Posted by Alan
An actual conversation from our porch this evening:
Becky: "And what do we have here, a football player, a cheerleader, and what are you?"
10 year old cheerleader: "He's a P.I.M.P"
We just got back from spending a couple of days at my sister's house in Northeast Ohio, which was a great time in and of itself. We looked at a couple of open houses in their neighborhood, but nothing really "did" it for us - not that we'd up and move tomorrow, but heading back out east is always in the back of our minds. Prior to getting dropped off at the airport, Jenny drove us through Shaker Heights so we could check out the 'hood (it tops my list of "places to live in ohio"). It didn't disappoint! Such a great, gorgeous neighborhood. I hear equally good things about Cleveland Heights which is a couple of miles up the road (and where Michael Ruhlman lives). I looked online and immediately and irrevocably fell in love with the houses in the neighborhood.
Both of these houses are simply amazing and anyone who buys them is going to be very lucky to live there (unless, of course, they have rotting foundations, no heat, or are haunted).
Posted by Alan (yes, really)
Two topics, unrelated.
Today Joe and I did 9 routes at the gym (in order of difficulty, not order of execution: 5.9, 10a, 10b x 2, 10c, 10d, 11a, 11b, 11c). We did enough slab work that my feet gave out before my hands/forearms - that may be an indicator of poor style. I still don't have my lead cert, which is pretty lame. How disappointing I am to myself.
I barbecued tonight for what I expect to be last time of the season. Bul Ko Ki (at least that's how Trader Joe's spells it). It came out nicely. Since we won't be using the Q again for a while, I figured I'd give it a good cleaning and put it under the back porch to give it a little extra rain protection. There was a lot of noise around the backyard with the various neighborhood cats ... did I say cats? I meant raccoons. When they showed clear indifference to me, I decided it might be best if I just left the task to daylight. A couple of weeks ago one of the little frackers (BSG next month!) took a chicken carcass out of the little green bin on the back porch.
They're fearless, unlike me.
Back in early 2004 when we started looking for our first home to buy, we spent several weeks focused on condos in San Francisco. After realizing that our budget would get us a run down tiny condo with a large HOA fee nowhere near where we wanted to live, we turned our sights to Oakland since Alan grew up there and we had a lot of familiarity with the area.
After failing to buy a house up in the Oakland Hills that was just too-precious-for-words and would probably still be where we live today if we had got it, on a whim we looked at a couple of lofts in Jack London Square. In one day we lined up a viewing for four different loft projects in the area. I was initially drawn to the New Market Lofts because I liked the separate bedroom with the barn door and the layout of the bathroom, but in general the units all seemed small and apartment-like. Not at all what we were looking for in the long run. We also looked at the Portico Lofts which seemed a bit ... unfinished in their appearance and again, not what we were looking for. The unit we saw in the Tower Lofts was on the top floor (I think), had a nice kitchen and bathroom, but was kind of funky in its finishing. It was definitely livable and might have made it to the final round of decisions if we hadn't stopped to see the Fourth Street Lofts, which is where we eventually ended up living for two years. (While living at Fourth Street, we took a look at a unit in the Brickhouse Lofts that was just fabulous and would have made an excellent place to live.)
Aside from the fact that the space was so kick-ass, the building was just the right mixture of old and new and the parking was a good set up. The HOA fees (at the time) were reasonable and the price had dropped a couple of times before we looked at the unit (interestingly enough, once we asked to see it, the realtor - who was awful to work with - scheduled an open house to try to drive competition to our interest). In addition to the fact that I loved the actual space, I was really intrigued by the idea of a huge public market that was being talked about just a couple of blocks away. Timing was TBD, but the information that was in our packet of information on the loft and the community made it seem like the groundbreaking was imminent and that it'd be complete in just a couple of years.
Well, anyone who lives in Oakland knows that never happened. Instead, we lived with construction for nearly 1.5 years on several new, giant condo complexes within a three block radius of us. We lost parking, our unit was flooded with dust, dirt and other particles from the building across the street which contributed significantly to allergy and breathing problems that I endured for our tenure in the building (they've miraculously disappeared since moving to our house - funny how that happens), the noise pollution was out of control, and the market was flooded with condos that no one really wanted to buy. During all of THAT construction, we received a couple of updates on the public market, but there was too much squabling going on down at City Hall for any real progress to be made. Eventually, we gave up holding out for any movement on what would have been a VERY COOL addition to our life in the neighborhood and ultimately sold the loft to another couple.
I had forgotten all about the public market until today when I saw the headline, "Ground broken for huge public retail market at Jack London Square" and remembered all our hopes for what was to be but never was.
According to the article:
The centerpiece of the 1 million-square-foot Jack London Square redevelopment will be a place of local produce, artisanal foods, fishmongers and bakers and more - perhaps as many as 70 vendors in all.
The concept is more than a pretty artist's rendering that the developer of the Jack London Square redevelopment, Ellis Partners LLC, first made in 2003 or 2004. (The dates start to run together in the minds of people engaged in a seven-year planning and permit process.) Ellis Partners wants the public market to be the largest of its kind on the West Coast.
The building will be six stories, with the market, local produce, artisanal foods with meat and fish halls on the first floor. It will house ethnic bistros and fine dining on the second floor; culinary businesses on the third floor; and class A office space above.
The developers expect the Jack London Market to be open for business in early 2009.
It is included in the first phase of construction that will include four mixed-use buildings totaling 250,000 square feet. The others are a 31,200-square-foot retail and office building adjacent to Oakland's ferry terminus, a 1,086-car parking garage and a 10,000-square-foot retail shops building adjacent to the Barnes & Noble store.Future phases of construction total another 500,000 square feet and include two additional midsize office and retail buildings. The project also includes a joint venture with Joie de Vivre Hospitality to purchase, remodel and operate the Waterfront Plaza Hotel on the square.
In addition, the developers are in talks with the Westin Hotels and Resorts about a new 250-room hotel with conference facilities on the eastern edge of the 11-block-long project, although there is no commitment for it.
I have to tell you, that construction is going to be a nightmare for residents but in the end is going to be OH SO WORTH IT. This public market is going to be amazing! I have a feeling I'll be spending a lot of time there. The fact that major hotel chains are interested in bringing quality lodging to the area is just the icing on the cake. I cannot tell you how many times I've had people ask me about good hotels in Oakland and I am left drawing a blank. The Joie de Vivre line of hotels are hip, fun, and definitely not cookie-cutter properties. This is an exciting step forward for Oakland and I can't wait to see how it all turns out.
I have to tell you, that construction is going to be a nightmare for residents but in the end is going to be OH SO WORTH IT. This public market is going to be amazing! I have a feeling I'll be spending a lot of time there. The fact that major hotel chains are interested in bringing quality lodging to the area is just the icing on the cake. I cannot tell you how many times I've had people ask me about good hotels in Oakland and I am left drawing a blank. The Joie de Vivre line of hotels are hip, fun, and definitely not cookie-cutter properties.
This is an exciting step forward for Oakland and I can't wait to see how it all turns out.
I read a post today on the BlogHer network about whether it was appropriate to swear at work. It seems like there were a couple of themes running through the responses:
Numbers 1 and 3 kind of play off each other, don't they? Now, I'm not one to be all demure and play the "I'm a girl so I'm supposed to be demure and exercise decorum at all times" card. In fact, I'm probably the exact opposite of that. I have to admit, I am a swearer. Most of the time it's under my breath and goes a little something like, "frickenfrackenchickenshackin" substituting you know what. This is usually said when (1) something on my desk goes missing, (2) my computer inexplicably freezes on me or (3) people around me in cubeland are talking so loud I can't hear myself think.
And, I have to admit, every now and then I drop the F-bomb in random conversation. I mean, sometimes it just gets across what I'm feeling better than a 20-word description of my emotions ever could. Sure I could say, "you know, I really don't think this is the best use of my time, or the team's time for that matter, and really, this is the 10th time they've asked us to do something that ultimately just dies on the vine anyway, so thanks, but I think I'm going to decline." Instead, a simple "eff that!" seems to capture the exact emotion I was hoping to convey.
But I have to wonder - do you think my colleagues think less of me because I need to wash my mouth out with soap? I'm fairly good at my job and at the end of the day (most days), I can hold my head up high for what I - and my teams - have accomplished. So, if I don't cuss in front of clients - and no one on my teams has told me to shut my trap - should it really matter all that much?
In 2005, Alan's parents took us to see a performance of (gosh, I can't even remember!) at the Oakland ballet. From the beginning of the night until the final curtain call, the event was purely comical. To start off the evening and let everyone know they weren't in San Francisco at the Opera house, a cracked out lady took to screaming at the stage during the Q&A. She continued her random standing ovations and hooting & hollering until they escorted her out. The the dancing begun and um, where's the music coming from? I don't see an orchestra. Oh right, it's being piped in. But the biggest shame of the evening was the dancing. While there were a few talented ballerinas on stage, there were also quite a few who had no business calling themselves such. One woman couldn't even get herself en pointe for the majority of the performance. And the performance itself? Quite eclectic. Thankfully the stage and costumes were decent because they distracted your eye - or at least tried to - from the fact that the only person who could actually dance were the two leads. Not long after, the Oakland ballet closed up its doors and quietly faded into the night.
So imagine my skepticism when this morning I logged on to SFGate.com to see the headline, "Oakland Ballet's Triumphant Return." Oh boy. I clicked on the article thinking it'd be good for a bit of a laugh to see the man in charge prior to Karen Brown, Ronn Guidi, is back at the helm and he's trying to do things just a bit differently. I think the biggest improvement is the fact that the ballet now takes place at the beautiful Paramount Theater with ... wait for it ... a live orchestra. It seems Mr. Guidi is also known for picking the best tales for his dancers and that the audience at this return performance was very happy to see the changes. Obviously I'll leave final judgements to actually seeing a performance, but I have to tell you, any change is an improvement over what we saw a couple of years ago.
We spent countless hours this weekend cleaning the house (and we continue to do so) and it looks infinitely better than it did before we started. I know this is going to make me sound like a spoiled yuppie, but it's quite evident that we need a housekeeper. Between our jobs, we just can't keep up with the dust and regular cleaning that needs to be done. I'm going to start researching that tomorrow. In the meantime, here's a quick snapshot of the progress made this weekend.
The organization of this bookshelf has me feeling both envious and inspired. I wish I could get my office shelves this organized, alas, I don't think organization is to be my thing.
in an alternate universe I would want my house to be as light, bright, and airy as that which is profiled over at yvestown. It's just so ... happy.
I can't figure out how I feel about this aubergine color. On the one hand, it's so deep and rich and lush, but on the other, it's PURPLE. And I don't really like purple all that much. Also, I only have three rooms left in the house to paint and it's absolutely wrong for one of them (the bathroom). Could I pull off that color in the kitchen? I dunno. I think that's probably a hard one. Any color "experts" willing to weigh in?
I spent some time last night looking around Flickr and stumbled upon a photo pool dedicated to Oakland and I found myself feeling all sorts of inspired to get out there and take some photos. The only thing is, I'm lazy, so I also needed OTHER inspiration to get me out of the house. After our next door neighbor's yard crew woke us up at 7:45 a.m. to the sound of a leaf blower, I suggested to Alan that we head off to Rick & Ann's or Bette's Oceanview Diner, but he was having none of it. He said we could go to Chinatown to pick up dimsum instead. Not exactly conducive to photography - that is, sitting in the car waiting for him to run out with a bag full of greasy goodness - but to be fair, I didn't exactly tell him that I wanted to take some photos either. Maybe next weekend.
Courtesy of Vagablond:
Red with Meat, White with Fish: Wines that Love
Duh….any dummy knows that..but then the rules went and changed on us.
A BBQ salmon steak, brushed with a teriyaki glaze practically begs for a red, especially a pinot noir. A rich oily tuna could be enhanced by the lean snap of a dry rose, or perhaps some bubbly?
It was all soooo confusing- until some “geeze-why didn’t I think of that?” creative minds developed “Wine That Loves”.
These wines are designed to pair with American’s top Food Faves ie: Pizza, Roast Chicken, Pasta with Tomato Sauce. They are tailored to food lovers, but their world-class quality, distinctive character and winning style also will totally delight wine aficionados. As well they should, since the company sommelier, Ralph Hersom, was the Wine Director of the world-famous Le Cirque restaurant in New York City.
Wine That Loves philosophy is simple, “Good food is great. With the right wine, good food is even better.”