Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Ye grass saga acontinuef.

A sparrow died on my porch sometime Sunday. At least, we think it was a sparrow. It lay on its back, showing light red, faintly shimmering highlights under its wings and tail. A very pretty corpse. I planned to move it to the spot by the hose (which I still have not unwrapped from winter: no, I didn't wash the car this weekend) with the bad grade and cover it with dirt I bought from Home Depot to reverse the grade; but by Monday evening it was gone. I don't know about Providence in the fall of a sparrow, but Providence evidently saw to its disposal.

Also on Sunday I got a visit from Brandon's dad. Brandon's dad (named Guy) wanted money. I stepped onto the porch with him and said, "I want to be clear that I didn't ask you to come except for the first time. I'll--"

"You've got good grass," he said, "and it grows quick. And it's harder to cut when it's heavy. It's better to have it done regularly. [My city's] pretty strict about grass. Would you rather pay to have it cut or get a $300 fine?"

"Can I continue?" I said. I have to admit it: I loved saying that. There's so much potential for a power shift in that one phrase. He nodded, and I continued: "I'll pay for this last time since I was going to call anyway, but I don't want you to come unless I ask you."

He said fine, and I wrote him a check and he left. Sometime later there was another knock on the door. I opened, and there was Guy: "Hey, I hadn't realized you didn't call us. I'm willing to let this one go free. Because we came last weekend too. But I'll let it go." I nodded and smiled, and he drove away on his John Deere tractor. He did not give me my check back, indicating that he had no idea what he was talking about--or what I was talking about, either one. At any rate it's clear that it's Guy's lawn-mowing business and Brandon is merely helping out. I'm now in the market for a new lawn mower. Again. God help me. Unless he's too busy burying sparrows.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Gazing-out-the-window thoughts

There are two crazy birds outside my window. They fly straight toward my window and then they hover at its surface without touching, they dart to the perpendicular window, they glance off the wall and wheel around the corner, and in a minute they come back and do it again. They seem to be having so much fun I'd be jealous even if I weren't inside trying to read an undergrad's research paper. (The paper isn't bad; it's just a research paper. You know.)

I have also suddenly noticed that the grass in the cow field is very long (and full of small black birds) and gone to seed. I know the cows have been out there every day, though they're not there right now. How many cows are necessary to keep X square feet of grass neatly cropped? Perhaps it wasn't ghost cows at my house after all. (Then again, noncorporeal cows might not have any limits on how much grass they could eat. But then what would stop them from eating and eating and eating until the entire world was grassless? Not that this would bother me unduly.)

The weather's going to be only okay this weekend, but I want to (a) have a picnic and (b) wash my car (ha! Like I've wanted to the last four weekends!) anyway. I think I need to build up tolerance to cold. I also need short-sleeved shirts I can wear to work, as the only one I'm really comfortable in now has a bleach spot and I feel slightly frumpy wearing plain T-shirts.

My African violets are still blooming on my windowsill. I'm beginning to suspect they're fake. Did I mention that I planted two houseplants a couple of weeks ago, a thyme and a red-veined plant, and the thyme was fine for three days and then it suddenly turned crispy? This is the same pot I killed my last kalanchoe in (I can get more from Mom, who's still, I believe, got the original grown from the seedling I stole from biology lab, but I feel like this was peculiarly my plant and also kalanchoes die in a particularly gruesome way--they turn mushy and pink). As Eric suggested, perhaps this is a Pot of Death, and I should throw it out. Or keep it around to threaten the red-veined plant with. "Grow healthy and strong, or I'll transplant you into the Pot of Death!" I wonder if this would work with my tomato plants.

Thursday, May 26, 2005


(Hi, Jade!)
(And also Mary since I don't think I actually acknowledged you here in Blogland other than in comments before. Hi!)

Partly due to, or perhaps augmented by, the delightful sudden rediscovery of the two ladies so discreetly mentioned above, I've been feeling divided for the past while. Thirded, to be specific. First, there was elementary school and Quest (hello Jade, Mary, Megan, Alena); then there was college and EEP (hello M, X, Raney, Brian, and a bunch of others); then there was grad school and work (hello Eric, Jen, other Jen, Joe, Russell, Holly). Life goes in stages, I know, but I've been feeling those joins keenly the last few days, when I want to talk to somebody about something from one of the other two thirds of my life-to-date and can't because they don't know what I'm talking about and they haven't shared those experiences. The wide flat ribbons keeping this three-piece suit on me are my family and myself, my thoughts and memories and, a bit, my writing. I've always recorded things. I read when I was thirteen that some people become writers because they're afraid of losing even a little bit of life, and so they squirrel it all away. I'm not sure that's an exact fit but I hate to lose the things I want to remember, that I think are important or funny or whatever. I just deleted the other blog. I saved everything, but it feels wrong all the same.

Oh, and more prosaically: the scarf's too long. I'm going to remove a foot or two of it and make a silk scarf for my wooden dancer doll with the remnants.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005


While I lay in bed this morning in my pre-admitting-I-have-to-get-up drowse, I thought about Shoelace. Specifically, I thought: what if I write all the Aly scenes first? And then all the Risse scenes? I admit this might be my mind trying to wriggle out of writing the particular Risse scene I'm currently stuck at, but I also think the idea has merit. Aly's the more conventional hero and her storyline is more action-oriented, and I'd get through the story twice as fast. Of course that's also a danger, that I'd get to the end and not feel like filling in the other half, but Risse is my favorite part of the story--she's just harder. And I'd get to go through the story twice without actually calling it a revision, which might or might not be a good thing.

Of course Risse's storyline (or rather, her point of view) starts earlier, but as she's responsible for a lot of the things Aly has to react to it feels right to have her last to fill in motivations and machinations and such. Maybe I'm completely wrong. But I like this idea.

I'm still fairly discouraged about work. I'm going to follow people's suggestions (except for NQS's about quitting) and try to be better (particularly behaviorally, according to their idea of good behavior--I may have to rant about this later), and I'm staying late tonight to job-hunt. Then if I have the time and inclination I'll iron my silk scarf (this sounds weird, at least to me, but it's recommended at the website). (Assuming I don't have to shorten the scarf. It was 6' or 7' when I got it wet to block it; I didn't think silk would stretch much, but it turned out to be about 10' when I laid it on the towel. I stretched it widthwise to shorten it; we'll see how it ends up.) Tomorrow I think I'm going to the library to do some research. Friday I'm buying Pam so that I can use my sandcastle Bundt pan. Phoebe bakes for relaxation; I don't know that it'll work for me, but whimsy usually helps.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005


I met with Not-Quite-Supervisor today to get suggestions on how to improve. NQS told me that I don't belong here and I should quit. It wasn't quite that bald, but it was very close. I asked him for suggestions on how to improve and he said I needed to change my personality. He did give me one practical suggestion, to become champion for a project that, he said, would fit more with my narrow, rigidly structured, uncreative, unpassionate mind. I'm starting to feel insecure about my relations with everyone at work at this point.

On the plus side, I met with Jen afterwards and we went to Barnes & Noble, where I got The Action Heroine's Handbook, and to California Pizza Kitchen, where I got the new white pizza. Both are yummy. It was nice to talk with someone who doesn't think I'm a total loser. (Right, Jen? Right? Right?)

Brain spinnings

My morning glories are up! Or evening glories. I don't know the difference and I planted them in the same pot. The seedlings seem to be all the same type of plant, but then you'd think morning and evening glories would be pretty similar (would you?) so maybe that's not helpful. I'll find out when the flowers bloom, if they do. My peas are up, and my raspberry plant seems to have recovered from its chop. This time around the mysterious mowers didn't cut down any of my plants, just sprayed the dirt with a fine mist of grass cuttings. In the meantime there's this pile of sticks on the side of my house from when I pruned the monster plant that was eating my garage, and of course they just mow around it. The grass under the sticks is waist-high and going to seed. And it occurs to me: surely there must be a way to produce grass that doesn't need cutting. Perhaps lawnmower companies have formed a lobby to prevent plant geneticists from working on it. And then it occurs to me: I think about grass way, way too much.

It has also been suggested to me that perhaps the mysterious mowers were not Brandon and Co. Perhaps they were ghost cows. You know how ghosts go "Oooooo, oooooo" in that howling-wind sort of way? Ghost cows do the same thing, only they say "Moooooo, moooooo." The little girl who once asked to go to my wedding in order to see Eric in a dress and I discussed them recently. Perhaps the ghost cows came on Saturday and ate all my grass. There was no note and no phone call last night. I want to leave out something, like the Irish do with pans of milk, or whatever it is, for spirits, so that they come again; but what could ghost cows possibly want beyond grass?

I spent a good chunk of yesterday outlining ideas for The Book Club (the library/coffeehouse/nightclub). I offered an online friend of mine a job once it's in business but he said he'd rather just spend all his money there, which is fine by me. I'm spending a good chunk of today outlining my plan to make myself into a model employee at work. This plan is for sharing, so there are no checkpoints such as "See if supervisors have been sufficiently placated by attempts to talk more in meetings even when I have nothing to say."

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Friday, Saturday, Sunday

Friday I went to the doctor and learned that I had a granuloma on my foot, where I had assumed I had an ingrown toenail from an incident six months ago that involved me accidentally kicking a metal gate very hard with a besandaled foot. "Granuloma" means, essentially, "benign but annoying ball of flesh," and it's fixed by cutting off the granuloma and cauterizing the base so that it doesn't grow back. I would have liked to watch this, but I couldn't because once the doctor started I got faint and nauseous. The doctor was reassured when I told him I have the same reaction when I give blood. I despise this reaction of my body. It's entirely unfair. I don't want to be a wuss, and I want to see what's going on and how they do these things and everything, but my body apparently wants to be prone and be given cold compresses and cups of water, and by pulling that blood pressure trick it always wins. Meanie.

Saturday Eric and I went to see Star Wars Episode III. This is not something I'd ever do of my own volition, mind. The things we do for the ones we love. But it wasn't nearly as bad as I feared, though I wouldn't call it good. I did pity Natalie Portman, though, for her immortal line "You're breaking my heart!" I was also of the opinion that certain scenes were not included because they were important for the story so much as they expressed certain feelings on the part of George Lucas, but there's no way of verifying that, of course.

Afterwards we went to a bookstore and were browsing the science fiction section, where three guys were talking about something (I have no idea what) to do with D&D. I was looking for Villains By Necessity when Eric came up to me and said, low, "I want to make fun of those guys for being geeks, but I can't because I know exactly what they're talking about." The guys laughed and talked to him about D&D and the movie (he tried to reassure them it wasn't that bad, but they were unconvinced) and a blond woman about my age looked at me and said, "One of those guys is my fiance." I smiled and tried to say something appropriate, but I don't remember what I said and I'm sure it didn't work since I still have no idea what would be appropriate to say. I'm still not sure whether she was amused or insulted. I'm hoping the former.

And today Eric and I discussed opening a library/coffeehouse/nightclub. It would be, essentially, paradise for geeks of most types (including the ones at the bookstore). We're not sure it could be viable, especially as the nightclub would have to pay for the library, sort of the way the sciences in an Arts and Sciences college pay for the arts. On the other hand, it would be a neat solution to always-overflowing bookcases in our personal collections. On the other hand, it might necessitate one of us getting an MBA. That would probably have to be me. Or perhaps I could get a friend of mine whose name starts with M to help us out. It was interesting to tabulate the resources we had, based on friends and family, that would be useful in such an enterprise. A lot like planning a wedding, I imagine, only with a heck of a lot more debt--but longevity, too, I suppose. At least that would be the plan.

Oh yes, and: my grass has been cut again. On Saturday, while we were at the movie and bookstore. I did not ask for this. I was going to on Monday, but I hadn't yet. I don't suppose there's any good reason for me to feel cross about getting another free cut, or about getting my grass cut when I wanted it to be cut, but Brandon and Co. are seriously annoying me now. Sunday morning someone pounded on the door. I was in bed and not prepared to face somebody in my pajamas and oily face, so I lay there and whoever it was, presumably Brandon or his dad looking for payment, went away. No note, but I bet there'll be one tomorrow. I am going to pay for this one since I would have asked for it anyway, but I am also going to make it clear that if they continue to cut my grass not on my request while I'm not home they'll only be doing it for their health.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

To do

So this is a list (mostly for my own reference) of things I have to do. Not necessarily in the next N days, you understand, but sometime in the foreseeable future.

  • finish silk opera scarf (95% complete)
  • finish shell (97% complete)
  • blue cross strap tank
  • summer cardigan
  • dye yarn Mom sent me
  • knitting bag from yarn Mom sent me
  • finish Mariah (30% complete)
  • finish Unbiased (25% complete)
  • Helix
  • green chenille set (probably for Christmas)
  • brown Zara set (probably for Christmas)
  • tan chenille sweater
  • possible Bev Christmas present
  • possible James Christmas present
  • get rid of the rest of my yarn, whether by projects or giving it away
  • TVFW, maybe, as a going-away present for work
  • finish TST (for Christmas--it's all done but the quilting and binding)
  • make WUALF (to store or give away, I'm not sure--I need to make it only because I came up with the cutest frog block in the world for it)
  • CaH (for Christmas)
  • Ohio Dreams (for me)
  • maybe CitW (for Christmas)
  • quilt for Korean grandma? (by next spring)
  • Annual Review 2004 (I, uh, still haven't quite finished it)
  • finish PV
  • finish Shoelace
  • Petra story for Three-Day Novel weekend
  • trim closet doors and put them up
  • replace downstairs bathroom handles
  • repair bedroom paint
  • clean basement floor
  • strip bathroom wallpaper
  • paint bathroom
  • paint bathroom drawers
  • paint sewing table
  • find a new job
  • research how to get into science writing
  • contact The Agent about selling my house
  • call my family more often
  • take up some less sedentary hobby, for heaven's sake

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

My first practical

"I need you to be on time...you moron," said a woman in a seminar on interpersonal interactions I attended today.

"Doesn't it sound so much worse with that epitaph on the end?" the instructor agreed.

At lunch I sat on a solitary picnic bench in the sun, in a courtyard bordered by the hotel we were in on two sides and the freeway on the third, and ate a banana and wrote in my notebook. I was about halfway through the other part of my lunch, an apple, when the door opened and a woman joined me.

She was older, white-haired, paisley-blouse-clad, and she was attending a "How to Trade" class that she'd heard about the day before on TV, and since, she said, she was just retired and was living on $730 a month--though that didn't start until June--she thought she'd come and learn about how to make money. She went on to say, "I'm emotionally retarded--people laugh when I say that, but it's true. It's because of the way my mother brought me up," and talked about that and about how her daughter (or step-granddaughter? I wasn't quite clear) yells for everything and how kids living at home after they're eighteen need to follow the rules and learn to be independent and that she cleans up after church and was trying to instruct her new helper using "I" and thought she should be using "you" but she was sure that in other situations my seminar (in which I was told to do the opposite) had the right idea.

She peppered the conversation with comments about Jesus. "Jesus knew what he was doing." "Jesus helped me grow through giving me these circumstances." "Jesus had a plan for me." I had no problem with this (although my understanding was rather that God did more of the planning, but then it's been a while since I've read the Bible) while she was talking about her own faith, but at 12:30 somebody came to tell her the class was starting, and as she prepared to get up she asked me, "Have you accepted Jesus into your life?"

"No," I said, pleasantly.

She said I had better before it was too late, since there was only heaven and hell and there was only one way to heaven, as it was written in John 3:17, "I am the way, the truth, and--"

"--the life. No one comes to the Father except through me," I finished with her as she stood and rounded the table to stand near me.

"You've heard it."

"I've read the Bible."

"But you still haven't taken Jesus into your heart?"


She held up her goblet of water, taken from the hotel (I had one just like it back in the conference room). "I ought to pour this over your head."

She said it pleasantly. I said, in the same tone, "It's warm out; it might feel good."

"What's your reasoning?" she said, coming closer.

I thought about starting a discussion; but I didn't want to, and she was too elderly (which I only mean in the most respectful way) for me to argue with, and her class was starting, and one of the morning lessons had been "Don't argue unless you have something to gain," so I said, "I don't want to get into it."

"I see," she said.

"It was nice to meet you," I said, and she said the same in a somewhat less pleasant tone and went to her class, and I moved to a couch indoors to avoid getting sunburned and finish eating my apple.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

So here we are again.

It's kind of nice to start over, actually. I feel a bit safer. The new blog's name may be no less silly than the old one, but it fits me better now, too. I guess four years--four years? Yeah, thereabouts--will do that to you.