Pizza Pillows?

Yes, just what I always wanted. To lay my head down on a soft bed of cheese and bell peppers! Oof. Saw these in the dorm decor aisle of my local Target. Let’s not take college life so literally, designers. I may have known somebody, not me of course, that once slept on the floor with a pizza box as a pillow after they had their first shot ever, which was followed by several more, all of which were tequila and which took said person 10 years to get over and be able to handle the smell of tequila again (but thank goodness she did, because a margarita goes with carnitas like peanut butter goes with jelly only! much worse for you and therefore more awesome! WORD), but it certainly was not what I that person aspired to when they picked out their dorm decorations at Target, for heaven’s sake.

My local Target is, if you did not guess it from the title of this post already, no longer in Glendale! But in Serramonte/Daly City (because there are two there, one on either side of the 280, nutty. Kind of like there being two Denny’s, one on either side of the 5 in my hometown, Redding, only better)!

I moved to San Francisco April 1.

You remember my old view?

I do not know how I lucked out to top it, but I did! Check it out! Suck it, old view!

My New View!

Actually, this doesn’t even really do my new view justice, as to the left you can actually see the entire bay, including the Oakland Coliseum when it’s game night. I will have to post another shot at some point.

Anyway, I am happy. Relatively speaking, let’s not go crazy here. I’m still at a law firm. But the hours are generally better (except this weekend, when a partner cancelled my traveling plans, sweet! But still, generally, better), and Penny is here. And my parents are only a 3 hour drive away.

AND, most importantly, I’m living in San Francisco.

I still love LA. I remember marveling when I first got there at how Everyone. Drove. Everywhere. There was no dragging groceries home on the bus or up a hill. And I love to drive! I am excellent at it. It is one of my few life skills, along with (a) painting my own nails and (b) cleaning the crap out of anything. For those of you who know me in real life and are shaking your heads, please note, I KNOW! I am EXCLUDING parking along with anything else that requires spatial skills, you jerks.

But Northern California is where I’m from and who I am. Which doesn’t mean you can’t live somewhere you’re not from and be happy. It just means I’m also happy to be back. Go Giants!

I’ve been thinking, though, that moving is good to shake things up, but it doesn’t change who you are and how you react to stress. It’s easy to fall back into old habits. I miss this blog because writing here and the comments were an inspiration to me, somehow making me accountable to the world.

So! I am going to launch, here, my little private campaign I’ve been doing here and there, less successfully than I think I will do if I make it public. It is not an important campaign, there is no cause except my own happiness involved. It is just to do ONE thing, each day, that is different. Today I refused to work more than 3 hours (tomorrow’s gonna suck, y’all!) and started making grapefuit-tarragon infused vodka, which I actually had bookmarked to do forever ago and was reminded of when one of my favorite bloggers, Notmartha, also started.

Anyway, all of this is just to say, hello! To nobody at this point, really, but hello from San Francisco! Go Giants!

And I will leave you with this picture of an emu drinking beer, taken from Tinsley Island:

IMG_0283

Cheers to new starts!

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Well, I think my gift/shipping cost ratio was about 3:1 but I’m finally done with my Christmas shopping.

And man, I am so emotionally drained right now. It is at times like these I wish I were a dude. Why does Christmas shopping have to be such an existential exercise? Maybe some women don’t feel that way, but I feel like there is this crazyass sweet spot of cost, showing you know the recipient, being creative in the way you want to contribute to his or her life, AND not accidentally offending someone that you have to hit, or else you are a Christmas-gift-giving failure and THAT IS A LOT OF PRESSURE.

Let’s take even my mother for example, since she doesn’t read this, unlike many of my gift recipients (if they have realized I started blogging again). Gifts I have considered for my mother in the last 24 hours:

  • spices for Indian food (actually got her those from Spice Station this afternoon);
  • salt and pepper mills, except I already bought her the spices so I really can’t pay $90 per spice mill, you ridiculous people at Crate & Barrel/Williams Sonoma, and also will my dad eat milled salt? my dad has eaten the same breakfast for 35 years and has probably eaten Morton’s iodized salt since birth, and, dammit, maybe I would have thrown caution to the wind but a quick text to my sister reveals my mother has a pepper mill already that goes unused;
  • actually, this list is making me relive the pain of the last few hours but if you imagine many variations of above and factor in shipping time frame, I think you get the gist (In case you are in suspense, I will tell you that after finding that most of Williams Sonoma and Crate & Barrel’s bread mixes and whatnot were already sold out, I went straight to the awesomest source without a 50% mark up because of the name (looking at you, Ina Garten and Thomas Keller), King Arthur Flour, and bought my mother a lovely assortment of bread and scone mixes that I know she’ll love and not be offended by in the slightest. BOOYAH!).

Hm, and now I have no idea where I was going with this. Except that I am glad that’s over and I’m ready for the fun stuff about Christmas to begin! Apparently, based on that photo, I have been ready since mid-November in Hong Kong!

Hope you are having a stress-free holiday season so far, as much as it can be! And if you already celebrated your winter holiday, like Hanukkah, hope it was happy!

p.s./update:

After I published this entry I remembered the second half of this post was about how in a relationship I am pretty sure I have a 12:1 thought:text/email ratio and dudes are 1:1. I am grouping this skewed ratio with the 3:1 ratio in personal appearance spending between the ladies and dudes and crying UNCLE. Except that I’m not really. And won’t ever. Which is probably why I lost steam and couldn’t remember where I was going with this two paragraphs ago. Enh, oh well!

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Big Boys & Girls Club

by jen on December 14, 2010

I’m really not sure what inspired the gentleman who, until this evening, has quite literally been a gentle man, a Sikh, I think, who says “hello friend” and who runs my local convenience store (Oh yes, I am doing my grocery shopping at convenience stores. Did I say changes are afoot? Well, they are slightly delayed.) to suggest that I purchase a penis enlargement pill for my boyfriend (I suppose he assumed I had one) for his birthday (if I did, his birthday would be in September).

I had never before noticed the wide variety of manhood enhancement offerings hung on tiny hooks near the ceiling next to the phone cards. Or I had only subconsciously registered them, the way you vaguely process your spam until something jumps out at you that connects with real life. And usually you laugh.

Which is what I did. Laugh. Uncomfortably. And tried to extricate myself from that conversation with my non-organic half-and-half produced by GMO cows and two times the price of Trader Joe’s half-and-half as quickly as possible.

I am still trying to decide what to make of it. Weird.

In other news, I went to UniqueLA this weekend, which was great and inspiring except: (a) it gets more overwhelming every year, (b) I realized three of my favorite crafters were at the Renegade Craft Fair instead, and (c) you know who you can buy Christmas presents for at a hipster craft fair? Fellow hipsters, that’s who.

Finally, when do you think you are too old to rely on your parents? Not for money, although goodness knows in this economy lots of people have had to and there’s no shame (just unnecessary guilt) in that. Or not even just in this economy; coming up with a down payment can be brutal. I mean, I am still single, and even when I have had a “serious” relationship I don’t want to rely entirely on my partner for support. And my friends are awesome but they all have their own lives and I have to be selective in when I elect to burden them with my problems. I am 33, almost 34. Is there some point where I have to stop asking my parents for emotional support and advice?

I try to support my parents as well. I think I lent a hand in convincing Dad to go to France with Mom, a dream of hers. I know I’ve supported Mom through challenging conversations and ordeals. I know I was there for Dad as much as I could be during his heart surgery. But the bulk of the supporting comes from my parents.

Is that not OK any more? When am I too much of a big girl to ask for support? Is 40 the line? Or are they always Mom and Dad?

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Classic FW

by jen on December 2, 2010

Oh, hello! It has been a while, eh? Let’s not dwell on why, shall we? Big changes are afoot and this hiatus is coming to an end!

Speaking of words with h, i and a in them, I just got back from Shanghai! And Hong Kong! But I lost my phone, which is also my camera, so all my photos are gone! Which sucks terribly, yes, but in fact, is, as my co-adventurer friend Mike would say, classic FW:

This photo I stole from Mike. I do not know what kind of wacky kids Christmas display we ended up at in Hong Kong (in one of the NINE BILLION malls in Hong Kong; seriously! there is a mall in every metro station, the bus stations, every business center, every 100 yards practically. Even the Peak has a mall!) but there were weird pop-art statues, a million name tags on the ground, some of which contained curse words, and one of which was for a “fatwest.” My new nickname, quickly shortened to “FW.”

When I confused a restaurant opening I was at with a bat mitzvah? “Oh, FW.” When I spilled my coffee/water/whatever on myself? “Typical FW.” I don’t know why I don’t find being the butt of so many jokes objectionable. I quite enjoy it, actually.

And Hong Kong and Shanghai were amazing. I actually forgot about work for the most part for the first 7 days, in large part due to having no real working internet and no cellular reception. I ate Thanksgiving dinner at M on the Bund. I ate dumplings from street vendors and bought a purse at the fake market that I immediately regretted purchasing and which made everything in my suitcase smell like fish. I went to a bar called Chillax. I marveled at the Shanghai Urban Planning Museum’s statistics that 900,000 HOUSEHOLDS have been relocated into new housing over the last few years. That is nearly FIVE MILLION PEOPLE. Just moved! Can you imagine that here? Nutters.

AND I came home to chilly fall weather, the first night of Hanukkah, Christmas lights up everywhere, holiday party invitations arriving in my inbox, just general happiness. I’m going to hold onto this feeling, and try not to let the daily slog steal it away for as long as I can. Maybe the jet lag haze will help keep the onslaught of reality at bay. It certainly helped my lock myself out of my apartment at 4:50 this morning. Classic FW.

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Drunk Girls

by jen on April 21, 2010

I mistook these for geese in the night sky

This title (track 2 on LCD Soundsystem’s new totallyfreakingawesome album) is perhaps a little too descriptive for my now-exhausted body’s feeling on how Coachella 2010 went, but it was an absolutely amazing weekend:

1. My email didn’t work! THANK YOU, 70,000 hipsters a day tweeting, texting and updating your Facebook statuses (statii?)! I couldn’t try to work if I tried!!

Dancer!

2. I didn’t even want to try because I was having such a wonderful time. You know, I loved seeing the bands (LCD SOUNDSYSTEM IS SOOOOO AWESOME!!!!), but I had just as much fun in the RV, oh yes, THE RV, I drove down there, consuming an in ordinate amount of string cheese, samosas and wine/Trader Joe’s beer varietals. Oh, and having the kind of girl talk that is really magical in its banality and silliness because it changes you despite of, or maybe because of, its banality and silliness. I doubt there was a thought that Suganya, Penny and I shared that hasn’t been shared before, but there is such a comfort in sharing close quarters with two ladies who you know just want the best for you.

Hello, Gorgeous Lady!

3. I laughed a lot. My sister and I took horrible photos together.

Simultaneous Awkward Faces

Still Hot and Sweaty

4. I taught Penny and Suganya how to play Wizard, the greatest card game ever. I sweated a lot. Sometimes we took naps.

The Sun Makes Suganya Tired

5. I got some blisters. We broke a circuit in the RV but I could fix it because I watched an interminable video on how to operate it before we left. IT WAS AWESOME.

Video Screen at Cruise America

Needless to say, it’s hard to be back in the real world. Laurie and I were talking the other day about this New York Times article we’d read on vacation and its relationship to happiness, and how the biggest boost you get is in anticipation. Which means you need to take more frequent, shorter trips, rather than shooting your whole wad (meaning, your accrued vacation time) at once. I also think what was striking about the article was how it mentioned that those who felt “very relaxed” during their vacations felt the post-vacation happiness the most. This is my new philosophy on vacations. To build absolutely no expectations around them, to not even care what I see really. I had some bands highlighted on the Coachella stages list, but I didn’t see all of them, and I DIDN’T CARE! I really didn’t. I just went to go, to hang out with Penny and Suganya and drive an RV for the first time and see what the kids were up to these days.

And I had the best time.

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Progress

by jen on April 7, 2010

Sometimes you just all of a sudden realize you might be OK again:

Your apartment is clean.

Your rent check is mailed.

You watered some plants.

You went to the gym (or in my case, pilates, and you started running again).

And you went to visit your sister Penny in the rain-sodden city of San Francisco.

Steps in the Outer Richmond

Things aren’t perfect yet.

But you ate some octupus, one of your favorites.*

Fried Octupus at Rumble Fish in Outer Richmond

And you’ve been reading a lot of books from the library, which you’ve been returning on time.

Reading with Fred & Ethel

And you’ve got Coachella to which to look forward.

Fingers crossed the pattern holds.

*Please do not post preachy/mean comments about octupus to me, ye who posted a preachy comment about foie gras. I only eat at restaurants that serve ethical foie gras, bitches, and to be frank, even if I didn’t, I do not post preachy/mean comments on anyone’s blog ever (that I can remember. If I have, I am very sorry and retract them and feel free to remonstrate me). So I don’t see why you need to pollute mine with one. I have never deleted a comment to date, but I can!

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Half Off, But I’d Pay Full Price

by jen on March 14, 2010

Dad & Sister

Thanks, everyone, for the language lessons advice as a do-over! So awesome! Spanish, I think, as I am contemplating a Thanksgiving trip to Spain, it makes sense for LA and whatnot. Plus, I love French, but somehow Spanish just so much more suits my tongue (maybe because I can roll an R but can’t manage whatever the hell it is the French do with their Rs to save my life) (although French FOOD suits my tongue more than any other food; foie gras is my favorite food on earth; it is my Desert Island Food).

So I picked some CDs up at the library this weekend (I am cheap), as well as paid off an utterly ridiculous amount of late charges (apparently I am cheap but lazy(/overworked)), and I am looking forward to expanding my mind and Spanish vocabulary.

I actually managed to do a fair amount this weekend for having to work two days of it — pilates twice and The Green Zone with Laurie this afternoon (SO INTENSE and AWESOME! Took us right back to our days of seeing all the Bourne movies in the theater). Although I cannot for the life of me seem to figure out the website of the local theater we go to, so I may have paid for our tickets TWICE (we trade off; one person the food, the other the tickets). Oh well!

I also squeezed in a half-price dinner with Suganya at The Mercantile, courtesy of a email deal from BlackboardEats on Saturday (if you are in LA or NY, check it out).

But the most exciting thing I did was take the broken-off bejeweled half of a $2.99 ring I got at Forever 21 a while ago, and, with the magic of superglue, make it into a fridge magnet to hold up that tiny little (they made them that small at some point??) picture I have of my dad and my Aunt Diane you see above.

I still wear the other half of the ring, the de-bejeweled half, all the time. Doesn’t look like it’s half a ring, no?

The Other Half

Anyway, half-price, double-paying, free, late charges? I’m just going to figure it evened out in the end. And I’m happy. I’ll pay full price for that.

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Do-over!(?)

by jen on March 9, 2010

Well, I am single again, which is perhaps why I haven’t written for dogs’ years. Also, I have been doing my civic duty as Alternate No. 1 in a THREE-AND-A-HALF-WEEK jury trial, which means I’ve been working nights and weekends. (“Saltines for dinner again, miss?” “Thank you, sir, may I have another? In a convenient two-cracker pack perhaps?” “Oh, yes, miss. I have selected the less-crumbled of the bunch for you.” “Thank you, kind sir.” (this is the conversation I have with the Saltines dispensary at 10:32 p.m.)).

I do not feel so bad about being Alternate No. 1 as apparently Charlie Kaufman was Alternate No. X on a one-month employment law trial. And he wrote, among many amazing movies, one of the best play-ish things I have ever seen in my life and am likely ever to see.

Anyway, I will spare you the gory details of both the trial and The Trials and Tribulations of My Love Life (or Sudden Absence Thereof), but I will say one thing: someone was the dickhead here, and it was NOT ME.

However!

OK, that however! was too optimistic. I have been seized with a post-breakup inertia that makes it difficult for me to stave off a bloody nose. (“What do I care if I drip blood down my pajamas as I eat my sad-sack Puffins breakfast in the morning? NO ONE WILL EVER SEE MY BLOODY PAJAMAS AGAIN.” “Of course someone will see your bloody pajamas again, Jen, YOU ARE NOT BLOODY DEAD.” (this is the conversation I have with my Puffins at 7:22 a.m.)).

But, just so you are not too worried about me conversing with carb-loaded cereals and snacks/dinner, I have actually filled the two weeks since the axe fell with dinners and drinks and general merriment. And truth be told, in some ways, which I won’t spell out here this evening, I am relieved it is over.

So now, do-over!

But the question is, do-over WHAT? Do I do-over my personal style (expensive)? Do I move (expensive)? I already got my hair cut* for the first time since October.

I find the older I get the less I am inclined to make the post-breakup overhaul (2004: move to Hollywood and decide on a whim to go to law school (major); 2007: upgrade to Silver Lake hills with a view (less major); 2010: so far I have kept my hair the same length only with more! layers! and baked some cookies.

What is a cheap, non-drastic do-over? I am NOT going back for another degree. Advice welcome and sought.

*If you live in LA, highly recommend Tamara at Gamine.

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Admiring the Scenery

by jen on February 18, 2010

Joshua Tree in a Blur

Have you ever watched someone you love set himself up for complete and total failure out of some obfuscated need and you just go with it and try to make it less painful for all? That was this trip to Joshua Tree: set out upon THREE HOURS later than necessary to make it to the park in time to walk around, when B. was already hungry and didn’t want to go to see some stupid cacti and so had to listen to Harry Potter, which she is obsessed with, on E.’s iPod, which meant E. was subjected to my iPod’s contents (the HORROR!), and when it was sprinkling which we all know means instant gridlock in LA. So this is how our trip to Joshua Tree resulted in: a) this blurry photo of said stupid cacti, the closest we got; b) one incredibly painful dinner at some hippie joint where everything was dirty and sprouted so I was incredibly grateful for the local microbrew; and c) one trip to the Joshua Tree Harley Davidson store for E. to buy a consolatory t-shirt.

But I am already laughing about it and am wondering if E. is ready, too. I will tread lightly and see. That’s one thing I have learned in life: you can’t laugh about something until the other person is ready, too. If they’re not? Disaster, it isn’t hard to master.

Glendale Rainbows off the 2

This is a photo B. took from the backseat on our girls’ day out a couple weekends ago. First we made Valentine’s cards at Pottery Barn Kids for free (cool, except DUDE, heart-shaped cards, those star stickers your teacher puts on your homework and crayons! that’s ALL you’ll pony up, PBK?!) (p.s. B. didn’t even care and I loved watching this sweet little boy come back to make three(!) Valentines (mom, dad, grammy) while his sisters just perused the store). Then we had lunch at Morel’s, where B. was super stoked to discover how huge the portions of Epoisses were (she is 9!). Then we wandered around American Girl Place, had some ice cream, saw a movie and got our nails done. And picked up E. for dinner downtown. Heavenly!

Santa Monica Pier Pilings

And this is leaning over the Santa Monica pier, when Katie, Christian (Kates’ husband, one year already!) and David came to visit me, and I took them (well, Christian drove, that man loves to take the helm of any Cadillac, rented or no) to see the Pacific at sunset (you only get sunrise on the ocean in Boston). Oh, I miss them so much. There are many friends I have I don’t get to see very often. But there are only a few for whom my heart starts to hurt if I go too long without seeing them. Apparently a Boston trip is in my near future!

The scenery is nice there, too.

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Word

by jen on February 3, 2010

1. Tonight at the Trader Joe’s my check-out dude, after I handed him my ID and he verified that I was, indeed, over 21 (surprise!), returned my ID to me and said, “Word.” I was not really sure what that meant, and normally I ignore other Californians’ speech tics because, well, hey, I just said it was the check-out “dude” who handed me back my ID. That’s how we roll here.

But then as he was packing my sad little groceries of buffalo chicken wings, Puffins, wine and flowers and some baby broccoli (which I put in there out of guilt and which will probably rot in my refrigerator) into my Envirosax and I told him I’d carry the flowers (which obviously weren’t going to fit), he replied, again, “Word.”

And I tell you I spent 10 minutes on the walk to my car (you think I am crazy enough to try to actually park in the Silver Lake Trader Joe’s parking lot at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday? then you are crazy. word), trying to figure out what the corollary in my own lexicon was to “Word.” Essentially he was acknowledging receipt of some communication from me and approving its contents, right? I vacillated between “great” and “thank you” for a while before giving up and deciding I would have to leave this great mystery of life unsolved.

2. Speaking of mysteries, my parents gave me some Miss Marple and Sherlock Holmes DVDs for Christmas and they ROCK so hard! I can’t believe Joan Hickson was so ancient and yet bopping along when she made them. And I cannot even believe that E. thinks Basil Rathbone is The Definitive Sherlock Holmes. I have yet to shred that notion until a tiny million sad little pieces with a viewing of the genius that is Jeremy Brett, but that day will come.

3. I haven’t read anything since Lorrie Moore’s Anagrams over Christmas, which was awesome, but I’m ready to start in again. Only. Not quite ready. Whenever I take a long break from reading I always feel like I have to start in easy, like maybe with a little Twilight series re-read, before I can get into the real stuff. It’s like vegetables. You CANNOT, unless you want a painful and socially awkward next few days, go overboard with vegetables if you haven’t had them for a while. You cannot, for instance, eat, as I did a few days ago, an entire bag of brussels sprouts* for dinner (only 200 calories!) first thing. You have to ease into these things. Word.

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