Thursday, December 18, 2008

Holiday music

When I first started performing in quartets, in the 80s, and it came around to the holidays, I resisted singing carols. I felt scroogy about them, like I had put in enough time singing them as a kid, and didn't want to sing them just for sentiments' sake. I relented because of the income we could make by singing at the end of the year, at parties and so forth. But I always wanted to learn the secular holiday songs, White Christmas, Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree, etc.

As the years have passed, I have sung these songs so much that I have made a complete reversal. If I hear "may your days be merry and bright" one more time, I may gag on the cheesy sentiment. The songs I find myself longing to sing are the old hymns, "It came upon a Midnight Clear" and "What Child Is This" or "O Holy Night". The poetry in these songs is gorgeous, and the tunes are ancient and borrowed from older songs.

Last night I came up the driveway and gazed at the brilliant wash of stars in the crystalline sky. I could picture the angels leaning down very close.

It came upon a midnight clear
that glorious song of old
with angels bending near the earth
to touch their harps of gold
Peace on the earth, good will toward men
The heavnly angels sing
The earth in solemn stillness lay
To hear the angels sing

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Larger work

I was starting to feel a little limited by the smallness of the SoulCollage card... many of the images I was clipping out simply would not fit on a 5" x 8" card. I took a trip to the art supply store and bought some bristol board, which allowed me to put this piece together. I even got three-dimensional and added some bling to the board.

Every year at our company's holiday party, they have an art gallery where employees exhibit their work. This year, I'm still feeling a bit timid about it, but I hoping that next year, I'll have some things I'd like to show. Perhaps I'll take my own artwork's advice. It's time to let nothing contain me.

More collages


This card was inspired by our wedding this summer. I can't remember the last time I felt so much love among such a large crowd of people. It was something I'll never forget.


This is a darker one. Making this card was kind of like having a dream - you are not sure, when you wake up, what it meant, but it seems somehow significant.

Collage series

I was inspired to start making SoulCollage cards by Redondo Writer, and got some blank matboards and started clipping and pasting. I'm not sure if what I am making will ever turn into a deck of cards, but I certainly enjoy seeing what patterns emerge. I'll post the photos here...


This is the first one I made. I call it "e-merge". I was thinking of my grandma as I made it. One of the things I got from her is my name, Eleanore. She had a little Victorian style plaque of the letter E that got passed down to me, and I keep it by my bed. It's funny to think of all the meanings that "E" has come to have, post email and e-commerce and so forth. Grandma was always very insistent that we spell our name with a final E, so that people will pronounce the O as a long O and not say El-a-"ner".


This one is called "akimbo", which is one of my favorite words. Looking at the world just a bit askance is important to do now and then, don't you think?


Here is "believe", which I made to encourage myself to take the plunge into making and sharing art.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Cheers, Mike

Today I heard that a man I worked with for almost ten years has died suddenly. He was laid off a couple of months ago and no one had seen him since. Mike was an outsider who was proud to be that way. He grew up in a strict Mennonite family and prided himself on his free thinking and anarchistic beliefs. He was one of the smartest people I know, able to pull up philosophies - and the quotes and book titles to amplify them - at the drop of a hat. He lived life fully, enjoying regular trips to Mexico (thus the tequila) and fast rides on his motorcycle. He had a beautiful wife and two young children. I'm so sorry that they will not have more time to learn from him.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Inspiration for art

We went to a lovely art studio last Friday night. There was an artist there who was showing her paintings. Next to the paintings, there was a short written explanation, telling about one night that she had experienced years before, where she found herself in an English forest full of little campfires. She had used that night as an inspiration for all of her paintings.

I was struck by how one magical evening had spawned so much artwork. I thought about how many interesting moments and peak experiences I have had in my life, and how fun it would be to use those moments as jumping-off places for art. I don't know why this has never occurred to me before!

I am starting a list of moments that might be used in this way.

-the night we saw a constellation of a blender in the sky
-the first time I saw Paris
-my first earthquake on a train in Japan
-swimming in Rio, and the carnival drums

..to be continued

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Saturn

Today at lunch we had the incredible luck to hear a presentation by Carolyn Porco, a planetary scientist on the team of the Cassini Imaging project. She brought with her some amazing images of Saturn and Saturn's moons and rings, which they have been exploring for years since the international Cassini spacecraft went into orbit around Saturn.

She is a very articulate and moving speaker and brought me to tears several times. She talked about the day when a probe was sent to the surface of Titan, ending over 300 years of speculation about what we might find there..and how that day should have been one when all humanity could celebrate and feel common cause. But do you even know when that was? (2004) She mentioned that next week, NASA will celebrate its 50th anniversary. And in that short time, humans have gone to every planet in our solar system. She talked about the way in which our species hurls itself out into the "maw" of space, just on the impulse to explore and to find out how we fit into the giant scheme of the universe.

Her ending images were so powerful. She reminded us of the power of the image of Earthrise, taken in 1968. She compared that image with one taken of a solar eclipse of Saturn. There is a tiny blue dot just to the left and above the rings. That dot is Earth.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Suburban issue

We have lived in our house for about 15 years. When we first moved, we had a garage sale to get rid of the stuff that didn't fit the house or was no longer needed. We met a few neighbors, and were stunned at what people bought and what they didn't.

Since then, we have accumulated and purged many times, but we have not had another garage sale. We almost always have had a box or two in the garage earmarked "garage sale", as if it is a yearly event or a required duty of all suburban families. Somehow or another, all those summers went by without another sale. We donated the stuff, or gave it to a larger garage sale being held by the chorus or some other organization. Sometimes it just went to the dump.

Today, we had our second garage sale. Yesterday, on the hottest day in recent history, we hauled everything out of the dusty garage onto the driveway. We talked to our neighbors and they joined in the "fun" by hauling out their stuff, too. Our dog walking friends and neighbors stopped by to peruse it. Honestly, some of that junk was stuff that should have been sold at our LAST sale, it was that old and moldy. In the last 15 minutes of the sale, we made half of our profits. Then the best neighbor in the world (ours), took all the leftovers in his truck down to Goodwill. It's gone!

We had a great time socializing with everyone and watching our small portion of the world go by. People seemed to enjoy picking over the tables and mostly buying things that we did not originally own.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Wednesday at the convention

What an incredible day - from prowling the t-shirt booths in LoDo to waiting for Hillary to release the delegates at the convention center - then the dramatic roll call! I love the moment in a convention when exhaustion (or the drama of it all) allows my emotions to rise up and carry me away. That moment for me was as each state was called upon to tell their vote count. Each state representative had a moment to express their love of their home. "Maine, where the sun first rises", and so forth. Each speaker had a different approach, but I was flooded with love of the land. The sports teams were mentioned, as they are emblematic for pride in ones' place. The state slogans and geographical wonders were mentioned. People sure love their own home. Anyway, we got up to New Mexico in the alphabet when they ceded their vote to Illinois (who had passed before). Then Illinois ceded to New York! what is going on!!?

From my perch high up in the Center, the delegate floor waa a constantly changing sea of color, depending on the signs that were being passed out. Each speaker was preceded with a flood of volunteers in flouresent green vests, holding a zillion signs with the appropriate message. At this moment, the signs were red, and the floor was swirling with excitement. As I watched, the red sea below me suddenly parted, spread apart by a black river of men in suits. At the head of the river, there was a turquoise

My photos are here.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Family of Democratic Media

Here we are in Denver, at our first ever Democratic Convention. Despite the fact that I've been a Democrat since before I could vote, and have watched them all on tv, I never thought I'd actually be at one. The heat is extreme, the crowds are crazy (how CAN these men stay in their suits and ties is beyond me), but the thrills are greater. We pressed through the throng on the floor and got close to the California delegation, waving at our friends, the Marin delegates. Then we headed to the sky box where John was diligently working for KFWB, perched high above it all, but directly across from the stage. We tucked ourselves into the scaffolding and sat down to take in Hillary's brilliant speech.

The media seems determined to find conflict here. They are pressing everyone to say that the Hillary supporters are standing firm and will not accept Barack's nomination. But this is just looking for trouble - everyone we have talked to is ready to UNIFY and take back the reins of the country.

Here's a great shot of John in action!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Jane Hammond

Another great exhibit at the de Young Museum was that of Jane Hammond, a collagist. I especially enjoyed this work, "My Heavens". It inspires me to make a collage of my own, a star map with updated, imagined, constellations.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Scrabulous film

Some friends of mine made a great little documentary called "Absolutely Scrabulous". You can help them win cash by voting for it online!

They interviewed me last Tuesday and had the film done by yesterday.. the concept of the contest is that you had to make a short film in a weeks' time. I haven't watched all the other entries yet, but so far this one is by FAR the best. (I don't think I'm biased.)

A day at the museum

We went to the deYoung yesterday to see the Dale Chuhuly exhibit. This Seattle glass artist has turned his vision into an almost mass-produced quantity of the most beautiful colors and shapes that you can imagine. It was a feast for the eyes. Despite my love of bright colors and the fantastic juxtapositions of orange and cobalt and red, my favorite room was the understated (for him) basket room. One wall was lined with shelfs covered with Navaho baskets, shades of brown and beige, warm and earthy in their texture. Mingled with the baskets were basket-shaped bowls of glass, clear glass blown with shades of "tabac", which perfectly blended with the baskets. Some little weaving style elements were melted into the sides of the bowl to accentuate the basket inspiration.

In the same large room, on the opposite wall, was a huge collection of Pendleton blankets, hung in a large grid so we could see the large patterns and beautiful colors. In the middle of the room, there was an immense wooden slab table that was covered with larger bowls and glass shapes, again made in the tabac color.

The glass flowers and plant-like spires and curlicues were mounted on huge sheets of black glass, that made a mysterious dark mirror, reflecting the incredible colors in another tone. You could imagine jumping into that netherworld and swimming among the glass roots of the imagination.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

On the bus

This morning I took a seat next to a woman who appeared to be over 85. Her walker was perched in the handicapped area and she couldn't have been over 5 feet tall. I already had my ipod in my ears, but I greeted her and sat down. Before we got to the bridge, she couldn't restrain her curiosity and she tapped my hand, asking about the device. She wanted to know if it was a radio. We chatted for a while about how things that she saw in Dick Tracy had all appeared to become a reality. I showed her that the ipod could even display video, and she was even more amazed.

She told me she was headed into the city on a weekly outing to the senior center at the Maritime Museum. She said that she did sculpture there, and that there were classes for all kinds of art. She grew up drawing, but now that she has macular degeneration, she has begun to sculpt.

I hope I'll run into her again. She reminded me that it is more interesting to chat with your seatmate than it is to listen to Dick Tracy's ipod.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Long in the 'tooth

Since hands-free became required, I have been struggling with my cell phone in the car - putting it on speaker phone seemed to require more handling than just holding it up - I had to balance it on my lap, grabbing it when it started to slide down to the floor - find the speaker button, etc. Also, the people I was talking to never seemed to be able to hear me very well, and I found myself YELLING at the damn thing and .. well, forget it. I tried some bluetooth earpieces but my ear is quite floppy and nothing seemed to stay in place.

I was thinking, why doesn't my phone just have a clip on it, so I can clip it to my visor and use it that way?

At Costco last weekend, I found the perfect thing! for $40! which is way less than the darn earpieces. A visor-shaped bluetooth device that finds my phone, is easy to operate, and uses my phone's voice recognition. I turn it on, it says "say a command". Then I say "call Barb". It says, "did you say, call Martha?" I say "no". It says "did you say, call Barb?" I say "yes!" It seems to be getting a bit smarter each time. Only one button needs to be pushed, and it never falls down to the floor.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Ships plus camera

I got a new camera recently, because my little old Canon Powershot finally clicked its last. I still haven't thrown it away, because I loved it so. I knew it was about to go, and had already shopped for its replacement, but I still felt bad. Until today, when I stepped out for lunch to see the Tall Ships Parade. I walked down to Chrissy Field, near the Yacht Club, and zoomed my new Powershot SX100 15 out over the water. Despite a large view screen, my aging eyes could not tell at all if the "AUTO" setting had successfully focussed on the ship. I trusted and clicked anyway.

Imagine my pleasure when I got back to my desk and took a look at the photos! I think now I'm ready to toss the old camera away.

(be sure to click on this image to see the large size of the photo...)

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Mamma Mia

One word: GO. SEE. IT.

Ok, well maybe more than one word. But honestly we had so much fun watching that movie! and everyone else in the theater seemed to, too. Laughing out loud, singing along loudly to bad Abba songs, drooling over the beautiful Greek scenery, laughing some more, tearing up a little. Meryl Streep, sexy boys and girls, people bursting into song, more singalong, Meryl Streep again and again. Middle-aged women are powerful and can dance in platform shoes! Everyone ends up with someone! Very happy.

Afterwards we celebrated with greek pizza.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Crows vs. Owl

A Sunday morning walk, around the levee that keeps our neighborhood from the marshy bay. As we walked the portion that backs up to a street, we heard the oh-so-familiar argument of crows droning on in the tall trees of someone's yard. As we got closer, the volume and intensity increased. We imagined those folks in their house, cursing the crows, as they were trying to sleep in on the holiday weekend. We stopped to count how many crows we could see among the leaves. The tree was alive with movement. Suddenly, the cawing changed tempo and pitch, and the group started to fly off. As they rose from the tree like a black cloud, we saw one white bird in their midst. It was a huge owl, whose heavy square head and wide wingspread looked awkward and graceful all at once. The twenty or more crows dove at him and surrounded him. He flapped his wings slowly and moved away easily as they tried to peck and warn him. They came at him from all sides, but he never seemed to get flustered or hit. We watched in awe as the feathered pack flew on through the neighborhood to alight in the next set of tall trees. They went on to awaken yet another family.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Competition

Why do we (I) compete? is it genetic/survival of the fittest? my siblings all love a good argument and love to compete - maybe it's nurture? But I don't really recall our parents pegging us against one another the way you see in some families. My hobby is competitive singing, I love to race and beat people at games, my blood gets riled up with just a verbal sparring. However, I don't win very often. In fact, when I buy a raffle ticket or enter a contest of that sort, I never expect to win, as I never have. But I heard myself saying that recently, and then I mentally corrected myself - THIS TIME, I WILL WIN! I'm visualizing it!

The following week, my quartet entered the County Fair singing contest and won first place, Best in Show.

Monday, June 23, 2008

The Personal is Political

You may remember the phrase “the personal is political”. This was written by Robin Morgan in a 1970 book entitled “Sisterhood is Powerful”. I carried that book around for my entire freshman year of high school. The phrase was coined to express that what was happening in women's personal lives was a political issue – from sharing household responsibilities to the lack of equal pay for equal work.

The phrase works in both directions. The political can also be very personal. The political action of leaders like Gavin Newsom has made possible this very personal experience of a wedding.

I can remember starting to deny marriage to myself when I was only in grade school. Others imagined themselves in white gowns and even started "hope chests". I scoffed at them. Children know without being told what is forbidden. I knew I would never grow up to be a bride, so why waste time dreaming about it? I refused to go to the prom, because it seemed like a wedding on training wheels.

Despite my generally optimistic nature, I could not believe that my family, my community or my country would ever give a stamp of approval on being gay. When I met Barb in 1982, I still could not imagine that our relationship could be anything we celebrated publicly. It was years before everyone in both of our families knew that we were in a committed relationship.

In 2004, when marriage was first dangled in front of us as a possibility, we jumped at the opportunity. After getting that license, we couldn’t believe how different it made us feel. We felt more connected and valued than we ever had before. Then, the marriage was annulled and we were disappointed but also defiant.

Now, we have finally achieved a level of equality. We are personally very happy and politically very committed to making sure that this marriage can never be annulled. The measure on the fall ballot that would deny the basic right of marriage to others must fail.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Summer!

It's the first day of summer, or "midsummer", which makes no sense if you think about it for more than a minute. How can it be the "first" and the "mid" all at once?

Wiktionary is not much help:
midsummer (plural midsummers)
1-The period around the summer solstice; about 21st June in the northern hemisphere.
2-The first day of summer
3-The middle of summer.

Well, it is the longest day of the year. Of that we can be sure. Today, they found water (ice, really) on Mars. It's HOT even in San Francisco. The Mississippi is flooding, the West is drying out, and yet somehow we all keep on keepin' on.

This seems to be the week of spending money. The car needed repairs and a 90,000 mile tuneup. The windows needed shades. The camera broke and had to be replaced. Oh, and on top of it all, we are having a wedding! which has to be the most expensive thing to do in the world. New clothes, catering, cake, rental furniture, flowers, plants, extra house cleaning, etc. But we are spending with joy in our hearts, because, my goodness, who ever expected to be having a wedding! And our family members will be here and our hearts will be full.

Friday, June 13, 2008

We Do, We Did, and We're Doing it Again

You could say we got married on May 16, 1983 when we moved in together.

You could say we got married on October 11, 1987 during a ceremony / protest action on the steps of the IRS during the March on Washington for Gay and Lesbian Rights.

You could say we got married on February 14th, 1991 when the city of San Francisco set up the first registry for Domestic Partners, and we were first in line.

You could say we got married on February 14th, 1999, when we registered as Domestic Partners with the State of California.


You could even say we got married when we got married - on February 15th, 2004, when Mayor Gavin Newsom authorized San Francisco City Hall to allow same-sex marriages. That is, until the State Supreme Court annulled our marriage a few months later.

The California State Supreme Court must have felt bad about that decision. They have changed their mind!

On June 27th, WE'RE GETTING MARRIED AGAIN! It's been 25 years since we fell in love. Don't you think it's about time?

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Mosaic




The concept:
1. Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr Search.
2. Using only the first page of results, and pick one image.
3. Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into Big Huge Lab's Mosaic Maker to create a mosaic of the picture answers.

The questions:
1. What is your first name?
2. What is your favorite food? right now?
3. What high school did you go to?
4. What is your favorite color?
5. Who is your celebrity crush?
6. What is your favourite drink?
7. What is your dream vacation?
8. What is your favourite dessert?
9. What do you want to be when you grow up?
10. What do you love most in life?
11. What is one word that describes you?
12. What is your flickr name?

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Growth

The backyard was landscaped after our remodel was done, and now everything is growing nicely. Including a lot of "volunteers", as Jennifer calls them, plants that we call weeds because they are growing where we don't want them. I spent a good part of the morning pulling things up, especially the pernicious little guy that sends out stalks in all directions, producing nasty little burrs as seed pods. There is plenty of clover-like stuff, that looks pretty this time of year, but I know it gets ugly later on. It's crowding out the pretty lavendar and other purple flowers that we'd rather have. The tiny-leaved elfin thyme that was planted among the flagstones is doing well, and has almost doubled in size. But there is still dirt between the plants, and in each little patch, something else tries to grow.

Today I lay down one extra flagstone by the gate, because Lola and other visiting dogs had taken to digging in that one vacant spot. Eventually they may have succeeded in going through to China, or at least under the fence.

Some neighbors were having a plant sale and we picked up a couple of caraval hollyhocks for a spot by the other fence, under a bird feeder. I hope I can keep their plot free of weeds long enough for them to get a good start.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Bye Bye Bob


We lost our oldest brother this week. We were five, now we are four, yet diminished by more than one. Bob Brooks was
a good man
a punster
a practical joker
banjo picker
trombonist
a lover of Sousa
webmaster
computer pioneer
a wordsmith
a veteran
historian
gentle lover of flowers
handyman
husband
and father
curmudgeon
a skeptic
he voted Obama
blogger
band member
Eagle Scout
son
archivist
my brother
we miss him
he's gone

Monday, May 12, 2008

Outside of time, in a foreign country

I am in Connecticut, a state which I always have to focus on while I type, to make sure I put the "connect" in it. I'm not sure why it's not pronounced "connect I cut", it would make it more fun to say, for sure. What I want to write about is how this state feels like a foreign country to Californians. Things are familiar, but just a little different. You know that's a house, but gee, it has three stories and a big porch and a $350,000 price.. so it can't be a house, it has to be a boarding house or B&B. That looks like a bridge but the date on it goes back to the 1600's. Incredible!

And the food is different, too. It seems closer to food that you'd get in Europe. The cheese is more authentic. The portions are huge. My theory is that the cook's grandparents are still living around here, and they are picky about the recipes being exactly like the one the brought from the old country. Either that or they are actually working in the kitchen. Out west, the cooks' parents split from their family and travelled out to see new places. They tasted a lot of different food and thought it might taste good if they mixed a little mexican pepper, say, in with the tomato sauce recipe that their italian grandma made. And grandma wasn't around to complain.

We are outside of time because we are spending time in a hospital, and that is innately a place with its own schedule and rotation. We aren't at work or doing our regular routines. We are living in motel and driving around on unfamiliar roads and making a lot of phone calls. We are thinking of time that we have not been together and trying to be "here" for each other now.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Did You Ever Have To Make Up Your Mind?

We drove somewhere in a car together, one day after he got out of college. My oldest brother, 21 years old, voting age (then), an adult, about to join, or in the army, and about to go off to fight in Vietnam. I was 11, colt legged, budding breasts and thick lenses, halfway between child and adolescent. Ten years apart, he was already in high school by the time I could remember anything, and so we may never have been alone together before. We had shared dinner tables and holidays, but never had intimate conversation. Perhaps I was now at an age where he saw me as no longer a "kid". At any rate it felt like I was being treated special, to ride with him.

It was the summer of 1966. The radio was on, of course, as it always was when we went anywhere in the car. He was kind of shy and I was too. I didn't really know what to talk about. A song came on that I liked, Lovin' Spoonful, I think, or Mama Cass. We talked about the music. One song after another, the hits just kept on comin'. I'm not sure who made the statement first, but we both agreed that this year, 1966, had to be the best year EVER for pop music. There was never a better year and might never be a better year. These are songs we will remember all of our lives. Any we have:

Some of the hits from 1966. The tunes start up in my head as I read the titles.

Cherish, Association
Monday, Monday, The Mama's and The Papa's
96 Tears, ? and The Mysterians
Reach Out I'll Be There, Four Tops
Summer In The City, Lovin' Spoonful
California Dreamin', The Mama's and The Papa's
You Can't Hurry Love, Supremes
We Can Work It Out, The Beatles
When A Man Loves A Woman, Percy Sledge
Good Lovin', Young Rascals
Paint It Black, Rolling Stones
Wild Thing, Troggs
Paperback Writer, The Beatles
Good Vibrations, Beach Boys
Red Rubber Ball, The Cyrkle
Walk Away Renee, Left Banke
Bus Stop, Hollies
Dirty Water, Standells
Crying Time, Ray Charles
Secret Agent Man, Johnny Rivers
The Sounds Of Silence, Simon and Garfunkel
Did You Ever Have To Make Up Your Mind?, Lovin' Spoonful
Homeward Bound, Simon and Garfunkel
Uptight (Everything's Alright), Stevie Wonder
Wipe Out, The Surfaris
Barbara Ann, Beach Boys
Black Is Black, Los Bravos
Nowhere Man, The Beatles

Thursday, May 01, 2008

More waxwing

When I got home the day I saw the waxwings in the morning, the holly tree was stripped of berries, except for the very bottom of the tree along one branch. The birds had returned during the day, Barb reported, but flew away when the dog approached. But just now, I heard the unusual whir of their call and saw the tree moving. More than 10 cedar waxwings sat high in the tree, sunning themselves in the last rays of the day. I grabbed the binoculars and watched their beauty. One grabbed a mosquito-eater bug out of the sky and gobbled it down.

When some neighbor banged a garbage can loudly, they flew in a great rush out of the tree and disappeared. The body is dun-colored around the "shoulders" and then transistions to yellow on the belly. The yellow is exactly the same yellow as some of the holly leaves, and so they blend in quite well. Except for the fact that they are very large birds, and have a dramatic crest and that they flair up, and look like they are wearing incredible eye makeup. They are Broadway birds..

Also, the peonies are blooming. They are such old-fashioned flowers. Something about their shape and delicate whiteness makes me think I am looking at a victorian painting of a flower, not a real flower.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Cedar Waxwings!

Our holly tree is still full of fruit, this year - the robins that usually come in January didn't eat it all this year. There were plenty of robins in the neighborhood, but perhaps because of our remodeling disruption, they didn't linger in our yard. This morning the tree was alive with action - a flock of beautiful cedar waxwings were downing the red berries with gusto.



I stood close to the door with my binoculars, in awe of their gorgeous feathers and colors. A bird would pluck a berry off, hold it in his mouth for a second, then swallow it whole and pluck another one off a second later.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Roses




This year, due to all the mess of remodelling, I never got around to cutting back the rose bush. This week, there are more roses than we have ever had. This particular rose is not at our house, however. But I do love the color.

We had a little rain last night, and today the roses were covered with droplets and gleaming in the sun. It all felt so fine this morning, since I had finished the Wed NY Times crossword puzzle in one sitting.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Delegated

.Photos from the caucus

Barb ran to be a Democratic delegate at the Denver convention this summer. She has always been passionate about politics, and every four years, we watch the convention on television gavel to gavel. She grew up watching it and discussing politics with her mom, so she has a very strong connection to the convention and the democratic process. This year, I encouraged her to GO.. her sister lives in Denver and it couldn't be easier. I found out how she could fill out an application and just run locally for a delegate slot. I became her campaign manager and emailed everyone we know, to get them to show up at the caucus and vote.

Last Sunday was the caucus. We had no idea what the procedure was. You had to show up at a local gym and sign in. If you weren't a Democrat, you could register. All the delegate candidates were standing out front, handing out flyers and shaking hands. After an hour of check-in and hand shaking, the doors were closed and the candidates all had 30 seconds each to speak. Barb came near the end of the line (it was alphabetical). She jumped out of the pack with her energy and speed of delivery. It was fabulous.

It took 90 minutes for them to count the votes, and Barb came in second to the two women who won the two slots for women delegates for Hillary. They seemed very surprised at the large turnout (for which we took the credit). One of the women who won encouraged Barb to run for the delegate-at-large slot. To do that, she'll go to Sacramento in May and the delegates who were elected will vote for her. In the meantime, she is planning to write about the experience, and is trying to get a press pass to the convention as a writer for the local paper.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

F is for Failure?

I see I have fallen behind in my letter postings. Do I get a big F.. for failure to communicate?? Well, maybe that is a bit harsh. F words that come to mind:

freak - I was one, let your freak flag fly, baby!
fall - a colorful season not as nice as spring or summer
friday - my favorite night of the week
foos ball - never played it much, but I love the word "foos"
french - took it for 12 years, can barely converse these days
fee fie foe - I smell the blood of an Englishman

Friday, April 11, 2008

Smartness

In Europe, we were taken with the tiny Smart cars. I heard Smart Cars were coming the US, and I signed up for one. It finally arrived, and the dealer people started calling me up. Tax week is not the week that you really want to buy a car. We might even wait a while, as our current cars are paid off and we don't really feel like starting up another monthly payment. But we really wanted to test-drive it, so we went down there today at lunchtime.



The car was great, but the folks that worked there weren't so smart. Despite the fact that I had spoken with them three or four times on the phone before showing up, they didn't remember that I was non-committal about buying. They couldn't believe I didn't want to go into the backroom and discuss "financing" (I think I'd rather get all my teeth pulled out).

They had put my name on the very car I had ordered. However, I didn't get to test drive MY car. They had told me on the phone that I had to wait until MY car came in before I came down to test-drive it. Again, not so smart.



We were surprised that it didn't feel as little as it looks. Of course, it was a lot bigger than those tiny little European models. There was plenty of room for the dog in the back.

EE

Silly as this alphabet blogging theme seems, I guess it will keep me posting for a while! E is the letter for my first two names: Eleanore Elizabeth. I have four Es in there, including the problematic final E of Eleanore. It's grandma's name, and she once told me that she had added that final E herself, wanting to control the way that others pronounced her name. She hated the sound of "El-uh-NER", and thought that by placing the E at the end, people must say "El-uh-NOR". Well, that assumes that everyone knows the rule about lengthening a vowel that has an E following it, which is a stretch these days. On my birth certificate, I noticed that the final E is written in different ink than the rest of my names, so I'm guessing that someone corrected it after Grandma saw it.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

D is for Downey Street

From 1980 to 1989, all the following people lived at 158 Downey Street in San Francisco. This list of those who lived there and how they were "rated" at the end of the era by a group of the former housemates in 1989.

Leah - longest tenant, 1st business at home, tact queen, 1st computerized phone bill/list, 1st punk hairdo, appliance queen
Barb - fart queen, roho queen (rolling hostess), DJ queen, 1st spouse who moved in
Grant - wife queen, tipped the balance to more males than females
Tedd - teen queen, most intense, phone queen, 1st microwave owner, angry queen
Eric - faerie queen, 1st tv/vcr owner, most houseguests, 1st wall-to-wall carpet
William - string been queen, garden queen
Teresa - clean queen, most tranformed, 1st fart queen, 1st dust buster owner, 1st house stereo owner, queen of the lump sums
Doug - tallest, straight queen, 1st subletter, least funny comedian
Rhodes - least stuff in shortest amount of time, greyhound bus locker award
Gene - most stuff and phone calls in the shortest amount of time
Danalan - house dork, most names, 1st ex-lover to move in
James Bergeron - slept with most roommates and guests, sex queen, 1st to live in the basement
Charlie - art slob moderne, shrink wrap queen, 1st vacuum cleaner owner, 1st coffeemaker owner, mirror queen, burp queen, 1st art studio in house, trend queen, 1st sixth housemate, strangest shoes
Betsy - invisible, most girlfriends, 1st to paint room, best stuff
Gus - best cook, chef queen, 1st male companion, coffee queen
Michael - in and out prize, caused most girls' tears, 1st car owner, 1st separate phone line, best pot, money fret queen, shoplifter queen (tied)
Martin - best xmas present-giver, photo queen
Connie - fret queen, toast queen, tenant power queen
Hilary - migraine queen, cry queen, 1st to volunterily move out, most nerdy boyfriends
Sue Bishop - anti-stereo queen, 1st one kicked out
Nilos Nevertheless - bat, wierdest food, s&m queen
Laura Mae - space queen, most not present for someone who was here, 1st beard
David Dalechek - smoker queen, most depressed queen
Bob Amey - most things in storage
Steven Diverde
Adam

Cats:
Breeze - hump queen, size queen
Dreams - 1st cat kicked out (see Michael)
Monroe - most talkative cat
Nelson - pee queen

Special awards:
Big Man of the Record Collection - Barb
Big Man of the Handsaw - Eric
Big Man of the Toilet Bowl - Teresa
Big Man of the Front & Back Doors - Barb
Big Man of the Kitchen - Teresa
Big Man of the Fireplace - Connie
Big Man of the Basement - Charlie
Big Man of the Landlord - Connie
Big Man of the Water Filter - Leah
Big Man of the Food Bill/phone bill - Leah, formerly Teresa

Weirdest Guest nominees: Australian woman (told Connie "your nipples are hard"), Danalan, Mike Mayo, Janet (Hilary's friend who slept with James)
Best costume on a guest: Jorge, Gay Freedom Day 1983
Honorable mention - Fred Oberg (most house items donated)
Broken toilet award: unknown
Best neighbor award: Roosevelt & Nate (how you bof?), Matthew
Worst neighbor award: Bitch, Red man
Wives awards: Teresa & Leah
Best kept secret: The Secret Thing

Monday, April 07, 2008

CD

Cheating my alphabet a little bit for a combo of letters: CD. I probably own more CDs than I ever owned records, or "vinyl" as we call them now to distinguish them by material rather than purpose - a "back formation", linguistically speaking. We had plenty of 78s in the house when I was little. I remember when we got a Hi-Fi for the living room, and on that Hi-Fi we played comedy albums, Broadway show tune compilations, Bob Dylan, Bennie Goodman, the Turtles and so forth all the way up to Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. You could stack the 45s on there, from the Chipmunks to Elvis, and a new one dropped down when one finished.

The first album I remember spending my allowance on was Creedance Clearwater Revival. I never thought there was much point to buying albums, because you could hear it all for free on the radio. But when I loved a song, I had to figure out the lyrics, jotting them down by the radio, or spring for the record and hope the lyrics were written inside the album cover.

When the market started shifting to CD format, I was really angry. I felt cheated that I was going to have to buy my favorites all over again. But by then, I had moved a lot and the albums were starting to get ragged. Some were warped and all were scratched. The ads assured us that CDs were PERMANENT and that we'd never have to replace them. Now I am trying to find the time to strip all the music off of my collection and get it all digitized. In the meantime, my CDs are in a box under the bed! Only the very favorites have been dropped into iTunes and get played in the kitchen off of my iPod.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

B is for barbershop

I don't know how it came to be that this type of music became my obsession. As a child I loved folk music and rock and roll, I enjoyed classical and jazz. I sang in the church choir and sang along with the Mamas and the Papas and the Limelighters. In high school I equally loved marching bands and Inna Gadda Da Vida, baby. Harmony is the thing that pulled my heartstrings the most. CSNY and bluegrass singers. Madrigals and Dylan with Joan Baez. Put four voices together and it's more than twice the power of two.

For the past 23 years I have spent most of my discretionary funds and a great deal of time learning how to sing this artform, how to carry the melody without carrying the quartet, how to blend in a chorus, how to perform with joy and excitement.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

A letter to myself

There is a theory that if we have a theme, we shall be inspired to do more art or writing. Let's test that theory this month. The theme is LETTERS (Written letters, typography, photos of signs, who knows?) Shall we start at the beginning? With the Letter A.

A is for apple. I come from apple country - western New York, where the macintosh reigns supreme. When the leaves got colorful and the temperature started to drop, we'd go out to Frost's Orchard on the O-At-Ka Trail on a sunny crisp Saturday and pick up a few bushels. They always had the cider press working. The funky smell and texture of the apple pulp, laying on the ground like brown felt. The ice-cold intense tang of the newly squeezed cider. The skin of the apples bright red and green, the surface cold and smooth as a marble.

I remember reading on the red bed in the kitchen and eating the macs as I read, feeling rich with apples, you could eat all you wanted. I always ate the whole thing, including the core. The seeds were nutty and a little bitter, bringing the whole thing into balance. The sweet, the sour, the bitter, the apple.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Magic Bus



This photo comes from here, a collection of simple jaw-dropping images of decorated busses in Pakistan. The American art car people have something to learn from these artists! This bus that's loaded with all the people on top reminds me of the bus we took the length of Ecuador on the Andean highway. The road runs across the tiptop ridge of the Andes, and we thought it would be a cheap and scenic way to see the country. Well, it was cheap. But scenary? no. We were virtually in the clouds the entire way. You could only see the crosses that lined the road, where previous busses had careened over the edge and killed all the passengers. There also were no bathroom stops, only stops for tire-changing and picking up more passengers to squeeze aboard. We sat in front of a woman who was sharing the same seat with two children and several chickens. At one point the child peed on the seat, and the German tourist who was sharing the row with her was not very pleased.

There was a King of the Bus, a very young boy whose job it was to collect any gear or boxes or animals that wouldn't fit on the bus, and pile them up on top. While the bus was moving, he'd climb down the outside ladder, grab the stuff, run up the ladder with it on his shoulders and store it somehow. He would also come aboard and collect the fare. People got on and off in the middle of nowhere. Out of the fog, you'd see people appear, standing along the road in woven sarapes and hats, with a sheep or a pile of bags. The King of the Bus would get them aboard and we'd be underway in minutes.

I have never been more happy to get off of a bus.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Trillium



We took a lovely spring hike yesterday up Baltimore Canyon in Larkspur. The weather was pleasantly warm and sunny, and the very first of the white wildflowers were blooming along the path. The trillium make such a big splash along the trails. This one is called Trillium Ovatum or the Western Wake Robin. I found this out by talking to my sister, and also by consulting the online Trillium Identifier.

I learned some other interesting things while I was looking for the name. Picking the flowers of Trillium can seriously injure the plant. The three leaves below the flower are the plant's only food source and a picked trillium may die or take many years to recover. Trillium seeds have an organ called an elaiosome that attracts ants. The ants take the seeds to their nest, where they eat the elaiosomes and put the seeds in their garbage, where they can be protected until they germinate. They also get the added bonus of growing in a medium made richer by the ant garbage. (Did you know that ants have a special place for their garbage?? This requires more research.)



I'm not sure what this plant is, because it hadn't bloomed yet, but the leaves were such a gorgeous green, and the way the breeze played on the leaves made such a soft lovely bed.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Close up view of the city

Take a look at this map viewer: Mapjack. What amazing closeups of the city I love. You can even take hikes - look at the Presidio paths just west of Golden Gate Bridge. These photos were taken last June.. I wonder if they plan to expand these images to more cities.

They are so much more vivid and hi-res than google's street view!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Springing into action

The sun is crossing our celestial equator! The equinox is a magical day - legend has it that on the spring equinox you can balance an egg on its end. Snopes tells me that this legend is false, and is linked with all the egg business of spring (decorating, hiding, putting in baskets, etc.) A little more research reveals this:

As reported by Gardner in the Skeptical Inquirer (May/June 1996, page 8), the legend was born with an article penned by Annalee Jacoby in the March 19, 1945 issue of Life magazine. Ms. Jacoby was on assignment in China at that time, when she witnessed a peculiar Chinese ritual. According to Chinese legend, it is easier to stand an egg on end on what they call the first day of spring (which is in early February). The Chinese legend, unfortunately, has an uncertain origin, though it is propagated through old books about Chinese rituals. Ms. Jacoby was in the capital city of Chunking on Li Chun when a crowd of people came to balance eggs. It must have been quite a sight, and so she wrote about it for Life.

Evidently, the United Press picked up the story and promptly sent it out over the wire. At that moment, a legend was born.

What's funny about this is that Ms. Jacoby evidently reported that the event occurred on the first day of spring, but it was never said (or else it was conveniently forgotten) that the first day of spring in China is a month and half before the first day of spring as recognized by Americans! The legend now states that you can only stand an egg on end at the equinox, yet the legend started because the Chinese were standing them up six weeks earlier. Ironically, the very basis of this legend is wrong!


(from Bad Astronomy)

I enjoy reading about the pagan springtime celebrations from which our spring holidays originate.

Ostara (sometimes spelled OEstera, or Easter), the Germanic fertility Goddess, was associated with human and crop fertility. On the spring equinox, she mated with the solar god and conceived a child that would be born 9 months later on December 21: Yule, the winter solstice.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Where no man has gone before

CBS is now serving up all the original shows from the original Star Trek series. I have always been much more into Star Trek than Star Wars, despite the fact that I ended up working for Lucas instead of Roddenberry. This year, there is going to be another Trek movie, and friends of mine here at work are created special effects for it, so perhaps I've come full circle.

Star Trek: the next generation was superior in almost every way to the original series, but the originality of the first shows can not be contested. As much as I cringe when watching Capt Kirk get the girl every time, and those uncomfortable mini-skirts, it was trend setting to have Uhuru there at all. I always enjoyed Mr. Spock, and the strange chemistry of the three main characters. I heard that the next movie has re-instated the mini-skirts, because it takes place earlier in the time-line than the original series.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

A quote from Buddha

Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn't learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn't learn a little, at least we didn't get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn't die; so, let us all be thankful.


thanks to Sacred Ordinary...

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

L..O...L...A



Since Rudy had his picture on the blog recently, it's only fair that Lola gets her equal time. Here she is on the very same sofa. She is giving her snaggle-toothed grin at the camera, and putting her ears in Yoda formation.

Not long after I took this picture, Barb came in to see how cute the dog is (she was just checking, something that she does every few minutes or so), so I snapped this one of the two of them..

Friday, March 07, 2008

Crosswords

Last night on the bus ride home, I sat next to a guy who had the newspaper folded over to reveal the crossword puzzle. He didn't seem to be working on it anymore, and I kept squinting at his lap to see if I could read any of the clues. I thought I'd keep myself from boredom if I could puzzle them out. Alas, my eyes were too weak. He was clutching his Blackberry and fiddling with it. As we crossed the Golden Gate Bridge and went through the tunnel into Marin, he continued to stare at the Blackberry screen, although clearly nothing was on it but the logo. Eventually, the Blackberry made a connection, and he started using the teeny tiny keyboard to type in stuff. I realized that he was using his PDA to Google the crossword clues!

This seemed like cheating to me. In fact, it is cheating. I wanted to say to him, "use me, not Google!".. but by this time I noticed that he smelled a little funny and seemed a bit anti-social. I wasn't sure I really wanted to engage. In the half hour-long ride, he had entered quite a few clues, but only written down two or three answers. It takes more than Google to solve a NY Times puzzle. It takes a human brain, and an eye or an ear for puns. Since starting to do the weekday puzzles, I have gotten progressively better. I notice that when I start out intensely, I'm looking for facts and hard answers. As it goes on, I relax into the rhythm of the puzzle and I feel around for the fun, twisted answers, based on double-entendres. Today, there was a clue: "bug zapper?" - the answer was "cure".

If that guy is googling today, maybe he'll find the answer here.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The cat on the couch



Rudy spends most of his time outside, but when it's cold and wet, we force him to spend time in the house. This year, he is enjoying it more than usual - perhaps he's getting older like the rest of us, and enjoys some time relaxing in front of the tube. Lately, he has gotten so relaxed around the dog that he'll look her right in the eye, or sniff her tail as she walks past.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Strange toys



We took the boys to the Haight last Monday and went to a couple of stores with "Robot" in their name that sell these limited-edition toys. The kids are crazy for these figurines, some of which look like little cigarettes smoking little cigarettes, and some which have faces and some that don't. They seem to be manga-inspired.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Things to love

Barbara on a barstool


Sidewalk tiles in Benicia


Art Deco tiles on a storefront


Spring is abloom - we have turned a seasonal corner

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Benicia

We took a "tootle" around the bay yesterday, where we drove sort of in the direction where we thought we wanted to go, and ended up somewhere we hadn't been before. I thought I had been in Benicia before, but after getting there, I realized that I hadn't. It's a charming little town where there are many Victorian homes, a nice large grid of streets around an old-fashioned main street which ends at a long pier into the Bay. We had lunch outside a cafe (our first warmish day of the season), and we were struck at the number of teens and kids that were tooling up and down the street on bikes, foot and skateboard. It seemed like a Marin town, but instead of kids being carted around in SUVs, they were actually on the street. A large number of dogs were sighted, and Lola enjoyed the fancy dog treat store quite a bit (she poured on her charm, to finagle many samples).

Some of the stores were still the older type, with hand-lettered signs. There were a lot of empty storefronts, and mixed in were day spas and bars.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Elder housing

Last night, my quartet sang at an "senior community", for some performance practice, in anticipation of a contest coming up this spring. We had a tour of the place and we were all very impressed with how nice it was. This place, like many of the newer facilities for the aging, has a variety of activities and things going on, and a lovely communal dining room. It seemed kind of like a cruise ship, with a movie theater, a computer lab, art studio and so forth.

The social director took us around and told us how expensive it was to get in there, and how, despite that, there is a waiting list. It made me think about what kinds of people would enjoy that kind of retirement.. do people want to go back to "dorm" living, with a built in community of strangers who could become friends? Wouldn't it be better if we could build our own familial groups and move in together in a shared home? But how many elders can afford to do that? Our society makes it much easier to move in with strangers than to find shared housing with those we know.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

What's up, doc?

I really meant to begin regular posting here in February, but here I am, a week behind! what's up with that? The other funny thing is that my counter shows that people hitting this site have doubled in number recently... just goes to show you that the writer's strike is giving bloggers new audiences! Now if only I can generate some content.

There are day-to-day topics, like going to the dentist (yesterday) and then stumbling to the polling place, still a bit high on nitrous. You can make your own guesses as to whether the gas had any effect on my vote. The remodelling drags on, this is supposed to be the "final" week. The punch list is getting very short. We'll be very glad to have our second bathroom done. My quartet is preparing for contest the first week of April and is rehearsing more regularly.

There are more cerebral topics, like politics or what to do about an email inbox that is bursting at its seams (actually a topic at a workshop here at my office today), but others seem to be more informed than I am on stuff like this.

For entertainment lately, we discovered that the game show network is showing "I've Got A Secret", hosted by Gary Moore. It's odd to see the grainy black & white past in contrast with the current commercials. Gary is constantly smoking on screen, and we googled to confirm that he later died from emphysema. In fact, all the men on that show died from smoking related illnesses. It's strange when the men stand to greet women coming onstage, and the other women stay seated. It's strange to see how dressed up they are, and how slow the show's pace is. It's strange to think about how this era seems so long ago, and yet it's the era that made up my formative years. I was ACTUALLY ALIVE when all this was going on. It seems impossible.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Politics unusual

It's fabulous to be watching a campaign where I feel there is a choice! I would truely feel great if either Hillary or Barack were nominated to run for President. I will be even happier the day that either one of them takes office. But in the meantime, we have a primary to vote in, and that's where the choice comes in. Obama is an inspiring figure. A young man would bring a whole new generation to the polls. A black man whose assent to power can symbolize the hope of a new beginning.

But really, Hillary is my gal. I bought a Hillary for Prez in 08 button in 2000 and still have it. She has the kind of no-nonsense leadership and powerful friends who will hit the ground running when they get in the white house. I am looking forward to voting for her on Tuesday. But whatever happens, I'll do my best to make sure that one of them makes it in. It's fun to be discussing and comparing and debating.

Monday, January 21, 2008

A straight line

I found this site fascinating. It's a mash-up with google maps that allows you to pick a spot on the map of the globe, and then choose a direction. Let's say I want to travel due east from San Francisco. Heading at 90 degrees east, going in a straight line, when I get to the east coast, do you know where I'd hit the Atlantic? I guessed that I'd go through St. Louis en route to somewhere in New Jersey.

Can you believe it's Jacksonville, Florida??

We are so used to the flattened out map of the world that we can't imagine it in the three dimensions.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Friendly patterns

What makes people become friends? I was listening to This American Life this morning, and Ira Glass was talking about friendships. I started wondering what it is that sparks friendship between people, and turned my attention to the things that were there to light a friendship flame in the past..

Selby (pre school) - she lived 3 houses down the street. That's all it took when you are babies in a small town.
Sally (grade school) - she played flute (like me), liked the Monkees (oh, all right), had several brothers and a sister (like me).
Choddy (jr high) - she wore miniskirts (despite the ban), lived in an A frame house (cool), had a big family (like me).
Roxanne (jr high) - she liked the same music I did, was loud and funny (like me).
Teresa (high school)- she was in band (like me), was part of a clique (like me), interested in mind expansion, travel and rock and roll (like me), her dad had tattoos on his chest(not like my dad).
Michael (college) - he liked Joni Mitchell (like me), was sarcastic and talkative (like me), enjoyed arguing (like me).

Monday, January 14, 2008

Stories of some men's lives

We saw three movies in the past week. I don't like to read any reviews before seeing a film, and I prefer it if I haven't even seen the preview. That way I can go in ready to experience the film without any preconceptions or media hype. This is hard to do at the turn of the year, because everyone is printing "best of" lists and making oscar predictions. We saw "No Country for Old Men", "There Will Be Blood" and "Into the Wild". All were well done and riveting in their own way. I think, of the three, my favorite was "There Will Be Blood", mainly because Daniel Day-Lewis is so immensely watchable. You can't take your eyes off him - no matter what kind of character he plays, he is so charismatic on film. His eyes communicate so much.

All three of these films were primarily about men, and their lives. "No Country" was the story of a man dealing with no longer being able to face how evil some people can be. "Blood" was the tale of what happens when a man and his son can not communicate. "Wild" was the tale of a young man's journey to find and test himself.

Can you think of any movies that take these basic themes and explore them from a woman's point of view?

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Welcome, Violet!



My niece and her husband have added the newest member of our clan, Violet Lorraine Ashton, born on the 8th of 08. Isn't she beautiful?

I am her great-aunt. I had a great-aunt named Auntie Mickey, my grandma's sister, who rarely visited us but always sent fruit cake and ribbon candy at the holidays. She was very rich and lived in a mansion in Pittsburg, PA. The mansion had an organ in one hallway, and a solarium with walls made of glass that was full of plants.

I hope I will be more interesting to Violet than my great-aunt was to me!

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Stormy weather

Every two years, I have to have a colonoscopy, which honestly is the procedure most in need of a better name. Who wants to say "colon" or "osopy"? Couldn't it get more obsure latin name, or even something pedestrian like, "lower GI scan"? The first time I had one, I had to drink about a million gallons of some nasty tasting stuff. This time, the doctor said that things had improved, and I could just take some pills. I looked at the instructions, and I still had to drink a lot, but it could be any "clear liquid" of my choice. I stocked up on juice and jello. Starting Thursday night, I guzzled and guzzled some apple juice, tangerine juice, water and limeade. I took four big pills every 15 minutes, and I spent a lot of time in the bathroom.

On Thursday night we watched the news and they were predicting a series of storms to hit overnight. We haven't had much rain this year, so we were thinking it was just the hyperbole of the media. GET READY! HERE COMES SOME RAIN! IT IS GOING TO FALL OUT OF THE SKY!! WITH WIND!

By Friday morning, the rain was falling sideways and anything not tied down was flying around the backyard. Nonetheless, I had guzzled more water and taken more pills, so we got in the car to go into SF for the procedure. When we got on the freeway, cars were not moving. The big electronic sign on the side of the road near our exit first said "high winds... no trucks on the bridge" and then as we sat there, it flipped to "bridge closed..." and then "101 south closed". The cars were directed to the next exit, and Barb got on the phone to tell my doctor that I wouldn't be coming in. All that prep for nothing! But I'd rather go through all that again than be sitting on that freeway for four hours, and getting stuck in the city all doped up afterwards.

So we got home, and I had something to eat, and then the power went out. And stayed out til Saturday afternoon. We found out that we are not very well prepared for an emergency. We had to go out for D batteries for the flashlights. All of our new appliances sat beautiful and silent, and we couldn't even take a shower because the tankless water heater requires electricity. Today we escaped to the mall to get coffee and the rain started again, this time with hail.

But soon after coming home, the power came back on and we are once again warm and cozy, with soup on the stove and the laptop humming away at the kitchen table. As we like to say "thank god for the infrastructure!"

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy 08

Some resolutions, for a change:

I'm going to start making arty things
I'm going to take the bus to work, instead of driving
I'm going to get the craft room organized
I'm going to creatively organize all of our new spaces at home
I'm going to talk more to my family on the phone
I'm going to have more dinner parties

I don't think I've made resolutions for many years, but this year, I feel inspired. I think all of these things will shine some energy on my more "usual" intentions, like winning a quartet competition, exercising more, being more efficient at work, making new friends, etc...