Archive for October, 2014

Oct 30 2014


The San Francisco Giants Win!

The Giants won their third World Series title in five years on Wednesday night. Above, you see Buster Posey, the team’s valiant catcher, my favorite Giant, and owner of the best name in baseball, hugging pitcher Madison Bumgarner, the stoic country boy who is now a hero and a legend.

With all the stress in my life lately, it’s been hard to watch the World Series. I love it, don’t get me wrong, but the anxiety is tough in my weakened condition. The Bumgarnerless night before the Giants’ victory, they were smoked 10-0 by Kansas City in Game 6, and I had to stop watching after about the third inning because I just could’t take it anymore.

Last night, the Giants scored two runs, were tied by Kansas City, and then Joe Panik (the second best name in baseball) made a crucial double play. Pablo Sandoval, the beloved big bear known as The Panda, made what would become the game’s winning run with a mighty swing:

Despite his size, The Panda can run as well as he can hit, and as if that weren’t enough, he also caught the last out which won the Giants the Series. He lay for a second on the grass, where he had dived to make the catch, before being swarmed by his teammates who lifted him up and carried him into the joyous knot of players surrounding Bumgarner, the calm, unruffled, 25 year old hero of the Series.

Bumgarner pitched this epic Game 7 just two days after pitching a shutout game. His father was asked if he thought his son could pitch again so soon, and he replied, “I didn’t know if he had enough left tonight. But I did know that boy would try to steal a steak off the devil’s plate.”

And he did.

Here’s to the Giants dynasty, their fans, and the beautiful city they call home. And next season!


Seasonally Affected

2 responses so far

Oct 28 2014

Testing 1-2-3

Published by under Country Life,Family

You already knew that Megan is the best sister in the world, right? Just for extra proof, as if any were needed, she got up at 5:00 am after working four 12 hour night shifts to drive her pathetic older sister to the county seat in the stormy Saturday darkness. When I was about 14 and she was 5, Megan told me, “I’ll catch up with you one day. You’ll see!” She should have said, “I’ll pass you and leave you in the dust*.”

In my defense, I have never driven the switchbacked mountain road that leads there, and starting in the storm-tossed darkness did not seem like the best idea. I hate driving at night, whereas Megan is so used to it after so many years of night shifts and night time ambulance driving that she navigated through it all with one hand on the wheel. I think she likes Wednesday, leather seats and all.

The Ridge and the road to the city were littered with tree branches and pine needles (follow the red needle road!), which Megan said were more slippery and dangerous than they looked, having been called to many pine needle induced accident scenes over the years. Despite driving carefully through the redwoods and up and down and around and about the crazy road to the county seat (on our way back, we passed a couple of guys who had pulled over to throw up together**), we made good time.

Despite living here for five years now, I honestly don’t think I’ve been to the county seat since being helicoptered there with Dad when he had his stroke fourteen years ago. I tend to go to Santa Rosa for things that cannot be found on the coast.

Megan dropped me off at the test center, where I was joined by about ten other testees. The person giving the test said that 21 people had registered for it, but that half showing up was about par for the course. She added that this was also the case for interviews, which I found surprising.

We all took our places in a conference room and dutifully filled in the little multiple choice bubbles with the Number Two pencils we had been instructed to bring with us. There were 100 questions. I was pretty confident about the spelling, grammar, and punctuation, but less so about the word problems. At least there wasn’t any math. X-Y = Zzzzz for me.

I finished the test first, and we are supposed to get our results in 10 business days.

Megan and I attempted to shop, but the selection was lacking, so we headed back to the coast, stopping for a belated breakfast at the Boonville General Store. It felt much later than 11:30, but that’s what happens when you get up long before the sun. I had hoped to buy dinner for Megan and Rob at Libby’s, but they were closed, despite the sign saying they were open. We weren’t the only ones to be disappointed – several other cars stopped, tried the doors, and left. We’re planning to meet up with Erica and Jessica for Halloween on Friday, so maybe we can stop in then.

*Somehow, the baby of the family has become its matriarch, and never got any of the traditional “baby” slack from the rest of the family. Go figure.

**I felt really sorry for them. There was a looong way to go before they’d hit any straight roads. Kind of like being seasick in the middle of the ocean.


Virtual Walk.

4 responses so far

Oct 25 2014

You Win Some…

Published by under Cats,Work

It’s birds 2, kitties 0 on today’s scoreboard!

Clyde appeared with a bird in his mouth, and I went to take it away from him, surprising both him and the bird and letting it out of Clyde’s mouth. The bird rocketed up into the redwoods to our mutual relief.

I had barely recovered from this close brush with death when Roscoe trotted into the living room with, you guessed it, a bird in his mouth. Again I rescued the bird, and again it flew away quickly and happily. Sometimes when I get birds out of the cat’s mouths, they sit there kind of stunned and I’m not always sure they make it. It was great to know they escaped unscathed, at least this time.

After the avian escapade, Clyde settled next to me on the couch, looking like a little angel and snoring softly:

It’s hard to believe that he was a murderous, bird-killing machine only moments earlier, isn’t it?

I was glad to have Clyde’s cuddlesome support, because we got the termination letter from my job, and I had to compose emails to break the news to the managers I have worked with for many years and cancel the quarterly calls I had set up for next week. Little did I imagine that the last time I spoke to them all would be, well, the last time I spoke to them.

Over the years, I have grown to care about these people. Together, we have gone through a family member’s successful battle against cancer; the birth of a first child; another child’s 4-H ribbons, yet another being accepted to an Ivy League school and a graduation from West Point. I’ve heard about family reunions, marriages, and promotions, and we’ve congratulated each other on World Series bids and wins. I valued our partnership both personally and professionally, and I can’t believe I will never talk to these folks again.

But we have had to hand everything over, and with a lawsuit pending, we have to be careful what we say and who we say it to.

I feel much the way I did when John and I divorced. It was a great loss, and I was saddened by the end of something I went into so optimistically and hopefully and which I thought would last forever. I’ve been spending a lot of time beating myself up for poor decision-making and ending up with no money at a semi-advanced age, but I am proud of what my boss/partner and I achieved together over a decade. We tripled our client’s money in three years, kept the pension fund fully funded through the 2008 market crash and the city’s bankruptcy, and were employers in that embattled state and city. We sponsored an annual golf tournament which raised thousands of dollars for scholarships for needy children of that city. And we did it all with integrity, passion, and caring. We have a lot to be proud of in the face of defeat.


Home Again.

3 responses so far

Oct 22 2014

Past & Present

Published by under Country Life,Friends,Memories

Five years ago today, I moved into my little hippie hovel in Hooterville. My house used to be James’ (who built it) and Rose’s, and it seems only appropriate that I moved into the house on Rose’s birthday. As Mark said, she is everywhere here.

On Sunday, Rose’s daughter Citlali, who is a member of the same fire department my brother belongs to, invited me to stop by the firehouse for some tacos. This is a fundraising effort held once a month or so, and takes place at the old firehouse beside the Gro:

Inside, the firefighters had set up a couple of tables with slow-cooked pork, corn and flour tortillas, a sort of coleslaw with jicama and corn, salsa verde, limes, chopped cilantro, rice, black beans…it was a feast! For $7, you got a plate with two tacos, rice, beans, and salad with all the accompaniments you could wish for:

All served by your friendly local volunteer firefighters. You know, the people who run into burning buildings and rescue people from crashed cars for no pay. That’s Citlali on the far right. She looks so much like her mother, Rose:

The firehouse was bustling with people, some eating their tacos on the spot and others, like me, taking theirs to go (dinner’s ready!). I stopped in at the Gro to pick up a couple of things, and was amused by this sign on the bulletin board outside:

I especially liked the “Any luck yet?” written on the top.


Magical History Tour of downtown LA.

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Oct 18 2014

Dinner and a Movie

Published by under Country Life,Family,Friends,Memories

Seasonal decorations at Luna Trattoria

How better to take a girl’s mind off pending unemployment than dinner and a movie with two of her favorite girls?

As Megan and I set off for the Big Town, the rain that had been promised all day finally materialized, bucketing merrily down as Megan navigated the twisty roads. The bucketing didn’t last long, though, and there was a mere tenth of an inch in the rain gauge this morning. Come on, rain! You can do better than that!

We met our dear friend Lu at Luna Trattoria, a new restaurant which has been getting a lot of buzz. All of my co-workers at the jobette just love it. It’s a pretty, friendly place, owned by a family from the Emilia- Romagna region of northern Italy. As the menu notes, it’s authentic Italian food, not Italian American food.

Megan had feather-light gnocchi with gorgonzola sauce, Lu had pasta with Sangiovese sauce, and I had spaghetti carbonara, which reminded Megan and me both of our father and our friend Davide, who worked with Dad at the University of Siena. We visited Davide at his home in Milan as well as his very, uh, rural* country home in the Italian Lake district (home of George Clooney). Davide taught Dad to make this dish, which uses pancetta, white wine, eggs, etc. to create a delicious dish. They used to say they’d open a restaurant together one day, Il Due Davidi (The Two Davids). I wish they had and I wish they were still here, drinking wine, cooking, and laughing together.

After dinner, we headed to the movie theater to see “Gone Girl”, which you may remember was one of my favorite books a couple of years ago. I found myself sitting right next to my co-worker and his date. After the movie, I asked him what he thought of it and he opined that perhaps it had not been the best choice for a date movie. On the way out of the theater, we ran into our beloved former swimming teacher Sallie, who was as wonderful and glowing as ever. Gotta love a small town! And a fun evening with the girls.


LA at last!

*And I do mean rural. Dirt floors and no hot running water.

2 responses so far

Oct 14 2014


Published by under Bullshit,Work

It’s kind of hard to tell you guys what’s going on when I have no idea what’s going on, but here goes:

  • The Cold: Definitely better, but my allergies seem to be picking up the cold’s slack, and I really regret not taking Sudafed before going to work. It’s going to be a long day.
  • Work: In keeping with the eerily similar theme, it appears that summarily terminating the contracts at both the job and the jobette may well have been illegal. I am cautiously optimistic about the jobette following a positive legal opinion, but there’s still a long way to go.

    As for the job, we have been told to keep working until further notice, and have not received a termination letter, both of which are good things. Our lawyer, the same gentleman who supported me through the Grand Jury ordeal a couple of years back, believes that we do have legal grounds to overturn the termination, but again, there’s a long way to go and it’s more complicated than the jobette situation.

    Although these are good things, it’s hard to know what to do. I have applied for a couple of local jobs, but have not heard back yet. If I am offered a new job, do I take it? Because, although it’s sometimes difficult to balance the job and the jobette, I love the work and my co-workers at both places and appreciate them all the more now. If I don’t, and it all ultimately falls apart, then what? These are the things that haunt me in the middle of the night (and the middle of the day).

  • Taxes: I filed for an extension, and when the tax preparer submitted it, she got a message saying that there had already been a return submitted with my social security number. I checked with John, and it turned out that he had filed married filing single – six months after our divorce became final. When I asked him why he did this, he said it was because he was expecting some kind of paperwork from the court. I pointed out that the paperwork I sent him last July states expressly that the judgment was entered and would become final on October 2, 2013, adding that we were free to marry on that date.

    I went to the courthouse in the Big Town and showed that paperwork to the clerk, who confirmed that there was no other paperwork forthcoming, and added that John’s tax preparer should have known that from looking at the existing paperwork. I made a copy, mailed it to John with the clerk’s comments, and he will amend his return, but what the hell? I cannot understand why he didn’t check with me before filing. At least it will never happen again. Right?



2 responses so far

Oct 11 2014


Published by under Bullshit,Family

By the time I got home from the jobette on Tuesday, it was pretty obvious that I had a cold. Because, you know, why not? Maybe my immune system was weakened by stress, along with my ever tenuous mental health.

Megan had left some Sudafed* on the table for me, and I thought I had some Afrin, but alas, it turned out that I did not. There is no substitute for either of these things, and unfortunately for me, Sudafed alone was not mighty enough to decongest my nose.

As often happens, just when I needed sleep the most, I felt too lousy to sleep. I was awake at 1:30 am, while yet being too tired to read, so I actually watched an episode of The Love Boat, thinking about how the guy who played Gopher became a Congressman later and how Julie the cruise director got fired from the show for her coke habit, which must have been pretty spectacular considering it was the early 80s. I followed up this Velveeta-esque cheesefest with a Scooby Doo cartoon chaser. The Mystery Machine started to look pretty cool to me, and I was actually trying to solve the mysteries, which would have been painfully obvious to Nancy Drew, when I realized that I was probably pretty sick.

Roscoe was unimpressed with my choice of television fare in the dark hours, and Audrey and Clyde left the room completely. I’m blaming it on my weakened and feverish condition.

The next day, Megan came by to check on me and bring me watermelon popsicles for my sore throat, which also happen to be magically delicious. Between those and the meds, I’m on the mend.


The Impatient Patient

*When Megan bought it, she got her driver’s license out to show the pharmacist, and he told her that the non-drowsy Sudafed, which she was buying, was not the kind used for meth manufacture – the drowsy kind is. Which is kind of counterintuitive.

5 responses so far

Oct 08 2014

South Coast Adventure

Published by under Country Life,Dogs,Family,Work

Elk Cove Sunset

Just because you’ve lost one job doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep doing the one you still have (at least for now). So Megan and I headed down to the beautiful south coast to distribute jobette related materials.

It was a beautiful day, hot by our standards, with not a cloud or a wisp of Karl in sight. September and October are often the warmest and least foggy months in our part of California, and it was probably around 80 degrees, even at the coast, where it’s usually in the 60s, even in the summer.

Since it was late in the day, Franny’s was our first stop (with ten minutes to spare before they closed). Megan got a spicy Mexican mocha for herself and a bag of gummy body parts for Jessica’s Christmas stocking. What says “Christmas” more than squishy, edible people pieces? Here’s look at Franny’s less alarming delicacies:

We stopped in at the feed store across the street on non jobette business: a) to get cat food for Megan’s kitties; and 2) to ask the store owner if we could post a Stella flyer in the window. The owner took one look at Stella’s smiling face and said that she has a good friend whose beloved dog passed away last year and was thinking of getting another one. This person has had nothing but pit bulls her whole life, so she is very knowledgeable about the breed.

Megan sent the store owner some photos and video of Stella and has since made contact with the potential adopter. They will meet in person soon, and if all goes well, Stella will have a new home with 45 fenced acres and another dog to play with, which should be perfect for her. Stay tuned!

Of course, we also had to stop off at Anchor Bay for fabulous Thai food. Amusingly, although we ordered separately and I knew ahead of time what I was getting and Megan didn’t, we ended up getting the same thing (orange chicken; Panang curry; cucumber salad). Great minds think alike. It was really fun to have Megan there with me, and she was a lot of help wrestling boxes and brochures.

As we came around a steep curve, we suddenly came across a cow standing right by the road. I don’t know who was more surprised. The cow seemed to be making up its mind about something, and Megan floored it as much as you can when driving a corkscrew downhill. As she drove, she explained that cows can ram your car repeatedly, and cause quite a lot of damage which is not covered by insurance. I’m still learning the finer points of living in the country, it seems.

The cow didn’t follow us, and it reminded me that this was the second time Megan’s quick thinking had saved us on the south coast. Last time, she pulled the car out of the way of a maniac who had crossed over into our lane in order to pass someone. While coming over a hill with no idea we were there. Fortunately, Megan has quick reflexes and calmness in a crisis, unlike her sister, and pulled over to safety where we both caught our breaths for while, glad we still had them.

You’d think we saw each other all the time, living about 100 yards apart, but we don’t, so we have to make time when we can, even when it’s work related. It was hard to feel like it was work to drive beside the ocean and through the redwoods together, though. I’m lucky that my sister also happens to be my best friend.


Wine Whine

One response so far

Oct 04 2014


Published by under Bullshit,Work

There was a little earthquake this morning as I left for the jobette. Nothing major, just a little reminder that you never know what’s going to happen. The perfect capper for the week I had.

I have basically lost my job. You know, the one that pays the bills, keeps my hippie hovel over my head, and buys crunchies for the cats. It’s a long, sad story, but basically it’s an unlovely cocktail of racism, politics and intrigue which led to the demise of the contract with our biggest client.

We still have a couple of small ones, but that’s not enough to keep the doors open and the lights on.

People have said to me, “But you own part of the company!” and my response is “Twelve percent of nothing is still nothing.”

I learned this on Thursday, and on Friday, I discovered that due to eerily similar factors at the jobette, that job is in peril as well. You can’t make this up. Even if things were fine and dandy at the jobette, though, the pittance I make there would not be enough to keep me in my fabulous lifestyle.

When I got the news on Thursday, I went straight to my brother’s place, where I proceeded to cry all over him. He was wonderfully reassuring and reminded me that I have family and friends on my side. I got some hugs from Rob, too, and my sister when she woke up from her night shift later that day. If this had to happen to me, it’s the best place for it to happen.

So it’s time to look for a job, network as much as possible, and hope for the best.



9 responses so far