Archive for May, 2010

Ferie update

Perl and I saw Ferie tonight. She (not a “he” as I previously thought) is back to guarding her corner of the complex. The Author says that Ferie snubbed her for about 10 days, but she has started eating again and everything is back to normal.

Everything except Ferie’s missing tail.


Homemade pizza experiments

I’m making pizza again. This time I made the dough from scratch too. Let it rise while I “walked the dog”. Picked some of my oregano out of my herb garden and added it to the dough. Cheese, and basil from my herb garden, on top.

Forgot to oil the dough and let it rise a second time. And didn’t follow instructions for baking the dough before adding toppings. Hopefully it turns out okay.

Might have to make a kiwi spritzer.


sympathy—feelings of pity and sorrow for someone else’s misfortune.
empathy—the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.

A few months ago, I was playing a game. It required running up to another person, reading information off the card I carried and having that person tell me which person to go to next. The goal was to get as many “packets” through the “network” as possible.

At the end of the game, a guy came up to me and stated, “You are very empathetic.”

I asked why he thought that. He said I was the only one who played the game by memorizing the information on my card, holding my card so that the other person could read it while I spoke the information.

I said I did it because it would get me through the maze faster. And because some people are better at interpreting information they read, and others are better at hearing it.

He called me empathetic.

I was thinking about what he said while “walking the dog” this morning. While I was talking to The Archivist on a corner, we saw two bicyclists going through an intersection get cut off by a car turning right. She didn’t stop. She didn’t look. She was so focused on herself, where she was going, and what she was doing that she didn’t give a shit about anyone who was biking, or running, or “walking the dog”. I stared her down as she drove by and yelled, “Yeah, ’cause waving is going to make it all better, fucker!”

I run into these people a lot while “walking the dog”. And I understand that they are probably late to work. Probably by their own doing, although they happily blame their alarm clock or some other physical device rather than their ability to understand their own waking patterns and adjust for them.

She is the reason why, when I’m driving, I stop at the intersection before the crosswalk. I look both ways, then inch my way into the crosswalk if I think I can make a right turn without blocking a pedestrian or biker. She is the reason that I don’t turn into the bike lane to make a right turn unless I’m sure I’ll get through before a bicyclist shows up. She is the reason I have to anticipate people like her when I’m on a bicycle or running. She is the reason that when Perl and I are at the entrance to the complexes, I make sure the coast is clear before walking across.

But sometimes, we get halfway across and some jackass comes speeding up. If they were driving the speed limit, Perl and I would be safely across before they reach the entrance, but because they aren’t, I’m usually hidden from their view by redwood trees. So I quickly move Perl to my left side so that if they don’t slam on their brakes and stop in time they will hit me instead of Perl.

I do it because I want to save Perl. But not all my intentions are good. I also want them to hit me instead of my dog because I will make a bigger dent in their wallet. Maybe they will feel that, since they don’t feel empathy.

Why I don’t like to ride the bus

I want to ride the bus. I love Myrtle, but I love the environment more. I want to do my part. But I have issues.

Lets move past the typical problems of why a middle class, nearing on middle age, white woman might not ride the bus and talk about the real reasons.

Problem 0: It takes too long. To take the bus to work it would take me half an hour more than driving because of the time it takes to walk to and from the bus stop. Riding my bike takes five minutes more than driving and I get better parking.

Problem 1: How much does it cost?
At the bus stop I did not see any sign saying how much the ride would be or that I needed exact change. When I tried to board the bus, I had a yuppie food stamp ($20 bill). Neither the bus driver, nor the automated machine gives change. Also, are there discounts if I buy a day pass or something? How do I transfer?

When I enter a subway station, I don’t necessarily know how much it will cost, but I know that I can buy my ticket from either a machine or an attendant. Both will tell me how much I must pay and will give me change.

Problem 2: Embarrassment because I didn’t have exact change.
Even though I a)didn’t know the price before boarding and b)didn’t know the bus driver couldn’t give change, and c)didn’t know anyone on the bus—I could feel the disdain towards me from the passengers and driver for wasting their time.

Problem 3: Actual costs exceeds expected cost.
I had to get off the bus and buy something I didn’t need at either a local store or restaurant to make change. There was no way to get change at the bus stop. So I went to a taqueria and had a taco and a sangria. It wasn’t a total fail, but if I had gotten to the party on the first bus, I could have just eaten there.

Problem 4: Where is the bus going?
All I see are signs that say the bus number and sometimes the ending location. I don’t know if this bus goes where I need to go. This could be solved with route maps at the bus stop. A route map of where this bus goes would help, but most subway stations have route maps of the entire system so you can see where you should transfer. This might be difficult at a stop that is just a sign. Which leads me to my next problem…

Problem 5: Where is the bus stop?
I come out of a restaurant and need to get to the train station. Which way should I go? The sun isn’t out so I don’t know which way is north, and I can’t find the bus stop. Most subway stations have an entrance that is obvious. Bus stops could be a small clear shelter covered in graffiti or just a small sign on a post.

Problem 6: Which direction is the bus going?
I’m unfamiliar with this area and have no idea which side of the street I should be on to get where I want to go. If I enter a subway, there are usually signs saying which ramp to take to go in a particular direction.

Problem 7: How do I know when to get off?
I am supposed to pull this rope when I want to get off. I see a sign that says the next stop, but there was no map at the bus stop, so I’m not sure when I need to get off. Lucky for me, I have an iPhone with Google maps and can see where I am thanks to GPS, but not everyone riding the bus does.

Problem 8: How do I know it will stay on the route?
Of course, every bus is not a reenactment of the movie Speed, but this is a psychological problem I have a hard time getting over. Subways and trolleys all have to stay on the tracks or they don’t work. I know where the tracks go. Buses could change their route at any time. There is an unfounded fear of uncertainty. And I know I’m not the only one who feels this way.

So why don’t you ride the bus? How can our communities convince you to not drive your car?

Bleeding heart, take two

I cry at series finales.

There I admitted it. I’m pathetic, and I know it. But I don’t cry for the usual reasons.

I don’t cry because the show is ending. I don’t cry because the characters won’t exist in my life anymore. I don’t cry because of the scripted touching moments.

I cry because these actors have been working together for years. They have bonded. They are like family, not to me, but to each other.

Watching a series finale is like watching a high school graduating class. I used to cry at graduation too. Not because I would miss the kids—I do miss them, but I understand they must move on—but because of the pain they are enduring. They are excited and nervous about their futures, but sad to leave their friends and family behind. Overwhelming emotion.

It is easy to forget what that feels like when graduation was so long ago. We all learn to live with constant fluctuation. People come and go from our lives. But there is something eruptive when everyone leaves together.

I taught high school for seven years. I thought time would dull my sensitivity to it, and it did dull my personal emotion, but it didn’t weaken my empathy.

So I cry because there are a couple hundred people with each show like Lost and 24, who will no longer see each other on a regular basis. Their lives all changed with their last shows. Their futures hold great promise and great uncertainty. Fear, excitement, and a sense of loss all bottled up together.

Overwhelming emotion.

Visual To Do List Results

I did not make apple pie. Nor did I get through my mail box. But I’ve done the rest, and now I’m doing some work. It has been a really long day.

Cat food put away

Made organic blueberry muffins. Had to ride my bike to the grocery store to get eggs because mine were bad.

Cut up some organic strawberries in some yogurt

Took out the garbage and the recycling

Cleaned the litter box

I vacuumed and mopped

Re-potted plants

Cleaned out the bird shit

Made red cabbage and sweet potato salad

Made pickled radish

Five loads of laundry

Dishes done

Finally painted the doorbell. Needs a couple more coats.

Oh, and I walked the dog four miles today. I need a nap.

Visual To Do List

It is that time again. I have no one else to keep my house in order, so even though I have a lot of work to do today, I also need to spend some time doing chores. The pets aren’t doing it. Here is what is in store for today.

Make blueberry muffins

Put away cat food


Sort mail I've ignored for a month

Clean out bird poo from cat carrier

Re-pot trees so I can move them for the maintenance work this week

Work work

Laundry. Yes those are my pajama pants. Hot, right?

Vacuum. Regardless of the bad spring weather, my pets are shedding.

Ask me if you really want to know

Make apple pie

Clean litter box

Take out trash