Friday, October 28, 2005

Is it karma?

So at the De Young Museum gala last weekend, I received a goody bag stuffed full of nothing, really....a couple of gift certificates I won't use (one's for a maid service and one's for carpet cleaning), a mini-bottle of vodka, a business card case, and a Macy's gift card.

Well, what I forgot to tell y'all is that after the gala, Anastasia and I bumped into a couple who were having a problem getting a cab. I offered them a ride home. Well, in exchange, they gave me one of their goody bags...Before I tossed the whole thing away (well, not the vodka) I just called Macy's to find out how much the cards are worth.

The first one: $5. There's a pair of socks. Is it worth a trip there?

The second one: $250!!!!! Yes, that's right: TWO HUNDRED AND FIFTY DOLLARS!!!!!

There's no way of telling which card is which, and I don't even know their names, let alone where exactly they live (beyond the busy intersection where I dropped them off).

Just my lucky day?

Monday, October 24, 2005

Birthday Weekend -- Part One

Friday. Slept in late, went to my favorite cafe for a tasty pastry, and hit the shops to try and find something new to wear to the theater. Came up fairly empty handed (well, one top and one evening bag, not nearly enough for one birthday girl) but managed to score a free coffee for my birthday. (Hint: It never hurts to ask for free stuff on your birthday, hell, on any day.)

Made it home in time to clean up the apartment so some friends could join me for champagne. D1 & D2 popped in at around 5 and T1 & T2 made it shortly thereafter. New favorite birthday combo: Champagne and pumpkin pie!

D1 and I had to be at the theater at 8, so he and I and the two T's decided to go to dinner at Home. I figured that I deserve macaroni and cheese for dinner, it being my birthday and all. Well, here's where the first unexpected moment of the evening took place. My wonderful friends were trying to get me a free drink or a free dessert (why not? isn't that standard with birthdays?) but the waitress claimed that she couldn't. This wasn't that big of a deal, but after our meal was over, and the boys were paying the bill (love those boys) the hostess walks over with a little cake. Everyone applauds and starts singing Happy Birthday to you! and we get set to dig into the cake, when our waitress comes over, grabs the cake from under my nose, and says, This isn't for you; this is for that table over there.

I'm in a bit of a state of shock at this, and I simultaneously start laughing and crying. The gay guys (it's the Castro) sitting next to us are so stunned that they say that they're going to complain to the management about how utterly ridiculous (and un-Homey) this is. Someone must have said something, because la-dee-da...our waitress comes back over a few minutes later and bingo! A new cake magically appears.

Of course we didn't eat it; I'm sure she spat in it.

D and I go to the theater and see a fabulously amazing Cat on a Hot Tin Roof! Tennessee Williams is my favorite playwright, and I've never seen him live before, so this more than makes up for the earlier events of the evening. But the play is a bit long, and I'm thinking of taking a cab home (I'm a bus gal)...but when we pop out in front of the theater, who should magically appear, but T1, complete with his car. He says that he's here to give me a ride home, so I jump in the front seat. T1 says, Wait. Close your eyes. I have a little surprise for you!

Close. Close. Close.

And then the second unexpected moment appears:

A little cake from T1 & T2 from Citizen Cake. The two of us go back to our building to watch A Streetcar Named Desire and polish off the cake and a bottle of champagne with our other neighbor (sounds like we live in Melrose Place! Well, minus the sleeping with everyone in the building!)

Birthday Weekend, Part Deux

Saturday. I tossed and turned a bit all night, but managed to get some work done in the afternoon.

But the big treat for the night was a gala party at the newly-redone De Young Museum. I went with my artist friend, A (more on her in Part Three) who I met last summer on a kayaking trip. We didn't spend much time looking at the art (though going to a museum with such a brilliant artist has its advantages; it was like my own little private tour!) What we did do was eat and drink (we paid for it, so we might as well fill our plates and glasses four times, right?) and check out the fashion.

Okay, let me just say that I was a bit surprised by the fashion. Or should I say, LACK OF FASHION???? Women wearing poorly-fitting dresses: boobs about ready to pop out, tight dresses with the WRONG UNDERGARMENTS (always a fashion don't). Ladies, let me reiterate that FIT is everything with clothing. It could be the most expensive Gucci gown and it will look worse than a $29.99 Target cocktail dress if it doesn't fit.

And the shoes. What on earth? Floaty white dresses with black, clunky shoes. Open-toed sandals with black stockings (I'm talking on 25-year-old women, not grannies). Boots that resembled UGG knockoffs.

The museum was divine. The fashion, well, it gave me nightmares!

Birthday Weekend, Part three


I woke up and believe it or not, had to do some work! But fortunately, this state of being passed fairly early, and T1 & T2 and I went to Anastasia's art studio to see her open studio. Truly an amazing experience. She's currently combining dance with paint with video, and the whole thing is sublime. Had a nice time hanging out with an artsy crew, but before long, we had to return home to get ready for....

...Sunday night's barbeque.

Some backstory is needed. For several months now, I have been subtlely (and shyly) flirting with a certain Hot_Neighbor_Guy. Hot in a way that causes me to revert back to 12-year-old behavior (translation: that causes me to race up to my apartment, blushing, after every nervous encounter). People who know me don't realize that deep down I'm pretty shy and insecure, but people who really know me see through my confident exterior, straight through to my hidden fears. So a few weeks ago, without my knowing, T1 & T2 come up with this master plan (I like to call it weaving a spider's web) to push me forward into actually meeting HNG. They meet him and invite him to a barbeque this weekend. Of course, I'm utterly terrified, but decide to face my 12-year-old fears....

Beth, I did NOT get my kiss...However, the four of us DID end up staying at T1 & T2's apartment until 2 a.m., drinking champagne and eating yummy chocolate. And, he does appear to be pretty damn similar to me (that's a long story, but trust me on this one). AND I think I kinda like him. And he may even kinda like me, though the verdict is still out on that one. (You know how it is, gals, when you're so used to the instant catch -- go out to a bar, get really drunk, go home with the random guy sitting on the barstool next to you....well, the not-so-instant catch is a bit baffling. Whoever thought that being friends with a guy would be a good thing?)

I think this might just be better than a kiss, though. (Okay, I'd be lying if I didn't admit that I'm DYING to see him naked, but still, there's something to be said for being patient.) Will update if anything should come out of this.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

It's my birthday...

...momentarily anyway. And like I've done for the past couple of birthdays, I feel compelled to watch Sex and the City, Season Four, Episode One. It's Carrie's 35 birthday, and she winds up alone at her party. She goes home devastated, finds 14 messages on her answering machine, and of course her friends eventually show up to take her to the coffee shop.

Carrie says:
The longer I sat at that table, the more alone I felt. And it really hit me: I am 35 and alone...I know I have you guys. But, and I really, I hate myself a little for saying this, felt really sad. Not to have a man in my life who cares about me. No special guy to wish me a Happy Birthday. No god-damned soulmate. And I don't even know if I believe in soulmates.

Charlotte's response then pierces my heart. She says, "Don't laugh at me. But. Maybe we could be each other's soulmates. And then we could let men be just these great, nice guys to have fun with." The ever-strong Samantha says, "Well, that sounds like a plan."

Every single time I watch it, I cry. I cry at the reactions of all of the women, because on some level, all of the women understand in their own way. It hits at the heart of that show -- and the heart of long-term single women everywhere -- more than virtually any other episode and just about more than any other pop culture out there.

I'm not 35 yet. I'm 34 (or I will be, momentarily anyway). And no matter how much I intellectually know that I'm not alone, that I have friends and neighbors and colleagues and family who I love and who love me, and that I'm accomplished and interesting and living a pretty damn good life (and have a birthday weekend planned that will only bring me smiles, provided that everyone shows up!) there are moments where the loneliness sets it. It sets in so deep I can barely breathe. I think (can I even say it?) What if I'm single forever? What then? What if one birthday I wind up sitting at a table for ten, all alone? It's not about needing a man in my life or even wanting a man. I think loneliness like this goes so much further than that because it's simultaneously tied in with guilt. As in: what if I'm betraying my independent self and the selves of independent women everywhere by even admitting how I'm feeling? I see this in so many women I know, the refusal to admit to loneliness, to sadness, to heartbreak. And that strikes me as so false. Maybe that's what I love so much about Carrie's moment, its utter and painful honesty, a moment we all probably feel but often refuse to admit.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Am I 60?

Here's my new favorite way to spend an evening at home alone.

First, I fix myself a nice cup of tea. (Here's an article by George Orwell on tea; who knew good ol' George knew so much about tea?)

Then, I crank up my learning French cd's.

While learning French, I practice my knitting.

Then, I curl up in bed with Le Petit Prince. It takes me about an hour to work through four pages, but I'm getting it!

Friday, October 14, 2005

My favorite (Carrie) things

Inspired by the always-lovely Julia who posted the pic of that stunning V. Westwood suit that Carrie Bradshaw wears for her first day at work for Vogue. Here are my some of my favorite Carrie outfits:

All of the Paris clothes are lovely, but I am in love with this dress!

Have always been drawn to Carrie's hippie outfit.

It's not the best picture, but this coat is fab.

This is from the episode where she first tells Big that she loves him; this outfit comes together perfectly.

This is when Berger dumps her; it's unusual, but it works.

I love mixing masculine with feminine.

(All pics come from HBO where there are tons of fab pics of all the SATC gals!)

Thursday, October 13, 2005

I've been TAGGED!

In the very best possible way. Beth has tagged me to provide five random things about me. There are probably about a zillion things I could write about, but here's the first five I thought of:

(1) Much of what I've done in my life has been entirely unplanned; I am one of the least direction-oriented people I know, in spite of the fact that I've accomplished a lot. For example, in high school, I had no clue where I was going to go to college. I had top grades and could have gone virtually anywhere, but the thought of actually putting together college applications and essays seemed overwhelming. I had no clue of a major, what I wanted to do or who I wanted to be. I was working in a fast-food restaurant, flirting with the boys who worked there; at that moment, I was content.

So one day, in theater class, this girl I had known since 7th grade approached me and said: Hey Theresa (oh, that's my real name). Where are you going to college?

I said, Oh, I don't know. Probably here. I haven't really thought about it.

She said, No. You should come down to State.

I said, Okay.

She said, When you come down to State, we should be roommates. You should major in theater with me!

I said, Okay.

And thus, my future was set. I look back at that moment and realize that everything that has happened to me since then would be vastly different were it not for this random exchange.

(2) In college, I switched majors 7 times! By the fifth major, I found that I loved writing, I loved my first writing instructor to pieces, and I felt that writing was something -- maybe the only thing -- I was actually good at. But the second semester I studied creative writing, I took a creative writing class with an instructor who intimidated the hell out of me. I actually went home and cried after my story was workshopped, thinking I would never write again; he had written 8 pages of single-spaced, typed comments for my 8 page story. Terror enveloped me.

This particular instructor was teaching the next level class, and I was thinking of dropping it. But I approached my favorite instructor and said, "Do you think I should drop the course?" He smiled, in his gentle way, and said, "I think you should take the next class. I did, with no regrets, and wound up getting an MFA in creative writing.

When I win my Oscar for best screenplay adaptation (of my first novel, of course), I plan on dedicating it to my favorite instructor. Without him, I wouldn't be where I am today. I cherish his words every time I walk into my own creative writing class as they are my inspiration.

(3) On a lighter note: I was always a cat person. But I had this boyfriend ten years ago whose dog had puppies. I was pretty excited about it; I mean, puppies are cute, right? Kind of like babies. I could play with them and still be a cat person, right? So, when the puppies were three days old, I went over to meet them....there were 9 in the litter, but there was this one, this perfect little ball of black fuzzy love with golden eyes. One look. One look. Just one. That was it. I was sold and forever a dog person. I brought the little fuzz ball home and he grew into 75 pounds of furry, chaotic joy. He's very full of mischief and energy, always getting in a bit of trouble, but always in such an adorable way that I accept his mama kisses. For the first few years, I thought my obsession would dwindle. It hasn't. It's only grown. I still get butterflies in my tummy when I'm coming home from working, just knowing I'm going to see him. In fact, I kinda have butterflies right now! Oh, his name is Jake....

(4) I'm not a very clean or organized person. However, I am a bit obsessive about organizing my books and my clothes. My books are broken into categories and then alphabetized. My clothes are sorted according to color and then according to type of garment. I have a closet just for accessories, and everything is sorted and put exactly where it belongs. People who know me well are always a bit surprised to hear this fact. The rest of my apartment is always a bit of a wreck; things fall where they fall and it sometimes takes weeks to put them back. But the books and the clothes. Never.

(5) I was a vegetarian for 12 years, mostly because the thought of eating meat made me a bit nauseated. Well, a few year ago, I started eating meat -- in small doses -- when I travelled and found that I was much more energetic and much happier. After a few months of on-again, off-again meet consumption, one weekend, some friends and I went camping. We all consumed mass quantities of alcohol which led to my tasting my very first summer sausage. That was it; I was once again an official meat eater. (To this day I wonder: Why on earth was it summer sausage that crossed me over? Why not a good prime rib???)

Most everyone I know has already been tagged. But I think that Jules and Vanessa haven't been tagged yet. So, tag! You gals are it!

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Tiny Perfection

Sometimes it really is the little things that make me smile. Is there anything more subtlely lovely than a Gift With Purchase at the Lancome counter? (Well, maybe a Gift With Purchase at Manolo Blahnik or United Airlines, but that'll never happen.) Several years ago, my friend, M and I, when we were feeling down (which happened a lot as we were in graduate school in Texas) would comb through the Sunday section of the newspaper desperate for Gift With Purchase sightings, then jump into one of our cars for a quick trip to Austin to hit the malls. I swear, over the course of two years I must have acquired 20 of those little zippered pouches (can a girl ever have too many?) and just as many neutral (why always neutral?) lipsticks and perfume samples.

Here's an almost exact replica of today's treasures (along with a new bottle of Poeme, my favorite perfume).

More Celebrity Chat

Apparently, Katie (er, my apologies. For the last time, make that: Kate) Holmes is only 3 months pregnant. Yeah, right! Would you check out the size of that bump?!?!?! Here's the full story. The whole thing just makes me feel so dirty (not that I've come close to touching T.C. Ewww....shudder. No old time rock & roll for me) that I want to take a 3-month-long shower.

Is it just me?

Maybe I'm just in a bad mood, but it's something that's been bugging me for awhile now. (Even before the tragic -- or maybe not-so-tragic -- spring split.) Anyway, is it just me, or is Mr. Brad Pitt totally (and increasingly) overrated? I mean, okay, I must admit that the man was hot in Thelma & Louise, but c'mon Brad! That was 15 years ago!

I don't know. Maybe I'm just tired this morning, but really now. He always has this look on his face, you know the one. It says, "I'm lost" or maybe "I'm confused" or maybe even, "I'm feeling a bit constipated right now." You know the look.

I miss real movie stars. Whatever happened to the Gregory Peck's of the world?

Monday, October 10, 2005

Let's hear it for internet distractions

Thanks to Jules, we now have access to an obsessively-fun website to create your own stationary and create your own gal pals (in your image or not!)

Here's mine. (She actually looks like me; rather, she looks like me were I a cartoon character!) Wonder what designer she's wearing?

Just another ordinary weekend in my not-so-ordinary life

  • Lunch at my favorite French-inspired cafe with a ball o' fluff (aka: my friends' doggie) sitting on my lap;
  • Met a friend for cheeseburgers, movies, champagne;
  • Met another friend to go check out local art at several open studios;
  • Yummy pastries and chai followed by the perfect pedicure;
  • Grading grading grading;
  • The tastiest Thai food in San Francisco. Oh, and more champagne (can a girl ever have too much champagne?);
  • Oh yeah. I almost forgot. I got ordained. Yup. That's right, folks. Ordained. (Long story, but you probably figured that.) Should any of you need to get married, annulled, divorced, baptized, circumcised (okay, maybe not), or buried (hopefully not the latter!) just call me up and I'll be there A.S.A.P.!

Friday, October 07, 2005

In an attempt to procrastinate...

Out of desperation (as those essays are glaring at me, and they're not going away) I'm blatantly stealing this from Beth. Loads of fun! You, too, can make your own dolly!

Sometimes you just have to ask why

Katie (er, Kate) and Tom? Britney and Kevin? Lindsey Lohan? Exposed thongs? The re-emergence of high-rise jeans?

So, I'm riding the train to work, and there's this guy sitting behind me. He has headphones on. The volume is loud (nothing too unusual there; everyone likes to torture me on trains). And he's listening to Kelly Clarkson's, "Since You've Been Gone." Nothing too unusual there, either, but when the song ends, he listens to it again. And again. And again. (Did I tell you that the volume is LOUD?) He proceeds to listen to Kelly for the entire train ride (35 minutes of hell*).

Now, don't get me wrong. Kelly's adorable. And, damn, what pipes. I like her as much as the next gal does (translation: I'd never pay money for one of her cd's or for concert tickets, but I must confess I did get a little teary when she won American Idol). And maybe this guy was suffering from post-traumatic-break-up syndrome (though I'd personally recommend Ozzy or the Scorpions were that the case). But really, now. It's not a lost Beatles' single. (I suppose it could have been worse; it could have been that gawd-awful Celine D. song from Titanic!)

Some things in life just shouldn't be. Big-screen movies staring the Olsen twins. Socks with sandals. Celebrities dressing like homeless people. Men with hairy toes who don't bathe but who still ask me out. Kelly Clarkson on repeat repeat repeat.

*You might ask why I didn't switch seats...I totally get your point, but sometimes a little masochistic behavior for the purposes of blogging is in order, wouldn't you agree?

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

What is it about red shoes....

....that makes me want to sing? (Something like Somewhere Over the Rainbow, perhaps?)
Christian Lacroix, perfect for a job interview...
I could wear these Givenchy's to the opera...
Jean-Michel Cazabat for an afternoon wedding...
Kate Spade's, ideal for a third date...
Jean-Michel Cazabat, for cocktail hour...
And Roberto Cavalli, just because!

(FYI: All of these babies I found at Zappos or Zappos couture!)

One of those weeks....

This week is all about chick lit. It's all I can fathom. Since Saturday morning, I have read both In Her Shoes (inspired, in part, by seeing the movie Friday night) and Good In Bed (not that I'm Jennifer Weiner obsessed or anything, but it was staring at me at the airport news stand).

Tuesday morning, I thought, okay lady, you're an English instructor. Whatever happend to quality? Whatever happened to literature? In an act of desperation, I went to Border's where I spotted a copy of Schindler's List on sale for only $3.99. Depth. At last. I won't lose my job.

I read the first 200 brilliant pages on the plane and in the airport yesterday evening. Was planning on continuing reading when I got home when what should appear in my mailbox? Bergdorf Blondes by Ms. Plum Sykes. Needless to say, I did not finish Schindler last night. I will someday, I promise, just not right now.

Sometimes it's all a gal can handle, right?

Monday, October 03, 2005

365 days and 365 nights

My friend, D, said to me once: There are two types of people in this world; those who have delivered the eulogy at a parent's funeral, and those who have not.

Sadly, I fall into the former category. One year ago today, my dad passed away rather suddenly, though not unexpectedly. He had been very ill, and we thought on his way to recovery, but I think he just knew that he was ready to go.

I decided to come home to visit my mom; I didn't want her alone on this day. I wasn't sure what she would be feeling, what I would be feeling, what we would be feeling together. She told me that the only thing she had scheduled for today was a dentist appointment. She said (using the type of humor that only recent widows are allowed to use): I figure that I'll be feeling like crap already, so going to the dentist seems like the perfect thing to do.

She took me to dim sum before her appointment, clutching a travel-sized toothbrush and toothpaste in her hand. (Why do we feel the need to brush our teeth before going to the dentist? Do we really think that an after-lunch brush will erase 6 months of neglect?) The restaurant is one that's down by the University, right near where she and my dad first lived after they got married, in the house where my dad lived his bachelor days, the house where they first brought my big brother home from the hospital. They had gone to this restaurant for several decades; it's her absolute favorite treat, and I'd like to think that going there somehow invited his spirit to the table, though my dad was never as adventurous as my mom with his eating habits. But he did it still. Like many things they did together, my dad agreed to go because he loved my mom and he wanted to make her happy.

Today hasn't been as sad as I'd expected it to be. Of course there's an element of sadness beneath the surface of the day. But I feel good. My mom is smiling. She's going bowling tonight with the league that she and my dad bowled on, I think even before they met. I'm going to tag along, to catch up with an old friend (the daughter of my mom and dad's best friends, my best friend from growing up). My mom's still friends with the same circle of friends (a circle that gets smaller through the years but that stays solid, together) that is the circle through which she and my dad met. I take comfort in knowing that she's not alone.

But I miss him. I don't think I'll ever stop missing him. I don't think I'm supposed to stop missing him. An image of ours will always stand in my head, an image I'll share today:

I don't know when it begins, or why it begins, our ritual. Perhaps after watching The Lone Ranger on television; perhaps when listening to my mom's classical music station on the radio. But my father and I invent a dance to "The William Tell Overture." He directs, bobbing his head and waggling his index finger in the air, sometimes ‑- perhaps mosttimes -- not even in rhythm with the beat. (He never could keep the beat, my mother reminds me now.) My dad and I grasp hands and bounce up and down on our woven, Navajo rug.

It's a simple dance. A joyous dance.

The dance doesn't pass with childhood. I grow from child into teenager and leave my parents house for college, graduate school, then adulthood, only returning for vacations. In my 20s, when my body stretches above his, his snow-capped head reaching my nose, I say: "If I ever get married, the only way I'll let you walk me down the aisle and give me away is if we play The Lone Ranger theme song. But you and I won't walk; we have to gallop."

My dad smiles in agreement. He takes my hands in his own.

365 days. 365 nights. Tick tock. Tick. Tock.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Motherly Love

I'm visiting my mom this weekend. Today, she took me shopping to find a birthday present for me. For me, we got a hand-painted funky tank top and a pair of equally funky pants and this sweater (but in eggplant) all from my one of my all-time favorite (but not-too-expensive) shops, Express.

Okay, nothing revolutionary for me. But for her we got this lovely top in flame red. My mother, who's wandered around in baggy khakis and oversized t-shirts and blouses for years, hesitated, saying that she feels like it's too tight, that it's too small for her. I looked at the way it shaped her waist, the way it cut perfectly across her broad shoulders, the way it made her statuesque frame even more proud and said, Er, Mom. It's not too small. It's just that you've finally found something that fits you the way clothes are supposed to fit!

Fit, ladies. That's what it's all about!

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Random Musings for a Saturday Morning

Had the perfect date last night. Gay Boyfriend and I first had dinner at Home Restaurant. Mac & cheese (not as good as usual, but still very comforting) and a lovely spinach salad with sliced apples, walnuts, and blue cheese, and two Home Girl martinis (sort of like cosmos but with a splash of champagne).

Then it was off to see In Her Shoes starring the always perfect Toni Collette and the always smiling Cameron Diaz. (Sidenote: yet another great thing about gay boyfriends is their willingness to go see chick flicks on opening night; sometimes they even cry!) I must say, we both love love loved it! Toni was perfect as always (and in one scene, she's wearing my Trina Turk black & white asymmetrical hemline dress (but with the wrong shoes, IMO; Gay Boyfriend agreed, naturally)). How much do I love that girl? And Cameron was shining as usual. (She's not my favorite, but I find her endearing and perfect for the part.)

It was very much a Will & Grace moment, and it's no wonder that more than one person in my life has told me that I remind them of Grace. Though perhaps it's because I'm always running into things and tripping over my own two feet.

And speaking of that Trina Turk dress (from a few seasons ago -- am frantically trying to find a picture of it on-line, but with no luck). The dress has a white background with lots of black swirly designs on it. Last year, I contemplated wearing it to my friend A's wedding but opted not to because it has white in it (even went on-line to ask for help!) I wore this great Diane Von Furstenberg dress instead, and everything was just fine* but lovely little Trina Turk dress was hanging in the closet all alone, collecting dust.

Well. Wouldn't you know it, but Toni Collette wore my dress to a wedding in the movie! And it looked perfect. More black than white. Definitely not upstaging the bride. Definitely not inappropriate.

I feel like I should apologize to my dress, but that would be odd, right?

*Of course, aided by the fact that Gay Boyfriend was once again my perfect date