Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Celebrating a Year of Unabashed Narcissism with Cupcakes

My blog turned one year old on Sunday.  So I celebrated.  With cupcakes.  Trust me, it's a thing.

Blogging is one of the most self-indulgent practices known to the Internet.  It's like journaling, only one has the audacity to think that anyone else out there cares to read it instead of keeping the entries where they belong: under lock and key under the bed.

Rather than write about lifestyle tips--trust me, you wouldn't want me to give you advice about anything, much less how to live your life--I just ramble on about whatever happens to pop in my head at any given moment.  And some of you actually read it.  Probably because you pity me and probably because my clustered thoughts and disorganized passions make you feel better about your own life.  But hey, I'll take it.  And I love you for reading whatever this blog is.

You know what?  The past year was a pretty adventurous one for me, without ever even leaving the state (Nevada doesn't count, I've decided).  I started this blog in love with a boy and a cat.  The boy and I broke up, and the cat died (I love you, Sid!).  We said goodbye to Wicca and welcomed Charlotte.  I moved down the street.  My sister moved across the county.  I met some awesome people and shared more cocktails than I can remember with them.  California legalized gay marriage.  I added some great experiences on to my resume.  I learned how to use emojis on my iPhone.  All in all, a pretty solid year.  It's like Blogger knew what I was in for and was like, "Hey, Leith, you might want to write this down."

Clearly I don't document everything, sometimes to protect the innocent and sometimes to spare you the details you don't want to hear, pretending there's some details you do, like getting my hair done...or more likely I'm just really tired and lazy typing up these posts takes time, you know.   But I just want to say thank you for reading.  And thank you, fate, for giving me quite honestly the most amazing family and friends (and readers I haven't yet met!) out there.  I know how sentimental that all is but it's true.

I feel like, however slowly, I've grown and learned quite a bit this year.  And I'm happy.  Really, truly happy...and I'm almost scared to type that because I feel like I'm jinxing it and because no one who's anyone actually admits to being happy anymore, do they?  But there you have it, and thank you for being a part of it.  You deserve a cupcake too.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Opera Singers on Maiden Lane

If you're looking for front row seats to opera that costs less than a bottle of PBR at your local hipster pub, I have the in: Maiden Lane.  Stop by on any given sunny afternoon and you'll find a husband and wife tag team that can croon Italian lyrics worthy of whatever award they give out to really good opera singers.

At the best of times and at the worst of times, I think of moving away from this city we call San Francisco.  I wonder what I'm missing out on by not calling the streets of New York or Buenos Aires home.  I feel like my long list of neurosis would do well in New York, for instance.

But then again if I moved away, where would I go for an hours-long opera performance that only costs a couple of dollars in a wicker basket for the privilege?  I've lived many places but, for better or worse, I feel at home here.

I might know how to dress for any occasion, but considering my friends joke that they should start a Twitter called "Sh!t Leith Says" (thanks guys, I take that as a major compliment), it's safe to say I don't necessarily know how to act in any given situation.  But that's ok, San Francisco loves my anyway.  The rule here is, as long as you're weird and have at least $1,000 a month to spend on rent, you're welcome to stay.  And if you're boring then just move to the Marina, already.

Groaning under the weight of an influx of tech-hungry entrepreneurs, San Francisco is undergoing a change that I'm, for the most part, happy to be part of.  I knew this city in the '80s and I know it now, and I'm glad to see that it's continuing to be an outlier.  It will never be the same as it once was, and it will never again look like it does now, but that's ok.  I look forward to the days when I can tell my children about walking uphill both ways to the Muni to grab a milkshake at Super Duper and they'll be all, like, "What the hell is Super Duper?" and I can be all like, "Watch your damn mouths, kids!"

Anyway, San Francisco, I kinda love you.  Don't let it get to your head, but you're great.  Thank you for the cheap opera.  And everything.

Saturday, March 29, 2014


Are you bored?  I know I am.  I mean it's raining out, after all.

When you're cuddled up inside today with a hot toddy and all out of shows to catch up on over at Netflix, then by all means enjoy my shameless plug for the weekly quizzes I'm making for Bold Type!  It's like the old NPR Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me! quizzes they had online that I used to love, except not laced with humor yet (ever?) because I'm still getting my bearings and I'm trying to be professional, whatever that means.

Bold Type is a wonderful online magazine created by the great Deric Mendes, and has contributions by all sorts of talented people (whether I qualify as one of those talented people is yet to be determined).  Please stop on by when you have a chance and take a look.  It'll make you superior to everyone who doesn't read it, I promise.
Click here to go to the quiz!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

I have a dream that we can all ban bossy.

Image from www.banbossy.com

In honor of Gloria Steinem's 80th birthday yesterday, Women's History Month (yes, that's a thing) and the #banbossy campaign that I'm hoping never dies, I thought I'd write my own version of the "I have a dream" speech for women, only it's going to be far less eloquent and far more preachy than Dr. King's speech.  I apologize to no one.

I have a dream that one day this world will rise up and see that men and women are truly created equal.

I have a dream that one day the girl who knows what she wants, has confidence in her choices and asserts herself instead of giving into others' demands isn't labeled as "bossy," "high maintenance" or a "bitch," but rather she is called a "leader" like so many assertive men before her.

I have a dream that boys are no longer encouraged to interrupt in the classroom, causing girls to feel cut off, left out and less worthy than her male peers.

I have a dream that my nieces will be different than me, in that they will not be young girls who just assume that men start out knowing more because their whole lives it's always been the men who were the superheroes, the US presidents and the Army generals who won all those battles in the history books.  Instead they will grow up realizing the truth: everyone in this world has a whole lot to learn, and no one knows everything - and this will empower them.

I have a dream that my two nieces and two nephews will both be raised in a world where men are taught respect, manners and empathy in the same way women have been taught these traits for centuries, and that women are taught self-protection, competitiveness and self-worth in the same way men have been taught for centuries.

I have a dream that one day my nieces won't be judged by how they're willing to "think like a man," but judged on their ability to "think like a woman," and that society gets rid of this horrid lie that a successful, cunning thought is a masculine trait.

I have a dream that "girly" stops being an insult, but in the way of "manly," becomes a compliment.

I have a dream today!

That one day the tech offices of Silicon Valley and the law offices of Manhattan will have an equal ratio of estrogen to testosterone, and the woman with the master's degree in software engineering isn't asked by her male colleagues to order lunch or plan the birthday cake just because they figure that, as a woman, she's better suited to that sort of thing.

I have a dream that one day all men will be offered paternity leave in equal measure as women are offered maternity leave, so we can stop that poor excuse of why women aren't as desirable in the workplace, and so that men are given the equal opportunity to connect with their children.

I have a dream and that society never makes a man feel emasculated for taking on stereotypical female roles, because there is nothing inherently silly about what women do.

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that just because a woman dyes or her hair, paints her nails or is into fashion, she doesn't have to prove her intelligence or worth any more than someone who isn't into "feminine" things.

I have a dream that stereotypically female interests aren't viewed by society as less profound than the stereotypical male pursuits of watching sports, playing video games or smoking cigars.  That we as a society stop accepting it as a given that "male" pursuits start out on a higher, more cerebral playing field than feminine ones.

I have a dream - whether she show up in bright red stilettos or knee-high combat boots - that a woman is always seen first and foremost as a force to be reckoned with, rather than merely a physical presence in the room meant to be mocked and critiqued for her lack of fulfilling some ideal.

I have a dream that one day no one will be seen as silly for having passions, emotions and drive, regardless of their gender, their body size or their marital status.

This is my dream.  This is what empowers me every day.

And now, for a little musical inspiration:

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Bon voyage.

Airports are a hub of excitement.  At all hours of the day, they buzz with the energy of either the anticipation of a new destination or the travel-worn relief of heading back home.

There's always tearful hugs of hellos and goodbyes, a bouquet of roses for the reunited lover, a businessman who cuts ahead in line while pretending to talk to someone important on his Android with the embarrassingly annoying Bluetooth thingy because, really, who has time for manners when you're wearing Brooks Brothers?  That's a sign of mid-level douchiness, at the very least.  Planes are announced for arrival and departure every two minutes.  Someone tries to search for their passport or layer on clothes to make weight for their checked-in luggage, while stressed-induced sweat collects in the armpits of their shirts.  A baby's crying over here, a couple's fighting over there, everyone with the same goal: adventure.  The unknown.  The future is a terminal away.

Yes, by and large airports have a lot to offer.  And this morning we - my family and me - were a part of it.  We were sending Zoë off on her grand move to Chicago, a move she's been dreaming of since way back when Renée Zellweger was still a thing.

We furiously ran between terminals, shoved extra luggage into bags, and took thirty goodbye photos to commemorate the moment.  Our family loves to make a scene.  And yes I look super tired and haggard in them all.  I could blame it on daylight savings, but I'm simply never good looking before noon.  Lay off me.  But Zoë looks fabulous for someone who's been living out of a suitcase for two weeks.

True story: I kept it together at the airport, because makeup smears.  But when I got home to an empty apartment where my sister has been sleeping since February, I started to panic about not having my sister around to hang out with anymore.  To watch Kardashians with.  To cry over boys with.  To go out on the town with.  To just be stupid with and have there be no judgment.  And it felt really, really lonely.  And then I bawled.  I bawled like a bald baby.  And as soon as the tears started to flow, my sister called me on the phone from her layover.

I'm going to be ok.  I can do this.

Goodbye, Zoë.  I miss you already and can't believe that you're not going to just be a Muni ride away anymore.  This is way too sad.  I'm going to cry into my pint of cider at Blackthorn tonight.  Alone.  Depressing.  Maybe I'll have a whole pitcher.

Good friends are hard to find.  Good sisters?  Nearly impossible.  I got lucky.  I feel tempted to say that I hope Chicago is cold and everyone's dumb and fat so that you move back.  But I won't.

And now some pics of Zoë's last couple of years here with me in SF: