Friday, September 29, 2006

55 Friday Fiction: Papyrus edition

Friday is unseasonal.

She opened the folder, unconsciously holding her breath. The cursive font on the heavy paper was so ornate it was almost unreadable, but it trumpeted her achievement: degree, honors, name (including the middle name from her great-grandmother), complete with seal, signatures and embossing. There it was: the most expensive piece of paper she’d ever purchased.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

La Meme Chose

So, I've been tagged. Apparently, I am to share with the Internets ten (10) of my secrets. I take issue with this. Do they not, by the very nature of being shared, lose their secret quality?

(A legal education makes a person insufferable.)

(1) When I was a wee kid, I thought there were two ways to become pregnant. You either had sex with someone, or you "slept with them." Sleeping with someone only worked if you were not married to the person. (Think about it: no one ever says that people who are married slept together.) Moral: spending your wee childhood in France and then moving to the U.S. leaves you with some f'd up theories.

(2) I can't drink soda. My parents never gave it to me and now even the smell makes me nauseous. I consider it a mark of friendship for people to remember that I don't drink soda. It cracks me up that, after over 10 years of friendship, my best friend still occasionally asks me if I want a Coke. (She always pauses and then says "Wait, you don't drink soda." Ah, ritual.)

(3) I've experienced love at first sight. And it was amazing.

(4) I was vegetarian from the age of 15 through 23. At 15, I volunteered at the National Institutes of Health. One of the things I had to do was "collect mouse mesentery cells." Trust me, that task was incompatible with eating meat. As time went on, meat become more and more weird to me - even the smell bothered me towards the end. Then, one day when I was 23 a friend was having some chicken, and I helped myself. I was not very healthful about being vegetarian (hello! I was in college) I was not getting anywhere near enough protein. So, I started eating meat again, but no red meat. That has been my rule until now (as I like to say "no hoof", for those who really think that "Pork is the Other White Meat") Weirdly, lately I've been experimenting more and more with red meat. I doubt it will ever be a favorite, but I may start eating it in earnest. I never thought I'd see the day.

(5) My milkshake brings all the boys to the yard. They're like, 'It's better than yours.' Damn right, it's better than yours. I could teach you, but I'd have to charge.

(6) I have lived without a TV for fourteen (14) years. It happened kind of accidentally - didn't have one in college (cable was too expensive), and intended to buy one for my new apartment. After some snafus with Best Buy, I realized that I didn't need one. I think that I read more, go out more, etc. than I would if I had one.

I'm sort of cheating these days as I have Netflix (and I'm obsessed.) I sometimes watch TV shows on DVD. I'm not sure how people can watch a serial show in little 1/2 hour (Lost) or one hour (24) bites. That would drive me nuts!

(7) When I was in college, I wore combat boots every single day. Or pretty close to it. Mmmm... Canadian issue, 10-hole, pebble finish. They were the only shoes that seemed to stand up to snow, salt, etc. Plus, I was experimenting/rejecting what people told me I should look like. I had supershort (what I called "George Clooney") hair. I stopped removing body hair. I crushed up eyeshadow and made lipstick (for example, electric blue.) Honestly, I've never been hotter or been a hotter commodity. Since college, I have become much "girl-ier." I am religious about eyebrow shaping and pedicures (as anyone who reads this blog knows.) I always wore makeup, and now I can afford the really good 'ish if I want it, etc. etc. I feel I can be both now: I can arch my perfectly shaped eyebrow while I tell you off about your anti-feminist agenda.

(8) I love a lot of really, really bad movies. In fact, I may do a secret shame post on them. ("Earth Girls Are Easy" anyone?) This is especially embarassing since I'm such a cinephile.

(9) I don't always wear underwear. It's not really necessary with a lot of things (and it's a great way to avoid VPL. Not that I give a damn about VPL.) My mother would be horrified, horrified to (a) know this secret, and (b) that I shared it with the internet. At my last job before law school, I designed a week's worth of outfits that I could wear without underwear. This is some kind of statement about how unhappy I was there.

(10) I'm more than a little afraid of water. (Not in a rabid, hydrophobia sort of way.) I don't like to swim in the ocean. Conceiving of the amount of water, not being able to touch the bottom, etc. makes me feel claustrophobic and like I can't breathe. It's a mental thing. Sometimes, even the deep end of the pool can freak me out. At the same time, being on the beach at night is where I feel closest to the divine.

Tag, tag - you're it: if you read this far and feel like doing it.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Red, Red Wine

Weekend update:

Friday, more "me me me" time - I spent forever trying to pick a color for my pedicure. When I picked up a bottle and it turned out to be "Don't Wine, Yukon Do It," I took it as a sign. My feet look awesome and inspirational.

Saturday, I headed to Campbell to hang out with the Best Friend. We had dim sum - life is good. And, um, we may have hit DSW somewhere along the way. And the cutest pair of skimmers may have followed me home. Can I keep 'em? I headed home and prepared to hit TheMall with the queen of sassafras, brimful. Summary statement: Dhamaal is always good for some people watchin'. I tried to coin a term to describe "white person trying to bust the desi moves." I came up with "widget", but I think it needs work. There's a definite need for such a term.

Sunday, back to the city for open houses. At some point along the way, someone hit my car. Not so cool, but not so bad either. Mostly, I'm annoyed because I need to get it fixed pronto as my parents will be here in two weeks.

Oh, heh heh. Did I forget to mention that little stress-bomb? My parents are coming to visit. And they are staying with me. For four days. I am excited to see them, but also stressed because .... well, because they are my parents and they are staying with me for four days (it bears repeating.)

Monday, September 25, 2006


newish secretary: [maisnon], do you happen to know Rajesh's last name?
maisnon: Yup, it's Bose.
newish secretary: OH! I thought it was DuBose or something.
maisnon: Well, that would make him French instead of Bengali.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Fools Gold

At a friend's house waiting for her to finish getting changed, I idly flipped through her DVD collection. I reached behind the front row and hit VHS tapes. "Don't go past the first row!" came the anxious cry from the bedroom. I, of course, thought porn. Truth be told I was a little surprised (and impressed?) because this was easily my most "vanilla" friend. She came running into the living room, still pushing her arm through the sleeve of her shirt, two bright spots of color on her cheeks.

What was she trying to hide from me? Her collection of Wham! music videos. (I finally saw the video to Last Christmas.) The other secret movie shame? The Cutting Edge. Heroine: an ice princess figure skater so haughty and unreasonable that no one will partner with her. Hero: a hockey player who has to give up the game, and .... turn to ice skating. In other words, a heady mix of cheese and saccharine.

I have found that many women have this in their secret collection. You can imagine my delight when I found some kind of straight to video follow-up: The Cutting Edge: Going for the Gold.

I may or may not have added it to my Netflix queue.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Bay City Rollers

Autumn is a much more romantic, emotional season than spring. I, for one, am falling in love all over again.

I'm re-falling in love with my coworkers. You forget how great you have it, until your secretary is looking through your vacation pics and asks, "Is that the guy you hooked up with? I mean GUYS!" Nice! (And, NO, I did not hook up with anyone during my vacay.) Or maybe when two coworkers stop by late Friday to .... blow bubbles and give real estate advice. (I keep bubbles on my desk and refer to them as my "smoke break.")

I don't think I ever took it for granted, but I'm seeing San Francisco's charm all over again. And I mean all of it. Cities have quirks, just like people. And, like our other relationships in life, you love a city for, not in spite of, its little oddities. Case in point:

maisnon: people in SF have a novel interpretation of the stop sign - it makes me smile (and drive carefully)
b: my latest theory is that living in a non-conformist culture has this downside when it comes to traffic rules and mores
maisnon: I think that people are trying to apply some kind of logic that i don't grasp yet
b: dude the four-way stop situation is a PROBLEM ++ here
maisnon: it's kind of like a video game
b: :)
maisnon: like frogger or something.

Friday, post real-estate summit, I headed up to the city to meet the gang + friends of gang at Cha Cha Cha in the Mission. I taught the peeps the Spanish toast I learned in Costa Rica (Arriba, abajo, al centro - ADENTRO! Above, below, in the middle, INSIDE. Kind of.) Sangria doesn't really count as alcohol - not sure if you knew that. Or, at least, that's what the me of Friday seemed to think.

Saturday was me day. Which apparently meant sleeping in and doing pretty much shit all for the rest of the day. Perfection! I watched most of Lost: Season II. (J.J. Abrams, you're a heartbreaker (dealmaker?)) And, then, around midnight - I slipped into a Lush-inspired bubble bath and devoured the end of Never Let Me Go. I went to bed feeling feline in my self-indulgence.

Sunday, I cowboyed up and headed to the city to hit open houses. In most places (including the Peninsula), you and your realtor can visit a home with a lockbox (as long as no one is living there - if they are, you call the listing agent first.) It's great because you can go whenever, and really take your time. Not so in SF - most listing agents do not use lockboxes. Thus, your options are to hit the open house, or try and find a time that works for you, your agent, and the listing agent. Good luck on that one.

So, it's all about the open houses. And not every place has one every weekend. And all the open houses occur from 2-4 pm. Some agents improve the situation by starting at 1, or going until 5, but it's still pretty much a mad dash around the city. Walking through a home, you try to take the time needed to see (1) if it suits your needs, (2) if you could see yourself living here, (3) if there would be any re-sell issues, and (4) what you think of the pricing/whether you want to make an offer. And, at the same time, you know that you have X minutes left to get through the Y number of houses you have left on your list. Hence, the careful Friday evening plotting/ consultations.

I saw a couple of places I liked. I feel like I'm getting closer to finding the place. That doesn't make sense, of course, because the selection changes weekly. But, that's still the impression I get. I'm getting the vibe of neighborhoods. I'm bolder - I'll stop by open houses that are in the vicinity of things I'm visiting (which is how I ended up in a stunning $1 million dollar home in Bernal Heights chatting with another prospective in French.) So, even though it isn't logical, I'm a little excited - my home in the city is getting closer ever day.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


  • It's not every day that a friend uses the "I may be stickfighting" excuse (*ahem*, SJM!)
  • I'm trying to be more of a tourist in SF. I thought I would do tourist stuff when my friends came to visit me, but so far - not so much on the visit front. I've never been to Alcatraz I've never ridden a cable car.
  • On that note, last weekend, I headed to the Asian Art Museum. Summary statement: Asian people! Enough with the pottery already!
  • My friend balance sheet needs improvement - not because of break-ups, but because of (impending) moves. So, I'm on a mission to be more social. Look out, I'm strapping on my butterfly wings!
  • On that note, I think I will start blogging about my weekends again - it keeps me adventurous.
  • After traveling, and meeting people who are doing some extended voyaging, I am less gung-ho about saddling myself with a mortgage.
  • One of my extended-voyaging friends (a native Spanish speaker) sent me my favorite sentence in email ever. After telling me all about his future travel plans, he ended with "and after that I don't know how my life will be." Word.
  • I saw a papaya in Trader Joe's and nearly cried - it looked so small and tasteless in comparison to the ones I had in Costa Rica. It was like Papaya Lite. So wrong!
  • The Costa Rica pictures are up on flickr .... with captions!

Monday, September 11, 2006

Every Day is Like Sunday

I go to the public library on a nearly weekly basis. There's just something about touching all those books that makes me happy, and excited. Heading in there on Wednesday, the homeless guy in his usual spot outside the library called me over. And asked me about my trip. What was nice was feeling connected, like I live here. (That I should get that feeling from a homeless guy is a tidy piece of irony.)

On Saturday, I headed into the city to check out the Asian Art Museum, meet up with some peeps, etc. etc. Somewhere along 16th St., I received a text message from a coworker indicating that she had just seen me walk by. This is the second time that I've run into her randomly somewhere in SF. (Also important, I don't live in the city .... yet.) San Francisco is the biggest small town, or the smallest city.

The evening ended with me picking up my car at a parking garage in the Mission. When the parking attendant arrived, I mumbled to brimful that he was my friend. Imagine my surprise when he said "Oh! It's you, my friend. Long time no see!"

A year ago this week, I moved to San Francisco. In some ways, I'm still just visiting, but in other ways - I truly live here. I love San Francisco, and some days - I think it loves me back.

Friday, September 08, 2006

55 Fiction Friday: Globe & Mail edition

Friday does the crossword in pen.

Reading the newspaper and finding a name you know is disconcerting. Your brain sort of hiccups, and your heart races. Then, disbelief: it couldn’t POSSIBLY be X, it must be someone who has the same, unique name. Recognition: wow, I really do know them! And, finally, a feeling of being one-step removed from fame. Star-f*cker.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

H. E. Double Hockey Sticks

My idea of Hell is when you're at a bar and they play Summer Nights. Or Stuck in the Middle with You. Or Cotton-Eyed Joe.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Travelogue: Domenical

Living in a small beach town for a few days means that you learn the rhythm of life here. It means being pleasantly surprised at breakfast, as one of the beach dogs curls up under your table (using your shoe as a pillow.) It means watching the surfers wander in, some still wet from their morning exertions, others stumbling in bleary-eyed in pajama pants looking for coffee. It's being on a smiling (if not saying hello) basis with nearly everyone.

I've really enjoyed my time here. I can safely say my Spanish has not improved as much as it did my first week (when I was staying with a family that only spoke Spanish.) Here, I have spoken English pretty much the whole time I was not in class. But, that's okay - aside from being a learning experience, this was also my vacation. While the first week was good, the second has been a phenomenal experience. I have taken shots of guaro (SHOTS! ME!), spent hours on the beach with an Argentine looking at a billion stars, skipped on eating a termite (although a few of my companions tried it), seen scarlet macaws in the wild.

Yesterday, we took a trip to the Osa Peninsula. From Domenical, it was two hours by boat (maybe a little more - we stopped to do some whale and dolphin watching.) Once there, we hiked to a natural pool. It started raining, and I had the unique pleasure of hiking in a swimsuit (my clothes were soaked already and I was trying to protect my camera with the remnants that were only slightly damp.) By the time we reached the put-in, the wind had picked up and we were freezing. And we still had 1.5 hours to go before the boat would head back to Domenical. What did we do? We ran into the ocean and submerged ourselves up to our necks. It was bathwater warm - you just had to take care to turn your face away from the rain. We bobbed there for over an hour.

I felt heart-wrenchingly close to my companions - the people who had been at school with me. In some ways, making friends while traveling is a little rough on me: it is so easy to care about people when you've spent this much time with them. And it's hard to leave, knowing that - aside from an occasional email, if that - the friendship will not progress. Better to have had the experience, though, than to not connect with people while traveling.

On the boat ride back to Domenical, I huddled in my (DRY!) rain jacket and a towel that quickly became soaked. The water was choppy and the occasional curtain of water would hit all of us. (I learned the word from "roller coaster" in Spanish!) I should have been miserable, but I was smiling and singing (quietly.)

How long till my soul gets it right
Can any human being ever reach that kind of light?
I call on the resting soul of Galileo
King of night vision, King of insight

Ah yes, the Indigo Girls. I feel like I'm in high school again. But, somehow, their song about reincarnation embodied where I was mentally. We all get a chance to reexamine who we are, where we are, and what we want. My vacation has been absolutely phenomenal.

And, on that note, I'll be home tomorrow.