The Adventures of the Rocking Chair

or, Where Should We Put This Thing, Anyway?

I promised you the story of the Adventures of the Rocking Chair, and here it is.

Once upon a time, I went on a road trip with my significant other to visit family in Oregon*.  And we happened into a shop that sells wood things made locally.  In fact, many of the things were made in that very shop, as we discovered when we** asked and were shown the huge rooms full of uncarved wood, and the huger room full of tools and more uncarved wood, and the hugest room yet stacked full of uncarved wood and great big tools.  Not to mention the shop across the street with the saw-of-some-sort that could cut a 20′ piece of wood.  But in the front of the shop were gorgeous things: clocks, shelves, tables, bowls.  And rocking chairs.  They came in three sizes: small, medium, and large.  First thing, we had to sit in them.  Ahhh, comfy.

This is the first one I bothered to take a picture of:

Chair in the store

We ogled.  We asked the shop owners about the chairs.  (We bought a couple of pieces of uncarved wood.)  And then we left.

A few days later we were back in town, and back at the shop ready to choose a chair and make a deal.  We sat in every single chair they had, including the dozen in a storage unit around the corner.  We wanted the right balance of comfort for me, comfort for Ben (we’re not the same size), and attractiveness.  They were all made by the same guy, so there wasn’t a lot of variation in style, but most of them were made out of very nice wood, and a couple were made of absolutely gorgeous figured wood.  (I didn’t get a picture of the most gorgeous one.  You’ll have to take my word for it.)

We hemmed and hawed.  And finally we chose the same one I’d taken a picture of when we first saw it.  It really is pretty.  It’s a little big for me, and a little small for him, but better than any other chair we tried.

And we told them we’d be back in a couple of days to put it in our truck.  Have I mentioned the truck?  We have a FWD truck with an awesome cap on the back that fits a mattress and all of our camping gear underneath, so we can go camping in comfort and luxury, without the crummy gas mileage of an RV.  So we figured, sure we’re buying a piece of furniture, and sure we have to drive it 500 miles home… but we have space!

See?  It totally fits.  (It’s behind the pillows.  Yes, those are our pillows.  We sleep on them.  Also, they protect the delicate corners.  Worked a dream.)

Chair in the truck

Here’s closer view:

Chair in the truck, closer

The only question then was, where were we going to put the chair whenever we needed to put ourselves in the back to sleep at night***?

As it happens, earlier in the week we’d decided we wanted to camp at this one specific campsite, because everyone knows that Oregon’s campsites are the best evah.  When we called to make a reservation, they only had a campsite with a yurt left.  It’s more expensive, but it’s a yurt.  We looked at each other and said, “Sure, that sounds like fun.”

Turns out the yurt is basically a tarp-covered frame with furniture inside.  The windows were all velcro’ed closed, so it smelled mildewy and awful.  Also, we would’ve had to strip the bedding out of our truck and put it on the bed in the yurt.  We looked inside the yurt, and we looked at our comfy mattress in the truck, and we said to ourselves, selves, we said, we’ll be much happier sleeping in the truck.  And the chair can sleep in the yurt.

Chair in the yurt

So that’s how the chair ended up sleeping in its very own yurt that can sleep six plus furniture.

The next night was slightly less exciting for the chair.  We hadn’t made reservations and we couldn’t find a spot anywhere we wanted to camp†, so we ended up at a Holiday Inn Express.  It was really nice.  The pillows were nice, the mattress was nice.  Having a place to rest and change so we could go out for dinner was nice.  Our pillows stayed in the truck, cushioning the chair as it slept.

The next morning we hit the road, refreshed and excited to find somewhere nice to camp.  Maybe somewhere along the Avenue of the Giants.  But lo, it was not meant to be.  There was smoke from a fire somewhere in Oregon.  Once we got beyond that, it was hot and icky.  Once we got beyond that we were back in civilization and there was no reason to try camping.  Instead, we stopped at my grandparents’ house, where my aunt had just arrived for a visit.

And because we are weird, and we really like our setup in the truck, we slept in the truck outside, while the chair slept in the house.

Chair at grandparents' house

Everyone admired the chair, and we felt quite pleased with ourselves and ate too much ice cream, as one does, and we left for home the next morning.

Chair at home

And we all lived happily ever after.

——

* Gorgeous up there, by the way.  I really liked being in the middle of nowhere.  The only downside to small towns in the middle of nowhere is that when you ask the gas attendant^ if there’s a coffee shop with WiFi anywhere nearby, she literally laughs out loud.

^ Cuz Oregon doesn’t let you pump your own gas, you know.

** This is the euphemistic “we” used by couples.  In this case the “we” didn’t include me, though I did follow along.

*** We did, in fact, try to put the chair into the cab of the truck.  Because of the runners, the chair was just a couple inches too big, no matter which way we angled it.  And then as we tried to pull it out again, I felt like the guy with the couch in DIRK GENTLY’S HOLISTIC DETECTIVE AGENCY, who gets his couch stuck halfway up the staircase in his apartment building, and then when he models it on the computer he finds there’s no way the couch could’ve gotten into that position without knocking a hole in a wall. If you haven’t read it, you should totally read DIRK GENTLY. It’s Douglas Adams. It’s hilarious. There’s time travel, ghosts, and a couch stuck in a staircase that couldn’t possibly have gotten there. And a dodo.

We did remove the chair without removing any part of the truck.

† We stopped at one place by the beach.  Ben went into the restroom, I did not.  He left without having used it.  Apparently it was really really bad.

I rode my bike!


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Today was a beautiful day, and Sally came over and dragged me out on my bike to ride by my coast.  I didn’t freak out, I managed (with help) to re-inflate my tires, and I even rode down the hill that my house is on.  Last time I went for a bike ride, I walked down the hill, to avoid having to figure out traffic and a hill and riding all at the same time.  But I had my Sally with me, and we just powered on ahead, and it was fine.

The coast side trail we rode on is paved, nearly flat, and apparently goes about 3 miles.  And if you can stop panicking about balancing on this narrow little thing long enough to look up from the road, it has amazing views of the ocean and the hills.  It was sunny, and because it’s still spring there weren’t many pedestrians out (so I didn’t have to worry about hitting too many of them!).  Apparently there was a pretty strong wind, and of course it was with us on our ride south, and then against us on our way back home.

I started out very tense, very stressed, but once we’d been going a little ways I relaxed and was able to enjoy myself.  (I think, too, it hurts more when I’m stressed & tense.)  We didn’t go the whole three miles, because we reached a point where it was swarming with people cleaning up the beach and decided to turn back and stay out of there way.  Which was really just as well, because of that headwind.  The ride back was far more exhausting than I expected.

As soon as we got back to civilization (i.e. roads with cars), which is also where the hill starts, I got off and walked.  Sally rode back up the hill, and I was very impressed.  As soon as I stopped huffing and puffing.  😉

And now, I’m lying on the couch, achy and tired.  Less than 6 miles*, and no hills, and I’m exhausted.

I need to do this more often.

* I checked google maps, and between my neighborhood, and the distance we rode on the path, it was about 3 miles out, and since I walked part of the way back, it was less than 3 miles back.  :p

The Mondays


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I’m suffering from a bad case of The Mondays*.  You know, when it’s not just a Monday, but it’s the Monday, when everything is going to go wrong, and it’s not even 10am yet.

Like that day when you came wide awake at 3 in the morning (having been having bizarrely normal dreams, that weren’t even interesting to reflect on), realized the heater was on for no good reason, and you had to go turn it off.  And then you laid in bed for half an hour, wide awake, before finally getting up (quietly, so as not to disturb your significant other) and taking your book into the living room to read yourself to sleep.  And when you finally start dozing off, an hour and a half later, you don’t actually feel sleepy, like “oh, being asleep will be so comfy!”, you just can’t keep your eyes open anymore.  So you go to bed, and do fall asleep, and then all of a sudden the morning rolls around!  Who signed up for this?  And you prop one eye open to see how bright it is out, and realize you were dreaming about people who could turn into cats**, and then fall asleep again.  When you finally get out the toothpicks (to prop your eyes open) and drag yourself out of bed, you feel so crummy that you don’t even want to make breakfast.  But then you notice that your kefir is way over-kefired***, despite the fact that just 10 hours ago it was under-kefired†, and you decide that’s ok, it’ll still taste fine in a smoothie.  And then you attempt breakfast, and then have to go lie down on the couch for an hour because you have no energy or brain function.††

Only then you’re trying to write an email to work, to tell them that you’ll be in late today, and then you remember that your phone hasn’t been syncing work email for a while (and even when it’ll pull email, it won’t send email, so people aren’t getting messages they should be getting, and you’re looking like a lame-ass), so you have to try half-a-dozen different mail apps to see if any will do better.  And then you realize it hasn’t been syncing your work calendar to your phone’s calendar, which it used to do.  And really you didn’t like the default mail app anyway.†††  So you spend your hour on the couch with your phone (battery quickly draining), trying to figure out if anyone else has had this problem, and what they did to resolve it.  And when you FINALLY get the thing working, it tells you that your company requires some crazy-strict restrictions on your personal phone, just because it’s connecting to work email–which you can almost understand, except that it gives power over your phone to some random geek who might push the wrong button and wipe out your phone‡.   But you accept the bizarre restrictions anyway, and wonder if that’s why your email hasn’t been working for all these weeks.  And then your phone’s battery dies.

Or maybe those things don’t happen to you?  And really, it could’ve been worse.  The world could’ve exploded.  I might have needed to be in right early, and too bad that I was brain-dead.  (And hey, I seem to have gotten my brain back.)

It’s still The Mondays.

* Yes, I just made that up.

** That was pretty cool actually.  The human/cat in question was able to walk over the (very hilly) highway 92 that I take to work every day, which is 8 miles long^, in just an hour.  Why it was doing that… I forget.

^ Right, it’s actually lots longer than that, but my section is about 8 miles.

*** In other words, it had been sittingout for about 48 hours, and had completely separated into whey and a thick, solid layer of soured milk.

† Still sloshy like milk, not thick like yogurt.  And it might have been longer than 10 hours ago, but it sure didn’t feel like it.

†† But at least the neighbor’s cat came over to keep you company.

††† It wouldn’t zoom in or out on the email body, and if the email was too wide for the screen, you couldn’t make it scroll over to see the rest.  Seriously?

‡ I’m a geek, I know how these things go.

I am up Early


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It’s 6, and I’ve been up for an hour, and it only just occurred to me that I should blog about this.  Liza, awake before the butt-crack of dawn?  On purpose?

The idea was that I would wake up an hour early today, and go for a walk before getting ready for work.  (Ben would wake up early, too, but he doesn’t hate mornings as much as I do.)  Now, “an hour early” is a variable thing, since I wake up anywhere from 7:30 to 8:30.  But I figured 6:30 seems reasonable, until I remembered that the sun doesn’t rise until about 6:40, and we have a big ol’ hill that hides the risen sun for at least an hour.  So, 6:45, then.

And I don’t keep an alarm clock, or any clock, in the bedroom.  Which may explain my hour-long variation in typical waking-up time.  So I moved a nice analog clock with a charming bell into the bedroom last night, even though it’s been losing time for quite a while.  I reset it to “real” time last night, and set the alarm for 6:30.  But while I was lying in bed I thought, wow this could go really wrong when that alarm doesn’t even try to wake me up until 9am.  Not to mention that I can’t tell whether it knows the difference between AM and PM, or if it’ll just ding twice every day.  If it does know the difference, it probably thinks it’s PM now, not AM, and so we extra won’t get an alarm.

In light of this clock-problem, last night as I was falling asleep I told myself to wake up around 6:30 or dawn, whichever seemed easier.  (This often works for me, I just don’t usually bother.  I mean, who would want to be awake then?*)

So this morning when I found myself awake, and it was dark out, I scrunched up my eyes to tell whether it was really dark out, or just nearly-dawn and getting lighter.  (By the way, it’s just starting to get lighter now.  Charming, really, like watching sunset in reverse.  Huh.)  The house across the street has rather bright lights, and just over the hill from us is a greenhouse that keeps lights on most of the time, and we have these huge dark pine trees behind the house that look pitch-black against even the night sky, and the moon might have even been out.  So, there were lots of explanations for a light-colored sky that don’t involve it being nearly-dawn, but I was awake, so it must be close, right?

Wrong.  It was 5.  But I was already awake, and going back to sleep for an hour (or an hour-and-a-half, or two hours) would just make me not want to wake up again**.  So I got up.

And I worked on my vampire story revisions.  I’d had some pretty useful ideas as I was falling asleep last night (there’s something a bit disturbing, though, about falling asleep while thinking about a vampire story, even if I do know how it turns out), which I hadn’t gotten up to scribble down then because I was going to be waking up early and wanted to be rested.

It has yet to be seen whether this “walking” thing will be effective, or whether I’ll just be zonked all day.  (And I still have half an hour before I’ll feel justified in making Ben wake up to keep me company.)

* Aside from at least 3 of my favorite people, plus my father, who are all decided morning people. I don’t get it at all.  It’s still night-time.  I could be asleep.

** Not to mention that I suspect I’m allergic to our forced-air heat, and that part of my trouble with mornings has to do with the heater being on for an hour before I wake up.  And at 5, the heater isn’t on yet.  It’s on now of course.

Welcome to Summer, and Second Draft-y


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It’s a beautiful day!  Summer (sic) has finally arrived in Half Moon Bay!  The sun is warm, the breeze is mild, and I’m not leaving to go to work today!

Ben made a vegetarian chili last night, which I had for lunch today.  Om nom nom.  My favoritest co-worker ever brought me kefir* grains** this week, and I’ve started making kefir.  I put a few spoonsful on top of the chili, just like it was yogurt or sour cream or, you know, kefir, and I ate it, and it was delicious.  Mmm.

The other thing I did today was that I finally started the second draft of my vampire story, with a completely new main character.  I’ve been putting it off for weeks (since my last post), because I don’t really want to re-write the whole damn story.  But!  It worked out pretty well today, sitting outside in the sun (mmm, warm), I managed to see the first scene, and then I started writing.  It just kinda flowed.  The new MC has a voice, which the last one didn’t, and I’m unreasonably amused by her.  (Which makes me fear no one else will find her amusing… but that’s what third drafts are for!)  I think I wrote about 1000 words*** today, and felt much better about it than I would’ve about rewriting 1000 words of the first draft.

(Incidentally, 1000 words is about a fifth of the rough draft–which doesn’t seem likely for this second draft, because I’ve only just gotten to the point where the first draft “started” [after I hacked off the initial two scenes that sucked† and therefore weren’t counted].)

And yesterday I looked up who Mandelbrot was, and decided that I like him quite well as a namesake for my MC.  Who’s a girl.  I dunno, the name popped into my head, that she’s called Mandy, and it’s short for Mandelbrot.  And I couldn’t remember who Mandelbrot really was, so I was afraid he was a serial killer or something.  But no, he’s the guy who discovered fractals, which works for me, though I haven’t figured out why her parents picked it.

* It’s like yogurt, only runnier and different.  This morning’s batch was solid and wobbly just like yogurt would be, though it fell apart when I transferred it to a different container.

** Kefir, you see, is also a bacterial growth, just like yogurt, but the bacteria grow these gel-like modules around them, which are called grains.  It’s really strange, and looks a little like cottage cheese, and you strain them out before drinking the kefir (though you don’t have to), and then put them in a new container with new milk, and they keep growing.  Yum.  I’ll have to report more about this as I continue experimenting.

*** One of the troubles with writing long-hand is that you can’t give an actual number, without doing something dumb like counting.  Computers count for you.  Someday, maybe I’ll learn how to compose directly into a computer.  My recollection is that I usually fit about 150 words into a page of my notebooks, and I filled 6 pages.  But I seem to recall that sometimes the number was more like 200 or 250, and I don’t remember if that was in a different shape of notebook, or if it really varies that much depending on how big my words are.

† Ok, they didn’t so much suck as just not have a place in the story.  I did keep them, because some of the description was relevant.

Weekend in Tiburon


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Ben and I just got back from Tiburon.  It was lovely weather, and though we didn’t plan our activities, everything just fell together nicely.

We were inspired to go up because our neighbor said he was throwing his wife a surprise birthday party at this particular hotel, and if we wanted we could stay one or both nights at a discounted rate. Ben and I looked at each other and said, “hell yeah!”  What a nice excuse to go on a little vacation.

We decided not to push ourselves too hard, so we went up late Friday, missed all the traffic, and took it easy.   Continue reading Weekend in Tiburon

Glorious day by the coast


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I mean, uh, it’s horrible and cold and you wouldn’t like it.  Yeah.

Well, none of the tourists believe me, either, and all the attractions (Barbara’s Fish Trap, for example) are very crowded.

The sky is blue, the air is warm, I’m wearing a tank-top.  Ben and I went for a walk at the Point, and I took my fleecy off.  I *never* take my fleecy off while walking up there, it’s too cold.  So this, today, is one of the five beautiful days we get per year.  In a month it’ll be foggy and cold, but for now the flowers are amazing (we counted 30 different types of flower blooming in our backyard), the sun is warm, and it’s just like summer.

We had Ben’s family over for brunch today, and we had all different yummy food.  We decided to make all the food ourselves, not do a potluck, so we picked yummy simple things.  Homefries, a frittata* (gruyere, mushroom, and scallions), braised greens (chard** and kale), a fruit salad (strawberries, mango, orange, and grapefruit), a bean salad, and something Sunset Magazine calls an “apple oven cake”, which I’ve made several times now and is super yummy (butter and brown sugar, apples and a little cinnamon, with an egg/flour/milk mixture to hold it together).  It was all a big hit, but the apple stuff was the biggest hit, and was definitely the easiest to make.  🙂  Oh yeah, and mimosas.  Except a bunch of us had orange juice-free mimosas, aka champagne.  Mmm, it was good.

We managed to prepare a lot of stuff last night, and get everything chopped and ready this morning, so we could just compile everything and cook it at the last minute when they were here.  The homefries took longer than we expected, and we were waiting for them to finish before starting everything else, but everything came together perfectly for us to sit down with all of the food ready (except the frittata, which was a little slow, so I guess it was only nearly-perfect).  It was so yummy.  And even though it seemed like a lot of food, everything was finished off except the homefries and bean salad. And the ingredients for a second apple oven cake.  So we’ll have those for breakfast tomorrow!

None of Ben’s family have been over since Ben finished my office, so I straightened it all up (no extra papers or boxes anywhere in sight!) and we showed it off.  It’s so nice and comfortable in there.  Everyone was very impressed with Ben’s handiwork.

Last night Ben and I thought to pull out the two of my mom’s paintings*** that I have, and we discovered that one of them looks wonderful in the room, so we’re going to hang it up.  The other is too dark (lots of black), so I think maybe I’ll trade it in for a different one, because there’s plenty of space for two on my wall.  And it’ll be nice to have Mommy art hanging in my office.  🙂

Other than that… I started writing a vampire story the other day.  I don’t do vampires, but I had a title that included vampires, so it had to be about vampires.

Recently I’ve noticed that I have trouble distinguishing between “I must continue working on story x so that I’ll finish it some day” and “I must only work on story x, to the exclusion of all other stories or writing”–the latter of which is incredibly stifling to me.  And then I wonder why I don’t want to write.  So, I’m trying to ease up on myself and write whatever I want… while keeping in mind that I have Story X which I’d like to be working on if I’m so inspired.  In other words, I must write in order to write.  BIC.

* How do you spell that? Firefox doesn’t like fritata, frittata, or fritatta.  How about frittatta? No, that can’t be it.  Google + wikipedia tell me it’s frittata.

** I’ve discovered I really like braised chard, whereas kale tends to be more tough even when braised.

*** You can see her art at her website, but neither of the two I have are up there so I can’t show them to you specifically.  My mom is so prolific that the website doesn’t even contain a tenth of all of her art. If we included all of her drawings, it might not even be one percent.  So, the likelihood of me having one of those is pretty small.  :-/

† And with a new update, WordPress + LivePress will properly cross-post daggers (†) to LiveJournal, so my footnotes should go more smoothly.  Yay!

Happy New Year, Happy Birthday, Yay Writing, Cramps Suck


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Happy New Year!

I had a wonderful New Year’s Eve with my favorite [info]purpleleopard, my mom, my boyfriend, and mojitos, at my house.  I don’t have cable (or an antenna), and we couldn’t convince the Internets to give us the ball dropping at the appropriate (west coast) time.  🙁  I like watching the ball drop.  But with nice champagne, homemade pizzas, and good company, it was wonderful.

My bday is on Monday, which I’m planning on celebrating by staying home all day and not going anywhere.  (I took an extra day off for it.)

I’ve managed to *write* a bit this vacation.  Only a bit of actual story (just shy of 1500 words, which feels really pathetic), but also brainstorming and other bits of writing happened.  I’m trying out Scrivener, which is a (mac-only) text editing program for writing fiction.  So far I like it, but I’m worried that creating so much structure for myself will set myself up with too many expectations and I’ll stop wanting to use it.  So I’m trying it, and I like it, but I’m gonna wait 30 days before giving them money for it.  So far it has a lot of similar features as CopyWrite, which is the program I’ve been using, but it has more ways of looking at the same info.  This may or may not be helpful for me… we’ll see.

And my period started yesterday.  No cramps, no obvious mood-swings… it was a bit weird.  Today the cramps started.  I could feel them starting, and decided to take painkillers, which usually makes me feel better until next month.  And then Ben and I went for a nice long walk on the bluffs (the ocean was beautiful, it wasn’t too cold or too hot…), and I noticed that the cramps weren’t going away.  They still haven’t.  So now I’m home on the couch with hot tea, wishing I felt better.  🙁  I think TV (hulu–I’ve already mentioned my lack of cable) will have to be my solace.