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BY suzy

11/01 Direct Link
On Halloween, I always think about the Cades. They lived in a perfectly Gothic Victorian house, perched on a hill a few miles out of town. They were friends of my parentsí, and every Halloween, theyíd throw a big party in their spooky old house. The spookiest part to me as a child was that the house had its own graveyard, complete with wrought iron fence and leaning tombstones of the family who lived there before the Cades. Now, as an adult who has lost both parents, I have to say: it would be nice to have them close by.
11/02 Direct Link
Itís the Day of the Dead, or All Souls. Edith Wharton used to sit alone by candlelight on the evening of this day and remember the friends and family who were gone. I think thatís a nice idea, though I suppose some would call it morbid. I love the Day of the Dead festivities in the Mission, where families celebrate their dead with feasting and candles at their graves, with marigolds and candlelight, tequila-filled decorated sugar skulls and macabre dioramas in the windows. Itís a positive way to remember lost loved ones, a day of happy memories instead of sad.
11/03 Direct Link
Sheís a smart girl Ė some say too smart for her own good Ė but she canít figure this guy out. They spend a lot of time together, watching movies, going for walks, having coffee, laughing, talking, but theyíre not dating. He made it clear that he just ended a long and serious relationship and isnít ready for anther one, and she has no interest in being his transition person. Yet he keeps sending her flirty emails and text messages Ė mixed messages, since he acts friendly when heís with her, hugging her good-bye but never kissing her. Just friends?
11/04 Direct Link
I can never understand people who talk about their relationship and say, ďI want to grow old with him/her.Ē Surely that canít be the goal of the relationship? When I look at my man, I donít think about us being old, withered, and letís face it, no longer attractive and cursed with health and beauty problems. Old age, as Bette Davis once observed, isnít for sissies, and itís not for the beautiful, either. Why else do people try so hard to stay young, or at least look young? Because the alternative is unappealing. Why not say, ďGrow ugly with meĒ?
11/05 Direct Link
In honor of my impending move, I spend some time with my best friend K at her charming heritage house in a charming and cultured small town. We do all our favorite things together: get a manicure and pedicure at the cheap and cheerful local salon (we always get flowers painted beautifully on our big toes); have a fancy lunch with Kís mother (who, endearingly, says Iím ďsort ofĒ her daughter when the waitress asks if K and I are sisters Ė we sort of are); go shopping; stay up late giggling and drinking martinis. Iíll miss her so much.
11/06 Direct Link
Expressions I loathe:

- [Baby] Bump: As in, "Jennifer Lopez vainly attempted to conceal her bump on stage"

- Nabe (neighborhood)

- Multi-culti (multi-cultural)

- Shaved vagina: Not physically possible, folks. I think you mean ďvulvaĒ. Consult Grayís (or Greyís) Anatomy.

- Rock: As in ďShe rocked Gaultier on the red carpet.Ē

- Big-time: As in, "You owe me, big-time." Yet I am unperturbed by "Suzy is a big-time spender." Go figure.

- Channel: as in, "Jamie Fox channels Ray Charles" or "The starlet channeled Edie Sedgwick, wearing capri pants and a mink jacket." Change the channel, I'm begging you.

11/07 Direct Link
Rushing along the street in the grey daylight (which is more like a dreary, monochromatic twilight), my mind is spinning with all the things that need to be done before I move, in just a few short days. Itís raining just enough to make your face wet, but not enough to bother with toting an umbrella around. Intent on my errands, I pass a house with a small, fenced garden facing the street. Within the gates, a single pink rose flames against dark leaves, bowing gravely in the cold wind. I pause to feel the beauty, then move on, refreshed.
11/08 Direct Link
On my way home from the most recent batch of errands, I run into my neighbor and her little dog. Her cheeks are pink, her eyes are bright with the autumn chill in the air. As always, she is cheerful and delightful to be with, even for a few moments in a chance encounter. Iím going to her house for a farewell drink on Sunday evening. Some of the other people from the building and the neighborhood will be there to wish me well in my new life. There are so many people I will miss. Iím a lucky girl.
11/09 Direct Link
An artist who lives in the building drops by. He thinks he might want to take this place when I leave. He doesnít have room or enough electricity to have a stove; he has learned to be an artist on the hotplate too. He roams around my box-filled rooms, pointing out the flaws and saying how much work would have to be done; speculating as to whether the landlord would pay for these improvements, and so on. I soon tire of hearing the litany of faults, but he stays for nearly an hour, after which he decides against it.
11/10 Direct Link
I saw my one and only carís twin driving down the street today. Same silvery-blue color, same white top. 1966 Mustang convertible, also driven by a girl. I bought the car in San Francisco, when I finally got my driverís license at an advanced age which will not be revealed here. I had a great time driving it, practically standing on the non-power brakes at the crest of hills and toning my arms with the non-power steering. I loved the engineís roar and having the top down, even when it was chilly. I loved that car. I never bought another.
11/11 Direct Link
Veteransí Day. I think of my two grandfathers, one English, one American, both named Ernest, who both fought in World War I. One a naÔve farm boy, the other a tough Londoner from a bad part of town. One was the sole survivor of his unit, who saw his boyhood friends killed in front of his eyes. The other was gassed, survived, and suffered shellshock. They both went home, got married, had children, and had good, productive lives. They didnít like to discuss the war, or think about it, but today, and every day, I thank them for their sacrifices.
11/12 Direct Link
My neighbor has a little farewell party for me. Wine and nibbles in the narrow living room of her pretty Victorian row house. The fire crackles merrily, as does the conversation Ė increasingly, as the wine bottles empty and we fill up. Candles flicker on the old table, covered with mini-quiches, candied pecans, olives, cheese and crackers from the farmersí market, baby pickled leeks, macaroons Ė an unusual and delightful mixture, just like the company. We laugh and tell each other stories, but we donít get sentimental. The hours fly by, and I have happy memories to take with me.
11/13 Direct Link
The best part of moving is giving things away. For some reason, there are people breaking up around me, and this change in economic circumstances means they need a little more help than usual. I gave the washer and dryer to a woman who had her leave her husband, young children in tow. I gave the leftover food, including delightful things like crabmeat, to my neighbor whose partner has moved across the country and may or may not come back, leaving her and their daughter on their own. I wish there was more I could do. But itís something, anyway.
11/14 Direct Link
Stage One is over. Everythingís been packed up and moved out of my old place. When the three cheerful and efficient movers left, I took a last look around: the old, crumbling brick walls; the rough cement floors; the wooden ceilings; the skylights under which Iíd lie on the couch and watch the rain or the stars. It was an eccentric place, but I loved it and was happy here. I felt the tears spring up as I closed the door behind me and turned the key for the last time. I put my key in my pocket, temporarily homeless.
11/15 Direct Link
Stage Two: spend the night in a hotel with two kittens and mountains of luggage. Would be lost without kindly bellhop (is there a more politically correct term now for bellhops?). Have unenjoyable room service, try and fail to go to sleep early, get up before the 3:30 am wake-up call, re-pack, rely on the mercy of kindly bellhop guy, fall into waiting taxi. Speed to airport with one loudly objecting kitten and one loudly beating heart. Wait in long lines at airport, get Self and kittens through all the scrutiny, collapse on plane. For once, not worried about flying.
11/16 Direct Link
Finally arrived at SFO, my former and now once again home airport. Thankful, yet exhausted. I happily call my sister from baggage claim, tell her Iím home again. To the car rental place, and, for the first time in my life, south on 101 instead of north. The long San Mateo bridge surprises me. Arrive in San Ramon, a new town for me, but home until my furniture arrives and I can move into the new house. The hotel accepts cats and the room is like a little apartment. Itís home away from new home and old home. For now.
11/17 Direct Link
I went to see my new home. Of course I got slightly lost Ė I always get lost at least once when driving somewhere new Ė but had barely arrived when the houseís owner arrived. I couldnít wait to look around. Itís adorable: hardwood floors, a fireplace, a charming little backyard with a porch where I can have coffee in the morning and wine at night. The neighborhood is lovely: all 1920ís homes, palm trees, cute little shops close by, and easy to get to BART to get to work. I canít wait to move in and start my new life.
11/18 Direct Link
It will be a longer wait than I thought. The movers who took my things to the warehouse on Wednesday assured me that theyíd be packed onto the big moving truck the following day. But the big truck driver had other plans and did not show up that day. When I finally tracked down the office guy of the moving company, he told me that my things wouldnít be put on the big truck until Tuesday. Tuesday! Nearly a week after they were supposed to start the long journey to my new home. Thereís nothing I can do but wait.
11/19 Direct Link
The bad news that my furniture wonít arrive until the 28th or the 30th, together with computer problems just sends me into a tailspin. I know itís the stress of moving, but itís a real struggle to fight the despair. I feel like the whole move was a big mistake and my life will always be in chaos, no matter what I do. Sometimes I wish I could hire a real adult to deal with the responsible parts of my life; to make the big decisions and make them wisely and well. Someone I could blame if things go wrong.
11/20 Direct Link
I went over to the house today to imagine where Iíll put the furniture if and when it shows up. I tried not to think about the fact that Iíll have paid three weeksí rent for an empty house by the time the things get here. Looking in the mailbox, I am absurdly pleased to see that I already have mail (The New Yorker) Ė it makes it feel more official. Itís a beautiful sunny day and I donít need a jacket, though I will once the sun sets. I open the blinds and the empty rooms flood with sunlight.
11/21 Direct Link
After admiring the house, I went to the grocery store to deposit my paycheck and get some wine for Thanksgiving (rule number one of being a good guest is to arrive with wine, especially at the holidays). With the proceeds of my check, I invested in six bottles of good six dollar wine and lunch at Glen's Hot Dogs. Being Northern California, there were many non-traditional options, such as turkey burgers, veggie burgers, and, in my case, smoked chicken apple sausage with fancy mustard. I sat at the counter in the bright sun and was thankful to be home again.
11/22 Direct Link
Driving home on Thanksgiving Day itself may be the perfect time, because the traffic was non-existent. There wasnít even the traditional Santa Rosa Slowdown, though there was construction on 101. As I drove through the last stages of 128, that curvaceous road that follows the hills and mountains to my brother and sisterís houses, I found myself almost in tears. The ancient redwoods create a sort of tunnel, with blue sky and bright sunlight flashing through the branches. Coming out of the shade and seeing the ocean again, I was nothing but thankful, for my life and my family.
11/23 Direct Link
Thanksgiving was so great. It was so good to be together again. The house was full of friends, family and food. Jarrett and his fiancťe Marie turned up unexpectedly to our great joy. Jarrett lived with my brother and sister for the last three years of high school. We met him when my brother was living on a boat at Pier 39 - Jarrett and his Mom lived two boats down and Jarrett didn't have a father, so Jonathan kind of took him under his wing (Jarrett was 4 at the time and is now 25). It made the day complete.
11/24 Direct Link
The next day, I called the movers and was told that my stuff wouldn't get here until December 3 at the earliest. Why, you ask, when it was picked up November 15? Because the geographically challenged idiots at the moving company sent the driver to Cincinnati, then Kentucky, and now he's on his way to...Boston. I burst into tears. Will call head office on Monday and tell them I'm referring the matter to my lawyer, despite not having one. Decided to borrow an air mattress and blankets from my bro and sis and camp out in the house. Stay tuned...
11/25 Direct Link
A friend brought her father to Thanksgiving dinner, and I learned the following about him:

- Time in padded cell: 9 days - just "woke up there" one day;

- Time in jail cell: 288 days - instead of paying $9,000 fine;

- Best weekend: seeing Willie Nelson in 1974, with the best coke, white lightning and hookers he'd ever had, and he is quite experienced in all;

- Favorite job: safety worker at NASCAR, putting out fires and pulling drivers from wrecks (9 years); and

- Lifetime ambition: to go to the Northwest Territories and kill one of everything they got.

11/26 Direct Link
On the way up, I stopped at a gas station in Oakland, where a guy asked me for money for brown sugar, on account of his mother was coming all the way from Louisiana for Thanksgiving and he was making a ham. I gave him a dollar to leave me alone while I wrestled with the gas pump, observed by a row of his apparently homeless buddies. He asked someone else for brown sugar money while I was filling up the car. Either hams need a lot of brown sugar, or "brown sugar" means something else, like crack or Ripple.
11/27 Direct Link
Iím trying not to think about the movers, where my stuff is, and when or if it will ever get here. In the meantime, Iím using the rental car while I have it, getting the necessities a girl needs while camping in her own house (pots, pans, dishes, cutlery) and supplies a girl always has to get when she moves (re-stocking kitchen, cleaning aids, and other dullnesses). Another day, another $200. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that my old Safeway card still works, so the dullnesses were a little less expensive (though not less dull). So far, so good.
11/28 Direct Link
Last night, the air mattress lay dejectedly on the hard, hardwood floor. Attempts to revive it with its allegedly rechargeable pump were futile, since the recharger itself was in need of resuscitation. When switched on, it made a low, mournful noise like a cow who has received particularly bad news. It was clear that the mattress and accessory were beyond earthly powers. It was 9:34 p.m., and the nearest Target, which closes at 10 p.m., was 11 miles away. I floored the car all the way and ran inside the nearly silent store. $120 later, I had a new mattress.
11/29 Direct Link
Now the problem is no longer the mattress, but the state of the mattress. I donít think even Dubya could come up with a fakely positive State of the Mattress address. June keeps peeing on it, and/or the two blankets I have, one to sleep on and one to sleep with. So far, this has happened the past two nights and again this morning. I spend more time washing blankets, cleaning up cat pee, and swearing than any other activity. Possibly June was more attached to the old, dead mattress than I realized. Or maybe itís a protest. A pee-in.
11/30 Direct Link
Fingers crossed: the problem may be solved. I got Feliway spray (apparently mimics cats' happy pheromones wherever you spray it, so the kitty thinks of it as a happy place instead of a peeing place) and also HomeoPet anxiety drops. I gave June the drops yesterday morning and she hasn't been doing that meowing and rolling around thing, and hasn't peed on the mattress, which I sprayed with the Feliway stuff - yet. She looks calmer, smaller pupils - I think she worries enough for both herself and Audrey. Even my kitten needs ativan. Things will get better soon, right?