Friday, June 30, 2006

Bush-U2 Mash-up

A Sunday Bloody Sunday cover, sorta.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Web Photos like Windows

Another reason to love Flickr: I was scrolling through eyeLook's photo stream last night. She's a friend of my aunt's and we became mutual Flickr contacts after my aunt mentioned my blog to her. We exchange the occasional comment, and I've enjoyed getting to know someone pretty much via visuals only. As I was viewing her pictures of a recent party she attended, I had the pleasant realization that I recognized two of people in the photos--my aunt* and uncle, who were in attendance. How fun is that?! These web acquaintances really come in handy.

*Who made my anniversary weekend by send in several beautiful pages to include in the wedding guest/scrapbook.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

One Year

So today makes one year of married bliss for M and me. At least, I hope he feels it's been as happy as I think it's been. I'm pretty certain he does. It's Sunday, so it actually feels more like the day after the wedding. I left M snoring in the motel suite and took Rex for a walk around downtown Chico that morning. It was cool, deserted--except for M's brother who drove by in his enormous red pick-up heckling me good-naturedly, parking a ways down the street and stumbling out of his truck wearing the same clothes he'd been in the night before. A very Chico kind of moment, enhanced by the realization that he was legally now my brother-in-law. I felt different that day, though I can't really express how. Nothing really changed but for my ability to add M to my health insurance and the odd tiff we had about his mom addressing the next few letters to us as Mr. and Mrs. Murray Cockerill. I know other people are fine with that, but I never have been. But I love referring to him at "my husband." We don't have any formal anniversary celebration plans for today, but I'm just so glad we'll spend the day together.


I'm trying not to be too concerned about it and just ride out this current lack of writing wave I'm in, but my lack of both blogging entries and creative writing (I just wrote "writhing" hmm...) output is making me sad. Most of it I blame on work. It's been very busy these last few months and will just get busier--we added three more conferences to our calendar for next year, and I'm actually not sure how I'm going to keep up. So not only is there no time at work to surf around the blogsphere now and again for inspiration and support, there's no mental time for myself. And I'm spending more time at the office trying to not fall too far behind, which means I'm really tired when I come home and don't want to look at the computer for another hour or so. I suppose I could go back to the old fashioned pen and notebook routine, but sitting on the back deck and watching the robins, hummingbirds, vultures, finches, mockingbirds, and occasional hawk or oriole flit about their business is what I most want to do in the evenings. What would I do without the birds?

Well, the question is really, what *will* I do without the birds. M and I went up on the hill behind our house last week to check on the synagogue progress, and came across a fence that the county had put in on the adjacent property, along one side of a proposed street extension that will eventually come to pass. It's not just any street that will go in, but a four lane super street with sidewalks, bike lanes, and a center divider. With street lights. And lots of cross-town traffic. We'd always known it would go in at some point, but weren't really sure exactly where it would go. We were hoping it would be behind the hill and a pleasant stand of large oak trees, so we would still have a bit of a view even if the noise level increased and the last enormous eucalyptus where the hawks like to perch would be cut down. But based on what we saw, the road will take out that little oak grove and will come very close to our back yard, much closer than we'd hoped. I anticipate that we'll have a view of a large sound wall, but the streetlights are what make me saddest. Between those and the synagogue's parking lot lights, I'm sure the few stars we can see now will be completely obscured.

We've been lucky, living here on what used to be the edge of town, no neighbors behind us and a bit of wildlife coming to visit. We had two deer sightings just last week. I'm glad we had these six years, but I wonder if it will be harder when all that's gone, knowing how it used to be.


On another note of vandalism, we were unpacking our booty from a shopping excursion for our upcoming shindig (see below)--$1 a bottle wine from a winery ridding themselves of the former winemakers stock, and patriotic decorations from Big Lots!, always an interesting experience--when our neighbor knocked. Had we seen the broken window on M's truck? The small side window on the extended cab passenger side was shattered, perhaps from a BB gun---there was a small round hole near the corner where a bit of glass remained. We later learned from another neighbor that there had been other reports of shooting incidents. What's next, the Monster Mobile? Or bedroom window? I'm upset that it's something I have to be concerned about--and yet can't really do anything to prevent.


Well, now that I'm good and bummed…On a happier note, M and I are planning a big backyard bbq party for next Sunday. And it was my idea, me, the introvert. M fell against the wall clutching his heart when I announced I wanted to do it. I'm thinking of the party as our anniversary celebration. I wasn't sure how many would come--lots of folks are getting out of town for the long weekend, but it looks like we'll have quite a few people. And kids! I have to come up with activities. The potato gun will only distract them for so long.


Well, time to make waffles and come up with an anniversary appropriate activity. The beach? A summer blockbuster? A trip to Whole Foods for a bag of high-quality fat-producing comestibles? All of the above?

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Home, Heat, and a Vandal

I'm mad about something. May I vent? M and I were stepping out to the farmers market this morning only to discover that someone had neatly cut one of my rose canes. Yes it was long and leggy and thorny and had a penchant for reclining on the sidewalk, and yes I was in fact thinking I really should tie it up so it would grow properly and not be a nuisance, but I just hadn't gotten to that part yet. Was that any reason to nip it in the bud, literally, neatly, at the 45 degree angle recommended by expert rose growers? I was very angry when I came across the vandalism this morning. And I felt powerless. Our sidewalk isn't really very trafficked, so I have a prime suspect, a certain gentleman two doors down who walks obsessively but who is also in fine fettle and perfectly capable of stepping over or going around. But I can't be sure it was he that did the deed. So I left a note, taped to the sidewalk with the cane underneath, affixed with bright red cloth tape asking why said vandal (well, I wrote "you" not vandal) didn't simply say something either via note or knock. Not sure if I'll get a response, but I hope at least to provoke thought.


So, yes, I'm home from San Jose. It was a good conference, successful, filled with happy attendees. It was only a two-dayer, but I returned exhausted. Not sure what that means for next spring, when we'll have four conferences in a row spaced only three weeks apart…I meant to go to the gym but didn't. Worked but didn't go to the office on Thursday, but went in yesterday despite the fact that I contracted a horrible headache that lasted into midday today. We had our first really hot day yesterday, so the office was respite from heat and noise. The earthmoving equipment is in full throat a block away--do you know that in these parts they are apparently allowed to begin at 7:00 a.m. on weekdays and 7:30 a.m. on Saturdays? They better not belch up diesel tomorrow morning, a Sunday, or I'll be out there waving a shriveled rose cane at them.


Filoli Garden
Originally uploaded by suzipaw.
Of all places not to leave for 48 hours, one could do worse than the Fairmont in San Jose. On my way down, I finally stopped at Filoli, and spent more than two hours wandering the house and grounds. I had every intention of visiting the Sunset Idea House less than ten miles away, but I had had my fill of gazing at gardens and rooms I could never attain, and felt it better to get to my destination. I had a lovely walkabout Sunday evening, ate rich Thai food that night, shopped in the little import nook inside the restaurant (what a perfect combination!), then had my last breath of fresh air Monday morning before leaving the Fairmont on Wednesday night.

While on my walk Monday morning, I happened upon Lou's Living Donut Museum, and who could resist having a living donut? I'm not sure how they survived the deep fat fryer, the brown crusted walls of the old fashioned were so thick they almost touched, but I managed to choke one down.
Lou's Living Donut Museum

M's making dinner. I should have headaches more often…

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Congrats, Brandon!

the graduate with his aunties
Originally uploaded by suzipaw.
So my nephew made it through grammar school and is on to high school. He wasn't on his tiptoes in the photo--he really is as tall as me now. Sigh. More photos here.

I had a really lovely, swift trip up to the graduation--or "promotion" as it's called in 8th grade. It was a crappy time to take a day off of work, what with the conference coming up next week, but considering how that conference interfered with my wedding last year, I didn't think much about it.

I managed to arrange a little time with almost everyone--I dropped my car off in Chico and rode to Redding with my dad, stepmom, and other nephew. Since we arrived in Redding a little early, I was able to spend a little time with my brother and graduating nephew. A nice dinner before the ceremony with extended family and friends. (Didn't get much time with my stepbrother there, unfortunately. Nor the Italian underwear model that my brother's mother-in-law was hosting.) Back to my brother's place after the ceremony for visiting with both brothers and both parents, something that doesn't happen very often. A little wine and chitchat, mom distributed goodies from China. Then back to Chico with my other brother and his family to spend the night.

The next morning I dropped my brother off at his work, then parked in downtown Chico on my way out of town. Bought coffee and a muffin, then walked over to the Stansbury Home, where M and I married nearly a year ago. It wasn't open, but I was able to sit in the little rose garden, sipping coffee, thinking about the wedding. I remember that I felt stressed out this time last year, trying to get everything done--but those thoughts are fading. It's mostly just happiness surrounding the wedding memories now, a little glow thinking about how many friends and family were able to join us, all those arrangements and aggravations a shrinking footnote. Think I'll take a look through the wedding photo set again.

It's early in the morning, chilly and overcast, Veronica warm and purring on my lap. I have chores to do (including washing the Monster Mobile--there's something about owning a Cadillac that makes me feel more obligated to keep it clean), work email to answer, and I have to pack for the trip to San Jose. M is off fishing yet again, Rex with him, thankfully saving me from his sulking when M leaves without him. It's good to feel the day stretching before me. There might even be a nap in there somewhere.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

What Time Is It?!

Mao Time!
Originally uploaded by suzipaw.
My mom brought back beaucoup booty from her recent trip to China with my stepdad. He thought I would particularly like this gift, and he was right. Mao's hand waves back and forth constantly, and I don't know if you can see it, but the second sweep hand is tipped with a red star. Another bonus? I never have to worry about the battery crapping out, because this is a winder!