Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Set it down gently

We're having bitter cold weather now which means good snuggling conditions. It should be warmer for the rest of the week and it sounds like snow will be coming by the weekend.

I've got some stuff done on my work projects that were a-stressing me. Part of this seems to stem from a relationship with a supervisor that is tripping some of my mom-wires. Nothing intentional, just something I will observe and try to de-fuse for the future.

It's the end of the year, time to talk about books. There's a few more days to enter a drawing for a new book by Elizabeth Bear.  I like her and I really like the cover art:

torbooks:

Enter on Goodreads for a chance to win an ARC of Karen Memory by Elizabeth Bear.
 


My favorite reads of the year (although I feel badly for the ones I'm leaving out):
Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
Forever Rumpole: The Best of the Rumpole Stories by John Mortimer
Half Magic by Edward Eager
The Old Home Place: The Story of a Kansas Farm by Joy Lominska (about a small farming region near here)
Bomb: The Race to Build - and Steal - the World's Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin
Claire DeWitt and the Bohemian Highway by Sara Gran
The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
Plus two three some genre series in particular: the Peter Grant series by Ben Aaronovitch (oneI haven't read yet!), the Medicus books by Ruth Downie, the Siobhan Quinn series by Kathleen Tierney, and the Mercedes Thompson books by Patricia Briggs.


A very happy new year to you. May it bring good books and the comfort in which to read them.





Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Kings of the Road

We got down to Austin in 12.5 hours which is a new family record. This made us feel mighty because between small bladders and hunger we often stop more than others do while on a road trip. But then we remembered that the kids were much smaller last time. We were all tough and pushed on intrepidly. No weather or road delays. We had a couple of traffic delays (one in Ft. Worth, of course, and one in Austin - a powerline had fallen across the freeway) but nothing terrible.

The holiday was lovely. My gifts ordered at the last minute arrived on Christmas Eve -- I wish I could send a hug to the vendor. My sis-in-law liked her scarf and said she'd bought me one but hadn't brought it because 'what if she doesn't wear scarves?!' Hee. The cousins mixed well and it was good to spend time with our far flung ones.

Back to bitter cold and to work (can you tell?).

Monday, December 22, 2014

Cusp

Happy Solstice, yall! We had a party, sort of, to celebrate on Saturday night. The house got cleaned, a fire was built in the fireplace, and Kat and I made delicious foods. Due to illness, holiday travel and probably other mysterious forces we had just two friends come over. But we had a lovely low-key time.

Then we finished the very last Burn Notice episode. It was pretty good. I thought Madeline's fate was avoidable but Nod thought it brought nobility to the ep. The show is good cheesy fun but that last season was too bloody for me.

We had intended to blow town tonight and try to make the southern border. Both the drivers had to work today and Nod says he's not up for a night drive. I hope he can sleep tonight and we'll get out in the am. Going to Austin and holidaying.

Welcome light in the darkness. Welcome back, sun. Don't forget to lie on the floor under the tree and look up through the lights and ornaments. Aaaah.



Friday, December 19, 2014

A little feasty, Sing three

Dreamed last night that I was going to have a baby, child number three. In the dream I was calm and pleased about this and was figuring out scheduling things with my workplace. I am happy that was the emotional tenor of the dream although I think a real life pregnancy would be more alarming. Ha!

My pumpkin muffins were well received at today's work potluck. It was a good feast, better than I expected. (Thank you, Smitten Deb. Follow her advice to use a full 1 1/3 cup of pumpkin.) I haven't done any other holiday cooking lately. Last weekend I was so wigged out that I couldn't even look forward to food. Better now, thank the roots. On Tuesday evening Kat made a masala chickpeas recipe out of the veggie cookbook her Dad gave her for birthday and lo, it was good. I made some baba ghanoush out of the one little eggplant that roasted well. I used my Moosewood book recipe as a starting point with fresh parsley and green onions and lemon juice and tahini and it was greatly yum. I am going to make both of those recipes again for tomorrow's solstice party.



This is another childhood favorite. The album is one that strikes my spouse as both gloomy and whitebread. But he's hard to please. I love the uncommon songs they chose.




Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Gently does it

Late yoga was fine and in addition to the gifts of breathing and movement, it gave me something to grumble about. (Is this strap really necessary for just one measly pose? Is the instructor going to release this hold any time soon? The mat smells faintly of ginger and feet. It's late, I'm hot -- enough shivasana, already.) It was good to stretch. I was the oldest participant and will try harder not to compete next time.

Feeling less stuck, more able to tackle work stuff without involving my sense of survival.

Proceeding into the unknown. Tonight we're due for snow and that sounds like an adventure.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Small vickies

Still working on unclenching. Time to be gentle with myself. I am not being paid to be freaked out. I got some walks in although I did not manage to jog over the weekend. Yoga? Just checked the nearby studio and I could go to gentle yoga tonight at 8:30p. It couldn't hurt.

Full on fit of despair about death and separation from loved ones on Saturday morning was prompted by the sight of a road-killed squirrel. Not an uncommon sight here where squirrels and cars are both so plentiful. Must be seasonal-affective lack-of-sun related. Plus being stressed out, see above.

Just re-read the first two Peter Grant books, Midnight Riot and Moon Over Soho. Author page on Goodreads. Really good stuff, very much like an exciting tv series. The first book is titled Rivers of London in the UK and Midnight Riot in the US which is off point and sounds like generic thriller-ese. They must have thought they had to pump up the hard hitting cover appeal.

Am more than halfway through Jack: A Life of C.S. Lewis by George Sayer. It is more objective than I expected, having checked it out of the church library.

Accomplished a presentation this morning for four people. Am happy to be through. Onward and upward and doing what I can do.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Managing Anxiety Holiday Style

Trying to stay reasonable in an unreasonable season. I've been letting work stress build up and xmas shopping snuck in as well. I got to be quite worked up yesterday and came to a realization that this is not a worthy path. I have to find a way to be myself and not feel under the gun all the time. Job shopping is one possibility but more immediately I should be able to find a new approach to my current situation. Apparently I put a tremendous amount of pressure on myself related to work. In the past I have been happily underemployed and realize now that it was a strategy for managing my stress. I opted to be poorer and to not feel on the brink of disaster.

Perhaps disaster is not poised and ready to strike. Some of this anxiety could be completely beside the point. No one is asking me to feel this way and I'm not being paid to feel scared.

This could take a while. The short dark days are contributing to some of my mood stuff. I wasn't feeling the Christmas spirit when we had our carol sing. But that was fun for me and I felt much better after singing out than I had beforehand.

The girls painted pottery for their grandma and I picked it up yesterday. One kid's presents are on their way. It'll be good to see everyone in Texas even if I give everyone a box of chocolates.

More singing. Some shopping. More laying down of crazy dumb burdens.

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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Xmas Biz

Christmas tree discussions have begun. It's a new space so we have to figure out where a tree can go. Nod thinks a small one on the table by the front door. I lean toward putting it right by the front window for max showoffitude. Briefly considered buying one at the grocery store last Saturday but historically Nod likes to be in on the selection process. When I asked him he said that would have been all right. Always a moving target, that one.

Our pets have a sitter! It's our wonderful animal-enthusiast piano teacher friend. She will fold our dog into her menagerie for the duration and visit the cat every few days. I am mightily relieved to have this settled. She also reminded me to stop the mail which I have now done.

Somewhat related: dog gets bathed tonight. I will wash the canine bedding while spouse and kids wrassle the hound at the dog washatorium.

I tried to make a wish list last night but kept spacing out. Reverse shopping is hard -- add that to your 1st world problems.

Bun is going to be making gingerbread houses with some friends this afternoon. I want to bake some gingerbread people/critters. Maybe I could get some dough in the fridge tonight...

I have been making progress on my scary work powerpoints. One big one to go. Thus all the blog posts. Back to the salt mines.


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I'm tickled at finally getting the snow effect to work for this page. I have noted one vote against. Let me know if you have feelings pro or con. So interesting how opinion varies widely on little things.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Sing two

I grew up with this 45.


This Year's Santa Baby by Eartha Kitt

The song is a follow up to the one Our Madonna made uber famous but hardly anyone knows this one. It deserves a place in the Killer Queen genre and I like it better than the first one. Which could just be because I heard it first. But the second one seems wittier and vampier and less slutty. Wishing everyone the spirit of Eartha for Christmas.


Monday, December 1, 2014

Postthanks

Thanksgiving Discoveries:

I can make gravy in a wok.

I now know what the smoke alarm sounds like in this house.

Too much wine was fun. Until the next day. And that's enough of that.

Spatchcock! was a very successful experiment. I was able to cut the backbone off the turkey but could not crack the breastbones. Imagine me puffing and thumping on the carcass to no avail. Nod did the strongman honors.

Bacalao (Brazilian fried codfish balls) are tasty but Fishy.

Fresh herbs I bought but forgot to use: sage.

Picturephone was a hoot. I will be soberer next time I play so I can remember more.

---------------------------------


Ripping back my squirrels hat was useful. I hadn't allowed nearly enough slack in my floats. (There's some knit jargon for ya!) But my re-knit squirrels are still a bit lumpy. I have decided I don't care and am planning to finish it and block the crap out of it. I love the colors and the cotton yarn. Maybe I can wear the lumpy one and make a yet-more-smooth squirrels version for the kiddo.

Some of the knitting took place while waiting for my kid at her aerial silks open gym. She is working on a routine for her December 22 recital. The session was at a former Russian Orthodox church (complete with teeny onion dome!) that is now a studio space owned (and lived in) by her teacher. It was fun to visit. Kat's routine is good and she picked great music. I think it will go over well.

Because it was a good vacation, I got through several books over the long weekend. I finished the latest Ruth Downie Roman legion medical officer mystery Tabula Rasa and it was great! Before that I read Arthur & George by Julian Barnes. I liked that one too. I would give more details but finding out who the protagonists are is part of the journey. Just last night I tried Russell Brand's biography My Booky Wook. That one I was able to put down and won't be picking up again. I like his acting and some of his essays. How could it miss with heroin addiction, outrageous sexual escapades, etc? But it felt more like a journal than a finished work. Plus the explanatory footnotes for Americans were pesky and by turns overexplained and skipped some British code-speak entirely. I am not called to be an audience for it. Godspeed, Russell.



Friday, November 21, 2014

Sing one

One of my childhood Christmas favorites brought to you by Hugo Winterhalter and his orchestra. The vocalist's name is Judy Valentine, a stage name if I ever heard one. I do love her funny chirpy voice. Wikipedia tells all. She was Bozo's sidekick and worked with Carol Spinney and is still with us. Bless you, Judy.




Dumplin

Fri
I include Wednesday's notes to appreciate the sheer power of the tedium. Early to bed, crankiness and a trip to the pharmacy. What's next, tax returns? (No, Nod does those.)

Watched an episode of Buffy last night with the girls. (Season 1, cheerleading try outs) It has a very Twilight Zone ending. Kat just watched the entire last season of How I Met Your Mother and it's fun to see the young Allison H after that. Season 1 of Buffy seems pretty cartoony. Waiting for the compelling part.

Having trouble staying on task at work. Also questioning how much I want to be associated with our department. The team's fine, it's the department that's crazy. Not many jobs advertised right now, guess that's something to look at in the new year. I don't feel like I need to storm out. But I do want to know what's available.

Chicken and dumplings last night. Turned out great even with a sad lack of onions. (How could I run out of onions?!) I even fried a couple of dumplings by themselves for the vegetarian. She was appropriately thankful. I cook good. I've linked that recipe before. It's the butter roux and the butter in the dumplings that makes the deliciousness, of course.

Quite a book cover on Elizabeth Bear's latest. I like her very much and expect good things. I admire the image she got for this one.


Wed
Dog not showing other symptoms, less of what had me concerned, seems happy enough. Still keeping an eye on her.

Waiting to pick up prescription refill at the pharmacy is not my favorite way to spend time. Seems like someone is always having to negotiate a tricky piece of personal information (change of address, new credit card, doctor's office instructions different than person expected). Sometimes it's the people in front of me, sometimes it's me. Only burnt up 7 or 8 minutes of my life there last night.

Nod made a small fire in the fireplace. It was pretty but I have ceased to enjoy a fire in the fireplace when the outside temp is less than 30F. I can almost see the furnace-heated air going up the chimney. The embers are very pretty but then you have to wait for it all to go cold before you shut the damper. I am a terrible horrible spoilsport.

I took my spoilsport self to bed at 8:30pm last night because I kept falling asleep over my book. Remembered that I had been up at 5:30 but still it seemed excessive. Even though I was on the next-to-last chapter of my cheesy Turkish mystery I had to turn the light out just past 9pm.



Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Relief

New word of the day: trabeculae. This is the branching web of bone tissue that has spaces in it. (I heard the doctor saying something like "tribeca" so I knew I had something to look up later.) The oral surgeon took another xray of Kat's mouth. It did not show an empty space but plenty of trabeculae which is very good news. This means that probably the dark spot which showed up in the dentist's xray was an image error rather than a cyst or other unauthorized lack of bone. The new image will be sent off to an oral pathologist for evaluation to be quite sure. I'm cautiously pleased.

The big cold hammer has gone back to the Arctic Circle and we just have the regular cold now. I walked the dog last night and was pleased with myself. One happy dog and only minor face numbness resulted. The poor beastly beast has started squatting frequently and I'm afraid it means she has a bladder infection. I'm going to watch her for another day before letting the vet know we're ready to drop off another bag of money at their office.

Millions was charming, I made the kids watch with me. The appearances of St. Joseph were my favorite: 1) subbing in for the absent Damian in the school nativity play and 2) leading the donkey (with halo!) away at the end. We went to see Big Hero 6 and had a good time. It's all sort of melted away from my memory now except for the beauty of Baymax. Hairy baby! Next family film: Pee Wee's Big Adventure.



Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Pickled pumpkin

Not really but I do have an awful lot of pumpkin after baking the ten pounder Nod bought for us. I put four two-cup bags in the freezer and still have a large container to use. Smitten Deb has come through for me lately. I made pickled cabbage salad over the weekend. Kat and I enjoyed it mightily and I bought celery seed for the next round. (I feared that I might be unfit for company after all that raw cabbage but it didn't produce that effect.) The pumpkin muffins were as good as I hoped. We've almost finished the first dozen and I will bake another doz as soon as I get some more cupcake papers. Alterations: I made them with the cup and 1/3 of pumpkin, added a little molasses and forgot to put the cinnamon sugar on top. I don't think they need a sugar topping. Very little oil and no butter, this is a good way for us to eat our pumpkin. At least until some pie happens.

Early winter cold has me feeling persecuted the last few nights. At least I have company. We are supposed to get to mid 30s F this afternoon and that sounds like a wonderful place. Last night Nod asked me whether I wanted to walk the dog or go to the grocery store (temps in the teens). I said neither. He walked the dog and got ready to go to the store. But I felt bad about his sacrifice so suggested we all go. Out in the black and the bitter cold. Many groceries were purchased. Matches eluded us. I 'looked exhausted' according to trusted sources. But I stayed up til ten getting the last of the pumpkin into the freezer. Our heated mattress pad is my best friend in these conditions. I don't keep it on all night but switch it on twenty minutes before I get into bed -- bliss! I feel guilty because the kids don't have one.

Re-read an old R.A. McAvoy favorite:  Damiano. The creased paperback shown in that goodreads link looks like mine. Good for winter nights. Not sure if I'm going to do the whole trilogy. Right now reading a Turkish trans mystery novel. It's fun and very not serious.

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Forgot to report on our pre-snow trash pick up on Saturday. It wasn't as cold as expected, no wind and only a few flakes dancing around. On the riverside, Kat alerted us to a bald eagle circling. It touched the water and Kat could see it got a fish. Only a few minutes later we saw a doe swimming across the river (probably to escape all these noisy people in her woods). Quite worthwhile.


Friday, November 14, 2014

Chug chug chug

Thank you, brave little November bloggers. I am afraid I foresee a bleak December if everyone gets good and tired of writing after this month. I haven't tried to post every day but I expect to rack up more entries than last month.

I found a pigeon feather on the way to the office this morning. I know where some of the feathers are that I had hung from our ceiling in the old house. And I have a stick! I may even find the energy to be crafty with thread and glue. I was thinking about embroidering some felt snowflakes for Christmas cards and then reality knocked softly on the top of my skull. Well, come on, reality, it's not impossible.

I have a pumpkin to bake. That's do able. Then I'll have pumpkin to make baked goods out of. I was asked to woman the church kitchen last night while my kid was at choir practice. They needed someone to let folks in who were dropping off food for a lunch/sale. In return I got to inhale the happy smell of dozens of pies. It was just me to start so I found a terrible cookbook to read from the church library. The author was a lovely woman, a Navy wife and church organizer. Her recipes were cream of xxx soup heavy, used the word "oriental" unironically and were uncertain about vegetarianism. I was happy to look at it and happy to put it back on the shelf without copying out any recipes.

We're due for snow tomorrow and I am feeling excited. I wish it wasn't starting the morning that we're going to pick up trash by the river. But them's the breaks. Kat's volunteering requirement at school drives us ever onwards. I don't mind because I like that kind of thing. At least I talked her out of the Humane Society. Am unwilling to weep or adopt more pets while volunteering.
 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Dearest Noodle

Shaking dice, chewing words in the middle

Marvelous. Mumble pie.
Nictating membrane.
(Buff) Orpingtons. Olly olly incomefree!
Papal nuncio. Propitiate.
Palace intrigue.
Quaking quack.
Rumble ramble rambunctious.
Skimbleshanks.

In the Fahrenheit teens this morning and I did not succeed in getting outside with dog. She seemed okay with periodic backyard visits instead.

Youngest is home from school today. Last night's parent teacher conference was a lovefest. Our Bun is a balm to her teachers as well as to her parents. Her math scores are even higher than her brainy sister's. Which still surprises me. Quiet sneaky mouse. When she was first evaluated for the gifted program (this decade's term is "enrichment") the test giver though Bun was marking answers at random because she was going so fast. But they were all correct. Effortless is the word that occurs. I know that she has things that don't come as easily and that she will need to work on. But hooray for all the school skills!

Making some efforts at my least favorite work bits. Our student worker who I supervise fell asleep and was snoring at his desk yesterday. Clearly I'm neither employing nor supervising adequately. I'm relieved when he's not here. Making myself work is hard enough, making someone else work seems a lot to ask.

Pumpkin muffins are calling me. Made tomato sauce last night that turned out very tasty. Kat ate a surprising amount of noodles. Including the ones I left on the table to come back for later. Clearly I need to re-think noodle security measures around the 7th grader.


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Fife and Drum

Was told we have to take Kat with us to the consult with the oral surgeon. He wants to do an exam and maybe take more xrays. I broke the news to her last night. She's not pleased but no tears so we will carry on.

Went to a university wind ensemble concert last night. Kat's band director got free tickets for her kids and families which was a treat. I was confused because I thought it was band but it was the wind ensemble and then I heard it featured the Star Wars music but also a fife and drum corps? Turns out the answer was yes, all of the above! We got a sneak peek at the U.S. Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps at intermission.They were in town to play at half time for the basketball game on Veteran's Day. The fifes were a bit ear splitting but I loved it all. The four buglers were particularly wonderful. My answer to: brass voluntary? is always: yes! The wind ensemble performance was better than I expected. I learned that I like Hindemith (this one I think) and the piece Sanctuary by Ticheli, yum. The Vision Macabres did not amuse me and the Star Wars suite was taken too fast I thought but was fun to hear again. The girls were pretty sleepy but I had a great time and would drag them along again.

There was a cruelly under-employed harpist at the front of the stage. I yearned to be a harpist for a while. But now I am happy that I don't have that large piece of furniture looming in a corner of the living room. A banjo is much easier to hide in the closet. (Instead of skeletons I will collect neglected musical instruments in my closet.)

Bun will be asked to choose a band or orchestra instrument this spring. It'll be a pot shot because we didn't get her to the 'try out all the instruments' event last summer. (We made her come to Greece with us instead.) She will need to just pick one this spring, then she can go to the try-out this summer and switch if needed at the start of school. Her first two ideas: piccolo or trombone. Laughing now.





Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Oddballs

Voted all dems. To my surprise Nod reports he did the same with only two exceptions. Then I woke up this morning to hear that everything went to the Republicans. It makes me feel like a weirdo that my choice seemed very clear and yet goes against the majority. But eh, it's the rest of KS vs hippie Lawrence, a well established pattern. Sorry to hear that our county didn't turn out in great numbers. Even for the local candidate for governor. We obviously need a hemp initiative to get the hippies to the polls.

Super Sad True Love Story grabs me and then it doesn't. Hints of voyeur and pity. Probably will finish. Loved The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry. A book-lover's book. Meta in a good way. 

Panoramic dental xrays for oldest child revealed a cyst above an upper canine. It's not pushing on the tooth but they referred us to an oral surgeon for removal. Under general anesthetic. Imagine me not stampeding toward that option. I got my chompers cleaned up yesterday and it reminded me that I do need to call and get a consultation booked. Want to find out why they want to do surgery rather than wait a year and see what happens. If it is just because surgeons need to fill their calendars then we'd rather not. Am going to have crown replaced. Feel good about stalling and think I am ready to get it done now. But ugh.

Unlike a star parent I allowed Kat to do her homework in front of Ocean's 12 last night. She earned it for baking banana cake which I then frosted with orange juice frosting, mmm. The kids and I didn't quite finish the movie, decided we like the soundtrack a lot. It's stylish and amusing even if it doesn't make much sense. The "Julia Roberts" interlude got under my skin a bit. Hoping that's done.



Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Bag of grab

Someone ought to invent a recipe called Huevos Umbertos.

I am enamored of this astrology post. Quite a writer. I nod along with all the Taurean descriptions (pleasure, slowness) until we get to the lovely well-furnished home. That brings me back to earth with a bump and I remember that really I am only a part-time sensualist spending the rest of my time making sure that the minimum gets done. Who doesn't believe at all in astrology. But anything can provide a framework for good writing. The advice re: boundary settings hits me in all the right places too.

Going to the dentist today to have the tea haze scritched off my teeth. Then I'm going to vote. Nod said this morning that he doesn't have any problem with a requirement to show photo ID to vote. He thinks that if we have to show ID to get in to see our elected representative it's not a hardship to have to show it to vote. I replied that I could see his point but I kind of hate Kris Kobach anyway. There's a person whose actions indicate that he needs a lot of attention and it's perfectly fine with him if that ends up being negative attention.

Babysat for the four boys next door last night. Their toddler is sweet and easy as pie. Changing one poopy diaper made me feel like I'd done my yoeman's duty. Other than that it was all smooth sailing. Our kids all get along and Chutes and Ladders was surprisingly popular.

I put on a turtleneck sweater this morning for the first time this season. When I saw how it gently pushes up my extra chins I laughed. It's also a little short and I decided I'm going to get rid of it. Life's too short to spend all day trying to suck my neck in. I'm probably lighter in weight than the last time I put it on but it appears that gravity has been at work when I wasn't looking. Harrumph! I say.



Thursday, October 30, 2014

Updated

What am I doing today?

Bringing my coffee to work in a mason jar. I couldn't find a travel mug and this worked really well.

Redirecting my attention back to work tasks. I would prefer to work when requets come in and read the entire internet in between. I find that I'm good at writing things down, not so good at looking at them ever again. I'm getting feedback that I'm going to need to develop that skill and follow through on stuff. Even the stuff that isn't new and exciting. I realized I had an overdue task during yesterday's team meeting. Got it done this morning and am going to try and check a few others off today.

Feeling less cronelike today. I'm wearing one of my favorite shirts and my hair is doing a thing I like. I mentioned to Kat that I thought I was looking older in the face this fall. She denied any knowledge of this. Although it was nice to hear, I am quite sure that in her almost 13 yr old mind I am plenty old. As I am. Still working with that acceptance-not-resignation thing.

Being happy that it's Hallowe'en tomorrow. I got Kat's Joker jacket and vest sewed up last night and we are both pleased. Sort of looking forward to spraying Bun's hair pink tomorrow for her Princess Bubblegum getup. I acquired some candy so we can give out when we're at home. The jack o'lanterns are molding and I better take a picture tonight before the worst happens.

Being a relieved parent: Kat is feeling better and worked on homework last night and went to school today. I think she'll stay for the whole day this time. One reason I know she's feeling better is that we are tussling regarding her desire to go to a Halloween sleepover tomorrow. Nod and I are united that she should not. I expect to win but it will probably be uncomfortable for all of us. 11pm pick up at the friend's house? More debate to come.

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Before I forget -- an experience from our New Mexico Trip in October. We went for the second week of the ABQ Balloon Fiesta and it was a really good trip despite colds, homework and wind. One day it was too windy for balloons so we went to Santa Fe for a stroll around the plaza, a little shopping and lunch. We ate at Tia Sophia's which is just off the plaza on San Francisco and has been there forever. I think I remember eating there when my high school boyfriend was a projectionist at the Lensic across the street. It was recommended by the toy store guy in the shopping center and it was thoroughly great! My chile relleno with green and red sauce was the best. I may not be able to eat this dish again after that one. Everyone had great food, the kids enjoyed the sopapillas. (I'm happy to say that I think I have finally grown out of sopapillas, it only took 47 years.) It was busier when we were paying the check and I had to wait at the till. The owner or manager was trying to describe some of their menu items to some European women, slightly older than I, with very fancy hair. Though they spoke excellent, barely accented, English, they were clearly out of their depth and having trouble understanding the nature of a) a stuffed sopapilla and b) posole. I loved the earnestness of the manager almost throwing his hands up at the impossibility of verbally describing these dishes to someone who's never seen/tasted them.



Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Pebbles and dross

God almighty. Spill out some sentences and fill in the blanks.
Dog, needs ears cleaned, skipped a day.
Alash Ensemble tonight, Nod's idea of a must-do outing. Kat's still
sick and should stay home. Hope she's okay with that.
Trees have been going up like fireworks, colored leaves have blown off
in the gusty winds. The bright yellow gingko and red maples across the
street are mostly bare now. I didn't walk under the glowing yellow
tree, I have regrets.

Work friend is trying to buy a house in town. She has two possibilities,
one costs $50K more and is in the tony golf course neighborhood. I
would never opt for that, don't want to keep up with any Joneses and
would much rather keep my funky house in good shape than try to do
right by a showplace. But she has her husband to think of, a man who
loves to be outdoors or out in the garage and would have more lot with
the 'spensive house. Getting rid of her big bad commute is worth putting
up with plenty, but paying how much?

A little anxiety about not being so busy at work. The start of the
semester was an avalanche. Then the certified trainer program was a
new kind of stress and busy. Now it feels like we've got very little
going on. I tend to revel in that state but would like to know where
the boundaries are.

It's all beautiful and nothing lasts. Thank you, John Scalzi's dream for
that sentence. I haven't had any memorable dream souvenirs for a while.

I found my flipping bite plate so I didn't have to spend $200+ on a new one.
It had fallen down the side of my mattress and was up against the bedframe.
The second time I changed the sheets I thought to look there. Such a relief.
Next lost item:  the Halloween card the girls wrote to their grandma. They
finished it and I stamped it and had it Monday morning before work. Then I
looked for it that day and... might have put it in the outgoing mail tray? Or
hid it under one of the many objects in our house? Grrr.



Monday, October 27, 2014

Warming

I improved our bedroom over the weekend. It has not reached nirvana yet but is feeling more enlightened than when I started. The previous tenants left their bedroom curtains up for us. Which is a kindness -- we did not have to either resort to hanging up a sheet or to running to the store and buying curtains in great haste (which would involve swearing, marital discord and/or regret).

The curtains were odd though: one set of cream cotton and one set of green cotton curtains, all hung with shower curtain rings. I had a set of floral patterned curtains that I thought could be combined somehow to good effect. I acquired some clippy curtain rings on Saturday and set myself to improving the status quo. I found out that the green curtains were twice as long as the cream and had been safety pinned up to match lengths. Everything was dusty. Unpinned and into the washer they went and lo, I had a big pile of shower curtain rings. After washing I found that the long green curtains were a) stained, b) not wide enough to cover the windows, c) not the same length as the floral pattern ones I wanted to add, and d) revolted me once they were up on the rods by themselves. After banishing the greenies I put up the cream set. They proved to be a) not as stained, b) too short when strong on the rod, and c) slightly different values of cream. I popped some shower curtain rings on them to add length and put the florals on the ends and ahhhh. I don't care about the shades of cream because the floral contrasts enough. The whole combo is light colored and restful to the eye. I am resolved to never think about the shower curtain rings again even though they offended me mightily at first.

#1 Child is home sick today. With a selection of non lethal symptoms: her head is draining which makes her cough when she lies down. She felt hot and cold in the night but didn't feel feverish to the maternal hand this morning and I never got around to taking an actual temperature. She completed her homework yesterday night so I don't think she is telling tales. A day of rest can't hurt.

#2 Child is gone to school in another crazy getup. Her grandma commented on this when we were in ABQ. Bun is creative with the pattern mixing and never met a bright color she doesn't like. We won't lose her, even in a dim room she will glow. We've got our new laptop hooked up to the internet lifeline now and Bun was watching funny pet videos yesterday. Peals of giggles. I find her laughter irresistible and predict that will be what attracts her life mate. I know that's dumb and I won't breathe a word. But mark my words...

Jack o'lanterns are carved and glorious. The warm weather won't be good for them but they only have to last til Friday night. Got Bun's pink dress for Princess Bubblegum at Goodwill. Decided Kat's Joker can wear stripey pants so we don't have to acquire purple ones. Bought green hair dye. Nod keeps on swimming which is so good for him. He's delighted at the muscle def. I got out and yogged a couple of times so I can try and keep up with him.

Raising Steam never took off and I think that was my farewell to the Discworld series. The series will continue to be a source of solace and delight but even if there are later books published I don't think I'll need to read them. Gratitude.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Series of World

Rain in the night and in the dark morning. The dog kept slowing down on the morning walk as if to ask why are we walking in the rain? To get it done, Bubba.

I got the date of the kids' dentist appointments wrong. After carefully coaching them to walk over on their own today. It's tomorrow instead but at least I found out before they had set out. I know I am not the worst at logistics but I also know that it's a weakness of mine. Everything seems negotiable in my brain so I have a hard time keeping the days/times/places nailed down. Just think how unpredictable I could become once I get forgetful in my old age!

Taco Night ruled last night. I'm happy that everybody seemed to have a good time, even the tired super toddler. After we waved the naybs out the door we turned on the baseball game and got to watch the Royals get 5 runs in the 6th inning. Highly satisfying.

It's almost time to carve pumpkins. And finish costuming. Oldest child says she wants to go to a sleepover party at a friend's house on Halloween night. I feel sad about loss of family time. Will look for the spouse's strong opinion to see if we match. Youngest child has also been invited to a sleepover that night but says she'd rather go trick-or-treating. Needs: purple leggings, pink long dress. K is still tailoring her purple jacket and needs green hair dye for the Joker. We have L's pink hair spray and she will need to make herself a Princess Bubblegum circlet.

I am looking for a book to swan dive into. I have a couple of pulpy novels (think were-vamp characters) that I don't expect too much from. Maybe it's time to re-read something. I am liking Raising Steam but it isn't wowing me and I know it won't last nearly long enough.






Tuesday, October 21, 2014

No frost, just pumpkins

Fee Fi Fo Fum I smell dry leaves and woodsmoke! Walked the dog last night about 7:30. In the dark. Much like it was when I walked her in the morning in the dark. But it was a cool, not cold evening and this is a beautiful autumn week. The mosquitoes are finally discouraged by lows in the 40s. The sky has been clear and blue. We're getting a big finish from some of the maples turning colors. There's one that is arrestingly yellow. I exclaim every time I drive past it on Connecticut. I think I need to walk underneath it before the leaves fly.

The fam got their pumpkins to carve for jack o'lanterns two weekends ago while I was toiling on my powerpoint presentation. I will go get a grocery store pumpkin so I can join in the carving this Friday. I admired a neighbor's pumpkin on the porch last week and saw there was already a squirrel bite out of it. Those fancy tailed rats are very spoiled this year: acorns are everywhere. Makes me wish I had a few pigs to herd.

I am a [vendor's name] Certified Trainer. I could have done better on my class participation. Mostly I'm glad it's done.

Maybe I can get a jog in this evening before the baseball begins. We are tickled that the World Series is on a free tv channel that we get. Go Royals!

I'm seeing greater age in my face lately. I'm getting some pre menopause signs from the umpire. (Okay that metaphor got away from me. Wild pitch!) I continue to feel set in my ways socially. Not much libido to speak of. I will take a deep breath and walk the line between acceptance and resignation. I'm lucky to be here! I'm lucky to be alive! (Said in Spalding Gray's imitation of a South African accent, misquoted from Swimming to Cambodia.)

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Flung

Flinging happened and we started sleeping at the new house on Saturday. I would have camped out in the old place for longer. It's probably a good thing we have Nod's yang energy to propel us sometimes.

Everything was very dusty. Some of it still is. I was embarrassed when I saw how dusty the furniture the movers were picking up was. They did a good job and were all four very pleasant which was entirely unexpected. I realized while cleaning the old place that I'm bad at cleaning for myself. I clean to deadline and for others but not much for myself. I can do the kitchen and make beds. Would like to learn to do the other stuff so order is maintained and can be enjoyed. I am also drawing up a legally binding document for the four of us to sign agreeing that no clothing will be left on the floors at the new house at any time. I am eager to start cleaning and re-arranging in the new place but am holding that pleasure as a treat for when I'm done making the old place presentable.

We're also off tv as the cable service has not been relocated to the new place and I haven't yet figured out how to rig the digital converter to our old picture box to see what we can get for free out of the air. (Prediction: not much.) I appreciate saving the pennies. Nod wanted to keep Bun from the clutches of the Disney Channel.

Girls are doing well and being extremely self sufficient. I realized that I hadn't had a pep talk with Bun about how her schedule was changing and she needed to remember to get picked up after school with our next-door neighbors and what to do if there was an emergency since we don't have a phone yet. But all went well, she got home in good order and now she has the emergency plan.

There is no phone jack that I could find in the house. Hm. My plan to live partly in the technological past and partly in the present may have run into a snag.

Emma Thompson plays Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd on PBS Live from Lincoln Center this Friday 9/26/14. I will drape my antenna cable and see if I can find it. (Prediction: no.)  Here's the Jezebel write up, the last clip shows her and her fox stole, the darling.


Friday, September 19, 2014

Where are we

Local jonagold apple with the crisp! and the tartsweet juicy! Must be beautiful fall. Bun has been wanting pomegranates for about six weeks now. Her inner fruit clock is fast. I do love to see the only-available-for-a-little-while treats:  concord grapes, prune plums, pomegranates, peaches, reeeeal tomatoes.

The furniture movers are coming tomorrow morning god help us all. I think there will be a certain amount of flinging. If we fling everything into the closets they can move the big heavy stuff and then we can be more organized about the packing and the transferring. I am not the best general. So glad Nod has hired the truck and the men. Even if we'll be running around tomorrow like crazy fiends.


Friday, September 12, 2014

So Much Money, Honey

Going out of course, not coming in. The oil change revealed cracks in the timing belt. New timing belt and water pump for the 2006 Subaru? Done! There is a good side to this because I get to enjoy six months or so of the feeling that the engine is up to date and worry free.

Add an additional vet appointment for a dog who apparently licked a hole in her leg just because she was bored. This made me sob on the way home last night, thinking that this dog is now revealed as neurotic and high needs and I can't take it. I still don't know what to think about her. Sweet as the day is long. Stinks like a day old fish. Has gooey ear canals. Stink and gooeyness are because she is allergic to grass and trees and dust mites. Probably should have daily injections of allergy meds to make that better. Guess what doesn't sound like a fun addition to my daily routine? Even Kat, the most pro-dog among us, is unwilling to give shots. I don't think Nod is ready for that sort of daily grind. So, children, this is the moral of the story: pound dogs can be every bit as expensive as pure breds.

I guess I can look at it as a six month experiment. We can try the injections through March and see if things are better in general. Wish I could delegate someone to try this and report back.

I also wish I could go shopping and buy a really great pair of black walking shoes and a pretty shoulder bag and...

I haven't been able to exercise for a few weeks and it's not a good feeling. I need to make dates on the calendar for 5:30 jogs -- maybe that'll help it happen. Grrr.

Went to the library last night and brought home two books about Elizabethan daily life. Finished the Tess Monaghan novel I was reading. I liked the Baltimoriana but the villains didn't do much for me. I checked out a novel that's got characters from the Chinese zodiac, seems like it should be awesome or terrible.


============

Felt good to sing out my complaints above. Now it's later in the day and I've gotten through one workshop where I did my first bit of presenting. It went fine and I'm much encouraged. I need the practice and the only way to get it is to do it. Exhaling. I get to do my bit again at 4:00pm. It will be good for me. And it'll be lovely when it's done and it's wine o'clock.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Domestic Violence Rates

Jaw dropping numbers. Are we able to look this in the face more now? Some very hopeful stats.

From the US Bureau of Justice Statistics:
  • From 1994 to 2010, the overall rate of intimate partner violence in the United States declined by 64%, from 9.8 victimizations per 1,000 persons age 12 or older to 3.6 per 1,000.
  • Intimate partner violence declined by more than 60% for both males and females from 1994 to 2010.
  • From 1994 to 2010, about 4 in 5 victims of intimate partner violence were female.
  • Females ages 18 to 24 and 25 to 34 generally experienced the highest rates of intimate partner violence.
  • Compared to every other age group, a smaller percentage of female victims ages 12 to 17 were previously victimized by the same offender.
  • The rate of intimate partner violence for Hispanic females declined 78%, from 18.8 victimizations per 1,000 in 1994 to 4.1 per 1,000 in 2010.
  • Females living in households comprised of one female adult with children experienced intimate partner violence at a rate more than 10 times higher than households with married adults with children and 6 times higher than households with one female only.

Don't let it slide. The schools (K thru college) are trying to help kids be constructive bystanders in regards to reducing bullying and (eventually) sexual violence. This sounds really useful to me. I hope I can learn from it too.

 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Score so far

Things I did today and it's not even 11am:

Went out to breakfast and had fried eggs and fried potatoes and bacon and avocado (which would not have benefitted from being fried). Caught up with my former work team-mates who seem well. Drank all caff coffee which left me a bit edgy.

Unzipped the dog from her crate. Every night we throw a trisket (or something crunchy) in to get her to go in the crate for bed some time after 9:30p. The crate is a large sized nylon sided travel crate that my mother gave us for the kids to play in back when they were toddlers. In the morning Snickers is happy to tumble out when we unzip the door. She never whines or barks to be let out and I am humbled by her restraint. When Hollister came over this summer she didn't know about the crate and went all over the house calling for Snickers without finding her. H was starting to panic thinking that the dog had gotten out of the house somehow when she finally noticed the big blue crate in the living room and the dog watching her and wagging her tail, waiting to be seen.

Learned a couple of new things about the software tool my job is built around. So much to learn, so much teaching background I don't have.

Walked across campus. I park by the computer center even though I am now working (again) in a building in central campus. It's better to spend my time walking to/from the lot than threading my way to a closer parking lot and dealing with car and foot traffic.

Called the elementary school to say that Bun would be home sick again today. But the good news is that her forehead felt cool when I checked on her this morning. Here's hoping she'll be ready to go to school tomorrow.

Emailed our new landlord to set up a time to get the house keys and do a walk through next Monday evening. Excited but also dealing with a glum spouse. Poor Nod used the phrase 'anticipatory dread' a couple of days ago.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Starry

Went swimming at the pagan retreat lake last night with friend Camelia. She's a midwife and solidly pro-skinny-dipping. We had a wonderful time even though much of the conversation was about her in-progress divorce. She's sad and angry because he's the leaver, she's still in love. It's such a hard place. We are all Team Camellia, she is full of value and her ex-guy is continually demonstrating his lack of maturity. But hard to know how to help someone stop being in love. She has all the good reasons for her head. Now how to re-direct her heart?

The lake was so different than last week. It surprised me.
Last week we were bombed by mayflies and only a few skeeters. High thin clouds across the sky and no moon.
Last night we watched large and small bats swirling and hunting until full dark made them invisible. The sky was completely clear. A waxing gibbous moon and many stars shone on us. The moon was so bright we had distinct shadows. Sadly the mayflies were gone and all the skeeters were out keening in my ears (but good for bat dining). The air and water were cooler and after 90 minutes in the water I started getting cold. We felt so lucky swimming under the stars. A sweet farewell to summer.


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

blink

I'm reading blogs so I should write too, right? Righty right. A rare fresh Waffle post deserves as much. I will not have as much disposable time in this job. On the other hand I may get a smart phone this fall. We may opt for wifi and then I could use the kindle. But those are uncertain options and nothing about our current rickety gift pc makes me want to spend time in the evening squinting at a blog post. We'll see when the days get darker and the cold moves in whether I'll cosy back up to blogging.

Rather uncomfortable taking my leave of the co housing neighbs. I love the mowing (after it's done). I hate that certain folks are on the hook to the bank and they haven't been able to sell the open units. I love the porch. I love my husband's gardening. I hate the sense of disappointment I feel. I tried to go to a book club meeting last night but while I was putting away clean dishes in the common house there was a general meeting of the owners and it was uncomfortable tiptoeing out past that. As I said to Nod last night I have made it clear that it is not my business so I'd best leave it alone.

Non specific stomach pains had me at the dr's office with Kat yesterday. Ruled out anything scary. We're trying avoiding dairy for a week but neither the doc nor I think that's the thing. Wash the dog's ears, avoid dairy for oldest kid, more moving targets for the week?

Days getting shorter and I can't run in the dark. Have to make efforts to shift the routine, aiee! More boxes obtained and filled. Anxiety mounts but it's not keeping me up. Let's see what happens next.

Went night swimming last Thursday with Nod at the naked pagan pond. It was so beautiful, even with insects dive bombing our heads. He wants to go again tomorrow night because it'll be hot. I think I'll go. He's so greedy about pleasure. Sometimes it drives me bats because the priorities are off but sometimes I am grateful. We're alive and we'd better grab it now!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Exhale slowly

Relaxing more into the new job. First workshop for me to assist with is next Friday and I've stopped getting the adrenaline rush (shallow breaths, alarmed guts) just thinking about it. I won't present, just smile supportively and answer questions if asked. I'll attend some other sessions next week and then get more experience by setting up the a/v equipment and so on. I was told it would be a gradual process but was afraid of being dropped into the deep end and revealing my incompetencies. Funny to see my brain ignore information because of Fear. The other parts are going well, I can tell I'm taking up some slack and giving the team some ability to do more. My manager is overwhelmed, I wonder if that is a constant state or if it will settle out during the semester.

We're moving. Is this because my summer of responsibility is not a summer after all but a new era? The plan is to sign a lease this weekend to start September 15. A week or so ago I saw a for rent sign on one of my top pick blocks for relocating. I didn't want to move in August but took down the info anyway. We are friends with two other families on this block. It's just over the district line so in the fullness of time our girls can go to the high school near the campus where I work. They will keep going to their current elementary and middle schools. In fact Kat will be moving closer so she'll have a half block walk to middle school. Bun will add three blocks her her school walk and I'm a bit concerned. But there are possibilities... curtailing overly detailed discussion of complicated child delivery systems.

We went to see the house and it's everything I want. It has hard wood floors, 3BR, 2BA, garage, fenced backyard, full basement and locationlocationlocation. It's small, I don't want anything too big to clean. But enough room for me. I think it will be a bit small for Nod. He may feel constrained. What he told me was that it lacks some elements in his sweet spot: a porch being first on the list. It's a single level ranch which is his least favorite design and the layout reminds us both of his mother's house (oy!). But he said he can tell how much the rest of us like it and he is willing to defer to our desires. The rent is just slightly more than we pay now. The landlord seems conscientious and maybe even sweet. She and partner lived in the house until they moved to the country. It's been rented to just one family for the last five years. Everything is in good condition (better condition than I had hoped for in a rental) except for a roof issue that is being dealt with.

We are ready to move out of the co housing place. I will be sad to say goodbye to the network we have been participating in for more than four years. But I will be glad to let go of the crankiness and the uncertainty of group decision making. Namaste to my neighbs. I hope to participate in some things in the future there. But I realize that we have experienced hurt feelings when people have moved out so I should expect that to happen to those we are bidding farewell.

I am remembering that good stress is still stress. I went walkjogging twice this week, probably should have gone this morning. My favorite part of exercising in the morning is when I get home and bend over at the waist. I keep my knees as straight as possible and take several breaths until I can touch the floor. I visualize my lower back releasing and extending. It feels great. Maybe I am learning to take on more responsibility and have a more active role in navigating life. Curious. I've heard that hormonal changes at my time of life may result in lowered female hormones and higher expression of male hormones. My yang age? If true this trend will be interesting to combine with my self image as a grumpy rabbit.

Start of school has exhausted the kids but I think they are happy to have new things to think about. Kat is also very excited about packing. She asked me to go to the liquor store to ask for boxes a few nights ago. We have filled a few. The kids have packed all the important stuffed animals that they won't need until late September.


Friday, August 8, 2014

Walking

Wish I had time to fiddle with bkgrd image but nope. Just dumping for now. Have been reluctant to take much responsibility in the work setting before now. Part was not wanting to be wrong, not wanting to be point person, impose my will on others. Part was entirely selfish, save my attention and energy for my own stuff. I need plenty of that, I am not a high energy person, there is a limited amount to go around. I like to do things over and over until I am comfortable with them before pressure is applied.

I was worried about having to step in as the instructor of training workshops. That may not be this month but will happen eventually. I do not feel fluent with PowerPoint or presentation equipment so it feels like a big step. For now I am using tools I am mostly familiar with and trying to cram as much Blackboard info into my head as I can. That feels like more solid ground.

This NPR story yesterday evening left me gobsmacked. Four months of walking for an hour a day did not affect the participants' blood sugar levels. Only the ones doing alternated high/low effort walking showed good results. No wonder I had to add some jogging to get any results, walking by itself just wasn't getting much reaction from my body.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

blink

Living with stress, how do people do it? I had to go to bed at 9p on Monday evening. I got through some difficult calls and have learned by doing a few things the hard way. I can look forward to more of that. I think I have shed Monday's load of 'am I good enough?' and am feeling like I can do a few things to earn my hay.

Kids and husband are being very supportive. Even the dog and cat seem particularly affectionate. 90 days is my goal and I think I need to take it month by month. Getting through August will make me feel proud. September and October are fairly unimaginable right now.

Realizing that I have never sought challenge in my jobs and there may be perfectly good psychological reasons for that. Having to stretch is ...interesting.

Have hit the part of the summer where I just want the A/C to work and I don't want to be bitten by mosquitoes. Nod has been going to the pool, he loves to get in the water. His work van has no A/C at the moment and I think that's a scandal.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Injected

Today we went to the appointment for Kat's last vaccination required until she is 18. No matter what happened I offered her that full five year span of no needle pricks to latch onto. I made sure to ask about the topical anesthetic spray or salve, both when I confirmed the appointment and when we arrived this morning. It was two injections and they had two nurses available to do them simultaneously. After the freezy spray Kat leaked a few tears from the anticipation but then it was over in a flash. And she reports that it DID NOT HURT. We'd both like to rewind the last 18 months and use that spray liberally and faithfully for all her injections. Ethyl Chloride spray, by prescription only, is our new friend. Sorry to have found it for the last one, baby. But better late than never. Godalmighty when is the dang needle-less Star Trek spray injection system going to be available? Dunkin Donuts afterwards.

Bad or baffling flag design blog? Yes, please! Here you are. From metafilter, why shop anywhere else?

KC Royals went 14 innings to win 2 to 1 over (Detroit if only!) Clevland last night. So glad I turned it off at 10:15pm. But yay, another win!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Waterworks

Went to San Francisco and ate it up. The middle aged folks dressed up for the fairytale wedding was more fun than I expected. Lots of enthusiasm and what a sweet ceremony.

Posting may be light as I step out onto the new job's tightrope. Grieving is abated and I have thought of some new reasons to look forward with hope.

Here's a Guardian article discussing water usage and the modern toilet/shower/bathroom. Found on Metafilter which features a wider discussion and although plenty of the comments boil down to  'yer doin it wrong' I still found it worth reading.

Pattern for tote bag. This is just what I was looking for...

Friday, July 11, 2014

Really?

Well, bust my buttons. I've been made a job offer including a respectable salary amount. I asked for 24 hours to be in a daze, then gave them my yes answer this morning. This is a job I will need to do homework for. It may be stressful. It is a real professional position with growth possibilities. Goggle eyed. Currently grieving for my current job. And worried about how I get the knowledge I need to use for the new one.

Going to SF for a wedding next week. I could use something fancy to wear on the top. Guess it's this weekend or never.

Woke up at 4am ish thinking of job and pet meds and now I am wired tired.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Lesser pitch

Summer frenzy continues but perhaps dialed down a few notches. My job application seems to have fizzled because candidates with actual training background materialized. I interviewed but it seems unlikely that I'll get the call unless all the qualified applicants laugh at the salary offer. Which is not impossible so I'll keep half an eye open. I will continue to cross-train for this department and I may get hired that way after they provide me with some real experience.

The girls played against each in other last night's softball game. It wasn't a brilliant outing for either. Kat's team was the victor and it was hot and muggy and I did not enjoy. Bun has successfully lost her mitt, she was lucky to be able to borrow our next-door neighbor's for the game. Only one more game for each of them next week. I feel that I must look on the bright side: a) it was over fairly quickly and b) we've been lucky and had a fairly cool summer so far, all the other games have been more enjoyable.

The long weekend was long for the kids. They are tired of unstructured time, it especially wears on Kat's nerves. She was following her sister around and being obnoxious one morning. When ordered to keep away was tearful and angry. "I hate summer!" said she. The next day Bun was off with a friend. We took Kat to the pool with her own friend and they met another pal there and it was a good thing.

The little dogs' owners are home. Whew! They definitely grew on me during our time of responsibility. Considering Snickers' love for all of them (quite unreturned) I would be tempted to get her a little dog of her very own. But only if: fenced yard, locating another non-barking dog, etc. etc. I went walk/jogging Monday morning to celebrate my freedom. It was sprinkling and quite pleasant. I feel guilty that I did not get out this morning but am making an effort to set that aside and see what I can do later. Perhaps some mowing will satisfy my inner Puritan.

I am bracing myself for the two and a half weeks of library closure before the new building is open. I've abandoned several books so far and completed a slew. I am halfway through Full Dark House and still a little confused. I expected paranormal mystery in an alternate universe. But the cover stresses that it is a locked room mystery and despite my resistance I have to admit that's what it is so far. It has a bit of atmospherically embodied evil but it's set in our own universe. I'm disappointed not to be reading an alternate Blitz story. This book's not terrible, I think I'll finish it but skim over all the elaborate details about the layout of the theatre and who was where, when. Don't care, give me characters and some dramatic moments please. Planning to jump into Nicola Barker's Darkmans next. But oh crap, now I see, that's book #3 in a series. Must find #1 which isn't in the city library's collection even though they have #2 and #3. Grr. The university library does have it so I'll make the hike.

Adventures in unsuitable movie watching for the family: Anchorman. Three of us watched Anchorman II on the flight to Europe so there was some curiosity about the first one. Bun was the odd one out and didn't get much of the movie but I don't think it will stunt her growth. It was a bit embarrassing but we all survived and agreed that II was better than I.




Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Prepared

I have some reading to do on captainawkward.com. I followed a metafilter link to this post about breaking the low mood cycle and I'm very happy I did. Fave quote so far:
We’re just talking about that state that we all get into of wanting to be the Life of the Party but having only enough energy to be the Housepet of the Party. 
[picture of a grumpy cat] caption: “I’m going to stalk dramatically through the center of the conversation and then disappear. Don’t touch me.”
I think I've been the housepet of the party! But probably like a more pathetic cat as in "I'm going to edge around the corners of the party making only glancing, apologetic eye contact and then disappear." Not feeling puny right now but it's always good to prepare for the next time.

I'm busy living in the 18th century right now with Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire. Here is the Goodreads link for Foreman's biography. I'll probably want to look at the movie too but don't expect the same immersion experience. How letter-dependent this time period was (late 1700s) and what a golden treasury that leaves for historians/biographers/dilettante readers. The culture of high-stakes gambling in British high society at that time is quite a foreign country. This woman lived for decades in dread of her gaming debts. I've read far enough that Georgiana has reached 40 and lost the use of one eye. I keep being surprised she didn't adopt a jaunty eye patch, rather than just feeling self conscious. But I am thinking of earlier ages with their beauty marks and patches and so on. Good book.

No doggie throw up this morning. Fingers crossed for more of the same.

After I get out of the courts of George III and IV I will take a hard left turn and be in Topeka, Kansas in the mid 1960s. A friend lent me a book about the 1966 tornado that flattened a wide swath in the city. She was telling me highlights as we stood in the re-built college buildings on Washburn University campus, home of the frightening Ichabods. Okay, this one here looks pretty jolly but believe me, creepy.


Time to prepare for my July invasion of San Francisco. Not ready, why yes I am!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Juried

Called to report but not selected for the jury, whew. The judge was pretty charming but the whole experience was stressful. I have to check the message tonight to see if I'm called for Wednesday. If not, then done.

We finished watching Game of Thrones, season three and took the DVDs back to the library for the next patient cheapskate. It was good, seemed more consistently dramatic than season two. We ff'd through some of Jon and Ygritte, the torture of Theon (gah) and all of Sam and Gilly. I don't mind the Babes in the Woods but Nod couldn't stand 'em. Diana Rigg as the Tyrell grand dame was the best. And Davos (new reader and conscience for King Stannis) is now my favorite character. I wonder if the discs for season four will be out by xmas... Here's a good wiki for reference and looking up the umpty-hundreds of characters. And here's the Guardian's episode recaps.

Little dogs are doing well. They aren't much trouble but I feel the pressure of being on call. Snickers thinks they're great and they don't mind her much. We went to the fenced yard at the Humane Society last night. The hounds sniffed and trotted around. Not much exercise but at least some unfettered outside time. Kat was in charge of keeping the littles behind the sunshade so they wouldn't jump on me while I was driving.


Thursday, June 19, 2014

Important Books

In keeping with my goals of laughing and reading, this is very important news to share.
The Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize was launched in 2000, in honour of the great comic writer P G Wodehouse... 
Sponsored by Champagne Bollinger, the prize is the UK’s only literary award for comic writing, celebrating the novels that have really made people laugh in the past year. 

The 2013 prize was awarded to Howard Jacobson's Zoo Time. Previous winners include: Sir Terry Pratchett for his 50th novel, Snuff; Gary Shteyngart for his novel Super Sad True Love Story; Ian McEwan’s Solar; Geoff Dyer’s Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi; The Butt by Will Self; Salmon Fishing in the Yemen by Paul Torday; All Fun and Games until Somebody Loses an Eye by Christopher Brookmyre; A Short History of Tractors in Ukranian by Marina Lewycka (which went on to be shortlisted for the Orange Prize); DBC Pierre for Vernon God Little (who went on to win the Man Booker Prize for Fiction), Howard Jacobson’s The Mighty Waltzer, Jonathan Coe for The Rotters’ Club, Michael Frayn for Spies and Jasper Fforde’s The Well of Lost Plots.
I approve of the champagne prize, that is very apt and very Wooster-ish. I suppose having a purebred pig named for your novel is also in the PGW spirit, but perhaps a little too on the nose? I must read my way through these. I had Super Sad on my to-read list. I've read Snuff and The Well of Lost Plots and am no doubt better for them.

Currently I'm oaring my way through Without A Summer. It's been a bit more effort than the previous two. Too much family politics, I'm wondering where the glamour is? I will try to reserve judgement until I finish it.

This week has taken guts and fortitude. I think I'm on the downhill side but must keep my eyes open. Girl Scout day camp starts at 8:45 and ends at 3:
{record scratch} {sound of me running to pick up Bun 20 minutes later than usual}

That'll teach me to turn off my calendar reminders. At least I was only 3 minutes driving from the scout camp when they called me to inquire. Bun was with friends and was not distressed. I will take what cold comfort I can that there were still two girls waiting for pick up when we left. 

As I was saying, this week has had it all: day camp, Kat taking the city bus solo for the first time, jazz band class, two softball games, music lessons, jury duty, applying for a new job. I'm not done yet! Caring for three extra dogs starts tomorrow morning. I was not called for jury service this week thank cheeses, but I have to call Friday evening to see about Monday's trials. Jury duty goes through next week. Dog duty goes until mid July. I just looked up the Humane Society's hours so we can use their fenced yard to run the dogs in the evenings. 

I have a loose button hole on my blouse and have to keep re-buttoning today. I need to take a couple of stitches to lessen the sloppy gap threat. I haven't needed any coffee for the past few mornings because my adrenaline level was Elevated. Tomorrow is the last of day camp and my application is in so I'd like to step down from Red Alert. But we start with the doggies tomorrow and what if I forget something? 


Thursday, June 12, 2014

Mountains to scale

I was invited to apply for a job in another team. It was very flattering to be asked. I had to find a way to politely demur because it happened a couple of days before we left for Greece and I had no brain cells for applying then. But as sometimes happens, the posting was delayed and it has just gone up. The deadline is next Thursday to get my resume, letter, and personal references submitted. I will need to tell my manager that I am doing this after all. We had talked about me cross-training for this team in the future. But I'm interested in applying and seeing what they offer. The original post included a salary range that started above mine. Now it's been updated to read 'salary commensurate with experience' which is a load of crap because this is a state agency with very narrow resources we're talking about. I think it'll be more money than I make now and I will certainly turn them down flat if it is not.

This position is what the educational technologists were doing in the office I started working in back in 2006. I will have to learn how to lead a workshop and many other things. I am sure I can do the phone support and deskside coaching part. I wonder if it will make me feel more stressed than this job. I am going to read the description out loud to myself to gauge my reactions.

I saw a clip of a tv show about Garrison Keillor. He was talking to (college students?) about writing and said something like -- we don't know what we think until we write it. That's part of my sporadic need to write here.

Good-as-full moon last night rising over the ball fields. Both girls are fielding and hitting well. Nod said something about Bun needing to run faster. But considering her relaxed approach to life I think it's a bit amazing that she runs at all. Both of them seem to enjoy this summer softball routine very much. Kat is aging out, this is her last year for city rec league. She may be ready for something tougher next year. As her parent I don't know if I am. I don't know what the options are to get her signed up and I don't know if I'm ready for more intense practices, etc. Stop borrowing trouble, save those worries for next year.

Lots of places to be for the kids next week. Kat will be in music class at the high school. She'll get to ride the city bus and it should provide some spice to her summer doldrums. I think she's getting testy with all this time off. Bun will be at girl scout day camp which will require some drop off time jigging by me. Which reminds me I need to tell my manager about that too.



Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Afloat

Box Elder's photo collage for May reminds me that the month is over. I miss it! It was wonderful and I wish it had gone a little slower.

I am very sorry for the death of the bird trapped in the lantern that fell on our porch while we were away. I didn't see any of the young ones in the tumble of the nest but couldn't bear to look very closely. Sometimes existence is revolting.

It poured rain yesterday afternoon and all night and this morning. So far nothing's floated away. I baked cornbread and we ate it with our Cretan honey. I discovered again that cornbread is the most delicious when it's first made. I also made colcannon with potatoes and many leaves from our garden. It was good and really cried out for some bacon on top. Wish I'd had some.

Kat dyed her hair crayon red on Saturday afternoon. I kept being startled when I caught a glimpse of her in my peripheral vision. She asked if I liked it. I said I prefer the color that grows out of her head but that I was glad she was having fun. She and friend B went to The Fault In Our Stars last night. They said it was good and sad. I still haven't finished the ebook that I started last November. I regretted agreeing to be the parental chauffeur last night as it was pouring down both ways. I almost hit a pedestrian backing up in the parking lot. But we all got home safe so that means I win.



Friday, June 6, 2014

Chorus

Back again to the place that we know. The smells are all different and welcome. There's been plenty of rain in Kansas while we've been away and the plants are doing their thing with verve. Giant chard and kale leaves in the garden. The dog loved being with our neighbor so much she tried to go to their home last night and I had to get a leash to get her.

Bun enjoyed her first ever swim at the ocean beach. Both kids loved playing in the waves and chasing the reef fish around. The day we went to Kommos beach the swells were higher and it was exciting but also a little terrifying at least for the parents. The girls loved it. We jumped in those big waves for about 45 minutes and then opted for the more sheltered cove at Matala beach. Death defying drive on cliffside road to BungaBunga. Too much like nightmares I've had of driving off the edge. Nod insisted on beach time for the first four days of our visit. He was worried about the weather shifting and it being too cold. I thought this was baseless anxiety but it happened just that way. The winds came up and there was unseasonable rain and we were happy to have gotten to the beach as much as we did to start.

My MIL was a hearty traveler and didn't have any trouble with the demanding schedule. She did manage to break the washing machine at our villa. Nod snapped into motion and we went down to Tymbaki to the gas station for directions to a hardware store. Exotic Cretan screwdrivers in hand he worked and swore and fixed the thing. Embarrassing and expensive confession averted!

My favorite times include the mountain hike we took in the Rouvas Gorge. The air smelled like thyme and sage and pine trees. Very few other hikers. Goats with bells. Kat said she was the goat paparazzi and has the pictures to prove it.

Our villa hosts were so helpful, generous and kind I felt incredibly in their debt and Nod had to remind me that we did have a financial relationship. The villa was old stone and stucco, thick walls with iron bars and shutters to keep out the afternoon heat.

To start our European visit, Bun threw up after our overnight flight while we trudged around Dusseldorf. She and Kat slept on the flight to Heraklion. And she was fine the next day. Sadly she started off the trek homeward with a spate of barfing too. She was done by the time we touched down at the Athens airport.

I owe the Athens airport a big apology. I had heard it was chaotic and unpleasant but no, that would be the Heraklion airport at 9am on a Sunday morning when the European package tours are all scrumming for their return flights. We stood and gaped and had no idea where to go to even check in. The surging humanity was everywhere. Nod zipped around and got a Swiss tour leader to tell him where we should head. Got our luggage checked through and our boarding passes. Then we joined the huge line for passport control. It took the hour that we had before the flight. After throwing up a bit, Bun mostly sat out with her grandma and played Smurfs while we snaked oh-so-slowly towards the One Solitary Person who was checking passports and boarding passes. It was the very definition of bottleneck.

We got off the plane in Athens and we were suddenly in a luxury mall and a little under-dressed. Those of us who were eating ate our bread and cheese and lightly squashed strawberries.

Another favorite episode was our hotel breakfast in Vienna. Many different coffee options, eggs and b., sausage, little dishes for jam, aaahhhh. The Teutonic peoples know how to breakfast. Lufthansa is still trusting their customers with metal cutlery, fork, spoon and knife.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Venturing

We will be out of the country for ten days. We leave in a week. I just had to delete some exclamation points. There are so many things I don't know: obtaining money, where to wash clothes, how to get enough water on a transatlantic flight. So I know I'll learn things on this trip. Which frightens me, you know how relaxing learning new things is. But we're all very excited. I think we could recharge small gadgets on Kat's aura alone. She begged to help me pack last night. Crazy packing loving organizer child. Maybe over the weekend.

I mowed for about an hour last night and am proud of my accomplishment. Less achey afterwards than I expected. I think it's due to my walkjogwalk routine. I haven't noticed other effects after a month. It hasn't made me noticeably smaller. I am pushing down any vain desire for 'toning' and cultivating an attitude of observation. This is another science experiment and I am open to seeing what really happens rather than demanding an outcome. It feels good to be moving more.

I remember my father going for runs in the evenings when I was 7-10 (he was 36-39). It was during his runs that he noticed weakness or hesitation in his left leg. I think he fell a couple of times and decided to stop running. Eventually he was diagnosed with Parkinson's syndrome, they didn't classify it as Parkinson's disease because he was too young. He was old enough for the full disease by the time he died at 71. The VA established it as related to his service (probably exposure to Agent Orange and similar). I don't run like he did, I haven't gone through boot camp. But here's to having two legs that work and the ability to get out and move.

I've been listening to Jim Gaffigan's King Baby CD in the car. It made me laugh til I cried. Kat heard some of it and thought he was a hoot as well. Raiding the library's comedy recording collection is slightly educational and has enhanced the drive to work. In general I would say Aziz Ansari is not speaking to my generation. I preferred Flight of the Conchords' I Told You I Was Freaky to their self-titled CD. Fashion! Fashion is danger... But now I'm craving the full effect of their Kiwi accents and am going to have to find the show to watch. I think I've only seen season 1.




Monday, May 12, 2014

Grand

I made a rhubarb pie on Sunday. Yes an everloving pie with a crust and all. It was gone Sunday night and Nod was sorry the next morning he hadn't saved his 2nd piece for breakfast. I used this recipe for the crust and this one for the filling. But I put the crust in a pie pan and put the rolled out scraps on top. I loved it and I might do it again some time. I'd follow the JOC baking instructions next time, starting at 400.

I had quite a haul for mother's day. Nod gave me flowering plants for the pot on the porch a week early. The kids gave me hand-drawn cards, earrings, and an artisanal coaster. We went out to the park in the morning to play frisbee. It was gusty already and I thought we would be out of luck. But we went to the sunken basketball court that was enough out of the wind. Good fun. Bun can catch with one hand all of a sudden. I realized that our foursome is pretty well matched for disc flinging, we're not having to coach the kids with their throws or catches.

Nod and I went to see Grand Budapest Hotel in the afternoon. I'd been pestering him about it for a while and am glad we caught it at the indie movie theater. Kymm's review is on point. I loved the first half but didn't care for the second half as much. I think Moonrise Kingdom and The Royal Tenenbaums are my faves. The A/C in the theater had me chilled to the bone by the end and it was a relief to go outside into the windy, muggy heat.


Thursday, May 8, 2014

Turnips and Greens

The Spontaneous Tomato technique for cooking kale sounded good. (Short version: saute garlic in oil, add chopped greens, stir to coat then add some water and cover, steam 10-15min., S&P.) I tried it with our chard/kale/spinach mix Nod brought in from the garden. Less steaming time since this stuff is young and tender, I added the spinach halfway through and finished with a splash of balsamic vinegar. It was delectable and reminded me -- in the best possible way -- of how much I loved canned spinach when I was a kid. I also made mac and cheese from the box and they were pretty much a match made in heaven. Then I mowed grass and then I had intestinal distress. Done now but I feel tired this morning. I don't blame those greens but perhaps the microgreens I put on a sandwich? They looked tired.

I'm sorry to say that I'm having trouble getting through the third E Bear novel in her Eternal Sky trilogy. Even after the dragon showed up it's still requiring effort to turn the pages. The dragon encounter reminded me of the Avatar series and its lion turtle. Although these dragons are more petty and snarky, more like European fantasy dragons. The narrative has slowed as we prepare for the Final Confrontation with the big baddie. Much too by the numbers, harrumph.

I wonder what I'll bring to read while we're traveling. Nod and I have to get our budget agreed on. I have to talk with the bank and the credit card to let them know we'll be spending overseas. And a thousand more things. I'm also getting a head start on worrying about the dog. Sigh.

Willa Cather's One of Ours is the next book group selection. I will probably end up liking it but going in, it sounds like a plate of turnips.


Monday, May 5, 2014

Frozen Glory

I had a small oj margarita last night but not for Cinquo de Mayo. Just because it was a warm spring evening and I had finished many good efforts. I sipped on it as I took the dog out for a short promenade. The Pioneer Woman has posted her blackberry margarita recipe. I love the idea (except for the sugar on the rims, eek too sweet!) even without the booze. Here's an all purpose sorbet recipe that will work with my Cuisinart freezer if I can acquire 4 cups of berries. I figure I could make the berry sorbet stuff and mix up the marg booze and have something for all, the youths, the pure, and the impure among us.

Over the weekend I made beef fajitas for the first time. My original intention was to use this oven recipe (I'm hooked on the site but still confused by seeing the prices next to every effing ingredient). But I feared overcooking the meat. I don't cook beef very often and it would be a shame to have it come out gray and blah. So I did everything in a very hot iron pan on the stovetop. It was very good.

We still need to find a new swimsuit for Kat. I always forget that we have a JCP in this town, that'll be plan C if we don't turn up anything sooner. Target didn't have quite the right thing, too many ruffles in general.

We're going to see her Night at the Museum event tonight. All the grades have done projects on a wide range of topics, there should be much to goggle at. Kat's group is staging the Ancient Greek Olympics.



Friday, May 2, 2014

Wonderland

Time to check in on what Nina Paley is up to. Looks like animation and quilting and sometimes a very unexpected combination of the two. She also had me reading about the Chad Gadya, the "one little goat" song sung at the end of the Passover seder, completely new to me. It reminds me of the Old Woman Who Swallowed a Fly.

I'm striding onward through the second book in Elizabeth Bear's steppes series. This one is Steles of the Sky. I kind of hate the titles of these books. All three are the names of mountain ranges in this world, very so consistent. But bloodless and hard to remember, no hook for my memory. It's my only big complaint at the moment. I think the healer wizards are a little too holy and scientifically rigorous but that doesn't mean I'm not enjoying them. Characters are too compassionate, what a shame! Edene is about to give birth and is commanding a djinn in her role as the cursed queen. Excellent drama.

We went to see Kat in her middle school production of Alice in Wonderland last night. She is the 5 of Hearts and has lines in multiple scenes. She's having a wonderful time being in the production and spoke up quite audibly on stage. It's been a good opportunity for her to make friends outside her classes. It was fairly tedious for the audience but cute in spots. I think the greatest accomplishment is the choreography of moving 45 middle schoolers around on- and back-stage for the show. I was sorry there wasn't more language from the original book. As Louis CK says, there is no happiness like the moment you leave your child's performance. Whew. She performs again on Saturday evening. I will take photos afterwards but plan not to sit through it again.

I saw this retweeted by mimismartypants and it makes me laugh and laugh:







Wednesday, April 30, 2014

A New Life Awaits You

Watching my reactions at starting an exercise routine. The first day I was so proud of myself and I was convinced that this changes everything! I started rehearsing conversations in my head discussing my before and after states. I could tell it was an overreaction to what was one day of trying something new. I decided to channel all that energy and infatuation and use it to keep the thing going. A secret project was born, to continue on with this activity for one week without talking about it to anyone (including spouse and blog). Today is day 9 so the honeymoon continues and the gag order has been lifted. I was thinking I have a ways to go until I hit 21 days to cement the habit but this Forbes article by the wackily grinning Jason Selk says that's bushwah. Today.com's article cites a study indicating it's more like three to seven months until habits feel automatic, not one. Seven months gets me through November so that's something to look forward to.

I'm doing a walk/jog/walk route that takes me about 30 minutes first thing in the morning. My joints are okay so far. A few knee twinges have proven to be fleeting so I feel this is working. No amazing physical changes have been detected yet. I'd like the middle flab to be modified but will accept a generally improved fitness level.

Looking for a loose knit sweater pattern for the 12 y.o. She thinks she likes open stitches but the holes must not be too big. Have scanned Ravelry patterns until my eyeballs are tired. Will switch to look at books for ideas.

New haircut is a hit with me and others. Need to get Kat take some pictures. I have decided to do a little pruning on the left side of my bangs where it is too heavy. It's good to have a shape again.