Monday, June 30, 2008

Off for a jaunt

Around Pennsylvania, at the very least taking in Gettysburg & Valley Forge, the highlights of Philadelphia (Liberty Bell, Congressional Hall), and some Amish goodies in Lancaster County. Place names in PA are a funny mixture of highly familiar (Carlisle, Lancaster, York), Native American (Loyalsock, Susquehanna), and slightly comical Germanic (Mifflinberg). I'm sure my in-laws will get a kick out of me reading Maisie books to my niece and nephew in an Edinburgh accent, I hope it's enough offset my sophomoric giggling at every other town name, and insistence on taking photographs of road signs that tickle my fancy.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Yellow Fluorescence Becomes Her

MyPicture.jpg, originally uploaded by Rosemary Grace.

I'm wearing makeup today because Wednesday was our third wedding anniversary, and after work today we're going to go out for sushi and a movie to celebrate.

This is the first time in two years that I have put makeup on for fun, because I felt like eyeshadow and sparkly eyeliner, without the foremost though being "I could use some concealer on that scar, I don't want to look like madame knife-fight for this event". After the surgery I made a conscious decision not to begin wearing makeup everyday, because it felt like camouflage, it felt like trying to sanitize myself so as not to unsettle people with the marks of The Big C. I was never a daily makeup wearer, why change?

I did change though, I still put on makeup for events or parties, but my focus shifted from having fun playing up my baby blues to painting out the flaws in the hopes of passing for undamaged. Melodramatic language yes, but it's how I felt. The scar is still the first thing I see almost every time I look in a mirror. Not every time though, I'm making progress, I'm beginning to catch myself glancing in a mirror, patting down a stray hair, or smoothing my eyebrows, and going about my business without even scanning my cheek.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Not in Kansas any more

Gunshots! Across the street! Two of them! Matt was by the window and heard the ka-chunk of the next round chambering (ex-military, grew up in hunting country, knows gun noises), he leapt up, got out of view of the window, and called 911. We are waiting for police to show up, they'll want to interview him, since he called them.

Oh, apparently our street is cordoned off, and swarming with police. This is reassuring: immediate police presence in response to gunfire.

I'm a little stunned, I'm thinking of the other times we've heard a loud *crack* sound from that apartment complex and discounted it as illegal firecrackers, rather than illegal weapons.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Planes, trains and automobiles, though not in that order

My Mum flew into LA last week, visiting for Granny's birthday. I took Friday off work and drove to LAX straight after work on Thursday. After 3 hours of driving directly into the low evening sun my seared eyeballs and I rolled up at the airport at 8.01, a minute before her plane was scheduled to land. I called Matt, so he could check the flight status online for me. It read "diverted". Visions of having to drive to Arizona (or Idaho, or Canada...) to rescue my mother from a night in a motel quickly developed into wondering if "diverted" meant "hijacked". I swiftly parked and went to find an airline employee before my imagination completely took over.

Blah blah storm in Midwest delayed incoming plane blah blah takeoff 4 hours late blah blah low on fuel (umm...low on fuel?) blah blah stopping in Phoenix to gas up...will land at half past midnight. Maybe. The good part being that she was still going to be landing at the right airport, and I didn't have to hang about for half-hourly updates; the bad part being 4-5 hour delay, landing after midnight, followed by a 3 hour drive back to San Diego. I decided to go see a movie, just to kill the time, because 4-5 hours of knitting and reading a magazine in horrible airport air and fluorescent light would have left me in bad shape for the drive back. Finding a cinema involved using Matt, and Matt's laptop (back at home) as a makeshift GPS, where I drove up Sepulveda Blvd, calling out the cross streets and he tried to find me on Google Maps, then find a cinema we could be reasonably certain was a mainstream one, not a sketchy adult movie house. I ended up at the Pacific Theater in Culver City, in a very charming little entertainment zone with stylish people dining al fresco, a few shops selling very designed looking furniture, and a fountain outside the cinema. I was very glad that my jaunt didn't take me to a bad neighborhood, as I left the movie at midnight to go back to LAX.

Mum landed, tired but fairly chipper, and had no checked luggage, so we could go straight out to the car and get on the road. Some ibuprofen helped me make the drive back without a splitting headache at the end of it, and we got home at 3.30am. Ugh. The next morning we were all up at about 7, as Matt was working that day, and we had hair appointments. The weekend got much better from then. Ending with putting Mum on a train for LA, where she is now visiting with her sister.

I saw (most of) Iron Man by the way, did not expect to enjoy it, but it was really good.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Meme: 63 random questions

Copied from K.

1. The phone rings; who do you want it to be? Somebody with good news, I always feel guilty when my phone rings, I'm convinced it's going to be someone reminding me of a commitment I have missed.
2. When shopping at the grocery store, do you return your cart? Now' I'm in California, I return my cart, though usually I'm cart-less and using my own eco-warrior basket. In the UK I happily returned my trolley to the correct place.
3. In a social setting, are you more of a talker or a listener? I'm either very much one or the other, depending on who I'm talking to. I either end up telling my life story, or having a life story told to me.
4. Do you take compliments well? Not really, I'm trying to learn to believe them.
5. Do you play Sudoku? I keep intending to try.
6. If abandoned alone in the wildernedd, would you survive? If I had Matt with me, I think so, if I didn't...maybe, through thinking of what Matt would tell me to do. If I had a knife. I should start hiking with knife, maybe also GPS.
7. Do you like to ride horses? Yes, but I have very bad luck with them, I'm a complete beginner and I seem to get stuck with the wild one or the sleepy one, I broke my arm pony-trekking because the instructors didn't check that the girth was tight enough. I want to learn to ride properly some day.
8. Did you ever go to camp as a kid? Primary Seven camp, pretty similar to the US sixth grade camp experiences from what I've heard. I hated a lot of it, the gully scramble was exciting at first, but utterly miserable by the end, and some girls from another school decided to make me that week's Xtreme Bullying target for the week.
9. What was your favorite game as a kid? Dress-up, and solo make-believe in my garden.
10. If a sexy person was pursuing you, but you knew he/she was married, would you go for it? Hah! Nope. I find it pretty ridiculous that this is seen as a major moral conundrum. Spoken-for = not and option, therefore NOT SEXY. Sexiness depends a great deal on availability.
11. Could you date someone with different religious beliefs than you? Probably, if they were ok with me keeping my different opinions.
12. Do any songs make you cry? Yes, and films.
13. Are you continuing your education? As we speak. (type)
14. Do you know how to shoot a gun? Aim, squeeze trigger. Some guns I know how to check the safety, I once knew how to dismantle a military rifle (RAF Royal Officers Training Core), and I'm a good shot. I strenuously object to personal firearms, but am married to a man who aims to own a muzzle-loader (does that count as differing religion?).
15. If your house was on fire, what would be the first thing you grabbed? Husband, cats, photographs/negatives, box of "important documents", then I'd dither about my wedding dress and probably settle by grabbing my jewelry box and the William Morris tapestry I spent five months completing. Matt would have the same order, only add in guitars & kilts and delete wedding dress. I've had a chance to think about these things, with the wild fires etc.
16. How often do you read books? Most days, unless I'm working on back issues of New Scientist. Funny story: a chap once followed me into a book shop on Oxford Street to chat me up, his line was " read a lot of books?". I took this as evidence that he did not read many books. He followed up with a comment on my being "built". I took this as further evidence that he was not a literary type.
17. Do you think more about the past, present or future? Yes. I think a lot.
18. What is your favorite children's book? White Rabbit's Wedding, and the Quangle Wangle Quee.
19. What color are your eyes? Bluegreygreen or greybluegreen.
20. How tall are you? 5'8"
21. Where is your dream house located? Impossible fantasy: somewhere walking distance from my entire family (variously located in SoCal, Pennsylvania, Edinburgh, Berlin, Barcelona, Aix en Provence & Sydney) with an ocean view and a nearby forest.
Potentially possible wishlist: Something historic in the Dean Village or Duddingston, Edinburgh, something colonial with big ancient trees in Pennsylvania, something Mission Style with a garden and a view, on the Westernish slopes of Mt Helix, near San Diego.
22. Do you have a secret fetish? It's a secret.
23. Have you tried sushi? Yes, but the best kind is tempura-fried, which makes it not exactly sushi.
24. Have you ever taken pictures in a photo booth? Yes, they're fun, but unflattering.
25. When was the last time you were at Olive Garden? Haven't been, I like my Italian food less chainy.
26. When was the last time you were at Church? Um. My sister-in-law's wedding in 2003.
27. Where was the furthest place you traveled today? Cafe & Farmer's market in La Mesa, 4 miles. It's Sunday, work is 22 miles away.
28. What was your favorite job? This one.
29. Do you like mustard? I have yet to meet a mustard I do not like.
30. Do you prefer to sleep or eat? What's on the menu?
31. Do you look like your mom or dad? Both. Looking more and more like my Mum.
32. How long does it take you in the shower. 10-15 minutes.
33. Can you do splits? Nope. I can touch my toes though.
34. What movie do you want to see right now? Prince Indiana Caspian Jones of the Crystal Skull
35. If you could fast forward your life, would you? No! I might be tempted if I were offered a selective rewind.
36. What did you do for New Year's? Fell asleep in my hallway. The carpet is quite comfortable there.
37. Do you think The Grudge was scary? Some disturbing images, which is why I left Matt to watch it and went to read in the bedroom. I couldn't be bothered being freaked out.
38. Could you relate to a character in Mean Girls? No.
39. Do you own a camera phone? Yes, but I haven't tried to figure out how to get the photos/videos onto my computer.
40. Do you have an "ex box" with pics and letters from past lovers? No, that would be a little strange.
41. Was your mom a cheerleader? Californian, yes, blond, yes, cheerleader, no.
42. What's the last letter of your middle name? e, e, and d
43. Do you like your middle name? Yes, all of 'em.
44. How many hours of sleep do you get a night? 6-8, with occasional catch-up epic 10-12 nights.
45. Do you like care bears? Meh.
46. What do you buy at the movies? Unsweetened iced tea, or nothing.
47. Do you know how to play poker? No.
48. Do you wear your seat belt? I can't imagine a reason NOT to.
49. What do you wear to sleep? Knit bottoms and a tank top, with optional long sleeved over top if it's chilly.
50. Anything big ever happen in your hometown? Since I've lived here there have been two enormous wildfires and several minor earthquakes. We've got a world famous zoo and a lot of films have been shot hereabouts. My original hometown is much older, and a capital city with castle, so lots of big political and battley things happened there, not to mention real-life grave-robbers, highwaymen, the inspiration for the characters Sherlock Holmes AND Dr Jekyll, and the invention of a little thing called Disinfectant.
51. How many meals do you eat a day? Three.
52. Is your tongue pierced? No.
53. Do you like funny or serious people better? Both, but it's better when people have both traits.
54. Ever been to L.A.? Several times, going there in two weeks. I have family there.
55. Did you eat a cookie today? No. I had chocolate-covered cheesecake on Friday, that's quite enough for a few days.
56. Do you steal or pay for your music downloads? I still buy CDs. I like owning the cover art.
57. Do you hate chocolate? Hah! I hate when it runs out...
58. What do you and your parents fight about the most? Not much now, when I was younger it pretty much always boiled down to a battle of wills.
59. Are you a gullible person? Not for facts, but I do tend to give people's characters the benefit of the doubt. This has sometimes led to being taken advantage of emotionally.
60. Do you need a boyfriend/girlfriend to be happy? No. Good friends are pretty essential though.
61. If you could have any job what would it be? If I could make a living as a potter, I would, but realistically: an Epidemiologist in a position to influence communities for the good.
62. Are you easy to get along with? Usually, some undergrads have found me intimidating, but I think that's because I'm training them and don't let them get away with being intellectually lazy.
63. What is your favourite time of day? Late afternoon/evening. Or moonlight nights.

Thus ends the randomness.