Friday, February 6, 2009

There Aren't Enough Hours In The Day

There's a bunch of companies that will come and haul stuff for you in the Bay Area. Do you have these too? They're not exactly moving companies, they'll haul trash, or brush, or help you move out in the middle of the night.

I saw one of the companies' trucks today. Emblazoned on the side was, "We Haul for You! We're Open 25/7 and Weekends - Call Us Anytime!"

Sunday, January 25, 2009

New Baby Advice

From almost exactly a year ago, written for friends who were about to become first time parents:

So, pal, you're days away from being a parent - woo-hoo! It was really frustrating tome that no one told me all this, but EVERYONE agrees if you talk about it. There's some unwritten rule that you can never talk about the ways parenting sucks.

1. You will love your baby, but you certainly won't like her at first. At first, it'll seem like the kid has ruined your life - you can't sleep, eat, or even brush your teeth regularly. To top it all off, there will be hours-long crying jags, and the kid won't really look at you, much less smile at you. It will get better around the 8 weekmark - the baby will look and even smile at you, she'll sleep, and not shit constantly.

2. Time will take on a weird, elastic property, so your life will seem completely suspended, and yet the days will fly by. It's very strange. Just go with it.
You are not losing your mind. I promise.

3. You and your partner might start to doubt each other's parenting abilities. One of you will put on the diaper "the wrong way". Don't fight these feelings, you
can't. Just acknowledge in saner moments that there are many ways to diaper/feed/dress/hold a kid.

4. The baby will breathe weirdly. This is normal. It's also normal to stare intently at her while she breathes, just to make sure it's happening. You could fight the feeling, but why? You'll spend just as much time actively concentrating on NOT LOOKING, so be gentle with yourself and just give into the neurosis. It'll pass.

5. At some point, you will become so tired that you will think about strapping the kid in the car seat and putting her in the closet for a few hours so you can
sleep. Don't do this. However, it is totally OK to strap her in and leave her unattended while you go to the bathroom, talk to another adult, etc. She won't die from being a little bit alone - hell, she won't even remember it.

6. Baby poop isn't super gross. While she eats, she'll unleash a torrent of poop. Wait a few minutes before changing her - there'll be more.

7. Babies are sometimes creepy. At some point, in the middle of some night, you will be exhausted. You will notice that the baby is staring intently at something
you can't see. It will seem like she is wordlessly communicating with this something. Don't worry - your baby is not a ghost whisperer - you are just sleep deprived.

8. Nursing hurts at first. A lot. Don't believe the lactation consultants that tell you if feels great. ALL LIES. Make sure the latch is correct, stock up on Lansinoh, and know that in about two weeks (which will feel like 184 years), it will feel great.

Happy parenting!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Good Dog, Carl

Nothing new around here, so I decided to just cut and paste some old stories until I have some inspiration. Here's one from July 2007!

Do you know the Carl books? They're picture books for toddlers. Carl is a rottweiler who inexplicably is allowed to babysit a baby. Hilarity - low key and sweet - ensues.

In Good Dog, Carl, as soon as his owner leaves him in charge, he takes the baby out of her crib and they jump on the bed, put makeup and jewelry on, swim in the fish tank, play records, make a snack, and take a ride down the laundry chute. He then gives her a bath, blow dries her, and hoists her back into the crib right before his owner comes back. She finds them both sleeping peacefully and exclaims, "Good Dog, Carl!"

We "read" this book for the thousandth time tonight. How do you read a book with almost no words?

Anyway, halfway through, at the image of Carl holding the baby in the fish tank, Abby started saying that Carl wasn't a good dog - he was a stupid dog. We asked
her why Carl was stupid. She said that putting a baby in a fish tank and pushing her down a laundry chute are BAD things to do. We went through the rest, with her
adding her commentary. Honestly? None of Carl's actions were really good dog-ish. In fact, Carl is a bad dog.

So I asked Abby if she'd like to write a Bad Dog, Carl book. She said yes, so I asked her what the bad Carl would do.

Here were her ideas:

1. Bite the baby.
2. Eat all the food.
3. Chew on the baby's toys.
4. Pop her balloons (in Carl's Day at the Park, he attaches the baby to a bunch of balloons)
5. Poop in the living room.

Anyway, here's my advice: don't let the dog babysit. Especially if he can turn on a blow dryer.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


So. Not sure what profound thing I can say that hasn't been said. I watched with Emma's school, where I wept a lot, and was called a "crybaby" by some punk eight year olds.

His speech was so incredibly moving, especially

This is the journey we continue today. We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth. Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began. Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week or last month or last year. Our capacity remains undiminished. But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions — that time has surely passed. Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.

For everywhere we look, there is work to be done. The state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act — not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth. We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together. We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology's wonders to raise health care's quality and lower its cost. We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age. All this we can do. All this we will do.

Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions — who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short. For they have forgotten what this country has already done; what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose, and necessity to courage.

What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them — that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply. The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works — whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end. Those of us who manage the public's dollars will be held to account — to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day — because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.

Oh, swoon.

One of the kids, upon seeing Bill and Hillary Clinton, said, "Hey, there's Hillary! I think that guy's her husband!" Sorry, Bill, history is a swift moving river.

And I loved Aretha's hat. Suck it, haters.

Oh, and did you see Cheney? He's using a wheelchair because he hurt his back moving boxes into his new house. Instant karma got you, sucker!

What was your favorite part?

Monday, January 19, 2009


Martin Luther King has been an inspiration to me for a super long time. I've always admired how even when he was weary, he wasn't bitter. When he was disappointed, he didn't give up. When he was beaten, arrested, threatened, he didn't strike back - he just planned his next steps.

Obama's victory is such a gift from MLK's work, but racism and inequity are still everywhere.

On Friday, a woman was talking about doing social justice work, and the fatigue that sets in, and she reminded us to remember that our heroes, who had such an impact, still didn't "solve the problem."

This is my new mantra.

Bush, a Retrospective of Sorts

Hey, we have less than a day left with this dude as our President! Yay! I was going to rail against his anti-choice legislation, No Child Left Behind, economic policies, and bigoted, heavy handed foreign policy, but the combination of Martin Luther King Day and the inauguration has left me giddy, so let's focus on the fun! Let's have a retrospective, shall we?

Remember those kinder, gentler days before 9/11? When Bush was either on vacation, or en route to a vacation, during 42% of his presidency? When he spent the entire month of August on vacation in Crawford Texas, riding bikes and pontificating on armadillos and cutting trees? Here's a great interview where he talks about his ranch:

Why didn't we impeach the guy for not showing up for work? I don't know about you, but if I didn't work 42% of the time for eight months straight, I would certainly be out of a job. One of the things that has enraged me the past eight years is that he fucks up so blatantly, and there a no repercussions.

So, back to the jokes!

Remember in 2002 when he showed up looking like he was in a bar fight? It turns out that he choked on a pretzel, passed out, and his glasses smashed into his face. Really, this could happen to anyone, but it still cracks me up!

Proving that Bush loves the ladies (he just doesn't trust them to make their own choices!), he decided to helpfully massage German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the G8 Summit. Good times!

Remember when Karl Rove retired? Remember what he couldn't wait to do in his free time? DOVE HUNT. If he could no longer deter world peace, he'd at least kill its symbol!

I thought the irony would poke my eye out when Bush said that Obama was suffering from "intellectual laziness." Ha! Remember that racist little gem?

And now, for the bird poop:

What were your favorite WTF moments of the Bush presidency?

Saturday, January 17, 2009

I Wouldn't Lick There, Either

Abby and I were having brunch together this morning. She was eating a bowl of blueberries and commented that only she liked them. I disagreed, saying everyone in our family enjoys them. She begged to differ, so I reminded her that Leo, Emma, and I all like berries. She said, "But Acorn and Isaac don't like them!!!" So I said, "But they're cats, so what do they know about fruit?"

She started talking about how great the cats are, and how much they do know, so I asked if she'd like to be a cat. Her reply?

"No way!!! They lick their own heinies! I don't want to lick my poop!"

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Career Advice for Advertisers

There's a banner ad for that says "how do i become......" and then has all these cartoon people with job titles under them. Strangely, they are all doing yoga poses. "Yoga instructor" is not an option - it leans more towards medical transcription and billing.

I am deeply confused. What does it mean? Will i be more relaxed once i have a career path? Should i do yoga before clicking the ad? WHAT DOES IT MEAN???

Who designed the ad? What were they thinking? Don't they know that every little part of your ad needs to relate back to what you're selling?

Where's the beef?
Mikey likes it!
Those stupid Budweiser frogs.
The Oscar Meyer song.

I'd understand the yoga in a laxative ad. But medical transcription? Auto body tech?

I just don't get it.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

When Hope and Fear Collide

Well. Long time, no post, huh? I don't really know why I haven't written anything - I just got a little scattered there. But now Abby's running around singing Joan Jett's Bad Reputation, Emma's making masks, and Leo's off kayaking, and I feel a rant coming on.

When I was in grad school, we had to read When Hope and Fear Collide. I wasn't super impressed, but I've always loved the title. It completely defines how I feel about the election.

I was totally psyched to watch Obama get elected. You go, Ohio, with your blue stateness! I watched his acceptance speech with about 50 students - we were crying and cheering. I am so proud. That's it. I had been white knuckling it for weeks, worried about how important racism is to our country. But hope won over fear.

But this election sucked. Thanks a lot, California. I am so ashamed of my state for Prop 8. We've been marching and sending letters and everything, but I was completely blindsided by the level of hate in this state. There's been a lot of great commentary on Prop 8 already - check out Keith Olbermann and Prop 8: The Musical - so I'm not going to blah blah blah too much. I just want to urge everyone to not let up the pressure - let's march on Washington. Boycott businesses that support bigotry. Just as importantly, support businesses that promote equality. We live in a country that values money and power over all - let's use ours to apply some pressure.

And wow, speaking of money, we really fucked ourselves over, huh? When we lived in Santa Cruz, we were approved for a $500,000 mortgage and told by the bank that if we asked for more, we could get an additional $200-300,000. A big, national bank approved us - it wasn't Bob's Mortgage and Tires. I remember flipping out on the lender, because we wouldn't EVER have been able to afford the monthly payment - it was more than we were earning. I asked him how he could sleep at night, knowing he was ruining families. He just laughed and said it wasn't bad - that I'd just sell that house at a profit, have more capital for the next house, and just keep buying and selling until I had made enough sales to actually afford a house. This was his PROFESSIONAL ADVICE. Ugh.

On a happier note, we had a great holiday! Instead of presents, we try to give each other experiences. We've given museum memberships, days at the boardwalk, movie trips, etc. For my birthday, Leo took me to Chez Panisse. This Christmas, we gifted our family a road trip. We went all over Oregon - hung out in Portland, visited friends, slept in yurts on the coast, played in snow, explored tidepools, went to museums and national forests and the aquarium. It was so awesome just to be together for over a week with no obligations, no plans, and an open map.

So, I promise to write more frequently. I've been planning my Bush retrospective for a while now!