Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Welcome to the family?

When I met the patriarch of the family owned winery that I just started working for, I was a little bit nervous. But hey, I figured, just make conversation and he'll like me. I'm good at that. It's essentially what I was hired to do anyway. So I had heard that he and the wife spend about six months a year in Hawaii. I was in.

"Oh, I heard that you all have a place in Hawaii! My brother is stationed at Pearl Harbor."

"Yeah? That's great."

"Yeah, I went to visit him once! Where is your place?"


"Oooh, I hear that Maui is even better. I've never been there though."

At this point I had somehow just started to babble. I needed to tie up this conversation, fast. And then, somehow it went a bit awry. I'm not sure what exactly happened, but about two mumbled lines later, he uncomfortably coughed and said -

"Um... yeah. Well, uh, maybe one day you'll join us there."

Huh? Woah. Backup. What just happened here? Had I in my nervous idiocy somehow made it sound like I wanted to go to his place in Maui?

"Um... I... uh..." I didn't really know what to say. And then he was gone.

Like I said, I can't say exactly what happened, but ladies and gentlemen, I'm afraid that in the first three hours of my new job, I might have inadvertently invited myself to the Maui compound of the head honcho - namesake - of the company.

So much for my brilliant small talk skills.

Sunday, July 26, 2009


Suffice it to say, lately I've had none. Between quitting and recovering from the job that I hated, bouncing around with part time and freelance things, and trying to spend as much time as possible with the person who is moving across the country soon, the only thing solid in my life lately has been the cat that I've had for nine years who delights in waking me up every morning. For the most part, all of this uncertainty has been fine. I knew that a better job was right around the corner, and strict routines have always had a choking effect on me anyway, so for the most part I've been able to go with the flow and enjoy the freedom of the last six weeks.

But soon all of this is going to change. Because I was right - a great job was right around the corner. Tomorrow I start with a winery in Napa as their key sales person in the Bay Area. I can barely express how great it feels to finally have my job situation under control, after a year of struggle with it. I'm excited to have a second home in Napa, but be able to continue to live closer to the city. I'm excited to have been given the go ahead to take anyone I want on personal tours of the winery. I'm excited to work with people I like again. I'm excited for good health insurance, and a 401K - you know, the little things. And the best part about this job is that with it I still have a decent amount of the freedom that I value so much. I'm back to making my own schedule, but with enough structure to keep me from slacking. It's going to be perfect.

As much as I've enjoyed the proverbial wandering of the last two months, I am looking forward to having my life (not to mention my bank account) a little more settled. I can get back into working out a few times a week, trying to eat one piece of fruit a day, scheduling visits with friends more regularly, renting movies from Netflix, writing consistently, planning some travel - finally I can get my life back into a rhythm, but one of my own making.

I pretty much can't wait.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Grace in Small Things

1. No longer needing to peruse job sites!

2. Four course lunches

3. Being able to wear some of my cute work clothes again

4. Buying hiking boots

5. More homemade banana bread for breakfast

Monday, July 20, 2009

Seen in Bolinas, CA

Friday, July 10, 2009

Grace in Small Things

1. The way my cat squints her eyes in distaste when I open a curtain and sun gets in her face.

2. Chicken salad.

3. Friends who are up for trying something new.

4. Butterflies in your stomach when you are on the verge of something awesome.

5. These little guys.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Nancy v. Britney

This morning on the eliptical I caught a really great segment on Good Morning America about women leaders who used to read and were inspired by Nancy Drew books when they were girls. Dianne Sawyer talks to and about several very powerful women who cite themselves as childhood fans, including herself, Oprah Winfrey, Hilary Clinton, and Sonya Sotomayor. The segment goes on to outline the series, and talk about some of the qualities that make Nancy such a positive influence on girls - she is smart, brave, funny, modest, dresses smartly, cherishes her girlfriends, and always stands up for what is right.

You know - kind of like Paris Hilton.

The segment goes on to further talk about how when the series started almost eighty years ago, it provided one of the first independent, strong role models for adolescent girls to look up to. For decades, young women poured over the books, myself included in the late '80s. Even though around the age of ten I recognized the stories as being pretty formulaic, I devoured almost all of the hundred or so books in the original series. (I was never a fan of the slightly racier, more modern ones that came later.) I loved Nancy because she represented everything that I would have liked to be as a young woman. She was poised and loved by everyone, and constantly having different adventures. She drove an awesome blue convertible, and her two best friends and cute boyfriend completely rounded out the picture. Who wouldn't want to live Nancy's life?

It really depresses me now to see young girls idolize people like Paris Hilton and Britney Spears. Don't get me wrong - I frequently indulge in a good Britney song. Hell, I even like the Miley Cyrus singles that I hear on the radio. But the thing is, I'm old and smart enough to know that the persona that these people present to the world is not realistic. I'm sure Miley is a nice enough kid, but we shouldn't fantasize about living her life. Britney releases good tracks, but good Lord, there is certainly nothing glamorous about her life. The thing that scares me is that most teenage girls aren't really able to make the distinction between enjoying a good pop song every once in a while and actually attempting to follow in their footsteps. The latter would most certainly lead to disaster. If a random young girl attempted to emulate Britney, she would very quickly end up mentally deranged, exposed to the world, bald, and more than likely sans Brit's substantial fortune. Not a pretty picture.

Whereas on the other hand, if anyone tried to be like Nancy Drew, they couldn't go wrong. They might not literally end up as an eighteen year old detective, but they'd be classy, smart, hard-working, cherished by friends, full of great stories to tell, and would have a handsome, loyal boyfriend. That all sounds pretty great, huh?

Now, admittedly I do not know a lot of tween girls, but I'm guessing that more of them are familiar with Miley, Britney and Paris than Nancy, Bess and George. (Who, by the way, I'm thinking was one of the first lesbian characters in teen lit. Oh, come on! George was totally les. And fabulous.) So where does that leave us? Are these currently coming-of-age girls doomed to never aspire to anything besides Brazillian waxes and big sunglasses? Or are there enough positive influences out there to shine light onto those who are smart enough to bask in it?

I don't know the answer. Like I said, I am actually pretty far removed from that demographic. But I hope that there are, because one thing I can say definitively is that it was an awful lot of fun to sit around as a little girl and picture myself in some on Nancy's adventures, and to know that one day I would have my own.


Me: So I'm thinking about getting an iPhone.

Dad: Cool. Your stepmother wants to get a Nintendo!

Me: blink, blink. Uh.... I'm not really sure how to respond to that. Why?

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Yet another networkng site

In the last week or so, a few blogs that I read regularly have been chirping about a new website called She Writes that is basically a networking and support forum for women writers all over the world. I think it's a great idea, with a lot of potential inspiration, so I signed up.

I used to think of myself as a sort-of writer, but lately haven't. It's something that I used to feel pretty confident about, but, like singing and Pilates, seems to have fallen off the list of "Things I'm Good At". But the thing is - I can still sing really well, I'm just not in classically trained-shape anymore. And if I went to a Pilates class, I wouldn't embarrass myself or anything, I'd just be sore the next day. So even though I don't necessarily feel like I belong in the company of the women on this site right now, I'd like to. I think that writing is still somewhere in me, I just need to discipline myself and practice again.

And lord knows, if there is a social networking site somehow involved, I'm all for it.

Here's what I think...

Because, yep, I watched the tribute. Give me a break. I was working from home and I'm human.

That Mariah bombed.

That Stevie was boring.

That the Reverend shouldn't have said the thing to his kids about their father not being strange. It was awkward.

That Jennifer Hudson was phenomenal, classy and radiant.

That John Mayer is too hot for words.

That his brothers looked really sharp, and I love that they dressed alike.

That I can't get over how freakin' bizarre it is that everyone seriously calls his youngest "Blanket".

That Brooke Shields milked it a little bit, but that's ok.

That Jermaine should have just said no when asked.

That Usher is very talented, but turning into quite the douche.

That Janet looked really beautiful.

Also, I couldn't help but wonder who paid for all of this?

Grace in Small Things

1. NPR in the background during the daytime.

2. Glad Press 'n Seal

3. Gerbera daisies

4. Chelsea Handler and her awesome phrase, "hot mess".

5. Taking a few days of detox, and decidedly not being a hot mess.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Grace in Small Things

1. Deciding to make banana bread (thanks to Molly Wizenberg's book, yet again), and realizing that I already own the appropriate loaf pan.

2. Lip balm with strong SPF

3. Going to bed really early on Sunday nights

4. Allowing myself to be lazy about returning calls

5. Peach season

Sunday, July 05, 2009

My freakin' awesome 4th

The day started at about 10am chasing down the beautiful small town parade that made it's way through the streets of Sausalito. We cheered for the UCal Alumni marching band (few things make me happier than adults with hobbies), dodged candy being thrown from floats by kids, ate at the fundraiser pancake breakfast, and browsed antique stores.

Later we boarded the boat and explored the Bay, waving at fellow partiers, nibbling on cheese and downing cold drinks. We stayed out through sunset, grilled hot dogs, listened to music, and basked in the sun before anchoring down to watch the fireworks from, well, underneath them. We stood up and leaned against the main mast when they started, arms wrapped around each other, partly for protection against the chilly wind, but mainly just because we like each other's warmth. After the show, as the dozens of other boats paraded back to their slips, we stayed and kissed. Under the lingering firework smoke, slightly illuminated by the lights of our precious city, we kissed slowly, and for a long time. He tugged at my bottom lip with his, and tasted of amber beer with a slight sweetness. His aura made me feel secure, and I alternated lifting up on my toes and lowering myself to flat feet as we pressed against each other.

After the boat crowd cleared we motored in, secured everything, and went off to meet up with friends for one last drink of the night. For a holiday that I've never much cared about, I'm really happy with the way I got to celebrate this 4th. God bless America, and parades, and pancakes, and sailboats, and floppy sunhats, and fireworks.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Constructing a character of myself

Sometimes I get bored of what I visualize as my current persona, or decide I need a few items to spice things up. Today, being kinda bored and recently discovering that I "need" a few new things, I pretty quickly painted a mental picture of Career-Erin, and how hot, together and savvy I would be with those things. Here's how it went:

- Whoever runs MZ Wallace's email campaigns has really been torturing me lately. I've been oogling their purses for literally years, but just haven't bitten the bullet and thrown down $300+ yet. That's a bit pricey for me. But this week they sent an email letting me know that one of my favorites is on sale for 50% off. That was rough. Then two days later, they sent another email, letting me know that shipping would be free through the weekend, and Happy 4th of July. I give myself two more days before I cave and finally spend a bit too much money on the daytime purse of my dreams.

- Pulling on my favorite pair of Sevens jeans this morning for the first time since washing them last weekend, I discovered that we were coming closer to what I realized a few months ago was an impending certainty - holes are slowly wearing in the crotch area. Probably only one or two washings away. I've owned like four or five pairs of Sevens over the last few years, and eventually they all get holes there. These have had a pretty good run of almost two years, so I'm not mad about it or anything. But lately I've been eyeing how great most people's butts look in Lucky Brand Jeans, which I've never owned. I tried on a few pairs once, and realized that they are the perfect length for me wearing flats. Right now I actually don't have any jeans that are heel-height. (The current Sevens I had hemmed, so they are flat-height. I'm right in the middle, being 5'6", so there is no such thing as a pair of pants that would work for me for both.) Soooo... what this means is that clearly I need two new pairs of designer jeans soon - a pair of Lucky's for flats, and a pair of Sevens for heels.

- Then, I sent a text message, and took a long, hard look at my crap-tastic phone that I've never bothered to update. I've gone back and forth for months, considering getting a Blackberry, but have held off waiting for my job situation to stabalize before making any new phone decisions, in case my next job would require something in particular. All of the sudden, a lightbulb went off in my head, and after a few clicks around my Verizon account page, I realized something - I am no longer under contract with them. I am month-to-month. It didn't take long for a little iPhone bud to plant itself in my brain. Within a few days, resistance, I'm sure, will prove futile.

- Oh, and I also need highlights.

So, by the end of the day I was swirling in fantasies of how career-woman-together-hot I'm going to look in a few weeks when I am sporting my new purse, talking on an iPhone, and rocking new jeans with the heels that I have been sorely neglecting for the last year or so. My hair will look perfect, and I'll be constantly doing something sharp like hailing a cab, or reading a library book on the ferry. (Because amidst all of this fabulous-ness, I'll still keep it real by checking books out of the library. Clearly that juxtaposition will only add to my alure.)

I can't wait.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Weird Family Foods

I'm a huge fan of the website Serious Eats. They consistently post stories and news-ish articles about food related items all over the world, and I've been introduced to a lot of cool things from them. They are a go-to site for me if I'm looking for a recipe, or need some info on a technique, and almost never fail me. But the best feature of the site is the open threads that they allow users to start. Anyone who is registered with the site (which is painless, quick, and free) can throw a question or train of thoughts out there to all of the readers and open it up for comments and responses. They are often asking for a recipe, idea, or just wanting to talk food in general.

Today on the site, they have one of the best threads I've seen yet - "What Weird Family Foods Did You Grow Up Thinking Were Normal?" There are over 120 responses, and some are really funny, touching, and just plain gross. I mean, come on - Jello mixed with milk? Captain Crunch served with whipped cream?

And here I thought it was weird that we grew up almost entirely on Pasta Roni, Shake 'n Bake, Pillsbury crescents, and iceberg lettuce salads... Apparently that was all pretty tame.