Saturday, January 31, 2009

grace, day 24

1. Three mornings in a row of salty/sweet/fatty Texas brunches.

2. Driving around aimlessly on a sunny Saturday with the hubs.

3. Hotel cable binge!

4. Cole slaw with lots of salt and pepper.

5. Sneaking out without anyone spotting us, climbing into bed with jammies and snacks.

Friday, January 30, 2009

I’m bored on the plane to Texas

and, though medicated (read: tranquilized), still working hard to avoid turbulence-panic. So thought I’d type up a quick story from my acting days. There are many aplenty of these gems, but this one is a personal fav.

My freshman year at college, I studied at the Fine Arts School in the theater department. Now. At some/most colleges, this means you take a few drama classes, a bunch of regular classes, and act in some plays on the weekends. This wasn’t that. This was a conservatory, which meant you did acting crap (Theory, Speech, Movement, Singing, Script Analysis, etc. etc.) all day everyday. And freshman year you were also stage crew for the older students' shows. So classes were 9-5 usually, then you had stage crew - graded as a class - from 7-11. What I'm trying to say is, I did nothing all day.


Second semester, quite sure I would be transferring the hell out of this Twilight Zone, I had a hard time paying attention or taking any of it seriously. This didn’t mean the shit that happened didn’t stab my soft inner sensi flesh; I just pretended it didn’t. My acting teacher for the second half of the year, a semi-elderly black man in his sixties (seventies? fifties? impossible to tell) who wore stained undershirts and sunglasses to class, was…crazy. We'll call him Jim.

In March or so, we started working on scenes (which would be graded as our Final), with partners. My partner was my buddy Matt. Now, I semi-forget the premise of our scene, but I think I played a sexually frustrated wife married to a gay guy. And I think my character buys a French maid’s costume to spice things up, but I come home one day to find him wearing it instead. Er? Is this right, Matt? I usually remember things like this better.

The most important thing to know, though, is that Matt had to pretend to, um, put his hand in my undies. Seeing that Matt was/is a) one of my best friends and b) gay, proved super uncomfortable for both of us. (Did we not read the scene ahead of time? I think we chose it, dumb asses.)

So one afternoon we’re practicing in front of the class. And things aren’t going well. I’m feeling awkward, Matt’s blushing, and I wish we could just move onto the next round of scenes.

Well Jim had this thing he did when he saw you were stalling out, where he’d walk up to you and whisper something in your ear, something no one else could hear. It was supposed to motivate you to get better/funnier/real-er. I wish, I wish I could remember what he said to me, but I do remember what he said to Matt, who told me later.

“Pretend her crotch is a red hot poker.”


So after delivering his pearls of wisdom, Jim takes a cross-legged seat on the floor with the rest of the class. Now, it should be noted that my boyfriend was also in this class. Which sucked. First semester we were in different sections and remained blissfully unaware of the other’s daily lives. Not so that spring. It’s difficult to describe the intensity of spending all day with someone in spirit-draining, soul-sucking classes where everyone’s crying about how mean their Dads were and how the kids in sixth grade didn’t invite them to McDonald’s. Then eating dinner together. Then going out or watching a movie together. Then spending the night together, waking up and doing it all over again.

I digress. But remind me to tell you about the day we broke up and I cried actual tears of joy walking to get a hot dog in the park because it was the first time I’d been alone in ten months.

Back to class.

So Boyfriend was there in his tanktop, sitting with everyone else, watching me suffer. And not really throwing me any looks of love or understanding. He was good like that.

A few more painful attempts pass. Suddenly Jim turns to Boyfriend and asks loudly:

“Is she always this frigid in bed?”

Ba-dum ching!

Abrupt ending about to happen, but that's the gist. Turbulence ensuing, plane landing soon, Dallas and wedding and fried foods await me.

Moral of the story? Don't go to acting school. And don't be frigid in bed!

Happy weekend!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Skool Stuff and Grace, Day 23

Don't know if it's a sign of maturity or subject matter or instructional quality or student population (most likely a combo of all four and more), but I've never thought so much about classes outside of classes before. I'm having one of those trippy broadening-my-horizons smiling-college-catalog-stock-photo experiences where cultural stuff and race stuff and a whole variety of stuff is looking different, shifting around in my head, making new connections. I had absolutely zero expectations for these classes and thought - at best - I wouldn't hate them. The fact that I'm actively liking them and learning tons is a huge shock and a happy surprise.

I'm effing exhausted from hauling my ass all over San Francisco - Chinatown for work, Sunset for some classes, Mission for others, back to Pac Heights for bed - but I'm just into it and liking what's bubbling up inside my brain skull head. For someone who hated school from 6th grade through senior year of college, this is a crazy trip.

I don't want to jinx this by sounding all Pollyanna/not-me. So let' s see...

I'm really tired. And trying to exercise and clean and write and cook is a little bit um?! It makes me want to eat five doughnuts really quickly then collapse.

Onto my happy things!

1. Alone at night, in the car, Britney really loud.

2. Advil.

3. Super cold, not-from-concentrate, no-added-calcium OJ.

4. Talking Days of Our Lives with my Gram. (p.s. I was previously employed as a DOOL blogger/plot-recapper. Yup!)

5. Men's white v-neck undershirts.

grace, day 23

I'm...really tired right now. After work, class, class, baby cuddles (THAT part was two thumbs up) I can't see straight. And feeling overwhelmed about another go of it tomorrow. So I'm going to keep this short then hide my head under the pillow in denial.

1. Wool sweaters.

2. High-thread-count sheets.

3. Bluebirds.

4. Butter mints.

5. Fluffernutters.

Monday, January 26, 2009

grace, day 22

1. My asthma inhaler. Once I learned to take it before exercising - oh my JEEBS I can actually jog longer than 30 seconds?! At one time?! I honestly had no clue I had it in me. Sure, my lungs still burn the whole time (and the whole next day) but they actually get a little O2 along the way and stay inflated. And I don't collapse and cry on sidewalks. It's...a miracle of modern medicine. That's been around for a long time. That I've ignored forever.

2. Baked beans. On toast. Nom nom nom.

3. Sapphire rings. Specifically mine. Doobie doobie doo.

4. This gorgeous banana shampoo The Body Shop used to make and I used everyday in seventh grade. I would pay lots of pennies to find it again.

5. Randy Newman. Oh, that grumpy old man sings right to my own grumpy heart.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

grace, day 21

1. Jordan, Jesse, Go! LIVE at the Eureka Theater tonight. We rode the scooter, it was freezing, we sat in the second row, it was awesome.

2. Going for jogs yesterday and today and...liking it? This can't last.

3. Clay going grocery shopping for me yesterday. HEAVEN.

4. Trimming my own bangs with cuticle scissors and not totally effing it up.

5. Adding pepperoncinis to turkey paninis. Yumm-oh.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Quick Question:

Does anyone else feel uncomfortable when people call them by their real name? Even if you're not in the witness protection program?

I've got a bajillion nicknames. Many of them are variations of Amy ("Ames" "Meems" "Mimi" etc) and only when someone's angry/annoyed/relaying scary information does "Amy" come out of the bag. So, just like a Pavlov dog, I hear it and get all sweaty. Not that I don't like my name - I do. I just...don't want to hear it.

Clay and I literally never call each other by our first names. If you spend any time with us you'll quickly see what we do call each other ("Didj" "Cram" "Chip" "Buddy") but never our actual names. I'm not even sure if this is normal or weird, but I'm guessing the latter.

In high school, college and pre-marriage work everyone called me by my maiden name, which is now null and void. People still call me by the old name if they knew it, but the people I've just met obviously don't. And my new last name isn't really as catchy. (I like it, inlaws - it's just not funky. Like my old name was.) So at this current job, where I'm not around long enough to pick up a nickname, people have nothing to call me but "Amy" -- and ah sweet Jeebus God I don't like it.

Am I alone here...??

Friday, January 23, 2009

A Song

My Aunt's chorus in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Voices from the Heart, recorded this Kenyan folk song for Obama to send him good thoughts and good wishes for the challenges ahead. I especially love how they fit his name into the extra five syllables.

This type of spirit just wasn't there for...other Presidents.

Makes me happy:

grace, day 20

1. Baby lust. Mine's a little strong, I know, but I'd rather have it than not have it.

2. My physical therapist telling me I shouldn't sit for long stretches. Pretty much a "don't work in an office setting" prescription. Of course, I'll still be on my brown couch all the time - I'll just lie down.

3. Scratch 'n sniff stickers. My childhood library card was filled with them; peanut butter and jelly was my favorite.

4. Rainy weekends. I can do zero with zero guilt.

5. Nutter Butters. (Not to be confused with my brother's dead cat, Nutternut.)

I’m a complainer.

I don’t think I’m a huge whiner, per se, I just like to bitch about stuff. It’s relaxing.

I like to take tiny things that happened during my day (“and it turned OUT the banana was ROTTEN!”) and turn them into melodramas worthy of a BBC miniseries. I’m sure it’s the actress and the writer in me, making things bigger than they really are, looking for thrills where there’s just fruit. And really, after a hard day it can be like popping a ripe zit to talk over all the sucky things that happened.

But I’m pretty sure it stresses out me (and the people around me) more than I know; I’m pretty sure I don’t even realize when I’m doing it anymore. So I’m going on a 30-day No Complaining Fast. Yep, no bitching allowed; I'm going to be super boring to talk to.

Which doesn’t mean I’m going to smile beatifically if I find a finger in my turkey sandwich or some dude spits on my Fryes. It just means if there’s a problem I’ll state it clearly/assertively, not focus/obsess on it and move on. I’m getting nervous already.

So regulate me, people. What I put up on this here blog counts, too. Help?! I mean, hurrah!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Do NOT Tell Me What Happened

Last night was the first night I felt not-happy without live television. Why? Because LOST premiered and Jeebus God that, if anything, deserves to be watched on the big screen. It’ll hit Hulu eventually and I’ll be able to cue it up on the computer so I’m not meaning to play a violin here. It’s just that JOSH I NEED YOU I MISS YOU I’M SORRY I WASN’T THERE FOR YOU LAST NIGHT HOLD ME.

Um. I mean, I’m fine.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

grace, day 19

1. My old black Jeep. Beat up, jacked up, tape deck, Kennedy/Johnson sticker, perfect.

2. Late night phone chats with hubs. Of course I miss his bum, but there's something satisfying about getting to gab and gab and gab about my day to his held-captive ear. Muahahha. And bonus! It doubles as a sleep remedy for him.

3. The made-for-olds BBC sitcom, As Time Goes By. I started a couple weeks ago and I'm already on Season 4. Judi Dench = Love.Her. There's 8 or 9 or 10 more seasons to go; no stopping me now!

4. Navy blue. Best color ever.

5. Big Macs. I'm getting one after class next week - it's decided!

Huh yuh! Take that.

So yesterday I only had one class; my kickass early afternoon professor canceled to watch the Inauguration, so I didn’t have to show up till 6:00 for my later session. This worked well for me since I’d sobbed out all my bodily fluids earlier in the day and needed a quick nap to get through the evening. Running out the door, I grabbed my homework, my notebook, and Clay’s Leatherman.

Ya see, one thing I haven’t mentioned yet, is how each professor has scared the living daylights shit out of us re: sexual assaults on campus. I guess before Christmas break there were a few incidents by a few different guys and so now all we female types get to live in fear! Yeah! For the most part I feel safe, but my Tuesday night class is in way the hell of nowhere, some strange annex building (they call it a “bungalow” like I’m in the Hollywood Hills, sipping a mocktini naked on a bear skin) nestled among a bunch of strange warehouse buildings and parking lots. As the semester goes on, it won’t be quite so dark as I come and go, but for now it’s pretty much like walking into Saw 3. Not that I've seen it. Or ever wanted to see it. Tho for some unknowable reason my husband keeps adding it to my Netflix queue.

So I’m brainstorming what I should use for weaponry – pepper spray? pack heat? – but till I’ve decided, I’m using Clay’s Leatherman. (Does Bob Villa shill those? Do you think I could be in one of his commercials for “alternate uses”? I always liked his smile.)

It’s got a knife feature inside, which I opened up in the car and then kept in my hand, which I kept inside my tote bag as I navigated the darkened alleys of death-trap-land. When no one was around me, I pulled the whole thing out and waved it around like a crazy man in a bar brawl, backing up slowly to the door before jumping into his Camaro. I have no idea if this would really deter anyone from grabbing my boob, but I like to think it does. Plus, after reaching into my bag during class for chapstick and tissues, I can tell you that knife effing stings; I’ve got two matching cuts on each hand to prove it. So maybe I shouldn’t be a cop, so what?

But other than honing my Chuck Norris skills, class was surprisingly not-bad tonight. I was thirsty as hell with no vending machines in sight, and a probably-homeless man wandered in and asked if he could add the class, and we watched a video about how to sneeze into a sleeve – but all in all, so far, a well-spent sixty bucks.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

grace, day 18

1. Playing morning hooky from work to watch it all. Got some dirty looks, but bam! Who cares!

2. Nie Nie blogging again.

3. An email from Michaela with the subject line: "not dead"

4. Somehow gathering the strength to drive past McDonald's after class; I was ready to kill a kitten for a strawberry milkshake.

5. Mike Rowe. Mike Rowe. and Mike Rowe.

Gosh, I love today. Gosh, I love this city.

So today was awesome. I cried. Ahem. Sobbed. On my couch, into my oatmeal, an hour late for work. Getting on the bus afterwards was like walking onto the "Small World" ride at Disney, minus the terrible song. I could swear hearts and fuzzies were bursting out of everyone's heads, as we all smiled and held doors and cheered hello and hurrah!

Man, I'm in a good mood.

And check out what some festive San Franciscans got up to last night:

Best day, best city, best guy.

Monday, January 19, 2009

grace, day 17

1. Obama eve! (!!!)

2. Clay flying out tomorrow vs. this morning. Two nights away is just better than three.

3. The Costco guy re-stocking our work cupboards with treats I shouldn't eat.

4. Sweet potato fries. Dipped in spicy creaminess.

5. The Ramona books. Although Jeebus God those new covers are heinous. Mom? Do not throw mine away. Kah, thanks.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Me. As Kenneth the Page.

*Quick disclaimer to these pics. Whenever you see a pic posted where my upper lip looks to be gone, it's because I'm making my favorite expression: The Lipless Grin. It takes much practice to tuck that sucker up under there, but I've mastered it. So has Sharon. Oh, and also re: how I'm standing in that last one. It's how I stand much of the time, same as my Dad, one leg up high resting on the other knee. I assume we were Lebanese shepherds in past lives. Moving on:

I usually catch the cooking bug on Sundays and today was no exception. Uh, I'll ignore the fact that sentence was written by a Grams and keep going. After din (tried a super yum sauteed broccoli recipe if anyone wants) we watched some 30 Rock Season Dos. Midway through, I suddenly had to use up the piles of blueberries I bought yesterday. Muffin time! Or as Jenna says, Muffin Top time. Wow, you're hating this post if you don't watch that show. Your bad!

Clay took a bunch of pics while I acted the fool I am, unawares I was actually being videotaped. As he said "It's only fair you show your readers who you really are." So yep. This is me.

Coupons and Curtains and Craigslist

I keep forgetting to buy the Sunday paper so I can clip coupons and celebrate the recession. Clay remembered for me this morning and brought one home. Looks like I've got cheap Cheerios, apple sauce and razors coming my way; I will be passing on the cheap Skippy.

Confused by green sports page. (Shirt from last year's birthday trip to Love in Vegas. If you are there, if you love the Beatles = G-O.)

You may remember back in April when I tried to hem our curtains. It was sad. Clay took on the project today while I sat back, snapped pictures, and watched Murder She Wrote.

I've been whining about needing a dresser for a few days (months) now. Our place is so small we're loathe to bring in big pieces of furniture, but we finally decided the floor wasn't cutting it for sweater storage. Also loathe to deck out our place in exclusive Ikeachic, Clay found a Mid-Centch gem on Craigslist; a smelly Dutch lady delivered it via Subaru this morning. I'm insanely pleased with it.

(Please note the "houses" across the street. We're thinking of applying for a butler/maid Remains of the Day situation.)

Our bedroom. We sleep inside cozy gray walls, beside vintage tables, under a quilt made by Clay's aunt Sharon. Also featured: The new old dresser (!), newly hemmed curtains, Ikea platform bed. If I knew how to take pictures, you'd see the bay through the window.

We like it here.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

g.i.s.t. day 16

1. using clay's foot as a phone. i've made some very important calls this way.

2. salt. lots and lots and lots of salt.

3. getting picked for the traveling basketball team in 6th grade and wearing a shirt with my last name on the back.

4. a full gas tank.

5. fried eggs on top of buttered toast.

I'm not one for poetry, really

But I think of this one - a poem I read my sophomore year "abroad" at James Madison U - and smile each time I go grocery shopping.

This Is Just To Say

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold

-William Carlos Williams

Farmer's Market Morning.

Holding our cheese and olive bread wares, unable to pose like a normal person, numb legs because I insist on wearing potato sack sundresses in January, poncho in full effect. Oh, and our sweet ride, battery re-charged, finally back in action.

Friday, January 16, 2009

g.i.s.t. day 15

*make your own library card catalog fakey here!

So it looks like Thursdays are going to be rough.

I'll call them School Hangover Days and will love them as my own. I chugged along pretty well through my Tuesday and Wednesday (both days' schedule = work 9-2, school 3:00-8:30) but felt like a truck hit me in the face most of Thursday. Where is my be-loved Dunkin Donuts when I need it most? Bum.

But school, school. So as I typed, I’m taking four Early Childhood Education classes at City College. Not sure it’s recommended to take them all at once (more than one professor raised an eyebrow), but that’s the quickest way to get licensed/get a job so that’s how I’m rolling. I’d like to go into what each class is called/about, but frankly... it’s a little unclear. One is definitely about curriculum planning. Another is about families and students of different cultures/races/sexual orientations – and maybe how to handle them? The other two cover different program philosophies and seem 90% interchangeable. But each unit costs 20 dolla so who am I to judge?

The main difference, so far, between my classes here and my classes at BU was the moment I opened the syllabuses the first time. At BU I suffered a mini (major) panic attack each and every time. That school’s got some chip on its shoulder re: ranking and won’t be happy until every student is buried in work and getting straight C’s. This round, I open up and can’t find anything worth an extra blink. It’s a lot of “reflective journal entries” and “group discussion assessments” sprinkled with some “article reading”. Basically, if you show up for class and give half a damn (a third of a damn?), you’ll do well. Refreshing! But also weird.

The next noticeable difference is the level of diversity. BU had a good mix of ethnicities/cultures, but close to zero mix of socio-economic status. Sure, you’d have a Chinese, Greek, or Nigerian kid in your class – but they all had cash. Things are different here. At BU I was semi-poor, here I’m a baller. And I’m finding out both extremes make me uncomfortable. I’m also only one of two or three white kids in the class - which is a trip. One ice-breaker had us searching for someone with the same eye color; being the kid with blue eyes left me fairly lonely. I think we heart-bleeder types think we're relaxed with all people from all walks of life, but this is definitely forcing me to get comfortable in new ways. It’s good.

One teacher described CCSF’s ECE classes as “half academic, half vocational” and I wholeheartedly agree. It’s super hands on and really aimed at alternative learners. I’m not an alternative learner. I like lectures, I like writing assignments, I like solo projects. Sitting around in a group and drawing pictures on construction paper makes me suicidal. This could be a problem.

But a powerful difference is how excited and invested my teachers are. And how smart and experienced and with it they are. During undergrad I had quite a few fantastic professors (David Somers? I’m talking to you, handsome), but also quite a few professors who didn’t give a damn about teaching. They were there for research, please leave them alone and ask the T.A any questions. Pretty sure this won’t happen at CCSF. I think if you’re there, you’re there to teach. It makes a difference.

And what’s the same across all my educational experiences everywhere? How effing impatient I get with other students. I’d really prefer it be me and the teacher alone in a room with some coffee and cheese snacks. I lose my shit when people ask inane questions and honestly, that seems like what most of most classes are: Other students opening their mouths when they shouldn’t. But er, this is my issue, right? And since it hasn't been solved since third grade, I obviously need to work a little harder. Ahem.

So! Those are some quick-ish thoughts on things and stuff. Since these classes go for eighteen weeks (choke) there’ll be a lot more where that came from. Lucky!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

a bio

So I was going to launch into a full blown rundown of the classes I started this week, but then I realized it's all a little confusing, even to me, and maybe I owe everyone, even me, a debrief of how I got here.

Before you start, let's just say I'm great at committing to one dude, not so great at committing to one career. We'll start in 2004:

After getting a BA in psych, which qualified me to do nothing, I worked with autistic kids for a year, burnt out, snagged a job in publishing. Started as receptionist (soul killing work - be nice to the ones you meet), moved up to sales coordinator, met a lot of my favorite YA authors - and Bill Ayers! - took the coolness for granted.

Quit that job after a year, acted in a play my friends wrote/directed. I wore handcuffs, kissed/groped a girl, and appeared in my underwears. Fun, but turned me off acting (again) - just not good for me to spend that much time thinking about me.

Moved to Caifornia, interned at a yoga magazine, interned at McSweeney's, nannied a baby whose mom was so neurotic she didn't bathe him and he smelled bad. I didn't know babies could smell bad. Somehow got a job at a schmancy advertising agency, worked my ass off, got promoted over champagne, quit because I was spending more time crying in the bathroom than at my desk.

Spent seven months not working. Got my soul back, planned my wedding, went on long walks, picked wildflowers, read books. Missed people, missed moneys, got a job here filling in for a woman on maternity leave thru March. Took a trip home, freaked out to mom about my career, discussed my love for kids/creativity/literacy, decided I'd take some early education classes and go from there. And so tada. I'm taking the four core classes - which will qualify me for preschool jobs - and working hard for the money.

The community college experience is so different from the private university experience I don't know where to begin. And nope, it's not a simple comparison, one better than the other. Which is surprising - to me, at least. I've got lots to say, but I'm beyond sleepy and still have to write about my five happy things. I'll write about classes tomorrow, mmkah? Mmkah.

But let me just leave you with this, the heading to a poster some students made today:

"It takes a villagge to raise a child."

It also takes a dictionary.

1. my last class being in a great part of the mission. lots of foodz to try.

2. the six month old canadian candy bar from my honeymoon i found during class, just before passing out from hunger.

3. julie andrews singing this song. just try and stay in a bad mood, you.

4. how well i sleep when i don't nap + overcaffeinate

5. frozen grapes

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

g.i.s.t. day 13

1. my city college teacher (i'll write about classes soon), who's canceling class next tuesday because of the obama inauguration.

2. this program which turns your regular fotos into "polaroid" fotos. like this!

3. running out of sugar cubes at work, using honey instead and realizing: honey tastes better.

4. subarus.

5. black olives on my sandwiches.

Monday, January 12, 2009

g.i.s.t. day 12

1. saying "yes" to "would you like it toasted?" at subway. oh, it's good!

2. liking my hair color after i finally stopped dyeing it.

3. google chat on my blackberry.

4. swimming in walden pond.

5. the day i got my braces off: january 30th, 1997. still feels like a treat when i run my tongue across my teeth.

to prove we actually rode them horsies

aww. cc. his horse's name was baldy.

this was my "lesson" -- she helped me up and handed me the reins. i didn't like her teeth.

that's moi second from the back, and cc ahead of me. originally we had a horse in between us, but mine fell in love with his and cut the line. then proceeded to try and bite his horse's bum the whole rest of the ride. wish i could say our relationship was much different.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

g.i.s.t. day 11

1. not dying today. (see horseback riding post below.)

2. fountain cokes when the syrup is in perfect proportion to the water. and really bubbly.

3. when niles finally tells daphne he loves her.

4. the first time i realized i didn't want the book i was reading to end. third grade, my living room, the secret garden.

5. hugh laurie.

the last time i went horseback riding

i was twelve and vacationing with my fam on prince edward island. (yes, we're wasps - mmkah?) the whole thing must have been fairly uneventful because i hold only vague memories of it.

so when casey and steve invited us and 10 others for a day of brunching and riding, we said why the hay not? (you caught that, right?)

we trekked our vw across the golden gate into the north bay where the weather was insane - low 70's, super blue skies, venti cups of sunshine. we stopped at point reyes station, a sleepy little town i wanted to pedal around in a beach cruiser, picking wildflowers and staring into space. instead, i ate a tuna melt, drank a coke, and followed the caravan down to the horse ranch.

i wasn't nervous until i actually saw the horses. they weren't ponies, people, they were, like, real horses. did you know this? that they put untrained people onto big horses and tell you go? i know i'm all americanized and wimpy, but where was my lesson? they really shouldn't trust me so much.

we started out slow, which was mellow and thumbs up with me. but then our leader made us pick up speed and trot and oh dear mother of god this was not okay. i don't advertise the fact, but i've got almost no junk in my trunk - flat bum city. so up and down and up and down onto my skin and boney bones = !? then i'd shift a little and slam down onto my lady bits and that hurt even worse, like a razor blade punch. i kept up a constant soundtrack of moan/hiccup/laugh/scream, but i guess nobody cared that i can't bear children now? so i had to keep going.

and we weren't galloping through open fields, smoking marlboros, getting tans. no, we were nestled in the deep, dark redwoods, riding up and down alongside huge, steep ravines. as in, your horse spooks, slips and bye!

add to this the riding instructor who says, as we're pulling away from the ranch:

"ooo-eee. hope we don't see any bicycles today! if we see one, your horse will freak."

and the little girl who pet my horse - named jesse - after i got on and said to me:

"jesse ran over me last week."

um? mom?

but when we slowed down and i made myself stop thinking about lance armstrong dropping by and our whole herd sprinting for the border, i actually enjoyed myself. it was very cowgirl klompety klomp relaxing through greens and i loved the crew i was with - mostly new to me and just v fun and funny. plus, it was so california, so mmm to get all that fresh air and so 2009 to do something i wouldn't usually do.

a few pics below, the full set (with captions by cc) here:

steve and me wearing our helmets. the only ones who did, i might add. you're welcome, parents!

cover shot for horse fancy.

this involuntary fear pose is why loved ones tell me i look like a turtle. (and my boots in action! don't i kind of look like a boarding school horse girl type? just say yes.)

thanks, casey and crew, for dragging our lazy asses out of the hatch!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

g.i.s.t. day 10

1. a long and sunny walk with manjiri and her super delicious, 4-weeks-old dude! (i'm sorry east coast family of mine, but it became even clearer to me today how much i'll need sunshine and a snow-free ground to handle motherhood...)

2. cc talking me down from a bread-making-disaster cliff. was near tears, scooping up spilled honey with my palm, and about to throw the whole mess into the trash, when he suggested we treat this as a "practice loaf" and keep going. (something about it "not counting" made me stop hyperventilating...i'm five, i know.) and now it's all puffy and golden brown and smelling yummy in the oven.

3. lincoln park after dark opi nail polish.

4. the little plate we made and shared on the couch: dark chocolate, dried apricots, aged parm slices and sf wildflower honey. um drool.

5. whopper juniors with cheese.

Friday, January 09, 2009

a tad morbid, but

if i could find a vintage print/page of this:

i would party.

it's from the gashlycrumb tinies by edward gorey, a book i've worshipped since doing my johnny tremain homework on friday nights in seventh grade while everyone else drank wine coolers at megan bettancourt's. but i digress. can't you just picture it all framed up and keeping me company while i type? yup!

in other news, i've become a little obsessed with bleach. after the poisoning incident, i went all crazy up in here with some germ killing action. i think you're supposed to mix it with water and spray from a bottle, but i just opened up the jug and started pouring. all over the countertop, stovetop, sink, sponges, pepper shaker. i even tried to convince cc bleach was a "great hand wash!" until he asked me to feel my hands and i said:

"oh. paper."

g.i.s.t. day 9

1. my new liz lemon-y glasses:

cc and i had to pick some out, quick like bunnies, to use our benefits before the new year. i wasn't finding any i liked, till a sassy asian mom lady at costco handed me this pair and said: "these." and so it was.

2. feeling brave and riding the bus sitting backwards today. never do because it makes me sick, but ooo-eee it's like a urine-scented rollercoaster with views of the bay if you can stomach it.

3. doughnuts.

4. hiding in a work hallway and catching up with one of my besties over the phone who just had a baby. laughed so hard i snorted.

5. that time cc let me punch him in the arm really hard when i was really mad at someone else.

this morning

cc: "so i stepped on a mini wheat this morning. right there." points to bathroom floor.

me: looks left, looks right.


me: "sometimes i need a cereal snack in the middle of the night."

cc: "and then one fell out of your mouth?"


me: "maybe."

Thursday, January 08, 2009

g.i.s.t. day 8

1. shoving handful upon fistful of cool ranch doritos into my pie hole. casey and steve, our handsome hosts for the evening, bought me a bag after reading about my lurve for them here. man, did i feel spesh. and full. thanks boys!

2. my first physical therapy appointment this afternoon. my lower back and right leg have been all sorts of messed up for years and i'm finally doing something about it. they're not sure what the exact issue is yet - i'll probably need some x-rays - but it's oddly satisfying to get professional validation that stuff is effed. oh, and the massage. the massage was beautiful.

3. the ginger peach black tea mom put in my stocking. one sugar cube, splash of 2%, heaven.

4. my new slow cooker from cc's mom! last night i threw in steelcut oats, craisins, water and vanilla and woke up to a creamy/yummy/healthy brekky. (and cc liked it, too.) so simp and so good. thanks cindy!

5. the boxed filled with xmas goodies we packed up in massachusetts arriving today. specifically the jesus christ superstar album inside, hijacked from my living room, currently crackling away on my record player. what's up, 1971?

thank you for your votes

i've looked over the poll results, consulted with the committee*, and have decided upon the following selections for my Day of Sadness:

1. schindler's list
2. terms of endearment
3. brokeback mountain
4. sophie's choice
5. a to-be-determined sad kid's movie (dumbo or fox and the hound or old yeller) to end things on a "lighter" note

just looking at that list gives me a panic attack; cc will have to barricade the doors to keep me from running. and i know there are more, i know this is just the tip o' the sad things iceberg, but i've gots to start somewhere, no?

thanks again for all your suggestions (sorry there wasn't room for rush hour, nik - at least not this round) and i'll keep you posted on how it goes down.

*cc and i like to reference "the committee" when one or the other of us is acting up. "the committee and i have been discussing your recent leaving-the-coffee-machine-on behaviors. and we're looking into revoking your privileges." etc.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

g.i.s.t. day 7

1. cc home a day early!

2. my new, insanely effective massaging chair cushion craziness that cc got me for christmas but which arrived a little late. it's got heat and super aggressive kneading action and oh mama oh wow.

3. cool ranch doritos. these were a super-treat when i was little and i still think of them that way. can't remember the last time i ate one, but i know it must have been a good day.

4. bell-bottoms. when they're designed right, they make girls with hips (me) and skinny legs (me) look foxy. and i love how boots look underneath them.

5. how cutting open a grapefuit smells like my grandmother's house in the winter.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

i should have known not to sit there.

his enormous, eighties trench coat was taking up its own seat and he didn't move it until i stood and pointed. he had frat boy hair, smelled like an idiot and sat with his legs spread wide. i very carefully chose a man to marry who crosses his legs when he sits - since the cowboy, bulge-visible-to-all stance makes me dry heave. these things are crucial to life long happiness.

but back to douche bag. he was also jabbering, much too loudly for san francisco bus ettiquete, on his cell:

hey hey hey! yeah yeah dude, it's the WAGS! so just wanted to let you know i'll be in tahoe on friday. and i'm bringing the FUN! and by FUN i mean LIQUOR! i can guarantee you won't be sober THIS weekend! what's that? you've gotta go? okay! see you on FRIDAY!

at this point, i've moved my body so far away from him and towards the window it looks like i'm ready to propose.

he sits still for 30 seconds, taps his foot. thumps his leg. dials phone again.

hey hey hey! yeah dawg, it's WAGMAN! dude, how messed UP were we last night? in the past 72 hours, i've slept like 6. i mean take THAT '09! oh - what's that? you've gotta go? oh - okay, dude! LATER!

i slowly swivel my head to the right and stare. i send thoughts of evil and death and spitting. i think he starts to feel them. his leg is tapping, but he's not dialing. i think i see a rivulet of sweat descend his cro-magnon brow. suddenly, the phone rings in his hands. he's ecstatic.

WAGGY here! oh. oh hello. yes, this is matthew waggerston. oh. oh i see. seven thousand you say? um. let me - let me get right back to you.

hangs up, hangs head. dials phone.

hey mom? i - i need to talk to dad about his credit card.

g.i.s.t. day 6

1. super salty, shelled sunflower seeds in those skinny tall bags.

2. my tiny, old-fashioned elementary school. boys walked in one door, girls another. we ate lunch in the classroom and got to walk around in our socks.

3. discovering you love a tv show that's long been over. then realizing there's lots and lots of seasons to get thru - and you've got access to 'em all. (currently: the rockford files.* genius.)

4. our ups guy. dedication in brown!

5. turkey bacon, not too crunchy.

*i first heard mention of this show in tenth grade, whilst listening over and over and over and over to this song in my bedroom after getting dumped by a pot head.

Monday, January 05, 2009

tell me the movies that make you cry

see, there's a few major ones i've been putting off watching because i'm afraid of losing all my tears and my head exploding and my mood falling onto the floor and hiding under the couch for three days.

but i've got to see them, can't call myself a person-who-knows-stuff without.

so over christmas, i started compiling a list with my family. my thinking is this: i'll choose one day, a day when externally things are going just fine and i'm not feeling particuarly thundercloudy otherwise, and binge on all the sad at once. just like boom boom boom.

since i'd be sad just watching one, why not be really really sad watching a bunch and then whew, done, finito, let's get back to the musicals?

so i've got a few definites, but i want to see what you guys come up with before i tell you mine. to see which ones i've missed. and don't assume i've seen it, no matter how obvious. because i really do avoid sad movies at all costs. the basic criteria:

  • really sad. (here's a directional hint: sophie's choice has already made the cut.)
  • not stupid.
  • could be described by that all subjective word: "classic" (a little help: citizen kane is classic. but so also is the breakfast club. i'm not strict, just discerning.)

and that about sums it up! make me weep, people.

an extra for today

6. memories, of walks and manicures and secret spot lunches with mc, that find me everyday.

g.i.s.t. day 5

1. the multiple three minute, sitting up cat naps i pulled off during today's four hour office regroup meeting.

2. snagging a parking spot on lombard during rush hour - allowing me to run into fedex and pick up my order without fearing for my car's life.

3. the mini grilled cheese sammies served up to me on trays post-meeting.

4. how i forgot an umbrella today and it was supposed to rain all day but didn't.

5. 2% milk with my tea.

it's good i stopped acting because

i'd be the worst even slightly-famous person ever. i’ve increasingly been revisiting my sixth grade boycott on bras outside the home (my mom would check that i had one on, i’d scurry to the bus stop and take it off before the bus came. you’re welcome 12 year old boys!) and very often when i see someone i know – especially during my commute - i try to hide. super gregory house misanthropic of me, i know. it’s just that i have specific rituals i like to follow and get all disjointed when they’re interrupted.

basically i need to: listen to my music and stare out the window and not talk. i also like to wipe any expression off my face and stare blankly and maybe look a little angry. it keeps away stalkers – i’ve never had one and am sadly proud - and discourages any gratuitous conversation. unfortunately, it seems to encourage old men to tell me to cheer up! then i punch them.

this morning i got an aisle seat and settled in for the ride. midway through, as i was taking a quick break from staring, i looked down and recognized the shoes beside me. with a quick glance up, i confirmed my suspicions: an ex coworker. one that made me cry the day i had an ear infection and couldn't finish a chart on time. no way was i spending the next 20 minutes making awkward small talk chit chat while she stood and i sat, losing valuable slack jaw time. so i pushed my hair in front of my face (thanks bangs!) and looked down at my lap and prayed for anonymity.

two stops before mine she hopped off, snapping open her umbrella against the rain and ignorant to my presence. or maybe just happy she avoided me, too.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

grace in small things: day 4

1. comic books. i used to get them in the mail, but i want to get into the comic store culture: showing up once a week to collect my picks, chat villains, getting dumped by girls, etc.

2. sleeping with the windows open.

3. when ben kisses felicity for the first time.

4. cinnamon and sugar pre-mixed in a handy shaker.

5. the rooms, the ocean, the lattes at shutters in santa monica. one of like three things i miss about my advertising job.

ode to salmonella

if you spend more than a few hours with cc you'll witness his very successful, monogamous relationship with the internets. they've been into each other for years, with a strength that endures. it's a love that inspires.

or so i thought.

jan one, the day after i poisoned us both with undercooked new years eve chicken, was the first time i've seen cc stray. i knew something was terribly wrong when he left his laptop cold and charged on the carpet and chose to watch the parrots of telegraph hill instead. before he puked his lung up, whimpered and passed out for the twelfth time since noon.

and while i didn't feel my hottest, he was definitely in a much worse spot. so i did a little nurse routine, thermometer/chicken soup/cold compress/heating pad and threw him lots of worried faces. eventually, around 7, he gave up on the life of the living (watching law and order criminal intent) and went to bed. he slept for 15 hours and woke up chipper and interwebz ready. bye bye poison!

or so i thought.

because while i haven't attained the extreme levels of miserableness my poor hubs trudged through along that oregon trail, things have been decidedly... not right inside my tum tum since thursday. i tell myself i'm fine, it's all in my head but then er uh ow stop no okay sob. so while cc's body decided to face the bad stuff head-on with a jets v sharks rumble, mine has opted to fight a longer, less cinematically worthy battle, more like a bullied middle schooler stuffed in trash cans and crippled by wedgies.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

g.i.s.t. day 3

1. finishing my second draft today. take that, procrastination fairy. ha-cha!

2. tiny, flexy vacuum cleaners that really suck up all those hairballs that fell off my head.

3. p.d. james' autobiography. the first ten pages made me jump to my computer and get typing.

4. cc pretending to be scared or cold, knocking his knees. the cuteness can't be explained.

5. dunkin donuts french vanilla ground coffee, purchasable at safeway and drinkable on my couch.

Friday, January 02, 2009

g.i.s.t. day 2 (and boot fotos!)

1. my new boots!

(real-life action shot pics for you, sharon. the first is me standing on the toilet because that's how i get full-length views of myself. it's also good quad exercise. but seriously, these boots? they're like butt-ah.)

2. my teeny tiny engine-that-could windowsill herb garden.

3. all those dance and music classes i got to take age 3 through 18 even when money was tight.

4. deluxe town diner pancakes. slight crunch on the outside, soft on the inside, sugar crystals throughout. and now you can buy the mix online. bl-iss.

5. the pine tree and sliver of bay i can see through our window if i sit in just the right spot.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

grace in small things

i just found this a few minutes after i wrote my last post and liked it. and since one of my umbrella items is being more grateful, i'm going to do it: write up five things everyday for a year that have graced me (sounds semi-religious but i'm rolling with it) or that i'm grateful for. small/big/silly/strange. i even put a pretty little button from the schmutzie site over to your left. so i remember and stuff.

i imagine i'll like it and when i'm feeling thundercloudy it might help. and since poor cc has been passed out all day from some awful stomach bug/flu/fever (for some reason he didn't laugh when, pressing a cold washcloth to his forehead, i said: "clay died from a snakebite" ala oregon trail. harumph. sickies have no sense of humor.) and since it's still jan one over on the west coast i'll start tonight.

okey doke:

1. gatorade. all flavors.

2. my noise-canceling headphones.

3. cc's unrelenting quest to make this apartment work.

4. gerald mcraney in 1982. rrrrrrrrrrr.

5. the aveda face wash bars i pilfered from our hawaii hotel and just found.

happy oh nine!

firstly, happy new year! hope you had fun, whether it was eating blueberry sauce on the couch (us) or taking tequila shots and playing journey when the ball dropped (mike neighbor).

a little sad to say goodbye to such a solid set of twelve months, but optimistic for the ones ahead.

i was working on a long list of super specific resolutions to type out here, but nah. i've already got a constant ticker running of things i want to do and change and learn (zen! sign language! brioche! black belt!) and bleh - it can get manic. for me, for this year, i'm just focusing on:


that's my umbrella to stand under for the year. the following will be under that umbrella with me:

focus on the few things i really want to do. and do them.
eliminate clutter. all kinds.
more quality, less quantity.
stop drumming up drama.
less worrying.
more grateful.

i listed it up after all, but this one makes me feel bouncy instead of holy what have i signed up for.

off we go!