August 30, 2007

Jann Arden, one of my most very favorite musicians came to town, and I took Caitlyn to see her in-store performance at our downtown Borders. Caitlyn loved the parts where everyone clapped.

After the performance, I stood in line with a CD to get it autographed. I've never done this before. I'm, oddly, hesitant to actually go and meet these various (and variously) famous people, authors and musicians and even the occasional actor who are somehow important to me. I want to believe that the famousness doesn't matter, that they are just regular people with the good fortune to do something really well. And the next thought is always, why would any of them want to meet me?

So, I got to the front of the line and introduced myself. Caitlyn is in a shy phase when it comes to meeting new people, and she buried her face in my shoulder, occasionally peeking out at Jann. I apologized for not having anything significant to say; Jann told me that it was all about getting out and meeting fans and how "heavy" it was to meet someone who had one of her (Jann's) lyrics tattooed on her arm (not me, someone else ahead of me in line). She signed my CD, complemented me on Caitlyn, and recommended that I not start her on "my depressing music" until she was older. We both told the other to have a great afternoon, then Caitlyn and I headed down the stairs.

Driving home tonight, new CD in the stereo, it came to me, what I could (should?) have said (is it still the Spirit of the Staircase if it visits in some other location?). I've been listening to and resonating with Jann's music ever since Insensitive was on the radio (some eleven or twelve years, now, I think). If her songs reflect her personality, then Jann and I have been dear, close friends for all that time, the kind who never call and never write but who somehow just seem to know when you need an impromptu visit and a cup of tea.

August 16, 2007

It's a lovely summer day... complete with the sounds of nail-guns and saws across the street where they are framing the two new houses that will be diagonal from us. I'll be very glad when the framing and roofing and siding are done and the bulk of the noise moves inside... which will probably be sometime in October.

I've started harvesting tomatoes. Caitlyn especially likes the orange cherry tomatoes and will eat them non-stop if I let her. Strangers are so impressed that she "willingly eats tomatoes!" She also eats carrots pulled right out of the ground and green beans off the vines. Cook any of this and she's less likely to enjoy it so visibly.

Yesterday was warm enough to run the solar oven... so we now have tiny sun-dried tomatoes. I just put perhaps a half-quart of beans in the freezer. We are still eating our little alpine strawberries, maybe a cup a week. I once explained to someone that there appears to be a fixed number of strawberry seeds per berry; alpine strawberries just don't have the same surface area of the strawberries you get celo-packed from Watsonville. They are super-sweet, though. There are two actual pumpkins growing, and a plethora of pumpkin flowers. I picked our first pepper today, a petite red thing that the eating of will be Ian's responsibility. And I really should remember where the bathroom scale is stored and weigh the box of potatoes in the pantry (it's a little more than half what I expect the total harvest to be).

Perhaps it's time to take the "wannabe gardener" off my About page...

August 03, 2007

There was a bit on NPR this morning about a power company in Massachusetts that is trying to get customers to conserve energy by providing immediate feedback on how much energy they are using. Use your toaster, get a readout on a little devise that says how much electricity your toast is using. Same for your clothes dryer. (I missed the name of the devise they are using - sleep fog and all).

And then it occurred to me: why not have these kinds of meters for everything? A display in your shower that tells you how many gallons you've used and how much energy has gone into the hot water. Readouts on the oven: timer, temperature, cost of the gas. A widget for the computer that keeps track of how much power the computer needs, even in sleep mode.

Sure, there are the little comparison charts on the utility bills. I get a little thrill out of looking at those and seeing if we are using less power/gas/water than we did for the corresponding billing period last year. But more data would be nice. Was the average temperature a year ago more or less than the average temperature this year? How about rainfall? But none of this is as immediate as feedback at the time and place of use. If I get excited about a small decrease in the amount of power/gas/water from a billing statement, imagine the fun of watching how many gallons are right now going into my shower? Why should Prius drivers have all the optimizing fun?

August 02, 2007

Caitlyn appears to have grasped the concept of holding hands when crossing streets or parking lots... she likes to hold her own hands, leaving me hunched over at all awkward angles to grip her elbow. Even if I'm carrying her, she'll hold her own hands, fingers interlaced, and lecture me about the importance of holding hands.

All together now: "Awwwwww...."