Wednesday, May 11, 2005

A Day In May

What a difference a day makes.

Okay, today is one of those days where I wake up, thinking I can conquer the whole world. I probably won’t get beaten down into reality until at least noon. Also, Mulan is still asleep and this is the magic hour where I whip around and get things accomplished.

Tonight I’m making a dinner for a friend’s birthday. My friend Julia. Our kids were best friends first and then we became friends. She is wonderful. We are exactly the same age – well, she is six months older than me. I am always asking her for her sage advice. She is astonishing, this Julia. She is majorly into crafts and is fantastic at them. And she gets these enthusiasms. She was really into quilting – well she still is. But she was getting all these wonderful quilts made in the forties and fifties on e-bay and then repairing them. She got one for Mulan that is amazing. She got me a book about quilting (I was actually already into quilts, but I’ve never made one) and now we are going to take a quilting class this summer. All I’m saying is that I’m thinking: bowties or maybe octagons, or then there’s the wedding ring style. Oh, it’s all so exciting. Then Julia got into vintage glasses. She would buy these amazing vintage glasses on e-bay for like…a dollar. The thing Julia really has, I realize, is taste and stamina. Which means that if I were going through six thousand vintage glasses on e-bay, I wouldn’t have the wherewithal to look at them all, and then I wouldn’t have the good taste to pick out the best ones. Then Julia got into vintage class rings. She got one for herself and it ended up having her husband’s initials on it, without her realizing it would. It’s from the thirties and it’s gold and it’s gorgeous. It’s from some technical college in the Midwest. And it cost like…three dollars. Then she got me a ring, it’s from 1937. We aren’t sure where it’s from. It’s silver. It’s gorgeous. I like wearing it. It cost about four dollars. I am always looking forward to Julia’s next enthusiasms. Also, Julia is a very good writer on top of it. But she’s being a full-time mom right now. Julia’s next project is a home made doll house for her daughter. She went and bought wrapping paper to be the wallpaper in each of the rooms and had someone cut the pieces of wood. She bought greeting cards to be paintings in the rooms. I can already see it’s going to be a work of art. Julia worked at Martha Stewart Magazine before her mom-gig. Like that wasn't already obvious. She comes from the world of periodicals. And she's got great advice about clothes and writing too. It's almost too much for one person to be good at all that.

Speaking of wallpaper, the garage map-of-the-world is going up today. I cannot wait. And Mulan is ahead in her homework. And Lisa is back in town and everything is much, much, much better. Last night I had Lisa babysit because I had to go to a meeting for a possible job as a writer on a TV show. The meeting was at seven and lasted until eight. I had Lisa until 9:30. Lisa drives an hour to get to us, so I don't feel good unless I have her babysit three hours, cause it's not really worth it for her.

And so after the meeting I had an unexpected hour and a half to kill with a babysitter and no where to go! Not enough time for a movie. I don’t want to shop. I called my friend Wendy and she was busy and then Bob and he was busy. I should have called Greg. But he would probably have been busy too. But anyway, it all led to this ridiculous hour of me driving around with no destination in mind saying to myself: I can do whatever I want! I can do whatever I want! And really having no place to go.

I ended up eating Chinese food at this little restaurant on Beverly and reading my issue of New Scientist magazine. This is just my favorite magazine right now. I read all about how lightening bolts create themselves inside clouds along with stuff from outside the Earth’s atmosphere (cosmic rays help make lighening!) and then, this amazing article about reconciliation between animals. Conflict resolution. Turns out we have a lot to learn about conflict resolution from other species. Revenge, this is the problem. Conflicts arise, of course, but in other species, they can get resolved quickly. In the quickest scenarios, it’s the loser of the initial conflict that comes and makes up. Makes some gesture at a truce. So it's the losers who are the ones who are really responsible for resolution. If they accept their state and adjust and reconcile with the dominant one, then peace is restored. But if they go off and lick their wounds and plan revenge, then it's another story.

Bonobos just have sex to make up for everything, even between members of the same sex, Sex is a huge communication tool for them. But our problem is revenge. Wanting and planning revenge. That really should be one of our seven deadly sins.

Anyway, the article did have all the usual scientific statement-of-the-obvious based on studies over years and years. Like: after careful examination of lemurs over ten years and graphed observations of every interaction, an estimated six million interactions, we have come to the conclusion that it’s more likely that reconciliation will occur when the two conflicting animals depend on each other for survival.


That’s when I don’t think I could be a scientist. Imagine working on that project. I would be running around saying, how many interactions does it take to prove something everyone knows already? And I know that is not all that scientific of me to have that attitude.

Oh my gawd, it's so gorgeous here. Really sunny and beautiful. I hope I get time to go around twice at Runyon Canyon. And write ten pages for my book. And get the house organized. And make pizza on the grill for tonight. And a cake. And get the house sparklingly clean.
Yes, I can make it happen!

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