Thursday, September 28, 2006

I am not perfect. I forget to mail things. I get impatient with my son and my students. I yell at the dogs. I don’t always return phone calls. I don’t always get my work done in a timely manner.

But today, today I am a good person.

Today I remembered to call my mom on her birthday. Happy Birthday Mom.

Now, I better go and remind my brother to call, so he too can be a good person—at least for today.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

My husband was Junkie of the Month

at Starbuck’s a few months ago. What that means is that he was the featured customer of the month. What that means is that he had a framed picture of himself prominently displayed on the counter. What that means is that he goes there a lot. What that means is they know his drink (Venti drip with room). What that means is they know his name. What that means is when he’s out of town and comes back, they’re pleased to see him. What that means is other Starbuck junkies recognize him and call him by name.

A few weeks ago when I went into Starbucks they greeted me by name, and asked if I wanted a tall latte.

What does that mean?

Sunday, September 24, 2006

The Wait at the Ladies

All right, I have a question. Why does it take women so long in the public restroom? Yesterday I waited a full five minutes (and that’s not even a long wait) for a woman to vacate the bathroom. Now, I am a woman, and it takes me very little time to go in, do my business, and be out; I even wash my hands (this is one of my theories about why men take less time).

What are they doing in there--reading, washing and blow-drying their hair, grouting the tile, napping? What? A week ago a woman leaving the restroom with two large bags said, “I’m sorry I took so long, I had to change clothes.” I said that’s okay (though it wasn’t). But what I wanted to say was, “How many times did you change clothes, ten, twenty?” Really.

So, if anybody knows the answer to this question, please tell me. This is one of the many mysteries about my own gender that I have yet to fathom.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Jung 101

A few nights ago I went to the bookstore and was hanging out in the religion/philosophy section—no surprise there. I mostly check out the Eastern Philosophy books, looking for new trends or anything interesting. Buddhism and psychology seem to be coming back into vogue.

Anyway, while I was there, an older man came over and started talking to me. First he wanted to know what I was looking for. Then he wanted to tell me all of the gurus he’d met or meditated with. Then he wanted to know if I knew them. Then he told me all about how he was there “when it all started.” Then he wanted to know whether or not I practiced, and what I practiced. Then he told me he was beyond “isms.”

I responded to the majority of these comments with either hmmm, or very short responses.

Then he told me he didn’t practice Zen anymore because it didn’t fit his (Jungian) archetype.

I said, “Hmmm.”

But what I wanted to say was, “Which archetype is that, the one that hangs out in bookstores and tries to pick up blonde women twenty years younger than you?”

I don’t remember that one.

Friday, September 15, 2006

The Queen of Clean

is my mother. When I was growing up, our house was clean. I mean really clean. It was both sanitary and clutter free. My mother spent the majority of each day cleaning, what to my eyes as a child, was a completely clean house. Our house was Better Homes and Gardens clean. The President could have stopped by at any moment and my mom would not have been embarrassed by the state of her house.

My mother always walked around the house picking things up. If my brother or I left our books, toys, or other childish clutter around, my mother picked it up and put it away, or told us to do so. If we left a glass of water on the table, and left the room for a moment, my mother emptied it and put it in the dishwasher.

I loved to go to other people’s houses, and was always interested to learn that they weren’t necessarily clean all of the time. You see, I thought that everyone’s house was as clean as ours. I was especially fascinated by my friends’ rooms. Not only were they not always clean, sometimes they were downright disaster areas. Ann, my best friend Allison’s mom, loves to tell the story to this day about the night I stayed over at her house and we pre-teens slept among the piles of clean laundry that Allison had not yet folded and put away. This was a totally alien experience for me. My mom would have been horrified if the clean laundry was not neatly folded and put away immediately in an orderly fashion, in militarily neat dresser drawers. Did you know that some people just toss their socks and under things into drawers without folding them? I never knew this until I was in college and had a roommate.

When I turned eight or so, I got to help clean the perfectly clean house. Of course, I thought this pointless. The house was clean already. My room was clean. I was not allowed to let my room get dirty.

So, kids do one of two things; they either become like their parents, or they become reactionary to them. Where do you suppose I landed?

Oh, and by the way, I have a friend who says my mom cannot be the Queen of Clean, because his mom is the Queen of Clean. You mean there are two of them?

Monday, September 04, 2006

I cried when Jacques Cousteau died; he was an idol to me, and I respected what he stood for and all he had done for the environment.

Steve Irwin died yesterday. He too worked to teach people about the environment, particularly much maligned animals like crocodiles.

What bothers me most about his death, besides the obvious tragedy, and the family he leaves behind, is the shock of it.

How can someone so full of life just stop?
An Ode on Figs

Figs are my favorite fruit, except for tomatoes. It’s finally fig season, three glorious weeks when I will eat figs everyday if I can. I like Mission Figs, Turkey Figs, and Kadota Figs; in fact, I have never met a fig I didn’t like—unless it’s in a Newton. What a way to ruin the perfect fruit.

Eating figs is like eating ambrosia and having sex at the same time. Sorry for you sensitive types out there, but that’s just the way it is.

We had a Kadota Fig tree in our back yard years ago. It was always trying to fall down, and finally it did. I cried when I realized that I could no longer go out and pick my own figs.

Now I am reduced to snagging figs off of my neighbors’ trees. They don’t eat them, what can I say? My neighbor Scott is never home, so his figs are fair game. I have another neighbor around the corner whose fig tree extends onto the sidewalk—again fair game.

Of course I also buy them at the grocery store. Our produce guy always points me to the figs when I come in; he’s got my number.

I do have to fight my son for them; he is turning into a fig fiend too. My husband can take them or leave them. Smart man.

Hmm, all this talk about figs has given me an appetite; I think I’ll go for a walk.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Global Warming

I was listening two weeks ago to NPR Business Report. Usually I’m allergic to things business--it was an accident. Anyway, the gist of the story was about how beneficial global warming was going to be to business. Excuse me? I couldn’t possibly have heard that correctly. Yep, that’s what they said. They gave one example of how the polar ice caps would melt, and that would allow for faster shipping across the Arctic.

Now, one of my very bright students from last year had mentioned that he had heard this, but I took it with a grain of salt—I mean, how hairbrained is that? But as it turns out, my very bright student was right. Business people the world over are salivating and rubbing their hands together with glee in anticipation of the changes that global warming will bring.

Do they not understand that dramatically changing rainfall patterns will be devastating to existing countries and economies? Do they not understand that countries like Bangladesh will be completely underwater? If they have no compassion for developing nations, do they not understand that Britain and the Netherlands will be devastated by higher water levels, to say nothing of our own gulf states? Did they enjoy Katrina, and are they looking forward to more hurricanes like it?

If all of that is not scary enough, diluting the salt in the Atlantic Ocean will change the water currents and bring on another Ice Age. What will they do then, sell snow cones?

More evidence that people have indeed lost their minds. Not that we needed more proof.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Yoga in a Menagerie

A few days ago I was sitting on my mat, between asanas (yoga poses—can you believe that the spell check does not recognize the word “asana?”), and my Jack Russell Terrier Buddy came to sit with me. He regards yoga as “our special time together.” That’s all well and good, but Buddy and I have plenty of special time together throughout the day, as let him in and out to bark, as I refill his food bowl that he has hurled against the back door, and especially when he’s crowding me out of bed at night and hogging the covers. So, we really don’t need more special time together, especially when I am trying to BREATHE.

In one of those desperate, thoughtless moments, I did it. I said, “Buddy, get on the couch.” Really. I told my filthy, shedding, white dog to get ON the couch. That must be a first.

What do you suppose Buddy did? He got on the couch. My husband suggested that we send him out for coffee and doughnuts, but we didn’t say it to Buddy.

We were afraid he might do it.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Dog Days of Summer

I have often wondered exactly what this expression meant, and from where it came. I did some reading this morning to try to pin it down, but to no avail. Apparently even such a tome as The Oxford Companion to the Year cannot definitively say what or when the Dog Days are. All it can say is that they are hot. Ah, well, I'm glad we cleared that up.

I guess then, we are in the Dog Days of summer. I always think of the Dog Days as late August into September, but most importantly, the hot humid days that just won’t go away. That’s what I mean by Dog Days—"Dogged Days." Like a terrier that just won’t let go of a toy, the atmosphere just won’t let go of the heat. Won’t give in to the cool crispness that it knows is coming, won’t give up the searing sun. The sun blazes stronger at this time, and in the direct sun summer still reigns supreme, but that’s the only place that summer is still winning—in the shade it’s getting cooler, at night it’s getting cooler. The sun fights back with a vengeance; it fights so hard because it knows it’s going to lose.

It will cool, the leaves will turn, the sky will open and it will rain, and the days of Old Sol in his/her glory will have to wait until next summer to come back full force.

My favorite thing about the Dog Days is, they can’t last forever.