Sunday, January 31, 2010

One Down, Eleven to Go

It's a misty Sunday morning. The day rises ahead, edges softened, light obscured. No neighborhood noise breaks calm but for the hummingbirds buzzing to the feeder and the steady tick of the retro kitchen clock. This could be the extent of the universe for all I know, no "there" beyond this little radius of foggy visibility. The robins, flickers, and towhees could be flying in and out of oblivion. I should be disconcerted by that idea of nothingness in the beyond, I know, but somehow it seems comforting today. Probably because things have continued to be excruciatingly stressful at work--the ability see exactly what's around me and feel secure is very appealing to me these days. Anyway. (M's been trying to get me to stop saying that word as dismissal of my concerns, but the habit remains.) The last couple of weeks have been good ones despite the aforementioned stress.

Jaguar head
Originally uploaded by suzipaw
Mom came for a visit last Wednesday night. A friend was having a birthday celebration and she stayed over with us. Always a good excuse to eat a little better and catch up on family news. I'm using the top of the new bookshelves as a stand-in for a mantle piece and it was nice to have someone to show off a little of my milk glass collection to. She also brought me a beautifully made beaded jaguar head that I had admired in a lunch spot a few weeks back, which was very sweet.

For date night last Friday, I left work early and drove down with M to hear PZ Myers speak at UC Berkeley. We swung by Ikea on the way to pick up an essential piece of his desk that we missed on our run there last month, then parked near the university, grabbed a slice of gourmet pizza (my first experience with walnuts on a pie--curiously delightful), and headed over to the lecture. UCB is a lovely campus, and it was fun being surrounded by all that young student energy. The bells in the Campanile tolled as we strolled to the Life Sciences hall. The room was nearly full, with many other folks in attendance besides students. We sat near the front and chatted a little with PZ. The questions were good. Two people asked about the "aquatic ape" theory, which I hadn't really heard much about before (PZ doesn't think it holds water, haha; neither does the latest issue of Scientific American) which was interesting to learn about. No creationist hecklers made themselves known, which was a tad disappointing from a dramatic perspective. Afterwards we had another bite to eat at a Louisiana-themed restaurant where I consumed my first hushpuppies. Yum.

On Sunday, the knitting class was better--the blabbers grouped themselves at the other end of the table and only drown out the teacher once but mostly just amused themselves. After a rocky start, I was successful in my attempt to knit cables. In the afternoon, M and I pressed on the hospitality of a friend and horned our way into his pad to watch the Saints-Vikings playoff game on his large and lovely TV. (M and I continue to mull over and compare these bright objects of desire, but can't quite pull the trigger yet. I think we're getting closer. He pointed out after one such comparison foray yesterday that the bulky and ancient boobtube we currently have idling on the shelf at home cost about the same price as what we're looking at now. Ah how technology flies.)

It surprises me a little how long it’s taken M and me to put the small home improvement details together. Maybe I shouldn't be surprised, given my penchant for procrastination. We did finally get his desk area set up in the craft room last weekend--I'm allowing the encroachment since I'm sure I'll find it useful too and we can hopefully write it off on our taxes. Doing that motivated me to reorganize various paperwork yesterday, which was a good feeling. The craft room is finally back into a place where I can actually do my little crafty deeds. Removing barriers to creativity is a good thing. Maybe we'll hang some pictures today. Or not. We're both feeling scratchy-throated.

We had a little neighborhood excitement last week. Apparently there was a manhunt (well, OK, I guess it could have been a womanhunt) in our neighborhood on Wednesday night, so we had police cars out on the streets with lights flashing for hours, and a helicopter zooming overhead. M went out (in his bathrobe, how defenseless!) to talk to the cop, and was politely advised to go back inside. M did spend some time scanning the backyard, armed with both flashlight and pistol, but was not called upon to put his heroic ideas into actions. Thank god. And also thankfully, I managed to sleep through much of the hullabaloo.

On Friday, my boss and I drove down to Mountain View to attend an event my company sponsored but didn't produce. It's a women-only "unconference," meaning that the sessions aren't set in advance--individual attendees decide if they want to lead a discussion on the spot. It was a good experience. It wasn't a huge group of people on Friday, maybe 75, and we all went around the room introducing ourselves and finishing the sentence, "I'm geeky because…" Well, thank goodness I was in the middle of the pack since it took me quite a while to come up with my answer. ("…because technology helps me to keep in touch with the people I love, including my 100 year old grandma" is what I finally said.) I also haven't gotten over my fear of public speaking that started in my late 20s. I have no idea why I started to get so worried about that, but there it is. So I had 15 minutes of heart-pounding anticipation until I got it over with, but I did it and only stumbled a little. It was also odd being in a room with only tech-oriented women--our conferences are 80% or more men, so it was a first for me, and the energy definitely is different. It was easier for me to interact, which is the point for this event, it actively turns men away. We left after lunch so I got home around 4:30--nice to be home so early on a Friday afternoon.

I should turn on the heater, start the French toast (I've been having a hankering), put in a first load of laundry.

Oh, and we've had three baby zebras born recently in our local exotic animal park. I really should go there one day.

Monday, January 18, 2010


It really is beautiful, though we've only seen blue skies once in the past three or more weeks. At least something is coming of all the gray, and it's a lot of something today. We managed to get yard work done ahead of the storm on Saturday, and I'm still a bit ache-y, but so glad we didn't procrastinate yet again. This is a little earlier than I usually prune the roses and I'm hoping that's a good thing. I really whacked the Sterling Silver, clearing out the center especially so the canes will get more air circulation--I hope it wasn't too much. It's so hard for me to cut away all those potential blooms. M really had to encourage/coach me along. I bought some rooting hormone yesterday, hoping to start two rose bushes from the Mr. Lincoln rootstock. From the few canes I've let go in seasons past, the bush seems to be very vigorous and produces arching sprays of beautiful, small blood-red roses. They would be nice to plant up against the chain link fence in the back, softening that a bit.

Today, M and I took care of some interior cleaning and home decorating projects. We didn't get quite as far as I'd hoped, but I also didn't just crawl back into bed mid-morning, which so tempting as the rain drummed down harder. I think I have enough cocoa in the cupboard for hot chocolate. I'm really grateful the office was closed today.

Last night, we watched Man on Wire and really enjoyed it. It made me sad to see the twin towers, though--they were still being finished when the crazy wire-walking between them plot was hatched and executed.

Here are some pictures from last October that I've been meaning to post (yes, that's Alyssa in the middle pic to the left):

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Please, Please

OK, I get it, you're deprived of adults what with being on bed rest for the first and third trimesters, but it's just a few hours of class with a couple of other regular seeming women, so do you really need to divulge your church, your child's name and who he was named after including the TV show and brother and brother-in-law who share the same name so how easy to decide on the middle name while showing the two students around you what to do totally undermining the teacher and all of the internet resource you recommend interwoven with the Harry Potter fandom--your husband is in Hufflepuff, really, and you're in Slytherin, really? and you and the pastor's daughter also read through all of the Twilight books looking for sex and violence and there isn't really any really, so it's OK, really?

I enjoyed the knitting class today (really), but had to come home and make an incredibly fat-filled dinner to soothe my soul from the very needy fellow classmate. I'll try to be more gracious next time, but thank God, yes, God, that it's just two classes. Thank you for listening.

Monday, January 11, 2010

No Title, Clever or Otherwise, Coming to Mind

Happy New Year. It doesn't seem so new anymore, does it? Or maybe like a birthday, it doesn't necessarily feel different, or older.

So just a short post to say I'm still here and to lament that I've missed blogging and thought about it a lot, but…there's a great black sucking noise where my creativity normally resides. Maybe it would be a bit more lively if I actually ever tried pick up some of my usual crafty activities, but somehow I find myself watching TV (on the laptop no less, that's how easily I become distracted) or sitting around reading the next Richard Sharpe book. Escapism has been my watchword for 2010, a legacy from the end of 2009.

Have I mentioned that we haven't seen blue skies in these here parts for several weeks? Maybe I have Seasonal Affective Disorder.

And I'm grumpy today, still recovering from a bout of food poisoning contracted on Saturday night--the night I took M out to a swanky restaurant for his birthday. It was a lovely day other than that: we met brother Jay for a double birthday breakfast, took in Avatar in 3D, lounged in the afternoon, and then the fateful dinner. I had a miserable night and was completely wiped out yesterday, which M secretly enjoyed, methinks--an excuse to hang around in bed all day bringing me water and putting my socks on for me and watching the lap-tube rather than do the yard work we had planned. I stayed home from work today, but still did a lot of work anyway--that's not helping with my grumpiness, that's for sure.

Maybe I'm also still having "re-entry" hangover--it was such a lovely two weeks away from the office. Dad and Ginny came for a visit just before New Year's, spurring a bit of household organization--we finally found some serviceable new bookcases and I hung some pictures. It was so nice to see them and catch up, however briefly. It was nice to see so many family members, and have a few days of doing nothing, and also have time to do chores. I miss that.

So, I admit it's hard being back at it. But, I did sign up for a short knitting skills class this weekend and next, hopefully that will fan the crafty flame a bit. Blogging more might help too.