I’m wearing my most insulated coat and the girl behind me is wearing a crop top which makes me feel really dramatic. I awoke on my couch this morning with my thin throw blanket over me after a weird dream about eating blueberry ice cream on an English muffin and feeling really guilty about it, then frantically running around Beverly Hills to get gas for my car (I do need gas right now, actually). Slowly all my alarms (one in the kitchen, one in the bathroom, one on my bed) started going off. There’s something about waking up on my couch that is strangely satisfying–like I used up every possible second of the previous day, like I seized that shit so much I couldn’t even be bothered to move to my bed. I keep reading life hack-y advice about turning off all technology at least an hour before bed, but I get way more satisfaction when the last thing I remember before falling asleep is closing my laptop screen after pushing to read a little bit more, write a little bit more. Do as much as I can until my eyelids say, “no more.”
Everybody has their thing, I suppose, and I’m starting to realize that my thing might be talking about the weather–you know, that subject you discuss when you’re absolutely awful at small talk. That’s a strange thing to fixate on when at the end of the day, I live in a very temperate climate that has a range of about 20 degrees throughout the entire year. But I’m the type of person who likes to talk again and again about a few select things and after all is said and done be completely willing to start the same conversation all over.
Speaking of the weather, it’s finally colder in Los Angeles which means I spend every spare moment I get drinking chamomile, lighting tea lights and sitting around watching Frasier. The other night we had a windstorm and there was a terrifying trifecta of a pipe rattling against the next building, dried foliage hitting my porch and the clatter of my kitchen window. I had fallen asleep on my couch and I woke up to what I thought was someone breaking in. For the rest of the night I lied there with my eyes wide open listening to every creak and squeak, suddenly feeling like the age of my building was so much less charming than it had been before. My apartment has all sorts of quirks that make up for the lack of decor I keep procrastinating on. I might not be giving myself enough credit, though, since there’s a really great Forrest Gump poster I temporarily taped up in my kitchen when I moved in this summer that’s still there. I really should decide where I want to put that.
In between drinking tea and envying Frasier’s apartment, I’m enjoying another thing I talk about way too much–this recording of Cold War Kids’ First. If you think you’ve heard this song a thousand times, this will make you feel like you’re hearing it anew, all stripped and full of that feeling you get in your chest when you’re reminiscing a little too much. Definitely worth listening to another thousand times.
On being an adult: you will run out of paper towels if you don’t keep an eye on your stock, and you will go years without a dental exam if you don’t figure out your insurance stuff, find a dentist, and make an appointment. These are the accidental ways in which my parents spoiled me, I guess.
I don’t like making appointments–not even for “fun” stuff like haircuts. I get my hair done about once a year and always cringe when the stylist asks me the last time I got a haircut, because they know. They can tell. At the beginning of this year I tried to hack it by getting my hair cut way shorter than I usually do–friends, don’t ever try to “hack” your hair cut. Also, maybe try trusting what you think is cute first and foremost, since your friends don’t have to wake up with your hair.
Anyway, I was a good little adult and made myself a dentist appointment with a new dentist, obviously based on proximity and nothing else. As I said, I hate appointments of almost all varieties so I could hardly be indifferent towards it, and while technology hasn’t brought us to the point where we can be in and out of the chair in 10 minutes, it actually turned out to be pretty pleasant. They gave me some epinephrine and I had that jittery feeling that makes you feel panic-y in an ironically fun way. You know, the way you feel after you’ve had that third cup of coffee. If that wasn’t great enough they gave me the remote and let me choose what Netflix show I got to watch while they worked on my teeth, which hopefully they didn’t regret as I laughed my way through the entire cleaning. I used to think that airplanes were the best place to unplug and disconnect but as it turns out, the 21st century means wifi on airplanes and now dentist chairs are the new airplanes. After all, you can’t be writing emails or taking phone calls lying supine with your mouth wide open, can you?
I’m more of a night owl than a morning person but really neither, though sometimes I admit I get desperate to be that person drinking warm lemon water as the sun rises, rolling out the yoga mat and like, setting my intention for the day or something.
My apartment has no AC and Los Angeles is slowly burning these days, even well into the evening. There’s something about heat that makes me feel like I’m walking with mesh over my mouth, all claustrophobic and uncomfortable. I have a little porch area in the front that closes my apartment off from the outside, so I’ve been daring enough to sleep with my front door open and only my screen door between me and the porch, on a yoga mat on the floor, where potential intruders would get distracted by the absurdity of the image and hopefully run away. I hit my body with an ice cold shower that lasts about 15 seconds in the middle of the night (last night, this happened 3 times), jump out and skip the towel dry, lie out on the yoga mat next to the fan, and try to fall asleep before I feel the heat again.
I’m not so great at getting to bed early so mornings are without fail brutal, even when I incentivize myself with things like avocados in the fridge for breakfast. I have alarm clocks in my bathroom, kitchen, and by my bed so a cacophonous symphony strategically set minutes apart from each other goes off like a violent shake everyday. If I get up early enough, I’ll try to get some writing done at a cafe or in one case, McDonald’s.
McDonald’s has a turkey sausage and egg white breakfast bowl that I’m admittedly crazy about. The other week I walked in and when I ordered they handed me a rod to hold my receipt in and Lakisha brought breakfast to my table. If that wasn’t enough, she came to check on me twice and told me I was glowing twice (which I was, because I was eating McDonald’s and getting TABLE SERVICE). There’s something about eating a fairly healthy and super satisfying breakfast that would cost $15 at any of the many brunch places in LA that makes me feel like I’m gaming the system and coming out on top–a great feeling to start the day with.
I wanted to show you how incredible the moon looked tonight, especially offset by that wispy pink sugar-spun sky, but after trying my hardest to compose it just so, I realized I was taking pictures of a street lamp. In my defense, I had just finished up a really intense 15-minute jog/walk.
I forced myself to go for a run tonight because I’ve been reading The Slight Edge (which I affectionately consider to be more like the huge guilt trip). I used to be not horrible at running long distances and I wanted to clear my mind so I wouldn’t end up doing something weird again like deciding to sand my table in the middle of the night by hand.
I need a sander, by the way, and a lesson in carpentry.
I decided the healthy way to exert my energy was a good run, one of those runs that leaves you dry heaving and beet-red yet full of that fitness charisma. I used to always leave my place and then feel self-conscious that my roommates would judge me by how long my run was, which would in turn force me to stay out and exercise for a considerable length of time. But now I live alone, and there’s no shame in coming back to my place after just 15 minutes. That says something about my internal motivation that I don’t even want to confront right now.
I probably don’t need to tell you that I didn’t achieve a runner’s high, so the usual work stress, life stress, partially-sanded table stress circle in my head, as does the image of my co-worker standing behind me just as x-rated photos popped up on my computer and the hopelessly awkward conversation that took place afterwards.
What’s comforting after a long day though, is the promise of a comfortable couch I’ll relax in while watching old seasons of Louie until I fall asleep. Later, in some dreamy state, I’ll awake, glad to have had a break from thinking too much, beet-red, but only from sleeping in that peak-of-summer heat with the line marks from my corduroy couch imprinted on my skin from my knuckles to my face.
What’d I tell ya? One week, and I’m right back at it.
Not that it took me an entire week to get over my plane nausea, but I’m finally relaxing on a Sunday night with a hot beverage and it seems like the perfect time to sit down and talk a little bit.
Thanksgiving came together quietly; boxed stuffing and hand mashed potatoes. My parents make a real effort to do turkey and the whole thing because I loved it growing up, which is really sweet but if you could only imagine four people trying to eat your traditional Thanksgiving spread it almost seems like a dare. When I was a kid I used to think brining a turkey was some secret thing my dad discovered after intensive recipe testing and that’s why our turkey was never dry, but as the story goes this is the way the rest of the Thanksgiving-celebrating world preps their birds as well. I’m seeing all these pictures and articles on spatchcocking turkeys, though, and I’m thinking that may just be my next trick. I mean request.
I took my sweet time settling back into post holiday life, which in LA, was particularly rainy. It beat down hard and relentlessly, and I hoped for a minute we’d be saved from the drought. Unfortunately, a couple of rainy days in California is probably small beans at best. Rain doesn’t really make me think of puddles and rain boots (proof: I forgot to wear my rain boots and now I probably won’t get to use them until 2015). What it does make me think about is bánh xèo, this crepe-like Vietnamese dish my mom would always make on the first rain of the year. It would be a gray, muddy day, and she’d ask me if I thought it was a good day to eat bánh xèo. If you’ve ever eaten this, you don’t need me to tell you what my answer is. Actually, if you just know me, you don’t need me to tell you.
This all sounds really sentimental, but what I’m trying to say is, it was abnormally rainy for LA this past week so friends and I whipped up some bánh xèo. It’s a good time, learning how to cook better. Also, note to self of the cooking 101 lesson that is always reinforced when I make fried foods: a very hot pan is everything.
As usual, there’s always some stories about growing up peppered into my blogs. I know what it’s all trying to tell me. To my plethora (right?) of underage readers: childhood is so good! Don’t even worry about it.
I’m on a plane back to Los Angeles from my hometown yet again. I say again because I had a last-minute trip home just two weeks ago and of course, this weekend was the holiday. I’m starting to feel like I could use a lesson or two in travelling efficiently, since I still employ a somewhat disgusting habit of packing dirty clothes when I fly to my parents house, doing several loads of laundry once I get home and using that as my wardrobe for the trip. What can I say? A) I’m gross and B) Save the quarters!
I fumble awkwardly through security as always despite the satisfaction I have with myself for remembering to wear slip on shoes. The Sunset News by Gate 20 doesn’t carry jalapeño Cheetos, only regular. I decide that this is a tall order and will settle for limón hot Cheetos. The Hudson News by Gate 22 carries hot Cheetos, but no limón ones. My flight leaves from Gate 18, so by now I’m walking away from my flight only to be disappointed. I decide the whole ordeal is a bust and starve.
Fine, “starve” is definitely too strong a word and only a half-truth, because I am currently enjoying airplane pretzels and ginger ale. It’s literally the first time in years I’ve been awake when the flight attendants pass out snacks. Are we allowed to ask for seconds?
My usual yet intense motion sickness is suddenly getting worse and this flight is shorter than some people use to take a shower, so I’ll have to cut this short for now and leave some Thanksgiving stories for next time. A next time that will come within a week instead of a month, I promise.
I fell into the trap of waiting for something exciting to happen before I blogged so as the infrequent posts will tell you, I haven’t been up to much, minus trying to make it out of this heat wave as more than a crisped potato skin. The other day I put my t-shirt and a pillow case in a plastic bag and put it in the freezer in an attempt to make sleep more bearable. Is the surprising part about that admission that I put my clothes in the freezer, or that it’s 2014 in Los Angeles and I somehow managed to find a plastic bag?
So on one of these offensively hot days I was loafing around when my friend asked me if there was anything I’d consider myself an expert in. I’ve thought about this before and there isn’t really anything I could come up with, but to satisfy the old “everybody’s good at something” adage I said I was pretty phenomenal at 30 Rock trivia. I’ve since had my ego brutally crushed from several online 30 Rock trivia quizzes because I don’t know which of Pete Hornberger’s sons he’s afraid. Ah, back to the what-am-I-good-at drawing board.
I did go to the LA County fair to catch a friend perform the other week and that was exciting. For all the times I stayed at a Circus Circus growing up (lavish, I know), I could never have imagined I would ever actually know one of the people flying from those high bars and flipping around. It’s also sort of spectacular to me that no amount of aging could ever make shiny spinning lights and colorful booths less enticing, though I’ve always known better than to spend buckets of quarters on games my lack of coordination simply won’t allow me to win. Six courses of predominantly fried foods and three sets of acrobatics later, I think I’ve finally fulfilled a decade long craving for a quintessential hot summer day at the fair. I still don’t know how those magicians get the metal rings to disconnect and meld without so much as batting an eye, but I’m not too old to chalk it up to magic. Then again, as someone who found chemistry really challenging in school, I am generally very prone to chalking things up to magic.
I turned 25 on Tuesday.
I didn’t want to make a big deal about it but that attitude just turned into me sweeping it under the rug and hiding it from everyone. I always feel kind of embarrassed with the sudden influx of attention you get when the day comes around, and since I’m a twin, I never thought it was all about me in the first place. I guess none of that translated to the people around me who bombarded me with love, messages, and sugar. Still, it was low-key and lovely, just as I’d hoped. Thank you!
For my birthday, I had sushi with a couple of friends and from the moment we sat down and my male friend told the waitress we were doing “well” instead of “good,” her heart exploded and she fell in love. And when he ordered food, saying, “Can I get–excuse me, may I get,” I could just see the lust in her eyes. After a couple of instances of her lingering at our table after checking up on us, she asked me what I had planned for the rest the night and I told her we were going to check out the whiskey bar down the street.
“I love whiskey!” she said. “I don’t like bourbon because it’s too sugary but I love Irish whiskeys. But scotch is too manly for me, it makes me feel like I’m growing chest hair. But that place is amazing and there are pool tables!”
I figured I should invite her at this point since she seemed really interested and it was more innocent for me to invite her than it would have been for my friend to, but she slipped away with our check before I could get a word in. When she came back, she announced:
“Have an amazing birthday! I would totally join you but I’m so tired and I don’t have my ID.”
“You don’t have your ID?”
“Well, I do…but I’m sorry, I’m really exhausted. But happy birthday!” Yeah, I totally got rejected from someone I didn’t even ask out, who isn’t even of the gender I’m interested in. What surprised me the most was how I actually felt kind of rejected.
ASKDFJASDF; GIRLS ARE SO CONFUSING.
Anyway, a couple of years ago whenever I had a lot on my mind I got into the bad habit of going on these drives around LA late at night. I know it’s a waste of gas and driving isn’t great for the environment anyway, which is why I made myself stop, but yeah, I’d go late because the roads would be clear and you’d hit rows of green lights pretty easily and it was as soothing as big cities get, I suppose. I don’t know about other people, but there are so many times on my regular commute when I would wonder, “Well what if I turned here instead? Where would that lead?” so on the night drives I’d indulge those questions and explore where those turns lead me. So I let myself go on a drive again the other night and it felt so good just to listen to music and roam for a while. I’m teaching myself to replace that habit with running instead, but it’s just…so much harder.
Speaking of hard physical activities, I spontaneously hiked Mt. Baldy last week. My friend invited me on a hike that morning and I figured we’d hit up Topanga or something innocuous, but no, we drove an hour out and climbed half of Mt. Baldy ’til we hit a ski lodge. The ski lodge was quaint, the bathroom foul, and the water more delicious than any I’ve ever had. There was a tall burly man from Czech that unofficially managed the place and between stories he put out these tiny ice cream soda glasses and poured us shots of Stoli, which he kept stored in a corner broom closet. I’m not sold on the combination of stoli and gravel rolling under my feet on a steep incline, but I made it down the mountain safely, and that’s good enough for me.
The cabin had board games!
I could never do the view justice. I take southern California for granted sometimes.
Cooking is one of those skills I think everyone should have, like swimming or having a good enough memory to be able to recycle your best jokes to each of the groups you’re a part of without making anyone hear it twice. I’m one of those people who finds cooking extremely therapeutic, but I’m also pretty bad at it. Like most people, I do have a signature dish, but two-thirds of the recipe comes prepackaged and by two-thirds I mean there are three ingredients and two of them come in plastic.
Last Saturday I took a knife skills class because I am making a real effort to learn how to cook. The people there reminded me multiple times to use the opposite hand as the instructor since I’m left handed, which was funny after a while because why would I use my non-dominant hand anyway? It never would have occurred to me to try to cut vegetables with my right hand since its sole purpose is to provide visual symmetry. I expect almost nothing from that hand.
The picture above is of all the vegetables we cut up, which were roasted and served to us at the end of the class. I didn’t come out a knife expert by any means, but at least I know where to start when it comes to cutting an onion now. I’m trying to create more opportunities to practice which just means making myself more food. Tonight I made this cauliflower sauce pasta using no recipe because I’m a creative type (read: masochist) and can’t stop hiding vegetables in foods because it makes me laugh, albeit to myself. It all started because Jessica Seinfeld hid spinach in her brownies and I was raised to think anything Seinfeld is hilarious and brilliant.
The pasta doesn’t taste bad but the texture is quite strange and it doesn’t look pretty. I used cauliflower, laughing cow cheese, almond milk, and nutritional yeast for the sauce, which made me think of that 90s movie, Jack, when those kids threw a ton of random, disgusting ingredients into a pot and made Robin Williams taste it as a hazing ritual. I always thought it was super sweet how he saved all those red gummy bears for J. Lo in a ziploc even though the white gummy bears are of course the best color. The yellow ones are the worst because you always mistake them for white until you eat them so they’re like, liars.