Wednesday, December 30, 2009

I think I am now sufficiently recharged enough to resume forward motion. Sometimes when I have time off, I really take time off from everything. This leaves me with a vague feeling of guilt which eventually sets in motion a time of somewhat frenzied activity during which I get a lot accomplished. It is strange though, that the desire to hurriedly get lots of things done usually hits late in the evening when I can't immediately get started on anything. Sometimes by morning the desire has once again vanished. Right now, I'm using this little burst of energy to blog. Who knows what I'll feel like in the morning. I did just make a list of things I need to do though, and the list will be waiting for me at breakfast time. Lists are good insurance against backsliding. Ha.

Part of what has me energized is anticipating working another party with Jeanine tomorrow. I'll help with some of the more simple balloon creations, and with anything else that within my skill level that needs doing. It makes me want to further research getting some sort of insurance in place so I can officially do reptile parties. Sure, I've done them in the past, but it has always been rather informal and word of mouth. Stepping up the number of parties I do would definitely help out with finances around here.

Speaking of money, I've also recently sold my first item on Ebay. I got $122 for a cd, which is nice, especially considering it was something I had two copies of. I've got another pile of cds I'm going to list soon. I'm not sure if I have too many more that will fetch quite as much (at least not anything that I'm currently willing to part with) but I should be able to pull in some decent money.

Willow is asleep in the bed next to me at the moment. I've been letting her stay up late recently, but then again she's still on vacation for a few more days, so why not? I've been staying up late too, but I have a number of books that need reading, and for some reason I never seem to really settle down to read until well after dark.

Looking at the clock, I notice that the eve of the new year is upon us. Stay safe out there tonight.

Currently listening to: Popol Vuh "Tantric Songs"

Saturday, December 26, 2009

It is cloudy outside, with a promise of rain. Willow and I are inside, and it looks like a toy store exploded in here right now. I find myself looking forward to the time when she wants presents that aren't big and plastic, and more importantly, don't utter inane catchphrases at the press of a button. Sure, I could just not buy her this type of thing, but right now these presents make her happy, which in turn makes me happy.

This was a good holiday season. For various reasons, everybody is (or seems) happier this year. I know I am. I hope you are too.

This year also marks the first Christmas morning in around a decade that didn't involve me getting up at the proverbial crack of dawn to watch the annual wrapping paper tornado sweep through the apartment. Willow was at her place for Christmas Eve this year, so I slept in and picked her up at noon on Christmas day. She made short work of the presents here, and we followed this up with visits to Jeanine's place and my mom's house.

Now, I feel like I can properly turn my attention toward the upcoming year. I tend to not think past the holidays until the holidays are past. Strange, I know, but the holidays usually become a state of mind that excludes non-holiday thinking.

First though, there will be some reflecting on the year past.

Currently listening to: Kiila "Heartcore"

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Winter Solstice has come and gone, and the light will now return in small increments as we creep toward the Summer Solstice. Today it is sunny, and the wind is wrestling with the trees, causing leafy protests.

Yesterday morning, I woke up at 5am so I could go get Jeanine and be on top of a hill at sunrise. We chose Linda Vista Park because of a convenient hill I remembered climbing during childhood. It was steep and muddy, making for interesting climbing in the dark, but we made it up to the top and looked eastward together as the city lights blinked out and the sky brightened. There was a layer of clouds above the East Bay hills, and a soft wash of fog below them, making them appear isolated. The sun itself was mostly invisible behind clouds, but we could still trace its progress as it rose. Birds called from the bushes as we stood there, and the constant hum of the city was more noticeable than usual - maybe because we were so tuned in to the sounds at the moment.

I'm not sure how long we stood there. Sometimes it doesn't matter. Once we descended, Jeanine danced in puddles to clean her shoes, and we ended the morning in a coffee shop. It would be fun to start every day like that, although there is no way I could get up that early regularly. For example, today I woke up a whole six hours later.

Christmas is around the corner. For the most part, I've managed to avoid holiday crowds. I'm now off work until the 5th, so I've got a couple of weeks during which I can do whatever I want. That's a nice feeling. I'm also done with all of my gift buying, unless of course last minute inspiration strikes (as it sometimes does).

Speaking of Christmas, Willow's class had their Christmas concert at school a couple of Fridays ago. It went well, despite the fact that somebody pulled the fire alarm in the middle of it. A couple of days after that, Willow got to sing to even more people thanks to the fact that her uncle works at a radio station. We visited him while he was on the air, and Willow sang "C is for Candy Cane" live in the studio. She was excited to know that anybody in the world (or at least those with radios and/or computers) could have heard her. Right afterward, I got a call from her brother Nathan. He told me that Sophie had slammed his finger in the car door and broken it. Poor Nathan. Why is it that broken bones always seem to happen during the holidays? We talked for a bit, then I handed the phone to Willow. To her enormous credit, she actually asked about his finger before telling him about how she had just gotten to sing on the radio. That's pretty unusual for a six year old, I think. Good for her!

This past weekend, I went to a memorial for an old friend who passed away a few years ago. Truth be told, he was more of an acquaintance than a friend, and I hadn't seen him in nearly two decades, but some of my old friends were going to be there. It was sort of my version of a high school reunion, but instead of a bunch of high school classmates who I didn't really know, it was a bunch of people from the eighties heavy metal crowd. It was kind of surreal, standing on a rocky outcrop (Tank Hill) in the middle of San Francisco, with city lights glinting below us while Venom blasted from a small boombox. It could have been the eighties all over again, except that we were all in our forties, everybody had digital cameras and cellphones, the word "Facebook" constantly came up in conversation, and the boombox had an I-pod dock. It will probably prove to be the only time that I'm likely to hear heartfelt remembrance interrupted by Venom's "Buried Alive" (the song has a quiet beginning, mostly comprised of the scraping of shovels and the falling of dirt, before swelling into its full abrasive glory). Better yet, everybody heartily approved of the strange sonic juxtaposition. This was a celebration of life rather than a mourning of death. It felt good to be a part of it.

The park was so impressive that I took Jeanine up there the next night, in between a couple of parties she was doing balloons and face-painting for. My role at the parties (especially the second one) was primarily to get beaten about the head by kids with balloon weapons. Nothing makes kids happier than balloon mayhem.

Looking out the window during the second party, we saw a small convoy of motorcycles growl by. They were brilliantly festooned with Christmas lights. Very nice.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

We're going through a cold snap right now, or at least as much of a cold snap as this part of California ever gets. This morning, the pool at work was covered in a centimeter thick layer of ice, inspiring me to spend a small bit of time bouncing small objects off its surface. My fingers were so cold afterward that they hurt, but it was so worth it.

I'm going through another phase of re-listening to old cds in preparation for selling them, and even (finally) put one of them up on eBay to sell. It's sort of an experiment, really, just to see how well it does there. This was more or less motivated by the fact that having to start paying off my student loans has fired upon my budget and caused it to sink before the lifeboats could be deployed. Ha. Of course, I'm loading choice songs onto the computer, so all is not lost. Besides, somebody somewhere will see these cds on a shelf or on eBay and get happy. Sure, it's a consumer sort of happiness, but I support that when it's based on a love of music.

I've been getting a bit more creative in the kitchen lately too, making soup and hummus, and trying my hand at making Tibetan Bod-jha (or Poecha), a tea with butter, milk, and salt added. So far, I've failed at this last task, mainly due to buying the wrong kind of tea. Fortunately, Jeanine and I found a tea place in our wanderings this weekend, so I have a place to go to find the right kind. That said, this particular store is where I bought the wrong kind, but now I have a better idea of what the right kind is. There are all sorts of other interesting teas there too. I had no idea people had made the drinking of tea into a sort of wine-like snobbery. I saw tea in there that was older than I am. Who knew?

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Another birthday has come and gone, and I am now 42. Looking back at my blog posts from a year ago, I see that I started my last birthday cleaning vomit. This year, coincidentally enough, there was vomit to clean as well. Fortunately, the job fell to someone else. The food reversal occurred after I was officially off duty. Ha.

Sunrise and sunset were beautifully orange, and Jeanine came over with goodies and movies. We went out to dinner, had popcorn, ice cream, and cake, and watched a double feature of Die Monster Die and Kill Baby Kill. Based on the titles alone, it just seemed like the thing to do. Strangely enough, there are a number of plot similarities in the films as well - reluctant drivers (of the "I'm not driving you there" variety), unhelpful/unfriendly villagers, and shunned houses (the Witley manor and the Villa Graps, respectively).