Friday, January 29, 2010


It's muddy around here, and not just because of the recent storms. Our schedules are all haywire and out-of-whack. A husband working the phones and the resume, looking for a job. A 3-year-old with a 102.9 fever and a gnarly cough who can't sleep past 5:15 in the morning and is trying to give up his nap. A woman who's trying to finish the rough draft of a screenplay for a big meeting in a week, apply for jobs in a way she hasn't for YEARS, and do all the COBRA-this, apply-for-that stuff that comes with major life change.

For a while there, a few months maybe, life started to seem a little bit predictable. For better or worse, I started to have a pretty good idea what I could expect out of myself and others in a given day. Now it's all up in the air again.

Major life change. That's what we're swimming in over here.

We're thinking the current will eventually take us somewhere pretty good, but the waters are muddy along the way.

Friday, January 15, 2010

One Small Thing

I received this today from See Kai Run, a kids' shoe company that I like. I think it's a great idea, and one small thing to do to help relieve the suffering in Haiti -- and it doesn't even cost any money. If you're local to Berkeley/Oakland, there is a drop-off at Shuz of Oakland - 6012 College in Rockridge.

By now you have heard about the overwhelming devastation caused by a 7.0 earthquake, which struck Port-au-Prince, Haiti on Tuesday evening, and the desperate need for supplies and donations.
In response to the dire need, See Kai Run has put together an emergency shoe donation of nearly 3,000 pairs to help the children in this ravaged part of the world. The donated shoes will be distributed through Soles4Souls, the international charity dedicated to providing footwear to disadvantaged people around the world. According to Soles4Souls, a sturdy pair of shoes is absolutely necessary in times like these when the amount of broken glass, twisted metal and raw sewage is staggering.
Soles4Souls accepts ongoing shoe donations from individuals and retailers. You can donate new or gently worn shoes that are just taking up space in your closet -- every little bit counts. Just bind each pair with rubber bands and drop them off at a participating location. Or, send them to a Soles4Souls warehouse facility.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Anthem for the Day (or Month, or Year)

I first heard this song several years ago on Grey's Anatomy (yes, I love that show; don't judge me).

The song stayed with me for days. I looked for it; I couldn't find it. And then, tonight in the car, after a hard day, it found me.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Faster Than Coffee

6:45 a.m. Mikhail and I are lounging in bed, savoring the last few moments of half-sleep.

Elan climbs out of bed, where he's been snuggling with us, swipes my cell phone off the nightstand and retreats into the hallway. We hear him pushing the numbers, a favorite pasttime.

Then: "Hi." I think he is pretending to talk on the phone, and wait for him to start addressing Dory.

But then: quiet, as if he is listening. Listening intently. I think I hear a woman's tinny voice. No, I must be imagining it. He has never actually dialed before.

Then: "She's in bed."

"Elan, are you talking to someone?" I jump out of bed, assuming he's managed to call one of the last-dialed numbers. "Are you talking to Nana?"

He's sitting in the hall in his footed sleeper, with a shocked look on his face, and he doesn't protest when I swipe the phone out of his hand.

"Hello?" I say.

"Hello, ma'am? Your child has just called 911."

I am instantly wide awake, an espresso shot straight to the bloodstream. I look down at the keypad: Emergency. "Oh my gosh," I sputter. "I'm so sorry."

"That's okay, ma'am. Just don't let him play with the phone."

"Sorry," I say again, the call already ended.

I look at the Calls Dialed list and see that he's dialed 112. This is not surprising, since he likes to push the number buttons in order and often multiple times. I'm using a new cell phone, and the little green "call" button must look appealing. What I don't understand is how this connects to 911. I go online and find out that 112 is the Emergency number for all mobile phones worldwide. Well, what do you know!

When you're a parent, you definitely do learn something new everyday. Usually by embarrassing yourself.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Old, New

So, here we are. 2010. WHEW.

I haven't known where to start. Maybe I should just do a list of what happened in December, so that you can more fully appreciate why I am SO relieved that year is over. Behind us. Done with.

In December of last year, THE YEAR THAT IS NO LONGER:

- Our stroller was stolen from our carport, which is not visible from the street, in the middle of the day, while I was home, full of shoes and clothes and bathing suits and blankets and water bottles, etc etc etc. Luckily I had taken my wallet, cell phone, and keys out. Turns out it costs a lot of money to replace all the etc. in your life.

- Strange sulfur-smelling water leaking from under the gas meter in the driveway necessitated a Christmas Day visit from PG&E. Silver lining: not a gas leak. Cause still undetermined.

- Mikhail spent six weeks in a cast after breaking his thumb in a soccer game, his second broken digit of the year (he plays goalie, thus the hand injuries in a sport where you're supposed to just use your feet).

- The stroller thieves returned the evening after Christmas, and I happened upon them in the driveway. This time, they only stole beer, not our new stroller, which was in the carport but locked up. They might have stolen more if I hadn't happened to come out the kitchen door, walk through the carport and out to the driveway where they had run to. They took off fast. It wasn't scary in the moment, but it was creepy afterwards. Two men and I was home alone. The police responded right away, but they couldn't find the guys. I am pretty sure, however, that I saw one of them on the street a few days ago, probably continuing to scope out property left unattended.

-Our dishwasher nearly flooded our house the night before we left for San Diego. Thankfully I noticed and Mikhail was able to bail two galloons of water out of the bottom of it before we left.

-The due date of the baby we would have had was December 20. I lit a candle that burned all day long.

-And the biggest one: Mikhail lost his job the week before Christmas. It was a total shock - we had exactly one day of warning - and it took a good week just to stop looking at each other and saying, "Is this really happening?" And it happened on the six-month anniversary of my miscarriage, to the day.

So now you understand my last post, about how ready I was to get rid of 2009. Mikhail and I did decide that we should write a list of everything we accomplished and all the good things that happened in the year, just to remind ourselves that they were there too. One thing I definitely learned this past year was that so long as I am still here and surrounded by people I love, I am fortunate, no matter how many difficult and troubling things come my way. It's amazing how misfortune can actually highlight all the wonderful aspects of your life, while at the same time it tries you at all levels.

We rang the new year in with my parents, sister, brother-in-law and new nephew Judah, in San Diego, eating three kinds of delicious meatballs over a heated game of Settlers of Catan. The game didn't finish (people were too tired come midnight), but when we ended, Mikhail and I were in the lead. We chose to think of that as a welcome sign that our luck will change in the new year.

WELCOME 2010. We are so glad you've come.