30 August 2008

Walk on

I am going to the Angels-Rangers game tonight. Good seats between home and first.

It's a relief.

Random strangers stop me on the street. "What happened here?" they ask, eyes wide and eager. I can't bite my tongue fast enough and I snap at them.

"Go read the newspaper."

I avert my eyes every time I pass the corner. I have to pass the corner several times a day. There is no escape. But I can't talk about it anymore. I won't.

It's time to plan winter crops--brassicas and lettuces--and start fall clean up. It's almost fire season. Again. I need to hire that architect. I need to pull out the front garden.

I have a bounty of blueberries. Tomorrow, I will make blueberry coffeecake for breakfast, and the spouse will wander off for his fantasy football draft. Then, the in-laws, and probably, bad Chinese food.


The Obama and McCain camps are fighting over...ME!

Boys, amaze me now.

Next week, I will make my first trip up to Los Angeles, barring issues.

Bills to pay, laundry to do, mending, meal planning.

The ocean, a museum, a coffeeshop, a streetscape.


Go listen to some good music: "Walk On" from the album All That You Can't Leave Behind by U2.

29 August 2008

The morning after

Thursday afternoon. The son, the daughter and I walk across the street on the way home from school.

The damage to the pavement from the fire has been swept and sanded. Small bits of plastic and other debris still lie in the gutter. Workmen quietly labor over the telephone access box that was destroyed.

High schoolers congregate on the grass verge of the housing development next to the battered light standard. A few adults stand about. A makeshift shrine of flowers and candles has emerged around the pole. I feel searing rage boiling up in my chest and give the man taking photos a filthy look. Sometime late in the day, pictures popped up all over the local newspaper's website: a glove on the sidewalk, bits of wreckage, the dented pole, the dead girl's DMV photo. I need no reminders of what I saw and it sickens me that the news agencies will so readily pander to the vultures.

At home, we spend considerable time talking about what happened. Though the daughter wasn't exposed to the full horror of the situation, she saw enough when she went to school that she is quite upset.

I spend a little extra time with the son. I am especially worried about him. I've lived through this before: five boys I knew in high school were killed in 4 different alcohol-related car accidents, and one of my student workers in my first job out of college died when she was hit by a car running across a dark street with a group of friends. I am especially worried about him because I am not handling this well myself.

He stands in the center of his room, looking at the walls and the bookshelves as if they are new to him.

"So, life just goes on?" he asks me dully.

"Life goes on," I reply.

And it's true. Everything has changed--we will never again be the people we were when we left the house yesterday morning--and yet, very little has changed. Homework still needs to be done, dinner still needs to be made, I will have to mend the son's brand new school pants that he has ripped open.

Dinner is comfort food: sausage and sauerkraut, kasha pilaf and green beans. Ice cream for dessert, with chocolate sauce and sprinkles. I always insist on family dinner, and somehow it helps to restore a sense of normalcy. As we finish saying grace, I ask for special grace for "all those who are suffering tonight." I am thinking mostly of the families and friends, of course, but also of everyone--police officers, deputies, tow truck drivers, hapless passersby--who became part of that accident scene.

The Angels beat the Rangers.

This morning. I drag myself out of bed, definitely feeling gun shy. What could have happened that I don't yet know about? The son drags his feet leaving the house, and lets out an audible sigh of relief when we turn the corner to silence.

"There's nothing there this morning," he whispers to himself.

Puffy-eyed, the daughter stumbles out of her room, and gets herself a glass of juice.

"How did you sleep?" I ask, usually a perfunctory question, but this morning I am hoping for a single word. Fine.

"Nightmares," she mutters. "Everyone kept disappearing and didn't come back."

It doesn't take a degree in psychology to figure that one out.

Later, while she is eating her cereal, she asks, "Mommy, are the people still out there?"

"No, they've gone home."

"Oh," she says.

A few more bites then, "Mommy, is the sheriff still out there?"

"Honey, no. You saw it yesterday when we came home from school. They've swept up all the mess, and there are still some candles and flowers, but it looks pretty much like it always does."

"Oh. Ok."

Her distress is deep.

But when the son and I walked over to the school in the early morning light, it really didn't look like it normally does. It was far too quiet, and it was far too clean.

As we waited to cross the street, a car made an illegal right hand turn in front of us.

Life goes on.

Go listen to some music: "The Morning After" by Maureen McGovern from the movie The Poseidon Adventure.

28 August 2008

Blood makes noise

I didn't see the blood at first, pools and eddies and smears everywhere on the sidewalk, ineffectually covered with sawdust in some places. I teetered, off balance, on my toes, stopping in my tracks at the last possible second so that I wouldn't step in it, throwing out my arm in the age-old gesture of mothers whose children didn't wear seatbelts in cars, to stop the son, so he wouldn't step in it.

We stared in horror at the evidence: discarded rubber gloves, papers, things my mind couldn't even identify at 6:55 in the morning.

As the son and I turned the corner a few minutes earlier on our way to the bus stop, talking quietly, we'd immediately seen disaster: sheriff and police cars, yellow tape closing off the street, two flat bed tow trucks.

"Oh my God," I said quietly, covering my mouth with my hand, as I caught sight of the burned remains of the front end of a car. Only the front end. Suddenly, the whole story was rushing together with frightening clarity.

But nothing prepared me for all that blood, still fresh, still red. The wreckage, the evidence of humanity lost, was awful enough, but I never expected blood. The son and I stared at my bare toes in sandals, millimeters from the first of the stains. My brain screamed, "GET HIM OUT OF HERE" as it tried to process the debris around us, as it processed my child's wide-eyed, ashen face.

When I got him across the street to his bus, I just hugged him for a moment.

"I'm so sorry you saw that. I'm so sorry you saw that," I told him over and over.

"I'm not," he said grimly. "I think I just learned one of those lessons you're always talking about."

Is this how we learn our lessons now? Avoiding a pool of another child's blood?

At 2:45 this morning, a 17-year-old traveling at a high rate of speed lost control of the car he was driving, hitting a light pole, tearing the car in half, sending debris flying for blocks in all directions. What was left of the car burst into flames.

The 16-year-old passenger died at the scene, according to one of the sheriffs.

The driver has been booked under suspicion of DUI.

These children, lives ruined or gone, scant years older than the 14-year-old avoiding their blood on the sidewalk.

There's a great deal I don't believe I can say at this point, not knowing all the story, and I'm trying not to be hasty, I'm trying not to rush to judgment. I know that accidents do happen, that bad things happen to good people and that I myself am so very imperfect, in my life and sometimes in my parenting. The only thing I know for sure is that this morning, I just missed stepping in the blood of some other mother's child. Knowing that alone, I am sickened and despairing and very, very angry.

Maybe my son did learn a lesson this morning--I know I will never forget what I saw out there--but he learned it at the expense of another child's senseless death.

Go listen to some good music: "Blood Makes Noise" from the album 99.9F by Suzanne Vega.

26 August 2008

Still in Hollywood

7 am: I take the son to the bus stop, and so, high school begins. I have mixed feelings about this, but worse, I have opinions. Yesterday at orientation, the whirring of the helicopter parents was deafening. My policy is to let people like that do as they please with their lives, but it enrages me when they try to pressure me into micromanaging my children's lives. Especially since my children are not only academically successful in their own right, but are responsible and concerned human beings who are worried about taking care of those around them.

7:30 am: I take the daughter to school, and so middle school begins. She hugs me hard, the top of her head now reaching the area just under my collar bone. Then she spots her friends and I am forgotten. I've watched most of this class grow from 4-year-olds in junior kindergarten, to today, sixth grade. Some of them drive me crazy, but they are beautiful children, just because, and I'm grateful that I've seen them grow and develop even if some are developing junior hoodlum status. I talk with a few of the other mothers (since reading Neil Gaiman's Coraline, "Other Mother" has such a sinister ring to it). I flash briefly on the many times over all of the years I've spent standing outside a school talking to other parents.

8:15 am: I set off toward the channel trail. It's Tuesday, walking and weights. My schedule has suffered with vacation and the chaos attendant to Back To School, especially with computer problems, and my washing machine opting to spew water all over the laundry room floor while I was trying to get the son's new uniform pieces clean. Hooking up the new, completely enormous monitor that Gateway sent me to replace the one that died (let's hear it for extended warranties on fussy items) for which some assembly was required. Then there were the friends we had over, and all of my desperate attempts to play catch up with everything.

It's humid this morning. Warm. Yuck.

Still, it's good to walk, as much as everything seems to hurt; it feels like Back to School. It also feels stale because I've been doing this for years.

It's not enough. I knew it wouldn't be.

Endings and beginnings. Both the kids started new chapters in their lives today. I've just ended one in my own.

Which, naturally, requires a new beginning.

Travel, arrival, years of an inch and a step toward a source

I knew what I was doing when I got on that plane in April: forcing myself out of my comfort zone, forcing myself back out into the world. I tend to be too insular; sometimes I don't realize how much I've isolated myself, how much even on a simple walk I stick to the back roads and stay away from areas where there are lots of people. I don't think about the fact that I see the same faces, the same places, that I've ceased to venture forth.

And so, planes, hotels, people and places I don't know, friends and familiar cities. I began on an island and finished on an island.

But no woman is an island. And I actually don't want to be. If I learned anything out there on the road, it's that introvert I may be, but I do get something from throwing myself onto a plane and knocking myself out traveling.

At the moment I am limited. I don't have a good excuse to pack a bag and go to New York for a few days (though, don't doubt it, I could come up with one). And honestly, after circumnavigating the earth a couple of times in the last few months, I really have had enough of airplanes. So how do I keep up the momentum and still be home in time to make dinner?

Have train. Will travel.

Hitting the Rush show at Nokia made me realize the extent to which I've lost touch with my old L.A. haunts. There was a time when I virtually lived in downtown Los Angeles (albeit usually unwillingly). It was not unusual, though, to park myself in a coffee shop in Hollywood or Studio City and just listen to the conversations swirling about me while I wrote. I would go to LACMA or MOCA to see a new show open. I'd go to a park, a concert, a nightclub.

I have a plot. I have a plan.

I have work to do.

See you in L.A.

Go listen to some good music: "Still in Hollywood" from the album Concrete Blonde by Concrete Blonde.

21 August 2008

Weird fishes / Arpeggi

Everyone who has heard the kayaking story assures me I was moments from death. Even my massage therapist, a normally very sanguine and calm woman, was poking at knots in my back last week, shrieking, "This...this!...is because your body thought you were going to die!"

Really, I didn't and I wasn't.

Though I'm grateful that I didn't know orcas were a possibility until afterwards.

But truthfully? I'd do it again (as long as there were still no whales).

And maybe that's why I like this photo. Everyone looks very relaxed (even the dead fish drying on the rack); there is no sign of a life and death struggle with the elements (except the dead fish, of course). Probably because despite the chaos, we'd all had a lot of fun (though not the fish, I'm sure).

Every misadventure...

Go listen to some good music: "Weird fishes/Arpeggi" from the album In Rainbows by Radiohead.

I was crazy not to follow
But I didn't escape
I stayed; I'm still here
I'm sorry

20 August 2008

Stand me up at the gates of hell...

but I won't back down.

I will, however, back up.

After 10 minutes of chitchat with a very nice tech, Gateway is sending me a new monitor to replace my evidently dead one.

Assuming the new monitor works, and Gateway doesn't charge my credit card, my faith in them could be restored.

Then again, I did spend the entire day, doing every possible diagnostic to my computer to troubleshoot the problem, while being chased around by the a/c maintenance guy (yes, him again. He is so nice, but he is always trying to sell me something. Then he puts freon in the system or takes freon out of the system. It's like, DUDE! Check the filter, check the compressor and go away! He's just so nice...I don't have it in my heart to be mean to him). So, I'm sort of a sweaty ball of rage (I've missed my workouts two days in a row. I spent all day yesterday buying back to school stuff--GAH!--and making recalcitrant children try on new uniform pieces and freaking out about the son's high school schedule).

And, the 'hood is apparently going to be on TV. I'm a bit...er...freaked out about that, too. Of course, one of the neighbors and I were standing out in the middle of the street, laughing about it when TV show host and entourage drove by, waving. They're invading the place for a couple of days.

Hmm, I guess I could mow the lawn in my bathing suit tomorrow...


Go listen to some good music: "I Won't Back Down" from the album Greatest Hits by Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers.

18 August 2008

I won't back down

Thanks for your order.

At this very moment, things are happening here at Gateway. Your order is being processed and soon it will be in a box on its way to you!

Order Date: 7/14/2006
Estimated Arrival Date: 07/26/2006

Belkin DVI Flat Panel Cable with a Right Angle Connector
Gateway Desktop
Black Widescreen Flat Panel Display
USB Speakerbar for Gateway Monitors


Subject: Gateway General Customer Service Questions AA3
Purchase Location: I purchased from Gateway.com

August 3, 2006

I had an original delivery date of 7/26/2006, an updated delivery date of 8/4/2006 and there is still no sign of it shipping.

Thank you, A.


Thank you for using Gateway's Online E-mail Support. Regarding your inquiry on the status of Order Number *******, please be advised that I thoroughly checked your records for this order and found out that your order is currently inthe middle stages of the production stage. The estimated arrival date is August 14, 2006. Please note that this is an estimate and your order could arrive earlier or later than the date provided.

Please note, Gateway has placed your order on a priority level so that when the product arrives at our warehouse your order can complete processing in a timely manner. Your order is important to us and we will do everything possible to expedite your shipment. I am confident you will find the order worth the wait.

It is my hope that this information will be helpful to you.

I have documented this correspondence in Service Request Number ********** in our contact tracking database. Please use this number in the future if you need to contact us again regarding this issue.

Please reply to this message if you require further assistance with this issue. If your reply is received while I am out of the office, to ensure a speedy resolution, your issue will be handled by one of my colleagues.

Thank you.



From: Stephanie
Sent: Friday, August 04, 2006 10:54 AM
Subject: Gateway order#**********

Dear Gateway Valued Customer,
Please contact us as soon as possible regarding your order number ********.
We can be reached at 1-800-***-****. We will not be able to process your order any further until we hear from you.

Our hours are from 8:00 AM until 5:00 PM, CDT.


Please do not respond to this e-mail. This account will not be checked for responses.


Dear Gateway,

It would be very helpful if all of you got together and decided what your story is. Because no sooner did I get the message below from Justin, then I get this message from "Stephanie."

Now, I did call the above referenced number on Friday, and of course, there was no answer, so I left a message with my name, phone number and the order number. Did anyone from Gateway call back? I'm so glad you asked. NO, no one could be bothered to call back! But "Stephanie" did helpfully send the same email again today, Monday.

There are a few things about this that bother me. One is that this is the sixth system I've ordered from Gateway in 8 years, and this is the first time I've had a problem just getting the order through. Doesn't bode well.

Second, I ordered this system 7/14/2006, with an anticipated arrival of 7/26/2006...then the arrival was moved to 8/4/2006. And when 8/3/2006 rolled around and I hadn't heard anything from you, I contacted you. And then the fun began. So, why didn't the fun begin 3 weeks ago? Hmmm. That doesn't bode well, either.

Third, my phone number is right on my original order along with my email address. It also appeared on the query form that I sent (see below). So if "Stephanie" is aware of some sort of problem, why hasn't she called me? Gateway didn't hesitate to phone me 4 years ago when there was a shipping delay on another system I ordered, so why the sudden shyness? Or is there no problem and "Stephanie" doesn't know that Justin emailed me? Or...?

I'm hoping there is a really simple explanation for all this.



Hello A,

Thank you for your e-mail. A, I realize this must be frustrating and I will do my best to help you with this issue. Please be advised that I thoroughly checked your records for this order (Order Number **********)and found out that we are currently having an issue with the stock of the following parts which is needed to fulfill your order.

Intel Motherboard
Black Wide LCD

Because of this the estimated delivery date of your order was moved to August 16, 2006.

it is just that we are currently having large amount of orders for the Gateway ******* due to its popularity and performance and we are doing our best to fulfill all these orders in the soonest possible time. A, please be advised that we also placed your order in our highest priority. Your order is important to us and we will do everything possible to expedite your shipment. I am confident you will find the order worth the wait. Please respond to this e-mail to either allow Gateway to continue processing your order or to confirm cancellation.

I look forward to hearing from you soon.

[blah, blah, blah boilerplate from first email]

Thank you.




Thank you for your response, and yes, I'm very frustrated. I do, however, appreciate your time and effort.

Yes, please continue to process this order.

Please also confirm that this is the same issue that generated separate emails from "Stephanie." Presumably, it is not necessary for me to call Stephanie at this point but I would like confirmation that this is the case.

Thank you,


Hello A,

Thank you for your e-mail. A, I really appreciate that you decided to continue your order with us. Please be advised that we will do our best to meet the date that we promised. I would also like to inform you that this is the reason why received an e-mail from Stephanie.

Please be advised that I have this correspondence in our database, so that Stephanie will also be informed. Please feel free to contact us again if you have further inquiries or concerns and I will be here for you.

[blah, blah, blah]

Thank you.



Order Date: 07/14/2006

Gateway Desktop Shipped 08/15/2006
Black Wide Flat Panel Display Shipping Soon



Ok, so I've received *most* of my order and hooked up the computer.

Is there any reason why the speakerbar and Belkin DVI cable that I ordered were just randomly left out without explanation?



Hello A,

Thank you for your e-mail and I apologize if there had been a delay with the shipment of your order under order number *******. A, for your inquiry on the Belkin DVI cable and the speaker bar, please note that there were no such items requested under your order. I have also been unable to access any related order numbers in your account with these items. What was shipped to you was the Gateway 2.0 Speakers. Kindly provide any additional information especially the order number so we could further access our records. Again, I apologize for any inconvenience this has caused you.

[blah, blah, blah]

Thank you.



Actually, Alyse, this is the original confirmation of my order as sent to me via Gateway in an email. PLEASE NOTE THAT THE VERY FIRST ITEM THAT APPEARS ON THE ORDER IS THE BELKIN FLAT PANEL CABLE. I have highlighted both items in question in RED for your convenience:

Order Date: 7/14/2006

Estimated Arrival Date: 07/26/2006

Belkin DVI Flat Panel Cable with a Right Angle Connector
Gateway Desktop
Black Widescreen Flat Panel Display
USB Speakerbar for Gateway Monitors


Hello A,

Thank you for your reply. I was able to locate the specified items on your temporary order number *******. This was when you ordered through our website. However, when it was processed in our database, the additional accessories such as the Belkin cable and the speaker bar was not entered and you were not charged for it. A, you will be able to verify this once you had received your invoice.

A, kindly contact a Gateway Consultant at the address below to place a separate order for the cable and the speaker bar.

I sincerely apologize for the inconvenience this has caused you.

[blah, blah, blah]

Thank you.



Thanks for your order.

At this very moment, things are happening here at Gateway. Your order is being processed and soon it will be in a box on its way to you!

Order Date: 08/25/2006
Estimated Arrival Date: 08/29/2006

Belkin DVI Flat Panel Cable w/ a Right Angle Connector


August 29, 2006

We're sorry. There has been a delay with your recent order, affecting the items listed below:

Order Date: 08/25/2006
Estimated Arrival Date: 08/29/2006

We apologize for being unable to ship your items as planned. We expect to ship your items by 09/07/2006 or earlier. We hope this new arrival date still meets your needs, but if it does not, please let us know by calling Customer Service...


Thanks again for your recent order.

We’re happy to let you know that the following items have shipped:

Order Date: 08/25/2006

Belkin DVI Flat Panel Cable w/ a Right Angle Connector Shipped 8/28/2006


6:46 am
August 18, 2008

Something touches my leg, and I open my eyes, right hand in the upright and locked position, ready to complete the dismemberment of the zombie old lady I was battling.

The spouse: "I brought you coffee."

Me: "Uh?"

The spouse: "I've got to head out to the desert, but I wanted to tell you that when I turned on the computer this morning, nothing happened.

Me: *groan*

The spouse: "Sorry."

I stagger out of bed, pull on a pair of shorts, gulping tepid coffee as I go.

The computer appears to be well and truly dead, black screen of death.

I murmur an obscenity under my breath.

After a few minutes of fiddling, I finally unceremoniously yank the power cord out of the monitor. A couple more mouthfuls of coffee and I plug the monitor back in. It hums and crackles into life.

So the computer is working anyway, even if the monitor is wonky.

I quickly Google the monitor parts number to see if there is any information on problems.

Gateway Display May Have Shipped Without the EzTune Software

Affected Products: Desktop Computers
Affected Operating Systems: Not OS Dependent

ISSUE: The Gateway® display may have shipped without the EzTune software

I do a quick search, and sure enough! No such software on my computer.

Gateway has emailed me at least once per week for years, but could they bother to email me about this? No.

And you know what, Gateway? Though you keep trying to sell me more warranty, I still have a full year's worth of warranty left on this puppy.

Chew on that.

Note this is the original email correspondence, edited to remove order numbers, Gateway employee badge numbers and telephone numbers, as well as a small amount of email boilerplate, and some identifying information. Otherwise, it's what transpired.

Go listen to some good music: "I Won't Back Down" from the album Greatest Hits by Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers. The family refers to this as MY song.

17 August 2008

Ever fallen in love with someone (you shouldn't've fallen in love with)?

Well, yeah.

How wrong is this relationship? Let me count the ways.

MICHAEL Michael Kors 'Annabel' Open Toe Pump at Nordstrom.com

Start with the 3-1/2" heel...

Go listen to some good music: "Ever Fallen in Love With Someone (You Shouldn't've Fallen in Love With)?" from the album Singles Going Steady by The Buzzcocks.

16 August 2008


Lights go down and all I know
Is that you give me something

Oh, honestly. I say the "R" word and everyone comes running. You guys are hilarious!

It does amuse me no end that the posts that get the most hits are those that have anything to do with Rush. Even my blog screams "failure as a girl."

Not that I actually have a problem with that.

(And yes, on the subject of girliness, the Badgley Mischka cocktail dress looked fabulous. Man, that's a dress that everyone notices. But to balance the relative fabulousness of my appearance, I'll just point out that I succeeded in messing up both my manicure and my pedicure before I made my grand entrance that night. AND I'll also point out that I lost the belt to the dress nearly immediately. Worse, I think I accidentally threw it away. Don't ask...)

We hit the ground running this week, and I'm drowning in back-to-schoolness. Right now, the grind of getting back to daily life is enough of a job. Just driving to the store or to take the daughter to her friend's house is enough to make me dizzy after a month of not being behind the wheel, and of concentrating hard on navigating streets where everyone is driving on the wrong side of the road. I know there used to be a STOP sign at that intersection and the line is still on the road, but the sign is gone, and that was just...

Confusing. Beyond belief.

And I get on Blogger today and the dashboard has changed completely. And Feedburner...let's just say that there have been issues since May.

Hello, hello
I'm at a place called vertigo

Returning to this world has not been easy, because of course, it hasn't changed and I have. I am reminded of the last summer that I spent in my parents' house. It had been a particularly difficult six months of college, and I crashed with a bad case of pneumonia. I spent those months recovering...and reevaluating. By the end of the subsequent year, I'd turned my entire life on its head, moved in a new direction that was completely necessary.

It wasn't until I was away from everything that I realized how badly I crashed in June (yes, I agree, I should have guessed when I was standing there in Sky Harbor without a clue in the world which connecting flight I was meant to take because I couldn't remember where I was going).

So, crash, and its inevitable companion, reevaluation. I'm watching the shifts begin, slow, tectonic, while I'm battling my own natural impatience, restless, restive yet again. I am at a crossroads, dealing with all that entails and implies.

For the last year, the messages have poured in, loud and startling, a cascade that led to a certain amount of overload. You may think I don't pay attention, but I do, and I made progress in May, only to backslide in June. It is so much easier to remain blind and deaf to what those around me are saying (and doing). It is so much simpler to remain on my own bull-headed and oblivious path. But the voices, the actions, have become more insistent and I'm forced to really look at what this raw material is, what it is I'm trying to shape into a life, and who is alongside me on the trip.

I have always been more interested in the process than the outcome, more dedicated to the journey than the destination. But perhaps the end point needs to have a value, or why all the fuss?

I have resisted the overtures of so many of those around me, looked past them as they tried to get my attention. Not because they are unworthy of my notice, but because I feel unworthy of theirs. Because accepting what they see is a responsibility to be visible. For the first time I've realized how fear can be selfish.

Willful ignorance has a cost. Old habits are hard to break, but I think I'm tired of paying dues on this one.

It was funny to see that an old post--How Do I Get Through to You?--went back up on hit list (reading the archives, are we? It's ok; I do, too. Mostly to gain perspective, and occasionally to wonder, "What the hell am I talking about?"). Like most things, it's a double-edged sword. How do you get through to me? I know it's a lot of work...mainly because my friends and loved ones tell me this.

("I told you," says D. "But you didn't believe me."

"You always deny it when I tell you," says the spouse.

"Yes, we did tell you," say the son and daughter.

You look at me. Even I can see the exasperation on your face.)

So here I am at a crossroads. I am dizzy, with fear, with joy, with love for those around me and what they've given me, with confusion for what I just don't understand and have accepted that I never will, with lack of road signs. Here I am, simple as ever and complicated as could be. I don't ask for much, except when I want everything.

Here I am. Looking for adventure. Or whatever comes my way.

(Didn't you already do that? Sure, but why stop now?)

There is possibility all around me. I had no idea what I was getting myself into a year ago, but I knew exactly what I was doing when I started up four months ago. It's been confusing as hell, organic and disorganized. Really damn scary, but completely exhilarating.

I don't know exactly where I'm going. I don't always do this right. And that wins me a frown or a horse biting me on the butt. But I'm trying, give me credit for that much. Trying not to overthink, trying to allow what is there to just be.

uno, dos, tres...catorce!

Go listen to some good music: "Vertigo" from the album How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb by U2.

13 August 2008

Incense and peppermints

From: OutOfTh3Kitchen@gmail.com
Sent: Wednesday, August 13, 2008 12:50 PM
To: 'JK'
Subject: Incense!


We just got back from our month-long trek through the subarctic, and I come home to a mysterious envelope…

Rush incense!!!

I don’t remember when I’ve laughed so hard. It was totally perfect. Thanks so much for thinking of me.

But we’re not sure what surprised us more…that you found Rush-branded incense…or that you found that rarest of breeds: a record store!!

Thanks again!



From: JK
Sent: Wednesday, August 13, 2008 1:12 PM
To: OutOfTh3Kitchen@gmail.com
Subject: RE: Incense!

It's a story....You know how it is when a family member has a business, you look around for stuff to buy -- whether you need it or not. He knows it and jokingly says, "maybe you're dying for some Rush incense". Much to his surprise, I said I knew exactly who would appreciate it...

Hope the vacation was good. I also owe you something...based on our visit to your house, DCK bought Rock Band for me. Clearly the gift was meant to occupy [the kids] and give me more free time, which I greatly enjoy.

Hey to everyone.


JK and DCK, dear friends since we were all in graduate school, have never gotten over the fact that they called one nice August evening four years ago to invite us over for dinner only to discover that I was in Toronto...for a Rush concert. Worse, they couldn't believe that I'd successfully "hidden" the fact that I was Rush fan from them for 16 years. It has come up in conversation every single time we've seen them since.

Go listen to some good music: "Incense and Peppermints" from the album Incense and Peppermints by The Strawberry Alarm Clock.

10 August 2008

Hello again

I slept from 10 pm until 5:30 this morning! Now that's progress.

I've added a few photos to some of the last month's entries, and uploaded higher resolution versions of some of the existing photos. I had to really degrade the photos to get them through the spotty satellite link, which didn't do justice to some of the better ones.

I'm down to about 3,983 loads of laundry. I need to get back to it.

And I'm so far behind on my Internet reading. I used all my Internet time on vacation to post here and to check email (gah), so I'm really out of touch. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but half my email on one account was lists of things I had to see right now. And of course, I haven't seen any of it.

At some point, my brain and body will become one again, and everything will make sense.


Go listen to some good music: "Hello Again" from the album Heartbeat City by The Cars.

09 August 2008

Home again, home again

It's 3:23 am, and I am suddenly irrevocably awake.

I love jet lag.

I passed out, pretty literally, at 10 pm last night, right as I hit the "I've-been-awake-for-24-hours" mark (yeah, I know. Twenty-four hours of wakefulness isn't exactly a record for me), after a long couple of days of travel. Schiphol to Heathrow after a multi-hour flight delay (thunderstorms) to a not-very-nice hotel to Heathrow to LAX, after a multi-hour flight delay (unspecified).

I loathe LAX. However, Heathrow is an abomination among airports. I'd even choose O'Hare over it.

Though I did have rather a good time leading my own personal parade of luggage trolleys through the underground tunnels from Terminal 1 to Terminal 3. Sometimes the weirdest things amuse me the most.

As we touched down at LAX, I turned to the spouse and said, "And now the plane drives around for a half-hour looking for a parking place."

Which was exactly right, though not so bad as the BMI flight the day (or two) before that dropped us off on the runaway at Heathrow for Mr. Toad's Wild Ride to Terminal 1. Which was filled with men in flak jackets holding very large guns. Just the sort of greeting I really like.

Los Angeles was warm and fuggy, weird after cold wind and temperatures in the 40s and 50sF. I'd forgotten it was summer. We lost our good weather the last few days of the trip, though a few days ago, I actually saw the North Sea in the sunshine, brief though it was, the first time I've seen it thus.

I never knew there were so many seas in one small area and I've now been on most of them: North Sea, Norwegian Sea, Arctic Sea, Labrador Sea, and the Strait of Denmark, which is nowhere near Denmark proper, but sits between Iceland and Greenland. At the western-most point of the trip, we were within about 500 miles of the coast of Canada, which was somehow jarring, but pleasant.

There's a lot yet to assimilate, photos to download, plenty to think about. I spent a lot of time the last month thinking about the state of everything, but I also spent a lot of time sleeping. Sometimes the only time I can sleep is when I can't do anything else. I dreamed a lot, weird dreams, including dreaming vividly of an earthquake, which of course occurred two days later.

(An odd thing about news. There were days I couldn't get an Internet connection to save my life, but I knew about the earthquake within two hours of its occurence, and I knew about the Angels' acquisition of Mark Teixeira about five minutes after it happened. Of course, it was a full day before we learned about Manny Ramirez going to the Dodgers, an event which was possibly more jaw-dropping than either of those other two things. And yeah, stuff fell over and moved in the quake--we aren't that far from the epicenter--but we didn't lose anything that we know of.)

Another 18,000 miles added to the year's tally, and I am done for the foreseeable future. I am ok with this; there are about 4,657 loads of laundry I need to do, and a very large bin of mail requires sorting.

There was a phone message, too. A service with whom I sometimes contract called and asked me to update my resume. That means they probably have work for me. I find I am...resistant to the idea. Not resistant to the idea of work, of course, but I've decided it's time to look elsewhere (apple farming in Norway?).

That's another adventure.

First, however, I need a brief nap. My body may be in California, but my brain is still in London. Or Norway. Or Iceland. Or in Prince Christian Sound...

"To Market To Market" is a traditional children's rhyme. But you knew that already.

07 August 2008

Scream now

It is very much one thing to be bitten in the rear by a horse. It is something else altogether again to be felt up by airport security in Amsterdam. And no, I don't mean patted down. I mean felt up. In the U.S., I'd probably have grounds for a lawsuit.

It was not a good day.

Go listen to some good music: "Dream Now" from the album Scarlet and Other Stories by All About Eve.

05 August 2008

I'm gonna be (500 miles)

Weel, I've not much to add to the adventuring for the moment because I've been too busy eating fish and chips in the Shetland Islands while chasing off predatory gulls.

I roamed around Stirling, which is fabulously beautiful.

I'm beginning to dream of familiar things.

Like real 100% whole wheat bread and good coffee. My cat, friends and loved ones.

My own bed. Real laundry facilities.

Then again, there's amassing school supplies and buying uniforms...

Nah, I don't think I'm ready to leave quite yet.

Go listen to some good music: "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)" from the album Sunshine on Leith by The Proclaimers.

02 August 2008

Begin the day...

With an Icelandic horse biting your bum.

(a companion most obtrusive)

Yes, my posterior was the one being bitten. And no, there was no reason for it to bite me, other than pure cussedness. But it didn't take long for the horse to come to the sad realization that it was not in charge, and that I'd been around horses. So we did ok together, with me crooning sweetly to it, "You're a really baaad horse."

It was a really good day, riding between lava flows and birches. On a naughty, bitey horse.

Go listen to some great music: "Spirit of Radio" from the album Permanent Waves by Rush.