Friday, November 28, 2014


I didn't make a big deal out of Thanksgiving.  Belle still felt out of sorts enough to unravel almost completely.  We ended up having yellow cupcakes wih chocolate frosting, banana Johnny cake, zuchini with corn in tomato sauce, turkey dressing and lentil stew, in that order.  I roasted the turkey the next morning, which we ate promptly.  Belle seems to like the meat.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Send art supplies

Belle is rapidly approaching three (on December seventh!!!) and is a busy, busy bee.  I have given her all of my art supplies, and have added in the best we could find at the discount stores.  Belle loves modeling dough the most.  She often eschews dinner for yet another hour of sculpting.  I am, therefore, asking for the most modeling compound and the most paints for Belle's upcoming birthday and Christmas.  I will need an endowment for the arts at this point.  We need more clay, paints, paper, and ZOMG! glitter glue.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Play food

I gave Belle my old stuffed animals and soft-bodied dolls.  She took a shine to a brown skinned doll with shiny black hair I had as a four year old.  I found Belle washing the doll’s hair in the sink the same night Belle discovered her.  I put them both in a warm bath, where I washed both from head to toe with the same baby wash. 

I also gave Belle the toy canned goods and eggs from my play kitchen.  I taught Belle how to make hard-boiled eggs by throwing a couple plastic eggs into the plastic pot on her play burner that lights up and makes boiling noises.  I guess Belle figured she should recycle too because I found all labels removed from those tiny canned good replicas I once so loved.

I counted many cans of evaporated milk, fruit cocktail and tuna among the play food I played with as a child, before Belle peeled off the labels.  Nothing has changed in the thirty years since I got that kitchen.  I keep all that food on hand now.  Recent food runs have yielded crunchy almond butter, flax seeds, pumpkin butter and teff.  I would never have imagined eating such foods as a kid.

I spread both the crunchy almond and the pumpkin butters onto toasted English muffins for a beach picnic last weekend.  Belle found these sandwiches quite delightful.  Belle also enjoyed chocolate soy milk, cinnamon graham crackers shaped like giant goldfish and crackers made from hidden vegetables.  She seems more willing to try different foods.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Cat saga

I finally lured Polly back inside one week later.  Belle loves Polly with a stifling, suffocating affection that makes Polly feel unsafe.  If Polly gets out, she stays out until she either feels safe enough to come inside or I grab her.  Both Belle and Polly are coping with living together again.  Polly let me hold her while I read Belle her stories.  Later on, Polly came halfway up the stairs and meowed at my door until I came down to sit with her a while.

Beach days

We cooled off at the beach during last weekend’s heat wave.  I kept Belle indoors until the heat of the day had passed, and then suited her up in a bikini and plenty of sunscreen for the beach.  While Belle enjoyed rolling in the sand, she probably loved our beach picnics more (apples, bananas, oranges, graham crackers shaped like giant goldfish and pineapple juice with rice milk over ice). 

I had planned on spending Monday afternoon at the park, but ended up back at the beach when Belle’s training pants leaked.  I put her in a pair of disposable swimming pants I found in my bag and pushed her kicking and screaming away from the playground and back to the sand.  Belle instantly made a new girlfriend among the children playing nearby and had a lovely time chasing birds.

The little girl Belle met on the beach really liked us.  She threw her arms around my thighs, lifted up my skirt and hid there for several seconds until her heavily pregnant mother pulled her away.  Later she grabbed my hand so we could join her and her playmates and their mothers in the water.  Belle seemed fascinated by this girl and her young friends, all rapidly approaching pre-school.  I invited their mothers to join the mom’s group I am in.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Time and space cadet

Belle needs more room and space than is realistic.  Our home could not contain her during yesterday's extreme heat.  We made several trips around the block either on foot or with Belle riding in the bobby car.  I took chicken out to defrost and cook, but settled for a can of soup when I couldn't distract Belle long enough to make dinner.  Belle surprised me by eating bread soaked in soup.  I still wanted chicken and vegetables though.  I thought I might make that after putting Belle to bed.  I didn't plan on falling asleep too and sleeping until morning.


I have started sleeping when Belle sleeps again.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Breakfast Bites

I am encouraging a consistent morning routine for Belle.  Breakfast is the hardest by far.  Belle only likes to eat cold cereal, some bread, pasta, cheese, yogurt and fruit.  She refuses meat and vegetables.  It’s easier to give her dry cereal and raisins while she is strapped in the pushchair than it is to serve breakfast at our table.  We had four hours before we ran Thursday’s errand and I didn’t even have a chance to boil water for tea, let alone prepare breakfast.  What to do?

Baby Signs

I have started teaching Belle more baby signs, as inspired by a mom in our play group.  Belle now knows “cat,” “help” and “hot.”  At first she turned her head or knocked the baby sign book off the bed in defiance.  Now she happily opens the book and hands it to me.  Belle is learning language in all its forms.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Hearty whole grains

I tossed the last of the buckwheat pasta with ghee, mascarpone cheese, spices and sugar.  Belle really liked that.  She even ate some roasted baby carrots with the pasta that were coated in the same spice.  She drank plenty of my fresh squeezed orange juice and ate all the grapes from our CSA box.  That’s an improvement! 

I found more brands and varieties of pasta made with hidden vegetables at the market.  I didn’t buy any since I already have two boxes of Hidden Veggie pasta on hand.  Belle seems to enjoy pasta now.  We started with quick cooking ramen and have since graduated.  I will continue offering these hearty whole grains.

Friday, September 26, 2014


I want Belle to attend a particular preschool.  I am steadily reading to her and taking her to playgrounds and play groups in the meantime.  Unfortunately, Belle doesn’t speak out in groups yet.  She observes before she jumps into free play.  A skill assessment taken by the doctor this summer ruled out delay or disability.  When Belle didn’t answer a female acquaintance, the woman suggested federally funded preschool, if only for the sake of early intervention.  I guess she assumed Belle is mute because she hasn’t seen otherwise. 

I don’t see any issue here with Belle’s development.  I heard Belle say “okay” many times on Thursday.  She beckoned me up the stairs to the slide by saying “come.”  She slapped my bum and encouraged me to “go” down the slide.  She asked for “milk” by saying and signing it.  She counted to three in the kitchen.  She could already say “hot,’ but now she signs it too.  Belle is learning signs and words from her two favorite books.  She is certainly a fast learner.

The Lottery

Temperatures reached eighty degrees at home on Wednesday evening, forcing us into party clothes and back out for this month’s mixer.  A smaller group and a “no host” bar meant endless wine for me and plenty of food to take home.  Belle found a children’s area full of electronic learning toys and quickly cooled off.  I made a few connections, including the sister of an old friend.  We came home after dark, but still full of energy.  Belle asked to play in the community park and had fun sliding by street lamp. 

I woke up dehydrated at one AM Thursday morning from drinking too much Zinfandel at the mixer.  I ate chilled red grapes and drank cold water to hydrate myself.  Then I let Krishna back inside (Polly stayed out in the rain.) along with some cool, fresh air.  I stayed up listening to KQED and playing computer solitaire.  Belle woke up just after four AM, in time to see the cards slide down the monitor after I won my first game.  We just stayed up, listening to public radio and the light rain until we left for our usual Thursday food run.

We went the shorter route to McDonald’s so I could grab a coffee.  I didn’t buy Belle a yogurt tube because I’d filled her food tray with leftover grapes.  I trusted my senses to get us to our destination via a shortcut I had only imagined.  I felt accomplished, caffeinated and good when we arrived.  I soon realized others in the crowd weren’t nearly as happy.  We walked right into a fight, in fact, between the director and a client.  Someone ushered me into an unruly line to get a number for our grocery order.  I suddenly held number one and would be first in line for groceries.

Women in the crowd objected to me being called first.  I handed over my ticket, clearly marked with a number one, to the lovely and patient woman at check in.  Another mom, left disabled from being injured while giving birth, threw an adult tantrum in front of her preteen daughter about me being first.  I narrowly escaped being first in line for free groceries with my life, and yet I still hold compassion for this disabled woman.  Other “friends” who couldn’t believe I’d been called first called me dirty names to my face. 

We got apples, baked goods, bananas, celery, cheese, golden flesh sweet potatoes, hummus, naan, nectarines, onion, oranges, pears, potatoes, rainbow trout and zucchini.  Someone made a big show of handing Belle a juice and a couple of yogurt pouches.  Unfortunately, no one noticed those yogurt pouches had expired in July.  Belle took a couple sips before handing it back to me.  We had already gone back home by then and couldn’t do anything to change it.  We didn’t need to be any closer to that angry, ugly crowd.  I guess the weak weather system only fueled the fire.

I made orange juice (I had over twenty oranges saved up.) and buckwheat pasta inspired by something one of the moms brought to Tuesday’s potluck.  I simmered buckwheat pasta with the frozen zucchini slices and drained off the water.  I softened onion and peppers in a fry pan and browned ground chicken in the same pan.  I drained off the oil and added a can of tomato sauce and seasonings.  I poured the meat sauce over the cooked pasta and zucchini and stirred in mascarpone cheese.  It came out nice!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Hidden Veggies

On Tuesday Belle and I attended a potluck at the home of one of the moms we met at last Thursday’s beach picnic.  I made sautéed eggplant in marinara sauce (Everyone ate some!) and a homemade apple and pear sauce (No one ate any because another mom had made the most delicious chocolate cake!).  Belle seemed to like the penne pasta made with “hidden veggies” made by the hostess.  I wound up buying two boxes of Golden Grain Hidden Veggie Small Penne pasta later on, currently on sale at my nearest market. 

It’s nice to know people in Alameda who want to be here.  I am making friends with other moms who seem genuinely excited about their new lives on the island.  I wish I could have made friends like this when I moved here in 2007.  Maybe I would have mailed out those beautiful beach theme cards I had printed up with the address of my new home.  Maybe I would have had the housewarming I never had.  Maybe I would have felt supported enough to thrive.  I am sure I would have had Belle under better circumstances had I just felt connected.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Mmm. Food.

We had an exciting food filled weekend.  We were walking home on Saturday when a man driving a utility vehicle asked if we could use an eggplant.  He said he worked on a farm nearby and had a surplus.  Good thing I always carry a bag with me because he gave us lots of apples, two eggplants, green beans, hot peppers and tiny tomatoes.  I snacked on tomatoes on the mile and a half walk home.  Belle fell asleep eating an apple, which I happily finished. 

We were on our way to McDonald’s on Sunday, with only nineteen minutes to spare for the free coffee, when I spotted the box across the street.  I always stop and grab the box, no matter what it holds.  Someone living nearby periodically puts their extra “first five” or food bank food in a cardboard box by a street lamp across the street.  I swiftly pushed Belle across the street, grabbed the cardboard box full of canned food and walked it back home without looking through it.  We still managed to make it for coffee five minutes before breakfast ended. 

Belle seemed extra clingy at McDonald’s, especially when our friend Ellen joined us.  I couldn’t enjoy conversation with another adult because Belle wouldn’t play with the other children.  This neediness, combined with Belle’s inability to sleep through the previous night, made me wonder if we should skip a party happening the same afternoon.  I also noticed a mystery stain on my dress that I couldn’t remove with my limited time and resources in McDonald’s restroom.  We attended the party anyway (No one noticed the stain!), and Belle finally loosened up.

We brought home leftover fried fish and pork from the party.  Belle fell asleep holding a candy filled goody bag.  This nap allowed me to finally sort through the box:  beef ravioli, beef stew, black beans, cream of mushroom soup, green beans, mandarin oranges, mixed fruit, sweet peas, tomato sauce, tuna in water, vegetable beef soup and whole peeled tomatoes in various quantities.  None of this food is certified organic, but it is all good food to have on hand.  I believe in keeping a fully stocked pantry and steadily working through it.  Long live whoever puts out this box!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Lotza free coffee and new friends

We had to leave McDonald’s Wednesday when Belle wouldn’t stop licking or touching the play structure with her mouth.  We’d gone early so I could get a free coffee and Belle could play.  She didn’t have any playmates as the older children were in school and I was busy on my computer.  Belle had no other outlet save exploring her world with her mouth. 

Belle laughed off my warnings against that disgusting behavior.  I buckled her back into the pushchair and let her squirm.  I let her out after several minutes, only to see her try it again.  I buckled Belle up for real and navigated toward the college.  Belle asked for food and pointed toward home instead.  We went home and stayed.

We went back for more free coffee on Thursday.  I didn’t care how hot or humid it was for eight thirty in the morning.  We had to either make a McDonald’s run or tear the kitchen apart.  This took time away from the usual Thursday morning time crunch.  Blazing hot and pressed for time, I walked forty minutes round trip for coffee (to go!) before walking the thirty minutes on our food run.

Belle napped in the pushchair long enough on our return trip home for me to put our food away and pack a picnic lunch.  We walked to the beach for lunch with a moms group.  Belle met another Belle (although I didn’t ask if she is called Belle too) at the beach.  The girls were born the same year, only a day apart.  My Belle rubbed her new friend’s back.  New friend Belle shared her banana chips and snack puffs. 

I felt so hot once we finally came home (It reached seventy-seven degrees upstairs.) that I filled the tub with cold water for a soak.  Belle wouldn’t join me for a dip because it felt “hot.”  Belle meant “cold” but she said “hot.”  I couldn’t enjoy a cold soak for long with Belle running around our hot house alone.  I eventually cooled off, and so did Belle.  She refused a nap and stayed up past ten.  

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Early, busy Tuesday

Belle woke me before sunrise Tuesday morning.  Krishna had jumped onto my bed, waking Belle up and forcing me bolt upright.  I cursed everyone in my house, grabbed a robe and begrudgingly started the day.  I fried eggs and turkey burger patties and warmed a bowl of leftover mashed gold and sweet potatoes.  Belle made the “yucky” face and shook her head at the food.  She stood colorful plastic popsicle sticks into half a cantaloupe rather than eat it.  She turned up her nose at a yogurt.  She ate a little whipped cream off a soup spoon and called it a morning.

We were up and out early enough to meet our church friends at McDonald’s.  Belle enjoyed lemonade and a yogurt tube.  I drank a large complimentary coffee. (McDonald’s is offering free coffee for breakfast as a special two week promotion.).   Belle wouldn’t leave my arms long enough for me to drink my coffee or maintain my online life.  I eventually gave up and joined her in the winding play structure, where I found dirty (obviously used, but not soiled) bandages.  I alerted an employee immediately.  Let’s hope they took care of it.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Toddler diet

Saturday’s Target run yielded gluten free chicken nuggets and whole milk yogurt.  Belle has since eaten half a frozen nugget, a quarter of a baked nugget and about a teaspoon of yogurt.  We shared a Twix, a package of those sugar cookies you just pop on a cookie sheet and bake, a quesadilla and a bacon and spinach salad on Monday evening.  Belle liked all of that.  


I am completely spent after seven nights of spiritual cleansing work.  On Monday afternoon I found a bottle of wine with the same name as a symbol associated with protection.  I bought and drank the wine (cheaper and cleaner than the actual symbol and its usage) while documenting my final thoughts on the matter.  I spent Monday evening hydrating with lots of ice water.

Sunday, September 14, 2014


Saturday’s food run proved more practical than romantic:  five pounds of white rice, four pounds of dried lentils, and four pounds of beef stew.  Belle got thirty ounces of raisins.  Coincidentally, I had opted against purchasing two boxes of organic raisins on Friday because raisins weren’t necessarily needed right then. 

I took the three dollars I saved by not buying raisins to Target and bought the cats a few cans of [ beef and chicken/turkey] pate.  I bought Belle gluten free chicken nuggets, whole milk yogurt and Halloween socks.  I didn’t buy anything for myself because I didn’t need anything.  I had some merlot on Friday, which was a good treat.

Client satisfaction

 I gave an intuitive tarot reading at home on Friday.  I priced the reading at half the price of what my mentor suggested.  My client paid five dollars above asking and brought along two bags of groceries for us, including meat and dairy.  I used some of the money I earned for canned fish, ghee and juice.  I took advantage of economy sizes and sales.  I didn’t buy Belle any biscuits because we’d gotten a large bag at Thursday’s food run.  I didn’t buy myself any coffee or tea for home brewing because I couldn’t choose from so many choices.  I just pray I gave a clear reading, with Belle climbing the table and spooning tea from cup to cup.  The key is client satisfaction.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Festival friends

Belle stayed up well past one am, which made our early Saturday morning food run insanely challenging.  She banged her head against the wall and screamed in protest.  I quickly zipped myself into a skirt that I paired with a designer top I’d kept since 2000, the year I turned twenty-four.  I felt scandalized later on when another mom said her eighteen and twenty-two year old daughters would love the top that I, nearing forty, had on.

Belle requested I read her children’s prayer book at nap time.  She asked me to read from her children’s Bible when we finished the prayer book.  I either fell asleep reading Belle the Bible or a collection of bedtime stories.  Who remembers?  I woke up to Belle sleeping upside down.  We eventually pulled it together and walked down to a local festival.  We spent all weekend at the festival.

This is the last year I can take Belle to a festival without spending money.  I really didn’t see anything to spend money on.  I wanted beer.  Belle wanted a pony ride.  We listened to my old friend’s band instead.  I caught whiffs of everyone else’s beer and wine.  I guess gone are the days when I am just handed drinks.  A friend offered Belle a bite of his pork rib, as is if he had a choice.  I had never seen Belle so excited about meat before.

Relax at Ronald's

We met a stressed out woman and a sweet little boy at McDonald’s the other day.  The woman looked like an older mom in sunglasses and faded black jeans.  The whole energy shifted once the woman entered the patio.  An older couple noted the energy shift immediately and didn’t linger long after finishing their meal.  I felt the tension but wouldn’t leave because the children were having fun playing. 

Belle overheard the woman and the child’s plan to walk to a nearby park after their lunch.  Belle realized her geography and asked, “Wee?” followed by sign language for “playing” and a finger pointed toward the park.  We walked over to the other park and joined them.  Right away I noticed the woman hovering over the child.  She would practically choreograph his play, scolding him for every misstep.

I listened as the woman made excuses for the child to his playmates and their mothers.  I watched as she broke up basic physical play.  She actually warned the child his new friends didn’t really want to play with him because they didn’t know him.  They weren’t his brothers.  He had to stay away.  I couldn’t believe the expectations and guidelines she had for a boy who had only recently turned four.

I asked the woman if she had other children.  I had heard her mention to another mother that the child missed his brothers.  That’s when the woman revealed herself to be the child’s paternal grandmother.  The child and his siblings had come from a troubled home.  She told me a story I could relate to in part.  I remembered my own early life and made a few suggestions to help the grandmother relax.

Will tarot for Tampax

I awoke Friday morning to a large box of personal care items left on our door mat.  The box included many tampons to replace those Belle destroyed.  I would have traded tarot readings for Tampax earlier in the week.  I had taken my chances at Dollar City (sixteen regular tampons for two dollars) when no one appeared to take me seriously.  Evidently, someone did.  I found a message from the tampon fairy later in the day that I felt called for tarot.

I juggled a hot coffee and a thirteen card tarot reading from my table inside Ronald’s office.  My cards attracted a curious Belle and her two new playmates, a five and a seven year old, brothers, in school uniforms.  The older boy assumed my tarot cards were playing cards and quickly organized a game.  I handed him my petite Lenormand deck instead.  All four of us were holding a handful of cards the boy dealt, even Belle.  The game had no rules. 

Meanwhile, I was still typing up a tarot reading with my other hand.  I couldn’t put the cards down on the table because all three children wanted them.  I had to remember each position while interpreting the cards and keeping track of the children and my petite Lenormand deck.  The younger boy typed nonsense into the chat window to keep it interesting.  I still managed to help a friend in need though.

Friday, September 5, 2014


No fresh squeezed orange juice this week because we only got six oranges at our usual Thursday food run.  We brought home many pears though.  We have a fridge full of pears.  I will make more apple and pear sauce perhaps.  That will go well with the sausage.  Belle also got green grapes.

I made a nice couscous dish for dinner:  warm vegetable oil, curry powder, onions, peppers, pumpkin, vegetable broth, corn, okra and couscous.  Belle ate apple and cheese Danish instead.  I threw the Danish away at night’s end after I caught Belle abusing the leftovers while seated on a potty.

Belle had several hours of outdoors play and didn’t protest sleep.  We’d followed a McDonald’s playmate and his grandmother to a nearby park.  The children spent five hours playing between both parks.  Our children attracted more children, which made it impossible for anyone to leave the park.  We had a fun day!

Thursday, September 4, 2014


Belle and I had already spent about ninety minutes at McDonald’s when I spotted an old friend in need of a tarot reading.  We agreed she would have the reading now and owe me actual money next week.  I consented to this since I know and see the woman and her husband often.  I asked for cookies for Belle and a hot fudge sundae for myself in the meantime.  Her husband threw in three overripe peaches he’d just bought at farmer’s market too.    

I let my friend release a fair deal of woes prior to the reading.  She even sang the praises of another reader she’s been faithfully visiting.  I learned from my friend that her reader wants hundreds of dollars from my friend to remove a supposed curse.  I suggested my friend either consult with one of the many trained root workers I know for a second opinion or book hypnotherapy sessions with me.  We’ve been discussing hypnotherapy for years, and she has never booked a session. 

My friend’s situation has not changed much in the five years we’ve known each other.  I sense she might be headed for change though.  She’s so enamored with her reader, and ready to spend good money to break a curse that may exist only in the mind of her reader, that she might be disappointed.  Meanwhile, I have scripts for many of the things she’s interested in changing.  She always has so much going on though.  She would need to narrow it down. 

Belle endured four hours at McDonald’s in all.  She played at the entrance of the play structure by day’s end.  It only took her five visits to warm up to playing there.  She made eyes at another mom and charmed the woman into giving her a new toy.  I think the toy is a cat.  She also charmed a boy in junior high into giving her a kiss through a window.  I looked up in time to see them kiss, their lips only separated by glass.  Alright!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Sleepy head

Belle woke me up well before six this morning because she had to pee.  I reluctantly agreed to stay awake and upright despite repeated attempts at returning to bed after everyone had peed.  Belle kept pinching my face and other body parts whenever I would dare shut my eyes.  I eventually got up and made ramen noodles for breakfast.  Belle took a few forkfuls of food and fell right back to sleep at the bowl.  She remained asleep until mid morning, thereby jinxing our play date plans.  At least I got her bed before nine thirty last night!

Monday, September 1, 2014


Belle had a full day's play yesterday and still stayed awake past one this morning.  I thought I would die.  In fact, I longed for it.  I paced until I felt myself practically sleepwalking, and then I paced more.  I made a mug of cocoa (cocoa powder, sugar and vegetable oil dissolved in milk) to share.  Belle fell asleep after a few sips.

I made the best lentils today.  I poured an entire kettle of hot water over a cup of lentils and let them simmer with a couple chicken bullion cubes (without MSG).  Then I added a generous amount of frozen collard greens and left over savory brown rice (brown rice simmered in vegetable broth, corn kennels and cut okra).  I found this dish most divine and inspired.  If only Belle would eat some...

Sunday, August 31, 2014


Belle and I ate vanilla ice cream cones at McDonald’s on Saturday.  While I ate mine right up, Belle let hers drip all over her hands, her clothes and the table.  I had to help her eat it, which wasn’t difficult because I really wanted more anyway.  Belle ate her ice cream while watching children play on the play structure.  Belle never really joined these children once we finished her ice cream and got all cleaned up.  She seemed curious and observant, yet too timid to play.  This is common in these situations. 

Belle and I have been to McDonald’s Play Place three times now.  One dollar (plus tax) spent on a coffee or a cone gets Belle a couple hours of watching other kids play and me a chance to use free internet.  Last week at Play Place Belle met a child in a tie dyed tee shirt with long, flowing curls and a toy motorcycle.  The child turned out to be a boy ten months older than Belle.  He really wanted to play with Belle, and Belle wouldn’t leave my arms.  He eventually screamed at her, which inspired Belle to scream at Polly once we came home.

Friday, August 29, 2014


Belle and I spent another restless Thursday night.  The cats stayed out all night and Belle stayed up all night.  Belle would ask for food each time I would feel most at rest.  Then she’d run downstairs and pulverize the dinner rolls or muffins we’d brought home earlier.  I knew Belle couldn’t handle it when she threw herself onto the kitchen floor in tears over chocolate pudding.  I thwarted the tantrum long enough to get both cats in and fed.  I managed to brush Belle’s teeth and put her to bed after midnight.  That’s a far cry from the nine pm ideal.  It just isn’t happening this week.  How do we get back on track?

I really liked that chocolate pudding though.  I hadn’t had chocolate pudding that good since Sizzler’s in the 1980s.  Belle had mixed reactions to the pudding though.  Granted, she hadn’t slept.  There might still be hope that Belle might like pudding.  A family meal planning guide I’d brought home from the pediatrician lists custard and pudding as sources of calcium.  I found a great coconut cream custard recipe in one of my cookbooks.  I could just cut the sugar and try it!


Belle and I attended a professional mixer on Wednesday evening.  I arrived completely elated after successfully satisfying a pressing need.  I attracted a woman in need of my services and a linguist willing to spread the word about my services.  Belle attracted, or dare I say, was attracted to, a lively seven year old boy and his eleven year old cousin or friend.  Belle enjoyed chasing after these boys and grabbing their hands to hold.  I just held back and watched.  I wish Belle had the language and the conversation skills to proudly recount this and the experience she had with the six year old child we met last Friday.  That would be so much fun!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014


Belle is restless, especially now that both cats are roaming outside.  Maybe Belle and the cats are in a restless phase.  I don't know.  Last night I got Belle to sleep earlier than normal.  She slept two hours and woke up hungry.  I offered Belle broiled salmon, mashed potatoes and collard greens.  Belle drank pineapple juice and fed me salmon.  Satisfied from dinner, but with a restless child, I decided to boil water for tea and whip some cream.  Belle seemed insistent upon doing anything she shouldn't and didn't stop until she'd cut her finger on the can of evaporated milk I'd discarded.  That killed my desire for tea!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Tot plate/cats

I am really getting the hang of My Plate.  It helps satisfy me at meal times and beyond.  This morning we ate whole wheat toast spread with almond butter, Italian sausage, lentils with okra, red onion and peppers and homemade apple and pear sauce.  Belle ate the almond butter toast and the apple and pear sauce with a glass of milk.  She ate raisins and dried seaweed later on.  I wish she would eat more iron and protein.  She might stay fuller longer.

Also, Polly is officially an indoor/outdoor cat.  Both cats disappeared yesterday and did not return before Belle's bed time.  Belle wouldn't rest at all, which meant I couldn't rest.  Belle didn't sleep until nearly two this morning.  Polly didn't come home until five am.  She followed Krishna back out later on.  May they stay safe and always return.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Ronald's virtual office

I made an insanely satisfying breakfast this morning:  white rice with seaweed and sesame seeds, Italian sausage, lentils with okra, peppers and red onions and homemade apple and pear sauce.  Belle ate the apple and pear sauce and drank reduced fat milk.  We shared a mug of instant coffee later on, which was more milk and sugar than anything.  Now we are at McDonald's, taking advantage of cheap coffee, free Internet and a playground.  Belle is busy watching the children play while eating raisins.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

More My Plate

offered Thursday evening’s dinner (noodles, sausage and broccoli) as Friday morning’s breakfast.  Belle ate cheap white cake instead.  I packed up the cheese and grapes to take along with us.  Belle napped in the shade of the pushchair while I walked the long way to a café.  She ate a little cheese and grapes upon waking and fed the bulk to me. 

We came home in time for a late lunch I never got to make.  Belle gestured toward the last of the cake and promptly lunged for the door.  Belle took the cake to an apartment nearby, where we met a bright six year old child playing alone outside.  Belle fell instantly in love with this girl, as did I.  Belle’s eyes danced as she grabbed the girl’s hand.  She beamed when the girl picked her up and spun her around.  Belle slapped me when it came time to leave because she really liked this girl.

I cooked lentils with cut okra and stewed tomatoes for dinner (a perfect mix of dried, frozen and canned ingredients!).  I sautéed mild peppers and red onions in a separate pot and stirred that into the lentils.  Then I cooked jasmine rice with sweet peas in the same pot where I’d cooked the onions and peppers.  Belle refused the lentils and the rice, drinking pineapple juice instead.  We drank smoothies made from frozen bananas and mixed fruit for dessert.

I served jasmine rice with sweet peas, fried eggs, spicy shishinto peppers fried with onions, grapes, pineapple juice, sour cream and cheese for this morning's breakfast.  Belle insisted on sitting in my lap and threw a fit because I wasn't comfortable.  I couldn't reach the food on the table with Belle in my way.  Belle refused all but the cheese and fruit and overate both into the afternoon.

Friday, August 22, 2014

My Plate

I bought Belle a durable plastic serving plate based on the newer "My Plate" guideline.  I found this item at a discount store.  Last night I made dinner accordingly:  cheese cubes surrounded by noodles, sausage, steamed broccoli and seedless black grapes.  Belle ate cheese and grapes only.  Then she grabbed an onion off the table and offered it to me as a mobile phone.  I ate our entire meal with an onion on my shoulder.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014


We are back using wireless internet at the college.  Belle has stripped off her chocolate stained top.  Her back is scratched from my frantic, yet successful, efforts to pull her out of the street after she ran into traffic.  Now Belle is blowing raspberries, without a second though to what could have meant death for us both.

Sunday, August 17, 2014


I am blogging from outside College of Alameda.  Belle is barefoot and sleeping in the pushchair.  We have had a whirlwind of a week!  God and His angels are really coming through for me right now.  Tomorrow I intend to pay it forward by visiting an ailing friend.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Screaming child

Today's food run included baby wipes, half a pack of training pants and a random can of cat food.  Belle flailed and screamed almost the entire trip.  She'd been screaming since she woke up.  She screamed as I made breakfast.  She screamed when a friend gave us crackers.  She screamed so much that she exhausted herself.  I had to carry Belle with one arm and push the pushchair with the other (I didn't have time to strap Belle into the Ergo.).  I managed to bring home what we needed though.


Belle is thirty-two months old and happily breastfeeding.  I am voraciously eating just about anything I please and nursing/walking it all off.  I can wear a size four dress again.  Last week I tried on a much loved dress, size large, only to see it hang loose.  Last night I cinched the waist with a belt and wore the dress anyway.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Money coach

I feel I can serve as a money coach, based on my experiences these past several years.  Many people fear money and react accordingly.  Maybe I can help.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Tuesday spaghetti

Ruthia's unexpected visit turned into a spaghetti dinner.  Ruthia filled the boiling pot and made the salad dressing.  I made the salad and the spaghetti and meat sauce.  Belle made a complete mess.  She slapped me repeatedly and threw food and utensils.  Then Belle looked at Ruthia to make sure Ruthia was looking as Belle beat me upside my head.  I didn't need to be a disciplinarian because Ruthia addressed Belle for me.  Belle retaliated by pooping on a potty in front of Ruthia.  Ruthia left before I could serve tea.  Such was dinner!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014


Last Friday I offered a friend a cup of tea, to which she said, "No, thank you.  I am on a diet."  My friend soon produced a bottle of cherry soda from her bag and drank it.  I had offered her a steaming cup of black tea, mind you, with real milk and real sugar on the side.  She had rejected the antioxidants in black tea in favor of fake sugar, flavoring and food coloring,  It wasn't even a diet soda, and yet she felt this was "healthy."  What gives?


We are nurturing this mystery tree our friend Ruthia helped us move into shaded sun.  What is it?

Monday, August 4, 2014

Cooking with cornbread?

Belle and I went to picnics all weekend.  We brought home cornbread, mac and cheese and watermelon.  What can I do with leftover cornbread?  The baker made it dense and dry.  Belle keeps asking to eat it and is making a giant mess.  I wouldn't let Belle eat cornbread while perched high on the kitchen counter tops so she climbed down and spit a mouthful of crumbs on clean laundry.  I need this to disappear somehow.

Generous cat haul

A Freecycle family gave us all of their cat food, supplies and toys after their toddler's allergies forced them to re-home their cat.  Interestingly enough, their cat ate the same food as Krishna and Polly, although it might be another flavor within the same brand.  The cats now have at least four months of dry food, the majority of which is Taste of The Wild.  Also, now Polly's litter box matches Krishna's (Same style in a different color.).  I am pleased.  While last Saturday's food run didn't yield cat litter, we got extra cat food.  Today we got food and litter, and we can always use more.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Being Honest

I am finally trying the Honest brand of diapers this late in the game.  Belle wears disposable pull-ups by day and a disposable diaper at night.  She either goes commando at home or she practices in cotton knickers.  That's our current plan until she learns how to communicate her needs.

I asked my usual diaper hook-up for supplies when I noticed our supply running low.  I also asked Freecycle.  No one could deliver.  Last night I found a mom in desperate need to purge a few packs of Honest diapers (and several loose) in Belle's size.  These are perfect!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Playing in pjs

I kept Belle in her pajamas for today's errands.  I added matching sandals, and a cute cardigan that didn't go with anything, and sat Belle in the push chair.  No one commented on Belle still being in pajamas, if they even noticed.  I soon noticed a scarlet cardigan matching navy pants, yet clashing with fuchsia shoes.  In my defence, we were running late so I grabbed what I could find.  I digress.

Belle gestured toward a playground on the way home and I indulged her.  She had no knowledge of still being in pajamas.  Similarly, her younger playmate had no idea his mom had dressed him in lilac {girls?) leggings.  Many of the older kids, campers at a day camp, wore paper dinosaur tails.  One little girl wore ladybug wings with her dinosaur tail.  Another little girl had adhered her dinosaur tail to a silver sequined skirt.  Belle's pajamas fit right in.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014


Belle got a toy horse from Justine yesterday.  There were other toys too but Belle fell instantly in love with the horse.  Belle took off running down the street, barefoot, and waving the horse skyward.   She slapped me repeatedly when I picked her up and attempted to carry her home.  I had a hard time balancing the squirming slugger and her new toys.  Of course she forgot all about the toys once we came home.  

I made blueberry chocolate chip pancakes for dinner.  That proved quicker than the lentils I'd wanted to make.  Later on I ate baked chicken thighs and drank yet another black tea latte.  Belle fell asleep fairly soon after our pancake dinner and shared bath.  I felt relieved because I really wanted to disconnect and not be touched for another several hours.  I made sure to secure Belle's new doll in a drawer away from Krishna, and the horse on a nightstand where Belle will see it come morning.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Feeling better

I have taken things too personally and gotten down on myself for some negative experiences I have had these past several years in Alameda.  I feel now it all comes down to this:  I bought a home in an area where blacks couldn't buy homes just a few generations ago.  While blacks, minorities and women are changing the face of Alameda, some people are still clinging to these outdated beliefs.  That explains why someone living in a neighboring apartment once assumed I was a domestic just leaving work for the evening.  Really, I was a new homeowner taking myself to dinner.  He didn't see that coming and some other folks didn't see it either.  I heard similar things so much over the years that I let it slap me in the face and sting.  Compound old stereotypes with the economic collapse and I made more enemies than friends.  My initial, critical reception (and my own reaction) in Alameda was not conducive to finding a stable relationship with a mature partner with a professional career.  That recession through a wrench at me and my plans to re-invent myself in a new house in a new town.  Some people treated me like I belonged to the "one percent," and not in a good way.  I felt beyond alone and discouraged.  Ultimately, I made the right move.  I must remember that.

Before sunrise

Belle peed through her waterproof pants and wet the bed at four-thirty this morning.  Off went my cotton sleeping gloves and Belle's soggy bottoms!  Belle helped me strip the bed and carry the laundry downstairs.  I started the laundry and served breakfast at five am.  We also colored (I traced Belle's hands and made a peacock from them!), cleaned Krishna's litter box and took a sunrise walk around the block.  Belle took off running down the street when I filled a watering can for the plants.  I found her sitting on her favorite piece of sidewalk about as soon as she sat down.  What a morning!

I coaxed Belle into a sleeping bag on the floor around seven am.  We both fell sound asleep within minutes.  I dreamed we were perched on ladders downstairs.  We had the backdoor open, letting the rain in.  Belle sat covered in rain.  She was naked except for a rain drenched green hoodie.  Belle woke me up in the middle of this dream.  She needed me up and out of the sleeping bag.  She started pantomiming brushing her teeth.  I quickly realised she really meant she needed a potty.  Belle made several successful trips to the potty all day.  We never did anything else.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Heat Wave

Belle and I coped with Friday's heat wave by taking repeated trips around the block.  I made myself a black tea latte (freshly brewed black tea with freshly whipped cream) and got Belle ready for a park trip early in the day.  Belle threw herself into the road once she realized she wasn't being offered tea and wouldn't even walk to the park.  That blew my idyllic vision of sipping tea while watching Belle play.

We spent the rest of the evening drinking white grape juice over crushed ice and shifting from foot to foot.  Belle made a habit out of running out the door and jumping into her bobby car.  She wanted me to push her around the block.  We probably made five trips until nightfall when it cooled off.  Belle even played in the sprinklers and ran barefoot on wet grass.  I was so glad when she fell asleep.

Friday, July 25, 2014


I am feeling the lack of support (no partner, no parents, no siblings and too few local friends) today.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Belle's wardrobe

Belle got new and playfully used clothes and shoes (18-24 months and 2T, which are her current sizes, along with some 3T-5T and even some 5/6-7/8) from generous friends and Freecyclers.  She is having a little trouble accepting these new pieces as hers.  We have had some battles getting her into clothes.  She favors a pair of shoes three sizes too big, yet rejects a pair of shoes she can wear comfortably without a sock.  Also, Belle hasn't even outgrown her 18-24 month clothes.  In fact, her 24 month leggings are baggy and her 2T leggings bunch up.  Surprisngly, she fits into one of the 3T sun dresses almost perfectly.  I will let her wear it now since it's the season.  I bet it will look smashing under her new denim jacket too.

Monday, July 21, 2014


I skipped the annual Meals On Wheels event at the winery and had wine at home with friends.  Belle made a mess drinking from a can of condensed milk while we were getting ready and wouldn't get dressed again.  She spent all afternoon entertaining my [women] friends while clad only in underpants.  She stayed dry though, and I finally had wine with friends.

I will need more [washable] training pants for Belle.  She only has two waterproof pairs and one padded cotton pair.  Let's see what comes in this week!  Belle appears ready to accept that responsibility.  I watched her pull down pants, sit, pee, stand and pull up pants this weekend.  No more diapers for Belle?

Friday, July 18, 2014

On track

Good thing Belle's doctor recommended a follow up visit for her boil.  A follow up visit gave us time to check the boil (Healing beautifully!), discuss last week's lead test (Extremely mild lead exposure?) and take a thirty month skills assessment.  Now that the doctor has a better gage of Belle's abilities, she is dropping her concerns.  Belle is developing normally.  Any gray areas stem from me not introducing certain activities (like threading beads or pasta on a string) because I wasn't aware these activities count as learning tools.  That's a relief!

Dey folks

One day I will need to explain to Belle what happened to my parents.  Until then, Belle is enamored with our pictures.  This week she found a picture of my maternal grandmother, my mother and my father seated on a sofa, with me standing in front of them.  Belle asked, "Dey?" I named each one in the frame.  Belle seemed to understand she wasn't the child in the photo and the young woman on the sofa wasn't me.  She made a connection between my grandmother's full breasts and my own breasts.   Then she offered the child in the picture (me as a toddler) my breast.


Belle ate all three Lunchables we brought home yesterday.  Two of the meals included candy and juice, of which Belle ate all the candy first.  I helped Belle drink the juice since she'd eaten cake frosting all afternoon.  She made pizzas from the Lunchables pizza kit.  She did very well even without the pizza sauce (I hid the sauce.  Belle already had pink frosting in her hair.  I didn't want pizza sauce there too.).   I found two perfectly hand crafted pizzas forgotten on the table after Belle had gone to bed.  I also found a teaspoon she'd used to measure the cheese.  What fun!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

How To Lose A Girl In Nine Days

My birthday came and went without fanfare.  Every year I say I want, no, I demand fanfare, and every year my birthday quietly comes and goes.  I would have liked a cocktail party or a bottle of wine though.

That older man finally got the message I am not interested in him romantically.  He spent nine days aggressively pursuing me by buying Belle cheese, cookies, crackers, juice and yogurt.  He even bought me a jug of wine.  All that ended when I offered platonic friendship instead.

I also offered to help him see through an alleged wrongdoing acted against him.  I even gave him a tarot reading.  Being from Haiti, he said I wasn't as good a reader as those found in his county.  He offered to take me to Haiti to learn.  No thanks.  We're better off forgetting the whole thing.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Low key birthday

I had imagined a champagne brunch for my birthday.  Instead I spent the morning scraping the small chocolate bundt cake I'd designated as a birthday cake off Belle and our floor.  I dressed Belle in a new dress, buckled her up and set out walking to the animal shelter in the afternoon.  We'd accidentally been given kitten food for our adult cats during last Saturday's food run, which I hadn't noticed until all the food had been given out.  The woman who handles the donated pet foot invited us to come in and choose more appropriate food today.  Good thing we did!  We brought home a fifteen pound bag of "grain and filler free" kibble and thirteen cans of wet food.  I may not have had the food and drinks with friends like I wanted, but Belle has new clothes and the cats have a ton of food.

Saturday, July 12, 2014


Urgent Care called.  Belle has a staph infection.  The doctor recommended Belle take the antibiotics anyway.  Belle seemed all too jazzed to take medication.  She even wanted her second dose immediately, which I denied.  Now it's my birthday and I just want more yogurt for Belle, especially now that she is taking antibiotics.

I silently asked The Universe for more training pants for Belle.  We found two pairs of washable, waterproof training pants in a bag of clothes given to us today.  That's a start!  Now if only my birthday could include brunch, coffee, dessert, dinner, wine, etc.  I will settle for Belle's boil healing, if that's all there is.  I do wish there was wine.


Belle and I accepted a tub of freshly picked blackberries from a family who'd gone blackberry picking in the field near the food bank.  The blackberries were sweeter than those growing in our backyard and in our park.  Belle ate blackberries while secured onto my back in the Ergo, while wiping her purple fingers on my coat.  When I let her out of the Ergo to eat more comfortably, Belle threw blackberries at me and at the feet of a woman I'd been talking with.  I had to fasten her back into the Ergo and accept myself with large, visible stains on my clothes.  We'd been given blackberries in a thirty-two ounce yogurt container without a lid and had plenty of leftovers.  We came home and ate those while picking more blackberries from our yard.  Then Belle started squeezing them and rubbing them onto her face and into her clothes.  She looked like Carrie by the end of it.

Thirty month check

Belle had her thirty month check up.  She is roughly thirty-five inches and twenty-eight pounds.  The height is likely off since she wouldn't stand still.  Also, we had to be weighed together before I had my weight taken alone and subtracted.  Nevertheless, Belle is doing well.

The doctor would like to see Belle string more words together.  Belle started saying, "No, mommy" this week and "Me me, no mo'" last month.  I am sure more phrases are coming, just days and weeks after the thirty month check up.  Thus begins total language learning these next few months before October's flu shot.

We brought home antibiotics and pain relievers to help heal the boil on Belle's bum.  Two applications of hot compresses on Thursday brought it to a head and started the draining process on Friday.  Belle doesn't have a fever, nor is she favoring the boil.  She only reacts when I touch the boil to treat it.

The doctor doesn't want me to administer antibiotics unless it worsens.  She wants Belle in an emergency room as a last resort.  I had a polinidal cyst once upon a time.  I had pain, a fever and lethargy.  I know what to look for.  I treated Belle with more moist heat and I am leaving an onion on the boil over night to help draw it out.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Dealing with old people

I have been pursued by a man in his fifties all week.  I finally had to tell him I am neither attracted nor interested.  I am open to meeting someone closer to my own age with whom I have something in common culturally, intellectually, etc.  The guy never made any space for me to introduce myself.  When I mentioned books and music as starting points, he shot that down as impractical.  How depressing!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Noodles and berries

Belle and I ate beef ramen, drained and tossed with ghee (clarified butter) for dinner.  I couldn't fry bacon or make vegetables tonight.  Maybe I would have made an egg casserole had Belle found something else to do.  We liked our noodles though.

I bought eight dollars worth of stone fruit last Saturday that still hasn't ripened completely.  We've been biding our taste buds with blackberries in the meantime.  Good thing berry stains rinse out of clothes with boiling water!

Monday, July 7, 2014

No mo'.

This was a fun, wine filled weekend until the very end when it all fell apart.  My long-term tarot client phoned me under the influence and in crises.  I was having my own drink with Belle sleeping when the phone rang.  I quixkly lost my buzz and never regained it.  It is impossible to address someone else's issue when you are enjoying the same thing.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Independence Day

We celebrated Independence Day at the annual parade.  Belle seemed mystified by all the horses in the parade, especially the one being commandeered by a toddler in pink.  We resisted the ice cream carts and lemonade stands because it wasn't very hot and we weren't very hungry.  In fact, we were late to the parade because I'd fried eggs and potato pancakes, of which Belle ate cookies.  We had a great time on full stomachs and only missed forty-five floats.

Someone brought me some wine and cheese later on.  I was a couple glasses in (and standing barefoot outside with it) when our next door neighbors invited us to their barbecue in the park.  Belle nibbled on a rib and strawberries.  I drank homemade sangria, followed by what I can best describe as a mimosa already made in a bottle.  I probably would have followed the neighbors home to their house had Belle not needed to play on the play structure on the way home.

Belle jumped out of bed at two-thirty this morning and just stood crying in the dark.  I jumped out of bed too and drank some water to curb my hang over.  I got Belle back into bed until eight when Krishna woke her up.  I warmed up leftovers to eat in the bath, which was the only way I would have gotten clean, fed and hydrated with a clingy child in a time crunch.  Belle and I made this morning's food run late and still left early enough to cart it home and trek back out to shop the farmer's market, where we were invited to a wine and cheese party at church.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Salon soiree

Belle and I attended a grand opening party at a hair salon last night.  I took a risk by going because the salon owner doesn't know me.  We have only waved at each other in passing over the past few months since the salon opened.  I found the event on Facebook.

We were having fun until I knocked over a drink somebody left on a table.  The salon owner and her mom overreacted and then ignored me.  The drink (white wine) fell out of a plastic cup onto a vinyl floor and wiped clean.  No permanent damage was caused by me spilling this drink, unlike the stain left on both my dress and Belle's after Belle smeared my henna tattoo.  I digress.

It wasn't about the spilled drink or the paper towels I knocked into the toilet in haste (Seriously, the same little girl ALWAYS banged on the door needing to pee each time I checked into the tiny toilet.).  Maybe seeing a liquid spilled triggered something in the women.  Who knows?  Their reaction echoed years of me being made to feel small and changed the way I saw myself.

I stopped having fun after that.  Someone even came after me as we were leaving to make sure we were okay.  Really, I had to disconnect from drunks and egos.  I spent all day nursing a hang over and a bruised ego.  Then I realized it wasn't that big of a deal.  If someone holds a grudge because I enjoyed myself at their party, where I helped celebrate their abundance, screw them!

Friday, June 27, 2014


Yesterday a friend admitted his feelings for me.  He said these feelings are impacting his eating and sleeping habits.  He says he is overeating, gaining and losing weight and under sleeping because he is so focused on me.  I had absolutely no words for him.  This man hasn't had a girlfriend in forty years.  Forty years is longer than I have been alive.  I must use caution in my response.

A mutual friend let it slip that I have a yard in need of care.  She has encouraged this man to come help me with my yard.  Good thing I haven't let him in.  He'll still know where we live even if I plan to have another person around helping with the yard.  I don't know this man well enough to know if he can process his feelings (and my rejection of these feelings) in an appropriate way.  I don't tolerate unexpected visitors.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Spilled salt and spilled beans.

Belle spilled all my iodized sea salt.  Hours later, I caught her refilling the empty salt shaker with non-iodized sea salt and soil from our yard.  I knew I needed to venture out for more salt, and I knew I would meet someone or something along the way.  I met three women friends, one in the street and two in the market.  The two I met in the market sure spilled the truth about some friends I had been unsure of without me asking.  Sometimes a little annoyance like spilled salt leads to better things, you know?

Sal Bahia

Belle dumped all my Sal Bahia Iodized Sea Salt onto the floor.  I don't care if I bought this for less than a dollar at Discount City.  I had intended to use it to the last sprnkle without being wasteful.  I pray it wasn't a close out.  These are the hazards of a walk in pantry.

Outsourcing housework

I tried to outsource cleaning my kitchen last Monday.  It's difficult for me to give the kitchen the scrubbing it needs while Belle is awake and clingy or curious.  A dirty kitchen makes it difficult to cook.  Cooking is challenging enough with a picky toddler still on the tit, but with a dishelved kitchen?

My friend agreed to help me because it is Summer and light in the evenings.  Unfortunately, my sticky countertops overwhelmed her.  She believes in bleach and water for cleaning when I believe in vinegar and water or gentle, organic cleansers, like Method and Mrs. Meyers, especially now that I have a child and two cats.

My unwitting kitchen helper acted like a drama queen.  I had to show her how to use spray cleanser, which she over used.  I had my head down washing dishes by hand with Belle secured on my hip with a cloth wrap (And obnoxiously eating grapes, I might add!).  I didn't notice the entire bottle of cleanser being wasted on one counter.

She wants to come back "whenever" and bring her bucket of nasty bleach.  No thank you.  I used that momentum and found some time to clean without help.  I did what I could realistically do with Belle running in circles around me and Krishna crying at the backdoor.  I will finish this!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Kea Hypnosis

I have launched both my website and a fundraising campaign.

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Friday, June 20, 2014

The Box

Someone nearby periodically leaves a box of canned "First 5" or food bank foods in a box up against a street lamp post.  I always just stumble upon the box.  Sometimes the box has already been picked through.  Today the box just sat there, whispering to me to cross the street and grab it.  That wasn't easy while carrying a glass of water in one hand and holding Belle's hand with the other.  Belle even had the handle of her bobby car in her other hand.  I abandoned the car and the water, grabbed a squirming Belle in my arms and crossed the street not knowing what the box might hold.  I lucked out!  I filled our pantry with sixteen cans of fish, fruit, ravioli, soup and vegetables.  I later found Belle balancing a can of ravioli, a can opener and a bowl as she walked upstairs to find me.  I did not, however, find the bowl of ravioli she'd rejected at dinner.

Indoor/Outdoor Cat

Krishna is a happier cat when allowed his own outdoor life.  He got out through the open backdoor when Belle handed me a dandelion.  I left him alone for several hours until I heard him coughing under a window.  Of course he ran from me when I approached him and stayed gone a couple more hours.  Krishna asked to be let in with a strong meow at nightfall.  Polly appeared to greet or scold him and Belle screamed and chased him.  I doused him with an herbal flea powder and let him be.

Thursday, June 19, 2014


This week I signed a petition to help a charter middle school expand to include kindergarten and elementary school.  Tonight we toured the school and watched a presentation on their proposed curriculum.  I am strongly considering breaking tradition by sending Belle to a charter or public school, and not Catholic school.  Belle won't start kindergarten until late Summer 2017 (Her December birthday complicates matters.  She will be five years and eight months when she starts, and will quickly turn six within months of becoming a kindergartner.).  Now to consider preschool.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Kitty vacay

Krishna got out and stayed gone for about five hours.  I was spooning hot rice into a bowl when the doorbell rang.  It was a solicitor selling internet service to the previous tenant who hasn't lived here in seven years.  When the solicitor learned I was the home owner, he tried to sell me internet service.  Unfortunately, I had a naked toddler on my hip, rice cooling on the stove and a schedule to keep (Tonight was a rare night meeting for La Leche League, and we still had to eat an early dinner, get dressed and commute across town by bus.).  Krishna chose that moment to dart through the half open door and into the garden.  Needless to say, we missed the solicitor's presentation and the meeting.  Dinner became rice and sardines, reserving one to lure Krishna back in with.  I eventually found Krishna curled up on the back porch and ready to come inside.  Here's hoping we fare better for tomorrow night's meeting at the school.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Baby doll

Belle made a new friend in the park yesterday, a little girl turning three soon.  The little girl shared her baby doll and shopping cart with Belle.  The girls took turns handing each other the doll.  Belle even held the doll like a real baby.  She hasn't played with her own dolls though.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Lots of mixed fruit

We skipped Thursday's food run so we could handle other business.  A friend came by the house to check on us because we don't normally miss Thursdays.  We made Saturday's food run though.  We also shopped the farmer's market and received our CSA box.  We are eating lots of nectarines and peaches now.  Belle took one bite of a plum and spit it out.  She also tried to feed fruit to the cats.

No bread or dessert this week unless I make it.  Twice last week I made Johnny cake with mixed fruit.  I am tempted to bake gingerbread with mixed fruit.  Belle might love that.  It's a great way to encourage Belle to eat more fruit.  Next comes vegetables.  Belle could stand to eat more vegetables.  She did eat beef ravioli in tomato sauce earlier, but a tomato is a savory fruit.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Money spread, Mythic tarot

Financial foundation:  Ace of Cups
Money coming in soon:  2 of Pentacles
Money opportunities I may want to consider more closely:  Death
Who/what will bring in new money:  The World
Result:  Hermit

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Site builder

I am designing my website with Weebly.  I am offering hypnotherapy, intuitive coaching and spiritual mentoring.  I have published the site well before I have finished adding content.  While I have updated social media with this new web address, I will not promote the site until I polish it.

I still haven't booked any time with my long-term client.  We haven't agreed on compensation.  This is frustrating because I would like to do the work to keep up momentum.  I have continued to work with my client living overseas instead.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

2 1/2!!!

Belle is two and a half today.  We celebrated her "half birthday" with a cinnamon sugar coffee cake.  I would have rather celebrated with fresh strawberries and a modest serving of cake, saving leftovers, but I guess we needed to gobble it all.  Belle turns three in exactly six months.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Childhood passions

I felt passionate about cheer-leading as a child.  I thought Dallas Cowboys' cheerleaders wore the best costumes.  I also loved watching cheer-leading competitions on ESPN.  I became a life coach as an adult, which is a cheerleader of sorts.
I also felt passionate about the ministry.  I would arrange my grandmother's religious statues in a row and then have "church" by walking us through them.  I became an ordained minister as an adult.

Grief therapy after my parents died included hypnotherapy.  I became a certified clinical hypnotherapist as an adult.

A more sedentary lifestyle with my grandmothers encouraged a childhood love of reading and writing.  I earned a Creative Writing degree as a young adult.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Raise the bar

Sunday began with live streaming of my cousin's wedding from Greece.  I had anticipated watching this from bed until Belle started using toys as step ladders.  We ended up watching the wedding at the dining room table while I choked down the hard peaches and ripe bananas Belle wouldn't stop touching.  I also drank the last of the cinnamon tea.

Belle noticed our neighbor's garage door open about as soon as it became impossible for me to focus on the post-wedding live stream.  She practically flew out the front door with excitement.  Guests were arriving for the birthday party for the little girl Belle sometimes plays with.  We were not invited to the party, but could have pulled it together at the last minute if asked.  We ended up walking to the park instead.

We met various neighbors and their dogs in the park.  I vocalized the differences I notice between the side we live on and the side my friends with the dogs live on.  Belle and I live on the quiet, less social side of our community.  People tend to go their own way here.  The other side is more friendly, especially for families with young children.  My neighbor suggested I move there when my lease is up here.  I don't have a lease.  I must accept I bought a home on the sleepy side.  Maybe I can raise the bar?

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Coaching stuff

I have befriended an Eritrean grandmother from church.  She lives with her family down the street from us.  Yesterday I learned my friend is offering childcare and household help.  Maybe I can accept these and offer her the life coaching she needs to establish herself as an exchange.  I would need to propose the idea of course.

I missed an appointment with a long term coaching client last week when the client elected to send me an online message to book the session as opposed to a phone call or text message.  She'd already made plans on the other side of town by the time I checked those messages.  Oh well!

I can look to this long term client, my Lenormand client in The United Kingdom and my client in Canada for testimonials.  I may still have emails from satisfied clients from a few years ago if I search for them.

Thursday, May 29, 2014


A friend's wedding album has me thinking about my own wedding.  I want a dress, a ceremony, a reception and pictures.  Why settle for just any guy?  Why have a courthouse wedding without cake or guests?  I know there is a big hole in my life where parents and siblings should be.  While I made friends through school, I haven't done very well making real friends outside of school.  I haven't worked a traditional job, nor have I joined any clubs or taken any classes.  I am at a disadvantage in regards supporters and wedding guests.  I am estranged from my godparents too.  A wedding will be interesting!  I best find community now if I want this.

Wayward cat

Krishna got out twice today.  He quietly stepped out when we did this morning.  I found him peeking at me through the back door as soon as we came back a few hours later.  I hadn't even noticed him missing because we weren't home.  I quickly picked him up and put him back inside.

He got out again a couple hours later.

Belle screamed and cried when she watched Krishna scale a fence and disappear behind it.  I eventually found him in our overgrown backyard.  I secured Belle in a cloth wrap on my back, walked through weeds and lured Krishna back in with a sardine.  I grabbed him by the neck, pulled him up and wrapped my arms around him.

I must have been a sight to see:  flower petals in my afro, disheveled by thorn bushes, cat squealing in my arms, toddler eating a scone on my back and a sardine on a plate in one hand.  Belle seemed pleased to have her furry friend back home...until she started throwing toys in her attempt to process it.

Thursday, May 22, 2014


As a young child I wanted to be a cheerleader for Dallas Cowboys. Twenty-seven years later, and with an English/Creative Writing degree and some experience working as an actor, model and makeup artist, I became the youngest student in a life coach training course. The instructor pointed out the link between my childhood admiration of cheerleaders and my life coaching career track as an adult. I completed the course, enrolled in my hypnotherapy certification course, did very well and then learned of the suicide of a long term lover on the morning before the marketing class for the hypnotherapy course. Shell shocked from this and many other deaths, especially the murder/suicide of my parents as a five year old, I moved house 400 some miles away a year later and tried other things that ultimately weren't for me. Now some eight years later, I want to be that motivator I have always dreamed of.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

We crashed a Frozen party in the park!

Belle and I crashed a child's birthday party in the park last Sunday.  We had no other choice.  Belle had witnessed two older girls pour water into the sandbox to make sandcastles.  She quickly dumped our water bottle out too.  Unfortunately, we were seated directly in the sun because the sandbox had no cover.  We were soon very thirsty without any relief.  The water fountain didn't bubble high enough to refill our bottle, and I didn't dare chance drinking water from the sink of a unisex public restroom.  With Belle crying for water, and no water to give her, I had to humbly ask the mother of the birthday girl for anything she could spare for Belle.  Luckily, they had a cooler full of organic juice pouches for kids and bottles of organic lemonade for older kids and adults.  While we missed out on hamburgers and hot dogs, we had a dizzying mix of berries, chocolate cupcakes and sides.  We were even handed a goodie bag of "Frozen" and "Princess" theme items.  Sadly, we lost Belle's paper birthday crown.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

What's ahead for me?

What's ahead for me?

Children, Book, Rider

I am highly educated and intelligent.  I am also guarded and reserved.  Sometimes I feel the weight of the world.  Belle makes life interesting, albeit challenging.  Good news and movement are favored.  Delays are ending.  I will get some news from a woman, possibly about a book, education, writing, or a discovery.

Slow food Saturday

Belle and I ate fruit all Saturday morning:  bananas, dried figs, grapefruit and oranges.  I finally had the luxury of making myself some coffee after many, many days, only to discover that the little bit left in the bag was the last.  We shared a bath, during which I awkwardly, albeit successfully, washed my hair.  Later we walked to a park we rarely venture out to.  Belle fell asleep in the push chair en route and woke up about as soon as we started heading home.  She never saw the park behind her, nor did she smell the barbecue being made in the farthest corner.  I smelled every rose on the walk home and talked to strangers.

I warmed a late lunch comprised of leftovers at home:  broiled salmon, fried potatoes, garlic sauteed kale and an asparagus, carrot, mushroom and onion saute.  Belle threw a massive fit and threatened to feed the salmon to the floor.  I quickly scrubbed the smallest sweet potato and baked it as Belle cried.  She calmed down, ate most of the sweet potato and ignored the rest.  A low key afternoon allowed Belle to turn in by early evening.  She woke up briefly a few hours later and ate the last of the honey roasted peanuts.