Archive for June, 2009

Hubby’s Home

Today was our last day in Silverton, Oregon.  Hubby’s family has lived here since he was born.  It’s a beautiful home in the country with two acres of landscaped gardens.  It’s wonderfully silent, except for the birds and squirrels rustling around the feeders, and the occasional leaf blower or the refurbished 1931 John Deere tractor next door.  But at least those noises don’t come by at 4:00am, unlike the garbage trucks that came by our apartment in the Mission of San Francisco.

My family moved around a lot while I was a child.  By the time I was ten, my family had lived in North Carolina, California, New York, Massachusetts, and Belgium.  (Yes, Belgium.)  Hubby’s family has lived in this same house, on the same patch of land, for more than 40 years.  Hubby and I have a very different conception of home.

I always thought home would be some place where I could live for a very long time, a place where I would know the neighbors and the local community with a comfortable familiarity.  A place where everybody knows my name.  I have never lived in a place long enough to call it home, although Hubby would argue that San Francisco has become home for me.

Hubby thinks of home as a place to which to return, a place to recharge and relax in order to go out into the world again and experience new things.  Leaving the West Coast for New England feels quite a bit farther away than San Francisco, but Hubby will always have Silverton, Oregon.  It ain’t a bad place to call home.


A view of Hubby's family gardens

A view of Hubby's family gardens

Read Full Post »

Baby Gear

My mother-in-law, Kathy, has been collecting baby stuff since before we were pregnant in anticipation of grandchildren.  She inherited hoards of baby stuff from her two nieces, who each have two little girls now well beyond baby stage.  Lucky us. Sometimes it pays to wait.

We are inheriting the following (a partial listing):

1 Crib, barely used, made of maple
2 Strollers: one everyday stroller & one jogging stroller (in case we take up jogging)
1 Bassinet, which held Hubby and both of his two younger brothers.  It’s 37 years old.
1 Wooden Rocking Horse
1  Baby Blanket crocheted by Hubby’s grandmother
1  Baby Quilt hand-stitched by Hubby’s great-grandmother
2 totes full of gender-neutral baby clothes
1 Johnny Jump-up
1 Duplo Lego set
1 Rocking Chair 
2 totes of toys & stuffed animals, including Hubby’s Tigger doll that he’s had since childhood, sensitive guy that he is.

I also received some hand-me-down maternity clothes, as well as some brand new and fashionable maternity clothes Kathy bought for me after announcing to the shopkeeper, “I’m going to be grandmother!”  Maternity pants, with the expanding kangaroo waist, are ingenious creations.  I now look officially pregnant.

Did I mention this baby will be the first grandchild for both my and Hubby’s families?

Read Full Post »

Last week, in the middle of all the hubbub of packing, we had our last doctor’s appointment in San Francisco.  The nurse practitioner asked if I had felt any movement from the baby yet.  I had not and she said not to worry, that it was still early.  I am currently at 15 weeks; fetal movement more typically occurs at 19 weeks or later, but sometimes mothers do feel movement a little earlier.

Today, I thought I felt a little movement.  It felt different, like a little fluttering in my abdomen.  Perhaps it was the baby moving?  Or more than likely, it was just gas.

That’s my deep thought for the day.

Read Full Post »

We’ve arrived in Silverton, Oregon, Hubby’s hometown, where his parents still live on 2 acres of quiet landscaped gardens.  We will be here a few days as we relax a little, pick up some more belongings in Portland, and repack our big yellow truck.    

Our home for the next week

Our home for the next week

Hubby likes big trucks and was glad for the opportunity to drive across the country.  We attached our Mini Cooper on a trailer behind our 22-ft. truck.  The whole thing maxes out at about 65 mph and gets about 10 miles to the gallon.  When we’re going over the mountains, the gas mileage is less.  

While Hubby is doing the majority of the driving, he did want me to learn how to drive this thing so that I could relieve him from time to time.  I agreed, though not without some trepidation.  I have never driven anything so big.

Hubby assured me it wasn’t that hard.  There was great visibility being higher up than the rest of traffic.  The mirrors were very good.  Just be aware that the steering and braking take a little time to respond, so plan appropriately.  It’s like driving something with a big ass, he said.  

We agreed on a straight stretch of freeway between Eugene and Corvallis.  We pulled into the rest stop north of Eugene and I got behind the wheel.  It was easier pulling out of the rest stop because there were no sharp turns, though I did eventually have to accelerate.  I got up to about 55 mph and decided to stay there.  Hubby was right–there was great visibility, though the truck & trailer were slower to respond to controls than our zippy Mini.  I did not intend to change lanes.  I set the cruise control to 55 mph and let the rest of traffic pass me by.  My competitive Asian genes be damned.


I got a big truck and I gotta drive it!

I got a big truck and I gotta drive it!

About 15 minutes into my big truck driving test, the dashboard began to ding.  The light for the gas gauge was on.  It said we had about 1/8 of a tank left.  The dashboard dinged for a little while, then stopped, and then is started again and kept going.  Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding!  It was like the catchy beat to a Christmas song.

We pulled off at the Corvallis exit and I made a few valiant right turns to the nearest gas station.  Hubby was right: it was like driving something with a big ass.

Is there anything sexier than a pregnant woman driving a big truck?

Read Full Post »

Moving Day

I write this from the bustling metropolis of Weed, California.  It’s dark out, so I can’t speak to the scenery, though it’s supposed to be beautiful, nestled in the shadow of Mt. Shasta.  We’ll see if we can see the mountains in the morning.

It’s been a long day.  I woke up early and walked to the Mission Branch Library to return some books.  The City was just waking up.  Store owners were sweeping and hosing down the sidewalks in front of their establishments.  There was the children’s park just opening up, the Jelly Donut on South Van Ness, Cafe La Boheme, all my neighborhood haunts starting just another Saturday morning.

Hubby and I rented a 22-ft. truck, which Hubby quite skillfully parked on the sidewalk in front of our apartment building.  We had three very good friends show up to help us move: Jay (who has arms like thighs, but hates helping people move and agreed to help only because I’m pregnant), Brian (loyal amigo, buff and aging poet who skipped out on his family time to help us), and Aryn (a strapping young friend who recently accompanied Hubby to Sudan).  Hubby and I had packed 98% of our belongings ahead of time, but there were still some loose ends.  I spent the morning and afternoon scrubbing out the kitchen and bathroom and throwing last minute items into boxes.  The guys hauled all our packings & furniture into the truck, which was surprisingly full in the end.  Our bed frame got stuck in the stairwell and had to be disassembled, but our tools had been packed away, so Hubby had to run to the hardware store and buy a screwdriver and allen wrenches.  Jay chastised me for not being organized, which I usually am, but I begged off my disorganization on my loss of brain cells due to pregnancy.  Preggers brain, they call it.  

We had our walkthrough with the building manager, Joe, around 2:30 and Hubby had to hurry off to get the car trailer hitched onto the truck because the place closed at 3:00.  The apartment never looked better, though I did inform Joe that we had nesting pigeons on the balcony and I didn’t have the heart to chase them off.  He shrugged and said okay.  I don’t want to know about the fate of our nesting pigeons.

On my way to meet Hubby at the truck rental place, I got a call from my friends Kenn & Becky, who had arrived at our apartment thinking our going away party was today.  Ack.  Sorry!

We hooked up the Mini to the truck and drove out of the City around 3:30.  It was a slow ride out of San Francisco, thanks to traffic, and this allowed me to get a nice farewell look at my beloved City.   The cool thing about riding in a big truck is that you get to see more stuff.  Did you know there’s a lighthouse on the southern end of Yerba Buena Island?

Later, we were to discover that our overnight bags somehow got buried deep in the back of the truck.  Preggers brain.  We had to stop off and get some back-up toothbrushes, toothpaste, and contact supplies for Hubby.  Needless to say, we’ll be wearing the same clothes tomorrow. Will need to re-pack the truck when we arrive at Hubby’s parents’ house tomorrow in Silverton, Oregon.


Goodbye, my fair City!

Goodbye, my fair City!

Read Full Post »

10.  Burrito Truck at Harrison & 22nd Street

9.    Public Transportation

8.    Watching the fog roll over Twin Peaks

7.    Asians

6.    Biking around the City

5.    17 Syllables, the best writing group ever

4.    Alemany Farmers’ Market

3.    Lefty Politicos & Artists

2.    Walking Crissy Field with Hubby

1.    You know who you are!

Read Full Post »

Circle of Friends

Today I had my last meeting with my executive directors’ support group.  There are six of us who met at a training for executive directors two and a half years ago and we’ve been meeting monthly ever since.  We were all working in very different fields:my position in Chinese culture and the arts, Aspen’s post-abortion support and advocacy, Becky’s botanical garden, Norman’s center for special needs children, Tara’s education reform and advocacy, and Mark’s wooden boat preservation.  But no matter what your field, being in a position of leadership can be very lonely.  In this group of people with disparate passions, I found a kindred spirit of support and friendship.

Four out of the six of us have moved on from our original positions, though we continued to meet and support each other as community leaders.  While I had a very mixed experience as executive director, I am grateful for the friends and community I have built around my experience, not the least of whom are the friendships from this group.  I am repeatedly inspired by them, both as leaders and as friends.

Aspen, Becky, Mark, Norman, and Tara–Thanks for coming alongside me in the pain and the laughter.  I am confident our orbits will intersect again as we each strive to make a difference in this world.

Read Full Post »

Growing Rotund

At the end of a productive day of packing (thanks, Gail, for all your help!), seeing an old friend (thanks, Sam, for hanging out!), and ice cream (thanks, Al, for the Humphry Slocombe!), I am struck by this one predominant thought: I feel fat.

This is, of course, because of Beanie Baby and I feel no guilt for eating that ice cream, thank you very much.  But the increasing girth of my midsection is somewhat disconcerting and the tightness of my clothes is definitely uncomfortable.  The problem is I’m in that in-between stage, where I don’t really look pregnant, but I do look larger than normal, and most people are too polite to ask if I’m pregnant.  In other words, I look fat.

I have an “apple” body, which means I tend to gain weight in my midsection.   When I was 20 pounds overweight for most of last year (thanks to my stressful job), I looked about how I look now.  Last year, several people asked if I was pregnant and I had to cheerfully retort, “No, I’m just fat.”  One particularly clueless guy kept insisting that I was pregnant, even after I repeatedly told him that I was not.  (Note: Do not insist a woman is pregnant after she tells you she is not.  This is very rude.)  

I did lose quite a bit of weight before getting pregnant and now I am gaining it all back.  It’s all for a good reason, I know, and I must remind myself of this.  But being overweight is a fairly recent memory, which felt very similar to these ill-fitting clothes and protruding belly.  Though I must admit, the pregnant belly jiggles a little less than the fat one did.  

Will only grow bigger in the next six months.  Aiya.  Hubby says I’m glowing.

Read Full Post »

Last Chinese Takeout Meal

After a full day of packing, I zipped over to the foggy side of town, the Sunset, to pick up some maternity clothes from my friend Christina.  On my way over, I started getting a craving for sam see chow mai fun, a rice noodle dish from my favorite take-out place in the City, Cheung Hing.  This restaurant used to have a spot in Chinatown, right on Kearny Street, but they closed down several years ago.  The space remains an empty shell.

But Cheung Hing kept its Sunset location open and every time I’m on the foggy side of town, I think about stopping by for sam see chow mai fan.  (This is about the only thing I can say in Cantonese, by the way.  That and a few dim sum dishes.)   As I drove across town today, I thought this might be the last opportunity I have to stop by Cheung Hing for a long time.   So I made my way to Noriega Street and there was a line out the door.  I waited, and when it was my turn, I ordered sam see chow mai fun, stir fried green beans, and half a soy sauce chicken.

When I got home, the food tasted so good, I couldn’t stop eating.  The beans were the right amount of crunchy, stir fried with bits of pork.  The chicken was flavorful and tender.  The noodles were light and textured with bits of pork, chicken, and vegetables.  Would I ever find food like this in New Hampshire?

I am rather particular about my Chinese food, and for good reason.  When you’ve been raised on the genuine cuisine (my mother is an excellent cook) and you’ve lived in China and in San Francisco, Panda Express is just not going to cut it.  Neither is P.F. Chang’s.  I would be aghast to step foot inside one of those pseudo-Chinese establishments.

Unfortunately, my own high standards have stunted me from learning to cook my own Chinese food.  While I’m a fairly accomplished cook in various cuisines, I have insecurities about cooking Chinese.  I can fix simple stir-fries, ja jiang mian, and even prepare decent jiaozi (dumplings), but I am often disappointed by my own fledgling efforts.  I have no such expectations when I cook carnitas or apple pie, both of which I can prepare to my own satisfaction and to the gastronomic pleasures of my guests.  However, when it comes to Chinese food, it’s never good enough.

Go ahead, psychoanalyze me.  I’m glad I got enough Cheung Hing leftovers for lunch tomorrow.  Yum.

Read Full Post »

Into the Wild

Hubby and I went to the Quaker Center in Ben Lomond, where we rented out a rustic cabin for our anniversary.  It was so quiet and still in the woods.  Hubby explored the land while I stayed inside to a read a book and nurse my cold, which was thankfully not swine flu.

The Quaker Center has a lovely outdoor labyrinth.  The introduction outlined the traditional way to walk a labyrinth (empty yourself of expectation in order to receive, contemplation, and then reunion with the world), but then went on to proclaim that anyone could walk a labyrinth in any way they wanted.  Hubby decided to skip and gallop his way through the labyrinth.  He was very tired when he finished, but happy.  I walked the labyrinth and came up with the following insight: It doesn’t matter how slowly you go, as long as you keep moving so that the bugs don’t get you.

Isn’t nature full of great wisdom?

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »