Saturday, November 14, 2009

Exercising my Options

After an initial humiliating experience in the Conditioning class at my Krav Maga studio (which, I notice, I failed to mention on my blog at the time in a stirring act of self-censorship), back at the end of September, I was finally convinced to attempt it again by the instructor about a week and a half ago. Thought I'd only be able to make it halfway (the first time I lasted 20 minutes), but the instructor and some of the other regulars in the class talked me through the entire thing, until I found myself at the end of the hour, trying to support myself with my weak, shaky arms through Downward-Facing Dog and the cooldown stretches. Yes, walking (or any movement, really) was difficult for the next four days, but I was so damned proud of myself. You'd think I'd won the New York Marathon or something, instead of just making it through 60 minutes of full-body movement.

I went again this past Thursday, partly to convince myself that the first time wasn't a fluke, and mostly to try and make this into a part of my regular weekly routine. The Cute Guy was there, and he and I finally had a conversation while waiting for the class to start. Found out that he delivers wine for a living (access to wine = big plus!), but we also spent most of the 20-minute conversation discussing his new '07 Toyota Camry (car talk = somewhat of a minus). Not that he'd ever be interested in someone like me — I'm probably lumpier than the type of girls he'd generally go out with — but for some reason talking with him made me feel much more like a regular and a part of the "Krav Krowd". I made that term up, by the way. But if I do somehow become popular at the facility (hahahaha), I'm totally making a FB group called that.

In other news: Today I missed taking the Krav Maga test to move up to Level Two. I think I was ready for it, but I was also supposed to help my grandparents move out of the house they've lived in for almost 60 years into their new apartment at a retirement community. I was kind of torn, since I really feel like I'm ready to move on after about seven months of going pretty religiously, but you know how it is — sometimes you have to put things off in favor of the more immediate need ("family first", yadda yadda).

Except it turned out they didn't need me, so I should have signed up and just taken the test, anyway. Now I have to wait three months until the next one. Not that I'm peeved or anything. No way.

The day turned out to be not so much of a waste. My sisters called up to see if I wanted to hang out, and I drove down to Mountain View for a few hours to do breakf- err, a late lunch at Sizzler and shopping at Cost Plus.

Obligatory Nephew Shot

Call me crazy, but any time spent with my nephew just seems to make life better. Does this mean I'm getting old?

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Final Payment (cue the Europe, please)

I promised myself a lot of things this year. I have finally fulfilled one of those promises:


Yes, that is me scheduling the final payment on my credit card. I've had this debt for almost a decade — ever since I got that Discover card, my first real credit card, back in college. My college trip to Europe was on it, and my hotel rooms in New York; I've bought groceries with it, and transferred the debt to a card with a better interest rate, gotten close to paying it off only to put more purchases on there ... and now, finally, it's gone. That doesn't necessarily mean that I've completely learned to live within my means (thank you, Bank of Mom and Dad), but I would like to think it means that I've started down the road to financial stability.

Now if only I could pay off that student loan debt ... that would be a dream and a half. Only $34,000 or so to go on that one.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Waiting for the Melatonin to Kick In

Apparently, I over-slept this weekend. No, I don't mean I slept until I missed my fun and exciting plans for the day. I mean that I slept more than the necessary amount needed to keep my body healthy.

The result: insomnia when I finally have something I'll need to wake up for (work).

I've popped a dose of melatonin, and while I'm waiting for it to do its magic, I'm going to tell you one of the many memories that has been going through my head this evening: the first time my heart got broken.

I was 10 years old, not quite yet blossomed. His name was Marc, and he was 13 when we met. Our fathers had been friends back in the day, and when my family moved to Connecticut, which is where he'd grown up, my dad got back in touch with his and the families made dinner plans to meet up. He and I got along fabulously from the first; we spent the entire evening up in his room talking, playing games, wrestling over my slap bracelet (this was when they were all the rage ... the first time around). He taught me how to play MasterMind, and the strategy behind it (after thrashing me a few times). He was older, and nice, and funny, and I thought he was the coolest person in the universe. And he really seemed to like me. What else could I do but fall for him?

It was my first real crush, and at the beginning things seemed to go well. His family lived in a different part of the state (I think) than we did, so we didn't see each other often. This was before the internet was widespread, of course, but I think we did speak on the phone once or twice. When our families visited with each other I think we spent all the time together that we could.

But then one day, some time around when he turned 14 and before I turned 11, it was just going to be him and his mom, visiting my house for the first time. And my mother, knowing that I had a crush on him and knowing, too, things about teenage boys that I was oblivious to, made me promise to keep my bedroom door open the entire time he was there. I made my promise, and did as I was told. He came over and we immediately went up to my room to hang out and look at my stuff. It was warmish that day, and the window was open in my bedroom, so I spent a lot of that visit catching the door as it blew shut and opening it up again. He told me to leave it alone, but I was nervous (and a good girl) and just kept opening it whenever it closed.

I still think that's what it was. I think the door-opening reminded him of just how much younger I was than he. The visit didn't end terribly well and, if this hadn't been my first time in this situation, I should have been forewarned.

A few weeks later our families had a barbecue at one of the few public beaches in CT, and I went excited at the prospect of seeing Marc and maybe even holding hands while we walked down the beach — something silly and girlish like that. Instead, he was cold and distant when we talked, didn't want to walk down to the water with me at all, and basically did what he could to avoid me for the duration of the picnic. A couple girls from his class happened to be there while we were, and all I could do was watch helplessly as he flirted with them ... until I couldn't take it anymore and went to go sit on a bench by myself.

I think I remember being too embarrassed to even cry, so I sat there being miserable for a long time until my mom finally found me and sat down next to me. I forget what she said to make me feel better — something along the line of he wasn't ignoring me because he didn't like me, but because he was embarrassed to like someone so much younger. Somehow she convinced me to get through the rest of the day; I ignored him and pretended it didn't matter until we left, though later when I got home I'm sure I cried myself to sleep for a week.

That was the last time I saw him. I sometimes wonder what happened to him, even though — almost 20 years later — thinking of the humiliation and hurt from that afternoon can still make me cry.

Don't know why I was thinking of it tonight. Just one of those things that surface from time to time, I guess.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

This Weekend: Mostly All About Food

Almost two weeks after someone smashed a hole into my car and raped her of all the worthless electronics, I've finally got her back from the shop, all fixified and shiny (and me $330 poorer).

The first thing I do once I get my wheels back? Take her to the grocery store and buy a chicken.

Most of today was spent in the dismembering and preparation of that chicken. The breasts and wings got salted, peppered, dry herbed and roasted in the oven with some beets for tonight's dinner and tomorrow's lunch. The thighs and drumsticks are currently marinating for tandoori chicken. And finally, I threw the back and giblets (the chicken came with two hearts ... ah, Foster Farms, I love your craziness) into a stock pot with vegetables to make broth, which is currently jarred and sitting in the fridge, waiting for some future use. Considering the whole bird was about $4, I think I'm getting some good use out of my keen budgeting and kitchen skills here.

Before picking up the car yesterday, I took the bus up to Atelier for some yarn, and ended up finally hitting up The King of Falafel on Divisidero, which I've passed often and never went into. I'm generally not a fan of falafel — something about the sauce, and the balls I've had were just kind of tasteless — and went in there intending on getting something lamb-based, but the girl behind the counter shoved a free sample of the falafel into my hand and I was converted. Now I almost understand all those people who randomly crave this stuff; maybe someday I can even join in the lusting fun. At any rate, if you're looking for decent falafel in the city, try this place and tell me if it's as good as I think it is.

And that's been my weekend. Food, poverty, and more food. No wonder my posts are few and far between — maybe I need a new hobby, like boar hunting. Something that would be fascinating to write about.

On a side note: I know at some point that I'll get sick and tired of spending my Friday and Saturday nights at home alone, but after the fabuloso of my trip to NYC, and considering that next weekend I have been invited to three Halloween-related events, it think it does me good to have a little inside time to myself. Hopefully. I'll let you know if or when the cabin fever starts to set in.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Broken (Into)

Let's start with the positive: I had today off via a shift switch with another coworker, so I convinced my baby nephew to visit (along with his entourage of his mother, my mother and my other sister) for the afternoon. A picture of him sleeping on my bed — innit he cute?

Sleepy Isaac

Now the negative: While we were lying around waiting for the entourage to gather energy enough to drive back home, I got a knock on my apartment door — a rare occurrence in this fourplex — that turned out to be my neighbor telling me that my car had been broken into over the weekend.

How lovely.

I went downstairs with my mother to check it out. It's actually almost laughable: they smashed the back triangle (that wee one behind the rear passenger's window) and reached around to unlock the door. Which probably means they at least scraped up their hands and arms a bit to reach to the far side of the main window and get at the back door lock. On top of that, the only things that they took were my CD stereo — and the CD function was broken; my old cell phone — which was completely worthlessly dead and broken; and the small coin purse I kept my bridge toll cash in since my coin drawer had been ripped out by the last person to break into my car — and the coin purse, while not broken, was definitely broke.

So, dickhead that violated the sanctity of my vehicle: was it worth it? Because frankly, there wasn't really anything of value in the car in the first place (lesson learned from the first break-in), and it really peeves me that it'll take more cash to fix that tiny back window than the entire value of everything that you took. I hope the cuts you got end up gangrenous.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Cringing Trip Down Memory Lane

So recently, I co-presented on a webinar that was broadcast live and recorded for work. I've had a few compliments on my performance — mostly, the fact that I sounded confident and conversational (people seem most taken with the phrase "quick and dirty" ... is that really such a risqué expression?). I attribute this all to the four years I spent as a DJ on the college radio station at UCSB.

Most of my stint on KCSB was on a late-night show. I started on the 2 - 4 a.m. slot, and pretty much stuck with it most of my four years. There was a 10 p.m. to midnight show at some point, a late-afternoon show for another quarter, the awful 6 to 8 a.m. — or was it 8 to 10? — slot I slogged through for another quarter (hated it). One quarter I had two radio slots in the week, to pick up for someone who dropped out — I called that second show "Outside", which had always been my secret back-up name for my normal radio show, "The Dynamic Groovy Music Hour" (thank you, David Tanser, for the name). I was always Sarah the Great, though.

At night, I kept most of the lights in the station off. Most of the time I was by myself; generally until the person with the following slot would stumble sleepily in. There was just enough light to read the CD booklets while I picked the next song, to see the board, to read my notes if I had to study for a test the next day (rarely did that last ... was too distracting from my DJing). I would blast the in-studio speakers on my favorite songs and dance around like an idiot. A couple times someone walked in unexpectedly and caught me at that. And when the phone light flashed, indicating I was getting a call, from an actual listener, that was the best.

A few listeners were regulars, and would call every week. I went on a date with one of them the first year, just before he moved to Portland. Two of my later regulars were truck drivers for Trader Joe's, and one of them had a crush on my voice. He would request the same song every week, Mephiskapheles's "Bumble Bee Tuna Song", and I always called him Eddie, forgetting that his real name was Ernie.

I taped several of those shows, but for a long time I had no way to play those recordings back, since with the death of my old boombox I no longer had a tape deck. I kind of stuck the tapes into a box in the depths of my closet, and semi-forgot about them. But suddenly, with the departure of Geof to the East Coast, I have the ability — for he sold me his entertainment system, including a combo turntable/CD player/AM-FM radio/tape deck.

The webinar and its aftermath of fame and fortune (ha. ha. ha.) had me thinking about those good ol' days, and I finally remembered those tapes. Got home tonight and pulled some of them out of the closet — the collection includes not only my very last show (which my dad listened to on the drive down to help me move out of my apartment, since I was on the air while he was on the road) but also the very very first shows I ever produced, on the training station (KJUC) that every DJ on KCSB was required to do at least a quarter on before moving to the "big time". I popped the tape of the first show into the player while dinner was cooking, turned it up, and braced for the worst.

I was totally unprepared for how awful I was. No idea how to work any of the equipment (as evidenced by songs that would suddenly cut off in the first minute and then start over again ... or continue), no idea how to use the mic or pot up the volume (my voice was about half the volume of the rest of the sound), no idea how to talk on the air (all mumbles) ... but at least my taste in music was there. I found myself hearing songs I haven't listened to in years, good songs that I shouldn't have stopped listening to. It's like a mix tape I made just for my future self ... eleven years ago.

To make myself feel better, I quickly popped the recording of the final show in before moving on to KJUC Tape #2 and listened to myself after four years' experience. Much better. Clear voice. Good use of the mic and sound board. And I sounded confident. Back to KJUC Tape 2 showed improvement already — only one cut off song, and I'd learn how to pot up the mic volume. Wonder how long it took for me to stop mumbling.

I'll probably work my way through the rest of the tapes over the next few weeks. It's kind of nice to do, reminds me of all the awesome things I've done, and can still do.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

How did I get here?

While waiting for my 7:30 Tuesday Krav 1 class to start, I was talking to one of the random guys I see regularly at the facility. We were both watching the Conditioning Class, which starts at 6:30 and basically involves 15 or so people being run into the ground for an hour straight. It looks pretty hardcore — and not just to me: I've heard a lot of the "tough" guys (one of whom told me he did a stint in the armed forces) talking about how "brutal" that class is and how they are too scared to take it. Which makes it sound all the more pleasant.

At any rate, while we were watching people verge on collapsing from exhaustion (and loving it), Random Guy and I were discussing the other fitness classes, and I mentioned I hadn't taken any of them. He himself was waiting for the kettle ball conditioning class, and talking about how I definitely should try it, as well as all the other things. Then he started talking about his fitness regime ... this is a guy who runs 3 miles every morning, does a couple hours at the Krav facility most days, and plays soccer on the weekends. Between this he rides his bike around the city (that is, the circumference of SF, not just back and forth) at least once or twice a week.

"Yeah," he said. "I exercise a lot."

My response: "No kidding."

And then he asked me if I rode my bike to work, and I had to stare blankly at him before telling him I didn't have a bike, can't really afford one ... and I live UP a hill. "That's no excuse," he told me. "Bikes are cheap -- you can get one thirty, forty bucks. How about running? How much do you run?"

Another blank look from me. For perspective: while I have tightened up a bit in the last couple months, I'm still a dumpy, roly-poly boobalicious female. Add to this image the fact that I was hunched over the sock I was knitting at the time, working a cable pattern. Six months ago, exercise for me involved walking the two and a half miles to the bar in the Mission where I was meeting my friends. Downhill. The fact that I can get my arse to Krav — and love it — is pretty daring for lazy ol' me.

"I haven't run in forever," I finally said. "And I don't have good shoes."

"Again, no excuse," he said, quite seriously. "Shoes you can get for another thirty bucks. People run in all kinds of shoes. They run barefoot. Anyone can run."

Clearly, this man is insane. But somehow, as he was extolling the virtues of running and biking, something stirred deep inside of me. My knitting slowed, my back straightened, my eyes unfocused as I imagined myself leisurely pedaling through the city.

I don't know how he did it, but this man made it appealing. I swear, the next day I almost went online and started looking for a bike. I'm still tempted.

Oh, and that Conditioning class? I'm starting to think I should at least try it once. I mean ... what's a little near-death in the name of good health? Plus, I've heard that a couple months of taking that class once a week cures you of any fat you might have had lurking around your body. (Also, there is a cute guy that takes it ... I'd get to watch him sweat up close. Hawt.)

Good gracious ... what's happening to me?

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Why Is Being Normal So Hard?

It seems I have been negligent in my journaling. I apologize. A lot's been going on, and I didn't really have the words to say it. (I still mightn't, but here's to trying.)

In lieu of taking my planned trip to Portland — good thing I didn't, because I'm broker than broke these days — I ended up spending the Fourth of July doing something I've never done before: sail on a boat around San Francisco Bay, and seeing the fireworks from the backside. It was pretty neat — my friends piloting the boat, a couple that met while they were serving in the U.S. Coast Guard (so they should be somewhat trusted on "open" waters), even let me "drive" the boat for a little bit just to get a feel for it. A couple pics below, but the rest, as always, can be found on my Flickr account:

Hooray for Me!

I Drive the Boat!

Greg and Me

On top of getting to do something awesome and new, the not-taking of the trip also gave me a 5-day weekend to relax and prepare for my new big adventure: working days. It's official: I've permanently dropped my vampiric ways, and have become a complete Daywalker. A perfectly reasonable, 9 to 5:30, Monday through Friday job the likes of which I never imagined I'd have again while still in my 20s. With a new job title to boot — not so much a promotion as a side-motion, but still. It's movement, and it's actually the job I've been hungering after for months. It's perfect for me, and gives me some room to grow (I hope).

It hasn't been easy. I never imagined that joining the ranks of the "normal" (as my family likes to call it) would completely throw my body out of whack. I'm waking up now around the time I used to get off work, and sleeping when I used to be working. In fact, I should probably be in bed right now, but ... well, old habits are hard to break.

We'll see how long I last like this. I keep getting told that in a few months, I won't even know how I used to be able to do Graveyard. But right now, I miss my old crew, I miss feeling like a hub of everything, and I'm still trying to figure out my niche in the daylight hours.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

It's Official — These Things Come in Threes

The king of pop is dead at 50.

Farrah Fawcett is dead at 62.

My trip to Portland is dead, not even born. Sorry, y'all — too many indicators (car breaking down, cell phone dying, other things) that kind of told me the universe didn't want me taking a road trip at this time. Sucks, too, because I was really excited.

On the other hand, I get to mooch around and eat and read and watch TV a lot. So that's something positive.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Monday, June 8, 2009

Happy Happy

The official announcement: I'm taking my annual road trip to Portland and the Pacific Northwest this year. I should be up there July 1 through 5, leaving on the 6th. So be prepared. Who will be around?

I did a quick calculation of my remaining paid time off for the year in preparation for another trip (NYC this fall ... hopefully that pans out) and realized that, if I took my 4th of July vacation exactly as I had planned/scheduled, I'd be left with only one or two days for the entire rest of the year. This includes vacation and sick leave, since my company combines them both into PTO. So I lopped off a couple of the planned days for this trip, to try and save them for the fall vacation.

Interestingly enough, I think the restricted vacation opened my mind up to greater possibilities. My first night off is now Tuesday night, July 1. Since I work that morning until 6:30, if I wanted to do a straight 12-hour drive to Portland from SF, I'd have to waste that entire day resting up and sleeping, leaving the next morning, Wednesday. Which might still happen. But I was looking at the route and playing with Yahoo! maps, and realized that Crater Lake — a place I've always wanted to get back to — is only a 7-hour drive from SF ... still a distance, but I think one I could pull off. If I sleep right up until I have to go to work that night, and leave right after my shift.

So here's the plan, for those of you who need to know:

Tuesday, June 30: get off work, drive up to Crater Lake, get a camp site. Set up my tent and take a nap for a couple hours, leaving me with enough time (thank heavens for summer light late nights up north!) to do a little hiking and exploring before I have to retreat back to my site and hunker down for the evening. I just need a tent and sleeping bag -- I already even have a grill. Huzzah!

Wednesday, July 1: Wake up somewhat early, pack my stuff back into the car, go do some more hiking and exploring around the lake. Once I'm done, start heading out towards Portland, with the aim to be at Critter Cove sometime in the late afternoon/evening ... which is what I would have been doing, anyway, if I'd rested up and left SF Wednesday morning instead of Tuesday.

Thursday, July 2 - Sunday, July 5: Muck around Portland. I want to try to do some wine tasting in the Willamette Valley and/or Columbia Gorge areas. Relax. Enjoy my time with my friends. Maybe pop up to Seattle to hang with the peeps from my company's office up there. Celebrate the 4th. Cook dinner for y'all. Get drunk on beer and Goldschlager (do I have to bring my own, or will there be a supply waiting for me?)

Monday, July 6: Leave early, drive down in time for work, or even my ceramics class. Who knows? I'll be braindead, but I'll be vacationed.

Consider yourself warned. This is all Happy Happy for me.

Happy Sad

It's been a whirlwind month. Mostly good — May was a good month, made up for the crappiness of March and April. June I'm still not sure of; I'm being hit from all sides with all sorts of changes in the Way Things Are. And if you know me, you know I don't like change. Much.

Geof is tying up the loose ends before he leaves for NY, and so it was bittersweet chance to get to hang out with him pretty much this entire weekend. I'm happy for the time we got to spend together (and the TV and stereo system ... yes, I have a TV now. And a turntable — I can play vinyl!), but the fact that now I know just how limited this time left is, in reflection of time wasted on stubbornness and hurt feelings ... I'm not sure I can put it into words precisely how I feel. I'm going to miss the doofus. I'm going to miss the late nights where I'm at his place while we get drunk and he starts throwing all sorts of things off YouTube and his music and DVD collection at me. I'm going to miss the late-night phone calls that go to 5 in the morning, even though we started saying goodbye at 2. I'm going to miss the lunch breaks after the weekly supes meeting, where we vent at each other about what's been bothering us. I'm also so happy for him — I think the move is finally becoming real for him, and he's getting so excited, and I can't help being excited with him. True, he took the transfer that I always secretly wanted, he's doing the dream I always had in the back of my mind, so I'm jealous as all heck, but I'm thrilled that one of my best friends is shifting his life back into some sort of gear, in the best place on earth.

Just, why does he have to leave to do it? So not fair.

So that's the happy sad thing that's been weighing heavily on my mind of late. Next entry: Happy Happy.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Big Dream, Small Plates

I was at a dim sum place in Milpitas for a friend's birthday this Saturday and, in the middle of scarfing down a bunch of lobster bits, I was struck with a flash of genius.

Kosher dim sum.

An idea that will revolutionize Jewish cuisine. Imagine, if you will: a big open space, dotted with circular family-sized tables surrounded by cozy dilapidated chairs. Between the rows, bubbes in various stages of senility pushing carts laden with small plates of food, trying to coax you into having "just one more bite, you look so skinny, yingela."

You heard it here first, folks. Now to get cracking on recipes. So far I have matzo balls with various dipping sauces, matzah with chopped liver, lox, mini bagels and — the chickens' feet of Kosher cooking — gefilte fish.

Any other ideas?

On the other side of the calorie scale (and keeping with the Jewish theme, I guess), tomorrow evening I'm taking my first Krav Maga class. I'm scared and excited and can't wait to be sore all over. What the heck has become of me?! I must be going nuts.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Of Course He Ducks, He's a Quack ...

I think I'm finally over the trip. It didn't work the way it was supposed to, but I think I'm almost ready to look at the photos again. They will be on Flickr soon, Emily, don't you worry.

By the way, for those of you in or near San Francisco this Friday evening, the JCCSF is having another Open House thingy. A few of my new ceramic monsters are in it, there will be wine and nibblies, and some actually good stuff to look at. Here's a link to the event on Facebook for those of you who can see it. Otherwise, shoot me an email if you want details.

In other news, what is it about hot weather that brings out the weird in people?

It's been a while since I've gone to a bar alone to watch a game. But I was up early-ish yesterday (thank you, jerk of an upstairs neighbor ... thank you and your damn loud vacuum on my ceiling), the weather was pleasant, and it was game 3 of the first round of the NHL playoffs. I'd already missed the first two, and the Sharks had lost both, so I figured maybe it was my fault that they were playing so poorly — I was being a bad fan by not watching the games.

Still not sure if that was a good idea.

Oh, the Sharks won (apparently, the losses were my fault), so I suppose it was worth it in that sense. But a girl, alone in a bar, watching hockey, wearing a skirt on a nice evening? Apparently that screams "I am bored so please hit on me and buy me a drink".

No one ever randomly buys me a drink. Well, okay, once or twice it's happened. But two in a two-hour period? I'm not trying to boast here or anything — I know that, while not hideous, I'm never the prettiest girl in the room (even when I'm the only girl) — and in fact it was kind of creepy the second time around. The first guy was amusing, in a drunken loser sort of way. The second guy, though, barely spoke English enough to understand I was being honest when I said, No, I am going to work in a couple minutes so I can't have another drink. He bought me one, anyway. (I didn't drink it.)

Friday, March 27, 2009

Leaving on a Jet Plane

I do know when I'll be back again ... at least, when I'm -supposed- to be back. ;)

There are many things to be nervous about while travelling. The thing I'm most nervous about? Leaving my cell phone behind. I'm not bringing it with me, for fear of losing it and so I don't have to go scrambling for a converter to keep it charged. Instead, my friend Emily has picked up a prepaid Belgian phone for me to use while I'm out there.

But yeah, this is the part of the trip that freaks me out the most, being cell-less. I'm funny like that.

Now, to get dressed. Wouldn't do to still be in my robe and towel when the SuperShuttle arrives. Since I won't have too much access to the internet, updates will probably be between sporadic to non-existent. You can email me if you like, and I'll try to get back to you when I'm at a Cyber Cafe.

See you in almost two weeks!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Dream

In my apartment, and I heard a car door slam in front of my apartment, so being the nosy person I am I took a peek through the blinds to see who it was. It was a youngish man, my age, with a six-pack of bottled beer in a paper bag under his arm, and, noticing that I was peeking, he came right up to the window and peered back through the blinds, scaring me for a moment. And then he started calling in to me, asking who was there, asking me to come out and join him. I hesitated, he backed off a little, I ran to the window and called back out to him and he turned around, smiling.

He made some promise as he walked away, down the street to wherever he lived, some enticement to get me to come out. I stayed frozen in indecision, but I should have followed him. I should have taken him up on that promise. Too late, though, because it all faded in to a different scene ....

It was a party, and I didn't know he was going to be there, but he was. The house it was at was on a cul-de-sac, and for some reason there were a lot of strange men biking around and into it to arrive at this shindig.

I knew in the dream that I was still avoiding him — he was not my friend, never was, I just didn't realize it until a little while back — and when my parents showed up and saw him, I somehow managed to steer them away without explaining why I didn't want them to meet him, or chat with him. But then he came over to chat to me. I wanted it to be brief, but he kept talking as if we were still friends and then he told me his mom and brother were arriving, and started steering me over to meet them as they came in.

I ran into my sister, who knows the whole story between us, as we were heading over to the entrance. She glared when she saw him right behind me, his hands on my shoulder, but I snagged her and whispered as I went by, "He wants to introduce me to his mom. Just let it go for now. Don't say anything." And then she disappeared back into the crowd as we moved past.

His mother in my dream (I've never met his real mother) was small, weak, floppy like a broken doll, but he seemed so happy to see her and so proud of her it cracked that wall of reserve I'd been keeping up, though it was cracked a bit already &mdash he wanted me to meet his family, I was important to him.

My dreams only tell me what I want to be so. I want to be important, though I know I'm not. The longer the silence, the more I know it's true. I feel like a fool for ignoring the actions for so long, but listening to the words. The gestures were few and far between, just enough to keep me hoping, never enough to keep me secure.

I leave tomorrow, to be gone for almost two weeks in a place 6,000 miles away. And still no gesture. I've gotten the message ... but, call me nostalgic, I just wish it was a different one.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Who Loved Ya, Baby?

A little over a month ago, when I was walking down the main drag in my neighborhood (24th Street in Noe Valley, in case you were wondering), I found the parking lot of Bell Market gated off, and signs in the windows indicating that it had closed. Now, it's not like I went there often — usually when I wanted groceries, I drove up the hill to the Safeway, which was cheaper, had a better selection, and made more sense to take the car to. Still, it was a little disappointing: another example of an economy gone to complete shit, a neighborhood on the verge of decline. Plus, where was I going to go now for those quick produce pickups when I felt like getting my ass moving and taking a walk?

But then yesterday I was walking down the street again, and there were cars parked in that lot, and people standing around looking like they were Planning Something. And then I saw the signs hung up on the gate, and I realized my disappointment had come too soon.

We're getting a Whole Paycheck — sorry, Whole Foods — in my neighborhood. Like, a 10 minute walk from my house.

The place is too expensive for me, generally, but, call me bourgeois, holy fucking shit, I can buy my quinoa now and pretty produce and crappity have you seen their bulk bins?!

Once the place opens up, you just know that my grocery budget is completely blown to kingdom come. Oh, well. It was a nice idea while it lasted.

Speaking of budget-blowers, I leave for Europe on Friday. Yesterday's discovery was actually on my way downtown to buy Euros at Wells Fargo, so I can have cab fare when I land in Amsterdam, without having to pay those outrageous airport exchange fees. $300 got me €210. God dammit, I miss the exchange rates of the early 2000s.

Question for the week, unrelated the above two topics: So, now that it's now, was it all worth it?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Interlocking-Circles Factor

Apparently, I'm growing into a San Francisco native. I've been here long enough — and know enough people — that I'm starting to randomly run into people who know someone I know.

Case in point: we started our new ceramics session this week, and the four newbies started chatting with each other about their jobs and such as they were stamping their slabs with random textures. One of them said she worked in the marketing department for one of our clients, so I perked up and mentioned that I worked at BW. About 10 minutes later, one of the other newbs comes up to me and mentions the name of one of my coworkers — in fact, one of the girls on my shift. Turns out, it was my coworker's ex-roommate. They'd lived together for at least a year (I think?), I'd heard the stories about her, and now here she was looking me in the face.

Life is funny like that.

In other news: my birthday is this Thursday, and I'm spending the night before and the night after celebrating with drunken revelry. If you want to join in, and haven't already received an invite, shoot me an email and I'll let you know the details.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


I've written and re-written in my head the speech I would say to him. Over and over again for the past ... four days now? At the office in a moment of still, at home when I'm trying to sleep, or doing dishes. On the bus, walking down Market Street, out to dinner with a friend. I haven't had a chance to say it — don't know if I ever will get the chance to say it. Perhaps it's best I don't. I'm not quite sure I want to, since it changes from moment to day.

But the stony silence hurts me almost as much as the betrayal, the complete and utter obvious disdain for my feelings or my self. I gave him everything I could give him, was there for him when he needed me, was practically his best friend, kept his secrets and defended his weaknesses, and this is how I'm repaid. An emotional punch in the gut (I guess that is some sort of payback, for the physical one I gave him), and some nobody, some new toy, getting the public affection that I always wanted. Someone who's virtually done nothing, getting everything I worked for.

(And yes, I know how pompous and wannabe-martyrical that above graph sounds ... let me have some inflated sense of my own value.)

I alternate between empty staring to furious cursing to sobbing uncontrollably and back again. I feel empowered and hollowed out and like a humiliation all at the same time.

This will pass. But right now I don't know what to do with myself.

Monday, March 2, 2009


So I'm not a paranoid psychofreak. I'm actually right.


Saturday, February 21, 2009

Bland, Cheap, Somewhat Tempting, and Crammed with Empty Calories

A weekend trip out of town, even just up to Sacramento ... probably a good idea. It's nice to get out of the city, if only to regain one's perspective on surroundings.

While the favorite ex sleeps off the doldrums of a night short on sleep and a morning stuck in a Saturday make-up class (the professor is the one making it up ... which apparently means all the students have to as well), I took a walk to the nearest strip mall for some Pho' and fresh air. Aside from a couple people walking their dogs, and one retiree on her Saturday speed walk, I was the only one wandering the meandering sidewalks — think on that a minute; the sidewalks aren't made straight here, for getting from place to place, because it's assumed if you actually have to get somewhere, you're going to drive in this town. There were trees, and grass, and city-employed gardeners mowing the meridian lawns. I walked by a couple cookie-cutter apartment complexes, and a whole bunch of McMansions that make up the bulk of the neighborhood.

The houses are sort of nice, in a simpletonesque sort of way. But they have no character. Maybe they will somewhere down the line, kind of like how the cookie-cutter homes of my grandparents' Palo Alto neighborhood now seem quaint and retro, even though every house is exactly the same save the landscaping and the color. But at the moment they seem a lot like an analogy for the housing boom of the last decade or so: a whole lot of hot air and plastic, with little actual value in the end.

Thursday, February 19, 2009


Obviously, pleasure causes disease.

I should write more often. Even if it's bullshit ... need to redevelop my voice, get used to words on a screen (my handwriting's too messy anymore for the on-paper bit), get used to forming sentences in silence. It might be a good idea, like I was mentioning to Geof last night on the phone, to sign myself up for some sort of writing workshop, just to force me to produce something and hold it up for public criticism.

By the way: attitude is everything, I believe. For instance, Friday the 13th, a random event based on a Western European concept and definition of time, is completely a constructed concept. Whether it's unlucky or just another normal day, completely all psychological. I know this. And yet, I hold the conviction deep in my soul that Friday the 13th is my official Lucky Day. Doesn't matter what's planned for it. I don't let bad things bother me on that day, and generally just try to let the day plan itself. Self-fulfilling prophecy: this last weekend was one of the best I've had in a long time. And I didn't even get laid. Really. (Sorry, Buzz-Buzz, I love you but you don't count.)

In fact, the entire weekend was an exercise in canceled or redirected plans and spontaneous happenings, all for the good. Got more drunk on Friday evening than I had been planning, but in the good way. Saturday's Sonic plans got canceled (you still owe me, Dave), but that didn't keep me from having a burger with Geof and then wandering randomly around town, being goofy — exactly the kind of day I'd been missing lately.

Unfortunately, I also have a deep conviction that everything in the universe balances out, including luck. So of course, Sunday and Monday I had to fight against a virus/worm program that had invaded my computer system, despite the supposedly secure defense system (Spybot Search and Destroy, Norton Anti-Virus) I had against this very type of this. Worms are insidious creatures — you try to track them down in your system, think you've deleted them, only to find that they've tricked you and reinstalled themselves somewhere else. Also: they delete all your system restore points, block access to your own system registry, and generally make an ass of themselves in your personal cyberspace. My advice: don't get one. It's stressful.

Ended up spending the entirety of Monday evening moving things over to my other hard drive and wiping clean my entire Master drive &mdash complete reformat and reinstall. As I slowly begin to reinstall four years' worth of programs and settings (the last time I reformatted my hard drive was when I built this computer ... before that, college), I rediscover all the things I lost in my frustrated rush to get rid of that monster: Outlook contacts, pirated programs, bookmarked favorites ...

To the people who write these nasty programs: I hope your children die of tapeworms, and that you die of hypothermia. Seriously. Fuckers. If I ever find out your names I'll do my Tarot-Gypsy-Jewish magic on you, and oh boy, will you ever suffer.

Still doesn't make me want to switch to a Mac, though. Not one whit.

At least 2009 looks to be a good year for me. Friday the 13th comes up three times this year, and the first run-through went quite well. Can't wait until next month, since it's the day right after my birthday (also a day I consider "lucky").

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Nostalgia: The Silent Killer

Perhaps another year alone really is getting to me, after all. Not usually one to let V-Day get to me anymore, still I started choking up on the MUNI ride home from a work meeting this afternoon, thinking about the last time for this, the last time for that. Secret jokes and smiles, and lazy days; waking up warm in the bed together and drinking together and soaking up the familiar neuroticism. Special moments that I clutch close inside my deepest most secret thoughts, that he probably doesn't even remember. I don't know if I miss him, or if I miss just having someone to share that with. Nostalgia and selective memory are painting everything more beautiful than it was, more sacred. I know better than this, but I still can't help but succumb a little to the siren song of hopelessness.

I think I'm PMSing. That might explain all overwhelming emotion.

Beyond that, I've been in a good mood the past couple of days. A project at work is giving me the chance to become a Daywalker for the last week of February, so I'll actually have the chance to generate some Vitamin D, and see some people I don't usually get to talk to. It will also give me a chance to see how I'd enjoy working during the day, in case I ever do decide to give up my differential and leave Graveyard. Could I survive the ravages of crowded public transit, harsh sunlight, and noisy coworkers? It remains to be seen.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

New Name, Refocus

I finally am going with the name for this blog I've had floating around in the back of my head for months: "Waiting for the J". If you live in SF, you know what a pointless exercise this is: the J train is one of the most notoriously-late lines in the entire San Francisco Municipal Transportation system.

I made this mistake twice this weekend; Friday night on the way to Burgermeister and Lucky 13 for for dinner and drinks with Laura and Jeremy, and Saturday evening while taking friends-from-high school Jenny and Melissa over to the Financial District to watch the Chinese New Year parade. In both instances I ended up walking in frustration, making it to the bottom of Dolores Park (about 3/4 of a mile down the line) before the train finally caught up with us (after already being 15 minutes late). Good for my butt and legs, at least (except for the fact that we used that opportunity to stop by Bi-Rite Creamery on the Saturday trip ... yum).

My last post to this blog reminds me of just how much I've been running in circles this last year. Another pointless exercise.

At any rate, despite my resolution against trips this year, it seems I'm fated to travel nonetheless. Two excursions in mind for this year (so far):

At the end of March I head to Europe for a week and a half; my mother offered to pay for my plane ticket, since this will likely be my grandmother's final year in Belgium before she (finally) returns to the US for permanent. It's been over 8 years since the last time I headed anywhere internationally, and my friend Emily has been trying to drag me out there pretty much as long as she's been living in Bruxelles (about a year and change now). Having half the costs pre-footed makes this trip finally affordable. Flying into Amsterdam for a couple days, then taking the train down to Bruxelles and I plan to alternate between hanging out around town with Grandma Stella and doing day trips with Emily (and possibly Grandma). Then I train down to Paris for four days to meet up with my mom and sister, get fat on éclairs, and practice mon français on hot French boys before I fly back to the US in time for a 12-hour nap before work.

In July, I've already reserved a week off work for the Fourth, and I'm making it official now that I'm going to spend that week on another pilgrimage to Portland and the Northwest. So this is your warning, my friends up north. I'd like to do a little wine tasting (in other words, resupplying my booze cabinet), attack Powell's, take a drive back up to Seattle, and maybe even do a day again at Cannon Beach. We'll see. Who'll be around for that?

And finally, for your viewing amusement, this week's Creepy Photo of the Weekend:

Heil Ronald

Now wasn't that exciting?