Wednesday, December 31, 2008

{this morning we are playing on the floor}

5 words or phrases i use too much on my blog and in real life

1. pretty much: i pretty much say pretty much all the time.

2. literally: so easy to toss in a sentence. literally. so. easy.

3. amazing: i'm sure you've noticed if you've read more than 2 posts..i think a lot is amazing.

4. cute or the variations supercute + cuteness: ok, so this one i use a little more in real life, but the blog is not exempt from cute.

5. apparently: as in, apparently i pretty much think everything is supercute. or apparently i have a very limited vocabulary. this one is all in the tone of voice that you say it. this is a new one in my vocabulary roster this year. 

{addendum- i forgot a word:}

5 1/2. seriously: this one is friends with literally, but i use this one liberally in all sorts of conversations.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

5 things i'm over- 2008 version

1. our nice neighbor feeding the squirrels and local feral cats. as a result of her constant snack allotment, they are basically overrunning our garden in tag-team fashion and stealing all of the seeds or leaving behind stinky reminders of their presence.

2. wasteful parkers. when you park on the street, just keep in mind that maybe the three feet in front of your car and the four feet behind your car could be consolidated into one seven foot stretch where someone else could park. i know this is more of an urban issue, but, people, please. think of others trying to find a parking spot! oh, and if you are parking on your street and you actually have a driveway- here's a crazy idea: use it. i promised matt in january that i would no longer rant about wasteful parkers, but it's the end of december and i've done pretty well so far, so i gave myself permission. 

3. the fact that every time i leave a message on a cell phone, that the automated voice explains to me to leave a message after the beep for 5-10 seconds. it is 2008, not 1984, and we live in the united states of america, not in the rural part of a developing country where voicemail or answering machines are a novel thing; i think 99% of the population understands that a beep preceded by voicemail message is the prompt to leave your own message in return. i know that it is a dumb way for cell phone companies to bump up the length of your call in order to make more money but obviously, i can't let go.

4. hearing loss. i know it's not going anywhere; it's pretty much here to stay in our family. and i never ever ever want a different daughter than the one i have, but i'm kind of over what comes with little m being deaf: hearing aids, hearing aid feedback, speech therapy, the dumb things people say about her deafness, the fact that people's pets can hear and my child can't and the random waves of fill-in-the-blank emotion (depends on the day: sad, angry, weary, etc) that hit me out of nowhere. let me repeat, i love my daughter just the way she is, i'm just over all the aforementioned. some days it's just hard.

5. lying + manipulating. ok, so i know this list went from mindless to serious fast right around #4, but wow- when you are in relationship with someone who lies and manipulates it's pretty hard to heal, move on, and hope for something new. i think matt and i both (as well as a few other people i could list) are ready for a big dose of healthy in 2009. the problem is, when you're wounded by someone who lies it takes a really long time to get to a place where you can evolve into wholeness and trust. 

here's to 2009: the year of fewer scavenging garden critters-bad parallel parkers-voice mail instructions-hearing loss dramas-and-plain ole' lies. (seems a little too long to be a slogan, but here's hoping anyway)

for the love of december 28th

today is a special day because two of my favorite people, keith and rebecca, are turning a year older! i've done a lot of birthday posts lately, and in danger of turning this into a birthday blog, i'll keep this shortish and sweet. 

keith is in the midst of law school, and juggling that world along with being a dad, husband, friend, and musician. (this is a photo of him cheering his wife nancy on as she was in labor) here's to a day of celebration and rest, keith. so glad you're a part of the community that makes up my little world.

my only sister rebecca turns 30 today! she is far away celebrating in chicago, so these are long distance birthday wishes. i was going to list thirty great things about my sister, but i decided that might get a bit long, so in honor of the four years that separate us in age, her are four great things about her. this list is not exhaustive, it's just the first four things that popped into my head - 
  • becca is a super fabulous aunt. she has loved little m from the prenatal days, and continues to be a great support to us now that she's out of the womb. {in fact, she got her the very first onesie: an awesome black johnny cash onesie that could work on a boy or girl. (i ended up stretching it out so we could use it as long as possible.)} bec comes over to visit, plays with m, gets her fun presents, and talks so much about how great m is that she makes me excited about my own kid! which brings me to number two...
  • bec has contagious energy. she lives life fully, and she embraces causes, issues, people, and the world joyfully and wholeheartedly. there is no doubt when rebecca has discovered something that she cares about- whether that be literacy in oakland schools, obama, fonts, a new author, her husband, little m, and so on - that she works with great enthusiasm to introduce said interest to the world around her. i know she thinks passionate is a a four letter word, but i think the only way you get things done in this world is to be passionate, so there.
  • bec has great style. i've always envied her ability to rock some of the clothes/accessories that look ridiculous on me or fit me weird. i swear she can try on anything in a store and walk out looking great in it. um, quick survey of her college photos? lots of super cute outfits, hair colors and cuts. same survey of my college pics? lots of xxl plaid shirts and sweatshirts and shaggy long hair. um, maybe it was technically in style, but not a good look. not at all. also, she always has super cute short haircuts. i, on the other hand, tend to forget to rebook a haircut, so i am stuck on the split-ended pony tail end of the spectrum. we exchange only supercute gifts to each other: nothing practical, just cute. i know if i've found something i want, that i should buy it for my sister.
  • rebecca is smart and anything but complacent. i think as every year passes she has a greater desire for knowledge. she reads tons of books, keeps up on all of the political websites (yes-while i traipse over to the celebrity trash my sister reads all of the smartypants politico stuff), and loves to engage people in conversations about intelligent topics. i really admire her desire to grow in what she is learning as she ages, whether that is in cooking, gardening, politics, history, education...
i just love birthdays because celebrating a birthday reminds me of how thankful i am for the people who make up my life, and for the ways such diverse and interesting people make me better, more whole, able to navigate this world.

{ok, not short at all. sorry}


just about to do a post and i hear this little one raising a ruckus from the other room. just look at her though- can i really ignore her? so you can enjoy her cuteness in the meantime- i'll get back to posting more later.

Friday, December 26, 2008

favorite restaurants this year

yesterday i spent a good ten minutes talking up oakland to someone who thought that it was pretty much one big homicide scene. yes, there are LOTS of problems in oakland- i know. i literally heard someone get shot and killed on the block behind me this year, so i get it. but, even so, oakland is an amazing place to live and i'm glad i live here. maybe i'll do a list about that now that i think about it...i digress. one of the great things about oakland, and one of my talking points in yesterday's pro-oaktown convo, are the many delicious and diverse restaurants. this entry is kind of oakland centric, so apologies to my out of town friends. (although perhaps the list will entice you to come visit me)

so, matt and i hit some new spots and stuck to some old favs this year...we disagree on some, but i'll throw them all in there in no particular order:
  • bakesale betty- the best fried chicken sandwich you have ever had. glorious. there seemed to be a dip in quality control a few months back; i think they were trying to make too many every day and the sandwiches took a bit of a hit, but lately they seem to be back and just as good as they ever were. one of the highlights of waiting in line? you always get free treats: cookies, fresh lemon or strawberry icees, or strawberry shortcake. they hand them out constantly so you can pretty much bet on getting lots of extra sugary goodness to top off your already calorie-laden meal.
  • vientian- this lao thai cambodian restaurant is a couple of blocks away from our house and is cheap and really good. somehow i always forget about it, and then i go there and it's fabulous, and i get out of there with leftovers and change from a ten dollar bill.
  • camino-matt loves this spot on grand avenue. we've gone twice, once just the two of us and once with our friends geoff and francesca. here's why matt likes it: not many options. they make seasonal, fresh, local stuff, and they make it well. here's why i don't like it quite as much: not many options. since i am not that into the taste of creatures that dwell in the sea, and the menu seems seafood heavy, i am limited to maybe one or two things. also, the drinks are in glasses the size of a thimble and cost $10 and up. hello, i am not one of the littles. and when we went with francesca, the waiters were constantly bugging her to see if she was done with her labor-intensive crab salad. attentive servers are nice, but it was a little overkill. i do love the vibe and decor-old church pews with hymnal holders still intact and huge simple chandeliers that look like they're out of an old monastary. and the food i've had there is delicious. (the mint ice milk with pomegranate seeds that a waiter recommended sounded random but was a revelation.) but there's no way you can get much of anything with a ten dollar bill there, so keep that in mind...
  • pizzaiolo- hands down matt's favorite. consistently great food. plus they have a great breakfast option of toast, jam, and coffee or tea. it's a great place to spend the morning if you have work to do. grab a big table, drink up, and don't feel an ounce of guilt as you linger for hours.
  • barneys- ok, so this spot is soooo not on matt's list, but i love their steak fries. love. also gregoire's potato puffs of goodness are worth a trip in and of themselves. and rouge's burger and fries are sensational.
  • chez panisse cafeour friends christie and nick treated us to lunch here when little m was just an itty bitty thing, and it was so good. we've never gone to the actual downstairs superfancypants restaurant, but our very generous and thoughtful friends got us a gift certificate as a christmas gift so i can't wait!!!!!!! foodie mecca, here we come. i'm sure it will make next year's list.
  • mi pueblo- the mexican supermarket down the street has, in my opinion but not matt's, the BEST carne asada burritos and chips in oakland. hello, for a couple of bucks you are well satiated for the next two days. i'm guessing, but matt would probably pick the taco truck on the corner of foothill and 38th for tacos, and taquieria san jose for burritos. and we are no strangers to the taco bell on the corner of 35th and macarthur. hey, late at night with a newborn? crunchy taco supreme or bean burrito anyone? sometimes you've gotta make a run for the border, that's all i'm saying.
  • incanto- we went here - the only non-oakland restaurant on the list so far- with our friends steve and renetta. there were a few mis-steps, but i had bay leaf panna cotta for dessert and it rocked my world like nobody's business. um, wow. i only got it because ren raved about it (bay leaf??? sounded weird), but after eating it, i think i would go eat dinner and have only that as my entree. 
i know matt will remind me of a few more, so perhaps there will be a part deux. we'll see. but all i know is i did a lot of eating in 2008; here's to fewer calories in 2009?

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


birthday wishes and love to my friend jana: funny, artmaker, lover of jameson, honest, sometime bizarre sense of humor, loyal, in my roster of number one fans. (and it's very important to have number one fans around to give you support and lovin'.)

the best tv shows i watched this year even though we don't have a tv

so, i love me some internets. 

matt and i have never had a tv since we've been married, but thanks to shows being online (a la, youtube and the network websites) as well as watching shows long after they're off the air, you don't really need a tv. in 2008, i had some time on my hands...

first, when i was pregnant with little m i couldn't sleep for more than a couple hours a night, so i needed to kill some time somehow. enter, tv online. then, when little m needed some marathon breastfeeding for the first few months of her life and i logged about 12 to 14 hours a day feeding her, again, i got into a few shows...

in no particular order...good* tv from 2008!
(keep in mind that it wasn't necessarily made in 2008, that's just when i happened to watch it)

*good=kept me entertained. this does not mean in every single case it is actually high in quality...especially the shows i watched when i was up in the middle of the night preggers. don't judge until you have an almost 9 pound baby doing gymnastics in your belly at 2 am. 3 am. and 4.
  • arrested development: how did this show get cancelled after 3 seasons? it is hilarious and witty and amazing.
  • the hills + kitchen nightmares: ok these are my examples of not-quality-but-got-me-through-some-tough-nights-tv. i've since moved on, but they hit the spot when i was tossing and turning all night. i'll be the first to say that the hills is complete trash. oh, and another entry in the hall of shame: greys anatomy. it's really quite awful at this point, but then i watch it in order to confirm that it continues to be awful??? what is my problem? and i will admit to watching a couple of episodes of lipstick jungle. but the confessions stop there.
  • the wire: matt and i are watching it right now and are just starting season two. it is genius. messy characters, ghetto neighborhoods and a jacked up city. sounds very familiar...
  • gilmore girls: my poor sister. my poor friend nancy. they both tried to tell me how great this show was for years...and i scoffed at them. but they were so right. the entirety of this show got me through the beginning months of feeding little m. i think i was a little obsessed, but it's hard not to keep watching when you have every single episode on dvd. quick dialogue, great characters, and jess. oh, i have a special place in my heart for jess.
  • project runway + top chef: love them both. i know, it's reality tv, but it is reality tv in which something creative and interesting is being produced. it actually really makes me think about whether i could be imaginative and resourceful with a limited amount of time. i figure it stimulates my mind kind of like a crossword puzzle or suduko would, so perhaps watching these shows staves of alzheimer's and keeps me mentally sharp. (how's that for justification?) 
  • the office: i've never even worked in an office (well, one summer, but that doesn't really count; i was 18 years old. but if you must know, i was the equivalent of pam, except jim, the cute prankster did not inhabit my office. just a creepy feed ex guy that always hit on me) and i think this show is hilarious. i'm not a purist- i don't watch the british version. but as you can see from my list, i have no problem with low brow things, so the american version suits me just fine.
  • six feet under: another one of those shows that was on years ago, but we are just getting around to watching it in this house. (box sets=the best!) it had some low points, but somehow we soldiered on and made it to the final season- which was incredible and touching.
runners up: for a brief, desperate bit i watched project catwalk, the uk's version of runway on youtube. season 1 was actually pretty good. and once in a while i've watched samantha who? on christina applegate is pretty hilarious and has great comedic timing; that show was fabulous for when i had greeting cards to work on and needed something mindless on in the background as i stayed up all hours. 

ok, now that i sound like a complete couch potato, off to accomplish lots of important things!

Sunday, December 21, 2008


matt and i are sitting by the tree in our front room, and as he reads and i work it is very quiet (except of course when noisy me pipes up and interrupts matt's reading time-which i kind of do a lot). i'm listening to the sounds of rain falling outside at the end of a very dreary day: depending on where it is falling it sounds different...some of it is drippy, some consistent and metallic sounding, some sounds fat and slow. 

all i can think is...i hope that my little m will get to hear the rainfall someday, and my heart does a little crunch.

christmas around our house

i'm not too much for christmas music playing from the day after christmas on, but i do think there is something special and magical about christmas. this year we decided to forgo ornaments for a stripped down, starlit version of a tree. that plus lots of candles seems to be special enough for little m. the first time she saw the tree lit up she started dancing back and forth and grinning at the tree as if it was her best friend.
little m's new bestie, the tree...
one of our christmas picture out takes:hanging with daddy in his winter garden

a little bubbly one night with my friend nancy to celebrate her birthday

it is chilly and windy outside as i write this, and it is nice to be inside in a warm, candlelit and tree lit house. enjoy the end of the weekend!

Friday, December 19, 2008

lists 2008, continued

well, it's that time again...end of the year lists. i usually send out christmas cards with some sort of venn diagram, chart, list, or letter encapsulating our year around these parts: reading material, meals, activities, and so on. this year i went more on the simple side (well, not so much, because i printed all of our cards and so it ended up being a very long-and-not-yet-completed process), and refrained from including anything in our card. that said, it's kind of nice to think back over the year and commemorate what has captured our imagination, time, and energy. as i've mentioned, i'll continue this lists up until the end of the month.

today's list...our favorite cookbooks of the year:
  • the art of simple food, alice waters             
his vote for best recipes- poached egg with curly endive salad, roast chicken, polenta, carrot soup, almond tart

when i asked matt which his favorite recipe was out of this cookbook, he said," there are just so many, wifey, i just can't handle it, you know what i'm sayin'?")
  • the central cuisines of mexico, diana kennedy
  • tartine, elizabeth pruiett + chad robertson
my vote for best recipes- shortbread, lemon bars, fresh fruit galette
  • the art of simple food, alice waters
best recipes- onion panade, risotto bianco, eggplant caviar, italian meatballs
  • jamie at home + jamie's italy, jamie oliver
these two cookbooks also get my gold star for best food photography and most entertaining read
  • staffmeals from chantrelle, david waltuck + melecia phillips
this hand me down we got randomly last year is still one of my favorites; the recipes are easy and homey, and originated from the staff meals before the evening meal service at the new york restaurant chantrelle. this is a great cookbook to have on hand, especially when cooking for a group of people or when you need to throw good food together fast!

my other favorite recipe locations:, cooking light + cook's illustrated magazines

happy eating!


i just kind of love this picture. notice that she is using a pair of pj's as her blankie to snuggle with; i had set the pajamas on the edge of the crib and she apparently squirmed, reached, and somehow managed to pull them down into the crib so she could hold onto them. ah, our little wriggly worm.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

long distance birthday wishes

well, i was up until 2 in the morning gocco-ing christmas cards, so i'm a little sleepy this morning and slow on formulating sentences, but it is december 17th... so, happy birthday aunt chrissy! we can't wait to see you next week!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

another day, another list

continuing in the spirit of listing things, here are some things that i myself am not so good at. maybe they'll fall at the wayside in 2009? one can only hope. (and one can work to change, i know, i know)

things that i'm not very good at:
  • returning phone calls. i'm kind of the worst ever. really. the. worst. 
  • taking the itty bitty sticker off of the piece of fruit and putting it in the trash. i usually just stick it somewhere random in the kitchen.
  • having a very organized closet (although it's improved by about 453% since 1996!)
  • taking care of myself when i'm sick.
  • wanting to clean the bathroom (notice, i say wanting; i am very good at cleaning bathrooms, that is not the issue. i had to every saturday morning growing up, but i kind of put it off because i don't really want to...)
  • games that involve any form of strategery. for instance, games like settlers of catan or cards. not my thing. not how my mind works-i think it could be super fun, i'm just not too good at figuring out who has what card and what cards are left in the deck, etc...anytime i win a one of those games it is merely chance.
  • having any type of memory (um, matt, this admission cannot be used against me next time you think i maybe have forgotten something important.)
  • vacuuming my car out or taking in the coffee cups i put in the cupholders.
  • unpacking after a trip.
  • lately, going to the gym.
  • reading books from front to back, cover to cover.
  • getting my digital pictures actually printed; instead they live on my computer for years and years.
  • charging my cell phone and remembering to take it off silent (which makes me have to return more calls, which if you see #1 makes my life more difficult than it needs to be)
  • remembering the names of people from high school.
  • saying, when it rains, "it's so good it's raining. we really need the rain." um, maybe so, but i still don't like it.
  • having a good attitude when sleep or food deprived (i used to think i did, and then i had little m, and now, not so much. especially the sleep part.)
  • getting the oil changed at 3,000 miles.
  • getting out of a target in less than 45 minutes and spending less than $50, even if i went in to buy a toothbrush.
uh, i think that's enough not-too-good-ats for one day, even though, don't worry, i know i have plenty of other flat spots!

Monday, December 15, 2008

lame=our insurance

well, as expected, we got our letter today denying our first appeal to the insurance company for little m's surgery.

we knew it was coming, but it's still deflating and sucky. my favorite is that in the letter the medical reviewer states that we have not established medical necessity for cochlear implants. um, in my opinion we actually have, they just don't agree. 

so, now we head onto appeal #2 for most likely another denial. fun times. the thing that is frustrating is that if the person writing the denial letter had a deaf baby, you know that he would think implants were medically necessary.

(if you happen to read this blog and it is your opinion that m shouldn't have implants, or that she is too young for the surgery, you can pass on leaving me a comment telling me that. you're free to think it, but just can't take it today; thanks.)

making a list and checking it twice.

i feel like my life often consists of to do lists that are entirely to long in the first place. who am i kidding? i squish like 40 things onto a list, most of which i could not accomplish in a day pre-baby, and then get frustrated with myself when i don't get them all done. silly, i know. the reality is that i have an active and needing attention 8 month old (add in all that her hearing loss entails time and energy wise) and well, that means that all my glorious plans and to do's fall by the wayside most of the time. so, imagine my delight to find some lists that have nothing to do with getting things done. i'm hoping that somewhere under the tree will be the book listography, but if not, i can still make some autobiographical lists on their online site.

usually i send out some sort of end of the year letter, list, or drawing with our annual christmas card. this year i'm keeping the cards short, sweet, and simple; in lieu, i'll throw some end of the year and assorted lists up here on the blog until january 1st. today i'll start out with a random one...

perfect lazy saturday activities:
  • latte at peets + scone at arizmendi, eat and drink on the sidewalk, then wander through farmer's market
  • coffee and toast and jam at pizzaiolo
  • reading the paper in bed
  • hanging out with friends around our firepit
  • making pear bread and then hanging out to eat it in pj's
  • snuggle time 
  • walking lake merritt
  • driving into san francisco for treats at the ferry building + a trip to moma
  • absolutely no plans with anyone, anywhere
  • a good workout at the gym, with no competing for the treadmill and either something really good on the tv or a bunch of good magazines to read, and then no plans the rest of the day
  • a late afternoon matinee so that when you come out it's suddenly dark outside
  • sleeping in and then watching a top chef marathon on bravo
  • walking up in the redwoods on a clear, crisp day with matt
  • sitting out in the garden while matt plants and weeds and harvests
  • planning a big meal with lots of courses and then cooking for hours
  • laying in a hammock in the sun with a really cold diet coke and a straw and a stack of magazines
  • painting in the studio while matt plays with little m nearby
  • a lazy drive down the 1 on a bright and sunny day on the way to a picnic lunch in big sur

Saturday, December 13, 2008

thirty plus four

there are all sorts of people in our lives. you may have friends that are a part of your life very briefly, some whom wander in and out, others who are on the periphery but constant, and rarely, you may be gifted with friends who walk with you daily over the years. friendship in whatever form is to be treasured - it is my friends over the years who have shaped me, who bear with my weaknesses, endure my lame qualities, act as my number one fans, and triumph with me in the joys of life. 

i've known nancy grace since i was 18 years old, and we have journeyed through many of life's seasons together. she is a lover of many things: people, gardening, wine, history, learning, god, her son, husband and family, reading newsweek before she falls asleep, teaching, friends, voting and the political process, the dimond, justice, perseverance, malcolm gladwell, silver nail polish, good hair product for curlies, gilmore girls, the west wing, coldplay, running, zephyr cove, anita's pies, cornelia's cinnamon buns, peets coffee, farmers market, little m, among other things. 

i am so grateful for her. she has made my life richer in countless different ways, and i am a wiser, better human being because of years of friendship with her. she truly champions causes that she believes in, and that includes her friends. she loves the poet billy collins, and i thought the spirit of the below poem was one which i hoped she could carry through this upcoming year. i hope that each of us is able to find joy and contentment in our little worlds, and that we can resonate with the feeling that
beyond this table
there is nothing that i need

nanc, i hope i'm sitting at the table with you for many years to come. grace, peace, and joy to you on your birthday.

I Ask You

What scene would I want to be enveloped in
more than this one,
an ordinary night at the kitchen table,
floral wallpaper pressing in,
white cabinets full of glass,
the telephone silent,
a pen tilted back in my hand?
It gives me time to think
about all that is going on outside—
leaves gathering in corners,
lichen greening the high grey rocks,
while over the dunes the world sails on,
huge, ocean-going, history bubbling in its wake.
But beyond this table
there is nothing that I need,
not even a job that would allow me to row to work,
or a coffee-colored Aston Martin DB4
with cracked green leather seats.
No, it's all here,
the clear ovals of a glass of water,
a small crate of oranges, a book on Stalin,
not to mention the odd snarling fish
in a frame on the wall,
and the way these three candles—
each a different height—
are singing in perfect harmony.
So forgive me
if I lower my head now and listen
to the short bass candle as he takes a solo
while my heart
thrums under my shirt—
frog at the edge of a pond—
and my thoughts fly off to a province
made of one enormous sky
and about a million empty branches.

-Billy Collins

Friday, December 12, 2008

things i love at this very moment

sitting and talking to matt
remembering the warmth of summer
little m's room + crawling around on the floor with her
my cozy cozy bed with the new pillows i got on etsy and coverlet i got on west elm (just looking at it makes me happy)
my mom's cinnamon buns (um, epic and delicious always)
my 80's throwback legwarmers that matt got me when i was preggers. love them, especially since it's been freezing this week!

happy 8 months little m!

someone is getting very big these days! just eight months ago today i was in excruciating labor, and now, well i just have the excruciating task of getting woken up early in the morning on a daily basis to feed little m. sigh. no more sleeping in at this house. 

some of m's favorites include sucking and gnawing on her toys, stealing my cell phone, scooting on her hands and knees, crawling backwards, the edible delights of banana, peas, and avocado, pulling out her hearing aids, working hard as a scientist (learning all about gravity, for instance, by dropping every single toy she owns on the floor), and breaking into infectious smiles and giggles.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

welcome baby judah

this is a bit belated, as baby judah immanuel was born november 23rd, but...

welcome, little one, into this world.

we've been waiting for you with open arms and hearts, and now you are finally here! if you are anything like your poppa, you will be tenderhearted and compassionate, an artist and dreamer. if you are anything like your momma, you will be loyal, passionate, wise, authentic and above the law at all times. i'm sure you'll have a healthy dose of both of their faith, senses of humor (nyquist crank calls + marsh family hijinks) and deep commitment to family and friends.

we love you already. 

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


forget all of my glorious plans for today: go to the gym, do brilliant blog entry, do christmas cards, go on a walk with m, work in the studio...

i woke up feeling itchy, scratchy ears and throat, crazy congestion, and stuffed up nose. i slept all morning, and still feel like sleeping for a few hours more, so my to do list has been thrown out the window. sigh.

i hate being sick, because i feel very unproductive and lazy; since i'm self-employed, i've never had a job where you get actual sick days. you would think that i am such a fan of lounging in cozies and snuggling in blankets that i'd love being sick in bed. but, not so much. since my mind is a little fuzzy and incoherent i'm going to cut this blog entry off now- before i continue rambling. 

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

we are so unoriginal

apparently, we basically named our daughter jane smith.

for those of you who know our daughter's first name, you know it is not a very common name. in fact, i've never met another "m" in my life. poor thing: we gave her quite the name handful, since we tacked on not one, but two middle names in addition to aforementioned complicated first name.

here's the thing...i felt like we were sort of original and unique, as none of the names we picked were in the top 100, and they didn't even register on the baby name wizard (a very fun and addictive website whether you have a kidlet to name or not. go ahead, try on the link and see where your name ranks in popularity over the years...)

well, i recently read this very funny yet disheartening article in the daily beast, 10 ways to avoid hipster baby names. first of all, i am certainly not self declaring as a hipster. hello, have you seen my wardrobe lately? little m kicks my bootie in the hipster department. nonetheless, i was innocently reading the article, chuckling to myself at some of the rules:
hahaha...and then, i stop giggling. 

i spot little m's first middle name staring out at me from under the heading AVOID NAMES CHOSEN BY HIPSTER CELEBRITIES. ok, whatever, i say to myself. that isn't why we picked the middle name scarlett! it had absolutely nothing to do with any celebrity being named or naming their child scarlett. we had very meaningful and specific reasons, and we threw the extra t on there because it looked more interesting.

i'm still feeling ok, albeit a little on the cliche side, when i stumble upon the rule AVOID THE NAMES OF HIGH-FALUTIN’ LITERARY CHARACTERS. a few sentences down, now glaring out at me, i see middle name number 2: scout. are you kidding me? now thoroughly deflated, i click the link to nameberry's list of hipster baby names to see if any of the other runner-up names on our boy and girl name lists happened to be represented. luckily, only one or two made it onto the list besides the two we picked, but there were enough there to make me feel like one big not-even-hipster-picking-names-out-of-the-too-cool-for-school-list. 

i still think m's name rocks and fits her perfectly, so i can take it. of course, we'll see how she feels about it once she hits the age of 13, but we've got some time. anyway, you should have seen our boy name! it perhaps, maybe a little bit, broke a rule or two as well. (let's not even get started on #8 of the list. i contend that not only would i go to m, but i've been to m. so there.)

sigh, back to my life as a not very hip hipster mom: i'm going to throw on some indie music, pull on my skinny jeans, and drink some coffee.

Monday, December 8, 2008

punk rock baby

little m's first mohawk. well, shampoo created, so more of a fauxhawk, but still. could matt be any happier? i think not.


i'm working in the studio today, and started thinking about william kentridge, the south african artist. (a few of his images above) ren and i were talking about violence in oakland on our way here...i've always thought kentridge's work and its depiction of politics, injustice, society, etc. is quite effective. so, lots to think about as i work. 

"I have never tried to make illustrations of apartheid, but the drawings and films are certainly spawned by and feed off the brutalized society left in its wake. I am interested in a political art, that is to say an art of ambiguity, contradiction, uncompleted gestures, and uncertain endings; an art (and a politics) in which optimism is kept in check and nihilism at bay." 
William Kentridge

Saturday, December 6, 2008

my two favorite people

little m + her poppa share some quality time. (one on one time with m always includes some sort of facial mauling and/or open mouth slobber attack.) in this case she goes straight for matt's nose and he ever so kindly obliges.

yup, they're my favorites.

Friday, December 5, 2008


i love fridays. i love the sun glinting through the trees in my backyard at the end of the day. i love my mom's oatmeal bread. i love all things letterpress. i love diet coke from the fountain with pebble-y ice, not crushed or cubed. i love sleeping in. i love my daughter's contagious smile when she sees me. i love apples to apples. i love running into people i know at the supermarket. i love getting presents in the mail. i love mac makeup. i love cream cheese frosting. i love peonies. i love fireflies. i love the smell of rose perfume, because it reminds me of delsie julien. i love texting. i love friends with history. i love jesus. i love oakland. i love watching tv online. i love a really good cry after a really hard day. i love getting my hair cut. i love the sound of bare feet pattering on the floor. i love the bathroom wallpaper at matt's parents'. i love oil paint. i love going to u2 concerts. i love hard cider. i love naps. i love really good bread. i love wearing the new clothes i've bought as soon as i get home and then wearing that same thing like 5 times in a week. i love good short stories. i love the sunday styles section of the new york times. i love staying up really late. i love when my husband makes me laugh when i am trying to be really mad at him. i love treating people to dinner. i love nailing really hard parallel parking spots. 

and that's just the beginning...

shake it like a polaroid picture

i think polaroid cameras are pretty fantastic. i always wanted one growing up, and now that i am a grown up, i think matt and i now have 3 of them - even if we don't use them that often. there is something so atmospheric and glowy about polaroid pictures that regular prints can't compare to. in february of this year polaroid announced they were going to cease producing polaroid film, which is just ridiculous. for those of you who know what gocco machines are, you know there's a campaign to save the gocco, and now there's one to save polaroids too. (both are worth saving if you ask me...)

of course it is far from the same thing, but i found this amazing program online that makes your digital images look like polaroids. check out the poladroid website for hours of fun (i promise!) 

you can see a few of mine above. you just drag your photo onto the polaroid icon and it transforms your photo into a "polaroid." the best features are that a. it makes the polaroid camera click sound when ejects your print onto the desktop b. it "develops" just like a regular polaroid on your screen- the image slowly appears and c. you can only do ten at a time, just like the normal polaroid set of ten prints. 

so, i'm sure this is far from satisfying for purists, but it's friday! aren't fridays for wasting a little time with mindless things? you can thank me later.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

update on little m's implant surgery

i keep meaning to post about this, but then, well, i don't. this may be a boring post, but here's what's up with little m's surgery these days...

a few weeks ago, matt and i went to palo alto to meet with amy b., an advocate from the let them hear foundation. one of the things that let them hear does is provide legal advocacy for families who are appealing insurance denials related to hearing loss. since little m's surgery was denied for october 31st (and our insurance said they will deny her until she is a year), amy is advocating on little m's behalf. 

she has been pretty realistic about the expectations we should have: little m's surgery will likely happen after she turns one. there is the slight chance that blue cross blue shield will approve her implant before then, but at this point it looks highly unlikely. we are appealing less for little m's sake (although it would be great if she could get implanted before april), and more for the fact that us appealing this decision will ultimately help other little ones who are in m's situation down the road. the more people who appeal to the insurance companies and are able to prove the positive results of early implantation, the sooner the fda and insurance companies will approve surgeries under one year.

when we first received the denial paperwork, there were about 15 reasons listed as to why her surgery was being denied. we had proof to back up every single one of reasons, all of which said that we had not showed that the surgery was medically necessary, except for the last one on the list: little m is not 12 months of age. at this point, the fda approves cochlear implants at 12 months or older. are these surgeries happening before that age? yes. there are kids who have gotten implants, covered by insurance, who are in situations similar to little m, for ci's before a year old. and, if we had $120,000 to pay upfront for her surgery, little m could have gotten implanted a month ago. but, we don't have that kind of money, to fight the insurance we go!

this is how amy said things would probably happen with our insurance: first, she filed our appeal (and sent them a big stack of little m's medical files plus and even fatter book full of photocopies of every single case let them hear has won, plus research showing the benefits of early implantation). amy says they'll deny our appeal after 30 days (that's how long the insurance company has). then, she'll re appeal. a second denial after 30 more days. then the case goes to matt's  board of pensions. who knows how long that will take. of course at that point, m will be about 9 months old. 

again, it is very very likely that she won't have her surgery until a year, and that this process is in vain for our own personal situation. our own appeal process will, hopefully, help other deaf babies in the future. i can't tell you how crushed i was the night we got the phone call denying us the surgery that we thought was 36 hours away. if this process somehow saves another family from this waiting game, and works to help little ones get implants earlier so their speech and language acquisition is easier and faster, then i think it's worth it.

so we expect surgery in april, but hope for something sooner....maybe in january?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

good storage

little m and i sorted through her too small, just right, and too big clothes in her drawer yesterday and she decided to hang out for a while in one of the drawers. i shouldn't let matt see this because it will just add credence to his claim that kids can fit anywhere (i vetoed his prenatal plan to stick her crib in the closet!)

culture club, but not so much of the boy george variety

matt and i are kind of in a book club. i say kind of because most book clubs usually spend the bulk of their time discussing, well, books. my sister rebecca and her husband started it over a year now, and we are 8 members strong: rebecca, mark, luke, jennifer, steve, renetta, and the two of us. 

i suppose we maintain the pretense of a book club by dutifully choosing a book each time we meet, then in the month or two months that we are apart some of us read most or all of said book, and then upon meeting again we take a few minutes to talk about the book…but that's where it ends. in reality, we spend more time talking about the food we're eating, or what else we've read lately, or some completely random topic, so i've started thinking of it as more of a culture club than a book club. no matter what you call it, it's pretty fun to eat well and talk. 

this last weekend luke and jennifer hosted and shamed us all with an epic and thematic meal (latin food to match our book about a dominican-american family). here are a few shots of our night together, from start to finish! the food was truly delicious and the conversation often off topic but still oh-so-satisfying. our next book, chosen by ren and steve, is sarah vowell's new one, the wordy shipmates. you're welcome to read it too, and i'll let you know how the food is (and the book too, of course) next time our culture club meets!