Friday, September 29, 2006

Adventures in BabyKidsitting

I kidsat the usual charge tonight. As we were playing with the planes we'd built out of Duplo blocks, he made up a song about planes. I think he was trying to imitate drumbeats before the verses, but it sounded for all the world like he was trying to beatbox. It was SO HARD to not laugh.

Project Runway...the somewhat disjointed recap

This episode was pretty good, I thought. Jeffrey actually seemed to put his dickhead behavior away for once. During the part where he was chasing Uli around the workroom, flapping the arms of her "muu-muu dress" like a crazed pterodactyl, I almost liked him a tiny bit. During the model selection, why did Amanda actually look surprised that Jeffrey chose Marilinda instead of her? I didn't know that in seasons past, the final four went to Olympus Fashion Week with one going as a "decoy," so when someone I know posted about the four collections on a message board I frequent, it pretty much ruined the surprise for me.

Even if it was a gimmick that they'd planned from the beginning, I still think it'll work out well. With four designers as diverse and generally talented as these, it should make for a good showdown. I still want Michael to win, despite the fact that his last dress was not so great. Next week...reunion. I am NOT LOOKING FORWARD to seeing Keith the Ass again. Also? In the promo? I heard Vincent say something that sounded like "I can't help it if it turns me on." I don't know what else was said, because by the time he finished, I was curled up behind the sofa with my arms wrapped around my head, humming a vacant little tune.

America's Next Top Model

Eventually the models will stop S H R I E K I N G every time they see Tyra Banks, right? Right? Please...? I'd also say, "Eventually Tyra will stop plastering 14 thousand photos of herself all over the set, right?" but I think the fact that the contestants each sleep under a giant poster of Tyra's face renders that question moot. Also, weather alerts over about ten full minutes of the somewhat important content, like WHAT THEY WERE DOING FOR THE MAKEOVERS? Fuck that shit sideways, dude. Speaking of makeovers, three things. (1) Poor Jaeda. Poor, poor Jaeda. Now that they've chopped her hair boy-short, what do you wanna bet they're going to comment during EVERY photo shoot now about how masculine she looks? (2) How much crybaby can we be expected to take in one hour? (3) I like Anchal more every minute. She killed me with her "threehead" comment.

Here's a big shocker: I despise Monique. What a bitch. And during that whole drama-rama nonsense at the house, what was up with the one white chick who was wearing a regular bra under a black tube top?

WTF was Tyra wearing during judging? Even MB looked up and said, "What the hell is Tyra wearing?" Good Lord. Anyhow, the photos were interesting. Michelle looks plain most of the time, but she photographs SO damn well. I think it's lame that Michelle and Amanda are listed together with one photo in the opening credits. Because, you know, twins are really just one person, right? CariDee seems like she'd be a little much in person, but as someone with a beloved college roommate from North Dakota, I loved her a little bit when she said "Uff da!" in relief after being called forward for her photo. After living with the darling, fabulous C. for a year, I now say "Uff da."


Here's why those weather alerts were blocking out the ANTM action:

This photograph was taken (not by me) in a city near where I live, though it easily could've been taken in my hometown. I saw the most wicked-bad light show while I was driving from visiting MB's friend and his wife at the hospital to chai & chat. Badass, huh?

If you've got good thoughts to spare, send them MB's friend's way. Baby X seems very hale and hearty, but he was born at barely 34 and a half weeks, and he's going to be in the NICU for at least two weeks.

Reading: Night Watch by Sergei Lukyanenko, stuff for a paper on Kafka for school

Playing: Tonic, Flogging Molly, Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, and the soundtracks to Hero and House of Flying Daggers.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The Same, But Different

I called MB earlier as I left my night class and walked to my car. He told me that a very good friend of his is at the hospital with his wife, where their son is scheduled to be delivered tomorrow at 35 weeks. As I grilled him for details (Why so early? Are they expecting any unusual complications? How long will the baby have to stay at the hospital? What room are they in, since he's heading there after work at 3:00 and I won't be able to meet him until 5:00?), I suddenly wondered how many dozens of times I'd walked along the same sidewalk to my car, getting the day's scoop from MB.

After we were done talking, I started thinking about how things feel the same when I'm on campus, and totally different all at once. I started college seven years ago, and for five years it defined me, shaped me, framed my life, and helped to forge who I have become. Now I'm back on the same campus, taking a class from a professor I had as an undergrad. I still run into people I know, though not as frequently as I did when I was a real student. It's weird, to be walking on that campus and talking on the phone to my husband, instead of my boyfriend (and later, fiancé), to be talking about people we know becoming parents.

Thinking about that, and looking back, led me to this: back then, I felt that my friends and I were on the cusp of adulthood. Most of us were nearing graduation, several of us were in serious relationships, few of us had any idea what exactly we were going to do after college, but we felt like we were on the verge of something very big. We were mostly ready to strike out on our own in the world, to give a good attempt even though we didn't really feel very grown up. Tonight, I felt that my friends and I are on the cusp of adulthood. About half of my friends are married. Most of us are dealing with big important questions, like whether or not we want to have kids and when, whether or not we want to go to grad school and where, what careers we should pursue, where our paths lie.

I don't look back on my cusp-of-adulthood-at-22 feelings and scoff, the way I looked back at my cusp-of-adulthood-at-18 feelings and scoffed when I was 22. I do think, however, that adulthood is more faceted and more layered and perhaps more exponential than I knew. At 22, we were looking forward to becoming independent. Now, at 25, we're slowly beginning to become dependent or depended upon. We are (some of us) committing to serious and hopefully lifelong relationships. We are confident and centered enough to put all of our trust in someone else and let someone else put the same trust in us. We are buying or hoping to buy houses. We are making our own car payments and utility payments and paying back our student loans. We are looking for careers instead of jobs, we worry about whether or not we'll have insurance options. We still freak out about 401Ks and IRAs (because retirement? is not even on the radar...), but at least we think about them now. We are planning for or having children...children who are likely to depend on us for as many years as we've been alive, if our own lives are any indication.

I'm sure in three or five or eight or ten or twenty years I'll look back on this night and think about how much I didn't know. I'll realize that as much as I thought I was arriving somewhere tonight, I had no idea of the journey or the many destinations ahead of me. I also think that I like the idea that I can walk the same sidewalk many times, and even though where I started and where I end up will change every time, I will be able to appreciate the differences in each trip.

Reading: Night Watch by Sergei Lukyanenko

Playing: Busted Stuff by Dave Matthews Band, discs II and IV from my Led Zeppelin box set

A cryptic message for someone who will know what it means:

I could never love again,
So much as I love you.
Where you end, where I begin,
Is like a river going through.
(DMB, "Grace Is Gone")

Sunday, September 24, 2006

This is either madness or brilliance.

Really. I'm thinking of doing NaNoWriMo. National Novel Writing Month. A project where participants try to write a 50,000 word novel during the month of November. Dividing it out, that's about 1700 words per day, which I thought sounded scary until I checked and found out that the 2 and a half pages I wrote tonight (single spaced) is a little over 1500 words. It took two to three hours to do it, though, and since I work one night and have class one night each week, I'd actually only have 22 nights to work on it, which means I'd have to write 2300 words each time. Hmmm... Still possibly not insurmountable, but I'm wondering what MB would say if I told him I'm going to need the computer every night that I'm home during the entire month of November. I do not predict it would go over well.

More hmmm...maybe I could borrow my old computer back from my sister, since she uses her spiffy laptop at school. Or, I could try to borrow one of the laptops available for loan through the program, though I think it would be cheating to do so since I technically have a computer at my disposal. I'll have to think on it some, I guess.

I don't know why I'm even thinking of doing this, seeing as I still haven't come up with a topic for my first paper for my night class, which is due on October 10th.

I should talk about something

>>>Look! Over there! Animal slideshows!

>>>And an astrology article about Pluto that made me laugh with this:

"Pluto, discovered in 1930, was named for the Roman god of the underworld and is considered by most Western astrologers to be the ruler of Scorpio. However, a worldwide body of astronomers recently decided that Pluto is no longer a planet.

So the Lord of the Underworld has been demoted. Who's going to tell him? That task would fall to Jupiter, King of the Gods. The conversation might go something like this:

Jupiter: Pluto, we're tired of all this heavy stuff. Take it somewhere else. You're fired.

Pluto: That's a good one! What are you going to do, send me to hell?"

>>And some Weird Al videos, thanks to basscomm.

Ummm...that's all I've got. Sorry. I'm going back to freaking out about 2300 words per day.

Reading: Night Watch by Sergei Lukyanenko. I'm only 70 pages in, but I really dig it so far.

Playing: Book of Secrets by Loreena McKennitt

Saturday, September 23, 2006

I can't decide which option would amuse me the most...

...buying this shirt and wearing it, or buying one to put on my (still in the far future) child:

Maybe I should do both.

Reading: Night Watch by Sergei Lukyanenko

Playing: Lemon Parade by Tonic, the soundtrack from the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie

Friday, September 22, 2006

A typical cat / plant interaction in the VelociBadger household:

The typical solution:

Notice how the upper shelves of the bookcase are crammed with knickknacks and breakable objects? Cat / knickknack interactions tend to be very similar to cat / plant interactions. I learned my lesson one sad day at our old apartment when I came home from school to find that the cat had knocked one of the decorative dragon candles my dad had given me off of the three-foot bookcase in the hall. The dragon lost his head in the fall, and worse, the cat had then chewed on the head. I was not pleased. Luckily, I was able to glue the head back and most of the fang marks are on one side, so if I turn the dragon sideways on the shelf, no one can see them. Needless to say, we don't take chances with our fragile and tasty keepsakes these days.

The pineapple in the pictures is the first plant to make the migration indoors from the porch for the year, since it's been getting down to the mid-40s at night and I'm worried that its tropical-ness will not mix well with that. Before we leave for Seattle in late October, the rest of the plants will also have to make the pilgrimage to the spare bedroom, where they'll have to be shut in to protect them from the cat. During the winter, I tend to have daydreams about building a sunroom someday...a sunroom with really high shelves and hooks for hanging plants out of the cat's reach.

Yellow phone, version 3.0

Back in June, I lamented the passing of my cute yellow phone. It turns out that the clerk at the cell phone store was mistaken on one point. There are alternate face plates available for the phones we bought, and MB found a yellow one. He ordered it online, and didn't tell me (though he did torment me for about four days by saying "Girl's getting a present, and she doesn't know what it is!" every five seconds or so). When the face plate arrived, it didn't quite fit, so he spent half an hour shaving down the little plastic edges so it would fit properly. Then, we noticed that the face plate didn't have a piece to protect the screen, so he dug out a clear plastic box that I'd saved from a box lunch at work and cut a piece to fit into the face plate. I know it's cliche to say so, but sometimes it really is the little things that make life (and relationships) so sweet.

As I was assembling the following lineup of Yellow Phones versions 1.0 through 3.0, I started to feel sort of distressed about the throw-away nature of society. I realize that cell phones can be donated and recycled nowadays, but isn't it sort of sad that they have to be donated or thrown away or recycled? My parents got a big black wall-mounted rotary telephone from the phone company when they moved into their house back in the late 70s. They did add a cordless phone to the mix when I was in high school, and have since replaced that cordless twice. The old black rotary is still there and still works. At the risk of sounding like one of those grumpy old men that everyone jokes about, they really don't make 'em like they used to, in really any aspect of consumer goods.

It kind of sucks that you can recycle every unwanted scrap of paper, every soda can, every number 1 or number 2 plastic bottle that passes through your hands, every soup can and spaghetti sauce jar, and yet, at the end of it there's still so much stuff that just has to be thrown away. According to this site, the average American throws away about 1000 pounds of trash each year. If we accept the estimate reported by Wikipedia, there are 299.7 million people living in the U.S. right now. If we go lower and multiply, say, 250 million by 1000 pounds of trash, that's 250,000,000,000 pounds of trash every year. 250 billion pounds of trash. Yikes.


As I was typing out the "hooray, yellow phone!" part, I thought, 'You know, people probably don't care about my phone. Or my plants. Maybe I shouldn't be so shallow.' Then, as I was finishing the part about trash, I thought, 'You know, people probably don't want to hear me lament the state of the world. Maybe I should just stick to plants and cat pictures.' Then I realized I was overthinking things for a blog that is probably only usually read by four or five people who already know me.

So before I overthink this anymore, here are some links! Yay!

Darth Vader Phones the Emperor

the Star Wars Gansta Rap

for fans of Firefox

My pineapple plant was a gift from a friend, and as such rocks more than the average pineapple. If you want your very own extremely-low-maintenance cat-teasing houseplant, this site goes through the steps of growing a new plant from a pineapple top. Once the plant gets big enough, you can even "force" it to produce a pineapple fruit.

And here's the Hiroshige woodblock print I really really want to find as an affordable poster so I can frame it and hang it in my living room:

Foxfires on New Year's Eve at Oji

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


As is usual around here, I got up at about 6:20 this morning, so I'd be able to see MB off to work. I sat beside him on the couch while he put on his shoes and told him of the computer woes from the night before. I said, "Guess how many CDs of cat pictures we had, just from 2005...THREE!" He said, "Cool." I said, "No, it's not cool. We're sick. We're sick people, and we need help." He just laughed at me, but I guess it was foolish to look for a shared sense of sheepishness from the guy who took a sequence of twelve 16-second movies of the cat bathing himself (8 segments of shoulder washing, 3 segments of leg washing, and 1 segment of admittedly funny-looking chest washing).

Then I looked down and realized that during all of this, the oft-photographed, long-haired, constantly-shedding white cat was making a Cat Cave out of my fluffy black work sweater on which the lint roller is usually useless.

And I realized that while I may not be living one of the great romances of our time, having a quirky probably-not-so epic romance that leaves me smiling most mornings is probably better.

It's not a bad life...not a bad life at all.

continued...12:40 AM

Not winning any prizes for my powers of observation

I noticed yesterday that the office plants were looking a little parched, and I remembered around 11:00 today that I had planned to water them, so I went and got a carafe of water from the staff lounge. As I was watering, I was thinking of other things, so I didn't notice that the waxy, prickly-looking bonsai plant that sits up in the window ledge was fake until I'd poured water into it and noticed that it wasn't soaking in. It's a very good thing I'm alone in the office this week.

Two by Two

The apathetic one wasn't exaggerating about pissing off the rain gods last week. I had to move my car from the parking lot at work, because the water was almost up to the undercarriage. After wading to the car to move it, I decided to run home and get a dry pair of pants and put on my Tevas, but after driving through water that was probably up to the bottoms of my car doors on the way to my apartment, I was NOT interested in making a return attempt while the streets were still flooded. While I was trapped at home I took these pictures from the front and back doors of my apartment as the four-inches-in-an-hour rainstorm was finally dying out.

(Hint: anywhere you see patches of light gray-blue in the
above photo, that's water. It's supposed to be grass.)

Yesterday's Married to the Sea comic seems like a fitting addition:

Mr. Kitters says:

"Hey,! Why don't you quit screwing around
and upload the damn photos already? We're wasting valuable
America's-Next-Top-Model-watching time!"

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

I'm one microscopic cog in his catastrophic plan

Just now, MB spent about 15 minutes watching this cinematic gem on VH1:

To be fair, he spent the first ten minutes confirming it actually was a movie about MC Hammer, just for the sake of science and all that. But then, once he'd confirmed his suspicions, he was still watching it.

VBG: This is really terrible.

MB: *watches in silence; may be stunned into silence by horror unfolding on screen, as Hammer Pants have been busted out*

VBG: I can't believe you're watching this.

MB: I'd better change the channel before this becomes a blog entry.

VBG: Too late.

MB: What, already?

VBG: Oh, yeah.


Designed and directed by his red right hand

Our computer started screaming for mercy shortly after I started the long process of getting Blogger to accept my cookies so I could write an entry. For the first time in a long time, it only took one clearing-out of my cookies, temporary internet files, and internet history to get Blogger to accept all of the photos I wanted to upload. A miracle! And thank God, because I was already frustrated with the computer for going like this:

about fifteen times.

I deleted a bunch of albums from the media library, but there's not enough memory to burn any audio CDs, so I have to keep a bunch of stuff that I hadn't got around to burning yet. Since the Mr. Kitters 2005 folder of pictures from our digital camera weighs in at 1.76 Gigabytes, I figured that would be another place to cull the herd. When I started shifting the pics into separate folders to burn to CD, I found out that it's going to take THREE 700Mb CDs to hold all the cat pictures just from one year. Sweet God. But I have to tell you...shots like these make it all worthwhile:

Pure photographic gold, no?

Since I planned to go to bed 45 minutes ago but find myself locked in an epic struggle with forty gajillion cat pictures, I'm going to have to stop pretending I have something important to say. Hopefully the computer won't implode before I have a second chance to astound you with my brilliance.

Reading: James Joyce & Kafka for school

Playing: The Best of Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, Eye to the Telescope by KT Tunstall

Sunday, September 17, 2006


Last night, MB and I saw a roadside panhandler about our age with a sign that appeared to read, "Please donate a cat so I can go to war."

Later, I realized it might've said, "Please donate a car so I can go to war," but in the end, that doesn't really clear things up all that much.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Project Runway, How You Pain Me

6:13 PM  (Geek alert!) I'm actually nervous about tonight's episode of Project Runway. Why? Because I'm worried about Laura. I LOVE Laura. I'm rooting for Michael to win the whole shebang, but I really want Laura to come in second...or at least be in the final three. And especially now that it seems clear that Dickhead Jeffrey is going to make it to Olympus Fashion Week, it's that much more important to me that Laura be there to represent.

Last week I actually closed my eyes and hid behind MB on the sofa during elimination because I was so worried about Laura. The preview for this week, along with a promo touting the question "What melts the ice princess?" have me very very concerned.

At least I won't have to sit around wringing my hands and fretting until 9 PM. Instead, I'm heading off to chai & chat and letting the VCR pick up the slack while I'm gone.

Toodles for now!

Back again

11:45 PM  History was made tonight. For the first time EVER, I completely agreed with Jeffrey, who said, "What the fuck."

Vincent & Angela given a second chance? Sweet fancy Moses. WHY?

Also, I need to express my undying love for Tim Gunn, who won my heart with this exchange:

     Tim Gunn: "I have a question. Where is your white fabric?"

     Kayne: *holds up a piece of pleather-looking stuff that had been part of a belt until Michael advised against it* "Does this count as a fabric?"

     Tim Gunn: "Oh, Jesus."


I thought the challenge was interesting, and I definitely agree with the results. Laura's dress was the best one, though Michael's wouldn't have been an unjust choice for the win. Angela's and Vincent's, predictably, were both icky. I didn't feel that Jeffrey's piece was very good (though his model, Marilinda, is without a doubt the best walker out there, with Michael's Nazri as a very close second), but unfortunately even though he's a ginormous prick, he has consistently produced better stuff than Kayne. I REALLY want to see Michael and Laura together in the final three, because I find their seemingly genuine friendship heartening and adorable. I really think Jeffrey can outperform Uli, just because she really never broke out of halter dress mode. Interestingly, the judges scolded Jeffrey for showing the same aesthetic (edgy but not elegant) with each challenge, but didn't give Uli as much of a hard time as they could've for yet another crazy print halter dress. I like Uli a lot, don't get me wrong...but I don't think there's much chance that Jeffrey's getting booted and I think Michael should win, so either Laura or Uli will have to be out.

And what's this nonsense about the final episode not happening until OCTOBER FREAKIN' 18th?? Gah!

As they showed the preview of the designers' reactions to some announcement from next week's show, MB wrested my heart back from Tim Gunn's perfectly manicured clutches with this comment:

"If those two [meaning Michael and Laura] are like 'Oh, crap!' and Jeffrey's all 'Yes!'...then Satan must be in town."

This made me laugh and laugh and laugh:

What? I never said I thrive on being classy. I totally want it as a button for my backpack.

I also love (but don't know if I'd wear):

(It says "shirt".)

These two I love and would definitely wear:

Visit One Horse Shy for more awesome shirts.

This also made me laugh and laugh, but in a slightly less immature way:

There's plenty more where this came from at Married to the Sea.

Reading: Survival of the Prettiest: the Science of Beauty by Nancy Etcoff

Playing: the Red Violin soundtrack. If you haven't seen this movie, please rent it or get it from the library. It is beautiful.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


Scene: the Badger kitchen, evening
Characters: Velocibadgergirl, Mr. Kitters

MK: Meow! Meeoww! (Translation: Hello. May I have a moment of your time?)

VBG: No, Kitters. You already had dinner.

MK: Meow! Meow! Meow! (I'm not hungry, you buffoon. Except for stimulating discourse.)

VBG: You had treats earlier, too.

MK: Meeeeeoww! (Good Lord, woman! Are you deaf or just stupid?)

VBG: What?

MK: *runs around in insane frustration*

VBG: Jeez, Kitters. You're all crazified.

MK: Meow meow MEOW! (That's because I want to discuss the didactic nature of 19th century Russian fiction, and all you talk about is food!)

VBG: Do you want your feather toy?

MK: Meow. Meow Meow! (I sneer in your general direction.)

VBG: All right, I'll get the toy. Hold your horses.

MK: Meeeeeeeeeeeeooooooowww! (My staggering intellect is wasted on you, you hairless ape.)

VBG: What? Timmy's in the well?! I'll get help!

MK: Meow. (Oh for God's sake. Just wave the damn toy already.)

Reading: homework, Moving Pictures by Terry Pratchett

Playing: the House of Flying Daggers soundtrack

"Your idiocy offends me."

Sunday, September 10, 2006

The Leak Report, continued

9:25 AM   It's worse. It's practically a gentle spring shower in the full bath. The carpet is sloggy and squishy and our walk-in closet already stinks of mildew. Goddammit.

~12:30 PM   Called MB and asked if the maintenance guy had been by; he hadn't. Asked MB to call the landlord and explain that it was getting much worse. Hoped it would make a difference.

~1:45 PM   Called MB again. Found out he hadn't called the landlord, because he didn't have the number. Even though I've given it to him twice in the past year in similar situations. Pause to collect pieces of exploded cranium. Give MB landlord's number and "suggest" that he call.

~3:25 PM   Call once more. All is well. The maintenance man has fixed whatever it was that was causing the ceiling to hemorrhage (though I guess we'll never know what it was, since SOMEONE neglected to ask) and has used some kind of "industrial strength hose thing" to suck the water up out of the carpet.

5:00 PM   Arrive home to find carpet still damp and squooshy, but bearing signs of obvious effort to correct the problem. This time around they also left a box fan to help with the drying process.

Currently: Burning candles and hoping things return to a pleasantly mildew-smell-free state as soon as possible; listening to MB watching Men in Black and reveling in the fabulousness that is Tommy Lee Jones's line delivery.

2005-09-14 - 11:41 p.m.
You can't fly. Know why?

Cuz you're a penguin. That's why. You can't fly. Know why? Cuz you're still in your egg!

Or so I was told this evening by the absolutely 100% delightful child that I babysit. Logically, I know that the twos are still considered terrible. I'm sure this kid is capable of monstrous tantrums. But to me, he's this magnificently compact packet of energy and intelligence, and he just makes my heart sing. He used to scream for 45 minutes whenever I came over, but lately he only cries for a few minutes, if at all. Then we're off! We are firefighters, driving our pumper truck to the scene of a fire! ("I don't like the ladder truck," he says. "I like the pumper truck.") We are baby birds, in our eggs! We hatch, and then eat our eggs, which he has cooked for us. We are fixing a crane! (Also known as the back steps) We are playing baseball! We are eating popsicles! No...not popsicles. YOGURT POPS. We do NOT have to potty, no we DO NOT. Nope. Not one bit. Except we're dancing around a bit.

I hope when it's finally time for MB & I to have kids, that they're as cool as he is. Otherwise, I may have to fix the crane myself.

I posted this almost a year ago on my first, very briefly-used Diaryland site. I forgot all about it until the bibliophile mentioned that she'd always been fond of that entry. I kidsat for the same little boy last night, and it made me think of it again. He's nearly four years old now, and seems more of a boy than a baby every time I see him. I haven't been the babysitter since his third birthday, however, when he declared that since he was no longer a baby, he no longer had a babysitter. "Kidsitter," he said firmly. "I'm NOT a baby." He once overheard me say "This is the babysitter" on the phone, and yelled from the bathroom, "No! Kid! Not baby! Kid!"

Back when I first started sitting for him, he didn't really talk yet, and the words he did say were pretty much gibberish to me. Luckily his parents had taught him to sign some things, so he could tell me when he was hungry or thirsty, and we could talk about some animals and the moon. Oh, and his dad's Harley ("Hossey"). Now he talks a mile a minute, and I understand almost everything. He's constantly coming up with new ways to be amazing.

Last night, he was telling me about a plow he'd seen behind a tractor that was going down the road near his house (he lives in an old farmhouse surrounded by cropland and a dairy farm). As he described the plow, he held up his fingers in a weird position to show me what the teeth of the plow had looked like. That simple gesture, which would've been totally ordinary in an adult, seemed so extraordinary from someone whose clothes are still marked with a T for toddler.

During dinner, he demanded that I not sing along with the Simon & Garfunkel CD that his parents had left playing in the kitchen, but repeatedly requested that I "sing a song" or "tell a story." He told a few himself. I sang a song I learned at summer camp:


Way up north in the ice and snow
Where the temperature drops to forty below
Who's the happiest one up there? Percy the pale-faced polar bear.

Sleeps all day and then at night, catch a few fish by the pale moonlight
Has no worries, has no cares... Percy the pale-faced polar bear.

Then one day a hunter came, caught poor Percy by the snout.
Put him in a great big cage... Percy howled and he growled, but he couldn't get out!
Now he's living in the zoo... Funny thing is he likes it too.
'Cause he met his girlfriend there... And she loves Percy the pale-faced polar bear.

Who? Percy the pale-faced polar bear.

Except I changed "pale-faced" to "happy" when it became clear that the kid was trying to learn the song, and that he didn't know what "pale-faced" meant or how to say it. Good Lord, it was cute to see him, mouthing the words along with me as he listened with a very intent expression.

This all seems painfully familiar...

Earlier this evening, I went to avail myself of the toilet in the half bath and I heard a dripping noise that was not coming from me, if you know what I mean. It sounded like it was coming from the wall behind my head.

I decided to go into the full bath to see if I could hear it from that side, and I noticed that the carpet was squishy and wet in front of the bathroom door. Ummmm...

I called MB into the half-bath, then the full-bath, and he heard the drip, too. He went back to the living room, and I noticed a dripping sound IN the full bath. I looked up, and there were ominous bubbles in the ceiling with drips coming down the wall. UMMMM...

The landlord is supposed to send maintenance in the morning.

I went into our bedroom just now, and noticed a small bubble forming in the half bath ceiling. There must be a huge pool trapped between the upstairs neighbors' subfloor and our ceiling. We can hear it dripping down inside the walls, and it's dripping out of the pocket doors and seeping into the carpet. This sucks, though I guess it could be worse. It could be a giant puddle in the living room floor. This one developed slowly enough that we were able to move stuff out of the dampest areas before anything got ruined.

The last time there was a leak in the half-bath, I came home from work to find an inch and a half of standing water in the floor. The maintenance crew did a half-assed job shop-vaccing the carpet, and the apartment smelled asserific for nearly a week. I just hope the mildew smell doesn't come back.


MB and I have chosen our Halloween costumes for this year (And probably the next three or four years, based on how much they'll cost when all is said and done):

The black fabric is for MB's kimono, and the blue is for mine:

My mom will be our seamstress, because she rules. She made my wedding dress which I absolutely loved, and which looked 100 times better than it does in this picture:

I'm looking forward to trying out a new Halloween look, though I'm still fond of my costume from the past two years:

I think the fairy costume is cute, like an Amy Brown fairy. MB, however, is not a fan, and calls it my "slutty pixie" outfit. Can't please everyone, I guess.

OMG. I love this.

"Angie in the Sky with Fleur Chons" (hilarious Project Runway recap). Props to Y at Joy Unexpected, from whom I lifted the linkage.

Reading: homework

Playing: Sounds of Silence by Simon & Garfunkel

Friday, September 08, 2006

I like pleasure spiked with pain, and music is my aeroplane

Back in April, MB and I thought we were ready to start looking for a house. We made an appointment with the bank to get pre-approved for a mortgage. I began searching for houses online with the fervor born of an internet addiction and an obsessive need to plan. I found a lot of so-so options and a few really nice-looking options. I found two places I liked so much that I daydreamed about how we could fix them up and redecorate. Then I found a home that I loved so much that I actually allowed myself to imagine MB and I living there. I had a mental picture of watching our future (hypothetical) daughter walking down the front stairs.

I tried not to think too much about it. We went to the bank, and were told that we could probably afford more than we'd thought. Then we found out that we'll make $2000 too much this year to qualify for 100% financing. And that due to a screw-up with the way Sallie Mae was reporting my tiny student loan, my credit score was too low for us to qualify for a decent set of rates on an 80/20 loan. A few weeks later, there was some weirdness with MB's work schedule. My job is still officially classified as a one-year contract.

About the time that we decided to sign another lease at our apartment and wait another year, the dream house disappeared from the realty site. Even though it had already been made clear that we weren't going to be able to buy it, I was really bummed. I put away all the house listings I'd printed and stopped surfing the house sites. Since the car debacle, we've wavered back and forth between hoping for a house in 2007 and figuring we'll be lucky to make 2008.

As of now, the plan is to save like crazy and see if we can scrape together a 5% down payment by the time our lease runs out in mid-2007. On a whim, I grabbed a booklet of homes for sale from the grocery store tonight. The daydreaming-about-kids-house is back on the market (or maybe it was never off the market, just the website). I covet its 9-foot ceilings and front & rear staircases and butler's pantry and three bedrooms and office upstairs with a little balcony and wood floors.

I keep telling myself that we'll find the house we're meant to find, when the time is right. It's sometimes hard to be mature and sensible, though.

Reading: Book 6 of the Mediator series

Playing: Knuckle Down by Ani DiFranco

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Blog powered by Blogger; blogger powered by Mountain Dew

I should've known better, really. Sure, in college I could knock back a 20-ounce and a half of Mountain Dew per day with no ill effects, but I'm old now. MB and I had a frozen pizza for dinner, though, and I was immediately afflicted with the dreaded Pizza Death Thirst, for which there is no known cure except carbonated beverages. The only soda in the apartment was a 20-ounce bottle of Mountain Dew, so I went for it. It tasted so damn good, but now I'm all jittery and half-addled. Perfect mindset for trying to write something amusing and meaningful, right? Caffeine! Whee!

So this is sort of really HUGE and FUN:

A dear friend of mine is getting married in Seattle in October, and I convinced MB that we should use the wedding as an excuse for a decadent West Coast vacation. Neither of us has ever been to Washington nor seen the Pacific, so it seemed like a perfect opportunity. We're going to hang with my homies in Seattle for two days, then drive over to Olympic National Park for four, then come back to Seattle for two more days. We're spending one whole glorious day with this insanely fabulous person and her handsome husband and divine boychild. There will be much squealing and jumping around, I guarantee it.

Also, don't tell MB, but we're totally going here:

If you don't know about Archie McPhee, you need to check it out. They have choice products, like this 17" latex vulture:

"Being a scavenger isn't easy. Just imagine if you had to circle around the Burger King for a few days before pulling up at the drive-thru. This 17" tall, soft latex vulture is extremely realistic and looks eager for you to die."

Mostly, I'm beyond giddy at the prospect of hanging with my peeps, and cannot wait to visit Olympic. Back when I was still trying to convince MB that we should take this trip, I put together a PowerPoint presentation to argue my case, which featured gorgeous photos and fascinating facts found on the park's website. I never actually got around to showing it to him, but it's quite hilarious. Here's one of my slides:

It's just as well that he gave in before he saw the slide show. He was a goner anyway. Who could withstand this kind of earthshattering logic and superior reasoning?

In all honesty, I expect to be both uplifted and immensely humbled by this amazing place:

Washington, here we come!

Reading: Book 6 of the Mediator series

Playing: The Best of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds

Sunday, September 03, 2006

An Unexpected Kindness

Someone I barely know gave me a gift today. She volunteers where I work, and I trained her for a project last spring. I saw her once or twice a month over two or three months, and then she left for India for the summer. Today she stopped by and gave me a gift she'd brought back for me. It's a beautiful set of six handpainted nesting dolls.

I tend to buy little gifts for people at random. Now that I know how nice it feels to receive one, I'm definitely not going to stop.

MB Rocks

Because he made my new banner. And for many other reasons.

Are you reading this? Um...why not?

The author of the blog Nothing But Bonfires is backpacking through Southeast Asia, and writing some pretty cool entries along the way.

Mr. Kitters Says:

"Please ignore the icky leaky baseboard and dangling internet cord and turn your attention to MY UNBEARABLE CUTENESS."

Reading: Book 5 of the Mediator series

Playing: Plans by Death Cab for Cutie

Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns. ~George Eliot

It was 70 degrees out today. I know summer's not quite down for the count, as it tends to hang on quite tenaciously around here, but it was enough to set things stirring. Fall is my favorite season of the year, though it's hard to put into words why I like it so much. During the fall, I feel restless and energized, simultaneously happy and itchy to be on the move. I'm hoping for a good, long, cool fall this year. With lots of hiking. Hiiiiiiiking. Yes, precious. And hot chocolate. And mooning over pretty leaves.

Hooray for free school!

So, as I believe I've admitted before, I'm a huge, huge nerd. I love learning, just to learn. I loved school. I'm far enough removed from my senior-year-burnout that I've started to miss it, so I'm taking a class at my old college. (My alma mater, I guess I should say, though that sounds sort of snooty for some reason.) I was poking around in the online course catalog a few months ago, looking for a specific seminar, and stumbled upon a lit survey course covering the short story form. It's a night class that meets only once a week, and I had the professor as an undergrad and really liked his style.

I did a term of AmeriCorps service last year, so I have some funds that can be spent at any accredited university. The only thing more fabulous than going to the bookstore again and picking out an armload of brand new books is going to the bookstore, picking out an armload of brand new books, and not having to pay for them.

It was a very good day. And we're starting with Poe. Oh, bliss...

P.S. OMG. Yum:

Reading: Book 4 in the Mediator series. Loving it! Wanting to read this instead of my books for class!

Playing: Plans by Death Cab for Cutie

Friday, September 01, 2006

Project Runway, how do I love thee?

First, a caveat...I don't think the show's been as good since they switched to one day challenges. They seem to be showing a lot less of the garment-making and a lot more of the drama and interaction. Drama has its place, no doubt, but the clothes are kind of the point, yes?

Now, on with the show.

I'll start with the "designing for the average woman" challenge from two weeks ago. Let me say that I almost missed this one. I set the VCR to tape it before I left for Chicago, but mis-entered the date. Imagine my sadness when I spoke to MB that night and he said, "Wasn't your show on tonight? The VCR didn't kick on." Luckily, MB is incredibly fabulous and agreed to tape it when it came on the next night. He rules. I watched the tape when I got home on Sunday night, and I have to wasn't my favorite episode. There wasn't enough focus on the clothes, and even though I felt bad for Angela's mom for having to work with Asshole Jeffrey, I really got sick of the weepy dramarama shit after the first ten minutes. Let's talk about something else, please!

I thought that Uli definitely deserved to win...her outfit was a lot more creative than Vincent's, and his model was pretty darn skinny. Also? When he said that Uli's mom had something of a "European air" about her? SHE'S GERMAN, YOU WEIRDO. WHAT DID YOU EXPECT? I wasn't that surprised or upset that Robert went home...he really has been flat and dull since the first few shows. Jeffrey didn't have to answer as much as he should've for his ATROCIOUS dress. I don't care that Angela's mom was difficult. That dress was a horror. But they also shouldn't have let Angela weigh in on the experience. No one else got to weigh in on their mom's opinions. I felt like the judges gave Kayne a little more crap than he probably deserved. He's been off the mark lately, but his piece for Michael's mom was not that bad.

This week's show was better, though I still wished they'd put more focus on the clothes and the design process. I like Uli, but I wasn't surprised that the judges finally called her out for making yet another halter dress. I loved Laura's dress, but was a little surprised that they didn't criticize her for her color choice. It made her look a little washed out. Vincent's was fine, but the shirt was so dull. Michael's outfit was FAB. If he doesn't win the whole thing, I'm going to be so pissed. He rocks the block. I can see why they chose Jeffrey for the win, but I still think he's a pinheaded asshole. His skintight pants are gross, and did he really feel the need to call attention to his crotchular region with that shiny metallic zipper decoration? Excuse me while I vomit. Also, when Laura saw Michael strutting his stuff for the Paris judge, she genuinely smiled for him. She has class. When Angela was eliminated, Jeffrey was grinning from ear-to-ear in smug approval. It just made him look even more like a jerk than before. I fear that he'll make the final three and we'll have to watch him strut and preen even more. GAG.

Unlike Mrs. Squirrel, I do not have a scientific method of predicting the results. However, I'm still feeling like it's going to be Laura, Michael, and someone truly obnoxious in the final three...meaning either Crazy Vincent or Asshole Jeffrey, because I'm starting to get the impression that Kayne's days are numbered.

For longer, snarkier reviews, check out Television Without Pity. The one for the latest challenge isn't up quite yet, but if you have time to kill, it's worth it to read through the others.

There's also Blogging Project Runway, which I don't read, but which others might find interesting.

P.S. September 1st? SEPTEMBER FIRST?? This has to be a joke.