Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Postcard Secret

Just read about this site in the New York Times. Wonder if the secrets will flood in more freely now that it's received national coverage.


Going for my gown fitting tomorrow. Had a little (tiny, mini, really) mental wedding freak-out in the bathroom stall in the gym before class this morning. I'm fine now, but I think my new mantra will be a nickname M gave me (in a really loving way of course) one Thanksgiving: General Axtell. That is, until the week before the wedding, when I will try to embody the 4Cs, the mantra I use during work conferences: Cool, Calm, Collected, and Charming. It doesn't help that people are expecting me to freak out now, to become Bridezilla. They ask how I'm doing very, very carefully, and stay several paces away, as if I have lesions on my face or something.


Oh, and I finished "A Very Long Engagement" last week (really liked it), and cracked "The Time-Traveler's Wife" last night. I've heard quite a few people (well, women it seems like) either love it or not like it at all--not a lot of gray area there.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

"I Believe in Love"

Those were the sage words spoken by Doug, our officiate, as M and I sat in a cafe with him in Chico on Wednesday afternoon. Trim, good-looking, thoughtful, engaged, reassuring, he seemed very genuine in his excitement to be marrying us in 26 days, which was contagious. He's a good choice for us. I only pray that if he decides to mention family members by name, he matches the right parent with the right step-parent...

Ryan's Shark Teeth
Originally uploaded by suzipaw.
The trip to Chico was a weight off my mind. The fridge is safely at my brother's, along with other items. We were able to spend a few moments with my brother and his family. We met with the caterers on our way out of town on Thursday morning, and solved a few issues (no thanks to the company owner, who was came with the contact I had been working with and was pretty negative about almost everything). Now my only real worry is fitting everyone into the Victorian home where we're having the ceremony. But que sera, sera.

Our vows are due to Lisa, the ceremony-coordinating gal, on June 1, but I'm not going to make that date. Well, the main part is done, but not the pledges M and I will make to each other. I've made a few drafts, and I'm here at the Box with the angels, awaiting the other writergroupgals for inspiration. I didn't leave myself enough time for revisions for the June 1 deadline, and I don't want to make any changes at the last minute because Lisa will be making a "keepsake copy" for us, and I want it to be the same as what we actually say.

Thinking about what I want to say to M when we marry has been a very worthwhile and introspective exercise--what it is about him that makes him the right guy for me for (hopefully) the rest of my life. It's been a little bittersweet too, bringing up memories of my first marriage. But I'm also ready to be married again, and that feels...wonderful? A relief? I'm not sure how to describe this process of preparing emotionally to become a wife again. Sometimes the sheer busyness of the event planning part pushes all that down, but I welcome and want to honor our official joining of hearts--and really let myself feel it all. It's why I welcome ritual in my life, and wish I had more, to remind myself how lucky I am. Maybe I should get my horseshoe necklace fixed...

Just before we left for Chico, I received good news: my dress came in a week earlier than scheduled. And my seamstress was able to move up my appointment for this Wednesday rather than next. So I'm a week ahead, woo!

Warning: Ladies Undergarment Description Ahead
If this embarrasses you, apologies, and please skip down to the next section.
So I picked up The Gown Thursday afternoon upon our arrival home from the Chico excursion. Fits great from the waist down, but even the smaller size I ordered based on the store model needs lots of taking-in on top. (One small, so to speak, wedding gripe: While I'm glad I've taken off a few pounds recently thanks to the Engagement Diet, any whisper of cleavage I once might've possessed has now gone completely mute.) So on my way home from the bridal shop, I stopped at both local Macy's plus a Gotteshalk's, searching for just the right undergarments. This added up to hours of scuttling awestruck through the full-figure sections, flipping through the slip and half-price racks (how can they charge so much for so little?), and palpating bras for the proper amount of padding--I want to look smooth, but not like I've been surgically enhanced, even though that's the look du jour. There's something very ladies-clubby about the underwear section in department stores, which must also be present in beauty salons, but since I don't frequent them, I wouldn't know. I kind of liked it, but the enormous pile of "special occasion" lingerie the gals in front of me were purchasing is completely beyond my ken. But I found the right pieces in the right colors for the right prices, so I'm happy--and prepared for the dress fitting in a few days.

Sorry, it's just the wedding channel here at Flying Triangle, all wedding, all of the time. Did I mention the wedding is coming up in 26 days? Two six. Yikes.


In other news, yesterday was a good day for M. Six weeks after his finals for last semester, he finally received his grades (par for the law school course), and did very well. I drove to his place of employment and "served" him the envelope. He actually jumped up and down and whooped, which was pretty cute--he's a big guy. We're having a couple of friends over tonight for BBQ to celebrate. (The burning question is, will Coy's mighty bark puncutate our entire evening?)


Finally watched "Sideways" in its entirety last night. I was trying to keep my expectations low since everyone had been raving about it, but it was indeed excellent. An interesting movie to watch before one's own nuptials. M observed that our own wine country setting is much prettier.

I also time-splurged yesterday and watched a few episodes of "Sex and the City"--during the day, no less! Hey, I was multitasking--while watching and mooning over NYC, I did some reps with the exercise tubing and it also kept me from doing chores before all twenty of my nails were adequately dry. (Why oh why did it take me so long to realize that if you have ugly funky toenails, varnishing them makes them cuter?)


The Great Wall of Sweet Peas is yielding a bouquet a day. The late rain earlier this month has made the rust bloom on my front roses, so I've got spraying and feeding to do tomorrow. I'll pull out the fading snapdragons and put in dwarf dahlias--less work for next year. My full-size purple-tinged yellow dahlia is doing beautifully, as is the blood-red poppy I planted in memory of Tomcat. Deadheading and flower arranging has become an extremely important part of my life--perhaps it helps to me focus on the transient beauty of a moment, and on something I've waited to see bloom for months.


Happy Memorial Day Weekend!

Who are you remembering this holiday? I'm missing the family reunion in Wilbur, and the annual pilgrimage to the cemetary to put flowers on the family graves.

The neighbors down the lane are having a big party today. I think a grandma lives on one side of the street and her son and his family live on the other. Though they have back yards, they gather and socialize out front in their driveway, and on both sides the homes are lavishly--dare I say garishly--landscaped will all manner of sculpture, hanging baskets of flowers, fruit trees, and potted plants. So image if you will in this cacophony of flora, the addition of a shiny, garlanded pop-up tent, all sorts of gay decorations, a multitude of lawn chairs, and not one but two port-a-potties. I'm a little jealous...

Monday, May 23, 2005

May Days of Wine and Roses

...and of garlic, cake, gas guzzling, Star Wars, bbq, and laptops.


Garlic and cake were the watch-foods of the day at work on Friday. A co-worker's going-away party and another colleague's birthday resulted in a four-cake sampler. I contributed a pineapple upside-down cake to the melee, which was delicious, and as a bonus, contained (I typed "containted" first, that's a good word) no cat hair, as far as I know. M didn't like the cake, which is all for the best--like I really need a greater repetoire of sweets for us two to devour in our spare, flabby time. Garlic snacks punctuated the festivities, so in addition to feeling guilty about packing on the extra calories, I had bad breath all day to boot. Woo.


Liz in wicker, as seen by Ella
Originally uploaded by suzipaw.
Saturday was yet another day of hitting the road for wedding shopping. The long-ish trek to Britex, the fabric mecca of SF, was uneventful. A friend and her six-year-old daughter came along for advice and support, and aided by a wonderful salesgal who modeled many styles of trim for me and had several excellent suggestions, I settled on the embellishments to gussy up the gown. I did have a little buyer's remorse (a yard and a half of trim for $50, whee), but the dress will be unique--mine, all mine! I'm actually going to try to apply it myself, too. Wish me luck. We stopped into Crate & Barrel and saw the Eva Zeisel dinnerware we registered for in person--it's truly beautiful! (Thank god.) Then back to the East Bay and another visit to Ikea for some new purchases and returns.

But it all went smoothly. It was an unusual, glorious, warm summer day in the City, and just felt like the world and my life were balanced.


In the 1950s, would the typical suburbanite ever have thought that a couple in the new millennium would be child-free, have 1.5 laptops, 2.5 cars, and be checking email and blogging while barbecuing on a summer's eve? What will the suburban summer past times of the 2050s be like, I wonder?


We saw "Revenge of the Sith" Saturday night. It was a long day for M and me both (work for him, aforementioned wedding errands in the City for me) so I figured a trip to a galaxy far, far away would clear our minds. It did. Lots of satisfying action, but no poetry at all in the dialogue, save for The Emperor. Glad to see that the hippie-pre-grunge spirit of the 1977 original was carried through in the hirsute stylings of Anikin and Obi-wan. Ani...mmm....


Have way too many magazines to devour. Martha and Better Homes are barely cracked, Sunset remains unopened, the Details I picked up from the gym (we have a little informal mag swap in the women's locker room) has been flipped through a bit. Two details of note from Details: broken engagements are rising, and for ever 16 points in higher IQ, a man's chances of getting married increase, and a woman's decrease. Nice, huh?


This one's for you, Paw: Freakonomics--"a rogue economist explores the hidden side of everything."

Friday, May 20, 2005

Weekend Update

Saturday: more bridal trim shopping; back to Ikea; lunch with a friend and her charming daughter in the City; hopefully at least seven hours of sleep.

Sunday: ushering at the nursing school's graduation; walk the dog; hopefully at least seven hours of sleep, preferably partly fulfilled with a nap in the sun on the deck that is still looking clean and beautiful with a fat black cat while sensing the dahlias unfurl.


Random Links:

BoingBoing's Web Zen: feline zen 2005. Some are funnier than others, but the Battling Kittens is a cute fest.

May Holidays--can all these be real? The 24th is apparently National Escargot Day. As if I needed another reason to stay vegetarian.


In honor of my brother, who just bought a car for his teenaged daughter, and sent me this note:

It's a nice ride. At the car lot, we acted like chimps, ready to laydown but then we started to pull out the grinder and price went down.

More Car Sales Glossary (note that M has taken a decided interest in this project):

Ack Fee: (Acquisition Fee) Legalized bribery. This is where a dealer pays a bank to take a deal. Also used, of course, to refer to women we think that might be high maintenance.

Bump: Very important all around term used in the business. Because people have certain notions in their mind about how much they want to spend before they shop for a car, a salesman is always looking to "get a bump"--more money down, a higher monthly payment from the customer, or less for their trade in.

Buried Alive: same as buried. Sometimes said to need a backhoe to get them out of their car.

Demo: test drive

Firm Grip: same as buried. As in "they have a firm grip on that car."

Grape: Same as lay down.

"He's an Owner": Same as buried, firm grip etc. We never get tired of making fun of people buried in their car.

Leg: The illegal practice of a manager giving the salesman a payment to negotiate a car deal with a customer which contains a warranty, mop and glow, extra interest rate, or any number of "aftermarket" items. If a salesman closes a deal at, say $350 a month and never discusses interest rate, more than likely there is "leg" in the deal: the payment would actually be $335 a month, but all that "aftermarket" stuff is already in the payment, so it's the finance managers job to sell all that stuff and since the customer is already closed at $350 a month, it's easy to do. The practice is illegal. It happens everyday.

Lot walk: The daily ritual of looking at the inventory to see what's come in.

Miler: Relatively young used car with more miles on it than would be normal. Also used as a way to describe a woman.

Mullet: Old car sales term from the '50s meaning an easily manipulated customer.

One Legged: A customer that is shopping without their significant other. Usually a man, who uses the excuse that he needs to talk to his wife before he does anything. Sometimes we just call this guy pussy to his face. They usually nervously laugh it off.

Screamer, Floater, Put on a Bubble, Lowball: The practice of telling a customer a price that is so low that the can't actually be struck. This is usually done when a customer has openly explained that they want a salesman to "give me your best price, and I'm gonna go and shop you to see if it really is the best price." Salesman in general really dislike working for someone that is going to leave and not buy the car anyway, and what better way to mess with someone that is not going to give you the chance to sell the car? Every other dealer will beat a real price by a small amount and take the business. So, some saleman will lowball the customer and tell them a price that is around $2K less than what can actually be done. This makes the customer have a very, very long and arduous experience of being told that a salesman lied to them (we would never do that). Sometimes (and this is the fun part), they shop that number for days and come back. And, then you just say..."Oh, I'm sorry...I thought it was the basic model, not the LX model with leather...I can't do that price." I've seen a couple of sales people that are actually capable of pulling that trick off. I, of course, am not capable of that.

Walk Around: Demonstrating the features and benefits of a car, starting on one side and literally walking around the whole car.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005


Wore my new pink-striped shirt to work last week and received four compliments in the first three hours of the day. I painted my nails pink yesterday. Cut three bouquets of the pink roses. Bought some oilcloth for a lunch bag project in, you guessed it, pink. Am I becoming a girly-girl?

And, I've been listening to music in my car rather than the many NPR spoken-word shows I love so much. I think I just need a break from the usual me-ness.


Was exchanging nuptial dirt with another affianced gal in the gym last Friday morning (yes, even our fellow females in the locker room were amused by our undressed sweaty bridal blabbing). She had decided to have her gown made from scratch, and told me that bride-appropriate trim gold could be struck, in, of all places, Napa. Eat a good breakfast, she said, bring water, and be prepared to spend hours going through the goods. In my mind, I envisioned M&J Trimmings, my New York trimming store haunt--a cavernous establishment crammed to the rafters with aisles and aisles of braid, lace, rickrack, tassels, pompoms, and boxes and boxes of buttons, including some that obviously hadn't been opened since 1965, where you had to leave bread crumbs to remember where you found it, staffed by strictly Orthodox elderly Jewish men who would ask you to leave if weren't dressed modestly.

I couldn't resist going the very next day on my gown trimming mission. I didn't think I would find the same staff as M&J of course, but I was disappointed with the selection at the Napa establishment, and it was my own fault. It was a perfectly nice store, with an ancient proprietress who looked like she could've opened the place around the time of the gold rush. She did carry good stock, considering it wasn't M&J, and there was quite a variety. But not what I was looking for.

But there was no way in hell I was driving an hour to Napa and an hour back empty-handed. So I picked up a yard of the aforementioned pink oilcloth and adopted the remains of a bolt of gorgeous apple green wool that I couldn't bear to see in the sale area. I was thinking I'd make a handbag with it, but when I got it home I realized it's almost enough for a throw--which means it will very likely sit in my closet for a few year since I don't want to do the wrong thing with such a fine fabric. Then I wandered down the street to a kitchen store and found a silicone barbecue brush for M. More wandering revealed the door to a scantily-stocked watch shop, and I had a battery replaced in a watch I haven't worn in years due to sheer laziness of not replacing the battery. And then I drove home, wedding high a bit deflated.

This whole wedding thing is definitely putting my shopping mettle to the test. Well, better get a good night's sleep--it's off to the kingdom of Ikea for me tomorrow.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Unscathed by Friday the 13th

Six weeks, people, six weeks! And it's official--I am starting to get excited about the wedding. Thank goodness, I was starting to worry that planning would overshadow the joy, that my nuptials would just be one big drag--despite the fact that I knew this might be a problem since Martha warns about this constantly in her "Weddings" magazine that I have every issue of since the beginning of time. (Will I still purchase it after I'm a Mrs., I wonder...)


Have you missed Tales of the Car Salesmen? I have. The only stories recently have been the ubiquitous ones, to wit: man comes in to trade in his screaming yellow [name of enormous, overpriced vehicle here] for a new screaming yellow [name of enormous, overpriced vehicle here] since the majority of his monthly incomes goes to servicing his car loan. Does he have a down payment? Nah--how do you think he got into that situation in the first place? Will he consider a more pedestrian (forgive me), or--gasp--used car? Hell no. That's downright unAmerican. And he goes away cursing the salesman for his profiteering ways.

So in place of a Tale, here's a little car sales glossary, for your reading pleasure:

A.C.V. (Actual Cash Value): a real term used for used cars but also the slang term used to make fun of ugly/fat/dumb people. "I think the ACV is a little high on this one."
Be-back: a returning customer
Blow him out: firing a salesman
Chimp: stupid customer
Green Pea: brand new salesman
Grinder: a customer that negotiates the price to the bitter end--or doesn't buy after all
Kink: salesman, manager, or finance guy who will fudge paperwork to make the deal go through
Laydown, home run: a customer who pays the asking price, no negotiation
Lot rat: someone who takes more ups than they should
Old Age Unit, Birthday: cars that have been on the lot so long they're deeply discounted
Pencil: the manager's figures on a deal
Pounder: $1K worth of profit on the deal; ie, a $2,000 deal is a two-pounder
Put you together: a salesman or customer trying to get one over on someone else
Roach, credit criminal: customer who can't get financed or who has bad credit
Rougher than a night in jail: used car in very bad shape
Salesproof: a car that is so ugly it will never leave the lot
Skate, Tonya Harding: a salesman who tries to steal deals from other salesmen
Stroke, Jack: a customer who takes up time, but doesn't buy anything
Third baseman: someone not connected to the deal but is playing devil's
advocate to help their friend buy a car. "The biggest pain in the ass in the car business." M wanted me to be sure to note that.
Throw him under the bus: snitch on a fellow salesman. The tattletale is known as a "bus driver."
Up: fresh customer
Upside down, buried, flipped in your sled: customer owes more on the car loan than the vehicle is worth
Whore out: sell the car cheap to undercut the competition

Favorite saleman motto? "Buyers are liars."

(And yes, they are almost always men.)


OK, so I'm doing this thing now: you know how in every episode of "Sex and the City," the main character, Carrie, is shown writing at her computer? And how, just before they cut to the luminous line skipping across her laptop screen that is that episode's plot, she raises an eyebrow to signal that she's getting to the heart of the matter? That's what I'm doing: raising an eyebrow and nodding my head knowingly when I'm getting to the point, both with work compositions and writing this here blog. Ah, what have I become?

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Today, Continued

Red Shoes
Originally uploaded by suzipaw.
Now these are red shoes! No Bozo cracks, please. Luckily, the Crabby Cobbler wasn't there when I picked these up--it was a very nice lady who I suspect was his mother. (Perhaps he's crabby because this was his parents' business and he never wanted to be a cobbler, but he felt he didn't have a choice and/or wanted to honor his parents so by gum he took over when his father keeled over with a heart attack and it was the only life his mother ever knew and he's doing it all for her since he's a good son but so help him God as soon as she passes he's selling it all for a sailboat in Jamaica.)


Did you know that Mothers Day was originally called Mothers' Peace Day? Here's an excerpt of Julia Ward Howe's original proclamation, which she wrote in 1870:

From the voice of a devastated Earth a voice goes up with
Our own. It says: "Disarm! Disarm!
The sword of murder is not the balance of justice."
Blood does not wipe our dishonor,
Nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plough and the anvil at the summons of war,
Let women now leave all that may be left of home
For a great and earnest day of counsel.

Mother's Day didn't become a holiday until 1914. I wonder when "Peace" was excised? Was it because of World War I or II, I wonder, when war was more "right"?


Still thinking about my trip to Wilbur to see Grandma. I brought home one of the little local papers to read. It has ads for jobs, used coveralls, cars, lots of livestock. My favorite reads: "Farm fresh goat's milk--tastes good, not goaty! Farm fresh eggs! Farm fresh frozen rabbit meat, or live rabbit! Colt for sale $100, you catch!" It also has jokes, puzzles, and various directories, including an area church directory. There are a lot of churches in Wilbur.

I did go up to the cemetery while I was there to visit Grandpa's headstone and take a few moments to think of him. It's a spectacular spot. The old part of the cemetery has large and almost exotic-looking trees, standing like an oasis in the flat wheat fields. It's on a bit of a rise, so there's a good view of the surrounding countryside. The lilacs where blooming, and when the wind blew just right, the scent was almost overpowering. Robins kept an eye on me, flitting from headstone to headstone as I walked down the paths. Grandma mentioned when I told her I'd been to the cemetery that she would worry about being accosted by a cougar there--apparently big cats have been sighted in the area. Luckily I didn't think of that while I was visiting. But in hindsight, the idea of a big handsome cougar draped over the limb of a pine tree seemed charming, a strong spirit watching over the departed.

Cemetery Sky


Hawk Tales, part two: As I was driving home yesterday, a hawk and its oriole heckler winged low across the highway right in front of my car. The oriole zoomed right up to the hawk and--I swear--landed on the back of the hawk and rode it for a few seconds. At least, that's what it looked like from 50 miles an hour.


M and I are back where we started--horizontal and respectively belaptopped--chesttopped, in his case. And the house is significantly less dusty and filled with animal hair. (Yes, it was a little silly to feel my heart tightening when I came across a big wad of Tomcat hair behind one of the chairs, but I can't help it. Still missing my Baby.) I like our homely little hovel so much more when it's clean. We really enjoyed the deck today, too--it was expensive, but we use it so much, it's worth every penny.

A Day Off

Well, I guess I'm a bison. I don't agree with everything about this animal personality, but most of it's accurate. I also like that the results give the term for the animal's grouping. For instance, it's a "convention of bison"--certainly apropos for my current professional position. I liked a "suet of walrus." So, I'm a middle-child-Virgo-bison-ox. There it is then.

Thanks, Nancy!


M and I are in our pj's in bed still, side by side with our laptops, Rex between us, taking turns begging us with eyes to come out and play. M's been regaling me with readings from the Creation Science Association (now there's an oxymoron) web site. I've had one latte and am contemplating another. Really, we're just putting off the chore we've assigned ourselves today: cleaning the house. When we do it together, we get a lot done fairly quickly. But it's so pleasant catching up on reading my roster of blogs, listening to the peacock (yes, one of our neighbors keeps a peacock) calling from down the street, and thinking what a lovely day it is today.

Monday, May 09, 2005

"Is this the end of the world?"

Main Street, Wilbur
Originally uploaded by suzipaw.
There I was, minding my own business, sipping my latte and stuffing a plain cake doughnut into my aptly-named cakehole while enjoying the traffic along Highway 2. I saw his dog first, casually sniffing the grass near my feet yet perfectly attuned to possibility that doughnut crumbs could hit the dirt at any moment. The small, slightly twitchy, hunterly dressed man approached me, rambled about his dog a bit, asked if I was from around here, noted that he was planning on stalking the wily turkeys but changed his mind upon learning of rattlesnakes roaming the land. And that's when his asked his question. I had to pause--was it a physical or metaphysical query?

No, Wilbur is certainly not the end of the world, but it is a lovely place to wake up in. Lots of robins, swallows, mourning doves all atwittering in the gray morning light. Not many people sounds, though I could occasionally hear my motel neighbors in the room two doors down as if they were right next door.

I had a wonderful time with Grandma. We went out to lunch at the Corner Cafe, where we had a celebrity sighting: Deb Copenhaver, who had busted broncs all the way to Madison Square Garden in his prime. We grocery shopped at Sandy's, home of the plain cake doughnuts which I treat myself to when I visit (all other baked goods are glazed, even the croissants and cheese pastries) and lattes. We talked about the essentials: family, food, and flowers. We even touched on politics a bit. Now I know where I get the especially soft spot for animals--Grandma mentioned that she was glad when cars and tractors supplanted horses, because many people overworked and abused them so much. I was recognized by a second cousin while dining in one of the three restaurants in town. She pointed out another cousin that I had never met. It's a little disconcerting to have so much family that are strangers.

With Grandma in Wilbur

The visit went too quickly. Thank goodness the flights were uneventful there and back. And though the traveling sucked up a good part of my time, I was glad for a chance to work on my scarf and start "A Very Long Engagement."

Rex and the drain
When I came home, I felt disoriented, and like I hadn't really been gone. It had rained quite a bit, so it was just a soggy, dreary atmosphere. M and I went out for Japanese, which helped a bit. But I'm feeling behind--it was a 12-hour work day today, and there are lots more long ones ahead.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

License to Wed

"Wed"nesday was a fun day for M and me--we went on down to the County Clerk's office and swore an oath that we the undersigned provided information that was true and correct, and that there were no legal barriers to our union. I was worried that we wouldn't be able to get the license, since I didn't have a copy of the final divorce judgment (if I couldn't get it in time, we hatched a contingency plan to go through with the wedding ceremony and reception, but just not tell anyone but the minister--we'd then see a justice of the peace once I had the proper paperwork). But since I've been divorced more than 90 days, no judgment was needed. We raised our right hands and read the statement together, though it took us a couple of tries to say it in unison. As we were driving away and I started blabbing about some mundanity, M stopped the car and turned to me, "Oh, Paw," he said, wanting to hold on to the moment a while longer. "I'm always a little amazed that we've come this far, and are going farther. That you would have me." Aww. See, that's why I'm marrying him.

We also dropped off my shoes to be dyed deep red with the world's crankiest cobbler. He came highly recommended, but I don't think I can pass on the recommendation after the condescending treatment he bestowed on me. Maybe the trolls in the back room had been misbehaving or something. Thank goodness it's only shoes.

And the caterer? She called apologetically on Monday--apparently she never received the confirmation note I sent in with the contract. She was very sorry, but I thought I detected a scosh of disbelief. Well, we're even in thinking it was the other's fault. We'll see how it goes on our next trip to Chico in a few weeks. I am looking forward to meeting with our minister on that trip, at least. He seems very pleased to be refereeing our ceremony, and extra enthusiasm is always welcome.


That New York Times. Gotta give it to them sometimes--I haven't tried it yet, but I just love this idea they wrote about, Dial-A-Poem (I've put a link in my Links section.)


I'm off to see Grandma tomorrow morning. She lives in a little town near Spokane. I'm really looking forward to seeing her. We usually sit and talk and look at pictures. I wished I lived closer, and could see her more often, but we'll get to spend a little bit of Mother's Day with her.

I'm hoping to come away with copies of some letters written by a woman who lived on the property adjoining my great-grandfather's--my grandma has copies since some of the letters refer to my great-grandfather. The woman was from the same town in Wisconsin as my great-grandfather, and came to Washington around the same time he did to marry the neighbor. Before she moved, however, she spent time in Colorado, and wrote to her betrothed about her experiences there. She was a wonderful writer, and it's such a lovely window into the turn of that other century.

carnivorous plants

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Summer's Coming

Ah, the birth of summer--veggies blackened on the barbie, strawberries and corn that taste like they're supposed to, and the dulcet tones of the Monster Truck rally wafting through the air, the soundtrack to many dinners on the back deck...


hawk fight
Originally uploaded by suzipaw.
I saw the most amazing thing today: As I was in the backyard this afternoon, peering at the nest in the rosebush, I heard a hawk's call. Looking up, I saw not one, but two, and one was clutching a good-sized silvery snake. I could see that the other hawk wanted that snake snack. They drifted close together, almost lazy--there wasn't any fast maneuvering, though they covered a lot of sky and just a few hundred feet away from me. So I got a great view when the empty-taloned hawk suddenly moved in and grabbed the other end of the snake. It was an incredible sight, watching the two large birds floating in tandem in the blue sky, joined by the snake (what if it were still alive?!). I stared thunderstruck, wondering if I should keep watching, or run inside to get my camera and risk missing the aerial denouement. But I figured I'd already seen something pretty rare, why not take a chance and try to capture it? I sprinted inside, grabbed the camera, and ran back out, just in time to snap this shot of the hawks, separated, drifting away over the top of the house, snake still in the clutches of one hawk.


In Other News:

I left early yesterday morning for Chico, meeting up with my mother and brother for a powwow with the caterer at the reception site. We got there a few minutes late, but unfortunately, the caterer never arrived. The gal who shows the reception spot is incredibly nice. As we waited, she made conversation, didn't seem put out or eager for us to leave. She also loaned me her cell phone so I could leave messages with the caterer, and was quite willing to come back later in the afternoon or even this morning if we were able to make a new appointment with the cater. This scenario unfortunately did not happen. The caterer never returned my call. I did confirm the meeting with her in writing, so I wonder what happened...

This meeting was the main reason for my trip to Chico, but we got quite a bit of other wedding biz done, as well as had a nice family visit. We met with the guy doing the bar set-up and hashed that out, not the least of which was my brother alerting me to the fact that according to the contract with the reception site, I have to hire a bartender. We took five different bottles of wine for testing, and polished a couple off last night while watching, appropriately enough, "Sideways."

While I was there, I also met with the woman who arranged for the officiant to conduct the ceremony. We went over the text, she made some suggestions and we chatted.

So, things are progressing.


It was also a beautiful drive there and back. It's a wonderful year for wildflowers: purple and pale golden lupin, California poppies, mustard, purple sweet peas, several other pink and orange flowers I don't know the name of. There are also some spectacular specimens of oak on this route. I wish there were some way of properly paying homage to them all.


I just heard on NPR that the latest job to be outsourced to India is lawyering. Great--that'll probably be in full swing just about the time M is graduating.


I started a knitting project! I don't know what came over me. It's just a simple scarf, but one I'd been thinking about for a while. I think that's a good sign, don't you? That I'm not too harried to pick up knitting project. We'll see how long that feeling lasts.


I ushered at our local Cultural Arts Center last Thursday. I've been too busy to fulfill my volunteering quota of three shows per month, but I really wanted to do this one--an appearance by David Sedaris. It was a sold-out show, and he was very good. I tried to read "Barrel Fever" months ago and couldn't get past the first story--I think some of his tales need to be read aloud by him. But I always enjoy the Q&A parts of the literary presentations in particular, and he seems like an interesting person, so it was fun.

Though I did oversleep the next day and miss my step class, though perhaps that's just as well, I'm still feeling a bit poorly. I should've set aside the knitting this afternoon and picked up the exercise tubing and/or walked the mutt, but knitting on the couch listening to "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me" and watering my garden barrels seemed more productive.

Ah, summer.