Wednesday, February 27, 2008


My sister invited me to do two things.

1. Visit a fabulous blog made entirely by entries that list ten things (ten things the author of the page has in her refrigerator, ten things she’d love to receive as gifts, etc.)

2. Make my own list of ten things.

If you know me at all, you know list making is a delicious, irresistible compulsion of mine, so I headily accept.

In turn, I invite you to make your own list of ten things. You can either do so in the comment section below, or in your own blog (and then send me the link.)

And now for the first of a total of three lists of ten things.

10 random things I remember from when I was very little

1. My red velvet dress

2. The risers of the stairs at the house in Las Flores, which were at eye level as I crawled up

3. Making bread with my mom, or squishing the flour between my fingers (and toes) while my mom made bread

4. The “I think mice are very nice” poem I learned in first grade

5. Seeing my father's house for the first time

6. Waiting for my mom's husband to come home (he always got me something enrapturing)

7. Beads, shiny things, and the smell of oil paint and thinner

8. Going to the toy store every Sunday to pick whatever I wanted (but only one thing)

9. Swimming in the Pacific Ocean in Puerto Vallarta, which forever hooked me on the Pacific Ocean

10. The Auch Arauch song (which involved walking barefoot in our pajamas over a cobblestone street)

Photo: Real Simple

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Fight, flight, fright

This past Thursday, I had a flight from San Francisco to Los Angeles at 5:00 in the afternoon, scheduled for arrival at 6:00. Due to a cancellation and seven subsequent delays I didn't get to my hotel in the City of Angels until 1:30 a.m.

Little did I know that would be the easy leg of my brief journey to Southern California.

My trip back from Los Angeles to San Francisco early Saturday morning was delayed more than two hours. Once over San Francisco, the pilot tried for 45 minutes to land in what he called "severe turbulence." But turbulence is bumpy, jolty, jumpy. This was a skidding, sliding, whooshing, out of control sense that the plane was a matchbox in the hands of a storm, not a solid jet in the hands of a person.

During this time, people were screaming, crying, praying and throwing up. I was sitting in an aisle, and in the window seat was Alex, an 11-year-old boy traveling alone (with his family several rows behind.) The woman in the middle row was sobbing and vomiting, and I was giving her wet wipes and airsickness bags and asking Alex if his seat belt was on tight and if he was OK. I’m so grateful he was there. If I hadn’t been so intent on not scaring him, I would have been crying too. I thought I was going to die in the frigid, grey waters of the San Francisco Bay with Luca an ocean away; just a week short of visiting my family in Mexico.

After at least five landing attempts, and again a few feet above the runway, the pilot raised the plane again. He came over the loudspeaker. “As I’m sure you’ve noticed” he said, “we can’t land. We need to fly to Sacramento, await instructions, then fly to San Francisco in a few hours. I’m sure you all have many questions. We’ll get this all figured out from the ground”. Alex was way ahead of him. "I am not getting on another plane” he told me quickly. “My family and I are renting a car as soon as we land, and driving to San Francisco". I was impressed by his lucidity (either that, or his clairvoyance) and decided this was my kind of guy. "I'm coming with you" I said.

We landed in Sacramento, at which point I, a die-hard agnostic, turned to the heavens and said thank you five times. I got out of the plane to stretch my shaky legs, bought a banana and a bar of chocolate (how could I not think of food at a time like this?) and then set out to find Alex and his family. After brief introductions, we waited for their luggage, rented a car, and drove to the Bay Area in the rain (which made me feel grateful for my new friends again, and for the fact I didn't attempt the drive on my own, possibility I had briefly considered).

Michael, Won, Alex and Andrew dropped me off in Marin, where I caught a bus to the San Francisco airport (taxis would take longer, I was told.)

From the San Francisco airport I took a cab home.

I got home at 8:00 p.m.

The Great Wave
A Ukiyo-e print by Hokusai, Wikipedia

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Sick of me

In case it escaped you, I haven’t really written a truly dedicated blog entry for a while. This is because I’ve been too busy complaining.

The last three weeks have been out of character for me. Generally speaking, it’s not in my nature to complain.

It began with the rain. Then, unexpected complications indirectly related to a home remodel; a series of irritating work related events and catching a bad cold. All this led to tentative, recreational complaining. Suddenly, there were more things to complain about. Which caused insomnia. Which resulted in me complaining about sleep deprivation.

It all peaked on February 14, when I realized late in the day that I had done nothing but complain from the second I got up until that evening. I got so sick of listening to myself I would have left me if I’d had the option.

So here is what I have discovered:

That complaining is obsessing about the negative, and that the more I focus on the negative the more negative I see. This habit grows deep roots fast.

That by putting into words (an insatiable, exhausting ocean of words) what I don’t want; I neglect to put into words what I do want.

Whenever Luca would say “Jeez, hon, really. Lighten up!” I’d respond “well, isn’t it healthier to vent than to keep it all in?”

Here is my reply to that: that I have wasted vast amounts of precious energy, because I let off just enough steam to release the power that propels me to do something about it. I’ve complained myself into paralysis.

So that’s it. I’ve had it. I’m in a complaint fast. And I’m going to start by not complaining about my complaining.

Photo: Real Simple Magazine

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


Through the years, Luca and I have unintentionally, organically split chores. Nine times out of ten he drives. Once I throw out junk, he sorts through our mail and makes sure the bills are paid on time. I usually cook, do laundry, make sure the fridge isn’t empty and manage anything to do with keeping the house organized. He takes out the garbage and changes the light bulbs. You get the picture.

From a purely logistical standpoint, it would be an effort for either one of us to operate without the other for a long period of time.

How healthy is it to divvy up responsibilities? Should we switch back and forth just for practice?

I laugh at the thought of him ironing his shirts. Maybe we should switch back and forth just for our mutual amusement.