Sunday, July 27, 2008

Almost Ready for Reuniting

Mt Hood in the morning
Originally uploaded by suzipaw
We're the uniters, not the dividers!

"I thought California was a non-smoking state," quipped the pilot as I stepped off the plane from Portland into smoky Santa Rosa. The air had felt amazingly clear during my visit north. The CA atmosphere is better now, and I hope it stays that way, not least because of the destruction…

I spent two very pleasant days with aunt and uncle while in Portland. We toured and lunched in Silverton, watched a glockenspiel run its course, visited an abbey (with spectacular vistas , pipe organs, and trees), strolled the grounds of the Oregon Garden, viewed the wares of artists and crafters in Salem, ate great food both home cooked (mmm, crepes and mac n cheese…,) and out, had a nice morning visit with cousins, and overall just had a lovely time catching up. I wish all of my conferences could start this way.

Particularly this one. Even though I skipped out on the last day and a half, it was a long event. I kept pretty busy--worked on video and was the officials Twitterer for the first few days, which was fun, but it's pretty time consuming. I also gave myself an assignment wrangling attendees to take part in a little promotional video so I had to be a chatty uber-extrovert for over an hour--that'll take it out of ya. It was a good event--almost everyone seemed really happy, and I ran into people I often only see at this show, so it felt a little reunion-ish. While at the conference, I had a suite in the Portland hotel, which makes me wish M could join me even more when I travel--someone who needs to relax a little and who could enjoy the nice room. I made time to enjoy the tub one night. Also ate at the Farm Café, which was delightful.

So now I'm home, a few work emails sent on Saturday, and I'm resolved not to do any more work related stuff during my vacation. I may check my email on the Sunday before I go back--it will probably take me several hours to just to skim/delete all of the crap from my inbox. I've been doing chores, cleaning the house, spent a few hours at the County Fair on Saturday, and (trumpet flair) the reunion has officially begun for me--my cousins arrived! Their plane was delayed, so I drove down to SFO to get them after all, but encountered so much traffic that I ended up at the airport *after* the next shuttle bus, making them wait even longer…not helpful. But I was just so excited to see them. And speaking of excited--I couldn't quite pull the trigger on an expensive, high quality video camera but wanted something to record, so I got a Flip. I tried it out at the Fair, but haven't had a chance to download and edit any footage yet. It also inspired me to start on a felted cozy for it, cuz you know I'm cuckoo for cozies. Tomorrow morning we leave for Mom's and more reunionizing.

Happy birthday, Felicia!

July marks another year of home ownership for us--this makes eight years. Time has certainly changed the market, and our abode, some of it good, some wear and tear that we haven't been able to work on quite yet--I hope that will turn around soon.

And last, but certainly not least--IT is just about here. M leave tomorrow for San Mateo, and the Bar exam begins on Tuesday morning. He's completely stressed out about it, but also feels prepared, as ready as he'll ever be, which is very hopeful. I'm just so inexpressibly glad and grateful that it's going to be over in a matter of days.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

It's Hot

My creation
Originally uploaded by suzipaw
Getting ready to hit the County Fair (splash dogs! Budweiser Clydesdales!), so here's a little entry via Nancy to keep the blogging momentum going til I get it together to actually write something, a Flickr mosaic.

If you want to play too, type your answer to each of the questions below into a Flickr search. Using only the first page, choose your favorite image, then copy and paste each of the URLs into the mosaic maker (3 columns, 4 rows).

The questions, with my answers:
1. What is your first name? Suzanne
2. What is your favorite food? Mashed potatoes
3. What high school did you attend? Point Arena
4. What is your favorite color? Violet
5. Who is your celebrity crush? Jake Gyllenhal
6. Favorite drink? Black and tan
7. Dream vacation? Tropical paradise
8. Favorite dessert? chocolate cake
9. What do you want to be when you grow up? Housewife
10. What do you love most in life? Murray
11. One word to describe you. Thoughtful (introspective, not necessarily considerate of others
12. Your Flickr name. (I searched under "suzi" since my flickr name yielded no results)

Photo credits:

1. F/V Suzanne Beth, 2. Run, Turkey, Run!, 3. Untitled, 4. lavendar skies, 5. Jake gyllenhal, 6. The look of nobody home, 7. how about a run?, 8. Sintetizador de chocolate, 9. why isnt my baby gaining weight, 10. Night Stroll, 11. thoughtful, 12. Day 284 Strip Poker

Sunday, July 13, 2008

What's with All the Owls?

Owl in tree
Originally uploaded by suzipaw
Are they my familiar or something? Walking Rex last evening, I spotted a large bird swooping into an oak not far up the hill, so thought I'd try to get a closer look, assuming it was a hawk. As I approached the tree, a large bird, not a hawk, went sailing out to alight in the next clump of oaks, and when it landed, I saw clearly that it was an owl. The photo is from Wilbur, since I didn't bring my camera on the walk yesterday.Since it had come out of the tree at a different spot, I thought I'd see if another owl remained, and sure enough, one (Great Horned I think) was still perched in the tree. I squatted and watched it blink at me as Rex snuffled and crunched through the thick fallen leaves. I hoped the other owl would return, and it did much to my delight, landing on a branch even closer than the other owl. I stayed as long as my crouched legs would let me, then left as quietly as I could.

It's been a relatively quiet weekend. Errands, chores, hair trimmed mostly. I bought a couple of books at the thrift stores near where I get my hair cut, Innocence and Anne of Windy Poplars. M's been feeling poorly--he actually took the day off from studying yesterday and slept most of the day. He's been attributing it to the smoky atmosphere, but feeling nauseous most afternoons lately, so we're worried he has a bug of some sort. Well, he has two weeks to kick whatever it is. The air was much clearer today, thank goodness.

Friday, July 11, 2008


(Written last night) Rex and I are out on the back deck, keeping an eye on the birds. It's been very smoky the last few days though it's not so bad now. Frankly, it's nice just being outside for a bit, irritated throat and all. Except for the expedition to Mom's last weekend, I've been feeling very cooped up for the past few weeks.

M and I watched the first three episodes of "Mad Men" last night, ostensibly a post millennial perspective of a Madison Avenue advertising firm set in 1960, but mostly a rigorously accurate period soap opera of human relations, mostly of the heterosexual kind. It is pretty amusing seeing liquor bottles in the office and a Lucky Strike hanging off nearly every lip. People smoking in restaurants! On the train! In the office! Pouring a highball in the office! At 4:30! Phones…with cords! And nary a laptop to bee seen. I remember a little of that--smoking sections on planes, for instance, which make the non-smoking sections seem oxymoronic now. I wonder if the tradition of the subordinate having the boss and his wife over for dinner fell out of favor because, as women became the boss, there was a greater awareness of just what a hassle that was? Or maybe as more women joined the workforce, there wasn't anyone at home with time to entertain? I remember Mom telling me about one of her boss entertainment experiences--making French onion soup to start but accidentally leaving the little crocks in the oven just a bit too long and the soup disappeared into the bread. (Correct me if I got that wrong, Mom.) What if something like that meant that your husband wouldn't be promoted?

M was not too thrilled with the club-you-over-the-head-with -sexism/racism scenes in the show, and it does make you wonder just how bad it was. Or maybe he was just offended by the joke: "Your wife and your lawyer are drowning in the lake, calling for help. You have a choice to make. Do you have lunch or see a movie?" I admit that I was attracted to the set dressing and discussions about what makes advertising images and phrases resonate with people, what drives them to buy. And the portrayal of the sophisticated, liberated, free spirited artist living in the Village who served as the main character's mistress and muse.

Television. Far more fun and interesting to write about than my life right about now. Except for last weekend at Mom's which was really great. Rex and I got up there later on Friday than I had planned, but in plenty of time to unpack and go down to Mom's opening reception at CityArt. I hung around for a bit, then had dinner across the street at The Record and sat on the big deck with a post prandial glass of vino, watching the tourists go by. My stepdad joined me and we took a tour of the town. There's a fancy furniture shop now, a sort of town square structure being built (just outside the public restrooms for some mysterious reason), and a new art gallery being built to join CityArt and the other gallery space run by an old acquaintance who has become quite tattooed with time. We stayed for the Parade of the Horribles and performance by the Extra Action Marching Band, quite a good show. Saturday night was a walk to the beach with dog and stepdad--I really missed my camera when we came across a skinny red racer snake valiantly trying to ingest a plump, stiff field mouse but it wasn't getting much farther than its nape. Saturday afternoon I went with Mom, brother and family to a reserve for rare African animals located just off Main Street in Pt. Arena--so strange to see zebra and antelope there! It was very inspiring--made me want to start my own reserve, but for rare and heritage domestic breeds of animals…A lovely group dinner with other friends also visiting for the weekend, then got cleaned out at poker by my brother. I stayed a day later than I had planned, but it was good to relax a little bit on Sunday morning and we did some much-needed planning for the DoJ. Rex moped all the way home, and when we hit the heat coming inland from the coast, I was glad I had stayed a little longer.

Reading Nancy's blog last night, I got to daydreaming a little about my days in New York. After I left my job at NYU, I temped for a while and one of my stints took me up to an office just a few blocks from the waterfall she mentions. I "discovered" it while wandering around one lunch hour exploring the neighborhood and often returned. I particularly liked that the water thundered down so loudly that conversation near it was impossible, it drowned out other conversations, traffic…it was just you and the waterfall.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Parade of the Horribles

I am so lame--this is really the only decent footage that I was able to salvage of the Extra Action Marching Band's participation in the Point Arena Parade of the Horribles on July 4. You can see how plenty of parents ignored the "may not be suitable for children" warning. So many photo ops, but so little talent! I even got a "walk over"--the band just comes at people crouched down to take pics or watch, and you can either get out of the way, or as I did, lay back and let 'em shake it in your face. Did I get any good photos? Any? No.....

Friday, July 04, 2008

How Time (and Owls) Fly

with grandma
Originally uploaded by suzipaw
Drafting this last night, Rex was panting and hoarse, barking at the fireworks shooting over our 'hood tonight. And at the "hoods"--we had several fire trucks cruising the streets trying to keep the illegal stuff under control, but it was a noisy night last night.

I had a great visit with Grandma last weekend, spending time catching up and leafing through photos, particularly the disc my uncle copied for our whole family recently that I haven't had a chance to really peruse yet. I love hearing about our family and other people (and animals, too!) in her life, how she grew up, and the things she's done. We took a trip to the grocery store one afternoon but mostly we just hung out at her place.

Wilbur hasn't changed much. Bikers and trucks zoomed along Main Street with comforting regularity. I arrived late* Saturday evening and made my way down to Doxie's for dinner, noting that birds were the loudest sound filtering through the golden sunset air. Hauling my pizza booty back down the street around 8:30 p.m. I noticed the sole bar had closed. Before 9:00 p.m. On a Saturday night. Twelve hours later the scene was much the same. Bird calling, check. Bikers, boaters, and outdoor adventurers rolling by, check. Bar closed, drive-ins open, check. I'm happy to note that the plain cake doughnuts from Sandy's I consumed both mornings, accompanied by extra espresso'd lattes were also unchanged. Some things are worth the wait!

I also enjoyed my usual visit to the cemetery. It was very hot in Wilbur, so I went after dinner one evening when it was a bit cooler. I sat on Grandpa's headstone, admiring the light and lovely view of town and trees. So many birds! The sprinklers were watering the part of the grounds where some of my ancestors are buried, so I wandered through other areas of the old part of the cemetery, admiring the stonework. Was I surprised when one of the draped stone urns unfolded its wings and took to the air! The huge (well, it looked huge to me) owl flew off into a tree in a huff, and continued to cry out to the two other owls at the other end of the cemetery that were hopping about on the headstones--a very loud, yipey call. They actually let me get pretty close, relatively speaking, and I'm sure they must've gotten a laugh when, crouched behind a headstone to try to get a better photo, the sprinkler sprayed me with a jet of cold water. Didn't take me long to dry, however…

*My travels both ways were not smooth, unfortunately. I was so excited to fly out of Santa Rosa, and it was great not to have to leave the house at the crack of dawn or have a whole other driving leg awaiting me when I returned. But my connection to Spokane from Seattle was cancelled and I had to wait for several hours, roaming from gate to gate in hopes that I would be called from the standby list. On the way back, our flight was delayed from Spokane to Seattle due to fueling delays, though we didn't find out til we were on the plane, then had to deplane, and of course we couldn't leave the gate area since we could be taking off at any time…But, I made it home that night, and that was good.

I got home on Monday night but already that seems so long ago. Work was a good but intense three days this week. Last night M and I took ourselves out to a really nice dinner as sort of a belated anniversary, to Flavor, a place my friend Marsee recommended to me long ago and I'm sorry it's taken me so long to get there. All our courses were really good, as was the service, prices reasonable--now I'm scared to go back, the expectations are high.

I'm off to Mom's this morning, bringing a Cadillac load of bedding and other crap up for the family reunion. I'm looking forward to seeing my brother and family and friends, even if it's just for a quick turn and burn. Maybe we'll take in some Independence Day festivities while I'm there, but lack of activity sounds pretty good too.

Oh, and thanks to everyone who voted for Eric's bike to win the S&S anniversary bike competition! His LSR (land speed racer) won his class, as those of you who voted will no doubt know thanks to the press release you were sent by S&S (I don't remember being asked if I wanted to receive mail from them, do you? I unsubscribed…). M reports that he apparently was treated like quite the celebrity, signing autographs, and fending off both paparazzi and the advances of a cougar or two.