Almost there...

Monday, February 28, 2005

Words of Wisdom

I really loved Janice's post today. It's a little nibble of advice that I must remember and that I hope others around me remember as often as possible.

A Cherokee elder sitting with his grandchildren told them, "In every life there is a terrible fight -- a fight between two wolves. One is evil: he is fear, anger, envy, greed, arrogance, self-pity, resentment, and deceit. The other is good: he is joy, serenity, humility,confidence, generosity, honesty, gentleness, and compassion." A child asked, "Grandfather, which wolf will win?" The elder looked him in the eye. "The one you feed."


Which wolf did you feed today?

Good Hair Day

Why are good hair days so often wasted on sitting around the house? It's just unfair. My hair looks nicer than it has in ages, and I suspect the only place I'm going today is to the Kinko's downtown. Such a pity.

Three Down

So I've still got a lot left to do today, but all three training courses are done. I need to go back and proofread them, especially the last one since I finished it at 3:30 this morning. But after that, I finish revising the job aids, make copies of that and other handouts, and get ready to train a lot of people tomorrow. I'm worried that one of the courses is significantly longer than the hour alotted, but we'll see how it goes.

I'm so looking forward to next weekend. I'll have done 6 training sessions, rolled out the system to the users, and will be ready to sleep heavily. Of course, I'll probably end up tearing down the ceiling in the bedroom and putting in folding attic stairs instead, but heck, I'll be able to do that with no scary threats of doom looming over my head. That'll be cool.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Pen and Paper

It never ceases to amaze me how I can try to start working on something using the computer, utterly fail, then walk away, come back, use pen and paper to sketch out my thoughts, and suddenly it all makes sense. There's something magical about handling a pen that makes the whole outlining/sketching/pre-writing process so much more productive for me. On the flip side, were I to try to actually do writing using a pen and paper, it would be a disaster at this point. I type almost as fast as I think and a pen and paper is just too slow to keep up when the words start flowing. Funny that.

And now I go create the Web Forms Originator Training I've been floundering at for most of the day.

LCD Screen

Kelvin walked in yesterday and asked when was a good time to set up my new flat screen monitor. I was dumbfounded. Flat screen? For me? But I didn't ask for that? So confused. Anyway, turns out everyone in the building is getting them for whatever reason. He came and installed it while I was in my Dance Fitness class. Sadly, my first impressions are not good. Text looks more pixel-y and thinner and not as easy to read. Images seem fine, but since my computer is still primarily a word processor on steroids, not having text visually comfortable is a problem. Plus, it comes on a stand that doesn't allow up and down movement, and it sits atop my laptop docking station and is way too high. Harumph. I've got to be the only girl I know who would complain about getting a shiny new flat screen monitor, but really, my monitor is my window to my computer, and it's got to do a really good job at reproducing what I would see if I printed something or if I posted it to the web where others would see it. Plus, my docking station is the same footprint on my desk as my old monitor, so the new one's smaller footprint doesn't win anything for me. Can I have my old monster CRT back? Oh well. I'm sure I'll get used to this eventually.

Craig's List

I really adore Craig's List. After a few months of looking, I just found a great dining table set for less than just the chairs would cost to buy new, and I got a gorgeous table in fabulous condition to boot.

I've been looking for a set in the $250-500 range with six chairs and a smallish table that has leaves. This one hit the jackpot and it looks like it will be a great match for my buffet and has the same claw feet as our coffee table. The only thing I need to do is recover the chairs (not because they're in bad condition, but just because I don't care for the fabric), but that should be as easy as a Saturday afternoon at home curled up with some new fabric and a staple gun.

It's a funny thing too. Although I've been cooped up in the office all week, I've actually managed to buy more stuff than I have in the preceeding 2 months. Lee was selling his older iPod, so I snatched it, and I finally ordered my new KitchenAid Mixer, which after discounts, rebates, gift certificates, and grandma and grandpa's Christmas contribution comes to a whopping $44 out of pocket.

P.S. Anyone with a truck wanna help me pick this up on Saturday or Sunday?

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Paralyzed by Too Much To Do

I have to write 3 training courses in the next 3 days. I've been trying to get started on the first one all morning, but I find myself utterly paralyzed by having so much to get done that I don't know where to start. There is no legitimate way to get it all done WELL in the next 3 days, so I've got to do a half-assed job and be okay with it. That is not something I'm good at. Okay, diving in, again.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Unbelievable

So I am up working for a presentation tomorrow, yet it seems I'm totally unable to access any of the 3 environments I could take screen shots from to finish my document. I do not know what exactly I did to tick off the karma fairy, but clearly she's having fun jabbing me right now. I'm going to go read a book and sleep. Really wish I knew where I could find a nice empty field to just scream at the top of my lungs for the next 20 minutes uninterrupted. I think that would make me feel a lot better.

Argh!

There's a good chance the ceili at Rosie McCann's Irish Pub is done and gone. For some deranged reason, the shift manager started making a bunch of pronouncements tonight that went against all of the agreements I had with the general manager. First he gave our folks grief about getting separate checks even though that had been agreed upon the previous Tuesday. He told the wait staff that there should be a minimum of five persons to a check, which is ridiculous for a table that only seats 2-4 people. It makes zero sense. Then this little prick thought the dance should end at 9:30 even though we'd advertised it until 10:00 and had been encouraged the first week to go longer. There were people there from Berkeley for pity's sake. One hour of dancing is insufficient for that drive. Then the prick decided that the band WHO PLAYS FOR FREE shouldn't get their free round. This was agreed on the first night - one free round to the band. Simple. Clean. Courteous. Clearly out of the question. There were 28 people there for the ceili tonight. That's 28 receipts that they wouldn't ordinarily have on a Tuesday night. There were probably not more than a dozen folks there the entire time we were there that weren't of our group. I don't know what the little wanker's problem was, but if the general manager does not 1. fire him or 2. keep him away from Tuesday nights or maybe 3. have him grovel next time I see him, then I'm done, which is probably fine since the prick intimated that he didn't want us back. We'll see what the general manager has to say tomorrow, but really, I've lost interest.

And really, could I have a nice boring week where things go basically as generally expected? I think that would be just great right about now. I'm sick of stupid pointless drama in my life.

More Updates

Rick and I are not breaking up. That option is off the table for the time being. We had a nice weekend including gelato, an hour soak and intense discussion, breakfast with wireless - two laptops and two plates of food, dinner at home where I made a strange beef stroganoff variant involving cous cous, a lunch out playing Palm Monopoly before food arrived, loads of kitten snuggle time and kitten play time, sleeping in, Rick suffering a nasty cold and me force feeding him tea with tangerine juice, a day at Wondercon seeing Joss Whedon, Nathan Fillion, Adam Baldwin, and Summer Glau in person, an evening with Mice and Wendy and their baby who is now in the super fun, super cute 6 months old phase, and an hour spent coordinating calendars so that the mystery of my schedule is less mysterious.

I also just got a set of emails from a coworker who thought getting some work done on a Saturday of a 3 day weekend would be a good idea. The work he did involved something I'd asked someone else to do which they apparently delegated without giving clear instructions and a situation where one person is trying to finish something before a deadline and putting things into production before it's time which I found out about on Friday afternoon and the person who I needed to check on the repercussions of this with was home with a sick kid so to make a long story short (too late!), the person working on a Saturday just managed to really mess everything up and I'm going to get to try to clean it all up tomorrow morning and I'm not allowed to scold anyone who now has me really ticked off. Not the person who "delegated". Not the person who moved things to production without getting my okay. Not the person who was not at work on Friday. And certainly not the person making major system security changes on a Saturday of a 3 day weekend without calling to confirm those changes were right even though he suspected they seemed wrong and sent me emails to say so. Grr and sigh. It's going to be a very busy, very long four day week.

But hey - there's a ceili tomorrow. And tickets to see Well on Wednesday. And a late night at work on Thursday. Oh yeah. Next week commences the training schedule. I still haven't started writing the training classes yet. That's bad. We'll see how it all goes. And weeeeeeee!

Friday, February 18, 2005

Delicious Dilemma

Finished reading the Nose book on Wednesday. Started reading The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse last night. Something Rotten arrived today to much giggling and squealing. Now do I delay the gratification of reading Something Rotten and finish The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies, or do I make the Bunnies wait and dive head first into my next Thursday Next adventure? Hmmmm.... One way or another, I'm sure to be Lost In A Good Book this weekend.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Done!

Did I mention I love done? Yeah. Just finished all the bulk load documents. And I'm going to be out the door by 10:15 if I run. Bye!

Break Not Quite Over

There's some really fun news on SF Gate today.

First there's an SUV owner/smoker who got spanked by the karma fairy.

Then there's the most wonderfully irreverent article about the touring Virgin Mary sandwich currently visiting the SF Ripley's Believe It or Not Museum on Fisherman's Wharf.

Okay, now I'm really gonna finish this last bulk load document.

Getting Fiesty

Apparently working late gets me fiesty. I've just submitted three help requests:

1. My keyboard needs and extension cord because it's currently too short and frequently accidentally presses the F keys.

2. Directory Services needs to display the Primary SUNet ID only, not the aliases, or list them in separate categories, because these documents I'm here working late on are all muffed because no one on campus can tell what the primary SUNet ID is for people.

3. I also reported the critters above my head. Also, our building was sprayed by a skunk on Monday night/Tuesday morning. The ladies room has a powerful funk, especially after the cleaning guy uses his chemicals in there. It's a vile concoction of skunk funk and chem stink. All bad.

So yeah, I'm still working. It's gonna be a 14 hour day methinks. 's okay. I'm picking Rick up at the airport around 11:00 and I'm sleeping in tomorrow. We moved to production successfully today, so the tech is ready. Hopefully the social will be ready soon if I can get these docs finished tonight and start working on training materials tomorrow. I'm 11 days (6 workdays) from teaching 3 classes I haven't started writing training materials or presentation materials for. Oh yeah. It's gonna be wicked crazy between now and March 4th (the actual go live date). And, oh yeah, it'll be wicked crazy after that too because we'll be live and I'll be front line help desk support in addition to teaching the classes, running the open labs, and testing enhancements. These are the days I earn my pay.

Break over!

Surprise Cookie Bites

Came back from my afternoon workout in the weight room, wishing I had some yummy treat. Mysteriously, there are four chocolate chip cookie bites in a bowl on my desk. This is strange, yet very welcome. Taste tests show that there is no poison. Yay for yummy cookie treats!

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Update

Yesterday was a wild day. It took me an hour and forty-five minutes to get to work due to rain, accidents, flooding, pestilence. Wait... no pestilence. But the rest, yah. I missed my first meeting and rescheduled it for today. I think that actually worked out for the best because I worked with that group today and it took 2 hours.

I did go on to my other meetings from 10-2, each at a different office on campus every hour, only managing to get thoroughly wet on my way to one meeting. It's been hectic, but this is the work I love. The local HR Managers are deciding who gets access to Web Forms and who approves, and they're setting it all up on a big spreadsheet I set up. It's a really daunting task because you have to put things in the correct order or nothing works. I don't expect that they'd really feel competent to do it alone, so I go sit with them for an hour, and usually at the end of that hour, they email me the completed document that has been created with at least 2 sets of eyes to catch mistakes. This is what I do best - acting as a liason between the technology and the user to help them get what they need from the systems. I love it. They love having my help. I love getting the data I need without having to do a lot of repairs to fix it after the fact. So though I was generally in an uncertain and unsettled mood about my home life, I was doing and enjoying what I'm best at at work.

As I came out of Green Library, I noticed the person in front of me was dragging his backpack straps in the puddles. I said, "Hey, your straps are dragging." Instead of the usual, "Oh" or "Oh thanks" the walker turned around and said, "I'm always doing that." I recognized the walker as Patrick Hunt, a professor here on campus who I took a Roman Art and Archaeology class from. I said, "Oh hello. Good to see you again." I'd taken his class and also bumped into him in the British Museum when I was there in London. He went on, "And the funny thing is I've been in several near crashes today with this hood on for the rain." We bantered momentarily and off we went on our own ways. I got to thinking about hoods and how they were a bit of a safety risk, and how women's bonnets were problematic in the horse and buggy era because they frequently blocked peripheral vision so if a horse was running up on you from behind, you either had to turn all the way around to see it (thus running a higher risk of getting trampled) or just run blindly to get out of the way (which also has a high risk). Anyway, off I went to the next meeting.

So on the way to my last meeting, my skirt had gotten so wet from the previous downpour that it was now hanging much lower around my bike. I got it tangled in the chain. Luckily it was a very stretchy skirt. With much tugging and frustration, I managed to get it free of my pedal wheel and still make it to the next meeting on time after a pit stop at the sink for some soap and water. The stretchy skirt was also black (who's surprised? Right. No one.) so it didn't even show the bicycle grease that was all over it, and miraculously, it didn't tear. Whew! I got the bike chain back on after the last meeting and made my way back to my desk to process the four bulk load documents that were now waiting in my Inbox. The rest of the day went fine.

I was heartened by the several comments and private notes that came as a result of my Broken Heart post. These helped offer comfort and a sanity check. I don't think I'm being too demanding, and it's comforting to have others confirm this. I'm not the kind of girl that demands fancy jewelry or other expensive gifts on a regularly scheduled basis. I just wanted a card or some other small acknowledgement. Last night Rick called from Arizona and we had a fairly long talk. He granted that he did really blow it, and we have a plan for a tool to help avoid this in the future. We're going to sit down together this weekend with a calendar so that it's clear to him when the big deal days are, when it's okay to schedule things, and what is already marked off as busy. Hopefully this will help. I have promised that his stuff will not be on the lawn when he gets home. Moreover, though the warning light is now not merely on, but actually flashing, I've decided to give us through my birthday to see he can pull his act together and actually successfully juggle both a job and a relationship. He used to do okay at it, so maybe it's just being out of the habit, but it's got to change. I will not accept this as the future of a long-term relationship. He doesn't get to break my heart again. Next time I won't take the fall.

I went to my annual gyn appointment today. I've had the same gynocologist for five years or so now, and I absolutely adore him. He's young and very personable which really helps when someone being both that intimate and that detached from it. He asked how things were and if I was still with Rick. I said that they were alright, and that I was still with Rick, but that he almost blew it on Monday. He asked, so I gave him the short form - boy missed V-Day utterly, and flubbed the Christmas present too. He was shocked, but much more by missing V-Day. He said "How could you miss Valentine's Day? It's everywhere for weeks beforehand. And even if you forget til that day, someone is going to remind you by saying Happy Valentine's Day in the morning and set you straight and you can fix it long before it gets to the end of the day." He was really surprised I hadn't dumped him without discussion. That's what his wife would've done. They got married about 3 months ago. His nurse is a heavy-set older black lady who said, "Oh no honey, that's not right. You shouldn't put up with that. There's something going on there. He doesn't respect you." It was funny hearing all this after deciding to give it another chance. When your doctor recommends you dump your boyfriend, that's an odd thing. Anyway, I'm relatively sanguine about the whole thing right now, so we'll see how this weekend goes, and how next weekend goes, and take it one day at a time for a while.

Meanwhile, I made it back to campus in the nick of time for my noon meeting, and showed up at Mario's office to find they'd gone to the Sports Cafe. With minor grumbles, I jumped my bike again and headed over, passing Professor Hunt on the way. He waved and we struck up another conversation. I mentioned my thought about bonnets and we chatted about where he knew me from. I said I'd taken his class, and then we chattted a few more minutes and then he mentioned visiting London in a few weeks with a tour group and I mentioned about bumping into his tour group a few years back at the Portland Vase. He said, "Ah! That's it. I knew there was some other connection." He asked what I did on campus, and I told him. And I asked what he's been up to. He's having a fabulous year, with his new Caravaggio book and how successful it's been due to it's serendipitous timing to coincide with a major exhibition. He's about to publish a book on Rembrandt which is also coincidentally set to coincide with another touring exhibit organized by the National Gallery. Anyway, to make a long story short, it's always nice to receive a compliment from someone you respect, and he said that yesterday I looked "so full of life." Considering how utterly thwacked part of my world was at that moment, it's nice that sometimes my work is so satisfying that it can fill me with that much of a warm glow. If it had been just another day at my desk testing software, I probably wouldn't have been able to get through it, but going out and being the liason and the guide filled my heart up where it had been let to drain out the day before. I really am an extrovert by nature. I get all of my strength and joy from interaction with others.

I did make it to the meeting, though about 10 minutes late now. Mario bought the team lunch, which was especially nice since I'd left my wallet at home and had been trying to figure that detail out for today. I dove in and offered my bulk load solution for those that haven't responded. Mario has gotten good feedback about how helpful I've been for the HRMs setting up the bulk load docs. We're on our way to going live on (the most newly revised) schedule. Then I went and made up the meeting with Chris Yam, then caught up to Linda Faris in Engineering. Two more bulk load documents done. Now to finish the security setup in FIX and PRD, and go off and see Caliban.

So for anyone who was worried - I'm doing okay. I'm at the point where if things work out with Rick, that's good. If they don't, I'm okay with that too. And in the meantime, work is good and the kitten is snuggly and things could be much worse.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Broken Heart

I'm really struggling. There's a huge part of me that loves Rick to pieces and loves having him as a life companion. Things together are comfortable and good. But sometimes he breaks my heart.

At Christmas he failed to get me anything. Around the Christmas tree, everyone had things to open from their loved ones, but there was a hole I didn't let anyone else see. I was trying to be okay with it, but I wasn't and I'm not. I talked it over with him and said that "even a box wrapped up with a handwritten scrap of paper saying "Money is tight, but know that I love you" would've been enough. But that wasn't there.

I thought maybe I'm overreacting. Maybe my history with my dad (who has always been really bad at the whole Christmas thing) is overcoloring my experience. Maybe I'm making too much of it. But as I mentioned it to others, their universal reaction was shock and horror, and usually informing their significant others that if they ever did that they'd be out on their ass. I listened to the wonderfully thoughtful gifts others received for Christmas this year and Christmases past, and it just breaks my heart all over again.

Still, I thought, deep breaths, we've discussed it. It won't happen again. He's heard it from me. He's heard it from others. He knows he blew it and there will be something to make up for it. After all, his primary excuse was that he preferred giving little gifts all through the year to saving them up for a specific holiday.

But no special present has ever materialized on my pillow. No card has turned up unexpectedly at work. I haven't come home to a surprise candlelight dinner. On none of the occasions where I've been asked "What are you up to on such and such a day?" has it turned out that the reason he asked was because he was planning a special romantic dinner or night at Watercourse or any other special treat.

And as Valentine's day approached, I felt the anticipation, and fought the hope, and feared the worst, and wanted desperately not to care about this "Hallmark Holiday" and all the while prayed not to be disappointed. In mid-January, I found a scarf for Rick, and tucked it away to save for Valentine's Day. A couple of weeks before Valentine's Day, it was especially cold and rainy, so I tucked the scarf under his pillow so that he found it as he crawled into bed. I mentioned then that I was planning to save it for Valentine's Day, but figured he'd appreciate it more right now with this wet weather. Two weeks ago, we sold the second washer/dryer set to a couple who were moving on the 15th. They asked to come pick it up on the night of the 14th. Sure, no problem. We don't have plans. In the week before, several folks asked about any plans. Jo-Ann, my roomie at work, asked for Rick's cell phone number so that she could ask what he was getting me for Valentine's Day. I told Rick that she'd made me laugh and why. On Thursday night, Rick mentioned that his work plans now included flying out on Monday and getting home Friday night. I said, "Oh." He asked why. I said, "Well, Monday is Valentine's Day, when Michelle was coming to pick up the washer/dryer. I guess I get to help them lift it and all by myself." He said, "Oh yeah. Sorry." Sunday, I went to the knitting class and Rick went home to do his homework and get packed for the trip. I thought maybe, just maybe I'd come home to a nice surprise. Maybe there would be flowers. Maybe there would be a plan. I called as I started toward home and asked if he'd gotten his homework done. He said he was working on it. I knew there was nothing on his radar. So I went and did a little shopping, stopping for some yarn to start my project and stopping at Lowe's for a laundry pan, a Hudson sprayer, and some Neem oil spray for the roses. I got home to find Rick working away on setting up computers. I talked him into helping me unload the car and make the bed. Then I scooped the cat litter, took a shower, and curled up on the sofa for a bit of knitting and TV. I went to bed around 11, but couldn't sleep. This morning I took Rick to the airport. I think he knew I was feeling sad, but I don't think he realizes why.

And dammit, I don't want to be melancholy about this. Valentine's Day is just a "Hallmark Holiday". It doesn't matter. But you know what – I got a box at noon today with a dozen chocolate strawberries from Sherri’s Berries. I opened it gingerly, hoping for the very very best, and was both shocked and crushed to find they were from my dad. My dad is being more thoughtful than my boyfriend on Valentine’s day. And I am melancholy about it. And I'm scared. I wanted to give Rick through my birthday to show me that he can be a thoughtful partner. I wanted to give him a chance to be on his feet. I wanted to trust that he really does value our relationship. When we were discussing the Christmas debacle, I said that it seemed that he no longer put in the effort that he used to. Where is the guy who would drive 400 miles just to spend one night with me? Or who would send giant hearts with arms through the mail for a hug when he couldn't be there in person. Or who would send flowers and cards anytime. He said that these special attentions fade over time in a relationship. But what I see in successful relationships around me is that they really don't. They keep doing special little things for each other all the time. I don't see that from him right now and I haven't seen it for a while.

Valentine's Day isn't a Hallmark Holiday. It's the relationship apocalypse.

Yay Dad!

So a week ago my dad was here for breakfast and he didn't like strawberries, but that didn't prevent him from getting me a box of chocolate dipped strawberries for Valentine's Day from Shari's Berries. I gave one to Eileen and one to Jo-Ann and ate too many myself. The rest are in the fridge for later. Yummy.

M&M Fortune Telling

Do you ever get those really weird ideas? You know the ones - where you simultaneously think "I wonder why this isn't a basic cultural practice?" and "What the heck am I thinking?"

I just opened a little baggie of mini M&Ms. Through a bizarre need to bring order into my life, I poured out all of the M&Ms and proceeded to sort them by color. Turns out, my baggie has a rather uneven split. Lots of blue and yellow and orange, fewer green, 4 brown, and 1 red. "So what does that mean?" I thought briefly. Followed by, it means the sorter dumped an odd amount of each into the bag.

But then I thought, well, the greens always seem to sybolize sex somehow, though I don't know why. There's lots of traditional symbolism for red and blue and green and even orange, though brown is a bit harder. But really, it's a common schoolyard thing to talk about green M&Ms as being about sex or they make your horny or whatever. It's just weird that the rest of the colors don't have a long-standing symbolism, and also that there isn't a junior high/high school lunchtime game of fortune telling based on what's in your bag of M&Ms. In that tradition, there's the game of MASH. Or there's fortune telling based on tarot cards or tea leaves. Why exactly hasn't this become a teenage fortune telling method? And could the mere act of writing this down encourage someone to create a web page? Could that web page be the start of an urban mythology?

Red could symbolize love. Brown could symbolize your living situation. Orange could symbolize your wealth. Blue could symbolize sadness or tragedy (less blue is better then). Yellow could be children. Green has to stay sex, otherwise the whole idea loses credibility.

I wonder what happens next...

Oh! And Then There's the Texas Democrats...

Grandma's baby sister Janice was out visiting from Texas. This was a big surprise. It's been about 15 years since she's been out to California. She surprised the heck out of grandma, emerging from the bedroom after all the guests arrived. Note to self: while all the immediately family are staunch Republicans (who probably wonder how I went so very wrong), it turns out the Texas wing of the family are a bunch of liberal Democrats. Go figure. Janice had some most unkind things to say about the W, and she's had lots more experience with his nature than most Americans. It's nice to know that this black sheep's wool isn't utterly unheard of in my family line.

Grandma Loves Me

We went to Sacramento for my grandma's 80th birthday party on Saturday. Because my grandma is an amazing woman who outpaces most people half her age, I thought the perfect birthday present would be a six-pack of tennis balls. At 80, she still plays tennis every week, weather permitting.

So a few weeks ago I wrote about my love of bread. I'm hoping my comment about grandma's old bread recipe was not taken as a complaint, but regardless, the outcome was that grandma found a bread culture recipe on the web, made it up, and brought four loaves of home-baked bread to her birthday party. Breakfast this morning is a couple of slices of grandma bread. I love my grandma.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Working Late

One thing I hate about working late is that about this time of day when the sun goes down and the building and campus is quieter, I start to hear the scurrying of little rodent feet on the ceiling tiles of my building. Little rodent feet scurrying above my head. Icky.

Addendum: Just after posting this, something ran across the ceiling of my room and visibly shook the ceiling tiles. SO GOING HOME NOW!!!

Avalon Rising and Caliban and Avalon Rising - Oh my!

So the next three weeks at the King's Head pub are full of good bands for free. Last night we went out and danced for Avalon Rising, per their request. The evening culminated in the most funky 4 hand reel ever as we danced to a classic 70's disco tune. Turns out, next week Caliban, the 2 man acoustic version of Tempest, is playing, and the week after that is Avalon Rising again. So while the food is mediocre and the service is crap, I'd still recommend Wednesdays at the King's Head for a nice evening in the South Bay for the next 3 weeks at least.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

South Bay Ceili at Rosie McCann's

The new location for the ceili looks like it's going to work out very nicely. The food is more expensive than Straw Hat, but not too bad, and the food is really good, so it's more worth the price than the similarly priced items at St. Stephen's Green. We had a good night of dancing, with a few quirks and adjustments needing to be made. Separate tabs are a must since at one point with everyone having ostensibly paid their share, we were still off by more than $40. Luckily, several folks kicked in an extra $5 here and there and we made it, but that can't happen again. Getting the sound balanced was another challenge. It's nice to know that the sound design for the space was pretty cool. There's a little domed space over the dance floor, with speakers directed in toward it, and so while the music seemed quite loud on the dance floor, it was still a conversational level in the bar. Pretty cool. I've never been asked "Could you ask the band to be a bit louder?" before. Otherwise, the dance floor is nice and wood and the food is good and with a little time to settle in, I think this will be a very nice home for the ceili for the long run.

And tonight there's more dancing at the King's Head with Avalon Rising. Woohoo!

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Something Rotten

Hooray! I just found a paperback version of Something Rotten on Amazon.com. It's not officially released in the U.S. as a paperback yet, so this is likely a preview or U.K. edition, but it will be mine soon! Oh yes! Oh joy! I've been waiting to read this for months. Rick doesn't let me read hard covers in bed because he ends up waking up with dents in his forehead, so I have to wait extra long to get new books when they come out. Finally, some more Thursday Next absurdity in my life again. It will be just the thing to read after I finish "Nose", which is a good book, but I keep sounding off like Cliff Claven with little anecdotes.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Weekend Observations

I'm happy to note that I'm not in large amounts of pain from the weekend exertions. Weight Training has paid off. I noted this first when using my dad's large branch loppers. For a good sized (2 inch diameter?) branch, this involves opening the loppers to about a 120 degree angle and then using a lot of force to close them. The force is similar to the weight machine where you bring both arms together in front of your chest. This muscle is frequently sore after weight training, but isn't even a little sore today. Hooray!

We met our neighbor from 2 doors down. His name is Sandor, and he runs a machine shop out of the back of the house. He actually lives in Sunnyvale, and owns a bunch of other properties around the south bay, but this is his old house and his shop, and one of the employees lives in the house part now. Learned a bit about him - 3 kids aged 22-30, with the 30 year old boy about to graduate from med school, the 22 year old boy being a slacker with some programming skils, and the 28 year old daughter. Not sure what she does, but she's living back at home with her kid after her divorce. Anyway, Sandor seems nice, a bit nouveau riche (speaking of wealth and spending a little heavily), and very willing to be a good neighbor (offering the loan of tools and such). When it was first pointed out that I was my dad's daughter (he met my dad the day before), he said, "Oh, pretty girl. You're a lucky man." My dad instantly corrected him, "Oh, she's more smart than pretty." It wasn't like he agreed with him first, that yes, I was pretty. It was like he was saying, "Well, I don't see that myself, but I'm sure glad she's a smart cookie." It was a weird moment for me. It was like I couldn't be both in his mind. It got me to thinking a bit. More value has always been placed on smart than pretty in my family. People tell me I'm cute or pretty or attractive now, and I honestly have a hard time believing it at all. I think I may have just uncovered a few roots for that. The funny thing is that there are certain things in life that I've decided not to do or pursue because "I'm not pretty enough" to excel in them. I rarely doubt that I'm relatively intelligent(not the top of the heap, but a smidge above average). I scarcely ever think, "Yep, looking good." I've also never pursued a bunch of things like learning to do makeup or do things with my hair because it never seemed like more than dressing up a mediocre palate in the first place. Anyway, the unasked for compliment was appreciated from Sandor, and the response from Dad opened up a whole thought process in the back of my mind. Odd things to think over while ripping down vines and avoiding spiders.

Another odd thing was noting my dad's eating habits. He doesn't have any interest in or appreciation for homemade food. He's been on the road for FEMA so long that he's entirely used to eating all fast food and restaurant food. It was a challenge to get him to eat my chili on Sunday instead of going out to buy a sandwich. Also, he doesn't like strawberries. My breakfast of crumpets, strawberries and an egg on Sunday seemed all wrong to him. He wanted a breakfast bowl from Carl's Jr. It sounded better. This was hard for me to wrap my brain around. The strawberries were yummy. He had eggs and toast.

Also, there is a stump leftover from a weed I cut down last fall. The weed was grown to a little over six feet tall, and I clipped most of it away, and finally sawed it off. Then there was just the stump left, about five inches across. I tried to remove it then. Rick spent over an hour hacking on it yesterday. Then I spent an hour hacking at it. Seriously, this must be the toughest substance ever grown. We should build houses out of it. You can hack and hack and hack on it, and with only a tiny amount remaining, it behaves like a solid piece. We finally gave up and decided to take it on another day. And the plants from that weed's seed are coming up all over the rest of the yard. These have been summarily doused in large amounts of Round-up. This weed is the enemy. It will never be allowed to grow above my knee again.

We have a lot of calla lillies. I cut six beautiful lillies and put in a vase on the table. They look so nice. I hope they survive their various moves and start to grow again. They're all lined up by the edge of the deck.

Things I do want to plant: Page Manderin tangerines, basil, sage, oregano, strawberries. Also, maybe a Nectarine tree. And a lot of allysum.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Weekend Go Bye-Bye

Friday Night Waltz was lovely. I'm so glad I went because the rest of the weekend has not been of my usual preference. It was spent with my dad tearing into house projects. I've torn out all of the ivy from behind the garage, and replanted several plants to save them from the destruction of all plant life in the center strip of my yard. I've bought and lifted 32 12 inch pavers and 31 half bricks. I've pulled weeds and tried to kill others with Round-Up. I've hauled and clipped and trimmed and there's a mighty big pile of detritus in the front that we're hoping the yard clippings truck will pick up on Thursday. There are six beautiful calla lillies on my dining room table and new patches on the stucco and in the bathroom and a new dryer vent under the house. We have a plan for building attic access and removing the popcorn ceiling in the blue bedroom. In all, I've watched one hour of tv, and generally spent every other waking moment working. Oh, and those waking hours were much earlier than normal since my dad gets up around 7. I don't get up that early on the weekdays, so while I normally catch up on sleep on the weekend, that didn't happen. But my yard looks much better. This is that lifestyle change I've been expecting. It's just so very odd though. Now I've just got to figure out what I do want to plant and grow in the yard. That part is more fun though.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

People Keep Saying Yes

The Straw Hat venue hasn't been working out really well for a couple of reasons - location, carpeting, being a pizza joint instead of a pub, and competing activities. So, I ran a poll for the ceili dancers and with all suspicions confirmed, started shopping for a new venue. I went to the Espresso Garden, and while that seemed ideal in some ways, it's a family run business that is open 7-3, plus open Wednesday-Sunday evenings for special events. I suspected that adding a regular Tuesday thing wouldn't be an especially good thing for them.

Meanwhile I had an appointment with the manager at Rosie McCann's in Santana Row. The manager was sick last week, so we rescheduled for this week. I stopped in there tonight, handed him our bio/info sheet with photos, and ten minutes later he said, "Sure, let's give it a go. How's next Tuesday?" Uh... yeah... sure.

So far, no one I've ever asked has said no. Not St. Steven's Green. Not Straw Hat. Not Rosie's. That's interesting. And good. And weird. And wow. And yeah, we're moving.

So now I've got to figure out if the band can turn on a dime, reschedule their lives, and if the rest of the gang is ready to switch back to Tuesdays. And I've got to decide if we're dancing tomorrow. And make up new flyers to hand off at FNW tomorrow. And for PEERS. And send emails. And lots of other stuff.

People keep saying yes. They actually seem to want a bunch of sweaty dancers and scruffy musicians in their restaurant. It's... fascinating. Yeah.

Oh, and Irish dancing? In an Irish pub? With a wood floor? Brilliant!

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Kitty Plays Fetch

Really, I wish I had a video camera. Pixel plays fetch really well. He takes the mangled leftover of his favorite toy (the remainder is feathers attached to a long piece of elastic), brings it to my lap and drops it. I rouse from staring at the computer and tell him how incredibly cute he is. We play for a while, then I stretch the elastic and shoot the toy into the dining room. Pixel runs off abandoning all sense of dignity, and grabs it. He brings it back. I shoot. He brings it back. This goes on for 40 minutes until I'm bored. He comes and drops it in my lap again. I distract him with snuggles.

I was thinking of maybe getting a dog instead of a cat this time around. Looks like I've got the best of both worlds.

Sour Times

There's this PBS show that goes to real families and has them talk about their family and the cool things that happen where they live. They go around the country, and it's all hosted by an animated rabbit named Buster. The "Sugartime" episode will not be aired nationally because it treats a lesbian family as if they were a normal family. The episode is about getting maple syrup out of trees in Vermont, and baking chocolate chip cookies, and Vermont dairy farms, and happens to start with Emma's family, who is in a perfectly legal union with her mom Karen and her step-mom Gillian. Honestly, they didn't even expect a national controversy, but in this nation where homophobia is still perfectly allowable, especially in a red state, the controversy has caused them to pull this episode from PBS. That's sad. They're not making a statement about homosexuality. They're just showing the diversity of families in America and the diversity of activities in different cities and states. Having Muslim families, Orthodox Jewish families, and Pentecostal Christians is all okay, but let's not show a family in a legal civil union in Vermont. That's just sick and wrong! Yeah, sick and wrong for there to even be a controversy. Sick and wrong for us to be so self-righteous and ignorant. Sick and wrong to send a message to little Emma that her family is unacceptable. Sigh. I feel so sorry for this little girl and I hope her moms can make this all right for her.

It never ceases to amaze me. A generation ago, gays were dangerous because of their promiscuity. Now gays are dangerous because they want the American dream - kids, a house, and growing old together. So what is it really? What is the real problem?