Monday, September 6, 2010

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

Happy Labor Day, America! Hope you are all having a great and safe long end-of-summer holiday weekend.

Yesterday, in honor of the end-of-summer Labor Day weekend, good friends Stu and Sharon threw their annual pool party. I brought my parrot and a big bowl of fresh strawberries and a little bowl of yogurt dip to share. (The parrot was not for consumption.) What I didn't bring was my bathing suit. I'm not quite ready to share the sight of my body in a bathing suit.

Anyway, to get to the party, I had to drive about 70 miles each way on the freeway. Since I live a couple of blocks from my workplace and walk to work, I don't drive much anymore and had forgotten how very exhausting it is! I was going over the speed limit by about 15 mph, and cars were zipping past me (and around me) like I was standing still! It was great to see old friends, though. I don't get to see them much anymore, though we used to ride the commuter train together every day for a decade before I moved downtown and others got new jobs or retired. So it was well worth the drive! Once a year, anyway.

Earlier this summer, I flew to New York just for the weekend to see a show. I've never done anything so, you know, frivolous before. But my daughter wanted me to see her perform (the show was "Spelling Bee" and it was off-off-off-Broadway and really good ~ I never realized how funny my daughter actually is), so I went ahead and just did it. During the trip, I met my nephew whom I hadn't seen for about 15 years, which is why I say I "met" him, since he is completely different now from the little boy he'd been then. He's now a graduate student studying linguistics, and he has a lovely girlfriend whom I also met.

I also traveled to Colorado for a week to spend time with my sister and her four daughters. Now, family vacations can be stressful, but not this one! My four beautiful nieces were attentive and generally all-around fun to be with, and my sister ~ well, suffice it to say we are always ready to explore new places.

I'd never been to Colorado, so, besides the joy of seeing family, it was a real treat. Except for the difficult time I had breathing at the higher altitude, that is. But I got over that, or at least panted through it, and have wonderful memories of mountains, butterflies, mountain, waterfalls, mountains, blue skies with white clouds, mountains.

A special highlight of the trip was the Butterfly Pavilion just outside Denver. It was unbearably hot and humid inside, which is good for butterflies but not so good for humans. As I hope you will agree, the images I came away with were well worth the sweat dripping from my forehead into my eyes the damp (well, soaking) clothes.

We also went to the Mile-High Music Festival. It brought back foggy but fond memories of my wild days as a rocker, but the reality was that I am no longer comfortable sitting on a blanket on the grass but instead really really require some sort of chair, and being out in the hot sun all day requires a sun umbrella or at least a wide-brimmed hat.

So, now it's Labor Day and summer is at an end...except for the heat. Unlike summer, though, when white can be worn to reflect the heat, now we'll have to make do with off-white and beige. Unless you're a rebel like me. I don't care what Serial Mom (or the voice of my grandmother whispering in my head) says, until the temperature backs off from the 90s, Imma wear as much white as I want.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Nearly a Year Later ~ How Time Flies...

How odd to think it's been nearly a year since I posted on this blog. So much has happened in that year, and yet, when I try to think of any one thing I can share here, nothing of particularly earthshaking, or even interesting, interest comes to mind. Most of my busy-ness has been focused around work: my job was becoming more intense and less challenging, never a good combination. Recently, though, one of my attorneys (I'm what used to be known as a legal secretary; now the job title is practice assistant) was promoted to head of the business & finance department for a global law firm, so things are now REALLY intense and much more challenging, to the point where I walk around in a stupor, cry a lot from nerves, and when I get home at night can scarcely fix dinner for my parrot and myself before collapsing.

One thing I've been doing ~ which can be thought of as either good or stupid, depending on your outlook ~ is getting involved in politics. Last summer, after watching the ridiculous, disgusting and frightening antics of the Tea Party, and then last autumn and winter, after watching the equally ridiculous, disgusting and frightening obstructionism of the Republicans in Congress with respect to the Health Care Reform bill, I found myself becoming politicized. First I was drawn to learning more about what's going on in the political world. In the course of time, I became aware of so many disgusting, ridiculous and frightening things that are going on in this country and around the world that sometimes I just wanted to hide in my room and read light fiction. But the reality of the situation has dire consequences for everyone living today and our children's children to the point that, as a responsible citizen of the United States and resident of Planet Earth, I HAD to DO something.

So, I've resisted the urge to hide out and instead have become active. I have joined the Democratic Party and the Coffee Party USA. I've made phone calls and written emails and letters (yes, actual snailmail letters) to my and other Senators and Representatives, made donations to the campaign funds of certain politicians who have stood up to the bullying of the GOP and the corporate lobbyists, and even participated in a few protests. Not my usual style, and horribly uncomfortable for me, but something I think is necessary. BTW, the Coffee Party, for anyone who is interested, is NOT the opposite of the Tea Party, it is an antidote to the Tea Party ~ a place where anyone of any affiliation can go to debate the issues and find common ground without the rhetoric of hate, the violence or threat of violence, and the unbalanced fear of government that has characterized the Tea Party. It's an empowering thing, to be part of a true grassroots movement that espouses civil discourse and legal expressions of opinion, and responsible public involvement in our government. (Picture at right of a recent meeting of the Downtown LA chapter of the Coffee Party. I'm the dorky looking one in the middle.)

Beyond that, I've stopped reading as much as I had been. Perhaps I just don't have the energy to read late into the night anymore. I know I don't have as much time for reading, now that I've discovered Twitter. My parrot keeps me occupied too, as well as entertained. Even at the worst of times, Nickelbird is able to make me laugh. I'm so blessed to have her in my life (notwithstanding the constant mess she causes with her food flinging, shredding of anything shreddable she can get her beak on, and normal shedding of dust & feathers, not to mention the endless pooping). Here's a picture of Nickel peeking out from her favorite shelf in the linen-cupboard in the bathroom.

I'm going to try to post here more often, and promise not to be quite as long-winded as I seem to have been today. We'll see how that works out.