Wednesday, October 24, 2012

On bandwagoneering

As I write, the Giants are absolutely eating the Tigers' lunch in Game 1 of the World Series. I'm yelling like a maniac at the TV and terrifying my cats. I'm a fair weather fan, I'll admit. But here is my defense.

Mike and I have been going to Giants games all season. Why? I like the guys on the team - they're a bunch of weirdos. I like the fans - there's a great feeling in the stadium, even when we're losing. I love the ballpark - the food and beer are good (especially compared to the Stick), it's easy to get to by public transit, and the view is stunning. All in all, going to Giants games has been one of my best summer of 2012 initiatives (others: buying and shucking my own oysters, outdoor dinner parties, getting my version of a tan without even one disfiguring sunburn).


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Le Diner en Blanc

Last Friday we attended Le Diner a San Francisco, our local version of Le Diner en Blanc, which started in Paris and has spread around the world. The concept is this: many, many people (about 3000 in San Francisco) show up at a spot that is announced day-of by the organizers. Long tables are already set up. The participants bring tablecloths, chairs, table decorations, booze, and, of course, dinner. Everyone wears white. All the table settings are white. Even the napkins, which get waved around periodically throughout the dinner, are white. What's the point? Community, creativity, surprise, etc etc. Really it's just very very pretty, and novel.
Since I've only been back from Germany for a week, I didn't have the time or the energy to get too ambitious in my Le Diner planning. My aim was to keep it simple. With that in mind, I made a one-dish entree that, along with an appetizer of cheeses and a purchased cake for dessert, made for a special but easy meal. I went with a vegetable shepherd's pie, frankensteining together a few different recipes. I cooked black lentils, roasted acorn squash, and simmered carrots and kale with broth and fresh thyme. I layered these in a baking pan, piled mashed potatoes on top, stuck it all under the broiler, and wound up with a dish that was still hot a few hours later at the dinner. I neglected to take a picture of the final product, but here you have the beautiful squash and a weird-looking heap o' lentils.
On Friday evening we parked a bit of a walk from the dinner site and got a workout hauling everything in that warmed us up for the blustery night. The white sky was appropriately in theme, though it did obscure the view of the bridge and the bay from Marina Green. But don't worry! The party had more than enough scenery. There were people in suits, togas, tuxes, wedding dresses, minidresses, even a chicken suit. 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Le Creuset me

This is what happens when you go to Costco for some goddamned cat food.
After years of telling myself they're just too expensive, Costco undermined my arguments with an irresistible deal and I went home with these beauties. They're each several pounds of beautiful cast iron goodness, hand forged in what I imagine to be a very picturesque French factory, named and stroked by a grandmotherly figure then packaged with loving care and shipped to my very own Costco.
It is possible I'm over-romanticizing my cookware. But still: so happy. So hefty.

They're also currently selling Smashbox's Photofinish Primer for $26, which is a good price for a product that I first used earlier in the year and now rely on. #yuppielife

Friday, October 19, 2012

Turn it around

My week has gotten much better, thank you for asking (seriously, thanks to those who check in - very sweet of you). First there was the Rainforest Action Network's benefit gala, Revel, at the Academy of Sciences, and yesterday we took advantage of a gorgeous evening to see Hamlet outside at CalShakes. I nodded off a few times (we were up LATE after Revel!), but the modernized production was really well done, and Hamlet kicked ass in his Mad Men-style suit.

But how did I really turn my week around? The Perfect Meal. The one that satisfies the craving of the day, that is as easy to make as you're in the mood for, the one that you can eat while sitting outside with some wine and a magazine and a (rare) warm night. In my case, on Wednesday night, it was a corn tortilla with roasted cabbage (hurrah for leftovers), avocado, hot sauce and a ton of salt. Some people have a sweet tooth, I have a salt tooth, and cabbage and avocado are two foods that can take a serious salting. Shake shake shake.
My delicious dinner is hanging out on a small wooden board that I picked up in Frankfurt last week. A German coworker insisted that these little things are the handiest and prettiest way to prep and serve food, and they are getting heavy rotation in my kitchen. I have a firm and unscientific belief in the goodness of all things made in Germany - I picked up 3, count em three, pairs of stockings while there - and these elegant boards didn't let me down. Wunderbar.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

My black cloud

Yesterday I was in an absolutely terrible mood, the kind where I hated everyone and everything. I don't know when or how it started, but by midmorning every email that came to my inbox, every phone call I had to make, every person that talked to me just made me more irritable. "You, sir, are dumb." That is what I wanted to say to everyone; I did my best to convey it in my tone of voice alone.

The upside: I realized how much effort I usually spend ensuring that everyone I interact with is as happy as possible, and how draining that is. Yesterday, instead of doing constant mental calculations on how to best please my boss, my coworkers, and my friends, I gave brief answers, I didn't automatically smile when someone spoke to me, and when something bothered me (a breakdown in a process at work, for example) I spokeup. It was a huge relief to keep the corners of my mouth down when my trainer tried to tell me that doing more situps would feel great. No, no it wouldn't. It didn't, and I didn't even try to smile about it.

Generally it makes me more comfortable, not less, to put others at ease. But I'm glad (ha, glad! oh, the dawn of a new day) to know that if I choose to be terse, the world doesn't fall apart. No one seemed shocked when I was honest instead of perky, and the people I work with didn't seem to suddenly find me less competent. In fact, the it's-not-me-it's-you attitude seems to have had some benefit. When I had my bitchface on yesterday I complained to my boss that I didn't have the support I needed to get a task done (though I'm generally loathe to admit I'm not capable of taking care of everything on my plate). Result: I now have help on some of the more onerous parts of the project.

To make myself feel better last night - or, maybe, to revel in my crankiness - I wore sweatpants and slippers, ate leftovers, drank old white wine, and read on the couch. I didn't wash any dishes, put away my clean clothes, cook anything wonderful, or cheer myself up with some exercise. I wasn't even nice to my cats.

And that, my friends, is how an inexplicably shitty day gets done.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Scenes from Oktoberfest

Oktoberfest was fun, exhausting, unhinged and heartwarming. I flew into Munich on a Thursday evening, and by a few minutes into dinner a table of revelers had already bought Cait and I a bottle of champagne. Cait came in from Berlin, Ashley drove from Geneva, Franz visited from Zurich, and my coworkers collected friends from all over the world. Friday and Saturday were packed with beer, singing, new friends, and the occasional drama. Oh, and ROLLERCOASTERS. Bonus. 

And so you're back

I'm home from Germany! Oktoberfest was, predictably, nuts. While I collect myself, you should check out this ridiculous blog, discovered via Smitten Kitchen. What is it like to be a beautiful French/Chinese woman with a Nordic husband, four beautiful children, 14 dogs, and a farmhouse in the south of France? You're about to find out.