Monday, January 31, 2005

The Post I Shoulda Posted Yesterday

I am such an idiot.

The day can only get better when, while getting ready to shower, I notice a pain at my rib cage. It doesn't ache on its own, but when I touch the area, it's tender, as if I had been punched during the night. I'm severely nearsighted, so I don't detect a bruise when I look in the mirror. But when M joins me (we really have to get the second bathroom in working order), he points to my midsection.

"What's that?" he says.

"I don't know. You tell me."

"That's a tick."

"Get it!"

So he pulls the quarter-inch devil out with tweezers, even the head, but my ribs are still hurting hours later, and the wound is, well, gross. (What will the gals at the gym think tomorrow? Better bring extra bandaids.)

Apres shower, apres tick (which I send down the shower drain--usually Rex nibbles on them in order to illustrate the irony of the food chain), I put the space heater on the bathroom counter to defog the mirror, a ritual I've had to implement on the chilliest mornings recently in order to apply my minimal makeup. I leave, dress, return, and stand agape at the mirror.

"What's that?" I say.

"I don't know. You tell me," M says from behind the shower curtain.

"Is that a crack?" There's a twelve inch crack in the mirror, snaking prismatically from the bottom support.

M pokes his head out. "Yep."

"Is that from the heater?" I've been doing this for weeks. Why today? I am an idiot.

"Yep," M confirms. "You know. Hot and cold." He ducks back into the cocoon of the shower.

My day can only get better, and it does.


Houston, We Have a House Problem: So, with the deck, French drain, patio, walkway, and new bathroom projects in 2004, I resolved that there would be no other home renovation expenditures made recently, what with the wedding and all. But an issue has arisen.

When we bought the house nearly five (can it be that long?) years ago, we cringed at the kitchen linoleum, which must have been original to the house. Burns, tears, scrapes incurred apparently from moving large appliances, and general pattern hideousness have been our constant companion. We talk about new floors, but have, as aforementioned, resolved to live with the hideous linoleum for a while longer.

However, we came into a cheap deal for a portable dishwasher two years ago, an appliance I cherish almost equally to the clothes washer. Apparently, the heat from running the tap water through the dishwasher has caused the kitchen flooring under it to lift from its moorings in a bubble and tear, reminding me vaguely of the Jiffy Pop foil dome. Only this is not pretty, nor does it hold the promise of a hot and tasty treat. Now that I've had time to, ahem, reflect, it reminds me too of the crack in the bathroom mirror. I don't want to live with it much longer, but don't feel that I have much of a choice.


Weekend in Review

Date Night on Friday: Why do I love splattering alien zombies so much? M took me out to dinner to a Mexican place where we hadn't been before (decent quality, enormous portions, a family next to us that made us so grateful to not have children of our own), and then we went to the local "family fun center"--mini golf, batting cages, and a video game arcade. Pinball, skeeball, and air hockey (our early dating activity) out of the way, I focused on blowing away radiated zombies, gamely ignoring the kids thirty years my junior on either side. I could've done it for hours, but it's expensive. Though we didn't quite finish off a twenty--the teen behind the counter patiently explained that you can't exchange tokens back for cash, but "you can save them for next time" he helpfully pointed out.

The Tyranny of Salt on Saturday: a friend from the City and I met for lunch and window shopping in Mill Valley. I had never been there before, which seemed odd to me. In addition to a cousin's wife, this friend is one of the few connections I have to an upper-crusty world and it's fun to pretend that money doesn't matter a whit to me for the few hours we're together every few months. We luncheoned at a whitelinentablecloth joint, and yet--no kosher or sea salt, just table salt--the Horror! I could barely bring myself to pass it to my friend when she requested it. However, white wine at lunch--Divine! As was the rest of the meal, properly salted or no. We've perfected the art of catching up while window shopping, caressing scarves, shoes, toying with wedding invitations, kitchen gadgets, passing judgment on this season's palette, all the while discussing and dissecting feelings and activities. These visits take me out of my usual rut, and make me so happy, and also humbled, somehow--I guess I'm grateful for friendship with certain people in my life that could so easily and naturally fade, and yet are kept vital, by mutual nurturing.

On the way home from Mill Valley, I stopped in San Rafael, hoping to return the vintage wedding dress I had purchased two weeks earlier to appease the Shopping Gods. I didn't expect to receive any actual refund--I had prepared myself for a consignment or wholesale price. I was pleasantly surprised to receive a store credit for the full amount (will I use it? is the question) and some happy wedding banter to boot. Yes, I am now officially considering white as a wedding dress color, imagine that.

Home, the dog and I tramped the hills, then and watched the first two episodes of Twin Peaks with M in a vain attempt to recapture feelings of Young in New York. (Me, not Rex.) No go.

With Desmond & JeriLu at Howard's
Originally uploaded by suzipaw.

Sunday, Jour des Diners: Breakfast of berry pancakes at Howard's in Occidental in the company of two friend I don't see often. I was miles away from bed and canine and homo sapien at a much earlier hour than usual, so let the mugs of java flow without a care! A political discussion ensued, how refreshing! A seed is planted for a trip to Eureka to see one of the friend's plays, how refreshing!

Writerly chat and some writing with the writers group gals followed, including the imbibing of additional caffeine at The Box, served by The Angels. Two were there behind the counter: skin like sun-kist cream, wide clear eyes, curls of honey and chocolate tresses pinned up carelessly, both wearing tank tops despite the morning chill. We often comment on The Angels and the otherworldly beauty they bear effortlessly. They have a tendency to dress minimally--one of them wore a strapless top last summer, and viewed from the other side of the high counter appeared to be completely undraped, as we former professional life models say. Are they aware of the effect they have on us mere mortals? Are they here to inspire worship or envy? Sunday was my lucky day--one actually seemed to recognize me, dowdy matron that I am!

Home on Sunday: bad knitting decisions when I should've been napping led to a great ripping out of the latest kitty pi, more dog walking, spaghetti sauce making, reviewing of wedding plans thanks to a tome loaned to me by a similarly pre-nuptial co-worker. The upcoming trip to Chico in just a few short days has place the lid squarely on the pressure cooker for M and me. (Wait, but isn't a pressure cooker round?)

And that's all I'll write about that, for now.

Something All Us Bloggers Can Aspire to

The Bloggies.

Just saw an article in the Washington Post. And as I was getting ready to post this, I noticed that Blogger has a note about it, too.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Writing about Reading

There was a recent time in my life when I didn't really read. I read magazines, yes, and various items on line, but books stopped figuring into my life in a significant way. Losing myself in fiction seemed frivolous somehow--I had so many more pressing things to do. I remember liking to read very much, and that I wanted to pick it up again, but couldn't somehow.

But I missed it, and wanted to make it a priority in my life again. So when I made some changes in my life a year or so ago, I did. In writers group, we talk often and regularly (imagine that) about a variety of books. I started asking friends for recommendations, borrowing books, leaving work early to make the twice annual pilgrimage to the library books sale to stock up--not just on pleasure reading, but also on cookbooks, gardening and birding books, home repair. And a couple of books that were just too beautifully bound and printed to not give a shelf to.

The library book sale is such a wonderful experience. Such a thrill to hunt for the last of the Hornblower series, or books to send to M's friend in Iraq, or for when Mom was laid up after her operation. It's so easy to invest in both classics or tomes that I may--or may not--read after all. They also sell old books. I'm in love with the way they smell, how the texture of the cloth binding and paper feel in my hands, the no-longer-favored typefaces, the deckle edges. I admit to feeling a little groovier-than-thou when I was traveling last year and reading my lovely old edition of Vanity Fair in public--I'm sure everyone who noticed was so impressed! :)

Another thought about reading novels--I know, I know how hard it is to write a good book. I know. But now that I'm attempting to write one myself, my appreciation and respect has increased tremendously.

Julia and I talked some last PWG meeting about White Teeth by Zadie Smith, my last fiction read and one she had also read recently. I've been meaning to write a review of it. (I've also been meaning to start a book and movie review blog, but it'll be a while.) I've managed to overcome my author envy--she's young, lovely, and has a great way with words--and recommend White Teeth. She creates wonderful, convincing characters and situations. Her plot is very ambitious, covering quite a chunk of time and several cultures. But I was a little disappointed with the ending--which I know, is hard, I know. It felt contrived, a forced wrapping up and bringing together of the all of the characters and their timelines. Mom, what do you think about it?


Our little knitting coven at work is dubbed the "Knitwits" and I've been really feeling like a nitwit over my latest project. I'm making another kitty pi for Veronica, but I neglected the cardinal rule for starting any project: make a test swatch first! I can certainly fudge the size on this project, I think, but I'm not sure how it will felt up. I should just take a pause and do a swatch now, before it gets too late to turn back and my hands ache for days (this is the kind of project I get a bit obsessive about), all for naught.


Twenty week. Twenty weeks, people! Will all my nails be long? Will I have a huge zit? Noticeably more gray hair? Will all my carefully memorized vows fly out of my head at the moment of truth? What if it's 110 degrees? Ack!

Awright. Enough bloggygagging. Time to get to chores.

Hyacinth & oak

Hyacinth & oak
Originally uploaded by suzipaw.
Art or not?

Trying to simultaneously document that spring has sprung early here on the north coast while figuring out the macro setting on my newish camera, with inconclusive results.

My aunt the photographer says that the difference between an amateur and a professional is that the professional reads the manual. However, the only help my manual (well, instruction booklet) gives me is: "This mode lets you shoot from as close as 4 cm to your subject. Normal shooting is also possible, but the position of the zoom is fixed and cannot be used." Do I need to depress the shutter halfway to fix the focus? What about my mode setting? Better practice more. At least I'm not wasting film, paper, and money.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Calling All Dali Lovers

Every once in a while, Slashdot posts something that piques my personal interest. Their pointer to this was one, a tribute-to-Dali-quilting-bee. (It's not exactly like a q-bee--those gals planned it all out in advance. This project has the whiff of the anarchist about it.) Thought my artist friends (Julia) would enjoy it, and maybe even take it upon themselves to "quilt" a tile.

Monday, January 24, 2005

In Development

In Development
Originally uploaded by suzipaw.
Narnia it ain't...

This housing development seems to be progressing backwards. There are paved streets, curbs, sidewalks, street signs, traffic signs, even the little orange bumps dividing lanes, street lamps. But no houses.

It's so hard seeing the field stretching beyond it, knowing it will be crowded with new homes in just a few years. Thank god they kept a few of the oak trees.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Alas, Poor Yorick

Before he left for work this morning, M told me this story--one more thing to love about car salesmen:

A rat had been living at the dealership for as long as anyone could remember--years. He was a big mofo, New York-sized. M had seen the rat limping recently, and sure enough, the beast had dodged its last set of wheels and was found dead (of non-vehicular causes) in the dealership parking lot yesterday.

Sales have been slow lately, so the salesmen had enough time on their hands and tiny little brains to give the rat a real send off, using the stock-in-trade of car dealer decor. That's right: balloons. They tied enough (unbranded, thank god) balloons to Ratty for him to slowly float skyward into the fog--and as M pointed out helpfully, return back to the dust from whence he came pretty quickly too. Another thing to be thankful for--they decided against including cards from a rival dealership on the rat's helium-propelled funeral barge.

I haven't checked the local paper yet to see if the poor creature landed in some truly inappropriate place, like a child's sandbox or family pool. One can only hope it didn't.

Up, Up, and Awwaaaay in My Beautiful, My Beautiful...
Originally uploaded by suzipaw.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

A Perfect Day

What would happen on your Perfect Day?

I was thinking about this last night, a Friday, because the whole weekend stretched before me without a plan, meeting, or must-do in sight. Plenty of should-do's, sure, but I was calling the shots for two whole days. Two components of My Perfect Day are writing and exercise, I thought to myself, and I can do those things, I can!

But I'm the kind of gal that needs a plan, an occasion, so I made one: Get up with M, send him off to work, write for an hour, then go to the weight class at the gym (I can't get motivated to do machines on my own, and it has an appointed hour--very important). If I know what to do to have a Perfect Day, I stand a greater chance of actually having one, right?

I find that morning is key for activities for me--I start to wind down in the early afternoon, motivationally speaking. I knew that if I could just type and gym right off, the rest of the day would be savory vegetarian gravy, whether I accomplished anything or not.

So it's 5pm on Saturday, I stuck with my plan, and as a result it's been a wonderful day. The "June" novel now has nine thousand nine hundred and eleven words (I thought about banging out the other eighty-nine words so I could have an even 10K, but it was the end of the scene, so it was a natural time to stop). The weight class flew by, and I actually initiated a conversation with a fellow class member--unheard of! I spent three hours running errands: more baseboard for the bathroom (did I remember to bring a sample with me? Nooooo. I picked up the wider version, so it's back to Friedman Bros. tomorrow...), cat food, eyelash yarn, a nip into Borders for a cheap DVD ("The Ice Storm") and to see an old friend I used to work with. A visit to my ever-swankying mall to buy hamburger for M's meatloaf for tonight, and once more into the breach of wedding dress shopping. A much better experience today. A lovely saleslady who picked out many styles for me to try on, always encouraging the smaller size, and who set me up in the more special dressing room. Some close ones (the heavily beaded light blue number just needed a bit more modest bodice--and about $200 off the price), but no cigar. But I'll be back to that store--what a difference a helpful salesperson can make. She was so happy for me, asked me all about my plans, told me how her daughter is at college in the same town where we're tying the knot.

Speaking of salespeople, I hope M's sold something today...

So what's my recipe for a Perfect Day? In no particular order:
- Writing (check)
- Exercise (check)
- Knitting or other craftiness while listening to NPR with a cat on my lap (to be checked as soon as I post this)
- Post a blog (checking)
- Shopping (check)
- Good food
- Good lovin'
- A connection with a friend (check)
- Reading
- Something cultural/arty (I rented "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" for tonight, and received "The Man Who Wasn't There" from Netflix. So many choices!)
- A glass (or two) of wine or beer (checking)
- Pet snuggling (check)

I plan on checking off all of these items by about 11pm tonight. Damn, I'm one lucky middle aged suburbanite.

What are the components of your Perfect Day?

Next weekend will be quite different, perfectly speaking. I already have plans for breakfast with friends in Occidental, an adventure with another friend somewhere in the Bay Area (perhaps she'll come wedding invitation shopping with me?), and BIC time with the writer gals. Don't know how I'll work the exercise in. And the bathroom project. But I'll think of that another day.


Happy Birthday, Julia! Look forward to your birthday blog this evening.


After I returned from shopping, M called. Grades were mailed yesterday, and he wanted to know if they had arrived. The mail hadn't come, but while we were talking, Rex barked in his deranged-enraged-pint-sized-killer voice, so we knew the mailman had stopped by at his own peril. And M's grade were indeed to be found in the depths of the mailbox. I couldn't resist dragging out the results of his scores a little bit to tease him (in the month since he took his midterms he has run the gamut from elation to doubt to despair tinged with resignation--I deserve a little payback), but he did very well, even better than he thought in the heady post-exam phase. It's only the first midterm of the first year, but it's a relief that he's off to a good start.


One piece of good news: our neighbors found a home for their chocolate lab, the one that constantly barked mournfully of neglect. They still have the pitbull, but she seems to be a part of the family unit. At least, I'm telling myself they found a new home for him.

Little relief from the exterior noise tonight, however--they're having a bbq, and the men are conversing in loud drunken tones on the back porch. I'm sure it's much more enjoyable for hang out there now that the dog is no longer begging them for attention with his loud, heartbreaking woof.


It's getting chilly. The one thing that makes Rex's day perfect (aside from play-mauling M) is a walk, so I think I'll go ahead and make his day.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

We Always Knew She Was a Royalty

Felicia Models her Prom Dress
Originally uploaded by suzipaw.
And now it's official: niece Felicia has been nominated for prom queen. When she visited last Christmas, she indulged her auntie by modeling her prom dress, and I loaned her the necklace and earrings. Hard to believe she's only 15...

Long may she reign!

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Theme from "The Twilight Zone" Here

When I lived in New York, one of my favorite cheap dining spots was 6th Street, in the East Village. The south side was lined with hole-in-the-wall Indian restaurants, all outlandishly decorated (purple fur walls, copious strings of Christmas lights year-round) and blasting loud music. The menus hardly varied from establishment to establishment, leading to the suspicion that one large kitchen under the street served all of the restaurants. We had a similar theory for the shoe store block on 12th Street when the same pair of extra large Doc Martens showed up in a different store when M was shoe shopping.

This memory has returned to me because I've been "shopping" for wedding invitations. I have my heart set on letterpress invites, despite the Magic 8 Ball's noncommittal replies. (I think I have to face the fact that I just can't afford to spend $10 per person on invites, however...) So I've been writing letterpress places in the Bay Area for estimates, and both responses have come from Susies. Well, OK, one spelled her name with a "z," but still, very odd.

In other wedding news, M and I have planned a trip to Chico the first week of February to actually see the reception spot and talk to caterers and officiants. It'll be a quick visit, but we've got to get these big things taken care of...

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

A Dream Deferred

So this is how dorky I am without TV--Hollywood Squares is cancelled! How am I going to win money for my wedding now? I wouldn't qualify for Jeopardy, and I'd get too nervous for Wheel of Fortune. I have to come up with another plan...

Monday, January 17, 2005

A Poem

Finally had the inspiration/inclination to revise an old poem.
With thanks to the PWG gals.

Reunion, the Lake

On the shore this night
air and water move inseparable
dense and dark, chill and unfathomable.
Waves layer upon the curled beach like
the slabs of stone they swamp
shush...shush, over and over and over.
Liquid slips between coves
cold mist rises
obscuring the gay lights
of a far bonfire
spreading out upon the water, reflected
sparks like oversized fireflies
worshipping stars.

Lying in my own layer of darkness
Under covers and eaves, a floor above
the cousins conversing like
early sunrise, harsh and bright
I know: I will miss all this
you and
the geometry of this shore
the blindness of this black night
neighbors deaf to our laughter
sound waves lapping
echoless from shore to shore--
too far away to respond.

I know: I will be desperate
to rebuild this lake, stone
by stone, wave by wave, using any night
like a lighthouse to illuminate our
days spent slipping across
this water, this shore, this darkness

Saturday, January 15, 2005

An Offering to the Shopping Dieties

I bought A Dress this afternoon. It may or may not be The Dress. I went shopping in San Rafael to begin paying homage to the Shopping Gods--I need to have enough good karma built up so that I will indeed find The Dress at some point. The dress I purchased today is close, but not quite perfect. It's a beige (not blue or silver/grey) '50s lace number (a style I was looking for), embroidered all over with opalescent sequins and spotted with rhinestones, so it's quite sparkly. (Don't worry, M doesn't read my blog.) It fits, but it's itchy; the sleeves come to just above my elbow--I was hoping for sleeveless to show off my, ahem, bulging biceps; and it's boatneck rather than V. It's the right length (tea). I worry about matching shoes however. It was only $75, so I could have it altered and still spend much less than most wedding dresses. I could find another dress and not feel bad, I could maybe even sell it back to a vintage clothing store, cuz it's in good shape.

My biggest reservation (aside from the fact that it's beige) is that it just wasn't quite the heavens-parting THIS IS IT moment. And I had noone to share the purchase with (by choice)--even the saleslady was taking a call, so there was no pleasant chitchat leading to her congratulating me on my upcoming nuptials.

Well, there's more time, and therefore there will be more rifling through racks bedecked with satin and such.

It's been a wedding-centric day. This morning I had a long talk with my brother whose home will become command central in June. He's up for hosting a welcome dinner for anyone in town the evening before the wedding. Then I talked to my dad, who will host and help coordinate aforementioned bbq. A relief to check that off my list.


On Thursday last, I spent the day working at MacWorld in San Francisco. One of my tasks was to sell books at an event featuring a pretty much has-been actor who is now writing. (Nope, no photo with the celeb to post this time.) He sat next to me whilst signing books for his fans, and it was quite interesting to hear his patter. He was very gracious, and spoke with people as long as they wanted to.

The rest of the show was very busy. I was so grateful not to be in charge of our tradeshow logistics as I had been in the past. Too draining--I was knackered after just one day at the booth. But it was a good change of pace to get into the City, however briefly.


Tomorrow is BIC time with the writers group. Will I work on the novel, or continue to loaf? I have 18 hours to ponder that question.

As soon as I post this, I'll send off my Life Is Short entry. Eek!


Weekly Random Report
- Watched Pieces of April. More arty and enjoyable that I had anticipated. How can I get nostalgic about living in a crappy tiny apartment in an ugly dangerous neighborhood? But I did, and I cried thinking about those days gone by. Well, I'm also a sucker for families coming together.
- Watched Days of Wine and Roses. A PR flak in San Francisco who drinks too much. Who could that remind me of? Hmmmm...
- My sweet peas have sprouted, even the ones from seeds I harvested last year that I thought may not be mature enough. My wall of sweet peas will be magnificent! Bwaahahaha....
- It's staying lighter later, I can tell.
- We've had a whole flock of folks departing my company this past week, mostly for moving away reasons, but it's a bit disconcerting nonetheless.
- It's been especially lovely sleeping with the mutt lately. Sounds gross, I know, but he's like a living teddy bear, my own hot water bottle made of flesh, warm blood, and fur. His spooning comforts me, except when he pushes his calloused and clawed paws into my thighs in the middle of the night.
- Also picked up some yarn during my shopping sojourn today. I now have a scarf, hat, and another kitty pi to knit up. Better get clacking...
- Watched Beautiful Girls. Some redeeming qualities, nothing earthshattering.

Rex is giving me That Look. Guess it's time to walk the dog...

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Misc. Stuff

I've been struggling to write about several topics lately, I'd just like to complain about that: God, being child-free, and the nature of friendship. My feelings on those issues are complicated, contradictory, and charged, so maybe that's why I'm having a hard time sorting the words out. I will continue in that endeavor. I should be doing it today, now, at this very moment, in fact, while I'm at the Apple Box, butt firmly planted in chair, with the PWG gals, but I'm preferring to simply complain about it instead and leave it at that.


I'm going to send these hundred words off to the Washington Post in the next day or two (I want to sleep on it a bit, but this is evidence that I got some creative writing done here at the Box), submitting it to their Life Is Short column:

I was--am--fortunate, in almost every aspect of my life. I have a job, health, home, love. But for years I've harbored niggling discontent. Two Novembers ago, I purchased a rhinestone horseshoe necklace to remind me that Life Is Good. Once I joined the clasp, I didn't take it off. Until two weeks ago, when it broke as I was undressing. Am I more vulnerable now that I'm separated from its sparkling mojo? Will I neglect to give thanks for all that I have? So far, I've been free of lightning bolts. Maybe it's time for a new luck.

I had originally thought to send this, but reading some of the other winners, I think it's too wordsmithy foofy:

Being from the Left Coast, angels bestride both shoulders, arguing for the urban, the rural, the urban, the rural. So I inhabit the 'burbs. Pet hair envelopes me like Pigpen's cloud. From my post indoors, I watch the light move through its day, pushing me into night. A flickering screen is often a lullaby. I get caught up in words, yarn, dreams, looping together a few moments, then a few more. More often than not my patterns are flawed or too small. My circle is also small, but I am luckiest of the lucky--a romantic in love and beloved.


I'm way behind on correspondence, electronic and otherwise. I've been putting off writing to one friend because she asked if she's going to be invited to the wedding, and I think I have to tell her "no." The place where we'll be having the ceremony is small, so I've been planning on implementing a "ten-year rule," limiting those on my list to those I've only known for ten years or more. M has so few people in his family that he is exempt from this rule. This plan would allow me to not feel obliged to invite some people from jobs past and present but not others, and get me out of a few other invites as well. But there are several other people that I've met since moving back to California that I *want* to invite. Like this friend. So now I'm having doubts about the wedding location (the reception location has plenty of space--that's "just" a matter of money, since feeding people is the big wedding expense). This is the part of wedding planning that I don't like. Making decisions that might make others feel bad.


After departing the 'Box, I came home, ate the last of the delightful pea soup, snoozed briefly, then took the dog for a walk in the field. Though still soggy and muddy, the field has dried out a bit, and the grass is luxurious and brilliantly green. The little camomile daisies that bloom like snow drifts in February have already started to open. In a nearby parking lot, the County lets people drop off their Christmas trees for free, then chips them up for compost. It makes me a bit sad to see their discarded carcasses tossed into heaps, but the fragrance is intoxicating. Yesterday when I walked the dog, I looked up just in time to see a Christmas tree soaring into the air, landing at the top of the dogpile, which was a bit disconcerting until I made out the baseball cap of the person who had flung it.

M just came home. Seems like our birthday celebrations of late revolve around food. I saw him off to work today (thank god he's employed again!) with pumpkin ginger pancakes from Sunset mag, made with butternut squash, which were quite tasty. As soon as the dishwasher has finished its cycle, we'll head out to Valley Ford for dinner with another couple.

I hope the blue sky days stick around for a while--I've been missing the sunshine...

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Drunk on Generosity

I thought I could resist the siren call of Ross forever. Hah! I am weak, I admit it. And I've been restless with fantasies of owning a track suit. There, I wrote it! A track suit, a la Britney: pink velour, perhaps. Which I know is a huge mistake since it would only bring out the pink in my nose and I would look like some sort of lab experiment gone hideously wrong. But my dream suit would definitely be branded and coordinated. So when I "had" to return to Ross to return two lampshades that just didn't fit the little antiquish glass lamp that M had fixed up for me, I let my fingers caress almost every item in the activewear section. And I did indeed pick something up from the Clearance rack, labeled "yoga" with a discreet Nike swoop. Pants, how could I resist when they were clearly marked as $40, then down to $15.99, then $2.99? Three bucks for yoga pants? Yeah, baby! My cheapskate heart leapt with joy. So now I'm wearing them, so I guess I'm keeping them.

Despite being an introvert and a tightwad, I am blessed with people in my life who insist on giving me gifts. Perhaps it's my inner princess peeking out, demanding tribute? Ack! Yay! (What is with my sudden penchant for exclamation points? A new year, a new view of punctuation, perhaps...)

Several days ago, a new friend offered a gift that I couldn't (yet) accept, but I was humbled by the gesture.

And then, last night during writers group meeting, not only did the gals actually praise my poem, a gift in itself, I received Xmas presents from them both. Did I have gifts for them? (They mumbled something about reading my recent blog posting about giving un-agreed-upon gifts but not caring. :) No...but I will give presents in return, and they will be better because they are unexpected--take that, girls!

And then, today, compelled perhaps by my desire to be generous somehow in return to the spirit of gift-giving, I went "wild" (as crazy as one could be in the dollar section of Target-said-with-a-French-accent) and purchased things for coworkers that I will have the satisfaction of leaving on their chairs before they arrive at work tomorrow.

And then, after returning home from Target-said-with-a-French-accent and enduring Rex's barking at the mailman, I retrieved from the mailbox a lovely package from another cherished "M." Inside was a pin that could've been a self-portrait (ahem, that is, if I could draw), and a blank journal. Oh, the potential! There's another wrapped gift that I've left for M to open when he comes home from class, so tempting and tantalizing, that I can only hope is Moira's first book of poetry, recently published. But best of all was her note that I might just keep in an accessible place that I can pull out and re-read whenever I'm feeling bad in order to retain a sense of balance. There is no gift to equal one that ends "I love you," no, not even in the dollar section.

Coming so soon upon the heels of Christmas, I'm overwhelmed, but in a lovely way.

Continuing to riff upon the gift theme, what will I give to my brother, who will be hitting the big four-oh on Sunday, which happens to be M's birthday as well, though not that age? I think back into the mists of time when I reached that milestone, and remember that I wanted to be as far away from reality as possible that day (and I was, in Monument Valley, a completely unearthly place). I want to give him an adventure of some sort, but I haven't planned far enough in advance, if that's not an oxymoron--isn't an adventure supposed to be spontaneous? I'm not the sister I aspire to be--sorry, bro'!

[Morning after note/confession: OK, perhaps I was a little drunk on something else, too!]

Tuesday, January 04, 2005


I first read about this Three Things meme thing over on Nancy's Oyster and then Julia dared me! So here goes:


(OK, boring, I know. But my car goes by "The Wonder Wagon" and "The Bu-Hog"...)

Hair (but not for long, the gray cometh!)
I'm a drama peasant
I appreciate the little things

Difficulty in confronting others face to face when necessary
Too quick to judge others uncharitably
Sometimes being a middle child doesn't get me anywhere

A multi-carat engagement ring
Ten more feet of house
The will/discipline to write--something, anything--every day


Violins, er, violence
Old age

A kiss
Pet hair

Birthday earring from Rebecca
Pet hair

Aimee Mann
Elvis Costello--now and forever
Lucinda Williams

Finishing a novel (Hah!)
Sending a query letter to a magazine or newspaper
As much new food as possible

Honesty, though not brutal
Total devotion

I'm the best I've ever been
I'm frustrated that I don't always know the answer to everything
Money doesn't matter

Good skin

Eat eggs (O. My. God. No. Nooooo!)
Discuss cruelty to animals without sobbing uncontrollably
Pretend to be interested in law school details for extended periods of time


Eat chocolate
Have a glass of good wine
Seem witty and eloquent

Grant writer
Newspaper columnist
Researcher of some sort

Amalfi Coast
Yellowstone in winter
Costa Rica


Finish the G-D novel
Know why the hell I'm here
Be completely content with what I have

Three Resolutions:
More: writing, reading, crafting, calling Grandma
Less: food, booze, stress, snarkiness
Get married


Notes from the last few days:

One thing I did manage to scratch off my to-do list over the vacay was "finish my cardigan"! Sure, it took seven months and my shoulder seams are crappy, but it actually fits. It's even symmetrical! I've worn it in public! My first pieced project. I see more sweaters in my future...

We watched a lot of movies over the vacation: Shaun of the Dead (loved it), Shrek II (twice), Anchorman (ok if you're in the proper frame of mind), Starsky & Hutch (ditto) I'll Sleep When I'm Dead (Clive is a hottie, but what was he thinking?).

Twenty-three weeks til the wedding. I woke up at 2:30 a.m. last night and couldn't get back to sleep thinking about all I had to do to get ready. I felt a little overwhelmed. I know, one piece at a time.

The bathroom is way behind schedule, but the floor is almost done, the last big item. Came out pretty durn nice for my first try at laying tile if I do say so myself. I tried to channel Martha as much as I could.

It's hard being back at work. I think my heaven will have no alarm clocks. But in some ways I'm glad for the routine. I also went to weight class today for the first time in two weeks and the instructor kicked my ass--it hurt so good.

Gotta get ready for writers group tonight. Oh joy!