Wednesday, May 31, 2006

One day last week we were working on the list of people to invite to our wedding…

KK: John, your mother said she only wanted to invite 50 people, but each week she sends me more names. She currently wants to invite 130 people.

John: Let me see that list. He grabs it from my hands.

John: I don’t even know who some of these people are!

So, we call Billie Sue.

John: Mom, who are Mr. and Mrs. MacMerter?

Billie Sue: They lived next door to us in Marshall when you were born.

John: We moved away from Marshall when I was one year old. Have I ever seen them since?

Billie Sue: Your brother used to play with their kids when he was little.

John: Mom, have I ever seen them since I was a year old?

Billie Sue: No.

KK: They’re OFF the list!

Monday, May 29, 2006

Memorial Day Weekend 2006

Annie and Sunshine enjoy Memorial Day together. And Piper enjoys herself.


The Stare-Down

Back to Resting


Saturday, May 27, 2006

The Perfect Shoe

In one hour today I bought a new dishwasher and the perfect pair of shoes. It occurred to me after purchasing the shoes that they weren't that far in price from many of the dishwashers I'd seen. So I asked myself the obvious question: If I could only afford one which would I buy? That was an easy one!

Friday, May 26, 2006

Uncle Alfonz died today

He was my mom’s favorite uncle. They used to chase each other through the house with wooden spoons battling imaginary sword fights. Inevitably someone would end up on top of the table, someone beneath and they would fight it out, wooden handles flying through the air.

Tante Max tells the story best. Each night for weeks, air raid sirens had been going off forcing the neighborhood into bomb shelters. But this night, word came to evacuate. People piled onto the train, clinging to whatever they could from their former, orderly lives. During the trip they were repeatedly forced to flee from the train into nearby ravines whenever bombers passed overhead. By morning they had made it safely into the countryside.

After their night of terror they knocked on a farmer’s door. The burly, gruff man agreed to give them shelter in exchange for their work on the farm, and he set them to work immediately.

For two years my family lived in a one room shed at the back of the farmer’s property, while World War II raged throughout Europe. They sewed their clothes out of flour sacks, they ate only vegetables and bread. When the war finally ended and they were able to get the luxury of butter, Grandma sat down and ate an entire stick slice by slice.

The war had destroyed their previous lives, their homes, their business. But slowly they recreated themselves in a different part of Germany. My mom’s mom fell in love with an American soldier and became an American citizen along with her daughter.

My mom flies to Germany tomorrow to say farewell to her favorite uncle.

Thursday, May 25, 2006


I’m good at it, darned good, but John takes the cake.

Last week we finished John’s expense reports for 2005. His reimbursement won’t be enough to pay for the wedding, but it will be enough to build us a fine new bathroom.

My first Expense Report Experience with John came just a year or so into our relationship. The company where we were working instituted a new policy – that expenses had be submitted within 90 days of incurring. This threw John into a tizzy, a whirl of tender stresses. He flew to his home in the Bay Area and collected a box full of receipts.

Keeping the receipts is not John’s difficulty, because John keeps just about everything. In his three bedroom house in San Jose one entire room and half of the garage was devoted to boxes of uncertain treasures. When we moved in together I made a brave effort to sort through those treasures – the shock and appall from my discoveries is too monumental to describe here. Let’s just say that some of the highlights include

1) A letter to the newspaper editor of his hometown that he wrote in 12th grade in which he threatened to sue the school district if they changed the method for calculating GPA’s prior to his graduation. He was slated to be valedictorian, after all.

2) The profile of his ideal mate, which he completed for a dating service while he lived in Chicago – being a non-smoker was his main requirement. Such high standards! I feel so special.

3) A hideous ceramic bowl/vase object painted in pink and greens and yellows with hula dancers in grass skirts. I think he pilfered it from a bar in a fancy hotel during one of his sales conferences. I vaguely remember a story about one his sales reps sneaking it out in a baby stroller. I am such a proud girlfriend.

The point is, in that box he brought home, John had every single receipt he had collected in his five years on the job with this company. All we had to do was sort through them, order them by date, match them with the correct business trip, tape them to blank pieces of paper and document each one in an excel spreadsheet. It took us four weeks of evenings and weekends, plus the help of two secretaries who were assigned to the project.

When the head of business services realized the magnitude of the expense reports soon to cross her desk, she had the company begin allocating money with which to reimburse John.

In the end, they paid him over a $100,000. “Hey, it’s better than I would have done if I’d invested that money in the market!” was John’s sole rationalization. And he may be right.

I have a feeling this post will earn me some hate mail, especially from that character who calls himself Johntex.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Sudan, Tattoos and a Furry Helmet

One of the things I love about my college is the plethora of interesting people I come into contact with.

This morning I was talking with a student of mine who is from Sudan. I discovered that he speaks four languages and that his father has three wives. As we were walking across campus we overheard a group of girls chatting, he pointed towards them and said, ‘Those girls are from Somalia.’

It was a pretty glum day today, bad news kept crossing my desk. So I decided the heck with it, I broke free of my office and left to soak up some sun before my evening class. I followed the path to my car and ended up walking behind a young fellow with a colorful tattoo that covered his entire right calf. “I’ve never seen a hibiscus flower on a tattoo before.” “Really?” he asked incredulous. “I’ve got them all over.” “That’s nice,” was all I could think to say.

A motorcycle was parked behind my car, and strapped to its handlebars was a helmet. The rider had outfitted it with a furry striped tail and two floppy ears.

People are amazing.

Check out the cool wedding photographer we hired:

Monday, May 22, 2006


Jen is one of the most fabulous women I know, and I’m proud to say, one of my very best friends. Last week I told her about a new blog I’d discovered called . I think my exact words were, ‘Go there RIGHT NOW and start reading!’ So of course she did.

The next day she told me she’s about to get fired because she can’t tear herself away from the internet. We both agreed that Heather B. Armstrong, the author of Dooce, should be our own personal friend.

KK: Jen, are you teaching summer school?

Jen: Hell no.

KK: Good, then you’ll have time to blog. I think you owe it to yourself [read us] to explore your fascination with Picaso and how it could ruin your marriage.

Jen: I don’t think I’m strong enough. I mean, I couldn’t handle getting hate-mail like Dooce does.

KK: Oh please, I DREAM of getting hate-mail. That would mean that more than six people read what I write and even cared enough to comment. Why can’t I get hate-mail?

Jen: I think you have to be more controversial.

So here goes:

This House of Love is Built for Five

Not too long after John and I moved in together, we started calling our little apartment the House of Love. It was because of the way we made each other feel, each having so much faith in and support for the other. We made a home together where we were safe from whatever craziness life brought, where we would always find love, support, warmth and happiness.

One day a couple of years ago while I was visiting my friend Jen in Texas, we spotted a stray kitten scampering through the yard. We chased it down, which was no easy task even though it had a broken leg, brought it inside and fed it milk and tuna. That night Jen provisioned me with a make-shift litter box, food dishes and more tuna and dropped me off at the motel where my mom and I were staying. I called John the next day and said, ‘I’ve got a kitten in my purse,’ and without missing a beat he asked, ‘Is she cute?’ Piper was three weeks old then, now she’s a glorious, graceful big cat.

Next came Annie. She was a little gray mass hiding under my neighbor’s car after being attacked by a coyote. We took Annie to the vet, who operated on her, and brought home a shy and weary little creature. That same night Annie started following me wherever I went. John faithfully cleaned Annie’s wounds three times a day, while I petted her head and tried not to look at the blood. Nowadays Annie still follows me around the house and I follow her when she takes me for brisk three mile walks.

Then came Sunny, and you know all about him. The vet’s report is in: he shall live to poop another day. It turns out that he has a rather bad case of a rather ordinary parasite. We increased the dosage of the medicine he’s already on, and we’re hoping to have this resolved in a week.

None of these kiddoes was expected, and each one has brought an unimaginable amount of joy. Each time I think my heart can’t getting any bigger, that I couldn’t love any more, it does, and I do. I love these creatures, and their odd proclivities, dearly, and I feel very, very lucky to have them. I know this probably sounds silly to those of you with real, human babies. But this is as close as it gets for me. I’m not all that interested in being a mom to the human variety.

I do, though, relish my role as fairy god mother to two gorgeous little girls. I like to play with them, spoil them, buy them presents, and then be able to hand them back to mom when they start to cry. Just the other day I bought my two-year-old a new book. It’s of the small, three by five variety, with chew-proof cardboard pages. It’s called Baby, Mix Me a Drink, and each page contains a full color illustration of how to make the perfect mixed drink for each family member – martini for Mommy, pina-colada for Daddy, hot toddy for Granny, and so on. So you see, my gifts are both educational and practical. Soon, my little munchkin will be adorable AND handy behind the bar. I hope she’s practicing, because I’m coming to visit in June!

KK: How was that? Was that better?

Friday, May 19, 2006

Tuesdays and Thursdays aren’t bad either

Usually they’re good. Very, very good. On Tuesdays and Thursdays I don’t teach until 3:30pm, which leaves my mornings free to do whatever I can dream up. Okay, I don’t often get more creative than crawling back into bed with my coffee and a good book once John leaves for work. But that IS one of my favorite things.

This Thursday included another one of my favorite things, going to see my marvelous hair dresser Keri. There are a few things you should know about my visits to Keri. The first is that I often put a note on the inside of the front door to remind me of any extra errands I need to run each day. So, the day before seeing Keri, there’s usually a note up there that reads HAIR in big block letters. This is also my little way of ensuring that I receive the appropriate complements when John gets home.

One week I flew out the door without taking the note with me, partly to make John aware of my new found radiance. That particular evening John came home and we began the normal evening rituals – making dinner, discussing our days, playing with Annie and Piper. I waited patiently for my complements to begin. Finally out of desperation I pointed to the note on the door. “You forgot to get your hair cut!” John shouted.

That’s another one I’m not letting him forget.

Believe it or not, it was a hair stylist that signified a serious progression in our relationship. John also gets his hair done by Keri. He likes all of the perks that come with a trip to an Aveda salon, like the shoulder, neck and scalp massage, the scented oil aromatherapy, the great hair products and the ability of an Aveda stylist like Keri to make him look, as he says, ‘edgy’. One day about four years ago John picked me up from the airport at the end of a week long business trip to Argentina. I was exhausted, but tan, happy, and carrying a couple of well chosen souvenirs, including a very sexy pair of shoes. (In my opinion, Argentinean women have perfected the art of sex appeal, and my male co-workers seemed to agree.)

John had an appointment that morning at an Aveda salon along the coast, and I decided to ride along with the hope that they would be able to work me in. I could tell that John was a little uneasy with my idea. “It’s just that I don’t like to share my hair stylist with someone I’m dating.” Now I was confused. “If we broke up, we couldn’t both keep going to the same stylist. And I don’t want to lose her.” I must have giggled. “I think it’s a reasonable precaution,” he continued. And so this simple outing had turned into a make-or-break moment for our relationship.

In the end John made the noble, brave decision, and we’ve been using the same hair dresser ever since. Clearly he made the right choice. Soon, Keri will be working her magic to make us both look perfect for our wedding day.

This week, John noticed my hair. We’re in high romance mode, soaking up the sweetness until John leaves again on Sunday.

Poop update: I collected a sample, and the vet sent it to a lab for analysis. We should know something later today.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

A Black Fly in My Chardonnay

I wish I were joking. After two sips, it landed, wings waterlogged, helpless, drowning in my delicious indulgence. So I was forced to switch to a different mood enhancer. By then the coffee was ready. I enjoyed a slow cup, a bowl of cereal, and a couple stories in the morning paper.

The day before my soon-to-be mother in law had none-too-delicately reminded me that whatever parasite Sunny has is probably communicable to Annie and Piper. THEY COULD ALL DIE, she told me. Oh God. So far, Annie’s eaten at least one of the kitten’s poops, Sunny’s used Piper’s litter box, they’ve all played and licked each other. Did I mention that Sunny got behind John’s beloved entertainment system (most people would consider a 52inch TV large, John considers that merely computer-monitor-size, just to help you put this ‘system’ of his in perspective) and pooped on all of his cables? I discovered that when I noticed Annie and Piper uncharacteristically routing around back there. Anyway, chance for infection was high and I had to take immediate, drastic action!

Fortified, I grabbed Annie and we made for the local pet store, making a brief detour to a new grocery store where I stocked up with 18 jars of baby food, which at our current rate was enough for three days.

At the pet store I decided I’d had enough shit-cleaning and refused to tackle the disgusting task of decontaminating Piper’s litter box. She’d simply get a new one. (Yes I know I am contributing to our city’s overflowing landfill!) I picked out a Buddha Dome for Piper and a more straightforward fully enclosed container for Sunny. (He wasted no time in spreading his poop on the inside walls as soon as I put it in his room.) I grabbed a play toy for Sunny, paw wipes and some pig ears for Annie, crammed all of this into the passenger side of my two-seater, put Annie on my lap and headed home.

Back at home my Gift-From-God (aka Olga, the housekeeper) was cleaning our shower. No matter, I didn’t have time anyway. I dished out the new litter boxes, toys and treats, washed my face, brushed my teeth, pulled on a tank top, a pair of hiking pants, my flip flops, and most importantly a hat. (I couldn’t remember the last time I’d shampooed. God, if having a human baby is anywhere near as tiring as having a kitten baby, you can count me out!) I spread on copious amounts of deodorant, some perfume, and drove to class.

On Mondays and Wednesdays I must deal with my inherited hooligans. I’m happy to report that I have scared them into submission! They actually complemented me on my camouflage costume and cheerily soaked up three hours of algebra and geometry.

Once class was over, I still had to prepare my lecture notes for the evening’s calculus class and meet with students during office hours. Is it a bad sign that, as an education professional, I sometimes pray that no students show up? My prayer rarely seems to work, but it did this day. I must have made the homework too easy.

As soon as I finished my lesson, I rushed home, petted each of the three kids and was about to drive back to school when I saw John’s taxi arrive. I can’t tell you how glad I am that he’s home.

I’ll skip the rest and just say that calculus flew by, John’s smitten with the new kitten, and I’m in heaven now that John’s home.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Ah Wednesdays, one of my favorite days of the week

Or so I was about to write. When I woke this morning I discovered that Sunny’s condition had worsened over night. He now has very little chance of making it to the litter box in time, even though he and it are never more than 9 feet apart.

I cleaned up the droplets that followed wherever he went, fed him yet another bottle of baby food. By now I’ve depleted my grocer’s supply of strained meat Gerber jars and have to find a new store to pillage this morning.

I made coffee, I opened the drapes, I stepped outside and got the paper. And then I thought about Churchill. You know, he started each day with a Scotch (though he did somehow make it last till noon.) I selected a perfect Riedel glass and poured in (a modest amount) a 1997 Stag’s Leap Chardonnay. Perfect.

Now Wednesday may once again be one of my favorite days of the week.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Ah Mondays, one of my favorite days of the week

Mondays are the day that I meet my buddy Frank for a matinee at our local movie theatre. Frank is a self-described physics geek, movie buff and misanthrope. Only the first two are true though, he’s one of the nicest people I know. Often our stroll to main street necessitates a stop at the pub before the movie, where we order a gin and tonic for Frank and a Guinness for me. Sometimes the movie necessitates another stop at the pub before the walk home. This week we were running a bit late so we compromised and sipped canned Guinness taken from the fridge on the way out the door.

It was an odd flick, slap-stick, made funnier by the aforementioned Guinness. Adam & Steve, a love story between two gay men, who were star-crossed lovers in the 80’s and rediscovered each other in the present day. Posey Parker played an prickly-yet-adorable side-kick; it’s probably worth seeing just for her. I left feeling inspired by love and giddy from the last two dance numbers. If only life were like musicals, where we could break into choreographed singing routines and mend our troubles with a tune.

Once home for the evening, I made myself a salad and hosted online office hours for my calculus students. Then I was off to bed to read The Last Lion, a biography of Winston Churchill, and before I knew it I was singing and dancing in my sleep, dreaming about Tuesday.

Monday, May 15, 2006

One Sunny Week

It’s been one week since Sunny came to live with us. During this time my feelings have ranged from desperation, awe, disgust, delight, and finally love. John gets home in four days to discover Sunny first hand. But it’s already too late, Sunny is here to stay.

Last Sunday he slept and hid and then peed and pooped on a stack of John’s old t-shirts. (John doesn’t know about this yet, and I’m not so sure he needs to.) I shut my eyes to the problem and instead took a drive up the coast to a fu-fu pet shop where I paid far too much for some quite adorable non-necessities. I rationalized it with the thought that I’m a middle-aged woman with no kids in sight (nor desired) who ought to at least be able to spoil her cat! When I returned he was still exhausted, scared and rather bewildered by his new circumstances. But my purchase of a carpeted triangle wedge cubby hole with multiple-sized windows, attached fake mice and a coating of catnip was a real winner. His time in my study was over, though. His pooping indiscretion had earned him a stay in the all tile boy’s bathroom. (It also lacks t-shirts.)

On Monday Sunny was well rested and ready to play. I built him a huge playpen out of heavy cardboard so that he could be in the living room with us without the fear of being attacked by Piper or eaten by Annie. That amused and contained him for about a day.

On Tuesday he broke free. This meant he could only be in the living room under strict supervision. Annie had to be on her leash and Piper watched at all times. Plus he still hadn’t mastered the litter box, so I required him to make frequent trips to the boy’s bathroom to become reacquainted with it. In all of my years of stray cat adoption, I have never known a cat not to immediately adapt to the litter box. Every one of my cats (and I’m afraid that’s no small number) has instinctively known to use it and had no more than a single accident. Whoever had Sunny before me must have paper trained him, because when I gave him a piece of tissue paper to play with it, he immediately peed on it!

Tuesday was also Sunny’s first visit to the vet where he received a near perfect bill of health, a vaccine, and an antibiotic to help with his outrageously pernicious, unimaginably vile smelling and un-litter-box-contained diarrhea. The vet also suggested I feed him only strained turkey baby food until he recovered, which smells almost as bad as the diarrhea!

None of this slowed him down though. Sunny was absolutely delighted by life and the wealth of play toys he discovered in his new home, like a scrap of paper that had fallen to the floor, my laptop cable, the leaves on the houseplant and Piper’s tail. He performed acrobatic maneuvers that amazed the rest of us, literaly somersaulting through the air, hoisting himself up on the couch, dangling from the cushions on the dinning room chairs, and loping down the hall like a kangaroo. Annie and Piper each thought themselves in hell. Annie because she had discovered the perfect chew toy but wasn’t allowed to eat it, and Piper because she couldn’t seem to escape this cheery, playful, indefatigable little beast.

And so went Wednesday and Thursday. During this time Piper’s hissing became less frequent, and though Annie still licked her lips when she saw Sunny, she occasionally had moments of calm in his presence. On one of these days I discovered that Sunny and Piper could in fact tolerate each other without my refereeing. (I ‘discovered’ this when I accidentally closed Piper in the same room with Sunny while I went off to school.) That was a huge step forward. However, Sunny still couldn’t sleep through the night, and the rest of us were becoming exhausted.

On one of these days (perhaps induced by sleep deprivation) I declared Sunny litter box trained and did not confine him to the bathroom that night. Annie and I went off to bed, shut the door to our room, and slept straight through to morning. I woke to discover my down comforter, which seems to reside on a living room couch, covered in diarrhea. Dear God, surely I am made for more than picking up poop! I already had to clean Piper’s litter box, Sunny’s litter box and litter box surroundings (I think sometimes he hangs his butt out over the edge), and pick up after Annie when we go for a walk. And now this! I recovered from my melt down, cleaned up and returned Sunny to the bathroom to pay for my parenting mistakes.

Friday was another day. By then Annie was rather used to traversing the house attached to my hip, and Piper had stopped hissing. Annie no longer acted as if she would die if she didn’t get to eat Sunny, but like she might simply stroke-out instead. Meanwhile Sunny got promoted to larger digs, back to my study, and John’s bathroom got a thorough cleaning so that it would be ready for his return.

On Saturday I came to the conclusion that all of our lives would be much less stressful if instead of having the four of us simultaneously occupy the living room, I rotated who was allowed in at any given time. Being the epitome of queenly behavior, Piper was always welcome, as was I. Annie and Sunny got to take turns.

By Sunday I was even better at this rotation scheduling and was able to enjoy more discoveries about Sunny. I watched him and Piper play chase and hide-and-seek. Piper and I used to play those games! I learned just how much Sunny likes his belly rubbed, his face nuzzled and his paws played with. I got to rub Annie’s tummy again, too, because she wasn’t always sitting in wait for Sunny. The vet warned me to keep a close eye on Annie until Sunny is bigger than a rat and can defend himself against Ann's inescable terrier genetics. And I will.

I also have more time for myself. Today I finished writing my last final exam for the semester, selected new textbooks for the fall, and had enough energy to lengthen my run to two miles. And those t-shirts? They are once again clean and fresh smelling, and I’m almost half way through turning them into a t-shirt quilt for John. Now that should be enough to make him forgive Sunny, don’t you think?

Monday, May 08, 2006


There is a picture of me as a child, about four years old, sitting on our avocado-colored linoleum kitchen floor, surrounded by kittens, with a huge smile on my face. The perceptive among you may see an animal lover. Apparently you should also see a sucker for stray cats and dogs.

Saturday morning began with a predawn trip to the airport to send John off to Spain. When I got home I rummaged through the garage for some odds and ends and began setting up for the neighborhood garage sale. The day went well: I brought in over a hundred dollars and managed to only spend five at my neighbor’s. (I couldn’t believe she was selling a hand-thrown gorgeously glazed vase for only $2!)

Just as I was packing up for the day, marking “Free” on a few remaining items, my neighbor appeared holding a mewing, shaking, skinny black kitten. “One of our customers found this wandering in the street. KK, this one has your name written all over it.” This is the same woman who saved my life two weeks ago. I growled.

I refused. I resisted. I swore. I begged and pleaded. And now there’s a black cat sleeping in John’s bathroom.

The neighborhood kids named him Sunshine, and I call him Sunny for short. He’s got Annie, Piper and myself all spellbound. He gallops across the wooden floors; he spins, lunges, and practically flies when he’s attacking a string or a ball with a bell in it. And then he curls up in my arms, purrs so loud you can hear him across the room, and falls asleep with his feet sticking up in the air.

Of course John has no idea there’s a cat sleeping in his bathroom. I wonder what he’ll think when he reads this.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Running for (not from) a Wedding

It’s time to get in shape. To stop fooling around. To burn off this belly and slim down that rear end. (In a massive Freudian slip John called them “chubby cheeks” when he swears what he meant to say was chilly cheeks. He’s still suffering for that one.) The reason for all this? I’m getting married in three months and I have bought myself a stunning, slinky wedding dress. The kind that doesn’t look good with bulging bellies and butt beneath it.

My first step was to lay in all the right equipment. I went to the running store and bought two new pair of shoes. It’s best to rotate them you know, a different pair every day. During my running hiatus my old pair were co-opted for gardening. Then I bought a couple of pretty running outfits and a variety of new socks. I am on the way to a new me, I felt. But first, I needed a stop at McDonalds for a quarter-pounder combo meal, supersized. And of course, after that I needed a nap.

Later this afternoon I put on all my new gear. I had forgotten how good new clothes make a girl feel. I’ve been so busy buying things like a maid, wedding invitations, a new bathroom and termite tenting that I forgot all about the power of clothes shopping to lift one’s spirits. Anyway, I got decked out in over a hundred dollars worth of sparkly, scientifically engineered fabrics and went for a run. A whole mile and a half.

But I’ve got to start somewhere. BTW I found a simple little internet site that lets you chart your progress and keep you motivated. Remember the President’s Physical Fitness Program that we participated in at grade school? Well, it’s still around. And now they have a website for grown-ups.

It may be a long road getting back into shape, but it’s worth it. I feel wonderful when I run. And it (like the internet) can be addictive.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

More Disjointed Ramblings, Forgive Me

Hector Berlioz arrived today, or rather his six CD compilation of orchestral words did. Hector himself hasn’t been with us for the last 100 years or so. When I opened the box and started leafing through the notes I was struck, not by any profound understanding of his music, but by his hair. How can you not love a guy who looks like this? (Perhaps he was the Lyle Lovett of the nineteenth century.)

Hector has kept me company this morning as I made my way through some sequence and series problems in calculus II. For some strange reason I find working math problems consoling. If she were still here, this would be the day that my septuagenarian French neighbor and I would go walking. We would discuss the events of the week, national, global, neighborhood and personal. I would tell her that

- If everyone we’re inviting comes to the wedding, we’ll have 300 guests. While I fret about the cost, John just smiles and says, “These are the things in life worth spending money on.”

- I’ve designed the invitations, picked out a wedding ring, hired the bands, caterer, florist, and baker, and bought my dress. All that’s missing are the photographer and tuxes - in other words, John’s responsibilities.

- John will be out of town for the entire month of May.

- The dishwasher is broken and needs to be replaced, and if John thinks I’m waiting until he gets back in town to buy a new one, he’s got another thing coming.

- The most brilliant looking orioles have started visiting my bird feeders.

- Annie had another seizure this morning, poor dear.

- Olga, the housekeeper, is the best thing that’s ever happened to me. Although, after our wedding, I should probably start saying that John is. (We marvel at the way she folds our t-shirts in to perfectly flat, uniform squares. It’s a mystery how she does it.)

- I succumbed to my mother’s pressure to register at Williams-Sonoma. I find it almost impossible to register for our wedding since we’re both in our 30’s and have been living together for years. But I indulged my wish list with some Riedel crystal. (My girlfriend AMQ and I bought some last year and I love treating myself to glass of wine in it when I get home at night.)

- Yesterday I thought I’d need a glass of wine to get through my calculus class. I kept saying, ‘There’s no crying in mathematics.’ Although, I’m not really sure why, I seem to remember plenty of crying in my mathematical studies.

- I discovered a website called that overlays the price of properties on top of satellite images. Try it to see how much your house is worth (and that of your neighbors!)

- We’ve finally hired a contractor to redo our bathroom and scheduled the termite tenting. I like him, AND he knows how to use email!

- I tried to watch the film at our neighborhood’s independent movie theater this week, but I found it too sad and left after 10 minutes.

- The college had a book sale yesterday and I picked up five books for five dollars. Most are about Java programming, but I did manage to get Wuthering Heights and a novel by Nadine Cordimer that takes place in South Africa. (Giselle, my neighbor, would recognize this author, even though I don’t.)

- Texas Monthly is one of my favorite magazines, and I make a point of reading all of the articles written by Skip Hollandsworth. This month he’s written about a charming, modern-day cattle rustler. The pictures in this article alone are worth the price of the issue, especially that of the Texas cattle ranger. He stands strong, imposing and mean looking next to a broken fence, wearing his starched blue jeans, star-studded belt, crisp white shirt and blue neckerchief, white Stetson, silver badge and a gun on his hip. Did you know that the state of Texas had a separate law enforcement agency, begun in 1877, to arrest a cattle thieves? Me either. Sometimes it’s hard to believe this is the same state that’s home to NASA, Neiman Marcos, South by Southwest and the tallest state capital in the country. Even though I’m from there, sometimes I hardly recognize it.

- I’m trying to pick out the symphonies we'll attend in the 2006-2007 season, but it’s been tricky to manage it with John’s directive, “It can’t interfere with football season.” I call him part of the burnt orange lunatic fringe.

- The new KPBS catalog came yesterday and I’ve circled all the must-see programs for the month of May.

- A&E is still running Nero Wolf mysteries on Saturday nights and I try to record every one. God bless Rex Stout, whom I discovered in college. I just love him. Isn’t Archie grand? And the orchids! The weather is so amazing here in SoCal that my neighbor grows them in her front yard. (Sickening, I know.)

- Some people find it strange that I keep a globe in my bathroom. My mother for one. But I can’t count the number of times I’ve been reading a history book in the tub and needed to look something up.

- This weekend I must plant the oregano, basil and Gerber daisies I’ve raised, AND get ready for our neighborhood garage sale.

- I seem to have recovered from my internet addiction. So my days are more balanced now, but I can’t say they’re as much fun!

- Best of all, my friends AMQ and Steve are in town!

In between my ramblings Giselle would comment on what’s she’s read in the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times this morning. She’s a voracious reader. Then she’d tell me about yoga and any treats she may have bought at Trader Joes and Whole Foods. We’d talk about her children and grandchildren. We’d talk about gardening, books, movies and music.

I think I’ll go write her a letter.