Saturday, March 26, 2011

Storm Poem

It's not much, but better than nothing:

Storm upsets the cedar
dark branches frantic
but down the street the palm
dances, waving jazz hands

I've been walking around with the palm fronds as jazz hand image for a while. It's good to get it out there.

Other random things:

As you may have guessed, it's been raining. A lot, way more than usual. It's good, I know, but I'm ready for a break. It's been especially good for the settling peach trees, I'm sure. As you can see from the photo, they're not dead! They have shifted a bit, so don't seem quite straight--M and I will try to stake them differently, once the weather lets up. I think we lost the vines, however. It's possible that I've been successful in rooting shoots from the Mr. Lincoln rootstock, so we might have roses to replace them with in the fall--that rootstock is very vigorous and when I haven't had the heart to cut them back right away, it's produced sprays of lovely small red blooms.

I leave for a show in San Francisco tomorrow morning, returning on Thursday. I'll also be doing a lot of traveling the last two weeks of April: twice to Santa Clara for conferences, plus Wilbur, Portland, and maybe a trip up to Manchester if Kamala comes. M's mom is also coming for a quick visit during that time. I'm looking forward to most of the travel, but I'll be happy exactly a month from now when I'll get to be home for a bit, hopefully in drier weather. Oh, and M's having the screws removed from a previous knee surgery on April 11. This is in preparation for a total replacement in a year or two. So much going on.

There are other things too. Part of my life is conspiring to keep a low level of anger simmering constantly, and I'm just going to have deal with it for a while longer. On the bright side, I'm letting off its steam in indirect ways that could be construed as constructive. I was not just a silent unhappy customer in Best Buy last weekend, I actually expressed myself, something I rarely do--though it didn't get me anywhere. And in Zumba class on Monday, rather than stewing yet again about the person who ignores the posted sign and interrupts our cool-down by coming into class and moving out equipment for another class she's leading--and not just a couple of things, but a stationary bike, bozu balls, etc.--I actually asked her (nicely) to please stop and she sort of did.

Stewing, simmering--I must be hungry. M is making me a pancake, so must ring off. (Did I mention he picked up a crockpot at the thrift store a couple of weeks ago and we're exploring the culinary world of slow cooking? Tonight we'll try scalloped potatoes.)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Hello from ATX

It's evening after the time change and I'm sitting in a little studio apartment in Austin. An austere apartment. There's no mirror (I'm not too too vain but I do have to present myself professionally while I'm here...), no TV, no comfortable place to sit. My bed is a hard single mattress up a ladder--I was very awake when I made that trek to the toilet last night!--with no lightswitch within reach. But it's my own quiet space for now and I hear the clink of the Magnolia Cafe waitresses taking the trash out and smell something delightful wafting from that kitchen, thinking fondly of the vintage shopping I did on South Congress Street this afternoon. A distant bell is tolling eight o'clock (update: nine bells) as the traffic moves to and from the capitol building and Town Lake--including the roar of motorcycles driven by their helmetless riders. Ah, danger and the feeling of freedom. Like New York, shorts worn with tights are a la mode here, coexisting with strappy sun dresses paired with slant-heel cowboy boots. Culinary rage: savory items like shrimp and bacon served in ice cream cones. Sans ice cream. Imagine my despair at approaching the shiny Mighty Cone Airstream trailer on my way "home" from the convention center hoping for a cooling gourmet indulgence and being met with choices only of the flesh. Well, there it is. And food trucks--herds of them gathering in parking lots around town.

I'm here for SXSW and I confess it's defeated me today. I haven't slept well for the past few days which has taken its toll. I schmooze well only in the best of circumstances and I managed adequately the last couple of days, but after a work brunch this morning (which actually was quite lovely, chatty, *and* delicious) I sagged during the afternoon keynote addresses and hied me here. It's monumentally crowded at the conference and there are lines for everything--getting coffee, filing into session rooms, attending parties, even just crossing certain streets. Conversations were easy the first few days, but now I think people see that I'm tired and that I'm not a VC looking to unload capital into their app/film/project/band and look away when I try to catch their eye. I'm hoping that a restorative night's sleep will turn that around tomorrow and I'll have a few productive hours at the show tomorrow before winging my way back to home, husband, and hounds in the afternoon.

I have really enjoyed getting to know TX better, particularly in the non-humid season. I arrived Tuesday afternoon and had a great couple of days with Dad and Ginny. We hung out, did some fabulous thrift store shopping (I have never heard the clacking of clothes hangers quite so forcefully than at 25-cent day at Family Thrift!), ate well, watched TV, and walked the San Antonio Botanical Garden.

They very kindly dropped me at my first digs in Austin on Thursday afternoon, the Inn at Pearl Street (the Cottage Room) in the Judges Hill neighborhood. It was a lovely B&B with nice folk both running the place and guests also attending the conference, but it was quite a walk from the convention center. I don't think I was prepared for how warm those first few days were, but I was determined to get my exercise and sweatily hoofed it to and fro. It was lovely seeing the older homes, solid Victorians, others limestone clad, others with the plantation two-porch style.

After two restless nights there I moved (I really underestimated how hard it would be to get a room during SXSW!) to my current spot, a studio behind a private home. It felt a little risky--I didn't know anything about who I was sending my money too nor the neighborhood, but it all worked out well. After I realized that neither of the keys my "landlady" gave me worked and she called a locksmith (on a Saturday, when she was due to leave the following day at 6am!).

The time change has been a little amusing. My iPhone and computer budged an hour automatically last night, but stubbornly remain on California time; my cell phone changed to Central time when I touched down in San Antonio, but has refused to acknowledge the spring forward--I assumed that it would so imagine my surprise when I came downstairs this morning and compared it with my good ol' analog watch, whose hands I have been dutifully twirling about myself. Thank goodness for it! I suspect that's contributed to my discombobulation today.


In other news: it's been very busy and stressful at work these past few weeks, so that's not really news, is it? So much that I almost didn't make the trek to Texas, but I'm glad I did. It was Restaurant Week in Sonoma County at the end of February, so M and I did our part, going out once just the two of us and again with another couple we're fond of. I had a lovely gals date with a friend a few weekends ago. We went to brunch and a movie and shopping and caught up and basically had a fine time. This warm Texas weather has me jonesing for spring at home. I'm sure it will be here before I know it--to everything turn, turn, turn...