Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Snow trip

Unlike the Yarn Harlot, we had to really search for snow. Here in Northern CA, and not very northern, we had a very warm couple of days. I mean really warm. Hot.

Max and I packed the car Sunday morning, picked up our friends, and drove off to find snow. After about 2 1/2 hours, the Madagascar movie, one story tape and loads of kid radio, we arrived in Sonora, CA. We dumped a car load of stuff at the Days Inn and took a lunch break. Its amazing how much stuff we packed for one night.

After a yummy round of s'mores, we drove off to find the damn snow. In Sonora, it was hot and sunny. We were told to follow 108 for about 45 minutes to Leland Snow Park. It was more like an hour, but we found it. We found the snow. We got the boys into snow suits, hats, mittens, boots. Very cute, very bundled and ready to go.

Snow sure is fun but very tiring.

After almost two hours of sledding, snow angels and a one-foot snow man, we headed back down to Sonora.

We had planned to save money on this trip by bringing our own food. Hahahahahha. The idea of eating homemade veggie soup for dinner after playing in the snow didn't seem so great anymore. Gwen kept talking about steak, which, by the way, was not in the veggie soup she had made.

We went and ate at Outlaws BBQ. Super yum. Even better, they had coloring books and toys for the kids. This place is GREAT. We returned to the room for an Easter Egg hunt and then crashed. Oh, we moms had hot buttered rum as the boys drank their milk. Nice.

Monday morning we blew off the snow and decided to go see trains at Railtown 1897. It was amazing. I think the moms enjoyed it more than the boys. This place has one of the first and only working roundhouses left in the country. Its also one of the 100's of state parks on Schwarzenegger's budget chopping block.

All in all, a good trip. Great to have mom and Max time. Great just to have getaway time. Great to play in the snow. I forgot how fun it is to fly down a hill in an uncontrollable plastic saucer. Giggly good times.

So, Max never got to wear the mitten I knit. I never got around to knitting a second one so he borrowed a pair from George. Much cooler looking, less embarrassing. I am still proud I knitted a mitten.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter. Max and I are going to the snow today and spending the night and another day away, in the snow. Yay!

Max has no mittens. So, I just made my first! Very lopsided but warm. And, we found a single mitten from last year that we can force onto his other hand until I finish knitting the second.

Wow, I actually knitted something useful and needed. And now for the SNOW!!!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Stupid Bank!!!! Rant

What planet do I live on?

As the economy spirals into the toilet, and the conservatives discuss all those irresponsible homeowners going in over their heads, "shame on you for believing the mortgage broker," "shame on you for believing the bank," "shame on you for believing in the American dream"...it now slams us right between the eyes.

Last year, we sold our home in Daly City, and bought our home, here in Oakland. We did well. We built equity in our home in the fog, and moved into the sun. BZ got to build his dream studio, and got to shed a commute and high rent in downtown SF.
Life has been good. The sale of our first home got us into the new house and paid for most of the studio. We needed an additional home equity line to help with the studio bathroom and to have as an emergency fund as BZ built up his East Bay biz.

Other than the new bathroom and a few property tax bills, we have not had to dip too heavily into the line of credit. Its just nice to know its there in case of...anything. We don't have a big savings to pull from, our paychecks barely cover what needs to be covered. We figure, when you live in the Bay Area, its going to be tight. And that is OK.

This week we got a letter from WAMU reducing our equity line to the amount we already had taken out. There goes the emergency fund. The letter states that the reduction in the loan is based on the decreased value of our property. I asked how they re-assessed the value of our home, and I was told they looked at some local area numbers online. Online?

Why am I angry? No warning. They reduced the account value in half. We had budgeted to write one more check from the account this week. I guess we can't do that. The reduction of the account instantly lowers our credit rating. That's nice.

The bank manager told me that they just found out about these letters this week and that all the banks are sending them. I guess the banks haven't all received their executive bail outs yet. The bank guy on the phone said the same thing. I asked for next steps and they both said I needed to pay for another appraisal to get my loan back. Will I be reimbursed? The teller says no, the phone banker says..."I don't know yet, no one knows yet."

Fine print: the loan fine print does reserve the right to change the terms of the loan based on changes in the value of the property. Who would ever think they would re-assess the value of your home less than a year after giving you the loan in the first place? Shame on me, stupid home owner, dumb-ass American.

Silver lining? Bush is sending me a check in the mail!!!!!!! Not as large as the one Bear Stearns gets but...it might help pay for the moving truck. Thanks Asshole.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


I want to go to The Democratic National Convention in Denver, CO. I really want to go. It will be historic. It would be one of the most exciting events I could imagine.

Perhaps some of you are gagging at this point but for me, I find this stuff really inspiring. Just like those cheesy movies about the young poor golfer who makes it against all odds, or the broken down horse that ends up winning the big race and Pa can keep the house. I love that stuff.

Oh, a few details on attending the convention...you need to be running for office or be a delegate. Or be press or a few lucky volunteers. So the delegate route is the way to go. To be a delegate, you need to be elected in a local caucus, or to be an at-large delegate, you need to be elected by your state delegates. The application to attempt to be a delegate needs to be in at the beginning of April. The CA delegate caucuses and elections are concluded by the end of May for the most part.

Meanwhile, back in reality, Max enters Kindergarten this year. This is very exciting. He begins around August 25th, give or take a week, the date isn't set yet and won't be set until Oakland Unified decides to set it. The Democratic National Convention begins August 25th. Fuck. Shit. Piss.

Clearly, I need to be there on Day One of Kindergarten. Family first.

OK, so say the school year starts a bit earlier, as it sometimes does, and begins on Thursday August 21st? Is it OK for me to go and be at the convention the following week? Or is that still out of the question, given that the transition just might take more than two days?


I know what I am supposed to do here. I do. But it is killing me. The convention in four years is going to be a snoozer.

So. Selfish.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


I've been moved. Again.

Barack Obama was in some pretty hot water lately, needing to explain his Pastor, and his church's beliefs. He was in a kinda difficult spot...without condemning the pastor, many would worry that Obama thinks black hate is OK, many would be scared of who he really is and what kind of president he'd be. If he turned against the Pastor, left the church, that would be pretty devastating as well.

Senator Obama has tried to stay away from talking race for most of the campaign. This was the moment that he was bound to get to in one way or another. This moment was a sure test of his strength, leadership, values, grit.

I was worried that he would wimp out in some form and try to weasel around the issues...I hoped of course, he would live up to my expectations of him. I hate to lose.

When you have a moment, actually about 30 minutes, listen to his speech that addresses much more than Wright's statements, but about racism and its history in America. He speaks of the complexities of racism, anger, frustration, underlying tensions that still exist within most communities in this country not just black, not just white. Anyway, give a listen and I think you might get a better understanding of why I am so committed to his candidacy.

Obama's speech, "A More Perfect Union" March 18, 2008

Monday, March 17, 2008

I've. Been. Tagged.

OK. I've been "tagged." Another blogger, in this case Linda, got tagged and then had to keep the ball rolling. Its not so bad. I am required to answer a set of somewhat interesting questions. Interesting as I read other people's answers, worrisome as I try to come up with my own responses.

Here are the rules of this tag:

A. Post these rules at the beginning of the blog entry
B. Answer the questions about yourself
C. Tag 5 people, let them know in a comment on their blogs that they have been tagged.

Whew. Here we go....

What were you doing 10 yrs ago?
Hmm. 1998. Wow. I had a very similar job. I worked for the same company, with the same job title, but way less accountability. I traveled all over the place for work.

I lived in San Francisco. It was the end of the Bruce relationship. We hadn't yet broken up, that happened in June, he moved out in the Fall. And Kim moved in! The rest is a blur...If you know what I was doing, and you know who you are, please help fill me in...but be kind and edit out all the naughty stuff. Some if it should stay a blur.

Snacks I enjoy
  • Chocolate
  • Salty things
  • Vanilla ice cream with a scoop of peanut butter and chocolate sauce all mushed together
Five things on my to-do list today
  • If only there were only 5 things:
  • taxes
  • contact reports for job
  • expense reports
  • Meet Neal for coffee
  • babysit for Amy's kids
Things I would do if I became a billionaire
  • Quit my job
  • Put a big chunk of it away in some very smart savings/stock/ financially brilliant plan
  • Set up accounts for each kid-some trust thing
  • set up a trust for Charles and family
  • Buy my parents their retirement (i.e. pay off whatever, house in France, debt, etc)
  • Pay off our house
  • Finally get BZ's dream guitar and all his dream gear
  • Spend some time choosing what organizations to support ongoing, probably a children's organization
  • Travel
  • Go shopping without a budget for clothes, books and yarn
  • Become a political activist
3 bad habits
  • Procrastination
  • Piles and piles and piles everywhere
  • Blaming others
5 places I have lived
  • Grandview, NY
  • San Francisco, CA
  • Brooklyn, NY
  • San Clemente, CA
  • Washington DC

Jobs I have had
  • Facilitator
  • Management Consultant
  • Stage Manager
  • Booking agent at escort service
  • Booking agent at cruise line
  • Bean sprout bagger
  • Child actress
Things people don’t know about me
  • I was in a TV movie
  • When I was young, I wanted to be a writer on a farm
  • I was in the Jackson 5 fan club
  • I finished the CA AIDS bike ride in 1999 (around 500+ miles) and had knee surgery the following year
  • The first 45 I bought with my own money was by the Commodores, Three Times A Lady

Friday, March 14, 2008


Thanks to Kim, I found Babynamewizard and it says that "Aiden" was not the #1 name of 2005 and 2006 like everyone said, it was number 49 in 2005! Number 49!!!! That is so great. And what a relief. Even though every baby in Oakland does seem to be named Aiden, Aiden, Hayden, Kayden, etc, it is still only number fucking 49. Hah!

Better yet, Max was #162 in popularity.So its only Golden Retrievers and my son. And some old grandpas.

Man, I feel good.

Your friend and blogger,

#161 (or, when actually named, #53)

Monday, March 10, 2008

Date Night in Montclair

Last night we went on a date. By the time the babysitter arrived, it was too late for a movie. Or was it?

We went to dinner down in the village, a not so bad Italian place. Heavy on the oil but still tasty. We had some Chianti, which made us a bit silly, or was it just the lack of sleep?

Armed with Netflix, we drove halfway back home and parked our car in a canyon parking lot, put the movie into the minivan DVD player, stumbled over the car seats to the third row and began to watch Michael Clayton.
Yes, we sat in the back of our van watching a movie on a 5 inch screen. I have to admit I worried a bit the cops (does anyone still say "cops"?) might come and check out what we were doing in that third row. How embarrassing to really be watching a movie.
Of course, the power went out after about 10 minutes. So, we saw 10 minutes of Michael Clayton and drove home.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Max is 5

I am tired. Max is 5. This is part of the reason I am tired. We've been celebrating and planning to celebrate for days. It used to be castles and now its pirates.
So, he got a pirate ship and a pirate party with his closest friends.

Well, one had pink eye and couldn't come BUT the others came and enjoyed a treasure hunt, pin the pirate on the treasure chest and of course, the pinata. No pictures of the pinata event, although fun, kinda violent swinging at the treasure chest. The one I almost chose was a pirate with a peg leg, which would probably be in bad taste (you know, swinging at a pirate with one leg until you break him). These 4 and 5 year olds can really swing hard. A bit unnerving...

Look, there's a girl! she decided last minute she had no interest in being a pirate and arrived as a mermaid. Rock on! In fact, several of the boys decided they didn't want to dress up either...until they arrived.

Did I forget to mention the pirate ship cake?

The party lasted about 5 or 6 hrs, that includes the best friend straggle. You know, the party has officially ended but...its still fun to hang, so, we order pizza, break up the 2 and 5 yr olds...eat more cake.

So, now its finally over. The ship has docked. A successful day and hopefully we will all get the sleep we have earned.