Friday, August 22, 2008

Al Bowlly's in Heaven

"and I'm in limbo now."*

I fell in love to Matt to Bowlly's definitive version of Ray Noble's "The Very Thought of You," and hearing it just now made me cry like a little snotty nosed kid. I wonder if Bowlly would derive any comfort in knowing that his phrasing and his voice would still be loved by some (there's a Facebook group for him) over sixty-five years after that fatal parachute mine exploded outside his flat during the Blitz?

I am not in limbo, really. I was prescribed Paxil, an anti-depressant, for my sleeplessness and general anxiety. I decided against starting until after the holiday in South America. I've waited for years for this holiday and I just discovered the Carmenere grape. It would be cruel to have to abstain from wine and Pisco Sours because of the drug. I also reserve the right to never to go Paxil if I can figure out why my anxiety fuse is so short.

And now, a moment of awe for the Great Al Bowlly and Ray Noble:

*Thanks to the Richard Thompson song.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

if Elvis could sing it now

Henry Wyatt Schober: Mommy, that big boy wants to know the name of our neighborhood.
Mommy: Tell him the GHE-tto.
HWS: My mommy says "the ghetto."

Not really and really. It's fun to see the hoards of Europeans staying at the old Starlite Motel walk up the center of our street because a) we don't have sidewalk all the way b) it feels safer.

If I was a tourist, I'd walk up the center of my street. But, I live here, and it's pretty damned safe.

Santa Rita 2006 Carmenere Reserva

from Chile.
@ $12 a bottle.
a gem.

soft tannins, fruit forward, spicy, but still displaying its tobacco and wood notes proudly.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Pakistan in the news

Photo from Saturday's Gadling.

Musharraf is out after nine years. I'm surprised he survived as long as he did. Was it time to go? Yes. Was he power hungry? Yes. Was he probably the lesser of many evils? I think so. I don't know, he just didn't strike me as the same kind of unctuous sort who ruled in the Sharif and Bhutto Administrations. There's a reason Bhutto's husband, who now co-represents her PPP party, was known as Mr. Ten Percent (his take of any contract awarded).

In other Pakistan stuff, Matty and I crossed this very bridge 10 years ago. Ironically, the new bridge, which is right of the old bridge, became the useless bridge when they built it with too many slats for footholds. Huge winds came through, and took care of the new bridge overnight.

Also, note the vertical staircase hacked into the face of the wall on the opposite shore.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

We have crossed that imaginary threshold

into the other half of our lives.
I know it's the case because when some friends toasted glasses of something tasty and fizzy to our continued and improving health tonight, it was rather heartfelt.

Matt the pessimist is in the backcountry. Otherwise he would have said something cheeky.

Friday, August 15, 2008

As the monster hit book says, "Everyone Poops"

We had an even better picture of Wyatt reading the New Yorker (his choice), but it had his wee penis in it, and I have to give him *some* respect and privacy. For those of you who know the boy, you'll know he doesn't care who sees his penis (so much so that Joel once said at the table, "Hey, Wyatt, Lynn (his then girlfriend, his now wife) doesn't like turtlenecks!" But, somewhere down the line, the fact that mommy posted wiener pictures wouldn't be so cool.
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From today's NY Times

Whilst traveling from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, photographer Richard Harrington stumbled upon an abandoned NASA unit in Bishop, Calif.

While traveling from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, the photographer Richard Harrington stumbled upon an abandoned NASA unit in Bishop, Calif.

[I would argue that it's very possible that this NASA trailer isn't in Bishop. Must ask around. Maybe it lives at the Big Ears, where Cal Tech maps outer space. Also, Bishop really isn't on the road to Vegas from LA. At the very least, you will know what relentless sunshine in the Valley can look like.]

post script: Rick who works at the Big Ears confirmed that this trailer is there and reported that it is not abandoned.

Proud Mama

This morning, as we were headed out the door for school, the boy asked, "Mommy, what's your favorite song?" I said it would have to be something from the Mutton Birds, and I asked if he remembered seeing a video featuring some dude on a small drum and some dude singing on a guitar? He said "Hmm" (meaning "yes" in boy). I kind of blew his answer off because he sees a lot of music videos.

I sang the line:

At the hightide line, driftwood and shells...

and lo and frickin' behold, the boy sings:

She's been talking to my friends.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Why I need a nap

I have a hard time getting back to sleep in the middle of the night. The monkey mind takes over and races. So, I think, the next time I see my nurse practitioner, I will ask for a bit of chemical help.

Yes, yes, I did years of yoga and breathing. Deep breathing involuntarily kicks in during the day and sometimes help.

But, I have the personality that rather worries a lot, is easily distracted, and has rather thin skin. Long dark nights seem to exacerbate these traits. I'm hoping that getting a bit more sleep and exercise will help me refocus on what really is important - namely, Wyatt (whose morning glucose numbers are still out of whack), Matt, and me and our lives together.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Hamdan might be able to see his family again in his lifetime

Wow, poor, illiterate, 4th grade educated, Salim Hamdan, Osama bin Laden's driver, could theoretically see his family again in five months. I am not holding my breath, but I am pleased for him. Nevermind that we have been holding him illegally for so long and supposedly have the right to continue to do so after he has served the remainder of his sentence. Reading the coverage, the judge and the defense attorney in the case did their jobs and brought a glimpse of humanity to the proceedings. Compared to what Guantanamo now stands for, it almost sounded like a goddamned love fest there today:

[From the New York Times]

During pretrial proceedings, Mr. Hamdan, a father of two daughters in Yemen, and the judge, a career Navy lawyer, had regularly exchanged smiles and, on occasion, chats. Before he left the bench, Judge Allred said a few parting words to the man he had gotten to know in a most unusual way.

“Mr. Hamdan,” Judge Allred said, “I hope the day comes that you are able to return to your wife and daughters and your country.”

“Inshallah,” Mr. Hamdan said in Arabic, before an interpreter gave the English translation of “God willing.”

“Inshallah,” Judge Allred responded.

Inshallah, indeed. (Now, if any of my god fearing Republican family heard this, they would skewer me.)

Sundry gratitude

  • Thanks to Desiree, Tuesdays or Wednesdays are volleyball in the park night. Because I am an old crippled girl, I sit in the sidelines and read the New Yorker or hold babies. The last few times, volleyball has been followed by terribly festive potlucks at the house. Last night, it was too festive, and I shot Woodford bourbon out my nose. Now I know the feeling of snorting fire.
  • The poor boy's blood glucose numbers on the whole are good, but his high morning averages are of concern to us and to his nurse at Childrens'. It could be his stomach doesn't empty fast enough (going back to the GERD symptoms) or it could be he's got a bunch of growth hormones surging in the early morning hours. I am hoping it's the latter. We are trying different fine tunings in the meantime. I saw that one parent of a diabetic named his or her blog "Your diabetes may vary" and it's funny because it's true. At least Wyatt doesn't have Celiac.
  • Wednesdays are 15 percent locals' discount day at Mahogany Smoked Meats, makers and purveyors of perhaps the best streaky bacon in the world. At least, that's what one tomato grower in Ohio, who was crabby that the shop could no longer ship interstate, told me. Old Earl said his BLTs were never the same again.
  • I am very much looking forward to being in South America in less than a month. I am grateful that we can introduce Wyatt to life outside of the Valley which doesn't have anything to do with a suburban shopping mall (the default when we visit certain grandparents). Yes, frequent flier miles are getting harder to redeem, but I turn the whole thing into a big game and plan very far in advance.
  • I am enjoying the sound of song birds out the window...if you can call our garden variety of small singing birds here in California songbirds. I long for a trip back to New Zealand to hear real songbirds.
  • My hips are useless around my menstrual periods. For a few days I can barely walk across the room. But, stairs are not a problem! Biking is not a problem! Skiing is alright! I am psyched that I can do certain things that don't hurt and that the pain isn't (knock wood) constant. I am rather surprised about how philosophical I am about my revised mobility.
  • We are going to Reno tomorrow for my mother in law's auspicious 8-8-08 birthday. Some of us call it the "princess party." Hey, at least my mother in law is healthy enough and enjoying her life up there.

In ungrateful news: I am dragging my heels finishing Graham Greene's "The Heart of the Matter." It is so very well written, but I know it's going to end in tears (sorry, Bibi, I peeked).

Monday, August 04, 2008

First Large Tomato of the Year Award

goes to Black Russian.
It made a stunning BLT. Tart, tangy, salty, juicy.

Unfortunately, going mano a mano with the stink bugs this year. They are poking holes in certain varieties of tomatoes and introducing yellow bacterial spots.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

In the woods*

There was a strange yip yip yipping last night. Because a lot of us live near the edge of town or have lived on ranches, we knew that it was a female coyote trying to tempt the four camp dogs into the meadow. There, if lucky, the males of the pack would kill the dogs. The four dogs were having none of the coyote bitch's siren calls, though, and barked all night. Ugh.

Camp was in the woods this year. A wonderful assortment of over 40 friends and family who braved the fun four wheel drive in (I admit, I found myself leaning heavily to try to "compensate" for the sideways pitch of the road as I drove behind Matty and Kate) to potluck in the Upper Buttermilk, where it is at least 20 degrees cooler than town.

I was tired and crabby with a painful sty the first day. Went to bed early. Mood lifted the second day and enjoyed chatting with folks out of the normal context of the bookstore or coffeebar, our kitchen, or the street. Met or reconnected with three new couples and did my best to do the welcome wagon. It was neat, three of us folks were already connected to Mary, a lovely mother to be who has been in town two weeks. I work with Andrew, who dates Mary's best friend. Mind you, my office and Andrew are in the Bay Area. I only met Andrew for the first and only time (because I telecommute) last June.

Small world, indeed.

* Special shout out to the Woods who spent their weekend in the woods with us.

Friday, August 01, 2008

This year I have mostly been

pulling the ripcord.
Oh dear.

Ah, but must cram in a few streaky bacon, lettuce, tomato sandwiches before I undertake my pennance.

Group camp is happening this weekend in the Upper Buttermilk. Cocktails, potlucks, singalongs. With bear and mountain lion sightings down in Rovana, which isn't too far away, I'm going to keep a closer eye on the boy.

The bear was found dining on somebody's pet goat.