Friday, December 29, 2006

HOORAY!


Holly from Nothing But Bonfires arrives today (checks clock...okay, I got an hour) from Singapore, so I've been frantically denuding Walter the Christmas Tree, vacuuming, washing dishes and trying to hide my yarn magazine and stash so she doesn't know what a nerd I am. My cleaning efforts are probably useless, but hopefully she'll be too jetlagged to noticed my dirty bathmat.

So I've got to make a proper English comfort feast for when she gets here, because she's bound to be missing her family and a little berserk about finding an apartment and a job and PARKING. Sean gets here sometime soon, but no one has any idea where he is (SEAN, WHERE ARE YOU?), with the two cats. Things are about to get very exciting in our little 600-square foot apartment. I envision Fat Charles and Sadie playing body roulette around the living room, while Beulah dashes joyously around on the perimeter, jaws deliciously agape, hurricane lanterns and monkey skulls ricocheting off the floor, with hissing and clawing and boxing of brown spaniel ears and a great bowing up and delirious bloodletting over all the land. My money's on Fat Charles.

I'll take video if it happens.

Any ideas for British comfort food? Toast, eggs, beans, stuffed tom-ah-toes? Something vile involving peas?

Oh hell, I've just spotted a whole nother pile of pine needles. I loved that tree, but DAMN! Did it have to die so MESSILY?

Gah! My phone is dead! Must call Cingular and kill someone.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

There's just something about extreme dehydration...

...that makes my skin clear up.

Really, I spent all day yesterday vomiting on an airplane and I've never looked better.

Christmas was wonderful, albeit fattening and a little exhausting. I'm sure my family feels the same way, since they did all the work while I played with babies. But Friday, my dad had a great oyster roast for most of our childhood friends in Charleston, with awesome venison chili and homemade oatmeal cookies and my favorite white trash dip (yum). I probably ate a whole box of oysters by myself.

And we ate at his parents and my parents and his brother-in-law's and had drinks with everyone under the sun, so I reckon I spent the whole week drunk and bloated. Nice. So that's why I just figured yesterday I had a hangover from too much rum punch in the country at oyster roast #2, when in actuality, a hangover does not generally cause fever and chills and throbbing kidneys and aching joints and vomiting 14 hours later.

I must say that I pride myself for being a tidy vomiter, always useful for college parties when younger (just kidding, Mom and Daddy). But that trait came in very handy while descending into Dulles airport yesterday afternoon at 4:30, when the urge I had been fighting all damned morning became too great. Fortunately we were at the dead rear of the plane, with no one seated next to us, and since the engines and flaps were so loud, no one heard me, and I found a bag in the nick of time. Simons was asleep next to me and he didn't even notice until he woke to my sobbing and pleading for gum.

So the six-hour flight from DC to San Francisco almost killed me, and I found out this morning that my poor mom, who worked like a slave to make a great holiday for everyone, has been hurling all night and is mewling in the bed too. Happy freaking Christmas!

So, in short, BLECH! And I hope everyone had fun and got lots of loot!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

In the event of an emergency, oxygen masks will drop from the ceiling...


...in which case I want them to save my dog first.

Simons and I are heading home to Charleston tomorrow morning for the holidays, and naturally, because we have no children aside from one smallish, mulish, goatish, brownish farting cur, we shall be bring the dog home with us. Christmas Eve is, after all, her birthday. I saw her gigantic brown head enter this world, with much confused screeching on the part of her mother, poor sweet gentle lambdog that she is, and I can't bring myself to kennel Beulah Buckethead for the first time at Christmas AND her birthday. Or, you know, EVER.

The past two months have been spent making her luuuuuurve her crate. Nowadays if one of us says, "go get in your house," she goes skidding down the hallway, thrusts her nose in the door and pries her way into it. So, our work is done. Tomorrow is the final exam though. 10 a.m. PT through 11:30 EST in the crate. That's a long time and I don't like it, not one little bit.

So early tomorrow I'm going to take her to romp her ass off for the third day in a row, in hopes that she will be properly, um, emptied, and worn out for her journey.

But it still feels mean.

Anyway, probably no posting tomorrow, because I'm shutting Eudora down now and putting her in her hard case and piling clothes around her. God, I hope she makes it through too. I'll be knitting furiously on the plane tomorrow, obsessing over the state of things below. Everyone say a little prayer tomorrow, because we can't afford more vet care OR a new computer. So there.

Twenty-four more

Yea gods, I am pure.

Of course, I've had to put my own special touch (read "stupid") on these oh so lovely Christmas card thank you notes. Yesterday I spent two hours walking all over Russian Hill trying to find a place that sells envelopes. We thought ourselves so clever making our own cards this year...Special! Meaningful! Cheap! That was until it turned out that not one frigging store in this whole damned city sells envelopes. And don't even get me started about the mouth breathing moron I spoke to at the Walgreens.

Jemima: Hello, do you sell envelopes?
Moron: Yes, they're right there on Aisle Two.
Jemima: [waves card in his face] Yes, well, I need envelopes for holiday cards, not business or manila envelopes. Do you have those?
Moron: No we don't have any of those.
Jemima: [deflated] Do you know if any other stores do? I need to mail our Christmas cards today.
Moron: We sell holiday cards. Aisle Three.
Jemima: [waves card again] No, no, I don't need cards, just envelopes.
Moron: We have business envelopes. Go to Aisle Two.
Jemima: [bursts with impotent rage]

Finally, ten stores later, I staggered into the UPS store, where they pilfered all the envelopes from their birthday/graduation/Halloween/Get Well Soon cards racks. Which means that our Christmas cards...they are being sent in hot pink, orange, lime and flourescent yellow envelopes. They did give me some white ones, but those had to go to grown ups. So if you get a hideous orange envelope in the mail, know that I love you enough to know you won't care.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Thank You Notes

59 down. Only 300 or so more to go.

Kill me.

I'm living in terror that I will see people over Christmas who will ask me whether I've received their gifts, and then I will wither and perish of humiliation. Heaven forfend. So here I am at 12:33 a.m., writing feverishly when I would have much better have written a few a day for oh, the last six months.

I am a bad, bad bride.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Chocklit

Simons and I just finished making chocolate caramels. They're so good, we're considering not gifting them. Mmmmm...pretty too.

The Agony

I'm writing thank you notes (FINALLY) and I haaaaaaaaaaate it. I really am grateful, and would happily throw dinner parties for each person or make them individual chocolate caramels with sea salt imprinted in their name. But I HATE writing thank you notes. HATE IT! HATE IT! I'm combining some with Christmas cards, and some have the humiliating combination of Christmas card, thank you note for gift AND a thank you note for a party. See, I suck. And Mom, you're not allowed to comment here or in any other forum.

I actually am trying on one write it as a Christmas card/condolence letter/thank you, but I don't think it's working. Damn.

Chinatown

How much do I love Chinatown. I go at least once a week, for lunch or just to snoot around the different stores. There's a place that makes Peking duck, and hangs their strangely shiny and rubbery basted bits in the window. Did you know they use a bicycle pump to blow them up? There are towels embroidered with Madame Wu's face (I thought of you, WSS) and strange cartoon animals and custom coats and wedding dress shops. I love that the streets are hung with lanterns and banners, and even the street signs are on green copper poles with red pagodas. I'm like a crow for shiny objects, and go darting into shops to buy purses for $4 and parasols for my nieces and croon over all the delicious boxes.

My favorite store is the Wok Shop, which was just featured in Saveur Magazine, but I happened on it by accident when Amanda was out here for Thanksgiving. It's the tiniest shop imaginable and has more cooking implements than an entire Williams Sonoma warehouse all jammed in. There are things hung from the ceiling and on every beam and pole and shelf. The owner's name is Tane, and a more nervous and abrupt and completely helpful person I've never met. She's apt to tell customers to come back after Christmas when she's not so busy, and because everything is so packed and muddled, none of her salespeople are of any use. Tane's the only one who knows where anything is.

Since I first went, I've been back once a week for kitchen stuff, American and Chinese. I've bought a tea kettle, which Tane demonstrated by blowing through the spout to show me its whistle (I needed a loud one since I keep burning the butt off of mine), a wok, two wedding presents, a claypot and a dumpling press. I can get there by cablecar if I want to, but mostly just walk down the hill to Grant Street. I love, love, love it there.

I've also discovered the most amazing Vietnamese place right nearby, Golden Star, which is perfect for all of these spectacularly crappy San Francisco winter days. Well, Simons found it, but I claim it as mine because I order better than he does. They're known for their soups, which come out absolutely billowing steam and fragrantly exotic smells. I know for a fact you can order goat eyeballs, but not because I ordered it (shudder). I'm usually the only Caucasian in there, which I figure is likely a mark of its authenticity. Plus, it's always packed. Amanda pronounced it better than Slanted Door, although you wouldn't go there for presentation. Everything I've ever ordered has been so good, I've fallen on it like a starving man.

So I'm seasoning my new wok now, which stinks to high heaven. Tane decreed that i needed a traditional cast iron wok, with no wooden handles (hmph). So does anyone know any good wok recipes? I do have some catfish in the fridge now...

Friday, December 15, 2006

hysteria

Okay, here are the few things that have sent me into foam fit rages in the past few days:

* My Cuisinart safety features/design flaws
* The dog biting me
* Blogger switching between google and its old system and posting comments under my real name. What in the HELL is up with that?
* Blogger not posting my comments at all, equivalent of a blank stare and ignoring me
* The evil woman in New York whom I have to speak to fifty times a day. In retaliation, I have attached a photo of Satan to her name, so that it pops up whenever she calls. My other options were photos of a gigantic inflamed anus, Medusa, and an electron microscope photo of syphilis. I. Hate. Her.
* Expedia refusing all credit cards thanks to my frustrating name change debacle.
* This goddamn hat I'm knitting for my father-in-law. Ahhh, made with love.

So I think I may be losing control of my temper. I have given into the urge to stamp my foot and scream about six times a day, usually followed by tears of frustration. Maybe I need to get out more?

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Pyschic

Crazy stuff. Little Miss Nobody sort of memed me with her iPod fortune teller post. You have to set your iPod to shuffle and ask it these questions. I did it twice:

How does the world see me?
First Round: Folsom Prison Blues (nice. thanks very much iPod. I've never shot anyone just to watch them die.)
Second Round: Store Bought Bones from the Raconteurs (grim and depressing. Must work on cheerful disposition)

Will I have a happy life?
First Round: Henry Parsons Died by Widespread (guess not.)
Second Round: I Do, And it’s All Because of You by Edie Brickell (much nicer sentiment.)

What do my friends think of me?
First Round: California by Joni Mitchell
Second Round: Everywhere I Go by Willie Nelson
(evidently my friends just think I'm gone. Harumph!)

How can I make myself happy?
First Round: This one was a track from a book on tape. Is my iPod suggesting I read a book? The next one was Cool for Cats by Squeeze, but I don’t think I’ll get a cat.
Second Round: When you Sleep by Cake ( I could nap)

What should I do with my life?
First Round: OOH! This one was a track from a learn to speak Italian!!! Hmmm…opening it up. Ooh! How to ask for directions. Surely I need to go to Italy.
Second Round: (I'm sticking with the Italy plan)

Will I ever have children?
First Round: Give Me Children by Will Oldham. (Actually, this was further down. The Guords song that was in this place was clearly a mistake. Because what do "Ants on a Melon" have to do with chirren?)
Second Round: Beat on the Brat from the Ramones (mwahaha)

What is some good advice for me?
First Round: Mambo Guajiro (So I should dance more?)
Second Round: Radio Cure by Wilco (more music? Ooh, I should have more parties. That's what my iPod is telling me)

How will I be remembered?
First Round: Take It to the Limit (Cool…I think….wait)
Second Round: Octopus’ Garden by the Beatles

What’s my current theme song?
First Round: Girl from the Greenbriar Shore by Ralph Stanley
Second Round: Tiny Idyll/Lil’ Missy by Jolie Holland (HOLY CRAP! Praying for someone who's gone to California??? PYSCHIC!)

What do others think my current theme song is?
First Round: Dear Prudence by the Beatles (wtf?)
Second Round: No One Else On Earth by Wynonna Judd (WTF?!)

What shall they play at my funeral?
First Round: Crazy from Gnarls Barkley
Second Round: Hold me and Tell Me from Norah Jones

Where should I look for inspiration next?
First Round: Summertime by Miles Davis
Second Round: I Want A Little Sugar In My Bowl- Nina Simons
(Sex and warm climates??? HELL YES!)

@#$% BLOGGER

Blogger hasn't let me log in all day, and now only let me because I agreed to try their Beta version. Sneaky, aren't they? They "offer" to let me try it, but somehow I can only use my account if I do?

Bastards.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

And now back to our regularly scheduled programming...

Sorry about that. Eudora, my little white (well, used to be white anyway) iBook decided to die. Naturally, this while I was in the middle of two deadlines, and there was doom and rending of hair and a great wailing over all the land. Fortunately, I now live in a city that boasts of Apple stores, the kind you can walk into and lick all of the shiny glossy packaging and sniff the screens of new Mac Book Pros. Oh, the longing. However, I resisted the temptation of chucking poor Eudora's steaming corpse out into the street and purchasing a new one, and instead handed her over to someone I like to call Jesus, but his name is really Ben. He works at the Apple Genius Bar and can raise the dead...iBook. Lo, Ben spake, and the iBook rose, and Jemima genuflected, yea verily.

Anyhoo, I have her back now and shall post and post some more.

I guess I could do a whole Thanksgiving recap, but that would be boring, wouldn't it? I'll just do photos later. Suffice it to say I have 26 bags of turkey stock in my freezer, and i've been using the damned stuff as fast as I can. It's like there's no end to it!

Monday was sweet Simons' birthday, and tonight we are having friends over for a crab crack, seafood curry and cake. Three Cs. Unfortunately, I've already scoured the gross house and chopped the vegetables and bought the beer...so now what? Gah! I did the same thing on Thanksgiving! We all prepped so damned early, that I spent the rest of the day wringing my hands and wandering about touching things on the stove. This preparation is for the birds. I'll take a good panic any day! Simons must be rubbing off on me.

Hmph, how can I get even?

Lately, it's been seriously nasty here in San Francisco. Last week I told Simons it was going to start raining on Friday and he said, "and it won't stop till April." WHAT THE HELL? WHY DID NO ONE WARN ME ABOUT THIS! I haven't left the house in days. There is rain and chill and fog and mouldy homeless people lying in every doorway. I don't like it. I thought the Beach Boys were always singing about the "California Sun!" I never heard any Top 40 hits about the "California Pissing with Rain." I want answers!

Anyway, I bide my time by knitting. I'm up to about a hat or two a day now, and have done six of them since Saturday, plus two scarves, a baby sweater and some fingerless gloves. Soon I'll be all clawed and cobwebbed and people will call me Miss Haversham. I even went on a Knit Crawl on Saturday with Sonia and Erin...five knitting stores in one day, with a much needed detour to China Town for lunch to soothe my raging hangover with lemongrass beef. And (shame, SHAME) I even bought a knitting magazine the other day.

BUT IT WAS ONLY FOR ONE PATTERN! It's not like I took out a subscription or anything.

The dog is eyeing me desperately, so i must venture out into the bog. Bleh.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Italian Wedding Soup

Here's a good recipe for dealing with that leftover turkey carcass. Make some stock (you do know how to make stock, don't you?) and some delicious soup.


For Meatballs:

1 small yellow onion
1/3 cup parsley
1 large egg
1 tsp. garlic (I tripled this)
1 tsp salt
1/4 baguette
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
16-oz of beef (I used 12 and there was plenty. You could probably do this with ground turkey too)
pepper

You can chop everything very finely, OR, you can go the easier route, which is to do everything in a Cuisinart. First, process the baguette until very fine. Set crumbs aside. Cut onion into four pieces, discarding skin, and pulse in Cuisinart until a pulp. Add parsley, salt and pepper, parmesan and garlic and pulse until a paste. Add beef and egg and breadcrumbs and pulse until just mixed.

Using a teaspoon, form meatballs the size of a dime (they’ll start this small and end up quarter sized, but it happens to everyone). Put formed meatballs on a cookie sheet or plate.

For soup:
10- 12 cups chicken stock or broth
1 lb. spinach or escarole
1 can cannelloni beans
1/4 lb Acini de Pepe (pasta that looks like cous cous, but you can use whatever kind you like)
2 eggs
2 Tbs parmesan
salt and pepper

Bring stock to boil and add meatballs and spinach. Allow to cook through, about 10 minutes.

While waiting for meatballs to cook, boil pasta in separate pot. Drain and set aside.

Whisk parmesan and eggs together very thoroughly. Stirring whole pot in a gentle, continuous circular motion, drizzle egg slowly into briskly boiling broth, just like with egg drop soup. This will make the soup really rich. Now add your drained beans and pasta.

Sprinkle with more parmesan if you have it and season with salt and pepper to taste. Eat!

Footnote of Horror

Our turkey cost $64. SIXTY-FOUR, PEOPLE! That'll teach me to order without checking the price first. Christ. It must be free range, massaged by 4-H children, snuffed by Buddhists, plucked by fairy seamstresses...

Is everything more expensive in California, or is it just me?

Synopses

I have: a very annoying cough that makes me wake up 6000 times a night feeling like I am choking. Great.

I forgot: that Sunday was my parents' FORTIETH anniversary! Apparently it was quite a knock down drag out affair, since Mom sounded extremely bilious following the nine course meal and six bottles of wine + port. Ugh, port always sneaks up while I'm lying moaning in the gutter, smirks at me and then kicks me in the head. That's just the kind of guy he is. Anyway, M&D, thanks for making me legitimate lo those many years ago!

This weekend: was the best one yet in our new city. Simons had a friend from NY staying with us this weekend, and Sunday we took him with some other fun happy people to Marin to Joe's Taco Lounge for beer and tacos and more beer. And when we were swollen, we went on a "hike" that ended in this valley at an adorable beer garden called the German Tourist Club, which is kind of secret and hard to find. It is surrounded by porches and redwoods and mountains and has a wood burning stove inside and German-type stuff everywhere. We drank beer. Lots of beer. Good beer. Pitchers of the stuff. It was frothy and delicious and had names with lots of Zs and came in cold glasses. And we sat outside and looked up at Mt Tam and played dominoes in a golden hazy stupor drinking lots until it got very suddenly dark and we had to hike back UP the mountain the way we came. That was harder and less golden.

And because the haze was starting to grow stark edges, we went to a bar to see a friend's friend's band play and drank more beer. And then we went back to the city for very large famous cheeseburgers and drank more beer. Only that beer, I couldn't drink. No one else wanted it either. I tried.

I am: excited, because Amanda, the lacto ovo pescetarian arrives to play and frolic and galavant! Huzzah! She's given me permission to leave off the tofurkey, which is great. Faux turkey thighs are disturbing. But I have a whole four days of grand adventure planned. After dinner on thursday, we're going to the Tonga Room (does Polynesian desk dance), where they serve mai tais and the band plays on a boat in the middle of a lake inside the bar. And it rains every 30 minutes. And we're going wine tasting (cheap fun), chocolate touring (Scharfenberger...say it with me), to a bluegrass concert, to lick everything in the Apple store, to the de Young museum, and to eat in many fabulous locales. God, I can't wait.

I never: thought I'd see the day that it's warmer in San Francisco than in Charleston. My dad wrote to tell me that it's snowing, which put the dog in a bad mood. I'm surprised she even noticed with her giant grinchy feet.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Nob Hill sucks...

...for running.

After sitting in front of my computer all day yesterday, I finally grew disgusted enough with myself to put on my running shoes and leave the house. I mean, REALLY, how many days can I chastise myself for not being healthier before doing something about it? Apparently a lot. But my GOD, THE HILLS! I made it up about six of them before I had to walk at this park at Larkin and Lombard streets. So many stairs... I think I scared an old Asian lady running up behind her with all of my heavy breathing.

Anyway, I trotted down Polk Street and around on Hyde, and discovered that the tiny bistro right around the corner was celebrating the Beaujolais Nouveau with live music and French decor and heavenly smells. So after going home and torturing myself with a full ten minutes of my core fitness DVD (no worries about it getting scratched in the move, since it had NEVER BEEN OPENED), Dog and I went to meet Simons at the cablecar and demanded some wine and bistro food.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I actually took a shower, put on makeup and nice shoes! No sweatpants, I swear! And there was the cutest old geezer with his beret and accordion, and straw on the floor, a funny waiter, and the wine wasn't too bad either. I had the caramelized onion tart with a tiny bitter green salad and then the duck confit with tiny potatoes and shittake mushrooms. We haven't really been out in so long, and it was definitely worth it. Plus, we've discovered they have serious specials before seven.

So it's almost thanksgiving, which means a) my friend the lacto pescetarian is coming to visit, so I need to get a tofurkey, and b) I am running out of time for my wedding thank you notes. God, I'm the worst bride ever. It's been six months and I've barely started. So today and this weekend, I plan to write so many, my hand claws up. Do you think people will forgive me?

Thursday, November 16, 2006

I love

Simons, burnt orange, making lists, red shoes, boarding school, Grace Kelly dresses, finishing an essay, sweet potatoes, my surfboard, bookstores, cast nets, my dad’s stories, pie, feather beds, bonfires, books on tape, direct deposit, bluegrass, cheese, invitations to parties, my iPod, R-4 jackets, Mac LipGlass in Love Child, finishing a race, the word “jams,” British humor, black licorice, Phyto, brainstorming, Apple, more cowbell, David Sedaris, funny cards, hot dogs, The New York Times Travel section, Moïse Island, Beck, libraries, buying plane tickets, leather couches, long-sleeve T-shirts, my mom's creativity, babies, ruins, thunderstorms, old dogs, pretty boys with ink, my Portastatic shirt, John Turturro, banjoes, camping, sweet architecture, baseball games, when people explain things without making me feel stupid, Earl Grey tea, unlined journals, lavender, Anne Taintor, my fig tree (Newton), a big rock with a lot of holds, Wickles, my old pair of Asics racing shoes, having coffee made for me, Aveda products, winter marshes, zombie cheerleaders, Literary Addict’s voice, sunbleached hair, tissues with lotion, tired dogs, deserted beaches, fine stationery, Basque Coast, the woods in early morning, making fun of people, mustard, when Simons speaks French to the dog, making soup, my dentist, reading in the same room as someone else who is also reading, Christmas cards, theatres, Ella Fitzgerald, having my hair pulled, roses that smell, Sap Moss shampoo, Deerfields, driving in the mountains, Cote du Rhone reds, my Nikon-F, Xanax, fireworks, Liz Phair, Simons’ laugh, letters from old friends, Café Verona, fat horses, tweed, bodice rippers with a bubble bath, Kieslowski’s Red-White-Blue, silver cuff bracelets, puppy breath, sleeveless turtleneck sweaters, linen pajamas, the Clinton administration, my mom’s grilled cheese sandwiches, Mexican omelets, planning parties, making ravioli.

I Hate

Aw Puddin, speaker phone, blue flashing lights, unexpected car maintenance, Sunday nights, achy knees, barfing, cat allergies, the inability to barter, hotel art, typos, group work, cucumbers, sinus infections, January, halitosis, work travel, getting caught singing, culottes, “You Are Overdrawn,” writer’s block, long voicemail messages, jello salad, people with no thigh friction, feeling needy, writing thank you notes, confrontation, drivers who lean when turning, pantyhose, Change, parking tickets, losing bets, spiders, parking, inertia.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

stuff

This is not going to be a very intelligent post. I'm tired. The damned dog had her pain medication patch removed yesterday and was very uncomfortable all night and kept bashing her bucket into the side of the bed. I finally got up, dragged her out of the bedroom and up on the couch with me and we slept from about 2:30 til 5, when I had to get up to work. Oy. I need a nap. But poor damned dog, I think she just wanted some comforting.

So last night I was feeling pretty pent up from being inside all day, and by the time Simons got home, I'd worked myself into a claustrophobic headache. Normally I really love to cook, so I could tell it was my bad mood talking when Simons asked what was for dinner and I fed him his liver raw.

Actually, I just gave him the flounder eye and instructed him in the fine art of "doing it your own damned self" before hying myself off to knitting. Boy was I glad that I did. First of all, unbeknownst to me, it must have been cupcake night, because there were about 15 different kind, four varieties with cream cheese frosting. Heaven!

Then it was also yarn swap night. See what a nerd I am. Still, yarn is expensive stuff, and I got enough to make two sweaters for free. Who wants a hot pink mohair sweater? No? I have apple green too. No one? Hmph.

And I met a new friend, who has the same last name as me, knits also, obviously, and is from Australia. We're going for lunch this week. I feel like a new kid in the cafeteria, but I figured that since I've forgotten any sort of finesse in the art of making friends, I'm just going to have to take the direct approach. "You wanna?"

I wish I could say that I came home and Simons had a hot dinner waiting, because after AN HOUR of driving in circles in the driving rain looking for parking, I was tired and starving. Instead, I came home to find a smug Simons who had ventured to the corner store to find a TASTING on olives and cheese. God, I could have killed him. He should have called me back from cupcakeland for that! Mmmm...cheese. But he had bought some fine wine and all the ingredients I asked him to for Italian Wedding Soup, which we will have tonight (hmmm, I should start making the meatballs). Since it was so late, we ate salmon melts and tomato soup and watched The Life Aquatic. That Bill Murray. He's fabulous.

Anyway, today was sunny again and lovely. And I had a job interview this afternoon for this enormously successful and famous entrepreneur. In a way, it was probably good that I didn't research him until this morning, because I would have worked myself into a complete lather. So it was an interesting interview, and the man is a complete kook. We sat on the floor and talked about swimming with dolphins and movies and business, etc. I think it went okay, and I'm imminently qualified to do what he needs. But I'm a little reluctant to take on full time work, even if it is writing. I like the idea of true freelancing, when your schedule is your own and you have to be self disciplined. Still, it would be a fascinating job.

Mph, maybe I just won't get it and the decision will be made for me.

Tomorrow, I'm taking the ferry to Sausalito!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Hot Pants and a Bra

Today was spent in recovery, thanks to a few too many Stolis at a friend’s birthday party. Mmmm…Stoli. So delicious.

This particular party was held at Swig. The last one she had was at a bar called Sip.

More like Guzzle if you ask me.

I was having an interesting conversation with a lawyer freshly transplanted from Manhattan. Evidently she had met a few friends at her new dance class. Impressed, since I tend to hurt myself doing choreographed dance routines, I asked what kind. She said that normally she does ballet, but this particular class is pole dancing.

(!!!)

This was the basis for a fascinating discussion on what one wears to a pole dancing class (see title), how many bored housewives are taking it, and whether she gets a lot of dates with her newfound talent. The latter proved not to be true, although she had high hopes from placing her pole dancing credentials on Match.com.

God, I’m so glad I’m not dating in this town. Can you imagine? I’d be like the old maid profile, gathering dust in the uber lame section of the Internet.

“Single white female. Rather large bottom. Likes to knit. Has dog with a bucket.”

Meeeow!

***
So in other news, directly related to future ruminations about such things as pole dancing, I evidently have some new readers.

Momma, Daddy, welcome to my blog.

Now, I’ve of a couple of minds about this. These might be better explained by relating the conversation I had with my dad where he announced his membership to the Jemima Fanclub.

[wavy glow of flashback, scene cuts to Simons driving the Subaru out to Half Moon Bay. Jemima speaks on the phone with her dad]

Jemima: “blah, blah, blah…oysters across state lines…blah blah”

Daddy: “Oh by the way, I was at the white anglo saxon male watering hole/the Yacht Club last night, and someone told me that you had a blog.”

(male shriek of alarm as the sudden vacuum created inside the car makes Simons drive off the road and run over an old homeless lady)

Jemima: [weakly] Oh?

Daddy: “Yes! And they explained what that was, and so Momma and I have been reading it and we just love it.”

Jemima: [taking mental tally of number of F-bombs, merdes, ungrateful daughter postings, blatant lies, partial untruths, crazed hormonal posts, totally fabricated insinuations of carnal knowledge of aforementioned husband] “Oh...God.”

Daddy: “I was reading all of the comments. Does your sister read your blog? Someone posted under ‘WSS’ and it sounded just like her.”

Jemima: “Erk.” [pounds the gloating Simons with fists of impotent rage] “Yes, WSS is Wicked Step Sister.”

Daddy: “Well have fun at the beach. Tata.”

(Simons just begged me to erase the carnal part of that last bit)

So now I’ve been deliberating whether or not I ought to self censor a bit. Most of my friends who blog know that their families read their posts, and have made an effort to curb the swearing. And I don’t suppose it would hurt to do that. I’m not used to having to think about it. Simons knows what my blog is but won’t read it on principle. I keep telling him I mostly post NICE things about him…

Anyway, I worry more about hurting someone’s feelings by publishing my private and often transitory feelings about certain things in a public forum. Oh well, Dooce has been dealing with that for six years now. If it happens, it happens.

What else concerns me about this is that usually when someone blogs under a different name, it generally means that he or she would prefer that readers not blow their cover at public events. It’s just good manners not to. So who exactly spilled the beans? And why did he think it was a good idea? And who else is bandying my name about?

I was deliberating over this ad nauseum with Simons tonight and he said, “Just talk about douching and brassieres and everyone will quit reading it.”

And I said, “Yeah, including me. I could talk about sex with you once and my parents would definitely quit.”

Then he yelled “NO!” so loud, his head blew off and made a mess and I had to go fetch paper towels and a soothing morphine drip.

So, now that the initial shock and mortification and panic have exhausted themselves, and the beer has kicked in, I can’t say I’m all that upset about it. I shall continue as I started, and will trust to everyone’s sense of humor to get by.

And if all else fails, there’s always the douching.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggety Jig

Posted later from Nook

I’m sitting here in my kitchen, regrettably with no internet access, as the connection I’ve been poaching since we moved decided to shut down TODAY, today being the first day of the longterm freelance writing gig. I had to race urgently around to the uber cool coffee shop/wine bar around the corner at 6:45 this morning in order to get my work done, which necessitated the purchase of three large lattes in order to keep my table. Not only expensive, but also I’m beyond jittery.

And THEN, after emailing the NY woman all the newsletter items, plus fulfilling about six extra tasks today, I called to see if there was anything else I could do before leaving the shop…AND THE WOMAN YELLED AT ME!

Here is how this conversation went:

Her: “WHAT DO YOU WANT?”

Me: “Oh, um, sorry to bother you. I just wanted to see if you received my emails.”

Her: “I DON’T HAVE TIME TO READ YOUR EMAILS. I’M DOING THE MEDIA MONITORING.”

Me: (after this opener, wishing I could just let her check her email after duplicating all of my work, ie wasting her time) “Actually, I’ve finished all that and emailed it to you but I wasn’t sure of the formatting.”

Her: “Oh, well, did you do the items I assigned you?” [said in a really really exasperated voice.]

Me: “Yes, I’ve emailed that to you as well.”

Her: “I’ve gotta go.”

So, is she pleased that I’ve done all her work for her? Is she at all appreciative? What the hell is her problem? I was so embarrassed by this belittlement, I was actually blushing all the way across the country. So now I’m all paranoid that she’s developed an aversion to the sound of my voice and will fire me. Great.

Still, today is a fabulous day, because…

MISS BEULAH HAS COME HOME!

She’s lying beside me with a new and quite feminine looking bucket on her head, waiting for her chicken and rice to finish cooking. Her whole belly is shaved, which must be quite chilly, and her surgical scar is about 8 inches long and quite gruesome. But it’s so nice to hear her jingly collar and to be able to look down at her pretty golden eyes when I’m working.

They never did find the veritable toy chest they removed from her belly and set aside for me, which is sad. I’m dying of curiosity to see what they looked like. Apparently the ball was actually a doll head stuck in there. Man, that would have been the best bell jar mantelpiece display EVER.

It’s going to be a rough two weeks for her, since she can’t move around much and can only have a tiny bit of food at a time, and that not very often. But she’s on the mend, and I really appreciate all your kind words, prayers, thoughts, karma, etc.

The vet bill did end up being quite a lot, although not the full $5000, thanks to her speedy recovery after the surgery (Good Dog!). She’s actually home two days earlier than expected. But all in all, it’s more than we can afford--$3297.50, and I couldn’t believe our credit card didn’t go up in smoke when the vet swiped it. If anyone still is interested in contributing to the Beulah’s Toychest fund (it was going to be the Save Beulah Fund, but she’s already made it, so that didn’t make any sense), I’ve set up a PayPal account here.

I really struggled with doing this, since I feel like we adopted her, so we should take full responsibility. But to be honest, I really don’t have the luxury of protesting.

Instead, I’ll just be really and truly grateful for any help my blog friends and readers can offer. I’m completely overwhelmed with all of the kind comments and emails.

So…thank you. From the bottom of my heart, and from the depths of my dog’s bucket, thank you.

-J

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

BEULAH LIVES

Dear Mom,

Why did you leave me here with the vet? I am sad. Yesterday they stole my ball and duck. To get even, I puked on the vet. I am crafty.


But today you visited me and washed my face and scratched my nose, which was nice. And you fed me chicken and rice (but not enough). That was nice too.



But then you left.



I am sad.


Promise you'll bring me home tomorrow? I'll be a good dog.

No more puking.

Love Beulah

PS: Please thank all the very nice people who crossed their paws for me. I'm sure it was their prayers that got me through.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Tale of Woe and Ducks

Okay, so I finally found a vet who would see Beulah today, as an emergency (read "expensive") patient. The vet said she was critically dehydrated and was very concerned about her constant vomiting. The previous owner just told us she had a sensitive stomach, so we have never thought all that much of it. Anyway, this vet gave me a list of necessary procedures for DIAGNOSING Beulah's illness, which came to a grand total of $1600 for x-rays, blood tests, intravenous fluids, and an overnight stay. That didn't even include whatever it took to cure her.

After having a stroke, I agreed and said I would stay for the x-ray results.

I must say that even I, who do not have a vet degree, looked at the x-ray and said, "Is that a freaking bouncy ball?"

Yes. A bouncy ball.

We do not give our dog bouncy balls to play with. This ball has been in her stomach for at least a year, and was the child's toy of the family where she lived before. Also, the stomach appeared to have grown in a weird manner to accommodate this little lump of plastic, filled with sparkly foil, all of which showed up in the films, which will probably necessitate reconstructive surgery in that location. But worse than the bouncy ball was a brightly lit loop of intestine that was in the wrong place. The vet had no explanation for that. Beulah also has jaundice, pneumonia and increased liver enzymes, all from puking.

We scheduled her to go to the surgical specialist across town, and I sat in the room and cried and tracked down Simons and dragged him out of a meeting, and called our vet at home and cried to him too. Then the doctor came back looking perplexed.

"Have you been missing a duck?"

A what?

Apparently the bizarre and mystical loop of intestine...it was a duck. A little rubber one she was playing with at our friends' house in Nashville when we passed through on our cross country move.

The goddamned dog ate the duck.

So she has TWO foreign objects in her stomach, and no wonder the poor animal is sick all the time. This could be a whole new lease on life for the wretched vomitorium.

The scary part is that the surgery will cost $5000. Yes, $5000 for Beulah Buckethead Devil Dog. We don't actually HAVE $5000, which is worrisome, but we'll have to figure that out later. Because she may be a pain in the ass, but she's OUR pain in the ass and we love her.

So here's my question. Should I make them return the ball and the duck?

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Sick Baby- Warning, tales of barf to follow

As much as I curse this dog we adopted, we really do love her. And it never shows as much as when she is really and truly sick. Poor Dog woke me up very early this morning with a serious anxious pacing that could only mean that she needed to go OUT. Bad.

So out we went, and the poor beast decorated the sidewalks around two city blocks, chucking up everything she's ever eaten. Now the dog generally barfs after she eats, but this desperate, continuous sort of puking was something new entirely.

She seemed much better afterwards (aren't we all), and by this afternoon, we thought she seemed well enough for a trip to the beach. After a jolly romp and some swimming and digging and ball throwing, she suddenly freaked and dashed up the beach and barfed up her entire breakfast. And we took her home and made much over her and even offered her chicken soup (which she is not normally allowed to eat, but they always say chicken broth is easy on the stomach). We knew when she refused my 12-hour chicken stock that she was probably on death's door. After a safe amount of time and piteous glances, we let her out of the safe kitchen zone with its easy to sterilize hardwood floors and she climbed up on the couch for cuddling. Thirty minutes later, she projectile vomited all the water she'd drunk since the beach. Simons has been holding her ears for her, and I keep wiping her mouth with fresh paper towels, but we're both really at a loss.

Her general disposition, plus her syptoms, have lead my online research to suggest she has some foreign body in her stomach. It could have been there for years and only now have caused problems. Or it could be one of 15 toothbrushes she's eaten since February.

We just signed up for pet insurance, and the policy doesn't cover illness for thirty days, but does cover accidents. So does eating a foreign body count as accident or as illness? I guess accident means injury rather than projectile barfing. What if we maybe say that a homeless person fed her a toothbrush. Then is it an accident?

Christ, I want our dog well, but considering how much equipment and procedures and diagnosis and medication last month's UTI cost, I'm really wondering how we can afford potential stomach surgery. Because judging by the vet's insistence on an ultrasound for some urinary crystal buildup, she's going to insist on about 65 pieces of machinery for this.

Damn. Damn. Damn.

What do parents of children do? Same thing...know you have to take them but dread the emergency room visits?

Friday, November 03, 2006

Camping Photographs

I finally added a Flickr link, which I'm not too sure about. Let me know if you think it's irritating, and I'll switch it to a stationary link.

Here are some pictures from our camping trip to Rock Lake near Tahoe/Graeagle. The lake was so smooth and calm, and apparently full of trout. We're determined to bring some fly rods with us next time. This is the morning after a very rocky (pun fully intended) night, with the dogs hogging the tent and me freezing my butt off, and my old old old bones creaking. Fortunately, Simons makes great coffee, even if it's in a rock kitchen. Here's me letting Beulah finish off my oatmeal and savoring my morning beverage.



As I mentioned, we got a late start and it was nearly dark by the time we found a good tent site. We realized the next morning that the tree over our tent was covered in bear claw marks and was dripping with sap.



Sunday we took a great hike to the top of the far ridge and looked down on our campsite and Rock Lake. Beulah was having a fine time, gambolling in the shrubbery and making a lot of noise with her bear bell. God, I hate that bell.



Here is the amazing bear hang Simons made in the tallest tree he could find. This is him scanning for bears.



Note: I just got off the phone with the woman in NY again, the one I totally unimpressed with my interviewing capabilities...well, I did it AGAIN. This is going to be a strained relationship, I can feel it. Her scorning me. Me trying too hard to show her that I am not mentally deficient. Me failing. Her scorning me more and more...

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Fo shizzle

Okay, so I got the job.

NICE! Can you say "steady paycheck" anyone? The cool thing about this job, beyond its being easy peasy, is that I'm done with it by 10 am, and have the rest of the day to explore Sweet Juniper's Top Nine Things to Do in San Francisco, pitch articles, contemplate my first
novel, cook sumptuous meals for Simons, hang out with all the friends who will visit...

It's awesome.

So this is not something that is going to shine on my resume, by any stretch, but I'm still awfully psyched about it.

Also, I promised camping photos. I'll get on that tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Alright...Alright...Just trying to get a little change in my pocket...

(ahhh, don't you just love Matthew McCona-hey-hey? Meow, and I don't care if he is wierd.)

Once again, my sister has given the best advice ever. Remember that interview I blew on Monday morning? The one where the dog puked and my head ached and it was Daylight Savings Time and I was sore and cranky from camping, and the fates were stacked against me?

Yeah, that one. Well, after I got the "Thanks, but No Way in Hell" email from the editor, I called my sister boo-hooing, because that's what big sisters are for, especially responsible, kind and sensitive big sisters with a major diplomatic bent. And that is my sister exactly. She rocks. Anyway, she told me to write an email to the editor acknowledging that the interview didn't exactly put my best foot forward (I'll say), and to actually try writing the newsletter she wants and send it to her as a sample. So I did, and the woman was "very impressed" and wants me to meet the publisher TOMORROW! (please, please giant Everest pimple, go AWAY already!)

I'm not counting my freelancing dollars before they hatch, but still, this is RENT, folks. Simons will be so pleased! Oh man, I'm so tempted not to even tell him until I have the assignment.

Also, sent another kickass pitch, this time to Parents magazine, which I know is bizarre since I don't actually have any little critters. But I like them, have read every parenting book in the universe, and realized today that I have FOUR NIECES, ONE NEPHEW AND TWO GODDAUGHTERS. Man, it's going to be an expensive Christmas this year. Anyone have any ideas for cheap but nice children's presents? I had thought to knit them all hats or sweaters, but that is going to end up being more expensive than just getting them a pony. I keep threatening to do that, and for some reason, none of these mothers think that's funny.

So tomorrow, it's Dwell magazine, and maybe one of these days, someone will accept something I pitch. Now wouldn't that be a surprise.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Take a stick of butter

Thanks for all of the pat-pats. I definitely needed them. Fortunately Simons came home last night, took one look at my face, which had crumpled off in despair and was lying on the floor moaning, and hied himself off to the grocery to purchase a rather large block of manchego (mmmm....cheese) and a reasonably priced bottle of cabernet. He even watched Steel Magnolias with me, although the generosity of his gesture was somewhat marred by his heartless remarks about, "Behold, the magnolias are gathering around the grave. They are made of steel." Sadly, smacking him isn't as effective as smacking the dog.

Today is an improvement, even though the first thing I did was pour the pot of coffee into the sugar bowl. I can tell that I feel better, since I didn't cry, but sort of gave a muffled giggle, before giving up on pouring and instead applying the coffee pot directly to my lips.

I did send a mockup newsletter to the oncology people, so maybe they will hire me after all. If not, I can always claim mental retardation and say that they are not an equal opportunity employer and sue. Believe me, they totally think I am disabled. I'm surprised the woman could even hear me over the wind whistling between my ears. I may even have used the word, "thingy," since proper diction was just not happening for me. And if she happened to hear the dog vomiting in the background, she will have marked "Gross" as well as "Stupid" on my resume and set the whole thing on fire.

In better news, Simons and I are heading down to the Castro tonight for some Halloween action. Simons is a little nervous that Hot Gay Steve is putting the "weenie" in Halloween, after he told a droll little story about going out on Saturday in naught but a pair of lacy girl's panties. Simons doesn't care so much on principle what Steve wears, but he seems a tad uneasy with that image of his friend being burned into his brain forever and ever amen. But a Castro Halloween will probably be quite dramatic, and I'm certainly looking forward to getting THE HELL OUT OF THIS APARTMENT! Somehow i have forgotten to arrange for a costume, so I'm going to see if the old debutante dress will fit over my enormous arse (doubtful) and will slap on the old tiara and go as a deb. Everyone else will be much sluttier than I, since all costumes these days look like Paris Hilton going to church, but it can't be helped. I'm too old to be slutty anymore. Where are my teeth?

Anyway, I have redeemed myself after the chicken pie debacle, and have wrought the most beautiful little sweet potato biscuits (with hame) ever and am eating one (several) right now with butter dripping off one knuckle. So delicious. So filled with yummy calories. Nothing like butter to cheer one's soul.

Monday, October 30, 2006

awful

I'm having an awful day.

Blew a telephone interview for what would have been the easiest damned freelance job EVER. The dog was vomiting in the background. My landlord was outside mashing door buzzers because he forgot his keys. I was sore and tired and out of it and made not a lick of sense. And before anyone says, "There, there, I'm sure it wasn't THAT bad, Jemima," let me just say that I've ALREADY gotten the "Thanks but no thanks" email from the woman.

Gah!

The dog won't quit hurling, under the desk, in the kitchen, all over the living room rug. So she probably has giardia and is dying and we can't afford to take her to the vet here, who probably needs a Rolls Royce payment or another case of Dom Perignon.

I want to cry, but I'm too tired and my head already hurts.

So I'm going to write a mock up newsletter for the interview that I blew, and maybe see if they'll give me another shot.

And I did send a cover letter for another freelance job, this one regarding food editing and writing (please, God, are you there?). So if you have some intelligent vibes or just good thoughts, send them my way...

Trust me. I need them.

Jemima...NOW WITH EXTRA CRUNCH!!!

I hope that all of you had a weekend full of chocolate and Tivo, to make up for mine of dirt and pain.

Oh God, I'm so tired I may perish. Simons and I went camping on Saturday in the Sierras near Tahoe, and it is HUMILIATING how out of shape I am. But it was so beautiful and so amazing to me that we live close enough to such things to make a weekend trip out of it. No bears, thank God, although we dropped packs and pitched the tent so late on Saturday that neither of us noticed we were sleeping underneath a bear scratching post, raked with claw marks and dripping with sap. Heh.

Do you remember how excited you'd be to go camping when you were little, or hell, even in college? It's a little different now. First, Simons might as well have driven to Tahoe by himself, since I was nose-deep in a book the whole way up there, and practically eviscerated him when he politely asked if I'd like to pull over to go to the bathroom. (Thankfully I finished it before we started hiking, or there might have been bloodshed.) I burned the butt out of the dinner, see previous post about dissatisfying chicken pies, which were not improved overmuch by tasting of shit, carbon and stove fuel. Also, because it had been so long since we'd truly camped, we forgot all of the essentials, namely bourbon, cigarettes and cards. So after sitting there wondering at the billions and billions of stars, freezing our fannies off on a rotten log for oh, ten minutes, we gave up and went to bed. It must have been 8:30.

This getting old business is highly overrated, and I want my money back. The goddamned dog took up the whole tent, sleeping HORIZONTALLY between us, and I shivered and shook and writhed around claustrophobically ALL NIGHT and must have been sleeping with my head on a downhill slope and my back on a a pile of bowling balls, because DAMMIT it was uncomfortable. I woke up glaring crossly at Dog's wet nose, who was yawning smugly in my face, stretching and jabbing her pointy toes into my bruised and tired ribs.

Anyway, the morning was a considerable improvement, thanks to the fancy camping coffee filter I gave to Simons for Valentine's last year, which brought to mind the time I made my friend Suzy (Floozy) shoot hot grits out of her nose at a Waffle House when we were in high school. She remarked snidely on the amount of sugar I was pouring into my coffee, and without looking up I responded, "Ah laks mah coffee like I laks mah men...hawt, black and sweet." It was even funnier considering I'd only ever even frenched one person at that point, but that's a different story.

Leaving our tent behind, and good riddance, we climbed this enormous granite ridge, up above the treeline, and from there could see miles of lakes and spruce trees (i guess that's what they were, must get plant book) and no one else in sight. There were no planes, no sounds of cars or backhoes or even human voices. Just the wind and the sound of rushing water.

The last two books I've read have been a pioneer woman's journal on a wagon train to Santa Fe and into Mexico, and the other, a work of historical fiction, and no, I won't say which, because it's deliciously smutty. It was most bizarre to suddenly feel as though I'd left behind all the trappings of modern life and should suddenly take up chopping wood and hunting bear. It brought out all kind of quaint speech patterns, and Simons and I almost started calling each other "Mr." and "Mrs." He ruined my illusions though, by bringing along a GPS...plus, he just looks like an architect and not a bear trapper/hunter/Revolutionary soldier. Oh well. He has many other fine qualities.

Dog had a fine time on her first ever camping trip, gambolling about on the lake shores and freezing her skinny hiney off going swimming in 40-degree water. She kept plunging down the slopes, leaping around like a jackass trying to see above the shrubs, which meant she had no brakes and would just blithely careen off of various dropoffs and cliffs. She so exhausted herself that she was immune to all of the torments we inflicted on her during the ride back. She didn't even mind that we stopped for the best cheeseburgers EVER on the way home and didn't bring her ANY.

We are back in our fairly squalid apartment now, which is a little sad. Simons is at work, and I am here, looking for work as usual. Everything is dirty; clothes, dishes, tables, stove. And I'm too cold and sore to feel like cleaning. But I can't work unless my house is clean. So I'm in quite a pickle.

I have photos, but the camera is in the car, which is parked 10 blocks away. So more camping later.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Disappointment

Here are the fruits of two days' labor.




















Ten chicken pies for Simons to take to work.

















Rather than have him spend a lot of money on lunches, I went and spent even more money so I could spend two days making these.
















And why are there only ten instead of the promised twelve.

Because I ate two of them. Not because I was hungry. But because they were there. And the worst part about it is that they weren't even any good.





















SIGH

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Nostalgia

I'm getting as bad as the malls, talking about Christmas when it's not even Halloween yet. But what with the writing and the plane ticket searches for the trip home, I guess I've just got it on the brain.

First, yes, Charleston has had White Christmases...at least one that I can recall. Sometimes it's 70 degrees, which is a little unsettling, but somehow it's always sunny and crisp and lovely. My parents have lived in the same pink three-storey house since I was three years old, so every Christmas that I can remember (save one) was in that house. When we were little, after setting out the cookies and bourbon for Santa, my sister would let me sleep in the bed with her and read me The Night Before Christmas. The book was my grandmother's, so the pictures were very old fashioned and Dickensonian, with ruffly nightcaps and funny hairdo's. And we'd lay our stockings at the foot of the bed, one with Snoopy and the other my mom made out of felt, that looked like a high heeled boot complete with sequins and rickrack (Mom must think Santa likes burlesque). And waking up in the morning, those stockings looked like someone with a case of the dropsy was wearing them, they were so full of little goodies. Those were mainly fancy soaps and toiletries, with a clementine in the toe.

Then we'd creep downstairs...it was always very cold, because the third floor had no heat and was remarkably drafty (gusty even). And we could never see what was at the bottom, because Daddy always cut a 25-foot marsh cedar tree and stuck it straight up the middle of the spiral staircase. You'd have to go to the landing between the second and third floor to put on the star. After Hurricane Hugo, there weren't anymore cedar trees that tall, so now they have a 9-ft tree in the living room, but it's just as beautiful. Still, those tall trees were the envy of all our classmates, and my mom is the queen of tree decoration. We have about 20 boxes of ornaments, some ancient and decrepit, some with working parts and ships in bottles and ones that my sister and I made. And she puts on garlands with ARTISTRY, so they loop and arch just so. And when everything is on, we cover the entire thing in antique tinsel, which is the devil to pick off afterwards, but looks just like ice when the white lights are on. It always looked like a fairy tree. So we'd creep around the tree at the bottom and see the veritable sea of wrapping paper and presents, sometimes a bicycle, once a pair of stilts, and I think one year there was a puppy, but that was for my sister, so I don't remember.

The one year we weren't at home for Christmas was after Hugo, because the house wasn't liveable. And rather than put up a tree in our dinky little temporary home in a friend's carriage house (far too small for a family that needed sulking room), we went to Boone, NC to learn to ski (ha) and build snowmen (Daddy and my Uncle Ricky made an anatomically correct snow-woman with cranberry nipples and a bottle of Jack Daniels...the mothers were not impressed) and go sledding. The main thing I remember about that one is all of us waiting downstairs for my grandmother to finish fixing her hair...and when you're 12 and 17 (me and my sister) and 8 and 5 (my cousins), this seems like a damnable waste of time. And when she finally did come down, in a foul and martyred temper, she said, "You didn't need to wait for me. I'll be dead soon." The silence was palpable, as all of us, grownups and children alike, tried to figure out what in the name of God she was talking about. It's a family joke now that when one of us is feeling ill used, we say, "Don't worry about me. I'll just go eat at Shoney's for Thanksgiving. Two pies for 49 cents." Sometimes we just shorten to it, "Two pies for 49," and roll our eyes.

We always pull out the stops for Christmas dinner too, with stuffed goose and forty sides and mom makes a dacquoise, which is chocolate hazelnut ganache with layers of almond meringue and almond buttercream. It takes Mom hours, but everyone really loves it. She also conveniently forgets what a pain it is every year when she's agreeing to it. And the whole extended family comes, and drinks Rum Punch and gets very jolly. Who knows where we'll be, since we have several families to please this year. How in the world do you organize that without hurting anyone's feelings?

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Igottagitouttahere

I hate fake Christmas trees. I hate researching their statistics. I hate learning about their synthetic makeup. I hate that some Chinese mother is withering her ovaries sniffing their cheap PVC chemicals. I hate their buying trends. Hate. Hate. Hate.

MOST OF ALL, I HATE THAT I HAVEN'T FINISHED THIS DAMNED PRESS RELEASE YET! I WANT THESE FAKE PLASTIC TREES OUT OF MY LIFE SO I CAN GO LISTEN TO RADIOHEAD AND CRY FOR MY JADED SPIRIT!!!

Update:
I'm finished. Finally. Now I have to go shower now, and cleanse the grinchiness of faux Christmas items from my skin...lest Santa decide to give me fake jewelry or fake hmmm-gasms or fake cheese to get even. (shiver)

Also, Kelly Love, your faux Christmas tree is excused from my earlier tirade. Because, it's pink. It's not trying to pretend to be burly lumberjack tree or quaint Swedish clog under the balsams tree or anything else. It is a shiny shiny pink tree, and is perfect as it is.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Claus-trophobia

Another freelance job came rolling in today from the media company, and on top of the whole linking of gastric bypass to dementia and Alzheimer's (furious eye rolling and tsks of disbelief), now I have to promote ARTIFICIAL CHRISTMAS TREES. And is it about how artificial Christmas trees are the devil's playthings and inhabited by gremlins who lick all of your advent calendar chocolate while you're sleeping?

Negatory. I have to say nice things about the crappy faux trees.

Who buys pre-lighted plastic trees? Tell me it's old people with no family to speak of, because do people REALLY buy that for their children? In which case, HOW DO THEIR CHILDREN KNOW WHAT CHRISTMAS SMELLS LIKE? Are these faux Christmas (buyers) obsessive compulsive cleaners or afraid of bugs or allergic to pine? And speaking of, do buyers of these appalling trees hang those pine tree scented air fresheners in their living rooms to add that fresh piney smell?

My own auntie actually hires someone to decorate her tree, which gives me the absolute vapors, but at least her tree is real. You're SUPPOSED to have Brandy Alexanders or cocoa or AT LEAST tea or something, and maybe some ginger cookies and you decorate the tree with friends (gay Navy merman ornaments, anyone?) or with family (tiny broken wooden toys from when we were tots). It's TRADITION. How traditional can you be when you go into the closet, drag out your Trapper Keeper-smelling tree and unfold it like a damned umbrella ALREADY lighted?

Man, I am hot about this. Fake trees are just plain wrong. Who's with me?

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Saving the World...

...one runner at a time.





I'm off this morning to volunteer for Team In Training, at the Nike Women's Marathon. If you've ever wanted to run a marathon (it was on my list of things to do before I die), TNT will train you, coach you, map out your goals, show you how to eat, lift weights, stretch, which shoes to buy, etc. In return, you raise between $1500 and $4000 or so for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. It's a pretty awesome program, and when I did my marathon last year, you wouldn't have believed how many runners were wearing a purple TNT shirt OR how many people on the sidelines were waving purple TNT signs and ringing bells and cheering us on. So many people affected by these cancers. So many people doing something about it. If you want to do something about it too, come on by the tent! Or see if there's a LLS office in your town.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Tonight's Menu

Simons has invited some fun but definitely snoo snoo arty types for dinner tonight. Therefore I am mucking out the house, beating the dog, and trying to sell my car, all at the same time.

Here is what we're having:

Butternut squash and apple soup with saffron

Baked spiced sweet potatoes with garlic and olive oil
Goat's milk yogurt with rosemary

Chicken breasts with roasted lemons, olives and capers
whole wheat pasta
spinach

Pumpkin honey cupcakes with cream cheese icing.

Don't you wish you were eating this right now? I just did.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Pissed

A Little Pissed

Simons has lost his wedding ring. Okay, well, maybe not totally lost, but it's at work and he's home without it on his finger. Am I right to be slightly pissed about that? It bothers me that he just takes it off while he's doing AutoCad because it hurts his finger. Um, TOUGH SH*T! Marriage is always shiny and sparkly and comfy. Sometimes it gouges your freaking eye out when you're washing your face, but you deal.

A Lot Pissed

I was supposed to run the Chicago Marathon this weekend. But what with getting married, moving across the country, and a nasty and persistent case of Plantars Fascitis (like a stone bruise but has to do with your tendon), that didn't happen. But my running partners wanted to stay in the room I was getting, seeing as how the nearby hotels are hard to book, and I got a good discount as part of Team In Training. I said they could, if they paid me in advance. Well, they did not, despite repeated urging. And yesterday, a week after the deadline, they finally deposited two thirds of the total $816 in my account. And when I called, one of the girls, oh, let's call her Jill, said she thought I was still coming and was all shocked that she and the other girl, um, Theresa, had to pay the whole thing. Um, Jill and Theresa have known since June that I wasn't going to run it.

Well, as tempting as it was to just write them a check back and tell them good luck sleeping in the park and GEE, HOPE IT DOESN'T SNOW, I would actually be screwing a charity, since TNT had already booked the room. So I had to go ahead and pay for it out of my credit card. Keep in mind the moving and the unemployment and whatnot.

Let it go. Let it go. Let it go. Oh my God, I'm so broke. Let it go. Let it go....

Making a Stand...a Really Weak Stand...Maybe...Ok, Probably Not

Well, let's not get too carried away. My ancestors were Jewish right up through my grandfather, but I'm Episcopalian. So I'm a little honky Protestant myself. But I almost feel like that makes me more responsible for not carrying on the archaic, bigoted tradition.

But a little part of me really wants to go.

YOU SEE? THIS is how the Germans got away with persecution. Everyone wanted to go to their little SS parties and rallies and book burnings and such and no one put their foot down and said, "NO! I'LL BE DAMNED IF I WILL!

Now you see I'm going to hell for sort of making humor out of something that is not at all funny, for wanting to go to the goddamned ball AND for putting on airs about being able to change the world.

But my wedding dress is so pretty.

And my nieces, my nieces are so cute. Really. If you think you can stand it, behold, THE CUTENESS! Gird yourself.



Moral Dilemma

I'm having a dilemma right now, and I've got to make a decision before Simons comes home. His parents are members of this group, which is this really old fashioned society type thing that has a gigantic shmancy ball every January. However, it only allows members if they are white, protestant, probably rich, and date their geneology back to Charleston in Noah or something. So I'm fundamentally opposed to it, since my family was in Charleston in 1792, but were all Jewish and weren't allowed. Now that I'm married into it, they want me to be the freaking belle of the ball, where I get to wear my wedding dress and eat dinner or waltz with the president. So do I tell them to fuck off or do I leap at the chance to wear my wedding dress one last time? See, I'm very shallow. Actually, Simons' dad offered to fly us home for it, and I am DYING to see my two nieces again. Dying, I tell you. Are nieces worth dropping my principles? And maybe it would be fun, albeit elitist? Or would my soul wither and blacken (like my heritage)?

Sigh.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Not exactly nine to five...

But I'm working.

Hear that, Internet? I'M WORKING.

Yours truly just finished a press release for a media optimization company and sent it off. It was pretty good, if I do say so myself, even if I do know nothing about bariatric surgery. Yeah, just so you know, don't believe everything you read in press releases, because some schlub like me wrote it. Oooh, maybe they'll give me free bariatric surgery so I can look like Kate Moss! I'm already envisioning my sleek thighs and rippling biceps.

Vogue Editor: "Jemima Kate Moss, do you feel guilty about the influence your sleek thighs have on thousands of impressionable teenagers?"

Jemima: [Giggles vacuously and takes puff of Marlboro Red] "Can you repeat the question?" [Stretches aforementioned thigh, which seemingly disappears like an optical illusion]

Maybe I should just go running instead. It's cheaper than hospitalization, and since AmEx just called to pre-order my firstborn child, I should go for the cheaper option. I know one person who's had a gastric bypass, but I haven't seen her since it was done, and I always thought she was totally gorgeous and didn't need it anyway. It seems so drastic. Internet, do you know anyone who has resorted to it? Did it work? Was it worth it?

So...that was two hours of billable work. Excellent! Now I just need to create a professional webpage, pitch a story to Dwell, get some watches repaired, write 300 thank you notes, call Cingular, send a cover letter and resume about a job, and go to the bookstore. Oh, and walk Devil who is glaring at me from the depths of her bucket. Who knows, maybe I'll see The Flasher again and THIS TIME, he better watch out!

Monday, October 16, 2006

Nautical

Simons and I went sailing in the Bay this Saturday with a friend of ours from Charleston. His ex-wife, who owns an excellent art gallery in Charleston, had an affair with the owner of a giant pharmaceutical conglomerate after HIS wife, who is best friends with Simons' mom, had an affair with her tennis pro. Simons housesat at her amazing four storey house on Legare Street while she was off in Maine gallivanting with said tennis pro, and I always wanted to throw a croquet party in her luxe backyard. Well the art gallery owner’s now ex husband is an awfully nice man, and he came out here presumably to avoid witnessing the illicit love affair between his wife and another man and to complete a psychology degree in marital and family counseling...God, he could write a book. Anyhoo, he has a GORGEOUS sailboat which is practically a work of art with shiny wood and glistening metal and a gigantic red spinnaker that is too preppy for words.

Our new home


Wind Direction


Patriotic


Spaces


Probiscus


Red


Preppy


My husband is my caliente


Sadly our sailboat owning friend is a teetotaler, which is only sad because there’s nothing that goes down better on a yacht than a mimosa, or a bloody mary, or a julep or really anything with rum, or hell, alcohol for that matter. But, it was still a nice way to spend a Saturday. We spotted sea lions swimming in the middle of the bay, which is a little freaky since it’s 150-feet deep in some places. That’s just so much deep darkness…

And we crept up on Alcatraz, which I must admit, I’ve never had much desire to visit. I’ve spent so much of my life trying to avoid going to prison, so why in the hell would I want to pay money to GO? Anyway, it looked so damned haunted and COLD up there, surrounded by all that deep and dark and chilly hard stone, now I want to go read the Count of Monte Cristo all over again. I haven’t read it since sixth grade when we had to read it in French, and something tells me it’s time to pick it up again.

Then my favorite auntie, (Ant) Scott, was in town for a legal conference, and we went to Stinson Beach to try to feed Beulah to the sharks. Sadly, even the sharks know she will give them indigestion. That damned dog got a UTI on Friday, and so I found a vet that would accept us on the same day, walked in and said, “She has a UTI. She needs some Baytril.” Well, the swiving vet insisted on doing an ULTRASOUND and a needle extraction urine sample and charging us freaking $280 (she wanted to do a bacteria culture that would have cost $170 more) to say, “She has a UTI. She needs some Baytril.”

TWO HUNDRED EIGHTY DOLLARS!

I should have just given them the dog, since we pay that much in replacement toothbrushes every month. The good news is that Devil seems to be feeling much better and we have had no more desperate pottying adventures in the park. However, the vet called on Saturday night to recommend we bring her back in a week for an additional ultrasound and needle urine extraction so that she can make sure the UTI is indeed gone. I wanted to say, "Well if she ain't pissing 65 times, isn't that a good indicator that it's gone? Oh wait, if it doesn't cost anything, then it can't be true..."

Oh, back to my aunt and uncle. We visited some shops, and Scott bought me a lovely knitting book called Last Minute Knitted Gifts. 90% of the projects in it are so lovely, I want to hug the pages. I’m determined to make all knitted gifts for Christmas, although I may be a bit late. I hear sweaters take an awfully long time. I’m working on a baby sweater for Sarah Elizabeth (who discovered her hands this weekend!) and after that, maybe I’ll make a gorgeous raglan sweater for Simons. With a zipper…Mmmmm, hot zippered sweater....Mmmm, removing hot zippered sweater from husband...mmmm

We all ate at Nob Hill Café last night for dinner, Scott’s favorite place. Divine. So divine. Carbonara with vats of butter and garlic and parmesan and pancetta. When I die, I want to come back as carbonara.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Dirty

GAH!

Must wash out brain with lye soap and stab eyeballs with hot forks of displeasure.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I've been flashed.


And I'm SO PISSED about it. There I was walking my dog back from the park, enjoying the sunshine and outdoors. And I may have smiled pleasantly at this "nice young man" because i'm from the South and that's what we do. Then I noticed that he has his penis out of his pants and is woggling it at me in a disgusting fashion and hissing something menacing at me. "You like that?" I think it was.

Sick.

Anyway, I called him a pig and kept walking, but the whole way home I felt alternately furious and helpless and a little like crying. And I made up all these other scenarios where I'd followed him screaming until he ran away in shame. Or that I'd laughed at him and mocked him. Or that I had a cell phone on me and called the police. It was awful that this hideous fucker had created this power over me, my mood, my day, and sadly my memory.

STAY AWAY FROM THE LIGHT

Now I know nobody cares about hearing my dream from last night, because you're probably not in it. HOWEVER, I'm now convinced I'm probably going to die, so I'm writing about it anyway.

First, and this is not the death part, I was fixing Thanksgiving dinner in this strange house, which presumably was mine. But I was wearing roller skates and the kitchen was steep. Like Nob Hill steep. My father in law was giving himself vapors watching me skate to the top and back.

Maybe that was a sign that I will overcome challenges (and hills) and San Francisco will become comfortable for me? Dammit, I hope so.

THEN, Simons and I were driving this beautiful old timey silver truck through the woods on a perfect fall day. All the leaves were changing and the light was incredible. You know those days when it just Smells like autumn, all crisp and tingly like something's about to happen? And then we came to this bridge that although small, was famous for being the only way people could at one time get to some certain island. I thought it was Wadmalaw (marsh island in Charleston) in my dream, but maybe I made that up. Simons wanted to take all these pictures of the little white bridge to sketch, and the great part was that Woo (Jack Russell I got for my tenth birthday who passed away last year) and my sister's deceased gigantic black lab, Bushman, were there too, romping around gaily and getting in the way. And we couldn't take too long because this older couple in a car were waiting to get across the bridge too.

Old people. Dead dogs. A BRIDGE!

Hello! I'm so dreaming about The Passage.

Oh well, at least Woo and Simons were there too, and it seemed quite lovely and cozy. Notice Beulah Devil Dog wasn't there. That's because she's going to the hot place where refrigerator-opening, perpetually scratching, toilet paper eating, carsick dogs burn for all eternity. HELL, I SAY! HELL!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Fear of Failure

"They" say procrastination is nothing more than a fear of failure.

Okay, I'll buy that. But how do you overcome it?

Is it luck or self discipline or just a matter of closing your eyes and leaping? Is it a fear of regretting the things you never did or didn't try your hardest? Or maybe overcoming this fear of failure means accepting failure as a friend and doing it anyway.

This freelancing thing is tough. The lack of money is ridiculous. Moving to a new city where I don't know anyone or have any writing contacts or even anything concrete to write ABOUT yet is kind of...um, challenging. I'm trying to be positive here, and although "depressing" and "exhausting" and "dark and hopeless and full of woe" all come to mind as adequate descriptions, I'll just go with "challenging" instead.

I've been working on some ideas, and have called a few people, which has lead to more potential food writing ideas and contacts and so forth. Anyway, yesterday, my husband's friend put me in touch with this other writer and said we had to get together and would just love one another. Well, as it turns out in the course of awkward conversation, this "writer" used to work for W, Women's Wear Daily, Time, Harper's, etc. and is THE fashion writer in the US. And although she was nice, it was that kind of nice where you come away sad and shellshocked and overwhelmed. No one will ever want to read my stories. I'm too old to start this. No one will ever pay me to write. And I'll be a terrible waitress.

Today is the day I had set aside for compiling all these ideas and writing pitch letters. Only I can't do it. I feel tired and sad and weepy. Not exactly a day for inspiration. I've sat in front of this laptop all day, and accomplished nothing and all I want to do is go home and hold my nieces and go sit under a tree I don't have to walk 20 minutes to find. But I can't give up. I'm out here and I've GOT to find a job, and writing is the only thing I've ever been any good at, and if I don't do it now, I never will.

So, how do I shake this fear? How do I break into the circle?

Sigh.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Burrito

Simons' friend Steve has this saying that he made up when he moved to San Francisco from Manhattan. People move here for the sunshine and the cool music and the sweet rock climbing and the healthy living and the drag queens. They move here because the restaurants are paradise, because the money is good, because they like the fucking avocadoes, right? Well, on a fine weekend like the one we just had, everyone is buying into it. As Steve says, "They're buying the burrito."

I am buying the burrito. I am paying extra for the avocado.

Let's review.

Saturday:
Ocean Beach for surfing and dog walking.
Free bluegrass concert (Hardly Strictly Bluegrass) in Golden Gate Park, where I sat on my blanket with my dog, eating funny cookies and knitting WHILE WATCHING EARL SCRUGGS, GILLIAN WELCH, EMMY LOU HARRIS AND DAVID RAWLINGS.

Sunday:
Grace Cathedral to pray for Bush's impeachment
Bouldering at Tiberon where my husband went all crazy showing this rock who's boss. Um, meow?
Lunch in Alamo Square while watching the Blue Angels do aerial tricks overhead

Damn, I love burrito.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Famous

"Please observe..."

Last Monday's Chicks With Sticks meeting/extravaganza/party down. I drove myself to Bliss Bar in the Mission, only getting lost, um, four times. Bought myself a contraband glass of wine (the expense!) and sat down with all of the fabulous knitters. See Gabbi with her red sweater project and Meaghan with her sweater and oh, just everyone!

The second picture down. That's me on the right! Me! With new friends!

Friday, October 06, 2006

Jobs Shmobs

Does anyone else just find job searching to be totally debilitating? It’s a little like wearing your heart on your sleeve and having people tell you that you either are or aren’t good enough. And when they don’t bother to contact you at all…well, that’s just mean.

So I had my first interview today, with (and don’t even SAY it) a big PR firm out here. And no, I do not, under any circumstances, want a PR job. If I were to take one, no matter how fancy, I would be selling out. I came out here to WRITE, goddammitohell, and that’s what I want to do. But in the next day or two, I’m going to have to ask my husband for money, and no matter how great our partnership, some small part of me will wither and die when I do it. It’s so…so…June Cleaverish.

Anyway, the interview went okay, I guess. I met with their senior vice president, who I must say, is a complete douchebag, one of those people who has to negate every single thing you say no matter what. If you say the sky is blue, he’ll tell you it’s pink and here’s why. The other three people I met with while I was there were pretty nice and seemed fun, and my writing test went fine (I mean, really). So because I don’t want it, they’ll probably make some hideously great offer on Monday that will be so hard to refuse, because think of all the fun shoes I could buy and get ourselves out of the disgusting amount of debt we are in. Simons says I shouldn’t even consider taking it, which is kind of awesome man he is. But remember… “wither and die.”

Lots of other fun stuff has been happening. I went to my first Castro Street Fair last weekend. There were gay cheerleaders, who were incredibly mediocre, but damn I love a good sweater monkey. And lots of very large buff men with teeny weeny dogs. And drag queens…lots and lots of veeeeerry ugly drag queens. AND (!!!) I saw one of the twins from America’s Next Top Model. Actually, my friend Steve had to point her out, because I haven’t watched any of this season’s episodes. I’m too busy catching up on Grey’s Anatomy. Lust, Lust.

And Simons has been surfing, while Mistress of Evil Who Has Learned How To Open The Fridge And Must Be Stopped For The Love Of God and I have gone for lots of beach romps. I should hire her out to the military for trench digging or landmine rooting. This hole was bigger than she was.

And look how proud…











It’s new for me to walk on the beach barefoot while wearing a down parka. But there is tons of interesting stuff to poke at. The sea kelp looks like something from outer space.







Here is my kitchen and the view from my back stairs.

I love my apartment so much I want to lick it.
Which is good, because I can't afford to leave it.

Friday, September 29, 2006

GAH!

Just devoured a half tub of Dulce de Leche. The fatness! THE FATNESS! Get it away! A pox on the Haagen Dazs! Must get out of this apartment! The walls! The walls are closing in on me! GAH!

Alms?

I was plugging away at the emailing clips and and job searching yesterday when I got a desperate phone call from Simons at Ocean Beach, calling from someone else's cell, and immediately I assumed he was bleeding since I'd been berating him before he left about surfing buddyless. And no, I wouldn't go with him even if he asked (well, maybe then) because I NEED SOME TIME ALONE. Even when you are with the person you love, emailing/begging for jobs should really be done alone in a dark room surrounded by trickling water and bats. I'm just not used to this sudden shortage of personal space.

Someone had stolen his car key while he was surfing, and some other surfer said it had happened to him and because the car and wallet were still there, he had assumed everything was okay until a week later when all his credit cards were hosed. Nice. So I RODE THE BUS for an hour to get there--ME, who has never taken public transportation in the United States ever. ME! And I didn't get lost. There was a fair amount of galloping across streets and begging bus drivers for directional information, but I at least picked the correct bus lines and stuff. Hooray! And I found my husband and everything is golden. We are home now, with no credit cards, no money, no jobs (for me) and no way of paying for anything. Tralallaa.