Saturday, October 19, 2013

I've moved!

I hope you packed your little suitcase, because you need to travel over to the new site. It's not far, but you might want your toothbrush. Oral hygiene is very important.

Cereal For Dinner Again.

See you there.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Not forsaken

Friends, I am in triage preparation/panic mode for this weekend's two shows. Hey! Here's one now (there is a misprint in my name, but it's my own fault for not noticing in time. Let's pretend not to notice). So, you're saying that you're just now preparing? And the first show is on Friday? Yes. That is what I'm saying. I am a terrible procrastinator. Wanna make something of it? What with all the hand-wringing and self-doubt that I need to attend to, there may not be a lot of cereal for dinner this week except for that which ends up in my own personal belly. It is not because I don't love you. It is more because I don't want to humiliate myself in front of scores of people. Selfish? Perhaps.

As an act of good faith, here's a little snapshot to tide you over:

This morning, a man stood on the grassy, be-palmed median of Dolores Street holding something delicately between his thumb and index finger. He regarded it intently and blew on it repeatedly. I was charmed thinking that he was making a wish on a downy little dandelion. Only when I drew nearer did I perceive that he was trying to salvage a cigarette butt he had found on the ground.

It's not quite Amelie around here, but we do what we can.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Most beloved character in fiction

On my way to work this morning, I heard an extended debate on the radio about the tainted Foster Farms chicken in California and what should be done.

This probably wasn't the main objective of the program, but my big takeaway was that someone must immediately write a book featuring a jaunty protagonist called Salmonella Heidelberg. If not, it will be a tragic waste.

Somebody get Lemony Snicket on the horn.

Thursday, October 10, 2013


I have discovered that putting half-written posts in the drafts folder is exactly like putting meat in the freezer. That is to say, it seems like a good place to save something for later consumption, but I might just as well throw everything down a well. I never remember to defrost meat. I never seem to go back to drafts.

Currently, I have six organic hamburger patties in the freezer. I went to a BBQ where I thought I was supposed to bring something to grill, but I clearly misunderstood. The place was lousy with grillables. I went home with as much raw meat as I'd come with. That was a months ago. Additionally, I have a half-written post from August about how I bravely swam in a natural body of water; one from maybe three weeks ago about possibly the most beautiful place in San Francisco; and one from a couple of days ago about acupuncture.

Those sound good, right?

I thought if I admitted out loud that they exist, I'd be compelled to finish them. We can have a mini-series (oh. wait. I just remembered that miniseries is already a thing that exists. We're not going to have one of those. Sorry.) Um. We can have a short series: From the Freezer. It'll be outdated! And fantastic! Now I'm all excited.

In other news, I've got things brewing. You know that time directly after a break up when all songs on the radio seem to describe your personal broken heart, and you are a danger to all other motorists as you drive around weeping? Well, I seem to be in a period when all inspirational quotes seem directly applicable to my life. It's exhausting. There are so, so many inspirational quotes. I don't know what will happen, but it's possible that I might burst into bloom at any time.

For starters, I am doing TWO shows in ONE weekend. I am currently entirely unprepared, but that's how I roll (inasmuch as I "roll" at all). I embrace procrastination with the dedication that most people seem to dedicate to a spiritual practice.


Friday, October 18
Naked Truth at the Mill Valley Library
(Their Litquake show! Which makes it extra exciting and gets me into the Litquake schedule just like a Real Writer.)

Sunday, October 20
The Vent at Stage Werx Theatre (the spelling of which I deplore, but it is out of my control), San Francisco

You should come.

Also, behind the scenes I'm trying to gussy things up around here. I mean, if it turns out you have a spottily maintained blog for nearly ten years, it deserves a little attention. Pack a small suitcase. We may be moving.

Monday, October 07, 2013

Tiny whiny terrorist

The weather in San Francisco has been balmy. Whenever I don't have to wear a coat at night in this town, I feel like I'm on vacation, so on the whole, I've been a little giddy. Last night, there was also an extravagant sunset during which I was driving home from the Eat Bay, such that I was able to see it stretched over the Bay in a postcard vista.

What with all the excitement, I stayed up too late. I'm reluctant to let weekends go. I'm equally reluctant to waste any time that the neighbors are all asleep and therefore silent. At one point, I was watching some Russell Brand standup on YouTube. Look. I'm not proud of it, but it happened. At nearly 1am, I finally got in bed and almost instantly after turning off the light, I heard the dreaded war cry of a mosquito in my ear. I often forget until it's too late that coatless weather is also mosquito weather.

I leapt into action. Literally. It begins with a lot of frantic hand waving around my face and then there is leaping. Leaping for the light switch. Leaping to the kitchen to collect my mosquito-killing implement. (It's a Swiffer dust mop, in its Clark Kent guise. Long handle, perfectly flat swiveling head. It is a mosquito-killing machine. The thing is, you can find the mosquito on the wall and sort of sneak up on it. You rest the short end of the mop head against the wall under the insect, leave the rest angled out so it casts no shadow, line up your shot, and then--BLAM--swivel the head flat against the wall. I can't tell you how satisfying it is. Particularly after decades of swinging and missing with rolled up magazines. In fact, I should probably pitch this to the Swiffer people. One commercial and their sales will skyrocket. And, presumably, I will also be rich, which I would not find objectionable.)

I did a sweep of the room, but couldn't see it anywhere so, killing machine within reach, dishtowel over my face (what? If you cover everything else up, they totally bite your face. Have you ever had a mosquito bite on your lip? Your eyelid? Well, I have), one bedside light on. Ready, set, sleep!

Trying to sleep while in a heightened state of retaliatory readiness (especially with a towel on your face on a hot night) is not easy. This is one of the many reasons I'm grateful not to be in the Army. Nevertheless, I fake slept and maintained vigilance until around 6am. At no point, to my knowledge, did the mosquito return. But it got in my head, yo. I know it's still in there. And it will try to bite me again tonight. I am both desperately tired and afraid to go to bed.

And that, my friends, is how the terrorists win.

Thursday, October 03, 2013


I am giving a new antiperspirant a whirl, which, frankly, is exactly the sort of detail of my life that I generally opt to spare you because...really. Should groping around for content leave us with no manners or dignity whatsoever? And yet, here we are.

My office is airless. Well, not entirely, of course. I mean, I can breathe and everything, but there are no healthful breezes wafting through. There is a vent that is meant to address this issue, but it is directly over my head and having it open is like sitting beneath my own personal arctic front, so I have had the vent closed and sealed. There is resultant sweating. I'm sorry to mention it, but there's no getting around it. It has been very vexing. And damp.

Enter: new, extra formidable antiperspirant. I am sure it causes cancer, but I can only address one problem at a time. Having never used it, I wasn't too sure what it was supposed to be like. It looks basically like a regular stick-type deodorant, but with a sort of plastic cage over it. Down near the bottom of the container I can see what looks like the regular stick substance, but it is at least two inches away from the protective cage, which is a rounded plastic thing full of little holes, which I suppose it to prevent using too much at once. The instructions say that you're supposed to turn the dial one notch to distribute the appropriate amount. Furthermore, you're supposed to apply it at night so that it has more time to stealthily give you cancer while you sleep.

For a couple of days, I've been faithfully dialing. Nothing much seems to happen when I turn the dial, but I figured there was maybe some kind of vapor technology at work? I dialed, I applied the approved two strokes per pit and then...continued to sweat. Sigh. I figured maybe it was a thing that had a cumulative effect, so continued dialing and applying.

Only last night did it occur to me that maybe something was malfunctioning. Why would all the stuff be sitting at the bottom? Why would dialing and/or a plastic thing full of holes be required for vapor technology? I turned the whole thing over and gave it a dozen hard whacks. Sure enough, the actual substance moved to the top of the tube and, with a turn of the dial, a little bit squeezed out of the holes in the cage, garlic-press style, producing the approved dosage. The approved dosage of an actual thing. Not the approved dosage of nothing, which is exactly what I have been very carefully and responsibly applying to myself for days.

The Emperor's New Deodorant.

I would have had the same results had I been carefully rubbing a spork under my arms at bedtime.

I had trouble falling asleep last night what with all the laughing.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Bright spots

I'm just going to level with you: I am in a lousy mood. I'm sorry, but there it is.

However, despite the black cloud under which I am traveling, there were two things that pierced my cold, dark heart on my way to work this morning.

1. A guy who looked like a younger Brad Pitt walking his nice, normal-sized dog past my house. (Ridiculously handsome men are weirdly easier to come by around here than normal-sized dogs. The combination was quite arresting.)

2. Crossing the street, a young woman wearing huge headphones, looking serious verging on scowly, and seeming unaware that she is clutching a pinata under her arm and trailing three helium balloons with bonus streamers.

That may be as good as it gets today. Carry on, good people.

Monday, September 30, 2013

The true test

I walked into the restaurant bathroom just as a young woman exited one of its two stalls. As I entered it, the occupant of the adjacent stall said, in the high-pitched interrogative tones popular among young women today, "I can tell we're really good friends because I can still talk to you while I'm peeing." "I know!" said the other woman, now washing her hands. "Me too!"

"The other day," the pee-er continued, "I was at work and I went into the bathroom with my manager to get ready for yoga. It was so awkward. I couldn't pee. Finally, I said, 'I hope I don't have smelly feet' because, you know, my feet had been in my work shoes all day and now we were going to be at yoga. And she thought I said, 'I hope I don't have smelly pee.'"

"OH MY GOD!" exclaimed the hand washer.

The pee-er exited her stall and the two of them exclaimed further other the dreaded office-related pee incident. I very much wanted to say, midstream as it were, "Oh my god, you guys. I feel really close to both of you right now."

But I didn't.
Life is just full of these missed opportunities.

Saturday, September 28, 2013


A couple of weeks ago, not long after nightfall, I heard such piercing and prolonged screaming that I very nearly called 911, convinced that a woman was being attacked. I leaned out the window and peered down the street where the only people visible were a small group of adults gathered round a baby carriage amiably chatting. Perhaps inside the carriage the baby was being eaten by a raccoon and no one cared. I couldn't see that far. But no one was being raped at knife point. That's the main thing.

I am fairly routinely drawn to the window to investigate screaming. Just now, in fact, there was a great deal of male bellowing, which I feared may be the precursor to blows. Apparently not. Many dudes yelling, yes. Dudes yelling at each other in a menacing fashion, no.

Clearly, this is rich ground for a new reality/game show. Contestants will gather in my living room and try to determine whether what they are hearing outside is a violent crime, the mercurial moods of a baby, or men under the influence of sports. Massacre or toddler? Gang fight or game day? I live across the street from a pediatric practice, a block from a sports bar, and also mere blocks from a neighborhood rife with crime, so I think it would be a real nail biter of a competition. Tune in.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

As seen by others

Last night at a work event, a woman inquired whether or not I am pregnant. Weirdly, she then seemed disinclined to believe my reply. This seems a hot topic of debate of late. Apparently, I need to throw away several of my dresses immediately.

People of the world! Now hear this! I am not now, nor do I ever intend to be, pregnant. Also, please stop asking women if they are pregnant. No good can come of it. Are we good? Let's move on.

In better news, later, at the same event, someone else told me I look twenty-five.

So, let's just split the difference, shall we, and say I have a healthy glow.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Math and Science

One of the benefits offered at my job is a program through which you can set aside a sum to reimburse yourself for medical expenses using magical pre-tax dollars. The total amount is spread over the year and deducted monthly from your salary, but you can be reimbursed as the expenses come along, whenever that may be. At one point, this thing was referred to as "the cafeteria plan" which made no sense to me at all. There is some more sensible name for it now, but I can never remember what it is. You probably know, though, so if you want to back to the first sentence and just insert the name of the thing after the ninth word, it'll save you a whole paragraph's worth of time.

Generally, I've opted out, feeling that my comparatively small expenses did not merit the hassle of the reimbursement paperwork. Last year, on the contrary, I set aside $5000 for the dreaded gum surgery (which, sadly, was not the actual cost of the procedure, but the maximum allowable for the pre-tax program). There was just the one (enormous) receipt to submit, so there was no hassle per se, unless by "hassle" you mean having $5000 deducted slowly and painfully from your paycheck over the course of a year. Also, gum surgery. All this to say, it required very little in the way of organizational skills on my part.

This year, even without the specter of ruinously costly non-insured procedures on the horizon, I decided it would be an intelligent, grown-up thing to put a smallish sum into the program so that I might save money on my escalating co-pays and prescriptions and supplements and the like. Were I a different sort of person, I would have "done the math" or "crunched the numbers" and produced an actual dollar figure of the resulting savings. I regret to say that I don't even know how to determine the numbers that would be required to build that equation. I view taxes vaguely as a "thing that happens" and, except for the moment I read at my annual hire letter and briefly fantasize about my illusory wealth, I try not to ever look at or, really, contemplate in any way my gross salary. I think it's for the best. So, let's say that this whole pre-tax thing means I save an amount that I roughly estimate to be "some money."

I'm on board with this idea, but out of practice with the logistics. Last week, I bought some allergy medicine at the pharmacy and only at the last minute did I remember not to toss the receipt in the recycling bin. I was prouder of myself for this than I am comfortable admitting. Having rescued it, I did what one should always do with important receipts one does not wish to misplace: I put it on top of the toaster oven. Obviously. The idea was that I would pluck it from this highly visible spot on my way to work one morning and take it to the office, where I could put it in a sensible folder called "medical receipts." And I would have done just that. Eventually. Meanwhile, I made some toast.

Do you remember that project from kindergarten where you put bits of crayon between two pieces of wax paper and then the teacher ironed them, making a kind of melty abstract piece of art? Well, it turns out that placing a receipt on top of a toaster oven, and then turning that toaster oven on, produces much the same effect. A bit more somber in tone, perhaps, due to the monochromatic nature of the source media, but similar nonetheless. The top is still legible, so you can see where I spent the money, but neither on what nor how much. Instead, I now have what appears to be a very small rorschach test, enigmatically entitled "Pharmaca."

I suspect this will not be admissible for reimbursement, but, if I whip up a little artist's statement, maybe I can sell it to a gallery.

Thursday, September 19, 2013


Yesterday was very summery indeed. During lunch, I decided to walk up the the pharmacy. On my way, I passed the ice cream shop. Standing in front of it in the shade were three fully uniformed, physically imposing police officers eating ice cream cones.

Please instragram that using the power of your mind. It might make you happy.

Then, on my way to the market for the dreaded lunch salad, I walked past what I thought was a farmer's market. There were little pop-up canopies and what appeared to be stacks of produce. Plus, sometimes they have a farmer's market there. Honest. And sometimes, on a different day, they have food trucks. Presumably there is no salad food truck, but I thought it wouldn't hurt to look at more interesting bread-related items.

Imagine my confusion when I got near enough to see make out the broader details and discovered that it was a pop-up skate park. I have no idea what the things were piled on the tables. They looked like grapefruit. Maybe that's a new thing. Grapefruit and skateboarding. Fighting scurvy and eliminating fossil fuels simultaneously. I didn't stop to find out.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Market research

I like to check the stats of this blog even though they are largely meaningless to me, by which I don't mean to suggest, "I'm above all that" so much as, "I have no idea what this means." Generally, not a lot of people are reading this, but I knew that. Still, some people are and that's always kind of exciting (thanks, people). Some of this some are purportedly in Russia. Hmmm. I don't really think that's true. I'd be willing to accept that maybe one lone American ex-pat in Russia somehow stumbled upon this, but Russians plural? I doubt that very much.

I am amused to report that the stats for my last post were exponentially higher than for any other. The alleged Russians were particularly active. I do believe, my friends, that the sudden flurry of interest was because I used a word that means "free from all garments." I'd just use the word now, but I don't want to get everyone in Russia all excited again for nothing. People searching for that term hoping for some hot, hot action, were led to a long ramble about how a middle-aged woman needs to eat some salad.

Sorry about that.

But also...

Friday, September 13, 2013

Operation: Get It Together

It doesn't feel like anything too sinister is happening, despite the date. Mostly, I'm just happy it's Friday. That said, it is quite possible that I'm getting a(nother) cold. I blame my boss who, for several days, leaned over my desk sounding increasingly like a man with a five-pack-a-day habit, saying, "I don't think it's a cold." Um...don't you? Well, I do. Please get out of my office. He gave in and is now at home in bed, but last night I began to feel the sneaky symptoms in my own head and throat. I spent three bucks on a mere twelve ounces of healthful juice, so perhaps that will fend it off. C'mon virus. Three dollars is a lot for juice. Mind you, I was just sick three weeks ago. That's too much sick. I object.

Trying to be less susceptible to every damn sneezy thing that makes its way through the building is on the agenda. There are quite a few things on the agenda, in fact.

The Outside
Lately, I am cutting a figure a bit more like a Renaissance nude than is currently fashionable. (I know, I know. Body image, etc.) Were I going to be spending most of my time reclining in the altogether in pastoral scenes, surrounded by cherubim or similar, it would be okay. Under those circumstances, I'd say I look pretty good. However, many of my clothes do not currently fit me. Since circumstances (and chilliness) dictate that I do have to wear something every day, that is problematic. So. Either invest in a new wardrobe of flowing Renaissance garb, or try to whittle myself back to my erstwhile silhouette. I chose B.

Theoretically, this plan should involve exercise. That is the hardest part for me, so it remains aspirational. Meanwhile, I am trying to go for oatmeal for breakfast (note that anything for breakfast is a novelty) and salad for lunch. Dinner is such a random affair already that no sensible guidelines are being applied other than "try not to eat pasta. Or pizza. Even though you totally want to."

So far, I'm pretty excited about the oatmeal. It turns out to be pleasant to have the first several hours of my day not marked by near starvation. I am not very enthusiastic about the salad, but that does not shock me. I am notoriously indifferent to salad, with the exception of the very plain one they used to have at Ti Couz, but that was due to magic dressing. Alas, Ti Couz has closed and taken its magic dressing with it. My feelings about salad are so lacklustre that I feel very virtuous for having had four so far (this is week one of this plan and I've not had lunch yet today). However, this attitude also makes me feel that having had four salads, my body should look entirely different. (In related news, this is also how I feel about walking for one hour or swimming for 20 minutes. "Wait. What? I look exactly the same. But I'm so tired. I'm confused.") To me, salad is the Food of Deprivation, but thanks to its pal oatmeal, at least I'm not a ravening wolverine when lunchtime rolls around so salad is at least possible. We'll see. I hope to be reunited with my pencil skirts by November.

The Inside
There are problems. There is, of course, the cold that I can feel settling in right this very moment, but there are other things too. Some pesky infections, some sleep-ruining allergies, some "I thought walking might be a good exercise option, but my whole right leg is a disaster" pain. I guess if I were a coat or something, I'd be discounted and sold "as is." Not tip top. Not shiny and new. I want to turn this around. Are you listening, salad? See what you can do.

Additionally, after being told by a surprising number of unrelated people that it has changed their lives, I made an acupuncture appointment. I am terrified of needles. I never get the flu shot despite yearly miserable illness. I don't even have pierced ears despite, you know, noticing that earrings are quite pretty. (I do have a full sleeve tattoo, but I was drunk at the time. No. I don't. That was a joke. I don't even have a very tiny butterfly inked onto my ankle. By the way, zero ink and piercings is about as alternative as you can get in San Francisco. I win.) A needly approach to health is pretty daunting for me, but Operation Get It Together demands I give it a try. It is not easy to get out of a rut, particularly if you have no upper body strength to speak of. It takes a lot of scrabbling around and falling back in a few times, but I'm working on it.

Among things that concerned me was the expense of acupuncture, but at lunch yesterday, a friend told me that he had had good results with sliding-scale community acupuncture centers in the East Bay. So I looked it up. There are several in San Francisco (unsurprisingly). What this seems to mean is that four people in one room receive simultaneous treatments. I am a little dubious about this; if I'm going to be full of needles I want it to be all about me and my special, special needs and problems. However, since I can't really afford to have it be all about me and my special, special needs and problems, I'll try it. Not the first time though. I'm paying the big money for the first time so I can blather on about all my fears and symptoms. I'm sure she'll enjoy that. Don't worry. I'll do it very quietly so as not to incommode the four porcu-people in the community room.

The Perimeter
In my high school, all girls took self-defense as part of the P.E. curriculum. Notably, during that section, the boys took wrestling. That strikes me as no less disquieting now as it did then. It always seemed like they were learning how to pin us to the ground while we were learning how to gouge out their eyes. Maybe slightly awry culturally and pedagogically. Anyway. I hated it. The scenarios we were given were scary and the actual physical combat stuff just embarrassed me. I was very shy, spindly, and not at all athletic. I don't actually remember any of the physical techniques we learned. For me, they didn't make me feel safer, but rather, doomed. If anyone ever laid a hand on me, it seemed obvious to me that I was going down.

I remember the feeling. I've carried it with me long past the moment where it would have been sensible to shake it off and learn a few physical defense responses. So far, I've been employing the other things I learned at 16: 1. Pay attention 2. Walk with authority. I do believe that these two things are half the battle. (I worry for all those earphone-wearing, Twitter-scrolling ladies I see everywhere.) However, it would be nice to stop carrying "doomed" as the inevitable next step if glaring doesn't work. And, as you know, I did recently watch ALL of Alias, aka Women Kicking Ass.

The Blog Bully had recently encouraged his wife to take a free safety class offered by Impact at Sports Basement (thanks, Sports Basement). She had been reluctant for many of the same reasons I have been reluctant, but had gone and been glad. So, when by the sheerest chance I happened upon a notice that the same class was being offered this week, I went. I'll be honest; my knee to the groin skills are only so-so, but just showing up felt important. Just showing up felt like claiming some sovereignty. Just showing up felt like taking one step away from doomed. There is a much, much longer more hands-on class offered by Impact. That'll be the next frontier.

For now, I think I need some more vitamin C. And maybe a nap.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

A total blank

Last night I managed to finally transform my bed from the Platform of Misery to the Bower of Rest after many nights of itchy fitfulness. It is possible that atmospheric conditions aligned in my favor or it's possible that newly laundered sheets really are the answer to all our problems. (Were my pillowcases previously covered with a fine layer of pollen? Possibly.) Then, as an extra special bonus treat, the neighbors did not wake me up. (Possibly because of the passive aggressive remarks I made to the baby when I encountered him and his nanny yesterday. What? Like you've never made passive aggressive remarks to a baby. Yeah, right.) Sheets, neighbors, meteorological conditions, pollen counts, I salute you. I was really very tired and appreciate your help in this matter.

Last night I went to see Neko Case in concert. To quote the woman who screamed this from the other side of the balcony, "I love you Neko!" I'm not the sort of person who yells things in a theatre, but that doesn't mean I don't have feelings. I really do love Neko Case. Her voice is serious business, but her personality is pretty darn goofy. It's a pretty delightful combination. In fact, I would say that I love Neko Case every bit as much as I detested her opening band, and that, my friends, is saying a lot. Wow, those boys were shouty. Why all the shouting, boys? My friend and I took refuge in the lobby until the opening act was over--a thing I have never before been compelled to do. Mind you, the lobby was not really far enough away, but it was the best we could do.

While we were out there, I ran into various people I knew: a couple of people from high school, a local musician, and uh....someone else.

I saw this woman and felt a little internal leap of the "Oh! I'm so happy to see you!" kind. It had been so long. She came over to me and we hugged each other and then she went downstairs with her friends. I have no idea who she is. None. Not just, wow I can't remember that woman's name, but I haven't the slightest idea where we met each other or when. It is worth noting that she is a very lovely girl and she also has more body art than anyone I know. Full-color tattoos over her chest and down her arms. A distinctive person, in other words. A person you would not forget. (Unless everyone you know is covered with tattoos, of course, which is certainly possible in this town.)

We have all had the experience of someone coming up to us to say hello whom we do not remember. In that case, you just smile and nod and hope for some kind of conversational clue. This was nothing like that. My happiness at seeing her was instant and genuine. It came sooner than the realization that I could not place her. At some point (when?) we must have known each other quite well (where? how? Was she a waitress? A dental assistant? A singer? A classmate? An actress? An ex-boyfriend's best friend?). I am vexed by the whole thing, but am happy to learn that, troubling though it is, senility is at least suffused with good will toward others. It was good to see her after all this time.

Monday, September 09, 2013

Movie musings

You probably don't know this because I am one of five people who is ever there, but the quietest place in San Francisco is the Sundance Kabuki cinema just prior to a matinee screening. Sundance cinemas play no advertisements (and, indeed, no music) before the previews begin. They are able to make up that revenue by charging you more for a ticket than you can believe you're paying and then, they also sell wine. So, basically, they are millionaires and you are poor in a very short time. I am willing to pay for the barrage-free environment, though. Boy, am I. I do not enjoy people yelling at me about food I don't want to eat, television I don't want to watch, music I don't want to hear, and various products I don't want to buy. So rarely do I go to any other movie theaters, in fact, that, every time I do, I am shocked anew by the yelling about all these things. Blah. Thanks, Robert Redford, for the lovely quiet.

Matinees are often sparsely attended and more often attended by solo movie-goers than are evening screenings. This means that the pre-show hush is not just the comparative quiet of an advertising-free zone, but actual silence. Dimly lit silence. Ahhh. It is like going to a meditation center, but not needing to change out of your street clothes. And, even better, after your fifteen minutes of peace, you get to see a movie. That is my idea of a fine afternoon.

Yesterday I saw Afternoon Delight which I thought was excellent (hey, Kathryn Hahn, you won't get an Oscar for that, but you should totally get an Oscar for that). I also saw previews for at least four other movies that I will see immediately upon their release. Watching previews for me is often like watching money flying out of my bank account. I wonder if there could be some kind of flexible spending account set up for the Sundance Kabuki. I mean, just sitting there, I saw sixty future dollars go out the window. It would be less painful if I could just pay in advance and not think about it.

My only criticism is the bizarre copyediting on the slide about turning off your cell phone. There's a picture of an illuminated smart phone half submerged in a container of popcorn. At the top it reads:
Cell phones and movies don't 'go' together
Can we agree that there's no need to put quotes around that go? And if you feel truly compelled for some reason, why not just go for regular ol' double quotes?

I want answers. Let's have Robert look into that.

Friday, September 06, 2013

It's on

Tonight! I am teaming up with Ken Grobe (whose website is very fancy and makes me wonder what the hell I'm doing with my life and how do I become Ken Grobe) and Simone Chavoor (who also has an elaborate website, but because interior design is not my dream, she can go on being her with no competition from me for the role) for Word/Play at Booksmith.

I do not know Simone or Ken, but they are clearly very impressive individuals and they are in it for the gold, so I vacillate between hoping I don't let them down and being pretty sure we will totally win this game with no help from me. It's already a cliffhanger and it hasn't even started. The one thing I know is that I will not be wearing my red shoes. I know. I'm also disappointed, but frankly they looked dumb with my dress and no one wants to see shoes that look dumb with someone's dress. Or, I suppose, dresses that look dumb with someone's shoes, depending on whether you identify more Team Dress or Team Shoe.

Since not only have I never participated in this game, I have never even seen it played by others, Ken provided me with this helpful description: "It's like FAMILY FEUD with authors. Sort of. The two teams face off over trivia games ("Name six books with a color in the title"), quick write-offs ("Write the first line of this book I'm holding up that no one has ever heard of"), and a lot of trash-talk between teams. And drinking. Points are awarded kind of arbitrarily and it's just a lot of fun."

Simone told me I should brush up on Taboo and Scattegories.

Mind you, I can't actually think of six books with a color in the title and I've never played Scattegories, but I'm sure I will be totally fantastic at this and we will win like the big winners we are! Right? And it will totally be worth the ten bucks the event-goers are spending to drink wine and watch us be clever on demand. Yep! Because, even if it all goes to hell, there is wine. Everyone likes wine.

You should come.

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Good news / bad news

Happy new year, Jews. I humbly thank you for the day off with which I was happily presented on your behalf. We're heading into the season that San Francisco does best (read: sunshine that lasts throughout the day) and it was very pleasant to be out in it, rather than theorizing what it might be like from within my windowless office. Knowing I had all this liberty, I scheduled an appointment for today. I chose a leisurely late-morning hour because a day that requires you to participate in real morning does not count as a day off. Obviously.

Extra time in the morning means an extra-functional brain, which is how I had the laudable foresight to stop by the nearby laundromat (that I no longer frequent. Ha! Let us have a moment of silent gratitude for the life-changing washer and dryer that I now own) to avail myself of its change machine. Take that, parking meters. You want quarters? I got quarters.

When I arrived at my destination, not only did I find a parking place within a block, but the parking meter already had over an hour of time on it. Not five minutes, people, an hour. This is unheard of. A happy omen if ever there was one. I added a quarter just to be on the safe side--twenty-five cents worth of paranoia--bringing the time to a hour and fifteen minutes.

And that is why I am so sorry to report that the meeting went for an hour and twenty-three minutes.

A miscalculation that cost me seventy-four dollars.

Of course, this is all the more infuriating since I had two dollars worth of ticket-preventing quarters at the ready all along. Also, word to the wise, DPT, you're not fooling anyone. Just call it $75 and be done with it. Saving me the dollar isn't doing anything to improve my attitude. Indeed, personally, I feel that this is maybe, at most, a $35 infraction. Unsurprisingly, my opinion on this matter was not solicited. I regret that the rest of my thoughts on this subject are just a jumble of incoherent profanity, which I will spare you, though, in the interest of interactive fun, feel free to create your own.

Later, despite my new poverty, I allowed myself some sunny, no-work Thursday treats. First I went out to lunch, during which I had a very enjoyable conversation with the SF Opera's lead set-painter (who happened to be sitting next to me) about the old days of San Francisco theatre. Then, while looking for something else, I came across some promising sunglasses. After soliciting feedback from two strangers who assured me they looked good, I bought them. The sunglasses. Not the strangers. The strangers were not for sale. I promptly put the glasses on and about a half an hour later while I was waiting to cross the street, a lady came up to me and said I looked beautiful. (Thank you, lady! My new sunglasses and I are very flattered that you think so. Thank you original strangers! You were right about the sunglasses.) As a finale, I bought some flowers and now have some very congenial dahlias keeping me company.

It is always good to discover that the loveliness of your life greatly outweighs the seeming endless injustices of the Department of Parking and Traffic.

Update: It turns out that to pay your citation by phone, online, or even in person, you have to pay a fee. The DPT thinks it is Ticketmaster, apparently. In addition to the original $74, I had to pay $2.50 for the convenience of paying a parking ticket. Just when I had talked myself down from the rage. But they aren't happy without the rage. They thrive on the rage. Fine. They've got it. Bastards.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Choose your own title

If I make you choose your own title, that's interactive, right? I know I fail to engage in many of the exciting "interactive" elements of the online experience, but now you can't say I never did anything for you.

It's now Wednesday which means I took a bit of liberty with the concept of a long weekend. Sorry about that. I had to recover from all the out and abouting I did. There was a birthday lunch for my niece who is newly a teenager. There was bocce ball in the Presidio during which the fog burned off, incrementally revealing the magnificent view of the Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge that had been entirely obscured when we arrived. It was a pretty good trick.

There was Vertigo at the Castro and the Mime Troupe in the park. There was soda and pop rocks with a friend and even though we had them at the same time, we didn't die. (Maybe that's only if you drink Coke, whereas we were drinking some kind of fancy pants cucumber soda. What? It pairs nicely with grape pop rocks. Also, please let the record show that even though it was my friend who chose and bought the soda, he gave me the first sip. Chivalry lives.)

There was a house concert with Foxtails Brigade whom I greatly admire and puzzle over in that the singer seems to derive no pleasure from performing; she seems simultaneously fierce and terrified. Though she seems to be there in spite of herself, she's very good. They've got a show at the Hemlock on the 13th. You should go.

Not bad, weekend. Not bad.

Really this ought to be its own post, but here we are already in the middle of this one. NOW HEAR THIS. I'm doing this event at the Booksmith on Friday. This very Friday. September 6.

Do I totally understand what it is? No! Do I hope I don't totally fail to be witty and clever? Yes!

It has been described to me as Family Feud for authors. It has also been suggested that I brush up on Scattegories (a game, incidentally, that I have never played. Ominous indeed). I have been reassured that there will be wine. When everything else fails, apply wine. It should be a good time. 7pm. Ten bucks. Come on out for it.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Site-specific haiku

Today is sunny
Even in this neighborhood
A near miracle

In class students shout
"Revolution!" also "Hats!"
The link eludes me

Try to ignore it
The pink box demands notice
So many donuts

Am I not sleepy?
Why should just children get naps
It seems so unjust

Wednesday, August 28, 2013


You remember way back when I couldn't open that bag of raisins? It only got worse from there. I ended up with a full-scale Nyquil-requiring cold. In August? Before the school year has even really begun? I mean, is there no end to the sniffly injustice of it all?

Prior to my indisposition, I had been trying to be so darn healthful too. I'd been trying to eat vegetables, well, okay fruit. But you have to start somewhere. And I'd been walking. One day I walked half way across the whole darn town and when I came upon a restaurant that serves "carnival food" and has one table with a Tilt-a-Whirl car as the seating and I DIDN'T EVEN EAT THERE because of the lack of healthfulness/insane caloric content of [delicious] carnival food. And was I rewarded for this virtue? Pshh.

A few days before the illness arrived, I was suddenly unable to turn my head due to a crazy painful muscle mishap in my neck. I went to get an emergency massage, which is always entertaining because every massage therapist is always gobsmacked by the seemingly impossible tension of which I am primarily comprised. This particular woman set to trying to unknot the most incapacitating knot--a thing that is invariably quite agonizing for me--but her accent morphed the word "pressure" to the word "pleasure." I thought she was saying "Is this pleasure all right?" A trick question of sorts.

All this to say, I think I may be suffering from some kind of deeply internalized end-of-summer denial. My body seems to want nothing to do with the 2013-14 school year. Concerning, in that there is a lot of it to come.

On the bright side, lying prone on the sofa for days gave me plenty of time to watch more "Alias." As the seasons continue, the kicks to the head do not diminish. I figure eventually she's going to run into someone who is a better head-kicker than she is. Then she'll go into a coma and the show will end. God only knows what magnificent things I will accomplish when that finally happens.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Feats of strength

Last night I was watching "Alias" about which: A) I know I'm watching far, far too much television. I have no defense to offer. I am duly ashamed. B) Why have I never watched "Alias?" Actually, I know the answer to that. It's because, like other shows before it (notably "Breaking Bad" which for some reason I thought was about race car drivers) it is not about what I thought it was about. I thought it was some futuristic drama. It isn't. Had I known it was about Jennifer Garner (of whom I'm a big fan) being a double agent rather than Jennifer Garner being some cyborg in the dystopian future, I would have watched it years ago.

Anyway, there she was with no surplus flesh on her body, engaging in vigorous hand-to-hand combat with scores of villains. I began to fantasize about working with a trainer to uncover muscles I must have in there somewhere. I thought, I wouldn't need to be that fit. I mean, after all, she was in her twenties in this, but, you know, kind of fit. And maybe I could take some kind of martial arts class. It would be cool to know how to administer a flying kick to someone's head, should the need arise. While real me continued to sit on the sofa, imaginary me was increasingly becoming a lean, sleek force to be reckoned with.

And then real me tried to open a bag of raisins. And couldn't do it. I had to resort to scissors.

So I guess if you have any villains who need neutralizing, or even snacks that need accessing, I'm probably not the one to call.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013


Recently, I saw Elysium, which I enjoyed very much, though I did look at the floor during the bloodier bits, of which there are many.
Of note:

1. In this film, Jodie Foster only sounds like a normal person when she is speaking French. It is unclear why she ever is speaking French, but it makes a nice change from the mystery accent she employs while speaking English.

2. Oh, Matt Damon, you are a hell of a charming fellow.

3. Diego Luna. Dear lord. Every time he appeared, I had to suppress the desire to stand up, gesture wildly toward the screen and say loudly to the assemble audience, "Are you people seeing this? Is there a more beautiful man in all the world?" So, apparently I'm deeply infatuated with Diego Luna. If he's a friend of yours, you can let him know.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Date night

On Friday evening, I took myself on the date that my ex-boyfriend of more than two years ago unaccountably suggested in April that we go on in June. After which, unsurprisingly, he never contacted me again. I know. It didn't make a lot of sense to me either, but there it is. Anyway, despite being elusive, eccentric, and erratic, he did take me to many lovely places, so I thought I'd see if he was still had the knack.

He does. It's a shame he wasn't there, really. He'd have liked it.

After bemoaning San Francisco on Friday, I feel I must recant. Noir Lounge is very appealing. In its favor, it does not look exactly like every other new bar in San Francisco. I am always excited when someone goes for warm and comfortable instead of stark and modern. They do play music incongruous with the atmosphere they are ostensibly trying to evoke, but that seems to be the norm; c'est la vie.

I got there early and so got a handsome wingback chair right by the window where there was plenty of light for me to forge ahead with Rebecca Solnit. I had a glass of wine, a very nice caprese salad (oh, ripe tomatoes, how I will miss you come winter), and, failing once more to stay on the culinary path of righteousness, some homemade tater tots. As a bonus, my waiter had very enviable posture. Hooray.

You might like it. You can wait for your ex to ask if you might have some free time in two months, or you could just go now. Whichever.

Friday, August 09, 2013


I miss New York today. The Haight in the fog seems small and shabby. A group of young men just passed loudly by, unaccountably clutching the famous red party cups. Is there yet another street festival of which I am unaware? Probably. There seems always to be one. I sort of feel like, "is this the best we can do, San Francisco?" Ah well. I am aware that this is the minority view. My fellow citizens are nothing if not enthusiastic about their chosen city. Me? I'm wearing a dress. It's not much, but I do what I can to raise the tone.

I watched the Ken Burn's documentary on prohibition entitled, not shockingly, "Prohibition." I learned many things. It was just like reading a book without having to put in all that effort of reading. (I'm joking. Mostly. Look, Rebecca Solnit isn't writing vacation fiction. It's taking some wherewithal to get through. Ow. All the thinking! It hurts.) I will not tell you all the things I learned about prohibition because that would take all the fun out of your learning things about prohibition. However, it was very satisfying to learn that "teetotaler" comes from the phrase "Capital 'T' Total abstinence." It was less satisfying to learn that "bootlegger" comes from early booze smugglers from whom you could buy a slug of hooch from the bottle which they kept stuck in their boots, secreted under their trouser legs. Well, fine. Why "bootlegger?" Surely the leg is the least relevant part of this scenario? Why not bootbottler or, if you are really committed to the leg, bottlelegger? Hoochlegger?

I've also learned that whatever the current age of the Upstairs Baby, it is my least favorite age of human. No words, a lot of screaming, plenty of running, and a hearty dose of floor beating. The current age of the Upstairs Baby is why I will never have children. So, in case you were ever going to ask if I'm pregnant, I'm not. I just really like spaghetti.

Generally, I try to keep the whole online dating thing to myself, largely because it is mostly dispiriting and kind of embarrassing. But things are occasionally too amusing to withhold. The way it works is that if someone sends me a message on the dating site (a rare occurrence, I am humbled to say), I receive an email notification containing a truncated bit of the message. Yesterday, someone sent a note the first line of which was "Maybe we should talk or enjoy a cocktail." However, in the email notification, the sentence was cut off right in the middle of the final word, rendering it a very unseemly proposition. I was briefly scandalized. But then, Oh! Tail. Cocktail. Better.

Thursday, August 08, 2013


Tuesday night I went to an event celebrating the release of Rebecca Solnit's new book, The Faraway Nearby. As I have previously mentioned, I was a bit of a poser, having read only half of one book by Rebecca Solnit (who has written a startling number of books), but I like the half of the book I've read and I did buy the new book, so I think I'm in the clear. I was motivated to attend largely because of the event's being held at the Elk's Club, a thing I didn't know existed. Well, I mean, I knew the Elk's Club existed in general, but I didn't know that there was a historic club site on the third floor of a downtown hotel (a hotel, I think it bears mentioning, that has a little settee in the elevator, in case you get tuckered out on your way twelve floors up to the top). The Elk's Club itself has a very high and rather ornate wooden ceiling, a bar, a chiming grandfather clock, and several mounted elk heads. I am told that, on another floor, it also has a salt-water pool and a steam room. I'm willing to believe it.

The woman at the door seemed a little harried. Perhaps they do not usually host events for so many non-members. She called out, "Are there any Elks? Are there any Elks in the line?" In any other circumstances, this query would have marked her as either crazy or possessed of a tediously zany sense of humor. She was decidedly neither zany nor crazy. She took her job very seriously indeed and it was clear that no legitimate Elk was going to be inconvenienced by a lot of literary riffraff on her watch. As it happened, there were no Elks in the line, so we shuffled forward and signed the register under her scowling supervision. "The ladies' room is across the lobby." she said. She said it several times, in fact. A woman behind me asked the question that was in my own mind, "Do we have to go there?" The doorkeeper looked at her like she was insane. "Well, if you have to use the restroom..." Oh. Well, sheesh. What do we know about the Elk's Club? It did not seem at all implausible that ladies were forbidden in the main bar. In case you were worried about that, I am here to tell you that women are allowed to roam free. Indeed, there are a goodly number of women Elks. Or is that Elk?

Under the (mistaken) impression that I was meant to dress up for the event, I brought shoes that I can barely walk in and changed into them in the lobby downstairs. I regretted it immediately. Not only was I overdressed, but it proved to be a milling-around sort of gathering, not a sit-in-your-seat sort of gathering. Ah well. At least it's fun to be briefly promoted from tall to very tall. When the author did at last read from the new book, she read a small piece about an artist who had painfully encased her feet in elaborate ice shoes, waiting for them to melt and liberate her. This feminist evocation of Cinderella is interesting to contemplate, particularly if, when you first hear about it, you are not wearing agonizing shoes because you thought they'd make you look better, even though few people look better when wincing. There's probably a moral there somewhere.

I opted not to share any of my shoe-related foot and/or existential difficulties with Rebecca Solnit herself, whose vast intelligence and somewhat regal demeanor make her quite intimidating. Additionally, she is very enthusiastic about absinthe, which she had requested be served by the distillery sponsor, thereby creating an uncrossable chasm between us. Unable to bond with her on over spirits or footwear, I never spoke to her at all. But I did admire her and her impressive brain from a distance.

After the reading, when the absinthe tasting was ramping up and someone inquired whether I was expecting (a question to which I nearly responded "Expecting what?" before it dawned on me what that question means when asked of a woman. The answer is no. But thanks. Women who aren't pregnant LOVE to be asked that question. Cue: body image crisis.) I thought it was time to go. I hobbled to the elevator where I valiantly declined to use the settee for the three-story journey. Arriving safely at the lobby, I lurched toward one of is many sofas, stashed the heels in my bag, slipped into my flats, and walked back out into real life.

Monday, August 05, 2013

Staying alive

When we went out on Thursday night my friend and I were discussing our lack of exercise and he said, "It seems like sitting is the new smoking." Meaning that studies now suggest that a sedentary life chips away at our longevity in the way we were previously led to believe required some kind of active participation in poisoning ourselves. Dammit. I am far too much of a procrastinator to part with any years that might be coming my way. Who knows what I might accomplish (finally) in my nineties. But as much as I would like to say that my primary motivation is that of health and happiness, really it's that there was that whole potato sack incident and generally I'm oozing unappealingly over the top of my jeans whereas I would prefer to be sveltely inserted into them. To achieve that, however, I'm going to have to swim a whole lot more aggressively than I did today.

Did you catch that? That last little bit?

I did it. I went to the gym this morning and A) it didn't precipitate the End Times; B) the card reading machine didn't burst into flames when they scanned mine though I have been there only twice in the past year and a half; C) I didn't drown; D) even though my hands still smell like chlorine it hasn't actually been making me sneeze. (Have you ever been allergic to your own hands? It's very vexing.)

I mean, it wasn't great. I was plodding. I had to be in the lane with the old ladies who are jogging up and down the lane wielding pool weights. I stopped two lengths shy of the self-approved number, but I did it. Now I only have to do it for the rest of my life. Tra la la. Also, it would be helpful if I developed a sudden deep love of salad. For now, yes. I would love a slice of that cake, but it would help me out if you didn't offer me any. Thanks.

The aforementioned Thursday night outing was to hear the lovely, young Gabrielle Walter-Clay sing her heart out. Damn. That girl is good. She is also just 19 years old. I wonder what it would have been like to have that much self-confidence at 19. I still don't have that much self-confidence. It looks like fun, though. You should try it.

Keep an eye on that girl. She's going places.
(Places way more interesting than the gym.)

Thursday, August 01, 2013


Do you ever find that as you are struggling to do something or to reconcile something, suddenly you stumble upon, if not answers, then at least relevant information, everywhere you turn? It is not unlike the sensation that a word you only recently learned the meaning of is all it once employed in every text you read. Well, today has been chockablock with revelations. I do not say that these will magically compel me to do what needs doing or to soothe my skittering mind, but it's nice that strangers contributed to the dialogue.

First, I was listening to an NPR segment about seniors competing in some kind of large scale competition. I don't remember what it was called. There was focus on a women's basketball league for players 70-79 years old. Team members were interviewed about the various benefits of their involvement in team play. One woman said, "Everyone I know is dead or in a wheelchair. In my opinion, they're dead because they didn't move."

Well, shit. It doesn't get much clearer than that, does it?

The second is rather more nuanced. Next week, I am going to an event to hear Rebecca Solnit read from her new book, but, shamefully, I have never read anything by Rebecca Solnit. That seemed, well, rude. So, I went to the library and settled on A Field Guide to Getting Lost, which is a very lovely book. As someone who has been watching television for weeks on end and who, in general, reads far more fiction than nonfiction, I appreciate the nearly physical sensation of reading it. It is as though my mind, having been narrowly confined, is allowed not only to roam at will, but also to lie still and stretch itself. Oh, hey. This must be why people are so excited about Rebecca Solnit. I sure am glad I'm going to her reading.

She addresses the way in which we perceive distant things as blue--a faraway mountain range, the horizon, etc.-- and describes seeing a view of San Francisco (where she lives) from far enough away that it is blue-tinted and unreal, like the perfect city of a dream, and she is filled, irrationally, with longing to live there. She goes on to examine the human experience of desire.
We treat desire as a problem to be solved, address what desire is for and focus on that something and how to acquire it rather than on the nature of desire and sensation of desire, though often it is the space between us and the object of desire that fills that space with the blue of longing. I wonder sometimes whether with a slight adjustment of perspective it could be cherished as a sensation in its own terms, since it is as inherent to the human condition as the blue of distance. [...] For something of this longing will, like the blue of distance, only be relocated, not assuaged, by acquisition and arrival, just as the mountains cease to be blue when you arrive among them and the blue instead tints the next beyond.

Less prescriptive certainly than "go to the damn gym or you will die" but no less worth pondering for that.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Learn something new

Lest you think I'm just lazing around watching television (which I am totally not. At all. Though can I just quickly recount an exchange that might be from a television show that I am totally not watching?)
Couple tromps through the English countryside. The wife is considerably behind the husband.
Him: Amazing, isn't it? Just spending time in all this.
Her: Coulda just went to the coffee shop in the village.
Him: Yeah, but it's not the same as being out here.
Her: No. It's warmer. And they had cake.
The fact that I am fully identify with the last line of that dialogue is quite possibly why I'm single. Oh, the passion for hiking that runs rampant like a dengue fever through this town.

Right. What was I saying? Oh. Things I learned this weekend.

1. When you go for a tour of Hangar One, you're actually going for a tour of St. George Spirits. This surprised me. As it happens, St. George doesn't limit themselves to vodka. They get up to all sorts. There's a very delicious framboise in the mix, for instance. The absinthe is entirely disgusting, but that is not St. George's fault. All absinthe is entirely disgusting. If you disagree with that assertion, it's possible that it's the best absinthe in the world. You'll have to try it for yourself. As a special bonus, almost everything in the distillery looks like it would be equally, if not more, at home in Willy Wonka's factory. It was all very jolly. An employee became instantly smitten with my (not single) companion when she wrinkled her nose in an adorable manner while drinking gin she did not enjoy. I conclude that my "Wow. I really hate absinthe" face is less fetching, as no one fell over himself trying to get my number. This seems unjust, but there it is.

2. Right on the main drag of Alameda, there is an indoor mini-golf course that is excessively charming. All the holes are handmade local landmarks including such things as the Fruitvale Taco Truck, which I've never seen in its actual taco-producing size, but enjoyed hitting a golf ball through. Because of the limited space, many of the holes involve precipitous slopes. I thought I might end up with a par 82 on the Coit Tower hole, but I finally made it up Telegraph Hill on the sixth attempt. Of course, my favorite was Lombard Street, which has just been dying to be incorporated into a mini-golf course all its life. It was good times.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013


I just happened upon a listing for a class called "Yoga-slackers" and I got excited thinking that it was a yoga class designed for people who have no actual enthusiasm about yoga, which is exactly the kind of class I need. Sadly, it turns out to be a thing that combines yoga and slackline. I don't even know what that is. Is it that thing you cling to and kind of fly over a forest or river or something? Or is it the circus skill that is similar, but possibly more difficult, than tightrope?

I clicked the "more info" button and now understand even less.
By bringing balance onto a piece of webbing, slackline yoga develops focus, dynamic stillness, power, breath, core integration, flexibility, and confidence to create a suspended and elevated vinyasa. This introductory workshop gives students the tools they need to develop a slackline practice that includes four basic modalities: kneeling, standing, sitting, and arm balancing.
Are you kidding? Since when is exercise so complicated as to be incomprehensible? Also why are things pretending to be for slackers when they are secretly for some kind of bionic super-people who are bringing an extreme sports mentality I remember the giddy days of the mid-nineties when I still thought spinning meant turning around and around in a circle with your arms outstretched. I could not imagine why there needed to be classes for that.

Meanwhile, Facebook is plastering my wall with ads for the Land of Nod. Marketers of the world, hear me now: I have no children.

I mean, god. Everyone's always all "Buy tiny chairs!" "Develop your modalities on a piece of mesh!" It's like nobody even GETS me! Just leave me alone. I'm going to my room to listen to The Cure.
[storms off. slams door.]

Monday, July 29, 2013

Credit where credit's not due

On Friday, the oft mentioned and happily anticipated flamingo dress arrived in the mail and...didn't fit. It should have fit. It should have rendered me kind of fantastic in a chic, long-legged sort of way, but it would appear that I've been making too many white-flour-based dining decisions and it rendered me more potato-on-stilts-esque. Sigh.

Instead, I put on an old red dress that still more or less fits me, along with the grown-up shoes I bought specifically to take to NY because I have anxiety about looking like someone's country cousin when I'm Manhattan. Then, despite having taken them all the way there in my wee suitcase, I never wore them. I had forgotten that just going to NY doesn't mean I can suddenly walk in heels. I had big plans to wear them to my hotel's trendy speakeasy, assuming I could manage to walk down two hallways and into an elevator without hobbling myself for life, but my hotel's trendy speakeasy proved to only be open Wednesday-Saturday and I was there Monday and Tuesday--nights, apparently, when only uncool people stay in hotels. I hope my shoes enjoyed the trip though. I held them up to the hotel window so they could at least see the view.

Anyway. At home I have a car, so my red dress and new shoes and I went out. We looked pretty good--particularly when standing still--the walking down the street part was still a little painful and teetery. Sadly, even with a car, there is still going to be a walking down the street part, especially when you're trying to go to two events, but park just once. By remarkable serendipity, the dueling events were just four blocks apart (that is, there were two simultaneous events that I wanted to attend; the events themselves did not feature any dueling). I went to Porchlight, which was great, and then I went to the second half of a friend's show--the half that featured burlesque.

Before the evening was through, I saw six women remove all but very tiny bits of their clothing. An unexpected entertainment proved to be watching the members of the large band, mostly men, none of whom had seen the acts before, try to decide where to look. The stage was a bit crowded and the newly revealed flesh was in some cases very proximate indeed.

Having seen Gypsy more than once, I know you gotta have a gimmick, but I find my own taste runs to the old fashioned, glamorous pin-up girl style, more than to the "edgy." This would surprise exactly no one. But really, I don't need you to be nearly naked and lying on broken glass. I also don't need you to sing a song. Or paint yourself like a skeleton. I really, really don't need you to paint yourself like a skeleton. "Taking it all off" should stop way before one reaches bone. For me, the sexiest women were the first, in a floor-length gown, and the last, in a 1940's style fitted suit. Were there elbow length gloves, you ask? Why, yes. Of course there were.

After the show, I walked up to the stage to congratulate my friend who had orchestrated the whole evening. Then, as I headed toward the exit, a man stepped away from his group of friends and stopped me. "I really enjoyed your act," he said. "It was great." I thought he was kidding. I thought maybe it was his idea of a good post-burlesque-show pick-up line. I said, "You mean the one where I walked from over there to over here? I thought it went pretty well." We had a bit more confusing back and forth. He reiterated how much he had enjoyed the performance; I thanked him and left. Only when I reached the door, did I realize that he had been sincere albeit rather unobservant. The only woman in the show for whom I possibly could have been mistaken was the last one and then only because we are both white women with dark hair and bangs. Mind you, we do not otherwise resemble each other at all. And having seen very nearly all of her, I feel I can say so with certainty. Still. I'll take it. From potato on stilts to hot stripper all in one evening.

Bangs. Huh. I always thought it was so much more complicated than that.

As a little postscript, I was driving home when I passed one of the performers making her way on foot through the creepy dark with a huge suitcase. I pulled over, told her I'd just been at her show, and asked if I could drive her somewhere. She gratefully accepted a ride to BART, stashing her suitcase in the trunk. When we arrived and wrestled it out, it was heavier than I'd expected (her costumes were nothing if not um...small). "Twenty-five pounds of broken glass," she said.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

I say it's my birthday

Well, that's not strictly true, but "I say yesterday was my birthday" lacks a certain je ne sais quoi. It's true, though. I wore purple tights. I saw "The Way, Way Back" and indulged my now sixteen-year crush on Sam Rockwell. My parents came with me I think mostly because I invited them, though it's possible they also have crushes on Sam Rockwell. They probably do now, anyway. It's a pretty great movie.

Later, I got to have fancy pizza (mine had squash blossoms) in the company of friends I've known for about 25 years. (Sheesh) There was a water view and an extravagant sunset. By special request, the manager changed the music from the all-reggae station and I am now indebted to him. (Have we discussed how much I hate reggae? It makes me feel like punching strangers. Maybe you have to be stoned to enjoy it?)

And...there was bocce ball!

(Are you secretly in love with me? Well, just in case, if you're trying to win me over, invite me to play bocce ball.) I won. They assure me it was a legit victory, not a birthday chivalry victory. Then we went on an ankle-breaking (wrong shoes) but spectacular walk along the Sausalito waterfront when--birthday miracle--the view of San Francisco was not obscured by fog, nor was a damp, frigid wind blowing up my skirt. Sure, there was a rat that kind of reared out of a trash can as we passed and incited a modicum of terror, but we weren't bitten and, consequently, we don't have rabies now. And isn't that the best gift of all?

I feel lucky.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Flamingos, among other things

I had this big plan that I was going to write a nice long post last night and have only to click "publish" today and: voilà! But, instead, I ate my weight in goulash, fell asleep trying to read a book, woke groggy and confused at 10pm, then watched some old British police-ish drama which became infuriating when the smart psychologist protagonist said, "I know you're a murderer and I'm going to tell everyone" to a guy when they were alone in a forest. Then, duh, he tried to kill her. I mean. Tssss. (I don't know how to spell that, but imagine it being a sound of derisive disbelief because that's just what it is.)

As you can see, I'm very busy.

I am both excited and dismayed that there is goulash available on my street. A friend said she was entirely unsurprised there was a new goulash restaurant in my neighborhood, so I clarified, "it's not like 'Hi. I'm a hipster and I like goulash.' It's like 'Hi. I'm Hungarian.'" I think this is an important distinction. Whatever its provenance, it is not costly and it is delicious. I think I may have gained ten pounds in about thirty minutes, however. In further good/bad news, it happens to be next door to the crème brulée shop. I don't think you need me to draw you a picture. But if you do, it will be a round one.

I have my eye on a highly impractical silk dress that may be too short to sit in, but is also very loose and perhaps ideal for goulash-eating (while standing up, obviously). Did I mention that it is festooned with flamingos? It totally is. I suspect it may be a dress for a slightly different woman who I am only in my imagination, but since she's more fun than I am, maybe I'll see if I can dress for the role.

I know I have medical bills and car registration to pay. Don't be a killjoy. It's almost my birthday. Flamingos for everyone, say I.

Tonight I'm going to a party on a streetcar. The F Line is part of our regular ol' public transportation, but it is exponentially more charming. Who doesn't want to toodle along the waterfront in a vintage streetcar? Probably someone, but that person would never be my friend. Generally the F is too full of tourists to even try to get on it, but tonight, that won't be the case. Tonight it will be all jazz trio, passed hors d'oeuvres, and no stops along the way.

I suspect that tonight might be the first time in my life I regret not being on instagram. You'll just have to use your imagination. But not right now. Right now you could just go here. (A photo I tried and failed to upload like a grown-up. It claims to be part of creative commons, but it is either just kidding, or I'm missing a step. Probably the latter.)

Oh, F Line. I have quite a crush on you.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


Oh dear. It's been almost a month. Mi dispiace. The blog bully has had to send a stern email in which he says, "I know you have content." So true! I did a great many things and then I came home and did nothing, followed by more somethings and yet how would you know? You wouldn't. I will try to get back in the saddle (in the most metaphorical way possible. Please do not try to make me get on a horse. I will cry.) but today I am sort of trying to sneak up on myself with this little thing so as not to become overwhelmed by a whole month's worth of unremarked-upon activity.

This morning, as I waited at a red light, I saw a nanny cross the street with her infant charge strapped, forward-facing, to her chest. Presumably, this orientation was so that he might be able to do a little sightseeing on his way to the park. How doubly unfortunate, therefore, that his hat was pulled down over the bridge of his nose, effectively blindfolding him like a wee hostage. It is quite poignant to imagine having a stripey hat pulled over your eyes and lacking not only the power of speech, but also the requisite limb control to rectify the situation. Just as I began to think I may need to leap from the car to save the day, I saw that the lady crossing the street the other direction had stopped the nanny. As she spoke, she raised her hand to just below her eyes like a misplaced salute and I knew she had things under control.

Don't worry, baby. We, your fellow citizens, have got your back.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

An unusual location

I have discovered that my iPod (that's right. Pod. Not phone. Not pad. You know about me and the dearth of "devices") no longer will allow me to get online. It offers me wireless accounts, it shows me bars, but it will not actually connect to anything. So much for that brilliant travel plan. Now I have to just swipe my friends' computers when I want to see if anyone is felling any important feelings on Facebook in my virtual absence.

Just now as I was logging in, Blogger presented me with a security screen that said, "It looks like you're logging in from an unusual location." I can't lie to you, Blogger. I am in Amherst, MA which is not unusual if, for instance, you are my friend who lives here and whose computer I have commandeered, but if you are me, it is unusual. Amherst is green and leafy and full of tidy, pleasing white houses with porches. It's hot, but not unbearably so. It is, as anticipated, summer. I find this very exciting, despite the numerous (and possibly extra poisonous?) mosquito bites. Last night the grownups drank gin and played Taboo (which is what I would do every night if I could). My friend tried to persuade us that "throw in the boot" is a British expression meaning "to die." It isn't. She was tired. So don't try to make yourself fit in in some pub by saying things like, "I want to spend everything I've got before I throw in the boot. After all, you can't take it with you." They'll probably say "Throw what in the boot?" And then you'll have this baffling exchange about the various meanings of "boot." It's better not to even go down that road.

Later today, we are going to Lake Wyola. Cara, who is seven, was incredulous that I have never been there. She seems to regard it as something of a personal failing that an adult who has the free will to go wherever I want whenever I want has not had the simple common sense to go there repeatedly. "You've never been to Lake Wyola? But it's the best place in the world!" So, in short, I'm going to the best place in the world this afternoon. I'm sorry not to be able to take you along. If it makes you feel any better, Ben, who is nine, thinks coming to Western Mass for one's vacation shows a remarkable lack of imagination if not, indeed, intelligence.

Before I came here (by train, ostensibly, but also by bus, due to some track work outside of Springfield. For your future reference, trains are more comfortable than buses.) I was in NY for one night. I flew into Newark and then waited for a shuttle bus into Manhattan. A shuttle bus that later proved to be run by a team of mostly mute, very rude people one of whom--hilariously, in my opinion--later solicited tips by muttering "tip, tip, tip" not quite under his breath. Here's a tip: don't be a total asshole and then expect me to hand you supplementary cash.

While waiting for the bus, I was approached by a tall, startlingly handsome (oh, the cheekbones!) young Asian man who wanted to verify that it was a bus into the city. His English was shaky. Since the bus personnel was clearly not going to be of any use, I adopted him. We sat next to each other on the bus and he informed me that he had never been out of China before, but, after one night in the city, he would be in Sarasota Springs for four months working with other international students.

We got off the bus at Port Authority and I planned to just hop in a taxi and head uptown, but then I looked around. There was, um, a lot going on. If I had just arrived from China, had never traveled in my life, had been on a plane for twelve hours, and then in customs in New Jersey for three, I would not want to be abandoned with a large suitcase in Times Square. After a couple of false starts, we made it down into the subway and I managed to sort out our Metrocards and we both succeeded in getting our suitcases through the turnstyle, which felt like something of a triumph. We rewarded each other for each accomplishment with radiant smiles.

I saw him to the top of the stairs at the downtown A, C, E, reviewed his itinerary with him once more, and shook his hand. He took mine in both of his and shook it warmly, while thanking me very much. I told him to have a great time and made my way to the 1. He stood at the top of the stairs and waved very solemnly for a long while as I walked away. It was a little bit heartbreaking, but I am confident he is now safely in Sarasota Springs with a bunch of new friends. After four months, I'm sure his English will be able to vanquish any number of non-communicative bus drivers.

I did eventually make it to W 86th and later, as though to reward me for my good Samaritanism, my cousin and I had milkshakes.

The end.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Vacation Eve

The first question is why does it take me so long to pack when I've just got one small suitcase? I have no idea. Presumably it is a mystery held alongside why it takes me so long to clean a rather modest one-bedroom apartment. Nevertheless, I think I've got everything in order at last. In the morning, I will arise at an hour I usually prefer to leave to its own devices and trundle off to the airport wishing I were less spindly and/or not afflicted with an escalator phobia. There is always more suitcase hoisting than I wish there were.

But then I'll arrive! In summer!

A colleague and I were talking today about how difficult it is to pack in San Francisco and simultaneously suspend your disbelief sufficiently to fully commit to the notion of heat. She confessed that it is impossible for her to pack to go anywhere without at least one wool sweater. I've got two in my bag."In the evening, the fog will roll in" becomes a state of mind. On Saturday I went with some friends to see Raiders of the Lost Arc in Dolores Park. Everyone takes a picnic and when it gets dark, they show the movie. I believe this is a common summertime activity all over the country if not, indeed, the world. The problem is that here it is freezing. The fog blows into Dolores Park with a vengeance of an evening. As all the revelers got off the bus, we could easily have been mistaken for Arctic explorers. In fact, the only time all year that I routinely wear my down jacket is for summer movies in Dolores Park. My colleague puzzled over why San Franciscans are doggedly determined to have these traditional outdoor summer events and I don't really know. We just don't want to be left out.

I am quite delighted to be included in a real way, though. In a leave-your-down-jacket-at-home kind of way. In a don't-forget-your-bathing-suit kind of way. Indeed, I am promised Pimm's cup and swimming in a lake. Also, I'll bet there will be significantly less pot smoke. Just in general. The hallmarks of the San Francisco outdoor gathering: you're freezing and you're either smoking pot yourself or getting a contact high because you are the only one who isn't. As we walked out of the park after approximately three and a half hours of freezing and inhaling, we passed through yet another pungent cloud, at which point my friend said, "Do you think there's any pot left to smoke in the world?"

This is entirely unrelated, but on my mind. A friend of mine called me from Paris today to tell me that he is moving to Brazil. He also told me the history of the potato in Ireland for some reason. That was novel. My French isn't what it once was, so it is with some relief that I tell you the word "famine" is essentially the same in both languages. If you don't know the word for famine, the whole Irish potato story loses a lot of its punch. The Brazil relocation is not unexpected; he has been splitting his time between the two places for years with the intention of moving permanently. I was still strangely blindsided by the news. I used to have a lot of friends in Paris, but he was the last of them--and the only vrai parisien, born and raised. For me the two of them, the city and the man, are inextricably linked and matter to me equally. Quite selfishly, I hate to think of him not being there. I'm not sure there's enough sunscreen in the world to get me to Brazil, but we'll see. Tu me manqueras, mon beau.

Bon. That's enough of that.

If I don't go to bed, I'm likely to miss my plane altogether and that won't do at all. Happy summer to you. Here's hoping yours doesn't require mittens.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Title Schmitle

Hi. I'm still here. Sorry about that. Sometimes when I am Participating, I fail on the Chronicling. But right now I will chronicle up a storm in the hopes that it will tide you over since I am hitting the trail on Wednesday morning and, as you know, I've not got much in the way of wireless devices.

Last week, I saw three plays, which is a lot, even for me. The reading of Hapgood they did at ACT was delightful; and had a joke about a lemon I enjoyed. The next day I went to Berkeley Rep to see Dear Elizabeth, a play comprised entirely from letters between Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell, two poets I knew nothing about, which is unsurprising as I know nearly nothing about any poets (sorry, poets). It broke my heart. The actor playing Robert Lowell strikingly reminded me of an erstwhile friend of mine, so I took the whole play rather personally and felt a sense of loss that I cannot be certain is entirely contained in the script. Also, the water seemed extraneous. (Just because you can have water cascade over the stage doesn't mean you need do it constantly.) However, those things notwithstanding, it might break your heart too. Or perhaps it will attune you to those you love. Just after the play, when we were shuffling our tear-streaked selves out into the aisle, I heard this exchange from the white-haired couple (subscribers for over twenty years I heard them mention earlier) in the row behind mine.
She: Finishes her yawn with a little sing-song tone.
He: I love your voice. [Pause.] Maybe it's a sentimental thing to say, but I do love your voice.
She: I'm glad you do.

Lovely, no?

On Friday, I saw This is How it Goes at the Aurora. It made me uncomfortable. In a good way. I mean, not like I thought "wow! this is a great way to feel uncomfortable!" More like, "Damn. This is a pretty ballsy play. Did he just say the N word again? Yikes." Also, I have a crush on Gabe Marin. There. My secret's out. If you're reading this, Gabe Marin [sadly, you're not], I'll buy you a drink some Monday night. We've met. It won't be weird. Unless you're married, in which case, you're right, it will be weird.

On Thursday I drank a curious assortment of booze with my lovely friend Liz who (bad news) lives in Canada these days, but (good news) came to visit. We went to Novela which has only been open for about a week meaning that I am officially very cutting edge (let the record show). However, since I had only seen pictures of it online, empty and shown to attractive advantage, I had made up a whole story about how it would be that proved totally false. (Hey! Raise your hand if you just noticed an uncanny similarity to online dating.) They have this whole literary theme and I was imagining smallish and conversation-amenable, but it is largish, packed with post-work drinkers, and loud. Oh, so very loud. Why all the bass, Novela? You promised me books. Still, it's pretty.

They serve a variety of punches and, ideal for people like me who are indecisive, have them available by the flight of three. That is how I came to have rum and gin and cognac all in one sitting. Later, apparently feeling that we should drink more things, we ended up in Harry Denton's Starlight Room on the top floor of the Sir Francis Drake Hotel. I had never been up there, but that Liz, she gets around. Here is what it's like: a stranger's wedding with an impressive view and a no-host bar with expensive drinks. Curious. But if you want to do some awkward wedding-style dancing with a bunch of people of radically different ages, none of whom live here, the Starlight Room is the place for you. I think you should go with Liz because she can lip sync to a surprising number of hip-hop songs, and that will be fun for you, but, as I've mentioned, she (tragically) lives in Canada, so it might be hard to align your schedules.

Saturday featured a return to cold, damp fields, but there simply isn't time to tell you about that now. You can wait breathlessly for tomorrow. I don't mean that literally, of course. If you hold your breath until tomorrow, you won't make it to tomorrow and then we both lose.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

You looking at me?

I heard on the radio this morning a story about a man who stole a phone from a woman at gunpoint and was later arrested when police used the phone's GPS tracking to locate him. Later, he appealed his conviction claiming that the use of the GPS infringed on his right to privacy. Are you filled with rage right now? Because I am filled with rage right now.

The good news: the court responded with the legal version of "you have got to be kidding me" and his conviction was upheld.

The bad news is that, first of all, there is a man who steals things from people while threatening to shoot them. (In fact, there are a lot of them. I would prefer there were none.) What's more, he thinks everyone should pretty much mind their own beeswax because stealing is kind of private.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Cold, damp fields

I am home in my jammies (well, if you want hard-edged journalistic realism, I don't actually have jammies, but I am wearing assorted knitwear in which I slept and in which I would not leave the house unless there were some kind of emergency. In fact, now that I think about it, I didn't even wear sweatpants when I went to the emergency room at 4:30 in the morning back in October. There are Standards around here. A slightly hilarious assertion in that my desk is nearly entirely obscured by piles of detritus and, just a couple feet to my left, there is an armchair draped with several articles of clothing and a queen-sized duvet). Right. What was I saying? I'm at home. I'm not wearing real clothes. I have a headache and a thing that wants to be a sore throat that I am trying to beat back into submission with the dreaded pomegranate tea I drank by the gallon six months ago and wished never to see again.


I was so close to avoiding the last spate of high school viruses, but then there was this past weekend: A Festival of Fields. I think it pushed me one step closer to the viral chasm.

Field # 1: Graduation
I am in charge of graduation at the school where I work and I have been for years and years. Yet, even now, it fills me with anxiety. (On Friday before I left work, the strawberries had yet to be delivered. That night, I had a dream that I was teaching playwriting in someone's house and the phone rang and rang. When I finally answered it, it was a colleague who said, "I'm at the farmer's market. Should I just buy strawberries?" I opened my eyes. It was 4am. That kind of anxiety.) It seems to be part of a deeply cherished tradition that this event be held outdoors, despite the fact that when events are outdoors, you have no control over them. When I am in charge of events, I enjoy having control over them. You see the conflict. I would be so thrilled to hold this event in a place that already has seats and tables and parking. Such places do exist, I'm told, they are called "theatres." However, this is never to be.

This year, there was much talk of a heat wave. We have had extraordinarily hot graduations in the past and it's not pretty. People get all Lord of the Flies about it and come steal whole bottles of water for themselves that are meant to serve four; grandparents huddle under the food-prep tent; everyone gets dangerous sunburns. I was certain we would be facing a no-shade graduation and duly slathered myself with sunscreen, put on gauzy clothing, and put my parasol in the car. I put my apartment in Heat Wave Mode, opening the windows, but closing all the blinds, even those that are left open year round, modesty be damned. I have learned from experience that coming home hot and exhausted from cake-wrangling, walking into a stifling apartment is simply insulting. I left my neighborhood in bright sunshine, but when I arrived on site at 8am, the whole area was shrouded in fog. And so it remained for the subsequent six hours. If anything, it got colder as the day wore on. As did I, in my melange of inadequate fabrics.

A variety of other things went wrong, but I will spare you. The important things went well: the volunteers were aces; the flowers were pretty; the speeches were touching; and 90 students graduated from high school. As I was doing my last walk-through the field with a trash bag, I came across one of my newly-graduated playwrights whom I'd yet to congratulate. I gave her a hug and she said, "You're so cool." I wasn't feeling too cool at that particular moment, nor did I know she thought I was cool to begin with. It just about knocked me over. That, in a nutshell, is why I still work there.

I got home, took a shower, put on many woolen things, and drank a pot of tea while under a blanket, listening to the wind howl in the chimney. Heat wave! [Reportedly, it was 98 degrees in Marin.]

Field # 2: The Dipsea
Graduation always falls on the same weekend as the Dipsea, which wouldn't be such a big deal--after all, I don't run the Dipsea--but I am the sort who gets up at 10am on weekends, so two 6:45am's in a row makes me grouchy. Still, I got up at the appointed hour and was on the road to Stinson Beach by 7:15. I thought I had learned a valuable lesson and brought fog-sufficient clothing. I was unprepared for the level of dampness. It was the type of morning that the Golden Gate Bridge was invisible from a distance, and driving across it is a strange act of faith, since the only part you can see is that five feet ahead of your car. I had the windshield wipers on the whole way to the beach. And then I stood in a damp field for six hours. Call it a hobby.

What? Oh. Right. There was also a race. It went fine. My father maintained his time from the year before and finished in the top 100 as had been his goal. Also, 1,499 other less important people ran it.

Field # 3: High School Reunion
I left the Dipsea during the end of the awards ceremony where the people who are not my father were getting trophies so that I could be slightly ahead of the traffic on my way back over the mountain. I was certain that the fog would have long since burned off in Mill Valley and my last event of the day would be, if not hot, at least dry. Ha. Welcome to summer, suckers.

I stood there in the freezing wind under a couple of trees in Boyle Park with a gaggle attractive, cold adults whom I'd known as attractive, cold teenagers a great many years ago. Well, we weren't cold all the time, but there is a lot of fog in Mill Valley, so neither did we spend high school fending off heat exhaustion. Of course, I was cold nearly all the time because being cold nearly all the time is my superpower. That and crying. Look, no one is saying these are good or useful superpowers; I'm just letting you know that they're the ones I got. My mother fears I do not assert myself, so I assume during the doling out of powers I was saying, "Oh no, you go ahead." to everyone until there were just a couple left. Anyway, it was nice to see those grown-up kids, particularly the day after a high school graduation. I like them; they're still funny. As an added bonus, there were a lot of hugs, which are good when you're cold. Also, just good. I learned that I can still make my best friend laugh during serious moments. I haven't really kept in practice, so it's good to know it's a skill I can still draw on when the need arises. I was also invited to a BBQ in Brooklyn. Really, from a personal standpoint, quite a successful event. Nevertheless, I could only manage to stand in that field for about three hours before thawing was required.

When I got home, I fell asleep on the sofa at about 8:30 and slept for approximately 11 hours. I would have thought that 11 hours of blanket-wrapped slumber would have been sufficient to undo any ill effects of fifteen rather emotional hours in damp fields, but the headache says otherwise. More revolting tea is in order, I fear. And a nap.

Friday, June 07, 2013

School's out!

It is the last day of high school (again.) I never imagined I would see so many last days of high school, but here I am.

Last day of school.
Graduation tomorrow.
Then, on Sunday, a high school reunion because there was a time I did actually attend high school as a student myself.

I assume this is why I have an aggressive pimple on the end of my nose. My body probably thought we were having a whimsical adolescent-themed weekend and wanted to get into the spirit of the thing.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

All choked up

Today, a very small group of us gathered to present a gift to our afternoon crossing guard who is retiring. He is a very kind man, but because his English is very limited my conversations with him have likewise been limited to hello, goodbye, thank you, and comments on the weather. In China, I am told, he was an engineer.

As six of us stood around a table, smiling enthusiastically, gesturing at his present (which, naturally, I wrapped), he smiled back and said "thank you." Then he held up the "wait just a minute" finger, as he reached into his inside pocket. He pulled out a small, slightly crumpled piece of paper from which he read, with difficulty, a speech he had written, perhaps with the help of his wife. He said that his work had been a pleasure. That it was unforgettable. That the time he'd spent at the school had been during an important part of his life.

We clapped. By some miracle, I didn't cry. He smiled broadly and shook some hands, but indicated his watch and moved toward the door. He couldn't be loitering around; it was time to pick up his stop sign and head out to the crosswalk.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Good news / bad news

I did forget to go to the school circus today, which disappoints me for obvious reasons. However, this morning, my urologist admired my necklace and laughed at my jokes, so I consider it pretty much a wash. He is a very nice man, my urologist. Plus, remember that pee story I never told you? Of course you don't. It's hard to keep track of stories that people are too lazy to actually recount. Sorry about that. I may yet tell you that story, since it's so entertaining. For now, let's just say that there was peeing and subsequent analysis and my numbers are (ready?) excellent. Excellent. Suck it, would-be kidney stones of the future.

While sitting in the exam room waiting for the doctor, I was reading my library book (and feeling quite pleased with myself for having remembered to bring it). It happens to be Drinking with Men, a title that has evoked comment at not one but two doctor's appointments this week.

"What are you reading?" he asks, entering the exam room. "Drinking with Men. A thing I feel I should be doing a great deal more of." Cue: general mirth. We discuss the test results; restraint vis à vis drinking black tea is (disappointingly) counseled. In summation, he says, "So keep drinking water, eating a low-salt diet, and drinking with men and you should be all set." I defy you to tell me a time your doctor told you you may not drink tea, but are free to frequent bars like a floozy. I plan to take him up on it. Conversely, my gynecologist did not give me the green light on drinking with men, but neither did she expressly forbid it. It is worth noting that the urologist has a significantly more robust sense of humor than the gynecologist. I don't know whether there are subsequently any conclusions to be drawn about their areas of medical expertise. I expect not. After all, two people is an awfully small sample size for even the most casual research project.

Later, I called ACT to tell them that I was going to let my subscription lapse because I just can't get excited about more than two of next season's seven plays. I am truly very sorry to let my beloved seats go after at least a decade of subscribing (that's at least 70 plays, not counting the many I saw before I was a subscriber, including A Christmas Carol when I was a little girl), but I don't have enough money to pay for plays I don't want to see.

Now then. When I share this news with subscription services, do I expect them to beg with me to stay? Do I insist that they keen and rend their garments? Of course not. But I did expect him to say, "Oh, you're such a long-time subscriber. We're sorry to see you go." Maybe that was an unreasonable expectation. I don't think so, particularly since my relationship with that theatre is probably considerably longer than his, but maybe. I definitely didn't expect him to sound, from the moment he answered the phone, as though I was greatly inconveniencing him by calling at all. I didn't expect him to be brusque and dismissive and exasperated. I hung up not just annoyed, but offended and actually kind of hurt. I ended up calling some poor woman in the Marketing/PR department to hear my grievance during which conversation I began sniveling. In short, a mean subscription man made me cry. Good lord. It's a wonder I make it though the day. I am ridiculous. However, the marketing lady was very sympathetic and said all the right things and I felt better. Humiliated by my own crybaby ways, of course, but better on the whole. Thanks, marketing lady! As for seats N 113-114, we've had a good run. I'll miss you guys.