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.