Monday, October 23, 2006

Famous Family

That Google Alert just keeps on providing me with great news--I just received a message that there's an interview with my sister-in-law in her local paper! Way to go, Denise!

Saturday, October 21, 2006

"The Worm Has Turned"

So says M, in his usual way of reversal, describing a growing happy time for us with a slimy, if necessary, creature.

I think back to 50 weeks ago, our Hebdomas Horribilis, when M was laid off, then spent time in the hospital, and I was in a car accident. Yesterday was a worm of a very different color, or stripe, or whatever the term would be. Yesterday was payday, and the difference in my check has given me a huge sense of relief--I can make all the ends meet by myself now. Which was the determining factor for me when M called me that afternoon to say that a friend who had been teaching in the paralegal program had been offered a job at a law firm. M's contact at the program had asked him to start teaching again. On Monday. Only thirty hours a week, so less pay than his Yellow Pages sales job…but in the balance, more time for him to study, and most swayingly, a job he actually likes rather than something he has to get through five days a week. So I was able to be very enthusiastic about the sudden change rather than tense.

So life is suddenly much shinier and brighter. Still busy, but better. So much better that we felt like we had time to clean the bathrooms this morning rather than run off to the library for the day, and plan a trip to his mom's in SoCal at Xmas, maybe taking an extra day or two for ourselves on the way. And yes, in my little pea brain, the debts are paid, the house has 750 new square feet, M's driving a brand new truck and I'm sporting a big fat rock, all in the space of 24 hours. I need to remember to take it one dollar at a time…


And this turned worm has also made me wonder about prayer. I've been quite grumpy about God lately. Well, not so much God, but the people who claim affiliation with Him. I'm looking for a scrap of proof of holy existence, and the more I look, the more convinced I am that He's just not an appropriate part of my life. And prayer--a hopeless act, employed by the gullible, selfish, and/or lazy. Particularly after that study which showed that people who knew that people were praying for them took longer to recover after surgery than those who didn't know or who weren't prayed for at all. And also after listening to/reading interviews with Richard Dawkins.

But…a couple of months ago, Rob wrote this mantra for me in a horoscope:
Because I am shrewd, analytical, practical, attentive, and strategic, I possess all the necessary qualities to become wealthier. I am a money magnet. Money is my servant. O monnee gimmee summ.

I typed it up and taped it to my computer monitor and recited it five times a day for many, many weeks, as he advised. And while I don't quite yet believe that money is my servant (I better keep chanting, huh?), it seemed to have worked, doesn't it?

So perhaps prayer isn't such a useless exercise, I'm thinking now, if prayer became more akin to positive thinking, more about self esteem and right action. Or if prayer could be more actionable or specific than "Please heal little Tommy." I noticed that as I muttered my little chant, I found myself thinking, "Hey, I really am a pretty attentive, strategic gal." Something for me to think more about.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Auspicious Dates, &c.

Good news first, or bad? OK, the bad news is that habeas corpus has been suspended--we now live in an America where one man in power can hold someone else, presumably with less power, in detention indefinitely. Without judicial review. Without evidence. To be released only when that man in power gives his consent.Are we worried that M's suit against the president could, maybe, be deemed supportive of the terrorists, and he could be hauled off to those mysterious camps out in the desert? Um, sometimes. Am I a little worried that this blog post could be construed as sedition? Well, not now. But under other circumstances…Well, I now have more sympathy with citizens of dictatorships.


OK, deep breath. In other, happier, news, Rebecca, Julia, and I celebrated our third year of writers groupliness last night.We sang "Happy Anniversary to Us" and ate chocolate and talked writing. Those gals are so good to me. I haven't done anything more creative than blogging for months, and they still let me come and be a point in the triangle. I am truly blessed.


And a very happy slightly belated birthday to Glo!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

How Busy Am I?

So busy I forget to eat lunch over my keyboard at my desk. (Too busy to obsess about food is a new experience for me.) So busy I haven't been able to call my "cat lady" to make an appointment to pay her and get my house key back after my European sojourn lo these many moons ago. So busy my luminous gold pearl tomatoes are dropping off the vine and onto the hard clay rather than the palm of my hand. So busy that when I sleep, I dream and know I'm dreaming which means I'm not at work which means I'm really behind. So busy I have to chant my Four C's while climbing the three flights of stairs to my new office ("I am cool, calm, collected and charming, cool, calm, collected and charming…") So busy I feel guilty bantering with coworkers and guilty not answering personal email or reading up on my blog pals at midnight. Guilty that I'm planning to have a great time at a clothing swap and dinner at the Greek belly dancing place this Saturday rather than trying to dig out of the blizzard that is my email inbox.

So busy I don't know how you parent types do it.

Really guilty that my beloved husband and I don't have much interaction at all. But absence makes the heart grow fonder, right? He's really busy too. His new job is selling ads in the local Yellow Pages book, by the way. He's supposed to spend several hours a day making cold calls to businesses that don't want to speak with him. You can imagine how utterly horrible that is.

Too busy to blog much. But I'm here now, for a little while. And I'm happy that our company reorg happened, I'm settling into my new role as constant channeler of General Axtell, and that it meant I received a little more of a promotion than I was anticipating--I have a lot to learn, that's for sure. But I'm ready for it, and glad to be learning how to manage colleagues. And oh lordy how I can't wait to receive that first paycheck with my raise in it. I have a big hole to backfill.


But not too busy to visit my grandma.
With Grandma in Wilbur

Once again it was a lovely, quick trip, filled with looking at pictures, and talk of politics, family, health, the coming economic debacle, and cougars roaming the streets of Wilbur. I had my traditional plain cake donut and triple shot latte at Sandy's. And a couple of orders of fries at Billy Burger, which in a addition to a really fabulous collection of salt and pepper shakers displayed in the restaurant (a teensy ceramic wedge of cake paired with a miniature cup of coffee, a tiny pipe and slippers, nesting birds, a donkey bearing savory barrels, on and on…), has what must be the most evil sign ever.
Billy Burger

One nice thing about traveling--with all that waiting to board, waiting to land, waiting to fall asleep--is that I read a book! A beautiful book, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, published in 1943 and purchased in 1944 by my grandma, with a lovely cloth binding and uneven pages on good cotton rag paper. It's hard to feel hardship in my life after reading that novel.


I have a Google alert for my last name, and I received this note today:

Williams owned and campaigned the 1889 world record holder, a Standardbred trotting stallion named Axtell, whose name would later become synonymous with lithographs bearing the surnames Currier and Ives.

Who knew that I had such artistic and equine ancestry?


Did you hear that a single-engine plane crashed into an apartment building in New York's upper East side today? We did, and M called my mom to find out about our cousins, who live about ten blocks away from where it happened. Mom called them, and we were all relieved to find out that my cousin had only found out about the crash from her father, who called from Rome to check up on her too. Funny to think of how information spreads nowadays, in this case from thousands of miles away back to its place of origin, rather than the other way around.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Tom Petty Concert Report

It was wonderful. Sigh. We arrived early enough to sit in the bleacher seats, perched at the very top of the amphitheater, with views of the bay, the Campanile, and the Golden Gate Bridge in the distance. M and I had never been to the Greek Theater before, and it's a fab venue--very steep and smallish, so we weren't too far away from the stage. Plumes of skunk weed wafted around us throughout the event. I tried my first soju cocktail. The sound quality was great--we could sing along and still hear Tom, which was of course the main thing. Stevie Nicks appeared for a few numbers, singing at her own mike bedecked with beads and scarves. And he closed with "American Girl" which Katch and I had been hoping for, though we would've been content with "Breakdown." And I'm very glad that M and I were able to see/hear this concert together. We're both big Tom Petty fans and count a couple of his songs as "our" songs from our first days together, so having this experience together is especially sweet.

Listening to the music reminded me so much of my high school days. I remember sitting in the back of the basketball team bus, after probably losing the game, and consoling myself by cuddling a boombox with my tape of "Breakdown" playing. I have fond memories of saving my allowance to buy records at the huge, almost overwhelming Tower Records in San Francisco, negotiating with my brother and boyfriend who would buy what. My brother was the sound connoisseur in the family, and we all had to be very careful to follow his directions for cleaning and storing the vinyl, as well as the needle on the stereo. I don't remember arguing much about whose music was on the turntable, but I recall that the music was very important--Fleetwood Mac, the Stones, Elvis Costello, the Clash, the Tubes. The album covers too were a big part of the experience, one thing that the digital age hasn't really been able to address. I'm still trying to get more music in my life…

The only bummer of the night? While the Monster Mobile was parked at Katrin's--a nice neighborhood, too!--someone swiped one of my hubcaps! Yes they're the outlandish gold package which is probably why they're so tempting, but it's so embarrassing driving around without one. I feel like I've gone from kitschy to trashy.