29 August 2006

The Imperfect Host

There are no pictures from yesterday – I’m falling down at the start! The camera was going to accompany me on a journey in late afternoon that never materialized due to a mishap from point A to point B.

A friend arrived yesterday, visiting from New York. He’d spent the first few days of his spin to the left coast with his parents and yesterday afternoon and last night with us here. I’d spent the lion’s share of the weekend readying the back cottage for his stay – nothing like a house guest to motivate some massive cleaning. (Frankly, there’s more to do back here, but what a phenomenal leap forward we made!)

On a whim I suggested we go for a bike ride. What a great way to maximally see this area, cover the most ground with the least effort, and given he’s been under some stress with a relationship break up, a potential job change, an impending move, etc., I thought it would be great to kick start his vacation with some endorphins. My strategy on this whole relationship going south, ugly, uncomfortable end of the affair stuff is that one should pour his/her energies into working out – so at least when the depression clears you look fabulous. If you’re going to be depressed, you may as well look great doing it. He was game so we dusted off Ed’s bike, hopped on the ride and were off like a prom dress.

It was a great ride until the very end there. That part where his tire blew when we were on the downslope off the mountain, that part wasn’t so great. Nor that little extra added part where he flipped over the handlebars after losing control of the bike and stopped the whole tangled mess with his elbow, his wrist and his back. Compared to that part of the ride the emergency room was actually fun. Yup, you guessed it… I broke another house guest.

I know, I know, I should have brought the camera – caught at least the ER part in one’s and zero’s for some digital memory of the whole thing. I’m a failure and a terrible host.

24 August 2006

To Sleep Perchance To Dream

After my mid-day 20 miles bike ride - with the steepest grade you can think of going on for over a mile - I took a monster 5 mile hike to the second waterfall at Elliot last evening. I love the long shadows and golden light of late afternoonish.

I keep forgetting to mention a dream I had. I was about to die - and in the dream, when one died, they had to meet the executioner (or maybe it was a reeper - whatever the case... I remember him as an executioner of sorts.) It was love at first site. I swooned and lamented the thought that at this juncture I would meet the person of my dreams and that that person would by the executioner. On some level, however, it didn't matter - because I was immediately smitten, immediately in love and something about that, in the face of everything, was perfect and hopeful and completing.

The twist of the story is/was that the executioner fell in love with me too. And I became the only person, ever, to be spared the fate of the executioner as a result. And it is/was because of this it became known that while incredibly rare some people escaped the executioner's fate - and in a place there was little to no hope there was placed a glimmer. And the most humble and wisest would realize that hope was realized through love.

I know, it sounds corny - but that was the dream.

It was almost as good as last night's dream - in which Ed not only quit smoking, he cleaned up after himself. Wow.. what startlingly divergent expectations for fulfillment. heh.

17 August 2006

Eat Your Greens

I’ve been so restless of late. Cassie says to focus on my questions before I sleep and seek answers in my dreams. I dreamt I needed to eat more vegetables. I’m game – so be it. Vegetables it is. I hope it’s all that easy.

I want to do something different. I’m tired of the same. I’m dissatisfied with the same. I’m not inspired by the same. I don’t think I’ve ever been so discontent. But perhaps all the world’s ennui can be solved with a simple carrot.

11 August 2006

Waiting For A Miracle

I went on an ambitious bike ride today – it was a mere fifteen miles, but a brutal fifteen miles. A good mile and a half of that was less than a bike ride and more of a bike push. My back tire started spinning on the loose gravel, the road was so steep, and I couldn’t get my bike shoes out of the clips. I was stuck on my bike when it tumbled. I was virtually standing still when it happened, however, so I didn’t end up with even a scrape – just a bruised ego and my feet stuck on the peddles. I was planning to round Lake Lagunitas, but I was so exhausted when I peaked Fish Gulch – the murderous incline – that I skipped that intention and just took it all back on home. I wish I’d have had the camera with me (I wonder how it would have faired the fall…) I ride through this area with my friend P when we walk our dogs together at Bon Tempe, but it was qualitatively different on the bike – in slow motion, being closer to it. I saw some beautiful things that I guess we pass by too quickly. That’s saying something because I keep my camera out, always, when we drive this road and he stops whenever I ask so I can take pictures – but I just didn’t see the light or the low hanging trees the same way before. And well, I didn’t have the camera so what’s the point in waxing on about it, right?

I took a shower when I got home and rinsed the dirt of the mountain off me. I still don’t bathe very often – I feel like I’m doing good if it’s once a week. Such a far cry from City living where I couldn’t leave the house until I’d had a shower. I’m dirtier here, but it’s good dirt. The dirt we live in.

I tried to stop by the art/glass – stained glass lady’s store. I need to design the bathroom windows before fall gets too much further upon us and the rains threaten to commence. It’s already August. I’ve got to move on that. There was a note on the door that the lady was ill and how she’d be in tomorrow. I guess I’ll try to stop back.

I called P and asked him if he was willing to try a walk with me, the gimp, to the waterfall at Elliot. I haven’t been walking or hiking lately and it’s driving both myself and the dog insane. I wore open-toed sandals and just hobbled slowly. I’m not sure if it was the right thing to do or not. The feet hurt like the dickens – but my spirits are lifted. How does one weigh the relative value of these things? Or perhaps more importantly, the relative harms? It was beautiful and Secret Agent Dog was sooooo happy to be trekking as opposed to stimming on the same blasted ball all the time. She needs the diversity of activities – she gets kind of tweaky when it’s just fetch day in and day out.

I have to push myself to be a bit more creative than I have been of late. I find myself waiting for something – this sense of waiting. I sit back and I wonder what I’m waiting for. I’m often filled with this pensive sense of anticipation. It’s driving me a little nuts. I have this inner desire to just let go in a big bad way. Part of me says, just do it! and another part asks, sure, but what the hell does that mean??? Let go of what, exactly? Just do what, exactly? No more waiting…

10 August 2006

Accidents Will Happen

My neighbor gets a double mastectomy on the 23rd. She’s got such a great attitude about all this, it’s rock’n. I want to try to do something kind for her before then – or maybe after. I have to think about it. In other fronts, we’ve been having a great time getting to know the couple who bought the house across the street. We took them for dinner week before last and last night they returned the gesture. For some reason, when I’m near them, I start talking like a chatter box when normally I’m rather reserved. It’s strange. As far as I can tell they’re not turned off, so all is good. We’re thoroughly enjoying their company. She works at the college of art and he’s a web designer.

I’m drinking Private Stock Captain Morgan spiced rum right out of the bottle. It’s sooooo nummy with this scharfenberger chocolate I picked up the other day when I was in The City. Fortunately there wasn’t a lot left in the bottle otherwise I fear I’d be hammered by now. Instead, after the hot tub I just took, it just makes me feel a little toasty and jovial on this balmy Thursday evening. The sky is pink.

I accidentally hired a gardener today. Worse accidents have happened. I intended to have a guy come over and fix the irrigation. I’ve been watering with a cheap ass plastic sprinkler that gets stuck in a tilted position and stops doing its vacillation thing – making discrete areas of the lawn perfecting saturated and soggy and leaving the majority of the grass parched and browning. I paid top dollar for an irrigation system to be installed year before last and for whatever reason when I turn the damn things on the pressure shoots the sprinkler thingies high into the air, breaking them into bits on the way. It’s lethal. It’s beyond putting an eye out, those things could rip off a limb when they shoot. This makes watering the lawn perilous at best. So I intended to hire a guy to come flush the system and take a look at the irrigation and see if he could fix it. What I got instead, or rather, in addition to that, is the irrigation fixed and this other guy who stuck around for eight hours weeding, mowing, raking, sweeping. After eight hours and two hundred dollars later the place looked stunning. He had me write the check payable to the local liquor store.

06 August 2006


We’d had lofty social plans this weekend. A visit from a wayward friend and a birthday party at an East Bay park for Wiley. Instead we cleaned the car port and I continued (and completed) my Survivor obsession (actually there’s one season available on DVD that I haven’t watched yet, so not completely completed.) Today, rather than Wiley’s party, I think I’ll weed the garden and maybe take a bike ride. My toes are black and blue – a new evolution in the continuing foot saga (wtf??!?!)

So why aren’t we going to Wiley’s birthday festivities? The real/main reason we’re not going: Ed’s been driving on a suspended license with expired tags on the Rodeo. I’m just not willing to get stuck an hour and a half away from home while Ed gets his ass hauled off to jail and the truck is impounded. It just ain’t gonna happen. I don’t think Wiley will understand. The fact that he won’t or might not understand wearies me a bit.

I can’t express, it probably wouldn’t make a damn bit of sense to you, how thrilled I am that the car port is cleaned and tidied. It’s been over a year that it’s looked a fright and people have commented. It’s been my badge of shame. When we set out minds to it, it only took a few hours to clear it out. Damn, I wish we would have done that some time back. Having it linger in that state for so long made me feel rather trashy.

I haven’t mentioned the rats for awhile and for good reason (YAY.) Even the smell of the dead ones in the walls has ceased to linger. We had a brutal heat wave a while back and no doubt that helped to accelerate the decomposition.

There’s a cat living behind the hot tub. Much to my surprise, when Secret went to chase her out, three kittens came spilling forward! So we have a cat family living behind the hot tub. I hope these vagrant guests will assist in rat abatement efforts. They must earn their keep.

The bathroom is almost finished. I hate things in a state of almost. My life and home have been in a state of almost for months and months. I’m all about hammering some finishing nails in about now.

04 August 2006

Saint Eerie

It’s summer time, and the living is easy…. It’s also rushing by – yes, summer time too. Wooosh, like those August winds I felt, hot and dry, making their way up from Africa, while I slept under a full moon on the Island of Majorca de Palma in the sleepy village of Sollier. I was in my late twenties and the world lay out before me like a feast. It still does, but I don’t rush it so madly. It seems like the more I slow down to soak it in, the faster it moves. In this regard, I hate what technology has done to us.

We had a minor earthquake the other night. After returning from a slow rolling hike up at Bon Tempe, I was changing my shoes and readying to meet LB for dinner and the house began to twitch. Secret Agent Dog ran from something chasing her about, or so she thought. When things like this happen there is a instant, though only momentary, confusion. What’s this unfamiliar thing? Reflexively I search my memory banks for a touchstone of experience. It’s funny that the first thing my mind landed on was a commuter train.

Many years ago, not long after I first moved to California, I lived in a house away from a commuter train track in San Mateo. It was also an intersection so not only did the house thunder and shake as the train went by, but the bells and flashing lights of the crossing gates were harbingers of the roar. While our earthquake didn’t have bells and lights, for a moment I found myself looking out the window, wondering where the commuter train was. It just disappeared into the early evening summer air.

And yes, at about the time I was looking out the window for the train and Secret was looking behind her, equally at nothing, it settled in my head that indeed that wasn’t a train, that was just little quake – that was just the earth giggling a little. The phone rang, it was LB, did you feel that!? Yes, I felt that.

I was a teenager playing house with the first boy I thought I loved, whose name was Ed. This isn’t my Ed, but a different Ed. At the time, my Ed was only eleven or twelve years old and to my surprise was living just around the corner. Further strangeness is that he was my paperboy. We likely passed one another on the street a hundred times. I find that all very weird and eerie.