Thursday, July 31, 2008

I hear the talking of the DJ/can't understand just what does [s]he say

Blogging from 6 North again today. Steve and I, armed and ready for laptop assholery.

Today is a day of great news and not so good news. While I hate my good news being spoiled by the taint of bad news, I suppose I can't complain about the good news tempering the bad. Yin and yang? Whatever.

I can only be circumspect about the good news for now. Complete disclosure will be allowed in a couple of days. Let's just say the airwaves will no longer be Cat-free in the very near future. Details to come.

The bad news is vague, but troubling. While we haven't heard when our store is closing yet, Michael and I found out (in a very aggravating, offhand and casual way) that our store manager has been given a new store and will be moving there fairly soon. There are a few ramifications that seem inevitable: 1) we will have some sort of interim, part-time manager who may be really terrible; 2) we have basically been cut loose with no one to speak up for us (not that Michael and I were expecting much of that in our favor anyway); and 3) there is a closing date for our store and we just haven't been told yet. Of course, the one good thing is that we are a fairly cohesive (though admittedly sometimes dysfunctional) unit that can run the store pretty well without much managerial supervision and it might be nice to be autonomous for a bit, even if it means our demise is eminent.

Hearing the news last night was a blow. Michael and I ended up working alone for several hours last night and I went from a hyperactive giddiness (brought on by a happier earlier conversation before work) at the beginning of my shift, to a weepy wallowing for the last couple of hours. Michael was ready to throttle me, I think; annoyed by my moping and feeling helpless to make me better. A couple of drinks and some 80s videos (some great, some hideous) later at the Loading Zone and I was feeling a little less fatalistic. The thing is, I haven't let myself really wallow over this issue and I know it's a-coming. It's going to be bad. The question is if I'm going to be alone or if Michael is going to be the lucky recipient of my sobbing, red-faced self.

I have let the universe, as it were, plot my directions for most of my adult life. Not to say I have been shiftless and completely plan-free, but I have tended to take the paths that were presented to me by happenstance rather than doing any sort of thoughtful career or life planning. And honestly, it's worked out rather well as far as happiness and well-being goes. No, I do not have a nest egg to support me in my dotage, nor do I expect to ever have that. Yes, I have begun to have micro panic attacks about my old age (when does it become unseemly to sit cross-legged in a coffeehouse wearing a strapless sundress? 45? 50? 80?). But do I want to sacrifice the relative freedom I've felt from the corporate world and return there now (if anyone would even have me) for a bit of stability and regularity of schedule? I don't know. As usual, I'm going to let things play out and see what happens.

And I'm feeling the vague, albeit very faint stirrings, of my artistic creativity returning. That can only be a good thing.

I've also thrown out a drinking and dining invitation to Dana and Roy (and Michael) for Saturday night as I have the day off and I feel like cooking and socializing. We'll see what happens. Perhaps my creativity is being channeled only into food as of yet. That works for me.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

I've looked under chairs/I've looked under tables/I've tried to find the key/To fifty million fables

I spent my day yesterday doing little but satisfying my carnal desires. That in mind, I decided I should get myself out of the house today and give my computer a break. I text messaged Michael at 9:30am and told him I was coming to get him in 45 minutes for a trip to Old Navy and Trader Joe's. He bargained for one hour (and took 1:10), but agreed. In the meantime, I found an estate sale on Lindell in one of the big houses across from Forest Park and thought he might like to stop there too.

After a quick caffeine stop at our store, we were on our way. The estate sale house wasn't one of the better houses, but it was big enough. We ooohed and aaahed over a beautiful, original bathroom, all in a delicate celadon green. Two more bathrooms, however, were monstrosities, having been redone with giant spa tubs and horrible 90s-era tile on the floor. The only saving grace was that the original glazed wall tiles were kept intact. Both the big bathrooms also had these gorgeous, original stand alone showers with the heaviest imaginable glass and chrome doors. As with a lot of big house sales, most of the good stuff was gone, probably sold en masse to a collector or claimed by family members. I did manage to find a few interesting things though. These little cocktail forks remind me of croquet mallets:


This little ivory-colored plastic thing is full of little ivory-colored plastic cocktail forks. (I should have enough cocktail forks for the time being, anyway.)


I thought I might be able to use this little tray as a platform for my laptop when I'm lying on the couch. The teeny metal screwheads on the bottom of my computer tend to give me tiny, pinpricks of shocks (somewhat painful) so I need something between me and it (at least during the summer months when my legs are always bare).


I couldn't resist this piece of fabric. It photographed badly, but it's a gorgeous coral-pink with silver foil accents. And best of all, it's quite wide and there's at least two full yards. And for three dollars!


I love vintage pillowcases, though my taste generally runs toward vintage, hand-embroidered models. This '70s example was only fifty cents, so why not?


And for Steve, this vintage Addams Family card game.


Then on to Old Navy. I really didn't have any goal in mind; the sale racks at ON pretty much determine my purchases. Early on we came across these Missoni-like scarves. I love scarves, any kind of scarves and these were dirt cheap.


A couple of shirts for me later and we hit the men's side of the store. I've been giving Michael a lot of shit for wearing baggy jeans that do no justice to his man-junk so I made him try on smaller, tighter jeans than he's used to wearing. And, of course, I was right -- they looked great. I surprised myself by popping right into his dressing room with him. I would never really even consider doing that with Steve (because of what people would think?) but I didn't hesitate with Michael. Huh. It was worth it, though, for getting the change to watch him pose in the mirror.

By the time we got to Trader Joe's we had little time as Michael had a first date that was starting at 3:00pm. I grabbed some frozen stuff and then rushed to the wine aisle to stock up. Last week we had this bottle of sparking white that I was dazzled by. It left the most wonderful taste of white flowers on the back of my palate after every sip and it's crazy cheap price (five dollars!) meant I had to have more. If you want to get some for yourself, here's the label:


Back to work tomorrow, at 5:45am. Ugh.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Look for the girl with the sun in her eyes

Nothing much happening except that it was witheringly hot for a few days, it's cool now, I banged my head really hard at work and we still don't know if we have jobs or when the store is closing. And really, that's enough. I've generally kept myself out of trouble at work, keeping any untoward chatter to a minimum.

I haven't done much socializing in the last couple of weeks. Last Friday was our DJ gig at the Royale and while it was rather unpleasantly hot and sweaty out on the patio (at least for us, in close proximity to the bbq grill) it was a fun time. Marta, Michael and Michael's friend Jim came. Dana and Roy where there too and it was fun wandering from table to table, dishing dirt and drinking gin rickeys. I spent the next day, blissfully off from the job, doing work around the house and generally relaxing.

Basically I just wanted to post some recent photos today. Cats and flowers, mostly. This bee thing was planted on the back screen door the other day and tolerated me pushing my camera right up against the screen to photograph him. Kind of terrifyingly beautiful.


Lydia and Olive like nothing better than to claim my purse for their own personal cat bed whenever they have the opportunity. Lydia was particularly enjoying it on this day.


Mr. Baby is the sweetest, most tolerant cat I've ever had. He's like a living, breathing Beanie Baby. However, he doesn't like holding still for picture taking, hence I get lots of weird, slightly unfocused close-ups of him as he tries to rub on the camera.


Look at his adorable cheeks!


My hearty hibiscus finally started blooming in the last week or so. I love love love these dessert plate-sized flowers.


And here is the wilderness that is our front yard. We've been totally negligent about weeding and chopping out things that don't belong this year. Like Scarlet O'Hara, I'll think about it later.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Books!

Below is some kind of thing going around the blogosphere (and I'm sure I'm months and months behind posting this). Please don't take my posting as any sort of endorsement of this so-called Top 100 list.

The Big Read reckons that the average adult has only read 6 of the top 100 books they've printed.

1) Look at the list and bold those you have read.
2) Italicise those you intend to read
3) Underline the books you LOVE.

The List:

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee (my favorite book)
6 The Bible (Well, at least it's here on a fiction list...)
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman (hated this trilogy)
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott (I read this about 100 times when I was a kid.)
12 Tess of the D'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare (does it count that I've read Romeo and Juliet many times?)
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveller's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald (on my top 10 list.)
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens (OK, I haven't read it, but the miniseries was fantastic!)
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis (even as a kid I felt the abhorrent presence of Christianity and threw it down.)
34 Emma - Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis (how is this different than #33?)
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli's Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden (Sorry, Allison, but I still hate this. And I promise I will give your book back.)
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt (Hmmm, not this one, but I LOVED The Little Friend. Seriously loved it.)
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones's Diary - Helen Fielding (Please don't judge me because I've read this. At least I thought it was idiotic.)
69 Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray (It took me weeks and weeks to get through this and I'm sorry to say I didn't get much of the satire. It's embarrassing.)
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom (What the fuck is this thing doing on this list???)
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare (Why isn't this part of the Complete Works up there?)
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

Monday, July 14, 2008

Thrifting, etc.

I have been scouring thrift stores for years and years (and for less years, estate sales), refining my taste in design, establishing my likes and dislikes and indulging my tightwad nature. It turns out I'm a mid-century modern kind of gal, with trips into the late 1960s and early 1970s. It's becoming increasingly difficult to find anything from these eras at thrift stores, though estate sales still deliver. It's somewhat frightening to find that thrift stores are now full of items from the 1980s and on.

I drive past four thrift stores nearly every day on the way to and from work and I rarely stop. In fact, while I've been to the stores on numerous occasions, I've only stopped once after work. Today, however, I got what I call my Thrift Store Feeling and I was compelled to stop at the Goodwill and St. Vincent de Paul stores. I wasn't disappointed. At Goodwill I found these three glasses. I wish there had been more. I love their classic gold and black designs.


That was it for Goodwill so I headed across Forest Park Parkway to hit St. Vincent de Paul. I soon came across not one, not two, but THREE vintage tablecloths at only $2 each. They were folded and bound so I couldn't check for damage, but I figured the cheap price made it okay. Turns out all three are nearly perfect. First, the Iris one:


Then the bandana-like, medallion cloth:


Finally, the tulip tablecloth. I love the heavy black accents on this one.


And then I found something that may lead to an obsession of searching. This adorable little sugar bowl in the Calico Leaves pattern is by Peter Terris. I now feel I MUST find the sweet wooden lid that should go with it, not to mention the matching cream pitcher. This design is so beautifully natural and yet so modern/abstract that it epitomizes what I love about mid-century design. A little research told me that this pattern was retired in 1957.


As for as anything else goes, I had a rather uneventful weekend. When I wasn't working I was mostly just hanging out doing a lot of nothing. After work yesterday I convinced Steve to attempt some laptop assholery with me. Frustrated by the apparent Sunday afternoon off that independent coffee shops take, we ended up at Soulard Coffee Garden. I had asked Michael to join us, but after a couple calls and some texts, he declined. Unfortunately, at SCG, the free wi-fi did not extend to their back patio, which was the precise reason I wanted to go to a coffee house -- the weather was gorgeous. We stayed for a little while (should've brought a book like Steve) until I became so sleepy I needed to go home (attributed both to my early work day and this sugar filled goodness called a millionaire bar that I ate) . After a very short nap I woke up hankering for a movie and we decided on "Hancock" at the Moolah. Again, I invited Michael, but he didn't show after texting that he would probably come. I also extended an invitation to Dana and Roy but they were preparing to head to the Fox to see Al Green. So on the leather couch it was just me, Steve, our giant bag of popcorn and a delightful bottle of pinot grigio. Who knew I loved Will Smith so much?

Tomorrow we have our store meeting with HR and district folks. Who knows if we'll hear about our individual fates...

Thursday, July 10, 2008

No clever lyrics. Just "Hooray for Roy!"

Today Roy delivered my next wave of laptop action: a darling little pre-loved iBook G4. I was only a little sad about giving up my blueberry; she was just too slow for my needs and my Xtube habit could only be indulged on Steve's laptop (and, fine, I couldn't even watch cute cats on Youtube with it). And while cute and behandled, the blueberry was really heavy and a little unwieldy. This G4 is so white and compact and the apple on the lid glows! I think I'm going to love it. In fact, I probably already do. I can watch video now and, so far, it doesn't take minutes to do things that should take seconds.

So, again, Hooray for Roy!

One of these mornings/You're going to rise up singing/Then you'll spread your wings/And you'll take to the sky

Laptop Assholery, Part 3

Another Thursday has dawned with both Steve and I sharing a day off so I suggested we have another day (or at least morning) of laptop assholery. Since Michael is unavailable and working, we are ensconced at Park Avenue Coffee in Lafayette Square. You see, we can't come here with Michael because he has slept with someone who works here. One supposes it didn't turn out well, or perhaps he neglected to offer the poor fellow the obligatory slice of get-lost pizza upon parting. Whatever the reason, we're here at the home of 700 different flavors of gooey butter cake. They also have a Help Wanted sign posted. More on that later...

Walking up Park Avenue, we passed the house right next door to Arcelia's. I don't often have house or property envy (what's the point?) but we heard voices and laughter coming from the lush sideyard patio of the house and peeked in. Already absolutely envious of party sounds at 9:30 in the a.m., I seethed at the sight of a giant, gorgeous scarlet macaw perched on the elevated deck. At least it wasn't a hyacinth macaw -- I might have staged a coup...or at least invited ourselves in.

A celebrity of sorts came in for an Americano while we've sat here. Although not as glamorous as the Cardinal who frequents our store, a local TV reporter has some cache. By the way, both of these guys look better in person.

A week or so ago, my [very big corporate] employer announced the impending closing of 600 of its stores in the US. Steve shared the bad news that the newspaper reported 70% of the doomed stores were opened in the last year and were in close proximity to another location. So we held our breath, hoping for the best. On Tuesday, we got the bad news -- our beautiful, comfy, brand new, built to order store is closing. At this point we have only a vague idea when we're closing (sometime between August and March), and no idea whether or not we will have jobs. Of course, if we are offered another job it will be at a different location and will separate us. While I know that my paycheck and the cheap insurance are very important aspects of my job, all I could think of is that I won't have Michael by my side, getting me through my work days. We have a meeting with HR on Tuesday, so I suppose we'll know more after that. Or not. Having gone through this whole sort of thing too recently at May Company, I can only be pessimistic about the Man's dedication to the ground level workforce. Honestly, I can't believe I'm going through this again. I really don't want to think about it. But because I don't want to lose what little seniority I have, plus my insurance, I do need to wait and see what's offered before I look elsewhere.

Oh, and to add to Bad News Tuesday, I have apparently overestimated my value (and/or my DJ skills) to the community radio station with which I've been involved for many years. I'm ready to resume my radio show (which I've had for more years than not since 1989 or so) and have been standing by for some changes to open up a slot. But rather than being offered the prime, high profile slot I thought (and I was not alone in this thinking) I was getting, it was just mentioned as a possibility, though not as strong a possibility as two other slots, one of which was just plain insulting to even consider. The other is too conflicting with my work schedule (assuming I have a work schedule), but that didn't seem to make an impression. Again, more wait and see.

Doesn't anyone understand just how much I hate wait and see situations? *Sigh*

Now I have to figure out how to spend the rest of my day. Steve's going to lunch with his mom and I'm heading to Trader Joe's for cheap wine and whatever else strikes my fancy. Maybe a detour to Target for something cute to wear. After that, who knows? I have work early early tomorrow (but with Michael, so, yay!) so it won't be a late night. Gotta figure out something good to cook...

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Cause I heard it in the wind/And I saw it in the sky/And I thought it was the end/And I thought it was the 4th of July

I've been neglectful again. Just doing instead of doing and writing about, I guess. Not too much happening. Last Wednesday Michael met Steve and me at Chimichanga for ridiculously large margaritas and Michael's favorite dish, Alembre, which I'm convinced means 'leftover scraps' in Spanish. Tasty, but somewhat odd; a mixture of chicken, beef, bacon and catfish, along with onions and jalapenos. Since I wasn't working with Michael much during the week, I'm glad we got some time to spend together outside of the store. And though it doesn't seem possible, I do believe I made both Steve and Michael a tad uncomfortable with my repeated hand gestures demonstrating things I had seen on Xtube.com that day. I suppose people at other tables might have noticed I was miming male masturbation. A lot. There were no children about, so I have no guilt.

On Friday, after a couple of false starts, I convinced Dana and Roy to come over for dinner and [lots of] drinks that evening. I had to work until after 6p but I figured I could pull something together in time. Feverishly preparing food and picking up the house and sending Steve on errands, we managed to be able to sit and relax by 8:30. A very lively discussion regarding KDHX and my hopeful return to the airwaves soon, kept us laughing and arguing until the wee hours. Suddenly, around midnight, Steve announced he was going to bed. I didn't really understand his abrupt departure until a little more than an hour later when I finally stood up and realized just how drunk I was. A little clean up later and I was spinning in bed.

Waking up ridiculously early on Saturday I again realized just how much I had drank the night before by the pounding in my head. Despite my pain, I was in the car and on the way to St. Peters to see my mom by 10a. As usual, Mom insisted on buying me stuff: a dress, a blissful pedicure (complete with some kind of reflexology on the bottom of my feet) and lunch. Sheesh. It was a lovely day for a drive, but when I got home I fell fast asleep on the couch until Steve got home from work.

Before I left for work this morning, I took some photos of the blooming and growing things in the yard and thought I'd share. First, an early morning glory:

Such a lovely purple. Then, my front yard pot of serrano peppers. I've already used one in some peanut noodles and I'm not sure I noticed it's 20,000 scoville units or however hot they're supposed to be.


I planted pickling cucumbers in a pot, not really daring to hope for much, but check out these teeny things. Aren't they adorable?




Next, the carpet of thyme and it's teeny purple flowers:


I'm disappointed that my very large and very old hydrangea bush doesn't have those perfectly gorgeous blue flowers, but the hot pink ones I get are awfully attractive.


The dang rose of sharon bush grows like a weed and sends volunteers everywhere in the yard, but the flowers are so pretty I don't care. So purely white with that blood red throat.


And why do my wild tiger lilies suddenly have double blossoms? No complaints, though.


Several years ago I decided I wanted a blue garden and ordered a bunch of blue blooming plants from some gardening catalogue. Lo these many years later only one plant remains and it's a doozy. These bellflowers are a perfect true blue and I cherish their short blooming time.


I bought a brown eyed susan plant on sale years ago and it has proliferated mightily. This patch has at least quadrupled since the original planting. And they've migrated across the yard to the patch with the bellflowers as well. They're not quite blooming yet, but I thought I'd show them anyway.


OK, that's it for now. More later.