Saturday, July 31, 2004


I fell into a deep slumber for the first couple of afternoon hours. I grabbed "Cold Mountain" and went back to bed after the boyfriend split for the golf course. I managed to read a few pages before drifting off under the ceiling fan. The last couple of days have been utterly gorgeous, and hot. I have few more decadent pleasures than an unexpected nap in summer heat. I didn't hear the bedside phone ring--I woke when I heard boyfriend's son's voice on the answering machine. He arrives in 10 days and to say that we're excited doesn't begin to describe the emotion behind this visit. By the time we meet his plane on the night of August 9th, we'll probably be close to floating on a cloud of joy.
From page 259 in "Cold Mountain":

She wondered if literature might lose some of its interest when she reached an age or state of mind where her life was set on such a sure course that the things she read might stop seeming so powerfully like alternate directions for her being.

Although I love the idea expressed here (and specifically how Charles Frazier expressed it), I truly hope I never reach that place in my own life. Not that I'm not seeking a "sure course," but fiction provides me with such a powerful portal to my dreams and imagination that I hope it will always hold sway over me in that way. Posted by Hello

Lady Detective

When the boyfriend returned from his gig last night, he said that the brake lights on our car wouldn't shut off. He'd had to disconnect the battery. I was sleepy when he told me this news, but this morning I mentioned it and he said he'd looked it up online last night and found some info on the brake light indicator. (Why he has to search online when we own a huge '94 Honda Accord manual that cost nearly $100 is beyond me, but whatever.)

I got curious about it myself this morning, so I did my own Google search and found a discussion board where someone with an '84 Accord mentioned a rubber/plastic nipple that had broken and "which explained the little pieces of plastic on the floormat." The light bulb went on over my head as I suddenly remembered that as I was driving away from my office at lunchtime yesterday to pick up the boyfriend at the golf course, I felt something fall onto my (bare, flip flop-clad) left foot. Since I was climbing a steep, narrow, very windy hill at the time, I tried not to veer off the road while looking frantically down toward my foot to make sure it wasn't some horrific tropical bug. (Those of you who will remember the "spider inside the jeans" incident will understand that that's not an unfounded anxiety.) I didn't see or feel anything. But after I picked him up and we reached home, I recalled that I'd seen a couple of little black things on the floormat as I exited the car. I remembered thinking, "What are those? Bugs? Plastic? Rocks?"

Fast forward to reading that Honda message board. I went out to the car and found three pieces of broken rubber/plastic lying on the floormat, including the "nipple." We opened our big fat Honda manual and sure enough, there was the diagram of that rubber nipple making contact with the brake pedal.

So now the boyfriend is on the balcony "making like MacGyver" (his words), whittling down a golf tee to jerry-rig it until the service department at the Honda dealership opens on Monday.

As for me, I'm sitting here quite pleased with myself that for once I got to solve an automotive mystery. :)
UPDATE: After posting the above, I walked out to the car to see how the boyfriend was coming with the whittled-down golf tee. He had a smile on his face and said, "I know what will work even better. Remember when that piece on the clutch broke and he (the bass player who's also a mechanic and fixed it during a house call) charged us $69 for a part?" Then he walked to the trunk, popped it open and proceeded to loosen one of the plastic thingies holding the carpet to the inside wall. It was a plastic screw with a flat, circular disk attached to it. He held it up and said, "Here's the $69 part." While under the dashboard trying to devise a solution to the brake pedal problem, he'd turned to look at the repair done to the clutch. It turns out that our clutch had been repaired a few months ago with a piece pulled from an interior wall of someone's car. Ha! Rather than being upset over being charged $69 for a ten-cent piece of plastic, boyfriend got excited that he now had a workable solution. What followed was 15 minutes or so with the two of us, in various configurations, trying to get that damn piece in the hole. Boyfriend's not a small person; I'm half his size. So it seemed obvious that I should be the one to lie on the driver's side floor and reach up to insert it. While I was doing that, he was lying across the passenger seat depressing the brake pedal with his right hand while his legs were dangling outside the passenger door. But I couldn't get the darn thing inserted--it was too wide or long (or something). So he whittled down the flat circular head, but still no go. Then we switched places; he thought he might be able to just muscle it in. I was pressing the brake pedal with my right hand as strongly as I could, but the boyfriend's left-handed. So he was 'muscling it in' with his left arm which was pressing hard against my right arm which was trying to depress the brake pedal with all its might--all while the emergency brake was digging into my left shoulder, the stick shift was up against my right side and my head was under the steering wheel. I finally convinced him that the screw part was too long, so he clipped some of its length with needle-nose pliars. Then it dawned on him that maybe we could find a way for me to squeeze my leg in there so I could depress the brake pedal while getting some leverage. That did the trick--he finally got it in. We tested the brake lights, and...success!

We split immediately for the beach to have a quick breakfast before his golf date and drove down the lovely lush road leading to the beach feeling quite pleased with ourselves over a job well done. We not only managed to repair it, but had found a solution that negated the need to buy a replacement part (at least for the time being). Who knows? It just might hold for as long as we need it to (the next seven months).

And kids? Do try this at home. :)


Having my morning sip, I opened "The Woman's Book of Soul" at random and read this: A friend of mine attending a conference was surprised to notice that everyone at the breakfast table had coffee but her. She felt a little miffed and said, "Why didn't I get coffee?" Someone answered, "You have to turn your cup over, in order for them to pour you some." Ah, isn't that what we often do, forget to turn our cup up to receive? Today and in the weeks and months ahead, let's not forget to walk through our lives with upturned cups. Posted by Hello

Friday, July 30, 2004

pot o' gold

Just as the boyfriend was ready to leave for work, it began to rain.  It was a really heavy shower.  I knew I'd have to (or at least should) drive him to the clubhouse on the other side of the course.  And I was FURIOUS.  I don't like having my morning reverie interrupted.  I knew it was a PMS-fueled rage, but that knowingness didn't dissipate it.  I started swearing like a longshoreman.  He didn't say a word, but then he rarely speaks in the morning.  He's the world's grumpiest morning person.  I snapped, "Come on.  Let's go." and walked up to the car.  By that time the rain had stopped. 

I turned on the classical station when I got in the car to soothe my savage hormonal beast.  And as we reached the portion of the road above the course, heading due east, there was nothing but bright sun and blue sky filling the windshield.  But still, I drove just a tiny bit too fast--just to let him know (as if he wasn't already keenly aware) that I wasn't happy to be driving him.  When we reached the drop-off point, we looked at each other with a silent understanding that said, "Okay, we're both grouchy, neither of us wants to be doing this right now, but let's have a moment of sweet tenderness" and we kissed goodbye.

As I left the clubhouse, I cranked up the classical music even louder and started to relax.  I climbed the hill and rounded a turn, and when I turned back the other direction there was a huge, glorious rainbow ending in the bay where I swim.  It was as if the universe was saying, "Hey, I got you out here for a reason, but you were acting like such an asshole that you almost missed it."  I went around another corner and when I emerged from that one, a second fainter rainbow had appeared to the right of the first one.  I thought, okay, I get it.  The message for me this morning is this:  service to others is not service if we only choose to do it within our chosen timeframe.  If I'm doing you a 'favor' but I'm pissed off because I'm feeling inconvenienced by it, then I'm not doing anyone a favor, least of all myself.

Thursday, July 29, 2004

page*crawl - v. 1.2

Let's do another page*crawl, shall we?  Very different books, and wildly different from each other.  From pages 37...

suffering from apoplexy / he was intellectually aware of what was happening / slap the pucks and sausage / massage on brain stem and diffuse / the skies were widening and there were no lakes or clumps of forest / mired in the slough of despond / smoke rising out of the chimneys and drifting across the corrugated tin roofs / thinking it silly to be sitting on the floor with luxury so close by / the doctor buckled me in and turned up the juice / I’m really very disciplined / seize the end to a standing part

The Wheat AND the Chaff

My week thus far has been filled with lightning, boredom, too much sleep followed by too little, lethergy, thunder-interrupted nights, salads, sloth, inspiration, resentment, hot chocolate, frustration, ease, beauty, a misty shower while sitting next to a glass-less window, gospel music, clouded reflections on the bay, dirty dishes, chipped toenail polish, new magazines, tears, touch, a before-work soak in the tub and Cheerios. I have much to be grateful for. Posted by Hello

Wednesday, July 28, 2004


Our non-voting Delegate to Congress, Donna Christian Christenson, has just finished  speaking at the DNC.  She said that it's the first time a representative from one of the territories has been allowed to address a major party convention--can that be right?  She mentioned several health issues of concern to Islanders, and stressed that we (in the territories) should be allowed to vote in federal elections.  C-Span cut to the V.I. delegation several times while she was speaking.  They were cheering wildly, of course.  And there was our Governor, Charles Turnbull, wearing a big, baggy, wrinkled shirt.  Dem island folk, mon!  :)

It was nice to have our little islands represented in the speaker line-up. 

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

energy zapper

You know it's bad when you're counting the DAYS until you leave your job...and your end date is still seven months away.  Ha!  Today was one of those days where it felt like time had slowed to a c...r...a...w...l.  It didn't help that last night I stayed up past my bedtime (to watch Clinton's speech), so I was draggin' ass to begin with.  I went for my usual walk on the beach after work, but even that felt like a bit of a chore.  When I returned from the beach I grabbed a book and told the boyfriend I was going to take a quick nap.  I woke up four hours later. 

I'm a firm believer that energy begets energy.  When I spend my days sitting at a drone office job bored out of my mind it's hard to feel energetic.  I don't have a door on my office, so twice today I snuck into the bathroom to do a few minutes of stretching and deep breathing.  I just felt so lethargic.  That office is like a black hole of negative energy, both in the sense of having a negative vibe and also being an environment that's the polar opposite of energy-inducing.

Recently I had the realization that my discontent at that job has partly been because a) not one thing has interested me (not one!!) and b) I haven't learned anything.  And I've been there 3-1/2 years!  I've had some shitty-ass jobs, but even the most hideous job can sometimes provide a kernel of something--a moment of piqued interest or a tiny skill that could come into play in another setting.  This job has been devoid of all of that.  Jeez, it depresses me to even write that.

So I slog my way through it as best I can--with humor and self-care techniques done behind the bathroom door.  That, and the occasional four-hour nap.

Monday, July 26, 2004

Memory Jog

Okay, that was weird...but in a good way.  We had just finished watching "The Tavis Smiley Show" on PBS last night.  (Denzel was the guest, and looking very fine in his suit.)  We switched over to CBS to watch "60 Minutes."  And during the tease, where they show highlights of the upcoming segments, there was a shot of Lesley Stahl interviewing...(could it be?!) old friend of mine.  It was a feature on a famous surfer who's featured in a new film.  I've already posted about said friend's review of this new surf film (7/18).

It made me laugh, seeing my old pal on "60 Minutes."  Although we exchange the occasional email, we haven't seen each other in years.  I tried to think back to the last time we saw each other and I think it was 11 years ago. 

I had spent a couple of months at my mother's place in Lucerne (California, not Switzerland).  She'd gotten it into her head that she wanted to sell all of her possessions and move to Santa Fe.  Now, if you knew my mother you'd know that would include a LOT of possessions.  Like a two-story house-full plus a 40-foot storage container.  We had a 'sale' for weeks, exhibiting items both inside and outside the house.  She kept most of her (thousands of) books (shipping them ahead of her arrival), but she did sell almost everything else.  She loaded up her white van and split for the desert.  And I hopped in my funky Monte Carlo and drove to San Francisco where I had a job producing an infomercial waiting for me.

But in going through decades worth of her possessions, we'd come across some records she had from her days as the office manager at my hometown AM station in the early 60's.  Among those was an interview (for an armed services broadcast network, I think) with the father of the "60 Minutes" interviewee.  His father was a well-known Hollywood composer and arranger.  He worked with some heavy-hitters (like Sinatra).  My friend had grown up in Malibu (hence his life-long interest in surfing).  His father had passed away many years before and I knew that that record was something he'd like to have (and to hear).  So I called him up one day from the production office in San Francisco, and he stopped by to pick it up.  And that's the last time we saw each other.

So it tickled me to unexpectedly see my old pal show up on TV last night.  I'll have to drop him a line and let him know I saw it.

Sunday, July 25, 2004


I, for one, am pleased that bloggers will be credentialed at this year's conventions.  Not sure which blogs I'll read during the DNC, but I know that Jessamyn will be at the top of my list.

Saturday, July 24, 2004

Slogging through Summer

I‘ve not only got island fever at the moment, I‘ve got summer fever, too.  I’ve been thinking about summer jobs.  The first that came to mind was working as a maid at the El Patio Motel when I was 15.  It sounds like something out of El Mariachi, but it was just a small one-story motel in my little hometown.  It was across the street from the Methodist Church, the same church where the straitlaced woman who’d been my brother’s kindergarten teacher later hung herself in the vestibule.  (We also had a mortician who hung himself in the tool shed at the cemetery.  Both of those always seemed like pretty powerful final statements.)  I think the minimum wage in those days was about $1.50.  I really didn’t hate it as much as you might think, especially when I got my paycheck each week.  Even that paltry sum went pretty far when you consider that a movie ticket cost fifty cents.

The next summer I worked in the service department at the Chevy dealership, which was owned by one of my father’s close friends.  Rather than filing the office copies of the invoices once the service work was completed, the mechanics would toss them onto a growing mound atop the file cabinets.  I was hired to file the backlog.  I was an alphabetizing whiz but most of the guys had unintelligible handwriting, so I spent most of my time trying to decipher the customer’s name.  That and occasionally answering the phone.  It was hideous.

The next two summers I worked at the pharmacy around the corner from my house.  I’ve already ‘prophylactically’ posted about that one (6/26).

The summer I was 19 I went back to l housekeeping, but at a different motel.  It seems comical to me now that I spent two teenage summers doing maid work, because I detest cleaning.  (A quick glance around our condo would confirm that.)  I wouldn’t say I liked the work, but it did sort of appeal to my innate desire to always create order out of chaos, and occasionally a guest would even leave a tip.

Then there were the ‘permanent’ jobs (always a misnomer if I’m filling them) and the temp jobs that came years later.

I remember spending a summer in San Francisco doing office temp work for a start-up venture capital firm.  I had temped for the two owners when they'd worked at a large corporation.  When they started their company, they called my agency and asked for me.  Lucky me.  The assignment was to enter into their brand new computer all of the word processing documents they’d heisted from their previous jobs.  (And, no, they didn’t have a scanner.)  They didn’t have a proper workstation for me.  The PC was on a table that was too high and the chair was too low, so the only way I could type for hours on end without excruciating pain shooting through my forearms was to sit on a couple of phone books.  As it was, my wrists and arms still ached at the end of each day.  I lived for my lunch breaks when I could escape into the S.F. sunshine and walk to my favorite take-out window for a panini.  The venture capital guys adored me but, surprisingly, I had no interest in becoming a permanent employee.  They had an assistant (who had been wooed away from their previous employer) but it was left to me to screen and interview the applicants for my position.  I honestly can’t remember any of the people I interviewed, save one.  He was an older gentleman (in his 50’s, I guess) and had the most bizarre resume I’d ever seen.  It was hand-written in very small printed letters and covered every inch of the page.  I kept a copy of it for years and would occasionally pull it out to show friends.  I know that’s cruel, but it fascinated me--not only for its bizarre presentation but also because of the conspiracy theory paranoia that leapt off the page.  I killed a lot of soul-numbing temp hours that summer imagining that man’s life.  I pictured him holed up in his San Francisco apartment convinced that Casper Weinberger (who'd been listed as an associate and reference) had it in for him and was preventing him from obtaining the word processing job of his dreams.

Thursday, July 22, 2004


The boyfriend had been wanting to see "I, Robot."  I tried to warn him that it's getting lousy reviews, but he didn't want to hear it.  "I want to decide for myself!"  Okaaaaaaay.  So we went to see it tonight.

I, bored.

Freaky Finances

"Oprah" airs in the evening here.  We rarely watch it, but the boyfriend had seen a promo for last night's show and wanted us to watch it.  It was about couples and finances.  We're pretty much on the same page in that area--I think he just wanted to hear the tips David Bach was going to offer on how couples can make themselves richer.  (His website is

They featured three couples on the show.  The first couple had only been married for nine months and were already $50,000 in debt, because they'd had a lavish wedding in Mexico, another reception in Texas...and had charged it all.  Bach called it their 'rock star wedding.'  They had not only paid to fly guests to the wedding and paid for their hotel rooms, they'd even paid for their spa treatments.  They had spent $22,000 in Mexico and another ten grand in Texas.  And at the nine-month mark, they were already sleeping apart because they were so pissed at each other over the state of their finances.

I thought they were insane.  (And I hope I'm not offending anyone who had, or is planning, that kind of charge-'em-up wedding.)  I just don't understand that mentality:  we'll just charge it and worry later about how we're going to pay for it.  And this particular young woman only makes $12,000 year.

Another couple (she was a stay-at-home mom) got into trouble because he bought a fancy truck (which they couldn't afford) so she started spending money (which they didn't have) to counter the truck purchase.  And because they didn't have the money to purchase the items (PC, video camera, digital camera, etc.) outright, she bought them on payment plans at exhorbitant interest rates.  And because they were making all those payments they couldn't afford, they started getting those nefarious 'payday loans' to tide them over from paycheck to paycheck.  Bach went back through all of the contracts for their payday loans (and they'd been caught in that vicious cycle for awhile) and discovered that they were $92,000 in debt...with no credit card debt.  They were getting killed on interest.  The interest on their various payday loans ranged from 35% to 575%!!!  And here's the thing:  they hadn't really noticed the interest rates. 

He offered some practical tips:
  • Figure out what your personal 'latte factor' is.  Where are you spending a few bucks and not realizing how much it's adding up to?  (I'm guilty.  The deli near my office...muffin, lemongrass tea, a dollar in the tip jar for my pal:  $4/day.)
  • Go over your finances with a fine-tooth comb and figure out where you can cut back.
  • Pay yourselves first.  If possible, take your first hour's income every day and set it aside before you pay anything else.
But here's what I really liked that he did with each of the couples.  Before he discussed their finances with them, he asked them to first (separately) write down their values and prioritize them.  He pointed out that most couples don't take the time to do that.  It was interesting to see how their values differed from their mate's...and how they differed from their financial reality.  That seemed to me like a good first step.

Here's the link to "Create Your Own Value Circle" on Oprah's site.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004


From as quoted in the current Yoga Journal:

om gum ganapatayei namaha
(om guhm guh-nuh-puh-tah-yay nah-mah-hah)

"'Om and salutation to the remover of obstacles' invoke the aid of Ganesha, the elephant-headed Hindu deity known as the remover of hindrances and bringer of success."

Sounds like one we could all use.  :)


The tropical wave the forecasters were predicting arrived with a bang yesterday afternoon.  I work in an open-air office and around 3:00 yesterday, the wind and rain seemed to come out of nowhere.  It had been a sunny, lovely day...and suddenly the shutters and French doors were slamming in the wind, the papier-mache dolls on the credenza in the outer office were flying through the air and the rain was coming down sideways.  Boyfriend called me from the clubhouse to make sure I'd swing by to pick him up.  It wasn't just the rain and wind, there was also a lot of lightning.  (And as we all know, a golf course is one of the most dangerous places to get caught in a lightning storm.)  As I climbed the steep hill between downtown and our neck of the woods, I was met with inches of water already running down the street.  It's not just that our narrow, windy roads are plagued with potholes and missing shoulders--it's also that the adjacent drainage (even though it was improved last year) simply can't accommodate any sort of heavy downpour.  We stopped at the little market for a few supplies and as we were driving home, the boyfriend said dinner should be ready.  What?!  When he'd gone home for lunch, he'd filled the roaster pan with several boneless, skinless chicken breasts, red potatoes, baby carrots and sliced onions and slow-cooked it all afternoon.  As we ran down the stairs to the landing by the front door, we were met with a wonderful rosemary-laden aroma.  It was the perfect meal for a less-than-perfect-weather day.  Our power was on, but the cable was out.  So after eating, we curled up to watch "Whale Rider."  We had picked up a used DVD a few weeks ago (we'd never seen it), but hadn't gotten around to watching it until Monday night.  When the rain rolled in that night, we had retired early to watch the movie in bed.  I got sleepy about half an hour into it, so I slept through most of it.  But after watching it yesterday (and, yes, it made me cry), he told me that he'd watched the entire movie Monday night while I was sleeping and had lain there and bawled his eyes out.  Awwwww.  Between the dinner and the DVD, see why I love him so much?  :)

Tuesday, July 20, 2004


Story below... Posted by Hello

Monday, July 19, 2004


"The fortnight ending, I lingered on, and as the year lengthened into autumn, the beauty and mystery of this earth and outer sea so possessed and held me that I could not go.  The world to-day is sick to its thin blood for lack of elemental things, for fire before the hands, for water welling from the earth, for air, for the dear earth itself underfoot.  In my world of beach and dune these elemental presences lived and had their being, and under their arch there moved an incomparable pageant of nature and the year. "
                   - The Outermost House, Henry Beston (1928)

Sunday, July 18, 2004

Riding Giants

Any surf aficionados out there?  Check out my old pal's review of "Riding Giants."  In a funny twist, last I heard Greg Noll was living in my hometown.  I first learned that when I opened an issue of  Vanity Fair a few years ago and saw a full-page photo of him standing in his custom surf shop there.


This is the boyfriend, me and my oldest niece, Kayla, last October in my brother's (her dad's) bar in California. Kayla's 13 and starts her freshman year next month. I'm thinking about her because she's attending cheer camp at UC Davis right now. When she emailed me about cheer camp, I emailed back about my experiences attending cheer camp at Squaw Valley when I was 15. How my fellow cheerleaders and I felt like total dorks because all the other girls (and the few guys) had summer tans and how we showed up, representing the Land of the Giants, in our pasty redwood-shaded flesh. Well, all of us except for Cynthia, who's Native American and has beautiful brown skin. (She was our Homecoming Queen our senior year.) And how in spite of our absolute dorkiness (especially compared to the SoCal girls who were right out of "Bring It On") we won a spirit stick (or wand...or whatever the hell it was) and how thrilled we were by that achievement. Kayla has grown several inches since this picture was taken; she's 5'9" now. And lest you think cheerleading is her life, she's also an honors student and carried a 4.0 GPA this past year. She got an electric guitar for Christmas and is taking lessons. (She's also studied violin and piano.) She's one sharp cookie. I remember being 13 and feeling like a world-class doofus; she's incredibly poised and articulate. I'm still coming to grips with the fact that she's entering high school. I could swear it was just the other day she was in Pampers and running in her little walker as fast as her little legs would take her, round and round the rooms of my Victorian apartment in San Francisco. She eventually figured out that if she ran really fast and then raised her legs, she'd slide across the hardwood floors. I can still hear her gleeful giggles at the thrill of doing that. She continues to go fast--in the best ways. I hope she'll never lose the part of her that dares to let go and see how far she can go...and that the results will have her throwing back her head in gleeful abandon. I love her bunches.  Posted by Hello


As I was sitting at the laptop waiting for a photo on someone's site to load, my eyes drifted above the monitor to the shelves across the room.  I suddenly felt compelled to grab an armful of books and capture a phrase or sentence from the same page in each book...15 was the first number that came to mind...
The rats were the first thing she heard one morning / bearing Betty Crocker cake mixes into the jungle / paddling at the air with loose-hinged hands / knitting needles dropping to the floor / I swoon over the beauties of the world / my mood ring went black / made me feel churlish, a dweller on the bad side / while the residents know what they want, we didn’t have the foggiest idea / its small internal tug pulled tight like the strings on a cloth purse / her life was going to be wrecked because he had led her astray with his own enthusiasm / she would have been unable to resist asking me how I knew such a thing / after lying horizontally all winter / your young body is instantly a fresh-lit arrow notched and drawn back and about to be loosed / people whose one fatal mistake was to dab their hair with aromatic gel. 

Saturday, July 17, 2004


This isn't even going to be about how I was at the seaplane terminal at 7:20 this morning waiting to pick up the boyfriend...only to find he wasn't on the 7:00 seaplane from St. Croix....even though he called me just before I left the house to assure me he would be...or that I then assumed they'd (he and the other band members) be on the 8:00 plane because the planes are tiny and they got to the terminal late and maybe they got bumped?...or how I sat at the seaplane terminal for another hour, blithely reading the paper...only to discover he wasn't on the next plane either...and how I then flew into a panic because I was really mystified where the hell he was and we don't have cell phones and what the fuck?...or how the light bulb over my head finally blinked on when it occurred to me that maybe he was on a 'real' plane and sitting at the airport...or how I ran to the car which clear over in the next parking lot at the post office because the seaplane parking lot was full when I arrived...and how I drove like a bat out of hell to the aiport only to find it nearly empty, screaming at him in my head that he didn't correct me every time I said "seaplane" the last two days...and how I pulled into the first hotel I saw after leaving the airport and ran into the office to ask if they had a pay phone and change for one, only to be told by the clerk she didn't have any coins but would let me use a house phone...and how I called the house only to have the boyfriend answer and both of us yell simultaneously, "Where were you?!"...and how I then drove like a maniac toward home because I had his drums in the car and he needed to catch the 10:00 ferry to St. John (which is on the opposite end of the island from the airport) to play another gig...or how I got stuck behind an Isuzu Trooper by the stadium and had to follow it clear up Mafolie Hill and around the tortuous, narrow, windy detour and all the way down Magens Bay Road...and how I screamed at the driver of the Trooper the entire way because he refused to go over 20 miles an hour...and how I ended up convincing myself that if I had a handgun I'd easily take him out and feel no remorse...and how I became sure that he was either old or drunk or both...only to have him pull into our infamous neighborhood outdoor bar (ah HA!).  No, this is not about that.
This is about how in the last half hour we have had not one, not two, but THREE humungous, scary-ass looking, gigantor flying black bugs magically appear in our living room.  This is a Buick with wings, people.  Imagine a black insect about TWO INCHES LONG with wings and a long TAIL?!...STINGER?!  We have (good) screens on all the doors and windows so we have absolutely no idea how the hell they got inside...or even scarier, if they've been inside for awhile and have been lying in wait only to come out in force to scare the bejezus out of us on our relaxing Saturday night.  We have one of those tennis racket-style mosquito zappers which the boyfriend has just learned will daze these scary suckers long enough to get them outside.  But they all appear to have traveled down the hall into the living room.  So a few minutes ago you would have seen us wandering around our bedroom and bathroom trying to figure out how these monsters managed to infiltrate our sanctuary...and even more nervously, wondering if there are more just waiting to make their presence known.


I came across an old issue of "O" buried in a stack of other magazines.  It was a 'creativity' issue and I flipped through it again.  There's an article called "A Poem of One's Own" by Honor Moore.  In it she offers '12 Ways to Write a Poem'...
  1. Make a list of five things you did today, in the order of doing them.
  2. Quickly write down three colors.
  3. Write down a dream.  If you can't remember one, make it up.
  4. Take 15 minutes to write an early childhood memory, using language a child would use.
  5. Write a forbidden thought, to someone who would understand.
  6. Write a forbidden thought, to someone who would not.
  7. Make a list of five of your favorite "transitional objects."  Choose one and describe it in detail.
  8. Write down three questions you'd ask if they were the last questions you could ever ask.
  9. Write down an aphorism (e.g., A stitch in time saves nine.)
  10. Write down three slant rhymes, pairs of words that share one or two consonants rather than vowels (moon/mine and long/thing are slant rhymes).
  11. Write three things people have said to you in the past 48 hours.  Quote them as closely as you can.
  12. Write the last extreme pain you had, emotional or physical.  If the pain were an animal, what animal would it be?  Describe the animal.
Then she offers suggestions on how to use them...
  • Use one of the questions as the first line, each of the colors more than once, the slant rhymes, and the aphorism with a word or two changed.
  • A line from your dream might work well or your description of the animal might better describe your great uncle.
  • Let the poem be between 20 and 30 lines; let each line be 10 or more syllables long.
  • Think of the poem as a dream or psalm you are inventing, and don't force it.
  • Write in your own speech, allowing its music and sense to speak through you.

Thursday, July 15, 2004

The Haves and the Have-Mores

We've just come from our island's first showing of "Fahrenheit 9/11."  There's nothing I can add to the fantastic reviews I've already read on other blogs, so I'll just say:  please go see it.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004


Just finished watching a piece on the Grateful Dead on "60 Minutes II." I still (STILL!) don't get the appeal of the Dead, and I say that as someone who lived in the Bay Area for 20 years where they used to be big local heroes. Years ago, one of my oldest friends played in Kingfish, Bob Weir's side band. Didn't get the appeal of that band either.

I just don't understand the whole phenomenon. I understand the idea of it, but unfortunately for my ears, I happen to think their music SUCKS. There aren't enough drugs in the world to get me to sun-grope in a Dead crowd.

I once did continuity on a music video in San Francisco. Jerry Garcia was in the video (it wasn't a Dead video; Jerry had guested on someone else's album). He showed up for the shoot...without a guitar. You're Jerry Fucking Garcia--where's your goddamn guitar?! A P.A. had to rush out and rent one.

Okay, enough of that rant. On a good note (pardon the pun), I got a new haircut after work today. My hairdresser just returned from Europe. As we were waiting for my color to set she said, "I saw this great cut on a woman in Paris...sort of like yours, but..." I told her to go for it. It's not radically different, but I'm lovin' it.


And in Bizarro World last night, I could be found sprawled out in the recliner, legs askew, with the remote in my hand, watching the All-Star Game...while boyfriend sat at the table, laoptop at his elbow, teaching himself fancy napkin-folding techniques. (What the...?!?)

One of the duty-free items featured in the shops here is linens. Boyfriend got it in his head that for his mother's birthday this year he wanted to buy her a nice tablecloth, something nicer than what she would buy herself. They have a large family; she has six kids and eight grandchildren. He wanted her to have something extra-nice to use for family dinners. The tablecloth he chose came with 12 napkins. Before he packed it, he went online to find napkin-folding ideas, printed them out and tucked them into her package. But of course he had to try some of them himself. (And we do use cloth're just not gonna find me makin' hats out of 'em.) Because he's a creative sort, he tends to develop these little obsessions that consume him for periods of time. I just wait it out because I know that eventually it'll pass...sort of like a gallstone. (I kid!)

His other new obsession is "Double Agents" on Discovery. He's been watching it for a few weeks now. He's off work an hour earlier than me, so when I walk in after work that's what I find him watching. I know that he dreams of us someday owning a home. I, however, only dream of owning a home if he won't make me live there forever. I'd much rather take the same money and spend the rest of my life traveling and moving around. This explains why he lived in his hometown for the first 37 years of his life...and I didn't. So as he's watching (and I'm not) he'll casually ask, "Do you like that house?" trying to gauge my tastes--even though he already knows what they are. (I think he keeps hoping that one of these days I'll say, "Yes! I love it!") He prefers homes that to me look like dungeons...brick, steep roofs, dark. The kind of place that looks to me like it would be cold and damp inside. I prefer an open, airy wood house with lots of windows and tons of sun exposure. We've already decided that not only will we probably have to have his-n-her dogs (we know this from arguing through many a dog show) but also his-n-her homes. That's okay. We don't love each other less because of it. We might think the other one's wrong however... :)

Monday, July 12, 2004


Boyfriend's playing another wedding tonight--this one's over at the Westin on St. John. I flipped off the TV and put on Stevie Wonder's "The Definitive Collection" and found myself dancing around the living room to "I Was Made to Love Her." Damn, it's hard to dance in flip-flops, and not a helluva lot easier in bare feet on a ceramic tile floor. You know what? I miss dancing. I mean, I really miss it. I know, you're probably thinking, "Why, you can dance any ol' time you want, Missy!" But the thing is, I don't. Boyfriend and I haven't been out dancing in years. YEARS. (sigh) Of course, convincing a musician to go out dancing on his night off isn't always easy. In Portland, we'd go out to hear his cousin's band, because she always performs a lot of really danceable tunes (and she's a helluva singer).

Here's my one romantic dancing moment with the boyfriend since we've lived here. He was playing at a club where he used to be the music director. This was back in our early days here, when we lived at the "band house" and played host/hostess to a series of visiting musicians. They weren't all from Portland, but several were (as was the club owner). Anyway, an old singer friend of the boyfriend's was here then. They were in a funk band together for seven years in the late 80's (and even have an A&M album to show for it, although it's long out of print). It was the part of the set where the keyboard player (a dear friend of ours, also from the Northwest) was singing (a great keyboard player and unbelievably soulful singer...god, we miss him). I was sitting at one of the tables on the sidewalk just outside the front door, chatting with the singer. The keyboard player usually performed "Georgia" solo (and Ray Charles would have been proud of his version). When that moment arrived, boyfriend walked outside to where I was sitting, held out his hand and said, "There's a whole dance floor with our name on it." I gave him a big smile, took his hand and we walked inside and slow-danced...all by ourselves, for the entire song. It was one of those magical moments where you felt like the dance floor really was just for the two of you. (sigh)

Sorry, Stevie. Time to rustle up the live CD from those days so I can recreate that least in my mind. :)


This is my mother, taken on her 70th birthday last month. We had dinner at Romano's, my favorite restaurant here. (It's where I like to go for my birthday dinners, too.) If you're ever on St. Thomas, forget the restaurants in the guidebooks--ask your taxi driver to take you to Romano's. It's in an old house on a side street in a not-very-good neighborhood. You'll pull up outside and think, "Are you sure this is the place she recommended?" Sure is...but only if you like a small room with superb service and incredibly wonderful food. Tony Romano's colorful, funky art graces the walls. Check it out. Posted by Hello

Sunday, July 11, 2004


Last night the boyfriend and I jumped on the "Spiderman" bandwagon. We had absolutely no desire to see the first film, but since the sequel was getting such good reviews (and since we have absolutely no life and were bored) we went to see "Spiderman 2" last night.

I went with the hope that I could allow myself to be swept up in its cartoonish silliness and for the most part, I succeeded. If only I could have gotten her to shut up. You know, that voice. In my head. She's a catty thing. Here's part of the running monologue I had to listen to through the film:

"It's freezing in here! I told you you should have worn long pants." Oh, wait, that was out the boyfriend. Here's the bitchy chick:

"Alright, let's see how that little pipsqueak McGuire pulls off playing a superhero. Oh, Kirsten, the red hair is bad enough, but jesus it's so scraggly. Who the hell was the hairdresser on this thing? Fuck it's cold. I don't know who this James Franco cat is, but why does he look so high? 'You want more intense emotion here? Okay, I'd better narrow my eyes even more.' And what's with the wet lips? He's just too...wet...and stoned looking. Did the comic book have Peter all teary-eyed in every scene? Couldn't Peter be sorta wimpy, but without all the crying? Kirsten, you might be cute and perky, but those boobs are definitely not. Why the hell didn't wardrobe insist she wear a bra? Jeez, they're gonna be at her waistline by the time she's 25. Okay, my nose is totally frozen now. Ooooh, girl, you must've really pissed off the crew that day, 'cause the way they lit you there made you look hella ugly! I can just hear the production meeting: 'How can we make Ock even scarier in this scene?' 'I know, we'll have Alfred take off his shirt.' 'Brilliant!' Alfred, you're a brilliant actor in spite of being in this movie, but please, dear god, don't ever play another scene shirtless."

So, as you can see, I enjoyed it.

Saturday, July 10, 2004


This afternoon at the beach I really felt like I was in a tropical paradise. It was quite uncrowded for a Saturday at the height of summer. There are no cruise ships visiting today, and none tomorrow. I found a shady spot in the middle of the beach. I park my turquoise sand chair in the same general vicinity every weekend, but not always under the same tree. Today I chose a spot where I was surrounded by trees on both sides. My first couple of hours there, I had about a 40-yard swath of bay all to myself. Heavenly! There was a white sailboat at about one o'clock (directionally, not time-wise). Beyond that, nothing but clear, calm, aqua water and the little island that sits at the mouth of the bay. It was like sitting in a tree cathedral, worshiping at the altar of calming summer beauty. A nice breeze would blow through from the north (at my back) occasionally, just enough to cool off and elicit a mental "aaaahhhh." The water was perfect--absolutely glorious. It was like swimming in an enormous pool, minus the icky chemicals.

I had two books with me and switched off between them. I dozed briefly. I ate a gooey slice of cheese pizza for lunch. I walked the length of the beach, twice. I swam and frolicked in the water. I felt every bone in my body relax into my sand chair. I dug my toes in the sand. I thought of a new business. I took every bit of it in, in all its glory. And as I packed up to leave I thought: what a lucky gal I am that I can come back tomorrow and do it all over again.

Friday, July 09, 2004

Culture? Shock!

It occurs to me that I seldom write here about the wacky stuff that goes on in this territory. It can be some funny shit--if you don't have to live with it.

West Indians here can sometimes be some of the rudest and unfriendliest people we've encountered anywhere. I find this rudeness particularly curious given that the economy here is primarily fueled by tourism. Talk about unclear on the concept. One of my favorite moments was when a woman called a local talk radio show enraged that two tourists had had the nerve to ride a (city) bus. "Those buses are for US!"

We've all heard stories of corruption in government. Hell, we're living through an administration in Washington rife with it. (Can you say Halliburton, boys and girls?) The corruption here is not only staggering in its proportions, it's also very, very blatant. If you're gonna steal, at least show a little finesse. And those are YOUR tax dollars at work, my friends. We pay 'federal' income tax, but it stays in the territory. I think you'd be surprised how many of your federal tax dollars find their way down here. Much of it ends up being 'misappropriated' or simply unaccounted for at all.

And there's a neat little government program here that allows a bunch of rich folks from the States to set up shop down here and avoid paying most taxes. All they have to do is provide a few jobs for locals. In return, they pay almost nothing in gross receipts or personal and corporate income tax. The phone company is a beneficiary of this program. And the same man owns the phone company, the cable company and the daily newspaper (as well as utilities on other Caribbean islands).

Let's talk about work ethic, shall we? Or rather, the lack of one. Rudeness and unfriendliness are bad enough, but when it's topped off by a huge dose of arrogance, then I have a real problem. Here's my rule: if you're going to act superior and arrogant, you'd better have the shit to back it up. You don't get to be arrogant when you're unbelievably incompetent and lazy. Sorry, doesn't work that way. And respect? It's earned. Lest you think I sound harsh, let me point out that many West Indians have disdain for their fellow West Indians who work in government jobs. The stories are endless. Here are a few:

My pal and her husband were building their dream house. (He's a native, she's lived here 20 years.) We have a Home Depot, but it didn't open until after her home was completed so she had to buy all of her stuff at the Home Depot in San Juan. A year ago, the government (to make up for some of the money they were raiding from the till) instituted a 'personal goods tax' where you have to pay a percentage (4%? 7%? I forget) on any item over $1,000 that's brought into the territory. My friend was not happy about this. Suddenly, nearing completion of their house, they were hit with this extra tax. But like a good resident, she paid it. But the first time she went to the government office handling said tax, she had to WAKE UP the cashier to get her to accept the check. The young woman was literally napping at the window.

Same friend...her husband went to the DMV last year to renew his driver's license. They made him wait three hours between the time he completed the paperwork and the time they called him to the window to pick up his new license. When the woman handed it to him, it had his photo, his thumbprint and his signature. There was no written information, not even a name. He insisted that the clerk re-do it and she refused. She was adamant that it was good the way it was. So he took it home to my friend who took one look at it, thought her husband was crazy for accepting it and got on the phone to correct the situation. Here's the best part, when he was arguing with the clerk that it needed more information, the man behind him in line saw what was happening and said something like, "He can't use that..." She snapped back, "You mind your own business!"

There's a legendary story about the guy who got his new license that had a picture empty chair.

Our office handles a lot of real estate closings. To sell a home here, you must obtain from the Department of Finance a 'tax clearance letter' showing that all property taxes have been paid in full. To obtain this letter, you must provide the Department of Finance with copies of all of your paid property tax bills. God forbid you should misplace them (as clients sometimes do) because a canceled check means nothing to these people, as our secretary (who's our liaison with all government agencies--she's West Indian) learned the hard way. So even when you provide them with copies of the front and back of a canceled check, they still take weeks to 'research' it. Their record-keeping systems are a mystery to everyone. And 1995 is a particularly difficult year. A supervisor once told employees to take some boxes to the landfill. Turns out they ontained hundreds of records of paid 1995 property taxes.

There are stories of checks sitting in boxes of paperwork in various government offices...for years. (You'd think if the government was on the verge of bankruptcy, which it is, they'd be a little more careful with the money.)

There's a West Indian woman at my office who works six hours a day in the role of messenger/maid. (Yes, it's archaic, but just about everything in that office is out of the dark ages.) She's a very quiet, sweet woman. But her (West Indian) predecessor was somethng else. We once sent her on a banking errand and when she returned, she walked into my office and threw the banking bag at me in a fit of fury for having had her afternoon nap interrupted. (Needless to say, she didn't last long after that.)

You get the idea.

So the next time you're at your local DMV or Tax Assessor's office, be glad you don't live here. Be very, very glad.

Thursday, July 08, 2004

Big Fat (okay thin) Whiner

Let me just be a big baby and whine for a minute, because I was just looking at the boyfriend's gig calendar. I flipped over to next week...and found the following:

* a wedding (on our island) Sunday night
* another wedding on St. John on Monday (assume that's evening)
* Sunset Jazz on St. Croix Friday night
* yet another wedding on St. John mid-day on Saturday (THAT'S gonna be a mad dash. He'll have to take the first seaplane back from St. Croix and immediately hop on a ferry to St. John. That's gonna be tight.)

You'd never know I'm the same woman who was used to him being on the road when we lived on the mainland (although three weeks is the longest we've ever been apart) because I really do whine when he goes away for the night now.* In our four years in the tropics, we've only been apart six nights. Can you believe it? I can't. Friday will make seven. Jeez, it's a wonder we haven't killed each other spending all these years with just the two of us cooped up in this little condo. When we hit the States, we'll probably be like, "See ya.." and zip off in opposite directions every opportunity we get...ha!

(*Yes, I could go to St. Croix, too. But have you ever been to St. Croix? The question would be...why?)


My brother and his family live in a small town about 20 minutes west of Sacramento. Their county is actually considered one of the Bay Area counties, even though they're closer to Sac than S.F. When we visited them last fall, they picked us up at the Sacramento airport and whisked us off to lunch at a Mexican restaurant. Having been deprived of anything remotely resembling Mexican food for years, we inhaled everything in sight. It's a spot that my brother and sister-in-law frequent with their kids. As I was surfing the S.F. paper's site yesterday, I saw that someone else popped in there on Monday.


See this photo? That's me in the tropics, friends. Flatlining. I'm positively starved for some stimulation. Sometimes I feel like if one more person tells me how much they envy me living here, I'm gonna scream. I understand and think back to a time when I would have said the same thing. Yes, it's beautiful. Yes, it's relaxing. Yes, the beaches are world-class. Yes, it's warm every single day. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. But, jeezalou, a girl's gotta have a little substance once in awhile--at least this girl does. Which isn't to say that it doesn't scares the bejezus out of me in certain moments to think about going back to 'the real world.' Last night we were watching "60 Minutes" and there was a shot of a NYC sidewalk. I sat open-mouthed and said to the boyfriend, "" And I love New York! And it's not like we'll be stepping off a plane and living in a city. We'll be setting up camp initially in a 'burb or smallish town, so the culture shock's not gonna be that extreme. Later in the show they had a Sean Penn interview, and there was a shot of Sean and Charlie Rose walking into Cafe Tosca. And I thought, "Oh, Tosca...(sigh)...I love Tosca. And North Beach...(sigh)..." Yes, I'm a lucky barefoot beach girl. But god I miss coffee shops and bookstores and jazz clubs and thrift shops and un-limp produce and art house cinemas and hip clothing stores and even, dare I say, freakin' Target. Still, it's hard to give up our 'secret' lifestyle here. We're both extremely private people, and it appeals to our sensibilities to be living out of the mainstream and under the radar. The good news is, we can always come back. All it would take is a few phone calls and we'd be dialed. But in the meantime, this girl needs an injection of culture and an IV drip of stimulation...stat! Posted by Hello

Wednesday, July 07, 2004


We're experiencing a heavy shower. Yesterday morning's paper said there'd be several tropical waves passing through this week. It was the first time this year that I fully allowed myself to think the words 'hurricane season.' Thankfully, the entire first month of it has already passed. I sure won't miss living half the year under that banner (June 1 through November 30). August and September are when we need to be particularly mindful of it, but come summer it's time to start monitoring the weather sites. The words depression, wave, storm and hurricane suddenly creep back into everyone's vocabulary--as do "levels 1 through (god forbid) 4." Businesses begin handing out free hurricane maps to their customers. (I grabbed one at our mailbox facility a few days ago.) We've been extremely fortunate during our time here. The only hurricane we've experienced was Debbie, which passed right over the island in August of 2000. She was just a baby hurricane, no more extreme than a good Portland winter storm. This will be our fifth hurricane season and we're praying hard to the hurricane gods that we can return to the mainland next year without that particular tale to tell.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004


I just realized what I was doing: sitting in a pitch dark room (other than the light coming off the laptop screen) with a box fan blowing at my legs, listening to the night noises outside (where it's also fantastically dark) and shoving Oreos in my 5 a.m. And not even real Oreos--these are the new Golden Oreos that the boyfriend picked up. Vanilla cookie with chocolate cream. Have you tried these? They don't even taste good, but that's not gonna stop me from eating them. I'm typically not eating cookies in the pre-dawn hours, but I was hungry and didn't feel like turning on the kitchen light to actually make something to eat. I went to bed way too early last night, as I probably will again tonight, because my sleep cycle is out of whack. It's not unusual for me to go through weeks (or even months) where I sleep in shifts--a few hours here or there. Going to bed and sleeping for eight hours straight through? A dream, my friends, I can only dream. (Once in a great while it actually happens.) But I digress, which is not easy to do when you haven't even started...

I mentioned in the previous post that I'm a procrastinator, and I'm not the only one in the house. Although the boyfriend and I may look like very different people on the outside, we're really cut from the same cloth in terms of what makes us tick. We both have this wonderful ability (and facility) to fake our way through things and come out smellin' like a coupl'a roses. Case in point:

He was scheduled to play a 90-minute set on the 4th with a guitarist he'd never played with and, in fact, had never met. The guitarist had called him for other gigs, but this was the first time boyfriend was available to play with him. The guitarist dropped off two of his CD's at the guard gate at our little enclave the week before, along with a list of tunes (off the CD's) that would likely comprise the set list. A day or so later the boyfriend did a quick listen to all of the tunes and then set the CD's aside. Fast forward to the 4th. He still hadn't learned the tunes and he was scheduled to hit the stage in about, oh, four hours. He suggested we head to the beach early so he could kick back in his sand chair and learn the tunes there. So that's what we did. We got to the beach early (and were glad we did since we got a prime parking spot, it later grew very crowded), found a spot under a tree to park our chairs just feet from the car and settled in for the remainder of the morning. And boyfriend sat there with his headphones one and wrote out (drum) charts for each song on the set list. He stopped at one point to walk to the stage across the street for a sound check and to tune the (stage) drums. He returned, finished writing his charts and hit the stage about 10 minutes after completing the last one. Musicians at his level amaze me. I'd be a nervous fucking wreck. But he does that kind of shit all the time--breezes right in (and often he's playing having never heard the tunes) and kicks ass. Although the rock station sponsored the concert, the guitarist he was performing with plays mostly jazz. Not straight-ahead, but the more accessible adult contemporary kind that's become so popular--at least most of his originals are in that vein. When the boyfriend came off stage, he looked at me and giggled and said, "Well, I guess I pulled it off." I'll say! There were several of his fellow musicians in the audience and every one of them stopped him as we tried to make our way to the food to tell him how great he'd played.

I tell this story not to brag about his talent (if you heard him play, it would speak for itself), but because it got me thinking how many times I've done the same thing. I totally fake my way through something--convinced that at any moment I'm going to be called out for the fraud that I am--and end up getting raves instead. So then I wonder: Are some of us just wired that way? Would no amount of studying beforehand make us feel adequately prepared or trained? And what is it about the payoff from that particular brand of adrenaline that comes only when one is able to pull off one of those "Can't they see I'm a fraud?!" kind of experiences that keeps us doing that? Because it is a frigging rush--even though it doesn't seem like a good kind of rush while it's happening. And the confidence part is sneaky. It's one thing to have confidence in ourselves, quite another to believe that others have the same confidence in us. Boyfriend's a good example of that. He doesn't have an arrogant bone in his body; you'll never meet a more humble musician. (I credit his parents for that one.) But he knows who he is as a performer, and I would venture to say he's quite comfortable living in that quietly confident space. So when I translate that to my own experience, I can see that I, too, am secretly confident about my ability to do certain things, but I'm always astounded that anyone else would have the same confidence in me.

Maybe that makes me sound like some kind of pathetic low self-esteem loser. But the older I get, the more I tend to believe that there are a lot of people out there who feel the same way. Are you one, too? Are you a member of the "Good Faker Club"? Because if you are, I say, "Welcome!"

Monday, July 05, 2004

Warning! Warning!

Those of us who grew up in the '60's (yes, young 'uns, there really are bloggers that old) can recall the robot on "Lost in Space." It was a pathetic, rotund thing with arms that looked like they were made out of dryer vent hoses. I loved when it would light up, flail its arms and call out, "Warning! Warning!" (That was the height of its sophisticated programming.)

I thought of that robot today when I awoke from a mid-morning nap at the beach (in my sand chair), casually turned my head...and spotted the attorney from work and her live-in boyfriend sitting all of five yards away from me. They smiled and waved. My first thought was, "What are they doing here? I've never seen them here." She later told me that she hadn't been there in a couple of years and that she'd only headed to the beach to go for a swim. (She doesn't need to go to the beach for a swim because they have a pool.) Thankfully, they only stayed a short time, but it was disconcerting to have my work life intrude on my real life. Bad! Bad! So very bad.

You'd probably be surprised to learn that I actually had some things I wanted to accomplish this three-day weekend--you know, like goals (or at least items on a 'to do' list). You probably won't be surprised to learn that I did none of them. Knowing we're moving, the beach has become too much of a lure--not only because I'm a procrastinator, but also because I want to take advantage of it while I can. And I certainly did these past three days.

Unfortunately, the boyfriend had to work today and he was none too happy about it in light of me having the day off. (I get tons of paid holidays; he only gets a few.) He's still kinda cranky but he did cook dinner, so I guess he's "forgiven" me for spending the day at the beach. :)

Sunday, July 04, 2004

Take a Ride on the Ride (Cymbal)

'Pirate Radio' (the local FM rock station) had their 3rd annual Red, White and Blue BBQ at a beach on the northside today. Boyfriend played with one of the bands. It was hard to get good shots, what with all the mike stands and gear in the way. At one point, a guy (#1) walked up to his friend (#2) who was sitting next to me. (Neither knew I was with the boyfriend.) #1 looked at the stage and exclaimed, "Hey, that guy!" #2 (thinking he meant the bass player) said, "Yeah, he's jumping all over the place...he's playing hard." #1 said, "No, not that guy. The drummer, man. He bad." Why yes, he is. :) Posted by Hello

Happy 4th of Ju...(sigh)... Posted by Hello

Blue Highway

One woman...two very old fears. On the other blog.

Saturday, July 03, 2004

"Cat Ballou"

We've just come from seeing "The Terminal." I know it got only so-so reviews, but we enjoyed it. I love Tom Hanks. (Although "The Ladykillers" sucked.) We had no idea that jazz played a role in the plot. The final scene included one of my all-time favorite jazz tunes.


Snippet from my phone conversation with my 6-year-old niece this afternoon:

Me: Has your Dad (my brother) been to a lot of baseball games this summer?
C: Mmm-hmm...but not now.
Me: Why's that?
C: Because he was thrown from a horse.
Me: Whaaaaat?!
C: He can't even put on his shirt...

My sister-in-law filled me in. They were horseback riding on Wednesday. (No idea where or what prompted it--they don't own horses.) Anyway, the saddle wasn't tight enough and when his horse took off and started to get out of control, the saddle began to slip to the right. Next thing you know, my brother's making like Lee Marvin in "Cat Ballou": hanging off the right side of the horse with one leg in the air and the other one under the horse. She said he didn't want to keep slipping (and go under the horse) so he launched himself out of the saddle. He hit the ground (hard), bounced up in the air, hit the ground again and then rolled about three times. He went to the hospital for x-rays--no broken ribs, although he's very bruised and has a bruised kidney, as well. And, no, according to my sister-in-law, he can't even dress himself at this point. They left today for Reno where they like to spend the 4th...and my brother plans to play in a golf tournament. She said he told her today, jubilantly, "I can sort of swing (a golf club) today!" He's a nut.


It was the afternoon of the 2nd before I realized I hadn't flipped the pages on the wall calendars. Then I started thinking about July, and it occurred to me that it just might be my favorite month. It has nothing to do with the 4th of July. It might be because it's right smack in the middle of the summer (and the year). When I was a kid, by the time July rolled around I'd been out of school just long enough for the previous school year to have faded to a mostly distant memory...yet it was still far enough away from the 'Monday following Labor Day' to make the next school year seem still far enough away to not intrude on idle summer thoughts.

I started thinking about other months I like. I like October. I suppose I also like August. My birthday's in January, but that's not a favorite. When you live in the tropics, there's not as much variance in the weather from month to month, so to compare the months I had to remember how I felt about them when I lived in the States.

Here's my ranking (and sort of 'in order of preference'):

A - July, October, August, September
B - May, November, February
C - June, April, December (although the holidays would be ranked higher)
D - January, March

This useless information pertains to absolutely nothing in my life. But from a woman who sees a Yellow Brick Road-style road when she visualizes years, what can you expect?

Howza 'bout you?

Do you smell sage?

In the spirit of giving the ol' blog a good smudging (following completion of the drama outlined in today's earlier long-ass post*), I gave the old gal a new template. Just felt like a change this morning. I upped my beach time as the drama at work increased. It helped enormously. Sometimes it almost feels like a walking meditation of sorts as I make my way up and down the beach. It really accelerates the 'switching gears' process and makes for a much more fruitful use of my time in my 'real' life. Got a fire in yer belly? Me, too. Time to get back to it. Let's right that ship. ADDENDUM: *The earlier post has since been deleted. You know how sometimes you feel like writing a letter to someone but have no intention of mailing it? It was like that. I felt a lot better just having written it out. When we returned from the movie in the evening, I felt like deleting it because there was no reason to continue to give it life--it had reached a conclusion. Oh, and the 'fire' conversation above? I'm speaking to myself. Just to be clear. (I realize not everyone does that, but sometimes I do.) Posted by Hello

Friday, July 02, 2004

continuum slip

Okay. That was weird. We had a very early dinner and then I climbed into bed to lie down...for just a minute. I'd been feeling a little funky off and on all day. Nothing major, just...wonky. And cycle-wise, I knew it was hormones. At this age, I've begun to notice odd cycle-related stuff. It sucks, but it I deal with it. Anyway, the next thing I knew I was waking up and feeling very confused. The whole "what day is it?...why is it dark?...what am I doing in bed?...why are the lights on in the living room?..." I'd been out for five hours. Alrighty then. Guess I needed it.

(Dastardly full moon. Although I secretly love it. The moon, I mean...not the wacky out-of-it-ness.)

Thursday, July 01, 2004


I never sleep well during a full moon. I was up a little after 3 this morning. I had the spent the evening in a tearful funk. Went to bed with my book as soon as the boyfriend got home from his gig. There's just too much happening all at once--and I was starting to feel I was being churned about in some sort of surreal, incestuous vortex. (This town is WAY too small.) I won't bore you with details but suffice it to say that I was feeling a tad low.

So when I got up and walked out to the living room and saw the landscape lit up like a movie set by the moon, I felt better. I also felt in need of some inspiration. So I started reading blogs and journals...and then I started checking out some of the links on some of my favorite sites. Much linkety-blinkety-link later, I found this site. And felt this: "Ahhh, the City..." I typically don't miss it--after all I've been gone from the Bay Area for a long time--but I've noticed lately that I've had a craving for it. Truth be told, I don't think it's really that I'm missing the City so much as I'm missing who I was when I lived there. Not that it was all good--it wasn't. But I think I'm missing the best parts of me from that part of my life. Because those are parts that I have yet to totally reclaim. And they've been AWOL for awhile...

So in the spirit of S.F., here's a tiny snapshot of what my life was like there, lo those many years ago...

* I lived in a second-floor Victorian apartment. I used the dining room as the living room and the living room as my bedroom. It worked well unless you happened to have a trio of drunk guys singing a cappella on the corner at 4 a.m.

* I used to work here. But not at this location--at the old location on Green Street that has a plaque of Philo Farnsworth out front. (Yes, shoot me.) My favorite lunch spot was a window table at Hunan where I could eat my favorite noodles with peanut sauce.

* I also worked here. And not at this location either. When I worked there we were in the same building as KNBR along the Embarcadero. That's where I was when the '89 quake hit. My employer (the big pooh-bah there, but then he was one of five partners) lived in the Haight about 10 blocks from me. He used to drive me to and from work. Sounds nice, but it was really his way of making sure I'd show up on time. It astounds me how well I performed in that job since I often got blasted at lunch.

* I got sober (big surprise!) in San Francisco. A.A. saved my ass. S.F. has to be if not THE, at least one of the best A.A. cities anywhere. I was a meeting whore for the first two years. It's been a long, long, LONG time since I've been to a meeting. I know it's supposed to be Alcoholics Anonymous, but anyone who knows me knows I'm sober (14 years now). I still have friends I met in the early days of those meetings.

* I saw a shitload of live music here in the first three years it was open. National acts, local acts, lots of friends could have found me there, easily, three or four nights a week. I was deeply saddened to learn that my dear friend Robert Johnson who had been the doorman passed away. I have fond memories of sitting in the club after hours nursing a last-call drink before Bob would give me a lift home. (We lived on the same street, although miles apart.)

* You also could have found me here--in its original incarnation, before they remodeled and expanded the space to include upstairs and the space next door. I used to go see my friends play here. (Anyone remember the Dinos?)

* Ehiopian food, anyone? I'd often stop here after the Thursday night North Beach A.A. meeting to hear some of my oldest friends play. I heard some great jazz in this club.

Are you getting the idea that aside from a day job, my life revolved around music? Duh. Gee, it's so amazing I'd end up with a musician... Music is and always has been a big passion. It's one of the things I miss most about the mainland--going out to hear live music (that I like). And jazz? Forget about it!

* I never cooked (and still wouldn't if I didn't live with someone...I barely do now) so I always ate out. Often I'd walk over to the Haight to have breakfast here or here. Breakfast out is one of my great pleasures in life. Can't wait to get back to it in the good ol' U. S. of A.

I could go on, but work beckons. Although that was really my life in a nutshell: media-related job, lots of drinking, tons of live music and gluttonous amounts of food. And I miss all of it (except for the drinking).