Saturday, June 30, 2007

An Open, Bittersweet, Letter to Seattle

Dear Seattle,

Well, old friend, it looks like it's our last night together. When I arrived at your doorstep, I was a 22 year old baby bunny rabbit, all wide-eyed to the world and dying for some adventure outside of Colorado, which I called home for my entire life. Now, 11 years later, we're parting ways and I'm off to hang with your older, more worldly, sister San Francisco. What a ride it's been - how to capture all of our time together?

I arrived unsure of what I was looking for, only that I was looking for something else. One time early on in our relationship I drove to Portland on a whim because I was bored and it totally slayed me that I could do that without asking anyone's permission. Check me out, driving three hours away without even telling my mom! You showed me what was possible, Seattle, if I went out there and did it.

Oh Seattle, with your sunny days spent lounging on Alki Beach and your rainy days spent wandering through Half Price Books, I'll miss you. You've given me Spicy Tuna Rolls at Chinoise on Queen Anne and pitchers of Mac and Jack at Linda's and spinach dip at Elephant and Castle and brunch at the Broadway Grill and crepes at 611 and countless happy hours at the Sitting Room.

You've shown me drag queen nuns at the Pride parade, a homeless guy relieving himself in the alley outside my first apartment, an irate Nordstorm shopper who "doesn't play that game," a Chicago native who could not pronounce "Factoria" and "San Jose" properly to save her life, and an executive's wife who once left a phone message for her husband that said "Just tell him the man who has been stalking me has been shot."

You've given me a few bad temp jobs, a stint as an overpaid receptionist/proposal monkey, and the courage to try out this wacky thing called Public Relations. You gave me Thomas the Wonder Cat and Mrs. Puff. You tested my heart and proved to me that I can survive even when it breaks into a million tiny pieces. Year after year, you've shown me how beautiful and clear and green and lush you can be on a sunny warm day in the spring after ten months of winter darkness.

We've both grown up so much since we first got together - a little wiser, a little more sophisticated and a little rougher around the edges given all of our experiences together. I'll miss you, old friend, but rest assured I'll be back. I couldn't leave you this easily, not after all we've been through together.


Wednesday, June 27, 2007

On the Topic of Living Car-Free

I've been living car-free since May of 2003, which puts my SBQ (Smug Bastard Quotiant) at about 4 million SBQ points these days. The car-free life hasn't been too bad overall - certainly not ideal, but I've managed pretty well thanks to some very kind friends who occasionally offer to haul my ass to Target and brunch every now and then. The combination of a bus pass plus my BFF Flexcar has really been a lifesaver.

Now that I'll be a California resident in just a few short days, I've been thinking/stressing out about what life will be like down there without a car. In the two trips I've made down to the Bay Area lately, it's been amazing to see the reactions that my car-free life gets from people. I might as well be a traveling circus freak, it seems - Californians seems to Love Their Cars Big Time. After all, in all those movie scenes of sporty convertibles driving along the Malibu highways, you don't exactly see buses and light rail, do you?

Take my recent apartment hunting experience - when I asked how close things were, i.e., the grocery store, restaurants, public transportation, etc., the notion of what is "close" and "far" were very different between the Car Drivers and the Non Car Drivers. When you don't have a car, your world shrinks tremendously. A twenty-minute drive to downtown San Francisco isn't exactly "close." Your basic needs need to be within easy walking distance - which is about six blocks, max, in my mind - let's face it, when you need cat food and brie at 10 p.m., you don't want to have to hoof it for a three mile walk.

On the bright side, my new apartment seems convenient to pretty much everything, including a Trader Joe's, which guarantees my access to affordable wine and cheese. We'll see how it goes in the coming weeks. Anyone out there got Bay Area public transport tips?

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Rabbit Season/Duck Season? No, Tourist Season

Yesterday I sauntered to the Pike Place Market to grab some spicy chicken teriyaki for lunch and found myself scowling, cursing, and sighing with contempt. It's tourist season in Seattle. Swarms of them, like locusts, have invaded the city and are desperate to see the Space Needle and get a salmon thrown at them and drink real Starbucks coffee. Normally I roll my eyes and walk briskly past the tourists as I head to work or to the grocery store or wherever us Seattle resident-type folk hang out.

But this time I stopped...and realized that in less than a week I will be that dorky tourist asking people when the next ferry to Alcatraz departs and and posing for a picture next to a giant pot of crabs at Fisherman's Wharf. I will be that person who takes just a bit too long to ask for directions on the bus when the rest of the passengers just want to get to work already. No matter how much indie hipster street cred I may want to think I have, the fact is, I'm going to be walking around with my nose buried in my laminated Streetwise San Francisco map for at least the next six months and that makes me (sigh) a big ol' tourist.

So this summer, I'm proposing National Be Gentle With Tourists Season**, if only because many of us will probably find ourselves in that position this summer and could use a little help finding our ways around.

**This post will self destruct in about six months or however long it takes me to get my bearings and start snearing at tourists again like a local.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

An Open Letter to the Cast, Crew and Producers of “The Holiday,”

Dear Cast, Crew and Producers of “The Holiday,”

Not since “13 Going on 30” have I desperately longed for a time machine, so that I could travel back to the Beth of Two Hours Ago, wrestle her/me to the ground and wrench the remote control from her/my hands so that I could get those two utterly wasted hours back. I feel robbed of my time after watching this fluffy, predictable mess, and these days I don’t have a lot of time to spare, which makes this movie all the more bothersome.

Listen, you’re all smart people. You’re all talented. I like you all, especially you, Jude Law, when you wear dorky glasses like you did. But, seriously, what were you thinking when you read this script? In the first 37 seconds, the following things are painfully, painfully obvious: Kate Winslet’s character will find her girl-power and Cameron Diaz’s character will learn to cry. Jude Law will be Flawed Somehow But Still Win Over The Pretty Girl and Jack Black’s doughy character will be cheated on by his supermodel/actress girlfriend and he will realize the Right Girl Was There All Along.

Sigh. See? I just gave away the entire plot in two sentences. Look, I swear my heart is not made of coal, I cry at Extreme Home Makeover like the rest of the world does. But oh, the things I could have spent my $3.99 on instead of this mess! I urge you all to go out and make some smart indie hipster movie to cleanse your souls of The Holiday immediately.

Until then,

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

What's in YOUR mailbox?

If you're like me, then your mail yesterday consisted of....

Credit card statement
Airline miles update
Safeway weekly sale ad
Pottery Barn catalog
AAA membership renewal form
Informational brochure about decreased sexual interest

Um, WHAT? Praytell, what box did I check that put me on this list? It's bad enough I'm no longer in the coveted 18-30 age group, but now this? Siiiiiigh. My cat lady support group is going to hear about this one.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Beth's San Fran apartment hunt: the kitchen sink is apparently very much included

Well folks, I think I found a place for the World of Beth to call home for a while, so talk about a huge, massive, enormous relief off my shoulders. Provided they don't find out about my extensive criminal record and restraining order from Philip Seymour Hoffman (note to potential landlords reading this: I'M KIDDING) I'll be calling the North Beach/Waterfront area home in just a couple weeks.

The apartment hunting process is just so disorienting. It's hard to walk into a stark, white-walled room and think of it as ever being yours, let alone cute and charming. It's especially tough when, in this case, the kitchen sink was in the process of being replaced and the old dirty sink was sitting smack in the middle of the living room. Hard to visualize my possessions and cat and personality in such a bare, still disheveled place, but I'm sure it will be nice once it's cleaned up and infused with Bethness.

Don't mean to be negative...I'm sure it will be fine....again, just tough to visualize at this point without a sink being in the middle of the room. But check out the picture. Pool! View! City location! Countdown is now two weeks and counting....make your reservations NOW, loyal readers for your SF visits.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Q&A With The New San Francisco Treat

Oh lordie. Looks like my big San Francisco news has spawned some questions from readers:

Q: Look here, missy. You can't just unload and say you're moving without any warning like that. Have you been planning this thing secretly for months and just not telling your loyal readers?

A: For the sake of my sanity, I wish I HAD been planning it for months, but the fact is that I just found out about this opportunity a couple of weeks ago. Seriously. No plans to move before then. No desire to uproot and leave Seattle, really. Left field, meet the World of Beth.

Q: Um, you don't sound very excited about this move. You sound kind of freaked out.

A: I am excited, believe me. When does one get a chance like this handed to them on a platter? I love Seattle like a BFF, but it's been 11 years since I came here and maybe the time's come to think about making a change. Why move now and to San Francisco? Why the hell NOT? The whole thing is actually quite serendipitous if you think about it. I have always thought of San Francisco has Seattle's older, more sophisticated sister city and the fact that I will call it home is....exciting and amazing.

But, let's be clear, I'm also pretty freaked out.

Q: (Cringing) Did you actually just use the word serendipitous?

A: Clearly I'm already feeling the California energy, man. In all seriousness though, sometimes when you're struggling to make a decision or a life change, the universe comes around and makes it for you.

Q: But....where will you live? What will you do? How will you get down there? How will Mrs. Puff adapt? It's only three weeks away and you don't even have an apartment lined up.

A: First of all, that's not even a question. That's a trap to get me into the fetal position. I'm getting more coffee and sitting out on my patio now to get my mind off of you. Good day, sir.

Q: didn't answer my questions....


Saturday, June 09, 2007

Exciting, Foggy News In the World of Beth!

Yes, gentle readers, it's been a MONTH. I know. I get it. I'm soooorrry.

Would it help if I came to you this morning with really exciting, tremendous, life-altering news? In just a few weeks, the World of Beth will be packing up her books and typewriters and $6 Trader Joe's wine collection and headin' to San Francisco! You may now officially refer to me as the New, Improved San Francisco Treat.

I'll be transferring to my office's schnazzy San Francisco office on Maiden Lane right next to Union Square, which makes me giddy as a little Prada-wearing schoolgirl. (Assuming, of course, that Prada made school girl dresses for girls above a size 8, but that's another blog post in itself....) If you'll be in San Francisco around July 4 and are looking to experience the World of Beth in person, drop me a line!

The past few weeks have been a giant emotional roller coaster. Excited! Happy! Adventurous! Wheeeee! - right down to Terrified! Anxious! Sad! Whooooooo....all I can say is thank you to the folks who have offered their support and advice and reassuring kind words to scrap me off of the ceiling. Right now there are about a zillion balls still in the air that need to be figured out (housing is just one of them), but I'm sure once things get a little more solidified I'll be feeling much calmer.

Did I mention I had a houseguest recently too? Who bought me a cool pizza stone baker thing and helped me to relive lots of lame junior high memories? We checked out the Ballard Locks, Kerry Park (see above), Archie McPhee's and Chinoise, one of my favorite restaurants in Seattle. Good times....thanks for the visit, lil' buddy.

Stay tuned for more posting now that the news is official.....