It’s toot-toot-Tuesday, don’t cry!

Tuesday is deadline day at the Sun, so if there’s a day to cry, it would be today. At one of the last places where I was an editor, a magazine, on the first day I bet my fellow editor lunch over which of us would be the first to cry. And I lost! It was I who cried first! I was shocked. But the stress of the day can break you sometimes.

That’s why it’s good to go into D-Day in fighting shape: don’t have too much, or any, writing to do that day. Don’t try to plan lunch or meetings. Just rub your hands together, eat a good breakfast, and jam, baby, jam. It’s worked for me so far.

I’m glad school is ending for summer. That means the beginning of summer interns for me — which means a lot more features and assignments to give. I’ve got three interns starting in a week and look forward to their arrival.

I wish the weather would warm. It doesn’t feel like summer. I know we have June gloom — I was remembering swimming lessons when I was a wee girl, in Terra Linda, in the TL pool, and how gray and overcast it was on those mornings, and how cold the pool, or getting in and out, was. My mom used to buy us some kind of Planter’s Peanut toffee bars — can’t remember their names, but they were packed with nuts and energy, and it was a novel treat to be given a candy bar after swimming.

It was the same when the girlies were small — swimming lessons seemed to begin in chill weather, but by the time we got home, the sun came out and they could go and play. But getting the kids into the pool for a 9 a.m. lesson in foggy weather — not easy. I think I bribed them with candy bars, too, come to think of it.

Chlorine eyes. Tan lines. The blue of the water. A whiff of bleach still takes me there.

hell’s kitchen

that’s where we are today — roasting on a spit, being basted with sweat. Ick.

But actually I LOVE the heat. So I’m faux-complaining just to get the ball rolling here. Today was Bike to Work Day and I did so — I think it’s about 5 miles though I actually have to clock it tomorrow to make sure. Each way! In the heat! It was not hard going, since Alameda is so darn flat, but it wasn’t my good bike, since one daughter rode it and got a flat the other day. So I rode her bike, and it is too short, even for me. My booty is sore and my legs a little wobbly, and my face was beet red when I got home. But it was still fun. A pity I couldn’t find any of those free juice and goodies stations.

Luckily our friend Conrad came into the office today with danishes and cut fruit. It was just like a bike-to-work station. Thanks, Conrad. Four out of five Alameda Sun staff rode bikes today. Woo hoo! Watch for the photo in the paper next week. I’ll get it for here, too.

My plants are wilting a bit in the veggie garden but I’m going to wait a bit longer before watering tonight. Still too hot. We just got the news about East Bay water rationing, so I’m working to determine how much water we usually use, and how to see exactly how we can measure our progress. Besides just cutting back. I want to see a goal and a measurable result.

Here’s what we’re doing so far — turning off water for hand-washing and teeth-brushing. Full loads in dish and clothes washer. Short showers — 5 mins only! If it’s yellow, let it mellow. (Except in the guest bathroom.) Use water twice — I mean, while rinsing the coffee pot in the morning, I water the plants with the rinse water. Like that. We’re gonna see if we can use the graywater from our washer to water the yard. We use eco soap and cold water, no rinses or bleach, so it should be possible. It’s just Day 2 of the rationing so we have lots to do.

We also heard on the news today about the state’s Supreme Court backing the constitutional right to gay marriage. Wa hoo! Good for us. We actually do sometimes get it right. Not often. But sometimes. Equal rights for all — life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Amen to that.

I could keep writing but this office is hot, and I want some fresh air and am waiting for dearest Mr. Husband to being home sushi for his lovely bride and daughters. I love sushi, though it’s not good to eat it all the time because it is emptying the ocean. But once a month is OK, I should think. Besides, I need the omega-3.

I have more to tell — but later, when it gets cooler in here. (fanning self). Mmmm. Love the heat.

Siete de Mayo

~ 7 ~

You heard nothing but silence from me during the Big Weekend, and the aftermath was deadlines, deadlines…so back at the keyboard again.

I was not feeling well (see prev entry) so did not make it to two Saturday events but we still had 10,000 guests coming over, well, maybe just 75 or so of our closest friends, so on with the show. We did indeed have that fiesta and it was FABU! Truly fun, with chips and salsa and guac coming out our ears, not literally — but all of it delicious — and then an astoundingly scrumptious array of potluck Mex fare. So yummy. Lots of new friends got to meet old friends, and we got to meet spouses and kids, and it was generally a ton of fun. The kids played air hockey, whiffle ball, croquet, boccie ball, and shot each other with Nerf darts ad nauseum. They also ran to good neighbor Laurie & Mark Wagner’s casa and played on their fantastical rope swing. It was generally and specifically a lot of pleasure for all. Erin and Jack had promised plate spinning and fire breathing but somehow we didn’t get that far down the list. Maybe at the 4th of July shindig in the works.

Sunday I lay in bed like a fat slug, recovering from hours of running around and pre/post clean-up, and did not do anything useful…I took a nap, then couldn’t sleep all night, instead watching hours of H&G TV…for which I paid dearly Monday when the deadlines hit the fan. Zzzzz…

But we got some good stories this week, with more to come next issue. That’s the fun thing about running a newspaper. You get to do it again the next week.

Also: Last night turned into a bake-a-thon. I made quiche for dinner, because the kids love it, and made the crust. Then, since the flour and measuring cups were already out, I thought I’d try mixing up the Amish Friendship Bread (from starter that I got from a Freecycle friend). But before I could start that, the Boy asked me to make “a giant cookie” for a new girl in his class, so we started mixing the dough. About 10 seconds into it he decided he had other fish to fry, so I ended up making the dough for a giant choco-chip cookie (about 9 inches across, yum) for his new friend, and as many smaller cookies as I could before the teens ate them and the dough from under my spoon. Then I mixed the Friendship Bread batter, popped that in the oven to have something homemade ready for Thursday’s Teacher Appreciation Day. And since it made two loaves of delicious apple-cinnamon bread, we started eating one for breakfast and it is so good. Can’t wait to make it again. The other loaf goes to school tomorrow with the Boy. The cookie went with him today but the new girl didn’t show. Teacher is holding onto the cookie for another day, til she arrives.

We knocked off early at the Sun today, since it was such a rush to press today. Our deadline is an hour earlier because the press is cutting its workforce — hard times everywhere, friends, and how it trickles down is that a shift of workers have lost their jobs and we have to work smarter, if not harder, on Wednesdays, to get the paper to press in time to get it printed before the end of the shift. No late deadlines, like we were able to do a few weeks ago when Gubernator came around. Ah well. Earlier is all right. It works out best to finish and be done with last week so we can go onto next week.

But it was a bit taxing today, and we all took off to enjoy a little sunshine before the cold wind kicked in again. (No real complaints about the weather, though — at least we have our lives and worldly goods, unlike those in the former Burma. At least we don’t have cyclones here, knock on wood.) I spent my afternoon catching up on watering the veggies and potted plants, doing a little collecting and planning for future events, and started considering how to make room for an art studio for the various projects we (I) have going on. I have Mr. Husband to thank for his brilliant consideration of the topic. He said he thought we could rearrange the (usually vacant) dining room and then we could work together in the same room. I think we can make it work. What a sweetheart! [~sending hugs his way~]

Tomorrow is a full day, with lots to do Friday, too, and catch-up on Saturday, big time. Sunday I am to be treated like a queen, and looking forward to it. Peel me a grape…;-)

Happy Wed-nes-day.

daffy days

I took this photo this morning — daffodils bursting into bloom at Alameda Point (at the old entrance gate at Atlantic). We have just ONE daffodil at our house — in a container in the front, a bulb I didn’t even know was there. But it doesn’t feel like spring until a daffodil blooms.
Rain caught us by surprise the other night — I left a bunch of stuff outside — tablecloth on the table, pillows on the chairs, some other rescued chairs on the front patio — all soaked, along with cardboard boxes and garden gloves and the bowl of cat kibble. Yuk. At least I don’t have to water 😉 And it’s raining again now (pouring, in fact)! (@3 pm)

We’ve been doing a lot of kitty care at our house lately — our old tomcat ELvis is feeling poorly lately, so poorly that he may be contemplating his final wishes. He caught a bad cold and it’s been persistent, and the poor old guy is unable to breathe through his nose. If you want to feel pity, listen to a cat wheezing for breath. The poor old thing. He’s been to the vet three times in the past two weeks and now we’re doing some hospice care: he’s on an IV drip twice a day to keep him hbydrated, being served warmed chicken baby food to stimulate his appetite (he still won’t eat), and given steam and saline treatments for his clogged nasal passages. Plus antibiotics and lots of love. We don’t know what’s next for Elvis, but send him a warm thought and a hope to get through the weekend. I think he’ll be ok if we can get through the next few days.

In other news…
We are running this colorful ad in the Sun these days — kinda funny. Suddenly “everyone”is doing a blog. Like they were just discovered by Oprah or something. Wow, so hip to blog! So we decided to run this house ad which shows that blogs are nothing to be scared of, and that we’ve been blogging for the Sun and Alameda for four years already (remember, this one started as my column and online in January 2004 — scroll backward to verify!). We also noted the award we won 9 months ago for blogging. Nobody notices the difference, I suppose, but we’re making a point: we’ve been doing it for some time now, and it’s not really a new thing to do. It’s almost old hat, in fact. My 2 cents, however — just keep reading…in case you can’t quite place the reference in the ad, it’s a tweak of the original The Blob movie poster. 😉

We also spent some time in the past few days getting our entries together for the East Bay Press Club awards. Several of us entered individual pieces — for coverage of the nuclear waste at Alameda Point, several editorials, columns, architectural reporting, features short and long, and more. I also just heard (from fabulous Andrea Lampros) that The Monthly was nominated again for a Maggie Award for best consumer tabloid — for the issue of December 2007, in which my article on Rabbi Chester of Temple Sinai in Oakland ran. Woo hoo! Here’s hoping for good luck in all of these races. the California Newspaper Publishers’ Association awards are just around the corner as well…chalk up another two days to prep entries for that.

This weekend: Big stuff on the Island. Chicago is on at Altarena. There’s a St. Patrick’s Day race at Crown Beach Sunday morning (I may be taking photos). The kick-off training for the parcel tax starts tomorrow at 10 at Longfellow School (I’ll be taking pix). I’m meeting my friend Kirsten for coffee at some point. Most of our kids are gone for the weekend, and I had planned to work in the garden. But with rain? Probably not.

Instead: a date with my camera and all things Alameda, always. Blogs, kittens, Elvis and the IV drip, a date with my Husband as well. Time to sort out my papers, perhaps, and get a little crafty in the kitchen if it’s rainy outside. Homemade bread sounds so good right now.

(See the comments for some clarification of these remarks, friends. Anonymous makes a good point. Thanks, A.)

time out, time off, tune in again…

Hi again. Sorry about that. It’s been busy. I know I always say that, but it has.

Why, just this week we’ve had crazybusy antics with the school budget and student protest walkouts (see for the scoop), and Tuesday’s school board meeting when budget cuts were decided went until about 1:30 a.m. I was there. Ack.

And: this coming weekend is LunaFest, an awesome women’s film festival that is a fundraiser for breast cancer research via Luna Bar (yum), as well as the Family of Women (my women’s group) and it’s also Junior Prom Night for Alameda High, and two of our girls are going (ka-ching! hair, nails, flowers, limo, pre-party at our house, sleep-over afterward…). So it’s been a bit hectic just this week (not even mentioning assorted meetings, appointments, Mr. Husband’s taking the ferry that broke down and the Boy’s case of hives…)

In recent weeks we’ve had rounds of flu and cold, backaches, toothaches, headaches, tummyaches, attitude, deadlines, drama, backtalk, trips to Costco, windstorms, gardening, couch-surfers, birthdays, weekends, sleepovers, rainstorms, spring cleaning…you name it, we’ve had it. And boy, are our arms tired.

So where are we now? In the beginning of spring, in the month of March, 2008, with a bit of sun and a bit of cloud, a blustery breeze and the scent of flowers in the air: it is, I think, actually spring. It’s a Thursday, the day the Sun hits the streets (the newspaper, I mean), and I finally feel caught up on sleep since the two late nights, Monday (women’s program) and Tuesday (late school board).

I paid almost $50 for a tank of gas this morning so I’m feeling even more “green” than usual — time to start riding my bicycle, I guess. That and prom expenses and balancing a budget for our family of seven (college loans! cell phone bills! Costco! co-pays! vet bills! agh…) has kept me working hard and burning the midnight oil. No rest for the weary.

But enough — I can excuse being “busy” only so long. Back on track now and do drop me a line in comments or e-mail to say how-de-do. We’ll be catching up in no time.

Writing update (I haven’t been idle):

  • A Year with the Saints blog = almost daily, deep thoughts about spirituality, and sometimes shallow thoughts on mortality.
  • Backyard Bliss: Catching up there, too — I’ve been spending more time gardening than writing about it!
  • Nano-novel Mary Mary: haven’t touched it since halfway through National Novel Writing Month (November). It’s brilliant, though. (ahem)
  • My memoir Wedlock is in revision and waiting to see the lit agent again in NY; I’m heading that way again this year to see the Bee-yooti-ful Mia as she graduates from AADA in April.

(See Feb 27 entry on A Year with the Saints blog for thoughts on Mia’s recent birthday.)