Saturday, April 30, 2011

Birthday Mission

I hated to trade this in for fluorescent lighting today. And then I realized I'm a terrible mother. Monday is Violet's birthday, and I have no presents. She was kind of poking around the house this week, wondering what I got her. Um . . . you'll never find it.

I'm taking Violet, Daisy, NK and Wowo to Great America tomorrow, so there will be no time for shopping. I'm really not the worst, especially if I can find a toy store and get to it before it closes while completing a fully scheduled work day. We'll see.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


I took out my ex for a belated birthday dinner with the kids on Monday. We went to a favorite restaurant then down the street for ice cream. My intent was that it was going to be a good night for the kids. Things are in a decent place with the ex lately. We can hold a conversation without it getting all weird and tense. 

Or we could if the kids would let us. Talk about weird and tense. The girls were both uncomfortable with their dad and I talking at dinner. They compulsively interrupted us, kicked each other, mishandled the table lamp. And then, the locally made, seasonal organic ice cream really hit the fan. We dropped off their dad among gathering drama that poured through bedtime and resumed first thing in the morning.

My girls long ago developed the talent to distract their parents to, in their minds, keep the peace like little lawless sheriffs. I’ve tried to wrestle that responsibility away from them, but it's a case of choosing control over desire.  More than anything, the girls want us to get along like a happy family, but because they feel so much at the mercy of an uncontrollable situation, they'll settle for pushing our buttons.

As I was doing my motivational yelling and threatening this morning, Violet lay half-dressed on the floor, having hit ANOTHER obstacle to getting dressed. She only wears leggings – never pants – and she’s between sizes. The smaller size cuts into her tummy just a tiny princess-and-the-pea amount, and the bigger size apparently doesn’t give her that spanking good spandex feeling. Out of desperation, I inadvertently handed her the leggings from hell  – tight in the waist and baggy in the legs. She screamed, "Too tight! Too big! Too tight! Too big!" rolling around on the carpet while I hid in the kitchen by the coffee.

That might not sound bad, but it’s all in the category of straw on my aching back with those guys. Plus, my ongoing campaign that everything is going to be OK is in need of some fresh inspiration. It’s fine. Everything really is OK. It amazes me how much has worked out that could have gone wrong as we've ventured into a new phase. It's just the logistics can be challenging. This morning, before the drama even had a chance to fade, I did the kid drop-offs and said goodbye for 12 hours, relying both on my carpooling buddy and daycare savior to cover my kids. I am tremendously lucky in many respects, and I know, life is logistically challenging. My eyes still teared up on my way out of town.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter

On the road for more than 20 hours this week. Probably 25. Holy driving.

V Day

Friday night was all vagina. It was really the theme of the day. My homegirls (except Bindy who was there in spirit) were in Sac to see our friend Amy perform in The Vagina Monologues.

I am So. Proud. Of. Her. Not only did Amy try out for the play with her friend on a whim. Not only was she the most nervous I have EVER seen her that day - 99.9% of the time, she’s the least nervous person in the room, so I wasn’t hating seeing her sweat. Not only did she nail her performance, the other reason I’m proud is the girl is on a roll. She was listed One of the Most Influential People in California by Capitol Weekly as one of the top voices of pension and retirement funds.

Amy couldn’t really focus on us when we arrived on Friday. Half her mind was going over and over "Hair," her monologue. You could tell because she was muttering to herself and her eyes were unfocused as she heated up our lunch. I asked if she was going to pick hair from her teeth. She loved the idea, because you can say a lot of things about Amy, but you have to admit she knows funny. She totally did it.

However, The Vagina Monologues isn’t all lightness and humor. It’s also very disturbing. This was the second time I’ve heard the rape monologue, and I literally started going into shock – sweat pouring, vision fuzzy, just trying to breathe. By the end of the play, I was worked. Part of what I loved about the night is I was there with my sister friends, and part of what I found exhausting was the knowledge of our shared history listening to the shared history of other women. Heavy.

But thankfully, late night was when things got funny. It was just us ladies. We laughed and laughed and laughed. Then, we felt bad that we were leaving out Bindy. So what if it’s after midnight and Bindy likes to go to bed at 9? She’d want us to call her! Bindy didn’t pick up her cell, so we generously called the house phone, we being Tabitha, Amy, Corina, and I. Tabitha held up her cell on speaker, and just as Quinn walked back in the room, Bindy’s tired and understandably annoyed husband answered, making the four of us dissolve into speechless giggles.

Quinn, kind of the girl scout of the group, first asked if we had called Bindy’s dad, leaving us gasping for air. Quinn earnestly focused in on the unhappy voice coming out of Tabitha’s phone and broke out a speech Obama would envy. I wish I could listen to it one more time. The line that stood out for me was, “I would like to apologize on behalf of the family.” I’m still not sure if she meant the family of sorry-ass friends that just woke him up or Bindy’s actual family, sleeping innocently.

I don’t mean to gloss over the suffering, beauty, and truth the Vagina Monologues embody. I have deep respect for Eve Ensler’s writing and the people who perform that play. It’s just a lot to take in (shut up, Amy).

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Bryan Stow

My loyal Dodger fan of a father is the owner of an orange and black Bryan Stow bracelet. He gestured to it yesterday when I asked him about the Giants fan who was jumped and severely injured in LA. My parents were explaining that Bryan Stow is a paramedic affiliated with the hospital that employs my mother. When I looked him up online, I realized he lived in Santa Cruz, where everyone knows everyone else by a couple degrees of separation.

It’s bad news all around. The lost souls misplacing their rage on a man just out for a ballgame. The worst of the public rhetoric revealing the warts of elitism and racism still infecting our country. The Duck the Fodgers t-shirts elevating to more social cause than obnoxious fanhood. Everyone knows a sports rivalry is only good if basic rules of human decency are followed, but in this case, the exception threatens the rule.

Doesn't it seem wrong that someone who saves lives for a living must rely on fundraising for life-saving medical care or face bankruptcy? If you’re willing, send a prayer to Bryan Stow and his family. And while you’re at it, you might as well pray for the rest of us. In these times of increasing economic and environmental stress, there will be haters among us.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Speed Limit

After work on Sunday, I drove 15 minutes to Golden Gate Park to see my kids for the first time in four days. The park was all lush green in chilly fog. I love that. The girls were there with their dad and our old friends. It was a relaxed, easy social interaction with my ex, which is what it needs to be.

When I first got to the park, Violet ran to me laughing and shouting, handing me flowers she had picked, and taking a running leap. Daisy saw me and glared. She walked over stiffly and burst into tears. I hugged Daisy while she sobbed and her monkey sister giggled from a backbend on my hip. Daisy didn't want to leave her friends, another pair of sisters my kids love were there as well.

I reassured Daisy that we would stay until it was time to leave, purposefully keeping it vague just in case. Daisy ran back to her friends but Violet stayed, classic for seven and four. Violet circled me. She dropped to her knees to inspect my shoes, giving her approval. She examined my dress, snapped my hose, then focused in on my belt, "Very intwuesting . . . is this my mama?" I usually dress a little too plainly for her tastes. She's always trying to spice up my outfit with a heel or something sparkly.

But the best part of the visit was when I shared a recent sex talk I had with Daisy, per her questions I might add, with my ex and his good friend, the dad of my daughters' sister friends. I have to admit the discussion was a little graphic, but if Oprah can talk about it on TV, you would think I could talk about it at a park with other parents I know. First, I noticed both the dads looking a little gray and they weren't smiling . . . no, those weren't smiles at all. There may have been some eye twitching, gag reflex, and general lightheadedness. Oh my dad friends, remember when you instilled fear into the hearts of dads? Tag, you're it.

Later, back at the apartment, I called the kids in from the courtyard for the night. Violet cried, "I miss the city!" over and over again. That's the first time I realized I could actually move to the city, the small print being that I would have to convince my ex to move there for a sane co-parenting situation. A long shot at best.

On the way over the hill this morning, grandparent bound, Violet asked if I was going the speed limit. I explained I was going under the speed limit. Daisy interjected, "Mom, she doesn't know what a speed limit is." Sure she does. Daisy turned to her sister, "Violet, what's a speed limit?" Violet looked at her sister defiantly, "It means drive fast on the highway."

Yeah dads, let's keep a close eye on that Violet.

Monday, April 18, 2011

One-day Weekend

first four by violet

Another Tranny Moment

As I was driving to Tabitha’s after work on Saturday, I realized I was feeling overwhelmed with transition. Being in transition is refreshing, but the results do not balance the efforts. I’m a learner on the job. My children need to act out in response to the divorce. I’m a bit lost in my personal life. I’ve misplaced my exercise habit.

So on Saturday, I headed to Tabitha’s in Marin for some necessary homegirl time (Bindy, I miss you). As I slowly made my way through the city after a long work day, I had the mental space to recognize the sensi vibe. What is this all about? I went over the list of wrongs then let them blow out the window on the bridge. At the end of the bridge, there was sunshine. I didn’t even know I was missing the sun.

The next morning, on my way back over the bridge and into the fog, I was all better after a night of awesome, cheap Puerto Rican food, a full moon, and time with Tabitha, Quinn, and Tabitha’s man . . . I’m going to call him Jet this time. That Jet is a saint, and I'd explain but Tabitha already had enough of my big mouth this weekend. Anyway, Jet and Tabitha are engaged but refuse to get married, they take separate vacations, and they totally like each other. They love each other too, but those last three things are huge.

The pics turned out better than I thought. I grabbed the camera and hit the button without looking a few times. It was a tranny maneuver, and that pretty much sums up what I'm trying to say here.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Japan NYC Charity Event

Another sweet NYC event that I won't be attending. If you know someone who might be interested, please share. I really need to find something on the West Coast soon, but let me explain why I'm posting about this one after the details . . .

YewNorkJP presents

a Charity Event for

Victims of The Japan Earthquake and Tsunami

featuring guest djs :

DJ MURO (King Of Diggin)


Stellas and Dutches

Selector JD (Deadly Dragon Sound)


Saturday 16 April 2011

10pm ~

Madam Wong's

3 Howard Street

New York, NY 10013

Door: $10

Entrance fee & Donation money raised goes to FUKUSHIMA University.


My reason for posting is the YewNorkJP blog. You have to read the accounts of what is happening in Japan. I haven't seen nor heard of these things in the news, but maybe that's just me.
We should all be concerned. People are suffering, and the extent of the impact related to the radiation leak is unknown. There was a time in the not too distant past that I bought into the idea of nuclear energy being a greener alternative to fossil fuels. I've heard the experts telling us we have nothing to worry about here, and I understand that an earthquake of this magnitude is rare. But the bottom line is we are not the boss of the earthquakes. The safety experts can buy into their illusion of control. The rest of us should put some serious thought toward getting rid of nuclear power.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Religious Houses of El Camino

I recently discovered a high concentration of churches on a small stretch of El Camino Real between two of my work locations. The narrow road cuts through a wealthy community of people who commute to San Francisco or San Jose. There is an absence of people walking on the streets. Just cars, cars, cars.

If you grew up in California, you know about El Camino. Especially if you're a male who's reproduced in California, you know all about how El Camino is the oldest road in the state, the orginal path from one mission to the next, each spaced about 30 miles apart from Mexico to Sonoma. I don't know why but the guys I know who are dads now, who used to talk about frisbees (sorry - discs) and hot girls, now talk about missions and El Camino. It's a topic full of fun facts that California dads like to bring up on family road trips.

As I was driving between work locations, I looked for all the churches I had noticed there recently in bumper to bumper traffic. Later, I googled the area and found that this was the first place in California that El Camino was paved. They did it in 1909, and at the time, no one hardly used the road except kids with roller skates. Really, California dads, there's a tidbit for your next road trip.

I killed time during rush hour last night by stopping at each church. I love finding peace in busy places.

The Episcopal Church of St. Matthew, 1865

Christ Church Parish, 1869

St. Matthews Church, 1899

St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 1926

Our Lady of Angels Catholic Church, 1950


St. Andrews Lutheran Church, 1964

St. Catherine of Siena,

Burlingame United Methodist Church

Church of All Russian Saints

New Life Community Church

First Presbyterian Church

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Worry Doctor

I finally got Violet to the worry doctor yesterday. She’s been vehemently opposed to the idea for months now, but the kid is a little too angry about it, if you know what I mean. And sometimes, she becomes hysterically giddy and can’t seem to calm herself. She talks about Younger Uncle when she’s having her maniacal giggles. She loves his jokes and goes over them again and again, “Memba Uncle twied to race the car. Udderwise, he was joking. He couldn’t wun faster den a car. Dat was so funny . . .”

I broke the news of today’s worry doctor appointment to Violet during pickup at her dad’s this morning. She immediately started sobbing, “I’m not woowied! I’m don wanna talk!” Really? You don’t sound worried at all. I asked Violet if she was afraid the counselor wouldn’t understand her. She nodded. She’s recently become more self-conscious about her speech impediment.

When it’s just Violet and I, she talks every second of every minute. So, I don’t always remember that she’s less verbal than Daisy. With Daisy, I can reason with her, talk her out of a meltdown. At some point in the process, talking has to happen with Daisy. What Violet needs is something to destroy – a box, packing material, paper, a phone book, whatever. It’s the quickest way to turn that frown upside down. And talking isn’t just optional, it’s ignored. Unfortunately, beating something down and ripping it to shreds doesn’t really work in public, even if the beatdown involves an inanimate object. The method is limited.

So Violet, meet Worry Doctor. Violet inserted herself next to me on the office chair, intertwining her limbs tightly around mine. “Mama” was the answer she gave to several of the counselor’s questions. I saw her being her charming, upbeat self, denying anything being wrong in her four-year-old world . . . wait a minute. I’ve had it with everyone acting like everything is fine and then as soon as the door shuts behind the last neighbor kid, we fall apart. I told the counselor about the anger and hysterics. Violet blushed and hit me nervously, giggling.

During the rest of Violet’s appointment, I took Daisy to a store across the street so she could pick out a few things like shorts and sandals. She obviously needed a little something for spring. She found a dress too. She slipped on her dress and sandals in the car on the way to dinner, announcing “Ah, it’s good to be me.” That's a good outfit.

When we picked up Violet, everything was fine. She had played several games with the counselor. She seemed happy – if for no other reason than she had confronted her fear and made it through. The counselor looked slightly frazzled and pointed to the large stack of games next to Violet’s chair, “We played ALL of them.” Violet agreed to start rotating weekly appointments with her sister – it’s all my budget and schedule will allow.