For Posterity

Just want to remember that this is the view from my commute every single day. 

And that, as much as I like to complain about it, I sort of love the ritual of heating up my studio in the Headlands, and the wool booties and socks, the hot water bottle, the down vest and comforter, the endless cups of tea, and the space heaters I need to keep warm and stay alive out here.  

And, as stressed out and paralyzed with doubt, and in my head, and anti-social as I feel right now, there is this sort of luxurious level of self-indulgence involved in making a creative work on this scale and that soon, when I am done, I will actually miss this.  A friend said I'm in a love affair with this book.  It's sort of like that, I think, a torturous, highest-highs, lowest-lows kind of love affair.  

I just want to say, for the record, that every single day, I still can't believe I get to write a book.  That my job is coming out to this National Recreation Area, sitting down at my desk with a view of Bolinas, and writing down every story I have ever wanted to tell about cooking, and life, and beauty and pain. That I get to walk down to the beach in the afternoon, fiery light bleeding through the iceplant down the hillside, to collect tiny, perfect sand dollars and watch dolphins pups play with their mamas on their way to warmer waters.  And that I get to collaborate with some of the most excellent people I have ever met in the making of this thing.  

I haven't lost sight of that.  

Van Morrison, Into the Mystic
James Vincent McMorrow, Higher Love
Bonnie Raitt, Bluebird
Joni Mitchell, Blue

i'm going to have to sit down and write all of the opportunities i've been offered on one piece of paper, all in a row. so many of them are amazing--things i couldn't have imagined for myself five or ten years ago (people want me to help them start grand projects, to join them as partners in their non-profits and for-profits, to move to the country to organize farm programs, to write books for and with them, and so much more). it's just that none of them are the one i just missed out on--the one i've poured so much of myself into for so long, the one i knew i was more qualified for than anyone else.

i have to let myself grieve for this before i can begin to be truly excited for what i decide to do next.

plan b

it's time for plan b.

one of the most difficult things about this setback is that to get what i want to get done done, i'm going to have to do a lot more legwork, and we all know how lazy i am.

plan a was easy, prestigious, and had a built-in time line to get me where i needed to be.

plan b is going to be a lot more work.

i think i'm ready for a trip to new york.


tomatoes01, originally uploaded by swardraws.

i gave mp and his wife some canned tomato sauce for her birthday last fall.

the other day, he told me in an email that he and his family had just enjoyed it at dinner the other night. he said that it was "delicious and unusual."

i'm really worried--what was so unusual about it? yikes. was it bad? i'd like to hope that if it were bad, they'd know and not eat it. i mean, there would be foam or mold, or a tingling sensation in their mouths when they tasted it.

i started to think, is mp's whole family dead at the dinner table? did i kill the great american hero at the start of his nationwide book tour?


i tried to remember which batch of sauce i gave him jars from, and opened some to taste it. it tasted fine. no fizzing, no mold, no tingling tongue. no botulism.

today, one of the farmers i was ordering from told me that she bribed her way into a talk he was giving last night in santa cruz with her organic produce. she said gave him a bunch of carrots afterward, and he's still alive and kicking.

i'm just really curious about what was so unusual about it.

where i was vs. where i wish i were

i've really been wanting to go to the monterey bay aquarium and visit the jellyfish. if only i could have gone yesterday, instead of working at a party for people so wealthy that i felt disgusting doing the work i did. there is no such thing as moderation in their world, and being essentially a 6-year old child housed in a 28-year old's body, i had a really hard time myself. i ate so much candy i think i am still on a sugar high. blech.

i sometimes think that when i leave restaurants, and begin to work more seriously on writing, i can support myself by doing more of this uberfancy catering for the rich and famous. but it is such soul-sucking work that i think i'd be left with less inspiration to write than i have even now. in many ways, it's doing exactly the opposite of what i want to be doing. yuck. and, even though it's not exactly my goal to be rich and famous myself, when you work for them, even if you make hundreds of thousands of dollars a year (as some cooks i know do), you still work for them. you're not one of them. you're not at the party, you're cleaning up after the party. i'd rather not spend the rest of my life (or the bulk of it) being someone's servant, no matter how much i get paid.

soon, soon, i will go see the jellies. anyone want to come?

fruits on pam's porch, originally uploaded by abchao.

i'm caught in a weird place--with my hand still healing, i'm not really supposed to do anything where it could get infected. that means i can't work at a level even close to my full capacity (which is a lot. a coworker once told me i do the work of 2.5 others).

i've lost focus. work is a strange no man's land--the one place where i once had a perfectly clear sense of purpose and duty is now as confusing as the rest of my world. i don't really know what to do most of the time.

i have always done so much, and been expected to do so much, that it is really disconcerting not to be able to do that much. i've been ordered to stay out of the kitchen (which i am able to manage about 75% of the time), but i worry that the others look at me wondering why i'm not doing anything. working in a kitchen is about constantly doing something--a good cook will multitask, and multitask well, the entire day.

at a glance, my hand looks healed, so if you didn't know what's going on, you'd probably think i am just lazy.

the truth is, i am exhausted inside.

and tomorrow, i have a job in the city--one of those fancy jobs where i usually work extra hard to prove i'm worth what they're paying me. not sure how i'll fare, i told them i'm not supposed to do anything too strenuous or use my hand too much, so we'll see what job they give me, and how i deal with my inadequacies.


Paperwhites, originally uploaded by schönwandt.

a friend brought me some paperwhite bulbs the day after my surgery. they're not quite to this point yet, but hopefully, when they are, i'll have the presence of mind to snap a photo or two of them.

i've been thinking a lot lately about my insecurities.

ok, who am i kidding? i think a lot all of the time about my insecurities.

three times (and twice very recently) people have told me that i use silliness and humor to avoid having to be my true self around people, and to distance myself from people.

it's completely true--i don't deny it.

on one hand, it's a protective measure--if i don't have a serious conversation with you, then there is no way for you to know what i am really thinking, what i am sensitive about, and there is no way for you to hurt me (or at least hurt me as severely).

and on the other hand, i feel like i am more in touch with my true self and my real emotions than most people i know, and more willing to share that part of me with people i trust. but that can make people REALLY uncomfortable. one of my dearest friends (and i think that some of you will know who i mean) cannot deal with my rawness. she actually, visibly, twitches with discomfort. it's a sacrifice for me to have to keep my true feelings from her, and it's set limits to our friendship, but i realize that it's something i have to do for her sake. it is mean to gush when i know she can't handle it. i won't do that to her.

i sometimes make jokes to avoid uncomfortable situations. the most tightly wound person i know is someone i love and respect a lot. she is one of the most critical people i've ever met, but also one of the most sensitive. sometimes, she says things i completely disagree with, but i can't disagree with her directly, because i know how much it would hurt her. i also don't want to agree with her because it would betray my own feelings too much, so i usually make a joke to lighten the mood or change the subject.

i'm so serious in my own head all of the time, i want to spare other people from that. i can't deal with all of my time spent with friends being as intense as the time i spend alone with my thoughts.

a friend (not the clairvoyant one i mentioned a couple of weeks ago, but one who i really do believe can see things on another level than most people) told me recently that i have inherited a legacy of worry, and that things don't have to be so hard for me. he said he can see right through my silliness to the reasons for it, and that i don't have to be that way so much.

it's good to know that some people are okay with the truth and intensity. it's scary, because there can be a lot of pain wrapped up in all of that. but if you can't ever be your genuine self around your friends, can't show them your grief, or pain, or sadness, then what is there?

yeah, i know i've got issues

takeoff over transamerica, originally uploaded by SF buckaroo.

i don't know if i can manage to write this story discreetly without being too confusing or general, so forgive me if i lose you somewhere along the way....

there is a big secret party happening soon somewhere about a 6-hour flight from here. it is for some really rich people (and i think if you know some of the people i work for from time to time, you'll know that when i say really rich, i mean really rich) and even though i'm not gonna tell you who the people are or what the party is, i will say that if you really want to know, you can easily figure it out with some savvy googling.

i found out that this party would be happening several months ago, and that pretty much every heavy hitter i know is making the trip to work it. in fact, if you are a bay area socialite planning a party next weekend, don't expect any good cooks or servers to be working, because every single cp-related caterer i know is going to be out of town, save one (in fact, things are so desperate that someone asked me if i wanted to cater a christmas dinner for a certain party planner to the rich and famous with a very jewish name. i wondered aloud, "isn't so-and-so jewish?" and then "isn't christmas at the end of december?" if you are wondering, i vehemently turned down that offer--no one's going to be around to help, and i can't/won't do something like that on my own, and one-handed).

anyway, i feel like everyone but me is going to work at this event, and that everyone but me was invited. i've been kind of depressed about it, even though there is no way i could go, with my hand, and my job. and frankly, i'd probably spend a lot of the time feeling belittled by some of the people there. i just wish i'd been asked.

when i told some of my friends who are going how sad i was at not being invited, they said that they weren't even invited, that they asked to go, and that everyone thought i didn't want to go. i kind of knew all along that if i'd told the people in charge i wanted to go, they'd have said yes, but in all truth, i just wanted to be invited so that i could say no.

favorites 12/1/07

My creation, originally uploaded by ciaosamin.

1. san francisco, 2. My favorite Laduree Macaroons, 3. paris_lauderee chocolat, 4. pear, 5. Untitled, 6. Untitled, 7. Atmospheric, 8. green shelf, 9. the real deal, 10. birch at 8 am, 11. looks like autumn, 12. same landing strip, 13. another bike of Bergen, 14. getting ready, 15. well …, 16. milky, 17. Untitled, 18. Sugar Candy, 19. elk, 20. helicopters, 21. tough guy, 22. preámbulo para cruzar una calle, 23. Jump, 24. B&W #14/>

flickr rules.


o, originally uploaded by Doctor Swan.

i'm annoyed. and stressed out. i was worried that my wound might be infected yesterday--the doctor said to wait a day or two and see what happens. i woke up this morning to a pus factory. really wonderful.

i went back to the doctor, and he took a swab. we'll see what happens. i think i just really have to stay out of the kitchen. ugh. it's a lot harder than it sounds.

i'm stressed because i haven't been spending enough time working on the gift project, and i need to be done with it this weekend. i want it to be really cool, but so far, it's basically a dud.

tomorrow is the "interesting" dinner. i'd been dreading it, but now i am just curious about how it's going to go. the good thing is that we're going to cp, so at the very least i'll get to see a bunch of my friends. and i'm pretty sure that there will be chocolate sprinkles involved at some point.

in the battle between industriousness and procrastination, one of my sides has finally prevailed....

i can't believe how much i got done today. i'm really happy with myself! i wrote about eight letters in italian (!), three in english, took major notes, and did a ton of internet research on a big project that's been hanging over my head for months. it feels so good to have knocked out so much in just one day.

the good thing about procrastination is that i stew so much about stuff that i work through most of the difficult thought processes before i ever actually have to do any work. by the time i sit down to the computer, i've sorted through most of my thoughts and can just type. it's quite freeing, actually.

i'm also really happy because i was planning on recycling a bunch of work for this project, but i kind of made a mental breakthrough that is going to make this project even better than the last one. yay!

about the murder

i still don't know if it was technically a murder, but i do know that there is a bunch of "zona polizia" tape up all over the doors of the dead guy's apartment (i hold my breath and look away and run past it every time), and the latest thing that i have heard is that the old dude had a lover or someone who is a possible suspect. i still don't know how he died, though. and there is some speculation on why there were always young people coming and going out of his apartment (drugs? sex? no one knows. well, i don't). i'll let you know when i find out.
alright, this is really the last thing for today. not like i actually have anything substantial to say or anything. but i wrote a few recipes; oh yeah, i had a big epiphany about this book. i convinced benedetta that we need to put as many HARDCORE ITALIAN recipes as possible into this book. so today i wrote up one for tripe, one for veal's spleen, and one for chicken stomachs. score! and lots of onions, too, nl! take that, picky eaters of america!

oh, yes, i almost forgot: pizza party usa! via helenjane