Thursday, May 21, 2009

Karma is a Bitch

I was smug. I was self-righteous. I was naïve. I was an idiot. Yes, like many people, I was a better mother before I had my daughter. I watched people navigate the waters of parenting, battle storms, endure choppy water for days and I thought I could do better than them. HA!!

For a brief history of me and kids: I started babysitting as soon as I was able. I was a mother’s helper when I was in 4th or 5th grade to a lady across the street (she was home). The baby rolled off the bed and screamed. The baby knew better than the mother than to let an 11 year old (if I was that old) kid take care of it. Anyway, she let me continue and thus began my long career of childcare. I babysat all through high school, college, a little after college and as recently as my early 30s, worked as a part-time nanny. Most of the time, I was a good sitter and only occasionally dropped them. I played with the kids, rocked the babies, sang and generally stayed off the phone and didn’t have friends over.

Babies barfed on me, kids peed their pants, spilled food, wiped noses on me. All the regular kid stuff. I took care of a colicky baby a few times a week so the mom could survive. He literally would not let you put him down. So I would hold him, rock him, bounce him, jostle him and love on him for 4 or so hours while his mom showered, napped and attempted to maintain her sanity. I was great with kids, or at least confident.

Over the years, I spoke with friends in the early shell-shocked days of parenthood. They would tell me that some days they couldn’t remember to take their vitamins, brush their teeth or shower. They were hanging on by threads. I sympathized, but inside, I recalled the colicky baby and all the others, and thought, “That’s because they haven’t taken care of babies before.” Oh lord. The self-righteousness of it all.

When I was pregnant, a few of those friends warned me about how hard it would be, and I agreed. I knew it would be hard because I remembered the days sitting when I was so happy to give the baby back, run off to meet friends for a beer and tell stories about the baby before going home for an uninterrupted night’s sleep. But I still thought I would be able to juggle the baby, cook, look presentable and maintain some sort of adult social life. You know, because, like um, I’m super woman.

I humbly bow down to all the parents I thought I was better than and take my karmic beating. My sweet, gorgeous baby girl has kicked my ass. Shower? Vitamins? Teeth brushing? Hell, I forgot to shit some days and that’s a bodily function that HAS to be maintained. It is only now, at almost 7 months that I feel like I can see past the blur. At 7 months with a sitter who comes twice a week and a housekeeper who comes every other week so I can maintain my sanity. Yes, I need help. Yes, this parenting thing is HARD. It’s great, fulfilling and nothing beats the smiles Lila gives me, but damn, it’s hard. I’m still looking for my village.

When I was pregnant, I thought I would join the ranks of mommy bloggers and eventually make some money off of ads. I thought that until I became a mom. How and when do these women write and upload photos? Lila likes to be held. A lot. She wants my attention. She wants mommy.

This is my possible re-entry to blogging. I am going to try to find a few minutes a week to regale you with tales from the trenches of mommyhood a la attachment parenting (attached meaning she is always attached to me). We’ll see if I can keep it up.

Here is a long overdue shout out to all the amazing parents out there! And may you all make time to crap today.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

She's here!

Lila Hilde was born at home on October 27th at 1:39am. We're all still settling in, but heading into week three, we're finding we can get along just fine without grandma (who graced us with her help for 2 weeks). A few pics until I have the energy to write a real post. Oh, and one the day before she made her appearance. I could barely get out of bed so I was so happy she decided to come out and join the world.

I think I might pop.

Her first pic of the day - a bit red and swollen still. I swear she is part German and not all Japanese.

Getting to know each other.

My favorite from day 3. She loves to sleep like this.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

I'm Back!

I found fried heaven. It exists at Price’s Chicken Coop in Charlotte. We had AMAZING fried chicken there back in oh, July. The sides left a little to be desired, but the chicken was hands down, the best I’ve ever had. Pete inhaled a few pieces before we’d even made it out of Charlotte. (The goal was to take the chicken to my grandparents’ for lunch.) I think I can safely say we will make more trips there in the future.

We also had a great trip to Grand Bahama island in July. Pete’s company had a retreat there for four days, but we extended our trip to last all week. We lounged about the pool at the resort for a few days before agreeing that we are not resort people. We like a little adventure with our travel and little less of people we can see at Disneyland. My mom met us for the last part of the trip because we thought Pete would be working the whole time and I’d need a playmate (it ended up Pete skipped most of his work stuff except the required things on one day). Needless to say, it didn’t take a lot of persuading to get her to meet us in the Bahamas (and a non-stop flight from Charlotte didn’t hurt either).

After complaining about the food and annoying people for the first half of the week, we decided we needed to rent a car and explore the island – cost and driving on the opposite side of the road be damned. Thank god we did. You know when you’re a teenager and all you can think about is how much freedom you’ll have when you get a car? It’s true. We take it for granted, but the car opened up another world for us.

Luckily, in my zealous over-planning, I found a list of must-see things on the island. One, was Gold Rock Beach located in Lucaya National Park. We had to drive about 30 minutes to get to the park, which didn’t look like a park or even parking lot. I had to beg and convince Mom and Pete that it was indeed the park. After parking, we had to walk 15 minutes or more through a swamp out to the beach. It was hotter than hell, and I was 6 months pregnant carrying my little furnace with me (that is to say, I over heated in about 3 minutes). After admiring the mangroves and hermit crabs on route to the beach, we came upon the dunes. We crested the dunes and beheld the Bahamas of the ad campaigns. The beach exceeded all expectations of beautiful places.

And I thought my belly was big here... hahaha...

We spent the remainder of the week driving back to Gold Rock Beach and Banana Bay, where we could literally walk out for hundreds of yards. We found local food that was much better than the food at the resort, but still not great. The Bahamas are not known for their food especially since they are basically sandy islands with no good soil to grow crops.

Between all the travel and work and growing of a baby, I was exhausted. Plus, I read in a few blogs about how they hated their life being on display. So, I stopped writing. I’m on maternity leave now, and adjusting to a life without a schedule. I hardly know what to do with myself. Last week, I was at the farmers’ market racing from vendor to vendor when it hit me, where exactly was I racing to? It wasn’t like the apple guy was going to run out of apples or the melon guy melons. And if they did, someone else would have some. I am so used to rushing that I couldn’t slow down.

I spent last week running around at the markets buying food to cook and freeze, Babies R Us, Target, Ikea, the bookstore plus doctor’s appointments that I hardly noticed I wasn’t working. This week, with a freezer full of food and clothes washed, I am finding myself at a loss of things to do. And of course almost all of my friends work so I can’t call them to play with.

I said to Pete that it was hard to adjust to having no routine and that I needed to create one. He said it was pointless because in a few days or weeks, I’d have to create a new one. So, I am doing what I can to enjoy having no schedule, no routine and nothing other than doctor’s appointments to worry about.

In the meantime, I have time to write again so I’ll try to be diligent about posting once again. Or at least until the baby comes.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

In Search of Fried Heaven

It might not be obvious in my postings, but I am a food lover. I can’t go past a farmer’s market without a glance at what is in season. Even if there is no chance I will be able to cook anything. Some of my favorite parts of Vietnam? The markets. Of course, the food was even better. Pete and I actually swooned over a few meals, but that’s another post I’ve never written.

I read food blogs, I read cookbooks and cooking magazines. I read restaurant reviews more often than movie reviews (reminder: I work in the movie business). In the context of foodies, I am fairly mild so I don’t think of myself as hardcore, but a friend recently corrected me and declared I have a passion for food. I’ve accept that fact. I admit I am a foodie.

So, imagine my delight when I read Gourmet magazine today and I find a write-up about a Price’s Chicken Coop in Charlotte just past a lengthy article about great Thai food in Los Angeles, followed by restaurant write-ups in Culver City (an LA neighborhood close to my house). I thought I’d died and gone to…. well, you get the picture.

I flagged the article about the fried chicken thinking, one day we’ll have to eat there. Then it hit me. We are going to be in Charlotte this SATURDAY. Yes, Pete and I are headed to NC for a week of relaxing with my mom and extended family (no, that wasn’t a typo). I picked up the phone and called to see what time they open. We land at 9:30am on Saturday, and hell, I want some of the best fried chicken in the south. The phone rang and rang and rang, but no one answered it during the dinner rush. I finally found them on the internet and by god, they open at 10am! It couldn’t be more perfect. We will land, claim my bag (which I get to pay to check) and drive on over for fried heaven. We’ll most likely arrive just as the doors are opening. I am so excited, I am bursting.

You have to understand. Before I travel, I do research (generally not to NC). Lots of it. I like to know what sites we should take in, but more importantly, where I get local, authentic food. And in tourist areas, you can get burned. Frankly, nothing pisses me off more than being overcharged for subpar food. So, I research. This time, I am trusting Gourmet magazine. Let’s hope they aren’t overhyping the chicken.

**** I’m also fired up to eat at my favorite Asheville restaurant, Tupelo Honey, and try the BBQ at Twelve Bones, which I hear is phenomenal. I can’t wait to see the family, but my mouth is watering from all the food excitement. I guess I do live to eat.

If you have any secret food haunts, send them my way. I like high brow places, but I LOVE a great hole in the wall where the food is so unexpectedly good you think you could eat it every day for the rest of your life.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Dream Houses

Like most women, I dream of the perfect house one day (okay, I dream of ANY house). The one I've conceived and created with an architect with an interesting interior, gorgeous garden and beautiful furnishings. Everyone's idea of the perfect home is different. I don' think I would want to live in David Ling's home, but the video of it is stunning plus I love all of the creativity and Asian influences in it.

Click here to enjoy a little piece of art. Just watching it and hearing him gets my creativity flowing.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

About Time

Today, I am proud to be a Californian. I am happy my friends can marry whomever they want. And I can't wait to vote same-sex marriage into law in November! 'Bout time!!!

That Glow

Organic Pregnancy. Yes, it’s something I strive for, but the further along I get, the more relaxed I get. The second hand smoke we breathe from the neighbor? Hell, most moms smoked through their whole pregnancies before they figured out, hey! Smoking kills! Body lotions full of parabens? Well, I still avoid those, but occasionally I still smear on a pretty smelling one that’s not from the health food store or Dr. Hauschka.

Speaking of the good doctor, I received a face cream for Christmas by him. I started using it when my other moisturizer ran out. I’m pregnant. My skin is crazy (that’s another post). I have moles and skin tags and such all over the place. Glamorous, I know. When my face was red and splotchy, I assumed it was pregnancy.

I was lazy during the first trimester (read exhausted and ready to collapse at 8pm). I stopped washing my face every night and rolled into bed with whatever grease, dirt and make-up was on my face. It made sense I’d be red and splotchy. As winter progressed to spring, and my sensitive pregnant skin was getting sunburned, I decided enough was enough. I needed some chemical sun protection pronto. A few chemicals are better than skin cancer and chemo.

So, I returned to my old, sun block enhanced moisturizer. And guess what? Within a week I no longer had red, splotchy skin. Gone. It disappeared like that. I added back the face washing for an extra measure, and my lord, my face looks like normal again! In fact, you can even see the pregnancy glow now that the splotches are gone.

It’s nice I can look in the mirror and not want to cover my whole face in concealor. I mean, I can’t control my giant boobs or feeling sick (seems to have passed) or the skin tags and moles, but I can at least have nice, sun-protected skin. To hell with natural everything.

Monday, June 16, 2008


The past weekend, Pete and I were lucky enough to score tickets to the US Open. Pre-Pete, I would have turned them down, but since he loves watching golf, and I’ve started to think it slightly interesting instead of boring, I accepted the tickets.

We had a great weekend. We left Saturday and headed to Laguna Beach for lunch on route to San Diego. Pete had never been, and I hadn’t been in years. We found a hotel with a roof top deck over looking the Pacific, which was gorgeous. Although we live right next to the beach and can even see the ocean from our apartment, the water in Laguna is bluer and cleaner and just plain nicer looking. We watched pelicans soar by while munching on empanadas and hummus (not together). It seemed like the perfect place to sip a mojito if I wasn’t pregnant (lots were being imbibed around us). After blissing out on the ocean and scenery, we headed back to the car for the last hour to San Diego.

Our generous hosts put us up at the Inn at Rancho Santa Fe. It was charming and cute with a king size bed that I wish were in our bedroom at home. Neither of us had ever been to Rancho Santa Fe so it was an experience. The road winds between large gates, lots of trees and flowers. If you didn’t look carefully, you probably wouldn’t even realize there were houses back there. There is a town about the size of a peanut that seemed to only have real estate brokers in it. The photos on the windows advertised houses from the low $700s to $35 million. The $700,000 house wasn’t in Rancho Santa Fe. Needless to say, we decided $35 million was a little high, but the $2.5 house was within reach. By the time we saw the one for $700,000, we thought we should just snap it up.

Sunday, we headed over to Torrey Pines to watch the US Open. What an experience! I’ve been to pro-sports events before, but never golf that lasts for 4 (now 5) days. My first thought was I should have brought a single girl with me because the place was swarming with men. The ratio had to be about 10 guys to every 2 women. And the women were almost all with husbands or boyfriends so the competition would be limited. Of course, after awhile of looking around, it became apparent I was trapped in the largest fraternity party around, and rethought the single girl scenario (at least in regards to most of my friends).

We planned on walking the course because we’d heard how gorgeous Torrey Pines is, but the crowds were massive. We stopped at the 8th hole to watch some people putt, and Pete noticed the line to the grandstand wasn’t too long. So we cued up and waited 45 minutes to get seated in the stands. It was really cool because we could see them tee off and then putt at the hole. And our timing couldn’t have been better. We were able to see the top 15 or 20 players on that hole – including Tiger Woods. And wow! That man travels with an entourage. We could see him coming long before we saw him. The press corps surrounding him is INSANE not to mention the rabid fans.

His shot went into the bunker (sand trap for novices), and in my naïve mind I thought it would take him a shot or two to get out. Nope, one chip and his ball landed about a foot from the hole. Note to self: Professional golfers are not like the rest of us – especially Tiger.

Since Tiger was the last one to play the hole, everyone vacated the grandstand, or tried. Every where we looked, there were seas of people moving after the man in the red shirt.

Again, we planned on walking more of the course, but after seeing the throngs of people, we decided to take it easy and watch people finish at the 18th hole. Apparently, we weren’t the only ones with this plan. People were 10 deep in the viewing area of the last green. We stood on tip toes, we veered left, crooked our heads right and still, we couldn’t see shit. After awhile of this, we accepted defeat and headed home with Tiger on the 14th.

AM radio provided us with a play by play as we zipped north from San Diego (no traffic – hooray!!). By the time we heard he’d tied it, we were north of San Clemente with LA clearly on the horizon. It would have been great to be in the stands to watch that moment, but since we knew the reality of the viewing, we enjoyed it just as much from the car knowing we’d seen one of the greatest golfers ever play earlier that day.