Monthly Archives: June 2008

Dan in Real Life

I meant to write about this movie when I first saw it several months ago.  It’s a really good movie, but it left me emotionally stirred and I couldn’t figure out why.  The whole time boy and I were watching it I fluctuated between really wanting to turn it off and really liking everything about it.  B/c I’m a girl like that.

But I think there were 2 things that caused this: the love story and the family aspect.

The love story – Steve Carell’s wife died and left him raising 3 teenage girls that hate him in only the way teenage girls can.  He’s a funny-tragic character and is too hung up on his dead wife to date.  (I know, I’m not good at movie reviews.)  But anyway, he meets a girl and decides she’s his 100% perfect girl only to find out it’s his brother gal.  Hysterical temper tantrums of self-pity ensue (I so relate to temper tantrums of self-pity.)  It’s all about mixed up timing when you meet the one you want to be with, but trying to go after it anyway.  I like this idea, because I think timing is an important element to love, but no one goes without getting hurt in real life.  And in the movie it seemed too simple.  That was my first frustration.

The family story – I don’t know where it took place.  Over Thanksgiving in a big wooden house somewhere in upstate New York.  Big family, all together, playing games like crossword puzzle competitions, talent shows pulled together in the living room and casual dinners around a big table.  Kids, grand-kids, brothers and sisters and cousins.  I don’t have any cousins.  And my family is scattered all over the place.  And our holidays went from formal dining to a split between having to choose between real family and step family.  I turned to boy during the movie and asked if he could imagine having a family reunion like that where everyone gets together to play board games.  No, he couldn’t imagine it either.  But, it looked really nice.  It looked like fun.  And this frustrated me because I think I’ve convinced myself that families like that don’t exist.  All families are highly dysfunctional and you can’t convince me that there wasn’t some cousin Johnny cut out from the scenes because he was drunk at the other end of the table shouting obscenities at someone.  The more I watched the more I wanted to turn it off but the more I couldn’t turn away. 

I expect there to be a big divide between friends who know exactly what I’m talking about and those that don’t have a clue.  Scenes like that in a movie make me want to not have kids because I don’t want to have them if I don’t have a big family to surround them with.  Of course the family scenes were a bit idealized in the movie, but I’ve seen families make it work.  Anyway, it’s something to think about.


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I like lemons, #4

Lemon Bar #4 – that center cafe with the red awning in SF City Center Mall food court.

I like this cafe.  They have these good vegan cookies that are my vegan sugar bombs that I used to get all the time. Also, a large staff of tiny little asian girls that think “Sexy People Leave Tips!”  After my cold, that was now about a month ago, I had this cough that would not frickin’ go away.  It drove me and my cube mates nuts b/c they probably all thought I was contaminated.  I was cleared of walking pneumonia and diagnosed with basically a cough for habit’s sake.  I was prescribed these capsules – basically, I require numbing to break the habit of coughing.  And these little capsules, well if you accidentally pop one in your mouth your whole mouth goes numb and you could choke.  Today I think one popped on the way down in my esophagus; the capsule kind of got stuck for a while followed by a weird “did I just swallow or not?” sensation.  So with all this said, I decided on a lemon bar, to perk up my numb esophagus of course.

I saw it in the case and thought damn, that’s a lot of powdered sugar on top!  Good sign.  But it’s also square.  I like my lemon bars big flat rectangles.  Much to my chagrin, the powdered sugar on top is a little too much.  It’s too overwhelming and it’s the last flavor to leave my mouth so instead of feeling like I ate something tart and refreshing, I feel like I had a spoonful of powdered sugar.  And sometimes I do take a spoonful of powdered sugar at home when I feel like it, but that’s not what I want when I get a lemon bar.  The rest is totally average – not a very crumbly lemon part, just curd-y enough, but nothing spectacular in terms of flavor.  The crust is annoying.  It’s so average.  I like my lemon bars to have a distinct color difference b/w the crust and curd, this one is all monochrome.  I don’t know, there’s something irritatingly average about this one.  Maybe it’s just my mood getting in the way…

I’m debating the last bite, if you can believe it.

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still a puppy

Jack was curled up in my lap last night and I was watching TV (Hopkins, so gonna be my new favorite summer show) and petting Jack.

me: Hey!  did Jack hit his head on something today?

boy: oh yeah, while you were getting your hair cut he was playing and pouncing in the tall grass.  He pounced into a tree.

me: hard?

boy: umm, yeah – he had to step back for a couple of seconds…  I laughed.

Jack’s got a knuckle-sized knot on the crown of his head.  He must of pounced full force into the tree.  But I’m glad his adolesence hasn’t kept him from playing like a puppy.

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I like lemons, #3

Lemon Bar #3 – Market Hall on College Ave. in Rockridge, Oakland

I left work early for a doctor’s appointment and boy met me on College Ave. for a quick lunch before back to work.  He never did like Crepevine and didn’t finish that tuna melt and the food is a bit 2 AM post-drinking food, but I don’t mind it.  I had the Kyoto crepe – weird combination.  To make up for the sub-par food we ran across the road never using proper crosswalks like we should and grabbed some treats from the Market Hall bakery. 

Over-baked.  I don’t want the top of my lemon bar looking like an omelet.  But at least it had a bit of powdered sugar on top.  I nibbled bits in the car, they crumbled off the top while the crust didn’t budge without a snap.  The crust was thick and not buttery enough.  The lemon part was too dry and still didn’t have that sharp lemony sweet bite. 

I came back to a spotty internet connection and missed time-sensitive emails that may have contributed to me shoving the rest of the bar into my mouth without tasting much.  Because that’s how stress eating works.

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rabble rabble rabble

Shorts.  I stopped wearing shorts in public (except to workout or hike in) about 4 years ago.  I don’t know why but I think it has something to do with the fact when we moved here to Cali 4 yrs ago I gained 10 lbs in the first few months and became extremely self-conscious (btw, it took me 3 years to get those 10 lbs off.  3 frickin’ years.)  So last weekend, I went to Target, and bought 2 pairs of shorts.  I delayed so long b/c you know those Bermuda shorts – I never even bothered trying those on b/c I thought they were made strictly for long-legged skinny girls whose thighs don’t touch.  And I finally tried on a pair.  And I love ’em.  So I wore them to work today.  The other pair is just for hiking and hanging around.  But the point is, I suddenly feel liberated by the simple act of wearing shorts again. 

Hair.  My hair and I have had a long standing battle.  I’ve worn it many ways, long and straight, short and spikey, bobbed and frizzy.  And do you know how opinionated people are about hair?  Boys especially.  My boy prefers it funky and short (the first time he saw me after I chopped it short short short, he stared at me with a smile on his face), but I’ve met boys that won’t even consider a girl attractive unless she has long hair.  Girls are opinionated too.  When I chopped my bangs long and shaggy in January, a nameless person looked at me, cocked her head to the side and said “well, do you like it?”  Personally, I think every girl should chop her hair short at some point because it teaches you a lesson in how people treat you.  I’ve gotten a free radio installation, tow truck ride, and beverages with long hair; not so much with short hair.  So a few years ago I went to get my hair cut and I said I wanted short short bangs but I want to keep my hair long.  The woman almost refused to do it.  She went really slow, and every snip “is this what you want?  sure?”  I liked it, everyone else, not really.  Here’s what I got (I don’t know what’s with my expression):

Anyway, I think this was my favorite cut.  Kept my bangs out of my face, it was a little quirky, and pair it with a 3/4 sleeve turtle neck and tights and I felt like a go-go girl (but really, I would never).

So I got this cut again.  And I could just tell people in the salon were like “what is that poor girl doing to her hair?”  And I swear this causes flash backs to serious high school left overs with the haunting voices from my group of girlfriends you’d be so pretty if you only tried a little..  ugh, hated that.  So I walked out of the salon, and without looking in any mirrors I just feel better.  My hair is out of my face but still long.  Boy calls it “the girl from High Fidelity cut.”  But this time, I promise to wear these short scraggly bangs that look like they were cut out of necessity from getting gum in my hair with a little more confidence.  B/c I like this look.

Last random rant…  The smoke here from the wild fires is eerie and scary.  I am on prescription cough suppressants from my cold of a month ago.  My cough alongside asthma and now wild fire smoke that I refuse to run through in the mornings and makes for an eerie bright orange eclipse-like sunset each evening is killing my lungs.  I can control my diet, I can control my exercise, but I can’t control the environmental effects of this on my lungs and it freaks me out.  As boy and I left Walnut Creek tonight and drove back to Oakland, we both hacked our lungs out in the car.  While we’re used to the smell, the effects are my eyes burn and my lungs hurt.  This is wigging me out a little…

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I like lemons, #2

Lemon Bar #2 – Bette’s Oceanside Diner on 4th Street in Berkeley.

Sunday, jumping around from brunch spot to brunch spot to find a place where the line wasn’t 2 hours long.  All I really wanted were the corn and maple syrup waffles from Rudy’s Can’t Fail Cafe, but the line was just. too. long.  So we headed to 4th street and the wind picked up and eating outside there was just. too. cold.  So before heading to the old standby at Cafe Cacoa, we peeked in the side cafe.  We got some pizza from the case to go and I got a lemon bar that I pieced off all the way home.

It was oddly fluffy and the lemon part was crumbly.  Like they used a lot of eggs and made a whipped topping that quickly went into the oven.  The crust was good, thick, buttery.  I like a lot of powdered sugar, and I especially like when it goes a little stale and crunchy on top.  But the sharp lemony bite – coulda been better.

I may have finished it off before we got home to eat lunch.

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I like lemons, #1

I like lemons.  Very much.  And I have a habit of pouring out a sugar packet, rolling a lemon wedge in it and sucking on the lemon.  Bad for the teeth I realize.  But damn delicious.  And what’s better than lemons?  Lemon bars. 

So I’ve decided that this summer I will be trying as many different lemon bars as possible.  Not really in search of the best one.  I don’t really care about the best one.  I just like lemon bars. 

And I will review them here.

Lemon Bar #1 – Andronicos

After a late hike on the summer solstice where I was really freaked out about mountain lions and serial killers come 9:30 pm, the conversation turned to desserts because that topic seems to soothe my soul.  So I had to stop at Andronicos on the way down the mountain.  And I got a lemon bar.  And paired it with a beer.

It was very… curd-y.  Almost like the curd part wasn’t baked at all, just the crust and the curd was spread on after.  The result?  A juicy crust, though it didn’t get soggy which is good, and the thickness of the crust was good, not too thick.  But the curd was just too thick.  Like it kind of burned on the way down your throat because of the tartness. 

But it’s a lemon bar, so I ate it all. 

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Guide to Hiring Women

My friend Tamar (or as boy calls her “Tamar of the smiling Tamars” because the girl always has a smile on her face) sent out this unbelievable article from 1943 that gives tips to hiring women in the work force.  Un-frickin’-believable that our grandmothers had to put up with this.

My favorite is #3: “General experience indicates that ‘husky’ girls – those that are just a little on the heavy side – are more even tempered and efficient than their underweight sisters.”

I’m sure this has to do with #4 and the underweight sisters are more prone to female conditions and weaknesses that are screened against.  Or perhaps they are referring back to #1 and are overly flirtatious because us single gals cannot control ourselves.  I know I can’t…  Check out the full article in the link:

1943 Guide to Hiring Women

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i’ve been cooking!

Sort of.  I really hate to cook.  Actually, I hate just turning the stove on.  So my usual meals involve assembly. Cucumber hummus sandwiches, dipping things in hummus, pre-steamed lentils and unbaked tofu, pretzels, I’ve even gone so far to get my greens in by eating collard greens raw.  Won’t be doing that again.  But lately, I’ve been cooking.  And here are my 3 favorites so far.

Cucumber soup.  Love cold cucumber soup.  My mom has made it every summer since I don’t even remember when and I got the recipe from her and continue to make it.  I just substitute the broth with veggie broth and the creamer with soy creamer.  4 cucumbers, 1 onion, 2 cups broth, margarine, 1 1/2 cups cream, cayenne and curry and it’s lunch for a week.  The best summer soup.

Avocado smoothies.  I know, it sounds weird and gross and green.  A friend turned me and boy on to these at our favorite vegan Vietnamese restaurant and they are so good!  1 avocado, soy milk, berries, honey and it’s yummy yummy.  It almost tastes like a banana, but not quite, and it’s really smooth.

Lastly, I have no idea why I have never been to Monterey Market in Berkeley.  Probably because Berkeley bowl, the other local grocer, is a pain to get through with lines stretching to the back of the store.  But Monterey market is awesome.  So I went there tonight and loaded up for tonight’s dinner.  Lime-chili tofu with mango and kale.  Soy sauce, chili paste, rice vinegar, oil, brown sugar, and lime for the tofu.  It was really good.  And I’ve been meaning to get kale since it is an excellent source of calcium and I lack that in my diet since I avoid milk and cheese (don’t worry mom, I take my share of daily supplements.)  Even boy ate the kale, which I didn’t expect.

My fridge has been broken so I haven’t been keeping many groceries, but I think once it comes back on I’ll start loading up from Monterey Market.  Especially kale, I want to make it a daily staple in my diet.  Now I just need my scooter so I can take quick trips to the store.

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didn’t see this coming

I think when I adopted Jack I was prepared to bring a dog into my life.  I drove around for weeks with puppy supplies in my car.  I discussed daily routines, pet training, and vet hospital bills with boy to figure out a plan.  I considered all the places and things I wouldn’t be able to do until Jack became acclimated to a new environment.  I  accepted the fact that most of my belongings could possibly get destroyed by chewing or indoor accidents and that I would not get mad or angry over this.  But this latest one, I didn’t expect this. 

Jack has officially hit puberty.

Yup, who knew that a neutered male would hit puberty at 1 1/2 yrs.  How do I know he’s hit puberty?  First, his bark changed.  A few weeks ago in the car he belted out this woof that made me turn around and smile.  I actually looked at boy and said “did you hear that?  that’s a man’s bark, that’s not a puppy bark.”   And boy agreed with me on this one instead of rolling his eyes.

Then, the attitude.  He still won’t run.  It has become a morning comedy act of me trying to coax my dog who is stubbornly sitting in place to run around the lake.  I thought it was maybe fear, so I talked him through it, was very patient.  Heat isn’t an issue, we go early in the morning.  Energy isn’t an issue, he still loves his Frisbee.  So when we went on a hike a friend turned to me and said “he’s changed.”  She took a while to think about it before saying “he’s cocky.”  And it’s true.  He tests his boundaries off-leash.  He does it at home too, pushing himself slowly onto the couch when there’s food around.  He’s a little feistier when growling at whoever is trying to push him to the end of the bed.

Then, the humping.  While he hasn’t hit full public displays of humping yet, he’s started that preliminary scratching at whatever makes him excitable.  I refuse to do what some people do and get him a hump toy.  That’s just gross.  And if he starts going after the pillows, it’s back to the kitchen during the daytime for him. 

I’m kind of appalled by this adolescence stage and hope he goes through it quickly.  I kind of miss my puppy who just wants to make everyone happy and clumsily runs into trash cans while running.  But as long as he gets through this fast, he can stick around for a while…

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