Category Archives: Fiesta!

Letters From The Bay, Week 53: I am a drunken girl

It’s true. As the title says, I find myself in quite a state.

I’ve just come from next to the fridge. Before right now, as in, mere moments ago, myself and my cocktail dress and my very askew eyeliner were crouching in heels with a spoon and making our way through the pasta salad, the potato salad, the peach pie, and yes, the sangria. We used a straw for that one.

Before that – hot, messy mess that it was – we were at a wine bar, my dress and eyeliner and I…eye?…I.  We drank, we laughed, we enjoyed ourselves immensely.

Prior to, we drank sangria in the back yard. Boatloads, if you must know. Pitchers full, straight out of jam jars, because we recycle and also because it’s cute. We are firm believers in both ecological awareness and fiesta avant gardeness.


Jelly jars

Before the sangria, oh what was it? It’s hard to remember before sangria.

Or after, for that matter.

Well, I think before that, it was this:

Faith in the trees

Hope you had just as keen a weekend.

If you need me – or my cocktail dress, my eyeliner, or my spoon – we’re now in the living room.

That cupcake doesn’t stand a chance.


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Filed under Another one bites the dust, Fiesta!, Friends, Letters from the Bay

Letters From The Bay, Week 41: The Benjamin Bump

If I haven’t said it enough, I’ll say it again: I love my job.

Sometimes work means writing a letter or essay that thousands of people will read. Sometimes it means submitting work to well-known authors and directors.  It will frequently involve invitations and tastings and cupcakes oh my.  And often enough, it means stuffing envelopes and just plain getting shit done.  It’s an oddly pleasing balance of head scratchingly strange and just shoot me boring, and I never thought I’d say this, but it’s just right right now.

I love my job.

However, sometimes, my job goes beyond, “I really love it here” to a “You’ve got to be kidding me that I’m getting paid to do this right now” level of awesome.  And that was pretty much Sunday, our Season Gala.

Because if you boil it down to the basics, on Sunday I got paid to hug Olympia Dukakis and direct her to the bar, toward which she made a hasty advance; accidentally ass bump Benjamin Bratt (a happy accident I’d repeat any day of the week now) and then promptly stare at his gorgeousness; and chat it up with a Tony-award winning Disney princess, while wearing an evening gown and flip-flops.

Okay that last one wasn’t my finer moment of the evening, but still: I ASS BUMPED BENJAMIN BRATT.  No Anika Noni Awkward moments are going to take down that high.

I love my job.


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Letters From The Bay, Week 12: Hardly Strictly Hungry

Part I: No Pants, No Problem

It all started with a bowl of oatmeal.

I generally don’t like to start out my stories with “it all started out with…” but what I’m about to tell you is such a clusterfuck, it requires three separate blog posts and the only way to start such a thing is at the beginning.


It all started with a bowl of oatmeal.

It was just this past Saturday morning. I was standing in my kitchen, eating a bowl of oatmeal with strawberries on top, contemplating how it’s never too early to start being concerned with your cholesterol, when I looked down and realized that I was not wearing any pants.

I have been known to have a wardrobe malfunction or two.  I can often be found with my shirt on backward, and when I lived in Flat 4G and shared a bathroom with my dearest LP, she knew that if I went in straight faced (or whatever kind of face one wears when headed in to the WC with the Pottery Barn catalogue to take care of bathroom business) and came out laughing, it was because my underwear was on inside out.

But never before have I cooked pantsless, let alone eaten a full breakfast that way.  I don’t know what surprised me more: the fact that I had, indeed, forgotten to get dressed, the fact that it took me until I was mostly done with my extra fiber to realize it, or the fact that there was absolutely no reason for any of the above.

C’est la vie.

So there I was, in my kitchen, still eating a bowl of oatmeal and now contemplating both my cholesterol and my sanity, when my roommate AKB walked in.

“Um, what are you doing?” she asked, slightly bewildered.

“Um, eating breakfast?” I squeaked out, hoping she wouldn’t notice my sartorial shenanigans down South.

“Yeah, I can see that, but why aren’t you getting ready?”

“Uh, what are we doing again today?”

“Hello? It’s Hardly Strictly!  D is going to be here any minute!”

“Yes. Hardly Strictly.” I said with great determination.  And I was determined.  Determined to escape the kitchen without AKB noticing I was hardly strictly wearing any clothing, and also determined to figure out what Hardly Strictly was and why we were going there in the first place.

“Yes!  Hardly Strictly!  We talked about this, remember,” AKB called out over her shoulder as she bounded down the hall of our apartment.  “We need to start packing the cooler, so hurry up and finish that oatmeal.  And while you’re at it… put on some effing pants!”

So much for that plan.

So, as instructed, I finished my oatmeal and put on some effing pants.  While I was doing so, I recalled that Hardly Strictly was San Francisco’s finest bluegrass festival, and it was happening this weekend.  D lovey loves bluegrass – and who doesn’t, really? – and I simply love a good festival.  Upon further reflection I realized pants were only the tip of the iceberg that was the cluster that was my already very strange morning, and we needed additional accoutrements in order to truly enjoy our festing experience.

Those accoutrements being, of course, mostly cold, bottled, and refreshing.

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I’m a MOH no mo’

Well, that was fun.

We laughed, we cried, we ate, we danced.  And oh yeah – some of us even got married!

I feel relieved that everything went so well – nobody fell down, passed out, said anything inappropriate, or called off the wedding.  My hair looked stupid (never go to the Skye Salon and Spa in Parker, and never have a stylist named Stacey!) but LP looked so beautiful, and as it was her wedding, that was what mattered.

She always yelled at me because “You’re so pretty!” is our default cover your ass move when you have bad news.  For example:

“Hi LP!  Um, so, our love chihuahua may or may not have chewed up your favorite pair of underwear and peed on your bed while I was supposed to be watching her.”

“She did what?!?!”

“You’re so pretty!  Have I mentioned today, how pretty you are?  PRETTY PRETTY, that’s you!”

But really – and I’m not just saying this – she looked spectacular yesterday.

As promised, I brought the funny to the wedding.  At least, that’s what everybody told me!  I did hear people laughing, and at the end of the toast there was lots of cheering, so I took it as a good sign.  If you’d like to read my MOH speech from last night, see below.

If you don’t want to read the MOH speech, that’s cool.  I mean, I’m pretty tired today, so I wouldn’t want to be reading speeches and other people’s funny on the interweb.  What I would want to be doing is drinking a margarita in my pajamas at 3:30 in the afternoon.  And I’m halfway there…if only I could just find that tequila….

LP’s Wedding Toast – July 3, 2009

Hello everyone.  My name is Hilary and I’m your resident MOH – maiden of honor – this evening.  I would like to preface this speech by letting you know that I am, in fact, going to make fun of the bride.  We are equal opportunity teasers, always have been, and I give this speech knowing full well that on my wedding day, many many many years from now, when she stands next to me and gives her MOH toast, she will have her comeuppance.

Dana and I have known each other since sophomore year of college.  We met when we discovered we lived in the same 20 bedroom mansion but had never met, which is a common occurrence when you live in the sorority house.

We lived together in the house together for two years, and then we lived in an apartment together for another year.  And after living with someone for three years, sharing bedrooms, bathrooms, personal space, and lip gloss, you get to know them well enough you could almost write an owner’s manual.

Mike, you’ve never lived with Dana, and I have, and I have a journalism degree so I think this makes me uniquely qualified to do exactly that.  And so, I present you with the Dana Partner’s Manual: full of incredibly helpful, and possibly life-saving, advice.  So buckle up, and I won’t be offended if you want a copy of this later.

When Dana told me the story of your engagement, she said that her dad Sam apparently asked you if you’d ever seen Dana really mad, and if not, you might like to reconsider your offer.  Sam, is that true?  Did you ask that?  Well, I have to agree with him.  But it’s too late for that now.

One day you WILL see Dana really mad.  Nobody knows when or why, but it will happen.  However, I’d like to help you stave off that day for as long as possible, so I bring us to the first chapter in the Dana Partner’s Manual:

Chapter One: Having an argument with Dana.

There are a few topics of conversation never to broach with Dana:

  1. Butter
  2. Chairs
  3. Who it was specifically who left the door open on a windy night, while a candle was aflame near a real (and crispy) Christmas tree, in February and almost torched you in your bed at 2 am.  And also, the coffee pot was on.

Bringing these things up with Dana can only result in pain, heartache, and your possible demise.  So don’t do it.  Just repeat after me: I am always wrong.  Dana is always right.  In case you forget who is always right, you can ask her, she’ll tell you!  I am wrong, she is right.  Good.  Say this to yourself every morning, like a mantra.

Speaking of morning, I’m glad you brought that up.

Chapter Two: Morning Time

Morning is an interesting time for Dana.  For many people, morning is full of promise, shiny and new.  A fresh start to a new day.  But try to put yourself in Dana’s shoes.  If you are Dana, morning is a time when the whole world hates you and you’ve lost the will to live.

If you want to survive the morning intact, there are just a few simple rules:

Rule number one: no talking.  It’s okay to make her some coffee or cinnamon rolls, put them on a plate and the back away slowly.  It’s okay to turn on some music.  It’s okay to watch the news in a different room entirely.  But there should be no talking in the morning.

Rule number two: no touching.  Touching Dana in the morning is like poking a sleeping bear with a stick.  Actually, it’s like poking a very pretty bear who used to be asleep but who is now awake, and really, really angry about it.  Keep your hands to yourself, otherwise you might lose one.

Rule number three: never, under any circumstances, say anything about how her hair looks in the morning.  Just don’t say those words.  Actually, refer to rule number one: just don’t say any words at all.

No talking, no touching.  You’re going to be fine.

Actually, you are going to be more than fine.  Because life with Dana is more than fine – it’s awesome.  And that brings us to our final chapter:

Chapter Three: Life with Dana

Life with Dana is always an adventure – you might get lost, you might get frustrated, you might get into a fight about something stupid like butter or Christmas trees.  You might even get really mad at each other.  But you will definitely get the most wonderful partner anyone could ask for.

As I’ve mentioned about a thousand times tonight, Dana is my best friend.  I would even go so far as to say soul mate, because it’s a rare and beautiful thing in this life to find someone who understands you deep in your soul, who complements you, who makes you laugh, who’s there for you, and who just plain gets you.  It’s rare and beautiful indeed, but not so rare that you can’t find it twice if you’re lucky.  I think you’re both very lucky, because you have found that soul connection in each other.

So my final bit of advice to BOTH of you – yes, I know I’m very wise – is to nurture that connection.  Choose the highest road, the kindest word, the gentlest touch.  Take care of each other.

Dana and I have always joked that we’ll outlive our husbands and when we’re old we’ll wear crazy hats and start drinking at 10 am.  Mike, if you take care of her as well as I know she will take care of you, I have no doubt that we’ll all be there together.  I hope you look good in a crazy hat, and I hope you like vodka.

I now conclude the reading of the Dana Partner’s Manual with a toast: to Dana and her new partner Mike.

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Bringing the funny (and the condoms) to a Mexican wedding near you

I have finished my MOH (maiden of honor) speech for LP’s wedding tomorrow, as I’m sure you already saw via Twitter because you are just desperate to keep up with my life, Internet.

I’ve already tested said speech to my mom, and she thought it was both funny and poignant.  But she’s my mom, so maybe she has to say that.  Test run #2 happens tomorrow at the bridesmaid’s luncheon.  While the bride is getting her hair and makeup done, I will be making the funny in a different room.

So, just like a usual day really.

I’m actually not really that nervous, because the groom’s Aunty Lila already talked about birth control pills, condoms, and bacon.  What do I have to lose at this point?

My pride?  Too late for that.

My street cred?  I have none.

My dignity?  I’m wearing a hot pink evening gown.  Enough said.

Full transcript of said speech will be posted after the wedding.

You’re welcome, Internet, you’re welcome.

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The Reason Why…

…today is great.

1.  I woke up at 5:45 and went for an early morning run. 

Coldplay + the sun rising = bliss!


Granted, I did not run by the ocean.  But the last time I was up to watch the sun rise, it was in Mexico.  Thus, I gift you with a picture of the glowing Mexican sun.  You’re welcome!

2. Must do return mail today, but that means I can listen to a new This American Life podcast.  I had a voice crush on Ira Glass, like, forever, and when I found out what he looked like, I only got more excited.  Geeks are hot.

3. Going to lunch with my other young fun coworker, the other half of H2, so we can sit outside on a balcony somewhere and enjoy the sun!

4. Leaving early to get a pedicure with Katie and Kris.  Thank goodness.  My feet are actually scared of each other, things are so unattractive down yonder. TMI you say?  True.  But why else do you read this blog?

5.  E and I are having a good old fashioned slumber party!  And by good old fashioned I mean drinking wine, watching The West Wing, and talking about men.  That’s been my recipe for a good slumber party since 1993.  You?

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Belated Birthday Bettys

Sometimes I get a case of the Bettys.  Not Betty as in Ford (although we commend you for admitting that you clearly had a problem) or Betty as in Boop, but Betty as in Crocker.

There is a part of my feisty, feminist self – deep, deep, oh so deep down – that actually loves all things 1950.  I love aprons and pearls.  I love to vacuum.  I sometimes daydream about how fun it would be to make a big ol’ breakfast every morning and then send my husband and children away so I could shop and drink coffee and smoke long cigarettes without the spectre of the surgeon general hanging over me.   So yes, it’s true: I have an inner-1950s housewife.  And sometimes she escapes. When she’s not being sat upon by Little Suzy Fat Ass (my inner fat girl), that is.

It only takes one viewing of “Revolutionary Road” to pretty much put all that right back to the ’50s, but oh it’s nice to pretend sometimes.

And usually, when I’m pretending to be June Cleaver, is when I also get a case of the Bettys.  And when you get the Bettys, there is only one thing to do:

Happy Cakes!

That’s right, cupcakes.  

In this case, the Bettys happened to dovetail quite nicely with a birthday, which belonged to my sorority sister Gosia.  

Inspired by InchMark Journal*, I used the tiny paper circles to spell out Happy Birthday to my dear sister and friend.


(*This woman once worked at Martha Stewart.  MARTHA. STEWART.  Both my inner housewife and my inner fat girl would love that job.  Housewife because duh.  Little Suzy Fat Ass because hello!?!?  TWO WORDS: TEST. KITCHEN.  I am fairly sure that Martha should hire me, because I am also fairly sure that I would be fairly to moderately awesome at working for her.)

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