The Sonia Show

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


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.

daniel

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.

danielatstairs

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


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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.

kaiser-heart

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:

ross-dancing-o

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.

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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.


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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 MLB.com 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: https://secure.mlb.com/honorarybatgirl/2016/gallery.jsp

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.

batgirl-screen

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!


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Singin’ in the train

Yeah, so, here’s a totally true story about how I started singing Michael Jackson’s “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You” on BART with some random guy.

I was riding back to San Francisco from Lafayette after my hair appointment. And yeah, I get my hair done in Lafayette. Oh, and yeah, I know I hardly have any hair, but I still color it, because I’m not ready to be gray yet. Oh, and yeah, I know that with a faux hawk I look like Ed Grimely.

edme

So anyway, this hair appointment that is every six weeks isn’t just a hair appointment. My sister, my oldest friend Amanda, and my 13-year-old niece Lorelei join me. We all get our hair done together, and then we go out to dinner. I drink several glasses of wine and take BART home. It’s our thing, and our thing is awesome.

So, I was riding home on BART, kinda tipsy as usual — just listening to music, looking at Instagram and trying to stay off Facebook because I don’t want to read about how Donald Trump has gone Full Hitler. It’s depressing.

A man, possibly homeless, definitely off in some way sat down next to me. He pointed at my Star Wars Vans.

Him: “I like your shoes.”
Me: “Thank you.”
Him: “You know those things outside of Oakland? Those structures? Spielberg used them as inspiration for those big walking things in ‘Star Wars.’”
Me: “I know.”

I didn’t bother to correct him that it was George Lucas, not Steven Spielberg, and those things are called AT-ATs and they were in “The Empire Strikes Back.” Wearing Star Wars-shoes is nerdy enough, and I don’t need to school some random guy on Bart about all things Star Wars. Also, Lucas says that’s a myth, but whatever, it’s still a cool story.

At this point, I took out my earbuds. Instead of staring at my phone and reading about other people’s experiences, I was going to talk to this guy.

Him: “I’m not wearing my nice Italian loafers today, because it’s going to rain.”
Me: “I think it’s supposed to rain on Thursday, so you could still wear them for a few days this week.”
Him: “And I have this nice jacket. I bought it in Hollywood in a thrift store. I like to think a famous person used to wear it.”
Me: “It’s a nice coat. I bet someone famous used to own it. It looks good on you, though.”

He went on to tell me that he wants to be a good person, and that he tries to live his life with the morals that he learned from his grandma and great grandma.

Him: “People say that Oakland is a violent city, but I don’t think so.”
Me: “I don’t think so, either. I love Oakland.”
Him: “I think I’m a good person, because I love God. A lot of people say they love God, but they don’t practice what they preach. They don’t really love God.”
Me: “Amen. I wish more people tried to be good people.”
Him: “I just love God so much. You know that song, ‘I Just Can’t Stop Loving You’?”
Me: “Of course I do. That’s Michael Jackson.”
Him: “That’s how I feel about God.” [starts singing] “I just can’t stop loving you. I just can’t stop loving you.”

So then I started singing with him

“I just can’t stop loving you. I just can’t stop loving you. And if I stop … Then tell me, just what will I do. Cuz I just can’t stop loving you.”

He smiled at me, and shook my hand.

Him: “You know your number is 3, right?”
Me: “Is it?”
Him: “Your number is 3. That’s the highest number.”
Me: “How does that work?”
Him: “3 gives off all the positive vibrations. There’s a light around you.”
Me: “That’s good to know. It makes me happy to think there’s a light around me. Thank you.”

At this point, the strap of my purse had fallen off my shoulder. He pushed it back up on my shoulder.

Him: “Be careful. Keep your bag close to you. … When is your birthday?”
Me: “October 2.”
Him: [his eyes got all big] “SEE?! October is 10. 1 + 0 + 2 = 3! 3!”
Me: “I guess I am a 3.”

When we rolled into the Embarcadero station he asked me my name.

Him: “Sonia, it was really good to meet you. Have a good night.”
Me: “It was really nice to meet you, too. Have a good night, sir.”

We shook hands, and he got off the train before I could ask him his name.


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Public Enemy is right, you guys. 911 is a joke.

Yeah, so, last night I called 911 twice, because there was a strange man on my patio. It took the San Francisco Police Department 90 minutes to show up.

WTF?!

When you call 911 you kinda expect the police to show up right away, don’t you? Mighty, mighty good man David travels for work once a month. I don’t sleep super awesome when he is away. Every little sound at night gives me the creeps, but I was able to go to sleep knowing that if someone tried to break in I could call 911 and the SFPD would come. Well, that peace of mind is pretty much ruined for me. Now I’m not so sure that the police will come if I call 911. This is disturbing and upsetting. Public Enemy is right, you guys. 911 IS a joke.

Public+Enemy+911+Is+A+Joke+461306

Why didn’t the police come right away? I understand that the police are busy, but 911 is for emergencies, right? I wasn’t calling because I want the police to come over and watch cartoons with me. I’m calling because it’s an emergency. When I called the second time, the 911 operator told me to make sure my doors were locked and to call 911 again if anything happened. In other words, “Hey, if the situation gets even worse, call again so we can not respond again.”

Something is happening. That’s why I’m calling 911!

Ugh. Goodbye, sleep.

I’ll start at the beginning. Here’s what happened.

Continue reading


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San Francisco County always sends me jury summons, but I would prefer flowers

Yeah, so, in February, right after my mastectomy but before I started chemotherapy, I got a summons for jury duty.

San Francisco County doesn’t mess around. They summon me once a year. Obviously, I got a doctor’s note excusing me from jury duty. I had a ton of doctor appointments, and there was no way I could sit on a jury right after my surgery. I got a six-month extension.

Well, guess what came in the mail yesterday? A jury summons – almost six months to THE DAY I got an extension. Also, I’m supposed to report in on August 31, which is – wait for it – my first day back at work after being out for almost six months.

oprah

At least this time I get to call in first before reporting for jury duty, so there is a chance they would dismiss me. Last time, San Francisco County was really pissed at me for blowing off an earlier jury summons so I had to report to the courthouse every day for a week. I had no excuse other than, “I totally forgot. You mad, bro?” I really  hope they dismiss me. I am happy to serve my jury duty some other time. My first day of work after a six-month leave is bad timing. Plus, haven’t I suffered enough this year? Just to be safe, I have my Princess Leia costume all clean and ready to wear.

hologram