Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Homeless Portraits of the Day

- A man sleeps sitting up in the entrance way of a building.
- A man lies half on and half off the sidewalk as a helmeted police officer stands with his arms crossed and watches him try to get up. (The man has no shoes and from
the brief glance from the bus the feet seemed really swollen.)
- A man speed walks down the sidewalk, correct arm movement and all.
- A man searches through a garbage bin on the sidewalk, while another watches him.

All wrapped in the scent of sun-kissed dried urine.

Maine, Maine I go away

Off to Maine tomorrow early AM. For a week. I had a bunch of non-work-at-home related items to do today, so am/should be working right now. I hope to have better nicer stronger faster posts when I return.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Friday freak out and Monday pain

Friday: finally opened the damn envelope I got on the 23rd and which got lost in my car. They said I had forfeited my COBRA because the payment was due on Aug. 1 and I had mailed it Aug. 2. Even though I had talked to someone Aug. 2 and they said it was ok. And, I checked with my guaranteed issue plan and they had rejected my application because I did not exhaust my COBRA. All this at the end of the east coast day so I could not contact anyone. Freak out. Working on it today and I think it will all be ok.

Monday: Made up a dish last night with two types of peppers, tomatillos, mushrooms, plantains, etc. I cannot tell you the two types of peppers - they were new to me. Took out my contacts. Tried to put them in this am. OUCH.

I have much more exciting things, but want to post photos... Hope everyone is well.

Friday, August 27, 2010

From a friend's photo album of his trip

It means watch out for climbers above taking a dump. No, actually, it's a chalk bag.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

So far

- Today I have eaten 3 types of fruits: watermelon, mango, and banana.

- I have seen three psychiatrists since the time I've been here trying to find someone I can work with. The first was too... many things - not least amongst them was the fact that he had a couch people could lie on for therapy. Ugh, Freudian. The second was good I thought - engaging, seemed to listen, in a modern office, etc. The third was a woman (good) but required that I do therapy with her and I just didn't get the right vibe and she also needed 1 week notice to cancel an appointment (!!!) or get charged. I chose the second, and went back, and his hackles went up when I challenged what he wanted to do (put me on an antidepressant since I've been off kilter for a while).

What's interesting and I think an indicator is that all three had some kind of weird seating arrangement that made me uncomfortable. #1 had a footstool so he was really comfortable, but the patient was not. #2 sat at a desk higher than the patient. #3 sat below the patient. I just want someone who will seat me at the same level they are and will treat me as an equal.

So, after appointment #2 with #2, I cried all the way home and cried at home and M didn't understand a bit of it. I called my friend Cutiepie's mom, who understands completely, and talked with her today. Today I feel like I can find someone else and I will take the time. Yesterday I was frustrated and felt alone. So, anyone know a good psychiatrist out here??

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Tuolumne again - day 3?

Day three was a climb with R. We went to a secluded place and made out.
Ha. Not.
We climbed a 4 pitch out of the way climb (20 minute walk). Beautiful hike, but by the time we were halfway up the first pitch, I felt a migraine coming on. I tried to ignore it, but it would not be ignored. I even held it back to try a 5.6 runout pitch (after 30 feet of having gear), but just couldn't do it in part because there was a ledge at the bottom. I felt bad, but it was the right decision, in part because we needed to boogie. By the 4th pitch, this is what was on the horizon.

Afternoon thunderstorms are no fun. Being struck by lightening is no fun. Luckily we made it down in time and hiked out, me verrrry slowly. R was really nice and at the end brought his backpack up the steep hill to the car and came down to get mine. We went back to the campground and I retreated to my tent, wishing I were home, and hoping I wouldn't barf because then I'd attract bears.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Bear crack climbing

Got this from a friend. How would you like to see that either as the belayer or the climber? Hoo boy. And apparently the bear was all paws in the crack, as you should when crack climbing. I'd crap in my pants.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Please, Thank you

Today is Day 1 of my half time job until December. I'm grateful for it. But boy, I was ready to leave it completely three months ago... Now jumping back in... boy o boy. On top of the apathy, I have to start juggling my life better now! Darn it. But maybe that means that life won't just pass me by which it seems to do when you have no schedule. Or at least that's the way with me.

I'm struggling people. I'll say that. I need to get myself a diary because I lost my hard copy one somewhere in the move. I need it to figure out my thoughts/feelings. And I can't write here to figure it out because very reasonably M has asked me to not share things until we've talked. But I type faster than I write, and I get tired of being at the computer, so I gotta figure that one out.

Since M and I have discussed and fought about this to no end, I can write this. Apparently I am not normal in that I don't say please and thank you enough (very rarely?), and also don't respond verbally enough to comments that he makes - eg. acknowledging that he's spoken. We had yet another blow out yesterday about these issues.

It's a blowout sometimes because I feel that if you ask a question nicely (eg, can you do this) then the word please is not necessary. I agree that thank you or thanks is good to use and I should do it more often. But he thinks that it's absolutely necessary and everyone he knows does it all the time.

It disturbs me to think that I perhaps don't respond to comments enough. I always thought I did, but I know in the past I used to create a bubble around me so that I was inwardly focused and people kind of were fuzzy outside that bubble. Like trying to speak/interact through water. It disturbs me because I have in the past done that at work - my last job for example. My boss didn't think I worked well in a team. I think part of that had to do with all the shit I was going through. But is that me? It's not who I think I am.

Sigh. It's hard because M is not shy about what he thinks and I realized I get very overwhelmed by all that comes out when it's about the way I'm acting or how he's interpreting what I'm doing or not doing. I either accept it and start beating myself up, or I have issue with it and can't articulate fast enough in a polite way what I want to express. Or I wonder if it's true and I need time to process it. It's hard because he thinks this all should be easy - it's just a question of attitude. My response is yes, sure, but I'm not there. And I wonder if I can be that simple - to just have an attitude that it's easy. Mel posts all these fairy words of wisdom that say that, but man, I seem to not be able to do that.

Yesterday I felt like I cannot be me and be loved by him. But I do have a problem with being told someone doesn't like something that I'm doing or about me. Hackles go up or I shut down. I acknowledge that this is bad and it needs to change. Thing is, I keep hearing about all the things that need to change. And it is also in my nature that I forget the things that I hear that are positive - though given the stress of the last 1.5 months I'm not sure how many positive things I have heard from him.

I hate the fact that I may perhaps possibly be not easy to live with. I really thought I was ok. But maybe he's not letting some of my foibles go enough. I hear him say 'it shouldn't be this difficult' and I remember hearing that from an ex-boyfriend a while back. Do I make life difficult? Or is it just never the right person? I know a woman who does not live with her husband and loves it. I know another friend who says if she could just live apart from her husband things would be well. I want to be able to live with someone and enjoy and have fun and be easy. But maybe I was born without an easy button. I should see if someone can staple one on me...

Friday, August 20, 2010

Tuolumne, Day 2

At long last, here's my adventure from, jeez, two weeks ago-ish.

So, since there were five of us, two of the guys very nicely agreed to have me be a third. This makes life slower. Even slower when you "caterpillar" (one at a time) versus whatever the term is for bringing two people up at the same time. We only did one pitch non-caterpillar, so it was slow.

We did South Crack on the Stately Pleasure Dome. I knew it was going to be interesting when the climb up to the first belay freaked me out. It didn't help that I didn't have good approach shoes, so after the first 15 feet I started sliding down. I fell on my butt and then put on my climbing shoes. But it was at least 40 feet of what I would call low 5th class climbing (class 4 technically you can do without rock shoes).

G did the first pitch, a 5.8 section with crack. When I followed I did ok until the space where I had to move over to get the second part of the crack. 5.8 slab. The f**k's started coming out, and didn't stop the whole climb. I gotta get over that. The second pitch was a runout pitch, and R did that one. Then me on the 5.6 crack, which I did without too much trouble.

Here's a view from halfway up or so.

I'm sure I'm not remembering the order right, but G did a pitch of 5.7ish runout. Here's what it looks like:
It's kinda like why bother holding a rope if you have no gear...but I guess if he fell it wouldn't be down several hundred feet.

Anyways, the last pitch was very similar to the one shown in that photo though supposedly 5.6. I felt a little confident since I had to follow that runout (and maybe two) pitch and so when it was offered to me, I thought and thought. Said out loud, what's the worst that would happen if I fell? The guys didn't reallllly like that way of thinking, and were giving me shit to see if I would still want to do it after being given shit. I decided I'd do it.

I carried way too much gear. When you are leaning over standing on the rock face it just gets in the way. Technically the straighter you are, the best traction you have, but it's just way too disconcerting, so I was bent over. By the time I was just near the place where I could put gear I had so much fear I was almost paralyzed. But, I kept going. And made it.

If you remembered from my skydiving days, such mental focus really wears me out. I brought the two of them up, and then was told I had to walk 20+ feet over to the rap station. Hundreds and hundreds of feet up, and no gear. I almost started crying. R offered to 'short rope' me over there (hold a rope and me hold the other end), which enabled me to get up and walk. But was purely a mental help, because even as I was doing it I knew if I fell what he was doing would mean nothing.

Anyways, we got to the rappel and went down one rope length. Some people don't do that and just walk down from there. Here's a photo of what it looks like AFTER a rappel and you still have to walk from there.

Needless to say it took me a long time to walk down. It was freaky.

Anyway, I survived and we met up with the others and went swimming in the river. Amazingly beautiful and cleansing too - a bonus since there are no showers in the campground...There were actually some kids (boys) sliding down that chute, so three of us did that also. Cold! and Fun!

Anyways, it was a nice day. Scary climbing and then relaxing, as opposed to only scaring climbing. These guys have the right attitude - 4-6 pitches in a day is enough - you don't have to climb allll day.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Old flames

Just saw Exhibit A, who is now married. I sorta pride myself in being able to stay friends or at least acquaintances with people I've had some sort of relationship with (or something with). But it can be odd if you think about it too much, like if you go back in time and remember things you did with the person and/or how you felt. Luckily it's in my genes at least to be able to move on and step away from the past. I'm kinda sad that my ex said that we'd likely never see each other again (was reminded when it was my birthday). I'd like at least to be able to send a Christmas card, and I just might. Whatever - he can throw it away and I won't even know. On the other hand, it's kinda quite ok, because I've moved on. But it's still sad.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Desert dreams

No, not dessert dreams. I've had enough of that and not enough working out. But I must say that Denny's makes a good vanilla shake. Which can be hard to find.

I made all the Yosemite photos too small, so making this extra large. Joshua tree. Sunset. Beauty.

There's not a ton to say. Ok, wait, maybe there is. I'll work backwards.

Monday we started way too late to go for a short hike. At 7:00am the weather is great. But if you don't get out until 9:30 and then get lost finding the start of the trail, it's 95+ degrees out and no time to start a hike, at least for me. I can get overheated quickly. So we went to Indian Cove to look at the climbs there - I've never been. We walked around a little, and stumbled upon a Gambel's Quail and two young chicks? quailettes? qualings? We found out they can fly short distances to get away from danger. Not that we were trying to be dangerous...

So, we thought we'd go a short ways up Rattlesnake Canyon. And it turned out to be a very short ways. Not only was it damn hot (and apparently according to one shop employee - humid), but also...
After about 5 minutes of walking I had both soles off. I didn't realize that after that stuff would continue to come off. So every time I touched a rock, black crap came off. I felt like a leper. And alas, I couldn't get it all up - so I was a litterer! Guess those boots get thrown away...

The other interesting time was Saturday night. Went to Pappy and Harriet's, heard some nice bluegrass, ate a great dinner, and sat outside watching the sun set. We decided to walk through Pioneertown - read more at the link, but used to be a set for many many westerns. We heard loud music, which sounded like a bar, and headed towards it. Turned out to be a vintage bowling alley and bar, and it was like stepping into a Twilight Zone episode because we played - neither one of us having played in forever and not really know how to score. But so so odd and amazing being the only ones there, in an old 5 lane bowling alley with vintage furniture and everything. And great music on the jukebox. And a proprietress who spouted historical facts given any chance. And a 150 year old player piano/band that played for a quarter. Oh, do go there if you ever have a chance.

It was nice to relax.

Friday, August 13, 2010

The day after - my birthday that is

It's Friday the 13th, and I should be freaked out and hiding behind a chair, but I'm not. I slept late (8:15) and looking forward to heading out of town, this time with M down to Joshua Tree. We are driving down to bring stuff down and bring stuff up. Organize our life a little more.

I actually had a very nice day yesterday. The flowers M gave me the night before greeted me in the bedroom by the window. (I went out to dinner with others and when I got home they were there, but I did not see them until 5-10 minutes later. Actually I should note that technically Billy bought them but used M's credit card. Billy even wrote a nice card.)

The morning slipped away as it is wont to do when you aren't working. I did receive sometime during the day some flowers from my sister, which was very sweet. We now have two bouquets to bring with us down to J-tree. I'm not leaving them here to wither while I'm gone.

Then out of the blue I get a call from the interim president of the organization I worked for in DC (hell, you knew where I lived, right?). There's a possibility of me increasing my time there. So, I'll have more (some!) money coming in. Which makes it easier to do the next item mentioned below...

Then I had a meeting at the company that I met with 2 weeks ago? 1 week ago? I had mentioned volunteering and rather than doing some menial task they want me to do more, which is great with me. I met with the development person, the international person, and the volunteer coordinator. Great people and I'll be doing some interesting things. Turns out I know the volunteer coordinator by name through a listserv and he knows a lot of the people I know from my international days. Which is nice.

Then I walked back to my car and found a thrift store (they always call out to me!). I got an Ann Taylor beautiful silk top for $9 - expensive by thrift store standards but it's in great shape and looks great on me. And I don't think will show my sweat (always an issue for me - I do the spit test on anything I go to buy - wet my finger and touch the fabric).

And I happened to drop my scarf on the way down the sidewalk. The people sitting in the outdoor cafe or the outside seating of the restaurant did not flag me down (OK, maybe they didn't see as they were deep in conversation) but a guy in a car pulled over, put his window down, and told me. How nice!!! It's a pet peeve of mine when people don't look out for each other.

Later in the day M and I went climbing at the local gym. They were having a 'singles' night - an organized event designed to promote meeting new climbers at the gym and thus creating a community and perhaps even bringing more people in. It was perfect timing for us given we just moved here. You wear a wrist band and can approach anyone with a wrist band to climb with, and when you climb with someone new you get a raffle ticket. And there was free pizza.

So both M and I climbed with new people. Three people we spent a lot of time with - Elsyee, John, and Ian. John just moved from Vermont - younger so likely we won't spend a lot of time with him - but a nice guy and great climber. Elsyee was the first person we met and has a great personality. Ian is a great climber and married with three kids, so we'll hopefully see him more. I offered to climb with him and switch off kid watching, so of course he loved us.

The pizza came and I was starving, so was first in line, as I am wont to be. :-) And then the raffle! Three prizes - small ones, but nice to have. One guy won the first two: a flying disc and a shirt; and bubbles and a $10 itunes gift card. The grand prize was a set of 4 beatles glasses, and I had said from the very beginning that that was something M and I don't need at all. And of course I won them! Funny. Since I really really wanted the bubbles and gift card, I ran over to him and offered to trade. And he did. Woo hoo! The bubbles went to Ian for his kids, and the gift card goes to my goddaughter.

Since I was wishing and my wishes were coming true (I had wished on FB for a job that morning), I wanted to ride the magic, so I bought 3 lottery tickets. All I want is $1million so M and I can buy a house in this ridiculously expensive area. That's all... :-)

I'll try and get a photo of M's bouquet up here...

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Tuolumne Day 1

As I sit here waiting to talk to my health insurance to see if I can extend my COBRA and listen to the verbal pollution from the neighbor, I'll start my description finally. Pardon the hold music/video. It's better than what Blue Cross has, let me tell you. [after a short break] But the lady was nice and wished me a happy birthday. awww...

OK, day 1, Thursday. I drove up. The end.

I started down the road to Tuolumne Meadows after driving for hours and was overwhelmed by the greenness and lushness of the area. Although I was hesitant to stop because I was NOT stuck behind an RV, I did. The first picture I took was this:

Not sure what else to say except show the photos.
I believe you can see half dome in the distance:

This, little did I know, was my ultimate destination:

A sign for those with low vision:

The actual meadow, which is right across from the campground:

I was meeting up with people I did not know at all. My friend J in Seattle had climbed with two of the guys, and they had invited her, but when she couldn't go, referred me to them, extolling my virtues and saying how strong/safe/good I was and that I could be a rope gun. [A rope gun is someone who can lead well and thus bring also weaker climbers up routes.] Really funny guys via email (calling themselves the Masters of Mediocrity), and turned out to be so in person also. I found their campsite, and met and hung out with them/ate dinner. Two Brits, one of whom lives in CA (R) and the other who was visiting for 2 weeks (G), and two Americans - brothers, one of whom works with the CA Brit (N) and the other is (J).

G was considered to be the rope gun. They had been climbing in Lake Tahoe, and G or R mentioned that G tried to get on the Line but backed off. Remember that I did that first pitch last summer? I just looked and him and said "Why???" Everyone laughed at that, and after the fact I could see why it would sound funny (I didn't say, oh that's too bad, or what was the problem, or whatever). But I was just confused since he was considered to be the rope gun and that climb is definitely doable for what I thought he could climb. Ah well, they didn't hold it against me...

And then we slept.

Thursday, August 5, 2010


I'm off to Tuolumne Meadows to go climbing. Alas without M. This and my end of month trip to Maine are my allotted "I'm not working so enjoy it" times. I'm excited but nervous. New people, high altitude (but taking Ginko Balboa to see if it wards off sickness), first time outdoors this year, new location... Back Monday or Tuesday. Hope to have some great photos and stories, but not epics.

Met with a woman yesterday re: their company and things look promising for the future. In the meantime I will likely volunteer time there to help out and really get my foot in the door. Balancing with temp work so I can make some money...

Best to you all!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


One job I applied to yesterday asked for my GPA's for graduate and undergraduate. Gives me the impression it might be for someone with fewer years of experience than me, ya think? Amazingly enough, I accessed them right away. Never knew I was that organized. Or lucky.

Thing is, my GPA's seem to indicate that I am average. I am anything but.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


the fog is lifting
little tendrils still remain
but the sun shines through

Monday, August 2, 2010

It's Monday already??

Time flies when you're unemployed and have a new-ish relationship and the sun is always out so you feel you have to get outside and enjoy it and there's still boxes to be unpacked and you don't want to spend too much time at the computer.

I'm feeling sad actually that I don't/haven't spent much time here. Or there (yours). I have to find a way to better incorporate it into my life. I think part of it is finding a way to be interesting. I mentioned that before, but haven't implemented it yet.

I did two bike rides this weekend - one of which was nice but by the end my foot hurt so much I was not enjoying it. And I was even going downhill! So, I gotta fix it soon, because I love biking. I've had several suggestions from people on facebook, but I'll likely go to an expert at a bike shop to figure it out.

Tried to go see Inception but it is still very popular and it was sold out. So, M and I walked around and found a bookstore that wasn't Borders! So we went in and browsed and bought some books - haven't done that in so long. There was a history of comics in the US which I almost bought, but didn't. I did buy a new-ish one from Richard Bach, and have started that. I looovved his other introspective/relationship ones and learned many lessons from them. I think this one might be more on the side of 'fun'.

But we got back and No Country for Old Men was on regular TV, which neither one of us had seen. Wow. I can't decide if it was good or bad that it was interrupted by commercials. There were certainly times that I needed a break - it was so intense. But such a good movie.

We also watched Hedwig and the Angry Inch, this time on DVD. Wow and wow. Double wow's because it's a great movie and it has a great great soundtrack/songs. Really amazing.

Finally, I got to meet yet another person I met through blogging but never met in person. Way cool! I laugh when I write this, but it was a little less awkward (sorry Squirrel! - you know I'm very glad we met multiple times in person and when are you coming to visit??) because I wasn't asked about a detail that I had left un-finished in my blog. We just hung out. M didn't want to go, which was too bad, but such is life.

OK, gotta go read some.