August 25th, 2002


(no subject)

Last night I went to see the improv troupe in Orcutt. The church they used is a Unity church, and I saw a poster for Jay at the entrance. He'll be speaking there today. How funny.

KCBX was playing folk music, which only goes so far with me, so I played a CD of Mendelsohn's and Bruch's violin concerti on the way there and back. I think of these as the "heartbeat concerti" because both have sections with a driving heartbeat-like rhythm. I sometimes think that when I die I'd like to come back as a stringed instrument.

The comedy troupe was as irrepressible as I remember. The last time I saw this group was the night my Corsica died, almost two years ago. I was alone and it was late at night and it was not a very good night for me, but in the end it brought me my Honda. I still think a little sadly of the Corsica now and then.

It occurred to me that although we in the audience enjoyed the improvisations, we are probably spoiled by seeing "Whose Line is it Anyway?", which features the very best at improv. These local folks really pale in comparison. There were moments, though, when I could see them starting to grow, to expand. The most promising of the group has moved to Las Vegas, has already started a similar troupe there, and was back for a return visit last night. His LV group will premiere on Oct 12 and many of the Santa Maria folks will go there to see them. That sounded like such fun, to carry over like that, that I thought about working it so I could go too, at that time.

The storage building is still open and stuff is all around it outside. I need to deal with it today. I threw away a fair amount yesterday but there is more to go, and then more to figure out. How to get it back in, how to make it work, how to fit in other large things.


I see them now, just outside my kitchen window, four or five at a time at the special feeder. They are very similar to canaries, of course, every bit as beautiful, and seem to show some propensity to sing as well, although I haven't heard a canary-like warble yet.

(no subject)

I wondered if I could change the sheets this week without Simba's help. No. He heard the sounds and came flying into the room and onto the bed. I made him into the bed, between the top and bottom sheets, and he was quite content to stay there until I was almost done, when he worked his way out past the pillows. I used my new Martha Stewart fleece blanket. It's sage green, very trendy. It fits the queen-size bed, which the last blanket I used did not. In fact, it's generous in size, would fit those extra-thick mattresses. I imagine Martha would never think of making a bed that didn't have those extra-thick mattresses - or thick mattress pads.

I feel it's good just having a decent mattress without holes in it that's actually a nice size for my body, and allows room for an extra person when I want. Years ago I slept on a twin size mattress that had caved in in a part so I had to sleep around the hole. It took me a while to realize it was crazy to keep sleeping on that thing, that I deserved something a bit better. And now I've come all the way to changing the sheets every week. Wonders will never cease.


I drove to the south end of Santa Maria today, to go to PetsMart. I wanted bulk seed for wild birds. I found it. I found it in a big new big-box shopping center, one of so many I don't know how we support them. I was thinking about that. With a Wal-Mart and Staples and Best Buy and PetsMart around every corner, with the number of shopping centers growing much faster than the population, something has to give. What's it going to be? On my way into the center I had to enter a left turn lane from Betteravia, and although the lane was long, my car was peeking out at the end. A new left-turn pocket into a fairly new center and it wasn't long enough. It's scary to me to think about how we are increasing our use of vehicles, thereby requiring more, wider roads, more, longer left-turn pockets, more parking spaces.

The answer isn't "the new urbanism". It isn't "smart growth", although a version of that is being practiced in SLO, where an older shopping center is gradually giving way to a new one, each building being torn down and replaced. Keeping the shopping confined, in other words, to the same area. That's a help. The square-footage of retail space per person in this country has increased astronomically in the last twenty or thirty years, and even more over the past fifty. We can't keep paying that much, spending the same amount in ever-increasing numbers of stores. So what's going to give? What's going to happen? When I look at these places I see people everywhere, money pouring through the registers. We haven't reached a breaking point yet. When will we? WHy haven't we? I suspect we haven't because we are going farther and farther into debt.

Sometimes I wonder if I am coming down with some kind of panic syndrome, some kind of "worry about the world and forget my own life" thing.

Why did I go there, though? I went there because I want to feed the wild birds but don't want to break my bank doing it. I wanted cheaper, bigger bags of bird seed. I got them. I can go on feeding my little free aviary, enjoying them, listening to them, reveling in my closeness to nature...and at what cost...?

I also feel some pull to these places. On the way home I thought about stopping at K-Mart or Trader Joe's or Marshall's - because they're there. Because they are there and they are calling me in. I'm a sucker, and so many of us are suckers. I managed to pull myself away and get home, having spent $30 on bird seed and cat food and having spent another three bucks on cheap Chinese food from a chain, and another three bucks on a latte at a non-chain.

The non-chain coffee place is decked out like coffee places everywhere now. It offers comfortable chairs, tables, old-world furniture and curtains, a place that can lull one into thinking it isn't inside a chain bigbox shopping center. But it is there. I drank my latte from a real cup, not disposable, so I could lull myself into thinking this is a place where I can get away from the world. I don't know where to place that feeling.

I don't know what to do with my opposing feelings about wanting and hating. I feel partially responsible for this kind of growth, knowing, as a planner, that if we don't let the big boxes in people will go elsewhere for them. Can we pretend we are in another era for long? How will this particular era end? I wish I had a clue.
  • Current Mood
    contemplative contemplative


I made a big pot of lentil soup. I am sure all of the ingredients in that pot cost less than the three dollars I spent on my veggie rice bowl for lunch. It will keep me eating for days, and I love it. Maybe I'll make some bread to go with. I also threw together a small batch of applesauce, using some of the apples I bought yesterday. The Domestic strikes again.

The storage shed is starting to make sense. I have the gardening tools in one place, the camping in another. I am working out how to deal with the tools and the "home improvement" stuff. There are a lot of boxes to sort through, decide about. And I'll need to call Goodwill or bring stuff there.

My next door neighbor has spent the weekend carefully pruning the hedge between our "lots". She is doing it meticulously by hand. I can't comprehend how she sits there for hours, a clip here, a clip there. I can understand getting into the "zone" but I doubt she's there. She just isn't the type. She's volatile, in fact, like the rest of her family, from what I've seen of it. Her grandmother went nuts a few years ago, used to shout obscenities at my daughters. Then she died. We don't miss her. I used to hear lots of screaming arguments next door. I don't hear them now, but I know this woman was in them.