New holiday traditions

We spent Christmas at my mom's new house, and it's SO awesome having her live close by. We haven't lived this close since I left for college, and I love being able to see her every day. I feel really lucky that she decided to move to San Francisco. Her holiday menu featured an assortment of yummy tamales. The night before, we had Maine lobster, which Nick steamed in our new immense lobster pot. We're making it our new holiday tradition on Christmas Eve (our other tradition is having fondue on New Year's Eve). Next year, though I'm going to find myself a crab, because I think I actually like it better than lobster, which, by the way, is just a little bit scary looking:

Wait, make that really scary looking.


Being a working mom

Also known as, burning the candle at both ends.

Lately my life feels utterly chaotic. Getting all the logistics set up for going to work and having my mom take care of my baby is way harder than I anticipated. I knew the work part was going to be complicated, and I warned my boss that it was going to take some time for me to get all my systems set up. Lucky for me, my boss and coworkers are all being super understanding and cooperative. I also knew that it would take some time to work out a schedule with Tutu, and, again, lucky for us, she's being really flexible and supportive. On top of that, Nick has been lending a hand wherever it's needed, whether that's preparing bottles the night before, getting gas for the scooter, or even just emptying the dishwasher...stuff like that. AND I have what some might call an "easy" baby. If, even with these "best" of circumstances, I'm still stressed out and kinda a mess, all I can figure is that being a working mother requires superhuman strength and efficiency.


My turn to meme

This one is making its way around my circle so here I go:

1. Egg nog or hot chocolate?
Egg nog. Which reminds me, I have some in the fridge!

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree?
Both, I guess, but I'd never thought about it before.

3. Colored lights or white lights on tree/house?
I used to go strictly with white, but I got some flashing colored lights recently because Tutu suggested that Alex would like to look at them. She was, as usual, right.

4. Do you hang mistletoe?
Never have, probably never will. Where do you get mistletoe anyway?

5. When do you put up your decorations?
It totally depends on the year. Some years, Dec. 23. This year, Dec. 10.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)?
Probably mashed sweet potatoes with lots of butter, salt, and pepper, which was one of my grandmother's signature dishes.

7. Favorite childhood holiday memory?
My mom and I dressed up in glam make-up and clothes, drank champagne (just a little for me, I think, as I was in jr. high), and took pictures to celebrate New Year's.

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?
You know, Santa always had my mom's handwriting, so I think I always suspected the truth.

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve?
Gifts play less and less of a role in my Christmases as the years pass, but this will probably change now that we have Alex. But right now, no.

10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree?
I start with the lights, wrapping them around starting from the bottom. Then I put ornaments on wherever. I'm not very orderly about it.

11. Snow: love it or dread it?
I'm honestly not familiar enough with snow to dread it, so I think I must love it.

12. Can you ice skate?
Not very well.

13. Do you remember your favorite gift?
I think my most memorable gift would have to be these robots my brother and I got one Christmas. They were about 2 feet tall and they shot out ammunition from their chests. That can't have been childproof.

14. What's the most important thing to you about the holidays?
I love looking back at the year and thinking about what's to come.

15. What is your favorite holiday dessert?
Oh, now we get to talk about dessert. Probably pumpkin pie. Or Mary's cookies!

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition?
Fondue and predictions on New Year's Eve.

17. What tops your tree?
I have a red and green ribbon to put up there, but it's not up there yet because I can't reach. I would love to have a beautiful angel, but I haven't found one yet.

18. Which do you prefer: giving or receiving gifts?
I'll be honest: receiving! I don't like feeling like I have to buy something just because someone may be expecting a present. But when I find the perfect gift for someone, it is really a joy to give it, whether or not it's Christmas.

19. What is your favorite Christmas song?
Anything from Emmett Otter's Jug Band Christmas.


Puffy White Jacket

I have this jacket I got four or five years ago at Old Navy. It was cheap. It's made out of polyester. It's a couple sizes too big. It's gotten really dingy over the years. And it's the best damned winter jacket I have ever owned.

The jacket is white, and it's waterproof. It's got zippered pockets on the inside and outside. It has a hood. It's fleecy on the inside and filled with some fake downy material, so it's very warm. Because it's white, I feel like it's safer to wear when I'm riding my scooter in the winter. (I have anecdotal evidence that this is true; coworkers have mentioned that they saw me on my scooter, and they recognized me because of my Puffy White Jacket.)

I got it one winter when I was visiting my friend in snowy Seattle. (For the record, she thought it was hideous and advised against my purchase. I defied her and have never regretted it.) I've worn it on winter trips to New York, Edmonton, Sedona, Paris, and Shanghai. At the end of every winter, I get incredibly sick of it and feel like it's expired, tired, and ready to be retired. I spend the next year looking for a replacement. Every jacket I find either isn't warm enough, doesn't have the zippered pockets, lacks a hood, isn't waterproof, etc. I've looked far and wide--on all those aforementioned trips, I search. But none of those pretenders I find has quite the combination of useful attributes as Puffy White Jacket.

The rainy season has hit San Francisco. Puffy White Jacket, literally, rides again. Check back in at the end of the winter to see how I'm feeling.


Good stuff that happened today

Continuing in the tradition of deliberate happiness, I have decided to ruminate on a couple of good things that happened today:

  • I got my scooter tuned up and rode it to the dentist. It is so wonderful to be back on an efficient mode of transportation in this city with so few transportation options. I love passing Muni buses. It feels so, so good.
  • I ordered a new helmet. (I had to special order the color I wanted--a very very bright orange, to be as visible as possible!)
  • The dentist told me I had unusually healthy gums and that my son has a dental prognosis of "at least excellent."
  • I managed to write a birthday poem for my nephew, despite having waited until the last possible moment to start working on it.
  • I got to eat honey-baked ham, beef stroganoff, and potatoes au gratin.
  • I successfully encouraged my dad to start using his new digital camera.
  • I wrote my first post on beta.blogger.com! (Wait, didn't Blogger start out in Beta? Oh, Google...)
  • 12.06.2006

    My turn to pray

    A couple days ago, I asked others to pray for me. Now it's my turn to pray for the Kim family. What a tragedy, one that hits very, very close to home. They're not just from San Francisco; they're from Noe Valley, my favorite neighborhood in the city, my first choice for errands, shopping, and hanging out in general. James Kim was not just an editor; he was, like me, a technology editor, and for CNET, which is right down the street from my work and where a bunch of people I know work. They weren't just a family with two kids; they're a family with two half-Asian kids and a mom who's breastfeeding an infant. There are just lots of little coincidental similarities that makes it feel like I know them, even though I don't. I feel strangely able to imagine the debates or arguments or discussions they had right before James decided to head out into the freezing wilderness, and the worries and desperation Kati must have felt waiting and waiting and waiting for his return that never came. I rarely identify with tragedies I hear about in the news, but this one just feels way too close. So I'm praying for them, and I hope they get through this tragedy OK.


    One day at a time

    Well, I survived. It was really tough leaving Alex in the car (my mom was kind enough to drive me to work) and walking in to the office, and it was really weird trying to pick back up and do work after missing three months. I was lucky, though, because a bunch of people are out sick, so it was really slow and calm--probably a better way to ease back in. Also, I was able to leave early. So, it wasn't exactly a representative work day, but I did survive. I guess we'll see how tomorrow goes.


    Biological clock

    I return to work tomorrow, and I've discovered a whole new biological clock, one that calls out to me much more powerfully than the traditional one ever did. It's shouting at me, screaming at me, trying to reason with me that there must be a way, there has to be a way, why isn't there any way to stop time, at least for a little while, so I can stay here at home with my precious little baby...for ever and all eternity. I should have been blogging these last few days, because they've gone by way too fast. And I like my job! I can't quite imagine what hell I'd be going through if I had a job I hated or even didn't really enjoy that much. Pray for me.