Monday, March 30, 2009

B's Birthday

Today is B's birthday. He's 37-years-old. 

Biddy and I have had so much fun getting ready for his party this evening. It's a party for three–our family. Perfect.

We went food shopping this morning and got all of B's favorites. A filet mignon roast, Bernaise sauce, baked potatoes with sour cream, and romaine lettuce, croutons and grated parmesan cheese for a scrumptious Caesar salad made with my own homemade dressing. We also bought Duncan Hines moist dark-chocolate cake-makings and sour cream frosting. I know cake-in-a-box isn't very Betty Crocker of me. I know I could have and probably should have made him something decedent from scratch, but hey–I'm only human and I have a two-year-old. There's only so much one can take on and still achieve grace and style. 

When we got home, we promptly began making the cake. Biddy wanted to make cupcakes so we got out the cupcake pan and spooned in the yummy gooey chocolaty batter. We preheated the oven to 350 and as I bent down to place the tray on the middle rack, I remembered that we had forgotten a key ingredient. Oil. The recipe also called for oil. Crap! Out came the tray, yummy gooey chocolaty batter scooped back into the mixing bowl, oil poured in, mix well and again placed on the middle rack. All steps repeated with love.

While the cupcakes cooked, Biddy and I wrapped gifts. We used Cars decorated wrapping paper we also bought at the store, and lots and lots of tape. Two-year-olds don't get the concept of "a small piece" nor do they understand that if you roll tape between your finger tips, it will get stuck on itself very, very quickly. That said, our presents are wrapped, not with neatness but with lots and lots of love.

In 21 minutes the cupcakes were done. I wish I'd remembered not to fill them almost all-the-way to the top. I wish I'd remembered that cake rises. Needless to say, much of the cake wasn't in the cups any longer, much of the cake had overflowed onto the baking sheet. 

I cleaned the cupcakes up of excess runoff, set them on a drying rack to cool and put Biddy down for a nap. This afternoon after he wakes, we will frost and decorate them with multi-colored sprinkles. 

So, Biddy woke up and we decorated the cupcakes with Daddy's help. He was home and I couldn't keep him away from the fun. We then opened presents. A bunch of books, candles and cards. A nice haul, if I do say so myself.

After we cleaned up, it was just after 4pm. B sheepishly announced he had a brilliant idea. Let me set the stage–he's been wanting crab/lobster for over a month now and although we had sushi the other night with friends, raw fish didn't curb the craving. That said, he sheepishly announced that perhaps we should go get dungeness crab for dinner at the Woodhouse Fish Company, a reasonably priced, New England inspired, seafood restaurant highly recommended by a co-worker. Why haven't I heard about this place in the almost nine-years I have lived in San Francisco? More importantly though...You want to forego the fabulous dinner we bought for you? "Yes," he said, "but only temporarily. We can have it tomorrow night. We could spread my birthday out, right?" OMG. "Right!" I said, "It's your birthday."

We had the most scrumptious dinner. We had a ball sitting in a 50's inspired red vinyl booth. The place was terrific. The food was more than terrific. Go, going, gone. We highly recommend.


When we came home we sang B Happy Birthday, blew out candles and ate cupcakes. Biddy ran wild for about an hour afterwards until his sugar high ran out. He then passed out. We let the crab settle and then followed suit.

We love you B.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Pickle Fit

Today started as most mornings do with Biddy waking up around 6am. I went in and got him along with his paz, lovey, and loveyboo, (quite a feat in the dark, I'll tell you) and carried him and his crew back into bed with us. This tradition began when Biddy was six-months-old and graduated from co-sleeper to crib kid. 

He has his own tiny pillow, positioned smack dab in the middle of our massive King-size pillows, so he has a special place to rest his head each morning. He either snuggles up to one of us and falls back asleep (the optimal outcome) or lies quietly, fingering lovey and sucking his paz for 40-50 minutes. When he starts getting restless, is when you know you're in trouble. When he begins tossing and turning, I know I have only a matter of warm, sleepy seconds before Biddy leans over, nose to nose, and asks in his best morning kid-whisper, "Mommy, want to get UP?" Some days I don't, (okay–most days I don't) and either ask for one more snuggle which is accomplished by Biddy shimmying over and sharing my pillow, or just straight up saying I need five more minutes of curled up bliss. This is when I role over, tuck into a fetal position and hope five minutes actually means a full five minutes this time. 

So after "five" more minutes, Biddy gets down and retrieves my comfy pants and sweatshirt from the chest next to our bed. I trained him so well! It's nice not to have to get up out of my toasty bed AND be cold! One assault on the system is enough. He then makes a beeline to the living room to scour for cat throw-up (he's perfected the art of discovery) and reacquaint himself with his toys, while I make a beeline for the bathroom. 

Next stop: the kitchen. The tea kettle is started, the cats are given cookie treats and before Gracie, the queen of shrill, begins to cry incessantly, their water and food bowls are refilled. Speaking of shrill, within about five minutes of being vertical, Biddy wails, "Mommy, I hungry!" When he howls it, I have to act fast with Superwoman speed. Food MUST be produced and inserted in his mouth before his stomach growls too loudly because if I'm too slow or distracted, Biddy throws a Sarah Bernhardt inspired, fling himself onto floor, fists and feet flailing, tear shedding tantrum that can rival the best toddlers in the world. This is something I try to avoid at just past 7am.

Unfortunately, this morning Biddy wanted a pickle for breakfast and I said no. I offered cereal, oatmeal, a breakfast bar, applesauce, apple slices, yogurt and waffles but none of the above were the pickle he wanted and "no" was not the answer he was looking for. His tantrum went from Mach 1 to Mach 5 in an instant and the day was off to a banner beginning. Biddy then, in his anger, hit me. I gave him a stern warning saying if he did it again he was going into time-out, and of course he did it again almost instantly. Argh.

So–Biddy went into time-out, a minute passed, we had a recap convo, he said he was sorry, we kissed and hugged and went on with our day. The next time-out was about seven minutes later for pulling Tigger's tail, and the next about eleven minutes after that for hitting me again, and then another, and another, and yet another. 

I almost cancelled our play date because of the discord, but I really needed a break and an adult to commiserate with. Biddy was a gem–nothing like the snarl-toothed toddler he was before we left the house. I complained ad nauseam to Jennifer and then he proved me wrong. Huh? He was the poster boy for good behavior. Where was the crazy kid who terrorized me this morning?

Of course as soon as we got home, the crazy kid was back. I couldn't wait to put him down for a nap. I counted the seconds. He's now asleep and I'm deep breathing, trying to calm down and ready myself for the afternoon. I'm also thinking about my hair. I know that sounds weird, but it's a wonder I still have it. I seriously contemplate pulling it out on days like today–days when our sweet angelic Biddy has a pickle fit and turns into sour Darth Vader!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Where is Thumbkin? Where is Thumbkin? 
Here I am. Here I am.  
How are you today, sir?  
Very well, I thank you.  
Run away. Run away.

This is the first verse of a popular children's song. Biddy loves it. It's catchy, and fun, and when coupled with hand gestures makes for an animated good time.  

When you begin, your left thumb extends straight up, while your other fingers close into your palm. You then belt out (hopefully in tune) the question, "Where is Thumbkin? Where is Thumbkin?" and the right thumb rises to answer, "Here I am. Here I am." FYI–If your thumbs have rhythm, they can bob up and down to the lyrics, bending at the knuckle. The left then asks, "How are you today, sir?" and the right primly answers, "Very well, I thank you!” and then the left abruptly runs behind your back and the right follows suit. 

You then repeat the verse giving Pointer, Tall Man, Ring Man and Baby their due substituting each finger's name when their turn is up. 

This song is supposed to be sung with finger puppets so that when your Thumbkins stands up or your Pointers stretch to their full height, your child sees singing puppet heads not naked fingers. 

My question is, what are you supposed to do if you don't have puppet heads? What are you supposed to do if you're puppet-challenged and all you have are naked fingers? I grant you this isn't a big deal for Thumbkin or Pointer or even Ring Man and Baby but it is a big deal, a very big deal, for Tall Man. 


While Thumbkin gives off a "groovy, a-okay, it's all good" vibe; Pointer points to an "I've got a thing or two to tell you!" authority. While Ring Man mimics Beyonce's cry to "put a ring on it," Baby deserves a pat on the pinky for signing the I and J in American Sign Language. What's Tall Man got? Infamy! Tall Man is the obscene hand gesture. Tall Man is "The Finger" which sounds more like a mob moniker than a designation. 

So here’s my dilemma. 

How do I teach Biddy Thumpkin without teaching him to unwittingly flip someone the bird? 

Am I over-thinking this? Perhaps so… 

Monday, March 23, 2009

Video Tongue Wars

Biddy's grandparents live far away–both my mom and dad live in Colorado, B's mom is in Texas and B's dad is in Oklahoma. We miss them. Biddy misses them.

To keep them close, we show him pictures and they talk on the phone. The grandparents also make an effort to visit–they need their Biddy time just as much as he needs theirs. Our door has been revolving since Biddy's birth, with our spare bed in use just about every three months. They come like clockwork, welcomed with wide-open arms. 

We also bought a camera for our computer and do video conferencing every so often. 

Yesterday, we conferenced with Biddy's Meema (my mom). They had such fun. She showed him her dog Harley, and he showed her his motorcycles. He showed her his artwork and she asked if he could send one for her fridge. Biddy sang her Happy Birthday and we counted to ten. He proudly showed her his big boy underpants and his digger emblazoned t'shirt. They even got into a "stick your tongue out as fast as you can" contest. Biddy won but mom put on a good show. 

When we said goodbye, I could tell mom was sad. I could see her eyes begin to glisten as we logged off. I called her back a few minutes later to tell her it was wonderful to see her. She told me we had made her weekend. She also shared seeing us was terrific, but difficult. It made her miss us even more, made her wish even more we were already living in Colorado. 

Until then, ain't technology grand? Until then–same Biddy time, same Biddy station. 

Friday, March 20, 2009

How Many Boys Does It Take to Rescue a Race Car?

Biddy and B have taken to racing cars when B gets home from work. When B walks in the door, Biddy is ready, cars-in-hand waiting for him. Barely letting B change his clothes, they sit down on the floor to race. 

Typically they choose to do this in the kitchen as I'm cooking dinner. I've asked B to take the game into the hallway so they and their cars won't get trampled but he says no-can-do. "Why?" I ask as a green racer whizzes underfoot. "Because I just got home and I want to be near you," is his response. Awwww. Secretly, I think the real reason is, B likes seeing me dodge Matchbox hotrods. I have to say, I've gotten pretty good at it.

So they sit on the kitchen floor, revving their engines. On your mark, get set, go and off they zoom. 

The other night, an unfortunate spin out occurred–an out of control, rapid, twist and turn into the wall and under the stove. 

How many boys do you think it takes to rescue one very important race car?

Biddy, B and Tigger. My boys.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Big Boy Underpants

Biddy and I bought big boy underpants yesterday. The underpants have Lighting McQueen and Mater from the movie Cars on them, which is exactly what Biddy wanted. You gotta love movie merchandising!

Potty training hasn't been going very well. Biddy is somewhat interested but me, not so much. The idea of Biddy being potty-trained makes me somewhat sad. He'll be a real kid when he's out of diapers; he won't be a baby any longer. Also, the idea of Biddy being potty-trained makes me sort of anxious. A potty-trained kid adds a whole new level of parental responsibility. You can't just "let it ride" any longer, meaning, you can't eek out one final, final errand before returning home to change his soggy diaper. You can't push it. If your potty-trained kid says he has to poop–you have to stop. You have to locate a bathroom, hope to God it has those paper seat covers and sit there while he does his business which can take longer than you ever thought possible.  

I remember when Biddy was maybe six-months-old, we met my cousin and her kids for tea and music class. Theo, who was still potty training at the time, told his auntie he had to poop. Well, there was only one restroom in this tiny coffee shop and there were a ton of kids and parents crossing their legs waiting for him to finish. I learned that day that sometimes you just can't rush poop. So, I haven't been in a rush to really take on pooping in the potty until now.  

The other morning, during a play date at a friends house, Biddy wanted to pee in the plastic potty set up in the living room. They leave it in plain site so their son will hopefully take the hint and go. Nothing like the power of suggestion! When we walked in, Biddy didn't pay it any mind but after a while it intrigued him, especially after we told him he could flush his pee down the toilet upon successful attempt. That got him. Off came his pants, off came his diaper, he sat right down, and peed. Standing right up, he surveyed results, he grinned big, picked up the plastic potty and proudly beelined it to the bathroom to dump the contents, and flush. Flushing is fantastic to a two-year-old. In the end, he peed three times total and was so proud of himself, he beamed. 

So...that got me thinking that if Biddy is ready, I have to be ready too whether I like it or not.

When we came home that day, I pulled out Biddy's plastic potty and placed it in the living room. I also made a note to go buy big boy underpants figuring he could wear them around the house.     

This is where our shopping excursion came in. 

I washed the underpants (a Cars three-pack) last night and this afternoon Biddy wore them sans diaper, sans overalls.   

Within an hour, we were already on the third and final pair.   
“When you wear big boy underpants you need to tell me when you have to use the potty, okay?” 
“Yes Mommy. Okay.”   

In theory, he should've told me and peed in his potty. In real life, I mopped up the floor.

Thank goodness there’s always tomorrow. Unfortunately, I have to do another load of wash because, silly mommy only bought one three-pack. What was I thinking? 

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


Biddy likes looking at pictures of himself. 

If I take a picture or two with my iPhone, he immediately wants to see them. Same thing happens if B is shooting with his Nikon. When I download images from the camera onto my laptop, Biddy saddles right up besides me for a slide show. 

Biddy's into mirrors. 

We have a long mirror in the hallway right next to the front door, just above the shoe pile (we have a no shoe policy in the house.) It's the perfect height for our wee one. If we're going out, Biddy checks himself once he's donned his coat and Crocs. We also find him there in his pajamas, standing in the middle of shoes, an inch or two away from his reflection, really close up and personal, in order to inspect. He makes funny faces and weird ones, checks out his hair or his helmet, giggles uncontrollably, dances, sings Thumpkin and Happy Birthday, or looks deeply into his eyes. He's getting to know himself–he's a kid, an adventurer, a clown, a metro-sexual in the making, a future motorcycle rider and lover of head gear. He's got a sense of humor, rhythm, and a voice he isn't afraid to use. He's deep and thoughtful.  He's also possibly a bit vain but if you're cute and you know it, clap your hands!

Biddy's also a YouTube junkie.

B has uploaded a bunch of Biddy videos to YouTube over the last two years. Just a few weeks ago, we showed Biddy his movies. In a matter of an instant, he was entranced wanting, "mo, mo, mo." "Mo" or ten "more" later, he still wanted to see himself. B asked if, instead, he wanted to see motorcycles? Well, that was it. Not only does he love seeing various videos of his own antics but he now can't get enough of motorcycles racing, fire trucks speeding, ambulances accelerating, and dirt bikes leaping. He wakes up in the morning asking me to turn on my "puter." He's in love with the daredevils and heroes

Biddy's our sweet daredevil and tiny hero. We love seeing pictures and videos of him as much, if not more, than he does.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Needing Yoga

Outside of one prenatal class and one postnatal (with Biddy in tow), I haven’t practiced yoga since learning I was pregnant. 

In fact, about a week after discovering Biddy was on his way, my best friend Sho and I participated in a three-day Anusara yoga retreat. We had signed up several months beforehand and even though I was wary of morning sickness, I thought it would be a good way to care for myself, to set the stage for centeredness throughout my pregnancy. Little did I know, I wouldn’t do another downward facing dog for almost three-years. 

Last Tuesday, on Facebook, I stated I was “needing yoga.” My body, mind, and spirit were craving it. I'd been daydreaming about doing warrior pose and child's pose for weeks. About five minutes later, Erin, my other best friend, texted me saying she was going to class that evening. Ask and you shall receive, right? Wrong! I was in a comfy pants, sit on the couch, watch American Idol kinda mood so I begged off saying I couldn’t go.

When I woke the next morning, I almost kicked myself. What a couch potato! After participating in a solitary pity party for several hours, I called Erin and committed to going on Thursday. Thursday came, and yoga went, and I? I participated in my second pity party of the week. Argh!

So, I decided then and there not to change my Facebook status of “needing yoga” until I got my butt in gear and went to class.

Tonight, I kept my promise to myself (and to Erin). Tonight, I breathed, stretched, centered, straightened, and aligned with my Self. I felt strong and free in my poses except when I wobbled off-balance. When I wobbled, I giggled–happy to practice, happy to try twisting into a pretzel, just plain happy.

I was still happy when I got home, where I finally changed my Facebook status. 

Monday, March 16, 2009

Lint Fetish

Biddy has a lint fetish.

Yes, lint–the white, black, red, or whatever color fluff and junk that accumulates between one's toes due to sock residue. Biddy finds it equally fascinating and icky and is simultaneously thrilled yet disgusted when finding a clump. Lint is Biddy's quest, his holy grail. 

There's no rhyme or reason as to when he must stop and check for lint but when the mood strikes, he must indeed immediately stop whatever he's doing and check. Do not pass go, do not collect $200. He could be taking a bath (hard to find lint between wet toes but he gives it a good ol' go), reading books, eating, playing legos or as it happened this morning, riding his motorcycle from one end of the house to the other. 

It's like he's a lint whisperer or perhaps it's the other way around. Perhaps the lint whispers, "Come find me. Please come find me NOW." and all of a sudden he must stop, sit down, pull off both socks and check between his toes. He stretches each apart studying studiously for fibers. As he goes, he mutters "Nope," as he finds nothing, "Nope," as he finds nothing more, and "Nope," as he finds yet one more clear corridor. If and when he does find lint, he picks at it like a teenager might pick at a pimple. And when he finally grabs hold? He holds it up for inspection and then summarily flicks it away. 

It isn't just his lint he's obsessed with either. It's B's and my lint too. B eggs him on, asking Biddy if he wants to check for his lint as soon as he walks in the door from work. Yuck! I wouldn't go near B's toes with a ten-foot pool, after they've been cooped up in shoes for eight hours, but Biddy just dives right in. 

Nope. Nope. Nope. Ahhhh–Jackpot. 

Thursday, March 12, 2009


Biddy and I took the train downtown today to meet daddy for lunch. 

On the way to B's office, we practiced shaking hands and saying, "Hi. Nice to meet you." Biddy was primed to greet B's coworkers. He was ready until he walked in and confronted six or so people, all excited to see him. Overwhelm took over and shyness ruled for about five minutes until the initial shock wore off. He never did shake hands with any of them but finally found his voice and jabbered up a storm. 

After about 20 minutes of Biddy cuteness and charm, the three of us left to enjoy the sunshine. Everyone in the office waved goodbye. One girl even told B, when he returned to the office, that Biddy had made her day. We got sandwiches and went to Yerba Buena park. A lovely spot with trees, flowers, a meadow perfect for a picnic, rocks to climb, and a beautiful waterfall. 

While eating, I asked B if he knew where the Martin Luther King Jr. exhibit was mounted. He didn't. After 9 years of living in San Francisco, I had only heard about it while watching the news the night before Obama's inauguration. San Francisco put on two very big, very public, viewing parties–one at the Civic Center (which is where we went) and the other at Yerba Buena near the MLK installation. 

After lunch, B and Biddy did some exploring while I closed my eyes and soaked up some sun. When they came back, B said they had seen a MLK quote etched into a wall near the waterfall. Turns out there is more than just one quote, there are at least ten. The waterfall itself is a monument to MLK–a testament to his vision, his movement, his strength and conviction.

We walked the path, through the falls and behind them, where MLK's most famous quotes lined the walls. The sound of the water was thunderous, evoking a feeling of what it might have been like to witness his "I Have A Dream" speech live. The energy authoritative yet uplifting.

I was swept away by the power of his words, the beauty of his message. Reading his quotes made me aspire to be bigger, better, bolder. MLK Jr. died just 2 1/2 months before I was born. I've grown up with him–this iconic larger-than-life figure but until today, haven't truly understood his power, his gift. The gift of connection, the gift of using ones voice to help, heal, ignite and unite in freedom. 

Biddy, B and I made wishes on pennies (and some dimes) and threw them in the water. Biddy's wish was, "for the people". His words, not mine. I thought them rather appropriate. 

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

A Word or Two About the Playground

Biddy and I went to the playground this morning. As we parked the stroller, I surveyed the scene and the routine. Both are familiar. 

It wasn't crowded and it won't be until around 3pm when school lets out. There are bunches of mommies, nannies and kids but not many daddies. It's a different, chaotic story on the weekend but today is Tuesday. 

As I looked around, I thought, not for the first time, there have to be a bunch of cool moms here. Cool moms I don't know and probably won't know. Making friends with other moms at the playground is harder than one might think. 

Mommies with younger babies tend to congregate in the sandbox chitchatting while their children happily toss sand at each other, in the air and on themselves. Their kids either can't crawl or can't crawl fast so it makes mommy time possible and productive. Most of these mommies already know one another and have made a prearranged date to meet. They tend to keep to themselves even when Biddy moseys through scouting for toys. I understand. I remember this stage–the in-depth conversations about breast feeding, poop, sleep issues, and introducing solid food. I remember the bonding. It was all newborn all the time and we were in the same unchartered boat.

For the newly walking, it's a whole different game. Their moms never sit down. There goes one mom, and another, and then another following their babes as he or she teeters and twitters and wobbles and bobbles from one end of the playground to the other and back again. It doesn't make sense to try and have a play date with another mommy because with your child's legs in constant motion, idle conversation is less than ideal. More often than not, I see these solo mommies gulping air, with no time for words, as they play chase. When we got to this stage, my old sandbox friends were also busy running after their kids, so we would literally have to talk via cell phone (talk about wasted minutes!) from swing set, to jungle gym, to slide and wave as we zigzagged past one another. If I planned a play date, I would invite a friend who didn't yet have children or one who still carried her baby in a sling or Baby Bjorn. This way she was free to move with me and my Biddy walker. 

In the toddler set (my current set), mommies can sometimes mingle but not for long as we still play a fair amount of chase. Thankfully, a two-year-olds attention span is a smidgen longer than it was last month, so I'm able to get into a quick conversation with another mommy or nanny when Biddy stops, sparked curiously by their child. Unfortunately, this conversation is fleeting because in about five minutes flat, he's up and running, onto the next adventure. I might be able to get a word in edgewise with another parent whose toddler is also hightailing it up a ladder, climbing wall or rope bridge but my number one job isn't socializing at this point; it's performing spotter duties during these gravity-defying feats. Luckily, at this age, Biddy is also starting to play with other kids instead of just staring at them. As long as he has a car in hand, he loves running around with other boys who also clutch cars. This makes meeting new moms easier and pretty straightforward. "How old is your son? Do you come here often? When did his obsession with "all things that zoom" begin?" 

I might not get complete answers before Biddy is up and skipping in the opposite direction, but at least it's a foundation for the next time I circle the playground saying, "Hello again. Nice to see you. Wanna be playground friends? Oh, wait, ummm, I'll be back."
"Hey Biddy, wait up!"

Monday, March 9, 2009

Auspicious Events

On Friday, two very auspicious events occurred. 

First, B found a job listing perfectly suited to my skill set. When I read it, I got so excited. It's like it was written just for me. I applied then and there. On Saturday, I thoroughly researched the company and got even more enthusiastic. And then last night, I had a very vivid, very detailed dream about working hand-in-hand with the Director of Marketing where we made a terrific team. Today, when I woke, I received an email saying they'd received my resume and would contact me if my resume fit the bill. A auto email but an email nonetheless. They also attached an Affirmative Action data sheet to fill out if, and only if, I felt so inclined. I felt inclined and have already faxed it back. I really want this job and as I filled out the fax cover sheet, I prayed that sending it back swiftly would somehow set me apart from the throng of applicants. My hope is that once submitted, they would pull my resume from the stacks of resumes received taking notice of my experience, skills and overall capability. I want them to see me, the real me, through the words of my resume and then have an AHA experience exclaiming, "this is our girl!"

Second, my mom called saying she had just seen a for-rent sign on a sweet house in her neighborhood. Intrigued, I asked her to look into it further, which she did. It has three bedrooms, 2 1/2 baths, garage, deck, backyard, and pets are welcome with an additional pet deposit. Sounds perfect! It sits right next to a walking path leading to a lake where owls, herons and eagles are regularly seen. Sounds even more perfect. The perks also include access to a pool, hot tub and workout facility. Sounds perfectly perfect. 

Sticking points? The move in date and the rent. 

Desired occupancy is April 1 with a one-year lease. This is a tad bit sooner than we can manage considering we are still in San Francisco and haven't yet given our landlord 30-days notice. The monthly rent is $1750. It's less than we pay now and completely doable, but only once one of us is gainfully employed. If we already had jobs–no problem, it wouldn't even be an issue but without at least one secure income, the rent is a huge hurdle. 

Sticking points aside, I think it quite thrilling that both things came to our attention within hours of each other. Could it be kismet? Fate? Could the angels be saying we are on the right track, telling us to head East stopping just past the Flatirons? I think so. I pray so.

Keep your fingers crossed that the first comes through so that the second can too.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Birthday Cake

Today's not my birthday but Biddy made me a birthday cake anyway. He even decorated it with candles. Instead of flour and eggs, he used tiny board books. Instead of wax and wick, he used colored markers.

I was playing on my iPhone when he began baking and therefore wasn't paying much attention. When I looked up and saw he had a marker in his hand, I immediately questioned his intentions, somewhat alarmed as he was nowhere near his coloring desk AND the markers are permanent! 

He smiled sheepishly as if he was caught red-handed with his hand in the cookie jar. As his awkward smile turned into a big, wide grin, he gestured towards the coffee table and said excitedly, "I make you a birthday cake mommy." He then yelled, "Surprise!" and began singing me Happy Birthday.

He loves singing Happy Birthday. It's one of his favorite tunes.

"Happy Birthday to mommy."
"Happy Birthday to mommy."
"Happy Birthday to mommy, and daddy, and Tigger, and Gracie, and me too."
"Happy Birthday to you."

Yay! Lots of claps and kisses.

With that, we gathered up Tigger and Gracie, who were lying quite contented in the sun, and blew out the candles. They were a bit nonplussed but since it's apparently their birthday too, Biddy said they had to participate. Leaving one special piece for daddy, Gracie, Tigger, Biddy and I dug into the delicious cardboard cake not stopping until our tummies were full. 

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Ode to The Beanery

I woke in the middle of the night feeling how a turncoat might feel. At 3 am, I was kicking myself for settling down at Java Beach yesterday afternoon. How dare I try someplace new? How dare I branch out and sample another coffee shop's atmosphere? What about The Beanery? Where's the allegiance? How rude!

Yikes! I figured I better make it right today and write about Biddy's and my most favorite coffee shop in San Francisco–The Beanery on Irving (at 7th Avenue). 

Why is it our favorite? 

1. I started going there when I was pregnant for large, soy, chai lattes dubbed "choys" by the baristas. I never liked chai before The Beanery. They use an Oregon Chai and Very Vanilla Soy mixture that is absolutely delectable. I'm addicted and I'm okay with it. When Biddy was born and just home from the hospital, it was the first outing we took together. My mom, me and Biddy, wrapped up warm and safe in his sling, walked the three blocks together. He and I have ventured there almost everyday since.

2. Biddy always brings a car or two from his collection to share with Joey (his favorite guy behind the counter) and Matt (his favorite guy making the drinks). He likes to show them to Rachel too but nothing beats the boys. They shower him with attention and he loves it. When we aren't there, he asks about them wondering what they're doing and where they are. 

3. Since losing my job, it's become our morning destination. We walk down gingerly, stopping to pick up leaves and rocks along the way. When we get there, we sit down at one of the four tiny indoor tables. The Beanery is small and intimate (another reason I like it so much). Biddy orders a cinnamon raisin or sesame bagel with cream cheese or a Madeline cookie. I order my beloved choy. We sit, we eat, we talk and laugh, we people watch and watch the traffic, and I read the newspaper. 

Biddy's belly is full of bagel. Mine is warm with choy. Only the messy table remains.

4. It feels like family. We see most of the same people day in and day out. That might be because everyone is unemployed and in need of a coffee fix but I think it's the vibe. The cozy feel, the warm wooden decor, the tiny tables both inside and out, the yummy beverage concoctions, the tasty treats, the friendly and sweet staff–this is why we come. I think this is why everyone comes. 

Biddy watching for ambulances proudly wearing a Beanery sticker. 

Long live The Beanery!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

A Day of Care

I dropped Biddy at daycare this morning. A rare occurrence these days indeed. When I lost my job, daycare became one of the first things to go, one of the first casualties in my unemployment war. I miss daycare. 

Don't get me wrong, I love being a stay-at-home mom, I love nurturing Biddy and caring for him 110% every second of the day, but it's extremely exhausting. At the end of the day, when B walks in the door–I'm done, kaput, a wet noodle, emotionally drained and creatively tapped. I'm ready for a massage, a margarita and a minute or two or twenty of complete silence and solitude. Ahhhh...bliss.

I had a dentist appointment today and therefore needed child care. "Hello, Meadow Daycare? Please take my pride and joy for 8 hours. Thank you!"

So far my day has been lovely. I dropped Biddy off at 9 am. and drove to my favorite coffee shop, ordered myself a chai, parked my butt at a table and read for an uninterrupted hour. I'm really digging Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert–getting a lot out of it and highly recommend. I then drove over to the dentist enduring an exam. Teeth cleaned, I made my way to Java Beach (take the N Judah west, all the way to the beach, and get off). 

Here I sit happy, quiet, still and loving life amid the hustle and bustle of this high-traffic coffee joint. Every cell in my body needed a day to myself. 

I've been thinking a lot about work. I miss it. I miss having a job and commuting and going to the office and the camaraderie of co-workers. When I went back to work after 11 months of maternity leave (thanks B for taking care of us while I stayed home), I thrived. It took a bit of getting used to but get used to it I did. I'm the type of woman who needs to work. I love being a member of a creative team overseeing a project to completion. I need the stimulation.

That said, writing stimulates me–it ignites me and fuels me. Yesterday, I daydreamed I was sitting in the most beautiful home office with pale yellow walls and a huge bay window with sunlight streaming through. My desk was an old, large farm table like the one we used as our kitchen table when I was a kid. I had the latest and greatest Mac laptop and the largest and most fabulous flat screen monitor. And the best part? I was writing for a living! Really, actually, truly writing for a living. I was still an at-home mom giving most of my day to my child, but for about four hours of it, I gave myself to my words. I woke from my daydream knowing I had dreamed the same dream before. This time though, I knew when I woke that one day soon my dream would become a reality. Ahhhh...bliss.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

House Cleaning

I turned the cleaning lady away this morning. She usually comes in the afternoon but today, she showed up bright and early at 8 am. As far as I was concerned, bright and early was too early! I was in pajamas still needing a hot shower, B was just waking still needing a hot shower, the living room was in shambles, so was the kitchen for that matter, toys were strewn everywhere and Biddy was running from one end of the house to the other. Not an ideal situation for deep cleaning. I asked her to come back at 1 pm, told her I wasn't ready for her, and copped to the fact that I still hadn't cleaned the house!

Still hadn't cleaned the house? Isn't that her job? Isn't that why we pay her?

Sounds weird? It is weird! Why clean your house to have your house cleaned? I agree it doesn't make sense yet I find the impulse to clean up and to tidy impossible to deny. I must make the house presentable–I must unload the dishwasher and make sure the sink is spotless, Biddy's toys must be neatly stored, the beds must be made. I must, I must, I must is my mantra. I'm pretty sure I learned it from my mother.

I don't remember the ritual my mom went through before the cleaning lady arrived but I surely remember her fastidious routine once the cleaning lady departed.

I use to watch her in awe the morning after, on all fours with damp sponge in hand, craning and contorting herself under the kitchen table to reach the lone cat hair fallen during the night. It was imperative she pick it up, imperative she keep the spic-and-span clean going for as long as possible–so imperative in fact, she nearly threw her back out several times with all her twisting and bending. I used to make fun of her ad nauseam. I used to call her anal (she didn't like that very much)! And now? I do the exact same thing! 

I'm my mother's daughter and I'm proud of it. I call myself anal and I too don't like it very much. That said, I AM anal so I try to embrace it. B teases me, calling me Monica from Friends fame. I not only tidy the house before but pick crumb after crumb off the floor for days afterwards. And yes–I'm down on my hands and knees.

While I'm down there perhaps I should start praying to the goddess of housekeeping. With times tight and getting tighter, I know the lazy days of having my house cleaned for me are numbered. I love my cleaning lady but buying food for the family is so much more important. Perhaps the goddess of housecleaning will come up with a solution allowing us to keep the cleaning lady, magically stock the pantry and fridge to the brim, AND keep the crumb and cat hair dust bunnies at bay between cleanings. Perhaps she can also help with the general disarray of the housing market. Perhaps... 

Monday, March 2, 2009


Every year on New Years Eve, I write down what I would like to manifest in the next, new 365 days. I also choose a word and write it down on the same piece of paper. This word encapsulates what I am working on, what I want to achieve, and what I want to live into in the next, new 365 days. At midnight, I burn the note giving it up to the smoke and fire, burning the words in prayer for divine guidance and nurturing along the way.

This year, I chose "Clarity" as my word. 

In choosing clarity, it was clear to me that I could not, under any circumstances, avoid writing any longer. I had to let the words out. Yes! I had to let my words out. You see, I've wanted to be a writer since I was small. I've wanted to write children's books, screenplays, novels, magazine articles, newspaper columns, monologues, and short stories. I've wanted to write, and equally as important, I've wanted to be read. These have been my most precious dreams.

You may say, well, why haven't you? What's the problem? What are you waiting for? To be honest, I've been in jail. A jail of my own making. A jail where the warden's name is Fear and the assistant warden's name is Low Self Confidence. A jail that harbors nasty, soul-stripping thoughts of: I'm not good enough, I can't do it, people won't like my writing, people won't like me. Alone in my cell, my only writing has been in my journal, for my eyes only. I write prolifically but I am not read, never read. In choosing clarity, I choose to break free from my jailor. I choose to bolster my self confidence and face my fear head on. I choose to write and I choose to share my writing. Take that fear! You don't rule me anymore. You can't stop me any longer. I win. Ha! 

Thus, Mamma Boo was born.

It wasn't born overnight, I mean I didn't upload my first post until February 11, but it WAS born and that's the point. Once I decided to blog, it took a while to come up with the name. Quite a while in fact but then, in the car one day, singing a Dixie Chicks tune with Biddy in the backseat, Mamma Boo came to me. 

Why Mamma Boo? Three reasons.

1. I wanted to join the ranks of the mommy blogger. When I became a mom, my creativity bloomed and I owe my inspiration to Biddy. I love writing about him and our family adventures and therefore think being classified a mommy blogger is perfect. Also, mommy bloggers are a cool, hip, sharp, honest, interesting, humble, eloquent, savvy, compassionate, and funny group of women. Sounds like my kind of crowd and right where I belong.

2. Boo is Biddy's word for bear. He has his "Lovey," his blanket that sleeps with him every night. He also has his teddy bear, well, his half a teddy bear anyway. It's a puppet of sorts. The bear has a sweet face and outstretched arms but in place of legs, he has a blanket sewn around his waist serving as a demure skirt. The skirt is the same soft satin-y fabric that Biddy's Lovey is made from. When he decided that this bear was his second most favorite sleeping must-have, B dubbed it "Lovey Bear" which then Biddy translated to "Lovey Boo". It has been Lovey Boo ever since. 

3. I love the mother bear association as I love animal symbology. The mother bear is a fierce warrior when protecting her young. I feel fierce as I write. She gives birth during her winter hibernation and as spring approaches, once the young are strong enough, mother and cubs emerge. Launching Mamma Boo is my emergence.