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Archive for December, 2008


I just got back from a trip to the Sacramento Rail Museum, and my house smells like stew.  Technically it’s vegetarian (squash) chili, but nevermind that.  It smells like stew.

I’ve been getting really worried about starting this new quarter, in a latent way.  I know there’s nothing beyond my capacities coming up, and that all I have is another three months of hard work before the next rest.  I think I put perhaps too much hope into how much I was going to get done in this break, and how settled and relaxed I was going to feel by the time it was over.  It’s less than a week before I head back, and I feel like I’m just now able to relax and take stock of what’s going on in my life.  There’s so much I want to do, and so little time left, and that alone is enough to stress me out and make it so I don’t get anything done.

I keep having these visions of the one tiny adjustment I need to make before my house will be perfect and settled.  Of course that means that there are a million tiny adjustments to be done, and that my house will never feel really “done”, but my mind seems to fixate on a few really silly things.  I was vacuuming today and thinking that maybe what the house was missing is something that smells nice to put in the bathroom.  Like a scented candle.  Yesterday I thought maybe it was (also nice smelling) pine or lavender satchets to go in the linen drawers.   The idea of simple pleasures derived from small, decadent items seems to be the theme.  I think I want to be able to focus all my restless energy on a totem of some kind that I feel like I can channel into and tell myself that everything is calm and settled because my house smells nice.  The mind works in mysterious ways.

There are two self-pampering things I wanted to do before the break was over, and I’m not sure I’ll get around to either.  First, I really need a haircut.  My hair as it is needed to be trimmed months ago.  It’s manageable, but it does make me wonder if I’ll ever get it together.  I wanted to go to see Melody (who is so awesome) in Berkeley, but she never got back to my email and I’ve been completely lax in following up, and incapable of finding a Davis alternative.  It’s almost like finding a new doctor – you don’t want to end up having something ridiculous happen by going to someone surly or sub-par.  And Berkeley isn’t a place that’s so hard to get to I couldn’t manage it once a quarter.  But as it is, I’m at a complete impass.   The other thing I had thought of doing was getting a massage.  My neck and back muscles have been as tights as ropes since about half way through last quarter, and I had sort of assumed they would loosen themselves when I wasn’t at the computer all day and studying so much, but that’s not at all what has happened.  A massage is probably fairly good for you, physiologically speaking, and I’m trying to focus a little this quarter on taking better care of myself.

This is one of those loops I’ve been on seemingly forever.  It’s nearly impossible to rise above the status quo and do all the things you know you ought or intend to do.  Last quarter I even went so far as to block out a few hours a few days a week to go to the gym on campus, and haven’t even been once.  I don’t even really know where the building is.  But here I am, a few days before the next quarter, having the same conversation with myself about going to the gym a few days a week just because it’s good for you.  I don’t have any plan or goal in mind, just the simple wanting to spend a few hours of my day doing something, other than reading, that will be good for me.  I don’t know if the problem is lack of specificity of goals, or that I don’t really want to do these things I tell myself I do, or nervousness about trying something new, but whatever it is, I’m really easily defeated in this category despite the best of intentions.

Oddly, I feel exactly the same way about the gym as I do about getting chores done and cooking up the vegetables in my fridge.  We get vegetables delivered biweekly from Farm Fresh to You and they’ve been piling up in the fridge since finals week.  Normally I feel like I have a pretty good grip on seeing what we have and knowing what to do with it, but the last month or so has been completely uninspired.  Part of it really has to do with going out too often – we went out more than usual while finals were happening, and we’ve been treating ourselves lavishly (well, for grad students anyway) over the break, and even eating at parties and the Lawyers’ and such, so not so much cooking has been going on around here.  Instead of rectifying the problem my brain just spins on how I don’t have any great ideas though, and that really gets me nowhere but closer to our next vegetable delivery.

Perhaps what this whole thing amounts to is this:  school is almost starting, and I need my routine back.  Rising above the status quo is something that only sounds good when you’re disatisfied with what’s going on, and I never have enough time to be bothered when I’m in the middle of studying.  Whether having failed to do most of what I intended over break is a real failure to improve my quality of life, or is just a symptom of having a more relaxing and not hyper-productive break, I don’t know.  Makes me wonder what setting up all these plans was really about in the first place.

Great Davis night – dinner w/ …

Great Davis night – dinner w/ friends in the sticks. Meatballs, hookah, wine, cribbage, accordian!


Nada mucho to report today.  I slept really late — till almost 11! — and then I did housework all day.  It’s nice to feel like we’re not neglecting this place of ours.  I did all the dishes, the laundry, and the ironing, and maybe after some vacuuming tomorrow, we’ll be in good shape.  Boy, I can’t believe we only have a week left!


For it being the first Lewis-free Davis day, it went way better than average!  I always had a hard time with these lonely days in El Cerrito, but it’s so much better with friends and family more nearby.   So I got up and saw Lulu off this morning, and not long thereafter his mom called me and invited me out for the day!  We hit up the Fox & Goose for delicious British brunch, and then did a little running around Sac getting some stuff done (returning non-fitting christmas presents and such).  Took a little nap at their place (I guess I tweeted that earlier?) and then we took off and saw Slumdog Millionaire, which was pretty decent.   Mostly it left me wanting to go see a proper Bollywood movie, though it would be a bit unfair to call Slumdog Millionaire just a Bollywood flick.  But it had some of my favorite Bollywood actors in it and that did make me want to go see something silly!

At any rate, it’s rather late and I’ve got some more exciting cleaning to do tomorrow before Lewis gets home!  And then we have the most relaxing week of our break to kick off!

Listening to Emily practice……

Listening to Emily practice… life is good.

Nap at the in-laws house. Wok…

Nap at the in-laws house. Woke up alone? Oh dear!

Toasty! Tea!

What a wonderful relaxing day!

I slept like a rock and got up pretty late this morning.  Lewis and I wanted to get out and get some fresh air today, so we went out to breakfast (lunch, actually, we missed the breakfast hours!) and then out to the wildlife preserve on the causeway by Sacramento.  We spent a few hours walking the levy out there, looking at birds and admiring the wonderful view.  We could see Mt. Diablo, the Sierras (all snowy!), the coast range, and even the Sutter Buttes!   Bird sightings were also excellent.  Got to see a Harrier hawk, some shovellers, a very nice kite,  a merlin, and some more regular folks – snowy egrets, mallards, and red winged black birds!  Much great success.  The wind was pretty stiff and the air pretty crisp, but I was wearing a toasty new sweater Francie gave me, and the mittens I got from Lewis!  I was the toastiest birdwatcher on the levy for sure.

Got a fair bit of cleaning done this afternoon, and got the rest of my sister’s package packed and prepped to send tomorrow.  There are a ton of dishes to do, but having stacked them all together they seem a whole lot less daunting than they did last night.  Lewis is gone for the weekend at Weaselfest, so I should get the chance to get them all done and get the rest of the house tidied up too.  Might hang out with the Lawyers if I get lonely.  It’ll be nice to be in Davis for once while Lewis is at Weaselthing!  Life isn’t nearly so daunting with the in-laws in walking distance, especially with Emily home!   I also got to get some more of my presents squared away – got all my flours stowed in my new storage guys (which are fantastic!) and had two whole cups of toasty, toasty tea from my new tea pot, on my mug warmer!  I always leave my cups half drank and cold, so this is a serious improvement on my situation.

Good times.  Good, relaxing, toasty, wonderful times!


Merry Christmas, everyone.

It’s past midnight, so I guess that makes this technically the day after, but no worries.  It’s been a heck of a couple of days.  Got all the presents we needed bought and sent and wrapped and etc., etc., etc., though sadly my sister’s present didn’t make it to Seattle due to snow.  I’m pretty bummed about that one.  But I had the most uplifting post-Christmas chat with her on the phone about an hour ago, and it really made my whole day.  I know sometimes I can be way too aloof to be a good friend, let alone a good sister, but I’m trying to make that better.  I was really glad to get ahold of Lisa tonight and see how everything went and whine at her about stuff that went wrong and celebrate stuff that went right and talk about all the great food we made and all the neat things we got and good times we had.  I had a nice chat with Mom and Dad this morning, too, though a bit short due to my phone running out of batteries.  Sigh.  We made it, we’re not destitute, everyone seemed passably pleased, and it wasn’t just me who was feeling a little Christmas funk this year.  It’s a funky time.

And now I’m going to sleep, and dream, and wake up refreshed.  And enjoy all the wonderful thoughful things my husband gave me, and all the warm, comfy things my in-laws gave me, and maybe even have a big cup of delicious tea out of the most beautiful tea set this side of St. Petersburg.   Perhaps with pictures to follow.

And to all, a good night.

I am














Made Christmas cookies today.  Spent all day mixing, rolling, cutting, baking, frosting, and fraternizing.  Saw immediate and extended Lawyer family.  Wasn’t sure how well it went off… seemed like the actions were there without the cheer, somehow, though looking back on it now that can’t have been true.  I guess it’s just not the same without my sister and Lonnie.  I miss Lisa, and I’m really not looking forward to Christmas this year.  I feel like I did a shit job with presents, and I don’t know how I could have done better.  I’m worried about making phone calls on Christmas day to try and sound enthused about what I sent, though it was the best I could do with my time, money, and resources this year.  I guess I just don’t like sending anything but the best to my sister and my parents, and I didn’t give anything anywhere near what they deserve this year.  Stupidly, this all makes me feel like I’ve done something wrong, like said something I shouldn’t have, and I should be in trouble for this sort of behavior.   Boo.

Here’s to tomorrow, which is now today, and it being more cheerful and lighthearted.

Christmastime in the City

I’m feeling rather overdone, but in a delightful way.

Lewis and I got up early so we could spend the day Christmas shopping in the City.   Got out of the house about 10, and there wasn’t any traffic or anything on the 80.  Yay!   Got to Berkl in good time, and got ourselves on the Bart.  Oh, how I love the Bart!   We even got the full Bart experience – a screaming, swearing guy threatening to break some other guy’s jaw.  We waited a good while at Montgomery while the Bart police showed up and the guy eventually got off.  Sigh.  Holidays stressing folks out, I guess.  Anyway.  Eventually made it to Powell and Union Square to begin shopping!

Sadly almost all the stores we were intending to visit were completely gone.  Not the big ones, like Gumps and Williams Sonoma, but all the little stores, even – sadly! – the MOMA store were gone!  Really put a crimp in the shopping plans and left me a bit lacking in backup ideas.  Had a great day anyway, though, seeing the sites of the City and milling about.  Got a few great presents bought, and got a few things for myself as well.  Lewis and I even managed to fit in a movie (Despereaux) and had coffee in a lovely room in the St. Francis.   Got home without too much trouble, and now here I am, exhausted.  Long and fruitful day.

I’m a bit nervous about tomorrow, we’re hosting a cookie decorating party!  People are going to be showing up in the early afternoon, so hopefully that’ll give me enough time to get everything baked up and ready to go.  I’ll cross my fingers for myself…