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Saturday, May 22, 2004

i am wiped right the hell out. just spent the last few hours napping (if you can call snoring napping) on the couch.

never ceases to amaze me how much energy it takes to have a 5 year old's version of a regular day. did we ever have that much energy? ;)

but boy, can it be fun. we recently got a family membership to ZooNewEngland, because Little Monkey Boy adores all things Crocodile Hunter, and an afternoon at the zoo is about as good as it gets. today was the opening day for the Dinosaur Kingdom exhibit - a host of animatronic dinos have taken up residence by the Bird House - and the zoo opened two hours early for a members preview. (note: somehow, i thought member previews would involve things like Gauguin and Matisse and civilized cocktail hours... oh, wait. that's the other membership.) and it was so worth the effort to get over there early.

(click here if you'd like to see the full size image - opens in another window.)

:: scribbled at 10:53 PM ... ... o

the synchronicity of things sometimes surprises me.

Lemme tell ya 'bout Betty Jean,
She had a filthy mind,
She worked at the car wash,
But she could not come clean

...which i heard while surfing for a good station... just as i drove into the car wash.

:: scribbled at 10:34 PM ... ... o

Friday, May 21, 2004

dear diary:

no, that's not the opener, not really. even when i kept a paper diary, i never started entries like that. after all, it's an inanimate object. but the impulse to start that way is there today, and i'm not sure why. perhaps because there have been tons of things going on lately, things that haven't made it in here yet, and i'm feeling like writing a good long letter. (i can nearly hear Chica saying 'oh, good! a journal-y type one - 'sabout time!') this could get long and rambly, so as john, i think it is, sometimes recommends, you may want to get a cup of tea before settling in. ;)

the spring hiatus, among other things, sort of got me out of the habit of thinking in stories, so the tools for capturing moments are a little rusty. also? i have the attention span of a gnat these days. seriously - i can't hold a thought for more than a few seconds sometimes; nice little side effect of stress, that. entire trains of thought have gone over the cliffs - splat. splat. splat. there are days where i just want to stop in the middle of a conversation and plead with whomever i'm talking to believe that there really was a brilliant idea there ... somewhere ... i saw it, briefly ... honest, there's still a smart, chatty girl inside me somewhere, and when she comes back, i'll be as thrilled as you are.

anyway. things going on... for one, i've given notice on my apartment. called my landlord last weekend, and gave verbal notice as a courtesy, and will give written notice with the next rent check. it was an interesting conversation, by which i do not mean entertaining. the back story is this: the upstairs tenants, the landlords' son numbered among them, have gotten increasingly crappy, partying until 3, 4, 5 in the morning and refusing my requests to tone it down. they've gone from answering the door, to drawing straws as to who has to deal with the nasty neighbor (that would be me), to just not answering. i've started calling the cops. a lot. the blowout, the final straw was this: Mr. Landlord was partying with them, and he was the one who answered the door on my third go-round. he proceeded to tell me that there was no problem, i must have psychological problems with the rest of my life (the true cause of my anger, he says), and did i want to come up for a drink because he thought of me as family? mind you: this was at 2:30 in the morning, and i was in my bathrobe. (note: if this is how he treats family, this explains much about his been-thru-rehab-and-still-drinking-and-drugging son.) and when things still hadn't quieted down an hour later, and i tried to leave? he refused to move his car, which was blocking me in, until i'd asked him about a dozen times in a row. me: 'please move your car.' he: 'everything's fine, why are you leaving?' me: 'please move your car.' he: 'what's the problem?' me: ...well, you get the idea.

so, giving notice. i had tried to call Mr. Landlord on his cell, and he apparently no longer takes calls from my number. so i called Mrs. Landlord at home, and said that i would be moving on July 1, and wanted to give her a heads up. she wanted to know if i'd bought a house, which i thought was an odd question. i repeated that i was moving, and that was that. she got very frustrated and kept asking why i was moving, as if there was some significance to it all. having decided before calling that there was no point in slinging mud, i tried to deflect her and stick to the point, or say something neutral, along the lines of 'this isn't a good environment for me any longer', but she was having none of it. i finally snapped 'you know, i shouldn't have to call the cops to get a good nights sleep.' 'well, you really should have called me.' at this point, i'm on the verge of screaming 'why, so you could ignore the problem and your legal obligations, harass your tenant into a constructive eviction, and baby your son's addiction? you're lucky i haven't dragged your ass into court, lady!' *deep breath* see, this is why i'd decided, before calling, not to get into it. (also, in retrospect, why it's taken a while to tell this one, as i'm getting mad just telling this.) what actually came out was a fairly polite 'Mr. Landlord said he had the problem under control.' 'oh. well, that didn't work.' nope, no, it didn't. and i hung up.

i'm still debating whether i should itemize the problems, which extend well beyond the noise, altho that's the worst and most constant of it, and include a copy of the police logs, detailing complaints from me and other neighbors, with my written notice. Mrs. Landlord seemed to want the info, and perhaps it's worth passing along. but really, what's the point? i get nothing out of it, other than possibly aggravating her and making things more difficult (as if that were possible), and i just want to be out.

oddly, now that i've said i'm moving, i'm even unhappier in that space. active denial is no longer an option, and i guess that's the root of it: i can't ignore that the place is a mess because i haven't wanted to be there or invest time/energy in it, i have to pack, but having not started packing, i'm just living with the mess. and it wears on me. yes, i created the problem, all by myself, but it still wears on me. i'm left feeling very ...thin, emotionally, and as The Dane will attest, an occasional meltdown and sobfest is necessary to reset things. (he, by the way, is the best at offering hugs and just the right words of 'i'm here' support.)

hopefully, you're seeing the same silver lining that i am: i'm moving! yes, i'm widgety about transitions for the three of us, and am adamantly *not* thrilled about hiking my stuff up three flights of stairs, but that's mostly because i'm wired to worry. more than that, i'm excited to have found a place that is pretty much exactly what we were looking for, plus a few things we didn't know we wanted.

and we've signed the papers, finally, so i feel like it's really *done*. (part of why this entry sat in draft mode for a few days, i think - didn't want to jinx anything until the papers were signed, because i'm superstitious - okay, because i'm really a worrywart that way.) took nearly an hour and a half, and some very creative math on the part of our flake job of an agent, to figure it all out. as our landlord-to-be said, 'hey, we're not renting the Taj Mahal here. get a move on.' heh. Mister Landlord-to-be seems like a peach, and i'm not sure what his nickname will be yet, but i have a good feeling about this one.

i have a good feeling about the whole environment, actually. (for those of you who know me well, that's the equivalent of jumping up and down and yelling from the rooftop. *g*) the space is... well, the space is perfect. second and third floor of the house, and the landlord's personal space (he's moving for a business opportunity). we had originally gone to look at the apartment on the first floor, which is smaller. that's a nice space, as well, and i liked the neighborhood off the bat, plus there's a huge lovely porch across the front of the house, so i was trying to find a way to make the first floor work. then somehow it came about that the landlord, who was there with the agent, was willing to show us the three bedroom upstairs. (i honestly can't remember how that came up, if we asked or he offered.)

even just seeing the stairs, i wanted the place. lovely, honey wood stairs, worn but nice in a way that says someone cared enough about the house to rehab it. then we stepped in, and i fell in love with the space.

the main area is a living room/dining room/kitchen, all run together but with enough definition that it feels like separate spaces. there's a breakfast bar dividing the kitchen, but still open. (a breakfast bar!!) and the kitchen... oh my god, this kitchen will ruin me for anyplace else. gorgeous cabinets (built in wine rack!!), tile floor - lovely, chunky, sturdy tiles, quarry style, *new appliances* - new appliances! nice windows and light, storage... already, i was running numbers in my head, trying to figure out if we could justify the rent, which was more than we'd wanted to spend.

off the kitchen are two bedrooms and a bathroom, all decent size - the smaller of the two bedrooms could make a nice study/guest room, and the other has enough room for all LMB's things. also off the kitchen, the back hall (storage) and an odd little room, sort of like a sun porch, but with no sun and no porch, which apparently used to be some sort of all season room with a wood stove. yeah. i dunno.

and then he said the magic words - 'the other bathroom'. !! hu-wah?

turns out that the third floor is a bedroom suite, with its own bathroom. also tons of closet space, but that almost doesn't matter at all - i cannot begin to tell you how insanely happy the second bathroom makes me. see, one of the odd stumbling blocks i've had about sharing round the clock living space with Little Small is that i might need to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night after sexy-sexy, and i don't want to bump into him, should he also need to get up and pee. it's not as if he'd have any idea why i'd be up, but i would, and that would be enough. so this place - bathroom off the master bedroom, and as soon as we saw that, i turned to The Dane and muttered something about this being very conducive to sexy-sexy... which may have been the moment he fell in love with the place. ;)

and it's not as if the place needed anything else, but: there's a porch off the second floor in the front of the house, with a beautiful view. also, the second floor foyer is a mud room, with a huge closet, and enough room for a chair. a mud room! we can have a proper closet for coats and shoes! huzzah! and there's room for the washer and dryer in the cellar. y'know, i can't even see that as a down side - so i have to hike laundry down the stairs.... and get some exercise. hell, at least there's laundry in the building!

the neighborhood itself is great. driving around there the next night (altho not by the house itself, because as i may have mentioned, i'm superstitious), i saw lots of kids playing, and couples walking around, and people looking to see who i was, in a 'gee, you're new to the neighborhood' sort of way, and it's quiet, and, and, and.... when we were looking, i said a few silent prayers, and someone along the way heard them. this place is just what we hoped to find. i'm still feeling worn and thin, but looking forward to July 1st in a big bad way. a lot of things will change, many of them for the better, and i can't wait to get there.

:: scribbled at 11:14 PM ... ... o

truly, i am an immense dork.

to wit: i was having a discussion at work yesterday, and tried to explain that a translate table had possibly munged some characters, in particular randomly substituting things for the ¬ character, or vice versa (i can never remember which way the hose runs). and for whatever reason, i couldn't remember the name of the 'not' character. so i tried to demonstrate with hand gestures.

and so help me, as i bent my hand into the ¬ with thumb sticking out oddly, i thought 'geez, if geeks had a gang, this would be a great sign.'

yup. big ol' dork. and yes, i laugh at math jokes.

:: scribbled at 5:33 PM ... ... o

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

there are three immense tarts in my kitchen right now.

see, it's Teacher Appreciation Week, and i volunteered to make dessert for the staff, all 45 of them. (oh, you didn't know i was talking about pastries? ;) ) this is a recipe i haven't made in 15 years, probably, but used to make with some regularity for our coffee hour at the haus - for three years, i lived in a German language dorm, and we had an open house every Friday. nope, didn't speak a word of German, other than to curse you out roundly, and even that's gone. what remains, however, is this delightful recipe.

Bill Brown's Apfelkuchen

1/2 c. butter
1/2 c. sugar
2 eggs
2 c. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
5-7 sliced apples

1/4 c. butter
1/2 c. flour
1/2 c. sugar

Mix sugar and butter, add eggs, & then flour mixture. Spread on sheet pan (11 x 17). Place sliced apples on top of dough in overlapping fashion. (BB then sprinkles almonds, currants, & raisins on top.) Then top with crumbs, all mixed by hand. Bake at 350° for 30-40 minutes.

i've transcribed the recipe much as he gave it to me; it's quite flexible, and will take pretty much any fruit - plums are wonderful. spices and additions can be modified as you see fit, or to fit what you have in the house.

Bill was a wonderful, if persnickety, person who served as our 'den mother' the first year i was in the house. he earned my undying affection one day, when i'd broken a coffee mug that Emily had given me, a mug with drawings of beach grass and a little description of fragmites, all in deep green on a stone colored background. Bill, who had no more money than any of us and quite probably less because he was in grad school, bought me a blue mug and left it for me with a note saying that while nothing could replace my mug, he hated to see me so blue and hoped that the new mug would cheer me up. i still have that mug, and it still makes me happy.

:: scribbled at 9:13 PM ... ... o

there are so many stories from the last few days, so many happy stories, but this one struck me:


such a beautiful description, and i was all misty even before the last paragraph, which made me laugh and cry all over again. this is just the way we do it, indeed. thanks, jessie.

:: scribbled at 2:35 PM ... ... o

Monday, May 17, 2004

and they're married. :)

license granted, waiver granted, vows read, promises exchanged, and kisses shared. simple, sweet, beautiful - a ceremony on the lawn on a sunny morning, and they're married.

unremarkable in every circumstance except one, captured perhaps best by a banner ad that just happened to pop up on one of the news stories i was printing off for them today: 'The world is a different place than when you woke up this morning.'

they're married, and it's legal. :)

:: scribbled at 6:47 PM ... ... o

Sunday, May 16, 2004

what a fabulous night - Chica Bean and Chef are getting married!

i'm so very excited for them - they're in line, right now, getting their licenses.

as far as i'm concerned, they're already married, having said their vows in front of family and friends several years ago, and committed themselves to each other. now they're getting the chance to make it (more) official. tomorrow morning, they'll be at the courthouse asking for a waiver on the three day waiting period, and looking for a JP. and in a few weeks, they'll have another small ceremony at home. i swear, they're going to be the most married couple i know. ;)

The Dane has said a few times, as we ran around doing a few last minute errands for Chica and Chef, that this is a bittersweet day for him. how is it, he asks, that two people who love each other should be denied the chance to commit themselves to each other? to which my only response is, thank goddess we're here in The People's Republic, where the mayor decided that they shouldn't have to wait a minute longer and arranged to open the doors at midnight.

peace and happiness, sweeties.

:: scribbled at 11:15 PM ... ... o

unconscious mutterings:

Playoffs :: damn Yankees
Morris :: dancing
Break up :: static
Eggs :: benedict
Parker :: Posey
Hardy Boys :: Nancy Drew
Deluxe :: accomodations
Protection :: outergear*
Girl Scout :: cookies
Salsa :: tostones

*that doesn't even make sense, but that's what came out. i think i was thinking of rain slickers in glowing yellow.

:: scribbled at 3:09 PM ... ... o