Monthly Archives: April 2009

ben foods!

We are now feeding Ben pureed versions of whatever I am cooking for dinner – with mixed results. He loved the slow-cooker chicken & peas I made last night. I basically put a chicken in the slow cooker with some seasonings, and left it all day, and then pureed some of the thigh and back meat with defrosted frozen peas and chicken broth. That was a big hit. Surprisingly, not so much the pureed pot roast from earlier in the week: bison brisket with potatoes and the vegetables from the slow cooker. Ben ate some of it, but maybe the new tastes and textures threw him off. Paul thought it was delicious though, so at least SOMEONE likes my cooking.

how the hell do i manage to function in the real world?

This is proof of what an absent-minded professor type I am: I have been driving around with expired tags on my car for THREE MONTHS.

In fact, I couldn’t even remember if I PAID the registration on my car. I checked to see if the transaction was listed, and it was, so I guess I did…and then I put the sticker in my purse to put on my car, and forgot. Same thing I do almost every year.

I have now printed off the form to send to the DMV requesting a new sticker for my car. I’ve been trying for the last few years to get over my natural absent-mindedness. At least, I made the effort to get a new sticker this time. I think a few years ago, I would have forgotten and done nothing about it until I was pulled over for having expired car registration.

Which also reminds me – I should PROBABLY have proof of insurance in my car as well. My insurance card in my wallet expired in October.

How do I manage to exist in the real world? Seriously!

in san francisco

I’m hanging out in the Westin St Francis lobby right now, killing a few more minutes before I go down to SFO to catch my plane back to LAX. Being all resourceful & eco-friendly, I’m actually planning to take BART from the Powell St station down to the airport. It’s there, it’s just as fast as a cab in rush hour traffic, and I know how to get around on it.

The St Francis is the sort of hotel I’d never normally stay in. It’s gorgeous and historic and high class, but it’s also expensive. And if I, personally, am spending that kind of money with a Starwood brand, I’m a W type of girl. I like the boutique-y, newer hotels, where there are spa-type bath products and trendy decor and downtempo playing in the lobby. But this was the LAST ROOM IN SAN FRANCISCO, apparently, due to the multiple tradeshows happening this week. And the travel coordinator at work still picked it up at a reasonable price, so, here I am, gazing at all the gilded trim and marble floors and crystal chandeliers in the lobby.

AD:Tech has been a couple days of a lot of walking. I have been working the floor – or just plain working – all day today. I walked around to look for and talk to new technology providers and vendors, and then I took a couple hours to sit at the back of the Moscone Center West and catch up on email and deliverables. I’ve had meetings and meals with vendors constantly since I got here yesterday morning, and by now, I’m almost talked out. Last night, we went for dinner with a vendor, and then hit a couple of parties at hotels. A small group of us stopped by a small party thrown by another vendor at the Palace Hotel, had a couple open-bar drinks, and then went down to the W to listen to the fairly decent DJ there and see the hotel lobby fill up with trendy tradeshow goers. I got back to the hotel around 11pm, and, since I hadn’t slept at all Monday night, I barely managed to take out my contacts before passing out from exhaustion.

And it was tough being inside working all day when it was freaking GORGEOUS in San Francisco today! I walked outside this morning into a perfect, soft, 70F day, and wanted to just go walk around in the park or by the Bay or something. I settled for a quick walk through Union Square on my way to Moscone Center this morning instead. Yesterday, it was 85F outside IN THE CITY. It was L.A. hot! It was ridiculous! I shudder to think how hot it would have been in L.A…or, for that matter, in East Bay. Now, it’s back to normal: slightly cloudy, cold wind off the Pacific. April in the City.

It’s probably time for me to head back to L.A., back to my chunk of a baby, and my husband, and work tomorrow. I miss my men – especially my tiny one. I actually like travelling, except for the whole being away from my baby thing. I will get home, and Mr. Ben will be fast asleep, and I will have to wait to see him in the morning for his usual feeding & cuddle time in bed. But I’m still so glad to be going back to my tiny family. Time to head for BART.


  • 09:05 that virgin america ad with the woman styling her hair? yeah, not allowed IRL billboards lied to me!! #

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Protected: five years (almost) and counting: the career update

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(almost) five years & counting

A quote from when I came here, just under five years ago:

 I’m still ridiculously excited about being here, of course – I just wish I had someone to share being here with. I wish I had friends to show all this to, someone to explore with, but for right now, it’s just me and my tourbooks, my Saturn, my hope, out here in Los Angeles.

You know, looking back on that, from here, with my husband, my baby, my friends…life just ain’t so bad after all.

animal watching at the toronto zoo

From 09-04-19 Ben's East Coast Tour

omg, home.

We had a relatively smooth trip today from Toronto to Detroit to LAX, and it was the last of my travel for this Odyssey Across America. I started in Atlanta last Wednesday, for meetings. Then I flew into Philadelphia on Friday, and promptly camped out at a hotel for the day so I could get somewhat caught up on work. Then I picked up Paul and Ben on Saturday morning – neither of whom were in great shape after a red-eye flight which included an extended layover in Detroit – so we could actually start our vacation.

Vacation, by the way, now consists almost exclusively of Visiting Family. This trip, we were scheduled to be in Philadelphia for Easter with Paul’s extended family. Paul and his family are from Pittsburgh, but a branch of his mother’s large Irish-American clan lives in suburban Philadelphia, and hosts the Easter gathering. So Saturday, we went out to join them all. This meant a few days with my in-laws, Ben’s grandparents. And it also meant extended time with Ben’s second cousins.

Ben has gone to visit his cousin Oliver in Savannah, and had a fine time, but there is only ONE of Oliver. One of Paul’s cousins has FOUR children – girls ages nine, seven and five, and a boy, Declan, who is almost exactly one year older than Ben. The eldest girl immediately adopted Ben, who tried to crawl after her like a little puppy for the rest of the weekend, and Declan and Ben had a few moments of making baby noises at each other. Ben had a GREAT time. I came in on Sunday afternoon, midway through the Easter egg hunt (I had been in a local Starbucks, using their wi-fi to work) and immediately found Paul carrying a very nattily dressed Ben through the house, at the tail end of a gang of egg-hunting kids. Ben, wearing his formal sweater vest and shirt combo, was laughing and squealing and leaning out of Paul’s arms to join in. It was freaking adorable.

After Philadelphia, we flew to Toronto to visit Ben’s Aunt Monica and Uncle Jonathan. This was the TRIP FROM HELL, where our Air Canada flight was arbitrarily cancelled (apparently, AC are afraid of drizzle) and we ended up being re-routed through Newark…onto ANOTHER Air Canada flight that was FOUR HOURS LATE. The 90 minute flight turned into an 11 hour ordeal. But all this was quickly forgotten after we finally got to Toronto, and my sister, upon picking us up, exclaimed that Ben was SO MUCH BIGGER and so much more like a little person! She hadn’t seen him in five months, and yes, he is much more like a little boy now.

We then spent the rest of the week in my sister’s Toronto apartment. Monica and Jonathan have a top-floor apartment with windows on all sides, giving the impression of almost floating over the High Park neighborhood. And we were able to show up, crash in a bedroom set up just for us, and spend the next few days enjoying my sister’s excellent hospitality. Most importantly, Ben re-bonded with another set of close relatives. I seriously cannot wait for my sister to have kids so they can all grow up together.

I actually liked Toronto a lot – possibly because I got to see it from my sister’s perspective, and she and I have shared ideas of what we require to exist in a city. So we spent the first day as a family walking around High Park, the second visiting the St Lawrence Market and getting a driving tour of the eastern neighborhoods, and the third going to the Toronto Zoo. Everything was great fun for Ben, who notices more of the world around him every day. But I still think the high point for him, aside from his adoring aunt and uncle, was Sadie, their border collie. Ben LOVES dogs, and even when Sadie insisted on herding him, he adored it. He grabbed her nose and chortled, and she licked his face, and they were totally BFF.

And now, we’re home in Los Angeles! I was very sad to leave – I was enjoying the time with my sister and her husband. Paul and Jon get along quite well, probably because they share similar traits in their patience with their respective wives. (My father remarked that they were brave men, marrying his daughters.) And my sister and I have more in common the older we get. We’re both at similar points in our lives now, and that five year age gap, as well as our differences, are being outweighed by our similarities. And I was really enjoying visiting my sister’s city, seeing all the places she loved in Toronto. But I’m also ridiculously glad to be home, in my own apartment, in my own bed, where Ben has his own BenLand to play in and his own crib to hopefully sleep through the night in. And, most of all, I’m glad I’m done travelling for this month*. Only four more weeks to Pittsburgh!**

* I think I’m done travelling. I may turn up in San Francisco next week for AD:Tech
** We are going to Pittsburgh for Mother’s Day / Paul’s mom’s birthday. We caught an airfare sale and figured, why not? I can’t even THINK about travelling with Ben again right now without wanting to take a nap.


  • 07:51 waiting for air canada to find checked bags, after flight to YYZ cxl’d dur to crappily maintained plane #
  • 14:20 Hour 8 of Trying to get to Toronto. hating Air Canada so much for making an 80min flight into a 12 hour ordeal #
  • 16:50 finally getting on plane to toronto from newark…after a 4hr delay #

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atl -> phl

I’m somewhere above North Carolina right now, flying enroute to Philadelphia from Atlanta. I’ve been staying at the Gwynett Holiday Inn, in the eastern Atlanta suburbs, for two nights. I was back in Georgia so that I could spend yesterday in a day-long meeting at a partner agency down the street from the hotel, in the strip-malls-and-office-parks suburb of Lawrenceville.

Of course, this whole Atlanta trip means that I am not in LA today helping pack & prepare for MR BEN’S EAST COAST TOUR 2009. Paul and I originally planned to fly to Philadelphia on a red-eye tonight: a trip that was booked months ago. We’re spending Easter weekend with his family, and then flying up to Toronto to visit my sister, Ben’s Aunt Monica, and her husband, Uncle Jonathan. But when I found out I was going to be flying into Atlanta on Wednesday, and not flying back until Friday morning, I realized there was no point going all the way back to L.A. I may as well go straight to Philadelphia and await my men there.

So now I’m planning to hide out in a hotel in Philly today – one with wi-fi so I can work – and then I will get a good night’s sleep before heading to PHL again in the morning. This is strangely familiar: a year and a half ago, I flew out to Philadelphia on my own, from Victoria via Seattle, and Paul joined me a couple days later. I spent a couple days relearning American history and then spent a couple more with my husband and his family. This will be the second time I have met my husband in Philadelphia Airport after a few days separation.

(Of course, this trip, we have Mr. Ben with us. Last trip was how we got Mr. Ben.)

I also can’t wait to see my men – especially my tiny one. I miss Ben so much when I am away from him. I find myself looking longingly when I see babies his size, and having to hold back tears when I think too much about mine. I just want to pick him up and kiss his now-chubby little cheeks and hear him chortle. I can’t wait to see his big gappy, toothy grin (now with seven teeth! and more coming in!) and have him look at me and say, “Mama!” Missing Ben is like having part of me missing. These four business trips in the last six weeks have been hard.

Fortunately, it is less than 24h before I see my men. Less than 24h…and then I have eight solid days with my tiny family. I’m so ready for vacation…as soon as I finish this workday.