Sunday, June 20, 2010

Almost Solstice

So I'm finally sitting down and blogging, yay!

It's Sunday, the second longest day of the year. I love the light and long days. It makes spending long hours in the office easier, coming out to a few hours of sunshine. I know winter makes me appreciate this time of year more, but still, I wish the daylight hours dallied a bit more.

On to catching up before the weekend slips below the horizon…

Mom's Birthday in Tahoe
Four days with family, walking to places where snow still lingered, cooking with my brothers--one of my favorite activities--seeing beautiful vistas, sleeping. So many things adding up to a wonderful vacation. The house where we stayed was up on the slopes away from the busy lakeside roadway, a lovely quiet place with a view of the mountains to the south from the deck, perfect for morning and evening walks.

The first full day there, many of us converged on Emerald Bay and walked down to Vikingsholm, a scenic and strenuous-ish trip. M's mom met us there and we went into South Lake for lunch. We played Texas Hold 'em after dinner as we did most evenings.

The next day, M and I took nephew Ryan over the very scenic mountain pass to Virginia City, a well preserved silver boom-town now bust but for tourists, docents wandering about in period costume, some barely distinguishable from the bikers stomping the boardwalks in their interpretation of a cowboy's vests, chaps, and bandannas. We met M's mom again at the Bucket of Blood saloon, did the requisite sepia-toned portrait, boarded the train for a trip to Gold Hill, and peeked into shops now filled with goods for tourists rather than gold seekers. The town had done a good job preserving the storefronts and some interiors, which I appreciated.

The last full day there--Mom's actual birthday--was the mellowest. We walked to the top of the loop in our neighborhood, contemplated the slope. We heard a dog bark, then saw the source--two dogs running down one of the last swaths of snow, followed by a skier S-ing down the slope. More food and hanging out and TV and card-playing and photos and reading. It was hard to leave the next morning and head back to reality.

My feline companion has been buried beneath a dollop of obsidian for 13 days now. After a week of doing much better on her hyperthyroid medication, she started acting very strangely a couple of Saturdays ago--delirious almost, physically unstable, standing for long periods of time with her head butted up against a wall, crawling under the sofa and behind the file cabinet. We took her to the vet who remarked her strange behavior, but her blood work showed everything to be in order. Perhaps it was a brain tumor. Perhaps feline senility. Perhaps the meds were finally letting what was wrong with her show. But nothing to be done. We wondered: would she be able to eat? Find her litter box? We were in despair, worried that she was in pain, thinking of how to deal with this for any length of time. I came home after work the next day and after a bit of searching finally found her curled in the back of one of my closets, behind a box where I keep my journals and other archival stuff. A fitting place for memories. I pulled out the box and her stomach kept the right angle of the corner where she rested and knew she was gone. I called M and he immediately came home. I felt bad about my squeamishness over her mortal coil, but he was so good of course, letting my cry while he placed her in a pretty pillowcase and dug a hole under the oak tree as far from Pookie and Tom Cat as possible, respecting their animosity even in death. While it's nice not having that litter box smell crowding our atmosphere nor having to book the cat sitter for our travels, it's…alien…not to have a cat around, for the first time in two decades. I still glance guiltily into the craft room regularly. She was a gift to keep me from loneliness and I worry that I left her lonely after all, unable to give her the attention she couldn't demand for herself in the end. I'm glad that she's not suffering but I also miss her, even her plaintive meow.


Of Work, Worth, and "Retirement" (the post I was working on weeks ago…)

A longtime friend and I were talking of late. Mostly via phone, and several times in the last couple of weeks, trying to plan activities together which is unusual for me (the many phone calls part). And I confess that despite our long history of association, she's left me frustrated and…angry. I'm not supposed to feel that way about friends, I know! But in our conversations she kept on about how busy she was, therefore how difficult it was to make the time to get together. Which just made me think that a) I'm at the bottom of her priority list--we all have the same amount of time, right, so if she's doing so many other things, they're all more important and/or b) everything that she's got going on trumps all of my activities. She recently did find time to get together, and that was very nice. Til the end of our visit, when she observed that, "not having kids must be what it's like being retired." Right. And she quickly followed up with "though you do work full time." I know that having kids is very time consuming and 24/7 in a way that the vast majority of jobs, including mine no matter how much I complain and no matter whether or not I'm the breadwinner, simply are not. But talk about a body-blow to any self-esteem I have about how I spend my time. Sigh. Something to work on I suppose.


On a happy note, it's been a stellar weekend. M and I took a beginning drawing class together yesterday, which was very pleasant. We both felt like we learned something and are inspired to learn more. I also appreciated the guidance on trying to observe things as they are, not how I "know" them to be, and how they relate to objects around them. In the evening, we met up with friends and finally made it out to a roller derby bout, watching the North Bay Bruisers trounce the Southern Oregon Rollergirls. All fantasies I had of becoming a jammer evaporated after a minute or two, the time it took for the ladies in the pack to hit the track--again, and hard. The friends we were with just got engaged, and it was fun talking about weddings. I've spent much of the weekend recalling happy wedding memories that took place a mere four years and 51 weeks ago.

I just reserved tickets to see the Birth of Impressionism exhibit at the de Young (which our drawing teacher mentioned during class--maybe we'll have a new perspective on art) with M on Saturday for our formal anniversary celebration and he's on Dosa's website as I type, making dinner reservations for that evening. So much to look forward to!

And this is not related to anything other than my fondness for food, but has anyone else noticed the new trend in serving romaine salads: slicing the heads horizontally into cylinders and dressing the rounds? It's an interesting presentation.


At 10:04 AM, June 22, 2010, Blogger bren said...

I do remember the almost stunned feeling I had when my children left home that I was now going to have one day a week to myself, to do whatever I wanted. Yet, it did not compare to the tremendous joy that I felt when I had 7 days a week to do whatever I wanted.

At 7:54 PM, June 22, 2010, Blogger Nancy said...

How cool that you're taking a drawing class! I'd like to do that one of these days - a "drawing on the right side of the brain" kind of thing.


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