Tags: where i live

in motion

and talk about the weather

In Wisconsin, Mother Nature is a serious player in your life.  When it's hot here, the heat creeps under your skin and sends a sticky melted puddle of brain leaking down your spinal cord.  During the cold months, you go into emotional hibernation and your spirit slowly shrivels into a tiny, frozen soulsicle.  The times in between extremes, our beautiful autumn and spring seasons, are precious intervals of sanity and joy. 

So at the end of March, when the grass is greening and the crocuses are all cropping up and plump robins are hopping around and the sun shines down and the temperature's been in the fifties and sixties all week, and then the damn weather has to go and mess things up: are we supposed to just take it?

This long bitter winter has destroyed my will to look at real weather reports; instead, I go to The Fucking Weather, which doesn't project a forecast of what's to come, but does express my feelings about the here and now in satisfying ways.  Yesterday, for example, it told me the weather was a sunny 52 degrees, which it judged "Alright."  All signs have been pointing to a steady increase in sunshine, warmth, and flowers, as March goes out like a lamb.

So it's a complete surprise to me when Pär checks weather.com and gasps.  "There's a Special Weather Statement in effect!"

"Huh?"

"It's a storm warning."

"No.  No."

"It says, 'Winter storm possible...'"

"Not possible.  It's not winter.  It's practically April."

"They're warning about late Saturday afternoon through Saturday night."

"Is that page cached?"

"Snow!  Accumulations will range from six to nine inches."

"Accumulate this six to nine inches, yo."

But sure enough, today it is 32 degrees out, and snowstorms are on the way.  I object!
 
in motion

'tis a gift to

Because I was a kid in the 80s, there is a certain archetype that I will always think of as yuppie, even when they're too old for the "young" to apply, and even in this little city that can only loosely be described as "urban".  Not every young, upwardly-mobile professional is a soulless, obnoxious, grasping, self-entitled jerk, of course; why, some of my best friends are yuppies, though I wouldn't apply the term to them because, you know, they aren't soulless, obnoxious, grasping, self-entitled jerks.  Still, though the 20th century is done and the market is down, the archetype lives on.

Today the boys and I went out to breakfast, and since the cafe was too crowded for us to find another table, we were treated to a full thirty minutes of listening to a yuppie drone into her cell phone at her realtor.  She ran on in long, loud sentences, dictating exactly what she and her husband and new baby required in the perfect house that the realtor was to find for them.  How old the house should be, how big the house should be, everything it should be close to and far from.   The sort of neighborhood they wanted, if they could get a house in it for under a million.  The levels of career status (high) and "diversity" (low) she was looking for in her neighbors.  Exactly what shade of wood trim was and was not acceptable.   The kind of plumbing fixtures she expected.  She monologued without interruption for half an hour straight about what she had to have.  Beside her sat a heavily-accessorized stroller and her husband, silently dandling their baby while it cried.  

Finally, she hung up the phone and focused her driven intensity on the baby.  At which point we were assailed by a suddenly high, sacharine voice cooing that the precious baby had "made pukie", while her husband petulantly grumbled about how half the stuff she'd described wasn't what he wanted at all.  We bussed our dishes and beat a hasty retreat.  I give them a year, and that much only because they will go on insisting that their marriage is perfect well past the point when they can't stand each other.

I don't know how to find the right house except to walk around in places you can afford and see what feels good to you, but I have lived in a lot of towns, and sometimes I think the key to finding the right location is just this: deciding which kinds of people you are willing to be annoyed by.  For example: in the working-class neighborhood of this small liberal city where I live now, I am generally annoyed by hippies.  All things considered, I've found that these are my favorite people to be annoyed by, because although hippies often do annoy the piss out of me, it's an annoyance mostly devoid of real rage.  There is a strong element of fondness in it.  I enjoy being hippie-adjacent.

In the hierarchy of people I prefer to be annoyed by, yuppies rank well below hippies, and plenty of them live around town too.  When our paths cross, I have to remind myself that I'd still rather be getting annoyed by them than by, say, fundamentalists, or violent racists.   It's so easy to take our annoyances for granted; we must remember that we could be living in so many places where they'd be worse.  Besides, even the worst yuppies have their good points: they tend to support the arts, they keep good restaurants in business, they buy books, though not necessarily interesting ones.  

But god forbid you should be anywhere within earshot once they spawn.

in motion

first snow!


As winter wears on, the novelty will fade, and I'll long for the sight of green.
 

But today it's just thrilling that I went to sleep in one world, and woke up in another.


in motion

grass roofs

I am a city girl but sometimes I delude myself that I would love to live out in the middle of nowhere, say in a log cabin with a turfed roof, for example.


I would be one with nature!


Or it could be someplace all mod and eco-futuristic...


...Nah, I prefer to go the fantasy route instead.


It would be wonderful to live here, I think.



Then I think "spiders" and recall that I am in fact two with nature.

Still, I've been stuck in town for too long.  I miss the sight of open fields and forests and mountains.  I think my attraction to fantasy homes is actually an impulse to be somewhere else for a while.  Madison makes a great home base, but I'm feeling the urge to do some traveling again, explore new places.

What about you guys?  Where do you want to go?
in motion

dignified and intellectual

Over the weekend I went out alone to a sushi restaurant and ate delicious food while reading a book.  I've been there a few times now; it's my favorite place when I want to indulge in a good dinner and a quiet read.  When I was done, one of the ladies who works there came over and shyly told me they'd all been wondering about me, and had decided I was a professor at the university, yes?

I was wearing a tattered corduroy skirt over motorcycle boots and a flimsy t-shirt with a Flashdance neck that kept falling off my shoulder.  My hair, which has not been cut in months, is like three feet of curly black exploded sasquatch.  It is not a look I would have expected to make the leap to "boho professional" from "thrift store couldn't-be-bothered", but apparently I am looking more respectable than I feel, these days.  I guess I must have come across as very dignified and intellectual, sitting there so absorbed in literature! 

You guys, the book I was reading was Gossip Girl: I Like It Like That.
 
in motion

winter morning in madison

Woke up at dawn yesterday and caught the sun shining through melting ice.  In that moment all the trees were glowing with drops of white light. 

I know that by the end of January I'll be less enamored of Wisconsin winter, and San Francisco will start to look good again.  But this week, breathing out clouds into the crisp cold air and walking among evergreens in a world covered in soft snow, it all feels like delicate magic to me, and just right.

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in motion

the days are sweet but what i want is to be home again

The wonderful thing about living in Madison is that no matter how good a time I have elsewhere, coming back always feels good.  Not just the comfort of returning to a familiar place, but a longing and anticipation well in advance of the return, that blooms into delight when I arrive: here we are, this is the place.  Even though I still don't quite fit in the midwest, may never fully be of this place, even though I continue restless with the need to travel, and I miss big-city action and my far-away friends, it makes me happy to be here.  I've nested in temporary homes all over the world, but this is the first time I've ever felt like I'm where I want to stay.  Maybe not forever... but maybe even that.

So it's good to be back.

More on Sweden in a bit.
in motion

even in winter

My right eye has been itching oddly for a few days and I figured eyes aren't something to mess around with, so I called up the local opthamology clinic and asked to come in.  They got me an appointment for the next day.

The very nice young doctor had me sit in an antiquated contraption with my face braced against straps.  He did various tests, culminating in a few excruciating moments of holding my eyelids open while shining lines of fiery light across the pupils.  When he finished, he told me that my eyes appeared to be in fine health.  "Yes," I said, wiping the tears with a tissue, "I was cured all right", and he laughed and actually clapped his hands together with glee.

I had parked in a ramp next to the clinic, and when I left the charge was fifty cents.  I held out a dollar bill to the old guy in the booth, but he didn't have any change, so he just winked and waved me through, making companionable remarks about how the doctors didn't need the money.

On the way home I picked up my son at school and little kids were jumping up and down in puddles of slush by the side of the road.  It was freezing cold and they didn't care, they wore boots and snowpants and were having a blast.  Little bouncing bits of color against the white-grey landscape.

I love Madison.
frazetta updo

"You get to know a lot about somebody when you spend eight hours in a boat with them."

cmpriest notes an article from Green Bay Press-Gazette: Long-time fishing buddies get down to business with S&M Tool.

Ah, Wisconsin.  Ever since we moved here, Pär and I have been struck by the obliviousness of certain local business name choices.  Or maybe it's just that they've got that whole "maturity" thing that we, especially as recent immigrants from California (the land of desperate nudge-nudge wink-wink) so sadly lack.  In any case, S&M Tool joins the ranks of companies such as the "Losers" "Lamers" bus and "Grandma's Old Fudge", which, I'm sorry, is just vaguely disgusting.