Archive for October, 2003

Oct 29 2003

Snow Sign

Published by under Uncategorized

On my way home, I saw this sign on a bus stop and found it pretty damn funny. The little arrow pointing to the poor, parka’d victim of the blizzard says “You are NOT here”.

I realize that those of you who live where there is actual weather, real seasons, and full-frontal blizzards with temperatures below zero on both scales will not find this as amusing as I do, but as usual, I was unable to restrain myself. If nothing else, it’s a clever advertising slogan, right?

PS I have no idea why the picture is so very azure. Will blame it on the twilight I now have to endure on the way home, thanks to the time change. Why do we put up with it?!

6 responses so far

Oct 28 2003

Candi’s Birthday

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Happy birthday to the amazing Candi!

It would take a much better writer than I am to describe this remarkable woman. I will just say the following about her:

She is one of my best friends. In fact, she is pretty much a sister to me. She is always there for me, in good times and bad, with advice, a word of wisdom, laughter, or just listening. She always knows what to say, and (sometimes more importantly) what not to say. She is a tower of strength with really great nails (it’s true!). She is a loyal and trustworthy friend, which is a rarity in this world. Her friendship is one of the greatest gifts in my life.

She is one of the smartest and funniest people I know. Her view of the world, opinions, and her way of expressing herself are unique. Pure Candi, and there’s no-one else like her and there never will be. She is unforgettable.

If you haven’t already sent her a present, or a card, or an email, shame on you. Go & do it now. Shouldn’t today be a national holiday anyway?

3 responses so far

Oct 24 2003

Boredom Boot Camp

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I’m beginning to think that the whole point of this year has been to cure me of my fear of boredom (which is Number Two on my personal fear hit parade, right after death, the eternal Number One). Or at least to wear me down to the point where I handle it better.

Those of you who have been fortunate enough not to have experienced the long illness of a loved one, with or without an emphasis on terminal, will think that what I’m about to say is heartless and callous (though really, you shouldn’t be surprised by that by now), but it’s one of those little-known grown-up secrets you only learn through experience: it can be really boring. There are crises, and you deal with them, but a lot of it is sitting around and waiting, kind of like air travel. Waiting for doctors to talk to you (not that they ever know anything; or if they do, they sure as hell ain’t telling). Waiting for test results. Sitting with the sick person. Waiting for sick person to wake up. Various grossnesses. Lather, rinse, repeat.

The month I spent helping to take care of my mother this summer was probably the most boring of my life. I only left the house twice that I remember (other than running in the mornings): once to go to the store (where I caught up on my Giants’ scores on the radio) and once to go with my sister to the lighthouse where she maintains the aquarium. That was it. The rest of it was mostly taking care of Mom & household chores. It was really weird to be somewhere that’s usually a haven of fun and happiness and have it be a nightmare of boredom or ickiness (much like it was to be at Dad’s house right after he died).

Then there’s the hell job, where there seems to be very little to do, though the people I work with flit around the office telling everyone how busy they are and how they came in over the weekend and so on. After three weeks of this, I seem to be much better at handling the boredom. At least, I have stopped contemplating going to the top of the Pyramid and flinging myself off, and reading a recent “New Yorker” article about suicides off the Golden Gate Bridge didn’t give me any ideas. My attitude has shifted gradually from “How am I going to get through another day of this?” to “If they want to pay me that much for sitting around, fine.”

Arriving at the DMV one Saturday, armed with reading materials and the expectation of sitting around for possibly hours, I looked at the line stretching around the building 5 minutes after opening time with equanimity. After all, I had things to read, and I’d finally have time to write to my stepmother. My virtual virtue was rewarded by the discovery that the line to replace title and registration, which was what I needed to do, was a separate and positively petite one, and I was out of there in 20 minutes.

At this rate, I may be able to go to Thailand after all. I had a postcard yesterday from the lovely Claudia, who accompanied my niece Cat and me to Amsterdam last year. Last heard of working in Indonesia (she has a penchant for the third world), according to the postcard, she is currently sitting on a beach in Thailand, drinking Bacardi. She says the postcard, which is gorgeous, doesn’t do it justice. My friend Alice has been trying to get me to go with her for years, but I always balked at the 21+ hours required to get there. Now I’m thinking, “That doesn’t sound so bad. I can do that.”

Boredom might drop off the charts yet.

6 responses so far

Oct 22 2003

Disturbing, Part 2

Published by under Uncategorized

I find this weird: new boss has four, count ’em, 4, pictures of his kids in his office, but none at all of his wife.

I also find this weird: while his daughter has the ordinary-to-overly popular name of Chloe, his son is named Ruggles. Undoubtedly it’s somebody’s last name (Maiden name? Kiss-up to rich relative? You decide), but it seems to me to be a name for a dog. For some reason, a small, scruffy, terrier-type dog springs to mind.

10 responses so far

Oct 21 2003

Mom’s Arrival

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Not only do we have Mom’s cat Twice with us, we also have Mom herself, though hopefully not for the extended period of time Twice has been with us, or that Mom has been with my sister Megan (four months going on forever). Mom’s “visit” with Meg is actually the reason she is visiting us. After four months of having Mom in the living room of Megan’s 500 square foot house, Megan felt that she and Mom needed a vacation from each other. So she sent Mom to stay with John & me in the city for 10 days or so (a limited time offer, only).

They arrived yesterday, and I was almost home when I saw my brother about half a block ahead of me. No mistaking that platinum blonde hair and that distinctive gait (something between sailor and country boy). I thought he’d been to Peet’s or something (though in retrospect, this is unlikely at 5:30 in the afternoon), and when I asked him, he said that they had forgotten to bring their set of my keys. They had also neglected to bring my cell number or John’s, so they’d been waiting in the car for four hours! My brother was actually returning to the car after calling us on a payphone to see if we were home yet.

Typical of our family.

After a joyous greeting from my brother’s faithful companion Jed the Wonder Dog (who just had her birthday – we never say which one, because we refuse to think of her getting older), we hauled all Mom’s stuff up all those stairs, including the very heavy oxygen tank and the less heavy portable oxygen tanks, which really are.

I hadn’t seen Mom for 6 weeks or so, when I came home after being with her at my sister’s place this summer for more than a month. All the doctors had informed us that she was dying and only had days left. Not only did she miraculously recover, she has put on weight and is so much better it’s hard to believe she is as sick as she is (cancer throughout her bones and in her lungs). Yes, she still needs oxygen, but only at night, and is on a lot of morphine, but she’s also able to walk around and do things for herself now. No-one understands why she’s better, but she is, so we’re just going to enjoy the good period as long as it lasts.

4 responses so far

Oct 20 2003

Middle East West

Published by under Cats,Dogs,Schatzi

Loyal readers with good memories may recall John’s hurried trip to Petaluma in the middle of June to pick up my mother’s cat while Mom was visiting my sister and brother in the country. At the time, we thought Mom’s visit was just that, a visit, and she would eventually go home and we could return her cat to her.

As usual, we were wrong, and Mom is now permanently living with Megan for what remains of her life, and Mom’s cat is now permanently living with us, making us severely outnumbered by what our friend Mike, with an apt and delightful turn of phrase, calls The Feline Five.

Now, not only is this far too many cats (John & I disagree on the ideal number, which makes it a good thing we didn’t have children, because reaching a compromise on how many would be impossible, if our views on cats are anything to go by. I think the right number of cats is around 2, and he thinks it’s more like 12.), but the original four absolutely hate Twice* and it’s like the Middle East chez nous, with peace between the warring parties approximately as likely in Middle East West as in the original Middle East.

I mean, Twice has lived with us for 4 months and it’s still a non-stop hissing fest. The original four just keep harassing her, chasing her around and hissing and generally being the worst possible hostesses. I feel really bad for Twice, because she is very shy and affectionate and has no claws, unlike all our girls, so her only weapons are hissing and running away. She must feel like a hunted gazelle on one of those nature documentaries.

I don’t understand it, either, because all the other cats get along with each other. They’re always playing together, snuggling together, and sleeping together. They are their own little family. If things get weird, they stick together.

The only time we’ve ever had problems integrating a new cat into the family was when we brought Cleo home, since she was an adult and everyone else came in as kittens and figured out their own pecking order. But Cleo and our late, lamented Jo fought for a good month before things settled down. Eventually, though, they worked it out and all was serene.

But four months and counting? Maybe we should invite Jimmy Carter over and see what he can do.

*All of my mother’s pets, which we have had to re-home or keep ourselves, have retarded names, without exception. Besides Twice, there was a cat named Li’l Bit, and her dogs are Schatzi, Digger, and Bear. Yes, Bear is a very common dog name, but in this case, it stands for Baroness Von Hershee. I’m not kidding. Really. I guess I’m lucky I got named Susan.

5 responses so far

Oct 17 2003

Working Girl

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It appears that in addition to missing some key girl lessons along the way (how to keep my bra straps up and successfully apply make-up in a moving vehicle, for example), I have also missed out on some key grown-up lessons, which may explain why I don’t feel like one, even at my advanced age. I suspect I may have pretty much skipped all the grown-up classes. Kind of like I did in high school. In both cases, I was too busy having fun.

Since I have started my new joblette (we’re only dating, not living together), it has been brought forcibly to my attention that I do not know how to cope with working 8 to 5.

Now, the classic thing everyone says is “9 to 5”, but it’s 8 to 5 here (is it 9 to 5 anywhere? Enquiring minds want to know). It’s hard to fit everything in when you have to spend so much time there.

For example, I used to get to the gym around 3:30 pm, finish by 5:00 pm, and have time to go home and get cleaned up before John came home and it was time to make dinner. Now, if I go after work, I can’t get there before 5:30 pm, when it’s a zoo anyway, and John is already home. So I’d have to be at the gym until nearly 7:00 pm, then go home, clean up, and make dinner, which would of necessity be served at some positively European hour, and of necessity followed by close to instant sleep.

Nope.

So far, I’ve been getting up around 5:00 am and going straight to the gym, which barely gives me time for coffee, toast, and all the grooming necessary before heading out the door at 7:30 am to the cruel working world. But to get 8 hours’ sleep, I’d have to go to bed at 9:00 pm. And I’m still working more hours than I sleep.

And that’s not even taking into account the zillion & one errands that have to be run (laundry, shopping, paying bills, post office, dry cleaner’s, vet, dentist, etc.), running your household, and minor details like spending time with friends & family, reading, emailing, talking on the phone, and blogging.

What am I missing here? How does everyone else do it?

4 responses so far

Oct 15 2003

Disturbing

Published by under Uncategorized

The first time I went to Paris, I was 17 years old and unhampered by parents or other family. You can imagine the kind of things I did. But I didn’t go up the Eiffel Tower. In 15 further years of visiting that wonderful city, I still didn’t. It took John’s first visit to Paris (as an adult) to make me do it.

And when I finally did, I was so appalled by the swaying and creaking that I just stayed on the first level. I freaked out as unobtrusively as possible while John, who had been deprived of going to the top as a child, merrily went up with the camera and had a great time.

Now that I’m working high up in the Transamerica Pyramid, I haven’t noticed the swaying (if any; I hope not), but I am constantly noticing the constant creaking. Disturbing.

6 responses so far

Oct 14 2003

Radio, Radio

Published by under Uncategorized

New boss G keeps telling me that he thinks he’s seen me somewhere before, which instantly makes me feel that I must have been doing something disreputable when he did (otherwise, why would he remember it? Do men remember nice girls being good?). It’s like when you get in trouble as a kid, and you mentally skim through all the bad things you have recently done, and then scan through all the things they might have actually caught you doing. I’m pretty sure I haven’t done anything too disgraceful lately, but maybe he saw me during my wicked past and it will come back to haunt me.

He’s a nice, easy-going guy who seems to have a pretty good sense of humor. I didn’t see him for the first couple of days on the job, but both days, he called me from the airport between planes to chat about nothing, which seems kind of strange. If he wants to pay me to talk about his life, it’s fine with me. After all he is the boss.

There does seem to be something about me that invites confidences, even from total strangers. People sitting next to me on planes tell me their problems. Obviously friends and family do, but so do my trainer, co-workers, and even readers of this blog. Once when I was getting a Pap test, the nurse practitioner who was doing it told me her boyfriend problems. Throughout the whole test. It did help to take my mind off the hideous procedure, though, and I certainly hoped she dumped his ass like used surgical gloves.

It makes me wonder if I shouldn’t have my very own radio talk show, since I seem to have a talent for talking to people about their problems, or about nothing, come to that, so there would be no dead air. I wouldn’t have to dress up or anything, because it’s radio and no-one could see me. Maybe there really is a dream job, even for me. The main points would be:

1. Not 8 am to 5 pm. Either earlier, or four 10 hour days so I could have an extra day off a week. I know a couple of people who do this and they love it. I mean, you’re already there for 9 hours anyway, usually, so what’s the difference? Get it the hell over with.

2. No dressing up, especially the tyranny of nylons.

3. Co-workers that are easy to get along with.

4. Really busy, so the time goes by, and challenging, so my brain doesn’t completely rot.

5. Within walking distance of where I live.

Is that too much to ask?

One response so far

Oct 10 2003

Exes

Published by under Uncategorized

I got the classic wolf whistle today. So retro and delightful!

Ex-boyfriends. I think there should be a planet they get sent to so you never have to see them again. Though if you do have to run into them, it should be exactly the way it happened to my good friend M last weekend.

Many years ago, when we were young and foolish, M was madly in love with a guy who looked quite a lot like Bono. Many girls found D irresistible in spite of (or possibly because of, in the case of those chics who love the bad boys) his treating them like crap and generally being an arrogant, cheating asshole from hell.

Now M is not, and never has been, a girl to take crap from anyone, ever, male or female, so her taking of D’s crap, especially for an extended period of time, was both mystifying and horrifying to her many friends. We all begged her to see reason, but to no avail. Eventually, though, he went back to his ex-girlfriend and that broke the spell. I’m sorry to say it took M years to get over this guy, but we’ve all done the same thing at one time or another. I personally wasted a year of my life on a psycho alcoholic freak who stalked me after we broke up (He went back to his ex-girlfriend, too, come to think of it. And in both cases, the exes were plain, dull girls. Maybe some guys just can’t take the smart beauties.).

Anyway, when M ran into her ex, she was wearing a pink satin minidress and signing copies of her book. So she was looking fabulous and being successful and f&ecircted. What could be better? His career isn’t going very well, he’s aging horribly and no longer looks like Bono at all, and grudgingly has a baby. Of the baby, he quickly informed M that the mother was not his wife, and added that only 30% of children really know who their fathers are (where did he come up with that little gem of information?). Lovely. He could barely hold up his end of the conversation, and M asked me if he had always been that stupid. I said, “Honey, we were all telling you that for years!” Then she asked me if he had always been so short. I think she’s over him.

4 responses so far

Oct 08 2003

Details, details

Published by under Uncategorized

Awright, this one’s for you, Les. You’re probably the only person on the planet more interested in Suzy News than Schwarzenegger News today!

Like I said, to me a job is just a job. That’s my philosophy, and I’m sticking to it (for now).

I seem to have a commitment problem. Sorry, guys, but that’s not your exclusive province. Come to think of it, in my dating past, it was always the guys who got way too serious too fast. But I digress. Anyway, I agreed to do this job for a month, and if I like it, I’ll stay. It’s in a new field and I’m not sure if it’s what I want to do, so the test drive seemed like a good idea. It is in dating, too. Working and dating seem to be oddly similar in some ways, especially when you think about how an interview is basically a date. Makes sense, though, when you think that basically in both cases, the other person is auditioning to spend much of your [waking] time with you.

OK, I’ll stop digressing and give you some dirt before you despair completely of finding anything out ever.

It’s essentially the same mathy-money kind of job, but in a different, though still mathy-money field. The office is on one entire floor of the landmark Transamerica Pyramid*, and let me tell you, the views are stunning (check out the pix), as is the security system.

Once you breach the walls, the office is beautiful (the flat-screen plasma TV in the waiting room, discreetly fastened to the wall and permanently on CNN, is to die for) and the kitchen is better stocked than mine: in addition to the usual things, there is an espresso machine, spring water, juice, soda, fresh fruit, granola bars, pretzels, potato chips, sandwich makings (three different kinds of bread!)…you name it. This is an entirely new thing on me after {mumble} years of working.

Oh, yeah, and we get Monday off for Columbus Day – another first!

Everyone seems really nice, and I have been told by long-term employees that this is true, which would make a positively thrilling change from the temperamental nightmares I had to deal with at my old job.

So far, it’s mostly the learning curve which is a little daunting in its Marilyn-ness. That, and having to work 8 to 5. But that’s another story.

*Legend has it that a pyramid was the landmark for the skyline of the lost city of Atlantis, which vanished into the sea. Some people believe that San Francisco having its own pyramid is a sign that it will also vanish into the sea one day.

4 responses so far

Oct 06 2003

New Job

Published by under Uncategorized

Since my beloved Giants were so horrifyingly and ignominiously defeated in the very first round of the World Series playoffs*, I no longer need to sit around the house watching baseball all day (when I’m not shopping, that is).

So what the hell. Might as well start working again tomorrow.

In order to be fit for public viewing, though, I’ve spent most of the day getting pretty again. Watching the playoffs doesn’t require much in the way of grooming, and after I realized that the cats didn’t pay any more attention to me if I wore make-up or accessorized, I just stopped bothering. Really, if there’s any creature alive who is more self-absorbed than I am, it’s any given cat.

So as I write this, I am dyeing my hair (multi-tasking: new employer, take note), and have already:

1. Had a massage to deal with pre-job stress;

2. Had my eyebrows waxed so when I raise them in disdain, as so often happens, they will look perfect;

3. Had my nails done. My toenails are now metallic violet (though this will be a secret from new employer, like my pretty lingerie, and will make me feel good in the same secret luxurious way), but my fingernails are sheer and natural and elegant in (I hope) a professional manner. I’m a Gemini – what can I tell you?

So now all I gotta do is figure out how to deal with the 8 to 5 grind again, and how to fit the gym into it. Stay tuned.

*Can I just say how much I hate Juan Encarnacion? And Josh Beckett is right behind him in Suzy world.

12 responses so far

Oct 01 2003

Sneezin’ & Shoppin’

Published by under Uncategorized

I went to see the allergist. All I needed was a new prescription for nose spray (to keep dust allergy in check), so we ended up talking about stuff which had absolutely nothing to do with any form of medicine (since I’m boringly healthy): the first show in 30 years for the sculptor Lee Bontecou; why Italy is so great; his upcoming trip to his native Montreal, etc. I wonder if it’s a relief not to have to talk about medical crap for a change?

After that, I stopped in to see a friend who works across the street from the allergist, and we went and had cappucinos, all civilized-like. Then I shopped my way home. I picked up some charming unnecessaries, like a couple of silver toe rings and a subtly sparkly top, along with less charming necessities, like something for dinner.

After I got home, I sat on the roof and answered emails and admired the view of the Golden Gate Bridge. Right now, it’s just about cocktail o’clock (I’m thinking Cosmopolitan. I’m feeling pink). Talk about the perfect lady of leisure day. Though perhaps shopping isn’t the best pastime for the nouveau pauvre. I can never help myself, though. Not that I really want to. I never do.

2 responses so far