Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Magic of… Wait, What Magic?

A child sits on Santa's lap, whispering into his ear her deepest desires, telling Santa exactly what she wants this year because she's been so very, very good. She knows Santa's watching her every day from his home high above her at the North Pole.  Even though she can't see him, he’s watching.  She's been told so often that he knows when she's been good or bad, knows if she's naughty or nice. And if she's good, she'll get nice presents, but if she's bad, she won't. She must please Santa to be rewarded.

The same child kneels before her bed in the evening, whispering her prayers to God, thanking Him for the good thinks in her life and telling Him what she wants. She knows God's watching her every day from his home high above her in Heaven.  Even though she can't see Him, He’s watching.  She's been told so often that He knows whether or not she has been behaving, knows if she has thought bad thoughts or wanted to do bad things. If she's good, she'll go to Heaven, but if she's bad, she won't. She must please God to be rewarded.

Then one Christmas Eve, the girl tiptoes down to her Christmas tree long after she should have been asleep and sees her mother putting more presents under the tree, eating the cookies on the plate nearby. There's no reindeer on the roof, no fat man in a red suit, heck, there's not even a chimney.

Why wouldn't she also question God's existence?

 

Christmas. Adults. Nope, they just don't go together. By the time we're adults, most of us have one of two standard perspectives of Christmas, both equally sad. Either the Christmas Story is nothing more than a story, no more real than a jolly man who lives far above us at the North Pole with his helper elves. Or, the events surrounding Jesus' birth are so familiar and comfortable that we can no longer see the miracles in them - those events, why that's just the way things are.

We learn about Christmas as young children.  The story is broken down so we can understand it: Mary and Joseph traveled to Bethlehem on a donkey.  There, the Virgin Mary gave birth to a little boy in a stable, because there was no room at the inn. She put him in a manger and the cattle lowed. Three wise men came to visit and brought him gold, frankincense and myrrh. This baby was Jesus, that guy hanging on a cross in other pictures. God's son, an important person who would become a leader.

As children, we don’t know what a virgin is.  Even if we do, storks bring babies, so so what?  We don’t know that a manger is a food trough, that animals smell and are filthy and can be really mean.  We don’t understand that hay is itchy and can be full of bugs.

As children, we expect people to visit new babies; we expect birthday presents.  We know gold’s nice.  We probably think frankincense and myrrh were normal baby presents back in the day, like diapers and strollers now.  Even as adults, we probably don’t stop to think that these are items used to prepare a body for burial.

As children, it seems perfectly logical that someone who is going to be a great leader starts off very poor and regular-seeming.  Look at Abraham Lincoln, Einstein, Nelson Rockefeller, Obama!  and every other great person we’re encouraged to be like when we’re young school children.  We are taught that the way to success, to become great, is to start off with almost nothing and pull ourselves up by our boot straps.  For Jesus to be born poor and be the Son of God that will save his people, that is no miracle.

And yet, as adults, when we should be able to look at these pieces in the context of biology, of history, of society, when we should be able to understand that a unmarried woman who has never had sex just can’t suddenly become pregnant, when we should be able to understand how awful it would be to sleep in a barn with some animals, or how scary it might be for a mother to receive burial ointments at the birth of her son, when we should be able to contemplate how much it would suck to walk for days and days, how uncomfortable it is to sit on a donkey or how difficult it is to get a donkey to do what you want, when we should be able to really get all the many miracles and the hardships in the story, we don’t think about them at all.  It’s Christmas; it’s normal; it happens every year.  And the magic is lost, as lost as if we didn’t believe at all.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A Well-Dressed Packer Fan

My sister, Alfred, is a huge Packer fan.  On every single game day, she decks herself out in green and gold, with her cheesehead earrings, Packers sock, a Packers top and Packers bottoms.
Unfortunately, her Packers bottoms, as seen here, resemble pajama bottoms.  With most Packer games being on Sundays, that means Alfred, much to the chagrin of her fashion-diva sister, often wears these knit pants to church.

Sewing machine to the rescue!  (And a very patient mommy/seamstress phone consultant.)
Now Alfred has a nice outfit for game days.  She described it as “the coolest Packer dressy outfit ever!”  I am very happy.


wendy's packer outfit
A green velvet circle skirt with matching jacket.  Instead of a poodle, like the traditional circle skirt, it has cheese! 

Hooray for giant sequins.
I made the skirt a size bigger than Alfred’s normal size on purpose.  Circle skirts are designed to go on your natural waistline, and Alfred hates things at her waist.  She said it feels slightly loose, but that could just be the weight.  (It’s 3.5 lbs!)  She danced around a bit in it and it didn’t fall off.  Plus, she knows how to sew too, so she can move the hook and eye if need be.

The only slightly bad part was hemming the skirt.  It took 3 days.  I actually ran out of the pretty gold lace hem tape and had to go back to the store to get a third pack.  The skirt is 7 yds around!  The Legend commented, ‘make it slightly bigger and she could mark 1st downs.’
The jacket is reversible.  On one side, it’s the regular green velvet, like the skirt.  back of reversible jacket croppedOn the other, green satin with her favorite player’s number.  This was a bit tricky.  The pattern was for an unlined jacket with facing.  Plhhh.  How boring.  With plenty of virtual assistance from Mommy, I managed to create a reversible version without two much trouble.  Somehow, I managed to get most of it stitched together inside out, leaving only a small place at the bottom for turning that had to be stitched up by hand.

I also lengthened the jacket because the pattern was designed to go with a skirt on the waist, not on the hips.  If I didn’t lengthen it, it would stop at an awkward place above the top of the skirt.  I think it came out a good length. Alfred seemed to think it was ok, too.

Originally, Mommy and I were thinking this would make a good Christmas gift for Alfred.  Then, we thought maybe she’d wnt to wear it on Christmas.  No Packer game that day, but it’s still a pretty outfit.  But then, we realized the Packers play on Thanksgiving.  What a perfect day for a nice new Packer outfit!  She got it in the mail today. :)
I’m so happy she likes it.  I was worried it wouldn’t fit at all, or that she wouldn’t like something about it.  I hope she sends picture of her wearing it.  Maybe some with her and PackerSpockMonkey hint, hint…

Monday, November 23, 2009

Finally El Cerrito UMC

“We tend to sit together up front on the left, it stays warmer that way,” the lady greeting me explained as I entered the small church. A few people in choir robes milled around in the first three pews up there so I asked for clarification from one of the few non-robed people. “Right here.” She said, pointing to the area I had thought was for the choir. Still uncertain and feeling a bit odd about sitting with the choir, I chose a seat at the end of the pew directly behind the choir.

When the service began, I started to understand. About half the people in attendance wore choir robes. I made the number present an even dozen, though a few more trickled in as the service went on, perhaps bringing the final number close to twenty. Even by the end, there were only two men present. Even more surprising, all the people were white. That never happens in the Bay.

Communion was laid out on the head table, which also confused me since it was not the first Sunday of the month, the Sunday generally reserved for Communion in the Methodist church. The back of the bulletin listed the Minister as “All of Us.” It seems in this church Communion occurs whenever an ordained person is available to come and give it. So, this day, this fourth Sunday was Communion Sunday in this church. The visiting, I don’t even know what she’s called, tore off pieces of a single croissant and gave them to each worshiper to dip in the white grape juice. Flaky pieces of croissant floated on top of the nearly clear liquid.

One of the choir-robe decked people gave the sermon. I liked what I heard, but I’ll admit I was having a very hard time paying attention. My mind was wandering, thinking about how much I need to get out of here, how much this perfectly epitomized my impression of this God-forsaken place.

Not that God has forsaken it, but that it has forsaken God. To love God, or rather, to acknowledge that you love God, makes you an outcast here. I hate that. Everyone is so concerned with individualism and political correctness (that’s what the sermon was about!), that there is no room for God.

Maybe that’s why I was so happy when the Jehovah’s Witnesses showed up at my door in the middle of the week and again on Saturday. Here were people who were not afraid of their faith; who were willing to go out on a limb and share that faith. I know it’s part of their beliefs and practices to go door-to-door, but I still admire them for the ability to do it in this hostile environment. I wonder what the most common reaction they get is.

I’ll go back to this church, when I’m around here. Even though it makes me sad to see such a small congregation. The people were nice, it’s a walkable distance, the singing was beautiful, and I need church. However, I am hoping there are many more Sunday trips to Merced in my future, I really like that church in Atwater and want to go back as often as possible.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Go Bears!

no chicago bearsNo, not those Bears. 
These Bears. go-bears

Last weekend, I had the lucky opportunity of attending a Cal football game with my friend Short Artichoke.  She, like Mr. Trizzle, is a Cal alum, so this was a much bigger deal for her than for me.  Although, maybe not since she has season tickets and this was the only college football game I’ve been to. (Maybe I went to one at my undergrad, but that hardly counts.)

The game was at a really weird time because the tv networks decided it would be.  And there were random weird long breaks during the game for the tv network to show their advertisements.  All in all though, it was still a football game.

The stands were less than packed (the team has been less than stellar) and we were able to easily slide on into the students’ section.  I had heard from Mr. Trizzle that this was the place to be on game day, so I was pretty excited about the seats.

The students have some interesting traditions.  One really neat one is where they each have a stack of colored pieces of paper and some instructions.  Someone calls out a number and they all hold up the card that matches that number on the instruction sheet.  The result is a giant picture in the stands!  Pretty neat.  Many of the pictures had to do with insulting Stanford, even though the opponent that day was Arizona, not Stanford.  (What kind of a mascot is a tree?!)

One of the less neat things was this guy with a microphone at the bottom of the stands that was sort of a modern day version of the old cheerleaders with the megaphones.  He led cheers, but he didn’t always do it well.  Still neat to be in the cheering section though.

Most of the game was watching the teams trade punts back and forth, but then at the end it got interesting.  The game was really close, and ironically, Cal almost lost by scoring a touchdown.  Cal was up by 2 points with a minute forty left on the clock when they got the ball back.  So what did they do?  Immediately ran it in for a touchdown, and missed the extra point.  Now, there was a minute thirty on the clock, the other team had the ball and only needed a touchdown and two point conversion to win the game.  They came very close.

My favorite part was when Arizona was within field goal range, going for a touchdown and got a 15 yard penalty, which took them out of field goal range, because they had thrown the ball forward twice on one play!  That almost made up for Cal throwing interceptions in the end zone two drives in a row.

When we arrived, it was a gorgeous sunny day, but the sun soon set and it became blistery cold.  Mmmmm, just like home, memories of watching high school football games.  Even though I was freezing and huddled deep into the Cal sweatshirt Mr. Trizzle had so generously leant me, it felt good.  Yes, I hate being cold.  But I’d forgotten some of the loveliness that comes with being cold.  That tingle all over your body when you go inside.  The sharp air in your nose as you take a deep breath.  The complete awareness of every part of yourself that comes into contact with the world outside your clothing.  Drafts through knits, gusts that send chills up loose sleeves.  You know you’re alive.  It’s wonderful.

I had a wonderful time with Short Artichoke at the game and am very happy she convinced me to brave Berkeley for it.  Maybe I’ll get to go again next year. :)
cathy and me at cal game

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Decoy

Compliments are nice; a girl likes a little positive feedback once in awhile. But, there’s a big difference between “excuse me, I know it’s none of my business, but you have nice legs,” and “hey, how are you? can I get your number? maybe I can call you sometime. when are you free?”

Sometimes, a girl just reaches a breaking point. For me, that breaking point was when I was walking past a guy and his two kids pushing a shopping cart in the super market. The dad told the kids to go back by their mom and then tried to holler. Umm.. no. That’s it. This has got to stop. So I have a decoy.

Sitting on my dresser, in its small black box was an old diamond ring from a previous life. I kept it there with a ticket stub from Blood Diamond to remind me of the things other people sacrifice so we can live our lives of privilege. I hope the gentleman that gave it to me will forgive me for wearing it again, but that diamond ring is now on my left hand. And so far, it seems to be working!

I’ve been able to ride BART and the bus without anyone hollerin'. I did get a few comments walking from the ICP concert to the club where I met my roommate, but I realized my hand was covered up. And at the club, boy was I happy to have that ring.

Mr. Trizzle says he doesn’t even notice it, but I think things are different when you’re at a club or trying to holler. In those instances, your looking for clues, hints that let you know if the person is available or not. (Most of the time, not always.) So even though Mr. Trizzle and other people I see frequently might not notice, people at the club certainly did.

One guy I was dancing with asked, “where’s your husband?” I just smiled and said, “not here.” (Not exactly a lie, but not giving me away.) He walked away! Awesome. Another guy I was dancing with asked if I left my man at home. Someone else made a comment too, but I forgot what it was.

I managed to leave the club having danced with more people than I could count. I think my decoy contributed to that because it made it more likely I’d find the people who were just there to dance instead of the people who were trying to get someone to take home and would pick a target, pounce, and not let go.

We stayed at the club until closing (my roommate managed to lose his glasses off his face without realizing it and we had to wait ‘til the lights were on to look for the glasses, which we didn’t find.) I left without having given anyone my number or having anyone buy me a drink. I was very proud. My roommate was annoyed and said I was again being the epitome of everything he hates about women. Good.

The best part of the club was the guy who tried to buy me a drink. I had already ordered my water when he sauntered over to the bar. Seeing that the bartender was getting me something, he said, “make it 2” and tried to pay. I gave the bartender her tip and walked away chuckling as she tried to explain to the guy that there was nothing to pay for because it was just water. She was still trying when I came back for my refill. The guy was befuddled. I was highly amused.

The club was great, and my little decoy is making traveling around the Bay and going out much more bearable. It sure beats dressing skuzzy, which I was starting to think might be my next option.

(By the way, I think the only reason I attract more attention here than I’m used to is because I stick out above the tops of most crowds. I’m taller than the average out here and, unlike pretty much everyone else, I wear heels all the time.)

Monday, November 16, 2009

Wi-Wi-Wicked Clowns

bang boom pow tour This weekend was so eventful, it may take me all week to cover it! (And to recover from it.) During the past week, I’ve gone out in the City four nights and two other nights out elsewhere. That’s far too much for little old me, but there was so much interesting stuff going on! One of the weekend’s many highlights was Friday night’s Insane Clown Posse concert.

The Insane Clown Posse (ICP) are an acquired taste. I still remember when I acquired it. Way back in the day, my high school boyfriend had a car with a cassette deck, and one cassette: ICP’s The Riddlebox. For the longest time, I absolutely hated it. I did most people who hear ICP casually do, I heard only the swear words and violent lyrics.

But as I listened to the album more and more (mostly against my will), I began to hear what they were actually saying. And I liked it. I liked ICP and I liked them for their social commentary and the message in their music: do good, be good and you’ll be rewarded, be bad, do evil and you will be punished.

The line that converted me from hater to juggalette, from the song “Dead Body Man” where the wicked clowns are talking about eating dead bodies:

You think I’m sick, take a look at yourself; you got dead deer heads up on your shelf; on your keychain is a little baby rabbit’s hand; I’m just a dead body man.

As a vegetarian, I thought they made the point rather well.

I couldn’t find anyone to go to the concert with me out here, so I just went by myself. And I had a blast! ICP always does an amazing show! There were crazy dancers, lots of clowns – in the audience and on stage – wrestling antics and a “tribute” to Michael Jackson after which they performed their song about catching pedophiles. And, of course, plenty of Faygo.

The Faygo came out on the first song. And even though I got a balcony seat to avoid being covered in sticky soda, I still got hit in the arm with a Faygo bottle. Root beer spilled down my arm and over my purse. Oh well. It wasn’t a lot. And considering how many 2Liters were launched into the audience, I’m lucky I only got that little bit on me. The people in the general admission area were completely soaked. (That’s where I was nearly 10 years ago when I went to my first ICP concert. I’m too old for that now. Although, SF juggalos are much milder than Milwaukee ones.)

Since the concert was part of the Bang! Boom! Pow! tour, every other song was off the new album (same name) and the classics were sprinkled in between. There were only one or two songs that I didn’t know well enough to sing along. I especially enjoyed the dance-along before the show when the hidden track off the new album, “Chop Chop Slide” was played over the speakers for the waiting audience.

The most surprising thing about the concert was that it was over by 11:30. ICP came on stage much earlier than I expected. At first I was mad that it was done that early because I could have taken BART instead of driving to the City. However, I was very glad that not only was I not covered in sticky sweet Faygo, but also that I had not painted my face. With the concert getting out so early, I was able to meet up with my roommate at one of the dance clubs. But that’s another story.

P.S. My favorite song off the new album is called “Vera Lee”. I think part of the reason I like it is because the hook has few enough notes that I can sing along in tune. Plus it’s got that deep, moving sound that I like and the story is intense.

[Image from: http://www.juggalonews.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1596]

Thursday, November 12, 2009

American Idiot

A guest post by Daddy Bunny and Mr. Fuzzy

Hello all, it’s your favorite anthropomorphic rabbit, Daddy Bunny. My cousin, Mr. Fuzzy, is visiting us while his mom is in Scotland. He wants to tell you about the fun he had last night. I’m helping him because he does not use a computer as often as I do. Take it away Mr. Fuzzy!

Hi. I’m Mr. Fuzzy. I’m Daddy Bunny’s cousin and I’m staying with him and my auntie until my mom gets home from Scotland. My sister, April, is staying with our other auntie. Mom could only afford a few extra tickets, so we had to stay in the US. Luckily, we have nice aunties to take care of us and fun cousins to play with.

Last week was my mom’s birthday. My aunt and I really wanted to celebrate with her, but we couldn’t because she is far away. My aunt had a great idea though. She decided we would celebrate my mom’s birthday by going to see a rock opera using some of my mom’s favorite music. The show has the same title as the album with the music it uses, American Idiot. The music is by the band Green Day. We went to the show last night. It was in a nearby town called Berkeley at the Berkeley Reparatory Theater. (Boy that is a big word for a little monkey!)

The show was really, really good. My auntie liked it so much, she wanted to take me back for a second time, but she couldn’t get any more tickets. That was too bad, cuz I really liked the show and would have liked to see it again from further back. We were in the front row, and since I’m little and was sitting on my auntie’s lap, I really had to lean my head back to see. My neck still hurts a little bit. But it was worth it.

The people on stage were really good. They sang well, and they danced well, and they had fun tennis shoes on. I could see the shoes really well from where we were sitting. I bet my auntie liked that. She likes shoes a lot. It was also really neat to see how the album made up these three different stories. Well, I guess it was sort of one story about 3 different people. Or something like that…?

I’m a lot more familiar with the music than my auntie was because I’ve heard my mom play it a lot. I tried to explain some of the songs to my aunt, but her Monkey isn’t very good and I didn’t have Daddy Bunny there to translate.

Since my mom couldn’t be at the show, we got her a present. It’s special poster made for this show. This show was the world premier. Not specifically the one we saw, but all the playings together at this theater. Here are pictures of me with the front and back of the poster we got for my mom.

american idiot (1) american idiot (6)

I am very glad my aunt took me to the show. It was much better than the last one she took me to. (Daddy Bunny: my mom took Mr. Fuzzy to a show at the little theater where I saw Harvey. Mr. Fuzzy said it was very strange, a little scary and had funny talking people in it.) I can’t wait to tell my mom all about American Idiot when I see her at Christmas!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Happy Birthday Browser

Last night Mozilla threw a huge birthday party for it’s special baby. The Firefox browser turned 5!

A nice perk of working for one of the open-techie-non-profits in alex and me and sign full length croppedSan Francisco is invites to events like this. Only two of us from work were able to go, but boy did we have fun! It was a great party; a dance party in fact.

There were special drinks made up just for the occasion. They were called foxtails and had vodka, rum, Midori and white cranberry juice, and they were served on the rocks with a special plastic ice cube that flashed red and orange in the glass. I usually am not a fan of some of the ingredients, but those drinks were yummy!

The place was decorated with red and orange flashing lights. light decorationsThere were shrimp and veggie kabobs outside the venue and little round orange carpet circles that led you from the entrance gate, passed the kabob stand, into the large hall. Inside treats included crème brûlée in various flavors, even Frosted Flakes!, and Firefox temporary tattoos.

The music was mostly electronic beats, but played with familiar song lyrics on top of them. Interesting, and good enough to get most people out on the dance floor. At one point, I got to see Mr. Firefox himself (or one of the incarnations of the night) break dancing. He lost his foot!

There were four cakes, each sculpted like different cake spreadFirefox logos, including the spherical fox wrapped around the globe one. Each cake was a different flavor. I missed out on the raspberry cream layered cake and had to wait patiently by as they divided out all of the double chocolate that I had no interest in eating. Then they cut into that giant sphere cake. Yellow layer cake with a not-too-sweet frosting. Delicious!

But one of my favorite parts of the whole night was getting my picture taken with Mr. Firefox himself!

me and firefox

[Unfortunately, this was during one of Mr. Firefox’s shorter incarnations of the evening, so I had to bend down a bit, but it’s still a cute picture!]

Both my coworker and I had a great time at Firefox’s birthday party. We talked, we ate yummy food, drank yummy drinks, danced and enjoyed the scene. Thanks Mozilla, for throwing such a nice party.


P.S. Yes that's the dress I got stuck in. I actually received quite a number of compliments on the dress at the party, which I thought was a little weird since it was a dance party.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Ack! I’m Stuck!

Dresses from back in the day certainly had their share of elaborate closures.  As I put on the 1940’s styled dress my mom made me some time ago, I thought, “how did women dress themselves?!”  Then I remembered, they didn’t have to, they never lived alone.  Well, I am not so fortunate, and this morning, that really sucked.

The dress, the 1940s styled dress, was my Easter dress some time back. I think maybe in high school, though it might have been college.  When Mom made it, as usual with my retro patterned clothes, it was too small and I needed to wear a waist cincher.  It fits nicely now, although the seams area bit stretched from previous years of forcing myself into it.  It’s so cute!

However, no matter how cute or how well it fits, it is still not easy to put on.  It has a side opening with metal snaps and a hook and eye, as well as a back opening that is half zipper and half small round buttons with thread loop button holes.  And those loop button holes, at the top of my back, are the bane of my existence today.

I was doing fine.  Really proud that I was managing to put this dress on all by myself.  And then I buttoned a button wrong.  So I tried to undo it, but I somehow put the button through the loop again.  And a third time.  I could not unbutton that button.  So, not only could I not fix the buttons so I could button the rest and be fully dressed, I could not get the dress off to put something else on instead.  I was, in fact, stuck half dressed.

My roommate works a quasi 2nd shift schedule, and he’s a heavy sleeper.  I knocked on his door just enough to see if he was up (cuz I didn’t want to wake him if he wasn’t), he wasn’t.   I was very stuck and as much as tried, I could not undo that button.

Finally, I gave up.  I put on my shoes and my makeup, ate my breakfast, packed my lunch anmon nov 9 (2) croppedd put on my jacket, mostly to hide the back of my dress.  And it was off to work I went, hi ho, with my buttons not in a row.

Luckily, I have some very nice coworkers, and one of them attempted to undo the button.  She couldn’t.  I had gotten it so messed up trying to undo it myself that it was hopeless.  Snip.  She had to cut the button loop.  Then she was able to button the rest of the buttons properly.  And, she had a safety pin to close up the gap with the now missing button loop.  Hooray!

[Pic: me after being properly fixed.]

Now, the fun part will be trying to get this off.

Church! Finally. Sort of…

I finally made it to a church service today. It was wonderful. I really need that. However, it wasn’t the El Cerrito United Methodist Church that I’ve been trying to go to for about a month or so. But, it was a United Methodist Church. Let me tell you the story…

Mr. Trizzle and I decided to go bowling in Atwater. It’s a little town about 10 minutes from his town and is his nearest bowling alley. It’s also cheaper than bowling around where I live. We decided to meet at the bowling alley at 11.

Once I knew what time we were meeting for bowling, I was able to look for a church. It just had to be somewhere between El Cerrito and Atwater and get out at a time that allowed me to get to Atwater’s bowling alley by 11. Atwater United Methodist Church just happens to be directly across the street from the bowling alley and have a 10 am service. Perfect!

The church was really nice and everyone was extremely welcoming. The congregation was small, but more diverse than I expected. People were dressed up for church and the old ladies had short permed hair like old ladies are supposed to have.

Today was a special service for Veterans’ Day on the 11th. Atwater used to be home to Castle Military Base. Half the population was associated with the base. When it closed, the town was devastated. It’s rebounding a bit now, but is still very much a military town. Even the pastor of the church is retired military, 20 years.

The pastor asked people who had served in the military to stand. Most of the men and a few of the younger women stood. Then he asked spouses of people who had served to stand. About half the congregation was standing. Then he asked parents of those who had served to stand. By that point, there were about 3 or 4 of us left sitting.

The special service was really neat. It was a singing w/ narration type deal. They sang the usual patriotic songs, including the Star Spangled Banner, for which everyone stood, and recited portions of “The Gettysburg Address” the “Declaration of Independence “ and a newer speech I didn’t recognize. One soprano cracked trying to reach the really high note at the end of God Bless America, but it didn’t matter. It was still all very beautiful.

The service actually ended a little early so I had plenty of time to change out of church clothes, into jeans, and head to the bowling alley. Bowling was lots of fun. We hadn’t bowled in several months, so we only played 3 games. As usual, I won one and Mr. Trizzle won the rest.

Then we headed into Merced for lunch. Mr. Trizzle is still exploring the town and finding good places to eat. This time it was a cute little diner. Pretty good food. After that, I helped him unpack some things and got to assemble a shoe rack for him. It’s nice to be good at something.

It was a really fun day. Nice weather, a great time with a good friend and an uplifting church service. That nice Sunday dose of God and patriotism may be just enough to get me through my two scheduled visits to Berkeley this week.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Pse Tlyde Pte and Other Funny Prefixes

The other day I was helping my new roommate, The Legend, move.  Well, I was trying to help.  However, The Legend is a guy, and being such, he had absolutely nothing packed, practically refused to use boxes, and when he did agree to use a box obstinately insisted that it was assembled correctly and was supposed to have wings.  (Really, it isn’t this difficult. plhhh, men.)

So basically, my helping consisted mostly of driving the car.  And waiting.  Waiting for him to scoop whatever mass of fibers, metal and who-knows-what off his floor and into giant bags.  While waiting, I discovered two wonderful things.  The first was the remote to his mother’s television.  This remote was the most ridiculous thing I had ever seen.  It was HUGE!  Practically as big as the tv screen itself.  It was so big, I assumed it was a toy and was quite surprised when my pushing the power button caused the television to turn on.

There was my second wonderful discovery, a PBS show called Dinosaur Train.  It’s a bout a family of Pteranodons, or something else I probably can’t pronounce, and their adopted T-Rex that hatched in their nest.  The family goes on different adventures on the Dinosaur Train, which allows them to time travel, too.  In this particular episode one of the young Pteranodons, Tiny, was upset because he lost his special place as the littlest to a microraptor the family visited via the Dinosaur Train.  I could sympathize with Tiny.  He felt about the little microrapter just like I did on Sunday about Mr. Trizzle and the Legend when they took away my job of organizing the packing in the moving truck.  We all need our special roles.  In the end, the littel microrapter and Tiny worked together to save the day.  (And Mr. Trizzle, the Legend and I worked together to pack the truck up nice.)  Oh, and I learned that “micro” means “small.” ;)

I really liked the show.  I kept wondering if Alfred would like it, too, since it’s about dinosaurs; or whether it would upset her because she’d be pointing out all the things wrong with it.  “A T-Rex egg wouldn’t just show up in a Pteranodon nest!” she’d say.  But the show made the Pteranodons travel through time on the Dinosaur Train in order to visit the microraptors (since the microraptors have wings and feathers, I’m assuming they are from a later time period), so Alfred should be pleased about that.  I got the show for my Zune, so maybe we can watch it together after Christmas.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Munchkinhead Joins Big People

I’ve hardly gotten used to the idea that I can drink, and now - oh how unbelievable - my pretty little munchkinhead is 21!  It seems just the other day she was playing dress up and making funny faces. flying katrina vampire editedOh wait, that was just the other day.

 80s katrnia

Munchkinhead has discovered, during her time in Scotland, the glorious yummy-ness that is Amarula.  The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.  Or should that be the marula fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree?  Anyway, Mommy is already stocking up on Amarula for Christmas.  We’ll really celebrate then.  (By the way, the glass on the Amarula website is far too small.)

I’m not sure what Munchkinhead is doing to celebrate her birthday, other than staying up all night to write a paper.  I’m celebrating next week by going to see the musical version of one of her favorite albums, American Idiot.  It’s the sort of thing I’d take her to, if she were in the same city, or on the same continent as me.  Maybe there will be something just as good when she comes to visit in the spring.

And now, a song:

Happy Birthday to You

You ah-are a zoo

You would be a monkey

If your tail had grew

Love you pretty little munchkinhead.  Happy 21st Birthday!!!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Hallo Weeeeeeee Een

I wasn’t expecting to have a very fun or exciting Halloween.  After all, Mr. Trizzle was moving away that weekend, and there’s nothing fun about that.  But life is always full of surprises, and Halloween weekend turned out to be pretty great. …even with the depressing move.

Mr. Trizzle’s friend, The L E G E N ol (who, for sake of typing ease I’m just calling The Legend) needed help with his Halloween costume.  At the suggestion of Mr. Trizzle (who’s too good/lazy/busy for Halloween costumes), The Legend was dressing up as Rick Ross.rick_ross_cellphone

This is Rick Ross –> 

He’s a rapper from Miami. 

As you can see, The Legend needed a giant chain of his/Rick Ross’s face.  Enter goldenrail and a trip to Jo-Ann Fabrics.  (You know I’m always looking for excuses to go there.)

Several days and two bags of rhinestones later, Rick Ross appeared in our apartment.

halloween rick ross eating fried chicken

As it turned out, Mr. Trizzle and I got to be Rick  Ross’s entourage for an exclusive party Friday night.  Neither of us had costumes, but that didn’t matter.  Mr. Trizzle just claimed Recession Halloween and my cute owls were festive enough.

rick ross me and mr trizzle on halloween

But Halloween weekend didn’t just involve parties and moving boxes; it also included that staple of all Halloweens: pumpkin carving!!!!

On Saturday afternoon, my new friend came over to carve pumpkins.  He’s from Nigeria, so he’d never carved a pumpkin before.  (Pumpkins are food over there, not decorations.  Interestingly enough, that’s two years in a row I’ve had a Nigerian pumpkin carving day.)

He did one, and I did two, one for me and one for Daddy Bunny.  Daddy Bunny’s Grandma suggested he join in, but then remembered pumpkin carving is very messy and he doesn’t bath well.  So, Daddy Bunny designed his vampire bunny pumpkin, and I helped him out by carving it for him.  Here are our finished pumpkins.  (Unfortunately, since it was day time, you can’t tell they’re lit up.)

carved pumpkins

Sunday was moving day all day.  That wasn’t bad.  Though it was sad to say goodbye to Mr. Trizzle, I got to drive his car (with his awesome stereo) the two hours to Merced while he drove the moving truck.  Woo hoo for subwoofers!  Mr. Trizzle’s getting settled in now and we’re all excited for him and his new job.

 

 

photo credits: Rick Ross cc-by adroed availble at:  http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/g4Pn-KiGXT8h_0rxmZ47Kg)

The Legend as Rick Ross and Carved Pumpkins cc-by goldenrail

Group picture courtesy of The Legend’s facebook.

 

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Hip Hip Hooray For the New DA!

Now that he’s been able to tell all the people he needed to tell in person, I can announce the good news here – and we can all celebrate. Mr. Trizzle got a new job!!!

He’s still going to be a DA, which is good because he’s a really good DA. But he’s going to a new office, a new county: Merced.

Merced is way……….. over……… here.

merced and el cerrito cropped

It seems like a nice place, based on what Mr. Trizzle’s told me and the things he’s showed me on the internet. And it seemed really cute when we went out there to find him a new home. It’s really cheap. Cheap compared to the Bay (what isn’t?); cheap compared to Nashville; probably on par with Milwaukee. Mr. Trizzle was looking at housing options the other day. He could rent a 3 bedroom house for less than our 2 bedroom apartment!

Of course, this is great news. He’s going to get to keep doing work he loves, and actually get paid properly for it. He’ll have a salary and vacation days and insurance and all that sort of stuff grown-ups are supposed to have.

I have to admit, I am a bit jealous. He gets to leave the Bay before me. It’s not too far away, a couple of hours only, but it sounds so different. So much closer to America. With real people who don’t have 8 gazillion degrees and aren’t trying to save everyone and everything except themselves. (Sorry, I went into Berkeley the other day and it hasn’t worn off yet. El Cerrito’s actually quite nice.) And, he gets a gigantic bedroom with huge windows and sliding doors out to a patio and high ceilings and a mammoth walk-in closet, and I'm left here in this tiny apartment I never would have chosen because it doesn't have enough windows and has stuccoed ceilings. I hope I get to visit someday.

Anyway, we all have to celebrate this wonderful news. A toast! To Mr. Trizzle and his fabulous new job! *clinck clinck* HOORAY!

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Ride

I wake early in the morning, before Mr. Trizzle because I want to make sure I’m ready when he' leaves.  If I’m ready when he’s leaving, I get a ride to the bus stop.  Mr. Trizzle probably thinks I try to be ready because I’m lazy and don’t want to walk to the bus stop.  That isn’t it at all.  The bus stop is only a few short blocks away, and it’s usually a very pleasant walk.  No, I try to be ready not because I am lazy, but because that short ride is one of my favorite parts of the day.

Three minutes.  That’s about how long it lasts.  But those are three wonderful minutes, in my favorite place, the passenger seat of Mr. Trizzle’s car.  He has a big SUV and I feel special sitting up high above the world, the loud bass from his subwoofers rattling the car and letting everyone know we’re coming.  It’s usually a song we both know, something we can sing along with, riding down the street in our stunna shades, each in our own little worlds right next to each other.

It’s only three minutes, but that’s three minutes of just us, no laptops, no work, no books, nothing.  Just us.  And we talk.  It’s the only conversation likely to happen in the morning. Inside, we’re both rushing around, hurrying to get ready.  Him to not be late, me to get to ride along.  In the car, we’re relaxed and we have time.  Just enough time to say ‘hey, what are you planning for the day?’  Just enough time for a friend.  I’m going to miss those three minutes.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Church, Strike 2

It seems like a strange thing to say, but maybe God doesn’t want me to go to church, at least not to this church.

A few weeks ago, I stumbled upon El Cerrito United Methodist Church.  I checked out the website and decided to give it a shot.  I was pretty excited about finding a Methodist practically in my backyard.  Well, last week, you may remember, I arrived at the church for the 9:50 service only to discover it was a 10:00 joint service at a different church far away.

This week, I was super excited about trying again, especially since Mr. Trizzle went out of town for the weekend.  Same as last week, I walked down to the church, enjoying the warm sun and soft breezes and the beautiful vegetation along the footpath under the BART tracks.  And just like last Sunday, the church was all shut up.  Only this time, there were cars parked all along the street.  I had arrived at the church at 9:45, only to discover that this Sunday, service was at 9:00!  Bummer.

The really annoying part is, I was up and ready then.  I could have made a 9 o’ clock service, but I didn’t know.  Instead, I was at home cleaning until 9:30.  Next time, I’m walking to the church on Saturday to read the sign in front of the church so I know when and where the service is on Sunday.  Geez, sure do wish they’d update the website.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Summer PJ’s

It was late August, the beginning of the Bay Area’s warm season, when Mr. Trizzle came home with new doctor’s orders: sleepwear must include long sleeves and long pants.  He had some long underwear shirts and flannel pajama pants.  Neither of those would do for warm nights.

goldenrail to the rescue!  (Ok, so it’s really not a rescue at all, and, as he likes to point out daily, Mr. Trizzle can get along fine without me.  However, I like to feel useful, so just humor me, ok?)  I headed to my favorite little getaway, the Jo-Ann store two blocks away, and set to work finding what I needed to execute my plan.

The basic pajama set pattern was pretty easy to find, but the fabric proved more difficult.  I wanted a nice gauze, in a color that would look good on Mr. Trizzle.  I sort of had my heart set on white.  Unfortunately, the bolt of white obviously didn’t have enough for the whole outfit.

“Maybe I can get the shirt out of white and use something else for the pants,” I thought to myself.  So I took the white and grabbed some beige and headed to the cutting table.  The white was a quarter yard short for the shirt, and in two pieces.  I took it anyway.  I could tell this project was going to be more interesting then I planned.

Getting the front and back out of the large piece of white wasn’t too difficult.  Both were nice cut-on-the-fold pieces and I managed to make more folds by doing the old fold-both-sides-into-the middle-instead-of-folding-in-half trick.  But the other piece was shorter than the sleeves.  Dognabit!

Then I found a nice surprise in my shopping bag.  Less beige than I needed.  The cutting table lady cut it shorter than I asked.  Splendid.  Well, I do love a challenge, and this was turning into quite the challenge. 

With some interesting finagling of the pattern pieces, I managed to just barely squeeze out the four pants pieces.   Then the real fun began.  I cut a long strip from the remainder of the beige and sewed it onto the bottom of the too-short white piece.  The gauze lines on the white went vertical and those of the brown horizontal.  Perfect.  Then I laid out the sleeve piece, which now fit, and I cut.  Final result, the sleeves look like they have neat little mr trizzle's jammiesbeige cuffs, perfectly coordinated with the pants.

I added a drawstring to the waistband (not part of the pattern, but a rather essential pajama pant piece) and made it white to coordinate with the top.  There, a beautiful, light-weight, long-sleeved, long-pants pajama outfit.  Mr. Trizzle must like it a lot, because he wears it every night.  He said he feels sort of like an African king in it.  He does kind of look like one in it. :)

 

Here’s a better shot of the sleeve “cuff.”  It looks like it’s a different color because Mr. Trizzle (who doesn’t need a woman to help him with the laundry) accidentally bleached the shirt, which changed the beige into a sort of greenish tinged color.pants and shirt cuff

That was one of the most fun sewing adventures I’d had all summer.  But then, making something for someone else is always the most fun, especially when it’s a surprise.  :D

Thursday, October 22, 2009

I’ve Reached the Green

At the special request of my mother, I am to post today about my outfit.  As you know, I have been spending the past few months exploring my closet, going down the row, wearing whatever comes next.  Earlier this week, I reached the green section.

Today’s item was an olive green RED shirt (from the RED collection; there is no color called olive green red, that would be brown).  It’s a v-neck t-shirt, although a little softer in shape than most t-shirts.  I didn’t want to just wear it with jeans, since I don’t really like jeans all that much.  So, I started at the top of the closet and began flipping my way through the clothes.

It just so happens the shirt coordinates nicely with a skirt waiting just a few hangers down, a skirt that would probably have come up for wearing on Saturday or Sunday.  A skirt I don’t think I’ve worn since college.  It’s a cute skirt.  But I could never seem to find the right top for it.  And for the longest time, it just looked funny on me.  (I was bigger in college than I am now.)  After today, I think it’s my new favorite skirt.side green wool skirt                                    

Mommy made the skirt for me, I think about 9 years ago.  At least I’m pretty sure she made it and not me.  The plaids line up on the side.  The fabric is a green wool plaid.  I front green wool skirtbelieve it was part of the large stack my mom inherited from my grandpa’s house when he had to move into a home.  The skirt’s got a little fish tail in the back which I think gives it a nice shape.  It’s warm, and comfy and olive is a good color for me.  Well, at least for my eyes, which turn a pretty shade of green when I wear olive.

Two pieces of clothing I almost never wear, now one fabulous outfit.  And that’s what makes exploring my closet so much fun!

Monday, October 19, 2009

My Little Hill

For as much as I complain about the Bay Area, I really like El Cerrito. Mr. Trizzle did a great job picking out where we live. It‘s a nice little town and I can be quite content without going much beyond its borders. The playhouse I found, where Daddy Bunny and I saw Harvey, is the El Cerrito Community Theater, just a mile behind us. Turns out there’s a really cute little community back there.

The El Cerrito Middle School is over there, as well as recycling center that includes free book exchanges and a Goodwill drop off center. There’s also the El Cerrito United Methodist Church. I attempted to go there today.

It was a beautiful morning. Warm and sunny. The birds were chirping and a soaring on the fall breeze. Joggers and people riding bikes passed me as I walked along the footpath under the Bart tracks. Sidewalks down quiet residential streets took me up and down a few slight hills. My friend MattE and I talked caught up with each other on the week’s events. It was a good, happy, morning. Then I reached the church. “Sunday, October 18th Joint Service at Vallejo UMC.” Darn it. I’m nowhere near Vallejo. So much for church.

But one little set back can’t ruin a whole day. No church? Time for the next best Sunday pastime (remember, I don’t get Packer games here) a trip to Jo-Ann! What a perfect way to enjoy more fresh air. I needed an embroidery hoop anyway. – I’ve been doing some counted-cross stitch. The cross-stitch part is going ok; the counting, not so much.

Not only did I get an embroidery hoop at the Plaza, I got a haircut! Finally, all the badly damaged, oddly colored, frizz left over from being Jessica Rabbit two years ago is gone! It almost looks like I dyed my hair because it’s now all dark brown. As if I didn’t already look enough like Mommy! But getting it cut also has the nice benefit of perking up my curls. :)

The afternoon was full of sewing, until it was time to make dinner. Mr. Trizzle’s mom joined us for dinner, which is also a fun treat. This time she brought a really crazy movie with her so we didn’t get as much of her great conversation as usual, but it was still fun to see her.

All in all, a great day in my little town. When I stay within El Cerrito, Albany and Richmond, I actually like living here. (Oakland’s cool too, but getting there requires going through Berkeley.)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

I Can’t Win

Faithful readers may remember a little tale from a week ago when I tried to go to work and didn’t quite make it.  Well, it seems the bus gods were against me yet again yesterday.  This time the victim was a cute yellow and orange plaid skirt circa 1960-something, a yellow sweater and brown lace-up boots with the fur.  Oh yea, and me.

I woke up to a dreary, overcast day, nothing unusual in the Bay.  Except, it was also raining.  Pouring pretty much.  Constant downpour, with not a speck of sunlight peeking through.  In other words, sucky,  and totally out of season.  Apparently, yesterday broke all kinds of weather records for the area, including some that counted all the rain from April through today.  Craziness.

With full intentions of going into the office, and a giant rainbow colored golf umbrella, I headed out the door and down to the bus stop.  Usually, Mr. Trizzle can drop me off near the stop on his way to work, but yesterday he was going somewhere else.  So I walked down the few blocks to the stop. 

I got a little wet on the way there.  It took both hands to hold onto the umbrella, and that was difficult while also holding my laptop bag.  The wind was driving the rain a bit sideways, but it wasn’t too bad.  Nothing like the rain in Nashville, that’s for sure!  I think if the bus had come on time, or even just five minutes late, I would have been ok.  I would have dried out at the office.

But the bus didn’t come on time, or five minutes late, or even ten minutes late.  By the time the bus was fifteen minutes late, I could squish my toes in the water inside my boots.  My jacket was soaked through on one side, and my skirt.  My once light brown boots were a deep dark brown.  By this point, even if the next bus came, I was so wet, I’d never dry out at the office.

Home again, home again jigidy jig, without a fat hen.  Just with a sopping wet me.  Even my laptop got wet.  The rain had soaked through both my bag and my laptop case.  Luckily, only the outside of the laptop got a little wet.

out to dry

The worst part is, I wasn’t the only one in the office that had this happen to them!  Maybe we can blame it on the unexpectedness of the rain, but it appears the buses don’t operate in the rain.  Perhaps the transit company should borrow the tourists’ ducks or something.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Celebrate

Quick! Go get a glass. Preferably a pretty one. Got one? Ok, now, add some wine or some other fancy drink and some ice cubes. Yes, you must have ice cubes. Now, ready, set, toast! It’s that time again. Happy Birthday Alfred!erica, sara, heather and wendy on wendy's bed

[Alfred on a past birthday with her cousins. She’s the one being held hostage.]

Alfred’s had a wonderful year. At least from my perspective looking back. I hope she’d agree. I mean, just look at all the things she’s done since her last birthday!

Here’s to another great year Alfred! Love, your big sister.

(P.S. you’re going to have to stop having birthdays soon or you’re going to pass me up. I had to stop this year so I won’t pass Mommy up. After all, she’s only 32, she couldn’t pass Grandpa up.)

plhhhh

Saturday, October 10, 2009

The Theater, the Theater

Guest post by Daddy Bunny

My mom’s been kinda unhappy lately. I’m not really sure why. We have this nice big, squishy bed. She and I get to hang out every night, and I’m safe from being dropped kicked all the time. Plus, Mr. Fuzzy’s visiting! I think everything’s fabulous. But my mom doesn’t seem to think so. Like I said, she’s been unhappy.

She decided that one thing that would make her happy would be to go out and do more things. I don’t really get this. I mean, what could be better than staying home and playing with me and Mr. Fuzzy? But no, she wants to do stuff. So she got tickets to the theater and she said I could go with her!

At first, I thought we were going to go on a long trip and visit her friend, The Great Ecclestone. Usually, when we go to a show, he’s in it, and we travel very far to see it. But she said nope, no Great Ecclestone this time. This show was right here in our own town. Something called a community theater. I didn’t understand why we’d go see a show without the great Ecclestone, until she explained that this show has something to do with bunny rabbits!

Well, you can imagine how excited a show about bunny rabbits would make me! I was hopping up and down with joy that I was going to get to go see this show with my mom. The Great Ecclestone is great and all, and we’ve seen plenty of things in his shows - horses, reindeer, Mayans - but never any bunny rabbits.

I got all dressed up, carefully smoothing out the wrinkles in my patches and tucking my ears nicely behind my head. Maybe, just maybe, I thought, there’d be a pretty little girl bunny in the show. Boy was I wrong. Bunny rabbits indeed!

The show was called Harvey. And there was only one rabbit in the whole thing. He wasn’t a cute little bunny rabbit either. No indeed. He was a very big rabbit. And he was invisible.

At least, he was invisible during the play. He must be visible sometimes because there was a painting of him and his best friend. Maybe he can choose when to be invisible and has stage fright and doesn’t like being visible when all those people are watching.

There may have only been one non-girl rabbit, but he was really important. So important, the play was named after him: Harvey. Harvey’s a very big rabbit. Much, much bigger than me. About the size of four of me, each standing on top of me, or about the size of my mom in her boots.

In the painting of him and his friend, Harvey is wearing a necktie, just like the ones I wear for holidays. Harvey also had a shirt collar under his necktie, but no shirt. I’m not really sure how that works, but the play was set in the 1950s so maybe clothes were different back then. Harvey had a hat too, but his was different than my hats. My hats have one whole in the middle for both my ears. His hat had two holes, one for each ear.

Harvey doesn’t seem to like to make himself visible to his friend’s family. And this causes all sorts of problems for his friend. His friend’s family thinks he’s crazy because he’s friends with a big, white rabbit that they can’t see. Then they try to get his friend put into a mental hospital because of it! Can you imagine that? Getting locked up just for being friends with a rabbit?!

Anyway, the play was pretty good. I sat on my mom’s lap. When Harvey goes places on trains or to the theater, his friend gets him his own ticket. But, he is much bigger than me, so I guess that makes sense. If I had my own seat, I wouldn’t be able to see.

DSCI0001After the show, the cast came out, and I got my picture taken with Harvey! We went outside by the theater sign. I sat on top of the sign and Harvey stood next to it. My mom had to turn the camera the long ways cuz Harvey’s so big. Then, my mom and I skipped and danced and did The Bunny Hop all the way home. (This one, not this one.) - They were playing it as the exit music after the show.

I’m really glad I’m not invisible, so no one will think my mom is crazy.

Friday, October 9, 2009

goldenrail, Made with Real Cheese

The other day I got some junk email, unfiltered out by Google. A flyer about special cheese makers in the Bay Area that only use local this that and the other thing. The flyer newsletter thingy had a special section showcasing some woman in New York City. “Queen of cheese making” or something ridiculous they called her. “One of the most important influences in American cheese making.”

I scrolled to the bottom of the flyer newsletter thingy. There, hidden among other tiny little links was the word “unsubscribe,” underlined in all its hyperlink glory. Squinting in order to see if I had my mouse cursor on the tiny link, I clicked.

“Yes, unsubscribe me from the newsletter and wholesale offers.” Check. A box comes up. “Please tell us why you are unsubscribing.” Ah, now that’s simple. “Real cheese comes from Wisconsin.” Submit.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Two Hearts

Moving, moving, moving.  She felt like she was always moving.  She was tired of it, and tired of dragging around so much stuff with her.  Kneeling down on the hard floor she groped around under the bed until she felt what she was looking for.  Hidden deep in that dark abyss, behind empty boxes, a missing shoe and a few stray pieces of paper.  She pulled the heavy black bag, tugging as it caught on the underside of the bed.  It was a little overstuffed, but she’d never been willing to expand beyond one bag.

These were her ‘mementos,’ discarded remnants of relationships long past.  No use in keeping them anymore.  She wasn’t moving all the way across the country to hold onto this baggage, physically or emotionally.  She probably should have just thrown the whole bag into the trash, but the sentimental never let go that easily.

Making herself as comfortable as the wood floor would allow, she sat down next to the large box that had become the garbage, already full of the crazy odds and ends one finds when packing up their life.  And in the mist of all the other packing, she began to unpack.  Unpack the bag and unpack the corners of her memory, corners she had purposely allowed the cobwebs to cover.

A hair brush from a guy she sort of dated in college, a t-shirt from some frat boy, a framed sketch, all sorts of random things that have use only as sentimental objects.  The trash, the pile for Good-Will, the recycling bin, the different items were distributed as appropriate.  Lingerie that was never worn, birthday cards, printouts of long im conversations.  Some of it seemed downright ridiculous to still be in her possession.

Then she pulled out a small ball of tissue paper.  Confusion crossed her face.  What could this be?  She began to unwrap it.  Sharp edges protruded from the tissue, yet there was a solid circular feel to it.  She knew exactly what it was.

Her 17th birthday.  Her boyfriend, her first boyfriend, had given it to her as a present.  A small clear crystal heart, the tip perched on this circular base with swirls of clear crystal and a pink rose, two birds had sat together on one of the heart’s round humps.  She remembered unwrapping it, sitting in the passenger seat of the car in a parking lot.  She remembered wishing it was her 16th instead of her 17th birthday because then it would somehow be more special.  And she remembered what happened to that gift.

It was a little thing at first, a crack, or maybe one of the birds fell off.  Some sort of damage to the structural integrity of the gift.  That week, they got in a fight.  Then, things were getting better, they were patching it up, they were working on it and moving forward.  At least she thought so.  Until she was trying to adjust something on the bed and knocked the gift off her night stand.  In broke into many, many pieces.  The next week, the relationship ended.  For good.  He moved.  She went on.

Many months later, she came across the broken pieces of the gift, which she had gathered together and kept in her desk drawer.  It really was such a pretty present.  Why not try to put it back together again?  She took a small tube of super glue and attached the first piece back onto the circular base.  The next day, she ran into his best friend.

She glued on a few more pieces.  She saw his car when she was driving in her neighborhood.  Soon the whole thing was glued back together, minus the tiny slivers that had not been salvageable.  She ran into him in public.  They agreed to meet.  It was late, a 24 hour restaurant.  They sat across from each other.  The conversation was stilted.  It was clear it was too soon to be here, too soon to talk.  It was clear this was not going to come back.  She went home.  The glue gave out, the pieces of the gift fell in on each other, a small pile of fragmented crystal on the base of swirls with the pink rose.

The remaining circular base sat in her hand.  The power of the crystal, as she had started to think of it in that wild imagination of youth, was gone.  With only that circular base left, the gift had no magic left in it.  She had thrown out the pieces long ago, but the base had been tucked inside this bag, wrapped in tissue, waiting.  Waiting for what?  She had no idea.  Waiting for this she guessed, waiting to be put out with all the other pain held in that bag.  Waiting to become part of the trash heap that represented moving away and moving on from so many things.

- - -

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

If a Girl Gets Dressed Up and There’s No One to See It, is She Still Cute?

aurelia's first day of schoolI’d been waiting for today for a long time.  Today was the day I reached my burgundy sweater in my closet exploration.  The sweater itself really wasn’t that big of deal.  It was a Christmas present from my sister last year, and I’ve probably worn it nearly every other week since then.   [That’s me wearing the sweater on the first day of school last semester.  The white dress shirt is part of the sweater.]

What was so special about getting to wear the sweater this time was that I now have adorable shoes that match it perfectly!  I couldn’t wait to wear my sweater, grey skirt, grey striped tights (like the picture) and my beautiful garnet – that’s what the color’s called on the box – shoes.

garnet shoesI woke up this morning all excited, knowing exactly what I was going to wear and thrilled to finally get to wear my adorable shoes to work.  [It’s hard to tell in the pic, but those are 4.5” heels.]  I got dressed, brushed my hair for the first time in months – cornrows came out yesterday – put on my make-up and headed out the door.

It’s about a four block walk to the bus stop down at the busy corner.  We’re only three houses from the BART station, but the bus is cheaper because it offers a monthly pass and the bus station in the City is closer to work than the BART station.  The bus is also, usually, a much nicer ride because it’s less crowded and once it gets on the freeway, it doesn’t stop until we’re at the station in the City.  So, I take the bus.

The sun was shining so that even with the brisk chill in the wind the day still felt warm.  The bus stop has a wooden bench, sitting gloriously in a spot of bright sunshine.  I arrived about ten minutes before the bus’s scheduled arrival because the buses have been running goofy lately and seeming to pay no mind to the schedule.  I waited.

And I waited.

A gentleman joined me on the bench.

We waited.

And we waited.

We were waiting for the last bus of the day on this route; there was no next bus to wait for.  Fifteen minutes after the bus should have arrived, he headed up the street to the BART station.

I waited a little longer, for one more not-my-bus to pass.  Then I turned and headed in the same direction.  But I didn’t go to BART.  Instead I bought bubblegum.  No, I went home.

bus bart home [A = home, B = bus stop, C = BART station]

A BART ride into the city costs nearly $5.  That’s $5 more than I would have paid to ride the bus, because I have a monthly pass for the bus.  Plus, I’d already wasted a lot of time walking back and forth and waiting at the bus stop.  Luckily, work has a very flexible work from home policy.  And, since most of the people I work with on a daily basis aren’t in the office either, it doesn’t matter much where I am. 

So, as I said, I went home and worked from there.  I got a lot done.  But nobody got to see my adorable shoes.  Nobody except Mr. Trizzle and the guy at the bus stop.  I doubt either of them even noticed.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Dinner

A short story

They sat across from each other.  Neither said a word.  The restaurant was busy, conversations filled the room.  From their table, nothing.  They glanced around, looking everywhere but at each other.  The table was wide; it seemed appropriate.

He was tired, sat slouched over, leaning on his arm.  There were a few times when she thought of something to say, questions she wanted to ask.  But she knew it would only be fruitless small talk, and so she said nothing.  They both ordered soup.  It was a cold, blustery night, outside the restaurant and inside their hearts.

She wondered what had happened.  How had her life become this so quickly?  A strange hollowness, nothing but empty repetitions.  Who knows if he thought anything as he sat there.  He seemed to be able to sit for hours without thinking.

The restaurant began to empty, conversations leaving with the customers.  Their table remained silent.  Only the occasional clinking of silverware against the ceramic bowls, the slight slurping of soup.  She ate all the broth from around the fillings, leaving piles of vegetables on the bottom of the bowl.  He ate all the fillings from within the broth, leaving the bowl almost full of silky brown broth.  Opposites, as usual.

The bill came.  They both looked at it, neither at each other.  There was no discussion.  No questioning of whether one should pay or the other.  It was handled and they left.  Through the door and into the cold, windy night.  Both wishing they could go their own ways.  Neither having the ability to do so.  Lost.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Spelunking!

I’m probably the only person who could think it a good idea to tour a cave in 5” stilettos.  First there’s the uneven floor, then there’s the drippy rain water and puddles, and of course, the low ceilings.  I thought about the floor, maybe the puddles a little bit.  I forgot about the ceilings.  But it wouldn’t have mattered if I had because you see….

This past week I spent a few days at a conference in French Lick, Indiana.  We finished about noon on Friday and I had plans to meet up with a friend in Indianapolis when he finished work about 5:30.  I was roughly two hours south of Indy, so I needed to find something to do for a bit.  I figured maybe I could bum around in Indy for awhile or whatever.

So here I was, driving along, and then I saw it.  Marengo waterfallA big sign for Marengo Cave.  Marengo Cave was in our first year Property text book.  The case was about who owned the cave: did it belong to the person who had the entrance, or did it belong to the several people who owned the land above the cave?  The court decided it was the later and the owner who had plenty of the cave under his property, but not the entrance, put up a big chain link fence across the inside of the cave.

As soon as I saw the sign, I thought, “ooh!  I’m going there!”  Daddy used to take us to lots of caves on vacations and I usually enjoyed them.  Quick right turn and I was on my way, over rolling hills, past farms and woods and off to the cave.

When I arrived, I checked with the lady at the counter about the ground inside the cave.  She assured me it was concrete.  I bought a ticket and wandered around the gift store and nearby area until the tour was ready to start.  I also went out to my car to change my shoes.  walking shoe at caveYou see, since I had packed for the conference and not for spelunking, I only had 5” stilettos with me.  Four pairs of them.  Luckily, one of those four pairs was my favorite walking shoes.  Besides being super comfy, they’re also ok for puddles.  They’re vinyl, so they won’t get hurt by water.  And the little bit of a platform in the front keeps my toesies out of any water.

The cave was beautiful!  It was quite large and had a lot of really neat formations.  great wall of china formationThere were only 6 of us on the tour, and that’s if you count the toddler, so it was like a private tour.  Most of the others were experienced cave goers, touring the area specifically for the caves or part of some type of cave clubs.  They knew what kind of rocks they were looking at, what the different formations were and how things were formed.  I just knew what I was looking at was pretty and that I shouldn’t touch it. stalegtites and mites 

I wished Alfred was there.  Even though she might not know how things were formed or what they were called, she’d be able to tell me about the rocks and how the rocks themselves were formed.

The tour guide also told us about earthquakes.  I had no idea Southern Indiana had earthquakes, but to the guide and the others from the area, they seemed to be a pretty big deal.  Apparently, a cave is the safest place you can be in an earthquake because of the way the cave is formed.  It’s layers of rocks, so when the earth shakes, the layers just sort of slide on each other.  Like how San Francisco City Hall is built so that the whole building just sort of slides across the foundation when there’s an earthquake.  Pretty neat.

The tour was lots of fun.  My shoes came out fine, my pants a bit muddy on the bottom and my head only a little sore from knocking it on the cavern ceiling a couple of times.  What a great detour!

Home is Where Everything Makes You Smile

Whew, it has been an amazing week back in the land of real America.  Milk at every meal, cheese on every plate, green grass and open roads.  Beautiful.  Two days of driving through the Midwest did my soul an amazing amount of good.  A conference I attended for work was incredibly educational and fun.  The reunion was far better than I could have imagined.  And on top of that, I’ve gotten to spend time with my family.  Hopefully, more stories to follow…

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Afraid of What the Past Might Bring

Tonight is my high school reunion.  Ten years.  It doesn’t seem that long.  I wasn’t really sure I wanted to go.  Heck, I’m still not sure I want to go, but here I am, all ready.For the most part, I’ve kept in good contact with the people that mattered most to me back then.  There’s a few exceptions, but I’m not sure they’ll be there tonight.
I’m excited to see these friends, the ones I’m still close with.  We live all over the place and don’t get the opportunity to get together as often as we might like.
I’m not really sure what to expect.  Do these things even have a point now that we all have Facebook?  We already know who’s married and has kids and all the sort of stuff.  Oh well.  We’ll see what happens.
But first, a trip to Leon’s for some frozen custard. :)

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Exploring My Closet

About a month or so ago, I embarked on a new adventure. I call it “exploring my closet.” I started at one end, luckily at the white end before Labor Day – my closet’s in rainbow order (“of course it is,” says Mommy) – and I am working my way down to the other end. If I can’t make an outfit out of an item, out it goes, into the Goodwill pile. I have a full brown paper bag already. Some stuff’s too small, some stuff’s stained (clothes that get donated and can’t be sold get shipped to Africa or turned into rags) and some of it just isn’t right for me.

It’s been a lot of fun so far, getting to play with my clothes. It’s like playing dress-up every day! Sometimes I wind up with pretty boring outfits, like today. There’s only so much you can do with a v-neck sleeveless top decked out in bling. Mainly, wear it with some pants. And most of this week I wound up in suits because I had a lot of tank tops in a row. But sometimes, I get to have lots of fun.

Like when I get to channel my little munchkinhead (minus the pink, of course).

channeling munchkinhead sidechanneling munchkinhead front The fishnets look darker in the picture than they did in real life. Part of the reason is because there’s black fishnets over the hot pink tights.the fishnets

And I’ve discovered my black, baby-doll Death Magnetic Tour, Metallica tee works great with lots of outfits. Who’d of thunk it?

But by far, my favorite day was the one where I discovered I’d accidentally dressed to match the bathroom at work!

DSCI0002 torso me hiding in the bathroom

Can you see me?

This was my grandmother’s vest sometime in the 60s or 70s. The vest was not the piece of the day for the outfit. - I’m still not up to the green part of the closet,which means this vest will come out again. – The body suit I have on underneath it was the day’s piece, from the light pink section of my closet. It was one of my aunt’s, probably from the same era as the vest. True vintage articles here.

body suit fabricIt’s a neat little body suit. Pink, tan and that shade of green, in a sort of mesh material. I’ve always liked it, but always had trouble finding things to go with it. It has to go under something, because of that meshy-ness. I was a bit worried as I got closer to it in my closet, I really didn’t want to part with it. But it was safe. Hooray! Saved by the vest!

The closet game will continue for a few more months I expect. I’m only in the middle of the reds.