The Sonia Show

Writer. Podcaster. Beer drinker. Old movie watcher. Mother. Goober.

Leave a comment

Beer and now

Yeah, so, my mighty, mighty good man David and I went to the opening night event for SF Beer Week.

We go every year, but this year we decided to see how the other half lives and treated ourselves to VIP tickets. I’d love to say that it’s because we’re so fuckin’ cool and rich, but the truth is we’re a couple of olds who don’t want to wait in long lines.

VIP tickets meant we got to go into the event one hour earlier, which gives us a shot at trying a lot of the beer that usually has long lines and taps out before we get there.

Yes, we tried Pliny the Younger from Russian River Brewing. Yes, it’s a perfectly good beer. Is it “wait in line for three or four hours” good? Umm, no. No beer is worth that to me. Actually, if it were a beer that when you finished drinking it you looked 15 years younger and 25 pounds lighter I would wait in line for it. Or maybe this coveted beer makes you pee gold … that would be worth something. It would also give new meaning to the term “golden showers.” Yeah, I know. You’re welcome.

David and his friend Jay think drinking Pliny the Younger is serious business.

Actually, we tried HenHouse Brewing’s Big Chicken, which is kinda their Pliny. It’s a double IPA, and I really liked it. I liked it more than Pliny the Younger.

Actual footage of you reading that statement.

So anyway, a couple other favorites from the event:

Death of the Sun from Drake’s Brewing is 14.8% – daaaaaaamn.

And don’t worry. David and I were not hung over the next day. I bought Curry Up Now burritos and put them in my purse, so we could drunkenly eat them while watching “BoJack Horseman” when we got home.

Apparently, we didn’t get enough beer on Friday night, because on Saturday we went to Laughing Monk for their barrel-aged beer event.



Let’s catch up

Yeah, so, we have some catching up to do, huh?

I’ve been neglectful. Don’t be mad at me, baby. Take me back.

I’ll do a relatively short wrap up for you and then we will go back to our usual blog posting schedule … I hope.

We had a very successful 7th birthday party for my mighty, mighty good boy Calvin. This was the first year ever that he asked for a birthday party. He asked for a birthday cake, and he asked to invite his friends.

We rented out the clubhouse at Jackson Playground, because it was the homebase for his a few of his summer camps, so we know he loves it there. We invited friends, family and all the kids in his class and about half of them came, which is rad.

We had a Muni bus birthday cake made from My Favorite Bite, and it was AMAZING! Sometimes you see a cool-looking cake but it tastes kinda yucky – it’s dry, it’s overly sweet, it’s both. But this cake not only looked great, it tasted great.

Calvin was over-the-moon happy! “There’s cake inside the bus!” I mean, look at that smile.

The party was such a success that Calvin asked if we could have another birthday party the following weekend. He’s also asking for a BART-themed cake for Christmas.

Just a few days after Calvin’s birthday it’s my birthday. Dear readers, I do not lie about my age. I’m 48. I earned it, and I own it.

I celebrated by doing things that I love like eating vegan food and drinking beer with some of my favorite people. I finally checked out Standard Deviant Brewing. They have some tasty brews, and I really loved their saison and they had a really good oatmeal stout on tap.

After a few beers, I had dinner at Shizen, which serves vegan sushi. That’s right, VEGAN SUSHI. That shit is delicious. I also got to go to SF Brew and Vegan Eats. Finally, a beer festival in which I’m not forced to only eat the fries. It was everything I dreamed it would be.

This country is a dumpster fire right now, but I’m trying to stay positive.

I really love this time of year, and not just because it’s my birthday season. Fall is my jam. Pumpkin everything. Orange is everywhere. The weather is nice. Scary movies are easy to find on Filmstruck, TCM, Netflix and Hulu.

I was chatting with a coworker today, and I told her that we should buy fall homes, instead of summer homes, and we could hop from house to house and just live in the fall all year long.


Staying pawsitive

Yeah, so, if you spend a lot of time on social media it’s easy to think that everyone is awful. Here’s a story about some good people.

Remember our Stray Cat Friend?

This little cutie had been coming around our house for months. We would put food out for her, and she would eat and then lounge around the house on the porch or the patio in the sun. She would disappear in the evenings. Sometimes we wouldn’t see her weeks, but she would always come back. Sometimes she didn’t look so good when she returned. She would be limping or looking really skinny and dirty. My mighty, mighty good man David tried to catch her once, but even while injured she was super fast. It took us weeks to earn her trust back.

Eventually, we just settled into a routine. She would come to the porch and wait for David to notice her and feed her. Then she would sleep in the sun, and around the hood at night. It went on for months.

Last summer, we took a family vacation to Santa Cruz. We were gone for a few days, so our Stray Cat Friend wasn’t getting fed. She was hanging around our house and strolling around the neighborhood, and the neighborhood noticed.

Someone posted this on NextDoor.

She didn’t look so good.

This NextDoor thread is filled with neighbors tracking the cat and trying to catch her. Finally, someone mentioned that they were pretty sure that we were feeding this stray cat.

When we returned from vacation, a neighbor came to see us. She wanted to put some food out for our SCF and try to catch her.

“How do you know about her?” we asked.

“From NextDoor,” she told us. “Haven’t you read it?”

We told her we had been on vacation, but when we checked the app there were SO MANY comments and offers of help.

Another neighbor, Adrienne, came over with a trap. David and her exchanged numbers and they were in constant contact about the whereabouts of our SCF. But, before we could catch her at our place, another neighbor was able to catch her.

Adrienne immediately picked her up and took her to a vet. A bunch of people in the NextDoor thread offered to chip in for her medical bills. Actually, they didn’t just offer, they really did pay her medical bills.

The prognosis wasn’t good. She had a mouth full of infected teeth. Her two front legs had been injured and healed improperly, so she would never walk normally again. One of those front paws has claws that won’t retract, so she’s like Wolverine in permanent fight mode. On top of that, she had a bone infection. The vet said they could pump her full of meds, but the vet recommended putting her down.

Adrienne decided to get a second opinion, because she’s smart and awesome. The second vet encouraged us not to give up on her yet, and give the meds some time to do their work.

In the meantime, people in the thread were asking for constant updates. With everything going on in this country, with our embarrassingly moronic president and disgusting GOP-led congress, everyone in our neighborhood needed this. They actually said in the thread, “We need this! We need this cat to be OK.” We needed this cat, which Adrienne named Sierra, to get better.

Sierra moved from the hospital to a foster home to another foster home. Eventually, she ended up staying with Adrienne, as everyone in the thread tried to figure out where Sierra would call her forever home.

Everyone offered to fund her stay at a feral cat sanctuary and different animal rescue organizations, but with all her medical requirements, Sierra really needed a home.

We seriously debated taking her in, but the truth is she would never be happy here. She required a quiet space where she could be alone, and we have neither of those things. Eventually, someone in the thread said she would be happy to take her in.

So, before she moved to her forever home, David and I stopped by Adrienne’s place for a visit.

Sierra was in the back of her large crate with big eyes. Adrienne told us that Sierra was still anxious, and she never saw her sleep or relax. But, as David started talking to Sierra, she started to relax and close her eyes! Adrienne couldn’t believe it. “She NEVER closes her eyes!”

Sierra spent so much time hanging around outside our house, it’s no wonder that the sound of David’s voice is so comforting to her. I know I find David’s voice very comforting, too.

We hear that Sierra is settling in at her new home. She’s got a healthy appetite. She has even let people pet her a little bit, and she’ll purr. That’s a big step for a feral cat. The new owner has asked for a recording of David’s voice. Ha ha! I’ve been suggesting that we record him reading “Goodnight Moon.” She can play it every night for Sierra.

The new owner has shared some cute photos of Sierra.

I cannot overstate how much all our amazing neighbors in that NextDoor thread did for Sierra. They chipped in hundreds of dollars for her medical bills. They donated food, blankets, towels and crates. So many of our neighbors pulled together to avoid a cat-tastrophe (wah-wah). I cannot thank Adrienne enough for everything she did. She was Sierra’s guardian angel, and she always kept us updated about everything.

When I get updates about Sierra, I’ll make sure to pass them along. I know that if you’ve read to the end of this post, you are now invested in her well being, too. And if you want to help some animals out, I recommend donating to SF SPCA, Humane Society or Muttville Senior Dog Rescue.

Leave a comment

Backyard Buddies

Yeah, so, I’ve got a few random stories this week.

We don’t have a backyard at our house in San Francisco, because – duh – of course we don’t.

Whenever we go to my parents’ place in Concord, Calvin and Toby run around like crazy in their backyard. Last week, Calvin was riding his bike, and Toby decided to lay down right in front of him. I’m not sure what Toby was thinking. Maybe it was so form of protest about the current political climate or maybe he just thought it was the perfect sunny spot. I started to worry that it was going to turn into a game of chicken, and Calvin was going to run him over. Instead, Calvin got off his bike and laid down on the ground with him.

If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em, I guess.

So anyway, one of my favorite places to eat and drink is Cato’s in Oakland. It’s got a great beer menu and a wide variety of food options, including a few vegan dishes. I love it there. Plus, it’s kid friendly. I’ve been looking for the San Francisco equivalent of Cato’s, and I think I’ve finally found it. It’s been right in front of me all along. It’s Rosamunde on Mission Street.

It’s only one BART stop away from us. It’s got a great beer list. Of course, they mainly serve sausages there, including a few delicious vegan sausages, but they are slowly expanding their menu to include burgers, veggie burgers and pretzels. It’s all good.

What’s funny is David and I have been going there since Calvin was first born. We would roll in with our strollers at 10 a.m. on Saturdays or Sundays, and have a big ol’ beer with our breakfast.

Calvin coveting my beer in June 2012 at Rosamunde.

I’ve been saying for years, “I wish we had a Cato’s in San Francisco,” but Rosamunde is already our Cato’s. I’ve been so blind.

Oh, yeah, so, our cat friend returned this week. She hadn’t been around for several weeks, and once again I assumed the worst. She was looking so skinny and limping a little, but now David tells me that she’s filled out a little and the limping has stopped. Maybe she’s on the road to recovery.

“I always feel like someone is watching me.”

And I’ll end this blog post with a photo of me and good buddy Corso at the A’s game for Pride Night, because it’s a really cute photo of us.

Leave a comment

I Do What I Want

Yeah, so, on Sunday Calvin’s soon-to-be new elementary school had a little welcome picnic.

We didn’t dress up as a polyamorous furry family as originally planned. Instead, we went as ourselves – a cool, social-able father, a vegan pain in the ass mother who can’t eat any of the food, and an awesome autistic boy who would rather explore the park than join in the other kids’ games.

I need to get this shirt for Calvin.

Calvin was running up and down a hill, and I was standing in a shady spot making sure that he didn’t make a run for the picnic table and steal an egg-filled treat since he’s allergic. Hives and vomiting don’t make for a great first impression. All of the kids were playing some organized activities, but Calvin — unsurprisingly — was not interested.

Me: “Calvin, do you want to play with the other kids?”

Calvin: “No, thank you. I want to play here.”

Me: “Cool. Enjoy!”

Calvin couldn’t have gotten any farther away from where the kids where playing.

We weren’t stressing about it, though. He was so happy running around that hill. Occasionally, he would join up with another group of kids on the hill, and then head off on his own adventure. He had an awesome time.

Meanwhile, my mighty, mighty good man David really shines in social situations like these. He can talk to anyone, and he had an informative conversation with the principal, and got all the flyers we need. Good thing he’s good at that stuff. I didn’t even know where to start at this event. I was thisclose to running up and down the hill with Calvin. I got a little excited at one point because I thought I saw wine bottles on the picnic table, but alas, it was some weird ginger drink.

There are two communities with this school: a Japanese Bilingual Bicultural Program and something called Second Community, which is everything but the Japanese program, I guess. Most kids are in one or the other, but kids like Calvin in the Special Day Class get to kinda pick and choose what they want from the two communities. There is a lot of fundraising that goes on, and the principal let us know that we can do fundraising for the school, but we can also do specific fundraising for Calvin’s classroom. We’re not expected to do fundraising for programs that Calvin can’t or won’t participate in.

It’s going to be really sad to leave the preschool in August, but I’m feeling confident that this school is going to be a good fit for Calvin, and once he gets used to it, he’s going to be really happy there.


Here Kitty, Kitty, Kitty

Yeah, so, our cat friend isn’t doing so well, and we’re worried.

We have a stray cat that has been coming around our house for a few months. We think she’s feral. She never lets us get close enough to pet her, but she will sniff our hands and meow at us. She’s been feeling pretty comfortable at our house. We keep bowls of food and water on our porch for her, and she will eat and then lounge on our porch in the sun. Also, we don’t know if our cat friend is a male or female, but we talk about her like she’s a girl.

If the bowls are empty, she will just sit on the porch and wait for us to notice. Usually, Toby or Kubo let us know she’s out there by hanging around the front door and sniffing.

Earlier this week, I heard a cat fight. It was dark, and I couldn’t see anything, but I could hear it. I was worried it was our cat friend. Then she didn’t come around for a few days. It’s not that unusual for her to not visit for a few days, but still, I was worried.

She finally showed up on Wednesday night. One of her front paws is swollen, and she is limping. I immediately ran back into the house to tell my mighty, mighty good man David, and he came out with food and water. We tried to get her to come close, and David tried to grab her. But, even though she’s injured, she’s still fast, and we couldn’t get her.

David called Animal Control, and by the time they came out, she was nowhere to be seen. That night, as we were getting ready to fall asleep, David said, “I shouldn’t have tried to grab her. I betrayed her trust.”

I love this man so much. I don’t know if I can adequately express how much it touches my heart, and how much it means to me, that he cares about animals. I grew up in a house of hunters. My parents have a room filled with mounted animals, which we call The Ego Room. My dad is like Gaston in “Beauty & The Beast,” and he uses antlers in all of his decorating.

I was always the odd girl out. I didn’t hunt. I felt protective of animals, and I was never comfortable with my family killing them. I still ate meat for most of my life, but I was never OK with it. I felt a lot of guilt when I ate, and not just because I was worried about gaining weight. This is probably why I took to veganism so easily.

So anyway, my point is … we’re worried about our cat friend. I feel confident she will come back. Toby and Calvin have chased her off before, and she’s always come back. But she wasn’t injured before. She wasn’t walking around with a catcher’s mitt for a paw. I know that if it goes untreated it will just get worse and worse. It will definitely get infected. And since she’s feral she hasn’t received any shots. If that swollen paw is the result of a bite from another cat, it could be she’s been infected with any number of awful, possibly fatal cat diseases.

We didn’t want to capture her. We were always fine just giving her food and water, and she was welcome to hang out at our place. But now that she is hurt, I think we need to get her some help. Poor thing.


Stray Cat Strut

Yeah, so, we got another cat … sort of.

A stray cat has been hanging around our house for a while now. My mighty, mighty good man David saw this cat hanging around a few months ago, but in the past few weeks its become a more frequent visitor. And, because we’re not monsters, we’ve started feeding it.

We took some photos and posted it on Next Door. No one has claimed him. (We refer to him as a “he” but we really have no idea). He won’t let us get close enough to catch him to take to the SPCA. We’re definitely not going to let a stray cat into our house. What if it had some disease and infected our pets? We can’t risk it. We feel bad for it. It’s been raining a lot, and it’s sad to think about it outside in the rain and cold. We’ve been welcoming. I’ve even debated putting a little cat house (not that kind of cat house, you perv) under the deck, where he will have shelter and can curl up and sleep.

The cat is really cute with the most unusual coloring. It’s kinda orange tabby, kinda gray striped. It’s almost like he’s a Frankencat.


So, he’s just been hanging around our house. He shows up twice a day at the front door and waits patiently for his food. Occasionally I see him at the bottom of the stairs and I half expect him to be holding up a boom box playing “In Your Eyes.” Of course, that’s stupid, because he’s a cat. The boom box would be playing the Meow Mix jingle.


So, yeah, if you or anyone you know wants a cat … Free cat!

Leave a comment

I’m a Kaiser fan girl

Yeah, so, I have turned into a bit of a Kaiser dork. It’s perfectly normal to dork out about your medical provider, right? I’m sure everyone does it.


I’ve spent a lot of time at Kaiser throughout the past couple of years. After being diagnosed with breast cancer twice, I’ve been to Kaiser countless times for appointments, surgeries, chemotherapy, acupuncture, more appointments, more surgeries, etc. And in the middle of all that, I got pregnant and now have a 4-year-old son that’s been diagnosed with autism. So, yeah, I like I said, I spend a lot of time at Kaiser.

We live in Glen Park in San Francisco, so I’m always hauling my ass to Kaiser on Geary. There’s traffic no matter what time of the day, so it takes me about 45 minutes to get there, and sometimes it can take an hour. I have to park in the world’s most ridiculous parking garage that is always packed with people who think they are going to find a magic parking spot that puts them right on the elevator to go inside. That parking spot doesn’t exist, just in case you are wondering.

I’m friendly with a lot of staff at Kaiser now. Several of the nurses and receptionists on the second floor and the eighth floor know me. When I was dealing with breast cancer the second time, a lot of the nurses and receptionists said, “It’s good to see you but I’m also sad to see you here again.”

I’m always chatting and joking with the nurses, because I have a nervous talking thing I do. My oncologist told me that he knows what exam room I am in because he can hear us laughing.

Sadly, Kaiser has turned into my Cheers, but it kinda sucks that everybody there knows my name.

It’s great that everyone is so friendly, and I’m glad that I make a positive enough impression that they remember me, but also whenever I go to Kaiser now I get an overwhelming sense of dread. It sucks.

I had an appointment last week to get my Lupron injection, and just being on the eighth floor, which is where I did my chemo, makes me feel kinda nauseated. It’s the smell – that hospital smell – and the bleeping of the machines. Ugh. I hate it.

I said something to the nurse about it when I was there last week.

“The smell here reminds me of chemo. You probably don’t even notice the smell anymore, but someday when you don’t work here anymore, you’ll come back and say, ‘Ewww, it smells like work here.’”

So, because of all the bad memories I have about Kaiser on Geary, you will not be surprised to learn that I’m really excited about the new Kaiser buildings in Mission Bay. In fact, I would say I’m downright giddy. When I found out that my dermatologist and my gynecologist moved into the new building, I jumped up down with excitement and clapped. I’m not making that up. I literally jumped around and clapped, and then I told David about it excitedly, and it turned into this:


This is what I mean when I say I’m a Kaiser dork now. I got seriously happy that I got to see the new Kaiser building. It’s new! It’s different! I don’t have any bad associations. Woo-hoo!

I went to the new Kaiser building on Friday for a bone density scan, because being 45 and in chemically induced menopause is fuckin’ rad. It’s OK to be jealous.

OK, so, you guys, it took me 15 minutes to get there from my house. I know, right? 15 minutes! I was living the fuckin’ dream! Plus, there’s all kinds of parking. I got a spot on the second level, which are the first parking spots available for patients who don’t have electric cars. And, the parking garage isn’t a concrete cave. You can see the sky.

The buildings are all windows, so the building isn’t such a downer to be inside. There’s lovely murals and art all over the walls. The elevators are fast, and they don’t bleep at you. You get “Second floor” not “BLEEP!”

And here’s the really crazy thing … apparently, Kaiser patients don’t want to go to the new building. WTF?! I wish all of my Kaiser appointments were in the Mission Bay offices. My oncologist told me that they moved a bunch of doctors and departments to the new building, and Kaiser patients just switched doctors to stay at Geary.

Fine by me, weirdos. That means more readily available appointment for me. Wheee! I’m gonna thrive so hard, you guys.




1 Comment

My name is not Susan

Yeah, so, there’s an in-law unit in the house we live in.

The woman who lives there is very nice and not home very often, which is perfect. She travels a lot. Plus, she’s got a boyfriend, and they split their time between their two places.

I met the boyfriend last year, and I quickly forgot his name because I’m a self-involved dick. Oh, also I was doing chemotherapy at the time and, well, I had other things on my mind.

I don’t feel too bad about it, though, because every time I have seen him since then he has said, “Hi Susan.”

And I always say hello back to him, and I never corrected him.

The first time it happened, I didn’t really notice until it was a few seconds too late to say anything. Now I feel weird about saying anything. It happened again today.

Him: “Hi Susan.”

Me: “Hi there. It’s a lovely day for it.”

By the way, I have no idea what “it” is … He was sitting outside so I guess I meant it’s a lovely day to sit outside? I don’t understand half the shit that comes out of my mouth. Good thing I’ve taken up podcasting as a hobby.

So anyway, now I’m wondering if I should just come out and say something.

Him: “Hi Susan.”

Me: “Hi there. I feel stupid saying this but my name is not Susan, and I don’t remember you name either. Maybe we could start all over with the introductions?”

Is that a good way to handle it? Or should I just legally change my name to Susan to avoid any awkwardness. I’ll let you know if I need to change the blog to The Susan Show, and I’ll make sure to redirect it to the proper URL.

1 Comment

I want to be the Honorary Bat Girl for the San Francisco Giants

Yeah, so, I need you guys to help a sister out. I want to be the honorary bat girl for the San Francisco Giants, so I need you to vote for me.

Every year holds a contest, in which people share their stories about “going to bat against breast cancer.” The winner gets two tickets to the Mother’s Day game, and they get a special shout out on the field. I entered last year, but I didn’t win. Let’s see if I can win this year. I’ll wear my orange wig.

The San Francisco Giants mean a lot to me. They have helped me through both of my fights with breast cancer. They are the very best distraction, and they give me something else to talk about other than cancer. I went to a few games last year during chemotherapy I wore my orange wig. In fact, I wore my orange wig to chemotherapy. I wore that orange wig a lot.

Orange wig and good buddy Kate at the Giants game last summer.

Orange wig and good buddy Kate at the Giants game last summer.

I’ve gone to bat against breast cancer twice and won. I think I’m a worthy candidate … if I don’t say so myself. It’s super easy to vote.

You click this link to vote:

Then you select the SF Giants as the team, and then click the arrows below until you see “Sonia M.” – it’s a photo of me in my orange wig and good buddy Corso at a Giants game last year.


You can click the photo and read the essay if you like, and then vote for me. See? It’s so easy.

Thank you in advance for voting. I would totally vote for you. I really, truly appreciate it, you guys. Also, go Giants!