Monday, October 25, 2010

And here I thought he never got west of Honduras

While driving home yesterday, I noticed for the first time that the 10 freeway is also called the Christopher Columbus Transcontinental Highway. Ah yes, of course - that'll be the route Columbus took in his covered wagon as he traveled with his intrepid Native American guide on his way to pan for gold.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

"Marry, this is the short and the long of it"

This afternoon I took myself to see The Merry Wives of Windsor at the Broad Stage in Santa Monica. It was a touring production from London's Shakespeare's Globe, which is a historically accurate recreation that sits more or less directly on the site of the original (c. 1600) Globe Theatre, and which not only mounts productions of Shakespeare's plays, but hosts ongoing exhibits and educational activities designed to teach people about his life, work, world and times.

With these credentials, I was expecting it to be about as close to the real thing as you can get, and I wasn't disappointed. I've seen several productions of Shakespeare over the years, including one of Merry Wives, and this was the best I've ever attended -- I think the humor in the plays often gets missed or muted, maybe because the language can be hard to follow, but this one was really laugh-out-loud funny. I especially liked Mistresses Page and Ford, who were thoroughly convincing as both conspirators and friends, and also Mistress Ford's insanely, hilariously jealous husband, but really everyone was excellent, from the fresh-faced young lovers to randy, gluttonous old Falstaff. I also loved the clever revolving set and the live music, which appeared to feature real shawms and sackbuts. It was worth every penny I spent on my ticket (I paid a little extra and ended up sitting smack in the front row, close enough to reach out and touch the stage) and I only wish it were in town for another week so I could go back with G.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


Outside my window... it's dark and raining.

I am thinking... about all the things I still need to do before I go to bed.

I am thankful for... having the money to pay for the dental crown I need (even if I would much rather spend it on something else).

From the kitchen... one of us had pasta with roasted broccoli, shallots, garlic and Spanish olives for dinner. One of us had plain pasta with sauce. I'll let you guess which was which.

I am wearing... still in my work clothes: grey pinstripe trousers and black sweater.

I am creating... nothing at the moment.

I am going... to work tomorrow, assuming I feel well enough - I've had that ucky just-getting-ill feeling all day.

I am reading. Room: A Novel 

I am hoping... that there's thunder with the rain tonight. I love lying in bed during a thunderstorm.

I am hearing... the cat licking his paw to wash his face.

Around the house... G is watching a Halloween episode of Penguins of Madagascar downstairs, and I'm on my bed. I have one cat with me and I think G has the other one with her.

One of my favorite things...  my laptop.

A few plans for the rest of the week...  G is camping with her Cadette troop this weekend, so we need to drop her gear off with her leader tomorrow evening. While she's camping, I'm going to see the Saturday matinee showing of this play. It'll be my second Shakespeare of the year - G and I saw Taming of the Shrew together over the summer, at the Old Globe in San Diego.

Here is the picture I am sharing...

This is G's drawing of a character she invented for a story.

Monday, October 18, 2010


I hear a commotion in G's room and go in to find her all tangled up in a disheveled bed ...

Me: What happened?
G: I got into a fracas with the quilt.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Scenes from a supermarket

At the supermarket this afternoon, I saw a man standing in the bakery section, staring off into space and ranting at people who weren't there. He was a short, thin, seventyish man with a beige windbreaker zipped right up to his chin, and his voice carried all the way through the adjoining produce department, over the piles of broccoli and pomegranates and potatoes and bananas; loud and piercing, but curiously uninflected. I couldn't make out the individual words, but I could tell he was repeating the same few sentences over and over again, as if he were anxious to make sure that his audience got the message. No one in the vicinity said anything, though a few of us exchanged nervous looks as we grabbed what we needed and hurried away.

While I finished my shopping, I kept wondering how that man had gotten where he was. He was alone (I'd looked around for someone who might be escorting him, but there wasn't anyone), so obviously he'd been in touch with reality long enough to drive (?) himself to the store, get a shopping cart, and go inside like everyone else, but what happened after that? Did he get overwhelmed by all the different colors and smells and sounds? Had he forgotten to take some medication this morning, and it just caught up with him right then, between the vegetables and the bread? How was he going to get home again? He wasn't there by the time I got to the checkout - or at least I couldn't hear him anymore - so the situation must have been resolved somehow. I hope it was a solution that worked in his favor.

The worst part is, I suspect the distance between that man and the rest of us isn't as far as we think. All it would take would be a random chemical imbalance, or the onset of Alzheimer's, and you or I or anybody could be standing there and yelling at no one in the supermarket, and everyone around us would be too scared to approach and ask if we were okay. It's a sobering thought.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

All quiet on the western front

To my surprise, this past week has been quiet. (If we were in a movie, this is where someone would chime in with an ominous "Too quiet.") I haven't heard anything else about the house sale or the associated drama; the long-term afterschool care issue is still in limbo; and nothing has exploded in any of the other spheres of my life. Even the weekend has been unremarkable, with the highlights being yesterday when I successfully used these tips to make the toilet in G's bathroom stop running, and today when we went to a local Oktoberfest celebration to see the dachshund races.

There's nothing too dire looming up in the coming week either, except that I have to choose a new gynecologist so I can make an appointment. I've never had to look for a gynecologist before -- I got the previous one when my then-primary care doctor said "Congratulations, you're pregnant, here's a referral" -- and so far I've found it to be an odd process. I want a woman, not because I'm bothered by male doctors, but because I assume women are more likely to understand how annoying various female complaints are, and thus more willing to do something about them. I also want someone who speaks reasonably unaccented English -- whether it's her first or second or 15th language, I don't really care, just as long as we can communicate with each other. Those are pretty much my only criteria, so I've found myself reduced to browsing my medical group's web site, looking at each doctor's photo and trying to imagine how I would feel about her poking around in my business. It's like a weird sort of online dating, only instead of getting a free dinner, I have to hand over a $30 co-payment.

I wonder if people would be more excited about going to these appointments if there were some sort of reward involved -- like the "treasure chest" at G's dentist's office, only instead of Silly Bandz and stickers, it would have full-size Godiva chocolate bars and Starbucks cards. Maybe I should wait until I've been to the new office a couple of times before I suggest that.

Monday, October 04, 2010


Today I took a much-needed vacation day to try to decompress from the last few weeks. I wasn't quite sure what to do with the free time, but around noon, as I was looking out the window at the cloudy skies and drizzle - my favorite sort of weather - I decided that what I really wanted to do was take a walk in the rain.

So, off I went to the park. I was expecting to be the only person crazy enough to be there, but apparently ladies over sixty-five also like to go walking on rainy days, and I said hello to several of them as I wandered through the park's 350-acre expanse. Here are a few photos I took along the way:

This park and I have a long history together. When I first moved to California at age nine, my toddler brother and I played there. A few years later, my middle-school cross-country team had its meets there. Not long after that,  I ditched high-school classes to hang out there (sshhh), sometimes with friends and sometimes by myself. I took G there for play dates when she was younger, and now that she's too old for slides and sandboxes, I can still occasionally convince her to go for walks there, or sit on a bench with me and people-watch.

It's been years and years since I was there alone, though, and I had forgotten how quiet and peaceful it can be, especially on weekdays when the usual soccer-playing, dog-walking, picnic-having people are at work. The deeper you go, the more you can forget that you're near strip malls and fast-food restaurants and busy streets, and the more you can imagine that you're someplace far away from your everyday life. It wasn't something I'd planned to do today, but it turned out to be exactly what I needed.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

A new wrinkle

The last 10 days or so have been quite interesting, and when I say "interesting," I don't mean interesting, I mean interesting.

Without going into too much detail, there's some family drama brewing, drama that, while it has nothing to do with me and G personally, will most likely lead to us having to move because the house we live in (rented from a relative) is going to be put on the market for sale. I'm trying really hard not to be bitter about this, especially because the relative who owns the house is also having her hand forced and isn't to blame, but so far I haven't been very successful. The realtor is coming over tomorrow morning to inspect the property and take photos, and I feel bitter every time I think about it. The idea of having photos taken seems very invasive, but I imagine it's nothing in comparison to how invasive it's going to feel when potential buyers are trooping through here, opening cupboard doors and testing the shower head. I'm sure I wouldn't mind if I owned the place and were selling it for my own benefit, but I don't, and the whole thing is harshing my mellow in a most unpleasant way.

I do have to give a shout-out to the B complex "stress support" vitamins I started taking when all this first went down: I started sleeping better and feeling less on edge almost immediately, and I'm still much calmer than you would expect under the circumstances. I freely admit that it may be a placebo effect, but I really don't care if it is. Vitamins certainly won't do me any harm, and $14.99 is a small price to pay for being able to keep it all together during a trying time. We'll see how well they work once the house actually sells and I have to find a new place to live, then pack up and move all our stuff for the third time in five years. Wherever we end up, we'll have to stay there for a while, because I'm running out of friends who are willing to keep lugging my 500-pound entertainment center and 39388404 boxes of books from one home to another.