31 December 2005


The scientist stops, where all men do, at the doors of birth and death. He knows no more than you and I why a seed remembers the oak of 20 million years ago, why dust acquires the form of a woman, why we behold the earth in space and time.

He hasn't yet solved the secret of a single name upon the earth. We may pluck the nymph from the river, but we won't pluck the river from ourselves: this coiled divinity is still all murmurous and strange.

There are sacred places everywhere. The world is still man's druid grove, where he wanders hunting for the Tree of Life.

-Russ Lockridge

30 December 2005

A relaxing Friday night...

Got off work two hours early (thanks, Boss) for the 3-day weekend, took the dog for a beach walk. We came home and made frozen pizza, cracked a bottle of red wine, and settled in to a relaxing weekend. What else do we have to do? We don't have a television, for one.

Then the alarm went off. What is it an alarm to? God knows. But this being the poor section of town (in a So Cal beach town, that means that houses in this neighborhood are only $500k, not $850k like the rest of town - I AM NOT joking), it will continue for, oh, four or five hours before the cops wander over to take a look.

ANNNNNH-ANNNNNH-ANNNNH. Get used to it. Or go insane. The choice is all mine.

Another glass of wine may be in order.

16 December 2005

A bridge too far

Those of us who have never outgrown our college frugality or nerdness love Ikea.

Their clever showrooms, their modern Swedish design, their wacky yet practical furniture...what is not to love? To top it off, they name everything in Swedish, so you can buy my favorite lamp, the Flygel, or a bookshelf called Jornalist...but now they have gone too far with the names.

I present, and I am not joking, Fartfull.

Are those crazy Swedes from Ikea just sitting around laughing at us, or what?

Late dinner

2 raspberry poptarts and a glass of pinot noir.

12 December 2005

I still find this amusing

I don't know why I love this church sign generator site so much. I just do.

Less wires

My new home is not only wireless (I don't have a phone) but cable-less, too. Yes, I have become one of the 2 percent of Americans who do not have a television.

I decided that, in the last 10 years, I had had about 40 minutes of joy while watching TV, and those few moments were all thanks to the Daily Show or to Ali G. And Ali G ain't even making shows anymore, is he?

TV is stupid. It was making me stupider. So in an effort to be and get smarter, here I am. Maybe I will pop a DVD into my computer LOL.

11 December 2005

Girlz in the hood

My new neighborhood has some things my old one didn't.

Las Posadas, for one.

As I was driving out tonight, I saw a crowd of about 50 gathered in a front yard for what must be the first night of Las Posadas, the celebration of Mary and Joseph's search for an inn to stay in. When I returned three hours later, the party was winding down, with just a few celebrants outside.

I'm no closet Catholic, but I must say Mexicans make the religion look like a lot of fun.

10 December 2005

Home again home again jiggity jig

I am not a Vegas kind of person. How do I know? Because my temples hurt from clenching my teeth really hard for 2 days.

I didn't realize I was even doing it. But the stress of the constant sensory overstimulation must have gotten to me worse than I had thought.

No wonder, really. Despite my best efforts to find a calm place, I was always in a spot where three or four different kinds of music or noise converged, sucking in the smoke of a thousand cigarettes, barraged by flashing lights and spinning things and chrome and...it was all too much for my tiny sensitive brain.

Places like Vegas make me realize what a fainting lily I am. I just don't do well with too much of anything. Thus my severe lack of children.

It's not that I didn't enjoy it. It is like a big playground of the subconscious, everything adults try to keep hidden out on parade for everyone to see. And there are some really, really good restaurants. My vote goes to Mon Ami Gabi at the Paris casino (just look for the Eiffel Tower). You can sit there with your biftec and pommes frites and moules mariniere and little glass of good French wine and watch the Bellagio fountains do their amazing stuff (and I mean Amazing with a capital A). Life could be worse.

But I don't think I'm ever going back. It's cool, but not cool enough for me to put up with the brain-fry.

In Vegas, you don't really choose a hotel as much as a theme destination. We stayed at the Luxor - an Ancient Egypt-themed place in the shape of a pyramid. We kept waiting to feel the magic pyramid power, but mostly we felt lost. The car park is somewhere about a mile from the rooms. If you can find it.

08 December 2005

Sin City

I am in Las Vegas. They say what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, but I haven't done anything so far I can't talk about...though how would anyone ever know?

The last time I was here was 20 years ago, with Mr. Mojo. He had won the trip at a comedy contest, which was about as far as his comedy career ever got. It wasn't that he lacked comedic skills - the man was, and remains, the funniest person I have ever met - but he lacked focus . Like so many of us. He could kick Carrot Top's comedy butt any night of the week, I can tell you that - and Carrot Top appears to be playing at the very hotel where I am staying. There are hideous posters of his ugly mug about every 30 feet.

Anyway, me and Mr. M took ecstasy - this was back when it was LEGAL, believe it or not - and spent the evening in rhapsody, listening to the tour helicopters overhead, me saying over and over, blissfully, "It's the sound of victory" - because I couldn't imagine anyone spending the helicopter money unless they had won big. I guess you had to be there, and on drugs. It's probably a good thing they made Ex illegal.

This time my strongest drug of choice has been a gin and tonic. I find the whole place a bit silly, to tell you the truth. I kind of liked it better when it was seedy and rundown and its sole purpose was gambling and drinking. Now, between the water features and the IMAX movies and the guys with "Strippers to your room in 15 minutes" t-shirts, I don't quite know what to think.

Cheese kills

From the "Criminals too stupid to be believed" log, this story about a woman who would have killed for cheese.

05 December 2005

Got enough?

I saw a sticker on a car today that said “Got Enough?” in that "Got Milk?" typeface.

Good question, I thought. Since I have been moving over the course of the past two weeks, it seemed to be meant for my eyes.

Balancing between want and need is a precarious perch. Dozens, hundreds, even -- of decisions must be made in a move, especially a move from a large two-story house with plenty of closets to a tiny, storage-challenged bungalow.

Do I keep a sleeping bag when I haven’t used a sleeping bag in years? What if a guest comes over and needs an impromptu blanket? What if they don’t? How long do I haul the thing around as it gathers dust?

As a single woman, do I need 10 dinner plates? Technically, no. My house doesn’t fit ten, much less seat ten. But each plate is a different pattern. But I collect them. But they are so pretty.

All of these decisions remind me of once upon a time when I moved back to college at the end of summer. I loaded all my stuff in the back of my huge red and white (red cab, white bed) pickup truck and drove off.

The only problem is that the tailgate wasn’t shut tight. I won’t say my dad didn’t slam it tight. I will only say that it wasn’t ME who was in charge of shutting it.

On the first big bump I hit, the tailgate flew open and a bunch of my stuff tumbled out. About half my stuff. I saw a tornado of my clothes blowing all over the road as I looked in my rearview mirror.

I turned the truck around at the next exit and came back, but there was no way I could pick anything up. It was on a bridge just past a blind curve and traffic was flying by at 70 mph. I just stood there crying as trucks ground my clothes and books and furniture into tiny pieces.

I drove up to school with my mind churning about how I was going to get through the year without my stuff. By the time I had gotten to school, three hours north, I had mentally added up the hundreds of dollars it was going to take me to replace my lost belongings.

When I walked into my new room, I found a sweater hanging in the closet that could stand in for my favorite sweater that had been lost on the road. I bought two new blankets because my others were destroyed.

And that was it. That’s all I really needed to replace everything that was lost. The rest was just extra, stuff I ended up not needing anyway.

But is need the arbiter of what I should have? Some things I don’t need, really, but I love having them around – pretty things, clever things, things that make me feel a certain way.

Even stuff that is not beloved sometimes comes with attachments, like the plastic rooster penny bank that my grandfather had handed me, tears in his eyes, as he cleaned out his dead mother’s house when I was 6 years old. By giving me one of the few toy-like things in that tidy, practical old lady’s home, he was attempting to make me happy and, by delighting a child, salve his own broken heart. Could I really get rid of THAT? The rooster is sitting right here next to me.

The answer to “Got Enough?” is definitely yes in my case. My question is how much less I could do with or should do with. I may never figure it all out.

Tired dog

Dogs do love routine. So the move has been upsetting for my poor Beast...yesterday I took her over to my folks' house and left her while I went to church. Then we went to lunch and she stayed there. Later, I left her home and went walking downtown for 2 hours.

I came home and drove her the 30 miles over to her Dad's house (my old house) for dinner. When I went to go home, she put her foot - her four feet - down. She wasn't leaving. She looked at the car, gave me the stinkeye, turned around and refused to leave, so I came home without her.

I guess even a dog can only take so much.

03 December 2005

Saturday night on the wrong side of the tracks

My new neighborhood is the opposite of my old neighborhood. My old neighborhood was very upper-middle class, full of shiny SUVs, wide, safe streets and landscaping in perfect geometric shapes.

This neighborhood is funky, tiny old houses packed together on small lots. Most are about 50 or 60 years old, Spanish-style or little clapboard cottages. There are couches on front porches and dogs running free.

It is Saturday night and I can hear the ooomp-oomp of Mexican music from a party or dance. I can also hear a couple having a serious knock-down drag-out fight. That kind of stuff just wouldn't have flown in Whitebread City.

Despite the craziness outside, I simply love having a place of my own. I am over 40 and have never lived on my own before. I always lived with a spouse-substitute or roommates or family. This place is mine, all mine, except for the big dog on my right. I feel like I am on a fun vacation every time I walk in the door - like a hotel where I can decide what the decor is going to be. A hotel right next to a Mexican dance hall LOL.

Anyway, I don't mind loud Mexican music. It reminds me of Mexico, for one thing. And I love Mexican culture. A couple times over the past week, I have felt like crying just because people have been so nice to me. People in stores, people at crosswalks. I forgot what that was like. Back in Whitebread, if you talked to someone in a grocery store, they looked at you like they were considering calling the police. Here it is standard operating procedure.

12 November 2005

Screaming egos

I was out walking in the neighborhood the other day when I saw the personalized license plate "RLLN22S." Huh? It was one of those that takes you a minute as you try and jam the letters together and sound out the numbers. "Real lawn tutus?" "Our ellen twenty twos?"

Then I saw the big rims and figured it out instantly. "Rolling 22s". The license plate was on a huge SUV with giant chrome tire rims.

Not only was this person convinced that big tire rims were a way to happiness that they were willing to spend upwards of $2000 on them (I just learned that myself, wow) but they wanted to make sure people noticed by putting it on their license plate.

Did someone not get enough hugs from Mom?

To me, stuff like this - conspicuous consumerism, wearing clothing and accessories with logos all over them - is just embarrassing. What it says to me is not "I'm classy" but "I don't have anything inside me, so I have to buy my identity."

I think I am probably hopelessly old school about this, because it is rare to see anyone under 30 who doesn't have enough logos on their bodies to rival a NASCAR car. Let's face it, it's hard to BUY clothes without logos on them. You have to make a real conscious effort and even then there are some logos, like on athletic shoes, that are unavoidable. You have to dig pretty deep into the bargain bin to find running shoes that the makers are so ashamed of that they won't slap a logo on them.

But people take it too far. Purses that are just one continuous logo pattern. Tiffany jewelry where showing off the maker's mark is the whole point. I even saw a girl with a Roxy logo tattooed above her butt. I can't wait til she has to explain that one to her grandkids.

09 November 2005

New blog, new place

I ditched the old blog. The $9 a month it was costing me at Typepad just wasn't worth it. At the beginning, I had these grand ideas of turning it into something beautiful and complex and then...life happened and I never got around to it.

So here we are, at Red Stapler in homage to Milton and the movie "Office Space."

I am not, of course, really Milton. I am a girl. But I have been trapped in a cubicle for three months and the movie has been much on my mind. I have many of the same scenarios as the movie - a tiny cubicle, endless, pointless paperwork, and a job that doesn't seem to much matter to anyone. Basically all we do all day is cover our asses, and some days there isn't even a whole lot of that to do.

At first it drove me crazy. Then I somehow learned to waste time. I can stretch 15 minutes worth of work into four hours. Before I know it, I am thinking "Hey, it's lunchtime! I was so busy making binder tabs and walking back and forth to the bathroom that I didn't even notice!"

I do go to the bathroom a lot, thanks to my prodigious coffee consumption. You probably didn't need to know that. But if you see someone scurry past your cubicle every half hour or so, that's me, on the way to the can.
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