Tuesday, January 30, 2007

So Much, and Yet So Little

…to share. Really, not much is going on, yet it's my life, so I don't want to be too hard on it.

M and I had a pleasant weekend. Friday night, Date night, we had speedily served Japanese food then went across the street to a local, independently owned bookstore. As we wandered the shelves, I heard the siren sing-song of poetry being recited, and sure enough, a reading was in progress. And not just any reading, but one that featured Al Young, poet laureate of California! He is certainly a powerful, lyrical advocate for poetry, but a tad too prosaic in the poetry department for me, though a fantastic reader. His opening act was Jennifer Sweeney, though she fell a bit too far into the breathy trap of reading poetry like a poet (I don't mean to be too critical, but listening to poetry can be hard and the writer needs to help us hear her), her work was really wonderful. And she had good interstitial patter, which is an underestimated skill in reading poetry.

And as I sat on the low steps near the all-full reading area in the bookstore, I appreciated M even more. He's not really a poetry guy, but went off to amuse himself in the stacks when I told him I wanted to listen to the reading, content to wait for me without complaint. I'm a lucky gal.


Saturday: We shopped and erranded. In the evening, we watched the Merchant of Venice with Al Pacino, Joseph Fiennes, and Jeremy Irons. I'd recommend it.


On Sunday, I tried to work while M was at the library, but just couldn't quite do it. I surfed around and read blogs and talked to Mom and updated my Netflix queue instead, putting off not only work, but blogging and revising my article on lace making* as well.

*I'm working on an article on my visit to the lace making "factory" in Bruges last fall to submit to Craft magazine! I have no idea if it will be accepted, but it's the journey, right? I brought the first draft to writers group on Monday for critiquing, something I hadn't done in a long time--it was great! Though I came to the realization that it needs a lot of work--Suzification was I think the term Julia used.


Since then, it's just been work, work, work. I have a little idea of a knitted scarf I want to create, sort of an arty floral thing, not practical at all, but haven't found the time to start it yet. I also tried to delve into the advanced features of my digital camera, but didn't get too far. But I think I'm ready to try to work with settings other than Auto. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Four Tons, A Short Play in One Act

CURTAIN UP on a small home in Northern California

She, from the kitchen: Paw, would you please get me some cat litter?

He: Litter? OK…

(Sound of keys jangling.)

She: No, we have some. In the garage.

(Pause while he exits stage right. Sounds of rustling. He reenters carrying a jug of cat litter.)

He: You know I would have gotten you some at the store.

She: I know. That's why I love you.

(Pause while they gaze at each other smoochily.)

He: You know…(Staring thoughtfully at the container of clay cat litter he holds) How much do you think these cats have gone through?

She: Huh?

He: Really. (Exits stage left. Sounds of rustling.)

She: Hm….(Exits stage left. Sounds of rustling. She reenters carrying a calculator.) Let's see…(She punches in numbers.) How much do those containers weigh? Twenty pounds?

He (yelling offstage): Thirty.

She: No!

He: (Pause. Sounds of rustling.) Yes!

She: Jeez. OK. And they go through one per week?

He (reentering): Oh yeah.

She: No way!

He: OK, twenty then.

She: Jeez. OK. Twenty times 52 times…How old are they? 17? (Pause.) Oh my god. Wait, divide by two…Wait. How many pounds in a ton?

(Sound of audience laughter. )



Just for the record, I don't think my cats go through twenty pounds of cat litter a week. But I'm going to start paying more attention.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Grades Are Here

After much tension, M saw his grades today, three days earlier than he had anticipated. He did fine in Will and Trusts, and really well in Constitutional Law. Which is a huge relief. We now have a week or two of happiness before the stress begins for finals.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Dreaming, More

"2007 should be a time of building up your reserves, carving out a more substantial niche, and getting the tools and resources and training that will provide a foundation for your dreams well into the future," writes Rob. "So here's my question to you: Can you engage in this much acquisition without becoming grasping, predatory, and manipulative?"

You know how I love Real Astrology. And Rob has hit on my goals exactly for the year. At first I related his advice into my work life only, but I need those resources for my creative side too. And I have complete (well, pretty much, anyway) confidence that I can grow and gather and build in a positive way, in all parts of my life. And I'll hope that working on these goals from both sides feeds the balance, and the dreams.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


I haven't been doing much of the traditional dreaming lately, despite the new mattress topper, which M is praising, thank goodness. However, I have been daydreaming about my dream home. I think the horrid cyclone fence closing in behind us is driving me to it.

Remembering how well the money Rob gave me worked, I'm spinning a new chant, focusing on finding a semi-rural home nearby. I'm visualizing trees. And I'm preparing myself to be patient. I want the right (destined?) place after all--this does not happen overnight. Though if the lotto strikes and it really is overnight after all, well, that's OK too.

Part of what helps me be patient is the realization that there are many decisions to be made and priorities to be…prioritized. Can I handle a fixer-uppper? How much interior space am I willing to settle for (because at California prices, there will be settling). What about outdoor space? Do I want to try to build a home from the ground up? The latter sounds both exhilarating and exhausting, both expensive but worth it. There are some cool modular houses out there now…

And then the self doubt sweeps in--what if what I think I want is actually not really what I want after all? What if it happens and then comes the realization that it was better as a daydream? Well…not like I have to worry about that until the mantra bears fruit, that I hope will only be as sweet as possible.

I read an article in the Sunday Times today about a new type of construction technique. From the article:
Inspired by the inkjet printer, the technology goes far beyond the techniques already used for prefabricated homes. "This will remove all the limitations of traditional building," said Hugh Whitehead of the architecture firm Foster & Partners. "Anything you can dream you can build." It involves computer-controlled robotic nozzles which pipe quick-drying liquid gypsum and concrete to form walls, floors and roofs. By building almost an entire house from just two materials, the robots will eliminate the need for dozens of traditional components, including floorboards, wooden window frames and possibly even wallpaper. It may eventually be possible to use specially treated gypsum instead of glass window panes. Engineers say the robots will not only cut costs and avoid human delays but liberate the normal family homes from the conventional designs of pitched roofs, right-angled walls and rectangular windows. "The architectural options will explode," predicted Dr Behrokh Khoshnevis at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, who will soon unleash his $1.5 million robot. "We will be able to build curves and domes as easily as straight walls." The researchers in Los Angeles claim their robot will be able to build the shell of a house in 24 hours. The rival British system is likely to take at least a week but will include more sophisticated design features, with the computer’s nozzle weaving in ducts for water pipes, electrical wiring and ventilation within the panels of gypsum or concrete. Jala El-Ali, structural designer at Buro Happold said future homes could carry features borrowed from ant hills, honeycombs or sea shells.
This is something I can work into my waking dream. This would be something I'd be willing to wait for. Maybe Eva Zeisel will live forever, and she'll design my home! It could happen. It could. Just give me the right meditation phrasing.


Exclaiming about the weather is all the rage here. It's cold. The hose is frozen dry in the morning. A layer of ice floats on the outside dog bowl. The hummingbirds have to wait for the sun to be up for quite awhile before there's enough sugarwater melted for them to drink. I fear for the lemon bush, which is obviously suffering and now I'm regretting our decision to plant it in the ground last month rather than procrastinating for yet another year. I also fear for the neighbor's dog--it's so cold, he doesn't bark when I go out each night to cover the lemon bush, though he barked this morning when I whisked the sheets from the cringing bush.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Finishing Things

potholder, washcloths
Originally uploaded by suzipaw.
I'm trying to wrap up a few loose ends around the crafting house. I think it will make me feel better, and help me feel clear enough to start more. So I finally finished that felted potholder for mom (who is coming over tonight on the way home from a pottery conference), and put the last touches on washcloths for me. I like using them in the gym. I knitted up a little black makeup-size bag from eyelash yarn and a larger purse last year, so my goal is to line them both--then use them! Well, the pouch might make a good gift. That means I have to resurrect the sewing machine, which is a good thing.


Monster mobile update--cuz I know you care: two new tires, alignment, and rotation last week; and now it's back in another shop for a few days, getting a much needed tune-up, which hopefully will fix the sticky-ish acceleration. I was lulled into a false sense of low cost when the mechanic said he thought it was just a tune-up. Hah! Apparently spark plug wires for caddies are very expensive. But I've got lotsa driving to do this year, so this does give me peace of mind even as it lightens my wallet.


How is your weekend?

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Yet Another Misc. Post

A belated "Happy Birthday" to two of my favorite people ever--my husband and my bro'. Both turned a year older yesterday. The gifts I chose for M--music (Tom Petty and Bob Dylan) and the memory-foam mattress topper--mysteriously benefited me as well. Imagine that!


Photos to go see: my cousin's pics from her time in India (welcome home!) and via Nancy, 100 photos of 100 square foot homes in China. Some have two people living in them! Some are lovely, others dismal, desperate. No. Windows! And I thought my 600 square foot NY apartment was tiny…


I pruned the roses last weekend. I always have to hum "Cruel to Be Kind" when I do that. What an amazing biological reaction, to grow more vigorously and bloom more beautifully after being cut back, hard. As a way of attempting to be more judicious in pruning, I sometimes do it glove-free. Which is dumb, I know. This year, I didn't take off the gloves til the very end, but still got slashed pretty badly. "Got slashed…" as if the canes took action!


It's been long days at work, but I'm training my replacement, and I think that maybe, just maybe, I might soon be able to actually make some progress in my new job. That makes me very happy.


I have other things I want to document--how we watched "Rent" and "Devil Wears Prada" recently and I got all weepy over my New York days yet again, jeez, while simultaneously scoffing about how unrealistic the portrayals were of life in NY, double jeez. I also experienced what I'm pretty sure was a menopause moment that involved a trip to the hospital emergency room on New Year's Eve day--I'm fine except for a bad case of the humiliations, so let's just leave it at that, shall we? I'm having car trouble and I'm not happy about it, but at least I'm taking the one taking steps to correct the problems, rather than leaving them to my husband. And today's problems (two new tires and an alignment) meant that I had to drop the car off downtown first thing in the morning and walk through our quaint Main Street and then along a pleasant trail to work, a 45 minute journey. Chilly this morning which meant a stop at the new chocolate shop for a latte to go. The air was fresh, birds were everywhere. I was by myself and had some time for reflection. Not that any earthshattering thoughts occurred to me, but it was wonderful to be alone, outdoors, no computers, listening to trees rustling rather than people talking to me.


Oh! And! The unthinkable has finally happened. I'm getting a cell phone. For work.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

A Word and a "Wonderful Life"

I just heard the origin of the word "lobbyist," again courtesy of NPR. Apparently, First Lady Grant didn't like Ulysses drinking at home, so he drank at the Willard Hotel. This penchant was common knowledge, so people who wanted to get his attention hung out in the Willard lobby. And here I thought it was a tennis-y term--lobbing proposals (and money) to politicians over and over…


Did I tell you that I managed to watch the first half of "It's a Wonderful Life" while I was at my mother-in-law's? I did, and loved it as I thought I would. But then a family friend came over, just at the point where old man Potter stole the money from Uncle Billy while Billy was boasting about in the bank about brother Harry's exploits in the war. Rats! But that just steeled my resolve to get a copy of my own--and tonight I did! So no more roadblocks this December--I'll dance by the light of the moon any time I want.


Well, getting late, and in the spirit of life balance, now that I've knocked out a few dozen of the hundreds of emails in my work in-box (aw, don't you feel sorry for me?), I need to write a few personal emails and knit a little before bed, as well as fit in a little pillow talk with my hub. (We've designated Friday night as Date Night! That makes me happy--striking a definitive blow for balance.)

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Superman, Not Wonder Woman

Everyone else seems to be taking this quiz, so I took it too:

Your results:
You are Superman

Wonder Woman
Green Lantern
Iron Man
The Flash
You are mild-mannered, good,
strong and you love to help others.

Click here to take the Superhero Personality Test

I was hoping for Wonder Woman, but I think I wasn't confident enough in my body image to be WW.


My friend Cathleen has started a blog. Go visit! She's a peach.