Unfinished goodbye

•April 30, 2009 • Comments Off on Unfinished goodbye

Found out yesterday that a cherished 4-H friend passed away earlier this month.

Ross was a Nevada Collegiate 4-H’er and camp volunteer whom I first met at the 2004 National 4-H Technology & Leadership Conference while working on 4-HUSA. Since that event, I’d kept in touch with him and often called on him for his insights while working on other tech and leadership projects for 4-H. Everyone in the 4-H community who knew Ross spoke highly of his sense of humor, unquestioning commitment to the 4-H program, and overall classy personality.

He was someone I could (and often did!) call up for an impromptu ski trip or advice on a presentation. We even survived a trip to New Orleans for Mardi Gras together, as well as road trips to San Francisco and San Luis Obispo. For the Collegiate 4-H, he was a mature and stabilizing influence who refused to fall into the notorious drama of that time period, but still someone who would happily mediate everyone’s differences so we could all go out and celebrate afterward. The guy had incredible integrity and a great smile.

Here’s to you, Ross. May you find peace wherever you are now.

Lest there be rumors…

•April 2, 2009 • Comments Off on Lest there be rumors…

I’ve added a Twitter gadget so’s you can track my micro-blogging updates in between actual blog posts. I find it hard to devote big chunks of time to composing and wordsmithing, so I’ll let you all in on a secret.

Twitter lets me do mini posts of 140 characters or less. It also lets me cross-post that update here via that gadget over yonder, and on Facebook.

Cool stuff.

Anyway, if you’re concerned that I’ve disappeared, double-check the Twitter and you may find that I’ve hared off on another adventure.

Adventures in Creative Housekeeping

•March 21, 2009 • Comments Off on Adventures in Creative Housekeeping

While the idea of “keep the litterbox in the unused bathtub” was a worthy one insofar as it contains the tracked-out litter and prevents it from joining the greater carpeted wilderness…

it turns out that using the bathtub’s integrated water-powered cleaning tool (read: faucet and/or shower) perhaps was not. For, you see, kitty litter is meant to clump up and turn into glorified mud, the same kind of mud that might be used for a facial, which means that it is goopy and sticky and stubborn.

I’ll be in the bathroom with my scrubby brush for the next little while. As soon as the standing water in the tub does its work and dissolves its clumps.


57 plus two partial reads. Dude.

•March 16, 2009 • Comments Off on 57 plus two partial reads. Dude.

According to the Interwubs Meme Generator, and unconfirmed by BBC.co.uk … the BBC believes most people will have only read 6 of the 100 books here. How do your reading habits stack up?

1) Look at the list and put an ‘x’ after those you have read.
2) Add a ‘+’ to the ones you LOVE.
3) Star (*) those you plan on reading.
4) Tally your total and put it in the title.

I added a (-) to the ones I would not willingly read again. Sometimes once is more than enough.

I believe Villanova’s English department is responsible for perpetrating a good half of my list onto my poor, pathetic mind.

1 Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen (X)
2 The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien (X+)
3 Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte (X)
4 Harry Potter series – JK Rowling (X+)
5 To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee (X)
6 The Bible (X)
7 Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte (X)
8 Nineteen Eighty Four – George Orwell (X)
9 His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman (X+)
10 Great Expectations – Charles Dickens (X-)
11 Little Women – Louisa M Alcott (X)
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy ( )
13 Catch 22 – Joseph Heller (*)
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare (* and a partial X+ … I’m slowly working on it!)
15 Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier (X)
16 The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien (X)
17 Birdsong – Sebastian Faulk ( )
18 Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger (X)
19 The Time Traveller’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger (X+)
20 Middlemarch – George Eliot ( )
21 Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell (X)
22 The Great Gatsby – F Scott Fitzgerald (X+)
23 Bleak House – Charles Dickens (-)
24 War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy (*)
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams (X+)
26 Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh (*)
27 Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky (X)
28 Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck (X)
29 Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll (X+ , especially the all-in-one Annotated copy from my dad)
30 The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame (X)
31 Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy (*)
32 David Copperfield – Charles Dickens (-)
33 Chronicles of Narnia – CS Lewis (X+)
34 Emma – Jane Austen (X)
35 Persuasion – Jane Austen (X)
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – CS Lewis (X … I cry duplicate to #33!)
37. Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini (*)
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Bernieres (*)
39 Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden (X+)
40 Winnie the Pooh – AA Milne (X)
41 Animal Farm – George Orwell (X)
42 The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown (X-)
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez (*)
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney – John Irving ( )
45 The Woman in White – (*)
46 Anne of Green Gables – LM Montgomery (X+ … plus the series)
47 Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy ( )
48 The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood (*)
49 Lord of the Flies – William Golding (X)
50 Atonement – Ian McEwan (X -)
51 Life of Pi – Yann Martel (X+)
52 Dune – Frank Herbert (X)
53 Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons ( )
54 Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen (X)
55 A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth ( )
56 The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon ( )
57 A Tale Of Two Cities – Charles Dickens (X-)
58 Brave New World – Aldous Huxley (*)
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon ( *)
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez (X)
61 Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck (X)
62 Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov ( )
63 The Secret History – Donna Tartt ( )
64 The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold (*)
65 Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas (X -)
66 On The Road – Jack Kerouac (*)
67 Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy ( )
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding (X – … upon further reading)
69 Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie ( )
70 Moby Dick – Herman Melville (*)
71 Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens (X)
72 Dracula – Bram Stoker (X)
73 The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett (X)
74 Notes From A Small Island – Bill Bryson ( )
75 Ulysses – James Joyce (X)
76 The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath (*)
77 Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome ( )
78 Germinal – Emile Zola ( )
79 Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray (*)
80 Possession – AS Byatt (X)
81 A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens (X)
82 Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell ( )
83 The Color Purple – Alice Walker (*)
84 The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro ( )
85 Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert (X -)
86 A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry ( )
87 Charlotte’s Web – EB White (X)
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Albom ( )
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (partial X)
90 The Faraway Tree Collection – Enid Blyton ( )
91 Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad (X -)
92 The Little Prince – Antoine De Saint-Exupery (X+)
93 The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks ( )
94 Watership Down – Richard Adams (X+)
95 A Confederacy of Dunces – John Toole (X -)
97 The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas (X -)
98 Hamlet – William Shakespeare (X+ … though I call duplicate to #14!)
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl (X)
100 Les Miserables – Victor Hugo (X)

OK, OK, so I’m an incorrigible geek with a penchant for literary self-punishment. Shaddup.

More changes

•March 10, 2009 • Comments Off on More changes

I’ve been here in Olympia/Lacey for three-ish weeks now… and I love it.

I guess there is a multitude of reasons:

  1. I chose it.
  2. David!
  3. Friends!
  4. Pretty views! And weather!
  5. I have a car.
  6. I have space to nest, and someone to nest with.
  7. I will soon have kitties
  8. I am close to plenty of shopping and other recreation, and I’m near the outdoors when I need a fix.
  9. New friends! And old ones coming out of the woodwork. Acquaintances and cousins I haven’t seen in years, if not decades.

In the meantime, David is off in Yakima doing silly things (let us not go there, for it is a silly place) for the next couple of weeks. Mike has deployed to Iraq with I Corps, and will be there for a year. Of course David will be going there, too, at the end of the summer.

Now that Mike’s room is cleared, I am facing a pile of stuff from storage that now needs to find a new home… I am nesting. Interrupting all this is a huge deadline for work, when our project launches to the world on April 22. Between now and then, I don’t think I’ll have much control over my schedule… but what’s new?

Yes, it's been a while.

•January 23, 2009 • Comments Off on Yes, it's been a while.

I know I haven’t posted much lately… it seems having a job that requires so much screen time makes me less inclined to post once I’m done with the day’s work.

I’ve also just returned from a month’s worth of travel – Christmas and New Year’s and DC and southern CA and back to Davis…

And I’m about to move to Washington, in 3 weeks.

Olympia, WA, not back to the District. Though I could see my life leading me back there, I want to try the Pacific Northwest first. I’m a nomad. And yes, I’m a bit in love.

And I’m thinking about doing a graduate certificate there, too, at the Bainbridge Graduate Institute. It’s been recommended by a couple of friends so far, and by the NPR station up there. We’ll see. I know I’m missing the world of academia.

Meanwhile, I face the task of packing up my life yet again, retrieving the little things from homes, and living without my cats for a month or so. They’re in soCal while I’m in transition, so that they only need make one move rather than a long drawn-out one.

So, color me a bit lonely, a bit in limbo, and very, very hopeful.

Meme-girl is Memeful.

•December 8, 2008 • Comments Off on Meme-girl is Memeful.

Put your MP3 player on shuffle, and write down the first line of the first twenty songs. Post the poem that results. The first line of the twenty-first is the title.

I Remember When

You hold the answer deep within your own mind
The moon shook and curled up like gentle fire
Deck the halls with boughs of holly
Feel it break your bones Mr. Jones

Your cell phone, your wallet, your time, your ideas
Tale as old as time
I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together
In a forest of stone underneath the corporate canopy

Crocodile on my feet
I was afraid you’d hit me if I’d spoken up
Bye bye, love.

Pale September, I wore the time like a dress that year
For all those girls, who speak contradiction
And it came to pass, all that seemed wrong
was now right
In the white room with black curtains near the station.

Just got back from Paris, France
Well, I know, I miss more than hit
Cupid hath pulled back his sweethearts bow
A starry destination is where we we’re going
Let me know that I’ve done wrong.

One year later…

•November 9, 2008 • Comments Off on One year later…

I suppose I should write something. After all, it’s been a year since I began this leg of the journey.

A year ago I’d just finished my first week of working at Council, living in DC, and learning how to live outside my comfort zone.

A year later I’m back in Davis, living far more independently than the last time I was here, and learning how to adjust my comfort zone to accommodate who I’ve become.

I catch myself missing my life in DC, especially with the weather turning and the leaves beginning to fall. Twelve months ago I was still infatuated with an idealized version of the past. I still am, though the nature of that past is mutable and scintillating. Looking back on a year ago is like gazing through a soap bubble. Some things are blown large, others pushed to the edges, colors shifted and movement exaggerated. I’ve changed, too. From pushing myself to expand my boundaries and get Out! each weekend, I am pushing myself to be satisfied with this smaller circle.

I know now that I can survive and even begin to thrive without my California circle. I know that I cannot go long without seeing people whom I love. I need a touchstone every month or so to reassure me that I have not lost them, that they are still there though our lives move in different paths. I could do it again – I could return to DC and forge a new happiness. I catch myself longing for that larger, faster life.

I also catch myself in moments of contentment and happiness, and I wonder how long I can make them last. Where once I would have loved to remain in Davis, I find now that I am looking to the next place. I am not totally happy with the rhythm of my life right now, but it is working for me far better than the last iteration. I get in plenty of travel, and in the last six years my appetite for travel has only increased. I’m feeling a lot more at home now than in the last apartment I inhabited. But this is not where I will remain forever.

I feel as though I’m rushing with a current toward an edge, as though the spring will bring with it a torrent of change. Where two years ago that spring was full of lassitude and aimless uncertainty, and a year ago a mix of entrapment and excitement, this one promises greater confidence and clarity.

Check with me in a few months to see how I feel then. I am far, far better off now than a year ago, and that was better than the year before. I’m getting closer, ever closer, and one day I shall arrive.

Feeling writerly without much to say

•September 8, 2008 • Comments Off on Feeling writerly without much to say

Another week – or nearly month – has come and gone, I’ve survived a deadline and (as Bob puts it) managed expectations… though I don’t feel all that satisfied with it.

I’ve moved, I’ve been lazy, I’ve been distracted and diffused and just not altogether in any one place… except when I’ve been spending time with David. The last couple of weekends have been lovely (and loverly) – making it difficult to maintain focus on a slightly less delightful daily life. That said, things are going measurably better here in the real world now than they had been. Incremental changes, yes?

Meanwhile, new place is working out well. Kitties are happy and affectionate and quite adorable as always. I find it easier and even more restful to spend evenings at home, which, really, was the whole point, wasn’t it? There are plans in the works for future celebrations, there is money in my bank account, and I have events on my horizon. Why do I miss the scholastic life so much?

I think I may be falling in love with San Francisco… Seattle… Portland… those lovely cities on the west coast, holders of culture and interest. Perhaps I’ve simply outgrown Davis.

Any recommendations for graduate schools and topics of study?

Small steps

•August 21, 2008 • Comments Off on Small steps

I hate packing.

I love shedding myself of the extraneous, unnecessary, annoying possessions that follow me from place to place with no clear purpose or emotional value.

Over the last year’s worth of moving, I’ve managed to do both rather well. This move feels like it will allow me to get it down to a fairly satisfactory level of simplicity. I’ve already gone through a trunkload of donations, and I’ll add this monster of a desk and a few other items to that list this weekend.

I’m looking forward to starting fresh with a new roommate, but I also fear that all the old habits I’ve learned will follow me. I’m shedding some – joining the ARC and starting a weekly therapy session have been tremendous improvements in my mental well-being – and I’m working on others. Every so often I find myself looking at my life and thinking, simply, “oh.” Oh in the sense of “oh, so this is what adulthood is, it’s not that different from what I had before except there are more bills and more worries.” Oh as in “oh, this is it? This is all I’ve been waiting for?” It’s reassuring and unsatisfactory – that I’m not off-target, but I’m still not who and what I’d like to become. Every cycle I get a little bit closer, though.

Each time I make the pledge to live a little more fully, see more places, go on more adventures, I get better at it. I just need to keep reminding myself of that pledge, and not let myself chicken out.

As I said though, getting better.