Tag Archives: birthday

“Rear-Facing Car Seats Advised at Least to Age of 2”

This article appeared in The New York Times last week, a few days after my birthday and a week before A.’s first birthday. The gist of it is that the powers that be have revised their recommendation on when to turn babies’ car seats around to face front. It used to be age one. Now it’s two. This is not good news and I think they should just take it back. It’s our birthdays, for Pete’s sake. Have they no consideration?

Here’s the thing. I had a plan. It was a good plan, a birthday plan. A pre-party plan.

A.’s birthday is tomorrow, on a a party-unfriendly Wednesday, so her party isn’t until Saturday. So what was I planning to do to mark her actual birthday? I’ll tell you: stuff that she would actually notice like turning her $#*&$! carseat around so she can see where we’re going and not recline backwards in the backseat with the sun in her eyes, that’s what. I was also planning on feeding her eggs, honey and nuts all at the same time (which you’re not supposed to give them until they’re one ’cause of that whole allergic anaphylactic shock nuisance). And maybe sushi. And give her a set of nice kitchen knives.

OK, maybe not so much the knives. But the other stuff.

Goddamit. Stupid National Highway Safety Transportation Board and their dumb ideas.

A. hates facing backwards and I get it. It makes me carsick just thinking about it. And paranoid. I hate not seeing where I’m going. I never take the back-facing seats on trains. and I always take the seat in restaurants where I can see the door. It’s like I was in the mob. I want to see who/what is coming and I want to know how to get the hell out of here when and if I have to. Don’t freak out: I’ll take you and A. with me if you’re there. I just know you’re not casing the joint as well as I would, so just give me the seat already and order your sandwich.

You know that scene in movies where the agent/assassin ticks off all the cool stuff he knows just from walking into the diner? Like how many windows there are, the license plates of all the cars outside, the weight of the guy at the counter, who’s carrying a gun, and why that lady is crosseyed? That’s some mad skills and I want ’em. I used to memorize the license plates on the cars next to us when my mom left us in the car to run an errand when I was, like, eight. Seriously. You know, in case I was interviewed later by the police.

Speaking of which, maybe they’d be interviewing me because my mom left a couple kids in the car while she ran errands.

Anyway, I’m just saying, A. might be better protected in a car accident if she’s facing backwards but is she better prepared for a carjacking where she’ll need a clear view and access to those kitchen knives? Am I right? The article doesn’t mention that scenario anywhere in their assessment. They just go straight for the Swedish stats on babies’ injury and survival rates in rear-facing seats being the best in the world since they force their kiddies to sit with their legs up the backseat until they’re two. Which is weird ’cause the Swedes are tall, so their kids have gotta be basically sitting in a V position by the time they turn them around, right?

Oh, and for the record, I wasn’t going to flip her around because of some misplaced sense of milestone achievement like the interviewees imply. I was going to do it out of concern for A. being able to see where we’re going and my elbow joints which have to bend the wrong way to give her even the tiniest snacka. They don’t have to be such jerks while they’re ruining our birthday plans, do they? No. They don’t. Thank you.

So here’s what it shakes out to: I spend another year reaching over the top of the car seat to feed A. pieces of cheese and driving only west in the morning and only east in the afternoon so she isn’t blinded by the sun coming in the back window. Or I get tinted windows. Like on the immaculately white CSI SUV that came after we were burglarized. (They parked it laterally on a street where you’re supposed to park perpendicular. Bad ass, right?)

Hey. Maybe that’s the birthday plan. Instead of getting A. a puzzle with farm animals and turning her car seat around, maybe I’ll get her an armored Escalade with blacked out windows. Awesome. That’ll come in at about the same price point, right? You only turn one once, right? I’m totally doing this. It’s going to be great. Happy birthday, A.!!!

(Exceptionally Big) Birthday

balloons.jpgIt’s my birthday this weekend. A big birthday, which I will leave to your imagination, which will clearly tell you that it is my 25th, which was the age I was when I became confused and spent two weeks telling people at my new job that I was 27 before I realized I wasn’t. That must have been last month then. Huh. It feels so long ago.

It’s difficult to take stock of your life effectively when you have someone who is not yet one asking for pancakes (with her eyes, of course) and learning to walk. The former is distracting and the latter is a very big deal and not something I can compete with, frankly. When was the last time you learned a brand new major motor skill? I did, like five years ago, and I ended up with a permanently dislocated rib, so not a big long-term win.

Which raises the question, “What counts in your assessment of your Life So Far?” If we’re talking about Life So Far going all the way back, well then I can put learning to walk on my list too, as well as learning to talk, put on socks and not drool in public (except when I’m brushing my teeth, which I don’t understand how everyone else avoids, but they seem to – send instructions please). I’m not sure I have the kind of time that list would require, although I’m sure it would be a very satisfying list.

If Life So Far is the last decade since my last Life So Far moment, I should note that that birthday was fun but pretty messed up and didn’t involve a lot of self-reflection because my boyfriend at the time was such an asshole that introspection was not in my best interest until a few months later when I moved out and he became a drug-addled conspiracy theorist. (You might think I’m kidding, but I’m not.)

But R. was at that birthday party, so it was, in a way, the beginning of the rest of my life, so go me, I guess, in the end, right?

Bringing the measure in closer, if we’re looking at the last year only, I’ve got some sizable checkmarks. Had a baby. Bought a house. Big deals, both. Milestones. Life-changing. Etc.

There’s an odd thing about my brain, though, maybe yours too: I’m of two minds.

Looking at my life, where I started from, I’m proud of what I’ve achieved So Far. I’m grateful for what I’ve been able to achieve, the chances I’ve seen to take that have brought me a list of accomplishments and gifts that exceeded what I was able to imagine even a few years ago.

But there is still that elusive Pulitzer. And my Olympic gold medal. And my Academy Award for my Nobel Prize. And massive wealth without the annoyance of fame. And that Israeli self-defense class I was going to take so I would be a bona fide asskicker. And all the imagined but unrealized achievements that lie in the delta between my actual life (impressive, happy) and that unlikely construct of what my life would be (impressive, likely painful) if I weren’t actually me. That castle is built by little over-anxious elves (well, chemicals and environment, but whatever) bent on keeping me desperate, unsatisfied, and always on the move towards That Big Thing That Will Make Everything Perfect and Then I Can Calm Down.

Of course, That Thing will not, in fact, make me calm down. We all know that. Me and the elves and you and anyone who’s ever won the Super Bowl and woken up the next morning.* The point of that part of your brain is to keep the goalposts moving, to keep the anxiety and the drive going. In the end, as all the books say, it’s the journey, not the endpoint that matters. And that part of the mind is on a panicky path: the elves are craning to see ten years in the future rather than driving the road as it lies.

In addition to my stellar R. and my adorable A. and the opportunity to write and that azalea that I finally got to #$*&^%!ing bloom, yes, I would also like to have a Pulitzer. But it would be for the cupcake pleasure of being recognized and having a party, not because it could compete with having improbably found the love of my life or the good fortune of having an engaging, healthy baby girl (who I think is wonderful and not a burden and how lucky is that?) or the chance to write what I like. I’m not sure, looking back, that I ever thought I would have any of those things – not really, anyway – and those are what make my days interesting and lovely. No disrespect to the Academy, but making my days interesting and lovely might be a tall order for a small statue.

We’re on an unimagined road these days, the elves and I. I won’t lie, it’s been pretty stressful lately, but it’s a good road, a road like the ones we drove in New Zealand: well-maintained, not a lot of traffic and leading who knows where, but the landscape is beautiful, the company is entertaining and the cops, when they pull you over for speeding, are chatty and helpful. So pipe down, elves. Have some cake. Everything is coming together just fine. Let’s enjoy the birthday and settle into today and tomorrow and see what comes along after that.

*All this talk of awards and milestones reminds me of Bill Nighy, who said this when he won a Golden Globe in 2007 for Gideon’s Daughter (which you should see if you have the chance and aren’t in the mood for something fast-paced): “I used to think that prizes were damaging and divisive until I got one. And now they seem sort of meaningful and real.”


It’s been a busy week Chez Emma: my birthday was Thursday and on Friday we headed to Vegas for the Deranged Running of the Casinos. I’m mostly recovered but woke up with a phantom hangover this morning out of habit.

I know you’re wondering how the birthday went, and I’ll tell you: it was excellent. R took me to lunch at Serpentine, a new-ish restaurant in the Dogpatch that we hit over the holidays and have been wanting to go back to, mainly because I didn’t try their butternut squash bread pudding then and have been wanting to since. And you can’t have that sort of thing on any old day because it’s just too damn rich and obviously full of things that are bad for you. But on your birthday, it’s time to bring it, don’t you think? So I did and all I have to say is that savory bread pudding is the way to go, people.

Weird menu glitch though. See that first photo up there? What do you think it says? Puree of Celery Root Soup? With…I’m sorry, what? Peanut butter? “Glob of Jiffy with your yuppie soup, miss?” Oh. No wait. That’s “pinenut butter.” Never mind.

Then we picked up cupcakes (which you should always get from Kara’s Cupcakes instead of Miette*) and went to the California Academy of Sciences (more on that later) and visited the little seahorses and the alligator. (The alligator didn’t eat anyone while we were there, so that was a bit anticlimactic – it was my birthday – but maybe next time.)

Recently, I’ve been getting myself presents for my birthday and I recommend it to anyone who asks (which no one does, because it’s odd and why would they? But there you go: now I’m offering it out there for the taking). This year, I got myself a Nest Egg. I couldn’t resist. It’s a white ceramic egg about 4″ high, it comes in its own nest (see photo), and it has a slot for coins or folded up bills. Since it only has one opening, there’s no cheating: you have to break it to open it. Brilliant. I haven’t decided what to save for and on what deadline, but that’s half the fun, isn’t it? Yes. It is.

(I got it at Rare Device, a store I’d never been to but will definitely be going back to because it has all kinds of wonderful things from small designers: jewelry, books, stationery, glitter elephants, and the like.)

Also got myself a knitted coffee cuff, which matches my egg, and which R says undermines any edgy bad ass vibe I had going, but I don’t care because it’s cute and effective.

Speaking of R, he gave me a beautiful necklace by Evfa Attling from Hus (which has closed their West Village store – so, so sad – but whose online store still has some of their products for sale). It’s gorgeous, isn’t it? So lovely. What a great fancy.

Then we had dinner with a few friends at Dosa‘s new location on Fillmore. (Same great food, but a much swankier space than the original Mission location, plus a full bar.)

All in all, big birthday fun. Hooray! Thanks everyone!

*I don’t love cupcakes because they get dry, like Miette’s. Somehow, Kara’s avoids this and theirs rock. You have to try the Java (mocha frosting) and the Chocolate Velvet (absurdly smooth frosting) and, if they have it, their new Meyer Lemon filled one is a dream.

Happy Birthday!

I can’t stand Bob Saget. Remember him? Creepy? Fake? Yeah, him.

A couple years ago, someone pointed me to OKCupid.com. I can’t remember why. The site forced me to register to get where I was going. I did. I chose the user name “Robert Saget” as a mark of my disdain for their forcing practices.

Now, every March 19th, I get an email from OKCupid saying, “Happy Birthday, RobertSaget!”

That is awesome. Happy birthday indeed.


Question: do you buy birthday presents for yourself? If so, how nice are they? Do you feel selfish, like when you bought that very expensive bag for yourself instead of feeding your 12 kids who lived in a shoe? Oh…hang on…different thread…

Last year, I bought a piece of artwork for my birthday from my friend Molly Meng and I love it.

It’s a good backstory – let’s digress. I saw an exhibit of Molly’s work in Candystore, and the one I wanted to buy for R was already sold. Sadness. Then I saw mine. So I bought that and kept it wrapped up until my birthday. Yay birthday!

But I couldn’t stop thinking about the sold one, so I got Molly’s name from the store owner and tracked her down and asked her if she’d make another one for me to give to R for his birthday. She said, “Yes,” (as they always do in lovely stories), I met Molly, she’s excellent and now we’re friends. Yay friends!

So here’s the thing: was buying the artwork the right choice because birthdays are awesome and we all deserve our day or am I happy about it because I got the artwork and a friend? Because that’s gonna be a tough mark to hit again. “Hello, yes. I would like to buy this handsome necklace. Also, do you have any interesting people in the back? If so, I would like to meet them. Could you wrap him/her up with the gift? No, I don’t need a bag.”

Things My Boyfriend Says.com


me: It’s my birthday soon. You’d better get me something pretty.
e: I’ll get ME something pretty, and you can play with it.

Just wanted to remind you about that site again. Also about my birthday. If you need my address to send presents, just ask.

On his first million.

me: So you’re going to buy me a pony, right?
e: No, I’m going to buy ME a pony. Made of gold. With rockets.
me: And then with the rest you’re going to buy me a pony, right?
e: I don’t think there will be anything left after I get my gold rocket horse.

Fitting in

wii-fit-big.jpgWho has a Wii Fit out there? Raise your hand. Yeah, I thought so. I have a question for you.

You know how, when you first set it up, you have to get on the platform and it asks for your birthdate and it checks your weight and then it makes you do all those balance tests and after, like, 20 minutes, it tells you your “Wii Fit age”? ‘Member that? So here’s the thing: without telling specific secrets, R’s “age” was 15 years older than his actual age, even though he’s not overweight and has pretty good balance (by which I mean I’ve never seen him fall over spontaneously). From what I hear, that’s how the Fit rolls though. I get that: motivate your audience. Get ’em Wii Fitting like crazy.

Here’s what I don’t get: some kid’s “age” was 19. Is that good, if you’re 8? Is that a compliment, like a 19-year-old is in prime condition? Or does that mean that the 8-year-old is already in decline??

Also, and this is that question I was gonna ask, what happens on your birthday? See, I finally ran the gauntlet and sorted out my “age” about a week ago. Guess what it was. No, seriously: guess. Come ooooonnn. That’s right, cats and kittens: I am “37”. Given that I am also actually 37, I’m pretty impressed with myself.

But if your Wii Fit age stays where it is, even when you pass a birthday, I am getting set to be seriously psyched in March ’cause then I’ll be 38 and still “37”. How sweet is that?

So what’s the word? Will my “age” hold even if my age doesn’t? I’m guessing yeah, ’cause my living room slalom skills sure aren’t getting worse, suckahs.

My birthday’s coming up…

chair-weird.jpgHere’s what I want. Start looking around.

1. I want all my food served to me on a cake stand.

2. I want a new desk chair. Specifically, this one. Doesn’t it look like just the right kind of launch pad for the next step? Or a pod in which I can roll through the next step? It would be a tiny bit better if it had a clear plastic pod cover on the front though.

3. I want any one of these snow globes in my life. Walter Martin and Paloma Muñoz make them and I’m sure they cost an arm and a leg, but how lovely are they? And snowy. Which I miss, living in silly California.

4. I have latched onto this rose gold Chan Luu necklace that is not me at all, but which I covet anyway.

5. Sex Panther. The cologne. You know, for the wedding. All right – never mind: the T-shirt will do. I’ll wear it with my classy Chan Luu necklace.

6. The Thing. Need I say more? Who doesn’t need The Thing? You know what I’m talking about – the thing from that place where we went that one time. Yeah, now you remember, don’t you? The Thing. Riiiight. That Thing. The one where they send you a Thing every quarter, made by an artist of some sort. That wasn’t The Thing you were thinking of, was it?