Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The other GGB

A fact of living in a bity city is that it is not possible to do everything. There will always be bars, restaurants, walks, shows, sights and events that I won't get to experience. Argh! It's so irritating, especially on nights like Sunday, when the rest of the city was celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Golden Gate Bridge opening. We had just driven home from our friend's farm and the last thing I was ready to do was go party. Instead I sat at my kitchen table, stuffing my face with farm veggies, and listened to the fireworks.

I love this city desperately, and every time I drive over the bridge I get a little thrill. This is where I LIVE, this magical place. So in honor of a gorgeous bridge and a gorgeous city, check out some pictures of the good ole GGB. My favorite is below; there's something equally chilling and cheeky about a bridge with no deck.
It looks a little nakey, no?

Friday, May 25, 2012

The Pollyanna Project

Warning: you are probably going to think this is cheesy. There, you've been warned; feel free to proceed.

This week I finished a three week project: a gratitude blog. Every day, a group of ladies posted a list of at least three things they were grateful for that day on a blog built just for that purpose. If you missed a day, you just posted six the next. A few times a week we were supposed to write a more lengthy piece on the subject of gratitude, but I just fleshed out my three gratitudes as I went along. There was also supposed to be a meditation and exercise component, but I mostly skipped that. I meditate with wine.

The other participants were friends of a friend, some of whom I've met and some who I have not. Most seem to be mothers, and so in the interest of not posting completely dumb shit each day ("I'm so glad my hangover went away by lunchtime," "I'm glad to have a chance to wear this hot new dress," etc), I focused on what had irritated or upset me that day, and how I had turned it around.

Example: a very frustrating call with my phone company's customer service agent. Gratitude: I have the kind of job where I can duck outside and have a reasonably lengthy phone call in which my voice reaches a very high pitch. That I have the negotiation skills and the training to stay calm, ask for a supervisor, restate my claim, and hang in there until I'm happy with the answer I'm getting. That I have people to complain to about these kinds of annoyances who will not tell me to shut the hell up.

People posted about health, about sleeping in, about walks, picnics, partners, family and shopping. Jobs, bosses, exercise, downtime. All the things that make up life. It was a really lovely project, and I'm glad we did it. I recommend it.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Ready fo' summer

It has been consistently sunny and beautiful in San Francisco lately. The problem? It's 65 degrees and windy, which makes for sweater-on-sweater-off days and chilly nights. Our backyard, luckily, is protected from the wind, so I've been working up a sweat gardening. Still, I'm glad to have some trips - large and small - planned to warmer climes.
  • A work trip to New York that I've expanded to include a weekend getaway with some ladyfriends at my parents' house in the middle of nowhere + a weekend in the city with Mike.
  • A weekend in LA for a show Mike's band is playing.
  • A wedding in Boston that I hope will include introducing Mike to the White Mountains and the glory that is the Atlantic coastline in the summer.
  • A day use reservation for Kirby Cove, with the goal of having a daytime rager. Well, maybe more like this. Except more poorly organized.
  • A weekend house rental on the Russian River with what looks to be a dozen Wellesley ladies.
  • A reserved day by the pool at Francis Ford Coppola's winery in Sonoma. 
  • And a hot air balloon ride that I still have to book. It requires getting up before dawn, but floating over Sonoma should make up for it.
Can't wait.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Let's all drink poitín and maybe go blind

Sal the Barber is making poitín! This is excellent news, despite the fact that poitín is gross and possibly deadly. I have only fond family memories of it. I need to track it down.

Who the F*&! is Mist Giant?

Mike's bandmate gets interviewed here.
Our songs are not easy listening, it’s true, however we’ve always tried to temper experimental textures with a certain amount of accessibility. There’s a lot of honesty in these songs. What this translates to musically is an uncompromising sound, which has garnered us heaps of obscurity. Another reason to listen is that one of us is half-Leprechaun and if you give him a handjob he’ll shoot out gold nuggets and what with the color going for $1,300 an ounce right now it’s a pretty good deal. But you have to listen to the music, and closely, cause you only get one shot. We don’t share partners. We did that once and we all got rabies.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

A friend helped stage a play in Rwanda with former child combatants from the Democratic Republic of Congo. It sounds absolutely awesome, and I'm so proud.

In related news, thank god for Kickstarter. 

Scenes from a weekend

Below is the hands-down most accurate depiction of India I've seen, hanging at Shalimar on Polk Street. Gorgeous palace, billboards, strip malls, old cars, and litter. Why they have it hanging in their restaurant I don't really understand, but I appreciate it. It made me miss India.
Firepit! Had some ladies over for wine and grilling. My hair still smells like smoke.
With Mike back in town, we met friends for a nice leisurely brunch at Boogaloo's. I could eat this every day, except it would eventually send me into cardiac arrest.

Monday, May 14, 2012

BTWD, Vol. 5

Last Thursday was Bike to Work Day in the Bay Area, and as I do every year, I dreaded it. The ride is long and blustery, mostly flat, and largely boring. But since this would be my fifth year in a row participating, I couldn't bail. And I didn't. I slept terribly the night before, anticipating the early alarm, but I hauled myself out of bed in the dark and made it down to meet the rest of the riders in the Mission only a teeny bit late. Hundreds of people making their way down Mission Street at 6:30 a.m. is slow going, so it was easy to catch up with the pack.


Saturday was the Boonville Beer Festival - ahem, The Legendary Boonville Beer Festival - and for the third year in a row we drove up to Anderson Valley for it. This year we didn't camp, due to the fact that Mike had only slept in our bed for 1 of the previous 21 nights, which was fair enough. We drove up for the day, braving sunny-Saturday-Sonoma traffic and the lack of air conditioning in my little car. It was worth it. Once you get off the 101, the route into Anderson Valley is gorgeous and windy, with layered hills and streams and redwoods, vineyards, goats and cows occasionally popping up on the roadside.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Here's our friend Jason on the Wall Street Journal website, talking bout tequila. Go Scrambly!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012


A few weeks ago I wrote that I was considering meeting with a career coach. I got lots of emails from y'all, which I appreciated. I did wind up seeing her, while hungover on a Sunday morning, sitting at my kitchen table with a giant bottle of water, toast, Tylenol, and all the good cheer I could muster. We Skyped - despite only being about 20 miles apart - for two hours, and damn was it intense. Focused, detailed, and highly actionable, and somehow not at all what I was expecting. My brain offered up long stretches of blankness a few times, in which I stared out my window and desperately tried to come up with answers to very pointed questions. Pretend it's December 31, 2012 - what have you done at work this year? What specific projects are you proud of? What conversations have you had with your boss about your career? Ok, now it's April 2014 - where are you now? And all over again.

Monday, May 7, 2012

The Mom effect

My mom and I have eaten our way through the Bay Area, and I am impressed with our efforts.

  • Wednesday: Mom lands, and we hit a neighborhood joint for some light Mediterranean food and white wine.
  • Thursday: Bar Crudo dinner, including oysters, chowder, mussels, uni, tacos, lots of wine, and a mighty fine cheese plate.
  • Friday: Greens for lunch. Hayes Valley stroll: wine and deviled eggs at Two Sisters, wine and a cheese plate at Arlequin, dinner at Bar Jules.
  • Saturday: gardening the whole dang day. Grilled sausages and ate them on rolls with garlicky kale for dinner.
  • Sunday: Napa Valley wine train! Ribs, slaw, creme brulee, and wine out the wazoo.

Tonight we're doing a bit more yardwork, then grilling again before my mom's flight. As a mother's day gift I got her upgraded to first class! I can't wait to see how she likes it.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Tell me about it


I threw Mike a party for his birthday a few weeks ago, and dang was it FUN. We did it on his actual birthday, which was a Thursday. It took a lot of the stress out of it - if people stayed late, great; if they wanted to bail early because it was a school night, no problemo. We got a little of this and a little of that, but mostly people hung around and got just the right amount of rowdy.

I even put my limited craft skills to use, producing a lovely twine and construction paper banner.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Tour guide in training

A few weekends ago I had foodie friends in town, and I worked hard to manage my instinct to bend their trip to my will. Did they have other people to see? Who knows! Did they have their own preferences as to where and what they ate? Pshaw! They were excited, they were hungry, and they didn't tell me they could only afford burritos. I was in heaven.

Friday night they had reservations at Chez Panisse, and invited me along. Since Mike is a vegetarian and the downstairs (read: famous) area of Chez Panisse is a fixed menu, it's never made it onto the list of Fancy Places We Eat At For Anniversaries And Such. The first three courses were fish, and while they were lovely, they didn't seem to blow anyone away. There were two, count em two, courses of halibut. That's a lot of halibut. I guess the downside to being an originator is that when you're at the vanguard of farm to table and simple but innovative preparations of fresh ingredients, 20 years down the road the foodies aren't so impressed anymore. The service was impeccable, though, and the space was lovely. I'm very glad to have gone, but I can't say I'd recommend it for anyone else's bucket list, unless like me they want to pay tribute to the Cult of Alice.

Saturday was a gorgeous day, and I spent it getting myself nice and roasty at Dolores Park. San Francisco when it's warm and sunny is a glorious thing.


I just got back from my second trip to Austin in as many months, and you might wonder exactly how much live music and margaritas a gal can handle. As it turns out, about 5 days worth, because every time I visit Texas I come home with a bit of a cold and a lot of sleep debt. But it is entirely worth it - I got my fill of hot days and warm nights, cold swims in Barton Springs, and lots and lots of Topo Chico burps.

I flew down last Wednesday, in anticipation of Mike wrapping up his CA-NM-TX music tour on Thursday. I celebrated my first ever Austin Night Out Sans Mike (TM pending) with fancyladydrinks and dinner at Contigo, an outdoor seating dreamland of odd animal parts and delicious cocktails. While waiting for the boys to roll into town on Thursday, I hit TacoDeli for some of the best tacos I've ever had, and discovered my favorite beer - as well as Cowgirl Creamery cheese! - is stocked at the HEB. Way to go, ATX. Mike had shows on Thursday night and Friday afternoon, and we spent some time at PsychFest. The people-watching was the best part - did you know there are ladies out there who wear bathing suits with heels in public? There are! And they mostly look fabulous. But still.

Most of the time at festivals the goods for sale are crappy t-shirts and glass pipes, but I spotted the bags below and had to have one. Picked up the one on the far right - I'm a sucker for stripes and color.