Archive

Thought

“Because secrets do not increase in value if kept in a gore-ian lockbox, because one’s past is either made useful or else mutates and becomes cancerous. We share things for the obvious reasons: it makes us feel un-alone, it spreads the weight over a larger area, it holds the possibility of making our share lighter. And it can work either way — not simply as a pain-relief device, but, in the case of not bad news but good, as a share-the-happy-things-I’ve-seen/lessons-I’ve-learned vehicle. Or as a tool for simple connectivity for its own sake, a testing of waters, a stab at engagement with a mass of strangers.” 
― Dave Eggers, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius

Fourth of July 2012 meant:

1. Going on a sunny motorcycle ride to Baker Beach

2. Failing to find a BBQ at said beach, so heading home to cook up our meal:

Buying the herbed butter was an amazing accident.

Salmon burgers with garlic, cilantro, teriyaki sauce and avocado; corn with herb butter; roasted asparagus; homemade ice cream sandwiches for dessert

3. Getting ridiculously full and dragging a blanket out to a quiet corner of Fort Mason for a long nap.

Kelly fell asleep in about 30 seconds.

4. Walking up to the tippy top of Russian Hill where we got a clear (and uncrowded) view of the fireworks from the Alice Marble tennis courts. 

Chain-linked view of the North Beach fireworks show

xo

Weird things I like to do:

1. Wear my bathrobe for as long as possible after getting out of the shower.

2. Be the first person in my building to empty the trash after the trash guys come.

3. Organize my refrigerator so it looks pretty and full (even when it isn’t).

4.  Get fashion advice from hip kids on mommy blogs (Um, have you ever seen the girls at My Cakies? SO CUTE)

5. Google image search “cutest puppy ever,” “cutest kitty ever,” and “cutest bunny ever” on a regular basis.

6. Obsess over crossing out my daily to do list in my planner.

7. Write grocery lists weeks before I need to go shopping.

8.  Hum and talk to myself. Constantly.

9. Sing in front of the mirror with a hairbrush when Kelly’s not home (I’ve been doing this since the 3rd grade, and I’ll probably do it until I’m 100).

10. Yelp and Google a restaurant to death before going. Oh, and deciding what I’m going to order embarrassingly far in advance.

There was a gigantic field behind my middle school classroom. It was really just a glorified patch of crabgrass — where the boys would play flag football in warm weather and the girls picked daisies and played softball in PE. There wasn’t much shade, except for an old pair of bleachers under some pine trees, but everyone still loved to run around up there. The edge of the field was blocked off with oleander bushes — pretty dangerous, now that I think about it. But our teachers just made us wash our hands after picking our poisonous bouquets. 

There was one year — maybe 4th grade — when my friends and I were obsessed with ladybugs. During recess and lunch, we would lay on our bellies in the patches of clover (which inevitably meant grass stains on our white polos) and hunt for them. There were hundreds of the little guys hiding between the blades of grass. I’d find as many as possible, and keep them in a small nest in the lap of  my skirt, only freeing them when the bell rang.

———————————–

———————————–

Last weekend was one of those perfect warm weekends in San Francisco. The sunshine and clear skies just begged for you to spend the entire day outdoors. Saturday left me with a bit of a sunburn, but I still hadn’t had enough come Sunday. After putting some clothes in at the laundromat around the corner, I walked 3 blocks to the edge of Fort Mason to find a sunny patch of grass and wait.

I finally settled on a shadeless spot hidden from any prying eyes and flopped down, only to find myself in a ladybug village. Seriously. They were everywhere — slowly crawling up blades of grass and inching up my knees and shoulders.

It was kind of magical.

Ten of my absolute favorite books. In no particular order.

(I guarantee I’ve forgotten a few blatant ones, which will require an inevitable follow up post)

1. From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E Frankenwhiler
It is one of my great goals in life to sneak in and spend a night in the Met.

2. Roxaboxen
Read more about my love for this book, here.

3. The Salamander Room
This book is pure magic.  And I hate salamanders. 

4. East of Eden
Steinbeck makes my heart hurt in the most amazing way. I love this book because I can see a piece of myself in every character. Yes, even Cathy.

5. The Fountainhead
I never thought I would be a huge Ayn Rand fan, but The Fountainhead is completely engrossing. It’s sensual, violent, complex and honest.

6. The Game (AS Byatt)
I was obsessed with AS Byatt in high school (wrote far too many papers on her and her work senior year). This book — a game of wits between two sisters — is my absolute favorite.

7. The Handmaid’s Tale
I’m a sucker for any kind of post-apocalyptic society book (helloooo Hunger Games). The feminist undertones of Margaret Atwood’s version of the future United States often touch a little too close to home.

8. One Hundred Years of Solitude
Gabriel García Marquez is a fantastic storyteller. The depth and detail of this story is mind boggling. 

9. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
I refuse to see the movie, because this book remains so near and dear to my heart. Oskar Schell — I hope my future sons have just a touch of your sensitivity and genius.

10. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
The fact that he’s a San Francisco native and the founder of McSweeney’s make this book all the better. But I also just love Eggers’ style. He’s  hilarious, self-berating and incredibly interesting.

When I was little, Easter was always on the Sunday right before Spring Break. On Good Friday, we would have a half day. My mom would pick me and my sister up from school. Still in our uniforms (pinstriped Spring skirts and polos for formal dress days), we’d pop by a bakery and pick up a box of still-warm hot cross buns. We’d go home, pour ourselves big cups of milky Earl Grey (with two sugar cubes please), and listen to my Mom read the Easter story. Our feet would swing off the barstools at the counter, and we’d dunk the sticky buns into our tea — edible reminders of our faith.

Saturday was egg dying day. Using those dinky wire dippers, we’d dunk our eggs into purple, pink, blue and green, and watch our white crayon designs reveal themselves. No matter how careful we were, our fingertips always ended up stained with every layer, and the house reeked of vinegar.

Sunday meant morning church services (and for quite some time, matching dresses for me and my sister), family brunch, and Easter egg hunts. I never really believed in the Easter Bunny (I mean, did anyone?), but I still loved the thrill of the Easter hunt. I thought I was a complete expert, and would quietly search all the hidden nooks and crannies for the biggest and best eggs while everyone else ran themselves ragged.

Now, Easter is different. My sister and I have scrapped Good Friday traditions for post-work happy hours. Even my little brothers are too old for egg hunts (although my Mom still puts Easter baskets together for us each year).

But each Easter Sunday, we all put on our springtime best and go to church. We listen, we remember, and we feel. After the service, we come home to cook, drink wine and eat. Sitting in the sunshine, we’re grateful for each other and everything this holiday reminds us of. 

This year’s menu:

Honeybaked ham, scalloped potatoes, deviled eggs, fava bean and pecorino salad, beets with goat cheese, grilled asparagus, and a lemony bundt cake to finish.

The details are not the details.
They make the design.

-Charles Eames

This weekend, Kelly decided to splurge and purchase a (faux) Eames lounger that he’s wanted forever. I have to say, I was hesitant at first (I’m more of a Danish teak fan myself), but I love how it looks in our living room. I can’t wait to get the futon out of there (finally), and find a great credenza to sit next to the chair and serve as a bar. 

Although Eames furniture has become incredibly hipster, Charles and Ray’s design manifesto is really quite timeless: Create the best, for the most, for the least. 

Don’t you wish more companies shared that sentiment? 

xo

Our first night in Paris, Kelly and I wandered around the streets of Montmarte. We had no idea where we were going, but we knew we wanted to see the Sacré Cœur.

It was that great, hot weather that comes right before a heavy rain. The clouds were just starting to roll in when we climbed up the hill. Traveling all day had left us exhausted, and we huffed and puffed all the way to the top.

Oh but that view! It was so worth it.

Sacré Cœur from our apartment window.

It was getting dark, but we decided to take the long way around the hill back to the apartment anyways. We found a corner store where the owner spoke only French and Portuguese, and Kelly managed to communicate in broken Spanish and French that we wanted some cheap red wine. We toted two bottles and a couple packages of chocolate covered waffles up to our little rented apartment and worked our way through all of it. There was no TV — just French techno playing on the radio. We opened all of the windows and leaned over the edges of the tiny balcony to watch the crowds meander through the newly damp streets.

Dinner, night one.

We got stinking drunk off of that wine, and talked until the bottles were empty. I know we laughed, I know we cried, and I know that we both got terrible stomachaches from those painfully sweet waffles. But the end of the night is still a little hazy in my mind.

It was perfect — the kind of night I’d want to sentimentally share with my daughters when they’re daydreaming about booking cheap flights to faraway places. 

Isn’t it the best when you have visitors? San Francisco is so much fun to show off. And she was at her finest this weekend. Clear, sunny days made everything seem 10 times more beautiful. All of the houses seemed brighter and more colorful than usual, and the sky was the most brilliant blue.

On Saturday, we decided to make the most of the sunshine and have an outdoor adventure. 5 of us packed bags of bread, cheese, grapes, wine and a bottle of whiskey (!) and cabbed out to the Sutro Baths.

It was so windy when we got there. Of course, none of us had considered this. It was a fierce and bitterly cold wind that almost pushed us backwards as we walked down the hill to the ruins. At first, we were all a little unsure if this trip had been worth it. It was freezing.

But as we all tiptoed across the old ruin’s walls to the water, we were suddenly right at the edge of the ocean. Salty mists of water spritzed our faces, and the ocean churned into pure white froth all around the rocky shore. We all looked at each other. “This is pretty great,” someone said.

We trekked along the cliffs and found a cave that led all the way through to the other side. We huddled against the wind and snuck sips of the whiskey, and then decided to find a place to picnic.

After wandering through the cypress trees, we found a sunny and grassy spot just off the footpath. We all sat, broke bread, and sipped from our various bottles. We talked about old friends, new jobs and future adventures for a long time.

After battling the freezing wind back to the street, we hopped on a bus back to Van Ness. At the spur of the moment, we decided to finish off the day with a warm plate of mashed potatoes and gravy (and a gigantic turkey leg for some) at the oh-so-famous Tommy’s Joynt.

It was a good day. A very San Francisco day.
I love having visitors.