Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Upcoming: The Year of Action

So I did take myself out to see Matthew Sweet at Yoshi's tonight. It made me feel old, to see him so old; and it made me feel young, to remember back when I was young and first bought Girlfriend, listened to it in college, played it on The Dynamic Groovy Music Hour.

But man, did he age. Not that I ever saw him live before, in younger days. And of course, the album featured in the show is 20 years old. People change in two decades. It just hurts a girl's heart to see it so obviously.

Still, me, I had a good time. The family of three that was sharing my table, who had never heard of Matthew Sweet before, probably not so much fun on their part. I would have felt bad, except that they were paying for it with a $150 gift card.

When I walked into my office building today, one of the security guards stopped me just before I entered the elevator bank. "Remember what we were talking about last week?" he asked. Last week: how life can be good, now all I need to do is find love in it and it would be perfect. "January will be your month," he said. I laughed and said we'd see. And that I would let him know on January 31st how it went.

Secret part of me hopes the man is right. It will bode well for the whole year.

I am looking forward to 2012. I feel like it should be a year of action. Like it will be a year of action.

And it will be a doing-away of words that aren't backed up by action.

The ride home was thinking about that, how actions speak louder than words, how empty words are when there's no follow up. I'm plenty guilty myself of speaking empty words, of back-pedaling when action is required. Just, to feel it thrown up at me, to have my soul ring empty with those empty words ... I want to be done with it. I say enough. (And yes, I understand how it looks to use words to decry words.)

Whatever. I'm not saying this the poetic way it was going on in my head as I walked from the 22 to the 24. But whatever.

Positive end (sorta) to this story: I'm excited to get my shit together. It's time.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Get What You Need

Last night over drinks I was reminded of how much I used to like live music, and how long it's been since I've gone to shows regularly.

Matthew Sweet is playing Yoshi's next week, and I'm considering hitting up one of the shows. I haven't listened to him for years, but seeing a link to that show on SF Gate took me back ten years to my college days, and I've been letting YouTube play me some of the songs off Girlfriend.

It's probably a good thing that my tentative plans for this evening fell through, since I was able to finish one Christmas present (the last one to be shipped), and get within spitting distance of finishing the one that's due Saturday. Not bad, Sarah. Not bad. You're almost a productive citizen.

On nights I'm not going out, I've been watching Sons of Anarchy, on a recommendation from coworker Elsie. I actually really like it, much more than expected. Even before I realized that Gemma was the same actress that played Peggy from Married with Children.



Too bad Netflix only has the first two seasons. I'm a-gonna be impatient for new episodes to be uploaded.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Fat Mother F-star-star-star-er

The war against Unwanted Roommate Jim is not over. The asshole's gotten bold: yesterday I had my friend Emily over, chatting and hanging out in broad daylight, and suddenly she looks over into my kitchen and squeaks.

"Oh my god — I just saw your mouse!"

I swore some and went over to check, but by then he'd slipped under the stove and out of sight. I set a trap and settled back down. We could hear him randomly chewing at the wall at intervals. We both agreed that he must have been really hungry, to so creep out in search of food at such a dangerous time.

This evening as I was settling down to knitting and the Facebooks, I heard movement and turned around just in time to see a fat brown mouse scurry across the main living area and into the kitchen. I followed him just quickly enough to see him slip under the fridge, where he promptly started up with the loud wall-chewing. Bastard.

Building manager has been notified, and will look into getting a handy man out at some point to move the fridge and patch up whatever hole is back there. Which means I have to clear the fridge out so that it's not impossible to move. Heavy thing is my fridge.

All I want to do is get my hands on that rodent and squeeze its eyeballs out. Animal rights be-damned.

In other news, apparently what I needed most to get out of my recent funk was a night of drinking. A lot of drinking. My company's Christmas party was Saturday night, at a Mexican restaurant with a karaoke stage in the back. I drank a lot of margaritas. I sang myself hoarse (even though the karaoke jockey cut me off for two of my songs!), and didn't end up with a hangover despite my best efforts. Good show. And now suddenly I'm feeling really good about myself. It's like magic, killing the sad brain cells.

Okay, enough talk. Time to get back to my knitting — I have a hat that's due Saturday night, and have to decide if I'm going to knit another thing to be due Sunday or if I'm just going to buy something nice for this person. Oh, and I guess at some point I should get some sleep, too.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Cheese Stands

It's early yet to be making New Year's Resolutions, but I've been looking at myself tonight, this week, this month, and all I see is things falling apart, little by little. Financially, health-wise, emotionally. I thought I had it together, I really did, but it's been spiraling downwards a lot lately.

Plus side: it's not as sad as previous years. I'm just lost, not fallen.

So it doesn't hurt to start thinking again, ahead, about my goals for myself and for 2012. I'm not going to achieve the Master Plan unless I establish and stick to something.

That's all just hard to remember in the moment.

The goals for the rest of the year:
  1. survive;
  2. finish my Christmas knitting;
  3. find some New Year's Eve plans.

The goals to focus on for next year:
  1. Tighten my budget, and stick to it. More important now that my life's become more expensive, yet I still need to save for the Master Plan.
  2. Get back to healthy basics. Which means consistently working out, eating better, eating out less. Cooking more food.
  3. Detach. Never Never Land is getting old.
  4. Work harder. Stronger. With more zest and elan.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


It's amazing how much knitting I can get done when I put my mind to it. In the last two weeks I've finished half a pair of socks, half a pair of fingerless mitts, two face cloths and one-third of a scarf. Not bad considering I'm still sleeping, working, being social, attending classes. Christmas needs to be every month if that's what it takes to make me actually use up my yarn stash.

Last night I dreamed that I was in New York during an earthquake. It was so vivid I actually woke up and had to check USGS to make sure it wasn't a real one that had somehow entered my dreams. It wasn't.

I just got an email announcing the next NYC Midnight Short Story Contest. This year's will be completely different than the last two: three rounds, each round getting progressively shorter in allowed story length. First round is a week and 2,500 words, second round is a weekend (my birthday weekend) and 1,500 words, final round is one day and 1,000 words. That's pretty intense. I'm not sure yet if I want to sign up. Will think on it.

There might be more, but my bus is coming. That's what I get for trying to journal in the morning.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

This Satisfied

Tonight at my ceramic studio's open house, an old Russian woman read my palms — both of flesh and of clay.

My flesh hand foretold a long life, but staggered. I will have a strong love, and two children. My love and my life lines are strongly connected to each other.

My clay hand's life was also long (no surprise, since I based it on my own), but interrupted by some great disease — perhaps a heart attack? — that a close friend would help me through. She will have two important lovers, an abortion, and one child.

After the old woman wandered off, having told me her life story as well as my own and my creation's, my ceramics teacher Josh came over.

"That woman just read my palm, and the palm of my clay hand," I said, full of wonder.

"Yeah, well," he replied, "that's actually the crazy woman I told you about that keeps stealing things at these events. Last open house I caught her with a bunch of beers that she'd taken in her purse. Keep an eye on your stuff."

Friday, December 2, 2011

And Counting

Not that you care, but I need a break and there's only one thing on my mind: party prep.

Fourteen hours left. It took three to cleanse the main apartment space (which essentially involved pushing stuff into the center of the room, rearranging things on shelves, vacuuming cleared space, and then throwing the crap from the middle of the room into the closet: organizing is for chumps).

Thirty-six flourless chocolate cupcakes (18 of which are Sriracha-flavored) have been baked. Squash is roasted and ready for soupification in the morning. What's left for the evening: prepping the devilled eggs, boiling another dozen eggs for back-up, and making the Belgian waffle cookies.

I hope you are getting hungry just reading this. Because if you aren't, then you obviously haven't had my grandmother's Belgian waffle cookies.

I just got back from a grocery run, because apparently three pounds of butter and three dozen eggs aren't enough to cover me for this event. Also, I didn't have napkins. Go figure.

Okay, enough resting. Time to go boil those eggs, clean the counter, and break out the waffle iron.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

T Minus 37 Hours

I'm hosting another Holiday Open House this year, and have just about 36.5 hours left before it is due to begin.

Here is a view of my apartment in its current state, from the one clean corner:

T Minus 37 Hours

Friends who will be in attendance, please remember this image, and note that it does not look nearly as chaotic as the reality is. Then compare with how it is when you all arrive. Hopefully there will be a noticeable difference.

Not sure how I'm going to pull it all together and get enough sleep, but I do at least have the ham done.

And truly, isn't that the most important thing? I thought so.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Try Not to Breathe

Unwanted Rodent Roommate Jim woke me from the verge of sleep the night of my last entry, a crunching gnawing sound coming from the closet. I tore my entire yarn stash out, trying to find him. No mouse, but I found the droppings, along the edges of the baskets, so I knew I'd hit jackpot. The next day I bought a vacuum and cleared out the rest of the crap on that side of the closet, searching, and finally, finally found the little bastard's port of entry, a hole in the corner of the closet, leading to the outside. It's now stuffed full of plastic bags, with a heavy object against it, hopefully a good enough deterrent to hold me until I can finally get a mesh and some spackle and truly cover it up.

One benefit of the rodent: it gave me the impetus to go back again into my yarn stash and reorganize. Oh, and finally buy a stinking vacuum, so I don't have the borrow the neighbor's. Thank you, Jim. Now go to hell. Or at least to the house down the street.

When I'm not chasing down mice, I've also been, finally, watching Mad Men — it's on Netflix Instant Streaming now, so I figured I might as well see what all the fuss is about. I'm halfway through the series so far, and I have to say: I don't get it.

Well, okay, I get it a little, but I don't get what makes it so incredibly compelling and exciting. I keep watching it mostly out of curiosity — I do want to know what happens next, but only mildly. The characters are pretty stock, the historical setting is presented exactly as you'd expect, there are no jaw-gaping surprises. Even the central protagonist, Don Draper, is an idealized "product of his time", predictable in his internal conflicts, only dealing with them in a slightly idiosyncratic way. (Or perhaps it's just that he reminds me of someone I already know, so I've got that been-there, had-him feeling.)

But really: I already knew people of the early 60s were misogynistic and racist. I already knew housewives were bored and advertising execs were supposed to be drunken womanizers. Give me something that surprises me, an insight into another time. Don't try to paint a darker picture of the nostalgia I don't have for a time I didn't know.

I'm not saying it isn't a well-done show — it's certainly smooth, researched, and provides just enough intrigue to be worth wasting an hour or two of your otherwise-eventless evening with — but it doesn't live up to the hype at all. I dunno, maybe shows like Battlestar Galactica and Sports Night have raised my bar of expectations too high. Or maybe a lot of people just have a relatively low bar. But I don't think it's a show worthy of rearranging my weekly evening schedule around.

I try not to think about it, but it's hard not to when I let it stare me in the face all the time. My heart is still broken — broken too many times, not just by the culprit we expect, I'm finally realizing that. I'm not sure how to pick up the pieces from that, not sure how to let go of the ... anger? hurt? so that I can be whole again.

It's not as overwhelming as it used to be, and that's good. I've got one wing now: it's time to see if it's enough to take flight on, and rise above.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Last Pitched Effort

The war against unwanted roommate Jim is not over. He was quiet for a while, but the last few nights I've been wakened in the wee hours by a rustle here, a crackle there. I thought I was going crazy, imagining things, especially since it didn't seem to be coming from the kitchen area but instead the walls against which my bed is pressed. Was he living in the walls? Creeping around under my very bed? I couldn't tell, and I still haven't seen the bastard.

And then tonight, tonight, the little fucker got bold. He decided he needed to crunch crunch crunch in broad electric light, while I was sitting there watching TV. I tracked him down to the corner by my stereo, probably hiding in or behind the box containing my old computer. Amazing. It's next to the kitchen, sure, but I can't imagine that there's any food or anything lingering around there for a small furry creature to enjoy.

At any rate, this discovery prompted me to finally move that box downstairs into storage — I should have done that months ago — and to finally order one of these — also something I should have done months ago. Traps haven't worked, poison hasn't worked, it's time to take this battle into the 21st century.

Package is due to arrive on Wednesday. I'm giving it until Christmas to prove its worth.

Of course, if this doesn't work, either, I may well just have to napalm the place and call it a day. Or maybe just ask to borrow one of my neighbors' cats: that might be saner. It's a toss-up which I'd choose at this point.

Monday, November 14, 2011


Sometimes we all need a little Steve Winwood in our lives.

I've been a bit delusional lately. Probably from a combination of loneliness and some inner knowledge that I need to boost my own self-confidence, pull myself out from the depths of, well, July 2010. I want to believe in the dozens of admirers, knowing in the back of my head that I'm wrong 99% of the time there, meaning that the one I'm right about really only one-quarter wants me.

The vanity we invent for ourselves.

Still, every day I am mentally slapping myself, to keep me from teetering over the brink. So far, it's working. Not sure how long self-abuse is supposed to keep going before it takes full effect, sinks in. A year? Two? Never?

At any rate, I'm happy enough for the moment, and I have a daily reminder that I'm changing my attitude towards my life. There is a further goal, there is a Higher Love. Somewhere, out there.

That's the hope, at least.

Creepy Hand

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Cold. Dark.

I know it is Winter Season here in SF because I am knitting. Like a crazy woman, I am knitting. I cannot get enough of it — plugging away at a pair of socks at work; a project next to the beanbag chair where I sit when I watch my Netflix each night; skeins are strewn around the apartment waiting their turn to be next on my needles. I try to motivate myself through the cold, damp Bay summer, when sticks and string would be warming and comforting and chase away the depression, but it's the clean crisp air that brings it out in me.

That and, of course, the looming threat of Christmas on the horizon. But that's another story.

Really, San Francisco has two seasons, and three types of weather. Chilly, damp, clouded summer; brisk, nippy, bright winter. Cool and wet; cold and dry; week of warm in-between. It's that last one that catches you by surprise.

At any rate, I like best the winters here in San Francisco. The warm days are nice (the cold summers are horrible and depressing and will be the personal hell I'm sent to when I die), but I love stepping outside into the sun and feeling the bite on my nose. I get to wrap myself up in one of my hand-knit scarves, put on a wool hat, pull on my fingerless gloves, and just moving feels wonderful and warming. The chill is only skin-deep, and flushes your cheeks. Your breath steams up just a bit from your mouth and disappears.

(On a side note, the wonder of seeing my own breath is probably half the reason I like to smoke now-and-again: it's being able to do that any time I want to, no matter the weather.)

I even love the early darkness, now that we're post-Daylight Savings. It makes the city that much more magical, especially as we enter the holiday season and stores stay open longer, people start stringing little lights on their houses and in the trees along the street. We get to watch the sunset from my office window — we're in a high-rise and can see the ocean from our desks on a particularly clear day — and then I bundle up and head out into the crowds, on the MUNI underground to my bus, packed in with other people only too glad for the warmth afforded by an overcrowded train.

My only regret is that there isn't a light dusting of snow, but I'm obviously on the wrong coast, in the wrong town for that. And the fact that I wish for it probably means I haven't lived in it enough to hate it. Soon enough.

Things are moving and shaking. Weekends filling up, and I'm already starting to think ahead to next year. What I want to do, what I need to shed, what I need to build up. How I'm going to be able to afford it all. Somewhere back there, in September, was a pivot in my life, and I think think think I'm trying hard to stay on the new path and not swing a full 360 back onto the old.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Busy Week, Lazy Sunday

The apartment currently smells like stuffed peppers, the scent lingering in the air even though the peppers themselves are carefully wrapped up and placed in the fridge in preparation for the work week of lunches. I made a fresh batch of ketchup, have a bunch of radishes sliced up and pickling, most of my dishes are cleaned, and I'm about two-fifths done with the Christmas present I'm knitting my nephew.

It certainly sounds like I've been productive today, doesn't it? Now I will confess to you that I actually spent over half the day in bed, unable to wrest myself from the clutches of Nap. Seriously, aside from the shower at 11, I didn't actually start doing anything with my day until 3:30 p.m. (Thankfully, Daylight Savings ended last night, else it would have been 4:30.)

I will blame the last week or so for wearing me out. I did a little, a lot, traveled, stayed home, forced myself to go out, forbade myself to stay in.

A week ago yesterday (so, two Saturdays past), I went on a day trip with my Bus Buddy Karin to Carmel-by-the-Sea, ostensibly to show off the yet-unnamed New Car to Karin, but really just to get out of San Francisco while the weather was still fantastic. I think this is the day it started snowing on the East Coast. In Carmel, it was a "sweltering" 78 degrees, and somehow we survived walking around town in it, doing a little window shopping and basically just sampling the local flavor. It was a very Grown Up type of trip, my own foray into Life After 29. (Or is it Life After 39, now? Are we still allowed to party it hardy into our late 30s? Can we refrain from growing up another decade, now?)

I also did two nights of museum drinking. I checked out Night Life at the California Academy of Sciences, on Thursday night. It was actually pretty awesome, drinking and looking at the fish and reptiles. I kind of wish I'd seen more, but I was there with friend Claire and some of her French Posse, so it would have been rude to wander too far off on my own. Perhaps next time I'll go by myself or just with one friend.

Friday night, Karin seemingly-spontaneously suggested that we hit up Friday Nights at the De Young when I mentioned that I was going to be lame and had absolutely no plans for that evening. I didn't realize that there was a Meet-Up group planned for that event that she had signed up for, so I was initially surprised when during an intermission of the music she suddenly was able to find someone she recognized and walked up to him. It actually ended up being kind of fun — I'd forgotten what it's like joining a bunch of people who all know each other only from the internet — and I got to feel a little like I was cool and mingle-y for a couple of hours. The experience actually got me to sign up for Meetup, though I haven't joined any groups yet. Who knows, maybe I'll add that to my list of ways-to-not-be-lonely.

After the De Young, Karin took me to a little hole-in-the-wall Burmese place in the Mission, which I will not name here in the hopes that it stays relatively unknown, because it was frickin' awesome and worth the 30 minutes we stood on the sidewalk in line waiting for one of the 10 stools on the inside. It's tiny, the food was greasy, it was cheap and it was delicious. I'm still surprised at how many great restaurants there are in the city, at so many different price levels, that I have never heard of.

Yesterday, Claire and I braved the rain to go to The Pelican Inn's Guy Fawkes Day celebration. I would like to point out that it was very English weather (cold, rainy, overcast, windy), which I guess felt natural, but made one very sad when one remembered that just four days previous it was sunny and 74 degrees. I had considered not going, but I wanted to hang out with Claire at least once more — she's going back to France on Tuesday, for an undetermined length of time — and I was the one who had offered to drive. Very glad I went. Rain makes a good pub seem even better, the beer was not bad, and there was a real sense of community amongst the three dozen-or-so nutters that actually braved it out to the beach and the raging bonfire. (How they got that fire actually started is beyond me, but I'm sure wind and rain are things the British have long since gotten used to dealing with in cases like this.)

Guy Fawkes Bonfire
I'm wearing a knit toque, a knit scarf, and a knit neck warmer. All really just to keep the driving rain off.

When we went back to the pub for beer and food, we found the electricity out and only cold food and beer available for ordering. That coupled with the complete and utter lack of cell phone coverage, we were forced to actually speak to each other, and joked that we'd been transported back to James I's era and the first Guy Fawkes Day. Around this time, more of the French Posse actually started arriving, so we drank down a beer by candlelight while they also braved the rain, and then discussed heading back into the city for some real sustenance. The final consensus landed on Sheba Piano Lounge, in the Fillmore District. I'd been there once before (Josh lives right around the corner), and it was still as good this time around as I remembered. The French Posse had made reservations for the seats by the fire, so we dried off while sipping good drinks and eating with our hands. It's a great place, and their live music is loudish but not unbearable — some decent jazz to set the mood and steal your mind.

This coming week promises to be almost as exciting. I plan on striking two things off The Bucket List, and then on Saturday I'll be doing karaoke with a group from work. I'm going to say I deserve my Sunday of Sleep.

Right now I should be reading through my voter information packet, since Tuesday is Election Day and sometimes I like to be a good citizen. Not that I'm encouraged to be so when I'm barraged every morning for the month of October by volunteers handing out flyers or candidates wanting to shake my hand in front of the Castro MUNI station. Why do they do this stuff in the morning, when all we want to do is just get to work with a minimum of hassle and an extra cup of coffee? A smart campaign would put its people out there during evening rush hour, when we're stuck at that bus stop waiting for the final ride home. Captive audience, people. I guess they just don't learn.

Thursday, October 27, 2011


I had two apocalyptic dreams last night, and woke up in time for an earthquake. If that's not the world telling me to get a move and a shake on, I don't know what is.

The dreams were kind of interesting, actually — scary when I woke up out of them, but thinking back not so horrific. In the first, the human population had been decimated by some disaster, and, on the island of Manhattan, was split into two factions. I somehow was one of the leaders of one faction, and was trying my darnedest to convince the leaders of the other faction that it would be best for humanity to join together to the cause of survival. My persuasion techniques included rhetorical argument, an appeal to common sense, and womanly wiles. I had to convince all the leaders before the conflict escalated into a full-out war ... as much of a war as an endangered race of beings could have.

In the second dream, we were cleaning out and packing up the house in anticipation of the next morning, when "they" would come pick us up with large buses and take us away. (Side note: whenever I dream about my "home", it's usually the house my parents currently live in, and which I lived in during middle and high school, but always on the street we lived on when I was in elementary school. Not sure what that means.) My dog Chloe was there — in real life, she died 10 months ago — and after the cleaning, the entire neighborhood was at the bar partying it up like there was no tomorrow. Probably because none of us expected to be alive tomorrow. I made a goodbye call to my best friend, who was really rather blasé that my world was about to end. I woke up just as the white (yellow? I don't exactly remember) buses pulled up into the cul-de-sac, and the call was out for us to get on them.

All sorts of surreal.

In real life:

Bad thing that happened this week: I came home Monday evening to find burnt beans in my crockpot, instead of baked. Not enough liquid, I guess, but it was disappointing. What a waste of bacon.

(One) Good thing that happened this week: I came home today to find the photo prints I ordered last week had arrived. Now I just have to sort through them and put them into albums. The prints span over the last two or three years of my life, and I'd been wanting to print them up for a long time. Digital pictures are nice and all, but I feel like you don't get the same enjoyment from them as you do with an actual physical print. Call me old-fashioned, I guess.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Baked Bleu

Rugby, I have found, is a very esoteric sport. Not so esoteric as, say, Australian Rules Football, which I watched for an entire hour once and still had no idea what anyone was doing.

The Rugby World Cup was this Saturday night/Sunday morning, and it was New Zealand v. France, and of course since I have one amie française and (through her) a ton of French acquaintances, I had to join them in the completely packed Kezar Pub to watch the game until three in the morning. The bar was full to capacity by about midnight, and the game didn't start until 1 a.m., so there was a lot of jostling and me making conversation by trying to find out the rules of the game. (Though I wish I'd had someone explain the scrum to me, which mostly seemed like the ultimate in grunting male display and sporty battle. Now I know: it's just like a hockey face-off. Because I can't watch any sport anymore without comparing it to hockey.)

Spoiler alert: the French lost. But only by one point, which even I can tell was pretty good considering everyone was expecting the frogs — sorry, Les Bleus — to have their asses handed to them. Though I could also tell that New Zealand — the "All Blacks". See? I'm getting okay at this understanding of other cultures/sports — was a better team, seeing as they had control of the ball most of the time.

At any rate, the lesson here is that best way to watch a sport you're unfamiliar with is to watch the World Cup version of it, if possible, in a bar packed with absolute fans of it. It was hard not to get caught up in the excitement, even for something I had absolutely no investment in. Heck, you could even have caught me chanting "Allez les Bleus!" with the best of them.

So that's the sports portion of my weekend. There was also a lot of culture, honest.

Friday evening after work I headed to the EXIT Theatre to see a play written by my friend Jeremy. I didn't tell him at the time, but I have to admit to you, Imaginary Internet Friends, that I almost cried at the end of his piece. It was witty and fun and poignant and sad. I'm reminded yet again that I have a profoundly talented friend, which both humbles me and makes me proud at the same time.

On Saturday, Jenny and I went to Treasure Island to participate in The Winery SF's Grape Stomping Event. There was less stomping of grapes than I'd expected, but lots more tasting of wine than expected, so it balanced out.



Surprisingly (to me), The Winery SF is not the only winery actually on Treasure Island. We decided to drive around the island a bit, since Jenny had never been there and I hardly have been, and we stumbled on a couple more wineries, one of which offered a free tasting. We actually bought bottles there, since we liked their wines better than The Winery's. Who knew?

And right now, my crockpot is stocked and starting up a batch of Baked Beans to cook all day while I'm at work. I've been craving these for a long time, looking forward to coming home to the smell tonight. And it's time now for me to go catch that bus to the office. Oh, Mondays ... why are you so Mondane? Hahaha, I crack myself up.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Giving Love a Bad Name

Walking through the Noe Valley Harvest Festival today, a bumblebee flew straight into my heart. Unfortunately, the bee was not as strong as my boobs, and bounced right off and onto the ground.

Trying to decide if that was nature, or fate, or whatever, trying to tell me something there. I mean, the aim was dead-on. It still kind of hurts a tiny bit when I think on it. It was like Cupid's Arrow ... except probably the exact opposite in effect. Or something.

In other news, I was digging through some old knitting projects this evening, trying to find something creative to do besides moping in front of Netflix, and stumbled on an old bucket list I made for myself back in 2007. It was inspired by that Day Zero Project that was all over LiveJournal back in ... well, 2007. It was intended to be a list of 101 things to do in 1,001 days. I only came up with 57 items, and they were supposed to be completed by March 28, 2010. Some of these things seem just ridiculous now. Some are goals I still have. Only 12 actually got done at some point.

I'm sharing the list below, for your viewing pleasure and general amusement. Items in green are things I've actually accomplished by this point.
  1. Visit a state I've never been to before. (Ohio.)
  2. Go wine tasting. (Done with Dad for Father's Day 2010.)
  3. Save one month's salary (gross, in savings) ~ $4K.
  4. Join an interest group/club.
  5. Knit a (wearable) sweater for myself. (Three Decades Sweater - link to Ravelry entry)
  6. Volunteer for something regular.
  7. Attend one Pilates class.
  8. Work out three times a week for one month straight.
  9. Develop photos from my big [word unreadable - maybe recent?] trips (starting 2005) and put them into albums.
  10. See a movie by myself.
  11. Pay off the credit card completely (This one I'm really proud of.)
  12. Go on a six-month yarn diet.
  13. Go on three dates with three different guys. (Sad this had to be an ambition spread out over 1,001 days.)
  14. Write a short story I'm proud of. ("The Swap")
  15. Write a novel (1st draft).
  16. Eat an animal I've never tried before.
  17. Take a photography class.
  18. Take a language class.
  19. Become reading-fluent in Old English.
  20. Learn to play the guitar - beginning level.
  21. Run Bay to Breakers. (Hahahahaha)
  22. Learn self-defense (take a class) or a martial art. (Hello, Krav Maga.)
  23. Learn CPR. (Which reminds me, I need to sign up for the child and infant CPR class.)
  24. Lower weight to 136 pounds.
  25. Play a round of golf.
  26. Get oil change on car every six months for 1.5 years (3 times in a row). (I even put the date of the first change: 6/27, presumably 2007)
  27. Volunteer for a community event. (AIDS LifeCycle, with my coworkers.)
  28. Visit a country I've never been to before. (Luxembourg)
  29. Make a Flash movie to post on YouTube. (What the heck was I thinking?)
  30. Reinstate my radio show. (Still wish I was doing this.)
  31. Tour the Jelly Belly Factory. (I've visited, but not done the tour. Soon. Also: added this to my Bucket List.)
  32. Convince management to make Graveyard a six-person shift. (Got that for a whole year, though maybe it wasn't me that convinced management. And since then, I've left the shift. Wow. The way things change ...)
  33. Run a scavenger hunt around SF.
  34. Create a cookbook of all my favorite recipes, with pictures.
  35. Get something published.
  36. Design a deck of Tarot Cards.
  37. Go camping. (Kind of did this last year at the Capay Tomato Festival, with Claire. But that doesn't really count.)
  38. Go to Burning Man (again). (This is on my Bucket List.)
  39. See Kent play live.
  40. Write up a pattern for distribution (knitting).
  41. Teach four people to knit.
  42. Make a fountain (ceramic).
  43. Make "Lady MacBeth's Hands" (ceramics). (Hmmm ...)
  44. See a sports game that is not hockey.
  45. See a Sharks game. (I've seen two, actually.)
  46. Set up [internal coding group] BINGO/newsroom game.
  47. Beach clean-up volunteering.
  48. Go skydiving.
  49. Host a knitting party.
  50. Learn to juggle.
  51. Take a fencing class.
  52. Design and crochet a (Better) Booby Pillow (as seen on Etsy).
  53. Make pasta entirely from scratch.
  54. Watch entire Godfather trilogy. (I got through the first one ...)
  55. Learn Korean (writing).
  56. Relearn calculus. (WTF?)
  57. See three plays/musicals. (I think I've seen ... one?)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Orange Crusher

So yes, I did buy a new car on Friday. It's fancy and somewhat sexy (as much as a Ford Focus can be) and has butt warmers and yes, I did cry my eyes out giving up the keys to my old Baby.

(Wiping more tears away thinking about the old car.)

More details forthcoming, once I get a chance to take a few pictures and upload them to my Flickr account.

However, I did want to say I discovered The Guild on Netflix Instant this weekend, and have been watching it. And now I want to know why no one ever told me Wil Wheaton was on this show. I mean, oh my god. I can feel my old crush bubbling back up from 19 years ago.

That's all. Excuse me now while I go heart-bubble in front of the TV some more before bed.

PS: You're right. I probably will stay up late Friday night just reading his blog, now that I remember it exists. Don't judge, pilgrim.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Four Seeing

Oracle World Customer Appreciation

The week's been rather surreal, and I feel like it's just beginning. It makes up for last weekend's canceled plans and bad cold.

Yesterday, I got a shot of adrenaline at work by some big news, and followed it up by managing to snag a pass to the Oracle OpenWorld 2011 Customer Appreciation Event. I had hesitated a moment when the offer was up in the air — I've been sick after all, and the event was supposed to last until 1 a.m., on a tiny windswept island in the middle of the San Francisco Bay — but Elsie gave me a look like I was being stupid at giving up the chance, so I went for it.

Because really, how often do you get to see Sting, Tom Petty and The English Beat for free? (Well, free except for the cost of working for a corporation.)

Elsie already had her ticket, and we found out Kasey was also going with another friend, so we joined up and headed over to Treasure Island together.

You could have called the event a bit decadent. Free beer, wine and soda were available all over the grounds, and the selection of free food was crazy. I would have been happy with the free hot dogs we saw near the entrance, but we never got to try them because of all the other stuff. I mean, there was a pig roasting on a spit, for heaven's sake.

Oracle World Customer Appreciation

It probably wasn't kosher. Oh, well.

Oracle World Customer Appreciation

The live shows were all amazing, and you could hear the music from anywhere within the designated event area. So we spent a lot of time running around, picking up free drinks between playing carnival games (again, for free), trying to dragon-jack innocent passersby, and generally having a blast.

The view from the top of the Ferris Wheel:
Oracle World Customer Appreciation

Bonus: crossing Treasure Island off the Bucket List.

This coming weekend is almost as booked as the last one was supposed to be. I have tomorrow off, and plan on doing a Big Grown-Up Thing: buying myself a new car. It's actually kind of traumatic for me to do this — I'm seriously attached to my current car (hey, if I can't have a boyfriend, kid, or pet, I have to have a car to love), and really hate to let her go. But it's time. She can't be trusted to go on road trips any longer, and that's really my favorite part about having a car in the first place, what makes the cost all worth it. A new car is also part of my tentative Master Plan, and I think I'm finally ready to do this, make a commitment. Practice for other Grown Up decisions to come down the road. We'll see how it goes.

Also lined up for the weekend is a sisterly birthday party, another family event, and possibly seeing some more live music at Yoshi's.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Soup, Tea and DayQuil

This weekend just past was supposed to be Busiest Weekend Evar. There was triple-booking both Saturday and Sunday. There were events all over the city (and out of it) to participate in. There was sun. There was Lambtown.

Instead, I spent all of Saturday in bed, except for the few times I got up to make soup or Cream of Wheat. In fact, Cream of Wheat has been the staple of my diet for the past 56 hours.

I did make an attempt to go out yesterday — the cabin fever was killing me, I caught myself sobbing for no reason on the kitchen floor at 1 in the morning. So I (deliriously) walked through the Castro Street Fair, and then probably did the stupid thing and walked from there to the N Train in Cole Valley (stupid because there's a HUGE F*CKING HILL in between), taking it to the Outer Sunset for some pho' before heading into the park for the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival. I had a date with my friend Claire, and my ex. I didn't make it to see either of them.

It's the Jewish New Year this week (started Wednesday night/Thursday), so it's as good a time as any for this bacon-eating Jew to make a new resolution: For 5772, I will resolve to not get sick so often. Because damn. Nothing so sad as missing out on eating lamb and listening to live music.

Since I've already started out the year wrong (though to be honest, this illness is lingering remnants from last year, so it doesn't count, right?), it's going to be soup, tea and DayQuil for me the next few days. Hooray, hot liquids.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Dream Paramour Bruce

Bruce was mentioned back in this post. He's done now. I posted the following to Craftster already, but figure that I might as well also share it with my general Imaginary Internet Audience as well. Just to show that yes, I do finish crafty/arty things.

This is only sort of a personal story.

Bruce came to me in a dream.

Bruce 12

It was one of those situations that seem perfectly normal while you're in the dream, but make you think twice about your inner psyche when you wake up in the morning. In this dream, a basilisk and I were, ah, having "intimate relations".

If you know anything about the mythical basilisk, you know that his look means death. (And if you know anything about the real life basilisk, you know that he walks on water, but that's a different story.) In my dream I wasn't concerned about a look of death or getting turned to stone at a glance. While we were locked in that deadly embrace, I was more concerned instead with keeping him distracted every time he tried to bite me. His bite was poison, and he was touchy ... though also easily distracted.

Bruce 13

There's a lot of symbolism involved in a dream about making love to a dangerous mythical lizard. I'm very much aware of that. I didn't take much thought to realize what and who this lizard dream represented. The image haunted me for weeks, and during that time I worked diligently on the sculpture I present to you now. He's as close to a spitting image of the lover in my head as I could get.

Bruce 16

This's probably the most complicated project I've worked on yet in my weekly ceramics class. Pinchpot-based head and body, tail created using coils, the body elevated with scrap clay while the legs stiffened enough to support the weight of the entire creation. After he was bisque fired, I dabbed him with black underglaze, washed it away, had him high-fired, and then wet brushed him with acrylic paint to get the mottled green look.

Bruce 10

The name, Bruce, is taken from the friend who maybe inspired the lizard. Or at least helped me figure him out. He's very special to me, just as this project is very special to me.

Bruce 14

But, of course, not so special that any constructive criticism wouldn't be appreciated. (Adoration would be fine, too ;) He is a reptile, after all.) Please let me know what you think.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

I Guess That's Why They Call It

When we (finally) got cable TV, back when I was 13 or 14, I watched a lot of VH-1. (Yeah, you would expect MTV, wouldn't you? But remember, I was also the kid who listened to Richard Marx and Elton John at a time when my generational peers were hot for New Kids on the Block. We can debate later who had the better taste.) The above, one of the videos on pretty regular rotation at the time, meaning that it more-or-less helped define the music video in my impressionable brain.

At any rate, that Patty Smyth song came on in the car as I was driving over the Santa Cruz Mountains this Sunday with my two youngest siblings. I was shocked, perhaps a tiny bit ashamed (lie), to find that I still knew all the lyrics and could belt it out with the best of them. I guess some things just don't leave you, do they?

By the way, I totally lay some of the blame on songs like this, and VH-1 in general, for my screwed-up vision of how love is supposed to be. Nah, phooey.

On another note: I've started a bucket list for the Bay Area (and West Coast in general, I guess, since Disneyland is on there). It's kind of nice to have a list of "goals" to accomplish, even if I know already I won't get around to all of them. I'll keep adding to the list as I remember things (or get reminded of them), and be crossing things off as I do them. If there's a relevant blog post, I'll probably link to it, too. Feel free to make suggestions as you see fit, and I may add them.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

On Punishment, and the City

Lesson: trying to punish someone you care about usually means you also end up punishing yourself. Lesson, taken note of. Lesson, learned? Probably not.

NYC 9-2011 Trip

I have one of those picture frames above my desk — the type that can hold nine photos, allowing for a mix of friends, family, and general happy memories. I specifically filled it with pictures that reminded me of good times, and put it someplace easy for me to look up and remember. Problem is, I forget, a lot, to do that looking up and remembering. Probably should do that before I think about punishing. Another lesson to be learned.

NYC 9-2011 Trip

I flew back into the Bay Area late Wednesday night. The best part about that night was crawling into my own bed. The worst part, that I had needed to leave New York to get there.

I did drink quite a bit, but not nearly as much as on previous trips: not once did I stay at a bar until last call. In fact, I did almost none of my usual NYC "must-dos" on this trip. There was no Cozy Soup 'n' Burger, there was no saunter through Washington Heights, there wasn't even a walk through Central Park. (Though I did hit up the Met, which is close.) I barely even got to do the one thing that has more or less defined my last three trips to the City — for a lot of reasons, I tried hard not to make this trip about that thing at all, which probably is part of the reason it turned out so right.

NYC 9-2011 Trip

So. I made it back to the Left Coast. It was a fantastic trip, where I even forgot a couple times that I was only visiting and the city wasn't home. Is that because New York is still where my heart is? Is it because I've visited so often in the last few years that I've re-familiarized myself with the city? Or is it merely because so many good friends live there now, that I feel like I have a place there amongst them?

NYC 9-2011 Trip

I'm still trying to get my head on straight back on routine. Already, it's a different week, and already San Francisco has entered a completely different season. I'm going to start compiling my bucket list. It's time to make a goal, because if I don't have something to go after, I'm going to keep thinking about what and who I don't have. Not a healthy way to live life. I probably haven't been living my life nearly as healthy as I should have been, the past two, three, five years.

NYC 9-2011 Trip

My bus buddy probably gave me the best piece of advice anyone could have, or has, given: it doesn't have to be forever.

That might just be enough to push me over the edge.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


It's like senioritis, but for adults with real jobs. And I have it.

The last two or three days, I've been busy — oh, have I ever been busy — and that's a really good thing, because if I didn't have actual real work being shoved into my face every two minutes (or, at least, someone coming up to me to ask a question), I don't know how I would keep my mind actually tethered into my body. Instead of Wikipedia reading and extra-long coffee breaks, the vacationitis manifests itself currently by ignoring the perfectly good leftovers brought for lunch and insisting I take myself out to eat every day. I'll have to stick the poor curry I have in the work fridge right now into the freezer, so it will still be good when I get home.

Woe is me.

My flight to New York leaves tomorrow night, and since I plan on heading to the airport direct from work, I'm trying to force myself to tidy things up around the apartment, finish up with packing, and scouring all surfaces to rid them of every scrap of food that Unwanted Roommate Jim might try to survive on in my absence.

It's only going slightly successfully. At least the kitchen is clean.

What it really boils down to is how much I really want to come home to a clean apartment. I'm pretty darned sure that when I walk in the door next week, at about midnight, I will be ecstatic to find nothing to trip me up on the path from front door to bed.

Unfortunately, I have to get my mind on board with this concept, and my mind is currently 3,000 miles away. Give or take. Window shopping for apartments.

So it's a little problematic.

And I suppose writing on here isn't helping matters, either.

Tomorrow's going to be a long day. Time to go at least finish that packing, so I don't do something foolish like forget my Penny Press puzzle books. See (err, you know what I mean) you all when I get back to town next week.

If I come back.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Guilty Is Pleasure

The other night I was thinking of a conversation I had a few weeks ago, with someone who was at the moment a total stranger.

The conversation had started with a small group of people, each of whom gradually left until it was just him and myself, and — as probably happens often when this sort of social situation comes up — the topic wandered into relationships and our sex lives. And from there my admission that I tend to overthink situations too much and look too far into the potential (negative) future, and I end up regretting a lot of the chances I missed in my life.

So. The other night on the drive home, thinking of that conversation, my mind drifted into what really defines regret. I think I know what I define as regret: it's sorrow for hurting my own happiness. Guilt, which I suddenly realized is very much like regret, is that sorrow for hurting the happiness or opinions or lives of others.

We feel guilty for not calling our grandparents more often, but don't regret it until the day we find out we'll never be able to speak with them again. We feel guilty for declining an invitation to a crazy friend's party, but we don't regret the preservation of our own sanity.

Is there a language that doesn't distinguish the two? Can you feel guilty towards yourself? (I don't think the guilt of, say, breaking a diet counts, because the guilt is towards the nutritionist or creator of the diet plan - it's a sorrow at having failed that entity, even if you don't directly know him/her/it. It's also the sorrow at having failed or garnered the disapproval of the family and friends around you for staying unhealthy.) Can you regret hurting others, even if it's towards your own happiness? Do I even make sense here?

I have tried to live a life free of regrets — I think, in fact, that was an admonition of my mother, back when I was in high school. Perhaps she meant I should err on the side of safety and comfort: don't do something dangerous just because it looks fun, because you would regret possibly losing a limb. Don't slut yourself out because you'll regret it if you end up with a horrible disease/a pregnancy/a guy who won't stop stalking you. But I've found that I've regretted more not taking the action than avoiding it. I think a lot of times it is my conservative approach to life that had lead me to looking back more often, with sadness that isn't nostalgia.

I regret not figuring out what I want from life sooner. I regret leaving New York and not making it back yet.

I regret not being together enough in college to have a chance at the guy I had a crush on. I regret not working harder to be in better shape back then. I regret not following through with some encounters.

That's not to say I've never regretted taking an action. For instance, I do regret taking the nonprofit job right out of college. I regret sleeping with two of the men I've been with. I regret (on and off) my choice of person to fall in love with.

But those regrets are tinged with the sadness of not having gone down another path, jumped on another opportunity. So maybe they are, still, regrets over the action not taken, rather than the one that was.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Morton Saltesque

I want a torrential rain. The kind that explodes out of an oppressively hot humid day, that soaks you within five minutes, and then is gone in 30. I want to walk in that rain, be cloaked in it, breathe it in.

Really, that's the big thing I want out of this upcoming trip to New York. I'm going for a friend's birthday, and I'm giving my weekend to her (gladly: it'll be fun and great and hopefully cathartic), but I want a piece of the rest of the trip just for me.

I want my rain.

Tonight my date and I were sitting in Hecho at the bar, and suddenly found a giant entire tuna carcass (the wet bartender thought it was mackerel, but I think he was mistaken) in the hands of the sushi chef in front of us. The evening had already been a little surreal, what with the pairing of tequila with sashimi, and an uni-squid combination of which my mouth wasn't sure what to make. I was already two margaritas and a bellyful of raw fish in when the chef raised his knife and started (skillfully) hacking at the gills and slicing away at the scales. It was fascinating and strange and probably a little disturbing to anyone who isn't a kitchen science geek like myself. I can see now why most sushi restaurants keep this part of the process hidden in the back kitchen. But I'm glad this one didn't.

The food and drink here was pretty good, pretty expensive. If you want to go, I would recommend it, but if you're squeamish I would say you should avoid sitting at the sushi bar. Just saying. You never know when the next fish show will happen.

And now, Jeff Buckley, covering the Smiths:

Monday, August 29, 2011

Cheddar Asian Tiger

It is a comfort food kind of day. But only since I couldn't go punch things.

I'm not currently beating the shit out of some padding at the moment because I am a klutz. Hurrying down the BART station steps in my excitement to be going home at an early time of day (I'd gone into work at way-too-early 6 a.m.), I stumbled down the last few, losing both my shoes, twisting and scraping up both my ankles, and slamming my heel bone down hard on the steel and concrete. Of course, I also looked like an ass in front of a few dozen commuters, but my bruised ego is the least of my worries.

So yes, comfort food. I'm making Alton Brown's Baked Macaroni and Cheese, only I'm using Quinoa Corn pasta, and I didn't have enough cheddar alone so I threw in a bunch of shredded 3-cheese blend that I happened to have on-hand. Topped with the rest of the sauteed onions from this weekend, and we have a dinner.

Fret not, friends: I am icing the bejeezus out of everything podiatral, and hopefully will be fine to work out tomorrow and beyond. Seriously, I need it, both to relieve some built up disappointment and also to get myself looking a bit more svelte for the upcoming NYC trip. (The dream: make the owner of the TARDIS bar fall madly in love with me, and never come back. The reality: just have more room in my pants for lots of eating and drinking.) I should be nothing but jazzed — almost everything is falling into place like a charm — but I'm starting to suspect that I can't go on a vacation these days without somehow incurring some sort of bodily injury to myself. It makes me a little afraid. Please, gods, leave my back out of this one.

Does wine count as comfort food, too? Signs point to Yes.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Urban Daring

I'm somewhat drunk, I'm happy, and I walked the last two blocks home barefoot. Oooh, yeah, I'm an exciting woman, am I.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Twelve. Reset the Counter.

I've felt cooler and sexier the past week than I think I've felt in a long time. An increase in alcoholic intake may or may not have something to do with it.

I will also blame an increase in time spent with friends — I saw both Jeremy and Laura during the week, though unfortunately not together (hopefully to be remedied this coming week?), as well as getting the chance to help Claire celebrate her American citizenship. And, more directly, I can attribute the feeling to seeing more live music this week than I have in a long time. I got to be a minor groupie Saturday afternoon/evening, and felt utterly awesome for it.

The groupie thing led to dinner, which led to drinking, which led to a discussion of a project that actually has my interest piqued. I hope it honestly had his piqued, too. We shall see, and at least it's something else to look forward to, on top of everything else September has in store for me.

At any rate, there was a column on the Huffington Post recently (someone on Facebook linked to it, I'm terribly not a regular Huff-Po reader my self) about the disappearance of the "tough girl". And of course, as a woman who knits, cooks and takes Krav Maga, I took a bit of offense (as did pretty much all the commenters). I do think that there has been a shift back towards the home in terms of redefining womanhood, but considering that the home is still the basic unit of what communities and nations are composed of, that's not necessarily a bad thing.

But on top of that, I think Ms. Aloi, the columnist, misses an important point: women (and we're talking about Western First World women, of course) aren't the only ones "losing their toughness", if they are even doing such a thing. In fact, they'd be losing it far less rapidly than their male counterparts. Men can cry now, and that's all dandy, but I get the impression more and more than it also gives men an incentive to keep feeling entitled to being taken care of by society and other people. He goes out to restaurants more because that means he doesn't have to learn how to cook for himself. He doesn't have to be macho anymore, which means he can let his beard grow out and develop the watery lank musculature of the walking-not-working man. He can have an entire wardrobe of t-shirts with 80s cartoon characters on them. Taking care of himself involves paying someone else to launder his Nordstrom Rack purchases, having a maid over to clean his apartment once a week, and keeping his mustache trimmed all by himself. Violence is a big no-no, and guns are scary and should be banned. Don't forget to admire the new electronic toy he just bought, it comes in pretty colors.

Yes, women are going along the same route. But why not talk about the supposedly-true toughies, the men, doing this, before we bemoan the death of G.I. Jane?

By the way, yes I know I'm criticizing really only one group of men. But Ms. Aloi's article seems to really only be criticizing that same group of women.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Like Tears in the Rain

The hormones are hitting me hard this month. It's been a roller coaster of a day, emotionally.

Protestors ruined my evening commute. (I hope every one of those fucknuts gets testicular cancer.) I couldn't even get home without either making the 50-minute walk to Castro station or crowd onto the F train with all the other people trying to get home, so I hopped on the 3 Jackson bus instead and went straight to my ceramics class in my work clothes (I fucking wanted to knife the guy sitting next to me, who obviously had testicles the size of a football seeing how wide he needed to keep his legs spread into my seat). I hate having to wear my work clothes to ceramics, and I hate even more not having my car with me to get me home afterwards on a convenient schedule, since we pretty much always go out to eat after class.

Bad enough that I agreed to work a later shift (by an hour) for the rest of the year's Mondays, so my entire eating and functioning schedule was throw off.

So I was feeling a little bit of anger today. There might have been some over-enthusiastic venting on my part about dickheads who think they're making a statement by ruining other people's routines. Eventually I calmed down enough to finish my latest monster (not sure on a name for him yet) and hold a normal, less angry conversation. I will say, though, it felt really good to hit up Roadside afterwards and tear my fangs into a few ribs. Really good.

Even the ride home wasn't as bad as I had expected. I made my transfer by two minutes, meaning I got home 20 minutes sooner than expected. Things were looking up.

Now I've got some important decisions coming up:

Do I want to spend the money to make a weekend trip to NYC next month, for Benny's birthday?

Do I want to spend a couple days working out of my company's NY office while I'm there?

What do I want to buy my nephew for his birthday?

And, more immediately, how do I want to reply to the message I just found in my inbox from my ex?

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Auntie: Up

Drinking Fountain Toilet
I was thirsty.

So, off a comment on a picture friend Buhler posted to Google Plus, I inspired myself into yanking some of my parents' backyard produce, and being productive with it.

Zucchini Bread

I have a lot of zucchini bread now. Most of it is in muffin format, bagged and tossed into the freezer for at least a month of future breakfasts. One giant zucchini produced two dozen muffins and a loaf. Not bad for elephantitis of summer squash.

Also gathered from Suburban Eden were some tomatoes
Tomato Sauce
and some peppers, which I combined with some thai peppers I'd bought from the Farmer's Market to make into "napalm" jam.
Thai Pepper Jam

Haven't figured out yet what to do with the eggplant. Maybe baba ganoush?

On top of all this kitcheny productivity, I also spent pretty much the entire weekend in the presence of small children. Yesterday I was Favorite Auntie Sarah to the World's Cutest Nephew, and together we learned how to lick Play-Doh and steal chocolate.


No, you cannot resist his cuteness. Don't even try to.

Today I was Favorite Auntie Eapa to my friend's son. The family invited me to join them at the Exploratorium. I haven't been there in probably fifteen years. And just goes to show how much of a geek I am in that I completely had a blast. And got a little thirsty, as you can tell from the picture up top.

Hadn't really thought about this until I was actually walking down the hill from where the 24 dumped me off, but it has been years and years since I was last in that part of town. I'd forgotten how beautiful the Palace of Fine Arts is.

Palace of Fine Arts

Palace of Fine Arts

Palace of Fine Arts

I'll have to revisit on a nicer day, such as when it isn't summer here in SF.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

August Tidbits

I came home today really grouchy. I wasn't that way when I left work, though maybe it has something to do with the fact that I didn't go to Krav today — my wrist has been feeling weak and a little sore lately, figured it would be good to give it a break — or I ate too many carbs at the afternoon crew birthday party. Usually I'm more or less zen about stupid people being assholes on public transit. Being a regular MUNI rider kind of requires it. But over the course of the commute home I felt more and more like knocking the shit out of the people around me. Especially the oblivious chubby teenager that couldn't stand still and kept swinging around so that his ginormous backpack kept nudging against my back and shoulder. Fucker.

When I'm home before 7 I try to pretend I'm going to be semi-productive. Maybe do a few dishes, wipe down the mess from making lunch in the morning. Instead today I just stripped down naked, hopped into bed and took a two-and-a-half-hour nap. Not sure yet if that soothed anything, since now I'm just fuzzy and dehydrated.

On the subject of grumpy (sort of): One of the bloggers I regularly read actually discussed OkCupid in one of her posts, and made a good point. "The guys prefer to make the first move. If the female makes first contact the female gets sent to the death star." Thinking back, I have to concede she is correct: in all the online dating I've done this year, not once have I actually gone on a date with a guy I contacted first. Not once. Usually I don't even get a response, or if I do it's pretty noncommittal and monosyllabic. Really, then, what's the point of my even trolling through the men and messaging them in the first place, if those end up being the ones that I definitely will not be seeing over drinks or coffee? Might as well just go to the bar every night (in my Other Purposes shoes?) and take my chances.

On the subject of going out: I was, for once, reminded in advance that the International Pop Overthrow comes to town once a year. I may try to attend one of the shows. Interestingly, I know two of the bands already (of course, they are playing on separate nights), both of which I saw with Sweetness back in 2004 just before he dumped me. Still, I like Hotel Utah, it's been a while since I was last there. Anyone want to join me? I'm thinking of hitting up the Thursday and Saturday shows.

Also on the subject of going out: Cute Guy™ mentioned going blues dancing of a Monday night. He promised that there were single men, which of course immediately caught my interest. It's late enough that I could do ceramics class and still make it. I am tempted, though it's been a long time since I did any type of partner-involved dancing. I will have to look up the two-step again, to remind myself how it goes.

Getting back to the subject of MUNI: I feel like the advertising on buses really shows how poorly most marketing types are at keeping up with modern casual conversation. But I have to wonder if anyone is socially awkward enough to actually look to bus ads as a guide for expected human interaction. For instance: GrubHub has an ad for their mobile app (so you can presumably order dinner on your commute home and get there as it arrives ... assuming that MUNI isn't having another meltdown), and the one character in the ad is announcing to the other that he has successfully ordered pizza, and adds "Up top!". Does anyone actually say that any more? That ad always just reminds me of the guy I made out with seven years ago who was a high-fiver. As in he would want to give a high five every time something happened or I said something that he deemed was awesome. I don't remember that guy's name, but I do remember his high fives. That's something, I suppose. Maybe he's saying "Up Top!" now instead of "High Five!" Maybe I should hope I've become choosier about the guys I make out with.

On the subject of awkward: Am I getting more so lately? Or was I always like this?

On the subject of like: The Creme Brulée Cart is my hero.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Money Under the Bridge

I go into intervals of being frugal and then suddenly spending money like it's going out of style. The last two weekends have been in the latter vein. For instance:


This is Emily's Fault. And possibly also Elsie's, who told me I need to "advertise more". But Emily is more directly responsible, since she came into town, visiting from Seattle, and we ended up heading to Nordstrom Rack in Colma, what with us both needing new clothes. We didn't end up actually buying any clothes, unless you count $200 (each) in shoes as clothing. Though I really was in need of some new shoes for the office. Some day I'll get around to actually buying new pants.

And FYI: the above are definitely not for the office. They are most definitely for Other Purposes. Trust me, they look innocent in that photo compared to how they look actually on my feet. Mmm ... almost can't wait to try them out.

Mmm. Anyway.

Last weekend was a bit more practical in the spending arena. I'd been using a $30 AT&T Nokia Go Phone for three years. I liked to call it my StupidPhone, and was more or less happy: I could make and receive calls, I could text, I could (very slowly) make a quick Gmail check if I really had to. It was all I needed. I don't like changing much: I'd been with AT&T since they were WorldCom, and was kind of reluctant to try something new.

However, after months of being mildly mocked for my not-quite-Luddite tendencies, and after getting an email about a sweet company discount on signing a new contract with Sprint (the prospect of playing Words with Friends may also have had something to do with it), I finally bit the bullet. Ported my number to a new account, signed a contract, and got a shiny new SmartPhone:


It's a Samsung Replenish, which sort of was my original first choice, anyway, and ended up being the best deal overall. I even bought the solar panel battery cover, despite the fact that I live in foggy San Francisco and, as I've mentioned before, only see the sun maybe 10 days a year. Hopefully it will come in handy if/when I take another road trip. Or if I get stranded in the middle of the desert.

The ensuing week, up to and including the shoe shopping extravaganza, was far less sensible. There were a couple nights of drinking, the latter of which (Friday) involved me losing a tote bag containing my hard copy calendar — so I haven't switched to a digital calendar yet, so sue me — a couple of glassware leftovers containers, and, really critically, my current knitting project and all my knitting notions. It was a fun night, I got far too drunk, but now I'm kind of missing that sack. The bar says they don't have it, the guy who drove us home said it's not in his car ... and it's definitely not in my apartment. I may have to give it all up to the universe as a lost cause, but I'm still kind of sad.

Though I guess there are other things I should be knitting, anyway. Curse you, universe.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Baited Breadth

Quick, Pop Quiz time! How do you say "cheese omelet" in French?

Interestingly enough, that episode touches — humorously — on a theme that I've had rolling around in my head for a week or so now, as an idea for a short story. I'm considering spending some of my weekend perhaps outlining that idea, seeing if I can come up with an actual plot for it. It's time to try to recapture some of that confidence I had from this year's short story contest, and see where it takes me.

I found some inspiration (not for the story) today while trolling around on OkCupid. One of my "Quiver" matches mentioned The Worm in his profile, which inspired a video search, which led me to stumble on the below.

By the by, there are elements that aren't safe for work. You've been warned.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Stop Whining About Netflix, People

I don't usually comment on current worldly events, especially business news (since business news is sort of my job). But all the hoopla about Netflix's recently-announced price increase has me rolling my eyes and wanting to smack a bunch of people around.

Seriously. Wasn't that unlimited streaming part icing on the cake for all of us ... only two years ago? And now they're asking us to pay for that icing, on top of the price we'd initially been happy enough to apply to just DVDs.

I don't blame them for making this move. Streaming costs money: server space, bandwidth, and (I'm guessing) cutting financial deals with your internet service providers so that the bandwidth you're using for the streaming doesn't show up in your internet bill. (Though knowing ISPs, they'll probably end up charging for it, anyway.)

As for DVDs: that probably costs even more in overhead. They need to pay the rent on the mailing centers where they house the DVDs, the salaries of the people who handle and file them away, the bulk rate costs for using USPS. This service isn't free for them to deliver. Why do you expect it to continue to be practically-free for you to get?

Most people (like myself) will probably just drop down to the one part of the plan they use the most. In fact, I haven't used the DVD portion for over a year, so this price change is just prompting me to do something I should have done long ago. In the end, this is going to save me money.

What's really funny is the people I've seen crying about this price hike the most are also the ones who indiscriminately internet post about all the money they've spent in other areas of their life: the latest iJunk toys, the trips to Giants games every week, the shows watched on HBO. You have money for all of that, but you can't find room in your budget to spend an extra $6 a month on unlimited access to video entertainment?

You should be ashamed of yourself. Throwing a hissy fit over something like this just shows you up to be one of the worst examples of a narcissistic, self-entitled American with First World problems. Get over it, and either shell out the $6 or cancel your account. You don't need to make a gods-damned internet petition about it, collecting ALL CAPS comments. There are plenty of other options out there.

Now go forth, children, and bitch about something worth bitching about. Like the extension of tax cuts for the rich, or how horrible "Carmageddon" is going to make the life of the average L.A. resident this weekend.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Cream of Wheat: It's What for Dinner

When you are a well-endowed woman like myself, sometimes the best part of the day is that moment when you can finally remove the bra and let your flesh relax. Not that those days are necessarily bad up to that point: it's just a good feeling. Of course, it's an even better feeling when someone else is removing that bra for you ...

But I digress.

It's too late to order in Chinese food, which I'm probably craving due to the remnants of a hangover, so while I wait for my Cream of Wheat to cook, I'd like to make a public service announcement:

Men, when going on a date with a lady, particularly a first, second or third date, it is probably best to avoid arriving at the date drunk.

I speak from experience, both distant and recent. Last night's OkCupid date — a first date, at Pisco Latin Lounge, which I can totally recommend for the drinks and food, bad company notwithstanding — was definitely, obviously (and self-admittedly) "tipsy" when I got there. It made for a uninhibited exposure of all his personality faults and inability to hold a conversation that wasn't 75% self-centered. There were some hints of positives, but they never got the chance to make more than a guest appearance.

I'm usually inclined to give a guy a second chance to make up for an awkward first date. Dating isn't easy, I'm still learning the ropes and the boundaries myself. But if you don't have control enough to keep yourself presentable for the pre-arranged first time I'm going to meet you, you're not worth it. I will be polite and listen to you for the hour or two that I have to endure it, I will "let" you pay for the drinks and food I have ordered, and I will not feel guilty about the fact that I don't intend to reciprocate the favor at any future point in time.

At least this one only verbally tried to pressure me into going home with him, rather than physically latching onto my arm like the last guy who showed up drunk to our date.

The night, in case you are concerned, did not end in a complete wash. Indignant at the thought of having wasted my time putting on makeup and ironing my sexy shirt, on the way home I stopped into my local bar for a quick drink, and ended up getting invited to play pool (badly) with a few guys. Which ended up in a couple more drinks being paid for, some healthy fun flirtation, and an after party of dancing to the Talking Heads, bullshitting and admiring appliances until the night was no longer night.

Hence the hangover, despite which I still dragged myself out this afternoon to join Elsie at Thee Parkside to see her friend Augustus play in his new band. (They were pretty good.) I ended up following her afterwards to the CD release party of a friend of hers, and then getting mistaken for a lesbian by a lesbian. I think I will take that as a compliment: lesbians are totally cooler than I am.

Thursday, July 7, 2011


My upper arms are driving me nuts with the itching. I have an allergy to sunblock, or the sun, or both. I'm not completely sure which, but it pretty much is guaranteed to occur when I try wearing sunblock and spend the day in the sun. Usually I don't bother with the sunblock — seriously, I live in San Francisco, and see the sun 10 days a year — but this last weekend I took the chance on a spray-on made for sensitive skin, and now I'm paying the price for it.

Itch. Itch itch. It doesn't even hurt. I think I would rather it did.

Aside from the itchy torment, it was an altogether too fun long Fourth-of-July weekend.

I visited the family in the South Bay and then went sailing with my Dad on Friday (which is when I did the sunblock thing - foolish me).

Fillmore Jazz Festival on Saturday, walking around and having good light conversations. Also having my usual "luck" with men, of course.

Sunday I drove up to the North Bay to meet my friend Elka's son and teach him to love his Auntie Eapa. (My sister's son is still cuter ... but this one is acceptably adorable.) I also strapped on roller skates for the first time in probably a decade, and have a bruise on my butt to show for it.

And to complete my weekend around the Bay, I headed over to Oakland for a mellow barbecue at Leonie and Gabe's house on the Fourth, and drove back into the city with Josh (who was also there) in time to see a few fireworks from the highway.

So the weekend was great, and busy.

Back into the work week ...

Today I feel like I'm just going through the motions. Doing things because I "ought" to, because I need something to take me away from other things.

Maybe I should just keep moving. I don't want to run away, but sometimes that just seems like the safest thing, the action that will keep me sane.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Kodachrome-Colored Glasses

Cute Guy(tm) told me the other day that I need better pictures on my OkCupid profile. This was not an unprompted comment, by the way: it was after I told him that I hadn't had any dates since the Jew dumped me in March. I said I'm not very photogenic. He doesn't believe me, and made an off-hand offer to maybe get together over 4th of July weekend for a photo shoot. I am considering taking him up on it, if he was serious.

In the meantime, I decided this evening to comb through my digital photos for replacements of the ones currently on my profile — I must have some decent pictures of myself, right? Ones that don't involve alcohol or hugging men — and ended up instead getting sidetracked on Memory Lane. Look at my life in pictures, and it seems pretty frickin' awesome: I have tons of friends, we've done tons of goofy things. I have smiled a lot in the camera's eye. I kind of forget about that when I'm in the Moment of Sad.

Reflecting back on those days when I've been restless and depressed, I'm starting to regret keeping my photo albums hidden in the closet. And I'm also starting to regret being cheap, and not printing out more of the photos I take, letting them instead get uploaded to my computer and then forgotten. I could use those memories the most when I'm at my lowest.

At any rate, if you're feeling sad about what's not in your life right now, I recommend going through your pictures from the past few years. Don't think about what's happened to the people since, just think about the moment when you were there, smiling, drinking that drink, doing that crazy thing. That's why we take them, right? Investment against future sorrow.

I was supposed to have plans this weekend. However, my car decided otherwise: just before I entered the freeway on-ramp, which would have lead me to crossing the Bay Bridge, she shut down completely — no radio, no ignition, not even hazard lights. Really glad I have AAA road side, and really glad that it was a near miss: one of my nightmares is having a breakdown actually on the Bay Bridge, where there's really no safe way to escape. People are grumpy enough about the S-curve, I don't think they'd be able to handle a stalled Ford Escort as well.

So instead of seeing a movie and going to a barbecue yesterday, and instead of celebrating my mother's birthday today, I've been cooking and Netflixing and gaming. Today I walked from my apartment to the JCC and finally got Bruce ready for his first firing. It's been quiet, and I've been trying not to worry about whether or not this is The End for my car. I love that car, by the way — and yeah, I know it's dumb to love an inanimate object. But we've had 11 years and 125,000 miles together. Whoever takes her place will have some big tires to fill.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Topics From Today

  • I don't get a lot of current "urban" fashion — especially since parts of it now exemplify things that, 10, 20 years ago, you only wore if your mom dressed you because you were incapable of doing it yourself (thinking here of the brims on baseball caps). But then, I have to concede that in the early '90s, I wore spandex capris in a bright flower print, and thought I was cool. So maybe I shouldn't talk.
  • At some point in time, there was a Church of Sarah. I'd forgotten about it, but Elsie brought it up again today. By her reckoning, I only had the one worshipper, who has since moved away, so maybe it's high time I got back around to proselytizing and building up a congregation. Also, I need to drag my errant lamb back and punish his wandering ass.
  • I'm giving up on snap traps. After being kept up until almost two in the morning last night, I've moved up to trays of sticky foam in my war with my Unwanted Roommate. We (or, rather, Elsie and I) have decided to name him Jim.
  • Based on a dream I had a couple months ago, I've been working on a new ceramic friend. He's still not done: there's a lot of detail work that's needed. But the bulk of his body is complete. Meet Bruce:
    Working Title Bruce
    At least, that's the working title name for now.
    Working Title Bruce
  • Moving is still on my mind, in different aspects. Thank you, Josh, for the perspective.
  • Barbecue ribs are still Reason Number One that I could never be a vegetarian. Always nice to reaffirm that to myself. Sorry, brother mine.
  • It's been something of Early '90s War with Geof today. So far:

Thursday, June 16, 2011

How the Mighty Are Pissant

Warning: complaint time ahead.

It's been a crappy week. I was already starting to feel cruddy Monday evening after two separate verbal assaults by crazy homeless guys in the same day, and "woke up" Tuesday morning not really having slept and with the beginning of a bug.

A bug that has lingered now for three days. I'm actually starting to get bored with being trapped in my apartment, but don't really have the energy to do much more than warm up leftovers (thank heavens for Sunday cooking) and wave a Wii-mote to put on the next thing in my Netflix queue.

I've found evidence that I'm still living with a furry little roommate, despite the exterminator the landlord had over back in April to look at the place (I guess he didn't actually exterminate anything, alas). And after getting woken up by the building manager clearing weeds off my patio area, I get an email telling me that my front herb garden experiment stinks, looks messy, and needs to be cleared away because it's interfering with the weeding.

I'm starting to think this city doesn't want me any more. Well, fuck you, SF. The feeling's mutual.

In other-people-suck news: Yeah, I watched some of the Boston-Vancouver Stanley Cup Final last night. Like, the final two periods. And to be honest, I wanted Boston to win, so I'm pleased enough with the outcome. I do want to note that Vancouver, in the last 24 hours, has most definitely proved that Bostonians deserved this win far more than they did. I mean, seriously, have you seen the pictures? Is it me, or do all the Vancouver rioters look like a bunch of over-privileged douche-bag frat boys, rather than suffering fans? Get over yourselves, you look like (worse than) Americans.