Monday, March 31, 2008

stress vs. good things

1. A few years ago I started to notice that stress has a real effect on me, physically. Working for an unhinged boss and living with recently-broken-up-with Nick under the same roof, I developed ulcers and barely slept. When my schoolwork piled up one winter semester, my neck knotted up so badly that it hurt to walk up stairs. Since Michelle and Scott left yesterday, and I've been trying to get my schooling in order again, my neck has been in knots and my head splitting as though running a pretty interesting fever, so while I think there's an outside chance it's a flu caught from Sean's parents, it's probably the schoolwork that is in fact keeping me from getting any work done.
The cure, of course, is to get the work done anyway, so today I'm trying to keep it together enough to plow through a couple of things that have been glaring at me from my to-do list for too long. Nothing like a clean conscience for a better quality of life.
And, of course, after blatantly and gleefully ignoring points over Easter and this weekend, it's really high time to get back on the responsible eating thing again.

2. Good things: it's supposed to go up to 10 at some point this week, making my life just that much happier - soon, soon the ice will be gone from my sidewalks, and I can actually look forward to walking around outside in the sun. Or even in the rain, as long as it isn't freezing rain, and assuming I have my umbrella back from Anne (another to do item!).
Another good thing: Sean and I have taken to being very cautious about assuming good things will rain down in the work area of life, because honestly we've both had too many bad jobs to take that sort of thing as a given. So on Friday, we were still listing off caveats, like "maybe the job offer is just for April" or "I hope it's at least at the work study pay of $9/hour". Well, he had a meeting this morning and not only is the job definitely for the whole summer but it's also for substantially better pay than the work study rate. And they're already talking about hiring him again in the fall for ten hours per week. He's now officially making more than our whole household made last summer.
Now all I have to do is get to a place where I can just be happy about things. I'm stressing about school and getting a job, but also (relatively) unimportant things like what to do with my hair. Should I follow my heart and get streaks of blue and purple and green? Should I look more professional and brown? It's eating me up. What should I put on the walls of the bedroom? Should I attempt tandoori chicken for supper tonight? Should I paint my toes the new dark blue-purple I have or something else? STRESS.

3. Oh, and more good things for my extended urban family. Matt has been officially accepted to UNB into the arts program, thence to take his prerequisites to upgrade (in his view) to the computer science program, and he's getting a tuition and living expenses subsidy to help him along, which is too good for words. I really hope that he will find his niche, finally.
Daniel, my Latin and bus-riding comrade for a few years now, has been accepted into the medieval studies grad program at the University of Toronto. The congratulations and well-wishing associated with getting accepted to a big school are very similar to getting engaged for normal, non-scholar people - lots of big grins and high fives.
Megan was in a riot in Montreal and subsequently wrote it up in the student paper. I cut it out and put it on our fridge.
Angus' parents have been posted to Winterpeg, and so he's rather suddenly in the position of having to find somewhere to live and a job to allow him to pay for it, and had a sort of annoying summer lined up anyway, needing to fit in a course somewhere in order to keep up with his program at school. So Sean and I offered (more accurately, campaigned) for him to come up here for the summer while he sorts things out, as (with any luck) I won't be around Fredericton much and the apartment will be pretty empty. After considering the options, he's almost sold on coming to Fredericton on a permanent basis and transferring to UNB for a better computer science program than what he's taking right now. He's applying to school today, in fact. I should get a commission on transfer students.

So many good things. Now I just need to get this stupid work out of the way.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

the weekend in summary

What a weekend. Friday was such a whirlwind I'm surprised I had the presence of mind to blog, but I was so nervy that I supposed I needed something to do. I bought my once-every-six-months bottle of nail polish - OPI's Who Are You Wearing? - and put on my Dean's List Dinner dress and paced. Michelle and Scott had trouble finding parking, so I had to leave for work before they got in. Sean stayed home from D&D and made them a pizza, though, which isn't such a bad welcome!
The Grab was a big success. The basic idea is that our members donate goblets in whatever medium they work in, or, if they work in something that doesn't translate to goblets, they buy a goblet and integrate their piece somehow. We set up the goblets on five or six tables with brightly coloured tablecloths and as people arrive we give them a ribbon that matches one of the tables. Then, every half hour or so, we call out a colour and people with that colour descend on the table and grab the goblet they like best. It's pretty funny watching the upper crust of Fredericton shoving each other in high heels for blown-glass goblets, let me tell you. There's lots of wine and yummy food, and this year there was also a silent auction, which worked out really well. The star of the auction, to me, was a Gordon Dunphy goblet. He's an amazing woodworker, has had shows internationally and has pieces in all sorts of high profile collections. The goblet was turned from reclaimed wood - a tree that blew down in a huge storm. Gordon hasn't been well for a few years, but he managed to come in to the Grab and must have been pleased to see the goblet get up to $500 in the auction! Our treasurer Ralph won - he's a collector.
Anyway, at the end of the night we tore down fast and I brought home lots of leftover nibbles and tulips to the apartment. They'd been to the video store to rent Mario Party to try out our Wii, and already had the controllers well under control. We had a good night in - what with busy days and lots of driving, we weren't really in the mood for being out on the town, so Mario Party was a lot of fun.
I didn't have to work yesterday, for a change - nothing in the gallery - and so we slept in and then went to the market for breakfast. Normally I go to the market on the way to work, so about 9:30 - turns out it's much busier at 11! But we got what we wanted with the minimum of fuss. Michelle got her samosa fix and also tried the spring rolls that I've been getting lately. We didn't spend too long in the buildings, though, because it was really crowded and we needed to get moving.
In the afternoon we drove up to Saint John to see Patience and baby Aurora. Michelle's going to send me the pictures - she's gotten so much bigger already. Michelle and Scott were really excited to meet their goddaughter, and we got to see Patience's salon and her apartment (and cat, who looks SO MUCH like Sid). We didn't get to stay very late, though, because the weather started turning nasty and we didn't want to get caught in a snowstorm.
When we got back to Fredericton we went out to supper. I wanted to go to the Fox, but they had a half hour wait, so we decided to move on to Mexi's... a mistake. I'd like to say it was a great time, but I'd be lying. We waited for a table, which is fine, but after we were seated we were pretty much ignored by the waitresses. They were really busy at first, so I can understand, but the restaurant cleared out a lot and still... nothing. The table of businesspeople next to us were fawned over and after a mistake with one order, the waitress apologized over and over and then gave them the whole meal, drinks, dessert and all, for free - while we waited an hour and a half for our food and just got an apologetic smile. We didn't let it get us down, but it still sucks to be treated like subhumans because the people next to us are twenty years older and wearing too much jewelry.
Anyway, we spent the evening Wiiing and watching So I Married an Axe Murderer, and Megan stopped in for a visit. It turned out to be pretty quiet, because we were all sort of tired from the day in the car and lots of heavy food, but I had fun anyway.
Today we were going to go to Cora's for breakfast, but the lines are always unbelievable on Sundays, so I suggested to Fox instead, and we had a yummy brunch there. Definitely still my favourite restaurant. We stopped at the mall for a bit, because we meant to yesterday but ran out of time, and Michelle bought a present for a friend, but soon the kids had to be on the road. They dropped me here and... here I am.

Friday, March 28, 2008

feast or famine

Tuesday, I was panicking in the face of bunches of work, and yet here on Friday, I'm still facing a lot of the same work - but it's Friday, so who cares? Latin was canceled for today, so I didn't have to present, and most of the rest of it has worked itself out.
Even some of my summer worries have worked themselves out - today Sean found out that he's hired full time for the summer in the library at the same sort of rates as his work-study, which translates to enough money - well, more money than he's ever made, and even if I don't get a digging job this summer and work at the NBCC full time at minimum wage again, we're still going to be very comfortable. A huge weight off.
Tonight Michelle and Scott are arriving - in fact, very soon - but I'm going to be at the Goblet Grab for a while, so I have to paint my nails and put on my pretty dress. I haven't got much else to say for now, but I thought I'd share my good day :)

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


1. 200th post! 10 days of school left!

2. It's getting to that time of year when all the classes are half full and half of the public access computer kiosks are broken, the time of year everyone wears sweatpants and hoodies to class. I'm feeling it pretty badly - no matter how much I want to get my pile of work out of the way, when I confront my to-do list, I come over all shaky and need to look at food blogs for a while and hold a cat. Luckily I have lots of opportunities to hold cats - they are being very sulky and needy from being left alone all weekend. Kitty perched on the arm of the chair this morning and kept me company while I prepared for Greek, Tonks tried to avoid her and get on the other arm, and Parallax sat on my feet while Kitty growled.

3. Links:
4. So, this week.
Today I'm working like mad to catch up on Latin things, as I have a presentation on Friday afternoon. Tonight, unless my Latin goes really poorly, I'm going to Will's for D&D.
Tomorrow is NBCC, then Latin America, and I will probably be writing my midterm then, as I missed it yesterday due to bad timing on the part of the buses (not a big deal).
Tomorrow night I'll be polishing the Latin presentation and looking over my Greek chapter again, as I get to teach it Friday morning, and studying the myth(s) of Oedipus for a myth quiz, also Friday morning. And Danielle is coming to visit.
Friday: teaching Greek, writing a Myth quiz, presenting in Latin, and then Michelle and Scott arrive for the weekend.
I hate this time of year. Did I mention the snow? It's snowing. It's going to snow again Friday. I hate snow, too.
I'm going to go hug a cat.

Monday, March 24, 2008

hippity hoppity your way to butts

1. Easter Monday and suddenly I'm on the ferry to go back to New Brunswick. What happened to the long weekend? What's with all the homework piled up and not done? How is it possible that I have a midterm tomorrow morning?
Just two weeks left of school. Hold onto that thought.

2. Thursday night we headed out in the middle of a freezing rain extravaganza to catch the bus to Saint John - forty-five minutes early for the bus, because the holiday buses are always very crowded. I forgot to buy our tickets ahead - it's a good idea towards the end of the year, because about this time, the students have all figured out to come early and so we all stand in line much, much longer. We managed to beat the worst of the lines for tickets, but it was a long and crowded wait to get on the bus, being pelted with hail. We managed to get seats together and get settled, and except for the elderly woman in front of me putting her seat all the way back and squashing me, it seemed to be going well... and we waited for the driver. Half an hour later, a man showed up and took our tickets, and then told us our driver would be there soon. A full hour late, we pulled out of the parking lot into the freezing rain and began the long crawl to Saint John. Acadian Lines, you are starting to make me mad.
Anyway, Sean's dad picked us up, and after a brief excursion for coffee, lemons, and burnable dvds, we went to their house. Lucy is cute as ever, and it was good to be there, but I was still too wired with my intense homework schedule to really relax the way I usually do away from Fredericton.
Friday morning we headed in to the ferry early and got aboard despite high wind warnings that could have cancelled the run. As it turns out, it probably would have been better if they had. It was the worst ferry ride I've ever seen. As soon as we were floating free of the dock, the ship was being tossed in every direction at once, and people started looking green. With the weather as it was, we actually went slower than usual, so we had three and a half hours of being pitched and tossed. I've never been so sick on a boat - have you ever tried to throw up in a moving toilet? - and people were passing around gravol like candy. Eventually I begged some space on the bench next to a nice elderly couple from New Hampshire; the lady warned me it would make me sicker to lay down, but with that much gravol, I wasn't going to be conscious for long, and the chairs are terrible.
About twenty minutes out of Digby it calmed down and everyone began to revive a little. Michelle and Scott met us at the terminal and took us to Macdonalds for a restoring bite of grease, and we headed home for the weekend.

3. We went to Halifax on Saturday. I was pretty tired, having not slept very well, and it was a long day, but pretty fun nonetheless. I'm sure Mom will write it up in more detail, but we spent the morning checking out wedding dresses for Michelle. The first shop was rather snooty and busy, and Michelle was nervy about it anyway so we left and had a coffee before moving on to a shop called Alyssa's Formals, in Lower Sackville. We really lucked in with that store - the salesgirls are amazingly friendly and helpful, and put Michelle in a much better frame of mind. She tried on probably eight dresses and, like puppies in a store, she wanted to bring them all home with her - and she has some ideas about tiaras and veils and so on. I think she's a lot less worried about the dress end of things now.
And then we headed into Halifax proper to meet Kim, Grace, Caleigh and Grandma. Mainly we visited two bead stores, but we stopped into the Black Market briefly (it was standing room only) and did some running around to my great aunt's home and Costco and Wendy's. I was fading pretty badly at that point, but I think we got a fair amount done, and I'm going to send Grace some more information that will help her with a beading project she has on the go.

4. Sunday was, of course, Easter, and Easter means a GPS Easter Egg geocaching mission! There are pictures and a blow-by-blow on Mom's blog (here, here, and here), but a good summary picture is here:
It was long, and we got lost a LOT, but Sean and I had a great time. Michelle and Scott did too, but were a little more stressed than we were, I think, what with driving and doing most of the highway navigation. Mainly we learned that sometimes we are seriously terrible at following directions, and that sometimes GPS can be misleading (our first waypoint was half a kilometer off, and our last point was very hard to find until we contacted some extra satellites). We:
  • almost got stuck in the wrong driveway,
  • almost backed into a mailbox getting turned around on the wrong road,
  • had our bunny ears blown off by the howling gales,
  • spotted an auto bodyshop called Butts Auto with a sign up for Easter reading "Hippity Hoppity your way to Butts",
  • introduced Sean to Jill,
  • fell down snowy hills, me in heels and Scott because the ground was deceptively safe looking,
  • got snagged on thorns,
  • got snagged on barbed wire,
  • got caught in the wrong yard,
  • and fell in some icy water-filled ditches.
And had a lot of fun doing it :)

5. So, today we're ferrying back to New Brunswick and are meeting Sean's parents on the other side. We'll be staying with them tonight and then heading back to Fredericton on the bus tomorrow morning, getting into town right before my Latin America midterm.
The ferry is much better today. If you haven't been on the Digby ferry in a while, you wouldn't even recognize the lounge - it's been redecorated and the bar has been replaced by a bar/Starbucks. The VLTs have been moved and the place by the bar where they used to be is a laptop station with plugs (that's where I'm sitting). Also, they have complimentary satellite internet, wireless of course, all the way across the bay, allowing me to beam this to you from the middle of the Bay of Fundy. Technology!
The announcement technology isn't working so great though. They have new recorded announcements as of last summer, featuring dinging buoy bells and screaming seagulls, and they've been randomly playing, skipping, or failing to play all weekend. It just announced that the cafeteria is opening, then that the cafe is opening, then that the cafeteria is closing, then that the cafe is closing (hint: it isn't).

Thursday, March 20, 2008

out the other side to madness

1. As I said, grad projects are a fine idea, but I would rather give them money when I have some to give - March is the third-worst month to ask students for money, right after December and April, and there are enough expenses associated with graduating (photos, yearbooks, rings, traveling to job interviews, paying grad school application fees).
Still, the grad project mailing list is turning into a thoroughly weird beast. After the angry emails, there were a slew of "$20 isn't so much, do your part for UNB" emails, followed by the "stop sending me emails!!" bunch, and then... this is why you don't put everyone's addresses in the CC line. These are only the highlights, there are many, many more.
  • "I think everyone just needs to get naked! -Brad"
  • "Brad, stupid comments really say something about u, so you should really shut up..."
  • "haha, sorry, couldnt resist, but im seconding brad's motion, i feel its far more productive than judging people you dont know through email.... so.... in the words of a close friend of mine "fuck shirts." the end."
  • " Hey Brad, you see this one yet??? What have u been up to these days?"
  • "I can't believe I'm doing this because all this is foolishness BUT Hillary the only person that should shut up is you...I'm with Brad on this one, get naked"
  • "Now that we've got all of your attention. Please take a minute and watch this video and consider the argument. "What's the worst that could happen?",23356.0.html Enjoy your new careers."
  • "Dear every1: I glad to announce that Tibet is a part of China. I love my country and thatz it. please dont hit reply to all again. Thank you very much. I really appreciate that."
  • "Hey guys, I just thought I'd let everyone know that Michael McAllister and Chris Rose (both graduating) have made it official and the wedding is coming up this June. Mike popped the question and Chris answered "yes". I hope to see you all at the wedding and congradulations and good luck to both of my dear friends Mike and Chris. I wish you all the best."
  • 'I actually kind of like this crazy Grad Class email forum. I feel like because of this CC mistake i am finally getting to know my fellow soon to be UNB alumni. For example, how else could I have ever known that Micheal Mcallister (big mike) and Chris Rose (chris-meister) are getting married, since i have no idea who these even people are?! I mean, I think it's really telling of our grad class's maturity and social consciousness that homosexual marriage can be announced with pride, just as it should be.
    This forum is also great for getting to know who is a cheap bastard, who likes to get naked, who whines all the time, who knows how to use their email software, and more importantly who has great UNB school spirit!"
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you... the class of 2008.

2. So tonight we're leaving for Sean's parents' house, and tomorrow we'll be taking the ferry out to Digby in the morning to meet Michelle and Scott and head home. We have a faithful catsitter trained to feed the princesses, and are in the process of rounding up clothes and books and charging ipods and so on.
Kitty had a cute moment the other day. Gail posted a video of dolphins playing in the waves, and you can clearly hear her talking through most of the video. As soon as her voice came on, Kitty flew into the room and onto my lap, staring at the laptop and trying to figure out what it did to Gail!

3. Links:

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

blood from angry stones

1. I've had an entertaining evening while working away on tomorrow's language homework. Early on in the evening, an email came in from our grad class president. I've put the best bits in bold:
Hey fellow graduate!
As you may already know, the graduating class of each year chooses a project to implement that will help UNB students. This year, we have chosen to create a Grad Class 2008 Bursary for students in need of financial assistance. In order to do this, we are looking to raise $10,000… most of this money will come from you guys the graduating class!
Hopefully you’ve already received our letter about the project. I’d just like to reiterate, that any money that you could donate would help a lot. If you donate like $15 or 20 or 40, or whatever, then your name will appear on a plaque that will be in the Student Union Building!
Perhaps you want to ask your parents for money! Then you can get your name on the Plaque! You can either fill out the card that we supplied in the letter and drop it into any campus mailbox, or you can meet us at the SUB Lobby from 11-2 Wednesday and Thursday this week to drop off the money.
Anyways, I hope you all have a great time at graduation… and good luck in the real world.
Now, I have nothing against grad projects or anything, but asking people who are coping with grad expenses on top of years of student loans for money isn't the greatest idea I've ever heard, and suggesting that we bug our parents is not exactly class either. Even better? The follow up email apologizing for sending everything CC'd instead of BCC'd (meaning we would get all replies to it), and blaming it on his staff. His staff?
The CC thing turned out to be more of a problem for him than me, though, because the first couple of emails kicked off a flood of angry responses.
  • "I think I've donated enough to UNB and I'm using all my extra "$15 or 20 or 40, or whatever" to pay off 4 years of student loans....even if this means not having my name on the plaque."
  • "I am not impressed that my home phone was called today looking for money for this project. My roommate, who does not even go to UNB was asked to donate money. I am shocked at the breach of confidentiality this project has shown. You can send your emails and send your letters, fine, go ahead. But if I get another phone call, "worse then a telemarketer" as my roommate described, you'll be seeing me at your office doors."
  • "At least you were called on a weekday. I was away from my phone a bit on *Sunday* only to came back to it to find a lengthy voicemail asking for money. So within less than a week I have received a letter, a phone call *and* an email. Im beginning to wonder if this counts as harrassment."
  • "Honestly, is this the most effective way to gather up cash from our grad class? I don't think so... everyone seems irritated that the university would be bold enough to ask students who have given thousands of dollars to give a few more out of the kindness of our hearts. WE ARE POOR, STOP CALLING US, WASTING MONEY ON MAILING US LETTERS WE DO NOT READ, AND LEAVING US MESSAGES ON ANSWERING MACHINES THAT SOUND LIKE THEY ARE FROM OUR BEST FRIEND ASKING FOR A FAVOUR. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH."
I don't even feel the need to throw my two cents (proverbially of course) in. That pretty much says it all. They have a whole office just for calling alumni and harassing them for donations to the old alma mater - can't they wait until we are reaping the benefits of our degrees before asking for our money?
It's pretty funny watching the angry emails roll in at midnight on a Tuesday, though. Overworked underfunded insomniac stresscookies unite!

2. Tomorrow - another batch of pictures. I've been finishing projects and Sean's been mastering new kinds of sushi, but right now I still have more Latin, so I'll update again tomorrow.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

not quite saint patrick

1. The weekend is over already, and somehow I didn't get as much done as I hoped, but still had a pretty good weekend. By the time I got home from work yesterday, having lost track of time doing the non-vital bits of work and therefore staying an hour later, I was not in a homework space. So I knit, and had a generally quiet evening with some light research.
It was, however, Saint Patrick's Day - moved to the 15th by the Church so people wouldn't drink themselves stupid during Holy Week - and while we had no exciting plans as such, I did want to have something like a traditional Saint Patrick's Day supper. Here in the New World it tends to translate to corned beef and potatoes with cabbage and boiled carrots, though as should be pointed out, the Irish tended towards lamb or some such, and the corned beef is a purely immigrant invention. Anyway we were pretty unenthusiastic about going to the store to hunt a corned cow and potatoes, so I had almost given up on the idea when I went wandering around the kitchen and found some instant potatoes. If it isn't really St. Patrick's Day, I thought, why can't we have a Not Really Dinner?
So we had garlic instant mashed potatoes, fried slices of toupie ham, boiled baby carrots and frozen peas, and quick-fried Chinese cabbage, and felt quite good about ourselves.

2. It's been a busy internet weekend, mainly because I have a new toy. Angus invited me to PMOG, the Passively Multiplayer Online Game (this is a terrible pun), and I've been drifting through missions checking it out. Basically, you install a Firefox extension for an extra toolbar and it tracks how many unique addresses you visit and awards points. Obviously even prolific surfers like me only visit so many sites, so you can make and go on missions - guided tours of series of websites. They're all user-created, so it's really diverse - I've learned about Bollywood musicals, read a number of articles on the nature of gaming, and read about how to make a hovercraft out of a shopvac. I'm still not even halfway to second level - yes, there are points and levels and even classes of character to play, and you can spend points on various devices - setting mines on popular websites, leaving boxes of points and goodies for friends, sending revenge devices back to those who left mines. It's a fun sort of thing and has given me a great number of new things to think about.
3. Anyway, this week, especially tomorrow, will be very busy, and I really just wish I could be wearing sandals for it. And wearing sundresses. Unfortunately, the snow is still here - on the way to the NBCC, the snowbanks are still taller than me. Soon, soon, soon.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

π day

1. First, a clarification. From the comments of yesterday's entry:
NOW.... the hoarding video, especially for me, might imply that I am the "hoarder" to all the people who may read your blog... You might like to clarify that I am not a hoarder... except for dishes...which I only have exactly enough that fit in my kitchen cupboard... and of course the big stuff that stays in the laundry room...
The reason I sent that out to Mom? My packrattiness has been driving her mad for years. In no way should my words be taken to insinuate that my mother hoards anything - on the contrary, you'd be hard pressed to find a more determined enemy of clutter outside of OCD patients (the non-hoarding kind of course).

2. As Mom also pointed out, today is 3/14, or Pi Day (pi, or π, is a mathematical non-repeating constant beginning 3.14...). To celebrate, I brought two pies to D&D; after conducting an informal poll over the week, the choices were apple and strawberry-rhubarb. Marie, getting into the spirit of things without actually knowing that it was Pi Day, picked up a couple chicken pot pies for supper, so it was pie all around. Then our new player had the flu, and Larissa and Ethan couldn't make it over snowy roads, so we have four pies for four people. There's a little less than a pie left.... meaning we ate just over three pies. Coincidence?

3. Today was a pretty good day. I've been having trouble staying motivated with class lately, just feeling a bit off and perpetually behind, but today I:
  • passed in a Greek assignment;
  • got back two marked Greek assignments, both A's;
  • didn't embarrass myself in Greek class with the class work;
  • went to Mythology;
  • aced a Mythology "pop" quiz (he has taken to announcing them so we actually do the readings);
  • went to Latin and once again didn't embarrass myself with the class work;
  • went to the lab and finished my hours for the week;
  • got out a bunch of books for a Latin paper/presentation I need to prepare;
  • and won a donut on my coffee.
A good day to be me. Even before you count the pie.

4. Tomorrow, and indeed the rest of the weekend, is Homework Day. After work, of course. Composition exercises and readings in both languages, plus a Latin paper/presentation to start and preferably finish, plus assembling a Greek exam battle plan, equals a long long weekend of frowning at books. The cats are perpetually entertaining, though - Kitty has taken to randomly chasing the other two when she feels up to it, and Tonks has been "stalking" Kitty's tail in a playful manner, so things are still lively but cordial on that front.
And next week is a short week - we're leaving town Thursday night for Sean's parents' house, then the morning ferry to Digby where Michelle, Scott, and Dusty the car will pick us up and bring us to the Valley for the weekend. Long weekends! Chocolate!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

eggs with googly eyes and other things

1. Thursday night, already, finally. The first week back is always such a drag, and the snow is still completely unwilling to admit that it is March, spring fashion was in stores a month and a half ago, and maybe it should think about going back to where it came from. In the afternoons, it falls off of roofs and gets melty where there's salt, but aside from that, it's still January around here, with snow banks taller than me and two inches of ice on the sidewalks (now turning into moats of brine in the afternoons). I want to wear some shoes that aren't my only pair of winter boots. I want the world to see my awesome socks. I want to wear my light trench coat, or maybe even no coat at all. I want to see something green outside that isn't the St Patrick's display in the drug store window (it is pretty cute though, stuffed bunnies in leprechaun hats are a tasteful commentary on the controversy surround St Pat's being during Holy Week this year, or something).

2. To counteract the snow blahs, I've been amping up the colour in my knitting projects, dragging out the brightest yarns I have. Right now I'm knitting some pretty basic ribbed socks out of some rainbow bamboo sock yarn that may look familiar to some:

And also some Spirogyra handwarmers from the brand new issue of Knitty, in some frankly gorgeous silk from Fleece Artist, a Nova Scotia company that is world famous for its beautiful colours, a Christmas present from Sean's parents:

Incidentally, it's about the only pattern from this issue that I'm on fire to knit - too many vests and pants and things. Please, people, never ever knit pants. They stretch and bag, no matter how cute they looked. Some things are meant to be knit, like sweaters and socks, and some things are just meant to be sewn with fabric.
I'm also working on a few origami models. I'm getting competent with Kawasaki's rose and some interesting variations, though not good enough to post a picture yet, and I managed to get most of the way through assembling a kusudama, which is a wickedly difficult modular model that has to be assembled by slipping points into slots inside the model. I'm not sure how you are supposed to be able to finish it, but they are awfully pretty.

3. Also, we have easter eggs.

Those are in the entryway. We have more. Sean enjoys sticking googly eyes to them, though he didn't realize I was taking a picture of him, too.

Chocolate! (By the way, he has hair in case he has to get a job this summer that frowns upon large tattoos. He's hoping to get hired at the library to work in the computer lab, as I mentioned, and since I think there's a good chance they hired him mainly based on the tattoo in the first place, the hair might be gone soon anyway.)
Man cannot live by chocolate alone, I suppose, so tonight I made this for supper. Mine wasn't as pretty, but it does taste surprisingly like the way Hamburger Helper is supposed to taste, without that weird gritty slimy feeling that makes me gag. And with vegetables.

4. Kitty update: glowing.

5. Links:

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

an audiovisual spectacular

Picture time! The cats are hanging out together more and more. This is a pretty common sight - I'm not sure if Parallax sneaks up on her while she's asleep, or if Kitty doesn't mind her.

I don't think Kitty much likes cameras, though.

Our mango is flourishing, considering all it gets is a chilly, dim windowsill.

This is the skirt I mentioned, based off of this Craftster tutorial. It's not quite done yet - I need to rip out a row and gather it tighter, then gather the top for the waist. It's pretty heavy, but I'm hopeful it will be comfortable.

Finally, as I mentioned, I cleaned and culled and rearrange in the bedroom over the Break. Unfortunately our bedroom is long and narrow, so it's hard to take a picture of the whole wall, so I'll put up two from different angles:

Good god, what is that in the lower left box?

A stowaway! Here she is when she isn't yawning.

Just to round it out, I've had this song stuck in my head for ages. It's from the season 3 finale of Doctor Who, just as the villain, The Master, releases killer alien spheres and they rain down on Earth. The Master remarks several times about the unending drums in his ears (he's kind of crazy), so it's fitting that the song, Voodoo Child, is from an album called Here Come the Drums, by the Rogue Traders. Here's the video - possibly even better than Doctor Who. Though only three minutes long, and not featuring David Tennant, so there you go.

work, class, work, homework

1. Well, it's seriously back to routine time, and I'm not really very thrilled, but at least there isn't much left. This week is half over, and there's nothing too frightening going on out of the ordinary; next week is short and we'll be taking off probably Thursday night to go home for the Easter weekend. After that, it's just two weeks of class before the term, my last term of my undergrad degree, is over.

2. This weekend was a quiet one - despite plans, we didn't really go anywhere. We did watch the first season of Futurama, but that's only nine episodes at 22 minutes each, which is less bad than watching eleven hours of Dexter in a day. I'm working on a patchwork circle skirt made from old black, white and grey pinstriped dress shirts that we had kicking around, and it's taking over the bedroom inch by inch. It's also pretty heavy so far, so it's hard to say how practical it will be, but here's hoping.
Also, on Saturday I made chicken piccata for the first time, and I have to say, it was pretty awesome. It's not hard, except the butterflying, and it's delicious. You can probably cut the oil and butter in the recipe by half and still have a beautiful piccata. It's still pretty bad for you, but have it with a salad instead of carbs and you're laughing. It's nice to be able to make something classy - normally I make things like chili or tuna curry, and Sean's all with the carbonera and the white wine lemon shrimp and so on.

3. The cats are doing well. Tonks and Parallax are good, of course, and Kitty seems to be pretty happy. I was concerned because we have to haul the other two away from her canned food so she can eat, but I've gotten less concerned since I found her hiding around the corner from her dish of food, waiting for Tonks to run over and try to eat it so she could pounce on her.

4. Sean's feeling the stress of the semester, and is still waiting to hear if he'll have a summer position at the library. He's hopeful - if it's part time, he can work and take a macroeconomics course and maybe a math course, and if it's full time he'll be very happy.
I've been applying for more jobs - even a government office job that I've heard about through the NBCC, just in case the archaeology world doesn't want me. I really, really do not want to be an unemployed BA, but I think at least one of these positions will take me.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

the march break that snuck by

1. Here it is, Friday night, and our March Break is on its way out (though my mother's is just beginning). Where does the time go?
Tuesday was a slow sort of day. I went to the crafts council and finally put together a newsletter with all the important parts, and we spent pretty much the rest of the day at Will's for a rare midweek D&D session. Our food component has been getting more and more intense lately - this time I made a half hour pudding for the bunch, with the rest of our vanilla ice cream to go with. A huge hit with the group. Marie made a stir fry as well, and our two newest players, Ethan and Larissa, made banana muffins with the biggest chocolate chips ever. More chocolate than muffin, really.
Wednesday was Erica Day around here. She came in for the morning, and then we went to lunch at the Snooty Fox with James and Neil, which was fun - we haven't seen in them in forever, but back in the day we all lived together at Brunswick Street. We caught up on life, work, school, and all sorts of other random things in the afternoon at the apartment, and Tonks said hello to them. Kitty slept on our bed all day - she's taken quite a liking to it.
Yesterday was a longish day. We've been slowly getting sick all week, and I barely managed to drag Sean to campus yesterday for work - we both have hours this week. In the evening we had long nap and then Megan came over, which was really great - we haven't seen her in a bit because she's drowning in work.
And today we spent all day on campus, still sickish, and ended up canceling D&D through just being exhausted from a long day in our respective labs.

2. What to say? I'm still tired and a bit blah, but there's exciting planning going on for the future, and it was warm today as though it could almost, maybe, be thinking about spring. Yes, I know it's going to dump astounding amounts of winter on us tomorrow, but I like to dream about wearing sandals. I can write a real entry tomorrow, instead of a catching up sort of rushed one half-asleep.

3. Kitty's doing really well, by the way. She's stopped being randomly jumpy about the other two, and has found a few favourite places to curl up and sleep (the bed, the armchair in the kitchen, a couple places in the living room). We were going to try her on just kibble like our monsters, and she didn't seem to mind, but I was worrying that she might not be eating enough, so she's back on the gooshy food and loving it. Tonks and Parallax - especially Tonks - are just heartbroken over it, but when they are old ladies they can have soft food too! I'll take a picture of her acting at home tomorrow. Tonight - sleep.

Monday, March 03, 2008

there is nothing under my bed

1. No, seriously. I just spent eight hours going through the closet, the floor, the dresser, and under the bed, as well as the storage space in Sean's office. And we cleaned the living room. But I mean, there is nothing under the bed. Well, there's a mirror actually, but it's not really there on a quantum level because there is already a space for it on the wall and all we need is the anchors, which I am getting tomorrow.
The yarn has moved to the dresser, and the clothes I wear are in the two boxes the yarn was in. The out of season clothes are in the steamer trunk, my three dresses are in closet, and man, that's all she wrote. Last time I cleaned, we sent three garbage bags of clothes and stuff to the Sally Anne and I wrote that I had thrown out half my clothes; well, there are three more bags leaving town tomorrow, all done up with string already, so I have nothing left to lose now. Sean is very proud of me - he's a big fan of less stuff. I think he's also happy that the stuff in the top of his office space has moved to the bedroom closet, and the only things of mine up there now are my violin and viola.

2. What else? Yesterday we did very, very little, and honestly were pretty grim. Our break, such as it is, will be mostly working and catching up on homework.
Kitty is spending a lot of time sleeping on our bed and is meowing to get outside less. She's definitely relaxed - she's only nervous around Parallax now when she's walking past, because Parallax always wants to chase her around. Kitty is pretty much alpha cat around here at this point, though, and has very little to worry about.

3. Supper tonight was made in less than five minutes, as I was in the thick of reorganizing the yarn stash - pork chops with the meatball sauce over it (ketchup, brown sugar, worchestershire sauce and garlic powder). We had it over rice, and while it was mindblowingly sweet, it was definitely tasty - just needs a salad or something with it to wash out the sweet every now and again.

4. Tomorrow: going in to the office in the morning to finish the newsletter (Kate really hadn't written her bit yet) and then to the lab to put in some hours. Tomorrow night is D&D again, which should be barrels of fun, especially if Danielle comes along.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

in like a...?

1. It's March! If January is the month of resolutions, and February is the month of keeping's one head down and trying to stay warm, March is the month of waiting. I'm waiting for the chest-high snowbanks to show some signs of receding, and trees to show signs of greening, and for downtown to have its annual flood, which promises to be a doozy this year and which I will be in an even better position to observe than ever before. We live between King and Queen streets, and in very bad flood years King floods enough for kayakers to paddle around and have their pictures taken for the newspaper. In the Great Flood of 1970-something (the Flood that ate the library and to which people hark when they want to belittle this year's flood, which is nothing compared to the floods they've seen, etc) Queen was also flooded. If this happens again - and it probably won't, but still - I flatly refuse to go to school by wading through floodwaters.
So aside from the faint hope of a biblical- style flood getting me some time off, there's lots to look forward to - tulips, walking around without a coat, opening the windows, graduation, a diggin' job. Here's to March and waiting.

2. Thursday night Matt stopped by randomly. He's been around Fredericton, staying with Porter, whenever he doesn't have to be in Saint John for doctor appointments and other such things. Things are looking relatively up for Matt - there's a reasonable chance he could be going to school next year for computer science, thanks to a career counselor sort of person who is pulling for him to get funding.
Anyway, when he stopped by I was just starting to make a batch of baked meatballs, which I haven't had in forever. There were enough to feed Matt and Sean and I, plus eight or so for the fridge, and Sean approves wholeheartedly, so I think half-batches will become a staple. He has wacky plans to bake all sorts of things in the sauce, but the only things I could really see would be pork - it's a pretty sweet sauce.

3. Yesterday was a good day. We slept in, then scrubbed out the meatball dish to make half hour pudding. I need to fine-tune the size of the pudding a bit, but it came off beautifully and with a scoop of vanilla ice cream was everything I had hoped for (I had pretty high hopes).
We puttered around a bit and went to the mall on an unsuccessful search for cheap yarn, but ran into Chloe, with whom I used to work at Boldon's. Yesterday was her sixth birthday, so it was serendipitous to run into her, and she's a lot of fun (exactly the sort of person you might expect to be born on a Leap Day).
And in the evening was - D&D! We had a fairly eventful session that culminated in Sean's character and Larissa's character being engulfed by a giant acidic jelly, but were saved when I summoned a giant shark inside the jelly that pushed them back out before they were too badly hurt. We'll be playing again on Tuesday, as a special March Break treat, and Danielle will possibly be joining us, which will be fun. We've started doing a serious amount of cooking for D&D - this week Marie made stirfry from the contents of Will's freezer and wineglasses of layered jello - so I think we might make a half hour pudding for D&D on Tuesday. It's even vegetarian, with a minimal amount of milk and butter, for Danielle.

4. Saturday... today I'm at work, but I'm trying to locate my coworkers to see if Kate wrote her report for the newsletter; I fear I may already know the answer. If that's the case, it would almost be smarter for me to leave and come back Monday, or burn next week's hours on Monday, because the gallery is very quiet for these two weekends (it's March Break for everyone) and we really do need to get a newsletter out.
Later today, Sean and I are planning a cleaning extravaganza. Between our own habits of flinging stuff about, the chaotic powers of three cats, and our lack of energy in cleaning up during the winter, it's about time that we make a serious home effort. I'm rethinking elements of our bedroom - the very least it should be able to do is store clothing, and yet all our clothes end up on the floor. Also, Sean has promised to scrub the creepy mold off the bathroom ceiling, and I can't even express how excited I am about that. You can't do much for poorly ventilated bathrooms except scrub out the mold on occasion, unfortunately... or can you? is there a housekeeping secret I'm not privy to?