Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Stick it to the man

Or – The beginning of the end…

Last night I bought Kyle his first stick of deodorant.
We stood there blocking the aisle while he sniff-tested a dozen different scents after I had narrowed the choices down to a couple brands. He was so pleased. He won’t even let them bag it with the rest of the groceries; he carried it all the way home.

So, there on the bathroom sink, next to his toothbrush and his retainer, sits a stick of Right Guard Fresh.

How did this happen? Where did my baby go?
Now it’s all pre-teenage attitude, eye-rolling, and deodorant. What’s next? Pimple-cream? Gah.

This morning he was telling me how the majority of people mispronounce Johann Sebastian Bach’s last name. He even has opinions about the president and the war in Iraq. WTF? I probably didn’t even know who the president was when I was 9.

At least I can still give him a hug and peck on the check every morning - in front of everyone!

For now.

I was going to post a baby picture, but then I found this one of Kyle and his kindergarten teacher. Ha! Do you still doubt that he has three sixes on his head?

It's all for you Damien!

Monday, June 26, 2006

A quickie - I came, I saw, I went home

Or – Do you rent your rooms by the hour?

Now, I don’t want to turn this into a what I did this weekend play by play kind of blog. But, if the last thing I mentioned was that I was meeting an old friend at a hotel – well, I can’t really leave ya hangin’ can I?!

I could. But karma baby.

I met up with the Sain’t after work at the Super 8 Deluxe in Dixon. Deluxe meaning the hallways were inside. I can’t comment on the rooms because we didn’t get any. Christopher was unable to stay so we never left the lobby. We chatted for a couple hours and then he got the call and had to leave. Lets classify it as a family emergency and leave it at that. It was great to see him but 2 hours was not enough time. We never even got to the beer. And worst of all – no pictures.

I ended up back at home by 7:30 and in an off mood. Christopher had given me the first two volumes of the Lucifer series by Vertigo – a spin off from the Sandman by Neil Gaiman. He had already sent me the first few issues a couple years ago when I was still living in the apartment. At that time I thought they were ok but eh. And I wasn't sure if it was a good idea to start reading them while teetering on the edge of a funk. But I'm a devil-may-care kind of gal (HA) and well, I had the time. I guess I just wasn’t in the right frame of mind back then, because I’m totally enjoying them now. In fact I went to Borders on Saturday night and purchased Vol. 3.

So, after a lovely Saturday hanging out with Cynthia, I spent the rest of the weekend alone, reading graphic novels and John Irving, painting, and watching Amadeus with the volume cranked. I don’t think that has affected my psyche at all. I feel fine.

Thank god Chris is coming home tonight.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Meet me at that seedy motel down the road

I am going to see the Sain’t tonight! It has been over a year since we’ve hung out together. But as I’ve said before – I’m not bitter.

-Oh wait! Yes I am! I just got off the phone with this so called Sain’t and found out that he is NOT current in regards to reading this blog!!! He hasn’t read it in over a week! And the post about Irving was aimed expressly at him. Who else would get it?! Boy, he had better throw a few more gifts in his car.

Sorry. Where was I? Oh yes, Sain’t missed my wedding last summer (don’t worry, the migraine card will always work with me) and we haven’t been able to coordinate a day to get together since. It really shouldn’t be that hard, we only live a couple hours apart. But you know - life – it can get in the way sometimes. So, after a couple aborted plans for him to visit earlier this month, this weekend we were both free. And I am really free – maybe to free. Chris is gone on his annual So Cal free-diving trip and Kyle is at his dad’s. After tonight, I don’t know what I’m going to do for the rest of the weekend. What I do know is that whatever I end up doing it will be indoors. It’s going to hit 110 degrees this weekend. We won’t see the 90s again until late next week. Oh god, I am so doomed.

Back to the plans. Originally I was going to drive to San Francisco on Saturday and come back Sunday morning. Sounded good. I haven’t been to the city in ages and was looking forward to spending some time in a nice metropolitan setting for a change. But due to technical difficulties, we decided yesterday to just meet somewhere in the middle. After all the whole point was to hang out together and this would be the easiest way to do that. The half-way point seemed to be Vacaville but the Super 8 there was sold out so we are now meeting at the Super 8 in Dixon – which is even closer for me. No complaints here. And it just wouldn’t be right for 2 ex-Detroiters to reunite at a Marriott or some other nice hotel with an indoor hallway.

So, we’ll get some dinner (probably in Davis where all the college kids will make us feel old) and then hang poolside and drink some of Sain’t homemade beer. Perfect. All problems solved. I’m not crashing at his place (remember Chris hasn’t even met him yet) and he’s not staying at our house (good for him since he’s allergic to cats and we only have the one but she’s fat enough for two) and neither of us has to play host. And the fact that we are meeting at a seedy hotel – well, that doesn’t look bad does it?!

And I know that Sain’t is bringing me some books to read. What he doesn’t know is that I am making him a present. (No, I’m not worried about spoiling the surprise – we now know he’s not reading this!) I was able to dig out my old box of pictures and letters in the garage last night and I’m bringing a nice selection of photos from our past for us to laugh at. But the real prize is the stack of letters and short stories he sent me. I’m not going to give him the originals (I might need them as evidence someday) but I am making copies for him. Which isn’t the easiest task since I don’t want to separate the continuous sheets of printer paper from his very first computer! Boy does that age us. And the double sided pages ripped from a spiral notebook? They don’t go through the auto-feeder on the copier. Oh well, its worth it because he is going to crap when he reads some of this stuff. There are some real gems in there. And you should see the stationary!

Shit we were young once. Long long ago.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Recon Mission II - Consumnes River Gorge

Yesterday we went to Consumnes River Gorge to go climbing. We found the top-rope Field Guide at REI Friday night and discovered that there were quite a few easy routes for a beginner like me. It's only an hour away and we could pick up Kyle from his dad's on the way back. Perfect. We have a new rope and Chris re-strung his gear Saturday night. We were ready.

To quote Dickens: It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...
It went like this: Sunday morning - got up, got coffee and got going. Drove out past Diamond Springs and parked on the side of the road. Pulled on the backpacks and started down the path. And I mean down the path. We were going to the Consumnes River Gorge. Gorge...hmm...hadn't really thought about what that meant. So, we started on the rim and had to hike downhill to the river. Oh. My knees have issues with downhill. Luckily I didn’t end up needing the brace. After some time on the dusty path we hit granite and could hear the river. Scrambling over and around boulders, we found the first climbing area. Now the actual routes looked pretty good - plenty of knobs in addition to all the cracks - but the base of the routes was a smooth slab of granite that slopped down towards the rocks and river below. Kinda sketchy. I didn’t feel comfortable belaying Chris on a hill and he must have not liked the idea either since we quickly decided to move on and check the other formations. We hiked to the other side of the rocks and we came upon some climbers. Chris and the climber guy roamed around a bit scoping out the other routes. Unfortunately by this time the sun was having its way with me and crack climbing on the hot granite in a spot with no shade didn't sound that appealing. We decided to call it a "had a nice hike" day and head on out of there. Well, if my knees where unhappy with the downhill part of the hike, think about how my heart and lungs felt going uphill! And let's not forget the scorching sun! Can you say heat stroke?!
I think you can. And I did. Repeatedly. From the time we got home until I got up this morning. But all I could actually do was groan and whimper a bit. There was no articulating that I was felled by the heat and sun and now in the throws of a migraine and would it be better for you if I went to the bathroom down the hall to throw up?!
Happy Father's Day Chris. Thanks for going and getting Kyle for me. And then feeding and bathing him and getting him to bed. You rocked while I just rolled from side to side, trying not to die too loudly.

But I want to go back and try again. In October. When it’s not over 90 degrees in the shade. And because I care and don't want you to be disappointed that I took no photos - you can go here or here to see pictures of other people climbing at Consumnes. From my comfy seat, here at my desk, in this nice air conditioned office, it really does looking like fun climbing! But all future summer activities will be in Tahoe -where it is usually 20 degrees cooler.

And it is suppose to hit the 100’s by Wednesday. Not good.
11 more days until we're back in Santa Cruz!

Thursday, June 15, 2006


It is with great pride and severe carpel tunnel that I present you with….

The Throw!

Yes, it is finally finished. I did a happy dance and burned my knitting needles in victory! Believe me when I say that this baby is one of a kind.

Unless it is like childbirth - where after several years of snuggling under its warmth and fading softness, you have blissfully forgotten the pain and suffering you went through to make it, and you foolishly decide you want another one. One that is fresh and new!

Well, if that happens I want you to drag my ass up to the laundry room, shove the damn thing -the throw, not my ass- into the washing machine (on gentle, cold water, with just a touch of Woolite please) and then hit me over the head repeatedly with that iron I never use. And don’t tell me you can’t find the iron – it’s up on the shelf. Keep looking... There - behind the dusty bottle of Mop’n’Glow and the dried-up sponge.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Take a break Driver Eight

Last month someone (Hi E!) mentioned that I am thinking too much.
–hey, be nice –
And it's true. I have been a bit too much “in my head” for awhile now. Just look at what I’ve been reading this past year!

It started out innocently enough with a nice 614 page book on evolution and genetics: The Ancestor’s Tale by Richard Dawkins
And then came the physics books:
The Fabric of the Cosmos: Space, Time, and the Texture of Reality – Brian Greene (I need to finish this one which means starting again from the beginning. Some other time.)
Dancing Universe: From Creation Myths to the Big Bang – Marcel Gleiser (a hand-held walk through the history of cosmology - very easy to understand science)
The Universive in a Nutshell – Stephen Hawking (this hurt my head)
Then a slight shift to social and then political science:
Cod: A Biography of the Fish That Changed the World – Mark Kurlansky (surprisingly entertaining)
From Beirut to Jerusalem – Thomas Friedman (great book that unfortunately started my obsession with the news)
The Assassin’s Gate; America in Iraq – George Packer (this one had me banging my head against the wall)
The World is Flat: A Brief History of the 21st Century – T. Friedman
And what was that about? Economics?! What the hell am I doing?

Well, the first thing I did in my bid for balance was to stop paying such close attention to the news. Of course I still listen to NPR in the car, but I try not to get too sucked in to current events – especially the Middle East! I just can’t keep up and it’s not good for me when I try. I know for a fact the Chris doesn’t like it when I start raving about rivers of blood. So, I’m totally wasting the $50 I paid for an on-line subscription to the New York Times, but I’m sleeping better at night.

The next book I was going to read was Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies by Jared Diamond, but I just couldn’t do it.
I was in desperate need of fiction!
Remembering a story I heard on NPR, I picked up Absurdistan: A Novel by Gary Shteyngart. A novel?! (Novels…hmmm…those are fiction right? It’s been so long.) It was a diminutive first step in the general direction of light and fluffy. And it was wonderful! A blend of Nikolai Gogol (oh how I love those crazy Russian writers) and The Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy – fun for me!

(And while looking up these 2 books on Amazon I found them both on someone’s “Listmania – Books You Should Have Already Read” reading list. A very interesting collection of books that I'm going look at again later.)

But the real homecoming is that I am now reading John Irving!
It almost doesn’t even matter which Irving it is because by the second page all was right with the world (It’s Until I Find You). I'm feeling all warm and fuzzy inside. But don’t worry; I am well aware that by the time I get through the 800+ pages I will have been kicked in the gut at least twice! That’s just Irving. At least I’m not ready Flannery O’Connor! And I am painfully aware that Irving is never "light and fluffy" (Owen Meany anyone?), but this is how good it is - I started the book 2 days ago at the gym, and both days I didn’t look up once during the 30 minutes I was on the stationary bike. The other books were set down for at least half of that time. Yesterday I was just pedaling away until I finally noticed that it seemed far too easy. Looking up I realized my session was over. How long had it been over? Who knows?! Today I’m setting the bike for 40 minutes!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Seeing spots

Santa Cruz was wonderful as always. We finally timed things so that we had Kyle with us when Chris’ folks were there. They hadn’t seen Kyle since Christmas. Lucky bastards.

Oh come on, I'm kidding.
But because of Kyle, P baked chocolate chip cookies. She was pulling them out of the oven as we stepped in the door Friday night.
I love my mother-in-law but she is obviously trying to kill me!
Who can resist warm cookies?! And let’s not even discuss the apple strudel birthday cake we had for Mr.B on Saturday night – good gravy that thing weighed more that Kyle!!

The ocean conditions were just bad enough (poor visibility) that Chris didn’t go diving – sad for him but nice for the rest of us. So after a slow start on Saturday morning (I was fighting another damn headache) we were on our way to Carmel with Kyle and his new wetsuit. We met up with friends and took the boys to the beach. It was overcast and a bit chilly but when has that stopped a kid from playing in the water until they can’t feel their hands anymore. And those lips – what a lovely shade of blue! We got back to Santa Cruz in time for Saturday night pasta and that evil cake. Sunday morning after a fabulous breakfast (quiche from the Farm, fresh fruit and scones), we slid Kyle into his wetsuit and Chris’ dad took him boogie boarding while Chris and I went shopping for a couple hours. Kyle had a blast but was so wiped out he slept most of the way home. Sure, the drive was peaceful but getting him to bed that night? Not fun. Next time we poke him with sharp sticks all the way home.

And unfortunately the dust spot fix didn’t happen as planned. Apparently it wasn’t a job the shop owner could do. I would have had to leave my camera there for 3 days. Not in Santa Cruz my friend – we won’t be back until next month! I ended up taking only 28 pictures over the weekend. I’m not sure if it was because of the dust specks and all the editing I just did, or the overcast sky but I just wasn’t in the mood to take pictures. I’m also a bit burned out on the ocean shots. I had my camera with me as we strolled around downtown Santa Cruz but nothing really caught my eye. Even Umbrella Man didn’t prompt me to pull out my camera. So, only 14 new photos on Flickr.

Hey! I heard that sigh of relief! Don’t get too happy – I’m taking my camera to the shop today at lunch.

Friday, June 09, 2006


As we walked along the bluff the first day in Ft Bragg, Kyle decided he was a flying squirrel. (Don’t ask because I don’t know) But, much like Icarus, Kyle’s attempts at flying ending in a resounding splat.

When we spotted a couple squirrels in the brush and pointed them out to Kyle, he yelled “Brethren!” Again, I have no idea where he comes up with this stuff. But that boy is funny – and I’m not just talking about his hair.

We are going to Santa Cruz this weekend. Life is rough eh? But don’t worry; you are going to have a fun filled weekend too! You’re gonna need 2 whole days to look through the promised set of photos on Flickr. Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

It's been so long...

Don’t worry. I haven’t abandoned you. It’s just that I am still working on that batch of photos from Fort Bragg. It appears that I have dust on my camera sensor resulting in the need to edit almost every picture! So, I will be making a visit to the camera shop this weekend for a quick lesson on cleaning the sensor. Because all this editing is killing me.

As for my life outside of Photoshop, well, there’s not much to tell. We had a nice, mellow, Kyle-free weekend (it was also Sain't-free but I'm not bitter). And while Chris was productively working on projects around the house, I was making sure the couch didn’t float away. Ok, that’s a bit of an exaggeration. Still, I never got around to working on my painting and I certainly had plenty of time. Oh well, I’m going to blame the dust specks for sucking all the creative energy right out of me.

And now I've gotta go. Those pictures aren't going to edit themselves ya'know. But here is a speck-free sneak preview to keep you going during these trying times.