Friday, February 6, 2009

Malcolm Gladwell's book, Outliers: The Story of Success, is a great book for anybody who loves books about why we are the way we are. Being in the right place, being born at the right time, having opportunities (and taking advantage of opportunities that are available to us), being comfortable around authority, asking for what we want, and cultural legacies all contribute to the different successes we have.

I loved the book. A couple weeks ago, I was at a dinner with four other women and we talked about the difference between growing up in an authoritarian household where we were "trained" to respect and defer to our elders, versus the environment we're raising our children in, where they participate in decisions and negotiations before they enter preschool.

Our children will go farther in life because they're taught to trust their decisions or to learn from consequences of bad decisions. When I was growing up, I wasn't allowed to make wrong decisions (or decisions period) and I didn't learn to take risks or to risk falling down by speaking up for myself. To be direct with someone was to be disrespectful. Now that I'm officially middle-aged, I feel the effects.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


It's been awhile since I've written. Thanksgiving is coming up November 27th. Thirty years ago, it was the day Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk were murdered in San Francisco's City Hall.

I was in my high school "Mechanical Drawing" class when an on-campus police knocked on our door and told us the Mayor had been shot. It was such a shock. Jonestown had happened earlier that month.

I transitioned from watching "The Waltons" to watching a program on Channel 9 with Blondie, Devo, and other cool bands. Gave up singing "I'm On the Top of the World" (I still love Karen Carpenter's voice) for "I Don't Like Mondays" by The Boomtown Rats (thank you KSAN).

I stopped tying my hair back in the ponytail I'd worn since I was 10, I started cutting class, I tried to help my friend dye her hair with blue food coloring (her hair turned green), I traded in my wannabe Annie Hall look for a wannabe hippy look (didn't quite cut it with homemade blue jeans and white painter's pants).

By December 1980, when "Little House on the Prairie" was interupted by news of John Lennon's assasination, I'd stopped believing in a shiny, happy world. Now that I'm "grown up" I want to make the world shiny and happy again.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

LEGO Green Grocer, Level 2

We brought our LEGO sets on vacation with us (our vacations are usually 10 days of doing absolutely nothing). And after an afternoon working on the 2nd level of the Green Grocer set, we put it on top of the dresser in the bedroom (to keep the dogs from knocking it over). My son showed his 19-year old cousin the work we'd done and his cousin said, "it's ugly." Since my son has his own opinions, he got his uncle to give a second opinion, and his uncle said, "its'ugly." So my son told me he was out-voted, and said he felt bad because he knew how much work we'd put into building it. To his credit, he said it didn't matter what the others say about it, he still thinks it's cute.

That's my boy!

By the way, we sort our LEGOs by color and put them in the Tupperware Divided Dish when we start building. Gives us a sense of "order" when we're staring at thousands of bricks. Gotta love plastic!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

One Word: Plastic

When it comes to plastic, I'm obsessed. My son and I went to the LEGO store last weekend because it was "double stamp" day. LEGO stores have "loyalty cards" to bring customers back into the stores. With each $25 purchase, customers get 1 stamp on their loyalty card. Last weekend, we got 2 stamps for every $25 we spent. There are 16 spaces for stamps on the loyalty card. With the first 8 stamps, we get a $10 gift card. The second 8 stamps on the loyalty card are worth a $20 gift card. (So that a fully stamped card is worth $30).

So, with double stamps, who could possibly pass up the Green Grocer set? Not only is it a building toy, but when you're done building, it's a 3-story building complete with rooftop, cash register, and food. Yesterday was construction day for the first level of this building. Super cute. We worked through lunch, and were so hungry, we almost ate the LEGO bananas, LEGO apples, LEGO croissants, and LEGO cherries (the Green Grocer also has a fridge stocked with sodas and milk cartons).

Which leads me into my other plastic obsession: Tupperware. It's hard not to get excited about new plastic containers that keep your food fresh and kitchen (and LEGOs) organized. I entice friends and strangers to "date" a party and invite all their friends to a home shopping experience. This month's dating gift is a small salt and pepper shaker. Next month's dating gift is an even smaller (and cute) adjustable salt and pepper shaker. I love Tupperware parties because they're fun and most hosts love Tupperware too, so everybody feeds off the host's energy. Plus, hosts are usually showered with gifts and everybody gets caught up in the excitement.

Not all hosts are showered with gifts. To "earn" additional free Tupperware, they have to have 10 people in attendance, convince a friend to book their own Tupperware party within 3 weeks, bring 5 "pre-orders" to the party, hold their party on the original scheduled date, and include me on their eVite so I know who's attending. If they don't do all these things, they still earn free Tupperware, but just not as much.

My husband isn't impressed. He thinks I've gone completely batty over plastic.

Sunday, August 3, 2008


My last full-time job required a lot of traveling, domestic and international. Each stop would be 1-3 days, and I always bought a souvenir of some sort. On international travels, I'd try picking up something lightweight for the flight home. On domestic trips, I'd always pick up a Starbucks City Mug because every airport had a Starbucks counter. Oftentimes, I'd only be in a city for 5 hours, with just enough time to get to the hotel, work, and then head back to the airport for thenext city. The picture of this mug from Paris was lifted off the web -- lthough I've been to Paris, I don't have a mug from Paris.

My Starbucks City Mugs:
Las Vegas
New York
San Diego
San Francisco

While in Paris, I bought a $14 pea coat at Bon Marche and a cloisonne trinket box with a picture of Marie Antoinette (I didn't notice the "Made in China" sticker 'til I got home). My favorite eau de cologne, Bambou, was $6 in Paris (and $50 in Napa). No pictures, because my pea coat now sports orange glitter glue from a project at our co-op, and the trinket box is in the garage somewhere, with all my other trinket boxes.

From a press check in Apeldorn in The Netherlands, I bought portable clogs:

From a trip to Johannesburg, South Africa, a set of hand-carved salad servers.

From a trip to Cancun, and later La Paz (where they were 4 for the price I paid for 1 in Cancun):
My first trip to Spain (Marbella), I bought castanets and cloisonne trinket boxes (again, the boxes ,must've been made in China because during later travels, I saw them in every souvenir shop I went to).

Clicking off for now...

Saturday, August 2, 2008

"My Dog Has Fleas" (but, I don't have a dog!)

I've been spending the past weeks vigorously weeding the edges of our overgrown yard (front and back). Last week I started digging up the weeds in the middle of the yard, and getting bright red super itchy spots on my body. The bites itch far more than spider bites, and are far too plentiful to be from just one insect.

My sister said it sounds like either fleas or an allergic reaction. Nothing's changed in my diet, so it must be fleas. After reading up on fleas and flea bites, I'm convinced there are fleas in my weeds.

A word about my yard (if you haven't guessed or seen it), it's mostly dead, dried up grass and a few very green tenacious weeds. I mow every now and then, and each time, there's a big cloud of dust kicked up -- the cloud is so big, that when I mow the front yard, my husband can see the dust cloud from the back of the house. He thinks I kicked the fleas into the air and they settled all over me, hence the many bright red (and did I saw, SUPER itchy?) spots.

So, now my husband can sing, "My wife has fleas" and my son can sing, "My mom has fleas" and we don't even have a dog.

Supposedly, DIATOMACEOUS EARTH on the lawn will kill the fleas, and applying clear nail polish on my bites will stop the itching. I'll keep you posted.