Spring Color, 2014 Edition

Happy Mother’s Day!  I’m a month late posting this little photo project, but, you know, I had a lot going on.

The color mood of the yard that day was a dreary dusty grey.  I decided to focus on the little spots of technicolor polka-dotted around to see if I could capture a rainbow.

Red tomatoes

Red tomatoes

Red, orange, and yellow lantana

Red, orange, and yellow lantana

Orangish plank of wood

Orangish plank of wood

Yellow chrysanthemums

Yellow chrysanthemums

Turquoisey garden stake

Turquoisey garden stake

Blue snow scene on a metal can

Blue snow scene on a metal can

Fuchsia bougainvillea

Fuchsia bougainvillea

Pink hollyhock (my first ever!)

Pink hollyhock (my first ever!)

And a giant ugly man-eating grasshopper!  GROSS!!!

And a brown, giant, ugly, man-eating grasshopper! GROSS!!!

I am terrified of grasshoppers.  And most other insects.  And rodents.  And amphibians.  And reptiles.  In that order.

By the by, this is my last post as a non-grandmother.  Ava will arrive via c-section either late Monday night or early Tuesday morning.  Next time I post I will be an Oma!  Eeeeee!

Orange Storm

Kitchen window, et al.

Kitchen window, et al.

Last week we had the strangest weather.  Rain and thunderstorms followed by humid, unbearable heat.  Last Monday we got up to 101F (38C).  Sitting in my car waiting for my class to start at 6:15 pm, it was still about 95F (35C)!  Which is why I was in my car, engine idling, AC full blast.

Barn in the suburbs.

Barn in the ‘burbs.

A few days before the heat we had a crazy storm blow through.  I thought a neighbor was moving trash cans  I kept hearing the familiar plastic rumbling sound.  The thing about moving trash cans is that there’s sort of a slow Doppler effect: the sound starts out far away, gets louder as they roll even with wherever I am, then fades away.  This rumbling was sustained as if it was on an asphalt treadmill.  There was never a big clap, just this sort of roiling.  I’ve never heard thunder like that before.

Facing south at sundown.

Facing south at sundown.

It was early evening and already chilly, so I grabbed a blanket and told my sister, Shelly, to sit with me on the porch.  We hunkered down and watched the lightening, which would streak across the sky in jagged pink cracks.  “OOOOOO!”  we’d holler, loud enough to echo across the street, and count down until that grumbly thunder started.  My step-dad went on-line and found the storm’s exact location and trajectory.  It was dumping buckets of rain to the north and east of us.  We were situated in a little pocket of clear, but the storm was closing in.

orange storm yard 7

Dollops of rain.

Eventually giant dollops of rain fell around us.  My mom came out to join our little storm-watching party.  My step-dad pointed out a huge  black and yellow swallowtail butterfly perched on a corner of the roof, sitting perfectly still with its wings closed as if intentionally making itself razor-thin to avoid being bombed by the huge raindrops.

Retreating storm

Retreating storm

A low shelf of dark clouds passed over the mountains and headed straight for us.  About every 3 minutes a lightening bold shot horizontally across its underside.  “OOOOO!” we’d shout like a bunch of 7-year-olds in a science class.

orange storm sky 6

California post-storm

The best came last.  It looked like a giant spider:  I saw at least three bolts shoot out from a spot on the sky hidden by a tree.  “OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!  OMG did you SEE that?!”

Orange storm clouds

Orange storm clouds

Once the storm passed, I caught these shots from my parents’ backyard.  The post-storm dusk was amazing of course, but the colors everywhere were breathtaking.  They made even the utilitarian parts of the yard seem magical.

Like this.

Like this.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Color

I keep meaning to post.  Really I do.  Alas, I haven’t done it.  Until now.  I am posting.  Currently.  Immediately.

I am unwell.  Long sentences hurt.  Everything hurts. I am drinking Theraflu and tea.  Together.  Ugh.

I have embarked on this week’s bloggy photo challenge in order to liven up today’s post.  These photos are from around my parents’ abodes in Pasadena and Ojai (and one at a fun place called Clockwork Couture).  So enjoy.  That’s an order.  *cough*

Red - poinsettia in Ojai

Red – poinsettia in Ojai

Last semester I dropped a class I knew I was not going to do well in.  Simply put, the instructor was senile.   I dropped it too late, however, and upset the Financial Aid gods.  (And we all know how well that hasn’t been going.)  In order to appease them I have to file a petition to be reinstated, and include an education plan.  Getting in to see a counselor for an education plan is ridiculously difficult at my school, but I finally did it.

Orange - citrus in Ojai

Orange – citrus in Ojai

I had to wait in line for an hour just to make the frickin’ appointment!  My laptop and an episode of Downton Abbey took the edge off, though.

The meeting went very, very well.  I’ll spare you the boring details and cut right to the chase:  if all goes as planned, I will be graduating next Spring!

Yellow - chips in Pasadena

Yellow – chips in Pasadena

I will have an AA in Humanities.

Green - elephant ear plant in Pasadena

Green – elephant ear plant in Pasadena

And an AAT (Associate of Arts for Transfer) in English!  Two degrees at one time!

The counselor said university applications need to be submitted as soon as the Fall semester starts.  That’s only four months away.  I think I went pale when she told me that. *L*  I’ve been chipping away at this education for almost 20 years, and I was beginning to fear I’d be a career PCC student.

Turquoise - forgotten paper decoration in Pasadena

Turquoise – forgotten paper decoration in Pasadena

What this means, though, is that I don’t have room to take any more classes just for fun.  Not that I took any superfluous classes this year (except for my 1-unit independent study class for Inscape), but they were classes I particularly enjoyed.  I thought I had some wiggle room to fit in a few more, like Poetry and Spanish 2 and 3.  Nope.  No more creative writing classes.  No more Spanish.  I met the requirements and I have to move on.  Boo.  I mean, YAY! *hack hack cough cough sputter*

Blue - TARDIS in Burbank

Blue – TARDIS in Burbank

A couple weeks ago I served on a panel for a conference at school called Borders of Diversity.  It’s hard to pin down an exact description of this conference, but I’d say it was a social awareness thing.  There were student project posters all around presenting a variety of social problems, and the panels ranged from the environment to Autism to various forms of expression as a means of social…awareness, I guess.

Alls I know is that the Inscape instructor asked us to participate in a very informal creative writing panel, so I showed up.  I stressed about it all day, but in the end all we did was arrange some chairs in a circle and talk about Inscape with about a dozen people.  And snack on cheese squares and grapes.

Purple - recycle bin in Pasadena

Purple – recycle bin in Pasadena

And listen to a woman pitch a piece she wants to write advocating masturbation education as part of the sex ed curricula in schools.  Well now.

Lavender and yellow - lantana in Pasadena

Lavender and yellow – lantana in Pasadena

As part of this whole thing, we were asked to participate in a short interview for a show on the school’s radio station.  So earlier in the week I met with a lovely woman (seriously, we need to hang out) named Dot, who hosts a weekly news show called Over Coffee focusing on arts and community events.  We talked mostly about my writing, and she had even been here to read my blog!  I wasn’t quite expecting that, but I think I did alright.  It was pre-recorded so I was easily editable.  It aired the same day as the conference, and at the same time I was watching guest of honor Dan Kwong, so I missed it.  I’ve been waiting for it to post on-line so I could share it with you all, but eh: I’m not too keen on listening to myself anyway.  ;o)

Pink - rose in Pasadena

Pink – rose in Pasadena

So that’s all for my exciting past couple of weeks, culminating in illness.  I will try to consult with the first-come first-serve High Priestess of Financial Aid Petitions this week, so cross your fingers that I can get this all sorted out quickly.  And then rub your lucky rabbit’s foot for a quick end to this snotty, coughy, achy thing I have going on.  Or pray.  Prayers are good, too.

*achoo*

Mellow Yellow Monday

MellowYellowBadge

Yellow Parasols

Yellow parasols, courtesty of National Geographic.

I hate summer.  I don’t do heat well at all, especially when it’s humid. I feel like old wilted lettuce.  It’s hard to think or write or do anything, really.  These past couple weeks I’ve been living in my car, it seems, with the A/C runing full-blast.  I have to jump in the shower fully clothed before I go to bed, then sleep in front of a fan.  It’s usually this way until the very tippy end of October, and then I’m dissapointed because the rest of the seasons aren’t as rainy as I want them to be.

I can see myself in the above scene in a sarong, sipping mai-tais and other rocket-fuel concotions cleverly disguised with fruit and tiny paper umbrellas.  Every so often I’d venture out from under my pretty yellow parasol to stroll along the white sand and splash the azure water with a French-manicured toe.  Only it should be raining.  Thunder would be nice.  A light wind wouldn’t be amiss, either.  The resort staff can worry about the puddles and wet sand I track in.

Noncation, Day 6

This is way late, because frankly I got sick of it.  Recording every day was like being on a vegetable soup diet.  Day one is, “Yay!  Vegetable soup!  Skinny me!”  Day six is, “%^&* this %^&*ing soup and the $%^&ing idiot that came up with it and %^&* it I like being fat anyway.”  Okay not that extreme but you get the idea.  This blogging stuff is hard work.

Day 6

7:30 am:  Wake up for no good reason.  I decide I should clean up a little:  do the dishes, take out the trash.  I turn on the water in the kitchen to let the hot water warm up.  I decide it’s too early for such nonsense.  I turn it off.

8:30 am:  Put the last two farmer’s market eggs on the stove to boil.  Jess calls.  She and John are back on dry land.  Dry land is moving.  She caught five fish:  two dorado, two yellowtail, and one bluefin.  John caught a bluefin.

Fishie fishies

Jess’s catch

There are people at the dock who will process the fish and ship them to you.  Jess and John are having the bluefins made into jerky and the rest fileted.  Jess says that each fish took about 15-20 minutes to pull in.  She caught two more, but lost them when their lines snapped.  Her hands are bruised.  She’s exhausted.  Everything smells like fish.  She hopes  they can take the 5-day trip someday.

9:30 am:  Hear a squeaky pop from the kitchen.  I was so excited about the fishing trip that I forgot about my eggs!  Nothing burnt or ruined, but the eggs might be a little over-cooked.  I fill the pan with cold water and set it aside.  I toast a couple slices of the garlic sourdough.  One of them contains a whole clove of sweet roasted garlic.  Divine.  The eggs aren’t too bad either.

9:45 am:  Hit the Internet for information about these fish Jess caught.  I learn that Bluefin are tuna; yellowtails are jack fish, which are similar to tuna; and dorado is another name for mahi-mahi.  I foresee Jessica’s mother eating very well in the near future.  Perhaps I should look up some recipes.

11:45 am:  Drew sends a text, asks if I’ll pick him up and bring him back here.

1:00 pm:  Drive home.  Seeing the inside of my own home for the first time in days seems surreal.   It’s such a luxury to take a shower with my own soap, dry off with my own towel, and have all the beauty products I want at my disposal.  Being home means not having to go without or make due.  What an epiphany:  to truly appreciate what I have.

Drew tells me all about how he spent last evening.  He donned a fez and technicolor suit, which were recent birthday presents, and met some friends at the weekly street fair down the street.  He bought himself a Dr. Who mug.  He wants to be the next Dr. Who and will wear a colorful suit.  His friends have nicknamed him The Doctor.  He’s thrilled.

Someone recently accused him of being influenced by a “fallen angel” and even asked Jess, “He’s getting darker, isn’t he?”  Here’s my answer to that:

Suit and Fez

The future, multi-hued Dr. Who.

Enough said.

3:00 pm:  Drew is craving McDonald’s fries.  I treat us to the drive-thru.  Tasty, but that’s it:  I’m officially declaring my intention to cook real food again, good readers.

3:30 pm:  Shelly and the folks tumble through the front door.  Mom and Rob collapse into chairs.  Shelly empties the car with a look on her face that says she’s the only one who does anything around here.  Mom says unpacking can wait.  Shelly won’t hear of it and pretends to be annoyed.  I think it’s just excited energy.

Last night they discovered a place about a block away from their hotel called the Forestiere Underground Gardens.  In the early 1900s an Italian immigrant bought a chunk of land in Fresno, CA, intending to grow grapes.  Alas, the climate was too hot and the ground too clay.  He dug through the clay and built himself a cellar to escape the heat and plan his next move.  He discovered that the soil under the clay was rich and fertile.  He planted trees and vines in open subterranean rooms and created a whole complex of underground caverns.  It was one of the highlights of their trip.  If they had come home last night they would have missed it.  I don’t want to say I told you so, but I told you so.

The kids and I, even Joe, score all manner of souvenirs:  mugs, teas, trinkets, t-shirts, jewelry, and a fat wad of cash for my trouble, which was no trouble at all.

(Don’t get excited: it’s already gone.)

And with that, Noncation 2012 comes to an end, while my humble little life goes back to normal.

Noncation, Day 5

Day 5

6:15 am:  Wake up against my will.  I refuse to acknowledge that I’m awake.  I go back to sleep.

8:45 am: Much better.  Shall I do the Reyn for breakfast?  I’m not awake enough to make a decision.  I turn on the computer and conduct morning house-sitting duties.

9:00 am:  Check email, catch up on blogs, and pretend to ignore the nearly-empty Famous Amos cookie bag, that devil.

9:45 am: Edit “Noncation, Day 3.” I read about my leftover veggie burger and remember that I have leftovers from last night in the fridge!  Score!  Maybe I’ll do the Reyn for lunch, if I feel up to eating out alone.

12:30 pm: Really want the Reyn; really don’t want to eat alone.  I used to have a friend I’d lunch with all the time, but I had to cut her loose.  It would be nice to call her today.  Then I remember why I fired her and the feeling passes.  I think my former sister-in-law (FSIL) might be home today, so I text her and ask if she’s free.  She’s currently waiting for her husband (HH) to pick her up from work, otherwise she’s available.  I invite them both to lunch.  Yay!

1:00 pm:  Meet FSIL & HH at the Reyn.  We have a most enjoyable lunch.  They’re adorable.

HH& FSIL

Aren’t they too cute?

2:00 pm: HH goes to work, which is only a few blocks away.  He’ll pick up FSIL at my parents’ house after work.  FSIL asks for help with a quick school paper.  I happily oblige.

3:30 pm:  Chat for several hours with FSIL.  I’ve known her since she was 4; she is now 26.  She’s been married for a year and is expecting her first child in January.  She works part-time at a preschool and attends Pacific Oaks College, a very prestigious private teaching college.  I’m so proud of her.

My favorite part of our chat starts with, “If I have a girl you’ll have to teach me how to braid!”  I had the same dilemma with my first pregnancy.  The fanciest thing I did with my hair was pull it into a ponytail, and I was having a biracial child:  what was I going to do if I had a girl?  FSIL isn’t exactly a hair wizard either.  Fortunately I did have a girl, and I’ve learned a few tricks in the 19 years since she was born.  Plus there are plenty of other women in FSIL’s life who can help.  She’ll know for sure if she needs hair-wrangling lessons next month when she has her ultrasound.  It’s scheduled for the day of her first wedding anniversary.  How precious is that!

5:00 pm:  Mom calls.  They are in Chowchilla, CA, about 275 miles away.  They’ll be home tonight around 11pm, so I can go home whenever I’m ready.  Are you kidding me?!  They’re going to drive 6 hours after a full day of driving and walking and sight-seeing? I strongly urge them to reconsider, and assure Mom I won’t leave until they’re home.  FSIL shakes her head and laughs at my parents, the intrepid road warriors.

8:00 pm:  I bring home dinner from Bobby’s, a small burger stand a few blocks away.  Their tacos and fries are amazing.  FSIL, HH, Joe, and I watch the Olympic opening ceremonies together.  Mom calls again.  Rob says they’ll stay another night if I’m willing to stay another night.  Of course!  Please don’t drive home tonight!

11:30 pm:  Opening ceremonies are over.  Everyone is gone.  Nighttime house-sitting chores are done.  Kitchen light is on.  Nightie-night!

Noncation, Day 4

Day 4

7:00 am: Wake up against my will.  No one has called.  It’s freezing!  These mornings sure are cold for summer.  The weatherman assures me temperatures will be up in the 100’s (Fahrenheit, upper 30’s Celsius) by next week.  Yuck.  I’d rather have the cold mornings.

8:30 am:  Actually get out of bed.  I need to eat and take supplements before I get dopey again.  I remember some multicolored eggs in the fridge that I purchased at a farmer’s market last week.

Thursday eggs

Multicolored eggs.

Waffles sound good, too, but cleaning a waffle iron does not.  Thin crepe-like pancakes it is.  I use a 1/4 cup scoop because I can’t find the 1/2 cup scoop.  I open the box of pancake mix and find the 1/2 cup scoop.  Oh look!  Some small moths found it first!  Clever little turds  So much for pancakes.  Fortunately I also bought a loaf of garlic sourdough bread from the farmer’s market.  Toast it is!

9:00 am:  Check Facebook and email while I eat.  The garlic sourdough is strong.  Good thing I’m alone.

10:00 am:  Post “Noncation, Day 2” blog.  I try to fix the glaring hot spot in the picture of my parents.  It doesn’t work.  I search the internet for a picture of my laptop skin.  No luck.  I manage to take a decent one myself for the first time ever.

Thursday laptop

Laptop skin: Xmas present from Shelly.

Pictures from John’s prom and cherry picking last month distract me.  I have the prom photos edited and saved,

Jess B4 Prom

(Actually, I stole this one from someone else)

but not cherry picking.  It must be done immediately.  There is no good reason for this but I give in to my ADOS anyway and work on the pictures.

ADOS – Attention Deficit Ooo Shiny

12:20 pm: Memory card is cleared.  All pictures have been edited and saved elsewhere.  I feel better now.

Cherries

Bing and Rainier cherries

1:20 pm:  Famous Amos cookies and milk for lunch.  I find an email from Esther about a guy who needs editors for an on-line literary review he’s launching, called the museum of americana.  He’s looking for slave labor.  I’m so on it.

2:30 pm:  Sahara is sitting on the chair in front of my computer.  She meows at me when I approach.  I lift her up and put her on the floor.  She jumps on the table and walks on my laptop keys, trying to destroy my latest blog post, still meowing.  I put her on the floor again.  She jumps on my lap, still meowing.  I’ve never seen her so vocal.  I start to stand up, but she refuses to jump down.  What is wrong with this cat?  She finally jumps down, only to spring right back up onto my newly vacated chair and  start meow again.  Okay okay, I know when I’m beat.  I clean off another chair containing my purse and laptop case to pull up to the table, but no sooner is the chair clear than Sahara jumps from her chair to this one and proceeds to bathe herself, purring away, completely satisfied.  Unbelievable.  I text Shelly:  “Your crazy cat just asked me for a chair!”

3:00 pm:  Succumb to a sugar coma.

6:30 pm: Wake up from my sugar coma.  I flip on the computer and read an article about how sugar ages your skin.  I swear off sugar.

7:25 pm:  Realize I forgot to feed Shelly’s fish.  It’s the first thing on my list of morning house-sitting duties.  Fail!

7:27 pm:  Find a spelling mistake on yesterday’s blog post.  Epic fail!

7:30pm:  Talk Joe into taking me to a restaurant called The Only Place in Town for dinner.  I call Drew to ask if he’s eaten.  He says he has.  I don’t believe him.  He’ll live on popcorn and birthday cake if I let him.  He says he had popcorn (see!) and Wing Stop (chicken…okay, that’s better). Now if I would please excuse him, he’s in the middle of taking out the trash.  I think I might faint.

8:30 pm:  Shelly calls.  They are in South Lake Tahoe, which is the California side of Lake Tahoe.  (Nevada is on the other side.)  Not too long before she called, she and Mom were laying on a bed in their hotel room watching TV.  Mom was propped up on pillows at the top, Shelly was laying cross-wise at the foot.  Mom got up, and the whole matress flipped up like a backwards murphy bed:  the head of the mattress was near the ceiling and Shelly was at the bottom clinging on for dear life!  They’re both still giggling as Shelly tells me the story.

I talk to Mom and ask about the rest of their day yesterday.  She says by the time the car was done they’d had just about all they could take of Reno  They headed to Virginia City, NV, an old silver mining boom town from the 1800s.  It was hot.  Uphill.  Miserable.  They walked through town, then hightailed it back their hotel in Carson City, NV, to recover in their air-conditioned room.  They spent today at Lake Tahoe, which is much cooler and beyond beautiful.  Tomorrow they’ll head to Columbia, CA, an old gold mining boom town turned tourist trap…I mean, tourist “destination.”  Sarcasm aside, it’s really a nice place to visit.

9:00 pm:  Feed Sahara.  She’s waiting for me.  She now understands that I’m here to serve her.

10:00 pm:  Joe sends me a text from home.  Drew has indeed taken out the trash AND fed the cat.  He must want something.

12:00 am:  Conduct my nightly house-sitting duties.  Leave a kitchen light on.  Go to sleep.

1:00 am:  Sahara is trying to hog the bed.  I remember a trick Rob taught me to make her go away:  pretend to sneeze.  I literally say the word, “Ah-choo!” and she bolts out of the room like a bat out of hell.  I have the room to myself for the rest of the night.

Noncation, Day 3

Day 3

8:20 am:  Wake up against my will.  First the house phone rings, now my cell phone is ringing.  It’s Shelly.  Shocker.  “Dad wants to know if you felt the earthquake?”

“When was it?”

“I don’t know.”

“Maybe.”

“Well, okay then, I’ll let you go back to sleep.”

I drag myself out of bed and turn on the computer.  There was a 3.0 magnitude earthquake in Marina del Rey around 3am this morning.  Can you even feel a 3.0 magnitude?  Apparently so, because my friend and former coworker, Kelly, is complaining on Facebook about all the stupid phone calls she got at work.  Better you than me, my friend!

8:30 am:  Notice a new voice mail message from Jess.  She and John left for their fishing trip today.  She just called to say good-bye and she loves me, and she can’t say more because she’ll start crying.  Oh brother.

8:35 am: Perform my morning house-sitting duties.  I unblock and unlock the cat door, then check Sahara’s water.  The food is gone.  You’ll recall that she didn’t show up when I fed her last night, nor did she come in for the night…where the hell did her food go?!  Maybe a window upstairs is open where she can sneak in.

9:00 am: Can’t decide if I want to walk down to the Reyn this morning or not.  I’m hungry now, so I heat up half of a veggie burger leftover from last night.  I read through my email, check Facebook, and catch up on blogs that I follow.  I notice my toes are frozen, which is strange because my feet are never cold.  I don’t even remember the last time I wore socks, but I happen to have a pair so I pull them on.  I can’t walk across the kitchen floor in them.

9:10 am:  Shelly calls on the house phone again.  They’re at a Nissan dealership in Reno, NV, because their fuel pump died.  It’s difficult to get to:  their whole back seat has been removed and all of their luggage and assorted trunk crap are piled next to the car.  They have at least two hours to kill until the car is ready.  This isn’t the first time they’ve had to take their car in for work on vacation.  It might not even be the second.

I tell Mom about the cat food.  She asks Rob if there’s a window open upstairs.  Yes, he says, but there’s a screen on it.  I check it myself.  The screen’s intact.  What manner of rabid critter came in and ate the cat’s food?  And how?  Am I lucky to be alive? It’s too much for my brain to comprehend right now.

9:30 am:  The veggie burger was insufficient.  I need to go to the Reyn.  Since it’s so close I really should walk.  I even have new sneakers.  And socks!

Wednesday foot

New shoes! New socks!

I can’t convincing myself to walk.  I’m can’t even convince myself to go, really.  I should take a shower.  I can’t convince myself to take a shower.  WTH is going on with me this morning?  It’s too cold for a shower.  There’s a heater in the bathroom.  I need my laptop.  I need water.  Walking back-and-forth through the house has me warmed up.  I finally take a shower.

10:30 am:  Can’t seem to organize my thoughts.  Should I go to the Reyn or not?  Should I walk or not?  Of course I should walk, duh.  Should I wear a dress today?  A dress would be nice, but then oh then I can’t…I can’t…shoes.  I can’t wear sneakers.  If I wear a dress.  Jeans.  I can wear sneakers with jeans and walk.  Yes, I should walk.  Why do I feel so dopey?  Do I even

11:00 am:  want to go to the Reyn?  Yeahhhh theyhavewi-fi.  Laptop!  I should charge it.  Lay down a sec.  Gotta finish getting dressedooh I forgot to send someone my blog address walkin’ ‘cross the housez me winded…

Wait a minute…why am I winded?  Iron!  Good grief, I’ve let myself get anemic again.  No wonder I’m having issues.

11:30 am:  Drive to the Reyn for a proper breakfast. Vitamins and supplements come with me.  The eggs today remind me of my grandmother’s.  Even my coffee cup looks like something out of her house.

Wednesday breakfast

The Reyn Special (wheat toast not shown.)

Wednesday coffee

Wednesday coffee.

12:00 pm:  Publish “Noncation, Day 1.”  Compose “Noncation, Day 2.”  I wonder if I should be drinking coffee, seeing as it might block my iron absorption.  Psh!  I’m at a coffee shop; how can I not have coffee?

Something o’clock pm:  Still feeling funky, though not as bad as this morning.  I can form complete thoughts in the present, but the past looks like this:

Spinning teacups

Spinning teacup madness.

I remind myself to keep taking iron until my body says stop, which it will eventually, but has not yet.  At some point Jess texts me that John is already being an ass.  By the time I respond he’s treating her like a princess.  Gotta love young adults.  She leaves one more voice mail just before they set sail.  Joe and I have dinner at Daphne’s (Greek-ish, healthy-ish).  I catch the tail end of my favorite show, So You Think You Can Dance.  I feed the cat.  She looks startled.  Joe leaves. House-sitting duties happen.  I crash into bed.

Noncation, Day 2

7:30 am:  Wake up against my will:  Shelly is calling on the house phone.  They are at a rest stop outside of Mammoth Lakes, CA.  Their car won’t go more than 30 mph uphill, so Rob is replacing the coils.

8:00 am:  Might as well start my day.  Shelly’s shower has a neat “mist” setting, but I can’t figure out the hot water.  (Bathroom renovations were a DIY project, so the hot water situation is tricky.)  I head to my parents’ bathroom for a normal shower.  I count 4 bottles of shampoo, 3 bottles of conditioner, and a bottle of men’s 3 in 1 body wash/ shampoo/ conditioner, or /moisturizer, or /whatever.  Mom’s hair is buzz-cut and Rob’s isn’t much longer, so why they need so many wet-hair products is beyond me.

9:00 am:  Head out to breakfast with my laptop.  I try to pull yesterday’s pictures off my camera’s memory card, but I freeze my beloved computer.  I imagine that it’s saying, in a very robotic voice, “Does not compute…does not compute…”

10:00 am:  Start chatting with a friend.

1:00 pm:  Finish chatting with a friend.

2:00 pm:  Arrive at my own home to check on my offspring.  I take Jess and John to pick up some last-minute odds and ends for the fishing trip.  I invite them to dinner.  We call Drew to invite him, too.  He’ll come, but Jess and John didn’t tell him they were leaving and now he’s upset.  Normally, that would make him happy.  Looks like PMS today.

PMS: Pre-Manhood Syndrome.  It’s the same as female pre-menstrual syndrome only cheaper, cramp-free, and less predictable.

3:00 pm:  Meet with my coach, Claire.  Coaching is hard to summarize, but I’d say Claire is a mentor who helps me move forward when my life feels stuck.  An early session went something like this:

Claire – If you didn’t have any worries and could do anything in the world, what would you do?

Me – I’d go back to school and become a writer.

Claire – Go back to school.  Become a writer.

It wasn’t that simple, but you get the idea.

4:30 pm:  Compose “Noncation, Day 1” blog post.  I resolve the problem with the photos.  I realize I haven’t taken any new ones today.  Bummer.

6:30 pm.  Arrive back at my parents’ house.  Shelly sends me a picture of the folks from her phone:

The Folks

Mom and Rob on vacation.

I text back, “They’re still smiling!  Good job, Shell!”

7:30 pm.  Dinner at Robin’s BBQ.  The food is marginal and the service is worse.  I remember thinking the same thing last time we ate here.  I decide not to eat here again.  Someone at another table orders the Big Messy Sundae.  It’s a huge dessert goblet dunked in hot fudge, rolled in pecans, and filled with a half quart of ice cream, more fudge, and whipped cream.  John’s jaw drops to the floor.  I decide I might come back, but only for dessert.

9:45 pm:  Braid Jess’s hair into two tight French braids so she won’t have to bother with it on the trip.  I haven’t fed the cat yet.  Usually she’s at her dish crying by now.

10:30 pm:  Joe takes everyone home.  Peace and quiet at last!

11:30 pm: Put wet food in Sahara’s dish.  I bang on it hard with the spoon so she can hear it wherever she is, but she’s a no-show.

12:00 am:  Conduct my pre-bedtime duties.  I see Sahara outside, so I try to coax her in.  She stares at me like I’m a monkey, then gracefully ducks under Rob’s car.  My instructions are to lock the cat door and block it with a huge rice container whether Sahara is in or out.  I guess she’s out tonight.

12:30 am:  Crawl into bed.  I only leave one kitchen light on this time, but I fall asleep with the TV on.