Thursday, August 26, 2010

gratitude.

today is f's last day in the classroom she's been in for the past year - next week she starts in a new room with mostly 4 year olds. which, while it is exciting and she's so ready for it, it's also bittersweet, you know? this morning as she was eating breakfast, i mentioned this to her: that she'd been in this class for a whole year, and today is her last day!

she said, "yes! sunday, wednesday, firsday, friday, monday, wednesday! a WHOLE YEAR OF ALL THE DAYS, mama!"

"yes!" i said. "a whole year."

she thought (and chewed) for a second. "i is so lucky," she said. we milk cheers'd to that. we is all so lucky, my little sugar buns.


(on the IB pier with auntie jenny)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

the naked babysitter

somehow i ended up here today - i think thanks to a link on my friend amanda's blog, and i read the most current post and had to laugh. i wanted to comment, so i started writing about our babysitter from hell experience, then i realized i'd never written about it here, so pardon my lazy copy/paste, but this is the (LONG! sheesh.) comment i left on mama manifesto's page, which tells the story of why we'll never use a babysitting service again. like, ever ever ever:

for the first year of our daughter's life, we used a local babysitting service that had been highly recommended to us by more than one person. we used them 3 times total, and only when we were really in a pinch. the first two times were fine. and then we hired one of their sitters, a girl in college, for new years eve 2007-2008. she seemed great, all was fine, that was that. she was on the phone with her boyfriend in florida when i got home at 2am, and we chatted about how they'd been on the phone for a while and how it was 5am in florida. whatevs. or so i thought.

fast forward to almost exactly a year later. as i was uploading some pictures to facebook on our mac, it brought up every single photo that had ever been put on our computer (even the deleted-out-of-iPhoto ones) and i noticed some nudie pictures in the mix. they were thumbnail sized, and i didn't bother double clicking on them, but figured i'd mention them to my husband to see if he could "explain" them. i told j about them and he seemed honestly clueless & said he'd check them out when he got a chance (you do that, honey!).

a few days later, he comes walking out the office with a freaked out look on his face. "babe, you HAVE to come look at those pictures. i have no idea who the girl is, but the pictures were taken IN OUR HOUSE." insert chills here. we immediately thought of every possible situation: did someone break in? that would be weird. was it from when we had a (male) friend staying as a guest for a couple weeks? maybe. but really, we were just like WTF? we went back into the office together, blew the pictures up big on the screen, and as soon as we saw the LIT UP baby monitor (!!) in the background, we figured it out: it was the babysitter from last new year's eve. taking nudie pictures, in our house, while our little girl was sleeping upstairs. taking nudie pics of herself in our guest bathroom too. and then uploading them to our computer, maybe sending them to that florida boyfriend? and then deleting them... or so she thought.

when i called the babysitting service (which is run by two moms) they were great - they were horrified, falling over themselves to apologize, and assured me she'd be fired. i told them i needed at least a follow up call after they indeed confronted and fired her, which they gave me. they said at first she denied it all, then called them back and said the pictures had been for "an art project." right. real artistic. she was fired and that satisfied us. just knowing she knew WE knew, and the fact that she lost her job, was enough for us. she made a really, really stupid mistake, our little girl had been sleeping and was never harmed, and as gross and freaky as it was, we felt like that was about all we needed to do. needless to say, we've never hired a sitter we don't know again.and if we did - she'd have to be mary flipping poppins for me to be ok with it.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

cheesy

it all started with the book animal, vegetable, miracle by the seriously awesome barbara kingsolver. poisonwood bible, anyone? just as we were building our raised bed garden in our own backyard, i read all about barbara's family's year of the locavore, and i loved it. one of the things babs - can i call her babs? - does in her book is make cheese. she also cans, stores root vegetables, and raises turkeys. but the cheesemaking? she even included a recipe and made it sound real easy. and really, who doesn't pine for a rowdy night of cheesemaking? so i gave the book to my friend christine, who aside from having an organic garden in her backyard too, hosts a weekly CSA drop-off on her front porch. i knew she'd dork out on the awesomeness of the book as much as i did, so when she told me she'd ordered a cheese making kit online from the place the book mentions, i did a back-flip and headed over to her place. it went a little like this:

first, we heated the non-ultra-pasteurized whole milk on the stove after we combined it with citric acid. here's christine, stirring:



then we added the (vegetable) rennet, stirred, let set, cut into cubes, strained, nuked, kneaded the whey out, etc, and eventually, got this:


which, after much kneading, just continued to crumble. apparently, you're supposed to be able to stretch and twist the finished product - we were so sad when our cheese ended up more like cottage than string. ahh well. at that point we were a few glasses of wine in and all we could do was giggle. we did make pizzas, and the cheese? it's good! f wouldn't get near it the next morning when i offered her some, but christine said her kids gobbled it up. ahhh well. up next: homemade jam. and have i mentioned the giant phallic cucumbers we've got going in the backyard right now? sweet jesus. they are the best tasting cukes i've ever had, no joke. and don't even get me started on my role in our squash blossoms' sexual intercourse. gardening! so hot!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

family art day, an update

early friday morning (08/06) i read a tweet about shepard fairey's hillcrest mural having been "defaced" overnight. because we had spent time there last weekend and had loved it so much - f included - i felt shock and sadness when i read the news. (apparently my shock indicated i "don't get" street art, according to one local woman AND the museum of contemporary art itself - more on that later) but silly me, i was surprised and bummed. i went out of my way to drive by it on my way to work, took pictures, talked to the property manager who was out there filming the damage (blue paint had splattered all over her tenants' cars), and then i posted the pictures on twitter when i got to work.



a woman named kelly who works for a local weekly paper tweeted, after i posted the photos with the words "unbelievable!" and "so awful" in my tweets, that basically anyone who was surprised that his mural was tagged "doesn't get street art" - and her statement was then retweeted BY THE MUSEUM ITSELF. because i don't follow her on twitter but i do follow the museum, i saw their retweet, and honestly? i was floored that a museum would tell people how they were "supposed" to react to the mural being painted over, and flat out endorsed the thought that if people didn't have the "right" reaction - i.e. a neutral, unsurprised one - we "don't get it".

WOW.

really? see, because in my obviously very limited, uneducated understanding of art - and this may sound ridiculous - but i thought there was never a "right" or "wrong" reaction, to the art itself and then to it being painted over in a pretty messy & awful way. same for music, or any other kind of art for that matter - anyone's interpretation of art is so personal - who's to tell anyone what their reaction to seeing art they like being defaced should be? the museum, apparently... at least whoever is writing their twitter feed, which of course represents the museum itself. they said if anyone was surprised, that person just "didn't get it". so, should only people who "get it" go see the art? develop feelings about it? go to the museum itself? i felt really stung by that, that basically i was being told by this woman, and then by the museum itself by their retweeting of her message, that my surprise - my reaction - to seeing a piece of public art defaced/tagged/whatever the people who "get it" call it - was WRONG. shame on me! i should just stay away from art, shouldn't i?

an hour or so later, the co-curator of the exhibition was interviewed by KPBS and seemed to have a different take on it. and today i learned that the mural was covered in some sort of coating that makes washing off graffiti easy, and that the museum is in the process of cleaning it up today. which makes me feel happy, whether or not that's the "right" way to feel about it. oh well.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

artsy fartsy

so i married a musician and i play music on the radio for a living, but i can't sing to save my life (i sound pretty convincingly like a dying cow) and i can play "chopsticks" on the piano, but that's about it. ditto for art: my doodles and any painting i do with f - let's just say she and i are about on the same level, artistically. and she's three. but my love of art in all forms - my love of music, dance, theater, drawing, painting, photography, sculpture, graffiti, performance art, film, poetry, literature, am i missing anything? i love it ALL. in our little family we are all about trying to encourage f to explore art in all its myriad forms and we (usually) have a good time getting messy doing it. we collect art, little by little, for our home, and we are don't discriminate: if we like it, we try to buy it. it means so much to me that our house is full of our funky little art collection and i feel fortunate to live in this border town with such a thriving arts scene. yesterday i walked around our house and took pictures of my favorites - after our family street art day this past weekend, i've had it on the brain.

this one my mom gave me for my 21st birthday. when my sister turned 21 my mom gave her pearls, so when i turned 21 my mom said i could have pearls or i could have some money to choose something equally special. this is what i picked:


big al taplet, heavy in more ways than one:


this one was a gift from tim mccormick:


this was a birthday present from j a few years ago:


a wall in f's bedroom:


and we have a couple things in our office too. these paintings i got from my friend tammy's garage sale - they were hung in her grandma's house in hawaii and i fell in love with them.


and that one in the middle is by jack - it's still one of my favorites. he's got a good point, no?


it's nothing fancy, but it makes us happy, our little collection. and when we heard about viva la revolucion, we really wanted to go check it out, with f in tow. so last saturday morning she put on her favorite princess dress and lime green crocs and we buckled in and headed out. we had printed out a map, thanks to the MCASD website, so we headed into hillcrest first to see shepard fairey's huge mural on 5th. it is awesome:






after hillcrest, we headed downtown and drove past invader's "the mothership" on the side of the art center building:


we ripped around and saw these, and though i'm unclear about whether or not they are part of the official exhibition, they are still rad:



we saw the os gemeos one on the south side of horton plaza and a couple others too, and finished up in south park where we checked out the other shepard fairey mural, which may be my favorite. the monk:


my picures hardly do any of these justice: carly ealey took a bunch of great ones, mike maxwell shot some awesome video of the installs and sezio has a good look at the street installations and the museum exhibition too. family art day rules. up next: family street taco day. odelay!

Monday, August 2, 2010

you know where you can put that salami?

alternate title:

OUR DAY AT THE FARMER'S MARKET, in which not a very big deal gets blown all out of proportion in my head because i'm a rookie mom who hates confrontation and tends to have a hard time letting things go.

alternate alternate title:

IF THESE ARE OUR PROBLEMS, WE'RE ACTUALLY DOING PRETTY DAMN GOOD. even if we never get to eat the mean lady's salami again.


so f and i like to go to the hillcrest farmer's market about once a month. i love it for all the fresh, regional-if-not-local organic produce, and she loves it for the kettle corn, peaches, and the 7th day buskers. and we have a little routine: once we find parking, we walk straight to the kettle corn guy, buy a $2 bag to share, then go park it in front of the band and enjoy the show. a few months ago, steve poltz showed up and sang with them - f LOVED him & i loved seeing him perform after not having seen him play in a long time. and this past sunday, while we were sitting there waiting for the buskers to start, f said to her new friend celina, "are you ready to rock out?"

celina just stared. she was only 2. she may not know what "rock out" means yet. she'll learn.

anyhow, this past sunday got off to a great start. we watched the band, ate some corn, danced around a little and soon enough f was ready to get our shop on. she was on a peach mission, but i had a few stops in mind first - we were having friends over for dinner that night, so i wanted to buy some good cheese and a good old fashioned nitrate-free salami to serve with it as an appetizer. we had great luck at the cheese tent and made our way over to the salami people. that's when it started sucking.

at first, it seemed fine enough. we walked up and i began telling the lady behind the table that i was hoping to find a salami that was not too spicy, something to serve tonight with the cheese blah blah blah. f was standing at my left, looking around. as the lady handed me a piece of one of the many salami samples she had on her table, f accidentally knocked a little (maybe a foot by a foot big?) white-erase board off the leg of the canopy - it had been precariously clipped to the canopy leg at, oh, about three-year-old kid eye level. f jumped when it fell off - she clearly didn't intend to knock off the little sign. and nothing broke - all one had to do was clip it back up. i started to apologize for f doing that when the woman glared at me and said "HONESTLY!" she was SHOCKED that a toddler could DO such a thing! i said, "excuse me? that was an accident!" and she yelled, "SHE JUST GRABBED OUR SIGN!" all mortified-like. and then i started to get even more worked up, but as i have an aversion to confrontation that causes me to start lamaze-ish breathing and almost break out into hives, all i got out was "SHE'S THREE YEARS OLD! IT WAS AN ACCIDENT, YOU AWFUL WOMAN!" ooooh, biting, i know. i hit her where it hurts. "awful woman!" was the best i could do. sheesh.

needless to say, we walked away, right over to the cookie tent. f was shaken up and had a million questions: "mama, why did that lady yell at me? mama, why was she mad? what happened?" over and over. i got down on my knees and just held her and talked to her about it, telling her mommmy knew f didn't mean to knock the sign down, that i knew it had been an accident, that f had not done anything wrong, and that the lady was mean because she doesn't have a happy heart and that's why mommy told her she shouldn't yell at f. GOD i was so pissed. and f couldn't let it go - she was by no means traumatized, but it stayed with her enough that she told everyone else we encountered, for the rest of the day, about "the mean sausage lady."

after we got cookies and my blood pressure started to go down, i walked back over and took a picture of her with my phone, so i can warn other parents about the mean overpriced salami lady and her evil ways (she's the lady in red):

looking back on it, i think had f knowingly torn the sign off the pole or something, my reaction would have been VERY different. but i saw it happen out of the corner of my eye, and i KNOW it was accidental. and, it was a stupid little plastic sign that did not break. and, she's three, and the sign was at her eye level. AND, HELLO MEAN OVERPRICED GARISHLY RED LIPSTICK FOR A SUNDAY MORNING SALAMI LADY WITH YOUR EVIL WAYS: KIDS COME TO THE FARMER'S MARKET! YOU PRECARIOUSLY HANG YOUR SIGN AT THEIR EYE LEVEL, CALL ME CRAZY, BUT THERE'S A SLIGHT CHANCE THAT SIGN MIGHT GET MANHANDLED BY A SHORT PERSON WHO DOESN'T POSSESS YOUR DEFT HAND-EYE COORDINATION! YET! because if she did - that sign might not have fallen on the ground. it may have been hurled RIGHT AT YOU.