Benny and his friend Griffin at Ocean Beach in San Francisco.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Don't Skip Breakfast

So this wasn't the greatest morning I ever had. I woke up late, which meant I couldn't work out or eat breakfast if I wanted to get to work on time. And what happened then?

Well, I had trouble with my contacts, trouble with my hair dryer, trouble with my peanut butter sandwich, trouble with my earrings and as a a final note, trouble with the !@#$% computer when I tried to load my iPod. As you may already guess, it was a computer that finally sent me into a string of expletives.

Which got me in trouble with Ron, since Benny was right there.

So there I am at the bus stop, steaming. A fine drizzle falls on my badly blow-dried hair. I blame my contacts, my sandwich, my new earrings and the !@#$% computer. But then I identify the real culprit: I skipped breakfast.

When oh when will I realize that a bowl of cereal or two waffles improves the quality of life for myself and anyone around me? Why does it take my poor husband dragging me away from a computer at 8 a.m. to remind me that being hungry and hurried is Bad Bad Bad?

It took three cereal bars and two Snapples consumed at my desk to put me in the proper frame of mind to edit stories and answer emails. By 10 a.m. I was able to field a phone call about our upcoming Most Pompous Executives publication (not its real name, but should be) with some poise. This lady calls every two days for information about Most Pompous Executives, and my repeated answers that I know zero details, my editor knows zero details and our publisher has made no decision about the breadth and scope of Most Pompous Executives fails to satisfy her. She's convinced that we're hiding vital Most Pompous Executive nomination guidelines from her. This lady works for an accounting firm, which is apparently lousy with pompous executives eager to be honored. Sigh.

Anyway, the moral of today's post is Eat Breakfast, especially if you expect a phone call from a rabid CPA marketer.. Maybe an All Powerful Cereal Bowl of Light (above) would help.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Arrival Day 2009

Today is July 22. That's a big day for our family, and not just because it shares a month with Independence Day, Bastille Day and the Moon Landing. July 22 is the day this blog stopped being Lost in BabySpace and became California Dreamin'. Because this was the day that myself, Ron, Benny and Callisto the cat arrived in San Francisco.

July 22, 2007 began at 1 a.m. when I finally lay down on an air mattress in our Michigan house to catch a few hours' sleep before our flight to San Francisco. I tried to relax and think about California but the picture was dim and undeveloped. "Who gives up jobs, cars and Mackinaw Island fudge to live in a tiny apartment?" I asked myself. "Who wants to wait at bus stops, wheel granny carts to the grocery, feed quarters into washing machines?"

Well, we did. The next eight months passed in a haze of stress: a mad dash to our airplane flight; tense negotiations for a transfer to an acceptable apartment; a frenzied search for a preschool; my return to full-time work; severe financial problems; no heat over Christmas; and an insane work project called "Real Estate Deals of the Year." The culmination was the months-long process to sell our Michigan house, which we finally managed in March 2008.

But there were many large and small victories. We found a great preschool for Benny and paid shocking amounts of money to keep him there for two years. Ron won a national award for a feature he wrote during that crazy August 2007. I edited some big projects that came off well. We paid our fiendishly complicated California and Michigan taxes. We also guided Benny through important milestones such as toilet training, advanced Lego building and the ability to eat something other than pancakes, corn and Mac&Cheese.

I'd like to thank all the little people who made it possible -- Kathy, our beleaguered realtor, who never did get a commission on the house. And who can forget Ralf, our chronically depressed mover, whose unexpected delay in Kansas allowed us to transfer to another apartment before our stuff arrived. Or my friend Angelic Coworker, who arranged for a $1,000 freelance paycheck before I'd written a word of the story .

Happy Arrival Day!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Moon Landing Anniversary

Yesterday was the 40th anniversary of the 1969 moon landing of Apollo 11. Ron, Benny and I headed over to Nasa Ames near Mountain View, Calif., to celebrate on Sunday. I don't think NASA expected such a big crowd; the traffic was backed up to the highway. We parked in an enormous parking lot next to the airplane runways.

We watched model rockets being launched and I took pictures. The first three pictures are of a black-and-white model of the Saturn rocket that carried Apollo 11 to the moon. The last rocket picture is of a yellow model rocket painted like a crayon. Ron put Benny on his shoulders to watch.

We had a great time, but it was ungodly hot. The march from the rocket launch to the parade grounds was like walking on the surface of the sun. We never made it to the displays and activities; instead we collapsed under a tree and ate lunch (see picture). Then I dragged a reluctant Ron across the complex to the gift shop and indoor display center. The center's exhibits included 3-D pictures of Mars and a videotape of the moon landings, plus a moon rock brought back by Apollo 15.

Ron was able to attend a NASA event on Monday morning and got to ask a question of Buzz Aldrin and the other astronauts. (He asked about public-private partnerships to fund space exploration.) Benny's spent the last two days playing with the moon landing Toys his Uncle Greg sent from Florida and building a Saturn model out of Legos. This morning he stranded his little astronaut outside Jupiter with no more oxygen. "He held his breath all the way to Earth," Benny told me.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Random Thoughts

For those of you who'd like to know what I think about all day:

-- It was tough to pick out something to wear to work today. I think science fiction characters are kind of lucky; they can just wear jumpsuits. Of course, jumpsuits only work if you have a good body. That's why middle-aged guest stars in science fiction shows/movies always wear flowing robes.

-- One of Ron's magazines is requesting suggestions for another awful fee from airlines. I suggest: "In the case of an emergency, an oxygen mask will drop from the ceiling above you. If you would like the mask to actually dispense oxygen, please pay a $20 surcharge at the check-in counter. Be sure to pay your own oxygen surcharge before paying others'."

-- Saturday night I had a filet mignon pot pie at a pub with the great name The Monk's Kettle. The pot pie was great, but it still seemed a real waste of filet mignon.

-- This weekend I was riding the bus and saw a young guy scribble on the window with a yellow marker. The writing was unintelligible (Elf runes? Sanskrit?), but he felt the need to underline important points. As I exited the bus, I told the driver "The kid sitting in the back in the plaid shirt just scribbled on the window." The driver looked at me in utter bewilderment. Oh well, I did my bit as a concerned citizen.

-- I'm still reading Benny "The Lord of the Rings." He thinks Gollum is a riot. I drew him a little map so he could keep all the places straight. He wants to know if Saruman could beat Elrond or if Galadriel could take the Balrog. Thoughts?

-- I think I've figured out why I keep getting carded for alcohol in San Francisco. There are a lot of strung-out 21-year-old women around here who look like a 40-year-old sometime drinker. A friend of mine says it's because the city's servers are required to card anyone who looks under 40. I like my theory better.