I really like the website for the book I bought yesterday. I also really like the book. So far.
I have been in the Bay Area over six months, and I still can't dress myself. How am I supposed to be able to look nice when I have to change clothes four times a day depending on which side of the water I'm on, how close to said water I actually am, whether their is shade or not or if the sun has gone down? Heels -- any dress shoes in general -- are out, since I walk close to four miles a day to and from work. So, yes, I know: layers, layers, layers along with comfortable shoes. But I don't have that. Where I'm from you have your summer clothes and your winter clothes. I've got big, chunky sweaters and teeny tiny tank tops. I've got heavy wool coats and sundresses, and ne'er the two shall meet. Slowly I've got to incorporate thin scarves, long sleeved t-shirts, thin undershirts, hoodies and light jackets into my wardrobe. My sneakers and boots are all in need of repair due to the tons of mileage they've seen while a dozen or more pairs of high heels, wedges and other impractical shoes sit prettily and ignored.
These days I basically wear jeans and two shirts, one t or tank under a long-sleeved something. I'm accumulating more skirts and layer-y type tops, along with wraps and scarves and other layers you can add that don't add much bulk to myself or in my bag. And that's another thing, since I'm never in a car I can't keep things in there. So, while I'm changing four times a day I have to find a place to put those necessary layers, so they travel with me on my person. Therefore the thinner, the better, so long as the items are sufficiently warm.
Frankly, I've never had to think about clothes and shoes in such a utilitarian fashion before. I used to buy ewhat I liked -- whatever was pretty and what looked good on me. I bought warm weather clothes and cold weather clothes, and never would I wear them on the same day, rarely even the same month. But here the climate is temperate, pretty much the same throughout the year without a lot of variance. However the variance in weather within a single day can be staggering, especially if traveling transbay. I've literally left my house in Berkeley in a tank top, sweating, only to arrive in San Francisco, atop one of its famous hilltops, in a backyard canyon, to find the wind whipping up such chilly air that I had to seek out extra layers.
"It never hurts to take a jacket," is a pretty good mantra, and something I always try to do. But that jacket has to live somewhere on days like today when it was 82 at 7 p.m. in the city, where almost no one has air conditioning. This is why so many urban dwellers, men and women alike, carry big bags around with them. Who knew? I certainly didn't.
I'm getting it figured out slowly, but I've still got far to go. One can't up and trade in her existing wardrobe for a new, more-area appropriate one, but I'm getting there. Like today, I bought this dress. Perfect for warm days today, so long as there is a thin, but wind-fighting cardigan to go with it. And maybe a jacket on top of that for later that night.
I woke up this morning and decided: haircut. I looked online for places that were open on a Sunday, then started calling at 10 a.m. when they all opened for business. I found one place that had a last minute cancellation for noon, so I boogied on over after a quick shower.
I found Vine Street Salon pretty easily since it is just off Shattuck. I arrived early and stopped into Peet's for a double macchiato. I looked for the Cheeseboard but couldn't find it, but I did find the Juicebar Collective, which sadly, was closed. Damn commies.
So, instead I just went into the salon early to look at books and magazines, since I had no idea what kind of haircut I wanted. Typically when I go in I ask for "like this, but shorter," and always just end up with a trim. I felt I needed a change; something with shape. I found two styles I liked in style books while I waited, both sort of shortish and piecy with long, side-swept bangs. This, I decided, was what I wanted. I consulted with Ingrid, my red-haired new stylist and off we went to the sink. After a quick rinse and condition we talked about "shorter in the back, longer in the front--nothing drastic or too "graphic." This, with the long, to-the-side bangs, I thought would look nice with my hair's natural wave.
Ingrid started cutting my hair from the back forward. Actually, no, she cut pretty much straight across to take off some length, but after that started in on shaping the style. Her scissors made huge, gouging cuts to the back of my long hair. I thought I might throw up for a second. She cut at a quick clip, and I could tell my hair was about two to three inches long in the back. I felt a hotness run over me, and I suddenly didn't feel so well. What the fuck just happened to my hair?
I was suddenly transported back to that fateful day in 6th grade. My mom took me to the salon for a cut. I thought I might want to get it a bit shorter for the summer. Mom agreed. Off we went to Debbie, her stylist, and after a relaxing scrub at the sink and the plastic front-cape, the scissors were raised.
"Shorter?," asked Debbie. I nodded. "Short on the sides?," she quizzed us.
I paused. Short on the sides? What would that look like, I asked myself. But before I could even imagine it my mother said yes, and before I knew it I had a mullet. Sorta. Kinda. Close enough; I hated that horrid haircut. And it took me a good two years to grow it out. Most of middle school, and you know this is a very viable time to have a goofy-ass haircut.
Anyway, as soon as Ingrid started hacking away at my hair in the back-- I mean, really cutting it short--I thought I might pass out. Call me shallow, but those years in middle school came flooding back in waves. Sharp, painful ones. All I knew was that it would take a while to correct this mistake.
Then something happened. I opened my eyes, and she'd pulled the front down from the clips, and while it was short, it didn't look bad at all. In fact, I kinda liked it. I'd never have gone that short on my own, but--despite not being what I asked for--it is a nice, new change of pace after spending 90% of my life with long locks.
Isn't it funny how much a haircut can change the way you look? And is it any wonder women are so loyal to those who turn hair into flattering, flouncy looks they never even knew they wanted? Maybe it is shallow to devote a whole blog post to haircuts, but of all the things that influence the way we look, besides weight, haircuts really make the most difference. After being scarred by some pretty bad shelf-style hairdos at pivotal moments in my life (senior pictures!), I can safely say there is a lot invested when you turn your head over to someone wielding scissors and a razor and toxic chemicals.
I went with Ian MacBean to San Diego. The occasion was his big brother Ed's first ever marathon. Ian's sister in law arranged to have as many people as possible cheer her husband on, so it was the perfect opportunity for a mini-vacation to a sunny city. I'd never been before, and since the flight is short and airfare is cheap (provided you don't procrastinate), I was thrilled to get away for a weekend.
Packed a duffel bag of a weekend's worth of things and lugged it with me to work on Friday, then we took BART to SFO after work Friday afternoon. The train dropped us off right at the airport, which was very nice, since apparently you used to only be able to go to Colma, then you'd have to take a bus the rest of the way. Boarding passes already printed, we headed straight to security, since we weren't checking any luggage. Things were moving smoothly.
After my bag went through the x-ray the security guard said, "Wow," and motioned for a colleague to come over. She did, and I wondered what about my pack had alerted them. She pulled out my family sized bottled of shampoo and conditioner when I suddenly remembered. No liquids larger than three ounces! I had totally forgotten because I always, always have to check a bag. This rule has never applied to me, so it completely slipped my mind.
I was pretty embarrassed. I was lucky that the girl the guard called over was pretty lenient. "I'd hate to have to lose my Biosilk," she told me, so she let me keep all my toiletries but three. Not bad, considering. ["Little do they know that Biosilk and orange juice combined make napalm."]
The flight was quick and easy, and we touched down in San Diego less than an hour and a half from when we took off. Got to meet Celia and Ed and Jamie and Lola and a cat whose name has escaped me. All were awesome, and I was very grateful to be welcomed into their lovely home.
The next day Ian and I went sight-seeing in San Diego. It's delightful! I had no idea it was such a gorgeous place. We went to Balboa Park, which was incredible. So much to see--botanical gardens, koi in ponds, amazing architecture and prime people watching. I was told before I left that I couldn't come back to the Bay Area without having had a fish taco, so Ian and I made a special trip to Zocalo. And it was worth it--the taco was incredible, especially paired with a margarita.
We ate a little late in the day, so I was stuffed when later we attended the carbo-loading party for Ed at their neighbor's place. The carbanara was delicious, but I couldn't eat more than a few bites. Afterwards we met up with some internet friends at a local tavern for drinks outdoors. It was so nice to sit outside and enjoy a cocktail in short sleeves at night, something that rarely, if ever, happens in San Francisco. We didn't stay out too late, however, because cheering Ed on in the marathon was scheduled for bright and early.
Spent all day long in the sun on Sunday watching a very inspiring footrace. Ed finished 26.2 miles in 4 hours flat. Amazing that anyone could run for that long. After the marathon there was a pool party. I swear, I hadn't been swimming in years. I spent entirely too much time sucking up rays (while I had the chance), and wound up looking like this:
The trip was far too brief. San Diego is a charming place, the people we met even more so, and I hope to go back sometime very soon.