28 October 2012

falling winter

I just really really hate fall. Really.

I like the pretty leaves. I like those crisp sunny days. 

But I hate how the light goes away. 

By the end of October (read: now), I start to feel the heaviness of the coming winter. I can feel the weight of the dark months dragging at me, and I begin again to think that it was a mistake to move north of the 30th parallel.

I hate being cold. I hate short days. I hate dark days. I hate the unending rain.

What am I doing here in long, dark winter-land? I never should have left the tropics.

I moved back to the US for the social life most of all, and I have that here. But sometimes I'm not sure it was worth giving up the endless days of warmth and 12 hour days. It's so much easier to be happy when the sun shines.

25 October 2012


There are some grownup things of which I remain spectacularly incapable. 

Exhibit A: Shaving my legs. I probably gouge myself at least 50% of the time while shaving. The other day, while in the middle of what appeared to be a perfectly normal shaving episode, I sliced off a piece of skin more than two inches long and probably a third to a half an inch wide.

How is this even possible? I have been shaving my legs for twenty years! And yet.


I had an invitation to a Halloween party up in Gone West this weekend, but I chose the one here in Universe City instead. Such a thing would have been impossible a year ago. I actually want to be here, in Universe City, with these people. Mind = blown.

I betook myself to the Store of Horrors (W@1m@rt) tonight in search of items to make up my Halloween costume. The party's theme is Create Your Own Superhero, and I am going as Wild Fire, source of warmth and danger. I needed 1. ribbons to somehow attach to my hair (I got red, dark red, and orange), and 2. red fabric for a cape, and 3. bright red lipstick and nail polish. 

There do not seem to be any non-chain stores providing fabric anymore. 

We'll see how my cape-making endeavors turn out. I'm going to be creating this cape with fabric, ribbon, thread, and my own grubby little paws, so it should be interesting.

23 October 2012


  1. When I arrived at Trader Joe's on Saturday, there was a flash mob of zombies dancing to Thriller in front of the doorway.
  2. I created my own pumpkin cinnamon rolls from a regular cinnamon roll recipe, and they were incredible.
  3. I forgot until I got a reminder call yesterday that I was signed up to make phone calls for the Obama campaign today. A full day of work + 3 hours of calling 75 people and talking to 24 of them (two people hung up on me) = exhaustion in the extreme. I think I would like canvassing better. At least it feels like real people.
  4. I forget.

18 October 2012


I never considered skipping advanced fighting class, but I did realize on the way there how very tired I was. Lifting my arms seemed like it would take effort. (It did take effort. Noticeable effort.)

I had a long, hard day. I need a vacation after just yesterday and today. 

But I went to class anyway (I was four blocks away from class when I realized how tired I was), and whoa. I started out tired, and I ended up mushy like jello. Halfway through, I wasn't sure that I actually was capable of one more round kick.

I didn't have much of a choice, of course. It was kick another round kick - and another - and another - or look like a wimp. We are not wimps in fighting class. 

I kicked, and I punched, and I knife-sparred, and my only injuries are a cut on my lip and multiple bruises beginning on my knife hand. So a good class, really.

Now if only I could get up and get ready for bed. Sitting here thinking how tired I am isn't helping.

15 October 2012


The rain is back.

I'll just leave us all to grieve about that for a little while.






I accept that the rich green vegetation that we enjoy here in the Valley of Damp is the product of months of rain. 


It's just that I am a sunshine girl. I thrive on the sunshine, and I wilt in the rain. A desert starts to seem like a good idea. 

In the meantime, I have my new happy light. I thought the little happy light helped me before, but this is a whole new level. This approaches the giddiness of a sunny day. Truthfully, I do not follow the instructions. My happy light is on whenever I am sitting at my desk, which probably means I am overdosing on light. (Can you overdose on light?) If I am ridiculously exuberant even in February, you know why.

In other, unrelated, exciting news: the tiny little loan that I took out to buy my car is paid off as of today. Yup. She's all mine.

13 October 2012


I registered 13 people to vote today, which means that my civic duty is done for approximately forever, or at least until three weeks from now when I get to vote. (I wrote "have to" there first, but we are not required to vote in this country. Can you imagine how that would go over?)

I signed up through the Obama campaign. In State of Happiness, political parties can do voter registration drives even while displaying their logo. And I did: I wore an Obama/Biden sticker, and I stood in the middle of the farmers market, and I asked people if they needed to update their voter registration ("Change of address? Have you moved recently?"), and 13 of them said yes. 

What you are not allowed to do is only register members of one party, and I would have a problem with that anyway. I think democracy is a good thing. (Listen to me sounding like a US ambassador overseas.) So I registered a bunch of "No party affiliation" people and one or two Democrats and one Republican (which actually surprised me, given the solid blueness of this town). 

Somehow I thought there would be more camaraderie involved, like maybe a whole group of people laughing and drinking coffee together and then dispersing in pairs? But I might be thinking of canvassing, c. 2008 when we were all just so desperate to see the end of the Bushie era. 

Instead I got a brief orientation and was sent out essentially on my own.

It took a little while to get used to continually smiling and talking to people who barely looked back, most of them. You have to be okay with inserting yourself into someone's conversation. At first I just sort of stood there, in the middle of the aisle between stalls, turning in circles, hoping people would come up to me. 

They did not.

So I went to them.

I ran out of the 11 forms the Obama campaign had given me, so I went and found another woman over on the other block. She gave me a few more, and I went back to my prime location.

Young people are the most likely to need to update their voter registration, I discovered. I suppose this is because they move more often. After a while, I only asked the older people out of courtesy. Most of them said things like, "I've lived in the same place for fifteen years." Well, then. You're probably fine.

13 registrations is apparently pretty good. The other person on my time slot got 3, and the woman who started an hour after me had 1 when I left. I don't know whether to credit this to the crossroads where I planted myself, or if I just had better luck as a not-old person. Maybe it was easier for me to talk to younger people because I am (relatively) younger. 

I'm not sure that I would say that it was fun, exactly, but it felt meaningful, and that is always a nice feeling.

12 October 2012


In advanced fighting class last night the instructor was demonstrating what not to do when overcoming a choke from the side. 

I put my hands around his neck and he demonstrated the incorrect move.

I took advantage of the moment to grab his chin, spin him around, and bend him backwards with my other hand on the small of his back. I could have dropped him on his head, and he had no balance to counteract it.

When I let him stand straight again, he said that was exactly why one does not do the move incorrectly. 

"You used to be nice," he joked.

"I used to be vulnerable," I said. 

It's true that I am physically less vulnerable than I used to be. Knowing that I can probably defend myself if I should be attacked (at least enough to stay alive) (assuming no weapon is involved) is a really good feeling, and I walk taller down the street because of it. 

09 October 2012


A couple of months ago, a coworker got into my car and said, "It's good to know that I'm not the only one who keeps their car in this kind of condition."

You would think that would have shamed me into cleaning my car.

It did not.

I am pretty sure that the last time I vacuumed out my car was at the K.s' when I was on my way back from camping in Other Western State last August.

Not the August we just had. The other August, the one before that.

I finally got around to the vacuuming thing on Sunday afternoon. I was just going to get my car washed, but it was sunny and I was wearing a clean dress with lots of white in it, so I figured it was just about the perfect time to get all dusty and risk flashing the busiest street in town. 

I have no idea, really. I just saw people at the car wash vacuuming out their cars, and I suddenly had the urge to vacuum out my car, and I happened to be wearing a clean dress with lots of white in it. I was not going to let that stop me, though. I know better than to fight the cleaning urge when it (oh-so-seldom) hits.

So I plugged three dollars into the machine, one quarter at a time, and vacuumed my car's insides to a point where offering rides is no longer a humiliating experience.

Then I stopped at T@rget for some car-cleaning wipes and wiped down my dashboard and doors. 

I hardly recognize that sparkling little sedan in the parking lot anymore. Not until I get up close and see the passenger seat, where I burned a permanent circle into the fabric by putting a hot pan of jollof rice straight into the car last November. Oh, right. I know you.

04 October 2012


The massage therapist I saw on Monday also practices martial arts, and he asked me what I thought was the most important thing in martial arts.

"Your mind," I said, which is what we learn at the studio where I practice. 

"The most important physical aspect," he said.

"Okay, your core," I said, recalling all the times my instructors have smacked me in the stomach and told me to tighten my core for better precision or balance or force.

"I think it is power," he said.

Hm. We may attend different sorts of studios.

03 October 2012

birthday party no. 3a & 3b, 2012

Birthday party no. 3a was just me. And a massage therapist. It was possibly my favorite party of all, but that may just be because I finally found a massage therapist who can dig deeply enough into that one spot under my shoulder blade that pains me pretty much every day.

The effects of the massage lasted approximately, oh, two days. I skipped fighting class on my birthday so as to preserve the painless back, but today I went back and did 50 round kicks on each side and now my back feels normal again. Which is to say, ouch. 

My roommate's parents threw party 3b on the evening of my birthday. (Side note: I am so envious of her for living in the same town as her parents. If my parents would bother to live somewhere see-lightly awesomer than where they do (also see-lightly warmer), I would totally live close to them. Unfortunately, they live in the Mitten, and not only am I not a member of the Mitten Bar Association, but um, well. There are not enough young single professionals in their 30s there. FINE, I SAID IT.)

So my roommate's parents live in town, a fact that continues to make me burn with jealousy every time she goes over there, but the good part about them living in town is that they grill me salmon for my birthday. Salmon her dad caught himself in Alaska six weeks ago, thank you very much, which you can correctly interpret as meaning: amazing salmon. Grilled. 

I love grilled salmon. I love grilled salmon so much that I took a second helping of salmon over having stomach space to fit more than a little piece of ice cream cake. (If you knew my sweet tooth, your jaw would be flopping on the floor right now. I almost never choose any other kind of food over sugar.)

So yes, 3a = massage. 3b = grilled salmon. 

What I'm saying here is that my birthday rocked this year.

01 October 2012

birthday party no. 2, 2012

I got the grand idea to bake cupcakes, somehow. I don't know how. I like baking? I suppose that is why. 

I found a recipe for dark chocolate cupcakes with pumpkin frosting, which is pretty much what life is all about. (Look it up in the encyclopedia under What Life Is All About. It's right there.) 

The cupcakes required cutting up and melting 3/4 of a pound of dark chocolate with a cup of butter, but hey. Your birthday comes but once a year! (That is a line from the Truman Show, which at one point was my favorite movie of all time.)

So I made the cupcakes, which were, frankly, amazing. I am saying this myself, but I was not the only one saying it, so all is well. I cleaned a little. And then people just showed up. And it was so great to sit around with cool people talking about all manner of things. It almost made me love this town, this sitting about with friends.

I think I always hype up parties in my head. I feel like the house needs to be perfect (it wasn't; the mail was still on the table in the entryway) and I need to have 8 kinds of hummus and 3 kinds of pita chips and 2 kinds of salsa and 5 kinds of vegetables, and maybe I just don't. Maybe I can just invite a few people over and tell them that there will be cupcakes and they will come over expecting nothing more, and it will be full of happiness and companionship. 

This is a revelation. 

(Side note: I am so happy to be making girl friends. Guy friends are all very well, and I love them, but for a long time here I had only guy friends due to hiking, etc. I've always been a girl who had girl friends, and I'm so happy to be making some here.)