Sunday, June 22, 2014

People! Jeesh!

I'm about to have the discussion with the dog wherein I say things like:

"We can't go to the park this evening because it's too full of people."

There are people. I cannot deal with the people. I like people, really! Some of my best friends are people! But they are swarming everywhere and throwing things (like frisbees, not like Molotov cocktails) and their dogs are running loose and there are adorable toddlers with hot dogs and I CANNOT DEAL WITH IT.

I am not wild about the people situation around here. There are too many. By many orders of magnitude.

Even when there are very few, they are IN MY FACE, which really contributes to the anti-people sentiments.

Holy goodness, too much party going on all day every day and all night every night. By party of course I mean things like: four people walking in the park together. Gaaaaaah! Or sitting under a tree. Or having a picnic at a picnic table. Or little kids running around screaming.

It's all very cute and harmless and Norman Rockwell but it never ever ever ever stops, not even if I wait until it's pretty much dark to go to the park, or if it's pouring rain. It never stops. I don't want to deal with all the people all the time. Why do I have to deal with all the people all the time? hateful neighbors, who hatefully chopped down a whole four square yard area of my vegetation in the back yard, because...why did they do that? They didn't like my messy plants, I guess. They don't like untidy gardens. And they are fucking sociopaths who don't understand that MY YARD is MY YARD and they have no right to touch a single blade of grass in it, never mind cause four square yards of hideous scorched earth.

I'm still beside myself over this. Every time I go outside I get absolutely volcanically livid all over again.

They live next door. I had to put curtains over my kitchen window just so I don't see that asshole every time I go to the kitchen sink. That's how bad it is. I blow up every time I see or hear that jackass. I try to comfort myself with the thought that he's old and will die soon, but it probably won't be soon enough.

Anyway he's not that old. Alas.

Yesterday I mowed the grass, then today I raked it up and laid mulch down over the scorched earth. One reason I hadn't cut back the vegetation there--BESIDES THAT I LIKED IT--was that the soil is hardpan, too dry and hard and poor quality to grow anything. Even grass can't really make it. So at least now it's covered with grass clippings.

Angry revenge fantasies I keep having but would never actually do:

1. go rip up four square yards of their garden and see how they like it, those murderous poopheads
2. put up NO TRESPASSING signs that face directly at their house from point blank range
3. barbed wire
4. signs that say BEWARE: MINES or something like that.
5. planting ten million dandelions or kudzu or bamboo or something truly vicious in that space. Poison ivy!
6. hurling flaming paper bags of poo
7. being extremely rude when the opportunity presents itself

This is how you know I am a kind and meek soul. My revenge fantasies are about things like *signs* and *being curt.*

I already went over there immediately after it happened and hollered and said things like DO NOT EVER DO ANYTHING LIKE THAT EVER AGAIN and so on. I was very very upset. And angry. And said so. I was not meek or kind. I was livid. I may have stormed. It's possible!

I believe in saying things like that because otherwise your head will actually explode. It's science!

Anyway that's the source of my raging fury this week. Let me know if you think up any more excellent fantasy revenge scenarios that I would never in a million years enact!

Because I am actually moderately mentally healthy, unlike some people, I tend to think things through in terms of what outcomes I would like to see happen. That's part of the problem with this. There is no possible good outcome. Like, what? They would apologize? They kind of did. It didn't help with the rage or the constant reminder of the violation every time I go in the yard sixteen times a day.

What do I want to happen? That they replant that area, or pay for plants? I don't think that would help. I'd just see the replacement plants of rage instead.

I don't actually think they'll ever do anything like that again. So I guess my hollering will have that positive outcome. Also my head didn't explode, so that's positive.

Ugh. I don't know. I have nowhere to put all this anger, nothing constructive to do with it. It keeps going around and around in my head and making me bananacakes.

My landlord was so awesome. SO AWESOME. He pointed out during our long phone conversation, in which he proved himself essentially the world's best listener, and I raged and freaked out, that I was much more upset about the jackass who ripped out all my plants than about the possum who showed up in my kitchen.

Which I thought was a fantastic point and a great observation. It's true! The reason is: the possum is just doing what possums do. It's nature. You can't get mad at nature for being nature. But you can get mad at people for violating basic decency and obvious things like ACTUAL BOUNDARIES marked by SEVEN FOOT FENCES. Jeebus. Obviously the person thing is miles worse than the possum thing.

Anyway I have not heard a peep or a scritch from the possum since I chucked all that sambal oelek down its chewed out insulation burrow. The internet told me that they don't like hot peppers or garlic and that's basically sambal oelek for you. Seems to have worked!

I boarded up the holes and also (on the landlord's advice) unblocked the hole in the foundation that I blocked up weeks ago. That possum was not starving, though, let me tell you. It pooped and peed all over the place under my sink. It was very well fed. But now it can be well fed elsewhere. Anyway there is another hole in the foundation just under the kitchen that I'm sure it was using to dig that burrow up to the cupboard under the sink.

Possum Harry Potter!

The odd side effect of the possum is that I keep singing the Yes We Can song from President Obama's first candidacy. You know that song? I love it! The reason is that in Latin the word "possum" means "I can." So every time I look warily at the cupboard under the kitchen sink and open it up to check for wildlife, I start singing it all over again. Yes we can, yes we can.

The positive side to Agent Orange defoliation neighbor's depredations is: possums like all that vegetation and now there's nowhere to hide all along that side of the yard.

My landlord, man, he really earned his keep that day. He listened and listened. Some guys are incapable of that! They want to fix things or tell you it's okay or basically shut you up in various ways. He just listened. What a pro. What a champ. I felt SO MUCH BETTER after that. Because of course I could not reach any of my friends to flip out with them over the phone.

Anyway that was my first week of work, all that ridiculous stress and worry and rage and flipping out and stuff. It had nothing to do with work. Work is awesome. Yay! And I got my Tuesday Online Job iteration so I'm not going to starve or have to sell off my possessions or anything. Yippee!

I have to go walk the dog now. But I'll be back. You know it! Because outside is where all the people are. And possums, come to think of it. No wonder I never want to leave the house! People! Jeesh!

Friday, June 20, 2014


Hi! I came home for lunch because I forgot my lasagna. CAN YOU EVEN IMAGINE???

I'm avoiding the entire internet because of soccer spoilers, so I came here to chatter at you instead.

Wait until you hear about how my neighbors came and chopped down multiple square yards of my greenery in my yard without permission or any reason (other than being invasive controlling disrespectful high-handed &%$^#%^@#&@*s) to do so! Wow! And the possum in the garbage under the sink! I have much to tell you!

But now I have to zoom back to work. Google maps tells me it's four minutes without traffic and so it seems to be! Isn't that awesome? Actually I could ride my bike, if I could ride my bike. I have to pump up the tires and also get used to sitting on the seat again, because whoa does that ever hurt your bottom when you're out of practice. Ow.

I'm ow-ing in advance of imaginary bike seat pain. I have a good imagination. Or possibly memory.

I could actually even walk. I think it would take about half an hour, which is nothing, really. At least Google maps told me it would take half an hour, but are they sure? Are they really really sure? What if I walk faster or slower? See. Tricky!

Also I have to change my shoes because my vintage monk strap ankle boot whatever kind of shoes that the Beatles used to wear are killing my foot. Isn't it handy I forgot my lasagna? Actually I remembered to bring spare shoes in case of foot killage but they are, of course, at work.

I cannot wait to watch the Italy and France games. DON'T TELL ME ANYTHING. I'm so excited! I wore purple and black because I could not figure out what to wear. Coordinating my outfit to international football is complicated, you know!

Gotta go. Stay tuned! Dun dun!

Monday, June 16, 2014


I'm sorry, I won't do that again. But you know: yay!

What an amazing game! The last half hour was so tense, I am going to have to rip out the sock heel flap I knitted then because it's noticeably narrower than the first one. Stressful game equals tighter knitting equals screwed up gauge. Gosh!

I'm delighted with the US team and also surprised to find myself absolutely smitten with the German team. Normally I hate the German team for how they play and all sorts of intangibles like that. Like, I'd find each individual player appealing, but dislike the whole team and wish for them to lose. But this time I loved them! That Mueller, oh boy!

I did not pay much attention to Nigeria versus whoever--oh, Iran--because I do not care. 

Isn't this a great World Cup so far? Except for people being mean and others getting hurt. I hate that. I especially hate the meanness, playing too rough, deliberately injuring others, being cynical and sneaky, all that badness. Which is how I went from "Eh, Ghana," to "UGH, Ghana!" That one dude kicked Clint Dempsey in the nose! You can actually kill someone doing that, though not the way this went down. 

And I adore Clint Dempsey, the US captain, the one who scored within the first minute of play. There is some commercial that he's in where he totally lifts up his camera side arm and puts on deodorant right at you. I can't really articulate why it is so awkward and uncomfortable. I guess people don't usually raise their arms on tv and show you their armpits while putting on deodorant? 

Anyway every time it comes on I have to yell out "Clint Dempsey's armpit!" which is why (among other reasons too numerous to recount) you're glad you're not watching the World Cup with me.

Probably reason number one is: there is only one chair. Whoops! Well, there's that other one, the ancient Ikea Poang chair. I would not call it comfortable, but chairs and I are not friends in general due to my effed up back. I'm most comfortable sitting on the floor leaning against my gigantic mossy green chair, actually. Which is how I watched the whole Germany game.

Ooooh, I was also VERY pleased to see stupid hateful Cristiano Ronaldo lose, the big pouty baby. Gosh I can't stand him! For some reason the announcers kept asking rhetorical questions about him during the game, all of which I answered out loud with: "Because he's a giant penis with feet." Sometimes I would kind of shout it a little. BECAUSE HE'S A GIANT PENIS WITH FEET.

Another reason not to watch with me! Aren't you feeling secure in your decision now? I know! I am full of affirmation for you today.

I seriously cannot stand that guy.

I develop these powerful hatreds and adorations for players in the course of a game based on how they play and how they react when things go wrong. It's all about character for me! And awesomeness. But character more than awesomeness, at least in terms of skills. 

I did not see Ruud van Nistelrooy one single time today and I am sad. Who said he could take a day off? I did not sign off on this!

Speaking of sheer awesomeness AND fantastic character as a player. What a good guy.

That was a lot of soccer! I had a complete blast. In between games two and three I ran out to mail the wee little sweater to my nephew and niece-in-law (or whatever) and my little great-nephew. And a whole box of hats and mittens and socks I knitted got mailed off to Afghans for Afghans. The only negative was that I had to deal with the world's crabbiest mailman. I hate dealing with him. I was happy to see he wasn't behind the desk when I went into the post office. But then he grumphed out from the back and said, all peevish, "Yes???"

Which made me laugh because, hello, customer service? He's so awful.

Then I ran to the store for lasagna ingredients, oh yes! Because I decided I needed to make lasagna and not feijoada for my work lunches. It's more sociable. I love the feijoada but the smell might be off-putting and I don't even really know the deal yet, like, do I get to eat alone, or what? Especially bison feijoada. It just smells a little different, which you know most people read as EW. 

So anyway I made lovely bison lasagna after the games while reading the last tenth of Fangirl again, which is when I remembered that bison figure in Fangirl at least in terms of being mentioned several times, and lasagna figures in Attachments in several key scenes. And that's when I realized it's probably really good (as well as thematic to both books!) that I got my various baggage together enough to get on the next train. Metaphorically speaking. 

Nobody gets on any trains in either book, though Lincoln does take the Greyhound from California to Nebraska in Attachments. 

What else is going on? My right leg seems to have gone away more or less completely. And I have this feeling like a bunch of spiderweb or fine yarn is draped over the right side of my face and neck. I keep trying to brush it off, but I think it's a glitch in the wiring because nothing is there. It's slightly troubling to me. But don't worry, by this time tomorrow I will have forgotten all about it!

Anyway I'm due for this bout to wear off in another couple of weeks and then I'll forget the whole thing exists until the fall or early winter, when it comes around again. 

Last night I worked really hard on my sister-out-law's baby's quilt, fixing most of the problems that were making me not want to work on it. I need to press the horizontal seams open and then sew the vertical ones and I will be DONE with the quilt top! Then I have to hurry up and baste that puppy before everything comes unpressed. So probably tonight. Which isn't ideal because I have clothes to iron, but they're not at all urgent.

D. and I discussed clothes and outfits and of course I've been worrying over the same thing a whole lot. I know I have plenty of things to wear *if* the dress code is a certain way, but I don't know where it falls exactly because nobody ever explains that sort of thing until you're there. So I sort of have to wait and see.

That's also true about Online Job paying me next week, because it depends on several variables and I won't know the answers until, oh, probably the 27th. Because a couple of different pays are combined and when that happens, I get bumped over a tax line or something, or might not this time, and when that happens, they take out a lot more. And this is a rare combination of amounts that has not happened to me for years. I really can't predict how much I'll get paid. Isn't that annoying? I know!

I mean I can make an educated estimate but that does not really tell me anything because of the margin of error involved.

Oh oh oh, I'm so excited not to be in the thrall of a flaky and unreliable source of income anymore. At least, I'm excited about the prospect, whenever it arrives. In a couple of weeks. Ten days? Three weeks? I'm not sure because of course I don't know about the new cut-off dates or whatever.

Soon all of this worrying will be GONE. And I suspect I will feel like a completely different person!

Probably the crawly spiderweb feelings will be gone from my face, as well! 

I will tell you an awesome thing about the elliptical: I can sit still now. Isn't that amazing? It must take the edge off just enough! And I am pathetically out of shape, so it's not like I'm doing it for more than a few minutes at a time. I think my muscles really, really like it. And my back. So yay!

I think I put everything essential into my purse. Tea mug, tea, Payday bar, gum. Yes. Vital supplies. Ooh, must find good-smelling hand lotion that I never get to use at home because kitty hates it! Must find travel toothbrush! Things! Where are things?

Is it really after 7 pm? How on earth did that happen? Bison lasagna ate my evening! Oh, it's going to be so good. I mixed the spinach (well squeezed) in with the ricotta and the sauce, because it's so good that way and it's much more manageable than trying to spread ricotta, which simply does not work at all. 

This lady in the store tried to get me to join Weight Watchers when I asked her where the ricotta was. She tried to recruit me to her Weight Watchery lifestyle! Hello, if I'm buying ricotta to make lasagna, I am not going to be open to that sort of deviant behavior, lady. Then I got so distracted, I forgot my anxiety purchase of completely unnecessary shampoo! 

So I guess it all worked out for the best. THE END. True story!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

That took commitment

Yes indeed, I got up at eight and organized my whole day around watching four entire World Cup games. And it was awesome! And a little bit grueling!

The elliptical definitely saved me from going bananas and twitching around the room. I love that thing. I kept getting on it in between things, or while waiting for the kettle to boil, or while waiting for the blah blah commentary to get over with and the game to start.

I have all these well-tested systems for watching way too much soccer. Every half-time and every break between games, you run to the bathroom and take the dog out. AND you have to plan out what chores to do in those times, too. You only get fifteen minutes at the half and I think half an hour between the end of one game and the pre-game of another. I have to watch the pre-game. That's where all the walking out and national anthems and introducing the characters, I mean players, happens.

They are doing this thing where there's a little video clip of each player crossing his arms and turning into the camera with the introductions. It's awesome because there are CLEARLY cultures where this is not a thing, so they look totally awkward and don't know what to do with their hands.

Oh my goodness, I love World Cup so much. Though it was so sad to see all the old guys (some as old as 35, which is ancient) looking so worn down and tired today. Diego Forlan and Didier Drogba are the old guys now! Stephen Gerrard is an old guy! Wayne Rooney has somehow not been hit by a meteorite yet! My favorite players are all old but it just means I have to fall in love with new players. I can do that!

The saddest was the Spain goalkeeper, who used to be incredible and invincible and never let in a goal, who just utterly fell apart and let in five. FIVE. He used to go whole tournaments without letting in that many and he let them in all in one game. He got old! He lost his nerve. It's brutal watching that.

The smart teams don't even have the old warhorses on their teams. This is why Landon Donovan got left home. My guess is that the manager, who was playing for Germany when I started watching, knows perfectly well how that sentimentality is terrible for the team and for the player. Don't you think it would be better to be left out of the team than to humiliate yourself on the world stage? Of course they all want to play, but yikes.

I'm highly entertained by the sudden realization that my beloved Ruud kind of has the expression of an intelligent dog. He may not have a whole lot of depth, isn't that funny? Or I wonder if it's a second or third language thing? But Gilberto Silva isn't like that at all, nor Roberto Martinez, and English is at least their second and possibly third languages. Also Ruud's English is better than at least Gilberto's and you could tell Gilberto had all sorts of complex and interesting things to say. I think poor lovely Ruud might just not have a lot of a certain kind of sharpness. Awww! He can still be on my team for sheer stunning loveliness and his many charming and decorative qualities.

Maybe he just headed the ball too many times. At least he's cheerful! American football players get very crabby and depressed from their concussion-induced brain damage.

Anyway, excessive soccer watching: successful! My back doesn't even hurt. In fact it hurts less than usual, which I attribute to a) not sitting at my desk and b) the elliptical.

I made insanely good quiche tonight with fancy improvised cornmeal crust so I'm going to list the ingredients and amounts in case Future Me wants to know how to make it.

1.5 cups cornmeal
.5 tsp salt
some sugar
.25 cup nutritional yeast
8T cold butter, cut into thin slices

Cut that all together with a pastry cutter, then add

one egg
6 T cold water

Cut it all together a bunch more until it's uniform, then press into a deep dish pie pan. You don't need to bake it before you fill it.

The quiche filling:

5 eggs
a pound of spinach, cooked and squeezed dry
couple of ounces of pepper jack, grated (3?)
tiny can of roasted green chiles that just happened to be in the cupboard
the last quarter cup of hot salsa from the jar
a juicebox of milk (which should be called a milkbox but even I wouldn't know what that was)
salt and pepper

Mix it all together, pour it into the crust, bake at 450 for 15 minutes then 350 for another 15-30 minutes or however long it takes for the eggs to be cooked through in the middle. Ew. Eggs! But you can't even taste them in this. Granted they were smallish eggs.

My dog went bananas over this. He kept agitating and begging for some, even after it was put away in the kitchen. So maybe you should make it for your dog's birthday! Or if my beloved Ruud comes over.

Maybe I've finally found the perfect missing link between dogs and men. Men would be greatly improved by becoming more like dogs--loyal, quiet, unable to operate the remote control. And it would be great if dogs could go more places, like to the store or with me to the movies or out to eat or whatever. You understand that comparing someone to a dog is the ultimate compliment from me, right? Also a joke? Okay.

I can't believe I missed the Wilhelmus yesterday. I was out at the store and got home to find that the recording had not recorded the national anthems! Can you imagine? What the hell?

I will definitely hear it the next time. Mark my words. I'll play it on my phone right now to make up for it.


It is so weird how moving that song is for me. Isn't it? Why does it do that to me? Why? Why certain ones? The rest, especially that twirly brassy trilling nationalist operatic kind, just annoy me or leave me cold.

Awesome national anthems:

God Save the Queen
O Canada
New Zealand's
South Africa's

I think there might be a common musical thing going on there, now that I think about them all together. Everybody's national pride and singing in a team just kills me dead, but only those anthems make me feel like my heart might explode.

Ours just makes me bawl. Awwww!

But Wilhelmus gives me crazy overwhelming nostalgia and homesickness for a place I've never been. What is that about?

Wait, have I been there? Through? No, I don't think so. It would have been on a train in the dark or something if so and I don't think I was anyway. I'd have to look at a map AND have a memory, neither of which is likely to happen in the next ten minutes. Though I do need to get the map out and figure out where Colombia is again. Uruguay I have a general idea because there are hardly any countries around there so how many choices are there?

World Cup means: having the World Atlas on the coffee table at all times.

Hey! Did I tell you I solved the alias/nickname problem? Several of my family members call me M anyway so I think I'll have them just call me M. Or Em if you like. It sounds the same either way. One is more Jane Austen (or possibly L. Frank Baum) while the other is more James Bond.

I'm going to make this happen. Even while I was doing the criminal check thing yesterday this whole new batch of people were worrying about having two people with the same name. I will solve this for everyone! And identify with Judy Dench while I'm at it! Judi? Judy? I don't know anymore.

Anyway it's something I will answer to readily without even thinking about it, which is perfect.

If anyone who doesn't already know asks what M is short for, I'll say: "Your eminence."

Not really.

Great-Auntie Em!

Is 9:30 too early to go to bed? I have three games to watch tomorrow, too! And three more Monday! I know! Actually tomorrow seems to be a lot of I Do Not Really Care games so I might get some quilting or other sewing done. I got a huge and life-changing amount of corsetry reform done today between games. Seriously, I was in dire straits and now I'm home free, if I may speak entirely in trite phrases like a sports announcer.

I discovered today when my eyes nearly squeezed out of my splitting skull that my coffee is decaf, so drinking it instead of tea when you get up super early is kind of not going to work out. Whoops! I do recall now that I specifically bought decaf because I have this bag of regular but I was low on decaf. It's just, it was a very long time ago, okay? Gosh!

I wonder what magical food items I can concoct tomorrow? Oh! I have a plan to make feijoada! I got a small thing of ground meat just for this reason. Brazil and all, you know? Mmmmm, feijoada....

Yes. Now I'm going to read my book and knit this hat until finished (hat not book) and then hit the showers and go the heck to sleep. All my muscles are flipping out, like, "What? Usage? It's an outrage!" and I even got a weird knot in one calf. So either I'll sleep incredibly well or not at all. Just please do not let me wake up screaming with a muscle cramp from that.

I will make sure to take magnesium and potassium tonight. I saw so many people having muscle cramps in their legs today that I feel like I might get one just from the power of suggestion.

This one British announcer kept saying, "Cramp!" in a particular accent that made it sound like he said "Crap!" I dunno, it entertained me, because it came up all different ways. "That's crap," he'd say, and then I'd notice some guy lying on his back with his leg stuck straight up in the air, someone else leaning on his foot. Oh, *cramp,* I'd think.

I even saw two Italy guys helping this one England guy who had cramps in his legs. Isn't that sweet? Of course I totally teared up because World Cup makes me an emotional wreck! Yes! People trying so so so so hard! Physical endurance! Strategy! Strong national feeling! Teamwork! Elation! Crushing disappointment! Injuries and goal celebrations! It's like getting a whole new gigantic box of emotional crayons!

My normal range is like this: "Aw, man, no more tea." "Yay, a fresh hot cup of tea!" So as you can see, it's quite an experience for me. I'm the empathy queen, which is probably one of the biggest reasons I stay home alone all the time, reading the same books over and over. The world! It's exhausting.

I have to check tomorrow's schedule so I know what to wear. I seriously doubt my official Argentina jersey fits even remotely. I'm so looking forward to the massive diminishment that will inevitably follow full-time employment and its concomitant reduction in stress eating. Yay! That jersey has never fit me, though, actually. One of these days I will GET RID OF IT since it has all sorts of awful connotations, having been given to me by my former future father-in-law who brought it back from you know where.

You can tell the depth of my soccer obsession right there, since obviously I've long since destroyed or eradicated any other trace of that era. It's such a pretty jersey, though! Most of mine are super cheap knockoffs but that one is the real thing.

Anyway I'm on a mission here. I'm on two missions. At least three missions, possibly more. One is mission: diminishment. One is mission: get rid of stuff, which will be aided by the previous mission. And I don't know what the others are, but I'm sure I have them. Stay tuned.

Right, time to read my book and knit my hat. Hurray!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

The good, the bad, and the migraine

Oh oh oh, you'll be so happy! I got a fantastic job with fantastic people. Day job where you go there and do stuff! I'm very very pleased.

It was an odd thing, how it happened. I was sitting in the big comfy chair one evening, probably re-reading Attachments or Fangirl *again* and knitting hats, and suddenly the idea popped into my head to Google xyz. And so I did. And this job came up. And I applied. Then either the next day or the next, I got a call for an interview. Then after the interview I got a call for a second interview. And I was BESIDE MYSELF because of the awesomeness all throughout. And then I got the job! And I'm so happy!

Today I woke up with a migraine after finding out the good news yesterday, which proves I've accepted it deep in my brain's brain. Oh the migraine of good news! What a heck of a thing.

Then today I got short-term bad news, in that my Online Job iteration that was to have started Tuesday (and incidentally PAID THE RENT) got cancelled. Friday is the day you get the email saying Go or No. And it was no. Ack!

I had gotten paid earlier so I ran around doing errands and buying groceries since I was essentially out of food. And out of gas. I bought gas and groceries, the whole time thinking, "I should really wait for the confirmation email," and then arguing back each time I thought that, "I have to have gas to get to work and groceries to eat, be realistic." I mean it's not exactly frivolous things.

Though the used elliptical with no power cord at Goodwill was ever so slightly frivolous. But it was a super good $500+ one for $25 because there was no power cord (which is $10 on ebay) so I stand by my decision. Sort of. Except for the curdling regret, but that goes for the groceries, too.

Ugh! I say to myself. You could have made cold grain salads! And lentil soup! And then I say back to myself: "For six weeks? NO." And then I argue about the vegetables in the garden, which right now amount to two tiny green tomatoes and some young onions.


Those bastards, cancelling my thing. It would have been hellaciously hard but I needed that money. I feel all kinds of betrayed and stuff.

Then tonight I made lentil soup anyway, just to show myself, or something, I have no idea. Anyway I didn't get to the health food store for bulk items so there's no flour for pizza crust, or yeast, for that matter.

It's going to be a while before I'm fit enough even to need the dang power cord. I love this flipping elliptical. It's a monster, took four guys to get it into my car, though somehow I got it out by myself and also up the stairs into the house by myself. Hmmm.

I know, I was always planning on a recumbent bike, but I did all this research (you know me!) and every kind of weight-bearing exercise beats out every kind of sitting down exercise by about a million times. You have to be on your feet!

The lentil soup is the best I've ever made. It had four potatoes and a turnip and half an onion. I think I forgot to put in anything spicy, plus I pureed it a bit, so it's incredibly thick and tasty and delicious. Soup queen! Bow to me! With your soup spoons held aloft and your bowls on your heads!

It is cruel to wave Plenty after so long in front of me and then yank it away like that. Grrr, random happenstance, you vicious bastard! I don't have enough data (pay dates) to know when Lack will end, either. I have a lot of lentils, though. Mmmmm, I really love lentil soup beyond all realistic levels of soup adoration. It's like satisfaction in soup form.

Anyway the lentil soup finally cured most of my migraine and the walk in the park took care of the rest. I have my excellent dark brown wool cowboy-ish hat on to keep the rest of my skull clamped down into place.

I had to go do paperwork this morning and then they sent me to the state police barracks to get fingerprinted for a criminal background check. I wonder what that must be like for people with actual criminal backgrounds? Isn't that scary? I spent the whole time trying to convince the purple-gloved (Warehouse 13) fingerprint lady to follow her dream and move to the south. I hope she does! There was a young lady at the cake place who wanted to move to L.A. and I could not stop encouraging her. Go now! It's never going to get any easier! You'll never be any younger! Go go go! Hup hup hup!

What's the name of the fairy in the blue dress in Sleeping Beauty? My niece would know. I keep wanting to dress up as her for cosplay purposes. Merryweather!

I have to come up with an alias, that's all. I have been trying to think up any nicknames I've ever had in the past, or possible names I would ever choose to call myself. My list is appalling! I think I like Merryweather the best, even if it's silly. She wears blue!

My niece and I used to go back and forth all the time saying, "Make it pink!" "Make it blue!" about everything as a Merryweather thing. Yay!

Oh, okay, I was going to list the others I thought up but they're all terrible so Merryweather or nothing, you guys. It's historical, too! Meriwether Lewis, right? Hello, Oregon Trail.

According to the Wikipedia, Bill Clinton made Sacagawea an Honorary Sergeant in the Army. What on earth?

Shaking head in bewilderment endangers my Wyoming headgear. Which maybe I got in Nebraska? Iowa? I can't remember at all, oh well.

Let's talk about World Cup instead of local economic matters!

I got all dressed up yesterday in a bright yellow polo and a big flowing bright blue skirt for the Brazil match. Yay! They were kind of all over the place! Does every team seem kind of young and spazzy or old and tired to you? Some are a mix. Brazil seems young and spazzy to me. Today I got dressed up in an orange polo and black shorts (after all my errands) to watch the Netherlands game, only to discover they were anomalously dressed all in lovely deep royal blue!

Thank you, whatever forces in the universe decided to dress my favorite team in my favorite color and have them play like absolute gods! I love that team. There are players I've been watching for aaaaaages! That's when I get hooked, you know, when I'm interested in individual players.

Also our man Ruud van Nistelrooy is in the commentary team and I nearly SWOONED the first time I saw him. Good gracious. I've been smitten for however many umpteen years! Seeing him again just about knocked me over. Even seeing a still photo Julie Foudy posted of him and her and Roberto Martinez out running almost knocked me off my chair. It's a combination of I KNOW HIM! (which I do not) and I ADORE THAT GUY! (which, I don't know anything about him, actually, so not really) but it fuses into some weird excited recognition and admiration of outstanding excellence in his field.

I like how in my world these guys don't exist between World Cups.

Oh, man, I just remembered I had to pay $20 for my fingerprinting. Dang. I'll get it back eventually.

I really have to drag those boxes of books to Powell's, like, tomorrow. Except: four games tomorrow! When? I know, record the games. It's not the same, though!

Isn't it good I have the elliptical so I don't get an embolism from sitting there for eight hours watching soccer tomorrow?

There's also some berry festival I was going to go to and I need to hit the post office. Oooooof. I want to hide under the bed. I don't handle change very well, do I? Nor shock. Well, shock is just change with bad consequences. I kind of felt like I'd been shot in the gut when I saw that email today. It was a big strong jolt.


But overall: yay!

Tomorrow is the England game, oh boy! I get to shout "Stupid Wayne Rooney!" at stupid Wayne Rooney, but other than that, I'm excited to see who's playing and I fully plan to wear one of my Beckham shirts. What? Shut up! I only have, like, four. (Red England, white England, Real Madrid, Manchester United.) I don't even have a Galaxy one!

My Beckham shirts are quite daunted by the bosomry, unfortunately. I'm not sure any of my actual jerseys are wearable right now. Staying home and worrying a lot has unfortunate impacts in the volumetrics. Dude!

I'm so looking forward to Day Job, I can't even tell you. (No really, I can't even tell you!) I'm so happy about it. So happy!

Overall I have to say that the good far outweighs the bad and I have the exercise implement of happiness and tons of World Cup and all manner of goodness to come. I think I can say with more than moderate confidence: it's going to be all right.

Monday, June 9, 2014

A goal is a goal

It's funny to be a soccer fan watching basketball with friends. For one thing, if the ball goes in the net, I call it a goal even though I know better. Can't help it! Also I mostly admire a good passing game to the exclusion of all other skills, other than scoring.

My friends' team has a fantastic passing game. The other team had a superstar who seems like he can't miss. I always much prefer a team that plays well as a team and can pass the ball quickly and accurately to the right person in the right circumstances. Over, you know, winning. Ha! Soccer fans will watch a game and pronounce one team the better players even though the other team won. Happens all the time. 

At least it wasn't American football, the dumbest sport ever invented. I cannot imagine what people see in that sport. My dad always joked it was the epitome of American culture: alternating meetings and banging heads together. 

I don't know how anyone can stand watching a sport made up of 99% physical frustration. And from what I can tell, no actual skills, except in the guy who throws the ball. They should try passing it from person to person and getting it down field that way! Why don't they do that? Seriously, is it illegal? You're allowed to throw it forward, but can you only do it once? WHY???

People are always playing Ultimate in the park, possibly the most boring and frustrating game of all time, with the most supremely uptight rules of play and strategies you have ever seen. It's so irritating even to watch. Ugh!

I think there's a lot of psychology in sports, you guys. Like even in the watching of it. 

Anyway I got converted and now I like their team, the Spurs. I like their playing style. The only down side is they have an Argentine guy. There's a look. He reminds me unpleasantly of someone from the past, is all I'm saying. But you can't get mad at a whole culture over one jackass!

Which reminds me of the associative thing my brain did to me when I was watering the garden, making me have that song about the bananas in my head except replacing tally man with Taliban. Hey Mr. Taliban, tally me bananas. NO. STOP. My brain, it will not stop.

Well! I got sick. Boring! I'm all flattened out and limp and useless. And awake all night coughing and being boiling hot. That was the weirdest part, being so unbearably hot. I'm still that way now. Like I've been baking in the sun for hours, which I have not! Woke up that way. UGH. I looked at the thermometer on my desk and it was 68 degrees so there's no excuse. Windows open, air pouring on me like water. I don't know. 

Point being, I did not make terribly great progress on my list before I fell asleep on the dog beds for hours. I did get out the blue paint and fix all the little missed spots and evened out the edges with my tiny brush. Yay! I cleaned out the shed and put all of the owners' stuff on one side, out of my way. It's half full of their stuff. I don't know. And I've been moving stuff out there gradually. Orchid bark, coolers, giant roll of plastic wrap. It's good! Good work. 

Haven't done much else except actual Online Job work today. I didn't sleep well, awake for hours, which surely is due to the nap plus possibly the effect of all those rum and cokes I had during the game. My friend makes strong drinks! 

I lied. I did laundry, hung it all out on the line, watered the gardens, cleaned up the lawn (poop patrol), hauled stuff to the shed, and took down the half-curtains in preparation for hemming. I did plenty. Therefore I should clearly slob around the rest of the day being lazy. Or, you know, get on top of all that work that's coming in thick and fast so I can get it out of the way before World Cup starts! Dude!

That dog bed is looking pretty good right now. I have to wash the dishes, not negotiable, but then maybe some leisure time activity is in order. I turned the heels on the latest baby socks last night so it's all speedy downhill racing from here. Then it's time for great-nephew knitting, I tell you what! Look out, little guy!

Oooh, I also researched recumbent bikes with the silent magnetic resistance and found a very good one that's expensive everywhere else but inexpensive (relatively) at Walmart, plus they'll ship it for free. To my door! Yes! I am totally up for that, once the possibility is there! It's good to be ready, eh? I'm so looking forward to that bike. It's the gerbil wheel for my fidgety self. 

Oh! Slight break of eight hours there. I got a PHONE CALL of CONSEQUENCE and now I have to freak out about outfits and things. It's exciting! And nothing fits, I'm sure of it. I'm really not sure what to do about clothes. I feel like most of my best options will be white shirt black pants, which makes me look like a waiter, plus the black pants are those long drapey ones that can really look a lot like lounge wear if you sort of tilt your head a little bit. 

My ideal outfit is a long silky shirt and a short comfy straight skirt over tights. I seriously doubt my silky shirts fit. Too much development in the bosomry, shoulders are too broad now, and I'm boiling hot which means synthetics make me feel like I'm gonna die.

I do have a navy blue silk blouse I could maybe wear. If I promise not to sweat. AC in the car! And I'd have to figure out what skirt and what tights. I don't have navy blue tights. Gray, but no shoes to go with. Anyway, what skirt? Problematic.

Which is why instead of figuring it out, I ate a ton of ravioli and walked the dog and then sat here knitting socks and reading Fangirl for the umpteenth time. I really wanted to be reading Attachments but I read it yesterday and I have limits. Not many, and it takes a long time to reach them, but they are there. 

The other day I looked at my hardcover copy of Fangirl next to the bed, never read because I always read the ebook, and said out loud, "I have to get a hardcover copy of Attachments in case of zombie apocalypse." Like that was a perfectly logical thing to say. To myself. And the dog, who's used to it. 

I love Attachments. I LOVE it. I'm crazy about that book. I identify with Lincoln no end. Especially when I was living with my mom, are you kidding me? 

I was even developing Operation Nerd Friends to solve my problems, which included strategic visits to the comic book stores and of course the community access tv station, where I used to hang out and had many nerd friends. Plus that guy who was going to lend me his Winchester lever action shotgun for my solo sci-fi movie! Now of course I could use my own pump action, which makes that lovely CHUNK CHUNK sound and doesn't work, an excellent safety feature!

I just unpacked the little baby shiny black grill I bought a million years ago to make that Oreo alien movie with the kids of a bakery co-worker. Gosh! It's the kind of grill that's sort of spherical and sits on little legs? Like a SPACESHIP? Yes. I even made aliens, remember those? Wiggly squiddy looking fishing lures with googly eyes, strung on fishing line. I know! So fun! (Also useful fishing supplies in case of zombie apocalypse! Not that I know how to fish.)

You need more than one person to make movies. At least I think so. I could actually make these things if I went back to the tv place. How about that? This house doesn't have the excellent vertical space of the old one, which had a spiral staircase to the upstairs and was perfect for flying aliens around in.

Did you ever see those crazy fishing bats? Look around in the fishing section of the next Fred Meyer or whatever kind of big store you're in. I was just admiring the paratrooper cord bracelets (eight feet of cord braided up into a handy bracelet--and they had blue!) and camping supplies (hey, that's my kind of water purification tablets!) when I saw these great short bats. I could not figure out what they were for. They were like mini baseball bats. Of course I totally wanted one instantly. Then I figured out they are for bashing fish when you catch them. I always wondered how you did that. Though it seems to me I also know that people just whack them on something, like Gollum does. Do you think you need a special mini baseball bat to whack your fish with? I suppose your hammer would get ooky.

I still totally want one, though. This is why there is the clutter! This, right here!

I guess I have to go wrangle an outfit now. The dishes are done! Hurray! I even washed the dinner dishes. Every dish is washed for once. Madness! 

The sheets came out smelling amazing after hanging outdoors, even after the neighbor started up his grill. That fresh air laundry smell, mmmm!

I went on a fun drive today, down along the cliff that borders the town--I mean, there's a road beneath the cliff and I drove on the road, not on the cliff--gosh!--and down to Independence, a terrific little town, and then up toward the Eola Hills. I kept looking for my place that I keep imagining it. I've imagined it so clearly that I know, for example, that it's the south-facing slope of gentle hills that are timbered higher up and my place is near the edge of the trees, up a long dusty gravel road. And there's a cafe at the bottom of the hill. 

In some versions, I own and/or run the cafe, but it's only open for breakfast and lunch. And I generally run the dishwasher because I love industrial dishwashers. We had one in my co-op and of course in the dining halls where I worked all the time. And I take the cash in to the bank every single day because it's such an isolated spot, you don't want to tempt the belligerent shirtless meth heads. I won't be there for breakfast because: eggs, but I like it at lunch time. 

I keep imagining all of this as though I'm observing it, not making it up. Like it just unfolds. With the pretty blue bus parked on the hillside and the house built into the slope, the basketball hoop, the gardens, the alpacas and chickens. There are those darn eggs again. 

The Eola Hills look very forested and steep and also very close to town for what I'd imagine. Might not be the place! I was driving around looking at these pretty flat bottom lands west of the river and thinking, "This is beautiful, perfectly nice, but it's not the place."

It might be toward Willamina. I'll have to go look over there next. D. used to have a quilt shop in Willamina I think. I'll have to ask her about it. 

Well, just living here is such a total dream come true. You know I've been dreaming it for eleven years. I dreamed it and it came to be. Well done, me!

You guys, the dog loves his bed on the floor so much! The mattress plus five giant dog beds on top of it, I mean. He's all snuggled into it and just as cozy as it's possible for a being to be. Mr. Puppy! So happy!

Right, I'm zonked. Off to bed via closet headache. I'll let you know if there's any exciting news, have no fear. Wish me luck, bunnies! The good kind! Yes!

Sunday, June 8, 2014


It's deal with all your neglected chores day! And oh, there are many.

Let's make a heinous list of heinousness.

1. break down the book boxes that are stacked in the sewing room closet, taking up far too much space

Ugh. Terrible job. I might have to haul them all out here and watch tv while doing this mindless (and dusty) task.

2. tidy up the edges of the painting I did in MARCH

There is no real reason I haven't done this yet. The paint cans and tiny brushes are on the kitchen counter. Hup hup! I need to change into a paint-acceptable t-shirt but that's all.

3. plant the rest of the tomato seedlings

This is only hard because a) the ground is so dang far down and b) the sun is hot and burny. I'll finish today. I've been doing it one pot a day for a while now so most of them are done.

4. move every possible thing into that now cleared out closet

There are things everywhere that need to be out of sight. It might be too hot already today to do a lot of this, alas. But I can get started!

5. finish the quilt for my sister-out-law's baby already for crying out loud!

Easy hot weather job! You just sit at the sewing machine with a fan blowing on you. And then it gets DONE.

6. floors

Oh dear. Yes, this is a house where dirt and bits of grass and fir needles get tracked in and are most visible on the bare floors, i.e. foyer, kitchen, bathroom, laundry room. They are small rooms, though. Tiny. A job I really need to do every day (like Rapunzel!) is to sweep up these rooms. Every single day.

And then they all need a good scrubbing. Oof.

7. books

I packed up a ton of books to sell, like, a month ago. One box is still in the foyer. This is appalling! Get it out to the car, then drive down to Powell's or alternatively the used book store downtown where I had a bad experience in like 2002. That's what's holding me up. So much closer! But such a bad memory! Shopkeeper got very angry and shouted at me when I questioned the price she offered for a rare book. Actually she might have just been working there. Still! I don't want to go back. But Powell's is far and there's very little gas in the car. Hence the stymiedness.

8. hang the kayak, maybe

Basically I need to sit in the canoe/kayak room (formerly the back porch, now walled in, very odd and awkward room, long and narrow and full of doors and windows) and figure out whether hanging the kayak flat against the wall has any benefit at all.

9. put stuff in the shed

Yes, a lot of things need to go in the shed, like, I don't know, bags of orchid bark! Trailer stuff! Roof rack bags! Suitably fezzed up to protect from rodents and damp of course. The shed gives me a panic attack because it is very very small and crowded and full of crap that does not belong to me, abandoned possessions of former tenants, cans of paint, ancient Christmas tree lights. Should probably pack all of that into a corner or something and take the space back for myself. Which sounds great except it involves GOING IN THERE. There is no garage so the shed is all there is.

10. prepare the deck for painting

I'm excited to paint the deck! And the picnic table! But they need to be prepped. Scrub the whole deck with cleanser and a scrub brush. I've done maybe 1/16 of it. ShopVac all the webs and junk off the ceiling and beams. Get some clear caulk and fill the gaps where the wavy roof panels let fir needles fall through. Fix the picnic table if it needs it. Scrape the picnic table. Oh and move the thousand pound picnic table off the deck. Ouch. So basically a huge amount of work, whee!

I just got done with the last mountain of Online Job work yesterday and I get another giant batch to do tomorrow, so I'm feeling motivated to get some of these things nailed down today before the weight hits me. Ooh, and then that has to get done super fast before World Cup. And I'm starting a whole new thing on Tuesday so that has to get set up Monday. Work! Jobs require work! I know! It's crazy!

I did cut the couch frame in half yesterday and removed all the splintered wood and all the braces I'd bolted on there to hold it together after it split apart. I can make either two ottomans or a big awkward chair with a heavy, unwieldy back to it. I suppose my preference is showing. I would like the chair, but I'd also like the ottomans. Maybe I can make these into the chair and then build an ottoman from scratch so it's not an acre across.

That was a huge and ugly and messy job so I'm glad it's done. I did all this stuff toward making the new pieces, including cutting flat boards to fit on the bottom corners so that cool legs can get attached. I'm going cool leg shopping later in the week! I'm also apparently going Skil saw and cordless drill/screwdriver shopping because that was just murder, doing all of that without proper tools. My hands cannot manage this type of abuse. They barely open and close today.

To Summarize:

1. break down the book boxes that are stacked in the sewing room closet, taking up far too much space
2. tidy up the edges of the painting I did in MARCH
3. plant the rest of the tomato seedlings

4. move every possible thing into that now cleared out closet

5. finish the quilt for my sister-out-law's baby already for crying out loud!
6. floors
7. books
8. hang the kayak, maybe
9. put stuff in the shed
10. prepare the deck for painting

Today I might be able to manage two or three of them if I get off the computer right now and stop messing around. And if it doesn't get too hot. Honestly I just saw a lady walk through the park in long pants, long sleeves, and a fleece vest, but she was old and you know old people are always cold. The college kids are running in shorts and tank tops or sports bras. It's 63 out and 70 in. My internal heat alarm goes off somewhere between 70 and 71, so like 21 C, which I know is low but hey, that's how it is! Remember I'm nearly always bordering on actual hypothermia just sitting there. Heat flattens me.

Also sun. I've been trying to get ten minutes of direct sun per day for the vitamin D and now I'm all beige and freckly! It's a funny effect because my hair goes lighter really fast and my skin gets slightly darker and they approach the same color pretty rapidly. I just don't want to burn. You would laugh because I'll sit in the sun and like thirty seconds in I'm squirming and going, "It hurts! It hurts!" It does, though, if I'm holding still. Even if it's just on my feet or whatever. Actual pain. Is that what happens to other people? Pain like needles from the sun?

I'm not really a vampire, I'm positive of it. Though I do like rare steak.

The giant quinceanera (I think) party outside my front window didn't break up until nearly ten last night, pretty impressive considering it started around noon. The teenagers got pretty rowdy during the clean-up and spent at least half an hour right outside my house, shrieking and hollering. It was funny to hear the parents come over and shush the heck out of them. I don't know, I totally enjoyed the whole thing, though the hollering boys at the end kind of got on my nerves. I even Turned On The Porch Light, which is my suburban householder silent gesture of passive-aggressive disapproval, but is also pretty helpful for people packing up cars in the total darkness. Dual purpose!

I loved the big white fluffy bridal gowns on at least three girls and the little kids whacking the hell out of the pinatas and the tiny babies just walking who ran around and around, waving their arms and yelling, in little black pants, white shirts, and vests with fancy fronts. The food smelled glorious and it was all these families having just the best time together. I loved it.

Maybe it was confirmation, come to think of it. How old would these kids be for that? I have no context! I thought confirmation was a lot younger if (big assumption) they're Catholic. These kids were more Protestant confirmation age. And you don't get a big white dress for that. Unless maybe you do in a culture that is mostly Catholic so they don't get left out? See. No context. Not enough data.

It sure was fun for me, though.

Oooh, I'm glancing with intent at a 2x4 and a 1x1 over by the door....I could totally make an ottoman out of that in no time flat, with proper tools. Ooooooh. Ooooh.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Treehouse Masters

Is that what it's called? I think so. It's a tv show about a guy who goes around designing expensive (yet not all that fancy, somehow) treehouses for people who have an idea about what they want but no ability to make it happen. It's tremendously addictive.

This morning I woke up and realized they left out absolutely everything to do with electricity and plumbing. It happens, for sure, but they don't show it. That's okay! Watching people wire things is not actually very interesting, even to me, and I'm into it.

Here's how it's useful: it makes me think a lot about space and how you use and access and move through that space. Treehouses are relatively small, so it's right up my alley.

And I could totally watch carpenters all day long. They make houses! Out of stuff that was not houses to begin with! Disparate parts --> larger thing! I love that!

So yes, last evening when I finally got done with all my work (boy did that take longer than it strictly needed to, due to various complications) I sat on the floor in front of my big comfy chair, because that stretches out my legs and back when I've been in the office chair too long, and Gawain dog cuddled up by my legs under a blue cotton blanket, and I brushed them both, and we watched this Treehouse show and my eyes got all big and there was carpenter excitement! And cozy comfortable furry animal snuggling. At the same time!

I was about to build a back on my couch when I realized that I can't because the cordless screwdriver thing lost its charger. I need to replace the charger or the whole drill, depending on whether the charger is available. So that has to wait another week.

Good news, though: I got the Online Job iteration that starts Tuesday. Yay!

B. was very funny about this a couple of weeks ago. I always say I can't count on the work even though it's been set up with me and I've accepted it, until I get the confirmation email on the Friday before. Until you get that, it's entirely possible the whole thing will be scrapped due to lack of sufficient people. But B., she's awesome, she asked the important questions: how many people do you need? (As few as four in the past.) How often have you had them canceled? (Maybe twice? Out of 35?)

To me that's kind of not the point. It's not about statistics. It's about hard cash. You either have it or you don't and until you really have it, you absolutely don't. I'm not a gambler. AT ALL.

Anyway now I have it, so yay!

I need to get more offers to start in July and August or I'll be in serious trouble, though. August is a dry time for this job so I'll make plans well in advance. Like, say, now! Which I am doing as we speak!

Isn't it amazing I've done 35 of these? I think that's a lot. The past few months have been the heaviest by far, more than double my historical levels, exactly when I needed them. So yay again!

I also got all excited because my power bill dropped a lot. B. also looked at my laundry hanging out and said, "Don't you have a dryer?" I always forget that hanging laundry out to dry is sort of declasse to people. To me it's obvious. It's insanely easy. It takes like two minutes to hang up a load of laundry by actual clock. It gets dry for free. Where's the bad? Also, come on, it's environmentally glorious and the hipster thing to do!

The dryer is (I figured) about 80% of my electricity usage. That's insane! I have gas heat and hot water, see.

Once I got myself in motion to find the non-stretchy plastic-coated clothesline, which was in the car and very easy to find, actually, and cut down the old dog rope, and hung this up, I'm afraid I'm going to be an unstoppable air-drying laundry machine! Which is not a machine! That's the point! Right!

I really am super cheap in the sense that I don't want to spend a single penny I don't have to, at least on stupid stuff like electricity. But I also don't understand why people do certain things. Like, I don't get it. Oh well. I suppose it's mutual. I'll happily spend money on books, yarn, enormous mossy chairs, lumber, vegetables, tools, musical instruments, and so on.

With the dryer it's like someone said, "Hey, I'll give you five dollars if you hang your laundry up to dry in your private back yard on this sleek new clothesline in the hot dry weather." It probably is five dollars to run a load of laundry in that dryer, pretty much exactly. 

I'm also a member of the cult of efficiency, I admit this. If a thing can get done passively by hanging in the air, rather than processed by a machine, sign me up. It's just a more beautiful process that way. Less waste. I hate the waste, you know it! And I love the elegance of a process like that.

Speaking of elegance, I recorded a show about how to build a chair. I know! Except this is the type of thing I want to build: comfy armchairs, comfy couches, ottomans. Ottomen!

Really I could just do it the easy way and put a pad and upholstery on a $5 table from Target. With the staple gun and some fabric, it would take practically zero time and effort. But I want to make it sturdy and I have Design Ideas so look out!

I have a ton of work to do today before I'm allowed to do anything fun involving wood, fiber, batting, screws, planes, or saws. The sooner I get it done, the happier I'll be, so I'm off.


I would totally build myself a treehouse, by the way, as long as it had multiple exits. Those single stairway treehouses give me an anxiety attack!

Friday, June 6, 2014

Oh my giddy great-aunt!

Baby! Born yesterday! Oh my goodness gracious me!

It's not like he was a surprise or anything but oh my goodness, did I ever get excited about the news! Woooooo!

Baby Matthew, my little great-nephew, is completely adorable and tiny and delicious. And I am officially a great-aunt, a position I feel eminently suited for somehow!

All of my best characters are great-aunts. I always write great-aunts as though they're from English novels from the sixties, these feisty, eccentric, energetic, tea-and-knitting wielding ladies full of surprises and outrageously amazing pasts, like they were always air force pilots in the war or ran a canteen in the fields of France or traveled through the whole Middle East on camel-back with only an interpreter and a tame raven for company.

There's nothing better than a great-aunt in literature. And now I get to be one! I am seriously TREMENDOUSLY excited about having official permission to inhabit this role! It totally suits me and I've been preparing for it my whole life!


I swear I want to get out the iron-on letters and make a t-shirt that says GREAT-AUNT.

I picked out a World's Best Grammy mug for my sister (that's what they say: Grammy) but it has to wait until next week when I get paid. Whoops! Am supremely broke right now!

I've been working hard all day, except for all of the not-working time, heh heh. But I'm nearly done so I should get back to it. I promised myself that when I got done, I'd finish the quilt for the previous family-adjacent baby over in Thailand. Clearly what a baby in the tropics needs in June is a QUILT. Wait. Where is the equator? I need a map. Is it close enough that northern and southern hemispheres matter? No.

I was just suddenly thinking of Australia, where you would totally need a quilt (in some areas) in June.

Babies! I like making 'em stuff!

I'm not going to last too long today because I woke up before 7:30 and could not get back to sleep. On the plus side, though, I called the doctor's office where you have to call at 7:30 to get a same-day appointment. And there are only same-day appointments. Not for me, though--struck out! I'll try again next week.

I'm just saying, there was a benefit to waking up that early. But I'm going to wilt and collapse pretty darn soon so there's a down side as well. Dowwwwwwwnnnnn.

I downloaded all the baby pictures from Facebook and emailed them to my mom. She's so excited!

Let's see, what else. I called and got in touch with the therapist program people who didn't call me yesterday, and she called me today, so that's awesome. AND there's a whole new program starting in July that I didn't know about because it's not public yet! So maybe I can do that. I hope so! If it's cheap enough. It has to be cheap enough with my tuition remission and probably more student loans that I can afford it. Meaning, probably zero out of pocket. Since there is zero in my pocket. Well, like nine dollars. Literally. It's fine! I get paid next week!

In a minute here I have to make chicken salad so my dog can lick the pan. He is beside himself worrying that I forgot to give him the pan. Don't forget the dog! He adores chicken. We all do. All of us meaning him and me and the cat. It's a total kitchen party any time I cook chicken.

Our friend B. came by to make plans for the Tom Cruise movie next week. Hurray! And we shot baskets in the back yard. So fun!

Right, must finish work before my brain fades out. I almost forgot in all the excitement that I'm waiting for confirmation of my latest iteration of Online Job to start on Tuesday. Whoops! I hope it happens! This is the type of iteration that sometimes does not happen, so I'm worrying a bit, when I remember. Not that it helps. I mean!

So I got one vote for a school bus, blue! Anyone else? Sensible options, no takers?

Lately I think a lot of things like: "I could totally dig a septic tank hole. It's just a big round hole, right? I have a shovel!" I am aware that's not the most practical thing in the world to think. But don't you admire the can-do attitude? Yes!

Also I can totally picture Great-Aunt Maggie driving around the country in a blue school bus with an actual bed and couch and gas fireplace and cast-iron claw foot tub in it, with Gawain Dog sitting in the giant mossy green chair and Siegfried Cat curled up in his bed on the dashboard as always. In fact I can totally picture it as a children's book, visiting all of the nieces and nephews and great-nieces and great-nephews and having ADVENTURES. For purposes of this fiction you may picture me as a blocky blue dress with curly red hair on top. Because, well, that's kind of what I look like! Yes! Freckles and Ernest Hemingway's glasses! And my gigantic gorgeous blue sweater when it's cold.

You know my cat Siegfried appeared in fiction I wrote before he ever appeared in reality. Clearly I need to write lots of wish-fulfillment fiction all day every day and make things happen.

Time for curried chicken salad with apples and cashews in it. So let it be written, so let it be done!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014


Okay I'm here to report excellence in the field of Functionality and also Coping and Adulting and other stuff like that! Yay!

I know! I thought you'd be pleased. Thanks!

All the fur I stuck under the house worked. I actually got nine hours of sleep last night and woke up at 10 without an alarm. Yay! Had some trouble getting to bed, though not to sleep. Trouble getting to bed means I have huge can't-sleep dread and put it off. This is how insomnia gets you! The dread of fighting that terrible losing battle puts you off. It should be a lot better tonight.

Today I feel a whole lot better, so I'm hoping the benadryl battle is over. Doesn't it seem like I'm constantly fighting with withdrawal of one kind of another? I hate it!

Which reminds me, other adulting.

You're going to be so impressed!

I called up the place where I work to see about a master's in mental health counseling and then ran all around the internet trying to figure out accreditation, one of the few words I cannot say reliably. Isn't that odd? Accreditation. It tangles me up.

Then I finally called the state office of behavioral health licensure, which of course is right in town, with every other state office of everything, and the nice (well, slightly cranky) helpful guy told me what I needed to know, namely that there are accredited programs and not, but not just means you have to add other courses while the accredited programs get a rubber stamp as is.

This is, I should add, NOT what the website says. The website clearly states that you can only use accredited programs for licensure.

So anyway. He also gave me advice about who to talk to at the school and how to go about figuring out what I'd need to take. Hurray!

I know, can you even believe it? It's awesome!

The counselor over there who knows all about this is going to call me tomorrow. Things with them move fast so I could be underway in no time flat.

Also tomorrow I have to call back the regular doctor, because they only do same-day scheduling (weird!) and the issues doctor, because Wednesday they go through their client list and remove people who aren't showing up. The nice person who answered the phone was very relieved that I know all about that, since she actually could not answer the question: "Are you taking any new patients?" Maybe! Maybe not! I get it, truly.

Tomorrow morning I have two early phone calls to make. And one to receive in the afternoon.

It is SUCH a relief not to have the internet going through the phone anymore! I can actually make phone calls! Notice I did all of that the very next day after getting non-phone internet! I know!!!

So today I'm very impressed with myself and going around saying things like, "Huh!" and "I know!" and "Good girl!" and "Go, Team Us!" That is me cheering on my team of me and the animals. They're totally on the team! This morning I kept going around doing stuff and the two of them would follow along in a little pack. It's so silly and so adorable. Where do they think we're going? Why do animals always do this with me? Do I always seem like I'm going somewhere unmissably fun for furry animals? I might be! It's true!

Last night I trimmed my hair a bit in this incredibly flattering way. Something about thinning and trimming bangs right where the part in my hair is? I'm not sure but it looks great. It looks *deliberate* and style-having! Or something! It's really growing in so the transitional mop top effect is coming along nicely.

If I were really on the ball, I'd go walk the dog right now instead of waiting for total chaos later and then having to wait until late to go. Okay! Let's do it!

I'm pretty darn pleased right now, you guys. Of course, I have a tremendous amount of work still to do today, as in, work for work, but I'm still very happy with what I got done. I overcame enormous reluctance! And took steps toward bettering things! And steps toward accomplishing major goals!

I know some more things I need to do right away: file the FAFSA, for one, so that I can be eligible for student aid. Imagine me being a student again! I don't have that tremendous dread and loathing associated with literature/writing/creativity programs, though. Not at all! It's sciencey stuff. You know I love the questions with actual answers.

Anyway you can find all of the roots of all of this in this book, Redirect, which is about how we see our lives in terms of story and can change our behavior (for the better or the worse) by reframing our narratives.

This is so totally true. In fact today I was sitting in the sun in the yard as the dog blinked sleepily and thought things like, "I could totally do a PhD on YA and reframing narratives." That is what YA is about so much of the time! It really is. People tell you one story about yourself and you rewrite it and make it your own, changing the narrative to what you want.


I have to tell you, my curried sweet corn miso chowder is insanely good, also. I made some yesterday. So flipping good. It has the richest, most complex flavors of anything I make. It's so interesting to taste!

I'm going to make oatmeal cookies later. Yum again.

Okay, off to the park with Mr. Dog, who is a very good boy indeed.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

But, tv!

I am using my New Internet to write this. Can you tell???

It has been a day full of people and conversations and I'm utterly exhausted by it. SOMEONE IS AN INTROVERT.

Someone is thinking seriously about the longevity of this particular living situation, with the dog who cannot be around other dogs, and the person who does not want to hear/see other people, and oh yeah the gigantic park right outside the window full of dogs and people. Gaaaaaaahhhh!

My southern neighbors came home just for a day. I was so glad to see them! So it's really just people I don't have conversations with that are extraneous. People whose names I don't know. Something like that. 

I used to meet and talk to people in the park nonstop, but since my dog went to constant Defcon 11 or whatever, that is a thing of the past!

I'm exhausted by the whole thing.

I got out my sketch pad today and mapped out a school bus using centimeters for feet. 25 x 7.5 more or less, depending, and there are lots of variables because there are lots of types of buses. And then I measured things like my bed and the bathtub and put those in. And then I got stymied because I don't know where the doors are or the driver's area because this is an imaginary amalgamation of different possibilities, which means there are lots of variables all of which can't be represented.

Also, how big is a kitchen sink? How big is an RV oven/stove? There are lots. I'm figuring things out by sort of averages and so it's basically--this is kind of funny--meaningless. But a fun thought experiment!

Total cost: one sheet of sketch paper. Not bad!

It reminds me so vividly of how we used to design rocket ships, me and my brother, when we were little. Didn't everyone do this? Underground lairs with tunnels and spiral staircases and elevators and storage rooms and swimming pools? Treehouses with rooms full of helicopters and jetpacks? Bunkbeds and greenhouses and escape hatches? I totally did this all the time. It's the exact same thing! It's really really really fun!

Did you know my bed somehow is 7.5 feet long when you include the curving-back headboard? See, I was talking excitedly with my friends as we did a puzzle and drank adult beverages about how I have this total fantasy plan of living in the bus while building/refurbishing whatever tumbledown hovel my future may hold, and also using it to travel long distances, camping and whatnot, so it needs to be the kind of place where you can live sustainably over time. Time being more than five days, I guess? Something like that. 

How long can you live in a completely ridiculous situation before you lose your marbles and snap? It does not take me all that long, sadly. But I know this and can adapt to that knowledge!

You should totally look at Craigslist and see all the school buses for sale. I found a really small one, a short bus basically, only four windows long, which gives it an interior 11' x 7.5'. It's painted blue and has a front and back door, which is crucial for the claustrophobic. It's $3000. See what I'm saying? This is just a baby bus but all the work is already done, taking out seats and such, and it's not a great big regular giant school bus, so it's more of a camper. Like you could put my mattress in there and, like, a cooler. Maybe two coolers.

I fell in love with it instantly but of course it would be like being shut in your bedroom...forever. Impossible.

Though I kept thinking, you know, I already have a generator, a butane stove, even big water jugs. I'm pretty much camper ready. And then I thought, You can treat a full sized school bus like a camper until it becomes an apartment on wheels. It's true! You can use it perfectly well before it has everything built in like plumbing and electrical. Process, man! Process!

My dog has been barking his fool head off all day long. Some nice people with a very sweet German shepherd stopped to talk to the neighbors in their driveway, perfectly innocent, but it meant that while I was making soup, my dog completely lost his tiny mind and leapt around the house barking like an insane being. Because VOICES. And LAUGHTER. And DOGS. 

And that's when I realized I had to rethink the whole living in the busiest, most doggiest, most person-filled part of the nicest town there is. Honestly a block away would be a completely different story. My friends told me that the house across their street and one over is a rental. They think I should move there. Guess what, it's only a block from the library! I know!

Obviously not until the harvest is in, ha ha! And probably not then, either, because it'll start raining and the problem will completely disappear. For a place where it rains nine months of the year, people are surprisingly unwilling to go out in the rain. For which, hurray! I guess!

Last night I put on a fan in the bathroom to block out any ratty noises. Today I gathered a huge quantity of fur from my cat and from the neighbors' dogs, since I was out there sitting on their front lawn snuggling the heck out of those utterly adorable Corgis and they were shedding. It was the kind of shedding where huge tufts come out, so my neighbor and I pulled out tufts and hand-combed out fur and I took the whole giant ball of it, plus kitty's fur clumps, and shoved them into the hole under the house, then bricked it in. It's supposed to deter the vermin. Probably they'll just be like, "Hey, thanks for the soft, fluffy bedding material!" and make cozy nests. But I'm hoping not!

If there is quiet under the house tonight, I'll go out tomorrow and spray that stuff in there that puffs up into insulation, which should also help keep my bathroom from being utterly completely freezing when the temp drops below sixty degrees. No wonder it's so freaking cold in there!

I need to go out and plant all of the tomato babies in the newly turned garden. I'm wearing green pants! Which I should probably change or they'll get all stained, I know. 

Tv, oh boy! I find it incredibly calming. It's like a boring friend! Wait. I mean that in the best possible way. Like a very sweet and predictable friend whose company is reassuring and comforting. Until they drive me bonkers, of course, by being obtuse. Awww! 

Ooh, I thought of a socialization method. I drove past the old community tv place yesterday, in its shiny new location. I spent so much of my time with them! I helped my students make movies through them and I learned editing and such. I am totally going to get myself down there and reacquaint myself with them and go help people make movies again. I will hold your boom! I will probably not hold your boom actually because my poor arthritic hands are excruciating (aluminum knitting needles, grr!) but I can help in a million other ways! I can teach writing classes and get people excited and encourage them! I am ace at that. It's true. 

It's like all these rooms opened up in my head when I started thinking about going back there. I've been on my own case like crazy lately (jeez, back off, will I?) about joining stuff or going places or doing things that don't involve calling out to strangers to put their dogs on leashes please, and having them get super mad at me. Gosh, why is that not a fulfilling life for me? Who can say!

So maybe this will get me off my own back about socialization. And I can meet many new nerds! Community television is total nerdsville which means I fit right in!

The other thing I keep bugging myself about is library events. Jeeeeeez, cut it out! And, I don't know, getting in touch with old friends. Ugggggghhhh...that would be funnnnnnn and I'd have a good tiiiiiiiiime....can't you let me live my own life? 

When I became my own sullen teenager, I do not know. 

Maybe now is a good time to go measure the driveway for my putative imaginary future school bus. My friends said definitively (and they would know) that people would complain if I parked one on the street, even if it's perfectly legal, but not if I parked it in my driveway. It's probably too high for the carport, though. The actual carport is too low for my imaginary school bus! 

You know, if my car wasn't the kind of car that feels like you're wearing it rather than driving in it, I wouldn't have this problem. It's true. If I had my old Jeep, except with a functioning electrical system and working transmission and without those alarming fluid leaks, I would just be able to climb in the back and hang out, plus I could easily pull a large camper trailer like one of those old Airstreams or something.

Maybe it would be a lot smarter to reorganize my thoughts and go from car I never would have picked out for myself (TOO SMALL INSIDE) to a big Jeepy thing that I like better anyway. I can already hear my friend saying that she thinks that's a really good idea. My real friend, being imaginary. Streamline, eh? One vehicle, one camper trailer that you can park or pull. 

She actually said that instead of a bus I should get a train car. Yay!!! I love those. I love that idea! And nobody can jack it up and pull it away while you're at work, either. I can totally imagine living in a train car, you guys. You get it hauled to the location and set on a pad and there you are. Don't think of it as a metaphor for going nowhere! Think of it as the journey is the destination, made concrete.

It's true that while I was looking at buses on Craigslist, I accidentally started looking at Jeeps with hearts in my eyes. Love love love the Jeeps! Oh love love love. Give me a massive American engine any day of the week over a much superior and fuel efficient and beautiful import. Oh, I'm hopeless. But remember I was born in Michigan, same as many cars! Or something.

Really, you think I should get a Jeep and a train car too, instead of a school bus? I'm taking a poll. Make your voices heard! All both of you still reading this during Insomnia Jet Lag Psychosis Week!

I suspect it'll all be better by Friday or Saturday. Always supposing I make it that long without going bibbledy. Bibbledy-er, I mean. 

Monday, June 2, 2014

Iffed in no uncertain terms

Yes! I can not sleep heroically! And not by choice! For a certain period. And then, I completely stagger around all exhausted and useless. Today is that day!

There has been very little sleeping going on, except of course for ALL DAY LONG where the housepets are concerned. Grrrrr. It reminds me of when the dog was a puppy and he'd get me up sixteen times a night and I nearly lost my marbles. Only this has no such valid cause!

It's the stupid ratty thing, or possum, or whatever it is. At the moment I'm hoping it's a possum and not a rat, but it's been chewing. Do possums do that? I mean, they must, right? I have no idea. It seems kind of stupid which reinforces the possum theory. I mean I put a giant brick in front of the hole into the foundation (such as it is) but it keeps on scritching at it from the outside while my dog barks his head off from a foot away. The other side of a wall, but a foot away.

Take a hint, wild creature. 

I feel all squashy and delirious from tiredosity, not unlike day five or six of a cross-country drive where you're sleeping in the cab of a rental truck in February in the Great Plains with a dog and a cat and sixteen plants and you have to keep waking up to turn on the engine and the heat so you don't freeze. Just to pick a situation at random.

The housesitter next door came home at about 2 a.m. last night, after I'd been stubbornly ignoring all the barking and yowling and yodeling the dog was doing. If there is not an actual creature in the actual room with me (other than authorized ones, I mean) I refuse to get upset about it. But she came home, slammed the car doors, opened and shut the house door once to go in, once to take the dogs out, once to put the dogs back in, and then back to the car where she opened and shut three different doors (groceries? dunno) and then opened and shut the house door again. Then hit the lock so it went BEEP BEEP.

I was kind of lying there waiting to perish of exhaustion but it didn't happen. But then my dog decided *he* needed to go out too, if dogs were going out. Oh boy. 

And then I woke up early, which is the part that really bothers me. I had an appointment for 1:00 with the cable/internet guy, so I set my alarm for 9 on the theory it would take me three hours to get vertical. But no, I woke up before 8 and could not get back to sleep. Which is just not like me. 

I think I have months of benadryl to make up for. Or something. I don't know. I'm even taking the melatonin still. It does no good. Go figure. 

Doesn't it seem like I should cave and go back to benadryl, which after all a doctor of medicine told me to take every night and others have reinforced? I hated that sluggish feeling, though! I feel terrible after benadryl, no matter how long I've been taking it. I bet if you Google "benadryl hangover" you will find many others who say the same thing. 

Not feeling particularly ace right now, either, however. Nor am I getting all sorts of things done in my long echoey days, either. Ha! Like I expected, it's been an iffy week. And unless I get some good sleep, it's going to get even iffier. 

Really it's a brilliant plan, to combine quitting benadryl with nocturnal animal invasions of the house, plus of course the late-working housesitter, who must work in a restaurant or bar or something, because who works until 2 a.m.? The people who own that house are early to bed, early to rise people. 

Anyway cable/internet guy postponed until tomorrow (of course) which means my early wake-up was wasted. He had to send a guy to climb the utility pole out back and turn things on before he could come by and do whatever he's going to do. 

I'm excited. Tv! Internet! I quailed at the thought of the cost and then sternly walked myself through the breakdown again, reminding myself that it will actually cost less than before. 

Also, nice cable/internet guy has set me up with many awesome deals, including no contract, so if I hate it/freak out/can't afford it/don't want tv after World Cup is over, I can cancel it, yay!

I won't, though. You know what? I love tv! I do. I mean, shows! I love tv shows. So much! I was just bonding with a Browncoat and talking about how I went to see Serenity in the theater dressed as Kaylee *alone,* which takes a certain je ne sais quoi, solo cosplay, especially in Pennsylvania, where the state motto is "We hate you if you're not us." Well, the whole east and northeast shares that motto. It's a regional motto!

I'm excited to be able to do things like stream video to catch up on things, download movies or books instead of going to the flipping library to use their internet for perfectly legal transactions that are too big for my dumb limits, watch tv when it actually happens instead of six months later, and so on. And so on! Like, be a part of the present, or something!

Hey, it could happen. 

I just packed up my twelve hats and one pair of mittens but lo! The box is not full. Can't mail it. But even more lo! There is that excellent mitred blanket I knitted for them! I will add it in and the box will be full full full.

Then I can start filling a whole new basket of knitting for unfortunate children whose countries we have bombed into the Stone Age! Many of whom are orphans or otherwise in deep sushi! So yes. I feel strongly about this. And I'm going to do lots and lots more. And I'm super excited to have done this much. Yay!

Another time I'll have to show you the wacky cool double pointed knitting in progress tubular wooden carven holder thing of awesomeness. And how it works. I have to take pictures. And I keep cleaning my glasses because of the blurriness, but it's my eyes! No way to rub those on my shirt! Yes, I can't even see straight. Oh man. I sure would like to get some sleep tonight! Is it okay to go to bed at 6:23? How about 7:00? Who am I kidding, I would not begin to get to sleep. Insomnia! I hate it! 

I still think it's a good thing to reset my personal time zone from the crazy spot it got shifted to, but I have terrible jet lag and it is exactly no fun by actual count. What can I say, I spent years on DS9 in orbit of Bajor, which has a 26 hour day. My time shifts later and later if I don't keep a tight rein on it. 

I keep thinking of that song that goes "Television! The drug of a nation!" and wondering whether it will therefore let me sleep. Though maybe it isn't that kind of drug. Opiate of the masses, though! Should be sleep-inducing! I need the SSRI of the masses or possibly the MAOI of the masses. What do you suppose is the benadryl of the masses? The internet, probably. Well, I'm getting that, too. So hurray!