Friday, June 29, 2007


My new hobby, when I’m too tired to blog, is to look at what happened roughly a year ago.

This month last year, Lucas knew how to write some of his letters. Now, I can write out simple three-letter (consonant-vowel-consonant) words and he can actually read them. I haven’t been using any LeapFrog products, just good old-fashioned pen and paper. We've been playing with the rhyming words: cat, hat, rat, etc.

Being the inquisitive kid he is, he’s asking lots of questions like, “How come R-E-D is the word ‘red’ and not ‘read’? Because ‘e’ makes both sounds.”

I better start finding good answers to his questions, because I can tell that there will be plenty more where that came from.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Shitty excuse

I was taking a leisurely walk the other morning when I approached a woman and her dog on a leash. The woman was picking up after the little Bichon Frise, which translated from French means, "curly lap dog".As I walked by the little dog, she lunged at me and started barking, as ferociously as a little curly-headed hamster can. Being the jittery person I am, I jumped back. Lucky for me, because I think that dog would have taken a small chunk out of my leg.

The woman muttered something, which I thought was an apology, but I was wrong.

Me: I'm sorry, what did you just say? [and I said this very nicely since I thought for sure she had just apologized]
Curly lap dog owner: I said she only barked at you because she just pooped.
Me: Interesting. I thought for sure you were going to apologize.
Curly lap dog owner: [random muttering as she walked away]

My friend Lindsey also had a negative experience this month with a Bichon Frise and its owner. Is it something about the breed? Or the type of person who would own one of these dogs? Not sure, but in both cases, I feel that these dogs and their owners need to be better socialized.

"Take My Picture" day

As I've mentioned before, lately Lucas has been shy about getting his picture taken. But not today. So here's a gratuitous collection of Lucas photos.
Out in the backyard, Lucas took a break from his chalk art to refresh himself with some orange juice.

I steamed some salmon and prepared a salmon spinach salad with tomatoes and avocado. I prepped Lucas, letting him know we were going to try different things for dinner from now on. He ate most of it without complaints, including the spinach!

(Of course, I ended the day with another gaffe with my eating plan. Kevin informed me that the balsamic vinegar includes refined sugar. Oh well, at least the boy ate spinach!!)

Post-bath, I wrapped a towel around Lucas' head. He got a kick out of looking at his reflection, but asked me to take a picture so he could see what he looks like with his eyes closed.
Just a funny photo to end the day! He looks like a really cute q-tip, don't you think?

What can I eat?

I've been thinking about this today. Here's what I've had so far, excluding my morning oatmeal with refined sugar:

- lots of fruit
- peanut butter - we buy the organic kind that's just peanuts and salt
- hard boiled eggs
- almonds

Besides that I'm looking at:
- broiled salmon (on the menu tonight)
- veggies
- sashimi

If anyone has suggestions for me, let me know.

Just say "no"

I was thinking of doing this 5-day cleanse program, but decided not to for two main reasons:
1) It was expensive. More than $100 a day for food and liquid that sounded, well, disgusting.
2) I saw the pre-cleanse instructions on what to avoid the week before you do the program and thought, "The pre-cleanse will be a challenge in itself."

So here is the list of things I have sworn off of until Saturday morning. I know it's not 5 days, but for me, it's a good start.

The Big Ban
Alcohol - not a problem, as I'm not a big drinker anyway
Caffeine - problematic because of my hot chocolates
All GMO foods - not much of a problem, since I'll just pay more attention to labels
Heated oils - problematic because I cooking using oils
Red meats - not a problem unless I plan on going to In and Out
Non-organic animal flesh - not a problem because I buy our "animal flesh" from El Cerrito Natural Grocery
White flour products: pasta, bread - definitely a problem
Hydrogenated fats and preservatives - not too problematic
Refined sugars - definitely a problem
Dairy- milk cheeses - another big problem since I love cheese
Fried foods - not a problem

I ran into a little snafu already this morning at Toot Sweets where Lucas and I went for some oatmeal. I put in some brown sugar, not thinking it was a refined sugar, it's just a sugar. But Kevin let me know later that this was a no-no. My friend who is doing this too asked if cottage cheese was really cheese.

Kevin's response...
For the record you guys are the trickiest dieters ever. "Is brown sugar sugar?", "Is cottage cheese cheese?" Both in the same morning... You guys must have hatched from the same egg.

Wish me luck!

Friday, June 22, 2007

Swarm of shoppers

Today was the first day of the Athleta warehouse sale in Petaluma. After our 6am bootcamp, Kimberley and I drove up there to get breakfast and wait for the doors to open at 9am. The line wrapped around the building and then some. The staff handed out plastic garbage bags to all of us in line.

We definitely had "rookie" stamped across our foreheads. The experienced shoppers were totally prepared. In line most of the women wore flipflops, so you don't have to worry about untying/tying shoes, and skirts, so in a pinch, you could just try on pants without having to go to the dressing room. Notes for next year.

Once inside, the place was a madhouse. Imagine women running around with garbage bags stuffing them full of clothes, to be tried on after filling up the bags. Though everyone I encountered was super friendly, I got the feeling that we were all only one step away from crawling over each other to get to whatever coveted piece of clothing just beyond our reach.

The changing room (one big room, three small mirrors) was a nightmare. Soon, even women without skirts were trying on pants anywhere they could find a place to set down their stuff without being trampled on.

In the line to check out, there was a nice camaraderie between all us shoppers. Since most people got separated from their shopping buddies, we relied on our new-found friends in line to give the approval or disapproval on questionable items.

As I waited outside for Kimberley to check-out, it was interesting to see the women's reactions upon leaving the building. Most shouted out to their friends waiting there, "Only $XX, and look at my bags!" proudly holding up 2-3 bags of goods.

Me? I came away a winner too. 1 parka ($35), 1 leather jacket ($35), 1 pair of ski pants ($25), 2 hoodies ($15 each) and a pair of black pants, I think for $10.

I can't wait for next year! I'll be there early again, prepared with flip flops and a skirt.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Playdate for papas

We had a nice Father's Day here at the McKay household. Lucas and I got Kevin an outdoor grill, which is something he's wanted for more than a year now (grill won't be here till 7/5). And we had a nice lunch at Sea Salt restaurant in Berkeley and meandered around Berkeley Horticultural Nursery.

Then late afternoon Kevin got a call from Jeff, who is married to one of the moms in my moms group. He invited Kevin out for an evening movie, Oceans 13.

Kevin went and met Jeff at the theater. Jeff snuck in some beers. It was just like high school.

Kevin came home around 10:30. He was a little loud opening/closing the door and creeping in, in general. I asked how many beers he'd had. Just one. It was just like high school.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Return of the alien potato people

Last year I reported on the attack of the alien potato people. Well, they're back, more evolved, and spreading across the globe.
Artwork courtesy of Lucas.

Plus, there are reports of them not just here in Northern California, but there have been sightings as far away as Argentina.
This illustration is courtesy of Lucas' friend Natalie, who moved from Berkeley to Buenos Aires almost two years ago.

Our very own Homeland Security group has issues this as a RED alert. So lock your doors and if you see someone walking down the street that looks different, like these potato people, call 911! Press conference from the President to come shortly.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Late night excuses

We've been having some late nights at the McKay house recently. We still put Lucas to bed at the normal time, 7:30 or 8, but he's been staying up into the late evening hours, like 10 or 10:30!!

Of course, he is armed with plenty of excuses:

- When I close my eyes, they just pop back open.
- I have to go pee (again and again and again).
- I'm not sleepy.
- I'm in the middle of telling myself a story and it's not over yet.
- I'm playing with my cars and Fillmore is going around the mountain now...
- Five more minutes, okay mommy?

And the other night when I told him to go to sleep because he still had to get up early and go to school the next day, he muttered something in return. I asked him to repeat himself and he said, "I said 'I'll take my chances.'" Where the heck does he get stuff like that from?

It's 10:23, and I think he finally fell asleep. Good night!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Have something to say?

When I saw Lucas' latest construction project I have to admit, I had no idea what it was, so I asked.

Lucas: This is the place you go if you have something important to say.
Me: What types of things do you say in this place?
Lucas: Come on mommy, you know, important things.
Me: Like what, can you tell me one of them?
Lucas: [whispering in my ear] I have secret magic powers.

If you don't have a place like this in your home, we will contract Lucas out to build one for you.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

It's hereditary

Most people say that Lucas is like a mini, Korean version of Kevin. And I would have to agree. Especially when you see their faces side-by-side, there's no denying that they look alike.

However, I think Lucas' personality is more like mine. He's stubborn, feisty, independent, and is always busy.

On Saturday night, Lucas showed another trait that he gets from me.

We were at sushi and Lucas had asked about getting ice cream. Kevin and I were both non-committal. Sensing that we were waffling, Lucas pulled out the big guns, ""When I grow up, I'm going to be a sushi worker. And when you guys come to my sushi restaurant, after your dinner, I will give you each two scoops of ice cream. Just for you."

Kevin looked at me and said, "Do you feel like we're being set up?"

Regardless, it worked. After dinner we drove down to Sketch for some yummy ice cream, which we all indulged in.

Parking lot incident

A couple days ago, I was pulling out of my spot at the bank parking lot when all of a sudden, I heard a thump on my car. I stopped and looked around to see this man yelling at me, "Slow down, slow down!" I think the thump was his hand hitting the car. Then about 10 feet behind him, I saw three small children running through the parking lot. The mom, who trailed behind the kids by about 20 feet was yelling at me in Spanish.

I pulled back into my spot and got out of the car and watched them. The kids were little. One was a toddler, with the Frankenstein-like jerky walk of a beginning walker, probably a 3 year old and a 5 year old, and they were toddling/running amok chasing a ball in the parking lot.

I said, in as nice of a voice as I could muster, "This is a parking lot, not a park. It's not safe to have your kids run around like that." The mom just kept screaming at me, what I'm sure were obscenities in Spanish.

I watched them all pile into their car, which was just a couple away from mine. The toddler was in front on the mom's lap and the other two were in the back, no one had car seats. Then they drove away.

I know car seats are expensive. But if you decide to have a car, the least you can do is get car seats for your little ones. And maybe try to control your kids, or at least hold their hands in the parking lot.

Day at the Discovery Museum

Lucas and I spent about 6 hours at the Discovery Museum in Sausalito on Friday. God I love that place!

We had some time alone at first. We spent most of this time outside, on the boat.

Soon we were joined by my friend Christina and her 1-year old twins. At first Lucas kind of ignored them, but when we were in the TotSpot, Lucas was having fun hiding from Sela, then laughing and hiding again when she would find him.

As luck would have it, as they were leaving, we ran into one of Lucas' friends from school, and spent the rest of the afternoon with them. Lucas enjoyed being in the art room, painting a little bit on the windows, but really going to town with the water bottle, spraying the window and washing it. As he proclaimed when we left, "Mommy, I think I'll be a window washer when I grow up!"

By the time we left, we were stuck in the late afternoon commute.

Lucas does not care for long car rides. Usually after about 15 minutes, he starts getting antsy.
We sat in traffic for quite a bit and Lucas was getting anxious, he kept asking, "where are we?" and "when are we going to be home?".
As we were about a minute away from home, Lucas asked what the bear flag was for? I looked to where he was pointing, next to the US flag in front of the local library. I told him it was the California flag.

Lucas said, "Oh, so that's where we are! In California, in the United States." He seemed relieved.

Monday, June 04, 2007

There's a bathtub in our living room

Lucas woke up in quite a snit this morning when he discovered that I had displaced his safari playland from the floor onto the armchair.

After we got over the initial whining and crying, bemoaning the loss of his playland, he asked, "Mommy can you help me build a new one?". "Sure," I replied, "just let me know what I need to build."

My assignment from my demanding client: Use a blanket to make a bathtub for the giraffe and his bucket of berries. Make steps so the giraffe (aka "Sharky") can get in and out.

Of course, my client was standing over me, watching my every move, with non-helpful criticisms including:

- That's not right.
- That's not the way it's supposed to be.
- The blanket is not supposed to be like that.
- You forgot to build in the steps. No, not like that.

When I gently probed to get some more constructive feedback, my difficult client would respond with:

- It's just not right. You need to fix it.
- I don't know how to do it. You just need to finish it so Sharky can eat. Sharky's getting hungry.

Lucas finally decided to become more involved and this was the result.

My client was faily happy with how it turned out. Of course, he still had some personal touches he wanted to add. He spent about ten more minutes adding more animals and other assorted gizmos to Sharky's bathtub.

I thought back to the times I've worked with contractors, giving them similar feedback, okay maybe a little more constructive than Lucas. But I remember using words like doo-dads and gizmos, or saying things like "you know, that thing that goes along the bottom of the wall" (baseboards) and "I don't know what it is about it, but it doesn't look right." Like mother like son I guess.

In case you're wondering, Sharky and his pals are still playing in the bathtub on our living room rug. Lucas made me promise that I wouldn't move them again until he gets home from school. So they're still there, eating and frolicking in the tub. At least it gives me yet another excuse not to vacuum the rug today.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

The joys of youth

After viewing this YouTube video, Lucas (and Kevin and I) were so excited to see this carnivorous plant exhibit at the SF Conservatory of Flowers.

While it was nice to be in the Conservatory again for the firs time in many years, the actual Chomp exhibit was a disappointment. I thought there would be live demonstrations of bugs getting eaten by these meat-eating plants. Or maybe interactive exhibits for the little ones. At least plants that Lucas could look at without me having to pick him up. I was wrong on all counts, despite the kid-friendly marketing from the usually elegant and sophiticated Conservatory.
There was one table with venus fly traps and magnifying glasses that held Lucas' attention for about a minute.The real fun for Lucas came after we left the Conservatory. Even though the skies were gray and drizzly, Lucas found a lot to enjoy.

Then we heard a flute-like music playing a ways off. We ventured through a grove of trees and there was a man standing by himself playing the flute. Something in the music must have inspired Lucas, but he just wanted to run in the wide grassy area and move to the music.

The last time I enjoyed stomping through puddles was in college when my friends and I walked home from the local sports bar. There were at least five of us and we sang and stomped in the puddles the whole way down fraternity row, back to our sorority house.

The good old days!