Monday, October 29, 2007

Needling Suspicion

How does one tell if acupuncture is working? Especially for me, who really just went in wanting to "feel better" and to regulate my menstrual cycles. I guess I am sort of feeling better, but that is probably the result of several different factors, not just the acupuncture. And the cycles don't seem to be entirely regulated. I told K recently that I think I would be getting more out of going back to Weight Watchers. At least with that there is a way to measure results.

BREAKING NEWS! It appears that after a full 10 days of back and forth between the local Subaru dealership, Subaru of America, and the CarMax extended warranty people, CarMax will step up and pay to replace the turbo on our Outback.

This is good news! My therapist says (sorry, I've become one of those people who uses the phrase "my therapist says" in regular conversation. My apologies.) that I should stop and appreciate it when good things do happen. So I will appreciate that we don't have to pay $1600 to replace a turbo on our relatively new car. Because honestly, when this whole thing started, I figured it was about par for the course that we would be stuck with the bill. We're not, and it looks like No-Spend-tober can be declared a moderate success.

ALSO. More good news - I got the highest grade in the class on my test! Although it was uncomfortable when the professor wrote my name on the board, I am pleased. I also got an A on the other test that I kindof thought I bombed. Being back in school has been difficult, but it is nice to be doing fairly well so far.

My father died during the spring semester of my senior year of college - I graduated two months later. I think that it has created this weird demarcation line in my life - before his death, I had fairly constant affirmation from him and from school that I was smart. It felt like I was intelligent, and capable of big things. I think that anyone goes through a questioning period after they get out of school and into the "real world" but I was adrift in a much bigger way. His voice was always the one in my ear telling me that I was great, I was smart, I could do anything. I lost that at the same time that I lost the regular intellectual stimulation and (sometimes) affirmation that school gave me, too. Since then, I've been floating along, and honestly I haven't been all that successful. I think a lot of that part of my identity had been tied up with school and my father, so in a way I feel like I am coming back to my old self.

It is strange, but I realize now that I had been feeling like my intelligence was sort of a hindrance in my professional life. Is that fucked up? But it's true. I certainly didn't feel like it helped at all in my last job, and not much in the jobs before that. Not that I'm a great intellectual, but seriously I spent a lot of time pretending to be dumber than I am. And now that I've read through this I feel like I'm being all Martha Big-Brain, and acting like I'm a genius. Please God, NO. I know that other kids who were considered "gifted" in school go through this same thing when they get out in the world and realize that all those G/T classes don't matter for shit. It has been an adjustment, and I guess I am still adjusting my self.

Weekend

The weekend is officially over, it's after midnight and now Monday morning. Emily has been here since Thursday afternoon and I drop her off at the airport in the morning for her return to the cold, hard realities of city life.

We hope to get some Chic Fil A on the way to the airport to make the transition a little easier. I understand the obsession, I used to walk 20 minutes each way from my office to the GW student union to get a Chic Fil A fix. And then they closed it and I wanted to cry. It was the only Chic Fil A in all of Washington, DC. Ah, what we will do for a taste of home.

ANYWAY. E has been visiting and we had a good time - she bought pumpkins on Friday and we carved them tonight. Even though we are probably skipping Halloween this year.

She made a fairly traditional Mr. Bill-esque guy.

mrbill

Mine is some sort of pirate.

pirate

Kelly got all ambitious and did a Skeletor face on his. V impressive.

skeletor

Also, our dogs are fucking cute.

togetherness

backseat

There's a post in there somewhere about how we treat them like our children, even though after actually having and losing a child I understand deeply that they are merely a substitute. But I'll save that exploration for later.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Lost and Found

When a good deed pays off, it can feel so good.

founddog

This is Toby. He ran away from home last night. I saw him in someone's front yard this afternoon and decided that I should investigate. Knocked on a couple of doors, and couldn't figure out where he belonged. So I brought him home and tied him to the tree in our front yard and gave him some water, hoping that his owners would drive by and see him there. Posted about him to our neighborhood email list, and then remembered good old Craig. I took some pictures to post there.

Craig already knew he was missing! So I got to call someone and say "I have your dog!" and they came right away! There were tears, and hugs, and Toby was so happy to see his people.

It made me feel better.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Pesto-so-good

So, once upon a time I posted about making oven-dried tomatoes, but I never followed up. Here's what I did:

I took the tomatoes that we grew that weren't that great for eating (a hybrid "early" variety, and some roma tomatoes that are really meant for canning and sauces) and sliced them into 1/4-1/3 inch slices. I removed the seeds from the slices. Then I lay them all out on a cooling rack over a cookie tin (much like I did with the bacon that one time)

Imagine these are tomato slices:

MMMMBacon

Then I baked them in a 250-degree oven until they are dried up. When I took them out they looked like this:

ovendriedtoms.JPG

In that state, they are pretty tasty with mozzarella and good bread. Nice and sweet, and no longer have that pasty texture that made them no good for eating previously.

I ended up with two or three 8-oz containers of these and I froze them, thinking that they would be good for something eventually. (It takes a lot of tomatoes to make that much, by the way. A few dozen at least. Better to freeze and wait for inspiration than let them go to waste)

A couple of weeks ago I was trying to come up with something to make for dinner that involved only things from our house (remember no-spend-tober?) and I thought of those oven-dried tomatoes. I brought a container of them out of the freezer, and combined it with some olive oil, romano, garlic, and pine nuts. I loosely based the proportions on the America's Test Kitchen cookbook. It made a lovely pesto. But I forgot to take pictures until I was pretty much done...

ovendriedpesto

But trust. It was good and I'll do it again.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Waiting

Here's the revelation that I wish I could have -

Happiness is not something that you earn, banking up the hard times with the sure knowledge that one day all that pain will pay off; Life will not necessarily be easy, full, and happy one day if only you make it through the tough times. Happiness is something that you have to keep finding every day, even when it seems impossible.

But it's hard when shitty things seem to keep happening (I know that is part of depression - focusing on the negative, feeling overwhelmed) to remember to find the good in any given day.

On a given day over the summer, we returned to our garden to find an enormous zucchini. It made tasty bread and some fritters, among other things.

monsterzuke.JPG

Also: fucking turbo. fucking bullshit extended warranty. fucking money.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

That Didn't Take Long

Despite our hopes and efforts - including weekly acupuncture appointments, daily Vitamin B6 supplements, progesterone cream, abstaining from alcohol, and now four cycles of charting my temperature, I am not pregnant. I got my period yesterday.

That news, combined with some other stuff, made for a particularly horrendous day yesterday. This sucks because even though I joked that I was waiting for the smackdown after getting accepted into the accelerated program, a part of me felt like that was the turnaround I had been waiting for. I hoped that I would be able to look back and say - yes, in October things finally started to get better. I got pregnant, I got into the program, I felt like I had something to look forward to.

And although I feel like I am trying hard every day NOT to think of getting pregnant as a make-or-break proposition, I can't help but have some hope each month. When the hope is proved wrong, everything hurts all over again. I want to take care of myself, I want to feel better, I try to protect myself but this week will be six months since we lost RP and I feel like it is getting harder.

I'm terrified of facing the holidays without being pregnant. I am not sure what else I can do to feel like I am making positive steps. This fucking sucks.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Patiently Awaiting the Smackdown


Okay, so apparently the powers that be are not totally in the thrall of an online standardized tests to determine who to accept into the accelerated program.

Yay!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

What Next?

Wow. DC Taxis will soon switch to meters from the zone system. What next, regular trash collection? More than one location in the entire metro area that does car inspections? No more crackheads throwing bricks or punches?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Still an A

Okay, we got a 95 on the presentation tonight - so the streak continues!!!

Don't worry, tomorrow I expect to find out that I didn't make it into the accelerated program, and I should get my other presentation grade back. So I will continue to savor the A while it lasts.

porchsittin.JPG

We went to the ranch again this weekend and had a nice, quiet time. Porch sitting continues to be therapeutic. It was such a clear night on Saturday that we even got to do some star-gazing. It's always a shock to remember that one can actually see the Milky Way - it renewed a desire to go camping. Ah, camping. You can be so awesome. Perhaps one day we will meet again, in a remote-ish location with well-lit bathrooms and ready supplies of ice and firewood. I'll bring the wine, you provide the atmosphere.

Anyway, I got my weekly dose of acupuncture yesterday and towards the end my right foot got really warm. When my guy was removing the needles stuck all over my body (I always forget about that one in the crown of my head for some reason) I asked about it and he said "that's good chi." All's I'm sayin' is, I hope that good chi got to work this week.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

All My Exes Live in Texas

Y'all, what was I thinking? I agreed to go to breakfast with an ex. I would call him an ex-boyfriend, but it is more like he is my ex-nearly-boyfriend-but-not-exactly-more-of-an-entanglement. Remember that article in the NY Times recently that made you go "well, duh" when you read the headline? Me too.

This is how the world works. I had this somewhat-damaging and somewhat-positive relationship with this guy while we were in college. A decade ago, give or take. My attempt to maintain the relationship as a friendship failed not too long after he left Austin to go to law school and we fall completely out of touch. In the meantime, I move away, get married, and move back.

Of course I run into him at a movie theater this winter, while I am about 5 months pregnant - introduce him to the husband, quick conversation and then make my exit. We email a couple of times to update each other on the basics, etc. Don't hear anything from him until last month, when of course he emails to say "hey, you must be a mom by now - congratulations!"

Yeah, so - now, a few more thoughtful emails later, we are going to breakfast together. I'm not quite sure what prompted me to do this, but it was fine, I guess. In that awkward but also comfortable way of being around someone you've known well at some point, on some level. Not something that I plan to do weekly, but I am always filled with curiosity about the people who I was once close to that have dropped out of my life. It's nice to have a better picture.

What do dogs dream about?

Addie schnozz

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

capital-A student

For this brief moment I am an A student again. I just got my first (take-home) test back and made a 92! Yay! I also gave a presentation yesterday and will be giving another one next week, and who knows how those might be evaluated. And I'm turning in a lesson plan next week - showed it to my professor today and she basically said to trash it. So I'll savor being an A student while it lasts.

Monday, October 08, 2007

No-Spend-Tober

In case you hadn't heard, this month has officially been declared "No-Spend-Tober" at our house. This means a total ban on all non-essential spending. We can go to the grocery store but not the liquor store, and we can get gas for our cars but not airplane tickets. Air conditioner is set higher than normal, and it's time to dig around in the freezer to figure out what we're having for dinner. Restaurants are out of the question.

Not that this is really a new thing for us - we've been trying to live the low-pro lifestyle for quite some time now (paying off credit cards, saving for a wedding and a house and a kitchen remodel will go a way towards creating these habits) but a couple of times a year it seems we still need to declare a no-spending month to really crack down on spending, jump-start savings (not this time around, unfortunately) or generally remind ourselves to be financially responsible.

Unfortunately, No-Spend-Tober is already starting from a defecit - Addie woke up unable to walk again on Saturday. Blood tests came back negative, so it is either some tick or flea-borne disease that is yet undiscovered, or a congenital issue. It's pretty alarming for a dog to go from 60-0 overnight, but she has already bounced back completely so we will just cross fingers that this is something that will be resolved by the 30-day cycle of antibiotics they put her on. BUT - vet visits ain't cheap, so No-Spend-Tober will probably continue into No-Spember.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Better Angels

Okay, it appears that I now have a pro account at flickr. Who did this? When did it happen? I can't find anything that tells me the answer to either question, so if some kind soul out there read my bitching about being out of space on flickr and did this for me, thank you. Tell me who you are so's I can thank you proper.

Well, whoever you are - you are a kind soul and will get an extra helping of candy when you get to heaven. I figured this out today because I finally got an invitation to Ravelry. The concept is hard to explain, but if you want to know how huge this is, go to flickr and do a search for Ravelry. It's ca-ca-ca-razy.
It is seriously amazing - what is especially cool is that it puts you right up in there with all of the other knitters - an overwhelming number of them, actually. Please stay tuned for many pictures of yarn and knitted items. Yay!

Unfortunately, I haven't been taking many pictures lately, thinking I would have no way to share (also, I am not always very good at taking pictures anyway) but this is what I found on the camera this afternoon.

backyardtruce2.JPG

Apparently K caught the dogs in a very rare copasetic moment at some point recently. I guarantee you I would have taken a picture, too - they never NEVER allow themselves to get this close to cuddling unless they are in the backseat of the car and can't control it. AW.

backyardtruce

Also, there were pictures from the NYC trip in July. Notice my clenched jaw - this was before we got on the train to Montauk. I had not prepared myself for that many hours of waiting for a train.

trainwaiting.JPG

And here's a lovely Harlem view:

uptowntraindark.JPG

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Not a Star

Oh, y'all. Today is not my best day ever.

This morning I had a job interview (I have to keep applying for jobs 'cause I'm still getting unemployment benefits) and it seemed like a not-too-bad job. But the guy told me his top criteria was that the person really want the job. And, well. I don't think I really met that criteria. It's never fun to be so blah.

THEN, I went to do this interview-type thing for the Teacher Recruitment Program that I am hoping to enter (it basically would speed up the process of getting certified) and I took the Haberman Star Teacher test. I bombed it. It appears that I do not have the qualities needed to successfully teach low-income children. It was humbling, indeed. I shed a few tears on the way home, wondering when I am going to have something go easily. When will the heavens part and when will my life be made right? I don't want this to send me into a spin, but I'm a little on the shaky side with my confidence right now. I could have used a boost instead of a swipe.

We were in Houston over the weekend and stayed with our friends in Missouri City, and I noticed a magnet on their fridge with the Churchill quote "When you're going through hell, keep going." Although I hadn't heard that one before, it's a sentiment that I know is a good one. But jeez. I feel like I've just kept going for the last six months. I will keep it up, I guess - there seems to be no alternative. But I would appreciate a light at the end of the tunnel, just to know that there's something that I'm moving towards.