Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Goodbye, Cookie Hound


Your entrance into our life was probably an accident of Fate. Mom, desperate to fill the hole in our lives that Charlie (the canine love of her life who, just like the Charlie in All Dogs Go to Heaven, was a German Shepherd) had left when he died, had met with several failed attempts to find a replacement. It was pure chance that she and Dad happened to see your mother, tits down to the ground, on a walk with our neighbor.

"That's a bitch who just had puppies," Dad said. (Probably not his exact words, but close enough.) And he was right. And as it happened, those puppies were close to being weaned and ready to be adopted. We would never have chosen a chocolate lab, much less a purebred one with papers, if not for this.

Your mother's owner told us to pick the one with the softest head — for quality? — and that was you. We sat around petting you for a while amidst your siblings and then brought you home, where you were a sleepy puppy for the first few weeks, except for the times when you were busy dragging our other dog, Clifford (named for the dog of the books, though neither big nor red) around by his collar.

We picked your name for Luke Skywalker, because I was newly a Star Wars fan at the time. It seemed to fit you, better than the other options that would reasonably come up for a dog of your color.

Gap Ad Daniel, With Dogs

You were not the smartest of best friends, nor even the most loyal (I'm thinking here of the time you ran away and jumped into another family's car, as if you were going to join them on their vacation). But you were the best to snuggle with on a day home sick from school.

And you were always the first to know when a package of cookies was being opened somewhere in the house.

Mom fed you pieces of chocolate "to help him keep his color" on lazy Saturday mornings. Dad would always have to be the one to walk you, because the minute you got on the leash you would fly forward with all your weight, eager to be out and piss on every bush you could raise your leg to. My sisters and brother and I would joke about how when you died we would make an area rug out of your coat, and fight over who would get your soft soft ears to make into mittens.

Gimme my Pig's Ear

Sometimes you were frustrating. You liked to bark at passersby who came within 100 feet of the house. You loved to steal food from the dinner table. You hated having to be outside when we had company over. And once you even peed on Dad's foot when we didn't let you out, even though you'd been standing by the door for five whole minutes. (That last was pretty funny.) Eventually he forgave you.

A Man and His Dog

As you grew older, and your body started growing lumps and sores, and your legs started to not work right anymore, we kept wondering, Is it time yet? But you kept being so aware, and you kept hounding after those cookies. Your head didn't seem to know yet that your body was done with, and we couldn't bear to let you go. So we bore with you, carrying you in and out of the house, lifting you up so you could perform basic bodily functions, grumbling to ourselves how annoying you were, but still not able to give you up.

But today, we all had to admit to ourselves that it was finally time to let you go. Sixteen years we had you — more than half my life. The house will be empty to return to without you.

I hope there are a lot of cookies for you in the big Dog Park on the other side of the ocean. Sleep well, old man.

Sleepy Luke

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Staying Up With the Vampires[Insert exclamation mark here]

A few weeks ago, my parents drove up the coast on a little romantic, escape-the-house-full-of-progeny-and-dying-dog jaunt, just the two of them. They weren't sure exactly how far they would go, but after a few days they made it as far as the Olympic Peninsula up in Washington State. Last time they were up there was about 15 years ago, with all of us spawn, when we spent a few days camping or living in a cabin or something like that during the one dry and sunny week a year that part of the world gets. Which is probably why I have fond memories of Washington state, and am looking forward to my own upcoming trip.

(As an aside, it feels like the Pacific Northwest is the destination this year. Seriously, I know at least six or seven people from the Bay Area who have been there or are making the trip up there this year, not even including myself.)

At any rate, they were moseying along, driving through Podunk town after Podunk town, when they happen to enter this wee little village by the name of Forks. And my parents, unaware of the existence of such a place, much less the fact that it might have any significance to anyone beyond the people who lived there, were shocked when they suddenly came to a strip of stores that seemed ... out of place. My parents decided to stop and check it out, and it was probably when they walked into this store in particular that they (likely my mother) suddenly realized where the fuck they were.

I was at work when I got the phone call from them. "Guess where we are!" my mother proclaimed.

I did not guess correctly.

"What do you want from here?" This question put me at a loss. Now, admittedly, I've read three of the four books written by Ms. Stephenie Meyer. So I know where Forks is, what the hype is about. But I don't really want anything from there. I didn't even buy the books — my sister lent me her copies. Fuck, I still don't own a single Kelly Clarkson CD, and I like her a whole lot more (guilty, guilty pleasure) than I liked the Twilight Series.

My mother started listing the options, and I finally consented to two things:

1) a mug


(My co-worker was very concerned to see this mug on my desk. I'm expecting any day now to be inundated with the latest Sookie Stackhouse novel just to "cure" me of the sparkliness.)


2) a bag of Twilight-themed coffee. I finally had a chance to try some of the coffee this morning. It's actually not terrible. A bit on the bitter side for my taste, but that seems to be the way (to my inexperienced coffee-tasting tongue buds) they do that sort of thing in the Puget Sound area.

Now the real question: will I make a pilgrimage of my own out there while I'm up north? If I do, I will promise to make sure I do it with a camera. And a group of especially cynical friends.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Calling All Camera Nerds

I need a new one. A new camera, that is. And I'd like suggestions, if you have them.

Things I'm looking for:
  1. I tend to prefer Canon as a brand. They're pretty solid, and I'm used to how the settings work ... but that doesn't mean I won't take other brands into consideration.
  2. I'd prefer it to have a view finder (you know — that little window that old-style film cameras have). It saves battery, and doesn't make me feel like a dope that has to look at a big screen to get a proper shot.
  3. It'd be nice if it was under $200. Like, closer to $100. I'm po' and trying to save money for my September PacNW trip. I'll save up for the fancy $1,000 SLR another time.

Beyond the need to buy the camera, and the cost of taking my car in to get an oil change/general tune-up (and an assessment of whether or not she can safely make another 2000-mile road trip), I'm going to try to take August easy. Cheap and easy. There aren't any plans, really, besides the knitting class I'm going to be teaching.

Did I mention that yet? Oops. By the way, I'm teaching a sock knitting class next August, at SF Knitting Supply, out in the Sunset. The first 3-week session starts August 8 (holy crap! that's coming up!), so sign up! Or tell your friends to sign up! And if you can't make it this session, I'll may be teaching it all over again sometime near the end of September.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Not My Friend

Well, that was a bad idea. On the bus ride to work this morning, we got to the halfway point of my trip when suddenly my stomach overturned and I started thinking it might be a good idea to look for a plastic baggie in case my morning coffee decided to come back up. We got to the Castro MUNI station, and after a shaky three steps I realized this was not the day to go to work.

Riding a community bus in a hilly neighborhood when you're feeling nauseous, by the way, is highly not recommended. I think the lady who foolishly sat next to me on a practically empty bus started to regret her decision when she noticed I spent most of the time with my eyes closed and clutching at the bar in front of me.

I spent the day in bed, having really strange dreams and being further thankful for Netflix via the Wii. A reminder to never, ever take Vicodin again. Ever.

Really. Never. Remind me of this next time I even think about it.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Stoned and Dethroned

... which is an album I haven't listened to in years, really. If I ever get back to that whole plan to listen to all my CDs in alphabetical order (by artist), I may well get to it. In about three months or so.

I'm going to blame the vicodin for today's little bout of naval-gazing. (It's leftover from back when I sliced the tip of my finger off ... so yes, the prescription's mine, druggies.) The vicodin, and Julie and Julia, which I just finished watching on my Netflix Instant Queue gods bless the Wii I stole from my brother.

I miss New York.

Yeah, I know: I do this pretty regularly. Go along happy with San Francisco for a while and then bam suddenly I'm sick of it and just want to pick up and move back east.

Wait, let me pop another pill, bring it up to a full dose of painkiller.


Where was I? Oh.

It's not that things aren't happening for me here in San Francisco. I'm starting to build up a network of friends that I like and can call up to do stuff here. I know the city more and more, my apartment gets more and more comfortable.

But there's something missing. Not exactly sure if it's what I think is missing, but whatever it is, it's not there.

That's all, really. Most of the time I'm okay and can ignore that hole, but it's getting more frequent now that the void becomes palpable. Maybe it's not New York where I'll find what I'm needing, but it's a place to start, isn't it?

Or I could just stay here, and try to figure out why that hole is there in the first place.

In the time since my last post, I've

  • Gone camping for the first time since 2000;
  • Broken my camera into un-usability;
  • Celebrated my grandparents' 90th birthdays (and 65th wedding anniversary);
  • Been injured again in my shoulder (hence the vicodin);
  • Seen all my paternal cousins save one; and
  • Got through a major family event without wanting to kill anyone related to me.

I'd say that was a more-or-less successful couple of weeks. It would be nice to be able to turn my head to the left again, but there you go. Life can't be perfect.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Greatest Thing

Every wondered how far back a time period "The greatest thing since sliced bread" encompasses?

Thank you, Wikipedia, for now I know: today (the 7th, just slipping it in on time, PT) is the 82nd anniversary of the world's introduction to Sliced Bread.

Just thought we all should know. You're welcome.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Red Interlude

Now, this may just be the hormones talking (Auntie Flo is visiting), but I'm pissed. And frustrated. And men are douchebags.

It's a recurring question in the family: How's my dating life going? Do I have a boyfriend yet? I must be out every night, mustn't I? Blah blah blah. How's it going, you ask? Well, it fucking sucks, that's how it's going.

I've been single well over five years now. I'm tired of it. Not in the sad I-can't-define-myself-without-a-boyfriend kind of way. I know who I am — definitely better than I did back when I was dating Sweetness — so I guess I'm thankful for being single long enough to give me that. But I'm tired mostly in the doing things by myself kind of way. I want someone to share things with. Someone to have inside jokes and go on random trips and sleep in on a weekend with. Someone to cook dinner for (or rely on to cook dinner for me).

I have a feeling my singlehood is not going to change anytime soon (so much for hope and crushes and all that bullshit). And I'd like to think I'm not completely blameless in this. Sure, I've probably been a dick once or twice (or a few times) myself ... which is the reason I'm not dating Sweetness anymore in the first place (and thank heavens for that). But for instance, here's just a sampling of the guys I've dated or had interest in over the last few years (varying levels of douchebaggery):

  • Nice guy, but insisted on the third date that we watch the Superbowl -- alone, not at a party -- despite my insistence that I severely disliked football. And no, the commercials were not good that year, and no, it wasn't even a local team.

  • Slept with me once after several dates (and a couple years of sexual tension), never called back, ended up going back to his ex-girlfriend ... who lives 1,000 miles away. Oh, and he stood me up a couple times because his World of Warcraft guild "needed him for a raid".

  • Wholesome. Really wholesome. Decided to quit his well-paid tech job to become a cop (which is not a bad thing for most people, I guess). Didn't like the hat I knitted for him as a Christmas present, because "he's not a hat person". And then proceeded to ask me, after a month of seeing each other, where I saw the relationship going and if we were a steady item. (This one, admittedly, was not so bad ... just not my type. I still kind of feel like the dick in this relationship, even though I knew he wasn't really for me.)

  • Showed up to the second date drunk, and tried to take me back home after dinner for a quickie. Note: we'd not even kissed at this point. (Also: not a great kisser, which he did to try to convince me that a quickie would be a great idea.) I had to forcibly extricate myself from his grip and hurry on to work — this was back when I was working Graveyard.

  • Spent three hours having a great conversation at a bar, I felt like we were actually kind of bonding, until the very end when he threw in the comment "... and since I'm probably not ever going to see you again ..." What a great ego boost.

I'm not even including the latest, since I guess technically he still has a chance. It's only been a few days. People are busy. But I don't have much hope.

So tell me: Is it me? Am I doing something wrong here? I just don't get it.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Flushed and Crushed

This week it has been a year that I have been a Daywalker.

Lately I've been realizing just how long it was the last time I had a certified crush on somebody. The kind of crush that makes you bite your lip and blush and zone off into La-la Land while you're thinking of him. I think for a long time I started to believe it could never happen again. I think, too, that the drama of turning 30 had a lot to do with that feeling of hopeless emptiness, of stagnation, of loneliness.

That has changed. Not sure how or why or precisely when (well, ok, I kind of have an inkling on the when), but I'm starting to believe again. Believe in the power of crush.

I am debating: tonight should I be a loser and stay home to clean my apartment; or should I pretend I am somewhat cool and head down to the local for a couple drinks, and try to meet someone new?

I have to admit, after the sort-of-whirlwind way things have been going the last couple of months, being a loser feels really tempting. That, and the fact that I have so much do to here — including my Netflix Direct queue, which has finally been hooked up through my Wii — makes Loserville seem pretty tempting.

Plus, tomorrow will be a full day at the Fillmore Jazz Festival with Josh and Leonie and others. There will be live music and "street meat", as Josh lovingly refers to it — I think he means food, and not the other, less savory kinds of meat you find on the streets of San Francisco.