Wednesday, August 31

Disaster Relief

I'm always weary of sending money to organizations I don't know, so I usually end up donating to the Red Cross. I discovered Charity Navigator, which evaluates charities for me, including organizational efficiency and expenses. To send donations for the victims of Katrina, click here.

Tuesday, August 30

Laguna Beach: confession and confusion

If you haven't been watching Laugna Beach, then like oh my gawd, you like don't even know like what's totally missing from your life. So my deep, dark confession is that I am hooked on Laguna Beach: the Real Orange County. I'm talking Tivo season pass hooked. I realize that I've probably eliminated any inkling of credibility I had before, but what can I do? Admitting I have a problem is the first step to recovery. However, the thing is, I don't think I want to recover. (Thanks be to G for showing me the light last season.)

Now here comes the confusion. The beautiful teenagers on this show live such over-the-top, Beverly Hills 90210 lives that common folk find the reality part hard to believe. It is dubbed as a "reality drama," whatever that means. Personally, I choose to believe it's real, with occasional drama-invoking situations assisted along by the coaching, helping hands of MTV.

For anyone who wants to join me in my excursions into the O.C., here's a recap of the first few episodes. KRISTIN is the hot blonde all the way on the right. She's the main "character" this season; she narrates. She's got some kind of flirtation going right now with TALAN, the dude all the way on the left. The drama is that he's pretty much dating/chasing TAYLOR, the blonde next to him. She doesn't fully trust him, and rightfully so. He conveniently seems to forget all about Taylor and even denies he's dating her whenever he's out with Kristin. LOVE TRIANGLE! How exciting! Ready for another love triangle?

This involves Kristin yet again - does that make it a love BOW TIE? Anyway, the blonde next to Taylor is LAUREN/"L.C." I really don't know how much bleach my system can handle, but it's doing alright so far. L.C. was the main person last season, and she is pretty much in love with STEPHEN, the guy next to her. (Side note, doesn't she remind you of Christine Taylor, Ben Stiller's wife?) L.C. even went to San Francisco - yay! - with him, where they both started college. Stephen, however, is still not over Kristin. He even took her out for Valentine's dinner... but then showed up at L.C.'s door the next day with flowers and candy! Guys can be such dogs.

Speaking of the woof woof, that brings us to JASON, the guy in front, with facial hair. Ready for another triangle? This one finally does not involve Kristin, but maybe it will someday. Anway, Jason was supposed to be dating JESSICA, the tilty-headed girl in the black dress. She's really annoying when it comes to him, and I think she has issues because she's Kristin's good friend. Jessica even told Kristin something like, "I'm not you; you can get any guy you want." On the last episode, they pretty much broke up, which now leaves Jason free to hook up with ALEX M., the tilty-headed girl on his lap. She's been eyeing him since day one. Alex even took Jason to a dance even though he was Jessica's boyfriend at the time! Gasp!

OK, my brain can't handle any more shrinkage right now. Maybe I'll see if I can find Stephen somewhere in the city. I bet he hangs out in the Marina.

Sunday, August 28

Sleepy in Seattle

Camilla and I visited Richard in Seattle this weekend.

We watched them throw fish at Pike Place Market. I kind of wanted to catch one too. Maybe next time.
We posed with Rachel, the pig that collects lots of money for the market. Camilla's lookin hot in her mini!This is the O.G. Starbucks. No matter how much caffeine we had, we were so tired! The weather was absolutely gorgeous, so we can't blame it on that. I think it's some kind of conspiracy.Of course, we visited the space needle. We saw everything, including Mount Rainier, which Taer and I partly climbed last time.Here's the view from the top.We did the underground tour at Pioneer Square, where the city of Seattle began.We acted super cool at the Chittenden Locks.The coolness continued at Gas Works Park.I have NO hops. That's the space needle, to the right of Richard. Why is his arm SO long?Here's Tom, Judy, Chenja, Giorgio, Richard, me, Camilla. See the needle?

Saturday, August 27

Maxim is blog-worthy

For those of you who have been living under a rock or don't have any male friends who are straight, Maxim is a men's magazine. There isn't any nudity shown in it, but I really doubt that men are buying this publication for the articles. The clothing worn by the women in it could probably fit in the pocket of my jeans... one of the front pockets... of my tightest fitting jeans.

Anyway, it turns out that when you stack several issues of Maxim side-by-side, the spines are like pieces of a puzzle. And of course the picture created is yet another scantily-clad woman. I'm a little hesitant to post this photo, but I was intrigued when I saw these magazines on my friend's bookshelf like this. OK, so it doesn't take very much to amuse me.

Thursday, August 25

B.A.R.T. is for lovers

Congratulations, Lis and Nick! Pixel is their Boston Terrier, "son," and ring bearer - all in one.The girls and beautiful bride Lis.The sign says: "Nick & Lisa GO!"Cutie grandma.I don't know what Taer's doing to me, but I like it... I like it a lot.Another photo of the girls. Cuz we're THAT adorable.Happy couple!Girl sees boy on B.A.R.T. Boy sees girl on B.A.R.T. After months of eyeing each other, girl finally leaves a note on boy's car: "Hi cutie." Boy leaves a note on girl's car in return: "YOU're the cutie." Phone number. Three-hour phone call. He practically moves in from day one. Three years later, they are married.
And they live happily ever after.

Friday, August 19

Kiss Kiss! at Chapeau!

I feel like all I do is talk about food, but I can't help it. I am a San Franciscan, after all. I eat and eat and eat, and there is always another new restaurant to discover around the corner, or another old favorite to crave and re-visit.

We took Lee out to an early birthday surprise dinner; we were supposed to try Range, but they had some strange electrical problems. I'll admit that I was initially disappointed, but it's true that when God closes a door, he really does open a window. I guess that pertains to restaurant doors too; this window was the fabulous French restaurant, Chapeau!

I had heard a lot of good things about this neighborhood spot in the Richmond district and had been meaning to try it for years. Now that I finally have, let me just say: LE YUM! Why was this my first visit here? It definitely won't be my last.

We began our experience with the very adorable and very French owner, Phillipe, coming out to greet us. He gave all the girls a kiss, kiss on each cheek, and he shook the hands of the guys in our group. Phillipe's warm welcome set the tone for our wonderful evening. The space may not be the hippest, and the tables may be a bit cramped, but the excellent food and superb sevice far outweigh all that. I tasted every dish ordered by the six people in our party, and each and every one was divine! And Phillipe remained attentive and charming throughout the entire evening. Good food, friends, wine... does life get any better than that? (By the way, here' s a pic of the wine we had. I can never remember French or Italian wines, so when I like one, I take a photo of the label.)

Chapeau without an explanation mark means "hat." Chapeau! with the explanation mark means "wow!" This foodie find makes me go Chapeau! Chapeau! Chapeau!

Tuesday, August 16


I Love my Prius! I got it in January, after my promotion at work increased my commute. I gave my 318 to my parents, and I got green at Hanlees Hilltop Toyota. Even though gas prices are pushing $3/gallon, I'm not sweatin' it. I typically drive 400ish miles before I fill my tank with approximately nine gallons. I can't complain.

People are always fascinated by my car. I get in without ever touching my smart key. I still don't reach for my key to start the car; I just leave it in my purse and press the power button. You can't even tell it's on because it's so quiet. The energy monitor constantly shows whether I'm using the battery or the engine, plus how much gas I'm consuming. It's almost like a video game. And, no, I don't have to plug it in. Ever.

Prius owners are almost part of an involuntary cult without meaning to be. I hitched a ride home from rafting with Ken and Kyla, fellow Prius parents. We spent the first part of our trip comparing the differences in our cars before we had a regular conversation like normal people. I didn't know them very well, so I learned about how they met, how long they'd been married, etc.

Then Ken mentioned something about discovering an extra tray in their car last week, which made me squeal, "What tray?!??" I literally squealed, I was so excited. It was sick. It was geeky. And they were right there with me. Game over. We continued to talk about our beloved vehicles for the remainer of our time together, and now we are bonded for life.

I can't wait to get my sticker that will let me ride in the carpool lane by myself. *Drool*

Sunday, August 14

Big Birthdays

There were two big bday celebrations this weekend.
Happy first to Tristan!
Happy thirtieth to Claudia!

Tristan is the cutie patootie son of Kelvin and Sarah. Kelvin was almost literally the boy next door in high school. He lived exactly a block away, and he used to invite me over to hang out. Apparently, his idea of hanging out back then was tricking me into helping him wash his car. Hmph. Kelvin's been a close friend for a long time, and he was always a goofy guy with a great, big smile, and now he's a daddy! Tristan couldn't be more adorable.

For Claude's big day, Tommy planned a surprise river rafting trip down the Middle Fork of the American River.

The first picture was this crazy thing called the tunnel chute. The company actually walked everyone out to see it before we rafted so that we could opt out. Everyone stuck with it, of course. The second picture is Tommy and Claude, a.k.a. "Clommy." And then their boat. The last picture is my boat "surfing," which meant that we rode and basically sat on a small wave in the river until our boat filled with water. The guys targeted me to be at the base, so the water was practically up to my neck. And it was CO-OLD!!! I'm a wimp when it comes to being chilly.

Even though I hate cold water, and sticking my head underwater is my Fear Factor thing, I had a ton of fun! And it was all worth it because Claude was so happy.

Saturday, August 13

I like yummy things

Over the last week, I indulged in much, so I thought I'd share my week o yumminess:

SUN: Before Wicked, we ate at Le Charm, a great French spot with a fantastic prix fixe menu.

MON: Pizzeria Delfina just opened a few weeks ago, but this was already my fifth visit! Yes, it's THAT good. New Yorkers actually don't scoff at it.

It's right next to Delfina, which is one of my very favorites.

TUES: I can't remember what I did. That means it wasn't very good/fun, or it was TOO good/fun. It's more likely the latter.

WED: We had a roommate dinner at Maverick, a new neighborhood spot - at Limon's old location. This picture is from last year's birthday BBQ. Anyway, we shared a bottle of Chasseur pinot noir, a favorite which I originally tasted at Vino Venue. By the way, my absolute fave red is Ridge. It's like heaven in a bottle.

After dinner, we got more drinks - Fernet for me, which almost everyone else thinks is gross - and played erotic photo hunt at the 500 Club. I know I'm home when I see the twinkling neon bubbles of the huge martini glass outside.

THUR: Oysters, clam chowder, and combo seafood salad at Swan Oyster Depot. We were thinking about getting scotchmallows at See's afterwards, but we were too full.

FRI: Sometimes I crave the ahi poke wasabi bowl at Pacific Catch. This was one of those days. How can you not love seasoned tuna, seaweed salad, avacado and ginger over sushi rice?

We had post-dinner flights at the swanky wine bar, Nectar. It was my first time there, but it won't be my last.

While I'm talking about tasty favorites, I thought I'd throw in a little Gael here, since I watched Motorcycle Diaries again recently. Scrumptious!

Monday, August 8

After WICKED, call me Je-nn, "with a Je"

Wicked is my new favorite musical. It's based on Gregory McGuire's book about "the untold story of the witches of Oz."

What happened before Dorothy landed in town? Did you know that Glinda the Good Witch and the Wicked Witch of the West were once friends? Did you know that the Wicked Witch had a name: Elphaba? Did you know that Glinda used to be GAlinda "with a Ga"??? (You'll think that's funny once you see the show.)

We had fabulous orchestra seats (thanks, T and G!), and I laughed out loud a LOT. My favorite character was GAlinda, who is very girly and "popular" and kind of legally blonde. I hate to admit it, but I think I secretly kind of relate to her. At the intermission, everyone I was with turned to me and said, "Hmmm... I wonder who Glinda reminds us of?" *nudge, nudge* I guess it's not such a big secret after all. Glinda's character is a bit self-absorbed, so I'm wondering if I should be insulted. I'm going to assume that my friends were talking about her happy spirit and just leave it at that.

I've included a picture of the witches sans makeup because I was curious; I figured others would be too. Anyone who has the chance to watch this MUST do so! I'm going to try to see it again when the tour hits D.C.

And now I have to to read the book. I already have Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister on my shelf. I'll let you know what I think of both. In the meantime, go DEFY GRAVITY!

Saturday, August 6

Linner? Dunch?

My parents are nuts. I love them, and they make me laugh, but I think a big part of all of that is their craziness. Maybe I should use the word quirky instead. Anyway, whatever you call it, my parents have got it. Times ten.

One quirk is that they like to eat early. Now, I know that a lot of not-so-young-anymore folks prefer not to dine too late, but I'm talking UUHHHR-LEEEEEEE! The 'rents really topped themselves today. Notice my use of toDAY, rather than tonight?

They were supposed to go watch some Korean choir perform at 7:30, so they talked about catching dinner at 6 or even 5:30. A bit early, but I could deal. And then my brother called me at 3:15 to tell me, "Umma and Appa want to meet in an hour." An HOUR? Who eats dinner at 4:15 in the afternoon? Is that even called dinner at that point? Most restaurants aren't even open at that time!

Lucky for them, Mexican in the Mission is open at all hours. So, we ate at Pancho Villa at FOUR FIFTEEN P.M. Insane in the membrane.

Friday, August 5

Minneapolis knows how to make my Jucy Lucy

I was in the twin cities for work. I know what you're thinking. "You're so lucky, Jenn! How do I get my job to send me to Minnesota too?" Am I right? Yeah, it's good to be me.

OK, all joking aside, I really do like Minneapolis and St. Paul - I'm SERIOUS! A couple years back, the first time I was sent to the midwest, I was not looking forward to the experience, I'll admit. However, it was much hipper than I thought it would be. I was even pleasantly surprised by my dining experience at Chino Latino. And being a San Francisco native, I can safely say that I consider myself a big time foodie.

This time, I had yet another gastronomic experience which isn't likely to be replicated anytime soon. My co-worker's friends had moved to Minneapolis a few years back. Their whole family came to pick us up, and we went to a free outdoor concert. This is a picture of me with their daughter. Isn't she adorable? Then after the concert, we headed to Matt's to experience the "Jucy Lucy."

We all ordered the Jucy Lucy, which is basically a cheeseburger. Placed before me, however, was a burger in a bun with grilled onions. That was it. There was no lettuce, no tomato. I didn't even see the cheese... because it was in the middle of the patty! When I took a bite of my Lucy, the Jucy cheese came oozing out of the meat. Did I hear a "yum"? Or was that an "ew"? It was oh so bad, but OH was it so good!

Wednesday, August 3

The best hangover cure!

We celebrated Janet's birthday Saturday. Happy Birthday, Chenja! Love you! Let me just say that I'm so glad I have doctor friends.

We began with a yummy Peruvian tapas dinner at Destino, and our night continued like this...

(I was told that my arm looks really long in this picture.)Throw in a lil bit o this.And of course, it's not really a good night if firemen aren't somehow involved!And it ended like this...Actually, truth be told, it ended with me feeling nauseous outside my friends' apartment. I didn't think I drank that much, but I was also really tired and don't normally like eating so much when it's late. Anyway, all I knew was that I was sick, and I couldn't un-sick myself. “Come inside, and we’ll make you feel better!” they told me. Lucky for me, they're both doctors.

“We can stick an I.V. in you!”

I don't have a fear of needles, and I figured I was in good hands. I totally trust these friends, so I went along with it. (Keep in mind, however, THEY both drank that night too.) I sat there, watching them pull out their bag o goodies. It's interesting what anesthesiologists keep in their house. Anyway, they pulled out a bag of salinesque liquid and attached it to a needle, which they then stuck into a vein in my left hand. Everything seemed to be going well UNTIL THE NEEDLE CAME OUT. Not a big deal, but that wasn't suposed to happen, and I should also mention that they didn't have bandaids. Is it just me, or is it weird that they had I.V. materials, but no bandaids???

Anyway, so then they moved to my right hand. I've been told I have good veins. This means I won't be doing any Palmolive commercials, but I sure was happy about my vein-iness this night! They prepped and got the needle into my right hand and then realized that THEY HIT A VALVE. So they had to abort that mission too.

At this point, they had me lie down. They decided to attack my left arm, in the fold where the elbow is. Does that part of the body have a name? Anyway, it was IN, and I was happy, and then I was COLD.

I've only had an I.V. in me twice before: once when I had screws put into my ankle when I broke it in high school R.O.T.C. (which is a whole other story), and then the second time when those screws were taken out. I didn't remember getting so cold back then, but my friends said it was normal. When I say cold, I mean that my teeth were chattering nonstop, but the atmosphere around me wasn't cold at all. I was cold from the inside. It was the weirdest thing.

And then I woke up feeling fabulous! But with all these needle holes in me, I looked like a drug addict. Is that hot? I think not. Anyway, if you ever get to try the I.V., let me tell you, I'm no Tony the Tiger, but it's grrr-rrreat! DO IT.

Tuesday, August 2

You never forget your first

I have to admit something. My first time was two years ago. I thought I was ready then – I even felt like a bit of a late bloomer – but I know now that I wasn’t ready at all. I couldn’t commit. But this time is different; it really is. I just wanted to come clean. I’ve already lost my bloginity.

HA! I know that was corny. But, c'mon, can't you just imagine Carrie writing something like that? You laughed a little... on the inside? Anyway, I wrote my very first blog two years ago. I was following in the footsteps of Jimmy, my technologically advanced younger brother who chronicled his year abroad in Korea via Xanga. I could see what he was up to anytime, without needing to hassle him for an email or phone call. Our parents had to wait until they received emailed versions of Jimmy's life, which very much resembled his online stories, though I did notice - ahem - some editing. I, too, could and would be “with it” and super cool. I was excited to share my stories, ideas and opinions in a hip, new way. I was reminded of how I loved watching the end of Doogie Howser, when he typed his electronic journal at the end of every episode. I could finally be like Doogie!

I didn’t realize that my first blog entry would be my first, last and only blog entry. It would be my last for a very, very long time. I began to think of the ramifications of storing personal information over such a public space.
  • What if I pick up a cyberspace stalker?
  • What if I write about something stupid, and it’s discovered by my mom or my boss? (We all know that story about the lame guy who lost his job because of idiotic email bragging.)
  • What if I want to run for president someday, and I am barred because of my improper use of an I.V.?

I couldn’t help but think this way. Law school trained me to think of all the worst what if's. Though paranoia and possible delusions of grandeur were some of the evil outcomes of my legal schooling, there was a something in me strong enough to break through the “think like a lawyer” brainwashing of Hastings.

My secret, my burning yearning is… I have always dreamed of being a writer. When I admired the aforementioned Carrie on “Sex and the City,” it wasn’t that I wanted to see myself trotting around the hippest spots of New York City in one of my hundred pairs of Manolo Blahniks. Really, I didn’t crave Carrie’s wardrobe or her fabulous city life; I was jealous of her column! When I was in elementary school, I entered a creative writing contest. My book, “The Homework Machine,” written and illustrated by my nine-year old self, made it past my school and all the way to the earn honors in the district. I felt artistic. I felt accomplished. A writer was born!

And then the writer’s parents eventually guilted her into going to law school, where all creative energies were squashed into nothingness. Oh, well.

This past weekend, I took a seminar, “Writing the Memoir,” at 826 Valencia. I have been volunteering at 826, founded by Dave Eggers, for about a year now. If you haven’t read A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, you should. I love Dave Eggers, who moderated the workshop. Did I already mention his name twice? I love him only in a non-stalker, non-crazy, he doesn't need to get a restraining order kind of way, I swear!

Anyway, one big idea really hit me that night. That is: if I want to write, then I have to write. It’s so obvious, but I haven’t done anything with myself. I think I imagined that one day, I would ink the stories about my crazy family and my long-distance love and my very square feet, and – poof! – everyone would find me so very witty, hilarious and heartwarming and all those other adjectives used to describe clever writers, and that would be that.

Well, I realize it’s not actually that easy, and I don’t even know when I’ll attempt anything further with really getting out there, but I figured I could at least let my friends know what I’m up to. So to all my friends who are reading this, shoot me an email to let me know what you’re up to. Please. And thank you.

Oh alright, I feel I should admit one more thing… I actually do lust after Carrie’s Manolos.

Monday, August 1

My life so far...

This is Pixel. He loves Auntie Jenn!Here are some of the girls. We're close.Still close!Couples that play together... Doesn't Taer make a cute snow bunny?
I heart the girls in N.Y.I heart the boys in S.F.West siiide!