nonBlog – April 2010

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TGIA: Thank God it’s April—Saturday, April 10, 2010

The writer/director Nora Ephron used to say, “Mashed potatoes, nothing like mashed potatoes when you’re feeling blue.” Mashed potatoes are nice, but I’m over them. My mantra is more like, “Baseball, nothing like baseball when you’re feeling blue.” So thank God that Opening Day has arrived.
Tom and I actually had tickets to Opening Night, because, well, fireworks were involved. Unlike mashed potatoes, you never really get over fireworks no matter how old you are. I have a theory that the lousier the team the showier the pyrotechnics, so you can imagine how over-the-top I was expecting the Giants’ display to be. (I am being a teensy bit mean. The Giants finished well over .500 last year. Thank you, Tim Lincecum.)
It was a long, baseball-less winter. All winters are long and baseball-less, but this one was longer and emptier of baseball than usual. As we were walking to the ballpark I had the sensation that I was stumbling out of the snowy mountains into fields of green in desperate relief, kind of like a member of a baseball-starved version of the Donner Party. Visions of hot dogs and beer danced in my head.
The Giants were coming off a win against Atlanta the day before, but they took care of that by losing 7-2 in one of those Bad News Bears-style routs in which balls end up everywhere but solidly in mitts where they’re supposed to be. Even the promise of firecrackers couldn’t keep about a quarter of the fans from leaving in disgust long about the top of the eighth. I felt sorry for them.
The stadium darkened as the DJ played “Lights” by Journey, SF’s hometown band. Nothing like Journey when you’re feeling blue. The Giants didn’t spare a dime, honoring both the beginning of the season and Lincecum’s record-setting back-to-back Cy Young Awards in his first two years in the majors. Up and down the spectacle went, from Lincecum’s baby face on the enormous screen to cubes and hearts and happy faces springing out of the Bay going pock pock pock.

We lost, badly even, but I smiled my way home.


Count By Fives—Monday, April 5, 2010

As of today I am the mother of a five-year-old, a ten-year-old, and a fifteen-year-old. This is a milestone because it is the day that almost everyone invokes when they hear how widely Tom and I spaced our daughters. “That means one day you’ll have a 5-year-old, a 10-year-old and a 15-year-old!” they always exclaim, as if A) we have not thought to make this calculation, and B) we are mad as two hatters.
I hate to admit that C) they’re right. I never made this calculation, and we were mad to have three children at such intervals. As recently as last week, someone said, “That means that you had a baby when your oldest was ten!” She too had the mad-as-hatters look on her face when she said it. I’m embarrassed to confess that I actually corrected her. When she furrowed her brows at me I really had to think about it. I had a baby when Liv was ten? Nah. Wait, oh, I guess I did.
But it didn’t feel like a logic-defying deliberate act. That’s just how it happened. We had Olivia when I was turning 30, and I now realize I was too young. Living in Manhattan, I was the only woman I knew who had a husband, let alone a baby. All my friends were still on the lookout. I was freelancing at home and lonely as a polecat, not to mention overmatched; Olivia was a never-sleeping, never-eating, wired infant of the type that turns a firstborn into an only child in short order. It wasn’t until she was four that I could even think about having a second.
Then we had Greta, and I was such a blissed-out mommy I almost forgot to speak to her in order to learn her some English. I’m not kidding; I was so much in love with her ice-blue eyes and kissy cheeks that I was stunned into silence for at least a year. Maybe two.
Years later I was 39 and figured we might be through with the baby-making thing, even though Tom wanted a third and I did have the frequent thought that our family of four was a little too neat. I prefer a touch more mess; a higher degree of difficulty—it inspires me. I started to poll my friends who had three children, as if reporting on the question might answer it. As I was performing my due diligence, I started to feel the presence (woo-woo alert, for the unbelievers among you) of a thin-faced, darker-haired girl on the edges of our kitchen. I couldn’t get her out of my mind’s eye. I felt like we had to bring her into our family. Then one of my multiple-kids friends told me that you never regret a child you’ve had, and another said that you can’t not have a child you’ve considered because you’ll always wonder. That did it. I told Tom that our third child would be a darker-haired girl and, well, you know the rest of the story. We didn’t even choose a boy’s name—what would be the point?
So here we are, with a five-year-old, a ten-year-old, and a fifteen-year-old, and that will be our condition until late December. I will attempt to take notice of and report on the brave new world that is our unlikely circle of five. Fives.

New, or Practically New

  • Fame and Fortune: Currently working on, and shocked to find I’m making headway with, the latter. Partly because of a bit of movement on the former. Perhaps endurance is the key to everything after all.