July 2007

Monthly Archive

visit from across the continent

Posted by lynn on 28 Jul 2007 | Tagged as: family, friends, travel

Amy & Me With Melina

We’ve been busy this past week, mostly due to a fun-filled visit from my college buddy Amy and her husband Jason. Amy and I were roommates (along with a French woman) during our junior year abroad in Grenoble, France. I hadn’t seen Ame in over four years, but when she pulled up in front of our house it was as if no time had passed. I absolutely adore friendships like this!

Amy, Jason, & Melina on Cal Campus

Amy and Jason arrived towards the end of their car-camping-Motel 6 journey from Nova Scotia (where they had been living) to Los Angeles (where Amy has family and where they’ll park themselves temporarily). We had fun walking around the Cal campus, down Telegraph Ave, and catching up over food and drinks at home.

Auntie Ame Holds Jelly Bean

The visit was especially meaningful to Amy because she got to hold “little Melanita,” as she calls her. It was especially meaningful to me because Amy was diagnosed with M.S. late last year. Seeing her as vibrant and happy as ever filled me with peace of mind regarding my friend, and hope regarding all the icky things that can befall us in this world.

40 years

Posted by lynn on 23 Jul 2007 | Tagged as: family, kai, melina

G & G Weiss With Grandkids Lucas, Melina, Kai, and Noah

Melina & Grandma in Lavender

Over the weekend we made our first overnight trip with the Jelly Bean. Grandma and Grandpa Weiss celebrate 40 years of marriage this year! Stacie and I “hosted” a party at their home in San Jose. Due to circumstances, Mom and Dad did most the work (thanks!!) but had a fabulous time hanging out with family and friends, old and new.

With the Kids

All Dressed Up With Mama

We finally got all four grandkids together, and also had an occasion to dress Melina in one of her few fun dresses. It was hot enough that she would have been just as content wearing nothing but her diaper. Of course for her Daddy, we can see in the picture that the heat provided a good excuse to chill out and drink a beer.

Chillin' With Daddy

(Great) Aunt Sharon

Kai had fun playing with cousins Lucas and Noah, who are now walking and, relative to his little sis, much more interesting creatures. And all sorts of family and friends, like Aunt Sharon pictured here, enjoyed holding baby Melina for the first time!

crime update

Posted by lynn on 23 Jul 2007 | Tagged as: community

Pertaining to a recent blog post on Berkeley and North Oakland crime…

Last week Joey ran into two Berkeley cops in a Starbucks. He asked about the muggings in Rockridge and the shootings in our South Berkeley area. They said it turns out they were all inter-related and committed by the same guy. AND – he’s been caught!

I’m still going to be extra vigilant when out and about, but am very excited
to hear this news.

peace – out baby

Posted by lynn on 19 Jul 2007 | Tagged as: family, kai, melina

Peace-Out Sometimes you just have to love the accidental hand and finger gestures of an infant. I still think Melina looks much older than her six weeks in this photo.

Kai looks very proud, and would say, “She’s just the cutest little baby in the world!”

social butterfly

Posted by lynn on 19 Jul 2007 | Tagged as: friends, melina

Melina & JulianMelina’s personality is starting to shine through her waning newborn-ness. She’s an excellent night sleeper, going for six or seven hour stretches most nights (but still waking me to eat at 3 or 4am). She likes water, loves being held and walked, and is generally a happy camper.

Melina & TalulahWe’re also beginning to notice how much she loves being around other people, especially other babies and big brother Kai. Her eyes light up and she’s content to lie on a blanket or our bed and smile and kick for much longer stretches when someone her size is there with her.

Under Raycer's Play GymShe loved a mom’s group playdate last week so much we had one at our place yesterday. Mommy had fun chatting with friends, too. Tomorrow we head to San Francisco for a “Ladies Who Lunch” date with my friends. Might as well get the little lady started early!

when home turf stops feeling like home

Posted by lynn on 17 Jul 2007 | Tagged as: community

It’s sometimes hard to know what to do with a six-week-old. Besides our games of “where’s my smile?” and “stick your tongue out like mama” (she loves both), Melina and I go on lots of walks. We don’t live in a great neighborhood, but once I started to explore was happy to find a couple parks and a good-vibe cafe/bakeshop within blocks of our house. I also make a habit of packing her up in the car so we can drive to nicer (quieter) and more interesting (loads of window shopping and cafes) areas.

Berkeley Crime Alert The downside of all this? A couple weeks ago I saw the sign pictured here posted on telephone polls in one of those “nicer” areas. Suddenly, visions of Melina and I being mugged at semi-automatic gunpoint became an unwelcome guest on our walks. I began to think our poorer, “transitional” neighborhood might in fact be safer. After all, people look for money in richer areas, right?

But two days later Joey called with news of a story he’d just read in a Berkeley paper: A crime wave has hit our small city, mostly in our little corner. Five shootings occured in the last three weeks, all within a mile of our home and two at the corner of our block. The fact that they were likely targeted and gang-related offers little comfort, especially now that I’m frequently out and about. I imagined Melina or myself getting caught in the cross-fire. My stomach dropped with fear, then tightened with anger, frustration, even bitterness. I felt trapped.

Yet I continue to walk. I refuse to hole up in our house – it’s not good for either one of us. Of course I now carry very little with me, even when I go to the store. I try to stick to busy (albeit less pleasant) streets. I drive to more distant, perhaps safer?, neighborhoods. I think about moving, however financially impractical it would be. And I keep my eyes wide open, much as I do when I travel. It’s unfortunate, though. I don’t mind being uber-vigilant when on the road or traipsing through a foreign land. It’s all part of the adventure. But having to do so at home makes it feel less like home. And having an infant daughter puts a whole new spin on what I’m willing to risk, not to mention the attitude I take to the open streets.

yoga moms

Posted by lynn on 06 Jul 2007 | Tagged as: friends, melina

Lunch Time for Babies, Jupiter

The other day a non-mom friend (who I also like to think of as a “future mom”) asked me, “So how do these ubiquitous moms groups form, anyway?” I laughed, remembering I used to wonder the same thing. Then I told her of my yoga moms group, about seven or eight women who exchanged email addresses during a prenatal yoga class last spring.

Raycer & Suli 'Talk'We started meeting informally before a single baby was born, and a few moms are still awaiting their little one’s arrival. We have a Yahoo group to exchange messages, and tend to meet about once/week: at a kid-friendly cafe, someone’s house, or, as with yesterday, for lunch at Jupiter’s garden in downtown Berkeley. Basically, anywhere we feel comfortable breastfeeding, though as the babies grow we’ve also started looking for room for them to spread out and “play.”

This group of women has been a great support to me, and more importantly, a great new social network. I look forward to seeing our kids grow together!

a sunny 4th in sf

Posted by lynn on 05 Jul 2007 | Tagged as: friends, melina

HoodieThick fog, warm sweaters, and often a winter coat tend accompany any 4th of July celebration in SF. Not so this year. We trekked over to the City (Melina’s first trip across the bridge) for Cia and Vito’s rooftop celebration in the Mission, and were happy that the East Bay sunshine followed us.

Auntie Jenny, July 4thIt was great to get out and socialize. Melina slept through most the night, despite music playing, people gabbing, and fireworks going off at every turn (some of them by Vito himself, from the roof…) I’ve read that when babies feel over-stimulated they often just shut down and go to sleep. I’m pretty sure that’s what happened with the Jelly Bean. Of course she also enjoyed the company of new friends. Look at Auntie Jennie holding her!

Btw, the illegal fireworks going off in the Mission and all around us were much more impressive than the “official” show over the Bay. And here I thought illegal fireworks were the small, backyard variety my dad always bought and set off in the middle of the street throughout my suburban childhood…

big brother kai

Posted by lynn on 03 Jul 2007 | Tagged as: family, kai, melina

Kai 4 years, Melina 1 monthPeople often ask how four-year-old Kai is doing with his new baby sister on the scene. My honest answer is always, “Better than we ever imagined!” Outside of telling his Grandma Rapoza early on that “she’s booooring” (and, well, in terms of activity level she is), Kai adores what he calls “my baby” and has taken to the role of big brother quite well.

Poking Big BroNursing. Kai loves to watch me nurse his baby sister, and is fascinated by where all that milk comes from. He likes to joke that milk chefs live inside my legs, working day and night to make an endless supply of milk that’s carried up to my boobs by an internal, high-speed elevator.

Bath time. Kai helps us give Melina a bath each weekend. He has the job of squeezing baby soap onto the washcloth as we suds her up.

Picnic at TildenCar rides. In the back seat, Kai has taken it upon himself to report whether Melina is asleep or awake, since he’s the only one who can see her in the rear-facing car seat.

Walks and outings. Kai loves to help push the stroller – and would probably push it all by himself if we let him! Maybe when he’s five…

Speaking of age… Kai is now learning the distinct difference between years, months, and weeks when speaking of age. In response to “Melina is four weeks old” he would say, “No, I’m four!” We would clarify with “Yes, you’re four years old. Melina is four weeks old. She’s not even one year yet.” His response? “Oh, so she’s zero…” Yup, she’s zero!

Finally: Kai has recently taken to saying, “She’s so cuuuute! Let’s keep her forever and ever.”

essay published in The Monthly

Posted by lynn on 02 Jul 2007 | Tagged as: writing

The Monthly, July 2007Nothing can compare with the birth of my daughter on June 1, 2007. But another great thing also happened that day: I received an email (read several days later, of course) from The East Bay Monthly editors that they would be delighted to publish my essay, “Bubble Fairies,” in the upcoming July issue. Yippee!

I haven’t yet had a chance to pick up a hard copy (or 10…) of the magazine, but did get a chance to see it online. Give it a read and enjoy!

(Image courtesy of themonthly.com)

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