Tuesday, January 30, 2007
This morning started out rough. I've been battling a migraine for a week, and the past few days have been losing the battle. Last night, I didn't sleep well for it, and I woke up a little groggy and cranky. I went looking for clothes only to realize that the sweater I'd intended to wear today - the only one that matches my gray pants with the pink stripes - was still wet. Thankfully, the radiators were on full blast, so I put the sweater on the radiator thinking it would dry while I was in the shower.
While eating breakfast (sitting next to the sweater, which was laying on a towel on the kitchen radiator) I realized that I have very little food. My fridge contains tonight's defrosting dinner, some leftovers, and a few condiments, along with a half-full jug of orange juice and some milk. I'd forgotten to go to the grocery store this weekend, and now I have to wait until payday (either tomorrow or Thursday), because I need to do some serious grocery shopping.
So, there's virtually nothing to eat, I have three loads of semi-dry laundry hanging in the middle of my apartment, and the sweater I want to wear is still damp. And my head hurts so bad I'm seriously concerned it'll explode.
But I'm industrious. I have a hair dryer, which dried the wettest part of my sweater (the right sleeve) enough so that I could wear it this morning without being cold. I might be completely dry by lunchtime.
Monday, January 29, 2007
Just an observation.
"Hey, is that a sax?"
"Oh, it's an odd-sized case for a trombone. Is it a clarinet?"
"Is it a brass or a woodwind?"
"No, neither." Now by this time, he was seriously confused.
"It's a violin."
"Wow, that's a pretty big case. It looks more like a case for my tenor sax. Not quite big enough to hold my guitar, though."
We talked about the case, how I bought it in high school because it was indestructible (and because it's got a nice red lining) and that, yes, it could resemble a horn case. Maybe. At the right angle. If you've been drinking a lot. Photos are forthcoming.
We talked about his horn playing and how he's working to learn the guitar, and my violin lesson and a Celtic music program he'd seen recently with a fiddler who did a jig while she played.
If it weren't so heavy, I'd be inclined to take my violin (or maybe just the case) around the city for a day, to see who I could meet.
Saturday, January 27, 2007
Please take a minute to reflect on this, and maybe try to learn some more The survivors of Auschwitz, and all survivors of the Holocaust, are quickly disappearing. Some informative sites are below
Bay Area Holocaust Oral History Project
The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum
Yad Vashem, the Israeli Holocaust Memorial and Museum
Friday, January 26, 2007
I think this month, though, marks a turning point of sorts. It all started on Wednesday. I was on my way to the gym when I ran into an old friend; or rather, the roommate of a friend from grad school. The grad school friend had become a nightmare to be around, and she and I are no longer in touch. In fact, just Wednesday afternoon, while making some updates to my email contacts, I deleted all her information.
The roommate was really rude in our short encounter, and though I left her feeling angry, by the end of my workout I was just really happy that the two of them are no longer in my life. They were not healthy friends. In fact, I'm thinking they weren't really friends at all, not in the true sense of the word.
Then, yesterday, as I was leaving work, I ran into a girl I met on a temp assignment, somebody I liked and wanted to stay in touch with, but whose information I lost amid the unpacking in my last apartment. We exchanged numbers and have plans for happy hour or something in the next few weeks.
Also this month, I've resumed communication with two of the Trinity girls who hadn't been around all that much lately. I pretty much still had faith in our friendships, but not being in even occasional contact, and never getting to see them, is hard. Now there's a potential trip to Seattle, and the gentle nudge to get a Brooklynite back to San Francisco someday.
Finally, having given up most hope of retaining any friends from grad school (remember my ex-roommate was also a friend from this period) I had lunch today with a classmate I reconnected with late last year. She's also friends with two girls I work with, and we've all made plans to get together soon.
I think things might finally be coming together. Nice.
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
So, without causing a stir, or even naming the laugh-criticizer, I just want to say: SO THERE. Now picture me sticking out my tounge.
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
I've noticed that I now constantly carry around the faint odor of chlorine. It's not overwhelming, and it's often unnoticable. But sometimes, especially when my hair gets in my face, I smell the faint sent of pool. It's most pronounced in my bathroom, where my wet suits hang to dry and the closet (where the pool bag hangs when not in use). And it kind of clings to the coat I usually wear, and sometimes to my scarves.
I was quite excited by my most recent swimming milestone: 20 consecutive laps. Quite excited, convinced I must have crossed the half-mile mark. Until I found out last night that the pool is 20 meters long. A mile is 1600 meters. I've only reached the quarter-mile mark, and I haven't even gotten anywhere.
Saturday, January 20, 2007
It was a beautiful, sunny, warm morning, and while lots of people were out on this corner only one other guy was waiting for the bus. He was singing to himself (though loudly enough for passersby to hear) and he was holding a container of takeout from the diner on the corner.
As I stood there waiting, I heard him say "What you blow?"
With my back to him, I kind of figured he wasn't talking to me. I also wasn't entirely sure what he was saying.
"What kinda horn is that?" he asked as he approached me.
"Oh, it's a violin."
"Ah,"he replied. "I thought it was a horn or something. A violin. My daughter's friend plays the violin. Or wait, something like it. The viola, maybe?"
"The viola's a little bigger."
"Yeah, and it sounds funny. None of the notes are quite right when she plays by herself. But when you put her with the others, it sounds pretty good."
Thursday, January 18, 2007
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
So, as the only Clair in the place, why is it that I often hear my name in conversation at the front desk? The receptionist is very loud, and I sit near enough to the reception area that I can hear pretty much everything she says. And I just heard her say my name. For the second time this morning. And it's only 9 am. Yet nobody's been back here to talk to me, or to ask a question, or to say "The receptionist said you would have...."
It's just a little odd, don't you think?
Monday, January 15, 2007
I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.
Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.
But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. So we have come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.
In a sense we have come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked "insufficient funds." But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we have come to cash this check — a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quick sands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children.
It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.
But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.
We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny and their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.
As we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, "When will you be satisfied?" We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied, as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We can never be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.
I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.
Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.
I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal."
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.
I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.
This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.
This will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with a new meaning, "My country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim's pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring."
And if America is to be a great nation this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!
Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado!
Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California!
But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!
Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee!
Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.
And when this happens, When we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"
Friday, January 12, 2007
In order to set up the t.v. on the entertainment center, I first had to move it and rearrange my stereo set up. The furniture rearranging is part of a bigger organizational system that's hit a mid-point. I need to rearrange the rest of the furniture, but can't do that until the boxes are better organized. So last night I made some progress.
I plugged in the television and decided where it best fit on the entertainment center. I judged it's position relevant to the couch, and decided it's best placement. Then I realized I had no idea where the antenna was, and, in my cable-less abode, the antenna's going to be REALLY important.
It wasn't on my desk, or on the entertainment center. Nor was it in the closet, or on the coffee table with the random wires and phone cords. I finally found it in a box on the kitchen table. Ironically, the same box that holds the VCR (not yet set up. Maybe next week). Good planning!
I pulled out the antenna, plugged it into the t.v., and got static and rolling pictures. But there's sound, and the new CW seems to come in quite nicely. I tried adjusting it, and then got CBS pretty well, and one of the PBS stations also. A little more fiddling and NBC came in ok, and ABC too. Perhaps I just need to invest in one of those state-of-the-art antennas. It might help my sometimes-fuzzy radio reception also.
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
Yes, I'm cranky because my boss came in sick before Christmas and I spent my entire vacation sick as a result of his liberal sharing of germs.
And now half my hallway is sniffling - or worse. Please, please just go home. I'm trying really hard to stay well here, and you're NOT helping!
Monday, January 08, 2007
Well, she's gone. Let go. Apparently the job just wasn't working out. Perhaps because she was crazy. Or maybe just because she couldn't work Outlook and didn't know how to set up a meeting. In any case, she's gone. Rejoice, rejoice!
Saturday, January 06, 2007
Photos are in the works, but in the meantime, let me share some highlights of my new digs.
It's warm inside even when it's cold outside.
The lights don't flicker and all the burners on the stove work.
The walls are all intact.
My neighbors aren't crazy
Did I mention that this building seems full of cute guys?
But perhaps the most incredible thing about this space is that it's all mine. If I wake up at 5 am I can make a cup of tea and listen to the radio and not have to worry about anybody else who might be sleeping down the hall. This is truly fabulous!
Friday, January 05, 2007
Hmmm, should I write about the boxes still sealed on the floor of my kitchen, or my possible visit with my parents in March? Or maybe about the fabulousness of my current 15-minute commute to work?
Nope, I think I'll write about how I have yet to meet the two neighbors next to me. One person lives next door, and the other directly across the hall (with about seven feet separating our apartments) and I have yet to meet either of these people. At what point should I leave notes inviting them over for a beer (or whatever)? Maybe they've been away. Or perhaps they're very, very busy. In any event, to not even see either of them leave or enter the building is a little odd. So, in case they're reading, the invitations are forthcoming. As soon as I finish arranging the furniture.
Wednesday, January 03, 2007
I returned to San Francisco to discover my former roomie hadn't done ANY cleaning. Nothing. She didn't even sweep under her eight-foot-long couch. So, I embarked on a two-day cleaning frenzy. At the end of it, the landlord and another tenant (she used to be his girlfriend) came to do the final inspection. To say it was a disaster is an understatement. The landlord walked into the unit angry and spoiling for a fight. He yelled, criticized, accused us of not cleaning and causing damages we didn't cause, pointed out everything that wasn't finished (using a white cloth and Fantastic spray to check if we'd washed the windows) and got into a shouting match with my former roomie that I was concerned would turn physical.
This was one of the worst experiences I've ever had, and I left shaking. It took several hours to calm down, but I'm still really, really angry. Not only was all my cleaning for naught, when he'd expected a professional job, but he was just out of control and completely unprofessional. And we don't even have any say in how much of our security deposit he deducts for cleaning expenses.
The good news is that I've been in touch with the tenants' union, and it turns out he's operating illegally in the agreements he makes with tenants regarding the interest on security deposits: California renters, be warned - your landlords are required to invest your security deposit in order to get a return equal to the current interest rate. They must return that interest to you yearly, regardless of whether or not they raise your rent in that year.
Hopefully, somebody will prosper from my mistakes. In the meantime, I'm out for blood. Happy New Year!