Friday, December 28, 2007

I thought this was Pleasant Street Theater's last weekend of operation, but apparently I missed it. My remaining four passes are now obsolete ephemera. For the saddest message ever, call the theater's info line: 586-0935.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Merry between-Christmas-and-New Year's, y'all! It's the waiting time. I had a good Christmas. Got some snowshoes, a CJ-made necklace, a new Acme Novelty Library that I didn't even know existed, a Little Otsu planner, Weird New England (a book that's been on my list for 3 years), and an unofficial gift certificate for a Flor area rug. And other awesome things too. I am excited.

I also played Guitar Hero while my cousins laughed at my lack of skillz, spent some time with cutie niece T (who can now read and write her name) and smaller cutie nephew N (who can crawl and pull himself up to standing), ate some delicious duck and many cookies, and saw "No Country for Old Men," which was very grim. It is so grim, that when you look up "grim" in the dictionary, it says, "see: No Country for Old Men."

Now it's time to get ready for Two Thousand and Great!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

On Monday CJ took advantage of some leftover, soon-to-expire vacation time, and my permanent-vacation situation, and took me on a super secret fun trip. Well, the plan was supposed to be a secret, but once the Sunday storm was being as shitty as the news promised, we had to decide if we still wanted to do it. So he told me the plan: Drive up to Lake George, NY, on Sunday night, stay over at the Great Escape Lodge, and spend Monday whoopin' it up in their INDOOR WATER PARK. We decided that the overnight was going to be impossible -- cars were literally being blown off of the road all day on Sunday -- but that we could drive up for the day.

We got there around 1, and had lunch in their "tavern" which overlooks the water park. We had been warned by the front desk the day before that it might be crowded due to winter break, but the only people we could see, in the entire place, were lifeguards. They were just hanging around, pacing, chatting with each other. Eventually we saw some guests, but I would estimate that they had no more than 20 guests at the park for the entire day -- and that includes us two.

They heat the water park room, and it's super humid in there (and loud: since the place is Six-Flags-related, they have to blast top-40 music as loudly as possible, which mixes poorly with the noisy water sounds). We walked in with our winter coats and sweaters and got blasted with the rainforest-like climate. We couldn't wait to get our heavy clothes off. Let me tell you: It is VERY nice to walk around in your bathing suit while looking out the window at piles and piles of snow. Just being in a huge hot and humid room for a few hours made it all worth it. They have two fun, big tubes that snake outside of the building, and you could feel the slightly-colder air as you were sliding through. We spent a lot of time on the Boogie Bear Surf thing, which is a fake standing wave for boogie boarding. CJ was great at it, and I was pretty good, though I wiped out big-time once. He wiped out a few more times, but that's because he was trying to do some 360s and such. For about half an hour we were the only people at the wave, so we just kept taking turns. Eventually a couple of little daredevil boys came over and did fancy stuff like take running jumps into the wave, and kneeling on the board. They had obviously been there before.

We also floated along the "lazy river" and played basketball in one of the coves. The unspoken rule was: you have to stay on the tube, no touching the ground of the pool. And this explains why my arms and shoulders are still sore today.

We took a break and sat in their "Adirondack" chairs, read the paper, and ate popcorn in our bathing suits. An occasional droplet of water would fall on the page when the giant wooden bucket at the top of the Tall Timbers Tree House would tip over.

Getting dressed in our winter clothes was a major drag.

But! Now I'm home, the snow is pretty, and impressively deep, and it makes my house feel filled with light. (During the day, at least.)

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Today's forecast: 8 to 12 inches of snow. I wish I had remembered to buy hot chocolate...

Monday, December 10, 2007

Writing that previous post helped kick my ass, a little. I've been doing a lot more, at least, with the crafts and such. And I'm not staring out the window for quite as long as I did before.
This Saturday I took CJ to a Christmas tree farm to harvest a tree (well, really to watch some guy slice our chosen tree down with a chainsaw). This is his first Christian tree experience, and it's the first one I've been in charge of, so I was pretty excited. CJ was too, and he assisted with all manner of tree acquiring and trimming. He seemed to enjoy the whole affair, especially after I entrusted him with the hanging of the lights on the tree. I put on the Charlie Brown Christmas Special soundtrack, and he drank some eggnog, bemoaning the fact that he didn't have a big blue cable-knit sweater to wear. He did claim that he could feel his foreskin growing back on account of all of his Christmasy participation, so I guess the spirit of the season is truly upon us all.

Here is a thumbnail of the tree, with a cameo by two semi-interested cats (they sniffed the tree with great fervor, but so far haven't batted at a single ornament):


Full size image, a close-up of Junebug, and future photos will be added here. I still need a tree topper, which I'm about to go whip up myself. I was tempted to get something shiny and flashy and cheap at Target, but that's not really my thing. At least, it's not my thing when I have this much free time on my hands.

I need to stop thinking I have to make more ornaments, though. The tree is already fairly full of them, most of which were given to me by my grandmother. She'd give me and my sister one new ornament every year, usually purchased at a church fund-raiser, and this will be the first year I don't get one. The ornaments were better some years than others, and I don't have anything close to 34 ornaments from her here... Either I left them at my parents' house so I can see them on their tree when I visit for Christmas, or I left them at my parents' house because I kind of can't bear to have them in my house at all. I'll miss getting them every year, though. I loved picturing my grandmother at her church's craft fair perusing the folding tables full of weird vaguely-holiday-themed things made of yarn, walnuts, felt, and pinecones, looking for just the right ones to give to me and my sister.

I'd love to do something like that for my niece and nephew, but from what I hear from my sister, they already get way too much stuff from the kids' grandparents. My sister has a small apartment that's already packed to the gills. If I had that much stuff, and was gifted with a whole lot more stuff that I didn't need or ask for, I'd start feeling a little crazy. So out of empathy for my sister and brother-in-law, I've only gotten each kid one gift. I am afraid that this will mean I am losing the gifts arms race with the older members of the family, and the kids will like me less as a result, so I'm very conflicted about this. It would be easy for me to buy/make a lot more stuff for them, because they are adorable and I love them. But I also can't bring myself to add to the problem.

If I were my sister I'd like to think I'd do something radical like this: After the gifts have all been opened, have the kids choose their favorite four or five (because they have already gotten DOZENS of gifts from one set of grandparents alone) and donate the rest to a shelter. (I think I got that idea from AskMetafilter, but Metafilter's been down all morning so I can't link to it. Will edit this post once it comes back up and I can find it.) In reality, this would probably lead to a lot of screaming and whining and crying, and the kids would probably be upset too (see what I did there?). But how else can you stop the madness? Cutting off the supply chain seems impossible: Grandparents are notorious for not listening to their children's pleas for moderation in giftery, and that certainly seems to be playing out here. If I ever have kids, I guess I'll find out how difficult it is for myself.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

First of all, this is my 1,002nd post. So my 1,000 post was this one. A bit boring, I admit. I am still recovering from my NaBloPoMo hangover.

Actually, I'm not really recovering at all. The thinnest veneer of civility is all that stands between me and the kind of unemployed people who watch Maury all day while eating Cheetos in their pajamas. Yesterday I thought about leaving the house, but then I felt cold and my back hurt, so I laid down on the wood floor next to the propane stove and stared out of the window. It was snowing. I stayed like that, lying on the floor not doing anything, for almost an hour. That's pretty much how my whole day was yesterday. (I did take a walk outside after I become disgusted with myself, and I gathered some greenery so I can create a festive holiday display.)

I seem to have lost my job-searching momentum. I've also started waking up in the middle of the night feeling anxious. I just got another cold sore on my nostril. (Stress brings 'em on. Thanks, herpes!) And though I've got nothing but time, I just can't seem to work on those many artistic projects I have going on. Diagnosis: Joblessness-related depression. Not crippling, but certainly hobbling. I am working on this, but it's hard to see one's way out of a rut like this one. I predict the rut will be painfully clear to me once the holidays are over. Hopefully I'll have gotten good news about a job by then, but then I didn't expect to be drifting into a third month of unemployment, so why would the fourth month be an exception?

What I have been doing instead of the above: Mostly, reading stuff online. Metafilter, Gawker, Jezebel, my blog roll on Google Reader. Also, recently, playing Bogglific (i.e. unlicensed Boggle) via Facebook, both with friends and strangers. It's actually pretty cool to be randomly put into a game that has players from Australia, Korea, and Canada in it. It is also humbling to get beaten by people who are obviously not native English speakers. Still: fun times. And it exercises the brain so you don't get Alzheimer's, so I've got that going for me.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

I went to the bird blind today and someone was in it! I think he was the mysterious MP, who writes a lot in the notebook that lives in the blind. (It's not a slambook or anything, it's to record what birds and animals you saw.) Yes, I could have asked him if he was MP, but I prefer to keep it a slight mystery. He had binoculars and a camera bag. He said he had seen a mink earlier that day. Also, the chickadees take the seeds we give them and hide them all over the place, stocking up for the winter. Smart little guys.

A few days ago, CJ and I brought black sunflower seeds to the blind, and I took some photos. Here are two of my hand with bird and seed in palm, taken in macro:



For full resolution, click here and here.

Below is a movie of CJ's arm, with the birds in action. They are very comfortable around people, but I'm still going to call him The Chickadee Whisperer.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

I just drove home from CJ's, because he is sick and wanted company, and I am a good girlfriend. Not so good as to do his dishes, but to be fair to myself, he was not so stricken as to be unable to play video games with me for a few hours. Anyway, it is very windy out. Let me tell you: A grouping of dried leaves being blown across the highway looks just like a small animal darting in front of the car, if you're going fast enough and it is dark out. I didn't actually swerve, but a few times I came close. Dead leaves enjoy traveling in packs for some reason. Safety? Fun times?

Monday, November 26, 2007

Say, I guess I don't have to wait until 11:55 to write a post, do I! So here it is.

I thought of another obvious mariachi song: Ring of Fire.

And today was a total waste. I got up late and was too cold to do anything all day except read crap online. Mainly Metafilter, but other things too.

I also got an email from a guy who I had responded to via Craigslist back in June. He responded to my response, we traded introductory emails three or four times... and then he sent me a link to a song he had written and recorded (and sang, and played electric guitar on). The song was SO BAD that at first I thought it was a parody of an over-earnest heavy-metal-ish rock ballad. But his email introducing the link gave no indication that it was a joke, and we hadn't been joking around before. He really thought the song was good. I was so perplexed by it -- he had seemed smart and in touch with reality -- that I sent the link to a couple of close friends to get their take on it, and what I should do. After all, I couldn't write him back without acknowledging the song, and I couldn't acknowledge the song without being rude or sounding snotty. And then I was thinking, do I really want to waste my time with a guy who is so far removed from my world? My world being the one that most people live in, I mean? (It's not like he's a recent Bosnian immigrant or something; he grew up around here.) So, on the advice of my homies, who agreed with my assessment of the song, I never wrote back. Cowardly, I know, but I figured it was kinder than whatever response I'd be able to come up with -- after all, I probably would've at least gone out on a first date with him if not for the song, and there's no way to break that news nicely.

So today I get an email from him in which he's cc:'d 90 other women. That's right, NINETY. (And they're cc:'d, so I can read all of their names and addresses. Nice.) The content of the email basically is, and I am paraphrasing so the text isn't google-able, that I and the other 90 are receiving the email because I was not polite and decent and smart enough to continue emailing with him at some point this past year. In fact, not replying him proves that I am an "average American," only interested in life on the surface and not in true, meaningful communication. I really should get out more, do some traveling (he's very worldly, so he knows these things) to expand my mind, to experience places where people are friendly and have depth and know how to connect with people. I need education, is all. And he enclosed a photo of himself, because he describes himself as attractive and doesn't want all of us to forget it. (From our June exchanges I remember that he also thinks he looks about 10-15 years younger than he is; as you all know, expressing a combination of extreme vanity and a fear of aging is DEFINITELY something you want to do immediately upon meeting a potential romantic partner. You know my feelings on this phenomenon. He's not the specific guy I wrote about in that post, however.)

Well. I immediately felt bad for the guy, because clearly he's still out there looking, and being alone when you don't want to be alone really sucks. And so, like many do, he lashed out in a crazy, obsessive way. I can't imagine how long it took to comb his email archives finding all of the women who dropped contact with him. And after a few minutes feeling kind of sorry for him, I forwarded it to CJ, and then to
, hoping they'll post it as one of their "Crap Emails From A Dude." I'll let you know if they do.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

I didn't post yesterday, it's true. I am aware of it.

Only after listening to my most recent ipod playlist did I realize that three of the songs I'd chosen feature mariachi bands:

"Underdog" by Spoon
"Neon Bible" by Arcade Fire
"Alone Again Or" by Love

This was out of about 20 songs. Are there more examples of recent songs using mariachi band music? Let me know if you think of any.

Tonight I made a delicious winter squash soup. I based it roughly off of this recipe though I didn't add sugar and cream. I had a carnival squash and a package of pre-peeled-and-chopped butternut from Trader's. and I did not pair it with a rosé. I did put crumbles of goat cheese on top of the soup, which was delicious. And we had wheat baguette and a kick-ass salad to round it off. It was a good apres-Thanksgiving meal; kind of light, with a good amount of cleansing fiber, fairly low in fat, but still autumnal.

And with no transition whatsoever, here are two photos of my cats in their Thai bucket thingy.



That last one shows where the bucket is in relation to the propane stove. The cats like the warmth.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Today the whole family (six adults, two young children) decided "what better day than Black Friday to go shopping?" And so we went to Babies R' Us, where the most recent parents in the group eventually (after much deliberation) purchased a car seat and a case of baby food. I took T to ride the coin-op Sesame-Street-character-themed firetruck in the entrance foyer, and after waiting for someone to enter the store so the door would be activated, the rest of the family joined us there. Which meant we were trapped. Instead of waiting for someone to show up and enter the store so we could escape the airlock-like foyer, CJ walked back into the store and out the actual exit so he could activate the door, freeing us. And T has been calling him "hero" ever since. As in, "Hero! Pick me up!" etc. It kind of hurts, the cuteness of everyone.

I also volunteered to take one for the team by taking T to the bathroom at a restaurant today. While she was pooping (let me tell you non-parents out there, holding a small person on a too-big toilet while they shit is AWESOME*), she said something like, "You know what's bad? When someone is peeing or pooping, and another person comes and pees and poops through that other person peeing and pooping." I'm not sure if she's just stating that she's anti-scat, or if it had to do with the fact that it was a multi-stall restroom and some strange woman had just entered the neighboring stall.

*That was sarcasm. I didn't really need to say it was sarcasm, did I? I just wanted to be sure I was not misunderstood.**

** Also, having to wipe the dirty bum of a small uncooperative person is AWESOME.*

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving everybody! Obviously, we already ate. We (and by "we" I mean my mom) brined the turkey this year, and it did seem more flavorful than usual. She didn't brine it for the suggested 24 hours; it only got about 12 hours in the sauce, but it was still good. We have lots of leftovers. Some of them are out on the deck, because though my parents live alone, their full-size fridge is always packed so tightly as to be a solid wall of food. Mom claims that she cleaned it out recently, but she has a different idea about how long one can keep condiments before deciding they're too old to use. I have a jar of marmalade from January that really needs to go, but I am guessing that my parents would think it was fine, as it is "preserves," after all.

Here I am, slagging on my parents, when they are the ones that made us the chocolate-espresso pecan pie today. That was a heavenly pie. It still is, because there's some left for tomorrow.

I hope all of you out there had delicious food today.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Here I am in NJ, in the land of red mud. My parents' house is getting an addition, and the construction was supposed to be finished last month. Instead, half the house is still in the subflooring and bare drywall stage. It's a bit unsettling, and I don't even live here. My parents are generous enough to be camping out in the unfinished area so that me, my sis, and her kids can be in actual rooms with doors and floors.

And right now I am watching Project Runway and I'm too distracted to blog properly, so I shall bid you all a good night and a happy Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Today was the first snow of the season! It's still here, too. We got maybe 2 inches. The Laurel Park peons haven't put out the handy buckets of sand yet (nor have they gotten all of the leaves up) so I know this won't last. It's pretty out, though.

In decade quilt news, today I spent about three hours ironing, pinning, and basting together the two flannel sheets so they'd be easier to work with. Now I need to pin and baste the top to them.

And now I am tired and will go to bed. Tomorrow: Driving to parental home in NJ, with CJ. Scary!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Today at a networky lunch, this exchange may have happened:
me: So, I guess I can get your contact info from _____.
potentially career-helping guy: Or I can just contact you through your blog.

The first thing that came into my mind was, Oh shit, my most recent post has the word "cock" in it. (And now here it is again, in this one!) (Which the person might be reading.)

My blog has become post-modern.

Anyway, I went shopping in Hadley today. It was more of a bunch of errands than anything fun, though the problem-solving part of my brain was satisfied with the activity. In Target, I overhead a little boy repeat over and over, "Dad, can we go into the toysssection?" With the drawn-out sounding "s," just like I spelled it. At first I thought, maybe the kid's a little autistic? But then I decided that he was simply saying "toys section." And saying things slightly wrong (or overly-specific) is cute.

I also bought birdseed today, so I can help contribute to the delinquency of the chickadee population in the local wildlife preserve.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Saturday (yesterday) was Bag Day in Northampton. On this very special day, participating stores allow bag-holders to purchase one item at 20% off. You can get the bags in the local newspaper, but a few of the stores have them (though you have to ask around). CJ wanted to look for a jacket, and I thought I'd get a jump on the ol' holiday shopping, so we went. My fair town is never more like a shopping mall than on Bag Day. Tons of people milling around, long lines inside stores, restaurants full of tired and hungry people... The trees along Main Street are again lights-free, and the stupid, irritating "holiday banners" are up, with their anti-festive rectangles of sparse white lights. They depress me. Regardless! I was able to find presents for niece and nephew at the special toy store where everything is made of wood or cotton and has been crafted lovingly by women-owned collectives in Guatemala. No roofies in these toys, no way!

Anyway, outside of Faces was parked a bike with a trailer posted with big
"nopornnorthampton" (.com*) signs on it. I considered buying a giant rubber cock at the "sensuality shop" and gluing it to the seat, but I have better things to do with my money.

CJ and I walked to the bird blind today. Due to the rules-ignoring actions of a couple of my neighbors, the chickadees have learned that people in the blind = free birdseed. So now all one has to do is sit down, extend your cupped hand, and wait a minute, and a cute little chickadee will fly up and perch on your fingers. The chickadee will take a few seconds to assess the situation, maybe pecking a little at the palm of your hand, and when it realizes you were faking them out and in fact have no birdseed, it takes a shit on your arm. Kidding! It just flies away. I need to buy a small bag of seed just so I can get my Snow White on the next time I walk out there.

*You can visit the site if you want, but I'm afraid if I show up on their referral log, I'll get a lot of passive-aggressive emails.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Ok. I finally uploaded my photos from Halloween weekend. Here's my deer costume. I was alternately a revenge-seeking deer (i.e. a deer hunter, ha ha):


...and an injured (see shotgunned chest) and subsequently suicidal deer:


Yeah, I didn't win any prizes this year. The gun was fun, though.

And, I actually finished the top of my decade quilt! Here it is.


It's meant to be an adult-sized quilt; see the scissors for scale. And it's a little rough around the edges, which will disappear once I do the finishing work. I have a couple of flannel sheets I'll use as both the other side of the quilt and the batting. (When I started this, years ago, my plan was to make kind of a light blanket thing instead of a heavy quilt.)

So that's what I've been doing instead of working or getting freelance jobs... Though I only worked about six hours on this during the last week. That's how much work had been done on this already. Damn.
Yeah, I know: I failed to blog yesterday. More TK after I run a few errands.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

I finally decided, at 8:30 tonight, to defrost the refrigerator. I have just plugged it back in. Unlike the first time I defrosted it, I had let the ice in the fridge part grow to become, oh, two inches thick or so this time. It has dawned on me that I may not exactly understand how a refrigerator works, since I have no idea where all of that moisture came from. It's not like I'm putting steaming bowls of soup in there every night. Anyway, the glacier had grown to envelop the edge of the top-most wire shelf, and I had to wait for the shelf to be free before I could pry the glacier off. So I set up a space heater to point into the fridge and I waited. And waited, and soaked up the water with many towels, and waited some more, and set up a drip-wicking system to steer some of the water into a pan, and waited, and finally, beautifully, the shelf was yanked free and I was able to pry the slippery melty sheet of stale ice from the back of the fridge. Bliss. Now it's cooling down and I am about to restock my food, which is currently "chilling" (ho ho!) out on the porch.

And, because my sister made me go to all of this trouble of making my friend Rich stop what he was doing and find this image for me, I am going to post it; my favorite LOLGRIM:


I understand if you don't get it. You should be happy if you don't. It is for followers of internet memes. Anyway, Happy A Week From Thanksgiving!

p.s. Rich says "Keep your eyes open for LOLIDAYS!"

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Ok, it's blog post time. What to say, what to say... Well, I felt a little better today. I feel terrible right now but that's because it's time to go lie down and sleep It's my mom's 60th birthday today, and I heard she had a delicious Filet to celebrate. I've taken several flash photos of my cats intertwined in the wooden bucket I mentioned, but I haven't uploaded them. I actually put hard-soled shoes on and did some yardwork for about half an hour (raking). And then I had to take a nap. I also did some work on my decade quilt (because at this rate it will take me 10 years to complete it; we're already in year 4, I think).

AND! Project Runway started tonight. Whoo! I love that show. A few ex-coworkers and I are going to wager on the outcome, as we did last season (I didn't win). We each pick a designer and whoever picks the person that stays the longest is the winner. And we are allowed to view the first episode before choosing. I like Kit Pistol, if just for her name. And that's all for today, folks.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

My mom's 60th birthday is coming up -- in, oh, half an hour -- and she wants fancy glass marbles. Apparently they're a thing. Anyway, in my searches, I found something even better than marbles: Marebles. You may click on that and think at first, "'Glass ball equine IUDs', huh? 'IUD' must be a horse-related acronym I am unfamiliar with, because it obviously couldn't mean..." But oh yes, it does. It does mean that kind of IUD. If you ask me, a mareble seems much more collectible and rare than a marble, but I'm not selling either kind, so what do I know.

In other news, I left the house today, under my own power! I drove my car to the Stop & Shop around 3 p.m., and yet again entered the land of the Differently-Employed. Because I am still sick and my head is full of fluids, shopping took a very long time. I tried to enjoy and roll with the floaty sensation so as to not have a bad trip. At check-out, the middle-aged, average-sized lady in line in front of me was still packing up her large purse when my items were heading down the chute into the bagging area, where they bumped against her packed shopping bags. She eyed my Kettle brand cheddar-cheese-flavored baked potato chips with surprise and a hint of alarm. "Wow, look at these! May I?" she gestured to pick up the chip bag, looking at me for permission. I granted it. "How many calories are in this? How many per serving? It says 120 calories per serving, and an ounce is a serving, how big is that?" I said that the entire bag was 4 ounces (totally overpriced normally, but it was on sale), so you could just eat a fourth of the bag. "Where did you find these!" I said it was in the health food aisle, and I hadn't tried them yet. Unfortunately my voice crapped out by the end of the sentence so I couldn't really continue the conversation. Plus, it was time to pay, and she was standing (with my potato chips) right in front of the debit card swipe machine. I had to simply wait for her to be done with my chips, and so I did. The chips are good but I wish they were saltier. And not so expensive.

Monday, November 12, 2007

I am sick of the writer's strike. What's the thing people do a lot of when they're sick? Watch TV. And yet, I have no new Daily Shows and Colbert Reports to watch. LAME. I did make and enjoy some Jello today (raspberry flavor!), and played a bunch of Star Wars Battlefront II, and watched two episodes of Rome. I didn't even get out of bed until 12:30, because I had a horrible night of barely any sleep. My nose just kept seeping out. I kept thinking I had a nosebleed, but no, just snot. Fluid, watery snot. It's been a rough day. I am just entering the coughing/sore throat stage. I'm about to go to bed and I predict more misery.

I know, whine whine whine. There are children dying and wars happening and I am complaining about a silly cold. But it's my cold, I own it. It owns me, rather. And I have to blog today, so here it is.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

It's been a while since I've lost the fight to a cold and I am remembering why and just how much I hate them. This weekend was almost a complete wash, what with the naps and the watching TV and DVDs and playing video games. CJ made me matzo-ball chicken soup tonight, which helped a little, if only mentally.
In other news, Thanksgiving is like a week and a half away. Just let that sink in a little. If CJ hasn't left me by then (having gotten fed up with my sickness-aggravated crankiness), he'll be joining me and the family. It sounds like the two of us will be "camping" in the unfinished addition to my parents' house, which will be totally awesome if I'm still sick. I can't still be sick then, can I?
[Um, it's still Saturday on the west coast.] I've had a very lazy day because of my being under the weather. One significant thing did happen, though: The cats finally discovered the footed wooden bucket-like thing that I bought specifically as a cat bed about a year and a half ago. They have been curled up together in it all day. I could not be prouder.
I also went to Snow Farm for their seconds/samples sale, where I bought nothing, and the Williamsburg general store, where I also bought nothing. CJ cooked me a chicken and heated up some tasty butternut squash soup and a loaf of bread and made a salad. It was very tasty, even though I feel kinda gross at all times due to the cold.
New to this cold: As an experiment, I am going to see if NOT cutting out dairy makes any difference at all. So far it hasn't. I was taught that drinking milk during a cold made you more mucousy, but a few people in the past couple of years have told me that that's bullshit. Please share your thoughts on the matter in the comments below.

Friday, November 09, 2007

I went to the NEW! BIG! Big Y today. It just opened. Well, re-opened. It is now Stop n' Shop sized, and is similar to S&S, except it sells wine and beer and there's a place where you can eat whatever you bought at the pizza bar and deli. And the "natural" foods are all integrated with the other food throughout the store, instead of handily/food-apartheidedly segregated into two aisles all the way over on one side. The prices are not cheaper at Big Y, in fact a few of my staples were noticeably more expensive (and strange: why did they choose to make the almond/flax GoLean Crunch 60 cents more than the regular GoLean Crunch?). However, Big Y does have a very special savings "club" card. Like other cards, it lets you get the sale prices on some items, and they track your purchases for probably=nefarious purposes. But at Big Y, at check-out you get to play a virtual slot machine which might give you a blue, silver, or gold coin. An actual coin, which you can use for future savings. Today they seemed to be giving everyone silver coins (even though my slot machine thing came up without a win). A silver coin can get you a free small coffee in the new cafe, so I have that to look forward to.

And though it was one in the afternoon on a weekday, Biy Y was packed. Lots of elderly people wandering around in wonder and gratitude; apparently they have been waiting a long time for Big Y to come back. I do not know why they like Big Y so much, and why they do not like Stop n' Shop. Big Y has always had a kind of old-fashioned feel to it, with smaller aisles, lots of canned and processed food, ground beef and frozen hash browns in bulk, and very little fresh, all-natural stuff. At least, it did. Today they had a guy grilling chicken teriyaki on a Foreman Grill and giving chunks out as samples. There was an old man there saying to his wife, "I think it's chicken, but it's got some kinda spice on it." "It's teriyaki!" I said helpfully. He just stared at me. Change can be difficult.

In other news, I seem to have a cold. It's been a while since I've been sick, but the petri dish of my sister's apartment was too much for my immune system. I call it a petri dish only because she has two young children who don't know how or care to know how to blow their noses. It was a snotty situation, is all I'm saying.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

I woke up this morning to T walking into the living room, sobbing "Grandmaa-aa-aa!" (She really likes my mom. Also, like the rest of my family, she is really cranky when she first wakes up.) Usually it's her job to not-so-gently wake me up so I can relinquish the couch to her, while I go to the back of the apartment to sleep a little longer in S's bed. Today, she walked over to my side, paused for a second, then flung herself despondently on the rocking chair, saying, "Daddy, you wake her up, I don't wanna watch! I don't wanna watch!" Such drama, that one. Later on I got a better send off from her. And now I'm heading out to Thai and Trivia.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Cringe Night was hilarious and awesome. There was a cute guy reading the poems he wrote when he was 14, a pretty woman reading from a short story about meeting Michael Hutchins from INXS (she wrote the story in order to give it to him, to inspire him to contact her and fall in love with her; she did end up throwing a dot-matrix-printed copy of it onstage at one of their concerts), and two or three other random diary-readers. My sister had brought one of her old journals, thinking she might read this lengthy, painfully-sincere, and enthusiastic review of a Sting concert we attended, but she was too intimidated by the quality of the other readings. Maybe next time.
One guy read from a diary he was assigned to keep during his 8th grade year; I had the exact same assignment, and I still have the diary. Blog fodder!
CJ is, right this moment, booking our trip to Maui. It is happening, people. To put my fickle mind at ease, we are paying extra for a pre-nup (i.e. trip insurance). But now I can start dreaming of snorkeling with the manta rays, sunsets on the beach while sipping mai tais, and volcano-exploration.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

I'm in Brooklyn, because I am of course still unemployed, so I can go wherever I want during the work week. And my sister really wants to go to Cringe Night tomorrow, so here I am. Once I got here, T, my 3 and 3/4-year-old niece, kept asking me how long I would be staying. Actually, she was more pessimistic about it: "So you're leaving right after dinner, right?" "So you won't be here when I wake up, right?" "So you'll be here tomorrow in the morning, but you'll be gone when I come home from school, right?" She has been slaying me with the cuteness and the cleverness and the funnyness.
Right now the three grownups are in front of three computers. Sk just farted audibly, S said "gross!" and Sk said "YOU'RE gross!" and S said "that's mean!" and I said "BOTH of you are gross!" and S went "Aw!" and Sk went "Ha!"
This is what we do after the kids go to bed.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Oh SHIT, it's NaBloPoMo. And my blog-slacker sister
is doing it, so I really have no excuse. I just reread some old blog posts from 2003, looking for the 7th-grade diary entries I transcribed (they're in February, if you're interested) and man, I used to blog all the time, plus I was so much funnier and more energetic. What the hell happened? It's kind of depressing.
I have lots of things I could talk about, but a lot of it is personal. And I'm the only one of my friends who lays themselves bare on a blog, so I think part of my problem is Fear of People Not Liking Me. This is an ongoing crisis (see: the previous 5 years of this blog) and one I need to work on. But, like most difficult things I "need to work on," there's always tomorrow to start actually working, if you know what I mean.
Anyway. I'll blog every day for this month, even though I took the weekend off. Here, I'll tell you about my weekend in animals:
I met a very pretty, gray, short-haired dog on the street Friday night, before the Sitting Next To Brian CD release show. The show was fantastic, by the way. We were drifting off to sleep by the end of their set (not the band's fault) so we missed Space Captain.
The next night, CJ and I saw The Darjeerling Limited, which was great, though felt similar to The Life Aquatic. A snake has a cameo role.
Yesterday, after a baby shower at Chandler's Tavern, I drove up to Lenox, where CJ and I went for a short walk at the Audubon place. We turned a corner of a path and saw a beaver slip into a tiny pond. We froze, and the beaver slowly swam in a circle and came back to where it had been before, about ten feet away from us. It lumbered up onto a fallen log and started nibbling on dead leaves. Beavers are very noisy chewers, and when they're standing half-submerged in a pool of still water, the vibrations cause tiny ripples to radiate out from their bodies. It stayed there for a while, then took a small branch in its mouth and swam a few feet away to continue chewing, as if to give us the full Beaver Viewing Experience of swimming, eating, and grasping things with hand-like claws.
This morning on my drive home on the Pike, I saw a couple of guys in orange safety vests standing by the jersey barrier in the middle. As soon as I whizzed past, they dragged a deer carcass across the roadway to the shoulder, each of them holding a rear leg, going as quickly as they could. The deer wasn't mangled at all, it was just dead. I spent the next ten minutes daydreaming about calling the local hunting store to find out if I could pay someone to clean and dress a doe I'd hit with my car (if I ever do, god forbid), or would that be a problem, since I didn't have a deer-hunting license?
And now I'm home, and need to do some interview prep work. Which is difficult, and which is why I haven't started (see what I did there? With the tag-back?). The interview is only rhetorical at this point; I expect it'll be scheduled soon. I hope.

Friday, November 02, 2007

[Update: I did send a revised resume, with a short but funny/mildly-self-deprecating email; the guy wrote me back almost immediately saying not to worry, he hadn't read the previous one yet. Sorry for ignoring your advice, commenters; I went with a former co-worker's opinion.]

Last Thursday, I drove CJ to a CVS to get eye drops and much-needed pain reliever for an eye thing he was going through. I could tell it really hurt because he was kind of trembling and not-talking. While cruising through the parking lot, a big old sedan in front of me suddenly stopped. So, I pulled into the open spot he had just passed, and parked. As CJ and I searched the car for his pain-killing prescription (with increasing distress), a very angry man suddenly knocked at the window. "Do you do that a lot, stealing people's parking spaces!?" I opened the door to be polite and asked him to repeat himself. He did. I said, "Oh, were you going to back into it or something? I didn't know." (By the way, there were plenty of parking spaces. Plenty. And the dick didn't have his blinkers on.) He said something angry to me back, about being careful or something, and how I should watch out and pay attention (I didn't pay attention). He was so furious, so furious at ME. I suddenly got angry, and as he walked away, I said to his back, "You don't have to be an asshole about it." He immediately turned and rushed up to the car saying, "Excuse me? Did I use bad language with you??" I glanced over at CJ, still wincing and fumbling around in the dark for the prescription, and I said, "No, fine, you're right. Have a good night" -- that last bit said with sweetness and only a tiny hint of sarcasm.

After he walked away and the adrenaline rush subsided, I felt like crying. We decided the prescription was not in the car; this was bad, and meant he'd have to just use Advil. As I walked a blind CJ to the CVS, I had to excuse my bad behavior to CJ: see, I used to just turn meek and yielding when confronted with jerks, but now I stand up for myself, maybe a little too much, when I should really be polite but firm. Plus, because CJ had his eyes closed, I felt I had to convince him that I hadn't actually knowingly cut the guy off. (He doesn't know me well enough yet to know I don't pull that crap.) But replaying what had just happened made me feel worse and less-together. I nearly fell apart in the freakin' CVS, and I think it all happened because I'm unemployed.

Here's why: My ego has taken a big hit, which I didn't really expect from being laid off; I don't feel it consciously. I know I'm good at what I do (or used to do). But I am definitely more insecure than I have been in a long time. It's not a good feeling. Nobody's more critical of me than I am. I don't know how to counteract this, except to just be aware of it. I hope I don't end up stripping for cash just to feel better about myself. If you catch me on the pole, please pull me off of it.

Inside CVS, CJ sat in the waiting area while I collected the other stuff he needed. As he occasionally blotted at his teary, shut eyes, and I held his hand and tried to distract him from the pain, I thought I saw the angry guy walking up the aisle. I hoped he saw me, and I hoped he felt guilty.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Shit. I just noticed that I made a typo in my resume -- you know, the resume says I'm detail-oriented and have excellent proofreading skills. The error: I wrote "saavy" instead of "savvy" (neither looks correct to me, to be truthful, but the dictionary says savvy). I sent this resume to my previous workplace, for a job I am desperate to get. So, now the question is, what do I do about it? Hope they don't notice, or send a charming/funny/impressively-brave email fessing up to the mistake? Help me, people.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Why haven't I been blogging? I don't know. Time keeps slipping away. This is my month of Sundays, after all, and I have been living the life of a leisurely retiree (in that I don't go to work, but I try to spend as little as I can). I'm almost done refinishing the bench thing (just need to put on the actual stain/finish); I've been cooking, going on hikes, doing laundry, planning projects, making new earrings for Dandie, and not cleaning the house. Plus, spending time with CJ, which takes away from my productive time. From the above list, we do the hiking and cooking together, but none of the other things, but we go to see shows and we watch DVDs and occasionally shop for eyeglasses. Also, we drive to and from our homes. He lives an hour away, but it's a scenic hour.

We've been dating for 2 months (in fact, it might be exactly 2 months today, from the first face-to-face date) but are planning a trip to Hawaii in February. This is terrifying to me on several levels, the worst one being my lack of income. Even on a good, well-employed day I'd be worried about spending the money, but throw my unemployed state into the mix and it's super freak-out time. And that's not even considering the commitment involved in planning a trip 4 months out with a new relationship. (We have already discussed trip insurance and the like. It's the single person's version of a pre-nup.) This is one of my many problems: Most people would be focusing on the Hawaii part, with the beautiful sand and flowers and snorkeling and sushi, where I only see the dark looming clouds of "what if?" Sometimes I really hate my brain.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Warning: This post really could have been multiple Twitters, but I don't want to overload their system.

I'm getting into an unemployed groove over here. Get out of bed at 9:15 or so, eat breakfast in front of the computer, do some job search stuff, eat lunch, then work on refinishing my table (see below) until I can't, read crap online and work on other minor projects, play Turok, make dinner, eat with radio, then upstairs for TV/Turok/more computer time, or out for singing/a show/etc. In bed by midnight. That's the semi-productive life I've been leading.

For lunch yesterday I made an egg sandwich, a mug of tea, and a glass of watered-down unsweetened organic cranberry juice, to which I accidentally added a generous dose of milk. Normally I stop myself before actually pouring the milk into the wrong container, but this time I just filled my glass of juice to the brim with creamy goodness. I might be starting to lose it.

Yesterday was also day two of my furniture stripping project. I'm working on a rough-hewn-looking coffee table that I bought for $20 via Craigslist. It appears to be a knock-off of a fancier, pedigreed table that Pbup had (and probably still has). I'm using a water-soluble stripper, which means it doesn't work all that well, but I don't need to use a ventilator.I also have to scrub the stuff off, hard, so I also get exercise, kind of.

If you've ever wondered where everyone who doesn't work a regular 9-to-5 job goes during the day, I can tell you: WalMart. Twice I've had to go to the dreaded WalMart to get more supplies; the second time, I rode my bike there, and with my messed-up hair and work clothes, I fit right in. I didn't even bother unrolling my right pant leg. I still hate it in there, and their selection is shit, but it is about a mile and a half closer to my house than Foster-Farrar. And if I can't justify going to the cheapest possible store while I'm unemployed, when can I justify it?

I've been reading about salary requirements, and how to handle requests for them, and I just want to point out that the word salary is really weird. If you see it used frequently, it ceases to have any meaning. Salary. Salary salary salary. It's like a salad, and celery, together. I feel it would be better if it were spelled salery.

Doing all of these little projects, and cooking real food, is time-consuming. And I am starting to feel stressed about my lack of income. I am torn between wanting to continue enjoying myself (while still looking for work) and just taking any job at all in order to stretch out my severance pay for as long as I can. And by "any job at all" I mean soul-withering work like temping and data entry. But jeez, I don't really need to be that person, do I? I haven't had to do that kind of work for 12 years. Universe, please give me permission to not be that person. I will repay you by doing the crafty things I've been putting off: finishing my quilt (started, oh, 4 years ago or so) and completing the new scarves and opening an Etsy shop and writing the pitch for that magazine. Amen.

Friday, October 12, 2007

This week has been all about choices.
I could get up and out of bed when my alarm first goes off in the morning. Or I can stay in semi-consciousness for an hour or so, enjoying the warmth of my bed and the cats lying on me.
I could clean the bits of raw chicken out of the kitchen sink strainer, or I could leave them there and let the cats eat them during the night.
I could work on the various art projects I want to create, or I could play Turok: Evolution.
I could get angry at the two loser assholes who won my eBay auctions and then never responded or paid me, or I could shrug it off and get the auctions canceled so I can just redo them.
I could fall into the trap I commonly lay for myself at this stage in a relationship -- where I start saying critical things without thinking, subconsciously trying to push them away and/or test their devotion to me -- or I can try really, really hard to not do that.

This week, I've been choosing the second options.

Friday, October 05, 2007

New guy CJ (note: not his real initials) and I walked up to the doorway of number 118, where a couple of young men stood smoking outside. "You play Halo?" one of them asked. Yes, yes we do. "Upstairs to the left."

Yeah, we know a guy. A guy who has two huge TVs, two XBox 360s, 2 copies of Halo 3, and enough controllers and leather sofas to accommodate 8 players simultaneously. We hadn't actually played Halo before, but CJ once had a serious XBox addiction (he kicked it) and I've done my time on the Quake and the Unreal. We set up our characters (him: mad hatter; me: pretty pony), learned the controller basics of moving around and shooting, and went to multi-player slaughter-town. We played against a bunch of guys who had obviously spent a lot of time playing: They knew all of the game board maps, which guns were best, where those guns were stored... Meanwhile, my character kept looking up when I meant to look down, I had to stop moving in order to remember how to switch weapons, and I frequently spent several minutes "firing" at people while not noticing I was out of ammo. Still, I managed to kill a few people.

I was playing with 7 men, ages ranging from, let's say, 22-40, and I really, really didn't want to be treated differently because I was a woman. But the patriarchy is a funny thing. It gets into you guys, way deep inside where you don't see it, and you do things like think you're doing me a favor by letting me kill you. Please: Fire away; I know I'm going to get killed again and again, I'm a big girl, I won't cry. Do it, and don't patronize me. I know you think you're being nice and considerate, and are letting me kill you because you think I'll get too discouraged otherwise. But I'm not a child. In fact, I am likely older than you. CJ was doing almost as poorly as I was, and you didn't go out and find him, stand in front of him, and let him wale away on you until you died. And then say something like, "Well, I was getting you pretty hard, so..."

Why is that?

Still, I'd play again. I didn't get mad or even irritated, because I understand where it was coming from. I can handle a little mild sexism and I'm not surprised when I find it in places where normally only boys roam. I wish I could practice on my own so I'd be ready for next time... But I'd rather keep the $400 and whatever carpal tunnel health I currently have.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Unemployment update: So far, not-working is as awesome as you had always feared it might be. It's gorgeous outside, so I might go take a walk around Fitzgerald Lake. Or maybe I'll stay here and read a book. I already sent out a resume today, so I feel like I'm covered. I was advised that I should indulge my need for sleep by not forcing myself to get out of bed at 8 in the morning (I go to bed at midnight), just because I Can, and Why Not? Except I haven't worked on anything arty yet, and I need to. Luckily I have all of tomorrow and Friday free. (And next week, and the week after...)

Anyway, my point is: no panic, no vomiting, no sobbing. And yes, I do think I'll take that walk now, thanks.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Doing the internet personals thing is weird. I've mentioned this before, right? What with all the actual old-fashioned going-out-on-dates one has to do? It's like getting set up on a blind date by your cousin, except your cousin is a poorly-designed web portal who asks a lot of lame questions. At least having to try to explain to a stranger who I am, in an hour or less, has made me much more comfortable in job interviews. And that's a skill I'll need, since tomorrow is my first day of official unemployment.

My to-do list for Monday:

Wake up sobbing
Buy cat food
Apply for unemployment
Have panic attack
Do laundry
Go to Post Office, mail off eBay items
Eat nothing but egg rolls
Look for jobs on craigslist and mediabistro
Stare at the boxes of crap taken from my office
Make more shrinky-dink earrings for dandie
Water plants

And so on. Tuesday should be a little less grim, since a group of recently-canned coworkers are gathering to watch Ugly Betty and eat take-out all day. After that, the future opens up before me as an endless black void. And it's cold out there. So very, very cold.

Getting laid off due to downsizing is kind of nice in the way that getting to be at your own funeral is kind of nice. Sure, you're dead, and therefore no longer an active player in the story of your life (or career). But if you're lucky, like I am, you hear a lot of people saying a lot of genuinely nice things about you that you wouldn't have otherwise heard. You may be surprised at who comes to the funeral; there might be people you thought had forgotten about you. A few people you thought you might see won't show up at all. For the most part, I've felt incredibly supported, both with words of wisdom and with job leads. I still haven't used all of my networking contacts. I might feel differently when my severance pay is about to run out (late January) but for now I feel great. Terrified, but pretty hopeful, and determined to make the most out of this time of forced semi-retirement from the working world.

Friday, September 28, 2007

I am packing up my office. It's weird how little I feel. I mean, I am constantly worried I won't find a job, and that it will be a cold winter, and people will forget about me. At the official farewell party last night I was making jokes about networking with the homeless people who hang out under the railroad bridge, you know, just in case that's what I end up doing. But I'm not yet at the point of despair. A few more weeks of failure has to happen first (I'll let you know, I'm sure). Right now it feels likely that I'll have to take a job that pays less than what I'm getting now, and I'll have to scramble to make extra income to pick up the slack. I don't have an extravagant lifestyle, so it's difficult to find things to cut out of my budget.

Anyway. Onward and upward. Goodbye squarehouse, goodbye mouse. Goodbye people I've worked with for 11 years. It's a lovely day outside and I need a nap.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Hey, look at me! I joined BlogHer. Which means I now have a beautiful, life-giving advertisement over there on the right. Isn't it great? And shiny? Don't you want to click on it, and then tell all of your friends to come to this blog and click on it too? I thought so. Get to it, people!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

I just came from Isabel Baker's 90th birthday celebration. She's been living in Laurel Park for 40-something years, and has been active in the life of the community the entire time. She's one of those elderly people you want to be when you grow up. She's warm, friendly, sharp, has a lot of self-awareness and a sense of humor about herself. I hope I am half as loved as she is if I get to be 90.

After we'd all eaten potluck lunch, the mayor of Northampton (also a resident of the Park) read an official proclamation declaring today Isabel Baker Day. And the current president of the Laurel Park Association (not the same thing as the homeowner's association... it's complicated) presented Isabel with a brass plaque thanking her for her service to the LP community; the plaque will be installed in the Tabernacle. Then Isabel spoke. She thanked all of us for coming, and introduced a woman who had come all the way from Japan -- when the woman was in college, she traveled around the U.S., and bumped into Isabel's husband, who made her come over for dinner. Her English wasn't good, but her French was, so Isabel brought over a friend to translate from French to English. They stayed in touch over many years. Isabel told some stories about the old days of the Park, and ended by saying that whether she'd known us for a long time or a very short one, we were all very dear to her. Then we sang and had yummy cake.

I was also fortunate enough to sit at a table with Harry and Priscilla, a couple who met as kids at the Methodist summer camp here. They just celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. As a child, Priscilla may have even slept in my house, back when it was a dorm (there were 2 or 3 similar dorms). So cool.

The whole experience filled me with gladness, and made me more determined to keep this house. I hope I can do it.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

I no longer have any actual work to do, in these twilight days of my job (officially unemployed in 12 days!). And I have never been so busy. I have a gazillion people to contact and ask for advice, get names and email addresses and phone numbers of other people to contact, and they send me to other people, or tell me about jobs to apply for... It's amazing how much I've managed to keep on top of, what with my lack of any sort of personal organizational system. I've only let a few things slip through my fingers, mostly by choice (my hairdresser urged me to call her niece, who works at a web company; haven't done it yet). I have a couple of interviews coming up, which is awesome. I have a good pitch idea in mind but I haven't gotten around to writing it yet. Our off-site editor people are coming tomorrow, and we have dinner and drinking plans both Wednesday and Thursday evenings. I am also getting advice on applying for unemployment, and using COBRA vs. one of the cheaper MA-provided plans, etc. In between all of this, I am sorting all the stuff in my cube.

And then there's all the stuff at home I want to do. I bought the supplies for baking my own bagels; I want to finally refinish this coffee-table thing I've had for awhile, plus repaint my metal patio set; I need to do some all-around cleaning (always); and sew some fancy scarves in addition to the cool t-shirt ones I made for dandie. There's the big-ass quilt still unfinished, too. This weekend has a trip to the Big E, plus the Laurel Park matriarch's 90th birthday potluck lunch.

I enjoy being busy and all, but this is getting a bit ridiculous.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

I kind of love Kathy Griffin. Not many people know this, but I am a regular listener of a couple of hilarious, vulgar, NSFW and very, very gay podcasts (PNS Explosion and Daily Purge, can I get a what-what!). And Kathy fits right in to that genre. Yes, she's had too much plastic surgery, but there's something about her that totally charms me. So I was thrilled to read about her acceptance speech for the Emmy she just won:

In her speech, Griffin said that "a lot of people come up here and thank Jesus for this award. I want you to know that no one had less to do with this award than Jesus."

She went on to hold up her Emmy, make an off-color remark about Christ and proclaim, "This award is my god now!"

Predictably, the Catholic League of Eternal Disapproval or whatever the hell it's called has condemned the speech, and now they're going to edit the "bad" parts out of the telecast. Lame.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

I'm using a new template! The old "classy" beige/tan was getting a little dull. List of links has been updated and refreshed as well.

If you call someone and he texts you back saying he can't talk just now because he just got out of the money machine, which would you assume?
A. He somehow became trapped in an ATM vestibule and needed rescue.
B. He won big at Bingo and got to enter the Money Machine: a glass cabinet full of swirling wind-blown money, where he had 45 seconds to grab as much cash as he could.

"A" is the more reasonable choice, right? It's Occam's Razor, people. But no, the true story is "B." And it's not my tale to tell, so you'll have to hit up Henning next time you see him.

Speaking of seeing people you know, next time you're in a check-out line and you see a copy of the October 2007 issue of Disney Adventures magazine, pick it up and turn to the first page.

Monday, September 10, 2007

After a short period of rallying, by television now appears to have turned the darkened corner towards actual tube-death. On Saturday I decided to turn the TV on after a couple of hours of listening to my iPod on shuffle (the best part: "Johnny Thunder" [Kinks] and "Hold Back the Rain" [um, yes: Duran Duran] coming on during a brief thunderstorm) and I couldn't get the picture to show up for more than a few seconds. I tried slapping and hitting it in various spots and with varying degrees of strength, but it was futile. I only wanted it to be on as background while I did a mindless sewing project, so I ended up listening to a Hallmark Original Movie starring Shelley Long and Patrick Duffy. I lasted a half-hour. Still, the experience didn't make me loathe myself and everyone else, like watching "Rock of Love" (a.k.a. "Strippers Fighting," thanks Scott) does. I have a problem with that show. It's a car crash from which I can't look away. I need a personalized V-Chip that blocks that show from my life — plus "Flavor of Love," "Parental Control," "Cheaters," and "Intervention."

I might need to add that new show about the lobster boats... I watched one episode recently, and it started off with an airlift rescue of a cameraman who went into shock after being violently seasick for three days. They kept showing the guy, looking pale and awful and semi-conscious, unable to swallow a sip of water as he lolled on the bed in the cabin of a pitching, rolling boat. I have a surfeit of empathy, so just typing that is making me feel like I need several Bonine and a nap somewhere very very still. Even while I watched it I was thinking, "Shit. More raw material for my nightmares." And yet, I had to see the guy get rescued and healthy again. At least he made it out of there ok... Which is more I can say about the poor "Rock of Love" girls.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Someone at the sing tonight asked me where I worked, and I had to say, "Well, until the end of the month, I work at ..." She was a college senior, and so I acted hopeful about my job prospects, not wanting to crush her tender, optimistic soul. I'm still in the planning and plotting phase of my job search. I did send out one cover letter/resume via email last week, and have another position a friend is encouraging me to apply for (excuse me: "another position for which a friend is encouraging me to apply;" gotta have the perfect grammar if'n I want a writin' jorb). I hope to send that out tomorrow, after I get my new "professional" blog going. I bought a domain name (which is my name, .net, since some asshole is squatting on my name .com) and everything. The site will just have my clips online. I don't have the web skills to make it look amazing, but I'd rather it not look quite as amateur and "web 1.0" as it does right now. Sigh.

My garden is in the last frenzied throes of productivity. I can't even keep up with pinching off the basil flower buds. The tomato vines are beginning to brown and wither but there's still plenty of fruit getting ripe every day. I've blanched, peeled, and frozed a bunch of the smaller variety of tomatoes, and I've been giving away some, and I have been trying to eat a tomato a day. I'm trying to really savor them because the season is short, and you just can't get good tomatoes in a store... But it's tough when there are so many tomatoes in the garden you feel guilty when you go a day without consuming one.

My god, this post reads like I have the life of an old woman. I'm exciting and with-it, I swear! Once you get to know me! And after I've had my arthritis medicine, and there's no rain in the forecast, and I've taken my Centrum and Ensure...

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Transperformance was last night, and as usual, everyone rocked and were hilarious, the kids were dancing and goofing around the whole night, and I had a great time. I took a bunch of photos but only 6 were good enough to upload. You can see them all here.

Something inside of Blogger is screwing up the link above. If it doesn't work, you can copy and paste the url:

Friday, August 24, 2007

I played croquet on Tuesday evening for the first time in more than 20 years. It was good times. I played regularly in the summer when I was a lass, and here's photographic proof:



These were taken at my late grandparents' house in Center Harbor, NH, on July 4, 1976 (making me almost 4 years old). No, I don't know which one is me, though if you go by the parent-enforced color coding system, I'm the one with the red mallet. Which makes my sister the one with the very poor form in the second photo. Click my "some of my photos" link on the right, and look in "General photos", for larger versions.

No movement on the job front, though I have been doing plenty of "networking", i.e. talking to all of my friends about my plight. And I flipped through a book of cover letters, and had my boss look at a draft of my resume (it needs work). I also talked to a former co-worker who told me that since she's been freelancing (after getting laid off in an identical situation two years ago) she is much happier, but not making as much money as she did when she was full-time. Which is worrisome. I still have time to think about all of this, though.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

So. I've been laid off. The new financial boss decided that killing our magazine would give him such a big bonus, he couldn't not do it. We will be officially employed until the end of September. We heard the news yesterday morning, and I'm just now able to really think about possible outcomes without bursting into tears. A lot of the outcomes involve me selling my house at a loss (still figuring out how much of a loss), renting somewhere cheap, and taking on a more adventurous job or jobs. I would be heartbroken if I lost the house. For some reason, and I know it's irrational, I'd feel like a failure. Or, I could find a not-so-attractive job doing technical writing or something that paid well, but which would mean a long commute to Hartford or some similar hellscape. I could put my severance pay towards a Prius, maybe (it's not enough dough to buy one outright). And that way I could keep the house.

I just got off the phone with the realtor that acted as my buyer's agent. She gave me some numbers, so I have a better idea of what selling my house would mean for me financially. I guess it's up to me now... I have some big decisions to make in the next few weeks that could radically change my life. Stay tuned.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

I hadn't been to my garden in a few days, so I had a big harvest today. And I took some photos.
Here are my zinnias, which I grew from seed and are now taller than I am.


Here's a macro of a pink one. I love the scales under the petals.


And my prolific eggplant. It has been feeding me well.


I found this tomato, which a fox/cat/raccoon had taken a bite of and then decided it wasn't for them. After I snapped this I found another bitten one (but uneaten) on a different plant.


One of the gorgeous heirloom tomatoes I picked today. Yum...

Here's my winnings for the day. That's a little bag of basil tips.

And a pretty macro shot of the striped little guys.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Our team took third place last night, not too shabby. I was responsible for two right answers (ghee and Cats). And then we decided at the last minute to go see the 12:01 showing of Superbad. The theater was a sea of baseball-hatted teen boys, with a smattering of girls and people in their 20s. We figured we were the oldest people in the theater. Before the movie started, the boys would yell at every familiar face that walked into the theater. How they can tell themselves apart is beyond me. Like with butterflies or penguins, maybe you have to be one of them to notice the subtle differences between each member of the group. Anyway, the movie was very funny. I feel like I have gotten a generous helping of cock and blowjob jokes which will stay with me a long time. Seriously though, the movie seems like this generation's Risky Business, or 16 Candles, except rated R and funnier.

I got home at 2:30, and was in bed at 3, where I tossed and turned for about an hour. I had eaten a small popcorn by myself with no water or soda -- this after the two Jack and cokes at trivia -- so I was stupidly dehydrated. I got up and drank some water and managed to sleep for a few hours. I did manage to have a disturbing dream in which I had been burdened by a large number of tiny newborn puppies. I was trying to figure out how to drown them (so easy to stuff into a sack and throw it into the river!) or otherwise get rid of them in some way that wouldn't destroy my mind with guilt. The idea of trying to raise them at home until they were old enough to adopt out seemed too impossibly time-consuming and work-heavy. If I brought them to a shelter I'd have to pay a fee for each dog they took in (this happened to me in real life about 12 years ago, with two kittens I saved from certain death and nursed back to health), and since I had, like, 17 puppies on my hands, it would cost me a lot of money. So the puppies would just have to go, secretly, and without me telling anyone I ever had them in the first place. But, through various wacky and unpleasant adventures, I was unable to get back to the puppies until they outgrew their hiding place, scrambling out and charming everyone with their antics while I tried to act surprised.

Right now I feel almost human again, though I'm about to go out to eat with friends and then go back to that same bar to play pool, and I might end up at the Elvis tribute show around midnight if I don't crash by then. Normally I'd take tonight off but I have to jump on the party train when it comes through town, you know? Sleeping will have to wait.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Last night I had a dream that I was in a relationship with Huey Lewis. He was older than he was in the 1980s, but still probably not as old as he is now. Regardless, I was thrilled to be with him, and we seemed to get along well. Today I was working on the crossword puzzle in the Advocate, and there was a Huey Lewis-related clue (answer: Huey). I do not know what the universe is trying to tell me. That it's hip to be square? I knew that already. Thanks, universe -- or should I call you "captain obvious"?

Saturday, August 11, 2007

I am about to run out to a bar after staying in last night (didn't even attempt to go out, I was content to stay at home). How am I? Alternately lonely, happy, sad, petulant, confident, awkward, and hopeful. More later.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Have you ever started eating a new food just because you're heard it's so good for you? Something like kale, maybe. You buy it at the farmer's market, thinking, this doesn't look like something that will be delicious, but it will make me feel so healthy and good that maybe I won't mind the taste. And at first, you only eat it because you know you really should. But then, once you get to know kale, you start finding new and delicious recipes, and eventually you realize that, even though this food is packed with vitamins, low fat and high in fiber, you love it. You taught yourself to love kale. Sandy, chewy, good-for-you kale.

Yeah. That doesn't work when it's with people and not food.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

I had a vacation. It was very nice, very relaxing. I got into a total groove of getting up for breakfast (woken up by my cell phone alarm), going to a morning meeting thing for an hour, killing time until lunch (reading, usually), eating lunch, napping, waking up, going swimming in the lake, eating dinner, sitting on the porch with a book or newspaper or computer until I had enough of an appetite for an ice cream cone, getting and eating an ice cream cone, and going to bed. Some variations: after dinner, usually there was some playing on the lawn with the kids; once there was kayaking before the swimming; two mornings I worked on a bowl (thrown on a wheel); there was a speaker on Monday night, the "Fund Fair" after lunch Weds., and the variety show thing Thursday. But really, there was mostly a lot of reading and sitting and eating. There were people (kids and adults) reading the new Harry Potter everywhere you looked. I finished it on Monday and thought it was very good. Anyway, if you'd like to see a few photos of my family enjoying the place, click here.

Now I'm back, and the katydids have started up. I hate them. I love hearing crickets, but the onetwothree scratchy katydid noise instantly makes me feel like it's oppressively humid out, even though it's currently about 70 and dry. The noise makes me feel anxious. I think it's a learned response to August heat, seasonal allergies, and the impending return to school. Of course, it could just be that katydids make a loud, annoying, and not-so-pretty noise.

Friday, July 20, 2007

I am back from California. Getting there I was delayed two hours due to weather, both ways. On the way out, the plane pulled out of the gate, stopped, and then stayed there for two hours while they played a free movie for us (Blades of Glory, seen it) and a thunderstorm slowly passed over us. On the way back, I had a stop in Pittsburgh, where my plane was stuck in St. Louis due to a tornado warning. They were two hours late. When it finally arrived, I was extremely dismayed to see it was a very tiny commuter plane, three seats across. It was an hour ride and fairly bumpy and scary, but I survived.

And California. Well, I didn't make it to the Kwik-E-Mart, but I did see Harry Potter at the Universal CityWalk. My ticket cost $11.50, but my seat was like a La-Z-Boy and the screen was dizzyingly big. I also found my way to Griffith Park to ride the mini train they have. I was under the impression it would be steam-powered, but instead it was diesel. I stayed at a Sheraton right next to the Hilton I usually stay at, which was uncharacteristically sold out. I discovered after I arrived that the hotels were filled with people there for a sex toy convention. Actually, the signs said "AVN [that's the organization that puts on the porn awards, that's all I know] Novelty Expo." It took me about a day to figure it out. What tipped me off: Sample bags, like the ones I pick up at Toy Fair, except these had the logos for various kinds of lube on them; a guy wearing a Doc Johnson embroidered polo shirt; me reading a few guests' Expo badges and seeing companies like "O'My Products"; and finally, two girls in push-up bras and super-tight tank tops with over their boobs. Then there was the motorcycle that had been airbrushed with a constellation of condoms, dildos, single-use lube packets -- I didn't look too long. The best thing about it was that the other people at the hotel, the ones not attending the Expo, were all families with young children. The Expo people were very discrete, mostly. When they chatted in the elevator with me, it was to weigh the pros and cons of using a certain Chinese manufacturer, and they could be talking about any product. And the special motorcycle only came out after dark.

Now I am home and trying to get prepared for a week vacation. I went to my garden after work today and did some triage on my huge tomato plants that had been blown over by the storm on Sunday. A neighbor got his car crushed by a tree, so I got off easy. I picked a bag of snow peas, a lot of basil (just trying to keep up with the flower buds), and my first eggplant. Now I am contemplating using my jet lag to my advantage and doing the midnight Harry Potter pick up. Hmm...

Saturday, July 14, 2007

So! Last Sunday I went to Coney Island with my sister, bro-in-law, my 3-year-plus-five-months old niece, and my 5-month-old nephew. It was hot and sunny and pretty much perfect beach weather. It was imperative that we go to Coney sometime this summer because major construction projects will begin at the end of the season, destroying the gritty, fun, anything-goes-and-everyone's-welcome feeling here. I took a bunch of photos and uploaded some of the best here.

Some highlights:

The carousel in the Wonder-Wheel-associated park (not Astroland) was playing awesome dance hits. While S and L were on it, they played "Freak Out."


Nearby, this traffic cone was having the ride of its life.


We spent a long time deciding if we wanted a swinging or stationary car on the Wonder Wheel. We are swingers at heart, though, and eventually we committed to a swinger car.


Here's a view of the aging kiddie park below the Wonder Wheel. Notice how incredibly crowded the beach is.


My niece was delighted. My sister was scared (note white-knuckled gripping action).


My nephew woke up right at the end of the ride.


A few more shots:




For more, including the best pirated Mickey item I've ever seen in the flesh, visit the album above.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Dudes, I know. I KNOW. It's been a while. It's also been too hot and humid for me to think, let alone get up the gumption to upload my photos from my trip to Coney Island (from Sunday). I am way behind on other things, too, and it's not going to get any better; I have another trip to SoCal this upcoming Sunday-Thursday, and then I'm gone the whole week after that. I will have my computer, though, so that might motivate me to post. I have been Twittering, so I encourage you once again to get on that.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Hey! You need some new things, don't you? I mean seriously, just look at yourself. So get on down to Dandie in the Underworld, just behind Osaka, and buy some new things. Perhaps one of these necklaces would do the trick.


necklace pendants

Yes, I made them. Yes, they are only $10. Yes, the price is so low that it is hard to believe. But it is true.

Monday, July 02, 2007

In about three weeks I am probably going to southern California again on business. If I do, you'd better believe I'm going to visit the local Kwik-E-Mart.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Some Important Programming Notes:

Saturday morning, from 8 to noon, is the Laurel Park tag sale. It's a great excuse for wandering around my funky little village, plus the Park is populated with freaks and artists with too-small houses, so the pickings should be great (or, at the least, interesting).

Saturday at noon, Dandie in the Underworld officially opens for business. It's a crazy and cute shop filled with handcrafted items from the Valley's finest and funkiest. Directions: Go to the building housing Glamourama and Osaka; walk around it to the right; see the big marquee; head inside; be delighted. I have several shrinky-dinks-based necklaces for sale in there. My stuff is tagged "dew," a name I decided upon after little to no study or thought. It's my initials, that's all. I've been inside the shop a couple of times and I love everything for sale there. I plan on buying some of it, even. So exciting!

Monday, June 25, 2007

The memorial service for my grandmother was very nice. I got emotional and was all trembly-voiced when I went up to speak, but other than that it went beautifully.

My grandmother was always an avid church-goer and loved singing hymns in the choir (she was raised Methodist, but ended life as a Congregationalist). At her service, I read the lyrics of this Sacred Harp song:

329 Vain World Adieu

When for eternal worlds we steer,
And seas are calm and skies are clear,
And faith in lively exercise,
And distant hills of Canaan rise,
The soul for joy then claps her wings,
And loud her hallelujah sings,
Vain world, adieu.

With cheerful hope her eyes explore
Each landmark on the distant shore:
The trees of life, the pastures green,
The crystal stream, delightful scene.
Again for joy she claps her wings,
And loud her hallelujah sings,
Vain world, adieu.

The nearer still she draws to land,
More eager all her pow’rs expand;
With steady helm, and freebent sail,
Her anchor drops within the veil.
Again for joy she claps her wings,
And her celestial sonnet sings,
I’m there at last.

I think she would have liked it.


Tuesday, June 19, 2007

An addendum to the below: I am so screwed. Or, you know, not. Har har.

Monday, June 18, 2007

An open letter to the guy whose online profile said he was 37, but who admitted in his description he had lied about his age. He contacted me, I asked him how old he was, and he told me he was 47 "but told I look considerably younger."

Dear guy,
You are the fourth man I've come across in the last month who either lied about his age or omitted the information (instead saying the age they "felt like" or "looked like" or something). I'm at a loss as to why. The truth will come out sooner or later, and people who lie about their age, or deny it, are sending two messages: One, that they are ashamed of their age, which is sad to me. Better to say you're 47 and have a woman be pleasantly surprised at how good you look. Two, that they only, exclusively, want to date younger women. Neither of these things are positive messages to be throwing out there.

My longest relationship was with someone who is now about your age, so I would potentially have been a good dating candidate for you. But the age-denying thing is a big red flag for me and, I'd wager, most women.

I know you didn't click on this email expecting a lecture and I'm sorry... you're bearing the brunt of four men's mistakes, and that's not fair. And you probably think I'm crazy. But sometimes I can't help but try to fix easy mistakes like the one I think you're making here. My vote: Tell the truth in your ad.
- Debl

I actually wrote this all out, intending to send it, but my head cooled and I didn't. Dating using computer tools is a lot of work. But I have this crazy dream of not being alone the rest of my life (I know! So crazy!), so here we are.

p.s. He emailed me a photo while I was writing him a considerably shorter, nicer reply than the above, and he does in fact look well-preserved. But it's all ruined now, isn't it? Seriously, do women lie about their age all the time too? The stereotype is that they do, but I'm only seeing the other side.

p.p.s. He wrote me back to my less-hostile email and said he was sorry, I was right, and he edited his profile to show his true age. In a few years I'm going to be all, "Reader, I married him." (Kidding.)

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Erin was my grandmother. When we were little we called her Grandmommy, but in the last few years of her life we called her Nean. Like good grandmothers everywhere, she was an excellent baker of cookies and pies, as well as the famous Way Family Granola, and she had the ubiquitous jar of hard candy that had solidified into one big piece. Unlike good grandmothers everywhere, she wasn't particularly warm or effusive with her affection. She was very reserved and liked things to be done the proper way. When we were frustrated with her, we'd secretly call her passive aggressive, but she was really just assertive, even though it came in a "frail old lady" package.

She always seemed slightly sad or disapproving, but that was due to the structure of her face more than anything else. She didn't like talking about herself, and even after we asked, she never told stories about what life was like during the depression and WWII, other than the basic facts of names and dates and who moved to what town after marrying who.

My fondest memories of her have to do with the house in Center Harbor, NH she and my Grandfather bought when we were born -- when we were older, she told me that they bought it so they'd have enough room for us to come for extended stays. The entire second floor of the house was just for guests. It had a huge backyard, a hammock, raspberry bushes and wild blueberries, croquet... and they lived a short drive to the lake's beach. My grandfather would chop wood while my grandmother worked in the kitchen. We visited for at least a couple of weeks every summer, and (I think) every other Christmas. When we grew into pre-teens, they sold the house (breaking our hearts) and bought a boring cookie-cutter one in town, because "you didn't want to visit anymore." Which was probably true, but we wanted the house to always be there just the same.

I remember getting a 12-inch of "Do They Know It's Christmas" one year, and making Nean listen to it, since the song had been in the news a lot. My grandparents always had the radio playing classical music, so having Nean listen to a "rock" song was a novelty. After the song was over she smiled politely and said something vague like "that was fine."

We also watched E.T. (the movie) on cable with her at our house in Jersey. We all loved it and thought she would too, but after it was over she said she had liked it, but that it was "no Wizard of Oz." I was offended (even though it's true). She liked to catch Jeopardy every night, and loved to watch stuff on PBS that may as well have been broadcast from another planet (as far as I was concerned), like the Kennedy Center Honors.

She wasn't a frivolous, silly person, so when she *would* be silly -- flashing a funny face at the camera, or gamely wearing big green Hulk hands (a photo of this is on my parents' fridge door) -- it was beautiful and surprising, like seeing a unicorn.

When I went up to sort through her things a few weeks ago, after she was transferred from her apartment to a nursing room, I found that she had kept every single card we had ever sent her, plus of course all of the various pieces of "art" we'd given her on holidays. She loved us, and wanted us to visit more, to write more. She was very proud of us and loved showing us off to her friends. I think she never really understood my sister and me when we were kids, who were weird and volatile and moody and sparkly, while she was always calm and in control and had lunch on the table at noon every day because that's when lunch is. But -- once after a fiery outburst with my sister (we were home on a break in college) she found me alone and told me that I was sensitive -- and she meant it as a compliment. It was the first time I had ever remotely considered that being sensitive could be a good thing.

Nean died around 4 a.m. Tuesday morning. She was 90 years old.

Friday, June 15, 2007

So I went to California. It is very sunny there -- at least, it's very sunny after it's very foggy (or smoggy -- hard to distinguish), which it is all morning. Ye Olde Theme Park was as fun as always. I was with a slightly-younger co-worker who had never been to any theme park owned by this particular company, so it was exciting to go on the classics with her. We were there for two nights, and then rented a car and drove to Burbank for two nights. We met with some colleagues I'd previously only known via email and phone calls, and it seemed to go fairly well, except for one meeting in which it became apparent we were two factions of underlings without our leaders, and as such had no real power to make anything happen of any consequence. But still, face-to-face stuff is important. So they tell me.

We saw Mariska Hargitay (with child and a short haircut) at the theme park, and The Rock (so completely gorgeous and perfect... seriously, he's charming and has a good sense of humor, and has gotten more slender and less bulky, and is just... we were drooling) at the studio's restaurant. My co-worker thought she saw Lisa Kudrow, and I know Lisa's not super-thin, but I doubt she'd wear clothing that would give her even a tiny muffin-top. But maybe I'm wrong.

We also went out and socialized in Hollywood: once with a beloved former co-worker, and once with a couple of the new co-workers I'd met that day. The former was at a dinner at an "English pub" called the Cat and Fiddle, which is said to be frequented by Morrissey (he wasn't there). We sat in a gorgeous outside patio and dished about everything. She's the kind of woman who buys a combination map of stars' homes and famous crime scenes, and makes a special drive to see the house where the Manson murders happened. She used to cut my hair in a spare office at work, back when my haircut was as simple as can be. She's a trip, and I miss her. After dinner we went to Hamburger Mary's in West Hollywood, which is essentially a gay theme restaurant. Besides the bright red and pink walls and kitsch hanging everywhere, each single-stall unisex bathroom has its own disco ball and "Dancing Queen" playing on a loop. (On the way back from the bathroom, I overheard one guy saying to his group of male friends, "Oh don't tell the flavored condom story again!") The check is presented in a high-heel pump. The waiters are all hot, skinny men, and they take care of you well. We met up with some of my former co-workers' friends and talked trash about celebrities (we were, as a group, unanimously anti-Angelina and pro-Aniston. My people!).

The latter night, we were invited to join some colleagues' Dining Divas night. They're a group of women (mostly single and in their 20s-early 40s, I'd guess, but mostly in their 30s) who get together every month or so and do something different each time. This night was a wine-and-cheese thing for charity held in the outdoor mall right next to the Kodak Theater. I was concerned the group would be kind of boring or false or overly girly, but they ended up being very funny, warm, smart, talkative, confident... It was very inspiring.

So, to sum up: Flying out there is always a bitch, but I had a great time.

Tuesday morning, while I was getting ready to leave my hotel room, my sister IMed me on my laptop that my grandmother had died. I feel like I haven't processed this information yet. I seem to start mourning a long time after the actual passing-away... Maybe I need time to feel the lack of their presence, and when people I don't see very often die, that can take some time. I want to write a blog post all about her, if it doesn't turn too sad or personal or morbid.

Speaking of morbid, when I visited the nest after work yesterday, there were no robins sighted anywhere. I fear the neighborhood cats have made short work of the little guys. Sad. Next time I think I'll remove the nest before any laying happens. Near my house, there aren't enough places to hide out of reach of cats. Damnable beasts.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

I'm back, got into my house at 9:30 last night. This morning I went out to check the nest -- and it was empty! (except for the lone unhatched egg.) However, the lady or lord robin was on the little tree next tot he house, freaking out at me. If I had actually been outside (and not in the screened porch) he would have been scary. As it was, he was screaming at me and swooping and flapping, and his head and chest feathers were all puffed up. So, I think (I hope) that the baby robins have left the nest but are still nearby, well-hidden. I read someone else's diary of a robin family living on their porch, and this sounds like a similar timeline; unfortunately, they leave the nest when they can still only fly a few feet or so. If I catch sight of any fledgling robins, I shall let you all know!

Friday, June 08, 2007

Just a quick note to show a new photo of the chicks, taken this morning (two days since the photo I last posted):

... and also to say that I have never hated my job so much as I do right now. This particular crisis will pass, but it's going to be as shitty as this for at least another week. Meanwhile, my grandmother is dying, so that's also nice. You know things are miserable when I'm actually looking forward to being stuck in the middle seat on a cross-country flight so I can have some time to play my Gameboy and zone out for a few hours. I'll be in California from Saturday afternoon until Weds. night; posting will be non-existent, but I will be twittering.