Friday, March 28, 2014

Tricky

Hmm, I have received my electronic transcripts from grad school, much needed to attach to job apps, but the file comes password protected *and* you can only open it once. Criminy!

Which would be annoying and expensive (at ten dollars a pop) but I can't do what they say because I have to attach the file, in the sense of uploading it to a site where there's no way to communicate that it's password protected and here's the password.

Not to mention the difficulties inherent in sending someone a file they can only open once. I mean! Jeez!

So I figure I need Acrobat, right? Maybe I can download and install that and then I can open the file and "save as" or something, if that's even possible. Given the ridiculous Bourne Identity lengths they're going to, I would suspect they have that angle covered.

Or maybe I can do some kind of low tech screen shot type thing! I might have to. And then stick all of those (my grad transcripts run to pages) into one file together. 

What I should have done, I realize now, is order regular transcripts and SCAN them like a scanner having person. But who knew they would send me this encrypted destroy before reading Cold War spy games ludicrousness.

Of course now there's no time before the deadline. I'll order a set tomorrow if I can't make the download thing work. Or should I go to the library and use their computers?

I'm in OLD COMPUTER land now. It's becoming more of a problem all the time. The ipad is lovely and lovely but there are lots of things that just don't work in terms of compatibility. Anything where you have to fill in forms online. Anything Adobe related. Anything Word related. Grumph. 

Though I did just hear today that Microsoft is coming out with Office for ipad. I'm sure it'll only cost an arm and a leg.

Tomorrow I'll have to do the simple math and see whether it's going to be better to go up to Fry's and get me one of those laptops. But I have to know what software it comes with.

The whole thing makes me want to crawl in bed and pull the quilt over my head, I tell you what.

Here's my logic today to justify all the stuff I did: what hurts this leg injury thing the most? Well, after a fencing lunge, I mean? SITTING. So I did not sit a whole lot. I did do eight million other things, though. Yay!

1. Wrapped and mailed birthday presents!

2. Swept and mopped the linoleum rooms! (Kitchen, bathroom, laundry room.)

3. Cut up all these chopped down blackberry canes that fired my wrath when one of them grabbed my leg when I was mowing the grass. Apparently I'm allergic or something because I got giant welts. And also OW. So I cut them up and filled up the green bin (which is enormous) doing it. 

4. Applied for fabuous glorious Obamacare though the Oregon system seems to be kind of backward, so much so that they've allowed us another whole month to sign up. Gosh! That was another whole ridiculous software/outdatedness/OLD COMPUTER saga that finally meant I have to MAIL my application in. Or else I'll do that at the library too. Or just update my ancient and creaking systems, jeez.

5. All the laundry, continued from yesterday. 

6. All the cooking! Bok choi with tomatoes! So good.

7. All the dishes again! Where are they coming from? Seriously.

8. All the composting, which of course is not remotely related to discovering a sweet potato that had gone over to the dark side. Oh no. 

9. Washed the mirrors, or at least some of them. I sure seem to have a lot of mirrors, most obscured or inaccessible. I'm sure that means absolutely nothing, though! Nothing!

10. Worked more on the most excellent little baby sweater for my incipient great-niece or great-nephew, oh boy! It's called Welcome to the Flock and it's bright green with sheep going around the yoke. I'm on the boring (but so pretty) bright green part but it's going fast, very satisfying.

11. I don't know, scrubbed and cleaned and tidied and did all that stuff like changing the cat litter and putting things away that make everything so much better, but once they're done they become invisible. Housework! Yes, that. I'm continually surprised at how much of it there is now, but then again, now there's a HOUSE. House!

12. I feel strongly that I did a lot more. Oh! I finished that Persephone trilogy by someone whose name rhymes with Peg Rabbit. And oh my goodness, was it ever terrible. Terrible! I am sorry to say so because you know I love Peg Rabbit but it was bad news. Especially the third book. Sloppy, all over the place, big messy meaningless scenes, entire main characters totally dying to death where I did not care one tiny small bit. Nothing mattered. I did not care about any of those people even one bit by the end. AT ALL. And I can't even express how nothing hung together. Major plot points, dropped, or suddenly invented on the fly. Nobody acting in a way that made sense. Nobody keeping to what was true ten pages before--that's the part that drove me completely crazy and infuriated me. None of it has to make sense in the real world, but it should at minimum hang together in its own world. And the endless talking about things without getting anywhere or accomplishing anything storywise! Blah blah blah!

Well, it was infuriating. It was the book version of those blackberry bushes, firing my wrath, but I didn't cut the books up with my sharp sharp clippers. I wouldn't be so mad but Peg Rabbit is normally just amazing in the following ways:

a. Tight, clean plots
b. Fabulous dialog
c. Huge story tension
d. Characters you really care about and can sympathize with

Or, in this case, e: none of the above. Grrrrrr!

I've been reading lots of Dorothy Sayers over the past couple of days, four or five of hers between books one and two and book three of the Peg Rabbit series. And Dorothy Sayers isn't perfect, goodness knows. Just this morning I finished a book where everyone sort of gives the villain a gun and leaves him alone to do the "decent thing" now that he's been busted, i.e. kill himself. Cultural differences and all aside, that's just...horrible. Every kind of way. 

But I sure do love her books. They stand up really well to rereading, which is odd considering they're mysteries. Ha, but I always forget both who did the deed and how they did it. Also why. Yes. Pretty much everything but the excellent juicy character scenes. I remember those perfectly, often word for word.

It's odd because I can't really articulate why I love the characters so much. This is an author who thinks it's hugely funny to write a guy with a lisp, in one book. Yes. Like, that's the joke. Got a lisp! Ha ha! She can be really vicious sometimes, too. But the writing is brilliant, the characters are always fantastic, and the main character is amazing. It's like if Justin Timberlake, without stopping any of his usual activities, solved crimes by being incredibly intelligent and observant. Sherlock without the Asperger's or being mean to John. 

I bet Justin Timberlake is a pretty intelligent guy, come to think of it. I would guess his interpersonal observational skills are off the chart. I don't think you get where he is without being seriously gifted in that way.

Why are we talking about Justin Timberlake? Right! Character! People you would watch read the phone book. What a good idea to write books about people like that! 

No, seriously. Really interesting people. Actually I was talking with B yesterday about someone I didn't hit it off with years ago, trying to explain how weird and uncomfortable it was and how much I disliked the person even though I'd have expected to have a real meeting of the minds. I always really wonder what makes you like or dislike another person. The person might be amazing *on paper* but then in reality something is very off-putting.

Or it could be like that self-absorbed guy giving that thank you speech. Where I could not stand the guy, but my friends liked him, so I was really trying to be fair and like the guy, and I was doing okay right up until he talked me out of it by taking credit for every good thing that happened to him. Gross! Okay, maybe that's how things happened (but also, no, because everyone depends on a million others to get anything done) but it's really unappealing to see someone who should just say "Thank you! And here's who I want to thank" say "Thank you, I did it myself because I am awesome, and here's my method of awesomeness that I used to get here." Gross.

This is making me realize a lot of things about how to write interesting characters. Let's make a list! Never too many lists!

1. They care about someone outside themselves, and I mean, they care about what happens to that person, not just smittenness.

2. They observe and react to other people. You couldn't forget to do this in a visual medium but I see it all the time in books. 

3. They have flaws that you can understand. 

4. Bad things happen to them. Really bad things. Things go very wrong. Sometimes those things come from within the person, which is even better. 

5. Oh, they learn things and change and react differently at the end of the book than at the beginning. At least, I write YA so that's absolutely true for people I'm writing. 

I just read somewhere that to change tragedy to comedy, everyone just needs to sit down. Is that true? Surely not. But I can imagine people having a big dramatic scene and then sitting down on a plump flowered couch and being utterly unable to sustain their drama. 

Why, why do so many writers depend so much upon the location of the bottom? Leave your bottom out of this! Stop writing songs that include references to "here I sit," especially. I do not think the position of your bottom in relation to furniture is relevant to this or any other discussion. Unless the discussion is, "Hey, have you seen my glasses/wet painting/fragile sculpture/cactus/trained slug circus/plate of canapes? I left it on the...couch. Right where you're sitting. No, no, don't get up."

At this juncture I'm forced to recall that I began this whole block of blather with commentary on how much not-sitting I've been doing today. Oh the humanity! Point taken! Point made. How did you do that? How did you make a point when you haven't even read this yet, I wonder? You! Are! Amazing! Well done, you!

And scene.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Slide

Someone just pointed out that the song called Slide from 1990-something by those guys with the hair is at least partially about abortion. I was like, "Get out!" and then heard it on the radio and it totally is! Holy shock! Because I've heard it a billion times and never put that together.

Anyway my slide is unrelated to that song or abortion or anything else except slippery shoes (the pink ones!) on the soaped up sprayed down deck in a fencing lunge while scrubbing. The forward foot went whoosh! and I got myself a groin pull. OW. Well. Yeah, ow. It's not sharp ow but it hurts all the way down my leg, which is no doubt from the swelling. And no I'm not icing a damn groin pull. Brrrrr!

I did far and away too much this weekend. SO MUCH!

Let's see. I'll feel better about feeling terrible right now if I list it all. Then I'll be like, "Battle wounds in the service of tremendous accomplishments! Rest and feel good about it, tired one!"

1. Completely cleared out and organized the spare room, which is actually the sewing room and not spare at all. Except that I don't like being in there because it has no windows to the outside. The only window is to the canoe/kayak room. Also the heater doesn't work. However: cleaned out! Organized! Available for sewing! Oh and there's only one pair of outlets in the whole room, on an inconvenient wall. What the hell?

2. Completely cleared out and organized the Other Closet in the bedroom. It's the normal sized closet. Like if you just had one closet, you'd have this one. So obviously I just threw all the bags and blankets in there in a giant heap. That's all folded and sorted and stacked up neatly, all the bags hung up from the rail, winter boots in there, arrows, axe...why is my axe in there? I have no idea.

3. Organized the main closet, which is gigantic and very long and yet not quite wide enough, so you have to edge in there. Claustrophobia is at its worst in actual closets! Isn't that the root of the word? I feel certain. But yes, all the t-shirts are now organized by color and type (shut up) by fabric and neck and sleeve type and then descending from lightest to darkest through the color spectrum and so is everything else. Hey! Do you want me to be able to find my shirt with the Gondor tree on it in a second or not? I thought so.

4. Hung every kind of towel rod and robe hook and whatnot in the bathroom after the painting. That includes this white wooden medicine cabinet that was six feet up and behind the door, which is now lower and elsewhere and much more reachable. Though if any men come over, they might object to having to stare themselves in the eye while peeing. TOO BAD. Should have thought of that when you were deciding on chromosomes!

Centering that thing exactly was a little tricky. Figure out how you'd do it! Go ahead! It takes geometry. Because measuring up from the sides of a curvy slopey porcelain thing is hard enough without taking into account the absolute verticality issue.

Well, I'll tell you: I used my late uncle's plumb bob. It's a big heavy pointer on a non-spinning string. It's what you use to find absolute verticality! And that's the secret. I'm not sure how else you'd ever do it in this house, where not one single line is straight and nothing is flat or level, not the floors, the corners, the edges of the ceiling....

5. Sprayed deck cleaner all over the deck and then scrubbed it off, at least until I slipped and pulled a groin or however you say it. You know how people hate the word moist? I hate the word groin. UGH. Not as bad as braaaaaaaaaaaaa but pretty bad. (Open vowels like that, where people do this involuntary melisma, are pure torture to me. Most final vowels aren't like that, fortunately. Spa is, too. But nobody ever says spa.)

6. Assembled all the yarn in a heap around the blue trunk (still there, Milo) and found what I needed to make a tiny Jayne hat for someone, including my pattern. And made the tiny Jayne hat, except the tiny pompom. Yay!

7. Emptied most of the last of the fezzes and put all those things away. Woooooooo!

8. All the laundry ever.

9. All the dishes ever. And I mean a lot of dishes, because I wasn't washing them while the kitchen was in an uproar from the priming and painting.

10. I should back up and totally count taping and priming and painting two rooms with complex geometry, because holy macaroni was that ever a lot of work. Plus just taking everything out! And down! All the fixtures, all the hooks, all the outlet covers.

11. Plus scrubbing the outlet covers and scraping off the last paint job from them. And all the fixtures that came down.

12. I'm working like crazy to finish my sister's birthday present in time to mail it, too. Hurry up! Hurry! And I hand washed my woollens.

13.  Also I made wonderful lasagna, yum. And cleaned out and organized the refrigerator, come to think of it.

14. And a minimum two mile walk with the dog every day. Oh and hours and hours and hours spent on the employment search, though most of it seems to be spent filling in a million forms online with all the same answers.

15. Hung up this battery light over the kitchen sink, where otherwise all I see is my own shadow from the overhead light. It looks exactly like that Cylon device that was installed on the bridge of the Galactica! I'm sure the Cylons are spying on me as I wash my veg.

In sum, I'm pooped. Too pooped to make my list properly, it seems!

I really want to use the sewing room. They won't mind if I cut a window in the wall, right? To the outside? I'm just kidding, I would never do that.

What's left to do? Hahahahahahaha!

1. Clean up and clean out the canoe/kayak room again, which also includes hanging the boats somehow so I don't have to go over and around them every time I take the dog out. Jeez! Boats! One might get hung up in the laundry room. But probably not.

I do not have a garage! Nor a basement, nor an attic. So I'm in the odd position of having to keep absolutely everything except garden tools and the lawn mower inside my living space. I like it! But it's a lot of dang work. You can't just store stuff and forget about it.

2. Hang up some lights in the laundry room. There's one overhead fixture way at one end. You can't see into the washer or dryer at all.

3. Plant a bunch of bulbs and stuff. I did plant a million flowers around the place. It looks much nicer. And I clipped the edges and mowed the grass and picked up all the sticks.

4. Mow the grass again.

5. Build the basketball hoop and soccer bounce-back so I can plaaaaaaaay!

6. Put all the yarn away in the blue trunk.

7. Find and put up little shelves for the spices, possibly at Ikea on Wednesday? Must research Ikea shelves online. Possibly glass or I do not know what.

8. Fix the water filter thing on the sink, which is brand new but yesterday developed a case of I Want To Be A Fountain And Spray Into The Air! Far be it from me to stomp on anyone's dreams, but that can't really work out for us, filter thing. I suspect it's all the giant chunks of rust that come out of the faucet all the time.

9. Call the city water department to talk about the giant chunks of rust that come out of the faucet all the time. Rusty stretches and blackish stretches of water. They make the water taste awful for one thing. And for another, I am 99% sure the pipes are leaking under the house.

10. Edge the sidewalk and front walk. LOW priority. But it's such a gorgeous street of houses and mine is so relatively crummy, I want to do it to make it look nicer.

11. Tie up the roses that are trying to cover the front window. Consult with neighbor who has hers curving over the doorway somehow. Zip ties? Trellis? Unknown.

12. Finish putting those dog gates over the giant gaps in the fence. They're done (did that yesterday) but one isn't attached properly.

13. Turn over the planned garden. Ow in advance! Other neighbor offered a rototiller then a week later said he hasn't used it in two years. I said I'm good at making machines run, which is true. And then he said they'd have to get it out of the basement. And disappeared before I could say, "Oh my goodness, please don't bother! So much work!" Because truly I do not want people carrying rototillers out of basements for me. Heavy! Awkward! Danger of injury! I will turn it over myself with my Trusty Shovel and then complain a lot about my back hurting.

So there's that for you to look forward to! Soon!

14. Hang up these excellent pictures of us as kids in pretty blue frames. All ready to go! But where?

15. Posters and whatnot. I might paint myself a window for the sewing room, though. I have canvases and paints! And guess what my very favorite thing to paint is, next to blue dragons sleeping on couches? Windows! Yes!

16. Paint the ugly frelling carport.

So anyway that's the plans. SO MUCH HOUSE STUFF. I did have a plan to get done by Wednesday but we shall see. Maybe if I don't count yard as house? Oooh! Might be possible! Not the painting, but you know.

I bet there's a window in that room, underneath the siding and plastered over or something. Betcha.

Well anyway. Am mighty! Have accomplished much! Might spend today mostly stationary due to various injuries and the pain thereunto appertaining! And it's supposed to get up to 72 today, but it's freezing in here.

Time for pesto lasagna. Mmmmmmm.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Karma camellia

The camellias are in bloom everywhere, and by everywhere, I mean my yard! Huge pink blossoms like the most perfect roses, but just a billion of them. And another whole tree/bush of huge white blossoms with red in them. (You've got red on you. That camellia bush is named Shaun.)

Well today we got wakened by the doorbell not ringing, a distinctive sound because it's followed by someone stomping around and humphing about no one answering the doorbell. Although I only figured that out in retrospect. I did get up and take the dog out and then ran into this nice guy by the recycling bins who said he wanted to trim back the camellias. Nooooooooo!

I said no. I said they're only going to be blooming for a month. I said the lease says I'm responsible for yard work. I said they're really not bothering me. I said, Let's call the landlord! Because I did not want this guy to either a) cut down my gorgeous blooming camellias or b) get in trouble.

We did all those things. And the landlord said to tell the guy to do whatever I wanted, so I handed my phone to the guy and he told him directly. Phew!

Then we went and looked at where the camellias are kind of blocking in my car *a bit* and the guy (who never did introduce himself, but then, neither did I) was totally hilariously awesome and said, "What if we just cut a couple of them?" And I'm all grudging: "Okay, maybe just a couple."

So we went like that, cutting just a few branches, more than I wanted, but just barely enough to get the car past.

The whole time his kid is watching because there's no school this week, maybe a ten year old? And I'm not positive the kid speaks English because they speak Spanish together but the dad's English is terrific so I have to assume the kid speaks it too. And I'm thinking: what is this kid getting from watching his dad go through this?

Is he thinking, Crazy rich white people are crazy about their damn plants?
Or: My dad has to do what this lady who clearly just rolled out of bed wants him to do? That sucks.
Or: I'm going to get a job when I grow up where I don't have to listen to anyone. (That was my usual reaction as a kid. I think that's probably the most common reaction.)

Then I thought: What if the message he takes away is that his dad is GREAT at talking through things with difficult people and managed to get the job done despite her objections and made everyone happy? Because that is in fact what this guy did. He worked it out! He got it done! Everyone was happy in the end!

Probably the kid was just thinking: XBox. Or whatever kids play.

It's so weird to be a kid and go to work with a parent and see the power dynamics of your mom and dad around other people. To see your mom or dad have to do what other people say. It's a weird experience.

Anyway the yard guy's boss (!!!) just came by to make sure everything was all right and introduce himself and see if he could convince me to prune back the camellias. (Nope. Maybe in a month, I said--when you're really busy! He laughed.)

Honestly, people. I rented this house three weeks ago. They could have trimmed anything they wanted any time before I got here. And my move-in date was delayed by two weeks! So I have limited flexibility on these things.

Anyway, do you want some camellias? Because I saved all the parts that he cut off. I did. And then this cartload of preschoolers went up the road and I offered all of them flowers, and the teachers got so happy and every kid got a beautiful pink camellia flower, with a couple of branches for the teachers to take back to school. The rest I cut up properly and put into every vase I own. They juuuuuuuust fit. So gorgeous!

The only downside is that I've had the song Karma Camellia stuck in my head since this started, not for the first time this week or this month, either. And now you have it stuck in your head too!

Karma karma karma karma karma camellia.....

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Progress and stuff!

I feel like....things are happening! Things!

Well, I went to the party last night. It was surprisingly harrowing for me getting ready and all that. I kind of had a two hour panic attack, and I mean, couldn't breathe, sweating, shaking, the whole deal. I did take some chill pills which I try never to do but come on!

And in the course of trying to analyze and potentially disarm the freakout, I remembered some terrifyingly awful moments from the last party I went to, the last Battlestar party, actually. Dreadful! Horrible! Rejecty!

So anyway I went yesterday all shiny and clean and dressed up and wearing odd boots (hey, it's me!) and doped up and it was totally fine. Well, my terrarium was clearly the worst of the bunch. I used all the same color/shade of plants and so it was a dark green blur. The idea was to use variety in height and shape and color for contrast, see. But the ones I picked out were so gorgeous unto themselves! Teeny tiny ferns with the most delicate little leaves!

I also went into a sort of hyperfocused forensic fog trying to determine whether any of the tiny plastic turtles were snapping turtles. They were not.

In sum: situationally appropriate behavior but sketchy social skills = weirdo, should probably get out more. Or less. One or the other.

But it was totally fun and I got to hang out with the nice ladies and learned all this cool stuff about this kind of group.

And then walking home one of the ladies wanted to see the flowers by my house so I had my phone out with the flashlight function and we were clambering around my yard looking at flowers in the dark. Awesome!

I'm getting all sorts of things done around here. Like putting this thing with that thing and making it all work, right? Like I finally put all the pieces of the big yellow lamp together (can't recall why it was taken apart) and found a harp and a shade and a light bulb that didn't work and then one that did, and got it all up and running. Hurray! I don't care for overhead lights, y'all. I really don't.

And I persevered at Lowe's until I found the correct type of obscure bulb to fit in the Ikea Not lamp. Yes. I got a Not lamp and some Lack shelves. Feel free to write your own joke there. And batteries for the doorbell, a battery light for over the sink so I can wash dishes after dark, short curtains for the bottom quarter of my big front window so every passer by won't look at my plate to see what I'm having for lunch, some of that stuff to clean off the grody deck, and so on.

It's all little small stuff that makes the bigger things possible. I might have to declare a moving in/unpacking deadline of next Wednesday, though. How much longer can all this go on? I have stuff to do!

Which is another lovely thing, spending Jane's writing sprint yesterday reading through and making little changes to Minerva Greenwich. What do you think of that for a name? It's the most awesome book, truly. Well...there are some things I need to change. And so I'm changing them! But it's a dream come true, working on it.

I wrote a letter to my niece on some snowy landscape with bunnies printer paper and mailed that. And today got postcard stamps because little kids love postcards. So that's awesome. And I got Harry Potter stamps!

And I joined the gym. I adore this teeny little gym. It's full of pretty fit looking middle aged ladies and older which tells me they have my number. This is the one whose website has pictures of older women and fat women working out. Actually working out hard. I can't even tell you how much I love that.

So that was totally great. Signing up feels great. And then I went and worked out really hard, which also felt great, if dizzying. Boy do I get looped from exercise! My eyes water like crazy and I tip over and can't hardly see and then stagger around bumping into walls and furniture. It's a little worrying, to be honest.

They have great shampoo and conditioner on tap there, too. A plus!

The boys working there were so nice, too. They kept saying, "I'm so proud of you!" which sounds patronizing or whatever but no, it was not, and they actually were proud of me, and if you went to the gym looking like I do and worked out and got all red-faced and sweaty, I'd be totally proud of you too, because that is HARD. Being a fat lady in the gym is HARD. And I always expect people at gyms to be all disdainful and appalled and stuff (mostly because I've definitely had that reaction in the past) but these boys were great and supportive and lovely.

Also this other lady working out with one of the personal trainers came by when she was done and said, "Are you joining the gym? Get [guy's name] as a trainer! He's the best!" And then she went to the showers. Which, a) that was so totally nice to notice I was getting a tour and make the effort to come by and recommend her trainer, and b) the trainer wasn't even there to hear it or anything, but then later I told him and he was just totally touched.

Don't you love this town? There's niceness like this going on all the time! Aaaaaaaah!!!

Like this: I was looking for my terrible Easter candy in the Walgreens and they didn't have it, so sad! But it did get this very odd ice cream nougat (?) candy instead. Curiosity, I don't know. And the girl at the checkout said she'd been meaning to try it one of these days, so of course I opened a bag and gave her one, duh! And she was all blown away! And then she got me signed up for this card that I should have done anyway and it saved me so much money, the weird candy was free after all.

She was so tickled.

Here's why I went to the gym: because the other day when I met that super cute and awesome guy, I was all jolted with adrenaline and so went sprinting off through the trees with my puppy. But running in the real world, oof! Tricky. So I was running on the treadmill this afternoon in front of Bonanza with hilariously sketchy closed captioning, as nature intended. But then when pup and I were walking in the park, we bumped into super cute and awesome guy, who was out running, of all things! Madness! Also, I'm perfectly ready to be smitten given further acquaintance. And I completely feel like I'm in the book Attachments right now. Everybody go read Attachments, even if it means everyone concerned is also reading this.

Hey, I spend all my time in fiction, either writing it or reading it.

Lincoln's sister in Attachments is the one who tells him he needs to change something--join a gym or something. She's also the one who tells him he doesn't have to fix everything in his life. He just has to add good things and sort of pile them up, pile up the good things. That's when he asks if she's personal-banking him, because she's a personal banker, but yes, it's very good advice. It's also a really good way to think about writing. Just pile up the good things!

Hoss and Adama are the only straight guys in Bonanza, right? I'm pretty sure. Actually I couldn't even remember the other brother's name. Hoss, Little Joe, and who's the man in black? Westley? This episode, they were telling some scoundrel that his sister would not be marrying Little Joe because Little Joe "is not the marrying kind." Aha! I knew it! Who expects that level of personal grooming in the Old West?

Gawain dog burrowed under the afghan on the couch and squished himself up next to me. Bawwwww! What a good boy. I love that he's all about being under blankets and makes it happen.

Hee hee, I love the internet. Rainbow Rowell (who is utterly awesome) just wrote back to me on Twitter about Lincoln's sister's advice. LOVE IT!!!

She's my very favorite author, you guys. I feel amazingly lucky to be right here right now when she's writing books. Know what I mean? Like, there are going to be MORE. More Rainbow Rowell books that I haven't read yet because they don't exist yet. I know!!!

I wore my Maureen Johnson STARE shirt to the gym (of course) and an actual young adult totally stopped in her tracks and, well, stared at me. I would have talked to her about it but we both had headphones on. Identical royal blue headphones, in fact. Which I thought was very funny also.

There's a gang of four scrawny boys who hang out in the park, maybe 13? 14? They like to hang out and make fun of people in a quiet, non-confrontational way. I really want them to go do something more constructive. But what? Then I was thinking of projects where you could hire four scrawny slackers. Some deferred mockery or something. It would be fun to hire them to torment your oppressors. For example, yesterday they thought it was very funny that I was texting. Old people! Texting! Today they found my brightly colored sneakers hilarious. I hope they don't know that the whole time I'm thinking, "Awww, puppies!"

I don't have raspberry corduroys like in Attachments but come to think of it I was wearing my raspberry jeans today. Awesome!

I think I'll put those boys in my book. Perfection. Like the Fates only, you know, different. Maybe they're a Greek chorus of scaredy sarcasm and droopy knit hats and skateboards.

I forgot to mention that I got veg to plant in the garden once I borrow my neighbor's rototiller and dig it up. (I'm not busting sod by hand again. Holy macaroni.) I always think you're supposed to plant tomatoes and peppers and green beans. But what do I like? What do I really want to grow? Purple potatoes, rhubarb, shallots, strawberries. Yes! So I got those instead. They have purple potatoes at Lowe's, you guys. To grow!

I have many things to plant and also should not be allowed to go to Lowe's again until, like, November. And I still have to finish painting the bathroom. Oooof! A world of oooooof! But tomorrow is another day.

Yes, I'm sitting by the fire again, on the comfy (fixed) couch with the snuggly dog, and it's all so cozy your head would just explode. Boom! And confetti and rose petals and butterflies would fly out.

Just SO eventful, my my

I feel like....things are happening! Things!

Well, I went to the party last night. It was surprisingly harrowing for me getting ready and all that. I kind of had a two hour panic attack, and I mean, couldn't breathe, sweating, shaking, the whole deal. I did take some chill pills which I try never to do but come on!

And in the course of trying to analyze and potentially disarm the freakout, I remembered some terrifyingly awful moments from the last party I went to, the last Battlestar party, actually. Dreadful! Horrible! Rejecty!

So anyway I went yesterday all shiny and clean and dressed up and wearing odd boots (hey, it's me!) and doped up and it was totally fine. Well, my terrarium was clearly the worst of the bunch. I used all the same color/shade of plants and so it was a dark green blur. The idea was to use variety in height and shape and color for contrast, see. But the ones I picked out were so gorgeous unto themselves! Teeny tiny ferns with the most delicate little leaves!

I also went into a sort of hyperfocused forensic fog trying to determine whether any of the tiny plastic turtles were snapping turtles. They were not.

In sum, weirdo, should probably get out more. Or less. One or the other.

But it was totally fun and I got to hang out with the nice ladies and learned all this cool stuff about this kind of group.

And then walking home one of the ladies wanted to see the flowers by my house so I had my phone out with the flashlight function and we were clambering around my yard looking at flowers in the dark. Awesome!

I'm getting all sorts of things done around here. Like putting this thing with that thing and making it all work, right? Like I finally put all the pieces of the big yellow lamp together (can't recall why it was taken apart) and found a harp and a shade and a light bulb that didn't work and then one that did, and got it all up and running. Hurray! I don't care for overhead lights, y'all. I really don't.

And I persevered at Lowe's until I found the correct type of obscure bulb to fit in the Ikea Not lamp. Yes. I got a Not lamp and some Lack shelves. Feel free to write your own joke there. And batteries for the doorbell, a battery light for over the sink so I can wash dishes after dark, short curtains for the bottom quarter of my big front window so every passer by won't look at my plate to see what I'm having for lunch, some of that stuff to clean off the grody deck, and so on.

It's all little small stuff that makes the bigger things possible. I might have to declare a moving in/unpacking deadline of next Wednesday, though. How much longer can all this go on? I have stuff to do!

Which is another lovely thing, spending Jane's writing sprint yesterday reading through and making little changes to Minerva Greenwich. What do you think of that for a name? It's the most awesome book, truly. Well...there are some things I need to change. And so I'm changing them! But it's a dream come true, working on it.

I wrote a letter to my niece on some snowy landscape with bunnies printer paper and mailed that. And today got postcard stamps because little kids love postcards. So that's awesome. And I got Harry Potter stamps!

And I joined the gym. I adore this teeny little gym. It's full of pretty fit looking middle aged ladies and older which tells me they have my number. This is the one whose website has pictures of older women and fat women working out. Actually working out hard. I can't even tell you how much I love that.

So that was totally great. Signing up feels great. And then I went and worked out really hard, which also felt great, if dizzying. Boy do I get looped from exercise! My eyes water like crazy and I tip over and can't hardly see and then stagger around bumping into walls and furniture. It's a little worrying, to be honest.

They have great shampoo and conditioner on tap there, too. A plus!

The boys working there were so nice, too. They kept saying, "I'm so proud of you!" which sounds patronizing or whatever but no, it was not, and they actually were proud of me, and if you went to the gym looking like I do and worked out and got all red-faced and sweaty, I'd be totally proud of you too, because that is HARD. Being a fat lady in the gym is HARD. And I always expect people at gyms to be all disdainful and appalled and stuff (mostly because I've definitely had that reaction in the past) but these boys were great and supportive and lovely.

Also this other lady working out with one of the personal trainers came by when she was done and said, "Are you joining the gym? Get [guy's name] as a trainer! He's the best!" And then she went to the showers. Which, a) that was so totally nice to notice I was getting a tour and make the effort to come by and recommend her trainer, and b) the trainer wasn't even there to hear it or anything, but then later I told him and he was just totally touched.

Don't you love this town? There's niceness like this going on all the time! Aaaaaaaah!!!

Like this: I was looking for my terrible Easter candy in the Walgreens and they didn't have it, so sad! But it did get this very odd ice cream nougat (?) candy instead. Curiosity, I don't know. And the girl at the checkout said she'd been meaning to try it one of these days, so of course I opened a bag and gave her one, duh! And she was all blown away! And then she got me signed up for this card that I should have done anyway and it saved me so much money, the weird candy was free after all.

She was so tickled.

Here's why I went to the gym: because the other day when I met that super cute and awesome guy, I was all jolted with adrenaline and so went sprinting off through the trees with my puppy. But running in the real world, oof! Tricky. So I was running on the treadmill this afternoon in front of Bonanza with hilariously sketchy closed captioning, as nature intended. But then when pup and I were walking in the park, we bumped into super cute and awesome guy, who was out running, of all things! Madness! Also, I'm perfectly ready to be smitten given further acquaintance. And I completely feel like I'm in the book Attachments right now. Everybody go read Attachments, even if it means everyone concerned is also reading this.

Hey, I spend all my time in fiction, either writing it or reading it.

Lincoln's sister in Attachments is the one who tells him he needs to change something--join a gym or something. She's also the one who tells him he doesn't have to fix everything in his life. He just has to add good things and sort of pile them up, pile up the good things. That's when he asks if she's personal-banking him, because she's a personal banker, but yes, it's very good advice. It's also a really good way to think about writing. Just pile up the good things!

Hoss and Adama are the only straight guys in Bonanza, right? I'm pretty sure. Actually I couldn't even remember the other brother's name. Hoss, Little Joe, and who's the man in black? Westley? This episode, they were telling some scoundrel that his sister would not be marrying Little Joe because Little Joe "is not the marrying kind." Aha! I knew it! Who expects that level of personal grooming in the Old West?

Gawain dog burrowed under the afghan on the couch and squished himself up next to me. Bawwwww! What a good boy. I love that he's all about being under blankets and makes it happen.

Hee hee, I love the internet. Rainbow Rowell (who is utterly awesome) just wrote back to me on Twitter about Lincoln's sister's advice. LOVE IT!!!

She's my very favorite author, you guys. I feel amazingly lucky to be right here right now when she's writing books. Know what I mean? Like, there are going to be MORE. More Rainbow Rowell books that I haven't read yet because they don't exist yet. I know!!!

I wore my Maureen Johnson STARE shirt to the gym (of course) and an actual young adult totally stopped in her tracks and, well, stared at me. I would have talked to her about it but we both had headphones on. Identical royal blue headphones, in fact. Which I thought was very funny also.

There's a gang of four scrawny boys who hang out in the park, maybe 13? 14? They like to hang out and make fun of people in a quiet, non-confrontational way. I really want them to go do something more constructive. But what? Then I was thinking of projects where you could hire four scrawny slackers. Some deferred mockery or something. It would be fun to hire them to torment your oppressors. For example, yesterday they thought it was very funny that I was texting. Old people! Texting! Today they found my brightly colored sneakers hilarious. I hope they don't know that the whole time I'm thinking, "Awww, puppies!"

I don't have raspberry corduroys like in Attachments but come to think of it I was wearing my raspberry jeans today. Awesome!

I think I'll put those boys in my book. Perfection. Like the Fates only, you know, different. Maybe they're a Greek chorus of scaredy sarcasm and droopy knit hats and skateboards.

Yes, I'm sitting by the fire again, on the comfy (fixed) couch with the snuggly dog, and it's all so cozy your head would just explode. Boom! And confetti and rose petals and butterflies would fly out.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Whoa whoa whoa!

Slow down, Tuesday! What's the rush?

I got this email about a job. I was excited! Woohoo!

Then I looked for the phone number. There wasn't one.

Then I thought:

"I don't remember applying to this place."

And when I checked, I hadn't. I keep copies of every job letter, saved with the company name and job title as its title. It prevents duplication and makes it easy to find contact info.

So then I googled them. And it seems like maybe they exist on the east coast but the website and "application code" they gave me are completely bogus. Huh. Also no contact info on the website.

And then the computer crashed, or rather hung. Stopped in midair, would not shut down.

And then all the power went out, but really that's because I was making tea in the electric kettle while the space heater and computer were running, all on one pair of outlets. Then I got to play "which breaker?" This is a fun game that is followed by "Let's reset all the clocks!"

I did finally get to make toast with gjetost on it, hurray! I love that so much. And I do have tea. And blinky clocks. And a deeply unsettled feeling.

The unsettled feeling comes from instantly rearranging all of the major tasks I had planned for today and tomorrow, in my head, and then having to un-rearrange them as I realized the email was a fake. Also the unwarranted woohoo leaves a slight aftertaste.

You know what would cure that? JUICE. But juice is not your friend, oh no. Well, it is if you want a big blast of sugar, and who doesn't? I'm giving up the lovely sugar juice just in time for terrible Easter candy, not that I know where to find it. One particular chain of drugstores (how appropriate) carries it, but I can't remember which one. Nor do I know where they are out here.

I might be rescued from the terrible but awesome but terrible candy just by being too busy and homebodified to go out and find any. Ha ha!

Yes, I love staying home. I LOVE IT. I mean, I go to the park! And B & D's house! Which is a block past the park, like three blocks from here. Oh oh oh, D sent me home with a whole mountain of quilt fabric. She's giving it up. She's giving it all away but let me go through and pick out what I wanted first. I got bundles. And some cotton batting. Oh boy!

Actually it's two plastic grocery bags of fabric, not that much in the grand scheme.

Though we agreed that the best parts of quilting are: a) picking out fabric and b) getting done. It's the middle part we're not crazy about. Ha! I personally am in a permanent state of trying to use up all my fabric so I don't have to make any more quilts.

See, I got to pick out fabric, which is one of the two best parts of quilting, but didn't have to buy any, so where's the harm, huh? And you KNOW I'm not moving. I'm just not. I like it here. I like this house, especially now that I've moved the fridge and cleaned up the horrorshow that was underneath. I really find that has improved the atmosphere. And when I move the washer and clean up *that* horrorshow, the atmosphere will improve even more.

It's a sparkling shiny freshly painted newly carpeted place, but it's been a rental for a while, and renters sometimes aren't as careful about stuff as they ought to be. Yeesh.

Anyway remember how the bathroom was pumpkin and the kitchen was plum? No longer. Now they are primer-colored! Not primary. Primer. I primed. I still have to paint. Turns out priming two rooms with complex topography is completely exhausting, though. My right arm was doing that change-your-mind thing, where I'd get a cup of tea halfway to my mouth and then it would jerk away from me. Sheesh!

So yesterday I mowed the grass instead. Very satisfying! Small lawn!

I really have to go to Lowe's. Jiminy. And I have to go finish signing up for renter's insurance, which I started Thursday but then it was late, after 5, so I told the poor insurance person I'd come back the next day, which I did not manage for complex and interesting reasons I can't actually remember right now. Then I had to stay home all of yesterday, waiting for the gas man to come between 8 and 5. I think he came at 3:30? Somewhere around there.

Truly it was a lovely day, even if it started kind of abominably early. Dog and cat and I snuggled on the couch by the fire. If there is a cozier sentence than that, I don't know what it is. And I get to do it EVERY DAY. I know! So I napped and read and followed up on things and then spent hours trying to make my laptop-before-last work with more modern Word files. WHICH IT WILL NOT.

This was an epic and still isn't over. Oh dear. Yes, I was able to buy Office 2010 for not too much through the university where I work, and it only took hours and hours to download, and then it won't install or launch or whatever, I'm not sure. And the computer now won't shut down properly anymore. Yay! Or rather it won't restart. You have to unplug it and let it sit for a while before it'll actually start up again.

That's just, like, the funnest ever.

So I have to take it to the library for wi-fi and try downloading a different version and see if that helps. And errands and things. Like for instance, gas inspector guy said I should really get a CO2 detector, so I'll have to shell out for that. And grass clippers for edging. Where did those go? I do not know.

Anyway I have a list. I have no idea what's on the list, but that's why we have lists, right?

I'm still a bit unsettled, though.

Well. If I hadn't been under gas inspection house arrest yesterday, I'd have gone up to Fry's wherever that is--don't know, though I've been there, but it was a million years ago with my mathematician friend and I suspect he gave directions. That's the way to make me remember least how to get somewhere. If I figure it out on a map, I'll always remember. But if you sit there and say turn here, turn there, I'll remember much less, maybe 25% of it.

And I'm done listening to the map app on my phone, holy macaroni--that thing is OUT TO LUNCH. It kept telling me roads that didn't exist and every kind of wrong thing when I went to Ikea lo! these many weeks ago. I have never been so misdirected in my life. I don't mind it as a map, except it's far too tiny to see since I don't wear glasses to drive. I mean I literally can't see what it says. So that's not so helpful. Anyway, real maps are go.

Oh right, Fry's! They have laptops for $200. They had a blue one. Seriously, without the house arrest, I'd have been there. Of course I don't know if they have Office installed either, but the actual computer probably works. This laptop is deeply unreliable. It's sort of tottering. There's a reason I didn't use it for what, five years?

I suppose I ought to get in the shower. I hope I didn't screw up anything else when I was flipping all the breakers, trying to make the lights come back on. The water heater, for example.

Here, I will tell you good news. I planted some gorgeous blue flowers out back along the wall to the neighbors' yard. And an orange icelandic poppy out in this wilderness corner. You go out there and your eye goes immediately to the poppy amongst the green. I planted a bunch of purple and blue and white flowers in this front raised bed window box thing. What is that called? It's under the big front window, brick walls on it? I am inarticulate today. Anyway SO PRETTY.

Also I met a perfect guy except maybe he'll turn out to be gay or something and not the exactly ideal scrum half looking puppy-having I can't even tell you how awesome person he seemed to be. Anyway it just makes me happy to know that's out there, know what I mean? Also our dogs have very similar and identically unusual names, to the point where I actually considered his dog's name for my dog. I love that!

Another oddity this morning: a western jay flew into the yard and just stood there, so that my dog ran over and chased it around, but the jay just hopped away instead of flying, over and over. Maybe you have never found my dog with a dead bird and blood on his mouth, but I have, and also, hello, blue jay! Do not catch or kill the jay! Sheesh! So I was running around yelling and the dog was chasing and snapping and the western jay was hopping and squawking, and then I called the dog and we went in. Gaaaaah! The jay was fine--I mean, it flew there--so I don't know what that was all about.

Western jays, they have round little heads instead of that crest that blue jays have. It makes them look odd to me. Like someone with a distinctive haircut who shaved their head. Essentially forever with someone like that I will think "haircut" when I see them. So it is with western jays.

Yeah, I have a lot of painting to do and all those errands plus I have to write a letter to my niece on this snow and bunnies and birds and squirrels printer paper. It's so awesome I've never opened it in, um, 13 or 14 years? Something like that. But she would not be able to read my writing, so here we go!

P.S. getting up at 7:30 a.m. does not mean I'll be able to go to sleep that night, alas. Or maybe it was all the Sherlock that made me especially awake. I don't know. Watched two of the three Season Three episodes, saved one for tonight. I need to figure out some way to get myself to sleep at night, because whatever I'm doing now--all this exercise, peace, reading, knitting, long walks in the park, actual running yesterday, too, plus extra melatonin--is not doing it. I'm up a dozen times a night at least and it takes hours before I'll even get to sleep. Ongoing issue!

Right, bunny stationery. I'm on it!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Great swaths of coping!

Finally I can report that I've coped with some essentials! To wit: yesterday I got my driver's license (with 100% on the test, thank you very much--I studied) and registered my car and moved the insurance. The first two were incredibly easy but that last is kind of a headache because the person I've been dealing with is flakypants extraordinaire. I don't know, there are all these phone calls back and forth *and* I've had to go in to the office *and* we're not done yet. Criminy! It does not need to be this hard. In fact it really should NOT be this hard.

I also got a toaster. It's red! I'm excited. There's really no substitute for hot buttered toast, is there? Even when you're not really supposed to have the toast. But I got gjetost, all excited, and then realized it requires toast to be eaten. So toast it is! And toaster. Did I mention it's red?

What else? I've been working on scrubbing the horrible deck. Previous dog spent all of its time tracking mud up onto it, I guess. Except for the time it spent scrabbling at the back door with muddy paws. There's a lot more scrubbing to do but at least I've taken the top layer off.

And I got the back yard mowed early in the week. Yay! I think they just mowed the PARK which really puts yard work in perspective, doesn't it? Little dog is going to have green paws again.

I got some flowers for the empty flowerbeds. Need to plant them. Oh and I got a trowel. I seem to have zero trowels somehow. I know I used to have two. They get rusty and then they get demoted to poop patrol and then they get retired.

So the house, the house! It's glorious. It becomes more glorious daily as things get done and out of my face (ahem) and I get things knocked into shape. For instance, curtains on the second window in the bedroom made a huge difference to sleep ability.

Though I'm still having a terrible time with sleep. Holy macaroni. It's more evenings that are hard, or not even evenings but the transition from comfy lying about on the (broken) couch to going to bed. I seem to have a smallish zone of security and so changing from the living room to the bedroom jolts me right out of it and I have to start all over again.

That's a tricky one, huh? They say not to read or watch tv in bed if you have insomnia, so that's out. Maybe I just need to spend time in the bedroom sitting in one of my lawn chairs or something. I've tried everything I can think of. I leave the lights on, etc. I don't know. It's gradually getting better but BOY is it taking it out of me as it goes.

Now let's see. I'm making pesto pizza because a) it's Friday and b) it's St. Patrick's Day (green food, yo) and c) I just wanna. Mmmmm! Pesto pizza and Guinness, man! I have the goal of cleaning this place up to sparkling standard before dinner, so I'd better get going on that.

I keep getting things to about 75 or 80%, which is great except if you're an all or nothing kind of person like me, in which case it's nothing. Whoops! So I'm going to try to figure that one out. From both directions.

What other coping has gone on? I've been driving around to all the places I remember, an extremely odd and alarming experience, let me tell you. Though the oddest is the map filling itself in where there are big blanks in my memory. Like I don't remember the whole strip mall area at all, of course, but then when I drove down there, it was all familiar and I knew what was new and that kind of thing. It's just a peculiar experience.

I really like how the mower goes by in the park about once every half an hour. Imagine mowing that place! Now the park is one thing I remember with incredible clarity. Which I guess makes sense because I spent most of my time there or on campus. I'm sure I'd remember campus with incredible clarity if I went there, too. I'm probably not going to do that for a long time unless there's a concert or something I want to go to.

Which reminds me, Friday is now my designated CALENDAR day, in which I look over the events coming up in the next week and make plans. Non-hermit plans! Crazy, I know! Actually carrying them out is another story, but one step at a time.

I have to tell you, I'm going to need to paint the underside of this carport. Outside my window when I'm at my desk (as now) I can see my car, the neighbor's pretty pointy white house, one window with the shades up on the bottom half, the prettiest blooming pink camellia tree, a hedge, and this yucky looking carport. A little scrubbing and a paint job will do wonders.

My work window is supposed to be relatively distraction free. This one is nearly perfect except for the crummy looking carport.


Anyway that's the story here! Cleaning, putting things away and away and away, reorganizing when I realize the first plan is sub-optimal, fixing this, fixing that, fixing every one of the faucets and drains, vacuuming up all the grass and fir needles Mr. Puppy and I keep tracking in, and cooking fabulous food. Oh boy, I LOVE living here! I love it. I love just about everything about living here. I get squashed down by money worries and employment worries but really it's fabulous in every way other than those two. And that weird smell you get when it rains. Heh.

And I haven't even mentioned my awesome friends and the glory that is the park, really. Another time!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Cake, I tell you what

Oh hi! Slight break from the interminable Doing Of Things to sit still by the fire and oof out. Oooooof. So many things to be done! I went out to lunch just to get away from all the things that sit all around me clamoring for attention. Me, me, ooh, me! Shhh. I went to the Konditorei, which should be subtitled CAKE HEAVEN because that's what it is. All the kinds of cake! In a big glass case! And you can just go up there and say, "I'd like a piece of X cake," and then you have cake to eat. Oh boy!

You can tell I've been in the sticks for years and years. I've been living in the kinds of places where you only go to certain places if you've already been there. Strangers aren't welcome. It's true. They'll take your money, but there's a zone of quiet and discomfort all around you. 

Also the bakery is just a couple of blocks away. I foresee many a cake jaunt in my future. 

Actually I went there for lunch, too. But food is not as exciting as cake, though their mac and cheese was supremely delicious. 

I'm finally relaxing a bit. I slept twelve hours last night! I went over to my friends' house to watch the Oscars and introduce them to my puppy dog. They loved him, as how could you not? It was beyond fabulous to see them again. They're the kind of friends where we haven't seen each other for ten years but it feels like last week, just like D and J whom I visited in Wisconsin en route.

Oh, the trip! It was so much unbelievably hard work and many, many feats of endurance and/or strength. And the dog and cat and I slept in the cab of the truck the whole way (except at D and J's house) and went without showers etc. Which was just grueling. Though oddly the actual sleeping in the cab part was fine. There were two seats with a space between them, so I laid across them with the orchid box in the middle with blankets on it. We all snuggled up in a million quilts and comforters and pillows. If it got cold, I'd wake up and turn on the engine and the heat for a while. We slept great. Isn't that weird?

I thought it was all fine and good and then spent two days unloading everything and then completely fell apart physically, ha ha! Which has made unpacking kind of a challenge. Though like I said, I'm finally starting to relax a bit. I definitely need vast amounts of sleep, but getting it isn't as straight-forward as you'd think.

Two or three (?) nights ago I finally found the hardware to build the bed. I say finally, but I only got here Wednesday night and it's Monday afternoon now, so...I'm a little impatient. Anyway I slept much better once there was a bed and not just a mattress on the floor. Though boy oh boy was I ever excited to see that mattress, after sleeping in the truck cab! 

Each new step is so fabulous. Mattress! Bed frame! Today I'm washing the sheets. One day soon (I hope) I'll actually buy some new sheets that a) fit and b) don't have all those holes, ha ha! I keep looking but haven't seen any that fit the criteria of size, content, color, price. At least not all at the same time.

The ambulance and fire truck just went past. Hmmmm. This is an odd choice of road for them. Basically you wouldn't use this road unless this was the road you were going to. Hmmmmm.

So this is my road! I'm still agog, agog I tell you, that I get to live here, on the park, in this awesome neighborhood. I like all the foot (and paw) traffic that goes by very much. I like my neighbors and my utter lack of other neighbors. I like that the awesomest neighbors have band practice on Thursday nights. I like seeing all the people out running and walking and out with their dogs. Oh boy!

And I LOVE having my own house. Beyond love. Adore. I love the gas fireplace and pretty much just want to sit by it and write, with all the runners and dog-walkers going by outside. Seriously, you could not have a better setup. Except if you had a comfortable couch. That would help. Heh. My couch is quite comfy for lounging and reading and such but terrible for writing. This is the one I made with a saw. Also one of the two main support boards utterly split, dropping me halfway to the floor, so it's now propped up on a stack of 2x4 scraps. 

In other words, it might be time for a real couch. I want one! I want it to be deep green and soft and have good back support. I have to get my friends over to advise on furniture one day soon, though, because I'm not exactly experienced in the picking out of appropriate things. Like, how many places to sit should there even be? They are absolutely gifted at setting up comfortable rooms and decorating so they will know.

Everything is brownish. Brown carpet. Brown walls. The walls are latte colored and the carpet sort of wet sand. I don't know, it's no-color. You'd think I'd hate it, but it's so invisible, I don't even mind! Though the kitchen is dark purple and the bathroom pumpkin, so I'm definitely painting those as soon as ever I can. I already bought the paint (light blue--called Determination, which tickles me) and the primer. It'll smell all painty but I can live with that. I have doors!

The house is definitely odd. There's a big L-shaped living room/office space with the gas fireplace at one end and all these outrageously great built in cabinets at the other. The kitchen is huge and terrific. There's a spare room which is right now full to the point where you can't even really walk in there, but it's all jumbled up stuff and will tidy away quite neatly. You can go through either the bathroom or laundry room to get to the bedroom. It's an odd layout. There are eternally huge closets such that I might not actually even need a dresser (but I totally need a dresser) because I can hang up everything I own. And then the whole back of the house is another odd room that's just the right size and shape to put your kayak and canoe in. And there are windows between the canoe/kayak room and the spare room and laundry room. SO WEIRD.

Also there are some quite daft things, like the dryer exhaust tube thing goes up up up and then through the wall and then down down down in the canoe room and into the floor and under that room and then outside. The dryer does not dry very well, I suspect because of accumulated fire danger lint wads in the crazy tube kinks. I know! I have to fix it. I will totally fix it, too. I'll make a new hole and fix the old one and clean the whole thing out. I do not wish to have a house fire, dudes!

Except the lovely gas fireplace, oh oh oh. I never knew that this was my housely one true love! I've never really been near one before. It's GLORIOUS. You flip a switch and there's a gorgeous flamey fire on fake logs but it's all red and glowing and yellow flames and blue flames and it just makes me incredibly happy.

There has never been anything more likely to make me write eighteen million books.

Also the heat is terrible in here. There are ancient inadequate heaters in the bedrooms, like little wee space heaters built into the walls, and a larger version in the L room, but they do essentially nothing. There's no heat whatsoever in the bathroom, which makes things a little more exciting than strictly necessary in there.

Also there's this yucky smell that I can't quite locate or identify, but I think pouring a bunch of bleach down the drains has done a lot to eradicate it. I've already had to clear the drains with a bunch of Liquid Plumber, fix all the faucets because the pipes are shedding rust flakes all over the place, fix the toilet handle and flapper, which someone had just replaced but did it all wrong so that it wouldn't work properly....

I should wash all these pretty but grubby curtains, too. I'm in the yuckiness eradication business over here. Of course it could be my houseplants or something, for all I know. 

So the house is gorgeous and clean and freshly painted except for where it's a little sketchy and plum or pumpkin, but I can fix that. I can fix it! I'm *excited* to fix it! Yes I am. 

I drove by my old houses and looked at them. Strangely unmoved! I guess that's cool, right? I haven't been to campus yet. I've barely managed to get it together enough to buy staples. But I'm getting through things. I unpacked a lot more of the dishes and pans and things today. I'm going to need a hutch or something in the kitchen for all my grandmother's antique blue glass. Oh, it's so gorgeous! I've literally never had it out since I got it. Multiple fezzes of antique blue glass! 

Progress. I got the water thingy fixed up and attached to the faucet and finally found some replacement hanging plant pots for the ones that suffered catastrophic failure during the road trip. I hung up the wavy oak leaf thing where I hang my keys, and a coat rack thing on the inside of the front door. I even found a calendar, 40% off, of Oregon scenery! How appropriate. One of these days we'll actually get the house whacked into shape and get out and see some more of it, though I certainly saw plenty coming down the western side of the cascades via the scenic route when 84 was closed due to weather. Wooo!

As soon as I find the kitchenaid mixer I'm going to make pizza. I have tomatoes and pesto and pepperoni and cheese and pretty peppers. Oh yes yes yes. Right now I think it's dog walking time, though. Time to go walk the dog! In the park! Yes!