September 02, 2006
Something New

Hey, so how have you been? Good here, and despite my absence online I’ve been thinking of my lovely blog friends. Hope you are well.

With the start of the school year, I’m giving some new projects a try including another blog. It’s a bit more frivolous and fun, with a fashion and beauty theme. I collect images and ideas that inspire a stylish yet accessible look.

You can visit Style Notebook (<---that's a link) if that sort of thing interests you. I’ll be updating daily on weekdays. Perhaps I'll be back here too--we'll see.

June 27, 2006
Seemingly Trivial

As I write this, the bones of my face ache and a pile of tissues grows bigger—allergies gone mad. It might be the raging wind outside. I see the trees being pushed around violently. Yet, I feel compelled to post something here because it has been a long time.

This is one of those phases every blogger seems to go through at various intervals, where you wonder if you want to keep doing it or not. Some of the reasons why I started writing here no longer apply. Life seems full with other activities.

I decide to do what often gives interesting results when I’m wondering about something. I’ll open a book randomly and whatever page I turn to will offer a message about the question at hand. Q: What about this blogging thing?

Here is the section that my fingers point to: “There is no act, no matter how seemingly trivial, that does not add to and consequently influence the whole…Nothing that is done is ever wasted or without effect on life. Nothing is ever so insignificant as to be unimportant. Everything in life matters and ultimately has a place, an impact, and a meaning.”

That makes me feel better somehow. At least I haven’t been wasting time, right? And if I go forward, it will mean something, at least to me, if not a few lovely readers. This reminds me of a William James quote: "Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does."

Anyway, hope you are enjoying your summer.

June 08, 2006
I Am Someone Who

…just attended a preschool graduation, where students wore cap and gowns as they marched down the church aisle to “Pomp and Circumstance" then sang songs to the audience...

...and a first grade Carnival at the park

...and is happy that summer break starts at 12:40 p.m. tomorrow.

…is starting physical therapy for my back after six months of chiropractor visits (that have helped some but not enough).

…is behind on a lot of things but I’m catching up.

…just learned that my in-laws and niece are staying here this weekend.

…is making Chicken With Red pepper Cream Sauce for dinner in 45 minutes

…would love a nap.

…has two birthday parties to attend this weekend.

…hears a big mess being created in the next room (but at least there is no bickering).

…read some trashy gossip magazines this afternoon at the salon while the girls got haircuts and ate much candy

…has to wear a bathing suit in public in twelve days and really doesn’t care enough.

May 30, 2006

I have made excellent Lemon Drop martinis. They were a big hit at a dinner party.

I have been told that my brother-in-law received a new liver and is now recovering, post-transplant!

I have purchased a bunch of art supplies—what fun—to work on my art journaling class.

I have played numerous games of Uno with my five year-old and seven-year-old.

I have seen my own writing in our newspaper. A book review for an exercise book that I wrote in December was finally printed today.

I have visited my dad’s new home, about two hours away.

I have listened to Buddy Guy sing the blues. My husband is playing the CD downstairs right now.

I have watched What Not To Wear while exercising on our ellipse machine.

I have eaten an In- n- Out cheeseburger.

May 18, 2006

1. I’ve been keeping very busy lately with house and personal projects, and an art-journaling class that I’m taking. The class is so fun and offers a new twist to my writing. Letting my amateur artist out to play is a kick. Fortunately the girls have lot of art supplies, so I don’t go crazy getting all the great stuff in the art stores and catalogs.

2. The mug in front of me contains coffee, not tea. I’m determined that my crappy sleeping will not affect my days. At least til I crash this afternoon.

3. I scared myself walking in the hall, seeing my reflection in the mirror. I had forgotten that I grabbed two of the girls’little bright colored barrettes from the kitchen to hold my hair out of my eyes as I write. Thank God I didn’t answer the door like that.

4. We are having a new recipe for dinner tonight that I found at I needed a new chicken breast recipe, and Amy’s Garlic Egg Chicken apparently is in their Hall of Fame. It’s been marinating all night. We’ll see.

5. I’ve been informed that there are only 8 days left of preschool and 19 of first grade. What?? I’m actually looking forward to lots of time with the girls this summer but I just can’t believe that we will NEVER go to Noah’s Ark (the preschool) again and that J. will move up to the big-kiddedness of 2nd grade. You just gotta enjoy each stage, with its perks and its challenges, because the days pass by so quickly.

6. Doesn’t it seem like every TV show’s season finale is having someone die? Is there no other way to be interesting or dramatic? Maybe there isn’t, it just seems pervasive.

7. The weather has been sunny and lovely here lately, and now RAIN is actually predicted for Saturday when we are entertaining another family. Drat. I’ll just have to make some good cocktails to keep everything cheerful as the kids are all indoors.

May 08, 2006
On Writing

Here are some quotes about writing that I like. Do you have any favorites you’d like to add?

There are only two ways of telling the complete truth--anonymously and posthumously.
--Thomas Sowell

Writing is like anything else. You fail, you pick yourself up, and you try again. When you’re discouraged, you eat ice cream.
--Anna Quindlen

"The act of writing is the act of discovering what you believe."
--David Hare

"Learn to write about the ordinary. Give homage to old coffee cups, sparrows, city buses, thin ham sandwiches. Make a list of everything ordinary you can think of. Keep adding to it. Promise yourself, before you leave the earth, to mention everything on your list at least once in a poem, short story, newspaper article."
--Natalie Goldberg

"One of the few things I know about writing is this: spend it all, shoot it, play it, lose it, all, right away, every time. Do not hoard what seems good for a better place in the book, or for another book; give it, give it all, give it now."
--Annie Dillard

"You have to allow yourself the liberty of writing poorly. You have to get the bulk of it done, and then you start to refine it. You have to put down less than marvelous material just to keep going to whatever you think the end is going to be—which may be something else altogether by the time you get there."
--Larry Gelbart, scriptwriter

“You just sit down and write everyday for three or four hours. You do it like piano scales until you have a story to tell.”
--Anne Lamott

May 01, 2006
It’s Not Unusual (To Be Loved By Anyone)

The theme today actually IS unusual—that is, what’s unusual about me. I just can’t say the word “unusual” without singing the Tom Jones song. Anyway, this meme came from Emily of Mad Mommy Chronicles. The idea is to share six weird or interesting facts about yourself. Hmmm….only six?

1. I have shot a gun, as a child. I recall the backfire practically knocking me down.

2. In high school, I swam against the then-current (1984) Olympic gold medalist in my event because she was on a rival high school’s team. Guess who won.

3. My sisters are twins and I was terrified that I would have twins myself. The fear was compounded when it turned out that we had to seek fertility treatment.

4. I passed a lie detector test (while lying), which was part of the hiring process for a summer job. A few years later I received a check for $820 out of the blue, as part of a class action settlement against that employer, who used lie detector tests for hiring and promoting.

5. Although I made the dean’s list in college several times and graduated with honors, I really don’t think I’m that smart or articulate. When I excelled at work, I also thought it was not that great of an accomplishment—that I’m really a fraud.

6. My husband was my college roommate during my senior year. We, uh, liked each other pretty much right away despite the fact that I had a long term boyfriend back home.

If you want to share a weird fact or two about yourself, I’m listening…

April 24, 2006
If Purchases Can Tell You about a Person…

Here's a peek into my life via recent $pending:

* You know how you start to think that you’re done setting up or decorating an area of your house and then you realize you’re actually not? We moved around a couple of things in our living room, which necessitated the purchase of one more plum colored silk pillow and a picture (have to type in item 072451B in the search box to see it) for one of the walls. The artwork has the perfect colors for the room and is just the sort of style that fits. Too bad I have to wait 4-6 weeks for the order to arrive at the store for pickup. But I can be patient (I think).

* Dinner for four at the E-Bar, one of the handful of family friendly restaurants in our weekend rotation where we can all be reasonably pleased. Then Safeway afterward to pickup cookie dough ice cream for the kids (ok, I had two bites straight from the container) and eggs for the next day’s breakfast.

* This dress at Nordstroms and a skirt that I just surprisingly discovered is the same brand. Am I that predictable?

* Another batch of “wiggle eyes” from Michael’s Arts & Crafts store because the girls need more. They have glued the little plastic eyes (like the ones on these glasses, so you can understand what the hell I’m talking about) on everything they own and are excited to try larger sized eyes now. So I obliged with a combo pack of various eye sizes, because who am I to stifle their craziness?

* The search for new swimwear started early this year for me as I am determined to find something cute and as flattering as possible for a mid-thirty something woman. I have ordered and returned, and tried on and returned numerous possibilities. I now own two suits that I feel pretty good about (an Ann Cole tankini and one from Athleta, seen in part here and here). That’s what a planned beach trip without of town friends forces you to do.

* Gifts for one of my best college friends, who just had her first baby (a girl, Charlotte). So fun to shop for cute baby things.

* Momentum on the garage purging and organizing is building. After viewing the Home Depot’s Sunday ad flier, we went there to get a Stanley cabinet base and drawer base at sale prices. It will really help organize a certain area of the garage that is a junky mess right now. And K. is excited about it now too, enough to spend an afternoon assembling the purchases.

* Next up: monthly subscription for HBO and Showtime so that we can continue to watch The Sopranos and Weeds (a hilarious show about a suburban mom pot dealer).

What was your most recent purchase?

April 17, 2006
Because I'm Feeling Juvenile and Profane

Tired of regular emoticons? How about some "assicons" I found:

(_!_) a regular ass

(__!__) a fat ass

(!) a tight ass

(_*_) a sore ass

{_!_} a swishy ass

(_o_) an ass that's been around

(_x_) kiss my ass

(_X_) leave my ass alone

(_zzz_) a tired ass

(_E=mc2_) a smart ass

(_$_) Money coming out of his ass

(_?_) Dumb Ass

April 10, 2006
Good Things

*We sold my old car. The buyer was kind of a pain in the ass and he just sent us an $88 bill for the smog check (which, according to the CA DMV, is our responsibility—but I’ve never spent that much getting smog checks before). Whatever. That car is gone!

*The Sopranos. I think we may have to pay for HBO after our free trial period ends, just for that show. Half the fun is reading the Television Without Pity discussion boards online following each episode. So many brilliant people talking about the characters and the symbolism and subtext.

*I’ve practically eliminated any sinus congestion by giving up all milk and soy milk for the last month. This is good, but it’s making coffee drinking very difficult, which is why I haven’t had any of that either. Green tea is fine. Sometimes you just want the weight and creaminess of a milk based warm drink though. Victory for my health prevails for now.

*I booked a suite vs. a regular room (a splurge) for our June trip to the beach, which means that instead of a room with two queens that we share with the girls, we get our own king bed and they get a little separate room with their own queen sofa bed and TV. This may be the first vacation where I actually get some rest. (Although maybe not since we're going with some friends from out of state who have three boys under age 6).

*A short week of school, as Friday starts our spring break. No big plans but without the morning rush or homework, it’s got to be good.

*I received an honorable mention for am essay I submitted (and kind of forgot about) to a Byline magazine contest. Just when I was backing off most of my writing goals.

*The dark red mini roses that I bought for $4.99 are so lovely, sitting on our kitchen table. Another reminder that inexpensive things can bring a lot of joy to daily life.

April 03, 2006
Ctrl + V Game

I'm really tired (too old to be staying out til 2:00am on weekends plus daylight savings time's new morning wakeup time stinks, you get the drift...) so let's just play a game today, ok?

Here's what you do: For your comment to this post, simply (1) press Ctrl + V and (2) explain what you just pasted.

For example, when I press Ctrl + V, I get "No More Kissing." This is the title of a children's book that I was pasting into my library's online system.

How about you?

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.