Jun 17 2024

Planting

Published by under Cats,Country Life,Garden

Faithful readers (or even the casual ones) will not be surprised to learn that my attempt at growing a moss rose plant from scratch – I mean, seeds – was an epic failure. I asked Megan to see if she could grown some in the greenhouse for me to transplant, but instead, she brought me this plant:

It’s supposed to be deer and rabbit resistant, and this has proved to be the case so far. I think the sign looks perfect in the Clyde-shaped planter. The green is very close to the color of his beautiful eyes. It makes me feel a little better to have his plant close by and know that he is always remembered and always loved.

The Mystery Cat is still hanging around, and is still hungry. I feed her twice a day now. I am pretty sure she is a girl, since I caught her in flagrante with another cat and shooed her suitor away, hoping it was not too late. Like every other parent, I also hoped that they didn’t resume their activities as soon as my back was turned.

Here she is, lounging on the back porch where the Clyde Memorial Plant is:

Rolling around on her back remains her signature move, like Dodge’s hopping, and it is adorable.

I am able to pet her a little when I feed her, though petting makes her wince a bit and she seems to be unfamiliar with the concept. She definitely prefers wet food to kibble. I am now able to close the door when I let her in the house in the morning to feed her, though she does eventually get nervous and want to go out again. I have started to call her Duchess.

A YEAR AGO: The unlucky 13th.

FIVE YEARS AGO: Unboxing the ancient grandfather clock.

TEN YEARS AGO: A busy Sunday.

FIFTEEN YEARS AGO: Things were less than exciting.

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Jun 07 2024

Off

Published by under Country Life

Since I had kind of pre-celebrated my birthday on Megan’s birthday, I didn’t really do much to mark the great day itself. I did give myself a couple of days off, though. My birthday fell, inconveniently, on a Tuesday, so I took Tuesday through Thursday off, working on Monday and Friday. I later discovered that this is pretty much the ideal work schedule.

Another drawback to the Tuesday birthday* is that many restaurants, including the beloved Ledford House, are not open for business, even for Me. But who wants to cook their own birthday dinner? I solved this problem by getting take-out dinner from Luna, which was, as always, magically delicious.

I finally had the sparkling wine my healthcare provider/co-worker/family tenant gave me back in February to mark the return of heat and light to my humble abode after 5 days of cold and darkness following an epic storm. It was still festively beribboned.

I wasn’t feeling all that festive, probably because Clyde’s birthday was just four days after mine and he didn’t live to see his. I miss my sweet boy so much. The house doesn’t feel the same without him. I still can’t believe I will never see him or cuddle him again.

Despite Clyde’s eternal absence, I enjoyed my days off, waking up in the light and not having to put on faux adult armor or drive anywhere. Sometimes Doing Nothing is the best.

*I was born on a Monday morning. Which explains why I’m fair of face. In more ways than one.

A YEAR AGO: An outdoor wedding.

FIVE YEARS AGO: Getting internet for my birthday was a pretty good present.

TEN YEARS AGO: Car repairs for my birthday.

FIFTEEN YEARS AGO: A round-up of fabulous handbags.

TWENTY YEARS AGO: Defeated by a book.

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May 29 2024

Celebration

Published by under Family,Special Occasions


Us Three, May 25, 2024

Years – well, decades – of Megan’s ER night shifts have gotten us used to celebrating birthdays and holidays on whatever day she is available near the actual day. So it was extra special and extra fun to celebrate Megan’s birthday on the day itself, May 25.

Of course, I was swamped with nostalgia, remembering the day she was born. I was called down to the office, and I was scared as I walked through the silent school halls, my shoes clacking on the shiny, waxed floors. As I walked, I mentally reviewed the things I had done that might have gotten me in trouble, and then divided them into the ones where I was likely to have been caught. As it happened, they told me that I had a little sister, which was a joy, and also a relief. I skipped back to the classroom, slammed open the big, heavy door, and breathlessly announced, “I have a little sister!” The girls all yelled “Yay!” and the boys all yelled “Boo!”.

Jonathan was definitely in the “boo” camp, then. He desperately wanted a brother. He said that in his school, they announced it over the PA, which I thought was pretty impressive.

More than half a century (!) later, I was wedged in the back of my baby sister’s car, as she and her husband of 32 years drove us to our brother’s girlfriend’s house to celebrate our birthdays. My baby sister usually drives when we are together these days.

We had a lovely dinner, and Jonathan and Rio gave us gifts, which we weren’t expecting (and which made me feel a little embarrassed, since Rio’s birthday is exactly a week after mine). They were really thoughtful, since they were aimed at helping Megan and me to deal with our work-related stress. Megan’s was some hilarious shower steamers, and mine was a massager gadget. You drape it where you want it to massage you and press a button. It is really great.

We had some of the cider that my siblings (and healthcare provider*) made last fall, and the Calvados Jonathan made about three years ago. It was delicious, and tasted to me as good as any I ever had in France.

After dinner, Rio took the photo above, capturing the love and happiness we all felt. Megan said, “It was a perfect birthday.”

*She rents the little cottage on Rio’s property. Due to Megan’s schedule, last year’s cider pressing happened on her day off, when I was at work. Yes, this is a really small town.

A YEAR AGO: A look around the family garden.

FIVE YEARS AGO: Moving day dawned bright and beautiful.

TEN YEARS AGO: Celebrating Megan’s birthday.

FIFTEEN YEARS AGO: Planning a visit with my siblings. Littel did I know I would one day live in the same place!

TWENTY YEARS AGO: I was not looking forward to my birthday.

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May 24 2024

Ring

Published by under Country Life,Family,Friends

You may remember that the last time Megan and I went to our favorite seaside bar with our friend Monica, Megan temporarily lost her wedding ring. She found it right next to her chair in the garden, but it was clearly time to get it resized to avoid further, and possibly permanent, wedding ring loss.

She took the ring to our friend Chris, who has a jewelry shop in the Village and who also restrung my 30th birthday pearls a few years ago. It took him a little while to repair the ring. It turned out that the ring was no longer round after years of wear, and that parts of the setting needed to be strengthened and some of the small diamonds re-set.

It was worth the wait, though:

It looks better than it has in years. And like Megan, it is unique. We both really like it after all these years.

It was great to see Chris and catch up on each other’s lives. I admired the view from the shop on the way out:

It was such a lovely day that we decided to stop off at a café for a glass of wine and some nibbles. We were intrigued by the Honig Sauvignon Blanc, which neither of had tried before. Megan pointed out that two glasses would cost almost the same as a bottle, so we got the bottle:

It was delicious, and lived up to the description of “Bright, inviting floral, pear and citrus aromas lead to a lively and harmonious palate. Resplendent with jasmine and citrus notes that range from grapefruit to lemongrass and kafir lime, delightfully nuanced by tropical notes”. It must be be fun to be a wine writer.

It was so nice to sit in the pretty garden on a sunny spring afternoon, enjoying the flowers, sea breezes, and just being together.

FIVE YEARS AGO: In limbo.

TEN YEARS AGO: Too much loss.

FIFTEEN YEARS AGO: A lazy day.

TWENTY YEARS AGO: Being stalked by a pigeon. Yes, a pigeon.

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May 18 2024

Blooming

Published by under Cats,Country Life,Garden

When I arrived at the family estate for dinner, Megan poured us a glass of wine and then took me on a tour of the garden. It reminded me of how Dad and I used to tour his garden before dinner, glass of wine in hand.

First, I stopped by to visit my beloved Clyde. He is resting peacefully under the chinquapin tree. There are still boards and cement blocks over him to keep the marauders out, but I think it will be safe to move those soon. I put his little yellow marker up, and it will be good to plant cheery yellow daffodils there this fall.

I miss him so much. Every day. I talked to him and told him how much he is missed and how much we love him, including Dodge. I just want to hold my Clyde once more and bury my face in his satiny black fur. I guess you always want more time.

Back in the garden, things are off to a great start:

Peppers are growing in the pepper houses:

Strawberries are flourishing in their (hopefully) raccoon-proof beds:

As soon as I saw this tool, I knew it was something Rob had made. Why not have something that is useful and also a work of art?

This year, my siblings are trying thornless blackberries for the first time:

I didn’t even know that was a thing.

The raspberries are already buzzing with bees:

And tomatoes and hot peppers are growing in the greenhouse:

Spring is such a beautiful time of year!

A YEAR AGO: The loss of a long-time friend.

FIVE YEARS AGO: A flood complicated my moving preparations.

FIFTEEN YEARS AGO: The horrors of an SEC audit. I hope you never experience this.

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May 09 2024

Mother

Published by under Family,Memories

It seemed like a long time since we had a family dinner together, so we gathered at Megan’s place for some pizza from Café Beaujolais and some delicious rosé from the winery where our friend Monica now works.

Maybe it was the approach of Mother’s Day, but we ended up talking about Mom. We don’t often talk about our childhood, and I have to say, it is only recently I have really begun to understand that it was a little odd, to say the least.

Mom was bi-polar, and also suffered from serious post-partum depression. Again, this something I figured out in retrospect. Mom stayed in bed all summer after Megan was born in late May. I thought she was sick. After all, she went to the hospital to get the baby, and that’s where sick people went. Keep in mind, I was 9 at the time.

Despite being 9, I somehow ended up helping to feed and change Megan, and did the laundry. I still remember thinking that the smallest person had the most laundry, as I folded the diapers and onesies.

Before Meg was born, there was an incident where Mom dumped Jonathan’s Spaghetti-Os and milk over his head and then stormed off. My major concern at the time was that the tomato sauce would irrevocably stain his platinum curls, and that I would never get the stain out of his hair. I now realize that was the least of what I should have been worried about in this situation. Jonathan asked me if I remembered what he did to spark this, and neither of us could remember. I just remember the clean up.

Even though Mom didn’t work and had a car, we always walked to and from the school bus stop. We lived in the country, and our driveway was a quarter of a mile long, so it was at least half a mile and maybe more to the neighbor’s houses where the bus stopped. Yet there was never the slightest suggestion that Mom should drive us to the bus stop or to school. This only occurred to me over the past couple of years. And if Mom was even up when we were getting ready for school, she wasn’t making lunch or helping us to get ready. She was sitting at the dining room table with coffee and a cigarette.

She was kind of a ghost in our lives. I don’t have a lot of specific memories with her. Even though Dad worked full-time, he was the one who made dinner and read us bedtime stories and took us to the library and grocery store on Saturdays.

But Mom could be charming. We all had the experience of our friends saying how fun she was. Even at the hospital where she eventually died, the staff (and Megan’s co-workers) thought she was charming. We all said to each other that we just agreed with anyone who said this. I wasn’t going to tell them how she used to tell me, “You’ll never amount to anything. You’ll be a clerk in a dime store your whole life”, or how she used to call me up and reduce me to tears for no reason, or throw the phone at my head when I came downstairs in the morning. There’s no point. Let them think what they want. Their truth is also true.

I do feel sorry for Mom and the pattern of abandonment that plagued her whole life, starting with being left on the orphanage steps as a newborn and ending with her second husband leaving her as she battled the cancer that would eventually kill her. She should never have had kids, and I don’t think she ever got the treatment she needed that would have helped her to have a happier life. It must have been really hard living inside that head.

But I’m glad my brother and sister and I have each other, and I think our childhood, though difficult at times, helped us all to grow up to be people who work hard and don’t expect the world to bend to our whims. We all just suck it up and deal, and that has stood us in good stead.

It’s not surprising that Mother’s Day is hard for me, though. I avoid Facebook not just on that day, but for days afterwards. All the fuss just reminds me of what I didn’t have and will never have.

FIVE YEARS AGO: A wonderful time at the circus.

TEN YEARS AGO: A field trip for garden supplies.

FIFTEEN YEARS AGO: Of cats and dogs.

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May 03 2024

Vehicular

Published by under Car

I was driving to work one day (aren’t I always?) when the engine light came on. Being the Worrier that I am, I spent the rest of the drive peeking at the engine light every few seconds. I called the dealership where I bought the car (and where Dodge used to hang out before I adopted him) and they were able to get me in on the same day.

Investigation showed that there was rodent damage (shudder). Apparently, the little miscreants had chewed through some wires, which sent a message to the car’s computer saying there was an engine misfire. It was fixable, but it cost $400. At least they could repair it the same day. When I went to pick up my car, I noticed that they had also washed it, which was a nice surprise.

I guess this is one of the hazards of living in the country. I bought some anti-rodent spray and sprayed the car with it. Hopefully that will help. It’s easier to deal with than what John has been dealing with down in Hayward:

Yesterday I stepped off the train at BART and discovered that some jerk drilled a hole in my gas tank to steal my gas. Apparently it’s a thing and it’s happening everywhere in this area. it gets even more fun. Because my truck is a 2001 Ranger, they had to call around to junkyards to find one and it won’t be delivered until the 25th. So I’m driving to dinky little Rent-A-Car, and I’m scared shitless that I’m going to scratch it and have to pay all kinds of extra fees. Even though it’s smaller than my Ranger, it’s still weird getting used to the dimensions of the car when I’m parking.

What makes it really insane is that I park right at the edge of a row of parking spaces. About 20 feet away from me is a sidewalk with heavy foot traffic and on the other side of the sidewalk is the main entrance entrance to the BART station so there’s cars and buses going by nonstop all day. And these assholes still have the balls to do that. It’s like the wild West in this area.

A YEAR AGO: Kitten cuteness!

FIVE YERAS AGO: I moved!

TEN YEARS AGO: Home improvements, thanks to Rob.

FIFTEEN YEARS AGO: Enjoying the beauty of old movies.

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Apr 25 2024

Feline

Published by under Cats

I finally found a planter I liked for the Clyde Memorial Plant. It’s even shaped like he was:

The marker with his name on it is made of fused glass. I liked it so much that I ordered another one the same day I received the first one:

I thought it would look nice with the daffodils on his resting place. If you’d like to buy one for your garden – they have lots of different designs, all weather-resistant fused glass, you can buy it here.

I check on Clyde whenever I go over to the property, and he is safe and peaceful under the chinquapin tree. I still miss him more than I can say. I have dreamed about him several times since I lost him. Every time, I wake up wishing he were here.

Megan bought some moss rose seeds, and gave me some for the Clyde planter. I am dubious about my ability to grow anything from seed, but I have planted them and am hoping they will sprout and bloom. My Plan B is to get some lavender from the family estate and plant that instead. So stay tuned on my gardening adventures.

The Mystery Cat is still hanging around. She visits most days, and remains hungry. I feed her twice a day. I am beginning to think she really is a stray. If she had a home, she wouldn’t be so hungry.

I still don’t know if Mystery Cat is a boy or a girl, but I’m saying “she” for convenience here. The he/she thing is tiresome.

I borrowed a Hav-A-Hart trap from my siblings, but couldn’t figure it out, and it seemed so narrow. I couldn’t believe that the fluffy cat would want to squeeze in there after weeks of eating on my (relatively) spacious side porch.

Here she is with Dodge on the side porch:

She does wander in and out of the sliding glass doors if I leave them open, and I have seen her hanging out on both the side and back porches. I figure the least I can do is feed a cat in need. I don’t know what will happen in the long run. In the meantime, she brightens my day, and Dodge’s, too.

FIVE YEARS AGO: Learning about female lighthouse keepers. At a lighthouse!

TEN YEARS AGO: My cats drove their babysitter crazy.

FIFTEEN YEARS AGO: Thinking about moving. Or not. Spoiler alert: I would escape Oaktown for good less than six months later.

TWENTY YEARS AGO: A sunny Sunday in San Francisco.

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Apr 20 2024

23

My blog turns 23 today!

Although that sounds youthful (especially to someone in her 60s), in blog world and internet world and the Google, it’s positively ancient. I think technology years are even more extreme than dog years. Maybe it’s more like one blog year equals one decade. So that would make this collection of silly, shallow musings a valuable antique.

Or maybe just obsolete.

When I first started writing my blog, encouraged by my fabulous friend Candi, who said, “You have things to say and you need a place to say them,” I wrote nearly every day. I felt like I was supposed to do that, for some reason. Now, I write maybe once a week.

My life is probably much less interesting to the average reader than it was 20+ years ago, when I lived in San Francisco in a beautiful apartment in beautiful Pacific Heights, worked in the Financial District, drove a 1966 Mustang, and was married to a really nice guy. Now, I live in a teeny town about 150 miles north of San Francisco, in a water tower in the redwoods, drive a 2013 Mazda, and am no longer married, nor will I ever be again if I have anything to say about it.

Though my life may be less interesting to others, I am happy living in the same town as my siblings, beside the sea and in the redwoods. I love the natural beauty around me and the clean air. I love my family, friends and remaining cats. I love how this little community looks out for each other. I would never willingly move.

When I first started this blog, I was such a city girl. I would never have imagined living in the country, or being so happy living in the country. You never know what’s going to happen, and that’s probably a good thing. As time goes on, I have learned to go with the flow and just deal with whatever comes along, always waiting to see what comes next.

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Apr 11 2024

Pop-Up

Published by under Country Life,Family,Friends

Although Monica closed her shop a couple of years ago, she still holds pop-up events now and then. One of them coincided with a time that both Megan and I were available, something that happens all too rarely, given her ever-changing night shifts and my never-ending day shifts.

Monica has recently been partnering with a friend who has access to unique vintage items, which are artfully mixed in with new things. Monica has not lost her touch in arranging things beautifully and creating a welcoming and comfortable space that inspires one to linger:

In the back, she set up a little bar, with infused water and delicious wines from the winery where she now works:

Since Megan was driving, I got to taste the wine, and it was really good. Megan and I are beginning to plot a trip to Monica’s winery and a couple of others inland in the next few weeks, before it gets boiling hot. Stay tuned on that.

I was unable to resist a little turquoise ceramic bird, which is quite at home at my office:

and a little pine-scented candle for home, because you know how I am about scented candles.

We had a wonderful time before heading back to Megan’s place for pizza and GirlTV(TM). It seemed like a long time since we had hung out, and we enjoyed every moment.

A YEAR AGO: A wonderful trip to the Valley.

FIVE YEARS AGO: The horrors of being crowned.

TEN YEARS AGO: A busy and fun weekend.

FIFTEEN YEARS AGO: An Easter care package.

TWENTY YEARS AGO: Judging the rather degenerate contents of my recycling bin.

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Apr 05 2024

Mystery

Published by under Cats,Country Life

So…

This little guy or girl (while I am excellent at detecting the actual sex of humans, despite their outward appearance, I am notoriously bad at determining the sex of cats, where I am consistently incorrect) just appeared one day recently.

In all the years I have lived in Hooterville, I have never had a stray cat show up at my house. It seems odd that about six weeks after losing Clyde, a cat turned up.

He or she is fluffy and pretty:

and a little shy, though s/he has an endearing habit of rolling around on his/her back, which also suggests a certain lack of fear. Dodge seems to welcome the newcomer. I have seen them sniff each other and touch noses, and Dodge will sit quite near the Mystery Cat:

Dodge clearly misses Clyde, and I think he would welcome a companion. He seems to like the interloper. But I’m not sure I want to take on another cat. It seems too soon after losing Clyde, and I just assumed that Dodge would be my last cat. I don’t want my cats to outlive me. Also, I’m sure my landlord does not want me to adopt this cat. Or any cat, for that matter.

You will not be surprised to learn that I have started to feed the visitor, who is very hungry. I am hoping be able to catch him/her and go to the Humane Society, where I can learn if he or she is microchipped or listed as missing. I have put out notices on the local listserv and Facebook with no response.

So we’ll see what happens. In the meantime, I will keep Mystery Cat supplied with food and water and hope that he or she can stay safe out there.

A YEAR AGO: A mid-week celebration.

FIVE YEARS AGO: An unexpected funeral.

TEN YEARS AGO: The horror of bureaucracy.

FIFTEEN YEARS AGO: The horrors of house hunting. And traffic.

TWENTY YEARS AGO: The horrors of maintenance. They never end!

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Mar 29 2024

Sunset

Published by under Country Life,Family,Friends


Sunset

Megan and I decided to head to Ledford House after our wine tasting. It was the perfect evening for our favorite seaside bar, and the weather was nice enough that we could sit out in the garden and enjoy the last of the sunshine along with the view:

and our drinks, of course:

It was peaceful in the garden, and the waiter was wonderfully attentive. Monica joined us after her hostessing duties were over, and we had a great time catching up. We also talked about Dad a bit, since it was his birthday weekend. Monica asked us what things we each inherited from Dad, but I had to tell her Megan’s and Megan had to tell her mine. We were both correct and didn’t even have to think about our answers. For Megan, it was her science/medical mind, and for me, it was a love of art and literature. It was fun to think about and share our memories.

When we got to Megan’s car, she put her hands on the wheel and realized that her wedding ring was gone. She ran back into the bar and looked through all the paper towels in the restroom trash before going back to our table. There was her ring, glittering in the gravel in the last of the sun’s rays. Whew! She put it her pocket and is going to get it sized as soon as possible. So lucky she found it!

A YEAR AGO: A beautiful drive to the South Coast. Is there any other kind?

FIVE YEARS AGO: Farewell to our beloved Erica and Jessica. I miss them so much!

TEN YEARS AGO: A local production of The Breakfast Club.

FIFTEEN YEARS AGO: Thinking about moving.

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Mar 20 2024

Cheers

Published by under Country Life,Family,Friends

Dad’s birthday weekend dawned sunny and surprisingly warm. It was the first really nice day of the year, and especially welcome after what seemed like a pretty tough winter, full of storms, power outages, and cold temperatures.

It happened that our friend Monica was hosting a wine tasting at a lovely inn in the Village:

Because this town so is small – sometimes, its teeniness can still surprise me – the inn used to belong to my friend Richard (the local one, not the San Francisco one*), but I hadn’t been there since the current owners took it over.

We were greeted graciously by Monica and the couple who I later learned owned the inn, and supplied with a glass of wine to go with an exquisite charcuterie platter:

I don’t think I had ever seen a salami rose before.

We headed to the beautiful garden:

which had a charming gazebo:

and enjoyed the wine and the sunshine and the view. We toasted Dad as he had asked us to, long ago: “The old man wasn’t so bad.” He wasn’t. And he would have loved to sit in the garden with us and feel the sun while enjoying a glass of wine. At least we have the memories, and he is always in our hearts.

*Though SF Richard is an older friend in terms of years of friendship, local Richard is older in years.

FIVE YEARS AGO: Celebrating Dad’s birthday.

TEN YEARS AGO: Enjoying time with friends.

FIFTEEN YEARS AGO: The battle of the boxes.

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Mar 15 2024

Similar

Published by under Cats,Dogs

This week marked the third anniversary of the day we lost Star, the Horrible Event of 2021 (to be followed by the Horrible Event of 2022, losing Her Majesty the Queen, and the Horrible Event of 2023, losing Melanie, and I think we all know what the Horrible Event of 2024 was/is). I still miss her, and Megan and Rob’s place has never been the same without her, just as my place is not the same without Clyde.

In addition to their losses changing their homes (and Staff) forever, Star and Clyde had a lot in common.

  • Total mama’s boy/girl. Followed us around as much as possible, and cuddled up to us on the couch or in bed.
  • Suspicious of strangers and unlikely to hang around to find out how right or wrong they were. In Star’s case, she had zero tolerance for anyone who was drugged or drunk or had a ZZ Top beard, all quite reasonable prejudices.
  • Black and shiny fur which stayed beautiful to the end.
  • Mystery cancer.
  • Died suddenly, but peacefully, at home.
  • Died aged 13.
  • We thought we’d have more time together. Even a few more days.
  • A YEAR AGO: A scary drive home. I have become afraid of the expression “atmospheric river”.

    FIVE YEARS AGO: The horror of the time change and an unpleasant week.

    TEN YEARS AGO: Oh, Clyde! I would do anything to enjoy your naughtiness once again.

    FIFTEEN YEARS AGO: Enjoying a mini noir-fest.

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Mar 07 2024

Periodically

Published by under Work

While I no longer have periods anymore* (hooray!), I do have monthly Board meetings. They are almost as much fun as periods were, and unlike periods, they have no end. Sometimes, I survey the endless road of Board meetings stretching into infinity and am overwhelmed by despair, especially when I consider that this particular infinity is my best case scenario, since I will need to work until I die, and possibly after it**, and if I lost my job, the almost immediate result would be camping forever on the family property.

Much like the late, unlamented periods, I am either preparing for or having or recovering from the monthly Board meetings. Since the plague hit a few years ago, we have been having these meetings via Zoom, which enables me to get the 40 minute drive home out of the way during daylight hours, even in winter, get into my PJs, and take minutes unseen and (mostly) unheard, a big improvement over staying at work for 12 hours in makeup and faux adult armor, having to be nice, and driving home in the dark after cleaning up after the meeting.

Unfortunately, it was decided that this month’s meeting would be in person. So I booked a hotel room via a friend who manages some hotels in town, and made plans to have dinner with another friend after the meeting.

My best-laid plans gang aft agley, as the poet Burns would say, and as the meeting dragged on, I texted my friend to update her. Eventually, she texted me to say she couldn’t wait any longer and we would have to reschedule.

When the meeting finally broke up and I had cleaned up, it was about 13 hours since I had started work. I grabbed a burrito at a nearby restaurant and drove to the hotel. The room was lovely:

with a gas fireplace and a soaking tub:

It was too dark when I arrived and when I left to enjoy the view of the estuary from the balcony.

Even though I was exhausted, I slept really badly, and the bed felt really hard after my memory foam mattress with its pillowy topper. Also, I missed the cats. But I was really glad that I didn’t have to drive home.

*It’s been 7 years since I had one, but for some reason, I still have a tin of tampons in my desk drawer. Also, it still seems like not that long ago that I was still having them. The entire system is ridiculous, in my opinion. Also undignified.

**I’m about 99% sure that Dead Like Me is correct and I will also have to work after I’m dead. And pay rent.

A YEAR AGO: Some updates.

TEN YEARS AGO: Jonathan takes a Polar Plunge!

FIFTEEN YEARS AGO: Things were not fun.

TWENTY YEARS AGO: A house call for my computer.

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Feb 29 2024

Ache

Published by under Cats,Family,Friends

It’s been a month since Clyde’s sudden death, and I can’t say I feel any better. Dodge is still sad and going back to that spot in the office, which I can see from my bed. Sometimes it’s a stab in the heart, sometimes it’s a comfort. I don’t think I’ll ever see that room without thinking of Clyde.

Sometimes, I think I see him out of the corner of my eye, even though I know perfectly well that he’s gone forever. Forever is a really long time.

Most days, I start crying on the Ridge when driving home from work, knowing that Dodge and Clyde will not be running out to meet me, the way they used to and the way they should and the way they never will again.

Dodge hasn’t been running out to see me, either, though he is very happy to see me and get his treats. He is more interested in food, treats, and petting than he was before. Maybe he is trying to enjoy every happy thing as much as he can? He also sleeps with me more than used to, often in the place Clyde used to, right next to my legs.

I am lucky that I have co-workers who understand the immensity and intensity of my loss, bringing me cards and flowers, hugs and kind words.

Megan is going to plant daffodils on Clyde’s resting place. They will bloom every year around the time we lost him. She’s also thinking of a plant I can put in a shiny black container with his name on it. I will put the container on the back deck, where he used to love to sit in the sun and watch the birds. It will be nice to honor him and feel like Clyde is still with us in a way.

A YEAR AGO: A delightful hotel stay.

FIVE YEARS AGO: How housework leads to more housework.

TEN YEARS AGO: The power was out.

TWENTY YEARS AGO: Technical difficulties.

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Feb 23 2024

Stormy

Published by under Bullshit,Weather

I still hadn’t recovered from the horrors of the five day power outage immediately following Clyde’s death when I started hearing reports of still more storms heading our way.

Needless to say, they were scheduled to arrive over the long Presidents’ Day weekend, because long weekends are reserved for storms, heatwaves, and other disasters, not for recovering from the hamster wheel from hell that is working five days a week and still always being broke.

So I spent the weekend tensed up waiting for disaster, as the flowering tree outside my bedroom window blew sideways and the redwoods, which are hundreds of feet tall and alarmingly close to my crushable house, waved around in the gale force winds.

Astonishingly, the power stayed on that weekend, maybe because I kept all my devices plugged in, especially my phone, which is my alarm clock. I woke up to heavy rain on Tuesday morning, sighing as I headed to work, tired of driving in bad weather and living in fear of it. A couple of times on the long drive to town, I considered pulling over to wait for the rain to slow down, but decided to just get it over with.

I made it to work, but I also got an alert saying that the power was out at home yet again. Unsurprisingly, the cause was listed as “weather”, but surprisingly, the power was back on by time I got home. I am ready for winter to be over. Bring on spring!

A YEAR AGO: It was a snowy wonderland.

TEN YEARS AGO: A fun visit with Erica and Jessica, who now reside in the elegant environs of Pasadena.

FIFTEEN YEARS AGO: A lovely visit to Golden Gate Park.

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Feb 15 2024

Aftermath

Published by under Cats


Dodge and Clyde, late December 2023

Two weeks after the loss of Clyde, I am still struggling to come to terms with it. Most days, I weep my way down the Ridge on my way home, knowing that he will not come running out to meet me along with Dodge, the way they used to. The whole house feels different without his sweet presence. I kind of didn’t realize that he was the heart of our home until he was gone.

I also didn’t realize how much Dodge needed Clyde. It was obvious that Dodge’s sunny, loving, fearless presence helped sensitive Clyde to recover from his brother’s death in the woods, and made him feel much safer and happier. Clyde bloomed with Dodge in his life, but Dodge also relied on Clyde’s love and companionship. As soon as I brought Dodge home, he took one look at Clyde and decided he would be his friend, and it didn’t take long to make that happen. Clyde spent the rest of his life playing, cuddling, napping, and hanging out with Dodge, and for that, I am grateful.

Dodge is clearly having a hard time without Clyde. He keeps going back to the spot where Clyde died, sniffing it, and then sitting there. Sometimes he wanders around in there meowing. He definitely needs more attention, and he’s not going to get it from Audrey. Audrey is splendidly unmoved by Clyde’s loss. Her thoughts probably run along the lines of, “Thought he’d never leave! What took him so long?” Her routines are unchanged. She is still the grumpy empress of Suzytown.

A YEAR AGO: Winter’s chill.

FIVE YEARS AGO: Our heroine was under the weather.

TEN YEARS AGO: Some signs of spring.

FIFTEEN YEARS AGO: Attracting the neighborhood cats

TWENTY YEARS AGO: I was invited to the first (and so far, last) bar mitzvah of my life. It was a deeply moving and beautiful experience. The kid in question is now a human rights lawyer who just bought a house with his long-time girlfriend, who is also an attorney.

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Feb 10 2024

Dark

Published by under Bullshit,Country Life,Family,Weather

The day after we buried our beloved Clyde, a huge storm blew in, with torrential rains and high winds. It didn’t take long for the power to go out. And stay out.

On Monday, despite the still-bad weather, I attempted to go to work. The Ridge was carpeted in several inches of debris: twigs, leaves, bark, branches, small trees, pine needles, etc. A couple of times, I got out of the car to move small trees. There were several inches of debris, and I should probably not have driven over it, especially with a low-riding car.

I made it to the Albion River Inn in the pouring rain, only to find a PG&E truck across the road. The worker told me that many trees and power lines were down and that the road would be closed for some time. I made my way back to my cold, dark, Clydeless house, getting a branch stuck under my car as I did so. I was finally able to remove it when I got home, but it made a really loud and unsettling noise while it was stuck.

There’s no heat when there’s no power, and I was just dreading the long, dark night. I made it to work the next day, where I recharged all my devices, if not Self. I stopped by Megan and Rob’s place on my way home for a shower. It felt really good, and it was nice to shower under the skylight. I forgot to bring a hair dryer with me, though, so the total effect was not all it could have been, but at least I was clean.

The power outage dragged on. On the fourth day, I just sat on the couch and cried. I was so tired of the cold and dark and not being able to cook, and by then, the water in the water tank had run out, so things were a little more on the third world side than I was really comfortable with.

The lights finally came back on after five days of being out, and I ran around cleaning up and basking in the joy of heat and light. The next day, I was at the grocery store in town, chatting with an employee I know about how long our power had been out. When I told him that mine had come on the night before and explained where I live, a guy passing by said that he worked for PG&E and that he was the one who had gotten our power restored. So I was able to thank him in person.

We are supposed to get another storm next weekend. I really hope it’s not as bad as this one was. I am so worn out by the loss of Clyde and the stress of the last outage. I don’t think my solstice dumplings did a damn thing.

A YEAR AGO: Things were getting a little brighter.

FIVE YEARS AGO: Some snow days.

TEN YEARS AGO: Getting some rain.

FIFTEEN YEARS AGO: Traveling by train.

TWENTY YEARS AGO: My first visit to Florida.

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Feb 03 2024

Clyde

Published by under Cats


June 8, 2010 – February 1, 2024

Clyde is gone.

My beloved, adorable, beautiful, sweet boy.

On the last weekend in January, I noticed that he wasn’t feeling well. He wasn’t eating, and he was sitting on the floor in the office outside the bedroom instead of cuddling with me, looking like an uncomfortable loaf of bread.

I made an appointment for him to see the vet on Wednesday, and Megan and I braved the storms to bring him in. Tests revealed that my sweet Clyde had a mass on his liver and/or spleen. They gave him some antibiotics, in the last ditch hope that it might be an infection, and put time-release painkiller on his neck that would last 48 hours in case he was in pain. We made an appointment for Friday to see how he was doing.

On Thursday morning, I was putting on my coat when I realized that I had forgotten to brush my hair. I went back upstairs, brushed my hair, and took the opportunity to pet Clyde one last time. He pushed his head into my hand and purred, and I dared to hope he might be getting better.

When I came home, I found Clyde dead in the office. He was lying on his side, front paws crossed, tail neatly curved. There were no bodily fluids and no sign of distress. I think he died peacefully in his sleep.

It was too late to bury him then, so I had one last night with my sweet boy. The next day, we had a break in the storms, and the sun shone as I carried my beloved Clyde to the car. All the way to the family estate, I had one hand on the wheel and one on Clyde, and I talked to him.

Arriving at the property, I spent some time with him in the sun. His fur was still plush and beautiful, and he still looked beautiful and not at all old. He still smelled like Clyde. Finally, we wrapped him up carefully and carried him to the chinquapin tree. I kissed him one last time and told him how much I love him. Then we laid him to rest.

I hope he is with his brother Roscoe now.

John said that the fact that Clyde died out in the open meant he felt safe and was not scared or in pain. He was in familiar surroundings, with the sights and smells of his home around him. It does seem that it was quick and painless for him. But it is painful for those of us left behind.

Dodge misses his beloved friend. He keeps going to the spot where Clyde died, sniffing it and then sitting there. He is sleeping with me more often and definitely needs more petting.

Audrey, of course, is magnificently unconcerned and exactly the same. I saw both Audrey and Dodge sniffing Clyde, so they know what happened, and I think that is good for them, too.

I miss Clyde more than I can say. His sweet, loving presence was the heart of our home. I miss him running out to see me when I come home from work, his joy at spending time with me on the weekends and in the evenings. He was always a mama’s boy.

I love you, baby boy. Always and forever.

FIVE YEARS AGO: Thinking about the past.

TEN YEARS AGO: Shopping with Stella. We both enjoy jewelry stores, book stores, and bars.

FIFTEEN YEARS AGO: Rob’s spinal surgery was successful.

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