Visit to the City 16 July 2001

Somehow I've gotten my body clock back to the hockey schedule, or later. I'm going to bed around 3am and getting up at 10 or 11. I think it's from being in the house by myself last week, and feeling like I was never "finished enough" to go to bed.

I managed to drag myself out of bed at 10 this morning and take a shower; I checked fares again to Montreal so Al & I can go to Heidi's wedding (still too high), and then I went to Home Depot to buy the grill Al had picked out. It'll be delivered on Saturday.

I drove back to the house, grabbed my book and my commuter checks, and half ran, half walked to the San Antonio station in hopes of catching the 12:30 train to San Francisco. I did indeed make it, and spent the next hour reading The Food Revolution to pass the time. Fascinating stuff.

When I got to the 4th & King station, I bought a 10-trip ticket from San Antonio to San Carlos in hopes that I could take the train to work at least a day or two a week. I headed up 4th Street with the thought that I'd catch the Geary bus out to Cheap Pete's when I realized that getting the Geary bus would require walking to Union Square—where Al's new office is. When I got to Market St. I called him to see if it would be OK to stop in. It was, so I went up to see his "dj booth" office (as he calls it).

The whole space was really cool, and his office was indeed somwhat like a dj booth: diagonal and with a window that takes up the whole wall in front of his desk. His boss also has some really great black and white photos hung around the place.

When I left I ran a block to catch a Geary Limited and took it out to 6th Avenue. I bought $93 worth of frames, matting, and scrabooks at Cheap Pete's (really quite a bargain considering all that I got) and then struggled to carry my loot over to Clement Street, where I planned to get a late lunch. I bought a couple of dim sum at the place I used to frequent when I lived out there, and then I went to Mai's for vegetable cold rolls and vegetable hot & sour soup. The soup was excellent. I ate half the cold rolls and saved the rest, along with the extra dim sum, for Al.

I caught another Geary bus back to Fillmore, transferred to the 22, and got off at Market St. so I could go to Flax. Who knew I'd pass both of my old apartments in one day? It was strange to look up to the balcony and know that I didn't live at 65 Hermann St. anymore. Anway, I bought a mat cutter at Flax and then went back to Al's building to catch a ride home with him.

Al ate the leftover cold rolls, and we shared the dim sum, and then we drove to the Fish Market to stock up on fish mints. Yum. We both had hockey games tonight; Al played at 8:55 and then subbed for us at 10:20. I played like shit (I think I really do need two nights a week to stay on top of my game), but Al did pretty well.

It was nice to go in to the city today, but weirdly enough, I found that I didn't miss it much. I certainly didn't miss the urine smell or the pervasive summer fog and chilly wind. I do miss doing my errands on foot, but I'm finding that I can do them just as easily by bicycle down in Al's neighborhood. And I'm really loving the sun.

Scrapbook 17 July 2001

Had a massage with Marie-Pierre in the city this morning. I was thinking that I'd only need 60 minutes because it was in the middle of my sabbatical, but I've been working harder than I thought I would. Wish I'd booked 90. (I did for next time.)

After the massage I headed over the Bay Bridge to Truckee. I had my hockey gear in the back, so I stopped in Vacaville with the intention of getting my skates sharpened at Power Play Hockey. Unfortunately, they're gone. No sign in the window saying they'd moved, but the store was closed. Bummer. Made a couple other stops at Safeway and Trader Joe's, then pulled into my driveway at 5:20.

I decided that I'd walk to the post office, since I had at least 3 hours before dark, and since all the errands I needed to run were on the way. I stopped at the school at the bottom of the hill to ask a guy about the roller hockey game that was going on there; he said it was a regular pickup game that happens every Tuesday and Thursday from 5:30 until dark. He also told me about the ice pickups at Sqaw on Sunday mornings.

I stopped at New Moon Grocery for some flax seed oil (rich in Omega-3s) and the Rite Aid for another accordian file for organizing my scrapbook stuff, and then continued downtown. The deposit refund was in the mail, so I stopped at B of A on the way back to use the ATM. In all, it took me 3 hours to get down and back. Probably would have been quicker if my shins hadn't been killing me. I think I got the shin splints from walking around SF yesterday and then playing hockey.

When I got back I got in my jammies and made an awesome salad using the flax seed oil, some olive oil, and the juice from a grapefruit as the dressing and mixed greens, sections from 1/2 of the grapefruit, and some heirloom tomato chunks as the base. With freshly ground sea salt and pepper over the top, it was delicious.

I spread out all my scrapbook stuff on the couch and turned on HGTV to watch the Design at Nine shows (Room by Room and Design Cents tonight). I ended up watching four HGTV shows, two Food Network shows (From Martha's Kitchen and Doorknock Dinners), the end of Eyes Wide Shut, and the end of All About Eve while I worked on my scrapbook. I got all the way through December 99 (woo hoo!) and have high hopes of getting to spring 2000 tonight. Organizing the items by date in the accordian files was a great idea—it really helps me group everything logically, and it speeds the pasting in process. I'm saying goodbye to the basket (I used to just throw scrapbook stuff in it) and using the files from the beginning from now on.

It's Al's Birthday 18 July 2001

Got up around 11am this morning, uploaded a bunch of photos from the wedding to Ofoto (it takes forever over the modem), paid some bills, and took a shower. Around 1:45 I ordered flowers for Al's birthday, and he got them about 20 minutes later. Very cool. They didn't have the cactus arrangement I wanted, but apparently the purple orchids I got instead looked nice in his office.

Around 3 I finally finished getting dressed and uploading all the photos, so I loaded my bike in the car with the intention of trying out the bike path that runs along route 89. I stopped first at the DMV to get a change of address form, and then continued down 89. It turns out that there's a shoulder wide enough to bike in all the way down to the bike path, but it also turns out that the path was further down than I thought. In the end, I was glad I drove.

The ride along the Truckee River was amazing; I wish I'd brought my camera. It was only about 2.5 miles to the end of the path (the junction of route 28), but another path continued along 89 around the west side of Lake Tahoe. I took that for a couple miles, but it was hillier than the river path and not as scenic. I found another New Moon Grocery along the way, though, and stopped in to buy some breakfast burritos. I also got some veggie "jerquee" to try, and it was suprisingly good.

In all, I rode a little over 9 miles before packing it in and driving back to Truckee. I stopped to get the mail and a couple things at the store, and then I came home and worked on framing and hanging a couple photos while watching The Whole Nine Yards on HBO. It was mildly entertaining.

The Big Cleanup 19 July 2001

Woke up involuntarily this morning, thanks to a call from MCI, and generally feeling pretty unmotivated. I'd made a list of all the things I wanted to do today last night, but I decided to postpone getting up and bring my scrapbook stuff up to my bedroom and just stay in bed "cropping" (which apparently is the official term for pasting things in a scrapbook). I watched the Quiz Show DVD on my laptop as I worked.

When I finally got up I put The Grifters in the VCR in the living room and did a couple loads of laundry, put away all the painting supplies, and vacuumed the loft/library. When the movie was over I decided to go out and try to find a 9x12 picture frame at the Rite Aid. They didn't have one, but I bought a few other frames (I now have quite a stash!), a plant for the library, and a ceramic pot for the plant.

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I was bummed about not finding the 9x12 frame, but then I remembered that there's a Long's Drugs in the Albertson's plaza. I ended up finding one there, along with a deep crimson 5x7 mat that was exactly what I had in mind for a photo of the Episcopal Church in Branchport, NY. (The photo's black and white, but the red door of the church really stuck in my mind.) Woo hoo!

I framed the church photo and the Blind Lemon Pie band portrait that I needed the 9x12 frame for when I got home, and then I went out and stripped another section of the back deck. When I finished that, I watered mom's flowers and then disconnected the hose. I decided it was time to tackle the kitchen, which I'd been putting off. I watched The Perfect Storm on HBO while I worked, a section at a time, clearing the clutter and scrubbing the counters.

When the movie was over I put in the Bounce DVD (I hadn't yet seen it, and I wanted to watch it before the end of my sabbatical because I know Al has no interest in seeing it) and continued cleaning. It took forever, but the counters look fabulous now. I then cleared the floor and carried the white TV stand and my 13" TV/VCR down to the larger downstairs bedroom. I also brought down a teddy bear and a stuffed lamb to put on the beds (I've decided that each guest room needs a stuffed animal :).

I must have stood around watching the end of Bounce without working, because by the time I got around to vacuuming and scrubbing the kitchen floor, Law & Order was on. Scrubbing the floor on my hands and knees also took forever (a couple hours, actually); I stopped to put in Shadow of a Doubt when L&O ended, and shortly after that I gave up on hand scrubbing and started using the mop. The hand scrubbing makes for a brighter floor, but the mop is faster.

I did manage to finish the floor before the end of the movie, so I reassembled the kitchen and then cleaned up all my scrapbook and framing supplies and vacuumed the living room. By this time it was after 2am. Of course, then I had to come up here and get caught up on my journal, so now it's 3:36am... I'm watching CNBC as I write, and they're talking about Friday's business day already. I need to get to sleep!

The Long and Winding Road 20 July 2001

Had to say goodbye to the house for at least two weeks this morning, and I really didn't want to go. :( Left around noon, thinking that I'd take 89 South to 50 West so I could (a) take photos of the Truckee River along the bike path like I'd wanted to the other day, and (b) prolong my stay in the mountains.

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The drive along the west side of Lake Tahoe was often very scenic, and I was glad I chose that route... at least, until I started to wonder where the end of 89 was, exactly. It was taking forever! I wasn't *too* worried about time when I got to Inspiration Point, however, so I decided to stop and snap a few photos. Lake Tahoe really is breathtaking, with the mountains and trees surrounding the incredibly blue water.

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When I got to Route 50 I was relieved, but since the speed limit was still wasn't up to 65, I started to worry about time. My women's traveling hockey team was having a team meeting in Campbell at 6pm, and I was no longer sure I would make it. When I got to Sacramento, I called Al in a panic and asked what the fastest way to get to the Pruneyard in Campbell was. I'd planned to be back in the Bay Area early enough to stop at Al's house, so I'd only memorized the directions from Mountain View. Now it looked like taking 680 would be faster than going over the Bay Bridge.

Al confirmed this on Mapquest for me, and gave me directions from 680 to 580 to 238 to 880 to 17 (whew!) and from there to the Pruneyard. As it turned out, I made it there exactly on time, but absolutely desperate to pee (I didn't want to take the time to stop, and I'd been eating baby carrots and veggie jerquee to keep from falling asleep at the wheel—both of which make you have to drink a lot of water).

We had our team meeting at Johnny Rockets and decided to go to three tournaments in the next year: LA in October, Las Vegas in February, and Vancouver in May. There were a few votes for a couple other venues as well, so it's possible that we'll go to a fourth. We also decided on red, white, black, and gold jerseys, after much haggling, and a logo. I'm not sure what the actual jerseys will look like yet. We're apparently keeping the red, white, and black striped socks that we wore to Vancouver this year.

I Just Want to Go Home! 21 July 2001

Slept in this morning, then went shopping with Al. Stopped at OSH first to see about getting the propane tank for the new grill filled (they only exchanged tanks, as it turned out, and that's not what Al wanted). We also looked at patio furniture, and Al bought a lock and cover for the grill.

Next we went to Stanford Shopping Center to get me some more Mint Thyme body wash at Nordstrom's (they apparently no longer carry it). While the soap run was a bust, we had a lovely lunch outside Andronico's. We made one more attempt to find the wash at Crabtree & Evelyn (no luck), and then Al started to lose it. He needed a nap... but we needed propane first.

From the mall we went to the U-Haul at Woodside to get the propane tank filled, but when we arrived there was a sign on the propane station that said closed. Apparently they'd just run out, because we'd called only minutes before to confirm that they had some.

The U-Haul clerk called the Mountain View store to see if they had any; they did, so we went down there. Of course, they ran out just before we arrived, too. Harrumph. Al went in to see what the deal was, and the guy said that the 76 station across the street also filled tanks. Aha, we finally hit paydirt. There was a line, so I told Al I was just going to run over to the Japanese store while he filled the tank. I did that and then popped into the Walgreen's, and by the time I came out, Al was in the parking lot looking freaked out.

Are you ok?, I asked him. "I just want to go home!" he wailed. It's a feeling I could relate to—both because I was tired and like Al wanted a nap, and because I missed my own home. I was actually a bit depressed all day, knowing that my sabbatical was almost over, and that I wouldn't be going back to my house on Tuesday. I want to be back in my living room, working on my scrapbook while I watch HGTV. I want to sit in the beautiful green loft next to my new plant. I want to get started painting the downstairs bedrooms. In short, I just want to go home!

Birthday BBQ 22 July 2001

We had a little barbeque in the back yard today to celebrate Al's birthday and to christen the new grill. We made grilled pizzas and fajitas. Both were fantastic. Nico, Maria, Kathy, John, Ken, and Tony all came and helped us pig out. Very nice.

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Meanwhile, I spent another day trying not to be depressed about the impending end of my sabbatical. I've always said that if I won the lottery, I wouldn't quit my job because I really liked working. Now I'm not so sure. I think I could easily fill my days with working on my house, riding my bike, reading, and running errands. I'm sure by August 1 (two days after my return to work) I'll be back in the swing of things and thinking about code all the time, but right now all I can think about is when I'll get up to the house again.

The good news is that a trip to Baltimore is at the end of my sabbatical, so at least I get to spend the last few days with my sister. It'll make a nice transition, because I usually fly back on a Monday morning and go straight to work after visiting my sister. Going to work will seem normal.

Last night I cleaned out my little closet area in the guest room at Al's, unpacked my green overnight bag, and arranged my parephenalia on top of my dresser (which is in the closet). Now my bag no longer blocks Al's acess to his dresser, and I've got a single spot where all my stuff is. I think it partly to neaten up the bedroom, and partly, as Al suggested, to feel more homey here. I don't know if Annie was trying to make me feel welcome or just make sure I was accounted for, but she kept coming into the guest room to see what I was doing. She seems to really like being around me, as long as I don't touch her. :)

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