avert your eyes if you’re hoping for a pic filled post on food…
i can’t tell you how many times in the last year i passed the glass castle sitting there on the bestseller’s rack at barnes and noble thinking to myself, “eh… maybe i should read it?”. well, its kind of hard to just dive into it when every time i skimmed the back cover, phrases like “a family at once deeply dysfunctional” and “when he drank, he was dishonest and destructive” make the book look so darktown usa. there are also the much nicer words thrown in the mix, but word runts always stand out.
i was at barnes in the days following christmas and then and there, i made a decision that i was going to read it. i must have figured the best way to get rid of excess christmas cheer was to enter the darktown usa book that was still on the shelf–and the new york times bestsellers list for over 100 weeks. it was that or reading the hunger games trilogy again (still confused with the end of book three, by the way).
date: january 28th, 2012. time: 6:39pm. location: san francisco. the following occurred for real.
incoming text: what are you doing? outgoing: starting a new book called the glass castle. i want to read it before it becomes a movie incoming: i think i’ve heard of it. hope you like it outgoing: or you’ve seen it in our house for a month now. it sat in the kitchen on the counter, and then on our bookshelf downstairs, and then in our room before i brought it here?
(where can i sign him up for the “most alert boyfriend of the year” award?)
after a month of fermentation in my apartment, it took me all of two days to finish the 288 pages. if you choose to read it, jeannette walls’ story of her nomadic childhood is one that you would be hard pressed to forget, ever. but be warned that it is one of those books you struggle to get through because you find yourself so attached to her voice, that you are angry on behalf of her. you wish you could pluck her and her childhood out of the pages and just save her by gifting her with new memories. but her intentions are all the more the opposite and that is what keeps the pages turning. she doesn’t want you to feel bad for her–she just wants to share her story. its a memoir that i don’t think i could ever read again, but i do think that it is something worth reading if you have the right type of arterial walls for it. it sheds light on a world so different than the one i’m sure your real, imaginary, and facebook friends grew up with and it is definitely not the book for those who dream in rainbows and unicorns. it is, however, a book for those who are capable of accepting the realities that come with loving your family for exactly what and who they are. and doing so without complaining.
before someone points out that i mentioned in a previous post that i “never use over-exaggerated and dramatic words because the worst feeling is going into a book with exceptionally high expectations and being let down by the 75th page”, i want to point out that in my defense, if you peek at the back cover of the book, it essentially tells you everything i just reiterated for you. second, i want to re-explain that the “over-exaggerated and dramatic words” i don’t like to use come in the form of “amazingly the most amazing book in the world of amazing” and “beautifully crafted engineering of the various combinations that come from the make up the 26 letters in the alphabet”. and if you say it with a british accent, it sounds even more exaggerated. try it in your head? it might be fun.
hopefully that clears up any and all confusion because i wouldn’t want to have inadvertently pigeonholed myself into only being allowed to say “you should read it”.
jeannette walls’ the glass castle. if you can find it within yourself to read her story, i think you should read it.
last time i was four days away from my departure date, i was silently having a little freak out, with a side of a hard time knowing i was going to cheat on my city and dare call another my “home”. like clockwork orange and black, here we go again. but this time, i’m not so much having a freak out as i am trying to eat up much as i can before i return to real “winter”. if that’s what animals do to prepare for winter, i don’t see why i shouldn’t do the same?
this weekend called for a visit to an avenue i have frequented since the days of middle school. friday afternoons were the best because friday afternoons meant walking from school and doing absolutely nothing but gawking at how cool the high schoolers were with our 25 pound backpacks in tow, 15 miles up hill and 15 miles down… in the snow, with no shoes. but those were ancient times.
no longer in middle school, i now particularly love the avenue because you get some of the best puppy eye candy while waiting for your friend to meet you at la boulange. which is precisely why i creeped myself into a conversation with a lady who was there with jimmy, her 10 month old tibetan terrier. and then before eating a croque madame (ham, swiss cheese, béchamel, and toasted bread under a fried egg), i just had to take a picture of jimmy. the buzz kill happens when you go home and see the crabbiest 4 year old (upgrading to 5 a week from today!) giving you dirt looks, all because you woke him while he was getting his beauty bark on atop grandma and grandpa’s silk pillows. my bad.
while oregon has a lot to offer as a state (no tax, never have to pump your own gas, no tax), they are really lackluster in two of my favorite arenas in life. pinkberry and in-n-out. like every great relationship, mine with pinkberry, as i learned today, has been about 6 years strong. like any great love affair, you will have bones to pick. so, i ask, why are you not in oregon, pinkberry? and why is green tea, says the website, “in search of zen, be back later”? relationships are about compromise so i’ll settle for an original, blood orange twist with captain crunch and dark choco crisps and strawberries and white chocolate flakes. i’ll settle, green tea. for now.
in-n-out? that’s to be continued. i’m in denial and don’t want to reintroduce it into my life. which reminds me, georgia has been asking for pictures of “the wrangler” from bonne sante. must go.
and finally, i have presented unto you, a picture of the bridge of the san mateo, a picture of what a sunset looks like from the bridge of the san mateo, and insight for the lighthearted about what is on the other end of the bridge of the san mateo from mufasa, courtesy of my favorite new yorker.
i’m assuming this is what a friday morning in oregon would look like… in the summertime:
good thing i don’t have to wait until summertime because this is what a friday morning looks like in san francisco… in the wintertime. yes, i’m bragging. i’m bragging in shorts and a t-shirt, so now i’m bragging even more.
welcome to sawyer camp trail. where you have to watch for the “serious” bikers zipping by in matching unitards (why is the lone girl always in the back?) and where dogs are annoyingly forbidden from the premises. it’s also where the deer roam free and spy on you from the hedges but you get used to it.
my absolute favorite part of the trail, other than the view when you can catch it on a fog free day, are the little nooks with benches. the most perfect one is the one right by the entrance. mainly because that’s about as far as i like to make it in relation to the parking lot.
to your left, you can watch people do their intense stretches before they embark on a trot, and to your right, you can watch the beet red faced people come back from their speed walking (while they manage to talk on their cell phones?). i’d make it farther into the trail, but the mileage signs can be so demeaning sometimes. what do you mean i’ve only walked .1 miles? whatever.
it really is just the cushiest little nook. see?:
sometimes i sit there so long i get bit by the sentimental bug after my coffee has evaporated, and i can imagine old lovebird couples sitting on it (while biker zippers zip by in neon fashion), holding hands and asking the other what they are going to have for dinner. and then the other responds with, “frozen yogurt and fruit snacks?”. and then they get into a fight about the importance of three meals a day.
and that is about as sentimental as i can get on a friday morning in san francisco… in the wintertime.
i love myself a good book. so much so, that i concentrated my degree in english so that i could pay the university to feed more fuel into my love of books.
my “library” (it’s still too small (to my standards, at least) to be unquoted) doubles as my own personal buffet of words and themes and characters and moods. classic plays such as streetcar named desire and all things shakespeare stand next to the ones i studied in (the so hard it hurts) modern drama class. being that they are so thin, they hide between gatsby and mysteries (carol goodman knows what’s up), and my kind of twisted love stories. think time traveller’s wife and water for elephants… don’t think of the notebook or anything nicholas sparks because that’ll just make you cry. fair warning that, although not always a writer of love stories, jodi picoult also knows what it takes to generate tears.
the list could go on and there’s nothing i won’t read. to be fair, i should say, there’s nothing i won’t at least attempt to read. i’ve dibble dabbled in almost everything king henry the 8th (which i can thank philippa gregory and the other boleyn girl for waking that beast within me), and, of course, my harry potter’s sit prime and center amidst the rest. there are the others that do a great job at collecting dust since i need to be in a serious mindset to figure out what exactly temple grandin is really talking about. she’s a genius. she just makes me feel like i’m not one when i feel like i have to sit with a dictionary within arms reach just to read her book. is that normal? now i feel vulnerably stupid if it’s not.
because i take my love of a good book seriously, i have this quirk where even if it was my most favoritest book of all, if my opinion is asked, i will base level tell you it was “good”. i never use over-exaggerated and dramatic words because the worst feeling is going into a book with exceptionally high expectations and being let down by the 75th page. i don’t fancy that feeling at all. not with books or movies or tv shows or restaurants or snacks or anything. really, i am serious about this.
but there is hope in my base level book reviews. along with using the adjective “good”, if i feel honest-to-the-book-gods truth that it’s worth reading, i will sprinkle serious irregular verbs and say, “you should read it”. i’ll probably even repeat myself more than once to get the message across.
and that is how i currently feel about tina fey’s bossypants. i won’t type out my favorite parts (because it would take too long) and it would take the fun out of your potential reading of it one day… but what i will say is that you should read it. a muse in purple, who will in fact reincarnate as tina fey because she loves tina fey and because i want tina fey as my friend in this life or next, read bossypants awhile back and, she, too, will tell you that you should read it.
i’ll leave you with these images:
i am sitting in my car in front of 5 guys burgers, waiting for my eating companion to show up, and i am sitting with the window down because the sun actually likes to beam its rays down on san francisco (unlike other rainy, unfortunately foggy places up in the northwest), reading bossypants. i am giggling to myself outloud. the giggling doesn’t subside when i stop to text my future tina fey reincarnate and it doesn’t stop when i’m waiting for my burger because i’ve made my companion read a passage or three while waiting.
it also doesn’t stop when i’m home and typing this blog because even sharkie is enjoying all things tina fey.
tuesdays in san francisco have become a ritual. it is the ever so important day of the week that, from the days of college, post-college, and pre-oregon, i dutifully visit my favorite foods. how fat does that sound, by the way? don’t answer. disregard the fat, focus on the food. and don’t look at my pinterest.
this tuesday, per the lunch norm, was burrito. not because it’s taco tuesday (although that would make more sense) but because tuesday always goes well with watermelon juice, extra large with light ice (for optimal juice… a trick i learned from a fellow burritogoer). being that it is tuesday, i trotted over to pancho villa taqueria, otherwise known by those familiar with the institution as “pancho villa diarrhea” (you hear it once, and it just sticks), which has also been on man vs food. it’s not just the watermelon juice that’s worth going for. the award winning hot salsa goes well on the baby super burrito, the baby burrito, and the super burrito. it just goes well on “burrito”. i don’t feel like i have to explain myself much further. i’d post a picture but burritos aren’t photogenic and i wouldn’t want you to judge a burrito by its tin foil.
after the tuesday burrito, the ritual continues on by picking one of two places to go for sweets–whole foods or draegers. let’s be real here. what it really boils down to is: do you want the caramel chocolate chunk cookie from whole foods or do you want the cookie crinkle from draegers (careful with the latter option, you might end up leaving with an entire box. cough cough).
on the topic of whole foods, i know a certain reader of this blog has been most upset with me for many months now because i once mentioned the bar gelato bars they sell there by the counter. except, i didn’t take into consideration when i was bragging about them, that she is in los angeles and my whole foods equipped with bar gelato, is not. i think she even left work on her lunch break to go look for one and left empty handed. and then the bird on twitter made me feel guilty.
so without further ado, here’s my gift to you, my divine reader: http://bargelato.com/stores/. it is my karma that they don’t have them in oregon. but i have done the legwork and shown you where you can find them. and i can also link a map of where i live so you can visit and we can do something about all those many recipes we pin. we can start with the pancake board. seriously, so impressed, in a non-creepy way.
to conclude, today’s tuesday ritual left me feeling surprisingly full and particularly rusty. not only did i have to find a home in my refrigerator for my burrito, i not only left without grabbing extra salsa, but i left whole foods with the wrong cookies. darn my day to hades. my burrito coma led me to grab the vegan cookies when what i was after was obviously the caramel chocolate chunk cookies. i say obvious because i chose whole foods, remember?
to conclude more conclusively, this means one of two things. i’ve been in oregon too long and need to visit home more often to keep up with the tuesday ritual. or two… i’ve been in oregon too long and need to visit home more often to keep up with the tuesday ritual. i think those are my only options. but wait, i just thought of a third option. i could just bring more of my san francisco rituals to oregon. i’m sure someone in oregon already went to trader joe’s today and got (make me proud and tell me i’m right) the mini ice cream cones for the freezer. chocolate. because vanilla just isn’t as good. even though i always told my sister the vanilla was better, she was right. just like i’m right when i say oregon needs more teenage red pandas.
after a few days of snow flurries, we were finally graced with one night of serious snowfall. serious being one to two inches outside, which, from what i deduce, is kind of big deal around portland’s elevation levels. many thanks to season one of game of thrones on showtime (slow at the start, but picks up when you start to develop relationships with the characters. oh, we fancy the little person in particular, since you asked for my opinion. in fact, the little person actually won a golden globe for his role), we were still awake when a midnight street blanketing snow sesh happened. so outside we went, with a sweatered sharks in tow, and we had the whole entire street/parking lot to ourselves.
while sharks was busy following a trail of fresh snow, licking it ever so determinedly to get all of it off the ground, doubling as a snow shoveler with the dragging of an unattended leash behind him, one of his owners was too busy running around in circles, chanting snow related rhymes, to notice that their cell phone popped out of their pocket. only upon returning inside many minutes later, was this realized. but it was found. just where it was tossed. in the middle of the street. and to this day, the owner still swears up and down that their iPhone home button has never been the same. woe is not them, i say. but really, the button has been acting up and, really, it is most annoying. currently, we are no longer in the above portland and no longer in the windy rainy stuff that kept hitting our san francisco bound faces. i must say that i am most impressed with the happenings at portland international airport (although, i’m still having a bit of confusion as to why its called pdx and not pia, that is besides the point. even though it is a good point).
if you aren’t flying at 8am (like last time) and are awake enough to take the effort to disregard the traveling circus of portlandian’s who hold up the security line because they’re asking their non-traveling family members if “yakisoba” means “french fries” (serious face and all), or the horrendous stench of body odor coming from the woman with the beard, you notice that pdx has all the good stuff. to name a few: the powell’s bookstore, the nike store, the columbia store, and the made in oregon store are flanked by, to name a few more: coffee people, pizza schmizza, gustav’s pub, and the flying elephant delicatessen (which sells baked goods that are determined to turn me into a flying pig). pdx is a place that’s well prepared for entertaining the worst of the delays.
speaking of. as a frequent flyer out of and into sfo, you get used to the delays caused by first name: fog, last name: weather. with essentially a week of storm in our presence, i was diligent in checking my flight status the day before the flight, and the day of, to ensure there would be no delays. maybe it was because i flew into oakland? but i was able to land on time, even with the ugly rain in portland and even after circling in the fog upon entering oakland airport air for what might’ve been 20 minutes imaginary time, and 5 minutes real time. tomato, to-mah-toe.
but we’re back. at least for january. and we’ll miss you, oregon. hope your head feels better soon.
we’re now on our third day of snow flurries slash rain slash snow slash thanks mother nature. its been quite different waking up and seeing my deck covered in white and the roof tops in our gingerbread neighborhood candy coated with a thick layer of what looks like powdered sugar. it not only makes me hungry, it also magically makes pancakes show up on my plate. extra nutella and bananas, manchef!
sharkie, who is usually known as the very finicky potty goer, has even been on his best behavior. to those familiar with the situation, he’s known to be the canine that likes to torture the holder of the leash and play bowel games with himself. it goes something along the lines of, “i’m going to go here… wait… i’m going to go… not here… or here… but here… squirrel!… but wait….oh, look here’s a smelly leaf… but sike!”. its annoying. especially in the morning. but, thanks to this snow, and the likely half-frozen paws of his (because i’m not allowed to put any shoes on his feetsies, says the other human), the groundhog within him has been on military poopsicion. once outside, its a one, two, done deal. and it gives me plenty of time to take pictures of the confused and cold him getting snow in his eyes.
other than bowel movements and my adventures of staring at snow, i also made it to the katu abc studios in portland to watch one of our clients film a cooking segment for their morning show, am northwest. waiting in the green room for the show to start, i conversed with a former npr correspondent and a woman who organizes for a living. and with no sarcasm, she’s good at it. we know this because we got a thorough glimpse inside her purse (with her permission, duh) and it’s like she carries a mini container store on her shoulder. i just wish i could carry her around in my pocket. closet needs attention, please.
something else i’ve come to appreciate about the morning people of portland, is that they don’t freak out and scream apocalypse with their steering wheels when the weather patterns change, so i was able to make it to and back from the studio with no issue or road rage, even with snow.
which is unheard of in places like san diego. when it drizzles there, it means its the end of the world.
yesterday, i felt like i was like sitting in a delivery room. just waiting ever so antipatiently. but the kick is i wasn’t in a hospital. i waited in the delivery room known as my apartment. and the delivery i was waiting for, was mother nature’s delivery of snow. which she promised at 50% for many, many hours. screenshot to the right proves this, a lot of times over.
before i waited in the apartment, i waited at la petite provence bakery where, since i was already there, i obligingly had some lunch. waiting there got me the monte cristo (with pineapple in it!) and a mocha, with two straws (unheard of!). the oregon monte cristo isn’t necessarily up to the standards i hold from mama’s in san francisco, but it was still a monte cristo, and it was still devoured into the inner lining of my tummy. then again, again, does anything compare to mama’s in san francisco? i think not. never!
by evening time after more waiting at the apartment, i got restless and decided i was going to take things into my own hands–by getting frozen yogurt. why that makes sense when it is 30 some odd degrees outside? who knows. but it does. and it does every time. i fell in strong like with the reese’s peanut butter flavor, but the nice lady who owns the yogurt/cereal bar told me not to do just that. she told me not to fall in strong like with it because the company discontinued the flavor and what was in the machine, was the last of it. of course, i didn’t listen. and i just had to like it. and like it i did.
me thinks i ended up checking my weather app more times than i have in an entire year. so, at midnight… after muttering at my phone for lying to me multiple times over, i retired into bed with a night guard produced frown. mother nature essentially tebow’ed me even when i knew it was too good to be true. and i let her!
when the 5:30am alarm went off on the other side of the cali king bed, i waited for the groggy fisherman to go check if there was snow (because he said it himself he was going to wake me up if there was snow). and when he dutifully went to the window, i unpretended to sleep and grabbed my phone and checked myself. it said it was snowing. but with no word from the fisherman, i got up and checked myself. no snow. it lied again.
so back to sleep i went. at 7:49am, i got a picture message from the two fishermen en route to their fish, where everything was covered in snow. and then i looked outside. and then there was snow. and then i took sharks outside to play in it (but not before putting on a sweater (his and mine)). and then he made yellow snow. and then i picked up a steaming bag of veggie smelling digested dog treats. and then he ate all the snow that fell on his wet little nose. and then i stopped checking my weather app.
we’re not at the stage where everything here is covered in snow, since that is expected of where i reside in regards to sea level, but that is not the point of this story. the point is that i was forced to check my weather app too many times. and it took a lot of precious time away from words with friends. and dream zoo. and also that mother nature needs to stop playing with this never-lived-in-snow, california cheese, who just came back from the bakery after yoga and devoured half a baguette already.