Thursday, November 30, 2006

Check and check

November is ending today, and--with it--NaBloPoMo. I can't believe I actually completed this challenge. Let's face it, some days have been more interesting than others. But it's been a fun month of airing my personal philosophies on life, happiness, and whatnot. I've also found myself becoming somewhat obsessed with posting, checking stats, etc. blah blah. I've discovered new blogs that I enjoy checking in on every day. Mostly, I've rediscovered the joy of writing. I suppose that was the whole point of the challenge, but it has taken me somewhat by surprise. Even in casual conversation, my vocabulary has evolved over the past month. I've remembered the way certain words feel in my mouth, the way they sound, the sheer beauty of language. That sounds ridiculous, I realize, but words have always been something I love. I guess I'd gotten so used to music being the main sound of my day-to-day life that I'd forgotten how musical language can be.

This is sounding absurd, so I'm going to just halt that train in its tracks.

As I said yesterday, however, my computer is broken. I'm glad November has run its course, as my internet time is currently somewhat limited. So, it's been fun, and it's definitely been a catalyst in making me want to post more. But I'll probably be somewhat sporadic in posting for the next few weeks.

(Watch, you'll check in tomorrow and I'll have posted three times... I've also learned that I'm a master of eating my words.)

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Pout

I've been floating around in a bubble of contentedness all day. My bubble has been impervious to a vast array of negative things, including: 1) The incorrect information on the DMV website that caused me to waste a significant amount of time this morning. 2) The death (again) of my beloved computer, which will invariably cost me three-hundred bucks to fix. 3) A stomachache. 4) One of my friends being treated abominably by a jackass.

But my bubble could not withstand someone lying to cover their own behind and implicating me in the process. And yes, it could not have been a more obvious lie. But lord, folks, are we five years old???

I feel grumpy!

Goodnight, Moon

I should not be awake. It is nearly 2 am on a Wednesday morning, and I'm spending tomorrow at the DMV. Sad, but true.

But y'all, I just had the best night. And the moon is exactly at its halfway point, and I love that. And I may or may not have just drunk 2 glasses of wine on an empty stomach.

Let's just call it an evening, shall we?

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

There's a Christmas tree in the lobby of my building! I walked through the glass doors (which, incidentally, I always try to open the wrong way... I'm so cool...) and the scent was like a hug. Today is one of those incredibly beautiful days in San Francisco. The sky is absolutely clear and the sun is shining. Although it looks like summertime, the air is that special kind of cold that turns everyone's cheeks pink without feeling unpleasant. And now someone is making cinnamon toast in the kitchen, and it smells like heaven.

Is there a limit to how much I can love life? Because right now I feel pretty freaking happy! Have a great Tuesday, everybody!

Monday, November 27, 2006

Comeuppance

So, remember how I was all proud of myself because I walk like a dancer? Remember that? Remember how I was preening over my grace and beauty? (Oh, right. I don't remember that part, either.)

Today I tripped. And fell. Tripped on the too-long hem of my too-long blue jeans. And fell flat on my face, in the hall, in front of two principal dancers and what seemed like a million members of the corps de ballet. And no, this wasn't just a "whoops, there goes Abbersnail," kind of trip. This was epic. This was Abs goes flying across the hall, attempting to dislodge her high heel from her pants leg, flailing her arms, and generally causing pandemonium. This was a collective gasp from a bazillion itty-bitty ballerinas. This was a WHAM on the floor that may or may not have been mistaken for an earthquake.

I'm fine, thanks for asking. My pride is perhaps a bit bruised. As is my left elbow. And my ass. And maybe my right knee.

And if you're sitting there attempting to figure out exactly how I managed to bruise that collection of body parts in one fall, believe me, you're in good company.

Serves me right for feeling all glamorous and stuff. Or whatever it was that I was feeling.

sigh

Communication meltdown

I have to be completely honest. I sometimes do not love the myriad ways in which we communicate via computer. I realize that it's ironic to be talking about this on the blog. There exists, however, an innate problem with electronic communication. Instant messaging, email, and especially text messaging lack several aspects of human interaction that we take for granted. For example, tone of voice is immediately lost in electronic communication. One cannot sense sarcasm, sympathy, or humor when one is presented only with words. Particularly in the example of text messaging, we tend to express ourselves in as few words as possible. I seriously dislike the substitution of "u" for "you," "2" for "to," and so forth. As someone who still writes letters (as in, the ones that require a stamp for delivery), I find these brief snippets of conversation confusing, at the very least. I don't love myspace comments substituting for real conversation. I've been a perpetrator of this on many occasions. Sometimes it's just easier to leave someone three sentences on their myspace page, rather than picking up the phone and playing a frustrating game of phone-tag. I have no defense, other than laziness.

I think, though, that the biggest part of the problem is that we've lost the ability to communicate via written word. I had several friends in college who had managed to graduate from high school having never written a paper in their lives. I'm floored by this. I love writing (obviously). I love picking through my brain to find the perfect word, the word that expresses exactly what I'm feeling. I love the sounds of words rolling off my tongue. I love that English is a language of synonyms, where verbal variety is truly the spice of life. I am someone who re-reads my own blog entries for a few days afterwards in an attempt to remove duplications of a word within a posting. And, while I recognize that this is completely Type A of me, I wish that people would consider their syntax more carefully. I hate reading something that someone has sent me and spending the day wondering, "What did that mean? Are they angry with me? What are they trying to express? Should I call them?" And I hate not knowing what to expect if I, in fact, decide to pick up the phone. I diligently work to make sure my words can be taken at face-value, that I can be comprehended both intellectually and emotionally. I'm sure I'm more successful some days than others, but I absolutely consider it every time I press "send."

So yes, this is just a short rant about communication. But it's also something that, to me, brings up the fundamental nature of friendship. If I don't care about someone enough to pick up the phone and spend 20 minutes of my life ascertaining how they are, what they're doing, etc. blah blah, then why am I attempting to keep them within my circle of friends? Now, for those of you with whom I do communicate mostly via myspace/email/blog/what-have-you, please don't take this as any indication of my feelings for you. It's just something I've been considering. I'm frustrated with my own inability to communicate how much I care about my friends. I have no conclusions tonight. I don't have any great insight into this problem. I know that I'm just an old-fashioned girl living in a world to which I absolutely must adapt. I know that I have to grow a thicker skin and not worry so much about "what did s/he mean by such-and-such." I just miss beautiful writing. I miss our ability to use our language to express what it is that we actually mean. And I'm slightly afraid that it is only going to get worse, until we are a culture of people who speak in monotone and use emoticons to convey sentiment.

Any thoughts? Am I being a pretentious you-know-what, here? I could really use some feedback on this one.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

An unexpected compliment

As we've discussed, I hate my walk. Not that it wrecks my life or anything, but it's something that people tend to notice about me, and frequently comment upon. In fact, at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, a friend called me on my cell. He was sitting up on a hill a few hundred yards away, and saw me crossing the field. Amidst a mass of people, how did he know it was me? My walk. Now, I realize that this is not a bad thing. I know that it's unique, blah blah blah. Most of my friends tell me that my walk is, at turns, funny, happy, or even sexy. But folks, I grew up with a mom who didn't particularly want a daughter with a unique/sexy/funny/happy walk. She used to make me practice walking around the house, telling me which body parts to move more and which to move less. From a distance she'd see me and roll her eyes. She still frequently expresses her annoyance with the way my body moves. Mistakes not to repeat, I realize, but still a major cause of self-consciousness.

Generally speaking, as a result, I just don't like people even mentioning it. Any mention of my distinct gait causes me to instantly adjust every step I take, making me look even more ridiculous. Wednesday, however, I received the most random compliment from the most random source, and I've been glowing all weekend.

Walking down the hall in the ballet building, I noticed one of the Ballet Masters walking towards me. For those of you who don't happen to work at a ballet company (that'd be every single person reading the blog, I realize), a Ballet Master is someone who makes sure the dancers are staying true to the choreographer's wishes. Their responsibility is to keep the dance as pure to the original vision as possible. These people watch dancers all day long. Their job is about studying movement, knowing how to convey movement through words. I think it's like living poetry, if that makes any sense. At any rate, as I approached this particular Ballet Master, he grinned and said, "You still walk like a ballerina. It's for life, you know."

So I haven't danced in several years. So I've gained an-amount-of-weight-that-will-not-be-mentioned since last I was dancing. I still walk like a ballerina. I walk like a dancer.

Take THAT, Mom!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

I love the Ferry Building

I left the house at 7:30 this morning. The cats decided that 6:30 was my wake-up call today, and for some reason I was incapable of returning to sleep. 7:30 seemed as good a time as any to leave, so I strapped on my trusty green trainers and headed to the Ferry Building.

When I first moved to San Fran, the Ferry Building is where I got the first of my four simultaneous jobs, which supported the Year From Hell. (If you've known me for any length of time, no explanation is needed. If you don't know what I'm talking about, I'll spare you the details. Suffice it to say, the commencement of the Year From Hell is really what started the Existential Life Crisis, so we'll just leave it at that and move on.) Anyway, I sold organic produce at one of the shops inside. If you don't know the Ferry Building, let me tell you, it is a foodie's paradise. Each shop specializes in one particular type of food. There's Acme Bread, home of an amazing variety of artisan breads made fresh all day. My store, Capay Organic, sells beautiful produce. The Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant has both a lovely wine bar, as well as a full shop with some of the best customer service around. Cowgirl Creamery is also located in the Ferry Building, and I've spent many a dollar there.

I adore the Ferry Building. There is no better people watching in the city. Saturdays also feature the city's largest open air farmer's market, and I could literally spend hours sitting by the bay and watching the world go by. I always feel a rush of pleasure walking through the doors. There's a very particular smell to the building. I spent enough time there that it smells like home to me. I love the polished cement floors and the small square mosaics on each wall between the stores. I love the hand-painted signs above the shops. I love that, until recently, I still knew every person who worked the storefronts.

My favorite place to hang out is Far West Fungi. My friend Ian runs the store, and my friend Andy works for him. Andy was the first person I met at the Ferry Building. At that time, he sold chocolate. He was always so nice to me that when he changed shops and began working for Ian, I changed my allegiances, too. That's the definition of loyalty: trading chocolate for mushrooms! Ian has effectively created an addict of me, though. I yearn for April to arrive and bring morels back to the store. I dream of the scent of truffles. I love the textures and colors of the different things that come in around the year. These two guys are a blast to hang out with, so I make a point of parking behind the counter and harrassing them whenever possible.

So today, when I arrived and discovered that Far West was swamped, I did what any foodie/friend would do: I offered to help out. It was such a fun day! I loved being back in the world of "work" requiring me to be social, answer questions (Where's the bathroom? Where's the Slanted Door?), flirt with old men, and tell jokes to little kids. I loved getting gigantic hugs from everyone when I finally left. (Maybe they were just happy that I was finally leaving??? Who knows!) The Ferry Building is always so alive. So, while I am 100% exhausted right now, having effectively spent half my day there, one thing is for certain: I had a truly fantastic day! Thanks, guys!

Friday, November 24, 2006

Ode to Malia

Things I love about Maliavale:

1. Her use of nice, neat, declarative nouns to describe her mood. Happiness! Sadness! Confusion!
2. This card, which she gave me a bazillion years ago, and which I still adore and keep on my refrigerator.


3. The fact that we survived the tiniest apartment with the largest bugs in the world.
4. The fact that we survived one of said bugs being squished by someone (coughMark) and left on the uppermost part of her bedroom wall.
5. Squirt, the greatest beta ever!
6. Despite the fact that our year as roommates was arguably the bitchiest year of my life, she still talks to me. (Um, yeah. Sorry about that.)
7. Fling. Or The Speakeasies. Whatever their incarnation, I wouldn't have shared it with anyone else.
8. Being repeatedly left off the guest list of above band.
9. The first time she made my cheesy pasta, I love that she put in the whole block of cheese before shredding it. Then called to see why it wasn't melting.
10. She ate everything I ever made for her, even if it was god awful. Being my first year of cooking, most of it was. (Um, again with the "sorry about that" business.)
11. Stella, the cutest puppy ever!
12. Sophomore year Halloween! That costume! That hair! Still cracks me up.
13. I love that she always talks me down from the ledge when I'm having a meltdown about my job.
14. My papers were always immaculate when I lived with her. Ten points for living with a future copy editor!
15. Broken hearts are always best shared with friends.
16. Her amazing, brilliant, beautiful smile! It always makes me happy to see in pictures, old and new.
17. The faith she gives me in myself that one day I will be able to run far enough in one go to participate in a race.
18. How she reminds me what I actually liked about college.
19. Her love of silly kid jokes!
20. What's not to love?

Happy birthday to my former roommate and forever friend! When the hell did we get old? You inspire me every day, in every way! (Yay rhyming!)

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Fruitcake Day!!!

In order to understand my family, first you have to understand fruitcake. And no, I’m not referring to the fact that my family is full of fruits and nuts. While this may be the case, I’m actually talking about a yearly “bonding” experience that occurs within my family. You see, every year, right around Thanksgiving, my family gathers at my grandparents’ house to make fruitcake. Knowing even that much is giving you cold sweats, I’m sure. Ah, if it were only that simple. Believe me when I tell you that the fruitcake extravaganza is beyond explanation. You see, it all started with my great-great-grandfather. (Already you think I’m kidding. But wait, it gets better.) Great-great-grandfather Hickerson, felled a great big oak tree. Rather than burning it as firewood or something like that, what did he do? With nothing more than a humble hatchet, Great-great-grandfather Hickerson carved three beyond-gigantic bowls from its heart. According to a legend of biblical proportions, he then decreed that each year until the end of time, the Hickerson family would reunite these bowls and create the most diabolical fruitcake known to mankind. The fruitcake must be no less dense than brick, and must have a shelf life of no fewer than three decades. Bear in mind, this was before the days of chemical preservatives.

Now, most families would have long-since disregarded such a completely insane command. And if that were the case, we wouldn’t have a story. I leave it to you to decide whether this was fortunate or not. Regardless, my family did the one rebellious thing it has ever done: my family threw laziness to the wind and insisted upon honoring Great-great-grandfather Hickerson’s wish. Thus, each year in late November comes the day I dread beyond all others: Fruitcake Day.

Fruitcake Day, begins with the ritual reuniting of the bowls. Papayo, my grandfather, writes a poem each year to commemorate the event. Papayo decided to begin writing poetry about ten years ago when he acquired his first computer. I’m not sure why this inspired such poetic fervor, but I’d personally like to kill the person who encouraged him to purchase the computer. Alas, so it begins:

“Welcome, everyone, to Fruitcake Day! Now, as we all know, today will be the traditional making of the fruitcake, but we also have several other special activities planned!!! Uncle Earle has brought photos of the bear he killed with a bow and arrow, and we’d like everyone to take a moment to admire those. Additionally, we were unable to acquire an adequate amount of vanilla extract to substitute for the brandy in the recipe, so there will be genuine alcohol present today. Everyone, please be careful, and avoid prolonged contact with the blood of Satan. Any family announcements?”

I should point out that "family announcement time" is the time that everyone stares at me, the oldest grandchild, in the hopes that I'm going to shock them with the news that I'm getting married and will be having a baby five minutes afterwards. No such luck.

(My grandmother, Memo) “Ooh, everyone, wait until you hear Papayo’s poem this year! Read it, Eddie!!!”
“Mama! (chuckling) Well, do y’all want to hear it? Yes? Well, alrighty. Here goes!”

Now, at this point I always hope against hope that we will be spared mentions of God, Jesus, or wildlife. It’s not that I have anything against religion, but this part of my family loves God with a passion unseen by most living outside the Bible Belt. Yes, this side of the family is Southern Baptist, and proud of it. As for the wildlife, my grandparents volunteered as park rangers for most of my childhood. You would not even believe the stories that brings up!

“Ahem. So this year’s poem is inspired by a scene I observed out the kitchen window a few weeks ago. Marveling at the splendor the good Lord created, I could only put my thoughts down in Psalm!

Chipmunks like to roll all around
They are the Squirrels who live in the ground.
Tunnels they have, maybe under your feet
There they play, take naps, and sleep.
But now they are out
And with chippy voice they shout
Just what we all want to say:
Happy happy happy
FRUITCAKE DAY!!!


Followed by wild applause.

I need a drink.

As I said before, however, alcohol is a BIG "no no" in my grandparents' house. My parents are both around 55 years old, and they still hide their booze when Memo and Papayo come to visit. In my childhood, it was always one of the most important tasks in preparation for their arrival. You had to make sure you hid it where there was no way they'd find it, because they are also innately interested in the inner workings of any home. It's insanity, I tell you, insanity. Memo and Papayo have been teetotalers for their entire lives. The ancient fruitcake recipe, however, includes a small amount of bourbon. Usually, they prefer to drench the batter in four or five bottles of vanilla extract, rather than obtaining the bourbon. Occasionally, however, Papayo sneaks off to a liquor store three counties away to buy a small bottle of the real stuff.

The actual making of the fruitcake batter falls to the women of the family. Since these bowls are antique and hand-made, no electronic appliances are allowed anywhere in their vicinity. And y'all, we make a lot of fruitcake. We're talking about enough fruitcake here that it requires
wait for it
60 eggs. Yes, sixty. All of which are mushed up with the rest of the super-sticky batter BY HAND. Spoons be damned, we mix this crap up with our fingers. As a child, this was all good fun, but in retrospect... ew. The worst part, however, is that, as kids, we were all forced to lick one of the fingers of the main fruitcake mixer's goopy hands upon completion of the mixing of the batter. Alas, all of my photographs of this occurring are in Virginia, but trust me, you're probably better left imagining things.

After the batter is made and poured into eight-gajillion bread tins (many of which pre-date the Civil War), the Men Of The Family are called in. Why? Because their job is now to decorate the fruitcakes with more candied fruits and nuts. Just to state the obvious, this is my father's personal hell. I believe he said that when he married my mom, he thought this was just part of the "hazing" ritual. No such luck, Dad, no such luck. The fruitcakes are then all packed into the oven, which is set at 350 degrees, and they bake for FOUR HOURS.

About five years ago, however, someone didn't set the oven correctly. Instead of a mild 350, the poor cakes roasted in the infernal heat of a 500 degree oven. They ended up like bricks. We all laughed about it and chalked it up to just one year of no fruitcake (DEAR GOD, WHAT WILL I EAT???). Memo and Papayo, however, were determined to enjoy the fruits of their labor. After some research, they found that they could steam the sliced fruitcake over some of the remaining bourbon. After trying it, they were thrilled! It took some time, though, so after several tries, they decided to edit the instructions somewhat. They heated the bourbon in the microwave, poked holes in the fruitcake-brick, and simply poured the hot bourbon over the top.

Let's pause here for a moment. I'm going to let this sink in. My 70+ year old grandparents, who have never had alcohol in their lives, are now eating a VERY dense cake soaked in warm bourbon.

Then they drunk-dialed my mom to tell her about their success.

I think we'll stop there for today. Happy Thanksgiving, everybody! Oh, and Happy Fruitcake Day, too.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Bitter Bob Bites the Proverbial Dust

I am officially declaring an end to the Existential Life Crisis. To be completely honest, I got bored with it several weeks ago. I'm tired of psychoanalyzing myself every twenty seconds and coming to the conclusion that I don't have a clue. Who cares? Life goes on, and I still probably won't have a clue when I'm eighty. So I'm not living the life of my dreams. It's my responsibility to make my own opportunities! I'm tired of feeling like I'm missing some kind of instruction manual to life, and I'm ready to just write my own. I still have my moments of terror, the "what-ifs" welling up over every coherent thought in my brain. But really, who doesn't? It's time to get over it.

Also, upon re-reading my blog as of late, I've noticed that postings with the ELC label are actually more accurately described as my overall thoughts on life. I haven't actually written anything truly ELC-worthy in a while.

As such, I am debuting a new label! (Ready? All together now! Oooooh! Aaaaaaah!) From this day forth, all Philosophical Discussions Of Life In General will feature the label "Deep thoughts."

Oh, and I promise I'll write something that's actually interesting later today. I know you were worried.

Crickets

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Sweet Jebus

I have just learned something that I never needed to know. Prepare yourself.

Deep breaths.

There exists in the world a jazz band called
The Dick Hyman Chorus and Orchestra

I only wish I were kidding.

By our powers combined...

I've been thinking about cartoons today. Don't lie, you know you still think about cartoons, too! I'm sure everyone thinks this about the shows they grew up with, but I remain convinced that we had the best cartoons when we were kids. In light of my confidence in this fact, and because I haven't done a list in a while (!), today's list is Cartoons That I Love And You Should, Too!

1. Looney Toons - Still crack me up. There's something so simple and silly and wonderful about them. And come on, the Bugs Bunny opera is just the greatest thing ever.
2. He-Man - The number one cartoon of my childhood. I have so many distinct memories of watching this show at my friend Robbie's house. For some reason, I also have a sensory memory of rice krispies treats that seems to accompany this. I'm not sure if that's accurate, or not.
3. She-Ra - Along the same lines as above. And does anyone else remember the episode where they met and discovered that they were brother and sister?
4. The Smurfs - I was never one of y'all who all seem disturbed by Smurfette being the only girl. Probably because I was usually the only girl in my group of friends.
5. Gummy Bears - All I can say is: Magic and mystery are part of their history, along with the secret of GUMMY BEARY JUICE!
6. Captain Planet - I still know every word to the theme song of this cartoon!
7. Duck Tales - Ah, Disney Channel, your magic held such sway over me.
8. Muppet Show - Although not a cartoon (so much better!), I will always associate this show with my childhood. And, like Looney Toons, it still cracks me up. A lot. (Will, you know what I'm talking about!)

The list is sure to get longer, but that's all I can think of at the moment. Leave me comments with your favorites!

Monday, November 20, 2006

TGIM

Thank God It's Monday. This weekend was so absurdly awful that it was actually truly laughable. Let's put it this way: the high point of my weekend was a friend calling me to see if there was any way I'd be willing to help him remove something that was wedged in his ear. Seriously.

But looking forward to the future, it's nearly Thanksgiving! I'm sad that I'll be missing T-day with my grandparents, but I love this holiday, regardless. I've been planning my Thanksgiving-day post for weeks now, and I'm a little bit too excited about it, not going to lie. Thanksgiving is, more than any other day, all about family and tradition. Christmas is a close second, but for me the ritual of Christmas is actually begun with Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving day was the first day of "Christmas music" when I was growing up. We'd pile into the car on the way to Grandmom and Granddad or Memo and Papayo's house and crank up the first of our Christmas CDs. I love Christmas music to distraction. Thanksgiving was like the kickoff.

And let's not forget stuffing. Or Aunt Nancy's chocolate french silk pie. Lord help me, my mouth is watering!

Thanksgiving also represents the best quality time I get with my grandparents all year. Especially at Grandmom and Granddad's, my status as "oldest grandchild" comes with the benefit of being the only person allowed in the kitchen. Grandmom is obsessive about this. I am the Official Turkey Taster, the Official Arranger of Food, and now the Official Whiskey Sour Assistant.

Thank God it's Monday, and thank God we're entering my favorite time of year.

Happiness!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Fish in the sea

Last night my friend Brian said something to me in passing. He said, "Such-and-such guy sounded like a lot of work." At the time, the statement seemed inconsequential. Granted, at the time, I was also drunk. However, as the night wore on and I sobered up, I began to think about this more. I began to wonder about this really rather "nail on the head" assessment of my entire dating history. Events of this morning have driven the point home even more.

I date men who are a lot of work. (Okay, let's be completely honest. I am attracted to people, even as friends, who are a lot of work. You know it's true, and many of you have called me on it. Ahem.) I don't know why this is. I'm actually a fairly low-maintenance person. And no, I'm not saying that relationships should be easy. Far from it. I fully expect to put in a lot of work when I eventually find my partner for life. I just hope he'll want to put in an equal amount. And I definitely want our lives together to be good far more frequently than they are bad.

Maybe I'm expecting too much. Maybe the notion that there is someone out there who'll meet me halfway is niave. Previous generations didn't have to deal with the double-edged sword that is globalization of dating. The dating pool is so huge now, it's like an endless supply of new and exciting people to meet. If one person possesses a trait that annoys you, then HEY!--the next might not have that particular quirk. On the other side of things, however, I guess part of the reason my last relationship dragged on well after it was over is that we both felt like we'd just hit a "rough patch," and we needed to just power through it. My parents have had rough times and good ones, and following their model of staying together through thick and thin seemed paramount.

So the question really is this: How much work is the right amount? And how do you know when your relationship (or dating-interest, or whatever the hell people call each other these days) is more about the work than how you feel about each other? And how do you find the happy medium between the instant gratification of starting something new and hanging on to something that's not right, simply because of loyalty?

And before you read too much into this and wonder exactly who I'm talking about, who is this person that's causing me to question this, let me go ahead and give you the answer:

The person is myself.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Bourbon

I love bourbon. I especially love bourbon when I've had an incomparably crappy week. I really have nothing more to say. I know that the blog has, of late, disintegrated into inane prattle about meaningless daily events. Or worse, pictures of said meaningless daily events. But dude, it's Nablopomo. I am not interesting every day of the week. Sorry!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Happiness = Cable TV

I have happily lived without cable for over a year. I don't miss the TV sucking me in for hours on end. While I love shows on some cable-only channels (coughTLCcough), I've managed to become completely addicted to network shows. I don't actually miss having cable that much, except for the notable days when nothing is on or I'm home sick.

Today, however, I broke down. Puck has managed to destroy our antenna, yet again. Zero of our six channels are working. And sure, I considered going out and buying another one. But upon investigating cable prices, I discovered that I can have crystal-clear reception in any weather for a mere $16 per month. Y'all, that is money well-spent.

So I'll still only have 12 channels. But they will all work, all of the time. Words really can't express how excited I am about this. Does that make me seem like a pathetic excuse for a human being? Maybe, but hey... what's the use of a day job if it can't buy a few shallow creature comforts?

Okay, so maybe we shouldn't talk about the 40% off sale at Anthropologie...

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Are words even necessary?

Sometimes I find things funny, even if they're just wrong.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Once upon a time...

the San Francisco Ballet was hosting an event at the Four Seasons. The event began respectably. Wine was poured,



costumes were admired by all!



The highly professional staff of SFB treated the costumes with reverence,



fringing on adoration!



But as the night wore on, patience thinned. The ever-eager staff found their energy flagging. Only wearing the crown of the queen from Sleeping Beauty could save their waning spirits! And so, the crown was donned by one and all!



Alas, even the power of such a magical accessory could not revive them. More drastic measures were required! The staff searched high and low for the perfect outfit to rejuvenate their bedraggled spirits. They witnessed the good,



the bad,



the ugly,



and the downright horrifying,



but with little success. And so, they left the Four Seasons, pausing only to harrass one poor bellhop on the way out the door.



Thank you, Four Seasons, for enduring what is, to us, just another day at the office.

Monday, November 13, 2006

GMattB


This is one of my best friends in the whole, entire world. We grew up a few blocks from one another. Now he's a biologist, working with fish. It's really endless, the things I could say about him, but I'm tired, and this is my cop-out version of a post! More later...

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Saluting the second quarter-century

Today is my 26th birthday. I've never been big on my own birthday. Generally, the week prior is fraught with an extensive identity crisis and an intense evaluation of "what does it all mean?" This year was no exception, but today I feel good. Part of it is the fact that I've gotten a BAZILLION phone calls from people I love, making me feel really super special. Part of it is that I just played a concert, and it was a blast (despite a near-disaster involving a music stand). Having Jeremiah in town has been great, as is having my sister around. I'm getting ready to go here to eat with someone I really enjoy, which is always fantastic. Mmmmmmm... Coconut rice...

So, to all you beautiful people out there:

Thanks for making this the best birthday in many years. I love you all!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

That'll make a lot of pie

Sleep is good

I have never been a good sleeper. I sleep through the night, on average, once a month or so. Invariably, I wake up at least twice during the night, go to the bathroom, get a drink of water, and go back to sleep. When I'm stressed out, the "go back to sleep" part of that equation is less likely.

So, maybe it's the fact that I've done nothing really except sleep for the past two days. Or maybe it's the fact that the penicillin is killing the nastiness, and I just hadn't realized exactly how bad I was feeling (call me the eternal optimist). But this morning I feel like a bazillion dollars. I am not tired, my body is not creaky. Sure, I still woke up three times last night, but I actually slept really hard in between waking up. So hard, in fact, that I didn't wake up when I received three phonecalls (and voicemails) and two text messages. I'm not going to lie, that makes me feel a little bit like a superhero!

And, because the last two days have been sick days, I feel like I've already had my weekend. But hark! It is Saturday, and there are still two full days of lounging around. Um, and rehearsals and concerts, but whatever. OH! And Jeremiah is here, and I am so excited!
I can't wait to hang out with one of my close friends, someone who totally gets my short-hand speech and doesn't judge me when I (invariably) do something awkward or moronic. Hoorah!

Y'all, this is going to be a good day. I can feel it.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Why I am awesome

Because I just had one beer. And because I am wrecked.

That's all, folks.

It's the cake that matters

Deep thoughts at work, ladies and jellybeans...

Friend: The thing is, I like almost everything about this guy. He's sweet, he's smart, he gets me...

Snail: Absolutely. There's just the lying issue.

Friend: Right. And I have to remember, the other stuff is just the icing on the cake. And the trust thing, that's the real stuff.

Snail:
Definitely. After all, I always scrape the icing off my cake. It's the cake that matters.

Friend:
Yeah, the cake matters. The cake is the important part.

Snail: That should be our new motto.

Friend:
This is a pathetic conversation. And now I'm hungry.

Snail: Me, too.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Today's word is "gross"

I have strep throat. Which is thoroughly disgusting, and which I haven't had since I was a kid. In fact, I am taking antibiotics for the first time since (ready?) age 13. I generally don't break down and take antibiotics, as I feel they are really over-prescribed, but when I saw the pockets of pus on my tonsils...

Hey, the title of the post should have warned you. Don't go acting like you were blindsided by the pus.

Gross item of business, number two: My friend's cat left him a pile of dead rats on his doorstep this morning. And by "pile," I mean that there were four gigantic, post-mortem rats. She is totally, completely, and utterly diabolical, but this is noteworthy for several reasons. Primarily, despite plotting my demise for several years now, last week was the first time she'd ever actually killed anything. Since then, rats have appeared daily at his door. I think she's just practicing for the day when I next visit. She'll whip out her first claw and slice me, nose to naval.

Gross item number three: My next door neighbor has a massively phlegmy cough that won't stop. It makes the walls shake. It is disgusting. I think he must stand right next to our joint wall whenever he coughs, just to maximize the gross quotient.

On the upside of things, however, GO VIRGINIA! I cannot believe my homestate elected a democratic Senator! Way to get 'em, vee-ay! Virginia is for lovers! (Seriously, that's one of our state slogans. And really, it qualifies as "gross," don't you think?)

And just to round out this post, the awesomest moment of my day? When my doctor looked down my throat and shrieked. Literally. Why? Because even he found it gross.

It's nice to know I have such a dramatic effect on people.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Hinging on the homestate

Come on, Virginia! Let's get those democratic votes in!

Let me just state, for the record, how much I dislike George Allen, the incumbent senatorial candidate who currently appears to be losing. He was Virginia's governor when I was in high school, so I have a longstanding dislike of the man. The summer prior to my senior year, I was "nominated" to attend Girls' State, a week-long version of my personal hell. The premise of Girls' State was that we'd set up a mock government to learn how governments of all levels function. In reality, Girls' State was an excuse to remind us that we were inferior as females. We were required to wear skirts with stockings at all times, all dormitory rooms were inspected nightly for neatness... the list is endless, really. I've honestly blocked out most of the rules, but trust me. I had exactly zero friends for that week. I was miserable.

The upside, however, is that one of my all-time proudest moments occurred at Girls' State. Then-Governor George Allen came to speak to us. He droned on for over an hour about the evils of young people today, blah blah blah. I was just nodding off into the world of daydreams when suddenly he began to yap about teen pregnancy. He wanted, he said, to implement public school programs to teach young women about the inherent evils of sex. Young women had to learn that teen pregnancy was an issue over which they were solely responsible. Abortion was just a teen girl's way of avoiding the consequences of her sins, and birth control merely a tool to allow those sins to fester, unchecked. Abstinence, the only real option, was left in a woman's hands. Men were incapable of checking their urges, etc. As he talked, my astonishment grew. This moron was standing in front of 2,000 rising seniors who possessed the highest academic honors in the state. I mean, be mindful of your audience! After he finished telling us how much God and all the world hated us for being girls, he continued talking about the car tax, or some other inane topic. Finally, Q&A time was announced. Several girls asked questions about what it was like to be governor, when he had first wanted to pursue a career in politics. I couldn't believe no one was bringing up the horridly insulting diatribe ended only moments before. So, as primly as I could, I raised my hand. And someone called on me. My heart was pounding.

Good afternoon, Governor. Thank you for coming to speak to us today. I was fascinated by your plan to educate young women about our responsibilities in the issue of teen pregnancy. I was wondering, however, if you planned to initiate a similar program for young men, so that they too can be honored with the right and responsibility of their role in reproduction? It seems to me that pregnancy at any age is a two-part equation, and young men should be equally educated on that fact.

He hemmed and hawed and made some asinine excuse for his oversight as 2,000 of the best and brightest of the state of Virginia cheered their approval.

So, my hope for today's election count? I hope he gets bitch-slapped.

That is all.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Talking dirty

Ah, gentle readers, prepare thyselves. This is not a story for the faint of heart. Nor for the underage. Nay, I say unto you, continue reading at your peril.

Ahem.

My sister works at a mental health "halfway house." It is, frankly, as shitty a job as she could possibly have, but it pays the bills and is helping her save up some cash for her imminent return to the U.K. Sis is a remarkably normal person, at least in my view. We'll get into a philosophical discussion on the definition of "normal" some other day. I consider her to be a lovely human being, and so should you. Many of her co-workers at said institution, however, defy conventions of "normalcy," blurring the lines between what is socially acceptable and what is, shall we say, creepy. Or gross. In this case, I think "gross" is as apt a word as any.

It has recently surfaced that one of the counsellors has been viewing pornographic websites on the company computer at night. As in, while everyone else in the house is sleeping, this guy has been... uh... enjoying himself. Literally. The company, however, cannot fire him without meeting a sufficient burden of proof. That means that each day, someone has to go on the computer's history and print it out. Today, however, the printer apparently wasn't functioning. Meaning that my sister, my sweet, innocent, normal sister, had to read the listing of websites out loud over the phone to her boss. Let's just take one moment to ponder some of the options here:

"At 4:25 a.m. a site called giganticgonads dot com was accessed. At 4:42 he moved onto lusciousboobies. Next was a site named hotkittymonkeylove."

Way to go, sketchy co-worker. Way to go.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Smells like Teen Spirit?

Just so you know, this is a completely meaningless post. Basically, the Sis has gone to bed, and I have no one to bitch to. I'm just saying.

I bought new lotion today at TJ's. I love lavendar-scented things, and those are pretty tough to mess up, so that's usually what I go for. Safe, pleasant, unobtrusive.

I slathered it all over my body about a half hour ago, and now I smell like ass. Seriously, this stuff does not smell good. Blech. Nor is my skin baby soft, or whatever the hell this particular brand of lotion promises.

Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Ten Points!

So I took the plunge. I finally clicked the link on blogger that said:

What's better than a new box of crayons? New blog templates!

I trusted, I experimented, and I decided that I like this new look better... at least for today.

I'm also exceedingly proud that I finally figured out how to put all my favorite people on my sidebar. If you want to be added, just remind me. I am constantly forgetting people's blogs, and I sometimes feel a little bit embarrassed admitting exactly how much I read them!

Onward and upward!

Friday, November 03, 2006

Back to basics

Tonight is a big night. I'll be performing in my first orchestra concert in almost a year! Reflecting on that fact really takes my breath away. Until about a year ago, it wasn't uncommon for me to play 3-5 performances of some kind each week. These days, a red-letter week involves me even picking up the flute that many times. No wonder I've been feeling so disconnected from myself! This week has been busier than hell, but also really thrilling. As I wrote about yesterday, Wednesday's concert really put me in a good place. Monday night, at our rehearsal for tonight's concert, it was an absolute pleasure to sit and count my rests and just absorb the rehearsal atmosphere.

I'm not going to lie to you, I'm actually pretty nervous for tonight. My sound is simply not what it should be at the moment, and I'm a little bummed about that. But I'm also a realist, and I know that the best possible way to recover from my slump in practicing is to perform. Performing really is the lifeblood of my personality. Tonight will be the first time I've donned my all-black concert attire in quite a while, and I'm actually looking forward to it! I'm trying to remember how much I really love the pre-concert adrenaline that some call nerves and I call excitement. I really can't wait to get out on stage and do what I love most in the world.

On a slightly different note, however, tonight will be the third time this week that I've driven to Berkeley straight from work and stayed until nearly 11pm. And boy, is that overrated!

But back to good stuff. Going to rehearsals and concerts this week is making me think seriously about starting some type of regular performing opportunity. I mean, obviously I'm taking professional auditions, but there's no substitute for getting out on stage. I'm thinking of maybe forming some kind of chamber ensemble locally. The problem is that I'm not sure how many of my fellow "young professionals" would be willing to perform for free, at least initially. Things to think about...

At any rate, that's what I have buzzing around in my head today. Updates tonight, I'm sure.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Yefim Bronfman

I'm about to get all music-nerd on you. Prepare yourself.

I just got home from a recital with Yefim Bronfman, Gil Shaham, and Lynn Harrell. I've told several people this already tonight, but my soul feels good. I have seen all three of these gentlemen (yes, Lynn Harrell is a man) play many times, and I always feel a kinship with performers I've followed for a while. Add to that the fact that I've played in an orchestra accompanying each of them, and perhaps you can understand. It would be like admiring your favorite band for years, suddenly meeting them, and then seeing them again in concert after a long hiatus.

Lynn Harrell and Gil Shaham are both incredible, there's no questioning this. But the reason I spent thirty bucks on the ticket is definitely Fima Bronfman. Bronfman is my favorite pianist. As a disclaimer, I should state for the record that I don't know all that much about pianists. I know what I like and what I don't like, but I can't give you specifics. At any rate, this is a man who knows how to work a piano. The first time I heard him play was my first summer at the Aspen Music Festival. I was playing in the orchestra, and he performed Beethoven's Emperor Concerto with us. I've heard this concerto a zillion times in my life, but never the way he played it. I still literally get shivers up my spine when I recall the way he played the main motive of the first movement. The only comparison I can think to draw is this:

Do you remember how it felt the moment you realized you were in love for the first time? Do you remember how it felt on your skin when that person touched you? Bronfman touches the piano as if it is his first love, as if it is the most beautiful woman in the world. When he touches the piano, it sighs, almost involuntarily. Sure, this is a big man, and when he wants to he can make the piano sing, laugh, cry, or scream. But my favorite moments are the sighs. I can feel his playing in my whole body. His playing feels like falling in love. Frankly, he is not what I'd consider a physically attractive man. But whenever I hear him, I fall in love with him, just a little bit.

Concerts like tonight give me hope. I feel more serene tonight than in a long time. I can't wait to lie in bed and replay the entire two-hour concert in my head, attempting to store it there for the rest of my life. I wish I could hear it again, just so I could digest it a little more fully. I wish I could just follow Fima Bronfman around a turn his pages for a living.

Alrighty, music nerd time is over for one evening. Goodnight, one and all. I'll be dreaming that I'm a piano.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Checking it twice

Welcome to NaBloPoMo. Count me in, ladies and jellybeans! I'm not really sure why I want to do this. Partly, I think, it's my continued need for setting goals. I am a very goal- and task-oriented person by nature. I keep lists. And lists of lists. And I really feel a high from crossing something off one of said lists.

Each morning, upon arriving at the office, I sit down and make a list on one of my many sticky notes. When my boss arrives, I chat with her to ascertain not only if there are additional items to add, but also what the priority of all items might be. I then create a new list, detailing how I will run my day. I've done this since I can remember. In grad school, my list-building compulsion hit its all-time high, usually resembling something like this:

7:00 - up
7:15-7:30 - tea
7:30-8:15 - shower, dressed, make bed
8:30-9:00 - bike to school, locker
9:00-10:45 - class
11:00-12:00 - practice
12:00-1:30 - lunch, errands (see below)
1:30-5:00 - warm-up, orchestra
And so forth.

Seriously. You think I was making it up? Just wait. I've misplaced my old planner at the moment, but there will be photographic evidence asap.

My list making skills have also made a frequent cameo appearance in the blog. They show up here, here, and here. And that's just in October alone.

Okay, that's scaring me now.

Despite sounding too Type A for my own good, I think my list-making tendencies counterbalance the general lack of stability in my chosen profession. There will never come a day when I have achieved everything possible for a musician. I will have to practice every day until the day I stop playing for good and all. Every day I will play the same warm-up, every day I will try to make certain things more perfect. Never will I wake up and say to myself, "Well, that's done. Good work. You've learned to play the flute."

Crossing things off my list gives me that sense that certain tasks are achievable. Once completed, they are done. I never have to do them again.

So bring it on, NaBloPoMo. You're on my list!