Thursday, March 29, 2007

Model Behavior

Leaving aside the snide comments that this show is watched by both of us I want to discuss a statement, or lack thereof by one of the models. It has been exciting to see two women who are not stick thin on the show. Not one, but two. Amazing. However I honestly don't know that either have the look, meaning the versatility of facial expression and overall presence to make it to the end. Of course it has been challenging to hear each week how they are "plus-sized", knowing that even accounting for height issues, as I am short (five foot and smidge), I am beyond plus size so what does that make me?

I had not been excited by this model, though I wanted to be, but Diana is a bit too bland looking, or at least that is how her shots came through. Whitney is gorgeous, just gorgeous but is definitely a bit shy in the shoots. (Yes, yes I know editing and all that. My comments are based on what is shown, my interpretation but with awareness that the show is edited to create an image of each woman.) In last night's episode Diana had a bad shoot leaving Jay (not be to confused by Ms J Alexander who is a hoot and holler!) asking her why she wanted this (to be a top model). Her response? "Just 'cause."

What??? At first I was flabbergasted at the response, but than outraged. Here was an amazing opportunity for her to speak about the unrealistic standards of the fashion industry, how she would like to use her position, upon winning, to try to effect (or is that affect, I never can learn that one) some change, to make a statement. There were a hundred things she could have said but nothing came out. Not even in the judging section where all she did was wish she hadn't said that, but did not offer what she would have said. This was not the first time Diana faltered at a crucial point but last night was just unconscionable, in my opinion.

My hackles were raised the same way when Robert from Project Runway whined about not knowing how to design for plus size during the "Every Woman" challenge. Whose fault is that? I recently heard somewhere that the reason designer prefer waif sized women is that the clothes hang better. Oh please. I say it's lack of talent and imagination. The subject stirs memories of old daydreams featuring me designing for short, curvy women - clothes that would please me and about a million or three other women in this country. It conjures images of studying up on sewing techniques, dredging decades old coursework in pattern making, drawing endless sketches, and the best part, fondling fabrics. In reality I will concentrate on knitting things that fit and flatter me (okay so I still haven't knit anything for me, but one day!). Perhaps I will break out the sewing machine to make want I cannot buy - clothes that fit and flatter my shape. Even if I did all that it would not change the larger problem of unrealistic standards being shoved down our throats.

Several years ago there was a fantastic magazine for the rest of us, Mode. Yes like the name of the fictional magazine on Ugly Betty (great show, you should be watching it if you're not. Maria at her blog writes fabulous recaps). No doubt a deliberate play on given the themes running through the show. Mode, the real life magazine disappeared in 2001. To say that I was saddened by it's demise is putting it mildly. How wonderful was it have a magazine that showed women more like me (still taller and more beautiful, but so much more accessible) that focused on healthy eating but not weight loss, physical activity, and fashion (much of it was more reasonably priced than those in Vogue). It was like an oasis of sanity.

Thankfully some countries are putting limitations on how skinny models and mannequins can be but only after deaths of models. Gaultier leapt ahead of these new guidelines by featuring a size 20 model back in late September. Spain and Italy have put new some standards in place, finally, though there is still far to go as evidence by Renee from ANTM in last night's episode, "Com'on do you really think there will ever be a plus sized model on the cover of Vogue?" with snide tone.

Let us remember the big name models are are not size zero.
Sophie Dahl
Kate Dillon
Know others? Comment away.

Monday, March 26, 2007


As frequently happens, I think about someone, aware that I ought to be in better touch, and of course I hear from that person. Today I received an email from Lacey*, whom I refer to as my foster daughter, though there was no involvement from any official parties. She thinks of me as one of her mothers, I think of her as my daughter - it's all good.

The first thing I did before actually reading the email was scan the document, praying that the word "pregnant" would not be there. Only after I determined that a grandchild was not in the immediate future did I actually read it. For better or worse, the main content of the letter was to tell me that she is getting divorced. Now this is not the most terrible thing I can think of at all.

Yes, it's true I know nothing about the man she married other than the assumptions I could make based on what I saw at their wedding. It was not pretty, not at all. TGF who hails from the south (when we were dating long distance she used to sign her emails YSB - Your Southern Babe) said she was hearing the theme music of Deliverance as we wound our way through the boonies of western Massachusetts on dirt roads to get first house where the wedding was, and then more dirt roads to another family property for the reception.

We drove up to a posse of young men standing in the road smoking cigarettes, wearing black Carhardt jeans and black Stetsons, to ask where we should park. After passing them we glanced at each other, eyebrows raised up to heaven. Later we determined that the groom was the one with the John Deere belt buckle.

As we waited, as patiently as possible for the late bride, we watched the laundry waving in the gentle breeze no more than 15 feet behind where the couple would soon be exchanging vows. Fighting nausea I tried to amuse myself and TGF by dissing the inappropriate costuming that passed for wedding attendance attire. Finally we heard a chugging and grinding sound that heralded Lacey's arrival in, wait for it, a hay cart pulled by a tractor.

She looked absolutely lovely, and the dress was quite nice but, OMG, she wore flip flops with sequins! Obviously I had not schooled her well in this area. Seriously barefoot would have been perfectly acceptable, sweet even but those things were inexcusable.

In the end I cried a bit but rallied by the time I was on the receiving line.
We exchanged a long hug and each shed some tears. This was the first time I had seen her in, hm, two years? Whenever it was it was a whole other phase of her development. She came up from the San Diego area up to the Bay Area with her girlfriend (her first, and as far as I know only one) to attend SF Pride. Yes it had been a long time in a short span of calendar years. In the time in between she had decided to leave the west coast (again), leaving her first sapphic love to give western Massachusetts and her relationship with her mother another try. Somehow she managed to fall in love with a local good ol' boy and was now getting married. I digress, back to the wedding day.

Soon enough TGF and I were back on the dirt roads, or as my friend Mush likes to say, BFE. We got a little lost because the maps that Lacey had dutifully printed out were pieced together - backwards. Between the bad map, jet lag, and mama worry I had completely lost my memory of which towns sat next to which. We knew we were in the right place when the lone dusty opening off the road was marked by a "John Deere Lane" sign. Apparently devotional idolatry to farm equipment runs in the family as this was the groom's grandfather's place.

The main course was to be prepared in the enormous wooden, wall-less structure with enough grill space, refrigerating units and electricity running to it to serve about five army platoons. A few feet from there was the largest, most luxurious outhouse I have ever seen - plumbed toilet, sink and shower. It also served as storage for dessert - trays of cookies were laid on the linoleum flooring. Yum. Country music, the melody of which makes TGF's ears bleed, or so she says, bleared from speakers attached to the enormous structure. I was stunned. The last musical taste of Lacey's, that I was aware of, consisted of hip hop, Korn, and standard top 40 pop.

While waiting for the main course of hamburgers, franks, and baked beans there was a delightful spread of appetizers: cheetos, a poor excuse for nachos, crackers with sprayed cheese, among other culinary high points. Now TGF and I love cheetos, don't get me wrong and if we were to serve them at our wedding reception it would about camp, or iconoclastic you know? Here, it was youth and budgetary concerns.

At some point Lacey came over and proceeded to gush about my presence, about various friends, and well just did that gushy "OMG I'm a bride" thing. One of the few descriptions of the various folks she rattled off at me which stood out was the following. She pointed out "Joe", telling me he was a good buddy of her new hubby and that he was the "family taxidermist" because in the "Smith" family one has a family taxidermist. Here I sat, her mostly vegetarian, partially Buddhist, recycling, largely pacifist mama trying to find a good response to the idea that my son-in-law was a hunter.

After she flitted off to the next set of guests, TGF and I went back to our empty table (there were way more seats at the wedding than guests and the same abundance of derrière options were at the reception. Jet lag and the next day flight's looming, we left for more relaxing accommodations. We returned to our friends' Adrienne and Don's chaotic home to regale them with observations of the day. Suddenly their offerings of ganja were looking awfully appealing.

Here it is less than two years later, her divorce is almost final. She has so much growing and potential to take advantage of in the years to come. I only hope she knows that.

*Not her real name.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Baby steps

In my last post I mentioned creating a schedule for myself - it has built in times to study (three 1 hour slots per day, rotating my courses), garden, knit, clean, plus a list of other things that need doing randomly. In classic Dharma fashion I have not followed the schedule much at all except that I do use it as a guide when I find myself being aimless. Thus the last few days (even today and the weekends are not scheduled at all) have been pretty productive.

The other day I officially did more work in my Assessing Persons class than I ever managed to do when I first tried taking it two years ago. I actually read one entire article (out of the 5 articles plus 2 book chapters that are to be read for Unit 1 - we are not discussing how many units there are, nor how freaking big that course reader is, nope not doing it).

I just came in from working on the yard, well the sidewalk side of our yard - yeesh! What a mess and I didn't even get to that ugly section that neither one of us have been able to bring ourselves to deal with.

My secret project #1 got worked on for a bit last night, plus secret project #2 is more than half done - so knitting is happening. I will probably cast on soon for T'Mane's next garment. Last night I looked at the pattern and am not looking forward to casting on something like 225 stitches. Also it looks like I will need to buy a new circular needle for the project but first I will swatch on some straights to make sure of the size.

The biggest news is that I am actually in the bedroom at night before 11:30 (my goal is 11:00) and have gotten out of bed - including today which please note is a Saturday - at about 8:00am which is my goal. First thing I make coffee, feed animals, put a load of laundry in and/or deal with the dishes. It's amazing.

My loyal readers might have noticed I have been slacking in my postings, but have no fear, even blogging is on my schedule with a goal of three posts per week. If I am feeling terribly witty or have a serious rant it may be more often.

Yesterday I was rather crabby but rather than shrug it off and be sulkily silent which I can only imagine is terribly frustrating to TGF, I actually spoke to her before taking anything out on her. Novel idea, no? In part it is school and money the ongoing stressors at Casa de Cedar, but very specifically it was one week since Saana's death. Last night Marcelle was going absolutely crazy for some cookies TGF was nibbling on and actually used her paws to grab TGF's hand toward her mouth - a skill Saana excelled at. It was nice to feel like referencing her did not bring on tears.

I am looking forward to continuing on this path though there is about to be all sorts of things to disturb it. Sunny, my mother, is coming for a visit for about 6 days, starting a week from Tuesday. Yesterday we just found out that Jer, TGF's friend from Ohio is swooping into town for an interview and she arrives on the Monday before Sunny arrives and leaves Wednesday. For complex reasons Sunny will not be staying at Casa de Cedar but very close by at this hopefully lovely spot. This should help keep balance and sanity for all parties. Speaking of parties, we are having one in Sunny's honour, so if any of my readers who were thinking of visiting this would be a great time. I mean, the house will be clean. Plus Sunny will be here. Seriously what more could you want?

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Trying to find balance

Casa de Cedar is still grieving, all of us having a little in some moments and a great deal in others. Friday morning is when we found Saana, that night Atticus did not eat dinner. Marcelle, her sister has been very cuddly at night, snuggling into me, then TGF, then between us, touching whoever she was least close to. The other day Atticus emitted a cry that TGF says is the one he does when I am gone and he crawls the house looking for me.

At the end of our walk with Ruth (piccolo's mom) on Sunday I had to say the words out loud, tell someone who didn't know for the first time. Ruth has been very invested in these kittens as well so it really sucked to tell her. The up side is she is someone who really gets the connection one can have with an animal and absolutely knew how important Saana was to me.

Sunday night I dreamt that Saana came back and my joy was huge, my nightmare over but she wouldn't let me hold her. Doesn't take Freud to figure it out. I woke up, I guess in frustration because some part of my head knew it was a dream and thus wanted it over because the false hope was more unbearable. Or something.

On Monday I took Joia (Delta Burke of the cat world) to the vet (spending way more money than we have but not as much as their initial menu selection of tests would have cost) and had to tell them to pull Saana's file. Of course I met the tech who took care of Saana and Marcelle during their spay, the one who thought they were so cute she had to take a photo, thus my third time in two days telling of our sad story. Somehow I was able to dissociate enough at the vet office that I barely teared up.

TGF and I have been very quiet, not talking too much, for better or worse. We have both been alternatively introspective, cranky, and sad; not a good mix, not at all. Can you tell what's coming next? It is rather embarrassing to report but we argued today. The upside is that we had some good conversation afterwards about some of our patterns. Another good thing is I created an hourly 5 day week schedule for myself to add some structure in order to get some control over my life - at least I hope so.

As part of our breaking up some of the tension we splurged and went out to a real dinner out - you know a place with cloth napkins and everything! We checked out a place called Mangia Mangia, which I had checked out on Yelp (I {heart} Yelp) because we had just been talking about finding some Italian restaurants. The original conversation was about one of those little mom 'n pop places which doesn't exactly describe where we went because this was a little more upscale than we were imagining. The service was quite good, the garlic-parsley spread for the bread was spectacular - TGF asked me to figure out how to make it. It was hard to not burst out laughing, I mean really all it is in minced garlic, a tiny bit of parsley and some olive oil. "Are you sure?" was the response. Our entrees was quite tasty. The glass of wine I ordered was far from wonderful but it was decent - a Riesling from Australia, what was I thinking?

During dinner we bantered, chatted and even laughed - it felt like the first time since Friday that we had any real levity. It felt like the tide had began to shift a bit, finally. Just a bit ago I called Marcelle "Saana" by mistake and we both teared up but the moment passed. I expect I will keep thinking I see her, mistake one of the other cats motion, sniffing, or meows for her, for a very long time.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Saana Bella: The gift of love

She and her sister, Marcelle (nee Marcel) arrived in a small purse carried by Sarah B. Together they weighed twelve ounces and both could fit in my small hand at nine days old.
Quickly they grew out of the cardboard box, even more rapidly they, especially Saana, climbed out of the playpen scored from Freecycle. We worried about Atticus's response to the kittens as he has always wanted to be an only child but within hours of a feisty hissing from Saana he was smitten
. First with her but then he took Marcelle under his wing as well.

We swore we were not keeping these babies, denying how in love with them we were. Quickly we forgot the bottle feedings and daily wash load of poopy towels. Atticus made it clear that he believed we got these little beings for him as he watched over them, bathed them and napped draping his gray body around them.

Saana never let TGF dress or undress in peace for every time she bent over Saana jumped on her back leaving her hunched over trying to coax a kitten off her back. She made Wyatt share his snacks by taking the dried chicken strip pieces out of his mouth.

A stuffed miniature dingo came with a kid's meal from one of the fast food places and Saana carried it around in her mouth alternatively like a kitten or her kill, trilling as she roamed the house with it.

Saana reached up on your legs to ask to picked up just as a toddler raises her hands and say "uppie". Impossible to refuse her sweet, pleading eyes. She had taken to asking for morning cuddles with me, going under the covers, resting her head under my chin. With her two front paws she would grab fingers when she wanted to be stroked.

Saana was fearless of everything, life was a banquet of adventure and she wanted to sample all that there was out there. It is hard to be angry at her spirit, even if it was that gusto that caused her death. She was the only one of the cats that had no fear of anything, including cars.

This morning TGF noted that Saana was not around when we went to bed. She had disappeared before and upon her arrival back at home received a stern talking to but it had little long term impact as her absence this morning proved.

"I think I saw Saana under the car." The tone in TGF's voice told me everything but I held onto a whisper of hope. We went out the front door, before crossing the threshold she looked at my feet which were clad in socks and said "You're going like that?" Across the street, under the Purple Beast I saw something and my heart stopped. At the first break in traffic I ran across still hoping against hope that she was saving her energy.

Down on my knees I reached underneath. TGF saw the truth as I reached to touch her fur and returned to the house for a cloth. Sobbing I reached for my girl and held her, there in my shoeless state on the asphalt. TGF came back, draping the pillowcase over her; she carried her back across the street to lay her on the ground below the house steps. She went into the house and I sat on the steps. Gently I lifted my baby into my arms and stroked her fur, tickled at her belly. Her body was stiff but her ears were still soft and malleable, her tail sprung back awkwardly when moved. I talked to her, wondering if we had found her earlier if she would have lived, with the next breath hoping she didn't suffer and that her end came quickly without pain.

When I ran across the street and scooped her up I flashed on an event that happened more than 15 years prior. I was working at a veterinary hospital. Late one night while I was at the front desk a couple ran in - the man was carrying his dog, sobbing uncontrollably. His dog had been hit by a car. Grief enveloped the space and I felt like I could not get enough air in my lungs. I swore while standing there taking information, comforting that I would never let an animal in that deep again. At the time Sybil, my beautiful Turkish Van girl gripped my heart and I swore she would be the last to hold me that tight. For better or worse I have kept my beloved animals at a distance. Few have gotten really deep and I have not expressed deep grieving over their deaths. Scully came the closest and I miss him always.

Until a year ago I had never seen the body of any of my animals when they passed. Living in western Massachusetts they all went off to die, or were taken by a coyote but I never saw it. Never buried an animal. In June 2005, we woke to find one of our foster kittens, Larissa, had died. Tiny, limp body with the softest fur. Robin, another foster, never woke from her spay but I never saw her. Late October, for the first time I had to put an animal down, my beloved Elliott - who had grabbed my heart in that way I swore against. Somehow my heart has become unguarded. I do think it's connected to my relationship with TGF - there is an unguarded quality with her and now it's extending outward. My love for Saana ran through my blood, touching all my cells. It is the same for all the animals, though they each have a special place they tug.

I am not angry about her death but the loss feels uncontainable and inescapable right now. I know that she was enjoying life completely right up until she was hit, that she was in her element - exploring and being fascinated by the world. I do want to know how to tell the universe that I get it, that I cannot be shut off from deep feelings and that the lessons can stop now.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Gosh it's sunny out!

Reading the comment that my buddy Bitter Betty wrote on the last entry was the final prod I needed to post again to update for y'all. (BTW you should visit Miss Betty - she's freaking funny!)

First, thank you to those who wrote.

Two, if I were truly self aware (for the two people in this world who think I am) I would have just kept my frigging mouth shut the other night.

Three, even in the midst of all that (which did continue quite a bit the next day thank you so much brain!) I was aware of some of the causes of the grand descending of my mood.
3a. biochemical (guess what appeared today!)
3b. my new semester started yesterday
3c. cellular memory - it's two years since I ended my longest relationship
3d. my loan check has not appeared which adds to my financial stress
3e. my mother is coming to visit which is great but still stressful (you should see the list of projects I want done before she appears in, oh, less than 3 weeks)
There is probably more but I think you get the idea.

And really it has been exceptionally beautiful out. And warm. I mean really really warm!

In other news, you may have read on TGF's very dusty blog about some of the difficulties we have been having with Wyatt. This "issue" of his has resulted on him being on leash a lot while at the dog parks we frequent. Yesterday the "Easy Walk Harness" (for the dog! not that kind of harness - that's another post all together!) arrived, so I walked him to the BART station to met TGF after phase frigging FOUR for this damn potential job (but I digress). It was so easy I almost cried. TGF didn't even think I had him with me when she caught sight of me, thought I was holding a bag or something. Today I tested at the Albany bulb - again great, fabulous. Truly some of the best money EVER spent. Highly recommended. Of course I would still like to know what else we could do to bring back our happy, social pup. Any suggestions happily taken into consideration. He is fine with people, it's other dogs, aside from BFF Piccolo, that are the problem. Actually he is the problem - he has gotten aggressive and cranky with 90% of other dogs including ones he formally played with. It really has been quite distressing not to mention creating a lot more work rather than play for us humans. We are considering a muzzle so that we can be a little more relaxed and also to return to Point Isabel on occasion.

Okay, I'm off to start the blizzard of cleaning or school work that awaits.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Bleak House

It’s been one of these periods where being in my own skin irritates me. Nothing satisfies me for more than about five minutes, and then I’m done. It is as if I need to keep trying to find something to distract me but nothing lasts long, leaving me wandering for the next shiny object that I pray will hold me. Before any real enjoyment sinks in, I am bored, antsy, and uncomfortable with an urge to move on but without any idea to what.

I am annoying myself, my own company is bothersome, boring, and without any redeeming feature. So yes, that means a tiff with TGF. Over a movie. Not what movie to see, or whether to go or not. She had a craving to watch a favorite of hers, Independence Day with Will Smith. I found it trite, full of hubris and the plot easy to guess. About half way through I said as much. She, not surprisingly, took offense and said I was ruining one of her favorite movies. Being especially foul tempered I unplugged my laptop and went to leave the room rather than doing anything humane, such as apologizing and saying “I think it best if I let you enjoy it”. Again, not surprisingly, she got angry at my dramatic gesture that followed my surly tirade dissing a favorite movie. She left for a bit. I emailed an apology. She came back still pissed at me. Words were shared, none awful, but nothing resembling resolution. I quietly and without flair left the room.

Lying in the dark of the bedroom I wallowed in some tears and pined over the fact that at nearly eleven o’clock at night there was no one to call or visit with and I knew of no cafes that would be open with the right amount of busy to fade into a corner and sulk. Generally feeling sorry for myself because I don’t even want my own company right now. As stealthy as possible I glided in the living room to once again pick up my laptop so I could write this incredibly sad sack piece.

At moments like this one I balance between knowing it will all get better, my ship will right itself and fearing that I will sink to the murky bottoms where my worst self exists. I do not have nearly enough fingers and toes, even adding the furry digits of all my animals to count how many times I have felt I was going to sink forever. The only comforting thought is that it seems (though I may be deluding myself) that there are fewer of these episode as the years move forward. What I think I would like is to go alone somewhere, just for a few hours- not very long most likely- because it’s bad enough I have to experience this but to have someone witness it, try to appease the unappeasable it is just too much. However it is just as likely that I could wake up in the morning and this malaise, this heavy cloak of bitch will be gone. Or not. It is the “or not” that is a bit daunting. Trying to plan a course of action when inertia is my preferred mode right now is quite challenging because in reality there isn’t a blessed thing I want to do. I certainly hold no expectation of TGF knowing what to do for me but I really do not want to inflict another day like today on us.

If only there were an all night ice parlour, all would be right in my world.

(Most excellent 300th post, no?)

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Advance insight and smart recouping

It is an entry which is almost entirely links.

Initially I was quite excited and I admit a bit stunned when I read on Arse's blog that Edwards had hired feminists bloggers from Pandagon and Shakespeare's Sister (blogs that have long been in my personal lists of sites to visit regularly). Seriously, these people write strong statements, use salty language, and OMG actually refer to themselves as
feminists (shush!!!!). Seriously. Writing for a presidential candidate? I thought have things really changed, could we truly be moving in a forward pattern? Reading comments at Arse, particularly by Diane, whom I respect a great deal, gave me significant pause even while I marveled at how bloggers are an entity recognized by circles that I was sure would scoff at the majority of us.

Of course it did not last. Amanda Marcotte and Melissa McEwan both resigned, both gracefully saying the Edwards machine did not ask them to step down,but rather begrudgingly supported their decisions. Who knows the truth but these women have been quite dignified. While I had hoped for some interesting dialogue I am happy that they are back where they are comfortable and well regarded.

Yesterday I found, probably through Arse (have I mentioned how much I adore her and her blog? No? Well, really it is one of those blogs where I read
every post. Oh what I was saying something else wasn't I? Oh yes, I remember.) Somehow (though we all know it was through you my dearest Arse) I found an article by a feminist blogger, whom I had not come across before, who was woo'd before Amanda to come hop on the campaign train. I found the article interesting because of the level of naivete portrayed by Lindsay of "Bob". Really it was sweet, hopeful and reflected a bit more of how I wish things could be in a way. Lindsay points out just how much of a divide between how her blog works and what "Bob" thinks could be. I also got some insight into the politics of blogging, politics that are using blogs, political blogs and probably a few other variations of those words together.

Related to all of this is the most recent debacle that is Ann Coutler. I am hesitant to actually provide a link to this woman because I have so little respect for her. If you haven't heard of her, don't know enough to have an opinion on her, google to your heart's content. Speaking as if she had a sense of humour Ann used the word faggot to refer, in a very obtuse way, to John Edwards. Check here for a video of the lovely speech. At some point, I believe after this event (cannot remember where I found this) she said that she would never insult gay people by comparing them to Edwards. Interesting way to try to save face. The Edwards machinery has used this little zinger most creatively by attempting to capitalize on the public's hunger for such titillating displays that pass as intellectual debate. They have created something called "Coulter Cash". Without thinking about it too much, I absolutely
love this idea. I am sure wiser brains will find a problem with it, but for now, I am kind of gleeful about it, even though, thanks to Diane I have no false illusions about Edwards as my democratic choice.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

In which our heroine and her paramour are slow on the uptake

In recent weeks, perhaps months I have been colder than I remember ever being. Being my mother's daughter I was quick to pose a collapsing thyroid as the reason, or worse I was becoming a true Bay Area resident who thought 60 degrees is quite chilly requiring that one pulls out the woolens. Truthfully I would rather have a kaput thyroid. I remember clear as day visiting San Francisco in late May 2001 and laughing at people wearing parkas while I had a short-sleeved shirt quite comfortable with the temperature.

A bit ago we both determined the thermostat was acting funny. We would turn up the heat, finally giving in to the chill and willing to throw money out the many, many leaks of Casa de Cedar. Sometimes it would cause the furnace to rumble, sometimes not. We survived, throwing a second of layer of socks in my case or another oversize sweatshirt in hers. Last Thursday I had reached a frustration point that ended with contacting our landlord, Her Holiness of Patience, writing her that the thermostat probably needed to be replaced.

Saturday night after not hearing from her handyperson we noted that when the furnace did shimmy it blew cool air. Hm, seems like a furnace issue not a thermostat. Both of us took turns looking around at the furnace thinking that we could see if the pilot light was out. Did not notice any flickering. Dutifully PG&E was called and said they would be here Tuesday between 1pm - 5pm. It was after 8pm Saturday, the rains had begun again and the chill deepened. Giving into the cold we braved the rains in search of a space heater to take the icicles off our bedroom ceiling. First we went to Target the holy grail of bargain shopping - we always go for about twenty dollars worth of stuff but the register person always asks for more like eighty. "Oh, that's a seasonal item. We stopped stocking that about two months ago." Excuse me! Winter is over? There is a single cold season in this place? Really. People head over the hills to got some warmth during the season called "fogust", which in the summer. We decide Target has lost their ever lovin' minds and headed to Home Despot...where we were told the same thing. However their staff actually gave us useful information and we head to W*lgreens, easily locating a small space heater for twenty bucks. Ah, so sweet, something like warmth.

Tuesday rolls around and PG&E says, "I see the problem. The igniter is shot. We don't do repairs." Apparently this furnace doesn't have a pilot light. Go figure. I know about the old fashioned east coast kind that require an oil tank and how to replace the innards of a toilet tank. Heating, not my thing. Also, the filter he says is dirty but it's the type you clean not replace. Oh, okay.

Now it's Thursday and Jim the repair guy shows up, the job takes about all of 20 minutes which includes me taking the filter out back and hosing it clean. Damn that thing was gross. Jim is good-natured, shows me how to take off the cover, how to take the filter out - all that good stuff. Jennie just wrote about the price of repairs. Well this little job was $65 for the new igniter and $122.50 for the pleasure of his company.

Gleefully and with wild abandon we turned up the thermostat to about 68F degrees which it a tropical setting in this place. Suddenly there was the smell, feel, and sound of heat strumming through the house. I was positively giddy, feeling warmer than I had in longer than I could remember. Assessing things, reviewing our sense memories it was clear that we had been without heat for a good two weeks, give or take a few days.

Yes, I realize that we are in an area where it generally doesn't get all that cold (disregarding the absolutely record setting January where the kittens piled on me while TGF was in Ohio) and it all could have been far, far worse. However the deadening wet, damp cold that clung to our walls, our bedding, that burrowed into my bones to the point where some actually hurt, it was still bad.

Now I am left with an embarrassed look on my face because I worked so hard to maintain my stiff upper lip about all this, because of being raised in one hundred and twenty year old house that my parents couldn't afford to heat I just kept putting a layer on, never stopping to assess the truth of the situation. Okay it's true I bitched about being cold. A lot. But I am so not accustomed to feeling as cold as I have been the last few months. I have always been a bit of a little furnace myself. It is supposed to be about 70F degrees this weekend. Of course it is, now that I don't need it to be. I will enjoy the heat from outside, and not worry when the rains come back that I will never be warm again because my furnace? She works!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

My nomination

No, not literally mine, but that of a post which spoke to me as a "perfect post". When I first encountered it I though of the concept of the perfect post - a notion I came across while traipsing through the blogosphere . I wrote about the post, in terms of where it led me. That post inspired one of the lovely folks involved in the PP List, Momma K of Petroville (and Lindsay of Suburban Turmoil) to ask me to officially nominate a post.

Are there other fine candidates out there? Absolutely, but truthfully I love this post, and I haven't been doing much slogging through the 'sphere lately so this remains my perfect post of the moment.

Erotiterrorist is a blogger I came across while looking at, {gasp} things of a sexual nature on the 'net. It's true I read about sex, think about sex, and try to have sex quite frequently. I like sex. I like reading smut as much as I like reading intelligent discourse on the subject. In fact the other day I wrote my first porn! Oh wait, this is about the "perfect post". Off track for moment there, but I'm back now. Okay then. Shon's writing is quick, rather precise in that the language is beautiful but there is not much extraneous words strung about. This goes for his reports on activities at the dungeon, his erotica, and other pieces such as the one on Anna Nicole Smith which is the one that blew me away.

For whatever reason the news of Ms. Smith's death shocked me in a way I was unprepared for, given I did not particularly care for her one way or another. Perhaps because she was younger than me. Or because this was yet another example of how things can change in a moment and an unexpected death is the one we fear and lie in wait of. I suspect it also just plain saddened me because it seemed so clear that she was a woman living in a great deal of confusion and pain about her place in the world. This piece of my reaction was the one that spoke to me when I read Shon's post about her.

His post spoke elegantly about her place in society, how her actions and our need to place people, either above or below us helped create the train wreck of Anna Nicole's life. Unlike pieces on television news or the tabloids which spoke in catty whispers and coked up drama, Shon's piece actively mourned her and society's need to squash some people. It was a beautiful eulogy for someone who probably would never received one as perfect as this one.