Friday, November 30, 2007

And Another Thing

…to be thankful for, and I feel silly for neglecting to mention it earlier: Thanksgiving marks our going-steady anniversary. M and I have been together for 13 very fortunate years. I'm grateful, many times every day, for his presence in my life. I love you very much, Paw.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Thankful/Thanksgiving, a Blow by Blow Account

The Barn
Originally uploaded by suzipaw
It was indeed the holiday I had hoped for. Absolutely glorious weather, excellent food, down time, sleep, beach, quality family time, with a little football (on TV) thrown in for good measure. I'm thankful I had those days with family and friends. I'm thankful my overindulgences weren't too extreme. I'm thankful I live in a beautiful place with wonderful people in my life. I need to remind myself of what I'm thankful for more often.

And now, the excruciating detail: We arrived at mom and stepdad's on Wednesday late afternoon. We had a nice dinner and M started in on creating his now famous dinner rolls. Another family friend arrived later and we all went to bed early--it gets very dark there.

Thanksgiving day dawned, as aforementioned, gloriously. M and I took Rex to the beach in the morning, a beach we don't go to often since the road was closed after it started falling into the creek wending its way at the bottom of the hill below. But it's a pleasant if longish walk to the shore, the cows in the pasture eyeing us suspiciously as we passed. A little mist in the air obscured visibility and the lighthouse far down the beach. We saw several kinds of ducks swimming along in the little estuary, cormorants sunning themselves along the creek bank. The sea was active. No seals were spotted. We walked along the beach, coming within 50 feet of a large bird of prey, perched on a log near the last turn of the creek before it spilled into the sea. It swept up to a cliff perch, then zoomed off, twisting after a few hapless ducks on its way behind the bank, reappearing a few moments later to glower at us as we observed Alder Creek sliding into the Pacific. On the way home we stopped dead in the road to watch a large bobcat slinking across a sheep pasture, though he stopped to stare at us staring at him before thinking better of it and running off.

Back home, M put the turkey on the grill and he and Don took turns at target practice from the front porch while us gals took turns making a couple of dishes each--sweet potatoes layered with apples, creamed spinach, baked brie, mashed potatoes, gravy, roasted squash, cranberry relish. No dressing, which I later declared I missed. M's rolls, reluctant to rise, from a Cook's Illustrated recipe, were handfuls of browned heaven. We ate slowly from Mom's Desert Rose china, Rex staring meaningfully at us each in turn. A rest from eating by the fire and TV, and then on to pie, clean up, and another early night.

Friday was another summer-like day. A quiet morning, a neighbor's visit, then Mom, JeriLu, Rex, and I went to scout Oz Farm for the reunion. We were worried that the property would be booked and unavailable for touring, but we lucked out. A few people were there, but two of the managers, hearty, fresh-looking lasses, hippie chicks of the new millennium, welcomed us and encouraged us to wander around. So we did. It was a bit like déjà vu for me--very familiar, but of course very different from thirty-five years ago. I know that the spectacular weather was a part of it, but I think it's going to be a perfect place for our reunion. (All of the cabins now have an outhouse, sink, and electric light thanks to roof-mounted solar panels!) Another trip to the beach--this time the air was achingly clear--a dinner of leftovers, a pinch of TV, and a couple of very deep conversations closed the day.

Saturday we meant to leave after breakfast, but the sofa and fire conspired into a siren song for M, and his midmorning nap pushed into lunch. I packed up a goodly quantity of Mom's pottery to sell at work this week, and made a little video to show to prospective buyers.

And now it's back to the gym, back to refraining from eating dark chocolate caramels sprinkled with chunks of sea salt at 10 in the morning, back to a chilly house with no fireplace. Well, Christmas is coming, and the solstice is less than a month away--A Good Thing indeed.


It's been an especially busy week at work, but I did manage to pull off the craft fair today at lunchtime. Mom's work was once again extremely popular!

Monday, November 26, 2007

No Surprise Here


I can't believe the one I missed was the "what's most popular?" question! (Thanks Nancy!)

More on Thanksgiving later....

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

Thanks, everyone, for your kind and supportive responses to my last post. I'm feeling a very little better, but I think partly because I've been at work and not at home where the lack of Pookie's presence is most felt. Particularly her empty chair…

M, Rex and I are off to the Mendocino coast for our traditional turkey day with my mom, stepdad, and a good family friend. We've got way too much food, but that's part of the tradition too. Looking forward to quiet time and walks on the beach and that's about it. Oh, and maybe see Oz Farm where we'll have a reunion next summer.

We'll be back on Saturday. Bringing home a few kiln loads of Mom's pottery (I almost spelled it "poettry" which is actually a pretty good word) to sell at work next week.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Adieu, Pookie

For my birthday in 1990, my then-husband surprised me with two kittens from the SPCA ("so you won't be so lonely!"), one coal black and the other a sandy tan. For two days, the kittens were friends; and then the black one, who we named Veronica, realized that she was actually a human trapped in a feline body, and shunned cat company forevermore. And so began Pookie's life at the bottom of my family totem pole, through no fault of her own. I confess that Veronica's moxie endeared her to me a little more than the Pook, who was dealing with her own issues--she obviously craved affection, but wouldn't sit on my lap for the first two years and let Veronica walk all over her. Maybe I recognized a similar passivity in myself, which I dislike.

She was a good apartment cat that decade in New York, and actually adjusted better than Veronica during the move back to California. When M and I bought our house, she had her very first yard, and finally seemed to be blossoming a bit, no longer in such close quarters with Veronica…which we crushed forever a few months later when we brought Rex home, sending her cowering into the back bedroom for a year. And then there were the two years with Tom Cat--definitely her darkest days. When Tom Cat passed, things got better--there was a tolerance between the creatures, territory was established and rarely breeched.

Then time passed as it does, and she started losing weight, her hind legs were obviously stiffening, she stopped cleaning herself…and finally last week I noticed she would only eat a bite or two of tuna, and wasn't drinking water. Her movements appeared even more painful. She didn't want to sit on my lap. I took her to the vet yesterday, thinking the worst. She was diagnosed with heart murmur and diabetes. So it was a choice of letting her go, or having her spend 3-5 days in the hospital to have her glucose levels determined, thyroid tested, and then, if all went well, coming home to injections twice daily, every day, for the rest of her life. Which could be months or years.

We buried her under the oak, not too close to Tom Cat's grave, wrapped in the kitty pi I had felted for her with the last of the year's pink roses.

She seemed to be fading from my life before my eyes, and I had been trying to prepare myself for the day of this decision. But I feel horrible and so sad. I know and have to live with the fact that I chose not to do everything I could to keep her alive, and frankly I'm having a difficult time with that knowledge right now. I underestimated how much I would miss her. I hate myself for letting considerations for my bank account and desire to keep stress to a minimum in my life were more important than she was. I know she would've hated those injections twice a day--they would only have confirmed her persecution complex. But I didn't want to have to face that decision again in six months or a year or two years. What I feel particularly keenly is that that though I believe I truly gave her a good life for eighteen years, I just didn't love her enough.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Bar Results Day

For those of you not intimately involved with the law school student industry, today is the day that the Bar Association releases the results of the exam administered back in July. M knows many people anticipating/dreading this day, particularly a good friend who has taken it three times. Which is a charm, right? Those who took the exam can access the results tonight, and they're opened to the general public on Sunday so the students can have a day to freak out or celebrate privately.

So about one year from today, please be sure to send all of your happy thoughts out this way, since M (um, and I) will be the ones screaming and crying, hopefully with joy and relief. (Don't worry, I'll remind you.)

UPDATE: M's friend passed!!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

The Blank Wall of Creativity

I'm in the Applebox with Julia. I tried to start my creative writing project. Tried being the operative word. I got about three-quarters of a page in--journal page that is, handwritten, so a pretty slow start. I think I need to have more of a plan before beginning. It's hard to go somewhere when you could go just about anywhere. I'll blame it on being tired. And the rain. It's been so dark and gray lately. Though I did have a lovely start in the gym yesterday--it was 7:00 a.m., at the end of an aerobics class that I barely had the energy to drag myself to. We were finishing the cool-down stretches (Skipper does have a very soothing voice), and I was so glad I had gone. I felt like I had actually accomplished something even though it was only the beginning of the day, and I was grateful to be there, mobile, alive, strong, witnessing the transition from dark to day one more time.

Well, it's about time to go home, finish washing the incredible amount of laundry that has managed to pile up, make pumpkin bread and pesto with the basil Jay sent down, wait for M to come home from his study day. I'll have to pull the rubber boots out from the garage to walk Rex this afternoon.

We watched Pan's Labyrinth last night, and I recommend it. Made me want to learn more about Franco's Spain.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Thursday Night

The visit with Dad and Ginny was lovely. Felicia came over for dinner Sunday night, so we got to hear all about her college exploits. On Monday M had to work, but Dad, Ginny, and I wandered the Petaluma downtown, had lunch at an outdoor restaurant by the river in the fabulous fall sunshine, then had a relaxing evening. I think I may have hooked Dad on melatonin. (I gave you full credit, however, Bro!) There are worse things. I did another weird thing--I didn't check my work email on Monday! And didn't regret it at all.

I felt a little behind at work all week, not being there on Monday. And maybe it's the weather and time change--darker earlier, colder, the clouds have settled on us a bit. But the feasting season has begun--I went to Whole Foods today at lunch to order the Thanksgiving turkey and the parking lot was unusually jammed. (I had to parallel park the Monster Mobile, it was nerve wracking--an enormous golden Cadillac horning its way to the front of the Temple of Crunchy PC Granolans! Trouble parking it would only confirm my wretched excess!--but fortunately I did it perfectly on the first try.)

I may also be a little sad because we finished watching the HBO series Rome. It was so good! We've only got one disc left for Six Feet Under, and are halfway through the last seasons of The Sopranos and Deadwood, too. Guess it's time to get hooked on another nighttime soap opera.

There's so much to do this weekend. A slack key guitar performance. A work colleague in MacBeth. And of course sleeping in. That reminds me, time to take my melatonin.


"For Dedication and Contribution to the Small Claims Clinic"--I'm very proud of you, Paw.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

"Do Something Weird"

So I was IMing with a friend at work yesterday. Well, I was at work, she was in Milan. As in Italy. We used to be cube neighbors in the office, and she wasn't very happy then. So she's making up for those unpleasant days by spending lots of time in Europe. She's off to Venice and Florence, then to Spain for a while. And as my Friday afternoon turned into evening and she described her fabulous new Italian boots, jeans, paramour, screenplay, the noise of the bar downstairs, I grew greener and greener with envy, much as I took pleasure in hearing about her exploits and her renewed happiness. She left me with the sage advice, "do something weird this weekend." I promised her I would and that I would report back.

I wondered what that weird act would be for hours. I decided I should try to incorporate more weird in my life in general. I went home, walked the dog in the dark (weird enough? No.), talked to M (ensconced in a cheap motel in Sacramento for a test Saturday morning, but a power outage had cruelly deprived him of the network TV watching he had been looking forward to), ate cheese toast for dinner, watched The Chumscrubber (enh, so-so, I fast forwarded through the last 20 minutes)…and that was it.

But I felt the need to *do* something, and while M wasn't there to influence me. Time was running out. So I pulled on my sweats, whistled for the dog, grabbed my wallet and drove to Mickey D's for drive-thru French fries. Yes, I know they're not vegetarian, and I rarely eat them…but it was supposed to be an out of the ordinary experience for me, remember.

I was planning to just head home after the grease run, but decided to push it a bit--I really should do something more, I thought. Where could I go? In our earlier conversation, M had given me the sad news that a huge, shapely oak tree we had long admired had been cut down. It grew in a vacant lot near his school, so we passed it often. Our city is trying to encourage building density rather than sprawl (which I am generally in favor of), so apartments were started in the empty lot. And while at first the tree seemed protected as the apartments went up, branches started breaking off, and a few days ago all the limbs had been shorn, leaving just the enormous trunk--it had towered over the three-story apartments. Maybe cutting it down was a safety measure--if it ever toppled, it would have caused a lot of damage. Or maybe it was just greed--I can only image the amazing lumber that could be milled from its heart. So I drove to the site and peered through the chain link gate to the place where the stump is. It was very dark and I couldn't really see anything, which maybe was good. But I cried all the way home and had to call M again and I'm actually starting to cry again as I type this. It just makes me so angry, the loss of something that took generations to be, something so incredibly beautiful and strong, but ultimately vulnerable.

So while some might think the weirdness is crying over a tree, that came pretty naturally to me. It was much stranger for me to be driving around town "late" at night (it was after 10:00 p.m. gasp) shoving fries in my cakehole with Rex riding shotgun, on the lookout for any chase-able creatures. I must be very closely related to cave dwellers--I don't go out much after dark unless M drives.

That may be the weirdest thing I do this weekend. But maybe not. Suggestions for weirdness welcome, but I also recommend you find your own weird. It's not too late to do something weird this weekend.


Hopefully M has finished his test on Professional Responsibility in Sacramento and is on the road home now. We spoke this morning before his test and he sounded perky, despite the jackhammers in the middle of the night repairing the power outage.


Time to get cleaning on the house, got my dad and stepmom visiting tomorrow, yay!