Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A Land and Sea Lunch, Movies, and a Job

Ever since I recovered from this anxiety after 5 and 1/2 months, I've been hoping for an absolutely perfect week, full of everything I'd want to do and would be game for.

So far, so good.

My body's getting used to going to bed at or a little bit before 11 p.m., and though I seem to wake up early, sometimes after 6 a.m., I don't mind, because that's enough sleep for me. Monday and today went well with that, though I looked at my clock and found out that it was only 4:41 a.m. Most of the time, I can get back to sleep without a problem, but there are those occasional instances where there's a tiny bit of that former full-blown fear that I won't be able to get back to sleep.

Today was perfect, and it began with a book of interviews with comedy writers called "Funny Business," including Louis Sachar, Beverly Cleary, and Judy Blume. I started it after I finished breakfast, at about 8 a.m., and finished it late in the morning, probably at around 11:40. It felt so good to read extensively and to actually finish a book, unlike all those months ago when I'd literally fill up my library card to the limit with 50 books, and be excited about the options available to me, but I'd never really finish anything.

Along with the reading, I turned on the Real Jazz channel on the XM radio we have in the house. Perfect. I use as bookmarks the paper hold slips that are in my library books, and I always keep a blue pen near me to write down any titles I find within the books that interest me, or, any names of jazz musicians I hear that I want to hear more of. (Screw the dangling preposition tightwad rule. It's my blog.) I have two of these slips so far (one from finishing "Nothing Happens Until It Happens to You" by T.M. Shine), and the third is in Jeff Dunham's autobiography, "All By My Selves," and there's already about four names of jazz musicians on that slip. Only before 3 p.m. did I turn on the TV and the Tivo to begin watching the episodes of Saturday Night Live I had recorded off of VH1. It feels so good to not use the computer that much anymore, and also not to watch as much TV as I did during the day. I'm not going to become one of those proponents of keeping the television off as much as possible, but I could live with it.

So that was today. Tomorrow, if I'm not called into Dad's school to be a substitute campus supervisor, I'm probably going to blast my way through the rest of "All By My Selves" by Jeff Dunham, and then start on "Giving Good Weight" by John McPhee, a collection of his writings for The New Yorker, which include a profile of a farmer's market, and dueling pinball champions. I'm fine with another quiet day, since I'm really anticipating Thursday, a blessed day.

Thursday is Veteran's Day, which means schools are closed, and my sister, who works as a one-on-one aide for a special needs kid, and Dad both have the day off. Friday's a furlough day, another day off, which means neither she or Dad get paid, and neither does anyone else in the entire school district. No idea what's on tap for Friday, but Thursday is going to be incredible. We'll start with a pit stop at the grand opening of Williams-Sonoma at the Valencia Town Center Mall, which my sister has been salivating over for a number of months now. They open at 10 a.m. (I don't mind, since I'm sure I'll be up by 6 and then resting and listening to Morning Edition on NPR), so we'll spend probably half an hour there, and then we'll be off to Ventura, to the Ventura Harbor Village. When I heard we were going to do this, I got excited for two major reasons:

1) Andria's Seafood Restaurant. Best clam chowder in California, based on my limited experience with the clam chowders of seafood restaurants in California. Last time, I ordered it in a bread bowl, and there turned out to be more bread than soup. A large bowl this time. I was going to order something with it, but a shrimp cocktail there is $6.99. I'm satisfied with just my soup. It turns out that the fish they use there comes from local waters. I like that.

2) My favorite spot in all of Ventura Harbor Village, which I can't wait to show Meridith. And it's not even anywhere near the harbor, not any of the boats I see, not any of the pedal boats. It's right in between one of the entrances to the arcade and the restrooms. You stand right there and you look up, and you see a window with a drawn shade, with a little strip of darkness underneath. Now, these places are for lease, but whether they're used solely for offices, or as residences, I'm not sure. But I love standing there, looking at that window, imagining the person who might use that as an office or residence. I prefer residence, because I imagine that person placing their bed right near that window, the foot of the bed right there. This jibes with when I was at my graduation from College of the Canyons in 2005, I think, and while ignoring the long-winded speech by the president of the school, I looked up at all the windows of the building looming over us, and I imagined that there must have been some crazy professor up there, sitting cross-legged amidst piles of papers on desk and floor, searching, searching for hidden meanings in "Moby Dick." I'm fascinated by people like that.

There's also an ice cream place in the village called Coastal Cone Ice Cream & Yogurt, which my mom loves. But no more for me. After I came out of the worst of the anxiety, I vowed to change my diet, and I have. I suspect that's what my nerves were screaming about, and it must have helped, because I don't feel anything exploding in my nervous system now. In the morning, I have Cheerios (for now, Honey Nut, since we ran out of regular Cheerios, which is my favorite) and either a banana or a pear. For lunch, depending on if I'm at work or at home, I have yogurt (reserved for home) or a peanut butter sandwich, carrot chips, and an apple. I also dig into any green stuff we have, which, right now, is bagged broccoli slaw (shredded broccoli, carrots, and red cabbage) and baby spinach. I reserve dinner for the most sodium intake, though not to extremes.

Even though they do have fat-free yogurt at Coastal Cone, I don't think I'm going to partake in it. I asked my sister to put an apple in her pocketbook for me for after lunch. So a land and sea lunch. And the harbor with all the boats. Can't beat that.

I've no idea what we'll be doing on Friday, but I'm thinking of adding an extra day to my weekend plans.

The Saturday before last, I pulled "The Ramen Girl" DVD out of my stack of library materials, but couldn't get past the first few minutes. The writing was pretty bad. Instead, I watched yet again Stephen Sondheim's "Putting It Together." And from that, I decided to start something new, since I wake up early enough at the start of the day anyway.

As mentioned before, I seem to wake up more regularly around 6 a.m. During the weekdays, I'm ok with resting in bed for a while, listening to NPR. But on the weekend, as 7 a.m. passes, I don't want to do the same thing. So after that Saturday, I continued what I think might be a weekly tradition, at least until it's time to begin moving to Nevada.

Last Saturday morning, I had a double feature of "Down with Love" (from Netflix) and "Clerks II" (my own DVD). During the day, Wal-Mart finally received the copy of "Swing Vote" I ordered, and I was very excited about that. So on Sunday morning, I listened to the audio commentary on "Swing Vote" by director Joshua Michael Stern and co-writer Jason Richman.

I'm not sure if I'll always have a double feature on Saturday mornings, but since I watch far less movies now than I used to, I really like this idea of just lounging in bed, watching movies on weekend mornings. Today, I received "Just Wright" from Netflix, and plan to watch that on Saturday morning. On Sunday morning, I'm going to listen to the director's commentary on "Undercover Brother." I've already planned the following Saturday morning: "The Joneses." And on the following Sunday morning: The audio commentary on "An American in Paris."

For me, this is the way to watch movies. I love having more free time to read books. Sometimes I'll use the Instant Viewing function on Netflix, but I haven't done it much lately, though there are a few movies I want to see on there, including "Mojave Moon," starring Danny Aiello.

One of the campus supervisors went to my dad yesterday because they needed a substitute campus supervisor for Monday. That would be me, and I love having a job again. I wish it was more than just this day, but I'll take it.

Plus, I'm also seriously thinking of forgoing the wait for Hanukkah and just buying "Elaine Stritch at Liberty" and "John Waters' This Filthy World" off Amazon Marketplace, to complete my DVD collection. After those two, I can't think of any other DVDs I want. I'll see if my parents can get me either "Jeopardy!" on Nintendo DS or one or two of the books of Neil Simon's plays.

I can't wait for the rest of this week to begin.