Friday, December 28, 2007

Blue Christmas

My friend Marge died during the night of December 23. I found out on December 24, as we were driving to my inlaws' house for dinner. Gotta say, Marge's timing sucked. Sure do miss her, though.

Thursday, December 20, 2007


He's not going over the mountains to visit family after all. Yay! One less thing to be cranky about. Ho ho ho.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Bah. And Furthermore, Humbug

I just want the season to be over and done with. I know, it's not what I'm supposed to say this time of year, but there you go.

I found out last weekend that my friend of over 20 years has lung cancer and is preparing to die. She's 93 and says she's not going to pursue treatment, has had enough and is "ready to go." Whatever that means. She might be ready, but I am not. I'm intrigued by people's reactions when I tell them this news. Once they hear she's 93, it's no longer sad news. More along the lines of, "Oh well, long life, she's old, whatever." What people don't know is that her sister (the nun) lived to be 101. Many people in her family passed the 100 mark. When I moved back here, spending time with her was one of the big, big perks motivating me. Now I'm thinking about which black thing I'll wear to the funeral. Which isn't far in the future.

My spouse is about to leave for a trip across The Mountains to visit relatives. The weather reports call for one to two FEET of snow on the pass. I'm really, really not happy about this. I worry. It's my hobby.

While I have for the past nine years gotten the week between Christmas and New Years Day off free and clear, no vacation time eaten up, THIS year I get how much time off? Oh yes, the 25th. AND, we're closing the office at 3PM on the 24th. I'm a little underwhelmed and damn, these crankypants are pinching me.

Because of family obligations, I might not get to spend any part of Christmas with my best friends in the whole world, the people who sent me telepathic messages to Come Home for the past nine years. This makes me incredibly sad.

So there you have it. I'd love to make some stuff up about the beauty of the season and the glow of the lights, but honestly I'll just be glad when it's all over and I'm back at my desk on the 26th. Nevertheless, I wish YOU a happy holiday, whatever form that might take, and offer this annual ritual offering as my gift to you. The music of my people! Enjoy!

Friday, December 07, 2007

'Tis the Season share this fabulous photo given to me by a dear friend last year.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Why I didn't get those reports done yesterday

I intended to work for as many hours as I could yesterday afternoon. After I'd been in the office about an hour, the snow started falling -- blowing, really -- HARD. I got home as fast as I could and it's a good thing I did. The hill up to our place was too slippery to drive a couple of hours later. When I got home the wonderful spouse had a fire going. We found a sappy John Travolta movie on TV and watched it and the snow falling from the comfy, comfy couch. Mmm. So much better than overtime.

Sunday, November 25, 2007


Like frog, I managed to get sick over the holiday, my only four-day period off work since I can't remember when. It's just a cold, but it's preventing me from having the hours and hours of fun I fantasized about for many weeks before the holiday. The real thing: never as good as the fantasy.

Before I took to the couch, however, there was a fabulous dinner at the niece-in-law's amazing house. I did a good share of the cooking, which I liked because it kept me from having to make any more small talk than I already had, and because niece's kitchen has the most ass-kicking view I've ever seen while slaving over a hot stove. Like this, only with a lot more water:

Friday morning, I got up early to go to the holiday parade downtown with my best friend and her partner. It was incredibly fun. Marching bands! Floats made entirely of balloons! It was a gorgeous day, sunny and cold. While I was waiting in line for a chai tea at the Big Corporate Coffee Cafe (the original!), my best friend sneaked up behind me, threw her arms around me and squeezed hard. She said, "I'm so glad you came home!" and gave me a big, sloppy kiss on the cheek.

Me, too. So incredibly glad I came home.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Two Months? Surely You Jest

Yes I know it's been a really really long time since I logged on. I apologize if you've been checking here and finding nothing new. I've just been so incredibly busy I can't even describe it without having a little panic mixed with Sudden Onset Sleepiness Syndrome. So here it is by the numbers.

Days here: 75
Workdays shorter than 10 hours: 0 (exclusive of weekends)
Saturdays worked: 4-5
Dinners with friends: 3, maybe 4
Beers with best colleague/friend: 6 (3 different occasions!)
Dinners at the best veg restaurant ever: 2
Hours with inlaws: More than 20 (not consecutive)
Weeks of unpacking it took to unpack it all: Unknown (Check back in a month.)
Spats: 2, both minor and short
Rainy days: Fewer than we expected -- possibly 8-10
Hours spent consulting manual for fancy-schmancy heating system: At least 1
Days in new house before bedroom curtains installed: 78 (I hope)
Weeks with functioning cable hook-up: 0
Calls to cable company: Lost count weeks ago
New interns trained so far: 2
Interns yet to train: 1
Threats to quit by woman who applied for my job: At least 10
Times I missed the old place/old job: 0

Thursday, August 02, 2007


We've arrived and I've started my new job. Over half our stuff is still in boxes. We won't have internet (or! cable! or! phone!) until sometime next week. We saw a bunny in our front yard yesterday morning. We have no curtains for the bedroom yet so for now I'm waking up with the sun.

It's good to be home.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Age: The (Bigot's) Final Frontier

So I'm over at one of my favorite blogs today when I read this quote from the blogger's husband:
"I cannot wait, I cannot wait," says my husband, "until the last Baby Boomer is dead."

Somebody commented:
Wow. Steve sounds like a real asshole. As a boomer at the tail end of the demographic, I vow to live to 110 just to annoy him.

To which the blogger replied:
Oh, go take a Geritol...

So let me see if I've got this right. Substitute "Boomer" with "African American" or "woman" or "lesbian" or "person under 20" and it's all effed up. But people of my age cohort are cool to wish dead? Okay. Got it.

Good thing the younger generation will never be of this age so they'll be free from experiencing this kind of bigotry. Oh, wait...

Saturday, July 21, 2007


Yesterday I went to my two grocery stores for (probably) the last time. I've been doing my Friday afternoon grocery shopping at these two stores since I moved here almost nine years ago. I was nostalgic as I walked the aisles of my co-op. I'm going to miss it. I didn't know it was possible to be so attached to a market. This one's special, though. Worker-owned, wholly meat-free, prone to radical political acts I usually support. They close for Pride every year. The workers recently voted to close for Caesar Chavez's birtday in exchange for staying open on Thanksgiving. I think workers are required to have at least three tattoos. I love that place.

My friend and favorite checker was there -- hooray! We had a nice talk and said our good-byes, promising to stay in touch. Then a friend I haven't seen in ages showed up and we had a chance to talk and say good-bye, too. It was all very sweet.

My second stop on Fridays has always been the Safeway store near my house. It's in a complex with a post office, my bank and the drycleaner I've been going to nearly all these years. I stopped by the drycleaner to say good-bye and thanks to the woman who owns the shop. She's sweet. She has two adorable kids I've watched grow up as they spend afternoons and summer vacations in the shop. They have a new puppy. I saw pictures of the puppy months before it came to live with their family and I know all about its obedience training and temperament. And its "very sharp teeth."

I've worked in service and retail jobs in the past and I never liked it when regular customers with whom I'd developed relationships would just disappear. It tended to make me worry. I think that's why I wanted to say good-bye to people I've been doing business with for all these years. I also wanted to thank them.

Next stop, Safeway. I wanted to say good-bye to Sue, who used to be in charge of the flower department at the front of the store, but who is now an assistant manager. I'd never been in the store's office before, so I had to do some searching. In the process, I saw the employees' break room (bleak!) and the back of the dairy section (clean!). Finally I found the office and Sue was there. I said, "Clean up in the women's restroom!" I couldn't help myself. We laughed. I told her I'm moving away, she said the news made her very sad. She asked for details, like what work I'd be doing, how my husband feels about the move, when we're leaving. She said she'll miss me. I told her I'll miss her, too, and told her I always liked coming into her store, because of her. She said she was going to start crying, and then she did. And then I did. Just a little. We hugged and I got out of there fast, because if I didn't I knew I'd be blubbering all over her office.

Then I stopped at the fish counter and bought supper. The fish guy wished me good luck and told me he'd miss me. "You've been such an excellent customer."

The afternoon sent me back in time to that period in my relationship with this town when I was so often lonely and alienated. I wasn't making friends and in fact my usual ways of making friends were proving completely ineffective. To make matters worse, I worked alone practically all of the time. I remember crying while I said to my husband, "I just want somebody to go to lunch with once in a while. Is that really too much to ask??" There was something about this city -- so big, so hostile -- that hurt my feelings in a deep way. I was often deeply homesick.

Having people like Sue be friendly to me and talk to me about themselves, ask me some questions about myself -- it mattered a lot. It kept me from complete desolation more than once. I can never tell them what it meant to me and what it still means that they broke the social rule of this place to reach out to me. But I appreciate it and never will I take such kindness for granted again.

I'm also taking away an important reminder about the seeds of kindness. We really can never, ever know the effect of our actions. We might think speaking kindly to a stranger is a small thing and we might forget about it moments after it happens. But to that person? It might be the one bright spot in an otherwise miserable week. It really could, in a city like this one, be the only kindness that person experiences that day. Or week.

As I was picking out my corn for supper, a woman came by to sweep up. As she swept, I said, "This corn sure makes a mess, doesn't it?" She looked me right in the eye and said nothing. Earlier that day at the co-op, I had a similar experience. A brief comment meant to connect, to bring a smile, was met with a cold stare and a slight step away. Yesterday, those interactions made me chuckle. Earlier, they could bring me to tears. Krupskaya talks about city manners. I wish someone had given me a course in city manners about nine years ago.

I'm just not going to miss this place.

Friday, July 20, 2007

I'm It!

I've been tagged by Amanda AND frog. And I'm supposed to tag eight other people, only like bomb, pretty much every blogger I know has already been tagged. So screw that part. Heh.

The rules:

1. Let others know who tagged you.
2. Players start with 8 random facts about themselves.
3. Those who are tagged should post these rules and their 8 random facts.
4. Players should tag 8 other people and notify them they have been tagged.

My eight random facts:
1. I played clarinet from 4th grade through high school. I was in the concert band and marching band and in the latter wore a ridiculously tall fuzzy hat with a chin strap.
2. I've been to Dillingham, AK but I never worked in the fishing industry.
3. Falafel gives me heartburn every time I eat it but I will never stop eating it.
4. I was taller than my mother by the time I was in 5th grade.
5. I took seven years to complete my BA.
6. I have a water garden, which is like a pond in a container.
7. I've met Sean Penn, Phil Donohue and Bill Harris (of Bill and Emily Harris).
8. I attempted to sneak out my bedroom window once to protest Nixon's arrival at the airport in my town. It was in the '70s and I was probably 13 or 14. My dad busted me before I got halfway out.

There you go. More than you wanted or needed to know!

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Moving at the Speed of Molasses

I'd really love to be one of those people whose reaction to stress is a burst a manic energy -- the ones who immediately buckle down and clean (and possibly paint!) the entire house when the stress hits. I'm the other kind. I respond to intense stress by turning into a deer in the headlights. My coping style is neither fight nor flight. It's more like sit here motionless, pretending to be invisible, and hope the threat leaves on its own. I've spent more than a few hours immobilized by anxiety lately. This, it turns out, does not get the packing done. Nor the sorting of belongings headed for the thrift store. Nor the other 10,000 things that have to be completed before we move at the end of the month.

I'm trying to remember to take action. Even if the action's small. Maybe I could build momentum. You never know.

Yesterday I scored big-time. A couple about 10 minutes away advertised their barely-used moving boxes on Craigslist. I was the first to arrive and drove away with the car full of boxes. Yay!

I'm so distracted it's getting ridiculous. I'm forgetting things. Simple things. Things I can't believe I'm forgetting. I forgot my clothes in the laundry room, twice. Then later in the bathroom, I'm ready to change tampons, I pull out the first one and looky there! Another string! Evidently I'd forgotten to take one out before putting another one in. I guess I should be glad there were only two.

I would say "Maybe you need to slow down," only I'm barely moving as it is. Maybe I should pay closer attention? You think?

Friday, June 22, 2007

Next Chapter

Got the job. Moving up yonder. Stressed, not sleeping through the night. Excited, breathless, filled with dread and apprehension. Imagining the best, imagining the worst. Planning. It's what I do.

I've started breaking the news to people. Some are sad, some are handling it "better" than others, but really, for those who are sad, there's little I can do.

Should I apologize to them for following my heart?

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Adrenaline Withdrawal

Back from up yonder. The interview went well, I think. I was interviewed by four incredibly strong women and managed to give good answers (I think!), on about five hours of sleep. I visited many friends and hardly remembered to breathe. I'm exhausted.

They asked me about my availability for training.

They're hoping to make a hiring decision by Wednesday.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Breaking Up: Hard to Do

I'm not telling my current employer about the job interview or even that I'm thinking of leaving town. I feel that's the best policy, in general. Suppose I end up not getting a job up yonder for a few months? And it drags on. And on... It wouldn't leave me in a particularly good position to negotiate whatever I might want to negotiate. When I tell them I'm leaving them for a better job. When they break down and cry and beg me to stay.

Unfortunately, I'm terrible at keeping secrets. It's possible I'll break down and tell somebody or let something slip at any moment. Stay tuned!

I've calmed down considerably tonight. I'm not exactly sure why. Could be the nice calming herbal tea, the foot rub, yoga class, or maybe I've just worn my brain out. It's exhausting, all the planning and worrying. Exhausting!

I feel I should be studying up on the particulars of this job but doing that makes me anxious. So either I'll suck it up and study, or wing it and hope for the best.

This is so exciting.

Saturday, June 09, 2007


It turns out the job up yonder wasn't filled -- they had another position and it was that one they were holding interviews for. I know this because they called me on Thursday to set up an interview. I'm flying up there Thursday for a Friday interview. I'm working at keeping my anxiety under control and not always succeeding. It's a big deal, especially since getting the job would mean a major move. Also, this job is definitely more career-path than my present job, which means I'd have to care about it a lot more. It will require a great deal more of me. Not just in terms of time and focus, but also commitment and energy. I don't have the same energy I did when I worked there in the last century. I was a lot younger then.

This weekend I need to shop for an interview suit. Last time I did that was... Let's see... 1995. What is it the young people are wearing to job interviews nowadays?

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Or, Not

Driving home yesterday on one of our famous narrow, steep and winding streets, I pull over to let a car coming from the opposite direction through. As soon as I do so, guy behind me tries to pass me, thus blocking the other person entirely. A stand-off ensues. I look around to give the guy the stinkeye, he gives me the finger.

This, I will not miss.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Slow to Adapt

Now that we're seriously talking about leaving this place, I realize there are some things I never adjusted to. And now it looks like I might not, ever. Getting really good corn, canteloupe and strawberries in May, for example. A little bit wrong. Too early. But oh, so good. Maybe it's one thing I'll miss about this place. If we ever leave. Which, who knows, maybe we will. Or maybe we won't.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Nothing to See Here

I'm in limbo. I can't make a frickin' decision about anything: Where to live, what job I want, when to make a hair appointment -- none of the important life issues! The "pro/con" exercise doesn't work about where to live, because how can I balance "Be near my best friend" against "Possibly keep earning a living wage"? "Having health insurance" against "Those big-assed evergreens lining the freeway"? See? It just doesn't work.

I was asked to take on a new responsibility at my meditation center. I tried to beg off, saying I'm not sure how much longer I'll even live here. The asker gave me a month to let him know. Not helpful! It's something I think I'd enjoy doing, and it needs doing, but sheesh. Already so many things to consider in making this decision.

I'm just not a very good decider. It's a family trait. I once knew my family to take over two hours to decide where to eat dinner and then they still didn't pick a restaurant -- more like a part of town and "we'll decide once we get there." How did we not starve to death?

I'm thinking of setting up a few sessions with a career counselor. I'm just that stumped. Now how do I decide which one to see??

Wednesday, May 23, 2007


So that job up yonder? Didn't get it. I heard from a friend that "they've already had one round of interviews" and I think that since I didn't get a call or anything, I didn't get in. Which bruised my ego terribly. I used to be pretty hot stuff in that work culture. Now? Stale as last week's bread.

Now that this job isn't hanging out there, I need to strategize and come up with The Plan. I want so much in my midlife career, and yet I'm not sure what I want. I've actually never been this ambivalent about my job future. Rudderlessness does not suit me. No sir, not one bit.

Helpful hint: Warm Kettle Korn appears to be a curative. Might want to stock up if you're job-hunting. Or enjoying midlife. Get the big bag if you're doing both.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Know Thyself

Thanks to frog, I have some new information about myself. The test is here; here are my results:

Your Brain Usage Profile:
Auditory : 40%
Visual : 60%
Left : 64%
Right : 35%

gosling, you are somewhat left-hemisphere dominant and show a preference for visual learning, although not extreme in either characteristic. You probably tend to do most things in moderation, but not always.

Your left-hemisphere dominance implies that your learning style is organized and structured, detail oriented and logical. Your visual preference, though, has you seeking stimulation and multiple data. Such an outlook can overwhelm structure and logic and create an almost continuous state of uncertainty and agitation [What have I been trying to tell you?!]. You may well suffer a feeling of continually trying to "catch up" with yourself [and thus be exhausted all the damned time -- too exhausted to blog, really].

Your tendency to be organized and logical and attend to details is reasonably well-established which should afford you success regardless of your chosen field of endeavor. You can "size up" situations and take in information rapidly. However, you must then subject that data to being classified and organized which causes you to "lose touch" with the immediacy of the problem.

Your logical and methodical nature hamper you in this regard though in the long run it may work to your advantage since you "learn from experience" [absolute proof this test is bogus] and can go through the process more rapidly on subsequent occasions.

You remain predominantly functional in your orientation and practical. Abstraction and theory are secondary to application. In keeping with this, you focus on details until they manifest themselves in a unique pattern and only then work with the "larger whole." [In other words, you are the world's biggest nitpicker and blind to the "big picture" -- surprise!]

With regards to your career choices, you have a mentality that would be good as a scientist, coach, athlete, design consultant, or an engineering technician [none of which you are trained for and let's face it, you're not getting any younger, Coach]. You can "see where you want to go" and even be able to "tell yourself," but find that you are "fighting yourself" at the darndest times [like, most of the darned time].

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

I Know You Miss Me

Yeah, yeah, I know. It's been ages. Maybe this will entertain you while you continue to wait. Or, not.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Synchronicity, Man

I found out about a job opening in our hometown, the city we'd love more than anything to return to. It's a management job at the place where I used to work. The money's not bad and I'm certainly qualified to do the work. Knowing this brings up about 10,000 issues, all having to do with the unpredictability of the future. I lost considerable sleep last night ruminating and panicking about the possibility of returning "home."

When I'm faced with big life decisions like this, I like to gather as much data as possible before taking any action. So I called an old friend of mine up yonder. She and I used to work together in the place that has the job opening. We haven't spoken in a long, long time. Definitely over two years. As soon as she heard my voice on the phone she said, "Oh! I just had a dream about you last night!"

These little clues from the universe? A little spooky. Also a little annoying, though I can't say exactly why.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Vegan Sunday Dinner, Easter Edition

Sundays require comfort food. Simple as that. This week I tried the recipe for vegan "meatloaf" from the latest Vegetarian Times. I've been searching for the perfect loaf recipe for ages and this one comes pretty darned close to perfection. Other loaf recipes can be found at the Magic Loaf Studio, of course. Lots of delicious Sunday dinners have come from Jennifer's site. Tonight's was little salty, maybe. Possibly from the soy crumbles, which are pretty high in salt. But still very delicious. The leftovers will make great sandwiches. With the loaf we each had a generous serving of garlic mashed potatoes and Golden Gravy (I always add some sliced mushrooms to the recipe), and steamed broccoli. For dessert there were vegan brownies, the recipe for which can be found here. They've become a big favorite around here. Unfortunately no picture, because those brownies had to be eaten while they were still warm and taking a picture? Would have delayed the eating.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007


How to send someone with an anxiety disorder completely around the bend: Tell this person, "The thing you fear most you will create."

Monday, March 26, 2007

Free Parking

The Chronicle has a story today about the rampant cheating that goes on with parking placards in California. Apparently, not everyone with a blue free parking permit has a legitimate disability! IMAGINE! In a city widely known for its lack of parking, people are cheating. One in 16 California residents has a parking placard. What this means is that people with actual disabilities that impair mobility can't get parking when they need it. Further, because everybody in my town knows there are huge numbers of cheaters, we subject people with disabilities to a level of scrutiny (and mistrust) they frankly do not need or deserve. What a mess. From the article:

But last year, the DMV -- after its annual check of state death records -- canceled 25,352 permits after determining that the people to whom they were issued had died. Caregivers or relatives of the deceased are supposed to surrender placards.

"Annual check"?? Supposedly cities in California are stepping up enforcement. Sadly (but predictably) it was the hit to parking meter revenue that got the bureaucrats off their fannies, not concern for people with disabilities.

I think I'd like my next career to be Placard Enforcer. I wonder if they give you a badge. What do you think of a TV show based on this fantasy career? Maybe "CSI: Parking Enforcement" or "Law and Order: Cheater Unit."

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Vegan Sunday Dinner, March 25

It was misty and cool today. The kind of day that's perfect for staying inside, drinking tea and reading. A day that called for comfort food. I made a veggie pot pie with whole wheat crust. I wish I could give you a recipe, but it was a little-of-this, little-of-that deal. Lots of crimini mushrooms, carrots, potato, onion, garlic, celery, broccoli, gravy (with mushroom broth, tamari, miso, nutritional yeast, a little corn starch, stuff...). It was good. On the side, some roasted fennel. The co-op had some gorgeous fennel AND beautiful spring red onions this week -- who could resist? I roasted them together with a little balsamic, olive oil, brown sugar and salt. Yummy.

For dessert there was an improvised apple-raisin upside-down cake. I used a basic vegan cake recipe on top of thinly sliced apples, raisins, a little vegan margarine, brown sugar, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg, with about a tablespoon of maple syrup. It was good but needs a little tinkering to achieve dessert perfection. A mug of ginger tea topped it off nicely on this chilly evening.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Excuse Me?

I've been dreaming lately of moving to Eugene, where houses are still relatively cheap, the political climate suits us and we'd be closer to family (but not TOO close). Most importantly we'd be back in our beloved Northwest. So occasionally I take little breaks during the day to look at house ads and sigh. This one, however? Thanks but no thanks. I like my privacy in the bathroom.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Compassion of the Easy Kind

Today my homeless friend Mr. Shirthead Man (whose nickname gives you a clue about his headgear of choice) stopped me on my way out of the BART tunnel. He told me somebody had stolen his shoes while he was sleeping on the street. He asked me for money. He never asks unless he really needs it -- he knows I'll give him money when I have some to spare. He sells this paper for money and he's one of the hardest working homeless guys I know. He was in his stocking feet. After a brief conversation about the lack of respect shown by young people nowadays, and some reminiscing about kinder, gentler times on the San Francisco streets, I gave him some money and wished him well.

Halfway to my office, it dawned on me I could have asked him his size, walked a few blocks to Goodwill and bought him a new pair of shoes. This is what I would have done for any other friend in such dire need. What, I wondered, stopped me from thinking of this while I was talking to Mr. Shirthead Man? I imagined him walking to Goodwill in his socks.

Do I just go around dispensing compassion in amounts I think are appropriate, like some kind of goody-goody demi-god? Waiting for the gratitude? Am I afraid that giving too much away will leave me without enough for somebody else later? Am I fearful of being taken advantage of? Or do I really do what needs doing? I wish I had acted better. I hope I have another chance.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

New Template! Oops!

I'm not entirely sure I love the new look. Feel free to comment. Also, did you know that when Blogger tells you "Your old template will be completely lost when you click the button below" they actually MEAN it? And that means you'll lose all your LINKS? And you'll have to spend about an hour reassembling them and then doing it all over again because you don't like their placement?? Did you? Well, now you do.

If I forgot to link you and you want to be linked, or if I never linked you before and you've been wondering why, let me know and I'll put you over there on that list.

No Sunday Dinner feature this week. We're going out (after a trip to Costco! WOOHOO!). Dinner will therefore look something like this:

Followed by something with vegetables.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Joy of Joys! Liz Returns!

I've been missing (and worrying about) a favorite blogger of mine for months and months, ever since she got cancer and quit her blog at Granny Vibe. Turns out, she's been blogging since November! And nobody told me! You can find Liz's new home here. She rocks.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

The Bush Administration Cares About Aging (Laughter)

The Summit on Global Aging (which I realize sounds like the aging of the planet but in fact has to do with the aging of people on the planet) convened today. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice made brief remarks which you can read here. Here's my favorite part:

I am pleased to have this opportunity to speak to you at today’s Summit on Global Aging. The event has served to sharpen two key points in all of our minds. First, despite our best efforts to ignore it, none of us are getting any younger and I want to thank everybody for reminding me of that. (Laughter.)

In other words, "HA! HA HA! I'm at a big important conference on aging! Telling funny funny jokes about getting older! While representing an administration that is working day and night to decimate medical and economic safety nets for aging Americans and those with disabilities! I slay me!"

Yeah. Haha.


Thanks to Em for this fun! My first try (with another picture) netted too many men (including Elton John and Elvis Costello). I like this one better.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

My Netflix Queue Doesn't Look So Bad After All

When compared to The Worst of the Worst, in fact, it looks pretty darned good!

Okay, I might have seen a couple of the worst 100. Maybe even three. Thing is, they were awful. I can't really be expected to remember them all.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Sunday Dinner Again

Yeah, yeah, I know. But we were supposed to have this dinner last night. Instead, we went to the movies and then had dinner at one of my favorite Chinese places. I had General Tso's (faux) Chicken. And veggie potstickers. So good.

Anyhow, I had these ingredients on hand and the bean sprouts weren't getting any younger, so I figured I'd just switch days. Big mistake. I made "Brooklyn Pad Thai" from the recipe of a friend's secret girlfriend. Very complicated and time-consuming for a weeknight dinner. Also? Too may pots and pans and dishes. Which makes The Dishmeister a teeny bit cranky. The meal was okay, not great. Too much vinegar and red pepper for my taste. Maybe in Brooklyn they make their Pad Thai differently? What do New Yorkers know from Thai food, anyway? It's probably not something I'll make again -- at least not without some tinkering.

Looks pretty though, doesn't it?

Sunday, March 11, 2007

What I Did Last Week

I knew somebody was going to be sorry once I learned how to download photos to the blog. Looks like "somebody" is, well, you. Avert your eyes if you're squeamish. Or if unshaven legs give you the heebie jeebies.

Here's my leg all bandaged up:

Here's my leg two days later after the bandages came off (shortly before I waited an hour and a half at the surgeon's office for my follow-up appointment!):

Moral: Stop crossing your legs, get plenty of exercise, keep a healthy weight and if you have a family history of varicose veins, watch those legs and find a good vascular surgeon. Just in case none of that other stuff works.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Sunday Dinner

Since some people refuse to food-blog, I see it's up to me to pick up the slack. Tonight's dinner emphasized the comfort food. (Because I'm having a teensy "procedure" tomorrow, about which you should not worry. Seriously.) There was honey-mustard tempeh (Deborah Madison) and braised collard greens (ditto), together with mashed mixed root vegetables, the idea for which was planted as a seed by the lovely Bomboniera! Weeks ago! Germinating away in my brain until tonight. I used Yukon Gold taters, turnips, celery root and parsnips, with a little garlic and onion for flavor. And of course some non-dairy "milk" and "butter," salt and pepper. So, so delish.

Dessert was this great cake, which is easy-peasy and which makes use of over-ripe bananas. It's vegan, too! You can get the recipe here, but don't be fooled -- that should read "3/4 TEASPOON," not "3/4 CUP," vanilla. And I always use a cup of white and 2/3 cup whole wheat flour. To offset the cup of sugar. Or something. Be sure to serve it warm with a nice cold glass of soy or almond milk. Yum.

I don't claim the label "vegan" because honestly, I haven't earned it. I eat fish once a week, I eat (and love, guiltily) honey, I wear leather. I don't have the patience to research every wine label to see if they are or are not animal-friendly. I am too busy drinking the wine! If a splash of milk makes it into my morning tea, I don't toss it out. I do avoid dairy, however. I stopped eating meat (except for the aforementioned fish) over two years ago and (mostly) quit dairy last summer. I'm down about 20 pounds, my energy and health are amazing, and bonus! The spouse's cholesterol levels are down to a level that finally stopped his family doc from threatening him with meds at his annual check-ups! Woot! Hey. I think he just went into the kitchen for a second piece of that cake...

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Know Your Elders

Very interesting set of quizzes, over at Senior Journal. Sixteen of them, actually. So you might want to save the link for a day when you have some time to kill, because you'll want to take them all. Maybe Monday. At work.

One true-false question in particular jumped out at me: "Most old workers cannot work as effectively as younger workers." This reminds me I haven't provided any updates on the spouse's age and disability discrimination case against his very very bad former employers. It's still pending, though a settlement might be close. He's being offered something far less than what is fair, but he's tired and we're both ready to move on. The latest offer structures the pay-out as wages -- meaning all employee withholding, FICA and etc. will be deducted. This is just another example of the ways these guys screw with him. This employer, by the way, is a nonprofit. In the health care field. We have a question in to his attorney regarding my responsibilities vis a vis the "non-disclosure agreement" the spouse is being asked to sign. If I am not bound by it, watch this space for sordid details! (Maybe I'm kidding. Am I kidding? Not really sure.)

If you think age discrimination on the job can't happen to you, think again. After this happened to the spouse, we heard multiple stories of shocking and blatant discrimination of older workers. As we boomers move into the 60+ category, look for this kind of discrimination to be commonplace. Simply put, younger workers are cheaper. It's all about the bottom line, after all.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Very Important Case

Read about it here.

From the story:

Sally Herriot likes where she lives and doesn't want to move.

At 88, Herriot uses a walker, needs help getting dressed and is having problems with her eyes. Still, she knows what she wants. She regularly attends the San Francisco Opera, reads the Economist and says that with the help of her own round-the-clock aides, she has everything she needs in her one-bedroom Palo Alto apartment.

But Channing House, the retirement home where Herriot lives, disagrees, and officials there have told Herriot she must move from her spacious apartment into a much smaller, assisted-living unit at the home where they believe she will be better served by a trained nursing staff.

Herriot is fighting back.


Herriot says she's not planning to go anywhere soon.

"I wish we could sweep it under the rug, but we can't. They would love us to say, 'I give up,' " she said. "It'll be harder than that." Turning to her son, she asks him: "Can you envision me saying, 'I give up?' "

Couple-o' Three Things

1. Dear Bike Rider on Valencia Street: If you are going to ride alongside parked cars, at night, in the rain, having a bike light would be good. Also the wearing of not-black clothes. Calling me the c-word for opening my car door when I couldn't see you? Shows me you have a very unhappy life. You probably always wonder why people treat you so badly. You are unaware of your part in human interactions. (Hint: It's 50% if two of you are involved in the interaction.) Good luck in anger management class. You make me a teeny bit sorry I didn't actually hit you with the car door. Maybe I'll see you in anger management class.

2. Mark Morford can tell you exactly what's been going on at our house. Minus the porn. Good grief. I am in the process of driving every single person I know crazy with my indecision and materialistic ambivalence. Help. Me.

3. HAPPY BIRTHDAY FROG!!! May it be a year of love, peace and every kind of fulfillment.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Monday, February 05, 2007


Stuff I told you about here has changed. Well, some of it has. Molly Ivins remains dead, as do my uncle and neighbor. At least death is permanent. Or is it?

My best friend's suspicious "masses" of the breast and armpit turned out to be calcification or something -- at any rate, nothing to worry about. She has to go back in a year for another mammogram and that's it.

Her mom is doing incredibly well, despite dementia and the resulting confusion. She thinks she's in elementary school, evidently. Crazy thing is, she's a lot happier (friend: "She LOVED school!") and is even participating in group activities at the nursing home, which she never did in the assisted living facility where she used to live. Happiness is good, even if it's based on faulty thinking. Isn't it?

Friend's cat with kidney failure has rallied and is now eating, playing with the other cat in the house and walking around with his tail in the air. We've recently heard of cats living a year or more after this diagnosis. Hope has been restored (at least temporarily).

Over the weekend I attended a class. On Sunday we were asked to participate in an exercise about impermance and our tendency to avoid the difficult feelings associated with impermanence: Each of us was invited to sit in a chair facing the group of 30 or so and state our name and our parents' names and then announce out loud that we will die. As in, "I am Sarah, my father was Bill and my mother is Martha. I will die." It was a profound and moving experience and one I'll be thinking about for a long, long time.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Man Code, Cracked

This article has me all heated up this morning. In it, Chronicle columnist C. W. Nevius explains why our mayor's sexual decisions represent a breach in the "Man Code." The article is part of the larger annoying media package on this story, which focuses on the "betrayal" by Newsom of his relationship with the husband of his lover. Rarely do we hear that in fact his lover was an employee (his appointment secretary) and that possibly such relationships are, at best, really poor choices and demonstrative of some incredibly bad (and not very mayoral) decision-making, and at worst, sexual harassment. From the article:

It seems that what is at work here is another case in which women are from Venus and men are from the mysterious, dark side of the moon.

"There is a code that men live by," says family therapist Tracey Gersten, a woman. "Women may not know about it, or they may pooh-pooh it, but it is very real. I think if you put a group of men in a room, they'd have no trouble putting a man code together."

"The betrayal is the big thing," said Colin Hussey, 44, who was among those who wrote me. "Good God, this is your loyal ally. It is that sense of honor. It's like the samurai or even the mafia."

Baffled, without a Tracey Gersten (woman!) around to ask for help, I asked Mr. Spouse what all this means. He swaggered a little and did his best to imitate a Regular Guy™.

"It's like this: We men have to be able to trust that our property isn't going to be defiled when we loan it out for other purposes."

It's so helpful, having a translator around the house.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Impermanence Abounds

The evidence:
  1. My uncle (Mom's brother) died of pneumonia and its complications about a month ago.
  2. My best friend had a "possible heart attack" in December and now has suspicious things on her breast and in her armpit that required an MRI on Monday (results due today).
  3. Same friend's mother recently took a bad fall that caused head injuries. She's in a nursing home and no longer recognizes her kids. She can't get out of bed or feed herself without assistance any more. She's in her 80s.
  4. My mother-in-law (89) is up in Washington seeing a specialist for diabetes-related vein and foot problems that will likely result in amputation of her foot and possibly part of her leg.
  5. The guy who manages my building at work -- a sweet guy and good friend -- just went through some very invasive tests for possible prostate cancer. Results soon.
  6. My friend's 13 year-old cat was just diagnosed with kidney cancer and isn't expected to live more than a month.
  7. An online friend's dad died suddenly and unexpectedly. I'm not sure of his age, but my pal is only in her mid-30s.
  8. I just this morning found out that one of our nearest neighbors died of liver cancer in November. He was only 56.
  9. All the stuff involving jobs, bodies and cars we've been going through since August.
There's no escaping it: Nothing whatsoever is permanent. I accept that. The reminders really suck though.

Edited to add: And now Molly Ivins is dead. How I'll miss her amazing work and incredible humor. Like I said earlier today, the reminders suck.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Sex Through the Ages

I had a conversation with my friend Pat the other day that's been stuck in my head. She was telling me about a running joke she has with her friend Maddy. Pat's 76 (shh, don't tell her I told you); Maddy's in her 80s. Both women are straight. Evidently Maddy's doctor asked her if she "has a gentleman friend." Which both women understood was really a question about whether or not Maddie's still sexually active. Maddy laughed and told her doctor, "Oh heavens NO! I wouldn't want any man who'd have me!" This story cracks them up, Maddy and Pat. Pat tells me, "You'll see what's funny about it when you get older. I mean, really! Imagine! If someone wanted a wrinkled up old woman who looks like ME? What kind of pervert would he be? YUCK!"

I guess if you're lucky enough to be in a long-term relationship at that age, sex makes sense and is acceptable. But starting a new relationship with a man? That carries the implication the man must have something wrong with him, what with being attracted to women of a certain age. Not just something wrong -- something profoundly wrong that makes him completely unacceptable as a mate.

Good grief. This is where it the fetishizing of youth leads? I didn't realize.

My 100th Post

We got a new car. It's a Subaru. It's blue.

You know how, when you buy a new car, you worry about that first scratch? Well, we didn't have to worry long. I took us out of our misery. The first day. Pulling out of the garage. Whew -- that's a relief.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Mark Your Calendar!

I've talked about the Mountain Meadows Massacre here before. Turns out there's a movie! Coming out in May! Which will surely infuriate the Mormon brethren and make them curse the Word of Wisdom because a nice shot of hooch sure would take the edge off!

Read all about it here. From the article:

Jon Voight, Dean Cain and Terence Stamp are set to upset Mormons across America by revisiting the religion's darkest day in a controversial new film. "September Dawn" recalls the Mountain Meadows Massacre in 1857 when a group of Mormons, disguised as Paiute Indians, slaughtered all but 17 small children on a wagon train on its way to California.

The official website! The trailer! (And how much do I love Movie Guy's voiceover? So much.)

Another site describes the film as "A love story set against the 19th century massacre of a wagon train of settlers in Utah at the hands of a renegade Mormon group." Love story. Set against a massacre. Something for everybody!

Here's a fun fact: Dean Cain plays Brigham Young in this film. He also played Scott Peterson in the made-for-TV movie, "The Perfect Husband: The Laci Peterson Story." I don't know why I find this fascinating, I just do.

Jon Voight! Lolita Davidovich! I'm so excited, I can't sit still. "September Dawn." May. I'm there.

Stuff I've Been Meaning to Tell You

  1. We spent the year-end holidays with Mother, even staying in one of the "guest apartments" in her complex. This gave us an amazing and reassuring view of life inside Assisted Living and before the week was out Mr. Spouse was suggesting we might enjoy spending our retirement there. This from the guy who once compared Mom's facility to prison.
  2. One side effect of living among the elders for an extended period seems to be a shift in fashion sense. At least that's what my sister told me when she caught me checking out the rack of velour "jogging suits" at Dillard's.
  3. I went to Memphis a couple of weeks ago for a conference and there I met some amazing women, one of whom I've known (in an online kind of way) for years. It was a big highlight of an otherwise depressing and infuriating trip. She's not only awesome, she's pregnant. You should go over and congratulate her.
  4. Mr. Spouse was rear-ended last weekend, and our little green car is totaled. I bought this car after an accident I had in 1996. I was hit by a Mack® truck and dragged down I-5 at 55 miles per hour during rush hour, in the rain. I came out of it without a scratch. Mr. Spouse was similarly injury-free after being hit by a drunk driver (at 10AM!) going full speed. Both crashed cars were Subarus. Our new car will also be a Subaru. Gotta love safety.
The accident makes me think we're living under some kind of cloud or something. As in, enough already. First his shoulder injuries and surgery. Then, his being fired (illegally, with much actionable discrimination). Now, this. If bad luck does come in threes, we're good to go. Cross your fingers for us. Please?