Yank Sing: NOT family-friendly (updated for the 2nd time)

So, turns out they were lying. There's still no sign about changing facilities being available. They're going to hear from me again. Sigh...

I received an apologetic phone call and a $50 gift certificate from the restaurant, along with a promise that a sign would be posted in the restrooms offering changing facilities to parents upon request. I haven't yet gone back to the Spear St. location to see if this has been implemented. I did go to the Stevenson St. Yank Sing today for lunch, and the servers were extremely helpful with Alex, finding a spot to store his stroller while we dined. (I'm kicking myself for not checking their restroom to see what the changing table situation was, but hey, the need--thankfully--didn't arise!) Unfortunately, the food wasn't that great, but that's not the point of this post....

I promised to write this post after paying $180 for lunch for 3 adults and 3 kids ages 1, 4, and 7 at Yank Sing Restaurant in San Francisco and still having to change my baby's diaper on the FLOOR of the restroom because of the restaurant's lack of a changing table.

When I very politely asked the manager why there was no changing table, she informed me that there wasn't enough room in the "design" of the stall. I told her that was patently ridiculous; they manage to fit changing tables in AIRPLANE bathrooms, so there's no way one wouldn't fit in this rather capacious, elegant bathroom. She blathered on about something to do with the table that was there being big enough to change a baby, which is also ridiculous since I'm pretty sure there was a plant on it. It was then that I realized she was just trying to get rid of me. She didn't promise to look into it. She didn't assure me it would be taken care of. She didn't ply me with a half-dozen free pork buns to go. She gave me some stupid nonsense and tried to get rid of me. I promised myself I would write a blog post about it.

Too bad I don't get enough traffic to make a difference. But I do vow never again to plan a business lunch there. And I certainly won't take my out-of-town guests there anymore. And there's always Yelp! My dad was already basically boycotting them because of their high prices and predatory serving methods (when you first sit down, they descend upon you with all these high-priced dishes, often offering you two or three servings of each, all the while keeping the cheaper, more filling fare on the elusive carts). They also charge you per person for tea, even if one of those people is an infant who brought his own damn drink!

If only she'd promised to put a changing table in. My friend, mother of the two other children, realized after she'd heard about my trouble that I should have just started changing Alex on the floor of the restaurant. That would have gotten the point across nice and fast.

Two weeks old but no less depressing...

I'm catching up on blogs and saw this post by my friends Benj and Jessica. It's from a NY Times article, and it completely blew my mind:

No, wait. It's believable. In fact, it was easily predictable. Which doesn't make it any less astounding:

The increase in incomes of the top 1 percent of Americans from 2003 to 2005 exceeded the total income of the poorest 20 percent of Americans, data in a new report by the Congressional Budget Office shows.

The poorest fifth of households had total income of $383.4 billion in 2005, while just the increase in income for the top 1 percent came to $524.8 billion, a figure 37 percent higher.

I went to see No Country For Old Men the other evening, and this fact seems somehow related to that movie's themes of desperation and a society gone uncontrollably, savagely wrong. Perhaps I'm reading too much into it, but I guess I wouldn't be the first to do so. (The bartender at Bender's, where we went for a drink after the film, heard us deconstructing the movie and said her friend had done a complete analysis of the movie as Biblical allegory. I didn't go that far, but I do see the struggle of the poor in this country as a deep root of our societal decay.)

Happy thoughts!


More Knitting, More Working Out, More Momming

Originally uploaded by generaltsao.

Quick update. Nick has started working out, and he's gotten me exercising on the weekends. Last weekend, we ran both days (during Alex's nap). It was hard. I felt horribly squat and out of shape. Exercise always feels great afterward, but running outside in the city makes the "during" particularly difficult.

When we don't have time to run during Alex's naps, we've been taking long walks around the neighborhood. Today we walked up an insanely steep Noe Valley hill, and we had to take turns pushing the stroller. I actually think I got a bit of an upper body workout doing this, so I feel pretty good. The weather has been mostly beautiful--sunny, crisp, and fresh. It's definitely fun for the whole family, especially when Alex wants to push the stroller, which is really cute.

Next up: early morning yoga with Tutu. There's a place right by here that has classes. I hope we can drag ourselves out of our warm beds to make it there sometime, because I'm sure it will feel great.

While I've continued knitting a ton, I haven't made as many hats as I'd anticipated. I'm practicing a lot and learning, so I end up knitting stuff and then unravelling it because it didn't turn out quite right. But it's fun and relaxing, and I have come up with two "gift" hats so far, so that's pretty good. (Luckily, most people I know are foregoing gifts this year, so there's not a ton of pressure for me to come up with too many thoughtful objects...)

Alex is now 15 months old. He's very much a toddler--running around all the time in his little Spider-Man sneakers that light up. He's got a bunch of molars and sleeps completely through the night about 80% of the time. Even though I've really loved every stage of mothering, and I have incredibly fond memories of his being a little blob of a newborn, I do have to admit that it's much easier now that he's more of an independent being. It's nice being able to go out without him, feed him normal food when we're out together, let him run around parks and playgrounds, and communicate with him and seeing obvious evidence of recognition. He's still such a charmer!


More Working Out (and Knitting!) Working Mom

Yesterday I felt so sore, but in that great way that comes from having exercised thoroughly. I tried to keep a good thing going by walking to this knitting class that I'm taking at Imagiknit, which is a 17-minute walk from my house. I walked briskly and felt fantastic, even though it was a very abbreviated session. (Better than nothing, as I'm finding myself saying more and more these days. BTN!)

Perhaps you are wondering how I have time for a knitting class when clearly I do not have time for exercise. Let me just say that even signing up for it was a huge inner struggle--was this really how I wanted to use up my extremely precious "me" time? My coworker Mo, who introduced me to the class, encouraged me, and her enthusiasm tends to be totally infectious. Plus, the class is only four sessions, so it's not exactly a huge commitment. It was hard leaving the house, having only seen Alex for about 45 minutes and hearing his desperate shrieks as he stuck his little chubby legs through the railing above the stairs, trying to come with me, screaming "Ma Ma Ma Ma!!" in that heartwrenching, tragic tone. But Tutu, the ultimate working mom, shooed me away and reminded me not to feel guilty. Off I went into the rainy, blustery San Francisco night.

The class was amazingly fun. The teacher is skilled, helpful, completely cool and also a bit silly. My classmates are really friendly, and the store is filled with gorgeous yarns and helpful people. After the first class, during which I realized that it had been almost TWENTY years since I last knit a stitch, I made at least half a hat out of a beautiful yarn in this very Trinny-and-Susanna-approved color: a deep, rich burgundy. It's soft and wonderful, and though I considered starting off by making a "gift" hat for someone in my life, when I saw the lovely yarn I thought, "Screw it, I'm makin' this hat for my bad self!" (It is "me" time, after all.)

Abandon hope, all ye who encounter me this holiday season. Chances are high you will walk away with a wooly hat.

Today, I didn't really exercise per se, but we did walk a few blocks to dinner. (BTN!) Walking home was extra cute because Alex pushed the stroller and we walked on either side of him. We let him set the pace, and he can walk surprisingly fast. It was darling. The only thing missing from the scene was...a wool hat!


Good Workouts for Real Working Moms?

(This post will double as my entry in the kinda-over-already Seven Songs Meme that Anna tagged me for some time ago!)

I have really been struggling lately to get in any sort of real exercise. I just don't have enough time in my day--can't work out during the workday, because I'm trying to get home as early as possible; can't work out before or after work unless it involves Alex, because those are the only times I get to spend with him; can't get in a real workout with Alex, especially in the winter when it's dark after work; can't drag myself out of bed when it's light before work in the morning and I, theoretically, could go for a walk with Alex; can't get motivated when I actually do have free time; and so on.

Today was the nadir. I felt so sedentary and downright unhealthy. I decided it was time for once and for all to get moving, under any circumstances. I got home, turned on the satellite radio channel on DirecTV, and started dancing with Alex. This was fun. Alex has started dancing when music comes on the radio or TV, and it's utterly darling. He really liked dancing with me, especially when I held his two hands. When I started doing squats and jumping with my arms high in the air, Alex got a huge kick out of that, and I really felt the "burn." I did lunges down our long hallway, which Alex also loved. I lifted the baby up high a couple times for an arm workout. In between the actual exercises, I ran in place or did jumping jacks to keep my heart rate elevated. When I was out of breath, I did downward dog or stretches. To cool down, I did some easy crunches, and Alex (though a bit bored with the whole dancing/working out thing by now) seemed to really enjoy crawling on my stomach and trying to give me a water bottle to drink from (which I appreciated).

My initial goal was to stay moving for 10 minutes (don't they always advise to start small? And 10 minutes would be better than 0 minutes). But because of a lucky streak in the music selection on Fred/Lucy (the "alternative" 80s/90s stations), I ended up staying moving for about 20 minutes and really worked up a sweat.

Here were the songs I made it through:

"Save Tonight" by Eagle Eye Cherry
"Love Song" by the Cure, extended mix
"Love Song" by the Cure, album single (I had changed channels)
"Message in a Bottle" by the Police
"Whammy Kiss" by the B-52's
"Kundalini Express" by Love and Rockets
"Twist" by Tones on Tail

I was so happy when "Whammy Kiss" came on, because that's just not a song you expect to hear on any radio station a) more that 500 watts and b) not run by someone you know. It was then that I felt like I could actually get a real workout, have Alex totally involved, and have it even be...gasp...fun.

I am going to try to chronicle my upcoming efforts to get beneficial exercise out in small, realistic ways. Maybe other stressed-out working moms can use the info to help themselves get a-moving.

I'll be back

I have had a few posts brewing but have been sick, traveling, and busy for the entire past month. But maybe I'll break the ice with this post, from SFist, which is a perfect example of why I love their local coverage.

How will the Mini get out?