Monthly Archives: September 2012

Politics in SF: Best Served with a Trumpet

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Living and working in San Francisco has had the unfortunate consequence of hardening me to any and all form of aggressive politically-motivated protest. It’s nothing personal, it’s a basic survival instinct. When you can’t schedule business calls in the afternoon because your office is sandwiched between the corporate headquarters of a Wells Fargo and Chevron, and the noise coming from people in the street is loud enough to drown everything else out, you die a little inside.

At some point, the occasional inflatable rat truck-float, the ‘power to the people, my people’, and creative rap ditties about economic injustice and inequalities don’t even elicit an eyebrow raise.

While I’m angry that overexposure, we’re talking once a week minimum — daily during high season, has made me deaf to the voice of unions and advocacy groups, I also take solace in the fact that every once in a while a little ray of sunshine pierces through.

This weekend I experienced one such magical moment while waiting for a girlfriend to join me at the Farmers Market. Completely unaware of my surroundings, I pulled out of my I’m-waiting-for-someone-fog when I heard a trumpet blowing ‘When the Saints Come Marching In’. The sound was beautiful. It was coming from a young kid, fully dressed and pressed and overall winning at life. It took me a good minute to realize that I was staring at him through an angry anti-government mob (complete with fake helicopter bleeding streams of monopoly-money cash).

The juxtaposition of the two made me smile. It made me listen. And it made me feel like I was witnessing a secret commentary on something larger than any one issue or performance could ever offer.

Of course, before I could decipher the deeper meaning of it all my girlfriend showed up and I was instantly wrapped-up in where we could find dill and a whole chicken for her soup recipe. I’m naturally averse to critical thinking, sue me.

It did however give me a great idea for when I go off the rails one day (it’s happening…) and start pounding the pavement with glitter-glue signs decrying the dangers of god-knows-what: hire an adorable child trumpeter to walk a few paces ahead… it will give your protest that allure of depth you’re striving for and likely not achieving, while also providing a rhythmic guide for your unintelligible chanting.

Win.

…minus the I’ve-clearly-gone-crazy-if-I’m-taking-this-advice part.

Three Things: My 30s Thus Far

Ok, ok… I swear this will be the last 30s-themed post on The Dilly Daily. What started as a necessary break from life to recover from a hat-trick of amazing birthday celebrations turned into a week away from posting. And I missed it. Let’s quickly discuss what transpired so we can move on to deeper, funnier, and, as previously stated, non-30s-themed writing.

The first week of my 30s, in three (non-sequential) acts…

  1. While jogging in my neighborhood I was passed by a woman walking a three-legged mini poodle. Let me say that again, my running speed was outpaced by an animal (admittedly, a badass animal) that is minus one leg. I couldn’t make that up. It happened. I’m trying to accept it and move forward. I think this is supposed to symbolize the heights I have yet to attain… meaning, despite my current super-awesome state, I still have room to grow and improve… lots, and lots, of room.
  2. I fell in love with Philosophy’s Hope in a Jar (who wouldn’t? it feels like liquid silk and my skin definitely looks brighter for it…) and ordered my first thing of eye-cream. Apparently I’m way behind the curve on this one, but I still haven’t been convinced that the deep lines around my eyes aren’t sexy because they announce to the world that I have the funniest friends. Still, maybe the lines could be ever-so-slightly more subtle… you know, speak to the world using an indoor voice instead of a megaphone.
  3. During the warm-up routine for a new class at my gym, I expertly re-tweaked my lower back. The herniated disc strikes again! Or, more accurately, my over-exhuberance to execute a totally mundane weight-bearing exercise struck my disc. Whatever. Point is, it sucked. Things that don’t suck about this include: being able to laugh at the fact that this happened during warm-up, having soldiered on through the rest of class (which is really to say the entire class…) I was rewarded with a full-body soreness that only burpees, followed by mountain climbers, transitioning into jumping jacks, and ending with plank push-ups can elicit, and, finally, with the trauma a few days behind me, the pain in my abs and quads has eclipsed that in my back proving this to be but a minor re-tweak which shouldn’t prevent me from attempting to do it all over again next week.

So, there it is… my 30s. Having lived it and written about it, I’m now ready to shut up about it.

Promise-ish.

TTIL: Three Words

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Birthday Christmas lights.

Hey, 30s… Let’s Do This

I know… I promised some grade-A midlife crisis freakout scribbles. And I hate to disappoint (because even I was looking forward to reading it and making fun of myself). Unfortunately, I may have accidentally processed all of my irrational age-related fears in a boorishly healthy manner prior to my birthday… so this post might be a little heavy on the positive outlook and opportunities for growth front.

Again, my apologies.

Actually we can blame it on Adobe’s free version of photoshop for the iPhone. I’ve realized that there is nothing to worry about when embarking on a whole new decade when I can just demand that every photo taken of me ever be overlaid in Warm Vintage III:

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See how healthy and lovely I look? That’s a woman who’s ready for all the enlightenment and body-acceptance falsely promised to accompany her 30s!

Those of you who’ve ridden the roller coaster of my last two weeks will know that I didn’t slide easily into this 11th hour zen perspective. Out of no where I started losing sleep, questioning the relevance of my existence, zoning out during movies while my own horror-flick montage of a life lived unfulfilled played in my head… and, worst of all, I was plagued with bizarre and taunting dreams… like the most recent in which I had to get to Napa Valley for my birthday but all of the freeways had been replaced with water slides and I was TOO BIG FOR THE FREEWAY WATER SLIDE.

No one deserves that. Well, I wasn’t about to let my 30th birthday break me. Birthdays can smell fear (or is that cats? babies?)… anyway, never let them see you sweat!

Luckily, with my good friends Warm Vintage III and a new pair of Gap True Straight (cough, stretch) jeans I feel both ready and optimistic about this next chapter. Maybe all this age-related wisdom is just the comfort that comes from being around the block long enough to know what you can change, what you can’t change, and what you can purchase in the event that all else fails.

I guess we’ll see how I feel about it next week.

For now, peace out 20s… it’s been real. College, foreign travels, a great job, the best friends, and my perfect match. So much to be thankful for, but so much more to look forward to.

Department of Motivating Vanity

Oh, DMV… you are such a sneaky mistress! Day two of two and I’m no closer to obtaining a drivers license with my new married last name and updated (non-disgruntled-teen) photo than I was 12 months ago when I should have taken care of it all in the first place…

I am willing to accept some responsibility for this. In fact, the ladies at the DMV were unbelievably nice… especially after the multiple rejections caused me to want to throw myself on the floor tantrum-style and poke my eyes out with their little accordion pens. But right now I’m too exhausted from two straight days of doing my hair and using advanced makeup techniques like primer and eyeliner to really care about my roll in all of this. I want a nap. And a drivers license.

This experience has led me to self-evaluate and ask some hard hitting questions… mainly, who are these super-human women that get up every morning and put in the time to look foxy and fabulous? Seriously… who are you?! How do you do what you do? Sometimes I tell myself that you just roll out of bed looking cookie-cutter cute… but that denies you props for your outstanding commitment to consistent glam. Other times I tell myself you’re all just freaks of nature, compensating for some weird sub-level issue, like scales or an extra belly-button… but then I catch my overt jealousy showing and it makes me feel ugly.

Alas, I fall into a different category of woman… the kind who prefers creature comforts that only a cozy bed and fluffy comforter can provide, like sleep. I like to spend my mornings sleeping. On days that I have a little extra time after I’m done sleeping, I like to sleep some more.

Two days in a row now I’ve sacrificed my mornings to the hair and makeup gods… with shocking success (if I say so myself… which I do, because no one can say otherwise and there certainly isn’t photographic evidence of my engineered beauty… thanks for nothing, DMV!). I just don’t have another day in me. I’m being completely honest when I say that I’ll be rescheduling my next appointment for a minimum of two weeks out in order to give myself time to recover and muster enough courage to do it all over again.

In the interest of time (that nap is calling my name), I’ll only ask once more… who are you super-human ladies and which one of you is coming over to teach me the treasures of your trade? I can pay you in the untold benefits that my unfortunate expertise of navigating the beast known as the Department of Motor Vehicles can provide. Trust me, this is a good deal.

There Are People Creative Enough to Make Upscale Furniture from Wooden Crates

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It’s true. See above. Equal parts inspiring and obnoxious. Mostly inspiring… but, let’s face it, a little obnoxious when something that was once used to transport your produce from the central valley is sold back to you for $350.

Coming off a weekend spent at the Alameda Antiques Market, where we walked miles of stalls filled with handmade and reclaimed treasures, may have given us a false sense of confidence in our design skills. And selling a couple pieces to make room for new, improved, but non-existent replacement furniture may have been somewhat hasty.

As I sit in our considerably emptier living room, in what feels a bit more dormitory-drab than hipster-chic, I console myself with the knowledge that shock will soon turn into excitement over the possibilities that a new space represents. There are design blogs to review, opinions to be heard, and sales to be sniffed out and taken advantage of!

Until then, it helps to remember that there are people on this planet who can turn a few wooden crates into a drool-worthy cabinet and hutch.

What I’m Reading: She’s Clearly Turning 30, Edition

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Don’t worry, the full pre-mid-life crisis will be covered in a dedicated post to come shortly… in the meantime we can look at my current reading list and let it speak for itself:

Michael Pollen’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma because I don’t feel as terrible about myself as I should for the truck-load of meat I consume on a daily basis coupled with my penchant for bargain shopping (read: the animals I’m eating probably aren’t coming from a long, leisured life lived on a beautiful midwestern pasture).

Place: about halfway through, a vast improvement on the first 30 pages which I had read, re-read, and re-re-read over the last two years. Impact: Shockingly (or perhaps not-so since I’m still in the active reading stage…), the reading of this book has coincided with a sharp decrease in my hyper-hankering for meat. Still a proud meat eater, but do I really need it at every meal? No. I don’t.

Amanda, meet vegetables: vegetables enjoy sun, water, and relaxing in the ‘patch with rows of their buddies. Vegetables, meet Amanda: Amanda hates the sun and has to set a calendar reminder to drink the minimum recommended amount of water daily. I’m sure you two will find something in common over the next 30 years.

Gary Vee’s Crush It because I really should get off my duff and learn how to leverage social media to capitalize on my personal brand, right after I figure out what my personal brand is. You can see how this indulges my newfound and constant self-interrogation: ‘Who am I?’, ‘What is my purpose?’, ‘How can I connect with humanity on a deeper, more meaningful level?’… and ‘Oh my god, do I even like humanity!? What kind of jerk am I?’.

Place: halfway (yes, that’s a trend… reading two books simultaneously makes for consistently poor progress). Impact: I just spent the morning creating a Twitter account, @thedillydaily. Yes, a Twitter account. Despite feeling a little silly and completely out of place… no, that’s it, I’ve yet to find the upside necessary to finish this sentence. Will keep you posted.

Am bummed starting a Twitter account doesn’t make me a Twihard… but that probably speaks more to the gravity of my pre-mid-life crisis than either of the books I’m currently reading.

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