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« July 2006 | Main | September 2006 »

19 posts from August 2006

AlsoAugust 31, 2006

I just ran across't a post by Lala, written almost two years ago when I moved into the condo. It still makes me laugh. (Scroll to bottom of page.)

Update (annotated).

List

Well, here we go. I've been angsty lately, haven't I? I'm sitting here at work, and it's quiet, but my brain is not, so I've decided to lay it all on you. All my random thoughts and worries and junk. Seriously, better here on the screen than rattling in my brain. I'm going to list things, since my brain is jumpy anyway.

1. Janine told me the best advice in a comment the other day: Do not have conversations with people who are not in the room. That has saved my brain a few times recently. On Monday, she and Becca and I went out to coffee, and she told me another zen-like statement. I shoulda written it down, but it was SO good I thought I'd remember. I celebrated the wrong birthday this year, so we know my memory's bad. Janine, what was that?

    1b. What a random way to start a list. With something I don't remember.

2. Money worries. Niggling worries, made stronger by the fact that Miss Idaho's surgery today (mammary tumor, think good thoughts, please -- she's home and recovering) set us back the price of my plane ticket to Europe. Of course, that doesn't really mean anything, since we've already bought our tickets, so it's just money charged, and money charged on pets is always okay by me (ask my three grand cat Digit), but I ask you this: How does ANYONE save money? Do you? And if you do, I don't want to hear about it. Unless you have a genius-like idea on turning couch cash into gold bars.

    2b. I remember what Janine said! She said, "If you have a problem that can be solved with money, you don't have a very interesting problem." How much do you LOVE that?

We heart Janine:

Janineyay

and we heart Becca:

Beccayay

I love meeting with these ladies for knitting and coffee and sammiches. I love it a lot.

Wait. I was listing.

3. Writing: I'm thinking about it a lot. And I'm not doing it. I could be writing tonight, but I'm not. I'm stalled at a point where I need to block off some time to sit and read and sort what I've done over the last six months, and put it in some order, make notes, and decide where to go from there. Instead of doing that, I write one or two pages while I'm at work, and I pretend the body of work doesn't exist on my weekend -- preferring instead to veg out on the couch. I need to schedule the time, and STICK TO IT.

4. Speaking of being on the couch, I've ordered the first season of Project Runway from Netflix, because you all love it so much.

5. Knitting: Fast and furious. New object to show you by next week at the latest if all goes well. And at my new dog park, it's clean enough that I can knit on the perpetual Sock in Progress. Don't get me wrong, I don't require cleanliness to work on a sock. They're going on feet, after all. But the beach, oh, I couldn't do it at the beach. I leave the beach coated in sticky damp sand, sand in my ears and in my pockets, sand down my shirt. The SIP lives in the car, so it's usually full of sand anyway, but at least it's not wet, sticky sand. There's a difference, you know.

6. It is suddenly busy here at work. However, I'm only on phones tonight, and I'm sitting in what we call the mush-pot, which is far away from the other three people working. I'm hidden behind a half-cubicle wall, and I don't have to participate in all the chatter if I don't want to. I love that. I still do all the same work, I just don't have to be as highly social. I love the mush-pot.

7. There was so much more rattling in my head. But now I feel better, thanks. Also, oh, yeah, I feel better. I slept all day, for possibly more than seven hours, if I'm doing the math right, and it's all due to Lala. She got up early and took the poor wee dog to the vet, and then she worked from home and kept the other two dogs quiet all day. Lovely sleep. I plan on getting some more sleep today, too. I like sleep, as often as I can squeeze it into my busy schedule.

8. I need to exercise! I need to run! I have no time until Monday (literally, NO time, not even 15 minutes is unscheduled right now) but then I will run. And write. And budget.

    8b. Excuse me? There is too much to do. Just thought you should know. Again, HOW DO MOTHERS DO IT? Because I think y'all might just be crazy. That might explain it.

9. The End.

August 29, 2006

I don't feel so good. I keep thinking it's outta control allergies, but I'm at work tonight and I'm feeling all squoodgy and shaky, and I've been freezing for two days. I never have a chill, and on the few occasions that I do, I normally enjoy them, usually running too hot.

And this is a long week. This isn't my normal night to work, but working tonight gets me an extra night off for the Europe trip. (YAY! Yay!) But that means five nights in a row, 12 hour shifts, 2 hours of commute time. Not much time at home, none to left over to wash dishes. Lala, reuse your glasses, okay?

The good news is that I found a new, wonderful dog park right close to the house -- it's only 10 minutes up the road in Castro Valley, as opposed to the beach, which is 30 minutes each way in traffic out on the other side of town. (Every afternoon before work, I take the dogs to the park -- Clara needs to run with other dogs every. single. day. or she eats things. Like yarn. And magazines on Buddhism. (I hope she needed the dharma more than Lala.))

(This is for visitors searching for the Castro Valley Dog Park: Because it is so hidden that it took me over an HOUR to find the dog park near my house, and there exist no directions online to find it, and the address listed is not actually where you need to go,  here you go: exit at Center off 580, head north on Center (NOT as you would think, on Crow Canyon), and go right on Paradise Knolls, the parking lot is all the way at the end. You're welcome. Enjoy.)

Lala took this at the beach -- Clara goes FAST. And the little dog that was chasing her was one of the funniest, bossiest little dogs I've ever seen. They had a ball.

Vfastdogs

And the one-handed dog:

Vsmalldog

Readers RockAugust 25, 2006

Y'all are amazing. If anyone out there has problems with another person (as if), please scroll down to yesterday's post and hit the comments. I have the best, smartest, nicest, sexiest readers in the land, and I can prove it. So there.

During a conversation with my mother today, I finally figured out how to describe a typical conversation with The Owner Who Drives Me Crazy. It goes something like this:

Me - "Please have some chocolate cake."

Him - "But I want some chocolate cake! You don't understand, I really want chocolate cake. I want it so much. I wish you would listen to me. No matter what I do, I can't get any cake. I wish I could have some cake. I really, really want chocolate cake."

Me - "Here's some chocolate cake. How big a piece do you want?"

Him - "You don't get it! I want chocolate cake! Can you even understand me? If you stopped trying to interrupt me -- no! Don't you interrupt me when I'm trying to tell you something that is imperative for all of us to understand. I want chocolate cake, and I'm going to do anything I can to get it. You should be aware that perhaps legal counsel is the best way to persuade you to give me chocolate cake. I wish you would just listen to me once in a while."

Me - "Hell, pass the cake to me, if he's not going to eat it. And buddy, you can have some if you want some. I'll put it in front of you"

Him - "No, I just wanted chocolate cake. That's all. But never mind. I see how it's always going to be."

But really, if you have that person in your life that makes you want to stick a fork in your eyeball just so you get some peace and quiet at the hospital, please go read those comments. Bless y'all and thanks.

Aargh

I have to yet again express my displeasure with the HOA member who is of the donkey family. I repeat myself, don't I? I just can't tell you how much he affects me. I guess we all have one, don't we? Someone who pushes our buttons and makes us fly right out the window of reason. Bam! We hit the window and then we're through the glass, just like that.

See, I know that we're right. I know that. We're trying to fix the house, and he is blocking us at every turn, even though he's the one who says he wants his unit fixed first. There are four of us in the HOA, and three of us are reasonable and sane. But him..... He makes me feel crazy, like we're wrong to insist that we meet, that we reasonably discuss things, that we move expeditiously.

It's as if he screams at the top of his lungs (figuratively) and is so loud he blocks the rest of us out. We can vote around him on every measure, but we don't always want to. Dude, we want to get some bids on fixing his damn dry-rot, but he won't give us a time to enter his unit, just insists that the bid he submitted is good enough. And then he threatens to just fix it himself (no way in hell) because we're stalling. We're NOT! Aargh. Then I start worrying he WILL get one of his shady friends (he has a lot of them) to start working on his unit, just like he got them to rip out my back deck. The hole is still there for my tenant to trip over. Removed without permission or authorization. Triple-dipple aargh.

It's something about his personality. Just being in the same room with him makes my head explode. And getting emails from him in the middle of the night, rambling, illogical emails that go nowhere shoots me right back to slamming into that window. Bam!

We know we should look into legal representation soon, or at least arbitration. Just to shut him up. At least the dues are now paid. That's an improvement on the last two years. And really, I'm writing not to complain about him (can't tell, can you?) but to try to figure out how to deal with my reaction to him.

Because really, my reaction is extreme. I obsess. I rehearse conversations with him. I plan emails. I try to guess what he'll do next, and which tack we should take to meet that imagined move. I lie awake in bed, and I drum my fingers on the steering wheel in traffic. I had almost recovered from Sunday's meeting, and he spews a stupid email at us tonight that heated me right back up.

He's bumming me out, yo. I was kind of down all week, and I finally realized that it was because of having to confront him last Sunday. I started to pull up and out of the funk, and then the email lands. I just can't shake him. Any good suggestions for me? Just telling me not to worry about him, that's he's a dummy-head and not worth my time or concern, that's not going to help. Give me something Buddhist or Taoist, something strong, something loud. I tell myself a million times a day that I'm LUCKY to have this problem. And lord knows I am. I have it so good. I am thankful every day, this is true. But he still drives me up the freakin' wall. And out the window. Help!

Weensy Camera PurseAugust 22, 2006

Img_2568

You like? I don't carry a purse unless I'm going to work and need a ton of things. Otherwise I have a cell phone in one pocket, wallet in a back pocket, dog bickies and keys in another, and lipstick in the fourth. While the camera fits in a pocket, I don't have one to spare, so I sewed this up based loosely on instructions here.

Img_2565

Stash fabric, and leftover button from godson's Dylan's sweater. I'm well chuffed.

August 21, 2006

We finally upgraded to a new camera. I'd had mine for about four years, and it was taking a dive. Lala's was okay, but big and bulky. So we bit the bullet and sprang for the real deal (imperative for Venice, right? Right?), the Canon Powershot SD500 Digital Elph, with 7.1 megapixels. The POWER! And it fits right in my pocket.

Wow. I just checked, and it's smaller than my cell phone (not that that means anything, since the Treo is pretty big, but wow).

So here! Fewer cell phone photos for you! (Although you'll still get them, the phone is always with me.....)

Img_0188
    5 lbs of cute

Img_0133
    There are a lot of these surprised looking shots

Img_0012
    But then I figured it out.

I freaking love technology, man. Now we're off to the beach, where I'll probably take one bajillionty million pictures of dogs, pictures that no one else will appreciate like I do, but I appreciate! I do! I also have a lot of errands that I just don't want to run today..... I had a hell of an HOA meeting yesterday, in which I had to go head to head with the guy next door (he got his name as associated on the title, so we have to let him in the meetings), and I hate confrontation. Apparently I'm good at it, but it left me a sobby, weepy mess afterward. Of course, I had worked all night, and had come home to find Clara in a crate full of intestinal distress (poor baby, she'd eaten something horrible, I think it might have been a rotten lemon from the backyard), so at 6:30am on Sunday, I'm in the front yard, sloshing out and scrubbing the crate with Lysol and hot water, washing the dog under the hose. The meeting came after that (and a nap, thank god). I am in a much better mood today, but in no mood to Do Things I Have To Do.

Lala had a great idea yesterday -- every time I have an HOA meeting, we get out a box of Cadbury Creme Eggs from the freezer. There are five left, and I just CAN'T have five meetings between now and Easter, can I? I think that'll do nicely.

Beach now.

C is for CrazyAugust 19, 2006

It is not, I repeat, NOT for Christmas, Rabbitch. I sah-wear to god. If you didn't live in Vancouver (for which you are forgiven all faults, but forget I said that), I'd drive up there and give you such a pinch!

I can't believe you did that. Bringing up the C-word when there's another heat wave headed our way. Humph.

So here it is. Let me be the first to make this eminently sensible decision this year, and I am making it out loud, right here and now, for all of you, gentle readers, to witness.

  •     I am not knitting anything for anyone this year for Christmas.

Dpn't get me wrong (that was an honest typo. Hah!). I do love knitting prezzies for people, but I really dislike doing it on holiday deadline. (Christy, the shawl doesn't count. I'm LOVING knitting it. Can't wait to show you. And it's not Christmas.)

And you know what? I'm going further with this, watch me:

  •     I'm not going to buy anything for anyone until one week before Christmas.

How do like THEM cinnamon-apples, HUH, Rabbitch? Put that in your stocking and smoke it, lady.

And when I do buy Christmas presents, this is what I'm going to do. I'm going to drive to the City, pay for garage parking, walk to the MOMA museum gift store, buy one small and interesting gift for everyone on the list, and then go home and wrap them. I think I can have Christmas done in under three hours, including traffic. Watch me.

Now, you can go ahead and cuss me out for bringing it up. But please remember that I wasn't the first one. Rabbitch was. Good thing she lives in Vancouver. Safer up there, y'know.

AlsoAugust 17, 2006

Lately I've been trying to jumpstart creativity, just like my Divine Ms. Em has. She has a post and a comment thread that I loved reading this morning. Go give her some more idears, huh?

Mom is a good sport. Never that into dogs, she is a complete cat person. However, she was pleased as punch when Miss Idaho decided to give her the nod the other day when they were in town.

Momanddogs

And Harriet is willing to sit at anyone's feet, just as long as she's getting all the attention.

But Clara? While the little mama is cute as always, isn't Clara the show-stealer here? Hi! Here I am! I'm so HAPPY! Steak please?

August 14, 2006

Photo_081306_013

Moebius Scarf! Directions at DIY Network. I love it. I used my own handspun cashmere, so I *really* love it. It's almost too soft to wear, if that can be possible. (It also stretched out a bit, so I wore it doubled later in the day, which kind of defeated the moebius effect, but who cares? It's cashmere!)

And get this: I was in San Francisco yesterday, meeting relatives in from New Zealand. While waiting in the hotel lobby, a woman asked me, "Is that the moebius scarf from Knitty Gritty?" So we discussed. Ah, the common language of knitting....

Venice!August 11, 2006

So, did you hear that Lala's band The Whoreshoes got a European gig? They're touring Benelux (see site for full details) for about ten days at the end of September. If you're there, you should go.

We've known about this trip for a while. We've been broke for a while, too, so there were no plans made for me to go along, although my first thought on hearing about the tour was VENICE! I could take Lala to Venice! That was my first thought, even though my first thought really should have been something along the lines of "Oh, how wonderful that my wife's band is so good and popular." No, I thought of how close Venice is to Brussels via Ryan Air.

Then we looked at finances, and I had given up the dream. Sigh. Someday.

Then we rented the condo, and I signed up for on-calls and overtime, and the dream is BACK on, baby.

I have to admit, that however glamorous it sounds, I don't have much interest in touring with the band. That sounds like a lot of work and not enough time sitting in cafes. So instead, Lala and I are going to fly into Brussels about four days before the tour starts, and immediately hop a flight to Venice, where I will show her the city of my heart. (For more, if you have to have more, there are links to some of my Venice ramblings on the left.)

We'll stay three days only, a long weekend for me, and then we'll fly back to Brussels where I'll dump her at her gig, maybe watch the first show, and head home.

I am beside myself. Look. Here's me, and then over here, here's me, sitting next to me. Be. Side. My. Self.

To catch you up if you're behind, I love Venice, Italy. I do not like the city. I do not feel fondly toward it. I love it. I love everything about it. I've been six times, I think, and nothing dampens the passion. I got an amazing email from someone today, a gal who had stumbled on some of my Venice writing and wrote to say that she feels the same In Love way with the city. She, however, is living the life -- writing for nine months in America, and living for three in Venice. I am jealous in that happy oh-someone's-really-doing-it way.

The passion for the city feels physical, it feels like when you're in love with a person. The smell of salt mixed with diesel, the sound of birds' wings flapping and the myriad bells chiming, none at the same time, none together, the taste of spritz and prosecco and coffee and sepia.

Look! That just happens when I think about Venice. I wax poetic. How annoying for you.

I worry a little about freaking Lala out. She won't love it as much as I do, and that's okay. Few people do. She'll think it's a nice, pretty, tourist town, as most do, and that will be good. She might like it a LOT. She'll be amused by her enthusiastic Boxy Ferrari (a Venetian working on a church's scaffolding once gave me that description), and hopefully that will keep her from wanting to scream if the Ferrari says, "Oh, over here, sugar, over here!" one more time.

Also, even though god knows I love Italy, Italy does not, so much, as a whole, love the gay. They're pretty closed to the gay. So it'll be interesting to be there, out as a couple. I could have a very different experience this time. But I don't think so. While the people are wonderful, and I love the interactions I have there, my relationship is with La Serenissima herself. I've called the city "it" through this blog entry, and every time I typed the word, I felt like I was calling a woman "it." I knew, however that saying I can't wait to get back to her would be too precious, and I'd want to slap myself. You'd come through the computer to slap me, and I wouldn't blame you. But Venezia just isn't an It.

Ack! Stop me!

I'm excited.

Loop by LoopAugust 10, 2006

My friend Nakachi is a strong, lovely woman, and she's proving it, by setting this up. Please join if you're so moved. I think it's a fantastic idea. You've seen what knitters can do..... 

All,

Many of you may be aware of the events currently unfolding in Lebanon.  Regardless of your political positions, or lack thereof, the devastation has displaced a staggering number of civilians.  Basic living supplies are desperately needed.  Many of us who feel the need to assist in the call for humanitarian aid are unable to send money. We are not, however, helpless. 

I am the co-founder of a yahoo group created to gather those who can sew/knit/crochet to assist in an on-going effort to provide handmade towels, blankets, soap and clothing to those in need in Lebanon and worldwide.  We are making these items by hand to be delivered directly to those in crisis. 

We have made contact with relief workers on the ground in Lebanon and with the country's Higher Relief Council to determine legitimate delivery channels and are preparing to send our first shipments.  We have also teamed with organizations here in the U.S. with established humanitarian programs such as  MADRE and Women's International League for Peace. At the end of the month cloths will be travelling to Ethiopia with an organization called Hope for Children.  The cloths will be delivered to an orphanage for Ethiopian children affected by the HIV pandemic.

If you or someone you know knows how to knit, crochet or sew please join our yahoo group, Loop by Loop. Feel free to forward this email to others you think would be willing to assist in this massive effort.  We need all the hearts and hands we can get. 

Moebius SurpriseAugust 8, 2006

Who else saw Knitty Gritty yesterday? Who else was amazed? Did you see this?

I know, I can hear you yelping from here. That show? It's normally pablum for new knitters who feel an irresistible need to knit with acrylic fun fur. I always Tivo it, though, and this is what I do: I bring it up, I cringe at the project, then I see who the knitster girls (or boys) are, since they're sometimes bloggers (but does Vickie ever mention that? No), and then I fast forward to the designer featured, just in case it's someone I LURVE so much that I'm willing to watch her pontificate upon the knitted air-conditioner cozy. (I'm going to get found someday by someone searching for that.)

Yesterday, however, the project was lovely, as I must admit, every once in a while it is. A Moebius cowl, done in Fleece Artist sportweight cashmere. Simple, pretty lace.

The designer was Cat Bordhi. No, I know. And you're right. But I think even with her eccentricities, she's a genius. Not a genius like Einstein or Zimmerman, but more like your crazy uncle who bought all those boat motors and then built an ice castle out of them, somehow. She freaks me out, but man, does her brain work in an unconventional way.

Now, Moebius knitting has always seemed vaguely interesting to me, in an oh-that's-neat-but-eh kind of way. So you cast on stitches, and then do what you normally do accidentally, twist them when you join them in a circle. I guess it always seemed like a make-lemonade kind of project. Oh, shit! Well, that's okay, I'll just make a Moebius.

But not this method. Has this been around? Has she/anyone been doing this for a long time and I've been in the dark? She casts on twice around a double-looped long needle, and then knits continually, from the CENTER of the scarf, so there's NO CAST ON EDGE (brilliant) and the one twist is just organically there. And it's only a half-twist! When you screw up in casting-on, you get the whole twist, so there are actually two twists in your knitting, but this is only one, a true Moebius.

I watched the whole show, people. Fascinated. Something entirely new to me in knitting. I went for a bagel later, and found myself right next to a knitting store. So I went in, and heard people discussing the show, which had only aired two or three hours before. The clerk said she'd already sold yarn and long needles to four or five people who had rushed to the store. It's like that, really.

So catch a repeat, if you can. The written instructions are here, but you can't use them sans episode yet, since they haven't even finished writing up Cat's unusual cast-on.

Me, I'm using handspun cashmere, which only increases my delight in this surprising technique. I'm off today, and I have no plans other than sitting my ass on this couch and knitting.

Stork!August 7, 2006

No, not for me, silly. Stop it. But at work, I had a boy! I get a stork award! Here it is:

Stork
Working 911 fire/medical, you get birth calls regularly, if not often. Nine times out of ten, the contractions are in full swing, but the baby is still an hour or more away. Sometimes you get the real deal, screaming and pushing, the baby almost out, and then the silly paramedics get there too fast, and you miss the new baby's entrance. Or you get the call after the baby's born, and they just need an ambulance for transport.

But tonight, I got the whole deal, answered the phone and Almost-Dad-But-Not-Quite-Yet was screaming almost as loudly as Hang-On-Just-A-Second-You're-Almost-A-Mom. "It's coming out! The baby's coming! Oh my god!"

In the length of time it took me to verify his address and phone number, to get her age and vital stats, the baby was all the way out. We got through the whole thing: making sure the baby was breathing and crying, cleaning the baby, wrapping the baby, tying the umbilical cord, delivering and wrapping the placenta.

Then I asked Now-You're-A-Daddy, "Is it a boy or a girl?"

He said, "It's a boy." Pause. "It's a BOY!" You could hear that he hadn't really fully realized it until he said it out loud for the first time.

"Congratulations, daddy." I said.

"Thank you! It's a BOY!"

Dude. That was cool. And okay, I gave myself the stork award, since we always talk about them and no one ever really gets one, but I wanted it. So there it is. Woot! Happy birthday, kid. It's a good world. Welcome.

What Do You ThinkAugust 5, 2006

of my little avatar over there? Courtesy of Meez, it was fun to play with. Does it look like me at all? I mean, add sixty pounds to her bones in your head. I'd like to feed that girl a decent meal of, like, thirty-seven virtual milkshakes a day. Give a girl some curves, wouldja?

A Brain, Released into the Wilds of Sleepiness, is a Strange ThingAugust 4, 2006

I am itching to knit cables. I'm.........

Oooh! Have you ever tried Paul Newman's fig snack cookies? They are soooo chewy and good.

I was thinking about knitting. But now I'm not, sorry.

My brain is fried. Exhausted. Too much work, too little sleep, and the added stress and excitement of getting a lot done in a short amount of time. Yesterday I gave the key to our new tenant, and I left her there. In my condo. Which is now her apartment. I don't live there anymore.

I don't WANT to live there anymore. But it's weird to sell the space to someone. She'll be cozy there. She'll be one taking the baths in the clawfoot tub. (Why didn't I take my last bathe while I still could?) She'll be listening to the traffic. I hope she loves it. She certainly seems like a doll.

I was all, like, professional and stuff. I said, "I want to be the best landlord EVER!" and then I did a little hop to emphasize the point. "So call me! For anything! If anything breaks, I'll fix it!"

She said, "I'll really keep it nice for you. I promise."

"But I'll get things fixed! Put nails in the wall! You'll scratch the hardwood floor like I did, and who cares? Shit happens! Just call! I'll help!"

She said, "I used to manage an apartment building, so I'm pretty handy."

CALL ME! I wanted to scream, but I nodded coolly and stopped jumping up and down. "Sure, that's cool. I get it."

Then Clara and I left and went to the beach where I felt very grown up and weird, and she felt like a border collie who wanted to herd waves (she's very good, thank you for asking).

I forgot I had these cookies! Hang on.

Yep. Still as good as they were ten minutes ago.

See, me back on midnight shift lets you in for this kind of thing. Saintly Lala was great yesterday morning when I got home. I'd been up and running for more than 24 hours following a sleepless PMS-insomnia night. I got LOST going home. Seriously. I was trying to get through Pleasanton on surface streets, avoiding a pile-up on westbound 580, and I totally twisted myself up. I couldn't call work for directions home, because I would have cried. I didn't have a map. So I literally headed for the hills, knowing Oakland lay that direction.

Yeah, wrong hills. I was almost to Fremont (got to Sunol) by the time I figured out my mistake. Timesaving, not so much.

I got home and dissolved into those big tired sobs that don't make any sense. Also, I needed to make the bed right NOW, with Lala still in it. This is true.

She just kept saying shhhh.
Shhhh.
Shhhhh.

She left the room to take a shower so she could go to work, and when she came back in, I was dead to the world. Lovely, lovely sleep.

I'm at work now, dreaming of sleep. And eating the best fig newtons. And deciding that I really don't care for knitting lace. But I LOVE cables. I must do cables soon. Very soon. Screw all this other stuff I'm working on and can't seem to finish (except socks. Finishing lots of boring socks lately).

I hope you're sleeping now, well and deeply. Or if you're east of me, I hope your coffee is strong, and the sky is clear and cool. That's what I wish.

AlsoAugust 3, 2006

Also, hello to reader Linda, who spotted me and Miss Idaho at the Bulb today! Actually, all the dogs were with me, but Clara was being a spaz, and Miss ID was the superstar. Thanks for reading, Linda (who is not Marie-Claire, and I have no idea why I thought you said your name was that -- that doesn't sound ANYTHING like Linda) and Daughter.

LandlordAugust 2, 2006

Today I had the handyman come over. Actually, I had a lot of handymen at the condo, repairing things. I hired David yesterday, when he came to take a look at the place. Then he came out today with two guys that turned into seven during the last check. They filled the place, workers everywhere. It's a small place. There were a lot of arms and tools and dust and stuff. Weird.

I wanted them to open the painted-shut windows. I figure that must be some kind of safety/fire violation, even though I'd never worried about it when I lived there. I figured they'd crack the paint, they'd use their brute force to wrench the windows up in their sashes, and we'd be in business.

So I left. Almost two years ago, on The Very First Day that I ever lived in my own condo-sweet-condo, I dropped the toilet tank lid on the floor, cracking off the corner. I just turned the lid around, even though it didn't fit. For two years I looked at the grayish back of the tank, which looked better than the big huge chip. So today, I drove to Urban Ore, a great salvage yard near the water in Berkeley. Sixteen bucks got me a new (old) lid. Looks great.

I took it to the condo to find the windows REMOVED. Sashes dismantled, the cords on the floor. The guys just nodded and smiled and said it would be fine.

I went back a couple of hours later, to find them finishing up. I had windows that went both up AND down. Easily. Fresh paint on the sills, that matched the old stuff. I had a cabinet in the kitchen that stayed closed (I used to use scotch tape to close it). I had a rear storage unit with sliding doors that were on their tracks.

Best of all, I had a back security door with a deadbolt that TURNED! It turned, just by turning it, without using all my body weight slammed against the door to make it go. I lived there a year and a half, and never knew these things were possible.

I tell ya. Getting things square with the real owner of the unit next door, and getting a renter (keys go to her tomorrow), have been such a huge weight off my shoulders. I hadn't realized how much it was affecting me. My heart used to sink just a little every time I'd pass the offramp for the condo, and I'd look at it from the freeway (you can practically knock on the glass of it from 580), and I'd think, sigh. I'd really think the word, sigh.

But now. I have a new spring in my step, a new toilet tank lid, and windows that open. I'm going to be the best landlord ever.

Additionally: It's weird. It's really weird. WEIRD. Landlord. I can't be one of those. I still sleep with a security pillow next to me. Dude.