Thursday, March 30, 2006

The pitfall of working fulltime

Sitting around tonight, I suddenly realized what had been missing in my life since I went back to work fulltime. Yes, I miss daytime TV. I was really beginning to become hooked on the court shows. Yes, I miss being able to create elaborate dinners, the smell of which would drive the cats into a frenzy. But most of all, I miss the quality time with the cats. We're now back to the same routine. They cry when I come in the door, looking for dinner. Then they don't want to have anything to do with me. I miss the "old days" when they would cuddle up next to me while I watched TV or read a book.

Then again I just had to stop writing to remove the napkin from Boris's mouth that he was intent upon shredding. Maybe alone time is good after all.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Library Time

On my way home from work, I decided to stop at the public library. I have to thank this woman I met on Sunday night for the inspiration. (Speaking of which, I should call her soon.) We discovered that we had similar interests in reading and so exchanged numbers. She recommended the Kathy Reichs books to me; I recommended the Patricia Cornwell books to her. So I went to the library with the intention of getting said Kathy Reichs books and all was good until I was ready to leave.

I ended up running into a friend who had gone through the credential program with me and her son. I recognized her but was a bit questionable about her son as his hair was much longer than I remembered. Later in the evening I heard her say to someone else, "I keep hearing, 'What a pretty girl!' and he hasn't caught a hint. I swear I was not the one saying it." Well, they talked me into re-entering the library. It seems that on the children's floor there was an art display of stuff from kids from local elementary schools. I didn't even think of taking pictures, but I will promise I will go back and take some. Her son's piece was one of the featured pieces. We stood around talking to parents of other kids, teachers, and librarians.

Then out of the blue this other woman came through. She had also been in the same credential program. It was like a mini-reunion. The three of us stood around and talked about what we saw as wrong in the school district we had all worked in together. (My friend with the son is the only one who still works there.)

I was tempted to go out tonight but after my fulfilling trip to the library, I was satisfied with hanging out with the cats. Of course, Friday is a holiday for me -- recognition of the Cesar Chavez holiday. That means that Thursday is definitely the start of the weekend.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Free drinks

While the SoCal ladies are off in France, I realized that I should continue on. There is no better way to let folks know that you are unattached than to go out -- a lot. That's what my weekend was like.

Saturday night I went to my fave place. The boy I kind of like wasn't there but I got to see the wonderful bartender. After not seeing him for almost two months, I have finally rated the hug and kiss greeting. And of course I got my usual free drink from him. I met one boy near the end of the evening, a grad student in computers or something. He raved on and on about how fabulous I am and then swore that he would call. We'll see about that.

Sunday evening I was sitting around bored and thought, "Hey, I should go out." Back to my usual place. Different bartender, another free drink. Ran into a guy who is a friend of a friend of the boy I just got rid of. He asked how the boy is doing and where he was. I explained that I really didn't know nor did I care. Exchanged phone numbers with one woman after we discovered that we like to read the same kind of stuff. Left the bar early enough to get up on time for work on Monday but then another bar called to me on the walk home. There used to be a really cute bartender at this place but I guess he is no longer there. That's ok. There were plenty of guys to buy me drinks. The last guy who offered me a drink actually owns the place. I can see lots of free drinks there in the future.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Single is good

I know I haven't been with the boy that long -- almost two months. Thank goodness it has only been two months. I spent the last couple of days in deep conversations about the boy. (Most of these conversations were with my good friend, Shrew.) Finally, one friend said, "Isn't this the same guy who did coke at a party recently?" That was the point when I knew that I was right in thinking the boy had to go. It was also around this time when I was finally able to put a finger on his annoying behavior. He reminds me of Spicoli.

I got home last night and quickly changed clothes because I had a second interview at this nearby restaurant. No, not as a waitress. I then had to buy cat food because B&N have come to expect canned food in the evening. Also yesterday was Natasha's birthday. She is now a year old. After feeding the cats, I checked my email and discovered that I have yet another interview scheduled on Saturday to teach next school year. When it rains, it pours. Then I heard from the boy. He was at my bar. MY BAR! I had to see him because once more he had left stuff at my apartment.

He started questioning me almost as soon as I got there. I kept trying to tell him that I didn't want to have the conversation with him there. Finally I did. I do remember making the Spicoli reference in talking to him as well. He thought he was more like Peter Pan. Whatever.

The really bad part is that he still needed to come back to my place with me to get his stuff after all of this. On the way there he started banging on doors of businesses and garbage cans and yelling at the homeless people. I quickly pulled out my cellphone and kept my finger poised over the key for one-touch dialing to the local police. Luckily I did not have to call the cops. When we got to my place, I let him sleep on the couch while I went to the bedroom with the cats. This morning I awoke him while I was getting ready to go to work and made sure that he collected everything that belongs to him.

So now I'm single again. I'd rather be single than to be with the wrong person though. And the Belgian is still writing. And my ex in Orange has finally gotten his life together and is single once more too. And there is the cute bar manager. And ... and ... and ...

Monday, March 20, 2006

Keeping with the theme

So over the weekend I was reading Laurie's post on fear. To show Laurie, beyond the countless comments that were posted, that she is not alone in her fears, I decided to share a bit.

The last time I went to London was in December 2001. In the months prior to that trip my grandmother, two uncles, and a cousin died. My dad had a heart attack. I was being laid off from my job and looking for a new one. Oh yeah, and in the midst of all this was September 11. That was the day that I was supposed to be flying out of D.C. after attending the second funeral in three weeks. When I finally got on a flight home at the end of that week, I promised that the next time I got on a plane would be a pleasure trip.

I returned home and got a new job. I was also profoundly depressed. I spent most of my waking hours at home crying a great deal. Finally on a whim I checked online to see what the cost of going to London for the week after Christmas would be. People were afraid to fly so prices had dropped. All of my family worried about my taking the trip. I don't know what worried them more -- the thought of possible terrorist action or the fact that I was traveling alone.

The trip was just what I needed. I came back with a clear head and much better idea of where I wanted my life to go. I wish I could have that kind of clarity all of the time.

This past Friday was St. Patrick's Day and I am never one to shy away from a party. At the end of the evening (well, end of the evening in bar time), I went to a party with the boy. I was in a highly irritable mood. We ended up leaving almost as soon as we had arrived. Then there was the 12 or so block walk home. That gave me plenty of time to vent. When I woke up on Saturday morning, the boy was leaving with all of his stuff, including the toothbrush over which I hyperventilated a few weeks ago. My greatest fear in life is to let anyone else in. Everything else seems pretty easy compared to this. Along the way I have "learned" that they will leave you the first chance they get so it is just easier to leave them before they leave you. This behavior has led to a number of regrets over the years and I am trying my best to fight through it. I don't know if the boy is the one but he is pretty nice to me most of the time.

He called later on Saturday to see how I was doing. I told him about the job interview. He called on Sunday on my way to the interview to wish me luck. I think he has just decided to give me space while I sort everything out in my head. Who knows? Maybe he is the one because he was able to see through all of my crap. At the very least I am starting to think that perhaps they don't all leave.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

When it rains, it pours

No, I am not talking about the weather although it has been raining a bit too much for my liking. I am talking about the whole job thing.

Last week I had two interviews. I was offered one job and accepted it. I started work on Thursday. Then on Saturday I received a phone call asking me to come in for yet another interview. I had applied for this job weeks ago and figured that they weren't interested in me as I had not heard from them. Shows you what I know.

Now here's the problem. The job I just started is a temporary position and the pay is kind of low. I like the people there though. The job for which I just interviewed is a regular position and probably better pay. It is also even closer to home than the one I have. I know. If they offer me the job, it is completely a no-brainer. The thing is that I'd feel bad about quitting the job I have, especially since I have only been there a couple of days. Then again, perhaps I won't be offered the other job and so won't have to make a decision.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

The party's over

I have enjoyed my sabbatical but it looks like it is coming to an end. On Monday night I was offered a job and accepted it yesterday. I started today. I was really dreading having to get out of bed in the morning. The cool part is that I really don't have a commute -- just a stroll across campus. Maybe I can work off those few extra pounds I have put on from the partying. I must use restraint and stay away from the stores on Telegraph at lunch time though. Oh, and Gloria, I am starting to think that it is just impossible to avoid lawyers.

Here is what the kittens have been doing lately. I suppose they will continue with more of the same while I am at work. Lazy bums!

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Boy good. Alcohol bad.

I have been meaning to post for days but first I had to recover from a very long Thursday night. It was one of my truly marathon evenings.

It started with me rushing home from work so that I could change clothes and meet the boy in San Francisco. Of course it started pouring rain around this time and because Californians have issues driving in rain, the drive was a bit longer than it should have been. I managed to get back out of the house and on the road though -- only to sit at the toll plaza for something like a half hour.

Our first in the City was Baraka. The food was wonderful, especially dessert. I had the semolina custard. Words fail to describe it. I will be going back.

Our next stop was the Mighty. I was able to surmise at this point that we were going to a concert but had no clue who it was. I had thought of asking someone else while the boy slipped off to the bar for drinks but decided that I'd rather be surprised. That I was. Finally Thomas Dolby walked onto the stage and started playing. I had been telling the boy for weeks how I thought that Dolby is a musical genius. It was at that moment that I decided that I could forgive the boy for all the annoying things he has done over the last few weeks.

On the way home, I suddenly had the brainstorm to stop in North Beach at the bar that used to be my home away from home. There were only about eight folks in the place. As we walked in, this group of three suddenly asked me, "Don't we know you from that place in Berkeley? What are you doing here?" What, indeed. The group turned out to be one of the bartenders from the place I always hang in Berkeley with a couple of his friends. The female I had met back in December. She's friends with the band that I love to catch at that place in Berkeley and had tried to get me to come back to SF with them that night in December to hang out after the bar closed. Well Thursday night the bar closed and we headed over to her place. There was lots of vodka and conversation. Somewhere along the way she told us that she is a singer and trying to put a band together. I announced that the boy is a musician. The two of them ended up in a long conversation about music. I was left talking to the bartender and his roommate, both of whom have lovely Irish accents. Somewhere in the alcohol-induced haze I realized that I was holding hands with the bartender. The boy never noticed because he was too busy talking about music.

This time for the first time in my life I realized what I was doing. I have always dumped guys before they have a chance to dump me -- abandonment issues and all. I have never cheated on a guy but I will dump him if someone else comes along. I realized that the hand holding thing was part of my destructive pattern. Then I spent the rest of the weekend feeling guilty.

The guilt is a bit more under control now. My only worry is going back to my fave bar in Berkeley now because Friday is St. Patty's Day. Like I'm going to miss that.

Thursday, March 9, 2006

Keeping busy

I do more than party and cook. While watching the various reality shows that I like, I find the need to do something else.

A few weeks ago I found out that there would be a baby shower this coming Sunday for a good friend from high school. Back then we were so close that we used to joke that we were like sisters. That meant that she needed a shower gift befitting of family.

As you all know, I have lots of time on my hands these days. I had also just finished my hat then. Obviously this meant a trip to the store for more yarn. I also needed to find a pattern. Thank you internet for free patterns.

The finished product. There are matching booties and a bonnet as well. Isn't it just precious? If my friend doesn't like it, well then she's just not my friend anymore.

Monday, March 6, 2006

Too much time on my hands

This weekend I decided to hit the kitchen once more. Originally it was going to be on Saturday but then the boy showed up on Friday and announced that we had been invited to a party/fundraiser on Saturday. So that meant the cooking would happen on Sunday.

I guess my inspiration was the weather of late -- cold and wet. OK. I also drew inspiration from a number of items that were on sale this week in the stores. With weather like this, I want comfort food. This means mac and cheese, soups, stews, and anything Southern. The Southern thing won out.

My first inspiration in choice of Southern cooking was a result of crab being on sale this week. As I was driving in the rain through Fairfield on Friday, I suddenly remembered that chicken, sausage, and shrimp were also on sale. This could only mean one thing -- gumbo!

I have only tried to make gumbo twice before. The first time it was a success; the second it was awful. This time I decided to call my other mother on my way to the store. (Although she is a native Californian like myself, her parents are originally from Louisiana. Her mother schooled her well in Louisiana cooking. Further proof of this is that there is not much difference between her gumbo and my stepmother's. My stepmother was actually born in Louisiana.) After shopping, I hit the internet to see if I could find further guidance. I used this as my guide along the way.

I got up bright and early on Sunday morning to start on the stock.

Stock prior to the addition of the shrimp shells

The next thing was to make the roux. I prefer a peanut butter colored roux.

Almost done. Just needs the crab and shrimp added.

Final product in the pot...

and in the bowl

I have been having huge cravings for something sweet all week. I had planned to make more madeleines but the other dessert took took much time. I spent last week flipping through cookbooks and cooking magazines. I settled on a recipe for Orange Meringue Pie from this book.

I used the blood oranges I already had in the fridge to change it up.

Unfortunately I was browning the meringue at the same time that I was browning the roux for the gumbo. That's OK though. The boy will still eat it.

And here it is on the plate.

It's been some time since I have baked a pie. I think the last thing I made along these lines was a apple pear cobbler. And that was years ago. I am happy with the meringue (other than the over-browned areas) but the filling ended up a bit weepy. *sigh* Perhaps it was a bit too ambitious to think that I could do gumbo and a pie simultaneously. Live and learn.

Friday, March 3, 2006

Back to the kitchen

Last night was the weekly cooking with the boy thing. You know the drill. I select a recipe, we shop together, and then I tell him what he is allowed to do in the kitchen. He chops very well. Oh, and excellent clean-up as well. Bottom line is you can thank the boy for this post. As we were sitting down to eat, he asked, "Don't you want to take photos for the blog?" I don't know. Maybe it was the wine I was drinking while cooking that made me forget.

Yes, it was salmon again. But wait. There's more.

The salmon had a sauce.

There's one piece left in the fridge. The boy is at work. I am hungry. You do the math.

Wednesday, March 1, 2006

Showdown at the O.K. Corral

... or why the boy is not allowed to read my blog.

Monday 9 p.m.

Boy called to say that he would had finished packing up stuff at rehearsal space and had decided to put it all in storage on Tuesday. There was lots of whining about how the other guys had not shown up to help him pack. He then said that his best friend, who is also in the band, would be celebrating his birthday on Tuesday and that the boy thought it would be cool if we all went out on Tuesday night. (He has been wanting me to meet this friend for weeks now.) As they would probably be finished before I got off work, we agreed that he would call me on Tuesday at 7 p.m. to let me know where to meet them.

Tuesday 10 a.m.

Boy called to say that he was waiting for the other guys to arrive so they could start moving the stuff. His best friend was en route.

Tuesday 12:30 p.m.

Best friend had arrived. Still no other guys. Best friend had to be up early on Wednesday to go to work so he would not be going out. Boy said they had decided to put the stuff in storage. With no truck, they would be using his car to haul everything across town to the storage place. He said that he would call me at 7 p.m. to let me know where to meet him.

Tuesday 7:00 p.m.

Received a call from the boy as I was parking my car in front of my building. He was still in San Francisco. They had put most of the stuff in storage but the facility closed before they were able to drop off the last load. Therefore, he was going to have to take it home. He would then get on BART to meet me at my place to go out. He estimated that this would all take about two hours. He asked what my dinner plans were. I had been planning to grab something to eat when we went out. I was starving and starting to get just a wee bit cranky. I told him I would grab a snack and that I would see him in two hours.

Tuesday 9:00 p.m.

Boy called from BART station in San Francisco saying that he would arrive in about 30 minutes. I was a wee bit pissed off at this point. Thankfully the snack I had prepared earlier was a bit more substantial than I thought it would be and I was no longer hungry. I went to the kitchen and fixed a Mexican coffee for myself.

Tuesday 9:05 p.m.

College roommate returned my call, just as I was starting to write this post. I told her everything that happened. We came to the agreement that the boy had just made the mistake of putting his trust in flaky people. The people I was really mad with were these flakes who, in my opinion, had sabotaged my evening.

Tuesday 10:00 p.m.

The boy arrived, literally two minutes after I had hung up the phone with my best friend. We headed out to the bar around the corner from me. Luckily for the boy, they were still serving food. I was not hungry. The waiter remembered us from Saturday night and promptly asked me, "Pinot Noir for you, right?" My thought was, "And keep it flowing."

After drinks arrived, I told boy that I knew that he had said he would not whine about the situation anymore when we arrived but there were a few things I wanted to get off my chest. I believe I actually said that I was kind of pissed off.

We discussed the whole band situation. The guy who was supposed to bring the truck apparently had been passed out at home with his phone turned off. I ascertained that this is one of the guys who is usually drinking heavily at rehearsals. I suggested that perhaps for some of these guys, the whole band thing was just an excuse to party. They were flakes. Therefore, he should not rely on them for anything important in the future. I asked what they were going to do about rehearsal this weekend. The boy has no clue as they no longer have a space. They have a gig two weeks from Saturday -- that of course I will be attending. The boy chuckled at the thought of how I will treat the flakes when I meet them at that time.

A couple of glasses of wine later I was feeling much happier. Ah. The wonders of wine.

So I titled this "The Showdown" because when I first started writing, that's what I thought would transpire. So now that I have rested, I am ready to head out again tonight with the boy. Oh. And he better not be late.