Thursday, May 26, 2011

old lady

Geekyboy has taken to calling me "grandma". "I'm pretending you're my grandma" he tells me, then proceeds to yell "Grandma" across the playground.

Our choice to live here in San Francisco means that the kids don't get to see either of their actual grandparents very often. Perhaps the poor child is grandparent deprived.  His obsession with the TV show "Max and Ruby", in which the grandma (a bunny) is a featured character and the champion of the little boy bunny Max may also have something do do with it.

Whatever the reason, I'm getting a bit pissed off! I have seen a few heads turn, probably wondering, since he is calling me "Grandma", if I was a teen mother when I gave birth to his mother or father. Well I hope that's what they are wondering, maybe I look plenty old enough to be his grandma. After all, it is biologically possible and there are forty year old grandmothers aplenty.

Insult is being added to injury by my new "Kindle".  I have the version that is super cheap because it displays advertising when you are not reading on it. It keeps showing me adverts for anti aging face potions.  Maybe this just reflects the target market of a generic Kindle reading demographic, but I'm taking it personally. And wondering if I should invest in some. The sands of time seem to be catching up with me.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Mystery Blog Swap

Julie, over at "The Sardine Tin" put together a "Mystery blog swap".  Pop over there to see who else is participating.

My mystery guest wrote a wonderful evocative post. Can you guess who it is? Can you find my post on someone else's blog?

Even if you don't want to play, do enjoy the guest post, I know I did:

Guess who? A memorable day in the life of a mystery blog swapper.

Climbing out of our beds very early, my husband and I really couldn't help grinning like idiots at each other, we were on the holiday of a lifetime and this morning we were booked on a heli-hike across the Fox Glacier.  Gathering at the shop in town we were shepherded to a creaky old bus and taken to the yard where two helicopters stood waiting. My first time in a helicopter! My stomach coursing with butterflies we were all given nailed boots to wear which were seriously heavy and everyone tramped out in a clatter to the helicopter.  Our guide Jason, who honestly looked about 16, helped the pilot allocate our seats in the helicopter, I was placed in the front and my husband behind me and we were off.

Rising up into the air looking over the stunning countryside of South Island New Zealand, Mount Cook gracefully towering over the Southern Alps, word fail me as I try to describe how I was feeling, anticipation, excitement, yes but they really don't cover it.  As we followed the river up into the mountains they opened out into a valley displaying the bright teal glacier glinting in the sunshine. It was at this moment that the pilot decided to do a left hook to show us the valley at close hand and I really do mean close hand, suddenly we were almost upside down, I honestly thought my time had come and we were going to crash into the rocks below! From behind me a hand gripped my shoulder, yes, the other half thought so too.

The end however, was not nigh, the helicopter straightened out and the guide was wittering on in my headset about some waterfall or other whilst I fixed a smile on my face which was closer to a grimace but served it's purpose in keeping my breakfast in my stomach, a useful tip I learned from watching CIS.  I had my eyes shut for the rest of the flight and when we touched down on the glacier a matter of minutes later it took every ounce of will power I possess to make my legs move out of the helicopter down onto the treacherous ice.

 Hunkering down on the ice next to the other half whilst the helicopter left my eyes were streaming with silent tears, he gave me a big hug and we pulled ourselves together enough to listen to Jason telling us about the glacier and it’s movements, his hopes of finding us an ice cave.  We set off slowly, 15 extra pounds of boot on your feet and legs that feel like jelly don’t make for fast movement when the floor is solid ice.  Picking our way along, making sure each foot has a grip before you move the next one, the silence and majestic beauty of the glacier can’t fail to touch you even whilst you are quaking in awe, slowly my legs shored up and my trembling became minimal enough to enjoy our surroundings, the beautiful deep teal blue of the glacier is still one of my favourite colours.
 We walked along an ice ridge high between bottomless crevasses and waited whilst Jason cut stairs in the ice to help us down to an ice cave which we took it in turns to peer into and take photographs, we chatted to a couple from Australia about the flight and they confessed to have been scared ridged too, it is a relief when you realise it wasn’t just you and I got my dare devil mojo back just in time to have a good clamber around in the blue ice tunnels  before we had to slowly make our way back to the landing site, hunkering down again whilst the helicopter landed to take us back to solid ground.
 I did think once we returned to the town of Fox, that I might never get in another helicopter again, a week later though we were once more in the air being thrown around by another pilot who thought it was funny to scare the tourists rigid as part of the Queensland triple, Heli, jetboat and rafting day and guess what – we both laughed in the face of the assumed danger...

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

waxing lyrical

The kids are starting to listen carefully. I now understand that old adage "little pitchers have big ears".

We watched Mamma Mia for mothers day.

"How come she doesn't know which of those three guys are her daddy?" asked Geekygirl.

"Oh, her mummy liked them all a lot, they were all such nice guys, that she couldn't tell" I scrambled in reply. Which was a bit of a cop out, but better than saying "well her mum was a bit of an old slapper".

I guess that is why the movie is rated PG13, but I had assumed that the actual plot would fly over the kids heads and they would just enjoy the music. Note to self, more careful vetting of movie plots in the future.

I have been running into the same issue with song lyrics. I prefer not to listen to kids music in the car so I have put together an eclectic playlist of things I like, things they like, and things I thought I liked until I had listened to them 200 times and would now rather chew off my own hand than listen to again ("party in the USA", I'm talking about you.) The list includes several numbers from "Glee" including that great Journey cover "Don't stop bleeding" - as it is sung in our car.

I have a bit of Lady GaGa, some child friendly JayZ, the aforementioned Miley Cyrus number, some Train, some Abba, but the Glee covers are the favourites. The songs have caused some interesting conversations,  a memorable one being "Mummy, why does he want 'Jessie's girl'?"

The latest was

"Mummy, why does he like 'fat bottomed girls'?"

We have done a good job so far of teaching the kids that people come in all sorts of sizes, so I wanted to be positive; "Maybe because they are squishy?"

Geekygirl: "Mmm, maybe fat bottoms are nice and soft. Mummy, I have a tiny bottom and you don't have a fat bottom, but P's mummy has a really, really fat bottom"

The lady in question does indeed have a spectacular rear. She is also a friend of mine. She is a woman confident in her shape and appearance, but I am crossing every finger, indeed every bone in my body that Geekygirl does not serenade her with an A Capella version of "fat bottomed girls" the next time we see her at preschool.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Silent Sunday

More silent sunday here
Silent Sunday
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, May 14, 2011


One benefit of being a mum with a job is that the example that I set for the kids. Geekygirl has always assumed that when she grows up, she too will have a job. For the longest time she has had one particular career in mind.

Her dream started one Sunday morning while we were eating our ritual "Home baked from Trader Joe's" chocolate croissants. If you have never tired these breakfast delicacies, I highly recommend that you do. We threw them into the shopping cart one day, doubtful that a frozen pastry could conjour up the true deliciousness of a genuine "Pain au chocolat", but once I tasted their puffy, crumbly bittersweet chocolatiness I was transported back in time. They evoked mornings in French campsites, when two little girls would get up early to run to the bakery van, practicing their French by ordering "un Baguette, deux croissant et trois pain au chocolat, s'il vous plait".

One morning, with a mouthful of chocolaty crumbs, Geekygirl asked us "Who makes these? I want a job where I can make these for people". There began her dream of becoming a pastry chef with her own patisserie. Over the past few months it has become quite elaborate. She will have a small shop, which she may or may not live above. Her brother will have a restaurant next door that serves only vegetables, to counteract her sweet offerings. Customers will have to go there first, eat vegetables, and only afterwards will they be allowed a pastry. She will drive to her pastry shop in a yellow "smart car". She will serve dog cookies and dogs will be allowed in (I didn't break the news that the California health code doesn't allow dogs in establishments that serve food). She will be serving these cookies, our house specialty since my trip to the "Sanrio" store in Tokyo, so we had better start negotiating a licencing deal.
As suddenly as it arrived, Geekygirls ambition switched gears. She developed her first cavity, an event perhaps not entirely unrelated to her love of chocolate. Her dentist is a fierce, fabulous woman with a deep compelling voice, a pristine office filled with toys and state of the art electronic entertainment, and a tiny fuzzy, impossibly adorable little dog who sits on the kid's laps. Overnight, Geekygirl decided that she wanted to be a dentist instead of a pastry chef. I'm trying to persuade her to keep the patisserie business too, if only to drum up customers for her dental practice.

What do your kids want to be when they grow up?

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Silent Sunday

a Silent Sunday post
Silent Sunday

Saturday, May 7, 2011

helter skelter

"When I get to the bottom I go back to the top of the slide where I stop and I turn and I go for a ride." (Helter Skelter; Lennon McCartney.)

The days and weeks are going past too fast. California winter to California summer in one week with a trip to Chicago slammed into the middle of it. I'm all discombombulated.

The Easter weekend summed up the entire season in Tahoe by being cold and stormy. We braved the lifts, since we had guests determined to ski, and were glad that we did. Despite blizzard visibility at the end of April when we were expecting sunshine, beers and bands on the deck and the sight of teenagers skiing in bikinis, the fresh powder made for nice skiing. Geekygirl has transformed into a skiing daredevil, seemingly overnight. "I am faster and better than you, mummy" she informed me casually.

Monday was our semi annual advisory board meeting at work, and I was presenting data for the first time since I've taken this new job. I was almost hobbled by a dysfunctioning Maddona style headset mike, but I think I did a reasonable job. Tuesday I headed out to Chicago for the second time in a month. You know you are traveling a bit too much when the guy in the O'Hare airport gift shop recognizes you and points out which items in the store are new. Around midnight on Wednesday I was back at SFO, and Thursday, despite mentally being somewhere between Central and Pacific time, I was back in the office.

Sunday was the day of the Big Sur Marathon Relay, an event I had signed up for months ago as part of a team of coworkers, so we garnered enough energy to pack up the car and head down the coast on the Friday night. In startling contrast to the previous weekend this one was stunningly bright and warm.

We stayed in Monterey, and took the kids to the incredible Monterey Bay Aquarium for their first time. It turned out to be a wonderful family weekend. I'm not sure which the kids enjoyed most, the aquarium with its sea horses, sea otters, sharks and jellyfish or the motel room with its two double beds, close enough together that they could leap from bed to bed squealing hysterically when they should have been sleeping.

On Sunday I got up at 4.15am to be bused to my relay start point along with several hundred other equally insane individuals. I ran 6 miles along the most beautiful stretch of coastal road in the world, and felt on top of the world.

We all slept extremely well back in our own beds on Sunday night, despite the kids plotting to move some of our beds closer together so that they could continue their bed bouncing fun. You can only imagine how big the laundry pile was after a week like that. I think this weekend I might just crawl into one of those solitary flotation tanks for a day, especially if I can find a volunteer to come round and do my washing.