Happy 40th Birthday to Me

I turned 40 on June 18. Happy birthday to me.

Most of my friends know, I love throwing parties. Why the hell not? We are on this earth to celebrate! Whether it’s the Supreme Court legalizing gay marriage, Pride Weekend, a major birthday, a non-birthday, or even a death, lives should be celebrated.

I am writing this post with a pained heart because I found out today that a friend’s 9-year-old son passed away. I feel honored and blessed to have met Tyler. He was the happiest, sweetest boy. There is both sadness and profound joy that he graced us with his captivating presence.

I almost cancelled my birthday party because of some majorly huge stressors in my life. I’ll get to all of that in another post, but Dean convinced me otherwise. I celebrated at Ampersand flower shop in San Francisco with 30 friends from all walks of life: high school, college, work, Burning Man. Whether you were at my birthday or not, family and friends mean a lot to me. This is what life is all about, enjoying each moment, savoring our relationships. Some of my friends brought tears to my eyes, oh the stories they were telling about what our connection was or what memory stood out about me. I certainly felt special. Best birthday ever.

Take Time to Read the Classics

When was the last time you read a classic? A real classic novel.

I recently finished Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov and it blew me away. I couldn’t believe I’d never read it before. It’s truly a masterpiece. It was never something I was interested in reading, thinking it was pornography in prose. It’s not. It’s very smart and a study in psychology because the book kinda plays a head-trip on you. Even though you know the narrator isn’t someone to be trusted, you start to feel sorry for him, and in the end start rooting for him. Very trippy.

Full disclosure: I did not read it. It was read to me by Jeremy Irons who did the most impressive reading I have ever listened to ever. Best audiobook of all time.

“The Fault in Our Stars.” “Gone Girl.” “The Help.” We’ve all read these books and they’re ok, maybe good, but they’re not exceptional. So why do we limit ourselves to what everyone else is reading? I’m not propositioning that everything we read must be Shakespeare or Ayn Rand or Faulkner, but every once in a while…can we try? Classic literature deserves our time and these books are great for a reason.

I urge you to suggest a classic for your next book club choice and let me know how it goes. Here’s a good site for reference.

What was the last classic novel that you read?

What was the last book that you read?

How does your book club choose what to read?

Where to Buy Your Apple Products

I recently had to buy a new laptop and I went to my trusty site for purchasing Apple products: B&H.

I bought a brand new MacBook Air 13.3 inches for $819. Total. No sales tax. No shipping fee.

Granted it’s a 2014 model, you still can’t find a better price for a brand new MacBook whether it’s on Amazon or Craigslist. I even get a partnership discount with Apple through my employer and that doesn’t even come close to B&H’s prices.

B&H started in 1973 with a retail photo shop in Manhattan and now they run a pretty amazing online business as well. Love their site.

They don’t sell iPhones, but they’re an authorized reseller of most other Apple products: Mac desktops, MacBooks, iPads, iPods, Apple TV and other Apple accessories.

Where do you buy your Apple goods?

Did you know that Apple earns more money than any other company in the USA? Almost $40 billion in net income in 2014. And the stock finished the year up 40%? In one year! 40%!!! Those are mind-boggling figures.

Say No to College: The Future of Education

This article appeared recently in The Atlantic.

The Economy Is Still Terrible for Young People: The era of the overeducated barista is here to stay. College graduates are still spending more and more years (and money) to get worse and worse entry-level jobs.

The article goes on to discuss how college grads, based on the data, are underemployed, either working multiple part-time jobs or finding jobs that don’t require a college degree. Gasp! I would shit a brick if I had loan repayments looming and the only career available was beneath my education level.

I continue to harp on this topic because despite the data, everyone still seems to want to follow the status quo. Send Johnny to college. Most people raise their eyebrows when I say defiantly that I will not pay for my son to go to college. He will have to find and fund his own way–like these kids. Very young adults (driven and ambitious) are making their way to San Francisco and Silicon Valley and working for tech–where youth is a badge of honor. It’s pretty awesome.

Some of these kids are Thiel Fellows, brainiacs awarded a no-strings-attached grant of $100,000 to forego college, hone their craft, and solve real-world problems. Peter Thiel, who established the fellowship, founded PayPal and is one of the most respected investors in the Valley. I think it says a lot that despite doing his undergrad and getting a law degree from Stanford, Thiel believes that our youth’s educational interests are best served outside of the classroom!

Still with me?

When I read about Make School, I almost burst into song. A tech-focused college alternative, Make School is (drum roll please) free! How is that possible? The program takes a cut of your internship and first two years wages after graduating. That means if you don’t get an internship or you end up working at Starbucks, they make nothing. This, people, is the future of education. No false promises from glossy campus brochures. It’s all about fucking results. Can I get an AMEN?!

I am Bridge and Tunnel

Oh shit, we are moving to the burbs. Can someone please throw me a handkerchief so I can go cry my fucking eyes out?

Catherine’s Residential Timeline

1975-1993 Alameda: my formative years

1993-1997 Berkeley: i-barely-left-the-library years

1997-1999 Emeryville: my first full-time job years

1999-2002 San Francisco: the dot.com boom and booze cruise years

2002-2004 Chicago: i-barely-went-to-class years

2004-2015 San Francisco: my single, engaged, married, had a baby years

2015-20XX Alameda: i-came-fullcircle-and-moved-back-to-my-hometown years

From the above timeline, you can see that I spent the past 15 years in a metropolitan city. I am a city girl at heart, but it came down to doing what was best for our family, which is to be closer to my parents so that they can care for Franco. It is truly bittersweet as we love San Francisco. Maybe one day, hopefully soon, we will return to live in the city.

We have purchased this Victorian in my hometown of Alameda, an island in the San Francisco Bay.

I was surprised to find out there is a ferry that can shuttle me from the Alameda main terminal to the San Francisco ferry building in 20 minutes. I didn’t know this until after we bought the home. Yay for my commute!

We will be living on the top floor and will be working to add a kitchen to the bottom unit so that we can rent that out. We are opting to keep our property in San Francisco and rent both units. We are officially San Francisco Bay Area real estate developers and landlords. Ha!

Guess what just came to Alameda? My favorite fast-food joint.