Thursday, June 30, 2005

More Wedding Pix

So I've uploaded more wedding photos to my Flickr account. That tagging thing, what a helpful function.


I played the wedding card last night and ditched my evening work schmoozing duties to have dinner with my cousin and her son in Chinatown last night. We had a lovely time and l'm so glad I had a chance to spend some quality time with them. After dinner we met up briefly with her sister, my other cousin, who was dining with other old friends.

I really miss them, and it made me resolve to set a time to visit them next year. My work travel calendar for 2006 hasn't been confirmed, but I think I'll just make plans and hope for the best.


And now, back to my regularly scheduled work program.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Conference in the City

So much to write, so little time. A posting from last night that I'm just now getting up since I couldn't get online in the hotel room.


Originally uploaded by suzipaw.
Happy birthday, Dad!


The fog is tightening its tender grip, hastening twilight. I returned to my room after dinner in the Oak Room here at the St. Francis to find a bottle of chilled champagne and chocolate dipped strawberries from my work cohorts to celebrate the wedding. (M was supposed to come down with me, but decided to go to my mom's when he found out my cousins were going to be there, though his cold changed those plans and he's in his own bed nursing orange juice and wonton soup. His plans may change back again--if he feels better tomorrow, he'll come down and have dinner with my cousin, her son, and me in SF.)

Still thinking many happy thoughts about the wedding. Still trying to get used to using "wife" and "husband" for real--we're not just playing house anymore. Below are a few photos--can't wait to see more.

Sealed with a kiss

Felicia Denise Mom
My niece, sister-in-law, and mom


Aunt J, pianist extraordinaire
Aunt J, pianist extraordinaire

At Dinner

Sunday, June 26, 2005

One Happy Couple

Draft Portrait
Originally uploaded by suzipaw.
So, as the caption notes, this is just a draft--a photo snapped on the bathroom vanity of a photo from a printer that was running out of ink. I make no excuses for my odd lip curl or sheen of sweat (it was a positively cool upper-80s day)--more and better (I hope) photos will be posted soon.

Our wedding was a wonderful ceremony and celebration. I am truly blessed to have so many amazing people in my life, particularly my husband. Husband!

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Pepper, Unexpected

M went off to the lake with his best friend and brother, and I spent the day on wedding preparations. I felt like it was a little bit of busy work, trying not to be nervous, though I had a lot of chores and loose ends to see to. I haven't yet thought of anything I've left at home. As usual, I felt good getting things ready, but I also felt a bit dorky, toting my green notebook around like a security blanket. The photo booth activity for the reception is still a bit of a mystery, but I have most of the day tomorrow to figure it out. I would also like to spend a bit of time with my brother--he suggested we go up to some swimming holes, which would be fun. If I have time. And if he has time. He's been working hard to beautify his pad for the pre-wedding dinner.

Late in the afternoon I dared to don my new bathing suit and took a plunge in the minimal motel pool, which they carved out of part of the parking lot. Though the traffic was busy swirling around me, the worst noise pollution was the middle-aged man at the other end of the pool. At first he complained loudly to a woman about some other apparently horrible person, and then to the person himself, who turned out to be a college student-type. Two of the phrases I heard while gingerly sunning myself? "I don't like you. You don't like me. But we're bound together because of laws." "You are the reason I hate myself. You and only you." Not even my July issue of Martha Stewart could help.

As consolation for having to dine alone tonight, I took myself out to a nice Italian place. I was that woman I observed a few weeks ago, dining alone in an Italian joint. I watched Chico pass before me, however, rather than read. An older gent, the only other diner, sat on one side of the establishment, and when he left I felt a bit of balance leave too. The food was good, flies a little too "abondanza," but I went out on a limb and ordered a dessert that the waiter recommended: an orange macerated in a sugar syrup topped with julienned peel and--fresh ground black pepper. It was wonderful. Earlier this year I tried Tim Tams for the very first time, a crispy-wafer-chocolate with red pepper confection. The waiter mentioned that he often takes a Hershey bar with him when he has spicy Asian food, and nibbles on chocolate to cool the fire. Hmm, another excuse to eat chocolate.

I'm trying not to obsessively check the weather, but I'm not having much luck. There are not one but two TVs here in our room, and it's on a lot. (This is a budget motel--the towels are thinner, the drinking implements plastic wrapped in plastic, the cleaning supplies stinky, but the cable channels are way more robust than the nicer hotels I stay in for work.) The forecast for Saturday in the mid- to upper 80s, unseasonably "cool" for Chico. Oh. Please.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005


I wish you could've been out on the deck with me yesterday afternoon. The last days of spring's dampness chased away by bright sun and blue skies. Before me was the stage of the backyard, birds singing back and forth into the wings of the other yards, traffic noise a distant hum, the neighbor dogs silent for once, blessedly silent, bugs humming with the traffic, the Japanese beetles slowly filling their green and black spotted bodies with petals from my beautiful dahlias. But I was on the deck at the foot of the hill. Perhaps I was the character, on stage in the amphitheater for the pleasure of the flora and fauna, observing my Noh-like stillness.

And I wish you could be out on the deck with me now. The sun rises behind the hill, setting the fog that crowns the hill aglow all along the ridge-line and silhouetting the bones of the oak tree, lighting the tips of the shoulder-high grasses just beyond the fence. Once again the dogs are blessedly silent, there's just the heckle of birds going about their flying and perching business, outdoor furniture set pieces awaiting their actors, the hissing hum of water shooting through the hoses to the roots of the lemon tree, iris, sweet peas, stunted lettuce that I planted in the wrong spot. Veronica is a cameo player in this morning's tableau vivant, choosing the elegant and understated role of Napping Cat on Lap. Ah. There. Coy has begun his chorus of the Howling Damned Dog. The peacock screams. The Garbage Truck makes its entrance. Today is afoot.


What essential item will I leave behind when we depart for Weddingville this morning? The gown? My wedding binder? I would like to leave behind my desire to check my work email, but I don't think I'll manage that one.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Welcome Back to the Wedding Channel

Well, in less than a week, I'll be a missus again.

Mom came down Tuesday night and we had a lovely birthday grillfest in her honor. Wednesday morning we visited the seamstress to pick up the gown. It fits beautifully now, and the slip really does help with the line. M was off on his own errands, so we planned out the plan of attack for the trim while he was safely out of gown-gazing range. I had thought it would take me a couple of hours to finish the trim, but it ended up taking me five, count 'em five hours. I was multi-tasking, though--I listened to the playlist for the wedding, and did a little editing. I'm so very happy with the dress results--pretty unusual for a picky Virgo like me. It's something I sort of designed myself, which usually means disappointment--the end results of almost all of my crafty projects never quite live up to my vision. I was thinking how pleasant each part of a wedding can be individually--buying the costume, planning a party, planning a ritual, having family and friends together--but having it all mushed together can be so daunting.

Bridal Lunch
Originally uploaded by suzipaw.
Work was very busy last week, trying to get everything in order before leaving, which was not easy--lots of deadlines and the week before a conference is the always a bit frenzied. But my colleagues were very kind and took me out to a bridal lunch. I felt a bit like Sally Field: "They like me. The really like me!"

Lots of shopping these past few days, errands and calls, performed through the disconcerting atmosphere of rain and threatening clouds. It just felt like the wrong season. Today was a beautiful day. M came home from work a bit early, and has a few weeks away from work, so is relieved and happy. We finally unpacked and played with the photo printer that we bought for the wedding photo booth (that I still haven't quite worked out all the details for...) It's a pretty nice little toy. It was starting to rankle a little that all of my photos for the last few months have been digital. I like photos on paper. Now when I print out my monthly blog I can include a sheet of real photos, rather than funkly b&w versions on regular paper. The technology is so amazing these days, isn't it? Ungeeky people like me can have a full wedding album by the time the last bit of soggy cheesecake is swept off the reception floor.

Time to walk the mutt...

Friday, June 17, 2005


Originally uploaded by suzipaw.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

We Three Rings

Originally uploaded by suzipaw.
Won't be able to wear these after the 25th, unless they submit to special surgery. The square silver ring is just a trinket, but the gold ring I bought to celebrate my return to California (and subsequently gained too much weight to wear it comfortably, until a few months ago when the effects of the Engagement Diet really kicked in). The turquoise ring I will miss, and will probably try to have it sized eventually. I bought it for myself on my 40th birthday trip, when we were visiting the Grand Canyon on the way home from Monument Valley. I found it in the consignment case at the cheesy gift shop (my favorite!), and always wished I knew more about it--who made it and why it had to be sold...

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

The Willies

Among her many other talents, my stepmom is a fabulous seamstress. When her grandson wanted to attend his prom in the fashion of Johnny Depp's Willy Wonka, she came up with this:

Willie Johnny
Johnny as Willy

Willie Mark
Mark as Willy

Pretty amazing!

Monday, June 13, 2005

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Originally uploaded by suzipaw.
I hope you have a lovely day, and am looking forward to your visit tomorrow.


This link went around the office today: Combat Cutlery Gallery.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Getting in Touch with My Inner Drunken Sailor

So I'm recovering today. No, not from emptying a bottle, but from emptying my wallet. My shopping trips were just a little too successful after I left Julia at the Box yesterday, so I'm experiencing a spending hangover. My bathing suit is cute, but did I really need that tank top, blue shorts that look an awful lot like a pair I already have, cheap sunglasses--and on and on? I did get a new chicken grilling rack for M, and something he's wanted for a while: a cordless grill lamp. Guess we could've dug out the camping lamps, but this one clips on to the cooker. Yeah, gotta have that.

Another beautiful day in paradise. Music from the Health & Harmony Festival at the fairgrounds drifts around the deck. Yep, it's as tie-dye as it sounds. When I took Rex for a walk in the field that serves as the parking lot for the fair, several vehicles that seemed to have survived from the Age of Aquarius were still parked under the trees.

Scenes from a dog walk:

This was set up recently by the ditch that bisects the field. Evidence of aliens?

Cat Lineup
Some call it progress, but this sight kinda depresses me.

What the cats have wrought. Ripped up the field to replace it with a housing development perversely called "The Grasslands."

Ker Plunk
Ker Plunk: A company with a sense of humor...

Development Sculpture
This sculpture (I think this is art) was just recently erected. Wish I knew more about it.

Time to caulk the bathroom backsplash...

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Two Weeks, Seven Hours

I'm at the Box on a Saturday, waiting for PWG cohort Julia. Rebecca, the third member of our merry band, is off to Esalen for a poetry workshop. It's a different group behind the counter. A nice man with a lovely accent, but no angels. On the drive here, I was thinking it would be good to arrive before Julia--I could get some writing done before she comes, we could blab for a bit, then I'd leave and she could get some writing done. As with most writers groups, we've morphed from writing and critiquing to some critiquing but mostly blabbing, some of it about writing. I'm so very happy and grateful for Julia and Rebecca. Not only are they just all-around wonderful women, but they're helping me to actually write, even if it is just this blog, which seems to somehow be a very crucial part of my being that I can't quite accomplish on my own.

Warning: I'm at a loss for blog topics this morning, so I'll be rambling for a while.

Not a good sleep last night. Tomcat made a cameo appearance, and so in my dream I was happy, confused, and worried--Pookie is so much less twitchy without him, and the food I prepare has a lot less hair overall, so how would we smoothly incorporate his returning presence?--then sad as I realized that I was just dreaming of Tomcat. Also, I've been plagued at work by someone I've had to say "no" to (in a professional capacity), and he hasn't been taking it well, arguing with me, and so I have to keep saying "no," which, as a middle child, I hate to do. He sent the latest email Friday, and I have my response all queued up and ready to go, but I'm sitting on all two sentences of it til Monday. Don't want him to think he's so important that I have to respond to right away, even though I'm losing sleep! As M might say, why am I letting him live rent-free in my brain? I am weak. General Axtell (my Dad advised that I should be sure to be a four-star general--none of this brigadier stuff) would just bark out a "No" and move on. Channeling General Axtell, channeling General Axtell...

I've finished my bagel and cream cheese, but there's some cream cheese still left in the container, and I'm wondering how gauche it would be to scoop it out with the knife and then nibble it off the blade here in public.

I have my vows sitting on the bedside table, and every night I work on memorization (except for last night when I was too distracted by That Work Guy). It's only 179 words, but I want to be sure to say it all without stumbling, to convey it meaningfully. But the memorization exercise also gets me thinking of so many things--random wedding details, the whole Wedding Thing, other weddings I've been to, and on and on. The other night when I was ostensibly staring passively into space and memorizing but really off on a mental tangent, M turned to me and said, "What is going on with you?" He claims he can hear my thoughts, which I like, but it also scares me a bit. I don't think he can understand them yet, but I guess he can't duck the roaring brain waves.

Two bumpstickers I've read recently:
"My honor student gets pierced at Zebra!"
"If you lived closer to your heart, you'd be home now."

That last one is so "West County," as we describe the post-hippie-new-agers around these parts. I sort of like the balance of ex-hippies, traditional redneck ranchers, yuppies, and a new generation of back-to-the-landers. In my doctor's office, I had to make the hard decision to pick up "Gourmet" or "Mules Today" while in the waiting room. ("Gourmet" won, but I did read the back cover of "MT," an ad for an apparently nearly miraculous piece of mule flesh.) I want so much to be able to spend the rest of my days here--buy a small spread and raise fruit and heritage farm animals with a little cat and dog rescue thrown in for good measure ("But you won't be able to travel," M observes about this little fantasy)--but even if M does find a great lawyer job with a fancy salary, I don't think we'd be able to afford much more than we have now. It's just too expensive here.

M took me out to a nice Italian place for dinner last week, the night of the disconcerting precipitation. That sort of helped bring the day into a semblance of normality. Perhaps you're familiar with the art projects that seize cities these days, where fiberglass statues are painted/decorated then displayed around town? We have that going on here, the fiberglass likeness that of Charlie Brown, since "Sparky" Schulz was a resident for most of his life. There was a Chef Charlie outside the restaurant. He looked like he was in pretty good shape, but I've read in our local paper that several of his Doppelgangers have been vandalized. Inside, the restaurant reminded us both very much of our favorite spot in New York, which was at once pleasant and a little sad for me. There was a young woman sitting alone at a table with a book, ordering a second glass of red wine, and I thought of how many times I've been in her shoes, alone in a city, loathe to order room service and stay cooped up after travel, but still so alone in a public place.

OK, one last thing about that fancy Virgo soap--aside from the fact that it's stinky (oops, aroma therapeutic), it's also very blue. So blue that it stained my wash cloth. Isn't that oxymoronic, for soap to stain?

I'm liking "The Time Traveler's Wife," for the most part. I feel a little guilty about it, since several other respected readers in my life pshawed it. But I feel myself craving a read when I hop into bed, and I have a hard time stopping after just one chapter. That's definitely part of my lack of sleep equation.

Two weeks, six hours...

Friday, June 10, 2005

Damn Magic 8-Ball

"Can I have another cup of coffee?"

"My Reply Is No"

"OK, can I have a cup of decaf, then?"

"My Sources Say No"

More Signs of the Apocalypse

It rained here two days ago. Poured. The oenophiles are freaking.

I ignored back issues of "The New Yorker" at the gym's magazine exchange this morning, opting for "Glamour" instead.


At the expense of sleep, we made good progress on the bathroom last night. The sink sphinx must've revealed the riddle of the drain to M--after days of profound frustration, he was able to install the trap without incident. We hung the many-mirrored medicine cabinet (for better or for worse, you can see yourself reflected on both sides of the door, in the back of the cabinet, *and* on both sides!). We have some finishing to do, and a solution for the shower curtain to arrive at, but it's looking great. And we have another sink! Why oh why didn't I take pix?

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

I Organize

Really, the one wedding thing I'm dreading--aside from the possibility of a heatwave--is my inability to be the gracious center of attention for an extended period of time. Usually my limit is about three minutes, so the idea of donning that princess (or in my case, aging dame) mantle for three days is already exhausting me.

Got a lot of confirming to do today, and shopping if I can. On Monday night I spent some time breaking down my To Do list into smaller chunks, like Do and Buy, lists of things to bring to various venues. As I was tossing and turning in bed this morning, I imagined myself decked out in my gown, ready to start the ceremony, but compulsively going through the green wedding binder, checking off guests, tasks, timeline...ah, the Virgo is in her element these days. Well, I was also visualizing myself Calmly and Collectedly making my way down The Aisle. I'm using positive visualization as a crutch pretty extensively these days.


Speaking of Virgo: An insert from a gift of Virgo soap ("Soular Therapy--The collection you were born to experience.") given to me quite a while ago that I'm finally just now getting around to using--I have a thing about not using "good" soap. Whatever.)

Color: Blue
Emanates purism and refinement
Affirmation: "I attend"
Inspiration: Analytical thought and physical purity
Element: Earth, grounded and controlled
Ruling body: Mercury
Stone: Sapphire
Essential Oils: Clary sage and wintergreen

"I attend"? That's it, I just show up? Sheesh. Maybe it's meant in the "I pay attention" vein. M's affirmation is "I master" at least. Though we know who really wears the pants in the family.


We watched Team America last night. Pretty funny if you care for the Stone/Parker productions, and I do on a limited basis. Just as Orgazmo made fun of both the porn industry and the Mormons, "Team America" was a savvy send-up of both low-brow Red State "patriotism" and knee-jerky Hollywood lefties. And since this wasn't the theatrical release version, we were treated to the puppet sex scene, woo! The bonus material has some great info about the puppetry production. Brought me back to days of The Thunderbirds.

OK, off to the list mines...

Sunday, June 05, 2005


Bridal Brunch
Originally uploaded by suzipaw.
It was a much different bridal shindig than the first one they threw for me twenty-choke-three years ago. There was lingerie, yes, but today we also discussed menopause and osteoporosis, husbands ex- and otherwise, the shenanigans of their offspring becoming adults rather than our own awkward stumblings into grown-up-hood. Plenty of laughter, but not really the giggling girly stuff of yore. I'm grateful these women have been my friends for so long, that we have history and lives to lead, that they wanted to celebrate my upcoming marriage. But it was not just our quarterly gals gathering, we were marking a milestone, which always makes me look back at how far I've come, which is getting further all the time. And while I wouldn't go back even if I could ("The Time Traveler's Wife" is having an effect on me), I did feel a little wistful for my youth, when there was so much more time before me.

As I was writing that last sentence, however, another part of my brain countered that while I might've squandered some those pre-wrinkle and gray hair days, I'm stronger, happier, smarter, and much more skilled now. And there are still, I hope, many adventures I have yet to embrace. I'm fortunate to have so many wonderful people to share my journey with.


A shout-out to Rebecca's post, about the joys of just being, and of finding time to connect. Amen, sister.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Exactly Three Weeks from Now I'll Be...

The book on the top of my toilet tank is Digital Photography Hacks. Most of the tips I can't implement because I don't possess photo editing software (yet), but one of the tips I recently flipped to was #88: Keep a Digital Diary. The author (a personal friend of mine!) recommends using a cameraphone or keeping cheap digital camera on your person to snap one photo a day. Add a caption and pop 'em all into a folder into your iPhoto or other photo organizer. Derrick notes, "Seems kind of boring, doesn't it? You'll be surprised that, over time, those images are anything but boring. Even after only a couple of months, you'll find that looking back is more fun than you would have imagined."


M recommended that I should blog about our conversation with a quail the other night. Like a feathered Pepe LePew, a young male had left his covey and was calling from the hill behind our house, on the hunt for a love nest. M dug out his quail call, and replied. It was funny to hear how the quail's response changed, became a shorter and almost questioning. After just a few exchanges, he couldn't resist, and flew overhead, looking for the source. He finally settled high on oak tree, giving us a great view of his handsome self. Hope he's found a real mate by now. Have you ever seen a quail family when the babies are very young? I had a family skitter across my path last season, and the young ones are just adorable puffs of fluff. Hope we get a chance to see more babies this summer.


Maybe it was the "Fresh Air" interview with the nun who lives in the Tiajuana prison I was listening to before bedtime, but I had terrible dream a couple of nights ago. I was in the front passenger seat of a car, remaining calm as two middle aged mustachioed Latino (middle-eastern?) men drove a pipe through the back of my right hand. In the dream, my consciousness was very Zen-like, and I didn't feel pain, but of course my hand was pinned to the front seat when they were done. They reached for my left hand and that's when I freaked out, began screaming nonstop, envisioned the biscuit-sized hole I would have in both hands, how it would hurt, I would lose the use of both hands, I tried to get away but couldn't. Huh. I was so scared I woke myself up, and didn't return to dreamland for a while. Even M thought it was about the wedding.

Not surprisingly, I was tired the next day.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Scenes from a Backyard

View of the future Farmers Lane
View of the future Farmers Lane

Tomcat's Poppies
Tomcat's Poppies

Rex, Veronica, camera-shadow
Rex, Veronica, camera-shadow

Sweet Million
Sweet Million