siriosa 2000

answers to questions it would be rude to ask

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

back from paris. back to the gym.
paris was grand. that's its job. i did a flickr photo stream, posting nearly every day. check it out, if you like.

and then there was a really good deal on memberships at 24hrfitness. works out to $12.50/month. and i've been going 3x/wk for 4 weeks now. my goal is solid, dense bones, and it doesn't hurt to be getting stronger, which i totally am. it's good to be able to lift stuff one-handed.

also, it turns out that however much exercise you're doing, more is always better. there is no upper bound. you could look it up.

Friday, September 18, 2009

cdg-boulevard kellermann monday 14/9

on the r.e.r. b train i tried to call cynthia, who alas could not hear me what with the train noise. got to where i was going. had the wrong access code written down on my piece of paper. the guardian was kind enough to let me in, because i was too pitiful to be a burglar, i think.

then i forgot that the 2nd floor in france requires the ascension of two flights of stairs, and was near weeping in frustration that the key michelle gave me did not work. once i'd figured that out, i didn't have time to check the key in the lock: cynthia opened the door.

it took me so long to get there, though, that she had to rush through the tour of all the wonderful ways she (and michelle) had made the place welcoming to me.

i managed to stay awake until 6. i was trying for 9, but there was really no place to sit (i'd filled the one chair with my stuff), and once i was on the bed (on the floor), entropy was guaranteed to win.

heathrow-cdg monday 14 september
apparently the boarding pass delta let us print out the day before wouldn't have worked. signs instructed me to have a pass printed out by the airline, so i waited at the air france desk until the employee came back from some mysterious errand. (the alitalia employee assured me she wouldn't be gone long.)

she printed me a good one, and i amused myself until allowed into the boarding area. and then it turned out she was also on the plane. right, that's one of the benefits.

one takes a tram from the terminal to the baggage area/customs/sortie. my passport was stamped cdg a very bored fonctionnaire. customs was not interested in looking at anybody's luggage or asking any questions. they had a scary poster up (in english) about how buying counterfeit rolexes can get you jail time. (who knew?) i walked and i walked and i walked and i walked. the pitiless nature of french transit facilities was made abundantly clear. many of my favorite people would have required a wheelchair to navigate, and i saw none offered.

anyway. i stood in a very long line for a very long time to buy a ticket for the r.e.r. b train, which would go to very near where i'm staying. i could've stood in much shorter lines and bought one from a machine, but i also wanted a carte navigo, which allows you to use all of the transit on the inside of the peripherique for a week. the photograph i'd had taken and then cut down to french passport dimensions was, sadly, too big. perhaps i can get one taken next week.

i did pretty okay in mostly french, even though i was dead on my feet and about 50 i.q. points down from what i'm used to.

jfk-heathrow sunday-monday 13-14 september

maureen and cynthia had tickets for the last matinee of Avenue Q. maureen wanted to get a car service to take me to the airport, but i insisted on tracing the route via public transit. their anniversary falls in the week i'm getting back, and they'll be in provincetown celebrating. i'll be flying in to jfk in the evening, and expect to be jetlagged to a fare-thee-well. it's good to have an idea of how it goes, because i will certainly be playing with a deck of 40, at best.

i only left the house 20 minutes later than i thought i would. the F train came immediately. 15 minutes later i realized i'd left my book in the apartment. botheration.

fifteen minutes after i got through security, i noticed that i'd left my empty water bottle in the bin. so i paid the idiot tax on that ($3.50), and then i paid the idiot tax on reading material: 2 magazines and a paperback book--david sedaris's latest--($33). my mantra in these situations is "if that's the worst thing that happens to me this year/trip/excursion, i am truly goddess' very favorite child."

i took a turn around the terminal, because i was going to be sitting down for 7 hours and change. they were boarding a flight to rome, and i recognized a face: it was cara's doctor, ann weissman. i delayed her a moment, to tell her what i was doing. she wished me bon voyage and boarded her own plane.

back to the boarding area. there was a seat open next to a fascinating woman i'd noticed earlier, being wheeled through security. she wore an extremely red hat, and had a good 30 years on me. we chatted. i fetched a bottle of water for her. she told me that cancer is caused by insufficient chewing, and that it takes 100 chews to adequately process one bite of a reuben. she's off to london to take a cruise, where she looks forward to dancing with the hosts the cruise line employs for the purpose. she's fine from the neck down, she said, but her eyes are not sharp (she uses a magnifying glass to read even large print) and she uses hearing aids. she's 94. we had a nice random stranger take our pictures on each other's cameras.

they hadn't come to wheel her onto the plane when my section (way in the back) was called. i asked one of the flight attendants to make sure she got on. he said he'd love to, but he couldn't leave the plane. i suggested he call the boarding area, or have someone else do it. he came by later to tell me she'd made it onto the plane (and suggested that she was being somewhat demanding).

a role model. sweet.

i did take my doxylamine succinate shortly after i got on the plane, but then, alas, they served dinner (which wasn't half bad, actually), and by the time i'd fished my sleep mask out, i wasn't yawning any more. also, whenever i did start to fall asleep, my chin would drift down toward my chest, which would wake me up. it was so very sad. about 4am london time i gave up.

and watched the moving map until we were over ireland. got a nice picture of the sun just hitting the upper atmosphere over the irish sea.

once we got into heathrow airspace, they had us fly in circles for 20 minutes, which was only mildly amusing. on the ground, because i had not checked any luggage, i did not have to go through customs, but i was required to re-take security clearance, because my connecting flight was in another terminal, sadly. still: not having checked luggage: very fine idea.

at heathrow i bought a sammich with my very heavy english coins, so i have fewer of them, yay. then i settled down to change the date and time on my cameras, at which point i discovered i'm missing one. redundancy's a good thing.

i'm ambivalent about the loss: it's a good little camera, but it was given to me by someone who then turned around and treated me like a thing. so ... yeah. i suppose i should call delta and see if (improbably) someone turned it in. just in case.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

brooklyn wednesday-sunday, 9-13 september

my pal maureen was waiting for me at baggage claim at jfk, and drove me to her place in brooklyn. her niece had just started a new job, and the apartment she was renting wouldn't be ready until the middle of the month, so it was downright cozy in maureen's one-bedroom apartment. everybody was wonderfully respectful of personal space, and nobody left more detritus lying about than was absolutely necessary.

thursday it rained. (it rained every day, except for the day i left.) maureen had to go to work, and her niece had the spare keys. i curled up happily with "paris to the moon," by adam gopnik, about living in paris for five years.

friday maureen left me her keys, and i marched out in the drizzle for my favorite new york city breakfast: egg + bacon + cheese on a roll = the clarion call for cholesterol. yum. then i bought a metro ticket for my various comings and goings, foraged for trip food, had another set of keys made. when maureen got home from work early, we went to the brooklyn art museum, so i could say hello to one of my favorite naked ladies.

saturday was the farmers market at grand army plaza. more trip food, and some ingredients for dinner, and some other ingredients for sunday fritatta. after dinner, maureen needed to show me ginger's, a wonderfully inclusive bar in park slope? prospect park? one of those.

and i had rather more fun than i'd meant to. we didn't leave until 3. when i woke up at 11, catherine had already been out for her run, and maureen was just getting back with the sunday times. i made fritatta, they left for their play, and i packed.

(i'm uploading photos to flickr pretty regularly:

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Saturday, August 08, 2009

when i first started publishing little books of poetry, i used to tell people "some day this will be very old."

and this is true. the last time i published poetry was 1982. all my little poetry books are now over 25 years old. i amuse myself sometimes by ego-surfing the price for some of them occasionally goes into triple digits. (today's high is $75.)

when i came back from europe in 2003, my old boss, the printer, argued hard for a larger print run than the one i selected. i just kept repeating to him: i have this much money. i want this many books. so in 2003, there were 500 each of the little photo books.

now we're down to 213 of My Feet Go to Europe, 249 of This Is Me in Europe, and a mere 99 of Signs of Peace in Europe. woo-hoo! double digits!

the collage book was originally a run of 1000. signed and numbered. i'm not going to tell you how many are left, but it's definitely in the triple digits. half price sale for only another 20 days.

i'm sure they'd be happier on your shelves than huddled miserably in boxes. just saying.

Friday, August 07, 2009

definitely going.
airfare's paid for. place to stay is arranged.

from here on in, i find out how much falafel i'll be eating, and how many souvenirs i can buy. if the drive goes over $2000 (and i left room at the top for that eventuality) i'll put that money aside for more little books of photographs.

this has been amazingly heart-healing. there were rough patches in the last few years; i definitely sustained some abrasions. the response to my plea has been a balm.

and i get to spend a month in paris for my birthday. win!

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

best. search string. EVAR.
lesbian feet in flip flop

beat that.

(it sent somebody to one of my little books.)

which, you know, is okay, if it gets me to paris.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

houseguests from paris
totally different and not to be confused with houseguests from hell.

we've picked up a cell phone and gps navigation system for them, picked up their rental car. pagan stores have been visited. oaksterdam gift shop. a saxophone has been rented for the musician.

and of course, all out-of-town guests get to visit the berkeley bowl. it's an institution, and it's unlike anything anybody's likely to have seen elsewhere. it was, perhaps, thoughtless of me to take them there when they were still somewhat jetlagged and perhaps a little hungry.

the refrigerator has never been so full. it's very, very silly, but the full vacation experience is all about eating and resting and looking at things.

they've been especially enthusiastic about the cinnamon raisin bread from greenlees bakery. in fact, they're planning to take three loaves back home with them.

baked goods. to france. from san jose.

you couldn't make this stuff up.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

i'm going to paris for my birthday!
on account of the kindness of friends.

i've been waffling about it for months. i decided to go, and then my bank (not unreasonably) capped my home equity line of credit at, essentially, what i owe them now. the house's market value, like everybody else's, has dropped precipitously. it makes perfectly good sense.

but that was my cushion, my permission to do something not entirely fiscally sound. so then i wasn't going to go. and then my inner children (not to mention the inner pirate crew) sulked for weeks.

every single person i mentioned it to said "no, but of course you have to go, a way will be found." and then a couple of them said "i'd chip in. it's a worthwhile cause." and then i thought, "huh. i have a hundred facebook friends. if each of them gave me $20, i could totally do it." not that i expected each of them to do that, mind you. but it was possible that it would average out.

best housemate evar[tm] sat me down and said: "let's just assume that the money can be found. i think this is important."

with the help of friends (hey, dani! hey, philip!), i made a fundraising page.

and look: because of the extravagant kindness of some, i'm a quarter of the way to my goal. here's the eiffelometer for today:

Saturday, July 18, 2009

dusty in here.
i'm gonna guess it's facebook's fault.

signed up for facebook in february, because it turns out to be a much better way to keep track of my disparate friends. i've also got a toe dipped in twitter, which i'm taking to in a much less duck-like manner. maybe if the browser window auto-refreshed. i still don't do texting. it's disabled on my cell phone, and i haven't discovered a pressing reason to learn it.

i'm old, you know. at some point, The Next Big Thing is going to seem like too much trouble, and i'll be swept away, getting farther and farther from the leading edge. like granny left on an iceberg when she can't keep up.

anyway. hi.

on both facebook and twitter, i'm siriosa. friend or follow me if i've actually met you.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

when oh when oh when

will i learn to take before and after pictures? not to mention during.

i've started another of those endless projects. neighbors on each side of me suggested, very kindly and politely, that something needed to be done about my front yard. i had to agree with them. the plantlife was getting to be knee-high in places.

four years ago, it was sheared down, weed barrier cloth applied, and mulch on top of that. if you keep up with it, the random weeds that take root in the mulch are easily dealt with. but: i haven't been so good at keeping up, recently. (okay, you're right. or ever. fine. wev.)

so i started devoting my hour a day of cardio to addressing the height issue. took about a week to get it all down to ankle high. mostly, i pulled up the grasses, or tore them off near the ground. then i decided the mulch slopping over onto the sidewalk and the neighbor's driveway was a bad thing, and i started re-setting the edging so it was tall enough to actually do its job. i discovered several blackberry runners, and a humongous root of lordess-knows-what. dug 'em out.

now i'm at the stage of running the blunt edge of a rake through the mulch, to dislodge everything that's easy, and then taking pliers (yes, pliers) and pulling up whatever isn't easy.

and i wish i could show you what it was like before. it's very much like the painting and patching job. when you're finished, if you do it right, there's nothing to see. it becomes invisible.

so: woe.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

mom always said "the farmers need it" when we complained about rain in kansas.

and now here i am, going "yay! rain!" after a week of glorious weather. i don't even mind closing the windows again.

it's an auspicious beginning for the new era.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

back up on the horse.

so i sorta stopped going to the gym in december. i was busy. i was clearing out the back yard. it's a pita to get there. wev: there are always excuses, and they're always very good ones, but the bottom line is, you either do it or you don't.

a few weeks ago a nice young man from the local teen center came around with flyers. they're opening up their weight room to neighborhood adults, when the kids aren't using it. two blocks away. ten bucks a month.

it was like skywriting: surrender, dorothy. so monday i signed up, spent a half hour with the training guy. today i strolled over and got started. it's been six weeks since i did focused work with weights.

ow. ow. ow. ow. ow.

but i'm back on the damn horse.

Friday, December 26, 2008

the great redecorating project: finished at last.
it was like what happens when you pull a thread in a sweater.

some time in the last century, the chimney separated from the house in an earthquake. i had it taken down, but didn't have the bandwidth to fix the wall properly: the hole was covered with plywood, the fireplace remained.

when i was in europe the second time, in 2005, b.h.e. got the outside wall fixed at the same time the house was being painted. after i returned, she and her cranky cat moved in. late in 2006, i brought kittens into the house. spot was not best pleased, and expressed herself on the carpet. the kittens acquired culture from the older cat, and the carpet became, eventually, irretrievable.

in 2007 i pulled the carpet up. in march 2008 we had jon kerpel come and take the fireplace out (just about a ton of brick and tile). once that wall was all beautiful and shiny and flat, it was obvious that the rest of the walls needed to be painted. further inspection highlighted a seismic system of cracks in the plaster. they'd have to be filled before painting could happen. jon made a hilariously short estimate, but it was still more than i could afford. i started doing the prep myself.

in a brilliant display of 3-D tetris, i stowed the contents of the living room and dining room in the spare bedroom. then we boarded the cats for a week and went to harbin, while some guys came and refinished the floors. here's a piece of advice: do the prep work before the floors get refinished. it's an order of magnitude harder to patch plaster while protecting floors.

the painting was finished in august. and then it took me until last week to hang photographs, mount and frame collages, get the curtain rods and curtains organized.

i've put up a small gallery. do let me know what you think.


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