March 22, 2006

business etiquette

There's a guy. A nice guy, I think I'd enjoy socializing with him. I've been dealing with him about a freelance gig. This involves phone conversations and emails. Every time I call him (or, more infrequently, he calls me), he asks how I'm doing. Seems to want to know. Asks leading questions. So we chit-chat, shoot the breeze. And all the while, I'm sitting there in my desk chair, looking out across the driveway to the grassy slope beyond, and thinking, "When are we going to get down to business?" Far as I'm concerned, the chit-chat is white noise. I'm impatient. I called about something specific and I want to deal with that, not chat about our kids or the weather or my transition to New Jersey.

This, by the way, is not a slam on him. Or his style of doing business, which is very friendly. Companionable. Warm. It's simply not mine. If you're going to chit-chat, save it for the end, when we've gotten the tricky stuff out of the way.

I got an email last week from a friend of a friend of a friend. Her son is on the autistic spectrum. She wanted to pick my brain. This happens a lot. Because of my web presence and a certain number of years (and level of success) with this, people sometimes email me asking for guidance, information or just a sounding board. I try to respond as best I can. I know what it's like to be scared and lost and trying to help your beloved child. But this email was, well, brusque. "I want to know about X." Not "Hi, I appreciate your taking the time, my kid is thus and such and I'm feeling this way about it and I hear your kid is this other way and that's so great and here's what I was wondering…" but "I want X, what do you know?"

I felt taken aback. To the point where I almost didn't respond. I am not an institution, I am not an encyclopedia of autism, I am a person with a life and feelings and I do this, not for money, but because I care. So care about me. Or at least be polite enough to go through the motions.

Maybe I was reading into her note something she didn't intend. Or maybe she's just so focused on her own panic, she forgot to be nice. I can understand that. I don't have to like it.

Do my reactions seem contradictory? In one case, I want the guy to cut to the chase. In the other, I want the chitchat, the warm-up. Which is it?

Somewhere in between, I think. I believe the level of desultory small talk that feels natural to you at the beginning of an interaction depends partly on where you grew up, the social constructs you accept as a given but that aren't in fact universal. Part of the reason I liked coming back to the New York area, in fact, was about this. There's usually less chit-chat here to mask the fact that it's really business. On the other hand, if it was just raw business, that would feel strange to me too. I think this is more about tone and content than about the length of the preamble.

I got a business-related email from someone yesterday. Very short, to the point. But her language was friendly and personable and even though she certainly didn't inquire into the wellbeing of my cats and my son, it felt like a comfortable communication. That’s the middle ground. That's what I prefer. It can sometimes be tricky to find, but I know it when I see it.

February 16, 2006

four things

Yes, a meme. What, you want to make something of it? Diane tagged me. It's fun. Why not?

(Maybe it'll get me posting again. We'll see...)

Four jobs I've had:

1. Heath food store employee. My first paid job, aside from occasional babysitting gigs. On my very first day, I said I'd do anything except sweep the floor. Guess what I did at closing time? Yup. Should've kept my mouth shut.

2. Payroll clerk. I also kept the books for various parts of the mostly-student-run business. Lots of camaraderie in that small basement office. A mix of college students with two middle aged accountants keeping us honest.

3. Dorm crew, cleaning up after students go home for the summer. Also cleaning bathrooms. Tip: Do not take a job which involves cleaning the bathroom of the freshman football team after a home game.

4. Assistant film editor. My previous career trajectory. On the first day on my first low paying apprentice job, I broke my pinky on the rewind, got it caught in a spoke of the take-up reel. Wrapped my hand up and kept going. Wondered why it never stopped hurting. Unwrapped at it at 7 pm. It was bright red and HUGE. Went to the emergency room. Owie.

Four movies I can watch over and over again:

I don't generally watch movies again. How about movies that resonated when I saw them? Movies I saw more than once back when I had the leisure to see movies more than once?

1. Gallipoli. I love Peter Weir's early films. They had a lyrical, poetic quality to them. And even though Gallipoli has a war at the heart of it, it's really a gentle, heartfelt movie about friendship.

2. Spirit of the Beehive. I adored this movie as a young teenager. It still haunts me. I want to see it again. Finding beauty in the heart of a terrible time in Spain's history. It has a quiet magic.

3. Midnight Run. Light fluff but perfect tight plotting and tons of fun.

4. So many choices…. How about Bringing Up Baby? That was a fun one.

Four places I've lived:

1. Brooklyn, NY

2. Somerville, MA

3. West Hollywood, CA

4. Montclair, NJ

Four TV shows I love:

1. Veronica Mars. Got involved late last season. Got thoroughly hooked. High school noir. It's sometimes uneven but always sharp and sassy and, at its best, brilliant.

2. Homicide. Andre Braugher rocked. So did the writing of Paul Attanasio.

3. thirtysomething. Or, well, just about any series produced by the remarkable Zwick/Herskovitz pairing. My So-Called Life, Relativity, Once and Again. They impart more subtext and truth in their work than anyone.

4. Homefront. Short-lived but wonderful.

(What? You wanted all current shows? I don't watch much TV these days, but okay, I get a kick out of Lost, I'm getting hooked on Gray's Anatomy and am extremely intrigued by the episodes of Prison Break I managed to catch.)

Four places I've vacationed:

1. Germany. Munich and surrounding towns. I was traveling solo, I was 20, and I was homesick, but I had fun anyway.

2. California central coast. Something I'll miss about living in LA: easy access to Cambria, Big Sur, Point Lobos, etc.

3. British Columbia. Vancouver, Victoria, and a close encounter with a black bear.

4. Louisiana. To visit Toni, of course.

Four of my favorite dishes:

1. Bread pudding. The best ever was at Mother's, a no-atmosphere dive in New Orleans with great red beans and rice and absolutely sublime bread pudding. Cooking Light has a less lethal but extremely tasty version.

2. Brisket, cooked slow and juicy, falling off the bone. Yum.

3. Fresh-caught steamed blue crab right from the shell. Dipped in butter, of course. Just blue, no Dungeness or King, thank you very much.

4. Sushi, particularly yellowtail, albacore, and toro. When it's stunningly fresh, it gets almost buttery.

Four blogs that I visit daily:

1. Daily Kos

2. The Housing Bubble

3. Baristanet

4. Smart Bitches, Trashy Books (What? They're fun. Smart. Snarky. Shut up.)

Four places I would rather be right now:

Is "nowhere" a legitimate choice? No? Ah well.

Okay, call it four places I'd like to visit soon.

Oh hell, let's split this. First, four places I would like to revisit:

a1. Zion National Park in Utah. One of the two highlights of our cross country drive this past September.

a2. Cinque Terre, four tiny fishing villages perched among the hills right on the Italian coastline. Picturesque and charming without being cloying. Great hiking and Italian friendliness.

a3. The Berkshire mountains in western Mass. My childhood summer home. Haven't been back yet. Looking forward to it. Birch trees, gentle hills, Tanglewood concerts and outdoor Shakespeare.

a4. Rome. Second to New York, the city that most intrigues me with its layers of history and vibrant life.

Okay, now four places I've never been but would like to visit:

b1. Greece

b2. New Zealand

b3. Grand Tetons

b4. Japan

Greece and Japan have always intrigued me. History, culture, natural beauty. New Zealand? Lord of the Rings, wow, it's gorgeous. Grand Tetons? Our cross country trip. Didn't care that we missed the Grand Canyon, etc. Did wish we'd been able to visit western Wyoming instead of the dusty eastern edge.

Four bloggers I'm tagging:

My mom
Tiny Coconut

February 03, 2006

cocoa the dapper

So this is why I started to blog again. Because where else can I show off the sublime and the ridiculous?

A couple of weeks ago, I was sitting in the armchair, laptop appropriately enough in my lap, working on my novel. I heard a rustling noise. It was coming from the basket by the coat rack, the one where we stash scarves and mittens and earmuffs. Cocoa was in there, digging around for who knows what. I shrugged, amused at cat priorities, and turned back to my writing.

A few minutes later I caught a glimpse of pale blue sauntering -- yes, sauntering -- across the floor.

Seems Cocoa had some sartorial aspirations in mind when he pilfered the basket:

Continue reading "cocoa the dapper" »

December 18, 2005

John Spencer

John Spencer died Friday. He's best known for his role as Chief of Staff on West Wing, but I remember him from LA Law. He first appeared the season I worked on the show as assistant editor. When you work on a film or TV show in post-production, you have an invisible, one-way relationship with the actors. You get to know the pores on their faces, their mannerisms, their quirks of breath and intonation. You are the man (or woman) behind the curtain.

And so I remember John Spencer as this shock to the system, this rough-edged working class joe on a soundstage filled with polished TV vets. I remember my irritation that he was supposedly the ex-husband to another new face, Cecil Hoffmann, playing Zoe Clemmons, because the two seemed to be from different worlds. I remember slowly coming to respect and then love watching his expressive face, his droll delivery, what seemed like a near-constant amusement with life.

I feel like I knew him even though I was only in the same room with him once or twice, even though we never officially met (at least, not that I remember). I hate that he died so suddenly and so young. A vibrant man.

December 14, 2005

nineteen years

Nineteen years ago today I put on a red-and-black skirt, picked out a pair of shiny, pretty earrings, brushed my hair, and walked out of my Brooklyn apartment to head into Manhattan to see a movie with a man I knew and liked. Yes, liked that way. He was cute and shy and he sometimes pulled on his ear when he talked, and he was thoughtful and perceptive and passionate about movies.

We met in front of the theater. It wasn't snowing. It had been the day before, when we stood outside after lunch just north of Times Square, stood outside while snowflakes melted on our hair, stood outside instead of saying goodbye and heading into our respective buildings and back to our respective jobs. But nineteen years ago tonight it wasn’t snowing. And nineteen years ago tonight we watched "Mosquito Coast" and ate dinner in a tiny Italian restaurant next door and talked, at first awkwardly and then more easily, and then we walked to his car – he'd driven in from the suburbs – and then sat in the car on a dead-end street overlooking the East River and the romantically industrialized Queens shoreline. And we kissed for the first time, and he drove me back to my little Park Slope apartment and he stayed. It was, after all, cold outside.

That was nineteen years ago today. And we're still together.

Someone asked me recently what Dan is like. I couldn't answer. Nineteen years ago I could have described him. He was defined in my mind, limned in relatively simple terms. But as time goes by, it's become impossible. Because he is not who he was then. I, too, am not who I was. We've grown with and because of each other. And although I know exactly who he is, I can't describe him to you. Oh, I can say he's tall, he has dark brown hair and light brown eyes and a long, lovely face, he likes techno-toys and is very attuned to music and defies masculine stereotypes: he cooks and cleans and doesn't watch sports on TV. I can say these things. Surface things. But I can't express who he is. Except that he's my spouse. The man I've chosen and who has chosen me.

That first New Year's Eve, when Dan made a toast to us raising a toast together the next New Year's, that felt daring. A whole year?

When four years passed and we were still together, that felt like a milestone. We'd outlasted my previous long-term relationship.

When thirteen years went by, that felt like a big one. We'd outlasted my parents' marriage.

Now I feel like we've stepped into another dimension. The dimension where people live who expect to stay together. Who have made a life.

We've moved across country together, not once, but twice. We got married, to my great surprise (I was not a fan of marriage, but so far so good). We're raising a child, a bright willful boy who is both of us and neither of us, who is himself in all his glory and frustration. We have worked hard together to help that child overcome his neurological deficits. We have taken turns supporting each other financially. We have bought a house, fixed it up together, true sweat equity, and then sold it. I expect we'll buy another one somewhere along the way, sooner rather than later. Another ring on the tree trunk. Another year gone by. Together.

I don’t know the secret to relationship longevity. I don't know how you know when you've found the right person, the person who eases your restlessness, the person you can trust with your heart. I only know that when you do, something inside you calms and says "yes."

And still, after nineteen years, says "yes."

December 13, 2005


The first time I saw him this fall, my stomach fluttered and turned over. My head hurt, a throbbing behind my eyes. I wanted to turn around, turn away and go somewhere else, not there, not after all.

As I rode the commuter train into Manhattan, I tried to picture his face. Tried to picture what we could possibly say to each other. What he would look like. What it would feel like.

As I walked into the great gray stone building, as I gave my name to the humorless woman behind the desk, I smelled the sharp scent of disinfectant covering human pain and wondered again if I could turn around and go home.

It's not that I haven't seen him recently. Though in a way, yes, it's that. I saw him once. In late June. I was with Dan and Damian, my backup, my moral support. Divide the weight, make it easier. That was at a different rehab center, a different configuration. And that too was difficult.

Before that, it had been three years. A disaster of a lunch, a conflagration of a phone call, a bitter but ultimately healing time of estrangement. Healing for me, that is. Necessary, maybe. If you love someone and he's hurt you again and yet again until your love is mingled with hate in equal measure, until all your internal ghosts revolve around that pain, sometimes the best thing you can do is shut the door. Walk away. Leave him be.

And yet. I wasn't, was I? Because here I was. Walking down the hall, passing a sign that read "Subacute Care." Knowing what I'd see. Not knowing how to feel.

I got the first call in late May. His wife. Apparently he'd fallen, broken bones, which were soon compounded by complications of a life lived with too little care to the body, with unwise medical decisions, with a cerebral disregard for mortality. Not my story to tell, not now.

So I called him. Fingers sticky on the phone, pulse leaping in my throat. But it was fine. He sounded like himself, his voice blurred but deep and, more importantly, friendly. The father I might have wanted, the father I thought I had at one point in my twenties, when his hot-and-cold parenting turned warm for a span of years. And so we went to visit him when we came east in June. Sitting in his wheelchair by the window. So frail, so skinny. So rapidly, transformingly old. But he was going home in a few weeks, back to his apartment, back to his wife and his life. He would walk down the apartment building hall to build his strength, he would go into work after a few weeks. He would keep going, the Energizer bunny of doctors, a wind-up rag doll with an indomitable will. Would we see him after we moved? Would it be okay? How soon would it explode into harsh anger and coldness? And did that matter anymore?

In September, I got an email from his best friend. His only friend now, he's alienated everyone else. We were in Cleveland, the last stop of our long drive east. I sat at my aunt's computer and read the words on the unfamiliar PC screen. "Your father fell. He fractured the second vertebra in his spine. He's in the hospital. He asked me to tell you."

The first time I visited after we moved here, I didn't know why I was there. Visiting this man. In his bed in the rehab center. It was hot. Indian summer, and the heat clung to the walls of this ammonia-scented building. I saw a woman wheeled by in a stretcher. I saw two men in wheelchairs sitting in the foyer, shouting hellos to everyone who went by. I saw my father.

Do you know what they do when you break your neck? They put you in a halo. It's solid black metal, cushioned around the neck with a sheepskin collar. It extends around the head. Two arms reach inside the structure to secure it to your forehead. Two metal prongs extend out from within this metal prison, this immobile spiderweb.

My father seemed dwarfed by the contraption. His arms so skinny, the hospital gown slipping off his bony shoulders. He had to fish for the Dixie cup on his bedside tray, he couldn’t turn his head to look. Infantilized. So I leaned in to kiss the tiny swath of ashen cheek I could reach and then sat, positioning my chair carefully within his narrow field of vision. And talked, mining my life for interestingness. Damian's in school, yes, it's a good one. He got 100% on his first math test, yes, he's bright. Dan's making good contacts, yes, he should find work soon. We like our little carriage house, yes, and we had no trouble selling our LA house. Montclair's a sweet town, yes. I'm starting to build my own freelance career, yes, finally it's time.

Eventually I ran out of things to say but kept trying anyway. Saying the same things again, sometimes, because it doesn't matter, really. Doesn’t matter what you say. Only that you're there. At the end, I clasped his hand, his long fingers, bony joints, warm dry palm. And I left the room, left the building, walked down the street to the subway. Walked away.

I can move. I can walk, I can eat whatever I want (within reason). I can shovel snow. I can work in my body, move freely. I have friends, more than one. I have family, many people I love and who love me in return. My life seems rich in luxury.

I've been back, every week or two I go back if I can. It's not always easy, Dan's working around the clock right now and Damian, after a couple of visits, expressed his discomfort with the environment. And I don't blame him. A seven year old shouldn't be subjected too many times to that dead, cold, sad place.

As for me? Well, I've come to realize it doesn't matter what I think about this man. Or rather, what I thought about him. It goes beyond that. A friend said to me, "You don't have to go, you know. You don't have to do this, given everything he's put you through." And she's right. I know she is. But I have to. Not because he's my father. Or rather, yes, because of that. Because he's my kin, because underneath it all I do care, because we have this long, complicated relationship. But also because none of that matters, because he's very alone right now, vulnerable right now. Because I have to. Because if I walked away, I would be a different person. Someone I don't like.

Sometimes it's not about how you feel. Not about what's right for you. Just about what's right.

December 03, 2005

fifteen things about books

I rarely do memes. In fact, probably never. But Toni tagged me for this book meme, which involves writing fifteen things about books. Talk about books? How can I resist?

So here goes.

1) I wasn't one of those precocious learn-to-read-at-age-three kids. In fact, my mom loves to tell the story of how, the summer before I started first grade, I was pouting because she was settled on the couch reading a book rather than playing with me as was her civic duty. I declared then an earnest six year old's vow that "When I learn to read, I'll only read when I have to, like signs and stuff, and never any other time!" Well, um. That winter I learned to read. And never stopped.

2) I feel somehow incomplete when I’m not in the middle of a book. There's a part of my brain always wanting to be enmeshed in story and character, anticipating what's going to happen next and mulling over what's come thus far. When I was a young teenager, I used to walk down the Manhattan sidewalks reading books. People would marvel at my ability to dodge poles and fire hydrants and stray dogs as I went. I had good peripheral vision, what can I say? I also used to bring a book to the movies because, after all, you sit there for several minutes before the lights go down and the film starts. Why not read? In fifth grade, I used to slip a book into my desk and read while the teacher wasn't looking.

3) A shameful confession: if a book is getting slow or going in an irritating or frustrating direction, I'll flip ahead to the end. Sometimes when I do that, I'm satisfied that I won't be disappointed and I go back to where I left off. Sometimes, though, I read enough to feel like I got the book. I read the first half, the last chapter, and I can guess the in-between parts. And then I put the book down. Have I read it? Yes and no. Do I feel guilty? Not really. An author has to work hard these days to earn my undivided attention.

4) I am seldom blown away by a book these days, but I loved Aimee Bender's An Invisible Sign of My Own, Michael Chabon's The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, and Julia Glass' Three Junes, to name a few recent books. I also really liked The Time Traveler's Wife, but it hasn't aged as well in my memory.

5) There was a time, somewhere around junior high school, when I read a number of Shakespeare's plays. Comedies, mostly. Sitting on my bed after school, turning the onionskin-thin pages of my mom's Shakespeare anthology. The language was tough, but the cadences enchanted and I became deeply involved in the stories, seeing them play out in my mind's eye.

6) The single biggest influence on my writing was the French author Colette. I became enchanted with her books, god, maybe in college? Maybe earlier. I loved her voluptuous imagery, her command of the specific detail that illuminates the scene, her thoughtful yet emotional characterizations, and the immersion in that time and place. Her time and place. Her mind. I fell in love with her along with her words. I try for such specificity, such emotional acuity, such sensual language in my own work.

7) Lest you think from the previous paragraphs that I'm a literary snob who only reads classics and high lit'rature, I also love genre fiction. SF/F, mystery, and even, yes, romance. No westerns, though. It does get harder to read genre fiction after returning to fiction writing myself. I'm just too damned aware of the prose and shape of the work. Some writers still delight me – Lois McMaster Bujold in SF, Diana Wynne Jones in (young adult) fantasy, Judith Ivory and Jennifer Crusie in romance, and recently I've enjoyed Harlan Coben in mysteries (albeit with some quibbles), but it's getting harder for me to dive into competently written journeyman novels the way I used to. This makes me sad. What do I do to satisfy my escapist fiction jones?

8) I don't get chick lit. Sorry.

9) From age five to twelve, I spent the summers with my mother and brother in the southern Berkshires. We would make a weekly trek into Great Barrington, and one crucial stop was the library in a converted brick church. I still remember the bell chiming the hour, the damp, musty but somehow comforting smell of the basement where they kept their children's books, and the piles of hardback copies of Lad, a Dog, The Black Stallion, Misty of Chincoteague, Five Children and It, and The Witch of Blackbird Pond that I'd carry as cherished prizes as we walked back to the car along the sun-dappled sidewalk.

10) I still love the smell of library books. Not too good at the returning-them-on-time part, though.

11) When Damian was three months old, I began reading to him. I'd put him on the bed, pick up The Penguin Book of Nonsense Verse and read him Jabberwocky. I figured the most important part was simply the cadence of my voice. And I was amusing myself during those sometimes-endless days alone with an infant. Funny thing, he loves making up nonsense words these days. Did Jabberwocky implant permanently in his tiny baby brain?

12) I used to do what Toni described, read under the covers with a flashlight. I don't know who I thought I was fooling. My mom knew, of course. I still stay up way too late reading if I'm hooked on a novel. Nowadays the price I pay is worse than falling asleep at my desk in math class, though.

13) I remember when I was a kid, looking through my father's old Golden Age science fiction novels. Reading them, which was sometimes difficult, since the pages were yellowed and brittle. Thinking how very old they must be to be that fragile. Now the paperbacks I bought as a teen are yellowed and brittle. Please tell me paper is aging faster these days.

14) My mother has classier taste in fiction than I do, or rather, more unerringly classy taste. I love sharing novels with her, and I now have a long list of books to read from her descriptions of them.

15) I never understood why my father would come home with stacks of books from the bookstore when he already had stacks of books to read on his nightstand. Now I do. It's like buying yourself another chance at a quiet kind of joy.

That was fun.

I tag Tiny Coconut, my mom, and Eliza.

November 12, 2005

new cat

After Dante died in July, we knew we were going to get another cat sooner rather than later, if only for Cocoa's sake. He's such a social creature; having him as a solo cat is sort of like experiencing half his personality. Sad for all of us.

I feel two ways about getting cats with pedigrees. There are so very many adorable cats at shelters and rescue organizations and in kitten boxes in someone's back yard, all waiting for someone to adopt them. On the other hand, I love that there are such distinct cat breeds. Turkish Angoras in particular: they're an ancient, natural breed, their long silky hair an adaptation to the high mountain chill. They are in fact the ancestors of most, if not all long haired cats, including Persians and Maine Coons. But they came close to dying out in the early 1900's, saved from extinction by a breeding program in the Ankara Zoo. It's still a rare breed. In my way, by spending the money, I'm contributing to the survival of the Turk. So we do both: rescue and buy. Dante was a Turkish Angora. Cocoa is a rescue cat.

So this summer I contacted Dante's breeder, a lovely woman in Boston. I told her what had happened and asked if she knew of any kittens of his lineage. Dante was neutered young and never had kittens, but his sister Wildfire was a grand champion and was mother to other grands. Iris referred me to a breeder in Connecticut, who had a mom scheduled to give birth in early September. The kittens would be Dante's sister's great-great grandkids. Tenuous but better than nothing. That link would be there.

In early September, I emailed with the Connecticut breeder. She had two pet-quality kittens, a white boy and a cream-and-white boy. We started tossing around dates to visit and take a look at them. Then I had a dream. In it, we were planning to take one of the kittens, but then all of a sudden, someone showed up with another cat. A white female rescue cat. "But we were planning to get a Turk," I said. "This is a Turk," she said. "Oh, okay, then." And I woke up, confused. What was that about?

I dismissed the dream, moved ahead with plans to look at the kittens.

But then the kittens didn't sound quite right. One was too nervous, the other had a physical fault Dan didn't feel comfortable with. Maybe we should wait for another litter? I contacted Iris, Dante's breeder. She asked if I was willing to take an adult. You see, there was this one year old white female, extremely sweet, she was scheduled to be bred but developed an infection and had to get an emergency spaying. She needed a home.

We picked her up today. Her name is Jessie James and she's Dante's sister's granddaughter. As I type this, she lies curled up against my side. The sweetest kitty imaginable. Her owner – the one who had been planning to breed her – told me beforehand that she would be reserved at first but once she warmed up, she bonded deeply. Well, when we held her at the cat show this morning, she purred. I think she knew we were her new people.


November 09, 2005


Meeting was interesting. I talked a lot, I think. I don't remember talking this much in LA. Is it the water? The air?

Meeting was promising. Going to the next step, writing up ideas. It's still all good.

If/when this happens, I'll tell you details. But not yet. It's something I feel passionate about and would love to be involved with, I'll say that.

November 08, 2005


I'm going for a job interview tomorrow. Well, kind of. That is to say, I'm almost assured of walking out of the meeting with some kind of a commitment for me to write something for them. Almost is of course not definite. Jitters are of course natural. But really, it's all good.

Dan had a job interview last week. A real one. And he got the job. He starts next week. A low budget dramatic feature with a strong script and reportedly good performances but no distribution (yet). Eight weeks or so of work. So yes. It's all good.

Now we get to see what real life here will be like. Should be interesting.

October 22, 2005

job done

The last month has been dominated by research and writing, not settling in. My freelance job had reasonable, even comfortable deadlines, but I squished two months of work into one due to the move. Which felt a bit the way it does when you leave a term paper till the last minute. It was interesting work, but it's a little tough focusing that intently when what you really want to do is settle into your brand new life. On the other hand, if I hadn't had the job, I might have panicked about moving to this brand new life with no money coming in and the nest egg dwindling.

The nest egg will still dwindle, though less so. My freelance writing career is little more than a nestling, unable to fly far enough to forage for more than the smaller tastes and tests of a livelihood. But it's enough to satisfy me that this can � will -- happen. A friend who reads this blog just gave me a writing assignment, this one meaty in a completely different way. Another friend who sometimes reads this blog got me in touch with a friend of hers who will probably hire me for more freelance work. And the outfit I just worked with may well have more work down the pipeline. It's all good. Interesting work, too.

Now, though, now I have a breather. I finished that freelance gig today. I hope to pay a little more attention to this site now: to upgrade to a current version of Movable Type, to finally do a proper design for this site, and most of all, to begin describing this new life properly.

For now, a picture from a couple of weeks ago, taken on a hike that's just two minutes' drive away from our new home:


The kind of woodland I missed living among scrub and brush and dry canyons.

October 17, 2005

life is

My tooth seems to have gotten infected. Then Damian got an ear infection. Plus: we now have some of the doctors we needed to line up here. Minus: well, yeah. Difficult week. Had to postpone a trip to the Berkshires. Had to take pain meds. Had to soothe child-in-pain. No fun.

I'm still working on my freelance gig. Getting close to the end. It's been rewarding, interesting, and tiring too.

I found a quote from Mother Teresa today. I'm no Catholic, not close. And I'm not sure she and I would have seen eye to eye. But I admire her nevertheless. And I love this quote:

"Life is an opportunity, benefit from it. Life is a beauty, admire it. Life is a dream, realize it. Life is a challenge, meet it. Life is a duty, complete it. Life is a game, play it. Life is a promise, fulfill it. Life is sorrow, overcome it. Life is a song, sing it. Life is a struggle, accept it. Life is a tragedy, confront it. Life is an adventure, dare it. Life is luck, make it. Life is life, fight for it."

October 12, 2005

oww wow

Waking up at 4 am in incredible pain: not fun.

Remaining in incredible pain at 6:30 am even after 3 advil: less fun.

Sitting down in the endodontist's office at 2:30 pm for an emergency root canal: relief.

(He kept explaining the procedure and explaining the procedure. I finally figured out he was responding to my expression, so I said, "I'm not worried, I'm in pain." He gave me novocaine. The pain went away.)

Going to look at a Craigslist-listed bedroom set at 7:30 pm, the novocaine wearing off: not fun.

(But we bought it anyway. Our bed frame doesn't fit up our stairs. Mattress on the floor: college redux.)

Back at home, in possession of some heavy duty narcotics: relief.

That was my day yesterday. How was yours?