Archive for March, 2018

Mar 16 2018

Once (or Twice) Upon a Mattress

Published by under Calamity Suzy,House

Decision-making is not my forte. I tend to wait until a course of action becomes inevitable and then just go along with it, like the artist Edgar Degas, who believed we were all just “corks* in a stream” and that life was just a random series of events.

If I do make a decision, it almost always turns out to be the wrong one. You know, like getting married. And selling my apartment for a pittance just a few years before it was worth well over a million dollars. And moving to Oaktown. I could go on, but you get the gist. What was I thinking?

Maybe it’s only having two brain cells.

In my finite wisdom, I decided that it was time to replace my ancient Ikea mattress. In my defense, I have had it well over a decade, which is past the normal lifespan of a mattress, and resorted to mattress pads and a featherbed to make it more comfortable. I did a fair amount of research and settled on one that had new technology and rave reviews. I confirmed that they would deliver to what my beloved stepmother used to call “the back of beyond” and that they understood how long it would actually take to drive here from the Bay Area.

It also cost about a billion of my hard-earned dollars, but I had decided – there’s that word again! – that it was an investment in better sleep and hopefully an at least marginally improved Suzy.

So I was pretty excited.

Delivery Day arrived, and the truck pulled up within its delivery window. Its arrival also released the hounds, and it took some persuading to get the delivery guys to get out of the truck and into the midst of Mark’s flock of enthusiastic and enthusiastically barking dogs. The dogs failed to eat the delivery guys, living up to my claim that while there was considerable bark, there would be no bite.

They dragged the heavy new mattress upstairs, removed the old one, and went on their dog-free way back to Civilization.

I couldn’t wait to make up the new bed with the new comforter set I had bought for the occasion, which as you can see got the Audrey seal of approval:

Audrey’s opinion is always important, but since she spends most of the day on the bed getting her beauty sleep, it’s especially important when it comes to new bedding.

With promises of fabulousness dancing in my head, I got into bed under the Audrey-approved covers, and…meh. Rather than the cloud of blissful comfort I expected for the exorbitant price, it was unyielding and implacable, much like Audrey herself. I did not wake up notably more refreshed, or wake up less, either. Nor was it a haven of bliss.

I have to admit I was pretty disappointed. Yes, it met my usual goal of less crappy. It is much less crappy than a decade old Ikea mattress. But it also cost about 100 times as much, and is not 100 times better. And I spent a bunch of money on something that is not wonderful. I steeled myself to spend the money to indulge myself in a luxury, and it’s not. All that money and no enjoyment.

I have 100 days to return it, but now my decision deficient mind has to decide whether to keep the horribly overpriced yet utterly underwhelming mattress, ort search for another one when I have lost what little faith I ever had in my mattress buying acumen.

The entire process is additionally hampered by the fact that the delivery guys took away the old mattress, so if I do get another one, I have to do it before I convince the delivery guys to risk life and limb to come back and pick up the expensive mattress. No matter what I do, it’s going to be a hassle. And whatever I decide will undoubtedly be the wrong thing. Maybe I should be like George on Seinfeld and do the opposite of my instincts, and everything will turn out fine.

As so often happens in life, none of these options are appealing. What do you think? Some of you must be better decision makers than I am!

*It turns out Degas was something of a cork expert, or at least a cork aficionado, since he stuffed his statues with used wine corks.

A YEAR AGO: The local message boards were all aflutter about birds.

FIVE YEARS AGO: Almost time for Dad’s birthday. I still miss him so much, even after 17 years!

TEN YEARS AGO: It looks like I was counting down to the Sex & the City movie, but the post is having technical errors.

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Mar 12 2018

Dark & Light

Published by under Country Life

Zombie Monday wasn’t as bad as I had feared, at least physically. I felt fine, despite getting up at 4:00 am, disguised as 5:00 am, and hating the fact that I was plunged back into darkness on my way to work, yet again needing a flashlight to get to the car and high beams once I was in it.

The animals in Hooterville apparently did not get the memo that the humans were doing something stupid again, since the skunks, deer, and rabbits were going about their usual business by the side of the road as I drove by and startled them. I will never understand why we put up with this craziness twice a year.

Work has been crazy, too, with more drama than my two brain cells can comfortably handle, and winter is trying to make up for skipping most of the season by jamming all the rain into two weeks, the rain version of summer school.

So it’s pretty much been gloomy inside and out, which made it the perfect time to go and see Angelika and get both the inner and outer Me looking and feeling brighter.

I dashed into her little salon in the big woods, where everything smelled like soothing lavender and there was soft music and a smiling Angelika. This time, we decided to go a little lighter, and thanks to Megan putting 100 “Angelika Bucks” in my stocking, my wallet was not lighter.

My spirits were, though. Angelika is such a wonderful, positive person and being around her always makes me happy.

On my way home, I was behind the school bus on the rainy Ridge, and I saw a little girl get off the bus. She was quite small and wearing a little white wool cap. Her father met her at the foot of their driveway, and enfolded her little body into a big hug. I could see her hugging back and their dog bouncing around joyously, wagging his tail. How’s that for a welcome home?

Back home, I discovered a formerly festive red skirt lying forlornly in the yard:

Sometimes I wonder what goes on around here when I’m at work. Mark’s herd of dogs gave me my own enthusiastic and muddy greeting, so there were at least two happy girls on the Ridge that afternoon.

A YEAR AGO: Of cats and dogs.

FIVE YEARS AGO: Trying to get divorced.

TEN YEARS AGO: Nothing worked, except me, of course.

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Mar 08 2018

Leaps & Bounds

Published by under Country Life,Weather

It’s been chilly lately, the grass by the side of the road furred with frost most mornings. In the winter, I only use hot water in the shower, since the well water is so cold and the flash heater, positioned outside the house instead of inside, where it belongs, can only get the water so hot. It’s been months of barely acceptable showers, bordering on the intolerable, which made the truly hot shower at the hotel last week so enjoyable (though I kept burning myself on the hot water any time I used it, being used to water that needs to run for a while to even get warm. You know you’re a bumpkin when….).

We got a few inches of rain over the past few days, and some hail, too. We are slated to get more rain on and off over the next two weeks. It’s like winter finally realized that time was running out and it had better get going before it was too late. We’ve gotten about a third of the rain this year that we did last year, and the Sierra snowpack, which provides much of the water in northern California, is way below expectations. Anyway, we all know that March is the secret winter month no-one talks about.

We were getting a break from the rain on Sunday, when Megan, Rio, and I headed to the beautiful South Coast to see the ballet. Not having to drive allowed me to enjoy the passing scenery as well as our conversation. The ocean was calm and deep blue, birch trees were hazed with new leaves and the rolling hills and grass beside the road were winter green. Fields blazed with blooming mustard plants and cows showed off their new spring babies under the witchy, wind-swept cypress trees.

We skipped our usual pilgrimage to Anchor Bay Thai Kitchen, since a Facebook post had alerted us to the fact that they were unexpectedly closed that day, to our disappointment. The next ballet is the last of the season and is during my birthday week in June, so I have decided to attempt making my own. I have tamarind paste and curry paste, so look out!

We had our favorite balcony seats to enjoy the Bolshoi Ballet’s Flames of Paris being streamed from Moscow to the little Art Deco theater in Point Arena. The ballet was wonderful and dramatic, the story of two sets of lovers set against the backdrop of the French Revolution. There was a scene set in the court of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, which included a ballet within a ballet and breathtaking costumes on the royal couple and courtiers, particularly the men’s embroidered coats.

It was originally written in the late ‘20s, and I think they were quite inspired by a monarchy being toppled by a republic at that time, since Russians had recently done the same thing. My favorite male dancer, Igor Tsvirko, was absolutely magnificent and gravity-defying, and the pas de deux were stunning. We had a wonderful time, but we were all shocked by the ending*.The last ballet of the season is Coppélia on June 10, my birthday week. Later that month is Macbeth, streamed from the National Theatre in London. Lots to look forward to!

*The lovely aristocrat Adeline is guillotined, and her head dropped in the lap of her lover Jérôme. How’s that for an ending – for Adeline and the ballet?

A YEAR AGO: I was sick and being shunned by the cats. What’s not to hate? Oh, and it was raining then, too. A lot.

FIVE YEARS AGO: Taking our beloved Schatzi to the vet for a check-up. I still miss that wonderful girl, and her boyfriend Yellow Dog still trots by my house, looking for her. She was remarkable.

TEN YEARS AGO: Politics were annoying me. They still are. It seems that not much has changed in the past year, five years, or decade.

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Mar 04 2018

Art Show

Published by under Family

I thought you might enjoy a look at some of Rob’s most recent ceramic works. He has been taking classes at the local college, and I think it has really kicked up his skills a notch. His work has always been beautiful and as unusual as Rob himself, but I think it has achieved a whole new level.

I am enchanted by this fish, which swims above Megan and Rob’s kitchen sink. The colors and details are remarkable. It’s hard to tell in the picture, but he hand-textured all the scales. I love how the tail is bent forward toward the viewer.

The clock is also in their kitchen. The hands glow in the dark. It has a sort of crackly glaze over the strongly geometric pattern and the numbers are hand-painted in a deep blue.

Rob surprised me with my own clock for Christmas:

As you can see, he like geometric shapes, and has always enjoyed the work of MC Escher*. But this tile was not made from a mold – he made all the shapes by hand:

These penguins are utterly adorable:

They are so cute that Megan refused to part with them. I can’t say I blame her!

*My friend Alice’s husband Claude, who is Dutch, has a letter from Escher. He was from the same village and Claude’s dad bought 4 originals when he was unknown for about 80 Euros. He sold them when they were worth 800 Euros, but should have kept them because they are worth a lot more now.

A YEAR AGO: A cold and windy day for the annual Polar Plunge, but our hearts were warm.

FIVE YEARS AGO: Experiencing a few technical difficulties.

TEN YEARS AGO: A recap of the Film Noir Festival in San Francisco.

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