Friday, November 30, 2012

cats and dogs

When we first moved here, it was sunny and mild and perfect every single day. For two whole months! It was not what we expected at all. We were told San Francisco was cold. And foggy. And rainy. Then we got here and we thought, those crazy fools; it is always nice here!


It has been raining for four days straight and, according to the forecast, this junky weather will likely continue through the next week.

Not cool, San Francisco.

Oh well. No weather is perfect, right? When it comes down to it, I'll take overcast, rainy and mild over frigid, windy and slushy any day.*

*But of course I'll still complain about it!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

majesty snowbird

Dave often pokes fun at my penchant for eccentric musicians, especially my profound love for Sufjan Stevens (see also: Andrew Bird, Jens Lekman, Kishi Bashi, Beirut, Destroyer, Mark Oliver Everett, and Billy Corgan.)

Whatever. My music has soul.

Anyway, it is only a few more days until the Surfjohn Stevens Christmas Sing-A-Long: Seasonal Affective Disorder Yuletide Disaster Pageant on Ice at the Great American Music Hall. YES, that's right! I am absolutely dragging my poor husband to a Sufjan Stevens Christmas sing-a-long, where apparently, Mr. Stevens will be dressed up as a Christmas Unicorn. I love him and I CANNOT WAIT. 

This will be my fourth Sufjan concert and I certainly hope it is not the last. For a Sufjan Stevens show is always a treat.

The first time I saw him was way back in September 2006 at the Riviera in Chicago. During that night's set, he played a new song from a never-released album about birds (maybe eccentric is an understatement). Within the first few notes of the ten-minute epic 'Majesty Snowbird,' I was sold. Six years later, this haunting and beautiful masterpiece is still one of my all-time favorite songs. I utterly adore it and I so, so, so hope he plays it on Wednesday. I mean, it's about a snowbird, so it could potentially be played at a Christmas-themed show, right? RIGHT? Please?

What can I say? I love a man who is not afraid to wear a giant pair of butterfly wings.


If you are interested, Sufjan's new Christmas album, Silver & Gold, is streaming here and here

And some silly promo videos are available for your viewing pleasure here.

Did I mention that I love him?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

older and older

If you happen to need a photo of the shadows on my wall, I'm your gal. But if you are interested in any of the exciting things that actually happened over the last five days, too bad. 

This last week, I mourned the loss of my youth celebrated a milestone birthday and cooked and hosted my very first Thanksgiving dinner. And what do I have to show for it? 


Blogger fail.

I suppose I was a little distracted. These were emotional times, folks. 

First of all, Thanksgiving. Ugh. It was dramatic and I almost threw the motherf*cking chump of a turkey out the window. But more on that another time. (Here's a taste: a water main or pipe or whatever decided to burst on Thanksgiving and we were without water for a brief - but critical - part of the day. I also may or may not have unknowingly turned off the oven, also at a critical time. Because of course I would do that.)

Then, Saturday was my birthday. The very day I have been dreading for the last 11 months. They day I officially turned old. 

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Age is just a number. Except that it is not. Guys, suddenly I grunt when I do things like plug in the iron or get out of a taxi. Grunting = old (or tennis -- it could go either way, I guess). Other new/terrible realities I now face: marionette lines, my biological clock, being addressed as ma'am, thinking everything at Urban Outfitters is just too inappropriate, living without sugar after 5pm, and actually hearing myself utter the phrase 'kids these days.' Oh, and DO NOT even get me started on popular music.

Nevermind that I still don't know how to drive, I have yet to make a dent in my student loans, and I only recently upgraded from sleeping on a futon to a mattress on the floor. Oh yes, and I don't have a job. Not so adult.

Plain and simple, I am not ready for this. 

Though I suppose, if you absolutely forced me to admit it, there are a few... acceptable aspects of being old:

1. Pregnancy is no longer scandalous. In fact, it is encouraged by most people in my life. (On that note, calm down; we are enjoying our quiet marriage, thankyouverymuch.)

2. Confidence. I'm not invincible by any means, but I spend far less time worrying about what others think. Who am I trying to impress, after all? So what if I still listen to the Smashing Pumpkins, love HGTV and the X-Files, blush more often than not, and have weird chubby knees? So maybe I ate a can of microwaved Spaghettios the other day. Go ahead and judge me.

3. Indeed, with age comes wisdom. And appreciation. I am learning to be thankful for the things I have rather than dwell on the things I don't ... The pleasure of living in and exploring this beautiful city, an education (because I know this unemployment debacle would be even worse without one), lovely friends near and far, a family who knew me as a teenager and did not kill me, and a saint of a husband who supports me and loves me infinitely, even though I'm a jobless old lady who complains all the time :)

(Also, the new-ish Grizzly Bear album. It's sublime and I could listen to it forever and ever. It's my favorite - especially this song.) 

All in all, life is pretty good and, despite my senior citizen status, I am one lucky girl. Um, woman.

So without further ado, the one photo of the weekend! Here we are all dressed up and out on the town. Yes, it was a special occasion indeed -- Dave wore a grey cardigan instead of a grey hoodie and I wore a dress that exposed my knees!

Yes, I know it's blurry and our faces are yellow. 

It was a lovely evening. First we hit Bourbon and Branch to indulge in a few glasses of my favorite cocktail - the French 75. Plus, it's a library-themed speakeasy that requires a password to enter. How cool is that? Then to Frances, where we dined on the best artichokes in the world.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

adventures in interviewing

Is there anyone out there who actually enjoys interviewing? Who looks forward to being put on the spot and quizzed about their qualifications? Probably not. Yet, is there anyone out there who detests interviewing more than me? I doubt it.

Interviewing is my least favorite thing ever. Period. The end. Not even public speaking scares me as much as the dreaded interview.  So distressing, so nerve-wracking, so awful. To me, the interview is nothing but a disaster waiting to happen.

I'm not even being dramatic, for I have had some pretty traumatic interview experiences in my life.

The first occurred in college when I was up for an outreach internship at a local art museum. I have never wanted anything more in my life. I mean, it would have been absolutely perfect.

Yes, would have been. Because the interview happened to be scheduled in August, during an relentless heatwave. Most people associate Wisconsin with subzero temperatures and blizzards (and yeah, cheese), but trust me, the summers are equally brutal. And that particular August day was the worst of the worst. An oppressive kind of heat. Humid, sticky, torrid. The air was so thick it was practically unbreathable.

So, what is the appropriate professional attire for an interview in the sweltering heat? The best I could do in those poor college years was a black skirt and a light pink button-down... sans undershirt. Keeping in mind that I had to walk three miles to said interview -- in the 100+ degree weather -- lightweight was my priority. How I didn't foresee that this wouldn't end well, I don't know.

By the time I arrived to the interview, I was soaked with sweat. Not only soaked, but on the verge of fainting and total dehydration. Suffice it to say, I looked rough. Really, really rough. I will never ever forget the look of horror on the interviewer's face when, as she reached out to shake my hand, her eyes met my completely-sweat-soaked-see-through shirt. Oh, hey there lace bra.

It was awkward.

Well, if only to prevent me from dropping dead right then and there, she offered me a much-needed glass of water. Naturally, I declined. Why?!?! It makes no sense and I will never know.

As you may have guessed, the whole endeavor was an epic fail. I was able to maintain consciousness for the whole five minute interview (how can you answer questions when you can't even breathe?), but as soon as I got outside, I sat on a bench and - I kid you not - put my head down and passed out for an hour. I can only imagine the interviewer walking by, seeing me sprawled out in a pool of my own sweat, deciding it would be too gross to feel for a pulse, and continuing on her way. I cringe just thinking about it! Ugh.

My second worst interview happened a few years later. Adult job, real paycheck, high stakes. This time, I went shopping for a new dress (because how I'm dressed absolutely affects my confidence level. I realize this is not a lesson to teach the young girls of the world, but it is my reality and I have accepted it.). I was intent on covering my chest (thanks to my previous traumatic bra exposure and a tendency to blush) and purchased the first dress that fit the bill. What I failed to take into account however, was mobility. Ladies, the circumference of the bottom of the skirt does matter.

Following this seemingly successful trip to Zara, the dress hung in my closet for a few days, untouched. On the day of the interview - about one hour beforehand, to be precise - I got dressed and ready to go. Still carless, it would be another long commute to my (hopefully!) future place of employment.

But the second my foot hit the pavement, I knew it. This, too, would not end well. My skirt was so narrow, all I could do was waddle. And barely! It was kind of like this, but worse.

Alas, there was no time to go back and change. Channeling my hero at the time, Tim Gunn, I made an executive decision: I had to make it work. Taking a bus was out of the question (lifting my leg high enough to board would be an impossible feat - even if I hiked the skirt up to inappropriate heights, there was no way), and so I walked. Er, waddled.

Over a mile and a billion baby steps later, with only seconds to spare, I waddled my way around the last corner and, finally, made it to the school. Before I could exhale, however, I saw it. THE STEEPEST STAIRCASE IN THE CHICAGOLAND AREA (probably).

On the very first step, the fate of this interview was decided. It was the loudest, saddest, most tragic rip that I, or anyone in that quad, had ever heard. It echoed, people. All the way past my rear and halfway up my back (the lining stayed in tact, but at that point, does it really matter?).

Again, how can you formulate thoughtful, intelligent answers when you have just experienced such public humiliation? It was over before it even began.

Oh, if only that was all for interview horror stories. But since this is already way too long, some honorable mentions include: the one where I tripped on a doorframe, the time I got a case of uncontrollable hiccups, and when I repeatedly forgot the names of my former places of employement. How I ever manage to get hired at all is beyond me.

Needless to say, for today's interview, I was prepared for anything. Carefully selected (and rehearsed) attire? Check. Ten copies of my resume, filed into two separate waterproof folders? Check. An extra pair of shoes and two backup pairs of tights in tow? Check. Band-Aids? Keys? Bus pass? Cash? Bobby pins? Ziplock bags (you never know)? Bottle of water? Check. Also, I may or may not have arrived nearly two hours early...

Well, I am thrilled to report that yesterday's interview yielded no major catastrophes. But I was still crazy nervous. At one point (maybe two), I think I may have sounded a little like this... Oh dear.

In the end, I tried my best and that is all I could do. And afterward, Dave took me to Roam for comfort food. Because yes, a burger, a beer, and a few of the best French fries in SF can calm even the worst bouts of anxiety. It's true.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

good morning, sf

Had to share this beautiful sunrise:

If this scene is any indication of how the rest of the day will go, then I am in luck. Which I need, because today I have a job interview. My ABSOLUTE LEAST FAVORITE thing in the world.

Deep breath. Deep breath.

Is it over yet?

Saturday, November 10, 2012

this week

Oh hey, it's another mild, sunny and breezy afternoon here in San Francisco. Sure, soon the fog will roll in and the temperature will drop, but until then, one could mistake this for a cool summer day.

Please note that I am not complaining. No, because the weather here as about as perfect as it gets. No snow, no hurricanes, no bitter cold, no thunderstorms, no extremes. It's truly lovely and I am lucky to be here. (In fact, I've waited my whole life to live in a place where coats with three-quarter length sleeves are practical. Hurrah!)

But admittedly, I am missing my midwestern fall. Normally by this time of year, we are eating our way through our second batch of chili and our summer clothes have been long stored away, replaced by cozy wool sweaters. Instead, Thanksgiving (and my birthday, as it happens) is a mere two weeks away and we have yet to close our windows! Strangest of all, the leaves here are still as green as ever. What!?!?

Living in California, without distinct seasons, is an adjustment and that is all. I realize there are worse problems to have :)

Anyway, in looking for all the usual signs of autumn, I was drawn to all things orange (and some yellow, too). 

Some photos from the week:

In our neighborhood. Love all the bold and bright doors.


The last dahlias of the season.

Baking pumpkin cookies with measuring cups from my Momma, who is in Madison. I miss her.

My very first piece of Le Creuset cookware. So exciting!
(It's a grill pan, not a dutch oven, by the way. 
And purchased with store credit and a well-timed coupon. 
I don't just indulge in fancy cookware whenever my heart desires - unfortunately.)


Persimmons from the farmers' market. 
It's pretty cool to taste a new fruit for the first time at the ripe old age of 2*.
I would describe them as pumpkin apple tomatoes. But better.

Orange-tinged sunflowers. Also from the farmers' market.

I've wanted to read this for a very long time; found it at goodwill for $1. Wonderful so far. 

Another awesome door. And the one almost-autumn tree in SF. 
(Also in our neighborhood.)

Wearing my new yellow scarf at brunch this morning. 
(It is very warm indeed... a little too warm.)

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


Today is a very big day. Today is Election Day.

In some ways, this election came out of nowhere. Usually, I am involved in the election or campaigning in some capacity - going door to door to register voters, working at a polling place, calling voters in swing states on behalf of my candidate (ahem, Obama).

But this year, because of timing of the move, the confusion regarding our residency status, and subsequently, our voter registration, we were relatively uninvolved. (And it absolutely pains me to write that.)

Not voting at all, however, was simply not an option. We submitted our absentee ballots last week and while it's strange not to be headed to the polls today (I want a sticker!), I am feeling good.

If you haven't voted in this election yet, go now. It is your right and your responsibility.

In lieu of the obligatory ivotedsticker photo (so bummed!), please enjoy these shots of our artistry and enthusiasm from Election Day '08 :)

Clearly, Dave wins as the most skilled pumpkin carver in this family.