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



I've got a job offer from PPMM for a part-time admin position that could be a great foot-in-the-door to an organization that I totally support and for which I'd love to eventually work full-time. This should be a good thing. But I'm undecided, primarily because I had at one point decided to withdraw my application and received a call the next morning requesting an interview, so I figured I'd go through with it to see where it might lead. I'm thrilled at the opportunity to work with PPMM, but I'm not sure how having a 20-hour-a-week commitment will affect my current lifestyle.

I've gotten used to having flexibility in my schedule. I'm definitely busy, but I'm able to do things like attend afternoon City Council meetings or Pilates classes or go to the morning Farmer's Market thanks to this flexibility. And nailing down 20 hours a week for a single commitment might prove to be rather difficult and detrimental to some of my other activities (PPMM volunteering, for one, as well as work for Chandelle, Kaplan teaching & training, general home chores, Sacto involvement, not to mention my translation project that has been progressing quite nicely since I've set aside two days a week for writing).

So how do I balance all of this out? I haven't even mentioned the obvious - yes, I'd like to have some time to spend with E, my love, so that we're not both totally busy all the time. That's definitely a priority for me.

My horoscope in the News & Review this week discussed the struggle that sometimes occurs when following your heart conflicts with acting for the greater good. The final advice was to try to do both, but if that's impossible, then focus on the latter. Seems quite relevant to my current dilemma.

I have to decide by the end of this week.

P.S. Can't forget -- GO SOX!!!


Emotional Drainage

Sox lead the series 2-0 over the Cards as they head back to St. Louis.

I should be ecstatic, right?

Somehow, though, I don't think it's all quite sunk in yet. My beloved beleaguered Red Sox are in the World Series for the first time in 18 years (yeah, forgive the math error in the previous posting). This is amazing! Incredible! Something I've waited over half my life to see!

But I think the ALCS against the Yankees was so draining and momentous and historic and emotional that it just doesn't quite seem real. I sort of keep forgetting that this is the WORLD SERIES and not just some regular-season type of game.

Maybe that's a good thing, hmm? Maybe this way I won't feel so emotionally strung out all week as the Sox strive to put the Curse behind them once and for all...




I can't believe they did it! Their first World Series appearance since that fateful year of 1986. Wow. Only took 14 years to return to the big time. But the curse hasn't been fully broken yet, since another 7-game series is about to begin on Saturday. Think it'll be Houston so the Rocket can face his old teammates? And lose to them (I hope!)?

I firmly believe that living through 1986 at the impressionable age of 13 was what turned me into a diehard Sox fan. Seeing that 6th game, having that sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach as they turned what should have been a triumphant win into a devastating loss, knowing deep down that a win in the 7th game wouldn't happen despite the one-day rain delay that allowed a change in the pitching rotation - I swear that this traumatized me to the depths of my soul. At that point, it was either become a member of the legion of the faithful or forever turn my back on baseball. I did the former, but there are times when I wonder how and why I didn't make the more sensible decision to choose the latter!

This morning, I actually attempted to get legit WS tickets for Game 1 or 2 at Fenway this weekend. The Sox had a limited number of tix available and took phone orders beginning at 3pm EST today. So for half an hour, from noon-12:30 PST, I sat with my cell phone in one hand and the land-line in the other and hit redial time after time. No luck. *sigh* No big surprise really, but at least I gave it a shot, right? Guess I'll just have to be content with watching the games on TV.


Oh yeah, in case you haven't seen it yet, there's a very apt email circulating about how the universal sign for choking is no longer having both hands up at your throat but is instead the New York Yankees logo. Hah! ;)


Curse, What Curse?


Down 3-0 in the ALCS and the Sox manage to pull off two marathon extra-inning wins plus last night's more "traditional" 4-2 win to push the series to the final 7th game. Pretty damn cool. Of course, it would have been much cooler if they had managed to score some more runs earlier on in the other games and not squander all of those opportunities (after all, Ortiz did strike out several times before managing to salvage those games), but then we would have missed all of the great drama and tension that comes from any Sox/Yanks match-up, right?

Personally, I think I would have preferred a bit less drama, thank you...



Translation is always a tricky process, since words or phrases or ideas in one language often don't have a precise equivalent in another language, even if they purport to express or refer to the same thing. That challenge is a given. What do you do, however, when an exact meaning does exist but you don't think most of your target readers will be familiar with the appropriate word?

For example, "dovecote." How many contemporary readers will find this word meaningful and won't stumble over it in a sentence? Perhaps I'm underestimating the reading public, but I don't think most people come across this word or this object in daily life. And yet it's the exact word that's necessary for the original sentence in French. After all, a dovecote is where doves live, so there's no problem with the meaning or the literal translation. But maybe "coop" would be a better choice for my target audience.

OK, this will obviously be a very limited sample, but for any of you currently reading this post, please vote for the option that you'd prefer: (1) dovecote, (2) coop, (3) another suggestion.

Just think of this as practice for Nov. 2nd. And at least I'm offering a viable 3rd alternative by asking for your suggestions!!!



Yesterday, the temperature didn't climb quite as high as had been predicted, primarily because of the haze hanging over the city. The light quality was so strange - sort of greeny yellow, like the light just before a thunderstorm hits in the Midwest.

We grilled out last night, and I noticed a lingering scent of smoke in the air later in the evening. Or at least, I thought it was from our grill.

Today, I discovered that the haze and the smoky aroma were/are from the fires burning to the East and West of Sacramento. I'm sure folks who've lived in California or other dry, arid, fire-prone spots are used to this sort of thing by now, but for me, this is my first experience with visible signs of nearby wildfires. You can really smell whiffs of smoke in the air, and the light today has a pinkish tinge to it, like a pale or medium "bastard amber," for those of you who may be familiar with theatrical gel colours. It's really quite strange, sort of eerie, almost like the rays from a sunset even though it's just past noon.

I decided to go for my run indoors on the treadmill at the Club today instead of dealing with inhaling the haze...


What Global Warming?

Record temperature in Sacramento yesterday = 93. We're supposed to hit 97 or so today and possibly even 100 tomorrow. Is this revenge for the relatively mild summer? For my arrogance in thinking "oh, I can handle this weather, it's really not as hot here as everyone warned"?

Reality check - it's mid-October. The leaves should be turning from green to gold and orange and crimson. The chill in the air should wake us each morning. Tanks and T-shirts should be happily ensconced in their drawers for their winter hibernation.

So why have I been wearing summer clothes lately? And why am I suspecting that I may have to resort to cranking on the a/c today, October 13th, when we haven't needed a/c for at least the past month?

Hmm. Perhaps, just perhaps, it may have something to do with all of the nasty things we humans have been doing to the environment for decades. Makes the Kyoto Agreement sound quite reasonable, despite George W's refusal to sign.

Does the phrase "Global Warming" ring a bell???


Two Wrongs

Last Tuesday at PPMM, the only protestor who appeared at the normal 8am time was one of the female prayers. My two fellow escorts and I were almost ready to leave at 9am when we noticed Pete and his buddy arriving and driving around trying to find parking nearby.

A little background - The staff has been attempting recently to arrive early enough on Tuesdays & Fridays to take all of the good parking spots on the street in front of the clinic so that the protestors can't park there to display their signs on top of or next to their cars. I did my part last Tuesday by parking my scooter on the street, which I don't usually do, to help prevent the protestors from claiming the prime spots.

Just as Pete & his buddy were arriving, the female prayer decided to leave, so I moved my scooter over to part of her parking spot and also waved a patient into the remaining space. About 45 minutes later, however, the patient pulled out, and we noticed Pete's buddy jogging off down the street. We all guessed that he was going to his car to take the now available space, so I crossed the street to try to figure out a way to prevent him from parking in that spot. I determined that moving my scooter wouldn't be sufficient to occupy the space, no matter how poorly I parked, so instead I moved an orange construction cone, which had been on the side of the street, to the middle of the space and stood near the cone, attempting to save the spot for a patient or late-arriving staff member instead of letting the protestor get the prime real estate.

Pete noticed what I was doing, so he crossed the street to where I was standing, picked up the orange cone that was at my left, and threw it on the grass at the edge of the street. He then stood to my left to try to save the spot for his buddy, who by this point was driving up the street and doing a U-turn to approach the parking spot. Since Pete was on the side nearest my scooter, I decided to move to that side just to make sure nothing happened to my ride. Pete then moved in closer to my right, leaning against me to make enough room for his buddy to park to my right. Pete began to wave his buddy into the parking spot. As his buddy started to back up towards us, Pete & I remained standing together. However, as his buddy continued to approach, Pete jumped out of the way, but I didn't. Frankly, I assumed that his buddy would stop backing up since I was in his way, as would any logical and rational person to avoid hitting a pedestrian. But I should have remembered that I wasn't necessarily dealing with a logical and rational person. So instead of stopping his car, Pete's buddy continued to back up into my right leg and kept doing so until I slammed my right hand on his back window to make him stop.

At this point, Pete whipped out his phone to call the police. My fellow escorts, who had witnessed the whole thing, came over to make sure I was OK and to monitor the escalating situation. I remained standing there, with the car's bumper pressed against my lower right leg. As we were waiting for the police to arrive, Pete's buddy, who had put the car in park and turned it off in its current position, came over to me, pulled out his video camera, and kept asking me to "stop leaning on my car." Um, yeah, OK, so I'm leaning on your car because you backed up into me and pushed me aside. That makes sense...

When the police arrived, I told them what had happened. Turns out that Pete's buddy had also somehow managed to set up his video camera on his dashboard to capture the whole thing on film. Now that's foresight, don't you think? And here I thought it was just an accident. Sounds more to me like it was totally intentional, if he had the presence of mind to make sure it was caught on video.

I didn't deny that I was trying to prevent him from taking the parking spot, and one of the police (an awesome female officer who was totally sympathetic to the situation) informed us that a car - not a pedestrian - has the right of way in a parking spot. I can accept that. I didn't know it was a law, but it does make sense, so I was wrong to try to block the protestor from parking there. Granted. Responsbility understood and accepted. Upon further conversation, however, we established that (of course) he didn't have the right to back into me even though I was blocking his right of way. So we were both wrong. And two wrongs, as we all know, don't make a right.

But do you imagine for one moment that the protestor accepted any responsbility or accountability for his role in the event?

Instead, he actually wanted to press charges against me for "disturbing the peace." When I inquired as to how, exactly, I was doing this, the female officer said the protestor claimed I was violent, that he was afraid for his life, that I might attack him, presumably because I "attacked" his car by hitting it to make him stop as he was backing into me. Interesting theory. Of course, if the incident itself was on video, then all of my actions and reactions were on that tape, too, so the claim that I was a threat would have been shown to be entirely ludicrous, since I didn't move from where I ended up behind his car until the police arrived - I certainly made no move towards him, and if he was so afraid of me, why did he approach me to videotape his request to stop leaning on his car? Kind of makes you wonder, doesn't it?

Since his case had no merit, the police did not arrest me. They simply made a typical incident report, as was entirely appropriate for the situation.

Why is it, however, that we are the ones who must always take the high road, who must always be just slightly above the protestors? Why is it that the current laws protect their actions, their freedom of speech, but not ours? This frustrates me. The Sac City Council has apparently passed another ordinance to protect patients and clinic workers, but it took 30 days for the ordinance to go into effect, and even though it was valid as of 7 October, we're not resorting to using it as support yet because we have to make sure the police understand all of it and will enforce it appropriately if the protestors violate any part of it. So we've got an ordinance, but we can't use it? What sense does that make?

What it all comes down to in the end is that I'm glad I stood my ground. If the police had arrested me, I would have proudly taken responsibility for my part in the interchange. And now the protestors know that I won't back down, that we won't back down, that they can't intimidate us.

I'm glad I didn't move.


Do It in the Voting Booth!

OK, all I have to say for today is go check out this awesome post by my girl, A - she rocks!

And if she manages to cast her vote from Spain, there ain't no excuse for any of us here in the good ol' US of A to not do the same.



Multiple Muffin Musings

Saucer Cat
Cozy and snug
Striped with sun through slatted lines
Plush velour cushions the weight
Head curved into the rounded pillow
Paws folded under over the chin
Tail tucked, circular crest
Slumber achieved in warmth and light
Crushed fibers and fur mingled in ultimate drowsy bliss

Anger Cat
Wide eyes glare
Piercing yowl lingers
The air cut by bursts of sound
Paws pace at the hall's end
Strident calls summon towards the bowl
Where's the food? It's late! It's late!
Feed me now. Now now now now now.
Mad circles around the feet scamper back and forth
Peace attained only after the trickle of kibble clinks into the china at rest

Toasty Cat
Sun-warmed and logy in the plush saucer oval
Feline brain drowses in golden meadow dreams
Sun streams, glowing rays
Bits of dust suspended in the amber beams that warm the rounded head and plump curve
Ebony back shines like deep mahogany
Ivory paws and chest reflect the brightness in softened tufts
Pure feline bliss


1/2 Marathon Stats

For those of you who may be interested (and thanks to LNJ for asking), I finally found the official results for the Sacramento 1/2 Marathon from this past Sunday, so here's how I finished:

Total time - 1:54:43
Chip time - 1:53:53
Pace - 8:42
Overall rank - 190 of 668
Division rank (W 30-34) - 12 of 65

I'm quite pleased with these results, especially compared to previous races. For example, here are the stats for the first 1/2 marathon I did (Mad City with E in 2002):

Total time - 1:49:10
Pace - 8:49
Overall rank - 541 of 1102
Division rank (W 25-29) - 32

NOTE - Yes, the total time for this race was 5 minutes less than for the Sac 1/2 marathon, but that's because the course was measured incorrectly! Instead of being a regulation 13.1 miles, a last-minute change in the start location made the course only 12.4 miles. Oops!

And of course the stats for our first ever full marathon (Mad City with E in 2004 as our final farewell to the lovely Mad Town):

Total time - 4:26:14
Chip time - 4:25:31
Pace - 10:08
Time @ 1/2 - 2:11:24
Overall rank - 651 of 938
Gender rank - 180 of 335


The Best Partner Ever!!!

Yesterday morning, I ran the Sacramento 1/2 marathon (FYI - that's 13.1 miles). Since the event began at 7:15am, I got up around 6:05am to get ready (drink some water, eat half a Luna bar, put anti-perspirant on feet, apply vaseline to potential chafing spots, safety-pin bib to running shorts, attach timing chip to laces of left running shoe). My wonderful sweet E got up shortly after I did to accompany me to the event, despite the fact that he was sleepy and I could easily have driven myself so that he could have stayed in the warm comfy bed to get some more rest.

But that's the kind of person and partner he is... sweet, kind, considerate, supportive, loving, encouraging, stubborn, incredible.

After all, I was the one who wanted to run the event. I made the decision. But he never even considered not being there for me.

And not only did he drive to the race and keep me company prior to the start, he then drove to several different points along the race route to cheer me on! I had no idea he would do this - I figured he'd go grab some Starbucks or snooze in the car while waiting for me to finish. Instead, I got to see his smiling face and hear his encouraging voice throughout the race, all the way to the finish.

It's impossible for me to articulate how much this meant to me and how touched I was that he was so incredibly supportive. I kept trying to express this feeling to him yesterday, but I don't think I ever really succeeded - my heart and soul felt so full and bursting with emotion, but words simply couldn't convey all that I felt. My love truly is the best partner ever, and I am so very lucky to have him in my life.



Doin' Business in CA

Yesterday was the last day for Gov. Arnold to sign or veto legislation, much of which dealt with issues pertaining to doing business in CA. I didn't think much about most of these proposals, but I did notice some commentary about how certain legislation would make it harder/easier to do business in CA, and this struck me this morning as I was attempting to find information about sales tax exemption for non-profit organizations.

As many of my faithful readers know, I'm the business/technical manager for a non-profit educational theatre troupe that tours plays in French to colleges & universities. We're incorporated in WI as a non-stock non-profit corporation, and I also succeeded in completing the complex process of applying to become a 501(c)3 federal tax-exempt organization.

When E & I relocated to Sacto, the troupe's "entity" moved with us. However, I discovered that we could officially remain a WI organization by applying to become a Foreign Corporation with the right to conduct business in CA. This makes our lives easier in many ways, and a friend in WI graciously agreed to be our registered agent back in MadTown, so our registered office address remains there though our business mailing address is in Sacto with me, of course.

The first catch, however, came when filling out the "Statement and Designation by Foreign Corporation" form for CA. One requirement is a statement of status from the incorporating state that must prove the corporation is in good standing and that it's a non-stock non-profit entity. The WI Department of Financial Institutions web site includes an online request for a document of good standing, so I completed the process and paid my $30 for the document to submit to the appropriate CA department. However, I soon received my rejected application from CA because the online WI document didn't include enough information about the troupe's status. I called both the CA and WI departments to find out what more was necessary and learned that, in fact, CA is the ONLY state that won't accept the document produced via the online process on the WI DFI web site!!! So I had to make a specific request to WI DFI in writing with a note that the document was for CA, and I had to pay another $30 to receive the sufficient WI document for the CA application. Hmm. Seems a wee bit more complicated than it should be, don't you think? And why is CA the ONLY state to require a more specific verification of a non-profit organization's status? Not to mention the fact that the WI person with whom I spoke knew of this oddity but there was no mention of the exception on the WI DFI web site...

However, we did receive approval to be a Foreign Corporation, so now my task is to make sure we're exempt from any state taxes that could be levied against us. On the Franchise Tax Board web site, I downloaded and printed the 24-page instruction and application booklet, and I'm guessing that submitting this application may be almost as time-consuming as the federal application that I completed two years ago!

The second real catch, however, aside from having to go through a separate state tax-exempt process despite the fact that we've already got our federal tax-exempt status, is that CA has no provision for non-profit organizations to be exempt from state sales tax! In WI, we were able to get a tax-exempt number for purchases to exempt us from paying the 5.5% sales tax, which is incredibly helpful for a small non-profit with an equally small budget. In CA, however, this option simply does not exist. Hmm. No wonder I've seen commentary about how hard it is for small businesses to succeed in CA and about how many businesses of any size move out to the surrounding states like OR, NV, or AZ.

So, Arnold, can ya give us a break here? If you really want to revitalize CA and improve the state's fiscal outlook, could you perhaps take some proactive steps to support small and non-profit organizations along with those big corporations whose profits help line the coffers of your campaign fund?