Monday, May 31, 2010

Perfect weekend. Perfect!

First, I want you to have the full experience so please scroll all the way down to engage the playlist. Then come on back up.

You know how sometimes the planets line up in perfect order, the circumstances are just right, the pieces fall into place, and everything goes your way with practically no effort on your part at all? It's a gift from the heavens in the form of a perfect day. I love it when that happens. Who doesn't love it when that happens?

I got three of these perfect-day-gifts in a row. What an amazing weekend!

Over the course of Thursday and Friday I got my errands done, paperwork handled, the house cleaned, refrigerator stocked, checkbook balanced, and baby loved. Amidst this activity there was time made for some self-indulgence: Ada & I took a nap on a rainy afternoon, I buffed, scrubbed, plucked and polished in preparation for our Saturday date, and I went to my most favorite clothing store to get an outfit for our Saturday date. This last effort resulted in some shoes so cute I can hardly keep myself from wearing them 24/7.  With all of my chores done, I was free to play (another feeling I love a lot).

Fresh peonies on my dresser.

I drank crap like this and I liked it!

Saturday morning we packed up the wee one and drove off to the East Bay. Ada stayed with Grammy & Grampy while Mommy & Daddy had a very special date. Tim planned the whole day and I had no idea what we were doing except for that I knew we were headed for Napa. My man is a good man.

First stop: Del Dotto

There was beautiful opera playing throughout the place. The cool of the caves contrasted the warmth outside. The earthy scent of grapes artfully transitioned into wine waiting to be savored hung in the air. The cave tour began with this stunning scene:


Our guide deftly used his thief to deliver, amongst other things, the only cabernet franc I've ever liked. It's a future and we bought it.



The end of our tour - a glass and a half of wine and, given the surroundings, I'm feeling very romantic.


It was a gorgeous day so we drove around a bit:


We stopped in to one of our favorites for a tasting. It's been a whole 10 months since we've been there.


On to lunch at Bouchon. Rated one of the top 100 Bay Area restaurants, it did not disappoint. Kushi oysters with champagne. Who knew lamb could taste like that? I love any dessert made with rosemary. My new shoes waiting outside the restaurant:


Tim gave me my Mothers Day present. Lisa Leonard made this necklace and I LOVE IT!!  My man is a good man. Did I already say that?


We got to Grammy and Grampy's to hug and kiss our girl, who had a very good day. Rob let me borrow two boxes of cookbooks that were her mothers. Some of them date back to 1913! Sweet lord. So funny, some of them say things like "Crisco. It's Digestable!" and "...the woman who is too busy to sift her flour before measuring it may add as much as 1/2 cup to her cake and ruin it." Man, they didn't hold back with the kind of truth that makes you feel like a lazy loser.

By the time we got home the Lucas family was waiting for us! JOY!! I love visiting with friends.


The last time we saw then we had gone to their home in Seattle. Tim L and I were both sick while both Patricia and I were both pregnant. You might think that we don't sound like a fun bunch. Actually, our first night there we stayed up until 3 or 4 catching up and chatting. Now, we trade stories about baby raisin' are in bed by 10 o'clock with the excuse that it's so the babies can sleep but we all know better - we are exhausted.



Tim and Tim knew each other since med school. I'm not even going there with the stories because it's rude to rat out a friend but let's just say that seeing these two guys pushing strollers with their daughters in them? Hysterical!


Perhaps our girl will be competitive? She was certainly inspired to see Sophia toddling all over the place. So she gave it a try. Look out!!

Ada is walking so fast the camera can't keep up with her. Seriously, folks? That took all of 4 days to develop!

And the weekend isn't even over yet!
I love this life.

Friday, May 28, 2010


Last night Tim and I were wrapping up the second season of Breaking Bad. If  you haven't seen it, you should. It's dark and addictive. Ada was already tucked in bed and sleeping so sweetly. Every 15 minutes or so I went in to "check on her". Really, I was in awe and gushing with love - I couldn't get enough of her. I wish anyone reading this could see photo or video can possibly capture how incredibly sweet she is. If you have a child of your own you already know how amazing it feels to watch them sleep. She just gives herself over entirely, hands flung above her head, breathing deeply, and trusting implicitly that we will protect her. That's the plan, baby. That's the plan.

I called Tim in at one point to just look at her with me.

"Isn't she so sweet?" I asked.

"Yeah," he mumbled.

"Yeah," I chided back in a mopey voice.

His explanation pointed out a factor I had felt but not put a name to: vulnerability. Her. Me. Tim. Us. She is so vulnerable. We are so vulnerable because of her.

How beautiful?! It's possible to love someone so much that it widens your emotional range beyond what you thought was possible. LOVE isn't even a strong enough word for it. There should be a new word to describe what a parent feels for their child. Whatever it is, it builds you up and leaves all of your soft spots a little bit weaker all at once.

Anything could happen at any time and it scares the hell out of me. Someone will be mean to her someday. She will have a broken heart. She will be disappointed. She will make bad decisions. Just thinking about it makes me hug her tightly folding around her as if I could physically shield her like I did when she was still an inside baby (that was only a year ago!) I want to keep anything bad from happening to her but I know that isn't the right thing to do. Without the hard stuff there is no learning or growth. She has so much beauty and wonder in store for her. Her life will unfold exactly as it should with or without my interference!

We finally got a pack n' play. It's time. Like her Daddy when he was a baby, she wants in the playpen.



I got her this little stroller thing that she can push along and practice walking. She digs it but it turns out that crawling is still just faster!

Saturday, May 22, 2010


It's been cool and windy here in the city by the bay. I know that the Pacific will eventually have to give in and let us have some warm weather...even if it is interrupted by foggy nights. I was inspired to make my summer list so here goes:

1. Spend more time with this one. She'll take her first steps and say her first words this summer. I plan to make the most of those milestone moments. Dang, I just love her so much I can hardly wrap my mind around it.


2. Watch our modest little garden grow and maybe even harvest from it!

3. Have a picnic in Golden Gate Park.

4. Grill out using Tim's Father's Day present ;-)

5. Eat seasonal, local, & organic. We'll be at the Alemany Farmers Market nearly every Saturday morning just like we were today.


6. Go on a camping trip with Ada.

7. Hike Tomales Point. Then eat oysters at Tomales Bay.

8. Learn to make Andrew's heirloom tomato, peach, and corn salad. Cross my heart, it's the most amazing thing ever.

9. Celebrate!! Ada's birthday, Pat & Stephanie's wedding, baby shower for Moira, visit with Violetta, Ohio trip, Lucas and la familia.

10. Make homemade strawberry ice cream.

11. Run.

12. Take a trip to Kansas City to see Heather.

13. Have a bonfire in the backyard.

14. Take a trip to Portland to see Katie.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Three Little Birds

Today while in surgery I kept humming this song over and over again to myself. The repetition was meditative and in a short while I found myself believing that every little thing is gonna be alright...

Some of the news of last week settled in without me putting up much of a fight. Some of the other landmines of the week are still sputtering with a dogged refusal to die out.  This, I know from being here before, is where the work begins. This work is the process whereby I make peace, excuse injustice, and coax myself to just let it go. It's an organic process that can't be rushed. Even I have to wait for the healing to take place. So when I felt it come over me - starting to feel more like myself - all I could think of was "At Last"!!

In the meantime, I finished planting our containers. It's a modest effort and quite frankly doesn't look like much at the moment. I'm excited to see if anything takes and even more excited at the thought of eating something we grew in our own urban backyard!



There have been more special times with Ada. Oh! My very own heart!! I can't believe that tomorrow she will be 11 months old. Only 1 more month until her first birthday. Even as I am savoring every single moment I have with her I am in denial about this momentous occasion. It can't possibly be one year ago that she was inside my body so tiny and helpless. Now she crawls so fast we can hardly keep up with her. She has teeth. She has will and expression. She is a ham!

Tim took her hiking again. The backpack was a good investment. He wore that baby out!


Can't seem to get her off the phone with Grandma Judy


It feels like I can almost see what her as a grown-up in this picture. I am so not ready for that yet.


My little fishy in the bath




Friday, May 14, 2010


At the start of the new year I took a look back, counted up the good and the bad, and said goodbye to 2009. This was a good exercise. Being grateful just plain feels good. In terms of making yourself feel better on a blue day it's as fool-proof as skipping or the watching the Muppets. It wasn't meant to be a resolution for the new year, but I've formed a new habit of culturing gratitude every day. 

Some days are easier than others. On the hard days the background noise makes it harder to find those things that make you so glad to be alive. Then there are days when the bad so outweighs the good it's hard to know how that fits in with the overall scheme of things.

Can you tell? It's been a rough week. One more San Francisco-style donation, a message from the boss that made me and everyone I work with just feel icky inside, prolactinoma meds that make me feel like I've been hit by a train, and within one week Tim's cousin, my Mom's best friend and my Marge died. I was running home (literally) on Wednesday with so many feelings - some of them I don't even know the name for. I'm a fairly resilient person but weeks like this one slowly erode that part of my character. I don't get back up as quickly as I used to. So, I'll just get on with doing that thing that makes me feel better:


Counting my blessings:

Mother's Day: Most women nowadays are looking for a break from the kids on this particular day. Not me. Sunday was a normal work day for me. The hospital was slow - I suppose that most people were spending time with their families. Then, out of nowhere, the head tech asked if I wanted to go home early? I was home by 5 o'clock, which gave me an extra 2.5 hours with Tim & Ada - a most unexpected and welcomed gift.

Running to work: Yup. Now that it's light out for much longer I'm back at it. Our nanny thinks I'm crazy and she wags her finger at me liberally. But I like it: less stressful, burn some calories and some frustration, no money on gas and wear on the car. I figure that at least if I get stabbed and beaten that there is a small chance they will find my body by the extended daylight.

Ada sprouting 2 new teeth: The upper ones just on either side of her two front teeth. It looks like she has a few Chiklets tucked away in there. She simply won't let me take a picture...

Will & Trust: 1.5 years and $2400 later it is finally signed and complete.

I have a plan: For the first time in a long time.

Date tonight!! Dinner at Perbacco and since Moira is graciously babysitting the evening won't cost us an extra $100 like our last date did (that was in February, in case you wondered).

Planting things: I've been aching to get my fingers back in the dirt. Last weekend we got some soil and some seedlings. Lili & I braved what proved to be the start of summer in San Francisco (e.g. in the afternoon the temperature drops precipitously and the fog rolls in off the Pacific) and got some things planted. I'm anxious to see how this little experiment works out. Ada isn't so interested in letting me out there to finish the job of getting seedlings in the dirt....

It was so foggy, windy, and cool today that I didn't even want to go outside to take a pictured of the plantings so far (the containers in the blue circle). I hope the weather warms soon or this isn't going to go very well.

Homemade Granola: I could eat granola, plain yogurt, and blueberries every single day of my life. I love it so much. As such, I try granola wherever I go. Not to toot my own horn or anything but of all the granola I've tried I still like my homemade granola the very best. The recipe is out of the standard Fannie Farmer cookbook.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Morning Blue Bird

Yesterday Ada & I were strolling & hustling respectively as we completed our errands for the day - a customary approach to the first day of my weekend. I was lost in thought...just rambling to myself inside my own mind. Among other things, I was thinking about the days when Tim & I could sleep in past 6:30 am. I love to sleep so you can imagine what this thought process might have been like.
I wondered about the merits of alarm clock vs. a little bluebird on the open windowsill. The bluebird scenario would be so nice to wake up to: warm morning breeze, golden sunlight, sweet & gentle song. I smiled then, strangers suspicious of my motive, because I wake up to that bluebird scenario every morning. She has been chirping at us for months now. Sometimes we lay in the bed smiling at each other and listening to her sweet babble. It is the loveliest way to wake up.
This morning was a little different. We lay in the bed both wondering if we might get away with 5 more minutes before we had to go in and get her up. She was happy, babbling as usual and so sweet. It's funny how the universe delivers these things, right on time. This is what we opened our eyes to this morning

I'm totally not kidding. She was standing in her crib, craning her head around the corner, and grinning at us like, "Hey guys!! Good morning!! Time to wake up!! See how happy I am? OK, so wake up now!!" We laughed, I snapped a picture, and then we carried on with the morning ritual of waking up with our girl.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

One second

Can you know a person in a single second?

If so, then is how to know her. This is my girl, my love, my heart. My very own heart. I love it that my husband, her father, captured the very essence of our daughter on film in a mistaken one second clip. I think we have each watched it a hundred times and thought, "Oh, my God, that is absolutely her." One hundred percent Ada right there in that single second snippet of film.


When I was a teenager growing up in a small town in Ohio I spent a lot of time daydreaming about what my adulthood would be like. Never in this daydream was I sitting in a lawyers office just two signatures away from declaring what's to be done in the event of my untimely death. Nor were there computer viruses. Also absent was the paperwork associated with setting up inherited IRAs. And in these fantasies my face was never numb from having 3 cavities filled - there was definitely no lidocaine hangover the next morning.

Real life can be sobering. And it can be pretty darn sweet. When I pause to look around me I'm pretty darn happy with what I see. And while my real adult life is sometimes messy and doesn't exactly match my teenage imaginings I think this is a pretty good sign. Let's face it, my scope back then was pretty limited. My fantasy didn't really know where to go beyond infinite dating, doing whatever I wanted, and cute shoes that didn't hurt my feet. My teenage daydreams also didn't include Ada, my career, my cats, my home, Tim = my life. Proves to me that things turning out not quite how you expected can be a good thing and sometimes the best thing.

Amidst the computer virus, cavities, will, and IRAs this beautifully woven life has carried on to provide some heartwarming moments at just the right times:

We had dinner with Courtnay and Steven on Thursday night complete with a little Sequence. Simple, down-home dinner as Courtnay and I both had dental work that day! What are the odds? It occurs to me that even if we hadn't had dental work done it wouldn't have mattered. It was more the company than the food, more the sentiment than the product on the plate. My kind of people. I love that.

Friday we had dinner with Ted & Leah. Isn't it funny how some random decision you make in your life doesn't seem like it will alter your course....and then you make friends. This is how it seems with Ted & Leah. We don't get to spend nearly enough time with them but the moments we do have are cherished. Some of the loveliest people I know.

I also love how this

can turn into this

using this

Finally, I am a woman. I thought that buying major appliances like a washer and dryer might do it. Or the Calphalon pans or the whole grow-a-baby and then push-that-baby-into-the-world thing might have covered it.
No, no.
My Kitchen Aid stand mixer has officially ushered me across the threshold of womanhood. Thanks Dad!

I had a great assistant

Even though she took a break to talk to Grandma Judy on the phone, that's OK because I still adore her. I'll make her shred carrots when she is older.

Dang. She moves fast. We need a better camera!! As an aside: there were two cakes. I made one on Thursday with C, S& C and then another on Friday for T & L. That cake was so good that Ted had  a second piece. I shared some with Steve upstairs too. And I kind of want to bake one just because. Sweet!

The computer virus thing wasn't a lie. We had it bad. Well, bad for us. We're super computer dumb so it doesn't take much to throw us off. Luckily, Colin has an aptitude for computers, lives close by, and is amenable to promises of visits from his favorite (and only) niece. After swimming on Saturday went over to Berkley to beg help from Colin. Colin and Maiken live in a new pad now - moved in last week. Auntie Maiken has a new J.O.B. Good Luck Maiken!! You're going to do GREAT!! We seem to have a knack for descending upon them shortly after they have moved. Sorry, guys :-(
Great location, awesome backyard!! Ada had another experience with grass and also discovered squirrels, daisies, sunlight dancing through the leaves of a deciduous tree, a gentle warm breeze, and what happens when you never quite get around to having a nap. She also got some damn good love from her family.

Sweet, sweet baby. Wispy hair, soft cheeks, gentle dream and my very own heart.  Thanks be to God for NOT listening to me when I was 14 years old.

The valleys where the frustrations, inconveniences, and disappointments lie are separated by the peaks. Aahhh!! The peaks! I live for the peaks. Thank God that my life is dominated by the peaks and my valleys are comparatively shallow most of the time.

Mr Giant Taco Salad Inventor

Our computer got a virus last week. It's repaired now so a real post, complete with pictures and Ada deliciousness, will be coming soon. Meanwhile, a little somethin' to keep you laughing.

Ay Carumba!