Thursday, August 31, 2006
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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?
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.