Monday, December 31, 2007

365

Actually, it's been more than 365 days, as today is the 372nd day, and yesterday was the 365th (official) post. But it has been a whole year of posting daily, which was why I started this blog. It changed, very close to the beginning, as I decided that using the word list was too limiting. In fact, it looks like it changed on January 1st.


I chose, early on, to limit the tags so that I could more easily find things in the blog that were related to each other. The tags I've used over twenty times have been: Childhood; community; dance; eyecatching; faith; family; food; food bank; friends or friendship; identity; memory (the most tags, at 62); work; and writing. "Eyecatching" is shorthand for posts that are most often photos only, "identity" marks those that are about sexuality, and "memory" is for the short stories of my life.


The ones I like best are marked "memory" but there are a few other stand-outs for me.


As I've been reading other people's blogs I've been noticing that those who have big readerships have taken time to thank their readers either this week or around Thanksgiving, and to review the year of keeping a blog. Thanks to everyone who's reading this. The "year in review" is above.


Writing about what I learned this year seems a lot like that essay we were all asked to write in school every fall. The last few days I've been thinking about the things I already believed, and how my experiences this year reinforce those beliefs.

I believe in kindness, and this will be its own post in the format they're using on NPR. I've been thinking about writing this post for months, but it seems so overwhelming to write it that I have continued to put it off. I work in a place that makes it easy to be kind, but in a way working there makes the extra gesture seem even more kind. I love observing a volunteer catch a client's saying their child has a birthday and then giving the client a box of cake mix.

I believe that if you don't tell people your dreams, they can't help you make them come true. It seems like there are a lot of people out there who will help, especially if it's easy for them, and we don't know what's easy for them. I've been on both sides of this this year, particularly as regards the food bank.

I believe it is okay to change your mind. I even did that with this blog, early on - though I did not change my mind about keeping it. I know setting up this daily-writing resolution as a blog was the way to keep me on it.


2007 was a much better year than 2006 was. Life is good.


12/31/2006
Did I mention I love my husband?

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Table For Two

Tam and I took ourselves to a meal at International House of Pancakes one afternoon. We were ten or so; I'm sure we weren't twelve. I don't remember how we decided on IHOP. It wasn't a restaurant her family or mine frequented, and there wasn't one in the neighborhood. There was one on Geary and Fillmore, and we had to take two buses to get there. That neighborhood wasn't the best in those days, and this was back when kids like us didn't take the bus by ourselves anywhere.


The more I think about this the more I wondered how we pulled this off. I didn't receive an allowance, so I had to ask Mom for the cash. Tam's house was across the street from mine, so the simple deception of "I'm going to her house" wouldn't have worked. I'm fairly certain that we weren't allowed to take Muni alone, though that may have been an unspoken rule, since we were so young where would we go that we needed to take a bus?


Tam and I sauntered into the restaurant, stood up straight, and politely asked for a table for two in the nonsmoking section. We were aware that it was unusual for kids to be in a restaurant without any adults, but we knew that we were old enough, and, more importantly, sophisticated enough, to comport ourselves properly. We knew how to act and eschewed the crayons and children's coloring menus.


Tam ordered the Swedish crepes (her mother was English, and Tam always had a European sensibility), I ordered silver-dollar buttermilk pancakes with bacon, and we both asked for milk. While we were waiting for our pancakes, I examined the four kinds of syrup on the table, maple, strawberry, boysenberry, and blueberry. I'd never heard of boysenberry syrup and determined that I would try it when my pancakes arrived.


The waitress put our plates down, we clinked glasses, and I started to pour a small amount of boysenberry syrup on my pancakes. The lid came off the syrup carafe and boysenberry syrup drenched my pancakes and spilled over the edge of the plate and onto the table. I immediately tried to sop it up with our napkins, getting syrup all over my hands and wrists. Tam flagged down a busboy, who brought a wet rag and he cleaned the table while I went to the restroom to wash.


While washing my hands I didn't really feel embarrassed that this had happened - it could have made a mess for anyone. I knew that Tam and I had been so careful to behave properly that we couldn't be blamed for the mess.


Still, the syrup spilling is probably why I remember this meal.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

New Do, Two

Finally!



In real life it looks more purple, but it's a bluer purple rather than a redder purple, much like this text color. The flash picked up on the blue, I guess.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Decisions, decisions

I have made two decisions.

One regards this blog: In 2008 I will back off from daily writing, but I will write at least three times a week. I hope that by having a little leeway I will produce more better writing. I am not going to set the days, so if I write on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday I've met my commitment for the week.


I will probably participate in NaBloPoMo '08, though.


The other regards my birthday: I am looking at a "zero year" this year. Yep, I'm turning 40. A friend of mine turned 40 in April and she had a birthday celebration every day that month. I'm going to take a page from her book and have some kind of birthday event on the 15th of each month between now and my actual birthday.


I can't believe I'm going to be 40. Actually I can believe even less that Bink and Jujubi, born the same week I was, will be 40. Mrs. P's birthday is around Chinese New Year so she goes first (Phil would already be 40 since he was born a year earlier). The all still look the same to me (except for hairstyles) as they did when we lived at Our House in 1987.




If I have a party every month maybe by the time it happens I'll be used to the idea (and remember, I just got carded) - and then I'll be working on 41.

Well, it beats the alternative.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

A Woman In Leadership

Benazir Bhutto was killed today.


I know who she is not because of her recent return to Pakistan and her opposition to Musharraf, but because when I was in college, she became president of Pakistan. I didn't know that the president in most countries that have them don't have the same kind of power that the president of the US does, and while I was aware that she wasn't in the same league exactly as Ronald Reagan, she was the president.


Of Pakistan, a country founded for Muslims, whose religion is famous for its lack of recognition of women's rights.


It seemed to me that if a Muslim country could elect a female president, then the US should be able to as well. Yet, twenty years later there has still been no female executive of the US. It seems to me that the only woman with power in front of the scenes ever has been Condoleeza Rice. The current election, which will hopefully be over about this time next year, includes a woman and people are still asking if Americans will vote for a woman, as if that is a core part of her electability. I don't know if it is - I doubt many people would admit to phone pollsters that they wouldn't vote for a woman, just because she is a woman ("She's a Clinton" they'll say).


Bhutto really made an impression on me. If a woman could make it in Karachi, a woman could make it anywhere, I thought.


An unrelated-but-related note on Bhutto is this: We don't have a lot of difference between the major parties and there's too many similarities and too much back-and-forth between the candidates, and way too few people vote, but candidates don't get killed at political rallies and voters don't get beaten when they leave the polls. This isn't a very high bar, but I think it reflects how stable our democracy is. Imperfect though it is, too.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Little House In The Suburbs

I've been thinking about Laura Ingalls Wilder this week.


Part of our heater blower broke Saturday night, so we have had no heat. At 5:50am on Sunday Zirpu was running around the house trying to figure out what was causing this plasticky smell. I got up with him but was so exhausted and out of it that after he told me that something was wrong with the heater, I asked if he needed me to help him with this or could I go back to bed? In my fuzzy state I sort of registered that going back to bed wasn't an option. When Zirpu went under the house and determined the heater was not on fire, he turned off the heat and I went back to bed.


So we have had no heat since Sunday morning and have been burning logs in the wood stove insert in the living room fireplace and sleeping in hats and under three quilts. Except in the middle of the day, when the sun is high enough to warm up the house, it's pretty much sucked. Except that we don't live in Oklahoma and the other places where it really is cold and people haven't had power for days. I'm good at perspective, but I'm shivering as I write this, which makes it longer for me to write.


I've been thinking about the part in one of the Little House books (I forget which one) where Laura's describing the winter when it was so cold that Ma insists that the girls stay in bed to stay warm and the snow is too deep for Pa to go to town and get Christmas presents. I think the girls are concerned about Santa being able to get out to them because of the snow. Then Pa's friend shows up, having waded through the deep snow! He brings with him gifts from Santa for Laura, Mary and Carrie, and a sweet potato for each person. That is Christmas enough for Laura.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Indian Feast Day

We had nine people over tonight for dinner. This year, Shmeen's in town doing some chores at Jolly Woman's house so she left the girls at home with Shman. For her sake, I carefully called the invitation "Indian Feast Day" rather than "Christmas Dinner," though she wasn't the only non-Christian at the table. In fact, the few of us who are Christians? Definitely lapsed.


Anyway, I've been wanting to make an Indian feast for a long time, and serving a dozen people seemed like a good time to do it. For a change in my usual dinner party plans, all the dishes I made tonight are ones I've made before (well, except one). Zirpu ran up to the Indian place to pick up pakoras, because I'm afraid of deep-frying, and Mom brought naan from Naan and Curry because I suck at baking.


Everyone said they were impressed that I pulled this meal together, I imagine because Indian food seems so exotic. I find it easy; Mexican food is the real mystery to me. I have a cookbook called Curries Without Worries, which has no index but is easy for an unsophisticated Anglo cook.

Tea's Saag Paneer (I made it with chard and collard greens rather than spinach, but I don't think I will use such a high ratio of chard to collards next time)
Vegetable Pullao (basmati rice and vegetables; this was the new dish)
Butter Chicken (I put in way too much cream because I wasn't paying close enough attention, but it was still good, just not tomatoey enough)
Razmah (kidney beans in tomatoes and onions)
Tandoori fish (I used catfish, which I usually don't like, but I knew that the seasoning would be strong enough to cover the weird catfishy taste. Also, it was $2 less a pound than the cod)


I had hoped that everything would time properly so I wouldn't be stuck in the kitchen while the guests were here, but just like the last two years that's what happened. I followed some ideas I got from watching TV, and planning the timing really helped. Even so, next year: crockpot and rice cooker.


Since it's Christmas we had almost as many desserts as people, and I made chai with star anise, whole pepper, ginger, cardamom pods, and fennel seeds.


This is the first year since I moved back to California that I have to work during Christmas week. I hope few clients show up tomorrow. For one thing, I can't imagine who we haven't seen this month already, since we've served over 500 households already. At least I'm pretty much guaranteed an easy commute in the morning.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Lit

These are some of the houses in our neighborhood. There are a few others I expected would be lit up in all their glory, but they're not lit at all.

We don't have lights outside the house, but we have white ones I borrowed from TL last year for a New Year's Eve party and colored ones on the giant philodendron (Zirpu cut off about five feet of it today), both of which I'll plug in tomorrow afternoon when folks come over for the Indian feast.




Sunday, December 23, 2007

The Man In Red

The Christmas after my father died, Mom, No, and I went east for the holidays to spend them with Mom's side of the family. We stayed at the home of my mom's younger sister, our uncle, and our cousins. Red and I are almost the same age and Yellow's a year or so younger than No (their older brothers are two and three years older than I am. The four of us were "the little kids").The night before Christmas, No and I and our cousins Red and Yellow were set up to sleep in Yellow's room.


I was in a sleeping bag on the floor, wedged next to a chest of drawers near the door, and Yellow, Red, and No were asleep. There was a storm that night so it was very dark in the room except for the shaft of light from the hallway. I was listening to the murmur of my aunt, uncle, and mom downstairs in the dining room. I couldn't hear what they were saying, just their voices. Suddenly the sound of their voices stopped. The next thing I heard was the rustle and crinkle of paper: The sound of wrapping paper rubbing against boxes and hands.


In the morning it was Christmas, and overnight it had snowed. We built a snowman, had a snowball fight, and the older cousins tugged us around on a toboggan in the backyard.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Another Weird Thing About Me

I like to go to Midnight Mass, a Catholic (and Anglican) service held at midnight on Christmas Eve. I'm not Catholic, and wasn't even raised Catholic, and have rather negative feelings about a lot of Catholic dogma (not Catholic individuals), but I like Midnight Mass.


I don't go very often, and I haven't been in at least five years. Two years ago MM (my only friend who isn't too annoyed at the Catholic church to attend) and I were supposed to go, but when I got to his and TL's house, he wasn't feeling well so we ate Flemish spice cookies and talked until 2am. Last year MM, the kids, and I went to the 5pm Children's Mass at Batman's school, but it didn't resonate with me as the whole Mass was directed to an under-10 audience. This year both Batman and Lizard are involved in the Christmas pageant part of the Mass, and MM says one Christmas Mass is enough.


I have attended some good Midnight Masses and some really bad ones. No and I and a friend went to Midnight Mass years ago at their high school in which a major part of the homily was about how when the SFPD placed an undercover cop on campus to ferret out drugs, they didn't find any. Denver D and I went to a Midnight Mass with his parents in Denver during which the priest talked about two parishioners who had died suddenly just before Christmas. I'm certainly not Catholic, but these homilies seemed really out of place for Christmas.


The best Midnight Mass I attended was at a church in NW Portland which had been recommended to me because the music there was so beautiful. The music was traditional and the Mass was in Latin, which was confusing and made me feel rather distant from the experience. However, the homily, which was in English and Spanish, really inspired me. It was at the beginning of my career in social work, while I was still volunteering at Harry's Mother. The priest's message was "Go out and do good."


My favorite part of the Mass - and this was true when I was at Catholic school - is the few minutes when everyone greets everyone else with a handshake (or, at CSH in the late '70's and early '80's, a two-fingered peace sign). I don't know if they call it this everywhere, but at my old school it was called something like The Peace Greeting. It is a moment in the service when everyone recognizes the individuality of each person and breaks through the barrier to smile and touch.


Namaste. The divine in me greets the divine in you.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Behind The List, Part Two

68. Fallen in love and not had your heart broken
Yep, still married to him.

69. Toured ancient sites
When Mom and I went to Paris, we went under the plaza in front of Notre Dame where they were excavating an ancient Gaul village that had been found when a bank was trying to build a vault. That blew my mind.

72. Gotten married
See #68.
I've been shacked up with a couple people too. But I knew when getting married was the right thing to do.

73. Been in a movie
'68. A terrible film I have had the privilege of seeing three times. I was an extra and spent the day in Golden Gate Park dressed like a hippie and dancing to John Cippolina. The movie is unbelievably awful, but not because of me.

77. Made cookies from scratch

But they always suck. I can't even get the famous Mrs. Field's recipe to come out right. I am, however, good at my mom's brownies.

84. Performed on stage
I played Hattie in the aforementioned Laundry and Bourbon. The first sound was my cue to both enter and speak. From backstage I was allowed to ring the doorbell that would start the action. On opening night I saw the slashes of bright lights through the windows in the set, took a deep breath, moved into character, and pushed the doorbell.

85. Been to Las Vegas
I've only been there with Zirpu. The first time we went, not long after we started dating, the person at the check-in counter looked at my ID and asked if my last name would be the same when I came back.

88. Kissed on the first date
However, not Zirpu.

90. Bought a house
We had looked at or driven by over 100 houses, but when we walked into this one, we knew it was the one we wanted. There was a big family room in the back part of the house, and we both immediately thought, "Ballroom!"

92. Buried one/both of your parents

Dad died of cancer in March of 1974. He wasn't buried; Mom scattered his ashes over Half Moon Bay.

100. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over
When Shobi-wan graduated we moved to Portland. It took me a long time to find a job, the first one of which was in a health insurance company. After a few months, the publishing company I'd really wanted to work for called me because the person they'd hired over me had been arrested for stealing credit card numbers when she was taking book orders over the phone.

101. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge
I must have done this. . . haven't I?

104. Survived an accident that you shouldn’t have survived
July 30, 2003

110. Broken someone’s heart
But a piece of my heart broke off too.

117. Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild
If the football field at my college is "the wild", yes.

118. Ridden a horse
When we went up to Tahoe in the summer with DeeKay's family, often we would go on a horseback ride at one of those places where you ride a horse on mountain paths. I liked that, but when No and I went to Camp Beaverbrook I liked my Western horse-riding boots much better than I liked riding the horses. I remember that all of the kids in camp dreaded "getting stuck with" one particularly stubborn horse.

127. Eaten sushi
I first had sushi in junior high school when Mom and I went to Fuki-Ya in Japantown. I don't remember what No did on those nights, but it was our time to hang out together. I don't even remember much about those evenings except that they were "our time."

128. Had your picture in the newspaper
Recently, because of a feature on the food bank's new digs and the Food Bank Director and I were both in the shot. My favorite one, though, is the year Shobi-wan and I marched in the Pride Parade in Portland and a photo from above of the Gay and Lesbian Chorus was on the front page of the Oregonian. I knew we had marched ahead of them in that parade and found us in the photo, even though we were small!

134. Read The Iliad - and the Odyssey
I started to read The Odyssey after seeing O Brother, Where Art Thou? I hate to say I couldn't get through it so it's still on my list of "Classics I Should Read."

135. Selected one “important” author who you missed in school, and read
I read Giovanni's Room after I graduated from college. I found it full of self-loathing and so I didn't like it. Of course, I may have to read it again, but I think I will read James Baldwin's other books first. I read Giovanni's Room because that was the book from which Baldwin read for Calliope Records, a short-lived company my father had in the early 1960s recording authors reading from their own works onto 45's.

138. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language
I do this at the food bank often. In fact, I talk to people who speak Vietnamese, Cantonese, Korean, and an African dialect on a regular basis. Whenever I have a conversation with someone in Spanish, I start with "Mi espanol no esta muy bueno" and afterwards thank my 10th and 11th grade Spanish teacher, Sr. Crossley, wherever he is. You get a long, long way with good will and sound effects.

146. Dyed your hair
I've done red once and pink twice. I've bleached it. I plan to dye it purple before 2008 begins.

148. Shaved your head
JR shaved my head for me about a year and a half ago. It was really cool and I felt so hip! Mom hated it, but Zirpu liked it.

149. Caused a car accident
According to the other driver, I had come into his lane on 280SB on the way to Tanforan Mall when I was a sophomore in college. I had originally tried to merge right and someone moved up into the space I planning to go for. Supposedly I overcorrected and went into the lane on my left. That's the reason I think I know what happened when the person who crashed into my car did so.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Behind The List, Part One

Surfing around the NaBloPoMo list, I ran across this blog written by a woman who's raising eight kids with her partner. It's kind of a mommy blog on steroids, but not quite - it's a family consisting of eight children and two lesbians, certainly a unique point of view.


Anyway, she posted this list. There's 150 of them, which is too many. I was much more curious about the ones she had done, so I thought I would borrow the idea and expand upon my own answers. However, I think I have to break it across two posts.


03. Climbed a mountain
Does Rocky Road, aka Corona Heights, count? All of us neighborhood kids took summertime classes at the Randall Junior Museum. Sometimes afterwards we walked up the long, eastern side of Rocky Road to its peak to look over the city and the bay toward Oakland.

06. Held a tarantula
I forget if this was part of sixth grade Science Camp or at the Randall Junior Museum, but we all sat in a circle and the tarantula walked across our hands as we held them close to each other, palms up, to make a path for the tarantula.
A college friend of mine was so afraid of spiders that when they made him do this is sixth grade, he freaked out and threw the tarantula across the room.

07. Taken a candlelit bath with someone

When I was a kid, the Coos had some property up in Healdsburg, with a cabin that was basically one big room and a sink that had a hose from the creek. There was an old barn, a great treehouse, and an outhouse. There was also a sauna on a deck attached to the cabin. Inside the sauna was an old bathtub in which we would pour about three inches of icy water from the creek, and we'd sit in the tub when we got too hot (DeeKay, as I've mentioned, never did). One night we were all in the sauna with some older kids (I don't remember who they were, except they were teenagers) and they had brought candles into the sauna with us. They had to keep lighting them because there wasn't enough oxygen for them to burn with all of us kids in that little space.

08. Said “I love you” and meant it
Many times.

09. Hugged a tree
I remember a field trip to see some old-growth redwoods. The ranger had some kids in the class hold hands and circle the tree to see how big around it was. We stretched our arms as much as we could and it still took six or eight of us to wrap ourselves around the tree.

11. Visited Paris
Mom called me in January '96 and said, "Round trip tickets to Paris are $400. Want to go?" I arranged coverage at both my jobs, paid for express mail and express processing for my passport, and we spent a week walking all over Paris. Highlights: The Musee D'Orsay and watching a parade of veterans walking up the Champs Elysee to the Arc d'Triomphe, in which hung the largest flag I've ever seen.

13. Stayed up all night long and saw the sun rise
Several times, in different states and different states of mind.

15. Gone to a huge sports game
Mom took No and me to see the Giants play the Cincinnati Reds at Candlestick Park when we were kids. I may have been ten at the most. It was much warmer than we'd expected and we sat on our parkas. I was rooting for the home team, but probably read a book during most of the game.

19. Slept under the stars
I was in college the first time I slept in a tent. In second and third grade we went on class camping trips and slept under the trees. one year he place we camped had three-sided shelters, which coincidentally was the same year it rained and rained. There were a bunch of parents, but many many kids - two classrooms' worth, plus our siblings.

20. Changed a baby’s diaper
I hated babysitting. Not because of diapers so much as because of babies. Weird to think that the four children I babysat are now about 30 years old.

22. Watched a meteor shower
A bunch of us working on Laundry and Bourbon and Lone Star in the summer of 1990 went out to Yelm to watch the stars fall. It was some big named meteor shower, though I can't remember which one. The assistant director of the show was from Yelm, and she said it would be dark enough out there to see. It was. We sat on a picnic cloth, drank wine, talked, and got home really late.

25. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope
But I can't really see through telescopes because my vision is so bad.

29. Asked out a stranger
Zirpu and I met on Craigslist. We exchanged a few emails and then arranged to meet in real life. Did I suggest meeting first? I don't exactly remember.

30. Had a snowball fight

A few days a year, usually in late January or early February, the college would have to declare a snow day because it was too hard, or too dangerous, for students and professors to get to school.Our house was near campus so lot of people would come over and we would go on walks, have snowball fights, and drink hot chocolate and eat the cookies or brownies or whatever other good things Jujubi baked.

34. Ridden a roller coaster

Willard's Whizzer and the iconic roller coaster at Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, and The Demon at Great America.

36. Danced like a fool and didn’t care who was looking
What does a fool dancing look like? I've done so much dancing that I've probably looked like a fool at least once. I have a still photo of dancing bolero with Zirpu in which I look totally clumsy and graceless.

37. Adopted an accent for an entire day
I took acting classes at Attic Theater when I was in junior high school. One evening after class a friend and I spoke in British (or British-ish) accents for the whole ride home. We were in a cab, and were talking as if we were in a production of The Diary of Anne Frank. The cabbie probably thought we were show-offs, which we were.

38. Actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment
Much longer than a moment, and at more than one time. Like these days, for example, despite crankiness due to work burnout.

41. Taken care of someone who was drunk
One night when Bink was in law school, she had a party at her house and Spudwhip, Denver D, and I sat in the backyard and passed a bottle of Three Star vodka back and forth. Denver D was in the middle. Spudwhip really took the lead in making sure Denver D would be all right - and the next morning he felt the best of the three of us, since he'd been so sick the night before.

42. Had amazing friends
More interestingly, I have some friends I don't really like. Well, acquaintances really. But the rest of my friends are amazing. I wouldn't settle for less.

44. Watched whales
When Bink got married in the backyard of her in-laws' house on Orcas Island, at the end of the ceremony the minister asked the guests to remain seated while the wedding party walked through to the deck to line up for photos. When the wedding party recessed, all of us were looking out into the San Juan Straits under a blue sky and a hot sun, with lots of boats on the water.

Suddenly a pod of killer whales appeared. It wasn't just that they appeared, but that they showed up after the wedding but while everyone was facing the water. I think it was a sign of good luck.

47. Taken a road-trip
Washington to Colorado three or four times. Oregon to Colorado once. California to Colorado twice. San Francisco Bay Area to Los Angeles area several times. The I-5 Boogie many times.

49. Midnight walk on the beach
After graduation from college, a bunch of us rented a house in Seaside for a few days through Jujubi's parents. The house was a block or so from the beach. One night one of the guys who came down to Seaside for the celebration and I went onto the beach and into the water. It was dark, but there was a moon, and it was cold, but he was from Maine and went a little further out than I did.

53. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger’s table and had a meal with them
Jujubi and I were walking around the Hawthorne Street Fair and stopped in to the Baghdad for a cold beverage. There were people at all the tables, but we asked a couple if we could sit in the empty chairs at their table and they said yes. Not long after they left, and a couple of men asked if they could sit with us. People had done it for us, so we said yes, and one of them started chatting a lot to Jujubi.

That was the Famous Irishman. We learned much later that he had made his friend follow us around the fair because he wanted to meet Jujubi.

55. Milked a cow
I milked a goat at Camp Beaverbrook in Calistoga during the summer of fifth grade. The different tent groups took turns taking care of the goats, and our turn fell on a Sunday, the one "sleep in day" during the week. The goats couldn't wait, so we were up at 7:30 to milk them.

58. Sung karaoke

"Me & Bobby McGee," twice. Never again. Do I sound snobby if I say that I sing much better, and feel much more comfortable, with a live band?

59. Lounged around in bed all day
When Shobi-wan and I lived together we stayed in bed as late as we could on Sunday mornings reading the paper and drinking coffee.

62. Kissed in the rain
I lived in the Pacific Northwest for twelve years. Of course!

63. Played in the mud
See above

64. Played in the rain
See above

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Identification, Please

I was carded on Sunday at Safeway, for a bottle of Bailey's Irish Cream (it's winter - time for hot chocolate "with"). I was more focused on taking some of the cans I'd purchased to the county food bank collection barrel, and actually said, "Are you carding me for the Bailey's?"


Paulo mentioned last week that the bleach makes me look younger, and Zirpu agrees - Zirpu says it's not the bleached hair so much as it is that my hair is so obviously bleached, as I now have almost half an inch of dark brown hair below the straw-colored part. Someone in their late 30's might not be so cavalier about the roots showing, I guess. Well, it'll be purple soon, which should camouflage the brown.


The last time I got carded was a few days before my 35th birthday. The checker asked me if I was 21, and when I said yes he asked, "For how long?" Well, not only did I have to do some math, I first had to remember how old I actually was, because I've been 27 for a long time. After a few beats I replied, "Fourteen years?" and he said something flattering along the lines of "You look so young!" I almost said it was due to laughter and sex, but realized that wouldn't be an appropriate answer in a Safeway, so chuckled and replied, "Laughter and dancing."

Monday, December 17, 2007

Why?

Boy, am I feeling crabby. Zirpu is, wisely, taking his space.


Work was no more crazy today than it has been for the last six weeks. But that is probably why I'm feeling crabby. I'm glad Christmas is next week, as that means things will be much quieter around the food bank soon.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

My Knight In Shining Armor


These things that stand in front of businesses to make you notice them freak me out. Some people are afraid of spiders, or dogs, or clowns - I'm afraid of these things. The way they move, up and down, back and forth, side to side, gives me the willies.


Zirpu, my white knight, my handsome prince, took this one on for me.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

A Caroling Story

Good tidings we bring
To you and your kin
Good tidings for Christmas
And a happy new year!



When I was growing up, a whole bunch of neighbors would carol through the neighborhood. We walked up to the peak of the neighborhood and back down, in a long circle among houses that we never saw any other time of the year. Of course all of us kids went too, singing loudly, playing with the wax that melted down over the tinfoil cups we'd made for our candles and momentarily burning our fingertips. DeeKay had a great tolerance for heat, loved hot baths and hot tubs, and could cover all of her fingertips with wax caps. Ria could too, but that's because she was the toughest kid in the neighborhood excepting her brother. I think she could even drip wax onto the back of her hand.


We walked and sang to darkened houses, and I loved caroling, even though there were so many of us that I thought we were singing to empty homes. There was one woman who was in charge, handing out the booklets of carols that had "Property of Mount Olympus Neighborhood Association" stamped onto the inside front cover. She called out the carols by page numbers, and a nearby adult would always make sure the kids knew what page we were on. Every couple of blocks we stopped and sang a carol, and between corners we sang the figgy pudding song - we always went on even though no one ever gave us any, whatever it was.


My favorite carols were (and still are) the religious ones, despite my not being religious at all, let alone Christian. I especially liked the ones sung in Latin, "Oh Come All Ye Faithful" and "In Excelcis Deo," but also liked "Oh Little Town of Bethlehem" and "Silent Night" (especially the German verse, even though it's as hard to sing as the national anthem). Even as a kid the one I disliked the most was "Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer."


After the caroling was over everyone would go to the house of J Jump Joyful's family. There was always a big buffet of Christmassy treats. The ones I remember best were the ones JJJ, Ria, and Eri would make with their mom out of marshmallows and cornflakes, but there were brownies, cookies, and bourbon balls (which were much too bitter!), cheese and crackers, and a universally ignored tray of carrot and celery sticks. There were olives which we would stick on our fingers and nibble at when the sweets overcame us, and cold eggnog and hot mulled wine. As our neighborhood was blessed with perhaps an unusual number of great piano players, there were more carols, really raucously played, once we got back to the house. JJJ's folks had a ton of kids' instruments and we banged plastic bongos and kit drums and shook tambourines and maracas as loudly as we could.


That is my favorite Christmas memory and it happened that way for years.


No and DeeKay, with Mom in the background, Christmas 1976

Friday, December 14, 2007

Blogging thoughts

While I felt like I was on a roll in November, now I feel like I'm winding down. I think this may be because a) I'm not reading other NaBloPoMoer's daily blogs, but mostly b) I'm not taking time to write. I keep thinking I will and then the day gets away from me (I just looked at the clock and it's 9:45 - what?!?!). I have a couple posts bubbling in my head, and a couple of one-liner subjects, but they will take some effort to write and work this week has been followed by some event or another (just as next week will be also).


Maybe I'm just slowing down this close to the finish line.


I picked up my journal a couple days ago and thought about how I haven't written in it much this year. I know that's because I've been writing so much here. I also know that in the posts that are more like journal entries I'm leaving stuff out - I don't want everything out here sometimes. So my journaling is suffering even if my writing is not (and that could be debatable I suppose). As strange as this blogging thing is, it's a little stranger to realize that so many weeks go by between writing anything down. There were two incidents in particular that didn't get written about at all - I chose not to write about them here, and I didn't write about them in my journal either because my "writing energy" goes into this.


I must pay better attention to this blog again.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Mother Altar


This was the Mother Altar Shaneleh set up for the Mama/Baby Shower.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Lost Lyrics

My mother, your mother
Live across the Bay
Sixteen, Seventeen
East Bay Way. . .


I swear this was the start to a jump rope song when I was growing up, but no one I've asked seems to know it, or even know of it. I don't remember the rest and I really want to know how it goes. I've always assumed it's a San Francisco song, though I suppose they might have sung it in Wisconsin, too.


I remember the middle of this one, which I know was much more common:

. . . Twenty-four robbers knockin' at the door
Asked 'em what they wanted, this is what they said:
Spanish dancers do the splits, turnaround, touch the ground, out the back door.

Back back sit on a tack
Read a book but do not look. . .



Despite the popularity of Double Dutch, I didn't do much rope-jumping when I was growing up. At Dudley Stone, I was busy playing on the big climbing structure the PTA had purchased for the school. It had a wobbly bridge, a climbing net, tires attached together to crawl across, and spinning logs to stand on. It was perfect for playing Adventuring In The Jungle, and the jump rope songs were usually drowned out by the playground noise of balls being bounced and the screams of kids playing Tag. This is why I can't remember the songs very well now. Do you know them?




Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Man From the Child

I'm four or five years older than Saj, and I remember when he was a toddler comparing our hands. His big finger was the size of my pinkie finger. Saj was small when we were growing up, and really quiet. He was the youngest kid in the old neighborhood so he must have just been observing and learning it all. He shot up when he was in high school (which I don't really remember, because I had left for college by then), but remained slender until he started working out and beefed up - I don't even know when that happened.



No and Paulo were talking about Saj this evening with me. Paulo and No, and Dre and KT, have spent a lot more time around Saj as an adult than I have, and everything they were saying about him sounded so unfamiliar to me. Even though it's been years now, I find I still have this strong image of Saj as small and quiet, though he is neither now, so it's kind of a trick in my mind to think of him as an adult. I kept thinking, "this doesn't sound like the Saj I know," just as I thought during the conversation we had when we were in Mexico.


When I think about talking to Saj, I don't even know where to begin. Just as I am unfamiliar with him as an adult, he's probably unfamiliar with me as an adult also.

Monday, December 10, 2007

What To Do, What To Do?

The end of 2007 approaches and I find myself wondering what I will do with this blog next year.


I don't really want to continue writing every day. Though maybe I "should," for the "discipline" and practice" of it (of what?). I've been thinking maybe setting a goal of writing three times a week (which would give me an out on some very difficult Wednesdays). Or just posting whenever I feel like it, like normal bloggers (is there such a thing?). I could even pick a theme for 2008, but I don't know much about any one thing in particular to build a whole blog around it. Many of the posts I like best are the ones tagged "memory" but a blog dedicated to my childhood and growing up seems kind of silly.


Some NaBloPoMo'ers have set themselves up to blog every day, starting December 1 I think. I sent the organizer an email of support and some ideas I had and methods I used, but I told her/him that I won't join. The main thing though is that I've been down this road already and I'm not sure I want to do it again. I didn't add this, but for one thing it's another Ning thing and as I said before, belonging to Tribe.net is bad enough.


Writing this blog is strange. . . Usually the daily writing exercise is just for the writer, but I haven't been writing this that way, most of the time. I've been writing for an audience, which I suspect is larger than I actually know. I have written a fair amount of crap on those days when it's forced, though I've never done what Peter Elbow recommends, which is when you get stuck, just keep writing the same word over until the next thing occurs to you you you you you. . .


What should I do? Like the Christmas card thing, this is one of those things where the decision will be made for me if I don't make a decision.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Meeting K-Bob

In 1995, Bink, Jujubi, and I each agreed to attend our fifth reunion at Homecoming if the other two would go. Jujubi and I drove up from Portland and met Bink on campus. It was early November, and Mrs. P had just given birth to K-Bob. We went to the Ps' house to say hello and meet the baby, since they lived nearby.


K-Bob's birth had been difficult and drawn-out, with the OB finally coaxing K-Bob out with a pair of forceps around his head. Mrs. P was sitting in a rocking chair, looking as exhausted as I'd ever seen her. Mr. P stood by the baby wrapped in a light blanket - as in a blanket filled with lights - because the struggle of his arrival had given him jaundice. He glowed in the light blanket, which Mrs. P said made him look like an alien. He was a really funny-looking baby, with green-yellow skin and a head that was kind of flattened on the sides. He was almost the first baby I'd ever seen and certainly the first I'd seen that new, and I found his non-standard looks totally charming.


I sat on the floor under the picture window in the living room and Mr. P brought K-Bob to me, wrapped in a regular non-glowing blanket. I held this tiny child and blinked away tears. I nuzzled his skull (which I still like to do to babies) and said, "Welcome to the world, little one!" Then I whispered, "I will be your best adult friend."

Saturday, December 8, 2007

What Would Happen?

I've been thinking a lot recently about the power grabs, or the grabs for continuing power, on the part of Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, Vladimir Putin of Russia, and Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan, and about Dick Cheney's black heart, so secretly located no one knows where it is.


I wonder: What if BushCo canceled the election in 2008? I know the election is a year away, and it's frustrating to me to see so many Senators not doing their jobs because they are running for president. It's also hard for me to tell who's going to wind up with the nomination, but I'm still not used to seeing so many contenders, either.


All of that could go away if Bush declared himself President for The Course of the War on Terror, which in its Orwellian way is endless.


Would college students stare down the National Guard? Would lawyers smash police cars? Would fourth grade teachers sing Three Ring Government in their classrooms? What about a general strike? Would just the usual cities host mass marches, or would there be protest in the smaller communities in both blue and red states?


Would people just put their heads down and pay the mortgage, the power bill, the credit card balances?

Friday, December 7, 2007

Christmas Cards

I've received the first two Christmas cards of the season. The first was from one of the volunteers, with a nice message about getting everything you wish for. The other is from Zirpu's stepbrother and his family with a message about how Jesus came "for you and me" and, strangely, a school picture of the older child but not one of the younger one.


I must admit that I don't like receiving Christmas cards. I like receiving kids' photos for the brag board, especially since the kids change so much and it's fun to compare last year's photo with this year's. So those of you who send me Christmas cards, please don't stop doing so because I really do appreciate them! Even the ones with newsletters in them!


But I don't send Christmas cards myself. This might be because I'm lazy and might be because I'm rather ambivalent about Christmas. Also I figure that I've been in contact with everyone during the year to whom I might send a Christmas card (if I were a Christmas card sender) and I hope they know that I wish them joy and prosperity and love all the time. Still, when someone distant sends a Christmas card, I feel guilty: I should send them one too! But if I do it this year I'm committed and I don't want to set a precedent.


I've actually been wondering if I should give Christmas cards to my volunteers. A lot of them are older, and therefore old school, and it would be a simple way to thank them for their work this past year. I don't want to seem as if I were raised in a barn. I do, when asked, come across as not-Christian (though gently), which should get me off the hook. I don't have any kids or animals to get photo cards made (which Shmeen tells me are difficult to find without a Christmas theme) to send out, though that sounds like the easiest option.



Of course I have to make a decision soon, which means that I might get away without making any decision because eventually it will be too late.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Overheard

I had a Berkeley moment today. I participated in it, too.


I was at the Whole Foods on Telegraph buying whole red winter wheat berries, dried fruit, and soy powder. I walked up in line to hear a woman say to another: "Isn't it great that we've lived long enough to see these changes manifest?"


The first woman went back to the line where her groceries were (since I walked up late, I don't know why she was in one lane when her stuff was in another). I put my basket down and dashed over to her lane to say, "That's the most right-on thing I've heard all day. Thanks for that."

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

It's Raining Again

Vernonia's flooding again.


This is the small town where YaYaWOT and her family were living when I started hanging out with them. I met them about four months after the big flood of 1996, one they were calling a "hundred year flood" because the water was so high.


It rained ten inches in one day, a lot even for western Oregon. The Is lives on a hill and her house is dry, but the National Guard has been evacuating people by Zodiac raft and by helicopter. It seems like it's only been in the last couple of years that Vernonia has recovered from the '96 flood, and when I moved there V-town, a logging community, was feeling the spotted owl effect.


Now it's under water again. Here's to our friends and neighbors in Vernowhere.


Tuesday, December 4, 2007

I'm A Winner!


The Year of Big, Fun, Scary Things has ended and I have received a certificate for completing it!


Of course, big, fun, scary things never end. That's life - finish one, and another appears in its place. Sometimes it's a big thing - or a fun thing - or a scary thing - and sometime s a combination of two, and sometimes all three. Shanelah would call the third combination an AFOG: Another F----g Opportunity for Growth.


Here's to growing! You don't have to embrace change, but you can brace for it.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Half Lit

There are a few houses in the neighborhood that really take decorating for Christmas seriously. I was hoping to snap some pictures of the most-lit up houses, but most of them were dark.

This house has new decorations:



This house, believe it or not, has more than half their lights off tonight:



There's a street in Portland called Peacock Lane on which every house decorates for Christmas (see photos). People walk up and down the sidewalks or drive up and down the street, headlights off, to look at the lights. Enterprising kids sell hot chocolate and treats, and the year I went the Girl Scouts were doing a toy drive. One December while I was working at Harry's Mother I came up with the idea to take the clients to Peacock Lane. It would get us out of the house, and would be something fun to do, if a little silly.


The clients, my colleague, and I got into the van and we drove up and down the street. Cries of "Look at this!" "Over here!" and "Whoa!" mingled with questions like "Does [Portland Gas & Electric] help with their power bill?" and "That house isn't decorated very much - d'you think they're Jewish?" and "If they were Jewish, why would they buy a house on this street?" It was fun, and the teenagers in our care really enjoyed it.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Advising

Free advice is worth about as much as you pay for it, so they say.


The problem with advice is that even when it's good advice, you only know so in retrospect. Often you can't take it in at the time you're receiving it. I advise people all the time, and my advice is rarely taken. I accept that. We all make our choices.


At the shower yesterday, we all made a book of advice for the tiny human. I'd asked each person to bring a photo of herself as a young kid to put into a memory book with some piece of advice that she wished she had received while she was growing up. Until I received a photo and a [piece of advice for the book from Shanelah's mother-in-law (who wasn't able to attend), I didn't realize how much the advice people submitted was going to be about them personally.


I brought these two photos:























When I was a junior in college and the end of the first semester was approaching, I was considering dropping out of the School of Education because I didn't want to be a teacher. At that time one could get a teaching degree as part of the BA, and I was carrying a major, a minor, and then this minor-plus education course load (this was going to result in my having two electives in my four years of college). I was student teaching at schools unlike the small ones I'd attended with other academically-focused students, and I hated it. Of course I was freaking out about it, because I'd wanted to be a teacher for so long, and I had no idea what I would do if I didn't become a teacher.


I was talking about it with my academic advisor, and she gave me the best advice ever - which of course I could not absorb at the time, though I remember it word-for-word. The Killer Lady was teasing me yesterday by telling some of the other guests that now that I have the message, I do my best to spread it. I compared it to the zealotry of the converted. This is what I wrote in the book for the tiny human:

No decision you make is the only decision
you get to make about any particular thing.

It is okay to change your mind.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Snow Francisco

While it rarely rarely snows here, after my Northwestern Exposure and my Colorado experience, winter without snow doesn't feel right. Even though I've experienced many more winters without snow than with snow (and those Portland ice storms do not count), and I was 19 the first time I saw snow fall, snowless winters feel unusual.


When I was in third grade, there was a big storm one night and in the morning there was snow! By then we'd all been to Tahoe a few times, so we knew snow, but everyone knows "it never snows in San Francisco!" All of the kids in the neighborhood played hooky (even the ones too little for school), and one or two of the moms took us to Buena Vista Park to play on the slopy hills in the park. As we arrived at the park, we saw our classmates walking up from the school with our teachers. We all played in the snow for awhile and as it was disappearing from the heat of the action (literally), J Jump Joyful's mom suggested we go to higher ground.


I don't remember where we went exactly. I remember that it was Mount Tamalpais in Marin, but it seems more likely that we went to Twin Peaks. Twin Peaks is much closer to the old neighborhood, but Mt. Tam is much higher and not as full of tourists.



One of the first few Christmastimes I was back in California, Dnever D and I were at Mom's for an early Christmas with Mom, No, and KT, who were going to be with KT's family for Christmas proper. Denver D was there, so it would have been 1999 I think. I don't remember a big storm, but it was raining, and at some point I looked out the window and the rain had turned to snow. We all watched it fall, and watched cars drive uncertainly up the street.


The snow didn't last long, but did cause Mom, No, and me to launch into the story of the day there was snow in The City for Denver D and KT.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Seven Weird Things About Your PAL

On this, the last day of NaBloPoMo, I shall respond to Boegle's tag on this meme (her seven weird things are here). This way I don't (I think) have to tag anyone else. The rules are to link back to the person who tagged you (she tagged me in the Comments section on Monday), tag seven random people, and write about seven weird things about yourself.


Because I couldn't respond right away I've had a bit to think about this. I think "unusual" is a better word than "weird", certainly less loaded. Here goes:


1) I'm bisexual. That's definitely in the unusual-rather-than-weird category. I don't think being bisexual is weird, it's just the way things are. But I recognize that other people seem to think it's a little weird (and I'm not talking about wide-stance Republicans here), and it's a good, sensationalized way to start the list. The rest of the list is in no particular order.


2) Until recently, I could recite (not sing) all of the words on Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band in order. This is my Desert Island Disc, the record with which I learned how to use a record player, and my instant cheer-up solution.


3) I have never eaten a peanut butter sandwich, but that's because I'm allergic. I have, however, made one. I had a camper who didn't bring a lunch when I was working at the JCC day camp in 1986. I actually made four tiny PB&Js because the only bread we had was Melba toast. I remember it as a singularly unpleasant experience because of the scent, which I find overpowering.


4) I never thought I would marry, up until a couple of months before I asked Zirpu to marry me. In a life marked by so much risk-avoidance and indecision masquerading as decision, marrying him was so right it was compelling and I had to ask. I didn't even shack up with him before asking, and we got married when I'd known him less than two years.


5) I was on TV when I was nine or so (I still had the braid, so I was no more than ten). It was a show on cable TV called "Rainy Days," an educational show for kids a little older than the audience for The Electric Company. I talked to the host (maybe it was a talk show targeting what are now known as "tweens") about my then-current favorite book, The Phantom Tollbooth, which I have given to several children in the last 10 years.

This happened before VCRs came along so I never saw my interview. I don't know if I caused a Fonzie effect.


6) I'm a ballroom dancer. If you're wondering, my favorite dances are rumba and foxtrot. My least favorite are tango (American and Argentine) and waltz, though I would watch the latter anytime.


7) I hate white underwear. I have been known to rant about how difficult it is to buy packs of undies that don't include white ones. I have particular hatred for Tighty (or Tidy?) Whities, and have stopped dating a couple men once I learned of their preference for them.


and. . .Because none of the above are particularly strange, except maybe the "reciting a rock album" thing:


8) I can put my toes in my mouth even though I have never done yoga. I still do it sometimes.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Two Parties in Three Days

(on top of four in four days last weekend)

We had a volunteer appreciation party at the food bank this afternoon, after service this morning. It was a really nice event, with lots of food donated by local restaurants and live bluegrass music. About fifty people came, but it could have been 100 (and heaven knows where all those people would have stood, because as large as the new building is, it's not that large). We had ordered mugs for everyone as a thank you gift, too.


I get lots of hugs at the food bank, too. So I feel appreciated as well.


I have been so focused on work that I didn't realize until Monday that I had been planning to use Thursday afternoon, when I don't usually work, to hit the party store and get stuff together for the Mother/Baby Shower I'm co-hosting on Saturday for Shanaleh. Then on Monday I realized that I was going to be at the food bank all day and I didn't know anything about what to do about the shower.


Fortunately I was volunteered to get the stuff we needed for today's event at the party store, so while the balloons were being blown up I walked around and thought about the M/B shower. Very quickly I realized I had no idea what I was supposed to do. I'm surprised that so much baby shower stuff is gendered; I thought that showers generally happen before babies arrive, and it still seems to me that a lot of people don't know what sex the baby will be. I could not remember which games Shaneleh had said she thought sounded fun (I have since looked; whew, neither involve a lot of "stuff" to do).


Ultimately I got some little treat bags, and stickers to make them pretty, but I'm not sure what I'm going to put in them (I am considering some kind of candied and/or spiced nuts). I talked to Shaneleh tonight and realized that I could give chocolates as prizes. I know I need to go to Whole Foods for the nuts and probably Smart and Final for candy (as in "Guess how many Skittles are in this [typical baby-related item {omg, what will that be?! Or I'll just use a bottle}) and over to See's for the prizes. None of that sounds bad, but I'll have to do all of it between 7 tomorrow night and 10 Saturday morning. Plus I have to put the treat bags together! Augh!


If I had known six weeks ago what the last two weeks were going to be like, I would have insisted we have this party the second or third week of December. Experience tells me that everything will be fine on Saturday and Shaneleh is a pretty low maintenance person anyway. Still, thank goodness that the other host has her act together. . .

This photo goes with yesterday's post


It's from one of my yearbooks, and I didn't want to take the time to find and scan it last night. Photos of us are all over that year's yearbook, but this is my favorite one.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Someone On My Mind

I haven't been able to get to the library so I am rereading Annie On My Mind (spoiler alert: link includes a plot synopsis). It's a story about two 12th graders who fall in love. I read it for the first time about ten years ago.


This book was published in 1982, the year I graduated from eighth grade and started high school. I wish I had read it instead of Judy Blume, which I didn't understand. Almost everything that happened in 11th grade, and a lot of the things I'd felt and experienced prior to that, would have made much more sense had I known that girls could, would, and did like girls. I only knew that boys and men were or could be homosexual. For me, so many things were classified under "If I were a boy. . ." The one book I read that had a plot about gay lovers (from the library at my Catholic school, oddly enough) was about a girl who finds her boyfriend in the bushes having sex with her best friend - also a guy.


I was such a dummy. I only have the Reagan Administration and the total lack of talk about sex at home as my defense. The big mystery is why none of it hit home when my (very progressive) PE teacher brought in a panel to discuss homosexuality and even bisexuality for one class during the "Life Skills" quarter.


Of course I fell in love with a girl in my class, my best friend, and in retrospect I know she fell in love with me too. She had a paper route so she could never sleep over, but when I spent the night at her place, I got up and delivered papers with her. When we got back she made the craziest French toast ("When we make it in New Zealand, we always add hot sauce") and I would eat it and not only declare it, but actually find it delicious. For years afterwards, and I mean years, because the last time it happened has been since I moved back to California, whenever I saw someone who looked like her, my heart would stop and I would have to catch my breath (if that sounds like hyperbole, remember this was my first love and I was a teenager so I've gone back to that place when it happened).


If I'd read Annie On My Mind in, say, 1983, or even 1986, so many things would have made much more sense. The fact that I never got what was so special about boys, just for starters! And maybe this girl and I would have had an actual relationship. . . Not that it wouldn't have been full of passion, drama, and confusion- an adolescent relationship is an adolescent relationship after all - and its own problems, especially as in 1985, we would not have been able to be out comfortably at our high school.


I was feeling sad last night about this girl for the first time in many years. And it wasn't she that I was feeling sad about really, it was the missed opportunity, or the experience I could have had or should have had, instead of the one I actually did, which resulted in my running around the halls at the school thinking, "I'm too young for this! I'm only 17!" and getting in a stupid, crazy fight on prom night (well, maybe I wouldn't have gotten in that fight, but I'm sure I would have pled youth about anything). I wonder if we could talk about that craziness now; we sure couldn't the last time we saw each other, in 1989. But all of that is a long story, at least another blog post if not a novel.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

NaBloPoMo Reflection

National Blog Posting Month is almost over, and I've been posting daily along with a whole bunch of other people. I don't know if anyone else has been posting daily all year, but I know I'm not done yet: I have 34 days left. Should I add "at least"? I'm not sure if I'll stop on December 31.



A couple weeks ago I started to feel like I was just hitting my stride on the daily-writing thing. It was encouraging that other people are doing it too, and it even seemed like people who hadn't been posting daily were posting a lot more often. I was surfing the above-mentioned list so I was reading a lot more of people's thoughts, because there is a lot more to read.


I've run across more than one blog in which the blogger complains in several posts in a row about participating. It's only a game; if someone hates it, why would he or she play? I ran across another blog a couple weeks ago in which the post dated 11/1 was the writer explaining his or her excitement about actually starting a blog after thinking about it for a long time. She or he was going to use NaBloPoMo as the mechanism to start and keep the blog.


That was the only post in that blog.


Am I sanguine about this whole month of posting? Probably. I will say that, as this month has gone on, the writing has been up-and-down, including my editing skills (as anyone who reads with a mental red pen has probably noticed). Blame that on the holiday onslaught at the food bank (which has not ended) which has me only wanting to faceplant when I get home.


I'm determined to get through this month without posting only a photo for a day's entry. Since there's only a few days left, I'm sure I'll do that.

Monday, November 26, 2007

The Birth of The King

About 15 years ago, a friend of mine took a seasonal job with UPS delivering packages between Halloween and mid-January. She was partnered up with a driver and while he delivered to one side of the street, she delivered to the other.


She said that he did not like Christmas (oh, UPS drivers, I'm sorry I ordered some stuff from LL Bean yesterday!). He preferred to celebrate the birth of the king in January.


I must say that I am suddenly very sympathetic to this mystery driver's position.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Elegance

I went to an anniversary party today for Paulo and Dre at Dre's parents' house.


They live in a big house with a big backyard. The yard has a pool with a hot tub in it, but I was more impressed with the stone pond with a fountain and two green copper herons at the edge and the stone patio with the stones all fitted together. Dre said this area had had a jungle gym in it when she and her siblings were kids, and that it took about twelve years for her dad to put in the pond and the patio.


I noticed in the bathroom that the hand towels matched the red and black bath towels that had a Chinese design printed on them. The foaming hand soap and the scent-matched hand lotion stood in bottles next to each other by the sink. In the living room, there were huge silk peonies on the coffee table, and there were ceramic pumpkins as the "fall accent" in every room. Granted, the house was dressed for a party, but the fact is, they had this stuff to set out. . .


When I see a Better Homes & Gardens or Sunset Magazine and I think, "That doesn't look like somewhere people live." But when I go to a house like Dre's parents', that is put together and spacious and pretty to look at, I'm still impressed - especially because it's obvious someone lives there, as I've been invited to come over. This isn't how my house looks! A few sets of owners ago included someone who had an eye for design, and it's clear he did some work on the place, including sponging a wall and painting a few other walls dark colors in otherwise light rooms. But now the little bathroom with green marbled counter tops and green toilet has purple towels in it. The blue bathroom has red towels in it. And we have no "accents" at all, though we have some art and photographs.


Our house is comfortable for us, and people tend to notice that we have a ballroom off the kitchen. It's about priorities, and we don't care about color matching towels (though the next set will be green and blue, if the rooms still are). We care about having space to dance in, so we do. We haven't been using it as much as have, or as much as we will again, but it's there waiting for us to get our shoes on.


Saturday, November 24, 2007

More Random Thoughts Than Usual

Or rather, More thoughts than usual that don't have much to do with each other.


We went to Bug's birthday party at Benihana last night. There were three tables of us; Zirpu and I got to sit next to the birthday girl. On the other side of Bug was a friend who has celiac disease and can't ingest soy sauce, so she asked the chef performer to cook hers separately and leave out the soy. as a result, the chef didn't put soy sauce on any of our dishes, and I left with the taste of the food, not the soy sauce, in my mouth. I wonder if anyone else noticed.


Bug is attending a college where almost everyone lives within a couple hours, and the campus empties out on Friday afternoons as students go home to do laundry, eat their moms' cooking, and visit their local friends. She pointed out that family is really important to her as she gestured at the two dozen people sitting around the restaurant, and that Long Beach is really far away from home for her. She's going to decide if family is still that important at the end of spring term.


This made me realize that I arrived at Puget Sound and didn't looked back. She never would, but Mrs. P can take the credit for that - it's because of her that I met almost everyone else I hung out with that first year. Things change - I did return to the Bay Area in '98.


After dinner we went to Dave & Buster's, a combination arcade and restaurant. It's like a casino but much louder and without any escape from the noise (in a casino, you can go into a mall hallway). However, you don't have to be 21 to go there and we had three underage folks with us. Zirpu and I Hyperbowled, with the San Francisco lane theme. I'd forgotten how hard it was and regretted selecting it since the game took our last couple of credits.


I was introduced to Hyperbowl at the Metreon when Mick Squirrely and I were dating in 2001. After work we would sometimes walk down there and have burgers and go to the arcade. One of the things that was fun about dating Mick was doing stuff like that. I didn't date in high school and going to the arcade felt like the perfect "high school date" (other than going to a movie and making out for a long time afterwards, which I also never did). We raced cars and Hyperbowled. It was a goofy way to spend an evening, but I haven't been back in an arcade by choice since then. Now I want to go back and try another lane theme with Zirpu, one that would be a little easier.


In a minute we'll be leaving for my mom's house for a Games Night, with No's in-laws/KT's folks in town. Tomorrow there's a n anniversary party for Paulo and Dre: This has been a party-heavy Thanksgiving weekend. It was lovely to go to bed last night and know I wouldn't have to get up to go to work today, and it's lovely that this is true about tomorrow, too. I've been sleeping a lot, or at least staying in bed. On Thursday Zirpu loaned me his laptop so I didn't have to get out of bed until 1130.


Off for more partying. We'll be playing the best games tonight!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Following Up on "Thirty to the Table"


Two long tables set. . . Somehow Mom figured out how to get everyone seated. There were so many people at the dinner yesterday that I feel like I talked to hardly anyone, and barely saw Mom. It was a good time, though.



Mastering The Art of French Cooking
came through for me on the creamed onions, even with a double batch.


The Brussels sprouts were kind of terrible, but I wasn't expecting them to be good.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

An Attitude of Gratitude

I feel grateful because or for:


First and foremost, the love of my family and friends and the love I have for them.

Also, I have the best husband in the world.


In no particular order except for how the following occur to me:

No and KT finally got married

...and that I got to go to Mexico with a big bunch of people I like because of the wedding

Lizard and Batman, Bug and Boy, and the babies that arrived this year

My job at the food bank and being able to afford to work there

Having a boss who notices when I do a good job and is willing to coach me when I need help

The Bi Women's Group

The support from Boegle and Tea to write this blog

Perspective and humor

E-mail

Blessings I receive from clients

Food bank volunteers, in their wide range of character, age, and experience

Being able to help a couple friends make things happen

Health and strength and safety

Another Jon Carroll Thanksgiving column that says what I want to say

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Green Bean Casserole

What is up with this stuff?!?!


Why would someone combine something good (green beans) with something not-good (canned cream of mushroom soup)?


You know the fall of American civilization is upon us when Robert Irvine, an Englishman who's served the Royals, no less, has a recipe for this casserole and it doesn't even include home-made cream of shroom soup.


And oh my goodness, he's not the only one who does!

Happy Birthday Bug!


Bug is 18 today. Eighteen! How did that happen? I mean, I haven't changed at all in twelve years!


I talked to her a few weeks ago and she said that she was looking forward to being 18 so she could vote against the Republicans in the next election.




I turned 18 a few weeks after arriving at college. At Puget Sound, it was traditional to be tossed in Jones Fountain on your birthday (I wonder if it still is? Jones Fountain has been prettied up a lot since I was a student, and the benches could serve as barriers). My new friends duly did so, and though I yelled and carried on as they manhandled me over the fountain's edge, I was secretly pleased that they liked me enough to follow the tradition in my honor.


A month or so later I sat on the floor of my dorm room and pricked holes in my California ballot. I remember thinking it would have been much more exciting if the first election in which I got to vote were a Presidential one. It will be for Bug.