Archive for September, 2006

September 29th, 2006

» Good things

It’s funny, I was thinking just the other day about how lucky I’ve been, how this extra-riding opportunity just sort of fell in my lap. The rightness of time and place, what a Good Thing it all is. And then yesterday my Good Thing got even better: I had my lesson on a new horse. So now if I go out and Saza’s being used in a lesson (or if I just feel like it), I can ride Nighthawk instead. I’m giddily excited about helping school them, about working on my own riding.

My dreams have come on all long and vivid the last few days; I wake up reeling from them, running over and over the events as the memory slowly fades, pieces falling away.

I am in Australia; my hands are both occupied in keeping Alex lifted high away from a swarm of ants, leaving me unable to push the insects off my legs. I force slow, deep breaths, willing away my terror.

I am moving into a new dorm with my first roommate Katie. The bedroom is very long and somewhat narrow, the bunk beds long to suit it, spacious, and I am sprawled comfortably on the top bunk, looking down at Bryce stretched out on his back on the lower bed. Elated, I realize there is more than enough space there for him and Allison, so they can both have somewhere to sleep when they visit. Katie is setting up her enormous television across from the beds; along the top are the speakers, which are transparent tubes that, normally invisible, can also be switched to emit red party lights.

I am in a coffee shop, picking out a donut; Bryce and Allison and I are sharing a big chocolate chip cookie, thick and chewy and delicious, and then a sugar cookie sweet and buttery, the top sparkling.

In a grocery store I have accepted a little sample cup of something and only halfway through do I realize, sickened, that in the vegetable pasta salad are pieces of chicken.

Allison and I have detoured into Macy’s and Bryce is being patient while we rifle through the racks, pulling down a few skirts and dresses in this beautiful summery grey subtly-pinstriped material and heading for the fitting rooms.

So it seems my dreams lately have been filled with going back to school and food, which comes as no surprise whatsoever.

Speaking of food, obliquely: Amazon is having a big sale on their KitchenAid stand mixers that, coupled with their current fall Kitchen & Housewares promotion, makes them nigh on impossible to pass up. For me, anyway. Maybe they have these kinds of sales all the time and I never knew about it, but regardless I now have a Professional HD making its merry way Minnesota-ward. (Though not its speedy way, alas; Amazon chose today to offer me a new Prime trial with its glorious two-day shipping, which doesn’t help at all with the order I placed yesterday.)

I found out about the offer on Simply Recipes, which is a foodblog that is neither usually vegetarian nor usually healthy, but is beautiful enough that I read it anyhow. Which is pretty rare, considering the utterly insane number of foodblogs out there, which means there are many that are vegetarian and healthy. In the end I’m just such a sucker for pretty.

September 28th, 2006

» what time takes

Last night I dreamt that Steph and I had gone back for another semester in England. I had just arrived at our dorm, which turned out to be a big summer-camp style room full of bunk beds. Steph had arrived shortly before me and claimed a bed already, but while I was trying to choose my own a bunch of other people showed up, and very shortly most of the beds were taken. I was glum at the prospect of having to spend a whole semester in a bad-location bed far from Steph (and admittedly a little hurt she hadn’t thought to save one for me [sorry, Steph, for dreaming you hadn't!]). A few people were snuggled down in their sleeping bags, passed out cold from the jet-lag, but I remember being curiously wide awake, ready to explore.

I dragged my bike out yesterday (the contents of the storage locker next to mine remain, as they’ve been all summer, strewn across almost the entire room, so getting my bike out is no mean feat) and zipped down to Whole Foods, where the samples were outstanding. I’m delighted when they have desserts out because they’re almost always incredibly generous with them; last night I had an entire half of a chocolate chip cookie (Mike’s, I think?), and it was delicious. It was like a better version of a Chewy Chips-Ahoy, which is saying a lot because the Chewy Chips-Ahoy was my very favorite commercial cookie as a kid and I haven’t had one since, so in my memory they are nearly the height of cookiedom. (If you’re wondering, the very height of cookiedom is our old family recipe [my mom's grandma's] for oatmeal chocolate chip, particularly when made by me, my sister, and my mom, for my grandpa, with Mel and I taking up a good bit of the usable counter space, and getting to lick a beater each at the end. As my grandpa’s dead now and the rest of us haven’t baked cookies together in years and years, this too is a cookie heavy with memory whose objective deliciousness I can’t truthfully determine.) So that was the pleasant surprise of yesterday.

And, because it kind of freaks me out (and I’m cruel enough to inflict it on you too): Three days to October. October.

September 26th, 2006

» now, then

Saza has a way of putting her face up against mine that is instant peace and grounding. A check back into now. Whatever else is going on it is a time to just stop and stand with your cheek against another, appreciating the enormous, simple gift of that companionship.

I had restless dreams last night, long wandering epic things full of impossible journies and cars spinning out of control. At one I was wide awake wishing it were later — wishing it were five so I could get up and take a walk, wander around my dark chill neighborhood for a while before retreating to Harvest Moon for a waffle. Home before sunrise.

I spent way too much money this last weekend, but the sticker shock’s easing quickly away, and I’m now richer a pair of winter riding breeches, winter paddock boots, and some lovely (and fairly affordable!) suedey half-chaps. I now only need to find my old riding gloves — or get new ones — and I will be all set for the coming cold. Which has apparently decided to give us a brief reprieve: after a Friday and Saturday full of chill rain, all bluster and wet, the weather’s cleared up and has been downright pleasant. I can feel my bike’s quiet entreaty from here.

Though it will likely have to wait, since today is for Top Secret Missions with Mel and tomorrow is for riding. And I have those aforementioned stacks and stacks of books calling. There remain too few hours in a day. (And a decided lack of spinach in the grocery stores, though they’ve tacked down the problem places. Bring me back my delicious dark leafy greens, I beg you! E-coli be gone!)

September 15th, 2006

» news and news

Sad news: my UPS man is gone. I’m not sure if he’s been promoted or just moved to a different position/area. I hope promoted, because he was good. A delightful highlight to my day, better even than our mailwoman, though I like her too. Our new UPS woman seems nice enough but she’s just not the same. Not the same at all.

Glad news: My riding lesson yesterday was excellent. Saza and I got along famously. She’s a little sassy but so am I sometimes. I’m fantastically excited about working with her, so if you never hear from me again you can assume I’ve set up camp in the stall next to hers. I wonder if she likes grapes.

September 14th, 2006

» other lives

I spent over an hour walking around Lake Calhoun on Tuesday. It was lovely, the sun setting over the water, some last pre-fall warmth, lots of people but everything orderly, polite. I only saw one other person with an ‘I Voted’ sticker, though, which was a little depressing. (Though I have to admit I forgot to check the results until today. But I’m pleased. I feel a little bad for my old next-door-neighbor’s failed bid for sherrif, but all apart from any knowledge of the issues or other candidates.)

I love people-watching. I love the different ways people move. There are so many ways to run. Some people shuffle along, looking like they’re ready to die, moving as little as possible. Some people are big movers, all knee-hinging, high-kicking. I love looking at people’s shoes, the ones that are worn funny. People with unusual strides. The way people carry tension in their shoulders or their hips, their hands. I love people who look like their pets: lean runners with greyhounds, a curly-haired woman with a big fluffy poodle, the bulldog puffing away next to a thick-shouldered paunchy-bellied suburban dad. For a while I walked behind a little boy going absolutely crazy to some internal tune, his walk a constant flailing of limbs as his mother strolled alongside, laughing and encouraging.

I love biking the lake too, the rhythm of it, the speed and wind and resistance, but I miss a lot of the details. I just don’t notice as much about fellow bikers, passing them or being passed relatively quickly. Watching instead for the speed of their spinning, looking for posture and technique. Maybe there’s a better way of walking but it’s not something I ever consider any more.

I now definitely know the afternoon drive-up teller at my usual work-bank. When I can I use the first lane because it’s fastest; there’s a good view in (and out) and our smiles lately have been those of recognition, not blind politeness. Yesterday he mentioned I didn’t have my sunglasses (which I often do, but hell if I know where they’ve gotten off to now). I have this crazy want to — I don’t know. Have the start of some improbable movie with him. Not a buddy comedy because that’s not my thing but we’d run into each other somewhere and spontaneously become best friends who wind up the next day on an oceanliner in Alaska where, dodging danger and certain death at every turn, we foil a group of murderous art thieves, bringing them to long-overdue justice and ourselves to high tea with British royalty. He’d be the sort of person who eats scones indelicately but unselfconsciously, and who doesn’t care between jelly and jam.