Stirring the pot, raising hell and rearing children in the Bay Area

Posts Tagged "Family, Friends, Rants and Raves"

The Twitter Detox

Posted on Jan 4, 2010 in Family and Friends |

On December 18 I promised to not Twitter until my children returned to school on January 4. I removed Twitter apps from my iPhone and desktop. I turned off all alerts and DMs. No one thought I could do it. I got teased and provoked to engaged, but I held tough. I was determined to be Twitter-free for 17 days. And indeed, as of this morning, I have accomplished my goal. (And earned $100 Anthropologie gift card for doing it.)

Here’s what I learned from my Twitter Detox:

1. I missed keeping up with Twitter community members that I do not engage with offline. I thought about people and what they, their children and businesses were up to. I missed their updates. I found myself reading more of their blogs, digging deeper than 140 into their thoughts on work and family. It was interesting to get to know members better by not communicating regularly with them.

2. I got teased by my children for not Tweeting, so I guess it was distracted. My kids wanted me to Tweet all kinds of funny stuff they were doing over the holidays. Every time I took a photo of the on my phone, they’d say, “Are you going to Twitter that?”  I started to realize that I was habitually recording my children via Twitter. I didn’t like that feeling and I am glad for noticing that I was more engaged with recoding my kids happenings rather than living it with them.  There is room for improvement for me.

3. I got behind in the news. I didn’t find out about the underwear terrorist until two days after the fact. I completely missed the civil rights re-up on the streets of Iran. When Google and Yelp fell out of negotiations, I ached to read what the 140 community was saying. Personally, I didn’t read one single Happy New Year message or read one year in review. I didn’t Twitter how my son caught us red-handed on Christmas eve.

During my two-and-half weeks without Twitter, I found myself to sharpen my belief in the power of Twitter, for its purpose and place in my work life. I found that I missed being able to have a venue to share my own fun, kitchy, silly world and yearned more to hear about others.  I miss getting instant gratification and sharing instant information.

And so I’m back. My apps back on my phone, TweetDeck plunking away on my desktop. I don’t have much to say yet. Except to say I missed you.

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Three Products for 2010

Posted on Dec 30, 2009 in Featured, Seasons |

Three Products for 2010

As you all know by now, God help the company that has me write reviews. For the most part it works out great, but I can stick it to you if I think your product sucks eggs, is craphouse, full of false advertising or worse, inappropriate for children.

But in my attempt to see the glass half-full in 2010, I thought I’d end the year with my top favorite products to try in the new year. I received all of  these products from events, PR agencies or the rad and unforgettable SVMOM preholiday event.

Marie Veronique Organics

1. Take your handbag. Pull out the credit card with the biggest limit and get ready to transform your face. I’m not even a little bit kidding. I’m a high-end face product user and this stuff is unreal.  I’ve had decades of bad skin and tried everything known to man to try and curb it over the years. I only use very high quality products on my face and save the 99-cent stuff for the rest of my body parts. I have spent the past two weeks using Marie-Veronique Organics products and my face looks like  a teenager girl with a Snickers fettish. But, and this is a big but: I’ve never been so happy to look like crap. I know the toxins are pouring out of my skin and I’m loving every minute of it. How’s that for a product review?

It’s clear that the Marie Veronique products do exactly what they say they do: they are pure to your skin, they smell like you just walked out of The Golden Door spa and, above all, it’s completely addictive. I was given samples of the Cleanse, Hydrate, Replenish and Repair products.  Of the entire line, I found the hydrate spritz to be one of the greatest products of all time. It’s the mid/late afternoon sprirtz to the face that I swear to the spa gods makes me feel like I took a nap. The second unforgettable product from this line is the repair serum which,  I’m sure the founders will love to hear, cures Le Hangover Face. Puffiness, redness, splotchiness all gone.  This stuff is magic for a reason. It’s made from crazy free radicals (a synonym for Garza Girl) and all kinds of organics stuff I know nothing about. It’s expensive as all getout;  really, nutso expensive. I’m savoring every drop of the samples I received and going to order the ones I can’t live without. This stuff is worth its weight in gold. No, it’s more expensive than gold, but it’s been a great treat.

2. Do not laugh at me.  I am dead serious about these two products. First let me say, it’s only because of the horrible economy that I would even consider making coffee at home, muchless specialty coffee at home. I am a Peet’s Coffee kind of girl (Actually I’m a Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf kind of girl but they don’t have one in San Jose). First product is the damn – ugh, I hate to admit it, even — the Starbucks instant coffee. The VIA line of coffee that came out this year isn’t cheap either. It’s about a buck each, so don’t spill the freezedrygroundbeans. But, the coffee is surprisingly good. I like the Italian Roast better than the Colombian. Oh wait, maybe the other way around? Whichever, it’s the darker roast one (and darker package). Cha-ching: in a swig of coffee, I’m saving at least $1 and closer to $1.15 each time I choose to use the VIA.  The coffee doesn’t smell like coffee, which is the only downside, but on the upside, it doesn’t smell like dry ice either. Another plus: the VIA doesn’t need to be warm to dissolve, so you can put it in with milk/water combo and shake it up for an iced coffee. If you’re thinking of giving up your coffee habit to save money, this is the way to go. Alternatively, you can take the rest of the money you save ($1.15×365=$419.75 per year) and donate it to one of my three favorite charities:  the George Mark Children’s House, Pro Mujer or Sacred Heart Community Center. Now that’s a good idea. Wheesh, I’m clever.

The second coffee product of the year is CoffeeMate French Vanilla creamer that I got at the SV Moms event in November. Ewww, creamer you say? That’s what I said. Until, the fated day when my eggnog *and* my regular coffee went bad on Christmas Day and curdled in my cup. On a day when nothing was open, I was left creamless in San Jose.  After scrounging around the cupboards, I found the CoffeeMate freebees I’d gotten and promptly served them to my entire family without telling a soul.  I can’t even tell you how good that dang thing tasted. The best part of it (besides pulling it off without a hitch),  is the single-serve size.  Sure, I felt sneaky and just slightly low-class, but it was worth it. I looked for the CoffeeMate singles at Safeway but didn’t see them. Will definitely use this as a go-to pantry item this year. I might be less classy than I thought (I have the Torani vanilla syrup in my pantry too), but it worked in a pinch.

3. My final product of the next year to work with is the line of Nubius Organics. Now, the lovely people at Nubius Organics better stop frigging spamming me with email before I call the blacklist people on them, but aside from the borderline spam, I have to say, their products are completely off-the-hook. Nubius sells my faved, beloved Nathan waterbottle for cheaper than you can find it on Amazon. The site touts green-friendly products, and although green isn’t on my major priority list, I really like the way they explain why something is green, why it’s important to them. The big purchase for 2010 is going to be converting our entire family to their Laptop Lunches, a bento box style of lunchbox that creates zero — that’s a big fat 0 — trash. I’m a huge fan of the idea and can’t wait to see how it rolls. I think Laptop Lunches also has a school program, so I’m waiting to make the purchase in case my kids’ school can benefit from it. Organic stuff is so damn expensive, but Nubius has some good deals in their sale section too. Kids are excited to have bento box lunches, my son says, because then everyone will think he is on the Green Team.

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Revisiting the Agreements

Posted on Dec 14, 2009 in Family, Friends, Rants and Raves |

I walked into the house of a neighbor and on her kitchen counter was a giant frame with The Four Agreements written in it. It wasn’t a Hallmark purchase, it was a printout, carefully placed in the frame and front and center in the middle of the house. It was a statement of the obvious: Self Work Done Here.

I read The Four Agreements years ago — twice in fact — and found it to be directly on-target with my beliefs. I gobbled up the follow-up book and the workbook but The Mastery of Love and the Toltec Teachings fell on deaf ears for me. They were abstract, hard to grasp. And anyway, by then, Oprah and half the free self-help world were touting the writing of Don Miguel Ruiz. It turned me off. In fact, I thought that by definition, it was counter-intuitive to the Four Agreements.

The neighbor’s kitchen, though. That got me. These folks are cool, wealthy, beautiful. They’re IN. In fact, I’d bet my shirt they were never anything short of SuperCool. To see the Agreements written in their kitchen brought me a new perspective on them: depth.

I’ve gained a re-interest in The Four Agreements. Reading it over again (in a short afternoon), I remembered that not only did I believe in the Agreements, but that they were entire avenues of myself that I have neglected for a long, long time. There is work to be done in the realm of being true to my word, be the person that I know I am. And so here I revisit my Agreements.  Maybe I’ll print them out and put them in my kitchen. I could use the reminder.

The Four Agreements

  1. Be Impeccable With Your Word.
  2. Don’t Take Anything Personally.
  3. Don’t Make Assumptions.
  4. Always Do Your Best.
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Read My Posts at SV MOMs

Posted on Dec 1, 2009 in Rants |

Come follow my posts on Silicon Valley Mom Blog

I write about twice a month. There’s some great writing on this site with some wonderful insight from terrific parents.

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Tree is Bare, Branches are Full

Posted on Nov 17, 2009 in Giving, Holidays, School |

The tree lighting ceremony drama –lighting up my frustration from here to Thomas Edison’s grave and back — continues. There are a million technicalities,  hurdles, economic downturn-rejections and red tape landmines everywhere I turn. All of this, of course, in two languages.  It’s sort of borderlining on panic.

But, there is also a fullness I’ve never really experienced before.

In my plea to local businesses to help us put lights on our holiday tree for our local community event, I found gems everywhere. There’s the lady from Discount Lift Rentals who calls me at 9 p.m. to tell me she’s going to call everyone she knows to give us help in finding a boom lift. Then she kindly explains to me the difference between the booms and the cherry pickers and the arms on the things. I’m pretty impressed the chick knows power equipment. That’s hot, in a Rosie ‘Yes We Can!” sort of way. There’s the friend who volunteers her husband and her vacation time to put up the lights — if only we had a way of getting in the tree. Then there’s the tough real estate agent who’s got a kinder than kind heart who offered to make calls on our behalf. And there’s the friend who’s gonna ask the neighbor if he can help. I’ve got a friend who runs a media site that’s willing to bullhorn our needs. And tonight, I’ve got several friends who know a friend who knows a friend…..  Everywhere there is help.

And in the strangest way, I feel the tree lighting up.

Don’t get me wrong. There ain’t enough kumbaya in the world to substitute for the dang tree being lit. But sometimes inspiration comes from the people who cannot say Yes, but not for a lack of trying. I love people who try, no matter the outcome.

So we wrote blind letters, cold called and begged every person in the book tonight to help us find a way to light our community tree. And someone, somehow will come through. I know it will happen. And when it does, it won’t just be the person who said Yes that gave the gift. It will be all those I was lucky enough to hear No from that would have if they could have.

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My Baby Daddy is a Number

Posted on Oct 9, 2009 in Family and Friends, Featured |

My Baby Daddy is a Number

Some people make love to make a baby, I made an Internet purchase.

I must have been 10 or so when I knew what I wanted to do with my life: I wanted to be a mother. It was all I’ve ever really wanted to be. There was no career, life experience or world travel that could compare to the need. Motherhood was always my destiny. And as life would have it, I was faced with making my own destiny happen.

I decided in my mid-twenties, that by the time  I turned 30, I’d be a parent. I figured if I wasn’t married, I’d hook up with a hot guy in a bar and wham-bam-thank-you-ma’m, imakeababy. Not so easy. Somewhere along the way a  friend of mine offered his “goods” and I told him I’d let him know if I’d ever need them. When I turned 31, a year past my goal date, I asked him to donate sperm. He broke my heart when he told me no, since he had been diagnosed HIV Positive. After a soul-searching trip to Mexico, I came back with a new plan: I would find a sperm donor. I would be inseminated. I would have a child. And that is exactly what I did.

First on my list was getting rip-roaring drunk. I spent New Year’s Eve so lit, singing “Proud Mary” on my rented karaoke machine for hours on-end. When I couldn’t handle Tina Turner anymore, I switched to “Amazing Grace.” I had wanted one last hurrah before delving into the point-of-no-return of motherhood. You can imagine how I felt the next day, January 1, 2002. That was the day  I vowed to spend a year focusing on keeping my body very healthy including a ton of organic, fresh food, limited alcohol and moderate exercise. I got my privates checked out by a great OBGYN.  I took my BBT temperature every.single.day and logged it. I took prenatal vitamins but refused any kind of fertility drugs.  I parallel processed all of this with a year of research. I wanted to know just how f-ed up my child was going to be from choosing to have a kid with a test tube. I read everything I could get my hands on, including reports from the Journal of Pediatric Medicine, excerpts from the Journal of American Psychology, researching the ramifications of anonymous sperm donors versus known donors (kinda self-explanatory) and anything else that I could find.Bottom line: Sperm donor kids were just as well-off across the board as their “normal” counterparts.

My second step was to find a donor. Over 30,000 children are born each year from anonymous sperm donors. I narrowed my search by picking the best tissue bank clinic in the US. I was not going to mess around with quality here. Then I started narrowing down what kind of person I’d want to father my children. Not what kind of father I wanted my children to have, but rather what kind of genes I wanted my child to have.  I wasn’t married to this person, I was breeding with this person. I guess I know how horse racing legend Seattle Slew’s breeders must have felt. Well, at least that horse got some action when conceiving…

I had priorities. I wanted a donor that was tall, since height isn’t a great hereditary trait in our family. I wanted someone with a squeaky clean family medical background. I wanted him to be smokin’ hot, but I was willing to sacrifice that for someone who was educated. In the end, I’d read hundreds of donor profiles. When I found the donor on a random Tuesday night — 11 months, two weeks later — I knew it instantly. Maybe it was that he liked spicy food and travel. Or it could have been the curve of his writing on a downloaded PDF file. No matter. I ordered the goods immediately. By Saturday morning, I was pregnant with twins.

My children are 6-years-old now. They know a very special man helped mommy have babies. They know, they know that mommy wanted them so much that I went to a doctor to help me have them. My children know that most families come with a mommy and a daddy. My children know that all questions about their conception are answered. They know mommy will never lie to them about where they come from. Somehow transparency makes the whole topic a lot less interesting to them. I know they’re going to have lots more questions as time goes on. They might want to contact the donor since about 1 in 3 children of anonymous sperm donors express that interest. I’m ready for it if they do.

As for me, I pray every single day for the dude with the “goods.” I know that donating sperm helped pay his student loans or rent and nothing more. Wherever he is, I hope he is happy. Whatever his dreams, I hope they came true. He gave me my greatest dream come true. I can only wish the same in return.

Original post to SV Moms.


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