Monday, January 30, 2012

How Many People Does it Take to Lift a Fiat?

I am feeling dreadful tonight.  i haven't blogged for almost a week, and now that I am in the mood, I have a splitting headache.

I will simply relay that this morning, when I left my apartment with the kids, I was really surprised to see that my car was not in its little covered stall, which is included in my rent.  The kids pointed it out to me, four stalls away.  Naturally, there was a snotty note from the tenant who is assigned that stall, threatening to have me towed, etc...

I wrote a note apologizing profusely for my carelessness, but I'm a little hung up on how I could have DONE that.  I would have noticed, wouldn't I?  I have managed to half-convince myself that a group of guys picked up my tiny Fiat and moved it.  That must have been what happened.  Yeah.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

High Point, Low Point

My eaves are dripping, but I can see that a dusting of snow  has fallen on the lawn of the apartment complex.  I join the rest of the state in exclaiming, "It's about bloody time!"

I am equipped with a very small palm-full of chocolate chips, because I just couldn't stand it and got myself a little nibble.  Chuck and I are going to a party in a couple of weeks, and I want to feel svelt.  Lithe.  Not plump.  I would love to be just eight pounds lighter, and if I were sufficiently mad enough at myslef, I'm sure I could do it.  Problem is that I'm just not in the right place, self-loathing-wise.  Bummer. 

A realization today:  why I prefer grocery shopping alone.

"Hey, Mom!" 

"Hey, Mom?  Can we get soda today?  Why not?!  I haven't had soda in AGES!
Hey, Mom, wanna hear what I want for my birthday?  There's this game, you have to order it from Amazon.  You wanna hear how it's played?  Well, first the Pokemon...
Hey, Mom.  I'm gonna need a birthday treat for my class. Doughnuts should be fine. Don't worry - I only need 30 of them.
Mom!  Watch this!  Watch this!  Lemme show you how this partic-lee-ar soccer kick goes.  See, if you leap up like this, and then land like this, your position will be just right to....
Hey, Mom!  Are we getting cereal?  What kind are we getting?  What about this kind?  You know, if you realy want to make me happy, you could get Coco-Roos... And can we get marshmallows to put in cocoa?  No, I don't like the kind with the mini marshmallows.  They melt too fast.  Can we get this kind?
Can we get root beer?
Moooooom!?!  How much longer are we going to be here?  I have math!  If I have to stay too long at the store and I don't finish my math in time, then I won't get time for Nintendo.  Oh. My.  God!  [eyes filling]  I just remembered the worst problem.  Susie has place markers that are each equal to 17. Then she has a remainder of two, all of which totals 87.  So let's see... I need to subtract two from...
Can I get gum?
Can I get a lollipop?
Did you know that Sir Isaac Newton predicted that the world would come to an end in the year 2060?  So this is based on his predictions regarding the temple in Jeruselem...
MOM!  Men in Black II!  You should get it!  It's only $5.99.  Chuck would like it, I'll bet!
Hey, Mom.  listen to this:

Tarzan the monkey man, swinging by a rubber band.
He slips.  He falls.  He's hanging by his balls!
They rip!  They tear!  He'll need another pair!

But you know what?  How the hell did he fall so that he got caught by the balls?  That cannot be right."

High point:  A friend at work asked me about the series of four surgeries I had after my breast cancer diagnosis.   She needs to go in for  a touch-up surgery after having a melanoma reoved from her cheek last summer.  She was wondering about my feelings at having to have multiple surgeries, and about my body image now that I am so badly scarred.  I realized during the conversation that I don't care any more about how my left breast looks or feels.  I just don't think about it much now.   Leftie is still numb, two years after my final surgery.  It's true that, where the nipple used to be, there is just an expanse of scar tissue. There is still a long, horizontal incision scar.  I look at this, shrug, ignore it.  Think, "It really doesn't look that bad."

Low point:  Chuck is fed up with the "roommate" thing at Aloha Road.  He sent me a couple of texts during the evening expressing the wish to be at my place with the kids and me.  I concurred that I missed him.  Later, when we were talking on the phone, he told me that the situation at Aloha was on his nerves; and I realized that his earlier texts had less to do with wanting to be with me, and more to do with NOT wanting to be at Aloha just then.  That part of my psyche that loves to mind-fuck me and over-analyze every situation sent messages of embarrassment to the rest of my brain.  The logical part of my brain (sick of this shit and wanting to just be happy and enjoy this lovely relationship) started beating the over-analytical part over the head with the tea kettle.  Last I checked, they were still going at it.  Hopefully, they will have it resolved by morning.  Chuck thinks Aloha can be a pain?  He has never tried living inside my head! 

Monday, January 23, 2012

You Would Think...

You would think that, after being able to be with Chuck for the last five days, I wouldn't care that I don't get to see him for two measly days. Big deal!  When I have custody of my kids, we still spend a little time together - but it is kid-centered time.  He doesn't sleep over.  I miss him.  I tell myself that it is silly to miss someone whom I see and talk to and touch as often as I do him.

Almost eight months since  we started this relationship.  Still no fights, no disappointment, no tension.  I keep waiting for it.  But it never comes.  I think loving someone this much is scary.  It makes my chest feel tight.  I keep bracing myself for The Inevitable; but instead, we just glide along, happy. 

Monday, January 16, 2012

Grapefruit Pound Cake

 Hooo, boy!  Here we are, back in Kate's kitchen for another round of Kitchen Kapers / Kate-astrophes. This month, Cooking Light is extolling the virtues of grapefruit and its cousin, the pummelo.  I have always been curious about pummelos, so I picked one up at the store, to my kids' excitement.  Nate declared it, "as big as my head!"  I was just grateful that he didn't say, "as big as my fucking head!"  He has been "f-word" free for a solid 36 hours at this point.  Long may it last.  I started peeling the pumello, while Sara told me that one of her friends' mom had cut it in half.  "Hey, lay off.  I'm exploring my world." I finished peeling it, pondered the pithy ball in my hand, and cut it in half.

I digress.  Where was I?  Grapefruit, and making it into cake.  Right. 

As always, let's start with the picture from the magazine.  Nom, nom!

 Ingredients: (My new kitchen is far less aesthetically pleasing than my old one.  Here, you can see the ingredients, my clapped out cookbooks, papers towel roll, nicked Depression glass and wall socket.)

Cooking spray with flour.  (Shit, I don't have that.  Screw it, I know how to dust a pan.)
2 C all-purpose flour
1 t baking powder
6 T butter, softened (Yes, I softened the butter in advance.  I'm learning...)
6 oz cream cheese (The low-fat kind is fine)
2 lg eggs
1/4 cup oil
2 T grated grapefruit rind
1/2 t vanilla extract
1/2 C 2% milk
1/2 C fresh grapefruit juice
1 1/4 C powdered sugar

 Getting the grated rind off the grapefruit will soften it up a bit inside and make it really easy to juice.  Half a cup is about half of a grapefruit.  I juiced two whole grapefruits, though, because I was unable to resist drinking it.  I love grapefruit.
 1.  Preheat oven to 325 F.  Ah!  BUSTED!  HAHAHAHAHA!  I see now, looking at my photo, that I preheated to 350 F...which maaaaaaay explain a thing or two....
 2.  Coat a 10-inch tube pan (new!  just purchased from the thrift store yesterday!) with cooking spray and dust lightly with flour.
 3.  Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife.

4.  Combine flour, baking powder and 1/2 t salt, stirring well. 
5.  Place granulated sugar, butter and cream cheese in a large bowl.

 6.  Beat with a mixer at high speed until light and fluffy.  Realize that this blog is going to feature a lot of pictures of bland, yellow batter in a steel bowl.  Feel sad about the lack of colorful "pop" in grapefruit pound cake batter, but decide to persevere.
 7.  Add eggs, one at a time.
 8.  Beat in oil, rind and vanilla.  The dark shadow across the batter is me, taking the picture.  Can you see my outline?  My apartment just has one light; my old place was like a fucking veritable photo studio in comparison.

9.  Add the flour mixture and the milk alternately to the batter, beginning and ending with the flour.
 10.  Spoon batter into the pan.  Go outside and fly kites with Chuck and the kids.  Simultaneously bake at 325 F for one hour and ten minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs clinging.  Remember to stop flying kites in time to rescue the cake.
 11.  Not realizing that the oven temperature SHOULD BE 325 F, NOT 350 F, feel slightly surprised by the brownness of the cake, but pleased nonetheless.    It's pretty!  Cool in its pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes.  Invert cake.  Cool on rack.
 12.  Place juice in a saucepan over medium-high heat.  Wonder if you are supposed to remove the pulp.  The recipe doesn't say.  Figure that, since you like pulp, the pulp will stay.  Bring the pulpy juice to a boil.  Cook until reduced to three tablespoons, or until you get sick of waiting.  Cool slightly.  Stir in powdered sugar and tiny pinch of salt.
 13.  Drizzle over cake.
14.  Realize that your career as a food stylist is going NOWHERE.  Shrug.  Eat cake.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Letter to the Edges of the Galaxy

There is no standout headline for this day, so I will spew randomness by sending a letter to the universe.

Dear All-Who-Float-In-The-Ether,

It was a beautiful sunny day here in Salt Lake City.  I should have been out running in it, but I had an unfortunate nap-attack.  AGAIN!  What is up with me?!  Have I been bitten by a tse-tse fly?  Sometimes, when I feel like making excuses, I tell myself that I am mentally tired from all the changes in my life,and that I am more tired from stress and single parenting than I would like to admit.  Or maybe I have become unbelievably lazy!  That is probably closer to the truth.

I'm sitting here listening to The Kinks on Radio Paradise.  I should really send a message to my cousin Andrew on Facebook and thank him for posting the Radio Paradise link.  This is my new music-expansion strategy.  

My head aches a little because (this is embarrassing) I cried so copiously at the movie Warhorse today. Yes, Budget Babe actually took her kids to a new-release movie.  I try to stick to my guns about only seeing movies once they get to the dollar theater; but Sara loved this book, and has been patiently waiting to see the film for months.  I decided not to make her suffer.  I HATE crying at movies.  Especially schmaltzy, sentimental movies.  I always feel like I have lost some sort of contest of wills.  "They are just trying to manipulate my emotions!  Steven Spielberg wants me to cry.  Must!  Not!  Give!  In!"  Yet I do.  I didn't cry when my father died, but I balled my head off at Charlotte's Web?!?  (Sigh!)  Go figure.  Anyhow, I try to draw attention away from the fact that I have been crying by accusing others.  Sara just shrugged and said it didn't make her cry much because she already knew the story.  Nate denied at first, then said that he got a tiny bit of sugar from his Sour Patch Kids in his eyes and that made them water.

The best part of today was just the general feeling of well-being that I had while cooking supper.  There was a voice mail from Chuck waiting for me after I got home from the movies.  Just called to hear how the movie was; but his voice sounded so loving and sweet to me that I saved the message for my future listening pleasure. I got started on a new recipe:  mushroom lasagna.  It called for half a cup of white wine, so I went to the liquor store yesterday and found a bottle of Berringer Chenin Blanc on sale. Chenin Blanc and Vouvray are my two favorite white wines, and I have not had even a glass of white since I moved out of Swiss Oaks.  I opened the bottle of Berringer and started cooking.  Sara put on first Rusted Root, then ABBA (both excellent groups to cook/dance to, especially if you are also imbibing).  The mushrooms smelled spectacular, sauteed with shallots and garlic.  Chuck called and found my tipsiness amusing.  Sara interrupted my conversation with him to ask whether he could come for dinner.  I extended the invitation, but it was already kind of late and he had eaten.  Tomorrow night.  He told me that it made him feel happy that Sara asked for him.  Sometimes, we get an hour of perfect grace.  That was mine.  Could it be that I am finally learning to live in the moment?

The worst part of today was disciplining Nate for saying "fuck".  He said it yesterday while telling about something his teacher had done that made him mad.  I took his Nintendo away for 24 hours.  He hadn't had it back in his possession for two hours before he said "fuck" at Sara and I had to take it away from him again.  Loud was the wailing, the door slamming, the "I hate you"s.  I ignored this and started our evening read-aloud routine with Sara in my room.  After a while, Sara went to get the AA Milne poetry books and made a few requests.  While I was reading "King John's Christmas", I heard the kids' bedroom door opening.  As I continued reading, I heard him creeping closer and closer, then requesting a poem as if he hadn't been screaming at me 20 minutes earlier.  Ah, well.  That's how he rolls.

Tomorrow...  What's on my plate? Our Adult Education Floor Manager, Brittany, will have her LDS Missionary Farewell at her ward in South Jordan.  I will go to that and say good bye to her before she heads out for a year and a half in Taiwan.  I'm going to make (and blog) a new recipe:  Grapefruit Pound Cake. Check this out! 
I left my tube pan behind at Swiss Oaks and was a bit dismayed to find that I need one for Grapefruit Pound Cake.  I looked at them at the supermarket.  $20!  "FUUUU..."  I mean, "Darn it!"  Imagine my delight when I found this one at the thrift store for only $2.  A savings of $18!  Precisely the amount that I spent at the movies.     

Tomorrow, Chuck will come for supper and we will make omelets, I think.  Maybe a DVD?  Maybe a few games of Hearts?  I want to run tomorrow.  Clean house.  Write a grant proposal.  Read my book?  NOT nap?

I will end this very unfocused vignette with a question from Plinky:

What do you wish you spent more time doing?

Wow.  For me, that's huge. 
  1. Reading!  If only I had about two hours a day just for reading.  That would be heavenly.
  2. Making music.  Here, in my present incarnation, that means practicing guitar.  Someday soon, I hope to be reunited with my piano.
  3. Writing curriculum for my students.
  4. Playing outside.
  5. Hanging out with people, having fun conversations.  With some Chenin Blanc. And mushroom lasagna.  I can't wait to make it again.
Anybody out there?  Not so many these days.  I need to get out and read my friends' blogs. I haven't been reaching out and making contact lately,and I want to. 

6.  Read more blogs and communicate more with my blog-buddies. 

Wanna post in the comment section about things you wish you spent more time doing?  Share please.

Sunday, January 8, 2012


That is about all I did this weekend.  I hope there's nothing wrong with me!  Chuck says he's not surprised, given the way I was burning the candle at both ends all week.

We did very little this weekend.  We had a little get-together for people who want to go on river trips this summer.  We looked at different rivers in terms of when they have the best water flow and when the odds are best that we might be able to bag a permit. Then we set dates and went online to put in for permits for the Selway R., the Salmon R.,(both Middle Fork and Main) and the Hell's Canyon section of the Snake R..  We filled out mail-in permits for the Yampa R. as well, and found out what the call-in rules are for Desolation Canyon.  I was going to make chili and cheesecake brownies for the permit party, but remembered when it was too late that I had left all the ingredients neatly packed in shopping bags in my fridge.  My big culinary plans quickly changed to packaged cookies and chicken soup we concocted from some stock Chuck had made the week before. 

We walked down to P & G's house last night to give them the river trip dates, and hung out to watch the Red Green Show with P.  G went out dancing with a girlfriend and invited me to come along.  Oooh, I really wanted to; but on the walk down I had slipped on some ice and fallen hard on my shoulder.  Just at that moment, I could barely move it.  I begged for a rain check, an Ibuprofen and an ice pack, which Chuck and P secured in place with strapping tape. 

Otherwise I read, dozing off frequently.  Not exactly the dynamic and exciting woman I want to be, huh?  Yet, I feel my eyelids growing heavy AGAIN! 

I am at the house on Aloha Rd.  Chuck is at work.  He has only one more week to make last minute changes to the emergency shelter he and his partner Roi are building from a shipping container, before Roi has it shipped to New Orleans for a disaster preparedness trade show.  Today, they are fitting the solar panels onto the roof - a two-man job. I am sprawled on the antique opium bed in the living room, listening to the Bluegrass show on KRCL.  The only other sounds are the small peeping noises Scarlett the rose-breasted cockatoo makes to herself.  Chuck's friend Cliff is downstairs in his part of the house.  The intermittent yelling must mean "football game".

I must stir myself before I get drowsy again:  straighten things up a bit; bake brownies from  mix to surprise the guys; sew on my quilt for a little bit?

Friday, January 6, 2012

Let's See....

Should I:

Drop off the joint-custody vacuum at Simon's house;
Buy milk;
Clean out the gunky cupboard where I keep the vinegars, oils, etc...;
Iron my blouse;
Sew the botton back on my coat;
Pack for my weekend at Chuck's place;
Put together ingredients to make chili and cheesecake brownies.

Or, should I go to Squatters and drink beer with my friend Shirley?

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Atmospheric Pressure

I have a feeling that this entry is going to be ramble-y. I apologize to the ether in advance.

I had a lousy day today.  I can't really blame others, or circumstances.  I made it lousy all by myself.  I want to blame PMS!  Yes!  Another way to avoid accountability!  Guess what?!  No!  Impossible! Wrong time of the month to assign the blame to my uterus.  Shit.

I refused to go to the gym.  I did not eat breakfast.  I knew when I arrived at work that I was not my best self,  but I usually don't have much trouble shifting gears and shellacking over my agitation.  I thought I was succeeding at it today as well, but still I managed to irritate Zina.  Zina!  I know.  That's horrible - only really seriously annoying people annoy Zina.  Even though I was making a concerted effort NOT to irritate Zina, I did.  Twice.  You know, if it happens once, you can maybe parcel out the blame and say, "Well, s/he is not communicating effectively today."  Twice, though?  Must've been me, Baby!  I went to my office and started working.  Ray came in, but was not full of his usual chatty bullshit.  He sat down and started to work in silence. 

My eyes kept filling. 

I felt compelled to text Chuck and ask if he was mad at me about anything.
He called me straight away.  No he isn't even the tiniest bit mad.  Why?
Well...  the tone of voice he used this morning when he said such-and-so sounded a little...
He promptly offered to mind his tone of voice better in the future.
I was vastly ashamed of myself.  I knew it wasn't him.  I don't want him to be all mindful when he's with me.  I said so.
I texted him a little later and said that I knew there was nothing in his tone of voice.  That I knew I was being dumb.

Finally I turned my chair to my co-worker Ray and told him that I was not at my best today.

"I know.  The real Kate is not here today."  Now, Ray is a guy; but he can sometimes be the perfect confidante, because he will tell me the unvarnished truth about myself in a very caring kind of way.

"I am being stupid.  I am acting like a child.  I am on the verge of spreading my un-joy to all and sundry near and far, my boyfriend in particular." (to riff a little on A A Milne)
"You ARE being stupid.  And childish.  It's true, Kate; but at least you can see it in yourself and don't deny it.  You need to stop communicating with Chuck for today, until you are in a better frame of mind because you will end up picking some stupid fight with him and then you will really be sorry."
"You're right.  This atmosphere is all emanating from me."

I told Ray that it helped to talk to him.

"It's a good thing you did!  Your atmosphere was so tense I was about to stage an intervention."

As evening rolled around, my mood improved.  Chuck actually surprised me by showing up at the office with a pizza.  Just seeing his face made me feel better.  I focused on plans for fun things we want to do together in the upcoming months.  This lightened me enormously, for some reason.  I had a good night at work.  We got a lot of people enrolled for classes, and I felt that I was returning to a better version of myself, if not the best version.

So what the fuck was THAT all about?  Unfortunately, I think this goes back to relationship insecurities.  Coincidentally, my friend KM posted the following quote on her Facebook this evening, from Captain Correlli's Mandolin.

"When you fall in love, it is a temporary madness. It erupts like an earthquake, and then it subsides.  And when it subsides, you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have become so entwined together that it is inconcievable that you should ever part."

I am NOT ready for that transition!  After berating my self for being needy or overly romantic, I realized what my problem is:  I've never had this before.  Chuck has probably loved like this and been loved like this, so maybe he is less disconcerted. But... the last time I was in a serious relationship with someone, I was  saying "I love you" to a man who wouldn't respond. My words would be met by silence.  This continued until after we were married. Little nicknames?  Flowers?  Not always having to make the first move?  None of it.  And now this.  Now?  When I'm old and have crow's feet?  Could I not be forgiven for dragging my feet?  No matter how often he does small favors for me or buys me chocolate or tells me that I am amazing, I will NEVER take it for granted.  These things still stun me.  I am still in a minor state of shock.

And I kinda hate myself for caring.  Where is all my armor?  I took it all off and stowed it away about 7 months ago. I want to be the tough one.  I don't want to be hurt.  Furthermore, I don't want him to think I'm weak and vulnerable - or he may hesitate to do the necessary and  end it if his happiness in the relationship doesn't survive the transition.

And this transition into a "mature" relationship has to happen.  Inevitable. So say all the wise people.  Yet, as we head in that direction, I find myself thinking: a sexier, more beautiful, more overall fabulous version of me could forestall it.  No?

Chuck's tone of voice on the phone today?  There was absolutely nothing wrong with it.  It was matter-of-fact.  Questions about the Fiat.  About the Tacoma.  Plans to help me with a car shuttle tomorrow, so I can get the Tacoma to its new owner.  He is always so helpful.  It was a very "mature relationship" kind of conversation.  I remembered how, up until recently we would often talk on the phone at the end of the day and tell each other everything.  These were often silly, rambling conversations.  Flirtatious and affectionate.  Lately, that practice has kinda dried up; and I have to admit that I miss it, despite my discomfiture on the phone.

The matter-of-fact conversation continued.  How was my day yesterday?  Fine, fine.  He was distracted by things happening at his end.  I thought, "Why am I here?"  I moved quickly to end the call, cutting off his, "I love you."

Solution?  I need to move forward into the next stage of the relationship and be OK with the transition from "romantic/erotic" to "comfortable/mature".  Captain Correlli's Mandolin goes on to assure the readers that we will be good with this stage - that it is an adventure in its own way, too.  Get me there!  I don't want to be cutting off any more "I love you"s.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


One of our students was working on this exercise the other night and passed a copy of the question sheets to me.  Yeah, OK.  I'll bite.

What as the happiest moment for you in 2011?
June 14.  The evening after I got home from the Girl Scout trip to California.  Chuck came over and rode my yellow beach cruiser to the grocery store with me perched on the handle bars.  I squeaked, "Have you ever done this before?!?"  "Yeah!  When I was eight!"

What was the saddest moment for you in 2011?
February 22.  Sitting with my two hysterical, sobbing children, telling them that Simon and I were splitting up.

What was the toughest thing for you in 2011?
Dealing with my fears and insecurities regarding my  new relationship:  confessing them; asking for help with them; trying to overcome them; failing sometimes and realizing that I needed to try again.  Love sucks when you feel like damaged goods.

What was the best movie you saw?
January 30.  The King's Speech

What was the best music for you?
Buena Vista Social Club

Best place you visited?
Well... I didn't get out much this year, but... I loved Santa Barbara. 

Best food you had?
Again, I could probably count the number of times I went out for a meal on one hand, but...  probably naan from Himalayan Kitchen.

The most useful thing you bought in 2011?  Hmmm... A toss-up:  my new Fiat?  Or a shower curtain?

The most expensive thing I bought?  Oh.  Well, the Fiat, hands down.

The best item of clothing (wow, there are a lot of shopping questions in this quiz)?  My fun green skirt that I bought in Morrow Bay.

What was the biggest waste of money in 2011?  Rent.  $864 every month, paid to a stranger and nothing to show for it.

Something I lost?  My reputation for personal integrity.  What did you think I was going to say?  An earring?

Do you have any regrets about 2011?  Oh, boy.  No.  I'm almost ashamed to admit it, but I have no regrets. 

Monday, January 2, 2012

Upstairs, Downstairs

First, I have to say that my words-of-the-week theme is "archaic words now seldom used".  Let's breathe life into these old dogs - I couldn't agree more.  So, today's word is "mickle".  "Mickle" means, "an abundance of something".  A commenter on the word site observed that, as a "thwaite" is a clearing in the trees, the town of Micklethwaite in England means "big-ish clearing in the trees".

Aw.  I googled Micklethwaite in the hope that I could provide a little visual irony, with photos depicting urban sprawl and council housing.  Sadly, Micklethwaite is darn cute.

I swept a mickle of leaves off my balcony tonight.  I was sorely tempted to just sweep them out into the world, disregarding the patio of the apartment directly below me.  Given that they are more than happy to share their mickle of f-bombs: "FUCK that, bitch!  You fuckin' dump me on Facebook?!?  FUUUUUCK!" and their cigarette smoke, I would love to... give back...

(Sigh)...I said, reaching for the dust pan.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

My Ideal Woman

Howdy, World.

I have my cup of tea and my Radio Paradise.  Christmas thank-you notes are ready for the mail; antique blouse I wore over the holidays is hand-washed and hung up to dry.

I made a verbal agreement to sell my truck today.  One more step in downsizing my life. I feel pretty good about the amount this change is going to save me; and the lump sum it will put in my home down payment account.  I will miss the Tacoma for its carrying capacity and its general Toyota-ness.  Let's hope I am about to embark upon a love affair with the Fiat. 

I'm achy today.  Partly because I lifted weights a couple days ago; partly because I played hard at EVE last night.  The BallRoom, the giant slide, racing Chuck and Sara in the obstacle course...  I'm not getting any younger, ya' know!  Oh well:  my most serious injury seems to be my elbow, which I rubber-burned to the bone!  (Or that's how it feels!).  I'm also achy because Chuck's mattress has formed a divot on his side, but not on mine.  I woke up at 4:00 AM feeling like I was being dragged inexorably into the "Chuckhole".  After thrashing in futile resistance for a while, I realized that my pillow could be used in the same way that we chock a tire to keep the car from rolling away.

Any of you who have ever slept in a tent on a slope will agree with me:  snuggling up with a cute guy?  Super fun and cozy.  Smooshing the cute guy like you are a log in an avalanche?  Not so much.

Speaking of Chuck, we had a good time last night.  We were going to blow up the Christmas Tree, but it was too fresh; and we did not have the right explosives.  Next time.  At midnight, we sat in the living room at Aloha Road, watching the fireworks going off all over the valley.  He popped a cork on a bottle of Labyrinth (tastier than Champagne - at least the stuff in our price range) and told me, "2012 is going to be great.  This will be our year."

I don't make New Years Resolutions.  What a load of hooey.  Besides, where would I even start?  I am 44 and still not my Ideal Woman.  Wouldn't that be cool?  To feel like I am everything I want to be? Does anyone get to be her own ideal woman?  There are many, many women out there that I hold up as exemplary.  How do I get that awesome? And still sleep, I mean?

My Ideal Woman?

1.  She has SKILLS.  Expertise.  I am such a jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none.  I'd really like to be good at the stuff I am just sort of...let's say...enthusiastic... about right now.

2.  She makes things that are pretty.  I look at the artistic endeavors of others and think, "Given the time and mental space, could I take beautiful photos / create art with found objects / sew something that turns out?"  Possibly...

3.  Her life is full of music.  My ideal woman listens to a diversity of music; she finds cheap / free concerts; she practices her guitar; she plays her piano.  She sings along with gusto.  In tune.

4. She can build the Adult Education program that she has been visualizing.  I can see it all:  the community partners; the professional development plan; the collaborative team of teachers; the students who come, stay and learn; the community learning model I have been pursuing for twenty years would finally take its shape in an orderly fashion.  Someday my time there will be done - I want to see that I actually did something worthwhile.

5.  She weighs between 110 and 112 pounds.  She is an accomplished distance runner.   I'm still trying to decide if I want to run a marathon enough to spend the hours and hours needed to train for it.  Still, my ideal woman is athletic. 

6.  She reads incessantly.  Books, absolutely; but she is up-to-date on the issues, too.  She understands the Palestinian question.  She is an immigration law policy analyst.  As a hobby.

7. She has a good balance of social time and alone time.  My ideal woman always has people stopping by for dinner or for a cuppa.  This never disconcerts her - and she always has the right amount of perfectly rendered meals ready on the stove.  Her house is where everyone wants to hang out.

8.  Oh, yeah.  She has a house, even if it's just a little one.  My ideal woman doesn't have any notions about design and nothing matches; but her home is cozy and clean.

So, let's check in at the end of the year, and see if I managed to approximate even one of these ideals.  Pfffft.

And, just to prove that I'm not too rough on myself, I DID do some stuff this past year. 

1.  I made one functional wind-chime.  Well, it's sort of a creative endeavor...
2.  I have learned the basics of running my sewing machine.  Thanks, Chuck!
3.  I have danced more in this year than I did in the last ten years combined.
4.  I ran a half-marathon with a pretty reasonable time.
5.  I got down to 112 ponds, although I was way stressed out and it was an accident.
6.  I lost some friends.  But I made a few...
7.  I learned how to budget and manage my money, at least at a superficial level.
8.  I managed to end a relationship that was making me feel like a loser; and I have managed to stay in a relationship that makes me happy.  Dos that sound contradictory?  Not in my world.  Letting oneself love wholeheartedly despite fears of hurting and being hurt is actually tricky for some of us. 

Not my ideal woman.  She's fearless.  And maybe there's something to be said for a life lived without many talents if I get to laugh about it a lot.