Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Salt and Tears

How lame is it to have four kinds of salt in one's home? Gray hand-harvested French, brittle Atlantic, red (like lava) Hawaiian, and ye olde stand-by, Kosher. I need to boil up an ear of white corn and sprinkle on a sampling of each, then chomp across, cartoon typewriter style, for comparison. Mmm...salt.


Saturday arrived. Rex's murderous barking at the postal person, making the rounds a bit earlier than usual. The thud of the letters in the mailbox. My dad, stepmom, and I froze. The grades had arrived, and with them, despair or elation? On the way to the bedroom, M confirmed that a letter from the college arrived. I gave him a few moments alone, then peeked in. He was on his back on the bed, crying. I cringed...then realized they were tears of relief. He passed. O hallelujah. It was going to be a very long year otherwise.


Had one of the most relaxing weekends ever, thanks to the arrival of aforementioned dad and stepmom. I was prone in the sack til 8am three days in a row. We sat out on the back deck for hours at a time, jawing about family, drinking wine, watching hawk antics, listening to Dad's tale's of life on the farm. We co-shopped Costco, consumed grilled food with abandon. Work has been extra busy and stressful these last few days, but last weekend was a true mental vacation.


Mom and stepdad arrive home safely. There are a few photos up, not enough of course. (Yes, that's a really subtle hint.)


Last weekend was also Memorial Day. I thought a lot about my grandma, the one person in my life who really observes that day for what it is, though she focuses on all of her interred family, not just war dead. She also spent many years celebrating the living over Memorial Day, the future dead I suppose, helping to organize family reunions on her mother's side for many years. It's strange to write, but I enjoyed the few pilgrimages to the cemetery I embarked on with her, placing tulips and iris-- cut from her yard and my aunt and uncle's yard in Portland and brought in coolers with great care--on headstones of people I never knew, hearing her say what relation they were to us. Now my grandpa is buried there and I've been to that place on the hill enough times, most recently with my niece, to finally make it a place that lives comfortably in my memory. I'm so very glad and grateful for Grandma's memory and for her stewardship of family ceremony and history.

Felicia in Wilbur cemetery

And my heart and sympathy go out to Nancy, who lost a special person last week.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Memorial Day Approacheth

So just in time for the long weekend, Marsee, my fellow cube-dweller, sent this article from Forbes extolling the virtues of goofing off: Sneak Out of Work Right Now (or in my case, blogging while at work, though the article does point out that simultaneously performing personal and professional tasks while in the office isn't as satisfying as getting out).

If you're interested in reading more about M's Supreme Court shenanigans, here's his statement of the case and his letter to his dean describing the process, hoping for school credit.

My dad and stepmom are a-visiting tomorrow, yay! I'm not sure yet what we'll do while they're here--Point Reyes for cheese and oysters, a la Julia? The diRosa Preserve? Copia? So many choices, and the weather is getting more balmy every day…

In other parental news, my mom and stepdad are due to return today from their three week tour of China celebrating their 25th anniversary. I was a little worried when I read about the typhoons there, but I figure the tour operators would err on the side of caution and keep them out of the bad weather areas. Right?

Monday, May 22, 2006

What's New? Oh, My Husband Is Suing the President

Just in case they weren't tapping our phone before (I knew there was a good reason why I have a severe case of phone phobia), M has just filed a writ of mandamus, charging our commander in chief with violating the Fourth Amendment by wiretapping without a warrant:

"It's a very basic argument I'm making. Just that the public statements of the NSA director and the Attorney General (which I got of the white house web site) are in direct contravention of the fourth, and that the Supreme Court should demand that they follow the law and get a warrant. The court should sanction the executive until they show that they are in compliance with the fourth."

This all came up very suddenly, when M was chatting up the constitutional law professor last week, a person M describes as an intense West County (ex-hippie who got older and realized living off the land ain't all it's cracked up to be so went out and found a "real" job) libertarian. It was his suggestion and he mostly just steered M through the process of researching the forms and laws, filing it correctly. M is hoping to receive school credits, which would be fabulous. The ConLaw prof predicts that the media will be descending on our home any minute to hear the full story of why this plucky law student is taking on the White House. I'm a bit more pessimistic--either a big anti-climatic nothing will happen or M will be placed on the terrorists-to-watch list and we'll just think nothing happened.


It was a fine, pleasant weekend, all in all. Some rain, which was actually nice, though it will ensure that the fire hazard this summer will be high. I finished my first purse project--a few mistakes, but a good learning process. We made a cream cake (a quick one-bowl wonder producing a dense, moist dessert) Saturday night, during an intermission of the new version of The Producers, topping it with strawberries from my favorite farmers market stand.

JeriLu's commencement speech
Originally uploaded by suzipaw.
Rebecca and I met for writing time at our usual spot on Sunday, but while she squeezed out a few paragraphs, I opened my laptop and that was the extent of it. Double sigh. But we got some good gabbing in, and that was wonderful. I went to my friend JeriLu's graduation from nursing school. I misjudged the timing of the event, but got there just in time not only to see her receive her pin, but also to give a most excellent address. Congrats, JeriLu!


Congrats to my friend Rachel's daughter, Francesca--she placed third in the state spelling bee! Her grandparents think she wuz robbed--the "pronouncer" didn't say her final word correctly, and that's what knocked her out.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Not Enough Foxy Floating Around

But the 70's are still engulfing me. I bought some button-fly jeans last weekend, ripped out the hems, and am toying with the idea of embroidering them with poodles from an embroidery design transfers book I picked up at the library sale a few weeks ago. And yes, that is a macrame book in the photo. It's the second in my craft library, if you must know.


Thanks to BoingBoing, I've had a happy video-watching morning:

Ten Things I Hate about Commandments

Sita Sings the Blues in The Battle of Lanka

Love Is All


Not finding much time to write essays or blog posts. Sigh. But my first purse is almost done. My rose bushes and irises are petalicious. Last weekend, M and I brought down the lounge chairs from the rafters and sat in them, staring, dog on lap, for nearly an hour. Just watching the birds going about their business, grasses waving. It just seemed like the only thing to do at the time, but I have been feeling a little guilty about it. Gotta get over that.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Hairy Men in Ukiah Have No Qualms About Dancing Solo

That's the conclusion I reached Thursday evening as M and I took in the music scene at the Ukiah Brewing Company. His best friend's brother's band, Delta Nove, plays a most interesting mix of afro-samba-funk dance music with a few heavy metal power chords and a touch of Oingo thrown in for good measure. I had heard their CD and was unimpressed, but their live performance was excellent (and I found out later the recording was several years old). Almost everyone in the Brewery was up and dancing--even we were swaying--and it was abundantly obvious that M was the only clean-cut male there. Definitely a flashback to those heady, hirsute days of 1976 for me, aided by copious references to smoking pot, musical and practical. I hope they'll come back to our area soon.

Another harkening back to my youth--we were up til 2:00 a.m. that night! Wow, I am one wild woman.


Speaking of wild life, as I was rummaging around in the fridge yesterday, preparing an offering to the Flying Spaghetti Monster (we made our own fettucine yesterday, turned out great!) I noticed a green reptilian head poking out from the grill at the foot of the fridge. I admit, I freaked, and while I didn't scream, I did call quite loudly and frantically for M, who was prepping his tackle box in the garage. It slipped out onto the kitchen floor and turned out to be a fairly large lizard--eight inches of body and quite healthy looking, handsome even in, retropect. After a bit of herding (Rex was no help whatsoever), M managed to sweep it out onto the deck, where it promptly scuttled back into the house--well, we do have lots of spiders and other creatures, I'm sure it was quite happy indoors--we chased it back out and now it's in the yard somewhere. Had it made its way inside while small and spent weeks, even months, under the fridge? I wondered uneasily. M thinks he just snuck in that day. We have been leaving the doors open all day every day...but still. Thank FSM it didn't appear while we had company.


M and Rex are off fishing on a friend's swanky new boat, and now I'm off to meet Julia for writing time. Wonder if anything will come out--I've been feeling distinctly uncreative these days. Wish me luck.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Road Trip Report

with Katch at Hearst Castle
Originally uploaded by suzipaw.
Well, it was a lovely weekend, all in all. My friend suffered from some gastrointestinal discomfort, but gamely toured Hearst Castle and the quaint village of Cambria. We walked on several beaches, saw elephant seals, ate pretty well, visited the local cemetery, watched FoodTV and plastic surgery shows (no connection, I'm sure!), window shopped, enjoyed car conversations and companionable silences, took in gorgeous coastal views coming back up via Big Sur…we packed in quite a bit in just 48 hours.

So it was hard going back to work today. In fact, I decided I have to take Friday off to recover. M and I will head out to see a friend of his in a band touring through Ukiah after his Thursday night class, so that works out well.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Award winners

Award winners
Originally uploaded by suzipaw.
Felicia received a Student of the Month award, Brandon was MVP for his basketball team. A proud auntie moment! And amazed auntie too--my nephew seems taller every time I see him or receive a new photo!


I'm hittin' the road with a gal pal this afternoon, heading down to San Simeon and Hearst Castle for the weekend. The Monster Mobile gets decent gas mileage, considering it's two tons of V8 fun, but still...gas prices, ouchie!

Monday, May 01, 2006

Return to the Screen

So I've been avoiding the laptop for a few days. I could feel its single blue-white eye pulsing, watching me through its black nylon bag, but I resisted. The sky was just too blue, the orioles are back and needed observation, as did the hawks gamboling low over our home. Chores needed doing (spring cleaning--windows washed, deck scrubbed and sealed, side yard pulled apart and organized). And M and I needed to spend some quality time together. We watched movies, cooked, smiled at each other knowingly as we polished our respective sides of the windows, filled with domestic bliss. He even came with me to the library sale. We had our separate activities too--I had a happy half-hour in a thrift store, and M visited his clubhouse a couple of times, coming back looking five years younger.

What I didn't do? Work on my essays. Blog, though it was on my list and I had something pithy in mind to set down about death, but it slipped away which I think is all for the best. Visit the beach. Respond to email. Good intentions gone the way of the breeze.

Yeah, sure, the life of the conferences publicist seems glamorous: late nights eating stone-cold south Indian take out in the tub while calling home, or cobbling together dinner from a reception appetizer buffet; making conversation on the tradeshow floor with geeks who wax poetic over the latest database innovations; spending 48 straight hours inside the hotel and convention center, convinced that fresh, non-circulated air must be out there somewhere; partaking gratefully of the stiff cookies and cold milk left in the room on the last night by the hotel staff.
But y'know, it's taking its toll. This was a relatively easy event, and it took me three days to recover. Aging is a bitch.


More evidence of the advantages to having crafty-arty family and friends: The vase my uncle turned and the cracker tray my mom built.


Happy May Day. As I was driving to work today, I passed a man, crowned with flowers and wearing what was apparently a vest made of silk leaves, driving a cherry (condition and color) two-door 1970-ish Impala convertible, bouquets of flowers and what seemed to be a May Pole jutting out of the open trunk. It's also been a day of immigration rights rallies. I wasn't out and about much to observe any firsthand today, but it's gratifying to know that people are coming together peacefully to make a statement.