Saturday, May 30, 2009

Song of the day

I'm guessing this won't be a popular statement, but I don't like Bruce Springsteen's music. I've seen him live and listened to a fair amount of it thanks to an ex-boyfriend, but it has just never done a thing for me. The musicianship is fine, the lyrics are OK -- but for me, whatever it is in music that moves me, that makes me hit rewind 10 times in a row when a song is so good that I almost can't hear it enough, Springsteen just doesn't do that for me.

I was at the grocery store last night, of all places, and a midi version of this song came on the Muzak. And I realized -- I love this song. I love the imagery of its lyrics, how Bob Seger's gravelly, strained voice is just perfect to convey the regret and reminiscence of a middle-aged man remembering the salad days of his youth. I don't love all Bob Seger songs, and that I love this one is probably proof of my age and the era in which I grew up, but I could listen to this 10 times in a row and love it more each time. For me, this song does what Springsteen songs do for so many other people -- evoke a time and a place; harken to a simpler, younger age; help me remember.

For your listening pleasure, Bob Seger's "Like a Rock."

Thursday, May 28, 2009

More babies

Here's Baby Belinda at almost six months. She's huge! Especially in contrast to Baby Sammy.

Her mom (!) and I snuck out last night for dinner at Dairy Queen (Cora's pic) and I just couldn't keep my hands off her. Look how much hair she has! And her cheeks! Her eyes, smile and chin are all Cora's mom's, and it's just bizarre to look at that wee girl and have her grandmother staring back at me.

Please ignore my goofy hair. We had played a game where I sort of charged at her with my mouth and eyes wide open, she would make dinosaur noises (pterodactyl? T Rex? unclear) and grab my hair in her pudgy little fists, pulling it as hard as she could. Both of us laughing all the while.

Monday, May 25, 2009


The new neighbors' name
As I've been crashed out on the couch for the last couple of days, my new neighbors have enjoyed the holiday weekend in their new back yard. With windows open to catch every breeze, I've listened to them play and romp and squeal -- and get in trouble.

Apparently one of the children is named Micah. I have yet to see him (or, if I have, I'm not sure which one he is). But he's sure been a handful this weekend:
  • "Micah, I am going to count to three. One.... Two.... Micah, I am not kidding." (though since they never seem to get to three, I can see why Micah would think they were)
  • "Micah, if you don't stop that right now, you are going to get a very long time out."
  • "Micah, no! No no no!"
  • "Stop it, Micah. Please."
  • "Micah? Micah!"
So, I have named the new neighbors "Micah's Family." There are at I think three children in total living there, and yet his is the only name I've heard.

The swine flu (or whatever) abates
I'm finally feeling a bit more human, and the pets have quit barfing, too, so I guess we're all on the mend. Just in time to go back to work!

I still worry that since neither Daisy nor Boo leave the house, I am the one who exposed them. To whatever it was we've had.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

The human condition

I just love PostSecret. I wait all week for the new secrets to be posted Sunday mornings.

I own all the books. I even follow it on Twitter.

Such an interesting social experiment. Honesty and pain and fear and humor -- the human condition -- both constrained and liberated by what can fit on a postcard and be mailed.

Every week, I alternatingly laugh, get teary eyed, fear for the human race even more than usual, and rejoice in anonymous fellow humans' experiences, truths and victories large and small.

Every week, I see myself at least once. Every week, I have new people to pray for and hope with.

Friday, May 22, 2009

I am so proud of Shu

This weekend, my dear friend Shu! will walk in Rutgers' graduation ceremony. He technically received a degree in economics in December, but ceremonies are reserved for the spring.

He did this by going to school at night, juggling a full-time day job, writing books (yes, more than one), marriage to a great fellow Houstonian and so many pets that I literally have lost count.

For those of us who've done the full-time work/part-time school thing, we know there's really no such thing as being a part-time student. And how adult life creeps in on things in a way that is crushing. In the midst of it all, though, Shu! remained funny, mostly upbeat, largely nonwhiney and appropriately grumpy with The Man.

I am just so proud of him. Vagaries with The New Job prevented me from being in New Jersey this weekend to watch him walk, but I hope he knows I'm with him in spirit and what a gift his friendship and example are to me.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

In which I realize I am disappearing*

I started Operation Junkless Trunk at the end of January. My mission: to quit eating crap, to start moving and perhaps, if the shin splints cooperated, rehab and train to the point of regularly running. I did pretty well at it for quite a while: up to the point I left Capitol Ministries, I'd lost 10 pounds or so. And I could really see and feel the difference -- my clothes fit differently, better, and I sure felt better. But then I got the Cold of Doom, leaving me coughing and breathless, which set me back pretty considerably. I never really found my footing again, workout wise, in terms of consistency, but the 10 pounds stayed off.

And I have not been back to the gym since I returned to the Capitol. I keep the gym bag in my car, loaded with appropriate gear and thrashy music, and I know that if I can just start going, I will feel better for it -- but it's the getting started that I just can't seem to manage. Every time I look at the bag sitting there, full of recriminations and cardiovascular guilt, it exhausts me. So, I haven't gone.

I saw a lobbyist friend recently, one I hadn't seen in a few months. She exclaimed, "You're disappearing!" I thought she was referring to the 10 pounds and just being particularly enthusiastic about it (as good girlfriends do). But late last week, I wandered up to the Capitol's nurse's office to the scale there and jumped on, one eye closed as I adjusted the little weights.

Apparently, I've lost 25 pounds since January -- or, another 15 since I basically abandoned Operation Junkless Trunk. Further, I was at JCrew today doing a little shopping, and I fit into a size 8 dress. Yes, I know JCrew vanity sizes and an 8 there isn't really an 8, per se, but I haven't fit into a single-digit clothing size in any brand in many, many moons.

What's my secret, you ask? I am embarrassed to tell, but it's this: I am eating like a teen aged boy. Truly. I haven't cooked dinner in I don't know how long, or eaten a vegetable as a side dish. I only eat when I'm starving, because otherwise it's either too much effort or there's just not enough time. And by "eating," I mean part of a bag of Buffalo ranch Doritos, or some frozen Buffalo wings I pull out of a bag in the freezer and heat in the oven. Or a frozen pizza. Or a piece of leftover frozen pizza. It's kind of sad, really. But I keep taking multivitamins so I don't get scurvy or rickets or whatever and telling myself it's just for a season. And the weight is falling off.

So, apparently, it's Opposite Day for my metabolism, where if I abandon exercise and healthy food, it responds as it would had I embraced them. Or something. In any case, we'll see what happens when I go back to consuming food that requires both radiant heat to prepare and a fork to eat.

* Perhaps both literally and figuratively -- it's been a week since I last wrote. The reason for my blogular absence isn't complicated -- I'm basically worn out. The job is pretty much all I can do these days, and going to bed, waking up, showering and putting one foot in front of the other to get back to work in the morning to do it all over again is the exciting routine of my life. There's not a lot that's happening these days in my life that I even find interesting; the thought of spinning an anecdote when I'm in this work cycle is a bit overwhelming. I think once the staffer on paternity leave returns and some of these deadlines are behind us (June 5 is the magic day!) I'll be able to settle into something of a routine, at least for a while. I sure hope so. I miss my life outside the building.

Saturday, May 9, 2009


Remember this? The sticker in my parking garage elevator that's been driving me crazy (an admittedly short trip, but still)?

Look what I saw yesterday, walking back from lunch at Gaesorn's with the gang:

It's a store in downtown! Was the sticker placement part of a viral marketing campaign? Overeager employees? Random vandalism? Not sure, but I'm really glad the mystery is solved.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Meet Samuel Joseph

Question: Is there anything better than cuddling a two-day-old baby?
Answer: No.

This is Samuel Joseph, Christina and David's newest, wee-est baby. He is precious and adorable and mostly sleeps but has the sweetest little mouth and dark hair. I am officially in love with him.

David and Christina and I met for dinner (those crazy kids! don't they know they just had a baby two days ago?!), and we had lots of food and conversation and I snuggled the baby nearly the whole time. Samuel napped and occasionally squeaked and made precious faces, which was exactly perfect.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Song for a rainy Saturday

James Taylor has about the sweetest voice of anyone I know. Soothing, clear, unaffected.

As the rain's moved in over last couple days, my head's just been almost insufferable -- from change in pressure, I think -- and when I can tolerate music, I've been listening to his.

I love this song. It's on the "If a man ever sang this song to me I would marry him immediately" list for sure.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Week in pictures

A staffer on paternity leave two weeks earlier than expected + deadline week for fiscal bills + a bomb threat = this.

Yep, I said "bomb threat." The Capitol was evacuated yesterday while the Assembly was in session. From the Sacramento Bee:

Bomb experts from the California Highway Patrol detonated a mysterious package on the north side of the state Capitol shortly after noon Thursday, after the presence of two mysterious packages disrupted an Assembly floor session and caused the evacuation of about 100 people from the building.

CHP Officer Jarrod Lassila said no explosives were in the bag that was detonated. Offices on the north side of the Capitol were reopened about 12:30 p.m.

The detonation, which could be heard for several blocks surrounding the Capitol and filled the air with the smell of smoke, occurred after CHP officers used a robot to move one of the packages, a leather satchel with a piece of metal protruding from it, about 30 yards away from the L Street side of the building, to the base of a large redwood tree in Capitol Park. The satchel had been hanging from a statue about 20 feet from the entrance, according to CHP spokeswoman Jaime Coffee. A passer-by reported the packages to Capitol security shortly after 9 a.m.

Coffee said the other package had been determined to be just a plastic bag full of clothes. Tony Beard, chief sergeant at arms for the state Senate, said the plastic bag raised suspicions because it was found at the base of a monument to Gilbert Murray, a forester who was killed in 1995 by a bomb planted by Theodore Kaczynski, the notorious Unabomber.

Ron Pane, chief sergeant at arms for the Assembly, said offices on the north side of the building were evacuated as a precautionary measure. The Assembly chamber was also ordered closed. Pane said that in addition to the Assembly members, who were meeting at the time, about 100 people, mostly employees in the Department of Finance, were moved out.

"It's better to have folks move and be safe," Pane said.

The boss took us out to an early lunch, basically saving our lives by way of ceviche and burritos. We heard the bomb squad's detonation of the suspicious bag from the relative safety of Vallejo's.

And then a propos of nothing, there's this. This sticker is plastered up over the floor numbers in one of the elevators in my parking garage. What does it mean? It's driving me crazy trying to figure it out. This is what comes of watching "Lost," I think -- a bumper sticker is never just a bumper sticker. Or whatever.