Wednesday, June 28, 2006

It's been raining super-hard all day, and I'm bummed about it only because a co-worker with a nice house with a nice big meadow-y yard invited a bunch of us over for a BBQ tonight to watch the fireflies. I miss having a yard, especially a yard where fireflies might like to gather (you know, NOT THAT I'M BITTER). I took a walking tour around the weird, tiny village of Laurel Park last weekend, where a bunch of tiny cottages are for sale at condo prices (all I can afford, apparently)... One of them I've seen in the real estate pages for many months, and finally saw in person; it's a nice small size, and has a nice very tiny patio, but the main problem is that it's right up next to the other houses, and there's only one parking space with no other parking anywhere nearby. Laurel Park is not designed for people who would like the occasional guest at their home. There's another cottage that's better positioned, bigger, and with a more private yard, but it's appropriately more expensive, and I'm getting cold feet about the whole thing. I have a couple of women friends who have managed to buy small houses in this town, so I should just wait it out until i can find one, too, instead of settling.

Sorry if this is terribly boring, but I'm in my early-mid-30s, and that means I am contractually obligated to become obsessed with real estate.

Edited: It stopped raining, and the bbq did happen. The fireflies put on quite a show for us. I bruised my thumb playing volleyball. Also, some work friends and I did bar trivia at the Deuce tonight; if our answer sheet had been a test, our team would have gotten an F (wait, is there anything lower than an F?).

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

I woke up at four this morning to the scent of smoke. I bolted out of bed and peered outside. The street was all foggy, though the stars and the moon were crystal-clear. Bad. I went to the side window and heard men shouting at each other and an odd whishing sound (from the hoses). Turns out it was another multi-dwelling house (just like mine) a street or two away. It's very good to know that the smell of smoke will wake me up; I've always imagined it wouldn't, and I'd have to wait for the smoke detector to go off.

The firemen never turned on their truck sirens, which is ultra-considerate to sleeping neighbors. They didn't have them on when the car in front of my house was on fire, either. Of course, that's probably because there wasn't any traffic to plow through... but still, I'll take it.

Here's a Flickr photo set of the aftermath, and a link to the story of the fire in the local paper (well, not the really local paper, which doesn't let you read articles online for free). Officials suspect foul play! At least nobody was hurt, and a pet bunny -- named, ironically, Smokey -- was saved.

Monday, June 19, 2006

I know this sounds crazy, but I swear I just saw Seth Green, the actor, inside Better Thyme Deli. He had a cowboy hat on, and was sitting at the table that's kind of hidden behind the drinks cooler, chatting with a friend who had a stuffed-full loose-leaf binder. I wasn't quite sure it was him, but then as I was extra-slowly filling up my salad bar container, I heard him say the words "my next project" and then "television show". So I am now 90 percent sure it was him. But in town for what? A coworker suggested I ask whoever's working at Pleasant Street Video today, which is a fine idea as those kids have their fingers on the pulse of the local film production schedule.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

This post is entitled "Local Wildlife."

I was walking down Main Street on Sunday, discussing with my boyfriend where we should go on our walk. I was suggesting we head over to the botanical gardens. It was crowded downtown and the motorcycles were all parked in a line outside of Starbucks. "Don't you want to get away from all of these loud, annoying motorcycles?" I said, and then half-heard a leering grizzled whiskey voice say, "Well I guess you like my ride!" It took me a minute to process that the leathery chump was talking to me, and by that time I was down the block, feeling thoroughly un-indimidated and unimpressed. Those middle-aged AA-dropout bikers have got to start trying a little harder if they really want to be seen as badasses.

[My friend Lesa should probably skip this next part.] Tonight, I was walking swiftly to my car parked in the gravel lot behind the house, when my neighbor said from her second-floor deck, "D, stop! There's a bear!" Indeed, there was a black bear not a foot from my car, digging through a trash can he had knocked over. He was the size of a large dog. I shouted, "Hey, bear! Get away!" but, like an overgrown urban raccoon, he totally ignored me and kept slowly and peacefully rifling through the garbage. After a minute or so he ambled behind the garage to the neighbor's yard. There have been black bear sightings in people's yards in town for a couple of years, but this is the first one I've actually seen, let alone the first I've heard of in my neighborhood. Yet again, I probably wasn't as wary or scared as I should have been. Not that I got any closer to him than about 25 feet, but I mainly didn't want to get closer because bears shouldn't get accustomed to being near humans.

The bears and the bikers need to join some kind of Ultimate Fighting Championship club to butch up their images.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Finally, it is time for: Vacation Highlights!

Asilomar, where it was incredibly windy in the evening, and where we could always hear the ocean. We walked down and checked out the tidepools a few times, and I got to see actual pretty starfish and cute hermit crabs in the actual wild.

Roaring Camp, where we took a steam train ride up through a redwood forest on a mountain and back down again. Because it was Memorial Day, they had an encampment of Civil War reenactors - both Union and Confederate. They were a long way from the Mason-Dixon line.

Monterey Aquarium, where there are frolicking sea otters, ocean waves you can stand under, and a very decent cafeteria. And of which I have no good photos.

Riding the Giant Dipper roller coaster at the Santa Cruz boardwalk, mainly because I got my sister to ride it (plus it was wicked fun) and my dad did too (he'll ride anything). We even bought the overpriced on-ride photo.

Going to the weird bay by a power plant that had a flock (a herd?) of wild sea otters hanging around in it. One otter seemed to have fallen deeply asleep, as it drifted slowly to shore until it grounded itself in the sand. I crept up to him to take photos, and besides occasional nose-clearing snorts he didn't react at all. Eventually (after I got bored and left) he roused himself and rejoined the group.

The Exploratorium at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco. The five grownups were a little too old for the place, and the one kid a little two young, but we all had fun times regardless, shoving Catholic school kids out of the way so we could turn a puff of smoke into a cyclone or watch an embryonic chicken's heart beating.

The Musee Mechanical, a museum of working coin-operated music-making devices, mutoscopes, fortune-tellers, and more. It was my third time there and I would still go back again and again.

Seeing Avani for the first time in 8 years! I can't believe it had been that long. She showed me around the Mission, where we ate brunch amid hipsters, tried on funny hats, and marvelled at the hunky gay men sunbathing in Mission Dolores park.

The wedding, the whole reason for the trip. My first-cousin-once-removed is very inspiring: This is her first time getting hitched, and she's 55. Her wedding dress was made of cloth she bought in Pakistan ten years ago when she was working with UNICEF there. She's lived all over the world. She's a classy dame.

Of course there were also a few Vacation Lowlights!

Discovering a dead roach on the floor of our room in Asilomar as we were unpacking. Rustic!

Finding out that my niece Lula will actually throw up in the car from motion sickness, if properly provoked. (Then, helping my sister rinse the vomit out of Lula's clothes in the sink of a GettyMart.)

Being with my family 24/7 was sometimes a challenge. I should have taken more advantage of my ability to take off on my own.

I didn't really feel like I had enough time in actual San Francisco, though mostly that feeling was due to the contraints of traveling with a toddler who takes a 2-plus hour nap in the afternoon and who is supposed to go to bed at 8. The three 30-somethings traded off a night with the 50-somethings so we could go out to eat in a proper restaurant (and get take out the second night).

Coming back to several very rush-rush things awaiting me at work, which I am in the middle of tackling.

All-in-all, not a bad way to spend ten days. I posted some choice photos from all of these things (plus things I have not even bored you with yet!) in the gallery here. There are captions and stuff so it's kind of like a blog BONUS! Woo-hoo.
P.S. If you are new at the internet, you should know that you can click on the thumbnails to make the photos bigger.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

I'm back from vacation. I survived! California is very beautiful. I can see why people live there. They don't seem to understand why I live here, but then I came home (drove from NYC and got home at 9:30 last night) and the crickets were chirping and it smelled really good and earthy and sweet. I am working on a longer post full of photos but it's taking me forever, so this mini-prologue will have to do for now. Hello.