Like Dan, and Judy before him, and Cindy before her, I am now sick. Sick sick sick. Like crap is felt by me.
On the plus side, Dan and Rascal are very good care-taker-ofers. Dan pets my head and brings me food and medicine, and Rascal is just glad that i finally got the memo about lying in bed all day. Like, it's the only way to go!
I managed to mostly avoid the internet today (and other lesser forms of media distribution as well) so as not to expose myself to the juvenile japes and pranks which are all too common on the first of April. Pagan superstition! Although I have to say some of the superstition, when I checked on it this evening, was kind of amusing. And while it's kind of annoying not to be able to trust anything you hear, at least the internet can't squirt water on me. YET!
Mom: How are you feeling?
Mom: You sound awful.
Leah: I'm getting better. No more fever, just a cough.
Mom: You sound worse than yesterday.
Leah: I'll be better tomorrow.
Mom: That's good. Any more interviews?
Leah: What? Mom, I already took a job.
Mom: No, for Dan. Any job interviews for Dan?
Leah: I tell you what, I'll call you if I get sicker or if Dan gets a job. Does that cover everything?
Mom: Yes. Bye.
We made the mistake of buying the matza (matzos?) a little early this year, and despite the fact that Passover is not for a couple weeks we have already gone through the best part of two boxes (in parallel: Leah like the egg matza and I prefer the... um... the other kind). I would love to write about what I've been eating on the delicious crunchy breads, but I find that it's already been done; in fact, more than once. Oh, I'm so predictable.
Those two entries linked to above are numbers 99 and 798; you probably didn't notice, but entry number 1000 is coming up any day now. Can you believe all the time we've wasted writing in this blog, and you've wasted reading it? We'll have to come up with some sort of retrospective or something.
Today was the occasion of a bittersweet post-Easter ritual, the dismemberment and consumption of the Christmas gingerbread house (the dismemberment, you see, is bitter while the eating is oh-so-sweet). This year—or rather last year—we created a simulacrum of our own home in miniature and gingerbread, and even though they might be better suited to Christmastime than early Spring, I present a pair of photos that we finally took of the structure.
It doesn't look like that any more, however. One whole roof and half of the porch has already gone into my overstuffed belly.
We finally made it to the mall this evening, and it is indeed true that they are making a movie there. This involves, we find, Christmas decorations, fake vendor carts, and a crew of portly, pony-tailed men in t-shirts and black jeans testing air cannons buried in a giant ball pit. Clearly, a classic film for the ages is in the works! The strangest thing about the scene, Leah and I both felt, was how all that artifice makes you doubt the reality of the world as a whole. There were fake plants and fake marble pedestals, as well as the aforementioned fake vendor carts (complete with dopey looking signs); what else might not be genuine? Is that a real soda machine, or another prop? How about those funny looking people over there: real mall-goers, or movie actors?
"This is probably what people feel like all the time in LA," Leah says.
We were trying to go to the Apple Store, but again we were denied; just as we were approaching the alluring portals there was some sort of alarm within, and we arrived to the site of the motley crowd of Apple personnel escorting would-be customers from the premises. Now there's a crowd with not a single tinge of artifice: the movie execs would never cast crazy looking folks like that as computer salesmen. It just wouldn't be believable.
After a late night last night playing on the old banjo and singing, both Leah and I needed a nap this afternoon. Unfortunately, as is too often the case with naps, we awoke cold, sore, and completely incapacitated. But life goes on, and the dog had to be walked. Marginally more aware of my surroundings, I volunteered. Leah offered to come along, but since she could barely walk I told her to stay and keep the home fires burning.
"Ok," she said. "I'll turn on the heat."
That's my story for today; there's no more. We really were singing last night, though, and playing not only the banjo but other instruments as well, including but not limited to bass, mandolin, and a very expensive borrowed Dobro that I was about afraid to touch. There was not, however, a single "fee fie fiddly ie oh." It seems almost a shame.
If anyone happens to stop by to visit us today, they should know that our house is totally this clean all the time. We always vacuum, like, every day, and never forget to pick up our toys.
Rascal is on steroids this week, part of our ongoing effort to stop him from incessantly biting at his tale. So far the medication seems to being doing its job reasonably well, but I had assumed that there would be, you know, some evidence of increased strength or better-than-usual speed in our little pup. It's steroids, right?! No such luck, however (although I suppose I'm glad he isn't any faster than he is regularly, which is plenty fast thank you very much). Instead, he's just been drinking alot more and—a natural consequence—peeing a great deal more as well.
Now, they warned us that that would be a side effect we could expect, but man! I never would have imagined the effect those tiny little pills could have. Poor Rascal has to go out at least every two hours, and if we delay at all in letting him out when he makes his request he's almost visibly hopping from foot to foot (to foot to foot) with the effort of being a Good Dog in the house.
On the plus side, though, when he does get outside there's no more wandering about aimlessly before getting down to business. Nope, he goes right at it as soon as he can, and his relief is all too clear.
We wonder if he notices the difference, or if it's all the same to him.
Oona and Janet stopped by yesterday, on their whirlwind trip of the east coast that they are documenting here. Like I told Rascal, "Oona and Janet are some ladies that your mommy knew in college before you were born." And if we lived in a cartoon strip, Rascal would have rolled his eyes and thought-bubbled, "Like when, mom, the STONE AGE???!!!"
For several days Dan and I wondered how we would show up my peers in hospitality. Well, mostly I wondered aloud and Dan pretended like his wife wasn't turning into an insane person. How on earth, I moaned, could we compete with other friends who live in the city and take them out to chic martini bars and tapings of the Daily Show??? How can I show then that my life is infused with interest and excitement? And Dan was like, we'll make pancakes and hang out; they're not the pope.
Anyway, we ended up having a marvelous time, mostly because Dan hosted everything, making delicious brunch and dinner, and leading a historical tour of our environs, and generally being the brilliant and charming prince I know him to be. I don't know why I got so freaked out that they wouldn't have a good time. Sometimes I worry that the peers I grew up with are so different from me, so cosmopolitan, so career minded, so unconcerned with things like church and quilting and parenting.
However, were I to list my post-college accomplishments in preparation for a five-year newsletter, my new job and MBA would not be high on my list. Instead, I would pride myself as follows:
1) I married a good cook who is incredibly sexy and does funny stuff like hangs the thermometer and then carries the hammer around the house saying, "this looks like a nail... this looks like a nail..."
2) I am mommy to the cutest puppy in the entire universe.
3) I can run a marathon, so suck on that bitches.
All these things make me feel less bad about turning out less cool.
Leah claimed post number 1000 yesterday, with all the attendant celebration. Horns blared, bystanders cheered, and confetti and balloons rained down from the ceiling. It was pretty cool! In her historic post, however, she neglected to mention that our illustrious visitors were none other than oonams and yimfay, who also blog at aimless wanderings cubed. That's where you can find their account of their visit to the squibix family home! Although we may be able to cook and embroider, Leah is correct that we are Not Cool; but at least we got to bask a little in some reflected hip urban glory!
If you have any love or even a slight inclination towards crafting, please help me out and take this survey.
As part of my Market Research class at Babson, my group has designed this survey to better understand the crafting community.
If you can spare ten minutes of your time to do a good data-creation deed, good karma will follow you everywhere you go. And I'll definitely love you more.
That includes YOU Oona and Janet!!! Get to it!
Inspired by Janet and the desire to read someone's profile, Leah and I have joined LinkedIn. Yeah, we're a couple years behind the times on the whole social networking thing. You can't early adopt everything! Needless to say, we have a long way to go when it comes to building our "connection" networks; and even though one call to action in a week is plenty, I feel it is necessary to ask—to abjure!—anyone who's on the LinkedIn to add me as a friend. I mean, as a connection. A serious business connection. Don't bother adding Leah, though; there's no competition between us, so she won't mind if I get more connections than she does.
My little profile page is at www.linkedin.com/in/danarchibald, if anyone wants to take a look at it.
Whatever. I wanna win this networking thing.
There was a talent show at our church this evening, and it was a grand time for all ages—kids, old folks, and regular-aged people like us. The theme was "talking bout my generation", so participants were asked to showcase songs from the eras of their youth. We were tasked with representing not only the 90s but the 80s as well, despite the fact that of our quintet of "young people" only Alan and I reached a double-digit year before the end of the latter decade. Really, our prime period for pop-music was right around 1992-1994. Nevertheless!
Our 90s tune was a soulful rendition of Nirvana's "All Apologies", but any 90s-era angst we created was counteracted by the next group of young performers, who remembered the decade of their birth by leading the audience in the Macarena. Our 80s turn was next, and we did Bobby McFarrin's "23rd Psalm", fine—but then we followed it up with a special presentation (not in your program this evening!) of Madonna's "Like A Prayer". It went over well.
Everybody was really good, though, from the grade-schoolers singing Hannah Montana to the quintet who presented "White Cliffs of Dover" and "Last Time I Saw Paris". It sure was nice to see everyone having a good time together, and it really gives you hope for the future of society. Even if our music is still the best.
Leah and I served dinner to the discussion group at church this evening. We're not big fans of the scene—we wouldn't have been discussing ourselves, that's for sure—but I can't say no when someone asks me to cook for them. Mine is a cooking ministry.
In the event, it was kind of miraculous, not unlike the loaves and the fishes. Although, as I recall in that story they started out with very little food, whereas we had a fair amount; so much, in fact, that at the end of the evening the amount was not noticeably diminished. At least, that was true of the main dish, salad, and bread. The assembled multitude made a pretty good dent in the two batches of cookies we baked for em. I'm sure that would have been the case if the disciples had come up with a couple oatmeal-raisins along with the loaves and fishes; there wouldn't have been any extra of them left at the end!
On Saturday we had some eventful weather, torrential downpours interspersed with periods of sun. One of those downpours, complete with dramatic thunder, got going when we were out walking the dog, causing us to proceed homeward with more haste than we otherwise would have. The excitement of our close escape—we reached our front porch just as the serious rain was starting—was perhaps the reason we didn't notice until the next day that the storm, and its fellows, had deposited a fair amount of water in our basement.
Now, even though we have a fieldstone foundation we're usually pretty free from floods, even during snow-melt season, so I was surprised to see that a short-lived deluge would have caused such an inundation. Was this a troubling portent of things to come? Is our foundation disintegrating entirely?! Today, though, I think I found out what happened. The downspout at one corner of the house normally has a little curve at the bottom of it, to direct the flow away from the foundation and onto a concrete chute (which is, by the way, a historical artifact; probably cast in 1925, if not before). The force of the rain (or something) knocked the curved part right off, so the all water coming off of one side of the roof was being channeled directly into the foundation.
Happily, not much damage was done, at least immediately. The only casualty was our bag of ice-melt—obtained at great cost and effort by my mother in the midst of a state-wide ice-melt shortage last winter—which absorbed as much water as it could hold and bloated to three times its normal size. I do hope we have a few dry days coming up though, or else the basement might not smell so sweet come summer.
And now that downspout is jammed together tight, let me assure you!
With the warmer weather over the past month or so we've been taking more after-dark walks with the dog, and every time I can't help but notice how many households have the tv going. We barely watch ours any more, so we're out of the habit of spending our evenings staring at the flickering tube, and also out of the loop when it comes to the latest tv obsessions. Apparently there are programs that people watch regularly, every time they appear! I can't imagine wasting that much time in the evening; don't folks have better things to do after a hard day of work?! There's so much content on the internet that needs reading!
Er... that is, everyone has their own favorite time sink. Both Leah and I have largely moved from tv to the internet, but in my case at least I don't know how much of an improvement that is when it comes to my personal productivity. At least I can't distractedly turn on the tv when I'm working (not that I could even imagine such a thing) but the delights of the internet are always a temptation to me. There's always new content to read! Although it must be said that it is not, largely, more intellectual than America's Next Top Model season 7, to pick a random example.
Perhaps I'll switch to reading books instead. That's more intellectual, right, and inherently productive? As long as its romance novels, of course. Yup, it's books for me for now on, and no internet at all. Except for writing in this blog, of course. And maybe Comics Curmudgeon.
I don't know if I'm just getting old or what, but I can't stay up for the baseball games like I used to. Some years ago, I seem to recall, I listened to nearly every game right to the end, but this year last night—the 15th game of the season—was the first night game I stuck with til its conclusion. Why? Post-7:00 start times and three-and-a-half hour games I think have something to do with it. Take today: it's past 9:00 and we're still in the top of the fifth! It's an exciting game, bank-and-forth Sox vs. Yanks, and still my eyelids are drooping.
What should MLB do about this deplorable situation? Make me drink coffee, I suppose. I am afraid I am no longer the target audience for professional sports, or indeed prime-time entertainment in general (including this political debate entertainment that I hear is taking place this evening), nor is anyone who hopes to go to bed at a reasonable hour. And folks have to go to work! Is all of America chronically sleep-deprived? Or at least, all of the East Coast? Clearly one option is to move back to California.
Or the pitchers could just, you know, throw the ball without holding it for a minute and a half between pitches. It does build tension, though!
Just the title you want to see at the beginning of a blog entry right?
No seriously, here's a question for the three "high" Christians who read this blog (Howdy Baptists and Pagans! You can't contribute to this discussion!)
I sent this email to the parents of my Sunday school class, and some found it on the wee bit offensive side. I'll let you be the judge:
Is your child called to be an Acolyte?
Well double check, because we're calling on them now!
Bob has asked me to pass on the message that the church needs more acolytes to keep the up pomp and circumstance of the Sunday service. If your child is interested / willing, please either let me know, or contact Joan.
So what do you say? Is it wrong to call the crucifers and candle-lighters pomp and circumstance? I mean, what else are they for? If you like pomp in your service, then you should have no problem with calling it that. It's not like thirteen-year-olds in white dresses really serve some role in increasing prayer-transmission. It's all pomp and you guys know it.
One email accused me of "not growing up in the church," which would be the cause of my pompitoryness. Oh yeah, like I have no experience with high ceremony in temple Judaism. From whence do you think your pomp emerges, losers?
Every time we open a new jar of peanut butter, we face the same struggle. How, we wonder despairingly, are we ever going to stir in the oil that has separated out without spilling it all over the counter and, even worse, the outside of the jar, from which place it will never be completely removed? Is it even humanly possible?!
Well, I am happy to report that indeed it is indeed, and that I have achieved it with our current jar. And what a difference it makes to the quality of the peanut butter! Even now, more than halfway through the jar, the peanut butter is still a joy to spread—a far cry from the near-solid mass we usually face by this point in the PB cycle. So take heart, fellow consumers of hippy-style nut betters: there is yet hope!
Forget the gray hairs, I had to get up two times to go to the bathroom last night! Of course, the Passover wine may also have had something to do with that.
I have driven my car very little over the past two or three months. There are two reasons for this, and as it happens they reinforced each other to form one unstoppable super-reason. Briefly, when I stopped student teaching I didn't really need to go anywhere that required a car more than once or twice a week, so consequently I neglected to renew my inspection sticker or change my oil for rather longer than perhaps was prudent. With a sticker that had expired in January and an oil tank (or whatever it is) that should have been refilled at about the same time, I was even less inclined to take to the roadways. And when I was forced to by circumstances, it was a nervous time, what with fears of being pulled over or having my engine leap out of the car like in those commercials for motor oil. You know the ones I mean.
However, the situation is now reversed! I got my inspection sticker (with considerably less drama than last time) and my oil, and I celebrated by driving 30 miles round trip to get new boots. The call of the open road, baby! Actually, I felt kind of bad about that. Shouldn't there be a bootery located more conveniently close to Bedford? But there is not. Still, now whenever we go anywhere I'm all like, "I'll drive! I'll drive! Let's take my car!" It's nice to have it back.
Those of you who know me personally know that I HATE my birthday. I don't like it, I don't feel comfortable celebrating it, I generally prefer that everyone ignore my birthday on the day it occurs, just like they ignore it all the other 364 days of the year, or 365 on leap year.
My mother suggests this is because I'm upset that "the world does not revolve around me anymore." Wow, that totally makes sense. I don't like celebrating my birthday because I'm upset that I don't get enough attention. Thank you for such logical psychoanalysis!
Anyway, some folks refuse to ignore the occasion, and have demanded I create a wish list for my birthday. So here it is after the jump. Take a look and marvel / balk at the specificity. That's what you get.
A special foot for my sewing machine that will let me do embroidery in any direction. The internet cays it's called a "free hand foot" or a "stifling foot," but i only managed to find this one and i'm not 100% sure that it goes with my machine, which is a Kenmore 385.15616500. Someone really interested in doing me a big birthday favor would find out what foot my machine needs for free hand embroidery!
The other machine embroidery things i am trying to get my hands on are desolvable stabilizer, and some machine embroidery thread in the blue or green family.
Also i am in the market for a sleeve board, like this one from Target, but really there's no quality distinctions among sleeve boards, as long as you can stick a sleeve through it.
The other crafting things i'm looking for are some "fat quarters" for quilting in blues and yellows.
I also need to purchase the following, for those who want to give me a "money towards" gift:
a desk chair
a new iron that will not break under heavy use
software for my new computer
You wouldn't necessarily know it by the post numbers, but we've hit a thousand posts. Plus one, actually: this here is the one thousand and first post here on the squibix family blog. The missing fifteen or whatever posts were deleted, but not because we changed our mind about the content—how could we? we never read it!—but because when Moveable Type was breaking it threw out a bunch of duplicate posts that we had to get rid of once sanity was restored.
Anyways, given the milestone I thought I'd toss out some stats:
- Total number of posts, to date: 1,000
- Posts by Leah: 370
- Posts by Danny: 610
- Mystery missing posts (by squibix? what?): 20
- Month with most posts: tied, February '04 and January '07 with 41 each
- Month with least posts: Um, there were some with none in the summer of 2004
- Okay, not counting those: December '04 with 1, November '04 with 2, and November '07 with 3
- Posts about Rascal: 91 that reference him by name above the fold, anyways
- Posts by Danny at least in part about the weather: probably about two or three hundred
- Posts that are at least moderately amusing: maybe a few, here and there
- Other blogs on blogs.evula.net (where we got started) that are still seeing new posts: none! We win!
This week is the best week of the year, as far as weather is concerned. It's all downhill from here! However, we enjoy it while we can, which means working in the garden and not wearing shoes. I always welcome the opportunity to kick off the shoes when I can, but this year it's not only about comfort: no, it's a statement about my deepest values, and an investment in my health too!
See, it turns out that shoes are bad for your feet—or at least someone at New York Magazine thinks so. Sounds good to me. The article I linked to there was posted on MetaFilter and Boing Boing, so I got to read a great deal of interesting commentary on it, both by crazy hippies who go barefoot all the time, and by suave urbanites who cannot imagine taking off their shoes, ever. They might step on a slug!
Really, that was the serious suggestion of one commentator. Also pointed out as potential hazards of the barefoot lifestyle were broken glass, fallen arches, dirt, callouses, HIV-infected needles, pavement, worms, "monkey-like feet", and putting podiatrists out of business. Folks also suggested that the co-evolution of our feet with our urban environment means that, while it was obviously acceptable for our ancient ancestors to go shoeless, it will no longer work out. The ground is just too hard now.
Another group of staunch anti-barefoots took the line that going without footwear marks the shoeless as "college-educated liberals with too much time on their hands." Since that pretty much describes me, I suppose I must do my part to uphold the stereotype and forgo shoes for the summer. After all, if the shoe fits...
Our local hardware store, the one in which I spent many happy hours as a child shopping for spray paint and parts to build weapons, closed down last fall. It was clearly on its last legs as a business for some time before then, so I suppose it wasn't a huge loss—but still, it was nice to be able to pick up a packet of nails without a major expedition. This week, though, a new store arose from the ashes of the old, kicking aside the dark and dusty remnants of the old premises to emerge and spread its gleaming well-lit white butterfly wings. It's much bigger too, which must be some sort of dimensional trick since I swear there didn't use to be that much room in that building.
In any case, among the more typical hardware supplies the new store also offers clothing—specifically, Carhartt brand work clothes for real workers. I bought a pair of trousers, so (like the store) I have been transformed! There's a hammer in my hammer loop and a tape-measurer hanging from my pocket (well, not right now); I've got some lumber, and I am going to Build Something. Out of Wood. With Nails.
Well, maybe tomorrow anyways. It's a little late to be banging with the hammer.
I'm not good at killing plants. Not like our new neighbors, who think nothing of taking down a dozen 50+ year, 100+ foot pines (thats over 500 years and 1,000 feet of tree!), along with countless smaller trees and underbrush, in order to create a back lawn. How can you cut down trees in spring?! I can't. I can barely even pull weeds, and definitely not if there's any doubt about what they're going to turn out as. They might be beautiful flowers!
I made some effort today to sort out mess that is out strawberry patch, moving some of the best-looking plants to a brand new location, prepared expressly for them, where they will have all the straw they need while being prevented from spreading all over the place and getting in the way of the other plants. However, when 28 of the best-looking plants were reposing gracefully in the new bed, there were still approximately one million back in the original spot, where I hope to someday plant something other than strawberries. But could I just throw the rest away? I could not!
You might think that, since the 28 in one spot and the million in the other are all the descendants of a mere twelve plants that I bought two or three years ago, I'm already ahead of the game even if I have to thin the herd considerably. But I'm not sure if the new beds will be any productive! I'd hate to get rid of the original bed, only to have something go wrong with the new one. So I spend more time trying to find spots for each and every one of the sweet little plants, and the lettuces and spinaches go unplanted. Who knew gardeners had to be so ruthless!
I would just like to note that in the six days that the new hardware store has been open I have visited it three times, and spent a not inconsiderable amount of money. Unfortunately, the first two visits were before we got the big ten-dollars-off coupon they sent out for the grand opening. And, through some mailing list error, we actually got two coupons. Oh well. Good thing there's always a need for more hardware!
Today is Leah's birthday, and everyone wanted to celebrate. We had our private, family-only party at lunch time, then we went out to dinner with the parents—both sets, naturally. We ended the day with choir rehearsal, and since I accidentally let it slip earlier that today was the special day they threw her a party there too. You're pretty popular when you get three cakes in one day, seems to me! Interestingly, all three cakes featured berries, which were also the theme of the birthday card I made and my wrapping decorations. It went along with one of the presents I gave: the aforementioned strawberry patch. I couldn't very well wrap that up though.
All in all, though she may hate birthdays, I think we all showed her a pretty good time.
Yesterday was my birthday, as Dan mentioned, and everyone in my life showed me in their own special way that they appreciate my existence on this planet.
Judy, because she is pragmatic, showed me that she loves me pragmatically by purchasing every item on my with list, in its exact specifications. Blue and yellow fabric, embroidery thread, soluble stabilizer, and a sleeve board. I clearly have some crafting to do! Just after I use the extra money to buy an iron...
My brother, because he can barely manage to show up for stuff, showed me he loves me by showing up to my birthday dinner. And he got me flowers from the subway station! They are very beautiful, and are benefiting from the greater air circulation atop my kitchen table.
My mom, because she is a martyr, showed me that she loves me martyrlyly by baking me a cake but having it fail two times so that she had to make three cakes. Also, when i called her from sitting in traffic she said, "Oh, that's okay... WE'RE already at the restaurant." And then told us when we got there, "We didn't order yet. We WAITED to order." Also, she reminded everyone that she gave birth to me, by SURGERY, forever breaking her for natural childbirth.
And lastly Dan, because he is eternally optimistic, showed me he both loves me and believes in my yet untested musical ability by purchasing me a fiddle! I can't tell you what it feels to own a real live musical instrument, an instrument that is mine to create noise with. It feels like I can be optimistic too, like perhaps for the rest of my life I won't be that lame wife with the songbook who sits on the outside of the circle humming while all my friends pick up instruments and play bluegrass. I already figured out how to play a G-major scale AND Twinkle-twinkle. When I was eight it took me like a month to learn how to play that song! My adult learning curve is awesome!!!
Also Dan made me a cream-cheese pie, which he called a Gartner pie because my mother wrote the recipe on Gartner stationary. I think this pie will perhaps be called a Gartner pie forever, and when we bring it to parties people will look at the berries and say, "Gardener pie?" And in 20 years we'll forget the reason, and we'll say, "Yeah, i think it's a gardener pie, except it's pronounced Gartner. That's always just what my mother said."