friends


So… I was getting ready to publish a “woe is me” post outlining my annoyance at my current profession, the envy I feel because all my friends are having children and I’m not, the silly arguments Mr. T and I have had in the past week, and the fact that I have a cold and it’s 90F outside.

But then a friend who runs a B&B contacted me to tell me that she had scheduled a photo shoot for me with West magazine this Friday for my cooking classes.

Me.  In West magazine.  With a published recipe.  And my contact information.

I shouldn’t stop reminding myself that when things seem to be going badly, it’s only because our energies are re-aligning themselves towards something new and better.

Now excuse me, I have to go figure out how to make and creatively plate ceviche with peaches.

Mr. T has a pair of friends (a couple) who are really flaky. Take today, for example. Mr. T called me while I was making dinner, to tell me that they wanted to go walk the dogs at the beach and would we like to join them. I sighed, because I was wearing nice clothes and didn’t feel like changing, plus I was making dinner and didn’t feel like having to reheat everything. However, I agreed to go because they’re his friends and the dogs needed a walk.

I turned off the stove, schlepped upstairs to change into short and running shoes, pulled up my hair in a ponytail, and went downstairs to wait for Mr. T. Ten minutes later I got a call from him again: His friends bailed out on the plans THEY had proposed.

I am a compulsive planner… DO NOT mess with my schedule, if you know what’s good for you. That’s just not nice, people.

Oh, did I mention I have PMS? Can you tell? Really? What gave it away??

In other news, today I had lunch with a good friend who’s a few days away from delivering a baby boy. Her husband is out of town, so our group of friends is taking turns “watching” her. We went to the mall, waddled around for 30 minutes, and had lunch.

While we were finishing lunch, she groaned and grabbed her huge belly. Oh shit, I thought. This is it! Dear God, why on my watch?? WHY???

I must have looked terrified, because she laughed and said, “Don’t worry, he just kicked.”

I sighed and thanked my lucky stars, because honestly, I couldn’t even remember where I had parked the car!

Mr. T invited his secretary and her husband for dinner tonight and I have to make freaking profiteroles and it’s almost 1pm and I haven’t started or even gone to the supermarket and I have enough work to last me a year and I’m freaking out and the house is a shithole and the dogs peed on the couch and how can two people make so much dirty laundry????

And how the hell do women with small kids and full-time jobs manage, anyways???

I want my mommy…

Or a maid…

One of my dearest and closest friends took a brave step recently.  She expressed to a man, for the first time ever, what it was that she wanted in her future.  No longer did she hide under the “independent woman” guise; when asked during a date where she saw herself in ten years, she replied, “I want to be married, have children, and be a stay-at-home mom”.

Why, you ask, do I consider this a brave step?  Well, my friend comes from a feminist background and was taught early in life that she didn’t need a man to be happy.  She attended a feminist college, and spent most of the first decade of her adult life struggling between what she thought she should want and what her real yearnings were.

For many years she dated men who didn’t reach her level of maturity or provide her with any real emotional fulfillment, mainly because she didn’t know what she wanted out of a relationship and was too afraid of rejection to voice her real desires.  She did some soul-searching and realized that, upbringing be damned, she wanted to build a traditional family with traditional values and roles.

Many women (me included) who suffer from low self-esteem find it hard to believe that we will find a man who will be willing to allow us the joys of staying home with our children and taking care of our husband.  Skewed feminism concepts propagated by society and encouraged by cowardly men have made us believe that we are only as good as the job we hold, the income we bring home, and the body we parade around in.  The traditional skills of child-rearing and home-making have been relegated to quaint black and white memories tinged with the sepia of oppression and quiet despair.

It takes a strong, confident woman to shut out society’s expectations and listen only to her heart.  And it takes a brave, grounded man to meet her halfway.

I mentioned my friend’s act of courage to my parents over lunch a few days ago.  My father was surprised, and remarked that when he was young (in the late 60’s in Mexico) men wouldn’t dream of approaching a woman with the intention of dating unless the man’s end goals were to marry her and provide for her and their children.

At first I became very upset at feminists.  Because of them, women with “traditional” goals now have to go around justifying and masking what used to be something perfectly acceptable.  Many single women today wouldn’t dream of telling their date that they are looking for a man who will support them and allow them to stay at home and raise a family, lest the man think she was only interested in his money.  And many single men today would yell “check, please!!” upon hearing the woman’s request, branding her a gold-digger and not wanting to shoulder the responsibility.  Yet, it’s been demonstrated countless times that couples are happiest in relationships with well-defined roles, and what could be more well-defined than a traditional marriage?

However, my friend pointed out that not all aspects of feminism are bad.  Fifty years ago, if women wanted to work it was as nurses, teachers, or secretaries.  Now, the world is our oyster.  We can travel, make money, own homes, and build careers.  We’re much better role models for our daughters now than we were fifty years ago.  But are we really?

Last week I had the pleasure of spending a week with Mr. T’s 10 and 13-year old nieces.  They come from a conservative family, so I was shocked to hear them utter the phrase “Women are better than men” several times over the course of the week.  At one point, I tried explaining that we’re “different”, not “better”.  They wouldn’t hear it.  Has society gone so far in the other direction that our future generations will be too blinded by bitterness and insecurity to appreciate the glorious and life-affirming differences between the sexes?

I spent the weekend in San Francisco with my good friend Rachel, and the only reason I didn’t chain myself to the Golden Gate bridge and refuse to leave was because I knew Mr. T and the dogs were waiting for me back in SD. What a freaking AWESOME city, y’all!!!

Friday night found us enjoying some amazing Indian food. You gotta love a city where every restaurant has a whole page devoted to vegetarian entrees. Dahl, Channa, Sag Paneer… I was in heaven. We then headed over to the Castro and a hip little bar called Lime, where I was told they serve the most delicious fish tacos in the city. For me, fish tacos are best served from a roadside cart in Baja, so I took their word for it. They did make a mean appletini, though…

What still gets to me is how much my alcohol tolerance has waned in six years. At 25, I could drink grown men under the table and still make it to the 6am spinning class at the gym. Now, three glasses of red wine and an appletini, and my body’s begging for mercy. Old age sucks. 😉

And speaking of booze, Saturday morning we drove to Calistoga, where we rented bikes and took a cycling tour of the vineyards. The bike shop encouraged the practice of “spit n’cycle” but seriously, people, who can resist taking a few clandestine sips of a $55 wine??? We figured we’d burn off the alcohol cycling from winery to winery. Then, Rachel crashed into a wall while admiring her front tire. ‘Nuff said.

We headed downtown on Sunday to cure our hangover with a dose of spiritual cleansing. I nabbed us some tickets to see/hear the Dalai Lama speak on “Creating Positive Change”. The thing about the Dalai Lama is, I always expect him to say something so devastatingly profound that I’m certain I won’t be able to grasp it. To me, Buddhism is so complicated and ethereal, totally out of my realm. I was therefore impressed with the simpleness of his words and the humility of his spirit. I’m preparing another post with the topics of his talk, but let’s just say that sometimes the most basic concepts can have the most earth-shaking effects.

To keep with the Asian theme, Rachel and I headed down to Chinatown after the presentation.  She took me to taste teas, and if you’ve never done this, it is an experience NOT to be missed!!  You sit at a bar and a wacky Chinese guy prepares and pours different kinds of teas into thimble-sized cups.  He explains what each tea is as you taste it, and when you’ve drunk so much tea that you swear you’ll never take a sip again as long as you live, you’re encouraged to buy the ones you liked best.  We tasted Siberian rose tea (liquid roses, people), black lychee tea (naturally sweet!), jasmine pearl (a great way to drink white tea without the nasty white tea taste), and this amazing black tea that’s buried for six years inside a mandarin rind!  They also served us an assortment of green teas and a milk oolong tea that tasted like buttah.  No, I’m not doing my best impression of a Saturday Night Live skit.  The damn thing tasted like butter!

So while you’re tasting teas, the Chinese pourers strike up conversations with the clients.  Rachel and I chatted along with them, but a couple next to us remained strangely quiet.  The Chinese “bartender” asked them: “Why you not talking?” and the lady replied: “I’m stoned, man.”

Only in San Francisco.

After tasting over 10 different kinds of teas and spending a small fortune, we headed down to House of Nanking for dinner.  If you’ve never gone, it’s a must-see next time you’re in the city.  It’s a no-frills restaurant that’s packed to the gills!  They have the angriest waiters in the world, surpassed only by the angriest chef in the world.  They sit you elbow to elbow with the couple next to you and throw a couple of hand-written menus on the table.  The waiter barks: “You want tea, beer, soda,” and if you hesitate for more than a second, he’ll leave and not come back for 30 minutes.

We ordered tea (because of course we’re gluttons for punishment) and the waiter came back to take our “order” a few minutes later.  Here’s the gist of the conversation:

Rachel: We want two hot and sour soups.

Waiter: One enough for two!

Rachel: Oh, ok… And we want the mu shu vegetables and we’re trying to decide if we want a fish or a shellfish entree.

Waiter: What you want?  Fish or shellfish?  You want fish, I bring you fish.

With that, he grabbed our menus and left.  “Uh, what are we getting,” I asked Rachel.  “Who knows,” she replied.  “Some sort of fish.”

At least we got to pick two out of three items.  A german couple next to us was told: “I bring you chicken, fish, and tofu, OK?”  The waiter left before they could even agree.  They just blinked at eachother and took nervous sips from their Tsing Taos.

We needn’t have worried, because we got the most amazing Chinese food I’ve ever tasted, which was a fitting end to a most delicious weekend in San Francisco.

Dear Ashley, Rachel, and Cristina,

It is with great pleasure that I would like to request your participation as my bridesmaids in my upcoming wedding. Yes, I know Mr. T has not yet proposed, but really, that’s just a technicality. He doesn’t understand that there’s lots to be done; I should know, I plan these things for a living!

The most important aspect of the wedding, as far as you’re concerned, should be to make me look good. Isn’t that the job of every bridesmaid? With that in mind, I have made a few dress selections. All three of you are very pretty girls, so I had to find dresses that… um… played down your most attractive features. But don’t worry, I can assure you they are all amazing dresses which, with a little hemming, you’ll be able to wear to cocktail parties for years to come! I know you’re probably very excited to see what you’ll be wearing on my special day. So, without further ado, I give you the bridesmaid dress choices:

Option #1: The Saran Wrap Dress

What? Why are you laughing? InStyle magazine says the wrap dress flatters just about any figure! OK, so I know these dresses are a little poofy, but they really won’t take up any closet space at all. Rachel, you’ll be happy to know they’re bio-degradable. After the wedding, you simply take a match to them and they disappear into thin air! I spoke with the hair dresser, and she assured me she could re-create the hairstyles to accentuate the dresses. Yes, I know you’ll have to get frizzy perms, but isn’t that what friends are for?

Option #2: Civil War Era Bordello Curtain Dress

Being the history buff that I am, I considered a Civil War theme. Doesn’t this material just bring to mind a Southern whorehouse from a bygone era? Never mind that the model wearing this dress looks more pained than pleased; I’m sure it weighs under 25 lbs… Without the petticoats. Just think of how many calories you’ll burn when you try dancing in this dress!! Cristina, the fact that you think nobody will ask you to dance in this dress is really not something I need to worry about at this stage of the planning process. Geez… *bright smiles* Isn’t this fun?!?!

Option #3: Wedding in the Vineyards

Doesn’t this dress make you think “vineyards”? Look, the skirt is the grape and your feet are the stem! No, Ashley, I didn’t say, “Doesn’t this dress make you want to drown your sorrows in a bottle of wine?” Are you SURE you want to be my bridesmaid? All right, I know what you’re thinking: When the photographer takes pictures of you, the flash will bounce off the dress and make you look fat. But seriously, with a waistline that comes up just under your boobs, will the five pounds the camera adds make THAT much difference?

All right ladies, discuss amongst yourselves. If you need assistance in choosing a dress, I’m sure my faithful readers can help you in the comments section.

My friend “Work in Progress” wrote a beautiful and touching piece about a special date with her fiancé. How often do we go through life sweating the small stuff and not appreciating the blessings that are in front of us? Thanks for reminding me to slow down and taste the chocolate cheesecake. 🙂

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