Saturday, March 31, 2012

Good fun

Last year Mr. A joined a winery in Napa Valley. The winery ships a variety of its wines each quarter and we can taste for free at certain estates. Did I tell y'all all Sonoma County wineries have free tasting? I have no idea why Napa gets all the press. Both areas are beautiful, both have great grapes/wines but Sonoma is not as popular and can offer free tasting.

The winery we have a membership with is starting a new program and offered us a free in home wine tasting for 12 guests.

Last night was the tasting event and it was SOoooo much fun. Everyone had a great time. By the time the 3rd bottle was poured, the rep was beginning to lose the interest of her audience. Folks were enjoying the event.

The representative sent an email about what type of food we could provide so I went to a wine and cheese shop in Larchmont. I love such shops. I love all of the different oils, meats, cheese and crackers.

I told the guys what types of wines we were having and asked them to select cheeses for me.
While they were cutting the cheeses, I browsed the store. I went back and realized he had written $11+ on each package. When he asked if I wanted a 5th cheese I said, "NO". I had not anticipated spending 50 bucks on cheese. I wanted to leave then but he had cut the cheese off of a wheel.

The cheeses were wonderful and now I have a whole new list of cheese to buy. The group and the wine rep also enjoyed the cheeses. I had gotten a humboldt fog and the rep said that was her favorite. I loved the Euphoria and there was St. Nectarie, a cheese made with ash. The last cheese was Rogue River Smokey Blue. Oh it was all very lovely. I yearn for wine and cheese events and I was pleased we got to host one with great company.

Had it not been Friday of lent and meat free I would have gotten prosciutto. Fortunately it was meat free Friday because at those prices I would have had to work that prosciutto debt off.

Of course after the wine rep left, the dominoes came out and the trash talking started. It was real fun and colorful. Folks were all refined talking about the boldness, the fruit flavor, peppery taste, the tannin, etc. then it got loud and hilarious.

We have to do that way more often.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The artist


TR took a block and traced it to make a drawing of QT. I don't know what the drawing board is called but it erases when you move the slider.

My baby is an artist.

I was chatting with the mother of a 6 year old child who attends a school for gifted children. I told her that TR would not start school until she was 5 and entering kinder. I explained that my cousin (who is a school psychologist who works with gifted kids) told me the teachers would be calling me daily telling me TR was trying to run the class. I told the mother, that my mom had told me not to put TR in school until kinder because the rules and compliance could kill her enthusiasm for learning. My mom had an entire scenario of why I must wait to enroll TR.

The mother then told me that she had put her child had been home until 4, when she went to a preschool and reading since 2. She was getting calls weekly about the child trying to run the class and battling to get her way. Then she moved her to a more structured school program and the girl and the rules did not mix. The child was another person at school. The scenario she shared was similar to what my mom said would happen to TR.

The mother had the child tested, got a highly gifted dx and moved her to the gifted school.

I thought it amazing that my mom and cousin knew exactly what gifted kids suffer through. TR and QT learn so much at home and through our activities. I am pleased with their progress. They both are bilingual. QT seems completely bilingual and TR seems to prefer English. The nanny only speaks Spanish so they have little option, other than to speak 2 languages.

The mom said she is also big on allowing her child to develop her creative interests. It's so wonderful to chat with moms with similar child rearing thoughts. I often meet parents who tell me their 3 year old is in school and the school has taught the child to count to 100. I'd need to know if the child was counting legos or something? What is the purpose of learning to count to 100? The teach your baby to read and count parent, is probably wondering why I am failing to give my kids an academic advantage and letting them play their early years away.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The day

Mr A and I hung out today. We did lunch, a little (lot of) shopping. We got the kids swimming gear. These little people stay growing!

Target was selling picnic blankets. I have been trying to buy one for over a year. I wanted the thighs color. Now the nanny can stop taking my blankets to the park and take one meant for the grass.

QT has potty trained himself. Mr A and I have been holding him back but he has broken free of our limitations and started going to use the potty at will. With TR we slowly potty trained and one day just took the diaper off. She was trained in a week. QT just started asking to go abd now he goes to the restroom, pulls his pull up and sits on the potty. I think having kids close in age causes the younger kid to seek the same independence.

After shopping and lunch we went to meet with the woman subleasing her office. We shall see. The price we offered was way more than I wanted to spend but we'll see. Sometimes you have to put the plant in a bigger pot so it can flourish. I can work from home but I think growth requires I separate work and home.

Yesterday I told Mr A that I would like to have a business offering other types of services, like counseling and play therapy to special needs kids. Mr A said to avoid conflict I should try to share space with someone who does that.

The woman with the sublease does that. I told her I am a special Ed attorney and she told me about her kid clientele.

We went into a children's store off of Rodeo. I don't know what I was thinking. There was the cutest jumper for $240. I saw the price and I remembered where I was. I could take that $240, pay for a sewing class and make that jumper.

I did like the space I saw today. There are so many business decisions to make.

Some of my best friends are.........

I have nothing against white people. Some of my best friends are white. I don't feel safe in overwhemingly white burbs. I prefer my city dwelling white folks. White folks who live in the city are choosing diversity. IMO, white folks who live in burbs choose to live away from coloreds.

I will let them have their colorless haven. There is a reason my dream home locations are in Oakland Bay area, Bel Air or Hancock park. These folks see a black man in their neighborhood and figure he is a rapper. It's a stereotype sure but at least the keep their guns in it's holster.

When I grew up in Oakland my mom told my brother to stay out of Walnut Creek. It can be hard living around the element but I choose that over some hate filled race based shooting of a child who is just living.

This young boy in Florida has me weeping at least twice daily. I am not weeping because he could be my child, I weep because he died in fear and after being hunted and while screaming for help that never came. No one but George Ximmerman, should have to die that way.

It is so odd how situations align to put people in certain places. One little change and history changes. We can't see the future or change the past. I think if the 13 year old that walked his dog had gone to help, the killer probably would have shot him. Since the killer is free, no one he decides to shoot is safe.

Do we know the distance and anngle of the gun shot? Forensics can tell a lot but we have heard nothing. I really have to pray on this because hate for the killer is filling my heart and if I allow that, the evil, in devil, will win.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Boutique

In my hunt for office space a few things occurred to me, 1) getting space near the kids future school makes sense. 2) I want space the kids can be comfy in, because its likely they will be spending some time there. 3) I need a space that reflects my work style.


I had put the above photo on my desktop and the woman called me back. The building was built in 1930's. I love older craftsman buildings. I love the exposed brick and operable windows.

Of course this makes me feel a bit of pressure. For years my theory of money has been if I need it, I will make it. When I was in my 20's I would go crazy spending on my AmEx. The payment would be due the next month and I would always earn more than I needed to get the bill paid. When I lived in Oakland and got office space and later a house, I always earned enough to remain comfortable with both office space and home.

While I still believe in my money theory, now I have a family. I don't want to pull from family funds to support my space. I do think this is a good time to make this move. For the last year my special ed practice was reduced quite a bit because I was working on a federal lawsuit and put all my energy towards that. As a result I only took a few new clients. Not that I needed new clients, because the old clients kept needing assistance.

Trial is coming up on that federal matter and the hardest work is done. I love trial. It's when all my prep work is presented and I can tell the story. I love telling the story.

I meet with the woman who has the space, so hopefully we can negotiate an amount that will be in my price range. It's also in the sexy part of Beverly Hills. I will be in quick walking distance from Crustacean and my garlic noodles. When I was in law school I would walk to Union Square to keep myself inspired and motivated. Looking at things I can't afford motivates me. I will be able to look out of my office window and get constant motivation. I can take breaks and walk to saks and barneys- to look at thinks I will soon be able to easily afford. Awwwww, the possibilities.

Nanny School

The kids nanny is in school. Her teacher comes to the park to show her how to do activities and reading with the kids. It's quite amazing to me, that we picked the nanny who is a great nanny but also is interested in professional growth. I am anti-worksheet and all about hands-on activities and learning through play. So for the low-low (but quite high) price of one nanny we're getting one day a week play based nanny education with a certificated teacher. Good stuff. It's nanny preschool!

The teacher called me yesterday to tell me what they were working on and ask if the nanny could bring her materials. I love what she brought, all colorful learning materials. No worksheets!

Football

Mr A is now coaching in the top high school football league in California. He enjoyed being at the public school but his talents were not appreciated. I believe God will allow people to act up, when it's time for us to reposition ourselves. The head coach at the public school frustrated Mr A and Mr A resigned. Now Mr A is positioned in the PAC-5 division.

Not that money was a motivator but Mr A will make more than the head coach at the public
school. We didn't ask what the amount was because the move is so fab that the money is just a bonus.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

All Things Fall Apart

I'm not superwoman. I am limited in the number of things I can do very well at a single time. I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me. I am sure that does not mean I should skip sleeping to get ALL things done.

I try to manage my life to maintain my health and sanity. I have overworked myself into physical sickness and a hospital stay and I only needed to learn that lesson once. When I got sick the world continued. I try not to work like the world will end if I stop working.

My business is doing very well, I have been a good and active mommy. I break from work to take my kids to their classes, I've been pretty good about laundry. If I sort Mr A will wash. Mr A has gotten misplaced in the shuffle. He is as busy as I am, so perhaps we have misplaced each other. It's always good to take mini vacations and relax together. My mom will be picking up the kids soon and we will get a week. When we go to wine country we get a few days of just us.

Of course after a few days without my kids I start going crazy. The house is so quiet and I like the noise.

Anyway, all things fall apart if you don't do the work to keep it together. Fortunately we enjoy being together, so the work is rewarding. A stitch in time saves nine, so I prefer to do the work to maintain connection over working to reconnect.

We are together in business, in parenting and in taking care of home stuff but there still has to be just us time just relaxing. I don't want to be that couple who are together for convenience. I like being that couple that are engaged in each other.

Monday, March 19, 2012

In the Game

This weekend Mr A and I (and kids) looked at a couple of open houses. The houses we looked at we're on the Westside and *gasp* in our price range. We didn't like them which indicates to us that we need to make more money so we can get a house that can be home.

It's amazing the difference 5 years can make. It's also amazing that 1500 sq ft houses are selling for near 900k and that is after falling prices. I adore old homes. I despise when people update the unique quality out of an old home. Some people buy new builds, others buy old homes. Who buys an old home that has had its character stripped?

The A family is seeking an older Spanish style home with original tiles, doors, windows and character. We've seen them but didn't have a million plus to give to it. We will find our needle in a haystack and it will be in a perfectly placed neighborhood.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

So Much

I enjoy exposing my children to various things and taking them to different events and places. I enjoy all the time it takes. They add excitement to my plans for the future.

For me, carting my kids around is the most enjoyable hobby I could take part in. I think if I was not a mother I would want to surrogate parent some children. I used to enjoy Mr A's goddaughter until her hood ways took over.

The one issue I have with moving TR's ballet class is the other classes don't have the viewing windows. I enjoy seeing her learn and practice. She loves to dance but I am sure I love watching her more. Her Ballet class in Oakland has a tv set up so the parents can watch. I don't know why these other studios don't offer that.

Right now TR's schedule includes ballet, gymnastics and swim. QT has swim and gymnastics. 5 activities and 2 kids. I am currently trying to figure out how to include Sorority meetings and sewing class into these activities. I hate to go to meetings late but childhood is too brief to miss this fun stuff.

We got word that TR has a spot in our dream school if she wants to go for kinder. The asst. director overheard TR talking to someone and thought she was so bright and sent word that they would love to have her, if we are still interested. I am excited. Now I have to figure out what to do about moving to the Bay.

I am excited to send my kids to a play based school. Every time I have been to or passed that school I want to go back to elementary school. I am currently at a public elementary and was at a public high school earlier and thinking I am so glad to be an adult. The good thing about childhood is you are usually happy wherever because you are a kid.

I remember elementary and the teachers and staff made school home away from home. Now I go in and it's an institution. I go in and it looks as if the rooms could be emptied in 20 minutes. It looks one of those places we're frauds terms set up, pretend to do business and disappear when it's hot.

Fortunately our finances are getting to the place where we can comfortably afford all that tuition for 2 kiddies. That atmosphere costs. I think that colorful environment should be available to all kids whose parents want it. These schools literally feel and look like prisons. They have chain linked fences with more chains and padlocks. I realize the world is nuts but it would be nice if the barriers did not look do governmental.

Is this prison-school look just a big city thing?

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Managing People

I am not a manager of people. I tell folks what I need done and expect them to execute.

Mr. A does well managing people. He is a trained leader. His first job out of the Academy was managing troops in the military and after the military he was managing people in corporate America.

I was ready to figure out something else for my assistant. I realize that I don't give chances and I also do not tell people what I need before I set them free.

Mr. A spoke to her last Friday and before he even started talking she said, she felt like she was about to be in trouble.

Today that girl worked, she thought, she considered and even made suggestions that I had not thought of. She HELPED me get my stuff organized. Thank heavens! There is hope.

The talk Mr. A had with her was not long or involved. He just told her that his job is to get the best out of people. He told her she could not sit around waiting for directions and that when I gave her a task, she needs to take some initiative in getting tasks done.

He told her that sometimes when you give people things they don't always appreciate it. She has a job she didn't apply for, did not research and was offered to her. He told her to appreciate the job if she wanted it.

I heard her saying she really wanted a job and I needed an assistant so I asked her if she wanted to work for me.

I think I have a tendency to make my work look easy. My job is stressful and full or pressure and case and career killing deadlines. I try to manage my stress and remain mentally relaxed. I think some folks don't think I work as hard as I do.

Fortunately Mr A and my momma understand how very very hard I work. It's good to have support.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Lunches, Brunches and Lazy Daze

Today the children and I will be resting up from last week. On last Monday, the kids did makeup ballet and gymnastics. They played as usual Tuesday through Thursday. Thursday night Mr A and I went to a red carpet. The kids play hard with the babysitter so I am sure they were exhausted when they fell asleep.

Mr A.'s friend from the Super Bowl commercial is in a series called "the ropes". It's a great show. You can catch it on Netflix, crackle, and iTunes. Mr. A had told me about some of the celebs he has gotten to know but when we arrived i discovered they knew his name too. They said his name sorta like Norm from cheers.

Zoe S. directed a few episodes. She was in attendance. She is pretty and a bit tall for Hollywood. Some of these actors/actresses are 5'4. I am 5'5, was wearing heels and she was still taller than me, although she also wore heels. I have been a fan of her since her punked episode. I used to love how the black folks responded when being punked. They kept it hood. Except for beyonce who had 0 reaction to knocking down a Christmas tree. My fav was Missy Elliot, outkast and Serena.

On Friday TR asked to go to gymnastics. We went to the big gym and both kids were evaluated. The coach asked the preschool advance coach if TR could be in her class but the teacher said no. They all remembered TR. She was in the preschool class at 2. The other kids were 3 and 4. The coach told me those kids in advanced class are 5 and 6 and TR, at 3, is still too much of a free spirit. He told me to look at her and to look at them. TR was jumping down the long trampoline doing the drills and the kids in advance class were sitting quietly in a circle.

I immediately accepted that while she may possess the ability, gymnastics to her is about fun and freedom. The other kids were at work! I signed her up for the preschool class.

QT enjoyed it but those drills exhausted him. The trampoline is hard work. The coach said he could be in preschool class but I am okay with him doing parent and me. TR was 2.4 when she began real gymnastics. QT just turned 2. We will let him continue at the kiddie gym a few more months.

I took the kids to Costco after gymnastics. They love Costco, as do I. I went to get one think and left $100's later. Costco and Target get in your pocket hard.

On Saturday TR did ballet and QT did gymnastics. Mr A said QT was so tired he was falling down.
After class we went to Roscoes and then home so the kids could rest. TR loves her ballet teacher but that class is getting crowded with kids. If QT wasn't always talking about her teacher and asking to take her stickers I would be in the smaller weekday class.

Sunday was West Point Founder's Day at the Beverly Hills Country Club. There is no golf course but it's called country club. I love attending beach clubs and country clubs with the West Point group. The food was so great. The club has one brunch and the event and members share. I enjoy witnessing the lifestyles and perks of wealthy people. The beach club/country club aren't wearing bling and other labels outside their clothing.

QT wore brown cords and a blue and white checked shirt. There were some 8 to 9 year old boys who wore the same. I looked and QT was over there climbing on the rails with the older boys and joining in their conversation. One of the boys told me when he was a baby he looked just like TR. I could see the resemblance, the boy was a cutie.

I had thought QT was shy but he has either outgrown that phase or he just has been selective about who he wants to play with.

Sometimes TR will approach 3-5 year olds and ask their name and they usually stare at her and look at their parent. I wonder if they are trying to figure out if it's stranger danger. When she talks to 9-10 year olds they will speak back. I think that is why she leans towards older kids. Yesterday was the first time I have seen QT approach kids that old. Those kids taled to him and included him in their play. It was so cute!

Now I must get back to our rest. On snap! I just remembered that I have to take TR to her class.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

No Room

Yesterday I was on the telephone with a person seeking legal assistance. If I answer the phone I will answer questions (related to special ed stuff) and offer suggestions but I am currently at maximum capacity. I can't take new clients. My attorney is swamped and so am I. I need 2 more attorneys and a paralegal.

The Lord opened up a window and poured out blessings and I don't have room to recieve them all.

Malachi 3:10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.

Proverbs 11:25
The liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that watereth shall be watered also himself.

What I have also realized is that my largest payouts come when I am just trying to help and think there is no money to be made. Those clients usually do not have money but something additional occurs that gets me paid.

I can't necessarily say I went into my area of law to make a bunch of money. I didn't know this area existed. I was trying to help someone, someone threw a roadblock that caused me to make a connection, and that connection led me somewhere and that led me to where I am. I love where I am! It's really my calling, my proper placement.

My mother is a special education teacher and my paternal family has operated care homes for the developmentally disabled for over 70 years. I had all this background and connection to disabled populations but I had never considered how my desire to practice law fit into that world. It fits!

The Lord does bless those who help his people.

I have instructed Mr. A to be my voice of reason. Sometimes I get so caught up in the fight for justice that I overlook the available resolution. I always look at the bigger picture. I think I need to fight all the way to stop the situation from happening to anyone else. The problem with that is, the client is real and needs immediate service.

I love how God works things out. What seems like a roadblock can actually be a redirection to the proper path. The way He works it out may not always feel good but if I am doing all I can to remain in His will, I trust that He has it worked out. I can't see past this moment but I know He sees into eternity and has things handled on both sides of life.

Now I am trying to stop myself from being in a rush. Maintain my patience and be wise in my actions. I can't get greedy because greed will lead to trouble and interfere with staying in my purpose. Making money is not my purpose. The blessings follow me as I carry out my purpose.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Work work work

The story time librarian sent home a huge packet of worksheets. Worksheets? At story time? None of those kids read. I am going to get this stuff done. I have to get in practice for future homework. I intend to be that parent with the kids who show up with work that indicates the parents took it seriously. While I will get it done, I don't like worksheets for little kids. I call that busy work.

I am going to make my new office assistant a list of tasks with the estimated completion time for each task. I will work to improve my training techniques before I put the pressure on her or shift her job into a personal assistant with light(er) office duties.

I am not good at training folks. I am better at letting folks shadow me. I do stuff and never stop to ponder how I do it and training requires me to break apart the pieces of what I do. I have enough to do that is not getting done without adding a new task to my list.

As much as I would love to do Deb.bie Al.len Dance Academy I am having trouble with the idea of having TR take 4 dance classes a week. She might enjoy it and I would enjoy her interacting with other little brown ballerinas but 4 hours a week is a lot.

She is enjoying her current ballet class. She has learned the early positions and knows the names of the positions. She loves ballet and is always dancing using her ballet techniques.

If she starts asking for more dance, then we will consider DADA.

Little children are nice to have. It's fun. They are work but it's the type of work that sends you to bed satisfied.

It's strange that reality shows with women fighting and talking crazy to each other are popular. The minds of man. I stopped watching t.v. for over a month. Thank goodness. Now I can't watch it. I have been set free of finding entertainment in confusion and meanness.

Note to self: Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

5 steps

5- QT said a five word sentence last week. I was trying to zip up his pajamas and he said, "I'll do it, not you."

I am listening to Dru Hill's 5 Steps. They could sing, had good music and lyrics that told a story.

4- So much of r and b disappoints me. The hook is the best part and the lyrics say nothing. It's hilarious how the same 4 chords get used and reused song after song and artist after artist. Check this link out and listen in amazement.

I used to sit at the piano and write songs when I was 10 or so. I would write the words and chords down and record my song. If someone had told me the money in making music I may have pursued it. I think I have forgotten how to play. It's been years since I sat down and played an entire piece.

3- TR makes up songs and tunes. Today she developed a song with a three part harmony and gave Mr A and me our parts. She sang her part. Last week she sang, I love you on a sunny day, I love you when it rains. She added a story to her song.

I am going to start giving her piano lessons. If she does DADA she can do voice lessons.

Musical skill (beyond singing) always comes in handy. I love talent!

2- QT makes up songs too. He's been doing it for neatly a year and ge's just 2. Mr A and I both make up songs and lyrics and sing conversations so my kidded get it honest. That's another reason why I enjoy the Braxtons. They break our in made up songs. they also say stuff like, "I rebuke that" or "the devil is a lie."

1- It's nice to know my family are not the only ones to break out in song at random times.

5, 4,3,2,1.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Party all the time

When TR has her princess tea party we will not be copying. When I saw prin.css party I thought pin.c.e.ss party. I had TR's prin.cess dress in the car. Fortunately TR wore clothes she could play in.

I decided to put the dress on if other girls wore one. The first girl I saw was the guest of honor and she wore play clothes. My reading was literal.

TR's party will be a dress up event so I don't have to be perceived as a copy cat.

The party was fun. It was nice playing with and watching my kiddies play.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Copycats-not!

Last year a couple we know had their daughter's 3rd birthday party at the gymnastics studio. We lovedte idea and copied. We told them in advance that we would be copying.

This year I had already located a venue that does princess tea partes. We planned to do TR's 4th birthday party there. Today I got the invite for TR's friend and it's a princess dress up party. I am sure they will think we copied. Or maybe they will figure 4 year old girls just enjoy the same stuff.

In other coincidences our daughters both have names that begin with the same letter, are boy names and sound very similar. When Mr A met the father, Mr A was calling TR and the father gave him a look like, heyyy dude why are you calling my daughter.

The mom and I were both trying to do Debbie Allen dance academy and sad they only took kids at 4. The little girl did lula washington and we did another ballet class.

We ain't copying. It's pure coincidence.