Monday, April 12, 2004

100 Things About Me

This list has been kicking around since last year, before I got sick.

1. I'm the sixth generation of my family to have lived in California. (Sacramento and environs)

2. I moved to the coast from the Central Valley after I graduated from college. I still don't miss "summer" much.

3. My favorite cousin, my sister-in-law, and I were all born in the same week. I am the "oldest". Go Junebugs!

4. I didn't own a car until I was twenty-five, which is unusual for a Calfornian.

5. I'm a pretty good cook.

6. I did my first real cooking when I lived in the UK so I still think in weights as well as measures. This has proven useful as I have taken up baking in later life (and started hanging out on a forum with a lot of Brits - I can translate).

7. I am one of the rare Americans who has lost those 20 "extra" pounds and kept it off for years.

8. I used to be a late night person but my job and my cat have turned me into an early bird. I fade around 9 pm nightly.

9. I have had my nose in a book since I was five, when my mother discovered I could read (fluently).

10. I have trouble putting a new book down until I've completely read it. Fortunately I am a very fast reader.

11. Since I like to reread books, I rarely get rid of them.

12. My mother was pretty strict about enforcing standards of public conduct. To this day I eat my French fries with a fork at restaurants, avoid blocking the grocery aisle with my cart/body, and always wheel the cart back, among other things, even though she is not watching me daily. Thanks Mom.

13. I am a recovering fundamentalist. Fortunately for me I was raised Methodist so I had something sane in my background. I am an Episcopalian now.

14. I lived in downtown San Francisco for about five years and there is not much social weirdness I haven't seen.

15. I've worked with PCs and PC networks since 1985, when the whole concept was still pretty new.

16. I'm pretty easy-going until the end of my long fuse is reached. After that, I don't throw tantrums, but I am a bulldozer.

17. I have a well-tuned bullshit meter. It runs in the family.

18. I am easily amused.

19. I am fully enabled for sarcasm and irony, but lots of angsting makes me roll my eyes (or slap someone upside the head with a wet fish).

20. I'm pretty social, but I need large chunks of time to myself to regenerate.

21. I rarely get bored when I'm by myself.

22. I'm also a bit of a space cadette. I play that up occasionally to get things done.

23. I can definitely laugh at myself.

24. I used to snarl a lot at my coworkers but have learned to be a lot more diplomatic and patient. I also appreciate email interactions for the ability to EDIT before SEND.

25. There was one year in my childhood where all my cousins and I lived on the same block and our mutual grandparents lived one mile across town. That was big fun.

26. I was scared of dogs when I was a kid, especially my grandfather's hunting dog. I have gotten over it although I am still more of a cat person.

27. We didn't have pets since my mother and brother are highly allergic to fur-bearing animals.

28. I have a fondness for tortoiseshell and calico cats thanks to my beloved Maya.

29. I think chocolate is okay but I kill for any desserts involving custard, shortbread, lemon, or raspberries.

30. I look forward to tomato and peach season every summer and asparagus season each spring. I still think the whole Chilean produce thing of asparagus at Christmas and peaches in March is extra, extra weird.

31. I have the equivalent of a double major in English and mathematics. I started out as a chem major but my lab technique sucks.

32. I did extremely poorly in all the sewing classes I took as a kid but took up quilting later in life. Now I have an excuse to indulge my lifelong appreciation of fine fabrics.

33. I've started learning the rudiments of garment sewing (which is trickier than a lot of quilting). My goal is to be able to make Hawaiian shirts for the family (nephew especially).

34. I own several hundred rubberstamps and frequently make my own greeting cards. Although these days I usually emphasize collage or fancy paper instead.

35. I still miss my paternal grandmother on card-sending holidays since she was such a devoted card person.

36. I'm mostly a "home food" kind of cook but my concept of "home" has extended to cultures not my own, some of which were not part of the ethnic mix I grew up with in California.

37. There's not much I won't eat, but hot dogs are definitely number one on that list. I also won't touch salami/pepperoni, no matter how good it is.

38. I wish I had taken Spanish instead of French in high school so I could do better than "comprendo un poco" in multilingual California.

39. I am a packrat/clutterbug in recovery. Thank you Flylady. But I still have a magazine problem.

40. I've had my hair extra long and super short and I like it much better short.

41. If my body were in standard proportions to my arms, I'd be six-three.

42. I seriously dislike most clothes shopping because of my long arms and long torso. I am also very very picky about fabric and style. I get most of my clothes from catalogs with tall sizes these days.

43. My toes are curly fries since I spent a couple of years being vain about my shoe size.

44. I spent my Junior Year Abroad in Birmingham, England, and spent a lot of my free time going to the theater in London and Stratford. I have seen almost all of Shakespeare's plays in production.

45. I dislike most scary or "dark" movies. I live close enough to an urban war zone that I don't want to see that on the big screen.

46. I listen to NPR in my house most days from the time I get up to the time I go to sleep.

47. I have a three-octave vocal range.

48. I don't play an instrument and wish that I could. I took piano lessons for two years in college but have forgotten most of it.

49. I have a wide range of tastes in music and a somewhat guilty affection for Broadway show tunes.

50. I finally got to see a real Broadway musical the last time (3rd visit) I was in New York. It was worth every dime.

51. I'm very nearsighted. I have been wearing glasses (or contacts) since I was five.

52. I'm interested in gardening but it tends to get put asides when other projects inside the house (or my allergies) dictate.

53. Roses are my favorite flower.

54. I know the scientific names of most of the plants in my garden. I'll admit I like showing off about that.

55. I also like a lot of the common names for various plants and find many of them quite beautifully poetic. By Jupiter's Beard! Look, Naked Ladies serving up Fried Egg Flowers! Etc.

56. Pearls (my birthstone) are my favorite gem, followed closely by garnets and rubies (my favorite colors - and I was supposed to be born in July).

57. I am definitely more an "indoor" person than an "outdoor" person.

58. My mother and I have the same first name (and last name) so I went by my middle name till I moved to go away to college.

59. I own a TV but I haven't watched it much in the last ten years. I still have it so I can watch videos occasionally.

60. I was on Usenet before the whole "internet phenomenon" got rolling.

61. I made a personal webpage in 1997, when it was still a fairly geeky thing to do. It hasn't been updated much since then, though.

62. I worked at a McDonald's when I was sixteen, so learned to say "Would you like fries with that" long before I got a degree in English.

63. I fell into the computer support business as a way to avoid having to be tested on typing speed for office jobs. I couldn't even type 20 WPM when I got out of college.

64. I wish I'd had money to buy Microsoft and Intel stock when I first heard of them.

65. I know a lot of computer people socially, but sometimes social events are hard because the True Believers in *nix or Mac try to tell me The Errors of My Ways for working with Windows. (Um, since I get paid to make it work, I know what the problems are.)

66. My deep dark secret is that I was in a sorority when I was in college. I'm still wondering how I ended up in it. It seemed like a good idea at the time. I am still slightly perversely proud of the fact that they almost bounced my butt out the door. It was an early experience with Control Freaks in Organizations.

67. I took up smoking in my twenty-first year as a rebellion against said control freaks. Fortunately I came to my senses after the situation had ended.

68. I used to describe myself as a "New Wave Medievalist". Since I dropped out of SCA my medieval activities have been mostly limited to reading good historical novels and still knowing more about the Wars of the Roses or Dante's Italy than a sane layperson should.

69. Knowing something about the actual history does make me a tough customer for those historical novels. Let's just say that a lot of writers don't do their homework.

70. I also like watching "period movies" to costume-dish.

71. My American History knowledge was pretty spotty till I got inspired to catch up with the help of some good novels. Now I can almost name the Presidents in order.

72. I was fired from a job once for calling in sick ... when I was actually sick.

73. I left another job because I was told that I was "not willing to work overtime and weekends" when I was putting in eighty-hour (and 7*24 on call) weeks.

74. I very much like my present job - good team and the normal work week is more like 45 hours, not eighty.

75. I didn't travel much except my year in Europe until I started hanging out on Usenet. I had only been to four American states (CA, OR, WA, NV) and British Columbia on family vacations.

76. I still haven't been to Yosemite, though. (Oh, the shame.)

77. I'm a baseball fan, although I'd prefer to be at the game or listen on the radio rather than watch it on TV.

78. The A's are my favorite team. I was an impressionable kid during the palmy Charlie O. Finley days of the mid-seventies. The Giants are okay too.

79. I've been to spring training in Arizona. It's big fun.

80. I think the DH rule is a Damn Fine rule but this interleague play thing during the regular season strikes me as weird, as does the current weighting towards division games.

81. Ever since I saw a game at Pac Bell Park, I've had "stadium envy". The Coliseum sucks now that "Mt. Davis" got built for the Raiders.

82. I'm a pretty good driver.

83. I'm not a Road Warrior. My longest trip driving was Portland and back.

84. I was never athletic in school and after I grew eight inches in one year, the case was pretty hopeless. It took me years to grow into that growth.

85. I have started to exercise (mildly and somewhat reluctantly) and it feels good. I wish that the schools had emphasized things that everyone (not just the super athletic) can do (like yoga, weight training ...).

86. My dad taught me about wine so I am a red wine, not a white wine, drinker. I also like whiskey, neat. Although I do appreciate some "girlie" cocktails (Cosmos, Lemon Drops, Margaritas, and silly thingswith fruit and paper umbrellas).

87. If I get my extra-strong coffee in the morning, nobody gets hurt. I've been known to camp or travel with my stovetop mokka pot.

88. I get along well with my family, although I don't see them as much as I'd like.

89. In my younger days everyone in the family thought I was 100% my father's daughter in looks, interests, and temprament, but it's been interesting to see how other resemblences, some very strong, have developed over time.

90. I used to go to a lot more concerts but my early schedule makes me not want to try. This, more than anything else in my life, makes me feel that I really am middle-aged.

91. I have trouble remembering how I used to do research for stuff before Infoseek and, later, Google. Google is my friend.

92. My biological clock has never particularly ticked, but I like kids (have been told I am good with them) and I love being an auntie.

93. I love pink, in most of its forms from rose to burgundy through fuschia.

94. My other major girlie indulgence is long hot soaky baths, with carefully chosen combos of bath products, books to read, and finger-food munchies.

95. I am a complete duffer at home improvement projects that are more complicated than turning a screwdriver somewhere, even though I envy other grrrls their power tools.

96. I am lucky in my friends. I went through a very bad patch recently and they were there for me.

97. I pay attention to politics, one consequence of growing up around a state capitol. I have voted in all but two elections I was around for.

98. I am polysyllabically enabled, but sometimes my pronunciation sucks because I only read the word in a book.

99. Mutts is my favorite cartoon these days.

100. I seem to spend a lot of my time at work tracking computer viruses. We have very good antivirus software so not much gets through, which is good. I wrote a paper about some of the tricks the writers use.
A Perfect Home Opener for the Giants

Barry Bonds ties his godfather Willie Mays' home run mark. With Mays watching. By hitting a ball deep into McCovey Cove.

And they won!

Saturday, April 10, 2004

Passing Over

In the church at Maundy Thursday service, I got a huge sense of having "passed over", during our Christianized celebration of Christ's last (passover) supper.

It wasn't during the meal, although I was thinking what the last year had brought - where I was, what I was thinking last Maundy Thursday and what actually happened since. And I got the answer to my "Grace or some place in Berkeley?" (both is fine). It was while I was upstairs in the sanctuary during the communion liturgy.

I got my feet washed, for the first time, I think. It felt symbolic. And they tingled, and not from the rosemary, either, all the way home.

Saturday, April 03, 2004

And I forgot the best part ...

of my April 1. As I was getting in my car to go to work, I not only saw some Gulf Fritillary butterflies on my passiflora ... I saw a hummingbird. They're back in my yard! Whoohoo!

I'm certainly not going to get around to digging a tree hole this weekend (I put the sweet peas in and I am exhausted AND sneezing), but I will put some feeders, recently found in the housecleaning, up for them.

Another minor item from my peregrinations this morning: Good Shepherd church has a spiffy new multi-colored paint job, and from my visit to SLO, I can now correctly identify the style of building as "Carpenter Gothic". I love seeing new places, and I truly, truly love coming back home and seeing the familiar in a new light.
It's April, No Fooling

I missed NPR's April Fool's joke but Google had a good one with its advertising positions on Mars.

I had some less-than-usual shopping errands to run this morning so I got to drive around and admire Berkeley in the spring. I got some sweet peas at Dwight Way Nursery when I was buying planting mix - an incentive for me to water the plants I am finally going to be able to plant today.

There was a lemon tree at the register at the nursery - according to the owner, this is a good time to plant citrus. I will dig out the plans, figure where to plant the Meyer, and dig a hole for it, hopefully all this weekend if my allergies don't fell me (they are pretty bad today).

And the annual Bay Bridge exhibition series is this weekend - am wearing my "There is an A in streak" T-shirt today. PLAY BALL!