<< May 2005 :: June 2005 :: July 2005 >>

freedom!

We have these eggs in the kindergarten classroom, as I mentioned. Well, the first chick hatched out today, and I have to tell you, it was about the most exciting thing I ever saw. First he (or perhaps she) poked a small hole in the shell, then over the course of an hour or so he expanded it bit by bit until it was a line stretching about a third of the way around the circumference of the egg. Then, it seems, it was just a matter of pushing and stretching until the rest of the shell gave way and he was free; and he sure had a lot of motivation to push, because when he finally managed to escape I was amazed that he had ever fit into that little egg. He couldn't walk for a while after he hatched, and he was all wet and skinny-looking, but he was still a wonderful cute thing for all that. Two more of the eggs had holes in them by the end of the day, so hopefully when I get there tomorrow there'll be a couple moe little chicks running aroun to keep the first one company.

I want to have some chickens of my own some day, I've decided. I've decided again, I mean; or rather I've been reenforced in my previous decision.

So at least one of the chicks is free of the egg, and at the same time we are (finally!) free of the apartment in Arlington. Not that it was a bad place, at all, but we've been living here in Bedford for a good long while now, and having to drive back and forth several times over the past couple days to clean up there and bring the last twelve tons of our junk over, made me just want to be done with the whole business. Which now we are, it being the first of the month and all. That said, I did take the time to say goodbye to each of the rooms; after all, it was a first house together (without anyone else cluttering up the place, that is), and it saw things like our first Christmas tree and, oh, lots of other sentimental things that I won't mention now. Also our first Red Sox World Series win together.

But while all that is wonderful and will be remembered together, we're now busy working on new memories, so it's nice not to have the old ones cluttering up the place so. Now all that's cluttering up the place is all the junk I brought over here yesterday and the day before--three carloads full--but that'll be dealt with tomorrow.

more

dan vs. grass and mulch

The previous owners of the home in which we now have the honor of residing retained the services of a landscaping company to manage the grounds, and the landscaping company must have been paid by the visit rather than the hour. The reason I say this is that the landscaping, though quite presentable and even attractive from a distance, is designed primarily for maximum speed in upkeep. Which is to say, it features, along with a goodly number of very nice shrubs, a great deal of grass and mulch. With this setup the professionals could zip in, give the lawn a quick once-over with the mower, and throw another layer of mulch on the mulchy spots if they looked like they were getting thin. They even made sure that the mulch beds are lower than the grass, to ensure that the mower could run over their edges and remove the potential need for any edge-trimming by hand.

Which is all fine and good, except that it means that whenever I try and plant something I have to take out some of the aforementioned grass or mulch. And then, when I take it out, I have to find somewhere to dispose of it. It's good thick grass we have, well fertilized and watered; the mulch--renewed, apparantly, each year if not more frequently--is close to six inches deep in some places. This is what I have to fight through to put in my pleasant, human-friendly plants. The work procedes apace, but I wish that it wasn't such a struggle. It may be a few years before I reach a satisfactory point in my battle with the easy-care landscaping (easy-care for professionals, that is); though perhaps by that poing the mulch will have composted itself entirely. It looks a little ratty already, but I sure don't plan on renewing it: to dust it shall return, and it can't go too quick for me.

I dug up about 30 square feet of grass today, and maybe 40 pounds of mulch. Only 7,970 square feet and 960 pounds to go.

more

yikes!

It turned summer all of a sudden, yesterday. Heat, humidity, clear morning skies clouding up with thunderheads by evening: we had it all. To celebrate, I got heatstroke, or at least something very much like it. I spent all morning here at the computer, working awya to stay out of the sun; it was good plan, and would have been even better if my study here weren't the hottest room in the house, at an easy 85 degrees. Maybe 90, even. Then I went outside and worked in the garden some, and then I mowed the lawn. You'll notice that none of these activities involved me taking any sort of liquid refreshment. So the end result of all this was, about the time I started the only thing I was really supposed to get done--cleaning the house--I started feeling really sick and dizzy. So I went to bed. Leah says when she came to bed I was really hot and sweaty, but I don't know about that, because I was asleep. I was all better when I woke up this morning, you'll be relieved to hear.

So we hear the hot weather makes people crazy, and we sure saw some crazy people today. Some folks from Kansas--Baptists of 'God hates fags' fame--thought they'd come by and warn us that we're all going to hell, and they stopped by our church. They visited a couple different places, for different reasons; in our case it was because we have a gay bishop up there in New Hampshire, Bishop Robinson. Now, he doesn't have a great deal to do with us--we have our own Massachusetts bishops, as it happens--so I don't know why they were picking on us except for the fact that we happen to be Episcopalians. I guess we did vote for the guy in conformation hearings or whatever we are, which I suppose it enough. They're also going to the Lexington High graduation to protest against the day of silence (appropriate enough: they're very noisy folks) and to the middle school here in Bedford, which they don't like because it has a gay pride flag somewhere within its walls.

Now, in advance of this visit we heard all kinds of stories about how confrontational these crazy Kansans could be (apparently they protest all over the country; it's somthing of a full-time job for them). They were supposed to have these obscene signs, and yell out vicious hateful things... so Leah and I were kind of looking forward to seeing them. Sadly, we were disappointed. Maybe the level of confrontation these folks bring is still something in Kansas, but out here on the coast we're way to jaded to be shocked by stick-figure representations of gay sex or shouts of 'Bishop Robinson left his wife to have sex... with a man!' Yup, he sure did. And? All in all, we were not impressed.

The protest did have some small comedic value--as I said, it could have been presented as comedy without any changes, and it wouldn't have been out of place on, say, MadTV. My favorite part was when the shouty woman, who was being ushered away by the cop who apparently told her that her group's scheduled time was up, shouted to us, 'you have been warned!' I laughed out loud at that one. As a whole, though, it could have been better done.

more

Why i wasnĖt picked as commencement speaker

Dear graduating class of 2005,

Congratulations! You did it! You are now officially on your way! You made it! All your dreams and hopes for your future are coming true! Look at you, all proud and confident! You will reach for the stars! And if you fail, you will still be way there up in the sky with the clouds, and the airplanes and all the little birdies! Hooray!

Okay, how did that bullshit feel? Pretty good? Good.

Because if this university education canĖt do anything to actually advance your job and or life prospects for the next five years, at least for one-hundred-and-fifty-thousand dollars you should get a warm and fuzzy feeling inside. I mean, itĖs what you paid for. But just for an extra treat, my dear graduates, this morning I am going to give you a real piece of advice. And luckily itĖs free, which is good, because thatĖs all the free ride youĖll be getting from here on out.

Dear graduates, I tell you the truth, your adult from this point is going to be one long series of disappointments. They will come one after another, as you realize that the life you had pictured for yourself has absolutely nothing in common with the opportunities offered by reality. Your hard work in school these past four years will not pay off. No one cares that you graduated from this formidable institution Ō with no work experience you are a liability to the company you want to work for. In fact, that 3.94 GPA you worked so hard to get: donĖt even put it on your resume; itĖs intimidating to interviewers who are less smart than you are. They may be stupid, but not stupid enough to hire you. If you end up working for them, your superior intellect will be viewed with suspicion, and you will not move up in the company unless you devote your free time to ass kissing and/or taking the boss out to strip-clubs. Otherwise, you will have to prove yourself again and again and again by working harder, only to be rewarded with more hard work. If you can work x amount, next month you will be given 2x work, and thatĖs math that you can apply! No one will respect you until you are at least thirty five years old, you will be very very poor as you watch your dreams slip slowly away: one by one by one.

Yes, there are many surprises in store for you as you begin your new life as an adult. For example, you may have dreamed of moving to California to become a famous actress. Surprise! There are three million young women just like you with that exact same dream! And many of them happen to be thinner and taller than you! And while you all duke it out for waitress jobs in a city completely glutted with pretty faces, you will be surprised to learn that LA happens to be the most expensive place to live in the world, and unlike your hometown community, nobody gives a rats ass if you were the star in your local schoolĖs production of Fiddler on the Roof.

You will find out that you are small and insignificant, under qualified, underemployed, and under the radar. The most important lesson you will learn is that you are not special. You are not a beautiful and unique snowflake. You are not the precious little child of God for whom the sun rises and sets. You just another poor shmuck, just like the rest of us, and the world does not owe you any favors.

So my dear class of 2005, I congratulate you on bucking up today, because every day after this one is going to be just a little bit worse. Every day after this one youĖre going to have to work just a little bit longer, run just a little bit faster, fight just a little bit harder, not for fame and fortune but to make it through the day so that you can get up and do it again tomorrow. There are no fairy godmothers, no castles on a cloud, no A+Ės, no happily ever after.

Oh, and wear your sunscreen. Or you will get cancer, you poor naive children.

more

I'm so over this blog entry.

I have come to realize the great trajedy of my life. The one? Well one of them:

The pathos of leah is "the present over-it dilema." i go through periods of time waiting and waiting and planning and hoping and obsessing over a particular moment, and then by the time that particular moment comes, i'm so done thinking about it already, that i'm Over It.

Take prom, for example. Hours spent obsessing over the dress, how am i going to wear my hair, what shoes, what jewelry, what limo, what flowers... even to the point that two days before the said event, i actually wrote out a hour-by-hour plan of the day of prom, including when i was going to paint my nails, when i was going to get my hair done, and EXACTLY in what order i would perform the proper exfoliation in the shower. (Note: if you are 16 years old and you have to write down "shave legs" and "shave armpits" as two seperate items on an hour-by-hour day plan, be warned that you will have problems as a functioning adult.)

So then by the time my highschool prince charming arrives, when it's time to actually go to this infamous prom, i've been so busy getting pretty for hours on end that i'm super over this whole prom BS and ready to skip the pictures and go straight to drinking.

See, the trajedy of my life. I stress and plan for a moment that i will never enjoy. Take high-school graduation. Or college graduation. Or managing my own store. All Busts.

And now, as you've probobly guessed, i am so totally over this wedding. 12 weeks in advance, i might add, but it fits that i should be over it before it's even begun, since i've only been thinking about it for, oh, eleven years or so. Can you believe it? it will be the day of my wedding, the day i have been dreaming about since i was a little girl, and on that morning i am going to wake up with the thought in my head: "I can't wait until this bullshit is over. I can't wait to move on with my life."

And then i start worrying about Grad schools and applications, and it starts all over; anouther great moment in my life for which i am both present and absent.

more

Sweatshop free printing?

If you haven't heard from us in a couple of days, it's because we've been slaving away in a hot steamy attic, pain-stakingly folding and cutting and stuffing wedding invitations, bleary-eyed and stripped down to our underwear, sweating and panting and turning dizzy, just so that we can send you, our estimed friends, a beautiful hand-made wedding invite. So stop bitching at us already.

We've got a lot done so far, despite the heat wave which has threatened to do both of us in considering our weakened conditions. A good portion of the invitations went into the Postman's hands today, in fact. However, if you do not get an invitation in the next week, Please Do Not Freak Out! Please do not call us and ask where your invitation is. Please do not call our parents and ask if we are lazy goodfornothings who cannot get out your invitation on time. Please be patient, and know that we are sending out some today, and some tomorrow, and some in a week maybe, and some maybe after that even, because IT TAKES A LONG TIME TO MAKE THESE THINGS so CHILL OUT!!!

It wouldn't be so bad if work and everything else weren't also so out of control right now. On Monday, which is traditionally my day off on account of working all day saturday, I spent the day driving down to Connecticut to look at a new Point-of-Sales program for the store. Needless to say, the "morning" meeting went well into the afternoon, and At 4pm when i finally got home, i went straight to the computer to take a 3-hour GMAT practice test. They say try the best you can to recreate the conditions of the actual test, but i doubt the test taking facility will be 90 degrees inside and allow me to sit in the exam wearing a thin tank top and boy-cut underwear. Anyway, immediately after i finished the exam my computer crashed, never to start up again, ever. And then i passed out from heat exhaustion.

So wedding guests and blog readers alike, please cut us some slack. We're working on it. We're working hard. So stop nagging already.

more

relief.

Typical that when I finally got up the energy to write a blog entry while also having the time so to do, Leah had already beaten me to filling in that little pink date over there on the right. You should know, faithful readers, that I write in this blog only to fill up those calender pages, an activity which gives me a tremendous amount of satisfaction. I haven't been doing too well this month, have I.

Salvation is, however, at hand. Just as the hideous way-too-much-for-the-first-half-of-June heat has broken and I can move around outside again without breaking into a sweat, the pressure of preparing the wedding invitations has also been lifted. Yes, they are all done; well, pretty much all done anyways. All but five or six of the initial wave have been printed, cut, folded, tied, stuffed in envelopes, stamped and sent off. And not a second too soon, either. We'll send out some more later, probably, but they'll be able to go out in their own time; there's no more crushing pressure of time passing.

As for the heat, it was really hot and humid--I mean, just ridiculous for this time of year. It would have been notable in August, even. And then, in the course of one afternoon (Tuesday I believe it was) it got cold and gray, and cold and gray it has remained ever since. So much the better, if you ask me. Folks brought out their winter jackets again, or at least their March ones. A temperature drop of 40 degrees or so in an afternoon is remarkable, which is why I remark on it here.

another project completed! (almost)

For weeks now I've been working on a website for Leah's jewelry store, and now it's finally done. Well, almost done; no software project is really ever all-the-way finished, or no software project of mine anyways. I'm pretty happy with how it turned out, even if it did take about 40 times longer than I expected it to when I started. It's perhaps 20 times more complicated than I had orginally planned, though, and the additional extra time taken is the fault of the wedding invitations (a project which naturally took higher priority). Some time ago I got paid to do this thing, but it was so long ago the memory is hazy. Maybe now that it's finally done I can angle for some more money.

successes

If you'll permit me some personal news, I have two notable successes to report: I passed that teacher test I wrote about a month or so ago, and we harvested and ate our first strawberry here. It remains to be seen whether either accomplishment is any sort of a herald of further good things to come--the test results are but a step towards certification, if that's what I decide to do, and who knows what the darling little strawberry plants will do in the future--but they're both nice. No complaints here.

And this post doesn't even MENTION the GMAT...

Life has been pretty stressfull in the Leah camp recently ("So what else is new?! Leah, we are so freakin boored of hearing you talk about how stressed you are. LIFE is HARD; get over it already!") I am currently interviewing people (again for the millionth time) for part-time gallery help; i unfortunately needed to let go of the last person, and that makes two firings in a row in the span of just one month, and i am beginning to wonder if the problem is not that the people i hire are necessarily incompetent, but that i am just an awful manager.

Well, only time will tell. After two years go by i will really be able to see if i can hold onto retail help. And then i will promptly kill myself, because never ever in my life did i imagine that i would waste away two whole years of my adulthood as a manager of a dinky jewelry store.

In your life, was there a clear precise moment when your childhood dreams finally died? Did it get better after that?

more

dirt roads

They tore up the pavement on several stretches of road around ourselves--for what reason it is far from clear--and I think I like it. It gives the place a nice country feel, what with the uncouth jutting rocks and the clouds of dust. It also has the effect of making people drive more slowly, which in the abstract is a good thing, but some folks are taking it beyond all reason. Come on guys, I have wanted to say on more than one occassion: you have a Suburu Outback, you can drive faster than five miles an hour here. That's supposed to be a real rally car you have there, with the air intake and the Crocodile Dundee affectations and all. And it's a pretty well-graded dirt road, at that. So all in all I'm in favor, and I wish they make take a long time putting the pavement back.

I do, however, have to say I'm not in favor of all road work, and specifically not of the sort they practice in Waltham by Home Depot, where the cones and orange barrels are located so as to slowly, subtlely squeeze two lanes of traffic into one, without any sort of warning whatsoever. Massachusetts style, I suppose.

more

Warning Will Robinson!

this past week i have been sooooooooooooooooooooo sleepy and also eating only cookies and constantly. These are signs that the Leah robot is effectively entering the "broken" stage of functioning and needs to go back to the lab/home for repairs/less-working.

In a related story, my car needs an oil change and its bumper fixed and new tires. I will do this on my next day off. HA HA HA!!! Oh, i slay me.

I used to walk, once...

When I lived in Lexington I used to take lots of long walks. When I lived in Santa Monica I had to walk alot because I didn't have a car, and also I took some walks for fun. When I lived in Arlington I walked around the lake a few times and up the hill a few times, but nowhere as much as I would have liked. And now, here in Bedford, I've taken like five walks in the two months we've been here.

Part of the reason for that is, much of my outside entertainment time has been taken up by playing in the garden, but the other part is that I've been so busy and/or discombobulated that I haven't managed to do much of anything since we moved. Now, though, that my teaching experience is (sadly) drawing to a close, I don't have any more excuses. Plus, it's really nice out these days. Leah took me on a wonderful walk yesterday, and this evening I took advantage of the beautiful solstice light to go out at 8:30 for a very pleasant stroll. Very nice; I highly recommend it.

mmmmmm, Sleep

Last night, as Dan informs me, i fell asleep smack in the middle of the bed, because i apparently DO WHATEVER THE F--- I FEEL LIKE, THANKYOUVERYMUCH! Poor Dan had to curl up on the one-quarter (.25, 25%) of the remaining bed surface, while i snored away living it large with the majority of blankets and leg room. This morning, when Dan told me this story, i responded dumbfoundedly "Why didn't you push me over?"
"Because i didn't want to wake you up," said the little saint.

Awww, how sweet. That attitute will last a whole fifteen seconds after we're married.

Note to Dan: a sleeping leah is like water; she will naturally spread out to seek the lowest point. You have the undeniable right to push her back onto her side.

farming is hard

I read alot of the Vegetable Victory Garden book yesterday, and I learned all about the million things you're supposed to do to each plant in your garden to keep it healthy. It's kind of discouraging, because I haven't been doing a single one of those things. How was I supposed to know?! I'm amazed I got any sort of crop at all. And now today it was about a hundred degrees, and I'm sure everything out there got all wilty and is practically dead. I didn't get out to check and water and things, because I was too busy trying not to wilt myself. Luckily our neighboor has a pool, and sort of invited ourselves over there to swim this evening. Otherwise we may not have survived.

Yesterday was also the last day I had the kindergardeners in the classroom; they're all off to summer vacation now, and I have only one day left of working at Mason-Rice. It was sure sad to say goodbye to the kids--and I don't know what I'll do without them to keep me occupied and entertained--but for the rest of it I say good riddance. I hope to be able to put the place into some kind of order here, in my new free time. Schedules and plans and things will be necessary, I believe, to help me bring some sense of order to this vast expanse of unstructured time that has suddenly opened up before me. One thing I plan on doing is spending more time in the garden, but I think I may have to give up on vegetables; I don't know that I have the skill and dedication. I'm thinking about putting in a rock garden.

local custom

Ever since I got my first car, whenever I had a problem with the vehicle I was driving at the time (problems occur all to often with my cars) I took it to Hogan's Getty, down the street from where my parents live. I didn't have a car in California, so that was a hiatus in my custom (good thing!), but when we moved to Arlington the garage was, again, close. Henry does quality work, too and cheap, so he's got my business. I always got my hair cut over towards Bedford at Tricorn Barbershop, and when again when we returned to Massachusetts I tried to resume this practice; but this time I was thwarted by events, Tricorn not being open when my hair reached a length at which something had to be done about it, immediately. So instead I went to a place right around the corner from where we lived at the time, in Arlington, and I was very pleased with the experience. Bill's Barbershop, it is. And after three haircuts there I continued to be pleased, despite the occasional short term doubts.

What does all this mean? It means that now, even though we live over in Bedford, I drove 20 minutes back to Arlington to get my oil changed and to get a haircut. I'm sure there are garages and barbers closer to home here, but you know, when you've got a good thing you don't want to change it! I was very pleased with both the cut and the oil change, so I see no reason to change my practice.

I took a look at our old house while I was over there. It doesn't look any different, but I imagine they've made some changes on the inside.

more

1st day of independence

Today was my first day working for myself, theoretically, and it was not an unqualified success. I got a fair amount done, but it wasn't anything that will earn me any immediate money, and also it wasn't anything that I had planned to do. I don't think that will work in the long run, spending my time on whichever random tasks and projects happen to catch my attention first thing in the morning. If nothing else, the house never gets cleaned that way. I have grand plans for schedules and timetables and things, and I'll execute em too! I'm kind of backing into it, though, but that's ok.

oh, the humidity!

On cool fall days it's difficult to imagine the effects of the sort of humidity we experience at the height of midsummer, here. It's not so much that it's hot out--indeed, the air today was a wonderfully pleasant 78 or 82 or something--more that, if you attempt the slightest exertion outside, you immediately find yourself clammy with sweat. It provides a real disincentive to outdoor recreation of the more vigerous sort, I can assure you. I come to understand why they talk about watering a garden with the sweat of your brow: I always took that as something in the metaphorical line, but now I see that a considerable amount of sweat can, indeed, make its way down your forehead and nose and into the soil you're working.

The other effect of the warm humidity is that food left open on the counter goes bad, quickly and disgustingly. I will try not to forget to put things away in the future.

<< May 2005 :: June 2005 :: July 2005 >>