Wednesday, October 31, 2007

it's my blogiversary

Today marks my blog's first birthday - my blogiversary? my blorthday? Google tells me that in this year of blogging madness I have posted a mere 109 times. According to my computer's calculator, that's an average of about twice a week. (You know, god forbid I do math on paper or in my head anymore. As Barbie says, "Math is hard." Although apparently she only said, "Math class is tough," and, to be fair, that could be due to a bad teacher...) Anyway, when you factor in the reason I started blogging (NaBloPoMo) and the streak of 30 consecutive posts that followed, my average is even less impressive. Since this is in a sense a new year, I suppose I should make a resolution to improve this statistic. As I've already signed back up for NaBloPoMo, I guess I can at least promise you November. And this won't be easy folks, as I am on the road for at least 8 of these 30 days (first to see the eldest nieces, then to see the youngest).

To make matters worse, my life is agonizingly ordinary in the absence of seal rescues. Not only is winter the slow season, but I've also scaled back on my scheduled days. At first I was on hiatus to study for the LSAT, but during that break I realized Erik was right. He pointed out that I had found a way to make something fun into something more like a job... So now I'm only on as much as the next person (instead of twice that often) and so far I don't regret it. There is some reason to believe we may see another slew of northern fur seal pups this year, though, in which case I will seethe with jealousy whenever I miss seeing one. But I can always add myself later...

While it's tough on the blogging, I'm actually really grateful my life is boring these days. In particular, this means that OC is in good health. Since making drastic dietary changes, he's beaten his average stretch (3 weeks between enemas) and he seems super happy. Except tonight, of course, as he's been quite upset at being locked up for Halloween. Luckily I got to sneak out at the height of his protests. I left to see Saw IV, leaving Erik here to deal with the kitties. (BTW, I wasn't expecting much of Saw IV, but I must say it was my favorite so far. I may even go see it again or at least rent it when it makes its way to Netflix...) Anyway, I was delighted to return to sleeping kitties and a well lit house. I even made it home before Erik left for work so I could be absolutely certain that no one wearing a pig mask was lurking in my closet. I'm so not freaked out, in fact, I think I may watch Hostel 2 before bed. Seems fitting for the holiday, and Erik hates to watch scary movies with me so I have to squeeze them in while he's at work.

Well, better post now or it will be November already. Yikes.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

worth waiting for

I agree. Twelve days without posting is simply not acceptable. I did plan to post on my birthday, but it turns out Wendy and her mom did it for me. (And oh so well they did it... I am still tickled pink...) I've even seen a sea lion or two in the meanwhile (only rescued one, and really I was more of a bystander, but still...) unfortunately I haven't yet uploaded the pictures. In fact, I have started any number of posts but since there was only one thought in my head (I want my score), nothing seemed worthy of being published.

But now, now my dear internet friends, I can relax. Indeed, scores are in, a few days early as predicted. And let's just say I opened the bubbly, not the oversized cheap wine (which I bought at Costco more for the blue bottle than for its contents...) for I have seen my score and I am happy.

What does happy mean? Happy means my brother has to give me this cute ipod holding thing called a Howdy (I get the Howd-oui) which I have been bugging him about ever since he told me he was buying it for himself. He finally agreed he'd give it to me if I beat my average practice test score. Otherwise he challenged me to steal it (from two states away, I had no fear I would succeed). Isn't he sweet? Mostly, though, he told me to get a job and buy one, cuz as my mom is fond of saying, people my age have jobs...

Anyway, happy also means I've scored high enough I may get fee waivers when I finally do apply (next fall for school in 2009). Happy also means I may get offered money to go to a lesser school but happy means I may very well have the opportunity to explore my intellectual vanity (at my own expense) perhaps even in the ivy league. So happiness means I may be living in snow? Happiness is a very confusing thing.

I'm hoping happy means I'll get into Boalt (which is now, apparently UC Berkeley School of Law) and the internet seems to think I have about a 60% - 70% chance just based on my numbers... Of course, the internet also thinks I am of average height, and I'm sorry to tell you internet, but 5'4" is short...

Most of all, happy means I really have to get off my ass and start exercising, cuz there's no way in hell I'm taking all this extra me to law school. In the process of studying for and stressing over the exam while burying (okay, burning) my dead cat and fretting over my orange one (who is doing great, by the way, 3 weeks out - he's beat his average, too, and he so totally passed his butt inspection this morning), I have now become the biggest me I've ever been. Seriously. I am scary big. I'm so scary big that at certain times of the day I can't even get my wedding ring off. Not that I have to get it off, mind you, but it's disturbing that I can't. It's one thing to break down and buy new fat jeans, but it's simply not acceptable to have to resize your rings to keep up with your gluttony... And I love that ring. And so I know I will lose weight. Cuz I just can't leave my shiny little rainbow maker alone in a drawer...

So what does happy look like on paper? Well, at the risk of being mocked like you tube girl by people who are active on a certain forum I sometimes visit, happy looks like a 176 (out of 180) - the 99.6th percentile. And believe me, I am happy, but happier would be if I hadn't missed that one question in the puzzles section (I never miss any in the puzzles section) and if I hadn't been tricked by that darned unicorn / centaur parallel question (stupid parallel questions - I had time left over, I really should've triple checked my choice). Of course, I quite deservedly missed the other 3 questions and thus I would've never tasted perfection, but, hey, even Mary Poppins is only "practically perfect." That's good enough for me.

Anyway, happy also looks like I'd better get moving and start cleaning my house cuz Erik and I have invited people over for a bbq this afternoon. Sure, the sun is not yet up but it will be soon and I have not done anything around here for about 2 months...

So apologies again for the long wait, but believe me when I say I was unbearable. And I'll make it up to you in November, for NaBloPoMo when you'll get so sick of me you'll stay away for 12 days.

Oh, and in case you are wondering, I almost couldn't handle Drew Carey hosting The Price is Right, but Madisyn, my little niecelet, encouraged me (vicariously, through a quote in a text message) to give him another chance. He's still on probation and, of course, he'll never be Bob, but I do appreciate that even though he clearly does not know how to play the games, he is willing to openly mock the contestants when they do something dumb.

And, as a public service announcement, you can enjoy pomegranate margaritas for breakfast as long as you drink them with a hearty omelet and have time to sleep the entire day away later. Much better than Apple Jacks and white wine and far kinder than Froot Loops and prefab margaritas... This is how I passed the day Thursday when I knew the scores would not be in, but I really could think of nothing else.

Monday, October 08, 2007

37 things I love about my husband

I remember the first day I met Erik. It was August, first semester of my junior year at college. I was coming home from school on my little red ten speed - tearing downhill through my ghetto neighborhood, not really in control, trusting my life to my luck and an ill-fitting styrofoam helmet. As I passed through the final blind intersection in my path, I heard a voice call my name. It was Sean, my neighbor and my best friend's boyfriend, sitting on their porch with someone I instinctively knew was his brother. It's not that they looked a lot alike. Unlike my family where there are clearly just two molds, Erik's siblings are each a distinct blend of their parents' features. It was more that they were sitting like family - closer than acquaintances might, but with a sort of awkwardness between them that indicated they weren't exactly friends.

I stopped across the street, but refused to get off my bike. It was a struggle to mount and dismount the darned thing and though it was only a few houses away, I really didn't want to have to walk my bike home. After a few minutes of casual chatting / shouting (chouting?), I told them I'd drop off my things and be right back. My momentum gone, getting started was actually a more difficult feat than I'd like to admit. I felt like such a dork trying to align the pedals just so and pushing off from the curb. Once home I hurriedly changed into an outfit I liked (that I later learned Erik hated, an A frame sleeveless frock we now affectionately refer to as the "pear dress") and I tucked a half-smoked joint behind my ear. (Funny enough, I'd quite uncharacteristically brought that joint to school in the morning intending to make a friend - to spark up a conversation, you might say. I abandoned my mission by mid-afternoon and found a quiet place to entertain myself. Little did I know I would make a friend that day - just not on campus...)

That evening Sean took me and Erik out to dinner. Our first date, technically. We still laugh when we recall how I unwittingly sat on a brown bag of neglected figs in the backseat of their car. We laugh mostly because this wouldn't be the last time we encountered abandoned fruit in their car... On the other hand, it was quite strange that we ended up in some anonymous greasy spoon that night, as Sean and Jules have introduced me to countless fabulous restaurants and never, other than this one time, have we dined somewhere so ordinary. Somehow, though, it was just right, the three of us crammed into a booth, making small talk over bland mashed potatoes. Deliciously awkward.

The next day I suggested Erik should sleep on my couch instead of their floor. The dogs had chewed up the guest mattress, after all, and I had a creepy landlord whose unwelcome visits were deterred by Erik's presence... And the rest, as they say, is history. I do remember telling Wendy early on that Erik was fun to play with, but not the sort of guy I'd see myself marrying. I've never been so happy to be wrong.

It's hard to believe more than 16 years have passed since that day. I constantly marvel at how fortunate I was to meet him, how glad I am that he was born.

So today, in honor of his birthday, I offer you 37 reasons I love my husband:
  1. It's shallow, I know, but I love that he is so tall. And cute, if I do say so myself. Not only is it useful - he can reach things I can't - but he makes me feel small - in the good way.
  2. His size is also wonderful when it comes time to move the furniture around, something I think we do more than most couples. He has an amazing knack for shuffling our stuff. Never once have we decided to move things back and always we find ourselves infinitely more comfortable.
  3. In fact, he is all about being comfortable. I've learned a lot from him - the importance of socks and slippers, the proper way to tuck a blanket. Still, I struggle to relax. Two and a half years into my early early retirement and still my eye twitches... He finds it frustrating, I think, because taking it easy is so easy for him.
  4. He's also really smart. He ditched a ton of school so he doesn't always think he's smart, but really he is. He married me, didn't he? (Ha ha. Just kidding. That could actually be considered evidence to the contrary, eh?) Sure, he's got some swiss cheese in his basics thanks to a change in his elementary school curriculum (don't ask him to define an adverb, for example) and sometimes he mispronounces words he recognizes from reading but hasn't heard aloud, but he's got a keen eye for urban development, he understands physics, and, though he'd probly not admit it, he's a bit of a history buff.
  5. He's loyal, so much so that early on, at his Aunt's house one Thanksgiving, I drunkenly compared him to a dog. It sort of came out wrong but everyone knew what I meant.
  6. He embraces the canine analogy so much, in fact, that he even promised to "fetch" in our wedding vows, following that up with a "woof." And indeed he does fetch, often. Take out, warm socks, cold water, an extra blanket, things from the car, a toothbrush... I am so super spoiled.
  7. He's also my pack mule and my sherpa. This comes in particularly handy at water parks when dealing with unwieldy innertubes.
  8. He's adventurous and outdoorsy. He likes to explore and he looks so much happier surrounded by nature. One of his all time favorite memories is climbing Half Dome. And, of course, we spent our first summer together camping, our Summer of Love. That may have been when he did his earliest fetching - he rode miles into town on my three speed cruiser to fetch me chocolate cuz I finally convinced him I really needed it. I didn't even give him instructions on what kind to get. I only told him chocolate. I didn't warn him I prefer milk chocolate to dark, or that I can do without any nuts... Much to my delight, he came back with Twix, the perfect fix, which we now call the Chocolate of Love.
  9. He lives in his own world - you know, the one where fruit is salty, hormones don't exist, and I am a princess. I call it the World According to Erik. He insists that everyone lives in their own world, but I swear, not like his. Other features of the World According to Erik? There are only five states of America - California, New York, Florida, Texas, and Chicago (formerly known as the M state) - and only one country in Africa (Nigeriwanda). Indeed, our worlds are so different that we are somewhat convinced we grew up in parallel universes. For example, he never played Kick the Can, and I never heard these clever playground retorts: "So? Sew buttons on your underwear." and "F@cking A? F@ck an O, it's easier."
  10. He loves the ocean and he's not afraid to go in it. I consider the ocean his mistress, but really, she had him first, so I am the other woman. And though he has no fear, he isn't stupid. I know that I can trust that while he often pushes his limits, he never does anything purposefully perilous. I also love that he totally respects the fact that I am afraid to go in the ocean. He agrees that sharks would find me especially tasty.
  11. Though he loves the ocean, he's not really into the seal rescuing. He always says he'd rather be the one calling them in than the one picking them up. Still, he helps me with the really gnarly rescues. I know I can count on him if I really need him.
  12. He's a horrible driver, but then he didn't start until he was 30. I guess since I taught him to drive it is my fault he has totaled two of our cars? In any event, everyone walked away from both accidents unscathed, so I guess you could say he's a great driver.
  13. He's also a great cook. He frequently makes elaborate meals for company (my family, or his). It delights my folks, but sometimes annoys his - as they'd rather have time to socialize with him. I honestly don't think the cooking is a form of escape for him, though. Really, he just likes to see me relaxing and we've always had kitchens that are too small for more than one person to function in them.
  14. On the other hand, he is kind of aloof. I think that makes his affection all the more precious. This is the same reason I prefer cats to dogs, because they dole out their attention much more selectively. Still, even I could handle a little more conversation. He recently asked what I would have him do, "Talk all the time or something?" Well, yeah, some people do talk all the time, at least to their spouses. It's unthinkable to him.
  15. He gives great rubs, particularly of the feet. He did, however, roundly reject my suggestion that he should consider going to massage school. Then I proposed that perhaps I should go to massage school, but he knew, since I don't particularly like touching people, that my matriculation would just be to gather information on how to give him pointers. The truth? I really want to buy a massage table (I think that leverage makes all the difference) and I can't justify the expense without truly knowing how to use it. On the other hand, Erik rightly points out that there is no space in our home to put said massage table.
  16. Massage table or not, he takes great care of me. He tucks me in at night and sometimes even reads me bedtime stories. He's particularly sweet to me when I am drunk - a real enabler, you might say - bringing me a pot to puke in, a toothbrush if I can handle it, peeling me off the floor... And the next morning, he always fetches my hangover breakfast - a half order of french toast and a potato pancake...
  17. Though he's the sweetest thing to me, at his core he's a little mean. We both have a bit of a mean streak, in fact. It's one of the things we have in common - that we're judgmental. I already often feel unworthy of him, so it's nice to be reminded he's human. And besides, we're never mean to each other...
  18. He does like to make fun of his friends. His childhood friends all have disparaging nicknames - like Cow, Toad, and Head - and his current friends never get to live down their legal issues. One friend, who was facing house arrest, was assured that Erik would bring him Chicken in a Biscuit if he actually had to go to jail, insisting the snack food would make great jail house currency. Another friend, who goes to jail on weekends for a domestic dispute involving an altercation with a pot of potatoes, is constantly reminded that he "boiled his wife."
  19. Erik doesn't want children, but he's better with them than he thinks. I remember the first time he ever had to hold Zoe. She was an infant and he held her out as far as his arms could reach, as if she might explode. It was hilarious. Fast forward a couple years, and here they are building a fence together. In truth, he's a great uncle. Granted, he lives in my fabulous Anti shadow. For example, the girls used to refer to him as "Uncle Him" as they never thought of him enough to know his name...
  20. Although they had a rough start, both essentially being my housebound city pets, Erik ultimately came to love Fabe and even unofficially adopted half of him. The specific half varied, depending on which end was spewing whatever needed to be cleaned up... Anyway, I particularly love the story of the time Fabe discovered the lemon meringue pie I'd made for Erik. Apparently Fabe had a thing for meringue and he began devouring it lick by little lick. He'd silently consumed a good portion of it before he got sloppy and started making slurping noises. Erik came across the scene and was not so much appalled as amused. I love that he let Fabe finish his treat.
  21. Erik also loved Blackers, the Attackers. He told me he regretted not adopting half of him after he died. Still, Blackers never knew he was a bastard child. He loved Erik and would be glad to know he was his pallbearer. Erik was my rock through that whole horrible experience. I couldn't have done it without him.
  22. He's also been a really good sport about OC - especially considering the vet bills. His assistance was crucial in helping me find him last year, after his abduction and he was around to take him to the vet while I sat for the LSAT last week. I think we've both become more fond of that feline, if for no other reason than out of admiration for his will to survive. (By the way, I'm happy to report he's doing great on his new diet... Sure, it's only been a week, but it's been a good one...)
  23. Really, though, Erik is not a cat person. Growing up he had a series of manly boy dogs. The only one I got to meet was the wonder dog, Jesse. In his prime, Jesse would climb trees. Jesse would wander his neighborhood unattended - he refused to be chained - and even when he was more than half blind, he'd venture out on to mossy rocks just to smell the ocean. I remember once I lost track of him while walking West Cliff and later panicked that he was gone. I was relieved to find he had just ditched me, of course, and taken himself home. Jesse knew I wasn't a dog person, but he convinced me that he wasn't just any old dog. We bonded once, on a beach with a stick, and the mystery vomit he consumed may have indeed been mine, but still I regret not embracing Jesse more fully. He was a really good dog.
  24. Erik's got a great family. And he loves them so much. He particularly enjoys meeting his mom for nature walks in Big Sur and he is delighted she's finally agreed to let him trim the trees that so relentlessly clutter up her view. He's also been enjoying the company of his youngest brother, who recently moved into town. Six years apart, they didn't move in the same circles as children and it's nice to see them finding common ground as adults.
  25. Most of all, though, he loved his Grandpa Nelson and his cousin (and birthday buddy) Kate. It's nothing short of tragic that they have both since moved on. Though I wasn't there to see Erik enjoying so many meals with his Grandpa - always served on TV trays and reportedly washed down with strawberry milk - I was fortunate to share one of his most treasured evenings with Kate. It was at her sister's wedding in Las Vegas that Kate and Erik finally got to hang out like adults. As adults are prone to do, especially in Vegas, they got stinking drunk on Tequila and shared countless stories, confessions, and big belly laughs. In particular, we all found it quite amusing that he accidentally dropped Kate on her head in the casino while trying to hold her upside down. At least it was in a carpeted area. We'd spent the majority of the night on concrete by the pool... I also remember how funny it was, at least for us, when Kate accidentally locked herself out of her hotel room. She'd come out just after we'd dropped her off to tell us not to laugh at her. We hadn't been laughing at her, really, but we sure did then, as she had to wake her roommate for reentry. Kate got the last laugh, however, as she looked fresh as a daisy the next morning while Erik was leaving an extra large tip for the maid who would have to contend with the barf-filled bathroom. Kate's absence makes every birthday season a little bittersweet. If I could give Erik just one gift, it would be another day to spend in the company of his cousin.
  26. Even though he loves his family, he once told his mom when he grew up he wanted to be a pirate. She tried to discourage this ambition by pointing out that pirates had to go away and live on ships and that they never got to see their families. I'm sure he didn't mean to hurt her feelings, but he recalls she was crushed when he told her that'd be okay.
  27. On the other hand, I think he did intend to hurt her the time she came to his aid when he suddenly began crying. She asked why he was so upset and he told her to put her hand in the drawer nearby. He then promptly slammed the drawer shut, thus sharing with his mom in a rather evil sort of way just what had made him cry.
  28. Erik also loves my family. He has a secret desire to be my brother Billy's neighbor. It's actually really precious to me, the way the two of them get along, although they've spent precious little time together. Equally precious is how Erik appreciates my baby brother, Kevin. I love that he let Kevin move in with us, sharing our too small home, for the first ten months of our married life. It wasn't always easy, but it's a time I still cherish.
  29. He finds simple ways to express his affection. For example, he once wrote sweet nothings all over my wall in permanent marker. Luckily, my grow light bleached it out before I moved so we didn't have to paint. Still, I wish I'd taken a picture to preserve the sentiment. He also makes fantastic bouquets out of wildflowers to show me he was thinking of me while he was out hiking.
  30. He has great hair. I've mentioned before my envy of his fabulous afro experiment and his long, girlie eye lashes. Also, unlike me, he had hair as a baby. As if trying to find its most perfect shade, Erik's childhood hair auditioned all the colors - red, blonde, brunette, even black - before settling on his current impressionable sandy brown.
  31. Despite my pathetic hair, he honestly seems to think I'm beautiful. Like all the time - fresh out of bed, sick with the flu, crying my eyes out. It's crazy, I know. They do say love is blind...
  32. He's incredibly picky. He'd rather do without than settle. This often poses a problem (he has very few possessions) but it also reassures me that he genuinely adores me. After all, I know he'd sooner be alone...
  33. He's very well trained and prepared to win. At least that's what he told the producers at the Price is Right that fateful day so many years ago when I became a Contestant Not Appearing on Stage. And believe me, it was true. If he had gotten to play a pricing game, he would have won. He knew where to stop the Range Finder, what to guess in Cliff Hangers, what to write on the check in Check Game, and where to place his Plinko chips. I even think that if he were to play Check Out that he might have tried my controversial (now outdated) strategy of guessing $10 for the first item and 1 penny for the rest... I love that the producers wished him luck. I always thought that luck was offered in case he got on stage, but now that I know they had no intention of picking him, I wonder if they meant he needed luck to go on living with me?
  34. He bought me a giant diamond for my wedding ring. I didn't think I needed a giant diamond, really, but then I sort of went with it. The gem is way out of our price range but I'm so happy we went for it. Just as Erik's size makes me feel small, my rock makes my fingers look dainty. And it makes awesome rainbows in the afternoon.
  35. He also gave me this big white teddy bear years before that. I had fantasized that a cute boy would give me just such a teddy bear ever since 6th grade. I remember the smile on his face when he first saw it while we were buying socks of all things... Sometimes I think the bear is the reason we accidentally moved to Ukiah. It's certainly the best thing that came out of the whole inland experience.
  36. Though Erik thinks I've tried to kill him multiple times, he sort of doesn't mind. He fully blames himself for the incident involving the bike and the lawn mower and I think he finds the rock and the tent story a tad romantic. In fact, if I do ever accidentally kill him, he's said he'd want me to get away with it.
  37. And the newest thing I love about him, that I just learned yesterday while watching "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?", for years he believed the Star Spangled Banner started out, "Jose, can you see... " Such a California boy.
As you can see, I am one lucky girl. This list is in no way exhaustive (although thanks to procrastination, it has been exhausting). Suffice it to say that I am so grateful to have Erik in my life and I hope that this is just one of many many birthdays we get to spend together.

Happy birthday, boyfriend.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

like watching paint dry

I was on call for all of 23 minutes before the phone rang with a rescue. I can't really complain. I haven't been on the beach in more than a month. I was a bit surprised, though, to be called out of bed, as this is only the fourth animal in as many weeks, and the first one after hours in a long while. It's the off season, after all. To think that just four short hours ago I was snuggled up with OC (who is just now returning to normal, though he appears to have a sore throat from all the intubations...) and now I am sitting at the seal site watching fluids slowly drip into a sea lion who is enjoying her chemically induced snooze. Anyway, there was no ignoring the call. The poor thing was seizing on the drive on beach an hour from my home. I couldn't roust anyone who lived closer, so she had to wait for me to get there. Luckily, our electric gate has finally been installed so I was able to swing by the site to get drugs. Previously it was way too creepy to go there alone after dark and wrestle with the heavy gate. Also I am grateful that the State Parks guy waited (on over time) with her, so she didn't become a speed bump and so that I would have help boxing her up.

So I don't have pictures yet, cuz it's dark and I didn't grab my camera anyway. I don't have a name yet, cuz the folks that issue the names are all sleeping. I decided not to even wake the vet tech to get orders for meds. I know the drill. I've stopped the seizures (and I was dead on with my weight estimate) and now I'm giving fluids. Really really slow fluids. If I had called for orders I'm nearly positive they would have spared me the fluids. Rescues after dark are generally followed with a dump and run. But I have a feeling if she is not dead by morning she will be way too up to subQ so I am doing it now.

In the meanwhile, I am feeling really guilty I haven't finished Yvette's birthday blog. It's been a week since I took the LSAT, a week since OC's been in the hospital, and have I done a darned thing? Mostly no. I am so glad she is too busy to read my blog, or she would notice how neglected a friend she really is. And now, with Erik's birthday only two days away, he's got to be my focus. At least sitting here watching the fluids drip is giving me a chance to update my blog, eh?

Anyway, it's still pretty creepy here alone at night. The fluids are almost done so I think I'm going to run. I locked OC in, so I'm hoping he'll be willing to resume the snuggling where we left off. More likely, he'll be annoyed from being trapped with Monkey for the last four hours and he'll want to go outside. I realize I'm the adult - not only that, I'm the biped with opposable thumbs - so I could still keep him trapped inside even if he's dying to go out, but really, I don't have the heart. Even though the dietary changes seem to be working, I'm not totally optimistic it will be sustainable so in the meanwhile I am trying to cater to his every whim. He's a cat, so his whims are pretty simple - in, out, eat, sleep. It's the least I can do.

Two weeks and two days until LSAT scores are posted. Did I mention that I hate waiting?