Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Glitchy. Whenever I post a comment, the comment publishes twice. It's like I'm repeating myself. It's like I'm repeating myself.

Went to see the only hopeful on the short list of house rentals; too small. Tell me not to despair. Too late.

Maria and I cleaned bathroom drawers and under the sink. I threw away about 42 old toothbrushes, expired Cipro, tubes of stuff that looked suspicious, and a couple of completely squeezed-out toothpaste tubes. I sorted bobby pins, nail clippers and eyeliners. Maria passed me bottles and buttons, and countless little things. None of my work seems sufficient, in terms of getting us out of here. Chipper me smiles and says, "It will all pay-off on moving day. Every bit counts!" And sober, bitter me says very little, but sneers and moans a lot.

Sober-bitter me paid a visit to the boy's playroom today, and I had plenty to say about that. After threatning to withold all joys, including TV, allowance, food and shelter until the room is clean, the boys came through and returned their playroom to a state of cleanliness.

Before Geoff started working again, he read me an article by an anonymous and disgruntled wife of a game programmer. She lamented the hours and the expectations of employees and their families, she decried the conditions and held her fist high, angry for all the injustice. Her husband was working 50-60 hours a week, then 80 and at times more. Hah! She'll get no sympathy here. I'd defend her and give her my shoulder to cry on, because she does have a point, but my only reward is bragging about how much worse I've got it. Besides, who wants to complain now? The time to get really freaked-out will be when the remaining programming jobs go to Shanghai and Bangalore.

I guess I'll clear out the pantry tomorrow. Every bit counts. Grumble, grumble.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Click on the link and adjust the speed to "fast", be patient, then check out my brush strokes! art.com artPad Be sure to paint your own, because it's sooo much fun.
Quality Time.
We made the most of Geoff's one free day. First we tried to get in to the zoo, but there was no parking. None. Then we decided on something really wild, and we rented a fast boat! Hold on tight! We cruised under the Coronado bridge, and all around the harbor. We even saw a swimming seal. I don't know why my corner of the boat was the only part that was getting heavily splashed. Maria and I were fairly soaked by the end of the excursion. She and I laughed, shocked and amused, every time we were hit with a new wave of cold ocean water.

After boating, we walked down to the beach in front of the Del. Max found us an exceptional spot for tunneling in the sand and for burying William up to his neck. Maria loved all the activity, the sand, the digging, the laughter. It was a blue sky beautiful day, with lots of happy people on the beach and boardwalk. There were at least two weddings going on. The warm sun, the smell of the ocean and the feel of the sand, and time relaxing with my husband and children... all good.

Alex is about to put the squeeze on the Del.

We will be sweeping sand from our beds and floors for days, smiling.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Grand Prize in our home...

The Dragonfly Knight
by Alex, age 11

Alex designed and drew this knight as an entry in a Lego Magazine contest for original concepts for their Knight's Kingdom series. This was not his first draft. He first spent days carefully considering all the possible themes and color schemes. The new knight could not be like any of the other Lego knights. Other crests on the knights' shields include a bear, lion, monkey, hawk, bull, snake, scorpion, and dragon. Once Alex decided that a dragonfly would be the most unique and noble crest, and he chose a new color, different from the other knights', he began sketching his concept for the plastic action figure. He challenged himself to draw several drafts, until he felt certain he had drawn the best knight he could.

Hard work is good, and the reward comes from the passion and the love of the job... but sometimes you hope for a bit more, like recognition, appreciation. We all love Alex's knight. We were certain Lego would recognize his effort, his sincerity, and his thoughtful design.

(Dang it; I am trying to show him a mature, brave face, 'cause we can't expect to *win* everytime, but how can I show him the 'brave face' when I feel totally disappointed too! Those bums don't know a good thing when they see it, and I'm hopping mad. They didn't even print the winners' art in their magazine, and what would it have hurt them to print winners and honorable mentions? )

Lego may have missed something, but around here, Alex wins my heart everyday. He works with love and caring. He applies his skills, patience and interest wherever he can, and it reflects in all of his accomplishmnets. I have no doubt that good things and plenty of prizes await my talented son.

Should I...

1. Take the train to Union Station and go touring around Little Tokyo?
2. Take the train to Union Station, explore and then take the Gold Line east and spend the night?
3. Stay home, teach, clean, pack, organize, find a house and serve the children 3 healthy meals?

Scud. I cannot honestly call my life "depressing," but it is definitely aggravating.

Since missing out on the *Poo-poo* house we have found maybe two other houses that were decent, but
they too have fallen through for one reason or another. Bob, the landlord, has indicated that his building plans are with the
city and we may have more time to stay in the Tree-House. But... this means more time in limbo, and of course I have started packing, so we are living in the dreaded mode of being In-yet-Out. A lot of our favorite junk is packed, and a lot of our cluttering junk is piled about us like grim reminders that we are not living at our optimal best... so to speak. My Mom's visit was good for improving morale, but now I need to get over my aggravation and throw away clutter junk, sell unnecessary junk, and finish packing priceless junk.

One last rant (for today): Renters have to be small and apologetic, compliant and groveling, and it is a demeaning, demoralizing way to live. We have things like toys and clothes and furniture. We have six people's worth of stuff, but when it's moving time I feel like we are a warehouse of materialism and accumulation, and I feel embarrassed, ashamed and ridiculous. We have pets, we have vehicles, we have a hammock, but no trees to hang it from, and we have to find a place that will accept all of us, so we have to conform to 2 line ads that advertise '3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms and no garage, or no yard, or no pets, or no place to hang a hammock.' Property managers don't know that I make a friendly neighbor, that I garden, that our children are really sweet-natured. Landlords are looking for the dents and dings that tenants leave when they are busy living, and my mind is always calculating the damage we are doing to someone else's home. Owning a home is tough; it takes responsibility and sweat equity, I know. But if you are in your own home take stock of the sweet pleasure of answering only to your own schemes and designs, and never dreading the landlord's knock. In another year or three, check back with me when I *itch and moan about replacing the plumbing or making the mortgage on our own house; trust me, it'll still be way mo' betta than this.