Thursday, April 28, 2005

Saying yes

This has been the most incredibly busy month that I can remember. It's not over yet, but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I've had three freelance web design projects go live this month, plus the usual small updates. I've been working at work all day, then going home and working a couple of hours at night, plus working several hours on the weekends. It will be good for the bank account, of course, but I would prefer to be just a little less busy. I try never to turn down or discourage business, because that just always seems like a bad idea.

For instance, I have a policy of always picking up money that I see in the street, even if it's just a penny, because if the universe is going to offer you rewards, you shouldn't refuse them. When you start saying "no" to money, even if it's just a penny dropped in the street, then, in my view, you're closing yourself off from larger rewards. I don't know, that's probably silly, but it seems to me to be a good policy.

That's not to say that I've never turned down business. I can remember a couple of times when, for whatever reason, an offered job just didn't seem right to me, and I declined. But for the most part, I try not to say no, because to me it just seems to set a bad precedent.

Anyway, once the third site goes live this weekend, I'll link to them.

Being so busy this month has kind of worked out well, though, actually, because Bob has been out of town a lot. I feel guilty about spending so much time on the computer when he's home, and I'm also more easily distracted.

He was gone last weekend, fishing with his friends at the lake, and this weekend he's at Disney World with his dad. I'm not completely sure what prompted the trip, I think it was just the cheap airfare, basically. It was kind of a spur-of-the-moment thing.

They left this morning, and will come back on Monday. I'm off tomorrow--it's my company's fourth anniversary on May 1, so we're closing on Friday--so I've got a nice, long weekend ahead of me. I plan to go out and see my parents on Sunday, but that's really the only plan I have so far. Probably go to the nursery, and the library, and a few things like that. And if it's warm enough, plant some flowers, maybe. I bought some geraniums last weekend, but it's been too cold to put them out. The Farmer's Almanac said the last frost was a few days ago, but I'm not sure whether to trust it or not.

Bob just called and said it was about 85 degrees in Florida. Sounds perfect. He's called me several times today--I told him to please call me a LOT, so I can live vicariously through him. He called me from the tram, and from the train, and while they were watching the parade, and just now, while he was waiting in line to ride Space Mountain. Oh, and once from the airport here, and twice from the airport in Orlando--once to let me know they arrived safely, and once to tell me that he'd lost his paperwork with all the confirmation numbers and things.

I don't think any of it was really necessary, but I'm obsessive about being sure I have copies of the hotel confirmation and rental confirmation and airline e-ticket confirmation. I had given him copies of everything, but at some point, probably when he was giving his dad his boarding pass (which we had printed out at home at midnight last night), he lost track of it. I imagine he was panic-stricken for a moment--I would have been--but it's probably not a bad thing, really, to prove that all of that is basically unnecessary.

previous | next

Thursday, April 21, 2005


It's my annual poppy entry! I know I write about them every year, but every year I'm just thrilled that they've come up, and I'm always surprised by it. As I pulled out of the driveway yesterday I noticed that I had one bloom, but I was running late, as usual, and didn't have time to run back into the house to get the camera.

This morning when I pulled out, I saw that there were two, and I was early, so I went back in and got the camera and took a couple of pictures. Aren't they the most gorgeous color?

Oh, and when I went back in the house to get the camera, I apparently surprised Dinah and Pyewacket:

See, what I think is, they really like each other, but don't want us to know it. They act like they just barely tolerate each other when we're home, but when they're by themselves, well:

That's what I saw when I came home last night, and I grabbed the camera and took a shot before Pyewacket jumped off the cat tree. It's fairly obvious what happened -- Dinah was sitting there, and Pye decided she wanted to sit there, but for whatever reason, Dinah stood her ground and wouldn't get off, thus Pyewacket crouching on the edge.

Of course, I guess in the top two pictures they aren't necessarily playing with each other, and maybe Dinah's hiding because Pye was going to thump her, but it looked more like playing. No one's back was up, there wasn't any hissing or growling going on. I prefer to believe they were playing. Of course, they can't seem to do that very long before it escalates into hissing and growling, but it's nice to see them at least coexisting peacefully. ("Sure, everything's fine until somebody puts their eye out . . .")

Dinah has started trying to get out the front door again every time we open it, so we've had to become more vigilant any time we go out. She got out night before last when Bob went out to get something out of the van, and since it was already dark, I was afraid we wouldn't be able to find her, but she stopped to eat some grass and I snuck up on her and scooped her up.

Bob would probably be just as happy to let her run out, he's said more than once we ought to try it and see what she does, and he's sort of kidding.

previous | next

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Feed the Birds

Here's the second shrine, which turned out to be more of a decorative object, possibly, and less of an interactive one, since I've decided to give it to my mother for Mother's Day next month.

Clicking on the pictures will show a close-up image.

previous | next

Friday, April 15, 2005

Happy Birthday, Cello!

Cello's 40th birthday is Sunday, and we had a little party for him today. It was really difficult, because he's away from the office so much. We wanted to surprise him, so we didn't want to tell him, but he kept calling and saying he had another stop to make, or someone else he had to see, and we kept waiting and waiting for him to get back. He finally showed up at about 3:00.

We had all dressed in black, and Dave and John had decorated his office with black balloons and crepe paper, and put black streamers in the doorways, including the elevator door. It was pretty impressive.

Later in the afternoon, there was a chocolate cheesecake. Oh, and leis! A sparkly tinsel one for Cello, and black ones for the rest of us. Dave really went all out. Cello said he's saving the stuff to use this summer when Dave turns 40 . . .

I had kind of an adventure this afternoon after I left work. I had ordered some tea from Stash Tea, and had it delivered to the office. I guess I had gotten complacent with Adagio, who uses FedEx to deliver. I expected Stash to use FedEx, or, more likely, UPS, but they used the post office.

The postman tried to deliver the package yesterday morning, apparently. Although I'm sure there was something there at the office when he tried, the elevator was probably turned off--it opens right into our office, so it usually doesn't get turned on until either I or Cello get in in the morning--and he assumed that the office was closed rather than climbing the stairs. Understandable, I guess.

I had had it shipped to the office because I thought it would be easier, of course, but it ended up meaning that I had to go to the downtown post office to pick it up, which was the adventure.

I hadn't realized it, but I actually drive very close to the post office on my way home every night, so while I'd never been there, I thought it would be a piece of cake. As it turned out, they had moved, for one thing. And for another, it was, of course, tax day. And then once I'd found the new location, parked, and stood in line, I was told that I couldn't pick up packages there, I had to get back in the car, drive a couple of blocks, drive underground into the parking garage, and pick up the package in a different building. Or, who knows, maybe it was the same building--by the time I got there I was so turned around that I couldn't tell.

But it all worked out in the end. I got my Stash.

previous | next

Wednesday, April 13, 2005


After I posted the pictures last night, I got busy doing something else, and then was too tired to write anything about them. It was kind of fun to let them stand for themselves, though, maybe. My camera isn't the greatest for taking close-up shots, but at least it gives an idea.

The outside (top and sides) is covered with wide printed ribbon, then lightly varnished. The hearts on the doors are glued-on wooden pieces, and there are various pieces of paper collage both inside and out. There's a little mirror on the top shelf, and silver metal beads spelling out "WISHES." On the inside of one door is a tiny spring clothespin holding a miniature tarot card of The Sun (the card isn't glued in, so the clothespin could hold anything--a fortune cookie fortune, maybe?); the word inside the other door is "BOUNTEOUS," which says means "Generously and copiously given."

There's an image of an old key glued to the floor symbolizing hidden secrets. The key and the mirror are both important, I think--the mirror, in addition to being a reflective surface to bring light in, also reminds anyone looking in that ultimately, we are responsible for fulfilling our own wishes and dreams, and that we have the ability to do that inside ourselves.

I worked on a second one tonight. This one is painted green, lightly distressed and antiqued, with sort of a "garden" theme--it has a tiny pile of terra cotta pots, and a birdhouse, and a little chair . . . I varnished it tonight, and can put in the ornaments tomorrow. I'm trying not to overdo it, to leave plenty of room for personal treasures. They're sort of like "interactive" art, maybe. Sort of whimsical, yet it has a use, it's not just decorative.

I haven't decided what's going to happen with them yet. It's a really interesting process to me. It's very difficult for me to allow myself to make art that isn't structured, to allow myself to just do something, anything, without being attached to the outcome. To allow myself to make mistakes. Although, in general, that's where the exciting stuff happens. You have to get to the point where you're not afraid that you're going to ruin it, and that's very hard. But if you only color inside the lines, you never figure out what else you might be able to do.

So anyway, I'm finding it very liberating and exciting. Photos of the new one tomorrow, hopefully.

Someone wrote tonight and asked me if I had been inspired by Joseph Cornell. I had never heard of him, but oh! What wonderful stuff! I Googled his name and found the WebMuseum link above. Really amazing stuff. Kind of like Nick Bantock's work, but three dimensional.

previous | next

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Wishes, Secrets, Dreams

I finished the first of the little shrines tonight. I'm calling it "Wishes, Secrets, Dreams."

previous | next

Sunday, April 10, 2005

The Bloody Claw

Bob and I have both really been enjoying Apple's iTunes. Bob could never really use it before, since he was still on a dial-up connection, but once we finally did what we should have done months ago and got him networked to the highspeed connection, he can actually listen to the previews and watch videos and everything. He's been buying bottles of Diet Pepsi and checking the bottlecaps, and he's gotten quite a few free songs, which he's being very frugal with. I bought him an iTunes gift card because I wanted him to splurge a little, but a couple of weeks after I did, he's still got 8 of the 15 songs left.

I haven't been quite as frugal, although I haven't bought much of anything the past few weeks. I did splurge the other night and buy several songs, a couple of older Barenaked Ladies ones, a few from a new artist that I'd never heard of--Ari Hest--and one that I'm absolutely enamored of: Regresa a Mi, by Il Divo. There's a video on the iTunes site, too, which is wonderful, and made me swoon, and makes me want to go to Italy . . .

The full album won't be out for a couple of weeks. I can't wait!

Spring arrived here with April, and I wore shorts to work every day last week. It was a little chilly on Thursday, and windy all week but even so, the sun was shining, and the weather was beautiful.

The flowering trees are blooming, the herbs in pots on the back porch are starting to come up, and the backyard is covered in violets. I've been making an effort to keep the birdfeeders filled, and every morning there are goldfinches and purple finches at the finch feeders, doves on the ground eating what the finches have spilled, and various other birds at the other feeders, the ones with sunflower seeds in them.

Yesterday there was a big blue jay, too big really to sit on the feeder. He would fly down to the feeder, perch on it for a second, and grab a sunflower seed, then fly up to a branch on the tree, hold it with his feet, then peck at it with his beak to break the shell, then eat the nut, and fly down to get another one.

I have a couple of feeders hanging on the fence, too. Those are really for the squirrel. He hangs upside down from the fence and reaches in and picks out a sunflower seed, then hangs there and eats it. I know I shouldn't encourage the squirrels, but they're cute, and I figure they need to eat, too.

Writing about the squirrel (okay, it wasn't really writing about the squirrel, it was writing about the blue jay and wanting to type "paws" instead of "feet") makes me remember what happened Friday night.

When I came home I noticed that there were a lot of clumps of fur in the hallway. Obviously the cats had gotten into it while we were gone. We picked up both of them and looked them over, but didn't see any obvious wounds. Then I saw the bloody pawprints across my desk, and we found a bloody claw on the dining room table (that would make a great title for a movie, wouldn't it?). From the look of the claw (Dinah's claws are thin and sharp, and Pye's are fat and blunt, mostly), it seemed to be Dinah's, and she seems to be favoring her right paw a little bit.

She won't let me look at it, but I figure I'll have Bob help me tonight and we'll look at it and see if it looks like she needs to see the vet. We're just guessing what happened, of course, but we think she probably got a claw hung up on something, probably my office chair, panicked, pulled too hard and ripped off (probably just the outer sheath of) the claw, screamed, scared Pyewacket, and they got in a tussle, causing the clumps of hair.

It's always been a fear of mine--that one of them will get hung up on something while we're gone and rip out a claw, but I guess now that it's happened we've proven that even if it does happen, they're not going to bleed to death. Bob trims Pyewacket's claws more often than Dinah's get clipped, because Pye will lie on his lap and let him trim them, while it takes both of us to do Dinah's. But we'll do them tonight, and check out the injured one. Poor baby. Not that it seems to be bothering her that much.

previous | next

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Wacky dreams

I'm sure I've enumerated here before my repertoire of stress dreams. The travel ones are the most ubiquitous--forgetting to pack, forgetting what day the flight is and missing it, losing my luggage, forgetting my luggage, etc. There's even the one about forgetting to leave the hotel room once I get there. I'll dream that I'm on vacation at the beach, but totally forget to go to the beach until it's time to leave! That's the weirdest one, I think, and one that I imagine means something, if only I could figure out what . . .

Then there are the dreams about being lost, either walking or driving. Walking in a strange part of town, or a strange city, and not being able to find where I want to be. Or getting lost while driving, or wandering through a large apartment complex or hotel, totally unable to find my apartment or hotel room (this one has happened in real life, in those huge, rambling, every-building-looks-the-same resorts at Disney World).

There are two other major themes. One is stairs--huge, winding staircases like the ones at Hogwarts in the Harry Potter books, or the bridge over the chasm where Galdalf fought the Balrog in Lord of the Rings. Tipsy, wobbling stairs, or bridges, ones with open spaces that I have to jump over. The other is water or ice. Driving through water, or driving over a bridge over water, or driving near the ocean, or driving on ice, always with the fear that I will drive off the bridge, or drive into the water, or the water will pour over me, or I'll slide off the ice into the water or off the bridge.

Oh, and the bathroom ones, although those aren't stress-related, I don't think. I dream a lot about not being able to find a bathroom, or finding one and the door is broken, or there is someone in it who won't come out, or the plumbing is stopped up or broken. Those are always resolved when I wake up and go to the bathroom.

I had three of the above one night last week. Oh, wait, I guess it was four. No, five. Travel, broken bathroom, stairs, being lost, water. I was on vacation, staying in a beautiful white stucco house at the beach. I needed to go to the bathroom, but couldn't find it. I finally found the bathroom, but the door was broken. It (the door) was leaning up against the wall outside the bathroom with a sign that said to just prop it up in front of the doorway, but there were people standing around, and I didn't feel comfortable doing that.

Then I was at a Mexican restaurant, and my friends were at a table on the second floor, and to get there I had to climb this set of spindly, rickety stairs, and then get in some kind of little cable car thing that would deliver me to their table. Then I was at a hospital. My mother was having some kind of test, and I had taken her there, then instead of waiting I had left. But as I was leaving I was thinking, oh, I shouldn't leave, I should have just waited, but I hadn't made note of the room she was in, or even what part of the hospital, and I had no idea how to find her again. I ended up wandering all over the hospital, frantically trying to find her.

Then I was back in the house at the beach, sitting in front of a big plate glass window, watching the tide come in. It came right up to the windows, and I wondered what would happen--would the water crash through the windows? Surely not, surely it must do this every night, surely the windows were strong enough, but what if they weren't?

Last night added a new dimension.

I have gotten in the habit of taking my cell phone upstairs to the bedroom at night when Bob is out of town. I started out doing it just so that when he called, I'd have it, but usually now he calls earlier and I'm usually still up. But I decided it made me feel more secure to have it there, so I'll take it upstairs when I go to bed and leave it on the bedside table.

Then that turned into taking my purse upstairs, but only when he was gone. That also made me feel more secure, although it also felt like kind of an obsessive-compulsive thing, and I wasn't sure it was good. But still, certainly not a bad idea not to leave my purse sitting downstairs for someone to grab if they broke in -- might as well not make it so easy. But I didn't want to be paranoid or obsessive (or any more than I already am). I mentioned it to Bob, though, and he said he thought it was a good idea--he'd been talking to someone about it, too, coincidentally--and he asked me to get a key hook to hang upstairs in the bedroom, like the one we have downstairs.

So I did. I found a little rack with four hooks, and he put it up in the bedroom, and when we come home at night we hang our keys on the hooks, and he brings his wallet and things upstairs and keeps them on the dresser rather than on the little table downstairs, and I put my purse under Doña's stool that sits next to the bed on my side.

We've only been doing it a week or so, and pretty much every morning I get ready for work, start to leave, and have to come back upstairs to get my purse. Sometimes I go downstairs with it, and have to come back up again for my keys.

Last night I dreamt that I was in New York visiting someone (the only person I know in New York is Misty, but I seemed to be visiting my brother). I had put my purse under the stool next to my bed, then left to drive home, and on the way I was going to go to a job interview. I was driving in a strange place, I had no idea where I was, and the streets were covered in ice. I made a turn and realized that I was driving through a bank drive-through the wrong way, and there were piles and piles of ice, as if they'd moved slush into piles and it had frozen that way.

So I'm driving -- bumping -- over these piles of slush, the wrong way, and I glance over at the passenger seat of the car and realize that I don't have my purse, that I left it in New York under the stool next to the bed. I call my dad (somehow I had my cell phone even though I didn't have my purse), hoping that they haven't left yet (at this point it seemed like we were visiting my grandmother), and asked him to bring my purse home with me. He said he would, and asked me if I was having any trouble finding where I was going.

I said no, no, everything was fine, I was sure I would be able to find it, thinking all the while that there was no WAY I was going to be able to find it. And I was late, too, of course. And then I thought, what am I going on a job interview for anyway? I like my job. I can always go on a job interview later, when (or if) I actually need a new one. That was kind of a revelation. I still didn't know where I was, though.

previous | next

Tuesday, April 05, 2005


I was driving to the gym on Saturday when Bob called to tell me that the Pope had died. Bob is Catholic, so I suppose the Pope means more to him than he does to me, although I admired him, and also I've always been sort of fascinated by the pagentry and process, probably ever since I saw The Shoes of the Fisherman. Kind of the same way that I'm fascinated with royalty, probably. They're so different from us, but yet the same.

When I got to the gym, I changed my clothes and went upstairs to the treadmill. I had my iPod, but I also kind of like to have some kind of visual stimulation, so I turned on a television, and turned it to CNN, where they were showing crowds gathered in Rome and in Krakow. So many grief-stricken faces, some holding candles. I turned on the iPod, switched it to shuffle, and out of the 1,000 or so songs on it, it gave me "What if God Was One of Us?" It made me smile, and cry a little bit.

The broadcast talked about how long the Pope had been in power, and how so many of the world's young people had never known any other Pope, and it made me remember how my father said that when Franklin Roosevelt died, he (my father) thought it was the end of the world, because he had never known any other President in his life. I'm not much of a history buff, so I asked Bob, and he said yes, that Roosevelt was elected four times, but only served a short portion of his fourth term before he died. I think my father was about six when he was elected the first time.

Nice to have that kind of continuity in life.

This weekend I did get to the craft store and bought shiny black paint ("Black Sequins," it was named), and I put a coat of that on the black cabinet, and put another coat on the Moss Green one. At this rate, I might have something finished within two or three years . . .

I've just been stressed out and swamped at work, and haven't had a lot of energy left for other stuff. I came home last night after a particularly stressful day, Bob gave me my dinner of creamed spinach and salmon with dill sauce, then we went out and drove a few blocks away to pick up a sandwich for him. We got home, he went upstairs with his sandwich to watch the basketball game, and I sat down at the computer. By that time it was a little after 9:00 and I thought, wow, it's way too early, but I think I'm just going to go to bed.

Especially this early after the time change, I can't help but think, well, it's really only 8:30. But using that logic, of course, I got up an hour earlier, so even though it's only 9:30, I've been up the same amount of time. Or, no, that doesn't hold up, does it? Yikes. I hate the time change. I do, however, like getting home while it's still light out.

previous | next