Thursday, December 28, 2006

Nostomania: West Coast Style

Anyone who has spoken with me at all in the past month has heard me answer the "What are you doing during your break?" question with a very excited "I'm going to San Francisco!" Being a student now, I got that question a lot more than I ever did while working in the "real world" and so I had many opportunities to joyously share my plans with anyone who asked ("I'm going to San Francisco! For 11 days! I'm so excited!!!").

Keep that in mind as you read below...

Yesterday I woke up way too early and made my way to the T stop. I will interrupt my own story to say this: Boston is head and shoulders above Oakland or San Francisco in ease of airport access by public transportation. Not only is it easier, but it's also CHEAP! $1.25 got me from 3 blocks away from my house to the terminal - including the bus that shuttled me from the T stop to the terminal, while $4.10 got me from the terminal to about a mile from my final destination in Berkeley ($2.00 bus ride to the BART, then $2.10 BART ride). Score one for Beantown!

I arrived at the airport and saw a rediculously long line of people, as well as a few shorter ones. I stood in a short line, wondering why on earth people would choose that long line over my shorter one, until I heard a man telling people that if they were flying to Phoenix or Las Vegas, they had to be in the long line. It seems that though US Airways and America West merged months ago, they have not yet merged their computer systems, and so all the flights that were America West flights had to have their own special check-in.

Of course, I was flying through Phoenix, so I lugged my stuff over to the long line, where I stood for the next 50 minutes. When I reached the counter, the man looked at me and said, "Are you looking for trouble?" I must have looked as confused as I felt, because he pointed at my shirt. "You are wearing a Patriots shirt and you are going to Oakland. Are you looking for trouble?" I laughed, and he laughed, and he gave me my ticket and took my suitcase, and I raced off (also, keep this interaction in mind as you read below).

By the time I got through the check-in line, it was already 30 minutes before my flight's scheduled departure, and I still had not yet conquered security. I got through security, only to have a woman pull my bag out for extra screening (despite the careful, liquid-free packing of said backpack I had done the night before). I arrived at the gate pretty much when the plane was due to take off, but I was allowed on because even more people were behind me trying to make the flight too. One plane movie and three episodes of Arrested Development Season III later, I was on the ground in Phoenix.

I had a layover of about an hour in Phoenix, so I grabbed a salad and checked the monitors for my flight information. The flight to San Francisco was leaving at 2:20 from the gate right next to the one where I had landed, so I parked myself on a chair and watched another episode of Arrested Development while eating.

The boarding began, and I gathered my stuff and headed towards the gate. The woman called Zone 2 (my zone), and I stepped up and handed her my ticket. She ripped it, said "thank you" and gave me my portion back.

As I began to walk down toward the plane, I had a split-second thought: "What if it's raining when I land? Will I BART or will I splurge on a SuperShuttle?" What happened in my mind as I was thinking this thought was the formation of a clear picture of me having to make this decision, and that picture of me was at the Oakland Airport, and not in San Francisco.

I gasped and looked down at my ticket, and sure enough, it said that my destination was Oakland, and I knew for certain that I had just been let on a San Francisco plane. Luckily, I had not made it far past the ticket lady, and I turned back to tell her that I needed my ticket back. She handed it back to me and thanked me for noticing (Um... wait, isn't that her job?!).

I looked at my ticket: Departure time, 2:10pm. Great. It was already 2:00. I raced to the boards and found my real flight gate information and ran down to the other end of the terminal to find that they were also just beginning to board. Despite my best efforts at sabotaging the trip I had been so looking forward to, I made it onto the right plane.

Apparently, I had been talking about San Francisco so much leading up to the trip, my subconscious mind automatically looked for it instead of Oakland. It is especially funny, however, that I had a conversation with the man at the counter this morning who specifically mentioned Oakland, and yet I still hunted down the SF flight.

So the title of this post is due to the fact that I think that I might have a case of perpetual nostomania (also known as "the grass is always greener"). When I lived here, I had an overwhelming desire to return home to my East Coast roots. Every time I went back to visit, I would feel stronger and stronger ties pulling me there, and I would be beside myself with excitement at being among "my people" again.

But now, after 5 months in Boston, I haven't yet settled back into those east coast roots, and instead have found myself missing the west coast a lot. I miss the burritos and friends and ocean and the mountains, sure, but beyond that, there is just something different about the west coast mentality that I think I connect with more.

Don't all you East Coasters get yer feelings hurt. I'm sure that in the next year and a half in Boston, I'll rediscover my love for living in New England (not just visiting), and I'll end up settling there for the long haul. But for now, there's the knowledge that I always have a home and second family waiting for me out here in California.

My heart, for now, remains firmly planted in San Francisco.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

The Best Gift

The best gift this holiday was not the gift of time shared with friends. It was not the phone conversations with relatives who live far away. It was not the sleep I caught up on or the lack of schoolwork I had to do. It was not even a gift that was given to me.

In fact, the best gift of this holiday season was the framed sheet music my dad gave to my mom:


Friday, December 22, 2006

Warm Wishes and Whatnot

I'm about to head up to Maine where I'll be sans internet for the next five days, so I'm wishing everyone out there happy holidays. Good tidings to you all and here's hoping for a little snow dusting in the next week so it actually feels like winter.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Rising from the Ash

Last week, my friend JK sent me a link to show me that I am now (despite the fact that I no longer live in the Bay Area), a very important part of San Francisco's environmental movement.

I post this now as an appropriate metaphor for my life, after just spending today huddled beneath blankets on a friend's couch, watching horrible TV (seriously LegallyBlonde, this isn't like your guilty pleasure TV. I actually watched portions of Full House, Golden Girls and Saved by the Bell in between naps and water breaks), recovering from the world's most unkind hangover. Those of you who know me know that I don't often drink, and when I do I don't go crazy, so let this be a lesson to me that wine - no matter how good or how free - does not a dinner make.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Holiday Spirit

Maybe it's that on the west coast, there's no snow, and so people just don't get into the holidays so much. Maybe the anticipation of long winters make east coasters do funny things. Either way, I have to say that I saw more holiday cheer being spread by cars in an hour this afternoon as I stood in the window of the tire store than I did in my entire four years in San Francisco. The two most notable I have shared below:

The first car actually drove into the parking lot and stopped, so I could get a good look at it.

Though this photo does make the idea of a Reindeer Car look kind of cute, imagine it on an old, beat up Chevy... Less cute, more rediculous, but I did appreciate the effort.

Entertaining though that was, it was the Car Menorah that got me to do a double-take. Yes, it is for real, and yes, the lights can be lit just as the real Menorah lights are lit - adding one each day until they are all aglow.

All in all, it was a good day. I got to take J & M to get ice cream (always a fun adventure), I got new tires, AND I got lots and lots of drive-by holiday cheer. Here's hoping my drive up to Maine on Friday will bring me many more such moments of entertainment.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Yul Rules!

Because I have no friends on this coast who enjoy my guilty pleasure, I post this blog for anyone out there who does. Below, my comments on the Survivor finale and post-game show:

Can I first just say that it STILL makes me giggle (even though I know very well that it will happen) that everyone looks so damn fat in the reunion episode. I mean, I do understand that they are all rediculously undernourished on the island, and it's not healthy that they all get so skinny, but still, they do end up looking really chubby when they get together at the end, and it makes me giggle.

Let me say, in terms of who won, that my heart really wanted Ozzy to win. That said, I had been pulling for Yul since the beginning, so my brain was psyched for him. But my heart still hurts for Ozzy. I can't believe that the two finalists (I'm going to pretend - like all the jury members did - that Becky was not a finalist) were both so worthy. After seasons upon seasons of deciding between the best of the worst, it was nice to have a season in which the two people in the running for the million dollars actually played the game well and were deserving.

Final Episode Thoughts:

- The Tiebreaker - How absolutely painful was it to watch that fire challenge!? I mean, seriously. We knew that neither woman really deserved to be there, but then they basicially ended up competing to show everyone how little they deserved to be there. I was disgusted, and at the same time, I loved that they both dug their own graves and ensured their elimination from the competition (though I will say I was impressed that Becky didn't take the idol from Yul, even if I was entirely unimpressed with her fire-making skills).

Regarding the Reunion Show:

- Jonathan looks like a dweeb with his hair now. Didn't he have gray hair before? He definitely had a gray beard. Or maybe his hair was always covered by his hat, so I never noticed how toupee-like it was.

- Sundra is a hottie.

- So is Yul (according to People Magazine).

- Ummmmm... Sekou? His song was kinda Lionel Richie-esque, only, well, awful. "SurVIvor!" "Survivor!" Also, anyone else find it ironic that the first person voted out was the one who wrote a song about his experience? Maybe that's why it sucks so much - maybe if he had stayed on the island longer, he could have written a better song. (Update: turns out this little gem is available online, so for those of you who don't watch Survivor and/or for those of you who do watch it and were laughing to hard to hear it on the finale show tonight, you can check it out.)

- Adam is a dufus. Seriously. It pains me to look at him and know how far he went in this game.

- Parvati - MODEL boxing!??!?!

Unrelated to Survivor:

Did anyone in other parts of the nation see the car commercial where the people sing the "Sound of Music" song? It was awful, but let me tell ya that if I were looking to buy a new car, and the car salespeople promised to sing to me like that, I would strongly purchasing from them.

Final Thoughts:

This really was a damn good season of Survivor, which says a lot coming from me, considering I've watched it without my west coast peeps. Though it sucked to watch this finale alone, rather than in Berkeley with my friends and lots of yummy food and beer, I will say it still made me feel somehow close to everyone over there to know that just as the fun was finishing out here, it was just beginning over there.

If any of you west coast Survivor-watchers are reading, I can't wait to de-brief in person in a few weeks over burritos and beers.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Dreams Can Come True...

Not only did my classes end today, but I got home to this tonight...

Report: It's game over for Moynahan and Brady

(LegallyBlonde, I dedicate this post to you)

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Back to Basics

In celebration of my last night of Tuesday classes (for this semester), I indulged myself by going to Starbucks before class. Now those of you who know me well know that there are really only two things at Starbucks that make me happy: java chip frappuccinos and gingerbread lattes (ok, and apple fritters). I was all excited to get my first gingerbread latte of the season (my CalSAC buddies can understand the significance of that event), but then realized that it would be 6,000 degrees in the classroom I was headed to, so I went with the frappuccino instead.

All this to lead into the fact that the woman, though so very close, didn't quite get my name, earning her spelling a place in the hall of fame.

(For those of you needing an explaination of the Hall of Fame, please click here.)

Oh yeah, and by the way, I have my last classes of the semester Thursday night, so, well, ya know... WAHOO!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Operation Shuck and Awe

Last night I attended the 8th Annual Tree Trimin' Oysterfestivus, and (thanks to previous training on the west coast) got to play an important role as a member of team Operation Shuck and Awe. Three people, 200 oysters, and we shucked 'em all.

(To be fair, I was a relatively slow shucker as compared to our team captain, who was the fastest shucker I've ever seen in my life. But I still managed to make a dent, and definitely shucked more ersters last night than I have in my entire life.)

Thanks to MOMP and husband for a great party, and a much-needed break from my studies.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Think Equal

Nothing to write here, just needing to get out the word about a damn good ad campaign in New Jersey.

(who would have thought I'd be writing "damn good" and "New Jersey" in the same sentence?!)

Monday, December 04, 2006

Note to an Angel

It's been eight years since that night, yet your spirit and smile remain so clear in my mind. And every now and then, I think I hear you giggling in the wind.

I miss you and I love you always.

P.S. There's a sweet dog named Milo running around in your world, and he belonged to a family I babysit for. He just got up there tonight, so find him and take good care of him.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

While you're shopping...

... please keep the following in mind:

A record 138 companies scored 100 percent on this year’s Buying for Equality Human Rights Campaign report (up from 101 companies that earned a perfect score last year). By chosing carefully where you shop (and what brands you purchase), you can make a statement and support companies that actively promote equal rights for all.

Believe it or not, it is legal in 33 states to fire someone for being gay, and it is legal in 43 states to fire someone for being transgender. However, thanks to committment from these 138 companies (I know it doesn't sound like a lot, but many are parent companies that are wide-reaching), from enhanced domestic partner benefits to transgender inclusion in non-discrimination policies, we are seeing a revolution in the American workplace every day.

For more information on the Buyers Guide, click here.