Thursday, April 23, 2009

Spring Cleaning

I was two days in Santa Clara this week at a show. I drove down very early Tuesday morning and got back last night. Not enough time to unpack even in the sleekly remodeled Hyatt (Eames style recliner, square sink set atop the counter in the bath), which was fine with me. I was glad I went, gladder to be home. We've been having a heat wave and the roses are starting to burst. Mr. Lincoln is having his most prolific year yet.

Last weekend ended up being a milestone for M. I could no longer stand the trashed disarray of the garage, normally his domain, so I "made" him start to clean it up with me. While I reorganized the food storage area, camping gear, and Christmas stuff (we're going to have to have a tree one of these years soon, I've got some lovely ornaments!), he sorted and excavated the mighty pile of books and materials that represented four long years of law school. He had been wondering about what to keep, what to try to sell, what to give away…and it hit him that that part of his experience was all behind him now. His identity and mindset of being a struggling student didn't fit him anymore. The thousands of dollars spent on those books did not represent even a fraction of what anyone would now pay for them. He graduated, took and passed the Bar, and was sworn in as an officer of the court, but realized he didn't have enough of a demarcation between these phases of his life. He mentioned Iron John and understanding that idea more deeply of being treated in a certain way and the level of responsibility changing as one progresses through life.

We talked about it quite a bit and he seemed more relieved in a way. It's interesting how long it's taken for it to sink in that he won't ever have to study for classes or for the Bar again--but, it was a long ordeal, so maybe not so surprising that it takes some time to work through. Apparently that was part of why he didn't want to work on cleaning out the garage--an avoidance of that mental confrontation. I'm sure he must have some trepidation about leaving that student identity behind since he doesn't have a whole lot of professional experience yet, but that will come. And maybe I'm projecting, but maybe there's some "I'm getting older" in the mix too…He kept a few books, mostly just for show in his office, but took several boxes up to the college and put them out for students to take. He promised that his huge stack of Bar review materials would be next.

As we were pulling out the last of the boxes stored in an attic area (in preparation for poisoning the rats we have (sad and horrifying in so many ways), we did find the box that held most of my correspondence to him. He had thought that the vermin had nibbled their way through my passionate prose, but happily it survived. I read a few letters before storing it away again, from when he left NY to move back into his mom's place in Southern California for a while (thank goodness our plan for me to move there later didn't materialize!). A few of the missives contained my hopes for how our lives would be when we were reunited--nothing extraordinary, in fact I mostly just wanted the very ordinary with him. Creating a happy loving home, a base for creative outlets and small adventures. It's taken longer than I thought, but we're finally pulling up to that life I'd been dreaming of, lo this decade and more. I'm wondering now how my mindset needs shifting and cleaning out to adjust to this realization…but it's a very happy pondering.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

"Dyslexic Hips" and Catching Up

Kam, I've been meaning to blog, really I have. I hope at least the quality of my sparse posts is some small consolation for the lack of frequency.

So the life recap, in no particular order (that would be just too taxing):

Mur's new office
Originally uploaded by suzipaw

My four-day weekend was heavenly. I didn't check work email, not once! That was odd, but refreshing. I met M for lunch at his office on Thursday--he's moving into an actual office and I helped him arrange the furniture. We have more to do, which we may work on today.

On Friday, I met one of my long-time friends and her daughter in San Francisco for a trip to the de Young museum to see an Andy Warhol retrospective. I had been thinking that going during the week would ease crowds and parking, but it was Good Friday of course, d'oh! We spend quite a lot of time driving around Golden Gate park looking for a spot big enough for the Monster Mobile, which of course is a challenge. It was all worth it when, as we were walking to the museum, ran into my mom and stepdad! They had just come from the Academy of Sciences. Pretty funny. The Warhol exhibit was very good. I had forgotten how many projects he was into--Interview magazine, TV and video production, and the Silver Factory. Wild days.

On Saturday, Mom and Don came back through town and we had a nice lunch in honor of his birthday. We took them to see M's office, and they were appropriately impressed. That evening met up with friends and went to see David Lindley and Beau Soleil playing at a local theater. Live music is certainly missing from my life. (I did just make plans to see a piano concert next Sunday and drag M to our local junior college's production of "Guys and Dolls" at the end of the month--hope to continue that trend!)

On Sunday, M and Sean allowed me to come fishing with them and we spent the day floating on Lake Sonoma. Won. Der. Ful. The hills were still very green, the wildflowers were varied and abundant, the air neither too hot nor too cool. We beached the boat a couple of times and Rex and I wandered up in the hills. We stared at lizards staring at us, poked our faces into the huge burrows we encountered, startled a small herd of cows and their calves. As it's still National Poetry Month, I was inspired to write my annual poem--I need to clean that up for posting. I was starting to feel a great weight of Sunday blues as we drove home from the lake--more than usual because it had been such a pleasant weekend and I knew a lot of catching up awaited me at the office. But more diversion awaited--as we arrived to drop off the boat, Sean's mom insisted that we come in for Easter dessert, so we did, despite feeling a little gritty and sunbaked from a full day on the water. But I was so glad I did. Other family members were there and it was very pleasant--pushing the anticipation of work away for a while longer. I needed that.

I finished Jane Eyre. Loved it. Need to dive into another tale soon, it helps focus my mind on issues other than work that seem to creep into my thoughts constantly.

Last Tuesday, the husband-and-wife team that M works for took us and another coworker and her husband out to dinner at a very swanky joint to celebrate the signing of their 50th client. Three hours and four bottles of wine later, we all felt pretty satisfied with how the business is progressing. I could get use to that tasty lifestyle. The paralegal in his office is apparently Argentinian--she doesn't have an accent--and she and her adorable thickly accented Argentine husband are having a second ceremony in their native land in December. I was thinking that would be a good reason to travel to the land of tango (of course she'd invite me, right?) but checking the airfares the next day put the kibosh on that..

I'm feeling a little better about Zumba class, aerobic activity-wise, but it is sadly revealing that I have no affinity at all for Latin dance. My feet and arms are doing the basic moves, but I'm not light enough on my feet, and my hips just don't have any sense of direction, leading a classmate to comment that they are dyslexic. Now I'll have a complex!

M and I are meeting with a re-fi guy today, someone he used to work with, so hopefully that ball will be rolling if we can still get the interest rate and point amount (or lack thereof). We're meeting at a Starbucks this morning, and I've been craving a latte for days now. Other plans for the weekend: washing the dog and cleaning out the garage. And the poem. And firming up my plans to visit Grandma next month! So much to look forward to.

One thing I've been noticing lately. I'm spending a lot more time with M. He hasn't had to teach the last couple of weeks, so we have most evenings together, plus the weekends. He's not studying or stressing. It's sort of an odd feeling, it seems wrong almost, like he's missing out on something, or that this is just a vacation of some sort and will end soon. After years of selling cars when I never saw him on weekends and he worked late, and then law school, where he studied on weekends and went to class at night, and frankly wasn't with me much mentally even if his physical self was around…it's like we're finally really living our lives together. This is giving me a lot of joy lately.

OK, I couldn't help myself. I edited the post into chron order.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Of Boots, Bikes, and Bells

Is it April already? My goodness.

That was a post title I came up with while in San Francisco last week. I wanted to describe some of my observations, seen and heard. Left coast ladies are favoring boots as much as I saw in New York in February. But while the Big Apple-ites I saw ran the gamut, from low slouchy suede to teetering stilettos, the women by the Bay are almost universally choosing the sleek, shiny, and knee-nigh-ish styles. I also noticed that bikes seemed to be in greater use for commuting, not just training and messengering. While on my way to the convention center one morning, I loved being passed by a dad and his grade-school daughter on a bicycle built for two, her pink dress matching her pink helmet. And the young professional on her way home from work as I was walking back to my hotel, tugging at her skirt that was threatening to creep too far up her thigh, the breeze lifting her short hair and pressing her white blouse close. On my last morning, as I was cinching my luggage tight in preparation for checkout, I heard the bells of the nearby church pealing the half-hour--how I miss church bells, the real thing, not the recorded versions I hear so often.

I felt like it was a very productive weekend, though I don't have much to show for it other than red toenails and a distinct lack of words added to my romance novel. I read "The Reader" and enjoyed it. I had quite a reading lacuna after the Sookie Stackhouse series, it was hard to depart that colorful, low impact world of vampires, were-creatures, and mind readers (I have to say, I've often wondered recently what a telepath would make of some of my thoughts lately…). "The Reader" was very thought provoking, particularly around forgiveness and trying to exist harmoniously with someone who is responsible for horrific actions, which is an interesting idea for me. Thanks to a visit to the library sale on Saturday, I've now installed myself at Thornfield with "Jane Eyre" and her krewe, a far cry in some ways from the bloodsuckers of Louisiana, though there are some pretty savage characters in Bronte's tale. I picked up a 1943 edition, which is wider than most books, to accommodate the woodcut illustrations. The type is also set in two columns on each page which at first I thought would be harder to read, but is actually pleasant. I'm loving the language, particularly the use of "un-" more frequently as in "He unclosed the door."

At the sale, I also picked up "The Hunchback of Notre Dame," "Washington Square," and six back issues of Handcraft Illustrated, but so far have not been as enamored of the latter as I have with its culinary sibling. Which, by the way, M and I used to create the most delish of chocolate chip cookies over the weekend. The recipe directed us to brown the butter, which gave the batter an overpowering toffee flavor, but baked up wonderfully. He wants to experiment with this technique for snickerdoodles, which seems a travesty to me, but one never knows.

I also started editing a movie I shot last week. I had some footage of Rex digging energetically for a gopher. On Saturday, as I was sitting in the sun, said canine dozing nearby, I heard a distinct chomping sound and saw a gopher popping out of his warren not ten feet away, munching on our grass at his leisure! Even my human faculties could behold that brazen beast, unfazed as I trained the Flip upon him, yet the mutt continued to lie at my feet contentedly. Not a mighty hunter after all, apparently, for all that show.

It's Thursday. Raining, thank goodness. I was glad to get back to my gym routine this week, I needed it. I'm taking today and tomorrow off of work, and hope to just do a little of it. I'm encountering some wifi problems with my laptop, which I think might be a blessing in disguise--it'll be harder for me to get lost on the Internets. On the weekend horizon: tomorrow I'm meeting a friend and her young daughter in the City, where we'll take in an Andy Warhol exhibit at the de Young. On Saturday, mom and stepdad are coming through town and we'll have lunch; in the evening, we plan to see David Lindley, who is playing a gig at a venue in Healdsburg.

Happy National Poetry Month!

In the spirit of "un," below is a poem by Hawaiian poet Haunani-Kay Trask. One of her collections of poetry, "Light in the Crevice Never Seen," was given to be by my dad and stepmom a dozen years ago--it's the first book of poetry by an indigenous Hawaiian to be published in North America.

You Will Be Undarkened

you will be undarkened
by me led astray
to native waters
sunned until

old mango hills
rise leafless you will come
long and flowing

poured slowly
through the gourd of laughter
spring of weightlessness

yearning you will swell
at evening's light
rivers of you
flooded apart and you will

beg me so
in your momentous showing
to keep you translucent