Monday, January 21, 2013

Winter Blues Free Zone

Like many people, I sometimes get a little depressed during January and February. The holidays are over, the days are really short, and in many parts of the country it is miserably cold. I manage to avoid the cold by living in San Francisco (it's not much colder here in January than it is in June; sometimes it's even warmer), but the short days and post-holiday, post-birthday letdown can get to me.

So every year I make a point of planning fun events and fully enjoying even the most ordinary moments during the wintertime. To that end, I'm taking a mini-holiday in L.A. at the end of the month and an even longer vacation to Hawaii a week later. Winter is no match for the warm waves off Waikiki Beach, I can guarantee that. I've also rediscovered the joys of the sauna and steam room at the gym. That may seem like a small thing, but treating yourself to a mini-spa day after a morning workout can make your entire day a lot nicer. On the music front, I've started preparing for a show that my voice teacher is producing, and I'm looking for new karaoke songs. I think tonight I'm going to try "Brand New Key" by Melanie could I not?

Here are a few other nuggets of goodness from the first weeks of the new year. Let's allow the good times to continue all winter, shall we?

There is nothing nicer than dining with a charming gentleman on a Friday evening. On the first Friday night of 2013, my friend Chris and I decided to partake of the snacks and cocktails at Sauce in Hayes Valley. Yummy.

My friend Danie celebrated her birthday earlier this month and threw a birthday party as delightful as she is. Christine, Danie and I did take a break from the merriment to pose for this photo, though.

About ten years ago my friend Jenny and I would set San Francisco on fire with our wit, poise and intellect. She was one of my closest friends in the City until she moved to the East Coast for graduate school. So when she was in town for a visit a couple of weeks ago, we decided to recreate those halcyon days of 2003 with a visit to Tony Nik's in North Beach. Of course.

Every few months or so, my friend Christine and I make a lady date to sip champagne or cocktails and talk about work, boys, and any other important life topics. We bellied up to the bar at Bottle Cap (also in North Beach) for our most recent lady date last night and nibbled grilled cheese sandwiches, burgers and sweet potato fries while chatting, giggling and being the all around fabulous girls that we are.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Welcome, 2013

I'm not going to insult you, dear readers, by even attempting to apologize for how much I have neglected this little chronicle since summertime. I have come to accept the fact that I'm a fair-weather blogger, and I shouldn't waste your time making excuses. With a new year comes new promise, however, and I was inspired to wander over here and post something today after reading my friend Ann's blog, which is kind of the best thing ever. I can't say when I'll post again, but we won't worry about that right now.

So without further ado, here's a photo summary of the last third of my 2012. I hope last year treated you well, and since the Mayan calendar was wrong (or misinterpreted, I should say), and we're all still here...I wish you all the best for 2013.

September meant another trip to Hawaii because, you know, travelling to Hawaii is what I do. I snapped this shot at Ala Moana Park one evening just as the sun was beginning to set.

In October I went to see Adam Ant, whose music I loved in junior high and high school. Oh, who am I kidding? Songs like "Antmusic", "Stand and Deliver" and "Prince Charming" still hold prominent positions in my iPod. Anyway, Adam put on a great, if fascinating, show. Still working that early 80's sex appeal, he has become the Tom Jones of New Wave.

I am a huge baseball fan, but it had never occurred to me to try to...say...go to a World Series game until this year. It didn't hurt that the Giants swept the Detroit Tigers in four games to win the Fall Classic.

And speaking of baseball, I managed to develop quite a healthy fan crush on Giants center fielder Angel Pagan this year, even though I know he's happily married (and eleven and a half years younger than me, thank you very much). I'm not trying to date the guy, but I was thrilled to meet him at an autograph event in early November, where I got to talk to him for about fifteen seconds and pose for this photo. It was absolutely worth the hour and a half I spent in line for the opportunity. I'm being serious when I say that.

No, I did not win an Emmy this year, but the Emmy I'm holding is real. My friend Danie won it a few years ago, and she kindly let me pose with it at her Christmas party so I could pretend that I am someone.

The last day of the Mayan calendar just happened to be my birthday, so a bunch of friends and I gathered at my favorite karaoke haunt that night to sing it out for the end of the world. I look like some kind of real singer or something, don't I? 

The end of the world karaoke celebrants were a colorful bunch...

And we enjoyed being in photos.

2012 had to come to an end eventually, and that it did last night. In my usual fashion, I stayed out to celebrate until approximately 12:15 a.m. so that I could ring in the new year and still get home at a decent hour. A few of us posed for this shot in the first minutes of 2013. Let's hope we all stay as happy this year as we look in the photo.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Kick Ass Vegas

Well, it's that time of year again: the weekend my friend Andrey gathers a few of his closest buddies for a birthday celebration in LasVegas. About fifteen of us were there this past weekend enjoying the sunshine, desert heat, cocktails, delicious restaurants and just a touch of gambling. We stayed at the Mirage (above, as seen from a deck chair by the pool) and had a delightfully wonderful time. However, I clearly must be getting older, because after two and a half days, I was more than ready to go home. Usually, I'm pouting and stamping my feet at the end of a vacation, but Vegas pretty much kicked my ass this year. I didn't even do anything particularly outrageous, but even behavior that's very mild by Vegas standards is outrageous for me.

Some highlights of the trip:
Sipping vodka and fresh fruit cocktails by the Mirage pool on Saturday and Sunday afternoon.
Eating and enjoying sushi! I hate sushi, but this was at the Japanese-Peruvian-Brazilian fusion restaurant. So it was way better than regular sushi. Way better.
Enjoying champagne and noodles at the Bellagio.
Winning 40 dollars on a 30-cent bet at a Dukes of Hazard penny slot machine at the Wynn. I don't even know how I won, but it was the Dukes of Hazard, so who cares?
Getting a chance to see my friend Simone for the first time in almost a decade. She wasn't part of Andrey's birthday celebration; she and her fiance recently moved to Las Vegas, and they met me at Rhumbar in the Mirage for a drink.
A lengthy champagne brunch at the Mirage buffet.
Discovering that the Mirage gym has a Cybex Arc Trainer, my absolute favorite cardio machine. Yes, I worked out in Vegas. Every day.

Even though Vegas kicked my ass, I'm already looking forward to visiting again for Andrey's birthday next year.

Me and the birthday boy on Friday night as the party was beginning.

Many of us were at brunch drinking all those mimosas, I promise.

*Mirage photo taken by me; others courtesy of my friends Irina and Sabrina.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Spring Flings

As I mentioned in my last post, I attended a few very fun parties this spring: birthday celebrations and, of course, my friends Tom, Chris and Nick's annual Memorial Day weekend barbecue in Potrero Hill. All of the soirees were lovely, and here are a few photos that documented the good times.


Thursday, June 21, 2012

Beaches, Parties and Recovery

 Well, once again, I seem to have taken a bit of a vacation from actually updating this little chronicle. So I decided it was high time to rectify that. Here's a wee summary of some of things I've been doing in the two months(!) since we last spoke.

  • Spent another glorious week in Hawaii in early May. I will be taking three Hawaiian vacations this year, and I couldn't be happier about that fact. I really need to figure out how to become wealthy so I can work part time and spend half the year in the Hawaiian sunshine. I might need to start chatting up some rich old men...
  • Had surgery in mid-late May. Worry not, it was nothing serious (that assurance is mostly for any members of my family who happen to be reading). However, surgery is surgery, and I did have to spend almost a week at home recuperating. Boy, did that get insanely boring after about a day or two. I also was rather uncomfortable for that week, but that's all in the past, and I feel great now.
  • Attended many fun parties. In late April I went to Biscuits and Blues for the first time ever and enjoyed some live blues and delicious snacks for my friend Julie's birthday. May saw my friends' Tom, Chris and Nick's annual Memorial Day Weekend backyard barbecue; my friend Megan's birthday and going-away party combo (she moved to Sacramento for a fancy job); and a fancy wine and bocce ball gathering for my friend Katya's birthday. I have pictures from a couple of these soirees, and I'll post them soon. Or eventually, anyway.
  • Buying a fair number of concert tickets. I'll be attending shows this summer and fall from Squeeze, the Go-Go's, Ray Davies, the Psychedelic Furs, the 88 and who knows who else. In case you hadn't noticed, I'm a bit of a music fan.
  • Singing, after just a small break during my surgery recovery. But I always sing, so what else is new?
That pretty much sums up the last eight weeks or so, and now it officially is summer, the time of year when daylight lasts well into the evening hours. I'll be spending some of those longs days on mini-vacations in Los Angeles and Vegas, before jetting off to Hawaii again as summer turns to fall.

Life really is a wonderful thing, isn't it?

Monday, April 23, 2012

Endless Rock Stars

Last Thursday I did the most fun thing in the world: I went to see Madness in concert. I'd seen the second wave ska kings, whose heyday was in the late 70's and early 80's, once before in 2006, but apparently I had forgotten how great they are live. It was one of the best shows I've ever seen...from guys who have been performing for 30 years. I guess they know what they're doing.

Over the next several months I'll be bouncing between L.A. and the Bay Area to take in shows by a few other ageless rock stars, including Squeeze, the Go-Go's and the Psychedelic Furs. Based on that list, you'd think it was still the late 70's or early 80's.

Make no mistake, I also like quite a bit of new music. Just the other day I picked up a copy of the Shins new album; I become a bigger fan of Fitz and the Tantrums with every passing moment; I downloaded tunes by Fun. and Gotye from iTunes last night; and I go see local bands here in San Francisco on a regular basis.

However, as much as I like new music, I love that the musical heroes from childhood have taken a never-say-die attitude and continue to tour.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Happy Birthday

It's not my birthday, but I'm going to talk about myself, anyway. At least for a moment.

I moved to San Francisco on November 30, 1996. I was 26 years old, about to turn 27, and my first years in the City were amazing. I was still at the relative beginning of my career, so once I found work, which happened quite quickly, I had to work at some slightly insane times of day. However, I  was able to support myself working part-time for my first four years in town. I also was still acting back then, which meant studio classes, play readings in living rooms, four-night per week rehearsals and performances in 50-seat theatre houses, some of which were nestled in the slightly seedier parts of town.

The late 90's in San Francisco were such a crazy good time; I really wish I had appreciated them more. Don't get me wrong, I was very happy to have returned to California after a few too many years in New England, and I was super excited to have become a City by the Bay denizen. I loved my work and my acting habit, and I made friends easily. However, as they say, youth is wasted on the young. Had I known then what I know now, I wouldn't have wasted a millisecond being insecure or worrying about anything. The nightlife also was a kick, of course. "Hipster" was not yet a dirty word, and girls in chunky platformed shoes swarmed the streets alongside boys in bowler shirts. Swing bands were just as likely to play clubs as indie rock acts were, and everyone knew where to get the best burritos after the bars closed.

My first favorite bar in the City was Blondie's Bar and No Grill in the Mission, which I discovered in the summer of 1997. I met the first boy I kissed in San Francisco during one of my first visits there, and in 2003 Nikki, the owner, let me dance on the bar Coyote Ugly-style. Well, Blondie's celebrated its 21st birthday this week, and Nikki threw a party to mark the occasion. Since I am no longer in my twenties, I arrived early and left early. I also brought my friend Andrey, who informed me that he was 17 when I first started frequenting Blondie's. I did ask, but ouch. Regardless, it still was mighty fun to sip a lemon drop (pictured above) and remember those heady, halcyon days.

If I have learned nothing else in my life, I have learned to enjoy the here and now. And that's good news, because even at 42, my life is still a crazy good time, even if it has become somewhat mellow. Believe me, I have no intention of being 60 and wishing I had better appreciated those glory days of 2012.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

A Different Bunny Trail

If you're a regular reader of this tiny chronicle, you may be aware of my Easter tradition: brunch at the Rex Cafe in Russian Hill. I organized Easter brunch at the Rex for eleven straight years and had every intention of making this the twelfth when tragedy struck.

Okay, what struck was not exactly a tragedy, but it was disappointing. The Rex Cafe closed in early March, making Easter brunch there a tad difficult. So I gathered a bunch of family members and close friends and took my party to Bottle Cap in North Beach where we toasted the Easter Bunny (and Jesus, of course). Emboldened by the change of venue, I also got really crazy and turned the brunch into an early dinner. Actually, I did that because I had a voice lesson in the afternoon, but whatever.

Nothing in life is constant other than change, and even though I loved having a holiday tradition, we all had a fine and quite delicious Easter at the new restaurant. Maybe Bottle Cap will become a tradition, or perhaps we'll be nomadic Easter celebrants. Only time will tell.

Carla, Andrey and me looking lovely in our Easter finest (if I do say so, myself).

Some Easter partiers looking hungry. Don't you think?

Pretty ladies who dine.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Party Like It's 1986

Does it seem like I've been talking about my prep school a lot lately? Well, that's just because there have been a couple of recent donor/alumni events I've attended. On Thursday, there was a San Francisco reception in Pacific Heights for Poly alumni, and of course I was there. Several other alums who graduated in the 80's also made it, so naturally, we took the celebration to Solstice on California and Divisadero for an after party once the official reception was done.

As always, it was a lot of fun to reminisce and even more fun to see people from high school without actually having to be in high school.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Sunny Winter Weekend in the Southland

Remember about 1000 years ago when I said I would post photos from the Los Angeles leg of my Winter Break 2012? Well, I'm finally getting around to it. I've been a terrible blog slacker for the past month or so, but hopefully I'll be back on track soon.

Anyway, it was 80 degrees and sunny that late January weekend, and the two and a half days I spent in Los Angeles, Pasadena and Glendale were just lovely. I went to the prep school alumni luncheon that I wrote about in the last post; I sang some songs; I saw the film The Artist, which I loved (it so deserved its Best Picture Oscar); and I hung out with my very fun family and friends.

If I were rich, I'd jet down to L.A. for the weekend a couple of times a month, but as things stand, I'll have to settle for about five or so Southland mini-vacations per year. I'm okay with that; I also have my Hawaii sojourns, so there is no need to be greedy about getting some Los Angeles time.

A shot of my prep school. Doesn't it look like a lovely place to get an education?

Another angle. These photos are both of the elementary/middle school campus. The high school campus is across the street.

Ground beef and pickle tacos on Sunset in Silver Lake. Yum.


A sunny January brunch at Dusty's, which is also in Silver Lake, with Denise and Charlie.

Of course there was karaoke...this time at Barney's Beanery in West Hollywood.

My karaoke partner in crime, Emily.