Wednesday, December 31, 2008

new year's eve supper

I was going for a good luck theme:

La Brea Bakery french baguette
Trader Joe's spinach  + artichoke dip

cioppino courtesy of Whole Foods

deep fried fish stick things for the kids, also courtesy of Whole Foods

very quickly sauteed savoy cabbage with a dash of soy sauce and rice wine

rice pilaf with lentils, Whole Foods rice mix in a box, but hey, it works
tater tots for the kids

The kids and I stopped off at the BR for our free birthday scoops. Rainbow sherbet for the Z, chocolate for the O, and strawberry for me. So, no dessert, I think, though we do have some leftover chocolate coins.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

on 2008

I would not say it's been a year of complacency. We've had two job changes, a cross-country move, a major car accident resulting in the loss of my beloved station wagon, and an economy that is not cooperating with our wishes. But all of these upheavals are what makes life less humdrum.

We have our health. We've celebrated five years of marriage and 13 years of a life together. We are parents to two lovebombs of children who never cease in delighting us. We are repairing neglected relationships with family and friends and forging new connections as well. We have our necessities covered.

We count ourselves lucky. Although that knowledge doesn't prevent us from wishing for more creature comforts, we are allowed a little envy. After that wave passes, we emerge to see our children ready for hugs and kisses, the smell of something good wafting from the stovetop, and a stack of books on the bedside table.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

neighborhood envy

Today we crashed the playground and library of the neighborhood where we want to live eventually. It's a little posh, but then again, not too much of SF is not posh these days. The big draw is the convergence of three or four Muni train lines at the tunnel that will take you straight downtown - a beauty of a commute. Plus, the library is cozy with a separate children's room, and the playground is smallish but contained and with a bonus grassy field for running with complete abandon.

It's not to say that our 'hood is unacceptable, but having a more direct commute to the working world makes life much easier. And having a three screen  movie theater within walking distance seals the deal for us. When D-Money and I lived in Tarzana, we were a five-minute walk from the local multiplex and a quick drive from an independent movie place in Encino. In Chicago, we lived in Lincoln Square for a while and loved taking in movies at the Davis, which cost $5 per ticket - perfect. If we stayed in Chicago, we would've hunkered down in LS or headed out to Oak Park with its architectural history and - yes, you guessed it - movie theater on the main drag.

Not so much to ask for, right? Will it happen? We can only hope. And play the lottery a little more often.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

best moment of the day

Because D-Money is home for the holidays and can wrangle O, Z and I had a luxurious half hour of mama-daughter time, which we spent reading. We like Richard Scarry's books for his nearly OCD attention-to-detail illustrations and spend more time talking about the pictures than actually reading. 

I like these impromptu moments. Some nights we don't even get to reading, unfortunately. And I wonder if the kids will remember these positive times or the times when I have had it and lose my temper. 

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

I thought I was immune to caffeine

but it's past midnight and I'm still wide awake. Granted, I took a brief unexpected nap in Z's bed earlier because she wanted a little co-sleeping time. But I'd like to think it was that Thai iced coffee at 2 p.m. I can give or take the 'bucks but Thai iced coffee, how I love thee!

At least I got one private school app done. Woohoo!

Monday, December 08, 2008

we're in an economic downturn?

I wouldn't have noticed because I'm always broke, or close to it.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

what Sundays are like.

A chicken is roasting in the temperamental oven, Z is coloring, it's close to six p.m. and O is still napping. Laundry folded and ready to be put away. Making a to-do list for the week.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

important now

[psst...the pic on the left will make sense if you read the last paragraph in this post first]

This fall I've been consumed with the whole process of finding a school for Z and O. They're spending the next, oh, six or even nine years there, so it behooves us to pick a solid one.

The public schools that we've toured are pretty darn swell. We looked at one top SF public and came away underwhelmed. It's not to say it didn't deserve its good rep, but in comparison with others we've seen, it was comparable to a host of other district schools. We have one that is our top choice - we plan on eventually moving to that neighborhood, the principal is down to earth and straightforward, the parents who led the tour we were on were also down to earth, and the kids looked like they were having a good time. So we'll turn in our app with seven choices and try to forget about the process until late March when the results roll in.

We've toured four private schools as well. They also have their strengths, and, to be honest, they will be a better fit for the kiddos in the long run. However, the admissions process is competitive, based on a number of factors including parent interviews and screening of the kids. It's more personal and, as a result, generates many feelings of insecurity and inadequacy, at least on my part. We'll do our best to provide thoughtful answers to the essay questions, be ourselves at the interviews and tours, and submit our apps, then wait for the March letters.

All in, we're applying to 11 schools - 11 schools that'll work for our family. It's an incredibly stressful experience; even though we've done our research and due diligence, what if we're completely wrong? Part of the whole torment of parenting is that feeling that somehow you're going to screw things up no matter what your good intentions are.


I took Z to a family open house at one of the private schools. It was two hours; I fully expected to stay a hour tops. But Z had a ball. We hung out in the kindergarten classroom for a good hour, took a snack break, then headed up to the library. We didn't even hit the art room (I'm starting to suspect that she, like me, likes to create in solitude) and revisited the kindergarten classroom to close the day. I rarely get to see her in action in this kind of setting, and I have to say it was pretty neat to see her pretend play with these old school Fisher Price Little People toys. We're talking the ones from the '70s, like this a-frame house that I had when I was not that much older than her. Now I kind of want to find one just to have. I know, good luck with that, right?

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

just like home

The dust has settled from our near cross-country move. Camping out in an empty house for a week whilst waiting for your goods to show up was an experience. It wasn't horrible, but I have no desire to repeat it.

The kids are sharing a [very pink] room and have adjusted quite well. Better than I had hoped. They are stressed out, though. Naptimes are random and unpredictable, middle of the night awakenings more common than not, tantrums more explosive, appetites wane and wax. Despite the disruptions, they've been flexible and forgiving. It is wonderful to open the doors separating the master bedroom from the deck that leads directly to the backyard and have dinner there. The kids next door have taken a shine to my kiddos, and it's sweet to hear them playing together, albeit in our respective yards.

My happiness at being here is tempered by melancholy. I miss Chicago and the friends I left behind. I have great love for a number of people, places, and things. I'm glad that I had the opportunity to live there and to develop relationships with all sorts of wonderful characters. I have to believe that these ties I established will never be severed. We may drift apart but will come back together. I have friends from the LA years whom I've rediscovered recently. I hope that holds true with my midwest peeps. For me, it's always about the people.

Thursday, June 05, 2008


Here's the story on the move.

On a whim, I applied for a job in my field for a great company that's located in San Francisco. In my mind, I thought I didn't have a shot since I live in Chicago, and this is not the kind of job for which you would recruit outside of the city. Lo and behold, I got a phone call for an interview that snowballed into a job offer. I accepted it, and have spent the last few months in cold sweats and sudden panic attacks.

Moving is one of my least favorite activities in the world. To date, I have not packed a single thing, though I have gotten rid of bagfuls of random assorted items. I have to confess that I'm overwhelmed. This would be one of the opportunities where a magical fairy being would be really, really helpful.

Z is excited about moving to San Francisco. She's looking to the future. O has no concept yet; it'll hit him after we move. Regardless, it'll be a rough year. I'm fully not expecting us to feel comfortable for a while.

I will say that, as I was randomly driving around Monday evening and cruising down streets that were slowly becoming familiar to me again, I thought, "this is home. I've run away, and now I'm coming back. but not in shame or defeat. I'm not the callow person I was when I left, and maybe I've seen far too much of a lot of things, but I'm coming back as a wiser adult. would that make things different?" I was an angry young woman when I fled for L.A., and I'm not sure how much of that anger has truly dissipated. I know better than to blame people for old wounds. Perhaps I've come back at this point in time to make peace.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

karmic balance

frickin' tree in our backyard dropped a huge branch in the yard. 'twas large enough that it covered most of the backyard and took out a dead cable line.

no one and nothing was seriously damaged by said huge branch.

tree has lived past its prime, according to our tree guy. so it needs to come down. no shade come summer for poor D.

we'll plant another tree.

kiddos and I won't be around to enjoy the new tree.

but the robins and squirrels will.

Monday, May 26, 2008

what I'm pissed off about today

I'm conducting my annual purge the closet exercise, which is all the more urgent given that we're getting ready to relocate to my beloved hometown of San Francisco [more on that saga later], and I came across a pair of dark brown leather pants. They are simple, stylish, not overtly rock 'n' roll, with a slim cut, no pockets, and a subtle boot cut leg. I try them on. I cannot pull the zipper up. I am flabbergasted. For you see, these fancy pants are pre-pregnancy, pre-Chicago, pre-a whole lot of things. They fit perfectly well seven years ago!

Goddamn it.

I'm not sure why I'm even perturbed about it. I've had no occasion to wear leather pants, first of all. I can't complain about not shedding any pregnancy weight gain. I can't even complain about my post-pregnancy body because, yes, things are not as jaunty and firm as they once were, but neither has everything gone to pot. Entirely. I know better than to bare my midriff these days, at any rate. My vanity has only gotten a flesh wound in this instance.

But they're cute on, and it kills me that they will never grace my body with their cuteness again. Off they go to the thrift store [where I found them in the first place] for some other soul to discover.