The explanation that you’re owed

Hi.  I’m here.  Sorry.  These last few weeks really got away from me.

What’s been going on?  Here’s a rundown of life since November 24:

Wednesday, November 26

Brian is in town and, being that when he and I hang out we come up with grandiose ideas about how to entertain ourselves, we decide to head to the new Academy of Sciences.  On the day before Thanksgiving.  It’s raining and school is out, so  “Surely,” we tell ourselves on the drive over, “there won’t be any families with boisterous young children at the museum today!  Why would there be?”

There is a line a hundred strong to get into the building.  We realize this is the line you get in after you buy your tickets.  We divide and conquer: I buy the tickets while Brian gets in the entrance line.  This is the perfect strategy; as I sign my receipt and hope that this excursion is worth $25 freaking dollars a person (and they DON’T offer student prices mind you), Brian is nearing the entrance door.

First order of business: food.  Neither of us have eaten and I can feel myself starting to get mildly grumpy.  At no other museums but ones in San Francisco will they have a coffee cart offering salami sandwiches made with Acme baguette, black bean soup with creme fraîche, Izze sodas and a lovely assortment of scones.  I love it.  Fed and watered, we take in the museum.

We get downstairs to the Steinhardt aquarium, and there are so many people crushed into the aquarium that the fish are freaking out.  I know this because as I look into one of the large tanks, bodies of fish are scattered along the sandy bottom, still, as if dead.  But no, they are only comatose!: ocassionally a fish gives a slight flicker of the fin.  I wonder what’s freaking these fish out, why they’re doing that.  Then I see the scores of children banging on the glass, hard as they can, screaming at the fish to move, and taking flash photographs while their parents laugh and clap like monkeys, encouraging their progeny’s “curiosity.”  I hate everyone.

We find a guide and ask her why the fish are doing that; she affirms that this is indeed odd behavior, acknowledges that today the museum is a huge clusterfuck, and goes to get an aquatic biologist to make sure everyone will be okay.  Hooray!  We’ve saved the aquarium!

We see lots of dead insects, things from Madagascar and Galapagos (evolution fascinates me), and penguins.  We enter the stunning 4-story rain forest, and admire the many varieties of butterflies and birds fluttering about within.  There’s a man who has a large electric blue and black butterfly land on his shoulder; for his entire tour through the rain forest, it would stay with him.  There’s also a woman who’s taken to picking up the butterflies off the trees by their wings.  She grins like a dumb baboon while her family laughs and claps (like monkeys) and take photos of her.  Eventually another visitor, equally as distraught as Brian and I are that this woman is picking up the zoo animals and potentially injuring them mentions something to her about maybe NOT getting your grubby human oils all over the butterfly wings.  I want to high-five her.  The  baboon lady says something snide, and hurries away.  I hate everyone again.

After a good 5-hours of learning, we head out.  It’s raining and cold and we’re hungry again.  We decide that dim sum is the best idea we’ve ever heard of.  “But dim sum?  Now?” I say to Brian, “It’s 3:45 on a Wednesday.  Where are we gonna get dim sum?”

Luckily for us, Brian had dined with a group of friends at Canton the previous evening.  He noticed you can get dim sum to order.  This is genius and highly convenient, as Canton is a mere 4 blocks from my apartment, and we can get our dim sum on the way home.

Fortune would see things differently.

It’s the day before Thanksgiving, and people want to get out of the city.  Like, now.  Add the rain, and traffic is bad getting home.  Really bad.  By the time the restaurant’s bright yellow sign is within view, we’re only a few blocks from a Bay Bridge entrance, and traffic is moving at a snai’s pace.  Both of us are hungry and are tempted to eat our arms off.  To pass the time, we try to come up with as many words as we can for “fart.”  I think we come up with less than 10…THAT’S how hungry we were.  We finally make it to the restaurant (it’s now 5 o’clock or so) and dive into siu mai, turnip cakes, BBQ pork buns and a pot of tea.  I’m spent.

Once home, Joe has just finished showering from his workout, and needs a few minutes of downtime.  This is perfect, because I need to make oatmeal chocolate chip cookies for the big day tomorrow!  Brian and I whip up a batch, and nosh.  They’re really, really good.  I think it’s the flax seed.  Or maybe the butter.  Meh.

We spend the next three hours deciding what to do.  This in fact turns out to be what we do for the night.  Because of our inability to get it together, I spend the night prepping for Thanksgiving: breaking down the chicken and getting it into its marinade, mixing together the spinach and artichoke dip, making the breadcrumb mixture for the mac and cheese.  We all half-heartedly watch half an hour of Final Destination: 3, and talk about how it’s total malarkey that Yardhouse doesn’t have a Northern California location.  I mean, what is that, really?

Brian heads home and we promise him a better time Friday.

Thursday, November 25

The apartment is a stretchy-pants only zone.  Denim need not apply.  Breakfast consists of more cookies and hot tea.  We really kick things off at 11 with an entire baking dish of spinach and artichoke dip, washed down with several Anchor Steam Christmas Ales (my favorite beer of the season, I’ve decided).  We’re already really full.  How are we supposed to eat the rest of it?

I get to frying and mac and cheese-ing around 4.  I miscalculate how much oil I’ll need, and end up doing more of a pan fry than a deep fry on the poultry.  The chicken itself has incredible flavor and is super moist, but the coating burns slightly what with all the sugar in the vinegar (and NO my oil wasn’t too hot — I constantly monitored it with my trust digital read thermometer).  Still, we tore into the chicken and had a ton leftover for the next few days.

The mac and cheese was a whole ‘nother story.  I’ve made mac and cheese at many points in my life.  I think this year, I outdid myself.  Several cups of grated aged gruyere, sharp yellow cheddar, and parmesan.  Bechamel made the real way, not the sell out skim-milk way.  Bits of bacon stirred into the sauce along with the cheese.  All tossed together with nearly al dente cavatappi, poured into a buttered baking dish, then covered with herbed breadcrumbs.  Uff, my heart lurches just thinking about it.

We eat too much, watch a lot of TV, read a little, then pass out.  I wonder if I’ll have a heart attack in the night.

Friday, November 26

Joe has a half day at work, so when he gets home, he informs me we’re doing  a workout together in our living room.  We’ll have a minute to do either 10 push ups or 10 squats, followed by 10 sit ups or crunches.  We’ll repeat this set for 30 minutes.  He opts to do push ups and sit ups only, I opt to alternate the squats and push ups.  So effectively, by the end of the half hour, he’s done 300 push ups and 300 sit ups; I’ve done 150 squats, 150 push ups and 300 crunches.  I feel good.

Brian comes up to the city, and, as promised, we take him out to eat at Mezes, a good go-to place to take guests since it’s in a happening nightlife area and has solid food that you can share amongst the group.  We drink two bottles of wine, one of them given to Brian by his dad.  It’s a 2001 Dehlinger RRV Pinot Noir, and it’s lovely.  I inquire about getting some of this fine wine from the Dehlinger family; Brian informs me that there’s a wait list to get on the wait list of the mailing list, or some such nonsense.  Harumph.

We end up at Solstice with some other folks from college, then call it a night around midnight.  Brian heads home, and we promise to come down early so we can hang out and snack before the Notre Dame game.

Saturday, November 27

Great Holy mother of God, I can’t walk.  I’ve just woken up and realize I can’t move my legs toward the edge of the bed.  Joe has paralyzed me with that workout of his.  He can keep his fancy low resting heart rate.

We walk (I waddle) to the train station and head south.  At Brian’s, we spend the day playing board games and mostly eating a lot of junk food.  Notre Dame is destroyed by our alma mater, and all is right with the world.

Sunday, November 28

Still physically disabled, we spend the day indoors, reading and watching TV.  We eat oatmeal and a big salad with a bit of the leftover chicken, the (now soggy) crusts removed.  It was a good long weekend.

Monday, November 29 – Monday, December 8

I’m a baller.  My Christmas shopping is entirely finished, gifts already Priority Mailed to the places they need to be.  I sent out my Christmas cards over a week ago.  I’m looking for a job (see: previous post).  I’ve been going to appointments and lunches and deciding whether we want to move apartments come mid-January.  Trying to put together New Years Eve plans with folks who all want different things out of the evening (Hello?  You need an outfit that is either debonair or sparkly and some champagne, preferably Roederer.  End of story.).  I online-tutored Brian on how to deep-fry his first turkey at the UCLA tailgate (by all accounts, it was a stunning success).  I’ve been exercising more, since I realized that I’m supposed to be on a beach in three weeks.  And of course, I’ve been eating.  Oh, that saucy temptress, food.

Good eats as of late:

  • Dim sum at Canton
  • The rice porridge at Out the Door
  • Kimchi ramen at Katana-ya
  • My recipe for tzatziki, devoured with warm pita bread
  • Gyros and dolmas at Baladie
  • Oysters Bingo at Buckeye Roadhouse
  • Joe’s sun-dried tomato hummus
  • Spaghetti carbonara that I made for lunch last week
  • Loving that I can eat like this and still fit into my pants.

Okay, party people.  That’s all I got for you.  Sorry I was gone so long, as you can see, I had many important things and people to attend to.  Now back to regularly scheduled programming.

Leave a Comment


  1. 12.10.08
    Jeff said:

    “joe has paralyzed me,” that made me laugh. I also decided, after not running in weeks, to go for a run the other day and not stretch afterward. effect: paralysis.

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