Category Archives: nothing special

Quarterly check-in

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Yes, it does seem that the only time I remember to catch up with my bloggedty-blog is when I’m on break from school. And so it is now.

This has been my summer of aversion. Both of the classes I took this summer brought out all kinds of lovely, teenager-esque bouts of rebellion and sullenness. As I told my therapist/teacher/mentor it felt like I was finally going through the adolescent rebellion phase I missed out of as a teenager.  My inner voice was so loud and whiney – I don’t waaaaaaaant to. This is stuuuuuuuuuuupid! – it sometime leaked into my outer voice.  It is indeed fortunate The Boyfriend suffers from some hearing loss, as it gave him an easy out to ignore my bitchy, petulant complaints.

I had been looking forward to what I thought was going to be an easy A – The History of Stained Glass. It was one of those short courses: two-and-a-half hours a night,  two nights a week for five weeks, with a few of those nights being field trips to local churches. Oh right. Churches. Christian churches. Religious iconography. Lots of Christian religious iconography. Did I ever mention I have some long-standing and deep-seated issues with Christianity? One would think after the anguish and angst  I put myself through the last semester writing a 20-page paper comparing and contrasting Christianity and Buddhism to meet my World Religions requirement, that I would know better than to submit myself to an intensive class filled with a whole lotta Bible tales.  However, my prof was cool and kept the emphasis on the metaphorical aspects of color and light and made it quite approachable even for us heathens.  Yet, when it came time to do our final project, I didn’t go anywhere near church glass and did my paper and presentation on Frank Lloyd Wright. And yes, I got an A, but I wouldn’t describe it easy.

The other challenge I took on simultaneously, except for it lasted 10 weeks, was math. Please don’t ask me what kind of math it was. I doubt the teacher could even describe it.  The catalogue called it Finite Math. It didn’t much matter what they called it, it was a requirement so I had to take it.

While I wouldn’t say I was looking forward to it, I’m not completely math aversive. When it comes to everyday and business math, I’m pretty good. Back when I used to crunch numbers for survey research, I even found it fun. This class was not fun. If it weren’t for the kindness of the substitute prof (the original professor was in a serious car accident the second week of class and never returned) who took pity on us, I could have easily ended up with something less than an A. (Who me? Obsessed with grades?) I think we were graded by our efforts and earnestness rather than any real understanding. Inwardly, in class I was screaming “Why? Why? This is stuuuuuuupid!” yet from all outward appearances I was engaged and was able to answer questions by mere pattern recognition rather than any deeper understanding of the problem.  The final was a take-home and we were encouraged to work with our classmates on it. On the final day of the class, our prof made us each a card with a personal note, and gave us a hug on the way out.

In about two weeks, I return to school.  From what I can predict this semester will be filled with lots of reading for my Humanities seminar, and who knows what the Environmental Sciences class will be like. I also will start work on my Senior Project. Lots of thoughts swirling around about that. The one I’m most interested in doing has a lot of contingencies around it. It’s an exciting prospect, but too early to write about.

Hope all has been well in your parts of the world.

All I want for Christmas

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Every year, a few weeks before Christmas, the Boyfriend asks what I want as a present.

“I honestly don’t know. There’s really nothing I need. I have enough things” I say with a slight anti-consumerist smugness.

Then I’ll divert him by asking him what he wants. And he’ll usually list some boringly practical things that he does indeed need, like undershirts and socks. (You know the romance has gone out of the relationship when you ask for socks as a gift and . . . you get them!)  And then once he has named all his needs, he’ll go back to interrogating me for what I want. This year rather than my stock  response of  “world peace”, I let him know what I really wanted.

“Well, if you really want to get me something, I would love to have the new iPhone 4S” I said half-seriously.

The Boyfriend shook his head. “What is your wrong with your current iPhone? It’s perfectly good. You just got it. I don’t understand this throw-away culture. People always have to have the latest and greatest and coolest.”  I had heard this rant before so I cut him off.

“A) My phone is two and half years old and B) I’m not getting it because it’s the ‘latest and greatest’, but it’s got some features I really need.  Anyway, I don’t expect you to get me a new iPhone, I’ll take care of it myself.”  My tone told him that particular conversation was over.

I wasn’t in any hurry to get my new phone. I figured I’d just drop by the Apple Store on my way home from work sometime in the next couple of weeks and pick it up. But, then I heard that no one really had it in stock, that you had to order it and then wait for delivery.  Oh no no noooo, that is not acceptable. Suddenly I wanted that phone and I wanted it NOW. I found a website called Milo where you can look up a product and it lists where it is in stock near you.  Turns out the Best Buy nearest to my home had them in stock. A phone call confirmed the information, though the clerk said I had better get there that evening because there weren’t many left.

I hightailed it out of the office. I was on a mission.  So, of course, I hit unusually heavy traffic.  Fine, no problem. Breathe, listen to music, think of clever questions to ask Siri. When I’m on the home stretch of the 5 mph traffic, I notice a slow and rhythmic ker-thunk ker-thunk. Really? Seriously? A flat freakin’ tire? Oy!

Fortunately, there was a nice wide shoulder near the entrance to San Quentin Prison to pull over. And as luck would have it, my AAA membership had expired. I asked the nice AAA lady on the phone if  she could kindly just call the tow-truck while I take care of the renewal. Nope. Money first, help later. But, after a few minutes the tow-truck was summoned and within a half an hour I’m back on the road.

Once I arrive at Best Buy (a store I once pledged to never shop at again due to their abhorrent treatment of female customers), I see there are three clerks at three desks helping customers with mobile phone purchases. I was the only person waiting.  Soon, Siri would be mine.  Then one of the clerks walks away with his customer, never to return. The clerk at the middle desk seemed a bit, er, mentally challenged.  I don’t know how complex the transaction she was having with her customer, but it was going on when I arrived and was still going on when I left.  The third clerk had a customer buying an iPhone and every time it looked like the customer was getting ready to finish up, something else would come up – a problem with his account, a problem with his card, or he would wander off to look at accessories.  After about a half hour, finally, the third clerk became available.

Much to the relief of the line that had formed behind me, my interaction was easy breezy, and within ten minutes I walked out with my new iPhone. Merry Christmas to me!

(Oh, and I lied about “needing” some new of the new features. I merely wanted them. And yes, guilty as charged in terms of wanting it because it’s cool.)

Why I plan on following the World Cup

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Anyone who knows me knows I ain’t no athlete. I am making an attempt these days to get on a bike every now and again, but other than that, you’re not going to find me doing a whole lot of athletic endeavors.  Nor do I really follow any sports particularly closely.   Admittedly, I will watch the last month of football season, and I’ll follow the World Series if a local team is in the running.

This year, however, I’ve decided I’m going to follow World Cup Soccer and here are my reasons:

  1. Cute boys with floppy hair
  2. It is a truly international event. Unlike baseball’s World Series, this truly lives up to its name.
  3. It strikes me as a very egalitarian sport. The players are not freaks of nature in terms of size or height.  They look like normal guys who happen to be very quick and agile.
  4. Despite my tendency to get a bit insular, it feels kind of good to be engaged in something that millions of other people across the planet are also engaged.
  5. Soccer players aren’t paid the crazy kind of money that professional sports figures are paid here in the states.
  6. And did I mention that lots of the players are hecka cute?

So, even though I don’t really understand the rules of the game, I’ll follow what is happening with the World Cup.  I haven’t found a team I want to support. I’ll usually just root for the underdog in any given game. Or if there is one of those floppy haired sweaty boys that really make my 51 year old heart swoon, I’ll root for his team.

Replacing an old friend

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I suppose it’s time.  I don’t know. No one really talks about the proper amount of time it takes to mourn the loss of an inanimate object. In fact, people seldom talk about mourning stuff in general.  But, we do.  Right?

About three weeks ago, I came home to discover that my cleaning lady had broken my favorite coffee mug. Unlike something else she broke, at least she didn’t try to hide the evidence.  There it sat on my newly polished dining room table: my burgundy KALW mug with its handle broken off.  The Boyfriend assured me it was all going to be OK. He could fix it.  It was just the handle.  Next to the mug was part of the broken off handle.  Note: part of the handle. There was a small piece missing. The Boyfriend went down to the garbage to retrieve the garbage bag the cleaning lady had discarded.  And bless his heart, he thoroughly rooted through that bag in search of that missing handle fragment. And while he found some other things in there that shouldn’t have been in there, he didn’t find the missing piece.

I can’t remember how long ago it was when I got that mug. Maybe as long as 10 years ago. It was a premium sent to me for donating to the KALW pledge drive.   It quickly became my favorite coffee cup due to its jumbo size and elegant shape.  I’m bad with measurements, but I would guesstimate it held about 24 oz. With just one cup of coffee from my jumbo KALW mug, I was ready to start my day.  And while I have many, many other lovely coffee cups and mugs, that was the one I used almost everyday. Right now I’m using a different KALW mug. It’s smaller, blue and the lines are simply not as inviting. It’s just not the same.

So, today I decided that the time has come to throw myself back into the marketplace in search of finding the mug of my dreams. Don’t tell my boss, but I probably spent most of my day today at working looking through Etsy in search of a new mug.  The requirements are:

  • Must hold at least 18-20 oz
  • I tend to like red in the morning. So a shade of red is preferable
  • Nothing too earthy crunchy-granola. I like eating granola in the morning, not drinking from it.
  • Must feel good to cup and hold to my chest as I stare out the window

These are the candidates thus far.  Please feel free to voice your opinion.  But, as you are free to voice your opinion, I am likewise free to completely ignore it.

Large 32 oz red cup

I love the size, and the color works for me too. But I’m not crazy about the shape, and I also think it lacks character.

Rabbit with bees mug

This one ties in nicely with my new obsession with bees, and of course my love of my rabbits. However, the rabbit looks more like a dog and I prefer a smoother, more uniform shape.

Red poppy mug

This struck me as quite elegant. I like the colors. But I’m not sure about the size. I’ve emailed the seller to find out. But, I’m not 100% on board with the shape.

I think this is quite lovely. Very delicate with sort of a Zen vibe. But it is really me?  Maybe this cup is out of my league. Besides, I’m not sure how much it holds. Waiting to hear back from seller.

Swirly mug

This one is definitely a contender. Granted it is more pink than red. But it looks solid and I like the shape (though I wish the lip didn’t flare out). And I believe it meets the size requirement.  But, yet, I’m not ready to commit yet.

There were probably hundreds more to look at on Etsy, so until I find that mug that immediately feels right to me, I’ll keep searching.

Sittin’ on the dock of the bay

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A Friday late afternoon on what feels like the first day of Spring and a trip to a Ferry Point Park is order. I find myself a bench facing the water and simply jot down my observations. All is quiet except the electronic bonging of the buoys on the bay. The sun warms the side of my face and my right arm. In the distance is San Francisco.

I watch a couple of young dudes who have hopped the fence on a dock that has been deemed dangerous. They hang out and just goof in their over-sized shorts. A sailboat ambles by letting the subtle breeze dictate its pace.  Further down the trail an old couple argue their old arguments, their voices slashing at the quietude.  Three young people in matching magenta hair are all “dude” and “shit” and one of them proclaims her belief in aliens as they walk by.  A pregnant woman and three small children (possibly more as their other children straggling behind) make their way towards the old ferry landing with their fishing gear. The little boy hides behind the stroller and then peeks out and says “hi”. A white guy in a cabbie cap, a neat blue button-down shirt and dockers walks by smoking a cigarette. He doesn’t say “hi”. Perhaps he had a long week at work and is not feeling up to forced pleasantries.

Two kayakers paddle into view, their boats close enough to converse without shouting, but mostly they are silent and the only sound is the rhythmic splash of their oars. A pair of trim women, probably in their 50’s, walk by looking comfortable and serene. I imagine that perhaps they are yoga buddies, but today since it was so beautiful opted to go for a walk instead. And then it is quiet again.

Soon a young Asian woman comes along pushing a young boy on his bicycle. The bike looks new, modern, but his metal training wheels with the chipped yellow paint look like they may have been passed down or found at a garage sale.  A few minutes later an older Asian gentleman is pulling a very young girl on a very tiny bike with even tinier training wheels. The man has the bike on a make shift leash pulling the girl along as her legs dangle idle.

At the beginning of the trail, right at the water’s edge, I see a lanky adult in a vest and a Tilley hat pulling a  neatly dressed small boy close and whispering in his ear. I can’t tell if the move is to comfort the child or to admonish him.  Their dog, still listening to ancient instincts, starts to point at what I can only guess is a bird in a bush.  As they walk closer I see the lanky adult is probably the child’s grandmother.  As they walk by the woman greets me kindly and the child turns to watch me write.

“She’s writing a ticket” he says getting the older adult’s attention.

“No, silly, she’s just writing.” she says as she turns to me,  “he’s a little obsessed right now with getting tickets.”

“I got beat up by a bully today” the boy tells me.  Looking at his outfit it looks like he may attend a private school where those sort of things are not supposed to happen.

“Oh, that’s awful” I said.

The older woman once again pulls him close. “He did the right thing and told the Principal”. The boy looks up at her. “Didn’t you?”

“Yeah, I guess” sounding a bit worried. “But” he said changing the subject “I knew she wasn’t writing a ticket. I was just joking”. He stepped away from her as if to establish his autonomy.

The grandmother doesn’t fall for his attempt at changing the topic and continues “I asked him how he was going to deal with that bully and he said he was going to change schools.”  The hopelessness in that statement stunned me. “But, we’re not going to do that, are we?” she said changing her focus back to the boy.

“No. I’m going to go up to him and tell him he owes me an apology”, he said somewhat mechanically but with confidence.

“OK, well you take good care of yourself and know no one deserves to be bullied and it’s not your fault.” I said with some conviction even though I had no idea what I was saying.

The boy waved good-bye and they walked off with the grandmother’s arm once again wrapped around his shoulder.

Really, I haven’t forgotten about you

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Have you ever had one of those relationships where it got all awkward and you ended up avoiding that person simply because you’re kind of embarrassed that you never returned the phone call they made to you ages ago? It’s not like you  don’t like the person, it’s just you’re afraid they’re going to be mad at you, or you’re going to get called out as being the kind of person who doesn’t return phone calls.  And since we’re invested in our image as a good guy or gal (you know, the kind that returns phone calls)  the mere thought of that person who you inadvertently dissed makes you all cringey inside.  Do you know that feeling?  Well, that’s how I’ve been feeling about my blog lately.

In real life, when you finally return that call or bump into that person you’ve been avoiding and you make all your apologies and excuses, usually the response is “hey, no worries. I’ve been busy too” and then you carry on and wonder what the hell was all the drama you created in your mind.  I’m hoping it will be like that with my blog and blog buddies.

Everything is fine here at Chez LazyBuddhist.  How have you been?  How are things going with your relationship?  Oh, awesome.  You deserve someone great in your life. What’s new with me?  Well, I’m taking a writing workshop. It’s good.  Good group of people. Of course my ego gets all tied up in knots when I have to workshop something and open myself up to criticism, but it’s been amazingly helpful. Work? It’s good. Did I tell you Patricia, my rather outrageous co-worker, is no longer there?  Yeah, it’s been really quiet with her gone.  And everything is fine with the boyfriend.  He finally got rid of that goddamn loveseat in the sunroom.  So, I’m working on nesting that space. I’ve got a vintage desk and chair in the there for writing, though I have yet to write in there because I don’t even know how to use a pen and paper anymore.  Yeah, yeah, I know, I need to get a wireless network for the house.  The animals?  Oh they’re all fine. I think they really enjoy making me freak out and worry for no good goddamn reason, but what else is new?

Listen, it’s been really good seeing you. Let’s get together soon.  I’ll call you.  What’s so funny?  Really, I will.  Well, I’ll probably just email or text you.  And when we get together I’ll tell you the story about the day Mr. Binkles disappeared.

I promise I won’t be a stranger.