Monthly Archives: February 2011

Praise His Light, Country Boys!

It has been a hot sec since I talked about boys. I know! It’s like I don’t even care about boys anymore. LOL good one. This is obvs not true, but really I’ve just been busy being busy and have had no time to chat about trife boy stuff aside from my Valentine’s Day diatribe, which wasn’t so much about boys as it was about dating. Anyhoozies. I am bringing boys back to this blog, and much like how Justin brought sexy back, it’s kind of like they never left.

Did you know that Raleigh-Durham is the number 5 city / metropolitan area for young singles? I know, right! High five to me for picking this place to establish residency again. Raleigh is also ranked as the number 4 city for dating! Um, oh my gah! Am I in the right place or what! And guess who’s already had 2 dates after being here for less than 3 weeks? This girl. That’s right. Who’s shocked? No one. And you’re shocked even less now that you have this scientific information about Raleigh. If I can’t find a date in this place, then I’m just doomed and/or need a makeover and/or need a new personality. I mean really.

So after learning this fantabulous news, I immediately am happier to be in this city and be single. There’s a light at the end of the solo tunnel, at last. But then, is it really that terrible to be single? Is it really miserable and lonely? Is it so desperately depressing to be without a one and only? And the answer, ladies and gentlemans, is no. It’s actually quite liberating. It’s freeing. I have my own schedule. I do what I want when I want to do it. But then, it wouldn’t be so terrible to go on a couple dates. Maybe have some cutie patootie that calls every so often to catch a movie, be his date to a wedding, or go to a dinner party.

But in a world where people around me are dropping like flies to the institution we call “marriage,” and other less official institutions called “serious relationships,” being a single girl is really kind of a downer. Think about it. I can think of greater than 5 instances recently in which I have been not invited to something due to the fact that, well, who will she bring with her? I can also say that I am guilty of doing this to people. In fact recently I invited Ms. Foxy to a charity event because my family had an extra ticket and she was the only person I could think of that would be available to come by herself. “Go ahead and say it,” she told me, “I’m the only one you could find who’s single.” Guilty. But then, I only had a date because my friend’s parents were also attending. So really, is no date better than a pity date?

Other times it stinks to be single: New Year’s Eve. No one in their right mind likes to be dateless or single on NYE. It is the worst. This is possibly the one night of the year where ladies get all dressed up and pretty and everyone consumes copious amounts of alcohol whilst counting down the minutes to the one moment where you all shout, smile, and then kiss your boo. What does one do who is without a boo? Smile awkwardly and drown in champagne during the moment of relative silence that follows the “Happy New Year!” while everyone is sucking face. Oh and if you’re with friends, you get a cutesy kiss on the cheek and a hug. Fun. Tell me all single girls love this and I will tell you I just gave myself a buzz cut.

Additionally, though less comical than NYE, it stinks to be single at company holiday parties. Not only do they tend to be slightly awkward (at least until more alcohol is consumed to loosen everyone up), if you work in a corporate Amurica office like mine, everyone is married and brings their spousal unit. Leaving you to huddle with the other interns or weird 50+ -year-old bachelors. Good times. I’d rather bring my mother than go alone to these things.

Wedding season also sort of stinks for single people. I think this needs no further explanation.

Anyway. I successfully digressed from the point of this post, which is that I am in the perfect city for dating and I couldn’t be more thrilled with the dating record I’ve already started. Three cheers for me. Additionally I heard a rumor that not only is Raleigh a great city for young singles and dating, but there are more young men here than young women. Extra points. AND the young men are of the “country boy” variety who are college educated and enjoying the numerous cultural experiences to be had in Raleigh. More points. It is a little known fact (LOL little known fact indeed) that country boys are my favorite kind of boy. And to clarify, I use “boy” loosely, and really actually mean “man.” It’s implied. Three cheers again. Any sad single girls out there should get thee to Raleigh asap so you can party with me and we can get coupled up on the quick with a cultured, college educated, country MAN who loves his momma and thus will treat you like a queen. Trust.

Keep on keepin on, ladies. Don’t let wedding season get you down. Get some cute shoes and own the singleness, then pick your favorite gay friend and take him to all the weddings. Your friends will be jealous of your glamorous and carefree lifestyle, and soon they will be bogged down with gross things like mortgages while you will only be burdened with things like cab fares, which shoes to wear with that cute dress, and which hot hunk of man to commandeer for your next margarita. High five to you!

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That’s What She Said!

Anyone who has not heard these jokes really needs to get out of the house and/or watch a couple episodes of The Office. These jokes are probably the funniest and most witty and creative sexual jokes out there, and can, for some, provide hours of entertainment. In my experience, those with the driest and most sarcastic senses of humor tend to be quickest with these jokes – both making and getting them. For anyone who doesn’t work in IT (most of you, I’m guessing) this typically describes 90% of the men working in IT. They are super smart and therefore their jokes are typically on a higher plane of intelligence. AKA if you’re not quick, you’ll be left in the dark groping for the light switch and tripping over yourself. I would know, it’s happened to me a lot of times. But I’ve learned along the way and no longer have embarrassing moments of what-the-heck-just-happened and why-is-everyone-laughing-but-me. The worst. To me it seems like an oxymoron that seemingly “intelligent” jokes be related to sex in any way, but it’s true. Just go with it.

Anywayz. So if you’re familiar with this genre, if you will, of jokes, you know that almost any statement one makes can be responded to with a “that’s what she said!” It’s really remarkable. Over the past year I have obtained a new level of appreciation / humorous disgust with the [mostly] men who make these jokes. If you’re not paying attention you can walk right into the trap with a simple exchange like this: “Where are you? I thought you were attending this meeting.” “I’m coming, be there soon.” “…That’s what she said!” Some see these exchanges as a red flag for HR to step in and give someone a slap on the wrist. Some people are very uncomfortable with these jokes. And some would never say them in front of a woman in the office or anywhere. It seems like I don’t know any of these people as I am surrounded by “that’s what she said” on all sides. This does one of two things: it provides me with some good laughs at some creative and witty responses…I’m continually surprised at the statements that make some people think about what she is saying. It also makes me think more carefully about how I phrase things. I’ll explain.

Almost never do I use the words “come,” “coming,” “hard,” or “harder” in a sentence. It’s just walking into a trap, especially when speaking to someone who I know is quick with the that’s-what-she-saids. Take for example the sample exchange above. Instead of that response, I now would reply with something like “I am on my way to the meeting room.” This is a specific statement with plenty of qualifiers, making it less ambiguous and less prone to being victim of a TWSS. Additionally, nothing for me is ever hard anymore (that’s what she said), at work or outside of work. Things are now “difficult” or “challenging” and I always use a qualifier or a specific noun to identify exactly what is causing me difficulties. For example, no more “this is hard,” or “it’s so hard.” The “this” and “it” are far too ambiguous. Instead it would go something like this: “This project is very challenging due to complicated coding structures.” See? Very specific. Another example: “My workout last night was so hard,” which has multiple bait factors in “workout,” “last night,” and “so hard,” now becomes this: “Boxing class was extremely difficult because of the new instructor.” Specificity is the key.

The other challenge is that I became too accustomed to hearing these jokes slung around by people in the office and certain dear friends of mine (cough the Senator cough) that my brain picks up on these nuances quicker than ever before. I now almost challenge myself to never say anything that could be bait for a TWSS. Because it’s somewhat ingrained in my head, I’m sometimes afraid I will say something and then make myself think that’s-what-she-said and then giggle awkwardly. It’s happened before. People always ask you what’s funny and it’s even more awkward when you can’t explain. Or I’ll hear someone say something which just wreaks of TWSS, only no one else caught it and I’m left alone to smirk and stifle a chuckle.

One of my top 5 TWSS times occurred when I was attending a 3 week IT training. In a room with other young IT professionals all working on a project together for 3 straight weeks, day in, day out, you get familiar with each other. Someone would say something about their code but phrase it in such a way that it was just perfect for a TWSS. Occasionally, for the benefit of the group, someone would mutter it under their breath and we’d share a chuckle. Eventually all I had to do was raise an eyebrow and those of us that got it would giggle like 8-year-olds.

So. Everyone keep going strong (that’s what she said) and never stop working hard (that’s what she said) no matter how huge (that’s what she said) or how small (I hope she didn’t say that) the project is. Even if your coworkers will never quit (that’s what she said) harassing you with sexual jokes you don’t appreciate, you must finish your work (that’s what she said). At the end of the day when you’re dog tired because your boss worked you until you were exhausted (that’s what she said) and you didn’t think you had any more in you (that’s what she said) and really didn’t want to keep it up anymore (that’s what she said), at least you had a few good laughs.

Hooty-hoo who’s getting me roses?

Happy Valentine’s Day, little ones. I hope you all do at least one of the following before the day is over: 1) hate on every adorable couple you see, 2) spitefully love on and brag about your own coupleyness, 3) gorge yourself on heart-shaped chocolates and gain 10 pounds, 4) discover you’re deathly allergic to beautiful bouquets of roses, or 5) discover you actually love being single and laugh in the face of romance and happy endings. I tried to make them non-bitter but I think I failed. I’m not sorry. I don’t see myself as bitter, but seriously, who loves being single on Valentine’s Day? No one. And if you say you do love it, you’re lying. It’s super fun to throw a singles-only party or an anti-Vday shindig, but deep down the commercials from Kay Jewelers get to you, and no matter how much you hate the jingle (I mean loath, seriously, Kay Jewelers) and probably also hate the everyone-owns-that-heart-shaped-diamond-necklace, you sniffle a bit in self-pity on the inside for just a second. On a holiday that cynics will say was manufactured by Hallmark to get men to spend money on romance for their special lady, those without a special man from whom to receive said romance, suffer.

Today, in honor of this famed and love-filled holiday, I am wearing black. Sort of like I’m in mourning, I suppose. I did spice it up with purple heels (duh) and red nails so if anyone asks I don’t look like a total Debbie Downer. Also I’m wearing an antique looking key around my neck, which I have dubbed the “key to my heart,” which has worked for the sentimental old ladies I’ve encountered. It is now after 5pm,  and nothing overtly ridiculous has happened in the office and I’d really love if my cubemates refrain from blatantly disgusting displays of romance and love via flowers, chocolate, or obnoxious balloons, which at this point seems promising. My boss is wearing blue today, and I love her for it. Also I love that I haven’t seen any outrageous red sweaters with huge pink hearts or other annoyingly obnoxious Valentine’s Day clothing. Funny how much love I have for all things not related to love. Is that irony? Or something.

I realize, again, that this definitely makes me sound cynical, bitter, and/or resentful of other people’s happiness in their coupledom. But I’m not. Really. I think my issue is that so many of these festivities are so cliche, trite, UNsurprising, super cheesy, and therefore to me have developed an insincerity. Who wants a box of chocolates professing love when every other girl on the planet got the same box or some other form of fattening sweets to supposedly express some feeling of affection that the giver feels on a daily basis? Why not bring me roses on a random day, because well, you just love me a lot and want to tell me. Why wait for a “holiday” that makes it easier (and more expensive) to get your woman nice things when you could go to CVS any day of the week (and for some, any time of the day thanks to 24 hour service) and pick up a balloon and/or package of Hershey’s Kisses? Am I just arguing this because I have no one at the moment to bring me chocolate (that I don’t need) and flowers that will die in a couple days? Maybe. Do I still, even knowing my potential resentment factor, think I am right? Yes. Am I always right on my blog? Yes…there’s no one to argue with, so I win. Feel free to prove me wrong with a comment, but play nice.

So really, I’m doing all of you dudes a favor by arguing this. You are wasting money spending $50 on a dozen gorgeous roses when a) roses are gorgeous all year round and b) much cheaper when it’s NOT Valentine’s Day. As a good friend of mine said, it’s an excuse to be nice to your woman. If you really like/love her, why aren’t you nice, considerate, and thoughtful via random acts of kindness and affection the whole year? He has an excellent point, and now I wonder why we’re not dating. Apparently this friend used to buy a former girlfriend flowers once a month. Just because. Just to show he cares (guys, please take note…this dude is primo). Does this make Valentine’s Day less special? Does it make receiving flowers less special? Not in my opinion. I wasn’t the girl receiving the flowers, but I’ll tell you, as a girl, I’d love it. And then when Valentine’s Day rolled around, I’d be all “Well my boyfriend gets me flowers all the time! He doesn’t need an excuse to show he cares. Sigh.” If a guy waits until that one day per year when TV, radio, internet, and everyone else in the world is reminding him, “hey, get your woman something nice and tell her you love her,” this to me shows you are lazy, lack initiative and creativity, and possibly just don’t want to be in the doghouse because all her friends got something and she didn’t. If you give love all year long regardless of holidays or what everyone else is doing, she won’t feel left out or neglected at any time.

If all couples / men in a relationship prescribed to this philosophy like my friend does, there’d be fewer single and spiteful ladies out there like myself, rolling my eyes at every cupcake and balloon I see. Stop being lazy and start being sincere. If you don’t love her enough to get her flowers any time of year, then don’t get her flowers today. She’ll only be disappointed down the road.

I hope that box of chocolate you just ate goes right to your hips. LOL/JK. It’ll just make you break out. Big non-Valentine’s smooches to everyone!

Well Excuuuuuuuse ME

Recently, some nice young lady posted a comment to this post of yore (wherein I complained about my terrible dye job and concluded that, for my particular professional situation, orange and pink highlights in my hair wasn’t the best look) which read something / exactly like this: “Those people with pink and orange streaks in their hair are probably a lot more interesting and unconventional individuals than you are.”

SMACK!

Scuse! Don’t I just feel put in my place! I got served, if you will, via the comments section. This chick doesn’t know me, so she has no idea how interesting or uninteresting I am. And of course I didn’t approve the comment, as is my right as administrator of this blog, but I did file it away for pensive contemplation. Plus we like to keep things positive here at Miss Sassy Pants. It is not sassy to put others down!

So what really makes a person more interesting and unconventional that others? Am I a boring conformist because I didn’t like the way pink highlights looked on me? Am I super lame because I sort of care how my bosses and other (mostly older/more experienced) corporate associates perceive me in the office before I even meet them? Hmm. If I had a long beard (aka Mr. Sassy Pants) I’d be stroking it thoughtfully right now. Much like Pai Mei (high five to anyone who gets the reference).

I’d love to take a vote on this, but I couldn’t figure out the polling tool so we’ll just analyze (leave it in the comments if you want). Since I grew up in a conservative household, there was minimal tolerance for what is known as teenagers expressing themselves. I wasn’t forced to wear collared shirts and khakis daily, but I didn’t have the urge to wear large dress-like black pants with a couple hundred chains hanging off my belt and a spiked necklace resembling a dog collar. And if I did have such an urge, it would have been met with something along the lines of “HELL NO.” There is nothing wrong with this or any other form of “self-expression” per se. It just wasn’t for me. I expressed myself by other means, wasn’t the most popular or the weirdest girl in school, escaped just fine, and now have a job which pays me handily to tinker with corporate systems all day for the betterment of the stock price. My parents taught me that others don’t necessarily perceive you as you think they do, and that you must learn to realize and adjust accordingly. And certainly, the post from the past was not a condemnation of the nice folks who color their hair all the colors of the rainbow. Good on ya, as I used to say. This is Amurica, ya’ll. You can do what you want and make up bukoo weird reasons for doing such as you please. Which means I can do as much or as little to “express myself” as I please and none of this outward self-expressions necessarily deems me more or less interesting, weird, or awesome than anyone else on the planet.

Convention is another story. Google says the definition of conventional is “following accepted customs and proprieties,” or “conforming with accepted standards.” I was uncomfortable with such striking and bold hair color (which didn’t even look good one me, something I readily admitted and still acknowledge) and chose to have it toned down to be a bit closer to my natural look, so this is me following accepted customs, proprieties, and standards according to what I know and am comfortable with. At that point, I had been working in a professional office environment for a total of almost 2 years of non-consecutive time. By then I had figured out to a certain degree how others perceive me in the office, and had decided that adding an additional layer of unconventional-ism by giving myself non-traditional hair color wasn’t something I wanted to combat. I already have a number of things “against” me in the office (in my particular career choice, given my gender, stature, etc.), so why make things harder for myself when I need to cooperate and work closely with many different kinds of people, some or even most of whom would take one look at me and my unconventional-ism and not listen to or respect anything I say, much less take me seriously. So yeah, I’m conventional. Is this a bad thing? I don’t think so. Is it “bad” to be unconventional? Not at all. Does it prevent people from getting jobs? Sometimes, but sometimes it helps. That’s what makes the USA so great. Everyone is so different, and most of us are accepting of others’ unconventionality.

Maybe when I’m more established in my career and have solid work performance for a solid number of years behind me to back me up, I can be more adventurous. A [good] reputation to precede me in the [corporate] workplace would mean I could be more unconventional with my outward appearance and it would not necessarily be a hindrance. Case in point: there is a woman at this office who never (at least that I’ve seen) dresses business casual – cargo pants and t-shirts daily. She has short hair cut into what can only be called a mohawk, and dyes it frequently different shades of blond and red. Yet when people mention her in the office, they mention her solid performance, her intelligence, and her work ethic. She is smart, folks know she can get her job done and done well, and so it doesn’t really matter what she looks like. But someone my age with my limited experience and therefore non-existent reputation (except one of being the “new girl”) could be taken wrongly by the predominantly boomer-age management at this corporation and others. Yes, it’s a stereotype, but they exist for a reason. We say we won’t judge, but everyone does it. And if you acknowledge this, why put yourself at a disadvantage over others when competing for the same bonus money? I’d rather prove myself professionally first, and then shave my head and pierce my lips, nose and eyebrow, rather than have to prove myself professionally and personally because someone has a thing against piercings, tattoos, or mohawks.

Rookie issue? Yes. Once again still proving ourselves. We (rookies and everyone else) are not more or less interesting because of how we present ourselves to the world. But I’ll take conventionalism any day over losing out on a bonus and/or a raise because my competing coworker looks like Connie Conventionality and I’m Molly Mohawk (haha…just made those up). Rock on Rookies.

6 Month Adventure in NoCal

Welcome back! To me, that is. Once again I know you’re all anxiously waiting for some new sass to hit the interwebs and I am here to serve. Herewith you will find a non-brief (tried to make it brief but failed) recollection of my 6 month stint in Northern California. I went a bunch of places, ate a lot of food, and saw a lot of things. And, as a way of recording my time and adventures, I will now commence to sharing them with you. Many of these activities were conducted with friends or family members, though I may not mention them specifically. You know who you are. Here’s to you, great friends and family of mine!

In no particular order except how the events come back to me, here is 6 months in NoCal as experienced by Miss Sassy Pants:

Drove to Santa Cruz. Walked and shopped among the hippies in downtown Santa Cruz. Walked the boardwalk at Santa Cruz, spontaneously bought a too-expensive beach chair and sat on the beach to watch my first west-coast sunset. Hiked Mount Diablo, elevation 3,864 feet, approximately 5.5 miles up and 5.5 miles down. Subsequently missed meeting my future husband the next day at Fleet Week due to my inability to walk thanks to epic first hike of my life.

Drove the Golden Gate Bridge greater than or equal to 5 times (over and back). Almost crashed my car on the Golden Gate Bridge due to amazing views and taking pics while driving greater than or equal to 5 times. Walked the beach in Sausalito, parked little Rose next to a Ferrari. Had dinner on the water in Sausalito, best cracked Dungeness crab in my life.

Was a passenger in a short drive up Scenic Highway 1. Hung out the window to take gorgeous pictures and take in the salty coastal breeze. Went from wearing a tank top on one beach to huddling in a sweatshirt and scarf on another about 10 miles away. Hiked up a large hill in bare feet because the potential views were enticing and ballet flats wouldn’t cut it. The view ended up being totally worth sore feet and dirty flats. Put toes in the Pacific Ocean for the first time at Muir Beach. Saw some massively huge Redwoods at Muir Woods. Drove through Muir Woods National Park. Discovered that there’s a lot of things and places named after John Muir. He was an important guy back in the day, something to do with nature and preserving or whatever. Discovered Stinson Beach accidentally along Highway 1. Stopped here and ate at an adorable little cafe – best grilled ham and cheese sandwich. Walked along the beach and wished briefly I knew how to surf. Also wished briefly I could move there and hang out on the beach at my whim like the locals. Drove to a tiny town called Fairfax to try to see their Santa Claus. I missed Santa, but I discovered some cute shops, and a neighborhood Irish bar with live legit Irish music. Drank a beer by myself at the bar just to enjoy their camaraderie and beautiful playing and singing. Got lost on the way home thanks to AT&T. Found my way thanks to my iPhone (see how I did that?).

Went to a San Francisco Giants game and watched them beat the Arizona Diamondbacks. Became an instant fan of Buster Posey because a) awesome name, b) great catcher, c) nice tush, d) cutest guy on the team. Bought a t-shirt and am a fan for life (don’t tell Grandad). Ate a healthy helping of garlic fries and paid $9 for a Miller Light, just for the experience. Enjoyed being a local while the Giants cruised their way to being World Series Champions.

Ran a 5k along San Francisco Embarcadero with thousands of other women and men to help fight and raise awareness for breast cancer. Also a good way to stay in shape and enjoy the sites and weather. Ran a 10k at Chrissy Field in the Presidio with 3,000 other women for the annual Mermaid Run. Love the free t-shirt and awesome view of Golden Gate Bridge and the bay.

Went to a farmers market at San Francisco Civic Center and witnessed chickens being illegally sold from the back of a sketchy truck. Chickens were kept in paper bags with 2 holes for breathing. Ick. Enjoyed the Walnut Creek Farmers Market in late summer and early fall. Flirted with the flower man and got free sunflowers. Walked through a Berkeley street market and marveled at the amount of different organic / meat-less food. Went shopping way too many times at the “top grossing mall in California” walking distance from my apartment in downtown Walnut Creek. Vowed to eat at as many restaurants in Walnut Creek as possible in 6 months, then found my favorites within 3 weeks and went mostly to these 4 places regularly (I’m predictable and like what I like).

Went to a pirate bar, a dive bar, and an awesome house party for Halloween. Almost lost my roommate on a Carl Jr. (aka Hardees) run post-Halloween festivities. Discovered a designer outlet thanks to a coworker in an obscure corner of Concord. Went there too often, but have some great dresses for the cruise and the summer. Walked along the Marina. Walked Polk St. Went to Nick’s Crispy Tacos. Witnessed Nick’s going from daytime tex-mex haven to swanky bangin’ nightclub. Weird. Skipped work to play tourist with a friend in San Francisco. Went to Union Square, watched ice skaters, saw the huge Christmas tree, had appetizers and huge drinks atop Macy’s with a great view of the square and the skyline. Witnessed a Santa bar crawl. Never saw so many different sized and dressed Santas anywhere. Attended a Christmas party at a college friend’s apartment in the Financial District and discovered I love balconies no matter how small or weirdly placed they are – she had 8, including one in each bathroom. Walked Embarcadero many times, saw new things each time. Went in each shop on Fisherman’s Wharf, enjoyed Dungeness crab from at least 3 different restaurants. Watched the sea lions nap in the sun and bark at each other. Couldn’t find a decent San Fran Christmas ornament for my mother (still in the doghouse for this one).

Met a bunch of people who work for Google. Realized 1) it’s true that they’re all really smart, 2) I don’t want to work there despite free food and bike riding. Got a mini tour of one of the Zynga studios. Realized I’d love to have free gummy bears, soda, and cereal available to me all day, but I don’t want to work there either. Realized start-ups are super trendy and everyone wants to be in the club…it’s hard to be a corporate worker bee with all the creative types inventing the next Facebook. But they sure are fun people.

Spontaneously solo road-tripped to Monterrey just to see the bay from that side. Intended to find a quiet beach to plop down and read, and instead walked the historic district, found a massive antique store, and got a parking ticket. Realized then how close I was to Pebble Beach and cruised down Highway 1 to check out the greens. Paid a friendly gate attendant $9.50 for entrance and had probably the most beautiful 17 mile drive of my life. Didn’t even realize there was more to see than “just a golf course” and was pleasantly and amazingly surprised at all the gorgeousness. Wished I’d had a real fancy camera for about the thousandth time. Spotted George Lopez in an golf antiques and art store. Bought Poppa Pants an awesome (in my opinion) yardage guide because a) I know he’s going to go there eventually and could use this, b) I wanted to get him a souvenir, and c) it was the only thing in the club shop under $25. Had dinner at the Tap Room (at that bar in the picture) and made friends with some fairly wealthy gentlemen of leisure. We chatted college football and basketball, and I practically convinced them they loved VT as much as I do (it’s a gift). Also convinced them no one does college football like The South. South EAST that is. It’s hard to disagree with me when I speak the truth.

Made friends with a random chick and her boyfriend after my roommate drunkenly / creepily followed them to a bar. Definitely the number one most interesting way I’ve ever ended up with a good friend. Found a bunch of Hokies at the Bus Stop bar every Saturday (and one Thursday), made friends, and cheered on our boys in Orange and Maroon as we cruised our way to 11 straight victories and an ACC Championship (again). Talked smack about Stanford at work to the haters before the Orange Bowl. Talked smack about Stanford at work to the haters after the Orange Bowl. Talked smack about Cal Berkeley football all the time because they are turrible all the time.

Drove through every neighborhood in San Francisco and then realized there were more that I’d end up not seeing. Ate amazing Italian food in North Beach. Saw adorable little uniformed Italian boys playing basketball at the Catholic school. Attended the best musical / play / live performance of my life when I saw Beach Blanket Babylon, the world’s longest running musical revue. Went to the top of Coit Tower. There were a lot of stairs. Rode a trolley. Napped in Alamo Sqaure. Took multiple pictures with the Painted Ladies while listening to the Full House jam (thanks to my awesome cousin). Found the real Full House house. Drove down Lombard Street and the “crookedest street in America,” numerous times. Got stuck in San Francisco traffic a billion times, once during the first thunderstorm in years. Went shopping in Haight-Ashbury. Got scared by the panhandlers. Found some awesome deals and had yummy hot chocolate with a new good friend.

Salsa danced in the Mission. Ate mediocre Thai food in SOMA. Had a fantastic and huge brunch in Hayes Valley. Read a book on a blanket somewhere in Golden Gate Park. Got somewhat lost in Golden Gate Park. Attended a concert in Golden Gate Park. Drove the length of Golden Gate Park and discovered Ocean Beach at the end of it. Watched wind-surfers, thought it looked simultaneously thrilling and frightening, and got sand in my cowboy boots. Enjoyed a delicious meal at the Cliff House (or Cliff House). Walked part of the cliffs and once again wished for a fancy camera.

Ventured to the beautiful Napa Valley in a chauffeured town car. Thought we could handle 4 or 5 wineries and realized our error after the 3rd. Drank amazing wine. Discovered a delicious and weirdly named cheese (which I now cannot remember) in some random roadside grocery. Went to a members-only wine tasting in Sonoma. Enjoyed an unplanned road trip with girlfriends to Sonoma and all flirted shamelessly with our precious waiter at Girl and the Fig.  Found some delicious wine by picking the prettiest building along the way.

Sacrificed my future first born child to fly back to VA for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Wanted, then yearned, then was desperate for Bose noise-canceling headphones. Realized flying west is definitely harder on a body and internal clock than flying east. Loved every second of my time in Frisco Bay, and couldn’t be happier to be back on the right coast. Because they just don’t do BBQ out there like they do here.

And if I left something off, it’s in my heart and mind full of happy memories!