Archive for the ‘My life’ category

Yet another guilty mommy

September 18th, 2009

I just read I Was a Really Good Mom Before I Had Kids: Reinventing Modern Motherhood for book club. Authors Trisha Ashworth and Amy Nobile interviewed a lot of moms who feel a lot of guilt about a lot of things. It got me to thinking: What do I feel guilty about—aside from never putting together any scrapbooks for Carter?

I don’t feel guilty about working, even though I’m gone from 8 am to 6 pm every weekday. (I don’t know how stay-at-home moms do it—how they have the patience and physical stamina. The most exhausting time of my life was my 20-week maternity leave.) I think it’s good for Carter to see me do what I love. It doesn’t hurt, in his eyes, that my job means I can make a book about airplanes.

I don’t feel guilty about Carter going to daycare. He learns more at Lucy’s than I could ever teach him staying at home. (Did I mention he understands Russian?)

However, I do feel tremendously guilty if I do something, even take a class, when Carter is not in daycare and is awake: weekday mornings, weeknights between coming home and bedtime at 8 pm, and weekends, outside of naptime, until bedtime.

Last fall, I went on two business trips, four days to New York and three days to Florida—the first time and only times I’ve ever left Carter for more than a day.

I also feel guilty when I want to sleep in the morning, but Carter is awake—especially when he bounces in at 6 am, or even 7 am, and says, “Get up, Mommy! I want you to play with me.”

I should be grateful. For years, Carter got up between 5 and 5:30 am—every morning. And that was it. We were both awake. I’d read stacks and stacks of books. I’d take him for walks in our PJs. Sometimes, I got lucky: he’d nurse and then we’d both snooze.

However, I feel like if I were a truly Good Mother, I would spend and savor every possible hour—even when I’d rather be sleeping—with Carter.

Truth is: Carter doesn’t care that much if I’m gone, as long as it’s not an extensive absence and Jeff is around. Carter actually wants me to go to yoga class on Saturday morning because he likes to go to childcare at the Y (they have fun toys). He’s starting to decline to go on errands with me, even to Trader Joe’s (!), to stay home and play. Sometimes, he’d rather watch TV than bake with me (double ouch). If I leave to go somewhere, I get a “ba-bye” for the most part.

Yet. I feel guilty. Welcome to modern motherhood. According to the book, I’m in good company.

Back at school

July 18th, 2009

Recovering from a week of school all day and working until the wee morning hours. Want to bake but can’t seem to squeeze it in. Might have been easier if I’d foregone the marathon at the Nordstrom anniversary sale.


May 27th, 2009

Jeff is still mourning the demolition of the “old” Old Pro, a sports bar that was about a two-minute drive from our house on the corner of El Camino and Page Mill. For years, he spent many an hour there: drinking beer, reading the paper, and, too often, watching Cleveland teams lose games.

There’s a “new” Old Pro  in downtown Palo Alto, but it’s not the same. It’s too nice: just off University Avenue (i.e., a hip location) plus it’s spacious with no shortage of big flat-screen TVs. The odd thing is, unlike most sports bars: old or new, the Old Pro has good food.

We don’t go to the new one very often, but tonight Jeff and Carter took me there to celebrate my “winning the prize” as Carter says. (I won a full-tuition scholarship to the Stanford Professional Publishing Course—a big deal.) Carter led the “cheers” as he clanked his glass of lemonade with my pint of Guinness and Jeff’s tall Sam Adams.

Cheers! Mommy won the prize!

Jeff constantly teases me about ordering “just a salad,” but the “Sichuan Pepper Crusted ‘FedEx Fresh’ Hawaiian Big Eye Tuna Salad” was amazing: a healthy portion of sliced, seared, rare tuna atop local, organic greens tossed with mandarin oranges, water chestnuts, and just the right amount of Asian dressing. It’s easy to make a bad salad. This one was good.

Guinness, a great meal, and my boys. A perfect celebration.

The kindness of strangers

May 24th, 2009

I found out at our third meeting tonight that two of my book-club members are fans of Cooks Illustrated, too! I used to me in a book club with friends, which didn’t work out. So when my friend Stacey sent me an email about a friend of hers who was forming a book club, I signed on.

So far, being in a book club with strangers (Stacey never came) has worked out well. And now they’re not so strange, and I’m happy to have made a new circle of friends, especially ones who understand the allure of Cook’s Illustrated. Laurel has an online subscription and printed out the banana bread recipe for me, since I’m still in search of just the right one. We were meeting at Bat-Ami’s house, so I paged through her library of Cook’s Illustrated cookbooks. I think I have some shopping to do.

Opening credits

May 21st, 2009

Editor’s note (July 23, 2009): A few months back, I got inspired to start a blog when I realized that nearly all of my Facebook posts were about me and my 4-year-old son, Carter, baking. My best friend, Dawn, encouraged me to start to writing immediately, so the blog wouldn’t feel “empty” when I officially launched it.

To make this dream a reality, many thanks to Dawn and Adam at Rare Brick for the design; to my niece Elyse for getting the right shot; and Lynn, who gave me my first Internet job, for the idea to include

“Carter’s take” (look for the cupcakes).

I’m deeply grateful to my mom for giving all six of her children the opportunity to experiment in the kitchen starting at a very young age, and of course to Carter for our special time in the kitchen together.

The hardest part of writing is starting, so you just have to start somewhere. Here goes:

May 21

I know Alton Brown is not a fan of mono-tasking kitchen gadgets, but a cherry pitter just makes life so much easier when you have a four-year-old who loves cherries.