When I think of May, I think of rose perfume and worn-in leather chairs. I think of glass cases full of animal figurines, turquoise formica, and floral pillows.
When I think of May, I think of the wisteria vines hanging outside the window, heavy with lavender-hued flowers.
When I think of May, I think of patience, kindness, and spunk. I think of the most overpowering embraces — bigger and stronger hugs than you’d ever expect from such a tiny woman.
She was like something out of a book, you know? That little old lady next door. She was magic.
Eventually, we moved away from that little blue house with the wisteria vines. But May still wrote and called. When my parents got divorced, May was there to check in. When Seth was in his accident, she was there. She was someone who was always present — a never-ending source of strength and comfort.
May out-lived 2 husbands. But she wasn’t scared. She was as vivacious as ever. She still volunteered, called and checked in on people, went on cruises and trips, attended church and prayed for everyone she knew. She still wore her brightly colored Nikes and walked everywhere — even at the age of 99.
She’s the kind of person who I would hope to emanate just a fraction of.
A few weeks ago, May passed away. Just a couple weeks before that, she had written my mom a letter out of the blue. She said, “I never thought I’d live this long, but I hope the Lord will let me celebrate my 100th birthday.”
She didn’t quite make it, but I think she’s okay with that.
I don’t know very much about what heaven will be like, but I do know that good, true, kind people like May are bound to be there.
It’s funny, I really just made this blog for myself, so sometimes I forget that people read it at all. It’s always a surprise to me to find out someone actually likes it.
Anyways, I’ve never done one of these before, but responding via post really only seemed like the polite thing to do.
So here are 7 weird and random facts (that actually explain a lot) about me:
1. When I was little, I was really into rabbits. My sister had one for years (eons in rabbit time). His name was Black Eyes (Guess why?). During the course of Black Eyes’ life, I had three rabbits: Peter, Fuzzball, and Cinnamon Spice. Despite loving them unconditionally, brushing them constantly, walking them on leashes, and feeding them endless carrots, they all met their demise in slightly unfortunate ways.
2. I have a lot of favorite books that I think have helped shape who I am today, but one that has always been in my top 10 is Roxaboxen. I spent so many summer afternoons outdoors clambering around in the hot, dry grass outside my house, creating towns out of sticks and stones, pretending to make perfumes out of flower petals, and selling overripe oranges from the orange tree to my sister in exchange for pretty rocks — all of which were inspired by Roxaboxen. I still find something so refreshing about this book. The idea of making something so special out of nothing seems so satisfying.
3. I’m in the midst of a becoming a vegetarian. It’s something that I’ve wanted to do for a while (and really tried to put into practice after reading this), and have slowly been easing myself into. I’ve had a tiny slip-up so far (a small bite of a pork sandwich), but other than that I’ve been okay. It’s not as hard as I thought it would be, and I think the fact that I didn’t go cold turkey (and was never really a meat eater to begin with) really helped.
4. I had a serious spy phase. I devoured Nancy Drew books like crazy for a good year, but my obsession really took off once the Harriet the Spy movie came out. I would go down into our yard, and climb this one pine tree as high as I could. I’d sit up there, covered in sap and pine needles, and write down observations of the old man who lived next door. Usually these innocent observations would elaborate into full-blown lies, but I was 10 and could afford to indulge my imagination anytime I wanted.
5. A lot of people are surprised to find out that I’m religious. It’s not something that I talk about very often, but it’s a really important part of my life. I guess I keep it relatively private because I understand that a lot of people find religion generally uncomfortable, and I understand that’s a huge turn off, which is the opposite of how I want people to feel. No one wants to be preached at, and I just feel like that’s not the best way to go about things. And to be quite honest, my views are kind of different from what most people would consider to be traditionally Christian, which can cause some conflict too. But I do consider myself a very spiritual person, and it’s something that will always be a part of my life.
6. I have a tiny hole in my heart. For real! I’ve had it since I was born. It’s called a VSD and I’ve never once had a problem with it, but I love seeing doctors’ faces the first time they listen to my heart. It has a kind of gross swooshing noise when my heart beats. Kelly can’t listen to it because he says he’ll throw up (such a romantic).
7. I hate cutting my hair. Hate it. It just seems like such a waste of money… if I could cut it myself I totally would. Instead, I wait as long as possible, until I just can’t stand it anymore, and then I make an appointment at the Aveda school and get it chopped off for $20. (I know, I’m embarrassingly cheap).
Last weekend, I made my first trip to the desert.
My little sister was graduating from the University of Arizona, so our whole family trekked down to celebrate.
I’d never been to Arizona before. I had always meant to go visit Emily in college, but I was always too poor, or too busy, or too wrapped up in my oh-so-important social life.
Stepping off the plane in Arizona was almost like stepping onto another planet. Everything is so dry, dusty, and red. There are cacti everywhere — growing in clusters like nests of eggs, or standing as tall as any California oak tree. The ground is perfectly flat, until these massive mountains suddenly burst out of the ground. It felt kind of alien at first, but I loved it.
It’s funny, because my sister and I always joke about how we’re complete opposites. She’s tall, I’m short. She’s tan, I’m freckled. I’m a writer, she’s an artist. She’s athletic… I am not. And our tastes in everything are on opposite ends of the spectrum.
Walking around Tucson felt like one more thing to add to the list. Her apartment was surrounded by dry dirt and cacti. I saw more than one tumbleweed when I was down there. And she spent the majority of her weekends in college attending pool parties.
Eugene couldn’t have been more different. It’s cold, damp, and very green. September through April, you spend most weekends sprinting in the rain to huddle over a pitcher of cider at Max’s. Rare bouts of sunshine result in Saturday BBQs and floating the river.
(then and now)
But I like that we’re opposites. I know Emily does too. When we were little, we used to try so hard to be twins. We would match constantly, and force each other to play the same games and watch the same movies and eat the same foods. As we got older, our differences became more and more obvious, and I’m glad that we embraced them. I think we understand each other more now.
But we still have the same smile, we both crinkle up our noses when we laugh, and we both have my mom’s eyelashes.
I think deep down, we’re very similar.
We are sisters after all.
I’ve decided to start wearing berets.
(I realize this really isn’t worth an entire blog post, but I find it very exciting)
I currently have three berets: navy blue, bright green, leopard. The leopard one is for special occasions.
I’m thinking that I could wear one without looking like a total idiot. In fact, they can actually come across as slightly alluring (but we’ll see how that works out for me).
Faye Dunaway totally rocked the beret in Bonnie and Clyde.
I mean, Bridgitte Bardot looked great in anything. But still.
A lot of people hate Mary Tyler Moore. I get that the overly happy thing can be kind of annoying. But I think she’s adorable. She had the best style in her show.
Audrey had such an international look, so the beret comes a bit easier for her. I like the way she folded it though — pushed a little more towards the front, and as flat as a pancake.
This is exactly what my leopard beret looks like! Technically it’s my sister’s (she wore it for a school photo in the third grade — no joke), but I’ve adopted it for now.
Try not to laugh, but my navy beret is actually from my Molly McIntire costume. Yes, I was obsessed with American Girl dolls (I had Felicity and Molly), and yes, I had the full outfit to match both of them. And yes, I wore them in public. Molly’s was the best though because of the accessories: knee socks, red purse, locket, dickie, and of course the navy beret.
To be honest, I think that’s why I like the beret so much — it makes me feel like I’m playing dress up.
I do my best thinking on my commute. The bumpy bus ride through Chinatown makes me carsick, but the train is perfect place to just consider things.
I have a tiny tea-stained journal that I’ve started writing things down in. It’s mostly just nonsense because that seems to be all my brain can come up with early in the morning/late at night, but still. It might make sense one day.
Monday through Friday, I take the 7:27 bus from the corner outside my apartment to 4th and King, and then hop on the 8:14 train to Palo Alto.
There are just a few regulars on my commute from the Marina, to SOMA, to the start-up heart of Silicon Valley.
-The high school girl with hot pink hair, who always wears fishnets and beat-up Chucks.
-The schoolgirl in her uniform. She has a Ziploc bag of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos every morning, and she’s always on the phone with her mom. Her mom talks to her about boys, teachers, and the Jonas Brothers all the way from their house to the school, just to make sure she gets there safe and sound.
-The lawyer on my train who calls me “Yellow Shoes Girl.” Not a terribly unique nickname, but I like that he rides his bike to his office and actually noticed my patent Sperrys. He also has thick wire-rimmed glasses, which is an automatic sign of someone awesome — at least in my book.
-The lab kids on their way to Stanford, who always compare notes in hushed voices as we wind through the Peninsula. I’ll strain to overhear any kind of new discovery, but I never know what on Earth they’re talking about anyways.
I always wonder about them, and their lives outside of this completely wretched commute. Every now and then, I jot a little something down about them. They’ve become such characters to me.
Maybe it’s cowardly of me to not walk over and say hi. But I prefer this space. Knowing each other from a distance. And I take a little comfort in the hope that my daily head nod and (awkward) smile brightens their morning a bit.
I find it incredibly encouraging that someone as influential as Michael Pollan still believes in the power of the written word.
Lately, Kelly and I have been talking lots about how our next place of residence is going to be NYC. Naturally, this conversation has progressed to how on EARTH we would possibly get all of our stuff (and Sawyer!) across the country.
While I’ve argued against it in the past, making a giant road trip out of it (yes, cat included) is sounding more and more enticing. Especially as I’ve been coming across more of these online…
It sounds sort of romantic, right? Packing everything up in a fixed up VW and driving to New York? Cliché maybe, but I’m okay with that. It can be a story for the grandkids.
We’ll see… we’re still a ways away from this cross-country road trip.
We’re still in the middle of San Francisco summer.
It’s slightly cooled down this week, but this weekend it was a perfect 80 degrees all day long. After a month or so of nothing but fog, this weather is much needed.
Here’s what I did this weekend:
1. Friday night dinner at Nojo in Hayes Valley. All of these small Japanese plates were bursting with fresh flavors, but this simple cucumber and nori salad was my absolute favorite. The chef simply broke up small cucumbers in a rough manner, and sprinkled the salad with torn nori and a rice wine vinaigrette. Even though I’m a mess with chopsticks, I managed to eat every last bite.
2. I had to go downtown to get my haircut Saturday morning (at the Cinta Aveda School. Best. Deal. Ever. Seriously, the girl did a great job and I honestly saved myself $50. Do it.), so I decided to take the long route back and walked home since it was so nice out. The weather was surreal, and so was the view. On days like that, San Francisco looks like a gigantic postcard to me — perfectly framed and color corrected.
3. Amanda and I wandered back downtown later that afternoon to peruse H&M for cheap Halloween costume supplies. The flower carts down by Union Square were just exploding with fresh flowers! I couldn’t believe how bright and beautiful the sunflowers, hydrangeas, irises, and dahlias were. I stopped and smelled them until the cart owner started to give me dirty looks.
4. Sunday was just as warm and balmy. After a long run out to the Golden Gate and back, I met Kelly out in North Beach, where he was drinking beers with the boys on a friend’s rooftop. We shimmied down a tiny ladder, and hiked up the steep hill on Taylor to a little tapas bar on Mason. It was one of those perfect meals that makes you feel like you’re on vacation — I wore a sundress and sandals and we sat outside while eating garlicy mushrooms. We sipped white wine sangria (for me) and light Spanish beer (for him) while watching the overflowing Mason cable car wind its way down the hill. Moments like that make me feel like life couldn’t possibly be better.
Hope your weekend was just as heavenly.
It seems to happen every year.
As soon as the seasons change and the weather starts to get a bit colder… BAM, I’m sick.
Lots of green tea with lemon and Ally McBeal on Netflix Instant (I am obsessed) seems to be doing the trick though. I should be up and at ’em just in time for Fleet Week celebrations tomorrow.
Happy weekend! xo