Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Best Laid Plans

…to blog about my latest peeve went awry tonight. Though almost pleasantly. The usual co-worker who likes to chew the fat with me after all other colleagues have thrown in the towel for the night is out of town, but another coworker took her place, bending my ear for quite a while this evening. And it was a good sign, I thought, a sign of acceptance into the managerial club. So there went one hour, and grocery shopping after work took longer than I anticipated and I didn't even get items for the food drive into my basket this time. And then at home there were the coupla loads of laundry, dinner, chores--you know the routine. And suddenly it's past my bedtime.

What was I hoping to address tonight? I've been turning around a measured rant about that never-ending subject for me, parent friends and how children or lack thereof define our relationships and interactions, but that will have to wait for another night. I was also going to try to tackle a couple of other developments at work: another coworker's husband passed away last weekend, a young guy in his early 50s, and how that's affected many of us; and I'm hiring two people for my department. What a weird but interesting process that is! Having to decide on the relative merits of strangers and their skills in a one hour or so meeting. And I try not to think about it too much, but if I make the wrong decision, it could really make my work life much less pleasant. Hey, no pressure.

So that will have to do for tonight.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Home Again

It was the Thanksgiving I needed--quiet and mostly sleepfilled, with a bit of beach thrown in. We picked up a friend then drove up to Mom's late Wednesday night. Started cooking Thursday morning, took a walk on the beach--it was windy but lovely and clear-skied, the winter storms had started so lots of driftwood was piled up in the sand, tree trunks and tangles of seaweed rocking in the foamy surf. A couple of live seals peeking at us from the lagoon, and a dead one sprawled in the sand, washed up near the river mouth. My stepdad always brings an empty pack along for trash and the occasional treasure, and he observed several times that the beach was the cleanest he'd seen it, though his pack was full when we left.
Rex running through sea foam

It's a long hike through the dunes to get to this beach, and on the way back I made a detour to see the small shrine to the boy who killed himself there earlier this year. It was in a place where the dunes flatten out and not much sea grass grows. There was a blackened potted plant, a clutch of lavender stalks, and a bouquet of flowers that looked just a bit wilted, as though someone had laid them there just that morning. There was also a large Mason jar filled with letters in Ziploc baggies. It was very sad, but it also made me thankful, for my life and for loved ones who are still with me.

Back at Mom's, Thanksgiving was indeed a feast. M cooked the turkey according to directions from his grill master friend, and it apparently came out well--and the 20-pound bird cooked in just over two hours! That surprised us all. The one culinary anomaly--no stuffing this year. But no one missed it.

The rest of our visit was similar--eating, chatting, sitting by the fire, sleeping late, Food Network, admiring the fine weather and how well Mom's pottery is coming along. We met friends for a walk on the beach Friday afternoon. I did forget to look at the stars, which are so bright and numerous up on the coast, and I do regret that.

Saturday we returned home. The weather darkened, and M went out foraging for movies (Cars, Prairie Home Companion), milk, and Chinese food. The rain came today. The Cyclone fence is finished behind the house, and it looks horrible, prison-like. Definitely suffering from Sunday blues, I tried to shake it off by shopping today, but my heart just wasn't in it and I felt disoriented. I did make a checkerboard cake for a friend at work tomorrow. It looks pretty, but once again I suspect my baking bane--overbaking--will haunt me. Thank FSM for "The Far Side of the World"--nothing like listening to how two British naval officers fall overboard near the Galapagos and are later picked up by a double-hulled vessel manned by Polynesian women to lift one's spirits.


Thanks to everyone for the hearty endorsements of "A Suitable Boy"--it's moved from dresser pile to nightstand pile.


I have such a good husband. This Thanksgiving marked a dozen years of going steady, and the night before we left for our Thanksgiving trip, he brought home a spa kit that he purchased from a nice Israeli lady who has a cart at the local mall. He showed me how to buff my nails (I'm trying to keep my nails longer and my hands softer--I wash my hands a lot and it shows), and I used the facial scrub that night--it's a chemical scrub rather than a gritty exfoliant, and my forehead felt a little hot for a bit too long, but I'm looking forward to trying the other unguents. But the best gift was later that night, when he told me to feel under my pillow…he had also picked out a lovely sapphire ring, my birthstone. Another compelling reason to keep my hands pretty.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Just a Plain Ol' Post

I promise. No whining or excuses. At least, I'll try.

I'll start with my yesterday--I took the day off, and it was positively glorious. I did four hours of household chores and relished it! It hardly felt like chores, it had been so long. Well, a big part of the pleasure was I also allowed myself to start the last Patrick O'Brian audio book in the Master & Commander series, "The Far Side of the World," and that made the mopping and dusting and de-furring a minor background activity. I had been putting off listening to this last one because, well, it's the last one, and I wouldn't have it to look forward to anymore, which is a bit silly, isn't it? But I'm sure the friend who loaned it to me is wondering if I've forgotten, and I really should get it back to her, and move on. To what, I'm not sure--I missed the last library book sale, and so am once again contemplating the unread stack on my dresser from past sales. "A Suitable Boy" perhaps? I fear for my wrist...I was unable to resist the cheap offer from "Food and Wine" magazine, so I have yet another collection of pulp to read every month, which I hope will not deter me from lit pulp.

Another part of yesterday's pleasantness was that it was an equally glorious day weather-wise. We've had a few rain storms in the past few weeks, so the grass is pushing up, the dust has subsided, and there's moisture in the air again. With blue skies above, I opened the windows for the first time in a month--I felt like I could breathe again…

The favorite thing I cleaned? I washed all of the bedding, sheets, blankets, mattress pad, pillow covers. And we flipped the mattress. It suddenly feels like a whole new bed, and I've slept so well the past few nights. I hope that continues.

I sat out on the back deck for a bit, enjoying the sun. But (OK, I'm going to complain, but not about work, so is that acceptable?), I got a bit angry about the stupid cyclone fence the synagogue neighbors are putting up. Our deck has a great view of it not just running along our back fence, but also as it backtracks up the hill. I suspect it's going to look very prison-like when it's all done, and I'm frustrated that there's nothing I can do about it.


Adult Content Alert: I was in the gym this week and heard that one of our classmates, a columnist for our local paper, had written an article on the first synchronized Global Orgasm for Peace, "the brainchild of those who four years ago birthed Baring Witness, the anti-war demonstration that called for people to get naked for peace, starting with 45 women forming a giant peace sign on a chilly Marin County field in November 2002 for an aerial photographer." It's happening on December 22 to coincide with the winter solstice (mmm, lotsa nighttime), so mark you calendars!


M and I are on a movies-in-the-theater jag--we saw "Casino Royale" on Friday night, and we both deemed it a very satisfying James Bond experience. I was skeptical of Daniel Craig as most were, but he really won me over, and the dearth of impossible stunts was a breath of fresh air. I did miss Q, but I think that was an omission that needed to be made.


It's just going to be four of us for Thanksgiving, but my list of things to take up to Mom's is pretty long already. Part of it is just that M will be chief turkey cook, and he's going to do it on the grill, so there is a certain level of equipment necessary. But looking at the list and thinking of all the food and human and canine stuff I'm beginning to worry that it won't all fit in the Monster Mobile.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


As in coming up for air? That's what I thought at first about this blog--that it would be a breath, a sigh of how much I missed you, how I felt a happy space of anticipation around this post. But now it feels like a shaping and smoothing of the sharp angles of my life to fit in, or to blunt the hard reality of my new schedule. I'm just trying to elicit sympathy, I know. I'll stop now.


So the swanky conference last week was considered a success, but I think, back at the office, we're all just relieved that it's over. Everyone in attendance seemed very…tense. Like there was a lot at stake, and I guess there was. Sorta. I had people pleading with me, disappointed in me, disbelieving that I would turn them away, trying to charm or entertain me for a pass, some even screaming at me in anger. And I just dealt with a small subset of participants. I came to seriously doubt my powers of communication, and though I don't believe much in god, I was seriously thinking that Mercury was in deep retrograde. The event had that tech boom, late 1998ish feel to it--people with money hanging out in an expensive hotel eating sculpted food designed to mask the reality of a rubber chicken dinner, sniffing scented oxygen at late night parties, and trying to double dip their pound cake in the five-tier chocolate fountain while propping their feet up on chic white leather ottomans and watching the digerati hold forth for three days. Am I making any sense at all? I don't think so.

I do think I'll be more sensical after three days at my mom's over Thanksgiving. Propping my feet up on a regular ottoman in front of a fire stuffed from esophagus to duodenum with homemade trimmings will hopefully chase all of these dotcom nightmares away.


What else? I posted a few new pictures. I miraculously found my camera battery charger in the hall closet where I had put it for safe keeping during the carpet cleaning lo these many months ago but couldn't find it there the first five times I searched for it in that very closet. M is still greatly enjoying his teaching duties. We actually went out to a movie theater to watch Borat last weekend and laugh heartily yet guiltily.


And now it's getting late and I'm not feeling any more clearheaded or creative. It's been an evening of laundry, work email, blogging, and I should drag my scattered ass to bed. More posts sooner rather than later, I hope. I missed you, though, please remember that.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

"You Must Be Busy"

...writes my aunt. Oh. Yes. It's mostly good, though. Really Long work days. A trip to Chico to see family and read lots of Harry Potter aloud. Getting ready for my big swanky conference next week. I see green pastures ahead after that ends, though that might be just a mirage of a fried brain. I'll try to write more soon--I miss you. And post photos, though my last battery is redlining, so it's either find that damn charger or buy a new one.

Happy Birthday, Rex! Our son turned six on Halloween.
Wonder mutt