25
Feb 10

San Francisco in six days

My friend ES visited me these past few days, and we had a great time exploring the city, trying new foods, and just hanging out (mostly watching the Olympics).

Thursday

another exterior shot

We met up at the Asian Art Museum.  We both wanted to see the Shanghai exhibit.  It was interesting to see how dramatically the city’s changed over the course of time.  I find the Communist propaganda posters fascinating, and could see a whole exhibit just on that.  Outside the exhibit were some cool sculptures.

sculptures

Friday

The next day we tried to eat brunch at Elite Cafe, but it’s only open for brunch on the weekends.  Damn!  We made do with The Grove, which was just okay.  Their breakfasts are better than their sandwich fare, but I was starving so whatever.

Next stop was La Boulange down the street.  My brother has been recommending the place to me forever, and ES has been there before.  They have beautiful pastries.

lemon tart

I got one chocolate and one almond croissant.  I was disappointed with the chocolate, but the almond one was delicious!  (I didn’t eat them all in one sitting, by the way)

almond croissant

Then we walked around Japantown, which was very apropos since it was the same time of year – around the strawberry-loving Japanese holiday of Girls’ Day – that we were in Tokyo.

I insisted at first stopping at the New People Cafe for some delicious Blue Bottle coffee.  I still say their mocha is the best in town, better even than Philz.

blue bottle mocha

We spent some time in the New People store as well since neither of us had ever been.  Basically, it’s fun – and expensive – Japanese toys and collectors’ items.

more tiny frogs

We spent some time in the different stores, then had dinner at Suzu Noodle House.  For some reason, I thought it was new, but it’s clearly not, given the date of the linked review.  There was a long wait, and one of the women waiting told us it was “so good,” so we had high hopes.  My assessment?  Average.

shio ramen

It was definitely good, and at $8.95 for a shio ramen, pretty reasonably priced, but the noodles don’t hold a candle to the ones we had in Tokyo years ago.

Saturday

It was a beautiful day so we headed out to the Mission District.  We both have been, but we wanted to take our time and photograph the many murals. . .

mother and child

mural

. . .and try some food.

pastries

That night we saw Wicked.  It was very good, very entertaining.  But the musical really takes liberties with the book.  I absolutely loved the book.  I didn’t really hate the changes – they were well-suited for a popular, family-oriented show – but it made the story very different.

Sunday

An awful rainy day.  We tried taking the bus back out to Fillmore, but after ten minutes in the rain, it didn’t show so we hopped a cab, which was totally worth the delicious brunch at the Elite Cafe.

I usually get the Alabama Scramble (which ES enjoyed), but this time tried the corned beef hash.  It was really delicious.

corned beef hash and eggs

The Elite seems to be another place that does really good breakfast and so so lunch entrees.

Since it was such a rainy day, we thought a museum would be a good idea, the California Academy of Sciences, which neither of us had been to before.

turtle

It was great fun, especially the aquarium and indoor rainforest, where butterflies kept landing on people.

butterfly landing

You can’t tell but this butterfly had gorgeous bright blue wings, and I think was attracted to people wearing blue.  Before landing on this girl, it had alighted on the hand of a boy in a blue T-shirt.

After a while though, the dive bombing butterflies made me paranoid so I had to leave.

Another highlight was the planetarium, which brought back memories of class trips to the American Museum of Natural History in New York, but also gave me motion sickness (so I’m a wuss).

Afterward we went out to the Ferry Building, my first time.  Unfortunately almost everything was closed, but it was nice to walk around.

We ate at Slanted Door, a chi chi Vietnamese place.  It was just okay, to tell the truth.  I liked my spring roll appetizer, and the green papaya salad was AMAZING, but our entrees were average.  Mine, the stir fried chicken, had little bones or date pits scattered throughout.  It’s not fun to be chewing then suddenly bite on something hard.

We rode the F line out to Fisherman’s Wharf.  There was a guy who didn’t have change for a $20 so a bunch of us – all New Yorkers, coincidentally, including the guy – banded together to give him change.

Monday

ES had the great idea of renting a car and exploring the further parts of the city.  First stop: Richmond, home of delicious dim sum and other Chinese eats.  I was able to finally get in my dumplings for the New Year.

Next stop was crossing the Golden Gate Bridge and taking in the view.

sunset

It was really breath taking.  I also loved watching the animals, like the pelicans that kept circling overhead, the deer we saw grazing (and pooping), and other various birds.  This blue bird – or jay? – let us take its picture.

bluebird standing. . .

You can see the Golden Gate Bridge in the background.

On our way back to dropping off the car, we drove to Haight-Ashbury, and did a quick walk.  For dinner we went to Pesce on Polk Street.  It’s tapas style Italian and was pretty good.  We shared a vegetable risotto – good though needed salt – a braised duck with pappardelle, some kind of pork with gnocchi, and brussel sprouts.  Everything was tasty.

ES also got this oyster vodka shooter.  She said it was delicious.  I took her word for it.

Tuesday

MB was coming home from a conference at around noon so I begged off for a few hours while ES went exploring on her own.  Later we caught up at the Contemporary Jewish Museum, which had interesting exhibits on Mein Kampf and about a scribe writing the Torah.

It was another terribly rainy day, but we made it onto a bus that would take us to our appointments at the Imperial Day Spa, a traditional Korean-style spa and sauna.  It was a very unique experience.  You strip down buck naked, soak in a tub and/or do a sauna, then get scrubbed within an inch of your life by one of several Chinese ladies in matching burgundy bra and panties.

It sounds sexy, but it’s so not.  These ladies are strong and work hard.  Oh, and you don’t have your own private room complete with soothing music like at some ritzy place – you’re in a communal room with other naked women.  You lie on a plastic mat and have buckets of hot water thrown on you (which actually feels amazing).

I may be able to get an article fun post out of this experience, in addition to my silky smooth skin.  Either way, it was a fun, and weirdly bonding, activity to cap off ES’s stay.

Now back to the grind for everyone!

See all my photos taken during ES’s visit.


09
Nov 09

The social experiment

I’ve been trying to be more social, and last week I was actually successful.

I can’t remember if I mentioned this already, but at a recent work party, I met the girlfriend of one of MB’s co-workers.  We have a lot in common: we’re both new to SF, originally from the east coast, and interested in writing.  We’ve been hitting it off really well.  Last Thursday we met at 2 PM to chit chat over coffee and hot chocolate.  The next thing we knew it was five hours later.  Crazy!  I only noticed because I was getting hungry.

On Sunday I went to this writing “marathon.”  As you know, I’m doing National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), and was looking for a meet up.  There were just a couple, and were either at weird times (10 PM to 3 AM) or way the fuck out in some part of town I’d never heard of (which isn’t saying much I guess).  But then I saw a posting for a general writing meet up inviting people doing NaNoWriMo.

We met at Jumpin’ Java in the Castro at 10 AM.  I’m ashamed to admit I still don’t have a handle on SF public transit and so either walk everywhere or take cabs.  Sunday I took a cab.

At first I thought I had the wrong street because it seemed to be all houses.  But there nestled on a corner was the cafe.

I got a lot of work done very quickly.  It was both comforting and energetic to be surrounded by six or seven other people also writing.  You’re buffered from the freaks, and there’s also this unspoken, subtle pressure to KEEP WORKING.  The organizers scheduled it pretty well: 10 to 11:30, writing; 11:30 to 12:30 break for lunch; 1 to 2:30 more writing; another break; and then the end of the day.  The scheduled breaks keep people from chatting too much, and give you a target to work towards.

As for lunch, when you walked in, they had you write down your order so the cafe could prepare everything beforehand.  By the time 11:30 to 12 rolls around, they have your sandwich or whatever all ready, and you just pay.  And then to sit there and eat and talk about writing was really nice.

I thought I’d stay all the way till 4, but I pooped out by the 2:30 break.

Afterwards I met MB in Union Square (walked this time), and from there we took a little stroll around SoMA and hit another cafe we like in the area.  Thank goodness the game show host barista wasn’t there.  It made hanging out so much more peaceful.

By the time we headed home, it was after 5:30.  I had been out the whole day, from 9:30 on.  Wow!

Today I made up for it by being a bum and writing at home.  Around three I decided I really wanted some chocolate, did some Yelp research, and found the Blue Fog Market.  It’s a little bit of a schlep, but I thought a walk would be nice, and I wanted to stop at the Macha Cafe along the way, which someone on Yelp described as having Japanese-style snacks.

But they don’t.  I was very disappointed to find a totally American menu.  I asked the woman about the Japanese snacks, and she said they used to have some, but not anymore.  Bummer!  I had wanted a green tea and a mochi.  Instead I got a peppermint tea and a croissant, which actually really hit the spot.  Next time if I want Japanese snacks, I’ll just go straight to Japantown (which is where I hung out and ate my croissant anyway).

The Blue Fog Market was equally disappointing.  I mean, they had some fancy stuff, but it wasn’t that great.  Plus the chocolate was way more than I wanted to spend.  On the way back, I stopped in a random grocery store, and they had just what I wanted.  A small bar of dark chocolate for under $3, and which will last me a good week.

I forgot to mention: when I was telling my mother about the writing meet up, she said, “Oh, it’s for other housewives?”

Hunh?  First off, I said, “It’s for writers.”  Secondly, “It’s on Sunday,” ie, not on a work day.  Third, does she think I’m a housewife?

I don’t know how my mom’s brain works sometimes.


30
Oct 09

Signed, sealed, and delivered

My friend YP got me the best going-away gift: pre-stamped post cards made from my own pictures on Flickr!

moopostcards

Nowadays, I rarely send handwritten notes or letters. When I travel, I try to remember to send postcards, and while I succeed in buying them, I almost always forget to send them, then either lamely mail them from home or throw them in a drawer.

The very first person I wrote letters to was my aunt. I was about seven when I started writing to her. I’m not sure how our correspondence began. Perhaps she sent me a chatty birthday card, and my mother wanted me to be polite so had me pen a long thank you. My mother was quite strict about it: she’d proof what I had written again and again, and have me rewrite it multiple times. Why, I’m not sure. Maybe because my aunt could be critical, and my mother didn’t want hear her make some comment about how sloppy I was. Then why have me respond at all?

On my eighth birthday, someone gave me strawberry scratch ‘n stiff stationery. That night, I wrote my aunt a letter without my mother’s supervision, which meant writing it like I would a friend. “Take a whiff of those strawberries,” I wrote.

For some reason, my casual tone was considered impolite. Either I confessed to my mother or my aunt actually made a comment, because in my next letter I was instructed to apologize profusely.

My mother would also always intercept my aunt’s letters to me and read them first. What was she looking for? Some remark about her? Some chiding to me? My aunt’s notes were always harmless. She wrote about visits from my grandmother and the good food she made, camping trips with her family at Lake Tahoe, and riding a donkey down into a canyon.

To this day, things haven’t changed. Recently my aunt and I emailed a couple of times, and my mother wanted to know everything my aunt said.

After my correspondence with my aunt trickled off, I exchanged letters with friends who had moved away. There was one who went to Kentucky, and her letters were all exactly the same. “Who’s your best friend? What must do you like? I like the Police.” I also wrote to friends I saw every day. In junior high every morning a particular pal and I would exchange notes as we passed each other in the hallway on our way to first period. Not just notes, but papers folded up a million times into triangles you had to pry open with pliers.

What the heck did we tell each other every day? I remember moaning about how my teeth were killing me (because of my braces), and she responded, “Mighty Molar!” and drew a picture of bicupsid flexing its muscles. I also complained about my mother, calling her a witch. I really wanted to call her something else that ended in –itch, but I changed it. Still, she responded, “Don’t call your mother a witch!”

Of course I love getting emails from my friends, but there’s something about opening your mailbox and seeing something addressed to you that’s not a bill, credit card application, or catalog. With a little thrill you tear open the enveloped. What does your friend have to say? You see her handwriting and for a second it’s like you’re there with her, as she’s writing it, instead of thousands of miles away.


07
Sep 09

I’m a little sleepy so it’ll be a rambly post

Had a fun and active Labor Day weekend.

ES was in town. Friday night we met up with SB for dinner, the last time the three of us would be able to hang out in a while. I can’t believe we’ve been friends for so long – ES and I since senior year in high school, and SB and I since freshman year of college. I think ES and SB met sophomore year, and of course hit it off instantly.

The next day ES and I tooled around the city. I was planning on being all efficient and running errands, but the weather was so nice, I wanted to do something fun instead. We slept in and took our time getting out of the house. There’s this mural on Houston Street that I’ve been wanting to photograph so we stopped there first.

Next up was lunch at Cafe Colonial. Sometimes it’s stupendously crowded, but it wasn’t too bad that day. I got the cowboy rice:

It was really tasty but overpriced at $15.

We decided to head downtown to ride the Staten Island Ferry, which neither of us had ever ridden before.  We caught what I thought was the 1 downtown, but suddenly it was an express and before I knew it we were in Brooklyn.  Oops!  We got off, hopped the next uptown, and got off at Wall Street.  ES had never been there before so it was cool to walk around.

It seemed everyone had the same idea about riding the ferry.  When we got there, the waiting area was packed.

I thought the boat couldn’t possibly fit all of us, but it did with room to spare.  Most people were crowded at the railing, trying to get that perfect picture of the Statue of Liberty or the Manhattan skyline. I was satisfied with just one.

There wasn’t much to see on SI, at least in the immediate area of the ferry, so we just sat by the water till it was time to get back on.  This time I stood with ES by the railing, which was fun, except that this one girl kept smushing me with her backpack till I wanted to grab her camera and throw it in the water.

Afterwards we met up with YP and his sister for dinner.  We ate at Quantum Leap, this vegetarian place.  It was pretty good.  I got the vegetable tofu curry stew.  The sauce was excellent, but I could have done with more tofu.  After we ate, we walked over to Washington Square Park and hung out.  It’s really nice now that they’ve taken down the construction.

The next morning ES and I took the train together to our respective parents’ in NJ.  I had somehow forgotten everything I was planning on bringing – my laptop charger, my copyedited memoir, my running shoes – so I had almost nothing to do.  I mostly read.  Then later MB wanted to test out the web cam he had given my parents, so he Skyped my dad.  It was funny to see MB on my parents’ giant TV.

Today I caught the 12:43 train back to New York, and spent the day organizing what clothes I’ll be bringing to SF next weekend, what I’ll be donating, and what I’ll be moving to my parents’.  Took a little walk to the Container Store to return some crappy ass hangers and get some decent ones.  It was a mad house by the way, what with all the students back for the fall.

Now I’m pooped!  I woke up semi-early, around 8, and look forward to crashing soon.  Ah, how I love to sleep.

Just a few more days till I visit MB in Cali!


05
Aug 09

The memoir goes on

In case you didn’t know, I’m still posting my memoir over in my writing blog, and the latest installment is a doozy.

Like I’ve already said a billion times, I’ve been working on my memoir for about three years. Actually, probably more like four or five. The first non-fiction writing class I took was the fall of 2004, several months after my ex confessed to his affair and his mistress’ pregnancy. The class was for alumnae of my college, and the nights were dark and cold when the 10 of us would gather together and talk about our writing.

I wrote about everything except what was happening in my life. I wrote about China and my cousin; I wrote about a cruise I took with my family. With all of my essays, people wondered, “Where are you in this? What’s happening with you?”

I could only write about what was happening in secret and second or third person. One assignment was to write an essay, “On. . .” some subject. I wrote “On Cheating”:

There are many different kinds of cheating. The first we learn of is cheating at a game. You want to win, but you’re not good enough, and so when the other person isn’t looking, you move the pieces around. Or you want to show that you got two sides – two sides! – on the Rubik’s cube, and so in the next room you swap the stickers.

It escalates to:

Then there is cheating on your spouse. Your partner, your lover, your significant other. However, the definition of this kind of cheating is blurred. Of course there’s sex. No ifs, ands, or buts about that. But what about a kiss, or kisses? What about letters, phone calls, e-mail messages? What about feelings and thoughts? Are all of those cheating? Are any of them? There are no rules written down, unlike for games, tests, and money. Probably there should be.

Then ends:

It’s not a game or a test. It’s something like stealing, stealing your man, stealing your innocence, stealing your chance to be the first one to bear his child (there was one years ago, but you had an abortion – was it wrong? are you being punished?).

Sometimes in class the teacher would ask us to read our pieces aloud. I prayed that she wouldn’t ask me; luckily she didn’t.

I really started to write publicly about what had happened after my ex and I separated, and I moved into my own apartment. I had a blog, which some of you might remember, “Diary of a Pissed-Off Asian Woman.”  Till then I had been keeping a journal – in fact since I was 17 – but suddenly I needed to share my story, or at least feel like I was sharing it.

So that’s a long way of saying that over the years I’ve gotten used to writing publicly about stuff in my life, good and bad, to the point that I didn’t think this latest installment was even a big deal. But writing for a dozen strangers in class (or 50 online) is very different than knowing that your friends are reading your dirt.

There’s also the online factor.  A book is more distant, squeezed on a shelf in a bookstore or library, the story safely hidden between two covers, silent till a reader opens it. On-line is in your face.

Do I worry about what others will think about what I’ve written? Sure. Of course I still get anxious sometimes about people I’ve written about in not such a great light, whose stories I’ve appropriated and blabbed. As for my own stories, I’m not worried so much about being judged for my decisions, but rather by the fact that there were some things in my life I didn’t tell all my friends, if only because I told those closest, geographically or otherwise, to me at the time, or because I couldn’t handle retelling what happened too many times.

But here are those stories in my memoir, and this blog. Writing all about myself is very easy. In fact, when I put my fingers to keyboard or pen to paper, I seriously can’t stop blabbing about myself. It’s like a disease. But the telling is hard. I guess that’s why I’m a writer.


04
May 09

Overdue for a post

School school school! What else?

Last weekend I shot a bunch of video for one of my school projects, including footage of Coney Island. MB had a bunch of praciticing and work to do so he stayed behind, but YP was able to join me.

We headed out pretty early, around 10, luckily for us since it took a year to get out there, especially with the F running on some other line. It was hot in the city but chilly out by the water. The season has just started so a lot of booths and rides were still being set up, and there weren’t that many people out at that relatively early hour.

Except for all the freaks. It was very strange – everyone was either inbred-looking or obese, which in a way was good because it turned off my appetite for all the otherwise good-smelling fried food.

My fave pic from our expedition:

Aside from shooting video and taking pics, we actually rode the Wonder Wheel, which was surprisingly scary. I may put up some video footage. It’s not too exciting, but I’m so proud that I was able to figure out iMovie and crop clips, take out the audio, and add different audio. It was fun.

On Friday MB was supposed to fly out to Prague, but he missed his flight. The airline was screwed up, but he also left pretty late. He was able to get on another flight for Saturday and made his flight. Yay!

So we were able to see Wolverine Friday night. It wasn’t bad – some good action sequences, but the plot was pretty stupid. Could have been a lot better.

Saturday I saw a couple of friends from college whom I haven’t seen in ages. We had dim sum (which was NASTY by the way, won’t be going to that restaurant again) and walked around Chinatown. It’s funny how everyone seems the same though so much has changed. For instance, IS has THREE kids. I remember when we used to sit in the hallway of our dorm gabbing for hours. Now she’s a mom. But at the same time, she seems perfectly natural as a mother.

The rest of the weekend was all about schoolwork. Got a lot done, including my library profile and reading cards for Collection Develpment on Sunday; my library organization paper for today; the little film for Thursday’s class (must have redone the voiceover 5 billion times); and a draft of another informal paper for Thrusday. Need to edit that, then finish the write-up for the corp speak project, and throw together a presentation for the same. The bulk of my work is definitely for that Thursday class.

Next Sunday, Collection Development final, which shouldn’t be bad, and on Monday, Management presentation. Then I’m done till London! Can’t wait.

13
Apr 09

One of those non-stop weekends

Fun but busy.

Friday was completely dead at work. Almost no one was around, including my boss. Still, I got a few things done in the morning before working out, then hopped the train to New Jersey, where I’d be hanging with ES, who was in town for the holiday, and AY.

We decided to go around New Brunswick, home of ES’s alma mater and slightly closer to New York. It was cold! We shivered as we walked around campus. ES wanted to visit these junk food trucks. She got this hot dog thing. I wasn’t going to eat any junk but it looked good and she was sharing! So bad for us.

Before dinner we had drinks at this Asian-style bar and restaurant. The restaurants there are huge! I’m so used to shoeboxes in Manhattan where you’re bumping elbows with your neighbor. We had one martini each. I had a “saketini,” sake mixed with Grey Goose vodka and pear puree. It was tasty but strong. That one drink totally knocked me on my ass, and I basically drunk for a couple of hours.

For dinner we had what could be called American style tapas. The dishes were tiny and included stuff like mini-burgers, seafood “fritters,” and tiny gourmet pizza slices. Most of the food was really good, but we all agreed our favorite were these cheese bread puff things – which were free! We had about eight dishes total, plus dessert, and ES and AY also had a bit of wine, and the whole bill was still only about $60.

We were out pretty late. I caught an 11:30 train back and got home by about 1.

The next day I met ES and SB at SB’s place. It’s been months since I’ve seen SB and her daughter Ellie, who grows by leaps and bounds every time I see her. Now she seems so much older. I said, “Do you remember me?” and she looked at me like, “Dehr.” The kid is 4.

The weather was horrible that day. Cold and rain rain rain. We managed to find a place to eat near my old apartment. ES and I both had a full Irish breakfast, which was excellent for my hangover (yes for me, one drink = hangover). But I was definitely on a downward spiral in terms of eating junk.

Afterwards since the weather was so terrible, we went to the Met. Man, was it crowded! SB knew about an entrance that was slightly less crowded so that was good, but when we made our way to the main entrance to go upstairs, Ellie started to get overwhelemed by the crowds. I don’t blame her. I was barely holding it together myself. So Ellie and SB headed home.

Once ES and I got inside the museum, it wasn’t as bad. I always surprise myself by knowing how to maneuver the museum. First stop was the caf where we got some much needed coffee. Again, so crowded! But we didn’t have to circle around too much before two seats opened up.

Then somehow I was able to get us to the Greek and Roman gallery, featuring Perseus and his marble ass, always the highlight of my visit to the Met. We also checked out the fairly new Galleries for Oceanic Art, which I’ve never seen before. The coolest was this ceiling decoration that was enormous! From there we made our way to the Walker Evans postcard exhibit.

When we left it had stopped raining, thank goodness, and although still chilly, the sun had come out. We walked a bit before catching our respective buses, mine downtown and ES’s to Penn Station.

Sunday YP and I had our photo outing. This month’s theme: optical illusions. In other words, use perspective to make it look like we’re holding the top of a building, or feeding a carrot to a giant statue of a horse (yes, we had props). I realized: I’m bad at perspective. I don’t know where the person should stand to make it look right. Or sometimes I do, but only by instinct. Anyway, it was pretty fun, but cold again! And very windy. Wtf.

For the rest of Sunday, MB and I just hung out. He had a lot of practicing to do, and of course I had schoolwork. I revised my paper, which didn’t take as long as I thought it would, and did some reading. We also watched a bunch of TV, and he made dinner, a tofu stir fry with veggies. Yum!

Next weekend is just me and MB. I feel like it’s been a few weeks since we’ve had a whole weekend to ourselves.


06
Apr 09

Face to face

Remember that ex-friend I wrote about? The one I had been close to since college, whom I traveled with to Amsterdam and Paris? The one who was my bridesmaid and who was there for me through all the stuff with my ex? The one who in the fall of 2005, after more than a decade of friendship, seemingly for no reason at all, just stopped talking to me?

I finally saw her.

Not on purpose, not planned. She lives in the city, as far as I know, or at least still works here. She had an apartment in Murray Hill, and whenever I was in that area, I thought I might run into her.

Well, I didn’t run into here there but two blocks from my apartment. In a restaurant MB and I go to all the time.

We were sitting there next to this large party. The waitress came to get our order, and at the same time, another member of that party arrived, an Asian woman. A guy, who appeared to be her boyfriend, got up so that she could sit, promptly getting in the way of our waitress. We gave our orders, and then I casually glanced over. . .and saw that the Asian woman was SL.

Ex-friend. Dumper. The disappearing act. Right next to us!

My heart started pounding like crazy. What do I do? Did she see me? Do I say something? MB said something to me, I don’t even know what. Oh my paper. How was my paper going? What was my paper about again? I could barely remember.

Finally, I mouthed to him, “I know that girl. She dumped me.” Then I leaned across the table and whispered the details to him. He glanced at her and chuckled at me for freaking out.

It’s not funny!

For the rest of the evening, I couldn’t concentrate on anything. I could barely even eat. I kept glancing at her, wondering if she had seen me. I wasn’t sure. At one point, I think she was covering her face with her left hand, the hand facing me, and saw a ring on her third finger. A while ago I had found an online wedding gift registry associated with her name, and for some reason thought it might be a different SL. But thinking of that, and seeing the ring, and the general appearance of the dude next to her (of course I had Googled his name too and found his Facebook profile – I need a different hobby), I put two and two together.

Then I began to think, Why not mess with her? When MB went to the bathroom, I kept staring in her direction, sort of willing her to look my way. She wouldn’t. She wouldn’t even look up from her food to talk to the people next to her.

It’s hard to say if she was avoiding my gaze. She could get kind of antisocial.

I never said anything to her, and she never said anything to me. MB and I left before they did.

I was weirded out for the rest of the night, and promptly texted ES. (“Girls,” MB said, shaking his head.) ES was appreciatively as freaked out as I was. After all she knew SL too, from the wedding and Amsterdam and visits in Boston.

I went back online and tried to find more info. Nothing new really. A while ago I had found SL’s name in a newsletter for, of all things, a Quaker soceity. I thought, SL’s a Quaker now? and dismissed it. Well, I found her name again in another newsletter, along with her presumed husband’s.

This was weird to me, not so much because of the Quaker-ness, but since SL wasn’t religious AT ALL. She grew up in a traditional Chinese household and was never Christian, though I know not all Quakers identify with being Christian.

Anyway, my head was spinning, and like I do to get a handle on things, I made a list. In the last 3 years, SL had:

  • Gotten her MBA (found that online) when that fall she wasn’t even in a program yet
  • Gotten married. That fall she didn’t have a boyfriend, nor was she even dating.
  • Became a Quaker. Like I said, when I knew her she wasn’t even religious.

To me those seem like such huge changes in a short amount of time though I guess I’ve been on a similar trajectory having started a graduate program and met someone and moved in with him. No religious conversion though.

Hopefully now I’ve gotten my obsession out of my system. I have a vague idea of what SL is up to now, and I know what running into her is like. Maybe now I can move on from this silliness.


09
Feb 09

Seems lately all I do are weekend updates

I blame school.

Had a more active weekend than the last. Friday night I had dinner with YP and some of our former co-workers. We went to Tillman’s, which was really nice – beautiful atmosphere, nice music, yummy food and drinks. It was freezing that night so I had a hot toddy, and for dinner I had the chicken sandwich. Yum!

It was fun catching up with the gals. I got some gossip about my old boss. I think I’ve written that he was demoted (’bout time), and somehow he found himself a new position on a different team. Apparently he’s traveling to London soon, and is being extremely neurotic about it. Poor LG, who was his secretary and is now just helping him out till he gets a new one, has suffered the brunt of it.

He’s afraid to fly and so changed his flight a couple of times (once because he thought the plane was too old), and keeps asking LG questions like, “How do I get to my hotel from the airport? What if I only have American money?” Dude, you’re going to LONDON, not the Amazon rainforest. And it’s not like he hasn’t traveled before.

Also, I heard some dirt about another former co-worker, who was a secretary at the same time I was and interested in moving up the way I did – well, she was interested in moving up, but much more passively. The way I did it assess what needed to be done that nobody wanted to do, and just go ahead and take over those “orphaned” projects, which were usually lower profile and less “sexy” anyway, but I didn’t care. She just kept asking managers for work, and they would end up giving her the work I was already doing (and which I had cleared with my boss, who was the head of the whole group). There was a lot of stepping on toes.

I got promoted before she did, but she never asked me for advice. She’d go to her own managers, which was fine, but they didn’t know anything about how to make that jump from secretar to manager. Or she’d go to WG, who was the budget coordinator and my pal, and who kept saying, “Why don’t you talk to Anna?” since I was on the exact career trajectory that she wanted to be on. But she never did.

She just couldn’t get promoted, despite having her MBA. So she left for a managerial position at another company. I was genuinely happy for her. But now I’ve heard that she’s unhappy and has contacted WG about positions here.

Part of me feels bad for her, but part of me is pointing and saying, “Ha ha!” The Marvin part of me apparently.

I got back pretty early, around 9. Later MB and I saw a midnight movie, the New York premiere of Chocolate. It was really good! I mean, the plot was sorta dumb, but it was awesome to see a woman kick ass repeatedly. As usual, the hipster audience was annoying, laughing at unfunny parts.

Saturday we kept missing things. We were all set to go to ComicCon, but the tickets were sold out! They had been available the night before. Should have gotten them online. Then that night we were all set to see Coraline, but when we got to the theater, it was sold out. :( MB didn’t feel like seeing anything else so we took advantage of the nice night and walked home.

Sunday was all about school. Last week I was really good and finished all my homework for Sunday by Friday so I could do my reading for Monday over the weekend. In class on Sunday, we went over our library profiles. I picked my company’s digital library (there is no physical one here in New York, only at another site), and he didn’t get that. He said, “You want to do this?” I don’t really care what library I do, but I’m annoyed that I put in all that work that I now have to do over.

He didn’t come out and say, “Don’t do a digital library,” but I think that’s his feeling, though there are just as many collection management issues with online resources. So I guess I’ll switch to something else.

Tonight’s class should be pretty mellow. The management reading feels familiar so far. I guess I’ve been living management for the past several years. But it’s helpful to see it written in formal terms, and how it can be applied to libraries.

Having three classes is tough! With two I could totally slack and go for days without doing any work. Now I’m doing homework basically every day. But it’ll be over in a few months.


05
Jan 09

Oy, back at work

I didn’t even take any vacation and it’s still tough to come back after the holidays. Two dead weeks and two four-day weekends in a row will do that to you.

The rest of our weekend was pretty mellow. MB practiced music, I wrote and read, and we bought a toaster oven. Or attempted to because after hauling it back from Bed, Bath, and Beyond, we found that the grill was missing. That’s helpful! Yesterday MB exchanged it and we tested it out: open-faced grilled cheese sandwiches. . .with bacon. Yup, I’m on a diet.

This weekend ES came down to NJ at the last minute. Yesterday I hopped the train down for the day, the 9:14 AM, which was very peaceful. Oh yeah, I was finally able to update my iPod. Like a dope I had put my iTunes library on my old work computer, which was left behind with my old position. I didn’t think there was any way to copy what was on my iPod into a new library, but MB showed me some software that could do that.

So yesterday on the train I had my iPod with some new MIA, the soundtrack from the movie, The Wackness, and some music I stole from MB, including Lykke Li and Elbow, whom I had never heard of but apparently had the album of the year.

ES picked me up from the train station, and we headed out to AY’s, who was nice enough to make us brunch. We had a lovely spread of eggs, ham, cheese, veggies, and some croissants ES and I picked up. And of course coffee!

brunch spread

Then we gabbed and gabbed and gabbed, and before we knew it we were hungry all over again.

We decided to drive into Princeton and walk around a bit. But it was so cold, we didn’t last very long before ducking into a restaurant and eating some yummy pizza for a late lunch. Then by the time we came out, everything was closed. That’s Princeton for ya!

I was going to take the 5:43 train back, but we ended up having too much fun taking crazy Photobooth pictures with ES’s Mac. It’s amazing how the distorted photos can crack us up again and again. I missed the 5:43 but it was no biggie since there was a 6:14, which gave ES and me time to hang out more, and for her – the sweetie! – to run to to the store and get me a ginger ale since I had somehow managed to get car sick on the very short ride from AY’s to the station.

Got back home around 8. MB and I just hung out watching The Thing, which was quite entertaining. The other night we watched Heavy Metal, which was also entertaining as well as ridiculous. I can see why MB liked it as a kid!

Last night I couldn’t sleep till about 2. I am so tired! But I still managed to get a short workout in at lunchtime.