Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Grace in Small Things #6 of 365

1. I'm watching my friend Jason's cats while he's in Argentina for a month. Their names are Charlie and Chester, and they are the oddest little things. Chester likes to stare at the bedpost for hours. Charlie has a nobbly little mid-length tail (he's not a manx: it's half as long as a normal tail), and a perpetually grouchy loo.

2. Brian's laugh.

3. Argyle socks and moccasins.

4. Writing an angry letter to my calendar's manufacturer. I'll probably never send it, but seriously, the thing fell apart weeks ago and it's not even February. Anyway, the writing was cathartic.

5. Cats snoring and purring simultaneously.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Grace in Small Things #5 of 365

1. Petra Haden's cover of "Don't Stop Believin'":

(She also covered the entirety of The Who Sell Out. And she's Charlie Haden's daughter. And I'm a little obsessed right now).

2. The black jeans I rediscovered in my closet while looking for my purple plaid short pants. New Pants!

3. R.W. Knudsen Spritzers (if you'd like to offer me sponsorship, Knudsen family, I'd be happy to oblige).

4. Cartoons.

5. Randomly running across a carbon copy of an 'Authorization for Surgery' form marking my place in a long-ago abandoned book of poetry, and realizing how lucky I am to be through with all that nonsense, and how lucky I was to go through it with the people I did.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Grace in Small Things #4 of 365

1. Allowing myself a weekend off, even if it means that this Grace in Small Things thing is protracted over 365 weekdays.

2. Finding my other orange argyle sock in the dryer, after I'd given it up for lost.

3. The way that Shelby-dog clambers up onto my chest when I lean down to greet him.

4. Listening to sad songs with poet friends after a reading.

5. A cold night in San Francisco, with luminous clouds on the horizon

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Deep Thoughts

So Brian and I have started watching the American remake of the BBC programme 'Life on Mars'. In it, Lisa Bonet plays Maya Daniels, the modern-day girlfriend of Sam Tyler, a detective who has mysteriously traveled back in time to 1973.

So my question is: if Lisa Bonet is 'Maya Daniels' in Sam Tyler's world, does that mean he lives in an alternate dimension, where the Cosby Show never existed? And if so, does Obama still get to be president there?

Take that, Bishop Berkeley.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Grace in Small Things #3 of 365

1. Walking out of the Flood Building into the rain, feeling all film noir.

2. Letting people read my fiction, and hearing good things about it.

3. Watching my housemate's cat go absolutely nuts over one of my pony tail holders.

4. Wearing a jaunty white scarf, as if I were battling the red baron.

5. Reading Lacan, and feeling my brain at work again.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Puppies: Now Less Blurry

Grace in Small Things #2 of 365

1. The delicious fungal smell of Buena Vista Park on a foggy day.

2. Sliver gray blue gum branches standing out against the bright green leaves of the surrounding trees.

3. The normally stoic dog totally losing his mind in a pile of dirt.

4. A Christmas wreath hung from a tree beside said dirt pile.

5. Hearing a fog horn sounding from halfway across the city.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Grace in Small Things #1 of 365

For the next 365 days, I'll be participating in Schmutzie's Grace in Small Things project, an project highlighting the small good things that happen everyday. As Schmutzie writes,

"The world we live in is loud and harsh and bright and demanding, and it is easy to slide into a less than thoughtful survival mode in which we do what we have to do to make it through the day with the least amount of strife possible. This robs us of the time and energy to be mindful of ourselves and those we love and to recognize the grace that exists in small things."

So here goes. Day one:

1. Felix Sockwell and Thomas Fuch's Deconstructing Dumbo, which satisfies some deep down humor/miniature image circuit in my brain.

2. My housemate's cat, Phoenix, who has taken to sleeping at my elbow during the day, and who has prominent fangs.

3. The sky outside, which is perfectly gray today.

4. Spelling gray with an 'a', which makes me think of my mother.

5. The jumbo box of goldfish crackers that Hope brought home from Costco the day after Nine died, just for me.

5a. Celebrating the life of a tremendously fat cat by consuming as much food as I possibly can.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Turns Out, Happiness is a Warm Puppy

Meet Shelby. He's not ours -- he belongs to our friend Shelley, and lives above Brian's studio space. The only downside is I don't think I'll ever get any work done, ever again. Oh well.

Saturday, January 17, 2009


Just a few minutes after our dinner guests left tonight, Brian and I heard what sounded like someone screaming. Brian ran outside, I called the police. When they arrived (4 cars!), no one was to be found. Brian says he heard someone yelling up the street from us, then nothing. We both heard them say, "Help." Brian heard them say, "Leave me alone."

Living in the city, you get used to hearing scraps of other people's lives, their drunken yells and their early morning car doors. But this cry was weird. It reminded me of the coyotes we used to hear some nights when we lived in Vermont. It was so distorted that we couldn't agree if it was a man or a woman.

The police didn't find anyone, though. Which makes me wonder if we made the whole thing up. Maybe it was someone who'd had too much to drink, and didn't want their friends to walk them home. Maybe it was a couple having a fight. But the weird thing is how strange it makes the nighttime street seem no longer like a friendly block of people and dogs and stained-glass makers, but instead a wall of houses, where every dark window could hide a secret danger.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Goodbye, Monster Cat.

Late last night, 9 started acting strangely -- his back legs became very weak and he was obviously in distress. We rushed him to the animal emergency room, and it turned out to be an issue with his heart. He had an enlarged aorta, and a blood clot broken loose and cut off circulation to the lower half of his body. By the time we got to the vet, his back legs were completely paralyzed.
The vet advised us that treatment would be very painful, would have only a slim chance of working, and would not prevent sudden and serious relapses which in all probability would be fatal. After going over all the particulars, we decided that the kindest thing to do would be to let Nine go, and minimize the amount of pain he had to go through. It was a hard decision, but the vet agreed that, if it were his cat, he would do the same.
The good news is that it happened very fast, and that Nine didn't seem to have been in pain until the very end. He spent a good portion of the day on my lap, and the rest out in the yard lying in the sun and being mean to the other pets. He was happy, he seemed perfectly healthy. I don't think I could have planned a better day for the guy.

Thursday, January 08, 2009


So I was in my kitchen this morning, making broth and drying sprouts in the convection oven (look at me! So domestic!), when I realized just how much Xmas loot I was sporting. This year's haul seriously upped my sartorial awesomeness. Let me show you!

First up, we have the gloves I got from my parents. Aren't they rad? And you can get your own through their church's website! Just click on the link for Miss Pam's Mittens. Yay church lady crafts!

Oh, and it's backwards because I took these photos on my computer, but you can see I'm wearing the t-shirt my darling seester sent to Brian. I stoled it. Too bad I didn't grab the other one before Brian toddled off to his studio with it on, cause then you could see that my kitchen now has wifi. Say hello, kitchen!

(What did my seester send her seester, you ask? Why the ever-awesome Star Wars cookbook, that's what! And soap. Why did everyone in my family send soap this year? Do I look that stinky?)

Speaking as we were of the Brian, want to see what he got me? Sure you do!

Moccasins! From an genuine 'Native Arts' store in Canadia! They're very warm. Which is good, since as you can see, I'm wearing winter outdoor wear in the house. And yes, I'm cooking in my pajima pants. So you can't see the lovely belt my cousin Claire sent. But rest assured it's very cute, and single handedly makes the jeans-and-sweater I throw on before leaving the house like deliberate components of a genuinely thought-out outfit.

Last but certainly not least comes the gift from my Aunt Carolyn and Uncle Bill. This gift is one of those gift that brings with it the warm fuzzy feeling of being understood absolutely. Can you guess what it is?

That's right: it is a fuzzy muppet-like faux mink. It is also a visible manifestation of my inner core. Paging Phillip Pullman!

And on the non-sartorial front, I'm currently listening to the Choir Practice CD that my Aunt Carol gave me for Xmas. I've been playing it constantly ever since I got back from Vancouver, which means I've pretty much had it on repeat ALL YEAR. Here's a taste:

Christmas: Awesome.

And now I'm worried that this is a tacky display, a philistine reveling in the material side of Christmas. But really (honestly!), this is just a post about moment in my kitchen when I looked at the world around me and realized how lucky I am to be surrounded by so much love. And loot.

Thursday, January 01, 2009


1. Take more walks.

2. Be a better friend.

I knew it.

Is your cat plotting to kill you?

Highly Reccomended: Train Travel

Blizzard optional.

I honestly don't know why I don't travel by train more often. Well, yes I do: it's not that much cheaper than flying, it takes a long time, and there's no direct route from San Francisco to any of the cities I visit with any regularity. But all that aside, it's just so much more civilized than flying. There are parlour cars and dining cars, dinner reservations and wine tastings, private rooms to lie down in (if you fork out enough cash), and an endless stream of vistas out the windows. I could totally see Brian and I becoming one of those train-nerd retired couples someday. Assuming there's such a thing as retirement when we get old.