November 30, 2009

bikey/yogi stuff

Posted in body image, family, health, lovey, tales from the gym, weekend at 9:51 pm by Marise Phillips

i have been working out fairly consistently these past few weeks and the things I find myself doing the most are bicycling and yoga. partly because my gym is close to work, offers good (aka easy enough for me) classes at times I can handle — and partly because of the immersive, meditative quality of both activities. i spend so much time in my head that i’m in dire need of classes like these, that force me back into my body *and* leave me feeling relaxed afterwards. hooray!

so J & I went on a jaunt yesterday, drove the car (with our handy-dandy, new hitch-mounted bike rack) over to Canada Road out near the junction of highways 92 and 280, and tried a new route along the Crystal Springs reservoir. The weather was perfect: sparkly bright sun and water, warm, and the route wasn’t too tough, despite the hills being slightly more challenging than promised by reviewers (but then again, what idiot rides a single-speed out in nature? oh yeah, me!) i don’t think J loved it, but he was a good sport and took some cool photos.

note: i’m still not near the point where i like seeing photos of myself in short-sleeved shirts, but i hope to get there sometime in 2010. enjoying the ride nonetheless.


November 24, 2009

cooking! frenzy!

Posted in cooking, food politics, veganism, vegetarianism at 9:30 pm by Marise Phillips

While I may not completely reach my friend Foo’s special brand of Crazy this Thanksgiving, I am still getting into the spirit. After cupcakes and cookie decorating on Saturday followed by a homemade Thai curry dinner, then fantastique French onion soup on Sunday, tonight I made this black bean soup and it was the easiest, fastest, delishest thing. Thank you, StumbleUpon!!

I love my new book, Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World. Polished off the last mocha cupcake with coffee-flavored “butter”cream frosting tonight 🙂 And can’t wait to sample the next flavor that catches my eye!

Here’s what I’m making for Thanksgiving:

And please allow me to count the ways in which I’ll insert my subversive, hippie food agenda into the meal:

  1. I’m buying a free-range turkey (my mom will be cooking it) for ridiculous amounts of money. Otherwise I just don’t eat meat these days…
  2. The cornbread for the stuffing recipe above will be made using a homemade skillet cornbread recipe from Veganomicon, plus Earth Balance and egg replacer
  3. I’m making a small portion of the cornbread stuffing just for me, which will be flavored with Tofurky (italian sausage flavor) instead of bacon

All in all, I’m definitely looking forward to it 🙂

October 30, 2008

no on 8

Posted in uncategorized at 10:27 pm by Marise Phillips

**names have been changed to protect the innocent**

Hi Dean,

I noticed Melanie was supporting Prop 8. Since you and I are the ones with the past friendship, I didn’t feel right writing to her about this. But assuming that you agree with her (and my apologies if you do not) I thought maybe I could persuade you to spare a few more moments in reflection about this issue.

I wanted to share some relevant quotes from CA newspapers, which pretty well sum up my thoughts about Prop 8:

“Even people with reservations about same-sex marriage should consider the import of voting against a legal right.”

“Please note that Proposition 8 makes no mention of changes to the curriculum taught in classrooms or to the tax-exemption status of churches.”

“It is contradictory and hypocritical to stand as an American and talk about the foundation of equality, tolerance and fairness of the nation, and then to turn our backs on other citizens who are equally entitled.”

As you may know, Prop 8 is primarily funded by the LDS, which is headquartered in Utah. To my mind, non-Californians shouldn’t be able to come in and change our state’s constitution, right?

Most importantly, though, this is about real people. I am friends with 6 long-standing same-sex couples who got legally married recently, and who would lose fundamental rights of survivorship, medical visitation, etc. if Prop 8 were to be passed. One of these couples has been together for 18 years.

I know there’s probably not a huge chance of me being able to change your mind on this, but it is something so important to me and some of the people I care about, that I would be grateful if you were at least willing to think about it a bit more.

Take care,

October 15, 2008

sex, drugs & chuck klosterman

Posted in aging, divorce, movie review, nostalgia at 9:33 pm by Marise Phillips

i started reading his book — you know, that one with the cocoa puffs in it — and i felt too old for it in some ways, yet the perfect age for it in others. especially when he goes off on how all the women he’s known, born anytime between like 1965 and 1975 (I’m paraphrasing, but my year was in there,) are in love with john cusack.

i’m not, not with him specifically, but the more i thought about chuck’s argument, that pop culture has ruined real life, because it makes us mere humans believe we can attain perfect love, symbolized by that scene in say anything where lloyd dobler serenades ione skye with his boombox in the rain. the sad point that chuck is trying to make is that regular real life can never measure up to what we see in movies.

and i know what he means. i’ve been there, i still have to struggle to drag myself out of that, those dreams of true love and happily ever after, riding off into the sunset. and it’s at once horrifying and also okay.

tonight, i watched before sunset and despite all my assumptions that it would suck (eg it could never be as good as my faint happy memory of before sunrise, etc), that i was too much older than the characters to take anything they had to say seriously, etc etc… i was pleasantly surprised.

1, i’m only a couple years older than they are in real life (maybe 3-4 yrs older than their characters); and

2, their love lives — both when they met and in the interim — share certain themes with mine.

Case in point, Ethan/Jesse’s line:

I don’t want to be one of those people who are getting divorced at 52, falling down into tears, admitting that they never really loved their spouse, and they feel that their life has been suck– sucked up into… a… vacuum cleaner. You know, I want to have a great life. I want her to have a great life. She deserves that. All right? But we’re just living in a pretense of a marriage, responsibility, of all these — just these ideas of how people are supposed to live.

Oh. Oh yes, I know that one. And I gotta say, it sounded both weaselly and fucking true, in equal measures. It made me feel just that little bit more serene about where I’ve been and how I’ve gotten to today.

September 7, 2008

turned that frown upside down

Posted in self-improvement, travel at 10:35 pm by Marise Phillips

apologies for whininess of that last one.

i’m happy to report that i was able to create a pretty great last-minute vacation for myself last week. it  combined a lot of the elements i missed out on when i cancelled all my 40th birthday plans: solitude, beauty and health-centricity.

the plan was able to come together thanks to two important events:

  1. selling the condo in Telluride (and freeing up some much-needed discretionary income)
  2. giving notice at my job (and gaining a nice two-week break before the new one begins)

wanting to make use of all the camping gear I’d recently gathered together for macrobiotic camp, i reserved two nights at oceanfront campsites: the first at Manresa near Santa Cruz, and the second at Refugio near Santa Barbara.

on my way down to Santa Cruz, I stopped at the world-famous Mystery Spot and took the guided tour. nestled in the redwoods, the crazy gravity-defying wooden shack was fun to walk through and marvel at. after proudly plastering the bright yellow bumper sticker on the back of my car, i drove out to the campsite, set up my stuff, and walked down to the beach for some sunset photos.

the new camp stove worked great for a quick vegie stir-fry, which i enjoyed with a glass of white wine at my picnic table. i also appreciated the cute little kerosene lamp someone had left behind — a pearly white porcelain thing in the shape of a sea-urchin.

[…more soon…]

August 3, 2008

on the verge of the most uneventful vacation ever

Posted in self-improvement, vacation at 5:44 pm by Marise Phillips

i’m kind of bitter these days.

my recent 40th birthday was so-so overall: quite nice while i was at work (especially pleased to have gotten a big bouquet of flowers, and to have shared a nice bottle of wine at our small group lunch) but the rest of the day was rather pallid. chalk it up to the financial straits J & I are in while waiting for our investment property to sell.

which leads me to why my vacation this next week also lacks luster. i don’t have a single discretionary dime to my name to spend on travel or pampering; instead, I’m simply facing a few days to myself. so it makes me wonder whether i’ll waste time stewing in my own juices, sneak peeks at work email (the horror!), possibly tackle that DIY to-do list, or — wonder of wonders — come up with something fun/free at the last minute.

sadly, i’m not at all looking forward to either wedding i’ve got stacked up at the end of the week. weddings fucking suck when your relationship (and life in general) is in the doldrums.


finally went to the local flea market, and proud of myself for riding my bike there and back (9 miles round trip). i wanted to get some exercise, clearly, but was also hoping that it would deter me from buying anything big. actually, i must admit i’ve been doing quite well on the “not buying anything” front. and while i’m totally whining about having no money for a proper vacation, i have actually been able to experience some of the benefits of self-imposed asceticism. materialism = bad 😉

i rode over in a strong headwind under overcast skies. by the time i left, the sun had come out and my tire kept losing air pressure. so i ended up walking most of the way, getting a bit of a farmer’s burn in the process. so attractive for the upcoming wedding i’ll be wearing a sleeveless bridesmaid dress for. yeah!

but lately, these little scrapes i’ve gotten into (having to walk longer distances than usual, being stuck without a car here & there, etc) have been good exercises in putting up with shit, and realizing in the end that inconvenience is actually not so bad.

May 18, 2007

the one in which i am slightly hypocritical

Posted in restaurant review, self-flagellation at 7:03 pm by Marise Phillips

while on my nightly internet crawl, i stumbled on this article on LA’s pinkberry frozen yogurt obsession. as a proud “orange curtain escapee”, nothing raises my ire more quickly than the vapidity of my former homies.

as is my custom, i got all frothed up. i could instantly picture the impatient throngs of over-tanned, underfed MILFs double-parking between spinning and bikram classes for a nonfat treat. these are the same people who believe in the negative caloric effect of celery. and high colonics.

so anyway, here i am up north, feeling all superior cause i compost, and occasionally ride my bike to work. (never mind that it’s been over three weeks.) yet sadly, this morning, i had to forgo the bike once again and drive into work so as not to arrive later than 10am. (woops.)

halfway down Park Street, i questioned my habit of picking up a bagel or a croissant for breakfast along the way. declaring such a meal insufficiently nutritious for my on-again/off-again healthy-eating plan, i decided to stop in Oakland’s Chinatown for a banh mi at Cam Huong.

as usual, the streets were filled with cars, trucks and pedestrians going about their morning errands, so I couldn’t find any parking nearby. as luck would have it, however, someone had double-parked in front of the tiny storefront, so i rationalized this meant that i could double-park there too.

keeping my eye on the car while i ordered and waited for my sandwich, i began to notice traffic getting worse and worse along Webster Street. maybe the nearby closed-off streets for the farmer’s market, and that big Golden State Warriors sign i saw out in front of the convention center actually meant something.


eventually, a cop drove by, and i actually had the balls to assume, “nah, he won’t stop to ticket me. Oakland cops have far bigger fish to fry.” but before i knew it, the ladies in the restaurant were all a-flutter, along with several passing shoppers, everyone having noticed before i did that the cop did indeed stop to ticket me, and that i better get a hustle on, and now.

“but i haven’t paid yet! or gotten my sandwich,” i whined. i stomped out to my car, fuming, waiting for the officer to bring me my ticket, which was doubtless going to cost me plenty.

then a miracle happened. as i sat in my car, one of the ladies working the counter brought me my sandwich, and then change for the $10 bill i gave her. then the cop, a handsome, strapping young Vietnamese-American man, gave me my ticket — and literally apologized for it. he explained that area merchants had complained so much to city hall about the double-parking problem, the police had been ordered to crack down on offenders.

and the cost of the ticket? $30. that, plus the $2 for my delicious sandwich, was well worth the price of admission.

awwww. i ❤ oakland. i really, really do.

and i promise not to double-park again!!!

April 11, 2007

something new

Posted in shopping, writing at 1:26 pm by Marise Phillips

a shopping blog, by yours truly!

odes to small things

April 3, 2007

last day in amsterdam

Posted in internets, lovey, restaurant review, travel at 12:35 am by Marise Phillips

last day of vacation… and it’s grey and cold after 6 straight days of lovely sun. oh well!

we rented bikes and are thoroughly enjoying our increased range of travel around this thoroughly lovely city. today, we’d planned to go to the botanical gardens and the zoo, but not sure if that’s so practical now, with rain so likely.

last night, we went to a great-looking place in the Jordaan called “restaurant tante agaath” – but the service was deplorable. a party of four blowhards (two tiresome Cockney businessmen and their dull Dutch hosts) sat right next to us, getting louder and louder with each drink and cigarette.

even worse, our entrees took literally an hour to arrive (and we hadn’t ordered appetizers in order to save room for dessert!) needless to say, we didn’t stick around for that, and just got some pastries at a stall closer to the center of town.

we ended the night at “rokerij” coffeshop, probably my favorite establishment of this entire trip so far. great interior design, dark and tribal, comfy wall benches, cool music.

piccies so far are up on flickr.

March 18, 2007

sad but true

Posted in pets, travel, weekend at 9:22 am by Marise Phillips

I am a lousy blogger. I get so humbled by “the greats” – Crazy Aunt Purl, Dooce, Sundry, Kiki, etc that it just makes me clam up.

Also sad but true is the fact that after 6 weeks of doing really well on my nutrition plan, i started fucking up on it, leading to a snowball effect of disappointing proportions. fortunately, my acupuncturist was marvelously positive and encouraging. i was able to be 100% up front with her as a result.

So sigh. I got lots done yesterday on my own as J was at work til 9pm. I managed to run a good 75% of my pre-trip errands: getting travel-sized odds and ends, preparing the pets for our absence… I don’t mean preparing them verbally – hehe – but rather, making sure they had enough food, getting a new cage for Winkle the hamster, now that her babies are weaned (yeah – she had 2 babies about 3 weeks ago!! eep!).

I also finally came up with a plan for segrating the cats and the hamsters that doesn’t involve putting the cages on high shelves. While that works for me & J on an everyday basis, reaching up that high is just not safe for my mom. So I decided to keep the hammies in the living room, closing the pocket doors and blocking the other door with the heavy wooden screen. I just hope Sweet Boy doesn’t miss his perch too much! He’s got plenty of others…

I’ve also been fairly productive already today. I’ve taken a bold step and decided to touch up my highlights at home. Wish me luck 🙂

Later today, I’ve got a wedding to go to — some friends of J’s — and I have to go by myself because he has to work again today. BOO. But instead of feeling glum about it, I decided to make myself look as gorgeous as possible, and have as good a time as possible. It’s all about attitude and approach!! I say this because I’ve just realized that I actually wouldn’t have had a *better* time if I’d gone with J — it’s been ages since we’ve gone to a party and really enjoyed ourselves. I find that I’m actually more outgoing and friendly when I’m by myself (cause I have to be).

Interesting. More later – cause now I have to rinse.

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