Alternate #2

January 3rd, 2013

I got picked for jury duty. I know. What are the odds? Slim. But not so slim after 90% of the people find a way to be excused and then the Clerk reads off 24 names randomly picked from the remaining pool and number 21 is Alice Wheat.

All the jurors sat up in the jury gallery and the rest of the seats in the court room were filled with the remaining civilians who sat like a bored and restless audience for the remainder of the day as reserves in case one of us was dismissed. Then the lady judge asked each juror to recite the following information: your name, neighborhood, martial status, occupation, age and occupation of children, number of other adults in household and their occupation, and any previous jury experience. This was my favorite part because if you took 24 random resident from the City of San Francisco and and sat them in rows and made them recite their basic facts, this was it! I DREAM about doing this on Caltrain. I want everone in my Caltrain car to stand up and say their name, age, occupation, and whether they own or rent because I think it’s interesting and also I’m nosy and want to know where I fall in the Caltrain gene pool.

“My name is Alexandra Sweet and I live in Mission Bay and I am a Transportation Planner and I am single but great news there is another adult in my household and the adult is a man and he is a Postdoctoral Scholar in Biophysics (wink) and I have no previous jury experience!”

There were professors and lawyers and Bloomberg journalists and an author who writes murder-mystery novels and also people who are unemployed. I decided who my favorite people were and hoped that we would all be picked to be on the jury and that we could then be best friends. Especially the two women sitting to my left, a lady in “finance”  who had a swanky purse and the Bloomberg journalist who had great hair.

I can’t talk about the case because it’s against the law but I can say that it includes an upsetting episode. And the judge asked if anyone had a relative or close friend who had experienced a similar type of upsetting epsiode. And just like that each juror recited, rather bluntly, their experience. It was sad and it was terrible and I was in the front row and stared straight ahead while the jurors behind me recounted these terrible experiences and the audience of reserved jury citizens watched on in silence. What I really wanted to do was turn around and jump over the seats and give the jurors a hug but this is not allowed I think. The mood was somber and by the end it was clear that some jurors would be dismissed.

Then the two attorneys stood up and asked us to recite our favorite TV show and hobbies which was an odd turn in the atmosphere, but they said it would help them to get to know us better. I panicked because Dr. Adam and I just got a TV two months ago and we only have 5 and a half channels and one of them is KPop which is non-stop Korean pop music videos.  I considered copying someone’s else’s answer but I had taken an oath and the jewish guilty weighed heavy on TV-less heart. Come to think of it right now if asked again I would say with full pride that my favorite television show is House Hunters or House Hunters International which I try to watch at the gym every time I go. But instead I said this:

“Well I just got a TV so I haven’t had time to pick a favorite TV show but mostly I just watch what’s on PBS and most recently it was a documentary about the Hoover Dam so that was good. Also I like to bike, play the piano, and put my feelings on the internet I am also on a championship soccer team in a co-ed league and our name is The Frogs.”

Strange enough, this was  similar to my profile on OKCrouton OKCupid where I was trying to woo other off-the-grid athletic NPR snobs. (PS it worked)  This also apparently worked on the attorneys because 2 hours later, 8 jurors were dismissed, 12 were chosen, and I was selected as Alternative #2.

Alternative #1 winked at me, which I know was just friendly because in his basic fact statement he said he has a domestic partner who is also a he, and afterward I introduced myself and he shrugged as if to say, Oh well here we are the two of us alternates together! And now we’re going to be friends.

So, there you have it. Starts Monday. Wish me luck.


November 28th, 2012

This feels like a movie. Like if a team of engineers who don’t play sports got together to play sports and called themselves something intimidating like The Frogs and didn’t win very often except for when the other team doesn’t show up and we win when they forfeit and we work really moderately hard and make the first round of the playoffs from all the forfeits. And then at the playoffs we have to play down a player on the field because some of our teammates don’t show up and we shrug and say let’s just give it our best shot and our best shot turns out to actually be better than the other team and we win the first round and then play the championship game an hour later against the top ranked team and then we tie and have to shoot penalty kicks for half an hour in the dark after the city turns off the lights at the field until at 10:30pm we score the winning penalty kick and all just clapping and yelling and giving each other awkward engineer work-appropriate high fives and hugs. It’s like that kind of a movie. And then we get a teeny tiny frog trophy.

No bigs, but our company soccer team, the Fehr & Peers Frogs, won the playoff championships. #ribbit

And my inverted skunk hair color striping makes me look like I have a mohawk. Great work Alice.

This is my home

November 12th, 2012

The last time I talked to my head doctor he told me it takes two years before a new city starts to feel like home. Even then it can take some getting used to. Sometimes, he said, the best thing to do is to leave for vacation and then come back. Make coming back to San Francisco a habit, like putting your keys in the same place everyday. Or, he said,  invite an out of town guest for the weekend and show them around to all the places you know and enjoy. Dr. Adam has recently tried verbal reinforcement. Whenever we go to the East Bay or Marin he will point to the San Francisco skyline and say, That is our home!  I nod because it’s a good reminder. Sometimes I feel like my home is actually on the Caltrain and all of my neighbors are train conductors.  But really, I think I’m doing an ok good job of putting down roots. Slowly, but surely.

So it made sense on Saturday when we had some free time to spend it at the Contemporary Jewish Museum because Dr. Adam likes museums and me and I am a contemporary Jew. The first floor exhibit was about east coast Jews who had moved to San Francisco and tried to find other Jews but didn’t know where to look. It’s true.  There isn’t the same history and culture here as you’ll find in Chicago or other east coast cities. But there are a lot of young people who are culturally Jewish and do Jewish things like film festivals and brisket around the city. I took note. Maybe I should learn how to make brisket. Then we walked around and read about all the San Francisco Jews like Levi Strauss and Adolph Sutro and I asked for a map of where to buy the most delicious lox and bagels in San Francisco but they didn’t have one, which is probably why all the east coast Jews had trouble finding each other. Instead they had a lot of bedazzled Menorahs for sale in the shapes of trees, alligators, buses, shoes, and houses. I kind of wanted a bedazzled alligator menorah for our apartment because it is funny but also Jewish, but I didn’t ask Adam if we could buy a bedazzled alligator Menorah because I knew he would say no. And that’s because it’s kind of gaudy and very impractical but also because he just bought us a plug-in electric menorah to put in our dorm-room window. It’s plastic, and you plug it in, and then you screw in the light bulb for each night. And even though it’s not bedazzled or in the shape of a swamp creature or even kosher,  I think it’s a pretty good start.

Here I am at the Contemporary Jewish Museum, having a great time in my red pants.

Adam asked if I get a membership discount. I said yes but only half.

Other people know I’m 30

October 19th, 2012

I’ve been trying to consolidate my doctor’s appointments when I’m in San Francisco so I can limit my work from home days which always always turn into eat at home days which is bad for my productivity and also my figure. I went for my doctor check in today and my nurse practitioner was a very nice woman who kept apologizing for each part of the awkward routine while I tried to make small talk about sidewalks and bike lanes. It was a terrible bonding experience but nice to get away from the office for an hour. Then suddenly, unprompted, and quite matter of factly, she said Well if you ever want to get pregnant I’d recommend starting your prenatal diet now with 400 mcg of folic acid, 1000IU of vitamin D, and 1,000mcg of B-12. Omg, I thought, is it my gray hair?  She thinks I’m 40. I wanted to tell her that I really just became an adult this year after getting a dishwasher, expensive placements, and free cable television and that I’m still learning to not each too much chocolate after dinner and to put myself to bed on time but instead I nodded and said, Guess it’s good to plan ahead hahaha and she did not laugh so I stopped laughing and instead stared at the inspirational stepping-stone-over-a-river poster on the wall that told me to quit smoking.

I  added the vitamins to the Amazon shopping list which also happens to include this little number because I can’t fit enough groceries in my front basket. This is not a joke. 2 birds? just kidding. Does Dr. Adam even read this?

InStep Take 2 Double BicycleTrailer

30 in Chicago

October 17th, 2012

So far 30 has been great. Dr. Adam and I went back to Chicago last weekend where Pa Sweet took us out to dinner at his favorite restaurant. Everybody in the restaurant new Pa Sweet and I think he is the new restaurant mayor which was great news because they gave us a complimentary fava bean side dish which had the most delicious fava beans I have ever fava-ed I think because they were braised in butter. Then we drank 5 bottles of wine. It was a great success. Pa Sweet and Dr. Adam spent most of the time explaining science and history facts to me which I pretended to understand but mostly I did not. Then we went with Ma Sweet to her cottage in Sweechigan where we chopped wood and sat around in birthday crowns and drank spiced cider. She is also building a pool in the backyard so we stood around and looked at the hole in the ground.  It was very rustic. Now it is 7:10am and I am back in California and I am on a train going to a mobile home park in Palo Alto where I will be observing nearby intersections in preparation for the mobile home park to be redeveloped into a mid-rise apartment complex. Isn’t this exciting? Me neither. Ok here are photos from Chica-go-go.

Dinner at Vie with Pa Sweet

Thurdeeth Berthday

Wood chopped


More here.


October 1st, 2012

Um. My coworkers printed a poster of this and put it on my office wall. I think I’m going to leave it up for our company’s Open House on Thursday night. If anything, I should put this image on a button and wear it on my commute. It’ll give me Caltrain cred.



September 27th, 2012

Here I am on the Caltraincycle and it is September 27th and in a few days it will be October 1 and I will be 30. When someone asks how old I’m turning this year I feel like I need to explain myself because when I say 30 they look at me like my cat died or I left the oven on or I didn’t do that well on my GREs (fact, but  how do they know??). Adam has been in Scotland since Saturday drinking scotch and drunk-texting me with a Scottish accent (“Talk to yeh temorreh!”) and now he’s in Munich at Oktoberfest. And I track him on my Find my (boy)Friend(s) app just in case. See?


So I’ve been sitting on the couch in my new Lululemon wardrobe watching cooking (I just wrote cookie by accident) shows and not doing the dishes for the past week. Is this what it means to be an adult? It feels so anticlimactic to end my 20’s finishing off a tub of Trader Joe’s oatmeal chocolate chip cookies (better than regular chocolate chip trust), and buying discount cookware on the internet. The other night I rode the train home with my 25-yr old coworker and in the middle of her telling me about the details of the wedding dress she bought two weeks ago I said, I’m turning 30 next week. I know, she said. Ok, I said. And that was it.

I don’t know what the fear is about turning 30. Maybe the idea of leaving your 20’s is scary for some people who feel like they didn’t do enough streaking stupid things in their twenties, or who aren’t where they’d hope to be at 30 (a billionaire with a ring on it?). I don’t know. I feel like I’ve come a long way since the beginning of my quarter life crisis ( first post?). And now here I am, with a job and an apartment and a live-in doctor gentleman friend and three bikes and a blog. Is this what being a grownup is?  Feels like a pretty good time. And then my office gave me a street sign:

A little office decorating.

Maybe on Monday I’ll ask the Caltrain conductors to make a special announcement: Choo-choo! Next stop 30!

Here are some past birthday photos.

Birthday Cupcake


Birthday Dinner

Birthday Dinner

October 1, 2010

The end.

I’m a grownup now.

September 18th, 2012

Yesterday Dr. Adam and I went to Blood Bath and Beyond to buy a vegetable brush. This is something I never thought I would need but now that I live in California and we signed up for a CSA and receive a weekly delivery of local fresh dirty fruits and vegetables, I need a vegetable brush to scrub them. So we went to the Blood Bath and Beyond and we bought a vegetable brush. Then Adam said, I think we’re running low on forks. So we went upstairs and picked out a new set of flatware and bought three sets and then a new bamboo flatware organizer for our flatware drawer and then some more shampoo (since we’re already here…) and a casserole dish because one time we tried to make some potatoes and the recipe told us to cover the potatoes in a casserole dish and we were like can we use a potato dish? And the recipe book was like, No. Dr. Adam doesn’t like buying new things because all he can see if repacking them when we have to move next summer so now I am hiding everything I buy on the internet under my desk at work. I don’t think he reads HoBaB so we’re safe.

Here’s a photo of me when I was 2-ish riding a bike.
Alice Wheat's first bike.


September 10th, 2012

I am at the San Francisco airplane station on my way to the Long Beach of California for the Pro Walk/Pro Bike Conference. I am wearing my bizzy casual outfit so people know I am a professional and going to a conference and this helps with my confidence intervals. I keep looking for other people taking my flight going to the I’m-into-biking-and-walking conference but so far everyone else is in jeans. Maybe I am diong it wrong.

This past weekend Dr. Adam and I went to Kansas for an Indian wedding. It was held on the groom’s family farm where there were soybeans and wheat but zero animals. That was fine with me. I spent the majority of the first hour aerating the lawn with my Cole Haan heels which kind of felt like farming. Here is a photo of the walk to the ceremony.

Will and Priya's Big Day

Here is the ceremony.

Will and Priya's Big Day

Here is the farm.

Will and Priya's Big Day

And here is Adam trying to fill the water jug from the well.

Will and Priya's Big Day

Then we went to the reception and the deejay kicked the party off by playing the “Thong” song and “Baby Got Back” and then all the grandparents quickly left. We danced.

Then Sunday was Dr. Adam’s 30th birthday and we spent the rest of the day at the Kansas City Art Museum. We decided Kansas City is actually an a-ok place and that we would go back and stay longer at the museum and also tell the city to put in more bike lanes and crosswalks.

Will and Priya's Big Day

The end.


September 7th, 2012

Here I am. Two weeks ago I was at Stillwater Cover Ranch why? Because Lydia got married! I know. It was a joyous occasion. Lydia looked like a million dollar bills. The wedding was held at a ranch and there were sheep and chickens and peacocks. Here is a photo of me and Dr. Adam from the wedding.

Ze Sciambex

This weekend Dr. Adam and I are going to Kansas to the final (7th) wedding of the summer. It is an Indian wedding and I am bringing back this little number for the occasion. This photo is from 2009 (the dark ages?). Adam is wearing a black suit. We’ll look great.


Then after the Indian Kansas wedding I am flying to Long Beach, CA for the Pro Walk/Pro Bike Conference. It’s for people who are into walking and biking which surprisingly isn’t everybody on earth but only a select few who can afford to pay the billion dollar registration fees. I am going to walk around and make bike friendships. I thought maybe JSK might be there but I think instead she is sending her walking and biking minions.

Then after that Dr. Adam is giong to Scotland and then Munich for a buddymoon with his recently married friends. I am staying home to tend to the laundry and dishes and then it’s October 1 which is when I leave the decade of the QLC and enter the decade of the 30s. That is code for it’s my birthday and I’m turning 30. It sneaks up on me/you (and everyone we know). I think I will maybe spend my birthday reading HoBaB from start to finish and then consider starting version HoBaB 2.0, House of Sweet and Swag. Perfect?