Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Late autumn

30 were at dinner in the Common House on Thanksgiving. I was sure there would be more than our two or three families but that was a bigger crowd than I expected. There was enough of everything but not much in the way of leftovers (exception: store-bought pies). My turkey was beautiful and tasted fine I think. The other turkey roaster also made gravy which was perfectly delicious. I *can* make gravy but I regard it as an uphill battle and all I was willing to do was roast the bird this time. Nod announced, as he does every year, roast turkey is so good, why don't we do this more often? I got a few of my cranberries but at the end of the evening the dish was cleaned out. I may have to cook more of them before long. I did make sure to have a turkey sandwich the next day. And then our neighbors used the rest of the meat for turkey tetrazini and had us over for dinner. Excellent dining and socializing. Played Apples to Apples Jr with the kids. Had long lazy mornings on Friday and Saturday. Didn't sell any girl scount cookies.

My bra straps won't stay up. What's wrong with my shoulders? The occasional week of pushups seems to be keeping my bingo wings in check. But the shoulders must be wasting away. Tightening the bra straps *does* seem like the first line of attack. But if that doesn't work I'll be demanding pity for my poor little shrinking shoulders.

My mother went to the ER last week because she felt short of breath and awful. They tested to make sure it wasn't her stent or her heart. It wasn't. They took her off all but two medications. But still she feels crummy, short of breath and not well. I am talking with her every couple of days. I offered to go out there last night but she demurred. I want her to be feeling better.

Snow flakes fluttered this morning as I parked my car at work. It's nothing that will accumulate, just a taste of winter. Nod asked me to drive the kids to school this morning because of the cold wind. They have been walking every morning with a fifth grader neighbor. It's so simple to send them out the door and watch them walk down the block. But then I feel a bit queasy. It makes sense for them to walk the seven blocks to school. But it's hard to give up the certainty of delivering them to the school door. The three kids together, plus two more they meet on the way, are competent to get to school. But what if... Nod says it makes him worry (he's a worrier) and makes him want to give Katy a cell phone. I understand the unease but I think that's an overreaction. Junior high is soon enough for a cell phone!

Edited to add: Go here to read about lots of wonderful new cookbooks. Shauna is very generous with her prose as always. She makes all these books sound great, and they're having a giveaway though I'm not sure how long it lasts.

Monday, November 22, 2010


Thanksgiving week. My goal is making my shopping list without getting worried about it. We're staying put and potlucking with those of our neighbors who are doing the same. Should be a fab feast. I'm going to build in some extras: playing games with the kids, a walk before pie, something else physical (juggling? marital relations? paper sculpture?). That way I won't feel like I'm majoring in drudgery. Sometimes housework seems frighteningly simple and appealing. Like easier than talking with other humans. Nope, no attempt to communicate across the gulf for me, I'll just wash these dishes. Good think I don't like cleaning much, so I can work on the eternal struggle to understand and make myself understood to the other primates.

Katy turns nine tomorrow at 8:30 am Pacific time. We had a good kid party at the campus bowling alley yesterday. I feel like I should be good at kid parties by now, we must have had nine so far at least -- where's my callous? It still feels hard. Nonetheless we survived and triumphed and the kids were a great bunch who probably would have been happy shooting rubber bands for two hours, plus a cupcake break and goodie bags. Which gives me an idea, the next party can be a rubber band olympics: shoot at targets, make rubber band balls, etc. 

Katy wants more cupcakes for her class tomorrow but while contemplating another evening baking and frosting them I realized that I am done. Maybe I can talk her into oatmeal cookies with 9's frosted on them.

Am trying the application of fig newtons to all my problems.
 I find having a package of them in my desk drawer makes life seem better.

I finished the very satisfying Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay. Thank you to AM for the encouragement to keep on. By the end I kept thinking the book was hitting good spots to end but it kept wrapping up this and that loose end. I was glad we didn't follow Sammy to LA. His ride westward into the sunset was iconic enough. Delightfully circling, characters who create comic book plots sometimes enact them on purpose and other times accidentally. And both taking the passion and the inspiration of the stories seriously but on the other hand also undercutting the seriousness of "real life". I'm still thinking about it. I hope it was as fun to write as it seems. Chabon's defense of 'escapism' is a beautiful thing although I neglected to write it down before taking the book back to the library. To paraphrase, escapism is what comic books are accused of by their detractors. But what could be more necessary for an adolescent than escape into imagination?

I think I'm reading This Hole We're In by Gabrielle Zevin. It's funny but not broad enough to be reassuring. I'm not enjoying reading about the characters and their plausible crappy decisions leading to debt and stagnation and ongoing difficulties. But I feel drawn to the text, kind of queasily reading along. I haven't decided whether I'll finish it or not. I am there with those characters: well intentioned, wanting to get along, short sighted and plenty selfish. Makes me happy not to be living in Texas. My impression is that the TX version of keeping up with the Joneses is particularly high pressure. Memories of North Star Mall in San Antonio way back in the 80s.

To those in the American Thanksgiving part of the world: feast well and enjoy your gratitude. Get out of the steamy kitchen/dining room/tv room and walk in the cold air for a while.

Monday, November 15, 2010

At An Angle

I'm taking antibiotic pills twice a day now after seeing my doctor last week. The skin was continuing to get worse and not better. It was alarming. I'm a little disappointed to resort to the antibiotic big guns. I had been hoping that yogurt or the new moon or a different hormonal nudge would get my face to calm the hell down. But it was not to be cherie. So I've been taking this antibiotic for almost a week now and it's making me feel a little dizzy. Not bad, but off. As though the world had been dialed ten degrees to the right. I'm hoping for results. The area around my nose is a little better. But the results are promised after taking them for two weeks. So I'm planning to celebrate smoother happierskin in another week and a half.

I'm learning respect. Yesterday there was a monthly community meeting to talk about budget (due in December) and other regular meeting stuff. Only four of us were there to begin which seemed a bit sad. We got two more people and six was a great improvement over four somehow. There was a discussion of some of the items on the agenda, a refusal to decide on the two substantive items. One person got some resentments off his chest and two things he said made me happier about the whole shebang. One: we're using the process we have in place to make decisions as a group as well as we can. It doesn't make us hypocrites if it's not perfect. He also said that in order to keep the main meetings as short as possible, they chose to have a committees system. That way the details can be hammered out in small groups of presumably interested people and brought to the main meeting just for decision. Are you sleeping peacefully yet? I found it reassuring that there was at least the intention of avoiding extra long main meetings. The we had another lovely potluck which resulted in six pots of soup and no desserts for the first time anyone can remember. Kind of a nice change really. But I realized that what we needed was a soup sampler bowl with individual compartments for five or six different kinds of soup. A specialty ceramic item for the intense potlucker.

Cat pot
I don't see how you could watch these without laughing. I am just using the internet (a.k.a. conduit for funny cat pictures) for its highest use.

Monday, November 8, 2010


I guess the blah blah meta posts come about when the writer wants to see something new on the page but the muse is late with deliveries again. Let's see what I've got in my pockets. We community living hippies are disfunctional. We (most of us) haven't been attending organizing meetings and the budget it needs finishing and there's always something that needs starting or completing. However, we're very good at potlucks. Last night we celebrated the eleventh anniversary of the whole place. Even had some singing which was fun. But the discipline to try and organize life is lacking. The group explicitly chose to use a consensus process. And that just makes me think of endlessly spinning wheels. I'll be attending a committee meeting tomorrow night and then the monthly meeting on Sunday to at least support those who are trying to make things happen. It's a weird dynamic.

Just remembered that we're supposed to be taking girl scout cookie orders this month. I've sent an email at work. We'll tramp the pavement this weekend and see how it goes. Lexi is enjoying her Daisies meetings and Katy is still mad she's not going to her group this year. I think it's fair to trade off since I can only bear to do one group and Nod can't help at all in the evenings this year. I'll strike at fairness even if I inevitably fall short.

I've put up schizo curtains in my bedroom. We had paper shades on the windows since we moved in but last weekend I had the hardware and the gitupandgo to put up curtains. But I didn't have matching curtains. I have one long beige-y panel that reaches to the floor on one side. And a big floral on white pair that come just below the window sill on the other side. I thought it was kind of funny to put them both up. I thought I'd get a strong sense of what I wanted by being able to compare. But I like them both in their own ways. So now what? The floral pair are from the catholic thrift store and unreplicatable. The long panel is from Target and it looks recent enough that I can probably match it. So I guess I've talked myself into using long panels in our room and then I can move the floral over to the guest bedroom which only has one window. But I think I like the short ones best. I persist in waffling.

I have had some more moments of wondering what I am doing in this marriage. I'm not leaving but I am looking for some clarity. I would like to feel I'm not hitting myself in the head repeatedly. I sometimes wonder if I am afraid of competent people and feel better when I'm around the feckless. [The progress report is that Nod is successfully moving through this appliance repair courses and doing his part time job. He says he's encouraged by students who started a semester or two ahead of him who have come back to talk about the job's they've gotten since graduating. The latest crappy development is that his car blew a timing belt on the highway and we had to have a valve rebuilt so that's $2K we weren't budgeting for.] I concluded one tail chasing session with the thought that as long as my spouse isn't keeping me from being myself then I can keep on. It may be rocky and harder than it would be with someone more employed/employable. But at least I can feel like it's an adventure I'm choosing and not a dead-end grinding me down. That there's a pile of rationalization. But there's something to it. Still chasing tail. Ho ho ho.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


With scudding clouds and a wind to send the dead leaves swirling, the weather was perfectly Halloweeny. My long week was over on Friday and the costumes were done. I had a relaxed weekend and can carry on for lord's sake. The holiday was satisfying. After a party and going downtown and several blocks of trick or treating, Katy was battling me about knocking at houses which did not have a porch light lit. I can be arbitrary but really, it's an acknowledged rule. Our jack o'lanterns were wonderful. In fact I haven't had enough, I want to light them again tonight and sit outside with the kids. I don't like ghost stories but I suppose that would be the traditional thing to do.

The kids picked what they wanted to be and helped make their costumes this year. They enjoyed dressing up so much! I have pictures, will do the steps to get them up when I can. Katy found plenty of people who knew what a totoro was. And she didn't argue with those who thought she was a bunny. Lexi's enormous lollipop wand made her costume. The first thing I saw her eating out of her candy haul - an itty bitty box of raisins. She's waydorable.

It's blog posting month, I shall have plenty to read. And probably I shall baa right along and post more frequently too. But daily is not to be promised.

Our county voting office has a pretty good website. You can check to see if you are registered to vote. And where your polling place is; and get a sample ballot. But two of us scoured the site looking for the voting hours and couldn't find them anywhere. That's kind of an important piece of information. I emailed the clerk and trust they will update.

Now that the festival of sugar is over, what do we do with these pounds of candy? I am thinking of barter. I'll let the kids eat what they want this week but then I want them to trade me the remaining candy for...  Haven't quite got that yet. Maybe a movie outing or something. Hm.

Hurdles looming in November: snack for Lexi's Daisies meeting this Wednesday. Selling girl scout cookies. Katy's birthday party on the 20th. Thanksgiving with the neighbors, we'll be staying here. I wish celebration didn't feel like such a battle to me. I am not a natural hostess. I want to have events and throw parties but I don't know how to get help or make the preparation enjoyable.

From comments at the TV site (they talk about other popculcha but mostly TV) A List of Things Thrown Five Minutes Ago,  my favorite concept Halloween costume idea. I wish I'd seen it:

"My three-month old niece was a chicken - in a foil covered  stroller and with flames around the bottom, so it looked like a pot. My brother and sister-in-law each wore an apron and a chef's hat.  It was a giant hit."

My favorite costume at the neighborhood parade was a volcano: hat with flames shooting up, a round grey cloak with red lava felt.