september, 2006

Sat, 2 Sep 2006 09:57:38 -0700

Though it's Saturday, and there were Goat-and-company festivities chez Karina last night, which meant I'd planned to sleep until 9ish and only then get up for yoga, I awoke two hours before my alarm was even thinking about going off, from a nightmare taken directly from the news. "Involuntarily empathetic," Shane called me when I told him of it; while he's right that reading the paper can disturb my dreams (and his explanation also covers my aversion to violent movies), I think it's also that I'm just more susceptible to it with him on the opposite coast.

I've temporarily replaced Gabe's Icelandic black-and-white-scape with the picture of Shane & me in front of the Calder as my PowerBook's background image, visible through transparent terminals. I want the reminder that New York (really, him in it) is only three hours' time zones, and one plane flight, away. I am having a hard time, as he predicted, having my head in [my new love] one place (this magical city) and my heart in [my newer] another.

But off with me, now, to yoga, after the exertions of which this morning's unwarranted angst will hopefully fade, just like today's September fog will burn off with the afternoon sun.

* * *

Post-yoga: As we struggled and sweated this morning, Les told us: "Seek out the challenge; avoid the suffering. There's a subtle difference." Ah, yes -- yoga is good for metaphors, as well as mind-clearing endorphins.

Sun, 10 Sep 2006 23:19:03 -0700

My eyes are again clouded with salt, or were, before I took out my contacts this evening. My worries of the past week or two proved to be not ill-founded -- I thought for a while it was hormonal, then craziness; but no, it was in fact me picking up on the telltale early signs of the dissolution of something I've now thrown myself into one too many times. This afternoon, I confirmed it ("is everything okay?" -- and it was not); this evening, the fog and the sunlight of this "frontier town" (his words; Jaime, currently in fullblown culture shock coming from the cosmopolitan London, seconded the phrase) glinted fuzzily off the clinquant streetcar tracks going up the hill on California, as Jaime, her new phone, and I walked up to dinner in North Beach, at which the ever-flirtatious Italian waiter solicitously placed a hand on my shoulder and asked (referring to the pasta, of course) "tutto bene?" And I looked back into his eyes and thought about how to say in Italian no, my boyfriend and I broke up today, my heart is cracking along old fault lines, and if you could just top off this wine glass and sit down I'll tell you about it, but all I could think of was the unconvincing lie "tutto bene, grazie" and so he never knew. Walking to and from a cheer-Nori-up movie at the Metreon, a cloud came over my vision, thick as the fog coursing around the middle of the Transamerica Pyramid, and as blinding.

My heart calcifies the more my eyes salinify. It must. Because how can I do this again? How can this wholehearted approach gain me anything? It appears to just get me in too deep, too fast, and to make what has to date been the inevitable end that much more painful. At least this one was short (and yes, sweet) -- and, like they've all (three) been, honest.

But that doesn't save me from thinking that something must change. Three is either the charm or the undoing; whereas two may have been circumstantial, three points are enough data from which to generalize; three is telling. Three makes me mad, and will probably make me cautious. I don't know how else to approach this. I have no sense of how to protect my heart in its matters, nor have I wanted to gain one. "In order to gain balance you must lose it," philosophized yogi Les at my usual Saturday-morning class through which Jaime snickered a few days ago -- but for how long? This fever pitch of intensity is my hallmark; it appears that to continue it would be to wantonly expose myself to needless hurt. I feel jilted and jaded -- not just out of something I had been lulled into thinking might this time last, but out of a zest, a vim.

I hope I'm wrong. But I don't know how I can be. And I don't know how to not set myself up for this.

Mon, 18 Sep 2006 21:00:03 -0700

Last week, I will readily admit, was kind of shitty. Sunday sucked; Wednesday, I found out that my hopeful sojourn to India for the forth quarter isn't happening as planned (just postponed until Q1, but still!); while Thursday ended in a fit of optimism following partying with Sean, his fellow chefs, and their Mission-slacker drink of Fernet, yesterday reconfirmed that, if there are Pacific fish to snack on, they're not biting yet (this vegan plants her tongue in her cheek and dons her "Bacon is a vegetable" T-shirt). Damn it all.

But I am resilient, and I know what makes me happy. Sunday I was back at it, at Zeitgeist with the same set of rabble-rousing culinary geniuses (from whom I extracted drunken promises of vegan fare at the workplace cafés), drinking more Fernet, even more beer, and pushing my luck. "@Zeitgeist ! Cafe 150 chefs getting in the mood for Hangover Menu Monday" read my dodgeball that made [Googler] Shane (L.) text back in jealousy from an evening at the New York office.

And Monday morning, there they were: Maybe it was the mythological restorative properties of the Fernet, or maybe their livers are just used to taking a beating, but those chefs served up a menu that, despite being mostly non-vegan, included at least Leesa's sans-dairy biscuits (no one's taking them!" she complained; I made her a sign that said "CRAXY DELICIOUS" with arrows going towards the pan, to encourage timid Googlers to try them). From there, I walked a block to the new Pintxo, at which Will had sworn I would be able to eat. And he wasn't lying: There, he was serving up tiny double-shot glasses of pineapple-cucumber-coconut gazpacho; pears and white asparagus; vegan paella. The small gelatinous yellow thing on top of the pretty paella plate made me suspicious until I put it into my mouth and nearly melted -- Shuna had said, when she taught us the trick to the tedious labor of peeling cherry tomatoes, that if anyone ever did that for us, it meant they really loved us. As the unexpected purity of the skinless garnish washed over my palate, I was reminded of how damned lucky I am to not only be working at the coolest company ever, but with chefs who will peel me cherry tomatoes.

"You look happy," commented Roxane broadly later in the meal. I looked up, surprised, reflecting on the crappiness of my previous week. But then I recalled that I was an hour and a half into a swoon-worthy café-hopping at work, that Leesa had promised to make me a vegan chocolate cake for my birthday, which is coming up on Wednesday, and I stopped being shocked that I should be radiating. I have reasons to be happy.

Mon, 25 Sep 2006 08:55:16 -0700

"What's the opposite of an apertif?" asks Mike on Saturday night, having arrived in a three-piece suit and bearing a martini kit, ready to make same, even if we can't name it. But this week, I can: "digestif," I quickly reply, and as Mike and Ajay raise their eyebrows ("Look at you with the French!"), I explain my recent acquaintance with Fernet, a drink which is exactly that; a glass of which I had post-operatic-press-room-champagne (Karina of the box office had tricked out the VIP alcove with banners, decorated flutes, and vegan cookies; Joanne, Blake, Jaime and I pranced around same in our new finery, eating tofu burritos and rushing back to our row-H seats just before curtain of the second act of Un Ballo in Maschera, everyone else's first Verdi) at Absinthe; the bartender who brought me the tiny glass of it proclaimed, in response to my having ordered it, "I love you" (and it was then that I knew I had joined an underground SF cult). This, certainly, is why the word is on the tip of my tongue; but as I explain it away, I get cautioned not to diminish my vocabulary -- which, I embarassingly realized, I'd been doing. Oops.

I haven't had a weekend like this one in a while: Not only did it start early -- despite two well-intentioned, end-of-quarter days put in lateish on Monday and Tuesday nights, I left early for my birthday opera on Wednesday, and then again for a team dinner the next night, fluid with Greco di Tufo and the storied Barolo and Brunello ("the Bach and Brahms [respectively] of wine," McInerney called them; I ordered bottles for the table of appreciative engineers) -- but Friday, Derek and I again profited from an unmet coworker's extra concert tickets, and, stopping only briefly at his house to meet his roommate and eat half a cookie, BARTed across the bay to the Greek just in time to see Massive Attack. The trip-hop, the Berkeley hippies, and the light show were all so very high school, had that been my scene then; as it was, Derek and I soaked up the sound, surrounded by a crowd two-thirds our age.

For the first time in recent memory, I didn't set my alarm on Saturday, opting rather to sleep off the remaining buzz. Jaime and I didn't start baking until late in the afternoon, but nevertheless threw down, turning out four cakes and pies in the space of a scant three hours (as usual, the chocolate Guinness and carrot cakes were the two winners; Eric (C.) swore that, with them, I'd successfully wooed him twice in one hour). People showed up in finery -- my "black tie" instructions were more or less honored; cufflinks even made an appearance -- having not read the Evite, Nick even went home to change.

And Sunday, waking up as if in college at 1:15, too late for an Herbivore brunch, Jaime, Andrea, and I ignored the accumulated mess on the counters (Ojan's robot had already sweetly vacuumed, even though I had to rescue it, like a trapped puppy (albeit one that didn't bite), from under his bed when it got stuck) and walked up to a brunch off Haight: spicy tofu vegan sausages (mango chutney!) from Rosamunde consumed on a trattoria table with coffee and soy milk was all I wanted until 4 o'clock or so. (God love the Haight.) Dishwashering the million champagne flutes and layer-cake pans later that evening, I reflected that the weekend -- week, really -- had been one long birthday celebration, from Leesa's vegan chocolate birthday cake at Café 150 on Wednesday afternoon through the Roomba's gift of floor-cleaning and a hazy, slow, windy Sunday in Duboce Triangle. And a very SF-affirming one, at that -- I've said before that I'm never leaving, but the more friends provide me with free opera tickets for my birthday, the less distance I must venture from my door to obtain vegan delights, the more I become ensconced in my city. Here's to many more birthdays in SF.

all this Šnori heikkinen, September 2006

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