December 31, 2009

Less Grumpy, More Celebration

Deals are looking like they will close. Clients will be happy. Clients I have come to know on a personal level will benefit from my efforts. It feels good.

But exhausting.

The Happy New Year is coming.

I am looking forward to helping brother get the opportunity to celebrate with his friends at a big--nay, huge--party that has been a long time coming.

I'm also looking forward to sharing the night with E, and calling it early, like the folks we are.

And finally, I'm looking forward to my last big night of sleep in 2009 (following a social night with friends with stolen visits to the computer to confirm that the deal was, in fact, on track). Thank goodness it looks like I'll actually get to dream good dreams tonight -- that will be a welcome novelty.

December 29, 2009

Some End of the Year Wisdom

I've got too many deals that *must* sign before the end of the year.

YAY! for my clients -- Lame for me.

So, here's some grumpy free advice and ramblings in connection with the end of the year (and you know, the things that may arise from tax planning or trying to sell your company on a tight time fuse, etc.):

1. Your buddy? Your best buddy? The guy that's done that stuff for you without a contract for years on a good faith basis with the random vague invoice? The acquiror doesn't care how tight you are. If he created anything the company owns, you need to get that shit signed up to a contract ASAP. 'Cause guess what, he's not best buddies with the acquiror -- and they aren't stupid.

2. On the topic of invoices? I am not the person you want to over-invoice. I know my life down to 6 minute increments. Don't make me point out that you were 20 minutes late on two days and require me to spend time thinking about how to politely propose edits to your invoice. That takes time from my life. And yours. And we both hate it. Just keep correct time. How hard is it?

3. It's official. I definitely prefer the each person brings one $10 new gift exchange with extended family (pursuant to white elefant rules) over the person-to-person present exchange.

4. Communication of crappy things is really important. Lawyers specialize in it, so we forget how difficult it is for other people. But it is. In fact, it's so difficult that they pay ridiculous rates to have us do it for them. Only, when dealing with families over the holidays, even lawyers are stuck -- we aren't hired mercenaries and it's simultaneously very important and very difficult to convey the crappy things. And yet, we have to. Or nothing ever improves.

December 21, 2009

Happy Winter Solstice

This is a time for change.

Finally, after the last month of waking to pitch black and working in the black for hours on end only to go to work and leave the office while it's black again, will the days finally start to get longer (and continue to do so for the next half year!)

And the holidays with all of their promise, drama, failed resolutions, new resolutions to be made, and their histories full of wounds and joy to visit us through uninvited memories are just around the corner.

Even San Francisco, which prides itself on pragmatic coolness, youth, and a rejection of most things invoking nostalgia has big open celebrations of the season and love and ice and deep green trees and vulgur displays of too much light and other goodness:


Happy Winter Solstice to you!
May your daylight increase,
May your Seasonal Affective Disorder decrease,
And may you welcome the change that life brings to you
'til the days start to shorten again.

December 16, 2009


Brother got a love letter recently. He shared it with me. I immediately sided with the girl:

Brother, you have to call her. At least to say hi. She bared her soul to you. She wrote you a *love letter.*

He responded quickly and effectively, in a manner I am beginning to recognize as a familial way (and perhaps one of the reasons I ended up as an attorney despite my efforts to the contrary):

Ummmmm... You don't get to tell me how to respond. A) I decided to share this with you, so you get to be quiet and say thank you for letting me know about what's going on in your life, not tell me how to deal with it. B) The last woman who wrote me a love letter -- I got a call from her husband after I responded to her. So your "always respond to a woman's love letter" plan has some flaws I happen to know about...


December 15, 2009

Writing Under a Pen Name

This Article about why James Chartrand chose his male pen name despite being a female in the meat world is very informative.



But informative.

Interestingly, back when I was less open with details in my life, most of my readers assumed I was male. This despite the fact that according to the Gender Genie, my posts are all over the place.

After taking a look at its results more than a few times, I tend to think the Gender Genie's results are too closely correlated with topics. Travel and food posts like my last one often end up slightly more "female" than "male," while posts like the one three posts ago mentioning research and statistics come back almost twice as "male" as "female."

As cool as that might be, my gender has not swapped in the time period between these two entries in the meat world...

And yet, as they say, On the Internet, No One Knows You're A Dog.

December 13, 2009

On a roll

Friday was one of the more self-indulgent days I've had in a while. After a morning of working from home, I took the afternoon off to have a long late lunch with T. We met at the ice-skating rink by the sparkling sky-scraping Christmas tree in Union Square. Between that and the tell-tale wreathes in every window at Macy's -- there is no denying it, Christmas is right around the corner.

We sat for two hours at Metropol, eating, sipping wine and chatting. Eventually, we moved the gossip and discussion of changes in the legal industry and what it could mean for our careers, long-term, to the salon, where we relaxed, sipping tea and coffee and watching the world walk by in Union Square from the windows while I got my hair done (if I'm only going to get it done once or twice a year, best to make one of those times before all the photographic preservation of the holidays, that's my motto!).

From there, we did a super-quick dress shopping run to Macy's, which thankfully had tons of reasonably priced dresses in stock (yay for shopping with an expert -- 1 party dress and 1 work dress in less than 1 hour, thanks T!).

And finally, I picked up E, and we checked into our hotel for our date night. After a drink at the hotel bar (complete with traveling singers in tuxes stopping in with an accordian to sing some Holiday Carols) we -- all dressed up, so proud -- took a cab in the rain to one of our all-time favorite restaurants -- Acquerello.

I cannot say enough about this 16-table restaurant. It is, without doubt, the best high-end Italian food I've had in the U.S., both on our last visit 2 1/2 years ago, and this one. Every morsel is phenomenal, and at least half bring back memories I've forgotten of my time spent in Italy (anchovy-stuffed deep-fried olive amuse bouche? Right. Not only can you stuff olives, you can bread them and fry them. Brilliant. How did I forget that?), the service is amazing, and the Italian accents of half the staff just add to the I-swear-I'm-in-another-country feeling of the experience.

Additionally, Acquerello always has a special imported ingredient that tries to steal the show. Last time, it was the burata. This time? WHITE TRUFFLES!!! (Okay, so the cheese cart was absolutely amazing, as well, and I savored every bite. But for me, the truffles won. E probably prefers the soft cow's cheese in walnut leaf he swooned over.)

But the truffles? Did I mention I love truffles? The tagliolini with butter, egg yolks and Parmesan cheese was one of the best dishes I've ever had in my life (not just best pasta dishes, mind you, best dishes ever). I need to learn how to make the butter, egg yolks and parmesan sauce even if I don't have truffles.

And tagliolini? How did I forget about this awesome pasta? I'll leave the making of it to the pros, but I plan to be buying some for simple liquid sauces.

Light pastas. That is one of the things that America makes it easy to forget about Italy. I shall try to remember...

Yes, Acquerello is an expensive restaurant, but it's probably less than most bay area 1-star Michelin restaurants, and, the food is absolutely worth it. Not to mention that it's much cheaper and easier than going to Italy if you'd like to feel as if you traveled.

In true Italian style, E and I slowly enjoyed all of our food and wine 'til after midnight (I didn't fall asleep or even threaten to do so), and then, upon arrival at our hotel, we fell, completely relaxed, into bed.

Saturday, I managed to get up and hit the gym for my first run since the awesome big-sur half marathon experience, and then we came home to enjoy lunch with sister and brother before I knocked out many of the chores that I often don't have time to finish before the end of the weekend (hello, all laundry is DONE!). Today, after an early bedtime, I woke to do 40 minutes of yoga before the day began in earnest.

In short -- a decadent Friday followed by a productive weekend? And I've still got half of Sunday ahead of me? I feel on top of the world.

December 10, 2009

Evening Entertainment at Our House

Brother wanted to talk about medical marijuana and the interplay between state and federal law.

One thing led to another. E, from the South, made his opinion known loud and clear. The war of Northern Aggression and all of that.

I pulled out my pocket constitution.

You heard.

(Granted, I don't keep it in my pocket, but still...)
Today, I'm glad I'm not a morally committed vegetarian

Recent research supports the idea that tomatoes are carnivorous plants.

But thankfully, since I'm a committed omnivore, I'm just amused to learn that my favorite plants are too!

No philosophical quandry here, thank you very much!

But I do like the idea of the line of thought that goes something like this:

I don't eat meat. I don't eat anything that moves because it's wrong. I eat vegetables and fruit because it's right.

But now, research is showing that many flowering plants are actually descended from and/or still able to exist as carnivores.

Which makes them wrong too.

Is it more wrong or less wrong to eat things that do wrong things?

Thank goodness I'm much too busy for that type of inquiry. I can't imagine it's too easy to exit that circle of thought.

December 5, 2009

Butternut, Bacon, Swiss Cheese Soup (with extra Ham!)

Mmmm... this soup is the essence of the approaching winter. Absolutely delicious.

-1 Large butternut squash, sliced in 1 inch rounds, seeds removed, peeled, and cubed
-2 yellow onions, chopped coarsely
-2 cloves garlic, minced
-6-8 cups broth of your choosing (I used half beef broth and half beef boullion)
-2 t ground cumin
-1 t ground coriander
-8 ounces bacon, chopped
-4-8 ounces leftover thanksgiving ham, chopped
-3 T sour cream
-2 T cornstarch
-grated swiss cheese
-black pepper

1. Sautee bacon, onions and garlic 'til onions are clear.
2. Add squash and spices, stir 'til coated.
3. Add broth, boil 15 minutes or so, until squash cubes break easily with a spoon.
4. Stir sour cream, cornstarch and 3 T warm water together.
5. Add ham and sour cream mixture, stir, remove from heat and continue to stir.
6. Serve into deep bowls, top with cheese and black pepper to taste.


December 3, 2009


I had that one of those things today. You know. That late thing?

Where you are introducing someone to someone else? Only someone is running late.

And not just a little bit.

And it reflects so poorly on you with someone else.

Someone else who agreed to meet with someone on your request who looks at you while you wait for someone together.

And everyone there who's waiting tries to pretend that it's all good.

But it's not.

And someone just burnt through a little bit of not just their credibility, but yours.

FYI -- A BIG APOLOGY and any other believable gestures of good will are a good idea, if you are someone in this situation.

Just sayin'

December 1, 2009

Hamtastic Holiday Happiness

One of brother's fears about coming to live with us is that he wouldn't get enough meat. At one point, he accused me of wanting to turn him into a vegan, which is, of course, hilarious. Because while I could probably live without meat, and do cook a fair amount of vegetarian meals, I most certainly could NOT LIVE WITHOUT CHEESE. Not to mention the fact that E would probably leave me if we couldn't eat bacon.

I think brother may have recruited mom to help fight the imagined meat battle. Or, perhaps my mom is just doing the ordinary motherly love-is-food thing. Regardless, after Thanksgiving, mother left us, conservatively, with a ridiculously overstuffed fridge and freezer including 8 lbs. of ham. The second half of the meat is still on the bone!

In case you too have too much holiday ham, or just for your general amusement, I present some of the hamtastic treats we've been enjoying:

1. Everyone's favorite: Thanksgiving part 2. We just served up the leftover potatoes au gratin (but with extra cheese under the broiler), green bean casserole, and, of course, sliced ham. Mmmm... good the second time, too.

2. The pita-chip-ham-slice midnight snack. You heard. Take some pita chips, put 'em around a thick slice of ham. Enjoy! A favorite of brother's.

3. Sauteed ham chunks and onions in defrosted garden tomato sauce over shell pasta. Yummm...

4. Sauteed ham chunks and onions mixed with 2 cups of leftover black bean and corn soup plus a can of black beans, some cumin, cayene, and chili powder. Delicious!

5. Tonight's plan? Risotto. With small ham chunks. And cheese (of course). I think I'll even add a salad for good measure - it's been entirely too long since I've been accused of torturing E (and now brother) with dark leafy greens.