Monday, December 31, 2007

good bye to seven

Eight is a good number. It used to be my favorite number because, on its side, the "8" stands for infinity. I don't have a favorite number anymore. I was having a conversation with a 3 year-old I'd just met the other day and when we ran out of things to say I just asked her what all her favorite things were: color? animal? food? And then I asked her what she wants to be when she grows up. "Princess," she said, looking down. She might just find a way. I'm leaving the east coast tomorrow, after two weeks visiting family and friends. Feels like I've been away from San Francisco forever, seen so many people out here I don't ordinarily see. One of the best things about this is they remind me about things I've forgotten. Things that I remind them of, like a pair of toe socks a friend I brought to visit from California wore at my parents' house, or stupid things I did to boys and boys did to me, or the time I tried to make cranberry white-chocolate cookies.... I've made a few resolutions but I don't want to tell you about them. I've got to get up in less than four hours to fly back to California, fly into 2008. My mom and I watched Dick Clark count down as the ball dropped in Times Square. It was absurd but also touching. The man had a stroke this year and had a bit of trouble getting the words out, and the young, fresh-faced correspondents helping him out kept repeating the same lines over and over again, such emptinesses as: "There's no place to be but right here, right now. If you haven't been, you should make it a point to come, at least once in your life. There's nothing like it." There's nothing quite like anything and everything is everything but also nothing. One foot in front of the other, here's to leaving 2007 behind.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007


Happy Christmas to all. It'll be over in 40 minutes. Fell asleep last night thinking of falling asleep Christmas eves when I was little and how impossible it was. My sister and I were always so excited. She reminded me yesterday we used to play Chinese checkers into the wee hours to make ourselves fall asleep. Greedy little girls. Ha! And I remembered myself that we'd wait eagerly at the top of the stairs until the time we'd agreed on with our parents when we were allowed to rush the tree and all our gifts. Today was nice: slept in late, exchanged gifts with immediate family, ate amazing meal prepared by mother and father with cousins, aunt, family friends, went to see Juno (which was pretty good), beat mother and sister at scrabble, worked on grad school applications, read. I am reading a book I got today, a book I asked for, someday this pain will be useful to you by Peter Cameron. I was intrigued when I read a review for it in the NYT that lauded Cameron for writing such an insightful, complex young narrator for this book, which has been labeled "YA". The review said adults might even get more out of it than "young adults". A passage I just read that I liked:

"I am disturbed," I said. I thought about what the word meant, what it really means to be disturbed, like how a pond is disturbed when you throw a rock into it or how you disturb the peace. Or how you can be disturbed by a book or movie or the burning rain forest or the melting ice caps. Or the war in Iraq. It was one of those moments when you feel you have never heard the word before, and you cannot believe it means what it means, and you think how did this word come to mean that? It seemed like a bell or something, shining and pure, disturbed, disturbed, disturbed, I could hear it pealing with its true meaning, and I said, as if I had just realized it, "I am disturbed."

And my fortune of the tag of my Yogi tea bag:

To learn, read.
To know, write.
To master, teach.


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Home again, home again

welcome home
to semi-urban fantasies
of overwhelming noodles
and undercooked rice
or mice
like cars, crawling
like ants

or whatever it was

and it is the same thing for everyone
the same

my appendix is shaped
like a heart, a human heart,
not a valentine's day heart

this is a problem
the doctors say
that the thing they didn't say before
isn't true because they didn't say it

and all the cars are bigger now, braver
and how can i miss california?
but i do

east is east
east is cold
is bold is hard is stick-to-it is die-hard

basement floor kisses drench
radio-recycled christmas carols and the things
that happen to television when the writers
drop out

i drop out
the thing i want the most is
to run away
to chiang mai or shanghai or apple pie or mai tai

you get it
take me on a vacation
an actual vacation

and i will lose it so hard i actually forget
and it never comes back

i'll buy you a laptop
you'll tell me a story
we'll share a bottle
of the cheapest red wine
i can possibly find

or if you steal it i'll drink it
you can always tear me out
but i don't lie

i do stretch out flat
i do remember
i do drown

i do

Sunday, December 2, 2007

All of a sudden my bike is bad-ass (and other exciting news)

My most exciting thing to report is that I switched out my drop-down handlebars on my happy bicycle for cruiser-type bars, and so now I sit more upright and feel taller instead of crouching down over the slightly-too-small frame. Such a huge change, let me tell you! AND! My friend A brought me the incredible gift of a Brooks Saddle, which is this cool leather seat that will, like a pair of leather shoes, mold to me. Got some Bike Kitchen and some Critical Mass this past week, which is without-fail-always fun.

And what else? All anyone seems to be able to talk about is how cold it is in San Francisco these days and yes it is cold but seriously 50 degrees is nothing to go on and on about. I'm kind of into the bundling up, not so into the numb fingers and toes.

And last night I went to dinner with my friend K. Hadn't gone out to a special restaurant for a while and so we treated ourselves to Weird Fish, and hipster-y little spot on a somewhat desolate stretch of Mission Street. We split a coupla things: spicy, flavorful tortilla soup; edamame salad with sesame and cold noodles; an appetizer layered with spinach, tofu, goat cheese, and grilled yam; and fish and chips (fried tilapia with almost-perfect french fries including three kinds of potatoes, as far as I could tell). The fried stuff was done in such a way that didn't make us feel coated with oil and everything was delish! Our charming/cool waiter even brought us a forkful of the dessert special (some kind of banana cream decadence) because we were too full to order it. Then we went to a bar we always go to because it's chill and nice, and it started out that way but soon enough got packed with a crowd of coiffed saturday-night-blazer-wearing people that seemed Marina-ish. Then we left.