Looks Like it’s Time for a Meme…

I came across this meme on my friend Carla’s blog, and I thought I’d bring it over here.  I’ve read some good books I could tell you about.  I went to see my Grandma again, and I could tell you about that.   I could even dredge up some thoughts on the horrid flooding in Texas and the horrid drought here, and tell you how it doesn’t rain in California this time of year, so if we DO get any, it will be tiny amounts and not help in the greater sense at all.  No real rain until September if we’re lucky, more likely November or December.

But no, all you get is a meme.  Sometimes my brain just works that way.  As in, hardly working at all, lazy lazy brain.  So, here goes.  The rule for this meme is that you must come up with an answer to each silly ‘question’, and the answer must begin with the first letter of your first name.  So all of my answers will start with J.

  1. First name : My first name?  Or just A first name?  My first name is J.  Duh. Or, as we used to (so eloquently say in Jr. High, “No Doy”. Or is that spelled, “No Doi”?)
  2. An animal: Jaguar.  Jackal.  Jackass.  Jellyfish.  Have I told you about the time Maya and I found a jellyfish washed up on the beach in San Francisco, and I could see its pulse (which makes no sense, because I don’t know that they have a heart),  and Maya convinced me to pick it up and get it back to the water.  I used a plastic bag to protect myself if it should sting me.  SF has now banned plastic bags, so I don’t know what would happen today.  Or if the bag would have proteted me if it had stung.  But it was a happy moment, watching it float away on the tide.
  3. A boy’s name:  Justin. Or Jack.  My two nephews. 🙂  There’s also Jeff, and Jason. Or my friend Cherry’s son, Jacob.  Or Tracy’s son, Jeremy.
  4. A girl’s name:  Julia.  Janet. Janice.  Jane.  I know, I’m only supposed to give one.  So what. My blog, my rules. My great-great aunt, for whom I was named, was Julia.  One of my most darling best friends is Janet.  Maya used to have a toy cat named Jane, who had wings.
  5. An occupation:  Judge. Janitor. Jailer.  Justice of the Peace.  Jelly maker.  Journalist. Juggler.  Jockey.  There were a few years there that I really wanted to be a jockey, despite not having spent time around horses.  Or, not enough time.
  6. A color:   Jaundice.  Is that a color?  Jet.  Jade.
  7. Something you wear:  Jeans.  Not Jeggings.  Never Jeggings.  Jackets and Jodhpurs and Jewelery.
  8. A drink: Julep.  Jagermeister.   Blech to both, though I’ve never had a julep, so I shouldn’t speak to that.  I don’t think I’ve ever had Jagermeister, either, actually.  Let’s stick with some lovely chardonnay by J vineyards, shall we?
  9. A type of food:  Japanese.  Jello.  Jam.  Jerky.  Jalapeno.
  10. Something found in the bathroom:  Jean Nate after bath splash.  OK, not MY bathroom, but there was a time when I was a kid that I used to buy this for my mom.  I don’t know if she actually liked it, or just used it to make me happy.  And my Great Aunt has some in her bathroom that is probably 30 years old.  I’ll bet that smells lovely.  As in, not.
  11. A place:  Jet plane.  On a jet plane, on my way to Paris or Milan or somewhere wonderful and lovely.  Or, conversely, Joliet Illinois, which I remember passing on I-80 on our drive from San Francisco to Philadelphia, back in ’94.  Jerusalem.  Japan. Jaipur.  Jamaica.
  12. A reason to be late:  Stuck in Joliet.  Not a GOOD reason, but a reason certainly.  Or perhaps, stuck in a traffic Jam.  Or, Just because.
  13. Something you shout out:  JESUS!  If you’re Christian, it could be, “PRAISE JESUS!”  If you’re not, it could be something you shout out in exasperation when someone almost rear-ends you on the freeway.  Or something you say at the end of ‘Planet of the Apes.’

That’s my list of J.  Perhaps not worth much, but at least it got me to post something.  Whew.

My 13 Favorite Independent Films

Whilst searching for blog fodder to try to keep me going through NaBloPoMo (really, could the name be any dumber?), I was looking at my old posts, and saw one about favorite films in 13 different categories.  One of the categories was Independent Films.  So today, I thought I’d share my favorite 13 independent films.  Maybe you have some time to spare, and either can find them on Netflix, your local video store (we still have a great one), or Amazon.

  1. The first ‘independent film’ I remember seeing was Sex, Lies, and Videotape, and it was so different from anything else I had seen before, I really loved it.  It’s still a favorite of mine.  Perhaps Andie McDowell cannot act, but she had me in that one.
  2. Before Sunset.  After seeing all three of the ‘Before’ films, I think this is my favorite.  I don’t know, they’re not so young and stupid as in the first one (no phone numbers?  Hello!), and not so worn out as the third one.  It’s just sexy.
  3. Junebug.  I reviewed that one when we saw it, here.  Really such a great movie, about identity and coming home.
  4. Lone Star, a detective story with an interesting twist.  I think about this one from time to time, and it’s been 17 years since I saw it.
  5. Lost in Translation.  Hard to believe this one was even considered ‘independent’, since it got so much buzz.   But I remember being blown away and not too creeped out by the romance between Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson.  Blech.
  6. Run, Lola, Run.  This one may not have been that fabulous, but honestly, I really enjoyed it.  Implausible plot, lots of action, foreign language.  What’s not to like?
  7. Fargo.  “Oh honey, you got Arby’s on me”, mixed with wood chippers and Jerry Lundegaard, and what’s not to like about that.  Really, I loved this movie, even if I have to look away at the gory parts.  Frances McDormond rocks.
  8. Do the Right Thing.  Again, is this an independent film?  I don’t know, but I do remember being blown away.
  9. Also, Mississipi Masala  Did anyone else see that one?  I loved it.  Denzel was great, as was his costar, Sarita Choudhury.  The story of an Indian girl and a black boy falling in love in Mississippi, much to the disapproval of pretty much everyone around them.
  10. Wild at Heart.  Perhaps this one is dated, I don’t know, but I adored the campiness of the performances.  They’re all SO David Lynch, you know?  I still can’t watch the fight scene at the beginning, when Nicholas Cage beats the crap out of the creepy guy, but the rest of it is great.
  11. Smoke, an interesting film that centers on a smoke shop, and some characters that frequent it.  Sounds boring.  It’s not.
  12. Metropolitan..I’m not sure I love love loved this one, but it was original and interesting, and I think about it many many years after first seeing it, which should be some sort of sign, right?
  13. The Sessions.  This was probably the best movie I’ve seen Helen Hunt in, and I reviewed it, here.  I was rooting for her to win an Oscar, because she was that good.  She didn’t, because Anne Hathaway won for Les Miz.  Whatever.  I’m not a Hathaway hater, she’s a talented actress.  But crying on cue is one thing, and showing the grace and depth of emotion that Hunt did is in another class entirely its own.

Thursday 13

(Sorry Sebastian, she knows it’s crab season, and she’s hungry!)*

Since I’m trying my darnedest to post every day in November, what better way than a meme or two? You had my ‘Wordless Wednesday’ yesterday. Today will be a Thursday 13. I don’t think I’ve done one of these in a long time. Way back when, I used to find a theme and stick to it…like, my 13 favorite albums, or 13 songs I hate, or whatever. Not sure if I can do that now, not sure I have the focus. So this will be a fairly random Thursday 13, which feels quite a bit like a Friday Randomness, right?

  1. Thanks to Cherry, I have a new book to keep me interested. It’s not the book she suggested, but it’s one that came up on Amazon as one that people buy along with ‘Girl in Translation’, which is her current read. It reminded me a bit of ‘The Guernsey Literary and Potato Pie Society‘, but only because it takes place in Guernsey during WWII. I expected to find that a stupid read, based on its unfortunate title, but it was really quite wonderful. By the way, I also put Cherry’s book, ‘Girl in Translation’ on my list at the library, but it hasn’t come yet.
  2. We had a lovely Diwali celebration. I cooked a nice feast of vegetarian dishes, and Ted lit candles, and Maya placed them throughout the house, to bless our house for the upcoming year. It was lovely.
  3. Tonight, Ted and I are going to see his favorite rock band, RUSH. Ted really loves going to see bands in concert, and RUSH is his favorite band. I like RUSH, and I like going to concerts, just not as much as he does. Once I get there, though, I have a great time. I’m looking forward to it, though I expect to be tired tomorrow.
  4. Maya’s been driving for about 2 weeks now. She told a neighbor yesterday that she had been driving for a month. She was surprised when I told her it was only 2 weeks…she’s improved so much and is feeling so much more comfortable. I still find myself still trying to put my feet on the brakes sometimes, but I guess that’s to be expected. She’s doing well.
  5. Maya and I went shopping on Sunday…lunch and boots. Funny how nice that can be, right? I love having a daughter, someone who enjoys spending time with me, looking for a cute pair of boots, and laughing at how silly people can be, leaving their stupid stroller out in the middle of the restaurant for everyone to trip over, with no possible clue that perhaps they should fold it up or at least put it to the side. We both got nice boots.
  6. I have next week off from work. It’s crazy busy at work, year-end is a very busy time for my company. And yet, there is no good time to take time off, and they have ridiculous limits on how much time we are allowed to accrue without losing it, so there it is. I’m taking time off. Working from home, it’s a habit, and a tempting one, to check my email every day and make sure everyone is OK and see if they need anything. Part of me wants to NOT do this. Part of me wants to do this. We’ll see what happens.
  7. We were watching Charlie Rose on PBS while I’m typing this, and they were talking about the film adaptation of ‘Life of Pi’.  I read the book back in 2007 or maybe earlier.  I don’t remember everything about the story, just that there’s a boy stuck on a boat with a tiger, for many many days and weeks, and survived to tell the tale.  I kind of wish the movie hadn’t been made in 3D.  I’m so over 3D.  (Actually, I was never into it.)
  8. I’ll admit it.  I read and enjoyed the NY Times scathing review of Guy’s American Kitchen Bar.  They trashed it.  I have nothing against Guy, really, though we watched some episodes of his Food Network show, “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives”, which is a common eatery show for people with ADD.  I have nothing against shows about diners.  I enjoy a grilled cheese sandwich as much as the next person.  But the cuts on his show are so quick, the recipes so useless, the bites he takes so huge, it’s tiring to watch.  But the review is hilarious.  I wonder if it’s true that there’s no such thing as bad press?  Because wow, they HATED the restaurant.
  9. Now we hear that Matthew McConaughey has starved himself for his role in The Dallas Buyer’s Club, and Anne Hathaway for her upcoming role in Les Miz.  I know that these characters should look frail and sick as hell.  At the same time, I find Jennifer Lawrence’s refusal to put her body through that crap refreshing.  When a healthy person (already Hollywood thin, so on the low side of a healthy weight to begin with) loses that much weight, they are risking their health.  Their organs have problems functioning.  Their bones lose mass.  They risk heart attack.  It’s no joke.  I think it’s ridiculous that people do it for a role, no matter how amazing that role is.  Yes, the character should look sick.  Let’s stick to make up and CGI, ok people?  There’s no reason that someone should sacrifice their health for a job.  Take the art and glamor out of it, and think of it like it is…it’s a job.
  10. Speaking of jobs, my job rocks.  You know why?  Because I work from home, that’s why.  Yesterday for lunch, Ted (also presently working from home) and I walked over to the Wednesday farmers’ market across the street and got lunch from some vendors, which we sat and enjoyed in the beautiful California afternoon sunshine.  It’s supposed to rain for the next few days, so it was really nice.  Also, the other day when I was waiting for three people to get back to me with their edits on something, I took a nap.  Love working from home.
  11. You’ve probably seen this already, but it’s still funny. Legalize marriage equality for all, or the gay guys will marry the crap out of your girlfriends.  Hey, I married Ted partly because he likes to dance, and was willing to go shopping for clothes with me.  And he was into hair, before he lost his.  The perfect boyfriend/husband, no?

  12. Did anyone notice that extra week between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year?  Wait, that’s not right.  What I meant to say was,  Did anyone notice how Thanksgiving is super early this year, giving us more time between it and Christmas?  Do you care?  Does this make any difference in your life?  Not mine.  There are things to do between now and Christmas.  So what?  Not a fan of holiday stress.  I much prefer holiday relaxation.
  13. Ack!  It’s the official beginning of the Dungeness crab season!  I pink puffy heart crab, and when I say crab, I don’t mean those tiny blue crabs from Maryland, or the HUGE long legged ones from Alaska.  I mean Dungeness crab.  I have fond memories of driving into the city as a teenager, and finding a place to sit on the docks to eat a cold cracked crab at Fishermans’ Wharf.  With some San Francisco sourdough and something to drink (as a teen probably a 7-up), it was a perfect meal.  Now I prefer to eat it warm at home.  I love it just steamed, with some dill garlic butter from dipping, but it’s also amazing ala Thanh Long, the best crab restaurant in San Francisco.  Gah.  Love crab.  And earlier in the season is definitely better, so hopefully we’ll get some soon.

*picture found on the unofficial Thursday 13 site, here.

Thursday 13

Trying to think of a quick blog post for today, before I run out the door. 🙂 So here it is, 13 Things I did (or shall do) on my Summer Vacation.  Graphic from the ‘official’ Thursday 13 page.

  1. Getting my hair done today.
  2. Took Maya to the airport yesterday for her first solo flight…to L.A. to visit her cousin.  I hope she has a GREAT time.
  3. Went to visit Cherry and her new baby, Jacob, and her old baby (2 year old) Elizabeth.  They live near the airport, so that was a two-fer.
  4. Mailed some packages I didn’t have time to mail before now.
  5. Did some work.  Not much, don’t worry, but I’d rather nip some things in the bud than let them wait until I get back.
  6. Going to Santa Cruz to see The Fixx on Friday, I hope.
  7. Maybe going into the City to see a movie this weekend.
  8. Maybe going to the Music and Market tonight, which is a Farmers’ Market with live music.
  9. Went to meet Heidi and her friend Ken in San Francisco last Saturday.
  10. Finished my book, which I loved.
  11. Starting a new book later today.  It’s waiting for me at the library.
  12. Going to breakfast in a few minutes with Ted.
  13. Thinking we’ll have salmon for dinner tonight.  With garlic and tomatoes.

That’s it…also thinking some thoughts about other blog posts I might work on.  Also watched a ton of Buffy episodes.  We have them all on DVD, and I’ve been sucked in, yet again.

Thursday 13 ~ Some things I’m glad I can do, some things I haven’t bothered to learn, a few I wish I could do.

Thursday 13

    (Things I can do)

  1. Ride a horse.   Maybe not well (yet), but I’m not afraid of them, and I’m glad that I feel confident enough when I ride that I don’t need someone there guiding me.
  2. Swim.  I love swimming.  I know people who are afraid of the water, never learned to swim, and it makes me sad.  Such a free feeling, and a way to feel your body in a totally alien environment.
  3. Cook a nice meal.  I truly enjoy cooking, and I’m thankful to my mom for making Richard and me start chipping in with that chore when we were in High School.  That gave me some time to get comfortable with it before moving out on my own.
  4. Ride a bike.  I know a couple of people who can’t ride a bike without falling down, and I’m so glad I can ride!  I love to ride my bike, and maybe next year, after I’ve recovered from the financial burden of being unemployed for about 6 months this year, after Ted was unemployed for half of last year, I’ll upgrade to the bike I want again.
  5. Read and write.  I know, basic, right?  But there are so many people in this world who have not been able to acquire these skills.  I don’t know what I would do if I couldn’t read especially, or what kind of job I could get without writing.
  6. Basic math. I can balance my checkbook to the penny, and any math that has ever been required for me for a job, I can handle. Calculus? Not so much.
    (Things I cannot do, and it’s OK)
  7. Knit. Maya was part of a knitting group in 3rd grade, and I tried to learn in order to help her with that. She put up a bit of a protest, complaining that I was trying to take over ‘her thing’. Which made me thankful that she is so open and able to communicate, because I didn’t really want to learn in the first place.
  8. Be super crafty.  There are people out there, some of whom I am friends with, who will see a game or a picture or a greeting card, and they say, “I’ll bet I could do that”, and they do.  Really, not interested.  I’ll buy your stuff, though, and I truly admire your efforts and skills.
  9. Bake.  OK, I sort of lie, because I can make a basic lopsided birthday cake from a box, or a yummy crisp, but when it comes to the finer points of baking?  Not interested in the least.
  10. Write stories. I’ve tried my hand at this, and I suck. And it doesn’t bother me in the least. All you writers out there need someone to buy your books and read them, right? I’m your gal.
  11. Do a cartwheel.  I’ve tried, it’s scary, and I don’t care anymore.
    (Things I would like to be able to do, but don’t know if I lack the skill or the patience to learn)
  12. Paint. I think it would be awesome to be able to paint a beautiful picture like the impressionist painters. I’ve thought of taking a class, but I’m afraid my skills and the expense are a deadly combination.
  13. Play a musical instrument.  I’m sure I could learn something, but what I want is instant skill.  Sit down at the piano and PLAY, not have to work on strengthening my fingers, figuring things out, all of that.  Well, it’s not going to happen.  The only way to play piano, or any other instrument, is to work on it.  Oh well.

How about you?  Any things you’re glad you know how to do?  Don’t care about missing out on?  Wish you could learn?

Thursday 13 Randomness

I have a lot of little things buzzing around in my head, nothing really worth a post on its own, probably, so let’s see if there are enough of them for a Thursday 13, shall we? (It’s not a book TT, but I just took the graphic from the official TT site.)

1. Wow, not only did one partner from Nibblers come by and comment, now the chef did as well!  I’m impressed by their dedication, and I’m pretty sure we’ll be going back for a second try.

2. I had a job interview for a job that I wanted yesterday, and the recruiter told me right then and there that I wasn’t a good match.  Ouch.

3. That’s only the 3rd interview I’ve had now, and I’ve been out of work for 4 months.

4. My old company called me on Monday and asked me if I want my old job back.  Looks like they cut too deeply, and are having trouble providing good service to their clients.  In this job market, it looks like I should take it, huh?  Anyway, if I don’t, it can mess up my unemployment benefits.  Sigh.

5. We went to see a pretty good movie on Saturday, Easy Virtue.  I was going to write a review of it, but I haven’t gotten around to it.  Instead, I’ll say that both Ted and I really liked it, and that I had no idea that Jessica Biel could act, but she was impressive.  It wasn’t the best movie of the year, but it was very good.  It’s a film version of a play by Noel Coward, but as I’ve never read or seen any of his plays, that meant pretty much nothing to me.  I do hope that this film helps Ms. Biel’s career, and she gets more roles like this one in the future.

6.  I’ve started delivering meals for Meals On Wheels, as a way to contribute to my community, especially since I’m out of work right now.  My intention was to quit when I found work, but I’m really liking it a lot, so I think I’m going to try to fit it into my work schedule.  It means taking one really long lunch a week.  I think that should be OK.

7.  The weather is weird here.  Cold and almost like it’s going to rain.  That’s strange for June.  I was telling Maya  how unpredictable June can be.  I remember one year she had swim lessons, and the fog came in every day and she was too cold, and didn’t end up going for 3 of the 5 days.  Another year, she had girl scout camp, and it was 110 degrees every day, and I thought those poor girls were going to die.

8.  I wish  more people were talking about a single payer health care system.  I know that Obama never promised it.  I remember being disappointed that both his and Clinton’s plans sucked so badly.  I wish that when it came to fixing things in this country, we could sometimes actually FIX them, without it all being tied in so directly to someone else’s pocket book.  In this case, it’s the insurance companies.  We in the U.S. pay so much more for our health care than in countries with single payer health care.  How broken does it have to get before people are angry enough to override the interests of the insurance companies?  At my old/new job, you pay about $500 a month for health insurance, and then you still have a $1,500 deductable.  That’s a per person deductable, btw.  And the company kicks in plenty as well.  It’s just a small company without much clout in negotiating with insurance companies.  Thankfully the benefits through Ted’s work are a little better.  Not great, but better.

9.  My stupid Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, is cutting cutting cutting programs, cutting care for the poor and elderly, closing 80% of our state parks, cutting funding to school and fire departments and so on.  He says this is because the voters were unwilling to raise taxes in the recent special election.  Dumb ass.  I voted against those measures, not because they raised taxes, but because they didn’t FIX things.  They took a bad political system and made it worse, in the guise of keeping funding.  So, I would argue, if you need to do some combination of cuts and raised taxes, do it, but don’t give us CRAP options as our only choice, and then decide it means what you think it means.  I felt like I had the choices between big bowl of steaming shit soup, and a pile of mashed shit, and what I wanted was a decent choice that might be painful, but didn’t stink so badly, you know?  I want them to do their jobs and FIX THIS.

10.  One more week of school, then Maya’s out for summer.  In that way, it’s good that I’ll be working at my old job, because it means working from home.  She’s never been a latch key kid, which is what was going to happen.  I mean, she’s 13.  She’s responsible enough. But she wouldn’t like it, I’m sure.  Or maybe I’m kidding myself, and she’d love it.

11.  I’m currently reading “Out Stealing Horses“.  I’m loving it.  Has anyone else read this book?  Watch this space for a review soonish. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book by a Scandinavian author before.  The language is lovely, the story sparse, but still compelling.

12. June 15th is one year since my mom died.  Sigh.

13.  Went to Stockton on Tuesday to see Grandma, and she’s doing great. 🙂  She fell and broke her leg awhile ago, and with her brittle bones, that put her in an assisted living facility until it’s strong enough to put her weight on.  Having her there scared me, and brought back memories of last year with my mom, and I feared she’d catch swine flu and die or something.  But here she is, and she was walking on Tuesday (with a walker), and might be going home as soon as next Tuesday.  Go, Grandma, Go!

Thursday 13 ~ Places I’ve Seen

Michelle at Scribbit has had two posts recently, one of places she would like to see, and one of places she has already seen. What a fun idea! So I’m ripping her off, and trying this one too. Several of my selections are here in California. Born in Berkeley, raised for a few years in Alaska and then the Central Valley of California, college in San Francisco, and now raising our daughter in the Bay Area suburbs.  I’ve seen a few places outside of the United States, but for now, I’ll stick stateside.  Though not only lower 48, as it were.

Jellyfish in Monterey

Jellyfish in Monterey

1.  Monterey, California. If I could afford it, I’d move to Monterey in a heartbeat. The laid back, relaxed vibe. The Cypress trees. The cool, foggy weather. The tide pools. The aquarium. The Monarch butterflies. The ocean. The ocean. The ocean. Dennis the Menace playground. I love this little coastal California town.  But geez, it’s EXPENSIVE real estate.

Muir Woods

Muir Woods

2. Muir Woods, California. Just a short drive north from San Francisco, this cool misty forest, this is the place to go to see huge, old coastal Redwoods if you don’t have time to drive up to Redwoods National Forest, which is closer to the Oregon border. Muir Woods has trees up to 258 feet high, and up to 1,200 years old. It’s peaceful and lovely.

Me on Oahu, 2005

Me on Oahu, 2005

3. Oahu, Hawaii. I haven’t been to any of the other islands yet, owing to a family timeshare on Oahu, but I’ve been to this island twice. I’m not a big fan of the crowds at Waikiki, but then again, it’s not so bad. I love going to the North Shore of the island and doing some snorkeling. That’s worth the trip any day.

Maya on the Beast

Maya on the Beast

4. New York City. We went to New York a few times when we lived in Philly, and then again in 2000 when Ted was defending his dissertation.  I’d like to go again, now that Maya is old enough to enjoy it.  We really liked going on “The Beast”, which is a quick boat tour that takes you out to the Statue of Liberty and back again, pumping pop hits the whole time.  I love the museums there, and the feeling of electricity that vibrates through the city.

5. Washington, DC. Haven’t been since we left Philly in ’96, but we did manage to make it down several times while living on the East Coast.  I love D.C.  Love the awesome Ethiopian food in the Adams Morgan neighborhood, love the monuments and the museums.  Love that so much is free, and everything is in walking distance.  The humidity I could do without.

Mendenhall Glacier, Juneau

Mendenhall Glacier

6. Juneau, Alaska. My mom lived in Juneau from ’93 until ’08, and if it weren’t for her health problems, I think she would have stayed there forever.  My brother and SIL still live there.  It’s a gorgeous little town, full of tall mountains and the rain forest (though arctic, not tropical), plus the ocean coming in and giving glimpses of whales once in awhile.  The bald eagles are common there, though still much appreciated and loved.  Maya and I went up in ’99, I think, for a week.  I’d like to go back sometime, and show Ted.

7. Shelter Island, New York. My friend Janet had a party on Shelter Island once many years ago, when Maya was still a baby, and we drove up from Philly.  The family’s house was right on the water, and it was fun to take jet skis out onto the water.  The Pacific Ocean up where we are is so COLD, so it’s always amazing to me how warm the Atlantic can be, especially in New York, which gets snow, while we do not.

Arches

Arches

8. Arches National Park, Utah. Ted and I went camping back in ’89.  The beauty of the desert is awe inspiring, especially the canyons and the arches themselves.

9. San Antonio, Texas. I’ve been to S.A. several times, always for work, always without my family.  I haven’t seen much of it, mostly the area around the hotels I was in, mostly in the evenings after work.  The Riverwalk is nice because it’s below street level, and so out of the direct heat of the sun.  That’s important.  It never failed to amaze me that the Alamo was right there in the middle of town, across the street from a mall.  On one trip, I decided I had seen the Alamo and the Riverwalk too many times, so I ventured out on foot in the other direction, and I enjoyed walking around a historic neighborhood with beautiful old homes.

10. Las Vegas, Nevada. Seriously? I could go the entire rest of my life without going here again. My old boss said he didn’t like ‘Sin City’ because there was nothing wholesome about it. I don’t know that I’ll go that far. I don’t need wholesome to have fun. My beef is more that Vegas seems so…fake…to me. Sights and sounds and experiences based on beautiful and interesting places around the world.  But none of them the real thing.  I think of it as Disneyland for adults.  And I’m not a huge Disneyland fan.  I’ll take a day at the Santa Cruz boardwalk over Disneyland any day of the week and twice on Sundays.   And now that the contract with Steve Winn that kept Spamalot from the rest of the west coast has ended, and it’s coming to San Francisco, there’s truly no point to Vegas.  You know, unless you want to inhale cigarette smoke and gamble.

Ashland Fun

Ashland Fun

11. Crater Lake and Ashland, Oregon.  My dad, step mom, and sisters all live in Portland, so while we sometimes fly to go visit them, we sometimes drive.  Driving from the Bay Area to Portland is a long haul, and it’s fun to break it up with a stop in Ashland for a play at their well renowned Shakespearean theater (though they produce many plays every year that are not Shakespeare as well), dinner, and spend the night in a hotel. If you’re there in the summer, there’s a bakery that makes a pretty amazing Marionberry Pie. Wow, so good.  Then you’re fresh for the drive in the morning the rest of the way.  We stopped in Crater Lake once, probably late 80s, for an hour or so.  The water is so blue, and it’s like a mirror.  Really pretty.

Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz

12. Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, CA. Since I mentioned Santa Cruz, why don’t I tell you what I like about it? I like that it’s not HORRIBLY crowded. I like the rides, the saltwater taffy, the bumper cars, carousel, and log ride. I like the old wooden roller coaster, the smell of sun and sea, the seemingly endless ocean right there. I like that there are affordable places to stay, and that it’s not too long of a drive from home if we don’t want to stay. I like the pier with really good restaurants where you can eat food that isn’t theme park food. I like the whole vibe of it. I like the arcade where they have a small section put aside for old folks like us, where you can still play Pac Man and Tempest. God, I loved Tempest back in the day. I like that I’ve been going to Santa Cruz for as long as I can remember.

13. Niagra Falls OK, kinda cheating here, since Niagra Falls is on the border of New York and Ontario, and the best view is on the Canadian side. But I’ve been to both, so I’ll count it. Does anyone else remember that short lived show called Wonderfalls that took place here? Cute, quirky, ran out of steam and didn’t get the ratings. Too bad. I liked it.

Thirteen Things I’ve Been Doing Instead of Blogging

Sorry for the bloggy silence this week. I guess I just haven’t been motivated. I have had a few ideas, but couldn’t be bothered to suss them out enough to write about them. Swine flu? Torture prosecution? Pirates? Obama’s first 100 days? Yawn to all of it. I suspect that no one cares what I think about any of these things, and there is plenty written in the news media on the subjects, so why bother, right? But, so you don’t think I’ve been hit by swine flu myself, or am being held hostage by Somali pirates, here’s what I have been doing, rather than blogging.

  1. Walking the dog around Heather Farm, where this week I have seen a turtle and the first goslings of the year, in addition to the usual suspects.
  2. Taking yoga classes, though I have the chance to go twice a week, I seem to be only making it there once a week.
  3. Sort of looking for work.  I have an interview tomorrow for the job I want, which has taken the motivation out of looking for other, less desirable jobs.  Which is stupid, I know.  But there really isn’t much out there right now.
  4. Trying to remember about slopes and Y intercepts, because that’s Maya’s math homework this week, and I seem to have forgotten some important details in the 25 years since I saw them last.
  5. Getting a massage.  Had a knot in my back that was keeping me awake, so I went to get a massage yesterday to beat it into submission.
  6. Riding my bike along with Maya while she jogs.  She has discovered that jogging alone with your iPod is a totally different experience than running around the track with a bunch of other kids in P.E.  But Ted and I have noticed some sketchy characters out on the trail over the last few months, so we don’t really want her jogging alone.  And my knees don’t jog well.  So I ride my bike up and back and kind of keep an eye out, without cramping her style too much.  I hope.
  7. Cooking.  I like to cook, and I like having the time to make yummy and good for you meals.  When I go back to work, we’ll have to start eating later, I guess.   Believe it or not, Ted and I have never both had 8-5 jobs at the same time before.  Someone has always been home early enough that it really hasn’t been an issue before.  That might be changing soonish.
  8. I’d like to say that I’ve been reading books, but I haven’t really gotten into my new book yet.  I get the feeling that once I do, I’m going to love it.  But I’m easily distracted lately.
  9. Reading your blogs.  And commenting.  Sometimes.
  10. Napping.  One of the privileges of unemployment is the afternoon nap.
  11. Whitening my teeth, the cheapo way.  I read somewhere that if you swish peroxide (3%) around in your mouth for a few minutes, and follow that up with brushing your teeth with baking soda, you get the same results as the drugstore whitening kits, for about $2.  I’ve been doing this for about 5 days now, and I haven’t really noticed a difference yet, though my teeth do FEEL a lot cleaner.  I used white strips once, and I didn’t notice a difference then, either, except that my teeth got very sensitive.  Supposedly this method doesn’t have that drawback, which is a bonus.
  12. Manicure/pedicure.  I’m going for that today.  I haven’t had a professional one in almost a year, I don’t think.  I want to look as polished and put together as possible for my interview tomorrow.  That’s the manicure.  The pedicure is just because I LOVE a pedicure.  Who knows, I might get some reading done on my book while I’m at it.
  13. Trying to prepare for the drought.  CA got a decent amount of rain in February, but not enough to make up for the two very dry previous years, or a very dry January and March, so it’s a drought.  What sucks about droughts, besides the short showers, is that you cut back on your water usage, and because people are conserving, the water companies can’t make enough to cover their expenses, so they raise the rates.  It feels like you’re being punished for doing the right thing.  Which you kind of are, but kind of not.  It sucks.  Anyway, in preparation, I went to our local water district and picked up a free low flow shower head, a thing for our hose (which doesn’t fit, because the end of our hose is old and mangy, and we just need a new one), and some coupons for $175 each off of the price of a high efficiency toilet or two.  OK, two.  But we haven’t gotten around to going out and buying the toilets yet, or installing the shower head.  I guess we should work on that soonish.  As long as it doesn’t interfere with my naps.

So now you know why I haven’t been around here writing much. I’ll figure it out soonish, I guess. 🙂 Right now, though, gotta finish the laundry, take out the recycling, and get ready to go get my nails done. Oh, and try not to stress about the interview tomorrow.

13 Movies

Autumn’s Mom had a conversation the other night that triggered this meme in my mind.  Her post included the following film preference tidbits:

Jaws – #1 movie of all time
You’ve Got Mail, Sleepless in Seattle – #1 (tied) Chick Flicks
Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility – #1 (tied) Period Movie
Halloween  – #1 Horror flick
16 Candles – #1 80’s flick

From which, I decided to make a Thursday 13 of my favorite films in 13 genres.  Are there 13 genres?  Let’s find out!

  1. Period Movie
    Out of Africa.  LOVED this film.  Loved the gorgeous scenery, the music, the story, the acting, everything.  Loved it.
  2. Romantic Comedy
    Before Sunset.  Is that a romantic comedy?  It’s not screwball argue type romantic comedy, it’s more just romance.  But it’s a great movie.
  3. War Film
    The Thin Red Line
    .  I thought this film kicked Saving Private Ryan‘s ass.  SPR was all glory and over the top in your face action, and yes, it was a great film.  But it didn’t let you forget that it was a great film.  The Thin Red Line was internal and quiet and gave you a real sense of the horrors of war.  Kinda reminded me of The Red Badge of Courage, which I’ve only read, not seen any film adaptations.  If you haven’t seen The Thin Red Line, I highly recommend it.
  4. Indie
    I like this genre a lot.  I could probably do another Thursday 13 with my favorite Indie films.  Hmmm.  This IS NaBloPoMo, which means a girl is always looking for blog fodder.  Perhaps next Thursday.  Anyway, for right this minute, I’m going to say my favorite Indie film is Sex, Lies, and Videotape.
  5. 80s Flick that’s not John Hughes
    Princess Bride.  Inconceivable?  I do not think you know what that word means.
  6. John Hughes flick
    He kind of became synonymous with the 80s teen thing, so I thought he could have his own genre here on my list.  My favorite is Pretty In Pink, even though Ducky was pathetic and annoying.
  7. Action Movie
    The Terminator
  8. Animated Feature
    Spirited Away.  I was totally blown away by this film.  LOVED it.  More than anything else he put out, better than any Disney film ever, best best best.
  9. Horror Movie
    The Blair Witch Project.  It was either this or The Fly.  I was devastated when Gina Davis had to blow Jeff Goldblum’s head off at the end of The Fly, and it’s probably more re-watchable than Blair Witch.  But Blair Witch creeped me out way more than any other film ever has in that first viewing.
  10. Foreign Film
    Water
    .  I cried so hard I thought I might barf, but it was a great movie.  It truly broke my heart.  Wonderful.
  11. Sci-Fi
    Bladerunner.  Ted will be shocked to read this, because he’s dragged me to see this film so many dang times, and I’ve never really understood what the hell was going on, or appreciated it, and I always fall asleep, which contributes to the not understanding or appreciating of it.  But we went to see the real Director’s Cut this year, and you know what?  It was great!  I totally loved it.
  12. Old Film
    It’s a Wonderful Life.  I wasn’t sure how to categorize this, but gosh, I loved the hell out of this movie.  I saw it for the first time on a very early date with Ted, and we’ve seen it every year since.  It never fails to get to me.  A tie would be The Philadelphia Story.  Awesome.
  13. Blockbuster
    The Fugitive.  My mom used to go on and on about the TV Series, about how good it was and how much she loved it.  Whatever, yawn, before my time, all of that.  But this was a really, really good movie.  Everyone in it was excellent, plenty of eye-popping action, suspense, drama, and overall good fun.

~DoSoEvAyMo – Today is Thursday, which means Yoga after work.  Other than that, no big plans.

Remakes: Friend or Foe?

I was looking online the other day for “Lost”, wondering when the new season would start (I never found out, exactly, though I seem to remember it’s January or February of 2009), when I came across the little tidbit that Land of the Lost is being made into a movie, coming out in 2009.  I know this labels me as lame forever, and my brother was embarrassed at the time to be related to me, but I LOVED “Land of the Lost” when I was 8 years old.  Oh Holly, how difficult to have to grow up without your mom, in a land of dinosaurs and Sleestack…the danger always present, the fight to survive strong in this small family.

I don’t know if this is a good idea or not.  We won’t know until the movie comes out.  I thought I might put together a Thursday Thirteen, though, about other remakes, and whether I think they were a good idea or not.  I’m limiting my list to remakes where I’ve seen both versions, the original and the new.  So though I saw Cape Fear in 1991, I never saw the original, so I can’t include it.

  1. Charlie/Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
    I didn’t think I would like the remake.  Why try to improve on the genius of Gene Wilder in the original?  He was crazy funny. Tim Burton and Johnny Depp succeeded by NOT trying to improve on the original, and instead re-imagined it, following the book much more closely, and making a Willy Wonka that reminds you of no-one so much as Michael Jackson, though not nearly as scary.
  2. Planet of the Apes
    I thought I would like this one, because I like Tim Burton, and I liked the original so darned much.  It was campy fun meets sci-fi at its best, so what’s not to love?  Turns out, blah, boring, dumb.
  3. Father of the Bride
    I liked the original a lot better than the remake.  I liked all of the actors in the remake, but for some reason, the poignancy of Spencer Tracy’s fear of losing his daughter came through better than Steve Martin’s.  I don’t blame Steve Martin.  I blame the script and direction.
  4. The Wizard of Oz/The Wiz
    Please don’t hate me.  I really liked the Wiz.  Better than the Wizard of Oz.  Ouch! That brick you just threw at my head really hurt!
  5. King Kong
    I didn’t see the most recent in this franchise, but I saw both the 1933 and 1976 versions.  I don’t really like these movies.  There’s a racial and mean undertone to them that gives me a bit of the willies.  But it was fun watching the 1976 version while my mom was in the other room, also watching Fantasy Island.  Flipping back and forth, and Richard and I confusing my mom about what stupid show we were watching.  No, it’s really not that funny.  But it was fun at the time.
  6. Lolita
    This film gives me the creeps a lot more than the book does.  Though the book is worse.  The beauty of the writing kind of lulls you into a stupor where you start to perhaps maybe sympathize with Humbert Humbert, even while your skin crawls and your heart genuinely goes out to poor Lolita.  The films never quite manage that.  I don’t know that they ever can.
  7. Wings of Desire/City of Angels
    I liked Wings of Desire.  It had heart, it was beautiful, it meant something. I hated City of Angels.  It was almost a caricature of Wings of Desire.  When Meg Ryan is riding her bike on the side of a mountain with no hands and her eyes shut, I’m just thinking, “Die, you idiot, who rides a bike that way?  No one with a frikkin’ BRAIN!”
  8. Shop Around the Corner/You’ve Got Mail
    I thought Shop Around the Corner was cute, and I thought You’ve Got Mail sucked.  I know, people loved it.  But Meg Ryan bugged the crap out of me, and I didn’t think that Tom Hanks had any charm either.  I loved them in Sleepless in Seattle.  Maybe they work better together when they don’t have many scenes together?  I don’t know.
  9. Against All Odds/Out of the Past
    Out of the Past was one of the original film noirs, and it took place in my very favorite city, San Francisco.  I want to love it.  I feel like it will make me seem smart if I love it.  But it’s kind of boring.  But Against All Odds was at least interesting, and Rachael Ward was smokin’ hot, and I love me some James Woods in all his creepy ickyness.  Loved it.  I know, Out of the Past is better.  I don’t care.
  10. Star Trek (from TV to movie to TV again)
    This isn’t so much a remake as a sequel, so I shouldn’t count it.  But it’s so famous, I’ll include it.  Loved the original series, the movies were good (the even ones, the odd ones sucked), and the series were varied.  Loved Next Generation, and they kind of got slowly worse from there, to the point where we got to Enterprise, which was just so-so and fairly boring.
  11. Bedazzled
    We saw the remake of this, and it was actually pretty funny and cute.  But there’s no way in hell anyone can top Peter Cook and Dudley Moore.  No way.
  12. Henry V
    I loved loved lurved both versions of this, both Olivier and Branagh.  Maybe it’s the genius of Shakespeare.  I suspect, though, they’re both gifted actors and directors.  I loved them both.  Glad it was remade so I could see another, excellent version of this wonderful play.
  13. A Little Princess
    I liked the ’95 version so much better than the Shirley Temple version (though I love Shirley Temple, do not get me wrong).  But neither one comes close to the compassion and depth of the book. The stupid dad in the hospital thing, which is in both movies, just ruins it for me.  The whole heart to the book was that Sara’s father was actually dead, and that she was able to befriend and forgive the man who was (inadvertently) involved in his death. Also lost in the films is Sara’s strength of character in staying kind and giving no matter what the odds (starvation, neglect, cruelty, abuse), because of her desire to live her life like a princess.  Hence the name.

How about you?  What remakes do you love or hate?

Thursday 13

I saw this Thursday 13 last week at A Gentleman’s Domain, and he got it from his friend, Di.  Looks like a cute TT, so I decided to give it a shot.

Thirteen Firsts

  1. First Job – I’ve told you about my first real job, at Mr. Steak.  But I had a couple of odd jobs before that.  The first was probably when my friend Jennifer and I would go to Pizza Hut and offer to fold boxes for take out, and in exchange, we would get pizza and soda to take home for dinner.  Awesome.  Another barter type job I had was cleaning out the horse stalls at a stable near my house, where I would clean out a stall or two in exchange for getting to ride one of the rental horses.  Also awesome.  Though Stockton in the summer gets HOT, and horse shit in heat STINKS, so I usually bailed around noon.
  2. First Blog Post – Way back in 2002, I gave blogging a very short try.  It didn’t stick. I wrote one post, and thought, this is pointless, and went away.  Gosh, if I had stuck with it, maybe I’d be a big time blogger like Dooce!  Probably not, though.  Here’s the post I wrote back then.
  3. First Airplane Ride – This would probably be 1970, moving from California to Fairbanks, Alaska.  I don’t remember it, as I was only 4.  I do remember moving back to California in 1975, though.  My mom shipped Richard and I off first, then joined us two weeks later.  So we were flying alone.  Of course, there were three seats in our row, and so we shared with a poor man that I’d love to apologize to.  I remember when the drink cart came around, he ordered an alcoholic beverage, but Richard and I had already ordered our cokes.  So here we were with our drinks, and he had to pay for his.  Uh oh, we thought, mom didn’t give us any money.  We’re screwed.  Luckily, of course, sodas are free, so we didn’t have to pay.  Whew.  I remember worrying about that for quite awhile.  At another point, we were bored, and I was having my Smokey Bear beat up on Richard or something, and hit the poor man next to us in the face.  My Smokey had been eaten once by the dog, and wasn’t in the best shape.  The man said, “Excuse me, you hit me with your rag”, to which I indignantly replied, “That’s not a rag! That’s my bear!”  He apologized.  No wonder he needed a drink.
  4. First Boyfriend – 8th grade, Mike Bettencourt.  His best friend was dating my best friend, so it made sense that we would give it a shot.  Of course, my best friend was having sex with his best friend, and I wouldn’t even let Mike do more than hug and kiss (no tongues!  Gross!), so he was a frustrated guy.  Oh well, I mean, I was in 8th grade, he was in 9th.  We were too young anyway.
  5. First Trip to Europe – Actually, only.  Ted and I went to London, Amsterdam, and Paris on our honeymoon.  It was FANTASTIC.  Except for the food in London.  And poor Ted had a cold.  But other than that, it was great.  My favorite city by far was Paris.  I was worried I wouldn’t like it, because it would be hard to be somewhere where people don’t speak English, and I don’t speak French, but it was fine.  And beautiful.  And romantic.  And the food was awesome.
  6. First House – To own?  The two bedroom townhouse that we live in right now, and tried to sell last year.  Stupid housing market.  First place I ever lived on my own? (with a roommate, but you know, away from my mom’s house)  A flat in San Francisco, on Fulton Street, a couple of blocks from USF and the Panhandle of Golden Gate Park.  Two bedrooms plus a sun room, hardwood floors, a formal dining room, a fireplace, and a back yard for the dogs, all for $850 a month.  Sigh.
  7. First Pet – First pet of my very own, I would say, because we had quite a few cats when I was little.  That would be Samantha, my wonderful dog.  Even if she did chew up my smokey bear.
  8. First Time Skiing – 8th grade, I think.  My friend Jennifer’s mom was dating a guy who loved to ski.  Since I was 5 years older than Jennifer, they would take us with them, and Jennifer and I could ski all day, and Linda and her boyfriend could go off and ski all day.  It was a lot of fun.  I think we went three times that winter, and I felt like one of the rich kids at our school, with my skiers tan and all.  Very cool.
  9. First Thing I Wrote That Was Printed – A letter to the editor to my local paper. When I was in 7th or 8th grade, a drunk driver had struck and killed two women in our town, one of whom was a teacher at my Jr. High.  His mother wrote a letter saying how everyone was vilifying him, but he was a good boy and he was heartbroken about what had happened.  That pissed me off, so I wrote a letter saying that gosh, sorry he’s heartbroken.  The families of the women were heartbroken, too.  And part of me still feels that way, though part of me also now has the empathy to know that yes, his stupidity had ruined not only their lives, but his as well.
  10. First Broken Bone – I haven’t actually broken any bones, though when I was quite small, my mom was teaching me to peel carrots, and had to leave the room to go to the bathroom.  She thought she put the knife out of my reach, but of course, I reached it, and practically cut the end of my finger off trying to slice carrots.  My mom says my finger tip was hanging by a thread of skin. She called the hospital, and they rushed in a specialist in a helicopter from San Francisco (we lived in Berkeley at the time), and he reattached it, including all of the nerves.  Did such a great job, I don’t have any nerve loss, and I can’t even tell which finger it was.
  11. First Hospital Stay – When I gave birth to Maya.  I’ll admit it, even though I was 30, and wasn’t going to have a horrid operation or anything, I was scared.  When they told me I was going to have to stay the night before her birth, to be induced, I cried.
  12. First Time I Met My Sisters – It was New Years Day, 1988.  The day after my 22nd birthday.  I had met my father for the first time in October of ’87, so now I was flying up to Portland to meet my sisters.  They were 17, and I went to High School with them one day, and I must admit, I fell in love with them, almost like my parents had just brought them home from the hospital.
  13. First Vote – I turned 18 at the very end of 1983, so my first chance to show my power at the polls was in 1984.  I know I voted for the Libertarian for President, but in my memory, that means it was Ron Paul.  But a little bit of research tells me that in fact, it would have been David Bergland. I switched to Democrat in 1988, after discovering in the primaries that registering as ‘Independent’ didn’t mean what I thought it meant.  I thought I was independent of a party, and could vote however I wanted.  No, it meant I could only vote in the Independent Party’s primary.  Sigh.

Happiness

Finding happiness in difficult times can be a challenge. I suspect that to be happy when the world is going to hell around you, you either have to be the type of person who is generally happy anyway, or insane. I hope I fall in the former category, and not the latter.

Because yes, I am generally happy. Things are bad right now, with my mom not recovering as well as I wish she would, and all that that may imply; with Ted losing his job and the uncertainty of where that will leave us. With a winter and spring that pretty much kicked our asses. Despite it all, and the stress that is impossible to ignore or completely rid myself of, I’m still fairly happy.

Nance wrote a post the other day, on things that are making her happy right now. I’ll play, and come up with a few of my own.  (And look, I tagged this as a Thursday Thirteen, and it’s Saturday.  It made me happy to break the rules.)

  1. The last day of school was yesterday. Now we have a couple of months to slow down in the mornings, which I’ll admit, I always enjoy.
  2. I have a good kid. She told me the other day that she is going to miss (almost) all of her teachers very much. She really likes them, and has enjoyed this school year. I wonder if any of them will miss her?
  3. Ted’s youngest cousin graduated from High School last night. It’s always pretty cool to see that moment in a kid’s life, as they try to figure out a bit more about what adulthood will mean for them.
  4. I married well. My husband is loving, and makes me laugh. And when things don’t go well, he’s on my side. Which is where he belongs, as my husband, but not everyone is so lucky.
  5. I like it when we take Genevieve for a walk, and she gets so excited that she spins. She’s kooky like that.
  6. We’re going to Hawaii in just a few weeks now! I’m really looking forward to that.
  7. When I told my yoga teacher that Maya probably wouldn’t be coming back for the summer session because of finances, she said, “Bring her anyway, no charge”. I’m thrilled that Maya wants to come with me and take up yoga, and I’m touched by this teacher’s generosity.
  8. It was cool to get to go to the honor society award presentations last week at Maya’s school. You have to have had a 3.67 for at least one quarter to be included. Color me proud.
  9. My SIL from Alaska is coming to California, today actually, and she’s going to come visit us next weekend. My brother won’t be here, because of the money and time he has taken with mom stuff, but seeing her will be great.
  10. I’m having dinner with my girlfriend Neva later this month. I love those dinners.
  11. I’m going to see my mom today. Though this may be difficult and stressful, maybe it won’t, and I’m happy that I live in the same state with her, so that such visits are at least possible.
  12. Much as I don’t like the stress of Ted being out of work, I do enjoy having him around. He makes me happy.
  13. After the graduation ceremony last night, we were joking about quotable quotes that might be used by the person giving the commencement address. Maya won the prize for best quote. “As Captain Kirk once said, ‘Double Dumb Ass On You!'” Well done, young padawan, well done.

13 Things I Wish I Could Change

(graphic found here)

For the most part, these aren’t biggies. For that, I am thankful. I married the right man. I have a healthy child. We bought our house at the right time. These are more like ‘pet peeves’, things that I mostly ignore, but sometimes flare up and bug me, and I wish I had done things differently. I thought I would come up with 13 things, for a Thursday 13, but I guess most of my beefs are a bit bigger than this list lately. Anyway, here’s a few pet peeves, things I think, Gosh, wish I had done this differently…

1. I wish we had bought a different dresser for Maya a few years ago. We bought a crappy dresser from IKEA (we’ve bought other things from them that are fine, but this sucker is a LEMON!!) . I just finished pounding the stupid bottom drawer back together, after it came apart YET AGAIN, and it frustrates me. Every couple of weeks for the last few years, the bottom drawer comes apart, and nothing I can do seems to fix it, due to soft wood and stupid joints, whatever they’re called.

2. I wish we had bought a gas stove. Our old stove died, and we needed a new one. Ours was electric, and we wanted gas, but running the gas line was going to cost almost as much as a new stove, and we were ‘going to move’, so we didn’t want to put the money into it. Since we didn’t move, it sucks that we didn’t get the stove that we wanted.

3. I don’t know what I would change, because there’s only one dishwasher made that fits in our particular condo kitchen arrangement, but the thing is starting to bug me. It’s only a year old, and the little compartment that holds the soap doesn’t want to open during the wash cycle. Stupid thing. I guess what I want is for us to have other options, and for us to have taken one.

I guess if that’s the limit of my minor problems, I shouldn’t complain. Maybe I’m just not thinking clearly, and there are more. Of course, there are a lot of larger issues I wish I could fix, but I can’t. So from a Thursday 13, I guess this has turned into a pathetic Thursday 3. I wish I could have come up with more.

13 Ways to Beat Stress

You will all be relieved to know that I’m doing much better lately. There is, of course, still worry, but I feel like I’m doing a bit better as far as the stress level goes. I had my first therapy session on Tuesday, and the therapist told me that she thinks I’m doing pretty well, and gave me a few tips to help me to cope. As a favor to any of my readers out there who might be stressed as well, I’ll make a Thursday 13 out of a combination of tips she had for me, and things I’m already doing, which she agreed would be helpful.

  1. Keep a notebook nearby, and when I think of something that needs to be handled, write it down. Don’t think it needs to be handled right that minute, but set aside one time of day to take care of it all. The notebook is to make sure I don’t forget things, and to let me go on with my day without worrying that I will forget something important.
  2. Don’t go visit every weekend. Make it every other weekend, because if my weekends have to be focused around going to see mom, I’m not going to be able to fully relax. That’s a hard one, because I don’t like to think of her there with no one to visit her, and I don’t think Kate should have to take it on all by herself. But it’s an hour and a half each way, and $30 of gas, and pretty much takes the whole day.
  3. Talk to the doctors, and share information with them about my observations. I’ve been doing this already, and I think it’s pretty effective. Especially since these doctors don’t really know my mom, don’t know all of her health issues and her personality, it helps for me to communicate with them, and let them know if I suspect something is off. Like with the meds.
  4. Don’t talk about my mom’s condition with everyone all of the time. Limit that part of the conversation to a few minutes, and then go on to talk about something else, preferably something cheerful and non-related. This isn’t because it’s not good for me to talk about things, it’s just that the constant talking about it keeps it at the very front of my mind all of the time, keeps it at the front of my emotions all of the time, and my mind and emotions need a break.
  5. When I do go to visit my mom, do something nice for myself to reduce the stress. Whether that’s stopping for lunch somewhere that I want to eat, or getting a Starbucks on the way (I don’t drink coffee, so that’s not going to happen), or having a glass of wine when I get home, or singing along to the Buffy musical CD in the car, do something to make the drive as pleasant as possible.
  6. Exercise. Exercise is a great stress reducer, and since I’ve started up a few days a week again, more than just walking Maya to school in the mornings, I’ve been sleeping much better.
  7. Eat well. To stay strong and not let the stress get to me, I need nutritious foods that will give me strength to get me through. I pretty much do this already, with healthy meals the majority of the time. Yes, I eat Cheeto’s or chips as well, but the foundation of nutrition is under there, and my body can get its work done.
  8. Breathe. She said it’s important to stop and breathe when I’m feeling stressed. And you know what? It actually does help some. My step mom gave me this same advice, when I was up in Anchorage, and it helped then, too. I don’t know what it is that I keep having to be reminded to do this. Tonight is Maya and my first yoga class together, and I think that will help a lot as well.
  9. Get a massage. When I told her that I was getting a massage that same evening, she said that was a GREAT stress reducer, and I should do it as often as I can afford. At least once a month. When I had the massage, and it felt SO good and relaxing, I was wishing I could afford to get one once a week. Stupid money.
  10. Have fun! She said it’s important to spend some time doing things that I want to do, hang out with friends, be with my family. I knew that one already, and I’ve been doing a decent job of balancing this stuff with fun. Like making sure I got home in time a few weeks ago, after taking my mom to the nursing home, to get to the RUSH concert. That was a LOT of fun, and I really enjoyed it. This Saturday is a casual little wedding shower for Dot, with Cherry and Liz, so I foresee more fun in my future. Plus, Prince Caspian is coming out, and Maya and I have been looking forward to seeing that for awhile.
  11. Remember that there is nothing I can do to make my mom well. I can tell her things that I think are important, but it’s not my responsibility of she doesn’t hear me, or doesn’t agree. This is a hard one, because since she’s not exactly well, I feel like repeated tries might get the message through. But I need to let it go at some level, and understand that she has to truly want to get well, before she will be willing to put in the effort that will be required. And I do think she truly wants to get well, but that the wall of depression has been slowing her down considerably from making the changes that need to be made. That and her stupid sciatica, which sure chose some lousy timing to flare up.
  12. Don’t talk about stressful things right before bed. That just gets the emotions churning, and the brain going into hyper-drive. So stop the mom talk at least an hour before bed, even if she’s doing well. Just talk about something completely different.
  13. Be a team with Kate. This one, we’ve already got covered. But it was nice to hear that it’s a good thing to have her as a sounding board, and as a team member in this project, so that I don’t feel so alone in dealing with it all. I’m pretty fortunate to have Kate (and of course, so is my mom), because otherwise this would all be a LOT more difficult. But you can’t ALL be a team with Kate. She’s only one person. So find your own team to deal with your challenges, and you’ll be that much better off.

So there you are. Good advice, it seems. What’s the best advice for dealing with stress that you’ve received? Or figured out on your own?