March 27, 2006
On This Day

Thirteen years ago today, we got married. I don't know if that’s a paper or a wood or a crockpot anniversary. Well, I just looked it up and it’s lace.

We celebrated with some delicious food at Lalime’s, an all organic and ecologically sound restaurant (what else would it be in Berkeley?) where K. had a fabulous business dinner recently. We started with drinks—I couldn’t decide on my wine choice so the waitress gave me some of each to taste, actually a generous taste of each, so that was nice—and dungeness crab cakes with green chile aioli. Next was artichoke soup with toasted pinenuts and lemon cream. Then we split a caesar salad. For entrees, K. had rack of lamb on pearl couscous with preserved lemon and chermoula (whatever the hell chermoula is, but his lamb tasted delicious), and I had grilled liberty duck breast with citrus braised fennel and barley.

Later we drove over to The Claremont Resort, where the bar was standing room only, so we headed to the restaurant for dessert instead. At a table in the very back looking out a large window to a view of the San Francisco Bay and city skyline, we shared vanilla crème brulee topped with fresh berries.

Better than a gift of lace I’d say.

March 20, 2006
Yield For Best Results

The moment I truly accept a situation, things change for the better.

It amazes me—like when I make up my mind to stop being bummed about the amount of homework J. brings home from school and then out of the blue, we get a free week with no homework. Or when I resolve to no longer care about that annoying woman at the preschool and then I find myself having a nice conversation with her. Or I decide to live with my current weight, #*!% it, and then a few pounds come off easily.

This “technique” works with absurd things too, apparently. Walking partly down our driveway the other day, my eye caught a flash of bright pink through the trees, over at our neighbor’s. A sick feeling washed over me as I processed what I was seeing: a plastic flamingo yard decoration. Oh Keri, I thought. What have you done?

Well, she has two small children. Maybe they’d like that sort of thing. I began to accept the situation. Just live with it.

Then the girls and I got into the car, backed out and started past the neighbor's house. We noticed there was more than one pink flamingo. A lot of pink flamingos actually—maybe twenty. I cringed involuntarily.

But ok, whatever. It is what it is.

At that very moment—the instant of surrender—I saw a sign. A literal sign, like the kind a realtor sticks in the lawn at the front of a house. It read, “You’ve been flocked.” Courtesy of XYZ church. Oh…it’s a joke. Our neighbors are not really insane (they seem so nice, it never made sense really).

Today, as I look out the window, the flamingos are gone.

March 13, 2006
You Can Rain on My Parade, I’m Still Having Fun

How was your weekend? I actually have a good answer to that question for a change. I got a new car!

It’s an Acura MDX in a new color called steel blue metallic:

We were going to buy used like we normally do, but we found a dealership that had such an excellent price for a new one that we ordered it through them. Right in the middle of some freak weather here in northern CA (days of heavy rain and hail) the vehicle finally arrived for us to go pick up. Thank God we bought the all-season floor mats.

It was a pleasant experience as far as car buying goes: A very nice staff who made the process practically painless; a children’s section where the girls had their own sofas, stuffed animals, wall sized chalk board with a basket full of colored chalk, a TV/VCR, games, a table with built-in toys—shall I go on? The staff kept checking with them as to whether they’d like some hot chocolate (which they actually don't even like, but they did enjoy using the water cooler very much); even a beautiful bathroom stocked with all kinds of lotions, mouthwashes and such.

Maybe this is normal? I don’t know. I’m thinking it may have something to do with the fact that we drove over to Marin County, an area known (as described in Wikipedia) “for its stunning natural beauty, liberal politics and extreme affluence.” During our lesson about the car and its features, the guy showed what he likes to think of as the french fry holder section, but pointed out that past customers had corrected him that it was “for trail mix”. I guess Marin County kids don’t do McDonald’s.

Perhaps the most useful tip during the training session, our helper showed me how to use the XM satellite radio that comes free for three months. He mentioned that he loves channel 150, which plays continuous (uncensored) stand up comedy. He said he gets strange looks from other drivers as he’s cracking up driving to work. I had a chance to drive alone yesterday and I must say, I too found myself violently laughing at times, probably freaking out my neighbors as I pulled up my street. Yes, these are good times.

March 06, 2006
When First Graders Rule

While J. was home last week with pneumonia she was still required to do a ludicrous amount of schoolwork—the regular, heavy homework load plus whatever the kids did during class time. One of the assignments was to create a book about what it would be like if she were president. Here are three sample pages:

(In case you can’t see, it’s a boy tattling, “She hit me,” with a girl smiling in the background because she knows Santa will bring her toys even if she’s bad.)

(A person saying, “I’m cold,” and a girl handing him a blanket.)

From this selection, the pet turtle a wild card, I’d say her future political affiliation is up in the air at this point.

P.S. She and her little sister (who also had pneumonia) are doing much better now, thanks.