Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Merry Christmouse

So the mouse was not gone. Or at any rate a mouse was not gone, as we discovered when we trooped into the house at about 1:15 AM, having picked up my parents at the train station. They flew American Airlines, and after a delay in Seattle (due to O'Hare traffic, apparently, even though Seattle was getting what I believe was its worst snow on record) landed in O'Hare at about 1 PM to find that their connecting flight was cancelled. They were 66th on the standby list. American booked them on a flight for 7:30 PM the next night--Christmas Eve--which would have been a 30-hour wait in the airport. American offered no hotel or food vouchers. "Are we supposed to spend the night in the airport, then?" Dad asked, and the attendant said vaguely, "I hope not. We're sorry about this."

So I called six or seven rental places and found nobody had any cars to rent. Dad said he didn't want us to drive with the weather the way it was, so Eric and his mom checked Amtrak and bought two of the last train tickets out of Chicago, and Mom and Dad went off to the train station. We'd had to get first-class tickets, but that meant they got to go into a quiet lounge with free drinks rather than stand outside with the poor souls who were also stuck in Chicago but didn't have the travel staff Mom and Dad did and so were vainly begging for coach seats. Apparently a steak dinner with dessert was included, and they got a sleeper compartment to themselves, so it was actually quite nice. And they didn't have to spend thirty hours at the airport.

"The mouse isn't gone," Eric said when we stood there in the kitchen. "I just saw it run across the room."

I elected to totally ignore the problem until Mom and Dad had left, and the mouse--mice--fortunately decided to do the same. We had a nice visit--a little noisy the first two days since we were having two big holiday dinners with Eric's family, and then very quiet the next two. I got some con T-shirts and an enameled cast-iron pot and some books I've been wanting, plus a copy of The Bible According to Mark Twain, which I used to own but lost years ago--I left it with either James or Dad to read, but I can't remember which and both deny any knowledge of it, and neither ever found it again. Dad finally decided he'd heard enough of my complaining (though that's not how he said it) and bought me another copy, which pleased me to no end.

Mom and Dad got home without any trouble, although they decided to take flight vouchers for taking a later flight in O'Hare. Since they vowed never to fly American again I can only assume they're going to give them to James.

Yesterday after work we went and bought traps, some classic and some glue traps, and put them down. Then we went upstairs into the computer room. Not long after I came down and called to Eric, "We caught a mouse!" These glue traps are apparently great stuff. But it doesn't kill them, and despite the "anesthesia" advertised on the box this one was struggling. Eric and I discussed humane ways of dispatching it--I didn't want to let it starve to death--or die of thirst, though I think that's just a semantic difference with mice since they don't drink--and Eric ended up taking it outside and crushing its skull with a hammer.

Not long after I was in the pantry making my lunch and another mouse decided it would be a great time to rummage between the bread and the chips. "We definitely had more than one!" I said when Eric rushed down to see whether the shriek I'd emitted was because I'd been murdered. I put a glue trap up on the counter but no luck yet.

I'm really pissed off at that particular mouse. On the floor is annoying, but within the bounds of acceptability. On my counter means war. Also, what is the damn thing eating? There aren't any holes in the bread or chips or rice as far as I can see, but there are droppings so it's clearly eating something. M--f-- b-- mice.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Merry things

The weekend was busy with candy-making and cookie-making and hiring my stepsister-in-law to clean the house. (She's 11. She worked about three hours, including helping us with wrapping 220 caramels, and hung around for a few more helping with putting up decorations. I asked what she was going to charge and she hemmed and hawed and settled on $2 an hour. I gave her a twenty and, possibly, apoplexy.) We finally got our tree decorated last night. Next year I will begin the tree-buying process on December 3 or so, so that we can actually get it up by the time I want it (around December 15, which is when we actually bought our tree, but then it didn't go up for almost a week and then Eric was too tired to want to decorate and so on).

We got some good news in the mail: Anthem has overturned the denial of coverage on my HSG, so we won't be losing that $3600 after all. It will take a while for them to process the claims, of course, but then we'll get our money back from the hospital and doctor's office, or maybe apply it toward future service. I'm pleased. I wasn't looking forward to continuing that fight. (I wonder if this is why our insurance is going up next year. In fact I'm losing my very nice 100% coverage plan because my employer decided it was just too expensive to continue. I won't tell them it might be my fault.)

In other good news, the mouse is gone. It was getting bolder: not only taking the peanut butter from the traps without springing the traps, but darting from the pantry to the back entry (where the garbage can and recycling bins are) to under the stove while we were in the kitchen banging things around. Yesterday morning I was in the kitchen and noticed it run from the stove to the entry. Then I saw it creep into my garden tote. So I very slowly opened the back door, picked up the tote, and put it outside. I'd better check it before the weather gets warmer, since a frozen mouse body in my bag is bad enough but a thawed, decomposing one would be much worse and I like that bag.

Today, I'm finishing two socks (one for Mom, one for Dad) and a batch of cookies, and putting some last things away before my parents get here tomorrow. And then I'm on Christmas break. I've been so envious of Eric and his two-week break; it was so hard getting up quietly to go to work today. I only have to do it again tomorrow and then I won't for nearly a week.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

How to choose your Christmas tree very, very quickly.

1. Go to the tree lot when it's 20 degrees out and windy.

2. Forget your hat.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

When the homeowners are away, the mice will play

We canned apple pie filling a few days ago. It was a total disaster--one of the jars broke in the canner and then when I pulled out the rest they all oozed filling over the counter, so most of it's in the freezer now and I'm trying to decide whether I failed to secure every lid properly or whether I should blame the ClearJel--but it also gave us valuable but annoying information: we have, or had, a mouse. Or mice.

When I opened the drawer to get the quart jars I found a few pellets of what were undeniably mouse droppings in it. I cussed a little and got the jars out to be sterilized, and then I opened other drawers. The one below the jar drawer drew more enthusiastic cussing. It's where I keep the candy-making supplies I got for my wedding shower, and it was practically filled with droppings. We discovered later that the lower shelf of the storage under the counters also had droppings, and the bag of basmati rice had been nibbled and defecated into. (Luckily it wasn't a full bag--we keep most of our rice in a Tupperware container and the bag only held what wouldn't fit.) Eric ran out of Pop-Tarts before we thought he would (we stocked up at a good sale) and I'd swear the mouse/mice got that, too, except we can't find any wrappers.

We intended to get mousetraps yesterday, but went haircutting and Christmas shopping instead. Today I get the mousetraps (and make turnovers from the apple pie filling that's still in the fridge) and maybe some antibacterial spray for the drawers. I'm not sure how much that will help--I also have paint, which might be better--but we do need the space. Even if apple pie filling is out of our reach, we do just fine with pickles and apple butter.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Back and better than ever before

Thanksgiving was lovely, except that I hardly saw my parents. Next time I'll arrange timing better. But I made cookies to last them until they come out here for Christmas, and I got to see my relatives and enjoy my native Washington for a few days. It's looking increasingly unlikely that we're moving this summer, and that makes me sad. I'm going to have to schedule more visits next year if I can.

In happier news, I've turned in my second business profile article. This one was harder--the interviewee didn't like the idea of being interviewed, and really wanted to read the article before I sent it. I agreed to send her the rough draft though everyone says don't, and was rewarded with the knowledge of why everyone says don't. She wanted me to change things, to alter the focus, to remove her name from some things...she did correct a couple of important things and give me more information in the second conversation, though. Lessons learned:
  • don't let interviewees read your work unless you're prepared to explain why you can't make the changes what they want (I did okay on that, I think--and I did do a couple of harmless things she wanted)

  • always record interviews (I didn't because she was so reluctant, and that's why those things needed correcting--either that or she told me the wrong thing, but I can't tell for sure because I don't have a record of exactly what she said, just my notes)
I immediately got another assignment upon turning this one in. This one isn't a business profile: it's an article on the tax benefits of net losses. I realize this is an extremely boring topic. But somehow, knowing I have to write about it makes it more interesting, not less; and I'm pleased to have received this assignment because it shows they're trusting me with more than relatively fluffy pieces.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


I wrote an article on balance in spinning (the fiber kind) about a year ago and sent it to a couple of places. I got no responses, and that was pretty much that, because as you might imagine the audience for articles on spinning is fairly confined. However! I got an e-mail today saying that one of the places is interested in it for publication in the spring. I was quite pleased with the article and its combination of fiber geekiness and physics geekiness, and I'm excited it found a home.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Jennifer Writer frets

I have a DBA! And business cards! I would feel all professional except that I'm having terrible trouble with this article I'm trying to write. On the plus side, I totally want to write an article about corsets based on Sunday's historic fashions seminar. The article is going to be too short and too vague, I can tell, and I should have insisted on recording it. Ah well. I'll finish a rough draft tonight, and polish it tomorrow and ask for another conversation via phone call.

I was poking through my old school files, looking for the first PowerPoint presentation I ever did (I didn't find it--I'll have to see if it's on a floppy and I can save it; it's from 1998), and found a draft of a grant proposal. I think it was an assignment from grad school, but I'm not sure. However, apparently I have a little grant proposal writing experience. There are always grant writer ads around, and I'd kind of like to look into that, so that was a nice find.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

How to not to do

I am totally, totally, totally uninterested in writing. This includes the article that I need to get done by Tuesday so that I can send it to the interviewee as promised (I already know that was a bad move, but I promised) and finish it and turn it in after Thanksgiving.

I have finished all the pieces for this baby sweater I'm knitting for my friend C. I designed it, and I'm pleased it's turned out well so far. Except I started matching pieces up and discovered that one of the sleeves is slightly but noticeably yellower than the rest of the sweater. I was pretty sure I got all the same dye lot, but apparently I was wrong--or deceived.

I have done about a third, maybe two-fifths, of the quilting for James's quilt. This quilt totally rocks. I'm still considering keeping it and making him a lesser one. (Actually I'm not, but it amuses me to say that. And I'm very, very pleased with how it's turned out. I can already see where I should have improved things, but that's all right.)

I have discovered I don't really like spinning silk because its staple is so long. I have some silk-camel that I'm planning to make into some decadent handwarmers for me and the spinning isn't bad, but it's not as fun as pure wool is, or even the Shetland/angora mix I was working with previously.

I have that historical sewing seminar tomorrow from noon to 5. I'd completely forgotten about it when drawing up my plans for the weekend. So I've got writing and quilting and all my garden clean-up and canning apple pie filling scheduled. This is unfortunate.

At present I'm planning on doing garden clean-up as soon as I get up in the morning, since I can't wait until after I get home because it'll be dark; and working on the article and quilting afterward, and maybe putting off the canning, depending. The quilting has to be done by the end of Monday at least so I can use Tuesday for attaching the binding, which I can then finish on the plane and at Mom and Dad's house and leave the quilt there--though first I've got to check what airline we're flying and whether it would be cheaper to mail it, depending on how much we're packing. Fiction writing doesn't technically have to be done; article writing does. Sleep does. Off I go to do it.

Friday, November 21, 2008

To do

This weekend:

-finish James's quilt's quilting (which requires reteaching myself to stipple)
-attach quilt binding (preparatory to finishing the binding on the plane ride over, which I know perfectly well is what I'm going to end up doing)
-do laundry (to have clothes for packing)
-clean the house (so we come back to a clean house)
-finish cleaning the garden (because otherwise the rabbits will stay all winter)
-make sourdough bread (to use up the extra starter I have)
-get Shoelace to 70K (because I've been in the 60Ks too long for my liking)
-attend Metroparks historic sewing seminar (because why not?)

It has been a weekend full of not doing much, in the dark. I forgot that I dislike winter. I think I'll feel better once the garden is fully put away and the house is cleaner. And I'm packed. We're leaving Wednesday for Seattle, coming back Sunday. I won't be seeing my family as much as I'd like during this trip--Mom and Dad are both working part of the time--but there will be mornings and afternoons (and coffee spoons), and Thanksgiving with all the family (to which we'll bring my potato-cheese casserole, because Eric loves it and he didn't like the mashed potatoes the last time we were out there for Thanksgiving), and cookie-making, and musical-watching, and relaxing. Someday I want to take a vacation that doesn't involve family, but I do like holidays with the family. And then it will be post-Thanksgiving, and the Christmas lights and music will not irritate me quite as much as they currently do.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Eat my vegetables

We have a holiday party at work this year, and I, naturally enough, inquired as to whether there would be a vegetarian entrée. This was the reply:

We are still working on the menu; therefore, I'm not sure if vegetarian food will be available. While, it is difficult to tailor the menu to meet each persons specific request, the meal will include several vegetables.
Whereupon I e-mailed my department coworkers telling them that my drink tickets were up for bid, and a really good bid would get double the tickets, since spouses are allowed this year and I could bring Eric along for the two minutes it would take to show up, get the tickets, give them to the appropriate person, and leave.

Seriously. I acknowledge that vegetarianism is not the standard American diet and requires a little bit of accommodation. However, it's not that uncommon, and anyone who could eat a meat dish could eat a vegetarian dish, so it wouldn't be funneling food money for the benefit of just one person. (Or however many there are in this company. I don't know.) "Several vegetables" gives me no confidence at all: no one wants to eat just crudites; just vegetables is generally not a good entire meal (and when it is, the vegetables are generally an entrée, which these obviously aren't); there's no guarantee that these "several vegetables" won't show up under gravy or swimming in beef broth or accompanied by bacon or shrimp.

We had a company picnic at the zoo this summer. My choices were a cookie and a bag of chips. (I had a little of both, but neither were very good.) I wanted to stay at the zoo, but I left early partly because I was hungry. I am not pleased. My coworker offered to ask for vegetarian food too, if that would help. I'm tempted to get up a movement, but I don't want to cause real trouble. I think.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Dance with me

I'm taking a dance class on Mondays--cha cha, rhumba, and swing. I'm mostly in it for the swing, but we're getting two sessions' worth of cha cha and rhumba and only one of swing. Figures.

I came home pleased and energetic and swinging my hips a little more than I usually do, and I asked Eric if he would try coming to a Friday night general dance with me--they have an hour's lesson beforehand and then the floor is open to everybody. And he got all sad and mopey and said no, but--no, sigh--but--sigh--arrgh--"Every Monday," he cried, "You come home all happy and excited, and I hate to bring you down from your high. But I always do." And I wanted to smack him, because why is he blaming me for feeling happy which makes him feel bad? There's a vicious circle we skirt, wherein making the other person sad makes us feel sad and so on and so on. But I'm not going to feel bad about asking him to do something I enjoy. I'm disappointed that he won't, but it's not a big deal otherwise, and I told him so. I'm allowed to be disappointed. I'm allowed to dance with other people if he won't, too.

Friday, November 14, 2008

It's so elegant/So intelligent

Bridger: You know who's not fazed one iota by all this?
Westphalen: Lucas.
Bridger: His generation grew up expecting this. It's not a revelation; it's a confirmation.

That's from an old show that nobody outside my family admits to liking, SeaQuest. (Yes! I am old! And no, I did not have a crush on Lucas because he was kind of annoying, though I always had the vague feeling that I ought to. Ahem.) In the relevant episode there are aliens aboard the ship (okay, maybe there are reasons nobody admits to liking it) and, as the characters are discussing, everyone's shocked and amazed except for Lucas, the teenage genius on board. He's not shocked and amazed because this is the way the world is supposed to be.

This is how I feel about electing Obama president. I'm getting uncomfortable, progressing to slightly irritated, about all the happy, weepy, I'm-so-proud-of-our-country, it's-so-historic, my-children-will-never-know-what-it's-like-not-to-have-a-black-president (which doesn't even make sense, but I know what they mean) posts and essays and letters-to-children I've been seeing in the past several days. I'm glad they're happy, but I think their reason for happiness is kind of weird. In this way, I am not old. I know it's historic, but I don't honestly feel any amazement that we've elected a black ("black") president. There's nothing wrong with that. This is the way the world is supposed to be.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Don't want no hard cash

I'm liking that hospital more and more. "Do you want me to send you a financial assistance form?" the woman who answered said when I told her I'd received my past-due bill and wanted to set up payment installments. I was dubious, since we make a decent amount of money and I doubt we'd qualify, but she insisted that it wouldn't hurt, so I agreed. "How much do you think you can pay a month?" she said.

"Seven hundred?" I said, since I calculated we could spare that much and I hate debt.

"Are you sure? I don't want to stretch you too tight. They're willing to work with you, that's the great thing. And with the holidays coming up, I don't want to strap you. What about, say, three hundred? And if you have the seven hundred you can send it, but this way you're not tight on cash through the holidays." I agreed, mostly because she was being so kind. They charge no interest, so I’m feeling about as good about paying this charge I shouldn't have to pay as I can be.

Incidentally, Eric's student loans have now come due, but the minimum payment is something ludicrously small--$145 or something--so that's not a big deal, either. Our current plan is to pay the minimum on the student loans until we've saved up $6000 in emergency money--we're at $2000 now and our end-of-the-month sweep into savings should be around $1000--and then start paying extra to get rid of that debt as soon as we might without wrecking our other plans. Luckily we're not as concerned about investing in stocks or 401ks because that money will only disappear anyway.

Actually one of my coworkers is buying up extra stocks and contributing more to his 401k because he figures lots of shares while they're cheap is a good idea, and intellectually I agree this is sound; but I don't think I'm really doing it. In seventh grade Humanities we were told to take X amount of imaginary money, pretend we had bought stocks with it, and track the stocks over the weeks to see what we had earned or lost. I kept some of my money instead of buying stocks with all of it. Imaginary funds, and going against the actual assignment, and I didn't use all the money because I thought it was too risky. (I did end up losing money. But I didn't get my grade docked, though the teacher looked at me funny.)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Adventures in infertility: IUIUIU

(TMI alert. Also, length alert. Sheesh.)

So the IUI was last Thursday. Actually it was last Friday. Let me explain...no, there is too much. Let me sum up. No, I'm lousy at summing up, let me explain:

I had my ultrasound/follicle study Wednesday. The technician said, "Whoa, you responded well to the Clomid. Almost too well," and said I had three ripe juicy follicles but all in the side with the blocked tube. She sent me off to the scheduler, who sent me off to the check-out, who said, "Was that all for today?" and I remembered I was supposed to get a Profasi shot as well. Since the office had totally forgotten about it, they had to send me out to the local pharmacy to get the Profasi itself. It's damned expensive stuff--the generic is $64, but the name-brand was all they had and it was $109. It contains two months' worth of medicine, but I'm not seeing that as much of a selling point.

Before I would surrender the Profasi I asked the shot-giver (that seemed to be her only function, at least that day) whether it actually made sense to go through with this, since my eggs would have nowhere to go, and she checked with a doctor who said that yes, it was worth a shot since eggs can migrate. I let her do the shot (it ached for days afterward) and looked it up later. The key is that the ovaries aren't actually connected to the fallopian tubes, just very close to them; the tubes have fimbriae that capture the eggs as they emerge and sweep them into the tube, but it's possible for the eggs to escape the nearest fimbriae. I don't know how often this happens--I only read about the migration bit on a couple of forums, secondhand from posters' doctors, and one said a 10% and the other a 70% chance. I also wonder how often an egg wanders off and is never recovered, and I can't imagine it being all that often.

Regardless, I got the shot and we scheduled the IUI for the next day, when Eric would go to the fertility clinic at the hospital during his planning period to, er, do his part, and I'd come by a few hours later to pick up, er, his part, and bring it to my gynecologist for the actual procedure. Wednesday night, he mentioned that he wasn't sure exactly where in the hospital the clinic was, but neither of us looked it up, me because I figured I'd do it at work before I left, he because (as it turned out) he thought I knew, though he didn't ask me for the directions then.

Thursday, I had a blood donation appointment with the bloodmobile at work for 10. At 11:30, Eric left school to find the clinic. He couldn't find it. He called me. I wasn't there because the bloodmobile people were, aside from being discourteous and not very gentle, running extremely late, and I didn't get out until 12. Eric shouted "Where have you been??" and then told me that the hospital had sent him to someplace that said he needed to go across the street, and the people across the street had told him he was in the wrong place, and now what? I got directions from the gynecologist and relayed them. "Then it's too late," he said, and yelled at me for not being around my phone at all times "when you knew I didn't know where I was going!" and for giving blood when I was supposed to be getting pregnant.

He went back to work. I called the clinic and the gynecologist and was told that we could reschedule for the next day. The scheduler, whom I've talked to a lot in the past couple of months, was upset that I asked if that would do any good. It turns out Profasi stays in the system for around 36-48 hours and the eggs don't die until it's gone. This was going to be a little over that time limit, so I was dubious, but we'd already spent most of the money we were going to spend this month and I scheduled it despite Eric saying he'd given up for the month. Later he called back, and we made up and he agreed to try again on Friday.

Friday, armed with the new improved directions, he had no problems at all (except in locating the porn, he said--it was discreetly tucked underneath a towel, and he didn't find it until afterward). I accordingly arrived a few hours later, tucked "the boys" into my bra, which gave me the giggles, was told by the technician "Good luck--I hope I never see you again!" and drove off.

At the gynecologist's, everything went fine except that my cervix is apparently severely tilted, so the gynecologist had to shove the catheter to get it in the correct place and I therefore bled quite a bit more than I'd been led to expect. Also, they should have warned me to bring a book or grab a magazine. Their ceiling was not interesting enough to entertain me for the requisite 20 minutes on my back.

And now, we wait. I am now doubly hoping that it worked, because I saw that ThinkGeek now carries solar system mobiles and how totally awesome would that be for a nursery?

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Two sides of the same coin

"What's that?" Eric said when I was looking at this. I scrolled up to let him read the start. "Does it go into gay people eventually?" he said.

"No, it's just black and white," I said. "The other issue of today."

"But it's not a different issue."

"No, just a different group," I agreed. We're donating to this, too. Giving for causes we believe in it so much more fun when there's sarcasm and ribbing of appropriately ribbable people involved.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

You can't go to bed on Election Night

Ohmigod, we're going to have an intelligent and articulate president! Hooray!

In other news, 55% of Californians (11% reporting) are pathetic, shriveled, bigoted wastes of people. Dammit. At least Colorado was sensible.

I like that Obama didn't downplay how bad things are right now. I'm liking the "spirit of service" theme in the speech. Sensible and realistic and good. Great speech. McCain's was good too. Eric said, "Where has he been for the last four years?"

I must go to bed now; I have an ultrasound in seven and a half hours. I'll look up how to donate to the get-rid-of-Proposition-8's-results fund in the morning. Eric was looking up comments on Free Republic about Obama. Please, Secret Service, do your job well!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

And while we're at it.

She's a female candidate. FEMALE. She is NOT a "woman candidate." "Woman" is not an adjective. Get it right, people!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Gas, and also hot air

Gas is $1.99 outside work. The gas in my tank is $0.49 per gallon more expensive, and I bought it a week ago. Wow.

I remember the first time I bought gas for over $2 per gallon. It was in Dayton, so no later than 2004, and I was driving to Columbus to catch a plane for work early the next day so I didn't want to take the chance on finding something cheaper on the way. I found a receipt in my car for $4.07 per gallon gas from July. These are funny times.

I'm anticipating that very late tomorrow people will start talking about "our first black president," so I shall say now how much that annoys me and get it over with. Unless he identifies completely with black people, Obama will not be our first black president. He'll be our first mixed-race, partly-black president (or at least I hope he will).

I do realize that to most people in this country, any black means black. He's not white enough for most white people. I also strongly suspect that at least when he was growing up, he wasn't black enough for black people, either. I have a book at home that examines mixed-race children in America. It's mostly on black/white mixes, since that's the major, and most emotionally charged, mix around here. At the time I was vaguely annoyed by that because I was looking for something that related to me, and that doesn't. But now that I live in a city that concerns itself with this kind of thing, and hope to shortly live under a mixed-race president, I'm glad I read it. And it says that a mixed-race child is too white for the blacks, and too black for the whites, and generally only finds refuge in the people who actually see him or her as an actual person. I've long since forgotten the race issue except when reminded because I know enough about Obama now to consider him as a person. I wish more people could do the same.

Eric and I talked recently about how his dad routinely talks about his black students and his white students and how that bothers me, and Eric's stance is that though he personally doesn't use the same language, he doesn't see his dad as wrong because, statistically speaking, there are differences in the two groups. --But then he went on to discuss theories of teaching, and how there are theories that a group of mostly females should be taught differently from a group of mostly males, and he doesn't believe in that either. We were also talking about how I grew up always believing that "liberal" was a good thing, and that Republicans were mostly wrong, while he grew up thinking "conservative" was a good thing, and that Democrats were mostly wrong. "It's like we lived in different countries," he said. There are no black-white issues in Seattle as there are Toledo. The major minority (hmm) there is Asian, and there isn't as much tension, or the same kind of stereotypes, so it's a different dynamic--and as far as I ever noticed, a nonissue.

People who say they're afraid that Obama will "take care of his own people first" don't know what they're talking about. They're trying to say, "He's black, so he'll give special favors to the black people." Presumably they believe the same is true of McCain but in reverse, but that doesn't bother them because they'll be the ones being taken care of. Maybe they assume the candidates would act as they themselves would--or implicitly realize that that actually is what already happens, with the people in power--mostly white people--taking care of their own.

Probably there are lots of people in the country about whom that would be a reasonable fear, but none of them would become the likely winner in the American presidential election. There's an old saying that women have to be excellent just to be recognized as competent, and I expect the same is true for black, or partially-black, people. I'm hopeful about having Obama as president because he's had to do very well in everything else in his life to get where he is, and he has the intelligence and capacity to keep on doing it. I'm not very hopeful that America's race issues will get significantly better anytime soon, which depresses me very much. "Maybe when that generation is dead," I think, but then I assume that people my age--or even most intelligent people--are like me, and that's not true either. Eric's mom says, "Obama scares the shit out of me, and I don't know why. There's just something about him." I think I know what the something is, but it's something about her, not him.

I'm glad I can cast a vote in a swing state, but I wish I didn't live in a city with such a divisive attitude. Alternately, I could wish I had a "people," but I don't, other than the friends I choose and the family I love. I'd have to ask him to be sure, but I don't think Obama has a "people" either, any more than I do, or than most people do. (If I am ever elected president, all left-handed half-Asian non-high-school-diploma-possessing master's-degree-bearing vegetarians named Jennifer shall get preferential treatment. I don't think this will tie up much of my presidential time.) He has a family, and a hometown, and a country, and so do we all. And I hope that in January he has a presidency.

(With that said, I am not voting tomorrow. I voted two weeks ago. Eric voted yesterday and the line was three hours long.)

Sunday, November 02, 2008

On knitting and juggling

I have, at last, deployed the ice cream yarn. This is some dark green wool/silk/something-else fiber I picked up at the Spinner's Flock Fleece Fair last February. (Or the one before? I forget.) I spun it up into a thick, fluffy, three-ply yarn that seemed to incorporate as much air as yarn, thus the name ice cream yarn. I knit it into a clever hat, with intertwining cables, with exactly no yarn left over. Unfortunately the hat made me look stupid. The hat itself looked nice, but my head looked like a bowling ball with an IQ of 34. (I suppose that would make it an unusually intelligent bowling ball. Unless the IQ was based on the bowling ball population rather than the human population.) So I unraveled it and knit a Calorimetry, which forced me to bind off about six rows before the end, but luckily it's knit such that that really didn't matter. I'm pleased.

We had a Cheap Candy Day (aka Bring Your Own Excuse) party yesterday, because we felt like having a party, and it went very well. My father-in-law complimented my cooking and seemed overall more pleased with me than he has in the past, which was nice. My mother-in-law got het up about an incipient political discussion (there were several of us in the room when somebody said "Nobody here is a Palin supporter" and apparently she is) and left in a hurry, but otherwise everything went very well. Eric did mention his Klein bottle hat at some point. I knit this for him in 2004, long before the Knitty pattern came out. "Oh, yeah, I've got one, Jenny made it for me years ago," he assured one of our friends who mentioned it. The thing is, I also unraveled it about a year ago, because he never wore it because it didn't fit properly. I'm wondering if I shouldn't start working on that again.

I have the picture part of James's quilt top almost finished. It's gorgeous. I'm loving it. The plan is to finish the entire quilt top by the end of this week, then baste and quilt next week, and have plenty of time to bind by the time we leave for Thanksgiving. We'll see how that goes, of course. I've got part of Dad's first sock to finish; after that two more socks, one of Mom's and one of Dad's. Plus a baby sweater. Plus maybe another quilt. Plus a hat for me. Plus curtains and baby stuff and whatever else comes up. Plus I signed up for a dance class (cha cha, swing, and rhumba) on Mondays.

The fiction writing is still going well, remarkably; but the nonfiction stuff not so much. Jen's post on the same subject got me thinking about all my activities and interests, and how life used to be much simpler back when I was in grad school but I definitely get more done now. Also Dad sent me some job listings for right near his work, and one of them is really intriguing, even though it's in research rather than writing and I had said I wanted to pursue the writing, so I'm thinking about how determined I need to be to stick to one course, or if it's okay to deviate from my plans as much as I often deviate. I'm feeling like I can juggle all the different activities I've got, but that means that something is always out of my hands. I think that's okay, but I'll have to wait and watch and see.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

On watercolor quilting

There's no picture of the Summer Sunrise quilt because I'm ashamed of it. It's mainly the sky. This was supposed to be a watercolor quilt, done in low resolution (six-inch squares), and the green in the hills looks fine because I used different patterns and tones, but for the sky I just used one type of fabric for each color (orange to yellow to tan to blue to dark blue) and it looks awful. It'll do for now because it's under another blanket, but I'm going to have to make us another summer quilt and give this one away.

James's quilt is the same technique, but done better. I used lots of different fabrics, and it looks more natural and graded and interesting. Still very color-saturated--I guess my stash tends toward that--but that's not a bad thing. This one I'm not ashamed of.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Adventures in infertility: Mr. Hyde has left the building

I started taking Clomid yesterday, per my doctor's orders. (Also, the day before that I called both my doctor and the local fertility clinic, to coordinate scheduling for getting a specimen from Eric and getting my ultrasound/Profasi/IUI set up. I much prefer the local fertility clinic's phone manner. The woman I spoke with was helpful, knowledgeable, and happy to explain each step of what I needed. The people at the doctor's office recognize my name--or the one woman does, anyway--but only give me useful information when I pull it out of them.) They're supposed to be taken the same time every day, and I decided noon sounded good.

I eyed the first one nervously before I popped it in my mouth. I'm not liking this part of the IUI prep, especially since I ovulate just fine. It feels too manipulative. Too steak-tastes-better. Also, I looked up the side effects and feared them: mood swings, uncontrollable crying, cramping, hot flashes, nausea, itchiness, headaches, exhaustion. I told Eric this list and apologized in advance. However, I took it. I waited a moment, said to myself, "No noticeable behavioral differences," and went about my day.

After a few hours I noticed that I was more aware of my female inner workings than I usually am at this time of month, but no actual pain, and it went away. Today, a slight headache that might be due to not enough to drink. Nothing else. Eric's moodier than I am. I'm still a bit wary, but feeling decently hopeful that this won't be such a big deal.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Not really a misnomer. Really!

I get defensive about this every fall. I would like to inform Midwesterners and East Coasters: Red Delicious apples really do taste good--in Washington. I've had one fresh from a tree in a local orchard here in Toledo, and it was tasteless. They're widely reviled here as lumps that don't deserve the name of apple, and given the opportunity to taste them here I can't blame these people, but it's not the poor apple's fault. It's evidently a terroir thing, made worse by the globalization of food markets and the marketable name (like 'Beautiful Rushmore Caverns' in South Dakota, I suppose). But in their proper environment the Red Delicious is a good apple. Honestly!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008



I've just left the government center, having been told that their website is totally misleading and what I want is in another castle, and decide to try walking to the Board of Elections building where I can vote early. Four blocks later I realize this isn't going to work, and I start heading back. As I'm walking, a brown car pulls alongside me, then climbs halfway up the sidewalk and paces me.

I think I see a female passenger (Eric asked me later why this was important) and it's plain daylight and there are people around, so I'm not terribly concerned; I just move out of easy reach and keep walking. The brown car gets stuck behind another car, and the light turns red, and I cross and start walking back towards my car.

I stop to read the Constitutional Amendments statue-type thing by the sidewalk. Someone hollers behind me, "I love you!!" I'm not sure whether he's talking to me or not, because I don't look back, but I turn the wrong way up a one-way street and the brown car doesn't follow.


"I want to know if the cystic fibrosis test covers a particular mutation," I tell the woman who answered the hospital's telephone.

"Okay, well, I can see if the system will tell me," she says dubiously. She looks. She finds nothing. "Sorry. But I can give you the number of the lab that does it, MLabs. --Wait. Where are you calling from?"

"My cell phone," I say, cautiously.

"I mean, are you a patient or what?"

I explain my situation. She says, "Okay. Because I'm not supposed to give you medical information if you're not a physician. Like, I can't give you this information because I'm not a physician either. There's a law that says I can't give this to you."

"But I'm not asking for advice," I say. "I just want to know a detail about the procedure."

"I'm sorry, but I can't tell you that. I can't even give you the number. It's my job, I have to obey this law."

I realize there's no use arguing, so I get her to repeat the name of the lab and tell me the city they're located in. I say sweetly, "Then I'll call them myself. Thanks for your help." I call the lab and they're perfectly helpful. I hope that the woman worries all night about whether or not she should have given me the lab's name and city.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Suddenly I'm more interested in the details of Obama's healthcare plan.

Now it's even more important that I straighten things out with the insurance company regarding my HSG. To wit: the $535 was just for my doctor to show up. The hospital's bill is $3,087. However I got no notice from Anthem about it, which suggests that the hospital didn't even try sending it to insurance. So I'm talking to them about that first. And if there's nothing I can do on that front, I'm going to talk to them about financing, because we don't have that much money. (Unless we take it out of our stocks, but that's a really bad idea right now. Putting it on a credit card would honestly be better. Yuck.)

I had my first interview today, for a real estate profile I'm doing for a local paper. I'd answered a Craigslist ad looking for local freelance writers, and this is my trial assignment. It went okay, though I did not feel polished or penetrating or anything particularly good, and the interviewee treated me like I knew something, which is the important bit, I think.

Tonight I'm writing up the article because this weekend is to be very busy with other freelance work (for the company that Jade introduced me to). This weekend Eric has no plans, so I'm hiring him to design a business card for me, because I felt foolish when my interviewee handed me his card and I had nothing to give him. I think it's time to go get a DBA. I don't know that it will help me or make me look more professional, but it'll be a nice shiny new toy for fairly cheap, and that would be a nice thing.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Close encounters

Thursday or Friday of last week, I was driving home in crawling traffic, listening to NPR, as has been my wont ever since Eric accused me of knowing too little about current events. (He was not entirely wrong.) Crawl, crawl, crawl, thunk. The car behind me had hit me. We got out; the driver, a woman a little younger than me, apologized profusely. She noticed the dent in my bumper and gasped, "Did I do that?"

"No, that was already there," I said. There was no damage to my car, just a license-plate-shaped smudge in the dirt, so I shrugged, she apologized once more, and we got back in our cars.

Today I was driving home, listening to NPR, thinking about whether we should buy stocks since everyone else was probably going to. I stopped at a light and fished out some trail mix from the Eric Hypoglycemia Emergency Stash. Chew, chew, chew, thunk. This one was a little harder. I got out and the driver, male this time, said, "Are you all right? I'm so sorry! I saw cars moving in the other lane and just started going." He looked at the dent in my bumper and said, "Did I do that?"

"No, that was from before," I said, and we examined the bumper. There were a couple of slight scratches this time, but not enough to be noticeable under the dirt or worry me, so after another apology and another "Are you sure you're all right?" we got back in our cars. It vaguely amuses me that both people thought they could be responsible for a dent in the side of the bumper when they hit me straight on. Could I have said "Yes" and gotten a free bumper repair out of it? Probably their insurance companies would be smarter than that. However, I feel sure that either I will myself get into an accident before long and be forgiven, or have a third person hit me even harder than the second one, and this third person will buy me a new bumper.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Status check

Current status: Furious at the insurance company. When I called to check whether they would cover the HSG, they said they would. Now they say they don't touch anything with the word 'infertility' on it. Dad suggests filing a complaint with the company and the insurance general (never heard of this, but I'll go find out). It was $535, so I think it's worth it to spend the time--I already submitted an informal complaint through their "Contact Us" page, but I'll check my paperwork and see what I need to do for a formal one.

Also, they don't do CF carrier testing unless a relative actually has CF, not just results indicating he's a carrier. Even though that's effectively the same situation minus the tragedy. Also, we need an official letter from Eric's new insurance company before my company will take him off of mine. $%!@*&$ bureaucracy.

Michelle was over last night while the mothers were at a seminar. She did a little spinning while I worked on my quilt templates; then she said, "I’m bored. I'd rather talk," and proceeded to tell me all about her tumultous relationship with her erstwhile best friend. I don't think she realizes that they're not best friends anymore, even though she sounded like she was describing a failing marriage, but she was doing at least a little metacognition: "I'm sorry to spill all this. But if you don't mind--it's nice to be able to talk about it."

I finished one sock of the pair intended for Mom yesterday. It's going in the wash this weekend to see if it shrinks--if not, I may have to redo it. I also need some good instructions for left-handed Kitchener stitch. Maybe I'll sit down with some easier-to-use yarn and figure it out myself.

We looked at our Ameritrade account yesterday. We really shouldn't have. We've lost almost six thousand dollars. Luckily we don't need the money; but we're definitely going to build up some savings in the bank before we do any serious investing. Though I do keep talking about upping our 401k contributions and buying some stock, since it's nice and cheap now. Eric wonders how much cheaper it will get. When the stock market starts going back up will there be a sudden upswing as everyone realizes now is the time to buy, or will most people be skittish and wary?

Slightly relatedly, I'm waiting on a small freelancing check from the company I'm scheduled to do a crazy amount of work with in two weekends. No check, no work. I'm sure my contact knows this; she's talking to the accounting person herself to make sure it gets to me. I'm also waiting on three potential nibbles on other gigs, but not very hopeful about any of them.

Status: life as usual. I want a vacation.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Turnover rate

I made apple butter and apple turnovers yesterday. The turnovers were something I'd never tried before, but I've been looking for something to replace the Fudgy Rounds Eric loves to take to work with him and I had lots of apples, so I gave them a shot. They're good. Eric loved them. "We should take some to the mothers," I said. "We could take them the recipe," he said.

Today, I made more. The original recipe only made eight, and we gave three to the mothers and sampled three more throughout the day. Eric brought one to work for after his faculty meeting and told me he was daydreaming about it halfway through the meeting. Who knew that handheld apple pies would be such a hit?

I tried out a cooked filling this time, because if it works well we're going to can a bunch of filling for later use. The first batch also had quite a few split seams and runny spots, so I took more care shaping the turnovers this time, pressing the crust together and crimping it carefully with a fork, then carefully trimming the edges away. I couldn't shake the feeling that I get once in a while since I got married, that this is something I'm going to be doing a lot in the coming years, that what I'm doing now is the foundation of a family tradition in the future. It's a strange feeling. But I like it.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Saturday, Saturday

Maybe I don't have a quilt design for James's quilt. I mean, I do, but the dragon-woven-into-the-design thing didn't work out the way I thought it would. I thought to do a test patch, for once, to test this out, and I'm glad I did. But it still means I'm not sure what I want to do. Switch entirely? Remove the dragon and keep the quilt simple? Find another way to weave the dragon in?

In other news, I met with an editor of a local business paper today to discuss doing freelance assignments. I think it mostly went well; he gave me some sample papers to read and asked me to send an e-mail with my interest in doing a trial assignment. I've got my fingers crossed.

I bought a half-bushel of apples at the farmer's market today ($10; at Andersons there were pecks for sale for $6) that I'm going to use tomorrow for apple butter, apple turnovers, and possibly apple cake. We also bought about three hundred dollars' worth of clothes for the two of us. Yikes. But we needed it (Eric especially), and we can afford it now, which I think actually makes me happier than the actual buying of things does.

Friday, October 03, 2008


"I'm not sure what I'm planting in the garden next year," I said last night. "But I should probably act like we're going to be here an extra year."


"Well, maybe it would be a selling point--but then, if things are bad enough that a vegetable garden is a big selling point, we're probably not going to be able to sell the house."

"My mom asked me about that earlier," Eric said. "She wanted to know if we'd considered the economy regarding our plans to move. I said of course we had, we're not idiots. Only not in those words. I said yes, we've discussed it. That we've been discussing it off and on for months."

"Did she bring up her contention that we'll never move? Or that we won't come back?"

"That was the other mother," he said. "But no, she didn't mention that. She was just asking if we'd thought about it. Especially if we're going to be spending all this money to try to make sure we have a kid soon."

"Moving with a newborn would not be fun," I said. "Neither would moving while eight months pregnant."

"Right. So next year is going to be complicated."

"I think..." I said. "I think we're probably going to end up staying an extra year. But I'm not willing to give up yet."

"That's fine," Eric said. "We'll wait and see. We could always put the house on the market and see what happens. And maybe things will get better after the election."

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

James's Christmas quilt, launched.

James's Christmas quilt is designed. (I also have another design on tap now--I drew it first and I like it so much I think it's too nice to waste on James. Is that terrible?) It's going to be a sort of a graduated plaid design in his chosen colors, brown and purple and gold, with one-fourth of the plaid being not a color but an appliqued dragon. Did that make sense? Probably not. I'll put up pictures. First I've got to buy fabric, and draw a full-sized template for this dragon (and maybe learn how to draw), and decide whether I can cut out single patches for the applique or if I'll have to piece it and how to do the applique since it's just going to be cut up anyway.

I think it's interesting that my response to any quilting challenge is "I can do that; I just have to figure out how." I don't have that with my other skills. In knitting and cooking/baking I have faith in my ability to follow directions and perform a certain amount of improvisation, but I wouldn't try to figure out something truly unusual on my own. In writing I have faith I could do it eventually, but not necessarily now. In quilting, I have faith I can do it now, even if I don't immediately know how. I think I can call that master-level skill, even if my seams and color theory need a little work. Strange that it's this one that's come the farthest.

Now that I have a design, I need a name. I do not have master-level skill in naming things.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Muses and musings

I have finally finished that scene in Shoelace that has been blocking me for (ugh) two months now. The solution lay in doing other things to give the protagonist the motivation she needed to make an effort that would have otherwise made no sense. Temporary victory is mine!

I am eagerly looking forward to tonight's presidential debate, mainly to see whether McCain shows up. We don't even need to vote in the circuses, they come to us.

I had a fit of economy-induced anxiety last night. It's not looking good for our plan to move next summer, though I suppose you never know. But if credit gets that bad, we may not be able to buy a house out there even if we sell ours here. (We could always rent my parents' old house. James is living in it now but I've got a better history of on-time payments, so they say they'd be happy to kick him out and rent to us instead. We wouldn't really kick him out...I think...but we might sublet it to him.) And leaving a perfectly good job might be a really bad idea, unless I've got the freelance/telecommute plan going by then. (Luckily, teachers will probably always be in demand in some form or another.)

But we'll see. Chances are that the worst that will happen is we'll have to stay here an extra year...or two. I don't want to end my twenties in Ohio, but that's the way it goes sometimes.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Next you'll tell me books don't have search functions.

I never watched West Wing but I still thought this was totally awesome. I was disconcerted, though, when I wanted to post a comment or e-mail the author and couldn't. Isn't this the Internet?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Adventures in infertility: passing the buck

I was told to call the doctor's office when I started my period to get a scrip for Clomid. So yesterday I called and explained my request to the woman I spoke with--Ann--and added that I had questions about whether I was supposed to do an IUI as well and how that would work. She paused, said, "Hold on," and connected me to someone else, unnamed. The unnamed person heard my story, said, "Hold on," and connected me with Elaine. Elaine heard my story and said, "The only one who can answer your question is really the doctor. Let me have her call you back."

So I left my number and went off to phone training (not entirely useless because the icons on our new phones are not intuitive and they only have the icons on them, not, you know, labels) and of course got the call in the middle. After the session I found that the call had been from a Terry, not the doctor. Terry said to call her back, so I did. "You need to make an appointment with the doctor to discuss this," Terry said.

So I did, for Monday, which is too late for Clomid to work this month. Today I'm wondering if I should have insisted on the scrip anyway, and if I should call again today. Yesterday, since I was in the last throes of PMS, I quietly made the appointment and got off the phone quickly so that I wouldn't sound upset. But I was; I was disappointed, and they've switched stories on me without provocation. And this is not the best thing to do to a patient when you know perfectly well she has PMS because that's when you asked her to call.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Family concerns

I'm currently reading Anne Lamott's Blue Shoe. I picked this up at a thrift store in Ann Arbor while shopping for dyeing equipment. I've been meaning to read Anne Lamott's fiction since I read Bird by Bird, but hadn't until now. I'm not normally much of a mainstream fiction reader...or at least that's not what I gravitate towards, though I do have a few mainstream novels that are some of my favorites to reread. I realized this evening that I rarely read new stuff anymore. Generally I just reread what I have. I wonder if this is why when I do read something new, I tend to gulp it down.

At any rate, this kind of mainstream fiction is definitely not what I would think of as my sort of thing. It's very senses-oriented, descriptive, symbolic, where the events don't matter in and of themselves so much as in their effects on the main character. I have to slow down to read this properly. I remember doing that with the one Charles de Lint book I read, too. Unlike that book, this one is more direct in its message: acceptance, family, duty, love, that flaws are okay and the point is to be a good person, not a perfect one. I feel like I've been very close in my own mind lately, that I need to expand and breathe and relax into my own life a bit. It's an interesting phenomenon. I'm glad I'm reading this book right now.

Dad called me today to discuss James's genetic testing results. James called Monday to tell me about it, disrupting the night's plan of work. I've just now caught up to what I was planning to do then. If I understand him correctly (and he understood the doctor correctly), he's a cystic fibrosis carrier. The doctor says this may or may not be the cause of his pancreatitis; some mutations in the CF gene are codominant (most are recessive, meaning that one mutated gene is okay, but codominant means that one mutated gene will produce some effects, though not as many as having two mutated genes) and CF does involve the pancreas but he almost certainly got the gene from Dad, and Dad's family, and nobody has had James's sort of internal troubles that we know of.

"I don't really know what CF is," he said, so I told him a little about it--bodily defects, lung problems, diabetes, malnutrition, sterility, and constant pneumonia and bronchitis symptoms are what it amounts to, though I didn't go into all that--and that I planned to get myself tested. "James said his doctor said it was mostly passed down on the male side," he said, which is contrary to what I know--cystic fibrosis is an autosomal disease--so I said either he was mistaken or I had misunderstood what the results actually were.

"When is CF diagnosed?" he said, and I said usually at infancy. "Then Abby (James's daughter) probably doesn't have it," he said, in relief. Two of my cousins were already tested when a cousin on their dad's side died of CF, so it's just the last two cousins who need to know--based on current information they have a 25% chance of being carriers. James didn't specifically say to disseminate the information, but he didn't say not to, and it's a family concern.

He's going to tell Mom about it when he's there to explain it--he's on a business trip currently--and I'm going to call when he's home to tell Mom about my test results, that I have a blocked oviduct and I'll be taking medication, so that he can help explain that. I'm not that bad at explaining things but she does seem to understand quickest when Dad tells her things; the habit of thirty years of listening to him, I expect.

I was feeling very anxious and cranky about all this yesterday, which is why I didn't catch up on any work. I'm still out of sorts today, in an odd way I haven't experienced before. It's not quite like PMS (though I'm due for it), and it's not quite like the depression I had in 2004. It's more ephemeral, more trivial, more flat-affect than bad-affect, but it's still been preventing me from doing things. However, I'm hoping that's at an end starting tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Adult 2.0

We talked this past weekend, Eric and I, about Adult 2.0. It started out talking about money: now that he's got a paycheck again (yay!) we're figuring out what to do with money. Our plan is to pay off his student loans over the next year, which leaves us approximately $400 a month for savings and $400 a month for fun, based on the premise that my salary will continue to pay all our regular bills and his is therefore available for semidisposable items. "Fun" includes travel, gifts, and clothing, so it's not the riches we first felt it was, but it's much better than our budget over the past eight months of $0. (Not that we didn’t exceed that.)

We're also discussing what to do with the savings, and whether we should buy stock since it's low right now. And then there's the planned move: where are we going? When do we start job-hunting? When do we put the house up for sale? And then there's the hope of kids: what if I get pregnant such that we move halfway through? What about medical insurance? What kind of life insurance can Eric get? When do we need wills drawn? What about household management and the chores we neglect as it is?

Adult 1.0 was when I was in grad school and (more) when I was living in Dayton: I was an adult, I had an income and monthly bills, and I managed my own household. But it was a household of one, and decisions I made affected me and only me. Money was easy: when I spent less than I made, the extra went into a savings account. A growing savings account meant I was doing well.

I'm not sure when Eric moved from 1.0 to 2.0, since he was married before but it sounds like their household wasn't very well organized, but it happened for me when (a) I got engaged to Eric and (b) I put my savings into a CD. Two simple things, but they meant that (a) my responsibilities were to someone else and therefore more complex and (b) I realized that money is more complicated than addition and subtraction. Then came household management, and dealing with emergencies, and all those other things; and I feel fully entrenched in 2.0 now. It's complicated, but I know enough now to handle it, plus all the other things that make up my life--hobbies and family and such.

I wonder if other people feel this way, even if they don't put it in software terms.I assume 3.0 comes with kids, but I won't know until we get there. Maybe it's a 2.3 patch.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Sweet tooth

My tooth is fixed, and my sense of drama happily failed me; the dentist concluded I had "plenty of tooth left" and just smoothed and filled it. It meant I was numb for our first dinner out in several months, at a local Chinese-American restaurant , but that was okay. The numbness wore off before the food actually got to the table, anyway. I don't know if my metabolism is picking up or they used the cheap stuff; normally it takes more than three hours to completely go away.

I made this pumpernickel bread over the weekend. Except for being way too salty, it was pretty good, but not better the rye recipe I tried out of Local Breads that contains no cocoa or molasses. I'll try one of those this week. Plus focaccia: semolina focaccia with tomatoes and basil. It looks like summer's drawing to a close, so I'd better enjoy it while I can.

We're stocked up on sandwich bread; I'm one or two iterations away from Eric's ideal rye sandwich loaf if he stops moving the goalposts, and I've got Harvest Wheat and Honey Wheat recipes (it was Honey Wheat Berry, but the berries are too big for my liking; cracked wheat works better) that we're happy with, so we are pretty much a bakery-independent household. I haven't made hamburger buns yet--that's one of the few holdouts--but I found some recipes and I don't see why it would be hard, not when I made some ciabatta rolls not long ago that turned out to be excellent with burgers (veggie burgers, anyway) and were pretty easy to make. Eric wants me to try making pasties, and I want to try making Pizza Bites, and if we're staying here for Thanksgiving I'm totally making this. Maybe even if we're not, if Thanksgiving isn't actually at Mom and Dad's--I could do this if we were going elsewhere, but probably not if the kitchen were full of other Thanksgiving trappings.

I've been doing a lot of crafting lately (still haven't finished the damned summer quilt, but I will, very soon, honestly) and not a lot of writing. I’m envisioning my life as a vase that I filled with pretty little bits and bobs, and now that I have something big I want to put in it, it won't fit because all the pretty knickknacks are in the way. Unfortunately I've promised to finish a few things (including a quilt for my brother for Christmas) so I can't quit entirely, but this needs fixing. I felt this way last year, as I recall. That's not good. I suggested I could publish a book of quilting patterns and Eric said it would never work because the patterns would be too intimidating, which is at least flattering.

Friday, September 12, 2008

The evil of all roots.

"Part of my tooth just fell out," I told my boss. He cringed; I went on, "I'm going to the dentist at three-thirty to get it checked out." He did not object. I would say "Woo, leaving early on Friday!" only my keen sense of drama tells me that I will shortly be told I need a root canal, principally because this exact thing--except for the boss-horrifying--happened to Eric about two months ago. Happily, we can afford it now (woohoo for a DINK household!) so aside from the hassle it's not a huge deal. I was rather hoping to spend Eric's first paycheck on something more fun, though.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Adventures in infertility: HSG

(Note: TMI.)

I had my HSG this morning. Once I found the right department (radiology) and was routed to an entirely different department (cardiology) to register--hospitals don't seem to believe that they have patients who have never been there before and don't know the procedures--it went smoothly. I was double-bagged in two hospital gowns, one opening in front, the other in back. I sat in the little radiology room while we waited for my gynecologist, and then when everything was set up, me on the table with my knees apart and a tenaculum clinging to my cervix, we waited for the radiologist. "He'll be right there," reported the nurse/technician/my best friend throughout the process.

"They always say that," said the gynecologist. "I always want to go attach a tenaculum to their scrotum. Then we'll wait as long as you like!"

At length the radiologist came and the procedure--consisting entirely of depressing the plunger, adding more dye, and depressing the plunger again--began. The radiologist completely blocked my view while it was ongoing, but once the assembly had been pulled out of me and the camera was put away, they showed me my innards as seen by X-ray. The uterus is fine, the left tube is fine, the right tube is blocked. That seems about right to me; I generally feel more activity on the left down there. "So we know we've got one to work with," the gynecologist concluded. "Next cycle we'll get you on some Clomid and go from there. Your husband had an SA, right?"

"Yes. Everything normal except a slightly low count."

"Then all the more reason to go on the Clomid. We've got to give him more to bat at."

The gynecologist left; my best friend cleaned up and told me she was on Clomid, too, and waited for me to get up. Which I did, four times; the first three I got dizzy and my ears closed, and I laid right back down. Eventually she gave me some juice and a cold compress and the fourth try took.

I was told to take the day off to rest; from what I'd read I figured that was unnecessary but wasn't going to argue. I feel both ways about it now. I'm okay, and I could certainly be sitting at my desk at work, but there's some residual weirdness and weakness (solely from my complete wussiness when it comes to medical procedures--I do the same thing when I give blood and I despise my weakness, but I don't seem to be able to do anything about it) and I'm glad to be able to stay home the rest of the day. So, I shall go bake bread and read and enjoy my sick day.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Three-Day Novel contest, first and last

10,839. I got to a late start, when I turned my computer on at 11:45 last night only to discover the hard drive was toast. Luckily I'd had signs of this and backed up my files on a CD just the night before, so I'm not concerned except for the fifty bucks or so it'll take to replace it (also that I forgot to save my custom dictionaries in Word, but that's not irreplaceable anyway, just convenient). I started this morning on one of Eric's old hard drives, on a computer he'd planned to take to school, and tooled merrily along until I realized that the portion of the story I'd decided to write was (a) coming out total crap and (b) way too short. I finished what I outlined just now, at just over 10K. I could go back and fill in, but I'm feeling discouraged by what I'm feeling are generally poor writing skills. I think I'm going to leave this as is and work on Shoelace tomorrow, but also get in other things, like spending time with Eric when he's not working on school stuff.

Maybe I'll do better another year. I'm terribly out of shape, writing-wise, I think.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

If I didn't have to go to work, I'd have plenty of time.

Gah. I'm panicking about the outline and feeling like I've gotten nothing done tonight. Which is basically true (except for picking tomatoes and taking a walk--oh, and finishing a skein, so I guess it's basically not true), since I haven't posted at M&M when I'm supposed to and I haven't finished the story outline and I haven't done the canning I meant to and so on. It's that time of month and I'm feeling yucky, so that's an excuse; and work has been hectic lately and the one task I really enjoy is causing me problems, so that's another. Ugh. Mainly, I'm just feeling off. Also, Eric told me last night that PV is lousy (I mean, he didn't say that; I gathered it from what he did say) and I don't want to have to practice this much at the rate at which I write because I'll be eighty-seven by the time I can do anything good. Tomorrow I'll carve out time to finish the outline--I'd better!--and can and post, and Friday I'll stay away from the computer until midnight, and then I'll see what I can do.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Grocery shopping in the time of rising food prices

Eric and I went grocery shopping today--first to the farmer's market, where we got hot peppers for salsa and parsley for tabbouleh and fruit for all the time--and then to Kroger. We'd had to skip our usual weekend breakfast of toast with apple butter because we had no non-rye (or non-frozen) bread, so while Eric went to the pharmacy I went straight to the bread aisle.

Where I made faces and was momentarily panic-stricken, because the bread we used to buy for $2.50 is now $3.59. I had some money-related anxiety a few days ago because Eric's tuition and the car insurance are both due in a week and we don't have money to pay for both after the mortgage payment goes out. Luckily the car insurance can go on a credit card and Eric gets his first paycheck at the end of September, so we should be all right, but I berated Eric just yesterday for suggesting that we could go out to eat.

"It's a good thing you know how to make bread," Eric said when he came back from the pharmacy to my empty cart. I made a perfectly serviceable sandwich loaf not long ago, soft enough for him and whole-grain-y enough for me, and I have most of a pound of yeast at home and flour is still relatively cheap.

We debated whether or not to buy Parmesan cheese. It was $6 for a 10-oz. block, and we had recently decided to get some for breadsticks and pasta sauce and pesto. "Should we go without?" I wondered. Eventually Eric suggested we try the Kraft stuff in the green box, and I agreed since I haven't had that stuff in ten or fifteen years and he says it tastes fine. The Kraft stuff turned out to cost the same amount, but the Kroger generic was less, so we got that.

"We're having to go without luxuries," Eric observed as he picked up lunchmeat and decided to skip breakfast sausage. "At some point we're going to have to buy ice cream rather than--"

"Never!" I declared. "I'll go without."

"I'm wondering if we could retool our ice cream recipes to use half-and-half instead of cream," he said.

"Maybe," I conceded. We have plenty of ice cream right now so it's not an issue, and presumably won't be in the winter--unless we decide to make more for a party in October or so.

"We're still getting by on one paycheck," Eric reminded me as we picked up milk and winced at the price of butter. "What are we going to do when we've got two again?"

"Not complain quite so much at food prices?" I said.

Friday, August 15, 2008

There's no neat acronym for "clean up after messy husband."

Acronyms are in my future. Acronyms like HSG and IUI. I am displeased. Eric had an SA and it showed a slightly low count, but not hugely so. We've been TTC (there's another one, which I am only using to continue the theme because that one bugs me for some reason) for more than a year now, so we're trying to decide what to do next (aside from continuing to try, because it's fun).

I've been having a busy time with Eric gone. I'm quilting, writing, cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, baking bread, gardening. (Oh yeah, and I have a job.) I'm also finding myself with the odd urge to clean up Eric's spaces. He has two, his side of the bedroom and his half of the office, and I let him let them get messy, within reason. (The glasses and cans have to go downstairs within a reasonable time.) Since I don't have to interact with either one, I'm fine with this arrangement, but now that he's gone I'm itching to put his ties and books away, throw away the old receipts, sort his papers into neat stacks. Of course then he'd never find anything. Maybe this is a response to the first problem?

Monday, August 11, 2008

The invisible Jennifer

So we had our company-wide department meeting last week, and during it I volunteered, along with K, to work on improving our submission form. Someone in the branch office said she wanted to volunteer N, another person from that office, because she knew N was interested in changing the submission form. Thus far, well and good (though K made frantic "no" gestures when the branch office person spoke). We decided to meet this afternoon, and I sent a message to N saying that we were doing so and asking how she wanted the three of us to get together.

N sent back a message, addressed to K, saying that she wanted to add two more people from the branch office because they'd been discussing it there but never got a chance to do anything about it due to workload. Then K told me that our boss's boss, who had conducted the company-wide meeting, had told K that she wanted to speak to her before we met. Then N sent an e-mail to K saying it would actually be three people she was adding and she and K could discuss when a good time to meet would be. We had a different training session today that Boss's Boss was leading, and after it was over I asked Karen what was going on with scheduling. Boss's Boss reiterated that she needed to speak to Karen before we could meet.

K has been with the company for a long time and is well-known to pretty much everyone. However, I cannot help feeling slighted that no one is even acknowledging my involvement, especially since I started the communication with N--otherwise K and I would probably have met, made our recommendations, and sent them to N afterward. Is it simply because they know K and not me? This doesn't apply to Boss's Boss, but then perhaps she now thinks of me as someone who Makes Waves. Slighted, I tell you.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Not special

We spent today with Eric's family. It was a fairly nice gathering, but I heard more about my in-laws' opinions and feelings and prejudices than I have in a long time. As we drove home I thought, My God, he's just like his family, why did I marry him? and worried vaguely. So I asked him about it: do you think you're different from your family? In what ways? Why do I get so tired after a day with them when I don't after a day with you?

This led to discussions on the nature of giftedness and potential, and how in our younger years we were both expected to Do Great Things, and how those Great Things were always in the nature of "win the Nobel Prize" or otherwise change the world. We were never led to believe that we might someday use our potential to be passionate and voracious debaters, or excellent at customer service, or the person everyone in the office goes to for help; or that that would be an acceptable use of our talents. We were never told that we would most likely be just another speck on a cog in a machine, and children have, I now know, no concept that being an adult in contemporary society is just that. We were always told that we needed to sparkle externally, never that it would be okay to quietly be a good and talented person without being outwardly exceptional.

I've been struggling with this ever since I left grad school, but I never thought about it in quite this way before. Eric says he has, because he had to come to terms with what he's decided to do with his life. He does feel he still has the capacity to change the world; but it's going to be more indirectly now, and he doesn't feel the need to change the world so much as to change his students. He has better goals now, more focused ones. I'm working on developing my own. I wonder what my EEP friends are doing with their lives, and whether they think about these issues as often as I do. I kind of hope not; I hope they've either become outwardly exceptional and are happy, or have come to terms with not changing the world and are happy.

(Also I hope that if someone does change the world, some of them have a hand in it. Far better them than, say, my mother-in-law, whom Eric says he's tempted to write in as his vote in the next election, but knowing what I know he knows about her political opinions, I don't think he's serious.)

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Writing, fiction and non

So I thought I had solved my problem with Shoelace by taking out a small but apparently key bit several scenes back. Only it turns out I didn't because there's a major logical flaw I missed while I was plotting this out and by rights the protagonist's semievil semiplot should be ending right here. Dammit. Now I don't know what to do. Maybe I can recruit the real villain to help me out.

In the meantime, I have been critiquing my brother's first writing assignment. Several weeks ago, he said, "I feel like my writing skills are getting worse. So I was wondering if maybe you could give me some assignments and help me out so I could practice." I found this utterly charming and assigned him three paragraphs on the history of ice cream. He sent me his three paragraphs a couple of days ago and it's evident that he needs some instruction along with practice. His grammar and sentence structure are fairly decent, but I get the feeling that he never quite got the idea that writing is used primarily for communication. I admit I did not explicitly say "This is a strictly informative, semi-formal essay" but it's my belief I shouldn't have had to. His essay is nonlinear, overly informal and joking, and isn't focusing on communicating information, even though that's what I asked him to do. I'm not sure what its focus is. I don't think he does either.

So I'm sending it back with a bunch of comments (and a couple of corrected commas and semicolons, but there are no misplaced apostrophes so I'm pleased there) and suggestions on how to improve it with reasons why they would improve it, and I'm going to ask him to revise it. After that, I have plans for more assignments to work on informative writing, persuasive writing, and descriptive writing, using examples he might actually use--memos to employees, cover letters, advertising copy, a letter to his daughter, and so on. I hope he's willing to stick with me enough to get through this. I think he could do really well at writing--I was talking to Mom about this and apparently she and a lot of her family have always been good at it; why didn't I know that before?--but he needs some guidance to get there.

I'm also bemused to find that while I still don't think I'd be a good teacher, I'm enjoying planning out lessons as a tutor. Luckily it's not fiction we're talking about, though, since I don't exactly feel qualified to teach about that these days.

Monday, August 04, 2008

A long time ago

Jesus. I just went to look at my last Three-Day and it's from 2003. Has it seriously been five years since I did this? (I never used to use 'Jesus' as an epithet until I wrote this particular story, incidentally.) What have I been doing all this time? I mean, living, I guess--2003 was when Eric got married for the first time, and all of 2004 was lousy, and then in 2005 I was long-distance dating and getting tired of my job, and 2006 was adjusting to life in Toledo and wedding planning, and 2007 was being married. So I had no time to write in there? Bah. I mean, I know what happened, I did what I'm doing now, other things that are easier and fill up my time more quickly. Five years.

I'm stuck on Shoelace, too. And it feels fragile and lousy. But maybe that's because I got stuck on the scene and then stopped working on it. I still want to finish it by the end of the year (unless I end up starting over, and if I do I may shelve it entirely for a while). I want to finish things. I don't want to look around in another five years, another fifteen, another thirty, and wonder why these things aren't done.

However, it's still past bedtime now. I have a free lunch hour tomorrow and no book to bring. I'll put it to good use.


I have a little less than four weeks to get this year's Three-Day Novel outline together. It's a story idea I've had for, I note with some distress, three years (why the distress? I have other ideas that are older that I'm still hanging onto) and I most likely won't ever write it unless I do it as a Three-Day. However, I suspect it's too big a story to fit into forty thousand words, so I'm not sure how I'm going to work this. Eliminate one character's perspective? Eliminate one of the plot elements? Write in first person to force some limitations? Simply aim to get halfway? I don't think that's a good idea. I could do it in diary form, like the last one. There's a way to do this, I'm sure.

In other news, I continue to be amazed at how freely women discuss the various aspects of reproduction. Perhaps my workplace is a little freer than usual because we seem to get frequent large groups of pregnant women, but still, I had no idea that women walked around talking about these things so much. I guess as women it's a fairly important part of our lives, biologically speaking, but I kind of figured the cultural disapproval of speaking of such things carried over from childhood to adulthood. Not so, it seems.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Pointless, out-of-proportion mother-in-law grumbling. Don't bother to read.

Arrgh. Annoyed at my mother-in-law tonight. I went over to get the fruit she had kept for us to use for ice cream, since we want to do that tomorrow. The visit--I hadn't intended it as such but knew it probably would be--started off fine, talking about the garden and such. Then she commented on a work e-mail I had sent, and then moved into her favorite topic, "black people can call me whatever name they want but if I call them a name I'll get fired." She said it was because of a news item that Congress passed the bill to apologize to African-Americans for slavery and that since I don't watch the TV or get the newspaper I probably don't know what's going on in the world or that my e-mail could get me fired. (It was about some client/coworker interactions I had had, no identifiers included, certainly nothing about race. It could certainly get me fired because theoretically anything could, or nothing, but I'm not sure how she managed the link because she didn't explain it.)

I listened a while and then told her I thought she was being inflammatory, and disagreed with her on a couple of points, and she talked some of her favorite talking points over again while I kept the "inscrutable" face that I retrospectively realize she hates on my face and wound up with, "I wasn't trying to be inflammatory. I was trying to engage you in a conversation. But that seems to be pointless so I guess I'll give up." I said, "I guess that's my cue to go; good night," and left.

It wasn't her choice of topic specifically that annoyed me so. It's that this seems to be her favorite topic, one she's brought up multiple times in multiple settings, and I don't like her point of view or the way she expresses it but I can put up with that quietly; it's the repetition that gets me. She says the same things every time. I (and the people she often says it to, Eric and his/our friends) give the same non-response every time. I don't think she does it expressly to annoy me but I don't know why she does do it. Is she trying to provoke either a knock-down argument or a positive, supportive response? Does she think that I'll eventually agree? Does she simply enjoy saying it over and over? Is this a grievance she can't get out of her head? Is this topic the only gateway topic to other conversations and we just never get through it because (except for tonight) I can't bring myself to really respond?

And of course it doesn't help that I have not forgotten her previous blow-up at my husband. I still try to be polite, and I pretend I have forgotten it because both he and she have and evidently assume that I have too (and Eric expressly said that he wanted me to), but I have not forgotten and I do not forgive her.

Though due to that previous experience I'm not concerned about her petulant "I might as well give up" at the end of the conversation tonight. She came to the doorway to see me out and said, "Take care, kiddo," in her normal tone. Presumably she's already forgotten. Maybe that's why she keeps repeating the topic, because she doesn't remember that she's already talked it through?

Thursday, July 31, 2008

The psychology major strikes again

Back with an off-hand thought, because there isn't much to do at work and I didn't start a new book when I finished one last night. I stumbled across the idea of gender schematics/aschematics a couple of years ago and it pleased me very much. Essentially, gender schematics are people who have internalized traditional ideas of male/female behavior and gender roles: they act like "typical" men/women and assume other people are the same way. They also don't like it when people act contrary to their expectations (though nobody really likes that).

Gender aschematics, on the other hand, do not have highly internalized ideas of male/female roles, and basically don't put gender high on their list when considering or judging other people. I'm fairly sure that gender schematics are much more common than aschematics. I wonder if the reason that I, and several people whom I like and who think like me, are unconcerned about gay marriage and about homosexuals in general is that we're aschematic? Which would mean that the people who are very concerned about it are schematic and being so means that seeing men and women in non-stereotypical gender roles and behaviors pinches their worldview and gives them a headache.

I still think this is their problem, not mine, or homosexuals', or shouldn’t be. But I could understand it better if I saw it as a psychological problem rather than conscious or unconscious spite.

I've been in a bad mood, so this was helpful.

I just read the first sentence of this column by Orson Scott Card on legalizing gay marriage and burst out laughing. Couldn't help it. I also enjoy the definition of marriage as a "permanent or semipermanent bond."

I think his main argument, despite the amusing first sentence, is that gay marriage shouldn't be allowed because it will confuse children, leading to more gay marriages and the eventual extinction of mankind. Evidently he doesn't believe that our mainly-heterosexual-preferences are mostly biologically inborn. Which makes me wonder how we got here to start with, and why it didn't all come tumbling down back before we had laws to force us into our evidently artificial heterosexual relationships. He promises to address the science of homosexuality in a later column, so maybe he'll discuss it there, but I don't think I'll look for that. (What was it Voltaire said? "Once, a philosopher. Twice, a pervert.")

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Food and fiber

Blech. I have a stomachache, maybe from dinner, maybe from heat, maybe from both. Our friends came down today to see the zoo with their son, and so we walked around for three hours in the heat and humidity without enough to eat (at least on Eric's and my part). Upon arriving home, we flopped down in the air conditioning for a while and drank lemonade. Then we had...let's see. Carrots and hummus, homemade pickles, Indiana melon, onion-dill bread (except for possibly switching to AP flour instead of bread flour, I think I've hit on the recipe we want!), grilled zucchini, corn on the cob, and burgers (veggie for me). We'd thought about serving ice cream after but we were so stuffed we didn't even consider it. It was an excellent repast and a good, if tiring day, but I seem to be paying for it now.

Before the zoo, Carol and I went to the local yarn shop, which is closing and selling everything for 50% off (except books, which are 40% off). She got a plethora of sock yarn; I got a little baby yarn, some fun buttons, and enough yarn to make a baby sweater for my friend who's newly pregnant. I'm saving the big purchasing for the Michigan Fiber Festival, which she and I are going to in August. (There was a contest at work to write the department's new mission statement, with a $100 prize, and I've received intimations I may have won it. If so, that's going to be my fun money, since Eric doesn't get his first paycheck until September and my extras are going to be going mainly to my brother for his medical bills.)

I'm also going to be demonstrating as a fiber artist and selling handmade works at Canal Days at the mill in September, but that's not until after the fiber festival. I'm considering asking Michelle if she wants to make things to sell, or even come along and help demonstrate (because that would maximize her chances of selling things--who wouldn't buy handmade yarn or bracelets or felted pins from a cute blond ten-year-old?). I feel kind of mercenary for this, but it'll be fun. And I'm also planning to put up a board with different kinds of fiber on it for kids (and adults) to see and touch, so I'm not being totally selfish here.

Tomorrow I've got Shoelace to work on and a nonfiction query to send out, plus working on the Summer Sunrise quilt back. And sleeping late. Definitely sleeping late.

Monday, July 21, 2008

A little late, aren't we?

Dammit. I was thinking about PV for no reason today, and suddenly came up with an idea that would make the parts that always seemed a little awkward to me go away and make the whole thing more seamless (if shorter). Of course it requires substantial rewriting. I said I was done with it! I don't want to do this! I'm going to have to go over it, of course, and I'll probably end up making the changes. Dammit. Why didn't this come up two years ago?

Sunday, July 20, 2008

These boots were made for sitting down

I am finally finished with that walking challenge of Bev's. It was good for me, but wearing the pedometer was, well, wearing on me. But I'm done, thanks to a last-minute pilates session and a half-hour of working in the garden.

It's been a good long weekend; I lazed around on Friday, demonstrated ice cream and spinning at the mill ("Maybe later," an old lady said, clearly trying to avoid a sales talk, when I asked if she wanted to taste the ice cream; then, later, "How much is it?" and then when I told her it was free, "Can I give you a tip?"), and cooked today. No-cheese pesto, rosemary-artichoke hummus, pita bread dough, pickles, no-egg ice cream, and of course brunch and dinner. My feet were aching and I felt I ought to be able to count it as a step equivalent, but there was no "cooking" entry at the AOM website, so I had to skip it. Thus the pilates.

I've been working on the freelancing bit, putting some marketing material together and discussing a website and logo with Eric--which was the fun part--and thinking up article ideas and places to query, which was not. Sadly, this as everything requires some actual work.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The fish are being fed.

I'm back from Seattle. Seattle was beautiful. Not too hot, not muggy, clear days, Mom's roses in bloom and strawberries ripe. The trip was partly a visiting-family trip and partly a show-Eric-that-Washington-isn't-always-gray-and-raining trip, and went well on both fronts. We went to Leavenworth (a little Bavarian tourist town in the Cascades) and Pike Place Market, and rode the ferry across the Sound to Bremerton, which is a sleepy little military town Eric says might not be bad for moving to, and spent a day with my aunts and cousins (and one uncle-in-law). We brought a bunch of apartment and real estate guides back with us. Later I'll get Bev to send us some for northern Oregon. Now that Eric's got a job, and I have a strong possibility of having regular telecommuting work, there's every chance that we'll be able to move out there next summer as planned.

In the meantime, I’m working on strengthening that possibility of mine. I've been reading about freelancing, about copywriting and articles and marketing and so on and so forth. I'm very hesitant to talk about it--either because I feel I don't know enough or because I feel sure to fail, I'm not certain which. But I'm working on it. Ideally, I'll work on the freelancing I've got, and getting more, in the evenings, and do my work as efficiently as possible during the day so that I can get to my fiction at lunch and during down times. We'll see how that goes. Now that Dad's quilt is done (and he loved it--especially since, in his words, it represents about twenty years of his life) I need to finish our summer quilt, and then I'm putting the sewing machine away until I need to make curtains in the fall. --Well, that and a baby blanket for a friend of mine, but again, not until fall.

I talked to Eric about the freelancing last night; business and names and so on. And I mentioned the idea that my current client might offer me a full-time job in a year or so, and said, "But I don't think I would want to do that. It's nice work, but it's not ultimately what I want to do. I'm twenty-eight years old, and it's time I started working on a career I love, not just a job to keep me employed." I really do feel that way. I don't regret the things I've done so far, but it's time to start working on something that makes me happy rather than something that makes me secure. (Maslow's hierarchy, dontchaknow.) We have a book on starting a small business. It's a very comprehensive book that we bought when we were talking about someday opening The Book Club, and I enjoyed reading it because using any of the information in it was in no way a part of our actual plan. It's different reading this book now. Not bad, but different.

In the meantime, we're going to a Jonathan Coulton concert tonight. This should be pretty awesome. Also awesome: it's almost the weekend already.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Time dilation

My God, I completely forgot how long a day can be when you're home alone with a long list of fairly congenial tasks. I have baked two kinds of bread, made one kind of ice cream, finished Dad's quilt top (remind me never to work with T-shirts again; also, why do I always realize that my design/color is ugly when I'm almost done and have no energy or time to start over? though I notice that generally goes away, though I'm not sure whether that's distance from the work or resignation), vacuumed, filled out the credit card fraud form (I have to get it notarized. Where do I go to have this done?), washed hand-washed laundry, and entertained a friend (who said the lemon ice cream was the best ice cream she's ever had).

Still to do tomorrow: one freelance assignment, birth and tie the quilt (because I'm not quilting; it'll take too long and will only make it look worse--luckily Dad won't really care), regular laundry, start packing, weed and mulch. Not bad, not bad at all. I can hardly believe I've got a whole other day of weekend.

Friday, June 27, 2008

No less crafty, just less bloggy

Also, there. The craft blog is gone. It was a good idea at the time, but I turned out not to have time for everything, and this was a good thing to let go. The crafts themselves are also much lessened, and that's fine. I have other things to be focusing on right now.

Ice cream disappointments

I made Cherry Garcia the way Ben & Jerry's book told me to, though I was dubious, and it doesn't taste like Cherry Garcia; it tastes like bland chocolate chip with icy chunks of cherry thrown in. Next time I'll know to listen to my instincts. I'm thinking cherry puree.

I made Mexican chocolate, chocolate with cinnamon, cloves, and cayenne. I've decided to get rid of the cayenne next time. I do find the hot-and-cold juxtaposition intriguing, but it only occurs at the very back of my throat. I can't decide whether the ice cream numbs all the ones in front of it, or there's some interaction with the fat, or what, but it's weird, and every time I eat it I feel like I'm starting a sore throat. Otherwise the ice cream is entirely satisfactory. I'm eating this stuff quickly just so I can start over with a new batch. This is not a good idea for my health, but I don't seem to be able to pay that as much attention lately. I'm eating well, just a lot--and of course a lot of ice cream tastes. Cherry vanilla is next.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

A lonely housewife, that's me.

I don't wanna go to bed. I don't necessarily want to stay up, either. Dammit, having a housemate is more addictive than I thought. Well, when it's my husband and best friend, anyway. I've had almost forty-eight hours now of being able to do what I want, cook what I want, sleep when I want, etc., and I can't enjoy it as much as I should because I miss Eric. Even with his picky-eating, computer-focused, sleep-disrupting ways. He's off at a gaming convention in Columbus and it sounds like he's having a grand time; he got free admission and (shared) room by volunteering to demonstrate games but that's hardly a hardship for him, and he still gets most of his time to play. I expect him to come home with several new games in tow. I will hug and kiss him and tell him I missed him, and then I'll make him clean the bathroom.

Anyway. Things are happening to me work-wise: Jade put me in the way of some freelancing work that is pretty much exactly up my proverbial alley (why alley? This area of my experience is not at all a dirty, dark, rat- and beggar-infested slum) and I am engaged to do it: around 30 hours over the summer, and then more or less as much as I can handle in the fall and the spring. It is not exactly the science writing I was envisioning, but it pays well and it's absolutely a good start. And it's a bit of a running start; I get the feeling they would be happy if I would leave my job so they could pile work on.

If all goes well, I might discuss doing exactly that with them in the spring. Eric has a job now--hooray!--and will have cheap health insurance, and of course we're planning to move next summer anyway. They mentioned the possibility of full-time work down the road, telecommuting, which would be awesome beyond words for a cross-country move. Again, it wouldn't be the freelancing I was envisioning, but it would still be a good move and a step up (though the job involves the same industry my current job does, which makes this all the more funny coincidental). Also I've been thinking over Shoelace, and also another project I want to do after. So both Eric and I are doing well on the career front this week. I suppose my career wouldn't be hurt by my actually going to bed at this point.