Brief Book Rec: Anya’s Ghost

Just finished Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol. It was a lovely graphic novel, with an interesting story. I had it my wish list thanks to a rec by Glen Weldon from ages ago – very glad I used it to round out my book club book order.

Here’s what he said:

This debut YA graphic novel about Anya, a bright if sullen schoolgirl who falls down a well and befriends the ghost she finds there, stakes out an unusual patch of narrative real estate: it’s both seriously creepy and … really kinda sweet. From the very first page, Brosgol’s artwork charms — Anya is a real kid, navigating the emotional minefield of high school

Recommended! Here’s the Amazon link.

(I’m at 48 of my goal of 52 books for the year – I’m still hoping to make it, as I have 3 book club books to read before the end of the year. Plus, I still need to finish the last three volumes of Y: The Last Man.)

Adventures in Seattle

I really really liked Seattle. I just got back from a three day trip – one day for work, and two days to explore. And I always suck about blogging about my trips (where is that Hawaii blog? NYC July trip? huh!)

So, I liked Seattle – I liked that it was walkable, I liked the sky/clouds, I liked the neighborhood feel, I liked the food, I liked the fall colors. It got very grey and rainy and I was even hailed on. But, honestly, I didn’t mind. I don’t know what it would be like to live there full time, perhaps it would be tiresome, but for three days it was great. And I hope to go back, so that I can explore a whole lot more.

I also saw some excellent art at the Frye (including the above painting) and the fabulous elles:pompidou exhibit at the Seattle Art Museum. So much to say about that…. but for now a quote from the website:

Elles: Pompidou is a landmark exhibition of more than 130 works of art made by 75 women artists from 1907 to 2007. Organized by the Centre Pompidou in Paris, home to the Musée National d’Art Moderne—one of the largest collections of modern and contemporary art in Europe—this exhibition is an unforgettable visual experience that will challenge visitors’ assumptions about art of the past century. This ambitious survey of daring painting, sculpture, drawing, photography, video, and installation by innovative women artists offers a fresh perspective on a history of modern and contemporary art

There is a lot more to say about this, and the whole trip. Hopefully that will happen soon.

A list of things, making life possible

It has been a totally crazy week/month. I am now only 6 days out from a huge fundraiser gala, that I have been working on for all of the last year. The only way I’m keeping my sanity:

  • having a really kick ass assistant, who pushes back when I’m not being practical.
  • Giants winning NLDS. I wore an orange ribbon in my hair, while I ran errands all around the City yesterday. I could hear the cheers from various bars and homes all over.
  • Going to see Jordan Jesse Go! Live tonight, as part of the new SF Comedy and Burrito Festival.
  • Also! Getting to introduce new friends to JJGO & MaxFun tonight.
  • Adorable photos of my friends’ adorable tiny, new baby
  • Actually going to the gym/personal training, when normally I would let my work take over completely. (Sticking to my goals!)

  • This sky in San Bruno on Tuesday night
  • All of the great music that has come out in the last few weeks: Amanda Palmer and the Grand Theft Auto, the new Avett Brothers, the new Mountain Goats, the new Mumford & Sons.
  • Especially the Want it Back song and video by Amanda Palmer & GTO. (I still can’t get youtube to embed in a post… help?)
  • Going to the Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Festival this weekend

  • Dinner at Two Sisters Bar & Books, followed by Smitten ice cream
  • Gone Girl – goodness, what a book.
  • John Scalzi novels in audio book form
  • Slate Political Gabfest
  • Weekly round up emails with two good friends about all the Slate podcasts
  • New Fall TV – Have you seen Go On or the Neighbors? If not, you should, ASAP.
  • Knowing the season premiere of The League is on my DVR as soon as I can get to it.
  • jamming in a quick latte with Lysandra in the midst of the insanity, and having a serious Disneyland squee moment.
  • Bittersweet – drinks at the excellent Churchill bar, to say good-bye to Kate & Alex as the go on to their next adventures
  • All the Joe Biden gifs from last night’s debate.
  • And finally, that after next week, I get to go to Seattle. Very excited about that!

25 Years Ago, Grandma and Me

Grandma and I, September 26, 1987

Yesterday, I talked about the importance of my grandfather on my belief in of voting. And today, my Aunt Ann posted this lovely photo of Grandma Olly and I from her wedding – 25 years ago, today! Crazy!

Grandma affected me in so many ways – mostly with the way she was always there for the entire extended family. But also.. so many other ways. She was a strong woman, and I always admired that.

I love this photo. My aunt said when she posted it that it was “So Olly… So Erin.” It took me a little while to understand why. But I think it is – she is holding me close, telling a story. I’m listening, but ready to talk in as soon as she is done. I still bite my tongue like that when I’m thinking. However, that may be the only major social occasion I have worn white to.

I don’t have many memories from Aunt Ann’s wedding – something about dancing on my dad’s shoes but that might be more from a home video than an actual memory. However, my memory is littered with memories of my Grandma, many of them bittersweet, because of her current health.

I’ve been meaning to blog about Grandma basically this entire year. I have snippets in my notebook that refer to her:

  • sky-blue pink (her favorite color)
  • “Better than canned beer”(a phrase I adore, and had never heard, until I took part of an oral history)
  • Reading “The Summer Without Men” and seeing “4000 Miles” in New York – both of which dealing with an aging parent or grandparent

Right now, I have to run because I’m going to the Amanda Palmer concert. But I’m promising myself, I’m going to do a full post about her, possibly tomorrow. But for now, I’m going to leave you with this awesome, if blurry, photo.

Rock the Vote

Today is National Voter Registration Day. Go register! It is super easy and very important.

The Fifteenth Amendment (Amendment XV) to the United States Constitution prohibits each government in the United States from denying a citizen the right to vote based on that citizen’s “race, color, or previous condition of servitude”


The Twenty-sixth Amendment (Amendment XXVI) barred the states or federal government from setting a voting age higher than eighteen. It was adopted in response to student activism against the Vietnam War

This post isn’t designed to tell you who to vote for, but that it is everyone’s responsibility to take an active part of the American civil discourse by the simple act of voting. As they say, we live in turbulent times, and to get your voice heard you must vote!

And, if you don’t vote, you can’t complain about the direction our country is heading.

Voting Time Commitment:

  • 2 minutes to register online
  • One hour to research issues and candidates (can be broken up over a few weeks)
  • 20 minutes to vote

All in all, pretty easy and very worth it.

So, go now, and register:


Now that I have blathered on about registering, and, hopefully, you are only reading this next part after you have done so, I want to talk briefly about my history with voting. I truly have never understood friends or acquaintances who didn’t believe in it, or felt their vote didn’t matter. And I don’t mean that derisively, I have just never, ever understood.

And I think that has three causes:

  1. my grandfather
  2. my mom’s polling place when I was a kid
  3. SI and the 2000 presidential elevtion

My grandfather, Adolfo, was an immigrant from the Philippines. He moved to the US in the 50s, and always held his American citizenship dear. Like many immigrants, he voted in every election and he always told my father, and later me, that you didn’t have to vote, but if you came to dinner on Election Night and hadn’t, then you had to find food elsewhere. He said it with a wry sense of humor, but was very serious about it at the same time. We lived at my grandparents’ house from when I was 5-8 years old, and I remember that voting conversation every year (and sometimes more than that when there were serious primaries).

My mom voted in the Outer Sunset until we moved to San Bruno in 2000. Her polling place was in the 40s on Judah and was possibly someone’s very large garage. I only have vague memories of the building, but I vividly remember the children’s voting booth. While my mom checked in and went to vote, I got to go to my own booth, made just my size, and push through the little circles on the paper. I don’t know if it was a replica ballot, or just paper… I’m not sure if there were real names on it. But I know that I thought it was one of the coolest things ever. Voting was super cool at age 6.

So, with those two experiences, I thought voting was a) necessary and b) fun. High school confirmed both of these things. I was on the high school debate team – Lincoln Douglas, baby! – and was preferally aware of politics during my first two years. At that point, I didn’t have super strong political beliefs – they were developing but still in infancy – and the JSA hosted a mock debate for the 2000 Gore/Bush election. I remember thinking that the seniors who were debating were so smart, cool, interesting – and I wasn’t really differentiatating between the sides. I just loved that they cared and could have a pretty intense debate about these candidates.

And then 2000 got crazy. How after that election could anyone think one vote didn’t matter? Every vote mattered, and we had the hanging chads to prove it. That election cemented my belief in the importance of the American political system and the stupidity of the electoral college.

So, thanks to my Grandfather, my mom taking me with her to go voting (probably mostly out of convenience), and whatever teacher or student who organized those debates in 2000, I was super stoked to vote once I turned 18. And it ended up being a whopper! The 2003 fall election was the Recall Election for Governor Gray Davis. I remember studying hard about the recall, and the possible candidates. I had been at UCD for only a month or so, and I already knew my freshman year roommate and I did not agree politically. I posted a sign that said “Friends Don’t Let Friend Vote for the Recall” and she posted one for Schwarzenegger…. you win some, you lose some…. But voting remained interesting, important and pretty cool.

So, register, and if you are at all passionate about it, educate your children (or your friend’s children!) young. And, I truly believe it doesn’t need to be about specific politics, although I think those conversations are also important. Voting is the right and responsibility of all Americans regardless of your point of view or political party. Let’s get out that vote!!

On a love of Book Clubs

This past weekend was really lovely. I celebrated my one year anniversary of being back in California by going all over the Bay Area – seeing my dad’s show in Orinda, visiting friends in San Rafael, spending time in Pacifica for the gym and at Syche & Drew’s – and by doing some serious yard work with my parents. (I should probably be doing more of the latter, as I have fully enjoyed a year of living rent-free. Thanks Mom & Dad!)

As you can see in the screen shot above, I also spent part of Sunday in a Google Hangout with Book Club, Both Coasts. I love the moment that Joe caught with this picture, as we are all laughing so hard! (Does anyone remember this part of the convo? Was in reference to traveling in our minds with a Mouse God?)

This moment was an important part of my anniversary weekend, because last September I worried A LOT about my friendships – how would I integrate back into the lives of folks on the West Coast? And how would I maintain friendships with people now living far, far away?

Surprisingly, for … 97% of people it has gone well. And really, book club has helped a lot. Nothing I’m saying here is new – but  I’m a big fan of book club, or any scheduled gathering of friends. It means you get to see people you care about at least once a month, in an organized fashion, and with book club, you get to have serious conversations while still open to tangents and gossip. I know, even when work is really crazy or friends are popping out babies, I will get to see these friends once a month at the bare minimum. So, go book club!

However, as I approach year 2 of my California life, I may be at a point of critical mass. How many book clubs is too many?

Continue reading

A Year Ago Today

A year ago today, I gathered with dear friends at one of my favorite places in NYC (the Frying Pan) and said good-bye. It is CRAZY to think that a year has passed, and yet, I also feel like it might have been ten or more.

I’m very happy that I moved, but I miss these people so very much. (I’m lucky that Robert moved back at the same time). Such great memories!

(And yes.. this is the first time I’m posting these photos. I’m the worst.)