Monday, December 27, 2010

At least we're not in New York

I've been spending most of the last couple days trying to remember why I used to like staying in hotels. There's just not a room big enough to make staying in one room with two hyper, out-of-their-routine little boys a pleasant experience. There is humor in the TV, which reveals the ridiculous "news" channel practices that get even more ridiculous during an event like the current east coast Snowpocalypsmagedon. While working out I watched a guy standing in a snow bank with the words "In the Eye of the Blizzard" on the screen. There did not appear to be any snow falling at that moment.

And just now I glanced over at the TV here in the hotel lobby, which is showing the Weather Channel, of course, and the current temperature here is 8. EIGHT. FAHRENHEIT. Naturally, I forgot to pack something we actually need (the three-year-old's swim trunks) so I'll have to venture out later to procure those. At least it's sunny.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Who needs tastebuds?

Faithful readers of this blog will recall that I have long struggled with a diet soda addiction. Fortunately I've been able to replace most of my soda consumption with coffee. At least at home. When I'm out, I default to pop, mostly because of the temperature. Every time I have coffee (non-iced) from a shop or restaurant I experience severe tongue damage. Yet I see people get a steaming cup from Starbucks and immediately sip all the time. Have these people so damaged their tongues that they are desensitized? Or do have a particularly sensitive tongue? I really would love it if someone could explain this to me.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A little less evil in the world this morning

Something magical and wonderful has happened in San Jose of all places. Yes, I know San Francisco banned plastic bags a while back, but that sort of action is expected from them, despite their unforgivable sinfulness. Marin is going for it, too. One county and city at a time, I guess.

I actually have a lot of plastic bags in my house right now, on purpose, since I learned how to crochet them into durable, reusable bags from a crafter/teacher in Redwood City. I saw these bags at the county fair over the summer and was so blown away, now I'm trying to collect the bags that are crochet-able and get more people to learn the craft.

Of course, all the crocheters in the world won't get a hold of the billions of plastic bags circulating, polluting land and water, threatening animals of all kinds and using petroleum. So hooray for places like San Jose and Marin. Until then, try making some plarn! And send me your plastic bags. I'm really hoping to get some of those big, bright red Target bags...

(At right is my first attempt at one of these bags; I still need to figure out how to do handles. And yes, it's a bit small; the lego man is there for perspective.)

Thursday, December 09, 2010


If you are planning to rent a house any time soon, hire a home inspector. You may think this is only necessary if you are purchasing a house, but you would be wrong.

When we signed a lease a year ago, we were in a bit of a hurry, since we wanted to unload our old house and the rentals we were seeing were mostly hideous and overpriced. The home we ended up choosing is hideous and overpriced, but it's also huge and in a great location.

On our first walk-through after we got the keys, we noticed a little pile of what looked like wood shavings in the downstairs bedroom. Being California homeowners, we immediately identified them as termite droppings. Fab.

In January, shortly after moving in, the rains came. And so did The Drip. In the craft/guest room. Not far from my scrapbooks. Double fab. Our landlord had some guys come and clean off the flat roof and maybe do a bit of patch work, and the dripping stopped. When the rains started again this fall, the drips came right back, one in the same place and one in another. After several patch jobs (landlord has a number of lame excuses for not replacing the roof) it seems the roof is in sufficiently shored up. There have been no more drips.

The point is, all would have come to light with a reputable inspector and we would have continued our house hunt. Next time...

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Where did I go wrong?

This guy and this guy have written books. Not just books, but successful books that people read. They don't necessarily like them, but they read them and make TV shows and movies out of them. Books made into TV shows and movies, for the love of pete.

Maybe I just need to pick something and write a book about it. There are always people on the Daily Show who wrote books about random stuff. Like waves or Cleopatra, and that's just in the last week!

Surely someone can help me come up with a book idea. Anyone? Bueller?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The ultimate purple issue

It seems that Americans on both sides of the cultural divide have found a common enemy: the TSA. No one wants to be groped or back-scattered or microwaved in the name of airport safety. We'd prefer to have dogs sniff our bags -- and we'd probably rather have them sniff our crotches than have our nether-regions grabbed by TSA hacks.

San Francisco progressives and Midwestern conservatives seem to agree that the government has gone too far in the name of safety, without actually making us any safer. Nothing like a common enemy to unite the persecuted masses!

The problem seems to be that the powers that be on both ends of the rainbow are too far above the fray to be affected. They charter their own flights or get a pass through security and don't have to be frisked or fried.

Something's gotta give here. The only possible winner? Amtrak.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Veggie tales

Feeding my kids has always been the single biggest source of stress to me as a parent. As an infant, my oldest didn't nurse well and I didn't make enough milk, and I had bought into the breast-feeding propaganda about how your baby would be ruined for life if they got formula from a bottle. (Luckily I managed to figure out that it wasn't that big of deal and was able to relax with my second one.)

Then when they were eating baby food, it was still me being personally responsible for every ounce of nutrition that went into them. I nearly had a nervous breakdown packing for a cruise when my youngest was 6 months old. What if I didn't bring enough rice cereal and pureed sweet potato? But at least then they ate veggies.

Now my oldest has it as a point of pride that he does not eat veggies. But it might be getting better. At a parent ed program recently the topic was nutrition, and I was inspired to try putting those veggies on his plate at least once in a while. Our weekday schedule doesn't provide a time for "family meal" (at least not with the whole family) but on weekends now we're all eating the same thing.

One night it was chili. "Are there vegetables in chili? Next time you make chili you should not put any vegetables in it," says the five year old. The three-year-old will try anything. The five year old complained some and only ate the meat. But the week before that we had risotto and he threw a full-on screaming rolling-around-on-the-floor fit about the onion in the risotto. Maybe we were making progress.

Then last night I cooked up his favorite food item: ravioli. He asked me what was in the ravioli. I said, truthfully, butternut squash. He started on a 20-minute fit that at one point became so overblown and dramatic I had to stifle laughter. Mercifully I was relieved by my husband to go to a parent ed session. The change of authority figure presented the proper setting for consumption of the food, apparently. Dad convinced him it was edible. Progress takes many forms, I suppose.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Slackingest blogger ever

Why can't I get myself back in gear here? The idea of writing something is a good one. But the something is the sticking point. When I read “Where I Was From” on a plane a couple months ago I wished for a computer to type at and get out all my thoughts. I scribbled out some thoughts in my travel journal about asking my mom about our ancestors and writing about my thoughts on the Donner Party and Yosemite Valley and HH Valley and my parents and parenting. Of course now that all sounds uninspiring. I wonder, if I just keep typing, will something interesting come out?

“Manic Monday” and “Top Five Friday” seem to get me to blog semi-regularly, when I'm thinking about it, though that's not really writing. Maybe if I pick a few themes for my writing and assign one to each day of the week, then when I have time I’ll be able to just write. And if I can manage to jot down those ideas that come to me when I’m driving or reading or watching TV then I can expand on them later.

I do feel a tiny push of motivation when I get yet another comment on my favorite of my blog posts, which continues to be the top hit when you google "Terry Gross Sucks," as I did the other day.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Top 5 Friday

Top 5 Things about my neighborhood that are completely insane

5) I can't see my hand in front of my face after dark on the sidewalk in front of my house

4) There are no sidewalks between my house and my kid's school

3) I live closer to the big park in Atherton than the one in Menlo Park, but I can't walk there, unless I pay $125 for a key to a special gate

2) I can't park my car on the street in front of my own house

1) Did I mention that there are no sidewalks? Thanks, Atherton.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Indecent Propositions

If you're a perennial absentee voter in California, you've already received your ballot and maybe you've even voted. Hopefully you voted Yes on 19 and No on 23.

Let's start with 23. It's pretty much a no-brainer. Unless you're a global-warming denier (I actually heard a news clip in which someone said global warming is probably a scheme to make money for the solar panel companies, cause apparently *those* are the energy companies with huge lobbying budgets and scientists in their back pockets because they have bottomless pits of money). So basically you need to vote no on this so that California can continue leading the way in reduction of greenhouse gasses.

Prop 19 is the pot legalization prop. Not *quite* so much of a no-brainer, but the arguments against it are pretty weak. Here are the pros:
-we stop wasting money on busting pot smokers
-we get money from taxing the pot, like with liquor or cigarettes
-we avoid having people go to drug dealers to get pot, which makes it no longer a "gateway drug," if it ever actually was
-we greatly reduce the amount of gangsterism, which happens to be destroying Mexico, in case you didn't notice

Fwiw, I don't smoke pot, or even eat it in brownies, but there's no good reason not to let any adult who wants to do it.

There are lots of other propositions, some good, some bad. Someone asked me the other day if I was in favor of Prop 21, the state parks tax on vehicles. It has its problems but the parks need the money so bad I have to vote for it.

On another election -related topic, I really wish I had started saving all of the fliers I've been getting in the mail related to this election. The Menlo Park City Council race alone could fill a large box, I'm sure. I would really enjoy weighing said box and taking it to a city council meeting and waggling my finger righteously at those knuckleheads for sending x-number of pounds of dead trees to every single household in town. Next time.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Top 5 Friday

My five most-hated MLB teams (in order):

5. The Dodgers. Just because I have lots of friends who are Giants fans.

4. The Yankees. They just win too much.

3. The Braves. Godspeed, Giants. I won't be watching the rest of the series because I can't handle those redneck fans and their tomahawk chop. And too much winning.

2. The Angels. Three words: Rally Monkey. Thundersticks (one word afaik)

1. The Cardinals. I'm pretty sure I don't need to explain this one.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Top 5 Friday!

Top Five Things you can do for me if you forgot to get me a birthday present (it was Sunday, silly!):

1. If you live in California, vote Yes on Prop 19 and tell three friends to do the same
2. Leave your car at home for one trip this week and bike or walk instead
3. Donate $50 (or more!) to Restore Hetch Hetchy
4. Bug me if you don't see a post here in more than a week
5. Use your turn signal for EVERY turn and EVERY lane change

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Steal this post

I just read a blurb in a magazine about a book chronicling the myriad movements for secession throughout the US. It’s a topic I’m interested in (there are certain states we could really live without, aren’t here?) but the review was luke-warm on the execution. I know myself well enough to know that I won’t make it through a whole book on any topic if it isn’t well-written (case in point: this book about how in the world it was possible for the Cubs to go almost 100 years without winning the World Series -- a topic I am, or was *exTREMly* interested in -- that I couldn’t get finish because of mediocre writing and roughly one typo per page). If I ever write a book, it may not be the Great American Novel, but I’ll at least run spell check on it.

And yet, I feel compelled to write a book. I have this sense that I need to write a book. At some point. Maybe before I turn 40? I could do that, with both kids in school. But about what? And why?

Monday, September 27, 2010

Manic Monday!

Yes, I'm attempting to blog again.

I can not WAIT for the new recycling regime to start Jan 1. I don't know which I'm more excited about: the weekly pick-up, or the yard waste containers that will take COMPOST! No more throwing the food scraps into a pile in the side yard and waiting for it to disintegrate.

Prop 19 is ahead in the polls! Is it possible?? Common sense prevailing in the polling booth?

I am sick. I'm going to bed.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

So lost

Lost lost me when the time travel started. Today on facebook somebody revealed that a major character died, and I did not feel sad at all. I think this is a good thing. It seems that dramas these days have to get more over the top to keep viewers, but then they end up losing people because they are so bat-guano crazy. Big Love (really Bill?) and 24 (chicks will never learn that sleeping with Jack Bauer is a death sentence) are other examples. Then there was this little show called X Files. West Wing remains my all-time fav drama series partly because it never went off the deep end. Peered over with the whole daughter-kidnapping, but recovered nicely.

Maybe we should stick with comedies? 30 Rock is the best one we've started catching up with recently. The IT Crowd is a great Brit one. Love the Roku for this stuff!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Manic Monday!

I took my first class at a new exercise studio in MP, The Dailey Method. It's mostly light weight training and core work with pilates and dash of yoga, and boy did it kick my butt. I will be so sore tomorrow.

I finally got an external flash for my D70. Better test it out before Saturday.

Tonight I made a delicious meal from many ingredients with NO RECIPE! This is a big deal for me. I've never been a natural cook. But I was hungry and had little time. I also had a bunch of shrimp, some leeks and broccoli from the CSA and bell peppers from the Farmer's Market. I whisked together soy (free, gluten free) sauce, rooster sauce, peanut butter, ginger, garlic, red pepper flakes and a bit of white wine for an Asian stir fry. Yuuummm. So proud of my self! :-)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Manic Monday!

With all the houses being built by people with unlimited budgets in Atherton, you'd think some of them would be just a bit different. They all seem to have this vaguely Mission style but are huge and loom over the street. I did see one on my ride along Greenoaks and Oak Grove today that looked just like a mission would have looked 150 years ago, but without falling over itself trying to be Mission style: a reasonable setback from the road, with native or drought-tolerant plants partially screening the street from the house, and vice-versa. I would love to see more of it.

I really hope I don't criticize others' parenting decisions without realizing it, because when other people do it to me it's really friggin annoying.

Caltrain hardly runs any trains middays and on weekends. So why does it seem like there's always one going by our house?

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Commedy of errors

Today was the quarterly Restore Hetch Hetchy board meeting. Usually it's in SF, but this time I had to go to the East Bay. Trauma. I left a little late, as usual, and was half way to 101 when I realized I forgot my purse. Hah! I went back and grabbed the purse along with my outlet phone charger, just in case it was low on batteries, since I knew I'd need it for the meeting.

Got back in the car, and the phone is totally dead. No juice. This is a problem bbecause the address of this crazy Emmeryville location is in my Google calendar on my phone. I entered the name of the company whose offices were hosting the meeting in the GPS, but Ms. Nuvi was not giving up the info. So I stopped at a Starbucks in Emmeryville to plug in my phone for a minute and get the address and call someone in the meeting to let me in.

I finally made it to the meeting about 20 minutes late after some funky directions from the Nuvi. What's the moral of the story? Android should make a freaking car charger.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Slightly less random

Than Manic Monday (though somewhat stream-of-consciousness)

I wish people wouldn't send messages to the mothers club about stuff like spanking and circumcision. Honestly. It just clogs the forum and pisses people off. What is with the Menlo Park-Palo Alto people? I'm hoping these kinds of messages are coming from the latter. I didn't have this problem in Redwood City.

Speaking of Redwood City, I wonder if the parents could somehow revolt and turn all the schools into charters? Or maybe secede with West RC and East RC districts to remove the transient population and possibly switch to basic aid funding?

I can understand how parents fall into the trap of overscheduling. This summer both boys will be in summer school (together! in the same place at the same time!!!) Tues-Wed-Thurs for four weeks. I could conceivably sign both of them up for soccer, swimming and gymnastics. It's just down the street, but still. In the end, we plan to sign them both up for swimming and let each choose soccer or gym.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Manic Monday!

After my first three experiences with seaming, I may quit working straight needle projects.

What a day. Is it too late to sign up for the MLB package?

I have now owned a total of five devices for conveying children via bike. (Don't even ask about strollers; Linda had to help me with those.)

Friday, April 02, 2010

Top 5 Friday!

Top 5 tasks I really want to accomplish this weekend:

5) Unpack CDs

4) Reorganize the garage

3) Repot the basil and jalepeno plants I bought last week

2) Hang a curtain rod I bought in January

1) Make candy

Monday, March 29, 2010

Manic Monday!

It looks like there is FINALLY some physical movement happening on the future site of the Redwood City In N Out.

This is disappointing, but not exactly surprising. At least it frees up Kiefer to be in lots more terrible movies.

I truly hate Heidi more and more every year.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Top 5 Friday!

5 things Caltrain needs:

5) Trains that run past midnight (who comes home from SF at 12?)

4) More mid-day trains (once an hour? Come on.)

3) Conductors who don't act like total jerks

2) Bar cars after 3 p.m. (Wait, what's that about a deficit? You're welcome.)

1) A hole in the floor enclosed on all sides on each car (cleaner than the existing bathrooms)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

I'm about to blow your mind.

Wow I've been blogging slacker, but that's a post for different day. Today I have something extremely important to tell you.

Aspartame is more addictive then caffeine.

You know how caffeine is this highly-addictive drug? Well, it's got nothin on the stuff they put in diet pop.

As you may remember, I started on this journey toward freedom from the drug more than a year and a half ago. It was not pretty. There were withdrawal headaches, which were not ameliorated by replacing the caffeine in pop with that in coffee and taking lots of Excedrin. Then I got bronchitis, which was very suspiciously-timed, and it may be a crackpot theory that the two are related, but withdrawal can do weird things to your body. (The bronchitis morphed into walking pneumonia, but I think that was because the doctor didn't give me strong enough antibiotics.) Even though I was getting as much or more caffeine then when I was just drinking diet pop, I was cranky on days when I didn't have any pop. My weight was up and down like a yo-yo.

At first I was on an every-other-day plan and gradually scaled back till I could go a week without pop. Today I have it 2-3 times a week, almost always when we're eating out. When I've gone two or three days without pop, I don't think about it, but if it's the day after I've had some, I crave it. As for caffeine, right now I just have one, maybe two cups of caffeinated tea a day, plus the occasional pop. And I never miss coffee.

OK, so this is not a scientific sample size. But it's pretty obvious that, at least in my case, the aspartame is way more addictive than caffeine.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Manic Monday!

I dig the way links open in tabs next to the one you're working in in the new version of Firefox.

I bought a new mp3 player so I could listen to audiobooks, since for some crazy reason my walkman doesn't support it, and am enjoying The Help.

Apparently 4 is the age at which males start holding long, narrow objects in front of them and declaring "I have a big penis!"

And behold this, the video of the week: Baby Hates Miley Cyrus, digs the Classics.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

The customer is always right

Except at Celia's, apparently.

Recently I was upset with a couple of my favorite dining establishments. First I wrote this email:

I have enjoyed eating at Fresh Choice for a long time. Recently I
found out that I have a number of food sensitivities, so I have come
to appreicate the allergen info posted by almost all of the food
items. However, it's disappointing that every single soup has soy. I
am wondering if you could have one or two soups at a time for those of
us who are sensitive to soy?

To which I got this reply:

Thank you for your visit to our Fresh Choice Restaurants and for taking the time (yadda yadda yadda) ...

To address your concern regarding soy content. I've posed the question to the company that manufactures our soup bases and challenged them develop bases w/out soy. It's been amazing the response we have received in providing the nutritional and allergen information on our signs. This information has truly been well received from our guest and allows you to make an educated choice as to what to put in your body. It has also allowed us to make necessary changes such as what you are suggesting.

Thank you for dining with us!!!

Ingrid Walatka
Fresh Choice LLC.

Not too bad for a national chain! At least they're listening and thinking about trying to fulfill my request.

Then, I wrote this letter, which I had to actually mail with stamp and everything because there's no contact email on their web site:

Dear Celia's Manager:

Last night, Friday, Feb 5, my family and I had a very disappointing experience at your restaurant. We were seated in the back room, and after about 10 minutes, the mariachi band started playing to the table right next to us. They stayed there for the rest of our meal. It was very loud; we had to shout to speak to the other people at our table and our ears were ringing within about 20 minutes. I asked the hostess if the band could move or if we could move, and she told me that neither option was a possibility. We ate and left. As we were walking to our car, we saw that the band was moving to a different part of the restaurant.

It was very frustrating to have our experience ruined in this way. Two or three songs would have been nice, but at the decibel level they were playing at, it was unexpected and very unpleasant. I hope you and your staff and the band can be more considerate of diners in the future.

No response.

The moral? Eat at Fresh Choice, but not Celia's.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

"Which of these preschools will get my kid into Stanford?"

Saturday I attended the local parents' club's preschool fair. It's a tradeshow for preschools where they all come and set out brochures and pics of the kids doing cute, fun stuff and even drawings and projects by the kids. Both our kids are in lovely preschools now, but we need to figure out what to do with the older one if he doesn't go to kindergarten in the fall (that's a whole other story). Unfortunately, the one that appealed to me the most is the German school, but it seems counterproductive to put Arthur in an immersion program for one year in a language that almost no one around him speaks fluently.

The other schools fall into one or more of the following categories: not academic enough, poor location, inconvenient schedule, and priced for the Steve Jobs set. We're talking $15-20k for preschool. As I was looking at one booth, I overheard the administrator at the next one say, "We don't look at applications in the order they come in, we evaluate the child and interview the parent and base enrollment decisions on those two factors." Can you imagine your kid's school options being based on how someone else judges you? No thanks. Then there's the fancy-pants "alternative" (read: hippy) school that charges "only" $12k or so, but is already done taking applications for fall 2010. I guess I missed the memo that in this fancy region of the Peninsula you need to register your kid for preschool before they start walking.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Turn that noise down!

I know the decade's been over for a whole six weeks now and everyone's forgotten all about it, but I have just gotten around to listening to most of Rhapsody's "Top 100 Songs of the Decade." As I started listening to it, I thought to myself, "this is at least 50 percent crap!" As I listened to more, that number went up. I now believe that it's about 75% crap, 15% listenable, and 10% actual good stuff ("Music" by Madonna, "The Middle" by Jimmy Eat World, "Beautiful Day," "Don't Let Me Get Me").

Granted, this is a comprehensive list encompassing all genres, including stuff like the hip-hop-rap-crap I would never in a million years listen to, plus country (though the boot-in-your-ass song definitely belongs on the list) and teeny bopper pop. So maybe I should check out the rock best-of list before passing judgment on the musical value of entire decade. That said, one of the "rock" songs on the top 100 is "Photograph" by Nickelback, an utterly worthless bit of sentimental drivel that was one of the final nails in the coffin for me with contemporary music. It came out in 2005, right about the time I stopped listening to non-public radio entirely. Obviously I'm not alone as a hatah of this song. But am I on to something with my belief that the music these kids are listening to today is no good, or am I just getting old?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Mommy hungry!

So it's Week One of the zero-allergen diet. So far so... ok. This weekend I went off the wagon a bit with a cheeseburger (protein style), some red wine on V-Day and blue cheese on a salad. (And maybe a serving or two of you-know-what.) Replacing coffee with tea has caused some more headaches. I have the sniffles, too, but that's probably related to weather changes and blooming. Excedrin has been my friend.

Now I need to start a spread sheet where I record every single processed food and possible allergen I consume and then record my mood/physical symptoms and see if there's a connection. Unfortunately, my nutritionist says reactions from reactive foods can take three days to appear.

As I've mentioned before, my main goals are to increase energy and improve digestion. Eight-10 years ago I needed only 7-7.5 hours of sleep a night to feel right. Now it's more like 8.5-9. That just doesn't seem right.

Thursday, February 04, 2010


It seems like in the last few years there has been an increase in the success of Mexican food chains that are "fast" food, but a step or three above Taco Hell. Una Mas, Baja Fresh, Chipotle, and more. This is excellent news for me, since Mexican food is awesome, and it's my three big allergens (soy, gluten, egg) are easily avoided in such establishments. I wonder what it is about Mexican food vs, say, Thai or Italian, that lends itself to this kind of franchise?

In the category of progress-yet-to-be-made, I have a prediction/suggestion for a future car gadget: a sensor built into, perhaps, your dashboard or your GPS that senses when the cars in front of you are moving so that you don't have to look up every few second or be startled by the unpleasant honking of the car behind you while writing emails or Facebook updates on your Android phone. (would probably work for Blackberry users, too)

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

out, allergens!

Well, I'm pretty sure I've been gluten-, egg- and soy-free for at least a month. I'm still eating out, but avoiding Asian restaurants because soy is likely to be pervasive. I made muffins from a mix made by a company called "1-2-3 Gluten Free," and they were mediocre. Candy-making with the soy-free baking chips was very successful. Tastes just like the kind made with Nestle or Ghiradeli.

But I feel like I could feel better. So my next step is to cut out all possible allergens. That means no nuts, beans, dairy, coffee, alcohol...just fruit, veggies, super-organic meat and tea. I know there are lots of people that do it. Remains to be seen if I can. Even for a couple weeks...

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Soy annoyed

Well, it turns out there is something to this gluten thing, after all. A couple weeks ago I decided to add gluten back in to my diet. First I ate a piece of bread with dinner. Then a donut. Then Cheerios. At first all seemed well. A week later, I noticed that my occasional breathing problems had returned. It's not really asthma, and it's not really shortness-of-breath, but it's like I can't take a really deep breath. It just happens occassionally. I saw an alergist for it a while back and inhalers didn't really seems to help. Anyway, I didn't notice it had gone till it came back.

The whole gluten-free thing isn't really that tough. Since it's a big fad right now, there are lots of gluten-free foods floating around. I am fine with the gluten-free rice bread from Trader Joe's (though the only way it's really very good is toasted with jam -- luckily, I was never a big sandwich person anyway). I can still eat potatoes, rice and corn. And there are many options for rice/corn/quinoa pasta at Whole Foods.

It's soy that's the real sticking point. As i mentioned earlier, it's in evreything, most notably chocolate. I have made some of my fantastic candies with the soy-free baking chips (which I just ordered a 5 lb bag of from Amazon, along with a case of gluten-free cheerios and allergen-free bars.

Today I got two kinds of gluten-free baking mix in the mail from "Gluten Free Mall" and there are currently blueberry muffins in the oven. And I got to enjoy my favorite part of baking: licking the batter out of the bowl...

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Our new abode

Let's review, shall we?

When we first walked through the house after the start of the lease, we made several discoveries: One of the furnaces (the one that heats the first floor) was busted. There was a giant pile of termite droppings in one room, which led to the discovery of half the living being termite-devoured. Then there was the overflowing toilet (which was actually the fault of and taken care of by West Bay Sanitary, but still). And then there's the toilet that slowly leaks (not onto the floor, but somewhere in the tank, surely wasting gallons of water a day). I'm sure I'm forgetting something.

Then this morning, Nathan discovered The Drip. In the guest room/sewing-crafting-scrapbooking room. Victims included the newspapers I was saving from the day Noah was born to put in his baby book. If actual scrapbooks had been soaked, I would have been on a plane to New York to personally punch our landlord.

So if you ever rent a house, hire an inspector. You're welcome.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Here we are

It's Day 2 in our new house, and there are still boxes piled high in almost every room, but serious progress has been made. Aside from my one box of cookbooks*, the kitchen is unpacked. I made soup for dinner! I had hoped to get our bedroom unpacked by the end of the day, but oh well.

It's been quite a week. Tuesday I chipped a tooth, which got taken care of Wednesday morning during time I should have been packing. Wednesday my mother-in-law, who was here helping us pack, got pulled over by the Menlo Park PD for some minor infraction (she got off with a warning). Thursday the garage door motor in our old house broke down, after eight years of working flawlessly.

Friday was The Day. We didn't exactly get everything packed in time. Shocking, I know. But everything that was too big or too heavy for us to get in the minivan came over and got put more or less in the proper place. The boys seem to be adjusting relatively well. Noah even picked out a potty chair when we were at IKEA buying bookshelves and such!

Naturally Nathan doesn't have tomorrow off, but my mother's helper does, so I'll be able to get a bit of work done...

Two very good pieces of news today: one wish (see number 2) came true (it was in an under-bed box I thought sure I hadn't opened in a year) and Nathan got the cable working in time for the Tivo to record 24 and Big Love, in spite of Comcast's best efforts.

Friday, January 08, 2010

This couldn't have come at a better time

In late October, we decided to move. Doesn't matter why, it's too late to back out now. We're selling our lovely home in the RC so we can rent in Menlo Park.

About the same time, I learned from a nutritionist that I can't eat anything. More specifically, I am highly sensitive to wheat, soy, eggs and almonds. I'm moderately sensitive to a number of other foods, which I don't have the energy to think about. In case you didn't know, EVERYTHING has gluten, eggs and/or soy. So for the last month I've been avoiding gluten and eggs, and THINKING I was avoiding soy. But, apparently, 99 percent of chocolate goods have "soy lecithin" in them, to make the chocolate blend with the oil, or something. Gluten-free cookies from Whole Foods that taste just like Oreos? Soy lecithin. Every single bottle of salad dressing in our pantry? Soybean oil. It isn't bad enough that I can't eat Cheerios or eggs with tasty and super-healthy veggies scrambled in for breakfast, and am stuck with rice bread and apples (not breakfast food) but I can't eat M&Ms or Reeses Peanut Butter Cups anymore. Not only can I not eat at Stacks (what's there for me besides hash browns?) but I have seen no increase energy, or better digestion, or improvement in mood, which was what I went to the nutritionist for in the first place. Of course, it is possible that I may still be feeling blech because of stress, coming in the form of MOVING.

Our lease started Jan 1, and I didn't want to be tripping over boxes for weeks, so before our Christmas travels, I didn't pack much except for books. Mainly, I was trying to get rid of stuff. Purge purge purge!!! After we got home on Jan 2, I started packing in earnest, at least a box a day. We are running out of room for those boxes. Our scheduled move is only a week away now: next Saturday. Today we had a pest control company look at the house we are moving into, since we found a pile of termite droppings in one of the bedrooms. Turns out most of the living room is about to fall apart from termite damage. Fab, no? We are not delaying this move, let me tell you. If we are going to do it, we are going to get it the heck over with, get into our new place and hopefully sell this one before March 1.

Last night I was having some inexplicable flash of optimism about actually getting our crap packed up before Saturday (as long as I don't think about the garage or the side yard or the outside office, in which case I'll just start crying). But the thought of delaying the move because of the living room wall and floor having to be rebuilt pushed me over the edge. With no chocolate.

I just returned from Whole Foods with four bags of soy-free chocolate chips and 3 six-packs of gluten-free beer. Am now drinking said beer and have made gluten-free, soy-free, egg-free chocolate chip cookies that are actually reasonably good (despite weirdo egg replacer and brown rice flour).

The good news? Wine never contains gluten, soy, eggs or almonds.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Manic Monday

Here's a list of some random things we found during our first post-lease-signing walk-throughs of the house:
-A pile of termite droppings in the downstairs bedroom.
-A half dozen fingernail clippings in a drawer in the master bathroom
-One of the door keys is pink, studded with teeny rhinestones and has the word "Princess" engraved on it.
-The downstairs furnace doesn't work.
-The second fridge is super-funk.