Friday, October 31, 2014

NaNoWriMo 2014 is 12 hours away

It's Halloween. It's raining! The Giants are parading and I'm gearing up for writing. 

A lot of writing. Daily dedicated writing.

The kid is all costumed up and ready to create sugared mayhem. The dog is walked.

It is time. 

Happy NaNoWriMo everyone!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Senior Portrait

Write on Mama Marianne Lonsdale writes of those teen parenting moments that count:

Monday, May 12, 2014

Mother's Day Peace

Mother’s Day began with a text from my college boy middle child.  He was working the farmers market and wished me a happy mother’s day and said I Love You.  He won. Later that morning my daughter presented me with an orchid, a plate of raspberries and a muffin, and a homemade card with a wonderful note.  Ok, she won. Handmade trumps text. Sorry buddy.  Now nirvana: read the Sunday New York Times in peace.  But, there is no peace in the NYT.

The story of the 200+ abducted Chibok schoolgirls, plucked from their boarding school beds and loaded onto buses by armed Islamist militant terrorists, is a hard one to read.  The group’s name, Boko Haram, translates to ‘Western Education is sin’ and they believe in strict Sharia Law. Their leader, Abubakar Shedau released a video threatening to sell the girls.  He wants to trade them for prisoners.  A CNN interview with one of the girls who escaped is heartbreaking.  She is so traumatized that she will not return to school. 

This is not good Mother's Day reading. Or maybe it’s the exact right kind.  I yell upstairs for my daughter to give me an update on her homework. 

In stark contrast is a moronic article in the Style section about crop tops. An enormous amount of lady sweat and anesthesia is going into feeling confident while sporting a partial shirt.  As a mother of a teenaged daughter, this is not optimal.  Apparently there are women so beholden to Forever 21 fashion standards that they’re scuttling over to their friendly neighborhood cosmetic surgeon, waving red carpet pictures of starving celebrities in crop tops and plunking down 6K for Airsculpt – all for the promise of flashing a smooth tight midriff.

At this point my ‘fix this’ mom brain kicks in.  Navy Seals can airdrop the crop top ladies into Nigeria in exchange for the 200 abducted schoolgirls who value education over Ab Attack class. I think about running this idea by my daughter. I envision the blank stare. I know she will think the Stella McCartney top that the 84 pound Rihanna is rocking is super cute, and that she will be horrified that my idea suggests that I am not taking #bringbackourgirls seriously. 

Good thing it’s Mother’s Day, as my first-born slides in under the wire and calls. He’s in solid third place. It was our first conversation in over a month.  There had been talk just that morning of filing a missing persons report, but luckily it didn’t come to that.  The call was appropriately glitchy – he has no reception on the Oregon farm where he lives and works.  It mirrored our relationship – ‘Huh? What? I can’t understand you. OK, well, thanks for calling, I can’t hear you so I’m hanging up. Call when you have better reception. Love you.'


Saturday, April 19, 2014

P is for Pâques

What's up Doc?  Bugs would be thrilled to learn that the bunny - symbol of fertility- is alive and kicking in Swiss Pâques decor. Le lupin even is reppin in the cathedral.

Oeufs de Pâques are abundant as well. Precolored and decorated they are on display in grocery stores and farmers markets. Chocolatiers have plenty of bunnies and eggs. And everything. Even a liberty bell. Why?

Some are works of art, and some downright terrifying. I'm not sure how meringue ties into Easter but they are really pushing it. Huge nests of meringue with chocolate drizzle. 

These diverse bunny couples look a little concerned. The chickens (below) as well. A lot of work went into those facial expressions. Chocolatiers here don't rely on foil to do their job.

Bonne Pâques! �� ��

Thursday, April 17, 2014

O is for Om

Sometimes you just have to chill the F out. 

Walking around Coppet this afternoon with my daughter and sister we skirted a tiny vineyard, the leaves just beginning to bud. My daughter commented on the gnarled wood all pruned to the same shape and leaning the same direction with the new tender green and rust vines beginning to train. It looked like dancers waiting their cue. 

My sister pointed out the brown grass that was chemically scorched down each row contrasting the green grass between rows. Herbicide spraying is routine agricultural practice in Switzerland. They're anti-GMO but they do love their pesticides and herbicides. I've seen several spray trucks in the neighborhood this week. Beautiful as the local farmers market was, organic was not an option. 

The fields all around the lake are bright yellow with rapeseed in flower.  This is the basis for canola oil. There are many vineyards in between and lots of small dairy farms. Cows eat the grass right next to sprayed fields. Cheese is kinda a big deal in Switzerland and the chocolate? Same cows. 

In other news, the local market had an American section with various BBQ sauces, a full display of Old El Paso Mexican fixin's ($7 package of tortillas & $5 can of frijoles) but I was stumped by American Sauce, a peachy-yellow color with bits of pickle or pimiento. Good news: haven't seen truck nuts, Uggs or a single Tesla. Ommmm.


N is for Neighbor

When I was nine, I moved with my mom and little sister from a townhouse to an apartment that was around the corner.  This involved filling the back of my mom's orange Datsun station wagon with our stuff and my sixteen year old cousin learning to drive a stick shift. She was visiting from Texas and would we would swim in the townhouse pool at night, after the 10 PM curfew.

The apartment was several rungs down the ladder from where we were in the townhouse, though the two carports shared a cinderblock wall.  I would climb over, scraping my palms and walk by my old bedroom window, peeking through the manicured bottle brush bushes to see who was in there.  My dad's black Lincoln was long gone. 

The apartment was dark and my new bedroom window faced an unpainted wood fence. The sliding kitchen door faced the pool, cloudy with too much chlorine and tended by a long haired man in cut offs. I had an odd assortment of new neighbors: a girl I knew from school who became my best friend, a weekend dad whose son was a year ahead of me and I still know, a man who was college roommates with my future father in law.  When I was a student at UCLA, I had dinner with my former neighbor and his visiting three year old son. He spoke only Italian and sat on my lap and we drew hand turkeys with the crayons on the table. 

Twenty seven years later I spent yesterday with his adult son, touring Bern Switzerland and the Paul Klee museum and eating gelato. My niece rode on his shoulders and my teenaged daughter shared music with him on his iPhone and my nephew played Uno with him on the trian. When I was a girl I went to baseball games with his dad and as a teen I crashed at his North Beach apt with my best friend from the same apartment complex. It was a crap apartment by any measurement.  But the collection of neighbors became my ecosystem and evolved into my life. 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

M is for Memories

'Hooray for today!'

The first time I heard this was when my then three yr old nephew asked to be the one to return the blessing before dinner. This responsibility is always performed by my uncle or eldest male cousin. I've never heard my aunt or any woman or kid in our family say the blessing before a meal. I've only experienced such churchiness as a visitor in my uncle's Texas home, so I roll with it.  

Last night we held hands around the table and my four yr old niece announced 'Hooray for Today!' And then told us her favorite memory of the day, her play date with a friend and then announced that she was cheating and adding watching Sleeping Beauty on the computer. Then she passed to my daughter, who told hers and passed the torch around the table. We had a great day, visiting Rolle and going to an amazing and unexpected tea shop (my daughter's favorite memory) walking along the lake edged with gardens and every imaginable tulip, visiting a playground right at the lake edge and getting ice cream. 

My favorite memory was spending time with my daughter and family, exploring a new culture and the technology that allows me to keep in touch with family and friends back home.  And I'm going to cheat and add curling up with my iPad at the end of the day to write this and then finish season 4 of The Walking Dead.