Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Not a fan.

While browsing startups started-up by women (a totally legitimate work activity), I got sucked into the hot-pink black hole of PopSugar. Not that I'm into celebrity stalking, but I allow myself rare schadenfreude when I see the rich and famous looking lousy. I don't really know who Mischa Barton is, nor can I wear current high-waisted trends myself, but there's no excuse for this drab, lumpy, thigh-accentuating, stringy-hair look. Eesch.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Sadly, no one wore a Christmas sweater.

I was lucky to leave work early, and saw Brian, just leaving for work, when I stopped at home on my way downtown. Seeing him for a few minutes was better than nothing. Then I was only home long enough to make the bad decision of changing into more attractive, less comfortable shoes before running to catch the bus.

Downtown was still teeming, the festive consumerism of Black Friday turned to the last desperate pre-Xmas push -- fewer Sales Associates, longer lines, more wearied faces. Fortunately, I only needed a couple specific things: hip little zebra-stripe arm warmers for Caitie and an apron for her cooking-enthusist roommate who'll spend Christmas with us. Unfortunately, the heels started to hurt a few feet from the front door.

I'd also forgotten this week's tunnel-closure bus trouble, and waited half an hour for a 70-something bus to take me to dinner at Pomodoro with friends. To add to the excitement, some teenager was singing along to his iPod R&B next to me. At the peak of my frustration, Andrea called from a bus stop a few blocks away. While strategizing (it was now dinner-reservation time and we were still far from the table), I spotted a 71.

Pomodoro was noisey but nicely lit, and a bottle of wine already on the table. They neglected to tell us until Andrea asked about our food (an hour after we ordered) that they were short a chef. Nonetheless, everything was delicious. Paella was maybe a bit too much shellfish for me, but I would've regretted not trying. Portions and presentation were inconsistant -- Austin and Sarah's gorgonzola chicken was an outdated abstraction with bite-sized balls of mashed potato lined neatly next to a strip of chicken and then a slice of squash topped with two asparagus and a zigzag of some sauce. Lysondra had a huge pile of linguini, and Kirsten and Andrea had easily half as much tortellini -- the latter very upset they'd charged a dollar to replace her shrimp with mushy squash. At some point there was a heated argument over whether pomodoro meant apple of the earth, resolved via iPhone.

A bar seemed appropriate, but not everyone had ID, so someone (not me) invited everyone to my place for Rock Band. I hurried to clean, Buster stole the spotlight, and we played till shortly after Brian came home. It's great when guests stay exactly till you're tired of them. (Once I sctually fell asleep on the couch while Sarah and Erin watched seemingly-endless episodes of Seinfeld.)


Today at 2:30 we venture into the holiday family marathon. An afternoon in Issaquah with Brian's people -- he warned there may be singing, and from the very-surprising mention of a keg in the invitation, I imagine it's inevitable. Then Sunday a trip to grandparents' on Vashon, from where I'll go straight to Darrington — a day sooner than planned, meaning instead of a long weekend I get a three days with mom and Tony, most of them confined to a log house in the snowy almost-mountains. It's only picturesque from a distance. Inside, I predict What-Not-To-Wear marathons, loads of knitting, and explaining again what my job is and that it is actually a paid position to my step-dad. But there will be at least one Christmas sweater.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Feet firmly planted in winter, thanks.

I stopped by the Banana Republic site today, browsing for fancy dresses for a possible fancy New Year's Eve party at Melissa's (fancy), and was distraught to see Spring clothes already on preview.

Spring fashion week coverage may perk up a couple dreary Autumn afternoons, but I do not want to shop for floral print picnic-y dresses while it's pouring. Beyond being unable to plan what I want to wear six months from now, it's confusing to consider espadrilles and New Years dresses in the same shopping trip.

And so I went to the still-festive Anthropologie. Of course, this plum dress I love is on sale because it's autumny but has probably been around since August -- while me reason still balks at spring clothes pre-Christmas, my consumerism hopes they put it out now so it's all on sale by the time I'm interested.

4 1/2 minutes over and over

What does The Killer's Bones remind me of? Muse? Remy Zero? That one band that had the song about dancing? It sounds so familiar, and even though I've mostly given up on anything non-Christmas and non-jazz outside the gym, I can't stop listening to it. Can't stop. I think it will take over my day. (Video I'm not so sure of ... wacky skeletons kind of kill the mood.)

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Longest day ever at work yesterday, with very little excitement and only one very short appointment. The highlight was a thrilling walk to the IMA to sign up for a 7 am cycling class
(apparently "Spinning" is a registered name under some company). As fun as aerobics was, I'm afraid a second round might burn me out. And I'll do pretty much anything to avoid the smelly men. I'm hoping that if there are any in cycling, I can strategically place myself across the room, and the stationary bike will keep my from dancing through their cloud of stench.

Then bowling with work people, complete with weak drinks and two more babies than I usually see Friday nights (usual is zero). Not entirely convinced I want to spend years force-feeding a toddler salmon bites while s/he smears yogurt in her/his hair, but I feel increasingly less appalled at the idea.

We left for more drinks, homemade (out of a tub) hot buttered rum, chex mix, cookies. Fewer babies, more talk about sex. Don't remember the profound statements -- it was all a little muddled last night and certainly more in memory, but the same basic generalizing arguments about gender, power, and lust. I must say, I'm more apt to believe women don't so much become more emotionally involved after sex, but that they feel obligated to justify giving it up by making themselves emotionally involved with the guy. Not that prior emotions might not become amplified sometimes, but I'd be happier with women's culture if it allowed us the option of not loving everyone we make out with.

Off to SAM, then hopefully lovely dinner somewhere. I'm feeling scallop-y.

Monday, December 10, 2007

So I went for my first facial Saturday morning - very lovely and awkward at the same time, wearing a towel in a little room while a woman about my age examined my skin. I can't really say what it entailed, it was all very dark and quiet and I had my eyes closed/covered with daqmp sheets of something. But lots of scrubing and many warm towels later, I looked a bit shiny but quite fresh. Went downtown sans makeup -- just stopped in Macy's to put of mascara. I don't care how great your skin is, no one looks good without eyelashes.

I read Faking Good Breeding's commentaries on how power structures play out in salons, and while I've felt the same uneasiness paying someone to trim my toenails, I've equally felt uncomfortable with the idea of not patronizing a salon out of white guilt/pity/personal insecurities with my place in society. I don't think denying a salon my business shows any particular respect for the skilled people who work there -- it just denies that I'm part of the power structure within which the salon exists.

I think I further questioned my exact role in this hegemony the first time I had a pedicure from a white girl about my age who'd been to college. There was nothing particularly different about our backgrounds or our current life situations, I imagine we made roughly the same amount of money. So what was the power structure? Was it any more worrisome than when students come in to get information from me as an adviser?

I do wonder if part of the motivation for women to pay for expensive salons is that these places generally feature mostly young, white, attractive, non-immigrant staff -- we avoid most racial and political elements, the power structure is less apparent. Essentially, by paying $50 for a mani/pedi instead of $30, we get to deny we;re part of the hegemony without denying ourselves luxury.

I also noticed that during the facial and whenever I get my hair done, I think maybe I could be doing the job, think I'd probably enjoy it. I've never wondered this at a cheap nail salon with a language barrier between me and my pedicurist.


Sunday we had 13 (!) people over for fancy Rock Band and fondu party. The music was loud and everyone played, the rum balls were popular, and although the fondue was too high-maintenance people seemed to enjoy -- and I didn't really have to cook, just enlist cheese shredders. We managed to not annoy the neighbors or light the dining room table on fire with the fondue pot's chemical-gel fire pot thing. Success!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Had the best very long day with many friends. yesterday. Noonish, I went to the expensive knitting store with Melissa and we picked out a hat pattern to start together. I chose a very pretty warm grey yarn, spending $40 on teeny needles and everything else for this one little project. Knitting threatens to be an expensive hobby ...

But later, it felt totally worth it to step out of the apartment in my own handmade scarf, into a light flurry of the Seattle's first snow. A few degrees warmer, and I'd have been soggy and disgruntled at the bus stop, but the snow made waiting on a chilly wet streetcorner totally lovely.

Downtown, all Christmas-lit, I spent three hours wandering around deserted SAM galleries. I know nothing about the current Special Exhibition, so I was entirely useless to the few people who actually had questions. Fortunately, I put in my notice and will have Saturdays back in January. Right at five, I grabbed my things from coat check and went to Nordstrom to look for shoes while Sara and Lysondra escaped snowy Issaquah and picked up Erin and Andrea. (No luck anywhere, I'm seriously afraid black, pointy-toed flats are gone forever.)

We ate quickly, then saw The Cook at the Seattle Rep -- made me wonder why Brian and I have been going to ACT. It was wonderful, complex and interesting and very human. It didn't have an obvious agenda or fall into predictable emotions. The acting was great. Also, two great intermission drinks: a peppermint schnapps and Bailey's coffee, and something with rum and mint. Andrea was very excited about martini glasses (will remember to reserve her one for our party next weekend). The woman next to Lysondra was wearing a traditional Indian tablecloth as a skirt. And, as seems to happen everytime I'm in an audience with Sarah, some woman behind us was vocalizing every emotion, especially at inappropriate moments.

Then to Bricco on Queen Anne for wine, a fantastic salad (I never realized some walnuts are far superior to others), and excellent fancy cheeses. Lysondra had orzo-stuffed tomatoes that I want to go back for right now. It was very nice, not too pricey for the quality, nice staff and good ambiance. Very small, though, so I think late is probably a good option.

Then Starbucks at U Village, for tea and coffee and very detailed discussion of American Girl dolls, The Babysitters Club, and other elementary school-era culture. Sarah confirmed my most eager 9-year-old wishes by saying I was "very Mary Anne." And, apparently, while I grew up thinking I was missing countless opportunities for important fun, I actually had pretty much everything other girls my age did -- an addiction to cliched novels and the best American Girl doll, Samantha Parkington. Looking over this girl's outfits now, I can't believe I thought she was a boring one -- she has a plaid cape and white fur accessories! Fabulous!