Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Most Important Meal of the Day

How bad can your day be when you start off with Wham! and Irish Oatmeal with pumpkin and raisins?

One of my many transformative projects is getting my eating under control.  It's not so much about weight control -although saying adios to 10 pounds wouldn't kill me - as it is about sanity and health.  I binge at work because I fluctuate between despair, boredom and stress every fifteen minutes.  Thank goodness that I don't work for a posh corporation with well stocked mini-kitchens every ten feet.  I visited a friend at Google once, I gained ten pounds just walking through the building.  I can readily admit to having no self-control.  Me and unlimited fro-yo would be a bad combination.

A few weeks ago I felt this incredible need to shop, but no dinero.  Luckily we had a stack of gift cards that have been floating around for years.  I took the kid on a shopping spree at Gap Kids (thanks Grammy), hit Barns and Noble and Williams-Sonoma.

I have to admit to being overwhelmed at W-S.  I am a total gadget whore, but geez, there it was too much.  I ultimately decided to buy a cookbook.  The kid and I narrowed down the choices to French Cooking and Eating Well.  In her infinite 4 year-old wisdom she choose the cookbook Eat Well.

It's a basic cookbook.  Lots of olive oil, kosher salt and roasted things, but it has gorgeous photos and gave me lots of good ideas for meals - especially breakfast.  Is it weird that I am 35 years old and I don't really know how to feed myself?  I mean, know how to feed myself, but I don't feel like I'm in charge of what I eat.

I grew up in a household where every meal was the same...but just a little bit different.  Every meal had a piece of meat, frozen veggies, a starch and an iceberg lettuce salad with carrot and hard boiled egg (With the yolks removed, thank you very much!).   I thought that eating fresh veggies was something that required a lot of time and effort.  I thought that broccoli was supposed to be that sickly puke green color.  We didn't blanch, we boiled the shit out of everything.

I went to college and ate in the dining hall.  When I was 23 and living with roommates, I certainly  never thought about eating well, and then I lived with Wifey.  She is the cook in the family.  She takes the time to make herself a meal.  If I'm at home and I'm hungry I will go the the refrigerator ten separate times for individual slices of lunch meat rather than make myself a sandwich.   So I never feel truly full, I never feel that I've taken a break, and I end up over eating.

The thing is, I don't necessarily want to eat the way I did in my mid-western childhood, but I feel like I still need my own food identity.  Weird, right?  Seriously, though, how you feed yourself is intensely personal and totally subjective. (Just try and convince me that bleu cheese does not taste like dirty feet.) How can we ever feel satisfied if we don't take some time to figure that kind of stuff out.  What does my body like?  What makes me happy?  What will make me healthy?  I think that the answers to these questions are different for every person.  I think that part of my journey is taking more responsibility for myself.  The core stuff - my health and emotional well being.  I can't believe that I am about to quote an animated movie in connection to my mental health, but as Chef Gusteau says, "Anyone can cook."

Anyway, inspired by my new cookbook and with a rare opportunity to go grocery shopping in the early afternoon I decided to make three dishes - butternut squash soup, a gratin of winter root vegetables, a bean and pancetta dish and pumpkin oatmeal.

Have you ever tried to peel a butternut squash?  Did you know that one, not THREE, butternut squashes will yield nine cups?  A lesson learned without losing a finger.  I'll call that a success.

I'm also thankful that the kid's highly flammable Cinderella costume that she has taken to putting on everyday after school did not catch fire when she stirred the coconut milk and curry paste into the soup. 

My last project of the evening was the oatmeal.  I made myself an omelet on Monday morning and took the time to eat it, even though it made me late to leave the house, and I felt good all morning.  What? Eating real food, not sugar, gives you energy???  I made breakfast, portioned it in to-go containers and had it ready to go...ahead of time!  Oatmeal with pumpkin (canned), cinnamon, brown sugar and raisins is awesome ten ways until Sunday.  Seriously.  It was such an awesome breakfast.

I feel a little teary just thinking about it.

Looking forward to breakfast,

Friday, November 13, 2009

I'm trying, but...

What do I do now?  I've posted all the things that need to be sold like a good little to-do lister, but after the initial rush of selling the dryer, we've hit a dry patch.  I'm ready to just donate everything to have the satisfaction of having it finished.  Garage empty.  Game over.

This week was strange.  I feel oddly at peace, but unable to focus.  I feel like I've made some major decisions, but don't know where I'm headed.

In therapy, I asked my therapist (whose name I had forgotten!), "how exactly does one do therapy?"  Yeah, you talk, I know, but what do you talk about?  Do you propose a question and then discuss?  Do I need to prepare notes before I go?  My therapist's answer (whose name I now know) didn't help.  Apparently, it's up to me.


Off to prepare a therapeutic Powerpoint,

Monday, November 9, 2009

Project Updates and More!

I am very happy to report that the garage project is coming along. I reported last week that Wifey went in and gave the garage a 2am ass kicking. She got all of the junk better organized and consolidated. Then on Saturday after freaking out about how overwhelmed the garage was making me, I proceeded to load up my car and take a huge load of stuff to the East Bay Creative Re-Use Depot. It was weird to let some of the stuff go - like the Balinese xylophone (It looked like #7 in the photo to the left, but much more beautiful.  It had an ornate frame with red and gold lacquer paint.).  Gone is our seldom used picnic backpack, the fish bowl (R.I.P, Raspberry) and a stack of board games that we will never, ever play again.  There is a light at the end of the tunnel and and the train is not coming.

In other news, we're continuing on our journey for baby #2. The most difficult and humbling aspect of the whole process for me is that it is COMPLETELY OUT OF MY HANDS - to a certain extent. You can obsess over your fertile mucus, pee on a stick (POAS) for days on end, and still when the time comes to...deliver the goods, you could still not get it right. Maybe we'll do everything perfectly and it won't happen the first time, or the third or even the fifth, but then again, maybe it will. Also, you can't rush things.

I want to rush things.

Can I just be pregnant right now and skip the anxious waiting and the uncertainty?


Trying to be patient like the grasshopper,

P.S. I found this video of the Balinese Rindik!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A Boss Lady Takes Care of Business

It is a time for epiphanies and getting down to business. A few nights ago Wifey stayed up until some ungodly hour organizing the garage.  It looks much, much better, but in the end, it's still just a bunch of our crap only presented in a much more palatable way.  What is it that we're holing onto in there?

This was Wifey's take on the situation....
We pursued these dreams with our whole hearts. But then we moved on, and it's time for the garage to reflect that. I know deep down that we won't be returning to those pursuits (no more catering in my future, or beta fish, for that matter), simply because our dreams are bigger now. Our life experiences have broadened our capacity to pursue all our grand ideas, but unless I unload the remnants of dreams already lived, we won't have room for them.

I just started a new book this morning called, London Calling by Edward Bloor.  The main character's observation of his mother hit me like a ton of bricks:

Mom doesn't live in the present at all.  She lives in the past and in the future, but not in the present.  She hates the present.  The present is all bad for her; it is a punishment time that she has to endure.

Whoa.   Here is something that I never want my kid to say about me, but I can see it happening.  I can feel myself doing it.  I'm not necessarily one to glorify the past, but I am always waiting for some glorious future.  The future where I am a published author.  The future where I am a successful photographer.  The future in which I have a thriving community built on fully realized relationships.

I feel like I can see the problem, and now comes the business of fixing it.  Oh thank goodness I have a therapy appointment today.

Open for business,

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Project Update: The Backyard

I'm making progress! 

Of course looking at it in the photo, it's not so impressive, but it is, in fact, progress. 

I finally put in the rock border and moved around a couple of plants.   From left to right we have a fern (that was a gift three years ago from friends), an impatient (started from a cutting that the kid received at her birthday party), a rabbit ear and a red hot poker plant (also from cuttings from her birthday party).  I need some sort of ground cover, I am realizing, but I think that once the plants bulk up, they will fill up the space nicely. 

This is the other side of the yard.  In the back corner we've got a bamboo that I'm hoping will eventually fill up the entire back wall.  We got the plant about three years ago and it was a single stalk.  Next to it, on the left, is a begonia that just keeps on growing.  We moved it from our last house and it never stops blooming.  We've got two elephant ear plants that we thought were not going to make it there, but are really taking off and in the middle of them a blueberry plant.  Yes, the blueberry plant is a little out of place, but it was a gift from the kid's birthday party and I really didn't know where else to put it. 

The vine that is snaking off the the right is a dying pumpkin plant.  Two weeks ago that thing had taken over our ENTIRE backyard.  I cut it back like crazy because I just couldn't stand it any longer and I don't know if our two pumpkins are ever going to ripen, but so be it.  The wifey hates the broken planter thing on the right. 

Don't tell her I said so, but from this angle, I get her point. 

Ho, ho, ho, green giant,

Happy (belated) Halloween!

Thank you, little blog

I feel like something profound is going to happen.  Something good and I think that my little blog, the blog that no one reads (and that's ok!!!), that is just sitting out there in the internets giving me some small space in which to express myself, has helped.

This has also been, for me, a results oriented blog.  There is a task that I wish to accomplish - moving to New York - and there specific steps that I need to take in order to get there. Many of those steps are not straight forward, but they at least involve forward movement.  It is such a positive outlook.  It is positively un-me.

Maybe that's why it's working.

Yesterday I took, what I think at least, is the biggest step of all.  I made an appointment with a therapist.  I said some words out loud that i never thought I could: childhood trauma, sexual abuse, an incarcerated parent.  I feel so much lighter just for having said those things over the phone to the woman doing the intake, I can't imagine how talking to the actual therapist will feel.

I've always felt like I have been operating at about a third of my full capacity.  I feel like I have the potential for greatness if I could just tap into that part of me that has been inaccesseble. 

Ready to get the party started,

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


We've been back from our NW trip for a few days.  The dogs are back, the puppy has already soiled the rug and I feel the stress of our everyday lives slowly creeping back into my shoulders which are inching their way back up around my ears.  After five days in a quite little house in SE Portland we've realized that our street is very loud and that our lives are very hectic.

We left for our trip riding a epic wave of stress. On the drive we talked a lot about simplifying our lives. At the Applebee's in Medford, OR simplicity didn't seem so great.  If leading a simple life means going to my neighborhood Applebee's for drinks on a Friday night, I'll figure out how to make complicated work.

Portland, however, was something different.  Our friends are renting a house that could eat ours for $1100 a month.  Food is cheap, good and the food carts, oh the food carts!  Not once did I feel dumpy, dowdy or horribly out of fashion.  It was really freakin' comfortable.

Then I thought about our current lives, our future lives, living in NYC, figuring out what we're going to do with our house when we move, how we're going to pay our property taxes and I felt scared.  Really scared.  Panic-y almost.

Are we doing the right thing?  We are hoping to make our lives work in the one place that could possibly prove more complex.

I don't really want to move to Portland.  I really want to move to NYC, but I don't want to move to NYC and flounder.  I want to move to NYC and kick some ass!!!!  Realize my dreams.  Finally feel like I'm doing the right thing.

Not quite ready to embark on the journey,

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Great NW Roadtrip

Part of our NY plans involve saying a proper goodbye to the West Coast. When you're just living your life day-to-day it can be difficult to remember to enjoy the many, many amazing things that are within your reach. Our first mini-trip was to Mt. Diablo. It was so beautiful and it's in Walnut Creek. Walnut Creek! If you're not from the Bay Area, we're talking about a twenty minute trip to the entrance of the park. Why did it take us so long to visit???

The other major trip that we wanted to take was to the pacific northwest - specifically Portland. Wifey lived here years ago when she was young and prone to doing things like egging restaurants. (I married a restaurant egger!!!) She has friends from those days who are now also married and have spouses and children that she's never met. We thought that our chances of making it up there were better from the same coast than from 3,000 miles to the east.

I haven't had much chance to write and this is our third day, so I thought I'd give you the high(low)lights.

1. After carefully planning to leave at 12:30, we pulled out of the driveway at 3:00pm. Wifey and I both had MUCH work drama and were stressed out of our minds. On the bright side, however, I came to an epiphany of sorts in the drive-thru of Taco Bell - because inspiration can strike at any time. (More on that epiphany later!)

2. We stopped in Medford, OR to spend the night. The Hampton Inn, if you ignore the suspicious looking, rather sticky spot, at the foot of the bed, was pretty cute. The kid loved the hot tub and I worked out for 20 minutes in the fitness room while watching ANTM. A win-win situation!

3. Before leaving Medford, we stopped to see Wifey's sister who had just had surgery the day before. The grumpy hospital people practically bit our heads off when we walked into the hospital with the kid. They had decided to not allow children into the hospital because of H1N1 concerns, but they didn't actually tell us this, they just kid of barked until we backed out of the building.

4. The drive as you approach Mt. Shasta is beautiful and as we descended out of the hills on the other side, the colors on the trees were just gorgeous! There are trees that are so red that they look like they are on fire.

5. Portland is cool and there is coffee on every corner. We're staying in the SE section of the city about three blocks from Stumptown Coffee Roasters. We've been here for two days and we've been there four times already!

6. We went to a rad pupkin patch with Wifey's friend and his family. I think that I have only been to antiseptic city pumpkin patches before. I was mystified when the hayride drove us out into the fields, dropped us off in the actual pumpkin patch where we rooted around in the field for pumpkins and then got back on the next hay ride, tractor thing. Country livin'!

7. There is an entire store devoted entirely to clogs. The kid tried on a pair of lime green clogs. Clogs on kids have to be the cutest thing ever, but unfortunately, she was not into them at all.

8. We found out this morning that a co-worker of Wifey's died, likely by suicide. Considering that they have a boss in common, this was doubly ominous news.

I hate to go out on such a somber note, but that's it for now. On tap for the rest of the week is a trip to the movies (Where the Wild Things Are), ice skating (the kid's first time), Powell's, maybe the Zoo and more coffee than you can shake a wooden stir stick at.

Keeping it real in flannel,

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Elsie's Northwest Adventure!

We're packing up and leaving for a week-long road trip to Portland, OR.  It will be awesome.  We've got the first Harry Potter on CD for the ride up, we've got built in family drama and I have a mission. 

Nutria hunting.  Ok, not with a gun or anything - Elise doesn't do firearms - but ever since I discovered these overgrown rats, I've been dying to see one.  Apparently you can find them along the Willamette River, which conveniently runs through downtown Portland.  I'll been looking for you! 

This little jaunt does actually relate to our NYC move, but I've got to do some actual work before we hit the road - always have to go out looking good on the job! 

Until then.....

Isn't it awesome!

Ready for the rodents,

Another Small Victory

Wifey reached her own small milestone on our long list of things to accomplish before moving....the perfect t-shirt in celebration of Oakland.

 Our cups runneth over.

Progress, is progress,

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Focus People

Help.  This is our list of things that we considered vital to accomplish before trying to get pregnant; thus making us "move ready".  In other words, important shit.  

The stuff in black is the original list that was created back in August. It mostly reflects things associated with getting our house in shape to rent and reducing our clutter.  The current status of each line item is in red. 

  • finish border around tree in front yard  (OMG, a task completed.)
  • mulch yard (I started on this, but grossly underestimated the amount of mulch we'd need.  Haven't been back to the nursery to get more.)
  • backyard - weed and add border to flower beds (I got the river rocks - all 600 pounds of them - and even laid out where they will go, but haven't actually dug anything.)
  • find new home for slide/teeter totter  (Friends said that they would take it, but yet, they are still in our yard. Going to e-mail them right now.)
  • repair BBQ (Ha!)
  • Drip watering system for container plants (I toyed around with some 2 liter bottles and quickly lost interest.)
  • new plantings for empty pots (We've got the potting soil, and I got the Japanese maple and flowering maple planted. Three pots to go.)  
  • photograph items to sell
  • place ads on Craigslist (Got the first round out, but there is still so much random junk that is just too overwhelming.)
  • donations (Took a trunk load of stuff, but I'm sure that there is more.)
  • make any repairs necessary
  • reduce, reduce, reduce (I'm trying, I'm trying.)
  • shred old files (These are starting to accumulate, but that's about it.)
  • consolidate bills into one filing system
  • purchase filing cabinet  (Purchased and assembled by Wifey in 29 minutes. Yes, we timed it.)
Living Areas
  • continue to purge
  • bookshelf -cover books that we're keeping
  • paint  (Wifey was inspired one morning and painted three walls on-the-fly. While a definite improvement, we still have to finish.)

    I feel like a loser.  We've fully completed two tasks.  Two!!!!  How are we going to move?  Are we trying to sabotage our efforts to move?  Are we not ready to make the necessary sacrifices to do this?  We're going on a week long road trip next week, should we stay home and clean instead?  How do you maintain focus in a life that you're trying to escape because it's, well, too complicated.  How do you motivate yourself to expend extra energy when you're so fucking depressed all the time?  When your job is a joy-drainer?  When you're constantly worried about money? 

    AAAAAAAGGH! Maybe we should be moving to Duluth instead of New York. 

    Please, someone tell me how to do this. 

    Sitting a little puddle of doubt and self-pity,

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Every Little Victory Counts

This little experiment of mine is all about taking chances, right? 

Today I rocked the legwarmers like it was 1984.

I rocked them tucked into the boot, over the boot, pulled high and slouched low.  I felt so fashion forward. These legwarmers have been floating around in my sock drawer for seven years. I bought them for the three months that I decided that ballet was going to be my new form of exercise, never used them, but could never quite bring myself to part with them either.  They're DKNY for Pete's sake! 

We had our first real storm of the season and the rain gave me a stroke of inspiration. Legwarmers.  Legwarmers would a) keep the rain out of my boots, b) make my ten year-old boots that I bought in Italy look hip and happenin', and c) prove to myself that I can take risks (even the tiniest, einsyist, fashion risk), survive and thrive. 

I don't know if anyone else liked my outfit. Actually, and I can say this with absolute certainty, I don't really care.  I felt awesome and I had a spring in my step.  Ha.

Celebrating victories whereever I can get them,


Monday, October 12, 2009

Oh, baby!

Of all the things that we hope to accomplish before we leave the Bay Area, moving with a bun in the oven is very likely the craziest. It is also our most closely guarded secret. The process of creating a baby is an emotional roller coaster when it's going well, and devastating when it's not. The last thing that we need are naysayers telling us that we're nuts, reckless, etc...

Talk to the hand 'cause my uterus ain't listenin'.

Our decision to do this pre-move is partly based on the resources available to us here in the Bay Area - a lesbian-owned sperm bank, a lesbian owned midwifery practice that offers LGBTQ childbirth classes and more lesbian families than you can shake a stick at. It's also all very familiar. We've been down this road once (with fantastic results!) and given the complexity, oh, lets be positive and call it the "richness", of our current lives, it's not something that we're willing to give up.

When we conceived our daughter five years ago, our only major source of stress was our border collie.

Now we have a mortgage.
We have to pay insanely high property taxes.
We have jobs with greater responsibilities.
We are feeling the pressure to make something spectacular happen in our lives.
We're older.
Oh, and we have a freakin' kid.

Despite these challenges, we really want our daughter to have a sibling. We want to experience the joy of babyhood one more time. To kick start the process, we went to a class last week held by those wonderful lesbian conception and childbirth educators. It was all about learning to recognize the signs of ovulation and fertility to increase your chances of conception. Great class, but what did we do the minute the class was over? We we to a bar, sat our asses down with some wine and dissected the other three couples there.

The couple on the couch? Breaking up.
That kind of butch looking chick on the end? Obviously uncomfortable with her gender identity.
That stern woman and her partner? Is-sues!! OMG, and how old is she anyway?

Terrible, I know. Why do women do this to each other? 

I've gotten off track. My point is this. We believe in our decision, no matter how nutty it might seem from a distance. I believe in my body, as the vessel that will hopefully deliver us a healthy baby, to be up to the task - I truly believe that this is just a critical as good timing.

I haven't decided yet how much I plan to share about the process. There are many, many women out there blogging about TTC. I enjoy them. I enjoy reading about what is happening and what they are thinking, but I can get obsessed, jealous and despondent. I know this about myself. I am working on it, but I'm not quite there yet.

I also don't want the TTC process to become my whole life. There is a really high chance that it won't happen the first time, or the second or maybe even the third and I need to be able to maintain some balance. I want to write about the experience, but I don't want to become it. I guess I'll just see how it unfolds.

Thinking fertile thoughts,

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Project Updates

Project #2, the CD situation, is a wrap.  Ta-Da!!!

I do realize that in the grand scheme of things, that I have no right to feel so proud of my accomplishment, but I will take my pride where I can get it.

I am proud, proud, proud, I am proud!

It is done.  The assigned task has been seen to completion.  I engaged in adult conversation with my partner to rationally discuss how we approach a shared situation.  I say that it doesn't matter that Wifey didn't really think it was that big of a deal in the first place, or that organizing our CD collection is not physically getting us one step closer to NYC, or that normal people just put their shit away on a regular basis and don't find themselves in this situation.  Whatever.  What matters is that I started this project and finished it.  Doors are closed.  Mind at ease.  So, maybe it's getting us closer to our goal after all!

Also, I have exciting news on Project #1, the garage....the refrigerator is gone!!!!  After two people flaked, and I exchanged e-mails with a half dozen others, Joel, lovely Joel with the big truck, came and took it away.  Every time I pass through the pantry I have to sneak a quick peek into the garage, just to look at the empty space.  It is so divine.

Ready to kick some ass,

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Because I'm just that mean.

Imagine watching this over and over and over and over......

Feeling the magix,

Toenails, Tulle and Princess Movies

"Check your 'effing messages."

This terse little missive from Wifey landed around 1pm on Friday.  The two places that I do not have cell reception are at home and in my office, which as you might imagine, can be problematic if you're the one trying to get in touch with me.

I checked my messages immediately with visions of my child as roadkill dancing in my head.  Knowing that this would be my first reaction, Wifey considerately prefaced her message with, "Everything is ok...."  Ok, except that one of her toenails was currently perpendicular with her foot.  Ouch!!!

To make matters worse, this wasn't just an average Friday to be in excruciating pain.  It was a Friday in which Wifey was supposed to make a room look like a cloud (don't ask), I was preparing for a wedding shoot on Sunday and we had plans to spend two nights at a friend's house in the country.  What were we thinking???

Obviously we are not completely sane, because Wifey continued to work - climbing ladders, moving furniture, and I raced home to pick up the Kid and pack the car for our trip.  I won't leave you in suspense, the trip didn't happen.  Instead, I took Wifey to the doctor and then we ate Indian food while watching back-to-back episodes of the Winx Club.   

Yes, these are the wonderful ladies of the Winx Club to the right.  With Wifey out of commission, I had to help with some of the last minute details of the cloud birthday party for the eleven year-old at her work.  (She works for rich folks, manages their staff, calendars, properties, events,....and cloud rooms.)  While I picked out princess movies for the party, the Kid picked out the Winx.  I really should have looked at the box more carefully because if you can't tell, the Winx are, well, kind of hooch.

The next day, Saturday, we had to head to IKEA to pick up one last white rug to complete the floor of the cloud room.  As terrible as IKEA on a Saturday sounds, it wasn't nearly as bad as Wifey realizing that she had forgotten to order the cake.

Of course, it had to be a specific cake - vanilla, chocolate filling and white GROCERY STORE frosting. One thing that you have to understand about Wifey is that she is a foodie.  No, a FOODIE.  To her grocery store cake and frosting is simply gross.  The subtle differences between buttercream and whipped cream do not register.  Gross.  All of it, gross.

Luckily, grocery store cake is pretty easy to come by.  We headed out to the nearest Lucky and Wifey hobbled into the store (don't forget the toe!) and came out with a cake.  Vanilla cake, no chocolate filling, but white frosting.  She got into the car and we both stared at the cake.  Was it really the right frosting?

We sat in the parking lot going back and forth for at least 10 minutes.  We opened up the cake box and sampled a little frosting from the bottom.  I tried to explain the subtle difference between the awful, fluffy, whipped cream nonsense, and the awesomeness of stiff, sugary frosting.  Which was the kind that old people liked?  Which would an 11 year-old like?  We drove around.  We fretted.  We hemmed.  We hawed. We went back to the store.

This time I, being the expert on all things low-brow and sugar, went in.  I examined the cakes.  I hemmed.  I hawed.  I wondered why I was in a Lucky on a Saturday hemming and hawing.

Buttercream.  It had to be buttercream.  Final answer. I went to the case so excited to finally be done with the whole process, but of course there was.no 1/2 sheet vanilla cake with white buttercream frosting.  F*CK ME!!!

After a quick conference with Wifey, we opted for a 1/4 sheet of vanilla cake and a 1/4 sheet of chocolate - both with buttercream.  F*ck up?  No way!  Just making sure that all of the guests would be satisfied.

But what of the other cake you ask?

I don't know that there is anything more satisfying than digging into a sheet cake with nothing but a fork.  

By the way, it was TOTALLY the gross kind of frosting!

Trying to accept the fact that life sometimes gets in the way,

Monday, October 5, 2009

Weekend: Sweet, but kind of makes you want to barf.

And this about sums up how things went:

More to come, but I'm still reeling.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Liking this new me

The new me bakes muffins from scratch for meetings. I rock!

I will have lots to share after the weekend...a wedding shoot, the garage project inches forward, apple picking...but until then, I leave you with my favorite feel-good song of them moment. Giant, dancing teddy bear things and a snappy beat, what's not to love?

Soooo happy it's Friday,

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

And the answer is.....

I should be sleeping. The kid is asleep. Wifey is long gone. Even the dogs are asleep. I haven't had a good night of sleep in three days. On Monday night some yahoo was wandering down the street whistling, in a shrill football coach kind of way at three in the morning. Tuesday we stayed up way too late watching The Wire. I'm at the point where I'm not even tired any more, but rather that wired-tired that means that you are really and truly screwed. Yesterday my blood pressure was 141 over 85. I really should go to sleep.

I'm sitting here at the computer, however, because I can't get the question that I posed to myself earlier today out of my head.

Is anger a wholly inappropriate emotion when someone, a friend, says publicly that they want to do the thing that you want to do?

Short answer: Yes, wildly inappropriate.

Long answer: You're angry because you're too scared to make yourself vulnerable. If you make yourself vulnerable, express emotion, give voice to your hope and dreams, people might laugh. Your mother might poke fun and others will disappoint you. Good God, I need a therapist.

When I was in the 4th grade I started taking violin lessons. In the beginning, I was awful. Really, is there anything worse than a nine year-old scratching out Twinkle-Twinkle?

Luckily, my musical abilities improved and I hit a high point in the sixth grade when I made second chair in the school orchestra. All of the other sixth graders, with the exception of my friend Jessica, were second violins, and I felt like the shiz-nits!

Don't worry, there will be no inflated egos here. Because the following year the bar was raised - it was time to introduce a vibrato. Vibrato (all that hand shaking that string players do) makes the music come alive, it adds depth, texture and, you guessed it, emotion.

I couldn't do it. Could. Not. Do. It. It was as if someone was aksing me to stand outside the school naked and read my diary. Through my sophmore year in high school I faked it the best I could, but I started to move further and further back in the pecking order - second chair to third and in my last year, fifth. I was starting to worry that I was going to suffer the ultimate humiliation and get demoted to second violin, so I quit.

Giving up the violin was not the end of my life, but I think the physical manifestation of my fear is just nuts. What else has it prevented me from doing? Ok, I can give two (or ten) examples but those are just the ones that I've thought about. How do you overcome this? By taking risks? Putting it all out there? Picking up the violin again? Maybe this is project #4 - getting sloppy with the emotions.

The whole point of moving is to have the life that I want. The career that I want. If I can't even be honest about what those things are, how are they supposed to happen?

Oh, boy.

No longer willing to be an emotional cripple,

Playing It Too Close to the Hand

Is that really a saying? Or is it just, "Playing it too close" or, "Playing a close hand" ?

I don't know, but the point is, when do you cross the line from being simply a "private" person to being weirdly secretive? I need answers because I think that my big toe, hell my whole foot is solidly over that line and maybe has been for a long time and I hope that there is still time to turn back.

I don't have nearly enough time to get into this today, but here are my questions to ponder:

a. Is anger a wholly inappropriate emotion when someone, a friend, says publicly that they want to do the thing that you want to do? (Yes, I know the answer to this is a big fat NO, but why, why, why am I so angry?????)

b. Holy heck, how did this writer, an Aussie at that, crawl into my head and write a book about every feeling that I ever had as a teenager trying to find her place in the world? How, how how???? Go out and read Liar right now!!! I can't wait to finish this book. So much to think about!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Project #2: The CD Collection

Living in a small house is like participating in a ongoing, ever changing, game of Jenga. This is why our stereo is in the living room and our CD storage is two flights of stairs away. When you want to, for example, blast Shakira's grandes exitos while wifey is out of earshot, you grab the disc, leaving the case behind, and shake your groove thang. Repeat, repeat repeat.

The problem, of course, is that after two or three months, the CDs start to pile up. When the stack by the stereo gets to high, we dutifully bring them upstairs, but typically neither of us has the time to actually put them back into their cases, so we stack them up, and up and up....

Recently the situation had gotten completely out of hand. It seemed like there were stacks of CDs all over the house and during our regularly scheduled cleaning on Sunday, I decided to tackle the project.

What I quickly learned, however, that it wasn't simply as easy as picking up a CD, reaching into the cabinet and returning it to the shelf. How in the heck was I supposed to know that the Edie Brickell Shooting Rubber Bands at the Stars case would be on the top shelf when the Everything But the Girl CDs were on shelves two and three and my Everclear (yes, I have more than one!) CDs were on the bottom shelf. Can't all the Es just live in harmony together????

After spending half an hour in a semi-crouched position and managing to return just four CDs to their proper homes, I had an epiphany. I would take every last case out of the cabinet and separate the ones that were missing discs, giving me a much smaller pool of candidates for my homeless CDs. Then I would group all the like artists together and return them all, in alphabetical order, to the shelves.

I was so excited. So proud.

At one point, I made a trip downstairs for a snack. Wifey was doing something on the computer.

Me: Hey, I am kicking CD butt upstairs,...[insert details of my awesome plan]

Wifey: [loooong silence] You know I just organized the CDs last week.

Me: [longer silence] Huh?

Wifey: Yeah, they are separated by shelf, top shelf is mine, second is yours, third is mine.... Oh and feel free to weed out your collection.

Me: [sputtering and stumbling over my words] What?....But I couldn't find....

Ok, you get the idea. I looked at the CD cabinet and saw a nonsensical jumble, she saw order. Really and truly, this isn't about right or wrong (even though I am always right!), but after living with someone for 10 years in 6 different houses, you'd think we would have worked this one out.

How can you know someone so well, but still not be able to figure out something so basic as how that person organizes her CD collection?

I hate conflict. I hate the potential for conflict, and maybe I'm not so willing to compromise as I think. Maybe I'm rigid...like my mother (gasp, horror) and never learned how to cohabitate gracefully.

Yikes, ouch, painful truth ahead!!!!

This is where that pesky goal of being a better partner comes into play. This seems like a pretty harmless way to start. Ask a direct question, "Wifey, how would you like to organize the CDs?"
"Oh, really, I would really like to do this, can we compromise and do this?"

So beautiful, so...adult. We'll see how it goes.

Trying to be a bigger and better person,

P.S. This is what happens when lesbian CD collections don't use protection.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Project #1: The Garage

I've been thinking a lot lately about the ways in which your environment can lift you up, inspire creativity, or at least make you not cry. And then there are the spaces that make you want to scream, stick your head in the sand, or in my case, stare blankly at the wall. Worst case scenario? The space in which you live or work or play turns you into a shaking, slobbering blob of stress and anxiety.

Guess who is drooling on her keyboard as we speak?

Ok, I'm not drooling, but I am shoveling Swedish fish into my mouth at an alarming rate. I can't help it, it is a reaction to my environment. Take my garage for example...

Is this the space of a woman who has her shit together enough to move her whole family cross country in six months? No.

Is this the garage of a woman who can't even find the tape measure to take the dimensions of the refrigerator, so she can sell it on Craigslis,t so she can even get to the ten other boxes of crap that need to be dealt with? Yep, that would be me.

I don't know how this happened. We didn't always have a refrigerator sitting in our garage, but when we inherited a larger, newer model from the MIL, what were we supposed to do? We inherited the fridge because MIL moved, but when she moved she thoughtfully brought us all the crap that we had stored in her shed when we moved three years ago. Now we are housing a desk, a bookshelf, a dryer and a traditional Balinese xylophone, called a tinklit, to name a few.

The other problem is that junk begets junk. It takes so much rearranging just to put the hammer back into the tool box that it seems perfectly acceptable to put it on top of the dog blanket, that is on top of the 4 track cassette mixer, that is on top the shelf where we keep the iron. It is like a pulsing, oozing sore that is sucking the life out of our house.

This is hardly my most glamorous project, but we have literally been hauling some of this junk around for years. Well, maybe different junk, but same jumble. This is one habit that I'm hoping to break.

First step, sell items on Craigstlist. I've been putting this off for ages because it seems so overwhelming. There are so many things and some of them I can't even reach, but I came up with a genius idea - don't try to sell everything at once.


Once the refrigerator is gone, I can get to the dryer. After the dryer goes I can get to the desk which is blocking the pile of donations. See, this is a habit to break....don't try to tackle an impossible problem head on.

I always joke (well, it's mostly a joke) that if it's not hard, why do it. Maybe it's time for a new mantra.

Details on the great garage sale to come!

Seeing a light at the end of the vortex,

Friday, September 25, 2009

Projects, Projects, Projects!

I am quickly finding out that moving two moms, a 4 year-old, and two dogs across the country without anyone losing their mind, their favorite blanket or a tail is going to take a lot of work. Just the logistics are mind boggling, but throw in the whole 80's make it better scene and we are talking about a Kilimanjaro sized goal. Heck, maybe even a K2 or Everest sized goal - it's that big. And, just to make it all the more exciting, we're going to try to have another baby along the way as well!

Yep, you heard right. We're going move, find new jobs, revamp our wardrobes, get some therapy, write a book (me), become the next Annie Leiboviz (also me), record an album (wifey), get out of debt, take two road trips, get our house ready to rent and make a baby. Awesome! Because really, if you're not doing the impossible, what fun is life?

I realize that some of these things might not happen in six months, but (brace yourself, it's cliche time!) this one is going to be about the journey. Yikes, did I just say that?

Achieving these things is really important to me. There is nothing wrong with wanting to feel good about what I do, about my body, accepting my past, creating something beautiful and fulfilling, creating a beautiful family, but for such simple things, they are quite elusive. Maybe this isn't how it is for everyone, but I am getting too old to to keep hoping that one day I will just wake up and have fulfillment shine down upon me from high. It's time to do the work. Shit or get off the pot. Be the change you want to see in the world. Yadda, yadda, yadda,....it's time for action. Maybe by some miracle this all happens in six months, probably not, but I want my feet firmly planted in the right direction.

So action it is.

Phase One: The Home Front, or, how not to lose your frickin' mind when you can never, ever, ever, find anything.

Coming up tomorrow....the garage.

Peace, love and home organization,

Thursday, September 24, 2009

New York? Yes, please.

I don't know exactly when my love for the Bay Area began to wane. I've spent most of my adult life here and this area has seen me through some pretty big milestones - falling in love, getting married, establishing a career,having a kid and buying a house. It seems that most people, normal people, would, at this point in their lives, thank their lucky stars for the good fortune to have achieved those things, sit back and enjoy life a little.

Me? No way. I've got an itch that only New York can scratch and I'm giving myself six months to get there.

Of course, this move is much less about the change in physical location (although I dream in brownstone) and more about the possibility of creating a better, more authentic me that will be a better partner, mother and friend. The problem facing me, however, is that I've moved, changed jobs, etc...but never really unloaded my baggage. I've rearranged nicely several times, but it's like one of those bushes that grow more vigorously when you prune it - take it out by the roots or you're screwed.

This time I'm ready to do the work. Old habits, however, die hard and I am hoping that sharing my journey will help me reach my destination. (Note to self: Step one in journey to fulfillment - articulate what you want to achieve. Outloud. Yes, someone might actually hear you and hold you to it.) See, we're learning already!

Giddy with anticipation,