Monday, March 14, 2005

Dickie's Weekend

It was a pretty lovely weekend overall. I suppose it began Friday when, for the second day in a row, Matt didn't show up for work and didn't call in either. This is becoming part of his routine. To be fair, he has good reasons for not coming in, but I'd wish he'd call. I don't mind running the place, but it'd be nice to have some direction to some of the items I'm not familiar with handling yet.

Shawn had placed an ad on Friday in the Micronews (a publication for Microsoft employees in which adverts of many shapes and sizes can be's an excellent resource for many things). We were giving away our 1 Burning Bush that survived the prior weekend's digging and a vine maple. I wasn't aware we were giving away a vine maple. We had talked about replacing it with something at one point. Still, there it was in print. News travels fast and sometimes I forget to read the headlines and go straight to the comics page, which seems more real anyhow. Shawn got responses to her ad very quickly, even though the vine maple was a "you dig" project. On Saturday, we hung out at the house after breakfast (nothing fancy, you foodies, just steel cut oats with dried fruits from last fall - pears, apples, and plums - mixed with cranberries, raisins, and dates) and waited for the Burning Bush to take it's next voyage.

The recipient was extraordinarily pleased. She was happy with the size and explained how difficult it is to find one around here. Shawn asked if she had tried a couple of the nurseries and, no, she hadn't, but no one has them in her yard. What they do have are lots of roses and she is not a rose person. Would we like to follow her home and take one of the 30+ roses she has in the yard of her recently purchased home in Bothell? We decline. She explains that she knows nothing about roses and therefore cannot be a rose person. But, I explain, you have such a rosy personality. She looks confused. Are you sure you don't want another rose, she asks one more time. Shawn explains that, with the coming drought, we're on strike from acquiring any more plants for the wouldn't be right. She calls out to her husband to quit avoiding interaction and come grab the prize quickly before we change our minds. We smile as he sheepishly follows through with his wife's demands. The rose definitely has thorns, I almost say, but do not. Everyone is all smiles and happy. Shawn's bush is no longer burning.

We went over to the U-District after our encounter with bush country. Shawn grabbed a couple of sale books at the U Bookstore, some light reading. We went to see "A Very Long Engagement" at the Varsity, during the discount show. It was directed by the same person who directed "Amelie" and, as with Amelie, it stars Audrey Tatou. The film was thoroughly enjoyable, if you like that sort of direction. Layers are built both through the story and through the visualizations. The plot follows a young woman with polio whose fiance is conscripted to fight in World War I. At one point, he can no longer take the madness of the front and he gets himself shot in the hand. For this, he is condemned to die as a traitor to France. He never returns after the war, of course, but his fiance cannot give up hope that he is alive and she sets about finding out exactly what happened to him.

The tale is a romance, a mystery, and it is very heavy hearted. The layers built during the story, left me feeling very fulfilled, as well as weepy, at the end of the film. But I did not feel light of foot. This is a dark tale with a lot of twists and turns and a bittersweet end. I had read some critics who felt the film couldn't make up it's mind what it wanted to be. I disagree. I think it knew exactly what it wanted to be and it achieved that very well...some minor holes, but perhaps with repeated viewings those holes will be filled. Like Amelie, it is one of those films that requires repeated viewings in order to catch all of the twists. Also like Amelie, it is very much embedded with French cultural attitudes. This is not surprising, since the major players are French, but I think some of the critical comments for the film viewed it too much through the lens of American cultures and expectations. Bonus, if you choose to see it: Spot Jodie Foster in a cameo role in the film - note she speaks fluent French.

Before the film, Shawn indicated that perhaps we could go out for a late lunch/early dinner. Now that it was after the film, she indicates that she doesn't know what to eat or where to go. She wants to go to the Flying Fish for "25 under $25", but they are closed for lunch. We discuss it some more. Seeing that there is no headway to be made on the subject, I suggest that we go to Scarecrow Video to kill some time. My real agenda is to buy a copy of the newly released Criterion Collection version of "My Own Private Idaho". The move allows me to do that and give Shawn some time to recover from her disappointment at the Flying Fish as well as think of an alternative. I suggest Thai food in Fremont, where Sandy, Shawn and I ate when we met Sandy that week. Oh, by the way, did I tell you that Sandy called yesterday? I thought I had. Well, the food was good. Shawn is not sure she wants Thai, but won't come out and say it. She's disappointed about the Flying Fish and is still brooding on that and now doesn't know what she wants, so anything I'd like would be fine. Let's go to Fremont, I suggest, we can at least do some shopping there to kill time if a restaurant doesn't open until 5 and we haven't been there in a while. Shawn agrees.

Along the way, we stop in Wallingford, peering in at a couple of restaurants that Shawn thinks are worth settling for. She's thinking Asian food of some sort, though Thai isn't really right. Chinoise, perhaps? It's closed, too, and Wallingford isn't as interesting to shop as Fremont, so we get back on the road.

We do shop Fremont. Bookstore - an old favorite of ours - and antique stores that we haven't been to in years. At my suggestion, we go to Sonic Boom Records. Shawn thinks I'm manipulating her and that this was part of my plan. She buys 2 CDs (Los Mocosos, Wayne Shorter) and I buy nothing. It's just past 5 and El Camino is open. Shawn was certain that I was going to suggest Thai and she's surprised by this choice. In fact, she's pleasantly surprised. We get in early, so we're seated right away. We're not in the mood for children, so we head to the bar. Shawn orders a house drink called a Granada, sort of a cranberry martini, she later explains. I stick to water, though I was seriously considering a beer since my mouth was parched. The waitress earns her tip refilling my glass alone. They should get larger glasses.

Dinner was lovely. Shawn had the Chile Rellenos and I had Almond encrusted Halibut in a smoked tomato sauce. Really tasty. The conversations we had were fun. We discussed many things, including what to put in place of the vine maple and the movie we just saw. We held hands a lot. The dessert menu was not enticing. By then, the place was packed and our waitress was scarce. The waitress apologizes, but we thought nothing of it and gave her a good tip. Shawn tells me that she wants to see what's attached to the tattooed horns poking up from under the top of the waitresses shirt. This is not a flirtation with lesbian attraction, but rather a curiosity to see the entire artwork. The nature of such art is that it teases so well in our society. It's serves a similar functions to veils in other cultures - revealing just enough that the viewer desires to see much more than is generally permitted.

We grab dessert at PCC next door and take it home where it is enjoyed by the fire. Lots of staring into each other's eyes. Short kisses and reflections on a lovely day. The disappointment Shawn felt about not going to the Flying Fish was but a distant thought. No worries. It will return.

Sunday was a more restful day. Shawn needed to study. I made pancakes in the morning. A man came to dug our vine maple up. He has a dry sense of humor. He speaks with arrogant, amused tones about the culture of rural Monroe while watching a neighbor's teen aged boyfriend drive off, loud music blaring, in his overly large truck. It is funny that this kid is driving the "this compensates for my penis" vehicle, but the man is driving a large, luxury SUV. What's the difference? But actually, the man is commenting on the truck in general, really, because the only difference between this kid and a similarly aged kid in the city is that the kid in the city would be driving his dad's old dodge dart, or the slightly more modern equivalent. Still, I have my amusement and he has his. We smile at each other, pretend we understand each other and all is well and good. We leave him to his digging, trusting him to not destroy our yard. He's surprised, but we have an errand to run and he was late. Besides, we're trusting sorts and judges of character. That's the way we are out in rural Monroe. *smirk*

We go to Fry's. They advertised a good price on Nero CD Burning software. This time, they advertised the software. When I was in 2 week's ago, I thought the same thing, but they had advertised a book for the software instead and put the wrong picture beside it in the ad. Funny, shouldn't they have advertised the software before the book which explains how experts can use it? Or even advertised them both at the same time? I'm much too dumb for retail.

We look at notebooks and tablet PCs. Shawn wants to get one. Her's is only a couple of years old. She complains that it weighs too much, but she doesn't want to sacrifice screen size. She realizes that, in order to lose some weight, she's going to have to sacrifice screen size. She doesn't really need a new notebook. It's more of wanting the latest and greatest - did I mention that Shawn's a man? A man with ovaries, but very manly none the less. We don't buy a notebook, only the software, but at least she has a better idea of what's on the market. She's happy and tired and had enough of people. "Maybe I'll buy online," she says.

Once home, we walk around the yard and discuss projects. We discuss getting gates in the front that connect to our neighbor's fences. We take a walk around the block and look at our meta-neighbors fences. Shawn enjoys the sunshine. We look at our own yard again, discuss what to put into the hole that was a vine maple, and water the plants we put in the ground last week. Shawn discusses getting even more plants. I remind her of the drought. I discuss getting lots of garden plants. Shawn reminds me of the drought.

We retire inside. Shawn goes to studying. I clean house a little, then go to install the new software. There are updates to the software! Yes, I want them! They are on a s-l-o-w server and take forever to download; well, two hours. Once installed, the first disc I burn is of the updates! Success! Shawn comes to check on me as I am poking around the new toy. She has discovered that the California Guitar Trio is playing at the Triple Door and invited myself, Carl (her classmate), and his wife to go. We're getting back from Vancouver that will be a busy day. Still, Carl's invited and we're going. Good...I like the California Guitar Trio.

We're both too uninspired to cook dinner, so it's Boca burger night. Fine conversation. We missed another call from Sandy - damn. More talking of yard. Discussions of vacation. Talk of PC and not very PC flirting. Two hours have passed. It is time for bed where I dream of work and Shakespeare and Stoppard.

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