Today in My History

2001:  Celebrations
2002:  Things I Can't Say
2003:  Getting By with a Little Help from My Friends
2004:  Crazy Mum
Off the Top of My Head
2006:  What Went Wrong?
2007: Save the Children

Renaissance Man

Books Read in 2008
Updated: 2/20
"Schuyler's Monster"



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Desert Nut
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Look at these videos!
Rinde Eckert (Slow Fire)
The Dog, the Cat & the Rat
The Dim-Wit Barber of Mayberry
Yes, We Can
Ennio Marchetto

Family Stories Vlog
(updated 10/2/07)

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Cousins Day, December 2007


25 February 2008

She was perhaps in her middle to late 50s, perhaps early 60s, and dressed in light beige. It was a beige dress designed for a much younger woman, something that evoked perhaps life in prairie days, with a low cut neck designed to reveal the decolletage of a young woman, but instead revealed the light beige long-sleeved sweater this woman had put under the dress. Above the turtle neck, her makeup was pale and her unkempt hair was the kind of bleach blonde that looks like it's had one too many treatments. On her feet were white Mary Janes with little bows on them and white stockings that disappeared under the ankle-length skirt. The total effect was just...beige, except for a splash of pink across her mouth, the dark outline of her eyebrows, and the pink pot of baby roses she was carrying.

For a moment, I wished I had artistic talent. I wanted to paint her and call it "Beige Lady with Roses."

Beige Lady was just one of the unique "looks" that I noticed at Trader Joe's today. I went back, this time with Joe and Alice Nan to the "big" TJ's, where they were doing a "big shopping." When you live in the suburbs, like Davis, the people you meet in supermarkets all seem to be of a handful of generic types--your fat generics, your thin generics, your healthy generics, your ethnic generics, your student generics. They all seem to have a singlemindedness of purpose, know what they want and how to get it quickly.

At Trader Joe's diversity is paramount and you might pass a couple of aging hippies with stringy hair, weathered complexion and formless Salvation Army type clothes, followed by a young gay man, impeccably dressed, head held erect, and meeting your gaze with a smile, followed by a retired grey-haired couple carefully checking the labels of each thing they buy to make sure it has all the proper nutrients, to a mother with children hanging off of her, trying to rush through the store and get home again. Most are wandering leisurely through the store checking out what's new, tasting the food samples, and just enjoying the whole Trader Joe experience. They don't even seem to mind waiting in long lines to be checked out.

I do love Trader Joe's for its "feel," and for the diversity not only of the clientele, but of the foods it offers, where you can buy chicken tiki masala next to gorgonzola gnocci or cheese empanadas. There are so many new and delicious-sounding ready-made foods available but guilt keeps me from buying them. I always figure that ready-made foods are for people who work and who aren't home all day long. I know how to cook, I can pretty much follow any recipe, and it would be cheating if I just pulled a pre-made meal out of the refrigerator or freezer section (though I admit that I do do it sometimes!) I should make my own chicken tiki masala, gorgonzola gnocci or cheese empanadas--it would be cheaper (and possibly even taste better).

I picked up a pear and gorgonzola cheese salad to add to my collection of foods for the train and think I'm pretty much set now. Undoubtedly over-set. I could make it all the way to Seattle without having to hit the snack bar, I believe! But it's nice to have several choices.

We started the day today with a big, noisy, relaxed family breakfast. Joe poached eggs and fried bacon, Alice toasted English muffins, I had brought lemon bread and lemon curd from my last trip to Trader Joe's. Norm made coffee. We all sat around the table eating and laughing for a very long time. Eventually, Norm and Olivia left to have one last visit with his mother. Joe set me up with a free USB port and I was able to look at some of the photos I've been taking and post a couple on Flickr, though I want to do some work on some of them before posting them all (and even with the direct connection, it seems slower on this computer, so I'd prefer to wait till I get home).

At 2, we went to see the work that Tom and Laurel have been doing to their house. Oh my. The reports were not exaggerated. It looks totally overwhelming. The living room has a single-file path through it, with most of the room piled high with stuff covered with a tarp. The office is pretty much inaccessible for the stuff piled in there. The nursery is a bit more open, though at the moment is storing the cabinets for the kitchen. Laurel is working today on the painting design for that room while Tom is working in the kitchen. They have removed everything--yes, including the kitchen sink--and Tom is hanging new cabinets and putting in new counters.

Floor guys are coming tomorrow, I think. I've lost the sequence of things. When it's all finished it is going to be absolutely gorgeous and, based on the work I've seen them do in the past, I know that it's just going to be incredible. But there are only 40 days left to Laurel's due date, Tom doesn't know if he's going to have to travel for his job in the coming weeks or not, and they are pushing it pretty close. Whatever doesn't get done pre-baby will get done eventually, but I know that things will be a lot less chaotic if they don't have to worry about adjusting to a new baby and continuing to do major remodeling at the same time.

That's the nice thing about being young--you can do stuff like this. For me (and I suspect all the rest of us old farts who stopped by to check it), it makes you want to sit down and drink a nice cold beverage of your choice, perhaps cry a bit, and then call in a contractor to finish the job!

My time here is coming to an end. It's been just long enough. The train ride wasn't too long, I've had a chance to laugh, to visit, to see my mother-in-law, to check on Tom and Laurel, to get a taste of what's in store for our granddaughter, and now I'm ready to go home. The 11+ hr ride home will make a nice transition period and then I'll be home and ready to call my guru to bring my computer back so I can get back to transcribing the few remaining Morning Stories. Already I'm thinking about the things to do when I get home, so it must be time to leave here!




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