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BY suzy

04/01 Direct Link
If only it were an April Fool’s Day prank. I spoke with a lawyer today who informed me that since my mother’s annuity named my older sister as the beneficiary, she is in fact legally entitled to the money. Even though her Will states that it should be shared among the four of us. Apparently the annuity money goes directly to the beneficiary and isn’t part of the estate. She was under a moral obligation to share the money, but not legally. She has chosen the money over her siblings, doesn’t care what becomes of us. She’s dead to me.
04/02 Direct Link
I got up for a 6:30 conference call which my boss had scheduled without checking with me first or telling me what it was about. At 10 after he called me to say he couldn't join the call, but here's what it's about. 15 minutes later, he called again to say we'd have to reschedule it. Oh, and could I cover for him at a conference in SF today? He couldn't remember when he was supposed to be there (but it's after 11 so if I get there at 10:30 it should be OK) or whom he's supposed to meet.
04/03 Direct Link
When I got to the hotel, I discovered it was the wrong hotel. Called my boss, got the right place. At the registration desk, they asked me if I was taking my boss’ place on the panel that afternoon and whether I brought a PowerPoint with me. Excused myself to call. The naughty words were hanging invisibly over my head as I dialed. He told me he couldn't do it and didn't have anything he could email me so I could replace him. I explained this to the people running the show, and they were nice about it, but dang.
04/04 Direct Link
Went to Sacramento to see Bruce Springsteen.

At nearly three score years, Springsteen still has charm and charisma to burn, and burn it he does, giving 110% when he's on stage. I can almost forgive him for being an hour late and not apologizing.

Two seats down was a teen talking on her cell, saying "When Mom and I went to see Eminem..." Given the fact that this day would have been my mother's 76th birthday and that she gave me my love of music and was always listening to the cutting edge at the time, it was entirely appropriate.

04/05 Direct Link
I was lucky enough to see another legend: Joe Sample. He was playing at the beautiful and intimate Herbst Theater. It was just Mr. Sample and his piano and it was heavenly. He introduced each song with its history, putting it in context, and told amazing anecdotes of his long career (he must be nearly 70 and has been playing professionally since he was in his teens).

He took questions and answers from the crowd, many of which were children, since it was a matinee. I'm sure they'll remember it and talk about it when they're grown-up.

An honor.

04/06 Direct Link
You'd think that would be enough for one day, but I collected my friends from Fancytown, explaining that the luxury part of their visit was now over, as we crossed the bridge to the Siberia side of the Bay.

They were delighted with my tiny house and my not so tiny kittens. They were tired of restaurant food, so we had a barbecue. It was a splendid evening of catching up and swapping stories and relaxing. They're the kind of company that helps you make dinner and clean it up and are pretty much just like family.

What a day!

04/07 Direct Link
The next morning, I found my friends wide awake. Once I was (relatively) awake and (relatively) dressed, we headed out to what was effectively brunch at Bette's Oceanview Diner. Note to those who may visit sometime, anytime: there is no ocean view and never has been. Though the neighborhood has gotten on the fancy side. Fun shopping, too.

After that the fun was over, arriving at SFO to pick up their rental Prius and make their long way up the coast to Seattle. I was sad to say goodbye, but so happy and energized by their loving and positive presence.

04/08 Direct Link
Busy week ahead: two days of conferences at the Four Seasons, meetings, conference calls, and a concert on Friday night. The concert is at the same place my ex-husband received his American citizenship years ago, and it also takes place on his birthday. Sometimes I wonder about the web of coincidences, big and small, that overlay every day life. Sometimes I wonder if I did the right thing, the consequences have been so hard. And it’s so strange to walk the familiar streets of my married life alone in my new life, where everything looks the same, but I’m different.
04/09 Direct Link
Two great friends have birthdays today: Paul, who is practically family even though he lives in Florida and New York; and Sunny, who is by name and nature and smiles on everyone. He’s on the east coast today and she’s traveling up the west coat today, but they are both in my hearts. Today and always.

As I told a very pregnant friend, it’s a good day for good people to be born. I think her daughter heard me, because she popped out at home at 7 am today, healthy and beautiful. She was finally ready to meet the world.

04/10 Direct Link
I’ve been spending a lot of time in the city this week, and it just impresses on me further how much harder and more time-consuming it is to have to travel back and forth. I have new respect for people who have done this every day for years, from places as far away as Sacramento, facing traffic, delays, public transit, irritable tempers, time and patience running out. There’s no good way to commute. I don’t think I’d mind it so much if I hadn’t lived in San Francisco so long and loved it so much. Knowing better makes it worse.
04/11 Direct Link
After my meetings, I had a little time before dinner and a concert, so I stopped into a fancy bookshop. I found a lovely birthday card for my sister, a couple of other cards, and was unable to resist the latest “Us” and “People” with headlines about Beyoncé’s secret wedding. When I took my haul up to the cash, the fashionable cashier looked at me with disdain, which I enjoyed like a secret wedding. I even asked her to put them in a bag, which she did with visible horror. I enjoyed that, too. It’s fun to be perverse sometimes.
04/12 Direct Link
You’d think it was summer instead of spring. It’s 83 outside and 80 inside. I noticed the central heating control has a cooling function, but it doesn’t seem to work. I call the landlord, who tells me in her usual dippy way that she never used the cooling system, but if you open both the front and back doors, the cross breeze is “awesome”. It may be awesome, but it’s still 80 degrees, which is horrifying and unacceptable. Do I get an air conditioner and pay the dizzying utility bills, or be dazed and sleepless? Neither option sounds very good.
04/13 Direct Link
Apparently my house doubles as a convection oven. Who knew? The cats are little fur puddles on the floor, looking at me as if to say, “This is too hot even for desert creatures like cats. Would you do something about it, please?” (Because my cats are polite enough to say please and thank you, even if they are naughty little tomboys most of the time.)

The blinds are all closed and the cross breeze is not awesome, except for being awesomely inefficient, being that it’s 83 degrees in my little oven house. Time stands still in the hot twilight.

04/14 Direct Link
The little taste of summer vanished as quickly as it appeared. The winds picked up and it was cool enough to have the heat on at night. Hard to believe that just a few hours before, it was suffocatingly hot.

If it’s going to be that hot here in the summer, though, the cross breeze (or the myth of the cross breeze) isn’t going to cut it. I never had this problem when I lived in beautiful San Francisco, the fog and the Bay acting as natural air conditioners. I think I’m going to have to buy a real one.

04/15 Direct Link
My friend Paul is coming to visit, all the way from Florida! He left a message to say he’s coming on the 22nd. My sister and her friend Erica are coming to visit on the 25th, so if their visits coincide, my tiny house will be very crowded and someone will have to be relegated to the dreaded inflatable bed (I just realized they call it “inflatable” – yes, you are able to inflate it, but there’s no guarantee it will stay inflated). I’m sure we’ll work something out. It will be great to see him; it’s been too long.
04/16 Direct Link
I find the wreckage of my daisy mug in the old porcelain sink. The cats are sunning themselves peacefully, looking innocent. I am saddened out of all proportion by the destruction of this every day object. Not only was it beautiful, it was made by an artist, and it brightened every morning as I sipped inky coffee out of its white porcelain depths. Not only that, but it was the gift of my closest and most beloved friend. And it survived the long, circuitous move, only to be destroyed. Gone in a moment. A replacement wouldn’t, couldn’t be the same.
04/17 Direct Link
The Oakland office has only a desk, a chair, and a pile of mail in it. So I go to buy another desk, chair, and filing cabinet to put all that mail in. I try to be…economical about it, since only my partner and I ever use that office, meetings with outsiders taking place in the fancy Financial District office in San Francisco. The new furniture will be delivered some time on Monday. The Oakland office is in a historic building with no elevator, so I already feel sorry for the delivery men carrying their burdens up the marble stairs.
04/18 Direct Link
If all goes well in the next few months, I should get a bonus. If I do, it’s earmarked for my brother and sister to help put a well in on the land they’re buying. I could say they own it, as I used to say I owned my apartment, when in both cases I really mean that a mortgage is or was being paid off – it’s actually the bank that owns it, I guess. Still, I like to think of the land being theirs, as I liked to think of my apartment being mine. Wish it still was.
04/19 Direct Link
Yesterday I complained about getting up at 7:30 am to get to the office in San Francisco on time, and today I got up at 7:45 without the alarm. Maybe it's having to that makes it hard – if you get up because you feel like it, it’s different than doing it to catch a train. When I walked out of the Montgomery BART station, there was a crazy guy standing there with mountains of luggage, yelling, "Monday through Friday mornin's, I'ma gonna be here! Until I drive you out your motherfuckin' minds!" I walked past him thinking, "Mission accomplished."
04/20 Direct Link
As of today, I've been blogging for seven, count 'em, seven years. That makes my blog ancient in internet terms. Probably 80 or so. I think about stopping - surely close to a decade of frivolous nonsense is enough for anyone - but then something happens and I think, "I have to blog about that", or I get an email or phone call from someone who's read it and wants me to know s/he has enjoyed it. You realize that just encourages me, right? So for better or worse, for sillier or shallower, I'll keep blogging. At least for now.
04/21 Direct Link
I’m waiting for the office furniture to be delivered. The office is in a historic building downtown. The ground floor has an outlet/outpost Dicker & Dicker of Beverly Hills, though few places could be further from Beverly Hills than downtown Oakland. I'm almost positive that game shows when I was a kid used to have prizes of furs from Dicker & Dicker of Beverly Hills. However, I expect that the lack of an elevator will be more interesting to the delivery men, and I doubt that they will be impressed by the white marble stairs with their elaborate wrought-iron railings.
04/22 Direct Link
On BART again, this time going to the city. I stare listlessly out of the smeared windows as the train passes the docks and housing developments and factories. A church towers over the neighborhood, with a hand-painted red sign that says “OAKLAND” in the middle, and on either side, “Jesus is Lord” and “Jesus es el Senor”. Somehow the Spanish version sounds more like “Jesus is the Man”, but maybe that’s just as good. Most of these storefront churches list their preacher’s name, and it’s always three names, like serial killers. And there’s always a liquor store, for private communions.
04/23 Direct Link
Change in plans: my sister’s too sick to drive down here. So Paul and I will visit her instead. He’ll pick me up tomorrow and we’ll head up the beautiful California coast to her little house in the redwoods. Can’t wait to see her and my brother. Now all I have to do is get all my work finished for the rest of the week, get in touch with the cat sitter, pack everything and clean up the house in one day. And there’s only one me. Easier said than done! I wish I still had a cleaning lady. Sigh….
04/24 Direct Link
Change in plan: my sister’s too sick to drive down here. So Paul and I will visit her instead. He’ll pick me up tomorrow and we’ll head up the beautiful California coast to her little house in the redwoods. Can’t wait to see her and my brother. Now all I have to do is get all my work finished for the rest of the week, get in touch with the cat sitter, pack everything and clean up the house in one day. And there’s only one me. Easier said than done! I wish I still had a cleaning lady. Sigh….
04/25 Direct Link
When I got home, I discovered that I couldn’t get in. I climbed in one of the livingroom windows. I don't know whether I should be relieved or disappointed that no-one called the ever-present po-lice on me.

I called the locksmith, who came over right away and changed the locks. He thought they were probably original, 85 years old, so no wonder they died. He suggested getting locks for the livingroom windows, which turned out to be the only room in the house that was lock-free. Not even a trace of ghosts of locks past on the four windows.

04/26 Direct Link
Getting window locks is now a matter of some urgency, since I'm going to Florida on Saturday for a conference. Now I know from personal experience that the windows can be climbed through with impunity, it makes me a little nervous.

I can’t say I’m happy about the whole trip. Before you get all excited about the Florida thing, remember that I already have sun and ocean, and I'd have to travel 3,500 miles for more of the same. Plus uncomfortable work clothes and, you know, work. Not to mention the enforced work socializing thing, which is just plain weird.

04/27 Direct Link
So once again, I’m feeling flustered and pressed for time in getting ready for a trip, though this one definitely requires more thought in wardrobe and grooming. It’s hard to come up with something that’s formal enough for a conference in a place that’s so hot outside and so thoroughly refrigerated inside. Then there are all the tedious airline requirements about grooming aids, which are apparently almost as hazardous as automatic weapons. I managed to find time to get my eyebrows waxed and my bangs trimmed. Maybe I can get my nails done in Florida before all the festivities begin.
04/28 Direct Link
A friend emails me and says she’s changed her name. She’s been separated even longer than I have, so I ask her if she’s gotten divorced. No, she says, just changed her name back to her maiden name. It made her sad, but she thought it was time. I never changed my name when I got married, so it’s made that simpler for me. I should talk to my ex again about the paperwork. We filled it out last year (or the year before) but there was something wrong with it, so it’s been on the back burner ever since.
04/29 Direct Link
I noticed a guy going through my recycling, tossing the rejects on my driveway. I went outside and yelled at him to leave. He shuffled off.

A few hours later, a woman appeared at my door and said she was there to provide elder services. I have a birthday coming up next month, but I'm not that old. Not yet. I explained to her that I was the oldest person here and she must have the wrong address.

Maybe the recycling guy called her on me, like kids playing a prank on their neighbors by sending them lots of pizza.

04/30 Direct Link
Lately, I’ve been putting out food and water daily for the stray grey cat. He often sunbathes on the garage roof, but won’t let me get too close. I put the food and water under the porch – it’s open on one end, but private enough that he’d feel safe there – every day, and in the morning, it’s gone. I figure he’ll be having a hard time finding water now that the winter rains are over. I wish I could bring him into the house, but he likes his wild ways. At least I can help, even just a little.