Most of the time…change is good.
Yep, that was delish!
My sous-chef crush is no secret — so best friend Liz and I decided to visit Bonita one last time before it closed/I moved. Monday is a rough night for specials but HSC (that’s Kristen-slang for Hot Sous Chef) managed this cup of deliciousness, served with homemade tortilla chips but good enough to eat with a fork. Upon returning home and opening New York Magazine, I found this recipe for esquites. I think HSC may have added a second cheese (oxaca perhaps?), but I was too busy batting my eyelashes toward the kitchen to know for sure
Okay, not entirely new, since I joined the same gym over a year ago. But I only went a handful of times, and it’s been so long, it feels pretty damn new.
Here’s why I loved it:
First, it was supremely comforting to see all the people at the gym on a Saturday evening. It seems I was not the only person in Portland without a hot date.
Second, the people watching! Not only do you see members of hot local bands and owners of hot local bars (in this case, Ron Tom from rontoms) stripped of all their artifice and sweating it out just like suburban moms on the elliptical machine, but Portland hipsters’ and nerds’ version of workout wear is the best! Some people are just trying to look cool: vintage Asics runners with no support whatsoever, retro sweat bands worn (I guess) unironically, American Apparel running shorts. And some people obviously don’t think about workout “gear”: My favorite fellow workout-er last night was a tall, lanky dude in cutoff skinny corduroys and worn out bowling shoe-style sneakers. That can’t have been the most comfortable outfit for getting active, but he was going to town, stretching with weights and pulleys, doing situps, racing on the treadmill. For some reason, there’s nothing more motivating to me than seeing someone who is so opposite the gym rat stereotype (and there were plenty of those) going fitness crazy.
I found this out today thanks to Time Out New York:
DO YOU BELONG IN NYC?
Only until you age out.
Sorry to say it, but you’re a temporary New Yorker. Sure, this city is awesome for running around and enjoying your youth, but you came here to work and play hard and plan on jetting at the first signs of crow’s feet or when your parents stop financing that party lifestyle of yours. Plus, if you ever decide to settle down and have kids, there’s no way you’re bringing them up in a studio. Click here for suggestions about how to really enjoy NYC.
Hard to say how accurate this is since it’s designed for people who are actually currently living in New York, so I had to pretend a little bit. But it makes sense since I may have already aged out and have never lived there longer than those three months in college. I wanted to live in New York to have a media career and live the idealized version of that. Now that that fantasy is proving to be a hard reality, and I’m no longer so sure about staying on the media career path, New York isn’t so appealing.
In fact, my California roots have started begging for more attention lately – I’m finding myself fantasizing about living on the beach. What?? I always said I could never go back there! And how to hold both my love of New York (still, love, love, love to go there, just not sure about wanting to live there all the time) and this new fascination with LA at the same time when they are pretty much the antithesis of each other? This quote from an New York mag article about Letterman and the new West Coast Conan sums it up:
“On one side – Los Angeles, duty, convention, comfort, brightness, professionalism, and the friendly smirk. On the other – New York, rebellion, innovation, elitism, darkness, self-sabotage, and the scowl.
I want some of both. I embody some of both. It’s pretty easy to prefer rebellion to duty, innovation to convention. But I really like comfort and brightness – perhaps to counteract my own propensity for internal darkness and self-sabotage. Why spend your life with a scowl on your face? I’d rather be walking down a sunny street with a smile. Or at least try to.
And what about where I am now? What would Portland’s version of those six characteristics be? If New York and LA are on opposite ends of the extreme, could Portland be some happy medium in the middle? Or maybe it’s off that spectrum entirely? I couldn’t stomach the plastic existence in LA for long, I know. But I also couldn’t handle the intense elitism and pretension of New York. Maybe Portland simply isn’t trying so hard and let’s everyone just be who and where they are in the moment. The problem is that if you’re not so sure of that, you’re not sure where to go and what to do in this city. And it doesn’t push you to figure it out. And that is the dilemma.
Maybe I could just travel all the time until I find the answer?
A night out with the girls (Laura and Alisa). We started at Bye and Bye, and decided to bar crawl along Alberta. The next first stop: The Nest. Which smells like a bowling alley inside. We sidled up to this skinny “table” outside – more like a hitching post, and I guess that’s the point since it’s for the horseshoe pits – and the only guy to come talk to us was an unfortunate skinny boy in ridiculous jean shorts and completely fried from who knows what drugs. We didn’t stay long, and took those sexy shadows onward down the street.
There’s a reason I’ve never been to the Red Room – it’s on 82nd Avenue. And it’s a typical dive-sports bar (the menu consists of burgers, grilled cheese, and “freedom fries”) randomly tucked between the Stars Motel and a collection of Asian markets, with giant mugshots of famous rebels lining the walls. I’m pretty sure I’ll never return.
But since I was already at 70-something and Halsey when my friend invited me to her see boyfriend’s band, Council Crest (I just noticed their profile photo is one I took, fyi), and was still at a loss as to what my *new* adventure would be today, I hopped the bus to 82nd to check it out. I enjoyed the company of an elderly Chinese man as we waited at the stop for twenty minutes, who kept pointing to every vehicle that approached (none of which ever looked like a bus), I think trying to ask me, “Is that it?” When it finally pulled up, he looked like he’d won the lottery. At the Max overpass, I transferred to a bus that felt like a rolling version of a bad high school party. I didn’t have far to go, but it was all entertaining. Once I took in the “epic” newness of the Red Room, I had a whiskey and coke, listened to a few songs, and ended up at back at the oh-so-familiar Gold Dust Meridian. And forgot to take a picture!
I’m in a rut. I’m not sure exactly what or how to change just yet, but I do know there’s a helluva lot of stuff I’ve never done. I’ve let myself get too comfortable, so I’m challenging myself to DO something new everyday. Most things will probably be small, maybe boring, maybe common place to everyone else, but hey, it’s new to me! Plus, I’m broke-ass. The *new* adventure of traveling the world will have to wait a few years. In the meantime, I’m collecting camera phone shots of every little thing for shits and giggles.
Here’s what started it:
I was sitting in my orange chair Monday morning, staring off into space and wallowing in waaaaaay too much existential angst, when I realized I was actually staring at these roller skates, which have been sitting in their blue-and-white case since I bought them at a yard sale over a year ago. I haven’t once laced them up. And I thought, What the FUCK are you waiting for?? Stop waiting for just the right time, the right place, the right reason, the right preparation. Stop procrastinating living and just DO something already.
So I procrastinated all the to-do’s on my list instead and hit the streets. Damn, it’s not easy! Sidewalk cracks, sticks, rocks, freaking cars whizzing by… this is why they invented roller rinks. Plus the wheels on these vintage babies are rough, with sharp edges that are completely unforgiving. It felt like they might shatter to dust going over every bump. I ended up just circling around the parking lot by my apartment – not as fun as actually going somewhere, but it was super smooth. And jeeezus, I’m still sore! Yeah, I’m not in trithlete shape or anything, but it’s more like roller skating worked muscles that I don’t normally use, like my outer hips and thighs. I’ve got to get me some upgraded wheels and then I’ll be all about the 8-wheel workout.
I started training on Tuesday to become a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate), so that’s definitely my something new for the day. But I also had to take the bus out to NE 70th & Halsey (and will be making that lovely trip twice a week for the next month). And I missed the stop and went too far. And I was early. So I spent about 15 minutes walking down the street, trying my best not to look like a hooker. Yep, that was new to me, too!
I never, ever, ever cook. This was the first time I used the stove for something other than ramen and tea since I moved in a month and a half ago. When I make dinner, the fanciest it gets is eating baby carrots out of the bag and microwaving a turkey burger patty. All I really do is snack all day long. And eat out a lot. Preparing a meal – thinking ahead about what to make, following a recipe, spending more than five minutes in the kitchen - is completely foreign to me.
But I do love food. Good food. I’m even finally shedding the picky eater habits and falling for things I always said I hated. Case in point: Thai food. Especially anything with peanut sauce. I’m absolutely addicted. So I looked through the stack of recipes I’ve torn out of magazines with the idea that maybe one day I’ll actually turn into a cook, and look: I made my own! Yeah, I used a sauce mix, but damn if I didn’t time that rice perfectly, chop up the chicken, add broccoli to the recipe, and really, really love spending time in the kitchen. Might I possibly like cooking? I think so… I’ve just got to cut recipes in half or I’ll be buried in leftovers – or invite people over to share! Guests will be welcome as soon as I get a dining room table and don’t have to eat on my bed anymore. Studio living…
When you’ve failed to get Yahtzee one too many times, just throw those mocking score sheets on the street.
If you tell stories and have great pictures, there’s a great future for you.
VF editor Graydon Carter on why “It’s still the golden age of magazines” (in “Si Newhouse’s Dream Factory,” New York, June 8).
Will consider this my personal mission statement from now on.
I want to live here:
It’s a London couple’s apartment that was featured in the New York Times (with a title like Design on a Shoestring: High, Low, Eccentric, I couldn’t resist the click). And I’ve scrolled through the slideshow probably half a dozen times by now. Ideas to take home to the studio I can’t figure out what to do with:
- Dark walls. Gray, brown, burgundy - all colors I’ve wanted to paint my walls over the years. “Dark paint really cozies up a space, making rooms look far more luxurious and sophisticated than they really are.” I couldn’t agree more. Like living in a big, sexy hug.
- Shelves. They create little tableaus here and there, scenes that divide up the rooms and create interest.
- Stacks of magazines, books, records - it’s art to me!
- Walls lined with art. Makes your home feel like your own personal gallery.
- Bookshelf wallpaper! Brilliant. I haven’t lived long enough to collect enough books for my own library, but I can pretend.
- Mixing styles. Stark modern with curvacuous vintage. The best of both worlds actually complement each other, believe it or not.
I’ve read this article in The New Yorker three times now. The fascinating (at least to me) premise is that self-control may be a more important factor in success than raw intelligence.
Basically, Stanford psychologist Walter Micshel set up an experiment in 1968 to study will power, putting kids in a room with a marshmallow and telling them that they could eat that one now or get two if they waiting until he returned ten minutes later. Those who stared at the marshmallow were unable to hold out, while those who distracted themselves (covering their eyes, singing a song, twirling their hair) left it alone. As adults, the latter group’s ability to resist tempting desires in service of working or achieving higher goals correlated with greater professional success and happiness.
The best part: Even though they’ve shown that self-control is genetically determined to an extent, mental tricks that strengthen patience and focus (on the right things) can be taught and practiced.
- “We can’t control the world, but we can control how we think about it.” —Mischel
- Psychologists had spent decades searching for traits that exist independently of circumstance, but what if personality can’t be separated from context? (interactionism)
- “I marvelled at how they gradually learned how to delay and how that made so many other things possible.” —Mischel
- Mischel’s conclusion, based on hundreds of hours of observation, was that the crucial skill was the “strategic allocation of attenion.”
-Their desire wasn’t defeated - it was merely forgotten. “If you’re thinking about the marshmallow and how delicious it is, then you’re going to eat it,” Mischel says. “The key is to avoid thinking about it in the first place.” [So I guess shouldn’t visualize the glass of wine I’m going to reward myself with at the end of a writing assignment.] In adults, this skill is often referred to as metacognition, or thinking about thinking [I do plenty of that already!], and it’s what allows people to outsmart their shortcomings. [What if thinking too much is your shortcoming?]
- …people learn how to use their mind just as they learn how to use a computer: through trial and error.
- “Once you realize that will power is just a matter of learning how to control your attention and thoughts, you can really begin to increase it.” —Mischel
- …[self-control is] an ability to direct the spotlight of attention so that our decisions aren’t determined by the wrong thoughts.
- …we’re teaching ourselves how to think so that we can outsmart our desires.
I obviously need to go back to school.
(Slight tangent: Also very cool that two of the psychologists involved found their passion in unpredictable ways, after teaching high school math [Angela Lee Duckworth] and studying poetry and art [Mischel]. People who have managed to live many lifetimes in one fascinate me… but that’s another story.)
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