26 April 2007

I Will Not Miss This

Yesterday was an interesting day, full of retrieval. I’ve sifted through old emails and electronic files, forwarding them on to final resting places. I rediscovered (and revisited) hundreds and hundreds of hours of wasted work I’ve done. There are full length discussion papers in mid-edit, lost in the machinery, and manuscripts for journal articles, fully edited and ready for publication, which have never seen the light of day. There are notes from meetings with lists of action items that never came to action. Proposals for strategic planning and expansion opportunities, replete with letters from collaborators and lists of funding opportunities, never followed up on by the greater machinery. It was heart breaking and painful to revisit the wonderful ideas that died on the vine. I spent the better part of the day stewing in revelation over all the thwarted work product. I will not miss this. I will not miss. I will not miss this.

24 April 2007

A Pen

I am in the sixties now, T minus sixty seven. I am in that place where I am resigning posts and appointments and relinquishing responsibilities that are moot to carry if one does not intend to carry them forward with their full weight. I had thought to maintain certain activities as civic duties, but a wise friend has encouraged me to let as much go as possible so that I might see, more clearly, the world of possibilities. Sometimes that is difficult to do not because my ego is invested but because this has been so much a part of my identity, a large part of how I have defined myself, for such a long time.

I like this unraveling, however. It is a tremendously healthy process. Every morning, when I start my day, I switch on the lap top and I make coffee or tea. Firstly, I check my email, personal and then work, I peruse the blogs and sites I frequent and by then it’s about 9-ish, time to start the real work day.

Increasingly I find disdain for the way the computer is centerpiece to so many activities. When I go out with the camera, the computer is the receptacle, developer, editing tool and print server for the finished product. The first line of communication with most of those I stay in contact with is the machine. Even this journal is online. I do my finances on the computer. We watch DVD’s on the computer. We listen to music through the computer. These little boxes have replaced so many human moments. I resent them.

I look forward to having this creepy black box sit idly on a shelf in the back study for several weeks on end. I will write with a fucking pen!

15 April 2007


The lavender simple syrup is a grand success!! I’m drinking my own home brewed lavender soda as I write. It’s perfectly wonderful. I’m beside myself. Look, there I am. See. Beside myself. Hey… gimme that soda.

11 April 2007

Another Kind of War

We tooled about in San Rafael yesterday morning, gathering parts for the irrigation system (soooo stupid to pay what I paid to put that damnable thing in and then water the lawn by hand… /sigh), puttering about in hardware stores and then we went bowling for a break in the action. I so suck at bowling and at the same time I enjoy it immensely.

I made very licious black bean island soup – spicey and salty and hammy and garlicly. After the mountain sojourn with the Pumpkin Cookie, we perched on the sofa and watched a four part BBC documentary on the German/Russian War of the Century. It was striking, horrific, refreshing and bone chilling to hear German and Russian officers speak so candidly about unspeakable things. The documentarian would ask, would you consider that a war crime? Sometimes they would answer yes, mostly they would respond with a resolute no - it was war, it was the way it was. The Russian soldier relays how at the taking of Berlin he called the German officers to a house, one by one, and personally slit their throats – described the vulnerability of the human body and the easiest way to fell one.

I believe he was the man who responded, when asked if he considered this a war crime, that it was not, who is to judge him, how those years are, as they say, lost in the oblivion of history. But it’s clear those days stay with him keenly, in his mind’s eye, a file recalled simply, with some voice recognition pattern – perhaps a mere image or smell can recall than. Just like that. He’s gifted with no oblivion.

This morning we watched one of the Dog Fight series, I think about F16s. What was different about the men interviewed in the War of the Century and that Israeli fighter pilot in this Dog Fights episode was that the Israeli fighter pilot never stopped smiling and he lacked any (all?) humility. Line them all up side by side and Melnik, I think, was the worst – if there are degrees of evil.

Now that there has been enough viewing of war and human atrocity, we move on to more gentle pursuits – I’m going to see Marion Nestle speak at the Commonwealth Club tonight. I suppose that’s just another kind of war, eh?

10 April 2007

Cherry Darling

We lay in the grass in the yard while the sweet smell of hyacinth and other blooming things hover in the air. It’s private and quiet there, a little green oasis and respite from the world – though the world here is pretty quiet and private – it doesn’t require much escaping. Ed finished reading Speaker For The Dead aloud while I occasionally pulled a weed or pruned something. Secret played with her Jolly Ball, moving it about the yard like a soccer champ.

To speed things up, we went to see The Grindhouse. Vroooom, vroooooom.

09 April 2007


T minus 81. I’ve taken this week off work again, mostly because Ed lost his job and we haven’t had time off together, in years. When we take vacations, he’ll spend a not insignificant portion of the time working. That’s just not an option this week, so we’re lazing about, taking little day trips and enjoying our time together. It’s actually something of a challenge for us. When it comes right down to it, we prefer one another in relatively small doses.

On Friday night we ventured into The City for Cookie’s first-ever art opening. It was a smallish venue at Magnet, an HIV testing, counseling and case management center in the Castro. It was sweet and appropriate and I know from talking to folks that purchased items that he sold quite a few pieces. He’s produced a collection of mixed media pieces with a relatively high degree of curb appeal. He seemed quite happy with the turn out and the feedback and we had a great time.

Saturday I spent the day in the garden, finally getting the blueberry bushes in their big pots and the Boston Ferns that arrived last week in hanging pots over the hot tub. I still haven’t planted the citrus trees as I stew in indecision. Wiley, who I’d seen at Cookie’s show, came out for a hike. It was a somewhat unplanned and unexpected visit. He’d mentioned that he wanted to come out and without following up or confirming he just showed up. I’ve mixed feelings about that. I really enjoy people just showing up. I like an informal life that is open to people dropping in. I just don’t feel so great about Wiley, in particular, doing that right now (any more?). By the same token, I’m not willing to disinvite him to my life. (Generally, I don’t do that.) So I’ll just have to sit in my contradiction and ponder it for a spell. In the meantime, I had him mow the lawn.

Saturday evening Ed and I had craft night (something I think we want to make into a bit more of a routine..) We colored easter eggs (one of the fifteen exploded, spectacularly, in the pot – the shell hit me in the eye.. fortunately I wear glasses. That was Easter’s way of spitting at me!) His were absolutely fantabulous. He confessed that when he was a kid he imagined he’d be an artist. He’s totally gifted with this untapped talent, though he contends that he reached the pinnacle of his talent in the fourth grade and never progressed beyond that. I think if we develop a discipline together, it could be grand fun.

Sunday morning we gathered our many colored eggs and ventured into The City to the Pacific Rod and Gun club at Lake Merced where there was an Easter egg hunt and breakfast for the little children of gun club patrons. We ate hash browns while the little kids in multicolored pastel outfits scoured the field in a total of eight minutes. There was no shoot’n that day… amidst the bright orange broken clay pigeons and spent shell casings, children scavenged. It was poetic. This is what it’s come to.

It was still on the early side so rather than make the trek to the South Bay to visit Ed’s mother and have dinner, we trundled on over to Larkspur where the windsurfers set out into the Bay. It’s a lovely view of Ring Mountain and San Quentin State Prison where we toss the ball into the murky waters of the bay and let the Honey Bee paddle and play on the rocky beach.

We went home and changed clothes, took care of this and that, then did that South Bay dinner thing with Ed’s mom and ‘em. They ate honey glazed ham and George made me some lovely scampi. We left before it got too late or we got too tired – so it was a perfect little outing and the traffic wasn’t so bad.

This morning we rose early, puttered around the house, did some cleaning and went off to breakfast at the local Koffee Klatch. I stopped by the post office to get the (gulp) property taxes (I hope it makes it to the Civic Center by the deadline) in the mail and then we dropped Ed’s mountain bike off at the Cyclery. The day’s not over and there’s lounging to be done along with some wandering in the hills with the Monster Grrrrrl.

05 April 2007

Shelby Knox

Nature never did betray the heart that loved her. - Wordsworth

T-85 and counting. I’ve had an extremely productive week even in the face of identity theft and fraud attempts on my checking account. Despite having to shut down and re-open bank accounts, update new direct deposit accounts, etc., etc., I’m speeding forward on my end-of-the-job-world deliverables. I’m not sure why I’m rushing it. When I complete everything I’ve set out to accomplish I’ll merely have to divine a new list of things to do that will make me useful until day zero. Even still, this first list includes what I think are important. I can busywork with them into oblivion after that.

I watched the documentary, The Education of Shelby Knox last night – a Netflix arrival a few days back that I’ve been putting on the back burner. It’s the story of a young devout (straight/heterosexual) Christian girl who gets involved with the local Youth Commission in Lubbock, Texas and spearheads efforts to improve sex education in the schools.

As much as I resisted liking Shelby, she won me over. Her parents are conservative and Republican and really quite proud of both of these attributes about themselves and they’re also proud of Shelby. It’s apparent that this precocious teenager is wildly more intelligent than her parents. I truly get the sense that her parents sense and perhaps even acknowledge this. It makes me wonder why her parents, inspired by this young woman, aren’t undergoing their own personal transformations – questioning the church, questioning the status quo, questioning their own values. Maybe they are, I’d have liked to see the results of any of that.

I suppose what I enjoyed most about it is that it authentically captured a young woman going through this period of earnest questioning, sitting down with her pastor time and again, exploring issues with her peers. I might not like what I heard and saw some of the time, but it was real.

In her community, it seems to have been all the rage to do these vows of chastity with the church. I wonder if now, as a young college girl, if she still clings to that vow. I wonder, if through her personal exploration, she’s found different conclusions. It would be great to see a follow up… something like The Continuing Education of Shelby Knox.

03 April 2007

Freedom's Just Another Word

I had the most fantabulous weekend. It kicked off with the first of a double-dose of the enchanting Cassie – who celebrated a birthday last week by the by – and we wandered a little mountain trail with our darling dogs. The wild flowers are in full array and the whole place is bursting with green. (Might I just say that I love her!!!)

In the afternoon, Ed’s best friend descended from Santa Rosa with his expecting wife and their son for a barbeque. After great food and a bit of chatter, they packed up and went home following a trip to the local, home spun, organic ice cream store (aptly named The Scoop.)

On Sunday I had the most perfect morning with my new old friend Ella, who I mentioned a while back that I recently ran into after losing touch for some fifteen or so years. I can’t even begin to tell you I much I adore reconnecting with Ella. There are some people who are just kindred playmates in this life – Ella is this for me. (Cassie is like this too, but in a different way – equally magical.) Ella is totally toys and sparkles (she has a whole ROOM for her inner child to play in her house!) We went to the Alameda flea market where I got a bitch’n new vintage personal-sized fan and she got (among many other fun things) plug-in light-‘em-up plastic deer lawn ornaments (which I named Stephanie and Winona, despite the fact that they have antlers… I haven’t been totally explicit with Ella that they’re pre-op transgender M to F’s… but they’re totally living with the girls now so they’ll be happy, happy, happy!) She gave me a Looking Good for Jesus change purse out of her collection of change purses (He’ll oogle if you’re frugal) and a typewriter key bracelet. I loooovvvveeee toys and presents and I’ve been eyeing a typewriter key bracelet online for months now. It was just so … joyful!

Then came the second dose of Cassie (with her girl-thing in tow this time), when she came to look at a house for sale in my little town. The house isn’t going to work, but it was lovely to see them out and about.

We moved on to the shoot ‘em up part of the weekend and went to see Shooter. Silly boy movie – big explosions, etc.

When Monday morning rolled around, the reality of Ed being out of work and my time clock counting down began to set in – in the best of ways, really. I began going through my files and packing up papers and materials to bring back into the office and recycling things I’ll never need to look at again. It had a real feeling of T-minus-something-and-counting. A feeling like the next part of my life is about to begin.