08 April 2014

A few other things happened besides watching 'Game of Thrones' this weekend.

(Surprisingly.)

Creepy Creeps are creepy. #sandiego #casbahPals!

On Friday night, MB and I joined our pal Will at The Casbah for a show featuring some punk/surfer/ska bands. This was not a typical Amanda Habitat, since I couldn't care less about the straight punk stuff. It's kind of a dick-swinging genre, which wouldn't be objectionable if the music itself wasn't so repetitious and boring. Punk songs that achieve popularity with the greater public are actually pop songs. Same-same for thrasher metal type stuff. Gorsh, it's beyond my capacity to understand how people enjoy that kind of music.

But I enjoyed the two bands whose sound was closer to the surfer/ska stuff, a lot. And despite the negative commentary above, there is a lot of atmosphere and ambiance at The Casbah, and I still had fun while the other two punk bands were on; I just wasn't near the stage (or even in the same room for most of the set). As I am not a frequent punk show attendee, I was thus surprised when dudes (and tall women) immediately started thrashing about in front of the stage, almost like an autonomic response to the music. Banging into each other's bodies at a punk show; this is fun. I snickered to myself that "15 years ago, I would have been thinking 'THIS IS SO AWESOME,'" whereas when I noticed the thrashing thing on Friday night, my first reaction had been (in the Central Minn-ah-soh-tan-accented voice of the mother of my first-year college roommate): "(Tsking-sound), somebody's going to get hurt doing all that body slamming!"

The Casbah

The Casbah is something of an institution in San Diego, so I'd been wanting to go a show there for a while. The photo above shows the partially open-air venue. Right before I snapped this pic, I plane had flown over-head, lending an extra layer of electrifying atmosphere to the event. (This area of the city lies in the flight-path of the runway for the airport.)

At the end of the night, MB and I had the fantastic/terrible idea of swinging by Adalbertos for a burrito and pollo asado tacos. I felt like a whale for the remainder of the weekend.

Saturday cycling adventure! #sandiego #missionbayRowers on #missionbay, downtown on the left, and the Sea World tower on the right. #sandiego #saturdaycyclingadventure

Whale-ish feelings added to my motivation to stick with our original plans for Saturday: physical exercise in the form of exploring the trails around Mission Bay with our bikes. We rode around the circumference of the bay and then stopped at the boardwalk at Mission Beach for drinks and food. The total distance rode was only about 14 miles, but it felt longer, since the territory was all new to us, and we had to stop a bunch of times to check whether we were traveling in the right direction.

#saturdaycyclingadventure?

Yes. (You were wondering whether this margarita tasted as good as it looks. The answer is yes, and so did the one after that.)

Very pretty, not very warm. #sandiego #missionbeach #saturdaycyclingadventureThere are only so many ways to vary these beach shots. Without stilts or a tower or something. #sandiego #saturdaycyclingadventure

After our late lunch, we trotted out to the beach - since it's right here - to see what we could see. (Beach things. Beach things were happening.) There weren't many people in the water. The temperature was in the low 60s all day, which is perfect for riding, but freezing for 'dipping one's flesh into the ocean.'

Saturday afternoon.

Later, at home, MB settled into a sleep coma in the TV room, and I settled into a... Game-of-throma (Hahahaha. A Game of Thrones marathon.) in the bedroom. (I'm only mentioning this bedroom thing because look there is a photo of the bedroom.)

[Removes five-paragraph tangent about Game of Thrones. Decides to put it in the next post instead. Whhheeeeeee, I'm Blaaaaaawwwwwwwggggggiiinnnnnggggggg!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!]

A little exploring and sight-seeing during this afternoon's run. #sandiegoMore view, more view! #sandiego

On Sunday, I pattered around the house doing *random housey things* (cleaning, frame-hanging) and talking to the cat. (FILLING UP THE TIME UNTIL GAME OF THRONES AND SUNDAY NIGHT TV.) MB had duty on the ship, so he was gone for the day, and the night, and the next day.

Found a spot.JUST A COUPLE MORE  #sandiego

In the afternoon, I went on a run, taking extra time to explore Sunset Cliffs Natural Park. My pace wasn't very impressive, so I opted for longevity at a modest pace. My body felt tired. I hadn't gotten many hours of sleep because - as she does nearly every morning - THE CAT woke me up at the godless and early hour of SIX that morning, by walking over my face, over and over and over.

Cleo's instructions for Denying Amanda Sleep:

1. Walk over Amanda's head repeatedly. Back and forth, back and forth.
2. Meow and purr madly while doing this.
3. Occasionally pause to poke her face with your paws.
4. Another option, nudge her hands with your head.
5. When she groans and attempts to protect her face with a blanket, wedge your paws under the blanket. Keep aiming for the face.
6. As often as possible, ensure that her face is turned in the direction of your kitten ass.
7. When this gets boring, attack the sewn tufts in her duvet with your claws. Repeat until duvet is destroyed.

*If she manages to trick you out of the room by getting up and giving you treats in the kitchen, before returning back to her bed and latching the door shut on you like the MEAN CAT PARENT she is, meow loudly at the door for an hour.

Dudes. The cat is kind of a dick.

Sometimes Cleo's body makes a heart.
Don't let that precious little ball of adorable furriness fool you.

Stairs and sea.

Anyway, during the exploration, I found some stairs that lead down to the sea.

Flowers, cliff.

This spot was very inspiring. So many beachy, picnic-y, swimming, hiking and sunning plans for the summer!

Sunset Cliffs Blvd.

The coastline north of the park comprises the section along which I normally run.

Hatted horse head in OB

And here is a hatted horse head, during the trip back home to a shower and my precious Sunday night TV.

On duty.

Later MB sent me a pic of Colors on his ship. Sunset with bonus Coronado Bridge on the right. I know this was during Colors because -

Amanda: I really liked that pic you sent. The sunset was pretty, and you even got the bridge in there.
MB: Yeah, whenever I'm on duty I have to stand out there during Colors.
Amanda: Oh, is that what's going on?
MB: What did you think it was?
Amanda: I don't know. That they're just looking out there, next to the flag.

Checking out the pretty sunset and all.

01 April 2014

It doesn't matter if I would smell just as sweet.

Yesterday, piqued by the arrival of a wedding invitation from a relative in the mail addressed to Him and Her Hisname, I posted a general announcement on Facebook requesting that my correct full name be used when sending me anything in mail. This means my first name paired with my last name, not with MB's last name. Throughout our marriage, even though everything we've sent out lists my name as "Mitchell," half the things we receive in the mail are labeled incorrectly, with MB's surname applied to both of us (my extended family are the main culprits).

I've debated whether to bring the issue up with the offenders, whenever this happens. Is this issue important enough, that I should make people uncomfortable about it and/or possibly alienate people? But if it's not a big deal, and it's my name, then it should be even less of a issue to other people, right? Why is it okay for me to be made uncomfortable hundreds of times over - as it is my name - rather than one moment of being uncomfortable for each offender? And if what I do with my own name is a big deal to the random offender, then that person is being an asshole, which immediately negates their opinion. Because it's my name. Right?

In the end, I decided that a general message to everyone was preferable to writing weird notes in Christmas cards or bringing it up individually at family gatherings. Offenders can feel like part of the crowd. Plus, it will ignite the magic of family gossip, which will spread the news a lot better than I can on an individual basis. "Oh that Amanda, she's thinks she's a 'feminist,'. I guess we have to humor her." I feel with 100% certainty that my choice is regarded in certain circles* as a retrograde frivolity that accomplishes nothing. "It's adorable that you think something so dumb has any importance at all." (Obviously people with negative opinions about women keeping their names after marriage don't think the issue is unimportant.) But it really doesn't matter to me if people think those things, as long as they use my correct last name.

(*Just to clarify, this is where I start to reference "all people" and not just my family. My family is not malicious about this issue. They love me. But I do think there are a few family members who are a little bemused by the whole thing.)

Additionally, the usage of the name does do the good work, even if those resistant to the idea of women keeping their names after marriage (along with women and men doing any assorted non-traditional things with their names after marriage) consciously consider the practice to be meaningless and frivolous. Faux-Feminists being "silly." The fact of being a human in the world who resists any particular patriarchal tradition helps to chip away at oppression, not just in and of itself, but in the comprehension of others. Not taking my husband's name forces other people to think about the issue, and it changes their perception of the world, whether or not they are a chauvinist.

Anyway, most of the reaction on Facebook was positive, which always feels nice. In an odd turn of events, one ex-coworker came out of the woodwork, however, to inform me that I am a "psychopath." This was surprising for several reasons: He was always very nice to me at work. He seemed like a decent, non-woman-hating kind of person (he'd criticized another male co-worker for saying gross sexual things about female co-workers). His general demeanor didn't ring "hostile to non-traditional marriage practices." ...Not that I knew him so well. In fact, I have not spoken to this person in over five years. I suppose that, due to his never-changing profile photo, and apparent lack of any Facebook activity, that he would respond to anything I post would've struck me as strange. But to randomly chime in with "you are a psychopath?" Does he think it's crazy to not change my name, or crazy to request that people use the correct name when speaking to me? Why not "man-hating bitch?" Or "anal-retentive obsessive?" Like, what's the reason for the perceived "aggressively anti-social behavior" of a psychopath, displayed in asking friends and family to stop calling me by the wrong name?

Here are my series of thoughts, in order:
1. Okay, but why?
2. (Is this how you do funny?!)
3. How did you survive my Friend Purge from a couple weeks ago (in which I removed several people I didn't care to know/who were only acquaintances anyway/I would never see or need to know again in my entire life)?

Today I notice that he is now listed in the comments as a "friend of my friends." I don't think my status would have been available for him to see if he hadn't been a "friend"...so he must have un-friended me! Which is funny. My Facebook page is awash in Liberal agenda issues - abortion/birth control/reproductive rights, representation of women in the media and in film, demonization of poor people, support for the ACA, support for marriage equality, how rich people are evil, and I'm fairly certain I've even posted about post-marriage name changes in the past. Don't people choose to not comment on annoying shit they see on FB basically all the time? I'm in a constant state of holding my tongue in response to certain relatives' Gun Nut crap. That someone who appears to barely use Facebook would make the effort to comment on the post belonging to a vague acquaintance with whom he hasn't spoken in half a decade, is weird.

That, and failing to change my name when I got married didn't get me un-friended. Requesting that I be addressed with the correct name did. So, ha. And...weird.

28 March 2014

Rugs, Hair, Cleo, the DMV: A List Post for Friday

1. For months I've believed that what my living room needs, is a Persian rug. It just doesn't look put-together, yet, without a rug. Problem is, my mother used to manage a store that sold hand-made Persian rugs, so I have an ingrained snotty attitude about how I need a hand-made Persian rug. Not a machine-made knock-off. (Aside from the snotty factor, so many of the mass-produced knock-offs look cheap. I am willing to consider a pretty machine-made rug. But the idea of obtaining a hand-made rug, as per my heritage, is still romantic and desirable to me.)

The Persian Bazaar
This is Mom's store, sometime in the 80s. I used to do window displays with glass figurines sold by the store, and lay on the floor behind that counter and sing songs until embarrassed by the random customer. Mom never bought any of these rugs for our house, except for a small 2x3 rug that I absconded with years ago.

2. In related news: I have just discovered how much hand-made Persian rugs actually cost. (...A lot.) MB says we should wait until he deploys, at which point he can snag a couple rugs at some future port stop in the Middle East, where they will be, supposedly, more affordable. This is a fine idea, but I won't have my rugs for a year. So in the meantime, I'm thinking I need a Turkish Kilim rug. Here's one in action, via Apartment Therapy. And here are more examples:

Turkish Kilim rugs
Ooooh, pretty. Something with reds, oranges and pinks, I'm thinking.

new dye job, with kitten3. And lo, the time has come, yet again, for me to visit the salon to have my hair dyed and highlighted. Just the roots, but still complicated since more than one color is involved. I'd throw in the towel on this blonde-thing-ish that I've been doing, and go back to dark (thus requiring only the occasional dyeing of grey roots), but summmmmmer approaches. Cheap & Lazy vs. More Fun.

Having to frequently repeat the complication of choosing a new salon (ie. build a relationship with a new stylist) is one of my biggest complaints about moving around for the Navy. I finally decided on the last place I visited by narrowing down the list by neighborhood, ranking by highest rated, and doing a Ctrl F search for "wine" in Yelp. (Complimentary beer and wine at the local Aveda, y'alls!)

4. Here's the latest drama at home: FLEAS. I found fleas on my poor, sweet, adorable kitten, Cleo. Bloodsucking bastards. They could have entered the house by hitching a ride on human feet/ankles. (I called the local animal hospital and they told me that "OB actually has a bad flea problem," GOOD TO KNOW.  ...OH AND "they are becoming resistant to the major flea medicine, like Advantage and Frontline." A billion ARGHs.) Or they could have jumped on Cleo herself during one of the times she escaped the house, or one of the times I briefly let her out of the house (and watched her while she sniffed and explored) because she seemed bored and I have anxiety that she will get depressed if she doesn't get enough stimulation.

Stifling the urge to vomit on the day I found them, I combed Cleo with a de-shedder (the FurGoPet, purchased at Target, which resembles exactly the FurGoPet for small dogs, but which is curiously more expensive in the package labeled "for cats"), hunting fleas as I went. (I also explored different ways of murdering fleas. Smashing, slicing, drowning. Burning them is my favorite so far.) (MURDER ALL THE FLEAS.) (Does our ecosystem rely on the existence of fleas? What is their part? Could we live on Earth without them?) Then I put on shorts and a tank top and got in the tub with Cleo so I could shampoo her with flea-killing shampoo. This would be where I finally have an appreciation for sliding glass shower doors, which I normally loathe. (Because they are ugly and all they do is collect mineral deposits and grime, necessitating unwieldy and meticulous cleaning that somehow NEVER completely removes said deposits/grime.) Cleo did not enjoy the bath, but nor did she freak out and claw me, while I lathered and rinsed her fur. She just stood with her front paws on the edge of the tub, by the corner where the doors open, and occasionally looked at me and emitted one of those loud, very concerned meows.

Cleo in the bath.Wet kitty.
Heh, poor kitty! Cleo had to endure bath #2 a couple of days later, to clear out some stragglers. This time, MB was home to capture the magic on camera.

Post-bath, after attempting to towel-off a resisting kitty, I hung out next to her on the floor, hunting more fleas, where she shook her body and groomed her wet fur. Ugh. Later, when she was all dry, she got a dose of Vectra, which I'd obtained from the vet. Flea insecticide. (MURDER ALL THE FLEAS.) Since then I've been laundering everything that can be laundered, and trying to keep cloth-type things off the floors. The house needs a thorough vacuuming and mopping of the corners and edges of the floor, including behind all the furniture and along the baseboards, in order to clean out any more eggs and larvae. Even though our house is small, I've been sick, and low on energy this week, and the task seemed too big. It requires a team effort. So yeah, romantic plans with MB this weekend! Thank goodness we only have hardwood and tile floors in this house.

Cleo stares at me while I eat chips and salsa.
Hows about you hand over some of that chips and salsa, woman? Like, right effing now? 

5. Where did March go? I can't believe it's almost April. Other than becoming a serial killer of fleas, my life has been mostly running, sunsets, babysitting, taking photos of Cleo, editing my massive collection of photos, doing (surprisingly time-consuming) house-projects, and making plans for travel this spring and summer. After four years of rolling with a Minnesota driver's license (during which I lived in three different states, no way in Kanye was I going to keep getting new driver's licenses every few months), I cautiously ventured to my local California DMV this week. And it was: not that bad! I'd made an appointment online, so I zipped right through each bureaucratic stage. Since I was stressed out about the written exam (a driving exam is usually waived when changing from an out-of-state license, thank Kardashian), I took all the online test samples on the night before. Here's the thing I KNEW would be the case, despite the scoffing of MB, who swore that the test would be a cinch: the actual test is trickier than the sample tests. There are a few gimmes. ("Following closely behind another vehicle: (c) Helps keep traffic moving?" "If your cell phone rings while you are driving and you do not have a hands-free device, you should: (a) Answer the call because it may be an emergency?") But other questions are trickier. In a sample test, a question was concerned with the number of feet ahead of my car that I should be watching, while driving. On the test, this was referred to as the 3-second rule. As I've been driving for 20 years (got my first license when I was 14), I know what should be the proper distance between cars, and what is tail-gating. But it's been forever since I've had to think about the phrase "3-second rule." I chose the correct answer by using the 'common sense/most likely' method.

Anyway, you can only miss 3 for a renewal, or 6 for a new license. Since I was switching from out-of-state, I wasn't sure which applied to me - maybe the new license, but I didn't want to risk it - I checked the test over three times before handing it in. I erased and changed my answers to four questions, and ended up getting three of those right. I missed 2, out of 36, overall. One, because I over-thought this, that the blood alcohol limit had been changed recently (it hasn't), and the other because I don't think you need to know which direction to look when an oncoming vehicle fails to dim their high beams. Don't you automatically look where/how you can see to drive? Do I have to consciously think "I must look toward the right edge of the lane?" Debatable, I say!

Unicorn legging pants. Respect.6. What's that you say? The only thing more boring than going to the DMV is reading about someone else going to the DMV?! Haha. This is like when I try to talk to people who don't love running about my running routes. (Polite nods.) The DMV is still interesting to me! For a little while longer. Not only will I now be a legally documented California resident, if it weren't for the DMV, I would have never seen this awesomeness:

Unicorn legging pants. Respect.

My only remotely daring article of clothing is a sleeveless tee with an eagle emblazoned on the chest. (MB says this is his favorite thing that I have ever worn.) That, and a remnant of the ironic t-shirt era of 2007, a t-shirt that reads "Cowboys make better lovers." My BF at the time had sniffed "That doesn't even make sense," as I happened to be dating him, a non-cowboy; nor had I ever particularly dated cowboys.