Sunday, February 29, 2004

Looking at the glass half-full:

What a great weekend! Kicking off with drinks and sushi, getting errands and cleaning done, actual SUNSHINE for two days more or less, getting caught up with old friends over bloody marys, buying more yarn for -- YES -- MORE YARN FOR KNITTING and even managing to get Harry Potter number five from the library so I can just devour the whole series as quickly as possible.

Looking at the glass half-empty:

What a crappy weekend. I hate my car. I hate the nervous pitty feeling I get when I have to drive anywhere more than five miles away. I hate always having to stare at the engine light or temperature gauge and imagine when its going to come on again. I hate that I can't afford a new car and that if my current car dies, then I'll have to take the bus everywhere.

Thursday, February 26, 2004

I'm restless.

I miss Sex and the City already and I'm not even up to date with the last season. Queer Eye has totally overstayed its welcome. I finished the first four Harry Potter books. I even finished my first-ever knitting project (completely unwearable scarf, it's so bad its funny).

I need new projects/obsessions and I need them NOW.

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

It's time for LINK O RAMA! I keep wanting to get into the habit of including a cool link to something in each of my little entries, and then each day goes by and I forget. So here are a few to tide you over until I can remember to do this more regularly.

You can get hilarious reviews and summaries of all of your favorite TV shows at Television Without Pity.

You can laugh about not having any mon-ay and the pitfalls of unemployment with Odd Todd.

Check out two great blogs that I go to religiously each day, LJCFYI and Not Martha. Both of these sites were tremendously useful for my holiday craftiness this past year, and actually gave me the idea for my peach jam and marble magnets.

Take a virtual trip with Rough Guides.

Finally, catch up on life in the Big Apple with The New Yorker.

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

I hate being sick. I feel like I was JUST sick at Christmas and here it is again. Shivering, shivering, shivering. All I've done for three days is lay in bed, rub my hands together to warm them up, sleep for 4-5 hours at a time, and worry about my life. I can't even read.

The bad part about being sick (or unemployed, or any situation where you are stuck at home alone for a long period of time) is that you just sit there and every little worry and concern about the past 200 years is allowed to creep in and crawl all over you. Watching bad daytime TV doesn't help much. I need to get back to work just so I can rejoin the real world.

A telemarketer called tonight and asked if I wanted to be a part of research studies/field testing for $50 a pop. I said yes (I'm sick and I haven't talked to anyone in three days, I think I was lonely). He started asking all sorts of questions and it wasn't until it was like half done that it occurred to me he could have been an escaped maniac or something. Let's hope not.

Friday, February 20, 2004

Okay, I went to bed early last night and awoke feeling refreshed and renewed. Maybe I was just tired yesterday. It was very gross. Gorgeous sunny day today which also helps the mood out a lot.

Heading to Beppo's tonight with the always-positive Rem and Wendy. Love those kids. I have decided to cash in my Christmas gift card there and enjoy a nice night out on the town snarfing down pasta and red wine.

Can I mention how much I love the library sometimes? It's a roulette wheel of sorts -- you never know what's going to pop up there. 98 percent of the time it's nothing but homeless people and books from 1972, but every now and then you find some best-selling modern day stuff. For FREE. I picked up Harry Potter number 4 there as well. Need to ration myself on this one, it's more than 700 pages and if I get on a HP-readathon spree like I did last weekend, I'm going to give myself a headache.

Finally, in another non-sequitur observation, I just wanted to send some good thoughts and best wishes to all of the gay and lesbian couples getting married in San Francisco. These two ladies have been together 51 years. FIFTY ONE YEARS. As a wise friend of mine observed recently, it's a pretty screwed up society where we have a reality show about straight people PRETENDING to be married, all just to win money but we won't allow committed and loving couples get married just becuase they're gay. GO LOVE.

Thursday, February 19, 2004

Blech. Total slug today. Total and complete slug-dom. My eyes burned all day at work and I didn't leave the office at all. I always hate that feeling of sitting at a desk for 10 straight hours with no oxygen or outside world to revive you. It wasn't even that busy, which added to the lethargy.

Came home, ate leftover Boboli and about a zillion penguin-shaped sugar cookies and continued the slugness while I stared at the TV. I think I fell asleep at one point with the cat on top of me and this was before 7 p.m. Have GOT to do something about getting in better shape. They say to do just 30 minutes a day and I can't seem to muster even that.

Lazy lazy sluglike day.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

It seems that lately I've just been rained down upon with generosity and good thoughts from friends and family and I wanted to take a moment to let everyone know how grateful and appreciative I am. Too often we get bogged down in the minutia of everyday life and we forget the nice things that people do for us. Lately I have felt a wonderful sense of being watched over and loved by a great number of people.

Sometimes when you're feeling crappy and pitiful and cranky its hard to recognize, and remember, the kindness that is all around you. Thanks to everyone for their good thoughts of late, I'll not soon forget them.

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

There's an old saying that you get what you pay for and that is especially true for haircuts. I was sitting in the laundromat yesterday, staring out into the rain at the Great Clips across the street thinking how long it had been since I had my hair cut. November? So I figured -- what the hell -- it's $16 -- I'll just go for it. How bad could it be?

And the answer is, not bad at all. But also not too terribly warm and fuzzy and bitchin'. I look fine, I got what I asked for, I don't need to wear a hat for a month. But something was lacking. If you don't mind a Russian woman named Sonja with minimal conversational skills, who stares at the clock CONSTANTLY and sighs throughout your haircut, then I would highly recommend it.

Switching gears, I need to point out a fabulous website I found recently called -- which provides a FREE online resource where you can track your meals/nutrition, exercise/activities, etc. and get fancy-schmancy reports of your weight loss progress. This seriously puts the online Weight Watchers site to shame. Does this mean I'm losing weight? Starting a new commitment to weight loss and fitness? Um. No. But it's handy to have.

Monday, February 16, 2004

Ah, Presidents Day. I am off from work and the day stretches ahead of me, but I am in a foul mood. Do you ever just wake up some mornings and feel like you start the day with two left feet? Where no matter what you do, it feel like the world is conspiring against you? Those days suck in general and they are worse when they happen on a HOLIDAY and they are worst still when it is pouring rain outside ON THAT HOLIDAY. GRRRRRR.

I have lots of unpleasant tasks to do today...bill paying, laundry. I got nothing done yesterday because I spent the entire day in bed reading books 2 and 3 of the Harry Potter series. Not sure why I was on a mission to read them, but once you start, they're a little like crack and you can't put them down and the next thing you know you're bargaining for just 100 pages more, just another 100...I think I felt left out of the Harry Potter mania from years past and wanted to catch up. Two more to go and then I'll be up to snuf with every other 11-year-old in the country. Go, Beth, Go!

In brighter news, the dinner party was a success and I surprised even myself with my Martha-ness. Not sure I'll do it again anytime soon, but it was fun to have everyone together and play the hostess.

In additional good news, I was awakened once again with a crack-of-dawn knocking on my door on Saturday morning, with yet ANOTHER package of gifties. Thanks much to world-recognized ballroom dancer Katusha Demidova for thinking of her cousin Michiko.

Need to be positive and try and resist the foul black cloud above my head. Time to grit my teeth and face the day.

Thursday, February 12, 2004

Picture it. 6:42 in the morning. The bed is warm, you're still in that sort-of awake/still asleep place. Alarm is going off every nine minutes. Cat is curled up next to me as I'm trying to wake myself up. I blink at the wall and try to focus. Suddenly there is a KNOCK ON MY DOOR. Three short taps. A pause. Then again. The cat stands up and stares at the door, rigid, ready to protect me (okay, so he really just stood up and looked at me with his scared face, but I like to pretend he would risk his life for me...)

Is there a fire? A gas leak? WTO riot? Am I being evicted? I stumble to the door, heart pounding, barely able to focus my eyes and there, sitting at my doorstop, is a box from Why it's just a package delivery! There's no fire or armored tank of rioting anti-capitalists in sight. I open the box and lo and behold are some gift wrapped goodies from my good friend Jen. A veritable cornicopia of gifities from my wish list! HURRAY!

I smile. Life is okay. No, not just that -- life is really, really GOOD sometimes. Thanks old friend.

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Only a few days to go until my birthday/valentine's/dinner/fondue party and I am in anxious hostess mode. Still trying to figure out what to prepare that will result in the perfect menu that people will be talking about for generations to come. Perhaps my sights are a bit high? All I know is that I'm going to be brave and try to recreate the sangria and chicken paillards in dijon mustard sauce from Cha Cha Cha, the fabulous restaurant in San Francisco. Couple that with some chocolate fondue and I guess it won't be all bad.

I haven't had a dinner party in YEARS. When I first moved here I threw them somewhat often, and then just fell out of the habit. I get too preoccupied now about everything that could go wrong -- what if people don't come? Or if people don't get along? Or if there are awkward silences? Food poisoning? The list of potential catastrophes goes on. And yet the alternative -- dining alone every night with my cat and my knitting -- seems....unspeakable and all too beige. FIGHT THE BEIGE, BETH, I told myself. And so I move forward....

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Just in time for the Valentine's Day season, I offer this adorable, if not blunt, little teddy bear for all of your gift giving needs.

Monday, February 09, 2004

The knitting attempts continue and I am dangerously close to figuring it out! So far I managed to eek out about six inches of scarf, most of which looks like a really talented six year old knit it. It's all sloppy and loose and falling apart. Only last night while watching My Surreal Life did I get the full hang of it and it started to take an actual turn for the better.

Now I don't want to stop doing it...I worry that I'll get bored after a couple of weeks and move onto some other obsession. Remember the needlepoint phase of Summer 2003? Two little screens and then it was over. The yarn itself is already bugging me -- the color (it's teal), the texture (semi scratchy), it's just not what I would want a scarf to be made out of...but it came as a starter kit and I have to start somewhere, right?

Yes, by the way, I really did say "while watching 'My Surreal Life.'" It's like a train wreck. It's worse than a train wreck. You find yourself sucked in and then you can't look away, even though it makes you feel all guilty and embarrassed and sort of ashamed. It's gooooood.

Friday, February 06, 2004

So the re-becoming a vegetarian thing is moving pretty slowly. Not that I'm eating entire roasts or anything, but its a big lifestyle change. Think I'm still in the "building awareness" phase where I want to read everything possible about the meat industry and vegetarian lifestyles and a more natural/organic/holistic way of living. If you've got good sites/magazines/books I should check out, please pass them my way!

This all brings me to a conversation I was having the other day with someone about natural cleaners. I was tidying up under my kitchen sink a while back and got a little grossed out by the number of products I had, many of which are, no doubt, toxic and non environmentally friendly. First off this made me want to reduce the sheer number of products I had (seriously, its just a one-bedroom apartment, not a 300-room hotel) and then find more naturally-based products to clean it with. There's a line called Method, which I've seen at Target, but it was kind of so-so on the greasy grime in my microwave. Surely there has to be a happy medium between that and the bleach-filled super chemical scrubbers?

Thursday, February 05, 2004

Phew. Okay, done with ranting and now onto happier topics.

1.) Check out the adorable travel bags and other goodies at Flight 001. We went here in San Francisco and I just regret not being able to purchase more. I did snatch up an awfully fun sky blue patent leather tote with a girl hula-hooping on it. It wasn't anything I needed ("Dang, but I am just useless without a sky blue patent leather tote..."), but a.) it was $9.99 and b.) there was this guy in the store pawing over it for a solid ten minutes examining every square inch of it like it was the Hope diamond and that just made it all the more sweet when I could grab it from him and take it home. VICTORY in the handbag section!

2.) I have finally made the controversial decision to start knitting. Bought a kit last weekend that will (in theory) produce a lovely green scarf when I'm done, so I'm going to buckle down this weekend and give it a shot. It took me two hours on Wednesday night to figure out how to make a slip knot from the instruction guide provided, so I think it could be a long couple of days. The kit says ages 8+. Siiiiigh.

3.) David Hasselhoff's all in a wad. Read more here.

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

I need to rant.

It's pretty well established that kids, for the most part, freak me out. I'm not comfortable about them, I don't know how to act around them, I never know what to say to them. I've never changed a diaper in my life. I babysat ONCE and vowed that i would never do it again, ever. Blame it on being an only child, blame it on my always being around adults for most of my childhood, whatever. Kids are just not something I'm good at.

THIS DOES NOT MAKE ME A FREAK. I am not mean, heartless, selfish, cold, weird, barren, bitchy or doomed to spinsterhood just because I am not good with kids. I'm also not good at long distance running, public speaking and anything that involves math, but no one seems to get upset and self rightous about my lack of skill/enthusiasm for those things.

IT'S FINE IF YOU HAVE KIDS. Look, I think being a parent is one of the most difficult, terrifying, admirable and miraculous things a person can do. It's just not for me. And that's okay. You don't need to whisper around me or stop mid-sentence when you're talking about something little Taylor/Prism/Chadwick/Argyle did over the weekend. Be proud that you're a parent and that you're doing something pretty frickin' amazing. It's important and its life changing. Just don't get all uppity and self important when I don't share your enthusiasm.

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

In a true sign of adulthood, I have to share my absolute GIDDINESS over my new Sonicare toothbrush that arrived yesterday. Patented sonic technology! Right in my own bathroom!

I have been lusting over the Sonicare since about Christmas time, but wasn't about to shell out the money for one...until I found a great deal online that couldn't be passed up. Some people wish for a new iPOD or a new car, I longed for a fancy electric toothbrush. Hey, when your health insurance only pays for ONE dental visit a year, a girl needs all the help she can get...

Monday, February 02, 2004

Ah, the big 3-0. After months -- many could argue years -- of built up anticipation and hype and conversations that start with "Dude, I'm going to be 30 this year...", the dreaded day finally arrives and I have lived to tell the tale.

It seems all I did for most of this year was obsess about everything I hadn't accomplished by this self-imposed deadline of 30. No boyfriend/husband, no adorable condo/house, no snazzy new car, loads of credit card debt, no writing projects, no furniture that's not from Target/Ikea/made out of particle name it, I obsessed about it and related it all to turning 30.

But on the plane ride home from San Francisco, I had the realization that while there's a lot -- many could argue too many -- things I have NOT accomplished by 30, there are still many more things that I have done up to this point.
It's strange to think back to where I was in my life at 20 -- and how much has happened since then. The twenties are hard, my mom told me this summer. You're so dumb in your twenties -- you're still figuring everything out like who you are and where you fit into everything. But by the time 30 comes around, you're more confident and have a better sense of yourself and what you're willing to put up with and what you really want from life.

I think back to when I entered my twenties -- how insecure I was, how young and inexperienced I was about so many things -- and its comforting and empowering to think about what all has been accomplished in those ten years. Its easy to complain about what might have been, what should have been -- its harder to go out and do it. My mood today is optimistic -- looking to not cry over the minutia and the shouldas/couldas, but to focus on what the future holds and what I choose to do with it. I'd like to enter the 30s with a sense of momentum rather than regret.

Sunday, February 01, 2004

Absolutely gorgeous day on Saturday -- did some shopping, had lunch at Frijz, had a driving tour of the city filled with wonderful scenic views of the Bay and a sunset at this overlook area called Twin Peaks...ahhhhh. Pastel pink skies that looked like cotton candy over the city.

The city felt familiar and welcoming -- sat at Cafe de la Presse with a latte in the morning and stared happily at the Eurotrash around was good.