Falling Into Place

Fall is the best time of year. It brings 

1) Pumpkins

2) The much underrated color, orange.

3) General coziness. 

4) Coziness meaning laziness.

5) Scary movies. 

6) Okay, only a certain level of scary movies. 

7) Like, my best friend loves Rob Zombie and his wife and would marry them both in a blood-soaked, human-sacrificial ceremony if the law permitted, but I can’t deal with him or his films because he pretty much recreates my nightmares on screen.

8) So when I say scary movies, I mean thrillers and the classics like Psycho or Halloween (which, let’s be real, is the best horror film of all time). 

9) Or I also love that real kitschy shit like Pet Semetary 2 and Tales From the Darkside.

10) Okay, goddamn Gina, focus.

11) What I started this post to say was I love Autumn because it’s amazing for a lot of reasons but this year is going to be especially wonderful because of the amount of gigantic books coming out. After 10ish years, Jonathan Safran Foer has a new novel. Zadie Smith is going to be back in the game.  Ian McEwan is gracing us with his presence.  Maria Semple is serving up something new. And to top it all off, Bryan Cranston and Anna Kendrick are giving us mere mortals a glimpse into their lives. 

12) So basically, I’m gonna John Milton-it and read myself blind. 

13) Which could in and of itself be a horror movie, if not a really, really boring one.

Consider the Flamingo

I love flamingos.  So, so much.  First there’s their gorgeous coloration.

  
I want coral skin.  It’s not fair.

Secondly, there’s their cat-like, spastic behavior.  So many times have I seen a flamingo just standing in the pool, casually looking around, acting cool and collected; then out of nowhere, he’ll turn to the flamingo beside him, and attack.  I’m talking honking, pecking, flapping, the works.  Just as quickly as he started, he’ll stop and slowly walk away, leaving his victim behind like, “Dude.  The fuck.”

  
Also, they sometimes do this thing where they spread their wings, start to make that obnoxious honking noise, stretch their heads toward the sky and walk slowly and ominously forward.  One will do this, then another, and another, until the whole flock is marching in this bizarre homage to Nazi Germany.

  
Unfortunately for this guy, no one was in the mood.

That is how I chose to depict my flamingo; to me it reads elegance, confidence, and a whole lot of pride and egomania.

  
  Just like me.

Sisters Are Doin’ it for Themselves

Hello world. Did you know that there has only been one black female senator in the history of these beautiful United States of America? Did you also know that there have been zero Indian senators, male or female, in said gorgeous country of ours? 

Did you also also know that Kamala Harris is both black and Indian and just got one step closer to making those facts void? 

That’s pretty cool. Glad I could help with that.

In other fun news, for the first time ever, it seems that two Democrats will make it to the California senatorial showdown come November. And not just that, two LADY Democrats. AND NOT JUST, NOT JUST THAT–TWO MINORITY LADY DEMOCRATS.

Way to go, California. You’re making your girl proud. 

 
   

Flying Too Close to the Sun

I’ve had to wait longer than usual to have a beach day this year.  While most Mays can jump up into the high 80s and even 90s, this past month really seemed set on proving the whole “May Gray” theory.  So when I pulled back my curtains this morning to reveal a sunny sky, I grabbed my bathing suit and a book, and headed to the beach.

It was a beautiful day.  The sun was full and bright and there was a constant cool breeze to keep me from getting too warm and packing up early.  I lounged on the sand, happy to be outside, happy to be young and alive!  I laughed and shook my hair in the salt-tinged air like a woman in a shampoo commercial.  I was beautiful!  I was invincible!  I was so comfortable, so delighted to be soaking up that much needed vitamin D, that I didn’t think twice about the fact that I had forgotten the most important thing to have on one’s first tanning-session of the year.

Sunscreen.  I had forgotten sunscreen.

 

crooked tanlines are in this summer.
 
Fortunately for my delicate face, I was wearing my SPH-infused foundation.  The rest of my body was not so lucky.

 

fun fact: the sun was hitting me on the opposite side of that sunburn.
 
As per usual, my hubris was struck down swiftly by the forces that be and instead of feeling like a honey-dipped Gigi Hadid, I look like a walking ad for skin cancer screenings.

 

im still prettttty, riiiight?
 
 Let this serve as a cautionary tale to you all this weekend. Forget the book. Grab the sunscreen.

In High Spirits

You know how in my last post, I talked about how much I adored my apartment and decorating and making it a home? Well my current roommate has told me she will be moving out come July 1, and as most of the furniture in our shared living space is hers, she will be taking it with her. I was fortunate enough to find a new roommate quickly and with great ease, so the stress level has receded, but financially, I was not yet off the hook. When I said most of the furniture is hers, I wasn’t kidding. The couch? Hers. The tv and tv stand? Hers. The lamp? Hers. The chair, the pillows, the dining table, the beautiful grey and yellow rug? Hers, hers, hers, half-hers (we thought splitting that one would be a good idea, and see in retrospect, it was not). The thought of my once-comforting home being depleted into a vacuous room was stressing me out.  I’d still have my record player, but no chair in which to sit and enjoy the music. I’d have my book case, but no couch on which to read my books. And what would we do about the rug? Pull a Solomon and cut the thing in half? 

Clearly, the whole thing was getting to me. Fortunately my new roommate has again soothed my anxieties because she also loves decorating and also also loves vintage, old lady, kitschy chic. Our house may come together much quicker and with less a financial burden than I worried it would because as it turns out, orange floral couches are relatively inexpensive. 

Excited by the prospects of turning my home into a living museum, I found an adorable bar cart at an antique store in OB. She was put in their warehouse and simply forgotten about. I related to her neglect and knew I had to give her a good, loving home.

 Poor thing was covered in dust.

  

But will soon be covered in liquor.

   
Here’s to new beginnings with old things.

Okie Dokie Artichokie

I love my apartment. I really do. When things are going bad, as they regularly tend to, I sit back and think, “well, at least I have my home.” Three years ago, I quickly had to move out of my quaint back house on account of an animal dying and flies swarming the property, and moved in–what was supposed to be temporarily–with my then-boyfriend. His one bedroom apartment was far too cramped for the both of us and a year and a half later I finally left…and moved back into my parents’ house. Nothing humbles you quite like moving back into your childhood bedroom, especially if it was quickly converted into an office and your bed has been replaced with a futon.

After being displaced for so long, I am forever grateful that I found the apartment I am in now. Not only is it my own, but it’s pretty great for North Park standards. With a garage, fireplace, and vaulted ceilings, it has a particularly homey feeling that I needed. I love to decorate and my roommate and I have slowly been adding touches here and there to warm the place up, but the biggest difficulty has been in decorating the walls. Though vaulted ceilings open up the apartment and make it feel even larger than it is, it’s incredibly difficult to fill all that extra space, especially on a retail-manager’s budget.  

After some (read: a year of) contemplation, I’ve decided to paint small canvases with my favorite things and mount them on the wall above my desk. What better way to personalize my space?

  
My first painting is titled, “Artichoke,” because it is an artichoke. While painting it, I became curious about the vegetable I love so much and decided to look it up. Here are some fun facts I learned about them:

1) artichokes are actually the flower part of the plant. If one does not devour it and allows it to bloom, it blossoms a pretty indigo. I don’t know who discovered that, but I applaud their willpower.

2) they are related to the sunflower, which makes COMPLETE SENSE because I love both artichokes and sunflowers very much. 

3) California produces nearly 100% of the country’s artichokes, which makes COMPLETE SENSE BECAUSE I LIVE IN CALIFORNIA. Clearly everything revolves around me.

That’s pretty much it. I realize that really wasn’t all that interesting after having written it, but hey, now when you’re out at a dinner party where artichokes are being served, you’ll have something to add to the conversation you were otherwise awkwardly avoiding. Check back next week for round two of My Favorite Things and Other Worthless Information courtesy of yours truly.

Sandwich Chronicles: Panama 66

WEEK EIGHT

Work is pretty rough this time of year.  We are currently in our post-Christmas dead period where all the New Year’s Resolutionists have finally given up on their goals of weight loss and reading more and have settled back into their respective couches with takeout and Netflix, not to return until next Black Friday.  Due to this sudden lack of cash flow, payroll gets all kinds of tight and we basically just end up sending everyone home after they hit the required two hour mark.  Last Tuesday was my turn: after coming in at 6 am, commute lit by a gorgeous crescent moon, I was off by 9.  I had already been fully awakened by that point and had an entire day ahead of me; while I had a lot of Workaholics to catch up on, I figured I could save that for the last seven hours of the day, and agreed to meet Erica in Balboa Park to explore the free museums.  It was the third Tuesday of the month so the Museum of Man and the art museum were among the ones free of charge; we decided to start with the SDMA, grab lunch and a drink at the newly opened Panama 66, and catch some mummies afterward.

The art museum was, you know, the San Diego Art Museum.  We walked around.  Laughed at the ugly stuff we could probably do ourselves, saw some paintings of Jesus depicted as a Man-Baby.  The usual.  Also, FYI, searching Google images for “Jesus as man baby” does not disappoint.

First there’s this little guy, apologizing to Mary for making everyone think she’s a ho.

First there's this little guy.
Forgive me, mom.  I know not what I do.

Then there’s this little hipster baby Jesus, who was probably a Vegan and built his own tree house.

Then there's this sweet little bearded savior.
Baby Jesus had a beard before you even knew about them.

And finally this guy comes along and raises some important questions about race and the white-washing of our dear Emmanuel.

And then this guy comes along and raises some important questions about race and the white-washing of our dear Emmanuel.
Or maybe he’s just a guy named Jesus Manbaby.

Just thought that needed to be shared.

Obviously we had worked up an appetite after the strange and intriguing museum visit and headed straight to Panama 66.  It is owned and operated by the people who run Tiger! Tiger! and Blind Lady Alehouse, so I had some pretty high expectations.  Though I’ve never dined at Tiger! Tiger!, I have a very special place in my heart for Blind Lady’s egg and bacon pizza.  The egg is cracked in the center.  It cooks just enough to leave the yolk runny.  It’s topped with swiss chard and truffle oil…needless to say, I could eat this for breakfast everyday.

Panama 66 has a different feel to it, which is to be expected given its touristy location.  It’s an open, outdoor area with a bar/counter where you order.  Erica and I snagged a seat and pored over the menu.  I was happy to find they had a decent selection of good beers for pretty cheap.  I found this especially surprising in Balboa Park, where a soda can set you back $5.  They also had many delicious-sounding sandwiches and I had been told by a friend I had to get the pork loin, but for whatever reason, I went against her guidance.  I was interested in something light and the butternut squash sandwich caught my eye.  So that’s what I got.  And I never regretted a sandwich more:

UGH.
Ew.  Just ew.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the densest, nuttiest, richest sandwich you will ever eat.  Or, if you’re lucky, won’t ever eat.  It sounded so refreshing in theory:

Roasted butternut squash, shiitake mushrooms, kale slaw, pepitas, miso vinaigrette on house-made focaccia.

You know, reading that over now, it doesn’t really sound refreshing at all.  It actually sounds pretty heavy.

So maybe I didn’t really think about how that would all come together until it was too late, but whatever, I still don’t think it’s my fault.  Basically the bread was good, but too heavy for that thinly-sliced squash.  The squash itself needed some kind of flavor.  The mushrooms and the pumpkin seeds really had no place on the sandwich and, combined with the miso, only brought that umami flavor to an almost unbearable level.  And the kale?  That’s not a slaw.  That’s just kale, cut up.  So basically, nothing on this sandwich worked.  And I hate to say this, but I didn’t even finish it.  Scratch that–I couldn’t even finish it.  While I was yet again learning the hard lesson to never order vegan when pork is on the menu, Erica got one of the most gorgeous turkey sandwiches I ever seent.  She even let me have a bite, probably because she’s a good friend and not because I was eyeing it with the same intensity with which a lioness stalks her prey.

That's me, across the table, crying into my gross food.
I’m just about ready to pounce.

This was hers, a combination of turkey, brie, butter lettuce, bacon, and a cranberry mayo which is, in my opinion, just delightful.  This sandwich changed my mind on Panama 66.  This sandwich offered them hope of redemption.

Plus, it’s hard to swear off a place with this view:

Goddamn, San Diego.  Why you so beautiful?
Goddamn, San Diego. Why you so beautiful?

RECAPPIN’ IT

Price: Unlike the beer, the sandwiches run a little pricey–my abomination was about $9, and most of the meaty ones were $11ish.

Menu:  It’s a little underdeveloped, but it is also a new spot.  With time, they may beef it up a bit.  The sandwiches they do have are unique, though in some cases, like, oh I dunno, a butternut squash/mushroom/pumpkin seed sandwich, uniqueness doesn’t pay off…

Ambiance:  Outdoors in Balboa Park–gorgeous.  Reference above glamour shot of the Museum of Man bell tower.

Sides:  For an additional $4, you can grab some fries?

Second Trip Worthy?  I’d like to give their pork loin a go, but I’m not going to go seek it out.  If I am ever exploring museums in the future, I’ll swing by.

Overall rating: On the sandwich alone, 1 out of 10 sandwiches.  I never thought I would hate a sandwich so much.  I need to sit and think about my life.