I don't really know what I am musing on these days. It's more like an irregular stream of consciousness thing...it seems to be working.


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w September 30, 2007

Egregious, But Useful

We have a very very large television. It showed up one day when I was at work (this of course being many years past), and I distinctly remember saying, upon seeing it: "WHAT is THAT?". Now of course, I chafe at having to view my boring shows on anything smaller. At any rate.

Gene is traveling, so I get to watch a continuous loop of dorkumentaries while I potter around attempting to justify my housewiferyness. Re-discovered tonight that, after a certain time of day, if one is washing dishes, one can look into the over sink window and watch whatever is on TV. Quite clearly, too. Such convenience.

by Heather Hoffman at 8:59 PM

w September 26, 2007

Schlepping To Oakland: A Triptych


Random slowdown - why?
You cut me off with aplomb.
Perhaps I rear end.

Traffic Markings

It's on my tongue's tip
My father's pet driving phrase
Cereal box license?

880 II

Ballet of passing
Two go left, three to the right
Flurry of brake lights

by Heather Hoffman at 12:40 PM



For a long time, I have been happy to identify myself as Episcopalian (not like I go to church particularly regularly or anything, but I'm not trying to distance myself either); then I read this article.

Actually, let me back up and say I'm glad to be *Episcopalian*...not so glad to be *Anglican*. The issue is stemming from the U.S. church's consecration of a gay bishop, and the continued blessing of same-sex partnerships. Episcopal is the U.S. church, Anglican is the global communion...well, read the article, it does better than I do without coffee. The two things that drive me completely up the wall are 1) this persistent belief that God somehow wrote the Bible and threw the pages down from his heavenly desktop and so every single damn thing in there is literally, the gospel truth -- or at least, the parts that serve your particular agenda. The hypocrisy bugs me just a tad too. And 2) this pissing contest between the U.S. church and the worldwide Anglican communion over the fact that the presiding bishop in the U.S. is female. Every time I'm heartened by some progressive fact, I'm also reminded that a lot of people would really prefer that most women still live in purdah churning out babies, and that gay people just didn't exist.

On the other hand, the Anglican church is, by its very conception, an entity borne of compromise. It remains to be seen, I suppose, whether the conservative side of the body remembers that.

by Heather Hoffman at 7:44 AM

w September 23, 2007

Random History

Gene found this website, touting itself as the "100-Year-Old Photography Blog".

As a wannabe social historian, I love the discrete glimpses into the lives of very ordinary people. Sometimes they aren't pretty glimpses, but they are real.

by Heather Hoffman at 10:44 AM

w September 19, 2007

Suck It, Baby Weight!

It's maybe a little sad that I felt the need to blog about this, but if you've ever gone through the weird up and down of pregnancy weight, you'll get this. If you haven't, then you are a fortunate soul and feel free to stop reading now.

In my closet there was a shelf of 'pre-pregnancy pants'...mostly size "before" but a few smaller; at any rate, the ones i was wearing in January of 2006 and before. I would look at them wistfully every time I went to get dressed, for now going on 19 months. Every so often, I would take down a pair, try them on, realize they weren't even going to make it past my hips, peel them off, chuck them back on the shelf, and eat a bag of Doritos. No, not really. At least, not every time. Anyway. Today. Today I pulled down a pair...and they fit. Easily. And I tried another pair...and they fit, easily. And again, and again. Dare I say some of them are even maybe a little loose? I am inordinately pleased about this fact. And now please someone give me a cerebral topic to think on before I wallow even further in my own shallowness....

by Heather Hoffman at 1:15 PM

w September 18, 2007

You Might Think It's A Crime

But I'm willing to bet that capitalism was behind your shiny Subaru Outback that was driving 10 miles slower than the speed limit up Dolores Street AND deciding to double park right in front of me.

Next time think through your bumper stickers a little better. Asshat.

by Heather Hoffman at 3:47 PM

w September 17, 2007

Wiser Words

I might not have read at a better time. One of my more entertaining diversions is reading Etiquette Hell, wherein you can submit various stories of abuses to the sanctioned world of good manners, as well as participate in discussion boards, etc. I was reading through one of these threads just a minute ago dealing with a woman who wanted to go to nursing school when her youngest went to kindergarten, but she was getting flak from all angles because she "would be 40 when you finish! That's too old!". One of the replies to this post said:

When I was thinking about going back to college, I told a friend of mine that I would be 42 when I finished. She said one of the wisest things anybody ever said to me about it, "And how old will you be after all that time if you don't go back to college?" In other words, you'll eventually be 40 one way or the other. Why not be doing what you want while you're 40?

Now, honestly, could that be any pithier, or any more wise? And the answer is none. None pithier or more wise.

The back story on why this really struck me is I finally pulled the mental trigger to start the application process do to my MLS at San Jose State in the fall of 2008. Admittedly, I have to get in first, but let's say I do: I will, by necessity of having small children, have to start out pretty slowly, and I really don't know how long it will take me to finish. I would hope no more than five years, but I really can't say. And then I got a little depressed after putting Bean to bed, thinking, Christ, I'll be 37 if I get lucky enough to finish in five years...is that just way too old to start a new career? Funny how sometimes things wobble across your radar when you need 'em most, eh?

by Heather Hoffman at 7:35 PM

w September 16, 2007

"A Blog Post"

At the birthday dinner we attended last weekend (and at which I got soothingly drunk), we were all rather amused to read the menu and note that many, if not every, offering was liberally and randomly sprinkled with quotation marks. I came across this article today on one of my favorite websites, Arts & Letters Daily, and it afforded a giggle.

I wonder though, what really would constitute say, an "heirloom tomato" salad. The philosophy of hypothetical produce?

by Heather Hoffman at 7:48 PM

w September 15, 2007

Mother Russia

Was in full flourish last night up at Davies Symphony Hall. Last Sunday my mom called from Toronto and said "you HAVE to get tickets to see this choir, I don't care how you do it". This choir is the Moscow Sretensky Monastery Choir on their world tour to celebrate the reunification of the Russian Orthodox Church, and can I just say how bloody glad I am that they hit both Toronto AND San Francisco? Because there is no other way we would have a) known about them or b) been able to hear them.


Quite honestly, the people watching alone was worth the price of admission. I'm pretty sure every Russian in San Francisco was there, as well as a fair whack of Orthodox priests, genially schmoozing with their parishioners; the funniest part was after intermission when there was an excessively pervasive smell of cigarette smoke. Not something one is used to smelling in the fascist regime of health conscious Bay Area, you know? But this choir. I urge you to click through to the link so you can read about them in better detail than I can provide, but two things really struck me: 1) how young they all were. I'm sure there were a few men older than us, but not by a lot, and there were a LOT who were clearly younger. To get that kind of sonorous sound out of barely-not-teenagers says a great deal about their previous training, their current direction, and their clear dedication to their job. Possibly also to generations of heavy vodka-drinking. And 2) their pianissimo. Granted, their forte was awesome, pin-you-to-the-wall, but let's be honest: a lot of choirs can sing loud. To sing an impeccably controlled pianissimo with 40 men..40 Russian men...as though it were one voice? Well, I was all over goosebumps and hair standing up.

I could have left after the four sacred chants at the beginning and been perfectly satisfied, but their run of folk songs and 'romances' was just delightful, and a huge hit with the audience. There were a handful of soloists, most notably a bass-baritone named Dmitry Beloselsky, who proved so popular he would get preemptive applause when he stepped forward for additional songs. My mom had made me promise to stay for their encore, and it was worth it, although I have no clue what it actually was...sounded like a Cossack or Ukrainian folk song, complete with 'darrrum-darrum-darrrum' galloping runs and a few whoops and whistles thrown in for good measure. Very well received, but the best, the absolute best, was their second (and final) encore, which I'm guessing was a Benediction/Dismissal from the Divine Liturgy, because you should have seen that audience snap to its feet like there were nuns with rulers walking down the aisles. Everyone save us clearly knew what the deal was, and the burly priest in the loge with a hugely impressive white beard was smiling broadly and paternally. Anyway, we all left after that one, because you know, you don't argue with God. You've been blessed and dismissed, go now and sin no more.

We bought a CD of their 2004 recording of the Great Lent and Holy Week services, since I am convinced that Easter music in any church is usually the best -- if anyone wants to hear this, feel free to borrow, but you have to give it back, or I will put the evil eye on you. I wouldn't even let Gene put on music in the car on the way home, just wanted to keep the previous sound in my head as long as possible. It was that good.

I really wanted blini, caviar and vodka afterward, though.

by Heather Hoffman at 10:23 AM

w September 13, 2007

You Know It's A New School Year

When you go to the drugstore, and all you see, everywhere, it would seem, are lice treatments.

I'm just saying, y'all.

by Heather Hoffman at 5:51 PM

w September 12, 2007

Well, That Explains A Lot

I admit to sinking a lot of time into Wikipedia, as many people do. Today I ran across this regarding Queen Victoria of England:

On 24 May 1837 Victoria turned into an alien, meaning that a regency was no longer necessary.

I'm not clever enough to figure out if that is a) a typo b) a joke or c) an accurate statement of royal progression. I do know that it made me fall over laughing, and I think that right there sums up the quality of my current sense of humor. That and three cups of coffee.

by Heather Hoffman at 11:14 AM

w September 10, 2007

Accessing My Inner Yia Yia

When I was in college, I dated a guy who was Greek-Filipino (yes, not the most intuitive combination); his Greek grandparents lived with his family, and Yia Yia was the standard cook, as far as I could tell. After meeting me for the first time, she apparently told my boyfriend "very pretty...too skinny" (it is possible she was having vision issues), so all of a sudden food started being sent over to my house with Alex (it is also possible I greased the wheels of this gravy train by sending her kokkina avga), my favorite of which was spanakopita. Yia Yia was a kick ass cook, let me say that here.

Tonight I took it into my head to make the spanakopita out of the Moosewood Cookbook, and I'd like to point out that phyllo dough is some tricksy stuff. How the hell do yias yias do this on a regular basis? I mean, except for the fact they had been handling the stuff since childhood and could do it in their sleep. I mean, damn. It looks right, but it's currently baking, and we'll see if it turns out edible or a big pile of crunchy bark. Hindsight being 20/20, I sure am glad I was super polite to Yia Yia every time I visited.

: We are snarfing spanakopita like there is a run on spinach shares. For something coming from a hippie crunch cookbook, it tastes like 10 lbs of salty, cheesy decadence. My inner Yia Yia pats my head.

by Heather Hoffman at 7:10 PM

w September 09, 2007

Heather's Happy Place


Not much more to be said.

by Heather Hoffman at 5:53 PM


Wages of Sin

It may be a truth universally acknowledged that, when you are a parent, as much as you *need* to get drunk on occasion, you *can't*, for a variety of reasons. Or rather, you probably do crawl into the bottle, knowing full well that you're going to pay for it in spades the next day, or in dire situations, the same night. We went to a friend's birthday party on Friday night, and I'll say right here that I really, really, really should not drink champagne on an empty stomach, not eat a great deal for dinner, and then fill in the rest with wine, red, dessert, or otherwise. However. It *was* a very fun night, and so I don't feel particularly guilty about getting my drink on; it's just that 6 a.m. came so very, very early.

The best part about post-drinkums, I think, is that you know the second day is going to make you feel like a rock star, no matter how early the kids get up. This is sort of the extent of my living on the edge, these days...but when I remember certain, ah, incidents from my college years (and stories I shared quite gleefully at aforementioned party), it's probably a lot better for my liver and other vital organs.

by Heather Hoffman at 9:28 AM

w September 05, 2007

Drowning in Kawaii

When one has two small girls floating about the house, one finds great delight in much of the clothing and accessories marketed to such (read: their mothers and aunts and grandmothers). I was never particularly into Hello Kitty myself, but there is a certain level of personality revamping that goes on when one controls the dressing and the adornment. It's really the main reason we have children, and if someone tells you differently, they are lying.

Bean lost one of her Hello Kitty barrettes at school today, and I was slightly appalled at how sad I was at this fact. It wasn't just the fact that I spent probably six dollars more than they were worth (I paid $6.95), they were damn cute in a pair. Being at times reasonably sane, I did realize how easy it would be to remedy this situation, so I go onto the Sanrio website and...did you know that Hello Kitty is apparently channeling Julia Roberts' character from Pretty Woman? Neither did I. I was compelled to click through the myriad offerings of completely useless crap, and I swear to you, I was developing diabetes by the third description. Not to mention the fact that you can search based on "youth, teen or WOMEN". Women. I know grown women buy this stuff, go mad for this stuff, are perhaps a tad off balanced about this stuff, but good GOD. There is just no illusion that it's all for the kids anymore, is there?

I hang my head in shame as I admit that I will probably buy Bean some more barrettes. But I will not wear them myself.

Update: Hello Kitty barrette found. Hoffman house safe from new infusion of kawaii.

by Heather Hoffman at 6:10 PM

w September 04, 2007

Ex Imperium

It is possible that I don't clearly remember Bean's personality at 9 months, but I'm pretty sure that while we referred to her as Principessa, she was more gently commanding as opposed to Peabo, who is fast displaying a tendency toward autocratic rule. As a friend pointed out recently "the imperious pointing is a sign". Sigh. Yes.

I can amuse myself though by referring to her as Tsaritsa, or "Autocrat of All the Russias". One has to find things like this to make it to Wine-Thirty, you know.

by Heather Hoffman at 9:10 AM

w September 01, 2007

Resistance Is Futile

One of the kid shows we enjoy (note the "we") is Jack's Big Music Show on Noggin; the filler is generally hosted by this...well, he's a moose, and I think it's paper cut out animation, if that makes any sense. I mean, it's animated, but it *looks* like paper cut outs. Hard to explain. At any rate, there is a recurring segment where Moose A. Moose discusses names. And asks: "what is YOUR name?". So of course I say "Peabo's Real Name!" and "Bean's Real Name!". And then I said "and Mommy!".

Sigh. It all feels very faintly schizophrenic, particularly since the only other adult in the house by necessity refers to me as Mommy also. Quite honestly, when I hear "Heather" it takes me a moment to realize the speaker is referring to me. I do know this will get exponentially better as the years wear on, but for now, I struggle against assimilation...sort of.

by Heather Hoffman at 7:26 AM