I race by myself



When I walk, I don’t just walk…I walk with gusto.  I don’t know what it is in my little body, but I have a hard time strolling.  I know I would see more if I slowed down a little, but I simply have a hard time doing so.  Emily did a fantastic job sprinting to work with me when she lived around the corner…although in hindsight I feel bad that I put her through the speed walking scenario.  We probably looked ridiculous walking so fast through the streets of Berkeley. 

One thing I do enjoy about my fast paced jaunts: racing others when they have no idea we are racing.  The race begins as crowds collect on a corner and we all wait for the walking man to appear (aka the gun starting our race).  The first to the other side is the winner.  Normally, I win because everyone else is strolling, but sometimes I am lucky enough to find some good competition.  I clearly remember one particular race event:  I was walking home and a semi-old man was on a creaky bike next to me, slowly making his way up the hill.  It was perfectly quiet outside except for his creaky bike and my brain saying, “Go Assi! Go Assi!” Unfortunately, once the hill leveled off, he was able to accelerate more than my big little feet could go so he ended up winning the race to the end of the block.   I sometimes race with my bike, but it normally is me against the cars next to me when we are stopped at a stop sign (again, the first to get to the other side of the street wins).  These are particularly good challenges and I don’t always win. I prefer race against other bikers…most Berkeley-ites have stronger faster bikes than mine, so I prefer to go at my own pace.  

Go Assi, Go Assi!

golden bubbly all over the place



Question:  Are 3 liter bottles of wine currently a trendy thing, or now that I have purchased one am I suddenly attracted to the big kahunas?  I bought the above bottle as my brother’s wedding gift (along with 2 wine glasses which are designed to fit an entire bottle of wine per glass….totally my brother). Next to the 3 liter bottle is a magnum bottle of Dom Perignon.  Next to the Dom Perignon is the forever cheap favorite Charles Shaw.  The Dom Perignon bottle serves as a memory which leads me to tell a great story:

It was at the holiday party 2005, atop the Starlight Room in San Francisco.  It was a beautiful clear night with 180 degree views of the city.  People came and went way too quickly for our offices to go through the tab that we had at the bar.  So, what do you do when you have over a $1500 non refundable tab and only a dozen or so people around?  Have a swanky champagne ordering contest of course!  The table across from us ordered a $200 bottle of champagne…silly friends.  We took their $200 bottle and trumped them with a $450 bottle of Cristal.  Our young waitress sashayed to our table in her extravagant evening gown and said we could order that bottle as long as she could have a sip (she had never had Cristal herself).  Twenty minutes later she returned to report that their cellar was out of Cristal.  Ok, then…back to the drink list and on to a more expensive $500 Magnum bottle of Dom Perignon (which also meant back to the cellar for another 20 minutes).  At this point our competition table was nearing the end of their bottle, so the thrill of outdoing their measly little bottle was dying.  While waiting for our bottle of Dom to chill (another 20 minutes) we calculated how much more we “needed” to spend which then required ordering expensive aged glasses of grappa, port, cognac, etc.  Then came time for the Dom.  Our pretty little waitress began to pop the cork and while doing so she started to tell a story, but before we knew it mass chaos broke out.  The cork popped and hit a guy standing behind the waitress in the eye.  Champagne sprayed everywhere (most of which also covered the guys behind the waitress).  The magnum bottle was on the floor…spilling expensive champagne everywhere.  We ended up with an inch left of the bubbly and expensive gold liquid.  The poor waitress was devastated and ran off crying while her manager rounded the corner with fire in his eyes.  He offered us two smaller, younger, and probably cheaper bottles of Dom Perignon to enjoy instead (which we again had to chill for another 20 minutes) and we pleaded for him not to fire the pretty young waitress.  The competition table was long gone.  We sipped the Dom Perignon and relived the night of absolute chaos and frivolousness.  The one thing I learned out of the entire event: Dom Perignon doesn’t taste any better than a few cheap bottles of champagne from Costo.


a painter of the dogs



I love this dog. 

I want a dog.

If I could have a dog I might name him George.

I wouldn’t dress my dog in clothes (unless it was Halloween)

But I would bake biscuits for my dog

Dogs are the one of the top two companions in the world

I like painting dogs (on a canvas, not on the dog)

I don’t mind smelling like a dog (after having been around one)

I like it when dogs lean on people

I wish I could have a dog



big plant little plant


big plant little plant

My favorite word of the week: credenza.  Yesterday someone told an office mate to put some files in the credenza.  The office mate said, sure!  Then he looked at me and said somewhat quietly, “Ali, what or where is the credenza?”  I look at him and just started laughing because I had no idea and no one in our office knew what a credenza was.  As always, this brings back childhood memories…My grandmother calls a couch a davenport.  For many years I thought a davenport was a porch.  So, when she would invite me to go sit with her on the davenport I would always run to the back porch.  It took many years and lots of moments sitting on the porch by myself to realize what a davenport really was.  Silly little Assi.


While walking around in downtown Berkeley, I have seen the following items more often than not:

1.) Pieces of hair extensions

2.) Puddles of water that are not puddles of water.

3.) Mass amounts of spit

3.) Chicken wing bones. Lots and lots of partially eaten chicken wing bones.

harmonicas, nests, and knee pain

2006.8.19.apartment 036.jpg
2006.8.19.apartment 045.jpg
I saw a great thing last night: a man going to town on his harmonica while stopped at a stop sign.  Although ukuleles, steel drums, banjos, and bagpipes might be a few of my current favorite musical instruments, harmonicas also have a special place in my heart. I wish more people would rock out on harmonicas. 


Although somewhat voyeuristic…I absolutely love walking at night because I get to see what people are doing in their brightly lit homes.  With apartments piled on top of one another in the bay area…I have such a huge array of windows to look into!  Just to be clear, I don’t sneak up to a place and stalkingly watch what the inhabitants are doing…no, no. I simply like meandering through the streets and (from a good distance) take a quick glance.  Some people eat together (at dinner tables!), one gal sits at her computer in the corner window of her apartment, a student or two practice their violin, others watch TV.  I love to see how people “make their nests”…some are organized, some are cluttered.  Some are dark, some are light.  Some look cozy and inviting, others are formal and elegant or simple and plain.  Maybe that is what I like house hunting shows or apartment hunting…I like to see how others live. 


Just a moment ago I had one of those laughs where you are not sure if you are still laughing, or if your laugh has turned into a cry and you now can’ t control your emotions.  I was explaining at work the difficulties that I have with my brain: while in basketball practice my coach was holding a ball and he asked me to hit it.  Rather than slap the ball with my little white hand, I physically ran into the coach (thinking he meant hit him and the ball).  Or how’s about when my knee doctor asked me where my knee hurt and my response was “In the kitchen.”  Yes, things are so hard to understand. 

“no talking zone”



I have set a new goal!  On my 2.5 miles to work I came across a revelation: no one says “Good Morning!” anymore (at least people in the bay area do not…they might in Granby, Colorado). I know it is old school to do so, but it really gets the day going in a positive day when people make the effort to acknowledge one another.  As I walked in my own little Assi world/coma, I was awakened by a man leaving his house who greeted me with a friendly “Good Morning!”  I was totally caught off guard and almost forgot how to respond.  Right then I decided that for the rest of my walk I was going to see how many other morning greetings I might get.  Unfortunately, my experiment proved disappointing.  I tried to get eye contact and flashed a simple smile to all the people I passed (to passively initiate a friendly interaction), but I only got two out of the 98729873 passersby to respond (one being the guy who started the whole thing, and the other being a homeless man who loves to repeatedly tell Cooper that he can turn left at the red light on the one way street).  Everyone else had glazed over eyes, were plugged into their ipods, or were chatting away on their cell phones.  At least I won the award of getting to start my day with two really good “Good Mornings!”

A similar situation always happens on Bart…and is most apparent at the airport before getting on Bart.  I know airports can be awkward and I am the first to pretend to be reading a book on a plane when I have to sit next to someone I don’t know, but when “outsiders” enter the bay area bubble, I notice that many have a hard time adjusting to the “no talking” rule.  When coming back from Colorado, I saw a woman who was trying to figure out the Bart machines.  I noticed that she was having issues, but no one was breaking out of their quiet comas to help her.  So, I did.  Of course she was super appreciative and I think relieved to have someone guide her through the Bart process, but for some reason having a friendly person to talk to for a second rather than sealing my lips felt so good!  Even when a crazy woman was cursing up a storm in our Bart car, everyone stayed quiet and wouldn’t allow themselves to get eye contact with one another.  After the silly scenario ended, a few of us commented on the events and again, I felt weird breaking out of the “no talking zone,” but I also felt liberated and gosh darn fantastic having the brief moments of connection and communication with strangers.  It is sad that our little city forces people to shut themselves off so much.  I suppose I should do what I can myself to flip the switch and wake people up a little (but in a not so annoying or intruding way…tactful of course).

the voice of a mouse

I have two problems:

1.) I think I need a voice change.  Last night my office went out for drinks at a fairly loud bar.  Actually, it was a Monday night so it was a pretty tame evening. But even so, no one can hear me when I talk in loud crowds.  I know people have a hard time hearing in nearly any noisy environment, but for some reason my voice is always particularly hard to hear.  Perhaps I produce the sort of sound that only dogs can hear (like those silent whistles).  Such a situation seems to cut me off a bit in social environments.  It is kind of like when people age and can’t hear…they either talk too much and dominate the conversation, or don’t talk at all because they can’t hear what the rest of the party is discussing.   In my case, I turn into a mute.  Maybe I should take voice lessons from actor extraordinaire, Jeff Meanza.

2.) It is so hard to be a girl at times.  I am currently lusting over a pair of boots which I do not need at all and probably would rarely wear.  I really love these but they are wayyyyyyyyyyyyyy too expensive.  I also kind of like these.

kumquats and sassafras

Oh man, it is so hard to live a creative life when you sit behind a computer for 987987298375293 hours out of your day, then come home without enough time (or energy) to get invested in something artsy.  It is way too common for me to get overly excited about a project that I will start it on a weekend…but when my work week starts up again I get down right distracted and all my creative enthusiasm then dwindles into a sorry state. I clean up my mess and put my half started project away.  Case in point, the following onesie screen prints:

BaconA.JPG KumquatA.JPG
I had an absolute heyday creating images to screen print on little baby clothes, but once my job took over…all the screen printing products went away into a crate in the far corners of our closet under piles of crap.  Perhaps I need to learn how to balance my life a bit better.  This journal is great because it forces my little brain to start thinking in a bit more of a creative “appreciate the joys of everyday” sort of way, but I think I need to lock myself in a studio for approximately 2-3 weeks to figure things out.  I might go insane, but maybe it would be a good sort of insanity…I don’t know.

Portuguese water dog I am


And old, but favorite site of all time (courtesy of my big bro). If you are ever bored and want to find out what sort of dog you might be in the next life….check this link out.  Last time I did it I was a Portuguese water dog.


My weekend was sweet and simple…
Cooper assisted another photographer at a wedding on Saturday so I did my good ‘ol wholesome Assi things (ate Assi foods, watched girlie Assi movies, started reading a book on how to invest, etc).  I realized during my time to myself that I need to make more goals in life.  If anyone has a suggestion or a list of your own, I might need it for inspiration.  So far, my list includes (in no particular order): skydiving.

Yup, I need some goal making inspiration.  HELP!! (I am serious).

Sunday we went to the Thai Temple…a cultish thing to do in Berkeley on Sundays.  The people who go to the brunch are very Berkeley-esque and the community aspect of the outdoor seating forces all the interesting characters to mix together in some odd way.  Love it.

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