Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Susan Powter is a Lesbian ...

... and I'm just so thrilled about it! She's got a lover that is a commedienne and looks ironically like Rosie O'Donnell (in a strange way ... maybe it's just the vibe). Anyhow, I've always had my eye on Susan. Glad to see she's found her inner Goddess and chooses to express it with personal love, too. She looks absolutely radiant!

Read a wonderful article about Susan here on Hufpo written by my favorite writer, Jane Devin. Jane always nails it down succinctly.

You rock, Jane ... you absolutely rock!


Saturday, December 27, 2008

Still Hanging in There ...

I was snooping around my brother Donald's flickr site and filched this picture of my grandmother, Thelma (he and I aren't on speaking terms right now). He took it right after Christmas, I think. I can't believe she's still hanging in there after everything she's been through. At first when we spoke on Christmas, she was disoriented, but gradually she snapped out of it. Then, she told me she was visited by my aunt, my mother, and my brother over the Christmas holiday. She said she was sad because she can't do anything any longer. Still trying to take care of everyone after all these years in a convalescence home ...

She's so cute ... and I miss her so much!

Thelma Close Up

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas in San Francisco

The funny thing about Christmas in San Francisco is that it’s very low key. You go to the East Coast and all the mainstream radio stations are playing hard core Christmas carols, everybody’s got decorations in their yard, and attending church (Catholic church, specifically) is first on the list of things to do. That’s not to say that San Franciscans don’t decorate, although there really isn’t much room. Many homes in the burbs are decorated. There’s an entire section in South San Francisco off of Chestnut Street that runs a fabulous (somewhat unspoken) competition each year. People pull up in tour buses to see it. You can tell which homes are own by a Filipino family, in fact, by the really cool lights they have in their windows, the ones that clearly aren’t UL Listed. The way the lights vibrate in and out is awesome. But in the city itself, the Christmas decorating is done in the interior in office buildings and stores, and of course inside the world of its children. The adult San Franciscans are busy being diverse, which means hanging baby Jesus on the tree is a no no (at least in the office), and the most intense celebrating is done within the sanctity and safety of family. We spend a lot of time being nondenominational in this city. When Christmas rolls around, San Franciscans, typically bustling and working and running around intently, are anxious to get home to the hearth, and for many of them that means traveling to wherever they came from.
San Francisco is more about Halloween, really … and the drag queens for whom most every day is a day to dress up. Sometimes I wish I were a drag queen, because then I’d have an excuse to wear false eye lashes every day like Miss Connie did. It’s funny what things from childhood leave the biggest impressions on us, isn’t it?

Christmas is approaching fast … just two days away, and my mind has cashed out completely. Last week, the push at work was intense. Deadlines, deliverables, and two big holiday events in the office left me completely pooped and reflecting on my health, happiness and the lessons I’ve learned over the last years. I’ve got plenty to do and absolutely to desire to do it. Nobody’s paying attention, anyway. People are in the office working, but you can see the glazed look in their eyes. Visions of sugar plums dancing in their heads. Even the administrative assistants who say they are catching up are catching much needed and well-deserved down time instead. What they’re doing now makes my days as an executive assistant look like a cake walk.

How do I feel?

I hesitate to use the word melancholy because I don’t admit to those kinds of feelings readily, but okay … I’m a little melancholy. We had such big plans in Connecticut around the togetherness of family and friends, and having those plans go up in smoke with immense finality was difficult. The grieving goes on, and I feel it the most this time of year.

I miss my grandmother, too, even if she is losing her marbles.

You can’t spend too much time pondering broken relationships when you’ve got a hyper eleven year old bouncing around, however. Powered on a cocktail of hormones and sugar (which, by the way, is present is practically everything we eat), and navigating a world that moves at the speed of light, our daughter is so busy agonizing over what’s in the packages under the tree (Santa is long since gone here), that she can barely contain herself. Everything is a debate, easily escalated into an argument, if we’re not careful. Our headstrong Aries daughter is a two parented project whose main ingredients include restraint and reason, applied with firm consistency and lots of hugs. She’s got a thing for reading in bed until the wee hours, no matter how lousy she feels the next morning. She takes pride in tearing through the books she reads at night and then asking me to fetch her another one from the bookshelf. She came into the office with me yesterday, and it was wonderful having her to myself. She kept so close to my personal space that I was either bumping her in the chest with my elbow (“Nana, that hurt!”) or stepping on her feet (“Ow! Why’d you do that for?”), both of which were immediately followed by hugs all around … reassurance and love in the face of accelerated growth in a lighting fast world. After tomorrow, we’re all home until January 5 of the New Year, for which Leslie is eternally grateful. Single parenting, even for just a day, can suck at times.
This year we will resurrect a long-standing Faber tradition and enjoy our Christmas dinner at The Palace Hotel in downtown San Francisco. It’s opulent and expensive, but I don’t care. We get all dressed up, enjoy the 150 foot tree in the main dining room, live music, and graze contentedly from a buffet that makes my knees weak. We will enjoy this dinner and spit in the face of an uncertain economic forecast for 2009. Like terrorism, fear will only give them a win. Fuck that. I work happily and my family and I enjoy our prosperity. Fresh shrimp all around on Christmas Day. I hope they have crab legs, too.
Lunch Break on Market Street
After that, it's back on the old diet. I've had to give up carbs completely to keep from blowing up like a blimp. Someone told me that all there is no such thing as whole grains or wheat any longer because the grains we eat off the shelves is re-engineered to make bigger crops. These hybrid grains are non-digestible to the human animal, which explains why our native American Indians have become obese alchoholics and why America is getting fatter by the minute. Sugars are everywhere. Now, I’m reading a booked called “The Zone” and am working on getting into it. I mean, just about everything accept meat is a carb, including vegetables, so it’s about cutting out the bad carbs, which is basically all the tastiest parts of our diet, and applying simple science to what we eat.

Food is a drug.

This is something I can understand.

It feels good getting these things off my chest …

Have a great holiday, ok?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Our Christmas Newsletter

Um, yeah ... I write a Christmas newsletter. I know it's tacky and all that, but I can't help it. I always want to brag about my family's accomplishments come this time of year, and as I get older I find fewer reasons to avoid doing it. So here is our 2008 newsletter entitled ...

The Faber Girls 2007 & 8: Getting Ready to Jump

Hello all …

It is with joy in our hearts that we write to you from our favorite place in the world … The San Francisco Bay Area. We had to move 3,000 miles across the United States (again) to come to that realization, but we did, and with a lot of hard work, a little bit of luck, and Leslie’s good real estate karma, we sold our home in Connecticut in a bad market and high tailed it back! We may be dense, but we are determined … and so we arrived here happy and in good health. In fact, the last time we wrote a Christmas letter like this was in 2006, when, after moving to one of the teeniest states in the country, we were still high on our adventure and looking forward to what we hoped would be a holiday full of family & friend reunions. It wasn’t meant to be, and so we spent most of 2008 getting ready to jump and all of 2007 deciding we wanted to.

It wasn’t all a drag, however. Elizabeth thrived at the private school she went to. Hamden Hall was academically enriching, and she found her most bosom friend there. She and Margaret will be friends forever, we are sure. If we could’ve snuck Margaret away with us, perhaps hidden in a suitcase, to avoid missing her, we certainly would have. But then her mother would miss her terribly herself. She and Elizabeth talk on the phone almost every day, and see one another regularly on her laptop’s videocam. Isn’t that something?

Liz & Margie

We picked up another dog there, as well. Daizy Mae is a boston terror, er … I mean, terrier, who is firmly attached to her “brudder from anudder mudder”, Jack Boy. Always at the ready, she is diligent about watching our surroundings, and is very urgently protective of Leslie, who both dogs have decided is boss. Daizy is the family sheriff.


One of the best things about being in CT was watching Leslie in action. Not only did mowing that god forsaken lawn get her in good physical shape, but she applied her talent as an informal interior designer to get the house we bought in shape for resale. And I’m telling you, she did it all. She replaced the garage doors, put in a new front door, and a new sliding door to the three season room. She put new flooring in the lower level, retiled the foyer, blacktopped the driveway, and painted everything in sight. She installed all new window coverings, and a black railing along the front porch. She installed a beautiful light/fan in the three season room, and had insulation pumped into the attic. Home Depot knew her by name. Before we knew it, we ready to sell. It was a beautiful place when we left it!

I could tell you countless stories about that process, the sale. Let’s see … one Saturday, Leslie was out tooling about when she realized she had 15 minutes to visit an open house just around the corner from us. Doing her homework by reviewing the market, she found the agent we’d eventually sign with.

Momma & Lisabis October 2008

Two days before the open house, Jack Boy, our Golden Retriever, swallowed a small stuffed dinosaur which got stuck between his stomach and intestines. As we were working on the house, he was throwing up absolutely everywhere. I don’t mean little doggie barph either; I mean unbelievable projectile vomiting that destroyed two carpets, a beautiful king size bedspread, and whatever else was in its path at the absolute worst possible time. It cost us upwards of $2,500 to get him fixed after that fiasco. How about the agent lady who represented the buyer? She was nothing less than a psycho who made a stressful situation even worse, if it was possible. I’ve written numerous blogs on that topic alone. Our agent, Stacy, was terrific, however, keeping an even keel through our neurosis (which can easily achieve stratospheric levels at times like that). She didn’t lose it until it looked like the other agent might have blown our deal completely … argh! What an ordeal!

Puppy Love

The house was sold to a man who bought for his daughter, who was ironically a lesbian. She and her girlfriend were moving from Florida, and I’m convinced it was Leslie’s conversation with the father that really clinched the deal. She made sure he understood the neighborhood was a good and safe one. After stormy seas, our sale closed, and a day later we were off to the West Coast on another Faber adventure.

So … In late June of this year, we landed in South San Francisco not knowing when our things would arrive. The economy adversely affected even trucking, and so our belongings took much longer than expected. Ironically, however, our van arrived in no time whatsoever (the last time we moved it was weeks in the waiting). We spent the time looking for a place to live, which Leslie nailed down in no less than four days. We spent the rest of our transition in a Marriot Residence Inn enjoying a quasi-vacation. In short, we gave up about 3,000 square feet in Connecticut to live in a box, and once again we are spending most of our time in a 15x15 foot livingroom with two rowdy dogs who begin their raucous happy dance immediately when everyone arrives at home. It’s a small two bedroom, in a nice section of Belmont, and has a lovely deck in the back,and an entire posse of hummingbirds living in the unruly foliage that is our backyard. The rest of our things are in storage until we decide the housing market here is soft enough to invest again.


Elizabeth is attending Taylor Middle School with all her friends from Green Hills. She’s also met new friends and recently spent a week away from home attending outdoor education, which was a memorable event. A social butterfly, she has nailed down the social adeptly … but, of course, without ever forgetting Margaret. Leslie and I are often amazed at how she is capable of navigating her complex social scene which snakes through middle school and reaches across the country.

I have a wonderful job as a location manager working for a highly competitive consulting firm in the San Francisco Financial District. It is hard to put into words how good it feels to be back in the city, not to mention back in the saddle. I am surprised regularly at how much I learned at PwC, however (19 years of corporate boot camp indeed); and can testify that PBMS taught me things I needed to know (not to mention the wonderful people I worked with there). I took almost a year off when we were on the East Coast, and it convinced me I’d rather be working. Truly. As much as I needed the rest, I’m not the stay at home type.

Last but not least … our old van, Vera, who Leslie adored, was finally put out to pasture to make way for a new Chrysler Town & Country van that has swivel back seats and a table in the middle. Leslie named her Sexy Sadie. She and Sadie are getting to know one another.

The three of us are anxious to re-experience our favorite Bay Area holiday tradition and enjoy Christmas dinner at the Palace Hotel in downtown San Francisco. We look forward to many prosperous holidays going forward and wish all you the very same!

With Love,
The Fabers
December 2008
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