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Month: November 2005

Home Again …

Home Again …

Home after a week in San Jose for work — it was a good week — I actually got a lot done, and spent two days talking to folks from the other theaters about translation and localization issues, which was nerdy, but interesting. It’s nice to be engaged in my job again — I officially made the transition back to editing a couple of weeks ago, so I’m back to what I do best — strategizing how to document these products, thinking about the pedagogical project that an admin or user guide represents, and then just doing a lot of copyediting, which I like more than one would think. So it was a week of being plugged back in to a project at work, going out to dinner with old friends, and madly shopping for inexpensive housewares because I’m hosting Thanksgiving this year (yay!).

So I’m home on the couch with the dogs who are exhausted after an equally social week in the kennel. They love their kennel — the man who runs it is wonderfu, and there are lots of other dogs to play with in the great big play yard — so we’re having a quiet night at home before the arrival of Jacques, a six-month old French Brittany who belongs to a friend who is going out of town for a couple of days — so it’s going to be very exciting around her for a couple of days. I have some fun freelance projects that I have to work on this weekend, there’s some work stuff I have to finish up, I’ll have three dogs including a puppy (jealousy issues?) and I have to start figuring out how to transform my unfinished basement into a lovely dining room for Thanskgiving (fabric and a staple gun can do wonders).

Oh, and to answer Rus in the comments — I’ve been meaning to blog about Didion’s new book, as well as her influence on us all, I just haven’t had time to pull my thoughts together. She’s the bedrock, the one we all gauge ourselves by, and even here, she’s gone ahead and lit the way … it’s a remarkable book, and funnier than most reviewers have let on. Even that deep in the weeds, she can see the humor in it … no wonder she was married to a black Irishman for so long …

It doesn’t really ever get better ….

It doesn’t really ever get better ….

I had a long talk on the phone last night with my cousin Jennifer. Jennifer’s four years younger than I am, and her mother was my mother’s older sister. Every time there was a crisis in our childhoods, and there were plenty, we were shipped off to our Aunt Lynn’s house, so in a lot of ways Jennifer and I were raised almost more like siblings than like cousins.

I have a very clear memory of Patrick and I, having been dropped off one snowy night by someone who had agreed to drive us from where? Our Dad’s house? Our Mom’s? I remember them being people our mother knew, but not well. At any rate, they dropped Patrick and me off, and it was snowing — big fat Wisconsin snowflakes, and we were standing at Lynn’s back door in the light of the headlights while they waited for us to get inside. We were outside, in the illuminated snowflakes, with our little-kid suitcases, standing on Lynn’s back deck. It was always kind of like that.

And then when I was nineteen, and Jennifer was fifteen, Lynn drank herself to death. It was one of the things we talked about last night on the phone. “You guys were always there,” Jennifer said. “And then Mom died and you were all just gone.” I told her how hard it had been — none of us liked her father (who brought his girlfriend to the funeral for the wife he wasn’t separated from) — and they were just kids, and we were all so heartbroken that to even think about going up to that house, that house that had been our safe place, without Lynn in it, and with those three bereft kids and their awful father, well, none of us could face it. We talked, Jennifer and I, about how mad we still are at her mother for killing herself like that, about how she was the one who was supposed to take care of all of us. Lynn died 22 years ago and it was like it happened last week. Jennifer’s oldest daughter is 13 now, and Jennifer knows it’s going to be weird when she, in essence, outlives her own mother. She knows too that she probably hangs onto her girls too close, that in some very real ways she needs them to make her the mother she didn’t have.

And we talked about losing Patrick, and the aftermath of that, and how strange it’s been. It’s one of the incomprehensible things about life. The people we love die, and they’re just gone, and they don’t come back.

But, on the other hand, Jennifer’s in Arizona now, and we’re old enough to call eachother and finally talk about the stuff that we couldn’t talk about when she was fifteen and I was nineteen because we were really just heartbroken kids. We made it, somehow. We grew up. We’re mostly okay.

Bridge Found!

Bridge Found!

Well, we found the bridge — it’s about 25 yards downstream in some weeds. It’s hard to tell whether some kids pulled it up and cast it aside, or whether it was swept up in the periodic flooding they’ve been doing to flush out the trout habitat. I’d actually been wondering why it seemed as stable as it was. From what I could tell it was a construction truss balanced on two logs, which formed the footings — the whole thing was about 18 inches wide, and probably ten to fifteen feet long. Turns out, there are two parts to our little footbridge — the logs, which are connected by one long skinny board, and which were held in place on the banks by a big piece of rebar on each end, and then the truss, which fit over the whole thing. I tried to drag it back into place by myself, but it’s too big. So now I just need to find some of them handy men-folks who are good with things like rebar and a maul, so we can put it back across the creek.

Well This Completely Sucks!

Well This Completely Sucks!

Off we went tonight on our fabulous walk — we got to the bluff at the end of Clark Street where we cross over the creek into the dog park, and I let the dogs off their leashes and they went bouncing down the hill and through the creek and I was all set to follow them BUT THERE WAS NO BRIDGE!

The little bridge that someone had built out of a construction truss, and had balanced on two hunks of log set into the bank — IT WAS JUST GONE! GONE!

I had to call the dogs back — they were totally confused. They kept looking at me from teh far bank like “Hey? What’re you doing?”

I am so upset. I know it wasn’t “official” — I know it wasn’t “safe” — but it was a perfectly good little bridge over the creek. And now it’s GONE.

I don’t know what I’m going to do — walking the other way around by the road sucks because it’s not as pretty, people drive too fast to let the dogs off the leash, and it’s just enough farther that I don’t want to go that way. Maybe I’ll go find a bunch of big river rocks tomorrow and chuck them in the creek to see if I can at least make stepping stones to go across (that’s going to be fun when it gets icy). I just can’t believe that my perfect little fitness program has been destroyed by some officious city type who decided out perfectly good little bridge was unsafe. I’m very grumpy …

Who knew?

Who knew?

I went off for my annual doctor’s appointment about a month ago, and while all was well, that scale thing had crept up to a truly frightening figure. My clothes were still fitting pretty well, but shall we say, my face was a wee bit more full than I’d like — and of course, just as I was realizing that middle-aged spread was indeed happening to me, work got really busy, the bears got into their annual fall frenzy, the out-of-state hunters with their scary high-power rifles arrived, and somehow we just weren’t getting out for our afternoon walks in the surrounding mountains.

So I dug out a couple of leashes, found that three-buck pedometer I bought last spring, and decided to experiment by walking the dogs down to the dog park and back every day. It’s an easy shot — down to the bottom of my block, then ten blocks to the little plank bridge someone’s put over Fleishman Creek, and into the dog park the back way, through the lovely creekbottom that Trout Unlimited restored two years ago for fish habitat. We practice leash walking, which is a skill the boys desperately needed to brush up on, and going toward the park we walk at quite a brisk pace. Then at the lovely creekbottom I let them off the leashes and they go bombing through the willows chasing bunnies and birds and running joyfully back and forth. We eventually emerge onto the exposed bluff/former dump that is our dog park, find our doggy and human friends, walk a couple of loops and then come home. According to my cheapo pedometer, round-trip it’s two- to two-and-a-half miles from my house to the dog park, around a couple of loops and home. Once a day that’s a perfectly acceptable level of exercise, and on those days that we do it twice, well, then I don’t feel so bad about that second glass of wine.

Winter is here — it’s dark by five, and so far my new dog walking routine is not only fighting the winter blues with a few endorphins, but I’ve shed six pounds. Walking’s the only exercise I really like, even at the club I’m a dedicated treadmill gal. So we’ll see — it’ll get cold soon, but walking warms one up and I’ve decided it’s time to really do something serious about the way my weight has been creeping up with my age. I’ll never be a sylph, but I can get that cute little ass I used to have back with enough trips to the dog park and back. Now if I can only make enough money to get my bathroom remodeled, I can quit the health club …