Friday, December 21, 2012


Check out the NYT's selections for the year's best book covers. They're really stunning. I want this one, and I want it bad.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Goodbye 2012

There's only a few weeks left in 2012, so it's time for a year-in-review list! Not of albums, or movies, or books, or anything coherent like that. Just of....things.
  • Best worth-it anxiety fest: planning the Russian River getaway.
  • Worst anxiety fest: Little Dude's brush with death via kidney failure. But he's a-ok now, despite turning his nose up at his ridiculously expensive prescription food.
  • Best surprise: Ian's timely tagalong on our trip to Austin.
  • Best health-be-damned decision making: drinking and tanning my way through the summer. I may have gained 10 pounds and given my future self skin cancer, but I had a fantastic time.
  • Best dance party: any of the late night ones in the kitchen that closed out our parties. DECEPTACON 4EVER.
  • Scariest moment: in between the terrifying screams of my neighbor that someone was trying to kill her and when the police arrived. She was fine, thank god, but the police had to deal with a crazed me, berobed, bangs a-flying, gesturing with the giant tub of peanut butter pretzels that I was stress eating while trying to figure out where the murder noises were coming from.
  • Scariest moment for my upstairs neighbors: when the police attempted to knock down their door after I told them that was the source of the screaming. Oops.
  • Most stressful work project: launching Magazines.
  • Most worth-it work project: launching Magazines.
  • Best/weirdest explanation given: That is Ezzie. She has licked all the hair off her butt. She is otherwise healthy, but is an extremely neurotic cat. She takes Prozac and allergy medicine, and now her fur is starting to grow back. Be careful when petting her, as she may give you beard burn.
  • Most disappointing realization: I will never ever be able to afford a house in San Francisco. Like, ever. Ok wait, maybe after the Big One hits and there is nothing but rubble. Someone will construct a rubble house and I will buy it with two strips of cat jerky and a book of matches.
  • Best $25 spent: free-shipping membership to Between family illnesses and happy events that we couldn't attend, free shipping for flowers got us lots and lots of points, and got our loved ones lots of bouquets.
  • Most unexpected nesting instinct: wanting to create Martha Stewart-like tablescapes. As neither a perfectionist nor someone with much of an aesthetic sense, I have no idea why I need to make everything look perfect when I entertain now, especially since everyone just gets drunk and it devolves (evolves?) into chaos.
  • Best party: I've got to go with Kirby Cove. On the rager front, Mike's birthday was pretty great too.
  • Bugs of the year: these spiders that create decoys, or these insects that spoon each other. Tossup.
  • Best source of hometown pride: the Giants. And the Niners. Holy hell, what a year for SF sports! And the rest of the country thinks we're liberal weenies. Pah.
  • Best brew: Rye IPA for Mike's birthday party. Was rounded and rich for a hoppy beer.
  • Most disappointing brew: Flemish Red. Wasn't sour enough for me; will have to go all out next time.
  • Best quickie trips: LA, time 1 and time 2
  • Weirdest body thing: the hair just back from my hairline has gone coarse and kinky (and not in the "Hey baby I want to #*&% your $%@!" kind of way). Is that an aging thing? Why oh why?
  • Favorite thing to do: have people over. Mi casa is su casa, errybody. See you in 2013!
Below is YouTube's year in review. Come on now, you know you want to get a little bit mushy.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

This is a true thing.
Huffpo's other "Best Tweets from Women in 2012" are here. Do I wish that it wasn't a thing to have a women's roundup like that? Yes. Are most of the tweets included delightful? Also yes. Go for it.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Moving portraits

Our friends Haley and Simone have a documentary film company called Moving Portraits that does family interviews, videos for weddings and engagements, etc. Last week they threw a holiday party. Aside from having amazing made-as-you-watched dumplings, they also had a video photo booth that absolutely kicked ass. Below is the highlight reel from the booth, with some cameos by me and Mike.

We are inseparable

This Believer interview with Maurice Sendak is really something. Sendak was really something. 

There's this:
There’s a young artist in this town who’s remarkably gifted, and I’ve been tutoring him on the side. And he had this marvelous girlfriend, and I saw what was happening. And I said, “Look, don’t marry. Happily you can live together without any stench.” And they married and within eight minutes she was pregnant. And now they have a child, and all they do is complain about not having time and having to get a job. Fuck you! Why didn’t you listen to me? We don’t need that baby.
And this:
Publishing is such an outrageously stupid profession. Or has become so...Well, nobody knows what they’re doing. I wonder if that’s always been true. I think being old is very fortunate right now. I want to get out of this as soon as possible. It’s terrible. And the great days in the 1950s and after the war, when publishing children’s books was youthful and fun… it really was. It’s not just looking back and pretending that it was good. It was good. And now it’s just stupid...Because of Rupert Murdoch. His name should be what everything is called now.
And this, on his brother, which is just woah:
He was my savior. He was gentle and wonderful. We wrote stories and I illustrated them on shirt cardboard. And when my relatives—these goofballs—came, he would read the stories and I would hold up the pictures. He wrote a wonderful story called “We Are Inseparable.” About a brother who falls in love with his sister, which my brother did—Freud didn’t know from Brooklyn, he never flew over Brooklyn—and they’re going to get married. My parents didn’t think anything of it. 
I remember that story, and I hated drawing the scene where they had to kiss, because I couldn’t fit their faces together. And then at the end—because in the back of his mind he knew something was wrong—the boy is in an accident, with bandages like a mummy, and lying in a hospital bed, and the parents are blocking the bed because she’s a banshee and is going to come, and she rushes in and pushes them aside and jumps on him, and they both hurl themselves out of the forty-second-floor window of the Brooklyn Jewish Hospital screaming, “We are inseparable.” Ha! I had such a good time drawing the bodies falling and smashing. Total wreckage. It was his masterpiece. 

Luck of the draw

A friend from high school, with whom I had endless political debates (he was conservative, I was liberal, he gave me a copy of the Communist Manifesto with some cute pictures of us taped inside for graduation) has made the Forbes 30 under 30 list. Should I feel like a failure yet? Well I don't, because I won a raffle today. So THERE.

Update: Mike's family friend Martha is on there too! Her job is fascinating - she extracts scholars from countries where the regimes are hostile to their scholarship - but I'm wondering exactly how many of these lists there are.

Also, a chick who is in our circle of friends in Austin has an house tour on Apartment Therapy. Warning, it will make you jealous.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Your happy for today

Here are gorgeous macro photos of snowflakes that you should look at until your eyes cross. SNOWFLAKES! We watched the Dark Knight Rises the other night, and I got pangingly homesick as the digitally-altered New York skyline exploded in flames over and over again. We're not going back east this year for Christmas, and since it's not likely to snow in Houston, I'll just have to stare at these photos and stand under the air conditioning vent at work (yes, the AC is still on) to recreate that wintry chill.


This past weekend Mike and I celebrated 7 years together. When I say celebrated, I mean that we just did what we like to do, but more of it. We slept in late. We walked the hills in our neighborhood and enjoyed the views. We saw friends. On Sunday we took a wilderness survival skills class, because who does not get romantic while learning to make fire from sticks and building a debris hut.

And we talked about how when we first started dating we were 22 and 27, living in a falling down house on Lyon Street, battling the mushrooms growing out of the walls and sleeping on a mattress on the floor. It was a really odd and bright time, one that involved late nights and long brunches and early mornings going to shitty jobs. I was learning to cook. Mike was finishing his thesis. We sat on the stoop most nights with our roommate and talked to the neighbors. I borrowed a dress for our first date out - months after we were actually together - and he wore a bolo tie. Then I moved east, and moved back, and we lost grandmas, and changed apartments, and had some good fights, and spent as much time together as humanly possible. And all we can say is more more more.


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

An everlasting meal

Have you read Tamar Adler's An Everlasting Meal? Have I recommended it to you? If not, it was an oversight on my part. You really should. In some ways it's overwritten, like a really lovely painfully crafted piece of furniture is overdone, but in the same way it's perfect. It's lovely, and delicious, and inspiring.

And now, of course, this tiny lady (I'm assessing everyone by their size right now, nasty habit I know) has an interview on The Kitchn. It's as good as you'd hope. You know when you just want to be friends with someone rill rill bad? But then you think they might actually drive you nuts in person? But they're perfect anyway, like that aforementioned piece of furniture that makes the rest of the room look bad by comparison? Bingo.
3. What's the most memorable meal you've ever cooked in this kitchen? When my oldest friend came to New York for the first time with her Italian boyfriend I threw a big dinner party for 28 people, all seated at a long table. We had to sit two to a chair, some of us, and a lot of people had to eat with chopsticks, others got spoons. The meal was cold lamb leg with salsa verde and chicken liver pate on toasts, and then roast chickens and boiled potatoes and braised artichokes and lots of aioli, then cutting boards covered in cheeses and tons of plums and peaches. I loved that meal. 
4. The biggest challenge in your kitchen: Oh, I don't know. I think it all works fine. 
8. How would you describe your cooking style? Grammatical. 
10. What are you cooking this week? I'm eating the most wonderful boiled broccoli with chilies I pickled a couple of weeks ago right now. And then tomorrow or later I'm going to roast tiny little eggplants with a lot of herbs and an ungodly amount of olive oil, then store them in that and red wine vinegar. And pretty speckled romano beans. They might be called dragons' tongue beans, actually.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

False Rival

Mike's band, Mist Giant, has a new album out. It's called False Rival, and you can download it here. It's pay-what-you-like, which could mean zero dollars or it could mean you give them some bucks. They wrote, recorded, and largely mixed and mastered the album on their own, because they are awesome. Check it out, tell your friends, and enjoy it - although I am obviously biased, it's a really lovely and well-made piece of music.

Monday, December 3, 2012

A very public Hangout

Comfort zones are, you know, comfortable. They feel good. But - just like when you're a few days into a cold and your bed and blankets have turned into a nasty little nest of tissues and laziness - too much comfort gets uncomfortable. Your sweatpants get ratty, your cat becomes your best friend, your couch conforms to the shape of your butt. Then it's time to do something.

A few months ago I asked to make a few changes at work. One was to shake up the accounts I manage; I now handle some of the big publishers. Another was to ask a woman who coordinates and conducts celebrity and author interviews (a job which gives me pangs of jealousy) if I could help her at all. She was up for it, and so last Friday I moderated a Hangout on Air on Google+ - essentially a live videoconference - with Lee Child. Child is the author of a wildly popular thriller series about a violent yet heroic man named Jack Reacher who will soon be played by Tom Cruise in a major action movie. In preparation for the event I read a few of the Reacher books. And then another. And another. They were totally fun and satisfying in a way that literary fiction, as much as I love it, is just not.

I did not sleep well the night before the event. Even just a whiff of something that may involve failure makes me clammy. POSSIBILITY OF FAILURE = FAILURE IS INEVITABLE. On the day of the Hangout I was too busy to worry much, though I did have a moment of extreme panic when I realized I had forgotten to apply deodorant. Thank god for cardigans and small forearm gestures.

First Child did an internal Google event, then I escorted him to lunch. He is very tall, very nice, and very British. He wore tweed and took cigarette breaks. I once again realized how very young and sloppy we Googlers look. As Child said during the Googlers-only event, "It's rare that I'm the dumbest and best dressed person in the room."

For the Hangout, a few ardent fans (who call themselves Reacher Creatures) had been selected to ask Child questions live in the Hangout. They had been on the line with each other for over an hour by the time Child and I sat down, and acted like they were old friends. They were also beyond thrilled to talk to the man himself.

Here's the video, which I plan never to watch. I have no ability to judge how it went, but I felt really good about it. It was liberating, all the more so for having been nerve-inducing ahead of time. If you feel like obsessively monitoring the comments WHICH I SURE DO (and spotting which ones are from my family members), you can do so on Google+ here and YouTube here.