Monday, November 30, 2009


That's what I consider having four days in a row in which I am free to do whatever I please. Now if I can just make it through to Christmas since that will be my next long weekend.

The focus of Thursday was sleep. Lots of sleep. I think with all my naps that I probably slept about a total of 12 hours. Now you may have forgotten but I'm used to getting four to six hours of sleep a night. 12 hours? Just plain crazy.

Friday was about getting out of the house -- on my terms. After I left the zoo, I heard from my mother. She asked, "You had to pay to get into the zoo?" Yeah. Whatever.

Saturday I knew that I would be heading out with Fluffycat. Strange thing is that I awoke in the morning with lots of energy. So much energy that I finally got around to sorting through the boxes of children's books that I have -- still. Hopefully for not longer. And I discovered stuff mixed in the boxes that went straight to the trash. Two boxes full of trash. It felt great.

So great that on Sunday, I decided to conquer more of the crap. Because yes, I moved in April and there are still boxes that I have not unpacked. Nor is there a single thing hanging on the wall. But I don't feel bad about it. Every month when I make the mortgage payment, I know that it is mine.

OK. So maybe the real reason for some of the organizing on Sunday was because I had also done three loads of laundry over the weekend and I thought it might be nice for the first time in months to actually put the stuff away. Because for months, I have been folding the stuff and leaving it in the basket. Until it's empty. Then I start the whole process again. So the laundry is put away and I can walk through my closet without having to worry about tripping over anything.

When I created this blog, I said there would be food and crafts. There's been plenty of food but really no crafts. This weekend I started three knitting projects. (Actually in the last couple of weeks I have completed the good portion of a fourth project as well.) So I present the above to you as proof that there is actually some crafting going on around here.

And the great thing about Sunday is that I told my mother that I could not come to take her to the mall. She needed to return something that she had bought on Saturday. And no, I did not take her to the mall on Saturday; one of her neighbors did. I said no because there were things that I had to take care of for myself, things that no one else was going to do -- like cleaning and knitting. I also figured why ruin a perfectly good weekend. And although she found another way to the mall, I am sure that this is all being recorded on the bad daughter list to be enumerated to me at a later date. Really don't give a flying fuck anymore.

Done with people telling me that if I love them, I will do fill-in-the-blank. Done with the people telling me that I am responsible for someone else's happiness. Tired of being angry because some people just are not reliable. My bad on that one. They are who they are. As such, I'm done with asking them to be there. I am done with the people who only pick up the phone when they need something -- except for coworkers as long as it is work-related. And I really don't care if that doesn't leave a lot of people because I'll just start all over again. This time I'll do it better though.

And so that's what happens when I have the luxury of time for me.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Dinner and a show

Last night Fluffycat and I headed to Bocanova in Jack London Square for dinner. I had been wanting to check this place out since it opened in September.

The starter had been determined from the first time I saw their menu months ago -- Dungeness Crab Deviled Eggs. As David had pointed out earlier in the week, you really can't go wrong with deviled eggs.

We then decided to add the salad of Avocado, Endive and Hearts of Palm. At this point, Fluffycat realized the patience required when you want to write about food. The food arrives and you want to dive right in but then you think, "Wait. I need to take a photo before it's all gone."

By the time the Mahi Mahi (not on their online menu and to the left in the photo) and the Stuffed Plantains arrived, I had indeed forgotten about the photo thing until I was halfway through my portions.

Luckily there was enough of the Burnt Carrots that I was able to take a fairly representative photo even though some had been removed from the bowl.

At this point we were both pretty full. Portions at Bocanova are not as small as they might have been at other places. But then we saw the dessert menu and suddenly there was room in our stomachs once more.

Fluffycat had the Warm Chocolate Bread Pudding. OK. So when it arrived, it may have been a bit more than warm but that just meant to let the molten chocolate cool on the spoon a bit before placing it in your mouth.

I went with a seasonal dessert, also not on the online menu, of Pumpkin Pound Cake topped with Eggnog Ice Cream and served with a little Pecan Macaroon. It was like the best of the holiday season in a bowl.

By now you're probably wondering why I mentioned "show" in the title of this post. We arrived at the restaurant without a reservation. The host said that we could have immediate seating at the bar by their open kitchen. Sounded good to us. And we had the good fortune to be seated near the meat/seafood section of the kitchen. So the show was watching the expediter call in orders to the kitchen and seeing the various dishes take shape. At one point one of the guys in the kitchen started singing. And there was a bit of good-natured banter between the group. This vantage point also let us clearly see dishes that we didn't order but might want to try on future trips to the restaurant. By the end of the evening, Fluffycat and I decided that these were, in our opinion, the best seats in the house. Why sit at a table so removed from all the action?

I will definitely be returning. And will probably make reservations the next time -- as long as I can reserve those seats by the kitchen.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

For the birds

So yesterday after sleeping for a total of 12 hours the previous day, I had all this energy. Go figure. While I did various house work, a plan started to form. I would leave my secret lair and go out to see the world. (Yes, I showered and put on something other than my yoga pants for this endeavor.)

The original plan was that I would walk to the zoo even though I could tell without looking out the windows that it was overcast outside. Then I exited and saw that everything was wet. As in it had recently been raining kind of wet. Scratch the walk to the zoo. It would be enough to simply walk around the zoo. So I hopped in the car. Next time I'll choose a day with better weather. And I'll leave out early enough that I won't have to worry about having to walk back in the dark. Along a street that has no sidewalks. Upon which folks are usually cruising at 40 or so.

Now the highlight for me is usually the big cats. But it was cold and kind of damp. I thought as I looked at them, "If I wanted to see some cats lounging around all day, I could have stayed at home." And that last photo? That's right. The bobcat couldn't even be bothered with sleeping in the open.

Now onto some of the other animals...

A dromedary.





An eland.

A chimp.

Malaysian Sun Bear

And now I have new favorites. The gibbons absolutely rock. Although it was so annoying to hear kids run up to their enclosure repeatedly proclaiming, "Look! Monkeys!" Finally an intelligent parent came along and responded to his kids, "Do you see tails? Because monkeys have tails. Primates don't."

If my fingers hadn't started going numb, I could have spent all day watching the gibbons.

And finally I will leave you with this lovely earworm that has plaguing me since I first decided to go to the zoo. Enjoy.

Friday, November 27, 2009

One day down

The other day David asked for photos of everyone's Thanksgiving table. Silly boy. When you're a solo diner, I suppose you could go through the bother of it all but to me it just made sense to make the plate of food and to plop down in front of the TV.

The food in a repeat of last year came from Poulet. No cooking necessary, just reheating. I was a bit disappointed that they were not offering green beans this year and instead had brussel sprouts. Even though I am not particularly thrilled with them, I ordered them anyway because one must have something green on one's plate. And I suppose that I could have cooked something else but really? What would be the point of ordering pre-prepared food if I actually had to cook? They weren't all that bad. Probably would have been better with more butter. But even on Thanksgiving, I was still logging the calories.

I said I was logging them. That doesn't mean that I was denying myself any kind of food. Notice the sea of gravy. Because it's all about the gravy. And the giblet madeira gravy from Poulet is so good that I could eat alone, straight from the container. But I didn't. Instead I let the turkey and stuffing swim in a sea of it. And their stuffing -- foccacia bread, chard and sage -- is the perfect place for it. The stuffing just absorbs that stuff. Not like the heavy cornbread dressing of my childhood -- which is still good but just doesn't seem to absorb the gravy in the same way. (Oh, and every time I think of the word "gravy," I hear Monk telling Natalie, "They make their own gravy.")

As for TV viewing, I haven't watched the Macy's parade since childhood. Actually I have stopped most parade viewing. Parades are like baseball -- much more enjoyable in person than on TV.

I did find lots of wonderful marathons as well. Universal has been showing "That's Life" most of the week -- because what's not to love about a show that includes Ellen Burstyn, Paul Sorvino, and Debi Mazur? And BBC America was running a marathon of "Don't Tell the Bride." Personally I think the show is kind of twisted. "Hi. We're going to give you lots of money for your wedding but only the groom can do the planning and he cannot have any contact with the bride until the wedding day." I'm sorry but most brides seem anxious enough without the added stress of not having any input into the wedding.

This morning I'll be having some of this with my tea. It's apple cranberry ginger with a streusel topping. Sounds like heaven to me. And more TV viewing. And perhaps some DVDs. And maybe some of the various unread books I have around here. And knitting. Because I don't head out for Black Friday as well. Too many people.

So no matter how you spent your Turkey Day, I hope it was wonderful. Mine was.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

For David

So tonight I was getting my groove on and then a song dropped that made me think of David. Strange because this will always be a song that I associate with summer school in England. In fact I thought of digging out one of the photos from that summer but then I remembered that I had already posted photos from that summer.

And then as the tunes continued, I thought of David -- and perhaps Maddie -- once more. This song dates from when I lived in the Mission District of San Francisco -- at the beginning of the hardcore partygirl days. Because I still kind of miss that person. Especially when I grab something out of the closet since that person was 20 pounds lighter than my current self.

Monday, November 23, 2009

On a happier note

This morning I decided to increase my weight loss goal by five pounds. While my previous goal was a weight with which I could probably live, I wasn't really happy at that weight either. I decided that I should shoot for the new goal after this morning's weigh in. Three weeks, six pounds. I can already feel the difference. And when I went to get my hair done on Saturday, the salon owner told me that she could see it as well.

Another thing. I just realized that Lose It has slowly been lowering my net calories as I have been losing weight. And I've been sticking with it pretty much. So while other things have been sucking, there has been at least one really good thing.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Tis the season

There was supposed to be a photo of a lovely Dungeness crab here. But I forgot to take it. I guess I could post a photo of the pieces of shell...

So yeah, it's crab season now here in the San Francisco area. For me it is the unofficial start to that hideous time of year -- the holiday season. I didn't always think that it was hideous. This is something that developed over the last couple of years. Shocker.

This year I'm trying something different -- saying "Fuck you" to all the crap. Well, I will still get gifts for my parents. And I'm still hard at work on the various craft things. Because little people should not share my view of the season.

Things will kick off this week with Thanksgiving. I placed my order with Poulet a couple of weeks ago and will pick it up Wednesday night after work. My plan is to spend Thursday at home with the yummy food, the cats, some books, some videos, and my craft stuff.

This year my dad has decided to stay in town. Probably has something to do with the new girlfriend. And my mom is in town as well since she is recovering from her surgery. They have both expressed repeatedly their desire for me to join them. Know what I have to say to them? Screw you. It's been about their moods and schedules for too many years. I'm hopping off the ride. Done.

There will be no holiday luncheon at work this year. Instead all of the office staff have been invited to that fabulous dinner at the Fairmont that I attended last year. I said no to that as well. Why? Because I decided I was really tired of the asinine question, "Why don't you have a date?" Ummm. Maybe because for the last year so many people have been sucking me dry that I am not in a healthy place to be dating. (And please. If I have to hear another coworker ask, "How are your parents doing?" I may stop censoring myself. Hello. They're not the only people who lost someone. Why not try asking how I'm doing? No, don't. Because you really don't care anyway.) In my current emotional state, I am almost guaranteed to make extremely bad choices. So yeah, they can bite me as well.

As soon as Thanksgiving has passed, I will start getting pestered about Christmas. I plan to place another order at Poulet and to spend the day at home. Gifts to folks? That's why there is mail order and shipping. And yeah, I don't have to spend it with family but I'm also tired of pretending that other people are my family.

I am a family of one -- three if you count the cats. And it would all be really cool if I didn't have to hear other people's stupid questions that reflect their expectations of it all.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Why I am losing weight

I like to think that a great deal of my wardrobe is pretty timeless. And I'd like to be able to wear it all again.

Your Fashion Style is Classic

Some people may argue that those with a classic style like yours don't care about fashion, but that couldn't be further from the truth.

The key to having a effective classic look is making sure all your classic items are well tailored and look modern.

No one can rock a basic suit or white buttoned shirt with jeans like you can. You have the confidence it takes to avoid trends completely.

And by sticking to what has or what will stand the test of time, you always can find something to wear. It's very rare that anything in your closet has fallen out of fashion.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Still here

Yes, I am still alive. No exciting food around here these days. Mostly I've been exploring how to stay on track with my calorie count while dining out. And yes, it can be done.

Last week I beat myself up a few times because I slipped and overindulged. But then I realized that on my "bad" days, I had a net calorie count of 1500-1600 calories. And that was a vast improvement over what I used to consume. So now I'm cutting myself a little slack because at that net calorie amount, I should still lose weight albeit a little slower. And like I said previously, it took me two years to put on the weight so I shouldn't expect it to all melt off over night. It's going to take some time and patience. (And yes, I realize that some of you who know me want to slap me at this point because on the BMI, I am at the low end of "normal" currently. I'm just not comfortable here.)

There will be some new content soon though because I've been getting crafty over the last couple of weeks. That's right. I once more have knitting needles in hand -- something I haven't done in some time -- and have all kinds of projects in the works. So stay tuned.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

No retake necessary

Yes, it's quiz time again.

Your Reputation Is: Wild Girl

You love to give people something (and someone) to gossip about

As far as you're concerned, all gossip is good gossip

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Fall back

I was thrilled beyond belief to step on the scale yesterday morning to discover that I had lost three pounds. Of course, then my mind started racing. Could it be still possible? Could I drop easily as long as I was focused like in those days of yore? We'll see. In the meantime, I thought I'd like to give thanks to the folks who made those three pounds possible -- the folks to whom I listened while walking or while dancing around in my living room. The cats really love the latter -- especially when I tell Boris that I could work in some weights by holding him while I'm dancing.

This is Jade's theme song. And while I was walking last Friday, I finally understood why. I was starting to drag until this came on my iPod playlist. Suddenly there was a little more pep in my step.

Lose It likes to differentiate between dancing and aerobic dancing. My mindset is that if you have an accelerated heart rate and your breathing is a little quicker, then it counts as aerobic.

I was feeling pretty good during this song. And near the end when Too $hort takes the lead, I found myself thinking, "Well hell. I've been down around 67th and Foothill. I used to work in the area when area when I was teaching. And I had no fear when I worked in the area." Too $hort was probably the first person to pronounce the word "bitch" as "beyotch." That's some straight out Oakland stuff.

And then the Republica kicked in. It was on then. Even if I was at the 20 minute or so mark.

How do you wrap this up? With the song that I think should be the official song for the state of California. I really don't understand why it's not already. And I mean that whole, "Shake shake it baby," section? If that doesn't get you all aerobic, then I don't know what will. The only improvement they could make is to mention Richmond. Richmond's a hell of lot tougher than Oakland. (Ignore last year's stats on the most dangerous cities in the U.S.) People in Oakland are afraid of folks from Richmond. Really. Well folks who look like me from Richmond that is. And who are willing to say things like, "Bitch please."

And wish me luck in maintaining my sanity over these next few days. My mother had her surgery today. That means that she will be needier than even. Fucking shame my well is dry. Dry to the point that I had a mini-meltdown at work on Monday. The reason why I said that I can't do whining people is because of this. I'm treading water here and whining people will just drag me down.

Monday, November 9, 2009

This is going to be fun

When I bought the lobster tails on Saturday, there were two in the package. I just figured that I would have both in the same manner as Saturday's meal. But then I started doing research. There's this lovely light alfredo sauce in the refrigerated section of the grocery store. So I combined it with some of the fettucine I had in the cabinet as well as the lobster and asparagus. I had previously thought that I'd have to avoid all pasta and dairy-based things. Silly me. I just have to be careful of portions. (Another weird thing has happened. I'm actually measuring stuff these days.) I served this with a salad of romaine, tomato and sherry vinegar -- no oil. (Salad plus pasta was approximately 570 calories.) Delicious and filling. So filling that I was barely hungry by dinnertime. So I ate extra light and once more had no problem staying within my net calories for the day thanks to extra physical activity earlier in the day.

And then I realized something. I've been dialing it in for quite some time as far as food is concerned. For the first time in quite some time, I'm actually excited about cooking. So watch out. I've got lots of ideas brewing.

Sunday, November 8, 2009


The first week of calorie watching had some mixed results. Yes, I lost at least one pound -- quite possibly two -- but by Friday I was feeling rather beat up. I had been aiming for net calories of 1380 per day. And had failed every day.

Lunch has been one of my biggest challenges. The food choices near my office are less than desirable -- that is if one is trying to lose weight. I realized that means that I once more should be bringing lunch from home. But I had few options in the fridge to do this. And so by Thursday, I found myself skipping meals just to bring my calorie count down. Yeah, me the person who extols the necessity of having three meals a day.

Fortunately I had a good night's sleep Saturday night and decided to come at it all again. Because it suddenly clicked that while red meat is mostly a no-no these days, fish and shellfish were perfectly acceptable. And do you know how happy that made me? Suddenly I had endless ideas and so after my hair appointment, I headed to the store for a few items.

Saturday for lunch I had a lovely Shrimp Louie. And dinner was asparagus with lobster tail. And you know what? I didn't go over my net calories for the day. (I also burned some calories by doing some much needed housework.) For the last 24 hours I have been busy plugging recipes into Lose It to see if the calories per serving are within my guidelines. And most of them were. So most of my meat choices will be seafood with occasional chicken or turkey. (Hello. Thanksgiving.)

This has been really important because I also realize that it's going to take me about three months to lose the amount of weight I'd ideally like to. To last for that many months means that the food cannot be boring. And so now I think I really can make the commitment to finally lose the weight. And three months? Not so bad considering it took me about 2-3 years to put it on.

Now I'm off to the farmer's market. I have shopping to do so that I can start restocking the freezer with all kinds of yumminess.

Friday, November 6, 2009


... or perhaps this should be title "Non Sequitur." Because I have a lot of thoughts in my head.

First of all, let me treat you to what may be the last food photo you may see around these parts for some time -- my dinner at JFK last Thursday night. Because now I'm dealing with my depression weight. And the actual food that I consume? Boring. I have gained seven pounds since July. In July I wanted to lose weight. Every time I look in the mirror these days, I get a little depressed. Yeah, I know that in everyone else's book, I'm thin. Not in mine. Because in my current state, I would never wear a bathing suit. This realization earlier this week made me want to crawl back into bed and pull the comforter over my head. Instead I started monitoring my intake. That's the regression. Because now my net intake is down to about 1300 calories a day. Even if I sit on my ass all day. And today I know my coworkers have started questioning my sanity since my lunch for the last two days has consisted of liquids. I swear that things will get more balanced in the coming weeks once I deal with the stuff in the fridge. (And hey. I'm shooting for 1300 and not the 1100 I had thought of earlier this week.)

So now I bury myself in music and TV when I get home. I have little patience with folks who say, "You know what? This show really sucks." Well, why the hell did you watch it if you didn't like it? If you could not find one redeeming quality in it? What? You had to write about it online? Is someone paying you to do such? If not, then turn the damn channel or else shut the fuck up. Because I just have no patience for anyone who wants to whine about shit -- including their own lives. You don't like where your life is going? Then do something about it and tell me about that stuff. Otherwise? Yeah, you guessed it. Shut the fuck up.

Here's the thing. I have lost four close relatives in the last 15 months. Two of these deaths were completely unexpected. The other two? In my mind I was sure they were terminal -- including my aunt who died last summer. And here's the thing. My aunt? She was DYING. But she never showed this to the rest of us. Now I'm sorry but I think that if you're dying, you have the right to whine away. But she didn't. And now I'm subjected to folks whining about shit that is so much less. Yep. Suck it up and shut up. I don't want to hear about your trivial ass shit. If you're in doubt, start whining and if I'm not being the polite person my mama raised me to be, I will tell you that your shit is trivial and all.

And so I leave you with a favorite from my childhood. Sly has a way of making me forget all the bullshit in the world.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Lost Home Part 3

Saturday as we were approaching Yorktown, my mother announced that she was hungry. Easy enough. It was a no-brainer for me -- the Yorktown Pub. Just like Smitty's this place has been a fave of mine for years. My mother was a bit off put by all the hogs parked out front. Me? Not so much. Of course, I'm the kind who will decide that a resyaurant is OK while on a road trip if there are a large number of big rigs parked out front.

While we waited for our table, the owner chatted with us. At one point he told us that he is Greek. Not really surprising. One of the things I learned during my time in Williamsburg was that most of the restaurants around there were Greek-owned regardless of the cuisine being served.

When my crabcake sandwich arrived, I remembered why this place has always been a fave. This was after all my excitement in having a real crabcake in way too many years. And that sucker was huge. I saved half of it for dinner.

And in more happy news, it was decided today that one of my aunts will be moving into my grandmother's house so that those of us who live outside of the area -- currently three of us -- will always have a home to which we can return. Remind me to tell y'all about this aunt one day and the time that I lived with her.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Lost home Part 2

The plan for Saturday was to drive around to a few places to snap some photos. Unfortunately when I was ready to leave, my mother asked to tag along. I knew she wanted to get out and so stupid me said yes.

The first stop was Buckroe Beach. Apparently Donald Trump is now planning on putting highrises along it and turning more of it into a private beach. The community does not seem thrilled to say the least. Buckroe is a part of Phoebus -- where my grandmother's home is. Also in Phoebus is Fort Monroe. I would have gone there as well if my mother had not been tagging along. Because she wanted to walk Buckroe and we had other places to see.

Next stop was Yorktown, a place I have always loved.

After lunch there, we hit the Colonial Parkway to Williamsburg.

My favorite buildings have always been Bruton Parish,

the Governor's Palace,

and the Wren Building.

From Williamsburg, I had planned to continue on to Hopewell but around Charles City, my mother started whining. So instead of going to Hopewell, I looped back around through Providence Forge to get to Lightfoot and the Williamsburg Pottery. I was quite disappointed to find out that they no longer carry the lovely black velvet paintings.

So while I didn't get to do all that I had planned, there were definitely some highlights. But six hours is way too long to spend on the road with my mom these days.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Lost home Part 1

In this past week while preparing to attend my grandmother's funeral, a thought came to mind. It had been six years since I had last set foot in Virginia. This has been about par for over my life as it has often been a question of finding the money and/or time to visit. I had been planning to visit next year. Not now. Because it dawned on me that my main reason for visiting was to see my grandmother. This trip began to have a twofold purpose -- saying goodbye to my grandmother and to Virginia. And so I started preparing the list in my head of absolute musts if this was to be my final trip to Virginia.

One of the things I sorely miss in California is Carolina style barbecue. Whenever visiting Virginia or Georgia, I will start pestering folks immediately about my need for the stuff. It has come to be that Smitty's is my stop when in Hampton. I could drive there in my sleep.

Smitty's is a drive-up place. Just pull into one of the spaces near the building and a server exits promptly to take your order. If you are dining there, your food will appear on a tray that is fastened to the door. I got mine to go this time though.

Six years ago I ate there. And my grandmother drove with my mom's older sister riding shotgun. My grandmother had left the engine running and thankfully had engaged the emergency brake for once. Because while we waited for our food, I noticed a strange sound -- the engine revving. I think I had to tell my grandmother five times or so to take her foot off of the gas. Seems that she thought she had her foot on the brake and couldn't hear the engine. This was the day I decided that she really didn't need to drive anymore.

But this time I headed back to the house with my two sandwiches -- one for immediate consumption and one for later. So glad I bought that second one because it made a great breakfast the next day. And yes, even at breakfast, I liberally doused the sandwich with hot sauce. I'm going to need to search online for places that ship. Because I'm going to need more in my lifetime.