23 June 2007

One more chapter

Thank you, everyone, for your sweet wishes, comments, emails. I appreciate every one and, like a famous starlet, wish I could respond to each individually. I have gotten hopelessly behind - I still owe thanks to the people who sent money for the NAMI walk I was supposed to have done...but I know you understand because you Internets are cool that way.

The ashes scattering is done. It was, as these things tend to be, sad and beautiful and goofy and sweet all at the same time. Lots of crying, lots of hugging.

"Our beach," where most of us hadn't been for 20 years or more, is still perfect and quiet and it still felt like ours (for the record - we never owned a beach. My dad managed a marine terminal for an oil company and thus, when we were growing up, we had access to this perfect little cove where oil tankers got filled up. The road in is still on rivate property with locked gates).

It was a glorious sunny day and the ocean was calm. There were pelicans and a sea lion to keep us company. Later I saw one dolphin, as I knew I would.

The gathering at my folks' house came together beautifully after only a dozen or so minor nervous breakdowns. The food was great (my nephew and I made slow-cooked chicken with olives and tomatoes; green beans with lemon vinaigrette; carrot salad with black mustard seeds and cashews; red potato salad with peas and fresh dill; and strawberry tiramisu. A lot of work but it kept me from sobbing for 2 days, so it was exactly what the doctor ordered. The strawberry tiramisu recipe is from Epicurious.com and is highly recommended.)

My eldest sister worked on arranging big purple and white dahlias into works of art when I was too tired to stand for one more second Friday night. Laura, who was a florist for years, would have approved.

We sat down at one table together and ate on real dishes for the first time in decades. Normally we are many and the table is small, so we grab a spot where we can. Many holidays have been passed sitting on the floor eating at the coffee table. But today it seemed like we should gather, and that is what we did.

I am so thankful for so many things. You, my interfriends, have been such a kind and indulgent audience and support. I appreciate every little comment. Hugs. Thanks for helping me live through this.

22 June 2007


I was waiting at the car wash when the world's crankiest Grandpa came in with 2 boys, about 3 and 5 years old.

3-Year-Old: Can I watch the cars getting washed?

Bad Gramps: No. You'll just want to walk all over the place.

5 Year-Old: I found a penny.

Bad Gramps: I'm so sick of you finding money. I want you to never, ever, pick up anything you find again. Understand?

Suebob, under breath: No.

21 June 2007

Not clear on the concept

Upon checking my stats today, I saw that someone found my blog with the search term "naked pictures of me on the internet."

God knows what kind of embarrassing post I wrote with that term in it, but you regular readers know how I am.

I just want to tell the searcher that they might want to be more specific in the future. Google probably views the term "me" a little more broadly than you do.

20 June 2007

The subject I've been avoiding

This weekend we scatter my sister's ashes. The plans are piling up like snow.

Tomorrow my brother-in-law and niece arrive. My nephew and his wife and daughter arrive in the middle of the night, my eldest sister on Friday.

My nephew Johnson and I are making Saturday's meal. We have Friday pencilled in as a marathon cooking session. He is a chef by trade and I love to cook, so this is a labor of love and of keeping our mind off things.

I talked to my brother, who had moved heaven and earth to get access to the private beach where my sister wanted to be scattered. It's a long story, but we grew up there and now it is locked and gated and Not Open to the Public or anyone else. Without his calling and working miracles, we would have had some major trespassing to do.

I told him I wanted to be at the ashes scattering but I also wanted to be home at my folks' house so they wouldn't have to do any prep for the afternoon gathering.

He said "No matter what, I'll make it so you can do what you want to do. You just tell me what you need."

I could hear in his voice that he had Much Love. That he knew how important this all is to me, that he wanted so much to make it right.

My heart busted open. I have such a fine, decent family that they humble me. How did I get so lucky?

They're not a demonstrative bunch but they know how to do right, and that's what counts. As A Course in Miracles says "Everyone teaches, and teaches all the time."


In other news, my URL is blocked in China. Thanks, you commie bastards, cutting me off from a billion potential readers. No wonder my stats are so low.

You can test whether your URL is blocked at Great Firewall of China.

Essay question

The weight-loss drug Alli is now available over-the-counter.

Is it worth pooping your pants to lose weight? Discuss. No judgement - I really want to know.

17 June 2007

The Suebobian Culture Report

Linkateria is actually probably more interesting than this today.

What have I been reading and watching? Nothing that I can't complain about!

On Beauty, by Zadie Smith
Yes, she is a good writer. Damned beautiful to boot. But why, oh why, was this book more stuffed with coincidences than Repo Man? The son falls in love with a girl who just happens to be the main character's biggest rival, who just happens to cross the pond to teach at the same liberal arts college as the main character, who just happens to have a wife who makes fast friends with the eccentric wife of the rival who...oh it goes on. And on. And in the end? I did not care a bit.

The Emperor of Ocean Park by Stephen Carter
This is a mystery in an academic setting that would have rocked my socks at 350 pages. At 650, I was weary and pissed off by the end. After 450 pages, I just kept reading out of sheer cussed determination to finish the damn thing, as if it were a charity marathon or something. It also has an extremely unlikeable protagonist whose assholeness is surpassed only by his wife's bitchitude.

White Noise by Don DeLillo
I know, I know, a Modern Classic. Winner of every award that could have possibly been thrown at it. Taught in college literature classes.

This was my first DeLillo, and I could tell from reading it that he is a great writer. His use of language is clever and interesting. His characters seem quirky and real. That does not, however, mean I liked it. I could have seen myself being blown away by it when it was published in 1985, when sarcasm and ennui and befuddlement with modern life were all the rage. Now it seems a little dated, faded, past its prime.

It is quite prescient. The main character is the chair of Hitler studies at a university. In 1985, that was probably jaw-dropping and shocking. But we live in a world where a college professor proclaimed the 9/11 victims "Little Eichmanns," so maybe DeLillo's main crime is that he didn't go far enough.

And to switch mediums: Entourage on DVD.

Just because I don't have a TV doesn't mean I can't WATCH TV. I finally started watching the first half of the first season of the HBO show "Entourage" this weekend. Basically it is "Sex in the City" for Hollywood boys.

It is well-written, interesting, has some great characters, especially the agent. All men. While "Sex in the City" was driven by the female characters, at least there were some interesting guys thrown in the mix. Not so much with Entourage. With the exception of the small part of Vince the Star's publicist, every woman in the show is a throw-away part played by a Gorgeous Young Thing.

The boys live in a world made by men, for men, where women exist to be beautiful and disposable (at least in the first half of the first season). I would have found the show a lot more interesting if there were some stronger women characters.

Ok, your turn. Read anything good lately?
Back to top