Saturday, December 28, 2013


Someone very close to me died tragically in the final weeks of my training to become a certified clinical hypnotherapist.  I had some people warn I had no real right to grieve this person.  My grief or my love didn't matter, at least not to them.  Bereaved, but with newly earned credentials, I had someone else try and sway me against my new career because they considered hypnotherapy to be frivolous.  I soldiered on by enrolling in a holistic health practitioner program that summer, certain I might enjoy a real rewarding career when I combined hypnotherapy and holistic health.

I got an offer on the duplex I'd inherited without even listing it for market and moved here to Alameda exactly a year later.  I dropped my holistic health program and put my dreams of a thriving hypnotherapy practice on the shelf.  Without colleagues, and very few friends, I put my energy into other things.  All that grief over my parents, my grandparents and the loss of a love eventually caught up to me and I fell apart completely.  I had Belle at my lowest point.  Now I want my hypnotherapy practice more than anything, naysayers be damned.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Lock out.

Belle locked me out of our house tonight.  Barefoot, I'd gone outside to empty the contents of the vacuum cleaner into the garbage.  I'd pulled the door closed behind me to prevent a naked Belle from streaking out into the cold night.  I found the door locked upon my return.  I heard Belle scream as I pounded on the door and rang the bell.  I stopped trying to get Belle's attention and started ringing my neighbors' doorbells until I got help.  I allowed my neighbor to break into my house and let me back in.  I found a puddle of Belle's piss and a pile of poop waiting for me in the entry way.  Belle must have been terrified.  I did not feel fear.  I felt able and ready to pick a lock if I had to.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Belle's Third Christmas!

Belle and I spent our third Christmas together eating popcorn and opening presents by the fire.

I made breakfast.

Belle made breakfast.

Then we drank our Red Rose tea.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas Morning

Belle doesn't know it's Christmas.  She acknowledges the decorations and the lights without knowing the meaning.  I can still keep Christmas simple this year because Belle hasn't succumbed to consumerism.  I have, therefore, filled our Christmas stockings with oranges, tangerines, Skyflakes crackers and popcorn.  These are Belle's favorites anyway, just dressed up.

Belle's play kitchen has been erected and stocked with play food.  She will find a stuffed bunny, jumbo crayolas, a wooden puzzle, a Doodle Pro and Mega Bloks on Christmas morning.  Last year's birthday and Christmas gifts are still relevant and are actively being played with.  I may bring a few things out I have been saving until Belle displays readiness because Belle might be ready to play with them now.  

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Cupcakes

I can harbor resentment toward whomever reacted negatively toward me at this morning's church breakfast; or I can be thankful for the extra cupcakes we were allowed to take home.

Monday, December 23, 2013


Belle and I hosted a dog (and his owner) for three nights.  Belle enjoyed caring for this dog, including feeding him his food and hers, sharing her toys with him and walking him around the living room.  I repeatedly refreshed the dog's water bowl when Belle would throw his food into it and helped take him for walks.  We all got along fabulously, even after the dog's attempted escape.

We also hosted a small Sunday dinner party.  Four adults of varying ages, a toddler and a dog all celebrated Christmas with a delicious, albeit non traditional, holiday meal:  ground turkey and vegetable stir fry, collard greens simmered with rice, mashed potatoes and beets.  I drank lots of ale and wine and laughed until it hurt.  Our last guest left after midnight.  What a great time!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Baptism gown

I found a taker for Belle's Baptism gown on Freecycle.  Last year I had been given a too small gown for an emergency Baptism by a woman I didn't really care for at our church.  I couldn't find Belle godparents, or otherwise plan a Baptism, in the two weeks before she would have outgrown the gown.  I am releasing this to someone who can use it now and appreciate it.  I never appreciated this gift because I didn't like being pressured  into making a quick decision.


I won't likely return to the same church.  It isn't the place where I feel comfortable bringing a toddler.  Let's change churches in 2014!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Doing the best...

I wish whomever takes issue with me for missing Sunday mass would offer me the help I might need as a single mom trying to balance motherhood and scheduled public worship.  I had planned to attend Saturday evening mass prior to the Christmas party until yesterday's errand ran into Belle's nap.  I knew better than to cut Belle's nap short or make her miserable just so I could attend mass and please someone who doesn't matter.  I also opted out of today's mass, preferring to have breakfast and play after such a late night out at the party.  I had to do what I felt realistic for our needs.  Besides, whomever wants me to make the sacrifice isn't present for what the lack of comfort, food or sleep means for my family whenever we cut ourselves short to accommodate something.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Living simply and sustainable

Today's food run lasted nearly five hours.  Twice as many people came than expected.  I attribute this to the warm, dry weather, a sharp contrast to last December.  We brought home many canned goods, thanks to the elderly Asian immigrants who didn't necessarily like or understand green beans or pumpkin puree.  I filled my pantry with lots of goodies.  I also brought home bananas, eggplant and persimmons.

I spied Sexy Engineer during the wait.  Sexy Engineer is white, six foot five, a Leo, from Maine, new to Alameda and working part time after taking some time off.  We met during last Saturday's food run.  He's a total reflection of me now:  living simply and sustainable.  While Sexy Engineer admires the community building aspect of our food runs, he didn't wait it out with us today.  He went to the beach instead.

Belle exhausted herself playing with some older children while I shopped.

I had to cart her over my shoulder, wiggling and crying, away from the place.  That was a difficult walk home with a trolley full of food.  Belle managed a two hour nap while I walked us home and put her into bed.  We changed into party clothes and had a great time at the church Christmas potluck.  They ate all the pumpkin pie.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Christmas potluck

Our church is hosting a Christmas potluck one week too late.  Last Saturday would have been a perfect day because it was Belle's second birthday and we had a sheet cake meant for a party.  I would have shared the cake and it would have been eaten.  Alas, we didn't plan anything, nor did we find anything to do.  I pray whomever took the sheet cake after I listed it on Freecycle actually shared it.

I will bring one of the pumpkin pies to the potluck.  I might challenge myself to be too full from eating my own dinner at home to try any of the food.  Belle can eat their dinner, of course.  Someone had something to say when I dared eat dinner last time, which made for a very awkward meal.  I want to have a good time away from the buffet table, and away from stupid people if I do eat.

I met that same old woman today who always hounds me about Belle's Baptism.  Honestly, I don't know who to ask to serve as godparents.  I also want more of a celebration for Belle than I ever had when I took my Sacraments.  I ate Taco Bell with my grandmother after my Confirmation.  I want Belle to have more of an impact in the world than our party of two.  I want a goat.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

An extra helping...

We brought home two gourmet pumpkin pies (In the freezer now!), a dozen red velvet cupcakes, half a dozen white/strawberry cupcakes, a box of Ho Hos and a box of Savannah Smiles.  We saved four red velvet and two white/strawberry cupcakes and are giving the rest to a family we met on Freecycle.  Safeway makes delicious desserts.  I just wish they could ditch the fake flavoring and food dye.

I failed at a mini chicken pot pie recipe last Friday.  I quickly replaced the three cans of chicken I used there with three more cans of chicken, a container of chicken salad  and a package of turkey meatloaf muffins.  Hooray!  Now to encourage Belle to eat more protein and less sweets.  New house rule:  Thursdays are Belle's sweet cheat days, along with some Saturdays.  We will walk a savory path otherwise.

Sunday, December 8, 2013


We celebrated Belle's birthday with an early morning food run and red velvet cupcakes in the afternoon.  I listed the sheet cake I would have used for a party on Freecycle because I couldn't pull a party together so quickly.  Today we released the infant swing and the white onesies we never used to a mom in need.  We received a toddler chair from another mom later on.  The chair pairs imperfectly with Thursday's toddler table.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Mini pot pies

Most kids start with Play Doh.  Belle has started with the all natural, vegan pizza dough she found in the freezer.  We spent a good hour kneading and eating the dough.  We didn't even speak because we were that into it.  I eventually used the dough to top mini chicken pot pies.  I did alright without a recipe:  15 ounces of canned chicken, a can of mixed vegetables, two eggs, oats and seasonings.  Belle wouldn't release enough of the dough for me to roll and cut twenty-four biscuits to fill with chicken and vegetables.  That's why I used the eggs and oats to bind it together.  While it came out okay, I can do better.  Now Belle is exhausted and sleeping very well.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

I am the table.

I spied through a fence a short, hard plastic shelf with a neon green top, yellow legs and a blue base.  I knew I had found Belle's new (to her) toddler table.  I asked someone behind the fence if the colorful shelf were indeed being tossed out with tomorrow's garbage.  He confirmed it was, along with a good looking wooden object I couldn't identify.  When I said I didn't know how to access that side of the fence, the guy handed it to me over the fence.  I thanked him and set the shelf atop Belle's push chair. An embittered old woman I know from the neighborhood got all butt hurt when she noticed I had a new table and she didn't.  She demanded to know where and how I got the table.  I ignored her and just kept walking, sure my attitude would fuel her fire.  Belle has a cute new table now and I have a backbone.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013


I delivered Belle on the first Wednesday of December.  While her actual birthday is Saturday, December the seventh, I am celebrating today, this first Wednesday of December.  Belle is now two years old.  We celebrated last night with a generous slice of cake I'd frozen from her first birthday cake.  I gave Belle a chicken from the bag of plush toys hidden in the closet.  This morning I gave her a duck from the same plush toy bag.  Belle greeted both the chicken and the duck with kisses before offering each my breast.  There were sixteen toys in the bag.  I plan to give Belle a toy a day unless I change my mind.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013


Belle turns two on Saturday.  I am not planning a celebration because she's too young to appreciate it.  I hadn't even planned on a gift until a bag of pristine stuffed toys became available through Freecycle.  Interestingly enough, I walked to Pearl Harbor Road to collect toys for a child born on Pearl Harbor.  The toys were handed to me in a black garbage bag by another frazzled mom.  Belle has no idea what's in the bag that I have since hidden away.  Belle will love this sudden avalanche of toys come Saturday.

Sunday, December 1, 2013


Belle is exhausted from an afternoon play date.  Old friends brought their daughter over, nearly two years after their last visit.  The two girls, aged twenty-three months and twenty-seven months, got along fabulously.  They had a great time playing with Belle's pretend food and the remains of her shopping cart.  Now there are toys everywhere, and Belle is sound asleep.