Friday, October 28, 2011

Analyze this

Last night I had two dreams that I remember. Both of them are so cliched as to be ridiculous.

1. I was at the house of an acquaintance, for what I believed to be a Halloween party. Once I walked in, got myself a glass of wine and some finger foods and settled into a chair, however, I realized it was a wake. People were going around in a circle weepily telling stories about their dearly departed, who I did not know. Soon it was going to be my turn to speak. I had to figure out how to leave discreetly. Before they got to me, they decided to move into the other room, where the body was. The anxiety of that moment - what do I do now? - is all I remember.

2. I woke up on a Thursday and realized that Saturday was my birthday, and I had no plans. That was sad. I tried to think about what to do with a group of people - day activity? night activity? I thought just going to a bar would be boring, and so would a house party. I was sad that I didn't have any creative ideas. I asked a friend, who suggested a Sonoma day trip. Too short notice, I thought. She suggested Fly Bar. Well ok, I said, can you come? No, she said - my parents are in town, and we're going to a tattoo convention.

And that is how very dull anxiety dreams get weird.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


I am sitting at my kitchen table with a glass of red wine and a mixing bowl of Funfetti batter, trying to decide whether to go Occupy SF. The batter is going into mini donut pans, which I bought in a fit of Bed Bath & Beyond-induced insanity (real affliction), and while I have absolutely no idea if cake batter is going to work as mini donut battter, it seems worth a try. The red wine is because I ate a few (read: many) spoonfuls of batter and needed to cut the sweetness, and also because I thought it would help me decide.

I really don't want to be part of any big out of control protest - I am claustrophobic and afraid of loud noises, much like a cocker spaniel - but my guess is that Occupy SF won't be like Oakland. The rumor is that the SFPD is raiding it tonight, which is why all my friends are going. As I ponder joining them, I've also been coming up with a number of possible Facebook status updates.
  • To tell you the truth, I'd rather be occupying my couch tonight, but it's time, friends. It's time.
  • Friends, family, and colleagues: don't worry about me getting teargassed, as I am way too chickenshit to do anything but stand on the periphery and run away if things get intense.
  • Please don't fret about me, I'll be fine tonight, because I can just tell the riot police that authority figures love me. That always works.
This last one is a reference to a time that I attempted to talk two cops out of arresting friends. When they told me to back away and shut up, I told them they were reacting incorrectly. Authority figures love me! They were unimpressed.

I will probably go for a bit tonight, but leave if it starts heating up. I can't even cut an onion, dude - I'd be a seriously liability if I got teargassed. On the other hand, Mike is going, and I'd like to support him and our other friends. I also support the movement . Even though it obviously has its flaws, all populist movements do, and I think the cause is spot on. The fact that I have more Facebook update ideas than specific reasons for wanting to go tonight is troublesome, but I really am excited by what's going on in the world right now - and angry at the way that corporations legislate through our elected officials - and I'd like to show it in some way other than online petitions.

So I'm going to finish my brew - did I mention I'm brewing a batch of beer right now? - and see where I end up when it's done. If you see a photo of me tomorrow on the homepage of your newspaper of choice, looking bloody and disoriented, just blame the Funfetti.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Putting in the kilometers

I covered some serious ground today, and my feet are feeling it. It started with a morning run along the Tiber...
That led to post-run pastry ogling...
 Which inevitably led to post-run pastry consuming (sfogliatelle, my favorite)...
 And then, belly full, I noticed - and applauded - the rim of bike lane that is the shore of the Tiber...
And, after my wine and cheese tasting class, I strolled past galleries like this one, with some hilarious Obama/Clinton art...
And after walking through the Foro Romano and the Palatino and circling the Colosseum, I ended up here...
Where I enjoyed a beer, then rambled on for some wine and dinner. I like eating dinner in a restaurant alone, though I wouldn't want to do it all the time. I sat and read this fascinating Atlantic article on gun control, sipped a white wine (which I now know, after wine class, that I like because it's mineral-y!), and ate stuffed squash blossoms, the best penne arrabiata I've ever had, and seared tuna. And now I go to bed, because in the morning I head to Frankfurt. Boo.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

What I love about Rome

So many things. Moto moto many. But here goes:
  • The shoes. 9 out of 10 people wear pure beauty on their feet. Tourists stick out like a sore thumb. A sore thumb in Tevas.
  • The food. It's divine. But you probably guessed that.
  • The old + new. I don't think it would be easy to live in a city that has an identity defined by ancient history, but they wear it well here. Tonight on my walk home from a different neighborhood I passed through a piazza full of games for the night - ping pong, foosball, basketball, a climbing wall...It was for fun, of course, but it seemed like there was a games parallel. As in, there's a history of public entertainment, but it is no longer quite so bloody as it once was. 
  • The people we've collected. Maybe we just lucked out, but within 30 minutes at a local's bar near our apartment off Campo de Fiori we met people from all over the globe. We sang songs together, and danced, and pressed cheeks at the end of the night. Granted we lucked out in that we met a few people who worked for the UN and introduced us to a circle of people that was mostly gay and had literally lived in dozens of countries (in crisis, no less), but still. There are a lot of NGOs here, a lot of people who are global citizens more than they belong to any one state.
  • The cafe culture. As in Paris, you can sit indefinitely with very little pressure to keep ordering. When you're ready for the check, you ask for it. Simple. I just spent an hour alone at a cafe - at 8 p.m., prime time - drinking wine and reading a magazine, and it was easy peasy. I wasn't crowded, I wasn't rushed, and when I was ready to settle up I did. Boom.
  • The light. Just as California light has its own glory and personality, so does the light here. Yesterday the sun was strong and hot; today it was buttery and slanting, and there was a lovely chill in the air.
What I don't like about Rome:
  • Jetlag.
The upside of jetlag, however, is being up early in the morning to go on photo excursions. Below are some of the pictures I've taken thus far. On the docket for tomorrow: a lunchtime wine and cheese tasting class, visiting the Colosseum, and a pub quiz with some expats.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Irony intervention

A high school classmate posted this on Facebook today. It was tempting to comment, but I refrained.
I wish people would stop writing about what they hate. No one tells you, but they think you're depressing and annoying. Like, did anything GOOD happen to you today? Life is too short to bitch.

Ciao Roma (soon)

Work is very very busy right now, for reasons uninteresting to everyone who does not directly work with me - product launches, performance reviews, bugs out the wazoo - and I realize I am becoming like all those people I didn't used to understand. You have too many meetings to attend? You can't get through all your email? You feel a vague sense of dread even when you've checked most things off your to-do list? I now know how you feel. But the real reason I'm discombobulated is that I leave in two days for Rome, and then fly on to the Frankfurt Book Fair.

Frankfurt is a clusterf*** of all-day meetings, bad food, no water (because no bathroom breaks), amazing team dinners, late nights in smoky bars, and jetlag. It is fun, it is intense, and I am always very glad it is over. I inevitably come home with a cold, and usually laryngitis as well. This year I have armed myself with Throat Coat tea (though not a humidifier, a tactic I've used in years past), a relaxing weekend in Rome beforehand, and a giant bottle of melatonin. I am hoping that their forces combined will keep me healthy and minimally exhausted.

Given that Mike is just back in town, and October in San Francisco is glorious, I wouldn't mind if the book fair were in, say, January. But please don't think I'm complaining - I'm not. I'm super excited, though I do feel like I only just caught my breath.  My mom left Saturday evening, after a few days of redecorating, wine drinking, and bluegrass-watching.

I dropped her off at the airport and drove directly up north, to Pt. Reyes, to meet friends at a birthday house rental. I got there late, and I left early, but I got to spend time with wonderful people I don't see all that often, and woke up to this view.
Vegging has been the name of the game the last few nights, but all that comes to an end now. On the agenda for tonight: packing.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

I love Jezebel

I really really do.  "You're going to let your ass say its piece" needs to be a riot grrrl band.
There are certain situations where it may be impossible to get out of a crowd, and the fart must be passed. Say, for example, you're in the crowd at a sold out show, or you're waiting in the security line at O'Hare Airport. If you can't hold it, you're going to let your ass say its piece and deal with the aftermath. You can try to mitigate the smell — for example, if you carry scented lotion in your purse, take it out right after you fart and start nonchalantly applying some to your hands. Nothing to see here. Just a lady passing gas and moisturizing — or you can deny that the smell came from you. Whatever you do, if you plan on seeing any of the people around you again, do not raise your arms triumphantly over your head and proudly proclaim your stewardship of the fetid air now passing into your fellow humans' nasal cavities. This is widely viewed as rude behavior.


Oh man, that title has so much potential. Like, this post should be about yeast infections. Or the perils of men, and subsequent yeast infections. Or something. For the record, I have never had a yeast infection, but I have heard of the perils from other ladies. Anyway. Instead, this post is about this:
Do you do your nails? Do you know why? Because I don't. I am on a TEAR (as in paper, not as in sad salty drop of water running down my cheek), and I couldn't give you an explanation. I just like doing my nails. Except I DON'T. I don't like waiting for my nails to dry, I inevitably f*** them up, and they chip after like 5 minutes. But still, I have kept them weird colors like bright orange and grey and dark green for the last month or so. Free the Brennan Nails, right? Maybe I can work this into one of the many protests happening these days. Holy cow, that was shallow. But I have green nails these days, so anything goes.

P.S. I had to photograph my hand in this claw-like position because when a hand is flat out and you take a picture of it in bad light it looks like a creepy creepy anemone. Try it and tell me I'm wrong.