Monday, March 30, 2009

A bit of explanation

Because my little brother asked me quite sweetly today if I'd been laid off, I thought I'd explain my situation for any of you worriers out there.

The heavily-lawed state of California will not hire a preschool teacher without those 12 dang credits I'm plowing through, which means I can't get a teaching job until the end of May. Because that sounded like a long time without income, I was lucky enough to snag a contract job at method, filling in for someone on maternity leave. All along, I've planned on the job ending come March when she returned. And I can't lie to you, my friends -- I've been looking forward to it. The work plus class thing has felt a little frantic and now I've got plenty of time to...not be frantic.

So my plans? Chug along at City College, research potential schools to work for, continue my search for something creative to do in a freelance capacity, FINISH MY BOOK. Eat Nutella.

Now you may carry on, worry free. Off you go.

What I'll be doing today

1. Taking a walk in the sunny goodness of my 'hood.

2. Meeting Manjiri and her delicious baby at the park.

3. Loading the dishwasher as quickly as I can.

4. Researching knitting projects with fervor.

5. Driving Clay to the airport.

6. Watching Phil Hartman on News Radio.

7. Eating chicken stir fry leftovers.

8. Interpretive dancing to Across the Universe soundtrack in my undies.

I'm worried this unemployment thing is going to be too taxing on my delicate constitution.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Since my last post I have:

1) Completed my final day at method.*

2) Completed the first season of Mad Men on DVD.**


3) Completed my first scarf.***

*My last day was an easy one; mailed off my last packages, filled out some paperwork, hugged some friends, waved goodbye. It was a good way to spend the last five months and I feel lucky the timing worked out so well. Pretty sure I'll never work at such a lovely smelling place again.

**Enjoyable show, though unclear why the world is so utterly obsessed with Jon Hamm's handsomeness. He's not bad on the eyes, but have these people never seen Josh Holloway?!

***After many a start/mistake/restart cycle, I decided to take the plunge and start my first scarf. Unfortunately, once I got serious I also noticed my ball of yarn longer a ball. It had somehow morphed into one giant, heinous, eleven dollar ball of hell. I tried my very best to untangle it, but after an hour or so I was close to giving up and cutting it apart.

But then! My knight in denim armor came to my rescue; Clay sat with that damn mess of yarn through many a TV program last night and this morning until the whole thing miraculously came undone. I paid him in kisses and perfectly-sliced-and-sugared grapefruits.

So! Then I got to work on a Combo Scarf. (Pictures below!) Overall, I'm very pleased with my first efforts because - I didn't totally eff up! And I'm a seriously spatially challenged person, so to figure this stuff out mostly solo is a big deal for me. I probably shouldn't have chosen a pattern with so many alternating parts for my first go (I completely lost track of which row I was on many times) and I really needed to use two balls of yarn instead of one (it's more of a neck warmer instead of a scarf) but I'm totally hooked!

(Would have been a punchier ending had I been crocheting.)

Monday, March 23, 2009

Weekend photo album or: The making of a domestic

I did quite well on my weekend checklist, thanks.

While I played many a Rockband drum solo Saturday morning, Clay played basketball down at the Y. On his way home he stopped at the Farmer's Market and picked me up that scrumpshy olive bread along with a bundle of tulips. And a chocolate croissant. Yes please times ten.

Later in the day, down in the Castro, we watched some college people play their own round of basketball on the big screen. Zzz. But oh my, what accidental luck! Our friends live right next door to Imagiknit! At halftime, I picked out some yummy green yarn and bamboo needles.

On Sunday, we scooted down to the Marina and picked out herbs and flowers and new self-draining pots and soil and fertilizer. And then I got to planting and windowsill-arranging and serious-face-making. Plants are no joke, people.

We watched a Law and Order per my request, then I started knitting lessons with my new, made-for-the-elderly DVD. The lady on there talks to me like I'm five. Honestly, I wouldn't mind if it were three.

Fotos below:

I’ve wanted to write a sassy rant about this for awhile

But I can never get the tone right.

So I’m not going to be sassy or rant.

I’m just going to say:

The next time you’re thinking of making a comment about people who don’t drink being either boring or uptight? Check yourself. There’s myriad reasons people choose not to and it’s rarely because they’re dull. I could very effectively argue just the opposite.

That’s all.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Things I want to do this weekend

1. Scooter to Farmer's Market and buy Acme olive bread.

2. Scooter to Imaginknit and buy needles and yarn to start my new hobby.

3. Scooter to Cliff House and use the gift certificate Mom bought "us" (Clay) to eat a huge brunch and stare out the window at the crashing waves.

4. Scooter down to the Marina nursery and buy soil and new herbs and re-pot them into the colorful ceramic pots we already have, hiding in our closet.

5. Law and Order.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The same strip in the way back times

I want!

So 75% of my classes are located on the aforementioned, crime-ridden Ocean campus.

But my Wednesday night class is in the Mission, a culture-rich, sometimes-down-ridden, always-funky, lots-of-great-restaurants, palm-trees-like-California-should-have, neighborhood.
When I interned at McSweeney’s I did some time in the Mission, too – albeit a trendier, cleaner part where hipsters abound, vegan t-shirts are sold and tiny cheeseburgers cost $7 a pop. But walk two blocks over to the intern-budget-approved strip and you’ll get a slice, a salad and grape soda for $3.00, crammed inside a steamy store corner, watching old men out on their stoops smoking cigars in dingy undershirts.

The block I school on has a few trendy dive bars and nice restaurants, but walk a little further and it’s chock-a-block full of enormous dollars stores, abandoned store fronts and barbers promising a $2 haircut. (I’m tempted.)

Along this stretch is a sign for the defunct New Mission Theater. I can’t fully explain it, but every time I walk by and look u-p (because the sign stretches 70 feet hi-gh) I get goosebumps. Maybe because every morning on my bus ride I see more and more stores shutting down or maybe it’s just the sad juxtaposition of dollar stores and old timey glamour, but something about it gets me every time.

I did an image search on my newly-restored Internets and found the above shot on this rad photography blog, MY SF. He’s really captured the vibe just right.

This is good, right?

CRIME ALERT - Ocean Campus

Robbery with Gun: In-between 9:15 P.M. and 9:23 P.M. on Monday, March 16th, three students were leaving the campus and walking on Judson Avenue near Foerster Street. They were approached by three men and one had a gun. The men threatened the students with the gun and took their backpacks, a wallet, I-pod and money. One of the students was punched in the eye. The three men fled on Judson Avenue towards Phelan Avenue. Officers from San Francisco and City College responded, but were unable to locate the three men.

This little gem popped up on my Blackberry today in the middle of class - a two or three minute walk from Judson and Foerster. This is the fourth or fifth crime alert I've gotten since January, all separate crimes by separate dudes. This, in combination with the tambourine I had to play last night, make me ready to be done yesterday.

In happier news, after six hours on the phone with six different Indian fellows, my Internets are back! I've had some insane technical debacles over the years, but this one takes the cake. Speaking of which, I would pay any takers as much as $14 for a frosting-heavy piece right now. No? I'll settle for Jessica Fletcher on Netflix instead.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

I threw an actual solo temper tantrum last night.

In between work and class yesterday, I realized our Internets were down. Frustrated but fine, I did some homework, read a little, and watched half a DVD.

Fast-forward to 9 P.M. I’m home again and after hours of strange and old school learning filled with ancient VHS, mimeographed packets and tambourines (don’t ask), all I needed was my couch and some Webs. But fail! No blinking light! No Morm blogs! No Apartment Therapy roundups! No streaming Netflix filled with BBC delights! No TV at all!

I unplugged and re-plugged the modem and wireless router countless times. I paced up and down. I drank some milk. I contemplated crying.

Before someone suggests I just read and shut the hell up, I’d like to tell you: I read, people. I read a lot. Sometimes I just don’t want to. And before you tell me to partake in some human conversation like the old fashioneds did and shut the hell up, I’d like to tell you: my husband is out of town and busy on his Powerpoints, my family on the east coast is slumbering, and the hour just wasn’t one for conversing.

So I went into our bedroom, put on some sweatpants, and looked at the wall. I did that for forty-five minutes. And then I called husband after he was done with his Powerpoints and talked about the knitting DVD I bought online. And then he said I love you and goodnight and I said I love you and goodnight and proceeded to sleep for 10 delicious hours. Take that, technology.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Today the Customer Service team whipped up and served green eggs and ham (and green pancakes) for the whole company in honor of Irish day.

It reminded me of the time, age 5ish, I asked my Mom if she’d make me pink Raisin Bran for breakfast. I didn’t really know what I meant, but it sounded wacky and I wanted to see what she’d say. The crazy broad said sure.

I sat there wondering what in the hell I had gotten myself into and what in the hell was coming my way. If only Murky and Lurky would choose this moment to kidnap me in their side car!

After a few scuffled minutes in the kitchen, Mom presented me with my bowl of pink Raisin Bran. Of course the RB itself wasn’t pink, but the milk sure was. Bright, swirly, bloody pink.

I gagged. I coughed. I trembled. But I’d ordered it! I had to prove my wackiness! I tried. I failed. Bowl was whisked away, relief washed over me, Cheerios in pearly white milk were devoured.

But I’ve come a long ways, friends; I ate those greenies with abandon. Don't take it personally, Mom?

Sunday, March 15, 2009

This is what I look like when I play Rockband alone

and husband secretly takes my video. You could bottle that concentration and sell it at the SATs.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

You'll all be relieved to know Lee isn't lost!

He was just smooching someone down the street! Phew.

Quasimodo 'n me.

Buddy Guy Friend and me. This is downtown near both our offices, showing Lee the great view from Clay's building. Behind us you can see the parking garage we use on Fridays. Since you asked.


Coit Tower. Five dollars to climb the top so we say nay. Walking around outside is funner-er.

I'm so good at the geetar I keep my eyes closed.

Schooling Lee on the drums.

Friday, March 13, 2009

So classes are still chugging along.

This week was better. It had to be, I suppose.

At this point, I’ve just embraced the fact that 50% of the time I’m going to be annoyed and 50% of the time I’ll be okay. It’s clean split between the two days; at least I get the hellacious day over with first.

If my Tuesday teachers spoke with my Wednesday teachers, they’d think there must be two different Amy’s in their classes who look exactly the same. On Tuesdays, I’m the girl at the back, reading Jane Austen under my notebook, whispering “WTF?” to the person next to me, sneaking out to the bathroom to do yoga poses every twenty minutes. On Wednesdays, I sit up front, shush the talkers with an evil eyebrow, and raise my hand every two minutes to jibber jabber my thoughts.

It’s like junior year of high school when my Pre-Cal teacher, the one I couldn’t stand, the one whose book I opened just once, went around to the other math teachers I’d had and learned that up until her, I’d been a high achieving math student. She told my Mom – in the only “Amy’s being bad” parent conference she was ever treated to – how confused and hurt she was that I’d just shut it all off for her. I thought it was funny, I'm guessing she didn't.

There’s some sort of switch I’ve got inside when it comes to teachers, bosses, authority figures in general. If I like you and think you’re smart, you’ll get an overachieving, teacher’s pet blabbermouth. If I think you’re dumb or mean, I talk trash and give my bare minimum.

After one of my 12,000 pee breaks last night I thought about all this while I drifted off (read: flipped and flopped and stole the covers). I won’t bore you with it all, but I figure it’s got something to do with some repressed sass I didn’t feel comfortable expressing in other places growing up. And I'm realizing there’s still some left that needs to bubble up. Sorry, City College.

Even though, oh m-y I sure feel comfortable speaking my mind at home now. Ahem.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

I'm taking very good care of your sons, Cindy

I just don't really know where they are.

Clay's brother Lee is crashing on our couch this week. He's never been here and we're happy to show him around -- although I think he's already shocked by the sloth's pace at which we conduct our life. I asked him if he liked Law and Order; he said he'd never seen it. Oh my, this weekend could get ugly.

And now, 36 hours after his arrival, I've no idea where the young chap is. All's I know is he's holding our car hostage somewhere in this fair city. Last I saw it was 12 hours ago when he dropped me off at work. Bye?

The other missing brother, the one I call Amigo/Chip/Didj/Rubby, has got our other piece of transport, the scoot, parked far away in the Financial District where he's being held hostage by job. I just ordered us up some burgers and he says he's going straight from work to pick them up but it's been awhile since I...

Oh, wait! Contact! Contact with husband has been achieved! Red meat smothered in cheese and ketchup is being zooooooomed my way! Delivered on a cute red beep beep! By a cute green-eyed heart stamp!

Do you think if I press that "panic" button on my keychain I'll be able to chase my car, and subsequently Lee, down?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Poor Clay.

Ever since coming off the Pill, I've become obsessed with my CYCLE. As in every other sentence is about my CYCLE. What day am I on? What happens on said day? What will happen on day after said day? I'm not even talking about baby making here, people, just the whole process of being alive and being a lady.

Enough details! says he. But it's science! says me.

I guess there's something to be said about maintaining the mystery and allure of womanhood etc, but he just happens to be the one who's around all the time and therefore just happens to hear all the fun facts. (Sometimes cervical fluid should look like rubber cement! Bam!)

I can't help how impressed I am with the bod for doing its thing after all those years on hormones. A lot of people talk about needing a few months to get things working again, but my system just picked right up where it left off and isn't that cool? No? You probably shouldn't call me on the phone then because you'll hear lots more.

In general, though, aside from my general scientific obsession, I just feel worlds better. My mood is downright chipper and those headaches? Almost gone. Sure, those nasty cramps that put me on the stuff in the first place are making me want to RIP OUT MY UTERUS AND STAMP ON IT TILL IT DIES but two days of hell are worth the twenty-two other days of goodness. Si?

We all know about my perfect brown boots

I love them, I rock them, I cherish them. They're my main squeeze, but I still mix it up a couple times a week. For the past five years or so, ever since I found my first and loveliest pair at a basement vintage store on Newbury Street, I've been wearing cowboy boots. I buy them used, beat up, cheapy brands, 20 bucks a pop. They last me a year or two before the seams bust and it's time for a new pair. That time has come.

Only now, instead of the 20 bucks, I'm thinking of moving up to the 60 bucks price point. And why? Because I sweat my new Fryes so much, I'm thinking I should expand my collection. They make cowboy boots, too, and I've been stalking some used ones on ebay I think I might adore. They'll definitely last longer for not much more moola and how cute under my jeans or over my leggings, nom nom nom?

Here's the pic, drop me your rants and raves:

Monday, March 09, 2009

I think I somehow, accidentally got off caffeine

I'm sure it won't last forever, but without really trying I somehow haven't had caffeine this past week. I noticed it after a couple days then just kept rolling with it (admittedly eating some chocolate and a few sips of Coke here and there) with surprising success. Instead of collapsing into a puddle of desperation come afternoon and/or holding my exploding head together with my hands and Scotch tape, I've ended up feeling, well, fine. No more tired than usual, fewer headaches, a lot fewer pee runs (surprisingly my favorite side effect) and more stable blood sugar. It's nice eating a meal without it being fully negated by a post-meal chug ten minutes later.

Since this was all an accident, please don't hold me to it; I've been known to know what's good for me and ignore it before. (Long list inserted here). I love the comfort I get from a warm handful of caffeine in a mug, staring out my big window and slurping. And sometimes I really do need an adrenaline shot to make it through the monotony that is city college. And customer marketing. AND LIFE WITHOUT THE NEW SEASON OF DANCING WITH THE STARS.

I mean, goodnight!

Friday, March 06, 2009

Things I am impressed with?

1) My hubs-band for hearing about this gem and buying it for me on the sly. Three hurrahs for surprise Friday deliveries!

2) Hugh Laurie for being one of my favorite actors, tasty, A+ on American accent, AND writing an acclaimed novel?!

3) Non-bastardized covers, bam!

(shiny forehead comes with purchase.)

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Okay, people

I hung in there for two whole months with these classes without losing it.

I'm officially losing it.

It's been getting increasingly difficult to remain enthused, but here's what finally broke my soul.

Last night, at the end of a long class and an even longer day, we were asked to stand up from our comfy chairs (STOP MAKING ME STAND AND FORM GROUPS AND WALK AROUND I'M TIRED AND I'M A GROWNUP) and make two equal lines facing each other. One side was handed slips of paper that assigned a "character" and outlined a scenario that might arise in early childhood education. The other side acted as the teacher.

Shit like this makes me want to die. What makes it worse is when both my partners don't speak English and the paper is some abstract idea.

For example.

My first partner, a dumbfounded Latino girl, gets the slip of paper. It's her job to be the "character" and I'm supposed to play the teacher. So the chick silently stands there and reads this small piece of paper over and over. I stand there doing nothing. My teacher bounces around jovially: "Get creative!!!!!!"

We still haven't talked to each other.

Finally, I ask to see it:

"You are the teacher's MENTOR. You support all her endeavors and act encouragingly. Though you may not always agree, you act warmly and creatively to problem solve together."

If you've ever dealt with ESL's, you'll understand how this just won't do.

So I try to explain what mentor means and what the hell that strange, vague, nonspecific "scenario" means. She stares at me blankly. (Just typing this is my making my BLOOD PRESSURE EXPLODE.)

So then I go "And, uh, so now you need to make up something you, uh, need to talk to me about since I'm the teacher. And then we have a conversation." Which doesn't even make any sense, but it's the assignment and I have no idea what else to say.

More blank stares. Not that I blame her, really, because this is a freaking idiotic exercise, no matter what your language abilities.

I start to giggle at the pure insanity of it all.

We switch partners.

Now I'm facing a Chinese woman in her 50's. She speaks literally no English. Her slip says something about:

"You're the PARENT. You're not comfortable with the books available at your child's school. Talk to the teacher about your concerns."

I do my best to explain the foolishness, but she just looks at me blankly with sad, dead eyes. Then something just snaps and I get this wave of fury mixed with absolute indifference. It's silly and weird and unproductive that we're in the same class with such different needs, that we're being forced to do this exercise when we just want to sit, that we have THREE AND A HALF MORE MONTHS OF THIS HELL.*

And that's just one class. Lest you forget, I've got three others - all chock full of the same stuff. In regular college, I'd skip a few classes, take a few naps, space it out and deal. But I CAN'T SKIP CLASS here without my grade suffering and I just can't get a not-A in any of these classes or I'll faint of shame.

It's not all bad; I've met some nice friends in each class and I still do take away morsels of knowledge each week. But the overriding foolishness is slowly breaking me.

In other news, Sense and Sensibility is making my non-school hours worth living. Have you read it? Do, please.

In other other news, will you grow my bangs out for me?

*After a good night's rest and re-counting, turns out it's "only" two and a half months of hell. SAME SAME.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Things I am completely unimpressed with?

Classic, delicious books dirtied by updated movie star covers. Jane would totally kick Hollywood's ass for that.

(Please forgive my strange, been-in-a-wet-bun-all-day hair. Emma's bonnet made me too sad to fix it.)


Okay, so you've probably heard about Gwyneth's (first name basis) website/newsletter GOOP. She gives recs on places to go and things to wear and activities to try; not a bad idea in theory, but very few of us are worried about where to stay in Paris on our frequent weekend jaunts. She's gotten a lot of grief for her efforts, so of course I gave it a go - because nothing thrills me like grief.

I thought most of it was silly and semi-embarrassing for her, but I did find something I've come back to about 14 times since: Her formula for an easy/layerable daily "uniform".

How terrible are quotation marks with periods AFTER them? Blergh.

Okay, so since starting Tim Gunn's book (a berfday present from the C-ster, really well-written and useful) I've been interested in finding said uniform because, well, he tells me to. I'm talking the simple, interchangeable, flattering pieces I can grab/wear all the time without thinking too much, while still knowing if I run into Tim or Gwyn - they'll probably want to buy me a tea.

Here's the link to what Gwyneth does. Kind of lovely, right? (Idea, not da price tags.)

So. I went on an online uniform "spree" - buying these delights on sale:

And then used my Gap giftcards (snagged from credit card reward points gathered since '05) to buy a couple soft gray tanks and a gray sweater tunic/dress. (Gap doesn't want to let me copy their images, but they're very sim to what Gwyneth suggests.)

Add in my American App leggings, Fryes and treasure pants - already in hand - and, you know, great success! www.makingmylifeeasierbygettinglazier.awesome!