his arm, and because he cannot communicate, even to cry out in pain, no one knew until the next day. So yes, I'm thankful for Maya's health. Neva and I try to get together for dinner once a month or so, and we'll be talking, and I'll be telling her of my frustration because I got in a fight with Maya about homework or something stupid like that. Does she ever say, "You should be thankful for your problems, thankful for a child who is capable of doing homework, capable of getting in an argument with you when she's angry"? No, she never does. She never holds Sean's illness up as a lesson to us all, a lesson that we shouldn't complain, just shut up and be thankful. She knows life isn't like that...that we all have our daily joys and frustrations, and she has them as well, with her job, her family, her husband, and her younger son, who is, thankfully, healthy. I'm thankful for Neva.

That's a pretty rambling post...but having said all of that, I can say, I am thankful, I am blessed. Thankful for my family, my inlaws, my job, my house, the relative security of living in the US. Next time, I'll write about the sink and stuff. Because I'm thankful for those things, too.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Here you go...

Click to open in a larger window. :)

Why I Am ALWAYS Late for Work

I get up at 5:00, and I'm scheduled to be at work by 7:00. I work from 7:00 - 4:00. I can probably count on one hand the times I've been here by 7:00 so far this month. Maybe one finger. Why, you may ask? I have two HOURS to get ready, and I live 5 minutes from work. So it's not the drive. OK, here's the schedule:

5:00 Alarm goes off
5:05 Get out of bed
5:06 Turn on computer
5:07 Go downstairs. Feed dog. Make Maya's lunch. Do any cleaning that bugs me in the morning, but didn't bug me last night.
5:20 Take shower
5:30 Check work email
5:35 Check my blogging friends' sites
6:30 (When I SHOULD have left the house to walk the dog) Dry Hair
6:35 Get dressed, make up, make bed, etc.
6:50 Wake Maya up, take dog for walk
7:10-7:15 Leave house, late for work, AGAIN.

So, you see, it's all YOUR fault. I just think, I'll peek and see if Cherry posted. Cherry posted! Cherry NEVER posts! What about Autumn's Mom? New pictures of Tommy? Yay! What about L, is the nun giving her grief AGAIN? Is MIM stirring up another heated discussion? What's BiteMyCookie gonna do about the job? Wendy, what's new with you? POW? Ally Bean, Wino, Jessie, Gina all of my wonderful online addictions...On and on and on. It doesn't end. And sometimes I actually get around to POSTING something, too. And there I am, late again. Sigh. See, D & C (and Ted, too, he encouraged this), when you convinced me to start blogging, do you see what you started? "DO IT DO IT DO IT", you said, like 7th graders with stolen cigarettes. And I did it. Thank God you guys don't do drugs, or I'd be a crack whore living in the Tenderloin by now. That's all I'm sayin'.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Blog Against Strawfeminist Week

OK, I read that someone has declared this Blog Against the Strawfeminist Week. (Click the stuff to read and see!) I'm super busy at work this week, so I'll keep this short. What is a feminist? Someone who believes that men and women are equal. Period. What is a strawfeminist? That person that people who don't like feminists think of when they think of know, ball basher, man hater, woman who wants to run men out of world and teach her boys to be sissies and so on. So let's get rid of the strawfeminists, and if you think men and women are equal, proudly claim your role as a feminist. Don't let anyone else tell you what that should mean. Except me.

Happy HNT

When I was a little girl, my mom was a Montessori teacher. She has told me about how they taught the preschool kids their left from their right. They would paint an "L" on their left shoe (maybe it was an "R" on the right shoe? Maybe it was the back of their hand? I was 5, cut me some slack!) Anyway, any time a child wanted to know whether that was their right foot or their left, all they had to do is look for that "L", and then they knew that was the left, and the other one was the right. Nice, huh? Well, the CEO at my very small company had his 4 year old at work with him the other day, and she asked him which was her left hand...he told her to hold up her hands in a certain way, and make an "L", and the hand that LOOKED like an "L" was the left hand. Here's a demo. Pretty cool, huh? You know, unless you're dyslexic. Then it might get confusing.

If you don't know about HNT, it stands for Half Naked Thursday, and if you go looking around the web, you'll find a lot of people showing a lot more skin than their hand. Not so much here, so don't ask. ;)

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Regrets, I have a few...

I was thinking about all of the MEMEs that we see on blogs, and funny lists of music, etc. Which started me thinking of the songs that I HATE. That make me sick to my stomach. That I wish I could extinguish from the earth. So, I put together a MEME about things I regret having in existance...

Songs I wish I Had Never Heard (because they suck)
1. Superman (It's not easy) - Five for Fighting (can be switched with 100 years, same group, if you hate that one even more.)
2. You're Beautiful - James Blunt (I know it's popular...but please, kill me now...he just sounds like a stalker to me...)
3. Everybody Hurts - REM
4. Anything at all by Celine Dion
5. Rush Rush - Paula Abdul
6. The Load Out/Stay - Jackson Browne

Movies I wish I Had Never Seen (because they suck)
1. Boxing Helena
2. Cocktail
3. Crash (1996)
4. Titanic
5. Star Wars, Episode 1: The Phantom Menace
6. Fresh Horses

Foods I Wish I Had Never Eaten (Because They Suck)
1. Steak and Kidney Pie
2. Liver and Onions
3. Brussels Sprouts
4. Green Bean Casserole (I know, everyone loves this...but WHY? SOOO nasty!)
5. Marmite. Ugh.
6. Limburger cheese (just too smelly)

Celebrities I Wish Had Never Become Famous (Because They Suck)
1. Paris Hilton
2. Tom Cruise
3. Mike Tyson
4. The Donald
5. Rachel Ray (She's such a bitch!)
6. Jack Nicholson (OK, I don't wish he had NEVER became famous...I just wish he would lose the one act Johnny routine...bugs the crap out of me that he seems to have turned into a cariciture of himself.)

TV Shows I Wish Had Never Been Made (Because They Suck)
1. Who's Your Daddy
2. Firefox (Sorry Joss!)
3. The "L" Word (Who knew Lesbian love could be so....boring...)
4. The Swan
5. Full House
6. American Idol (I know, this is where I alienate all of my 5 loyal readers, and honestly, I've only watched it once on a Thursday when they vote people off the island...but Oh My GOD was it dumb and boring!)

OK, that's me...anyone else want to try this one? Can be in comments, or on your own blog...let me know you're doing it, and I'll come check it out! :)

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

You Can't Go Home Again....Well, not completely...

Yesterday I went to San Francisco with my friend Neva for the day. We both took the day off of work, and went in to play hooky. What fun! First stop was Macy's, because I wanted to bask in the glory of the Union Square Macy's, which has at least 10 times the offerings of my local suburban Macy's. Breathed it in. Loved it. It reminded me of being a teenager and coming in to the City to shop there, and also how I used to go there on my lunch break when I worked at a nearby hotel. We had an early-ish lunch at The Cheesecake Factory, which was tasty but expensive. Should have gotten the clam chowder in a bread bowl we could have gotten downstairs. After Macy's, we walked around the square so she could look at necklaces at Tiffany, and I saw one I liked as well, though not enough to pay $400 for it. Then we were going to drive over to Green Apple Books, but at the last possible minute, while looking for parking, I decided to show her the Legion of Honor instead. See, Neva has never spent much time in the City. She doesn't know its many wonders and gems. I don't know most of them, either, since I only lived there for 7 years, and it's been 16 years since I left, and even then I was a full-time student (undergrad and grad) and a full-time hotel employee and planned our wedding and had friends and so on, so there was a lot that I missed. Anyway, I had to show her the Legion of Honor. It's closed on Mondays, which is too bad because they currently have an exhibit that she would have really liked. It's pictures of the City right after the earthquake of 1906, and those same landscapes now, so you can see the change.

She was so impressed by the view that I decided we should blow off Green Apple and go to the Cliff House for another history lesson (Sutro Baths and the many incarnations of the restaurant, and a bit about Musee Mechanique, though since it's currently housed at Fisherman's Wharf, it's not much of a lesson). So we went there and got a glass of wine and watched the ships go through the gate. Very relaxing.

Then over to Haight Street. She had never been to Haight street. Dang it, I forgot to pick up the $30 Leather coat at Aardvark's Odd Ark, the used clothing place at the corner. It was a nice coat, and mine is falling apart. Oh well. We stopped in at Ambiance, which is always fabulous, and I got 2 tops, which at Ambiance can break the bank. Here's the cheap one (They don't have much online...much more in the store, so the other shirt isn't online. Oh well again.). Then we walked around a bit, but it was getting cold again, so we hopped back in the '86 Volvo, and went to dinner at Elite Cafe. Here's where my story gets sad. The Elite is under new ownership. They have some of the same things on the menu, but no Etouffee. Sigh. And you have to pay for bread. And the wine by the glass is served in mighty skimpy portions (Would have gotten a bottle, but we had already had a glass at the Cliff House). The waitress and the hostess both mentioned that the new chef/owner came over from The Meetinghouse, like that was supposed to inspire awe. Nope, never been (though we used to go to a restaurant in that same location, before it was the Meetinghouse, with Matt and Casey every year...planned a few elopements before we got married, too. Ah, good times.), and I wanted my etouffee. I tried to get over it and enjoy my pulled pork. The pork was mighty tasty, and Neva's ribs were literally fall-off-the-bone tender. Very nice. Just not what I remember. Elite was one of my favorite places for so long...that's where we were going to go to dinner the night of the earthquake in '89. That's a place where I've gone for champagne on my birthday. Dined on oysters at the oyster bar (gone now). Sigh. You can't go home again, at least not if you expect everything to always be exactly the same. But it was a LOVELY day, nonetheless.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

The weekend so far...

This is a four day weekend for me. :) Friday, Ted and I both went on a fieldtrip to Sacramento. Why both of us? Because it's better than working, that's why. So we drove 3 kids to Sacramento. First the class stopped at the old Governor's Mansion, which was pretty interesting. It's an old Victorian house, with 23 rooms, and they have it done up like it would have been in the early 1900s. Our tour guide was full of misinformation, which made us wonder, does he know what he's talking about with this place at all? He told our class that MLK was shot in '66 or '67, that James Brady was killed, and that the bullets missed Reagan. Interesting. I knew these 'facts' to be wrong, which made me wonder if he was saying things about the mansion that were incorrect as well, or was he OK on the specifics of the mansion, and not so good on the general US history. Hmmm.

Then we went to the State Capitol building. We got a nice tour of the Senate chambers, the assembly chambers, etc. But we didn't get to see the Governor's office (closed) and we didn't have to see Arnold running around (good). It's a beautiful building, so that was cool.

After that, we went to Old Town Sacramento, to the Railway Museum. We were so tuckered out by that point, we weren't really interested. Maya's in fourth grade, which is the year kids learn California History. The railroads are a big part of that history, but still, we weren't terribly interested. All three of our kids were worn out, so we left and came home. Whew. We think it would have been better to make two field trips out of with the Governor's Mansion and the Capitol, and a second with Sutter's Fort and the Railway museum. Maybe they'll do that next year.

Yesterday, Maya and I went to sell girl scout cookies at the booth, and we got to meet Autumn's Mom's new dog, Minnie. What a cute little doggie! I prefer big dogs, personally, but I couldn't help but think about how much easier it would be to clean up after a 5 lb dog than a 40 lb dog like Genevieve. I'm guessing Minnie's poop is a LOT smaller than Gen's. :) After that, we came home and had lunch. Relaxed a bit. The plumber came and installed new faucets for us. YAY! We have hot water in the kitchen again! The bad news is that the reason we didn't for awhile is that part of our hot water heater is falling apart in little tiny chunks and clogging up the pipes. So we need a new hot water heater. Not this minute, but soon. Later, we went downtown to the shops to get a new cell phone for Ted (his was pretty much dead), a dress for Maya to wear to the Father/Daughter dance that they're going to in a few weeks, and to look for new jeans for me. Since I started wearing flatter shoes, my jeans are all too long, except those that I unwisely bought that are too short. So, I wanted a new pair of just right jeans. We didn't find a dress that suited Maya, but I did find some jeans that suited me, and I'm happily wearing them right now. :)

After that we got ingredients at the store for dinner, came home and burned it a bit, and ate. :) It was fine. Then we watched Dead Like Me for awhile, and off to sleepy land. Today we have no plans, other than laundry and homework. We'll see what we come up with after that. Maybe a trip to Target. Tomorrow, I'm going to play with my friend Neva. She and I were best friends in the 6th grade, but lost touch after that. Then a few years ago, I tracked her down via We try to get together for dinner about once a month, and we've been trying to schedule a whole day together since December, and this is the first time that has worked for us. YAY! We're going to go into San Francisco and have lunch at my favorite little hole in the wall place, I think. (Mihn's Garden, on Clement Street, if you live in or near SF) It's not special or amazing or anything, but they have yummy hot and sour soup with shrimp and pineapple in it, and when I lived a block away from there, it was a favorite. We'll go to Green Apple Books and hang around there. Maybe Ambiance on Haight Street, though I probably can't afford anything there. Just walk around in the rain and see SF together. We'll have an early dinner at the Elite Cafe (Etouffe, here I come!), and then home again. SO nice. I'm looking forward to it.

Hope your weekend is lovely as well. :)

Friday, March 17, 2006

My Life in Music

I saw this on Wendy's website, and I thought, No, I could never think of enough songs...but then I decided to take a walk at lunchtime, and listen to my beloved iPod, and lo and behold, I came up with a bunch of songs to fill it in. Kind of fun to search around and think about what song is perfect for what situation, that kind of thing. I've changed some of the categories, and made it a bit more personal. :)

    My Life in Music

  • Opening Credits: Mozart's Clarinet Concerto

  • Waking Up: Good Day Sunshine by the Beatles

  • Childhood: Ob La Di, Ob La Da also by the Beatles

  • Jr. Highschool: Spin the Bottle by the Julianna Hatfield 3

  • Highschool: 2112 (side one, please) by Rush

  • Average Day: Looking for Clues by Robert Palmer

  • Unrequited Love: All of My Heart by ABC

  • Moving Away from Home: Everything's Different Now by 'Til Tuesday

  • Meeting my Dad for the first tme at age 21: My Girl, by whoever sings that song.

  • Falling In Lust: Johnny Feelgood by Liz Phair

  • Falling In Love: Lovers in a Dangerous Time by Bruce Cockburn

  • Love Scene: Behind the Wheel by Depeche Mode

  • Walk of Shame: Right Hand Man by Joan Osborne

  • Fight Scene: Seether by Veruca Salt

  • Breaking Up: Can't Let Go by Lucinda Williams

  • Secret Love: Every Breath You Take by The Police

  • Strutting: Comfortably Numb, the Scissor Sisters version (Strut...think John Travolta walking down the street in his white suit ala Staying Alive)

  • Getting Married: We Are in Love by Harry Connick Jr.

  • Driving: Route 66 - Depeche Mode version

  • Flashback: Express Yourself by Madonna

  • My Career So Far: Bang the Drum by Todd Rundgren

  • Birth of a Child: This Woman's Work by Kate Bush

  • Baby with Colic: Baby Screams by the Cure

  • Life's OK: MMMM by the Crash Test Dummies

  • Partying: Groove is in the Heart by Deee-Lite (Had to copy Wendy on that one, because you cannot help but dance to this song!)

  • Happy Dance: I Feel Good by James Brown

  • October 17, 1989: I Feel the Earth Move by Carole King

  • September 11th: Sunday Bloody Sunday by U2

  • Drinking Alone: Polyester Bride by Liz Phair

  • Middle Age: Time Stand Still by Rush with Aimee Mann

  • Death Scene: I'll Fly Away by Gillian Welch & Alison Krauss

  • Closing Credits: All the Things You Are by Scott Hamilton

That was fun. Thanks, Wendy!

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

The place where you're from...

I'm reading a short story called "Post and Beam", by Alice Munro. The main character has moved away from her small town and her small town family, and is now living in the city. Her cousin hops on a bus and travels across Canada to come for a visit. One of the themes of the story is how we leave part of who we are at home when we leave. So here is Polly, the country cousin, who has come to visit Lorna, and is a bit put off by Lorna's 'post and beam' house (reminds me of the Eichler homes that are popular around here...the picture above is of an Eichler home), which stress architecture over all else, her stainless steel sinks, her 'fancy' city life. I suspect she wonders where the Lorna she knew has gotten to. I haven't finished the story yet, so I'm not sure what's going to happen.

Then last night we watched a DVD, "Junebug". The movie was about families and their eccentricities, and all of that, but part of it was about how you leave part of yourself at home when you leave. The main character is a woman, Madeline, an art dealer from Chicago. She is meeting her new husband's family for the first time, in small town North Carolina. The family isn't upset at how he has changed at all, because he is the golden child...but he certainly acts just as he is expected to when he is at home, and we, the viewiers (and Madeline, I might add), aren't really sure which is the REAL deal. The George who sings in the choir at his church, and proxies as the best husband his sister-in-law could have, when her own husband can't cope? Or the George who prefers the city life, and understands about Madeline's career, and how important that is to her.

These two things coming together like they did, the DVD and the story, stuck me... how when we leave home, whether we are merely moving across the street, or across the world, what do we leave behind? How do we revert when we return? And how is it for our families, if they come and see us in our new world, to wonder if the old us is even in there, somewhere. I suspect it is different for us all, and a lot has to do with how much we identify with that place, how happy we were there, with the roles that we played in our family and community dynamic. If we were comfortable and happy, we may not have changed much. If we felt that our home was not really that, a home, and that the best thing we could do is get the hell away, then perhaps our family and friends might not recognize the new identity that we have created for ourselves. And, if they also wanted to leave, but haven't found the way yet, or never will, do they then resent us? Do they feel that we think we're too good for our old selves? I don't know that I'm reading the book or the film correctly, getting from them what the artists intended, but those were my thoughts as I was dozing off last night, thinking about the book and the film.

Best line in the flm, I thought: "God loves you just the way you are, but he loves you too much to let you stay that way." Was the character being ironic? Hopeful? Critical? Supportive? You have to watch the film to find out, I guess.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Your Epidermis is Showing...

My friend NYJ (That's New York J, as opposed to me, CAJ, for California J) is addicted to this procedure called Microdermabrasion. She says they basically sand blast your face to get the dead skin and stuff off, and your skin is SO much softer and absorbs moisturizer much better. The process is performed at a spa, and supposedly makes a world of difference, which is why the full series is worth the approx. $1,000 you pay. I've seen pictures on the web, before and after type photos, and yeah, it looks amazing. But I saw NYJ recently, and she looks the same as she did the last time I saw her. Which is gorgeous. NYJ is always gorgeous, so I don't know if this stuff makes a difference or not. So, I thought, time seems to be taking a bit of a walk across my face lately, and my skin isn't what it used to be, so I thought I'd give one of these cheepo home kits a try. I could have gotten something in between, like a department store brand (Lancome or Estee Lauder come to mind), but those would have set me back some semi-serious dollars, and I'm just too cheap for that. So I went for the drug store version. Now, they say right on the package that the results will not be the same as a professional treatment. That's OK, I don't expect a $25 home kit to work as well as a $1,000 professional treatment, any more than I expect an $8 bottle of hair color to look like I had it done at the salon. So, I bought some Olay Regenerist on Friday. Tried it on Friday night, and again this morning. Know what? My skin feels pretty good! Really soft, really nice. Do I notice a difference in how it looks? Not yet. I did get a zit on Friday, which may or may not have been related to the sandblasting of my face. They say that it takes a week or two to really see the difference, which is also what they say about the professional treatments. I'll keep you updated.

Monday, March 13, 2006

How is this NOT Los Angeles?

There's an article in today's Contra Costa Times about 'pet hotels' that bugged me. I know I've written before about people with too much money, but suddenly $400 cashmere baby hoodies seem more reasonable than they once did. (OK, no, they still don't). The pet hotel in the picture is in Philadelphia. The dog is being fed Filet Mignon. Artfully prepared and presented on a gold platter. WTF?!?! I mean, our dog Genevieve is spoiled. She gets 'premium' dog food that you can't get at PetsMart and those places. She gets two walks a day. She has a dog bed in the living room. But come on. $125 dollar a night suite? For a dog? What the hell has happened to compassion for your fellow man in this country? I kind of expect this kind of stupidness from movie stars and Paris Hilton, but people who just work for a living? It's insane. Think of all of the homeless people in Philadelphia who would be much better served by a warm, dry place to sleep and a meal. And really, wouldn't these dogs be just as happy being boarded somewhere where they get some affection and exercise, a good meal, and a nice dog bed to sleep on? Do they really need a reading lamp? And a TV?

Some people simply have TOO MUCH MONEY, and have lost all perspective.

The Idiot Box

This was a weekend made up largely of watching TV. My plans with my friend had changed, my back was tentative, and for once, no birthdays or dinners to attend. I suppose we could have started getting my 'home office' ready for when I start working from home, but I wasn't so interested in that. I think I'd prefer to do that on 'work time' rather than 'my time', if you know what I mean.

So, on Saturday I watched Battlestar Galactica on the computer (downloaded from iTunes, since Comcast doesn't give us Sci Fi channel unless we pay more $$$). Like I said on Saturday, that's a darned good show. I'm not as in to it as Ted and Maya are, but I must admit, it was upsetting to see the finale, and to know that there are no new episodes until October. Sigh.

We also watched "Black. White." this last week. Did anyone see that? It's pretty interesting, but I have to admit that the white dad that's going black reminds me of Larry David, from Curb Your Enthusiasm. You can pretty much count on him to say or do something stupid. Maybe it's too soon to say that, but I just know he's gonna be causing some problems. He's just WAITING for some white person to call him the 'N' word, and he won't believe that racism exists until it happens. And even then, the whole reason that he wants it to happen is so he can show all of those paranoid black people how easy it is to diffuse a situation, if you just stay calm and rational, like him. Like a white man. Nice.

Yesterday, we ended up watching a REALLY LAME movie called "The Core", about a group of scientists who have to take a specially built 'ship' down into the core of the Earth and detonate nuclear bombs in order to start the Earth rotating on its axis once, cheeseball End of the World movies can be fun, but I kind of wished they had put a bit more money into the script. I hate when all that the top scientist has to say about a situation is, "This doesn't look good". Yeah. OK. Plus, I'm 99.9% sure I saw a common grammatical error flash up on the screen. At the end of the film, one of the brilliant yet ignored scientists who stayed on the 'crust' was running a program on his computer, and the screen popped up a message of "On it's way". Sorry idiot, but I remember a class I took once where the professor said if we used "it's" when we meant "its", we would have an "F" on that paper. I know it's a common mistake, because English is a strange language, and I know that my spelling skills are such that I shouldn't be throwing stones at glass houses, but I would HOPE that someone who worked there would know enough and maybe tell someone while they're at it.

Then we watched West Wing. Two things I have to say about that. Why do they have such long breaks between new episodes? I know, it's NBC, and the Olympics DID get in the way there, but it's enough to drive a person crazy. They're as bad as Lost. I didn't remember who half of the people were. I think this show was much better two or three years ago. Now they're just trying to hold on for these last few episodes, and it kind of shows. If they pulled a Thirtysomething on us and just pulled it from the air, without letting us see the rest of the season, I can honestly say I wouldn't care. Would anyone?

Last...did anyone see the new polygamy drama on HBO, Big Love? We don't have HBO, so we couldn't watch it. And iTunes doesn't have it, so we can't download it. So I guess we'll be waiting for it to come out on DVD, so we can NetFlix it. I mean, we COULD ask someone with HBO to tape it for us, but really, on a weekly basis, that's a pain in the butt. So, anyone see it? Is it any good?

Really last...forgot to tape "Grey's Anatomy" AGAIN. We have yet to watch this show, and everyone talks about how good it is. My question: should we tape it and start watching now, or wait until we get caught up via NetFlix/DVD, and start watching then?

OK, that's my boob tube report. A weekend wasted. My back thanks me. :)

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Back woes...

I have been suffering from some upper back pain lately, which has been travelling down my arm and into my thumb. Not fun. So, as I mentioned in an earlier post, I have begun seeing a chiropractor. It's helping, but not as much or as fast as I had hoped. I switched from cute high heels to almost flat comfy shoes. It has been suggested to me by both my husband and a loyal reader, that perhaps my problem comes from the way I sit at the computer. Well, people HAVE been known to make fun of me and the way I sit at the computer, because I hunch over and get my face right up to the screen, like I'm trying to smell it or something, and I look like a complete dork. So. The chiropractor suggested that I might put a piece of hypo-allergenic tape between my shoulder blades, so that when I hunch over, I feel it and it reminds me to sit up straight. (Today is day one of the tape...I'm sitting much straighter, thank you.) He also suggested that I might try taking some magnesium, because if you don't have enough of that, it's harder for the muscles in your body to relax properly. So he gave me some sampes of this stuff, Natural Calm. Then, Ted suggested that I should get a massage. I was hesitant, because between the shoes, the chiropractor, and arch support for the shoes, I'm out about $300 this month, and we're not even half way through the month yet! (I'm reminded of some words from the Pete Townshend song, Slit Skirts..."Can't pretend that getting older never hurts") Well, being as how great he is, he called the spa down the street from us and made an appointment for me (and PAID for it! YAY!) for yesterday afternoon. So, I came home from work early, visited with my friend Rosemary for about an hour, and then went to the spa for my massage. Can I say, the woman who massaged my back was AMAZING. She did a deep tissue massage, and REALLY worked on those bad spots. Worked and worked them. She wants me to come back in a week or two for more work. I have to tell you, that my back was SO FRIGGIN SORE last night, I couldn't even go to watch Battlestar Galactica with the family. It was the season finale and everything! Lest you worry, fear not...we downloaded it via iTunes and watched it this afternoon. Wow, that's a great show. Has almost no resemblance at all to the 70's cheeseball version, other than the basic plot and some characters. (And, if you want to talk about feminism on TV, that's a show where the women are in positions of power right along with the men, and no one makes a big deal about it....take THAT, Commander in Chief!)

Anyway, my back hurt like hell last night, but OH my god, it feels SO MUCH better today. I could almost blow off the chiropractor completely and go to the massage woman instead. Whew. Very nice. At the spa, by the way, they had these amazingly comfortable robes, made by The Robe Works. I WANT one. They sell them there for $99, which is less than the website even. But I found a place online where you can get them for about $50. Since my robe is about 15 years old, I kind of feel justified in buying a new one if I want to. :) UPDATE: I ordered one. :) Can't afford it. Don't care. They are soft and terry and absorbant on the inside, smooth and light on the outside. I'm in love.

Now the sucky news. My friend Rosemary is a corporate lawyer, and though she makes pretty good money, they OWN her. So right before she's getting ready to leave and fly across the country for a 14 day vacation, turns out one of the partners is going to be deposed, and she has to put a brief together. Right then. So she stayed up all night working on it, and they magnanimously didn't cancel her vacation, but they cut it short on her. So she is only herre in CA for 6 days. So she was only able to visit us for 1 hour yesterday, because she had to get to Lodi to visit her mom before her mom poops out, which is pretty early. Stupid family obligations. She will hopefully be able to come and visit us on the way out, on Tuesday afternoon, but we'll see what happens. I'm not getting my hopes up too high. Stupid company. Grrr.

That's it for the weekend so far...lazy days, watching LOTS of TV/DVD/Downloaded shows, eating yummy food, and sleeping in. And it's only Saturday. Nice.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Short and Sweet

I have to keep it short and sweet today...Maya has homework that she forgot about last night, so I have to wake her up soon to do it. I have a deadline at work. And, most importantly, my friend Rosemary is coming into town from Pennsylvania! HOORRRAY! So I'll be hanging with her and her family this afternoon and tonight, before she departs for Lake Tahoe. Sigh. Nice weekend ahead.

So, in the political turn that this blog has taken in the last two days or so, I'll bring this up. Then maybe no politics for awhile, OK? OK. There's a law suit that has beenn filed by the National Center for Men, which they are calling (it's trademarked, actually) Roe vs. Wade...for men. The argument goes like this: If women can choose whether to have a child or not, the father should have the equal right to choose whether to support the child, if she decides to have it against his wishes. I'm sure that sounds fair, and it WOULD be fair...but fair doesn't always work. After all, it's not fair to the baby if a woman decides to get an abortion, right? But it has been decided that the woman's right to privacy, to decide what happens to her own body, takes precidence over the rights of the unborn child. Not fair, but the best we can do. Biology isn't fair, and it won't let a fetus jump out and find a woman who WANTS a child, and it won't jump out and into a man, or anything like that. So, we do the best with what we have. Similarly, it is in the best interest of society that children have financial support from two parents. That way, society isn't made to bear that burdon as often. So, even though it is unfair to the man who didn't want a child to begin with, if he gets a woman pregnant, and she has the child, he has to pay support for that child.

Fair? No. But that's the way it is, and in my opinion, the way it has to be, whether we like it or not.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Cancer Sucks...and so does Senator Enzi.

On the heels of the loss of Dana Reeve to lung cancer, comes the news that Ann Richards has cancer of the esophagus. God bless her, Ann Richards is an amazing woman, and was the (democratic) governor of Texas before George Bush. Some blame her for losing that race, thus giving GW the chance to run for President. Others blame Clinton for letting his pants down (literally), thus creating the Republican backlash that was heard throughout many states, and, they say, caused Richards to lose to Bush. Without going into the miserable 'what ifs', all I can say is that I have the utmost respect for Richards, and I hope that she will survive her battle with this extremely deadly form of cancer. One thing I learned about her today is that her daughter, Cecile Richards, is the president of Planned Parenthood. Wow. Powerful women run in that family.

Speaking of Planned Parenthood, I found this on

"Today the United States Senate is considering a bill that would have a serious and damaging impact on health coverage for women across the United States. The Health Insurance Marketplace Modernization and Affordability Act (HIMMAA), introduced by Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY), would allow insurance companies to ignore nearly all state laws that require insurance coverage for certain treatments or conditions, such as laws that require them to include contraceptives in their prescription plans.

"This federal legislation would raze hundreds of state laws that ensure patients can get the medical care they need and would:

"-- not allow women to designate their ob/gyns as primary care providers

"-- not allow women to seek care directly from their ob/gyns, but would force them to be screened by their primary care doctors first

"-- dismantle coverage for contraception

"-- dismantle coverage for annual cervical cancer exams

"-- not allow women to stay with the same doctor throughout a pregnancy, if that doctor was dropped from the insurance provider."

In short: "Under HIMMAA women will lose contraceptive-equity protections currently guaranteed by state law."
Anyone ever read "The Handmaid's Tale"? It's disturbing to me how often this book/film comes to mind these days.

Now I'm with you, Cherry. I'm depressed.

New Shoes

So I've been having some problems with my back as of late...a pain right next to the shoulder blade. Mostly I ignore it, because I'm lame that way. Anyway, recently it has started to spread down my left arm, through the elbow and the thumb. Ouch. One night, I couldn't sleep because of it. Well, only little infant babies have an excuse to come between me and my zzzzs, so I decided to finally do something about it. What to do, though? Go to the doctor? The chiropractor? Physical therapy? All good options, with me leaning more toward the chiro or the PT. For no real reason other than I had to make a decision, I chose to start seeing a chiropractor for this. So I've been going for a week and a half, and it's somewhat better. Not ALL better, but on its way, I hope. I don't know at what point I throw in the towel and move on to PT or regular medicine, but I'll stick this out for a little while.

Well, one thing they say is that high heels aren't so good for your back. Now, I KNOW that, but now that they might be coming between me and my zzzzs, maybe it's time to pay attention to what I know. It's hard when you're only 5'4 3/4", wishing so much you could claim to be 5'5", or actually be 5'7". Sigh. So, yesterday I went to get a new pair of shoes. Shoes that I could wear with jeans or work pants, that are somewhat workish looking, but not high heeled. Not super cute fun shoes that hurt. (fun does not = pain, I know that...but they can be SO CUTE!) What I wanted, however, was the pair of super pointy shoes that the woman next to me was trying on, though of course she said they hurt already. Why is it that cute shoes=pain? It's just wrong. I almost bought these shoes as well, (cute, but still not super high heels, so a good idea...) but I will wait until at least payday. The chiropractor gets the rest of my money for this month.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Happy International Women's Day!

I just found out here that today is International Womens Day. I also found out that some of my friends count on me to keep them up to date on the weighty issues of the day, issues that do not involve cheerleaders or their injuries. To bring the two together, allow me to point you to a column by the always brilliant Molly Ivins, in which she discusses the abismal abortion situation in the 'great' state of South Dakota. Lest you feel that South Dakota is alone in their goal of outlawing abortion, similar laws are being considered publicly in both Missouri and Mississippi.

For more reading about International Women's Day, check out this column about women and the environment, from today's SF Chronicle.

Happy Day, Sisters!

Misc Thoughts...

I don't have a central theme today...just thought I would pass on some things I have heard about, that may be of interest.

1. I was listening to the ever-beloved iPod this morning, to a podcast of To the Best of Our Knowledge, and one thing they mentioned in passing was these genetically modified flowers that have been developed in Denmark. Not so hot on the genetically modified agriculture, but these are good in a way that few things in this world are good. What do they do? You take the seeds to a country that has been at war, like, say, Afghanistan or Iraq, and you plant them in a field. If there are landmines in the field, the flowers over the landmines turn red. No kids blowing up, (as long as you can keep them from going to pick the flowers, but that's just parents knowing what's up with the flowers, I would think) no people afraid to build new houses or schools or water treatment plants in the area. Amazing. As Martha Stewart would say, It's a Good Thing. (By the way, these plants aren't NEW, but I hadn't heard of them before. Sorry if it's all yesterday's news to you...)

2. We've all heard about the amazing work done by Habitat for Humanity, right? Well, here's another amazing group called Architecture for Humanity. They provide ways for architects from around the world to create designs to help solve problems around the world. They are involved in reconstruction efforts following earthquakes, tsunamis, and hurricanes. The program they were talking about on the radio, though, was an attempt to reduce AIDS infections in South Africa. How in the heck can Architects affect the infection rate of AIDS in South Africa, one would rightly ask. Well, they did some research and discovered that one reason that so many young women get infected in South Africa is that there is no real place for them to gather, to come together and talk and find out information. So, what to do? They are building a soccar field, an amazing soccer field, combined with a health outreach program. They invision the coaches being medical professionals, and there being a medical clinic on site. And over 300 girls have already signed up to be in the soccer league, and the field isn't even built yet. Amazing.

3. On a more pop-culture type subject, have you heard about the new 6-part 'reality' series on FX, "Black. White."? Well, the premise is that they have taken two families, and with make up have made the black family look white, and vise versa. They have to live together for awhile, and of course the white family is pretty well off, because, well, aren't ALL white people country club republicans, and aren't ALL black people poor and into gangster rap? (not fair...the black family on this show is just your average middle class family, not the stereotype that some people fear...I was just talking about stereotypes in Hollywood there...)Maybe it's gonna suck, but it's kind of an interesting concept, and it's getting pretty good reviews.

4. I'm reading this book right now, because I can't seem to get into 'Cloud Atlas', which is the other book I'm 'reading'. This is my first experience with Alice Munro, and boy, she's an amazing writer. She writes short stories, but they aren't like most short stories that I've read. Usually, short stories seem to me to be snippets, like the author wanted to write a novel but ran out of ideas or something. They are so...slice of life-ish. Well, these short stories seem to hold a complete novel in the space of a short story. I'm really digging it. So, if you're in the mood for some good reading, pick this book up at your local library. :)

5. I got this from Wendy's website (we both did random thought posts today, too...I started this one this morning, and am just now updating it with #5 because of her post...). It's fun. You can find out the #1 song in America on the day you were born (assuming birth after 1940), your marriage date, whatever. The song for my birthday was "The Sounds of Silence", Simon and Garfunkel. Perhaps not so coincidentally, S & G was the first concert I ever went to see, in '82 or '83, Oakland Coleseum. Amazing concert. The #1 song on the day I was married was "That's the Way Love Goes" by Janet Jackson. Ugh. Doesn't sound like a good omen, does it? But as I posted on Wendy's comments, if I'm gonna take my omens from Janet, I'm doomed. At least we didn't get married on the same date in 1991, because then the song would have been "Rush Rush". GOD I hated that song. Maybe because my upstairs neighbor played it OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN, so loud that the walls would shake. What a horrid memory THAT is. #1 for Maya's birth date is "Because You Loved Me" by Celine Dion. I sure hope THAT's not the first concert she ever goes to see. Wait...too late...her first concert was BB King. Whew. Dodged a bullet there. Ted's birthdate song was "Mrs. Brown You've Got a Lovely Daughter" by Herman's Hermits. Never heard of it. So check it out, and have fun!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006


Today is the day that the 4th graders in our district (maybe the whole state?) take their writing test, to make sure no child is being left behind or anything like that. While I was taking Maya to school this morning, I asked her what she thought about the test. She said, "I hope we get to do personal narrative". I love that kid. Love that she doesn't get stressed out, just goes with the flow. A BIG part of that is the school. She goes to a public Montessori school (you read that right...public = free), and they have to do all of the testing that everyone else has to do. But they are really great about not STRESSING the test, not stressing the kids, etc. Seems like it's working, at least for my kid. I wish none of them were stressed by it.

Best to NOT be Poor. Remember that.

I have a cousin, K, who is poor. She has made a lot of mistakes in her life, stupid decisions, and is stuck with the consequences. So she finds herself the single mother of four young children, trying to get off of welfare, two dead-beat dads, etc. (One may pay some child support, I'm not sure.) How to get out of this situation, you may ask? Well, let's assume that education is the way to go. So, she goes to the local community college to take classes to get into nursing school. What about the 4 kids? Who takes care of them while she's in class? My grandmother, who is 83, and my great aunt, who is 81. They are NOT easy kids. Anyway, the point of this story is that through much sacrifice on the part of family, she finishes her pre-reqs for nursing school. But the local nursing school is so impacted, that they take all of the qualified applicants and put them in a lottery. K doesn't win the lottery, so no nursing school, despite her years of work to get there. So now what. Well, there is a technical college in town that will teach her to be a medical assistant. So K takes a student loan out, and goes through that program. Again, with a lot of support from my Grandma and Great Aunt. Finally she finishes, and finally she gets a job at a local hospital, being an assistant in the OB/GYN department. A job she LOVES. Where they really like her a LOT. Where she can get off of welfare and start to support herself for the first time in her life. Yay! Relief heard round the world.

But wait...She has a medical problem. She has been bleeding for well over a year now, and desperately needs a hysterectomy. They give her medication and so on for the bleeding, but nothing works completely. She really needs the surgery. Can she get it? No. MediCal says, "Is she dying? No? Sorry, no surgery." So she's stuck, slowly bleeding, which has to drain all of your energy and strength and make you more susceptible to illness, and wait, she's got 4 kids and is trying to finish school and get a job and so on. So now, she has her new job. A job where they have her on a 6-month probation, where if she misses 1 day of work, she's fired. Where if she is sick, or someone dies, or whatever, TOO BAD. Suck it up. Or you're fired. So she has to continue to bleed. Ironic, since she works in the OB/GYN department, that she can't take the time out to get the surgery she needs to get healthy. Well, last week she fainted at work. Fell and hit her head on a table and was unconscious for 45 minutes before they could revive her. Can she get the surgery? No, because she might miss a day of work, and then she would be fired. God, it makes me mad. So they did a procedure to remove polyps the other day, and she's on desk duty so she won't fall and hit her head again, but she has to stay in this condition until the end of her 6-month probation. I think she has about 4 or 5 months still to go.

It makes me mad, because if she had had decent insurance instead of state insurance, she could have had this surgery before it got to this point. Stupid MediCal. It truly sucks to be poor. And I think of all of the people out there, suffering because they have no money for needed treatments, and they are just stuck. Stuck in the mud. And blamed by so many for being poor, like it's a moral sin, or something that they chose. So, remember, don't be born to poor parents, and don't get sick without decent insurance, and don't fool yourself into thinking that a safety net is anything but the rock bottom net, and don't think that we can't lose even that net if the powers that be decide that we don't deserve it. Grrrr.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Monday Already?

How does this happen? I'm just starting to feel like I am getting all relaxed and have enough sleep and wine and time with the family, and BAM, it's Monday again. Sigh. Anyway, a fun weekend was had, definately. Friday we went to a birthday party for Ted's sister, and everyone dressed up like characters from Sci-Fi's series, Battlestar Galactica. I know, we're dorks. But it's fun. :) Best Dressed, Sister and Mom, as the President and someone else. I know...I'm not even a good dork, because I don't know the character's names. It's a great show, but Ted and Maya are definately more into it than I am. So we watched BG, ate beef (except for the non-beef-eaters), and had some mighty fine wine.

Saturday was a lazy, do nothing type of day. We went to brunch at a nearby restaurant, Heavenly Cafe. Maya had the breakfast burrito, I had a BLT with fruit salad, and Ted had a chicken burger with fries. All very yummy. Best part? Maya couldn't finish her burrito, so I got some. MMMM. I was very torn between the BLT and the burrito, so now I know I made the right choice, since this way I got both. ;) What else did we do on Saturday? Well, I thought we might go to a bookstore, and Ted decided he wanted to go to a GOOD bookstore, so off to Berkeley. But there was a big basketball game going on, and maybe a concert as well, so we could not find parking anywhere NEAR the bookstore, so we gave up. Then we decided to go to the Lawrence Hall of Science and see the maggot exhibit. (I know.) Well, they were getting ready to close, so we didn't do that either. So we stopped and checked out the pretty view of Berkeley, SF, et. al.(I didn't take any pictures, but here's one from the Lawrence Hall of Science webcam)Then we went home to the Creek, and went to a bookstore there. I picked up a used copy of "The Time Traveler's Wife", which I thought I owned already, but realized that I was loaned "The Pilot's Wife" years ago, which I never read, and had the two mixed in my mind. So I'm putting that on my list of upcoming books. We went home, and Ted made a wonderful Lamb Curry. Mmmm. We ate that, with some mighty fine Roti cooked by Ted and Maya, and some green beans to keep us regular. Maya HATES green beans, so she gets extra credit for getting them down. After that, Maya went to bed and Ted and I watched Bubble.
Sunday, we had a lazy-ish morning, but then Ted had to go work for a couple of hours. Maya and I went to Target (Hey, Autumn's Mom, pick up that tax software yet?) and got some shirts for Maya and some lasagne pans (couldn't find any around our house). Went to the grocery store, got ingredients, came home and started cooking the lasagne. Let me tell you, that is a labor of love. I don't make it very often, because it's a lot of work. The recipe I used was from Lidia's Italian American Kitchen, and it was yummy. It's differnt from other lasagne's I've made in that the layers were pretty much seperated, and you fold the noodles over the middle, like a big envelope. Pretty. And tasty. More noodly than most lasagnes; less saucy.

I discovered that I have questionable morals. If there is anyone out there who is the least bit surprised, raise a hand, please. I didn't think so. My yoga teacher was talking to us about the causes of suffering, and how to be free of them. One of the ways she mentioned was the principle of non-harming, and among the ways to not harm is the not lying. Well, when we went to the grocery store to get ingredients for lasagne, the baggers were a bit over-zealous, and I got a halibut filet (price $20!) in my bag that I did not pick out, or pay for. I discovered that, along with a small turkey breast cutlet, when I got home. Well, if I were a thief, I would have somehow stolen them. If I were honest, I would have returned them. But I kept them. So I'm in between a thief and an honest person. I'm a liar, keeping what doesn't rightfully belong to me. I didn't want to bother going back to the store, and I have some yummy dill-herb butter in my fridge that is going to go very nicely on that halibut for dinner tonight. Sigh. If I ever lecture any of you abour your morals, or lying, remind me of the halibut incident. Just so you know, though, I do not intend to feel guilty about it. I intend to enjoy it. I'm hoping the lasagne that I made for our sick neighbor will even out the bad karma. I'll let you know if we get food poisoning or something.

After dinner, we watched the Academy Awards for some reason. I had some wine and Ted ironed a HUGE pile of clothes. I married well. ;)

As for the Oscars, I didn't see Brokeback Mountain, so I can't speak to the 'upset'. Ted saw it, and he said it was good but a little slow. He didn't like 'Crash', though, so he wasn't too happy with the way things went. I like Reese Witherspoon's dress, though it looked kind of like a tablecloth. That's all I got on that.

So, I'd like to thank the academy for this lovely husband for making a wonderful curry and ironing a butt-load of clothes...Lunardi's for a free Halibut Filet...and everyone else I've forgotten to thank for every moment in my life so far. Good night.

Sunday, March 05, 2006


So last night we finally sat down and watched Bubble, which is the movie I told you about in January. We Netflixed it, and it took awhile to come, but it finally made its way into our DVD player. Summary? Worth a rental. It's an interesting experiment, and amazing to know that the people in the film are not actors. None of them, I don't think. Yet, they do a good job of conveying the desperation, or perhaps the boredom, of everyday life, and of how difficult it can be to escape from that. Not that everyone's life is that boring, but theirs certainly is, and it seems like the 'actors' lives' were pretty boring before this opportunity came along. You should watch the deleted scenes, too, because there's some explanation that might be interesting. And I liked watching about the actors, too.

Was it a nail biting thriller? A romantic comedy? A who-dunnit that keeps you guessing? No, none of these. What it is is a little experimental film, and I think it's fun to watch some of those once in see what filmmakers might come up with if they weren't so driven by the narrow ideas of the studios and the allmighty dollar.