Friday, December 31, 2010

Thursday, December 30, 2010

We made the drive from the San Fernando Valley to Oakland today. It took us 7 hours, including 1 bathroom-diaper change-coffee stop and 1 gas-diaper change-dinner stop. (I am too ashamed to tell you what we ate. We tried to do better but it was late and we made due with what was available. Pickings were slim. We didn’t want to take our usually-very-happy-but-tonight-fussy-no-saying-very-much-a-two-year-old boy out of the car.)

Ollie fell asleep right when we started the drive, which bummed me out because I knew he’d sleep for an hour or so and then be wide awake the whole ride home. I was right, except that he did doze off during the last 20 minutes of our drive. Of course.

Gabe drove the first 3 hours and when we stopped for coffee, we switched.

If you’ve never been on Highway 5, it’s got 2 lanes going both north and south.

I hate the 5.

Sure, there are some pretty things about it. For instance, the rolling green hills as far as the eye can see. And the rainbows we’ve now witnessed two years in a row on our way home from L.A. after Christmas.

The speed limit on the 5 is 70 miles per hour. That’s pretty fast. Slower traffic is to stay in the right lane, with faster traffic in the left.

I don’t know if it’s a result of people being stressed out from the holidays or what, but the tailgating! If I was in the fast lane, people would pass me because I wasn't up the ass of the car in front of me. I was trying to keep a good distance between the car in front of us in case they slammed on their brakes. I wasn't slowing down traffic. Then, if I was in the slow lane, people from the fast lane would come over to slow lane to attempt to pass folks who were keeping a nice safe distance much like the distance I’d spent a great deal of time trying to keep.

And they'd tailgate me in the slow lane. Where was I supposed to go? Up onto the big rig in front of me? Off the road?

Also, there were big rig trucks passing other big rig trucks. So fucking frustrating. A truck hauling 3 other vehicles kept weaving in and out of lanes trying to get ahead.

I was getting pissed. Gabe was trying to nap, but I was making it near impossible with my (g-rated) commentary. I did honk at a woman in a white Prius who was tailgating me in the slow lane. It only made her drive like even more of an asshole.

I'm getting mad all over again, just writing about it.

Since having Ollie I’m more aware of how I drive. I try to be very, very careful. I get nervous. I also get really pissed at people who drive like assholes. I've always been a stickler for driving rules, like stopping at goddamned stop signs, but now I'm a little bit of a freak about people not stopping at stop signs and normal shit like that. I have a little guy to protect.

I edit my responses to assclowns and try not to use any words that would embarrass me if Ollie's teachers were to tell me he was saying them.

A while ago I was backing out of our driveway. Ollie was with me in his carseat. Something happened and I said, “OH SHOOT!” Now whenever I drive and I so much as gasp, or make any sort of noise Ollie says, “Mama, OH SHOOT.” It was all I could do to not say much, much worse than "oh shoot" today.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010


i'm back. more on that tomorrow. for now, go read this. you'll laugh. i swear you will.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

I love Christmas trees. They smell good, they're pretty and when they're all lit up, with no other lights on, they make a room feel really cozy.

I have a thing for Christmas lights. They don't bother me and, no matter how tacky, I still love looking at them.

I've passed this love on to Ollie. "Look Mama, Creamas lights! Pret-tee!" he says. "Yes, Ollie, bee-u-tee-ful," I agree each time. Tonight we drove around and checked out Christmas lights on our way home.

On the other hand,I don't have much patience for wreaths, bows and antlers on cars. Today I even saw a Rudolph nose on a car.

But most of all, I hate people who wear fucking Santa garb for no reason.

In November, I stopped in a coffee shop on my way to the office to get coffee. As I waited for my cappuccino, I noticed a man and woman sitting at a table, talking. Nothing weird here, except that she was wearing a Santa hat. At 7:30 in the morning, on a random morning in November. It wasn't a particularly cold morning, nor were there kids waiting to sit on Santa's lap. Nope, just a gal and a guy, having coffee, gal wearing Santa hat. In November. I looked around to see if anyone else found this curious. No one seemed to notice.

This sort of Santa-wear evokes a strong and angry reaction from me.

If you're under say, 13, or maybe 15 and you want to wear a Santa hat, I sort of think that's OK. As long as it's December.
Adults on the other hand, really shouldn't wear Santa anything, unless they say, work at the mall as Santa or Mrs. Claus. I'll even make exceptions for Christmas parties. And, I think if someone really wants to wear a Santa hat on Christmas Eve, or Christmas Day, while I don't agree with it, I'll tolerate it.

photo of that terrible hat from here.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

This past weekend we celebrated Christmas with my mom’s family. My mom is one of eight. Until her mother passed away in 1995, we’d always spend Christmas Eve at my grandparents’ house in San Jose. As kids this night was the best night ever. We’d get presents from all our aunts and uncles and my Granny and we’d get to play with our bazillion cousins.

Uncle Tim was always good for a Tower Records gift certificate. I’d spend it on Christmas because “Tower,” as those of us in the know would call it, was always open on Christmas. I bought my first cassette tape with Uncle Tim's gift certificate.

Granny would always give us kids a $25 savings bond and something else. Like an Espirit sweat shirt.

I remember when I was a kid in the early 80s and my Granny got her first microwave one Christmas Eve. I think four of my mom’s 5 brothers had to carry it into the house and put it under the tree.

On the way home my dad would always claim that he saw Santa in the sky. We’d spend the whole ride home trying see Santa for ourselves. I never saw him but I did wear glasses from ’81-85. Maybe I never wore them Christmas Eve?

This past weekend we gathered at my Aunt Jeanie’s house to celebrate Christmas. Her place was perfect since it has lots of space for food and hanging out and opening presents. She and my cousin Erin set the garage up with tables with different crafts for the kids. And, the garage had a doggy door and this turned out to be a favorite with the under 10 set. Might make a good gift if you’re still trying to figure out what to get for that niece or nephew. (Remind me to tell you why I will never have a doggy door.)

Anyway, Ollie met Santa and Mrs. Claus for the first time. Technically it was his second time, but the first time he was two months old and I’m pretty sure he doesn’t remember.

I’m excited for him to be excited about Christmas but I’m sort of relishing this time where his whole understanding of Christmas involves pointing out “cream lights.” (Cream lights= the way Ollie says Christmas lights.)

He didn’t know that the man with the long white beard and silly red suit was Santa and that the broad with him, dressed like she’d just come from the renaissance faire, was his old lady, Mrs. Claus.

(The same went for his birthday in October. All he knew was that his parents and grandparents were hanging out, eating “cup-a-cakes” and giving him presents. Truly this isn’t really any different that a normal visit from the grandparents.

We gave him a tricycle for his birthday and then realized it wasn’t assembled. It stayed in our room, in a box for over two months. He noticed it at one point and said, “bike.” I told him daddy had to put it together. He needs to fix it, I explained. For a month he’d walk by it and say, “Dadda fix it.” Finally Gabe did, a couple of weeks ago.)

I’m sure next year, he’ll be so excited for his birthday and for Santa Claus. And, I’m looking forward to this time. But I also love that now, it’s all about spotting “cream lights" and nothing more than that.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Monday, December 20, 2010

leona colla
august 18, 1917-december 18, 2010

my nonna passed away on saturday. i've been trying to come up with a proper post, but i'm having a hard time putting something cohesive together. so instead, i've put together some pictures and a few words.

nonna, wadsworth, nevada, 1937

my nonna's parents came to san francisco from italy. i'm unsure of the year.

they lived in potrero hill, san francisco.

nonna, july 15, 1937

until kindergarten, my nonna only spoke italian.

Angie S and Leona G

when she went to register for kindergarten, her mother didn't speak english. leona was not her real name, but it's what the school heard and put down as her first name. she went by leona her entire life.

my nonna would wear long dresses to school and tell people that they had barrels and barrels of money in their basement. really they had barrels of her papa's wine.


when i was born nonno and nonna were in reno. she was gambling. she asked if they could leave the next day, but nonno said, no.

she always told me she never forget the year i was born because it was the bicentennial.

nonno & nonna

nonna worked at see's candy when she was dating my nonno. she loved to tell the story about how for her birthday or christmas he handed her a box of see's candy. she wanted to throw it at him. she opened it and inside was a watch.


she was a mother of four and a grandmother to eight.

nonna had been on hospice for a long time. she hadn't said a word in over two years.

my nonna's folks raised her orphaned cousin, jenny, who was the same age as nonna. jenny died last week. when my dad's older sister kathy went to visit her before she died, kathy said to jenny, "jen, reach your hand out to leona, would you?"

rest in peace, nonna.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

this weekend we went to a birthday party at our friends' suzie and john's house. they have this print hanging in their kitchen. i love!


available here

Monday, December 13, 2010

years and years ago, my nonno gave each of my aunts a ring similar to this. i'm sort of obsessed with finding something similar.

(the one in the photo is gold...from sears. i want silver.)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

christmas is coming

we bought ollie a tricycle in october, for his birthday. today, almost 2 months after, we put it together. he had been walking by it and saying, "fix it." so we finally did.

we've yet to buy a single christmas present so far this year.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

go big or go home, willow glen

o stayed at my folks saturday night. sunday night gabe and i went to pick him up and to have a joint birthday dinner for gabe and my mom. when we arrived, dinner was a ways off and ollie was antsy, so we decided to take him to willow glen, to check out the christmas lights. (cream lights, according to ollie.)

since i was a kid willow glen has been the place to go for christmas lights. each year, there are streets and streets in the w.g. that put up a single tree in their front yard, with lights.

there are always the overachievers. there were about 5 houses, with reindeer running through their yard, beginning w/ this one, who also had santa.


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

conroy and wilcox call this "pear cut," but i like teardrop better.

a list of lately

1. two months ago, when we moved to our new house, we had a security system installed. (we also got two ferocious guard dogs. killer guard dogs actually. any potential robbers reading this should watch out.) last night, i noticed there was a piece missing from one of our walls. the door is still able to be armed, but, since it's only been two months, i called the company tonight to see if they could send someone out to replace the missing piece. i think the part that's missing is cosmetic--because, like i mentioned, the system still works. anyway, i was told that, sure, someone could come out. it would cost $77 for the 1st 15 minutes and $16 for each additional 15 minutes the service person was out. so, i asked to speak to a supervisor. he told me he was unable to waive any fees because we'd not signed up for a service warranty. in all fairness, he was really nice. he told me i could call the local office tomorrow, and perhaps they would waive the fees. i (nicely, i swear) told him i'd cancel the service if they charge us to fix it. so annoying. it feels like a huge scam to me.

2. it's busy 'round these parts. a flurry (heh heh) of christmas parties and birthdays and events. bad news is, we don't have a reliable babysitter, besides my brothers and folks and all of them live an hour away.

3. can we talk for a second about how lucky i feel to have two brothers who're such great uncles to my little boy? they love him so much and they're so good to him. and, he loves both of them. he calls them "an-knee" and "quiss," for anthony and chris.

4. speaking of ollie-talk, i wanted to make a list of his vocabulary right now because it kills me:
christmas lights = cream lites
yellow= yellyow
purple= people
right there= right dare
cheerios= chews

5. and, yesterday he said, "i love you," for the first time. each time he says it, he actually says, "i love you, too," even if he says it first.

6. a family member who was ill for a long time is doing better. for this i'm so grateful. each time i think about this, it makes me happy.

7. good night!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

i'm going to the la cocina gift fair this friday, and if you're in san francisco, you should go, too!

there will be tons of amazing, locally made food, drink and wares.

friday, 12/10
4-9 pm

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


one of my very favorite brunch places is outerlands, on judah, in the outer sunset.

they make their own bread and it's beautiful.

they're selling it now. you should go buy some if you are nearby.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


I just got so excited when I saw this: Schweet Boks: A Cereal Eatery and Cafe. Brilliant.

Listen up, all of you cereal lovers out there: We have found your Mecca. It’s called Schweet Boks Cereal Eatery & Cafe and it’s just opened on Irving Street in San Francisco. So what’s the appeal? The little ‘cereal bar’ offers up more than 30 varieties of crunchy breakfast goodness — everything from Grape Nuts to Cocoa Puffs — as well as a range of toppings so that you can make your bowl truly your own.
Mix and match to your heart’s content, then douse it all with milk and dive in. To round out that breakfast feel, Scwheet Boks also serves the divine Intelligentsia coffee from Chicago. But cereal is what this place is all about. Someone please page Jerry Seinfeld; he’ll think he’s died and gone to heaven.
--From the Urban Grocer, via Lost in A Minor.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Conversation on our drive home

Mama, snack. Oggie snack. Briana.
Sorry Ollie, mommy doesn’t have any bananas.
Now he’s whimpering: Briana. Briana.
Ollie, baby, sorry, mama doesn’t have any snacks. As soon as we get home, I promise.
Mama, snack. Mama, pluggy. Mama. Mama. Snack mama, pease.
Sorry Ollie, mama doesn’t have any pluggies and mama doesn’t have any snacks. When we get home you can have a snack.
Mama, snack. Snack please mama. Oggie snack. Oggie pluggy. Mmmmmmmmmaaama! Snack pease. Oggie snack. Oggie snack. Oggie pluggy.

Repeat x 100

I felt so bad. He barely touched his lunch and his lunch was at 11:30. And, his snacks at school are hardly substantial--fruit and water.

Lesson learned: Always have snacks on hand. “Oggie” needs ‘em.
Can you draw the internet?

Children today are growing up in a world of technology and communications. They have never experienced a world without the internet, with every part of their day consumed by mobile phones, websites, computer games, apps, Xbox, you name it.

We took this thought and 'thought' it would be interesting to find out what their perception of the internet actually is, by way of scribble, drawing, or piece of art.

Then, to make things even more interesting we thought it would be great to get the creative industry involved. Why? To find out who's the more creative. The industry with all of it's wisdom, or the kids with their vivid imaginations.

Anyway, we'd love it if you could spare a few seconds, minutes or even hours to get something down on paper, no matter how basic.

internet 4

internet 3

internet 2

internet 1

Sunday, November 28, 2010

pretty blocks

Blocks 2

Gen Store Blocks

by serena mitnik-miller
available here

Friday, November 26, 2010

You should read this.

Motherhood in NYC makes me laugh. In fact, it just made me laugh out loud.

mini city

Mini City 2

Mini City 1

available here.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

happy thanksgiving!

happy thanksgiving

here's gabe's november 2005 turkey.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

i had the worst food poisoning/stomach flu of my life yesterday. i couldn't move. it sucked. tonight i ate two pieces of toast. so far so good.

this week is a busy one, so i leave you with this sweet blog. pretty cute idea.

Monday, November 22, 2010


this is kind of a gross story so i apologize in advance.

i went to a summer camp in boulder creek one year. it was fanastic. i loved it. one thing i remember, is one of the counselors, named janet. i remember janet becuase she wore a tiny, itsy bitsy string bikini. and she snuck off to meet a boy one night, and came back and told us about it. and because she wore false eyelashes because apparently she liked to remove her eyelashes. with her fingers. she also wore incredibly long fake nails.

yesterday i was getting dressed and putting on my face. (i'm not really sure why i bother w/ things like blush--it lasts for about 2 hours and then it's gone and i never reapply. but everyday i do pretty much the same thing to my face.)

i stood in the bathroom mirror and curled my eyelashes. my left eye was done and i was working on my right eye. i have a new curler. it's not very cooperative and i've been struggling with it.

anyway, i was standing there, curling my lashes when i sort of tripped. my elbow slipped. my feet wavered. i'm not sure which happend first, the feet wavering or the elbow slipping, however, i YANKED out about 1/3 of my eyelashes on the top of of my right eye. it made the most awful sound. i was shocked. it hurt like hell for one, it sounded terrible and my eyelid now has a bald spot. once i got over the pain, i stared at the cluster of eyelashes stuck to my curler. i was inclined to start to try to pull them off the curler to show gabe (weird, yes?), so he could see the volume that was ripped out of my eye, but they slipped into the sink so i ran the water and watched them go down the drain. i was stunned.

almost immediately after this happened i got something in my eye.

i've been putting a tiny bit of dark eyeliner along my eye in the baldspot. i think it's helping hid the missing lashes. or i look like what's her name from grey gardens.

according to wikipedia, eyelashes grow back in 7-8 weeks. i'm waiting.

and for the record, i didn't curl my remaining eyelashes this morning.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

food links

remember that article about chad robertson?

watch this video. it's great!!!

speaking of food, check out what shauna made. when i read this, i was ready to make them that night, however, i didn't have all the ingredients. don't they look amazing?

Friday, November 19, 2010


vase 6

vase 5

vase 3

vase 2

vase 1

available here.


i saw some PAD items on gilt groupe recently. i looked them up and i'm in love.

many of the plants in our yard are dying and i'm not sure why so this is sort of out of the question for me right now. maybe once we fix our deck in the back.

so many things i want to do to this house. (see previous post.)

anyway, the PAD items. pretty cool, right?

PAD outdoor

from ford and ching.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

excuse the crappy iphone pictures

so... the shelves we bought for the bathroom are below. note that they're not done yet. i didn't think that far ahead. i'm not sure what else to do with them. gabe says i shouldn't put anything too heavy on them, which is pretty limiting. what to add? feathers? cotton balls?


besides needing to change the lightbulb, we want to put in a new light fixture, medicine cabinet and sink. i was reluctant to post pictures, thinking i should wait until we've actually made some changes, however, i decided to share them.


we recently bought a medicine cabinet and it didn't fit so we had to put the ugly one back. i hate the sink most of all.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


from steven alan

gorgeous and green

i met friends for dinner tonight at paison on san pablo. i was (really) early (as almost always) so i had time to kill. if you live in the east bay, check out gorgeous and green.

so many neat plants, beautiful flowers, and little tiny terrariums!

i bought some plants to go on my new shelves. photos to follow.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

i never use my camera anymore. sad, huh? it's all about the iphone these days.



Monday, November 15, 2010

go crazy go crazy

o turned two last month and i must say, i'm loving two. it's been so much fun.
he's talking up a storm.

last week, g came back from d.c. w/ a presidential limo match box-type car. i asked ollie if he knows he rides around in his new car. he didn't. i said obama. the next morning, i asked him if he remembered who rides in his car. he answered, "omama."

Friday, November 12, 2010


one of each please!




from here. via here.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

the way it is



we bought shelves for the bathroom yesterday at ikea. i will post pictures once we get them up--i can't find them online.

i came across these via bloesom. they're out of my price range, however, they're really great:

other stuff by the same designer available here.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

i went and had my hair cut on college a few weeks ago. it was raining out. i wore my brown leather boots. every other woman in the salon was wearing their hunter wellies. no wonder j crew is sold out.

Monday, November 8, 2010


ollie says, "see ya."

and he always want to hear sumic. (get it? music=sumic.)

he's also been putting a purse on his arm and saying, "oggie to work. bye. see ya." and then he pretends that he's leaving. i ask him if he'll pick me up at school. he says he will.

and my favorite is when he asks me to cuddle. best ever.

i heart this little man.

a very long and useless post about jackets

i have some great jackets i've collected over the years.

there's the white 50's coat, that's really pretty, but it's white so it just doesn't work with everything. and i have a 2-year old who has no concept of dirty hands (unless there's sand on his hands--that drives him crazy). just writing about it though. i might try it on tomorrow.

and there's my favorite of all time, my red wool coat, which is fantastic. i think i bought it at saver's about 10 + years ago. (i wore it to my friend jane's wedding, which if memory serves was in december 2001?) the only problem with this coat is the lining is torn to shreds. and yeah, i could have it relined, but i'm the woman who's had a bag of clothes to bring to the dry cleaner since july. so the chances of me having it relined certainly aren't looking good for this winter.

which brings me to the pretty yellow plaid, vintage jacket gabe bought me when he was in toronto in 2005. it's only waiting to be altered. (see red coat above.)

so, i want a new jacket and i don't know where to begin to look. here are a few i found tonight.

jcrew coat

from j crew.

from zara.

apc from frances may.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

today we realized that we seem to have actual seasons on this side of the bay. and so much less fog. we dig it.



yep... iphone pics. i lost my camera battery charger during the move.


available here.