Archive for December, 2005

the y2k6 bug?

Jeremy caught Claire’s tummy bug, so the last week has been kind of difficult, not to say gross. Also, I despise rain. But it wasn’t all bad. High points included having fourteen people over for Christmas lunch (Danny to Yoz and Bob, who are Jewish: “HOW DO YOU LIKE OUR CUS-TOMS?”); seeing King Kong with a fascinated Julia; and Claire saying to me last night “You’re my dragon.”

Tonight we had sushi at Yo’s, then watched an episode of House MD. Things are on the up. Feliz ano nuevo, and all that.

bedtime story

“And then a huge, red dragon flew in the window. It had orange wings and it breathed fire, and its name was… Matilda.”

“I wanna ride on the dragon.”

“Okay. So Claire climbed on Matilda’s back and held tight on to her orange wings.

“And Matilda flew out the window and up over Bernal Heights, with the red-tailed hawks. And beneath them they could see the microwave tower and the hospital where Julia was born.

“And Claire held on tight to Matilda’s orange wings.

“And Matilda flew north over the city and the Golden Gate Bridge, over Marin and Muir Woods and Stinson Beach and Bolinas, over Sonoma and Bodega Bay and Jenner where the sea lions sit on the sandbank at the mouth of the Russian River.

“And Claire held on tight to Matilda’s orange wings.

“And Matilda saw the Point Arena lighthouse, and so she swung down and over the mouth of the Garcia River. And she came down to land in a little pocket in the hills.

“And Patrick and Seana and Willa looked out the window of their little cabin and saw the red dragon with orange wings come in to land in the apple orchard.

“And Claire climbed off Matilda’s back, and she said hello to the chickens and the cats and the rabbits, and she picked some apples off the apple trees for her dinner.”

Claire yawns and snuggles into my arms.

“And then she climbed up the stairs, up up up up, to Newbird Cabin. And she went inside and climbed into bed and gave a huge yawn.”

Claire closes her eyes.

“And then she closed her eyes.

“And pretty soon?”

(Tiny snores.)

“She was asleep.”

christmas eve

This time exactly thirteen years ago I was sitting in the tower of Christ Church St Lawrence in Sydney, drinking cider with the bellringers and my dad. Twelve years ago I was at a Catholic mass in Thetford, Norfolk, with my Uncle Arthur.

Three years ago I was in labour at California Pacific Medical Center.

Tonight I took Claire and Jules to the Christmas pagaent at Holy Innocents. Claire was an angel. She wore cardboard wings and a tinsel crown with her blue velvet dress. She was so beautiful it hurt to look at her.

When we got home she started running a fever. We gave her Tylenol and she slept for a while, then woke up screaming, threw up horribly and sobbed for an hour. I held her while she cried in pain. Her hair was drenched in sweat. I was so afraid.

She’s fine. She fell asleep again and woke up cool and calm, demanding television and apple juice. Jeremy just put her to bed. Implausible resilience of the young. I’m so relieved, so glad that she’s all right, so grateful to have her, my funny brilliant rock star of a daughter.

In five minutes she’ll be three years old.

gotta go, baby hooting

The good news: our Christmas shopping is all done now. The bad news: we just crawled over the bodies of our vanquished foes trying to get to the last toys. The bad news: we only made it as far as Cortland. The good news: our senseless waste of money benefits local merchants!

I know I keep blowing off parties, and I do miss you all, but I’m best one-on-one at the moment, and frequently not even that. I can’t concentrate, can’t think of clever things to say, sometimes can’t even read. My theory is that breastmilk is made of my melted brains.


SLEEP! I slept from midnight until ten AM. Jules probably poked me to feed – she’s still alive – but I remember nothing but hours and hours of sweet deep dreamless sleep! I love my husband and children and the Internets and the poor misguided Republicans, yes and I love you, dear reader, and it’s not just the sleep talking. SLEEP!

somewhat disjointed due to sleep-lack

So social! On Friday we met Jack, Milo, Ian, Carole and Rowan at Aquatic Park, then proceeded to Vik’s for chaat. On Saturday we had chai with the Ximms at Progressive Grounds, and mandarins with Tina, Frank and Maggie on their way to Glamour & Shag. On Sunday we braved an impressive thunderstorm to visit the O’Sullibrechts in Burlingame, and today after Jules wept for an hour I threw her in the car, drove to Emeryville and joined forces with Salome to run errands. And I skipped three parties because, eh.

Still, it’s Julia I am in love with, her tiny feet and vast galactic eyes. She has adopted Claire’s habit of peering out of the sling like a little forest creature hidden in a hollow tree. I say lemur, Jeremy says sloth. She is a radiant child, especially in his eyes as she never fusses loud enough to wake him up at night. She’s only grumpy today because her nose is runny, and she cheered up as soon as I got her out of the house.

As for me, though, I am so tired that the bones inside my fingers are rattling as I type.

Jules has another of Claire’s habits: the scent of my milk is enough to prevent her getting to sleep; so when she’s with me and overtired but not hungry she will fuss and fuss. As soon as Jeremy slings her and takes her away, she’s in dreamland. Oh the chagrin.

midway through the journey of our life

Not many people know this, but I am quite fond of my husband, who turned 35 yesterday. I have a somewhat erratic approach to his birthdays, investing vast effort in celebrations and then forgetting small details, like what day it is. One year I drove him down to Big Sur for a dirty weekend. We arrived at our cabin after lights out, to find the kitchen innocent of a single utensil. We dined on croissants toasted under the broiler, avocado cut with my pocket-knife and champagne drunk from the bottle.

That was the weekend we saw a Californian condor, near McWay Falls.

This year I was slightly preoccupied with Julia, who turned one month old yesterday. It was only a week ago that I sent email to the usual suspects plus a wish-list of people I knew Jeremy would love to see. To my horror, many of the usual suspects already had other plans. Me at 5pm, rending my garments: No one’s going to come!

But practically everyone on the wishlist came. We drank mulled wine at the lovely red-walled Revolution Cafe and had tapas and sangria at Esperpento. I watched the light shining out of Jeremy’s face as he talked and laughed; it was as good as seeing a condor.

Aaron M, that salty dog, told me tales of the sea. “My dad was living on an old motor launch in the Marina. One day this sailboat pulls up next to us, and the mate has left the ship. The guy says to me, Do you want to go to Hawaii? I’m working in a health food store on Castro Street. So I say, Yeah.

“He taught me to sail but he’d only ever sailed in the Bay. We didn’t make it two hundred miles before we had to turn around, he was so seasick. I was stubborn. I’d told everyone I was going to Hawaii, then to Sydney, then who knew where. I said I’ll go where the ocean calls me! I didn’t want to have to see them again, like, five days later. So I’m arguing with the guy, and it was a bit like, Who is the captain here?

“So we turned around. Actually it was on the trip back that I fell in love with the ocean, and who knows how my life would have turned out otherwise? We were in a huge swell, like fifteen foot. I got into a rhythm. You have to steer diagonally across the wave, then when it crests, you turn and steer diagonally the other way. So you’re turning the wheel all the way and then turning it back. And I’m sitting like this, watching the swell come up from behind me, and it’s like I’m playing with the ocean, this wild, amazing force. I’m saying, Play with me. Don’t hurt us. Just play.

“We’d got out to where the sea wasn’t green any more, all messed up with debris from the shore. It was this inky, midnight blue, so beautiful. And we saw the, what do you call it, the bioluminescence. I didn’t know what it was, I thought maybe it was radioactive debris. But we could reach into the water and pull out single strands and shred them, and the bioluminescence fell on the deck and shattered like mercury.

“Yeah, I just got up and went. And ever since, I’ve been in love with the sea. It’s one of the reasons I love Serena; she’s game for anything.”

a lovely day out with the cat

We hiked Tennessee Valley with Recheng, Knoa and Avi, and when I say hiked, I mean that we meandered pleasantly, chatting about my new baby and her new job, while Knoa and Claire plastered themselves with mud from a puddle. The weather was gorgeous, sunny and cool. We saw a field mouse, two quail, countless hawks and buzzards, a butterfly, a bobcat(!) and six mule deer.

Recheng told us the story of the death of Beni the cat. “Jonathan thought Knoa would want to say goodbye to her cat, so he propped the body up on the front step. When I got home I saw it there and I screamed! Rigor mortis had totally set in; he said it creaked when he moved it. So Knoa came home and patted this dead cat, and I was crying, and the neighbor came past and said ‘Oh, what a lovely day out with the cat.’ And its tail was stuck out at an angle, like this -”

slandering fizzgig, plus: julia, an appraisal

R: Actually, your dog is kinda gay.

Morrisa: My dog is totally gay.

R: I met him in a leather bar with Carson Kressley.

M: He arranges flowers. He writes poetry.

R: I was so envious when he won that Pulitzer.

M: Do they give Pulitzers for poetry?

R: Do they give Pulitzers to dogs?

Jeremy: It was a Pawlitzer.

Throughout the entire conversation, Julia snoozed on her daddy’s lap. She snoozed in the sun in the playground, she snoozed through lunch. She woke every hour or two and cleared her throat – a polite request for milk. This sort of behaviour, day in and day out, has earned her the nickname “Trouble”.

Sometimes she hangs out for a while after eating, looking around with the same huge star-sapphire eyes as her sister, plucking at my shirt with tiny fat fists. Then she falls asleep again, her skin no longer radiation-burn red as it was when she was born, but translucent. She’s peaceful and trusting. I am in love.

It’s an entirely new passion, completely separate from Claire, the way my love for Claire is orthogonal to my marriage. With each kid I seem to have found an unsuspected extra dimension, a new direction that can’t be pointed to. Like Claire, Julia is airbrushed into memories of things that happened before she was born. She has always been here.


Something about Enzo at the Argus Lounge really brings out the drunken hooligan in Rowan and Claire. Last night, just as Jeremy arrived to meet us, Claire tripped and smacked her nose on a table. Fountains of blood and minutes of screaming ensued, until the capillaries clotted and and she and Ro started chasing one another again.

A couple of funny things I forgot to mention about Julia’s birth: Apparently my pelvis is a Tardis, as big inside as the rings of Saturn. Julia, like Claire, was born with a perfectly round C-section head. The OB/GYN who told me I was too skinny for vaginal deliveries is looking pretty silly right about now.

Then, as we were leaving the hospital, Angelina Jolie tried to adopt the baby, but we fought her off.

and then we parked right in front of my house

R: Bryan wishes me luck when the girls are teenagers. I’m thinking military school, chastity belts, firearms.

Q: Ada’s Dads are always talking about guns, but I can’t wait to teach Ada to enslave men’s souls with sex.

R: As if Ada needed any help with enslaving men’s souls.

Gilbert: You have criticized my holy leader. I must destroy you.

R: What? No! That wasn’t criticism. Ada is AWESOME.

Q: Now where the fuck am I going to park?

R: Souls, schmouls. If you could teach Ada to find a parking spot in San Francisco…

Q: I’m interested in the attainable, not the impossible.

happy sunday

So there’s this new concept being urged by disgustingly overprivileged Manhattanitish mothers: the “push present”, an expensive gift from the husband to compensate for the pain of labour.

For both my girls, Jeremy gave me a brand-new dishwasher.

Julia continues to be utterly wonderful. When she’s hungry she doesn’t cry; she just smacks her lips and rubs her hands together. And you know how when Wallace from Wallace & Gromit talks about cheese, he holds up his hands and twiddles his fingers? She does that for my milk. Endearing much?

Today we finally made it out to the new De Young. It was a perfect San Francisco day, all blue and gold and gorgeous. I sat in the sun in the sculpture garden drinking chai, while Jules snoozed in the Moby Wrap and Jeremy and Claire frolicked among the Henry Moores.

have her people call our people

Danny: So the other day I walked Ada home from the preschool, and I asked her about Molly and Cecile. I said ‘Are they your teachers?’ And she said, ‘No.’ So I said, ‘Ooo-kay. Are they your friends?’ ‘No.’ ‘Well, what are they, then?’ And Ada said, ‘They’re my people!’

jeremy’s mamacita is in da house

Janny has arrived, so Claire has been snowed with toys and allowed to eat TWO PIECES of candy. I tell you, the rule of law is a joke around here.

It still wows me how much the kid understands. We dropped Janny at the B&B. “Gemma’s house?” asked Claire. “That’s right!” I said. “Gemma was staying there, and now Janny is.”

Claire thought for a moment, then said “Are they sharing?”

On a related note, the whole nuclear-family thing seems to be working out for her. Last night in the bath she performed a new and improved version of one of her old songs: “Daddy! Mummy! Claire! Julia! YAY!” Jeremy and I fell into one anothers’ arms, weeping figurative if not literal tears of joy.

web blerg

Julia spits up a lot. We call the spit-up blerg, because that’s the noise she makes when she does it.

R: Lady Catherine de Blerg.

J: “I’m blerging this.”

C: Is it cheese?

R: Near enough.

Mum’s gone back to Australia and God Daddy G was back in London before I even had a chance to note his arrival. We are bereft.