Wednesday, March 31, 2010


Wednesday = trash day.

And, without ever ever intending such a thing, I have become Trash Queen of my little complex. I have many times considered relinquishing such an honorable role. In fact, I've been sputtering mad before and for-certain I would fire off a resignation email to the other owners.

The funny thing is, only I know I am the Trash Queen. Pretty sure everyone else thinks it's a magical elf doing the work. It's that thing where everyone else assumes someone else is handling it, and only I know it's me b/c I handle it each week. Yes, that thing.

So, I think about resigning, b/c I produce so little trash, like a bag a week, and I could just take that out to the curb my own little self -- this is what some of the other owners do. But then there's the daily cat litter trash. Ewwwwww. A small bag, true, but potent trash. And I already know one of the owners is prickly about having animal refuse in his trash can (his can that he only rarely takes out). And I'm not keeping stinky cat waste in my home until trash day, nawp.

So then I think I'll claim one of the cans as my own, publicly (in an email sense) claim it, and announce my intent to henceforth only deal with that can. One problem is that the only distinctive can is his -- he of the the no-animal-waste-in-my-can. There's also that sense that if I stop taking the trash out ... whatever will happen? Kind of a fascinating question, could be a great experiment to watch unfurl before my eyes. But a frightening prospect, too, as I've seen some pieces of large trash sit for a year b/c no one wants to deal with them, and everyone's clearly sure it isn't their trash. Or when the trash cans get knocked over and stay that way or trash remains strewn on the ground until I can't take it anymore.

See, the problem is that I'm probably Trash Queen b/c I'm most bothered when trash gets out of hand and no one else seems to notice or care or maybe aren't around enough to care. Me? I'm always around. And the trash cans are along the driveway, so I see them every day, maybe a few times a day (so, in theory, so do the other owners, but, selective blindness?).

So, it's a dilemma. I can continue being Trash Queen, allow myself to feel virtuous about such a thing, or I can call a halt, see what ensues. Hmmmmmm.

But the other thing about trash? The real reason I was so deeply inspired to write about trash, is it boggles my mind how much trash these people produce! How is it even possible? I mean, they're only one family; how do they fill five, sometimes six trash barrels? And not be aware that they never take the trash out? Well, they're a busy family, working professionals, and they do have lots of folks coming and going -- nannies and family and friends and who-all-else. So maybe they all bring their trash with them...? It's a mystery for the ages, people, for real.

And I can't believe I really wrote a whole post about trash....

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Still falling

The rain is steady and impressive. Unending pelting drops. I can't be as gleeful as I usually would because I'm so aware of how much flooding has already happened in our state. Even if we are a non-OSHA state (oh, read yesterday's post already!).

The usually busy street outside my window is mostly quiet -- walkers, runners, students, children, errand runners, dogs and even cars opting to stay in and out of the rain.

The unruly bush (b/c, yes, I don't believe in brushing my pets' teeth, clipping their nails, nor in trimming things that seem to know what to do all by themselves) outside my porch bloomed completely bright-yellow seemingly overnight, so now it's swaying and waving in the wind, a bright spot of color in a grey day. Yes, it needs a photo....


OK, 96% of me is in bed and sleeping but found a great antidote to grey + rain drear (not that such has affected me yet) -- a kickass boxing class, followed by a soak in a community hot tub.

I had you until the c-word, right? Well, until a great wooden tub materializes in my own backyard (the parking lot with zillions of cars stuffed in? hm, how atmospheric), one must make do. And I know what you're thinking; I thought that at first, too. But, there were no wide collars, no polyester (wait, there was probably some in the bathing suits -- yes, there were bathing suits), no lava lamps bubbling, no nudity, no partner swapping, none of it, nope. Just a very nice, mellow spa with giant wooden tubs that are way cheaper if you opt for the community option -- and my friend and I had it to ourselves anyway. Good stuff.

Now 98% of me is asleep and there's still the teethbrushing....

Monday, March 29, 2010

Firefighting & reading evolution

It was a Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic night. It's really such cool volunteer work.

Couple'a interesting things tonight:
It was, yes, a textbook, I think that's just the way of the world now. But it was about firefighting. Naturally, I found this super cool, because of my big firefighter brother (he's more than solely firefighter now with his promotion, but is certainly still that). So, that was exciting. Even though I did a lot of reading about SCBAs -- SCBAs, people, are self-contained breathing apparatus ... duh. I liked reading it, except every page seemed to talk about death. That wasn't so cool, particularly when we're talking about my brother's job. It was all about how if you don't use SCBAs you could/will DIE and how if you use them wrong you could DIE or how it's more complicated than simply relying on their low-air warning and really, you could DIE. This is something I knew, just kinda weird when you have a very close face you can put on all the warnings.

Anyway. The other thing that was interesting is that while the tables and figures were mostly a lot simpler in this book, they are actually getting easier. They don't freak me as much. There was less swearing, in other words. Still swearing, but less. There was one flow chart of a Sample Air Consumption Test that was showing how to do such a test with seven little stations and all, and that was pretty crazy. There was also (hey, there goes a firetruck!) a figure showing which states are OSHA states and which aren't -- Massachusetts isn't, interestingly enough. Neither is most of the midwest and a good chunk of the south. Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands are, however. Don't remember if this was for anything-OSHA or just for these firefighter standards.

So there you go. Me reading out loud, enjoying firefighter material, encountering lots of tables and figures and swearing less. There you go.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Weekender edition: With a water theme

Let's see. Writing from ... a pub, I guess it is, in Marblehead. And no, I'm not the only dork with a computer at a bar. But yes, it is only the two of us at our table who can lay such a claim. S'ok, the bar's dead, it's still daylight out, they're happy for the business.

It's cold, cold this weekend, but damn. Lows in the 20s, high maybe in the 30s, but with wind, doesn't feel like it. And I got right up personal with the cold in my boathouse's "Crusher Casey" opening day race.

Crusher being a real-life historic figure, a boxer, wrestler and rower, bar owner, not sure what else. What we could call a character, someone we're proud to have had as a member. So we named our opening day stake race after him, a member who's a jeweler made a boxing champion belt, anther member made a nice wooden plaque to mount it on, and every year, the fastest man and woman get their names engraved on it, and get early season smack-talk rights. Pretty cool. More emphasis is put on sculling, but they put up with a bunch of us random sweep rowers who join up to form mixed 8s (as in, mixed-gender, 8-person boats).

Stake races are a little crazy in rowing, particularly in sweep rowing, as you've got big long boats lacking what you would call a tight turn radius. So there's lots of talk amongst all the rowers of the best way to execute it. In my boat, some were of the opinion that you have starboard rowers row hard, stop, have port rowers jam their oars in the water (this is pretty accepted wisdom so far), but in a fancy twist, jam their oars in backward, or flipped around with the blade facing the opposite way it usually would (followed by starboards rowing hard again to pull the boat around). The 2-seat rower in front of me muttered vociferously about what a bad idea it was, that it was precisely how rowers caught crabs (a very unfortunate sequence of events in which an oar gets out of sequence with the rest, gets caught in the water, then irrevocably slammed against the side of the boat, usually smacking [hard], sometimes injuring, occasionally ejecting a rower from the boat in the process). So we tried it. And a rower promptly caught a crab (no injury fortunately). So we tried it again. Same results, different rower. At which point I called up from my bow seat at the end of the boat, "Hey, why don't we not flip the blades around when ports check it down?" So we didn't. Not because of my genius suggestion, but because common sense collectively dawned.

So, we won our race. Yay! Love winning. And the boat actually felt pretty darn good -- sometimes with thrown-together boats, and no practice, it can be a disaster, but ours was smooth and fast enough to beat the other boat.

But my point, my point was about cold -- my hands were entirely numb for the first half of the race. Which felt like a while. But it was awfully fun.

Following the stake race is the opening day breakfast in which every possible form of carbohydrate and baked good is represented. My favorite was "Irish carbomb cupcakes" -- chocolate cupcakes with Bailey's icing with a chunk of chocolate in the middle.

After all that was done, by about 8:30 in the morning (this is why rowers fall asleep at 9 p.m.), I headed over to my sidekick (it's OK, we're really each other's sidekicks), and we headed out for Marblehead for a change of scenery, some fresh ocean breeze and new cafe space for worktime. And found all that. And then a waterfront pub with free wi-fi, a promise of fried ravioli that didn't actually materialize, so we improv'd with walnut-crusted fried goat cheese. And it's starting to feel like bedtime might not be far off. Oh hush, been a long day, pre-5 a.m. wakeup....

Friday, March 26, 2010

snnnnoooOOOOOWWWWW ... followed by energy bomb

Guess what??

No, it's not snowing.


[delirious joy]
[and, oh, if only it could sporadically snow thru summer ... it would be so Boston, just to fuck with everyone's heads a little]

The perfect hibernation day after what counts as a crazed week for me (much out-in-the-worlding). Plenty of work to be done, as ever (small specks of paying work, plenty of the drumming-up-the-paying work, plus things like, oh I don't know, WEBSITE and tiny matters like that).

(But this parenthetically reminds me -- this is why prioritization is hard -- when you know you need to do all the things and you know why and you know they've all been sitting longer than you'd like ... it can get paralyzing. which is then so dumb [even if understandable], it makes me crazy. so then you have a crazed paralyzed person on your hands. then I get alternately mad, frustrated, teary ... and uh-oh. any man can tell you, while slowly backing away and maintaining eye contact, this is a recipe for scary disaster. fortunately, none of this is happening at the moment, but there were shades of it earlier in the week, to some extent, tho not the full cycle of emotional crazy, so I can reflect on it now as I figure out how to stay away from, keep at bay, that lurking crazed, emotional deer in the, you know....)


Horas later ...

Aaaaand, there went my energy. Several hours ago, that last of it brought back by sleep wafted away -- pffffft! -- with a little (v little) vapor trail. Happily, I can say it was expended on work/project productivity. But then it was done gone, and I had plenty left to do, as you know. But gone it was. So I worked on what had become a disaster of my home.

It did snow this morning -- so awesome, mostly during commute hour, so not awesome for everyone out there, I'm sure, then it went away. Then the sun came out.
But it was cold, cold. In an attempt to revive myself I went wandering into Coolidge Corner and had to keep my hands in pockets to prevent the dread cold-air-fall-off-ness. I mean, I know it snowed this morning, but frigid air was still a surprise.

So I went wandering. Was accosted outside Trader Joe's by a very earnest do-gooding young man from the ACLU who stopped me dead in my tracks with "Do you support gay rights? Do you have a minute?"

Oh come on, that's so not even fair. So what could I do but listen and nod in agreement, but had to sadly decline moneygiving. Then felt tremendously bad and dazed wandering around TJ's. Then I remembered I don't give money to people on the street just on principle. But I still felt bad. And highly conscious of the money I spent (less than the cheapest membership, I'll have you know). And I think I regret not buying sourdough bread. Even tho I knew I'd scarf the whole loaf as delicious, buttery toast. And I bought cinnamon bread instead. But it seems my soul calls for sourdough. Good thing there isn't a giant run on sourdough (that I've heard about), and I'm pretty sure loaves await me on shelves tomorrow....

Then I meandered more. Spent money on food I felt very conflicted about. The money, not the food. Read more of The War of Art. Thought hmmmmmm, tiredly.

Came home and acknowledged my complete doneness. Decided only reasonable (possible) course of action was to read Stephen King's The Stand (I'm SO opposed to them leaving Stu! so! it's wrong! wrong).

Then went for hot yoga to see if I could get some purification. Dunno that I did, but it felt like a good thing.

Now it'll be bath, book, food morsels, bed. I hope I come back to life tomorrow. But I will say this: in my worst, most drained, most confused, most teary, most fuck-it moments ... they're a thousand million times than so many moments in the last year of work, that I accept them with open arms.

Thus, another week ended with gratitude.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Coherence: highly questionable

It kinda feels like my brains are leaking out my eyeballs.
Whoa, didn't mean for that to be all ital'd, and the ital'ing, it. just. won't. stop.
Beware the ital button!

That's really probably as much coherence as you're gonna get.

So. Tired.
This being out in the world, talking with humans, interacting, all the day and night long...?? DEAR GOD. It's tiring. Feel like I could sleep for 20 hours, but don't quite have that option. And, can't string coherence together or any stories from the day. So you just have me talking about how tired I am. Lucky you.

Let's just all sleep now, shall we?

Oh thank god, thought you'd never ask....

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Wind-whipped frustration

The rain, it is gone.
But it left wind in its wake.
I'm not sure where my brain cells stand, so let's not look too too closely there.

The scary
Today feels like a day of wind-whipped irritation, tho for no truly good (meaning worthy in my book) causes. So the scary true cause must be hidden deep. Or simply hormonal. Every female (and possibly male, depending on his life education) knows either could equally plausibly be true.

The trash
It was a day bursting with irritation for my neighbors and the trash situation. Have I vented about the trash situation before? Surely I have. So I decided I simply couldn't deal with their towering piles of trash (wet trash, mind you) and the other tenant's bags of lawn clippings (also completely sodden). So I didn't. Even tho it means I likely simply have to deal with it next week. I get it. No martyrdom here, I have choices; today, I chose to abstain and refrain (and only minorly screamed in my head).

The first-grader
In our generally silent walk to the classroom (not for lack of effort on my part), I tried various lines of inquiry with Mauricio (the one success: handing him the book choices, which he insisted on carrying, at last proudly pointing out he could carry four books at once. Indeed. Tho I kept a close watch on his fingers to make sure none were going to fall off.). So I finally made the point/comment to him that I didn't see him last week because it was a school holiday. He queried me about this, and upon entering the classroom, made a beeline for his teacher to ask about last Wednesday being a holiday. Which she confirmed. Not sure what-all that means. I guess if nothing else, I didn't lose credibility.

Little children are so darn mysterious. They're like little animals, familiar and beloved, but you just really don't know what's happening inside their little heads, and they have limited means to tell you. Anyway, he quickly rejected an ant book (think it was way too much text), but did let me read Stellaluna -- about a bat, but a story. So that was different. Then, while finishing up the spider book from two weeks ago, he informed me he wanted a pet spider to eat the flies in his house.

The kid is smart, there is no doubt. Just quiet as all get-out. After reading three books, we wound up with a few minutes at the end, and he pulled out the book he was reading -- it was about tornadoes, which kinda made me feel better about book choices -- he really does like nonfiction science-y things about the world.

The [insert favorite swear] pain-in-the-ass injury
Then it was a short attempt at erging but after two ominous pain slivers that reminded me of my three prior SI joint injuries, I stopped, frustrated but glad I was on my way to my chiropractor. Who confirmed, yep, my SI joint-area-thing was all outta whack. Deeply frustrating. Reminds me of how being in the throes of an injury is so, so emotionally different than being outside such throes, even if they were recent. When my body's whole, hearing someone injured talk, I nod sympathetically and think "that sucks" but it's all devoid of emotion. Being on the inside side of one, I feel the tears and frustration and lack of information and limits they impose -- and this is just a minor-injury-in-the-making, caught in time. Nevertheless, grrrrrrr.

The yes-still-working and money
In between those pieces, it's working on a grant (a new one) with another freelancer, a cool and new experience. Not much money, but some + good experience to be putting a grant together, instead of simply editing.

Night 3
Onward to Night 3 of Outing Week -- to a writer's group in Cambridge. We shall see. Friday, I'm staying home and diving deep inside a book. Dammit.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Brain-rain cells

The rain, it is here.
My braincells, they're not so much.
Am trying a little jasmine tea infusion to see what it does. This being the ACTIONPACKEDFULLEXCITEMENT week where I somehow have something every night.

Rare, rare in my world. Not even to Night 2 and I'm feeling (momentarily) exhausted. A socialite, I am not. Tonight it's meeting up with a friend from my olllllddd magazine days! And her current editor at a college alum magazine. Will be fun and entertaining ... once I wake up.

Yesterday and today are a little study in contrasts. Not in weather, but in mindset and work productivity.

Yesterday rocked. Today did not.

I have a great week's plan, which shifted when something new popped up yesterday, which was fine. Until today. Then I had another schedule shift and then the today-planned things plus the yesterday-planned-and-not-done things, which was too much for a single day, and I swear, I got all deer-in-headlighty. Weird but kinda interesting. Well, to me, as part of my quest to figure out the being-my-own-boss plus the key staying-motivated-and-productive. Need of income ranks very high as a helpful tool, but it still takes more than that. At least for me.

I wound up on a coaching call today that wound up only being me, which was a pretty cool bonus -- lots of undivided attention. After asking my questions which were sorta of the "I get the specifics and little pieces but I'm not quite getting the overarchy scheme and how they all fit together and I want to because MAN but do I need to understand things" variety. The guy made the comment, and this was pretty early in the call, that he would guess I had an analytical mind and that I liked to be right. At which I burst out laughing. Because, I mean, I think there's more to me than that, but it did ring a little true. So, his point was about how needing to know the end and every chapter and verse could get in the way of ever doing a thing. Which I think is completely true. And he did answer the question. And, it was just an interesting insight to get from a stranger, one admittedly (well, purportedly) good at reading people.

And -- ooh, I gotta run!

Monday, March 22, 2010

The late weekender: Let's just call it DISCO

Life just keeps clip-clopping its merry way along, and as of late, I'm just trying to keep up!

This weekend brought something new, something different ... something disco. You think I kid? Well, check out the pic. The complete getup was way better/more than just the shoes (altho, geez, the shoes rock any house they grace) -- it involved, no jeans but, I-kid-you-not, a 50s-appliance-green sequined dress (yep, smug nod) that has left traces of its seafoam sequins everywhere (my floors, my shoes, my bed, my shower and my yoga mat). And eyeshadow to match. Will you be seeing pics of this? Hell no, you think I'm crazy?? This is the Internet, people! You must satisfy yourself with words. Or come visit me -- I'll be happy to show you in person.

So, the reason for all this madness was something called The Donkey Show, and if you have any inclination what that references, yep, that was relevant. It was basically Midsummer Night Dream picked up and dropped into Studio 54 in 1970. Words kinda fail me, but it was wild -- people come in costume, the setup is like a club so the audience is dancing for a lot of it and the action takes place all over, and there's a DJ spinning disco tunes throughout, along with the cast singing them. Oh yeah, and there are the four nearly naked guys in glitter bodypaint and not much else dancing on cubes throughout the night.... Oh, good times, people, good times....

Another fabulous thing about the shoes is that Willa loved them. Loved them. Like, couldn't get enough of them. Crawled all over them, rolled on them, stuck her head in them. I got as many shots as I could, but didn't get any of the best money shots, unfortunately. But I'll post some of the Willa lovefest when it's not (again) past my bedtime.

The best of all this is that the shoes actually made another appearance tonight at this fun reading called Four Stories (four authors reading -- get it? one in particular blew me away, Jeff Talarigo, need to go find his two prior novels; he read from his in-progress set in Gaza ... wow and damn). But it also featured a hot-shoes contest. Well, my friend who accompanied me to the crazy disco night came along for this, and we knew the shoes deserved an appearance, but my toes had just recovered from wearing/standing up/dancing in them for some four hours Saturday night, so we decided she would cram her toes into them. It was a great decision, the shoes were a hit, altho they didn't win the contest -- can you believe?? Highway robbery. But some of the writer-readers told her they thought my shoes should've won. Ha, vindication.

So, those are some of the entertaining extracurricular activities. On a serious note, I must tell anyone who's reading this who's trying to do anything in their life and is finding it challenging for whatever reason, that I have a powerful resource-tool-magic for you: Steven Pressfield's The War of Art. Go find it, buy it, right now. It's/he's amazing. And I've just started it. For real, people, do it. I'll come back to him, I'm sure, but it wouldn't be right if I kept this powerful magic to myself.

Now, now I must sleep....

Friday, March 19, 2010

Candlelight + computer light

Yes, welcome to the romance of my Friday evening.

This week's run on amazing, warm, springiness has continued, so the night is warmish (it's only spring, y'all). Went for a walk around my local reservoir -- last time I went there, I wrote about the ice. And the night's so nice, there may be another walk in it yet. Maybe to get ice cream. Could be.

The last few weeks feel like a jumble, and it's hard for me to sort what I've said to who, but there's been lots of great.

I can say I have had my first two paying clients. Two! So exciting, so cool for me. Makes the hope something real, the dream seem possible. It's just so, so ... so.

It marks a great milestone ... and of course because our world is nothing but fluid, nothing holds still for the milestone. I awake the next day needing to jump back into doing all the groundwork to keep finding new clients, to continue working on other projects (to progress the website. damnit.), and on and on. Which is great, because it's constancy; of course this is the day-to-day work that is freelancing, I gotta keep it going. But it's also hard. After what feels like this great accomplishment, I want to bask. And this weather ... this weather makes me want to do nothing but bask.

The gatos agree there. Not that they do a ton else than bask, bless their furry hearts and paws.

So, let's be honest, there have been a few days of basking. Great, worthy stuff. Time to pick the pack back up and continue. Colder temps next week will help, I predict.

So, yes, the learning continues in new way each day, but there been so much great flow and energy and results; I'm so pleased and grateful. And it's always good to end a week grateful.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Sucio's post, well ...

So, yesterday was Sucio's turn to post, and darn if he didn't just stay in bed and sleep all day. Truly. All. Day. He might've turned the other direction once, but that would be it. It was a taxing day. (And ha, taxing, I went and did my taxes yesterday, taxing day, yes, it was!)

But, working on falling asleep last night (minor challenges around this as of late, not really getting the why, I'm not an anxious stressball, really I'm not), I realized I forgot to check on his work. So, a blank day yesterday. I trust you were all drinking green beer and possibly didn't notice. Or maybe hallucinated an awesome column that became your instant favorite, and now you can't figure out where it went, but it was brilliant, man, brilliant. Like, the best I've ever written.

Spring continues here -- we're seeing 60s (!) and lots of that yellow thing in the sky. ! I have early-spring image evidence Sucio was supposed to upload yesterday, so I'll do that today.

And angry snarls from the bedroom remind me to tell you that Willa is having issues resurface with sharing her bed, her house and her human with another furry creature who outweighs her by, oh, five times. To his credit, Sucio doesn't seem very fazed by it anymore. I try to be patient, but sometimes she's just witchy.

So, spring, right. Low ... oh my god! Breaking News right here folks -- 71! 71! Today's supposed to be 71! Holy crap. What does one do with such news.... I thought it was gonna be low 60s for a few days, then turn back to 50s, but no. Well, after Saturday, it goes back to 40s and 50s, but I'll have to do some outsiding today. Dang.

OK, so those are some words, freshly morning baked, just for you. I'll discuss his work ethic with the boy in the house, and more later. Have a lovely 71-degree day!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Weather, by Willa

MEOW (welcome), says Willa.
Mrrrrowwww (mournful).... (It rained....)
Mrow mrow. (And rained and rained.)

[Editor's note: You might notice a little white paw wrapped around the radiator ... as if in an embrace. Both cats held this pose through our three-day Noah-Arky Nor'ester.]

Meow (and then),
meow meow! (breathlessly -- not easy for a cat) (then, then!)
meh-mew mRRRRROOOWWWW! (ta-daaaa -- the SUN!)

*cat yawn* (Check me out ... I gots all the toys AND the sun, and they're mine, all mine.)
(scent of ever-fishy cat breath wafts through the air)

Monday, March 15, 2010

Where I hope we never are

Today, I'm sitting in my doctor's office waiting room (and sitting and sitting and ...). Got in some good reading time, at least.

At one point, those of us doing the waiting hear the sound of someone talking loudly, upset, then what sounds like crying. It's approaching the waiting room from inside the office. Sure enough, it's crying, it sounds like someone's saying something about diapers in an anguished way. It's an adult voice. We can hear another adult voice trying to soothe, to hush.

The door opens, and it's an elderly woman, crying, railing to her black female caretaker, "Why won't you listen? Why won't you listen when the doctor says it's not Alzheimer's; it's only dementia," as the caretaker shhhhs and OK nows and gets her out the door, headed for the lab.

Those of us scattered in the waiting room do what humans universally do in such uncomfortable situations: We all pretend like it isn't happening; we ignore it. And, I get it -- what can any of us do? Other than a sympathetic look to either or both of the women. But even then, that inner voice hisses at you to look away, that it's rude to look....

Mostly, it was heartbreaking, on many levels.

For the woman, whatever her diagnosis, clearly on the losing end of the equation, the downhill slide.

For the patient caregiver who likely heard many outbursts and was used to what many of us have to become used to: the regression of an adult back to a childlike state.

And it made me wonder about her family; where were they? Were there any to be heartbroken?

It made me flash on my family, how we're all spread across the country from each other.

(Sucio licks my knuckle in sympathy. Now it's a full-bore head butt.)

Mostly, I thought about how I don't want to turn into that woman someday. And how while we have say in our health in how well we take care of ourselves, we can't control the wiring within and how it might twist and turn.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The liquid side of spring

I've got purring gato bookends around me on the couch as it rains, rains, rains outside (as opposed to inside, it's just never good when it rains inside). What a perfect Sunday. Been raining for about three days now, winds up to near 30 mph. Y'all know I'm not complaining, either.

I proclaim today is a day for ... hot tubbing! We'll see if we can't make that wish come true this afternoon -- it's looking promising. After rain abates, looks like it'll be back to 50s next week -- and 62 next Saturday?!

Yesterday I tried out a student clinic for a local massage school -- it was pretty darn good, I was quite pleased.

And, now that it's darktime and sleeptime (didn't feel the time passing there, did you?), I can report the $10 soak in the lovely wooden hot tub was awesome, exactly what one should do on such a blustery day. Esp when followed by a butter-infused choc-chip cookie and cup of tea at a next-door bakery (conveeeenient, no?). This appears to have been a banner weekend for good self-care. There was even productivity interwoven and fun/social things. Yes! Stunning, I agree. In the aftermath, I find myself intrigued by Buffalo stories (the city, not the animal).

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Something new: brevity

It is lating and I need to be sleeping, so you get merciful brevity tonight.

Another cool work possibility emerged today, when I see what comes true (or when I'm not falling asleep), I'll tell more. But bottom line: loving loving loving the having-possibilities thing. More, please! And some to come into being! And you all: still with the ancient-shuffling dancing, keep it going madly!

Adventures in overnight Brookline parking tonight -- ah, overnight parking in a city that allows no one (and I mean no one) to park on its streets. Good times. And good night. More stories tomarrah....

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Oh, lots

Morning breaks....
This morning there was a lovefest in bed.
By which I mean, two purring kitties, snuggled up against me, insistent on dual, simultaneous ear and chin scratching.
We watched the sky get light.
Then I reluctantly told them I had to get up and make progress on getting income to buy their cat food.
They didn't seem highly concerned.

It's bright and beginning sun out, the edges of the air are certainly crisp, but not frigid. Saw a guy walking his dog in shorts. That's a little over the top, but it's the end of a New England winter, albeit mild, so folks will go a bit crazy.

I'm thinking about rowing. Thinking about it. Thinking about a first venture in a double, pretty hard to flip, some stability while I remember how to row. Perhaps this weekend. Perhaps Saturday. Perhaps. Coached sessions start up in about 3 1/2 weeks.

And evening falls...
In kitchen, post-dinner, paper spread on table, lights now dim, desperate for post-boxing bath, but I sense it'll be bath and immediate crash. Bliss' Wish U Were Here is playing, v cool, trancey, international undertones. Good stuff, good for the mood, wind-down-y, long day with good stuff, including: rowing (!), yes, it's true, I'm just too mellow to be exclaimy. A fellow rower who volunteers for lunchtime reading with me sprang the idea on me, and it was beeee-yeewwwww-ti-ful out, so it would've been ridiculous to decline or erg. Being in a double made it safe, we even headed for the wild'n'wooly basin. The first few strokes were just surreal; the motion felt so odd and strange, then they dropped right back into the slot of normal. Anyway, rowing, yeah. Hope you guys are ready to hear about rowing again.

Also, seeing Mauricio -- he's opening up just a wee bit more ... and we found out today spiders have 8 eyes. Who knew? He says he did. He was a little concerned about black widows, knew they were to be avoided, wants to know where they live. I'm like, ummmm ... they were in sheds and garages where I grew up? Don't know if they're here; I'll have to look it up -- unless someone knows (do tell)??

Anyway. Some good morning productivity, trying to get the first draft of the veterans article wrapped up; it's getting loooong. Got some editing before me. I'll have to come back and tell you more about that, interesting stuff. My awareness of veterans and related issues is at an all-time high, which I like, honestly. Feels right. Wish we were all there. Then an afternoon phone call with what may well be my first paying client -- exciting, y'all. Again, too tired for exclaimy, but super cool. I actually have maybe maybe THREE (3) (!) potential paying clients bubbling around, but none has come true yet, and I know all could go away. Still, exciting to be here. And, and, I got 2 random emails from folks I know about maybe jobs -- one I'm not qualified for and is full-time, so don't want it anyway, but the other was about a local college that is apparently desperate for an asap freelance copy editor. Here I am, guys! Don't know more about it than that, but got my info over to the connecting person. Connecting people -- wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. Love them. Suspect they are what my business will be built upon -- what most businesses are built upon, really, right? So, super cool stuff. The energy just feels like it's building and feels very good and right. Your shuffling, ancient "paying clients for Shana" dances are working -- please keep them up!

Then, boxing, such an awesome workout. You know, I'm all about having former Marines as instructors. Bring it, bring it. Totally way to go. This is the guy with the missing-toes story from a week or so ago. It's his last night at the club near me, so I'll be commuting to a farther-away club, definitely worth it. And now, now, I need a bath so desperately....

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

A motley collection here

It's light before 6 a.m. these days, light almost up until 6 p.m. Got an interesting juxtaposition this morning as I grabbed the paper from my porch (yes, I still subscribe to a paper ... it was on the cutting block when I left my job, but I simply haven't been able to give it up, but the day may come): sky growing light, but still a deep midnight blue, across the street, still-bare branches silhouetted against the sky, with a crescent moon shining behind them. I had to take a second look, wondering if I'd conjured one of the items. But no.

And, an update from last night: yep, it was a textbook. On operations management. I'm so, so, so glad I never took a course on operations management. And, oh. Tables. Textboxes. And worst of all: figures. Figures. Damn them to a fiery hell. Like, I'm looking at the thing, and I don't know what the hell it is, let alone how to describe it. There was much swearing. Much sighing. But OK, more swearing. I told the staff that they should record all booth noises, including when we're not recording because it would be so entertaining. I think it's time to be resigned that being useful there (as I am) means recording what they need (you think?) and that there will generally be boring textboooks ... and figures. Curses to figures. I think part of it is that even being able to see the things, I look at some of these figures and their clarity, use and value is completely opaque to me. Tables are actually pretty straightforward, though I still bet confusing to only hear read aloud. But I was very grateful to only be reading the textbook out loud -- even boring stuff is entertaining to read out loud -- and not be studying it (some of those student exercises I read ... I had shudders of sympathy).

OK, then, then there was the moment today when I quite abruptly turned into a pregnant woman, apparently, craving things green and highly flavored: wasabi peas, frozen salty edamame, cute crunchy little pickles, sage-infused cheddar ... sudden onset, very strange (Stace, am I channeling you??)....

And then tonight, I was busted as a Californian by a funny Trader Joe's employee. He said something, and I was like, "Totally!" And he was like, "Totally? Are you from California?"

And now, now it's the time when I should be asleep. So there you go. Happy Toozday.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Boing! A glimmer

Taking multi-tasking to new levels here -- chews, swallows -- and I'm due to put on, well, I suppose a v light layer b/c -- sips sweet mint tea -- ridiculous springiness still going on out there. Seriously, there are nearly big boooiiiiingggg noises reverberating from outdoors-land.

[Heard on the radio today:
Woman: Seriously, I've never seen so many people smiling on a Monday.
Man: I
know. I drove here with my convertible top down!]

Where was I? Right, multi-tasking. [Plate in one hand, typing with other, bites in between, plus tea sips.]

Yes, I'm pulling on a light layer and heading out for my recording -- let's cross fingers for a novel tonight, no super-hard textbook filled with charts and figures -- ahhhhhhh! [Polishes off dark chocolate.]

So, while I shockingly didn't win the local writing content I entered (losing out to 79 other writers somehow doesn't make me feel at all bad), I do have glimmerings of exciting news, of the maybe-a-paying-client-or-two kind! Very exciting. Yes, I'm going to be a tease with it, but light all your candles and do your sacred, ancient, shuffling "paying clients for Shana" dances, please! When they come true, I'll say more, but it is super exciting to have multiple possibilities drawing closer.

Time to read!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

The weekender: Spring done sprung

It's true, it did.

As you are aware, I have been valiantly and diligently working on this spring transition business. Really trying. A weekend of nice weather kinda helps, I will say. Was supposed to be 40s, but I hear high 50s were hit, and it sure felt like it. So, there were things like
  • sun (true, not my favorite, but nice as a novelty item)
  • going outside without a jacket. ! without a jacket! nor gloves. no gloves! ditto on hat. hat!
  • flesh -- flesh blooming like giant versions of those petals we'll be seeing soon (a pretty cool part of spring, I freely admit) -- legs, bare legs, bare torsos -- things not seen in, well, a New England winter. relatedly spotted: sandals. an adorable white-polka-dotted (polka dots!) green skirt, that later proved to be a cute sundress, that soon had a black jacket back covering up its owner's presumably chilly torso
[Side note: the blanket thrown over the back of the couch has become a moving monster with undulating surface, the witchcraft betrayed only by the black tail sticking out the blanket's end.]
  • kissing couples. awwwwwww.
  • people! people everywhere, outdoors, moving. people emerging!
  • the strange sensation of being out of doors and ... the air, it's different ... it's ... not frigid (I'm glacially ignoring here the lack of frigidity in our air as of late. listen to this: the paper today said we got 35.5 inches of snow this winter, 60 the winter before. we were robbed nearly half our snow! snow robbed!
  • I'm not gonna go psychological deep diving here, but a certain lightness of spirit detected within as I was cruising around town today. a certain ease. a certain ... springiness. I might have giggled for unclear reasons a few times (even tho it's true I am highly amusing). yes, I might've. and, and, because there's nothing like little rituals to bring you into a thing that may not be easy to be brought into, for whatever reason, I spring-ritualed with Berryline frozen yogurt, eaten plunked down with The Stand on sunny steps along Mass Ave, between Harvard and Porter Squares (of course real New Englanders have been downing ice cream all winter, but whatever)
  • and, to build warm-weather anticipation, a pact with a friend for a multi-hour city ramble on the first warm evening (I may be resisting spring but I loooovvvvvvve Boston's warm summer evenings, they're lovely). I'll wear flipflops. yay, flipflops!
  • oh, and this: spring evenings. nowhere near summer evenings, but still lovely in their own fragile way. the light is different. the still leafless branches against the sky look a little ... lighter. they've got some expectation to them. driving over the Mass Ave bridge (the bridge that always fills me with a glee that I. live. in. Boston.), the river's ice-free wide open, there are sailboats in the basin (brrrr, but that's another matter), flocks of people walking, riding, running across the bridge. then, later, the sky's pinkening sunset sky reflecting against Boston's skyline. pretty cool.
So, OK. Spring, not all bad. Not really so bad at all, just wasn't done with the winter. But, apparently, I'm getting a few life lessons on things going away before I'm done with them. grrrrr. Life lessons.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Adventures in gratitude

Yeeeaaahhhhh. Week's ovah.

Adventurey day today, not sure how much's in my fingers to tap out, highlights were:
  • early awakening (yay) for
  • a mini roadtrip (yaaay) for a
  • ski adventure to a new spot (Northfield Mtn, y'all, in [or maybe next to] charming Erving, Mass., etab. 1828, think the sign said), so that yields things like:
  1. ski adventures! I know I'll already said it, but cool stuff bears repeating
  2. snow!
  3. snow, cont'd. ok, so not much snow, but snow, skiable snow. maybe snow that was disclaimer'd to us as "spring conditions" "better near the top" "less icy once the sun beats down" etc., but snow, precious, rare, fleeting snow.
  4. bottom line: snow, skiing, adventure = yay
  • then we have the way-back-from-snow adventure, which bears having its own bullet for 2 reasons, 1 lovely, 1 sorta terrible:
  1. the lovely. this quaint (seriously) little lunch-counter cafe in a store packed with ... antiquey things? really not into antiques, so not sure how to genre-ize them, but lots & lots of little old stuff hanging all over the walls and all over everything, for sale. and the cafe???? it was vegetarian, y'all! ok, there were a few fishy things (like, salmon, not like sketchy). but it was pretty unexpectedly awesome for veggie me to stumble across such a spot unexpectedly, where I have *multiple* things I could choose from on the menu! aaaaannnnd for my gluten-avoiding friend, they even had gluten-free bread in the freezer! crazy!
  2. the terrible. there was a pretty bad accident RIGHT NEXT TO us on the way back. freaky, freaky, freaky. one of those "kiss your kids, pet all your animals, touch your favorite things, tell some folks you love them because you just never know in this world" things. now, fortunately, it could've been way way worse than it was, and while we don't know for sure everyone was ok, it seemed like it. but basically, this big ole semi/dump truck thing merged onto our 2-lane freewayish thing going *really* fast, and there so happened to be a minivan in the lane that, I dunno, he didn't see or what, but he, well, merged right on into them. why they didn't come hurtling in our lane, I dunno. but they didn't, and somehow, the force and angle of their being merged into pushed the minivan around so it was IN FRONT of the semi thing, that was still going really fast, and he PUSHED them for what seemed like forever, until the minivan rotated its way around to the other side of it and came to stop at the side of the road, facing oncoming traffic. I'd pulled over, and my friend and I, and the woman in the car behind me, according to my rearview mirror, were like ohmygodohmygodohmygod the whole time. it was that cliched "happened so fast yet in slow motion," then over and the shock kicks in. the people in the van hadn't gotten out, but looked ok. the semi driver was walking back to them. someone'd already pulled over and someone'd already called 911 by the time we did, so after a minute or two of shock, it seemed the best thing we could do is get out of the way, given the 2 lanes of traffic piling up behind us. but, yi. seriously.
So, all's well that ends well. The gatos and I are exceedingly happy to be cozy at home, wrapping up a week in our usual mellow fashion, and eyeing the bed. Whole, healthy (cold's on its way out) and happy is a good way to end a day and a week.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

I may whine, but really ...

Just a few reminders of the good stuff ...
  • Little March snowflakes, sweet and determined, a swansong. I miss them before they've flurried out of sight, absorbed by the ground, the too-warm air. Yet it turns into ...
  • A valiant for-real-even-if-non-accumulating snow, beautiful. I like its spirit.
  • At desk, with tea, water bottle keeping chill by the drafty window, candle, song from Moby's Play, Willa perched on crossed-leg lap, purring and drooling.
  • Sucio curled up on my bedspot amidst the sheets all day, making me feel deeply beloved (and, no way I could make the bed with that cute furry loveball there!).
  • Work accomplished, progress happening, bit by bit.
  • The lovely aftermath of acupuncture, that floating-on-cloud feeling. Have never gone in the midst of a cold before, got needles in the face! Wild. And, totally helpful. Feel better than since I got sick.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Projects, scorpions & scissors

Well, now. It's been a better day on most every front, but a busy day, so the sore throat'ometer is creeping toward red.

Folks have asked about my projects, so ... the cool veterans' org that I'm liking ever more by the day -- that article will hopefully be a solid first draft by week's end for a first read by the org's CEO. After revising, it'll be researching and pitching it to some national pubs. They're doing such an amazing thing, and as a nation at war, knowing many of our veterans aren't getting near enough of what they need, I think and hope there will be a recognized wide interest in good solutions. As pitch time grows near, I'll prob try it out on you all, yeehaw.

And the article for my friend's cool nonprofit offering musical education for inner-city/minority kids interested in classical vocal training (must find more succinct way to say that, huh?), the article about one of his students who took part in a week-long musical master class, that article's drafted; it just has 2 threads & I'm trying to decide if they can co-exist, but nearly done.

The book project is patiently waiting for some attention, but it is not forgotten!

Other little bits and pieces trickle in from folks and I tackle them as they come, but those are the big projects. You know, in case you were wondering.

In a different "project" update, today was a Mauricio day (you know, the newish boy in my life of the weekly lunch dates featuring books about worms and insects and such?). Found out today scorpions are his favorite. Reason why? 'cause he likes them. Yes, welcome to our deep-rooted ever-intensifying relationship. Oh -- also confirmed Oreos are his favorites. He had them out of the lunch bag when he came out with his class to meet me and the other readers. So he polished those and the Doritos off. He disdained the tater tots; I suspect because there was no ketchup, but I'm only guessing, but he was looking around like, where's that missing thing? Anyway, it's most fun, even as he's a great little-boy mystery to me ... the future looks bright.

Had a training tonight from that same program about engaging kids in the reading. Interesting stuff -- it all sounds so simple, until you go to do it and are met with silence or some other challenge.

Have taken part in a few cool teleclasses this week, but the content is still rolling around like so many pretty marbles in my head, so you'll have to wait for the nuggets ... along with me.

And, my hair is getting crazy long. Must get it to some scissors.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

It's a head-cold-fogged sniffy one

nose blow.
uhhnnnnnuuuhhh, says the head.

thought attempts to form, halfway comes into being ... sniff, uhhhhnnnnuuuhhh-uh?

bleg. I hate colds. been awhile since I had one, doesn't make it any better. not feeling like a longlost friend's come to visit.

so, mostly I'm feeling steamrolled by a big ole blaaaahhhh.

transitions happening all around, within and without. know what? transitions generally often suck.

I know I'm supposed to be all happy winter's ending and spring is around the corner and the river is open for rowing (tho v awfully cold water is flowing w/in it, and I'll be waiting until it's only maybe death rather than surefire death from flipping before I head out) ... but I'm not. somehow, I'm never ready for winter to end. and people ask why a Californian moved to Boston ... weeelllll, it's really kind of a good fit. this year, with barely any snow, it's doubly hard. plus, I think in my head, I felt OK-good about snuggling up at home and slowly working on my next endeavor, while enjoying the coziness in my home, amongst the gatos, through the wilds of winter. and now, now ... it's spring? it's March? forgive me but -- oh, fuck.

just as the weather's starting it's shift, it's time for me to start a shift toward for-real for-serious income finding. doesn't mean job searching, yet, I'm not giving up on freelancing, it's still very much what I want to do, but I gotta find some paying clients (much as I love all the nonpaying ones). it's time to amp it up, step it up ... execute. and it feels kinda like execute. blek. not comfortable, not a happy feeling. but then, it never is when we push ourselves, take risks and step out. which is precisely what it's time to do.

oh, it's gonna be a hard month. not to be all pessimistic, but I have a sense there's some good hard waiting me. or maybe already here. I'm not panicking, it's not time to eat cat food yet, but the next few months are for-real time. and/or Plan B time. and while it's income driven, it's also time, time for me to feel more engaged and productive; I'm ready for some cool projects to be a part of. but, there's still a part of me that thinks -- how the hell do I do this?? I have some ideas and feel like I'm working on the right things and the right fronts -- the answer's probably the same simple one as we'd suspect -- ultimately, through people, through relationships, through finding the folks with the word needs, and helping them find me. y'know, that common-sense hard stuff. oh yeah, and through the wonderful randomness of life. and the dairy dust, don't forget the fairy dust.

sniff. sigh.

am trying out decaf Earl Grey tea with condensed milk as comfort food. interesting. kinda tasty.

sniff. uhhnnnn. ow -- bumped elbow scab. yeah, I'm in good shape.

on that note, I shall work my shambling way toward bed. fear not, more energy's bound to come as the cold dissipates. let's hope.

Monday, March 1, 2010

The late-breaking weekender: CURLING action!

Oh, good golly.

It's grey out, tho warm (40s, argh); crunching on an apple, boiling water for jasmine tea; Willa's meowing and per usual, wondering why she isn't the center of attention, and trying to make herself be; Ray LaMontagne's singing the awesomeness that is All the Wild Horses; Sucio's determindedly sleeping on the bed so as to prevent any (Scary) sheet-changing action.

And I have a sore-throat-stuffy-nosed head cold that descended yesterday/last night. Aaaand I just spilled tea on the corner (including keyboard) of Pixie P'dough here, argh. Quick paper towel + hairdryer action, please work. Also, discovered a leaking kitchen sink. And, have a tweaky right shoulder/bicep (please go away). And it's nearly 4:30 and I'm just wrapping my head around this workweek start.

In other words: Hi, Monday.

But, I'll struggle with glumness and starting-upness on my own, wanted to share few weekend adventures (fun weekend! actionpacked!).

There was the mini sorta unofficial art project with my artist friend who is remembering she's an artist. For me, not precisely the groundbreaking artistic talent of the new decade, it meant I got to goof around with colors on a page, which I love to do.

Then there was the v small roadtrip to a friend's lovely home in Beverly (new locale for me!) that also contained an adorable little girlchild and delicious quiche ... oh yeah, and cookies!

And there was a late-night Avatar viewing, interesting. Mostly, I want cute mini-fangs like that to look ferocious when I crouch protectively over my beloved with a knife. Yeah. Oh yeah, and my own personal dragon to go hunting on, please.

But, then, THEN, there was an ... Adventure with Curling (curling!)!
I'm adapting my review from an email to a friend for efficiency's sake....

It was pretty freakin' awesome. Really fun, really ridiculous -- the best combo ever.

First my friend and I had the 2.5-hour drive to Connecticut -- key to establishing an air of ridiculousness for what we were doing. We get to the little building in lovely Bridgeport, gather ourselves, head in ... and there's a line out the door, people everywhere, filling out waivers. So, we sign away our lives and limbs, then try to make our way through the mob crowd. It was crazy, there were SO many people there, and it wasn't a very big space. Apparently, this Olympics business has sparked all kinds of interest in all things curling. This v nice, v well-made-up woman told us there were maybe 120, 150 people at their open house the day before, and probably twice that coming through that day. And on a stormy Wednesday night, they were also mobbed. So, all good fodder for ridiculousness ... I mean ... this is CURLNG, fergodsakes.

Oh, and when we got through the little waiver lobby into the slightly bigger lounge-filled-with-perhaps-lines-of-people-and-perhaps-just-people, we're filling out little nametags at the counter ... and I catch sight of people DOING this crazy thing. So I lose it, and I'm smacking my friend & laughing really hard & knowing I shouldn't make a scene b/c I'm at a CURLING club and yeah, there are people CURLING, sure, but it's SO FUNNY to see the broom action. So my friend's like, what? what? looking around, all confused, trying to whisper to me, thinking there's someone famous there, but I can't stop laughing and smacking her arm. Finally, she figured out I'm talking about the curling action taking place on the ice (the lobby/lounge room has a nice long window for viewing).

We also get raised eyebrows at driving from Boston and are nicely told, there is a curling club in Massachusetts. But my friend discovered their open houses are booked through April (!) and plus we were meeting her NY friends, so yeah.

SO at long last it's our turn, and our group of 7 excitedly heads out for curling action. They have 4 stations set up to teach you little building blocks of curling knowledge. Oh -- OH, and there was also the awesome curling glossary I picked up in the lobby, will have to find it and share some terms. We get v sketchy basics, then are moved along b/c next station is ready. We head over to learn the ... what the hell was it called? the rock hurling action (not what it was called), which was fun. My friend did this graceful body-stretch rollover onto the ice. Then at the final station (came way too soon), we got to actually hurl and release the rock and do the sweeping action, at which I laughed hysterically. It was of course way harder than it looks and you would think it would be, but also ridiculously fun. Not quite sure why, but it was.

Some of the crazy things are that you'd think you'd want to (and you really do want to) heave the stone way across the ice, but apparently, no, there's some kind of "push with the legs yet gently release" thing going on, not that it was really going on for me. Didn't fully get it, didn't get to grill them enough. Then the sweeping -- it's awkward! And hard to time it, I kept having the rock bump into my broom (not good) but if you're too far away, it's also not so good. And, surprisingly, the sweeping thing does get your heart rate up, really. Then, the highlight for my friend, she got to flirt w one of the curling instructor dudes, so she was super psyched on that. Then it was off to find a bar, drink, food (they ordered a platter of like 35 wings, just to start - 35! useless for a vegetarian, but impressive) and the hockey game, fun to watch the overtime (tho I was watching upside down from sitting directly below the TV ... small matter). We're aiming to check out the Mass. club at some point, totally want do it again/longer.