Sunday, December 31, 2006

To ring in the new

Christmas went well. I got some good things (including The Bread Bible and a great stone mortar and pestle--I got two, actually, so I traded the steel one in for a kitchen scale, which is also great), and so did Eric, and everyone seemed to like the presents we got them. Mom and Dad appreciated the miniature tree and stockings I sent them, as they never got their boxes of Christmas decorations from the old house, and Bev was delighted with the candles we left for them. Dinner was good--though I learned that preshredded cheese does not work for my mom's potato-cheese casserole. (At what point does it become mine?) We visited people and played games and had a good time.

The week between then and now was also good; it was very quiet at work, and I regained my health and munched my way through most of the popcorn tin. (Ahem. But I love this stuff at Christmas, and I only get it at Christmas.) I spent some time at work writing my 2006 Annual Review, which was longer than I expected, and my goals for 2007. It's been an interesting year, and I have some interesting goals.

In 2006, I started out unemployed. In February I got engaged. In April I went to Korea to visit my family and my mother's homeland for the first time ever. In May I got a job that I turned out to despise. In June I bought a house. In August Eric started school for his education degree. In September I quit the old job and got a new one. In November we heard that my cousin's baby has trisomy 18. That's not much of a way to end the year, but they're doing as well as they can, and otherwise things look good for both our families.

As for goals, here are some of my major ones:

1. Take more time to do the things I want and need to do--writing, crafts, cleaning--rather than give way to shared time. In this past year I've spent a lot of time doing what Eric wanted, or things that we could both do, rather than doing things on my own. I don't think that was wrong, necessarily, but I've been dissatisfied with it, and I think the only way to be less dissatisfied is to give up some of my shared time (which I do love) and take back some of my individual time.

2. Related, I want to be less dissatisfied with myself in general. I spend a lot of time being critical of myself, listing all the things i haven't done, need to do, have failed to do in the past. To-do lists are a good thing, but only so far.

3. Get through the wedding.

4. Write fiction. My two projects that I haven't finished (and want to work on), and just generally get back into the habit of it. I think I'm at a place, mentally and physically, where I can do that now.

5. Write nonfiction. There are some things I'm interested in doing, and I want to pursue this, at least a little bit.

6. Continue spinning. I'm really enjoying this. I've already told Eric he's getting me a spinning wheel for my birthday. (This way he gets me something I really want and he doesn't have to worry about picking it out. Also I'm going to pay for most or all of it.)

7. Continue crafting. I have baby quilts and curtains and socks to make--though nothing urgently, which is a luxury and one I'm enjoying right now. But I like being both creative and productive, and there are some things I want to practice and accomplish.

8. Continue yoga and get into some other regular exercise. I turned out to like yoga a lot more than I thought I would (because of its lack of aerobic effort). I got a yoga mat for Christmas, and that would also be excellent for pilates, which I liked and got out of the habit of in the past several months--see #1.

I think that's doable. I have an "Annual Review 2006" file (also others, under various names, going back several years). I did okay with last year's goals, but that's partly because I didn't set myself many because (a) I was feeling depressed about life and (b) I never finished writing the review. So 2007 has higher standards set for it. I think I can meet them.

And now, to eat French toast and do dishes and fold laundry and get ready for a small but pleasant New Year's party, with food and friends and games and sparkling cider. Welcome, 2007.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas.

The cookies are baked and decorated (if somewhat sloppily, owing to a bad roll of tape rendering my clever parchment-paper decorating tubes useless). The potato-cheese casserole is prepared and in the oven. (It tastes better the next day.) The presents are wrapped, even Eric's to me, and Brenda's house has been decorated and her tree lavishly ornamented. The cold has been reduced to the cough (annoying but endurable) and a little sinus pressure. I think it's gonna be a good Christmas here; I hope it's the same wherever you are.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Hack cough cough hack wheeze gasp cough

I may hate a cough more than any other cold symptom. Especially a dry one like this. I am not confident I'll be able to sleep in more than one-hour segments tonight. The various medicines I'm taking don't seem to help. Yuck yuck yuck.

Tomorrow morning we're going to the bank. Then grocery shopping (I figure at this point the sooner we do it, the better), then possibly visiting with the mothers to cheer them up regarding what may be an extremely suboptimal Christmas schedule. All the while chugging tea.

Friday, December 22, 2006


This cold began weirdly. First with a sore throat, which isn't all that weird. Then, an absolute lack of stuffy or runny nose (which is) and instead an inability to stand up without dizziness and nausea. Then more sore throat and cough. Now it's finally coming into the nose. I have found that drinking hot tea keeps my throat soothed and the cough at bay--but I have to keep drinking it. I am extremely hydrated right now.

The yoga yarn, on the spindle, was ridiculous. When I get home (I’m at work, with an ever-shrinking amount to do) I’ll post a picture. It was around two ounces, 160 yards, which is not in the least an unreasonable amount of yarn. But this was not what a spindle is supposed to look like with yarn on it. There's a hook somewhere at the top, but I couldn’t see it because it was blocked by the excess of yarn. Sometime in 2007, I am getting a spinning wheel. I've been researching them the past few days and I'm thinking a Lendrum, because it's versatile, left-hander-friendly, well-made, pretty, and relatively cheap (for a spinning wheel). That's assuming I buy new. But I'm absolutely not buying anything fiber-related until February, and probably not getting the wheel until my birthday (in April), so I can also look around for used. The yoga instructor (who adored the yarn) promised to keep an ear out for me. Next is Eric's hat yarn, and then some gift yarn while I experiment with different techniques. I think E would like some, and the old needlework group (they still meet, they told me at Marie's shower, though they often play cards rather than working on their projects) would appreciate some, I think--the thought, if nothing else.


There's more blue and green underneath, you just can't tell.

Our last Christmas shopping occurred Wednesday. Yay! It was pretty painless. We went shopping last Sunday, in a moderately bad press of people at the mall, and even though I was sicker, Eric got tired of shopping first. When I said, back in July, that I wanted to work on Christmas shopping in September he scoffed. He expressed horror. He expressed disdain. Sunday I suggested working on Christmas shopping in September next year and he promptly agreed. (We did actually start Christmas shopping in September, at the rock and gem show; we just didn't follow up and finish it.)

When we were out, we discovered that those Visa/Mastercard/AMEX gift cards that work just like cash? They require a $4-$6 activation fee. We were going to send one to Eric's sort-of-sister in Las Vegas (because she just had a baby and what they need now is really money), but we've now decided that we'll either get them a Target gift certificate or just giftwrap some cash.

Last night was cookie making with Michelle. Aside from intervals of impassioned coughing, it went pretty well, though Michelle definitely still needs improvement in the paying-attention-to-the-recipe department. Bev called while we were on the third dough, a gingerbread (she’s going to let me borrow her veil, and also she has donated her old car, which she bought from me exactly four years ago yesterday, to ALA because she has a new car), and Michelle was content to proceed by herself, with the occasional whispered “Yes” or “No” from me when she asked whether she should use the low mixer setting or had she mixed it enough. Once I hung up she announced she was done. I looked at the scrawny, soggy dough and decided to do an audit. She had added only one quarter of the required one and three-quarters cups of flour, half the molasses, and no sugar at all. We fixed that and watched “Muppet Treasure Island,” and then the mothers took her home (with a bike, but she won’t know that until Christmas) and I wrapped presents and went to sleep. I woke up twice, coughing, just like the night before, but at different intervals. My coworker today (one with whom Eric and I are going to double-date, in order to see whether we can reduce a waiter/waitress to tears through sheer pickiness) said I sound better than I did yesterday. This weekend should be a pretty lazy one, so maybe I’ll actually be feeling better by Christmas. I’d take that as a present. It hasn’t been a very festive Christmas season, but I’d settle for health at the end of it.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

I hate being sick.

I have stuff to say, but no energy to say it. I've got Eric's cold, complete with relapse and lingering cough. Yuck. I hope to be well by Christmas. The yoga yarn was a success; I didn't get a picture of it in the skein but you should see it on the spindle. When I'm better. Or at least less tired.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The best thing I learned today

Saying "Customer Service Representative" as soon as the smarmy automated guy in the Toledo Edison automatic telephone menu starts talking about the main menu will get him to say "I'll transfer you to someone who can help you" immediately.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Yoga yarn, part 2

This is the roving that I dyed last Monday:

And here's what half of it looks like today:

I had debated on whether to split the roving many times, to make stripes, or just the once, to get a two-ply yarn that would go continuously from yellow to green to blue. But I really wanted the one color change, so I split it just the once. Then I realized I only had about two ounces and that might not be enough to make anything, and should I Navajo-ply each half separately to make into two matching yarns, because then Katie could finish the ends of something or make matching wristbands or something? I finished spinning this half of it yesterday (while watching more Alton Brown DVDs, an early Christmas present to Eric) and spooled it onto the back of my chair, which charmingly is just about a yard around, and found that this little skein contains about 200 yards. That's enough to do something with. I could still Navajo-ply it and its twin, which would give me two 70ish-yard skeins, but now that I know there's enough for a hat or a lacy scarf I'm happy to just make the one big skein. So I've got slightly over a week to spin the other half, ply and set.

In the meantime, I've been doing a little writing, plus decorating the house, doing housework, making earrings for Michelle from Santa (imitations of some earrings she saw at a craft show we went to Thursday that she couldn't have because she doesn't have pierced ears), and taking care of my poor sick fiance. He's feeling marginally better, but I'm starting to seriously consider Dad's recommended remedy of honey, lemon, and whiskey.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Yoga creativity

I had yoga tonight. It's something that the mothers and their friend and I have been doing, every other week (except two weeks ago), since September, and while I wouldn't have said I needed it--I'm pretty stretchy anyway, due to ballet then and pilates now (well, a much more recent then)--I've been enjoying it very much. The instructor, Katie, also knits, and she's working on her third book and looking for an agent. She always has a lot of energy and warmth, and I enjoy having her over. (We do this at my house; she used to have classes but stopped because the rent was too much. She says if she had my house she'd do classes out of the living room.) Today we talked about a sweater she designed herself, and how she hurt herself helping a friend, and in the actual class we did a bunch of stretching. And I felt like being creative. I told her this, and she nodded and said, "Isn't it great?" When they left I dyed some merino/tencel into a springy blue/green/yellow colorway to make her a Christmas present. I've got one spindle free, I can do it in two weeks. And I wrote about six hundred words on Shoelace--switching POVs helped a lot. And I made my poor sick stressed fiance laugh. Maybe there are more reasons than I thought for making time for exercise.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Craft babbling will now commence. With pretty pictures!

This is the merino-silk roving that I dyed with what Eric tells me is Prussian blue:

The plan is for me to spin it on my new spindle, which came today--finally, after three weeks; I wrote yesterday to ask what was taking so long and the spindle maker wrote back to say his wife's grandmother had died, he was sorry for the delay, and I felt lousy. But it's a lovely, lovely spindle, the Quantum Butterfly in padauk.

Here the roving is tied at the one-third and two-thirds marks, because I want to make a three-ply yarn and I don't spin evenly enough to trust a Navajo ply and I figure the way to waste the least will be to divide the roving into thirds while it's still relatively easy to handle, not when I've got six hundred yards of single. The card is my sample, and it confirms that I love this fiber, this color and this plying choice. It's probably going to come out to be about five stitches per inch, which is reasonable for a hat and doesn't tax my love for the recipient too severely.

I also finished those extremely cute baby booties for Marie's baby, but it's too late to go take a picture now. These booties are now going to be my stock baby shower gift, I think. Each one took about an hour to make and the set hardly dented the ball of yarn.

I hear rain outside and I hope that meant it about not getting down to freezing tonight. Tomorrow will be bad enough without icy roads. Saturday I plan to go to Jungle Jim's after the shower and spend a couple of hours there, then head back up for house maintenance and Christmas shopping and such. At work tomorrow I will be doing not much, as usual, but that might change next week. We'll see. And I might be watching someone perform a long test, though she hasn't seemed particularly welcoming--though not unwelcoming either--and I hate to push myself in like that; but I may as well try to earn my paycheck by being pushy as not.

Okay, that was a tangent I didn't mean to get on, and it's late. Sleep beckons and I answer.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Wandering, on lamed foot.

I was thinking, maybe I don't write here much anymore because I write those e-mails home to myself most days from work, but I did that before and was also posting much more. I don't know what it is. I haven't been motivated to write much at all, other than self-indulgent journal entries, which you'd think would be a natural fit here, but apparently not. I'm trying to decide what's going on with me regarding writing, what I truly want to do and what I truly can do. Part of it is scheduling: me rearranging my life around Eric's. I can't help it; he's got more demands on his time than me, and I want to spend time with him. Maybe I can work whenever he's at school or doing homework or something. Maybe I should forget it. Only Shoelace still wants to be written and I read what I've got and it's honestly not that bad, and I have a couple of article ideas I'd like to get down, and there was that neat story I planned out but haven't finished, and Finity's Edge could be great fun if I developed the backstory a little more, and--James said his new girlfriend (who is a vegetarian, and was most polite at Thanksgiving; I hope she sticks around a while) is also a writer, and she's great at ideas but not so good at the execution. At the time I thought of offering to help her, but now I'm not so sure I could be any use. (He also described an idea they'd talked about and he said, "Don't steal this idea or I'll get in trouble," and then later, "I told her that I'd do one of two things: if she wants to write it I'd help her, and if she decides she doesn't I'll give it to my sister." It's not my kind of idea, but I appreciated that.)

Meanwhile, I'm sitting here with one sock on, wondering where the time goes (Dun Morogh, I'm afraid, at least partly) and whether my sanity would be better served by throwing out my extra yarn. Marie's baby shower is this weekend, you see. And I have the most wonderful soft yarn left over from the stupid gift I gave Gabe last year and I wanted to make her something. Only I already made her a quilt, and she crochets so a hat seemed pointless. So I thought, socks. It's probably hard to crochet socks, and last I spoke with her she wasn't a very advanced crocheter so she probably hasn't turned her hand to it--though she might during her maternity leave. Now I'm wondering if I shouldn't have just bought her some of the yarn.

Anyway, the pattern I'm using is a free pattern that I modified the first time for Gabe's almost-two-but-still-catching-up-to-babies-his-age-born-on-time feet, and now I'm trying to modify it again for a newborn-to-three-months and I have no idea whatsoever how big their feet are. I don't know whether the socks for Gabe fit or not. Probably Bev just tossed them in the garbage when I left. (This year's present for Gabe is sitting in the craft room. I ordered it and it came too late, so I asked Dad to get me something to leave at Thanksgiving and I'll send this for his birthday and pretend like I'm really worth something as an aunt.) And I'm not a creative knitter anyhow; the best thing I've ever done was the mouse cozy for M. (I need to write up that pattern and send it to Knitty.)

So I'm going to work on that. But it's already practically Wednesday. Granted, I don't have plans for the rest of the week, other than covering the faucets before it starts to snow again and take my antibiotics--the reason I am wearing one sock is that I have an infected ingrown toenail and I was soaking it, per Dad's instructions. I sat in the urgent care clinic tonight (because I don't have insurance yet) and started a hat, using this yarn, because I only had my circulars with me and there was no way I was going to submit to the frustration of knitting a sock on a circular, but then I came home and realized I really wanted to do the socks, plus the hat was huge. Now I realize that this yarn is not that rugged--it's a sort of chenille--and I should cut the part I already knit, but will that leave me enough yarn for both socks?

Thanksgiving, by the way, was nice. Dinner itself was mediocre but the company was good, and I enjoyed seeing Mom and Dad's new house and getting advice from them on finances. They're currently snowed up; the Seattle area, after the wettest November ever, got a huge snow/ice storm last night and it took them six hours to go the twenty miles from Mom's work home, so this morning they stayed home and drank coffee and watched movies. I approved. We ended up taking the early flight out, which shorted us on sleep but was otherwise good; and we ended up delayed an hour by ice on the flight back (a precursor of that storm, apparently), requiring us to run through O'Hare to catch our flight. But we made it back and so, eventually, did our luggage, so all is well.

All right: time to knit a few rows on the sock, and see where I am; time to open up Shoelace, and consider switching POV since I think I've stayed too long in Risse's and that's why I've stalled out; time to go shower and then put Neosporin and a fresh Bandaid on my foot. Time to take action. I see it but I don't always do it. I suppose that's the way with most of us.

Thursday, November 23, 2006


Flight delayed two hours. Now we're taking the earlier flight. Do we go to sleep tonight or not? It's such a conundrum.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!

I'm off for Thanksgiving in Seattle in a few hours, attended by disgruntlement that the perfect present I ordered for Gabe didn't come in time (I should have had it sent to my parents' address; I dind't think of it at the time) and the visit is so short; happiness that I'll see my family and my parents' new house; and errant thoughts of airline security people confiscating my bag of trail mix because the raisins look like gel to them.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Setting my sights on 2009

Eric and I talked tonight (now that he's recovered from a bout with gastroenteritis) about his school and our future. The way things are now, he's going to get his certification in 2009. We'll be moving to the West Coast--the current shining star of my ambition--that summer. He'll finish his degree that fall. I wrote this down, along with "Wedding: spring 2007" and "First child: summer 2008 (may vary)."

It just seems an awfully long time from now. It's the tail end of 2006, so I suppose it's really only two and a half years--and I've been here a year already--but I want to be there. If it weren't for Eric, I would be there now. I'm going to have spent the majority of my twenties in the Midwest. There's no good reason this should bother me, but it does. I never wanted to live in the Midwest anyway, except as someplace new, and now it's no longer new. (Though the shouting I heard from my neighbors every time either UM or OSU--I don't know which--did something notable in the game today was something I haven't experienced before. Also, I think someone stole my doormat from my front door. That's never happened to me before either. Now I'm concerned for the spindle I ordered that was supposed to come this week and hasn't.)

The other thing that bothered me about this plan I wrote out was that I didn't figure in it, except for the wedding and baby parts. I need a goal. I think. Most of my emotional trouble lately has been from the lack of a goal--or at least my perception that I need one and don't have one. And moving to the West Coast isn't a good one. It's pretty short-term, for one thing, when you get down to it. It's only two and a half years away.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Mobius ring update

So. Debby Hoffmaster wasn't able to make us Mobius rings in white gold. I asked our friend Carol, and she recommended two places, and Abracadabra. I wrote to both. The first wrote back: "Sorry, but I don't even know what Mobius rings are." The second wrote back, "Sure!...They start at $660." So a big no on both.

I turned back to my trusty friend, Google (during work today, because there wasn't a lot to do, even with a potluck in the middle of the day--I'm quite happy with my new coworkers culinarily) and tried "mobius ring gold" instead of "mobius strip ring" or "mobius wedding ring" and came upon a few sites I hadn't seen before. One is J. H. Breakell & Co.. They have a ring that's just about perfect; but it's in yellow gold. Another is Gideon Weisz. I'm particularly in favor of this one because of the other rings he's made--benzene? Protein? Only DNA could make it better. I've written to them both and I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

The Tussah silk came yesterday (extremely fast turnaround time, nice people) and I'm now again contemplating spinning and knitting a shawl of it for my mom for the wedding. This would theoretically give me six and a half months (Christ, is that all I've got?) to do it, which shouldn't be impossible at all. I'm hesitating, but I'll probably do it--but I'd have to spin first and dye later, since we still haven't picked final colors yet.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Being bad

I have discovered the spindle Eric's hat must be spun on: the Quantum Butterfly. (He would also appreciate the Foo, but it's a laceweight spindle and I do not love him enough to knit him a hat at nine stitches per inch.) This is merely because I am a geek and he is a geek, but that's fine. I ordered the spindle but have no idea when it will come. I also ordered four ounces of Tussah silk, but I know that will come this week. I have very much got to get started on the dyeing of all this white, white fiber I have.

(Okay, I do love him enough. But only if it were, for some inexplicable reason, absolutely necessary. And it's not.)

My cousin Jaime wrote to say that her unborn baby will probably not live past birth. Is it terrible of me to wonder whether they'll use the same name for their next try? I'm sure it is, but I can't help it.

We did some Christmas/birthday shopping over the weekend, and also went to see the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. It was fantastic, just like last time, and made me think I really ought to get out my guitar (and change the strings already; it's been a couple of years at this point). I want to create music. I want to create a lot of things. I also want to be very lazy and idle, and that's the essential struggle.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Food and fiber and forgetting and finances

We went to the Beirut last night for my first-paycheck celebratory dinner. (Incidentally, when I received my check stub I looked at my bank statement and found it hadn't been deposited yet. I checked again yesterday and it still hadn't, so I wrote a worried letter to the finances person and she wrote back saying kindly that the first check was supposed to be live, had I gotten it? I'll be depositing it in a couple of hours. And no more questions to the finances person.) Eric won't eat Mexican or Thai or Indian with me, so I'm glad he likes Middle Eastern. (Lebanon counts, right? There was a time at my old job we discussed that, but I think the consensus was that it was really only disputed because it's mainly Christian.) It was good, except for me spilling my extra tin of tea by putting a pat of butter under it to soften and then not thinking to remove the butter before it melted. But we decided that Aladdin's, a new place in a more convenient location (though it feels more like a cafe than a restaurant), has better tabbouleh and falaffel and, Eric says, shish kafta, so I guess we've got a new favorite Middle Eastern food place.

While we were there we both noticed a nearby mother taking her tiny, weeks-old baby out of her carrier and holding her close. She was small and frail and dark-haired and had a tiny active curious face. We looked at each other, stricken, and Eric said, "The courthouse is open on Monday." We seriously fail the baby test.

In the summer, when I made that thick brown hat of my own homespun, Eric had tried it on, said he looked very J. Crew, and mentioned he wouldn't mind having such a hat if it were less scratchy. So when I went to the Michigan Fiber Festival in August, I bought some merino/tencel and made swatches of that and some merino/silk I already had for this purpose, and he chose the merino/silk. Last night I mentioned something about the hat, and he said, "What hat?" I explained, and he still didn't remember. I persevered and repeated the project idea and he's still in favor of it, so I'll be dyeing some fiber dark blue ("Gray," he said yesterday when I asked what color he wanted, just to be sure. "Or green." I said, "Last time you said blue." He said, "I did?" and then told me to surprise him, that either one was fine) and spinning it soon. Only I don't like the spindle I have to do it on. Heavier yarn requires a heavier spindle, and my heavy spindle is a bottom-whorl (and very simply made and decorated by someone who sells them on eBay, and the decoration is already coming off) and I think I'm coming out in favor of top-whorl. So I want to buy a new one. I was concerned about the expense of it, but then I got a hefty raise with the new job and it's been a while since I bought something just for myself. And as for Eric objecting, forget it. He won't even remember in a few days.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

I bet some marketing person has called it INGEOnious.

The ingeo kicked my butt.

It's pretty, it's shiny, it's soft, but I am putting it away until I am a more experienced spinner. It's got a very short staple length (the length of the individual fibers), which makes it difficult to work with (and also confuses me because, hey, it's manmade, couldn't they have made it longer?), and a strange squeaky stiffness to it, which caused me at various points to try to tug gently to make the yarn even and have nothing happen, then tug slightly harder and have it all come apart. It broke apart as I was quick-plying it, which is why I decided to try knitting a sample plied and one unplied. The plied one was reasonable; the unplied one--well, there are a lot of ends on it. Putting it away now. I wonder if the soy silk I picked up at the fiber festival has similar properties. However, I know that wool is much much easier to spin, and I still haven't finished all the green BFL (though did I mention I finally finished and plied the laceweight? It's not quite laceweight anymore, at least not in all places, but it's got a nice sunset color to it and it's very fluffy) so I think I'll recover my ego with a little work I know I can do.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Food for thought.

I spent a couple of hours in the kitchen today, making Greek green beans (since I had several shoebox-ripened, starting-to-wrinkle tomatoes to use up) and butternut squash soup. I made it with sauteed onions and garlic and leftover white beans and fresh rosemary off the plant in my window (and I put the remains of the sprig, since I didn't use it all and started from the bottom up, in a cup of water to see if it'll form roots) and it's divine. I'm so incredibly pleased with myself it's disgusting.

Eric, however, just thought the soup was disgusting. That's fine; I already knew he doesn't like squash and I had had no intention and made no overtures in the direction of suggesting he try it. Apparently he felt this was insufficient security, though, and made some comments on the unpalatability of squash in general and this soup in particular. So I got mad at him, because he insists on meat at almost every meal and do I ever say that that's disgusting and I don't want any and don't ask me to try it? I do not. I say nothing, except for the occasional comment on how he feels funny if he doesn't get meat, even if he's had plenty of protein. I did not point this out, but a little later he apologized, and made no comment on the soup when I had it at dinner (he liked the green beans), so we've got peace there, at least for now.

He's also reading a book about religion and atheism (Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion), and it made me wonder about how people approach belief, of that sort and any other, and specifically food. Twice at work I've had people look at my lunch (ratatouille and vegetable pancakes, respectively) and say, "Are you a vegetarian?" and I think it's interesting that they believe only someone who doesn't eat meat would eat that sort of food. Eric's dad seems to take my vegetarianism personally. (It might be because his doctor told him to stay away from red meat because of a potential heart problem.) So does his mom, in a slightly less pushy way--but she still says things like "Jenny, I wish you ate meat, because this steak is so juicy and tender and delicious, it's the best thing in the world," and I wonder why people truly don't get that it would not be delicious to me. I don't try to convert people to vegetarianism, partly because it isn't a religion to me--which, honestly, the meat-centered food culture I live in feels like sometimes--but mostly because I know they have no interest and I can't create that in them. And also because I know they will feel annoyed and persecuted if I try--but nobody seems to think it a problem when they do it to me. I wonder how many people truly try, or are able, to see how another person might approach things.

Obviously this is a pretty petty thing to get all heavy and hung up about, and I'm not really. I just have a good meal in my tummy that I don't want scorned. When I get pregnant and people start pushing me to eat meat for the baby I'll probably do more ranting about it, but that, happily, is at least eight months away (because even if I got pregnant on the honeymoon I wouldn't know for another few weeks) so I think I'll just let my wonderful soup settle and think about catching up on the craft backlog. (There are also curtains I bought that need to be shortened and shelves that need putting up. But more importantly that ingeo I bought several months ago is calling my name. I hear it's difficult to spin; we'll see.)

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Bargain shopping and the science of bread

I went to Meijer today to get jelly jars and cotton balls and things for the pumpkin-decorating contest at work. My department is collecting props and such in order to decorate tomorrow and finalize Friday, when the judging is. It's my idea, so I'm invested in its success. Hint: tiny lace curtains are at this moment tumbling in my dryer, and I am sorry I didn't play with dolls or horses much as a child.

Anyway, I stopped at the curtain section because I still haven't gotten curtains for the front door or the bathroom or the kitchen (though that's only my desire, not Eric's; he likes the open windows in there for some reason). I found a pair of plain ones, one for the door and one for the bathroom, so that was fine, and I will wash them before altering them. Then I moved to the clearance section and found one of those velvet/velveteen curtains, a deep luxurious red, originally $18.99, now $2.80. I have no desire for red velveteen curtains, but I can think of many other things for which I can use more than a yard of red velveteen, and you generally can't buy it at less than $3 a yard. So Meijer made a sale. I shall have to remember this for my future fabric needs. I would have gotten more if there had been more, but while there were more velvet panels none of them were marked clearance, which I found dubious, but I wasn't willing to chance it since I still had to get to the fabric store.

I discovered today that I only have seven months until the wedding, not eight as I've been saying for the past, well, four weeks. The caterer from Premier Catering (the one I've been negotiating with) wrote, saying "What's the next step? What are you thinking? I know you mentioned replacing the eggplant with tenderloin with noodles, that would be fine." Well, actually, I said no noodles, and I also said the next step was for us to taste a sample before we settled on a menu and a contract and such. She's still writing in all caps. But I'll write back. Today we had a retirement party for the stepping-down president of the company, and the caterer was Premier. I asked and apparently my new company had gone through a lot of caterers but now they always use Premier. We didn't have any hot dishes so I didn't get a taste test, but I'm now more pleased with our likely choice.

At this moment there is also apple-banana butter cooking, because I had a really ripe banana and, apparently, not enough else to do. The apple butter from the weekend turned out well, the only problem being slight runniness, and the canning was lots of fun. My first batch of apple bread turned out excellent, the second...educational. See, my problem with apple bread is that it tends to sink in the middle. I decided to try replacing most of the oil with apple butter, since I happened to have some around, and found that the bread rose much better, had a wetter (rather than a moister) texture and finer crumb, but I didn't like the taste as much. Plus it almost burned because of the extra sugar. I'm wondering if the oil made it too heavy, or if the apple butter provided water that became steam that made it lighter. Or both. I'm going to have to experiment. Hooray for food science. In the meantime, I shall be tending my fruit butter and finishing a lacy hat, so that I don't feel quite so ashamed wearing my fleece hat when it's not even freezing out.

Friday, October 20, 2006

American Beauty Skunkweeds

So Eric and I have already talked about name changing and such, and we're not doing it. Also, the children will probably have my last name. We mentioned as much to Brenda and Edith. They were okay with my not changing my name, but we announced the kids thing and they both said, "Say what?"

My aunt, upon hearing I was engaged, said, "Congratulations! What will your new name be?" I said, "I'm actually keeping my name, but his last is X." She made no comment and none of my family has beefed about it, even though my two female cousins (the only ones in our generation to marry so far) both changed their names, but I haven't mentioned the kids thing yet.

I read Indiebride sometimes, and enjoy the forums. The "She said WHAT?" thread under Horror Stories is especially fun. But there's another area about changing names (or rather, mostly not) and how people react, and some posters described ways they deal with people who ask about name changing: "Yeah, I took his name. From now on, call me Steve." "But if I take his name, what will everyone call him?" I love these, but I feel like I need a more substantial answer--and I also feel that I shouldn't need an answer at all. Why should I have to defend myself?

And then, just now, I was reading Bitch Ph.D. and we were talking about feminist marriages and what people will say if we carry out our contingency plan of him staying home with the kids while I work, and talked about kids' names again. And then we discussed how people can spell his last name, but not pronounce it, and people can pronounce my last name, but not spell it, and I came up with the perfect solution: He will be Eric X, I will be Jenny Y, and our kids will have the last name Y, but pronounced X. (As in Monty Python's, "It's spelled Luxury-Yacht, but it's pronounced Throat-Warbler Mangrove.") It's ideal! They'll be able to spell it and say it. Perfect for when they end up in the news for murdering their parents.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


It is That Week. The week that I go off the hormone-laced pills (I don't take the placebos; I put them in a jar, like Mimi Smartypants) and suddenly my emotional landscape is magnified. Tiny imperfections become gaping wounds, stretches of time last forever and a half. I'm exaggerating a little, but then, wouldn't I? Anyway, I generally feel better once I start to bleed, so tomorrow I should be able to proceed with my plan of the week.

Though I never do seem to get through my plan of the week. Why is that? Am I truly going to spend the rest of my life behind? I hate the prospect of that. But I can't just let things go, either (hence why Eric and I are having difficulties, or at least we have been in the past couple of days since, as I mentioned, I went off the hormone pills). I suppose I don't truly want to. Hence why I have a hat and a teddy bear and a sweater half-knitted, and some lace yarn in a color that does nothing for me half-plied, and five recipes I want to get to this week, and so on.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Growing things

No apple butter today. But a pot. A $5 20-quart stock pot from Anderson's (the local has-it-all store), plus a jar lifter. I agonized for some time over which pot to get, because in addition to the stock pot (they had a sale, any size from 12 to 20 quarts for $5--it's cheap, but then I only need it to hold some hot water) there were also official canning pots with racks and that black-with-white-specks look. Michelle, who came with me because her mom was at the opera, recommended the canning pot because it was pretty. But there was only the tiny one and the one for quart-size jars, and I got pint-size jars and would only go down from there, so eventually I determined that the rack doesn't matter and the look doesn't matter, because I'm only going to use it a couple of times a year, plus maybe for picking pears next year (or boiling a chicken, should Eric ever get a yearning for homemade chicken soup) and went with the cheap.

I also bought a rosemary plant and a basil plant and a pot for the one and a hanging basket to place my Wandering Jew in so that I can use that pot for the other. And potting soil and asparagus and apple cider. $30. And we sampled the plums and grapes (and avoided the "hot cajun peanuts") and Michelle was entranced by the Halloween displays. It was a good trip.

Tomorrow I'll be potting and repotting, but not cooking since Monday is exercise night. Maybe Tuesday I'll finally achieve apple butter. I also need to break out my recipe for apple bread (with walnuts, very yummy and only needs tweaking in that it takes about 75 minutes to bake, which I think is too long) or maybe work on the new recipe for apple cinnamon swirl bread. Eric mentioned to me a few days ago that he remembers a delectable bread from his childhood, Aunt Millie's, that had apples in it and a cinnamon spiral. So I made Egg Bread from the Better Home and Gardens cookbook, with the cinnamon swirl variation, and threw in some chopped apples. I like it, and Michelle likes it, but Eric says it isn't quite right, so I'm going to add about three times more apples and add some cinnamon to the initial dough and perhaps use brown sugar in the cinnamon-sugar mix for the swirl. Mmm bread. Mmm fall.

Eric is accusing me of wanting a baby because I'm doing a lot of making and growing things. (Did I mention I planted garlic? It's growing a thick green spear! And I bought some ginger the other day and planted a nodule of it, on his suggestion please note. We'll see what happens with it.) Maybe he's right, but I'm enjoying the making and growing things just for their own selves.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

One week

My first week at work was, in a word, long. I attended lots of training--someone saw me using the electric holepunch and said, "Hey, have you been trained on that?" and for a single horrified second I thought he was serious--and mets lots of people and walked lots of halls. I didn't get lost, but only because I was vocal about the building being confusing and usually got someone to give me directions. I'm learning my way around, and I can identify where my desk is. That's progress.

I've mostly been doing general company training and then shadowing the people who work in the areas where the product starts--I'm going to be doing quotes and customer service, but my boss wants me to understand what it is I'll be quoting. I'm totally happy with this, but I'm a little uneasy about not being trained about my actual job for at least another, he says, five or six weeks. Oh well. My coworkers are pleasant, and there are more of them and I can relate to them better, and everyone says my boss is excellent to work for. My desk is right outside his door, so I hope so. Anyway, work has been tiring so far but positive. And it's certainly better than the last place.

So, apple butter. I bought the jars, but I bought pint jars and I can't can them in the pots I have, plus I don't have tongs--I thought we did, but we don't, though we bought salad tongs today--so I still have some purchasing to do before I actually get to the fun part. I'm considering just buying half-pint jars instead of a whole new stockpot--they're cute--but then I already bought and washed these pint jars, so I might as well use them, right? I think I was a little too naively enthusiastic here, but that's all right. It's nice to be enthusiastic about things.

I don't think I wrote this all down, but at the Toledo gem show we met Debra Hoffmaster and asked her to make our Mobius strip wedding rings. She said sure, that was simple, asked us a lot of questions, and sent us a quote that made us extremely happy (around $300 for both rings; our stretch-it-to-the-utmost limit was $300 each) and said that she'd made silver prototypes and could we come by and okay them? We said yes, absolutely, and I asked as an afterthought if white gold would be a different price. She said she doesn't work with white gold. We showed up at the festival (Harrison Rally Days, city celebration in Perrysburg) she asked us to drop by and tried on the prototypes. They were awesome. Mine fit perfectly, Eric's was slightly too big. She said again that she doesn't work with white gold, and she'd be willing to try but we'd be paying for her mistakes. Eric was fine with yellow gold, but I really wanted white. "Go to Jensen Jewelers," she said, and wrote it down and gave us a map. "That's where I send people when I can't do it myself. This is your wedding ring; it should be what you want. If they can't do it, come back to me." We were embarrassed and pleased, and thanked her profusely, and I told Eric to buy me some beautiful leaf earrings she had in her booth for Christmas. Around then a festival representative came by with a "best of show" ribbon, so we congratulated her on that, too.

Today we went to Jensen Manufacturing Jewelers. We walked in and stated what we wanted. "Let me get Mike [or John, or Jeff, or whoever]," said the woman we spoke to, and she walked into the back, saying, "Mobia strip rings? Do you know what those are?" We requested paper and tape and demonstrated, and Mike/John/Jeff said, "Oh, okay. That's simple." He fetched a wax mold and explained how he'd do it, and said, "The cost would depend on the weight of the finished ring. It might be $450, or it might go up to $650, it just depends." Eric said, a trifle tentatively, "Is that total, or per ring?" and Mike/John/Jeff said, "That's per ring."

We got out of there shortly afterwards, with a business card and a handshake, and tonight we are e-mailing Debra. We both feel better going back to her, actually. She knew what a Mobius strip was, she made prototypes that we loved, she got a best-in-show award at that festival with pieces we admired (Jensen's stuff was fine, but pretty standard) and of course she'll charge less. The only question is whether or not we'll have her try with the white gold; we're probably going to ask her for an estimate of what it would cost assuming she makes a couple of mistakes, and go from there.

Sunday, October 08, 2006


We went apple-picking today. A bushel and a half of Jonagolds, Granny Smiths, Fujis, Braeburns, and Winesaps. (I'm feeling like 'winesap' shouldn't be capitalized. But all the others are. It's grammar by majority rule.) Plus apple cider and fresh doughnuts and Concord grapes (for everyone but me). It was a great time, a beautiful day, plenty of bushy apple trees where you ducked under the fruit-laden branches and straightened into a green, cool, leafy haven. And all the apples you could eat. I'm told that's part of the price of picking your own, munching as you go along, so we did. I brought home Jonagolds for making apple butter and Granny Smiths for making apple bread and Braeburns and Winesaps for Eric for lunch. I wanted some Fujis for mine, but then I realized I was taking about half the apples as it was, so I'll eat Jonagolds instead. Now I have to go buy jars for canning. (I mentioned to Eric a few weeks ago that I wanted to make apple butter, and he wanted to know why we do canning in jars. Why do we?) I sent Bev an apple cookbook, because she had so many from her tree; now I'm thinking about maybe going back to the store and seeing if they have another copy.

I came home on a diet of apples and doughnuts and had to have something else, so I had: a slice of herb bread, dense and woodsy-tasting because I'd forgotten it's not a good idea to use only whole-wheat flour in a bread; the last bowl of lentil soup, even better than the first bowl; and a peppermint patty, a little stale inside because of a mini-crisis on Friday resulting in my leaving them to dry four hours instead of two but marvelously minty. All made by me. None perfect, but all pretty good. I think I'm doing okay at this cooking/baking thing.

Tomorrow is my first day of work. I'm to report at nine. I expect it'll be an orientation, introduction, and paperwork-filling-out sort of a day, but I'm still a little nervous. But hopeful. And after work? I can go to the store to get jars, because I'll get off at a normal hour and the stores will still be open! This is gonna be good.

Friday, October 06, 2006

I just woke up.

My phone woke me out of a dream that I was S. L. Viehl and writing a writing advice book based on a trip with her granddaughter to a futuristic Eddie Bauer. (I don't know why S. L. Viehl; I haven't read her books or thought of her in quite a while. Eddie Bauer I visited a couple of weeks ago looking for clothes. The future I'm always in dread of.) I decided to take this as a sign: not only is my subconscious crazy, not only did I sleep too long, but I should probably start the day with writing rather than proceeding with my current quilt project. Summer Sunrise is coming along nicely, thank you, now that I've actually worked on it; I spent a lot of the past two days doing that, originally to free up the space on my sewing room floor to get to the closet to put up that $#~!-@#% shelf (it's--the quilt, that is, not the shelf--a bunch of colored squares and I have no internal eye for color, so I had to lay it all out to make sure I wasn't making a horrible mess) and now because I've remembered why I love quilting. I'm not sure I love it enough to attempt quilts for my two aunts who are both contributing to the wedding, but certainly enough to make a couple of baby quilts for my cousin and my future sister-in-law and my old coworker. I feel like there's a bandwagon here I'm missing. Presumably it'll show up at my door, big banners plastered on its sides, when I get married.

I'm rambling rather a lot. I'd say best to get it out of the way now rather than in my draft, but it's a first draft so there's probably no hope. To work with me, then. And later to lunch at an Indian place with the person who was on the phone, and then to Joann Fabrics to get more wedding stuff with the coupon they sent, and then some quilting or perhaps putting up that shelf. It's been a lovely, reasonably productive week off, but I'm glad I'll be going back to work on Monday.

Monday, October 02, 2006

I don't work here anymore.

My last day is over! I no longer work at Company With Lousy Management! My exit interview was soothingly cathartic. I complained and explained (essentially the same complaints that I put in that e-mail, which I did send last week) in response to the questions, and found that the guy who was interviewing me was pretty sympathetic with my point of view. Apparently he had to compile the data from a hundred and ten voluntarily-leaving employees in the past year. That's one hundred and ten (110).

And so I am embarking on one week (minus a day) of glorious freedom. Some of it will be spent doing garden-type work. Sunday I worked on the yard, really worked on it, for the first time. I enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would. However, I'm going to pay for my neglect; there are a million little weed seeds sitting on my future garden expanse, and there's nothing I can do except try to burn them with the little sun that October will afford me. This is what I get for procrastination. Anyway, I'm covering it up with plastic (I have to go buy more plastic, though, and some bricks. Can you believe there are no rocks in my yard? None at all. What kind of dirt is this? Back in Washington the rocks grew in the dirt) and am prepared to spend next spring mostly on my hands and knees, pulling. Plus I will be spreading new topsoil and mulch and all that good stuff. I uprooted all my tomato plants, since they were a tangled mess, and put the green tomatoes in a shoebox to ripen, and I transplanted the strawberries and the chives and picked the Asian pears and all the dill. Eric mowed down the cantaloupe. I also planted shrubs to replace the overgrown and overblown flowers I spent quite a while grubbing up on the side of the house. It looks ever so much nicer now.

And because I spent a lot of last week's work hours reading about seed saving and gardening, I'm fermenting some tomato seeds to keep and see what they grow into in the spring. I already have cantaloupe seeds from a particularly succulent cantaloupe from Anderson's. And come early spring, I will order seeds and get started growing things early. I think I really will. Now that I'm going to have a normal schedule, I should feel more settled.

But that's all in the future. I did my tomato-tending and seed-extracting, and for the rest of the week I'm going to knit and read and write and bake--I made lemon bars for work today but forgot them at home; they're delicious, so I shared some with the mothers and otherwise I'm not too worried--and get ready for a new job and, maybe, a new phase.

Friday, September 29, 2006

The last word

This is my last day to be working a second shift for, I hope, a long long time. Yesterday I had little to do, so I actually finished an entire book--Poison Study, by Maria Snyder. It's good. I'll get the second one when it comes out in paperback. I'd be tempted to get it now, except that we already spent lots of money on books recently, plus I have to pay for our Thanksgiving tickets, which means taking money out of savings so that I can also pay for the mortgage. I believe I'm carrying more than half of the household costs right now. I'm not too worried about it but at times like this it would be more convenient to have a shared account. Oh well, in eight months we will.

I restarted Shoelace again yesterday. I got an idea that made the initial conceit (so to speak, at least I hope) work much better, and after all I finished Poison Study with three hours left in my workday. I did make some calls, mostly leaving messages that didn't quite say "I'll call you back" since I won't. I talked to about seven people and I was struck, as I have been, by the fact that people are rude on the phone. If they weren't saying, "You're talkin' to him" or "Who are you?" when I asked to speak to X, they would say, "This is."

I suppose this is more ungrammatical than rude, but it grates on me every time. "This is she" is proper. "This is me" or even "This is her" I'll take. But "This is"? That's not a sentence. I always resist the urge to say "This is what?" or "No it isn't" or "That's very philosophical, but I'm calling to talk about your future as much as your present." Where did people get this? Is it so hard to use a pronoun? Are they that afraid of mixing up their subjects and objects? Is their breath that precious.

Grr. However, only sixteen more hours to have to deal with it all. And maybe I'll get some more writing done. Failing that, I found a new (to me) Nero Wolfe book in the thrift store that would take up an hour or two.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006


I haven't written that e-mail yet. I need to. Maybe today at work; for the first time I've actually got gaps in my schedule. Not that not having gaps has prevented me from, say, looking up vegetarian Moroccan recipes on the few websites that are unblocked, or reading about earwax and the Industrial Revolution on Wikipedia and depression and chignons on

This morning, I've called a dentist (not the one Brenda recommends because he's not with my current insurance; I sure hope the one I'm going to is also with whatever insurance my new company has) and discussed vegetarian options with the potential wedding caterer (how many people actually like eggplant parmesan? And will people be annoyed at having only one chicken entree?). And I'm just about to write to a friend about having a Spinning in our Graves day on Saturday. I need to go pick up my rear tail light assembly and vacuum and do yardwork, but that wasn't bad for a morning. So why am I feeling dissatisfied and inadequate? I don't get it. Perhaps it's because I slept in. I was feeling fine yesterday. We had Edith's yoga instructor come over for a private class for four of us, and while I don't feel much need for yoga as a stretching exercise I did enjoy its calming and stress-relieving qualities. I've been thinking lately about what it would take to make me happy, and the answer right now is that I'm not sure. But, my disorganized mind craving organization as it always does, getting stuff done ought to help and it doesn't.

I suppose I could go pick up the tail light assembly; it's on the way to work. I also want to buy a second shirt of the sort I'm wearing (and bought at JC Penney over the weekend on sale), because it's comfy and flattering and $20. ("I realize I'm only a cotton blend, but I've been tried on by a lot of girls and let me tell you, you look great.") But I don't think that will be enough. What's it going to take to make me happy? Not just momentarily contented, but a general satisfaction with what I'm doing with my life? I suppose I have to do something with my life. Something other than what I'm doing. The new job may help, but then again it may not. It's customer-service related, and what am I doing working in customer service? I hate customers. Admittedly it's still miles better than my current job, more interesting and better hours and better pay and better bosses (as far as I can tell, anyway), and through it I will probably have better opportunities, but will those opportunities do me any good?

Arrrgh. (Incidentally, I'm reading The Pirates! In an Adventure with Ahab and while I prefer realism over straight humor, it's pretty amusing. And The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists, the other half of the volume, had a great bit in it about density.) I don't want to be unhappy with where I am. After all, as someone I talked to at work said the other day, go look at a homeless person and you'll realize how well off you are. But I'm dissatisfied anyway. Is this the quarterlife crisis? I thought I had that already.

Oh well. This week I will pick up the tail light assembly and vacuum and send that e-mail, and go to the dentist, and maybe pick up a cheap pot for dyeing (I have a crockpot from Goodwill but we've got a lot of fiber to dye, plus she's going to try to bring her mother and sister), and go to the mall; and I will try to be happy with what I have, and figure out what it is I feel I don't have.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Role models

"Water is soft," Mom said last night, her hands neatly folded. "But it can make the hardest stone smooth and pleasant. I want you to be water."

They're gone now, and I'm sad. This visit was far too short. But they met Eric's family, and we tried out a catering place and tried on dresses and investigated vests and bridesmaid dresses and made a mockup centerpiece, and Dad fixed our laundry pipes and installed the locks (with Eric's help) and entirely fixed up my car, including the new tires which are a Christmas present (though I will probably be getting something else then anyway, knowing them). It may have been a short trip, but it was definitely a productive one.

At some point Mom and Dad were walking into a store--I think it was Michael's--and Brenda and I were bringing up the rear, and Brenda said, "You think they're still in love?" in that semi-sarcastic way. "It's pretty obvious." Eric said, later that night, "I hope we're like that in thirty years." So do I. One of the things I love about my parents is how they love each other.

Also that they don't talk as much as Eric's family. Now I know it's not just me; it's the way I was brought up. "They do talk a lot," Mom said, "but they are very good to you and I think they mean very well." Whereas Eric said, "I like your parents, but they're too quiet." I was thinking on the drive back (noticing that every single gas station, except the one nearest the airport, had gas for $2.24, fifteen cents more than yesterday morning) that part of my homesickness lately is feeling like an outsider here as far as family goes. Eric's family has welcomed me, but I'm not like them; I'm like my own clan, and I miss them. I am arguably the person in the family who is least like the others, but I still feel the pull of that allegiance. It's nice to spend a few minutes being silent in the car, or having a discussion in which it's not necessary to interrupt to be able to say what you want to say. And not to have to be on guard against humor, except of the Butter-the-puppet-is-sneaking-up-on-me! variety.

I love my parents. They came out to meet my future in-laws and help me figure out this wedding, a wedding that they're paying for but want us to do as we wish for--within reason. After talking with them, I've come to realize that some of the things Eric and I wanted to do--like have me actually help with setup the morning of the wedding--aren't going to happen; but that's okay. They'll help me, or help me delegate. It's going to be a lovely wedding and it's largely going to be because of them. They came out to do whatever they possibly could for me; and one of the things they did, without realizing it, was demonstrating the kind of people I want Eric and me to be when we're married.

Today I turn in my official, two-sentence resignation. This morning, I think I take a nap. Once I tell Eric to put out the garbage. (His alarm has gone off three times; it's time for him to wake up.) I was going to do it for him, but I remembered some of the other things Mom advised me to do and I made his lunch instead so he'll have time.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

No time to write.

I've got the three most important people in my life (sorry, James) in my house--plus that cicada--plus several ants--and we're planning two weddings, the one Eric and I think we're going to have and the one Mom and Dad think we're going to have. And fixing up my car (ahem--my tires are so worn they're illegal). And thinking up things to do with the twelve-thousand-dollar raise I'm getting. Insert excited post about getting the job! here. I have to sleep fast; another long day approaches. After this long weekend is over--and I've changed my tires and gotten a dentist appointment--I shall ponder at leisure the exact wording to use in my resignation letter.

Friday, September 15, 2006


My parents are coming today! I was thinking yesterday that not many people my age would be this excited about their parents coming to visit, but I'm glad I'm one of them. I pick them up at five. This is another thing fueling my gladness: only three hours of work today! My back has been hurting a lot at work lately (it's that or my hand, depending on how I sit), so this will be good for me.

So I think I've mentioned we have ants. The traps we put out seem to be helping, but the occasional one still runs across the kitchen floor. Last night a particularly insolent one climbed up the counter and ran through my mail. I knocked it off the counter with a pencil (I would have squished it except the idea with the traps is to let them live so they can take the poisoned bait back to the nest) and it ran right towards the counter again. Today I opened up the drawer that we keep plastic wrap and such in and found a squashed ant. "You got what you deserved," I told it as I tossed it into the trash.

Also, there is a cicada in our basement. It whirrs away, except when I go down to do the laundry or stomp on the ground floor. It will drive me nuts before long. I can't find it, of course, because it gets quiet whenever I get close, though I've tried going downstairs very slowly and quietly. I suspect it's somewhere near where the leak in the basement is. The trouble is we don't know where that is either.

Dad has offered to take care of a Daddy-Do list, should I have one, this weekend. Right now I feel bad making them stay here, let alone fixing up the place, but I did write out a list and KILL THE CICADA is on it.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Strange dreams, Fortinbras

Two nights ago I dreamed that I was in my future mother-in-law's immaculate mansion, where Eric and his ex-wife were walking around with their arms around each other's waists. This bothered me, so I went off and talked to, I believe, a cat, and then was told by some guy that we were playing 'Orchestra,' meaning every time a green light came on overhead we had to lie on our stomachs and cover our heads. I kept asking the guy what the rules were; he wouldn't tell me, but I eventually figured out it was a game of Murder. Later that day (i.e., the next REM cycle), I visited Eric in his garage and he said curtly, "Look who's here," and I discovered he was jealous of the guy I'd talked to at the party. I then told him I didn't like him walking around with his ex-wife. He hesitated and then said, "Well, some chicken's feet smell good, but I wouldn't want to eat them."

Last night I dreamed I was at work, and my computer and monitor were under my desk. I set them up, but I left for some reason and when I came back they were back under the desk. I went through a couple of iterations of this and eventually realized my coworkers were doing it to tease me. I went to my supervisor, not to tattle but to get help, and he kindly told me that nobody liked me and made me watch a video to help me be friendlier.

Today I looked through my notes at work and realized that, partly but not entirely because of the not-believing-in-work thing, I haven't been doing what I'm supposed to--instead of offering advice before it's asked, or wanted, I've been waiting for the other person to indicate what he or she wants. And it bothered me. So I started being more...not quite pushy, but communicative, I suppose. And it made things better.

I also participated in the talk at lunch with my coworkers--sort of (I also realized that our company's main communication pathway is through gossip; this is why I never know anything)--and informed Eric I would not tolerate him fraternizing with his ex-wife in that way. He assured me that there was absolutely no chance of this, and also, I have the weirdest dreams ever.

Monday, September 11, 2006

The price of gold

I was hoping for good news, but none yet. No bad news, though. Besides, my parents are coming to visit this weekend. That's good news enough. Also in, I not only finished the froggy hat and socks, I photographed them:

You'll notice (or you knitters will) that I made it in stockinette, rather than reverse stockinette, and also in rather a thicker yarn than the pattern calls for. It wasn't too bad to make the switches, though I did have to get out some spare yarn to figure out what was going on with turning the heel.

Also I packed them away, with chocolate and tea and cocoa, to be sent to the new baby's parents. And I packed Bev's present, which is a miracle considering most of it has been sitting here for months, because I'm a bad friend, cousin, and aunt.

On the other hand we went to the gem show and got some Christmas presents and a birthday present for my dad. Neither of us got anything for ourselves. I had wanted garnet earrings, but I wanted dangly ones, and the gold for them was too expensive. (It was the first I'd heard that gold prices had gone up so much.) I do wish we'd at least bought a Swiss blue topaz, because we decided that that's what one of the wedding color will be. And: we spoke with a metalsmith about making us Mobius strip wedding rings. She said, "Oh, that's easy," and asked us about various options: did we want 14k or 18k? 16-gauge? Rounded profile or square with rounded corners? Thinner on top? Were we sure Eric's ring size was smaller than mine? (It is. By a full size.) She said she'd get us an estimate by Monday evening. There is no estimate and this upsets me because she wouldn't give us an idea on the price without these factors (and now that I know that gold is up I'm wondering if we shouldn't wait a few months and have her do it when the price is down, if it becomes so) and I really want to know if we'll be able to afford it.

So waiting for good news. But also manufacturing my own.

Thursday, September 07, 2006


Well...I think the interview went well. He said the woman who interviewed me before said she'd had a good feeling about me, but, well, the position was filled internally. Anyhow, it turns out that this other position does indeed sound like something I could do and even be happy in. So I've got my fingers crossed that tomorrow I'll have an excited post about how he called and I start two weeks from Monday.

(Of course, at this point almost any job would make me happier than the current one. Tuesday we had a staff meeting, our first since May, led by the new Head Over All Us Lowly Workers. When asked, he explained what the new company hierarchy and job titles were. Prior to that I had not received any information that (a) the HOAULW had changed or (b) the company hierarchy had changed, but he explained it as if we should all know this already. Then he asked what he could do to improve our morale. We started talking about respect and consistency and communication and he kept talking about a potluck. He also said twice, "If you think it's so bad why do you stay? If you think you can find someplace better, you have my blessing!")

Last night Eric and I had what I suppose we could consider as our first fight, though it was so short and non-continuous that I think it really counts as more of a spat. Anyway, after talking about what we'd each done to get each other mad and apologizing for it, he asked me, "What's really wrong?" Part of it was that I'm still struggling with having someone else in my house. The thing I got mad at him for was that when I pointed out that morning that he'd left crumbs on the counter and we have ants, he said, "Oh," and brushed the crumbs from the counter to the floor. Not a big deal, but it got me confused about how often I can scold him and how much I can try to make him do things my way--the clean way--and how he always pretends to look ashamed of himself so I can't tell whether he really is. Plus I'm the one who cleans the floors. Plus we have ants. But anyway, part of it was work. I'm not happy in my current position, and--as Eric said--I'm surprisingly unemployable. I've got weird work experience and credentials, and, as I told him, there's not much I really, truly want to do, except write. I'm good at spreadsheets, and proofreading, and that sort of thing, but there's nothing to hinge a career upon.

"Then I'll try to kick you in the ass about writing," he said. "If that's what you want to focus on. And in the meantime you'll find work as you can. And if you're not in a high-paying executive job, maybe you'll be the one to stay home with the kids." I'm still a little dubious about that rather unoriginal path, I guess; partly because I haven't been doing much writing in the last couple of years, and partly because I want it both ways--I want to be able to have a career as well as an avocation. But mainly, I love that he's willing to take me this seriously. Though I don't know about that "high-paying executive job" bit--it was his ex-wife who was the business major, not me. Though I admit almost all of my full-time jobs have paid more than his.

But yeah. I need to get off the Internet and do a little writing before bed.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Not so fast

Huh. So when the woman I interviewed with called this morning she said the expected thing of "It was a very tough decision; we'll certainly keep your resume on file," etc. It didn't comfort me particularly, though the "we filled the position internally" bit sort of did, because I can definitely see favoring people who already work there. Anyhow, I just got a call from another person at this company, saying he'd just talked to the woman I interviewed with, and he has a somewhat different position open and would I like to come in and talk about it? So I'll be doing that Thursday morning.

Falling short

I'm now, er, a fifth through PV. But we made root beer and chai ice cream! And salsa! And the onion-dill bread was a qualified success! And I got some sock yarn as a gift! And the dishes are done! And I'm almost done spinning my first attempted laceweight!

Ahem. Apparently my intention to work was not strong enough to resist the seductions of ordinary life. That's okay. I will continue to work on this until it is done. Preferably before my parents get here (in ten days!).

I did not get the job. The woman who interviewed me called this morning and I knew from her tone of voice when she identified herself. I don't see anything good at Monster or, so I will look again in a few days.

My first attempt at laceweight is pretty irregular, and I've discovered that spinning this thin leads me to (a) drop the spindle more often and (b) have a harder time recovering from each drop. I pulled the roving into pieces to distribute the colors a little more evenly, and it looks like I shaved a Muppet:

To counteract all this (ha!), I got on the scale yesterday and I've lost a few pounds from earlier in the year, which is very nice. I've been eating smaller meals with healthy snacks and drinking lots of water and running up and down the stairs twice every time I use the bathroom at work (because I'm out of my seat anyway) and exercising with Edith on Mondays. I also bought a pilates DVD, because we're probably never going to hook up the VCR so my tapes won't work, and found that I am not as flexible as I thought I was. But if I keep doing the workout on Wednesdays I should eventually become more so. At any rate, I think Mom will be reasonably happy when we go out to try on wedding dresses. (We won't be buying any. She's going to make it. We're just going to try them. It's what we did for Bev's wedding.)

Sunday, September 03, 2006

The cooking hour(s)

I'm, erm, 22 hours into making onion-dill bread. Most of those hours were not actually spend on the bread, you understand, just on letting the bread do its thing. The onion-dill bread from Jungle Jim's still lives in our memories as Crack Bread--delicious and addicting and expensive, and now that Jungle Jim's is three and a half hours away it's not really practical to go buy it, even if gas is down to $2.32 a gallon where I work. (Down. It wasn't that long ago that I was lamenting that gas had finally reached $2. It wasn't long ago that it was $3, either.) So I'm attempting to replicate it, based on this and the BH&G Cookbook's Artisan French Bread recipe. I attempted it earlier this week but messed up the directions and added too much water and too little dill. Still good, but not Crack Bread. So we'll see. Right now it's rising for the first time. (Most of the previous 22 hours have been spent letting the preferment sit.)

In the meantime, I'm finishing up the Froggy Hat (except in stockinette instead of reverse stockinette, because I'm making it out of Bernat CottonTots and it looks lousy on the reverse side) and working on PV. I'm about 10% into it, which doesn't bode well, except that I had to rewrite a scene yesterday and also we did a bunch of shopping and laundry and such. We also watched a couple of Alton Brown DVDs--Eric has become a devoted adherent; I'm going to have to get him a cast-iron pan and a sifter for Christmas--and decided to make up mint cocoa mix, since I recently ran out of Trader Joe's. We found that food-processed Starlight Mints are extremely hygroscopic, but if you add the powdered sugar to the bowl before processing them it helps. We'll see how well the mix keeps. I also wanted to make Mexican hot chocolate mix, but we only bought the one box of cocoa (Dutched, as per Alton Brown's instructions). Ah well. There will be plenty of time for hot cocoa, and we're now in the season to do it. I didn't much enjoy the summer, but I think I'm going to love this fall.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Barely awake

I keep forgetting to say this: The Oldest Living Human is dead. Long live the Oldest Living Human.

I've been getting up when Eric does, at least approximately (I tend to lie in bed and hoard the warmth while he's up getting clean and dressed for work), partly so that I can be sleepy when it's bedtime, partly so that I can actually get stuff done. This week, I have (finally) gotten my oil changed, opened a savings account, purchased my first CD (the financial version, not the musical version)...and not much else. Read, played on the computer, embroidered a smile on the froggy hat I'm making for Eric's sort-of sister's upcoming baby. I'm more of a night person, only I don't have the nights because we get to bed at a reasonable hour, most of the time. So I get off work at nine, get home at nine-thirty, eat something light, goof off or do research or pay bills for an hour, and get ready for bed.

(Oh yes. One other thing I did this week was attempt to put up a 6-foot shelf with curtain rod in the sewing room closet. It went fine until I realized that the wooden...thing running along the wall of my choice was in exactly the right spot to prevent my putting the support brackets up. There was much grumbling and bemoaning--is bemoaning intransitive?--as I extracted the drywall pins. Today: spackle. There will be no painting, because the closet is a sickly lime color that we don't have more of and wouldn't use if we did; we covered it up with yellow in the room itself but decided the closet wasn't worth it.)

This weekend--this lovely, lovely weekend--I will be finishing, finally and forever, PV. Because this is ridiculous. And I don't have the energy or confidence for a Three-Day Novel, plus I don't get to see Eric much as it is and devoting myself to the computer for 94% of the weekend would be suboptimal. Not to mention that it would be bad for my eyes and my right arm, both of which have been suffering at work under the considerably less-than-ergonomic setup of my desk. There's no hope of a new schedule until after the new year, so I'm hoping instead to get a call from that company or, failing that, find an interesting ad in this Sunday's classifieds.

(Not to mention there's a new Internet filter at work. We can't even get This gives me more time to work on, say, Shoelace when I have nothing to do, but hinders me considerably in researching work-related questions.)

Monday, August 28, 2006

Did I want a basement? No. I did not.

So over the weekend Eric removed what he could from the cold faucet that leads to the washing machine. We went to Home Depot and consulted a white-haired old man, who gave us a part. (Red. They were all red. Our hot faucet, incidentally, is blue.) We went home and discovered that the part Eric had removed was only part of what the replacement would be. We further discovered that the rest of the part won't come off because it's been welded there.

Today it rained. Buckets. Buckets and pails and horse-drawn carts. And in the basement I can see the reflection of the ceiling. There's half an inch of water down there. We knew there was a leak, but we didn't know it was this bad. It will take days to dry. I suppose it doesn't matter so much since we can't use the laundry anyway (though I think I recall that the dryer still has darks in it), but why is our basement so problematic? No offense to Eric, but I'm really glad my dad is coming in two weeks to fix things.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Sans nose, sans spite

We're running into problems with Eric going back to school for his teaching certificate--specifically (well, somewhat specifically; there are some piddly details), he may have to quit his current teaching position in order to do all the requirements for student teaching. He and his mom were talking about it (while Edith and I discussed having a yoga night at my place on Mondays with her yoga instructor) and his mom essentially said that if it were her, either she'd insist on having the current teaching experience fulfill her requirements or she wouldn't get the degree. Eric has a somewhat more moderate response, and I have an even milder one. I'm not excited about hoops, but I don't get all excited about avoiding them or pointing them out either. If it were me, I'd be annoyed that I couldn't substitute but I'd accept that the school's guidelines are what I have to live by. Is it reasonable, to change my life to accommodate other people's rules? Or is it better to push at other people to change to suit my rules?

I suppose it depends on who has the power. In this case, the school has certification power. So we may end up having to rely on my job and perhaps a part-time job of Eric's next year to pay our mortgage. (In which case I really hope I did well on those assessments.) The next few days should tell.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006


"The brunch would be a good activity for Aunt K, Mom, me, etc., if you still need an assignment," Dad wrote to me today. We still have ten months, do we not? No, nine. Jesus, nine. Still, I'm finding myself surprised that Dad seems to have an even greater need to have everything for this wedding planned in advance than I do. Maybe it's because he's so far away and wants to know what I'm thinking, or to feel more involved. I'm figuring we'll spend a fair amount of time when they come out in September talking about it, even though we already plan to (1) have the parents meet each other (2) do wedding dress stuff with Mom and me (3) do house repair/maintenance stuff with Dad and Eric. Or at least Dad asked for a Daddy-Do list, and Eric will probably not be able to hide behind homework the entire time. (Not that he would actually do that.)

Eric's first day of school was today--both as a teacher and as a student. Well, the teacher bit was an in-service type of thing. The student bit went well, he said, though he's still nervous about this whole going-back-to-school proposition. I can see that. I would be if it were me. I've had a couple of vague thoughts about it being me, but nothing strong enough to act on since I passed up the science writing idea. I do want to work on freelance writing...though I'm finding myself curiously averse to actually sitting down and figuring out markets and writing queries and such. Is it inertia? Lack of practice? Fear of failure?

Speaking of fear of failure, I took the assessment tests for the job I applied for. First was the work styles questionnaire, which had perhaps 20 unique questions but 230 items to respond to. I'd love to see what my profile ended up being. Then yesterday I took a verbal reasoning and a numerical reasoning test. I finished the verbal one quickly but ran out of time with two questions to go on the numerical one, which annoyed me. I hope I got enough of the questions I did answer (98 out of 100, so not bad really) right. The other four people taking the test all seemed to be already employees--while we waited for the computers to be loaded up they were discussing fantasy football/baseball/whatever picks and the quarterly meeting. Or maybe there's a rival company I don't know about and the company is trying to steal away all its rival's key employees in one fell swoop. Though in that case I don't know why I was there.

I've been slowly doing better, now that the house is pretty much settled and I'm at least employed if not happy in it. I'm eating better and exercising more and, again slowly, getting more actual stuff done. The sucky part about being depressed about being unemployed was that being depressed prevented me from doing anything good with all that time I had.

There was also something Eric said a few days ago. We were playing World of Warcraft with some members of his guild--our guild, technically, but they only let me in because I'm his SO and a majority agreed SOs should be let in; but the majority wasn't a very big one and I've heard enough about them that I haven't shaken my perception of them as elitist and therefore not welcoming me. Even though some of them explicitly have. Anyway, there was something I wanted while we were playing (taming a Worg in Blackrock Spire, if you must know) and it wasn't communicated clearly to the rest of the group because Eric was doing it (he had originated the idea) and I was keeping quiet, and we ended up killing the Worgs instead of taming them and Eric said, "You never speak up for yourself!" My immediate reaction was, "I don't feel I can ask these people for anything!" but he's right. For various reasons, I don't speak up for myself. Because it's easier, because I'm shy, because I don't want to hurt other people's feelings or take anything away from them, because long ago I imbibed the cultural view that an assertive woman is a bitch. I've alienated enough people already by being myself. No reason to add any more demands to other people's plates.

--He said something once about letting myself be who I am, and I said, "Doing what other people want is part of who I am." That's not always bad, but I do it more than I ought; much of my frustration with our relationship (which, mind you, is not a lot) is because of that.

Anyway, he's right. I have self-esteem issues. Personality defects, if you will. It will take time to fix them, if I ever can. But I promised I'd try. So I suppose I should write back to Dad and tell him that organizing the brunch would be an awesome task for him and Mom and Aunt K to take over, and also the family party the night before (the night of the wedding), but let's cool it with the wedding talk until September, because there's only so much of it I can take and I'm the bride.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

You were with me all the while.

I have finally, finally, finally finished the DNA scarf. This was the project I started last summer, when Edith came back from Germany with a bag that said "Peek & Cloppenberg" on it. "I have a present for you, Eric," she said, handing him the bag. "But Jenny has to put it together first." In it was black German microspun. Eric, of course, wanted a DNA scarf. He also wanted it to be accurate, or at least more accurate, so I had to redo the chart. And then I worked on it very, very slowly. But now? Now it is done.

The stuff beside it is what I bought at the Michigan Fiber Festival, from which I was driving (well, riding) back when I finished the scarf. I also bought a couple of very pretty skeins of yarn for Edith's birthday. I was highly, highly tempted to buy some for myself as well (not to mention a spinning wheel and a small loom and a basketful of pewter buttons), but I kept to the budget and the items I wanted. The spindle at the bottom is a Bosworth Mini made out of bloodwood. I had intended to buy a laceweight spindle, and a paduak one because for some reason I just liked the way it looked online. This one is not quite laceweight, but the man selling them assured me it would spin paper-thin yarn if I wished. He made quite sure I had some spinning experience before he was willing to sell it to me. (Lighter spindles are harder to learn on.) As for the bloodwood, I fell in love with the shimmer and the depth and anyway, the paduak one I'd seen at another booth was more expensive. Above it is some soy silk, which I bought just for playing with. I need to decrease my yarn stash, so no more buying yarn until I get rid of what I've got--but I haven't yet put a similar embargo on buying fiber (though I think I may have to after this) so that was what I restricted myself to.

Above that is the bag of merino/tencel I bought and then spun a small sample of on my new spindle on the way home. (It was a three-hour drive, so yes, I had time for both that and finishing the DNA scarf.) I bought it in order to see if it would work for that hat Eric wants. When I got home I also spun a small sample of some merino/silk I already had and knitted both samples into swatches, and I'm afraid the merino/silk wins. It's noticeably softer; the merino/tencel was almost coarse. My bag wasn't as mixed as well as it ought to have been, but merino itself ought to be softer than that--I think. In any case, Eric has approved the merino/silk, so my next step is dyeing. I need to anyway--I have, I think, eight different types of fiber and only two of them already have any color to them.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006


After a few frantic days of cleaning and cooking and a few more days of technical difficulties involving batteries, chargers, and USB hookups, I have housewarming pictures. However, I've just realized that posting pictures of my friends and (to-be) relatives without their permission is not such a hot idea, so here are a few representative, non-hominid-containing samples.

The housewarming went well, I think. Only one person we expected didn't show up. We played no games, but that was because people were eating ice cream and talking. It was a nice day, and I think most people trickled through the kitchen to the back, where Eric grilled and the formerly=laden pear tree quietly grew.

We hadn't quite gotten everything done--putting up shelves and hooks, for example--but it was presentable enough, I think. We made peach iced tea and homemade salsa and macaroni salad (Eric insisted on buying a gallon-plus container because he loved it so much he wanted lots extra) and pasta salad and a veggie tray, and served beef franks and hamburgers (mixed with onions, bread crumbs, salt and pepper...quite like meatloaf, actually) and, of course, the ice cream. We served strawberry, peach, chocolate, and orange, and people seemed to agree that everything was excellent except the peach, which needed more peach flavor. Our ice cream quest is not yet finished. Not that it would be anyway...I still haven't made Mexican chocolate or perfected chai.

I gave a couple of tours to people who hadn't seen the place, and felt a little awkward as hostess since I knew these people only through Eric. It was also odd to think that some of them will be my relatives this time next year. Fortunately I've got a year to get to know them better. Plus now they know I make really good salsa and ice cream.

After the last ice cream had been eaten and the last DVD knocked carefully behind the entertainment center by one-year-old Zander, we found that the kitchen wasn't quite as loaded with dirty dishes as we (or at least I) had feared and were happy to retreat to our usual posts: the computer room and (in my case) the sewing room. We have plans for the library, too. For one thing, we plan for it eventually to be the nursery. Bev told me the other day, "I passed the baby test! My coworker had brought her baby to work and I held him, and I was able to give him back without wanting another one!" Eric and I completely fail the baby test. We failed it in the grocery store; we failed it in the mall, even in the midst of despairing for humanity;* and we failed it absolutely with Zander being adorable in our house.

*(Don't I look like Mimi Smartypants?) Among other things, we passed a Piercing Pagoda and noticed a mother impassively watching as her little girl, maybe two or three, screamed and wept while the kiosk girl attempted to pierce her--the little girl's--ears. We agreed that a child of ours may pierce her (or his) ears; but the child will need to be the one initiating the idea, capable of taking care of said ears in order to prevent infection, and preferably in possession of an age in the double digits.

Now we're going to be putting up the last few things to make the house ours: coat hooks in the front entry, closet-type shelves in the sewing room closet to store coats and dresses and suits, hooks in the bedroom closet to hang scarves and hats from. We are also dealing with possible changes: Eric has registered for his first classes in pursuit of his education degree, and I've got an assessment test to take next Tuesday for that potential new job. It's hard to hammer and drill when we're keeping our fingers crossed that everything will go as smoothly as we hope it will.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Things making me tired.

We're in training for Eric to start getting up early in the mornings. Unfortunately this means I have to get up early in the mornings too. I'm so sleepy.

We just got back from Lowe's (using our new-homeowner 10% off coupon) to get new deadbolts, because ours are sticking unbearably and we can no longer actually lock or unlock the front door from the outside.

Eric mowed down my raspberry bush. And my dill. And my peas. And my cantaloupe plants. In his defense, the bush was low and small, and so were the cantaloupes. He claims he didn't know what they were and furthermore I had told him the raspberry bush had died. Next year I will be putting up fences so that he can't get to the plants--or better yet, carrying out the plan of killing everything in that plot and then starting over and adding a gravel walkway so that he can't get a lawnmower in there at all without malicious intent.

In the meantime, my tomato plants (which even he can't say look like grass) are flowering but not fruiting. I picked one red tomato from the ones growing from the junk pile by our driveway. We finally opened up the garage doors to park in there so that we can get past each other in the driveway, but I don't want to run over the tomatoes still growing there.

The interview Friday went okay. I made a couple of obvious mistakes, and I'm not sure how the lady who interviewed me took a couple of my answers. She did at least ask me questions, so that's something. It would be a great job, I think, though the benefits aren't so hot and it's now important to me to be able to keep the long weekend that my parents are coming in free and also a day before the wedding and a week sometime that summer. We did not get a schedule of who stays home when this week at work. I don't know if this means that we won't, or that the supervisor is finding himself overwhelmed and can't quite bear to invite another round of recrimination yet. He still hasn't answered my repeatedly e-mailed question of why there was a trainee in the office the same day he announced we didn't have enough work to go around.

There won't be very many people coming to the housewarming. This is okay, as the ice cream we made for it this weekend (strawberry, peach, chocolate, and orange) is so good we're going to be eating some of it this week and it's nice not to have to make too much more. I have two more curtains and a lot of uncleaned floors to go.