Category Archives: Fashion

A Ring in Every Candle

This year, I’ve been one of those obnoxious girls with a “birthday week” – I just got lucky I suppose. From a party at work to a much-anticipated child-free dinner out, from besties sending unexpected presents to our luxurious night away while my parents babysat. It’s been a great birthday week.

One such unexpected present arrived on Wednesday.

photo (18)

It’s a candle that smells like birthday cake, and somewhere inside of the candle is a gold-foil-wrapped ring, which is worth anywhere from $10 to $5000. You have to burn it to find the ring, and this is a pretty hefty candle – I’m guessing it’ll take hours of burning to get to the buried treasure.

The card didn’t have a name or a return address listed – just a gift message that said, “Happy 30th! I think our 30s are going to be awesome.”

I texted the person who told me she had sent me something in the mail – but it wasn’t from her.

I texted the person who was most likely to have found a product like this on the internet – but it wasn’t from her.

I texted some of the girlfriends I could think of who are thoughtful enough to send a birthday gift – but it wasn’t from any of them.

I texted my brother (sort of a last resort) – but it wasn’t from him.

So my question is: who sent me this diamond ring candle?

(And will I get one of the elusive $5000 rings?)

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Filed under Awesome, Being a girl, Fashion, Friends, Holidays, Humor, Love, Memoir, Nonfiction

(A room that is important to you)

In the notes section of my phone, there is a list of writing prompts. The third prompt is “A room that is important to you.”

==

My parents have a hot tub. The hot tub is just the latest item in a long list of reminders that I don’t live at home anymore.

How could they go from normal parents one day, to hot-tub-owning parents the next?

“But where is it?” I ask my mom over the phone.

“On the deck,” she says.

“What deck?”

“Oh yeah. We added a deck, too,” she says. Her tone is so casual, like she doesn’t realize she’s telling me about major home renovations. “You guys should come visit. You can sit in the hot tub.”

While it sounds amazing, especially now that California is having some actual winter weather, I can’t quite get used to that whole hot tub thing. I mean, I still feel homesick for the way our house was when I was a child – eight and ten and fourteen years old. It hasn’t been like that for almost half my lifetime.

I knew everything was different when I went to college. Not my freshman year, so much, when I still came home all the time and most of my stuff was still up on my bedroom walls. But once I started living in apartments, and my room at home started becoming storage, it was a slippery slope to “I don’t live here at all anymore.”

Probably moving to New York right after college had something to do with that. I didn’t go home that summer, except for a week or so before we got on a plane from SFO to JFK, in mid-August. And then I was gone for three years and the transition became even more complete.

I’ve been back in California for four and a half years. I have never in that time moved back home, and where would I have lived if I had? On the futon couch in the living room, probably. Despite multiple passings-off of my childhood stuff from my parents to me, there is still, inexplicably, more of my stuff in my bedroom, although it becomes more and more hidden among things that aren’t mine. My stuffed animals stick it out, though, sitting on a shelf above the bay window, covered in dust and, I’m positive, spiders. Every time someone suggests I go through them, I shiver and say I will as soon as they’ve all been run through the dryer or something.

The same thing happened to Drew. His room became an office, although his parents had to wait until we came back from New York and essentially stole all his bedroom furniture. But he and I are both in the same position of peeking into our childhood bedrooms and remembering them in a totally different way than they are now.

A few years ago, (after the my-bedroom transition but before the deck and hot tub,) my parents added a bathroom and walk-in closet onto their bedroom. Growing up it was always a point of contention/argument/self-righteousness (depending on one’s mood at the time) that our house only had one bathroom. But after the kids were out and it didn’t matter anymore, they fixed that. It’s good for resale, I guess, but I don’t even want to start thinking about that house being sold to strangers. It’s cool to see the addition, and cool that it happened, and surreal that there’s a whole add-on to the back of the house that wasn’t there when I was growing up.

I guess in a twisted way, that’s the room that is important to me. Because the addition, followed soon after by the deck and the hot tub, is something that I had no part in, I didn’t help at all with the planning, in fact I didn’t even have an idea something was up until it was already going down. And that just means that I definitely, unquestionably, 100% don’t live there anymore. The addition changed my childhood home in a way that putting in hardwood floors, moving the furniture around, and storing all the craft stuff on shelves in my old room does not.

Most of the time this doesn’t bother me too much. If my childhood home isn’t the same, well…neither am I, certainly. And it’s not like I want to stay in one place and never grow or change or move away.

But I’ve gotten so good at writing things down and journaling and documenting and taking photos – I wish I had been better at that at ages eight, ten, fourteen, eighteen. I wish I could remember more about all those summers spent at camp, or my 8th grade graduation dance, or some random trip my friends and I took to Cupertino my freshman year of college. (What the heck were we doing in Cupertino??) My memories of childhood are fuzzy. When I try to remember, I just end up picturing myself now, but like, wearing t-shirts with cat pictures and drawing with chalk pastels and making mix tapes.

On second thought, maybe the 90s are just not an inspiring time to keep constantly at the forefront of your mind. Maybe it’s good enough to know we made it through them unscathed.

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Filed under Being a girl, Children, Dreams, Endings, Family, Fashion, Home improvements, Humor, Love, Memoir, Nonfiction, Sentiment, Writing

Throwback Thursday: Poetry

I wrote this in May of 2003 for a friend who worked in a mall, and used to complain about it occasionally. (It was an Abercrombie, I think.) (The poem is written in blank verse.)

To Work In A Mall

How tepid a life, to work in a mall
To see the same overfed, overbred
crowd, lurching around vendors & candy
machines.  To stand in a doorway & spout
the same rubbish—  “Hey, how ya doin’?  If
I can help you with anything, just let
me know.  Stenciled Ts and flip-flops half off.”
How worthless to fold that same pair of shorts
eighteen times in one day (& you know they
are the same pair because of the crease in
the waistband) because people try them on,
Take them off, drop them on the thin carpet
for posterity—or you—to pick up.
How tiring to be manhandled and
questioned for eight hours a day about
the same things—FAQs—when all you want
is to go down the way to the Starbucks,
& ask them for the strongest drink they have.

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Out with the old, in with the new

I have a dilemma.

I’ll back up a bit. I was at Barnes & Noble the other day, and their 2014 planners were 50% off. I picked up a cute polka-dotted one, but then I stood there thinking, “When was the last time I even used my planner?”

I just pulled it out of my purse. It’s open to the week of October 28.

I love scheduling things and all, but scheduling is so much more straight-forward when you do the same things week after week. My planner was extremely useful when I was juggling three part-time jobs and making sure that I could get to all three of them, and also trying to coordinate seeing shows around the Bay Area. Now that I just go to the one job, and I don’t go out anymore, it’s a lot easier to keep straight in my head where I’m supposed to be. (Answer: work. If not work, then go home.)

Also, Drew and I had a wall calendar this year, which we actually used. And that makes more sense, since it’s accessible to both of us.

I guess my purse planner has been replaced by a combination of kitchen wall calendar and iPhone calendar…which I hate to admit, but there it is. The thing is, I can put appointments into my phone, and they’ll show up on my work calendar as well! Which is very helpful.

So, I guess I don’t have a dilemma, so much as I have a sad fact to face: 2014 is gonna be the first year in many years that I don’t bother buying a planner for myself.

Even though it was $4 at Barnes & Noble, and very cute. Did I mention it was covered in polka dots?

But I didn’t buy it. Instead, I bought the board book version of Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, which I later discovered Drew has never even heard of. So I think it was a good choice. (Chicka Chicka Boom Boom also has polka dots on the cover.)

Happy New Year! Let’s raise a glass to 2014 and to moving on, however (un)willingly we do so.

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Filed under Books, Endings, Fashion, Holidays, Humor, Memoir, Nonfiction, Not awesome, Sentiment, Technology

A 1-year-old is an unreliable wedding guest

A couple weeks ago, we took B to a wedding. A francy wedding.

(I meant fancy, but I accidentally typed francy, and I immediately fell in love with that new word I just created.)

This francy wedding took place at St. Dominic’s Catholic Church in San Francisco. Drew and I were a little nervous about the whole day, for the following reasons:

a. wedding of a medium-close family member who might not be forgiving of 1-year-old antics;
b. ceremony at 3pm, reception at 6pm across the city;
c. our particular 1-year-old doesn’t always behave well in francy situations;
d. also we have to dress up

As a bonus thing to worry about, our car situation meant we were taking my parents’ bug, which is stick, so I had to drive.

We left plenty of time to get ready, get everything in the car, and get to SF. We got there about 10 minutes before 3:00, which was perfect. We parked right outside the church, which was perfect. I hopped into the backseat to pull B out of his carseat…and was greeted by an absolutely remarkable smell.

We opened the trunk (do you realize how small a VW bug trunk is??) and laid him down in it, button down shirt and all, to change his diaper. It wasn’t until I had the diaper half off, and Drew was digging through the diaper bag looking for the wipes, that I remembered I had used up the last wipe and forgotten to put a new package in. There were some exclamations of dismay. I mean, we were on the side of the road, outside a francy church, dressed in our best, trying to change our squirmy child in a trunk, and we had no wipes.

Luckily we had pacifier wipes, so we survived.

We got everything put together and went inside. The church was beautiful. We sat down in the back row, on the outside aisle, ignoring the waves from Drew’s family to come up and sit with them. Through a mixture of mouthing and mime, he told them, “Our kid is going to lose it so we need to be able to slip out quickly.”

We were sitting down for about 4 minutes, and the family members were being escorted in, when B opened his mouth and let out a “Aawwwk?” And then his eyes got big and he looked around, as he realized what a great echo there was in here. I jumped up and tried to jiggle him to keep him occupied, but once he started squawking, there was no turning around. We saw the bride come in, and then I ended up taking him out to the narthex, where we walked back and forth for the entirety of the service. Sometimes we went outside.

But B was smack in the middle of wanting to walk everywhere but needing to hold hands, so I spent an hour alternating between being kind of hunched over, and tossing his 25 pounds into the air to make him laugh.

After the service, we had all this time to kill, and we thought if we drove around he might take a nap in the car seat. Well, we were wrong. So we drove all around San Francisco, went up to Twin Peaks and got gas, and got caught in the worst ever traffic on the way downtown to the financial district, where the reception was.

Despite being the most anxious about the reception, it was actually really lovely. As soon as we got to the table, one of the waitstaff came over and said, “Do you want a high chair?” and Drew and I were both like, “YOU HAVE HIGH CHAIRS??” Also, the first toast of the evening was by the bride’s father, and rather than being champagne, it was a tequila shot with cinnamon and orange. So good. B lasted for a really long time before he started melting down (like 9pm – like 2 hours after his usual bedtime) – although right at the moment when we decided it was time to get him out, they started other toasts, and then one of the bridesmaids gave like a 15-minute toast and were trapped on the side of the room opposite the door.

Anyway. B’s first wedding, and it was francy, and it was inside a Catholic church, and it was late at night. And he did great!

francy2

Blurry backwards camera!

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Filed under Awesome, Baby, Beauty, Being a girl, cars, Children, Dreams, Drew, Family, Fashion, Food, Humor, Love, Memoir, Nonfiction, Religion, Sentiment, Travel

Wash & Fold

I’ve been threatening to take some laundry to the Wash & Fold down the street for months now.

If you’re unfamiliar, a Wash & Fold is the real meat of a laundromat – you drop off your laundry and then pick it up again several hours later, and it’s all clean and folded and bagged for you. Drew used to do it in New York all the time – I’m talking gigantic bags of laundry. I never did it, but I think I was a little more regular about just using the laundry room in our building.

We don’t have laundry facilities in this building, and we typically take our stuff to Drew’s parents’ house and do a bunch of wash there if we’re hanging out. But these days, with the additional loads of baby clothes/supplies, it just seems to be piling up. I’ve gotten into a habit of skimming off the top layers from my laundry basket, like the stuff I actually wear regularly, and just washing that. Which means that layers of forgotten clothing and towels accumulate on the bottom of the basket.

True-Life Example: Sometime around the end of February, we finally sucked it up and did all our laundry that was sitting around. At that point, I found, at the very bottom of everything, the pajamas I wore for Christmas morning pictures. Yikes.

So. Today I was getting things done and taking names, and one of the things I decided to get done was to take the tier-3 laundry that was still in my closet, and drop it at the Wash & Fold.

The drop-off went okay. She didn’t put my name on it or anything, but I assumed it’d be okay. And she wrote down my name (maybe?) and my phone number. She told me to come back “later this afternoon.” I was pretty jazzed thinking that by the end of the day, all my clothes would be clean and I would have spent my time on work and other chores.

I went back this evening to pick it up, and a different woman told me it was twenty bucks. Cue exclamation points in my head, but then I guess that’s 16 pounds, and I’m not great with guessing weight, so I guess it might weigh 16 pounds. I tried to hand her my card but she just looked at me and said, “It’s cash only. Didn’t she tell you that?” Ugh, no she did not, and now I have to drive all the way to the ATM to get money because I really need these jeans for tomorrow.

When I got back, I was a little grouchy, mostly because I sensed that my side trip to get cash was going to cost me the parking place right in front of our building. I walked inside and attempted to find the same woman. She wandered over to the counter and asked me where I went to get cash. I was like, Seriously? Just give me my clothes. Then she told me I could have just gone to the ATM at Winters, a bar a few blocks away. Now, I have a thing where I really want to use Bank of America ATMs, since that’s my bank and my card, and it’s not like I had to drive 10 miles to find one or anything.

So, I got my stuff and I got home and I had to get another, slightly farther away parking spot, but it’s still all okay.

But driving home it occurred to me: the Wash & Fold is not for me. And I should have known that. For two reasons:

1) I don’t like other people washing my clothes. Like, I generally avoid letting Drew do my laundry. I just don’t really like the idea of someone else touching my dirty clothes. And,
2) I kind of have a method of folding that I prefer. And it’s not like it’s great folding, or anything, but it fits with the way the rest of my stuff is folded, so I like it.

So goodbye, Wash & Fold. We probably won’t do business together anymore.

I was so proud of myself this morning. I guess pride do goeth before a fall.

16.5! I guess they weren't swindling me after all.

16.5! I guess they weren’t swindling me after all.

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Filed under "Other people", Fashion, Humor, Memoir, Not awesome

Isn’t it neat?

The other night the three of us were driving back from Lodi and listening to a CD I found in my CD case with no label, no name, and no track list. It could have been anything.

What it ended up being was a pretty good mix of the kind of classics that most people are sure to know: American Pie, Manic Monday, For the Longest Time, Fast Car, Tom’s Diner, etc. A pleasant surprise…a lot of those unlabeled CDs end up being much worse.

Then Part of Your World came on (yes, definitely the best mix ever) and I remembered, as I always do, a Disney trip with my family when I was in…late middle school? Early high school? I was in a big Little Mermaid phase, and I wanted to wait in line to take a picture with Ariel. (I’m already embarrassed about telling this story.)

I was in line, up next, and watching Ariel interact with the little girl ahead of me. She said, “Okay, now smile at the – what do you call it? – photographer!” and I thought that was so sweet. She was made of big arm gestures and smiles and hair flips.

When I got up there though, she was all business in a bad wig. She smiled for the picture but where was all the cutesy stuff? That’s okay, it would have been worse to be patronized. But the photo that came of it – awkward 13-ish-year-old me in a t-shirt and shorts and sandals with socks (oh man, I sat just now and debated including that, but you know, the truth will out) – is all the more embarrassing because of the big gap between the two of us.

Every so often, that photo resurfaces in my “stuff from the past,” and each time I debate throwing it out. Seriously, I don’t know if I need to say this again, but it is a really embarrassing picture. There is no possible reason I could ever want to show it to anyone, or look at it myself. But I just haven’t gotten around to getting rid of it. Maybe someone can tell me why.

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Filed under Being a girl, Family, Fashion, Humor, Memoir, Nonfiction, Not awesome