December 31, 2006


Does running 7 miles yesterday morning cancel out the fact that I had three candy bars for dinner last night at 1am?

Joe vs. The Volcano

Coming off of my recent 3 month stint dating Mr. Beef Jerky, and having nothing happen with the email guy, I've just recently been on the best date of my life. This guy just did everything right:

1. He called me earlier in the day to confirm and set the time.
2. He picked me up. Not only did he pick me up, but he got himself a cab and took it to my house to get me. I wasn't quite ready, so he made the cab wait and he came upstairs to escort me down.
3. He helped me with my coat. All night. Every on an off he was there.
4. He opened every door.
5. He complimented me without without those lusty tiger eyes that say "I want to rip your clothes off later."
6. He talked about a large variety of topics throughout the night, not all revolving around himself.

So. Joe is an ace when it comes to navigating a lady through nice evening. Unlike Beef Jerky, who over 3 months made me feel special, oh maybe once (but probably pissed me off 10 minutes later), I felt special the whole entire date. And then comes the small problem of... as always in the life of dating... someone (him) is more interested than the other person is (Gertie). There's just something missing; it's not necessarily attraction. I don't know what it is. But he's a very cool guy. So, like a pair of shoes I'm just not sure about, I'll try him on for a while and see if anything fits.

December 24, 2006

These Are A Few of My Favorite Things

I'l admit I have many favorite things. But the 2 most important are probably my parents.

Today was the most mellow Christmas Eve ever. No siblings, in-laws, friends, no orphans this year - just me hanging out with my folks. Which in theory might be nice.

I was destined however to a myriad of household chores. Like, for exampe, pulling the refrigerator away from the wall to vacuum the floor, walls, and clean the coils. My mom hates nothing more than inefficiency, especially if it costs her. In the interim, I experienced extreme boredom. By late afternoon, my mom was still holding down the kitchen, my dad was finally cleaning out his Roledexes (yes, PLURAL) from the business he dissolved 8 years ago, and I was watching a movie.

The movie wasn't holding my attention and I took a break to check in on the kitchen action. For the first time on a holiday, my mom looked out of sorts. She started bitching about the fact that we were all singularly putzing about, and her eyes welled with tears. She was seeing this Eve as very solitary holiday indeed.

We sat to a wonderful dinner, with a wonderful 1993 Stagsleap wine, and enjoyed the threesome, in the only way perhaps, that a family which has never been just a threesome for the past 34 years could.... and it is hard to describe. Comfortable, familiar, pleasant, and lacking anything new or interesting except the fact that here we were, just the three of us.

And then the burden of The Night of Just Three broke, as some neighbors stopped by. And my mother lit up because she could talk about the meal she just made and knew someone would appreciate it, and my dad lit up as the neighbor talked about upgrading to a flatscreen TV. And everyone had an excellent moment when our family bird, who loves me and my mom and tolerates my father, went to the neighbors shoulder and was quite happy there if she didn't look at him and remind him that he really hates her.

And this is one of my favorite things: to see my parents in their comfort, in their element, in their natural habit of entertaining, in the place where 60+ year old men revert to the topics of 20 year olds and the women continute the time resistent traditionof neighborly gossip and beaming with pride about their children. And I can sit there, at the fireplace, with my back warm and my heart filled completely.

Merry Christmas!

December 22, 2006

Crazy Mom Makes French Breakfast Plans

Preface: To any French speakers out there - please excuse my absence of proper accents in this post. I know where they should be but I am too lazy to get them accurately placed. My sincere apologies!
I was speaking with my mom earlier today and she told me she was meeting my dad and some friends at "The Club" (i.e. the yacht club where they are members but don't have a boat - ha!) and she invited me to join them. I declined the invite because I have way too many dvd's to watch and I am a bit of a geek who would prefer to be the geek who DOESN'T spend every Friday night out with her parents (one in a month is acceptable, if they're cool, right?).

At 9:10 PM I get a call from my very tipsty mother...
"Gertz..." Uh-oh, that's what she calls me when she's 2.8 sheets to the wind...
"Yeah, mom?"
"We've got a change of plans."
Uh-oh. Please Dear God Do Not Mean a Change of Plans TONITE.
"Oh yeah?"
"Gertz, there is a French woman here, and she and I are going to come to the City tomorrow and walk..."
Shit. I was already planning on spending 2pm and on Saturday at my folks' house, preparing for the holidays and whatnot. Now my mom was altering the plan.
"Oh yeah?"
"Yeah. Her name is Anne. Here she is."
Anne: "Oui, bonjour?"
Gertie: "Bonjour, Anne. C'est un plaisir de vous rencontrer. Vous allez faire une petite promenade avec ma mere demain a San Francisco, c'est ca? (translation: Nice to meet you. I understand you are doing a walk with my mom in SF tomorrow?"
Anne: "Oui, tout a fait." [Yes, that's correct]
Gertie: "Superbe! [ not.] Et j'ai entendue qu'on va nous nous rencontrer apres pour un petit dejeuner?" [Fantastic! And I understand we'll meet afterward for breakfast?]
Anne: "Oui!"
Great. There go my morning plans. Plus, I don't know if I'm in the mood to meet a 70 year old French woman, no matter what time it is on a Saturday. But then, I tell myself it is better to practice than not to. But then, I think of sitting at a table with my mom who barely speaks a lick of French (how she got the French lady to understand what they will be doing tomorrow morning I will never know) and some 70 year old French lady and I wonder how on earth my mother is going to enjoy listening to Anne and I rattle off En Francais. Because, if I know my mother at all (and I know her to the core), she will ask me at the end of the lunch, if I don't speak French with the French woman "what is wrong with you?! You didn't use your French at all! How are you supposed to remember it if you never use it?" And I also know that we speak French the entire time, my mom will sit there politely in oblivian and afterward say "well, since I made the plans and introduced you and paid for your breakfast, it would have been nice if you included me just a little bit."

Litter Bugger

Yesterday I was walking home and in front of my building, a cabbie was taking a break (in an illegal parking spot), smoking a ciggie and talking on his Bluetooth. I really didn't mind that the cabbie had found a this calm place to have a smoke and catch up with some pals on the phone. What I did mind was that he stood there smoking and chatting with an empty cigarette box at his feet.

I interrupted his invisible conversation on the Bluetooth: "is that your cigarette box?"
Cabbie: "Sorry?" He's so interrupted.
Gertie: "That cigarette box. Is it yours?"
.... from the Cabbie.
As Gertie enters the building: "Because, if it's yours, you should pick it up." And then she goes in. She hopes the pronouncement was loud enough and filled with enough guilt to move the Cabbie to act appropriately.

a few hours later, Gertie left the building to fetch booze for some reason or another (any excuse will do). And you know what? No heinous cigarette package where it had previously been seen. Hmm. So guilt works REALLY REALLY well.

December 21, 2006

Fully Dressed

Earlier this month I was taking the bus home from downtown. I showed my transfer and boarded the bus. As soon as I looked up for a seat I knew I was in trouble. It was an accordion bus: after a long day, Gertie doesn't want to walk an extra inch. And what the accordion bus is at 8:10pm, is the "half-assed Express." That means that it is the tail end of the express bus, so it DOES make all the stops - - except the last TEN stops. And Gertie gets off somewhere in the TEN. I sat down and awaited my fate: I'd be told the last stop is 8 shorter than where I wanna be, and I'd have to wait for a "non-accordion" regular bus to venture along the route and pick me up.

As predicted, the bus announced its last stop would be North Point and Van Ness. My brain grumbled, but something in my heart screamed "opportunity!"

I didn't understand my heart, but as a human, guess what I did? I followed the heart and not the head. So, instead of waiting for the short bus, or walking the short bus route until I could get on, I walked as close to San Francisco Bay as I could.

It was dark. It was sketchy. My head imagined a wild-eyed cracked up homeless guy jumping me from the dark bushes along the barely-there sidewalk next to one of the fastest streets in the City. My heart, on the other hand, told me to open all my senses. I took out my camera so I could take pictures of the place where I hear my most favorite sound: the clang of ropes and pulleys on the bare masts of sailboats. The Marina.

Things started to look brighter, not for lack of street lights. I was walking behind a big group by the Gaurdsmen Christmas Tree Lot at Ft. Mason. There were two young girls from the families hanging out together, and it reminded me of being 11 years old and fascinated with just about everything. It became apparant that the girls were in a drama class together, as they danced a little number together and sang "...because you're never fully dressed without a smile!" I can't for the life of me remember which musical that song is from, but I know that chorus like I know the red freckle between my left thumb and forefinger.

After the group was out of my path, I was able to focus my concentration and my lens on the sleeping boats under Alcatraz's watchful eye in the middle of the Bay. It was glorious. And then, after being completely refreshed from a long day, with the clang of aspiring masts waiting for their stoic call to duty: epiphany.

I haven't been fully dressed a lot of the time. I let the selfishness of urban life get in the way, and no matter how I doll myself up, if I'm not closing the door of my apartment with a friendly face, well, I'm just not fully dressed.

The funny part is, that evening not too long ago, where I encountered the most sporadic dance ensemble yet, was December 8th. Two little girls, 11 years old, with stork legs and skinny limbs all around changed my outlook. I can't get the chorus of that song out of my head. And when I'm grumpy and in a line somewhere, I sing it to myself. And then I relax.

December 19, 2006

Because Inquiring Minds Want to Know

OK, my newly discovered male fan club wants an update on the e-mail I wrote last week. Let's just say I'm firing my flirting consultant.

It didn't work. Or, maybe it worked too well and I scared the crap out of him because he had never intended to be floofy or so curious about me. See, Outlook allows you to receive "read receipts" on e-mails you've sent. I have this function on to cover my ass in business, not to spy, but I received a read receipt 10 minutes after sending the message. And I haven't heard back. So there you go.

Tell it Like it is

Last Saturday night I went to Microsoft's holiday party. There weren't as many Bill Gates-types as I anticipated (I only saw one, really). The space was too big for the crowd but the food was delicious and they had really fun stuff to do: foozball, oragami (with an instructor, otherwise...?), henna, temporary tattoos, chocolate sampling and la piece de resistence... having your tea leaves read!

So WR and I waited and waited and waited to get our tea leaves read. Now, WR has always had problems with her ankles, so even if she dolls up she always wears comfortable shoes. Unlike Gertie. Gertie, who had lived in France a while, somehow got brainwashed that a true lady wears 3" heels until she is 68, then she moves down to the 2's. By the time it was my turn, I wasn't really into it anymore.

I was asked to hold the tea cup, close my eyes and think of three things I wanted to know. Duh, who doesn't put down that they want to guage their wealth, love life and health? I already suspect a scam, but it's free so I guess it can't be a scam, and even if it is a scam at least Microsoft is the one paying for it. Wait, did I just ruin my three questions now? Turn the cup three times. Give it back.

The woman with long wavy hair down past her patoushki tossed the tea in an OXO bowl and started to examine the remaining leaves.

"Do you have siblings?"
"Yes, an older brother." She stares curiously into the cup.
"I see you as being very independent as a child. I see tomboy. Were you a tomboy?"
"Yes!" This was maybe not a scam after all.
More curious staring into the cup.
"I see a rift with your mother."
"Uh. In the past? No." Scam.
"Really? I see that you challenged her, but that could mean mentally, like she couldn't keep up with your youthful brain, or that you were rebellious."
I'm perplexed. I was the farthest thing from rebellious as a child. I was 10 minutes past curfew once. Since I think this is a scam, I don't respond because I don't want to give her hints on where to take this. Gertie can be a b*tch sometimes.

I don't remember where she went from there. At some point she asked me if my ex-boyfriend wasn't able to commit. I said, yes, that was the problem although in reality my last beau and I mutually realized we weren't a good fit. There was a lot more curiously staring into the cup, some talk about my past life in a snowy place where my husband worked in the train yard and I journaled about my [ed insert: miserable] life. She said I was good at writing and I liked it, but I'm not sure if she meant now or back then when I was that woman. And then this:

Sudden shock upon looking even deeper into the leaves.
"Is there a child in your household?"
"Hmm. Someone watches too much TV."


WR had a totally different experience. Her tea reader asked her upfront what she wanted to know about, and desparately seeking love, WR asked where the hell was her man. The woman said that probably WR's head was ready for love but her heart was not. I don't think WR liked this answer at all. Then the woman read WR's face, and they stopped looking into the cup and discussed personal paths and psychotherapy, and WR walked away with the contact info of a "good" therapist. Now, WR is one of the sweetest girls on the west coast, but I have always thought she is a little lost. Apparantly so much so that one doesn't need to take a look at the bottom of a teacup to know it.

December 14, 2006


It's been spitting rain today. Better than yesterday - yesterday I got drenched because I thought the rain at 6:45 am would be less spiteful than the rain later that day. I was wrong.

Funny word, drenched. Does it derive from drown? So it means being so overcome by something that, in your full capacity, it is still too much? I think so, but only from life experience.

Don't you hate it when you're home sick from work (because you got drenched in the rain that wasn't worse later in the day than when you were out) and all that is on TV is a variety of types of pseudo-court-tv crap, and all these people tell the Judge: "Your Honor, I had had a vehicle, but he had told me I couldn't have it, 'cuz he had co-signed the loan, but I had told him I didn't want to pay him back, and he had said 'it's fine by me.'"

And then you remember from your English classes that "had + past tense verb" is no so common in modern English communication so, by the third use of this form, you got really pissed off, and then you switched channels and heard a whole other run-through of the same crap? Well, then, I hope you turned it off. Because you were drenched.

But then you lie there, feeling like The Definition of "Sick" in Webster's Dictionary, and wonder what you are going to do with your very fertile mind and very unwillful, ill-feeling body. You think of the items in the house you have which you can read, but realize your arms are too heavy and your will is weak.

The pre-holiday list runs through your head. Your head realizes that, in reality, if you didn't work or have a life, these are very simple, easily conquered things to do. But again, your over-germified body has you beat; you don't possess the stamina, and this list gets added to the "make-up work" list that is already consuming a small portion of your brian.

And again. You are drenched. Happy holidays. L'Chiam!

December 12, 2006

The E-Mail That Took a Million Hours to Write

A girl like me is lucky to have girlfriends who can officially be called flirting experts. I received an e-mail last night at 5:35pm. It was from a guy I met and hit it off with last Thursday. He didn't ask me out or anything, but there were hints he is interested, so I wanted to make sure that when I wrote back I was also clear. But not psycho-clear.

I am so retarded in the flirting arena that I didn't respond right away. I figured if I thought about it long enough I'd come up with a perfectly cute reply. By the time I went to bed I had run several responses through my head. Nothing good. Up at 6:45, I thought more about it while running. Nothing good. Shower. Nothing good. Finally at 8 am I made a phone call to my flirting consultant. 30 seconds later I finished the goddamn email.

December 10, 2006

Waiting for the Fix

Mmm. MP3=Love. Especially when running. All the motivational music I want!

But. Then, there's itunes and ipod... and then there's the "other stuff."

Which really sucks, cuz one song I really wanted to buy and download online wasn't avail on my pc-based music program (i.e., Windows Media Player and it's associated Download site, Urge). So I went to itunes and bought that song and the few others I want to put on my running track.

All good, all downloaded. Oops. NOT all good! Itunes won't Convert to play the songs on Windows Media Player. Bastard. How can I make a my dream playlist for running now? How? How? Guess what. I can't.

December 09, 2006

Study Group. Yuk yuk. Soap Box.

There is an "Iraq Study Group" finally in place to come up with recommendayions for stabilizing the situation in Iraq. I was curious who was included in this elite team:

Former Secretary of State, Former Member of Congress, Former U.S Secretary of State, Former Advisor to President Clinton, Former Attorney General, Associate Justice, U.S. Supreme Court, Former White House Chief of Staff, Former Secretary of Defense, Former Governor of Virginia.

A little surprised that there aren't any scholars who have spent their careers studying the region, its people, etc. But hey, I guess that's just me.

December 08, 2006

At First I Was Intruiged....

At first, I was indeed intrigued. The Evite announced "A Very Special Evening With Two Couches." Hmm. Ends up, the host had just moved into a new place, and there was not much more furniture than "two couches." My first reaction was "how old are we?" And then I did the math, and thought it impossible, at this age, to move into (1) a room-mate situation, and (2) only have 2 couches as your total sum of communal furniture.

And so I went. Mainly to see the virtual make-up of this modern 30-something clan. That part was weird. I won't digress here, other than to say... office style carpet in a HOME, and well, odd jobs and what-not. The end.

I was told this was a party that started at 7pm. I arrived at 7:45 (casually late, of course). Umm, everyone (all 6 of them) was sitting at the dinner table eating a MAIN COURSE. Whoops, a little too late for the first half, not enough late for the second half. But wait... apparantly, I was the ONLY late one. And, there really wasn't a second half. No other guests coming.

Looking at half-eaten fish carcasses on every plate with a few potatoe skins and some crazy zucchini-tomato mix immediately quelched any hunger I may have had. And, oh to find a chair, and where to place it, and what do drink... all would be nice issues to resolve. Do I want some fish? No, no thank you. Just a beer. Oh, PBR or some home-type brew? PBR please.

The saving grace of this disgraceful incident? I was placed, in a random chair, next to Mark. Yum. Now some talk about him being involved with FEMA. What? He's a fireman? I wouldn't have guessed. But no, he's not a fireman. He is an art director. Yeah! Yeah for Gertie!

A few more PBR's and the awkwardness of intruding on Dinner For Six started to disolve. A little. It was freezing in there. Mark let me use his scarf, because even though the thermostat said 75 degrees, it felt like 58. Mark and I connected, I thought. The dog growled at anyone who didn't resemble his owner.

Anyway, I was 35 mins outside the City, which I don't usually do unless I'm visiting my parents or seeing a guy who has taken me to at least 10 dinners in San Francisco proper, so I got ready to leave. In the car I wished and wished and wished that Mark would leave the party before my car warmed up and he did. And he got in the car and we chatted while the car warmed up (but it never did because I had the air on cool. Woops). Oh well. I also didn't do anything other than give him real estate advice, so he'll probably never contact me. But you know what? The night outside of San Francisco, was indeed a "special evening with two couches."

December 05, 2006


Ok, ok. I know I've been a bit remiss. But my statcounter has told me that NOBODY is hangin' in the house AT ALL. Hrmph.

Would it excite you to know that I have FOUND MY FIRST GREY HAIR? On the head, of course, but still. Look at the picture, y'all... it's not from 10 years ago - it's very recent. So what in the name of Whoozit is a grey hair doing on this young head? It was indeed a bit jarring to say the least. I always thought that my first grey hair would come from the insanity of living my fabulous life WHILST raising some fabulous kids who were ultimately the cause of said hair.

But no, it's just genetics and the whole life cycle thing. Which did, quite honestly, throw me for a loop for about 36 hours. I needed to adjust. Then I realized the smallness of the grey hair in the vast world that is offered to me, and I moved on. Of course, I plucked that sucker. THEN I moved on.

December 03, 2006

Random Access. Random Events.

I have a laptop, but I just can't seem to be in the right place at the perfect time for all the posts I have in my head. By the time I start up the old compu, the thought has fleeted.

Here I recap some random thoughts and visuals from the last couple weeks:

1. Pedestrian encounter. Was walking to meet a girlfriend at a close wine bar and walked past a building with scaffolding and a large, lifelike orange man at the the top of the stairway. Correction: real live orange man. Orange headress, orange face paint, orange robes. Hari Krishna's, eat your heart out - you've met your match!

2. Very non-helpful helpful advice. On the afore-mentioned occasion, my friend was running late. Since I need a "holiday event dress," I stopped in a small women's fashion boutique to peruse the wares.
Me to owner: Hi, I'm looking for a fabulous dress for a New Year's Eve wedding. What is the trend this year?
Eastern European Older Gent Owner: Brown is very fashionanable right now. Also, black. Also, this very blue blue. And green, not army green but more like a Christmas green. Red, of course, and...

So basically he named every color in the rainbow and more. Thanks. Very helpful.

3. Score New Client. High End. 'Nuf said.

4. Cute kid scene/Pedestrian encounter. For once after a year of living in my new neighborhood, I walk down Lombard Street ("The Busy Street"), which is on this occasion the most express. It is lined with motels. As I pass the last one, there is a Chinese grandmother outside the "lobby" holding her grandson up to the glass. He is trying to touch the Christmas lights on the inside. The grandmother's face is brimming over with joy. So is the toddler's. As I walk past, I see that the toddler's joy comes from looking at his mother's reaction while she is inside the lobby, taking care of his younger sister, who has some crazy medical-related helmut on her head. I wonder if they are in San Francisco to see a top notch doctor. Then, I don't care. The little girl is oblivious to any sort of condition, and the family is beaming with family togetherness, whether they feel it pouring over me or not.

5. 12 Hour Work Days x 3. Grmph but thanks to the "positive life" books, feeling accomplished.

6. Pedestrian Encounter. After work on Sunday I was fired up and went on a run to tackle the Lyon Street Steps. Four blocks all up a stair set that varies on height and distance level. The downside: it's grueling. The upside: you feel rad afterwards. Especially if you run all four levels twice. Even more if you pass an UBER HOT man several times through the process, and he smiles at you. Smiles at you! Dude! What are you doing to me not bothering me while I am running with headphones on so I appear quadrupally unavoidable? Talk to me. Bump into me. Hell, shove me down the stairs. Now I have to check Craigslist for a missed connection for the next several days.

7. Obligatory Parental Time. There are always pro's and con's to living so close to your parents. Luckily for me, the pro's outweigh the con's all day and all night. I have fantastic parents. They may very well be too good. This past Saturday I had a "girl day" with my mom. In this small big city, as we ventured near and far throughout it's 7x7 sq miles, I ran into 3 people I know. My mom thinks I'm famous. For what, I don't know.

I love spending time with my mom. She's goofy. She's sensitive. She's sincere. She'd give me the shirt off her back and her socks that have holes in them because she's already saving to give me something else. She'd give me her retirement money if she felt I needed it. On this day, we went shopping together for a dress for me to wear to a wedding. She has some very strong opinions about dresses, but she doesn't dress too well herself so sometimes I wonder. The green dress I loved she agreed looked fantastic on me.

Mom: It's very flattering.
Me: Yeah, out of all the dresses so far, my butt looks best in this one.
Mom: It would be great... if you were going on a cruise.
Me: Wouldn't it be great if I were going to a wedding?
Mom: No. That's a cruise dress.
Me: Really? You think so?
Mom. That's a great dress for a cruise; why do you think it's on sale?

We settled on a black, halter top, Marilyn Monroe-type dress. To my mother's glee, the dress was on sale.

8. Pest infestation. Last night I met the Kamakazi Mosquito. Not your normal mosquito... instead he's one who doesn't mind dry, cold temperatures and doesn't waste time ho-humming in your ear. Instead, he is a huge, loud monster that comes screaming by ready to suck your blood and make you suffer. I didn't even think he was a mosquito, until I had 3 bites on my arm in 1:45 flat. I opened the window to freeze down the barracks and hunkered down under the faux-feather duvet. I woke up at 3:30 am sweating like a Scandanavian in a Swedish sauna. I lost several pounds last night, I'm sure of it. Man, those faux-feather comforters really work!

That son-of-a-bitch Kamakazi Mosquito is so obsessed with me that he came into the shower. Bad choice, Kamakazi-san. I kill you with water. Ha!

Later that morning while rinsing the coffee caraffe I noticed a few ants scrummaging around my relatively messy kitchen counter. I killed them with Clorox-infused cleaner. I removed everything from the counter and turned "relatively messy" into "impeccably sterile." I went to work. Upon return, an infantry of ants ignored the previous kills and were coming down the frame of my kitchen window to settle on a few crumbs in the sink. Clorox again. The battle with the pests seems to be won.

9. Party preparation. I am in charge of hors d'oeuvres for a party Monday night. After hours of online, familial and friend referencing, I settled on two appies: endive leaves stuffed with lemon-pepper-infused goat cheese topped with fresh chives and artichoke-parmesian crudites.

I went to the store and they only had 3 endives left. I asked the produce guy if the weak-looking endives would "produce" a tray of stuffed endives. He was honest and said "come back tomorrow morning." F**K that. I changed to baby red peppers stuffed with goat cheese. Out of goat cheese. What the hell kind of grocery store do you call this? I found one packet of goat cheese which I hope is enough. If not, I'll cut the peppers to fit. My Lord; when did making hors d'oeuvres get so hard?