Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Holy Mary, Mother of God

For reasons we don’t need to get into, I took Bart home today instead of the bus.  There was an almost-middle aged Asian woman sitting on one of the sideways seats.  She looked to be in her late thirties.  She had a large black bag from which she took a small velvet-looking pouch.  From that small velvet-looking pouch, she removed a blue and silver rosary.

The train was crowded enough that a few people were standing in front of the where the woman sat, but not so crowded that people weren’t able to see beyond the back of someone else’s head.

The woman clasped the rosary in one hand and with the other made the sign of the cross.  She bent her head in prayer.  After a few moments, she raised her head, made another sign of the cross and slipped the beaded rosary through her fingers, grasping onto the next bead.  Her head bent again.

I don’t know how long she continued, how many beads, how many prayers.  I had looked away, not wanting to stare and soon needing to switch trains.  But I admired her.  This is San Francisco after all.  A city where it’s generally unacceptable to be openly anything other than gay.

It is rare in this day and age that anyone expresses their religion in public, unless they are trying to shove it down your throat.  Yet here was a woman, sitting in public, not afraid to pray in such a visible manner.  Keeping completely to herself and doing what she needed to do at that moment.  Not afraid to let others know she is Catholic and in no way making anyone else feel like she was judging them for not being what she was or trying to get them to convert to her faith.  She wasn’t flaunting her righteousness or salvation.  It was just her and her prayers.  Her and God (or rather, I guess, the Virgin Mary) alone on a crowded Bart train.  It was beautiful.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Here is the Cafeteria, Here is the Stage

Today, Mr. Trizzle took me to a service in the church where he grew up.  No steeple, no organ, no hymnal, no solemnity.  I need not say more about how I liked it; we need no more posts about my reactions to ‘modern’ churches.

The preacher started listing off qualities somewhere near the end of the whatever-that-sort-of-like-a-sermon-thing is called.  He was just going through them; I don’t really remember what they were.  I just remember thinking after each one, “that’s my mommy.”  Then the guy said, ‘these people make the best friends.’  And I nearly started crying cuz I miss my mommy (and cuz I know that she is the best kind of friend). 

I hate being so far away from my family.  I want to be able to stop by whenever and visit.  Or see my parents for dinner every week like my aunt and uncle saw my grandparents before my grandpa passed away.  (Now grandma is moving in with them, so they get to spend even more time wit her.)  I want my family to remain the center part of my life it’s always been.  I want a grown-up life like Mommy’s side of the family, not Daddy’s.  (I love my aunties and uncles and cousins on Daddy’s side, but they are all very separated and have been together only twice or something in the past 30 years.)

The speaking guy went on, talking about other types of good things these people make.  Wives, Fathers, Husbands, etc.  When he got to mothers he talked about how they’ll raise the best families, families that are these neat little together units and stuff.  How they pull everyone together and make a home that flows together and works as a team.  Mommy did a good job of raising a connected family.  Can we please stay that way?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Buy Me Some Peanuts and Cracker Jacks

Sometimes Mr. Trizzle is so much like my daddy, it scares me. It’s not stuff I knew about, like not apparent when we started hanging out together. (My daddy does not listen to hip hop or wear grills.) In fact, when Mr. Trizzle and I met, probably the only thing I thought he had in common with my daddy was going to law school. But lately, daddy-like traits have been coming out of the woodwork!

Yesterday, Mr. Trizzle and I went to the A’s game (A’s vs. Giants in Oakland). We were late (not like my daddy) and I was a bit annoyed cuz I like baseball and I wanted the free McGuire jerseys. Oh well. We met up with Mr. Trizzle’s friends, including The Legend, and were enjoying the game. Then, in the sixth inning, Mr. Trizzle turns to me and says he wants to go soon cuz he wants to beat the traffic. We took BART! So like my daddy.

Daddy once made us leave a tied Bucks game in overtime so he could get out of the parking garage easier. Chances are, if you go to a sporting event with Daddy, you will be leaving before it’s officially over. Apparently, the same goes for Mr. Trizzle.

Mr. Trizzle was feeling generous last night though and we stayed until the 7th inning stretch so I could sing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” (no polka songs). Then we left.

No peanuts or cracker jacks, but I did have a snowcone and cotton candy. By the time I got home, I felt like my teeth were going to fall out!

By the way. The A’s have these three guys dressed as dots that race during one of the breaks. Colored dots are so not as cool as running sausages. ;)

Friday, June 19, 2009

The Great Card Game in the Sky

We had just left Kansas City. I looked out the tiny window next to me and noticed we were already high above the clouds. Fluffy cotton-ball clouds, the kind I always pictured angels bouncing around on, playing, relaxing, enjoying Heaven.

I wondered if maybe my grandpa was down there on those clouds right then, as I flew overhead. Perhaps playing Sheepshead with his dad, Uncle Tom and Uncle Paul. I wonder who their fifth would be.

Whoever joins in those celestial Sheepshead games, they better watch out. They can’t win. Someone put a hand of all the best trump in Grandpa’s suit pocket today during the funeral.* He can take that queen to the prom for eternity. Guess I could have given him only one nickel instead of four or five. (They always play for nickels, and since he’ll never loose, he’ll never have to give up a nickel.)

*I don’t know if this is a Polish tradition or what, but people put little presents in the casket for Grandpa. Things like his favorite candies or hats, things that reminded them of Grandpa, things that were important to their relationship with Grandpa.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Communication Fail

Mr. Trizzle and I have been trying that laundry mat thing. We seem to have some fundamental differences over how we do laundry. For example, Mr. Trizzle insists that I like to do all that ‘fancy’ stuff, like use the different temperature settings on the washing machines. (Mr. Trizzle is sort of the opposite of my daddy; he washes everything on warm and dries it all on hot.)

Now that he makes baller money, we also seem to disagree on what’s reasonable. A week’s worth of laundry at the apartment building costs $6.00 (4 laundry loads at $1.00 each, plus 4 dryer loads at $.50 each). A week’s worth of laundry this week at the laundry mat cost us $12.00 (2 big washers at $4.00, one little washer at $2.00 and 3 loads of dryer at $.75, $1 and $1.50.) We’re trying to experiment at how to use the laundry mat most cost-effectively. (I don’t think we can win with the dryers. Washers, maybe – dryers, no.)

Anyway, as we switched from the washers to the dryers, I was in my usual ‘how do we make this cheaper?’ mode. The following conversation ensued:

Mr. Trizzle: I’ve got x in this dryer here, and y in that dryer and the dryer already going has all the whites.

Me: We’re running three dryers?!

Mr. Trizzle: No.

Me: No?

Mr. Trizzle: We’re running one dryer.

Me: But you just showed me a bunch of them.

Mr. Trizzle: Yes, I’m going to take what’s still in the washer and add it to those two loads when the washer finishes.

Me: So we’re running three dryers?

Mr. Trizzle: No

Me: There’s one going now and you have stuff in two more.

Mr. Trizzle: Yes.

Me: That’s three.

Mr. Trizzle: But we’re only running one. We’ll be running three dryers later when the washer stops.

Me: (walking away in a huff)

Mr. Trizzle: (annoyed I’m upset with him for *no* reason)

By the way, he wasn’t trying to be funny. He was just being Mr. Trizzle.

Goodbye Grandpa

Next Sunday is Father’s Day. Usually on Father’s Day, I call my daddy and my grandpa to wish them a happy day, tell them how much I love them and chit chat for a bit. Not this year.

I sent my daddy his card already, but I won’t be sending Grandpa his. He moved, and the Post Office doesn’t deliver where he went. Even Icarus can’t fly that high.

I am sad, but I think my tears are more for my mommy and my grandma than anything else. It’s hard to be too sad about someone who had such a long and wonderful life. Last summer we all gathered together for his gigantic surprise birthday party. His next birthday is just a few weeks from now. He would have been 39. Of course, he would have been 39 10 or 20 or even 39 years ago, too.

We called him Buddy – me and Wendy and Katrina. He called us Big Buddy, Middle Buddy and Little Buddy. I was so young when that started, I don’t even remember why. He was always there, cheering you up by letting you know that if you were really lucky, someday you might be as good looking as him - Guess I haven’t been lucky enough yet;

Lending a helping hand, teaching you something new - Grandpa taught me how to change my oil in my car. I drove over to Grandma and Grandpa’s house and we put the car up in the driveway. He showed me how to undo the oil plug with the container underneath so as not to get oil all over. They had a swimming pool in the backyard so there were empty old chlorine bottles lying around. We put the used oil in those and I took them home with me to take to the recycling center. They never made it to the recycling center. You can ask Daddy about that. (Hint: we have a pool too);

Giving you a heads up that the coocoo clock was going to go off soon and if you wanted to see the little blue birdie pop out of his door you better come quick - I’d run into the room and perch myself backwards on the big blue chair, eagerly peering, waiting for the door to spring and open and the little birdie to coo coo.

When we were little and Mommy and Daddy wanted grown-up time, we’d go for a nice sleepover at Grandma and Grandpa’s. Grandpa would build a beautiful fire in the fire place and roast marshmallows with us. I loved it when the whole outside of the marshmallow would get caught in a flame and come out singed black.

Even on non-marshmallow days, Grandma and Grandpa’s house always had special treats. That’s what grandparents are for! Almond Windmill cookies in the fat, old woman cookie jar. Bubble gum in the giant bubble gum machine with a stash of pennies in the little clay, bird shaped, candle-holder-turned-penny-holder next to the machine. The blue ones and the white ones were my favorites. Grandpa always made sure the bird had pennies in it, and always made sure we didn’t eat more gum than we ought.

I have so many wonderful memories, and thinking of them doesn’t make me sad. It makes me happy. And thankful.

But thinking about grandma makes me sad, – maybe that’s the wrong word, worried, upset, something like that. You see, Grandma has Alzheimer's. Grandpa was taking care of her. It’s still pretty much in the early stages, but her short term memory isn’t good. I don’t want her to have to keep re-learning what happened. To wake up in the morning and not know where he is. To think he’s just at the church counting money and then get worried when he’s not home on time. I don’t want others to have to keep telling her. I don’t want her to go through the same loss over and over again.

I don’t really know how Alzheimer’s works in regards to traumatic experiences or memories. My other grandma had it to, and it eventually did her in, but she went first. There were no really big deal things for her to need to remember like that. I know there was a point where she stopped recognizing my grandpa, introduced him as her brother – broke his heart. But then, minutes or days later, she’d remember again. In some ways, I’m glad Buddy doesn’t have to suffer through that with Grandma.

I know we have really good family who are all still around (only Alfred, Munchkinhead and I are bad and have left). Family who had already started taking care of Grandma and Grandpa; family trained to take care of others. I hope there is someone who can take care of Grandma now, without Grandpa’s help. Right now, I know everyone is taking care of each other. (At least Munchkinhead’s facebook seems to suggest it. No one’s really talking to me…)


God, thank you for Grandpa. Enjoy his company; it’s great. Don’t get offended if he bops you in the nose, that means he likes you. You have to take care of Grandma more now cuz you took away your help. And God, Grandpa’s a really good greeter. He’s got an award that’s on his fridge at home if you need recs. Maybe you could give him a job just behind St. Peter, so he can greet everyone as they come in. He’d be really good at that and it’d make him very happy. Oh, and one more thing God, tell him we love him and we miss him and we’ll see him when you’re ready.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Signage Please

We have two bathrooms at work.  They are both painted green.  Not grass green, not pastel green, more of a bright Easter green.  It’s a very gender neutral color.

There are no signs on the doors to the two bathrooms at work.  The two Easter green bathrooms at work.

Each bathroom is large.  Each large, Easter green bathroom has little tiny octagon tiles on the floor.  And a sink.  And a garbage can.  And the other usual bathroom equipment.  Just like in your house, most likely.

But the two big, Easter green bathrooms with little tiny octagon tiles and no signs on the door are not the same.  No-sir-ee-bob.  One has a urinal in it.  The other has a special little garbage container built into the wall, a drawer unit, a scale, a bottle of lotion and a candle.

I think I’ve seen people go in them willy-nilly, with no regard for who uses which room.  But I am not sure, because I am not sure if this is OK. 

Now, I can suppose that the urinal and special built in little garbage container are left over from previous days, when the bathrooms did have signs on them.  But, the other stuff seems to suggest unlabeled gender division of the two big Easter green bathrooms.  Please give me signage!  (and tell me why the scale is there; do all the guys in the office think we’re fat?)

Monday, June 8, 2009

Welcome to Casual Town

It’s funny how sometimes we talk in song lyrics without even meaning to do so.  Today, I was explaining why I prefer the East Bay to San Francisco – mainly the weather – and I said, “I don’t do summer in the city.”  From my quote, it sounded like I either don’t care for the Lovin’ Spoonful or that San Francisco is too hot in the summer.  Neither of which are true.  But, the ‘hot-down’ conjured up by my accidental quoting of the song implied the city is hot in the summer.  It made me laugh a little – and be glad I was talking to someone apparently too young to catch all this.

Later, at lunch, another song slipped in.  The city is known for its cold and cloudy days.  But as we were sitting on the quasi-indoor patio, the sun started to shine.  Someone commented, “here comes the sun.”  Guess who had the Beatles stuck in her head the rest of the day?  Yeah, me.

Song titles aside, the first day of work was pretty uneventful and laid back.  Lots of power point slides, lots of paperwork, lots of mac books (pooey!).  Seems like it’s going to be a very interesting next couple months.  The intern group is small but quite a mishmash of… of… of… stuff?

Two of the other interns make me think of, and miss, my little munchkinhead.  One of the guys is a year younger than her and seems like someone she might bring home.  He looks like he walked out of the 80s, or England.  I’m not trying to be mean; I think that’s actually in style now; I just wouldn’t know; I’m not into the whole hipster scene.  He’s got the skinny leg jeans that are somehow still slightly sagged, converse tennies, and a black T.  His hair reminds me of Flock of Seagulls, or maybe he’s a member of Wham!.  The other guy is from Ireland.  Both of the munchkinhead-guys are techie interns.

I knew the dress code here is casual, but I like dressing up.  So I did.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t go with the skirt and dress shirt like I wanted because it’s so dang cold in the city.  I had to put on the suit jacket just to stay warm.  There were two other interns also dressed up.  One in a suit, one in khakis with a button up shirt and a sweater.  They’re the other law student interns.

There’s one other intern, too.  Another techie guy, sort of.  I think his focus is international outreach.  He does not remind me of munchkinhead.  Like Wham! and Ireland, he was dressed more closely to the style of the place, jeans and pull-over thingy that looks like the one the guy who beats up Dirk Diggler in the parking lot in Boogie Nights was wearing.

Not a whole lot of the staff was here today, but the ones I met all seem really nice.  It’s weird to be interning at a place where most of the people seem pretty close to my age.  I’m used to working with people much older than me.  This is a first.  They were also mostly wearing jeans, but with nicer tops, for the most part.

I’ll probably still be dressed up tomorrow.  Why on earth would I wear jeans for something other than cleaning or bowling?!  I mean really, why wear pants when you can wear a skirt?  Oh, and there’s a shoe repair place across the street from work.  Perfect!  I don’t have to worry about ruining too many lifts.

Boo, Feminists

Heels?  Check.
Seamed stockings? Check.
Vacuum Cleaner? No Check.

I think I was born half a century too late. 

This morning I was trying to get ready for my first day at my fellowship and nothing was going right.  My best undergarments (along with my dress clothes) are in a box that should have arrived from Seattle about a week ago.  The garter skirts I have at home weren’t working with my new suit skirt.  The one pair of full nylons I have had a new run in the foot, and we couldn’t get the clear nail polish open.  My body’s not cooperating; nothing fits right.  I was so frustrated.  And Mr. Trizzle’s gruffness showed me he sensed my frustration and didn’t approve, despite not understanding one bit of it.

Finally, I was dressed.  Hooray for hold-ups!  Took care of the ran nylons and garter skirt problem.  Skirt looks like it fits if I’m sitting down, so I guess I’ll just have to try to sit down as much as possible.

Anyway, here I am, already for the first day of my exciting new fellowship, dressed in a suit, heels on, make-up ready, and all I want to do is clean the living room and do the dishes.  I love suits, but I also love fluffy day dresses with circle skirts.  Heels and seamed stockings go very nicely with those, too.

Now don’t get me wrong, we all know I’m super excited about this fellowship (when I got the interview, I started jumping on the bed), but I was really enjoying my schedule from the last week or so.  “Bye, Mr. Trizzle.  Have a great day at work.  Here, don’t forget your lunch I just packed!”  Unpack, arrange, decorate, do some laundry, research a bit, a walk, some errands, repeat in various permutations.  “Hi Mr. Trizzle!  How was your day? “  Cook dinner, clean up, relax with Mr. Trizzle.  It was very nice.  Now it’s all those things plus being at work all day every day.  I just don’t know how I’m going to keep that house clean!

Tomorrow, Tomorrow

Tomorrow is the big day.  I begin my fellowship at Creative Commons.  I am vampira nervous. 

I know, I know; it sounds kinda crazy.  I mean, I go across the ocean to work with people I never met in a country I've never been to, where I don't know the culture and don't even know who I'm going to live with and I'm fine.  But then, I'm about to start a fellowship at a company I know a bit about, where I'm already living (getting settled anyway) and already know how to get around and all that sort of stuff and I'm super nervous.

Well, I guess that's what happens when you reach your goals.  I've had this idea in my head for so long of a my dream job and tomorrow, I go.  What if I don't like it?  What if they don't like me?  What if I can't do the work?  What if there's an earthquake and the Bay Bridge breaks in half again and my bus falls into the Bay?! (guess I don't have to worry about the other things then.)  What if I just can't handle being around that many Macs?

Ok, ok.  Technically, it's not my dream job.  Technically it's just a fellowship with my dream job company.  But, that's good enough to me - I'm nervous.  And I need to go iron my clothes and go to sleep.  I love suits!  Hooray for wearing a nice outfit tomorrow!

We'll see how it goes... 

Sunday, June 7, 2009

HO(me) Up, G’s Down

Fried chicken for breakfast? Yup. Fried chicken that’s so good you have to call the restaurant, not to reserve your table, but to reserve your chicken. Mr. Trizzle took The Legend out for breakfast to thank him for helping us unload my truck. I tagged along with them to Jodie’s, a local legend restaurant. One of the closest things to Southern Food you’ll find up here. My very spicy eggs were pretty darn good, and very cheesy. :)

We enjoyed our fabulously unique breakfast out on the sunny sidewalk. (Thank you Bay weather for cooperating and making it gorgeous today!) Chatted a bit with Jodie. Watched Mr. Trizzle run into a guy he went to HS with who’s now in law school and interning at a firm founded by a Vandy alum. Watched The Legend and some random girl try to figure out if they knew each other and fail. Fun times had by all. If you're ever in the Bay Area (ahem, Mary Ruth) I suggest you check out Jodie’s!

After breakfast, Mr. Trizzle and I went out to play house: laundry mat, grocery shopping. We have laundry in our building, but the one washing machine seems to have a special fondness for big fluffy things. It’s already chewed up over $200 worth of bedding. I wasn’t feeding it anymore. Especially not my quilts made by Mommy and Grandma. So, we packed up the rest of the bedding and the few other things that didn’t get washed earlier in the week and headed to the laundry mat.

I was a little apprehensive about going to the laundry mat. I mean, I already know so many Matts; I didn’t really want to meet a new one. Plus, I’ve always thought of laundry mats as scary, sketchy places for one of two types of people: poor people (I am poor, but I don’t want to be that poor, yet) and lonely old people who have no one to care for them (and by old, in this sense, I mean like 40).

The laundry mat had some of those people and some others. I guess it was ok, but I’m still a little weirded out by taking your dirty laundry out in public. It’s generally all balled up and in some sort of bag or basket so people don’t really see it. But then, when you start folding it there, everybody can see everything. This also greatly creeps me out. I’m glad the bedding’s washed. The washing machine in our apartment complex doesn’t seem to like the taste of regular clothes, no chewing there.

Grocery shopping was great fun, as always. For people with such different diets, I think we do a remarkably good job of making meals and buying groceries. Daddy would almost be proud of me, we saved 26% by using the in-store flyer to get things on sale. And, I’ve started saving coupons at home. :D

After our errands were done, we rested for a bit and then attacked the massive disaster in the back room. It’s looking pretty good now. Mr. Trizzle got a long, plasticy, table to serve as a desk and go his office part of the room all arranged like, well, like an office. Once that was done, I was able to get to my side of the room. I finally have a sewing table instead of a big mound of stuff. Soon, we will have curtains! There’s still a few things out of place - pens without a pen holder, random boxes - so no pictures yet.

A very good, productive, yet fairly relaxing Saturday. Oh yeah, and there was an earthquake, centered in El Cerrito!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Hey! Where are the Fake Boobs?

When I was a little girl, I thought Silicone Valley was called Silicone Valley because of all the fake, silicone, boobs in it.  I knew it was in Cali.  Cali has lots of women (and others) with fake chests.  Made perfect sense to me.  Of course, that's much more LA than Bay Area, but since the rest of the country pretty much thinks the two are right next to each other, that hardly matters.

Well, Tuesday I went to Silicone Valley, and you know what?  I didn't see any fake boobs. (Or if I did, they were done so well, I couldn't tell.)  Turns out it's called Silicone Valley for the silicone in the computer parts.  [Fake boobs must be pretty crunchy with all those chips in there!]

A Twitter friend of mine invited me to a discussion panel at a law firm out there.  I won't bore you all with information about the discussion; you can read the IP blog if you want to know more.  I'm just going to tell you about a few really neat parts.

Neat part #1: a pretty famous blogger was on the panel; he used to teach at Marquette law; I got to shake his hand

Neat part #2: a guy came in a little late and sat next to me; when I turned to look, I saw it was someone I had met at INTA just over a week ago

Neat part #3: I got to meet my twitter friend in person - very mini-tweetup; that's always neat

The rest of Tuesday was also pretty cool because I drove all over the place and didn't get lost once!  I found my way to Palo Alto and back (about an hour drive), and went to some places in Berkeley and Oakland.  One of the really tricky parts was getting home from Oakland via freeway.  Hwy 24 to I 580West to I 80 East.  And I did with no problem! :)  (Of course, I got lost next day just trying to take Mr. Trizzle his lunch less than 10 minutes away at his office - but we're talking about Tuesday right now.)  I'm getting better at getting around out here!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

When Four Equals One

The apartment is coming along nicely.  Still no photos, sorry guys.  I found the silverware yesterday.  That’s a big help.  There’s only a few things left I can’t find.  Unfortunately, it includes my make-up.  The entertainment center is up and partly filled, and there’s a nice reading corner with chair and little bookshelf in the living room.  Someday, when we get all the other boxes out of there, we can see about getting more than one chair.

The back room is now a “do not enter in case of earthquake” disaster area.  Boxes piled up over my head and piles of clothing covering a chair.  Getting to the table is nearly impossible.  Not that it matters, as that is also covered in stuff.  These are the boxes that are getting tricky; the where-on-earth-do-we-put-this boxes.  And the clothes, we you see, I thought I fit all my clothes and shoes in the closet.  Then we kept unpacking.  I had used clothes as packing material in boxes and had wrapped all delicate things, framed pictures, stereo equipment, trombone pieces, in clothing.  So, as we unpack more, we find more clothes.  This could get interesting.

Last night, I tried to use that crazy gas stove again.  Mr. Trizzle and I were working on dinner.  We planned to have roasted cob on the corn, bow ties, sauce and hot dogs (the last two for me and him separately, respectively).  Things were going all hunky dory until I tried to light the front left burner.  I turned the knob and the pilot light for the front right burner flicked.  Huh?  Guess I’m not using that burner.  So I tried to use the back left burner.  Turned the knob and again, the front right burner flicked.  What the?  So I tried the back right.  Same thing.  And the front right.  This time, it was a little different.  The pilot light flickered and the gas stream opened.  We had one lit burner. Great.

I had used the stove the day before and had no problems with any of the burners; this is a new development.

Mr. Trizzle discovered that the other knobs were still controlling the proper gas lines, just not the right pilot lights.  Luckily, some random restaurant in Nashville still has free matchbooks at their maĆ®tre d stand, so Mr. Trizzle was able to light one of the burners with a match.  Anybody want to exchange an electric stove for a gas one?  It’s clean!