Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Cuddles > Crashes

"Hooray hooray, I'm your silver lining" ~ Rilo Kiley

T and I took an extended Thanksgiving weekend even though we stayed in town. It was much-needed. T had been working a ton of overtime in the last couple of months, so on top of feeling like a single mom, I sort of just missed the guy. And Q certainly was ready for a little QT with his daddy. I had visions of us cuddled up by the fire, sipping on our respective bottles. Perhaps a date for Mommy and Daddy. Some fun frolics in the holiday air.

But, lo and behold, the weekend didn't turn out quite as I had envisioned it.

First on the menu, a financial setback. The ramifications of this issue sent my already prickly emotions on overdrive. Let's just say the holidays are not what they used to be for me. Yep. I lost it. All in front of poor Q, too. I went to the darkest place possible. We wouldn't be able to have Christmas. We would be eating rice and beans for every meal. I could no longer shop online on Black Friday! Darkness, I tell you. But then T got everything sorted out and, while we will have to make some adjustments, it won't be quite so bad. He pulled me out of my personal Black Friday hellhole. I think I forgot to mention how thankful I am for him when I wrote my Thanksgiving gratitude list. So, I am grateful that he deals with my insanity and manages to still want to kick it with me sometimes. And then I checked the calendar. Oh. Right. Bloating should follow shortly hereafter.

Then Q kicked off the holiday season with a nasty cold. Not that the cold itself was so terrible. It was more his attitude. Usually he breezes through a cold, blissfully unaware of his snot-coated face. But this time everyone and everything ticked him off. He refused every Thanksgiving goody I threw at him. Including my homemade pumpkin cheesecake. And he basically scowled at every relative who smiled at him. As the weekend progressed, he began to resemble an angry Rudolph.

Then my face broke out. Hello? I am a mother. I am 30-something. Not 13-something. Why does nobody tell us these things about adulthood?

Fortunately, there were some highlights, including an escape to the movies with one of our favorite couples to view Harry Potter 7.1. Q also started calling me "Meem", "Maim" or "Mimi". And there were some scrumptious cuddles by the fire. Plus, we got a gorgeous tree for our first Christmas on Guido. It smells divine up in here. Okay, the weekend wasn't half bad. Dwelling on the bad just makes for better storytelling.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Mamasay Memories: Random Reminders

"She's gone, oh I, oh I'd better learn how to face it" ~ Hall & Oates

I'm feeling quite list-y lately, so another list seemed right for this here topic. I've also been missing my mom quite a bit now that the holidays are in full swing. In years past, one of my favorite aspects of the holidays was getting to spend more quality time with my family. With my sister who would come home from Vegas or Long Beach. With my dad who always got a tree before everyone else and became a kid again once the Christmas lights went up. With my mom who simply loved this time of year.

Her birthday fell two days before Christmas, but she never really complained about it. She never wanted to throw herself a big party. Her favorite thing to do on her birthday was to read curled up on the couch and then go to a movie and grab a bite to eat with the family. She was someone who didn't need much to entertain her. But she certainly was fun to be around. And oh so cozy. You'll see what I mean with this list of random things that remind me of my Mamasay.

1. Carole King
My mom had a clear, strong singing voice, and she loved Carole King. Whenever I hear one of her songs, I think of my mom and how she had one of those naturally beautiful voices, too.

2. Constant Comment tea
Coziness in a cup.

3. Cinnamon raisin toast
Coziness in a slice. 

4. M&M's
Her simple pleasure.

5. Sigourney Weaver
My mom had a thing for Sigourney. Mostly she just liked saying her name in a sing-song way. Those who knew her know what I mean. She would yell it out randomly. Si-gour-ney Wea-ver!

6. Shirley Maclaine
The Apartment was my mom's favorite movie. My mom thought Shirley was the coolest.

7. Meet Me in St. Louis
If this movie was on, she couldn't pass it up.

8. Hall & Oates
We listened to that album a lot in my house when I was a wee one. My Sis-O sang "Maneater" at 2. Yeah, all that stuff about apples staying close to the trees they fall off of is true.

9. Lifetime movies
Our shared guilty pleasure. They actually used to be Monday night movies on basic network channels, but then that delicious trash moved to Lifetime. Like that one about the Stolpa's who got stuck in the snow. I'll stop here before I offend someone. And date myself even more.

And I'm stopping at 9 because whenever she wanted to exaggerate slightly, she would use the number 9. As in "you already told me 9 times." So, I guess the number 9 is really my 10th random reminder, but we'll just pretend there are 9 for her sake. It was her go-to number.

I miss you, Mamasay.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Thanksgiving Gratitude List

"Thanksgiving is a special night. Jimmy Walker used to say Dynomite" ~ Adam Sandler

I know, I know. How novel of me to talk about being grateful on Thanksgiving week. Well, it's been a while since I've written a gratitude list, so I thought it apropos to create one at this time of year when we celebrate all things turkey. Or Tofurkey for me and mine.

1. Yes, I'll say it. I'm grafeful for Tofurkey. T and I actually enjoy it. Q enjoys the stuffing inside. We had our own Tofurkey Day on Saturday. Since we don't want to shame my Filipino family on the actual holiday.

2. I'm thankful that my mom and dad created a Thanksgiving song. One year they woke up on Thanksgiving and thought, hey, why doesn't Thanksgiving have any songs? So they made one up (this was pre-Adam Sandler, obviously). The lyrics are as follows:

Thanksgiving! Thanksgiving!
We're going to have Thanksgiving!

I wake up on Thanksgiving every year and it's like I can hear my mom's voice singing that silly song. Now I have a Thanksgiving song to pass on to Q. And to all of you! You're welcome.

3. I'm grateful for the woman at the checkout stand who said that Q looks just like me but with blue eyes. It was a special moment. See? I'm not the nanny!

4. I'm thankful for our fireplaces. That's right. Two fireplaces! The ultimate in cozy ambiance for the holidays. I can't wait to sit by the roaring fire on Christmas morning. Or tonight for that matter. Because I can. You rule, Guido.

5. I'm grateful that more of my lovely friends are getting knocked up. Oh, the understanding they will soon possess. And the playdates that are more for us than for the little ones!

6.  I'm thankful for Giada de Laurentiis and her even-I-can-make-them recipes. I made her cranberry cornmeal cake with caramel sauce this weekend that turned out to be oh so yummy. Such a festive dessert for the season, too. It wasn't quite as moist as I had hoped, but it's something to work on. Totally my bad and not Giada's.

7. I'm grateful that I finally purchased my very own domain name. One that is more in tune with the actual title of this blog. Welcome to flyrishfoibles.com.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Birthday Brouhahas

You know it doesn't make much sense, there ought to be a law against anyone who takes offense at a day in your celebration" ~ Stevie Wonder

So, I have a couple of birthday parties to plan in the next few months. Two very different parties for two very important people in my life. Fact: I am not great at event planning. Fact: I wish I was better at it. Fact: Because I love a good party. I think this final fact is the reason I volunteer to host them . I have grand dreams of throwing a perfectly fabulous gathering in which every guest is glowing with utter enjoyment. Perfect food. Perfect decor. Perfect music. The perfect blend of a relaxed yet fun atmosphere. But then I get bogged down in the details and become so stressed out that I'm whimpering to T about napkin options. And then I proceed to lower my party planning expectations. And I'm like, let's just do something that doesn't require me having an anxiety attack.

Party #1: Q's 2nd Birthday

He turns 2 in early January, and I feel for the poor guy because I'm already like, ugh, so soon after the holidays? We're hosting Christmas Eve for the first time this year (I know), and only a couple of weeks later I'll have to whip up some sort of fiesta for a guy who likely won't remember it. His 1st birthday was . . . hmm, how should I put this? A clusterf@#%. We had just moved into Guido, so we had a combined housewarming/1st birthday celebration. We rushed to unpack and organize in time for the party, and let's just say by the time party day rolled around I was a bit tuckered out. I have a large extended family. I felt terrible when I realized that I had somehow forgotten to invite a few family members and family friends. Yet we still hosted around 50 people. I also forgot to take a family photo on that day. For shame! Not surprisingly, I want to keep things simple and small this time around. Something we can relax and enjoy as a family. Without feeling guilty for not concocting some uniquely-themed blowout.

Q's 1st birthday: Poppa delivers the 1st cupcake

Party #2: Sis-O's 30th Birthday

My Sis-O (D) turns 30 in February. D lives in Vegas and wants to keep the festivities in town. Oh, what ever will we do in that humdrum place? This party will not be in my home. This party will require an awaycation. This party will consist of grownup games. The extent of my hosting will be picking up the table service tab. Is it wrong to be a wee bit more excited for this one?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Flyrish 'Fitted and the Benefits of Beautifying

"Fish in the sea you know how I feel, River running free you know how I feel, Blossom on the tree you know how I feel" ~ Nina Simone

Here's another one inspired by GGC. It was an unseasonably warm Saturday in November, but I refuse to let the weather completely dictate my fashion -- I still like to dress according to season. Which I know is kind of ridiculous in California since we don't have real seasons. But bear with me, people.
Welcome to my bar

Dress: H&M (only $5 on sale last year!)
Cardigan: Madewell (in love/obsessed with this brand lately; it's hard to see the details on the cardigan, but they are great -- like gunmetal stud buttons)
Leggings: Forever 21
Boots: BC Footwear
Boombox necklace: Rachel by Rachel Roy (my favorite, a gift from T)

Other things of note:
I trimmed my own bangs for the first time. Yay me! I did a decent job, which is pretty shocking. Decent but not perfect. That's okay. It was my first time. I'm just proud that I didn't cut off all of my lashes or jab my eyeballs out. 

Also, I treated myself on Friday to some waxing and makeup at Benefit. One of my besties works there as an esthetician and she is amazing. I love visiting her. One of the goodies I picked up was That Gal. I forgot how in-freakin-credible that stuff is. It's this brightening face primer and it makes you look more awake, healthier, fresher, smoother, dewy-but-not-shiny, smarter and more interesting! Okay, I don't know about the last two, but it's seriously impressive. And I'm not getting paid to say this either. If I was, that would be silly because, ooh, look, 20 more people now know about this product. Not worth it.

Anyway. Fun beauty weekend for mama. And I'm feeling good like Nina Simone.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

My So-Called Stained Life

"I always feel like somebody's watching me" ~ Rockwell

Every day it stares me in the face. It mocks me with its splotches and marks and imperfections. It follows me into almost every room. And even when it doesn't follow me, it never leaves. I can see it out of the corner of my eye. I can feel its presence. It lies in wait. And sooner or later, it is underfoot once again.

When we first saw Guido, I felt deep in my heart that it was the house for us. I knew when I looked at the website. I got that fluttery, warm excitement you feel when you first fall hard for someone -- or something. And in person it was even more incredible. Our dream house. One aspect was not ideal but it was not a deal-breaker for us -- the wall-to-wall carpet. Ecru-hued berber carpet. In fact, at the time I figured it was perfect for Q to learn how to crawl and then walk. He could take some tumbles and the carpet wouldn't be too painful for him. Heck, I grew up in a carpeted home. It was cozy to me. Hardwood floors were beautiful, but they were, well, hard. And my big-headed baby could use a little extra padding in life. What I didn't anticipate was just how quickly the stains would build up. Seriously, I see a new stain everyday. And we don't wear shoes around the house! But, we do have a toddler who tends to hide bits of food in the crevices of his fingers and toes. We do eat in the family room sometimes. We're not as anal as we should be about it. I try not to let it bother me. But I do feel ashamed that we have been in the house for only 10 months, and this brand new carpet looks 5 years old.


I tell myself that we'll do something about this mess once we're done with toddlers. But then I'm sure older kids can be just as stain-producing. T thinks the answer is to buy our own steam cleaner. Maybe he's right. Maybe one day we'll change the flooring. Maybe we'll just move the furniture around to hide the stains. Like the other day when I flipped the couch cushions over. Voila!

But in the meantime, this marred carpet has become more of a mirror than a floor. Revealing my flaws, reveling in my foibles. It reminds me on regular basis that I'm not one of those Martha Stewart types. That I may never be a domestic goddess. That I could be a better mom. That I'm lazy. That my work ethic needs some working on. That I don't deserve certain luxuries. That I'm riddled with Catholic guilt. Stop talking to me, dirty carpet! Your stains are like tiny daggers to my soul! Or like the uncut nails of a certain toddler on my arm.

But really, I don't want to be like Martha. That's not me. If my carpet is a window to my soul, then you'll see who I am next time you come over. Just look down. I have some scars. I have some sunspots. Sometimes I conceal. Sometimes I don't. I try to be my best self. And sometimes I don't. Real talk.

Monday, November 08, 2010

22 Months: Two More Months Till . . .

"A present from you -- strawberry letter 22" ~ Shuggie Otis

Hello, my love. It's your mama again. I know I've been complaining a lot lately about how challenging you are, and I realize I'm not shedding the best light on my baby. You see, I come here to vent and write through the tough times. But really, you give me the best of times. 22 months of beautiful memories and more made every day. I can't tell you how grateful I am. Just look at how you radiate warmth, shooting sparklers from your denim blue eyes. You have always been my sunshine baby, and you always will be. Even though you are becoming more of a little boy and less of a baby with every passing minute.

Your vocabulary expands with your ever-lengthening body. Less baby chub and more words. As the holidays quickly approach, I'm excited to hear what festive words you will embrace. You already call out to the mini "punks" on our table -- AKA pumpkins. You still love to play chase and hide and seek, and when your chaser is nowhere to be found, you throw out your hands and ask, "Go?" Your daddy calls you the master of the one syllable sentence. But I know it won't be long until  full-fledged sentences come spewing out like today's drool and we can't get you to shut that toothy mouth of yours.

Pensive (G)Q

I can't help thinking that in only 2 more months you will be 2 years old. My heart hurts just a little to say bye-bye to your babyhood. But I'm also so excited to watch you grow and learn. To help you grow out of your aggression. To watch you make friends. To hear you find your voice. But for now, I promise to be more patient with you.

When you're not beating me to a bloody pulp, you are my sweet boy. The other night we cuddled and watched some of Fried Green Tomatoes together -- a movie I used to watch with your Gram (my Mamasay). She passed on her love of literature and movies set in the South to me. Maybe I'm passing that on to you, too. You called out "choo choo" when the train went by the Whistle Stop Cafe. I melted and inhaled your sourdough smell. In the moment and loving it.

Quincy, it's your 22 month day (well, yesterday actually, but later is sometimes greater). Happy 22 months, Quincy!

Saturday, November 06, 2010

415 For Life

"When the lights go down in the city, and the sun shines on the bay, oh I want to be there in my city" ~ Journey

San Francisco, how I love thee! Your denizens may consider me "bridge and tunnel" now that I live and love in Oakland*, but you will always be my first love. My first urban love, anyway. I can't think of anything more appropriate for my 100th blog post. It's a celebration, b!tche$!

Sometimes I forget how much San Francisco means to me. But the sheer euphoria and energy in this beautiful city this week hit refresh in my brain. I admit that I'm not the biggest baseball fan, but I've always had love for the Giants. When both of your parents grew up in SF with a fierce loyalty to their hometowns and its teams, it's only natural that you would follow suit. My great grandparents on my mom's side came here from Ireland and instantly fell in love with the city. My Poppa (great grandpa) was a cable car conductor. How much more San Francisco can you get! My Gram (mom's mom), who I tend to channel from time to time, loved everything about San Francisco and always had the game on her TV and on her radio. And my Papalut (dad's dad) moved here from the Philippines in 1951 and developed a deep love for the Giants and the Niners, which of course trickled down to his six kids. I mean, it's in my blood. Red and gold blood. Orange and black blood. So, you can't really call me a bandwagon fan. I've been here for years.

I have awesome memories of when the Niners won back-to-back Super Bowls in 1988 and 1989, and we would all be watching at Papalut's house. When they won, we piled into my aunt's convertible VW Bug and drove around high-fiving everyone on the street. Now, 20+ years later, I get to share this joy of an SF victory with Q. The Giants are the World Series Champions! Really! We're not dreaming!
I took Q to the Giants victory parade, and it was one of the most amazing events I've ever witnessed in SF. We were lucky enough to watch from a friend's office high above the crowd. Q got caught up in the mood and yelled and waved his orange pom-pom and cheered along with us. He had no clue what he was witnessing, but the revelry was contagious.

T is all about Oakland teams since that's where he grew up, so I figure Q will want to be like Daddy and root for the A's and Raiders some day. But I won't hesitate to remind him that SF is in his blood. That when he was just a wee thing, the Giants made our collective hearts burst. That San Francisco united in feeling like, at this memorable moment, we ruled the world of baseball. That what we had known all along -- that our city was the best place to be -- was proven to the rest of the world.

You've really got a hold on me, San Francisco. No matter where I go, you're always with me. And I have the Giants to thank for reminding me not to take you for granted.

*Don't you fret, Oaktown. Your love letter is coming soon  . . .

Thursday, November 04, 2010

D to the I to the SCIPLINE

"Don't need a man that'll treat you funny, you need a man with sensitivity" ~ Ralph Tresvant

So, I'm thinking I need to hit the books again. A little brushing up on this child-rearing stuff, if you will. I had two to three baby books on my nightstand at a time in Q's early months. So many questions, so many books. Crusty eyes? Let me look that up. And now for a little cross-referencing. Ah, yes, it seems to be normal. Those books were my saviors. I'm not the type of mom who feels comfortable calling the pediatrician for every little concern. I don't want to be that parent. Perhaps it's to my detriment at times. But so far so good. (Great. I'm so jinxing myself and my child.)

At this juncture in Q's life, I'm less concerned with a little rash here or a bump there. It's more in the vein of "am I completely ruining any chance at my son being a well-adjusted kid?" I don't know if Q's pediatrician can really answer that question. And for some reason, I've taken a break from relying on books. Of course his health is my first priority, but I've realized that he's a pretty tough guy. So tough, in fact, that he hurts me on a daily basis. What? I've never mentioned that before? And amazingly, despite how much I complain, I can live with scratched up arms and bitten thighs. But he needs to learn that this is not acceptable behavior when interacting with others. We're trying to be consistent with explaining that it's not okay to hit/scratch/bite/pinch, to be gentle, to high five and hug instead. To be a little more Ralph and a little less Bart. We've tried timeouts, which last a whopping 30 seconds and which seem to make no impression on him as he claws his way out of the corner. This has been going on for a couple of months now. I don't know if I'm just being impatient with his ability to process all of this "discipline," but I need to rally the troops. I need my trusty nightstand companions again.

A couple of books have been recommended to me recently. One is the series by Louise Bates Ames with a book specific to every age (such as Your Two-Year-Old: Terrible or Tender). My only concern with that series is it seems pretty dated as it was written in 1980, but a friend said wonderful things about it. Another  book is How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish. They are sitting in my Amazon shopping cart as we speak. But I figured I might as well survey any of you lovely readers who may have come across a stellar book. A book that will turn me into a parent who can turn my child into a sensitive, empathetic creature. Are any of you familiar with the aforementioned books? Or do you recommend others? I will build a library of these books if need be. A tower next to my bed. Books make me feel more capable. And it's all about confidence in your own abilities in the end, isn't it?