Thursday, October 21, 2004

Audience Participation

I just found a really kooky suggestion in the blogger site that I think I'd like to try with you all. (This is a little like my college radio show when I had no idea that anyone at all was listening except for my father when I sent him the tapes.) It said to ask my readers for three pictures of things that they would most like to see. However, I don't have a digital camera, so that won't really work. (The picture of me as a barrista is courtesy of David Ludwig, Jeff's dad.)

So, because I'm getting a little tired of reading my own ruminations, I'd love to get some input from you about what you would like to know about what it's like to live on an island in the Northwest. Or what it's like to be doing something totally new. Or what it's like being away from my family and friends. Or what it's like to live in a trailer. Or what it's like to live so close to the ocean. You get the idea. No question is too mundane.

Post the questions here on this site by using the comments option on this or any of my previous entries. I'll be more likely to respond in a timely way. Then, comment on the comments if you want to. We'll start a [french accent] salon of sorts. It'll be fun!

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

I am officially a barrista. It's like Daniel and I switched lives! He's doing his student teaching and I'm making coffee. Ha ha. Posted by Hello

Monday, October 18, 2004

What, are you dumb?

So, I'm a little impatient. Big deal. So, I expected to start this new type of life right away. What's so wrong with that?

Well, as usual, my emotional logic lost out. I was starting to feel all uptight and antsy because I was homesick. I started complaining to myself and to Jeff that life was not interesting enough. I spent too much time at home. I'm not doing anything here that I couldn't do in Chicago - with my friends and family nearby. (Did you catch that? That was the give-away that I'm just crazy-talking. This might be coincidental, but Jeff's parents were just here to visit from Glen Ellyn.) I mean, working retail, going to church and setting up an apartment: what could be more mundane than that? There is nothing distinctly Northwestern about that. Plant a couple of fir trees and hang a couple of Native American totems randomly in Lombard and we're set. They don't even have a funny accent here.

OK, cut it out with the sarcastic tone. I'm stupid. All of the previous statements are ridiculous and I'm fully aware of that. But a few days ago I wasn't. So, I'm sharing the progression of thoughts with you.

Number one: of course it feels like I'm just doing what I've always done with no new experiences. I'm doing what I've always done. But, the part that I forget is that now I'm doing them by myself, which I haven't ever done before. For instance, I'm cooking for myself. Yes, some meals are macaroni and cheese but tonight I made soup. I meant to make navy bean soup, which is my favorite but was missing some vital elements so ended up with this funky Italian tomato pinto bean soup. MMMmmmm. The other day I made my very first apple pie with local apples picked from someone’s backyard. I used Grandma’s recipe but put lard back in where she has switched to Crisco. Also, mmmmm. Not bad for a girl who lost all of the cooking supplies in the divorce. But, I'm not totally alone. Jeff taught me how to light my stove so that it actually created warmth and not just smoke. He also reassures me that the noise my car is making is just fine and that I'll be able to fill the tires with air by myself just fine. When I feed him some of the soup tomorrow, he'll tell me it's good, regardless of the truth. He ate most of the pie. He takes me to do things that are distinctly non-Chicago, which leads me to point two.

Number two: I AM doing things that I couldn't do in Chicago. Why my very-smart brain thinks otherwise is more than my fancy degree in English can tell me. Yesterday, I went kayaking and we must have ended up in the ocean cafeteria. Bonaparte gulls were swirling and diving and when they dove a seal head would come out of the water and they would all fight. After awhile, four - count them - four eagles joined the swirling but they were much bigger. While this was going on, I happened to look down into the water on the other side of my boat and a baby seal came up from under me from way down deep, looking at me the whole time, to play with the eddies that my paddle was making. He just touched the top of the water with his nose and darted away. He was closer than any animal at the Shedd aquarium could ever be. After the kayak trip in the blustery weather was outdoor, swimsuit-optional hot tub and sauna with a gorgeous view of the ocean. It is a phenomenal experience to sit mostly bare in the cold fall wind off the ocean when your body temperature is enough to keep you warm. Not a lot of places to be naked outside in Chicago. (Grandma, forget you read that.) On a different note, I got paid 8 bucks plus labor for my Illinois license plates by a local artist. Actually, he handed me a ten-dollar bill and asked for change. He had promised me lunch at a local place, Chimayo's. I guess $8 was the equivalent. Finally, I sat watching a rerun of The West Wing that I had never seen before, eating slices of nectarines that I had bought a month ago in bulk at a fruit stand off the highway on the mainland. When they were ripe, I sliced them all up all by myself and loaded them into the dehydrator so they would keep. Candy was not sweeter than those round orange and red chewy fruits that I had preserved completed on my own. Although I’m not going on hikes and campouts and being invited to big hippie blow-out parties, I guess that the time that I’ve gained from working retail instead of a job that requires passion and the emotional energy that I can keep for myself instead of feeding it into kids is spent on these small new encounters. And that’s exactly right for a month and a half. Jeez.

Monday, October 11, 2004


So, I’ve just finished my first workout at the Curves knock-off on the island: PACE. I’m a little ashamed at betraying my loyalty, but it’s all there is. So, in case there were any doubts, let me reassure you, it sucks. Oh, I’ll keep going but it is vastly inferior. The machines offer less resistance and are harder to get in and out of. The staff have no training on how to instruct people, although they are very nice. No one made me stretch, the cue is set for 41 seconds, there is a stationary bike as one of the machines, every other rest and recovery station is a step aerobics step and THERE IS NO SQUAT MACHINE! I can barely feel my workout. Working on those feather machines is like the difference between a professional massage and having a friend who just pinches at the surface of your skin with his or her fingertips. No satisfaction. So, thanks Wendy, for making me a snob for a place that is well-run and focused. You’ve ruined me for anybody else. :-)

Sunday, October 03, 2004

A pug's life

Daniel has a baby friend named Henry who is 18 months old but who looks like a three year old because he is so huge. Henry is one of those personable babies who loves everything he comes into contact with but does not necessarily have the fine motor skills to manipulate the world yet. It’s delightful to watch him stumble around with a huge grin on his face. In fact, sometimes he gets so happy that he forces the edges of his mouth out while sticking his lower jaw forward, which has the effect of making his neck tendons taut. Then, he pulls in air through his throat, leaving his vocal cords closed, making a sort of groaning zombie-like noise. This display indicates that he is super-happy and the sensation of it makes him smile so big that he has to stop doing it in order to laugh. I’ve been watching a video that my parents taped off of Channel 11 called A PUG’S LIFE and the sight of all of those pugs and their smitten owners has made me nearly as happy as Henry. But, I think it’s possible that I’m a little more emotional than I give myself credit for lately since the documentary has made me cry as well. Once, on the segment about the pug rescue organization, a new owner was discussing a dog that was “the saddest pug the organization had ever seen. She just sat in the corner of the room depressed all the time.” The new owner just wanted to try to make the dog happy. The idea of that pug being so sad just resonated with my own homesickness and I cried. So, I got up, turned off the TV and went down to the beach for a little while. Then, I needed to sort the socks, so I turned the tape back on. I was happy as Henry again as they showed the art gallery owner who admitted that he couldn’t get the dog to do more than sit, either. Also, the woman who said that pugs are completely loyal as long as you are feeding them. And then! They had a section on owners remembering their pugs that had died and I was gone again.

At some point. my life and my emotional status will be stable. Until then, you’ll find Henry and I sitting on the floor, playing with Retha, making crazy zombie noises and laughing while she tries to jump up and lick our faces.