Bad news yesterday at the College of the Desert Architecture Club barbecue: I won't know what I got on theTechnical Drafting final exam until sometime next week. (The waiting, as they say, is the hardest part.) The magic number here is 91. If I got 91 or better, I get an A in the class, albeit a low A. If I don't then I won't be able to claim I got straight A's in my first semester at College of the Desert.
Here's the roster of the grades that I do know...
Intro to Construction Management: A
Intro to Architectural Professions: A
Elementary Spanish: A
History of Architecture: A
California Building Codes: A
But this bad news was offset by a few things.
Okay, by every other thing in my life right now.
Marcos' dad's guacamole was amazingly good. (So good, in fact, that I didn't even mind that people turned up their noses at my selection of side dishes from Jensen's Supermarket, because frankly, so did I: that guacamole rocked.) It is so beautiful here in the Coachella Valley right now. We had two days of rain. As in, actual rain. As in, actual drops of water descending from the sky. On the nightly local news, they were downright giddy. And who wouldn't be after having to report night after night after night on whether tomorrow was going to be Sunny or Partly Sunny. But yesterday, the sun was out and on tops of snow covered mountains fluffy white clouds sat like white cats on white satin cushions, a charming backdrop for the palm trees. Truly, I live in one of the most beautiful places on the planet. And That Cowboy found work! He does kitchen and bath renovations, and for the past few weeks, new jobs were just not coming in, resulting in cashflow issues and also him getting a little sulky.
P'r'aps I should tell you all a little bit about That Cowboy, huh?
He grew up in Texas and North Africa, where his father worked in the oil industry. He speaks fluent french and a little arabic, and when he speaks English, it's with a pronounced Texas drawl. He one got first place in a rodeo event. Before Palm Springs, he lived in Colorado and Montana. He drives a big white pickup truck that always seems to be on the verge of breaking down. For many years, he was a devout mormon, and it caused him a great deal of pain when he was excommunicated after he came out. But, he now seems to be a mormon who is finding expression of his faith in the context of the Episcopal Church, as he's been coming with me on Sunday mornings to the great little church I've been attending here. That Cowboy and I talk about God and such not infrequently, and I love that. I've gained an appreciation of mormon spirituality of late, a faith I heretofore only associated with odd undergarments.
Here's an example: mormons believe that before you are born, you sit up there looking at your life as it will be lived out, with all the joys and sorrows and pain and heartache loves and losses, and you choose affirmatively to be thus embodied as you are born into this earthly existence, without any memory of the pre-ordained life you are going to lead, but only the secure knowledge that it will be a good one. I think that's one of the most beautiful and sublime concepts I've heard anywhere, and I've decided to adopt it as my own.
To be sure, the Mormon Church is not particularly popular right now amongst the Gays in California, which brings its own challenges for That Cowboy, but he manages it with pluck and aplomb. And don't get me started on this whole gay marriage thing. Just don't.
I have fallen behind in my shaving of the head and the face in the past few weeks. Lo these many years, I've been fairly religious about shaving the head and the face on alternating days, but lately, I've been skipping a day in between. In part, that's because what's the fun of being a full-time student if you're not a little bit shambling and disheveled. But also, I idly mentioned to That Cowboy how nice it would be to have an outdoor shower on my patio, and he went and built me one. So here I am, a week before Christmas, when snow blankets that not-quite-real realm we here refer to as "Back East," and I'm taking a shower out on my patio, looking up at the snow-covered mountains and the palm trees and such. But, as I don't yet have a shaving mirror installed out there, shaving only takes place when I take a bath, and outdoor showering is such a wonderful experience that I'm only doing that when I decide that I "really need to shave."
And it's Christmas.
Today, I needs must be running around to put the final touches on my Christmas gifts. We're privileging creativity over extravagance this year, and I'm pretty happy with my gift selections, and I hope those on my Christmas list will be happy with their presents.
Which I'll be dropping in the mail, of course.
I'm a bit bitter about the fact that my first Christmas here in the Coachella Valley won't be spent in the Coachella Valley. I will be jetting off to Venice, Florida, to spend the holiday with my brother and his wife.
I should like Florida, right? It's got palm trees, I like palm trees. It's got beaches, I like beaches. But it's like, you take a bunch of meth-addled wacko rightwingers, the exteme elderly (the median age in the city my brother lives is 73), bunches of cuban exiles who think that any day now they're going to be marching back into their mansions in Havana and kick out those filthy campesinos who they kept locked in hopeless poverty and illiteracy while they lived there a half a century ago, and some of the most mindless gays that you'll find anywhere, put'em all together in a big pot, and stir. And mosquitos. Lots of mosquitos. And feral hogs. If you want me, I'll be out on the lanai, chug-a-lugging Dran-O.
But, I'm off to Florida.
When I get back, I'll have a month before the Spring semester starts up. In an attempt to get some kind of inflow of cash, I've decided to find out where the local offices of Hard Labor Ready might be and spend my days hoping for work. I've applied at the local Ho(t)me(n) Depot, but now is not the time to be looking for retail work. In my last go'round with Hard Labor Ready, I got some slightly-better-paying side jobs, and I'm hoping something similar will unfold. About the only other employment opportunity would be working the front desk at one of the many gay clothing optional resorts that grace our fair desert city. The pay at those places is really bad, and the hours--basically all night long selling lube and renting porn--would kill me.
And, I'm looking forward to Finally. Getting. Back. To. Going. To. The. Gym.
That Cowboy and I joke about how I am transforming, before his eyes, into a creature we will call "Blobbo." Just yesterday I amused myself by popping open the snap on my pants with the tiniest flex of the muscles in my lower abdomen. To be sure, since it's cool enough for me to be making meatloaf and scalloped potatoes for dinner, I'm my own worst enemy there. But still, I go to the gym not because I still entertain hopes as I once did about growing to Jon Claud Van Damm proportions, but because I enjoy it and it's nice to see the results that I do manage to achieve.
Anyway. I've got plenty to do today, so I best be at it. I realize full well that my posting here has dropped off considerably. In part, that's because I've been so busy, what with school and That Cowboy and such. But, too, I've been thinking that there can't be that much of a market for me going on and on about how beautiful my life is, how full of simple and wonderful moments. How content and at peace I am these days. How blessed. How truly blessed.
I mean, who wants to hear about all that crap, right?
But anyway, despite my exile to Florida for the holidays, I'm hoping to have good ones. And I hope that yours are wonderful, too.