Thursday, August 28, 2008


In the seven minutes of quiet after the first pushing of the snooze alarm this morning, this thought floated in:

If infected is to have a malady, why is defected not to be cured of it?

Ah, English. You wily creature, you.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Occasionally, when I'm showing off for myself, I will get out a cookbook. But wait, there's more. I will then look through the cookbook and formulate plans for real meals I will consume in the future. I will then make a list of items necessary to create these meals of the future and I will go to the grocery store with the list and procure them. Now, this doesn't happen very often, but when it does, I'm always quite pleased with myself since the alternative is to sort of wander around aimlessly in Trader Joe's and come home with just chicken breasts, smoked turkey, and yogurt. Again.

Last week, I was all set to make red beans and rice, a recipe that involved multiple ingredients, including stalks of numerous fresh herbs. I know. I am a culinary genius. Step one of this process was to take a pound of red beans and soak them overnight in a pot of water. Which I did. Because I was Planning Ahead. In the morning I drained the water out and left the beans on the counter in their covered pot. Only it turns out that I wasn't home a lot that week and I didn't have time to cook something that requires two hours of simmering. So the beans just sat there in their pot. And that is how I learned what many elementary children already know from classroom science projects. Namely, if you leave wet beans in a covered pot for three days, they will do what they are designed to do: attempt to become bean plants. It is possible that beans that have sprouted are still edible, but when you open a pot and see a full pound of beans, each will a little tentacle bursting from it, they look a bit too much like aliens to be appetizing. Let's just say there should be plenty of bean plants sprouting from the compost bin soon.

Sunday, August 24, 2008


Lately I have not been sleeping well. My bed at night seems to have become the Land of Thrashing and Itching. No matter how cold I am when I retire, I end up being weirdly sweaty-hot at some point in the wee hours. This is after a fair amount of existential mind racing and a heaping portion of allergy-induced mouth itching. It has not been good. I wake to the alarm feeling battered and depressed. Today is Sunday, which means that theoretically I was allowed to sleep as late as I wanted to this morning. And I did. It's just that even though I didn't get up until after 10:00, I still felt peevish and unrested.

I took a quasi-nap on the couch at about 12:30, but felt ridiculous and wasteful since the sun was out (rejoice! rejoice!), so I got up anad went out for a few hours to do errands. I came back, ate a late lunch, and a zombie. And so at 4:30, I decided to commit to a real nap. I shed my clothes and got in bed. And woke up about ten minutes ago. Which means that I was pretty much out cold for three hours. Oh. Oops. So I wasn't kind of sleepy so much as crazy tired. Now I know.

This means that my only real accomplishment of the day was getting a pedicure, which I realize is unimpressive. However, my toes are now emblazoned with a red laquer called "I'm Not Really a Waitress." In my case, I'm really, really not a waitress. And yet, I have every faith it will work equally well as "I'm Not Really a Secretary," which, in conjunction with my fresh haircut and red dress, should arm me well for my 20-year high school reunion next weekend. I'm hoping to project unmarried and childless as "glamorous" rather than "pitiable." And honestly? What with the flowers on my table, the champagne that accompanied my lunch, and the unscheduled three-hour nap, it actually does feel pretty glamorous.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

My anthem

In other musical news, I saw Gentlemen Prefer Blondes last night at my beloved Castro Theatre. I had forgotten much of the movie, including the fact that Jane Russell sings this song which could basically be my personal anthem, particularly when applied to online dating in the Bay Area--the land of rugged outdoor pursuits. (Try to listen to the lyrics and ignore the obvious homosexuality of Jane's fellas, which, although I suppose that could be considered another San Francisco dating challenge, is frankly nothing compared to all the frenetic mountain biking.)

Thank you, Jane.

Drivin' and cryin'

I recently made a CD for a departing friend and apologized for the melancholy middle of the mix. The thing is though, that I always like the sad songs best. Plus, as I told him, departures are bittersweet and there's nothing wrong with a little driving and crying. It's an American tradition, I told him.

Then today, as if to prove me right,I got this from NPR. Thanks again, NPR. You're always there for me.

My favorite part is this:

Here's hoping that the specifics of "Casimir Pulaski Day" don't apply to your own tearful drive: In all likelihood, you're not a young man who falls in love at Bible Study and questions his faith after watching the object of his unconsummated love die of bone cancer. If you are? Wow, sorry to hear that. But either way, it isn't necessary to fully relate to Sufjan Stevens' ornate ballad: It just sounds like sadness, what with its solemn trumpet and its cooing mourners and, well, the fact that, in the song, someone dies of bone cancer. If you're sad, "Casimir Pulaski Day" isn't going to cheer you up; let's leave it at that.

Stephen Thompson, who wrote that description, is a stranger to me, but I wish he were my friend.

Sunday, August 17, 2008


Last night, I decided that it would behoove me to actually leave the house, so I took myself on a date. The time-honored classic: dinner and a movie. I had a salad, a cup of seafood stew, and a glass of water. I saw Vicky Cristina Barcelona (which I enjoyed except for the specter of Woody Allen himself, whom I kept imagining filming the love scenes in the full throes of pervy voyeuristic delight). And now I think I may have to get a second job to cover the cost.


What? This is neither London nor Manhattan. San Francisco? I know you have pretensions of fanciness and that's fine. I too have pretensions of fanciness; you should see the number of entirely unnecessary dresses in my closet. But, still, $38.50? For shame, San Francisco. For shame.

Saturday, August 16, 2008


Last Saturday, I rented two movies at my local video shop, but I got a late start in my viewing and only had time to watch one before I had to go to sleep. On Sunday night, I stayed at my parent's house. Since the movies were due back on Monday, I had the foresight to bring the unseen movie, Introducing the Dwights, with me. After a fair amount of Olympic viewing and paternal snoring, my father went to bed and my mother and I begin gliding through the other million channels. "Hey." I suddenly remember, "I have this movie with me that's due tomorrow. Wanna watch it?" "Is it something I'll like?" my mother reasonably asks. "I think so," I tell her. "It's got Brenda Blethyn."

We watch about thirty minutes of Introducing the Dwights and it turns out that Brenda Blethyn is not enough. I hate the movie. My mother really hates the movie, particularly the part where a young woman, "a hussy," according to my mother, tries ungracefully and unsympathetically to seduce a young man who is clearly a virgin. I suggest we turn it off. My mother readily agrees.

On Monday morning, I return the movie to the video store. On Monday evening, I get two movies in the mail from Netflix. One of them proves to be Introducing the Dwights. Apparently, at some unremembered time when this feature was still in the theatres, I must have had a burning, yet thwarted, desire to see it. I mail it back to Netflix, unviewed.

Last night, sometime after midnight I check my email, just in case someone who lives in another, distant time zone might be trying to communicate with me. You just never know. There was one email. From Netflix. Typically, I don't even read the emails from Netflix, I like the element of surprise. Each little red envelope is like a present: What delight has the me of long ago selected for the me of today? However, after midnight with only one email, I can't help myself. I open it. It says, "We are sorry for the delay, but we have shipped your movies. Introducing the Dwights should arrive on Tuesday."

Dear me of the past:
You were mistaken. It's okay. Blame the marketing. I forgive you.

Dear Netflix,
Really, I've learned my lesson. Please. No more.

Dear Introducing the Dwights,
I will never watch all of you, no matter how you try to wear me down.


Wednesday, August 13, 2008


What I really want is to get married and move and maybe buy a new sofa. However, since not one of those things seems likely any time soon,what with being single and poor and all, I've instead spent a rather startling amount on this room spray. Still, it is a lot less costly than a new residence or even a new sofa, so, really, if you think about it, it's a bargain.

Sure, in all significant ways, my life will be the same, but it will smell different. And who knows where that will lead? I'm open to possibility.


Terms I find I do not enjoy:



South paw

Let's never use them again, okay?

Saturday, August 09, 2008


I cannot help but be struck by the thought that a time in one's life when one is obliged to wear a girdle in order to fit into the majority of one's dresses should not simultaneously be a time when one has a sizable and almost awe-inspiringly tenacious whitehead on one's face.

And yet, life is full of interesting little disparities, is it not?

Weather Report

At 9am, the radio newscaster read that today would be sunny with a temperature of 68 degrees at the coast after the morning low clouds burned off.

It is now 4:23pm. I glimpsed blue sky at 4:14pm. It now has disappeared. Therefore, by my calculation, we have had 9 minutes of summer in my neighborhood since Monday.

Had I known exactly when they would occur, I would have organized a BBQ.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Public Transportation

On Monday, my ride downtown on the trusty N Judah seemed more focused on the "public" than the "transportation." The train was surprisingly crowded considering it was going the opposite direction of the rush-hour commute. I stuffed myself on and found a place to stand without jamming my bag too, too much in anyone's face. At first we were doing okay, but once we reached the second stop, we just stayed there for many long minutes with no explanation. During this time, two young children, perhaps 7-year-olds, snaked their way from the back of the car to the driver two or three times trying to sort out the paying of their fare. Finally they settled in the forward corner behind the driver's compartment. All the standers among us relaxed into our stances now that we no longer had to accommodate the passage of the children. I was all the more surprised, therefore, when something struck me heavily at the back of the knees, causing me to stumble. What th...? Was it someone's luggage? Was it a big dog? I turned look and saw that a small child, presumably the sibling of the other two, was ricocheting his way down the aisle between the legs of commuters. He looked to be about three years old. He was wearing an adult sized tee-shirt that extended to his feet and he was filthy. There was no parent in sight.

Finally, after several passages of the child, a woman, presumably the mother, appeared. She yelled to one of the older children "Is Chance down there?" She was assured that he was and that seemed to bring her to the limits of her parenting responsibilities. Chance continued to travel from the other children toward his mother and back again, propelling himself by grabbing onto people's legs and pushing off as he moved forward. This may have been cute once, after all, he was a very young child, but it was not charming six times. It was clear that she had no intention of stopping him.

At one point, he grabbed onto me hard from behind, wadding up my coat in one hand and clinging to my leg with the other. He just hung there, content to stay in one place--my place--indefinitely. I turned to look for his mother but she had disappeared from view. I pulled away from him and turned to look him in the eye. "Where is your mother? You need to go to your mother." He glared at me. "No!" he yelled. "Yes." I countered and stepped back. He squniched up his eyes, made a fist and punched me in the leg, the highest point he could reach. "Bitch!" he yelled.

The adults in closest proximity to me and I all looked at each other with slack-jawed amazement. "Wow." I said. "I think being called a bitch by a three-year-old may be a new MUNI low." We craned our heads to look for the mother, but she was nowhere. I suspect that's where she usually is.

Compared to being punched and called a bitch by the three-year-old child of a total stranger while standing in an immobile vehicle, looking for parking downtown seems like it might a very pleasant pastime indeed. And this, boys and girls, is why global warming is unlikely to be abated in the near future.

And for Chance, sadly, global warming is likely to be the least of his problems. Good luck, small furious man. May someone take care of you soon.


9pm. August 6, 2008

Man: Damn. It's really cold out.

Woman (employing a tone that suggests he has missed the obvious): Well, it's August.

Even if you were blindfolded, overhearing this conversation would enable you to know instantly that you were in San Francisco.

And yes. It is really cold out. And damp. And windy.
The men beside me on my flight home from Nashville were incredulous when I told them they would require jackets. I hope they have heeded my warning. As for me? I've been wearing my winter coat every day since I got home. My sun dresses look at me reproachfully from the closet.