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This is 30

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I think that, if I weren’t staring down the barrel of a Major Life Change, I might be able to muster more feelings about turning 30. As it stands, it actually seems like a lower-key birthday than I’ve had in awhile– yes, there have been multiple dinners/going-out occasions with family and friends to celebrate, but I don’t feel like I’m whirling around in some insane birthday frenzy. I’ve taken my birthday off of Facebook, so I’m not being deluged with birthday wishes from people that are basically strangers (ask me about my Facebook angst!). Still, 30 is a milestone, right?

I have to confess that I haven’t even accomplished half of the items on my 30 Before 30 list…but I’m actually more than ok with that. Creating that list was more of a “what if…” exercise than a “must-do” one, and I’m so pleased with the things I’ve done. Here’s the rundown of the things I’ve managed to check off:

  • Eat at a Michelin-starred restaurant (The Plumed Horse)

  • Take three weekend-trips to destinations I haven’t visited before (Guerneville, Cambria/San Simeon, Portland)

  • Host a ladies brunch (complete with pajamas and White Christmas viewing)

  • Have a live Christmas tree in my house (it was teeny, but it counts!)

  • Wear skirts/dresses every day for a week (easy to accomplish when you’re traveling, if it’s all you pack!)

  • Save $10,000 (and then some, thanks to monthly contributions to our high-yield savings account)

  • Learn to apply liquid eyeliner well (Eyeko liner, so magical)

  • Watch 12 live performances (Santaland Diaries, Cirque du Soleil “Totem,” Cirque du Soleil “Ovo,” Spamalot, Matt Nathanson, Silicon Valley Symphony Summer Pops (twice!), Christmas Shorts, Persuasion, Avenue Q, Lion King, An Evening with David Sedaris, God of Carnage)

  • Adopt and train a dog (I’m counting this, even though he doesn’t live with us anymore– have I ever told the story of TragiPup? It is…a trying one.)

  • Reread six books that I loved as a kid (The Westing Game, From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, The Giver, Anne of Green Gables, The Witches, Homer Price)

  • Create and send out photo holiday cards

  • Weed my book collection

As for the remaining 18 items on the original list of 30, I’ll be mostly rolling them over into a general “list of things I want to do.” At present, however, my list is a little shorter: casual dinner out with GP tonight, survive my last week of work before maternity leave, somehow birth this baby (it’s not that I’m scared, exactly; it just seems sort of impossible).


Friday Five

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Get ready! It’s a parenthetical sort of day.

1. My sleep over the last couple months has been pretty meager, to say the least. I’m not exactly falling asleep at my desk, but I have been tucking myself into bed around 8:00 or so (yup, I am a party animal). This early bedtime has been pretty great, with a couple exceptions: we started our childbirth prep classes on Monday, and they run until 9:30 (and one of the “supplies” for the class is a pillow! So cruel); a couple Saturdays ago, my middle-of-the-night wakeup was around 2:00 (a little earlier than usual), so I got to peruse all the pictures on Facebook and Instagram of my friends’ Halloween festivities (again, party animal). I suppose this is my body’s way of preparing me to become No Sleep Jones come December, but damn…it’s also making me feel pretty uncool. (Is step one of parenthood admitting that I probably wasn’t very cool in the first place?)

2. This weekend will consist of our usual College Football Saturday (in which we DVR every single game and fast-forward through/watch the interesting bits of whatever we please), interrupted briefly by a breastfeeding class. This contrast strikes me as sort of hilarious, but that’s what you get with a baby that’s going to be born on the cusp of bowl season. (Hopefully we’ve conditioned her in utero not to be alarmed when we start shouting at the television. If not, well…sorry, baby.)

3. I’ve been reviewing my 30 Before 30 list – with about a month to go, there are some pretty clear “not gonna happen” items…and I’m ok with that. Some of the items will be easily rolled over into whatever Adult To-Do List comes after turning 30– horseback riding, summiting Mt. Tallac, taking a photo a day for a year– and some I’m willing to just let go. This is probably a post unto itself, but let me say for now that I originally intended for my 30 Before 30 to be more aspirational than a straight “must-do” list.

4. The number of televisions in our house is (finally?) equal to the number of adults. No tv in the nursery means I’ll have to have something to keep me entertained during what I understand will likely be months of erratic sleep, so we’re in the market for a tablet. Any suggestions? We’re not an Apple family, and spending the amount of money an iPad would require seems fairly ridiculous, so tell me what you know about the Samsung Galaxy, the Kindle Fire, and their ilk.

5. Being in “countdown” mode isn’t exactly a new thing to me (I like to have a finish line in sight, whether it’s a vacation or other event), but it seems pretty momentous to have only four weeks left before I go on maternity leave, and only six weeks (SIX WEEKS WHAT) before my due date. I still can’t really wrap my head around the fact that they’re just going to LET us leave the hospital with a baby that we CREATED (magic, got it)…but I guess that’s what happens, isn’t it?

What are you up to this weekend?

#1: Eat at a Michelin-starred restaurant

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I was lucky enough during the holidays (barely a couple weeks after I’d originally created and posted it) to begin checking items off my 30 Before 30 list. The first one to be completed was, completely coincidentally, the first one, to eat at at a Michelin-starred restaurant. The criteria for this particular one was a bit arbitrary, even if the Michelin guides are pretty reputable: there are quite a few restaurants in the area that have one or more stars, and just because I had this one meal doesn’t mean I would turn down an invitation to Manresa or The French Laundry. (Of course not, I’m not hopelessly ridiculous.)

As a Christmas gift, my grandma opts to take us all out to a nice dinner rather than having to buy a sleigh-ful of gifts. This works out well for her, as it simplifies her Christmas errands, and it works out even better for us: shalom Christmas, shalom awesome meal! This year, we went to The Plumed Horse in Saratoga, which has one Michelin star. Because their holiday bookings were so, well…booked, we ended up at the chef’s table, which has a big window so that we could see into the kitchen as our (and others’) meal was being prepared. There was no Gordon Ramsay-style shouting, just a lot of precision and very shiny pots and pans. And the food! Oh, the food. We had a seven-course tasting menu (plus a couple add-ons), which consisted of…

Caviar and blinis

Lobster cannoli

Seared Yellowfin tuna with Ankimo Torchon (and a little more caviar)

Black pepper and Parmesan souffle with uni and Dungeness crab fondue

Seared foie gras

Kobe beef with shaved black truffles

(Slightly blurry, sorry) Pineapple panna cottaIce cream atop tapioca with foam

Bruleed bananas with sorbet

Raspberry sorbet and layered gelatin

We ended the meal, as you might imagine, completely stuffed and at least a little tipsy (not pictured are the cocktails, ice wine, and various reds and whites that complemented each course). It was fantastic to get through a first 30 Before 30 item, and all the sweeter to have enjoyed it with my family.

Sorry my arm looks like a football player's thigh here-- but I'm wearing the Mad Men dress!

30 Before 30

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This will probably end up being its own page (much like my Reading and Cooking pages…if you’re in a Reader and don’t usually click over, you should!), but I thought it would be appropriate to post my 30 Before 30 on my 28th birthday. Celebrations started last night, when my mom and I went to a local “Ladies Night Out,” which mostly consisted of dodging over-Chardonnay-ed white ladies as we browsed Christmas tchotchkes, but also included my first birthday present! Thanks, Mom. Also, thanks for giving birth to me. That can’t have been easy, from what I hear.

And now, without further ado (not “adieu,” as much of blog-land seems to believe)…

  1. Eat at a Michelin-starred restaurant

  2. Take a cooking/cake decorating class

  3. Take three weekend-trips to destinations I haven’t visited before

  4. Complete a 10k (or two non-back-to-back 5ks)

  5. Go horseback riding

  6. Hike to the top of Mt. Tallac

  7. Host a ladies brunch

  8. Send birthday, thank-you, and just-because cards to three friends each month

  9. Have a live Christmas tree in my house

  10. Attend a UCLA football home game at the Rose Bowl

  11. Have a Big Fat 30th Birthday Party

  12. Wear skirts/dresses every day for a week

  13. Fill up a paper journal

  14. Save $10,000

  15. Learn to apply liquid eyeliner well

  16. Watch every Best Picture winner

  17. Watch 12 live performances (musical, theater, etc.)

  18. Take a photo a day for a year

  19. Donate to a charitable organization each month for a year (money or time)

  20. Support local artists/businesses

  21. Adopt and train a dog

  22. Reread six books that I loved as a kid

  23. Teach someone to do something

  24. Learn to knit or crochet

  25. Create and send out photo holiday cards

  26. Eat only non-processed food for a week

  27. Weed my book collection

  28. Develop a signature dish

  29. Visit five local museums or historical sites

  30. Own three “investment pieces”