Big news

July 12, 2011 at 2:46 pm (future, M, On dating and mating)

In a turn that is both entirely incongruous with our cautious personalities and totally aligned with the certainty and unflinching belief we’ve found in each other, M and I are moving in together later this month.

It may seem sudden and I keep worrying that some in my life have whiplash from the quick turnaround between The Man and M*, but I am certain. When I joked that my “We’ve moved!” email is going to prompt a series of “Who’s M?” replies, he suggested a postscript:

P.S. This is M —-> [photo]

For me, this means leaving the city for a quiet hill across from a massive park with old growth trees and a view of the Bay. For him, it means (finally) getting out of the apartment he has hated since he took occupancy of it years ago. It means a dishwasher, disposal, in-unit washer/dryer, and a second bedroom to use as an office. It means going to sleep with him, waking up with him, and having a partner in the choices I make, the challenges I take on, and the incredible joy of the everyday. It means that his collection of literature, history, and philosophy texts will mingle with my contemporary fiction and glossy art history publications. It means arguments over the placement of the sofa (the explanation behind choosing aesthetics over the surround sound sweet spot falls on deaf ears) and finally being able to host the friends who introduced us. It means discussions of budgets as ours and checking-in before inviting anyone to stay. It means an emotional as well as a physical shift. (If I sound like I’m anticipating a life of wine, roses, puppies, and rainbows, rest assured I’m not, but I’m moving in with a man I love who happens to love me back, so please forgive a touch of giddy optimism and I’ll get back to you after The Great Sofa Debate, Round 2.)

It also means you should prepare yourself for a whole lot of posts about decorating.

*For the record, there was absolutely zero romantic overlap, but I had known M for months before The Man and I broke up.

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DINKage

June 9, 2011 at 11:52 am (future, On dating and mating)

I have high hopes of being a DINK. At least for a bit. I’d say three or four years of DINKage would do the trick.

I want to have time with my partner, travel with him, be wild and irresponsible, spend our money on ourselves. Then, once there is no chance that we would ever feel bitter about the sacrifices we’ve made for them, we’d have a kid or two. (No more than two. NEVER any more than two; I am not a Duggard.) But in terms of having healthy children and healthy pregnancies, that’s not exactly the best idea. I’m 31; I would have to start now. Like right now…but I’d rather not. I’d like to have a normal, leisurely romance before my DINKage. Time to enjoy living in sin. Time to enjoy being engaged. Time to relish the word “husband” and all of the team-y, partner-ness, “I will prioritize us” permanence it implies. In what may go down as the most useless rage possible, I am pissed at biology. I feel like I’ve just become who I wanted to be. How I could have successfully raised kids before age 30* is impossible to fathom. And yet they tell us that we’re supposed to pop a few out before 35 or face scary statistics. It seems like the sand in my babymaking hourglass is piling up and yet I would still rather see the new Woody Allen film, split a bottle of wine, and spend Sunday in bed with my man. Unfair doesn’t begin to cover it.

*Personal statement, meaning about me, personally. I’m not saying having kids before 30 won’t/doesn’t/hasn’t worked for others.

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50 Things for 2011

June 2, 2011 at 2:27 pm (future, It's all about me)

Because 100 was too many.

I began this post in February, which explains why I’ve already managed to cross some things off. I’ve also been inspired by Brandy’s post, which was in turn inspired by this. With school and a new relationship looming (except that word brings to mind dark clouds instead of happiness and bouncing and puppies), I’ll be squeezing a lot into a summer. Incidentally, summer? Please come visit the Bay Area. We miss you. May averages that were twelve degrees below normal = so not cool (while simultaneously being unseasonably cool).

It’s no secret that I’m crazy about lists. I like making them, looking at them, referring back to them, and of course, crossing things off of them. This year–this calendar year, which means I’m already behind–I have a list of things I want to make happen. I’m sticking with the rather ambitious number of 100, but each item is appropriately attainable within this year. You won’t see “Fly around the world” or “Get married” on this list because, well, I’m not certifiably insane. I know my scheduling/emotional/financial limits. That being said, I only got to #41 on my own, so erm…Help me complete my list!

1. See a psychic.
2. Have dinner at Cotogna. Reservations have been made for a Thursday in June.
3. Go out dancing until the “Go home now” lights come on.
4. Make confiture au lait.
5. Attend Dolores Park Movie Night.
6. See the parrots on Telegraph Hill.
7. Visit the East Coast (NY, MA, and DC are all acceptable options). A long weekend in New York in May and an upcoming work trip to DC (where I’ll get to see the Southern Belle!) certainly qualify.
8. See that Facebook movie. I managed to do this one with the perfect crowd. I commented on anything Harvard/Cambridge/Boston, M (the new man in my life) commented on all of the legal proceedings, and a friend interpreted/critiqued all of the chatter about coding. Overall? Meh.
9. Post to the blog once a day for a week. I like the look of late June for this list item.
10. Save up a month’s wages (net). I’m reallyreallyreally hoping a tax refund will help here. (The tax refund helped, but the tuition deposit definitely hurt this cause.)
11. Buy two more of these in Lord It Up because they’re 1) amazing and 2) the perfect color for my eyes. I bought similar pencils in a gray/black and a plummy purple instead. Variety is fun!
12. Have dinner at Seven Hills. (Yes, eating will be a theme.) Delicious. Plus a personal response to my Yelp! review. Smart business owner.
13. Take yoga classes (without getting bored). Hm. I’m tempted to cross this one off without doing it because yoga is SO FUCKING BORING for a dancer. Is that cheating? Oh fiii-iiine, be that way. It stays.
14. Initiate a hug (truly, I don’t think I’ve ever done this with someone who didn’t know me, um, intimately). Done! I hugged my boss! I had not been drinking! (and it was a purely social occasion). I know, who am I?
15. Buy one high-end piece of clothing (to be accomplished by buying fewer cheap items). Does the $250 BOSS Black pencil skirt count? Does it still count if I found one at Nordstrom Rack for $70 and returned the pricier version?
15. Pay for someone else’s toll. Truthfully, the hardest part of this is going to be using the cash lane instead of the speedier FasTrak only lane.
16. Go for a hike. Except actually GO. I’ve planned this at least five times, but something always gets in the way. Like rain. Or sleeping in.
17. See a CalShakes production.
18. Send another table a bottle of wine.
19. Play tourist in my own city at Christmastime. Dancing Roommate would surely come along.
20. Do some serious kitchen dancing with the shades open.
21. Find an organization that matters to me and give of my time.
22. Check out my roof deck. (Apparently I have a roof deck.)
23. Go to my cousin’s Fleet Week party (Telegraph Hill + the Blue Angels? Why have I not done this already?)
24. Get back to swimming twice a week.
25. Host a themed movie night with costumes and food. American Graffiti anyone?
26. Make my return to SantaCon.
27. Visit Bridget in Reno (possibly to be combined with #26).
28. Write a bit of fiction. Probably just for me.
29. Plan my next international trip. (Mexico doesn’t count.)
30. Find swings. Swing on the swings.
31. Spend a day in bed (permissible reasons to leave bed: potty breaks, fridge raids, fire, changing the West Wing DVD).
32. Overdress for an event. Planned for June 10th when C and I will attend an East Bay underground dinner in cocktail attire.
33. Learn the “Beat It” choreography and dance it next time I hear the song. Simple moves, really.
34. Visit the Future CEO in LA.
35. Spend an afternoon drinking by a pool (possibly to be combined with #34).
36. Watch the rest of Arrested Development. Seriously, how could I not know about this show?
37. Take a hip hop/tap/Bollywood/Latin dance class. Something I don’t already know.
38. Sing a duet with my mom at her church. Try not to puke from stagefright.
39. Make potstickers at home. Compare them to take-out.
40. Go to the driving range with my dad.
41. Host a bourbon or scotch tasting. M and I are up to 5-6 bottles between us.

What’s on your list for 2011? What should be on mine?

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Well Suited

April 7, 2011 at 2:42 pm (future, shopping)

I have not worn a conservative business suit to work since Boston. My professional attire ranges from jeans and flip flops (really, I love California) to things that take the place of a suit (blazer+pencil skirt+blouse), but that is about to change. Methinks business school calls for a new suit. Me(also)thinks my tired Banana Republic version (circa 2000) will not be appropriate for the (exciting! uberprofessional!) functions I will inevitably be called upon to attend. What to do, what to do?

Considerations:

1) Shape
I would like to be covered and respectable, while also continuing to make my gender obvious. A waist would help. Perhaps a one-button cutaway jacket?

2) My shape
I have a bit of an hourglass figure, but with broad shoulders (swimming doesn’t help). I have experience buying the jacket two sizes bigger than the slacks, but the shoulders+breasts combo rules out certain brands (J.Crew, DVF, possibly Theory, and many others that don’t make suits and therefore will not be mentioned because they make me sad).

3) Purpose
As much as I might love to go all Vivienne Westwood, this is business school. I’m not exactly the Brooks Brothers type (I leave that to Future CEO, who makes conservative look fresh), but even in California, I’ll need to tone it down to suit (ha!) my audience.

4) Cost
Despite how I feel about this Armani, my landlord will not accept the gleeful modeling of my new suit in lieu of rent, so I need to be reasonable. The definition of reasonable bounces around a bit, but this Boss Black is definitely at the high end. I’m also aware that, ideally, it will last me a good 5-10 years, so I’m willing to splurge.

This whole search makes me want to fly to Washington (DC) for a weekend of shopping in the suit capital of the United States, but if I factor in the cost of the flight, I’ll have much less to spend on a suit. I think most people would go shopping if they won the lottery, but I’d hire a tailor dressmaker. I know exactly what I want! Any thoughts on how to make it magically appear on store racks? I have a feeling I’m headed down a road toward Elie Tahari, which, actually, is just fine.

When’s the last time you wore a suit?

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It’s been kind of a big week

April 1, 2011 at 4:37 pm (future, in my head, It's all about me, On dating and mating)

There are days weeks months when life throws things at you–sharp things, mean things, exciting things, wonderful things–and expects you to grow seven hands to catch it all…or at least shield your soft parts. During those thing-slinging hours, I retreat into busyness. I take on more work, sign up for a class, go to the gym, and watch TV while surfing the net while reading a book while texting a few friends. It’s a frenzy of sorts, my manic avoidance. It’s exhausting and inevitable. Until, in a moment of strength, I let the quiet catch me. Quickly, before it’s gone, I ask “why?” Why is this relationship failing? Why am I unsatisfied at work? Why do I feel inferior/scared/confused? And then from somewhere deep inside, a quiet voice develops an answer. The answer doesn’t have to be new or even brilliant, as long as there is one. If I understand why, I can move on and let go.

Introspective has always been my style, so it comes as no surprise that over the last few months, while applying to grad school, I’ve been thinking even more than usual. There were the info sessions, the pre-requisite classes, the studying, the standardized test taking, the essay writing, the applying, and the interviewing. And then there was the waiting. To sum up the waiting, it sucked. I am not patient. In fact, when they asked for my biggest weakness, I said, “impatience.” Really, I did. But I learned through my waiting, through this whole process really. I learned about myself, mostly, but also a few key life lessons. I learned enough to realize that The Man and I were not to be. So, yes, this is an upbeat post about ending a relationship and getting into graduate school within the span of four days. Like I said, life throws things. She’s petulant that way.

What I Learned

1) I am an emotional non-eater and non-shopper. On the other hand, all I want to do when something grand happens is go out for a lovely meal and buy entire departments at Nordstrom.

2) It takes time to remember that you’re single. No more blatant elevator eyes for the tech dudes on the train with the excuse that if they look back you’re taken.

3) Yup, still have a thing for redheads.

4) It is not possible to tell someone too often that you appreciate him/her. The support and confidence of family and friends (and The Man, still) has been invaluable through this process and will mean even more as I face the prospect of working full-time AND going to school.

5) Lists will save you. So, on occasion, will cheese, music, Josh Lyman, or whatever makes you unreasonably happy. Indulge. And then get your ass back to that desk because those data sufficiency problems aren’t going to solve themselves.

6) “One’s ability to succeed is always proportional to one’s willingness to fail.”

What have you learned lately?

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I’m still here

January 25, 2011 at 5:01 pm (future, It's all about me, plays well with others)

This Sheryl Sandberg talk at TEDWomen has been bouncing around in my head since it was posted last month. She has three points about how women who want to stay in the workforce* can reach the C-suite, but only one resonated as anything new (for me). It wasn’t #1) “Sit at the table” or #2) “Make your partner a real partner,” it was #3) “Don’t leave before you leave.”

I have a friend who, while six months pregnant, bought a house, moved to another state, and took on a new (more demanding) job in that new state. (It is very worth noting that her ability to do this speaks to #2 as well.) I’ve been thinking (with respect and reverence) about how much she is taking on and the conclusion I’ve reached is why haven’t I considered the same? (You know, minus the baby and leaving my beloved San Francisco.) It’s not just about having children and planning maternity leave, it’s about not letting a potentiality or long-range plan limit your present preparation for the future.

There has been a leadership shakeup at work; our CEO is leaving. We know approximately when (it’s not soon), but we don’t know who will fill the position. Many departments have retreated into what is comfortable and what has always been. They haven’t proposed new projects and they immediately reject the idea of change during a period of transition. They want to wait for the new CEO to arrive before they move forward. This foolishness has been best summed up by a colleague who simply said, “When the new CEO arrives, what will s/he think if they haven’t done anything innovative in a year?”

I am not one of those departments and I’m firmly against maintaining a holding pattern for months of a leadership transition, but I too am guilty of leaving before I leave. As an individual with ideas of bigger things, I have planned my next move** and gone coasting along in my current role, behaving as if I’ve already left. Sometimes it’s just easier (read: lazier), but sometimes it’s out of a feeling of guilt. How can I leave them with project X only half-way off the ground? Won’t they be upset to know they invested in my idea if I was planning to leave? The reality, I believe, is that any employer should be thrilled that their employee wants more–for the company AND for themselves. If I think my project is an improvement on the status quo, then the mere idea, even if not full realized by me personally, contributes to the organization’s success.

Lesson learned.

 

*An important caveat on which I have an opinion, but I’m not in the mood to grab hold of the third rail of feminism today.
**In previous jobs

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Cohabitation and compromise

August 18, 2010 at 2:36 pm (future, It's all about me, On dating and mating, plays well with others)

When you consider cohabitating with someone, you think about the big things–What does this mean? Am I ready to take this step? How will we divide up the household responsibilities?–but you rarely think about the things you’ve always taken for granted as The Way Things Are Done. Jess covered this the other day, but in a slightly different way. What, you may ask, is The Way Things Are Done according to Sara?

#1. Lock the doors to the house.
Every time I arrive home, I lock the door after myself. Including the dead bolt. Since the most threatening thing to ever show up on my childhood doorstep were prosthelytizing missionaries of some Christian denomination, this locking thing likely came from my mother’s childhood in urban New Jersey. Nonetheless, it is what we always did and what I continue to do.

#2. Do the dishes the night dinner was made.
I hate crusty dishes. Always have. And waking up to crusty dishes staring me in the face while I make myself breakfast is one of my least favorite ways to wake up. So unless there was a party that went into the wee hours and you know you’ll spend Sunday (or Saturday) morning recovering from a tawdry evening with Mr. Vodka, you do the dishes the same night you cook.

#3. Do not leave food out, ever.
This largely comes from my fear of bugs. And my mother’s fear of bugs. And my father’s distaste for being awakened at 6 am by screaming about bugs. Even though the San Francisco climate (and a generally clean house) makes bugs rare and unlikely, I still can’t stand leaving food out for more than an hour. And especially not overnight.

#4. Keep the cat inside.
I understand that cats like to chase things (and bring gruesome presents home) and that litter boxes smell and that cat hair gets on stuff, but letting the cats out leads to badness. Like $600 stays at the emergency vet’s. And visits from raccoons in search of cat food. And encounters with skunks. And dirty cats. And the cone of shame.

#5. Shoes get left in the entryway.
I’m not a fan of the decorating challenge this presents, but I do firmly believe that a shoe-free house is a cleaner, more sanitary living space. Particularly for those of us who walk around barefoot as often as possible (and maybe do a few pirouettes in the kitchen when you’re not around).

#6. Flat sheets are on the bed for a reason.
Duvet covers shouldn’t need to be washed every time the sheets are changed. Perhaps this comes from many years spent in living arrangements without an in-unit washer/dryer, but flat sheets provide a germ barrier between the sleeper’s body and the duvet. Flat sheets are good. Flat sheets are necessary.

The Man has changed my mind on several things, including keeping a gun in the house* (unloaded and there are no children), putting dishes in the dishwasher without rinsing them, and the infinite value of a memory foam mattress, so I am hopeful that he will budge on some of the above.

*And by that I mean that I am no longer terrified by it, not that I would be an advocate for it, even though every person living in the house has been trained in proper usage and safety.

What is The Way Things Are Done according to you? And have you had to compromise some of them for a significant other or roommate?

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Bikinis and photos of me (but no photos of me in a bikini because I’m confident, not crazy)

July 20, 2010 at 9:59 am (future, It's all about me)

The Man and I disagree about which women (celebrities, subjects of news stories) are attractive. I don’t know whether I should be concerned by this considering he (obviously) finds me attractive.

I have begun to notice that invitations to things happen more often now that I’m less single*. Is this because it’s uncomfortable for a married (or unmarried) couple to hang out with a single woman?

I think my definition of summer glamour may be a Missoni bikini.

We leave tomorrow afternoon for five days of “luxury camping” near Yosemite. I hope that means the tent comes with a butler, but I’m pretty sure it translates to an air mattress. There will be children (not mine) and his friends (not mine) and while I like both the children and the friends, I am bringing three books because I am determined to rid myself of the raging Speedo tan that leaves my tummy a shade lighter than clotted cream. I will read, the sun will shine, The Man will pour drinks.

I am more than a little obsessed with ampersands.
& & &
I think I’d like to start a collection.

And finally, because I thought you’d prefer a photo of my face to one of my newly pedicured toes, here I am caught in the act of…hair twirling? at the Giants game on Saturday. The Man loves this picture, though I think that has something to do with the fact that he was the photographer.

This makes San Francisco summers look about 15 degrees warmer than they are, even though I'm in a hoodie.

*Single being unmarried, not unattached.

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June 18, 2010 at 12:05 pm (future, in my head, It's all about me, On dating and mating)

I’m getting cold feet.

Before you all start buying me wedding presents or worry that my absence has been due to some wild elopement, know that I’m not talking about marriage. I’m getting cold feet about leaving the City. Not the Bay Area (because really, I love this place more than Jesse James loves inked-up strippers), but San Francisco. The move is not imminent…or even planned, but it’s coming. I can feel it.

I’m starting to settle in to things like dishwashers and garbage disposals and yards and laundry. I’m deeply in love with coming home to meat and vegetables already on the grill. The dog-wanting is pathological. The Man has me sort of sold on Marin.

But I’m not quite ready yet. And so, I’ve begun to look at all things urban the way you look at a brownie sundae the day before starting a diet. WANT. And want now. And want more of it than I should have.

I cleaned my entire apartment last night (in preparation for a visit from Mom today) and loved every sound coming from the noisy street below. I put a youparklikeanasshole.com sign on an oversized SUV this morning and enjoyed a full 5 minutes of a cheeky, self-satisfied smile. I’d like to try a new restaurant every night, have cocktails while wearing impossibly high heels*, and sit in coffee shops writing stories in my head about other patrons. It’s like one last fling. Even if it may last a couple of years.

And that might be one of the reasons I am deeply, deeply in love with the condo The Man owns, but where he does not live. I can’t afford the rent (let alone the mortgage), but it could not be more perfect for me if I’d picked it out myself. It’s all exposed concrete beams and wall of industrial windows. All galley kitchen (with brand new stainless steel appliances) and open floor plan. All cool colors and warm wood. All walking distance to one of our favorite bars and one of my favorite coffee spots. It is the kind of place I never thought I’d be able to live in. It’s a dream, truly, I’ve never felt I could voice. It is just the kind of urban chic spot I want for my next three years. It’s somewhere I could imagine my last fling with the city, last memories of unmarried, untethered life before settling into porches and wine and slow-dancing in the kitchen. It is that impossibly hot bartender pouring tequila shots at my bachelorette party. Except that having my way with it wouldn’t ruin my relationship…which makes it that much more dangerous and enticing.

How does your current living situation fit into where you are in life? And has anyone else fallen in love with a space in this way?

*Bloomingdale’s sale + my own personal ’70s moment = I can be six feet tall if I want to.

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Be My Blog Valentine

February 8, 2010 at 5:42 pm (future, It's all about me, plays well with others)

I’m not into Valentine’s Day in the traditional sense. You know, the dozen red roses and fancy steak dinner and one day a month you wear sexy lingerie. This could be because I like my roses white and have begun to avoid beef and wholeheartedly think sexy lingerie deserves regular wearing, but it’s also because I’ve always appreciated a different kind of romance.

I’m single on Valentine’s Day this year, but to be honest, I don’t mind a bit. I mind being single*, sure, but that won’t make February 14th different from any other day.

Last year I gathered with other single girlfriends and, quite honestly, had the best night of the year. This year looks like more of the same, but I find myself getting into it. I want to get these for the girls tied to little JimmyJane candles (oh, hush–don’t act shocked!) with a tiny cellophane envelope full of cinnamon hearts. I want to get this for C (who will be in town for the weekend) and other small home items for some of my other besties. I want to bake heart-shaped cookies for my co-workers and go office to office hand-delivering them.

None of it will happen–or very little will happen–but I do get to give (and get!) a present this year. I’m participating in Be My Blog Valentine (masterminded by Ashalah). I’m already excited about what I’m sending off to my secret valentine, but in case someone is visiting and wondering what to get me (not so nice that I made you wade through three paragraphs to get to this, was it), here’s the deal:

  • I kind of love anything letterpress. Like this or this.
  • I’ve recently become obsessed with vintage clear glass coasters (random, I know).
  • I do a happy dance for dark chocolate, seasonal M&Ms (i.e. in holiday colors), gummy cherries, and cinnamon bears. The happy dance may or may not involve a pirouette. 
  • Bookmarks are ALWAYS good and useful. Likewise anything that quotes Jane Austen. Or Dorothy Parker.
  • And mix-CDs of music I’ve never heard before are welcome too.

To be honest, I will thrilled by whatever I get, but it’s always helpful when someone (especially when that someone is a stranger) gives you a direction in which to head.

*It still terrifies me to admit that.

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