Santa Croce

(no subject)

This post delighted me so totally fully much, other than the medical stuff of course. The waving statues and your comments made me laugh out loud. "We got a bingo everyone! Over here, it's us! Bingo winners!" They also look a little like dearly departed bingo players who are headed into the big Bingo Hall in the sky where they serve milk and honey. Love this.
Santa Croce


Overall, I think I'd give the past 8 days a B+.  

* Last Saturday Chris and I went to Sacramento with fallulah71 for the day.  She had two spare tickets to see the musical "Mama Mia" and asked if we wanted to come along.  I'm not really into musicals (or generally any theater for that matter), but a production built around the music of ABBA?  I'm in.  We drove down in the morning and dropped by the Goodwill thrift store outlet downtown.  Apparently they take all the best donations and name brands and put them together in one store, which makes a lot of sense to me.  I walked out with a really great pair of leather shoes by Kenneth Cole for $15 (which I put on and wore for the rest of the day) and Fallulah bought some very pretty silk blouses for cheap.  We wandered around downtown for a bit and then had a really great lunch at PF Chang's before the show.  And the show?  Was awesome.  It was funny and goofy and the music was total ear candy (with not a little eye candy in the cast too).  I'm really glad we got to go.  

*Thursday I had to attend a training in Orland, a small farming town an hour south of Redding, with the rest of the analyst team.  The training center for the entire north state is located here, and I've driven down there about a million times over the years.  The training itself was a complete and utter waste of time.  The computers were ridiculously slow and then no one could access the software we were supposed to be learning how to use.  Also, the instructor was himself only a beginning user, which meant we spent the entire time reading the manual together.  After two (!) hours of trying to get the software to work properly, he told us to go ahead and head to lunch early.  At 10:30.  In the morning.  There's nothing open that early, so the other two guys and I wandered to the auto parts store next door (one of the guys needed oil filters) and then waited for the pizza place to open at 11:00.  We should just have called it a day and headed back to Redding, and I'm still not sure why we didn't just leave.  After "lunch", the software was mostly working, but I struggled greatly with it.  I'm not a stupid man, but this software has always been confusing and frustrating to me and I simply cannot grasp it no matter how hard I try.  I didn't even bother attending Day 2 of the training.

*Friday night the whole family attended my niece Caroline's school play, "Mulan."  All of my nieces and nephews attend the same grade school as my brother and sister and I did, which is pretty cool.  The school was very rural when we went there, but the area has since become very gentrified with very wealthy residents, and consequently the school has gotten very fancy.  The play was like a local Broadway production, but with more screeching voices.  Caroline played a Hun, and I have to say that she would have made a terrible Hun because she kept smiling at us in the audience.  I think soldiers should scowl a lot more, but war does strange things to people, so what do I know?

*After the play was over, I met up with Chris and some friends from work at a local dive bar called the Bell Lounge.  They had karaoke that night, something I would normally avoid, but we had a really great time.  There was one douchey guy dressed all in white with a scarf, wearing sunglasses indoors, and he was pretty entertaining but not for the reasons he thought.  I don't know if the drinks were extra strong or my body chemistry was off, but wow did I get tipsy quickly.  I'm a lightweight anyway, but these drinks really caught up with me before I knew it.  However, I think it's good to blow out the cobwebs once in a while and let my hair down, so I just enjoyed myself.  I didn't sing karaoke (thankfully), but I danced a lot, something I don't really get to do enough anymore.  When it came time to leave, there was no way I was going to be able to drive home, so I hitched a ride with one of the designated drivers and I hope I didn't say or do anything that brings shame to my family.  I also remember now why I don't drink well drinks anymore because that stuff is like poison.  I need top shelf booze, and top shelf only because the cheap stuff will kick my ass faster than anything else in the world. 

*The hangover wasn't much fun, but it was totally worth it.  I had plans to see "The Hunger Games" with my family (everyone has read the books), so my sister dropped by and took me to my car.  I haven't had to do the Walk of Shame in a long time, but that was far more preferable than a DUI.  We got to the movie theater early because this movie is really popular and before long there were at least 100 people in line behind us.  Some people got a little pushy when it came time to open the doors, but I snarled at two different people who tried to be sly and cut in line because I just do not.  Put up.  With.  That shit.  While the story was originally written for the young adult market, I've read the books and they're quite good.  The audience was a surprising mix of young and old, male and female.  And the movie itself was fantastic.  The acting was really solid, with a few moments of pretty heavy emotion, and I think the director made some good choices for casting and which parts of the story could be left out.  After the movie we all went out to lunch and then I said goodbye to my niece Kathleen who was home from college for the week.  She's headed back to Cal Poly today and her new quarter begins tomorrow.  I can't believe my baby girl is almost through her first year of college already.  *sniff*

*After lunch I made the mistake of going to Walmart to pick up a few things.  Walmart on a Saturday with a hangover is one of the worst places to go, but I HAD to pick up a few things and couldn't really put it off.  I survived, but just barely.  I needed new windshield wiper blades because it's been raining pretty hard for the past few days and my old blades didn't exactly give me much warning before they literally came apart all at once.  Once I got home from that horror, I crashed and slept for a couple of hours and woke up feeling much better.  The rest of the evening was quiet and while Chris and I were supposed to go out with some friends to listen to a band, he was pretty sick (not caused by the drinking) so we cancelled.  I was in bed and asleep before 9:30 anyway, so I'm not sure I would have been much if we had gone out.

*Today it's gray and wet and cold and I think I'll get caught up with some reading or puttering around the house or I might even get ambitious and replace my wiper blades.  So many possibilities.

If there are any misspellings or bizarre syntax, it's because I'm feeling too lazy to reread and edit this post.  

I hope all is well where you are.  Go have some ice cream, it'll help. 

  • Current Mood
    relaxed relaxed
Santa Croce

(no subject)

Last night I watched a really interesting documentary on National Geographic about a search for a lost fresco of Leonardo da Vinci in Florence.  In the 16th century Leonardo painted a fresco, "The Battle of Anghiari", on one of the walls of the Salone dei Cinquecento (Hall of the Five Hundred) in the Palazzo Vecchio.  He abandoned it before it was finished and it remained incomplete for many decades until the hall was enlarged by Vasari.  The theory is Vasari, who greatly admired Leonardo's fresco, built a wall in front of the painting rather than destroy it and then painted his own version of the battle.

(The fresco is on the left side of the picture, the panel next to the balcony in the back of the room)

(Here it is again, on the right side of the photo.  I had no idea when I took the picture that it was the center of such mystery!)

(And because I have the maturity level of a fifteen year old, I included a photo of this statue, which is right below the fresco.  I snicker every time I see it.  I'm not proud of this, but it is funny)

Over time it was forgotten on which wall Leonardo had painted his fresco, but researchers discovered a gap behind one of the walls which led them to believe they had discovered the location of the missing painting.  They drilled holes in the fresco and inserted a tiny camera to take a peek inside the gap, to mixed results.  While the researchers did not specifically find what they were seeking before they ran out of time, nothing was ruled out either.  The biggest problem was the drama caused by the press, who made it look like the researchers just stumbled in out of the rain and began randomly banging on the walls with a hammer.  In actuality, they had the full cooperation and permission of the government, but due to the pressure from the press the officials threw the research team under the bus and cancelled the entire project before a proper inspection of the fresco could be made.  However, there were enough intriguing clues to indicate they should take another look at this and I suspect one day they will.

Any story about Florence is naturally going to capture my interest, but I particularly loved this one.  I've been in that room in the Palazzo Vecchio and it's an incredible space.  There's a Michelangelo sculpture, among many others, as well as dozens of rooms that are simply breathtaking.  I can't vouch for my impartiality though.

One of the things I loved best about the documentary was the passionate debate about exactly what needed to be done, and how and where.  After all, even though they were searching for a lost da Vinci, they still had to make tiny holes in another masterpiece.  So many reputations were on the line and no one wanted to be the one who gave the green light to a procedure that ended up knocking and entire fresco onto the floor in a cloud of dust and horror.  On the other hand, they all wanted to be the ones who discovered a work of art that had been missing for nearly 500 years.  I understand there was a certain amount of posturing and politics and ego behind some of the debate, but that doesn't take away from the wonderful notion of people fighting over a painting.  Lives didn't hang in the balance, but they argued as if they did and I find this pretty cool.

I guess I just love that there are people out there who have dedicated their lives to the study of these wonderful creations that, to be honest, don't serve any real purpose other than to speak to the soul.  These people are committed to preserving and protecting the art for as long as possible, acting as stewards for an artist who has been gone for centuries.

Something that made an impression on me the first time I visited Italy was how important to mankind these works of art truly are.   I didn't feel like I was seeing a part of Italian history and culture, I felt like I was seeing something that belonged to every human being everywhere.  I was seeing something of beauty created by a regular person just like me who had good days and bad days, who drank wine and complained about taxes, who bonked his head or got sunburned, who laughed with his friends or liked the smell of grass.  It's hard to picture the human behind the art, but it's there and when I see it and feel it, I feel a connection that is stronger than nationality and time.

Perhaps I'm overly sentimental, but this is the kind of stuff rolling around in my head.  Watching this National Geographic documentary gave me goosebumps and reminded me of all the things I love about my Italy.

  • Current Mood
    contemplative contemplative

Saturday Morning Post

This was the first full work week I’ve had in a little while, thanks to holidays and back-to-back colds, and I swear it feels shorter than the short weeks.  It’s a strange phenomenon, this.  As much as I love three day weekends, I’m always surprised at how long the following week feels.  A four day week can feel like it takes ten days to finish.

Speaking of work, I finally finished the computer rollout at work.  The months of setbacks and confusion and frustration made this a project unequalled in my entire career, and I had some pretty low moments.  Since my work wife fallulah71 left in October, I’ve been doing my job and hers until a replacement is hired.  The toll that’s taken on me has been profound because there were very few duties I could reassign to other people.  I do admit that staff have been pretty patient with me (with a few exceptions, as there always are), and I’m grateful because they certainly could have made things a lot harder. Still, it’s been a difficult five months and I have no idea when a replacement will arrive.  Maybe never, who knows?

On Wednesday we had our annual all-staff meeting where they hand out longevity awards.  I got my 15 year pin (it has a single sapphire atom), even though I’ve actually been here 16 years because of where my hire date falls.  It’s a weird feeling to see a chunk of my life represented in a tiny metal pin like that.  I was 26 when I started, and I’m not sure I even recognize that guy any more.  My hair was certainly darker and thicker.  I have no idea where the time went.

I don’t think I mentioned it here, but a couple of Saturdays ago, as I was taking a nap I heard someone pounding on my door. I don’t often answer my door if I’m not expecting someone because, well, it’s my property and my house and I don’t much care if a stranger knows I’m inside ignoring them.  This time the knocking continued and I heard someone calling my name.  I went to find out what the fuss was all about and when I opened my door, there was a car parked in my front yard on top of my picket fence.  My goodness, my neighborhood came ALIVE.  Such excitement on Jay Street!  Apparently a guy up the street didn’t curb his wheels, nor did he properly set his parking break and his car slowly rolled down the hill until it came to rest on my fence.  I called the cops and while we were waiting, Old Guy Bob who lives next door animatedly told all of us about the time his daughter crashed his brand new car into the post in front of his house.  He was SO THRILLED to tell this story, and then he repeated everything to his wife Betty, who is deaf, so she could get up to speed with events.  The cops finally arrived, knocked on doors until they found the car’s owner, and he stumbled down to my house in a daze (he was napping too).  He was very apologetic about the whole thing, and I got all of his insurance information after he dug around in his car for a really long time.  A couple of days later I called his insurance company, which he had also done, and they were very friendly and helpful about filing a claim.  As soon as I got an estimate for repairs and emailed it to them, they cut me a check.  No quibbling, no delays, no fuss at all.  When have you ever heard of an insurance company doing that?  Here’s the kicker:  the car happened to crash through the part of my fence that was only being held together with sunshine and good wishes.  I’ve been meaning to replace it for some time and just hadn’t gotten around to it yet, so he pretty much did me a favor by knocking it down.  Also, the estimate was double what I thought it was going to cost, so the check was a lot more than I expected.  So I’m going to remove the rest of the fence, put in some boxwood hedges that won’t require a lot of attention and move on with my life.  That’s a win in my book.

Lately I’ve had a rather mysterious ant problem in my house.  They always end up in my bathroom, usually in the tub, and I haven’t got a clue where they’re coming from.  There aren’t any in the kitchen, where I’m sure they would find plenty of things to get excited about, and as I’m not exactly doing cartwheels in the shower, flinging water all over the place, they aren’t finding any water sources either.  What’s more, no matter how careful I am about getting rid of the scouts, more will reappear the second I look away.  I’m suspecting they’re being deposited by micro wormholes.  It’s the only logical explanation.

Today's plans include hitting the thrift stores in town and hopefully finding some good junk.  Chris and I have had pretty good luck in the past, but there are days when you don't find anything worth a nickle.  I have no idea what I'm shopping for, but I'll know what it is when I see it.  Isn't that really the best technique when it comes to treasure hunting?

Anyway, I hope all is well where you are.  I've been lurking on LJ in my cloaking device, reading posts and commenting here and there.  Go have some ice cream tonight.  You have my full endorsement.

  • Current Mood

Monday Morning You Sure Look Fine

Another quiet morning in Northern California with a charming cold rain. I thought we were supposed to have sunshine for the whole three day weekend, so it was a nice surprise to wake up to the wet stuff this morning. Naturally, the rain came because I had already watered my yard yesterday.

Today is President's Day in the United States, and I'd like to take a moment to recognize their noble sacrifices so I could have a long weekend to play video games and nap.

I'm at Starbucks again, with my blonde roast and a cranberry scone. It's warm and clean here, with the little baristas fluttering around the counter, chattering and snickering. If only we could understand their language, we might unlock the secrets of the universe. The only thing disturbing the place this morning are two people sitting ten feet away from me, and two feet away from each other, talking like they are on opposite sides of a wide chasm. Here's a little sample of their conversation: SO I SAYS TO DALE, SAM WROTE A LETTER AND HE AND CUT AND PASTE EXACTLY WHAT THE RULING SAID AND SO IT WAS JUST BLATANT BUT THE BRIEF WAS OKAY, AND ONE TIME WHEN I WAS IN FLORIDA I WAS OUT SWIMMING AND I SAW THIS BARRACUDA AND I WAS LIKE WOW BARRACUDA YOU ARE UGLY AND LET ME ASK YOU THIS DID ROBERTA HAVE A GOOD TIME ON SATURDAY BECAUSE ROBIN SAID IT WAS LIKE CHRISTMAS AND I SAID NO ROBIN, IT'S BECAUSE OF THE ECONOMY. I'm not even joking.

Hurrah, they just up stakes and left! Ah, sweet peaceful calm. Now I can enjoy the fantastic playlist they've got going on here. Old R&B, soft and soothing.

Last night was the season finale of "Downton Abbey" on PBS and I've ranted enough about it over the past couple of months that I'm sure you've at least heard of it. Such an amazing show and so beautifully shot. Towards the end of the show last night, one of the principle characters was standing on the terrace watching the snow fall, wearing a dark red dress that just popped against the blacks and whites of the space around her. It would have made a beautiful painting.

I got to spend some nice time this weekend with each member of my family (well, except for the niece and nephew away in college). Friday night I invited myself to my brother's for dinner, and we had pizza and played some Xbox and then for reasons that are unclear to me, my brother and I ended up getting sucked into a show about children's pageants. The level of freakery present in that world is difficult to comprehend. One of the mothers (age 47) had a stripper pole in her living room, I kid you not. Of course, she called it an "exercise pole", but I suppose "daddy-issues pole" is too much of a mouthful. Look away, we could not.

On Saturday Chris and I went for a long walk along the river trail, and let me tell you it was cold. I was woefully underdressed, thinking shorts would be perfectly comfortable, and I certainly suffered for my mistake. We did have a nice time however, and afterwards we got some coffee and did a little shopping at this random thrift store near Chris' house. He came home with a brass lobster. If you know Chris then you'll know he's going to find some way to make it even more awesome than it already is.

Yesterday I tagged along with my mom when she took my niece shopping. She's 15 and a great kid to shop with because everything excites her. She found a dress with pink flowers that looked super cute on her, and I thought she was going to do a cartwheel. I picked up a few things myself, and apparently they had just marked the prices down fifteen minutes before we got there, which is so full of winning I can hardly stand it.

In the evening I went to my sister's for dinner (I did not invite myself, she asked me first) and watched some tv with her and my brother in law and my nephew. We're all hooked on "The Walking Dead", which is about killer zombies, and followed it up with two hours of Masterpiece Classic on PBS. It was a strange combination, but my brain is already rotten so very little damage was done.

Okay, now I get that it's early in the morning, and people come to Starbucks to relax and read the paper and drink their coffee, but do they forget they're actually out in public? The couple that just came in look like they stood in front of their closet and yelled to the clothes, "JUMP!". Perhaps there aren't mirrors in that home. Or combs.

I'm not sure how I'm going to spend the rest of this last holiday weekend, and I'm trying not to think about the fact that it's the last one until the end of May. At least the pressure at work lightened up for the first time this year, and I feel like I've gotten a handle on the computer rollout. That project almost did me in, and while I'm not done by a long shot, I can at least breathe a little easier since most of the machines are installed and working. And universe? Don't pull some BS move and send plagues of hardware issues. You'd better hadn't, I'm tellin ya.

Yesterday I made a kick ass stew and got some awesome artisan bread to go along with it, and since it looks like it will be a cold and rainy day it might be nice to catch up on movies and lay around in my pajamas. Oh, and pay bills because my paycheck was deposited a day early due to the holiday. I always feel good when that chore is complete.

I hope all is well where you are. Put ice cream in your near future, you won't be sorry.

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPad.

Santa Croce

Untitled Post Without Structure or Form

A cold, quiet rainy morning in Northern California. It's still early here, really early, and I am comfortably ensconced in the corner spot at Starbucks where I can observe the room and blend into the wallpaper.

This is my favorite Starbucks because it's so close to my house, but the staff here are very nice. A few years ago I met up with some people I grew up with and who I hadn't seen in many years. Everyone was in town for our 20 year high school reunion, and the barista overheard us talking and she changed the music in the coffee shop to all 80s just for us. I don't know why that charmed me so much, but it really did. Also, just now, as I'm sitting here typing a man came in and asked for some ice water. He clearly was just trying to get out of the cold and the wet, and the girl behind the counter gave him some water with a smile. He took a seat by the windows and has nodded off, which I can hardly blame him for because it's warm and cozy in here. One of the other ladies working here quietly came over and set a hot cup of coffee at his table and then slipped away, so he'll have something warm to drink when he wakes up. It sounds like such a simple kindness, but I'm really very touched. So if you live in Redding, or are passing through, drop by the Starbucks on Placer Street.

Oh, and another quick note about this place, several years ago my niece decided to be a barista for Halloween (she was about ten or eleven I think), and she came in and asked if she could borrow an apron and a hat for the night and the people working here gave them to her with a smile and told her she could bring them back whenever. Needless to say, I'm a fan of this particular branch.

I'm up very early this morning even though it's a holiday and I've earned the right to sleep in, but it's so hard to change my inner clock. I'm a morning person anyway, but I sure wish I could sleep in to the late hour of, say, 7:00.

This holiday could not have come at a better time because I am ridiculously burned out at work. I've spent the last four weeks installing 52 new computers in my office, a task that is absurdly complicated and one in which there is literally no one who can help me. Due to the limitations of regulations, only an administrator can do most of the work and until another person is hired, I'm the only one. When the new machines arrived, I set about the task of installing the software package we use for our network, only to discover there was something wrong with the disk. I managed to make the disk work, but it took twice as long as it should have. So, I reported the problem to my support people in Sacramento, and they were stumped about how to fix the it. So I continued along, cranking out machines and getting them ready to roll out. After I had done 30 machines, I got a call from our other support team in Sacramento telling me that they STRONGLY recommended that I redo the completed machines. The machines I had spent ten days and two weekends working on. My anger, frustration and dismay were profound and I literally, not figuratively, literally considered quitting my job on the spot. I was (am) exhausted from four months of doing the work of two people, and handling the stress of supporting nearly 200 staff members scattered over four locations and it's taken a toll. Hearing that I needed to redo work that had taken me hours to complete was just about the end of me. But I pulled myself together, started over and just got to work. I installed software like I was a robot at an auto assembly plant and when I was down to the final ten machines my phone rang. It was the support team in Sacramento (the ones who provided the software package), telling me that I in fact did NOT need to redo all those computers. The two groups hadn't spoken to each other, and the people who are supposed to keep things like this from happening didn't actually call and speak to anyone. There was a lot of finger pointing, some vague apologies and a lot of "whoops, sorry about that." Honestly, at this point I'm just numb from it all. I don't think my administration understands how close I've been to having some kind of neurological event and going out on stress leave. What's more, as I'm sitting here reading those words, in the back of my mind is the knowledge that they sometimes read this blog and have discussions about me at their meetings. So, in addition to the stress of trying to do the best I can with few options of support, I also have the very real concern that they will view this post as me being a whiny complainer. So I've got that going for me.


Whitney Houston. A sad waste doesn't begin to describe it. When Michael Jackson died (another sad waste) part of me thought that at least he and we were being spared having to watch him become more strange and eccentric as he got older. With Whiney, I think we were deprived of getting to see her turn things around and stage an amazing comeback. I wasn't a huge fan of hers, but I can't help but admire what an amazing gift she had, and what a terrible loss this is. And I see that Chris Brown won a Grammy last night! Cool! So, you can beat the crap out of your girlfriend, pitch a hissy fit and break a window on Good Morning America when someone dares ask you about it, rail against people for being legitimately scared of you, and when you make a new record you'll get a big hug from your peers and a shiny trophy!

Hey look! Debbie Downer has a blog! What say I move on to less heavy topics, yes?

I had my taxes done on Saturday, and I'll be getting a nice little refund back from our good friends at the IRS. I should use the money to treat myself to something nice, but I'm never really good at that. You know I've been mulling over a Mac book, but I did some research last night and I read that they are overhauling that line of machines and will roll them out in the spring. Perhaps I should wait a couple of months before I take the leap. Or I could plan another vacation to Europe and see some new places. And by plan I mean move, and by new places I mean Italy and by vacation I mean rent an apartment and work in a gelato shop owned by one of the hot members of the Roma soccer team. So many choices!

Wow, someone needs to tell the lady who just came in that she isn't 23, nor is she a member of the biker gang on "Sons of Anarchy." Oh, and bedazzled jeans don't look as sassy and fun as she thinks they do. And J Lo wants her hoop earrings back.

A very nicely dressed man is at the counter wearing a gun on his hip. I'm choosing to believe he's a cop and not a twitchy threat to my safety. Wait, he also has a a badge, so I think I'll be okay. Whew.

This cold, wet, drizzly day is really nice. Our winter has been cleverly disguised as an early spring, and I don't like the signs that perhaps summer might not be far off. This brick oven of a town doesn't need the blistering heat coming any sooner than its going to. I'm really wired for cold and wet days, which makes sense when I live in a city that has precious few of them.

Two hours I've been sitting in this corner, drinking my coffee and eating my scone (which was actually eaten one hour and fifty eight minutes ago), watching the world come and go. It's relaxing, this. Something I noticed about lingering in a cafe in Italy is that no matter how many people are present or how many conversations are being conducted, often at alarming volumes, I can only understand part of what's being said. This means I can't eavesdrop on anything and the cacophony just becomes this lovely flowing soundtrack to the scene. The words don't intrude on my thoughts, and I can make up any dialogue I wish. The beautiful woman in the elegant black coat with the red buttons wasn't talking about her clogged plumbing, she was describing how she caught her handsome lover texting his wife while she was making him dinner. The young man in the yellow scarf isn't a cell phone salesman, he's a student at the university working on his art history degree. The elderly couple isn't bickering about who left the milk on the counter, they're having an animated discussion of Berlusconi's peccadillos. I sometimes daydream about how much I love sitting quietly in Italy, and once in a while I can recapture a pale imitation of that feeling. Today is one of those days.

It is with heavy heart that I said goodbye to my dear Miss Anita Margarita at work on Friday. After nearly 30 years with the county, she decided to retire and begin the next chapter of her life. While I will miss her terribly, she certainly hasn't retired from my life and I look forward to hearing about what life can be like on the outside, My retirement is far, far in the distant future, so I will be living vicariously through her. For whatever reason, for me the pinnacle of indulgence is to be able to see a movie in the middle of the day if I'm in the mood. One day.

If you're still reading this far down, I appreciate your attention. Sometimes when I start to write, it's like the words pour out of me and I can't get them all down quickly enough. It's particularly easy to do when I'm on the iPad, but reviewing and editing what I've written can be a pain, so if there's an occasional word out of place or I've committed the cardinal sin of a your/you're or a to/too/two error, I hope you'll keep the demerits to a minimum.

Directly across from me is a table with three people sitting having coffee. One of the men is facing me and we've made awkward eye contact like fifteen times now. Every time I look up in his general direction, so does he, and our eyes keep meeting. Not in an eyes-across-a-crowded-room kind of way, but in a your-head-is-right-below-a-clock-and-I-swear-I'm-just-checking-the-time kind of way. You know what I mean. Oh thank heaven he just left. I feel like I'm at peace again.

It's time for me to hit the bricks and get out of here. I hope you have a good day and the people who shape it take pity on you and cut you some slack. Please, treat yourself to some ice cream because you know you've earned it.

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPad.

Santa Croce

Monday Monday

This morning I woke up early, as I always do, and decided to get out of the house and treat myself to coffee and a pumpkin scone (NOM) at my favorite Starbucks.  I don't much care if you sneer at me (I know how many people feel about Starbucks), because sometimes it just feels good to sit someplace warm and clean with free wifi and comfy seats, surrounded by the smell of brewing coffee and the hiss and rattle of industrial size espresso machines, the sounds of which reminds so much of the love of my life Lady Florence.  Plus, this morning they handed out free samples of salted caramel macchiatos so tasty it makes my knees weak.

Random, wandering post ahead.  I'll walk slowly.

This weekend we get three days off in the United States for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, and I admit I'm not exactly using my time in a productive manner.  I should be working in the yard or puttering around the house, but I think I'll forgive myself for wanting to just do as I please for a few days.  After all, I won't lie in my death bed filled with pride over that time I dug up a shrub in my yard when I could have been doing some writing or catching up on movies or working on my photos.

Saturday morning I was in the shower and got water in my ear, which has yet to get out.  I've tried every remedy possible (no joke, every single one), but so far nothing has helped.  Almost everything I hear out of that ear sounds like Charlie Brown's teacher and I keep hoping if I'm patient it will go away, but this is day three with no relief. I fear I'm going to have to see the doctor about it, a notion that thrills me to no end.

On Saturday Chris and I decided to take a short road trip to Sacramento for a little shopping.  The weather was perfection, and it wasn't really crowded anywhere we went.  We hit IKEA, grabbed the cheap but tasty breakfast, bought all sorts of random stuff (shelves, kitchen utensils, hooks, pictures frames, etc) and then hit the mall.  There's a Toys-R-Us near the mall we go to, which I always check out in case they've got new Superman stuff, and I found the Best Thing Ever:  a replacement Tiny Camera!  The one I bought and used several years ago didn't survive the last computer upgrade, and then it lost its tiny mind and started deleting photos randomly.  The Tiny Camera 2 that I found is actually a GI Joe digital camera for kids, but it's just what I was looking for. It was all of $5 and I suspect I'm going to get more than $5 of fun out of it.  I've taken a dozen photos just sitting here at Starbucks and I can't wait to see how they turn out.  Stay tuned.

We also went to the Macy's in Sacramento and stumbled across some pretty good sales.  I walked out with some Ralph Lauren clothes that normally would have cost $160 for $22.  Thanks, Great Recession!

The guy sitting next to me this morning has a MacBook Pro, and it's all I can do not to steal it while he's in the bathroom.  I've been wanting to make the leap to Mac for a few months now, but I simply can't justify the expense, so matter how how cool and sexy and useful and fun they are.  I could afford it (hush, I'm not being snotty about it), but I just can't talk myself into spending the money. I'm starting to suspect I'll never be able to shake that poor kid inside me.  Will I ever stop feeling guilty for enjoying the fruits of my labor?  I swear, I can't tell you how many times I've gone shopping and I've  found something I love for a decent price that I put it back and tell myself it's not a good use of my money.  I mean, I know we all do that, but it's practically a highlighted feature of my personality.  

There is literally only one customer in the building who is younger that me this morning.  It's like the waiting room of a doctor's office office in here.  At least with my blocked ear, I can't hear all the conversations that I'm certain are revolving around ailments and the obituary page.  Unfortunately this also means I can't eavesdrop on anything interesting.  I've got this expression I call my "wallpaper face"  that allows me to blend in with the background and observe a room without being noticed.  It's an effective camouflage that often comes in handy.

In addition to the free samples of the salted caramel macchiatos this morning, they also just handed out free bags of the new Stabucks Blonde Veranda blend.  Score!

I'm using the iPad this morning, so if any of my syntax, spelling or word choices seems peculiar, it's because I'm not going to bother proof reading this entry.  Lazy Matt expresses his sincere apologies.

The guy sitting next to me (on the side with my good ear) with the beautiful MacBook Pro has an accent I've been trying to place ever since he picked up the phone a half hour ago. I've pinpointed Texas, and I'm fairly sure I'm right. He just said, "He looked her in the AHAYE" and that's a Texan twang fer sure.

I think it's time to post this and hit the bricks.  I haven't yet figured out what I want to do today, but there might be a movie in my future.  I hope the people who shape your day take it easy on you.  Have a bowl of ice cream, you deserve it.
  • Current Mood

Video Post

I'm home from work today feeling sickly, and in my boredom and desire to escape what will surely be a long day of denting my couch, I came across this video meme.  I think the purpose is to demonstrate how you pronounce certain words, and what words you use to describe things.  I've seen this one before, but found it again recently and thought I'd post my take on it.  I think I came out a little stiff, but I'm blaming that on the fact that I had to keep two screens open so I could read the words while I was recording.    

I hope you post your own version(s).
(Upon review, I realized my mic is really awful.  It sounds like I'm speaking into a tin can, which would probably be an improvement.  I typed in my short answer to each question in case you can't hear it on the video.)

Say these words:
Aunt, Route, Wash, Oil, Theater, Iron, Salmon, Caramel, Fire, Water, Sure, Data, 
Ruin, Crayon, Toilet, New Orleans, Pecan, Both, Again, Probably, Spitting image, 
Alabama, Lawyer, Coupon, Mayonnaise, Syrup, Pajamas, Caught

Now answer these questions:
What is it called when you throw toilet paper on a house?
What is the bug that when you touch it, it curls into a ball?
A pill bug
What is the bubbly carbonated drink called?
What do you call gym shoes?
What do you say to address a group of people?
What do you call the kind of spider that has an oval-shaped body and extremely long legs?
Daddy longlegs
What do you call your grandparents?
Gram, Grumpa
What do you call the wheeled contraption in which you carry groceries at the supermarket?
Grocery cart
What do you call it when rain falls while the sun is shining?
What is the thing you change the TV channel with?
A flippie

  • Current Mood
    blah blah

2011 The Year in Review

I'm not sure what grade to give 2011.  I mean, it certainly had to be better than the suck-filled 2010, so I had high hopes that it couldn't be much worse.  Thankfully it wasn't.  Overall I'd give it a B-.  After all, I did go to Venice in the Spring, and I met David Sedaris (not at the same time).

Every year between Christmas and New Year's I pull together a favorite photo from each month and put them together on my blog.  I've done that here, but I haven't organized them in any way and they aren't shown in any chronological order.  2011 was a year in which I tried to quit being so fussy about certain things, including self-imposed rules and regulations.  So, tucked behind the cut and loaded with photos, is 2011...

Collapse )
  • Current Mood
    thoughtful thoughtful