Friday, December 09, 2011

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Best Cranberry Sauce Ever Because Wine

It's rare for me to post any recipe, ever. So when I do, you know it's got to be good. This cranberry sauce is easy and festive. Enjoy!

2/3 c sugar
3/4 c dry red wine
1 cinnamon stick
1-3 strips of orange zest, to taste
1 12-oz bag of cranberries

Put the sugar, wine and cinnamon stick in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir just enough to keep the sugar from sticking to the pan.

Once boiling, reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until sugar is dissolved and the wine is reduced a little (3-5 minutes).

Add cranberries and orange zest and let the sauce simmer, stirring here and there, until it thickens (10-12 min).

Remove from heat, and remove the cinnamon stick and orange zest. Let it cool in pan or in serving bowl, but do not refrigerate.

I like to garnish with fresh strips of orange zest for color.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Kim Kardashian, Salman Rushdie, Twitter, And Everything Winning On The Internet

Maybe you were like, "I wonder how Kristy's diet is going?" and decided to stop by to find out. And then instead of learning anything about my weightloss efforts, you discovered that I'm actually BFFs with one of the world's greatest authors ever to live, ever. And then maybe you were all, "Um, if Kristy was actually friends with Salman Rushdie, she probably would have mentioned this earlier," to which I replied, "That is absolutely not relevant."

Here is what actually happened.

Perhaps you may have heard that Kim Kardashian is getting divorced. I know, I know. But it's true. And just when I thought I'd seen every kind of Tweet and trending topic possible on the subject, this magic happened:







Yes. THE Salman Rushdie. Making fun of Kim Kardashian. In Limerick. ON TWITTER.

My mind was happily blown, as I was reminded that not all intelligentsia live in a technophobic cave ignoring everything pop culture. Some artists just have funnier things to say about it.

I was moved to tweet this:




Well.

You can imagine my surprise when my phone pinged, just moments later, because he replied.


I literally started sweating and had to hide in a closet while I composed myself.

I nervously tapped out my lame (yet actually? totally accurate) reply:


Quite obviously my brilliance stunned him into silence, although that's not really surprising. What IS surprising is that he allowed our friendship to become public knowledge. But I guess this means I can finally admit we're, like, totally besties.

It feels good to get that off my chest.

UPDATE: HAHA. The Gothamist noticed the tweet. Thanks for letting me know, Sophie-Anne!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Happy Birthday, Na-Na

I haven't ever mentioned it here, not really. But obviously if I'm working full-time -- even from my house -- I'm not watching my children full-time. We have a childcare provider here Mon-Friday.

Well, actually, we have three. Because we found a wonderful, amazing nanny who isn't interested in being with one family all week. (Who can blame her?) So she comes 2.5 days/week. Her name is Juanita and she is kind of the love of my life. (Through various twists and turns and for what it's worth, we also have Juanita's mom here 2 days a week, who is basically Mom Of Amazing, and yet a third nanny for one-half of one day each week who is awesome. Because this is what happens if you don't do the daycare thing. Every day we're shuff-a-lin'.)

What happens when Mama is in charge of her child:
Eve finds Mama's "wips." Click for larger.
 


But this is about Juanita.

Juanita has been watching Eve since Eve was 8 months old. Eve loves Juanita with all her heart, probably more than she loves me because Juanita actually knows what she is doing with children, whereas I do not, as evidenced by the story I am trying to tell.*

Plus, Juanita is younger, prettier, wears better makeup AND is more tattooed, bejeweled, and manicured than I am. These are the sorts of things that two-year-olds notice and find interesting. Two-year-olds are not so interested in Mama's "yoga pants" and "not makeup." (Although points to me for having a gall-bladder scar, which Eve adores. "MORE BOO BOO!")

Towns thinks "Na-Na ROCKS!"

Juanita -- aka "Na-Na" -- just had a birthday. For two days prior to (what I wanted to be) the momentous occasion, I worked on Eve.

We got Na-Na a present, we made Na-Na a card.

We talked about "Happy Birthday" a LOT, facilitated by the Birthday episode of Yo Gabba Gabba, which (as it happens) Eve also loves more than me.*

So on the actual morning of Juanita's birthday, with only 20 minutes left before her arrival, we practiced. Like a million times.

Me: What are we going to say when we see Na-Na?

Eve: HAH BIR-DAY, NA-NA!!!

Me, as though my child has recited the Gettysburg Address: THAT'S RIGHT! VERY GOOD! YOU'RE SO SMART! HIGH FIVE!

Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

When Juanita arrived, rather than squeal with delight and rush to give her a hug, which Eve does every other morning upon Na-Na's arrival, Eve ran to the sofa and climbed on it. And sat there, as though What? No big deal? I'm sitting on the sofa. 

Me: Eve? Who is it? Is Na-Na here?

Nothing.

I asked Eve if we had a present for Na-Na. I asked her if we had a card for Na-Na. I asked her if we had a special thing we were going to say to Na-Na.

Nothing.

Me: What do we say to Na-Na!? What do we say? We say Haaaa....? HAAA....? 

Nothing.

Eve responded by behaving as though I were completely crazy and she had never seen or heard of any of the things I was alluding to, and as though Juanita was a complete stranger not worthy of eye contact.

Um.

It took several minutes of coaxing, then ignoring, then coaxing again before Juanita and I persuaded Eve to get off the sofa and participate in their normal "good morning" routine of hellos and hugs and kisses.

And so, after Eve was back to her everyday self, I decided to try again.

Me: Eve? Remember? We talked about this? We have something to say to Na-Na today! What do we say? WHAT DO WE SAY TO NA-NA!?!?!

This time Eve acknowledged me. She looked at me as though she were wracking her brain to try to figure out what in God's name I wanted from her. And then it happened.

In a split second her eyes widened and she smiled her adorable toothy grin. She knew she had figured it out. She'd finally putting together what she was supposed to say to get Mama to shut up.

Eve turned to Na-Na.

And in a loud, clear voice, she exclaimed: GOOOOOOO NINERS!!!!











*In no way do I ACTUALLY think my daughter loves her nanny or the television more than her Mama. Though maybe fish sticks. Hmm. No, really, I kid. If I were truly concerned about those things, I wouldn't write them so nonchalantly. I didn't even want to make this footnote, but I am trying to head off anonymous lectures at the pass. You know. 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

I Made A Craft I Saw On Pinterest And It Worked And I Took Pictures And Now I'm Fucking Martha Stewart

FIRST and foremost, if you haven't discovered Pinterest yet, you are missing out on my current favorite website and diversion. (Question: What is the difference between diversion and obsession? Answer: Shutup.)

In case you don't know, Pinterest is basically a shared inspiration board -- all visual and full of amazing, fantastic ideas and crafts and recipes and fashions and finds and DIY ideas you'd never come up with on your own but will be amazed by. Seriously. I haven't been so enthralled with a website since maybe Twitter -- and Twitter took longer to win me over.

I even went to the local Pinterest meet-up a few weeks ago, just because I wanted to be around the people who made the site possible.

The Pinterest t-shirt is a little big on Eve.

Anyway.

While most of the things I see on the site fall into the "aspirational" category -- home decor I could never make work, fashions for women three feet taller and 100 pounds lighter than I am, hairdos I would end up in the hospital trying to do myself -- there are MANY great ideas I swear I will employ.

One such amazing, clever, and easy(ish) craft ideas I found was a tutorial for a Colored Rice Table. A table! To occupy toddlers! That's not sand or water-filled!  (Very important because Eve has entered a stage where she would spend all day playing in the sink if we'd let her.)

Not only does a rice table make sense, but the photo from the Shared & Remembered blog was so gorgeous, I had to try it:



So this Saturday morning, we saddled up the family wagon, headed to WALMART (YES, YOU HEARD ME) and bought a ginormous bag of rice, a plastic bin with a lid, and what I thought was food coloring.

And then we took it all home and got to work.

HOW TO MAKE A COLORED RICE TABLE APPROPRIATE FOR TODDLERS

Direct from the Share & Remembered blog, which you should go visit for more amazing ideas like these:
I measured out the rice (4 cups) and put it in a Ziploc bag with about 2T of food coloring or liquid water colors (works great!) and 3 T of rubbing alcohol. The kids helped me mix the rice in the bags to spread the color. We put them on pans to dry in the sun. 

Don't you love when craft instructions are one sentence long?  Well, actually, if you're anything like me, the answer is no. Because you don't really have any idea what you're doing and more instruction and explanation is always welcome.

Thus, here are my notes:
  1. If you buy a 20-lb bag of rice, you don't also need two smaller-but-still-giant bags of rice as well. The 20-lb bag will be plenty.
  2. The thing that WalMart sells that's in the food decorating aisle with all the crafty stuff? That looks like it's food coloring but is called "Icing Color" and is in cute little jars? It's not food coloring exactly. It's a really, REALLY, REALLY concentrated colored substance that is like a jelly. If you're not careful, it will stain your hand. (But not your counters or child.)
  3. I don't have any idea why you use alcohol instead of water, but probably because water will seep into rice immediately and alcohol...doesn't? And maybe dries faster? I don't know, Craft Physics.
  4. Given that I had this weird jelly substance, I wasn't sure if you were supposed to mix it with the alcohol before adding it to the Ziploc bag full of rice, or if you just throw everything into the bag and hope for the best. But I decided it made sense to add the alcohol to the jelly in a small bowl and mix it around -- making the jelly a little more liquid-y and easier to mix with the rice.
  5. If you end up using these color-jellies instead of normal food coloring (they worked fine and had lots of color options and were cheap, at $1.68/jar), you do NOT need 2T. In fact, you need like, barely half a TBS, depending on how deep a color you're trying to get. Play around with it. The good thing is that if the color is too concentrated, you can just add more rice to the bag while you're still mixing it/before it dries. If the color is too faint, just add more. 
  6. I had about 1/4 of the bag of rice left even after using 5 colors with more than 4C in each, so I decided to line the bottom of the bin with it. I figured once all the colors were mixed up, having white in there would look nice, and what's the harm in having more fun stuff to play with?
Here were the results! So pretty! (Click for larger! They don't suck!)

 Mixing is totally fun!


Note: ground is NOT wet because it was raining. Ground is wet because Eve turned on the hose because she will do anything to play in water. We need a new diversion!


 The vibrancy of the color is due entirely to my having no idea how much "Icing Color" to use.
It kind of worked in my favor!


 So pretty! Just needs to dry a little before toddler hands get into it!

You can't tell, but I have this long bin on top of another plastic bin turned upside-down. 

After drying: 









Better than a sandbox in every way! Eve loved the table and cried when she had to come inside to eat dinner. "MORE RICE PLAY!" she said. 

As far as I'm concerned, that's a rave review. 




Thursday, October 13, 2011

Ten Years Ago Today

On the morning of October 13, 2001, I left my sister's apartment in Boston. I gassed up my black Cabrio convertible and headed west.

Ten years ago today, I started my cross-country road trip -- the one that followed the end of my marriage and kickstarted the rest of my life.

I couldn't, didn't, foresee where I'd be a decade later. Here, on October 13, sitting in a darkened home office in my house in Napa, barely able to keep my eyes open long enough to cobble two sentences together. My husband is downstairs watching ESPN and doing dishes. Both of my kids are asleep. I have just closed my work email for the night.

I am utterly exhausted, but that's okay. Because I'm bone tired from living -- really living -- a life I couldn't even picture ten years ago.

I'm really happy to be here.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

I HATE THIS PART

So here's the thing.

I'm going to lose the weight I want to this time. I have no doubt in my mind. None.

Ugh, but there are lots of parts I hate. HATE. HATE.

Some people say getting started is the hardest part and I think that's a big, fat lie. Getting started is easy. Getting started is saying WOOHOO! and being all eager and bright-eyed and delusional about how long and hard this whole journey* is going to be. You don't think of it as a journey in the beginning. You just think, "Tomorrow I won't eat so many damn carbs and then I will be a size 6!"

It's after the first day,
the first three days,
the first three weeks
that it gets really hard.

Oh, before I forget! Here's the video from Week 4 which I forgot to post here.
I get stuck in my dress and I'm not even kidding. Also there's something about plus-size shopping.

Because that's when you're saddled with reality. And reality is: it's a millionteen times more difficult and time-consuming to lose weight than it is to put it on.

Suddenly you realize you really ARE on a fucking journey, not just a "let's try this out for a little while" escapade.

I will tell you right now: I have been on this journey for five weeks. I am doing fine. Food-wise I have been on-plan every day except ONE. And that was for a dinner party where I actually made Argentinian tamales with corn pudding and you'd better believe I ate them because that is the single most ambitious thing I've done in the kitchen in recent memory, save for when I tried to clean up "flour" while my toddler was playing with water in the sink.

Do not do that. Paste. Everywhere.

Anyway. Drink-wise I have had some cocktails here and there. (As such, I have learned that I can have a drink or two and not gain weight, but I won't lose any, either. MEH.) (But no surprise.)

I have not quite lost 20 pounds. Close, but no.

And that is wonderful, yes, except. UGH. I still weigh more than I did when I GOT pregnant with Towns.

I don't mean to set unrealistic goals. I haven't. The real issue is that I gained weight so quickly with pregnancy (and after it) that my milestones are all messed up.

  • I need to lose 30 pounds before I am the weight I was when I got pregnant.
    Sigh. That wasn't so long ago.
  • I need to lose 40 pounds before I am just about the weight I got to when Medifast was working for me and I was about to head to BlogHer '10.
    This means being able to wear all the clothes I bought around then.
  • I need to lose 45 pounds before I FINALLY ACTUALLY FINALLY ACTUALLY weigh less than I did when I arrived in San Francisco. Ten years ago.
    This was my first target when I started Medifast the last time.
  • I need to lose 50 (fucking) pounds before I weigh under 200.
    My actual first, big, scary, necessary target goal.
Fifty is a lot of pounds. 

Oh, I'll do it. It just means I'll be cranky in the meantime. By which I mean NOW, when I'm almost 20 pounds down and still not fitting into anything.

/cranky

In lieu of a video this week, here is what my progress looks like so far. (Thanks to my iPhone App called "Track Your Weight" and I can't link to it because I can't figure out how.)




For now, we're going to ignore that bright red "Obese" line along the bottom, light years away from my actual weight, that sort of makes it look like I've flatlined.

Next up? Telling you about my trip to the gym and meeting with a trainer where they hook you up to a machine that reads your body cells and then gives you a printout that looks like a receipt that tells you more about your actual body fat and water and muscle than you ever wanted to know. Kind of like the Wii except without the sad trombone music. 




















Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Oxford Comma

Or, as I like to call it, The Series Comma:


I have shared this gem on Facebook, where it originated from a man named Paul Jeannotte whom I do not know. But wish I did.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Great De-Plumping Project! Week 3!

This week was a tremendous success and not really a success. It depends on how half-full your glass is. Mine is definitely half-full. Of protein shakes that come out of little packets.

Hello, and welcome to my third week weigh-in on Medifast. Wherein I share a valuable life-lesson with you and I'm not even kidding.

You know. The more I make/watch these videos, the more I'm shocked I'm doing them. And also how bug-eyed I seem. I'm not saying that to be mean about myself, I'm just saying that I never SEEM bug-eyed in the mirror and then the camera comes on and...I don't know. Chins I get. My face looking rounder I get. But bigger eyes? Is this something having to do with lenses and physics?

Anyway, to prep you for this week's adventure-on-camera, please note the following:

  1. I dispense advice? Sort of? I don't know, I'm not what you would consider a "helpy" kind of person so feel free to ignore me. I just happened to learn a valuable lesson this week. So I shared.
  2. Some weird dubbing things happened. At least, I think it's called dubbing. I don't really understand how to make iMovie work -- I HATE IT. I HATE IT. I HATE IT. For some reason, my sound and picture get "off" somewhere halfway through and it seems like I've dubbed my video incorrectly. Which is just stupid. If I knew how to dub my movies I'd give myself a wicked cool accent and/or a Japanese voice track that I'd just publish captions over. DUH.
  3. I'm getting my roots done on Thursday.

GREAT GOOGILY MOOGILY! WTF KIND OF THUMBNAIL IS THIS???


OOH! MORE BLOGGING ABOUT MY BOOBS!

Thank you all for chiming in last week about scary bra-shopping and giant boob sizes. You are very helpful. (More "helpy" than I, anyway.) The reality is that I have NO idea if my boobs will get smaller as I lose weight, but that's what's happened every OTHER time in my life I've lost weight, so I'm hopeful. 

I agree that it is worth getting fitted for a bra if you haven't been. I have, repeatedly. 

I also agree that shopping at weird European stores is the only way to get some bras that fit. My sports bra cost more than my running shoes and it came from London. Which sounds kind of sexy but I assure you IT IS NOT. It's like a Medieval torture device updated to be soft and white and to "breathe." But even less sexy than wearing it is getting IN to it. NO I WILL NOT POST THAT VIDEO.


DO YOU HAVE A QUESTION FOR ME?

Sorry, that's a total douchey question. ("Like reading about ME? Let's ask more about ME!") But honestly I have NO idea what I'm doing making these crazy videos, so if there's something you'd like me to say or do or answer, I'd love to have something to go on. 


As promised, you can order Medifast at a discount ($50 off an order of $275 or more) by using Coupon Code: SHEWALKS



Yes, Medifast is sponsoring me, but I'm certain they didn't expect a frizzy-haired lunatic with bad roots to start posting videos on YouTube talking about her issues, so kind of the disclaimer goes both ways. 


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Great De-Plumping Project! Week Two! Boobs!

Yesterday morning I woke up, weighed myself, and decided to run to the computer to make a Week Two video. Before coffee.

This means I'm crazy. It also means:
  1. I am not wearing makeup OF ANY KIND and my hair is hilariously morningesque.
  2. The angle of the camera is about as unflattering as it can get, short of maybe sitting on the camera. Which I promise I will never, ever do. It's just that...somewhere under my jowels is actually a pretty face. Or, you know, pretty enough. PrettiER, certainly.
  3. I am mostly coherent, except I decide to chat about my boobs and then make references that are completely terrifying, such as "bowling balls in grocery bags" and then something about buying drugs from Canada and ordering brides from the Ukraine. 
I don't know what else to tell you. I've lost weight, but you'll need to watch my pre-7a.m. video to find out how much.



Reminder: You can order Medifast at a discount -- $50 off an order of $275 or more -- by using Coupon Code: SHEWALKS 




Yes, Medifast is sponsoring me, but I'm certain they didn't expect a pre-caffeinated lunatic to start posting videos on YouTube talking about her boobs, so kind of the disclaimer goes both ways. 

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Great De-Plumping Project!

I started Medifast on Tuesday, September 6, 2011.

Who starts a weight-loss program on a Tuesday? Shutup, whatever.

As some of you know, I went on Medifast about eight months after Eve was born (March '10), and was largely (HA, PUN!) successful except for a few wagon fall-offs, followed by getting knocked up again. So, right.

Now it is fall, 2011, which you know already. But also, I am four months post-partum, and weigh EXACTLY WHAT I WEIGHED WHEN I STARTED MEDIFAST THE FIRST TIME.

Nothing like going back to the drawing board.

But this time, there's no chance of a pregnancy to derail me. Really, there's nothing in my way anymore at all except me. Hello, clean slate.

And what's the big deal anyway, right? If I can restrict my diet (read: wine) for 9 months of pregnancy --  TWICE -- why can't I do the same one more time? I mean, no, there's no kid on the other end of this, but there IS health. And energy. And WAY better shopping.

So here it is. My video series. VIDEO SERIES. AHAHAHAHAHAHA. I'm calling this my Great De-Plumping Project.




Thank you all for your encouragement and sharing your #s below. It made all the difference in the world.


P.S. I'm sure I need to give this series a better and more SEO-friendly name that's also funny and clever, but "De-Plumping" was all I could come up with. I suppose "From MLOB to MILF" could work, even though "MLOB" doesn't mean anything, it just sounds like BLOB or GLOB. Which totally works. So, I'm looking for suggestions. Although if you tell me I have to call this something like "Fat Mom Gets Fit" I will throw a Medifast shaker jar at you.

P.P.S. You can order Medifast at a discount -- $50 off an order of $275 or more -- by using Coupon Code: SHEWALKS 


Yes, Medifast is sponsoring me, but I'm certain they didn't expect a lunatic in stripes to start posting to YouTube, so kind of the disclaimer goes both ways. 

Friday, September 16, 2011

Tell Me To Do My Scary Thing

If you've been reading me at all for even just a little while, you probably know two things about me:

1. I need to lose weight.

2. I don't really do "inspiration." Not in the traditional ways. If you find my being totally, brutally honest here in any way inspiring, that is wonderful and I love it and yay! for Invisible Internet Friends. But I have no religion of any kind, I'm not spiritual, and I'm not really self-helpy. Oh, I explore my inner-workings as much as the next blogging navel-gazer, but mostly I make fun of myself and the world around me.

If you were to read me and think mostly I'm kind of ridiculous, you would be correct.

But I have been a fan of MissBritt's for a really long time, and she wrote something a couple days ago about Doing [Her] Scary Thing. And she caught me off-guard. I must have been in the right frame of mind or openness of heart or I'm not even sure what -- this "inspiration" thing is out of my comfort zone -- but I think that's what happened. She inspired me. (THAT BITCH.)

Wanna know my scary thing? I'll tell you. Actually, no, I'll SHOW you. Probably. Maybe. Maybe. Probably. But hold on, wait a sec.

Here is half of it:

I started doing Medifast in the spring of 2010 because it is an easy-but-serious weight-loss plan and I was serious about losing weight, finally. And it was working (when I followed the program, which I mostly did) and then a bunch of dumb things happened at once that threw me off-course and then I got pregnant.

It's now a year-and-a-half AND A BABY later, and I'm ready, again. This is the last time. This is the final frontier. This is my "now or never" moment. I am done having kids. And after spending the last three years pregnant or recovering from being pregnant, I am primed to get down to a normal size.

We can discuss my actual goals and stuff later.

This is about my scary thing.

Inspired by Britt, I made a video. 

I made a video. Of me. Talking. And showing you my body. And saying THIS IS HOW MUCH I WEIGH.

I just sort of...did it. One take, mistakes and all, just to do it before I talked myself out of it.

But I haven't posted it anywhere because that is the scariest thing I could think of to do. To really show you me. After all these years. Chubby cheeks, jutting butt and all, telling you how much I weigh.

My thought is that I will vlog -- YES I SAID VLOG -- this whole weight-loss thing. If I can be brave enough to tell you the whole truth. To show you the whole truth.

I want to, but I'm scared. I don't even know of what, exactly. Will you think less of me because of how I look? Will someone comment that I'm fat? (Duh. And how could that POSSIBLY be surprising?) Will sharing my "number" take away something? (How could it?) Can I, someone who has been hiding from cameras (and untagging photos on Facebook) for YEARS really put it all out there? For really real?

I...I'm close. But I need someone to push me off the ledge.





*By the way, this isn't meant to be a baiting post. I really just want to hear that I'm not totally crazy from someone who isn't my husband (who thinks I might be a little crazy). 


Tuesday, September 06, 2011

The Top 10 Weirdest Things On "Yo Gabba Gabba"

UPDATED: CORRECTION TO #3 BELOW

Yo Gabba Gabba is our favorite kids' show.

We didn't start out loving it, of course. We started out with the reaction everyone has when they first see it: What...the...hell? 

Um?

But we kept watching because our child was mesmerized by its splendor, and it took only about two episodes before we experienced The Transformation.

The Transformation. Where you go from thinking it's the weirdest show that's ever existed to embracing it. From being all "these characters look suspiciously like sex toys" and "that whiney green thing seems to have some very special needs" to loving that, in Gabba Land, God is basically a gay black DJ who wears an orange jumpsuit and matching fuzzy hat.

Instead of complaining about the pitiful rhyming scheme of the characters' songs (it's like they make up the words as they go along), you start singing them yourself all day, all night.

And if you're anything like us, you go from being the parent who's never heard of The Ting Tings or Mates of State to being grateful for the one thing in your life that connects you -- however tenuously -- to music and bands relevant to people under the age of 35.

Thanks to Yo Gabba Gabba, I was excited to hear that MGMT was at Outside Lands. Even if the only song I know is "Art Is Everywhere."


Yes.  I could easily make a list of the best things YGG's ever done because there are lots of them -- probably my favorite bit is Weezer singing "All My Friends Are Insects" while dressed like bugs, but Biz Markie, Mix Master Mike, everything Mark Mothersbaugh has ever drawn, and Marshall's cool spoon trick rank right up there, too. The entire "Dress Up" episode is epic.

But. There are still a few things in the YGG canon that give me pause. A few things that still make me squint at the television and wonder if my daughter's gonna make it out of toddlerhood okay. And, having seen every episode a bazillion times, I feel I am as qualified as anyone to make a list of the strangest things that have ever happened in Gabba Land. So here it is.

The Top Ten Weirdest Things That Have Ever Been On Yo Gabba Gabba

10. Leslie

I can see why anyone involved in the making of YGG would see Leslie and think SHE HAS TO BE ON THE SHOW. That's not the weird part.

This makes as much sense as anything.

The weird part is kind of everything else about her. I want to think it's awesome that she champions gold lamé jumpsuits with excessive fringe, but I can't quite bring myself to be 100% behind her artistry. Almost. Just not quite.

Maybe it's because I saw this video of her (entirely unrelated to Yo Gabba Gabba) and is one of the strangest things I have ever seen in my whole life. Watch even just five seconds of this and you'll never be the same.





9. Super Martian Robot Girl: The Pink Monster Edition

Super Martian Robot Girl is great, if for no other reason than she's a female comic book/cartoon superhero who's neither half-naked with boobs the size of her head NOR a Japanese school girl.

She's just a feisty thing who runs around and solves problems. I look forward to the day when my little girl wants to be Super Martian Robot Girl for Halloween.

But the episode where there is a small monster made of pink globs is just a little uncomfortable. I don't know if it's because we don't know what the wavy pink globs are made of (bubble gum? vomit?), or if it's that the poor thing can't tell the difference between a picture of ice cream and its own mother.


But between the lost baby glob-monster and the cowboy and the man in a suit and bowler hat...I don't know. It deserves mention.




8. Shrinking The Cast To The Size Of Oski Bugs

There's a lot that's odd about the "Bugs" episode of YGG, but okay. I can get behind teaching kids that bugs are interesting and worthy of respect.

But we move from "Bugs, okay" to "EWWW BUGS EWW" when, at Muno's behest, Plex shrinks the whole cast down to the size of "Oski" bugs so that they can visit with the Oski bug world. Which I guess sort of makes sense in a fantastical "Honey I Shrunk The Kids" kind of way...


...except that somewhere between them crawling into a bug-infested log and the bug-birthing scene, you lose me.
This is the Oski bug queen who sings faux-operatically
and deserves reverence despite her Play-Dough eyeglasses.

Maybe I just don't like bugs.



7. The Fairy Tale Song About A Princess And Her Magical Tooth

Above all, Yo Gabba Gabba is a show about music. Between the background music, songs the characters sing, guest songs on The Super Music Friends Show, various Dancey-Dances, background music and the final episode remix, there is a LOT of music packed into each episode. My husband and I know all the words to many of the songs, but some of them sort of blend into the background.

I paid no attention to this particular princess-dragon-story song until I found myself asking, "Wait. Did she just say the princess had a magic tooth?"



Well, yes. She did. And so this story -- sung by I don't even know who -- makes this list. The lyrics:
Listen to a fairy tale about a princess who was up in a tower
A sneaky dragon flew along with a plan to take her back to his castle
But he didn't know she had a magical tooth
[ed. note: CAN YOU BLAME HIM?]
And after she smiled he turned into a golden goose
The village bandit heard the news about this golden goose and decided to steal him
Buckled up his flying shoes and he floated up to the top of the tower
But to his surprise, the magic princess so wise
Took her golden goose and disappeared before his eyes
And drifted away
To a new forest
And a new castle
Now the princess and her goose live in a land of love and peace and flowers
In a new village with their friends
And they lived happily ever after
The end


It's just that ASIDE from the crazy magical tooth, this princess has to escape both a sneaky dragon AND a village bandit, which basically lands her in Witness Protection.



6. Sukho 

Like everything on this list, Sukho is so progressively cool that he, and his theremin, cross over into totally bizarre.


Oh, it's totally cool that he is playing air! I just...he is playing air!



5. The Creepy Circus Ringleader Looking For Performers

In a "weirdest" of Yo Gabba Gabba list, I'd be remiss not to mention the episode featuring Weird Al Yankovich. He does not disappoint.


Essentially, Weird Al plays a circus ringleader who comes to town in search of...um...a circus? I don't know, it's not exactly clear. He has a circus, but there's no one who actually performs in it, so kind of he appears in Gabba Land asking if there are any freaks for his show.

HE'S IN LUCK.

A few weird scenes later (including Sarah Silverman teaching Muno how to be a MIME and the most terrifying clown song ever), Weird Al has collected quite a few performers for his "circus."

The lesson, kids, is that when a weird man wanders through town and asks you to join his non-existent "show," you should say yes without question. If there's a calliope in his white van, all the better.



4. Gooble

The rumor is that "Gooble" was actually a Muno costume design gone awry, but they decided to bring him into regular character rotation. He's always sad and always crying, and there's never any explanation given. Whenever he appears he's largely ignored.


Making Gooble an emotionally challenged albino cousin for no known reason.



3. Worm Babies

The fact that they're called "worm babies" should be qualifier enough.

In the episode where we're teaching the YGG cast "Don't be afraid, don't be scared; all of us are different," one might think no outside help would be needed. The cast is plenty diversified as-is.


And yet.

Muno has this weird relationship with a giant worm named <s>Armand</s> Archibald. (Note to self: Yes, I just typed that.)

Then Archibald asks Muno to babysit his "worm babies" while Archibald tends to adult worm business.

Image SHOULD say "Armand & Annie: Worm. Babies."

And if you stop for even two seconds to think about any of these things (Why is there a giant worm? At all? Do worms HAVE babies? Where could a giant worm NAMED ARCHIBALD be going? Especially since Gabba Land is the size of one three-foot-long table?) you are clearly not a sleep-deprived parent of a baby and have no business watching this show.

Anyway,  Muno agrees to watch the worm babies and Toodee and Brobee are afraid of them and the worm babies are afraid of Toodee and Brobee. And then they say "hi" to each other and everyone gets over their fears and there is more singing.

Worm. Babies.


*UPDATE: I was wrong in my original post. I called the adult worm Armand, but Archibald is the dad. Armand and Annie are the worm babies.



2. Every Interstitial

Yo Gabba Gabba is a many-layered show. Once you get over the initial shock and awe and start appreciating it for the wacky, lovable freak show it is, you don't even pay attention to the scene changes.

But you should. Because they are quick and colorful and where YGG secretly sneaks in the weirdest shit of all. These four-second clips are happy bits of transition you totally ignore until you realize there's a child sitting atop a half-trophy, half-frog-bulb, and no amount of sleep-deprivation can reconcile these images for you.





1. Brobee Cake

::SPOILER ALERT::

In the episode about Brobee's birthday, the cast DIDN'T actually forget about Brobee, they surprise him with a big party with a Brobee Cake at the end.

::END SPOILER ALERT::

I'm not sure what the proper etiquette is for making a cake that's supposed to look like the person the cake is for. Probably Martha Stewart is against this. We can all agree it's highly questionable.

But then not only does Brobee Cake LOOK like Brobee, it walks and talks. It's fully animated.



And in the most uncomfortable scene of all Yo Gabba Gabba episodes, Brobee Cake asks Brobee, "YOU WANNA PIECE OF ME?"

Which would kind of be cute if it weren't for the cannibalism.

Here, we witness Brobee eating a piece of his
cake-doppelganger who is still alive and talking to him.

What birthday party isn't complete without a little happy cannibalism?

______________________________________________________________________________

And there you have my round-up of the 10 Weirdest Things on Yo Gabba Gabba. What do you think? Did I get it right? Did I miss any glaring weirdness?

Don't be afraid, don't be scared. All of us are different.


Friday, August 26, 2011

In Honor Of National Toilet Paper Day...

Yes, folks. Today is National Toilet Paper Day. I don't know what to do with this fact other than share it because why? How? What? 

Here, I'll make a totally lame connection. Ready?

Anytime I see an image of The Thinker sculpture, I can't help but imagine that he is on the toilet. I don't mean to think this. I never meant to think that. But I did, when I was a kid, and it never ever leaves my brain because LOOK. 


It's not hard to imagine, right? 

My point is. Sometimes people do some thinking when they're on the toilet, ostensibly using Toilet Paper.

Note: there is no toilet paper in my drawing because it hadn't been invented yet. And if you feel like telling me that toilets ALSO hadn't been invented yet, shhhhh. 

And one time when I was "thinking" (SEE HOW THIS IS ALL RELATED?) I decided it would be nice to have all of my favoritest posts from over the many, many years I've been writing here in one place. 

So I did it. I went through all my archives and picked out what I thought were the best posts (because apparently I don't give a crap (HA! MORE POTTY HUMOR!) what YOU think) and now they're on a page called -- oh-so-humbly -- "The BEST posts.

Like remember that time I had the picture of my fridge? And when I got lost on my own street? They're all there. For you to read the next time YOU are, you know, "thinking."



Monday, August 15, 2011

My Interview With The Food Network*

Following the Kerry-Vincent-hair-spinning-cake-kerfuffle (aka "That Time I Was Blogger Almost-Famous, Again. For Like, Two Almost-Seconds.")(HERE IS A LINK IN CASE YOU MISSED IT. HINT: READ THE COMMENTS), I was contacted** by a member of The Food Network's PR team. Apparently, immediately following this blog incident, ratings plummeted for all Food Network Challenge shows. When the PR folks looked into the matter, they ascertained that their sudden, dramatic drop in viewership was due to my unfairly critical blog post about Ms. Vincent's headband.

Before I knew it, I was having a phone interview with someone who was supposed to be asking me about my blog, something-something publicity, but who was clearly out for blood and was also quite possibly President of the Kerry Vincent fan club.

This is what transpired.*** I have only JUST gotten around to publishing it, because every word is really critical and thus, this is possibly one of the most important interviews you'll read this year.


Food Network PR Rep: Thanks for taking the time to talk to me today, Kristy. So let me just jump in here and ask: Kristy, why do you blog anonymously?

ME: Uh...I don't...I'm...Didn't you just call me by my--

FNPR: Oh, it happens all the time. You know, we read a lot of blogs where people have to take their opinion online, under the cloak of invisibility, because they feel they have no voice in their real life. Would it be fair to say that's what's happened here?

ME: Invisibility? Not really. I mean, I don't think--

FNPR: Funny you should say that. I have a quote here from one of the commenters on your post who calls you out for that very thing. How you don't "think." She writes, "You, My Dear, are a prime example of what's wrong with many of our youth today, all talk and no brain, with which to create those thoughts. You express them on your blog, code for: "I can't talk publicly, so I'm going to hide online and vent to cover my embarrassment for a lack of the basic social skills."

Kristy, have you always lacked basic social skills?

ME: I wouldn't say that at all.

FNPR: Uh huh. So the "anti-social blogger"...that's just a myth?

ME: I think there are anti-social bloggers, I'm just not one of them, exactly.

FNPR: What about pajamas?

ME: What?

FNPR: Basement-dweller?

ME: I'm not in a basement...

FNPR: Well, then, let me ask you this: Are you a Harry Potter fan?

ME: Sure, I'm a fan of Harry Potter.

FNPR: Uh huh. And are you wearing pajamas right now?

ME: It's 11 o'clock at night.

FNPR: That's not what I asked.

ME: Yes, I am in pajamas right now.

FNPR: Exactly. Exactly the point. Moving on: Would you say you hate Kerry Vincent more or less than Hitler?

ME: What? Kerry Vincent? I thought you were asking me about Harry Potter. I don't hate Kerry Vincent! I don't even know her!

FNPR: And yet you pretend to know her for the sake of lying to your readers.

ME: I never pretended to know her. I just wrote about how I don't understand why she plays a mean judge, or why the cakes have to spin--

FNPR: So you admit you don't know the first thing about her?

ME: You mean aside from the headband?

FNPR: ...and YET you feel completely justified in castigating her character and writing an entire post about her lack of humanity.

ME: I didn't write about her lack of humanity, I wrote about her hairspray!

FNPR: WELL WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE HER DO? LEAVE THE SICK CHILDREN ALONE TO DIE?

ME: What are you-- WHAT sick children?

FNPR: [loud sigh] Honestly, what you don't know could fill a THOUSAND blogs. [pause] I direct you to a comment by another Kerry Vincent fan who writes: "Did you know the reason she keeps her hair short is because she and her husband fly their plane for Angel Flights? They go at the drop of a hat to transport critically ill people to hospitals for emergency treatment."

Certainly, Kristy, you must feel SOME shame now, knowing what kind of person she is?

ME: I...I'm at a loss here.

FNPR: I'm not surprised. [pause; shuffling of papers] Why do you think your readers hate cake so much? Do you think you had something to do with it? Are they that easily led down your idiot path?

ME: No one hates cake. I don't think my readers hate cake. I don't hate cake! I love cake!

FNPR: [laughing] Oh, right, of course. You love cake, you just harbor deep-seated contempt for spectacular cakes.

ME: I'm certain I don't have contempt for cakes of any kind. I'm not clear on the reason cakes need to be 6 feet tall and resemble cartoon characters and spit fire, but I don't hate cake. That's like saying I hate kids.

FNPR: Well, now that you mention it, when WAS the last time you and your husband -- assuming, that is, that he exists and isn't a figment of your basement-dwelling, pajama-addled imagination -- flew your jet on an angel mission?

ME: We-- I don't...um. We don't have a plane?

FNPR: So your answer is never?

ME: It's...no...I mean, yes...I don't...

FNPR: You're aware, are you not, that being a cake judge is an incredibly difficult job?

ME: I'm sure that it is.

FNPR: Do you buy sheet cakes at Costco?

ME: What has that got to do with anything?

FNPR: I'm just trying to establish your credibility in terms of judging cakes, or shows about cakes, or cake judges.

ME: I dunno. I wouldn't underestimate the Costco cake. I don't care much for their giant muffins, but their cakes are fine as far as I know. Ooh! And their ravioli. They have great ravioli.

FNPR: [makes a tut-tut sound.] Can we stick to the point please? And what about your hair?

ME: I'm sorry? We were making a point about my hair?

FNPR: That is YOU in that picture on your blog's sidebar, yes?

ME: Yes.

FNPR: Do you have any idea how unsanitary your cake would be?

ME: Uns--

FNPR: I bring your attention to the commenter who pointed out, quite rightly, that "If cake decorators wore their hair like you we would all have 'Hairy Cakes'."

ME: That sounds like a good name for a band. Hairy Cakes. Actually, you know what? No it doesn't. It sounds gross.

FNPR: AH-HA! SO YOU ADMIT YOU WOULD WEAR YOUR HAIR LIKE KERRY VINCENT'S IN ORDER TO MAKE A CAKE?

ME: No one wants a hairy cake.

FNPR: Do you have ANY IDEA what kind of artistry goes into Ms. Vincent's headbands?

ME: I think we've established that my version of artistry is not on par with your version of artistry.

FNPR: [shuffling papers] That's certainly true. I mean, allow me to quote from yet another real cake fan. She writes, "Your series of type-written words expressing YOUR opinion, are neither art nor consequential to the well-being of society."

ME: Not consequential to the well-being of society? Did you see how I had that picture of the Sham-Wow guy? Come ON.

FNPR: [silence] I think we're done here.






*Absolutely none of this actually happened.
**No, I wasn't.
***No, it didn't.

Monday, August 01, 2011

Here, Watch This

I'm coming back soon. And in the meantime, you may have noticed that things look different around here. Again. Yay!

The BlogHer Conference is this week. I'm not attending the conference, but I am headed to San Diego where my company, Clever Girls Collective, is hosting a huge party the night before the conference begins. It will be fun and awesome and full of rock star goodness. I will wear something too low-cut and too short and drink champagne and meet all kinds of people. This will be "work."

(Yes. I am feeling pre-guilt for leaving my kids for two nights.)

In the meantime, I leave you with this video. We asked members of our network to send in videos of them lip-syncing to Pink's "Raise Your Glass" and while we only had a few folks brave enough to send something in...it's really hilarious and awesome and so, so fun to watch.

So, please do.

Will I see you in SD?

Monday, July 18, 2011

My California (Street) Home


I started looking for my own apartment in June of 2004.

This time around, the apartment hunt was totally different than it had been when I started looking for my own place in 2001, post-divorce, post-Connecticut, pre-knowing-anything-about-SF.

Over the course of three years, I had established something of my own (new) life and self and identity, and needed a place to go with it. Which was exciting in a new way, although not so easy to do given my modest budget. (Miniature donkey marketing wasn't exactly lucrative.)

So I started looking. Again, I relied on Craigslist. Again, I discovered that apartments on modest budgets are mostly terrifying and awful. However, I had zero -- actually, less than zero, if that's possible -- interest in living with roommates. Thus, my hunt took weeks and weeks and weeks.

Weeks and weeks and weeks, that is, while I was still living in the loft. With one bed. With my now-ex-boyfriend. It wasn't entirely awkward, it was just a little strange. (But then, so is everything in San Francisco, so whatever.) Mostly it just made it feel like we weren't really broken up.

I FORGOT TO TELL YOU ABOUT TRIVIA!

I'm not sure exactly when it started, but at some point when we were living in the loft, our small group of friends started playing trivia at the Tuesday night Pub Quiz at the Edinburgh Castle. It became our thing. Every Tuesday there would be a core group of us -- sometimes as few as four -- and others would drop by, or just drop in, on an ad hoc basis. We once had 19* people playing! But it was awesome to have a weekly activity that we could count on. Trivia was our social touchstone.

One night, early in our trivia-playing careers, my friend's boyfriend invited his friend to come. And she, not wanting to show up alone, brought a guy friend from work. She didn't quite take to the game, and gave up after a couple weeks. But her friend from work continued to join us. We liked him -- he was funny and smart and good company.

A YEAR later, after EG and I were broken up but still living together, he -- the friend's boyfriend's friend's coworker -- suddenly took an interest in me. (Until that point, he'd been somewhat cordial, but was clearly NOT interested in me; I'd assumed it was because, you know, he wasn't interested in me. Apparently it was because he wasn't interested in flirting with someone who had a boyfriend. Duh.)

And THAT is how I met, and started dating, The Boy. Tony.

EG and I living together while we were broken up and I was looking for an apartment wasn't awkward UNTIL I started dating someone else. HA!

So, yeah. I stepped up my apartment search.

Still, it wasn't until AUGUST that I happened upon a cryptic Craigslist ad that sounded...good, but...vague? It had the wrong address (two perpendicular streets) and was categorized in the wrong neighborhood. And when I called the number to talk to "Bob," no one picked up the first three times. But I persevered, figuring if the apartment really was as described, maybe I'd be one of the few people who had the tenacity to actually get to see it.

I eventually booked a time to see the place, which is how I learned that the small, six-unit apartment building was owned by a Japanese woman who spoke almost no English. She therefore depended on her wacky, 70s-throwback handyman -- Bob -- to place apartment ads and field inquiring calls. I took one look at the apartment and knew I wanted it, but Bob, who was showing the apartment, told me I'd have to wait to meet Fumi first. Two days later, I went back, met Fumi, and offered to write her a check on the spot. She agreed. She told me I seemed nice ("you nice girl"), and besides, the apartment was "pink...for girl."

The place was on the third of three floors, up two small flights of green, carpeted steps. It was off-street so there was minimal noise. But the building was located on California Street, at Polk, which meant it was on the cable car line, and I could faintly hear the tracks running all the time. I could also (far less faintly) hear the actual cable car go by and ding when it stopped practically in front of my building. I loved it.

Even better, though, if you listened carefully on a foggy night, you could hear the fog horn from Alcatraz.

The interior was simple and perfect for a single gal. Fine-sized bedroom, smallish living room. Two large closets, giant built-in shelves. Eat-in kitchen. Full bath with claw-foot tub. Good light.

Fun location. I had a totally ghetto grocery store in one direction, and a Whole Foods three blocks in the other direction. I was right ON Polk Street, too. So if I turned left, I'd be in the seedier part of the city, smack-dab in the middle of what was once called "Polk Gulch." For those of you unfamiliar (which is probably ALL of you), that was the focal point for SF's tranny scene, and remained a favorite hangout for tranny hookers. In the same direction, I was within walking distance of the Castle (the place with the Tuesday Pub Quiz) AND my favorite bars in all the city -- Lush Lounge** and Vertigo.

If you turn and go the other way up Polk Street, you end up in the Russian Hill area, which is far nicer and a lovely place to stroll on a weekend morning for coffee (there are about 90000 coffee places aside from the requisite Starbucks and Peet's) or brunch or stopping in at a sports bar to catch an East Coast baseball team in a game that starts at 10 a.m. in California.

I loved that place. Which was good, because there were moments when I wondered if I might just end up staying there alone, with my cats, knitting, for the rest of my life. As you might know, since a few months after I moved in, I started this blog.

Here's a quick little video I made of my California St. Apt.


video


Note: 1. I always hate how my voice sounds in video. 2. I don't know why it sounds like I'm heavy breathing. 3. I almost switch the camera sideways in the bathroom and then quickly remember that doesn't work with video. 4. Yes, unmade laundry on the bed.




*Don't think that playing trivia with 19 people and one answer pad is easy. 19 people have 19 opinions about what is "correct." We always did poorly when we had too many people on the team. Luckily, no one but me ever really cared. 


**Lush Lounge was the only bar I ever attended regularly. EG and I would go there when we had no other plans on a Friday night, which was often when I first moved to the city. We loved the great bartender there, who eventually left to start his own place a few doors up: Vertigo. Sadly, Lush Lounge has since moved. I'm told it's the same old place, but I've yet to see it. 

Saturday, July 02, 2011

My Favoritest Birthday Present Ever

I was frantically searching for my W-2s the other day, and did not find them.  (Have you seen them? What about my passport? No?)

What I did find, however, was the gift Ish gave me for my 35th birthday. Last year. When I turned 35. Which I say three times because I can't believe I'm in my 30s let alone nearly my "late" 30s.

ANYWAY.

My husband re-wrote the words to Cole Porter's "You're The Top" for me. And then he sang his version to me, in front of his family. It captures him, and me, and us, and makes me as happy as anything ever could.

And so, in the middle of March, for no reason whatsoever, I give you his "You're The Top." Which I will wait until JULY to publish, in honor of my 36th birthday.

You're the top!
You're a cappuccino
You're the top
You're a glass of pinot
You're a YouTube clip of a prison's "Thriller" dance
You're the Twilight Saga
You're Lady Gaga
You're DJ Lance!

You're the top!
You're the oh-ten Lakers
You're a loaf
From the Model Bakers
I'm a broken nail, a fail whale, a sop,
But if baby, I'm the bottom,
You're the top!

You're the top!
You're Iron Chef Batali
You're the top
You're the Napa Valley
You're a video
Of a classic 80s song
You're a club called Wee-Burn
You're Justin Bieber-n
You're Donkey Kong!

You're a slice
You're a Lotto winner
You're the price
Of French Laundry dinner
I'm a Nick Cage flick that the critics pick to flop
But if baby, I'm the bottom,
You're the top!

You're the top!
You're a neat Manhattan
You're the lamp
Where they kept Aladdin
You're a grand-slam homer
That splashes in the Bay
You're the Dalai Lama
Barack Obama
You're Tina Fey!

You're divine
You're the Roman Senate
You're the heart
Left by Tony Bennett
I'm a sucker who awaits the other shoe to drop
But if baby, I'm the bottom,
You're the top!

You're the top!
You're a spicy chile
You're the top
You're Groundskeeper Willie
You're the bubbles fizzing
Inside my champagne
You're a  pork burrito
A tiny Speedo
You're Michael Caine!

You're theplot
In a Coben novel
You're a nut
On my Belgian wavvle
I'm an also-ran, a tomato can, a blop
But if baby, I'm the bottom,
You're the top!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Loft on Haight

EG and I started looking for new places to live weeks before our lease was up, so we wouldn't have to stay one day longer than necessary.

Once I wrote about the time I literally threw myself through the wall in the hallway outside our apartment. On my birthday. I didn't mean to. I meant to give EG a hug but I tripped, gained falling-down momentum, and next thing you know I was crumpled in a heap with half of me IN the wall and the other half of me on top of my foot. Quite a feat. The story is here, along with a picture of a very, very, very bruised buttocks.

Following my fall, I spent six weeks unable to do much of anything because uncoordinated people can't use crutches very well ESPECIALLY not in a city with sidewalks like San Francisco's. I spent most of my days wheeling myself around on my office chair.

My right foot is still much larger than my left.

The point is, our Sutter St. apartment didn't have good juju. No. It had mosquitoes and bad juju.

When I first started looking for new places, we were searching for two-bedroom apartments. I was working more hours and we could afford a slightly more rent. Except "slightly more rent" did not equate to NICE two-bedroom apartments. They were mostly either scary places or places that had two "bedrooms" but no living rooms.

Thus, I finally got the bright idea of looking for more expensive one-bedroom apartments. Maybe, I thought, expensive one-bedroom apartments would be nicer than low-to-mid-priced two-bedrooms.

And somehow the stars aligned and up popped a listing too good to be true. A fresh, modern, cat-friendly LOFT apartment was available in EG's old Hayes Valley 'hood for our price. And we snapped that baby up in two seconds.

Oh, how I loved that apartment.

The house I grew up in had a giant kitchen with a wall of windows and a brick floor and a brick fireplace (Connecticut farmhouse, remember). My family spent 90% of our time in that kitchen, including when guests were over. And while a modern loft in San Francisco is mostly nothing like a Connecticut farmhouse, living in one giant room was familiar.

I remember the smell of fresh paint and warm air. Instead of a decades-old hissing radiator, we had a gas fireplace. The ceilings were maybe 20' high. The far wall was completely windwed. The stairs were completely open, and we had 1.5 baths. The kitchen had dark cherry cabinets, stainless steel appliances, and granite counter tops.

But the best thing about living in a newly constructed place was how everything worked. The farmhouse, my homes in Connecticut, my apartments in San Francisco -- they were all (to one degree or another) "old." I'd never realized you could have more than one outlet in the same wall! I didn't understand the magnificence of having every light switch in the home turn something on! Every time! Not only could you keep a granite countertop clean, you could keep modern wood floors clean, too! OH GLORY DAY.

We had a tiny balcony that overlooked the swankier lofts' backyards, but also Market Street, and even with the double-paned "soundproof" glass, you could hear the F-Market go by. You could sort of see Martuni's from our place.

If the Sutter St. place was the home of bad juju, this loft was the opposite. Something happened there. I guess I finally started to feel my SF groove, maybe. We moved in in October 2003, two years after I'd arrived in the city. I'd heard that it takes about two years of living somewhere new to totally feel settled, and that could not have been truer for me.

I'd finally found a real group of friends, and we had some amazingly fun parties in that place. In fact, I've maybe never had a better time at one of my own shindigs than our November housewarming party. We pulled out all the stops, buying glassware instead of plastic cups, for example, and hand-making fancy hors d'oeuvres like spanikopita (AMAZING considering my culinary background), and it was fabulous. It was my own. It was of my own making, and of my own choosing. The apartment, the people, the music, the food -- all of it was constructed. I'd felt like it was something I built. I'd never felt further from the clutches of a marriage that didn't suit me, or from all the things I'd never liked about where I grew up. It was like I'd taken all the parts about my upbringing that I liked most and expanded them into this crazy new life.

That apartment became party central. We were always ready to entertain -- glassware and booze at the ready, and if not munchies at least a pizza place on speed dial. If our friends were going out for the night, we'd start there for pre-partying (or "pre-drinking" if you want to get technical). The girls would go upstairs to primp and everyone would eat pizza and watch silly television.

While living there, at Haight & Market, I finally got a "normal*" 9-to-5 office job. I started my own, totally independent work life and public-transit commute in a city that was no longer a strange place to me. I can't even begin to express how oddly validating of my new life it was to take a city bus to get to work.

While living there, I started my a cappella group. I'd been looking around for a way to get back into singing, but all my efforts had, until then, been half-assed. Something happened at Haight & Market, though. I felt more in control of my life than ever, and started to really believe that I was the only person standing in the way of living life the way I wanted to. So I put an ad on Craigslist, and The Loose Interpretations were born.

While living there, I finally had the strength and clarity to really examine my relationship with EG. We had been having fun, for sure...but. Of course, he'd been a pillar of strength for me.  He was the only person I knew in San Francisco for a long time. We had almost nothing in common except our values and love for The City, which somehow made us excellent friends. Plus there was the soul-bonding fact that six weeks after my mother passed away of her longtime illness, so did his.

It made sense for us to be together in some ways, for some time. But as I was working hard to define my SF life, EG was a tough one. "Living with a guy" was vague. "Boyfriend" was vague. I'd come to a point where I needed to commit to the direction my life was headed, one way or another. And that's how we came to be engaged.

But that didn't fit. Every personality conflict we'd ever had suddenly went from "I can live with this" to "I HAVE TO LIVE WITH THIS FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE?" EG's brooding fits of introversion didn't mesh with my constant need for chatter and company, and we lived in a constant state of compromise. Which was fine. But not okay for forever.

We broke up three months after we got engaged.

Which meant that by the summer of 2004, I was looking for my fourth apartment in three years. 

Photos from Christmas 2003






*This was the one involving miniature donkeys. So "normal" is relative.