Sunday, September 30, 2007


I just went through a purge of sorts. Every week we get probably 5 pounds worth of catalogs (I'm not exaggerating), every week! Our recycling bin is always way more full than our garbage bin, due to the influx of catalogs and other junk mail.

So I kept a bunch of the recent ones and knocked them off one at a time. I just called and asked to be taken off the list.I got all these catalogs within one week. And they're the heavy holiday catalogs too.

For some of them, I had to go through some pretty complex phone trees to talk with a human and get off the lists. LL Bean, to their credit, had an actual human being answer straight off the bat.

The worst offender, Restoration Hardware. After pressing lots of different buttons to get my name off their mailing list, I heard a recording that the mailbox was full.

I was also peeved with Pottery Barn. As the other people told me that I may receive another catalog or two over the next six weeks, Pottery Barn said that I would receive catalogs for the next six months, as the mail lists have already gone out. This made me mad. I feel like it's a marketing trick. Plus, I probably get the most catalogs from PB and PB Kids.

You can bet your favorite catalog that I'm going to make some phone calls and have a talk with Restoration Hardware and Pottery Barn.

Inching toward the goal

Soccer season has begun. Lucas was very excited to start soccer. Thanks to my brother, Lucas was practically born with a soccer ball at his feet. "Ball" was one of his first words. And he loves kicking the ball around at the park.

The first soccer practice, a few weeks ago, was looked forward to with much anticipation. Lucas told everyone the days leading up to soccer that he was going to play soccer soon. My mom drove out to see Lucas' big debut on the field. However, as what happens many times with 4-year olds, things don't turn out quite like you expect. Lucas spent the 75-minutes clinging onto my hand or my leg.We're not sure what happened: preschooler stage fright, too much chaos, or just the need to hold onto a warm body and watch? Probably all of the above. We stayed until the end and then went home. Lucas napped, probably from all the exertion it took to hang onto another person for dear life.

We missed the 2nd soccer practice, but went out on the field again yesterday. I didn't have high hopes (in fact, I felt lucky that he didn't kick up a fuss when I told him to suit up for soccer), but I told Lucas that even if he didn't want to play, we needed to go out there to watch and support his team. I assured him that it was okay if he didn't want to play.

We got out to the field a half hour earlier than his team. I figured it would be less intimidating if we got there early. We brought a ball from home and we kicked it around (yes, Lucas actually made contact with a soccer ball). Then his buddy Matteo got there and he and Lucas took turns shooting for and protecting the goal (another big step for Lucas). However when more kids showed up, Lucas pleaded with me to sit on the bench, which was far away from the soccer field. I convinced him that the bench was just for old people to sit on and we needed to at least be by the field to watch his team.

So we watched for a little bit. But mostly we dribbled the ball on the adjoining field, we kicked the ball into the goal, we did all the things you do when you play soccer. Every once in a while I would kick the ball over to the other field and we'd play over there for a little.
We had a great time. And even after I stopped playing with Lucas, he continued to run up and down the field, dribbling the ball. He worked up a good sweat.
After the team was done, he continued to dribble and one of the kids from his preschool class came up and they dribbled the ball together. Lucas asked if he could have a soccer play date with this kid.

I finally coerced Lucas away from the soccer field with a promise of pizza and strawberry lemonade for lunch. We went with Sydney and her mom Noel (from my mom's group) to Gioia Pizzeria.

Sydney and Lucas sat together and had a nice post-soccer pizza date. It was a nice ending to Lucas' first real day of soccer.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

I just blogged to say "I love you"

We celebrated our 9-year wedding anniversary this past Wednesday. I can hardly believe it, nine years!

I love you Kevin!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

A bad man with a gun

Last night Kevin and I went to see "3:10 to Yuma". The movie is really good, in fact, it was my second time seeing the movie. Russell Crowe plays an outlaw in the wild west, holding up stagecoaches and, well basically, being a bad man.

In the movie, Ben Wade (Russell Crowe's character) comes across as charming, complex, and yes, likeable. I wanted him to escape and be free.

I don't like guns and won't let Kevin keep any in the house. And of course, I believe that theft and murder are just plain wrong.

But what is it about characters like Ben Wade, and the anti-heroes of my other favorites movies and shows that makes them appealing? The Corleone boys (except for Fredo) from the Godfather movies, Tony Montana from Scarface, Henry Hill and Jimmy Conway from Goodfellas, Tony Soprano from the Sopranos ... and the list goes on.

Am I living out some inner mobster fantasy? Or is there just something about a bad man with a gun?

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Party like it's 1999

I wasn't at a party, I was on a business trip with my co-workers to New York. I got to stay in a fancy hotel, eat out at nice restaurants and had all day meetings.

Thursday night, we celebrated a day of successful meetings, and I had a drink.
I celebrated being out in NY with no big and little people waiting for me at home, and had another drink.
I celebrated having just bought a new pair of boots since my shoes had been killing me all day. Yes, I had another drink.
I celebrated meeting up with my friend in NY who I haven't seen for at least five years. So I had two drinks.

I haven't had that much to drink since my early 20s (seriously).

I woke up Friday morning and my head was still a little squishy from the night before. I packed my stuff up in 5 minutes so as not to miss my flight. I left all my toiletries at the hotel. I felt nauseous in the taxi ride to the airport, but felt better once I got on the plane. I slept almost the entire way home. Then right before I got off the plane, I ran to the bathroom and barfed.

Prince would have been proud.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Rules of the road

On Sunday, Lucas and I went to Semifreddis for a little breakfast. He wanted to bike, so I ran alongside.

I was a little nervous, as Semifreddis is just shy of a mile away from our house through residential streets.

So Lucas, outfitted in his pajamas and helmet, and I embarked on his first city bike ride.

I had nothing to be nervous about as he maneuvered the sidewalks like a champ. He was careful and slowed down before driveways, looking to make sure cars weren't about to pull out, and he waited for me at every corner.

I was running to keep up with him. At a slight little hill, he said, "Don't worry mommy, I'll go slow down this hill so you don't have to run." And he coasted down the hill with his brakes slightly on the entire time.

Now I'll have to start running just so I can keep up with him.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Who smells?

Lucas: What's this? (holding a thing of deodorant)
Me: It's something for old, stinky people.
Lucas: Like daddy?

Thursday, September 13, 2007

"Daddy can't read you a story tonight because he's getting a lap dance."

Kevin rarely goes out at night, he's pretty much always here. But earlier this week Kevin went out to a strip club with his boss from Texas.

Lucas stayed up late, wondering where he was. I told him that Kevin was out "with friends".

Lucas groks "infinity"

Lucas asked me to count to infinity the other day. I told him that infinity means that numbers go on forever and there isn't an end. He then asked, "Well, can you count at least close to infinity?"

Kevin, overhearing our conversation, brought out this ring with wooden balls on it (I think it's some kind of Buddhist prayer bracelet) to help Lucas understand the concept. He told Lucas that to understand infinity, to start with one of the balls and just keep counting and not to stop.

Lucas started to do this then stopped. He said, "It just keeps going around and around and around. Just like the cars at the Dinoco 400 race!"

Come back soon to read about Lucas' answer to "Is there a god?".

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Every page counts

Do you know how many pages are in your favorite books? Lucas does.

This past week, Lucas has been obsessed by counting and numbers. When I was reading him books on Monday night, he chose, "1000 Facts on Dinosaurs". But instead of reading the book, he wanted to go through each page and say the page numbers. "One, two, three, four..." you get where this is going.

A few questions came up and I didn't have good answers to any of them:
- Why is the first page number we see '4' instead of '1'?
- Why do some pages not have numbers on them?
- Why does 2+2=4, but 2 next to 2 make 22?

Finally we got to the end - through the index, and even the acknowledgments, since they all have page numbers. All in all, this book has 224 pages. Good to know.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Things I learned about chocolate

1. White chocolate is made of cocoa butter, sugar and milk. None of the dark cacao bean, which in my opinion makes dark chocolate so superior.
2. For something to be called chocolate, it must contain a minimum of 10% chocolate (the average chocolate Hershey's bar.
3. The mass chocolate producers are lobbying to substitute vegetable oil (cheaper) for cocoa butter. Read more about that here.

Most importantly, I learned that there is something as too much chocolate, even for me.

In case you don't know, I LOVE chocolate. So when my friend Heather forwarded me this email for a San Francisco Gourmet Chocolate Tour, of course I responded with an enthusiastic YES!

There were five of us aside from Andrea our tourguide: me, Kevin, Heather, Karen and another woman named Julie.

We started at the Ferry Building. Our first destination was Scharffen-Berger where we each got to choose two Joseph Schmidt truffles (I chose the Grand Marnier and sea salt caramel truffles) and we sampled a Scharffen-Berger dark chocolate bar.(I promise that I will never again post a photo of me or anyone eating.)

Then we went to Recchiuti where Jackie Recchiuti (part of the husband-wife team behind these delicious confections) made a personal introduction and fulfilled our chocolate requests. I enjoyed a Fleur de Sel Caramel (a smaller and more sublime version of the JS sea salt and caramel) and a dark chocolate with mandarin orange essence. I think these were the best chocolates on the tour.

After that we walked over to Fog City News on Market Street. They carry more than 200 different kinds of chocolates from all over the world. FCN is where you can find such gems as the Bacon Chocolate Bar, Grey Poppy, and Banana Curry (pictured at left). Alex, the owner of FCN, took us aside and did a blind tasting of various chocolates. We gave our impressions of the chocolates, we cleansed our palettes with saltine crackers, and after the tasting, Alex revealed the type of chocolates we ate. This was the most fun experience of the tour.

Our next stop was to Citizen Cupcake, where I thought we would be imbibing on some drinking chocolate, but it was just regular hot chocolate. So it was somewhat of a disappointment, but it provided a nice rest from the walking.

We headed up to Union Square and ducked into the Ghiradelli store for a quick free sample. Then headed to Richart Chocolates, the fancy French chocolatier. The fancy designs on the chocolates reminded me a bit of the old Nagel art, like on the Duran Duran Rio album.
And lastly, we went to Teuscher, a Swiss truffle and chocolate maker. By this time, I had ingested so much chocolate, I couldn't eat any more. I saved my two truffles (mint and champagne) for the next morning and chased them down with a good old fashioned hot chocolate from Semifreddis.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

36 points for "portages", 0 points for "slacker mom"

On Lucas' first day of school earlier this week, I prepared a little lunch for him and included a note. I felt satisfied knowing that I went the extra mile to scotch tape a little love note from me and Kevin for his first day.

As I waited for him to wake up, I engaged in my latest obsession, Scrabble on Facebook. With my laptop set up in the kitchen, I toggled back and forth between my nine games I had going on at the time. I was on a roll against someone from British Columbia, with four words in a row that were over 20 points each - ZA for 22, INNOCENTS for 33, YAM for 26 and PORTAGES for 36.

I played for about an hour within my various games, but excitement was mounting as my score against my Canadian opponent was nearing 400, which is a record for me. But just after the Canadian posted "PER" for a measly 10 points, I heard Lucas wake up. I closed my laptop and immediately went from word wizard to attentive mother mode.

I went into his room and asked what he wanted for breakfast. "Cheese toast" was his answer. I went into the kitchen to start on his cheese toast. But, there was no bread, not even the heel of the loaf left. Then Lucas called out, "And a glass of milk please."

I opened the fridge, but no milk either. I anticipated big disappointment and possible tantrum if I had to deliver this news without a good plan B. So I searched the cupboards and found a plan B that was in no way nutritious, but it was satisfying to him - a Clif Z bar and apple juice.

You would think that a thoughtful mom would have made sure her fridge and cupboards were stocked with basics for a good breakfast on the first day of school. Instead, this mom was busy playing Scrabble with friends and strangers from around the world.

What a loser!

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Non-Labor Day

It was a lazy non-labor day. Not much work, in fact, not much but eating.
We did start the day off chasing Lucas on his bike. His new trick? Making skidmarks on the pavement.

Then it was back to my mom's for her waffle-off. She made two different kinds of waffle batter and we tested them. We all ate waffles for about 2 hours. Yu-um!

After the waffle-eating frenzy, my mom busted out the popsicles (they're these red bean popsicles, called pachi tong tongs. i don't go for asian desserts, but everyone else did).
This was Milan's first PTT. She didn't know what to make of it at first, but then grew to love it just like her mom. When she had already eaten through to the stick, she threw a little fit, since she no longer had easy access to the red bean treat. Here she is in full tantrum mode, which I also call, "Daddy, I WANT A PONY NOW!"
Then some bed-jumping for Lucas, check out this action shot.
The afternoon took a downward turn when my mom busted out her new karaoke machine. Everyone had the mic at some point. The biggest mic hog? Lucas, with more renditions of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and Row Your Boat, then you need to hear.

Of course, since we were on a roll, we went for sushi then ice cream. What a day!