Category Archives: My World

Autumn List

Let’s be clear – I love San Francisco. The artful graffiti and the hazy sunrises. The fog rolling in like the unfurling of an old woolen blanket and the sailboats gliding across the water, as elegant as ladies in ball gowns, but wetter. Boatier.

I love the candy colored Marina houses, packed together like three scoops of ice-cream towering on a cone. I love the crazy colored Victorians in the Haight, just daring you to judge them so they can flip you off behind your back. I adore the street musicians, the crab sellers, the old hippies, and the man with the toothy grin who sells flowers at the Saturday morning market at the Ferry Building. I even relish in the crap weather. There is no town that invites you to brew an extra pot of coffee and read just one more chapter like San Francisco (except for perhaps Seattle?) because hey – it’s pouring rain outside, and who wants to get their hair wet in that hot mess, am I right?

Except. But. However.

I am craving Fall. Allegedly, it’s here – or rather, there, and also there – but alas, it’s definitely not here. As I wandered through the Presidio in the 85 degree heat today and plucked fresh peaches and heirloom tomatoes from the wide farmers market baskets, I couldn’t help but think that Fall seems a million miles away.

Where are the crunching leaves? The crisp winds that whistle in the hollows of your ears?  Where are my new school supplies? And where, for Pete’s (and Trudy’s) sake, are all the pumpkins?!  Doesn’t San Francisco know it’s time?

Maybe I’m being ungrateful. September and October are the respite from my beloved crap weather mentioned above, and usually I’d be happy to have a sunny day when it comes. But something about summer and San Fran don’t quite fit together. I don’t know if it’s a little short in the sleeve or tight in the crotch or if it’s a deeper personal problem we’ll never truly understand, but it’s not right.

So I’d like to go on the record with this: I’ll take rainy afternoons and windy nights over this hot nonsense any day, thank you and you’re welcome. I love you San Francisco, but I just might love Fall more…

Inspired by the lists on this talented photographer’s beautiful site and this lovely lady’s blog, I’ve made a Fall to-do list.

What do you do in the Fall?

Listen:

Septimbre Sizzle and Pumpkin Spice Latte – my all-time favorite music mixdowns by D. Heavy on the Adele, Camera Obscura, Jamie Cullum and Brandon Heath, nothing takes me back to my favorite Fall ever (2008, in case you were wondering) faster than these two CDs.

HideawayThe Weepies. Arguably my favorite album of all time (a list for another blog post), this music is perfectly mellow and a little melancholy, without being depressing. Perfect for Fall.

James Taylor. Any and all. Steamroller, Carolina on My Mind, Fire and Rain…you can practically smell wet leaves in the street and chili on the stove, and that’s exactly right.

Wear:

That One Gray Sweater With The Giant Cowl Neck And The Perfect Sleeve Length. Do you ever look at your closet and wonder what ever possessed you? I’m looking at you plaid dress from last year… And then, do you look at your closet and think, oh thank goodness I own this beautiful thing? What amazing shopping foresight I had!

That’s how I feel about That One Gray Sweater With The Giant Cowl Neck And The Perfect Sleeve Length. It’s a love affair that has begun anew every Fall for almost nine years (oh lord), and one I’m eagerly anticipating this year again, as though it were the first time.

Cook:

Pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin cinnamon rolls, D’s mom’s pumpkin oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, my Grama’s ace, A+, number one pumpkin bars that melt in your mouth…can we say pumpkin?

Roast chicken and bread salad a la Zuni. I once cooked this dish for a boyfriend who I’m not sure appreciated it. Let’s try again, shall we?

S’mores, SF-style: Trader Joe’s cinnamon graham crackers, homemade marshmallows from Miette Patisserie on Chestnut, and, of course, freshly snapped dark chocolate from Ghiradelli Square. Best when building a bonfire on Ocean Beach, if you please.

Do:

Birthday BreakFEAST 2010 – celebrating October birthdays with a little breakfast for dinner. We did this on a whim last year and now I associate pumpkin pancakes and champagne with my birthday – and what’s better than that?

London + Paris with LP! I can’t wait to sip lattes, eat warm bread, wear a cute hat and wander through museums and take photos to my heart’s content.

More Fall things I hope to create/eat/experience…

More real photography (ie, non-Hipstamatic photos)

More writing + more intentional making time for writing

Long evening runs in long sleeved t-shirts + early morning hikes with roommates

Boots, boots, boots!

Grilled pizza on the back deck

The Tate Modern in London

Camping in Yosemite + new North Face sleeping bags

Seeing the Brother/Sister Trilogy + being so proud of where I get to go to work every day

Giant mugs of coffee + sleeping in more if I feel like it

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass + ice cold Fat Tire in a field full of hippies

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Letters From The Bay, Week 49: Little Earthquakes

My cafe au lait swayed rhythmically in the big white mug I drink from every morning, like a hula dancer’s hips, perfectly in time to the beat.

Or in this case, the rumble of the earth as a magnitude 3.3 earthquake twitched through the Presidio at 8:00 Monday morning.

My first earthquake.

While my coffee was certainly shaken, I – I am proud to say – was not.

In a few short weeks, I will be celebrating my one year anniversary of living in San Francisco and being a city girl. That celebration will include, but not be limited to, sharing a bottle of Chateau Monthelena with former roommates and good friends, rehashing my first days in the city, the bizarre color of our living room, the epic nights of bar crawling and bonfires, wine tours, moving out, moving on, men, and on and on.

I feel like I’ve lived a whole separate lifetime in just a year here, and it still seems impossible that this whole separate, glorious, wonderful life is now my actual real life.  To quote another fabulous city girl, the mind reels.

I’ve had the worst job of my life (MY. ENTIRE. LIFE.) and a job so wonderful I couldn’t have dreamt up a better one. I moved in with random strangers, terrified I was making a horrible choice, and ended up with two wonderful women who will always be my friends. I’ve dined with dignitaries, a diplomat, a reality TV celebrity, ravers, crackheads, hippies and a New York Times bestselling author.

There have been moments over the past year that have cause so many internal earthquakes – leave or stay, move or don’t, get out or dig in – that I felt I had no choice but to grab on and wait it out.  Luckily, just like a real earthquake, the tiny terrors and uncertainties pass quickly.  A twitch, a shiver, a quick Hawaiian sashay in and out.

And just like that, you’re back to real life. Glorious, wonderful, real life.

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Thunderbolts and Lightning

I was in yoga last night, which is my favorite place to be on a Tuesday night.  Because of all the running I do now, as well as all the sitting I do all day, my shoulders cramp up and pop and crack and are constantly in pain.  Physical therapy, massage, stretching, sitting on a balance ball in the office…nothing works except yoga.  

And so I go, every week, cracking and popping and spending an hour in both harsh pain and sweet release, stretching out my back and shoulders in preparation for the long week ahead. 

Except for last night.  Last night was different. 

Last night, for the first time ever, my poses were perfect.  My shoulders were pain-free.  My head was clear, and for the whole five minutes of meditation, instead of the usual potpurri of emotions and words and deadlines, I actually managed to think about nothing.

Which is impressive – I mean, maybe not to you, but I’m impressed with me – given that one week ago I decided to uproot my entire life.  I quit my job, I’m packing my stuff, I’m in the process of saying the long and emotional goodbyes to friends and coworkers, and I’m moving away from my beloved square state for the first time.

This was not an easy decision, as most of you know.  I’ve been crying for a week straight, at anyone who looks at me.  The Mister and I went to lunch and we never made it inside the restaurant I was sobbing so hard.  My neighbors and coworkers are baffled, because instead of excited, I seem depressed, and they don’t understand me.

But I understand me.  And the root of all the crying isn’t sadness or panic or depression really, but just an emotional reaction to the unknown.  Is this the right decision?  Am I making the right choice?  Is this where God and the universe are calling me to be?  Is this opportunity fate, as many have suggested?  I have no idea. Not a clue.

And that seems wrong, you know?  Unfair, even.  Where is that feeling of certainty?  Where is that moment of clarity where I just know that this is the right thing?  Where is that golden light shining down on me, telling me (preferably in a large, booming voice) to go forth and just do it because not only is it a great slogan, but it’s also the universe’s plan for me?  Where is my thunderbolt moment?  I have no idea.  Not a clue.

Kristin says thunderbolt moments are wonderful and clarifying.  She also says thunderbolt moments are rarer than rare, and we can’t just sit around waiting for them. 

We always listen to Kristin Wisdom because it is the best kind of wisdom: practical, loving, and always true. 

Maybe the best we can hope for from the universe isn’t a flash of light and a feeling of total certainty, but instead, a gentle nudge.

Maybe physically nudging myself into pain-free poses and a blissful state of mind is the best I can hope for right now.

Maybe I have to go so that I can one day come back, even though it’s scary and I’m not feeling very brave about it.

Maybe my body’s letting go is a gentle nudge to the rest of me that now is the time to let go and move on: from work, from The Mister and my life here, in favor of something newer and better.

And maybe the simple act of admitting that you aren’t brave is an act of courage in and of itself.  Maybe, in admitting our true feelings and fears to ourselves, we then open ourselves up to the possibility that these truths can change, our fears will abate, and life will continue to get more interesting, more exciting, more good in the process.  Honesty begets goodness.

Maybe I just had a thunderbolt moment after all.

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My story is much too sad to be told

And practically everything leaves me suddenly cold. *

Yes, that’s right.  It has snowed.  Yet again.

Upon backing out of my driveway this morning, I saw my neighbor’s beautiful red and gold tulips were capped with white, like little hats.  They were fancy, those tulips, and clearly had put on their hats to do something fun.  Off to the opera in Moscow, or maybe having a tea party.

Which is much better than going to work, which is where I was heading.

I should have taken a picture.  But that’s the difference between me and a real photographer.  A real photog would always opt to take the picture, whereas I am just always running late and haven’t the time.

And this whole day is why I always laugh in the face of those who “pack away their winter clothes” in Colorado.

Silly people – don’t you know? Fall = 90 degrees, Winter = sunshine, and Spring = SNOW!

 

* Do you know what song from whence these lyrics came?  If you do, then I applaud your musical knowledge.  Also, we should probably make out.

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Sitting, waiting, wanting

Oh you guys.

I’m going to cut right to the chase:  I have a case of the wants.  BIG TIME.

But before we launch into a list of all the things I want, I alaso want to preemptively state a few things:

Number 1: I know, I KNOW that having a large amount of material wants is a) shallow-seeming and b) a first world feeling.  I highly doubt that people in Africa ever get grabby feeling and dream about food processors.  I am aware.  And if you are my lovely friends Jo and Ashley, who are currently living in Africa for the Peace Corps, please put on the muffs and disregard this post. 

Or just remember, before you judge, that I will make you things from my food processor when you come home. 

Number 2: I know that IN THIS ECONOMY (a phrase that has quickly become my most hated phrase, second only to “to be perfectly honest” [um, are you not always honest?  Are you usually a perfect liar?)] it’s not exactly kosher to go naming off things you want, as though it were Christmas and I were seven years old.  HOWEVER, I do still have my job and I have been financially responsible, and I almost feel like it’s my duty to not freak out and make the economy even worse, even though bitching about the economy seems to be the new cool thing.  Instead of knitting, we bitch about the economy.  iSuwannee has a rant that cracked me up, so check it out.  The economy sucks, but what can you do?  Get over it.

And finally, number 3: This is not, in any way, a plea for people to buy me things.  It’s just me, naming my wants, and then (hopefully) feeling enough satisfaction from this excercise that I don’t need to go out and buy everything.  I’ll let you know if it works.

So now, without further ado, I bring you my list of wants o’the day:

– A trench coat.  What else do you wear when the weather is freaking weird like like it has been the last few days?  You wear this:  trench

And you look great in it.  Go you!

– A beach cruiser bike, a la this one we discussed a few weeks ago.  Visions of baskets dance in my head.  And at $159, this bike is a steal.  Especially when you think that, because it’s so cute, you’re going to bike more and drive way, way less.  At least, I will.

– A corgi/sheltie mix of a dog who looks just like this:

bedroom

I would name her Rallie Mae and we’d have all sorts of adventures.  Mostly, they would be adventures in which I would wear a trench coat and ride my bike, and she would trot along beside me.

 

Fuck the economy.  What do you want?

 

*Trench coat from Banana Republic; dreamy bedroom via SFgirlbybay; fabulous dog’s provenance unknown but I sure do want her to come live with me.

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It’s the end of the world as we know it

Happy daylight savings time, everybody. 

It’s practically dark here still. 

Lame. 

Why did humans decide to jack around with the time/space continuum like this?  I  mean, I know it’s only an hour, but it’s dark and cold and it feels like the end of the world now, or like the setting for Cormac McCarthy’s The Road
 
The only bonus is that it’s lighter longer, so I can run for longer.  And let me tell you how happy it makes me not to be able to use nature as an excuse for my pathetically short runs any longer!  Oh wait…

That’s right kids, I’m in training for this.  It really is the end of the world. Who’s with me?  Anybody?  Anybody?  I run like a granny, and look like Phoebe in the Friends episode “The One Where Phoebe Runs” so that’s bound to be a good time.  Plus, without realizing it, I’ve purchased a lot of running accessories, all in the same shade of knock you on your ass hot pink.

 

Who doesn’t want to run next to that?

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And by the by…

I hear you, and I apologize for not posting for a week. 

This week has been a flood of emotions, and I’ve been a hot mess.  And I’m pretty sure the internet has enough of those already.

Engagements, deaths, inner-office drama, and $64 million dollars have all entered my realm of existence this week and I can barely hold it together long enough breathe, let alone blog.

Back with more this weekend.

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