"We Three"

"We Three"

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Fast away the old year passes...

Undeck the halls! It's all history, again. A friend sent me an email about the Massai, who do not acknowledge time in any significant way. That is the way of nature, too. Boo has no idea how long I have been gone when I return. His greeting is always the same expression of extreme joy in being with me again. And I know he has no apprehension about the end of his days, either. I envy him that. I spent some time in the night mourning the Canadian ice shelf that fell, and musing about the little spate of earthquakes we have had here recently. Fear is never far away in the night. All my worries are cataclysmic, I am finding. Endings, even the old year passing, are difficult and full of sadness. And when life is good, comfortable and affordable, it is a time to worry more about its loss. I would like that to pass away tonight with 2006. There, a prayer for the new god box. Let go of the old, embrace the new, whatever that may be. Well, it's a direction to steer toward, anyway.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

I am happy to report...

Thursday morning before Christmas, I was barreling home down College Avenue after my last final, probably the busiest street in town, in the pouring rain, and was chagrined to see one of our neighborhood flocks of turkeys in the westbound slow lane, five lanes away from the entrance to our little street. It was the little flock, just three big ones, and apparently the stupid flock, too. I figured they were all toasted, extra crispy. Imagine my surprise and delight to see them mosey by this afternoon, all hale and hearty. Just one of those little holiday miracles, I guess. And even though I managed to run my favorite watch through a load of wash, only to discover it at the bottom of my machine, it is still running. Fortunately, it was a delicate load.

Friday, December 29, 2006

And the winner is...

Grades are in, and no surprises. As in speech (yay!), music and art, and the dreaded and hard-won B in algebra. I suppose I am on the Dean's List. Now, there's a first! And scholarship is in hand for next semester, too. Altogether a triumphant semester, and I am grateful to have any little gray cells left at all after 62 years of ripping and roaring. Winter break is excellent. Cold weather is so nice for sleeping, n'est-ce pas? I am wearing my new furry red socks to bed, mostly in self-defense against cramping up in the frigid nights. In fact, I look so cute in my red plaid jammy bottoms, cami and waffle-knit shirt and red socks, it is a shame there is no one here but Boo to see me. Okay, slight exaggeration there, but truly grateful for the heap of quilts I crawl under and the foam topper that holds the heat between the sheets. Honestly, it is embarrassing how little it takes to make me happy these days.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

That's all she wrote, folks...

Another Christmas under the bridge. Sigh. It was an easy day for me, starting with Boo kisses, then off to the Alkathon, where I participated in fellowship with my fellow travelers on the recovery road. We are all kinds of folks: old, young, rich, poor, straight, gay, male, female, black, white and every color in between. Street people often show up, some actually wanting to get sober. I saw some of my west county friends, too. Later, I vacuumed a little, dusted a little, and put together dinner for a friend. We exchanged gifts, and I got some sweet little things, especially this beautiful bowl full of goddesses. I like that a lot. Then we went off, thinking we were going to see "The History Boys", but it had gone, so we saw "Little Children", quite an interesting film about children walking around in grownup bodies, mistaking sex for love and fulfillment. As sad as it was, I like that movies like this are being made. We need to examine our values, badly. There is hope, still. People like Wayne Dyer and Marianne Williamson are out there, saying what is really true, that we need to love ourselves first so we can be of use to others. I learned that in AA. Really. No matter what my mother will tell you.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Rode hard and put away wet here...

All wiped out after the finals stretch. Last one was speech, yesterday morning, then home to wrap all the presents, which are now in a cheery pile in the corner of my office. I just got my music grade, an A, yay! I know I was getting an A in art, probably a B in algebra, and that could be my grade in speech, too. Teacher did not admire my last and most heavily weighted speech and gave me an 87. If I did well on final, I may still pull an A, because I showed up every day, and that counts in her class. Well, it was so boring, I expected a reward for showing up. It is over, for good or ill, and I am sooooo ready for this three week break. My house is a disaster area and needs some loving attention. Tomorrow. Today, I just decompressed with stupid computer games, and a trip to nirvana out on Mission Blvd. for walnut pineapple prawns, which I also had for dinner, and will have tomorrow night for dinner, as well. All in all, there is little wrong with my life these days. If there is, I am sure I will find it.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The blessings of the season...

Someone once asked Ghandi if he had a message for the people of India, and he replied "I am my message." Well, wouldn't it be grand if we all did that, became the gift that we wanted to receive? I am working on that. I have been graced with many talents. I can write, paint, draw, sew, knit, crochet, embroider, quilt and I even used to know how to tat, and play the piano. All this is just gifts I was given. My job is to give them back to the world. And sometimes, my job is to receive gifts, too. Saturday, my sister in sobriety gave me an early AA birthday gift, a Starbuck's gift card. Now, I usually don't go to Starbuck's, but my last two finals will have me parking adjacent to one, and I will go armed with a latte to soothe my fevered brow. And later that day, as I wrestled with my algebra, my neighbor raked my front yard for me! What a wonder that was, as I was really torn between solving quadratic equations and cleaning up my yard of shame. Sunday, I took time to hit Costco for one of those wonderful pumpkin pies (I eat a little slice for breakfast, how decadent is that), and found that at last, they had Q-Tips in stock. I am lost without my Q-Tips, and my five year supply had just run out, and they hadn't had any for months. And yesterday, I got a raise! The Social Security people are going to send me $32 more every month beginning in January! How sweet is that! So I am aware that this is indeed a season of sweetness and light. Tomorrow, I am being taken out to lunch. What grace!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Monday, again...

I got up a half hour early this morning, because it is (gulp) finals week, and my first one, algebra, was scheduled for 7 frigging AM. Even then, I was so used to getting there at 7:30, I was (almost) late. It wasn't much more difficult than any of the tests we have had so far, just a little longer and a lot more comprehensive. Wouldn't you know, today is the coldest day so far this year. I remembered to cover my windshield, so I could make that speedy exit of the driveway, but wouldn't you know it, it frosted over in the parking lot while I was puzzing over quadratic equations, and I am out of wiper fluid. What is that, anyway? Guess I will hit the auto store later today, on my break from studying, that is. And I will find out what wiper fluid is, and where to put it under the hood. Now, that's a real test.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Mom does the mall...

Otherwise known as JL in Wonderland. I am so out of the mainstream here. I do very little retail shopping. Costco, Walmart, the outlet mall, all know my face. But Friday, I slunk off to our downtown mall, hoping to catch a couple of pre-holiday sales at the glitzy places that my kids seem to like. I have to admit, Macy's smells very sweet. And, whoa, we now have an Abercrombie & Fitch in our little backwater town! It goes well with the Banana Republic upstairs. The usual three story tree has been replaced with a rather understated, just-larger-than life one, with admittedly more gold trimmings. Perhaps this is an effort to understate the Christian aspects, though trees were in place way before Christ was born, and are really a pagan tradition, anyway. And don't you think we should all get over this religion vs. religion thing anyway? It is all just a way to celebrate the return of the light, which shifts on the winter solstice, December 21. I think we should have solstice parties, where we all dance about fervently, review our past year, and plan our next one. I actually used to do just that thing, with a group of women, on New Year's Day. Anyway, I survived my trip to the mall without damaging my admittedly fragile ego, and got just what I was looking for, which will probably not be the right thing anyway. Sigh.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Hello, Universe?

So much for giving God my algebra test. God could only get an 85, too. Oh, well. Bs are good grades. Yes they are. Classes are over, and I must be growing up, I don't have that old awwwww feeling, like I want to move into the semester schedule and pull it up around me like an old quilt, forever. I am actually anxious to get on to the next one, which I have already signed up for. OK, that's a dangling participle, and I am college educated, right? For which I have already signed up. That doesn't sound right either. Whatever, just need to get through finals next week, and Brian, erstwhile algebra prof, promises the final will be no more rigorous than the chapter tests we have endured so far. Good. And the music class is a snap, too. He lectures intensely on the material, and if I know how to do anything, it is taking really good notes. Art is a presentation of my Van Gogh knockoff, and I have my little speech commited to memory (did you know Vincent was named not only for his grandfather, but a stillborn boy born the year before him, and spent his childhood everyday walking by a cemetary with his name on two tombstones? No wonder he went looneytunes). The only snafu is the speech test. Doesn't seem right to have to suffer through five speeches and take a test, too, does it. I will have to really study for that one. And isn't it just like those ivory tower people to take something as simple as communication and break it up into a whole bunch of obtuse terminology that we have to commit to memory? Sort of defeats the purpose, doesn't it?

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Well, that's over!

I talk to myself. This comes in handy for speech class, when I spend most of the day orating for the dog and the parakeet. When I scheduled this big speech, my rhetoric (persuasive) speech, I thought the algebra chapter test was on the preceding day, forgetting that we were a day behind because the teacher was absent a while back. So I wound up with the test back to back with the speech, and holy predicament, Batman, that was a huge chunk to chew all at once. It is now history, for good or ill, thank the powers that be. Now I can skate into finals, algebra next Monday (we will do two days of review, and how blessed that it falls first, my memory will not be too strained), art and music on Wednesday and speech, the really booooring one on Thursday. And then, three weeks to jump around and not think of anything more stressful than Christmas. Oh, dear. It helps that my speech was about STRESS, and I think I will take my own advice, and meditate on inner peace, hopefully to manifest peace out there in the big bad world, or at least in my mother's living room.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Solving for x...

Mathematics is the antithesis to my life. All those axioms that are meant to allow any problem to be solved are pure magic. And the amazing thing is that they work! Every time! My challenge is to remember all the various rules and equations, like x equals -b plus or minus the square root of b squared - 4ac over 2a. Simple, right? Well, as convoluted as it sounds, it does work. Throw in an i and it can solve even imaginary numbers! Now, that's what I call handy. Why are there no simple solutions like this in life? I would happily commit to memory any equation that would solve my life problems. While the quadratic equation always works, it is not always necessary to apply it, as there are simpler ways to find the value of x. That is like my life, too. I will usually take the scenic route to the answer for any problem that confronts me, from my dryer knob fiasco to the angst-ridden morass that was my last divorce. Simpler routes were available, for sure. I think it all boils down to the unemotional pureness of numbers, versus the pure emotionality of life. And as circuitous as the way becomes, I would not give up my joy for anything, not even for the soupcon of pain I must consume to have it.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Go, Insanity!

There must be something wondrous about being more than a little nuts. Look at Van Gogh, tortured soul that he was, how much fun it must have been to be out in nature every day, slapping paint on canvasses. And Wagner, who learned the hard way that it is not a good idea to diddle your patron's wife right under his nose, thus losing wife, patron and mistress in one fell swoop, but still went on to write sterling operas, and the librettos as well.. And Mahler, the last of the great romantic composers, living under the double whamee of being both nuts and German, who became so enamored of poetry about dead children, he composed a symphony about them, and then his own child died. Those crazy romantics left a legacy of amazing art behind in their crazed wake. I feel redeemed in an odd way, because my life has been up till now semi-hysterical about half the time, the half where I was not beaten down with depression. Now that I have mellowed with age, I expect that the nuttiness will just exude, hopefully all over many joyous canvasses. It is the reward for living a long life, that we old folks get to be eccentric, which is a polite word for INSANE!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Mystical mathematics

Okay, I am up-close and personal with negative numbers, exponents and rational numbers (square roots to the uninitiated), but I draw the line at imaginary numbers. That's right, imaginary numbers, like negative square roots. Wait a minute, if you multiply two negative numbers you get a positive number! Square roots cannot be negative! Oh, yes they can. You just express it as a complex number (real and imaginary) using an "i" (for imaginary, I suppose). Since I live in a real world, it seems hardly necessary to be mucking around with imaginary numbers. However, the teacher seems to think there is a use for all this somewhere out there, like around Pluto, which is now an imaginary planet, too. And perhaps the whole world is imaginary, so the imaginary numbers are really the real numbers? You think?

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

It's all downhill from here...

What I have learned this semester: how to solve quadratic equations, copy a Van Gogh (for fun, not profit), speak extemporaneously, and discern Debussy from Ravel. Oh, and Mahler had a soft side. Okay, not all of this is terribly useful. It sure was fun mucking around in all that art and music, and I even like the algebra. Which is a good thing, because I get to do even more of that next semester. I will miss Brian, though. He is a big goofy guy, who never tells me my questions are stupid, which they are most of the time. I could have skipped the speech class, happily. But in the end, it is the class in which I have interacted with most of the other students, and that is always rewarding. Every semester end is a triumph, just completing what I started. I have a garage-full of things I have started, but never finished. I just promised my writers' group that I would finish a short story during the semester break. Really. Anyway, finals loom, just tow weeks away now, four of them. I am taking my supplements and resting up. They are all but one at 7 AM. God must be laughing up his sleeve.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Wagner rocks! (And other sundry items...)

Last night, we saw a DVD of Wagner's opera Die Wakure (The Valkyries), second in the Ring trilogy. My only encounter with Wagner was an abortive trip to the San Francisco opera house for Meistersinger, his only comedy. We left after the first act. Music is wonderful, but there just isn't anything else going on. The singers tend to just stand there, and go on, and on, and on. All his operas are 4 or 5 hours of this. Well, not this one, at least not all the time. The Valkyries (Wotan's daughters, who swoop down from Valhalla to bear the heroes fallen in battle to sit at Wotan's feet) leap about in their armor and helmets quite a bit. Brunnhilda is the head Valkyrie, favored daughter of Wotan, and at the end of the opera, because she has disobeyed her father and a couple of other little rules that got Daddy's wife (not her mother) all pissed off, Wotan strips her of her immortality, puts her to sleep, and calls on Loge, the god of fire, to surround her in flames till a hero wakes her with a kiss. All kinds of paradigms going on here. Well, Wagner wrote his own librettos, and was certainly a hero, in his own mind. Anyway, it was dynamite, partly because Wotan was pretty hunky, and probably 20 years younger than Brunnhilde, not unusual. Singing Wagner is so difficult, most singers don't even try till later in their careers, to keep from blowing out their voices like old rubber. So, I almost feel like attempting the Ring cycle, sometime. Maybe.

On a brighter note, all is mended, plumbing-wise. At least for the present. Problem was roots in the line, which are (yay!) the landlord's expense and not mine, because it cost $253 to fix. Gone are the days when you could call Roto-Rooter and plunk down $60 for a little clean-out job. Sigh. But what a pleasure to not have to stand in a foot of water to shower, and to flush just once! It is amazing the things for which one can become grateful.

Monday, November 27, 2006

A'plumbing we shall go...

Well, tra-la, plumbing is still all conflicted here in the little yellow house on Wild Rose Dr. Most of the time, I am delighted to be female, all ribbons and lace. Until a crisis like Saturday morning, when I made the unfortunate decision to run the washing machine before the tub had drained, and the whole thing backed up all over the place. Really disgusting. Well, it could have been worse, I suppose. Nevertheless, it has been a regular comedy of errors since then. I called the Rooter people, who couldn't come till Sunday morning. Forbearance is not my long suit, but they are the experts. Right? So, the little guy arrived early, caught me in my pjs looking pretty rumpled, couldn't find the clean-out trap (clean-out trap?) and quoted me $402 to clear the line after removing the potty from its mount. Well, no deal. I decided to grit my teeth and wait till I could talk to my landlord about this. When I got dressed, I mosied outside, and lo and behold, there was the clean-out trap, right in plain view, right where one would expect it to be. So the Rooter people are either pretty dumb, blind, or just plain crooked. I must look like an idiot. Well, plumbing-wise, I guess I am. Now have appointment with another plumber, and will get this thing resolved, hopefully for less than $402. It would be nice to be able to flush in one fell swoop. You really don't want to know the details here.

Friday, November 24, 2006

What a treat!

First treat, no Thanksgiving with the family. We had a birthday dinner recently for my oldest brother, and that was enough for all of us. Second treat, a Eureka marathon on SciFi channel. I picked up on this show from its premiere. It's funny and smart and a lot like Northern Exposure gone high-tech, with lots of quirky characters swirling around the central guy, who is new to the scene and pretty much clueless. A whole day of watching Sheriff Carter negotiate the vicissitudes of the techies-gone-wrong, that's delicious. Then my son came to brunch, and we ate and schmoozed for a happy couple of hours. When he left to do the turkey thing with his Dad, I headed down to the Alkathon (marathon AA meetings, 24 hours of them on holidays) where I heard a gritty chair from one of our local miracles, and hooked up with a friend to go to a movie. We saw Stranger Than Fiction. Now, Will Ferrell is not my cup of tea, but he was remarkably restrained in this, so restrained he appeared depressed, actually. And Emma Thompson was over the top, in a truly ingenius way. The whole movie was hilarious in that delightfully cerebral way, with the jokes so intellectual, you had to be in the loop to get them. The audience in the theatre clapped when the credits rolled. Now, that's a good film. Home afterward for a Lean Cuisine portabello pizza, pretty yummy, actually, and more Eureka.
I turned off the light after Gray's Anatomy, after Christine got her comeupance for her hubris, and I for one felt it well-deserved. All-in-all, a swell way to spend a holiday.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Everyone's a critic...

Phoebe-bird does not hesitate to express her disdain if one of the selections on my listening disk is not up to her standards. First it was Orff's O Fortuna that sent her into paroxysms of squawking, then Berlioz's March to the Scaffold, and now Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries. We agree on the second and third selections, Berlioz's angst was way over the top, and Wagner is always so puffed up and self-important, but I like the Orff, wonderful and fresh, nothing else like it. We are in our choral and ballet mode, so opera is on deck, along with the Brahms German Requium. Most of this music I have known for decades, like the Carmen Suite and, give me a break, the Nutcracker. But clever guy that he is, the teacher has thrown in some Mahler, who, surprise, has a tender side, and that wondrous Debussy Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun, and some sparkling Ravel, too. And how much I do love that Carmen Suite, even after 6 decades of familiarity with it. Bizet could really write that Spanish stuff, even though he was French. One of life's little paradoxes.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Ups and downs, what else is new?

As happy as I am that my knob came, and the dryer is now all sparkly again, that is how unhappy I am to report that the toilet is leaking. It is now shrouded with towels, awaiting attention. Now, I need my toilet. I only have one, you know. Tonight it going to be interesting, to say the least. And, let's see. I got 100% on my art exam (yay, me!), but only 88 on my algebra test. Now, that's a good grade, yes? And, it is my cumulative grade in the class so far, 88.2. Only 1.8 points from an A. Think I can pull that off? It would be something of a miracle, I think. I will try, of course. Whatever.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

New stuff happening here...

It was a week to celebrate. I got the highest grade on the midterm in music class! In fact, the only four to get an A were our little group of four muskateers. We sit together, but got different ones wrong, thank goodness. None of us need to cheat; we study. And, even though we didn't get the algebra test back, I am pretty sure I did well there, also. I went to my appointment with my counselor expecting her to frown at me for changing my major from psych to art. Instead, she literally jumped up and down in her seat, she was so happy for me. I was pretty happy, too, because I no longer have to take statistics to transfer, just Math 9 or 10, both of which are easier than the next leg of the journey, Math 155. So I can look forward to two more semesters of lots of art classes, with a little math sprinkled on for tartness. Today, I am celebrating the completion of the draft of this hellacious outline for my final speech, the rhetoric. That's persuasion to you not in the communication loop. I always thought that meant spin, but it was originally the vehicle for persuasion, because it used to be based on truth rather than fallacies. Anyway, now I get to paint for a while, a real treat. Our final project in art is to copy a masterpiece, so I am going to practice with a Monet. Oh, and my knob arrived yesterday, so I can do my laundry sans pliers. How good is that!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Well, that's over!

Algebra test at 7:30 AM today. It was not too brutal, just one question that had me spinning, mostly because I am not very neat and tidy with my figuring, and tend to get little things like positive and negative numbers mixed up. I knew how to do everything, though. Just a matter of if I did it right, and so far, there is usually a surprise booboo somewhere in the mix. Then we had a test in art, like, what is a complementary color and what is a primary color, stuff like that. It was pretty breezy, actually. And after, I got to work on this page of one-inch squares, all different colors. It wound up looking like a quilt. I just tried to not make the same hue twice, and to put one complimentary color and one analagous color next to each other everywhere. That didn't work out exactly as I had planned, but I am not unhappy with it. We also went over to the museum in our new library, an compilation of works both by and collected by an African American woman who has a very strong message to impart. She is pretty pissed off, I think. Well, she was brought up in Berkeley. Need I say more? Now, I am sipping more coffee, just trying to stay awake for the afternoon appointment with my counselor, and music class tonight. Nuts, I think a nap would be nice, since I don't have any homework. There. A plan.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Magnesium, anyone?

My mother's parting shot the other day was "you are taking calcium, aren't you?" And I lied and said yes, just so we could part happily. Actually, I eat yogurt, put milk on my cereal, have broccoli four or five times a week. I get plenty of calcium in my diet. And my bones are in great shape. In fact, they are 25 years younger than I am according to the scale when I had them tested. Not bad. Then I learned that it really isn't calcium that we are deficient in. It is magnesium. Well, how about that! I have some knobs on my knuckles that I know are calcium deposits, that come from too much calcium, or calcium that my body was unable to absorb, all of which is the result of, yep, magnesium deficiency. And if I get up to snuff, my arteries will all be rotorootered out, expanded, even, and my blood will just rush around happily ever after. Seems like a great deal, considering that 300 tablets cost less than $6. So I told my mother about it. And she said "don't tell me that, I don't believe that." Well, okay. Meanwhile, I am expecting that my skin will get all plumped up with all that extra room in my vessels, and I will look 20 years younger, very soon. Right.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Decisions, decisions...

I made a commitment to paint yesterday when I 1) bought a new bunch of flowers at Trader Joe's, 2) got down the original vase in my 2 year old, unfinished canvas, and 3) laid out a palette. There's the kicker. If I don't use the paint, it just sits there and dries up to these little, very expensive nurdles. So, here I am, in my American Artist apron (now I know why they tie knots in the end of the ties for these bib aprons, I found out after spending a happy half hour fishing the end out yesterday), smelling of turpentine, sitting at a fair distance, trying to decide if I am now happy with the color of the cloth under the vase so I can paint in the flowers I want laying at its base. And which way should the flower be laying, as it were? And which flower should I lay there? I actually don't like the yellow one, it has no leaves on its stem and looks kind of paltry all by itself there. Maybe just some leaves? Or petals? I often put a renegade petal on the cloth. I like that kind of thing. Gee, this is just too much to think about. I think I will make a pot of soup. That sounds like a fun idea on this cold gray day.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Life as affirmation...

When I was in therapy (and I was in therapy a long, long, long time), we used to do self-esteem experiences, like I would write a list of all the things are wonderful about me. "I am a good cook", or "I am friendly", stuff like that. And they were absolutely true, these sayings. Yet, I just still felt like a spare part in the Universe, something leftover from a bigger something that had more value without my participation. In the end, I realized that it was hard to feel good about myself when I was being dishonest about some rather disturbing behaviors, like drinking too much. Getting sober was a great start, but that was all it was, a beginning. There was ever so much more work to do. Fortunately, I used AA as my vehicle into sobriety. The amazing thing about AA is that it teaches that we cannot think our way into right action. Well, duh. If I could have done that, it would have been accomplished long ago. No, we need to act our way into right thinking. "Act as if" is my motto. Act as if I believe in a Higher Power. Act as if I am a person worthy of love. And, hell, act as if I love myself. What a concept! Last night, I made dressing to go with my little rotisserie chicken I bought at Costco. I ground up my excellent Oatnut bread (the heels, just perfect), toasted them in my handy-dandy convection oven, sauteed celery and shallots with some slivered almonds, added savory spices, chicken broth and the bread crumbs, and voila! Amazing dressing. Delicious dressing. Put that with some nice sliced breast meat and the gravy I made with the pan drippings in the chicken package, and I had a holiday dinner all my own, all alone here with Boo and the bird. Cooking was always something I did to nurture my loved ones. It is so nice to now be one among them.

Friday, November 10, 2006

How annoying!

College can't make you smart. I have learned this in various lessons. Like last Saturday night, when I put my washed load in the dryer, and it wouldn't turn on. How annoying! I spread all the wet things around, hanging them on closet doors, the shower rod, on towels on top of the washer and dryer. When they were still sopping in the morning, I took them to the laundromat to dry. Very enlightening experience, the laundromat. Busy place on a Sunday morning, for sure. And when I went to fold my load, there was this one miniscule blue sock mixed in with my load. It was kind of touching. So, Monday morning, first thing, I called the appliance repair places. One just never called me back. And the second one couldn't send anyone until Friday. How annoying! A whole week without my laundry facilities. And, I had to get up early today in case he showed up at 8 AM. How annoying! And he told me it wasn't the switch, it was just the knob. He showed me how to turn on the dryer without it, using plyers. Now, I really felt stupid. Like, where's all that education when you need it? My erstwhile repair guy did not have the part I needed, but gave me all the info to look for it myself. Well, how annoying! I tried the places and they didn't have it, so I had to order it online, a $6 part, with a $7 handling charge. How annoying! Altogether, this little knob cost me $53, $39 for the service call, $13 for the part, and $1 to dry my stuff at the laundromat. How annoying!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Culture shock...

Last night was the midterm in my music appreciation test. I spent the afternoon alternately playing movements from Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique and Dvorak's New World Symphony, making sure I was clear on the differences. I was already familiar with the rest of the selections, well, except for the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto, but that solo violin is a rather big tipoff, you know. And I already knew Teach was going to play the same piece more than once, so I paid special attention to the exposition themes, and the development section, too. And he did. In fact, he played the Dvorak not once, not twice, but three times. Tricky. Well, he is. I know this from our first test, where one word in a sentence makes it false, so one must pay careful attention when filling out one's Scantron. Anyway, I felt really good about this test, like I aced it, bigtime. We were then scheduled to look at Romantic choral music, and begin our section on Romantic opera. Instead, one of the students brought a DVD of a symphony concert of Metallica's oeuvre, starring Metallica and a symphony orchestra. It was awesome, just so daring and amazing, partly because of the lighting effects, but mostly just because the music was rivetting, too. And I got to appreciate the musicianship of the rock stars. Those guys really can play, expecially the drummer. It was a bit of a stretch from my afternoon, but actually rather welcome, because I didn't have to think about it, just sink into it. Best of all, he let us go early, so I got to climb into bed and relax for a happy half hour with Boo before hitting the pillow to get my ZZZZs before geting up to do it all over again.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Foot notes...

I learned when I was in Italy, hoofing it all over Rome on those *&^%#$ cobblestones, to be kind to my feet. As I grow older, they tend to be kind of dried up looking, and cracked around the heels. So I have been rubbing them regularly with lotion, scrubbing them with my little body scrubber thingie, too. And they are getting much more manageable and better looking. Unfortunately, they are also prone to cramping, mostly at night, in bed. It is like a wire between my big toe and my heel just tightens until my toes are all splayed out and the instep screams at me. Walking around helps, but, funnily enough, the thing to do when this happens is to put on a pair of socks. Warm feet do not cramp. Now, how strange is that? And I am happy to report that the slug that has been crawling around on my bedside rug at night has been located. And sorry to report that I found it stuck to the bottom of my bare foot. EEEEYOUUUU!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Third time's an acorn squash...

So, once again, I toted my little plastic bag with a veggie in it, an acorn squash this time, to art class. And, once again, I was the only one to remember it. Our teacher was way ahead of us this time. She came with a great big bag of produce for the kids. And I was excited to paint this sucker, it was just so full and luscious. Then, Stephanie drug out the slides, and we got a half hour of Seurat, and instructions to render our fruit or veggie in, gasp, pointilism. Well, I will try anything, really I will. And I paid attention and learned that Seurat used orange in his skies and lots of complimentary colors, like purple and yellow, red and green, etc. So my painting was just chock full of little dots of all kinds of colors, with the general values of the green and yellow of the squash, its shadow mass, the red mat beneath it, etc. I found it kind of tedious, and felt pretty silly, too. Then we put them up on the wall, I walked back to my seat, and almost gasped when I saw the amazing result of my tiny dots. It was scintillating, my squash. And miles ahead of the kids, who were very weinie about color, and sparing with their dots, too. I worked with mine till there were practically no holidays, those little spots where the canvas peeks through the paint, so it was jewel-like, actually. I just love this, and I learned how to be absolutely fearless in the process. Can you tell how exciting this is for me? I think I have found something very amazing inside me, that I didn't know I had. Oh, my partner used to tell me how good I was, but he slept next to me every night, it was in his best interest to be complimentary. Now, I think he might have been right! At least, I have a platform from which to leap into something new and enlightening. Wow!

Friday, November 03, 2006

A few social psychological observations...

Part of being in recovery is about being awake. Sobriety removes the veil that shrouds the addict, and leaves one naked in the world, anyway. So we arm ourselves with that deep inner strength that was always there to begin with, and put ourselves right in the path of life. That is how I feel as I ply the paths of my community college. Have I mentioned that it is an exceptionally pretty campus, great brick buildings (even the newest are liberally sprinkled with red brick), ancient oaks over manicured lawns. Our new library is 4 stories high and just magnificent, inside and out. So I love schlepping around with my 40 lb. bookbag. Every class is in a different building this semester, so I schlep a lot. And I notice things, like the way the birds sing so happily in the new rain, and the red maple leaves on the wet pavement yesterday. The students are just great, too. What I notice about them is that gals travel more in pairs that guys do. And when gals pair up, it is around a similarity. Body-type is popular; sleek, coltish blonds bond together, as do zaftig little gals. Ethnicity trumps body-type, though, so I see pairs of chicanas and African American girls a lot. Guys are less picky. And the most inclusive group is the geeks. There is a band of them that congregate in the Coop (our cafeteria), always at the same table, and every kind of human being possible can join them. They have an awful lot of fun at that table, too. I realize I am guilty of this as well. If I travel with anyone, it will be someone who is older than the average student. Not that I don't like the kids. Oh, nonono, I think they are just amazing, most of them. I take every opportunity to be kind to them, too. Not that I want them to like me. I really want them to like themselves. I didn't, when I was a kid. I'm still working on that one.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Happy accidents...

I went home shaking my head yesterday, sure that I had mixed up a couple of things on that *&^%$ algebra test, only to find this morning that I accidentally did those problems right! And I got 90 on this test, my best score yet. Still messed up here and there, negative and positve eludes me sometimes, and so does arithmetic. The algebra part I am pretty sure of, actually. Anyway, progress is being made here, even if it is not perfection, which would be nice, for sure. And art was a trip. I took a totally luminous pear in today and rendered it with loving care. Also copied a Weintraub painting of cows coming down a hill. It took forever, building up the cows, then trimming them back, to get them to look less like pigs, but they are definitely coming up nicely, as is the whole painting. Gee, this is so much fun! Now looking online for more ideas to work up the requisite 6 paintings Stephanie wants from us be next week. Whatever, I am so happy I decided to do this. Very exciting semester, indeed.

Monday, October 30, 2006

One yellow pepper and the algebra test that wasn't...

So, I showed up Thursday with my pencils and brain all sharpened up, expecting a test in algebra, and the teacher didn't show. So, naturally, I expected today would be the day. Alas, it was not. I know, most people would be happy for the extra day, but my brain can only keep things for a limited time, so, once again, I am boning up on my exponents and factoring and scientific notation. Add to that the fact that my art teacher asked us to show up today with a fruit or vegetable in tow. Two of us actually did that. Didn't matter, because teacher forgot about that, too, and had us do another project. Well, I spent $$$ on this absolutely trancendental yellow pepper, so I finished up my painting, and proceeded to immortalize that sucker. I got a really fine rendering, of which I have decided to be very proud. And she actually taught me something I did not know, and I got very brave and had a lot of fun. Now I have an exquisite chili simmering, yellow pepper thrown in. Life is good.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Caviar dreams...

If it is true that "you are what you drive", I suppose I am in trouble. My modest little puddlejumper is economical to drive and maintain, and does the job of getting me where I want to go just fine. Truly, I could not wish for more. I used to think that, if I won the lottery, I would get one of those fully-loaded M-class thingys, and get to look down on the world from my fully-adjustable, warmed leather seat. However, knowing the state of our environment now, having taken Critical Thinking and Geology, now I think a Prius is more the ticket. And then, Lexus came out with a car that does something I find difficult to resist; it parallel parks itself. I flunked my driver's test twice because of my inability to parallel park, 44 years ago, and I still avoid it whenever possible. Now, if that model comes with a rear camera to show what is in my path when I back up, I may need to rethink my position.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Weighty matters...

Much going on. My art project is finished, for good or ill. What I learned: neatness is not my forte, just keep trying, it will come together in the end. I rendered eight versions of my object, this beautiful, conical shell, to get four together for the final product. Sick to death of that blasted shell. And I am driving around with a Ouija board in my back seat for a reason, really I am. I have an informative speech to make, on Halloween. It was going to be about tobacco, like the FDA banned ephedra, one of my favorite drugs, when a couple of people may have died from abusing it, and yet tobacco remains legal when hundreds of thousands of people have died from its use. Tobacco is interwoven with our history, for sure. It was a major cash crop in the colonies, and continues to be huge agribusiness to this day. But that was just too big a hunk to chew. The research piled up here on my desk, and whittling it down to a three page outline was looking like climbing Mt. Everest, so I asked to change my topic. What a concept, take care of myself! There was a blurb on TV that night about Ouija, and I thought, great idea! We have to use a presentational aid in this speech, hence, the board, which I borrowed from a friend. I have been admonished not to try to use it, as bad things happen when we do. Okay. And as I type, I am listening to Brahms, on my 2nd listening disc for music class. About to toddle off to visit one of the artist's on our annual Art Trails list, one who does whimsical portraits of dogs. It is the idea that I am interested in. Where does one get that kind of inspiration? I think I may have the ability, but where is my muse?

Friday, October 20, 2006

This too, too solid flesh...

I have always wanted to be a compact, tidy little person. Alas, this was not meant to be. Not only am I tall, but my bulk is always threatening to break the surly bonds of my skinny jeans, so that every bite that I eat must be carefully measured. On the other hand, I have always kind of chuckled up my sleeve at those women who gripe and whine about how sensitive their skin is. Mine has always been elephant-hide tough. Until now. Now, even though I bathe with silky bubbles and never use soap, oh, nonono, beauty bars, there's the ticket, I am (gasp) chafing! Like under my arms, where my ever-so-sensible cotton knit bra tickles my underarm flab. And it itches! Like all the time. Ointments help, for a little while. This bodes ill for the coming winter, when the air is dry as dust. I got some super-moisturizing body wash, in hopes of not getting worse. And I am on my way to Walgreen's for some super-mild deodorant, too. Hopefully, it will settle down. I am too old to go braless.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


Apparently, tis the season, for potato bugs. As much as I hate spiders, they are eminently preferable to these critters. When I stopped at The Filling Station for my Monday latte, the two cute little gals were still trembling from a close encounter with not one, not two, but three potato bugs. And this morning, as I left speech class and ambled down the ramp to the door, a nice guy warned me there was "a giant ant or something" in the pathway ahead, and sure enough, it was a potato bug. These things are like aliens, they are so weird. They do indeed look like giant wooden ants, with a bulbous brown torso and evil flesh-like head and legs. They click when the walk, even. And, they bite. I shudder just to think about it. Because they are so big, they make a huge mess if you step on them. My close encounter was one of those chilling moments that are best forgotten. I rolled over onto one in the night. It felt as if I had rolled over onto one of those cheap plastic combs, the ones with threads and shards of plastic still attached. I jumped up, turned on the light, and screamed. What to do? Well, I grabbed a glass from the bathroom sink, and corralled the bug under it. Then I took a piece of cardboard and slipped it underneath, and put it on the floor next to me. In the morning, I let it loose in the gutter out front, with the fervent hope some SUV would run over it. I've not seen any here in my snug little house, but the slugs seem to have a bead on me. One made its way through the dog door, the living room, the laundry room, the bathroom into my bedroom, where I got to step on it as I toddled off to the potty in the middle of the night. Yuck. I am sure HP has a need for these creatures, but more better they stay where HP intended them, and out of my house!

Monday, October 16, 2006

I hate it when that happens...

I got to school today without my binder, and my algebra homework. Catholic guilt rears its ugly head and I am tempted to beat myself up. Then I remember that I tell all the women I work with not to do that, that is the number one rule in self-care. So, it was a very human Monday morning. I told Brian, my algebra teacher, that I forgot my homework, could I turn it in tomorrow or am I hung out to dry? And he said, oh, just bring it tomorrow. Then I toddled off to art, where I thought I had three of my four renditions of my shell done, and unfortunately, ran into my art teacher, who is usually busied with the table behind me, where these kids are just dragging their feet. Lo and behold, she didn't like my design, so I changed two of them, and am doing one totally over. There's time for this, it isn't due for a week. And I have the materials, and the desire to do the best possible job, so it isn't a big deal. Really, I am just clueless here, and should be delighted to get any feedback I can. Now to do some work on that stinky speech outline. Yuck.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Golden oldies...

I took music appreciation because 1) I know a lot about music, and since I was taking algebra, I thought it would be an easy A, and 2) I needed something artsy-fartsy in my curriculum to transfer to a university anyway. Well, it's not easy, and I don't know a lot. OK, I had heard half the selections on the first listening disk, and four of seven on the second. But I didn't know that a scherzo is a musical joke, that Franz Liszt was the first rock star, that Schubert was the father of the romantic era, or that Berlioz constructed the modern orchestra, and many new ways of flavoring the music with awesome timbre, the blend of instruments that gives classical, oops, I mean art music its character. So here I am, Saturday morning, with my second cup of luscious Sumatra coffee, listening to Mendelssohn's Overture to A Midsummer Night's Dream, and Berlioz Symphonie Fantastique, not to mention Dvorak's New World Symphony, not anything I would think of doing by myself, and really enjoying them! No one is more surprised than I. Really, I thought I had done everything, been there, done that, bought the t-shirt. And to find there are new horizons in the twilight of my years on this planet, well, that's solid gold.

Friday, October 13, 2006

I give up!

OK, after walking around these last two days all chilled and achy feeling like my head is wired to implode any moment, I am going to bed, and just be sick. Somehow, it doesn't seem fair to be sick on my day off, when I could be out having fun. Sick is for a workday, to get away from tedious, onerous tasks, and taskmasters. Sick is for getting out of an algebra test and getting an extra day to study. Part of this decision is based on the fact that two new Netflix movies arrived in the mail. There's nothing worse that being sick than being sick and bored at the same time. O guess not vacuuming is a good reason to be sick. You think? Oh, and apple pie for dinner, because I am too sick to cook. Sounds like a plan.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Well, finally!

Once upon a time, when I was a pneumatic 20 year old living in Noe Valley and traveling down Market Street to the financial district every workday, I noticed that the smart people on the streetcar brought a book to while away the 20 minutes spent lurching along. So, for a happy few months, I toted this paperback the size of a brick, Atlas Shrugged, it was called. I slogged through the first four hundred pages, until Dagny crashed in the valley, and then raced through the rest (skipping the 40 page speech, of course). Still one of my favorite books. Things were so clear to Ayn Rand. You were either a hero or a slug. Even dear Eddie Willers did not survive the fall of civilization as we know it, just not strong enough, got swept away like the rest of the dirtbags. Well, good news! They are going to make a movie, or a trilogy of movies, out of this enormous tome. But, bad news! Angelina Jolie is going to play Dagny. If ever there was a role for the young Meryl Streep, it is this one. And as she has passed into dowagerhood, we need an equivalent actress. Hilary Swank would be good, strong jaw on that one, and all Ayn's characters have strong jawlines. They are all very gaunt, too, and Hilary has that going for her. Or Charlese, there's another consummate actress, maybe a little too pretty, but she monstered up pretty good, so I know she could tone it down. And for Hank Reardon, Russell Crowe, if he can slim down enough. Francisco D'Anconia is definitely a role for Keanu Reeves, or Colin Farrell. And then there's John Galt. Hmmmmm. I'll have to think about that. Someone strong, thin and steely. I'll get back to you on that one.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Sappy, sentimental me...

My gift to myself for this month was the DVD of "The Lake House", Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock in a totally sappy chickflick that I just adore. I put it on the dresser next to the DVD player, savoring its very presence for a week while I went sloooowly through my Netflix selections of the BBC productions of "Rebecca" (Charles Dance, so edgy and elegant) and "Persuasion", another Jane Austin tome of tiny lives in tiny towns, all hopelessly intertwined, and one sensible woman, of course. Sunday night I finally watched the new one, and lo, would you believe it, it revolved around "Persuasion", and I got the gist, I got that she was supposed to save his life, and that was why they were communicating across the years! OK, I tend to be a little dense these days, like there are barnacles on my gray cells that have to be broken through for anything to take up residence there for very long. Anyway, it was uber-wonderful, I got a good cry out of it, and now feel a need to pull out all my other sappy movies for a happy, tearful viewing. After the algebra homework and the work on my next speech and a couple of chapters in my music text. Probably next week. I hope.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Better, but still no cigar...

My algebra test score was 85, and that's a lot more like it, though, of course, it also could have been better. Still lots of tiny, dumb mistakes that bring up my Catholic red-faced shame in response to this inner voice that harps on me like my 7th grad teacher, Miss Closter (flat-chested, flat-footed old maidish woman, very handy with a pointer). Nevertheless, I press on. As we speak, I am printing out a timeline of tobacco use around the world, and I am realizing from this information that until the 20th century, tobacco use was almost exclusively a male thing, unless you were George Sand, or Mrs. Andrew Jackson. That's when cigarettes were born, and tobacco became an equal-opportunity drug. This is for my 3rd speech, an informative speech. Tobacco was originally a sacred herb of the natives of South and Central America. As they migrated, it spread to North America, and eventually became the premier cash crop of the American colonies. Many of our founding fathers' fortunes were built on tobacco. Which is probably why it is so hard to get rid of. Any other drug is just made illegal. Today, just throw some money at those bozos in Congress, and you can just keep killing people. What a world.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

I am so not well yet, Vol. CCCXXIX

Ah, Sunday. I slept in till 8:30, stinky airplanes buzzed the house and woke me up. Made my last pot of hazelnut coffee, stuck my hair up with one of those clampy things, slapped on my face, and went to the 10 AM meeting up at the hospital. I like that meeting; there are two speakers and no one has to share from the floor, thus greatly reducing my propensity to share my dubious wisdom with the folks. On my way out, I ran into one of my least favorite people in the world. I remember her from meetings 10 years ago. She had this freaky over-the-hill Alice-in-Wonderland look going, violently blond, straight hair banded with black velvet. I had no doubt she was a natural blond, as her skin had that white rattish pink thing going, when it was not milky blue. OK, I am being pretty unkind, and when I was around her, I was especially careful to be as kind as possible, even though she was the snottiest woman on two feet. So it was not without an inner snicker that I found her in the hall this morning, looking like the wrath of God, hair all flyaway and brittle looking, already prominent circles under her eyes even deeper than before, and her oh-so-handsome hubby looking like a seedy fireplug. And I said a prayer of thanksgiving for Karma, the cosmic credit plan. In spite of her appearance, she was still snotty to me, refused to acknowledge she even knew me, so I said "maybe you don't remember me" and introduced myself. And she snapped " I know who you are". Nice to know some things do not change. Lessons. Learn 'em, or pay later.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Friday morning, coming down...

Tests are all history, so on this gray Friday morning at 11:20 AM, I am still in my pjs, second cup of coffee by my side, browsing the web and thinking about what to do, what to do. Shopping got done yesterday, as it had been put off all week due to an avalanche of study guides, and I was (gulp) out of Cool Whip. This time I got two big tubs, and a pumpkin pie the size of a manhole cover to keep me busy for at least two weeks of nibbling away at. I had a happy hour of channel surfing with Boo beside me, and has anyone else noticed that one can catch an episode of Law and Order pretty much 24/7/365? How many of those buggers did they make, anyway? As I am not a fan, a great deal of my time is spent trying to avoid it. And whoever started up that annoying leafblower thingy this morning at 8 am should burn in hell forever. OK, not everyone has Friday off like me. I'm grateful, really I am. Just a little fuzzy with the perspective. This calls for an extra cup of coffee, and a meeting. Toodles.

Monday, October 02, 2006

How sweet it is...

Sushi with wasabi and avacado for lunch (did amazing things to my sinuses), seafood pasta for dinner. Yum. And it's fall! I slept like the proverbial baby last night, all curled up in my pajama bottoms and thermal tee, with Boo at my side. Getting up was really rude, cold and dark, but off I went into my day, fortified with my whole grain cereal and banana. And now, Six Feet Under is on Bravo, how sweet is that! Such a great series, usually reserved for the HBO crowd. I used to subscribe, now I do Netflix. And speaking of that, I just saw In Her Shoes, and what a great chickflick. Which reminds me to go online and update my queue. How about that, I have my very own queue. Meanwhile, back at the college, I have three tests to study for, one tomorrow. No sweat, I have my study guide all outlined, and am going back for another couple of run-throughs. Yeah, life is sweet here on Wild Rose Dr.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Ah, appreciation!

Strange to tell, but I am actually appreciating this music I have to study for class. Like, what torture, Chopin, Liszt, Schubert, Schumann (both of them, Robert and Clara), Stravinsky, etc. I love some of this music already; Firebird, wow. But Liszt was not up there in my opinion. And then I learned how difficult his stuff is to play, and that elevated his music in my tiny mind. How perverse is that, anyway? But, isn't that part of what makes watching ballet so fascinating, the difficulty of it all? There is this piece by Liszt, "The Little Bell", and I went, well, ho hum. But then our erstwhile teacher showed us the fingering, something I am intimate with from the many years I spent studying piano, and I went, holy cow, that's phenomenal. It is so difficult, very few professional pianists will tackle it. And now, I really appreciate it. And the lied, or German artsongs by Schubert or Schumann, well, they are just early versions of "I Will Survive", albeit terribly angst-ridden and dramatic. Those Germans, they really knew how to suffer for love. But the king of suffering is Chopin. There is in his music (almost all written for the piano) this sense of loss and yearning that makes me want to cry every time I hear it. Never mind that he suffered in real life, that he died at 39 of consumption, was painfully shy despite his fame, and carried on a doomed love affair with George Sand, a woman who cross-dressed. How tragic is that?! His music is often played rubato, which gives the performer some lattitude with tempo, tiny hesitations that pull at the heart and sustain that yearning with virtuoso brilliance. It is an emotional exercise, listening to Chopin. Must rest up, study some algebra, to decompress here.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Ah, Friday...

My favorite day. School is over for the week. I have already done my algebra homework and my study guide for my speech midterm can wait till Sunday, my usual study day. My main chore today was to move my winter togs from storage in the back closet into my drawers, now emptied of shorts, tanks, tees and such. Of course, now it is warm outside. Well, it won't be once the sun sets, and the weekend promises cooler temps. Fall is my favorite season. I loved it because I got new clothes every fall for school. Well, I loved school, too. And later, it was football. I followed the 49ers for 3 decades. I don't do football anymore, except an occasional Super Bowl, which I watch primarily for the commercials. But I still love this season, the cool days, the long shadows, the crisp evenings. I even love the leaves falling on the lawn, all that wonderful exercise picking them up. Soon, I must sojourn to the hardware store for a ladder, so I can clean out the gutters before our el nino rain comes in. I noticed Safeway had piles of bags of candy already. I bought two or three last year, and wound up eating most of it myself. I think it took till Easter. No kiddies. OK, I am rambling. Time to eat something. That is the joy of Friday, too, being so close to the fridge and all the good stuff I bought yesterday at the store. Yogurt, I think. Yes.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

The awful truth...

In many ways, I was born blessed. Even growing as tall as I did, as fast as I did, helped shape my character. I have a lot of inborn talents: writing, painting, photography, and now, drawing. My brain works well for me when I stretch and learn. And then there are my challenges. Some things are beyond me, a piece that is missing from the big puzzle. I have always been ashamed to admit that I have trouble telling my right from my left. It makes reading maps impossible, unless, like Joey on Friends, I put my map on the ground and stand in it. I get turned around and lost easily. When I water the back lawn, I have to turn the water off and on a couple of times, and even though I learned that "righty, tighty, lefty, loosey" ditty (from CSI), I still always turn the wrong way. It was one of the reasons I liked being married; there was always a ring on my left hand. (I solved that by wearing one there anyway, it has saved me much pain, not to mention money.) So, that is my deepest darkest secret, here is writing, where all can see. And I have decided to stop being ashamed of this deficit. That is all it is, a lack that I was born with. I do my best to compensate. If it were someone else, I would be full of compassion for her. I am going to pretend I am worthy of the same tenderness.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Suffering is optional...

My mother used to tell me I had to suffer to be beautiful. Usually, she said this as she tugged at my tangled hair. If I even whimpered, she hit me on the head with the brush. Suffering was not optional. It was an invitation only event. Suffice it to say, my daughter never got that bit of wisdom from me. Not even when her hair wound up in a tangled rat's nest at the nape of her neck, and took an hour of patient plucking to sort out. Now, in music appreciation, we are talking about composers, and many of them did seem to have to suffer to be creative. How strange is that. Chopin is a wonderful example. He lived with tuberculosis, and died from it at 39, yes, but he also had crippling stage fright and preferred only to perform his brilliant compositions in small gatherings. Whereas Liszt, that lion-maned matinee idol, turned his piano to better display his profile to his adoring audiences. Yet, he also took clerical vows later in his long life (an exception to most composer's lifespans), and had a fascination with the diabolical. OK, probably these people (notice I did not say men, there actually were some women composing, too) had the kind of soul I carry around with me, a tender, wounded little soul. I think that is the underlying fount of creativity, that desire to express in some way what in going on beneath the heart. So mayber suffering is mandatory when the inevitable pain intrudes, if one is to birth something of incredible beauty capable of touching other souls? Like a Chopin nocturne, full of yearning.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Everything old is new again...

How many years will I have to live to see everything come around a third time, do you think? I see they have remade All the King's Men. Oh, but it's different this time; instead of a jowly, portly Broderick Crawford, the role of Huey Long will be played by skinny, weasly Sean Penn. Can't say that is an improvement. And gee, this is just what we need, a movie about political corruption. Like I can't read about that every day in our local rag. All, however is not lost. For those who are not acquainted with the vicissitudes of politics, there is Jackass 2. Okay, time to write that touching and literate screenplay, something thoughtful and captivating. Anything else.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Art or no art, that is the question...

Circumstances intervened, and we did not get to visit the Monet exhibit currently showing in nearby San Francisco. But I did get over to our very own art display, right here in town, to check out all the marvelous creative stuff at the Art for Life annual auction. We have a thriving artist community here in wine country, and it was not surprising to find many renderings of fall vineyards among this year's offerings. But there were also sculptures made of plumbing fixtures, miniscule Buddhas on delicate copper lotus blossoms, huge abstracts, tiny carefully rendered portraits of chickens, a quizzical goat, and Mylette Welch's whimsical pooches, my personal favorite. It is enough to make me wish I were among the upper echelon who get to buy this stuff. Even at bargain prices, it is well out of my league. Heck, I can't even afford to attend the auction! But, next year, I think I will donate a piece of my own. That gets me in the door and lets me partake of lots of scumptious hors d'ouvres and wear a badge that proclaims me a participating artist. I like that idea.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Best laid plans...

I don't know what I was thinking when I signed up for music appreciation. Okay, that's a lie. I was thinking I knew a lot about music, having taken piano for many years, beginning when I was 9, and followed up with nearly 50 years of concert-going and record collecting, now CDs, of course, with a short sojourn of tapes, and this would be a walk in the park. Well, funnily enough, things have changed. Like, instruments are grouped differently. Membranophones, for instance, which are drums, of course. Aerophones are anything that uses blown air to create sound, and includes horns and woodwinds, how strange is that. And chordaphones, they produce sound from vibrating strings. The piano is included in this category. I always thought they considered it a percussion instrument because the hammers hit the strings. And I have learned about monophonic, homophonic, heterophonic and polyphonic musical textures. Sounds sexy, right? Trust me, it's not. And our first CD of music contains some stuff I would never listen to, not if you tied me to the chair. And I am, surprise, beginning to appreciate it! Go, Schubert! Yay, Schumann! And that Lizst. What a guy! Most surprising was the Ravel string quartet. I like my music BIG, huge orchestral pieces that make you guess where to applaud. But I just loved this music, so edgy, very exciting. So my musical horizons are already expanded, and I am watching less television and listening to more music. It's a good thing.

Monday, September 11, 2006

A great big helping of humility...

Results are in from first algebra test, and I got a C. This is my first C, in this current round of education. And it wasn't that I didn't know the stuff. I just read it wrong, or added wrong. Guess this is not really my subject, after all. But, here's the good part, I am not worried about this at all. I am doing this voluntarily, no one is waiting in the wings to take away my privileges or yell at me if I don't do superior work 100 % of the time. So I learned some valuable stuff here. Next time, we get to use a calculator. That should help a lot. And I need to pay more attention, review it more than twice. This is not easy, and it demands my little left brain wake up earlier, too. More coffee would probably help. A double-dip latte, that's the ticket.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

I am in good company...

A friend was saying at our meeting this morning that she is a little nuts. Well, our first project in art class was to discover what we liked, and what we didn't like as well. I am fond of the impressionist school; it is so subjective and brave. Van Gogh is the quintessential impressionist, and he was not a little nuts, he was full blown nutso. And then there's another of my favorites, Cezanne, who went out and painted the same mountain, rain or shine, every day for years; he was so engrossed, he often went home without his painting. And, funnily enough, the art I don't like, Andy Warhol or Salvador Dali, for instance, was also the product of two, edgy, barely sane individuals. So, perhaps waving at cows qualifies me to try my hand amongst these strange but beautiful people? You think?

Friday, September 08, 2006

Friday morning potpourri...

Let's see, where to begin? I taped last night's back to back episodes of Gray's Anatomy, wonderful stewpot of medical mishaps and young hormones run rampant in Seattle, of all places. Well, it is perpetually gray there, so I guess that works. Just love these kids and am champing at the bit for the season premiere, which I must look up online soon. This was a little treat after my stressful day taking my first algebra test (jury is out on that) and making my first, admittedly short but still angst-ridden speech (it got a decent review, but not up to my expectations). I also took a few minutes, about 50 I think, to listen to my music teacher's selections for our first name-that-tune test coming up really soon (guess I should look that up, too), and I was not surprised to find it a bouquet of little passionate pieces, some big and booming like a great stargazer lily (Orff, you gotta love him), some as delicate as baby's breath (Liszt's Little Bell), but all very deeply affecting, even the Ravel string quartet piece. Happily, this music is not all that familiar to me, so I am actually expanding and learning with this experience. And then there is the condition of my feet. It being summer (well, it was yesterday, the jury is still out today), feet are very much in evidence and, because I have a quasi-obsession of looking at feet at meetings, I noticed that other women do not have heels with cracks deeper than the Grand Canyon, as I do. I am currently on a foot-softening campaign, which is probably as futile as my nail-strengthening activities that have peppered my life. Whatever I do, it doesn't prevent my nails from shredding, seemingly all by themselves. Nevertheless, I do my best to rise above this situation. I have a closetful of products to prove it.
All of this stuff is absolutely meaningless outside my particular mileiu, but this is my blog, get over it.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

The in and out of it...

So, guess what we did in art this week. We colored. Yep, just like the old days with coloring books and crayons, except these were our own line drawings, and we only colored them with just one color, one inside the lines and one outside the lines. This is otherwise known as positive and negative space. And it was challenging. First I made this huge sketch of a vaseful of liles, big luscious stargazers, on a great big piece of newsprint. Then I selected parts of the sketch with my 8 inch window, made with Bristol paper and my handy-dandy Xacto knife, outlined them and whipped out the oil sticks, which behaved just like Crayolas. Challenge was to stay inside or outside the lines, proving that college coloring is not very different from kindergarten coloring. Whatever, when I was done, I had some nifty designs. I was surprised to see that I liked the finished product. Whatever, I am having a lot of fun playing with all these neat little artsy tools. I am headed to the art supply store later for a compass and the rest of the stuff, like some acrylics. And I have homework, to fill little boxes with 4 kinds of lines: straight, angled, curved and bent, one each in every little box, 20 to a page, 5 pages in 4 mediums (the fifth page is mixed media). Cannot tell you how much fun this is. Doesn't take a lot of talent, either, which is definitely a good thing. Still, I didn't feel like mine were any worse than anyone else's, and am actually kind of proud of them. There was a time when I wouldn't even try this. This is progress. I think.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

The shallow end of the gene pool...

Mondays and Wednesdays are just to surreal for words. I go from algebra in the little cube of a room, tiny squiggles on the wall to wall blackboards, no discernable windows, to art in this cavern with a whole wall of windows looking out on oak trees, lawns and other brick buildings, great smears of light everywhere. Gives my brain a workout, for sure. Left brain, right brain. I am totally brain-buffed when I emerge into the world again at noon. Feeling rather whipped today. Tomorrow is first test in algebra, followed by first speech in speech class. That should give me another workout of some kind, kinesic and small motor muscles, analytic brain and creative brain. Perhaps I will come out of this collegiate experience well-rounded, at least. Onward, to study integers, equations and inequalities, followed by an evening of music appreciation. My, that's erudite, I think.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Taking stock...

I like that saying that "happiness is not having what you want, but wanting what you have". Even though I live just a rung above the poverty level on the ladder of life, I seem to have a lot. Part of that is because my folks are always giving me things, like vacuum cleaners (I think I have at least 5 of varying sizes), luggage, cast-off furniture, bedspreads, and pajamas. This is why I have to parse my jammies seasonally, put half away and rotate as the temperature rises or falls. Costco is another reason my cup overflows. I have over 150 VHS taped movies, and now am beginning a DVD collection, as well (the Beta movies are in a box in the garage). And audio tapes, and CDs, lots of those, too. Books, well, I just need to be surrounded by books. They spill out all over the place and wind up in piles by the side of the bed. I try to keep them in this dandy basket, but they still spill. I need at least two more bookcases to get the ones in the garage out of their packing boxes. Certainly, I seem to like to be amused, don't I. And I am adept at amusing myself right here in my little house, all by my lonesome. And adding to my capacity for happiness is the fact that I am extremely easy to please. Take me to Round Table and I am a happy camper. Well, I lived on the edge of the world in a pizza-parlorless world for a long time. Nevertheless, I am thrilled with Taco Bell lunches and Applebee dinners. Take me to a fancy place, and I am speechless with joy. It was never my ambition, but I have grown up to be a cheap date. Imagine that.

Monday, September 04, 2006

The Scream is back, all's right with the world...

Happy to report that Munch's masterpiece has been returned to its museum, somewhere in Scandinavia, I forget where. Second time it has been stolen and recovered. It is so famous, it is unfenceable, yet so unprotected any jackass can grab it an run. Go figure. Funnily enough, I saw an exhibit of this artist's work at the Pitti Palace in Florence (which didn't include this canvas, I am sorry to say). I was surprised to find his work rather mundane, small canvasses, grayish pallette and mostly landscapes or interiors, kind of domestic without much elan. So the Scream is an aberration. I was talking with some artists lately, trying to discern if great artistic talent can be a learned trait, or does it have to be inborn. Can I train myself up to paint like a Cezanne? Well, everyone has a different take on that, but among our ken, where we rely a lot on a Higher Power, most agree that if one is willing to become a channel for that energy, all sorts of wondrous things can happen. One guy even told me he had that experience, got everything he needed to express out onto the canvas in a half hour, and became so frightened, he has not painted since. Hmmmm. This is probably what drove Van Gogh crazy. And Cezanne went out every day to paint the same mountain, sometimes forgetting his canvas at the end of the day. Well, I can do that. Go crazy, I mean. I am willing to let go enough to create something wondrous. Really I am. It just begins with a vision. So, lay it on me!

Friday, September 01, 2006

My gray cells are deserting me!

I lost my keys, again. Oh, well. I am like the marines, Semper Paratis, always prepared (or is that the Boy Scouts, I get them mixed up). I had a spare set, including the little gizmo that unlocks the car and makes the horn beep, in my nightstand, so I have been using those for a week. Today I did the laundry, and there they were, in the bottom of the washer, all spun-dried. Sigh. So I immediately went out and lo and behold, the horn beeper still worked! That's good, because it cost me $150 to rekey the car after losing my last set of keys, and I was bound to lose the spares I have been using while waiting for the original set to show up. The gray cells are definitely letting me down these days. During my recent trip to Costco, I couldn't find any of the lists I had made, and I just knew there was something I was forgetting. I walked around kind of dazed, and finally just went home with my year's supply of toothpaste and laundry detergent. This morning, I remembered what it was: coffee. Now that's a necessity, and I was down to my last two pot-worths of the last Sumatra beans, very bad. Well, I considered another trip to Costco, but that's dangerous to the spending plan, and the waistline. I successfully avoided the pies bigger than sewer lids and the muffins bigger than my head the last time. It is doubtful my better judgement would prevail a second time. So I spent $16 at Safeway for less than I could have gotten for $9 at Costco, with the reasoning that the cost of diet pills and pain of deprivation were far more expensive. And I got hazelnut and Kona blend, so mornings will be ever so much more joyous. Also, this goes along with my current resolve to do a lot of self-loving gestures for myself. Today, this included a raspberry white chocolate mocha, iced with whipped cream on top, 32 ounces of pure sin. I couldn't finish the damned thing, but the idea was superb.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Sturm und Drang...

Ah, Thursday. School is over by 11 AM, and I am now home from bi-monthly trip to Costco, where I bought a new printer. For some reason, two of my three printers expired within days of one another, and living without a fax machine is no longer possible. Fortunately, the HP OfficeJet I had eyeballed there earlier this month, before end of the month new influx of $$$ in bank, was now being offered with a $20 instant rebate, and, as I am teaching a class later this month and need to be printing materials faster than the one remaining printer, an Epson Photo 1280, can spit them out, I decided to buy it now, rather than wait for Microsoft to buy it for me with the promised $138 settlement. Did I mention that? I got this thing in the mail that said if I had bought a computer, printer, other peripheral or software after July something, 2003, Microsoft would send me up to $138. Well, yay. So I went hunting for the receipt for my baby laptop, the one I bought just a year ago January, after I moved, so that receipt had to be around here somewhere, right? After plowing through my file cabinet, I finally decided to just empty it out and reorganize it. So piles of school notes, old journals, and a heap of paid bills lived on my office floor for the better part of a week. And I did find it, only to find that my copier was dead, dead, dead, occasioning a trip to the library to photocopy everything so I can bug them when they don't send me the money. Besides, I got a rebate on my car insurance, $27, and Comcast Cable returned the $3.32 they billed me after I cancelled their service, so 1/4 of the printer is already defrayed. How sweet is that! Meanwhile, it is sitting here, still in the box, waiting for me to install it. Notice I am not in a hurry. New peripherals are always better ideas than realities. The only one that ever worked the first time I plugged it in was the mouse I bought to replace the one that died. Must get very mellow before crawling around on the floor under the computer desk with my flashlight, finding powerstrips and USB ports.

Monday, August 28, 2006

I would wonder if I was crazy, but I already know the answer...

Recently, I went through a bout of losing things. First it was my nail polish. I only polish my toenails, only in the summer, and expected my one lonely little bottle would be waiting for me in the same place this season. It wasn't and after giving myself a headache going through every logical place I could think of looking, I bought another bottle. Then it was a pair of favorite pants. And I dropped both an earring and an earring back that both just evaporated. The battery cover for my alarm clock disappeared, along with a favorite pair of reading glasses that didn't have any scratches on them yet. This is the downside of living alone; there is no one there to give you clues or help you search. Also, no one to blame for objects being missing in the first place. And then, just as suddenly, I found everything, one thing after another. The nail polish, battery cover, and glasses were all under the bed beside the nightstand. The favorite pants were where I had looked for them at least three times, hanging under a wool jacket in my spare closet. And the earring and earring back wound up just laying on the floor, right in the busiest pathway between my bedroom and bathroom. Now, that's spooky. This all makes me want to buy a lottery ticket. Maybe I will find some $$$, too. You think?

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Perversity, thy name is Boo...

Small black and white bundle of fluff is laying here, watching me, hairy brow furrowed. Actually, the furrowed brow thing is usual, a gift from his Pekingnese heritage. We have already done the morning drill where I eat the cereal as he watches every spoonful pass my lips, till the bowl gets that hollow-sounding ring, whereupon his ears prick and he starts this little jerky dance-around routine, until I set the last few drops of milk before him. Bless his heart, he never looks at me with disdain if I slurp it down to a mere film on the bottom of the bowl. Well, almost never. Then I come in here to check e-mail, except this morning, it was cold, so I reached into the closet for a sweater. Putting on outerwear is a dead giveaway that I am thinking of leaving, so Boo goes into his "take me, oh, take me" routine, bouncing around and getting right under wherever my feet take me. I explained it all to him, but he is still right at my feet should I change my mind. Except when he is laying by the front door, looking at me, pitifully. That's when we do our every morning reminder that the back door is open, we don't go out in front without our makeup, go out back! Which occasions puzzled head-cocking, so I have to guide him to the back of the house and usher him out the door. Hope springs eternal in that fuzzy little breast. And life would be sweet if your crowning aspiration would be the opportunity to pee on the hydrangea.

Friday, August 25, 2006

I can draw my hand!

It is not without irony that the class that most intimidates me this semester is Art, Drawing and Composition specifically. I worry. Nothing new there. I worry that my vision is mediocre, even my preferences for the impressionists and art nouveau, for a warm pallette, and recognizably rendered paintings (although I do like some abstract art, if it is not gritty or garish) is ordinary and trite. I worry that my small muscle control will desert me and I will not be able to render anything recognizable. I worry that I will embarass myself, bigtime. And there is no one my age in this class, except the teacher, of course, who is probably 10 years younger than I, and I am worried that she thinks me really pretty lame, too. I have been painting for several years now, and occasionally have done something I like, that I am proud of, almost. And my idea in taking this class is to become more courageous in my art, to explore different ways of doing things. So I am delighted to report that this is what I am learning! First, I learned how to hold my pencil (and what kind of pencil to use, of course). It is different from writing. Now, there's a concept! And we were using huge pieces of newsprint, the kind I used to buy for the kids to draw on, so there seemed less investment in doing it right. We began by drawing circles, squares, and then advanced to cubes. Well, I can do that. Next, we drew our hands in outline, line drawing she called it, and, even though my thumb was too big, I could see the idea there, on the paper. Then I took off my shoe, put it on the table, and we all drew that. I peeked at my tablemate's stuff, and saw that I was doing pretty good! Now I am all stoked about this class. And back to the original idea in taking it, which was to have some FUN. Fun is good. Yes.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

And the chili pepper goes to ...

I just love RateMyProfessor.com. Next semester, I will probably check it out before registering. Or not. Whatever, I was all jacked up to find a hottie when I attended my first Music Appreciation class, as this guy had a chili pepper by his name. Instead, I found this little violin shaped person, glasses, mussy hair, moustache, cute, cuddly for sure, but hot? I don't think so. However, he is also very dear, and terribly talented. He played us several examples of music on tape, of course, but some he rendered with elan on the Steinway concert grand. Like Scott Joplin's Maple Leaf Rag, a sterling example of syncopation. And did you know that is how ragtime got its name, from the ragged melody defying the staid bass? Well, now we all know that. We heard such diverse tunes as Gregorian chants, Beatle's tunes, Strauss waltzes, Grieg's Morning Moods, Beethoven's Pastoral, a Sousa march, and the afore mentioned ragtime. It was fun, it was illuminating, and on top of it all, I made three new friends, which is good, because there is no parking near the music building, and I want someone to hoof back with at 10 PM, it's really dark on campus then. First week of school was successful, but I am awfully tired today from rising before the sun every morning. Definitely sleeping in tomorrow. And probably this afternoon, too.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Very interesting...

It was, as usual, a little bit of a letdown, but first day of semester is under my belt, and here I go for day two. The math guy is huge and neckless, looks like a tackle for the 49ers, and makes lame jokes, that I titter at just to stay on his good side, always a good idea. He told us not to read our textbooks, they will only confuse us. I like him a lot. And the art teacher who everyone hated at RateMyProfessor.com is a sweetie, promising that we do not have to be little DaVincis to get a good grade. And once again, I am in that place of knowing, not suspecting, but knowing I will never be able to do this stuff, as if I should know it already, which would defeat the purpose of going to school at all, and having it taught to me. I miss my roommate. She used to remind me of that. So, today I meet the speech teacher, and won't that be a hoot. I looked at the textbook last night, and once again, decided it is unfathomable. Oh, oh, better run. Parking places are disappearing even as we speak.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Same old, same old...

Ah, another semester looms. It is 6:50 AM, even the sun isn't up yet. The dog is looking at me like I must be nuts, and I'm not sure, but I think the parakeet swore at me when I turned on the kitchen light half an hour ago to make my breakfast. Whatever could I have been thinking, signing on for a 7:30 AM class, four days a week? Actually, I was thinking that is the only way I will ever be able to park on campus, and I will be home by noon, every day, to study and take care of these creatures. By now, I am pretty sure I can find my classroom, and it is especially all right because I allow myself to look confused, which I usually am. No more see-how-savvy-the-old-lady-is routine. At my age, confusion is excpected, and I have found the kids to be very sweet in helping me whenever I have gotten that way, which is often. Math this morning, followed by art, drawing and composition, and I hope I was not supposed to have more in hand than my very slim book for that course. Well, it is not far from the bookstore, and if necessary, I can bop over there for a sketch pad and implements. My scholarship money arrived yesterday, so I am flush after emptying the old bank account, buying those precious textbooks. Now, I'm off to get my innaugural latte, and scope out the restrooms for my between classes pitstop. I feel like a kindergartener, actually, every time this begins again. Certainly can't be bad for me, even the latte. It's non-fat, you know.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Isn't that interesting?

A whole bunch of pain washed through me yesterday. It's been a long while since that happened, and in the midst of it, I was able to look into the heart of my own darkness, and see that old wounds were bleeding, again. Part of who I am is this terribly tender little soul whose emotions are never far beneath the surface. It was yet another reason to hate myself for a really long time. Now I know better. It is just what I was made to be. Probably, it will never change, though I keep working away here. I remembered that it would be history really fast, and, gee, it was! Within an hour, I was calmed down. Now I have a whole bunch of righteous indignation kind of stewing on the back burner. That will boil away soon, too. It's like the ocean, you know. The wind makes the waves, and the energy just keeps them moving till they hit the shore, and break. Fortunately, I never travel too far out to sea. Unfortunately, I think I make my own wind.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Give me a break!

Once upon a time, I was a sci-fi enthusiast, and I read all the classics of the genre, books by real scientists like Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke, and geniuses like Robert Heinlein. They were full of ideas, remarkable ideas, but real ideas. One story I read was about a world where everyone was dumb as rocks, except a very small percentage of people who ran everything. Now, I think it was more that fiction. I think it was prophetic, except that the people who run everything these days as dumb as rocks, too. Truly sad. I mean, what about this movie about snakes on a plane, called Snakes on a Plane. How exceptionally dumb is that? Well, a whole bunch of people will flock to see it, and that is even dumber. Where is the creative spark, people? Where is human intellect? Buried somewhere beneath body parts in the Middle East? You think? Ok, I am surly today. I just want someone to step out of the rubble and call a spade a spade. The human race has reached its nadir. Ann Coulter, Geo. W. Bush, Osama bin Laden. Abyssmal stupidity, and armed with nuclear weapons. What a world, what a world.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Powerless day...

Dear PG&E sent me a missive advising me they would be turning off my power today at 8:30 AM. So I rose early and got out of Dodge while the house was dark. Daytripping! First, I took myself to the neighborhood diner for breakfast (French toast, sausage links, one egg-over hard), then mosied through Walgreen's for some vital supplies. At 9:45, I talked to the first-time offender class of drunk drivers, always a hoot. Then to the campus to scope out textbooks, and can you imagine, Music Appreciation still uses the Machlis text it used 43 years ago! Of course, it is edition 99, or something, and I will have to buy it again, $84.00 used. Yuck. After a noon meeting, where I got to see many women I dearly love, I took myself out to lunch at Copperfield Books' Cafe, then over to Ross, for a sweet white shirt and a denim vest that just looked collegiate. Now, I'm home, power is perking again, and all the clocks are set, on the stove, coffeemaker, VCR's, etc. All in all, a productive day, and it is not over yet. Oh, and I got a nifty student pack again at the bookstore, with shampoo samples, coupons for Proactiv acne cream, a discount at Radio Shack, a Chapstick thingy, and some Eclipse gum. How sweet is that!

Saturday, August 12, 2006

The sky is falling, the sky is falling!

Here is a particularly painful confession: I have these really cataclysmic dreams about planets colliding, huge celestial events that just happen, suddenly. So I was kind of vindicated when I saw this new series called "Three Moons over Milford". Apparently, the moon had been blown apart (I tuned in late, so don't know why), and was now this kind of messy smear in the sky dominated by three huge chunks (not unlike in "The Time Machine"). Anyway, the people in the little town of Milford were all acting pretty twitchy after this event. Well, gee, you think? Like, this would seem to be a world-ending event. I would probably get pretty twitchy myself. Anyway, someone else worries about this stuff. What a relief. And, driving home last night, there was an enormous moon in the sky, at least twice as big as I remember it being, and I convinced myself that it has drawn closer to our little blue ball, and no one is telling me (it helped that the conversation around our dinner table had drifted off into conspiracy-theory-ville and general distrust of our government and media). Ant I thought, isn't that interesting. Never mind that I know that our heavenly bodies appear much larger closer to the horizon, where warm air magnifies them. I found myself getting kind of twitchy. Like maybe Chicken Little was right.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Joy, or the counter-commute...

I went to the big city again Monday evening, to take kiddo out for her birthday, and how can my late-in-life baby be 27 freaking years old already? Anyway, I had this amazingly fun drive down 101, with the 3 tenors crooning loudly (I must be getting deaf, I am always surprised at the volume I need these days), swaying in my seat and occasionally waving at the traffic on the other side of the freeway, those poor slobs still working for a living, as Huey Lewis sang. I did assure them that I had put in my time on their side of the street, sweating and swearing through the Novato narrows (where cow-waving woman was born, at the roadside dairy there), plowing through Petaluma, with the ubiquitous Honda Civic stuck to my rear bumper. I wore out 3 cars on that road, people. And I know I have said it before, but coming out of the tunnel to the sight of that big rusty-red bridge, and the pristine skyline rising up out of the Bay, man, it is a spiritual experience every single time, and almost worth the $5 toll. It was a lovely day, warm but not hot, and the walk through the Marina was sweet, the tiny Chinese restaurant was charming and delicious (veggie potstickers as light as air, I swear), kiddo was all stoked about the coming school year, and me, too. On the walk back, we got to view Alcatraz, just down the street, it seemed, and there was the bridge again. I breezed home in the post-commute, feeling full on a lot of different levels.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Big sigh of relief...

I began this month with a huge helping of skepticism for our governmental agencies, specifically Social Security. Even though I parked myself in their office for a sultry morning in April, a full two months before I would be eligible for benefits, armed with my divorce papers and birth certificate, and gave all my pertinent information to this disarming young woman, who assured me she had a Masters degree, and even though I got a letter informing me that the money would be in my account by the second Wednesday in August, I had my doubts. And bless them, it arrived a day early, and we are now officially engaged, the Social Security Administration and I. Irony of ironies, I will now have more income than I ever had in my working days, not that it will mean much when gas goes up, again, and everything transported by ship, train, plane or truck goes up, too. Ah, but Boo got his flea medication, the car got serviced, there is a six month supply of TP in the closet, lots of Diet Pepsi and Propel water in the fridge, life is good here on Wild Rose Dr. The scholarship money arrives next. I hope.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Rock and roll!

So, I was sitting in bed, reading my nifty mystery novel, and it felt (and sounded) like a truck hit the house. My bed just bounced for a few seconds, then settled back down into its usual inertia. Earthquake! We know all about them here in California. Once, people visited me from New Hampshire, and they were twitchy the whole week, worried about the Big One (like they never have any natural disasters there, like hurricanes and ice storms, and yes, earthquakes, too). The natives know that most temblors are just little glitches in our otherwise hectic existence here on the boundary of the North American and Pacific plates. And now, thanks to Ms. Perlroth and Geology I, I know even more. Go ahead, ask me about P-waves and S-waves. And I know how to calculate the epicenter, too. Oh, I bet Ms. Perlroth is stoked right now. She just loves this stuff. Anyway, tonight's event was a weinie, just a 4.4. They don't even get interesting till they get over 5.0. And even when we had our last truly devastating one in 1989, when Dan Rather and all the other anchormen came out here and sat in front of the Cypress structure or down in the Marina district, where everything fell down, kaboom, there were only 60 some odd deaths. Our building codes are really something, you know. Maybe that's why real estate is so damned expensive. You think?

Where is the erase button?

Another day when it would be nice if I could just blot out memory. Where is my emotional WiteOut? This would have been my (gulp) 31st wedding anniversary to my third husband. Where have the years gone? Whatever, I suppose it is good to mark this day every year, it was a day when I was happy beyond words, and for many years, secure in my status in the world. I think I have always known how strong I was, but needed to be alone these 20 years to learn it for real. Sometimes, I miss the company, along with the swimming pool. But most of the time, I walk around my little house, where there is no one to frown if there is a preponderance of black Boo hair under the table or scowl over frozen dinner entrees, that kind of thing. I don't miss that. Our daughter is well-launched, much of it due to her father's attendance to her education, and is precious beyond words. There, that is the reason to celebrate this day, every year, with some reverance.

Monday, July 31, 2006

The perverse side of sobriety...

Oh, dear, poor Mel Gibson got his admittedly beautiful butt thrown into jail for a DUI, and his behavior made William Wallace look like a fairy. We who have been there kind of snicker up our sleeves. I just want to take him aside and tell him to get over it, booze releases the most vile thoughts and language known to mankind. The good news is he will most likely be assigned to meetings, if not rehab, and may, if he's ready, stop menacing the Pacific Coast highways in his spiffy new Lexus. Mel is not known for his egalitarian viewpoint, (vis a vis that dreadful movie about Jesus, that totally missed the whole point of just about everything,) and a good dose of humility at an AA meeting might just do the trick. Anyway, I understood his whole attitude problem, and that is kind of a sad revelation for this old woman. No one is at their most attractive when drunk off their gourd, and pissed off, to boot. For we who have been there, though it may seem like the worst thing that could happen, being very publicly embarassed by his behavior may be the very best thing that could happen to dear old Mel. Falling down only means learning how to walk in a different, and sweeter way.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Bicycle people and me

Once upon a time, I thought bicycle people, those skinny, day-glo spandexed people with the funny bullet shaped helmets, were healthy folks, and felt kind of intimidated. Then I met a bunch of them, out of the saddle, so to speak, and this tres soignee art event in Mill Valley, the Berkeley of Marin County. They were all pencil thin, very French, smoked like chimneys and drank like fish. They spoke of pedalling off their hangovers. (And what is it with French men, that curly upper lip thing, man, that is so hot.) After that, I kind of curled my lip whenever I encountered them on my drive in from the house on the edge of the world, on the windy, narrow roads that wind through West County, along the coast and beside the river. What a pain they are. And today, I made what should have been an ease-filled decision to drive out to WalMart after my morning meeting, get some school supplies, MilkBones, and bubble bath, you know, the essentials. Instead of breezing out Old Redwood Highway, I got stuck looking at the backend of this big red pickup truck for about half an hour, while all these bicycle folks breezed through the intersection. Whoever was directing traffic had his head up his wazoo, for sure. I finally followed a bunch of adventurous folks and clipped through the vacant lot on the corner, bouncing off the curb as a result. Before that, I got to notice there were some hefty riders, too, some buxom ones, and some who were older than dirt. And still annoying, kind of like a swarm of mosquitos. Even if they don't bite me, I dislike them, on principle.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Small army has invaded, all is lost...

And found again. There are all these pickups in front and people tramping around above me, loudly. My house is being reroofed. Funny, when they told me I would get my new roof on Wednesday, I thought they meant just that. Instead, it is Friday, and it is not done yet. I thought I would mow the lawns this afternoon. I cannot even see the front lawn, it is so littered with materials. And I think that is just the stuff they put underneath the shingles, so they haven't even started them yet. It amazes me how much noise these people can make up there. My smoke alarm fell off here in the office, and my stove is all flecked with stuff sifting down through the vent. There is a great big piece of something, probably a gutter, caught in the tree and camellia bush right outside my window. Boo sits with his ears pricked, and every so often lets loose with a half-hearted bark. We are both becoming inured to the noise and hubbub, though for a while, I fully expected one or more bodies to break through the ceiling like James Bond or Ultraman. I go around muttering "it's temporary, it's temporary". OK, I could leave. But wait! I am parked in my carport, and there are two trucks blocking my driveway! Aspirin, I need a Bayer's! Now!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Ah, perspective!

Well, I was feeling lumpy and dumpy this morning, so I went shopping. Actually, I needed a couple of things, like greeting cards for my Leo friends, more water, some Diet Pepsi, stuff like that, but the joy of being in public is I get to see that most of the world is as lumpy and dumpy as I am, and much is even more so. This heatwave is getting really old. I remember many hot days growing up here, though we lived west of here, in a tiny town, and used to feel pretty superior because it was always 10 degrees cooler where we were than for the poor folks down in the valley, which is where I now live. And, when it got mega-hot, it usually snapped, and was cool again, with fog pouring in from the coast. Not happening now. Instead, it is cooling every day by a few degrees, so this afternoon, it is in the high 80s while yesterday was in the mid 90s. The best thing is that it will once again be down in the 50s tonight, when it really counts. Still, too hot to actually cook anything. Salad, again.