"Your Mom is So Berkeley" started out as a joke at work. We thought it was funny so I wrote a note for some friends on facebook. They thought it was funny so I made a facebook group. The "Your Mom is so Berkeley" facebook group now has over 2,500 members so I've decided to bring it out to a wider audience. I hope you like it.

Contact us: yourmomissoberkeley@gmail.com
Follow us on Twitter: @yourmomissoberk

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Landmarks Part I

Photo by Stephanie Johnson

So far not a single post has mentioned Berkeley’s most well known landmark (except that link about the Oscar Meyer Wiener Song).  Seriously, have any locals actually been to the top of the Campanile?  My mom went up there once for an article about the foundry that made the bells.  She’s the only person I know who’s done it.

It seems like real Berkeley folks are fiercely attached to more ingrained and accessible landmarks.  Surprise-surprise, most of them involve food.  I remember a grad school class that focused on the idea that culture is more than just food and clothes.  Anyone wishing to make a counter argument can use this page as an example.

…she refers to Monterey market as "Tom and Mary's"... she was at Tom & Mary's going away/retirement party.

...she waves at people at the French Hotel that she knows only from Tuolumne Camp.

...she's still a little wary of the waitresses at Edy's

... she used to hang out at The Wall. (Or still does.)

....because when you came home from Lincoln (soon to be Malcolm X) elementary school you found Mom already home from work early because her office above the store on Telegraph Ave. had been tear gassed.

...she left you home alone to go clogging at Ashkenaz.

…she would leave her kids alone in the 1976 green Volvo while she did her Monterey Market shopping

…she would take you to Mr. Mopps for all your friends birthday gifts

…she stops and smells flowers sometimes when we walk up Rose street on our way to get an extra foamy Latte from Angel at the French Hotel.

… I almost hit her as she ran out into the street after checking to make sure she had the red light because she couldn't wait an extra 30 seconds to get a cappuccino served in a bowl from that bread place near the wine place down on San Pablo.
            … you mean the cafe owned by a Berkeley mom?
…Cafe Muthafuckin' Fanny....and that was MY mom you almost hit.

… snack time at Montessori elementary could only be celery with co-op peanut butter, apples with co-op peanut butter, or carrot and raisin salad. Too bad these days, kids cannot even bring peanut butter to schools!

… that when she goes to Cactus Taqueria she tips each line cook an equal percentage of the total because otherwise it wouldn't be fair.

… she still calls it Old Grove Street cuz, “how can you have rose and grove market on rose and mlkwy?”

…childhood pictures involve the Bubble Lady, the Med, the Polka Dot Man or being naked in the campus fountain.

…she named one of her son's after Cody's books.

…she still calls Chesters the Egg & Apple Press.

…she still calls "Fatapples" "Fat Alberts."

…she broke her foot sliding down the big slide at Codornices park and was so high at the time that she walked away and all the way down the hill to the Cheeseboard before she realized that something was very, very wrong.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Your Noms Are So Berkeley

Photo by Stephanie Johnson

So the #1 topic in the first few months of Your Mom is So Berkeley was food.  More people had more posts about food than anything else.  It's not even close.  So here's the first batch of organically grown, locally sourced, free trade jokes.

...you got yelled at as a kid for sneaking the peas and tomatoes out of the garden

...she starts every day with a latte.

... you grew up thinking yards were for growing sweet peas, lemons, apples, raspberries, plums, quince...

... you know what a quince is.

...she used to go to Rocky's pizza and use the half and half for the coffee to cut a single Yoohoo for you and your sibling.

…"fried" chicken was breast covered in Nutrigrain cereal and baked.

... that you remember shopping at Berkeley Bowl when it was just a fruit stand in the corner of an old deserted bowling alley.

...that she kept any food containing chemicals under padlock and key, only distributing to the little brother if he hadn't eaten for 2 days.

…my mom bought the fresh horse meat dog food at that little health food store...that one was always a bit weird for me.

…we didn't eat grapes until well into 80's.

…her Co-op number was “1”

…she mistrusts microwave ovens and uses the one given to her as a breadbox

…she bought bonita instead of tuna at the co-op

…you still feel guilty eyeing grapes in the store, and granola & yogurt is a default snack.

…you used to eat frozen peas for snacks

… that growing up "milk" was created by mixing a white powder from the Co-op with water in mayonaise jars

…she heard a carrot scream when she pulled ...it out of the ground.

…you had to steal processed "junk" foods from your friends refrigerators.

…you didn't have a refrigerator for years (or a color tv) because it was supposed to be 'healthier"

…the only way you got to eat candy was to pick it off the ground and hide it from your mom in your mouth.

…you had cheese and sprout sandwiches on homemade wheat bread for lunch. In wax paper bags.

… snack time at Montessori elementary could only be celery with co-op peanut butter, apples with co-op peanut butter, or carrot and raisin salad. Too bad these days, kids cannot even bring peanut butter to schools!

…she had powdered milk in old IV bottles

…you had Co-op peanut butter jars full of soup in the freezer

… the first time you saw a bowl of table grapes you had a panic attack 



 Confirmation from NBC Bay Area Online that we are scheduled for tonight's 11 o'clock news. I hope I don't have a wierd nose hair or something. Now that it's really likely to air I'm worried half of you might leave when you see what a dork I am. Rock on!

Monday, March 29, 2010

NBC Bay Area Interview Done!


UPDATE: I'm guessing it will be on tomorrow at 11. I think this because "Parenthood" is on tomorrow from 10-11. I think that's the tie in.

This was the "so Berkeley" scene of my interview with NBC Bay Area. I met up with Robert the super cool and professional cameraman. We set up, he asked some questions and we were done. Just like that. The whole thing took less than half an hour. Look for it on NBC Bay Area tonight or tomorrow.


This is Monday, you should see casual Fridays.

I haven't really decided on a format for the blog yet but today a co-worker came in dressed as seen above.  So today is dedicated to style.  The fact is your mom is probably never going to make an appearance on Work it Berk.  Here's why:

...when she cut her long hair when you were in first grade you didn't recognize her.

...all your baby pictures involve clogs, overalls, and/or tibetan prayer flags

...she still feels bad for buying high-heels. Once . In 1982 .

...that in pictures of an early birthday party, she is wearing bell-bottoms and a t-shirt that says "A woman's place is in the house . . . and the Senate."

...she bought you matching "One Voice Pro Choice" T-shirts at the march when you were abou t 13.

...because when you were a kid and other kids teased "yo mama wears combat boots" uh yeah she did

...she put you in a "I love my two dads" onesie even though your parents were straight and married .

...she sewed a Dashiki ( s p e l l i n g ? ) for your elementary school folk choir . . . and you still cried because they ran out of "I Have a Dream" Medallions.

...half of her clothes are from another country .

...Four words: rainbow striped bell-bottom jeans . . . oh wait - maybe that's five . . . . .

…you had callouses from preferring to go barefoot

…she sports a backpack or fanny pack instead of a purse.

Friday, March 26, 2010

From a Berkeley Mom

Photo courtesy of Jenny Lipow


From my friend Ann (who is so Berkeley she won't join FB) a Berkeley mom born of a Berkeley mom:

Your mom is so Berkeley...

...she dropped you off at the Kiddie Corral to shop at the Co-op

...she invited all her hippie friends to watch your birth, and then they all made soup from the placenta and had a meal 

...she's still waiting to get her dividend from the Co-op

...your neighborhood rented a school bus and went to SF to protest the Vietnam War together 

...she's sure her phone is being tapped by the FBI

...she let you get arrested and put in jail when you were sixteen, for sitting in in front of the Army Induction Center

...she taught you how to make granola

...your pediatrician told her to let you run around barefoot as much as possible

...her favorite picture of you is the one with you holding the peace sign you painted for some protest or other  

...she knows the Bubble Lady personally

...she had Mr. Panasenko for Biology at Berkeley High


Thursday, March 25, 2010

Best of the Rest

Photo by Stephanie Johnson

So when I said “Here’s the rest of the posts from the first 24 hours” a couple posts ago that’s exactly what I intended it to be when I wrote it.  Then I jumped the gun a bit and posted it before it was finished.  Below I give you the best of the rest from that first day.

Your mom is so Berkeley...

...you call her by her first name.

...she still has a Whole Earth Catalog on her coffee table.

...her idea of boots is adding wool socks under her Birkenstocks

-Roberto S.

... she has done *way* more drugs than you and laughs with her friends about how straight you are

-Laura G.

...she made you go to Hebrew school and camp Kee Tov, then pulls you from the "zionist dogma and patriarchy" of the temple and had you baptized Catholic at 8 (at St. Mary Magdalene's). After having a falling out with the local priest, she then converts to Theravedan Tibetan Buddhism, and starts sending you to meditation retreats as a pre-teen with your little sister, to "work on your mindfulness."

-Nora B.F.

...she's hella Berkeley

-Stephanie J.

...one of your Saturday chores was to pull the wagon up to the Co-op to help her bring the groceries home.

...her car is...no wait, she doesn't have one.

...she still calls it "Fat Alberts;" in fact she knew Albert but hasn't talked to him since the divorce.

...she's been yelling at the curbside recycling poachers for decades.

-Lee T.

...she prefers her teenagers stay home to smoke and drink with her rather than go out and get into trouble

-Isaac B.

...when you ordered brie at the Cheese Board as a kid, you called it "Mommy's Cheese."

Juliet G.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

YMISB on TV!(?)

We've been bumped back to a Friday afternoon taping. Hopefully we'll make the Friday night newscast. Here's hoping.


Well, it looks like there's more important things going on in the Bay Area than this lil web site so we've been downgraded.  No reporter (reassigned) but a camera guy is coming to shoot some video.  Still cool right?  Right.


So this morning a poster on the facebook group mentioned seeing a teaser for a story on Your Mom is So Berkeley on the local NBC affiliate's 11 o'clock news cast.  After a little digging it turns out they planned to run the story last night but ran out of time.  WIN!  I got in touch with them to confirm their plan and they've scheduled a reporter to come by tonight.

Of course this doesn't mean it will be on tonight.  Or ever.  Or if it is on it could be 30 seconds at the end that don't make any sense.  I can see it now, "And before we close tonight your mom is so Berkeley that here's Tom with a final look at tomorrow's forecast."

But if you're a YMISB fan and you can stay up late and you're in the NBC 11 KNTV broadcast area please look for us.

Updates later.

More from Day One

Photo by Stephanie Johnson

Here's the more posts from the first 24 hours of YMISB.

 Your mom is so Berkeley...

...you both had the same Spanish teacher at BHS

...she sent you to an immersion preschool for a language she doesn't speak.

...You're the reason there's a mixed race option on demographic information forms.

 -Roberto S.

...she mortified you with her hideous bell bottoms well into the 80's, which you later hypocritically pimped yourself in the 90s

...no one would trade you for your peanut-butter, lettuce and sprouts on sprouted wheat sandwiches

...she's pals with Wavy Gravy

...you didn't have a VCR, remote control, cable, or microwave till high school

-Amy V.B.

...because of the subliminal oppressively patriarchal nature of the word "mother" - or "mom," as it were - you and her had a round table discussion hosted by bell hooks and jointly agreed to refer to her not as "mom," but "goddess of positive personal maternality."

-Jake B. 

...you can find her in scenes from "Berkeley in the 60's"

...she remembers Mr. Anderson and Ms. Groves (back then, Ms. Bement) from her days at Berkeley High

...she insists that it's Garfield, not King

...she still has soap and bandages and other supplies with the Co-op price sticker on them

...she still calls it Bill's Drugs

...she still doesn't have cable

-Jenny C.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

First Cracks

So I was going to wait until I had a few posts in the can before launching the website but the cat's out of the bag. After the New York Times article came out I figured it would be a good time to bring Your Mom is So Berkeley to people who don't have facebook. As always thanks to everyone who joined the group. You all have me rolling on a regular basis.

OK, so all the posts below this one are from the original note that was posted on FB. They are uncredited but thanks to Elliot, Gaby, Nora, Nadja, Afran, Molly, Stephanie, Bret, Nina, Isaac, and Claire.

PS: Nina, your mom is so Berkeley that when my wife asked "Who's Nina?" I told her who your mom is and she got it right away.

Your mom is so Berkeley...

...she knows all the people on the wall at Noah's Bagels

...she knows Wavy Gravy's real name

...she wears a hemp fanny pack

...her idea of a vacation is camping in People's Park

...she can tell you why it's called "Shellmound"

...her garage has a topographical map of the Ohlone Greenway

...she still... has her Co-Op membership card

...all her tupperware is from the olive bar at Berkeley Bowl

...she was the midwife for her own home birth

...she made you a pair shoes at camp Kee-Tov

...her car has a 1/4 inch of bumper stickers on it

...she considers her Pickle Family Circus t-shirt to be formal wear

...she only buys free trade socks

...all her condiments come from the Ashby Flea Market...so did all your bikes as a kid

...she bought a transmitter and started KPFC

...she still gives directions that include Grove St.

..she's planning a save the redwoods tree sit in my backyard

...she has a west Berkeley speed bump named after her

...she gives her mulch to the community garden

...she still has keys to the I.N.F.A.C.T office

...she'll sign anything given to her outside a grocery store

...she pronounces sherbet with an r before the t

...she... knows at least one person painted into a mural in town

...she remembers Pink Man as "that kid from her art class"

...she has a toddler trailer on her bicycle that's only used for dogs and the farmer's market

...she knows and avoids the location of every cell phone tower

...you were hanging out at protests before you could walk (including international breastfeed-in-public day)

..she met your dad at KPFA while doing late-night poetry "rap sessions" with Allen Ginsberg

...she's a therapist

...she consid...ers velvet to be both casual and formal-wear material

...she has four different versions of Free to Be...You and Me (two of them signed)

...she has a framed poster of the 20th anniversary of La Pena in the kitchen

...she still asks if her grown children would like to have their birthday parties at Codornices (pronounced with an extra "r" before the "d")

.. her idea of letting you 'hang out at the mall' was dropping you off at REI on her way to ashkenaz.

... you thought 'exercizing parental rights' meant tai chi.

..when she hears a new celebrety's baby's name she says "we almost named you that"

...your first act of rebellion was not separating th...e recycling.

...she remembers Theodore Kaczynski as that professor she did shrooms with that one time.

...she met you step-dad at a concert across the street from Berkeley High

...she finished your attic with lumber from Adventure Playground

...you fell out of a tree at school and no one got sued.

... you thought cheesecake HAD to be made with tofu.

...one side of her house is shingled with 5.25 inch floppy disks.

...she knows most of your BUSD teachers from the Ashram

...she has a fence made from old street signs

... she brings a pick...et sign with her when you go bowling in case someone yells "strike!"

...she braids her leg hair

...she made a salad from miner's lettuce at Tilden Park, with dressing from aloe juice from Berkeley Natural Grocery (which she calls "berkeley natch")

...she buys patchouli in bulk.

...she conceived you in the back of a "real" VW bus, at a Dead concert

...she wears black Dansko clogs-with a dress...

...you grew up eating bulk muselix that came in a produce bag.

...she cried when black oak books closed (oh, wait. so did I)

... the cheeseboard is her "office"

... she lost her virginity in the back of the UC Theatre on Rocky Horror Picture show night

...... she used to protest the company you now work for ;)

... she totally had you believein' a Walter Mondale/Jesse Jackson ticket would be a unstopable jauggernaut

.. she's finally updated her wardrobe to include light purple. along with all the rest of the dark purple stuff.

... she thought 'dragon blossom' was a fine name for you & shouldn't just be the name of an item at her favorite chinese restaurant.

she gave you a Janis Joplin CD for 18th birthday

Jesse Jackson poster is still up in the laundry room

...she hasn't admmited to shopping on 4th street since it "sold out"

...she insists that the carob treat she is giving you is "just like chocolate"

...she introduced you to your pot hook-up.

... your birthday cupcakes were made with carob

..and so is your other mom.

...she taught you that roshambo is paper, plastic and glass

...she wears traditional garb when she goes to the Thai Temple on Sundays form Brunch/lunch!

she sent you to school with a ..."Reagan Buster" T-shirt on....

...she bought only sandals for her children until the mid-eighties

...she still complains about McCullum's Ice Cream moving away

...she still complains about when Reagan was governor

...you thought everyone ate their pancakes with powdered sugar and lemon.

...in jr high you thought that Bush Sr.'s first name was "that assh**le"

... you were fish oil when fish oil wasn't cool

...you didn't know what cable was until you got to college.

...you went to your first protest in a stroller.

...walking around the house naked (or at the beach, park etc) is normal