Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Baby Halloween Costumes

There was a time in my life (oh about 2 or 3 years ago) when I knew a lot of babies.  And they looked SO DANG CUTE in their baby costumes.  But now I know a lot of toddlers, and as you are probably quite aware, toddlers have strong opinions about their costumes.  So now, instead of wearing adorable/hilarious costumes determined by adults, they are the princesses and superheroes that they insist upon being.  Which is important for them, but less exciting for people like me who appreciate slightly deviant, wacky costumes.  Even for babies.  Here are some of the cutest baby costumes I could find on Pinterest:

Source: via Yvonne on Pinterest

Source: via Michele on Pinterest

Source: via Miyoung on Pinterest

Source: via Claire on Pinterest

Happy Halloween, everyone!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

WTF is Wrong with This Picture?!

I was browsing Nordstrom women's sweaters today on my "lunch" break.  I put no restrictions on my search (for size, color, price, etc.).  This popped up and caught my eye . . . not because the turtleneck is cute (cause it ain't), but because I happened to see the word PLUS underneath the picture.  This is plus-sized, ladies.  Don't believe me?  Pic found here.

I am shocked & appalled.  We are calling women who look like this "plus sized?"  No wonder American women have such severe body image issues!  Honestly, I don't think "plus sized" should even be a thing . . . why can't clothes just come in a variety of sizes without being relegated to a PLUS section?  Shop for clothes with a side of stigma!  But if it is gonna be a thing, then it damn sure shouldn't look like this.  This sends a very clear message to women who are the same size or bigger than the woman above: YOU ARE PLUS SIZED.  YOU ARE OUTSIDE THE RANGE WE DEEM "NORMAL."

In what deluded world is that woman outside the range of sizes most clothing stores sell?  Sickening.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Halloween Costumes

Right now, San Francisco is aflame (um, literally) with pride as it celebrates the Giants winning the World Series for the second time in three years.  It's so exciting to watch the city erupt with joy!  Looks like there are two reasons to be sporting orange & black in SF this week. :)

Speaking of which, did everyone go to Halloween parties this weekend?  Matt and I did on Saturday night, and I was pretty proud of our last-minute literary costumes:

We spent $10 on Matt's and 44 cents on mine :)

Pretty sure my high school English teacher will be proud. :)

My friend Jesus dressed up as a giant taco, and every time someone asked him a question, he'd say "I don't wanna taco-bout it."  HA!  After a few drinks, that shit is HILARIOUS!  What's the best costume you've seen so far this year?

Since we went all out Saturday night, our plan is to stay home and watch scary movies on Halloween itself.  So here's my annual call for scariest movie ever: is there a movie that freaked you out so badly you couldn't sleep at night?  Cause I need to see it.  I'm really hard to scare (when it comes to movies) and anything with zombies/supernatural stuff makes me laugh.  Two years ago, I watched The Strangers (based on facebook recommendations), and while it made me gasp a couple times, it didn't shake me to my core.  Last year, Matt and I watched Paranormal Activity and literally LOL'ed our way through it.  Three-toed demons do not frighten me in the slightest.  This year, I'm thinking of going with a reliable classic such as Cape Fear (the only movie I can remember being terrifying), but if you have any suggestions for spine-chilling movies, send 'em my way!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Ann Coulter: The Joke's on Her?

Just when you think Ann Coulter can no longer shock you, she up and calls Obama a "retard" on twitter.

You've all heard about this by now, I'm sure.  When I first got wind of her most recent antics, I cringed, but I wasn't shocked.  She's been doing this for years: spewing hate in attempt to get the media's attention.  And damned if it doesn't work every time.

Here's what I'm left pondering: is she serious?  How much of what she says is actually what she believes in her heart of hearts, and how much of it is just to maintain her cartoonish image?  Either way, she made a very conscious choice on Monday night when she referred to our president as a "retard."  If she was in character, so to speak, she still chose to make a move that was harmful and hurtful to an entire community of people.  

She is a smart woman.  She went to Cornell and then to law school.  She has a deep understanding of politics--I am sure--and yet, she behaves like an imbecile.  I wonder if someone will fund me to go undercover and worm my way into her inner circle so that I can discover the truth: Is Ann Coulter a living, breathing, embodiment of hate and oppression, or is she doing this all for a good laugh?

Regardless, it isn't funny.  

Did you see this open letter to Ann Coulter written by Special Olympian John Franklin Stephens?  Pretty f'in impressive if you ask me.

I'm not above ALL name-calling.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Do you love where you live?

Sometimes, it's easy to miss the magic of your own city.  I think I did this to some degree when I lived in New Orleans.  I catch myself taking the Bay Area for granted, sometimes, as well . . . and then someone comes to visit, and I show them the sights, and I rediscover all the beauty that is here.

On Monday, I had a fall-in-love-with-San-Francisco day all on my own.  Our office is in the hipster-chic Mission District, where my colleagues and I had a ridiculously good lunch at tacolicious.  We split butternut squash & poblano pepper tacos, plantains, and a raw kale salad.  I was happy as a clam.  After lunch, I left the office to head all the way across the city to drop some books off at an office in the Presidio.  At first, I grumbled about having to drive clear across SF . . . but I quickly got over my frustration when I realized what a gorgeous day it was.  Here are some pictures I snapped (with my iphone and with no filter): 

taken at West Beach, Crissy Field

view of SF houses from the Presidio

it's always pretty where the rich people live ;)

lookin out over Alcatraz (and the Pacific Ocean)

When I got home, I was sort of giddy.  The weather was impeccable, the sky was clear and blue, and my love for San Francisco had been reinvigorated.  We complain about sky-high rents, $6 toll bridges, gas prices in California, etc. etc. . . but ultimately, it is worth it.  It's so worth it.  Just look.

Not to mention, the World Series commences in our very own city at 5 pm Pacific time, tonight!  

Do you love where you live?

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Your LOL for the Day

Got this text from my mama this morning at 6 am.  Unfortunately, I had to tell her that I am currently persona non grata at the prison, at least until the dispute between me and the guard at the East Gate is resolved.  In any case, here's a little comic relief for the situation:

Heehee. ;)  Happy Tuesday!

Friday, October 19, 2012

A List of Miscellany

On Tuesday, my colleague and I had a meeting with a man from a partnering agency who seemed to know everything.  I've happened upon him a few different times in the past couple of years, at conferences and what not, and I'm always stunned by his intelligence and the sheer amount of information floating around in its head.  I mean, I'd ask about something we were talking about, and he'd say, Oh, watch so-and-so's documentary series about the Holocaust, episode 3.  Or, there was an article in the LA Times about this very issue--I'll send you the link.  It's incredible.

But then a woman walked into the coffee shop and greeted him like an old friend, and he couldn't remember her name.  It was as if he'd used up all his head space on more important things, or something . . . in any case, all this is to say that I feel like this week has left me without much headspace.  So here's a list of miscellany for you this Friday:

1. Tonight, Matt and I watched Drive.  Have you seen it?  Someone had recommended it to me (but my crowded brain won't let me remember who--who among you asked me if I'd seen it??), and given that it stars Ryan Gosling, I jumped on that train quick.  It was incredibly gory--like excessively so, I'd say--but otherwise, a really good movie.  And the main character looks like this:

So there's that.

2.  I'm feeling a bit anxious about the end of campaign season.  We only get presidential debates every four years, and I eat it up.  I love the news stories, the gaffes, the poll peaks and dips . . . all of it.  And while there's a big part of me that's excited for November 6th, I know that the next day will feel like the day after Christmas . . . times four.  

3. I got to book a work trip to Vegas for next month, and Lord knows I'm psyched about getting to hang out & cause destruction with this girl:

I'm also excited for the National Council of Teachers of English Conference, of course. ;) Despite my opposition to their use of the same preposition on either side of a word.  Pet peeve, folks.

4.  I was IMing with my sister and my brother-in-law at the same time today, and with their chat windows side-by-side, I couldn't help but giggle at their avatars:

huge dog looking straight ahead // huge dog in profile

5. Okay it's 2 am, and I have to leave here at 7:30 am tomorrow, so I need to go the F to sleep.  If only I were as sleepy at night as I am in the mornings!  The curse of the insomniac.  

Happy Friday, everyone!  

Oh, and thank you all so much for your incredible support on this post.  It helped me so much!  I intend to reply back to each of you, and although I'm a little behind, don't think your words of encouragement didn't mean the world to me!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

What's been going down in my kitchen

Lately I've been a little pin-obsessed, which is actually okay since I've made some incredibly delicious dinners (and, uh, pumpkin chocolate chip bread . . . twice).  The best part about these recipes is that they were all SO EASY.

This was basically the easiest thing I've ever made.  I browned some soy meat (for protein) with a small onion, and then added it to the crockpot with a jar of spaghetti sauce, a pack of linguini, various cheese,  a few spices, and then another jar of spaghetti sauce.  That's it.  SO EASY SO GOOD.

The only redeeming thing I can say about this is that I used nonfat Greek yogurt instead of sour cream. But damn is it delish.

This was relatively simple to put together, incredibly yummy, and mostly healthy.  It's going in permanent rotation!  Seriously tastes like hashbrown casserole . . . spaghetti squash is magic, I tell you.  Magic.

This one took about 3 minutes of prep: cut red potatoes into big chunks, loosely chop a head of cabbage into equally big chunks, and throw into the crockpot with olive oil, plenty of balsamic vinegar, and spices.  It was simple, nutritious, and had a great flavor.

I made this beauty last night and was so happy with how it turned out!  This is another one that took all of 5 minutes to put together.  I used a bag of frozen Quorn "chicken" instead of real meat, mixed it with a bag of frozen veggies, two cans of cream of celery soup, and some spices.  Bake that mixture for 20 minutes (covered in foil), add canned biscuits to the top, and bake for another 20 minutes (uncovered).  Such great comfort food, and other than the biscuits, it's not bad for you! ;)

If you have recipe boards on Pinterest, please share with me!  Mine is here if you want to check it out.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Inappropriate Outfit?

Last night I got into a screaming match with a prison guard.

I've been a volunteer teacher at San Quentin State Prison for about nine years (I started a couple days after I turned 22).  Naturally, I'm extremely familiar with the "dress code"--no denim, no open-toed shoes, nothing sleeveless, no orange, etc. etc.  I've never been turned away from the prison for what I was wearing . . . until tonight.

Each Monday night, I have to face an extremely rude prison guard at the East Gate, where I enter the prison.  He inspects my license (even though he has seen me for years & years), grunts, and hands me my prison identification card.  My theories:

1. He is sexist.
2. He is miserable.
3. He hates volunteers and teachers because he figures we're all convict sympathizers.

In any case, tonight, when I stepped out of my car, he barked, "What are you wearing?  You can't wear that!"  I looked genuinely confused, as I was dressed conservatively.  He mumbled something about my "tights," said, "Don't wear it again," and shuffled off to retrieve my prison ID.

But I had questions.  Because this is what I was wearing (I stopped at Target on the way home for two reasons--to buy wine and to take this picture, so that I could send it to the powers that be at the prison):

super slutty, right??

So I said, "Officer ****, I don't understand--" and he cut me off and yelled, "YOU DON'T NEED TO UNDERSTAND!"  And yet, I did need to understand, because I come in every week, and I can't afford to be sent home each Monday.  I spend an hour commuting and a $5 toll to volunteer.  We started a brand new quarter last week, and I had lots of new students . . . now, they're going to think I just decided not to show up for class tonight.  I was enraged.

After I challenged him, he told me that I couldn't teach my class.  Said, "You're not coming in tonight.  Go home.  BYE."  Obviously, this infuriated me, and I told him he was being an asshole and leveraging his power inappropriately, and that I was going to contact the warden immediately.  We shouted at each other for a few heated seconds before I sped off in a fit of rage.

Almost nothing angers me more than abuse of power.  You better believe I fired off an email to a few folks at the prison right away, with this picture attached.  

Have you ever been disrespected this way?  If so, enlighten me: how do you deal with it without losing your shit?  My temper is my Achilles heel.  I've got to learn to deal with injustice without going all savage on people.  Cause even though he deserved it (and he damn sure deserved it), it didn't really get me anywhere.

Any funny news, jokes, or links would be especially appreciated today.  Sigh.

Monday, October 15, 2012

A Busy, Halloweeny Weekend

This past weekend was one of those busy-to-the-brim ones, but luckily, it was all fun stuff!  It's finally been cooling down in northern California (not that it's been super hot . . . it's just starting to feel a little more like Fall), so it was the perfect time to embrace Halloween season & spend some time in the brisk outdoors.

But before we went outdoors, we spent Friday night decidedly indoors watching Scott Derrickson's new movie, Sinister, which Matt's been wanting to see (his earlier film, The Exorcism of Emily Rose, is one of the few that has legitimately scared Matt).  Despite my anxious proclivities, I'm actually pretty hard to scare when it comes to movies . . . and this one spooked me.  And I was genuinely interested in the plot and characters, which was a plus.  And Ethan Hawke is cute, so there's that.  In any case, if you're looking for a scary movie for Halloween, try Sinister--I actually liked it, and I'm not even a movie person!

On Saturday, we took Jasper to the pumpkin patch. I "embarrassed" Jasper (his word--heehee) by rockin' a flashy pumpkin headband.  Hey, go hard or go home, kid.

clockwise L to R: me & my pumpkin, father & son carving jack-o-lanterns, our finished products, Matt needing to learn to keep his eyes open for pics when it's sunny out

On Saturday night, Matt and I went here to see my lovely Diana read her poems as a part of LitCrawl, the annual literary pub, etc. crawl on the concluding night of San Francisco's Litquake Festival (there are more than 85 venues on this one night).  It was CRAZY in the Mission, let me tell you!  And yet I found a stellar parking spot, heard my girl read poems that we'd workshopped together, and had a romantic dinner with my man at Luna Park (I had a groupon--$25 for $55 of food & drink!).  

I don't even have the words for that dessert right there on the bottom right.  It involved a decadent brownie and butter something ice cream and peanut brittle and salted caramel sauce.  HOLY MOTHER it was good.  My tummy hurt after such a rich (and caloric) meal, but it was worth it.

We took it easy on Sunday--slept in, made coffee, did a little work, took a walk around the neighborhood, went to the local produce market, had some pumpkin ales, made dinner, watched bad tv. It was so nice to have a mellow day together after a really busy Friday & Saturday. 

What were you up to this weekend?  Hope everyone's Monday is as painless as possible!

link up here!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Running into an Ex

On Tuesday, while out and about, I stopped at a little shopping center in my neighborhood to get a sandwich at the deli.  It should be noted that I'm in this shopping center all the time.  It's about 6 blocks from my house, and is home to my favorite coffee shop, the closest drugstore, and a post office.  And a legendary Italian deli that happens to have an incredible veggie sandwich on a wheat roll.

I was tired, headachy, and it was the first full day of my period (thus the sudden and pressing need for a deli sandwich).  The deli tends to be crowded--it really is that good--so I was crossing my fingers that the line wouldn't be too bad, given that it was a little after 2 pm.  I parked my car, got out, and started walking toward the deli, when I saw my ex walking out of it, toward the drugstore at the end of the shopping center.

So I did what any mature 31 year old would do: I pivoted in the middle of the parking lot, walked right back to my car, and drove home.  ;)

In that moment, I knew I had exactly two choices: to say eh, not today and scram (like I did), or to walk up to him, give him an inevitably awkward hug, exchange some small talk about the past six years, smile a lot, and likely conclude with something like "sure, let's be in touch!"  Remember that scene from Sex and the City (season 6, episode 1) when Carrie runs into Aidan and his baby in front of the furniture store?  They have a friendly but slightly uncomfortable conversation, agree to meet for coffee sometime, and then she muses that this is what exes do: say they're going to meet for coffee, but in all honesty, neither of them means it.  What a sad and true thought.

You know who the first person I told about this was?  Matt.  I really am so lucky to have a boyfriend who not only understands the weirdness of situations like this, but also that he's the first person I wanted to talk to.  Last night, we stayed up talking for hours (in our bed with glasses of wine).  We talked a little about my past relationship, and we watched a home video of his from years ago, when he was married to his first wife and Jasper was little.  It was all very sweet, and it feels so good that we can sort of . . . revisit the past without feeling weird about it.  I am so thankful for him.

Have you ever randomly run into an ex?  Tell me about it.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Halloween Plans?

I used to pride myself on funny/unusual/ironic Halloween costumes.  I've never been interested in being Hoochie Bo Peep or Sexy Red Riding Hood . . . I figure if it's not totally awesome/unique or funny (or both!), it's lame.  I should look for costume pictures from over the years.  The only one I have at the ready is from the Halloween I was 14 months old:

Jennifer on the left, me on the right

I'm ashamed to admit that I've slacked off the past few years.  Maybe it's because Halloween so often falls in the middle of the week, maybe it's because we don't live in a neighborhood that gets a lot of trick-or-treaters, but I've fallen off the wagon. 

We did do the pumpkin carving & scary movie things last year, so at least there's that.  

So tell me: what are your Halloween plans?  What are some fun things for grownups to do?  Also: I need ideas for costumes.  Matt suggested we be Mario & Luigi, but I shut that down pretty quickly. ;)

Monday, October 8, 2012

This weekend was a jammer . . .

I'm obviously getting old, because after three straight days of go-go-go, I was basically ready to crash!  I hardly had the energy to keep my head up on Sunday for what turned out to be a legendary football game.  Finally!  More on that later.  

My beautiful cousins, Jennifer and Ashley, were in town visiting from Georgia, and given that one of them had never been to the west coast before, much less San Francisco, I had to show them a good time.  Starting with Napa, obviously (well, after I took them to Baker Beach on the way back from the airport).  

Here we are at my new favorite winery, O'Brien Estate:

liked it so much that I joined the wine club

We had a hilarious, attentive, knowledgeable, down-to-earth tour guide, and we tasted all kinds of delicious reds.  All their wines are estate (grown/made on their property), and their wine club is totally reasonable.  So glad Jennifer found this gem of a winery via Trip Advisor!

After O'Brien, we headed over to my favorite restaurant ever, Rutherford Grill, where I had, you guessed it . . . kale salad.  And a veggie burger.  But the kale salad is always the highlight:

I'm gonna be dreaming about it for the next few weeks.  Anyone wanna go to O'Brien with me (free wine tastings for me + friends now that I'm a member) and then have lunch at Rutherford?!?!

Since Saturday was the annual Teachers 4 Social Justice Conference in San Francisco, I had to spend my day peddling books & networking with teachers instead of touring SF on a double-decker bus with Ashley and Jennifer.  But at least they got to see all the hot spots and beautiful views. Meanwhile, this was my sole view the entire day:

On Saturday night, we celebrated Matt's darling son's 9th birthday with pizza, cupcakes, and wine (for the adults, that is).  

By Sunday, we were all pretty exhausted, but I had to drive the girls through downtown Berkeley in order for them to get the full Bay Area experience.  We had coffee in Oakland, shopped in Emeryville, and eventually I took them to their hotel by the airport (they stayed in a hotel in South SF the last night since their flight was at the crack of dawn this morning).  It was sad saying goodbye, and my house feels empty without them.  Here are a few more of Ashley's pics from the weekend (she's the one with the good camera):

At 21st Amendment: only one of these was mine--promise! 

Man, I live in a pretty place . . . 

Sisters at the Pier

Our first stop post-airport

Me in my natural habitat

with one of the owners at O'Brien and her special rose

Ashley at Cosentino

Jennifer & a cable car

A lone Blue Angel.  It was Fleet Week!

Our fantastic weekend was topped off with the first Saints win of the season and a new record for Drew Brees, reigning king of NFL records: 48 straight games of throwing at least one touchdown pass!  What a legend, that one is.  

Tell me about your weekend, and/or link up here:

Friday, October 5, 2012

My Cousins are Here!

My cousins flew in from Georgia yesterday!  They're here for a long weekend and the adventures have already begun.  Yesterday, I picked them up from the airport and took them straight to Baker Beach (with a stop at Haight Ashbury on the way).  It's one of my favorite places in the world.

We're heading up to Napa in a few minutes; we have a tour at O'Brien Estate Winery (where I've never been, actually).  After that, a late lunch at my favorite restaurant ever!

Hope everyone has as fantastic a weekend as I plan to. :) Happy Friday!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Free People Wish List

It's crazy how much time I spend browsing the Free People website.  It's like walking through an art gallery--gazing at all the beautiful things, imagining how they'd look in my home (closet).  Here are my most recent obsessions:

Seriously tried to convince my friend Jessie to get married in this.

Love these.  So much.

Not a color I usually go for, but what a beautiful dress . . . 


I love patterned scarves, and it's scarf weather in San Francisco pretty much year round.


I can already think of so many letter combinations I want . . . starting with NO.  heehee.

Can you believe that anyone works at this store?  I'd go flat broke.  No way would I be able to save a penny from a paycheck if I were surrounded by this stuff all day.  Free People employees: How do you maintain your willpower???

Linking up with Michelle for Oh, How Pinteresting!