Fish Out of Water

Musings and observations about life from an East Coast native now living on the Left Coast in the California State Capitol since 2004. This fish has made her home in Madison, WI (7 years); Portland, OR (2 years); Las Vegas, NV (7 months); Middlebury, VT (3 summers); Marne-la-Vallee, a small town east of Paris, France (6 months); Middletown, CT (3 years); and Marshfield, MA, the fish's coastal hometown 40 miles south of Boston (17 years).

Location: Sacramento, California, United States


What Curse?

I should have known better than to post such an optimistic entry about the BoSox yesterday, despite what LNJ adds in his comments (thanks for the support) - my boys blew it last night against Tampa Bay, so the odds of an outright League win are dwindling even as I type.

On the other hand, it looks as though the sportswriters have begun their inevitable predictions, including this one that forecasts a total Sox victory. As much as I'd like to believe, it reminds me just a wee bit too much of election-night predictions, and we all know how badly that turned out 4 years ago...

(Speaking of which, don't forget to register to vote! And get your butt to the voting booth on November 2nd! Preferably NOT to support George W, of course...)


Red Sox Revels

Ah, the end of baseball season. When it all comes down to the final games and who's got the stamina to see it through. My beloved BoSox managed to split both final series with the Yanks to arrive at a winning record for the season versus the Evil Empire (go Sox!). And the good news continued when they clinched a playoff spot against those pesky Devil Rays.

For those of us who cling to hope, we can even entertain the farfetched notion that the Sox might overcome the Yanks in the final few days - after all, a 2 1/2 game shortfall is not insurmountable, right? The magic number for the Yanks is currently 4, which means the Sox still have a shot.

Woo-hoo! Ain't baseball grand?!

I especially love how has taken ESPN's Hunt for October catch-phrase and turned it [back] into Hunt for RED October.



Recycling Revelation

One of the things E & I most loved about relocating to Sacto was the wide variety of recycling now available to us. Office paper? Check. Corrugated cardboard? Check. Non-corrugated? Yep, that's cool, too. Glass and plastic containers with any number (not just 1 or 2 like back in Mad Town)? Woo-hoo! It's recycling paradise!

It may sound strange, but this is an issue that's really important to us, to how we try to live in terms of not acquiring and not wasting too many material objects. So being able to recycle the majority of our ordinary refuse is quite thrilling. Just throw it all in one big bag, throw the bag in the big blue container, and set it out on the curb every other week. Excellent!

Unfortunately, the move to our downtown condo brought with it an unexpected recycling revelation...

Since we're part of a condo complex, our HOA contracts with a private vendor to empty our garbage and recycling containers. This means we are not served by the city, and part of our monthly HOA fee covers the private service. All well and good, except that E recently learned that the private service doesn't recycle the same amount of stuff! So no more office paper. No more cardboard. Only newspapers, glass, and plastic.

So why are we paying EXTRA for a lesser service??!! Hmm. Maybe that's an issue to bring up to the HOA Board sometime soon.

E & I are both currently in denial about this and continue to throw everything into the same bag for the recycling container. I'm just hoping that doesn't contaminate the whole load and cause it all to be thrown out with the trash to fill up a landfill somewhere...


Alaskan Itinerary

Thursday 9/9
Meet Mom @ Sea-Tac for connecting flight to "Bellingham International Airport" (sounds FAR more impressive than it is!). Stay overnight at Rodeway Inn in Bellingham, WA.

Friday 9/10
Decide we'll be bored to tears if we have to sit in the hotel all day. Mom makes a few phone calls while I got to Haggen Grocery Store to stock up on candy for the trip and to procure some Starbucks. Take a cab to Bellingham Ferry Terminal, leave our suitcases in baggage lockers outside for $1/each, spend several hours walking around the Fairhaven historical district near the terminal and having yummy lunch at the Colophon Cafe. Return to ferry terminal and play cards and Yahtzee to kill time before Elderhostel check-in @ 4pm. Board ferry, the Columbia. Find stateroom. Unpack. Ferry leaves Bellingham @ 6pm (5pm ferry/Alaska time). Explore layout of the Columbia and have dinner (salmon) in the table-service dining room. Watch onboard video, "The Rookie" (good flick!) Begin 38 hours on water...

Saturday 9/11
Continue 38 hours on water...
Get up to walk circuits of ferry for 30 minutes. Breakfast in Snack Bar. Meeting with Elderhostel group & coordinator @ 8:00am. Begin to cross open water (Queen Charlotte Sound) @ 8:30pm. Fight nausea to make it back to the cabin to lie down for the two-hour open water crossing. Commiserate with Mom about how yucky it feels. Revel in the end of it two hours later when it all goes away. Lunch in Snack Bar. More open water (Mill Bank Sound) in the afternoon = another hour lying down in the cabin. Attend talks by National Forest Service Interpreter. Dinner. Games. Sleep.

Sunday 9/12
End 38 hours on water...
Ferry arrives in Ketchikan, AK @ 5:30am. Disembark, go for 20-minute run, visit Alaska & Proud grocery store for coffee and treat for Mom, call E from ferry terminal pay phone, return to ferry. Two quick stops later in the day @ Wrangell & Petersburg. Walk around for 15 minutes each time. Purchase bottle of red wine in Petersburg. Elderhostel meetings and interpretive talks continue.

Monday 9/13
Ferry stops in Juneau from 1:15-4:15am. A bit too early to do anything...
Ferry arrives in Haines @ 9:45am. Disembark with entire group for nature tour, lunch, and a bit of sightseeing in Haines. Bundle up in lots of layers and raincoat to brave the weather. See bald eagles, harbour porpoises, lots of salmon spawning, sitka spruce, devil's claw, mushrooms, etc. Tour Haines Brewing Company and purchase a liter-size growler of IPA for E. Return to ferry (which has been up to Skagway and back) @ 3:30pm. Ferry leaves @ 4pm. Meetings & talks as before.
Ferry stops in Juneau @ 10:00pm. Disembark with Mom and two other Elderhostellers. Rush to ferry terminal to call cab to take quick trip into city center to see the State Capitol. Encounter awesome taxi driver who gives us a 1-hour guided tour of downtown and tells us marvelous stories about Juneau and his life. Return to terminal @ 11:15pm. Ferry leaves @ 11:30pm.

Tuesday 9/14
Ferry arrives in Sitka @ 8:30am. Disembark with entire group for Tribal Tour. Manage to fit in a 24-minute run after seeing National State Park and rest of town. Return to ferry. Meetings and talks as before. Pack suitcases in preparation to switch ferries in Ketchikan tomorrow morning.

Wednesday 9/15
Ferry arrives in Ketchikan @ 9:00am. Disembark with entire group and baggage for Gray Line tour to Totem Bight and downtown Ketchikan. Tour bus returns to ferry terminal @ 12:45pm. Go for 22-minute run. Get lunch (awesome salad bar) with Mom at Alaska & Proud grocery store. Board new ferry, the Malaspina, @ 4:15pm. Discover that it can't hold a candle to the Columbia and give thanks that the majority of our voyage was on the Columbia! Learn layout, dinner in cafeteria, read, games, etc., etc.
Begin return 38 hours on water...

Thursday 9/16
Continue 38 hours on water...
Get up @ 6:30pm to walk two miles around outside deck. Battle wind and rain (slip once - oops!). Learn later that was the first open water crossing (Mill Bank Sound) of the day - no wonder it was so rocky! Attempt to pass the time with reading, games, talks, etc. Lie down for second open water (Queen Charlotte Sound) crossing. Eat. Read. Walk. Read. Games. Talks.
Are we there yet??

Friday 9/17
Arrive at Bellingham Ferry Terminal @ 10:30am - 2 1/2 hours late due to log in engines overnight (had to shut them down for 2 hours) and bad timing for Wrangell Narrows (had to wait for tides/currents). Disembark first off of ferry, rush through terminal, snag a taxi, make it to airport by 11:00am for 11:30am flight to Sea-Tac. Arrive in Sea-Tac @ 12:10pm, say goodbye to Mom, head to gate for 1:30pm flight to Sacto, return home to my E and my Muffin.

A most excellent trip, indeed. Happy Birthday, Mom!!!! I love you!!!



E is working from home today thanks to the marvels of the web and the speaker feature on his cell phone. But telecommuting really isn't all it's cracked up to be when you have to close all of the windows and doors to shut out the sounds of life and the city during your many phone meetings all day long - apparently, his colleagues on the other end of the line don't particularly appreciate hearing the traffic or the occasional fire truck from the fire station three blocks away. Hmm. Wonder what they'd have thought about getting a taste of the sounds from our former "train apartment," as Mom calls it...

P.S. Glad to know SCW missed my blog, too!



Glad to know that LNJ enjoys the blog (thanks for the vote o' confidence).

Back from the trip - had a great time with Mom, met some interesting folks along the way, discovered that 38 hours straight on a ferry ain't such a fun thing, saw orcas and harbour porpoises and bald eagles and LOTS of salmon spawning and/or dying, toured several Southeast Alaska towns, learned tons about totem polls and the native tribes of the region (Tlingit and Haida especially), appreciated the sun & survived the rain. All in all, a successful voyage.

But of course the return meant a back-up of mail and email to deal with. And several small fires that started last week and had become raging conflagrations by the time I sifted through the myriad of messages yesterday. *sigh* Yesterday was most definitively NOT a good day. And the issues linger on...

Busy, busy, busy today and this week. Here's today's schedule, for those of you who may be operating under the false notion that not having a typical "full-time" job means that I've got tons of free time:

7:15am-7:40am - get up, shower, dress, put away dishes
7:40am-7:50am - scoot to PPMM
7:50am-10:20am - escort shift @ PPMM
10:20am-10:35am - scoot home (more traffic = longer scoot time)
10:40am-11:00am - mail letters, purchase fresh fruits & veges @ Farmer's Market
11:00am-11:15am - put away purchases, return phone calls
11:15am-11:45am - run
11:45am-12:10pm - stretch, shower, dress
12:10pm-1:10pm - prep PAT #1 lesson for Kaplan teaching tonight
1:10pm-1:30pm - eat lunch
1:30pm-2:08pm - catch up on email
2:08pm-2:20pm - update blog
2:20pm-2:50pm - install remaining drawer pulls in kitchen
2:50pm-3:00pm - check email one last time before leaving for the evening
3:oopm-3:20pm - scoot to Kaplan
3:30pm-5:30pm - tutor GMAT student
5:30pm-5:45pm - break
5:45pm-6:00pm - on-site prep for PAT #1 lesson
6:00pm-9:35pm - teach PAT #1 lesson
9:40pm-9:55pm - drive home (E will swap car for scoot on his way home from work)
9:55pm-10:15pm - make a late dinner
10:15pm-11:00pm - eat while watching "Queer Eye" and relaxing a bit with my E
11:00pm - bedtime

Yeah, that's a pretty full schedule, don't you think?



FYI - I'll be away for the next week and a half with no Internet access, so the blog will be somewhat neglected for a little while. But I'm sure I'll have great stories to share about the Elderhostel cruise to Alaska with Mom, so stay tuned!

(In other news, the protestors were absent from PPMM last Friday morning. I guess their dedication to "saving the babies" can't withstand the temptation of a long holiday weekend...)


More Muffin Musings

Train Cat
Small form shakes as the metal beast rumbles by
Horn blasts rent the air and infiltrate the underbed hiding spot
Is there no escape?
From a distance, the bells and clangs give fair warning of imminent approach
Ears up, eyes wide, body on alert ready to flee
Scamper down the hall to seek a semblance of safety until the noise and quaking finally subside.

(Note: Thanks to our recent condo purchase and move, Muffin no longer has to endure the trains literally yards from our windows. Nor do I...)

Panda Cat
No bamboo to hold
No stalks to snap, to chew with green delight
Only hard bits to nibble
China on the tray only, in blue and white
Black and white mimics the fluff of rotundity on the branch
Enclosed in four walls, but the sweet face
Recalls the origins and shape of the majestic panda.

Slipper Cat
Possessive paw covers the smooth embroidered slide tucked under the shoulder
Keep them in place
Can't move without the false coverings
Mine, all mine, I've got them captured and contained
No chance to escape, for sleeping bulk cannot be moved
Familiar human scent comforts and calms
My humans are home, they're safe, they're near
Refuge found in the worn black fabric of evenings at home by the fire