Saturday, July 31, 2010

Week's end

Much work accomplished at my job this week. I'm rather proud of keeping things going along there. What a relief to have part of this Saturday to myself. Thank you children for sidling off to a neighbor child's house to watch a movie this afternoon. Nod is driving that bus.I've picked up some of the living room and may vacuum after I get a handle on dinner. Whoop!

Next week our relations come to town, Nod's brother and wife and two boys from Wales. And my MIL is driving up from Austin. We're hoping the Douglas County Fair will provide needed thrills beyond downtown, a lake, campus and the occasional ice cream parlor. We'll see how many want to go to the Demolition Derby. I'm opting out and insisting on earplugs for any kids. But at least it's outside so the soundwaves have somewhere to go. I figure the Europeans will be pretty wilted by our heat and humidity. Swimming and icy desserts will be important parts of our plans. I love my sis in law, the cousins get along very well and I am hoping for as good a time as when we saw them in Austin two years ago.

Have you read the Bill Murray interview in GQ? I skipped the link the first couple of times I saw it. But was highly entertained once I cracked and read the thing. If you have enjoyed any of his performances in the past you will enjoy this article.

Time to eat something potato-y, I'm waffling between frittata and potato salad. Oh that's right the kids won't eat potato salad, that makes it easy.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Gravity of the situation

Can post, will do. All my little notes seems to be about physicality.
I'm going to start with my decrepitude and write about my clicky kneecaps. Do your knees talk to you? My left one's developed a gentle two stroke krickcrack that I hear whenever I go up stairs (many times a day in our two level house and every trip from the parking lot to my office). Castanets? I think no, the sound is not that ringing, it's closer to dice clicking. And the right has a quieter single crunch that goes away after I warm up. (Now I'm thinking about the sounds ice cubes make in a glass. They sound so different when they're in an empty glass, before the drink is poured. And then once submerged, when they've melted halfway and can move more in the glass. That is a sound I would happily meditate to.) After a month of no exercise whatsoever I have started a few morning stretches again. I'm focused on the leg lifts that are supposed to strengthen the muscles on either side of my knees. I'm wondering whether that will do the trick (oh and losing four or five pounds might help too). Are clicky knees my new normal? Urgh. The only positive spin I can put on this is that it's another excellent reason to exercise. Nine years ago in Oakland I was going to a chiropractor for neck and shoulder stuff but also for knee pain (my worthless memory is refusing to tell me the exact nature of the knee issue). At one appointment the chiro used me rather like a guinea pig with a rare condition, showing a student chiro how my knee cap did a sort of swoop when I bent my leg, instead of sliding in a straight line. I guess I should be glad it hasn't just popped off by now.

Apparently none of my slight imperfections are enough to preclude a gentle come-on by a young man at the nude swimming lake we visited last weekend. I must allow that it may have been Nod's charisma too, because this guy was chatting us up as a couple. We didn't have any use for him and while we answered his questions briefly, we swam off to deeper (yet simpler) water directly. I was so surprised by the idea of being chatted up and I told Nod I feel pretty much done with the ability to get a reaction with my physical appearance. I am happy I have a relatively strong and healthy body. I even rejoice in it sometimes. But that is separate from feeling like I can get anyone to want to "come up to my place some time". Nod was sweetly appalled and told me that if I want to bed someone else purely in the pursuit of my mojo I should do it. I told him I would take that in the spirit in which it was offered.

The naked lake swimming was wonderful. It was at a nudist/pagan retreat not far from here. So it was fun to visit just so I can say I've been! Very simple and outdoorsy place with cabins, a couple of larger buildings and a man-made lake. I've just read that it was built by nudists in the 40s and then was a Baptist camp in the 50s and more recently there has been some unrest at county meetings about goings-on there. It was a hot clear day with beautiful wisps of clouds to watch overhead. The lake water had that warm on top, cold on the bottom feeling that reminds me of jello layers. The company was too drunk and cruisy to suit me exactly, but it was a small crowd (a dozen besides us) and easy to ignore.
Dan Savage "For the record: I’m happy to acknowledge that there are lots of good reasons to be monogamous and/or very nearly monogamous, e.g., children and other sexually transmitted infections." That's from last week's Savage Love column. I love it. He is recommending a book titled 'Sex At Dawn: The Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality' which posits that during human evolution monogamy was not the default setting. Whether that sort of speculation has merit or not, I appreciate the message that monogamy is a choice and a distinct effort, it's not something we should assume is easy or inevitable. 

Oh and now I've read a pan of the book from a writer I like a lot. Here's Jessa Crispin's reaction to the book. Her bit at the end about the authors' bias towards male sexual satisfaction is a slamdunk. Personally I am over speculative writing on the human evolutionary roots of modern behaviors and conditions. Did prehistoric cultural experiences shape us? Yes! Can we reconstruct them? No!

In a recent dream I realized that I could choose to point my anxiety outwards instead of inwards. Instead of stressing and feeling very low and tired, I could work out spectacularly well. My brain is telling me it's ready for some muscle endorphins.
Poked, a Painful Tragedy
One night after dishwashing, I sat myself on the couch and enjoyed alternating between a crossword (gnawing on the bones of a Saturday New York Times puzzle, no I never quite finished it) and a mystery novel. At one point I put my pen down to pick up the book. Wanting to keep ink off the cushions and to keep the pen from rolling back under the cushions, I stuck it, temporarily mind you, between two cushions. Point up. [Ominous thunder effects] The next morning I woke up before my alarm and decided I would float downstairs to read for a bit before beginning my ablutions. Over to the couch I go, bleary and without glasses. Sitting down I feel a sharp pain behind my left thigh -- aaaah! I am off the couch! There's the pen, point up, right where I left it. Laughed at myself despite small puncture wound. I am happy that *I* was the one who reaped the reward of that poor decision. What guilt if someone else in the family had sat on it. Pretty sure my tetanus shot is still current.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


It's hot now and muggy. The kind of hot and humid that makes cornfields go crazy. And makes people wilt into sweaty heaps. I imagine being in front of a giant mouth, the air feels like moist hot breath. My husband is going to the lake to swim as soon as I get home to take over the childcare. We went swimming there on July 3rd and it was great. It was overcast that day but our timing was on. A couple of showers came through and we enjoyed the rain on top of the lake. It wasn't enough to get our towels/clothes soaked. We played in the water for two hours before the deluge came and the rain really settled in. It's not rainy now and although the muggy slows me down I'll take it instead of the rainy days.

I was sick for the weekend but it was just a virus. Katy came down with something that might be completely unrelated because how can you tell when the symptoms aren't exactly the same? At any rate she's been feverish for four days. Nod's home with both kids on his day off today. It sounds like her fever's finally gone but I don't want to get my hopes up too high since I was up with her at 5:45 and she needed another dose of fever reducer* then. Come on Katy's Immune System!

*I typed tylenol but do I want to embrace that brand name as noun? and neither acetaminophen nor ibuprofen roll off the tongue although sometimes I need their specificity.

The latest neighborhood meeting scared me a little. There was a particularly divisive issue that got aired and there were hurt feelings and tears and I am getting tired of hearing the phrase "good for the community". It's a very interesting environment. I think I'm cured of wanting to buy in. As I told Nod, I thought living here would be more like how I imagine living in a kibbutz would be (based on very little information) with set rules and a rigorous governing system and significant requirements of residents. But this is more haphazard with good intentions and not a lot of follow through. The tendency seems to be for people to pick something to work on and volunteer at it until they burn out and it's abandoned. Not much structure at all to assign more than one person to a particular task nor a way to hand things off neatly when someone steps away. Nod and I are still enjoying all the good social stuff and trying to do our part to keep the balloon in the air.

That's an itty bitty image from Sushi Cat above. If you need even more feline pachinko goodness there's a sequel:  Sushi Cat the Honeymoon.

I've gotten several things moved forward today at work and so am feeling expansive and like I have time to do the blog thing. It's a little unnerving without our office manager. There are some things I have taken over but others I am unsure about. Nothing has exploded yet. Promotion seems to be in the offing. We are anticipating a deluge of a start to the fall semester, having lost an experienced customer service person. It's our busiest time of the year. But I'm looking forward to it. I always enjoy the change of pace (we're usually so quiet in this office) and talking with lots of instructors.

Going to London soon? Even if you're only going in your imagination, like me, here's a wonderful discussion of Things To Do. Read the comments as well. I'm salivating over lots of these ideas. If you go, tell me all about it. Looks like she has a follow up post now specifically about visiting London markets. Sigh.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Before the forth

In Missouri
The last weekend in June we saw amazing butterflies including Zebra swallowtails and a beautiful black butterfly that I have yet to identify. There doesn't seem to be a "black butterflies" classification and I haven't stumbled across it in any of my web perusing yet. The wings were rich black, the single wedge shape of a Mourning Cloak. With just a narrow band of bright blue at the bottom edges of the wings. Glorious. The closest match I've found is an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, black form. But I'm not convinced.

Nod and I borrowed bikes and rode south down the Katy Trail on Sunday morning. (Built on the path of the former Missouri-Texas-Kansas railroad known as the Katy.) While Honorary Aunt and Uncle amused the children with a mud fight. I had only walked on the trail before. It is a wondrously flat place to ride a bike. Because Nod has the heart of an adventurer and is a more confident map reader than I, we ventured off the trail to go by a bird sanctuary area and loop down by the river. The farm roads were almost deserted, it was a very good time for car-shy me to ride. Only one open window cussing from a driver! Walking the route we took would have been a miserable trudge in that hot humid morning. But on bikes it was great, we made our own breeze and enjoyed the green of the fields and the enveloping birdsong.

Not Recommended: Dannon Greek yogurt, plain nonfat. It's bitter and quite a disappointment. I avoid nonfat yogurt as a rule because I value taste and a little fat keeps me from feeling empty and crabby so soon after eating. But I thought Dannon could rise above the nonfatness. Not so, bleah. Plus the extra creamy texture promised by the "Greek" tag is not as pleasing as I hoped, it's reminding me of sour cream.

Hair Triumph
I asked my haircutter to make everything shorter and smaller and I really like the results. I had to ask her to cut the bangs back twice and it's finally the shape I wanted. Jessica in the past has made the back of my head look consistently chic and well textured. But somehow she never could get the front up to snuff. She'd scrunch my thick wavy hair and while it looked fine going out of the salon, I would be cutting my own bangs within three days time. Despite this tendency to make me look better going than coming, I treasure Jessica and her amateur astronomer heart and I hope I can be her client for years to come. I never have much confidence in explaining hair shapes to hairdressers. So I regard this win as mostly good fortune, put over the top by firmness. I just made my next appointment, when it really shouldn't be all that grown out. Here's to feeling in control of the hair on my head!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


I made this big beautiful pie with whipped cream and berries on top for the 4th. I cussed at my pie crust but got that sucker into the pie plate in the end. It was very delicious. We are still awash in humongous cheap blackberries from the grocery store. It must have been a good berry year. And the berry farm south of town sent us an email that their blackberries are coming in this week too. I will not complain.

The 4th was rainy in a big wet way. We had our neighborhood potluck inside with no loss of jollity. Afterward many sat out on the porch enjoying the camaraderie. Until the blowing rain came in under the porch roof and spritzed everyone. The city set its fireworks off at 9:45 anyway. They stuck with their rain-or-shine policy. I heard the booms but didn't miss going to see them. The kids had pooped out about 9p (Katy shrieking and arguing to show me how not tired she was.) Nod went out (in the rain, remember) to see if he could get a good vantage point without going to the park downtown but it was not to be. Then he went to bed so he could get up before 5a and drive the super early morning bus.

The days before the 4th we went out to a fireworks stand that has free camel rides. Because even if you don't want any fireworks (a statement that makes no sense to my gunpowder tripping husband), what is better than a free camel ride?! The two camels on duty were very sweet and neither one bit or spat as far as I could tell. Besides her huge thickly-lashed dark eyes, I noticed that the female had very soft looking fur around her muzzle too. We talked about where we would put pet camels if we brought them home. (You'd have to get both, you wouldn't want one to get lonely.)