Friday, August 30, 2002

Where did August go?

I’m sure it was just here a minute ago, I look up and it’s August 30th. Damn! Well it’s been a busy month for me. Last weekend I was out and about being social and planning on spending some time checking out storage places. I went out for Sushi with people I know from Brightpoint. Judy’s husband works as a sushi chef and we were able to dine well for cheap and catch up on each others lives. On Saturday, Di and I brunched. I will openly admit that it was my idea to get there early, but I didn’t take into account being out so late the night before. So my plan to cruise around checking out storage lockers turned into a nice little nap. Later that afternoon I picked up Cabala and we went back to the East Bay to have dinner with Laura and Richard. They regaled us with tales of their 3 month trip and Richard showed off his impressive souvenir collection.

The next day I went with Esther to catch a matinee of Mostly Martha in Marin. A very cute movie and one where you come out craving food. Esther and I discussed all the movies that feature food prominently, like Big Night, Eat Drink Man Woman, Babette’s Feast, and Tortilla Soup. Then we went to run some errands, pick up some food at Ranch99 and went home to eat and make what Esther calls gerschlomp. Gerschlomp is a medley of food that gets mixed together and combines to be a healthy well-balanced meal. I must say it was really good and I ended up with a few lunches worth of food to take home. I know Cat also has her cooking kit days where she cooks a bunch of food to eat that week. I really need to try to do something like this myself. It just seems so easy and convenient.

Monday night I ended up going out with Christopher. We did a little shopping and he took me to this Italian restaurant that reminds me of the ones in Silver Lake, the predominantly Italian neighborhood I grew up in. It was good to see him and to catch up. Plus I needed to be sure that he’s in good health and spirits since he’s going to help me move my furniture out of storage and into my new place. Thanks Christopher!

Tuesday ( I did mention that this had been a busy week, yes?) I met up with Jay and some of his friends to see Viva Variety, a variety show that showcases gay or gay-friendly performers. I went toViva Variety #26 and had a blast, so I had to go to this one too. One of my favorite groups was Lunatique Fantastique. They do things with found objects that will forever change the way that you look at them. One piece involved a strip tease with vegetable that I guarantee will garner a snicker the next time someone tells you to eat your vegetables.

Wednesday I had my phone installed which took a large chunk of my day that evening went down to meet Elaine and West at ConJose. It’s been years since I’ve been to a SF Convention so it’ll be interesting to see if it’s changed for me at all. I haven’t seen West in over 6 years, so it was great seeing her again. I’ll be there this weekend which will be a good distraction for me. Labor Day Weekend was Becky and my anniversary. I’m not feeling at all melancholy about it at the moment, but usually these sorts of things hit you when you are quietly alone.

Thursday was a low key day for me; I just worked and then printed up some cards for me. I figure that I may run into some people who would be good networking contacts and now I can exchange contact cards with them. I also *finally* made some artist cards that have my website URL that showcases my paintings and other contact stuff on it. I included a picture of one of my paintings too. I am very impressed with it (as one might expect) and can’t wait to hand them out.

Friday is more work, mostly seeing how the website move is going and tying up loose ends before the long weekend. I think I have to do laundry tonight, or at least organize my clothes tonight since I suspect that I am wearing my last clean pair of underwear. I miss having a washer/dryer in my place. But there is a Laundromat right around the corner, so I can’t imagine that I can milk this for much.

Well I had thought to write something other than a week in review, but hey, it’s better than nothing right?

Friday, August 23, 2002

Busy Busy Busy

I am trying to recover from the past week’s busy-ness. My sister, her husband and 4 1/2 yr old daughter came to visit on their way home from Hawaii. I had the foresight to warn them to bring warm clothes and boy oh boy did we need them! Now I’m the queen of layering when I’m not sure what the weather conditions are going to be. Granted in San Francisco, this can vary from neighborhood to neighborhood. But it was uniformly cold everywhere in the Bay area, so I got to show off all four of my polar fleece tops.

The cold, windy weather aside, we had a great time; riding cable cars, going to the Aquarium by the Bay and the California Academy of Arts and Science, hitting a few cool playgrounds (what did you expect with a 4 year old?), catching a festival in Washington Square Park, and eating lots of great food. It was good being able to spend that much time with them since I couldn’t get away to spend time with them in Hawaii.

Then my house-sitting gig ended. They came back on Wednesday night so I had to get all the boxes, bags and other odd bits from one place to the other. Doing this with a Miata is akin to figuring out how to get a lamb, a chicken and a fox across a lake. Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating a little, it wasn’t like my important papers would eat my canned goods if I left it alone in my new bedroom, but it was a little tricky deciding what I could do without for the few days it took to be in one place. So I still have a few things to pick up at the house-sitting house, but I am more or less in my new apartment.

I am please to report that I was able to sleep well, so that’s good. I’m always a little restless when sleeping in a new place because of the odd sounds that are part of the normal environment. I am very annoyed that I wasn’t able to get an appointment to get stuff out of my storage containers this weekend. So I’ll be spending time this weekend finding a new storage place on the right side of the bay that allows me to go to it any time 7 days a week to fetch out my stuff. Feh! It’s not a huge deal, I’ll have to go without a microwave for a few more days, not the end of the world, really.

It was odd to have it so quiet yesterday evening while I rearranged my boxes around the room and made my bed. I’m TV-less and music-less aside from the tinny stuff I get from my clock radio. I may be able to focus on my computer studies with this much undisturbed quiet. I don’t tend to focus that much on the TV or radio as it’s mostly background noise. Once my phone line is installed I can use the Internet for my personal distraction. But this might be an interesting experiment for me since I’m noticing how easily distracted I am when it comes to doing certain things.

I’ve also been thinking about going to JournalCon which is happening in San Francisco this year. It doesn’t cost much and wouldn’t interfere with work since it’s happening on a weekend. I’m enjoying this journaling things so far and it might be neat to meet with other like minds.

I’m just going to take a brief moment to nag you all one last time to send me some thoughts about what you’d want to see in the bio section of this journal. Go ahead and follow the link on the right if you haven’t already done so and send me your thoughts. I’ve been looking at other pages and since I often decide if I’m going to read someone’s journal after reading their bio, I thought mine should look better too. Unless you are trying to keep this all for yourself. That’s okay too, I suppose.

Hey, while I'm at it, why don't you join the Notify list too? Go ahead and click on the link on the bottom of the page and put in your email. That way you'll get an email from me when I update. For some of you that might be the only way you'll ever get an email from me with the way you never write back.

Well I thought I had a few more thoughts than this, but y’know what? I’m going to post this now and maybe, just maybe those errant thoughts will return and I’ll do another entry this weekend. Wouldn’t that be cool? I thought so.

Friday, August 16, 2002

Procrastination and the Big Question

Okay relax, I know there are a lot of Big Questions out there. The one I’m thinking about today is what do I want to be when I grow up? This naturally leads to: How do I want to spend my time? And what will I do to make money to pay bills?

This topic comes up a lot since I’ve got this internal dichotomy: one side that thinks I should buckle down and concentrate on developing my highly marketable technical skills and the other side that knows how much joy I feel when I am creating and expressing myself with my art. Yes, I know that there are ways to tie these two sides together. I could work to balance them using ideas that clever people like Carol Lloyd put into her book, Creating a Life Worth Living. But this all takes time, effort and sincere introspection. This would take time away from important projects like, finding the cheapest storage units in the Bay Area, or researching the best dim sum shops in town to wow out of town visitors. I am interested in catching up on the first 6 seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, so that I would know what is going on in its final season. Did you know that I have 4 more cans of chick peas and I’ve yet to master the art of hummus. That’s good cheap eats and a potentially valuable skill to show off during some pot-luck, y’know. So you can see that all I’ve managed to do is hone my skills in the fine art of procrastination.

I’ve always been jealous of people who can master skills like speaking a foreign language, cook a meal where everything is ready at the same time, and negotiate bureaucracy and office politics like they were playing hopscotch. But I am a master procrastinator. I have no problem finding things to do and can easily entertain myself for days on end. But how can I work this into a valuable and marketable job skill?

Okay, unless you think this is actually possible, don’t bother sending me mail telling me to get focused. I know that’s what has to happen. I’m working on tuning out that happy little voice that sees endless distractions for my amusement and trying to find some quiet focus. My whole simplification plan really helps. I know I can do a lot of things, but choosing not to do everything that presents itself to me allows me to keep my free-time choices relatively clutter-free.

I’ve actually started a Wishlist in my Palm to capture things I wish I could do. This way I can acknowledge the desire without quashing it outright. I know that it may never ever happen. But I’ll deal with that later.

Now don’t think that I won’t ever have time to goof around. I’ve factored in plenty of time for that. It’s just that what I’m doing now isn’t working for me. I don’t see myself doing this long-term. But not knowing what my dream job is, is like going to the airport looking for someone you haven’t seen in a while. You sorta remember what they look like but try to take into account that they’ve changed over the years.

I’m going to try to sketch out a plan and see where it takes me.
So what’s your plan?

Wednesday, August 14, 2002

Back to the Nest and other odd dreams

I had a dream a few nights ago where I moved back home to my parents’ house in New York. It was strangely surreal, as dreams often are, and peaked my curiosity. I was curious how bad things got that I was back here again. Everyone was happy to see me and tried not to speak derisively of California. I did typical things, running errands and finding old stomping grounds and favorites somewhat strange. As if the people and places weren’t quite right, like a counterfeit version of my memories.

The odd part is that it’s been forever since I’ve been able to remember a dream. The next night I found myself working for an English family. I assumed that I was a tutor of some sort, but found myself getting asked to do all sorts of household tasks. Many of which I did improperly. So I was constantly being corrected by the lady of the house who was a mix between Julie Andrews and Patricia Rutledge’s character Hyacinth Bucket from Keeping up Appearances. I was miserable and questioning why I had taken this sort of job. After days of torment which included her deciding that she didn’t like my clothes, I starting M’am-ing her and suddenly everything wasn’t as bad. This one made me question how well (or in this case how poorly) I adapt to change.

Last night (yeah, three dreams in a row) I was traveling abroad. Some guy kept calling my cell phone and yelling at me that I was robbing him blind, that my price was too high and hanging up. It seems that we were in some state of negotiations and he would do this at least once a day. Whoever I was with when the call came would look at me alarmed that someone was screaming at me. I would shrug, knowing that it would only be a minute and he’d be gone. Once I hung up on him (not sure why I kept taking his calls, but I did) and I thought that this would have pissed him off enough to stop. So as I’m dining and shopping my way through several European cities and smaller towns, I get these calls. I don’t know what I’m negotiating for, but finally he relents and tells me I drive a hard bargain and that he’ll agree to my original terms. My companion during this call must have been an assistant or something and asks if I’ve closed the deal. I say yes and he smiles saying that I make it look easy to sell art (seems I’m some sort of art dealer) and I reply that the artist did all the work and that they seem to sell themselves.

I love it when I actually remember my dreams, but most of the time I don’t. The ones I used to have a lot but don’t anymore are the “Bad Day at Work” dreams. Those are so disappointing because I never seem to be able to get away from the stress, while awake or asleep. I’m not having those dreams at all and that is very good. I’m spending a lot of time trying to get a lot of little things done as my house-sitting job is just about done. I’m not doing a very good job, but this is not the end of the world. Back when I was idle I could spend all my time running errands and doing these little things, so I know how truly time consuming they are. Now I’m prioritizing and acting like the rest of the world.

Of course I’m making time for fun, like the visit from my sister and her family for the weekend. I need to find some things that my 5 year old niece will enjoy, so this can be a pleasant diversion for all of us. Hopefully the weather will be nice. Talk to you all next week!

Sunday, August 4, 2002

Deceptive Perception

I keep getting surprised by my lack of personal perception. What I mean is that I am always so surprised to see that I am as fat as I am when I look at myself in the mirror. The thought if that seems strange to me. I am healthier than I’ve been in a while, I feel better, but I’m much larger than I think I am. As you might imagine, I don’t spend a lot of time gazing at my body in the mirror. Not that I have an aversion to it, just that I’m too busy doing other things. In my house-sitting jobs, I have a lot of mirrors around me and from time to time I’ll catch a glimpse of some fat chick in the mirror. Wow, that’s me!

I’m going to have to work a mirror into my new place because it has been motivating to keep my eating and exercising. I am curious to see when I reach the point where my mind’s image of me matches what I see in the mirror. It’s very similar to the way I feel taller than I am and only when I find I can’t reach something does it dawn on me that I’m short.

Last Sunday I went to the beach for the first time in ages. I don’t think I’ve done a “Day at the Beach” in the Bay area since I’ve moved here almost five years ago. My house-sitting housemate, Cabala, has been taking regular treks out to the beach and I’ve been envious, so she invited me to go and I said yes. So I guess this is as good a point to mention that it was a nude beach. Yeah, that’s right, me at a nude beach. Again it gets back to perception. I’m not an especially modest person if the situation merits it. I have no issue changing in the locker room at the gym or walking around nude at Osento (a local woman’s spa), so I decided the same rules would apply. The beach itself wasn’t crowded and once I slathered my ever-so white bits with SPF5000, I was able to enjoy how great it was to feel the warm sun on my whole body. Very cool, I must say.

Then because a trip to the beach isn’t really a trip to the beach without going in the water, I braved the cold Pacific Ocean. It was pretty much the same feeling, except when the cold water reached my tit line. Damn, does the lycra make that big a difference? I’d like to say that sitting around naked on a beach and in an ocean was this huge experience. But it wasn’t. It didn’t seem particularly strange since everyone else was naked and no one was making a big deal of it. It *was* nice not having a suitful of sand when I got out of the ocean, but not a huge deal. The whole experience had a quintessential Northern California feel to it.

The other thing that had been on my mind was that I was getting into a rut, and I’d been feeling a need to do something new. I actually created this spreadsheet that outlined what I was doing, wearing and eating so that I would have the right stuff at the right house. When I sent it to Cat, she wondered if I was actually wearing the same clothes and eating the same food week after week. In a way, I am. It reminded me of the last time I had a long-term house-sitting job. I had been trying to meet some of my online friends and ended up making a weekend of it. It all started with a ride on my friend, Fid’s motorcycle down to the city to meet another friend, Scott for sushi. Afterwards we played poker with Fid and some of his friends and then drove up to the Catskills to meet Barb at her country house. Now I will preface this with the fact that I did let a friend know where I was and who I was with for this weekend. It was my first time on a motorcycle, first time eating sushi, and first time meeting Fid, Scott and Barb in person. I’ve played and lost at poker before so that was nothing new. I did get out of my rut. I did have a ton of fun and discovered some wonderful things, like riding across the Tappan Zee Bridge as the sun set was beautiful beyond words, I love sushi and think it tastes better when eating it with good friends and a cup of coffee tastes so good when you are freezing cold after driving for an hour in the early morning on the back of a motorcycle. I didn’t enjoy the fact that I got sleepy and couldn’t doze off on the bike. My butt was extremely tired sore and my sense of humor damaged after Barb’s directions had us taking a right turn down a cow path (on a Honda CBR – sports bike) and not a left to the farm house. We stopped to ask directions, I insisted, and talked to one of Barb’s Deliverance-type neighbors to learn that the fast way to the old Dietz farm was back the way we came.

But the experiences stay with me and while I don’t do this a lot, I feel energized when I do something out of the ordinary. My house-sitting jobs will be coming to an end soon. By August 22nd or so I’ll be in my own apartment and beginning that new adventure. Last weekend we painted the room (Lithesome Blue) and I can’t wait to be there. I’m still fussing with the logistics, but suspect it’s not going to be as bad as I think it will be. Which wraps around to the original deceptive perception topic. I’ve been making lists like crazy and figure that I’ll just take one thing at a time and eventually it’ll all get done.

So is it just me or do you have these skewed perceptions of yourself and your world?

Thursday, August 1, 2002

Goodbye Peach

18 summers ago we got a kitten from our cousins. They had named this kitten Ghost, but it didn’t work for us, she was a white cat with big tabby-colored spots. She was friendly and curious and when offered a bit of a juicy summer peach would actually eat it. So we named her Peaches. She was a hunter cat, climbing trees and always tempted to pounce on anything even if it was just your foot under a blanket (ouch!), but would allow you to hold her and pet her, but never stayed long. When I lived at home, I was her preferred piece of furniture. If I were lying on the couch, she would come up and lounge on my hip or curl up on my stomach.

I’m not sure what makes a cat decide that you are her people and that this is the place she will come back to every night. But this must have worked for Peach since she did just this for the past 18 years. She liked a good fight and for years we called her boo-boo face because she always had a scratch or two on her. We hoped that the other guy always looked even worse. Now she was a moody cat and would often get irritated about something or someone. One of her favorite hiding spots were on the dining room chairs. Since they were typically tucked under the table, her position was secure. However the backs of these chairs had slats just wide enough for a kitty arm to reach through and swat at the offending party. Both the dog and the humans learned to watch for the little white arm or risk getting scratched.

A couple of days ago Peach got shot in the head by a pellet gun and was found on the front steps of our house covered in blood. She was still alive but not doing very well so Mom and Aunt Alice took her to the vet to put her to sleep. Right now I’m sad and furious. Sad because she couldn’t end her life in the peaceful way that she had lived hers. Furious because we are pretty sure that the ‘kids’ who live across the street were playing with their gun and shot her. Of course they denied it, and the police can’t be bothered by the situation, but other neighbors have complained about damage done to their property by these kids and their gun. Mom is going to talk to a bunch of people to see if anyone else can be outraged by this and at least investigate. More times than not seriously damaged people started out their careers of cruelty with animals and worked their way up to people. My parents live in an area that is more like Columbine than not. I just hope that these kids don’t end up living in their parents’ basement when they grow up. If they are allowed to get away with this I’d be happier if they didn’t continue to live in the neighborhood. I want them gone before they do something worse.

I do truly believe in what comes around goes around. It’ll make it easier for me to get over this horrible thing. It’s strange how people can look at animals one way and others can bring them into their homes and hearts and turn them into so much more.

I’ve been exceptionally affectionate with the four cats that are in my life right now. I hope my body can withstand the allergic reaction because the rest of me needs to enjoy these connections while I’ve got them.