24 July 2006

Home Again

I returned from London last Thursday. I was there during the record breaking heat wave - a tepid ninety-something. Those wimps. Yesterday, the high here was 112.9 - at nearly 6 pm. Friends (who we love, very much, maybe forever despite any wrong doings or offenses they may commit) bought us two air conditioners. We paid, they drove and got them - they drove to Concord and Cupertino - a gazillion miles, in miserable heat - to get these air conditioners. When they pulled into the parking lot of the store in Concord they called to report that the temperature there was 129 degrees Fahrenheit. I'm becoming weather-obsessed. I've been sucked into the vortex of people who watch the weather channel. Okay. I'm not there yet. I still don't have a television - but I have a secret weather blog. There I write things like: It's hot. It's cold. It's raining. I write there more often then I write here. Maybe because the weather changes, noticeably, more often than I do.

One air conditioner is an 8,000 BTU - it cools, supposedly, up to 400 square feet (I think not!) We've put it in the window of my study to cool the 350 square foot back cottage. It barely cools down the one room there, so I keep the door shut. This room was our bedroom for over three years. It felt cozy and familiar to be living our lives out of the back cottage for the weekend. We'd brave the heat and go look at the front cottage from time to time - but mostly we shut the shades and read books, magazines, played suduko, watched DVDs on the computer. We had the three essential heat wave beverages, San Pelligrino Limonata, sparkling Calistoga, Corona. And I'd venture out to water the garden every few hours. Despite heroic efforts I couldn't stop the hydrangeas from drooping.

I had a lovely time in London. It's changed favorably since I went to school there in the '80s. It's more cosmopolitan and despite the global fascination for increased development of open space into concrete structures, I'd still say it's an improvement. I wouldn't live there. It's not my thing. But it was fun to visit - the night bus tour was loads of fun - and the food, hands down, has been the most dramatic and notable improvement over the past few decades. The London aquarium, however, proves to be among the worst of the world's tributes to aquatic life. I'd liken it to little more than a spot of spit in a mud puddle with a few fish tossed in. It's a pathetic little place and they'd do better to simply close it down than to tout, as a town, that they house an aquarium. What an embarrassment! It's a tragic little fish prison.

Traveling made me want to travel more, as opposed to the more traditional outcome where I'm left feeling like all I want to be is home among the Cookie Pie, familiar things, my mountains, summer. That's such a push-pull phenomenon with the Honey Bee. I hate to leave her behind, but it's really not practical for her to come along.

12 July 2006

The Wonder

There are now nearly two clean rooms. I spent the day cleaning the study. Yes, the day. The entire day. I mean until 9 p.m. even. And it's not wholly done. There's one wall to wash down, two windows to Windex and a bookcase to shuffle through and dust - but then it will be done enough to call it a perfectly clean room. I hadn't wiped down those walls since I quit smoking and to be honest I feel like the amount of nicotine exposure I had washing the walls might just constitute a relapse in some circles. It was pretty ooogy. A little more tidying up in there tomorrow and I'll call that one a wrap.

I should have done this months ago! I ran over my big toe with the vacuum cleaner, however. That is a lesson in why you should wear shoes when you vacuum. It hurt like a mother-fucker. (Do mother-fuckers hurt? If so, why?)

The guys working on my bathroom are in the home stretch. I can hardly wait until they're done. I love them, don't get me wrong, but we're hitting that stage in our relationship where I think it would be a good idea if we all had some alone-time.

I leave for London on Saturday evening. I already miss Secret Agent Dog, even though she's all cozied up here on the sofa with me. I think I'm becoming something of a curmudgeon. At one time in my life a week in London would have been the cat's meow. Now I simply dread the long flight, the terminal train ride from Heathrow, clamoring for a taxi at the station and all the whoopla of getting to the hotel, being jet lagged, blah, blah, blah. Now I just want to get home before I even start packing. I think I'm losing my sense of adventure and wonder. (Note to self, rediscover the wonder.) If there is someone in London who wants to help me rediscover the wonder, drop a line.

10 July 2006

My Two Cents

About once a week I go to the post office. I have several packs of thirty seven cent stamps. I suppose I could walk in there with a whopping fourteen pennies or however many I need and get all those stamps to make the rest of lot legal, but I enjoy going to the post office. It's only a few blocks from my house, it's a nice to see the post ladies, tether the Honey Bee and watch her nervously through the window, maybe run into the random neighbor out doing their errands. But more than all that, there's something very satisfying about giving my two cents, quite literally, and getting that stamp. It's one of those rare times where my two cents are genuinely wanted - they're considered so valuable that I even get something in return!

There is precisely one perfectly clean room in the house - actually, between both cottages - just one. It's the mudroom. I cleaned it today. It was tremendously satisfying. Occasionally I go stand in it and pretend the rest of the house is equally shiny, dusted, windexed and smelling antiseptic - ammonia and laundry soap. Instead, I know in my heart of hearts that beneath the dishwasher lurks more rat poop. Rat poop I haven't been able to get at yet and sop up (SHIVER.) This preys on my neurosis like you can't imagine.

Today was a magnificent day because today LB and I went to Bon Tempe after she finished work and walked the Shady Side Trail with Secret Agent Dog and her best bud. It's been over two weeks and I'm not sure who enjoyed it more - me or her. I'll say me. She'll say her - or rather, she would say her if she could say her but she can't so she won't. Instead she says something like arf (but it comes out sounding squeaky.)

None of the workmen showed up today. What's up with that? They have been fastidious and fabulous and prompt and reliable. Today - not a word. Maybe they had premonitions about the rat poop and stayed away. I love them. I miss them.

I don't think I've taken the opportunity to say WAY TO GO, ITALY!!! That was a stellar World Cup match and no one, clearly, is more deserving. Shame on that brutish thug, Zindane.

04 July 2006

Constant Stranger

From the garden gate the other day...

I used to always carry a notebook and pen that felt food for writing with me. With the advent of computers and other time-saving tools, I just never find myself relaxing with my notebooks the ways I did before all this technology became available to make our lives easier. I'm not so sure I want my life to be easier.

Sometimes when she's not around, I steal pencils from my neighbor's house. Sometimes I feel bad about this and when she's not there, I put them back.

I'm reading the Jeremy Taylor interview and the interviewer asked about archetypes. Taylor explains the universal meaning of say up (goodness, light, enlightenment) and down (evil, darkness, ignorance, etc.) You see, that archetype doesn't hold so true for me. I'm for of an in and out kind of girl. And perhaps in a true ying/yang thang, I'm really not sure if there is more enlightenment, goodness, evil or ignorance in or out.

He provided another example of archetype being the image of blood - which is related to family, he says, and obligations of relationship. I remember a recurring dream. There were holes in my wrists and instead of blood, my veins and arms were filled with sand and shells. My feet were on fire with pain. There were roses growing into them, out of them - in, out - like I said, it's really ultimately difficult to understand the difference between these things. The stem grew out of my foot, the bud and flower blossomed inside. So in place of blood, I have crushed stones, fossils and rose petals. So what does that say about my relationship to my relatives - living and ancestors?

02 July 2006

What Dreams May Come

Even our misfortunes are part of our belongings. - Antoine de Saint-Exupery.

I am feeling rather scattered and muddle headed. This has persisted for several weeks, maybe even months. I can't concentrate, for the life of me, to set myself to tasks and follow through. The house is a mess, an absolute crazy mess. When I speak of task aversion, I mean on the simplest of levels. I think aversion is the wrong word. I'm not averse to these things.

I can start, but I can't follow through and complete anything. The laundry is partially done. What has been both washed and dried, isn't folded or put away. The dishes in the dishwasher have been washed twice, but something is wrong and they're not coming clean. So half are clean and not put away and the other half need to be hand washed to see if I can figured out what's going on (maybe building polymers in the sink from the workmen are stuck on dishes? Would they really use the kitchen sink when there is a utility sink not but five feet away?)

There is this accumulation of busywork to be done and while I feel I'm constantly doing things, nothing seems to get done. And it feels like there's never time to just sit back and enjoy, read, relax, putter, lay on the grass and stare at the sky. But what's the problem? Why aren't things getting done? I don't mean just house keeping, either.. I mean bill paying, work, everything. I can't get my head around things and I'm increasingly frustrated.

Cassie had a thought, that rather than wait to sit down and read, I start the day reading and relaxing - pushing the chores to later in the day. I went to the park this morning with Secret, tossed the ball and intended to read. Even reading I can't accomplish. I was in the park from about 8 am until after 11. I barely finished the letters to the editor and only got two pages into the interview with Jeremy Taylor. What happened? What happened to the time?

Okay.. back to the damned stupid chores while the rats rummage through the kitchen (I can hear them now.. YES in the middle of the day.) It seems symbolic of something. A symbolism that's no longer relegated to my dream world but all just playing itself out right here, right now, not wasting time waiting for sleep or choosing to show itself at such-and-such a time. There's no difference anymore.