Sunday, August 28, 2011


I'm not sure which is more remarkable, that Restoration Hardware sent me a catalogue that is 615 pages long, or that there is nothing in 615 pages that I can afford.

There was a heady moment when I thought a small lamp was $54, but how would that possibly have been true? [Lamp: $295, Shade: $54]

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Farewell (or fare poorly. Whatever.)

My neighbors moved away today.
Things I will not miss about them:

1. The completely relentless crashing, crashing, crashing of things on their floor/my ceiling.

2. The fact that much of the crashing happened directly over the head of my bed, a thing I explained to them time and again, though they made no effort to change anything about their lives to ameliorate the situation.

3. The fact that they let their children bounce balls indoors, despite living in an upstairs apartment.

4. Ditto bike riding.

5. Their general stance that, though noise a bummer, it was entirely beyond them to address it in any way. (Suggestions: put a rug on the floor. Hell, put a towel on the floor. Make balls and bikes outside toys. Let your children play in any of your numerous rooms that are not over my bed. But no.)

6. Sometimes opting to sleep on the sofa so that I might not be awakened by the crashing over my bed. I was still awakened in the living room, but not quite so startlingly.

7. The fact that they additionally rented the building's third apartment so no one would move in and make noise under their bedrooms--a desperate move that, ironically, incited no empathy for my situation whatsoever. Indeed, they spent no time at all in the auxiliary apartment, despite the fact that had the children played there instead of upstairs, I would not have heard them.

8. Their practice of leaving numerous bags of soiled diapers on the (indoor) landing outside their kitchen door--directly over my pantry, which subsequently frequently smelled of shit.

9. Their refusal to break down boxes before putting them in the shared recycling bin, thus filling it to capacity.

10. The man's practice of sweeping leaves and detritus from the front entry and the sidewalk in front of his garage, but never from in front of my (directly adjacent) garage.

Things I will miss about the neighbors:

1. They were very quiet after 8pm.

2. Since they rented the only two other units in the building, when they were out, the whole place was mine all mine.

3. There is no 3.

Just for the record, puzzled that my apartment reeked today despite a fairly robust cleaning and airing yesterday afternoon, I opened the kitchen door. And gagged. As I have so many times before. I then proceeded to take four bags of soiled diapers from the upstairs landing to the outdoor trashcans.

The song may be over, but the melody lingers on.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

How about you?

The Anthropologist is a project of Anthropologie, the clothing store. It has nothing to do with clothing, or the store, as far as I can tell. It seems to be simply a celebration of beautiful things. I recommend you visit.

Doesn't this project make you want to create a collection of your own treasures, such that you might admire them all together? Why don't you?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


I am weary of hearing the delightful words "tea party" bandied about on a daily basis and having them relate neither to tea nor to a party. In addition to causing me personal disappointment, surely this is confusing for children and foreigners learning English.

For the record, a tea party doesn't look anything at all like this:

A tea party looks like this (you may click on the photo to enlarge it) :

Of course, there is also tea. At the time of the photo, the kettle was on. You don't want to get ahead of yourself. After all, you don't want the tea to get cold before your guest arrives.

There now.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Culinary irregularities

Very occasionally, I cook real food. And so rare is the occurrence that I become all proud of myself and am sometimes compelled to document my accomplishments. You are under no obligation whatsoever to care about this, particularly as I am certain you comport yourself as an adult and cook proper meals daily. I doff my cap to you.

Poulet provencal

Pork tenderloin, green beans almondine, mashed potatoes

Roasted summer squash with onions and tomatoes

Un petit poivre

Well, to be fair, I did not create that pepper, but isn't it pretty? It was a gift.

Friday, August 19, 2011


Look. If I could wear four-inch heels while just strolling around looking at sidewalk sales, I might also look, oh so casually, like a supermodel. [Photo from The Sartorialist.]

To wear these shoes, I would have had to strategize extensively about the proximity of the target venue to the chosen transport (how close is the bus stop? If I drive, can I park within three yards of the front door? Is it worth the money/effort to take a taxi? If not, do I have a bag big enough to bring flat shoes in which to access and leave the venue, pausing just out of sight of the front door to put on/remove the glamorous shoes.) My point is, there is no strolling. There is never any strolling. Even standing is pretty limited.

Fie on you all, towering women, for making me feel like I'm bad at being a girl.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Story time (Part 5)

This story was recorded by actual professionals, so it's quite swanky. This is also the final addition to the collection. I'd better get back out there.

June 2011. Mill Valley Public Library. The theme was "What Went Wrong."
You can see all the stories, or, if you'd rather cheat and just watch me, my introduction comes in at about 4:45.

Mill Valley Library - First Friday, June 2011 from MarinTV on Vimeo.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Fair warning

It is not unusual for me to pass random furniture that has been left on the street in the Haight. In fact, my friend Theo and I used to call it the Almost Furniture Collection--a chair with no seat, a chest with only two of its four drawers, a table with just three legs, things like that.

Today out by some trash cans, I saw one of those backless chairs you're supposed to kneel on at your desk. Do you remember those? On it was taped a handwritten note. I assumed it would say "Free," as is usually the case with abandoned items, but it said, "This is not that comfortable. Thank you."

I think the "thank you" was my favorite part.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Thank you, internet

One of the downsides of swimming is that I now frequently smell like chlorine and consequently make myself sneeze, which is kind of funny at first, but not for long. Today I thought I'd consult Google.

"Get rid of chlorine smell after swimming."

The good news is that many people are trying to deal with this same issue; the bad news is that there doesn't seem to be much to do about it.

Two of the more memorable responses:
1. Don't swim in a pool! No matter where you work, you're close to a canal or a lake.

2. Why would you want to? Is it that annoying? I'm only asking because sometimes a very light smell of chlorine can smell amazing on a woman.

My feelings:
1. I'm pretty sure there is neither a canal nor a lake anywhere near the Haight.

2. No matter what random issue you're dealing with (e.g. cleft palate, ingrown toenails, extraneous and/or missing limbs), there is guy somewhere who thinks it's hot. That's an absolute guarantee.

Friday, August 12, 2011

I only had to ask

It's come to this. I am posting something cheerful from Facebook. That's right, Facebook, you win again.

A few days ago, I posted something about the fact that there are no forks whatsoever in the kitchen at work. And then something marvelous happened. Voila.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011


I have been feeling quite pleased with myself as regards the gym, which is to say that sometimes I actually go there. If nothing else, it gives me the chance to do an anthropological study of the locker room.

Here's what it isn't: sexy. Here's what it is: fascinating.

Really, it's a dissertation just waiting to be written.

Oh. I am also exercising. For real. I smell like chlorine, so I can prove it. Just now, feeling quite smug about my new fitness-forward self, I looked at the gym's online attendance tracker. In July, apparently, I went 5 times. Five. In a month.



On the bright side, it also says I've been 4 times in August and it's only the 9th. There may yet be hope for me.

Fortunately, there is no tracker for how many episodes of Mad Men I've watched in a week.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Story time (Part 4)

More unflattering photos! Yay! I thought I was wearing a great deal more makeup than I apparently am. Note: If you are going to the Elbo Room, ladle it on, ladies.

This is from October 2010, the LitQuake edition of the Literary Death Match. I was robbed! Robbed, I tell you! of the title by Jason Bayani who looks, it has to be admitted, pretty cute in his crown.

Jason Bayani

Kari Kiernan

Kari Kiernan

Kari Kiernan

(please note how enthralled Jane Smiley is behind me. Sweet.)

And here I am indicating to this scary man, that he'd better not shoot me with a huge water gun, because I'm totally going to be finished by the 10-minute limit.

The Lieutenant

Kari Kiernan

All photos by TJ Faust. The full set is here.

Saturday, August 06, 2011


One of the enemies of [here you must insert the word that means "producing a great deal" which for some reason has left my brain. I have been staring at the wall for five minutes trying to lure it back, but it is gone. I refuse to see this as telling, though that is probably exactly what it is. The only words that come to mind are "voracious" which is altogether wrong, but leads me to think that the missing word might start with a "v" and "ubiquitous" which is closer, but also wrong. One might say, for instance, that having written something like forty plays, Noel Coward was a [missing word] playwright.]

What was I even saying?

One of the things that um...keeps you from writing a waiting until you have something to say. As you see, I am taking up arms against my enemy by writing with no regard to content. Ha! Take that! The truth is that my self-appointed muse, whom I would describe more aptly as a blog bully, will soon begin to tsk tsk if I do not generate some morsel for the consumption of my 2-3 readers. I shrink from being tsk'd and so am here.

1. Not that it's any of your business, but I currently have less money in my checking account than I have since 1999--the leanest year of my adult life. It is disconcerting. Nevertheless, I do have rather a lot of flowers in my apartment, which, while displaying a certain lack of common sense, I hope also suggests an enchanting commitment to aesthetics.

2. Several weather reports today announced that it would be 70 degrees at the coast. These reports were demonstrably not made from the coast, possibly because the meteorologists were unable to locate it, shrouded as it is in fog.

3. Come Monday my summer vacation, such as it was, will be officially over. I am feeling panicky. Are you having a party tonight or something? Can I come?

Two hours later: It came to my while cutting a watermelon. The word is "prolific." But then, you already knew that. It's just as well that I couldn't think of it because I would have had to employ "prolificacy" which sounds like "proflicacy" and gives the wrong impression.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011


Last night I dreamed that one of my colleagues moved to Stuttgart, while another left to become the official translator of Agamemnon for the US Postal Service.

Manual dexterity

Though everyone I know has told me I will love, love, love it, I had not seen "Mad Men" until yesterday. And yes. It is a brilliantly written, entirely convincingly acted, stylishly realized piece of work. And, admittedly, there are some dresses I covet. However, I did not anticipate it evoking a near constant state of feminist rage, such that I am obliged to flip off the screen--two-handed--complete with vigorous upward thrusting, at least once during every episode. I have to put down my bourbon and cigarette to do it too, which, obviously, is tiresome.

Monday, August 01, 2011

Ad infinitum

One more entry on the endless scroll of Things I Disdain:

People ordering things to go and then sitting at a table.

If you're going, bon voyage and bon appetit from afar; if you're staying, pay the tax and then use real dishes. You get to save a tree and be civilized. And who wouldn't want that?