Wednesday, May 28, 2003


Yeah all day I've been thinking about my tomato plants sitting in the backyard. After excessive research and several trips to 3 disappointing and 1 great nursery, I have two plants waiting for me to come home with some dirt to plant them in their attractive and spacious containers. My reputation for having a black thumb has come after years and years of herbicide (or whatever the fancy name is for killing green things). It's one of the things that seems to set me apart from the rest of my family. I'm the only left handed person in my immediate family and I'm the one Mom used to give plants when all she really wanted was the pot back for something else. I don't know if the two characteristics are linked, but it seems the most obvious.

In any case I have managed to keep three houseplants alive and mostly happy for atleast 3 years now. Last Autumn I managed to get a bunch of farmers' market basil to stay alive for over 2 months. If I had left my roommates with orders to keep the glass filled with water it might still be alive today! So with this encouragement, I am going forth with hopes of yummy tomatoes all summer long.

Whatcha got growin' in your garden?

Monday, May 26, 2003

Memorial Day

Wow, I can't believe how fast this year has just flown by. I was down in Southern California visiting Cat and taking advantage of a luxurious three day weekend. It was fun even though it wasn't as sunny as most people might think. We shopped, saw a movie, had a retail therapy session or two and mostly relaxed. I was able to take advantage of the long drive (without too much traffic I might add) to reflect a bit upon what had come before.

It was just over a year ago, I was packing up my life and stuffing it into two 7x7 containers sitting in the driveway. I'm amazed that I was as together as I appeared given the general mess that I was in at that time. The ex had moved out on Saturday while I met with the couple I was to be house-sitting for on the next block. I got back and organized things and moved box after box from the top floor of the house down to the main level. The next day Cat came to help me pack things up in a way that makes me wish that everyone could have a Virgo like her in their lives.

I still remember about halfway though the packing, I was carrying things out the back door down to the driveway and in my mind had determined that there was no way all of my stuff was going to fit. As I walked back into the house, I eyed my remaining belongings to determine who wasn't going to be going with me and how I was going to get rid of them. Cat reassured me that it would all fit and it did. Amazingly we crammed those suckers full. I remember stifling a laugh as the guy from the storage place had to put down the extra supports on the little forklift they use to get the containers on the flatbed truck. My boxes were that heavy. He smiled as I joked about him being careful with my brick collection. Yeah, he'd probably heard that before.

Aside from the packing there was the added bonus of taking Cat out for her first pupusas at El Zocalo and a long soak at Osento. I ended up having extra time at the house since the house-sitting job was delayed as they dealt with a few last minute problems. This delayed me getting my critical stuff out of the house and over to the new place in time to clean the house with my ex.

By the way, this is a bad idea. Really of the worst kind. Nothing good will come of it and you are far better off spending good money that you probably can't afford to pay someone to come and clean the house.

So as you may have already surmised, we had the worst fight of our relationship. A bitter, nasty fight. We had a minor point of resolution and sad agreement that neither of us wanted it to end like this. Aside from tying up a few loose ends I didn't speak to her for about a year. And the worst part was - no makeup sex. There was no making up. Nope, just me and the damn inflatabed that I kept having to bring out to the car to re-inflate every couple of weeks because I bought the bed with the car adapter, not the AC adapter.

But that all happened so long ago. In my head things are so much different. I know Memorial Day is all about remembering and not forgetting what came before. Sure they really mean soldiers fighting the good fight. But in our own ways aren't we also soldiers? We have our causes, our orders, things we do out of honor and pride. Things don't always come out like we'd wish and in any conflict there is always loss. What we take away from it is our lesson and our history. Do we learn from it and move on trying to do better next time? I sure hope so.

Wednesday, May 14, 2003

Change is good

I have descended into the latest form of geekitude. Yep, I finally went and loaded Movable Type onto the domain that I acquired last Fall and with a minimal amount of fuss I got the system loaded up. I've been porting over old entries from diary-x. It was very good to me for the last year or so. A simple place for me to dump my thoughts out for free. If you are thinking about doing something like this, I can highly recommend the site. In addition to simple easy to use journaling, it also allows you to lock your journal if you decide that you are a little too shy to bare it all to anyone that stumbles across your site.

In reality, very few people will notice unless you are a train-wreck of a person. Everyone loves a good train wreck. Interestingly enough many of the people who read this either know me already (you're the reason I'm writing here, why don't you ever write or call me damn it!?) or somehow wandered over as a result of meeting me at Journalcon 2002 (hey nice to see you still hanging around). I'm debating about going to Journalcon 2003. For one, it's not in my home town so I'd have to travel to Austin, TX this year. I am still mulling it over, because it would be fun to see people again. Plus I always seem to get the urge to write more here. So send encouragement.

Don't be surprised if things keep changing here. I'm tweaking this and that as I go along. It'll be like a bunch of little surprises. I especially like the fact that I control the notify list and while has been good about keeping things advertisement free, how long could that last? All you notify list people will be ported over 'specially. If you've been wondering what you've been missing, go and sign up now. I send you a message whenever I manage to write something and I have no idea why some of you haven't gotten on board. It's not like I'm a stat slut looking for page hits (hmm that sounds a little kinky) and you could be doing other things like buying books for Oakland (I'm so *not* going to turn in my Oakland Library card now knowing all the great books I can get at a bunch of the branches. I have no idea how Piedmont is going to cram all those new books into their tiny little building. )

Okay enough nagging, do what you want, I'm already accustomed to your stubbornness. Sheesh!

Thursday, May 8, 2003

A May Day

I’ve spent the past few days with my mom (and dad too). While I’ve been busy doing various things, most of it is spending time with Mom. For those of you wondering, she’s doing fine and in good spirits. I’ve been doing my best fattening her up a bit before she begins her first round of chemotherapy. She’s been busy doing normal things; getting plants out of the house for Spring, un-childproofing the house after all the grandkids came to visit the last few weeks, cleaning and straightening things up and doing things to increase her endurance. She is back to her daily walks and working a little. Luckily for me she’s been slowed down by her post-op recovery so that I can keep up with her daily walks in the Donald M. Kendall Sculpture Gardens at Pepsico.

I’ve been helping her by carrying stuff she can’t (or shouldn’t) carry yet, being her lilac-gathering cohort (much tougher than it sounds, really!), finishing the necklace I was supposed to send her for her birthday last February, messing up her cable reception when Bill and I put in her air conditioner and the subsequent and accidental correction of aforementioned reception. The biggest task I’ve completed to date was hooking up the receiver my brother sent her for mother’s day. I will use this forum to bitch about the dust I battled, the nasty sticky wires I cleaned and ended up splicing and running through her behemoth entertainment center. Because I have every intention of not going back there for a while (yeah Mom, no home entertainment from me this year) I dusted and tidied up the place when I was done. Yep, I even picked up those little bits of wire insulation when I stripped and spliced the right speaker wires that some woodland creature gnawed through. (Could have been a mouse, but it might have been the squirrel that got trapped in the house when Mom and Dad were on vacation last year).

In any case, Mom has music in the house again that doesn’t require the exclusive use of a clock radio, two working speakers in both the living room and kitchen and FM *and*AM reception. The AM reception is important because the folks listen to 710 WOR religiously on Sunday mornings. Of particular note was Ralph Snodsmith of the Garden Hotline. I actually listened to it for a good portion on the 2 hour program and found it interesting. Unfortunately I don’t know how much use it will be for me, since my black thumb gets me into a lot of trouble, I will attempt to grow a tomato plant or two if I can find an interesting determined growth plant. (Doesn’t that sound almost impressive?) The other place the AM radio is used is in the car. Seems Dad doesn’t really like Mom’s music (Pink Floyd, Creed, Poe, Smashing Pumpkins - you get the idea) and Mom hates Dad’s music (classic country) so talk radio is a safe and marriage-preserving option.

I’ve had all sorts of journal thoughts running through my head. I’ve noticed that things here have changed to the point that I don’t recognize some places anymore. I’ve also noticed that other things haven’t changed one bit. It’s like it was frozen in time while the rest of us moved on. I want to go back and photograph things that seem very much like home and very much not like California. If I do, I’ll post some here.

I’ve noticed that my life often seems extraordinarily boring. Not that it seems that way to me most of the time. I fill my days with going to work, to the gym, running basic errands, keeping touch with friends and occasionally doing something interesting. But even that ‘something interesting’ ends up being something like going to the movies, discovering a new neat place to hang out or dine out. Most of the interesting things I talk about are interesting things that happen to other people. Oddly I’m not at all upset about this. It is mildly distressing when I feel the need to come up with an interesting journal entry. But don’t worry that I’m losing sleep over it. I’m not.

The one thing that hangs as the most important thing that I’ve done this week is just listen. This can be a challenging thing as anyone who has spent time with me and tried to get a word in edgewise knows. While I would hope it was helpful for Mom, I can say it was good for me because the main reason why I flew 3000 miles was to hear about what was on her mind. And that’s what I got.

Tell me what’s going on with you.