Wednesday, July 30, 2008


The following note is from my friend Marilee, whose husband Todd ended his life—about 16 months ago now—by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge. They have three young children.

I would appreciate it if you would do what Marilee requests: please click on the link and register your support for a suicide deterrent barrier by August 25th. Thanks in advance.


Todd's suicide off the Golden Gate Bridge in Feb 2007 has opened my eyes about depression and the need for a suicide barrier on the Golden Gate Bridge. Although Todd's death was very complicated, the Golden Gate Bridge provided a perfect method of death for him, highly fatal and off a structure that was always in his life and had meaning to him.

Survivors of those who have committed suicide off the Golden Gate have actively worked towards a barrier for years with little success, but they have never quit. More people join our group every few weeks, and although the barrier will not bring Todd back it will end the addition of new people to our group! Right now the Golden Gate Bridge District is accepting comments on several barrier designs—this is the farthest this has ever gotten! The Opposition is still very strong to not touch the bridge, so I am requesting that you click on this link by August 25th to register a comment supporting the barrier.

In the " What's New" box on the right-hand side of the page, you will see "Comment" highlighted. Click on that. You can also read the EIR if you want.

Here are a few thoughts for your comment:

• My choice is Alternative 1B if you just want a quick answer

• A District Official that I spoke to stated that they do not have the money. I encouraged her to take the first step which is approve a barrier and not say no to everything due to lack of fun ds.

•The survivor group will always grow as long as there is no barrier. This effort will not go away.

•It is the right thing to do, please put politics aside- Those who have committed suicide were worth saving.

•The barrier is technically feasible and I feel will be found environmentally acceptable (EIR).

For more information, please read this New York Times article, "The Urge to End It All."

And the documentary The Bridge was produced and directed by Eric Steel:

And here is the trailer for the film:

Please spread the word to as many people as you can... in state and out!

We appreciate your help in this effort.

Thank you,

Marilee, Grant, Lindsay and Dana

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Cliche Post

I know it's a cliche to write a post about having nothing to write a post about, but if I remain silent until there's something riveting to discuss (like felt crafts and glitter abuse, grocery cart rage, pornographic Chris Isaak videos, saving the life of a wee bird, etc.), it might be silent for weeks here at Nesting Ground Headquarters. And that would never do because then my relatives start flinging one-liners at me: you never update. aren't you blogging anymore? you USED to post all the time.

And then I feel bad.

It's not that there are not little bits and pieces of things happening in my life, mind you. Let's do a rundown:

Writing. Oh, yes, I am. And I have the rejections slapped on my forehead to prove it. Also working diligently on a group project and others bits and pieces. Feeling satisfied (and yet, not) in regards to writing.

Obama-ing. Have you noticed how Barack has let himself go a little gray? I think this is quite presidential and no doubt has the McCain camp readying another really bad television ad (voiceover: "Barack Obama isn't old and out-of-touch.There's only one candidate who's old and so utterly out of touch that he has never used e-mail, and that candidate is John McCain"). Anyways, in my quest to wake up gloriously happy on the morning of November 5th, I continue to volunteer with the campaign. Last weekend I made calls to Independent voters in New Mexico who, I have to say, are some cranky-ass people. I was fairly shaken up by a man who started screaming and calling Barack the n-word.

*jumps around to shake it off*

With some trepidation, I'm participating in the Neighborhood Leader program. I know almost everyone on my 36-person list, though, and I plan to shower them with Obama love in the form of bumper stickers and yard signs. Also, I'll be doing voter registration at the Burlingame farmer's market. Come see me!

Kiddo-ing. It's summer, after all. Despite the fact that my children attempted a coup yesterday (don't worry; I'm fine), I am taking them to the children's discovery museum in San Jose today so that they can crawl down a rabbit hole and play croquet with the Queen of Hearts and have a mad tea party and whatnot in Alice's Wonderland.

Raising Money-ing. It's that time of year when my co-horts and I get ready to throw the big fundraiser for our school. Last year, our 4th year, we finally broke the $100,000 ceiling. It'll be interesting to see what we manage to do in this economy. I'm taking 1,500 invitations to the printer today for trimming, scoring, and folding.

Geez, I better get moving...

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

It Has Come To This.

Maybe I inhaled too much glitter glue. Maybe I'm just not hydrated. Whatever the case, I'm feeling a wee bit hung over from an overabundance of craft-like activity this afternoon. Here are some fairy bookmarks, a project which I have to admit the kiddleys tackled with admirable gusto:

But the gusto was not to last. Below is my homage to felt (I believe I reached the pinnacle of Craft Mountain when I successfully executed the monkey):

Notice how I say this is MY homage to felt. I say this because the children disappeared after realizing it would take 4,379 hours to cut out all the tiny pieces of felt required to make a Cute Stuff applique. By the time I had stitched the monkey's first eye, they had changed into their bathing suits and were running through the backyard sprinkler with some neighbor kids. Every 20 minutes or so they yelled, "Mom! Can you please make smoothies?"

And I did. Between bouts of felt cutting and miniscule embroidering, I made batch after batch of smoothies and delivered them to the increasingly large number of kids in the backyard.

"Thank you!" they said.

"You're welcome," said I.

After pouring the last of Smoothie Batch #3 into Risa's cup she said, "Um, are you done with my monkey bag?"

"Not yet."

"Okay. Hey, you guys. My mom's making me a monkey bag! She'll make one for you, too! Mom! Hey, Mom! Five more monkey bags!"

"Yes! Yes! Monkey bags for everyone!" I said. And I did a little monkey dance.

Time stopped. Many little faces stared at me.

I laughed but, alas, I was the only one.

"She's so embarrassing..." said Vida.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Confession Regarding Last Friday's Date Night

I can't help it: I enjoy Chris Isaak.

And this despite the fact that he's a well-known SWiMWAiF.

I have written about SWiMWAiF's before, but can't seem to find the post anywhere, so I shall re-define. A SWiMWAiF is a "scary white man with a fetish" for Asian and/or Asian-American women. I coined this clumsy descriptor when I was in college and you couldn't turn the corner without bumping smack into some guy who was serial dating Asian girls in an attempt to find the one who might finally intersect with the lame fantasies floating around in his pea brain.

Anyways, if you had asked me to pinpoint the one woman in the audience for whom Chris Isaak would leave the stage and sing directly to, I would have said it would be the Asian woman sitting two rows down and to the left of us. And guess what? Chris Isaak left the stage to sing directly to the Asian woman sitting two rows down and to the left of us. SO NOT a surprise.

But he also covered Cheap Trick's "I Want You To Want Me."

And he also asked his keyboard player to "Please play some musical notes to reflect the pain which I am feeling at this moment."

And when he growled that "Baby did a bad, bad thing," it kinda made me want to do a bad, bad thing.

And, finally, he sang "Wicked Game" just right, and it has one of my favorite lines from a song ever: "World was on fire no one could save me but you..."

I'm going to insert the video here because it's so beautifully shot, but OH MY GLORY I had forgotten how completely not-safe-for-work it is:

Friday, July 18, 2008

The Post In Which I Talk (mostly) About the Little Bird

"You're making lasagna!" she screamed. She pointed at my grocery cart and wagged her finger because, apparently, I was a very, very bad girl for making lasagna. In point of fact, I was NOT making lasagna, but I didn't bother to refute her because I was too busy trying to swallow my desire to point at HER cart and say, "Oh! Super Plus tampons! Your period must be about to start!"

Is it not basic etiquette to avert your eyes from another person's shopping cart? Honestly people.

Now I shall move on to my original post.

* * *

Yesterday a little ball of pulsing feathers was unceremoniously tossed out of its nest. It landed at my feet, where I stared at it for a moment. We were already running late for an orthodontist appointment, so I never should have said anything to my kids, but to have remained silent would have made me a rather poor excuse for a mother. "Look!" I said. "A baby bird! Okay, we gotta go!"

Of course, much madness and many overwrought exclamations followed. "A poor baby bird! Oh what shall we do! Oh where are its parents! Oh we cannot just leave it here! Oh a predator may happen upon it and then it will not survive! Oh! Oh! Oh!"

I managed to pack my brood into the car by saying that the bird's mother would undoubtedly find it in a few minutes. "Oh but what if she doesn't?" Then, I lied, we'll take care of it. I felt certain that by the time we returned nature would have taken its course and some neighborhood cat would have had a nice, crunchy little snack.

But wouldn't you know it? When we got back and the girls tumbled out of the car and through the gate and down the path, the thing was still sitting where it fell. At this juncture, please insert more overwrought exclamations.

I sighed. "Okay, wait here and make sure nothing eats it. I'll go see what we're supposed to do." One quick Google search later, I emerged from the house holding a little plastic container lined with tissue. "Put him in here," I said. "Wait!" I ran back inside and returned with some dishwashing gloves. "Put these on first."

Then, in accordance with my Googled instructions, we tucked the container inside a bush. "Okay. Leave him alone now, and his mama will come feed him." Well, I may as well have presented them with a plate of warm chocolate chip cookies and said I'm going to put this right here in the middle of the table, but don't eat any. Every time I left them unattended they were outside with "Galio," and even though I patiently explained in half a dozen ways that they needed to let him be, they could not. For reasons I SUPPOSE I understand, they were psychologically incapable of offering him any sort of fledgling/nestling privacy.

Finally the spousal unit came home and we were able to conjure up just enough combined power to keep them away from the poor thing. We set him back in his container in the bushes and went about our usual business. About an hour later, the mama and papa bird felt safe enough to swoop in and feed him, and, well, I have to admit something. I have to admit that I, your mean ol' Nesting Ground Mistress, got a little misty-eyed when I saw the family flapping their wings at each other and chirping and flitting about in obvious bird delight.

Of course, it might also have been my allergies. We'll never know for sure.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Random Brain Flickers, Tuesday

I should probably do some laundry.

I love a sweeping epic. Where are the sweeping epics?

Real ass-hole move there, guys.

Best Otter Pop flavor? Sir Isaac Lime. You know it's true.

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH is just as I remember: pretty much perfect.

Why did I wear this? I look like Frida Kahlo.

Definitely should have done some laundry.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Revenge of the Prawn Taco

Yesterday, I ate a prawn taco. Yes, a PRAWN taco. I'm sure you agree that such a memorable moment deserved to be shared with others. It was in this spirit of giving, that I reported my "status" on Facebook. "I just ate a prawn taco," typed I. "You are so jealous."

I then walked the half-block to my loft to continue what I was doing before partaking in the prawn taco. Which is to say, I sat at my desk and willed my fingers to type words. After 90 minutes of this effort, I drove to San Carlos to pick up my children from their art camp. They regaled me with tales relating to the difficulty of executing the proper brushstroke to create realistic palm tree leaves.

Hmmm. I've digressed.

Later, I discovered that two of my relatives, namely Evil Luj and Also Evil Paqui, had left messages on my Facebook wall. "Prawn Taco? What the hec is a prawn taco?" said Evil Luj. "Or maybe you meant, shrimp taco. You know...shrimp. (Prawn Taco? Really?)"

As if this slap in the face of my prawn taco dignity were not enough, Also Evil Paqui chimed in. "Maybe it was served with a side of aioli and basted with a white wine butter sauce? Those are yummy with a good Pinot Grigio," said Also Evil Paqui. "But what do I know, I only eat SHRIMP"

The sordid story continues. Not content with cyberbullying me via Facebook, Evil Luj pursued his anti-prawn taco campaign on Twitter. "There's no such thing as a prawn taco," he taunted.

Well, my friends, I submit that there is.

*dramatically pulls something from pocket and holds it up*

Oh, what is this I see? It looks like a menu from La Corneta!

What happens if we open the menu? Oh, look! There's a list of their tacos right at the top!

Hey, if the photographer zooms in a little, you can just make out where it says "Prawn Taco." They even offer a "Super Prawn Taco."

There's a lesson to be learned here. And I think the lesson is...

...that I did not have to while away precious moments taking pictures of the La Corneta menu when I could have just directed interested parties (of which I can only imagine there are dozens upon dozens) to this page.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

The Play's The Thing

I was sleeping ever-so-soundly when wrested from bed by the kids who, it seemed, had been hard at work writing a play for the enjoyment of one and all. I was dragged to the living room, where my computer was propped on one chair, and the "set" on another. They had somehow figured out how to use iTunes to play the radio and had selected for their needs a station called—and this is something I could not make up if I tried—"Whisperings: Piano Music to Quiet Your World." Here is the set (the object on the right is supposed to be a microphone and it is, indeed, made of one sad pipe cleaner and a wad of tin foil):

As "Whisperings: Piano Music to Quiet Your World" played in the background, Vida raised the microphone and began to narrate the story (in, really, the most hilariously soothing voice EVER) as her sisters manipulated the characters. The title of the piece was "Friends Care," and had only a passing connection to the content. The story arc was thus:

- a caterpillar and snail are best friends.
- they play tag, catch, and "racing" (I keep myself from commenting that snails and caterpillars are not physically capable of catching anything, and that a game of tag or a race between the two would be monuments to the word "slow").
- they feel they can "tell each other anything."
- then caterpillar suddenly grows sleepy and attaches himself to a branch.
- snail tries repeatedly to wake him, but to no avail.
- a girl enters the scene and plays with the snail, but it's just not the same (I keep myself from commenting that perhaps it's a size issue that causes the problem).
- a butterfly suddenly appears and says, "Want to play?"
- snail says, "But I don't know you."
- butterfly says, "Yes, you do! I'm caterpillar."
- snail says, "No. Only caterpillar is caterpillar."
- this exchange continues for several minutes until at last the snail realizes that "bugs change, just like people" and that the butterfly really is the caterpillar.
- but snail says they still can't play together because he, the snail, can't fly.
- at this point, the random girls re-enters and gives him some wings.
- the flying snail and butterfly resume their friendship.

And I resumed my sleep, but not before noting sadly to myself that their story is better than anything I've written yet this summer.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Summer Reading, In Detail

I'm more than halfway through Michael Chabon's The Yiddish Policemen's Union, and even though it's a genre I can't really get with (actually, it's a mix of several, some of which appeal to me and some of which don't: wisecracking detective story, crime story, and family drama, plus handfuls of cultural displacement, sorta fantasy, and hints of Jewish history thrown in), I am rapt. It should be noted that due to my appreciation of another of Mr. Chabon's novels, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, and his full-throttle endorsement of one Barack Obama, I was predisposed to respond in this way. Plus...

...The Yiddish Policemen's Union boasts several Filipino characters. I find this fascinating. And not just maids or drivers, either (though there are those). There is, for example, Benito Taganes:

The hidden master of the Filipino-style Chinese donut is Benito Taganes, proprietor and king of the bubbling vats at Mabuhay. Mabuhay, dark, cramped, invisible from the street, stays open all night long. It drains the bars and cafes after hours, concentrates the wicked and the guilty alongs its chipped Formica counter, and thrums with the gossip of criminals, policemen, shtarkers, and shlemiels, whores and night owls. With the fat applauding in the fryers, the exhaust fans roaring, and the boom box blasting the heartsick kundimans of Benito's Manila childhood.


He is a squat, thick man with skin the color of the milky tea he serves, his cheeks pitted like a pair of dark moons. Though his hair is black, he's past seventy. As a young man he was the flyweight champion of Luzon, and with his thick fingers and the tattoed salamis of his forearms he gets take for a tough customer, which serves the needs of his business. His big caramel eyes betray him, so he keeps them hooded and downcast.

It goes on like this for six pages, this portrait of Benito Taganes. I feel like I know the guy. The Filipino-style Chinese donut referred to here is called a "shtekeleh," which I'm going to assume is one of the thousands of invented words in the book (did I leave out the whole he-also-made-up-a-language thing when I was praising the author?). I found a Pinoy blogger who says it's a bicho-bicho, and he posted an intimidatingly lengthy recipe here. Here's Chabon's description of the donut:

A panatela of fried dough not quite sweet, not quite salty, rolled in sugar, crisp-skinned, tender inside, and honeycombed with air pockets. You sink it in your paper cup of milky tea and close your eyes, and for ten fat seconds, you seem to glimpse the possibility of finer things.

Really good book.