Alone Again, Naturally

Some people go to therapy to stay calm and sane, some take Prozac or do yoga. For me, I've found that perusing the San Francisco apartment rentals on Craigslist calms me down, though god knows why, as it's fairly clear from the prices that we'll have to share a 300-square-foot studio in the Tenderloin with two crack whores and a small army of cockroaches when we finally do move out there.

It's been a very solitary weekend. Sean has been in Connecticut visiting his family, and I've been doing things like eating Triscuits with peanut butter for dinner because when you really start thinking about it, making an actual meal for one person seems like such a hassle, and why dirty a saucepan—nay, why dirty a plate? This paper towel will do just fine!—when you'll only have to clean it up again afterwards? This afternoon I had a bag of microwaved popcorn for lunch. When I was younger, I used to think being able to make a bag of microwaved popcorn whenever you wanted to in place of a meal was The Height Of Independence. This afternoon, sadly, it was just The Height Of Nothing Else In The Cupboard.

Aside from a few interactions with the woman manning the desk at the gym, an encounter with Lovely Neighbor Stacy in which she borrowed my ladder and I used her printer, and a one-sided conversation with Thespian Libby's cat, whom I'm feeding this weekend while she's out of town---although whose existence I am actually beginning to doubt, since he has yet to make himself visible---I've kept pretty much to myself. I've been working on this book (did I tell you I was working on a book?), the deadline for which is May 15, which also happens to be the day I'm leaving for England. This means that as well as two suitcases being packed by this time, one job must be quit, one party must be held, one car must be sold, and twelve chapters must be written, and thus I struggled this whole weekend with eight, nine, and ten. It's all about weddings, this book, a glossy coffee table affair for a local event planner who was recently named one of Modern Bride's Top 25 Trendsetters. As such, I'm having dreams about save-the-date cards and clear-topped tents, champagne flutes with orchids in them, and butler cards hung on miniature trees constructed from the branches of blooming cherry blossoms. I could make a fortune with this information, you realize, if I ran off somewhere and started a wedding planning business. I know exactly how to make beribboned pew markers.

I like the solitude, though. I get a lot done, and when I'm not getting a lot done, I can channel surf with impunity, because that jerky, stilted noise the TV makes when you flick through each station---"soIsaid...andnexton....applepiethat....comingup...toherbut...butwhatabout...lastweekon" ---doesn't bother me at all, though it drives Sean insane with irritation. Without him around, I'm also becoming dangerously close to Crazy Cat Lady status, letting both kittens sleep in the bed with me, my arm draped over them while all three of us sigh in contentment as we snooze through the alarm.

He's home tomorrow, and I'm excited to see how well he's been able to complete the assignment I issued to him before he left---Mission: Buy As Much Of The Trader Joe's Inventory As You Can Carry. More than anything else, though, I'm really just looking forward to having him around again; to the great relief of having him to talk to.

1
lissa
May 01, 2006

Being single I too feel that way about dishes and plates. It is highly good for the diet that I have been on for about oh the better part of a decade though. Although I must say that I lived without a microwave for a year while I lived in New York and to be single without a microwave... lets just say I think I deserve a medal. No way to reheat your leftovers and you HAVE to dirty a pan. THE AGONY!

2
Susan
May 01, 2006

We will never have a Trader Joe's (or a Whole Foods) in Oklahoma because state blue laws limit sales of wine and real beer to liquor stores ONLY. Although you can buy 3.2 beer in the grocery! Of course you have to drink about 40 of them to get any sort of buzz. And only 3.2 can be sold cold--real beer MUST be warm. You know, so you don't drink it in the car or something.

Could Sean bring me some Trader Joe's inventory? Some Three Buck Chuck, perhaps?

3
Gretchen
May 01, 2006

Love that Lovin' Spoonful lyric. Those guys had some good ones. You have to bear in mind, when listening to anything from that era of music, that the people writing AND playing were doing so on loads of pot and dollops of LSD. Which is pretty impressive! My husband laments that the music of the Love Era is too often "sloppy" but when you consider that members of the Grateful Dead managed to get their minds to focus enough to write music in time signatures that they had INVENTED ON THE SPOT, you can't but be impressed.

Hurry home to her, Sean. When Ben is not around, I feel like I've had an amputation.

4
SportyChick
May 01, 2006

At the risk of sounding like a groupie, I wanted to let you know that I just love your writing style. It's fresh, fun, and so genuine. Thanks for the daily entertainment.

And yes, apartments out here in the Bay Area are brutally expensive. The good news is that companies are hiring again, especially technology start-ups, so there are jobs-a-plenty.

Good luck!

5
Meg
May 01, 2006

I always cook, even though it's just for me, but I think I just got used to that, not having a Sean of my own other than the one who is my brother. But Triscuits are lovely, and peanut butter is great protein!

That all said, I would need much more alcohol to fortify me through a wedding book. Not that I couldn't write one of my own, since ALL MY FRIENDS ARE MARRIED AND MADE ME HELP (including my roommate who hits the altar in June.) All I REALLY know, though, is that I want Claudia Calhoun (http://www.claudiacalhoun.com) invites for my wedding, if I don't elope.

Which I totally will.

6
Adele
May 01, 2006

Upon your mention of the book you are writing I held my breath in the hopes that it was your novel that you had omitted to mention - and that of course you already had a deal with the publisher for the submission of the first 12 chapters. Now I am a little blue in the face and emotions.....but oh the joy of a promised Holly Novel...could soon revive me.

(Am sure that your wedding copy will be beautifully composed and a surefire winner....)

7
Sheryl
May 01, 2006

That's quite a to-do list for the next two weeks. Makes me hyperventilate just reading it!

8
Luscious Lumpkin
May 01, 2006

Do you have to live in San Francisco itself? Most of the bay area is lovely and you can always take the BART in to work.

9
Meepers
May 01, 2006

I have a question: Have you heard the Matt Costa version of that song? Adorable! Have you thought about living in Berkeley or Oakland and commuting into the city when you need to go? BTW - if you need wedding/party tips - visit my site for links or comment with questions. Cheers! Viva la Traders'!

10
nonny moose
May 01, 2006

What a sweet post. I find myself this weekend looking at apartments and realizing I'll soon be single, something I thought would never happen. But when i hear how you and Gretchen talk about your guys I think, wow, I don't think I ever felt that way about him. Although I must have. I had a wedding. No planner though. At what point did planners become required? All my friends and I just did it it all with our mommas.
Peace.

11
NuclearSister
May 01, 2006

My favourite wedding tip is that instead of the flowers on each table at the reception, get a fancy fat glass, or a wide vase, or big cylindrical glasses. Fill the bottom with a layer of shiny glassy stones and fill with water, then have one of those pretty male Japanese fighting fish in each one. Just a nice change from flowers.

12
Laura
May 01, 2006

Weddings.... Don't let the alterations on your wedding gown go until the last minute (i.e. day before the Big Day) and stay up until 5am on the Big Day sewing in little tiny buttons and cursing your inefficiency.

Also? Do not get a perm one month prior to your wedding as a "change" for the ceremony, only to wind up looking like a poodle and requiring several weeks of intensive conditioner treatments to look slightly less "big hair."

In addition, make sure that even if your cake decorator does not speak English you can at least communicate your wishes for said cake by pointing at pictures, so you do not wind up with the Leaning Tower of Cake (see below comment about 100 degree heat) with blue frosting from a squeeze tube, and big sugar cube swans floating around in it.

And lastly, if you ARE to get married in North Carolina in June in 100 degree heat, it is important to have A) an air conditioner in your reception hall, B) keys to your reception hall, C) a bridesmaid's spouse willing to break into said reception hall if necessary, and D) an obstetrician around if one (or 3) members of your wedding party or guests is a minimum of 8 months pregnant.

Just some little things that might be useful.

13
jes
May 01, 2006

roger was out of town this weekend, too, visiting his parents in Columbia. but instead of stopping at one bag of popcorn, i had SIX!!! except they were the mini-size, which makes it not sound SO bad.

14
PhoenixHearse
May 01, 2006

I can say from experience that two crack whores and a small army of cockroaches make excellent roommates.

As does a small spider that lives in your shower that after 2 weeks you affectionately name Wilbur. I mean hey, he's seen you naked more times than your boyfriend, he deserves a name.

15
citywendy
May 01, 2006

After living with a boyfriend for 4 years, I've been on my own for two, and I agree: cooking for one is a great big, huge hassle. BUT! There's something grand about grilling some salmon with carrots and broccoli and tomato, serving it on a nice plate, and eating it with a glass of wine and enjoying a bowl of berries afterwards. It's like, "Hey! I deserve to eat well whether I'm coupled or not!" Then again, heating a big-ass burrito in the microwave and washing it down with a corona or two is pretty fucking nice, too!

16
April
May 01, 2006

That Lovin' Spoonful song (except sung by Joe Cocker) was the one my husband and I danced to at our wedding--because he talks ALL THE TIME (and I'm glad it's me he's talking to).

17
Mike
May 02, 2006

Ha, popcorn as a meal. Everytime my mother would go out of town and leave the four of us in the care of good ol' dad, it was popcorn for dinner! An even bigger treat was if he was returning from a flight and he talked the flight attendants into forking over 4 extra first class meals. Can you believe we actually thought airline food was good?

I'm glad I'm not the only one who considers popcorn a perfectly acceptable substitute for the whole food pyramid.

18
Gallaudet
May 02, 2006

Oh, what I wouldn't give for a weekend of silence! Me, the cats, some Triscuits...the bliss of just the idea makes me dizzy. TTD did take the boys out of town over Thanksgiving this year, and I literally just SAT for three days. Well, first I cleaned the house, and then I sat by the fire listening to the lovely, lovely silence, hour after hour. Once in a while I stood up, put cream cheese on a bagel, and left the detruitus on the kitchen counter, because I was the only one making messes, so I didn't have to worry about cleaning-them-up-right-now-before-they-multiply-and-get-out-of-control. It was heaven.

I am sorry to say that, far from missing them, I was actually very grumpy when they got back home. They walked in the door and my reaction was not, "Oh, my beautiful boys, how glad I am that you're home!" but instead, "Holy shit! My life is THIS level of noise and chaos? Wait; I can't do this!" When it comes to motherhood, I am not really a class act.

However, I'm glad you both enjoyed your weekend AND your looking forward to The Guy's return!

19
Mel
May 02, 2006

I am loving the new ads. When I first clicked on there were two ads for eggplant recipes! LOVE IT.

20
Y
May 02, 2006

I think next time you're alone, you should call me so I can tell you all about NAILING the latin dance last night.

I'm just saying...

21
posthipchick
May 02, 2006

As a TJ's afficianado and SF resident, let me point you in the direction of the newly remodeled Daly City TJ's (depending on where you live in the city, of course). I will say it is FAR superior to the one on 9th St. and the one on Masonic.
All of them have terrible parking issues, though. Just terrible.

22
Nancy
May 02, 2006

I was filled with glee when my dear old pal Trader Joes finally opened up in Manhatten. Oh, thought I, those thin little chocolate chip cookies will be mine again. Those frozen shrimp potstickers. Mmm, the two buck chuck I lived on during my last year of law school.

But, no. While I love thee, TJ, I am not willing to wait in an HOUR LONG LINE just to get to enter the store. Hopefully, Sean will bring back copious amounts of all of the things listed above for you. A girl cannot live on triskets and microwave popcorn alone (though it's sort of delicious for a couple decadent days).

23
Liz
May 04, 2006

SWEET CRACKER SANDWICH!! (I just LOVE that phrase!) It's taken me a week to read all your blogs, and they are soo hysterical, and now your quitting your job and travelling! YOU GO GIRL!!
At 24 I quit my job and travelled around the world (originally I was only going on a 4 month jaunt, but, hey, other countries called and I ended up being gone a year.) That was 30 years ago and I HAVE NEVER ONCE REGRETTED IT! You'll have a ball and I can't wait to hear about it!