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Wednesday, August 30th, 2006
6:09 pm
Yet another personality test...
Okay, found this test via my friend Juergen. So of course I had to take it.




Aphrodite

66% Extroversion, 33% Intuition, 72% Emotiveness, 57% Perceptiveness

Funloving, talkative, flamboyant, social... you are most like Aphrodite. You love parties, people, fashion, and sex. You're impulsive, inconcise, and you find crowds and parties to be energizing. You're optimistic, upbeat, and frequently irrational. You hate structure and routine, and you don't like know-it-alls. You're not really a "big picture" person, however, and might not always assess the consequences of your actions before taking them. You do have a very strong hedonistic streak, though, and this gives you a magnetic personality. You dislike people who think too much.



Famous People like you: Elvis, Eva Gabor, Paris Hilton, Elizabeth Taylor
Stay very, very, very far away from: Atlas, Prometheus, The Oracle, Daedalus, and Hermes. Seek out: Everyone else.












My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 79% on Extroversion
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 20% on Intuition
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 40% on Emotiveness
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 25% on Perceptiveness




Link: The Greek Mythology Personality Test written by Aleph_Nine on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the 32-Type Dating Test



Does anybody find this even the least little bit surprising?

Current Mood: amused
5:37 pm
Back in Ohio
We're back in Ohio - got back Monday evening, was utterly wiped because I got no sleep Sunday night, and then I didn't get to sleep on the plane because the boys wouldn't let me. Fortunately, Tom wrangled them while I passed out. Spent most of Tuesday passed out too - got up briefly in the middle of the day to do running around, and could barely stay awake. Came back to the hotel and fell asleep for a couple of hours, and was much better when I woke up. But I'm still feeling pretty crispy around the edges. So I think I am going to go lie down until Tom gets here.

We get our house tomorrow! Yay! It's official, all the paperwork is completed, and all we are waiting for is for the previous owners to turn the keys over to our real estate agent, which is supposed to happen tomorrow, and then We're In! I am really looking forward to it. We probably will have to sleep in the hotel for a couple more nights, since our pods, and therefore our beds, won't be there until Saturday, but at least we can move everything we don't really need immediately out of the hotel and into the house, and we can take the cats over there - they are Not Amused about being cooped up in the hotel room, and hopefully they'll be happier once they have a bit more space to spread out in and explore. It doesn't help that we have to keep moving their food dish around the room because ants keep finding it, either. Hopefully we won't have that problem in the new house either - and if we do, we'll be able to actually do something about it.

Current Mood: tired
Friday, August 25th, 2006
4:32 am
Argh! A Comedy of Errors. Or something.
So my dad gets back from doing the laundry, and I commit my previous entry and shut the system down. Then I go to crawl into bed with Galen (the room has two double beds, one for my dad, and one for me and a child - we brought a cot, and the boys are taking turns sleeping on the cot or sleeping with me - tonight is Galen's turn, which he was very happy about - he needs lots of snuggles), and discover that he has wet the bed. Oh joy. I guess the poor sweetie is so tired he didn't realize he needed to pee. It's also entirely possible that he got ahold of an allergy food at some point - when you have that many food allergies and you're eating entirely out of restuarants, sooner or later you're going to get something you shouldn't, and not know about it until it's too late. At any rate, my bed was soaked. So I called the front desk, told them my 5yo peed in my bed and I needed new bedding. They said they'd send someone up with it right away. Meanwhile, I got Galen's wet undies off him, put clean ones on, and took him to the potty (in that order, because my Dad was in the bathroom when I started and I didn't want to leave the poor kid just flapping in the breeze). Then I plopped him on my Dad's bed until we get mine fixed.

So the housekeeper shows up with an armful of linens. I tell her I need a mattress cover as well, since mine got soaked, and show her the pile of sheet and mattress cover on the floor by the door. She goes off to get me one, as well as a bag to put the soiled ones in. After a while, she returns with the mattress cover, and removes the original bedding. By this time,I have discovered that one of the stacks of linens she brought is pillowcases, so I give them back, since the pillows are fine. (It is possible to get the pillows too - the boys have done it before, but it's unusual). Then I go to put the sheets on the bed. And discover that all the linens are pillowcases. So my dad takes the armful of pillowcases and goes off downstairs to see if we can get a fitted sheet.

At which point I decided that this comedy of errors must be shared with you all and logged in (plus I was bored, and too tired to read).

So now I have a fitted sheet - okay, it's for a much larger bed, but I don't care. I have a sheet. I'm going to bed. Goodnight!

Current Mood: tired
3:35 am
Griping About My Dad
I am going to have to make this brief, since I am falling asleep, and since frankly I expect he'll be back any time now (he went to do the laundry), but...my dad is driving me crazy.

I love my dad dearly. He's a great guy.

But.

Half the time on this trip I have felt like I'm dealing with three children instead of just two, and unfortunately, when it's my dad, I have to deal with it entirely differently than I would if it were one of the boys. Now I remember why I live on the other side of the counry from my parents. Maybe other peoples' families put the "fun" in "dysfunctional", but mine certainly don't.

First: He seems utterly incapable of really grasping the idea that I have a handicapped tag because I actually need a handicapped tag, because I'm actually handicapped, and not just because I picked it up somewhere or something. I don't know what he things, or why he things I have the thing, but he doesn't seem to get that I actually need it, despite the fact that I brought my electric scooter with me on this trip and have been using it quite a bit. Maybe he thinks I'm just too lazy to walk or something? News flash: They didn't give me the tag because I owned a scooter. They gave it to me because I am disabled, and my doctor agrees. But he really doesn't seem to get why it's a problem for him to park at the ass-end of the parking lot or whatever, and keeps saying stuff about leaving the handicapped space for "someone who really needs it". Um, like your daughter, maybe? Hello? I realize that I don't look disabled, and it can be really hard to wrap your head around it, especially if you remember me when I was not disabled, and had lots of energy and was capable of walking from the ass-end of the parking lot. But unfortunately, this is not the case anymore. It makes me want to scream! At least after dinner he dropped me and the boys off at the front of the hotel instead of making us walk from the parking garage. Earlier today (when we got back from the beach) he really truly didn't seem to get why it was such a problem.

Second: When things aren't going the way he wants them to, or moving along as quickly as he wants them to, or the boys are acting like tired, cranky little boys, he gets all petulant and basically threatens to take his marbles and go home. When there was foot-dragging and kicking and screaming about going to lunch, and again about going to dinner, he offered to just go by himself and leave me here with the boys. I don't have a car. I have no way to get to a restaurant if he does something like that. So basically, he's putting me in this position where I have to be an evil bitch to get my kids moving, or we don't eat. It's really starting to piss me off. Plus, the other half of it is, if my kids were behaving the way he behaves, I wouldn't put up with it, and I doubt he would either.

Similarly, if someone is being balky and testing boundaries, instead of letting me work with them to get them to where we can go do whatever it was we needed (or wanted) to go do, he keeps chiming in with "I could just stay here with (whichever kid is having the problem)." That is so not helpful. I don't need them thinking they can get out of doing stuff anytime they want by being a pain in the ass. I need them to cooperate and do what we're doing, even if it's not their first choice. So I turn him down, and then he gets this kind of hurt "I was just trying to help" thing going on.

I swear, I don't know how I'm going to get through the next couple of days. At least when my mom is here, she kind of keeps him in line. But even when were were in Sacramento, he pulled a lot of these kinds of things, and she was getting stressed out with him too. I hope they do better when we're not around, but honestly, it's not my problem. I just hate to think that they're always this dysfunctional. It makes me wonder how they've managed to stay married so long. They must really like each other.

And of course, the final thing is that he's all patience and reasonableness, and then he loses his temper and hits my kids. And I call him on it, and I get involved every time, and sometimes even when I see it coming, and of course this also irritates him. He thinks that there should only be one adult dealing with a kid problem at a time, and while this is partially true, the fact is that as the parent, I outrank him, and if there's a problem, it's mine to deal with unless I am a) not there or b) have delegated it to someone else. Part of the problem he's having with them, I know, is that he's not very patient and he doesn't know how to talk a kid down. He does stuff that makes the problem worse, and then acts like "SEE? The kid is tired/cranky/out-of-control/etc." It's Just Not Helpful.

So I am very frustrated. In addition to trying to manage tired, cranky kids who in addition to all the usual vacation things are also dealing with major upheaval in their lives, I am trying to manage my dad, too. I don't know how much more I can stand.

Gotta go, he's back. I'll try to post about the beach tomorrow.

Current Mood: annoyed
3:23 am
Update Part III: Thursday
This morning my dad took my mom to the airport - she has an inservice day tomorrow or something, and school starts on Monday. (She teaches ESL to adults for the Sacramento school district). While they were gone, I got the kids up and bathed and dressed and semi-fed, and we headed over to the Con to see what was going on. Corwyn thought it was unfair that I had ribbons on my badge and he didn't, so we scoped out all the information tables and bid tables and the freebie tables, and scored a bunch of stuff, including more stickers and ribbons, pens, keychains, magnets, tons of printed information, and even little clip-on koalas from the Melbourne in '09 bid. The Columbus in '08 people in particular were very nice to us, because we told them we were moving to OH, so we were planning to vote for them. I'll have to go do that tomorrow or Saturday. (I think we're going back to Disneyland tomorrow.)

Anyway, Dad got back and wanted to go for lunch, so we grabbed a restaurant guide and went back up to the room. And at this point, kids started falling apart. Nobody knew what they wanted to eat, or even whether they wanted to eat, and my dad wasn't having much luck finding stuff with the restaurant guide, so finally we just stuck everybody in the car and went looking for a restaurant. We found a really great Thai place - Galen (Mr. I'm Not Hungry) loved it, and ate most of my Pad Thai, although he did not like the beef dish we got for him and his brother. The sweet sticky rice with mango (one of my secret vices) was also a big hit with the boys. We ended up bringing the rest of the beef and the rest of my Dad's food back to the hotel with us.

And then we kind of dithered around for a bit. I wanted to go to the beach, but I also needed to call Tom, since I really hadn't had a chance to talk to him in a couple of days. So I told the kids to get their bathing suits on and get ready to go and I went and called Tom. Anyway, I talked to Tom for almost an hour (or so says my dad, I don't think it was really that long), and then my dad started getting grumpy because it was already 3:30 and we hadn't left yet. So I was like, fine, let's go to the beach, and Corwyn decide to throw a fit and insist he didn't want to go to the beach, and he was going to kill himself or us or report us for child abuse or something. So we just got all the stuff together, my Dad carried him out to the car, and we went anyway. (I would have just blown the whole thing off but Galen really wanted to go, and frankly, my dad was starting to really get on my nerves - more on that in a different post.) When we got there, Mr. I-Don't-Want-To-Go-To-The-Beach took off across the sand and was the first person to the water. The boys had a great time splashing in the surf and playing in the sand and so forth.

I really want to write more about the beach - it was gorgeous, and there were a lot of things I saved up to say about it, but I am falling asleep where I sit, and my dad wants to try to get out of here early tomorrow. So I am going to cut this short, maybe write one more thing, and tell you about the beach tomorrow morning or something, if I get the chance.

Current Mood: exhausted
3:01 am
Update Part II: Disneyland
We took the shuttle to Disneyland, and yes, it was accessible. Disney is actually very accessible, at least if you're on a scooter and capable of getting up and transferring to a ride and back. Also, when we got there, we stopped by Guest Services and they gave us a list of all the restaurants and places that served food that was safe for celiacs. Of course, this didn't address any of our other allergy issues, but it was a great start! And the employees really went the distance to make sure we had food our kids could eat that they were interested in. At lunch, they made our shish kebabs especially for us without the sauce (which apparently has gluten), and at dinner, they made rice noodles for Galen and a burger with a gf bun for Corwyn - and when I asked if he could have the little lunch box thing and the kewl straw that came with the regular kids meals, they were like "Sure! No problem!" So that was really nice.

I wish they could do something about some of their guests - I kept having problems with people blocking my scooter or walking right in front of it, or at one point, with a guy who apparently decided that I, and the woman who was trying to get out of her wheelchair and use her cane to go into the restuarant, were not actually in line or anything and he could just walk around us. When I told him the end of the line was behind me, he got all attitudinal about it. I'm sorry, but no, as a matter of fact, you don't get to just ignore us because were disabled. And at the point I had been running around for 30 minutes getting food for my kids and was starting to get hypoglycemic, and was not in the mood to suffer idiots gladly.

Anyway. On to the Important Parts!

I told the kids I'd buy them each a set of mouse ears, or a hat or whatever. I got the mouse ears with the pirate scarf and the gold earring, Galen got the golden 50th Anniversary ones, and Corwyn got this huge black velvet pirate captain's hat. The first thing we rode was Pirates of the Carribean (of course!). I love going on rides with Galen, which I got to do a lot because Corwyn preferred to do stuff with his Grandpa. Galen is so enthusiastic! Half the time I was watching his face, and not just the ride, and he was just ecstatic. He loved Pirates, and wanted to do it again, but I said we should do some other rides first, so we did. We did the rocket ships that go up and down and around and around at the entrance to Tomorrowland, and he loved that too. We went on Space Mountain (which is my second favorite ride, after Pirates), and Corwyn hated it and said he didn't want to go on it again, but Galen said "That was scary.....let's do it again!" We also went on Star Tours and Buzz Lightyears' Astro Blasters (which was hugely popular with both boys - you are in these little cars that you can spin to face whatever direction you want, and you have zap guns and you're supposed to shoot the evil invading Zorgs - it's like being in a video game, and they do keep score), and the Teacups (my third favorite ride), and the boat through Storybookland, and we watched a spectacular lightshow (full of sound and fury and brightly decorated boats and performers in fabulous costumes and Mickey Mouse defeating Maleficient and a pirate ship with Peter Pan and Captain Hook and all sorts of things - part of it was animated, and projected onto this mist they created, and part of it was actual live performers, and there were fireworks and all sorts of stuff, and then on the way out we stopped and watched the fireworks over Sleeping Beauty's Castle.

I really enjoyed watching the boys discover Disneyland, especially Galen. He postively glowed, he was so excited. There were moments, like in Pirates of the Carribean and after Space Mountain, and, well, during and after all the rides, really, which I stored up to treasure later, the way I stored up the beautiful moments of breastfeeding my boys. I don't have pictures, I can't ever really share them, I can just tell you about it. But that's okay. It was still really really cool.

They were completely wiped by the time we got them back to the hotel, and we had very little argument about going to bed. (There was some, though, because Corwyn wanted to play with this skull full of little doodads he got in one of the shops outside the Pirates ride.) I got them ready for bed and in bed, and then I scooted off on my own, once again on the pretext of looking for a newsletter, but really because I wasn't really ready to go to sleep just yet. I ended up hitting the 5th Floor of the Hilton across the street, where all the Con parties were being held, and visited a bunch of them (there weren't a whole lot, since it was only Wednesday night, but there was still a sizeable amount) and collecting stickers and ribbons for my badge.
2:33 am
California Update
So we got to SoCal. The hotel charges $10/day for Internet and phone access, and since we all have cell phones, it's not really worth paying the $10, so I basically have no internet access. (We decided to spring for one day because I needed to be able to log on and be in touch, and because my dad wanted to check some stuff online too. But after today I will be incommunicado again until I get back to Ohio.)

We took two days to drive down - we drove most of the day Monday (okay, we left a bit later than we had intended, that's always the way of things when kids are involved) and spent the night in Buellton, which happens to be the home of Pea Soup Andersons', which I remember eating at when I was a little girl travelling around CA with my family, so of course I insisted we have dinner there. The kids weren't too thrilled about it, but they changed their minds after they discovered it had a squashed penny machine (they're collecting squashed pennies). Corwyn even decided to taste my soup (at the end of the meal) and declared it delicious, so if we ever get a chance to stop there again he'll be ordering the soup. I hope when we come out here with Tom in the future we will be able to go there - I'd love to take him.

The next morning we got up, finished our trip, met my Grandmother Katherine, my Aunt Kathy, and my Uncle Bruce at Redondo Beach and had lunch in a restuarant with them. The food was passable (and not worth what they were charging for it, imo, but I wasn't paying, so it's not my problem), and Grandma and Kathy brought presents for everyone, especially the kids. The kids' stuff was mostly various little widgets and stuff they picked up here and there - it looked like a lot of it came out of the dollar store - but the kids were thrilled and thought it was great. They gave me a silver ring with a huge cabuchon aquamarine in it - it's very pretty, but it's a little too big for my ring fingers (which already have rings on them in any case) and a little too small for my middle fingers (which seemed the next logical place to wear it), so I am probably going to see about having it enlarged a little when I get home. I do want to wear it - I like it a lot, and my grandmother has given me so few things in my life. Anyway, they were all charmed by the boys, even though the boys were not being particularly charming. They weren't too bad though. Afterwards we went down to the beach for a while to let the boys run around and so forth. Corwyn didn't want to go because he thought it would be "boring", but once we got out there, he raced down to the water, and ended up soaked halfway up his thighs. Towards the end of the visit, Galen said he needed to go potty, so my dad was going to take him, but my dad got confused about which kid needed to go, and Corwyn wanted to go too by this point, so he set off with Corwyn and without Galen, who was puttering around being difficult. We sent Galen running to catch up, but apparently he didn't, and then didn't know where Grandpa had got to. Dad and Corwyn got back from the restroom with no Galen, and there were a few minutes of panic when we had absolutely no idea where Galen was. Fortunately, Kathy found him back at the restaurant - when he couldn't find anybody, he had headed for the only restrooms he knew about. I was so relieved - there were a couple of minutes there where I thought he'd been snatched and I was never going to see him again.

Anyway, after visiting with them, we headed over to visit with my Great Uncle Mars and my Great Aunt Pat, both of whom are wonderful, lovely people. Mars is Grandma Katherine's brother, but there is this huge family rift involving inheritences (and mostly caused by Grandma), so they haven't been on speaking terms for decades. I'm so glad my parents decided to get in touch with them anyway. I just wish they'd done it sooner - I could have grown up with a huge family full of cousins and so forth. Oh well. This is one of the reasons I don't want to live in SoCal - I'd be close enough to have to actually deal with all the family crap. But that's neither here nor there. We passed a park on the way to their house, and I suggested that if we actually wanted to get to talk to them, we might want to take the kids down to the park, since they were getting pretty squirrelly by that point. My dad kind of grumbled and mumbled and didn't seem to think that was appropriate, but no sooner had we arrived, been ushered in and sat down than Aunt Pat suggested exactly the same thing. She is so great! And she knits! She has promised to scan some patterns for various stitches in and send them to me. She does scrumbles (although I couldn't remember the word for them, and she doesn't call them that) - at the moment she's using leftover scraps of yarn to knit herself a vest, completely as the mood takes her, without a pattern of any kind. (I was admiring some of the different textures she'd used, hence the promise of patterns).

After leaving there, we drove on out to Anaheim (a couple hours away), and checked into the Annaheim Marriot. It was really kewl - the fen were already beginning to assemble, and even without badges or so forth, you could tell. There is just something about sf fans that sets them apart from ordinary people. So I was psyched. We got our stuff upstairs, got the kids upstairs and in bed, and on the pretense of going to check for a newsletter, I left them with my parents and went off to look around. I ended up having a conversation with a lady from Tampa for a while. It was really nice, and the kids were solidly out by the time i got back.

Wednesday morning we checked into the Con, checked out the program guide, determined that there were things the boys were interested in doing, got them memberships too, and then dropped all our stuff off in our room and went to Disneyland.
Saturday, August 19th, 2006
11:42 pm
Charlotte
I almost forgot - Thursday evening I had dinner with Charlotte and Luis, and Grandma and Grandpa (my parents)watched the boys (who apparently behaved themselves quite well and had a great time watching Donald Duck cartoons on DVD with my Dad). We went to Round Table Pizza, which in my opinion makes the best sausage and mushroom pizza anywhere, and had (of course) sausage and mushroom pizza. Afterwards, we went to Coldstone Creamery and got ice cream to take back to their house, which was also really good, and hung out and talked and ate the ice cream and hung out some more and then they brought me back and I put the boys to bed. All in all, it was a really nice evening.

I wish there was RTP on the East Coast though. I really miss it. Yet another thing I really miss. Maybe I'll actually sit down and make a list later.

Oh yeah, and for those of you who are wondering - Charlotte is my youngest sister. She just graduated from law school this last May, and took the bar this summer. She won't find out until November whether or not she passed, so she's still working as a legal clerk or something similarly low-paying. Luis is her husband. The last time they saw my boys was at their wedding (Charlotte and Luis, not the boys!) in October of 2001. So Charlotte has been spending time with the boys too - they had them over to their house for swimming the night we got here (I stayed at my parents house and totally crashed), and the night after that too I think. Charlotte was the one who talked me into coming when I was thinking about just blowing the whole thing off until some other time. I'm glad we came so far, but I really wish Tom could have come too. We'll just have to come back, and soon. I am hoping that we'll be able to come out here more often - I didn't realize how much I missed California until I got here. And I would really like to see more of my family, too. Yes, my parents come to visit a couple of times a year, but Charlotte and Luis can't afford to visit us as often, and I'd like the boys to grow up knowing both their aunts, not just the one who lives in Cleveland.

Charlotte and Luis are talking about moving to Albuquerque, though. Most of Luis' family lives there (except for the ones who live in Tucson), and it would be a lot less expensive than living in Sacramento. Charlotte thinks if they move that Mom and Dad probably will too. I don't know, but I wouldn't be surprised - they basically followed C&L to Sacramento from Tucson, so it's a reasonable assumption. I don't think my mom really wants to live in the desert again though. And I'm not sure my dad would be able to get a job there. So it might not happen. Honestly, from my own totally selfish perspective, I kind of hope someone stays in Sacramento, because then I get to visit California again. (Yeah, I know, there's no reason why we couldn't just come here on our own for shits and giggles and get a hotel room. It's just a lot easier, both in terms of logistics and in terms of justifying it, if there's family here to stay with.) But who knows? I guess we'll have to wait and see.

Current Mood: pensive
11:06 pm
Musings
As promised - the previous entry was getting long, and this is really a different subject, so I thought I would break it up a bit.

I really miss the Bay Area. I wish I could live here. I especially miss Berkeley. On the way home from San Francisco, we drove past the house we lived in until I was 5 (although for some reason, I think of it as "The house I lived in when I was 3"). It's on Capistrano, if anybody wants to go look for it - if you take a left off Solano, it's the second (I think!) house down on the left. It was white when I lived there, and there were plum trees in front, but the plums are gone now, and it's been painted salmon. A lot of other stuff has been done to it too, but those were the most noticeable things. After that we drove past my grandmother's former apartment building in El Cerrito (which will always be Mosa's real house to me, I think - I still dream about it.) I never realized how close it was to the house on Capistrano. I guess that's because most of my memories of the house in El Cerrito were from when we lived in Walnut Creek, which is about 30 minutes away on the freeway (according to my mom - it always seemed like a really long drive to me, but hey, I was a kid, what did I know?) We drove past the cemetary Mosa and Grandpa Pete are buried in, too. I had meant to get roses and go visit, but we didn't have time, so I will have to do that next time. Anyway, it was really weird driving around that part of Berkeley/El Cerrito. A lot of it is very different from how I remember it, but a lot of it was still hauntingly familiar. And that's the place I have been trying to get back to ever since we left. I am reasonably certain that I would feel perfectly at home there. I miss the climate. I miss the way the houses are shaped. I miss the way the light looks in the late afternoon. I miss the people. I miss the open-ness and the liberal-ness and the naturalness. The Co-op is a Whole Foods Market now. I guess it's good that it's still selling natural foods, but it's sad that it's not a co-op anymore. (I remember when I was little, I thought "Co-op" was the name of a supermarket chain, like Safeway or Lucky's or whatever. My mom usually shopped at Safeway, but sometimes we got to go to "Co-op", which had a child-watch area long before anybody else was doing that, and it was my favorite store because of that.)

I miss the smell of the eucalyptus up near Tilden. There are beautiful huge houses up there. I wish I lived in one. But I don't. And honestly, at this point we couldn't even afford to live in the house on Capistrano, much less one of the big houses up by Tilden. Maybe I'll manage to get excessively rich someday, and I'll be able to retire to a little house somewhere in Berkeley. That would be nice. I don't know whether Tom would go for it though.

I want to be somewhere like that so much. Anywhere like that! Somewhere on the West Coast, where there are lots of different kinds of people, and everybody gets along, and everybody is polite and thoughtful (Well, okay, I'm sure not everybody is, but I have been stunned on this whole trip how many people not only notice me when I'm on my scooter, but actually step aside, and make their kids step aside so I can go through somewhere, or hold doors for me, or whatever. I have had moms gently scold their children for being in my path and make them move out of the way, and I had only just got there - I'm used to having to sit and wait patiently for people to move, and sometime to finally having to say "Excuse me, I need to get through here please", and then having people move only grudgingly and while looking really put-out about it. It's really a trip to have people be so aware. But I digress.)

I am heartily sick of living in places where everybody thinks I'm weird and unusual - and this for the relatively normal stuff I do - I tend to keep the really weird and unusual stuff pretty quiet most of the time so I don't freak people out. Not that I'm in any closets - I wear my pentacles openly (I have an Elder Sign tattooed on my chest, for Goddess' sake!) - just that I have learned to be, well, discreet, because it's just not worth the hassle otherwise. Smile and nod. Smile and nod. And keep my opinions to myself most of the time, or at least water them down quite a bit, and do a bit of testing before I get too open with anybody.

And now Tom is saying it looks like there's a really good chance we're going to end up getting sent to Tennessee in a couple of years if he stays with this company. And I gotta tell ya - I don't want to go to Tennessee. Pennsylvania and Ohio are bad enough. I want to go home. I don't want to go somewhere even worse. I just want to go where people are friendly and open and essentially have a clue. But I have absolutely no idea how I'm going to manage to swing it. Right now it is just simply not possible, because we just simply don't have the money. And barring miracles, it is unlikely that we ever will, much as I might wish it to be otherwise.

Current Mood: melancholy
10:09 pm
in California
Well, we arrived in California, after *much* fubar-ed-ness by US Air (who has since apologized profusely to my knight in shining armor, who called them on my behalf, and is sending us vouchers and stuff plus hopefully refunding the part of the ticket where we were supposed to be in first class and weren't - so don't hate them too much yet. I may post the whole sad tale later but right now I don't have the time or the inclination). And we pretty much hit the ground running. Got to have Mexican food on the way home from the airport - Yay!

On Monday we went to the Sacramento Discovery Center history museum with a young friend of my parents (a very nice 7yo girl whose mother runs an Ethiopian restaurant that my parents frequent). The kids had a blast, although I don't think they would have wanted to go there if we hadn't thought it had a science part too (turns out the science part was across town, oh well). The place was small but really well done, with lots of hands-on stuff - mostly dress-up clothes, but there was other stuff as well. I was worried about how Corwyn was going to get along with Molly (which is not really her name, it's something Ethiopian that's closer to Ma'hali, I think, but everyone calls her Molly) but he was fine - they were having such a good time that he forgot that he has a problem with a) girls and b) people who don't look like him. We also went for a walk in Old Sacramento, and rode in a horse drawn carriage - the kids kept wanting the horse to "go turbo speed" and complaining that it was stinky, but we pointed out that that's how horses are, and imagine what it must have been like when everybody got around on horse-drawn vehicles, and no one had a car, and the horses just pooped in the street.

On Tuesday we went to San Francisco, had seafood for lunch on Pier 39 in Fishermans' Wharf (I had clam chowder in a sourdough bread bowl), and went to the Aquarium of the Bay. It's small, but it's extremely cool - their main feature is a thing where you essentially walk (or scooter, in my case) through a series of two tunnels that run through the bottom of these gigantic tanks full of fish that are made to resemble various parts of the SF Bay. The first tunnel is the shallow water, and the second tunnel is deeper water. There are tons of fish and starfish and sharks and all kinds of stuff, all swimming around together, and you're right in the middle of it. It was totally cool! When you get out of there, you go up to a level where they have touch pools, and you can pet bat rays and some kind of skate (I forget exactly what), and leopard sharks and various starfish, sea urchins, and sea cucumbers (which are extremely squishy, btw). There was also a room where kids could go do crafts, and make different sea creatures out of paper plates, coffee filters, construction paper, pipe cleaners, and so forth. The kids had a great time. I did too. After that, we walked out to the end of the Pier, and around the back and down the other side, where we got to see the sea lion colony that moved in a while back. The kids were pretty tired by this point though, and not terribly interested. So we got back in the car, and ended up having dinner in Chinatown - in a restaurant that I remember eating at with my parents when I was like 3, although it's been remodeled (a lot!) since then. Apparently this is where the elderly Chinese community hangs out to do karaoke (in Chinese, of course) in the evenings, so we got to see/hear some of that while we were finishing our dinner.

On Wednesday, we took a day off, and the boys stayed home with Grandpa (who apparently took them for a rather long walk through the Riverpark), and my mom and I went to the Crocker Art Museum to see the Escher show. While we were there, we went ahead and looked at the rest of the museum too. Escher was, of course, extremely cool, and the rest of it was interesting as well. They have an Art-o-mat! I have been wanting to try one since I first read about them almost a decade ago. So I bought a token in the gift shop, and now I have a little block of wood with a really cute turtle painted on it. I also bought a set of interlocking foam lizards in shades of white and grey based on one of Escher's drawings, partly because I thought it was cool, and partly because I thought the boys would enjoy playing with it and it would be a good way to introduce them to Escher.

On Thursday, Corwyn went to the Crocker with Grandpa (he was really inspired by the whole interlocking lizards thing) and Galen and Grandma and I went to the zoo. They had a promo for the new Curious George tv show that's starting on Labor Day where you have to find Curious George 6 times throughout the zoo, write down where you saw him, and turn it in to get a surprise, so we went through the whole zoo (which wasn't very big - just the right size for a 5yo) and Galen was very excited whenever he found CG. The best part, though, was at the end - their snow leopard had a baby June 7, and I had read in one of the kid papers that I picked up somewhere that she tends to be out in the early mornings and late afternoons - so on our way out, we stopped by the snow leopard enclosure again just to see - and Mama and Baby were out! Even better, while were were there watching, Mama walked down to the front of the enclosure, so Baby followed her part way and we got a really good look at her! What a cutie!

Today Charlotte accompanied us to Oakland, where we went to Children's Fairyland and the merry-go-round in Tilden Park. Both were places we went to a lot when we were little. My mom still had our "Magic Keys" for Fairyland that we had when we were kids, and they still work! That was really neat. I think I was grinning like the Cheshire Cat the whole time. It was so neat to be able to take the boys there, and see them so excited about it. Somehow, I remember it being bigger than that though.....

We got lost on the way to the carousel, but we did finally get there with about an hour left to ride it before it closed. Galen was really excited, and he and I got right on. I introduced him to my horse (whose name is Rosie), and he could hear her - I knew he would! So I said I was giving her to him, and she was his horse now, and he said "No, mom - You keep her. I have my own horse." And then he rode a bunch of other animals, and I got to ride her the rest of the time we were there. That was really nice. But at least I feel like I was able to pass the carousel on, and maybe someday he will bring his children there, and they'll find my horse, and one of them will be able to hear her too. (A bit of history - my mom rode this horse when it was on a merry-go-round in Los Angeles when she was a girl (in fact, I think the whole merry-go-round was in LA then, at least that's what she says), and told me when I was young that this horse was magickal, and if I listened hard, I could talk to her, and of the three of us, I was the only one who could hear the horse, so she gave her to me. So I have been waiting for a long time to pass this on. I knew it would be Galen who could hear the horses. (They're not just horses, there are other animals, and many of them have voices, but bear with me here.) So I'm very pleased.) Corwyn at first wanted nothing at all to do with the thing, and my dad sat in the car with him for a while, and then he finally got Corwyn to just come look at it, so they did that, and then I asked Corwyn why he didn't want to ride, and he said he thought it would be boring, so I said why don't you give it a try, just to see, so he did, and loved it, and rode it several more times before we ran out of tickets just before they closed. So that ended well too. I bought a cone of cotton candy for us all to share, and we had Mexican food for dinner in Berkeley.

They are both keen to go back to both places, although not on the same day next time. So that's a Good Thing.

Next: Some musings on the Bay Area.

Current Mood: pleased
Friday, August 11th, 2006
12:57 am
Kodak Moment
First, some background: The boys have been sleeping on the sofa bed in their sleeping bags for the last couple of nights because their beds have already been loaded into the pod, and I figured it would be more comfortable than sleeping on the floor, which is what I had originally planned. (My futon is not going to Ohio - I will be giving it away once we get everything else moved, so I can still sleep on it until we leave.) I let them watch a movie in bed - this will not become a regular thing, but it's kind of a nice treat, and their whole world is in chaos (more than usual)at the moment, so I figured a little leniency would go a long way.

Anyway.

I went downstairs a little while ago to fix myself a frozen pizza (Annie's organic mushroom and olive), and Corwyn was curled up next to Galen. They were snuggling in their sleep. It was the cutest thing. If my inlaws hadn't packed my camera, I would have been very tempted to take a picture. That would probably have woken them up though, so I suppose it's just as well. It was really adorable, though.


I don't know if I'm going to be able to get everything packed in order to be ready to leave tomorrow afternoon. I had originally planned to leave Saturday morning. I did that for a reason, damnit. I know I need the extra time and so forth. But Tom wants me to try to come down Friday night, I think because he misses me and wants an extra night of snuggleage. At this point, I am just not sure it's going to happen. We'll have to see. In any case, I need to quit writing this, finish wrapping things and eating my pizza, and get some sleep. It looks like I'll be having a long day tomorrow.

Current Mood: tired
Wednesday, August 9th, 2006
11:40 pm
Grrrrrrrr
For almost the entire time we have lived in this house, we have almost never had to park on the street, because this house has off-street parking. (This is, in fact, one of the reasons we bought this house, and not any of the others we looked at.) So our neighbors have gotten used to having plenty of parking along both sides of our house. However, for the last month or so, our parking pad has had a pod sitting on it, which means I have to park the van somewhere else. After several frustrating incidents, and one run-in with the next door neighbors, I asked the bitch next door if she and her husband could please leave the space in front of my house open, and explained that I was only asking because I am disabled, and not physically capable of walking a longer distance to park my car, and she basically told me that nobody wants to have to walk, so tough shit. Totally blowing off the part where I'm disabled, and this isn't a matter of not wanting to walk, it's a matter of BEING FUCKING DISABLED. And since then, she and her husband have not only not left the space in front of my house open for me, it seems like they're going out of their way to make sure I can't park anywhere near my house. Like this evening - they each took up a space and a half with their vehicles. So even though there is actually enough room for all three of us, I can't park in front of my house because they left mondo gaping spaces between their vehicles. I am livid.

I have been resisting the temptation to do something similar - if she wants to play that kind of game, well, I can play too. I am considering waiting until they have both left tomorrow, and then moving my car so that I'm parked in such a way as to occupy both the space in front of my house, and enough of the space in front of theirs that they won't be able to park either of their cars there. But that would be stooping to her level or something. Regardless of how satisfying it would be.

I am also seriously thinking of writing her a note and leaving it on her door to the effect of "When the day comes that you too are disabled, should you be fortunate enough to live that long, may you be treated with the same compassion and consideration you've shown me."

Basically, at this point, I am pretty sure that she's going to reap what she's sown, but I want to make sure that when she does, she knows why she's reaping it.

In a way, I guess it's kind of a magickal act - I am calling her misbehaviour to the attention of the gods. But I have already done that plenty on my own. I suppose I could just leave it at that, but...well, like I said. I want her to remember this.

What do you all think? Do I play "take up as much space as possible" games? Write her the note? Or just let it go? I don't care about pissing her off, because I'm moving (which is why we have a pod in our parking space in the first place) so I really don't fucking care. If I'm lucky, I'll never see the bitch again.

I feel sorry for her daughter - she's a nice kid, (I think she's 15 or so) and actually apologized to me for her parents' lack of compassion. I'm thinking about giving her my email address so she has a way to get ahold of a sane adult if she ever needs someone to talk to.

(How come there is no mood tag for "livid" on LJ?)

Current Mood: pissed off
Saturday, August 5th, 2006
2:09 pm
Loading....
...well, packing, actually. My inlaws came up this morning, and they're going to be here all weekend helping us pack. Tom and his dad and sister are doing the kitchen, and his mom is helping Corwyn clean and pack his room (much to Corwyn's distress). Galen has been told to stay in his room and out of the way until it's his turn. I have been bopping around doing things here and there - I did a box of children's books, and started two more boxes of books, and so forth. Part of the reason for bopping around is because Tom insists on throwing out stuff that I don't think is trash - at the very least, if it's not something we want to keep, it could be given away to someone who could use it. It drives me nuts! And he gets grumpy when I come and look through the stuff he's tossed and retrieve the things that shouldn't have been tossed. I wish he just wouldn't toss them in the first place. It's like, I have to accept help, because I can't do it all by myself, but it's not helpful if I have to keep coming behind him trying to figure out what needs to be rescued. It really stresses me out. (Of course, he would argue that the other half of that is that my tendency to save things because they're perfectly useful and don't deserve to end up in a landfill really stresses him out.) So - we're getting a bunch done, but at what cost? I am stressed out about Tom throwing things out, and also, now after working all morning, I am starting to feel really icky, but I don't feel like it would be okay if I took a nap or something, because we have people here helping us do work. (Never mind that last night Sarah came over and helped and we got a bunhc of stuff packed - the was my stuff, so it doesn't count or something I guess.

I'm taking a break and sitting on my bed ripping CDs so I can pack them. So it's at least quasi-packing.

Current Mood: aggravated
Tuesday, August 1st, 2006
11:37 pm
General Whining
I missed my midnight dose last night - I thought I had taken it, but apparently I was wrong. That won't be a problem for the rest of the week - I've got my pill minder loaded now. But it was a problem this afternoon, because even though I took my 8am dose, my blood levels were affected by the lack of the midnight dose, and I ended up crashing after I took my 4pm dose (I only stayed awake that long through sheer force of will), and sleeping (or trying to, anyway) until around 7:30, when I dragged myself out of bed to see about dinner. I had planned to have a Lammas feast, with grilled salmon (I have an awesome recipe for fish cure - you let the salmon sit in it for 4 hours and then you rinse it off and grill, it comes out really fantastic), local vegetables, and fresh local peaches with whipped cream for dessert. And I was going to make a loaf of gf bread, too (since it's kind of traditional to make bread for Lammas). But by the time I dragged myself downstairs, it was like, okay, maybe we can just make a bread man out of Chebe breadsticks mix. And by the time we got back from the supermarket, where we went to get the Chebe mix because we were out, along with all the ingredients for the bread I was going to make tomorrow instead, it was a quarter to 10. And I had to do dishes before I could start cooking. And I felt utterly crappy. So I told the boys we will have our Lammas feast tomorrow, and we just had sandwiches (or they did, anyway) tonight. At least they were pretty good about going to bed. I think they were tired too. (They should be, they were maniacs all day.) So now I finally have a break and some quiet. I feel lousy. I'm going to go to bed soon too. Hopefully I will feel better tomorrow.

And of course I am getting almost no packing done. I think the problem is that at this point, I am so burned out it's all I can do to keep up with the day-to-day stuff, let alone all the extra work like packing things. So I am really hoping we'll actually get everything packed and loaded this weekend because frankly, if we don't, I don't know how we're going to get it done.

It's not helping that it's beastly hot, either. But hey - global climate change is a myth, doncha know...

Current Mood: tired
Sunday, July 30th, 2006
11:11 pm
This. Fucking. Sucks. Major. Rocks.
I just wanted to say, in case any of you young (or not so young) and clueless people out there ever happen to find yourselves entertaining thoughts of using opiates for shits and giggles (can I say "shits and giggles" on LJ?), kick those thoughts out immediately and get a restraining order.

IT'S NOT WORTH IT JUST FOR FUN!

I do not take opiates for fun. I take them for chronic pain. So I have a legitimate reason to take the damn things, whether I like it or not. And I have to admit, most of the time, I really like not being flat on my back in bed. Having a life totally rocks.

However.

Due to the problem with getting my medication last week when I was supposed to be getting it, I am now functioning on short rations, as it were.

When your body is used to having a certain amount of opiates in your system, not having that level of opiates in your system is completely hideous. Have I made myself clear here?

This completely, totally sucks.

Current Mood: uncomfortable
7:27 pm
Mermen and Pirates, oh my!
Tom found a box of dress-up clothes I had originally compiled for David and Heather, who at that point were so poisoned by TV that they were completely uninterested in them. Brought them downstairs and, at my direction, added them to the box of dress-up clothes I was putting together for packing in Corwyn's room. Corwyn was delighted. He was especially pleased with all the scarves and costume jewelry and "princess clothes", as he put it. So he and his brother have spent the rest of the afternoon playing pirates (they play pirates a lot) and Corwyn just came in and wanted me to tie his mermaid costume (which is actually his - he got it for his birthday last year, I think - we had given his friend Becky one, and he thought it was really cool and wanted one of his own) on him. He can't find the tail, though, which is weird, because I'm pretty sure I've seen it recently. I'm also pretty sure it needed mending, though, so I may have taken it off and put it somewhere until I have a chance to mend it. So many things I have to do. "We'll do it when we get to Ohio" is my new mantra. Bleh. I am sooo exhausted. I am going to crash now. Maybe I will feel better later.

Current Mood: exhausted
5:54 pm
One Pod down, one to go. I am Wiped.
Like it says: One Pod down, one to go. We finished packing the first pod this afternoon, thanks in large part to the huge amounts of assistance rendered by my neighbor across the street. (Who apparently used to load tractor-trailers when he was in the Marines, and is Damn Good at packing stuff into cargo containers.) There is still a little room left in the front of the pod, but Tom says as far as he's concerned it's full. So if I have the time to do a couple of light boxes before tomorrow morning, I will do that and get them in there. Otherwise, it's going the way it is. I did finish packing a box full of assorted pots and pans and so forth, but it's kind of heavy, and it's got some of my remaining stoneware mixing bowls in it, so I am thinking that I do not want to put it in the pod, because there is a good chance that whatever boxes I put in there are going to shift forward, because of the way the front of the pod is packed, and I don't want to take that kind of chance with my mixing bowls. I've already had one break recently (before the whole moving thing though). I'm not happy about it. But that's neither here nor there.

I am utterly wiped, plus I am on short rations of my medication, because with one thing and another, I didn't get around to picking up the new prescription last week, and I didn't quite have enough to last until Monday, so I'm trying to stretch it out. So I feel like shit on top of everything else. So I had absolutely no energy to think about doing anything like making dinner. Or even going out somewhere. So I made my famous "Phonecall to the Chinese Restaurant". The kids are pleased, because we haven't had Chinese food in a long time (since 99.9% of it has either wheat or corn or both in it). So we're having Chinese food. And it just got here....YaY!

Current Mood: exhausted
Wednesday, July 19th, 2006
2:53 am
Well This Seems Fairly Accurate...






Which of the Humours are you?




You are Melancholy. Melancholics are often gifted, even prone to genius. You are deep and thoughtful, but this can lead to your being too introspective, to the point of moodiness and depression when you find flaws within your self. You strive for perfection in all things, most especially your self and your immediate world. You are sensitive to the needs of others, and loyal to your friends, but can be hard to please. Melancholics do well in the Arts, science, and math.
Take this quiz!








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(I'm not really melancholy in the 21st-century sense right now, it just seemed appropriate...)
((note that the Music listed below is the music running through my head. I'm not actually listening to anything))

Current Mood: melancholy
Tuesday, July 11th, 2006
1:50 am
Feh.
I was going to just update my journal really quick. Ha ha ha. An hour later, after going through my friends list to see what I've missed, I am only just now starting to write. Feh.

Tom didn't come home this weekend because he caught a really nasty eye infection from the roominghouse he's staying in. He went to see a doctor and got antibiotics and eyedrops, and went out and bought himself a new pillow and washed all his bedding, since he thinks that was the culprit, but he wasn't feeling well enough to drive home, plus the doctor said it was highly contagious, and he didn't want to infect us. So no grownup time for me.

On the plus side, I took the kids to the Kutztown Festival on Friday, because we went once when we first moved here, and I've been trying to get back ever since to buy a broom, and I figured we're moving so it was my last chance. We had a really good time. I found the broom guy, and got my broom (because every witch ought to have a nice broom, right?) - the handle still has the bark on it, and there is a bearded man's face carved into it. Originally it was a flat broom, but when the guy saw that I was waffling over two brooms, going "I really like this one...but this shape is more traditional", he offered to reshape it for me, so now it's a round broom. I am very pleased with it. And it was a lot less expensive than I thought it would be - enough so that I could afford to get a second broom that caught my eye - it has a wrought iron handle with a dragon head on the end, and it's meant to be a fireplace broom. My Spurious Rationalization was that the house in Ohio has three fireplaces, so we needed a fireplace broom. I suspect this one will end up in the solar, although it may also end up in the kitchen. We'll see when we get there. I also bought a fan from him - it has a beautiful shaped wooden handle with grey ostritch plumes and peacock feather ends. Again, if I ever figure out how to add pictures, I will add some of the brooms and the fan.

Anyway, we also walked around, saw a lot of stuff, spent quite a bit of time at the petting zoo (populated primarily by baby farm animals, which were absolutely adorable, and several llamas, who have apparently decided that I'm much more tolerable as an adult than I was a a kid), bounced on the inflatable bouncy things (the kids did, anyway - I watched), and made our own hand-dipped beeswax tapers. The kids had a really great time, and demanded to go back the next day. We didn't, but we went back on Sunday and rode the horse-pulled carousel - it had no music, and had swings instead of horses - picture a carousel with pairs of porch swings facing each other set at intervals around the circle. When we rode it, it was being pulled by a chestnut mare named Daisy, who was being driven by an elderly black gentleman. I desperately wanted to say something to him about "Driving Miss Daisy", but figured he'd probably heard that a million times already. I went on it with the kids (I love carousels), and it was kind of fun. The kids went on the pony ride as well, and I got arm-twisted into springing for another session on the bouncy things, but I drew the line at one set of tickets, and when they whined about it afterwards and said "Can't we do just one more?" I said "No, the deal was I would buy one strip, and you each got 10, and when you're done, you're done. So you're done. And if you don't cut it out, next time I won't get you any at all." So they stopped. We looked at all sorts of interesting things, and the kids found a pile of hay to play in, and a hay-bale maze, and I found a booth where they could make springerle christmas tree ornaments out of model magic to paint at home. Springerle are really hard German cookies that are eaten with tea - they're kind of like biscotti for tea, apparently. They are made with beautiful, intricately carved wooden molds, so they are also hung on Christmas trees as decorations, and since they keep for a really long time, sometimes they get handed down for generations - the booth we discovered this at had a note that said that there was a record of someone buying 100-year old springerle at an auction! Anyway, the booth also had some that were made with paper pulp mixed with volcanic ash, which had been painted. They were just gorgeous. So I have Corwyn and Galen's springerle tucked away up on a bookcase until they're hard enough for me to pack up carefully - they can paint them when we get to OH. And I got a box of four of the edible cookie springerle, which I haven't really had a chance to examine thoroughly yet - the lady asked which ones I wanted, and I said one of each flavor, so she picked them and I don't know what's on them. She was very nice, and answered all my questions. She has a shop in Lancaster where she serves springerle and tea, and also sells the decorative ones for people's Christmas trees. So it was neat - I learned something I didn't know before. After that, we found a leatherworking stall that had a Kid's Area, where the kids pounded their names and various designs into small scraps of latigo leather and got holes punched in them so they could be keychains or whatever. All in all I think they had a good time.

We also stopped at the dowsing booth, both at the end of Friday, and again on Sunday. I had a very interesting conversation with the gentleman there, who in addition to dowsing also does energy work and healing using various kinds of stones. He gave me a dowsing rod, and then he gave me one for the kids, and he showed the kids how to use different kinds of dowsing rods, which they did really well with, although Galen was being very silly by this point and ended up dunking himself in the bucket full of water. He also gave me his card and told me to call him, because he wants to give me a discharging stone (I think that's the word he used). I think I will. He used several kinds of stones on me, including one of his discharging stones, and I swear it was the most alive piece of rock I have ever touched. I am looking forward to getting to Ohio and having the space to actually experiment with the dowsing rod a bit. The one he gave me is a short wooden dowel with a long brass rod sticking out of it, with a coiled part near the end which attaches to the wood. Apparently in addition to using it to find things, you can also use it like a pendulum. He himself had a pendulum, which he used in conjunction with the stones. It was very interesting. It always fascinates me how things just sort of get in my path when I'm not expecting them or looking for them. So we'll see where that goes.

Anyway, I'd like to ramble on more about the Festival and all the great stuff we did and saw but it's really late, I'm tired, and I have to get up early to take Galen to day camp. More on that later as well.

Current Mood: sleepy
Sunday, July 2nd, 2006
1:49 am
Update...We're Moving! And I Got a Birthday Present!
Tom finally got a job! He's working for Emdeon, who runs WebMD (or something like that), and he started on Monday, so he's already been in Ohio for a week. He's staying in a roominghouse near Garretsville, where the house we are buying is located. He is back for the weekend at the moment, though, and he took one Monday as one of his floating holidays so he could have a four-day weekend instead of having to go back Sunday afternoon. It's a looong drive. Anyway, so far the job seems to be going really well, from what he's told me, so that's good as well. And we have decent (and affordable) health insurance again! Not that what we had before was terrible, but the deductible was hideous, and they didn't seem to want to cover anything if they could possibly avoid it. Plus now we have dental and vision again too. I am relieved about that - we haven't been to the dentist since last April, and I am concerned about the state of my childrens' teeth, especially Corwyn, who hates to brush.

We have an agreement of sale on a house! It's a wonderful house and it's on 8.something acres in Garretsville, OH, about 35 minutes from Tom's office. The yard has a huge pond full of catfish, various fruit trees (we saw apples, peaches, and sour cherries when we were there), a big vegetable garden, and tons of flowers everywhere. Also plenty of lawn for kids to play on and plenty of woods to explore, and I think there is a fort out in the woods as well (I'd say treehouse, but I think it's on stilts rather than in a tree). Most of the house is on one floor, which means I won't have to be going up and down stairs all the time, even if I do end up with the loft as my personal space/bedroom. There is a huge room which Tom referred to initially as the greenhouse, but which I refer to as the solar. It's got a triangular roof with windows in one side, and a picture window/sliding door out to the patio on the other side. The windowed side has planting tables where the current owners start all their own plants for the garden, which is why Tom calls it the greenhouse. There is also a fireplace, and a spiral staircase leading up to a loft which has a balcony and a huge walk-in closet. There is also a fireplace in the (huge) living room, bedrooms for the kids with a small bathroom, a windowless bedroom in the middle with a large but sort of curvy bathroom with a shower and a whirlpool tub (single person only though), and a kitchen with a breakfast nook and a third, smaller fireplace. And some other stuff. I can already tell my favorite room is going to be the solar. The vibes in there are just amazing. If I ever figure out how to put pictures on here, I will post some.

It is such a huge relief to have Tom employed again. There will be money coming in! Okay, we're not exactly going to be rich or anything, but otoh, we're no longer staring bankruptcy in the face, and we are going to budget scrupulously this time around, and not make the same mistakes we did last time. (Instead, we'll be making entirely new and different mistakes..) Seriously, our mortgage payment is going to be a lot higher, partly because of the kind of loan we had to get in order to be able to buy the new house before we have sold the old house, and partly because in order to have a contingency on the offer saying we had to sell our house first, we had to show that we'd put it on the market, and we're not anywhere near being ready to do that. We have to get all the junk out of it first and clean it up and make it look good. So things are still going to be a bit tight, although once we sell this house, we're planning to use a sizeable hunk of that money to pay off our revolving credit (and then we're going to be very careful about acquiring more). Generally, the plan is to not only budget for all the normal stuff, but to build an allowance for each of us, adults included, into the budget, so that everybody gets a little personal money every month. That way, if you want to buy something, you have a way to do it. You may have to save up for a while, but it is possible, which makes it less likely that we'll go out and spend money we really can't afford to spend. It's like a relief valve. If you don't allow yourself to buy anything at all unless it's totally necessary, after a while, all the wanting and desiring and thinking that you deserve something nice once in a while and stuff will build up and you'll end up going out and blowing your budget. WE're kind of wrestling with that a bit now (or I am, anyway) - now that I know we're going to have income, I feel freer to buy some of the stuff I've been putting off buying for months and months. Apparently, Tom does too, because he bought me a birthday present. (My actual birthday completely sucked. It was one of the Three Worst Birthdays I Have Ever Had. I suppose 3 lousy birthdays out of 36 is not that bad of a track record, but it still sucks when you're living it. I didn't even get to have my birthday dinner, and I never got around to making my pie. I have had a lemon meringue pie every year for my birthday since I was seven, and I didn't have one this year. I was planning to make it on a later day, because a friend of mine was going to get me some lamb kidneys to make the steak and kidney pie, so I was going to make them together, but somehow it never quite worked out. Maybe now that Tom has a job, I will get my own lamb kidneys and just pick a day to be "Lis's Birthday Dinner", and make the pies anyway. I should do that, in fact. It would have to be a weekend though, or Tom won't be here for it. And it can't be next weekend, because Tom's birthday is next Sunday.) Anyway. The birthday present. Tom bought me a new 30GB Ipod - one of the ones that shows videos as well as playing audio! It's black, and it's totally cool, and I haven't had much time to play with it, so I'm still having fun figuring out how it works. He loaded a bunch of CDs he had with him onto it for me, and 3 Battlestar Galactica episodes, but in order to make my laptop its home laptop, I had to let it wipe the library. Tom still has all the data on his laptop though, so all I have to do is connect it to his again and pull it off of there. He also got me a widget that plugs into the cigarette lighter of my vehicle, and connects to my Ipod, and broadcasts the music from my Ipod on a specific radio frequency (you can set the frequency manually), and then when you tune your radio to that frequency, your music plays on your stereo system. Since the CD player in my van is only randomly functional, this is wonderful. I can listen to Emerald Rose while I drive again! I won a couple of free song downloads from Arby's, but it's from Yahoo, and you have to install their software in order to get your downloads, and Tom advised against doing that. He said Yahoo is known for collecting data on your surfing habits and then making that data available to various parties, like advertisers and the Department of Homeland Security. I kind of have a problem with being spied on, so I guess I will skip my free songs and go buy a couple songs off Itunes instead. Oh well. Free stuff would have been nice. So now I need to knit a cozy for my Ipod, not just because it's a Knit Thing, but because the Ipod needs to be in a little pouch when you're carrying it around so the screen doesn't get scratched. Why use the cheesy little plastic pseudo-suede pouch that comes with it, when you can knit a really cool cozy for it?

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