21 August 2008

Beware: Cheezy Hippie Post About Dirt

I actually smiled when seeing car after dirty car in the work parking lot. The months of summer dry don't usually keep the locals from having shiny cars. But this season the lines at the car wash are shorter. There's hardly anyone with a bucket and sponge in their driveway. The summer fundraising kids are desperate on the corners.

The Bay Area water restriction means that homeowners need to use 19% less water this year than the same time last year. This was a hard challenge for us, as our garden is already drought tolerant and we have efficient appliances and low flush toilets. But we have learned to trust that the dishwasher will clean when the dishes aren't fully rinsed and it's packed to capacity. We have remembered the efficiency of a quick shower, the simplicity of reusing clothes. We let our tiny clover lawn try to die. We aren't making flushing an exciting part of Otto's potty training. We thought it impossible. We have reduced our water use by half.

It seems the awareness of the drought is growing. It's not just the environmentalists who are forgoing clean cars. Judging by the lot, it's most everyone. Three months into the restriction, I am totally comfortable asking if I should flush or not when visiting someone's house. Lately, I even assume the house follows the Yellow Be Mellow, Brown Flush Down philosophy, and I just close the lid.

Saving water is a change of life. We do it not for fear of water bill penalty, but because we know water is scarce. We want everyone to have some. The cars in the lot made me happy because it was obvious that so many people chose to care for the planet over making the car shiny. I thought about going to the full service wash the other day, because my car was a mess, inside and out. But I realized the inside was more important to me- that's the part I see more often- so I shook out the floor mats and wiped the dashboard with a baby wipe. Good as new in 4 minutes, and only one wipe to the landfill.

Now if I could tackle the other messes in my life with such satisfying efficiency and environmental aplomb, then I'd really be smiling!

10 August 2008

The last moments of Mage's "two-breasted life"

We didn't get the house.

Before we got the bad news, I took the kids to the local farmer's market and park and dreamily drove by the house. As I stalked by the house for the 15th time, I felt it was gone. I just knew they had accepted the other offer. I was really funked up about it. The letdown deepened this evening when I didn't find anything on zip realty that would work even in a pinch.

And then I read my young friend's latest entries in her brand new blog. She shares the (would have been surprisingly silly if it were anyone else's) details of her 8/8/08 mastectomy:

I know for sure that my breast looked okay in the conveyer belt room because as Eric #1 was pulling back my robe to get my breast exposed for the procedure, I told him, "You're the last person who is ever going to see my breast like this, so will you just take a moment and appreciate it?" This seemed to embarrass him. At the time I thought he was just uncomfortable because he was just trying to do his job and didn't want to think about the fact that I was a nice lady with a nice breast who was about to lose it forever. But, now that I am writing about it, it really does seem like the waffle-iron room happened first. In which case, maybe he just looked uncomfortable because I was asking him to appreciate a breast that looked like it was smeared with mud and had been attacked by bees. Poor guy.

Mage is one of those people who makes lemonade out of lemons. She has cancer and hasn't hit 40 yet. You need one hell of a juicer to inject humor into that scenario. Thanks for the mind-shift, dear friend. I'll take my two-breasted life into some other house some other day.

09 August 2008


I've been obsessing lately. I am known to obsess. Pick an important topic, and it can occupy every nook in my life. Lately, it's a house. I am in love with a house. I am in love with everything about it. The windows, the natural woods in which it sits (with native Sword Ferns!), the funky butcher block kitchen, the delicious blackberries, the great, flexible floor plan, the little property line creek, the excellent neighborhood elementary, the dead end street. I love the way the street gently climbs through a canyon of native oak and then the house sits happily in a little clearing of sun. Get the picture?

The problem is that it's not ours... yet. We offered. The sellers countered. We countered back. Now we've been waiting for 24 hours and I'm gonna flip out. I know there is a another counter offer. So what is going on?! Please oh please, people of the universe, send your vibes to these nice sellers and let them choose us. And let the other people who offered find the house of their dreams very, very soon.

We arrived at this new home by some accident. We like our current home a whole lot. It has inlaid wood floors. Updated kitchen and baths. Mostly, I like it for its location and more for its history. We married in our back yard. I gave birth to both kids less than 15 feet from where I now sit. But it never felt like a forever home. The kitchen doesn't look over the yard. There are only 2 bedrooms on one floor. And the local schools suck. Real bad. I've been trying to help our local elementary for 4 years now. But I am losing hope. Stella enrolls in kindergarten this December.

I teased myself: If we find a 3 or 4 bedroom home within in a good school boundary that has a kitchen and living room that look to the back and a babbling brook- I'll move. Well, this house that hangs in the offer/counteroffer is exactly that house.

Both placentas are still in the freezer. I think I never planted them with a tree because I knew deep down we would move on. I've found where I want to make deep roots. But like those last weeks of pregnancy, never knowing when the labor will start, but seeing that child in my mind's eye... all we can do is obsess, and wait.

02 August 2008

Tethered: Fresh eyes

Elizabeth Flemming's blog is a great pause in my day. Her art-photos, musings, and posts of work by others are inspiring. Her recent post Tethered: Fresh eyes really grabs me. It is simultaneously empty, chaotic, hopeful, and silent. Just about how I feel right now.

It reminds me of one of my mother's favorite stories- the one she tells now because I'll be in her place soon. When I was just starting to write, I sent her a letter in the form of a paper airplane. On it I wrote: I NO LOVE YOU.

Great art can say so much, evoke such emotion with so little. Just like children can.

Hey, Mom. It's thirty years late, but I'm sorry. I love you now.