Wednesday, August 31, 2005

What else I did at work today.

Other than proofread and probably alienate Peggy, that is. I like Peggy; but I haven't been able to be friendly with anyone at work other than Marie lately. It's not that I'm feeling unfriendly; just tired. Or unwilling, maybe. In this vein, some advice of M's today gave me a particular sting. (But not a bad one, M. It's just that no one has been as direct as you were.) I'm going to have to think about it, but I'm tending towards following some of it. My tree in the front--I forget what it's called--is shedding its leaves already. I need to pick up the sticks in the yard so that the lawn guy can mow again. Lawn care over the summer turned out not to be so expensive after all. Well, maybe if I'd invited someone over I wanted to impress with a nice yard; but as it is, no problem.

So other than that, I bid on a drop spindle set. It's to teach me to spin, the way women have been spinning since they first discovered it, up until the 14th century, I think, when they invented the spinning wheel. I've been reading a lot of knitters' blogs and spinning seems to be a natural progression thing, and I've been reading Doomsday Book about all the things Kivrin learned for her two weeks' jaunt into 1320; and while I don't think I'll be doing a lot of it, I think it's worth the ten dollars to learn it.

(I also finished Beggars in Spain on the trip to Seattle. The first part disturbed me a bit, but I liked it a lot. Enough that I think I won't read the sequels, if that makes any sense. It also spurred me to write about twelve hundred words under the heading of What to Expect When You're Expecting to Spawn the New Master Race.)

And other than buying strange stuff off eBay, I looked up the Ohio Renaissance Festival. I think I'd like to go this weekend or weekend after next--next weekend we're going to the Toledo Gem and Rockhound Club show. One good thing about dating someone in a different city is we have twice the events to choose from, but I'd be happy to give up that advantage.

It's lovely out. I should go take a walk. But I'm going to read instead, and maybe finish up the Tivoli shirt. Besides, it's dark. I'm going to try to do yardwork Friday, or tomorrow if I feel like it, but I bet I won't. I meant to cook something tonight with my rapidly yellowing broccoli, but I didn't. I've been taking homemade soup to work a lot in the past couple of weeks; it seems to work well, other than people asking why Campbell's isn't good enough for me, and there's a recipe for Cream of Green Vegetable (or something) in one of my cookbooks; maybe I'll take that out. Or not. I should stop being home all the time in the evenings, I think. I don't get anything done anyway.

For the digressication files

Accession. n. 5. Access. (American Heritage College Dictionary)

(From this site which gives "accession numbers" to retrieve documents.)

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

If I weren't already a member of the Unitarian Jihad, I'd convert to this.

The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

Cross country

I had just arrived at my row on the flight from Dayton to Dallas. A woman in the row behind me said, "Hey, would you like to sit back here?...Or would you rather have the window seat?" I figured she had a reason other than getting off the aisle for wanting to switch, but she just looked at me, so I said, "I'd rather have the window seat." I settled into my seat while the woman said to someone near her, "I tried." Later, when everyone was on board, a man two rows up (in the window seat) turned around and said to me, "Would you be willing to switch seats?"

I waited. He looked at me. I said, "Why?"

"Because that's my fiancée, and he's her husband," he said, nodding at people in the general direction of my neighbor and the woman behind me. I consented. I wonder whether that woman thought I agreed to the man's request because he was a man, or because he was the second request, rather than because he gave me a reason--even though I had to ask for it. I don't think it was unreasonable of me to want a reason.

The wedding was nice. There were about 150 people in Aunt Karolyn's (and now Mike's) backyard. I had been assigned the job of greeter, which I started to resent very quickly as I stood in the front in the sun and listened to the group of assigned traffic controllers talk about how difficult their women were. (One of them had brought his pregnant fiancée, and the fiancée was wearing an extremely tight white dress. Dad said perhaps she didn't want people to mistake her as fat. I don't think that would have happened, though.) The ceremony was very nice; they planted a rose of Sharon together and exchanged tokens and they both cried.

I also resented the cake-cutting--not the job itself so much as the woman who asked us to cut her a piece from the fourth tier when the second tier was the same flavor (white) and was merely less pretty. A man came up and asked for a second piece for his wife, and added, "She's pregnant, so she's excused from everything food-related." I said something about how maybe she was, but he wasn't, and Mom told me you don't say things like that. I meant that he was doing the food-related stuff for her--I think; I don't even remember really now--but I guess I can see how that came out wrong. Anyway, otherwise the day was fine, though I didn't get to talk to anyone as much as I would have liked to. That night we talked about my career prospects and plans, and Mom broke into a harangue about how I'm too sarcastic and that's why nobody likes me. I'm finding I still resent that. Usually I don't after a day or so. I was very curmudgeonly most of the weekend, come to think of it. Maybe it was a good thing I had to leave so soon.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Whirlwind weekend

I'm off tomorrow, at dark o'clock, for Seattle and Aunt Karolyn's wedding. Her wedding present would fill my entire travel bag, so I think I'm taking two carryons. They'll let me do that if I put my purse in one of them. It feels funny to be packing so light when I'm flying across the country, but all I need are the dress and sandals to wear to the wedding, extra underwear and socks, my toothbrush, and the traveling clothes I'll be already wearing. My entertainment (knitting and a book) takes up more room. And of course this present. It's an enormous popcorn bowl, Carcassonne (a game that says "Especially good for 2 players" right on the box, which is a nice feature), and some popcorn and mixed nuts. Nice for a night in. I'll have to keep this in mind for any other second/third weddings I might go to. Where the bride and groom are over 50. Yeah. (Actually, now that I think about it, I always put little stuff in wedding gifts. I put chocolate chips and Pam spray in Chad and Jennifer's and cocoa in Eric and Shanna's and little condiment cups in Bev and Philip's. Only those might have been off the registry. I'm pretty sure I threw something supernumerary in there, though.)

I'm looking forward to being home again, even if briefly, and seeing everyone I didn't see in Las Vegas. (Plus one person I haven't seen in thirteen years.) And being in a place where the cicadas don't screech incessantly in the night. And the day. I'm not looking forward to trying to sleep on the plane--because considering I haven't been sleeping well in the last couple of weeks I certainly won't get to bed very early tonight--but them's the breaks.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

From the nondisclosure agreement.

"The Employee shall not engage in any outside compensated activity without approval...Such approval will not be unreasonably withheld and should normally be granted for any activity that...does not have the potential for placing mental or physical demands on the employee to the detriment of his/her performance."

Probably shouldn't start my voodoo doll business, then. Darn.

I wonder if posting this is a violation of the agreement? I haven't read that far yet.


I finished The Big Over Easy--a while ago, actually; since then I've been reading Jane Austen. I was disappointed. It was still a fun Jasper Fforde jaunt through a quirky world, but the prose seems to have regressed to that of his first book (I think he was getting better in two through four--it's never been stellar, but acceptable) and I wasn't impressed with his characterization or, really, the plot. It was fun, but not good. I'm afraid I shan't be buying the second one in hardcover or possibly at all (through I probably will, to see if he's improved).

I also spent some time last night with notecards for the Petra story. It needs an actual title. What would you call a story about a superhero's wife who gets jealous because of another superhero (who's really just trying to finish school) and ends up as the supervillain's legal defense? At least, I think that's what it's about, based on the notecards. I'm using the notecards to write down interesting things that could happen. When I run out (fairly soon; I should buy some more) I'll cut them apart (they're two ideas to a card) and try to arrange them in some logical fashion. Or throw them up in the air and try to write the story that comes down. That would be insane, but it could be interesting, too.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Changing plans

This is an interesting site, at least for me.

Driving home from Toledo Sunday night I kept seeing people sitting along the freeway. That is, not along the freeway itself, but along the access roads that paralleled the freeway. Groups of people on lawn chairs waving at the people going by. I haven't the faintest idea what was going on. The shuttle passed by too far south, and nobody gets so excited about the Perseids that they line up along the freeway two hours before dark.

Today I went to donate blood. One tissue plug and one dry stick later, I was out of arms and they had no blood from me. I'm supposed to give my arms a couple of days to let the holes heal and then come back. They told me to sit in the canteen a few minutes and eat something even though they hadn't taken anything out of me. That's the only place I ever eat Keebler cookies.

In better news, Eric got a new job! He is now a Catholic high school chemistry teacher. It's less funny than it sounds. (Also it has a dress code so we got him some actual nice-looking clothes Saturday. I'm sorry I'll never see him in them.) It's also a much better job for him than his current one but it does mean that he'll be in Toledo for a couple of years at least. And that he won this race that we've been having (in my mind anyway) about who would get a new job in the place of his or her choice first. Which means that I now have to get a job in Toledo. If I end up going to school next year it'll only be for a year, but I do need to do it. After that we'll move to Portland. Bev mentions it every time we talk, so she's not going to let me get away with not doing it.

Another consequence is that our Labor Day weekend plans have once again changed, since he needs to write up lesson plans. So no Chicago and, because I just don't think I'll get it together in two weeks with a wedding in the middle, no Three-Day Novel. Instead I'm going to bring my work laptop up and have a PV marathon, doing my darnedest to finish it (for God's sake) and not have to worry about it. This was not my ideal way to spend the weekend, but it's better than last year, I suppose, and I'm willing to make accommodations. (I still make more than he does. But only until I quit this job. I have a check-in meeting Wednesday that I suspect will not make me very happy. I'm happiest at work when I'm doing the work that won't get me promoted.)

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Gray. Yeah, again.

So Dad called tonight, asked how things were going, and we got on the topic of job hunting. He asked what things I'd considered and suggested going back to school in psychology. He said, "I would hate for you to waste your base education." He said, "It would be nice for you to be interested in something again." He's right. It would be very nice. I'm just about out of energy for my current job. I got off the phone with him and cried for a bit (not a big deal; it's just something I do, automatically, when I seriously think about jobs and work and careers and all that--I thought I was supposed to be getting myself to believe a career isn't necessary, and now he's telling me that it is and I believe it, oh, so easily) and then looked up careers in psychology. I don't really want to do counseling anymore. If I wanted to do non-counseling, I'd have to get a Ph.D. And then I'd probably have to work in a university. The subject matter still interests me; the problem is that the only thing I want to do with it is learn it. Ideally, research would be great, but in a university with departmental politics and tenure tension and P.I. responsibilities would be far from ideal. I don't particularly want to be responsible for other people. I certainly don't want to have to be diplomatic and tactful, because as my performance at my current job evinces, I'm terrible at it.

Of course Dad is probably prejudiced in favor of my education because he paid for it. Also, as he said, if I'm going back to school, sooner would be better than later. Fall is the time for applications anyway. I'm grateful he didn't say something about wasting my talents or my time--and he didn't exactly say I was wasting my education. Though he got reasonably near it, possibly without meaning to.

So I don't want to do counseling. Mostly because it would involve a lot of people who are miserable for quite curable (mostly) reasons. I don't want to help people in general, I think. I want to help my kind of people. Who are they? Geeks and writers and gifted kids. I wish I wanted to teach; I could do something with that last group. I can't think of anything else to do with it without being wealthy. The other two groups don't need my help until I can open either TBC or a writer's retreat or commune (The Writer's Block?), and it's not so much that I'd like to help them as I'd like to be them. I could go back to school for either of those, too. I don't want to go back to school, especially not if I don't know what I'll do with the degree I get. I don't want to sit here at twenty-five with no ideas for my future, either. I'm starting to hear last year's refrain of I can't do this, but it's no more true now than it was then. Unless the thing I can't do is figure out what the hell I want.

Time to hit again.

You know, people keep telling me to be dishonest, and I don't listen to them, and it gets me in trouble. I think there's a lesson here but I'm just too stubborn to learn it.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

You! hypocrite lecturer!—mon professeur,—mon loup!

So very, very lovely. I do not find The Dark Lord. Fear death by fanfic.


Sunday night I dreamed that I was at an airport to meet my parents so we could go to Korea together. Only I kept thinking of all the things I hadn't packed. Finally I found my parents and told them all the things I was missing, and we looked in my suitcase and it wasn't even mine. I woke up with a feeling of foreboding far surpassing anything this dream deserved, or the day it preceded either, because Monday was just fine. I stayed home from work. It was lovely. I should have done it again today.

My African violet is once again blooming--I have one mostly-open flower and eight buds. I don't know what made it decide to bloom again, but I'm pleased it did. Especially as the task my performance of which the violet was a present for (is that right?) has now come out with a sequel. Which is fine; I enjoyed the task more than most of my work here.

Sometime this week I need to buy the rest of the wedding present for Aunt Karolyn. And ask Mom if my black sundress (with flowers on it) will be appropriate. I don't think I'm worried about not packing properly for that trip (only two nights, anyway, I have clothes and such at Mom's house and I've got the DNA scarf to do on the plane). I think I'm unprepared to move on from where I am. Or I'm only interpreting my dream because I have nothing better to do. Then again (as I've said elsewhere), a dream interpretation probably says more about the interpreter than about the dream.

Thursday, August 11, 2005


I dreamed last night that my parents were getting divorced. I was at their house (which was not like their real house), eating cubed watermelon out of a dark bowl, and asking them why, after either twenty-seven or fifty-seven years (I'm not sure which; the former is the real number and the latter feels more like what I actually dreamed), they were going to do this. I never did get an answer. Didn't finish the watermelon, either.

There are no job listings I want to apply for today. So I looked for businesses to buy. Did you know that the only bubble tea-serving coffeeshop in west Seattle is for sale? I could buy it and sell gelato instead of sandwiches on the side. (Except if I moved to Seattle I'd be able to take care of my gelato deficit--I've tried multiple times to get gelato out here and have been foiled every time--by the gelato place that I hope is still there on...4th and Pine? Somewhere in that vicinity.) Or Hawaii's largest used book store. Just think of that. Working with books all day, owning your own business, and living in Hawaii. Except for this bit in the description: "95% of current sales come from website sales...Although seller has never pursued this business full time, it has the potential to become Hawaii's Largest Used Bookstore and become a must visit bookstore for the 2.5 million tourists who visit Hawaii Island annually." Uh-huh. On the other hand, just think of that--owning your own business in Hawaii and working with books all day but not people.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Singing in the shower

When I woke up this morning the cicadas were awfully loud. After I had laid in bed a few moments (okay, more than a few) it occurred to me that they were too loud for me to be hearing them through the walls. Such a high-pitched, steady, grating sound. Was a window open? I don't open windows much anymore. (I might as well be in an apartment for as much as I've been outside this summer. But anyway.) I got up and followed the sound. It led to my bathroom, and then to the shower. I hit the shower door, and the sound stopped.

Huh. It started again, and I hit the door again, and it stopped. I put my glasses on and looked all around. No sign of bugs. I opened the window and closed it again. I checked the sewing room closet, which has a big gash in the wall where the previous owners accessed the plumbing for the tub, and the sound was quieter. It was definitely coming from the shower itself. I turned on the water and the noise stopped; but when I turned off the water it started again. I went back to bed to lie down (because that's what I do in the morning). After a few minutes I got back up and turned on the water and switched it to run through the showerhead. No noise. "Idiot," I said to myself. It wasn't cicadas, it was pipes.

About five minutes later the noise started again. I hope the cicadas are dead or gone by the time I get home.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Items from the weekend

1. I'm traveling up 75, about an hour into the drive, singing along to whatever CD I had in the player at the time. A pickup truck pulls up beside me, and after a few seconds I glance over. The driver, a tanned man with salt-and-pepper (more pepper) hair, is gesticulating at me. I hmm to myself and roll down the window, and hear him yell, "Your tire!" I nod and smile. I don't notice anything wrong with the way my car is driving, and I wonder if perhaps he isn't playing a joke on me--but surely a man with salt-and-pepper (more pepper) hair would be too old for that. I'm not going to pull over on the freeway, however, so I get off at the next exit (the Anna/Minster exit, if you're curious) and stop at a huge, empty gas station.

My left rear tire is indeed sagging. Just then Eric calls and I ask him how much a tire has to be inflated to be safe to drive before getting out my pressure gauge and having it tell me 5 PSI. I swear a little. I get back in the car to drive to the air pump and a guy in a suburban pulls up. "Having some trouble?" he says. "I can change your tire for you if you need me to." He looks at the tire and points out a screw in it. "There's a truck repair place under that '99' sign down the road there," he says. "They'll patch it for you." I thank him and he drives away, and then I hang up with Eric and I drive away. The truck repair place is a vast empty blacktop with a garage on the left and a sign saying "Karriokee [sic] Fridays" on the right. The guy in the garage spends half an hour putting new treads on the rims for an eighteen-wheeler. Finally he has me pull my car into the garage and put it in neutral. Since he can't see the screw, he moves the car by rotating the tire with his hands, which I think is the coolest thing ever. He patches the tire and charges me $10.70 and I'm on my way. All the way up I can feel how buoyant my car is now.

2. This weekend we moved Eric's stuff out of his ex-wife's house, and by 'we' I mean 'a bunch of people other than me.' I did help unload afterward, but I figured it would be a good idea for me not to show up at the ex-wife's house. I told this to Mom Sunday and she said, "I knew you were smart." Instead I went shoe shopping with Toledo Jen. In the middle of testing the sandals I eventually bought Eric called and said, "Do you mind not getting the quilt?" The quilt in question was TEFL, the one I'd made for them as a wedding present, and they hadn't put it specifically in the divorce agreement, and now Shanna (whom I shall in future call The Ex, though I hope I won't have reason to) said she liked it and was keeping it. I said, "That's fine. I'll make you a better one." We hung up and I dropped into the chair beside Toledo Jen and grumbled about it for the next ten minutes. Before that I hadn't thought I cared much about it. While it was the best I could do at the time, I can do better now, and as Toledo Jen pointed out, I didn't really want anything that was theirs anyway. Anyway, they've had it stuffed in a closet since they got it, so I expect she wanted to keep it only to prevent Eric or me from having it. Now that I've slept on it (the thought, not the quilt), I don't care anymore. I'll make a better one.

3. I noticed I haven't been writing as much about personal things since the thing at work. They don't get to win.

3a. Saturday night when we went to bed Eric's back was sore from moving things and I made him lie down in the dark so I could rub it. I could feel his spine when I pressed down, how his muscles slid and gave way under my fingers, and thought about how his body is flesh and blood, just like mine, as precious as mine, as fragile; and I couldn't massage away the soreness. He said all that was important was that I tried, but I've never really believed that and I wanted to do more than try, but there wasn't anything I could do. I leaned close because it was dark, as if being able to see was going to help, and tried not to get teary because I do that a lot nowadays and I wish I wouldn't.

4. I helped sort boxes the next day and was amused by how many times I heard "Hey! I remember that!" When I think about it, I, too, could live quite well without most of the stuff I have. However, I think I get rid of things more regularly than he does. Also I definitely have a lower tolerance for clutter. We've agreed that should we move in together, he will have a study that I will not touch so that it can be as messy as he likes (except he has to bring the silverware back to the kitchen at least once a week) and the rest of the house will be up to my higher (but by no means exacting) standards.

4a. Eric personally owns about 12% of the world's Altoids.

Friday, August 05, 2005

I love PubMed.

You know what makes me happy? That I've been asked to do some research on circadian rhythms. I pulled up PubMed and found more than enough citations to fill the 8-10 hours I have to do the review in. (That's total hours, by the way, not consecutive, immediate hours.) I think I'm happiest when I get to look at science-type stuff for short periods of time--when no one expects me to be an expert at the subject, just to learn enough to tell other people. Now what kind of job would that suit? At any rate, it suits my own for a few hours, and that pleases me.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

It's August, not July.

Why, why, why do I have "Silver Bells" stuck in my head?

Pure poetry.

I don't open spam anywhere other than at work, but I'll occasionally open one here just for kicks. Today I found this (paragraphed slightly differently, but all the words there):

Now and then, reactor of razor blade
near pine cone.
When minivan inside tenor
is niggardly,
inside roller coaster
with near dust bunny.

Scrolling down it says something about "All Your Finances in One Place!" but we'll just ignore that.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

A slight petty aside.

I saw this picture before they did. I feel so incredibly smug about this. Don't know why. It's fun, though.

All my imagination

The doctor says it's not thrush, just food particles stuck on my tonsils. I'm skeptical, but I figure it isn't bothering me now, so I'll wait and see if it recurs next month for a third time and if it does, ask someone else. I would probably have had to switch doctors soon anyway. (And someone closer to either work or home would be useful.) On the up side, I got to work this morning earlier than I do most mornings.

And Bev has asked me to be her son's back-up guardian. I told her I was honored. She said, "He'll come fully loaded...with our life insurance and all." And immediately I was picturing myself as The Evil Aunt, spending the poor boy's inheritance on fancy cars and diamond-studded high-heeled shoes. Then, more realistically, picturing myself walking onto the bank saying "Yes, I have boatloads of money that belong to my little nephew here and I want to put some away for college and some for medical bills--" and the teller saying "You're going to steal his money and neglect him until he reaches adulthood, aren't you? And look at his poor crippled hands! You're going to use all his money on champagne and cabana boys, aren't you, you monster? And I bet you killed his parents, too." And then I would offer the teller a cruise on my new yacht with her own cabana boy attendant and she would, on her own initiative, deposit the money solely in my name with a pittance--say, thirty-seven cents, plus interest--for Gabe. Some people are so easily bought.

I have no idea where all this came from, except perhaps too many melancholy kid's books and bad made-for-TV movies. However, one thing is clear: I am, in at least some ways, indeed an Evil Aunt.

(For the record, my reply to Bev was "It wouldn't matter if he didn't." She then went on to tell me that she thinks it's a much better idea to pay off her house loan at 5% than save up for Gabe's college fund at 3%, but I'm fairly sure she was joking. If paying $100 extra takes 8 years off a 30-year loan, he'll still be graduating from college the year the house is paid off. $100 a month for 18 years at 3% interest, I don't know how often banks compound interest. But enough for a few quarters' worth of college.)

Monday, August 01, 2005

The King's Chevalier

I also finished The King's Chevalier, which is a good thing because the red cover kept bleeding whenever I got it wet. None of you will ever read this book, so I feel safe in saying that Renee dies at the end. I teared up reading about that last scene with Pierre. I never cry over books. I'll blame hormones for this. But it was a well-written, fun book. The author is Sam Sheilaburger or something like that. I'd be willing to read more of his stuff. Of course he's most likely long dead so that probably won't happen. I didn't get The Big Over Easy over the weekend, but since I'll be in that area tomorrow for my appointment I'll try to remember to stop at Books & Co and pick it up.

Things I did and didn't do this weekend.

The weekend was nice and relaxing. We went to see "Mr. and Mrs. Smith," highly recommended. Last week it was "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," also good but faintly creepy and I can't remember whether the book was that way or not. I remember the Vermicious Knids bugged me in the sequel but that's all I can think of.

I discovered I have thrush. It showed up last month in Vegas, but Mom told me it was a canker sore, so I didn't worry about it. Now it's back. Eric looked at it and entered "moldy mouth" into Google and came up with thrush. I'm getting it checked out tomorrow (at 8 AM. Why did I agree to this time? I mean, look at the facts: 1. My alarm is set for 7:30 usually, which is when I'd have to leave the house to get to the doctor's on time. 2. I don't respond to my alarm anymore anyway. 3. I could count a doctor appointment as sick time at work if I took the time off during work. 4. I have more sick time than I could use. 5. As evinced by 1 and 2, this won't count as work time) but am reasonably sure that's what it is. Moldy mouth. Yum.

I started work on WUALF, creating the frog block and figuring out how to cut it out so that I can actually sew the pieces together again. And the DNA scarf has been approved, so I don't have to start over on that again, which is nice. If Toledo Jen is unavailable Saturday I'll probably get a lot of work done on it.

I did not weed or wash the car. Color me surprised.

I realized last week that Labor Day weekend comes immediately after Aunt Karolyn's wedding, and thus I'd be (essentially) gone two weeks in a row. Not seeing Eric for three weeks does not please me, so I'm giving up the Three-Day and we're going to Chicago instead. I feel funny about deciding this. I'm not used to the idea of having to rearrange my life around someone else. --I'm not rearranging it and I don't have to; I want to; that's the part that feels funny, I think. I'll see if I can write Petra during NaNoWriMo--I haven't tried it yet, so it should be interesting. And I would like to finish something this year.