the hungry toddler: Farley's East

The hungry toddler is back, with an all-new toddler (I almost wrote "new and improved" but I think that would be a little messed up, catchy as it is)! Since "baby" #2 is really a toddler now, I thought it would be fun (and by fun I mean only occasionally miserable) to revive this series of posts, since I started a little too late with child #1, now undeniably a "big kid", a decent eater, and relatively well-behaved at restaurants. Where's the fun in that?! I considered moving this series of blog updates to my more family-oriented blog but these posts are really more about the places we go in and around Oakland, not so much an update on the toddler. Right?

Okay, let's get right to it! This morning I met up with a friend and her budding toddler, just a couple weeks older than my own, at Farley's East in the uptown section of Oakland. Initially we were going to meet at Hive, which I know has a kids' play area (more about Hive in a separate post). Then last night this friend texted me asking if I'd be up for meeting at Farley's East instead, because her husband told her it had a kids' area as well. Wait a minute, was this that place that has the outdoor seating in what is essentially a parking space? I've passed by it several times (in fact, I used to work in this area years ago) - it's always packed to the gills with hipster-types (not that there's anything wrong with that). So I checked the Yelp page on my phone, scrolled down to the "good for kids?" area, saw that that question was answered "no" and decided to do a little more online investigating. Sure enough, I came across this article that mentions the loft area upstairs and a little space with kids' toys, puzzles, and books. Okay, I texted my friend, let's give it a shot!

The coffee shop does indeed have an undeniably hipster vibe to it (but really, what doesn't these days, especially in certain parts of Oakland?), and we got a lot of the typical hipster-encounters-child stares, as if we were toting aliens around on our hips (yes, sometimes I wonder and do a double-take, myself), but other than that I found the more negative reviews to be debunked by what was very friendly counter service, a delicious almond milk latte, and a yummy, if a bit early, salted chocolate chip cookie (I mean, really, what's the difference, calorically speaking, between a cookie and a scone or muffin, right?).

As for the kids' area, it's no Play Cafe. My toddler tripped and bonked her chin on the corner of the coffee table and both kids tried repeatedly to put that zebra, which looks deceptively clean in this image, in their mouths. And this area is right around the corner from the stairs which, obviously, pose a slight hazard to the toddler age group. So, ironically, I too would indicate that it's not so great for kids if I left a review on Yelp. I did, however, file it away under possible places to get a little laptop work in while the toddler's in daycare.


burning bridges: F is for facetious

I've got one more maker in the middle post for you that I'll get to either tomorrow or next Wednesday. Etsy shut down my forum post pretty quickly, citing self-promotion, so only two sellers had a chance to reply before that happened. I guess I can see where they're coming from. And I guess it is a little like complaining about the boss at the office. Actually, it's more like complaining about the office building, or maybe the office manager? I don't know, I'm a little sloppy with my analogies. At any rate, that may be a short-lived series. In the meantime, and in the spirit of potentially burning bridges, I thought it would be fun to take a little stroll down the job section of memory lane since I'm clearly still deciding what I want to be when I grow up.When I was in high school I made the declaration that I wanted to have 20 jobs by the time I was 27 which, in hindsight, is a little nuts! I didn't quite reach that goal, but I've had at least 10 distinct jobs, maybe more depending on how you count different positions at the same place. Skipping over babysitting entirely, let's get started, shall we?

First up is a summer position between junior and senior years of high school. This was one of those high school summer work programs, that paired students with low-paying positions in various locations around Patch Barracks, where we lived at the time. I was assigned to some sort of architectural office and what I remember of the 5 or 6 hours I worked there each day for about six weeks of my summer vacation involves reorganizing their supply closets. Surely I did more than that, right? It was easily one of the most boring jobs I've ever had. After "work" I'd go to the base gym for a couple of hours (really, like, 2 hours!) until my Dad got off work and we'd drive home. There was a real tool of a guy who worked there who kind of gave me a hard time. At one point he laughed and said he was just being facetious. Facetious? I had to look up the meaning of the word and, to this day, I always think of that guy when I hear that word. And I'm not being facetious. Anyway, my career in boring office work had officially begun!

PS: Yes, that's a picture of me from around that time. This image was taken during a soccer tournament, as we waited for our turn to play, but I'd imagine this is how my face looked most of the time I was at this particular summer job.