Category Archives: My Life

On the Water

5th December 2018

fredlyonhuntingtonhotel
Photo Fred Lyon.

About fifteen years ago, I moved into an old apartment in San Francisco’s Western Addition, where you can see the fog line roll in from the Bay. There’s plenty of room, but the walls are so thin you have to ignore neighbors’ footfalls, dinner conversations, sexual habits.

For years, I wondered why my upstairs neighbor was leaving her cell phone on the floor. It would vibrate against the floorboards and resonate through my apartment.

When she finally moved out and someone new took her place, I was perplexed that he had the same habit. I mentioned it in frustration to my fiancé who had recently moved in, and he knitted his brow.

“Do you mean the foghorns?” He said.

“Oh,” I said. “…You can hear the foghorns from here.”

Taking Stock for October

2nd November 2017

Hi! How’ve you been? I felt like playing along with Pip’s Taking Stock list for this month, you? Taking stock for October.

Making : A tiny wooden nutcracker. Painting it, anyway. I’m a sucker for those Michaels holiday craft kits, man. Let me know if you need a pom-pom ornament.

Cooking : Colorful, healthy stuff. This Rainbow Salad Bowl with Cilantro Lime Hummus is really good.

Drinking : Tung Ting green tea from Red Blossom. It’s my favorite oolong.

Reading: I’m finally getting to Shrill by Lindy West.

Wanting: More long, cozy sweaters with the kind of arms you can pull your hands into while you’re waiting somewhere outside.

Looking: At old stuff on Etsy. Like this stripey straw hat, these enormous black pearls, and this very pink Lanvin dress.

Playing: That game where one person starts a doodle, and then another person finishes it. We spent hours playing with Hank at little outdoor tables in Venice. We just got back from a trip to Italy! It was one of the nicest trips I’ve ever taken.

Deciding: On Thanksgiving plans. For some reason, my Thanksgivings are cursed unless someone else plans them. I can arrive to someone else’s Thanksgiving with a hell of a cheese plate in tow, but I cannot make one go on my own. After a few years of relative disasters, one year I just bought a damn prefab meal so nothing could go too far awry. And then the pre-cooked turkey I picked up Thanksgiving morning was somehow still frozen inside. Maybe we’ll order one of these smoked turkeys this year. Or an American amount of takeout Chinese.

Wishing: I was at a lakeside campfire with the aforementioned cozy sweater a good book.

Enjoying: Vacation memories.Turns out gondolas live up to the hype.

Waiting: To pack thermoses of warm boozy drinks and go make our holiday wreath.

Liking: My kids. Hank is turning out so sweet and friendly, and Ozzy is a little charmer. I’m so glad I got to be a mom again.

Wondering: Where I put everything. We still need to fully unpack.

Loving: These glass eyes. I bought them because they’re little works of art, and they were $10, which we can all agree is a screaming deal for glass eyes.

Pondering: The myriad things people think they know about Joan Didion. With this new documentary coming out, everyone is publishing all these opinions about her, and most of them read so strangely to me. Like, I do not recognize the author they’re discussing. Huh.

Considering: Stone Fruit! I bought a couple of very convincing, charming fake oranges at the back of a tiny souvenir shop in Florence, and googled them when I got home. They were so heavy, and it turns out they’re carved from stone. It’s a whole thing.

Buying: Groceries for the week. We’re trying to eat all vegan this week as an experiment, and there’s such a learning curve to changing how you eat. Making the menu and grocery list took forever.

Watching: “The Good Place.” Have you seen this? It’s a comedy about the afterlife. It’s so nice to watch TV that isn’t trying to make you anxious.

Hoping: It isn’t too cold at Hank’s soccer practice.

Marveling: At the world’s finest Panama Hat. It was made by Simon Espinal, and he won’t make another as nice because it’s too hard on his eyes. It’s $25K, and the buyer hopes it will end up in a museum.

Needing: To take off this bra. Always.

Questioning: How to set aside time for some projects.

Smelling: This new LaVanila deodorant I’m trying. It smells like soap and is supposed to not kill you slowly over time, which is cool.

Wearing: Cashmere pants I got at the flea market for $20. They make me feel so fancy.

Following: All these sexual harassment allegations. It’s surreal that people are finally facing consequences.

Thinking: I want to be on the team that helps choose Oprah’s Favorite Things every year. Maybe I’ll do some gift guides this year, they’re so fun to shop for.

Admiring: This camping embroidery pattern.

Sorting: All the little jars of food we brought back from Italy. Italian canned and preserved food tastes like actual food.

Getting: Tired of jet lag. I’m too lax about converting, so it takes me like two weeks to change time zones. I’m still waking up at 3 a.m. a week after returning home

Bookmarking: The Gro Company Gro-Clock Sleep Trainer. We’re about to switch to a toddler bed, and this simplified clock supposedly helps kiddos know when to get out of bed.

Coveting: I collect busts, and these are beautiful. This one too.

Disliking: That we didn’t have time to carve pumpkins this year. I love homemade roasted pumpkin seeds. Next year for sure.

Opening: My Italy travel journal to fill in all the blank pages. The main thing I miss about traveling without kids is the time you have to document everything.

Giggling: Nervously at this upsetting blind-clown cookie jar.

Feeling: Cozy and quiet.

Snacking: On hazelnuts. I keep a bag in my nightstand. Though the Halloween candy in the next room is audible.

Hearing: My monthly playlists are up on Spotify if you want to have a look and/or judge me by my musical taste. Tove Styrke’s “Say My Name” is a recent favorite.

I’m excited about Fall. You? I hope you’re doing well.

French Kids Eat Everything

20th June 2017

In Paris, we pass a toddler in the stroller with her mother’s purse, an exuberant square of red lipstick around her mouth. She shoves her tiny fist outside, bouncing the unfurled lipstick tube like a drum major’s baton. Her mother’s eyes widen.

Drone, Bye

27th April 2017

Man takes drone out for a sunset flight, drone gets shot down

I read this article and did a slow clap for the shooter. As you know, I love a robot, and still the drone situation is beginning to chafe. Hear me out.

A few months ago we were staying at a hotel, and our room had an attached private patio surrounded by a high wall. Ozzy ran out into the patio after our bath, so I chased after him in my altogether because… private patio.

I’m standing in the silence for a minute waiting for Ozzy to finish playing with rocks, making sure he doesn’t shove one in his windpipe, when I notice this annoying whine. It’s sort of like a broken industrial fan, and the sound is getting louder and louder. Finally, I look up and see a creepy-ass photo drone hovering over naked me and my naked child.

Hear me, friends. If I’d had a BB-gun on hand, I’d have dropped that Minority Report Mosquito out of the sky like:

dronedrop

And then I would don a robe, gather the broken toaster pieces and pop them in the pool.

Sorry about that $3K, bro. Find another hobby.

Taking Stock for February

15th March 2017

marchtakingstock

I’m using part of Pip’s Taking Stock list again this month. Here’s what’s been going on with me.

Making : Ozzy’s winter coat had this insipid Boy Clothing Logo on the breast, a sports number or generic firehouse logo or some such, so I ironed an angry bear patch over it. Now I feel better about the world.

Cooking : I’m trying to use up all the pantry and freezer bits before I go shopping again, so I heated up some homemade coconut muffins I found in the back of the freezer. They were so toasty and cozy, you should make some.

Drinking : Enough La Croix grapefruit to make me question whether the can, or the bubbles, or some other element could adversely affect my health. I’m drinking 2-3 cans a day while Instacart is still around to carry cases up the stairs.

Reading: I renewed my subscription to The New Yorker, and then remembered that when I read magazines I stop reading books. On the plus side, I’m all over cocktail party conversation.

Trawling: Junk shops in Minneapolis. We made our last visit out for a while and I bought a bunch of cheap doll furniture for Ozzy’s doll house. Why does Minnesota have so much doll house furniture?

Looking: At sweatshirt dresses and mandals.

Deciding: Where to go on our big family trip this summer. Where would you take a 10-year-old and and a two-year-old if you had two weeks?

Enjoying: My little boys. Ozzy is currently all about unicorns, and Hank has begun to make genuinely funny jokes. Those guys.

Liking: Using stuff up. I’ve been employing it as a decluttering method, and have gone through so much back-stock body butter and face cream.

Cringing: Related, I left an impressive greasy face print on the sanitary tissue over my chiropractor’s face pillow. I felt the urge to explain about my current overindulgence in face cream, but then didn’t. My face spontaneously produces Crisco, Mr. Chiropractor. Accept this about me.

Wondering: If I could make it all the way through Elle’s 100 day project now that I no longer have a newborn. It starts again April 4.

Loving: Diana’s Banana Babies. They feel the same as ice cream bars emotionally, but are better for my health objectives.

Listening: Sia’s “Reaper” is the best song I found last month. I had that parent thing where I realized I hadn’t heard a new song since my kid was born, so I’ve turned back to Spotify.

Buying: I’m waiting for this bonkers pair of pants to arrive. Will they be unflattering, or dramatically unflattering? Stay tuned!

Watching: The Bachelor. I don’t even have shame about it, you guys. Brad’s high school friend Catherine “won” the Bachelor a few years ago, and we’re addicted. Did any of you watch this season? Amazing. Nick was in such a weird position. After like the third show, I didn’t really think his future wife was in the room, did you? My conspiracy theory is that he knew America would be ticked if he broke up with Raven, but less so if he ended things with Vanessa. So he picked the not-wife who would be less likely to end this TV career he has going by making him unlikable. The behind-the-scenes motivations fascinate me.

Wearing: Flea market cashmere. All my sweaters were $20 at the Alameda Flea.

Celebrating: I’ve been carrying 35 pounds of extra weight since I had Ozzy, and this morning I hit my first major weight loss goal. Pow! Sock!

Embracing: Super short fingernails. I’ve been clipping them until there’s just enough white to show that I don’t gnaw at them, and it’s incredible — like taking off high-heeled shoes after a night on the town.