Thursday, April 30, 2009

hey- have I been Duggared?

You know what's weird? I have two gorgeous, healthy, wonderful little girls. But the Walter Makichen book Spirit Babies is getting into my head, and makes me feel guilty for not letting some spirit baby descend into my womb. Ok what??? Why I am letting this into my head? This is one step away from saying I want to be a Duggar because I don't want to deprive a soul from having a life on Earth. People, I haven't even READ the Spirit Babies book. I haven't even SEEN the Duggars' show!

Seriously, I can see that Sabrina's baby days are numbered, and I know I'm going to miss it even as I long for my physical and mental space again. I have so much more energy these days, and I think it might be a hormonal thing as my body makes a little less milk while she takes in a little more solid food. It's not even that much of a shift-- she's mostly nursing still-- but I think it's making a huge difference in my energy levels. But it also means babyhood is fast slipping away forever.

And that is ok-- that's life, right? It's always changing. Things that don't change aren't alive. So it's good to feel this slight upheaval and let it go, and accept that the girls will always be growing and changing, and that I will always be growing and changing as a mother and a whole person too. And part of that is about saying goodbye to stages as they pass.

Honestly, I don't know that I feel like YES- our family is COMPLETE. But last night, watching Derek with Paloma while I was with Sabrina, it really hit me how wonderful it is for our little family to have that one-on-one thing. And that maybe the complete feeling I seek is really just a longing for things to feel "done" in a way that they will never feel, because things are always changing.

I guess I love how it is now, but am still coming to terms with the "whoa--I will never be pregnant again" thing. The childbearing years were so feared, anticipated, then just like that-- over.

Onward, onward! One day I will be the mother of two girls and no babies! That's how it goes.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

two bikes, just married

two bikes, just married, originally uploaded by Zephyr510.

M and F got married a couple weeks ago, on one of the first warm days of the year. They're avid bicyclists and they both biked all the way up to Tilden Park in Berkeley with nary a sweat breaking out. M looked gorgeous in a white and pink ensemble.

Damn, I love the sassy bride dresses. I went pretty traditional myself, but at least two friends have married in beautiful microminis. I love that I have friends who do this. Vicarious living rules.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

It's Fair Pay Day! Do you know where your paycheck is?

Tweet this! @Zephyr510 "Urge your Senators to vote YES on the Paycheck Fairness Act #fairpay"

That's right, it's Fair Pay Day and we're in the thick of it. First, let me share some important resources:

State by State Analysis of How Much Women Get Paid Compared to Men (easy comparison chart, plus in depth analysis)

We have the Equal Pay Act. Why do we need the Paycheck Fairness Act? Click here for a straightforward list of reasons why. EPA needs teeth!

And now ask a question: do you know if your pay is less than a similarly situated man's? How about a meta question: why are we still asking about this? Why is this still something to wonder about in 2009? In a sense, that's the easier question to answer-- it's because we as a society are still backing away from questions of equality. And why are we doing that? Because it's easier to let things be how they've always been, to simply accept subtle forms of discrimination, rather than challenge and change.

Damn, my physicist spouse is right again-- inertia wins!

But we have to gather our energy and overcome it. Many times, we feel disempowered when we know there's work to be done, but we don't know how to do it.

Never fear-- I have an easy way to get 'er done. Click here to sign the MomsRising petition calling on our US Senators to support the Paycheck Fairness Act. When they do, when Congress leads and shows the country and world that this is an issue of basic fairness that we can democratically fix, we will begin the slow and wonderful process of coming closer to equity and the freedom that comes with it.

Blog for Fair Pay 2009

Happy Fair Pay Day!

This was a great post from my fabulous colleague Dionna at

What's $1.00 minus .78 cents? It's the difference between your salary and the salary of your male counterparts. If you're a woman of color, you can subtract at least an additional 10 cents, and for single mothers you can take away even more.[1] That's right: Just sixty cents to a man's dollar.

Seem fair?

We don't think so either. That's why MomsRising members pushed for passage of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act earlier this year, and is now pushing for the next step toward fair pay for women in the workplace: The Paycheck Fairness Act has passed the U.S. House and is now moving in the U.S. Senate. Your voices played a huge role in the passage of the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, and now we have an opportunity to use our voices again to move us all another step closer to fair pay.

Tell your Senators that more than 50% of the labor force are now women, but we still need equal pay for equal work. Urge them now to support of the Paycheck Fairness Act:

It's no coincidence that we're sending you this message today: Tuesday, April 28, is Equal Pay Day, which marks the point in 2009 when the average woman's wages will finally catch up with the wages paid to the average man in 2008. The day is an important reminder of the persistent wage gap and the urgent need to take action to ensure we close this gap.

*Please spread the word far and wide today in honor of Equal Pay Day. Tell friends and family that today is the day to make your voice heard.

Why does the wage gap matter anyway (beside the obvious!)? Whether you're in a one or two person household, equal pay is critical to supporting a family, especially in these tough economic times. One study estimated that over a lifetime, a woman's wages are anywhere from $700,000 to $2 million dollars less than a man's [2].

And the problem runs deeper than just wage discrimination: A recent study found that with equal resumes, mothers were 79% less likely to be hired than non-mothers [3]; and another recent study found that given equal resumes, mothers were offered $11,000 lower starting salaries than their equally qualified non-mother counterparts (Fathers were offered $6,000 more than their non-father counterparts).

Turns out the wage gap is pretty big deal after all. But we have a real opportunity to help even the odds.

The Paycheck Fairness Act deters wage discrimination by:

* Closing loopholes in the law that allow for discrimination.
* Protecting workers from retaliation against workers who disclose their wages.
* Allowing women to receive the same remedies in court for pay discrimination as those subjected to discrimination based on race and national origin.

We took an important step toward paycheck fairness with the passage of the Lilly Ledbetter Act at the start of this year, and now with that victory in hand we need to keep up the momentum and ensure that women everywhere get equal pay. Paycheck fairness helps women and families, and it just makes sense.

With everything happening right now around the country, Congress has a full plate. Let's make sure this is one thing that doesn't fall off. Take action today!

Thanks for all you do



[3] Shelley Correll, Stephen Benard & In Paik, Getting a Job: Is there a Motherhood Penalty, 112 The Am. J. of Soc. 1297 (2007).

Sunday, April 26, 2009

I will be water

Charades. A classic guessing game, which means Paloma was all for learning how to play. She loves guessing games.

Derek went first. Arms flapping, head pecking. Chicken, easy.

Paloma went next. Arms flapping, and yelling "I'm a bird!" So that was an easy one. It took a couple tries before she didn't yell what she was trying to be.

I went next. I tried to be a cat but when you have to silence your meows (since charades is silent), it takes a little more pantomime than my spine had. But it was guessed eventually.

Derek went again. Fruit bat this time. Paloma got it right away. "A BAT!" is one of her favorite things to yell when Derek holds her upside down, which is often.

Paloma went again. She danced, swayed, waved her little arms. "I'm being water! I will be water!" Derek and I kind of tilted our heads at her, jaws slack, at the sudden poetry, which wasn't really sudden since she's always beautiful like that.

And like this:

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Edible Schoolyard - celebrating our planet and our kids

There will be lights switched off, leaky faucets fixed. There will be gardens dug, shorelines cleaned, and paper recycled.

But I can't think of a better way to celebrate Earth Day than to celebrate the Edible Schoolyard. What a marvelous way to affirm the continuity of life in our kids and our planet. To teach them to grow and eat plants, to care for the Earth while they care for themselves and their bodies.

The Edible Schoolyard is an initiative, a cookbook, and a huge dose of positive energy for public schools. Alice Waters of Chez Panisse fame literally dug up an asphalt lot in a Berkeley middle school and with the kids, planted a garden. The garden thrives, the kids tend to it, and eat from it.

We used to live about three blocks from it, and I'd walk there all the time. It's such a lovely garden. But it's also a beacon to me. When I lived in DC, I saw an article about this in I think Audobon magazine while I was on the treadmill. I nearly burst into tears because of how happy and earnest and idealistic and lovely it all was. These urban kids cared about where their food comes from, and who grows it and how it grows. Warmed my heart at least as much as the treadmill. So I knew I had to move back.

I'm so glad I did. I plan on supporting this initiative not only when my kids are old enough to benefit, but right now by visiting the garden, the website-- and spreading the word.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

if you're gonna have tea bagging all over the country...

Childish? Check! Hilarious? CHECK!!!

I was annoyed at a pesky little anti-tax rally I saw in Walnut Creek on April 15. Until I saw the veritable TIDAL wave of hilarity that emerged. If you need some silliness in your political coverage, I give you this:

Friday, April 03, 2009

we have solids!

We have officially started solids! It's going well. Sabrina LOVES rice cereal. She was definitely ready. Here's what I was thinking:

* She had been interested in our food for at least a few weeks;
* played with interest with a soft spoon
* didn't exhibit a tongue-thrust reflex;
* can sit unsupported only for short periods but definitely has plenty of head and neck control, and can sit well in a high chair;
* and, darn it, she just seemed hungry.

She won't be six months old until the 20th, but I felt like we were close enough, and we have no family history of food allergies.

I mixed Earth's Best organic rice cereal with expressed breast milk and tried giving it to her last night, when my supply is lower (per Sears' Baby Book rec).

She lunged at the spoon. She cried when took the spoon back to refill. I couldn't get it to her fast enough.

Needless to say, the grandparents and Derek are thrilled. It'll be fun for them to take a more active role in her feeding (especially grandma, who LOVES feeding).

In four or five days, it's on to the next food! Maybe bananas, maybe avocados. Ah, the exciting world of solids!

Thursday, April 02, 2009

making a good cup of coffee without expensive equipment!

Everyone has one-- an acquaintance or friend who's REALLY REALLY into something, and into the latest greatest gear to fuel their passion.

If you've got a friend who's REALLY REALLY into coffee, they might have some super duper expensive toys to make it. Who knew you could spend so much dough on joe? (I swear, that just came to me.)

When D and I married, we registered for a Cuisinart coffee maker. Not an espresso machine, just a coffee maker. It was pretty, stainless steel, with retro toggle buttons. Cute. And I'm not a coffee aficionado; I just like a cup of it every now and then. Without emptying my wallet for it.

But I never figured out exactly how to get a good cup of coffee out of it. I tried a relatively fine grind (as fine as I could get out of the Cuisinart grinder, which isn't too fine). I tried a coarse grind. I tried using more water, less water, more and less milk. Nothing really helped. It was either too bitter, too weak, or kind of cardboard-y tasting (?). I cleaned the gold(tone) filter religiously, used a water filter, everything.

Then I pulled out the old one cup French press. And behold!! A fabulous cup.

So here's my French press method. Hopefully this helps someone else out there. I'm just trying to make the world a better place.

1. Heat up 5-6 oz of water. Whether microwave or stovetop, make sure the water is really really hot. Boiling almost.

2. Put 2-2.5 tablespoons of coffee in the French press. I've actually had good luck with a fine grind (Major Dickinson's Anniversary Blend, Decaf, Peet's) and with a coarse grind (Illy coffee, Trader Joe's Dark Roast Organic).

3. Add the hot water.

4. Put the top on and wait a good 4-5 minutes.

5. Push down and pour! I add cream (cream for coffee, milk for tea) but no sugar.

Amazingly, I've been getting delicious coffee this way-- not bitter, not weak. So simple, inexpensive, fab.

You can also make loose tea easily this way, which I also love.