Monday, August 5, 2002


Well, hello, my darlings! Sorry to leave you all hanging there with the pillow-clutching blond and the bleah, but I've been out of town all weekend and will be leaving town again tomorrow morning (at a most ungodly hour), so I thought I'd better check in and catch everyone up on my doings.

So, to recap, Wednesday I felt shitty. I was tired and frustrated and tired and depressed and tired. Thursday I felt a little better, but was busy getting things tied up at work so we could close the office for a week while we were all on vacation; then after work I spent some time with my friend and coworker JB, who I won't see for almost three weeks (we had dinner at Mel's, I bought a faux-neoclassical wrought-iron plant stand, and we looked for shoes). On Friday, in the middle of manipulating my Sims, I remembered this one large task that I had neglected earlier in the week, so I was busily scurrying around doing all the payroll and banking and what-have-you so the office wouldn't go bankrupt over vacation.

After that, I went shoe-shopping. I wanted to get a new pair of shoes that could withstand a lot of walking and standing, which I going to be doing all this week (more later). So I ran out to Shoe Pavilion in Emeryville to grab a new pair of Airwalks, preferably suede or nubuck in the tan/taupe range, if they had them. "Ran" is of course a euphemism...I in fact crawled, being that I hit the road right around 3:30 on a summer Friday afternoon.

Shoe Pavillion in Emeryville did not have them, of course, as retailers and wholesalers are all equipped with highly sensitive evil computer programs that can sense when I am looking for something specific and particular, so they can then endeavor to not have it in stock, or at least not have it in my size. Well, I would not be defeated, so after glancing around a bit at Ross, I got back in my car and headed for the next nearest known Shoe Pavillion, which is in the Marina Shopping Center in San Leandro.

They didn't have them either...they did have a pair of suede Airwalks in my size, but they were bright swimming-pool blue with off-white trim, a little loud for me. So I tried on about seventeen pairs of shoes, and finally settled for a pair of tan leather Rockports. They are old-man shoes, but I had to have something to walk in. Then I went over to the Nordstrom Rack across the way and bought a new hockey sweater and Ralph Lauren painter's-pants (the exact same shade as the Rockports) at deep discounts, which made me feel a little better.

When I got home, I had to do a quick change and brush-up, then bundle Grandmother and my father into the car... we were all meeting at The Gingerbread House to celebrate Grandmother's 84th birthday. We got there exactly on time, which is an absolute miracle in my family, but there's something about iron-clad reservations that somehow stimulates punctuality in my clan. The food was excellent, if a bit on the spicy side... I had the un-spiciest thing they served, cherry duck, and my only problem with it was that the cherries had been soaked in brandy, cooked so they were non-alcoholic but tasting a little too distinctly of cooked alcohol for my comfort.

Anyway, a good time was had by all; afterward, we went out for ice-cream at Alameda's only and greatest premium ice-creamery, Tucker's... where my nephew happens to be working for the summer. It irritates me that a nephew of mine is old enough to have a job. And drive. And, in some states, get married. I have to pretend that his mother is actually older than me instead of younger, and that I was a mere slip of a child when he was born (when in fact I was just about to graduate from high-school). I'm too young to be eighteen years older than a sixteen-year-old! It's not fair!

So then on Saturday, I had another load of things to do, all of which precluded writing to you, my beloved blogsters! I had to get up and schlepp myself and my Grandmother down to the Hertz Local Edition and pick up the rental car we'd reserved for the weekend... we were driving up to Folsom and Pollock Pines to visit Grandmother's nieces, and my car doesn't have air-conditioning (plus it's an eyesore), so we rented a lovely beige Mitsubishi Galant for the trip.

Before we could do that, though, we had to jet back home, pack up our overnighties, and then get dressed to go to a wedding in Pinole. Our neighbors' middle daughter got married to a lovely young man in a long and rather tedious Catholic ceremony, and then followed the rite with a long and rather tedious reception. Actually, the whole thing was very nice... as weddings go... but I am so sick of weddings I could just puke. I have very little patience with other people's more sentimental activities, especially when they are straight, or religious, or familial activities... so weddings tend to get on my nerves a trifle. In this case, the guests were not very cute, the groomsmen were not very cute (with the exception of the tall, large-handed, puppy-dog-awkward blond Best Man), the caterers were iffy at best (the best-looking but worst-tasting babaganoush in the history of the world), and the dj sucked harder than a Bissel.

Well, all such things come to an end, and the Grandmother and I ducked out as soon as the (embarrassing and idiotic) toasts were complete and before the dancing started. We promptly got lost when I forgot to turn left on Tennant instead of right, and so Grandmother and I had these long geographical arguments as I drove around randomly trying to figure out where I was. I finally turned up on San Pablo Dam Road, having no idea how I got there, and we boarded I-80 toward's Cousin Clarice's place in Folsom.

We arrived in due course, then immediately fell into that singular pastime which Grandmother's relatives all enjoy, Sitting Around the Kitchen Table and Talking. Yakkety-yak for hours! Now, I enjoy a good chat, and I really love the yakkety-yak, but it always amazes me how much time we can spend just sitting and talking. I finally went to sleep on the couch watching television. The next morning we woke up and yakkety-yakked some more, and then drove up to Pollock Pines to Cousin Bob-n-Shirley's (some people have been married so long, and the marrier-in become so assimilated, they become a single relative), where we sat and visited with Cousins Diane and Jessica (the former was visiting from Issaquah WA, the latter lives with Bob-n-Shirley... Grandmother's next-older sister, Dixie, had five children, Lee, Shirley, Joanne, Jessica, and Diane... Lee lives in Ivanhoe, CA, and Joanne [or, more precisely, Joanne-n-Nolan] lives in Redding).

Yakkety yakkety yak. That lasted all day long, then we went back to Clarice's (her husband, Bill, has not been entirely assimilated... Clarice is the daughter of Grandmother's oldest brother) and talked some more while I lay on the sofa popping allergy pills and hoping that I would live long enough to get back into the city and its nice clean non-allergenic smog.

So then today we drove back home. On arrival, Grandmother went straight to bed and hasn't moved much since then... all that yakkety-yak is tiring for a woman of 84. I went and returned the car, and Shiloh picked me up from there... then he and I and his boyfriend Zach went out to the Great Mall to do some shoe-shopping.

You realize of course that I could not be happy with those tan Rockport old-man shoes. I have to have something comfortable, youngish but not outlandish, to wear this week. And Shiloh needed some new shoes, too, having worn out the ones he had to the point that he was actually embarrassed to put them on. So off we all went.

Well, Shoe Pavilion redeemed itself at last... they had the Polo Sport hypersupportive classic sneakers in titanium suede, exactly what I was looking for, and only $29.99! So elated was I that I bought a pair of jeans and three shirts at Burlington, a pair of red sneakers at Bass, and a videotape (Billy Elliot) and CD (the new cast album of Kiss Me, Kate) at Media Play. Shiloh also got a new pair of shoes... really cute Vans, tan suede, also pretty much what I had been looking for but not as well-padded; and they had the added bonus of being in his somewhat hard-to-find size (he takes a 13).

Then when I got home, I had to jet right back out again to make a handprint on a piece of cloth for my sister, who is making a quilt of children's and grandchildren's handprints for our mother's birthday (which is this coming Thursday... she'll be 55). My sister Suzie lives in Alameda, and my usual route to get to and from her place is through the Webster/Posey tunnels. Of course these tunnels are closed on weeknights while CalTrans works on retrofitting and retiling them... but I never can remember that fact. I drove all the way downtown before I remembered that the tunnel was closed and I'd have to go all the way back to the Park Street Bridge... and then after visiting with Suzie, I went and did the exact same thing, completely forgetting in a few minutes that the tunnels were closed. Da-hoy!

And now here I am, all caught up. I ran to Long's to get some travel-sized shampoos and whatnots, I checked my (pitiful lack of) email, sent my mother a pound of Godiva (having to pay extra shipping so it arrives on Thursday), and wrote the above. Phew!

So what are you going to do now?


Yes, Caroline and I are taking our first trip together ever... in all the years we've known each other, we've never gone on a trip together, not even a road-trip. So we're flying down to Orange County tomorrow morning, checking into our motel and picking up our three-day Disneyland and California Adventure passes, and we aren't coming back until Friday... in the meantime, we'll have time to do everything twice (and everything at Disneyland requires walking and then standing in long long long lines... hence the need for the shoes), eat a lot, buy some neat stuff, and hopefully get some rest and relaxation (which we both sorely need).

I doubt I'll have any computer access in the motel, and I'll probably be too busy having fun, anyway, so I'll let you know how it turns out when I get back.

Hugs and Kisses!

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