You can’t make this shit up!

March 3, 2014

This post is the first entry of what I’m currently calling “You can’t make this shit up”.  

Every day August is in preschool from 1pm – 4pm.  That is three blissful hours all to myself.  Because we did not own a car last year, it was easier to stay in the neighborhood then to go home and come back again.  Hence the beginning of my journey with a nearby gym.  (To protect the innocent, and my membership, I will not name my gym for fear they may kick me out. )  Although we recently purchased a car,  (that’s right people, after seven or so years without a car in San Francisco we finally caved and bought one in October) I have become so addicted to the gym that I continue to go at least four days a week.  Monday through Friday (excluding Wednesdays) I am at my gym between the hours of 1:20pm and about 3:30pm. These are what one might call the “off hours”.  Typically this means that the gym is less crowded during these hours, however, in my case it ALSO means that the crowd is, well, let’s just say, atypical.  The average age in the locker room during the above mentioned hours is what I would guess to be sixty years old.  The average age continues to entertain me everyday, some more than others.  

And so concludes my introduction to “You can’t make this shit up”.  Some entries will be dialogue, and some will be mere observations.  I hope to have MANY “You can’t make this shit up” entries for you in the future, but for now I have just two. And I hope you enjoy them as much as I have.

February 20, 2014, 2:43pm

“Achoo,” I sneezed while putting on my boots one day in the gym locker room.

“Bless you, ” said the woman dressing the the right of me.

The woman two aisles over to the left said, “Bless you, you must own a cat.”

I giggled of course, but then I could tell she was serious and waiting for a response, “Umm, nope, no cat.”

“Oh, must be a dog then,” she replied.  At this point I’m thinking she thinks I have an allergy.

“Nope, no dog either.”

“Oh my. I hope you have a boyfriend or a husband at least,” she said expressing concern for my sad life. 

“This is getting awfully personal for a sneeze,” the woman to my right said expressing her concern for this discussion.

I took a little longer than everyone was comfortable with to reply to her question.  I mostly hesitated because I wasn’t sure I wanted to share my life with these ladies, and I was curious whether I could get away with no answer.  I couldn’t.

“I have a husband and a four-year-old son,” I proudly responded.  Although I thought about saying I had no one just to see her reaction.  

“Oh well, that’s good.  I hope you have a lover too.  I didn’t get to be seventy-nine years old, and this happy with just a husband,” she stated much to my surprise.  

You can’t make this shit up!

March 3, 2014, 3:03pm

Usually I try to keep my head down as much as possible for fear I might turn to glass if I look up too often.  However, for a brief, although not brief enough, moment I looked up while putting lotion on my face.  Two aisles over to my left, a woman about seventy years old was brushing her entire body with a hairbrush.  I do mean entire.  She left no stone unturned. I should have stopped watching after the first glance, but I had to see where she was going with this.  I wish I hadn’t.  Although it did leave me wondering, “Is this some way of achieving a younger looking body?  Maybe this is similar to how Marcia Brady brushed her hair 100 times every day?”

You can’t make this shit up!

Has this happened to you?

February 24, 2014

The first two hours of my day began with August asking me to build him a LEGO house.  He’s usually very good at playing by himself for long stretches of time, EXCEPT when he’s tired.  Today he was tired.  So, I put him off until I was done with one cup of coffee, one bowl of hot cereal, putting away the clean dishes, washing the newly dirty ones, and saying good-bye to my husband as he left for work (It all sounds so 1950′s when I write it down like this).

I went into his room, grabbed a spot on the floor next to him, and began building.  Normally, I don’t take architectural direction from a four-year-old, but since he had been begging for two hours I reluctantly began to build him a LEGO house.  After building what I thought was a damn fine house with a slanted roof and a window for the entry, I presented it to August.  

“Ta-da.”, I exclaimed brimming with pride.

“What is it?” he said as if he’d never seen a house before.

“Umm.  The house you’ve been asking for.”

“Oh.  Can I see it?”

“Um, well, okay, “I said knowing full well where this was going.

And so the quick destruction of my house began.  He hooked his LEGO trailer bed up to the bottom of it, he ripped off my masterpiece of a roof, tossed it over his shoulder, and replaced it with some LEGO-crafted airplane wings, and it just went on from there.  He had spent two hours begging me for a LEGO house, and spent ten minutes destroying it beyond all recognition.  

Sometimes, I don’t know why I bother.  Does this happen to you?  Your kid asks you to build something, you do, you become completely attached to it, and he destroys it without even the slightest hesitation?  

What’s New?

February 3, 2014

Ever since I’ve become a SAHMAM (Stay-at-Home-Most-Awesome-Mom) the question I have come to fear the most is “What’s new?” It seems like a sweet and simple question, but really all it does is make me feel bad about myself.  Every time someone asks me this question the same thing happens to me.

First, I smile big in order to make time for myself to think of something, anything to say in answer to this question.  Once the smile is over, and I’ve realized that nothing is coming to mind, I say, “Umm, hmm, umm…” again to stall.  I always think, “Come on, there MUST be something new with you!”.  Then I remember what’s new:

  • August had athlete’s foot last week – (not quite the something new that I was hoping for)
  • August composed a song called “I love you” – (I think this is cute and funny but not everyone will)
  • August wrote a book called “Where does Eeyore sleep?”- (this isn’t what’s new with me, it’s what’s new with August)

And that’s it.  That’s all I got.  So, I go with the last one, “August wrote a book”.  And now you see the problem with this question.  For a SAHM, it’s not what’s new with you, it’s what’s new with your child.  And the people who usually ask this question don’t understand this.  Of course my fear is that I’m alone out here; that I’m the ONLY SAHM who feels this way?  Do other SAHMs have an interesting answer to the “What’s new?” question?

Here’s how I wish I could answer this question:

  • I got a paid writing job working from home
  • I’m traveling around Europe starting next week and I don’t know when I’m coming back
  • My best friend from France is coming to visit (okay, so I don’t have a friend from France, but imagine how cool it would be if I did and they were coming to visit)
  • My article got published in the San Francisco Chronicle
  • I’m taking a writing course

So I’ve decided after being asked this question yet again recently that I would at least sign up for another writing class.  Then next time someone asks me “What’s new?” at least I have a decent answer that doesn’t involve my son.

Rediscover San Francisco Through Your Children’s Eyes for FREE

January 14, 2014

I put together this little piece, and for those of you who live in the Bay Area…..enjoy!

There are endless ways to entertain our children in San Francisco, but most come at a steep price.  We’ve combed the city for our favorite FREE activities .  Because of the low-low price our children can become resident experts at these San Francisco gems.  Seeing them in different seasons and times never gets old.

Moraga Stairway

When is it FREE: Rain, Fog or Shine 24/7

Location:  Between 15th and 16th avenue on Moraga Street

Pause at the base to appreciate the continuous piece of art created by the 163 mosaic tiled steps.   Crawlers to jumpers can’t help but appreciate the intricate details in each step, and the view from the top is worth it.


Insider Tip:  Climb even further to the top of Grandview Park for more spectacular views! 

 Botanical Gardens

When is it FREE: 8am to 4pm Weekdays, 10am to 5pm Weekends to SF Residents

Location:  1199 9th avenue right inside Golden Gate Park entrance

With 55 acres and 8,000 types of plants, odds are in your favor that one is blooming today.  Bridges, ducks, and off beaten pathways will entertain the kiddos long enough for you to finally finish a cup of coffee.


Insider Tip:  Bring your balance bikes. The wide sidewalks provide solace from busy streets.

de Young Observation Deck/Sculpture Garden

When is it FREE: Tuesday – Sunday 9:30am – 4:30pm (closed Mondays)

Location:  50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive

Even on a foggy day the observation deck of the de Young tower is impressive.  If anyone tires of the view, take them outside to the Sculpture Garden.


Insider Tip:  Follow the sidewalk to the often-overlooked James Turrell “Three Gems” dome at the back of the Sculpture Garden.

 Japanese Tea Garden

When is it FREE: Monday, Wednesday, or Friday 9am – 10am

Location:  75 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive at the corner of Martin Luther King Drive

Explore the many bridges, flowers, and pagodas, at this oasis inside Golden Gate Park.  Your children will appreciate the Koi ponds and sometimes challenging stairways while you appreciate a San Francisco relic.


Insider Tip:  Treat yourself to Taiyaki (fish-shaped pastry) while you’re there.

 Randall Museum

When is it FREE:  Tuesday – Sunday 10am to 5pm (closed Mondays)

Location: 199 Museum Way

No child could possibly be bored at this fully equipped museum featuring live animals, (guinea pigs, rabbits, and raccoons oh my!) a toddler room, and a few playhouses.


Insider Tip:  For your budding engineer, visit the downstairs train room complete with train tracks.  On Saturdays the electric model train room is open.


2013 in review

January 4, 2014

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,100 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 18 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

How I know He’s Growing Up

December 17, 2013

I always hear parents say, “They grow up so fast. Enjoy this time, it goes by quickly. This is the best age; enjoy it; it doesn’t last forever.”  To be perfectly honest, my reaction is usually a polite smile but inside I’m thinking about how I don’t entirely agree.  Until recently, that is.  

One of the very first things I looked forward to when my son was born was his independence.  It sounds harsh, but being the baby of the family I’m not used to someone relying on me for their every need.  I got through the first six months knowing that everything we did for him and with him was one step closer to him relying more on himself than me.  It started with milk. The more milk he gets the stronger he gets.  And the stronger he gets, the more independent he gets.  Then it moved on to tummy time. The more times he’s on his tummy, even though he hates it, the stronger he gets and the more independent he gets.  That moved onto bigger things like putting him into his own bed, sleep training, scooting, crawling, talking and then finally walking.  

The stronger August got, the stronger I got, and the more I was able to appreciate all the little things about raising a little person. And trust me, I do enjoy all the little things – as many as I can.  I try to remind myself every day that this person is growing and some day he’ll be a teenager and then it’s all over.  But man, lately, he’s really becoming independent, and below are the ways that he’s showing me…

  1. He doesn’t cry every morning when he wakes up (He did this for the first two years of his life until we took the side off his bed – I would have done it sooner if I had known!)
  2. He goes to the bathroom by himself in the morning without asking us to help him take off his pajamas. (Every single morning, he’d either call us loudly from the bathroom for help or drag us out of bed to simply take off his pajamas which we KNEW he could do by himself. Then, one morning it stopped and now he does it without us even knowing about it)
  3. He can and does completely dress himself (Of course he doesn’t dress himself all the time, but the point is that he can and does sometimes.)
  4. He plays happily by himself for a good amount of time in the morning. (We have a clock that turns yellow when he’s allowed to come bother us.  Not only does he abide by this rule, but he doesn’t even notice when it goes yellow anymore.  These days I get up because I feel guilty that he’s been playing by himself for so long.)
  5. He can put on his own shoes. (He actually WANTS to put on his own shoes, rather than me begging him to sit still while I put them on for him.)
  6. He wipes his own butt successfully. (I know this sounds like nothing, but after years of diapers wiping one’s own butt is a big deal!)
  7. He has recently learned how to zipper. (This really got me.  Zippering is tough, I’m still learning how to do this myself.)
  8. When we’re in a store, he puts things back where he found them. (I’ve been reminding him for what seems like forever to put things back where he finds them, and the other day I just turned around and he had done it completely unsolicited.)
  9. He told me that he enjoys preschool becomes it gives him “some privacy” from me. (Ouch, but hey, I enjoy preschool for the same reasons.)
  10. When we park on a hill, he knows better than I do which way to turn my wheels. (And he’s right every single time.)
  11. Recently he told me, “I’m tired of telling you which way to turn your wheels.  You’ll have to look at other cars to figure it out.”

And there you have it.  Careful what you wish for I guess.  He is in fact growing up and becoming more independent at an astonishing rate. Honestly, it’s not that I want it all to slow down, it’s more that I don’t want to forget any of this and I want him to remember at least some of it.

Hello Ketchup!

November 15, 2013

Lately we’ve been trying some new foods because I’m personally tired of grilled cheese, hamburgers (any kind of meat though including veggie), and broccoli.  So, today I served up fish sticks for lunch and I gave him both hummus and ketchup to dip into.  The conversation below is what followed once I served him the fresh out of the oven fish sticks with ketchup and hummus.

” Which do you like better?  Hummus or Ketchup?” I asked him after he had tried both.

” I like the ketchup better because it cools the fish sticks off completely.  Let’s talk to the ketchup about that,” he said as if it was the most normal thing in the world.

“Umm, Ketchup.” (Interject cough here.  He has had a cold for a week.  But it’s getting better, thanks for asking)

“Oh, sorry, Ketchup, I had to cough. I love how you cool all the parts of the fish sticks off.”

Then my four-year-old preceded to turn to me and say, “The Ketchup said ‘thanks’ Ketchup and I are friends.”

That was it.  No laugh, no smirk, no nothing indicating that this was strange, or anything but normal. Who knew Ketchup was so personable?


Painting the Orange Bowl

October 24, 2013

Those of you who know me….brace yourselves.  Grab a seat, and maybe a strong drink.  But don’t drink while you’re reading this, because you might just snarf from sheer disbelief.  And no one likes to snarf.  Those of you who don’t know me, just grab a strong seat.

Let me begin by telling you I am NOT, I repeat, I am NOT a joiner.  I like to watch other people join, and I like to be invited to join, but I DON’T like to join.  A few months ago I was asked to be the Program Enrichment Co-chair for my four-year-old son’s preschool.  That’s the invited to join part, but I found myself considering their proposal.  To quote Sandra Boyton, “Should I stay, should I go…?” In the end I decided to take the position.  When else in my life will I have the opportunity to be such a big part of my child’s life.  After all, I only have about ten more years (if I’m lucky) before he hates me, right?  

What does this position mean?  It means my co-chair and I throw THE BIGGEST party of the year for the preschool – The Annual Halloween Party.  This party is in two days and counting.  We have planned, delegated, shopped, begged for donations, bought our costumes, and said a few prayers in the hopes that we haven’t forgotten anything important. 

Last night I found myself covered in orange from the 100 newly painted paper bowls, tearing apart old crocheted sweaters so we would have black yarn for our “spider webs”, researching recipes for the cinnamon rolls I’m making for the Saturday morning set-up crew, and handwriting labels in paint no-less for our activity tables.  I stopped, looked around and smiled because I realized that I was having fun doing something I NEVER thought possible. If ten years ago someone came up to me in a New York City bar and whispered in my ear just before my last shot on the pool table, “You’re going to be painting bowls for your son’s Halloween party, and you’re going to love it”, I would have glared at them till they walked away, and laughed it off with my friends over one more Vodka/Cranberry.

 Being a full-time Mom really gives me the luxury to every day become what I want.  Somedays that’s a Pulitzer prize writer, somedays it’s a Rockette, and somedays it’s a gym trainer.  But somedays it’s a Mom.

Want to be friends?

September 16, 2013

August and I hung out with an old college friend of mine, his wife, and their seven-year-old daughter last week.  I was really nervous about August meeting my friend and his family because, as you know, you can’t predict the mood of a four-year-old.  Luckily it was a great day.  We showed his daughter San Francisco, and the two kids really enjoyed playing and talking with each other. By the end of the day, August turned to each one of them individually and asked, “Do you want to be friends?”. Each one of them in turn agreed quite willingly to be his friend, and a smile swept across August’s face.  He had made three new friends, just like that.

The next day we went to our grocery store, and it was not our usual butcher that juggles for August.  When the new butcher came over to help us get some meat, August asked him “Do you want to be friends?”.  The butcher replied, “Sure.  Why not?”.  August responded with, “Okay, then we’ll be friends.”  And a smile swept across August’s face again.

Brent and I have lived in San Francisco for eight years and I think I can count on one hand the number of friends we have made.  So what I’m wondering is maybe I should start taking August’s approach?  Why does it have to be so difficult?  Why do we as adults have to suss out a person before deciding whether they are worthy of being our friends?  As four-year-olds we just want someone to play with and talk to, and maybe that should be enough?  As college-aged people, we just want someone to study and drink with.  But once college is over making friends becomes incredibly difficult.  Or at least I thought it was until I started watching August do it.  He does it with such ease, and he even seems happy with the results.  I’ve never once heard him say, “Man, I wish I never became friends with that person.”

So maybe the reason why we haven’t made more friends in San Francisco is because we’re trying too hard, or maybe we’re not trying hard enough?  After all, I’ve never tried the line “Do you want to be friends?” before.

What are you doing in there?

September 11, 2013

A few weeks ago my husband, four-year-old son, and I went to the local hot spot for pizza in San Francisco’s version of Little Italy (North Beach, for those of you who know the area).  This place was so busy at 5pm on a Sunday evening that instead of waiting for a table we decided to order take-out.  While we were waiting for our number to be called, I seized the opportunity to use the bathroom.  Since the bathroom inside the pizza restaurant was ten people deep, I opted for the less popular restaurant across the street.

Most restaurants don’t like it when you use their bathroom if you’re not eating there.  However, while living in New York City I learned a valuable lesson.  Walk into a restaurant like you know exactly where you’re going, head straight back to the bathroom and no one will ever stop you.  Or at least, no one has ever stopped me.  And that’s exactly what I did.  At the back of the restaurant I found one woman in line for the bathroom.  One woman in line for the bathroom in a quiet restaurant is far better than ten people in line at a crowded restaurant.

Five minutes go by, and no one has come out of the bathroom.  I begin to wonder whether it’s a man or a woman in there.  The woman in front of me doesn’t seem to notice because she’s too busy texting, or Facebook-ing or whatever people do their phones.  Finally after ten minutes, the door opens, (it was a man) and she walks in.  I was actually happy she was going before me because when a man has been in a bathroom for a while it only means one thing:  STINK-Y!

She goes in, and another ten-ish minutes goes by before she comes out.  It might have even been more.  In fact at some point, it crossed my mind that she had forgotten she was in there because she was still texting, Facebook-ing, or whatever people do on their phones.  (In case you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m in the minority with my Verizon flip phone.) All I know is that I was in line long enough that I felt as if I had deserted my family.  So here’s what I want to know.  When a woman goes into a bathroom, what the hell is she doing in there?

Seriously, I’m a woman, but I’m telling you I don’t understand what women do in the bathroom that takes them so damn long?  I have never understood what women do in the bathroom.  I go in, pee, wash my hands, and leave.  Maybe I check out my teeth to make sure there’s no food in them, but that’s it.  That all takes me about three minutes, four tops.  But other women take ten to fifteen minutes sometimes.  And they don’t care how many people are in line.

So here’s what I can guess.  They pee, wipe, wash their hands, re-apply make-up, and then what happens?  Brush their hair?  Okay all of that gets me to five minutes.  What’s happening the rest of the time?  If you’re a woman, and you are also one of these women, please explain to me what’s happening in there.  I’m seriously dying to know.


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