Sign #2 you're getting old

(We all know Sign #1 is wrinkles!)

Sign #2, however, is that you can get nostalgic for multiple decades of music. It was probably when I was graduating from high school in 1990 that I realized what decade nostalgia is. I probably heard a song by the Cocteau Twins ("Lorelei" definitely does it) or the Psychedelic Furs ("Heaven") or, sheesh, even "Beat it" by Michael Jackson. As I found myself overcome with fondness, bittersweet memories, melancholy, happiness, sweet regrets, and--that favorite nostalgic emotion--a certain je ne sais quoi, I realized that an era had passed.

Well, Live 105's Resurrection Sunday had a '90s mix recently, and I started feeling really old. See, these songs brought back strong and vivid memories of an era when I was already distinctly an adult, and, clearly, already capable of feeling nostalgic. I was working at MTV and, naturally, many of these songs evoked a palpable (yet still ineffable) je ne sais quoi from that precious time gone by. Layers of nostalgia? Nostalgia within nostalgia? Definitely means you're getting old!

Here are a few of the songs that did it:

Foo Fighters "My Hero"
Smashing Pumpkins "Tonight, Tonight"
Beck "I'm a Loser"
Everclear "Santa Monica"

(Random ME trivia: I've interviewed two out of the four artists mentioned in the '90s list, and one out of the three from my '80s list. Not bad!)


My Dinner With A(ndre)lex

Tonight it was just Alex and me at dinner. At first I felt a little lonely, because even though Alex is a great conversationalist, his vocab's a bit limited, and I'd had a tiring day and could have used a little grown-up discourse. But I quickly realized how precious it was, that one-on-one time with my boy. So I put on Nick's Loretta Lynn/Patsy Cline mix cd and serenaded Alex with "Crazy" and "Coal Miner's Daughter" while steaming dumplings and heating up pureed pears. When we sat down, I started feeding Alex using a little baby spoon, but he immediately noticed that I was eating with chopsticks and showed great interest (he loves to "pretend" to eat what we're eating; if I'm drinking from a glass, I'll put it up to his mouth and he'll sort of mock-sip from it--I don't think he knows yet that he's not actually "drinking" from it). I put down the baby spoon and started feeding him with the chopsticks. I even gave him a couple little bites of the dumpling stuffing, since it was mostly vegetables anyway. He loved it! It was a great dinner.

Before I had a baby, I thought eating dinner regularly at the table was going to be such a struggle, because we'd never had structured dinners before. I knew I wanted to start eating at the table when we had a family because it's so healthy for kids (and adults, for that matter). But I remember even avoiding eating at the table right before Alex was born because I wanted to squeeze in my last few "dinners in front of the TV" before I had to start worrying about being a role model. Now that Alex is around (and eating solids—though we actually started eating together even back when he was only nursing), I find I really love and look forward to our mealtimes. And, as I'm learning, I had completely unnecessarily high expectations of what went into a "family dinner." I've learned that a good family dinner doesn't have to have the whole family in full attendance. It doesn't have to be some great meal with all four food groups (heck, you can get by with one and it still works). It doesn't even have to last all that long. All that matters is that you're sharing a little bit of time together each day.

What's really amazing is that I can tell that even at 6 months old, Alex already enjoys these times at least as much as I do! And our conversation must have been pretty darn good, because by the end of the meal, I no longer felt the need to blah-blah-blather on about my day at work.


The Superwoman Problem

I'm writing instead of balancing my checkbook. This also means I'm writing instead of shopping, because before I gave myself liberty to shop, I decided I wanted to balance my checkbook to make sure the items I thought might actually bring me some satisfaction wouldn't come with a financial-stress surcharge.

I can sense that lately, I have been in "superwoman" mode: I've been so busy worrying about keeping other people happy that I sorta haven't been doing anything nice for myself. I keep thinking I should schedule a massage, or buy some new shoes, or...actually, those are the only two things I can think of. So tonight, I quite purposefully started to shop. Then I stopped myself and decided I needed to figure out how much money I had to spend. Then I stopped myself further because I thought I should do fun tasks (writing in my blog) before unfun ones (accounting, even though I do find that somewhat relaxing as I think I've noted here before). Then I happened to remember that I have been trying to consume less in general, because I take way too much stuff to the Salvation Army already. And before I knew it, I wasn't shopping anymore, and I also wasn't doing anything nice for myself anymore (unless allowing oneself to blog is doing something nice for oneself, but god I hope it hasn't come to that).

So now, I am going to balance my checkbook, but only until it stops being relaxing, and then I'm going to schedule a massage, even if I don't know whether I have enough money. And instead of using the tagline that comes to mind, because I'm one crazy overanalytical superwoman, I'd like thank the copy writer who came up with the Loreal ad campaign "because you're worth it." You are brilliant.


The TIC Lobby

I was motivated by something I read on another blog, SF TIC, that alerted me to a group that's trying to unify the thousands of TIC owners in San Francisco. So I sent the following email to my supervisor. No it was not perfectly formulated. I didn't even edit or much less copy edit it (which anathema to me, a...gasp...PROFESSIONAL EDITOR, but, seriously, I wanted to make sure it got sent and didn't just sit in my head for a few more years.)

If this issue matters to you, send an email too!

Dear Supervisors and Mayor Newsom,

As the recent editorial in The Examiner pointed out, statutory limitation on condo conversion is a flawed policy. It has little impact on tenant evictions, and is, in essence, a taking of private property.

I have been a TIC owner since 2005. My group of two middle-class families purchased a building on a bad block in a neighborhood riddled with gun warfare of gang violence. Besides installing lights on our porch, picking up litter, and planting trees on the sidewalk, we're raising families here and befriending our neighbors, trying to make the community safe for middle-class people like us. We'd love to see more San Franciscans follow in our footsteps and take pride in their city by planting trees, picking up litter, and discouraging criminal activity on their individual blocks. It has to start somewhere, doesn't it?

Where does it start? With the pride of homeownership. San Francisco needs more homeowners. Why continue to penalize those of us who have put so much love and money into our buildings and, in turn, our City neighborhoods? Make it easier for people to buy and own units in San Francisco's characteristic old, multi-unit buildings. It is good for the city!


April stuff

Lately I've been busy and whenever I have free time, I am either watching TV, playing videogames, or doing both simultaneously. I have plenty of things to write about, but little energy to write. Writing requires a certain type of focus that I just don't seem to have much of right now. I find myself falling behind even in simple email responses. I hope the situation is temporary.

Alex is almost 7 months old now and I can't believe it. He's the greatest little person. Tutuhoneygram says he's an optimist. My friend Anna (the one from NYC, if you're keeping track) says he's "in touch with the theatrical side of life." He expresses such delight and joy in the simplest things. The past few day or two, he's started letting out these big sighs. Even the sighs just sound adorable and happy. I take him to Weight Watchers with me (12.4 pounds down!) and he just basically flirts with everybody there by beaming these huge grins across the room.

We've been doing a lot of stuff lately. Last Saturday, we took him to the (somewhat horrible) Moscow Cat Theatre. He was vaguely interested at first, but he got bored pretty quickly (he must have good taste) and slept through most of it. Later that day, he went to his first "fancy" restaurant and sat in a high chair... (Mmmm...meat on sticks!--absent-minded me forgot the camera...) We actually didn't intend to take him to a "fancy" restaurant; the restaurant we went to had gotten considerably fancier in the year since we were last there. We also went to Sari's Easter brunch, and the big news was that Alex napped off-site, in his car seat in one of the rooms of her (enormous, gorgeous) new house. Later that day, when we visited Michael, Alex napped in Thomas's crib. He's even getting pretty good at napping in his own crib during the day. I guess the kid is just tired!

Work is going well, but it's hard trying to do everything in fewer hours. I don't have time to run errands during the day or chat on the phone like I used to. Every minute I spend doing something personal is time I could be spending with Alex before or after work, so I tend to just leave that all for later and condense my true "work" into a slightly shorter day. Especially with this podcast thing I'm trying to do on top of my regular job. Argh!

And I'm really excited to report that our tree didn't die over the winter! We planted a tree this summer with Friends of the Urban Forest, and it's deciduous, so all winter it looked quite bare. We watered it as much as we could, but it was hard to stay motivated when you could hardly tell whether or not it was even alive. That's the beauty of gardening, though. About two weeks ago, we started to see little buds appearing, and now it is full of leaves. I can't wait to watch it grow... which is how I feel about something else in my life!

This picture isn't that great, but it was taken today, and look how cute that sleeping baby in my lap is! I wanted Nick to take a picture of him in his little snow suit because he's starting to outgrow it and we might not get to dress him in it much longer.