March 28, 2007

Where the H E Double-hockey-sticks have you been, young lady!?

Well…um…it’s all cause I found The Box. However, I only found The Box because of the cleaning frenzy. Which is all due to the fact that, apparently, in California dogs shed ALL YEAR round. Vacuuming once a week is going to kill me…

What? Oh, the Box? Well, see, part of my cleaning frenzy is needing surfaces to feel clear and smooth. And Jrex, well, he doesn’t fold his clothing in as anal a way as is recommended by the resident Freak (moi). Soooo….the clothes start to drift to the top of the dresser cause they don’t fit the drawers anymore. After a while, say every six months or so, I re-fold all his clothes and re-organize the dresser. So!? I TOLD you it was a cleaning frenzy. The point being, I didn’t go hunting for The Box. He should have known better. It was an ordinary every day cleaning binge. It could happen to any Freak at any time.

And there it was. A small white box with a return address belonging to a friend who is a Master Jeweler.

Does he know I found it? Of course. You can’t mess up clothes that have been folded already!

Did I peek? How can you ask me such questions! Am I not a woman of profound moral integrity and strength of character? My gosh.

It was taped. Sigh.

Why would any of that impede my blogging? Well, see, our 10th anniversary celebration is this coming weekend. I’d had a vague notion of making something for Jrex, but when I found The Box, it became completely imperative. The challenge? We’ve had lots of financial discussions of late. I knew that for it to be a gift from ME (spender) to HIM (saver), I couldn’t spend money on it. Which means it had to take time.

As usual I jumped off the deep end and have spent at least 25 hours thus far working on his gift. He knows it’s a book. But he doesn’t know anything else. Sadly (in this instance), he reads this blog, so I can’t give you any sneak peaks, but next week I’ll have pictures of both gifts.

The celebration? We’re going up to Lake Tahoe to see if there’s any snow left. Jrex researched a B&B on the lake that allows dogs. He found a dog-sitter for Saturday and made dinner reservations. I think I’ll keep him for another ten years, maybe even a few more…

March 17, 2007

He's Got Game

Last night I “commissioned” a piano piece.

After I made dinner I asked Jrex to improv something based on “Taking Muttola for a walk”. He muttered, “This is more of a [k.’s Jrex] assignment.” [k, author of Harmless Drudge is married to an extraordinary composer/musician] Fortunately for me—Jrex isn’t so bad himself.

He created a piece that I think a select few would find hilarious: that privileged club of houseguests who’ve taken it upon themselves to try to walk the Mutt. It was full of the flippity-flop of her ears as she trots along, a few swift descents as she runs toward a squirrel; the ploop ploop of poopilage and the constant interruptions of plinks as she marks every bush that she sees. He used his left hand to represent himself and his right as the mutt. I know one isn’t supposed to laugh out loud at concerts, but, ahem, I’ve never been good at all those social niceties…

By the way, if you have any interest at all in grammar, you should check out Harmless Drudge’s site. She works for the dictionary and has just finished a masterpiece of the grammar family reunion complete with graphics!

March 15, 2007

A non-eventful anniversary

A Non-eventful Anniversary

For at least 7 years after my Mom died, my year was threaded with emotional anniversaries. We got married March 22nd and returned from our honeymoon to her April diagnosis, which lead into cancer summer. She died September 27th She and my Dad were married November 1st. (I never knew how to handle that one. I mean, I’m thinking of my Dad on that day, but it’s a bit awkward to call and say, “Sucky Non-Anniversary”? I usually chose not to call.) I’ve written before about her extensive Christmas traditions. That meant that from Dec 6th to January 6th I was sad/depressed. January and February was the only reprieve. March led into her birthday and the beginning of the whole cycle again.

When Mom was alive, we never remembered her birthday. Even now I’m not great at connecting dates with actual days. As in Jrex announcing,

“OK, babe. I’ve taken off next Tuesday night so we’ll go out to a nice dinner.”

I look confused.

With a shark-like grin he asks, “Do you know what next Tuesday is?”

I rack my brain, “No…”

He pumps his fists in triumph, “Yes!! It’s Valentine’s Day. Major husband points for me!”

One morning Mom woke me at 6:30 am (never my finest hour) and asked, “Did you remember today is my birthday?” I was 15 (so it’s not like I can blame my Dad for not reminding me). When I shook my head, she just cried. None of us had…

The first year after she died, March rolled around. I was braced for her birthday but missed the date/day connection. In my mind, for no particular reason, I ended up having a horrible day. I could barely move. It wasn’t 'til I went home tried to journal that I wrote the date on my journal page, 3/13/98. I burst into tears because it was her birthday. I was SO mad that my subconscious remembered it now that she was dead. It would have been much better for all parties if that trick had worked when it mattered.

On Tuesday I noticed the calendar in the morning. I had a fond moment of thinking of my Mom, but otherwise it had no profound impact. It’s wonderful to be able to think of her without being sad or depressed anymore.

Tuesday night Jrex told me that Aunt Ruby called (different aunt than Aunt Gemstone). Mom was the oldest of ten kids. There were nine girls and one boy. Since Mom died I’ve mostly had contact with Aunt Gemstone and the two younger aunts, Aunt Bird and Aunt Country Singer (all these are horrible puns on their names…). Last night, Aunt Ruby called again. She mentioned she was thinking of me, I nodded,

“Yesterday was Mom’s birthday.”

“Yeah,” she sighed. Aunt Ruby was with us for one whole week of the two weeks Mom had at home before she died. As a result, she’s closely tied with Mom’s death in my mind (in a good way). She was an energetic and careful nurse and certainly helped us figure out how to handle home care.

There are so many random questions I want to ask my Mom. I’d forgotten that my aunts could be a fantastic resource. Mom had terrible arthritis and I’ve worried I would get it, but Aunt Ruby and my Mom both started getting symptoms in their 20’s. So far my hands look more like my Dad’s father (yeah, not so girly…). Now I’m hoping I may have dodged that gene.

I was happy to hear how some of my cousins are doing. Her youngest boy is serving 4 of 8 years on a submarine!

We’re not so great at staying in touch, but every time I have contact with any of my aunts I remember how much I enjoy them. At least these days I can enjoy them without getting sad about what I’m missing.

Sorry for rambling on like that. As with much of life, there are too many threads that overlap and it’s hard to edit down to the core. I love Kitchen Fire’s posts because she can imply the threads yet keep her posts succinct.

March 11, 2007

V for Vendetta

The People's Choice topic of the day.

First a disclaimer: Jrex and I both grew up reading comics and graphic novels. Which means we love all comic movies. Yes, that's right, even ones like Daredevil. So, if you're not into that sort of thing, take this all with a grain of salt.

It's a dark and violent movie on many levels, but the violence is stylized (though I did occasionally turn and watch Jrex instead of the movie--but I'm a wuss, so that's not really saying much). I think the reason it wasn't a popular hit is that the main oppressed people group is homosexuals. It's just not a popular 'victim' group in the American mindset. The other factor is that it's an overall questioning of a totalitarian state. Sure there are the obvious Hitler/Nazi overtones, but there's also a bit of our current 'finest hour'. Within all that are also concepts of what constitutes self, sanity, and revenge/redemption which were thought provoking.

On top of all that, how can you not love a movie with the voice of Hugo Weaving? The movie never reveals V's face and only shows a glimpse of his hands, but with that compelling voice, he becomes a very seductive presence.

It's Beauty and the Beast, but the Beast isn't a nice man and Beauty goes through hell. Then, after all that, the ending is good without being happy. It's a tough sell for the average American moviegoer. Guess it shows we're not average after all (I know that's a shocker and I'm sorry to spring it on you without a spoiler alert...)

March 7, 2007

Too much to do

I have so much to write about and not enough time! I hate that.

My blog ‘to-do’ list:
  • Take a picture of the house next door so you can see how little you get for $1,029,000 here.
  • Write about seeing The Last King of Scotland. Far less gruesome than I expected but still psychologically disturbing. Definitely worth a look. Forest TOTALLY deserved that Oscar. Take a photo of my left hand where I gnawed off three fingernails during the movie. When I got home I showed my hand to Jrex, “Look what Idi Amin did to me!”
  • Whine about getting the rest of my mole excised and how I can’t ride my bike to work as a result (can’t lift it onto the train).
  • Talk about being much better adjusted to my job and even enjoying it a bit.
  • Recommend “V for Vendetta”
  • Reflect on our upcoming 10th anniversary!! Tell fun stories of the early days.
  • Muse about ways I’ve been Asianified through a discussion of places I eat with white coworkers vs. Asians.
  • Tell how Mom K accidentally hung up while talking to Jrex and called back on my cell phone not his. “Why is my mother calling you?” Ha! Cause I give her more details about our lives. I called her last week when I was fairly depressed and she wanted an update.
  • Discuss grieving process and how the ‘loss’ of Baltimore has finally caught up with me. Symptoms? I don’t feel like talking with people. I just want to hole up in our apartment and read novels. When someone asks, “Where is there a good florist?” I want to cry because I can’t scoot over to Dutch Connection in the Belvedere Market.

March 2, 2007

The kinder, gentler designer

Buying glasses is a delicate balance between expense and impact. As a graphic designer, people pay me to think. I'm hired to take their vague floating ideas and distill them into coherent concepts. Most people don't think their ideas are vague (or misguided, or confusing, or mis-targeted). When I walk into a client meeting I need to make an impact on a non-verbal level that I'm up to date on trends. That way when a client dressed in a leather bomber jacket, oxford shirt and obvious 80's hairstyle keeps insisting he wants a logo that is royal purple I can (sensitively and oh-so-kindly) suggest that while I understand his enjoyment of purple, current styles tend more toward greens or oranges. May I recommend something in a vibrant yet earthy tone?

I often have to choose conservative glasses because they are MUCH cheaper than the trendy frames. For the first time in our marriage, we have vision insurance here. Score!

But still, I had to pick between Devil Wears Prada Bitch Designer glasses:

And, "Hi, I'm a wonderful designer and I'll be kind to you."

Sigh. I guess I'm supposed to want to be kind, right?