Thursday, June 30, 2011

Grrls Weekend with Superwoman and Rihanna

12 women, San Jose, Turning 40 birthday party for my high school friend Oriana.

Let's just say there was the usual stuff you would expect at a grrls weekend away - wine, main street shopping, feather extensions, vintage clothing, shot glasses, wine bar, heels and way too many cameras and laughs. So, in the spirit of blogging about Turning 40 - the good, the bad, the ugly - let's just skip to the part you may not expect, or at least I didn't.

We ended up going to Asia SF, a San Francisco Transgender Bar that claims to have the "Ultimate San Francisco Experience." Their website also claims "you'll never forget your birthday at AsiaSF." You can say that again!

The "dinner & a show" evening started as an entertaining experience upstairs, complete with incredibly beautiful transgender women serving dinner and drinks (think sautéed Pacific salmon, finished with a miso glaze, served over black “forbidden” rice with a sweet tomato-edamame salad and Truffled Soba Noodles - grilled portobello mushroom, asparagus slices, tossed with cool sesame soba noodles, white truffle oil & sweet tomatoes plus mini ice cream cones for dessert). After each course the waitresses would put on a new outfit and jump up on the runway bar for a tease dance act. Think Transgender Superwoman singing "I Will Survive" while pretending to whip those sitting on the bar stools.

After three courses and six dances and lots of pondering over how he became she, we all headed to the downstairs dance club to shake our booty. Little did we know the tease dances continued downstairs with a bit more flair.... including well, um.... the dancers touching the brides-to-be out for their stagette, um... up there and um... down there under the clothes and over the naughty places. there is something I haven't seen in my 4D years.

Let's just say I was glad Oriana wasn't there for her bridal stagette, we didn't stay too long and everytime I hear Rihanna sing  "I may be bad but I'm perfectly good at it. ... whips and chains excite me" I need to change the channel.  

On another note, here are a few quick pics from the weekend loot bag.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Whooosh Goes Mom and Me

Sometimes, you just need a little mother daughter time.

And when you are hitting a milestone like turning 40, mother daughter time climbs to the top of the list. It was definitely near the top of mine. Fortunately, I had the perfect excuse to whisk Mom away for a weekend of living in San Francisco.

You see, my cousin Shauneen recently launched a new organic tea company, Far Out Flying Saucer Teas. In the spirit of doing "what I want, when I want, and I will pay for the fun when I am 41" I thought it would be super fun to surprise Shauneen by showing up at her official launch party in San Fran.  Which led me to calling Mom, who signed on immediately.

Little did I know that we would get two weeks notice of the launch party. Lickety-split, plane tickets were bought and we were standing in Union Square in front of the historic Westin St. Francis, our home for the next three nights.

The next morning we explored. We walked through Chinatown, talked while climbing to Coit Tower, walked down Filberg Street, talked to chatty strangers, until finally we caught a cable car through Russian Hill (one of the "Original Seven" of 44 hills) back to Market Street, where we bumped into the St. Patrick's Day Festival and Parade. One of the great things about walking and talking down Market Street in the opposite direction as the parade is moving is that you see the highland dancers, firetrucks, marching bands and green-clad revelers twice as fast. Twice as nice. Whoooosh.

Next - tea time! The official Far Out Flying Saucer launch party was, well... quite literally a tea party. For some reason I thought media, crowds and fireworks!! Alas, when we showed up I realized it was a quiet, private gathering for 30 or so family friends. Albeit the function was held in a captivating contemporary home with floor to ceiling window and awe-inspiring views (um, hello.... can I stay here forever???) and the tea tasting and food offering was impressive enough to rival the Fairmont Empress Hotel's $51 afternoon tea service. Ornate china tea cups, fancy crustless salmon sandwiches, and very, very respectful conversation with very, very respectable company. Heck, even caviar was served.

Afternoon tea was followed by an evening of Thai, accompanied by a few glasses of wine and I must admit, it felt so great to be devouring good food, engaging in interesting conversations with interesting people, making new friends ("you know, you just have to stay with us when you get to Victoria...."), slightly tipsy, living minute by minute, feeling like a jet setter! Then whoooosh..... into the car, surrounded by black leather, over the bridge, warm air through my hair, door to door drop off at our swanky hotel courtesy of my uncle and voila! We are living the party life!

Ah...... mother daughter time is sooo good!

On Saturday, we were picked up by my aunt and uncle and whisked to a funky cafe for breakfast before being toured through Golden Gate park. Then, whooooosh... kisses and hugs and they were off up the coast while we lingered  in the AIDS Memorial Grove for a thoughtful moment before heading towards Haight Street. 

Backtrack. When I was 13, I really, really, really wanted to get my ears pierced. I begged, I pleaded. Finally, at the age of 16 I was granted permission and off I went with Mom to Merle Norman. Ironically, over the years, wearing earrings  became a bit of a chore (especially those dangly beaded ones that caught on frickin' everything and let's not even talk about the kids yanking on those silver hoops) and my holes kinda grew over. But... that all changed when mom and I were walking and talking into hippy history and proceeded to walk impromptu into a painted red tattoo parlor on Haight Street to get my ears re-pierced. This place was more tattoos, nose rings, body piercings and dermal punch than Merle Norman 80's sea green eyeshadow (which, by the way, is sooo back in style, according to their website) but $24 bucks and a few minutes later, voila, I am 16 again with pretty stainless steel hoops through my lobes!! 

(And no, I wasn't even tempted to get a tattoo... perhaps at 50.)

I think you are getting the point about the trip. Whiz bang, here. Whoosh, voila, there! Pasta, pesto, eggs and toast, Pinot Gris, slow down art in the park, DSW, Macy's, hustle through H&M, Sephora, whoooaaaaa deeep conversations with my cousin, *blink* quiet reading in our hotel room, taxi here, drop in there, coffee in the lounge, walk and talk and then pack her up, check out, load em in, check in and......... wait, wait, wait to head home via SFO.

Whew....... how can you pack so much goodness into one little bitty caviar-sized weekend away? Like 40 distinct and memorable experiences into 40 waking hours in Wonderland.

Thanks Mom. That was just what I needed. A perfect weekend to tick off on my Turning 40 to do list. Let's not wait so many years before we... whoooosh.... take off together again. And yes, thanks for everything in the last four decades.

Just 40 more hours to 40

Eeek... the big day is pressing upon me. Not that it's heavy or anything, but a birthday, like a looming deadline, is yet one more reminder of how much there is to do in life, and how little time there is.

Like this blog. I have committed to my friend Andy that I would blog about turning 40 this year. Hmmmm.... haven't blogged as much as expected. But, I've managed to jam tons of stuff into the last six months. (Which I will blog about sometime before I turn 41.... I promise!)

Soon, what are the big birthday plans?

I have three parties this weekend, of which one is to celebrate my birthday. My entire family is coming together Saturday night for a back yard BBQ party, complete with Pic-a-Pop and colourful lanterns hanging from the sky. We are going to pretend we are at a lake and it is summer time. I am going to drink black cherry pop, eat salt and vinegar chips and hopefully dance until the wee hours under my preferred version of strobe lights - old fashioned, old school patio lanterns.

To be honest, my family is organizing the whole thing so I don't really know what is going on. I get to show up. I kinda like that. Ah... time to enjoy the good things in life. (Just until the water bomb gets tossed my way then watch out... water fight is on!!!)

Friday night I am going to another 40th birthday party, which comes with fancy finger foods and a hipster DJ. Saturday afternoon I am going to a folk music festival that was organized by Paris at his local park.

On Sunday I get to reflect on the father's in my life. Which of course leads to reflecting on the mother's in my life.

Not a bad way to turn a corner. Or cross over. Attraversiamo. Or head down the other side of the hill. Or whatever other way you want to describe it.

Ready or not, here I come. Lordy lordy, I'm turning 40!

A simpler life for the next 40 years

My friend and I were chatting back and force via email, and he wrote this. I kinda like it... a lot!

"I often fantasize about spending my days selling photo prints out of a booth at Granville Island Market ...and calling up my fiance in the afternoon: “Honey, I made $13 today! Come on down, we’re having fish tacos tonight!!”"

Ah.... now that sounds like a simple, sweet life. Perhaps something to shoot for sometime over the next 40 years.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Top 15 Music over 40 years

Quite a while ago my son asked me to list the 15 most influential music albums in my life. I'm not sure why, but I didn't get around to it until today. I guess I thought it would make a good Turning 40 post. A retrospective of the last 40 years of my life. Here goes in chronological order (according to my brain, and not necessarily an album date):

1. Shaun Cassidy, 1977
This was my first and last major infatuation with a celebrity. I remember sitting in my bedroom, with its red shag carpet, looking at his debut Shaun Cassidy album cover for hours.  "Da Doo Ron Ron" was my favourite song, of course.

2. Quirky Song Collection,
While I can't recall the name of the album, I can still sing the songs, including "Who Put the Bomp (In the Bomp, Bomp, Bomp)", "Does Your Chewing Gum Lose Its Flavour (On the Bedpost Overnight?)", "Yakety Yak", "Seven Little Girls (Sitting in the Back Seat)", and "The Purple People Eater".

3. Bill Haley and the Comets
I thank my dad for this one. He really likes the America 50's rock and roll music and for quite a while I explored music during that time. "Shake, Rattle and Roll" and "Rock Around the Clock" were perfect songs to clean my bedroom to. This led me to Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee Lewis, The Coasters, Ritchie Valens, Elvis Presley and others.

4. Elvis
Yep, I was a HUGE Elvis fan. Don't listen very much now, but still love "Blue Christmas" and "Jailhouse Rock".

5. The Beach Boys
First concert. I still remember being front row dancing with other young Beach Boys fans (just a few of us with hordes of older fans in the rows behind). Inspired the Gilby Freedom Bad Mother Fucker road trip to Malibu where I first unsuccessfully learned to surf. Greatest Hits Volume 1.

6. The Clash
Who hasn't been influenced by The Clash? Combat Rock. Bring back my black boots, ripped black tights, long black Batman t-shirt and plaid logger jacket. Major black eyeliner. Mosh pit.

(6A. Tiny shout out to the Stray Cats here as well for making a runner-up appearance.)

7. Joan Jett and the Blackhearts
Album: I Love Rock 'n' Roll. "Crimson and Clover" was the best song to sing along to driving down any old freekin' freedom highway when you first get your license and keys to any ole beat up 72 Toyota Corolla. "I Hate Myself for Loving You." No, I don't.....still love it!

8 . Collection, Sixties Music
You know, all those great songs they put in movies about the Vietnam war. Peace, love, granola stuff and those tough songs with helicopters in the background.

9.. The Doors
Ah... memories of The Doors. All of them fuzzy. Hazy. Something about sleeping under a dining room table..... While not necessarily live in the moment, it was nice groovin' to their Greatest Hits compilation.

10. Bob Marley
His best-known hits include "I Shot the Sheriff", "No Woman, No Cry", "Could You Be Loved", "One Love". All great, but for me, it was all about "Exodus". Over and over and over and over and over again. All the time. Legends has to be one of the best all around albums of all times.

(10a. Somewhere in here I have to shout out to Spirit of the West Save This House, for adding zest and life and fun to frickin' everything whenever I played them. They know how to liven up a west coast party! Still on the dance list...)

11. Depeche Mode
Album: Music for the Masses. Best. Concert. Ever. I still know every song off by heart. I lived and died by Depeche Mode, all shrouded in black and black and more black and some purple hair and vintage chic thrown in for colour.

12. Pixies
Just amazing music. Too hard to pick a fav album. Defining sounds that surrounded some defining moments in my life. I love the edge and clarity they brought to that time in my life.

(12a. Shout out to Sebadoh, Pavement, Dinosaur Jr. Helmet, Galaxy 500, Meet Daisy, Violent Femmes, Velvet Underground, Camper Van Beethoven and all other sounds that filled those "band days".)

13. Enya
Enya. The music I played for both my kids. The music I got married to. I still hum her in the quiet times.

14. Liz Phair.
Exile in Guyville. Great album. Fucking great album. Toughens you up. Makes you want to clean your house in your bra while smoking and drinking. And then tell everyone to go fuck themselves. Yep..... gotta love her!

15. Nirvana
I still get pissed that Nirvana isn't playing anymore. Nevermind.

Yep, music doesn't influence as much anymore. I am influenced more by other things, but it's still a part of my life. And heck, I still reserve the right to add 16 anytime in the next 40 years. Perhaps gypsy music or Public Access or Ben Harper, or .......

The (Illustrious) Gypsy has spoken

Not to be outdone by my super stud husband  (read blog post below) I put my 25 cent piece into The Gypsy to have the illustrious and beautiful Madame Esmeralda read my fortune. Forty years of livin' has given me top marks for Luck and Creativity...very nice, I'll take that! However, my fairly-high (not to be confused with highly-fair) love ranking needs some work if I'm going to keep up with super stud.

25 cent SUPER STUD

Yep, it's true. The 25 cent LOVE METER at the top of Hell's Gate Airtram rated my husband as SUPER STUD. Final reading. Bona fide.

I am one lucky gal, for sure!