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


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


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.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Three Day Week

When the weekend starts on Wednesday night, that makes Tuesday night like Thursday, right? Thank gawd. Today was my second nine hour day without a lunch break. I ate my sandwich while driving from the warehouse to the new building. I know I ate a hot dog yesterday but I don't remember doing so.

I never had this happen when I worked in an office. I always took my lunch, though I did occasionally work on a weekend (even though I don't believe in working on a day off). I know that part of this is because I'm one of those people who will "do one more thing" before going to the bathroom, taking a break, or sitting down (sometimes the first will suffice for all three). I also know that this is the standard the Food Bank Director has set. He's been working like a demon, and the clients need us every minute, so I work like a demon too. Usually he tells me to "go" but this week neither of us have had the time to speak to each other, let alone give each other orders.

In all this the volunteers have been incredible. They've all been working so hard and so steadily, and most of them don't take breaks, even when they work more than a few hours. I have one volunteer I have taken to lecturing about eating and resting; he just laughs and says things like "I drank an Ensure." I think tomorrow I'm going to bring him a sandwich in my lunchbox. Another volunteer worked all afternoon and drove a client and her little girl home so she wouldn't have to deal with all the groceries and a tiny hand.

It is much easier to work this hard when you like what you're doing, all of the volunteers are agreed. Most of them have retired from their careers and my sense is that when you choose, it's easier, more interesting, and more fun to do whatever you're doing.

I have given everyone Friday off. Since we're going to be closed, almost all of them understood I was pulling their legs. One of the volunteers called the Food Bank Director to make sure that it was all right that I had given her the day off.

Sorry, I'm too tired to write something that's not about the food bank.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Getting The Bird

I'm exhausted after an absolutely hopping day at the food bank. We served 61 households and took in 77 turkeys and at least 200 pounds of canned and boxed goods. Remember the other day when I said we had 91 turkeys? We now have 450. I don't even live there and I think Alameda rocks. One woman brought 30 turkeys from her personal turkey drive when she stood near the checkout counter with a shopping cart full of birds. Another woman sent out a message over her PTA listserv saying we had 12o turkeys and needed 200 more. Late in the day when I told a receptionist that we had plenty of turkeys, she asked for two food barrels for December instead.

It got to the point when we would just laugh, punchy, when a volunteer would say, "Someone's giving us the bird!"

This is how tired I am: Zirpu is making dinner while I am drinking a bubbly Cape Cod (four parts cranberry juice, two parts seltzer water, two [or was it four?] Skyy vodka), my own variation on a classic. Vodka is the drink of (half of) my people, you know, though as Jews they probably never drank much at all, even if they were Lithuanians.

(Eh, if you want good food/drink photography, check out Matt Bites.)

Sunday, November 18, 2007

My Part

The thing I find hardest about facilitating the Bi Women's Group is how I feel afterwards. I spend at least an hour wondering if I did a good job. Which is to say, I spend an hour off-and-on wondering if every person in the meeting had the best possible meeting she could have had, and should I or could I have done something differently to make that happen? Were everyone's needs met? Was it meaningful that this person or that person said so little? Did we talk about all the topics that people were burning to discuss? If it was a very talky group, should I have controlled it more closely? If it was a very quiet group, did I do everything I could have to spark conversation?

I've had this discussion with a couple of the other facilitators, and today,finally, with all of them. I've been told that I expect too much of myself and that the structure of the meeting doesn't really lend itself to controlling. It's "peer-facilitated" and everyone is responsible for speaking up if she has something to say. That's even in the guidelines we read at the start of every meeting. I have a hard time integrating that, though, and I feel especially responsible to new members or to members I perceive to be shy.

This week I had an experience which somehow is making me start to "get it." I know that I don't really feel this way yet, but something happening at the beginning and the end of the meeting that really feels like "People get the meeting they are willing to sit through." I don't have to be the one who changes the discussion to make sure we cover something someone mentioned, or to steer away from a topic that seems to be making people uncomfortable. I've been seeing that as my job, and I feel like I have consistently been unable to make that happen. There are so many unknowns in a meeting, with different personalities, moods, and needs, and the dynamics change all the time, and the meeting changes from week to week so it's just a fact of life that every meeting won't suit every person who attends.

Perhaps there's hope that I will eventually detach from feeling so responsible for others' experience. That's their part, not mine.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Thirty to the Table

Mom called in a geometry panic the other night. She had just agreed (not that she was given much choice) to five more people coming to her house for Thanksgiving. My mom spends a lot of time arranging tables and measuring for chairs every year for the two weeks before Thanksgiving, and she prefers two long tables instead four smaller ones. But you know, the dining room is only so big, and things get tight. No and I joke that we always knew it was a major holiday because we had to move furniture, and over the years various people besides ourselves have been involved in the table situation.

Mom does not do all the cooking but she prepares the heart of the meal herself: The turkey, mashed potatoes, scalloped oysters, and stuffing. Everything else, with a few special exceptions, is assigned by category ("a vegetable," "dessert") and shows up with each guest. In the past, I've been responsible for the mashed potatoes, green beans with butter and pine nuts, roasted pears, sweet potato pie, and pecan pie. This year I'm doing the onions in cream sauce, and after looking over Julia Child's and Irma Rombecker's versions I'm going with Julia. Zirpu is responsible for the green stuff* and banana pudding.

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday and always has been. To avoid any whiff of plagiarism, I'll just tell you to read this by Jon Carroll, and know that what he wrote about Thanksgiving last year is what I feel too.

We've always had about two dozen people over for Thanksgiving, and we all have stories that go back for years. Here are two:

In 1978 Mom served a ham for dinner. Everyone was shocked. Even Jindi, who is from India and is a vegetarian, gently scolded my mother for serving ham that day. Every year Shelly says something about whether there will be turkey or ham this year, and every year everyone laughs, even people who weren't there in 1978. Mom insists that lots of families eat ham on Thanksgiving and we jokingly tell her she is telling lies.

A few years later Shmeen and her parents came over for Thanksgiving. Her mother, Jolly Woman, came in holding a big platter of Brussels sprouts. Another one of my mom's friends saw the platter and spontaneously cried, "Brussels sprouts? Yuck!" Then she looked appalled that she'd allowed her inner ten-year-old to get out. Jolly Woman laughed and laughed, and since then Brussels sprouts have been a running gag in the family. This friend of my mom's is coming for the first time in many years, though Jolly Woman will be in LA with Shmeen and the family, so I'm going to make a small dish of roasted Brussels sprouts in both their honors.

Last year Shelly brought me, Mom, and No prints of this photo. He is the rare person who is actually going through all of his prints and slides and is scanning everything.

If it weren't for the gin and tonic at the corner of the turkey, this could be a photo from a 1971 or '72 Ladies Home Journal.

Friday, November 16, 2007

People Are Generous

Because of the ribbon cutting we had at the food bank on Wednesday, there were several press organizations around. Toward the end of the day, I received a call from Amber Lee, a reporter at Channel 2 news, asking who we serve and what food we need. I answered a lot of questions, but when she asked if she could come down and visit/interview, I turned the phone over to the Food Bank Director.

I left to make a delivery to the warehouse. I was gone about half an hour and totally missed the reporter's visit. The FBD said that he was giving Ms. Lee a tour of the food bank and mentioned that we plan to give away between 300 and 400 turkeys next week, partly provided by the Kiwanis Turkey Drive at the Blanden Avenue Nob Hill store and the Italian-American League. She asked if we had received any turkeys for the giveaway and the FBD said that yes, we had one. She said that she'd like to see it.

We had this one turkey because it came in the delivery of random meat from Trader Joe's. It was sitting in the small meat freezer because the big meat freezer was packed. We've been having power issues with the small freezer so I've only been putting as much meat as needed for service in it each day because each night I've had to leave it empty. When the FBD pulled the door open, there were two packages of chicken strips on the top shelf, one package of fish on the second shelf, and the turkey in the bottom. He said that the reporter insisted her cameraperson shoot the freezer. I think one turkey is a lot more pathetic looking than just an empty freezer. The story ran Wednesday night on the 6pm news.

I had yesterday off but the FBD said the phone had rung off the hook with people asking when they could bring turkeys over and if we needed any "trimmings." A woman came to the food bank and pledged a huge donation of turkeys (which should come Monday), and a youth group visited last night, bringing 25 turkeys with them. When I got to work today there was a guy waiting, wanting to know if he could help, and he told me he was going to take his kids to the stores to buy turkeys. Today during the day two separate people brought us a dozen turkeys; a man gave us eight; a mother and her three sons brought us five; and a lot of individuals brought us one or two turkeys. Several people walked in the door and handed me checks made out to the food bank.

Yesterday morning we had one turkey. This evening we have ninety-one, and we know more are coming.

A Better Photo

I took this today with my cell phone. I put goop in my hair and am calling this my "Elizabeth Faulkner look" because I think she's hot.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

I Guess I'll Find Out Soon

I have wanted to color my hair for months. I had wanted to do it in time for my birthday, but the color didn't stick - hair's too healthy. So I talked to my personal hair consultant, YaYAWOT, and she advised bleaching it first so the strands would take in the color. That wasn't something Zirpu and I could do at home, so I found a professional and got it done today.

Setting an appointment took me a long time. That actually turned out to be a good thing, because since my birthday I've had to get my driver's license renewed and had to take a new photo for it; I've made a fund-raising speech for the food bank; and yesterday's ribbon cutting for the new food bank facility was crawling with press and the members of the food bank's Board of Directors. But I had an appointment to get it bleached this morning, and while I had cold feet yesterday, I went through with it.

I had no idea my hair was so red. When my hair lightens in the sun it gets blond; No, whose hair is darker than mine, lightens to red, as does his beard. The stylist saw it right away and said she could see the Irish in me (which almost no one comments on, perhaps because I look so much like my father's mother). It took almost an hour to get the orange out.

My original plan was to color it purple tonight but I am totally digging this color. When she asked, I told Angela that it must have something to do with a midlife crisis, because I've done some odd stuff with my hair in the last two years, such as shaving it off a couple times. I told her I didn't know what I would do with it next, if I would touch it up or color it something else eventually (the folks at the food bank are expecting purple). I think I was testing to see how annoyed she might be if I use some off-the-shelf product and have my husband run his hands through my hair with it. She said that she likes "punky" looking hair and advised wearing it kind of spiky.

I sent this photo to Zirpu and he called to tell me I "look like an old biddy." I need a new husband.
Weird expression due to trying to avoiding squinting into the sun

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Scouting for Food

** I wrote this this morning, but had to leave before prettying it up. I did not anticipate that I wouldn't come home between work and the meeting, and now it's after midnight. However, since I did write this this morning I think it counts as a post for 11/14.**

Scouting for Food
is coming up this weekend. As a citizen I'm not familiar with this program but as a food bank person, I've come to know a lot about it.

The Boy Scouts of America have food drives at different times of the year, and this year in northern California it is the Saturday before Thanksgiving. In the past, the BSA has put printed paper bags on porches, but this year they'll be doing doorknob hangers (you may have already found one on your doorknob this week). The hope is that people will put a grocery bags of nonperishable goods (read: cans, pasta, rice, cereal) on their porches. The Scouts will pick up the bags and give them to local food banks. The SF Bay Area Council, through the Scouting for Food Drive, is the largest donor of canned goods to food banks in the Alameda and San Francisco Counties. Including ours, which is the recipient of all food collected on the island of Alameda.

The Scouting for Food Drive basically gives our food bank enough nonperishable goods to last us through March.

I have mixed feelings about the BSA, because of their anti-gay and anti-atheist national policies (though I've heard of troops that ignore them in practice). I am also not completely comfortable with single-sex organizations. At the same time I have known former Scouts who feel BSA helped make them who they are today and families who appreciate the activities and socializing that their Cub Scout troop provided their sons. Also, Scout troops often do good things for the communities, like park and beach cleanups and food drives - not to mention keeping kids off the streets.

It must be said that at least in Alameda, the Boy Scouts' Scouting for Food Drive should be called the Youth Food Drive. Several organizations of youth are participating, including Girl Scouts, Girls Inc., and Red Cross Youth. There aren't enough Boy Scouts in town to handle this project on their own, and it gives other youth an opportunity to participate in the community.

If you miss the food pickup, you can always drop your sack of goods into the barrels that are appearing in grocery stores all over the country. I know from observation that wintertime is a tight time for folks, which is why we've gotten so much busier at the food bank. Less work and more non-negotiable cash outflow (for heat, for lights, for transportation) are all part of winter for the working poor and the disabled.

Think about participating, and I hope you do. Your neighbors need your help, though they would probably not tell you so.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Oil on the Water

I can barely think about this oil spill. I do not want to go to a beach, though I'm happy other people are helping clean up the spill even when they are told to stay away.

Yesterday I saw a picture of an oil-coated bird at SFGate's Day In Pictures and that was the first I heard of the spill in Russia, which is much, much larger.

I can't think about that, either. It's tied too closely to my feelings about the apocalypse, environmental degradation, and the end of the world. I just feel hopeless about it.

Monday, November 12, 2007


On Saturday afternoon after work I went to Mariposa Bakery to see Shauna James Ahern, who's touring behind her new book, Gluten-Free Girl. Tea turned me on to her blog, and I've been reading it for a long time even though I can eat anything that doesn't have peanuts in it. The blog and the book are focused on eating foods that won't make someone who can't eat wheat and other gluten sources, and include recipes with flours that I've heard of but have never baked with (even though I do little baking, I did make her almond cookies once and felt like I was getting away with something).

I've been reading Gluten-Free Girl because this lady can write.

After reading her blog for awhile I started to suspect that the person who wrote Gluten-Free Girl was someone who attended the same college that I had. Eventually, Tea, who knew Shauna in real life. confirmed that this Shauna James was the same Shauna James who had worked on the college newspaper at a time (mostly, but not only, my freshman year) when I was engaged in serious hero-worship of all of the people who worked on the Trail. Not that I knew any of them personally. . . I believed that they were the smartest people on campus, journalists who weekly produced this newspaper out of the basement of the Student Union on top of their academic pursuits. Also, they were all upperclassmen and women (or I thought they were) and therefore automatically smarter than I.

I was so intimidated by the Trail staff that I joined the theatre department for my extracurricular activities because I thought they would think I was a dummy. I'll say this in my defense: I went to college just before I turned 18, knew next to nothing (and didn't know it) and had attended a very small college-prep high school where I had been a big fish. I had actually produced one edition of the school paper with the help of four or five people, but it wasn't a "real" newspaper, it was four mimeographed sheets and I can't even think of what the stories could have been about as WTH had no teams and few clubs in those days. I loved working at the Inside Theater and playing with the other crew and actors and do not regret doing so, but in retrospect I got involved there for such a silly reason.

I was such a dork.

When I went to see Shauna and The Chef at Mariposa, I had three goals in mind:

1) I wanted to tell her that Zirpu and I had also been hit by the lightning bolt too and I not only dig, but "get" her love story posts.

2) I wanted her to know that what I respond to in her blog is that life is about saying YES to life, that advocating for yourself is not only possible but often required, that happiness is possible and that every single person could be happy if she believed that she could be.

3) I wanted to tell her about how I had worshipped-from-afar her and five or so other people who were Trail editors my first two years at college, and about how I had been so intimidated by them that I had steered clear of signing up to be a reporter. I thought that she would think it was funny, because we are all just ordinary mortals, whether others know it or not.

It was raining on Saturday and the walls in the bakery were white, with a big window letting in grey light. But it didn't look grey inside the bakery. In my mind's eye I see lots of orange-yellow light shining on Shauna and Danny as I saw them talk to gluten-free people, including a six year old girl with glitter eye shadow who asked Shauna to sign her book. These are happy people. Shauna talked to everyone as if they were her friends, and Danny engaged with me by eyesight before I worked through my shyness about approaching and interrupting someone else's conversation.

Shauna laughed when I told her about my hero-worship and about being such a dork. She said that she'd thought she was the biggest dork on campus at the same time I thought she was the coolest. Because Tea had arrived and she and I had gone and come back at the end (thanks for the wine, Tea! I totally needed it), we had some more casual conversation. I asked her to sign my copy of her book, and part of her message to me was "No more intimidation, okay?"

Well, she did write a book and did get it published and all I have is this little blog. . .

Sunday, November 11, 2007

"One Happy Pleasant Thing Followed By Another Happy Pleasant Thing"

I had a conversation with Mom recently in which she described her life in this way. Mom's been thinking about her - not end-of-life but "towards the end." She was saying that should she lose her memory, should she be in a bad situation when she's older, No and I should know that she has had a happy life. Her childhood was good, she's had friends she loves who love her, she did work that she liked that interested and challenged her, and her kids turned out to all right. "...Except for one terrible thing," she said, "and that was worse for you and your brother."

Mom is generally pretty optimistic. It's true that she mostly does what she wants to do, and as she's gotten older and away from obligations to her children and work, she does more of those things. She loves her football and opera, loves going to Rhode Island for three weeks every summer, loves walking her dog in the Presidio, Golden Gate Park, and the beach. She loves her sisters and brother and their families, and the families of her friends. She likes to go to restaurants and to host dinner parties. She likes her son-in-law and her daughter-in-law and the many friends of her children. Sometimes she likes to play the "old lady card" if she doesn't want to deal with something, and she's always grateful to whoever deals with it for her. She laughs a lot.

Mom is a great role model for me.

@ 2000 Ephemera Inc.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Good from Bad

Today was a tough day for me at the food bank. Not only did we move this week and are still working out the kinks, but we have been really busy each day, with about twice as many people each day as we normally serve. We served 200 households this week, when we've been serving about 100. I've been told to expect more of the same for the next two months.

Most of today I felt like I was being pulled in several directions at the same time. I think I said "I haven't forgotten you" about six times to different people. The phone was ringing constantly and half the callers just wanted to chat, so I had to walk that fine line of getting off the phone quickly while allowing them to feel heard. At one point I was so frustrated I had to take a five minute walk away from the site.

I did feel really supported by the volunteers today. This is a crew I don't know as well as I know the weekday crews because we don't have service every Saturday. But when I was walking out I told one of them he was in charge and when I came back he was handling a parking situation, a job I usually would have done (as paid staff, the Food Bank Director or I usually play the heavy). He and three others checked in with me to make sure I was okay.

Best of all, five volunteers stayed until I locked up the building and even walked with me to my car. Again, I really felt supported by the volunteers, and when I called the FBD he was just as supportive as they. So as frustrating as work was today was, what I'm feeling is appreciation and gratitude for my food bank people.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Beef. It's What's For Dinner.

I used to love James Garner's voice. I would sit through the ads (this was before DVRs and TiVo) just to listen. He stopped doing voiceover work for the Beef Council or whoever it is who sponsors those ads when he had heart bypass surgery. Because of DVR I never hear ads, so I never hear him extolling the virtues - or rather, American value - of Chevy trucks.

I'm not opposed to prepared food from time to time. I'm not one of those people who builds my own barbecue sauces and avoids things that come in packages at all costs. I do cook, and do so often, but I build in a night a week when I don't have to come in and chop and all that stuff. That's why crockpot meals show up so often in my menu planning.

This evening however we had quinoa (of which I cooked much too much, as usual), a packaged salad that really needed to be eaten, and "Maui Beef" from Trader Joe's. It's rather teriyaki-ish, but this is the thing: We eat very little beef here, and you know, it just tastes good. I was brought up on hamburgers and steaks (hey, it was the '70's) and now I eat beef less than once a month. We're all about chicken, pork, fish, and ground turkey around here.

I managed to do something I knew I would do this evening. The pot of quinoa boiled over a little and when I moved the pot off the flame I saw that some quinoa grains and water had spilled under it. As I decided to wipe up the spill under the pot frame (the thing that you put the pot on, with the flame underneath), I thought, "It is likely that I will burn myself unless I am very careful."

I went ahead and wasn't careful, and I did burn myself - three times. My left thumb is definitely worse for it, but I don't think it will blister. I'm not sure why I went ahead and chose to clean it up the way I did. I tend to be rather cavalier with my fingers. I did use a fork for the hot food, though.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

...Lest Ye Be Judged

Recently for some reason (maybe because it's on all the time) I've been catching the end of The Next Iron Chef. This show is an elimination competition to select a new Iron Chef for Iron Chef America (the rumor is that Mario Batali is leaving). Because I'm only seeing the last couple of minutes, the only part of the show I've seen is the judging, during which the judges criticize the food. The part that makes me cringe is when they're criticizing the food to the chefs' faces ("Did you even try the cauliflower?"). Maybe it's when I'm tuning in, but I don't remember anyone saying anything nice to the chefs about their food.

This is one of the reasons why I don't watch "American Idol" (which is famous for snarkiness) or "So You Think You Can Dance." The only thing I can imagine worse than being humiliated in front of coworkers is being humiliated on TV, though I recognize that in the case of these two shows, the potential tours are worth the cutting remarks. Still, I can't bear comfortably people saying mean things to each other.

Yet, I realize that judging that comes with remarks is more useful than judging that just gives you a place. Zirpu and I each have learned a lot from post-event meetings with judges. When we went to the Dance-O-Rama in Las Vegas in 2005, we were really inspired and learned a lot from the 400 other dancers, but though we got buttons for each event in which we participated, there were no meetings with judges. All we learned was that we had danced better or worse than people who placed around us, but we didn't know what we had done.

Of course the Arthur Murray Showcase judges are much nicer than these people on TV. However, I must say that our favorite judge/coach is Bill Jacobson, a Canadian Arthur Murray consultant, whose remarks often include the phrase, "That was pretty. . . mediocre." He's always loved our dancing, because even when we're doing it wrong we're dancing together.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007


I redesign my workout routine every two months. I do this because the first trainer I worked with said that the body gets bored and the muscles cease getting as much value out of moves that you repeat for a long time. In fact, he said one should redesign a workout every four to six weeks, but I've settled on every two months for ease of tracking and because I go about three times a week. I keep a list of actions in my routines so I can recycle them.

My routines always include something for legs and back, because of the car wreck, and for biceps and/or triceps because I want to be able to carry heavy stuff. The routine always includes time on the elliptical trainer for aerobics and crunches to help support my lower back. About a week ago I watched a woman doing lunges across the gym and I thought I could work that into my next routine.

I changed my routine on Sunday and mixed in the lunges, sixty wide and low steps back and forth across the aerobics room. They are much, much harder than they look, and I wasn't even carrying weights (trying to relieve some of the gripping I have to do because my hands often hurt in the morning). On Sunday my hamstrings, especially in the left leg, started to seize up, but I managed to get all the way through without them totally cramping.

I anticipated being sore Monday, but I wasn't. Zirpu said that often the stiffness doesn't settle in until the second day, so I then I thought I would be sore on Tuesday. I was a little sore in places where the muscles cross over joints, but it wasn't too bad. Of course yesterday I went back to the gym and did lunges again, along with the rest of my routine. I think my muscles would get stiff if I didn't work on my feet and always move around.

When I first started working out at that gym there was a guy who often wore a t-shirt that said "Pain is weakness leaving the body." Zirpu says this is a Marines slogan. I continue to be inspired by it even though I haven't seen that guy or his t-shirt in over two years. I don't mind being sore because in a way that's how I know something is happening. Well, that and lifting apple boxes.


Read this.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

'Tis The Season for Fund Raising

I've already received newsletters from the Lighthouse and the Pacific Center, with the "giving" form attached on the last page. Second Harvest and Doctors Without Borders are back. The closet at the food bank is filling with USPS flats of mail so we can make our annual request for donations.

Tomorrow I'm going to my high school to pick up my "mailing supplies" so I can send fund-raising letters to my former classmates and to my friends. As a member of the Wallenberg Community Foundation, my main task is to help raise funds for the WCF, which in turns puts that money into education-enrichment materials (not textbooks, which the WCF believes should remain the responsibility of the school district) for the school. With public education fiunding being what it is, a lot of public schools are having to turn to foundations outside the school as well as their PTAs to help provide all kinds of things to the students' school environment (from teacher grants to foreign language tapes).

Wallenberg does an amazing job as a public high school with something like 90% of seniors going onto college the fall after graduation. I support that mission and as much as WTH has changed since I was there, that mission still in place. Because of that mission, I don't mind writing the letters. The first time I sent out letters I didn't like it, but doing the letters makes me feel like I'm doing my "job" as a board member. I know how many requests for money wind up in my recycling bin, so I'm not attached to the letters anymore. We, like all charitable organizations, know that a personal appeal from someone the recipient knows is more likely to result in giving.

My former classmates get a handwritten note, and while that's the hardest part, once I've written one I can copy it. I didn't go to high school with most of the people on my "friends" list (to borrow a phrase) and those letters are harder to write. Again, I figure out something. Last year I even sent a fund raising letter to my neighbors. I knew they didn't have any connection to my high school (which is in San Francisco, after all), but I figured after three years of our buying fund raising crap from their younger daughter I could hit them up.

I have to put them in the mail Thanksgiving week. I have the rest of this week and all of next to figure out how I'm going to ask people from the class of '86 and my non-Wallenberg friends to give money to the Wallenberg Community Foundation.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Long Live The Food Bank!

Remember this?

We started service in the new building today. When I got to work the Food Bank Director and five other guys were moving the last refrigerator in. We didn't have refrigeration today, but I was expecting that.

All of the volunteers who worked today came in and were pretty happy about the new place. After a little while, though, they started nitpicking at this and that, and at the end of the day the FBD was pretty frustrated at the glass-half-empty attitude he was getting. I think the volunteers got spoiled by how much room we had at the warehouse, even though the new building is much much nicer. Still, we had a good day. The clients were pretty happy with the new set up and the process went much more smoothly than the FBD and I expected. We also served 35 households, which is a significant number.

One side of the new back room. The cooler was a temporary measure to deal with
the lack of freezers today. Tomorrow they'll be back online.

The "back line," this is where we pack and store non-perishable packages for families.
This is really the heart of our program, though the fresh produce from the farmers'
market and Trader Joe's is the big draw.
In a week or so we should have rubber mats on the floor for safety and comfort.

The new produce table set-up! We have plastic carts to transport boxes and bags
so we don't have to use "borrowed" grocery carts clients bring us as a favor.

This dark picture is the new front room, with the chairs facing the desks and away from the produce table. New yellow and orange plastic chairs are on their way.

The FBD, who's a new dad, is particularly proud of the children's corner, and all of the kids who came today had a great time playing with the toy cars and the cash register.
They were quiet and happy and so were their parents.

Sunday, November 4, 2007


One of the people who founded the Bi Women's Group and who subsequently moved to New York told me that she went to a bi meeting in New York and that our Berkeley group was better than that one. I don't remember why, maybe because we're smaller or more focused or west coast people are different from easterners, New Yorkers in particular.

I love our group too. I've been a member for a long time, I think longer than any other current regular attendee as I started coming in the spring of 2001. I had a lot of men in my life at the time and wanted some "female energy." The change of which I am most fond is that of a woman who can in wondering if she's never kissed a woman is she really bi (yes) to now being married to and having a child with a woman. One thing this group has is persistence; even with the original founders having all moved away this meeting has met every week for close to ten years. In the time I've been going, there have only been two or three nights the group hasn't met and one of those times was when the Pacific Center was unexpectedly closed.

The Pacific Center requires that all potential facilitators take their seven-hour facilitator training, and this helps make our group strong. Because we know how, it is easy for us to be careful about allowing people their space to be whatever they are, and that includes reminding people to say "I" instead of using the "universal you" and to avoid generalizations and advice-giving. We've had a few light conversations (I mercifully missed an evening about email etiquette) and as facilitators we try to examine why people didn't feel comfortable opening up. Even as a facilitator and long-time attendee it seems to me that the group mostly runs itself; the people who come seem to understand how to behave in a group like this. It really is the attendees that have made the group last as long as it has.

I attended what was then called the Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Support group at my alma mater one time. The group was sponsored by the university's Health & Wellness Center and facilitated by the Center's counselor. I didn't know I wasn't supposed to be there since I was no longer a student, but I was living nearby, my girlfriend was a student, and I was still strongly attached to the place since many friends, and all of my queer friends, were still students there. Tacoma was a very conservative place in those days, to the point where the single gay club in town was also the place where mixed-race couples felt most comfortable to "go out" to. I didn't even know where to begin looking for a queer support group off campus, and suspected that it would be in Seattle anyway.

The only thing I remember about the one meeting I attended was feeling really, really frustrated. I had gone because I was upset when I noticed a sign at work that my boss had "borrowed" from Nordstrom's. It was their EEO sign, which included the non-legally-required status of sexual orientation as a protected category. My boss, who was a religious nut (really), had carefully crossed out "sexual orientation" and I was upset because he and I spent a lot of time together putting together the newsletter and I knew that if he knew that my girlfriend wasn't just my roommate I would be out the door. I definitely felt targeted.

I went to the meeting and during check-ins every single person went on about the previous night's episode of Twin Peaks. I didn't watch the show and had no idea what was so fascinating about it, but beyond that I was frustrated with the group's lack of focus on queer issues. I'd never attended a group like this and I expected some focus. I felt like it was ivory-tower isolationism and a lack of understanding of what went on in the "real world," which I was experiencing in Federal Way. When it came my turn to talk I expressed my frustration with the group and my feelings about being targeted at work (whether my boss knew it or not).

I did not attend again.

Years later, after moving to Portland and my girlfriend and I split up, I learned that a bi women's group met at a women-focused shop and I attended that form time to time. I usually got annoyed with the way the groups were facilitated and would stay away for two or three weeks. The group was started by some bi women who felt that bi women needed a place to feel supported. It was quickly obvious to me that other than not interrupting each other and allowing check-ins, this group didn't have any guidelines and the facilitators had little, if any, training. More than once I found myself trying to remind people to stay away from generalizations; I specifically remember a meeting in which one of the attendees was struggling with her sexuality and her faith and another attendee going on about how "evil" Christians were because of their rejection of homosexuality. The facilitators rarely intervened in this kind of thing, and of course people of faith never came more than once to that group.

I'm glad that I've found a group that values what I value. If it didn't I would have stopped attending as quickly as I stopped attending the other groups I'd tried. The group has become the main way I express my bisexual identity - particularly politically, as mentioning the group is often the method by which I come out.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

A Mocha Mix Moment

YaYa Words of Thunder and I spent two hours on the phone this morning having a virtual Mocha Mix Moment. Back when I started spending the night out at the family's place, she introduced me to Mocha Mix, which has about as much in common with cream as Gardenburgers do with hamburgers, but does make coffee creamy. I drank a lot of coffee today, with regular dairy in it. Zirpu doesn't approve of Mocha Mix, and it makes Mom apoplectic when I drink the space-age polymer that comes in the yellow carton.

YaYaWOT, YoYoWOT, Pia, Bug, and Boy lived in a split-level house in the woods outside Vernonia. YoYoWOT left very early in the morning and would make the coffee before heading out. Each morning of my Vernonia weekends (which were off days as I worked on Saturdays) I got up and poured myself and YaYaWOT coffee, added Mocha Mix to both and two teaspoons of sugar to hers, and got in on YoYoWOT's side of the bed. Bug and Pia would have left for school, and Boy would eventually come downstairs also to watch Blue's Clues. YaYaWOT and I laid in bed, drank our coffee, and talked every morning before our day really began.

That is how I adopted her and her family, and how they adopted me. In November of the first year I knew them, Bug turned seven and plans were made to take her and some friends to Chuck E. Cheese for pizza and games. YaYaWOT and her mother, The Is, were going to chaperone the kids and I volunteered to go along at the end of my weekend. There was no power out at the house for three days leading up to Bug's birthday party (trees often fell on the power lines), so we spent the days in the family room near the wood stove playing Scrabble and Uno. Everywhere else in the house was very very cold, and I slept with a hat on.

When I got home I sent a postcard to YaYaWOT and The Is on which I'd drawn a picture of all of us in a handbasket, with a thought balloon over the three of us adults thinking, "Where are we going?" I joke about it by saying that Chuck E. Cheese isn't hell, but you can see it from there, and YaYaWOT and I laugh about it because it was fun: We didn't have to watch the kids and every so often they would drop by and report how many tickets they'd won. The pizza was so bad we didn't attempt the coffee and just drank Cokes, but Bug was really happy with her birthday party and that's what mattered.

I had no idea I would still know this family eleven years later. I didn't think I would, but now I can't imagine not knowing them into the fourth generation (the third having arrived). YaYaWOT and I became sisters that summer and I gained a lot of family that way: her husband, her kids (one of whom has a husband and child of her own now), her mother, her sister-in-law, and the other YaYas.

Rarely do members of the same family
grow up under the same roof.

~ Richard Bach, Illusions

Friday, November 2, 2007

Someone else's title

I rolled over the blogroll I mentioned above and stopped by Creative Kerfluffle. You know what? She posted the other day that since she signed up for NaBloPoMo the traffic on her site is up. I'm not going to link to the actual post because the tone in the post sounds like she's not totally comfortable with all this new traffic, but I have linked to her blog so do as you will.

She says, "I know in the back of my head anyone can read my blog since it's on the internet but I got lulled into the idea that nobody else was." Now she knows people who aren't people she knows in real life are reading her blog. Oddly enough I know I'm one of those people. I'm the stranger.

If it's happening to her it's probably happening to me and I just don't know it. I like it that way. I don't want to know that "strangers" are reading my blog, though of course I would not send them away. I also don't want to know that the traffic stays just the same as I've been assuming most of the time this year. Having posted PAL on the blogroll, and posted a comment on NaBloPoMo, half a dozen visitors kinda feels like suffering from terminal uncoolness. Which is not meant as a slam against my loyal readers, whom I love in real life. (-:

Well, I shall continue blithely along.

Thursday, November 1, 2007


It is November First and thus the start of NaBloPoMo!

They've set up a blogroll on which you can add your own blog and you can see who-all's joined. They set it up for those of us millions who already have blogs going and won't be using NaBloPoMo's pages to post on. I have to say that until I heard Tea use the word "blogroll" like six times I didn't know what the word meant. It's just a list of blogs, like taking attendance in school, or "calling the roll." I guess. I made that up. But if you're smart enough you'll know what I mean.

So I went and added PAL and have checked out a few of the others on the list. There are too many of them! But I'm guessing that everyone's added theirs for the same reasons I added mine: 1) To claim a space, and 2) To say "I'm doing it too!" There are probably many who added the list to say "Come check me out." For me, it's more like responding "Here" when my name's called out. I think I'm still assuming that, other than myself, I'm writing for half a dozen people, all but one whom I know in real life. I decided early on not to add a visit counter, and adding one quickly became obsolete.

I can't believe that I'm only 61 days from the end of this project. That doesn't sound like a lot, when I've already written for over 300 days. What will I do then? I think I had this idea that when I was done with the resolution, I would stop. Now I don't know if I will; writing has become part of my day, every day. Even on the days I don't write, I'm thinking about the fact that I'm not doing (or haven't done) it. I don't know that I could just stop altogether and suddenly, but writing every day feels like a big responsibility and sometimes I'd like to be released from it.

I changed my mind at the beginning of this project and again early on, so I will probably change my mind once I've made a decision, which I haven't yet.

Here's My Halloween Post

Wednesdays, as I've said before, are tough, as I'm pretty much out of the house from 8am to midnight. I came home yesterday and cooked dinner and then ran out again to facilitate the Bi Women's Group meeting. Hence, yesterday's post actually posted today.

I've been thinking about my favorite Halloween costumes because of the parents' blog on the Chronicle's website. I can only remember two of my childhood Halloween costumes and one of them I really loved: Joginder made me wings that fit over my arms so I could be a bat. I was in third grade. The other costume was a dog, with black tights and a black sweater on which I had taped white circles. I remember it with the fuzziness of my 12-year-old's embarrassment, which was the year I knew I was too old for trick-or-treating.

The next costumes I remember are from when I was in college, when we held the theatre department's Halloween party at Our House. I was Bink one time. The following year Bink was me, and as flag burning was the hot button issue I was a burned flag. The next jump is to several years later, when two years in a row I was a latte: I wore dark brown boots, a lighter brown skirt, and a white shirt, and as I had lots of curly hair I sprayed it white and taped a cup lid on top.

No one got it, just as no one got my costume this year and last: As The Blues, I wore blue clothes, painted my hair blue and taped classic blues lines to my body ("I woke up this morning" "Put on your high heel sneakers" "Hey Bartender!"). I've landed at a place where I want to be comfortable and be able to sit or dance and not get too hot. Thus, I go for subtle and (hopefully) clever.

Halfway through the day yesterday I realized that I can recycle this idea again next year, but wear wings (though that my compromise comfort) and a halo so I can call myself a Blue Angel. People might be able to figure it out on their own. D'you think?