Tuesday, May 31, 2005
I need no more quarters now, thank you
Or, Purple is no longer just a color

Day three done. Tired. Slightly smelly. Cold (sitting in the stream from the air conditioner). Resisting getting pulled into out-of-kingdom SCA drama. DONE with laundry, hence DONE with feeding quarters into laundry machines forever, if I have a say (the new apartment has a top-n-bottom washer/dryer in the unit). Hungry, but there's very little left in the apartment to eat. Noticing that selected parts of the apartment are starting to actually look bare. That does NOT include the second bedroom, current home of the Pile of Boxes That Ate Cincinnati (tm).

My Books page has now been updated to May. I forgot to add in the book I'm reading right now, the Travelers' Tales Provence edition. I don't care. I'm tired and my neck hurts.

I wore shorts today and I managed not to cut my legs in the process of packing/moving boxes. Maybe I am more coordinated than I give myself credit for. My right thumb appears to be sprouting the beginnings of arthritis, though.

Took a walk mid-afternoon; I stopped at Blue Mountain Coffee (which still doesn't have a website, but it's okay, I love them anyway), my favorite coffee place. There was a young woman working there, maybe early 20's, which surprised me because I only stop there in the mornings, when the owner is always behind the counter. When I asked if she was new, she said she does afternoons and she's been there for a year! Now I'm not so concerned about the place's business. I want it to succeed, and I figured it was only a matter of time before the owner had a nervous breakdown if he was running the place himself. Obviously he's smarter than that. Good for him. The iced mocha was just as good made by the employee as by the employer.

Tomorrow I do all the depressing things like boxing up the consumer electronics (stereo, turntable, vcr, the TV in my bedroom, etc.) and putting the larger wall pictures into the glass paks left over from last year's move. The fridge can wait until moving day, but the computer will have to come down and get packed by about 9pm tomorrow night, so I can clean off the computer desk and get it ready to be moved. I also ought to clear off the detritus of a year's worth of emptying out my pockets, which appears to be occupying my night table, much as I try to pretend it's not. Oh yes, and my coffee table is full of stuff that needs to be packed or tossed...and I still have a braid in progress on my maru dai...and ONE solitary shelf of books in search of a box...and...and...

My friend Purple has been named Bard of the Midrealm, and our friend Valencia earned much acclaim at Midrealm Crown this past year. I have such talented friends! Apparently Mistress Rosamund thought Valencia was Marian of Heatherdale. Sigh, no one will ever suspect that of me. I'm too short and round and dark and not breathy enough. Peer close to my heart, though, and you'll see the ring Marian gave me at my first Pennsic, and the remark she made after I sang "Three Words" at the Bardic Showcase at my first Pennsic: "A voice like an angel." Coming from someone who actually does have a voice like an angel, that meant so much to me. I hope she knows that. I think one of the things people need to strive for when they become Laurels is to come to terms with the power their compliments have. That one was pretty darn powerful.

I'm starting to have to delete nearly every word and start over, because my fingers don't want to type the letters in order. Also I'm unreasonably sad. This might mean that it's time to go to bed. You think?

Sunday, May 29, 2005
Moving is such sweet sorrow...
Or, Git on down, git 2/3 of a mile down the road...

Day 2 of the five-day moving weekend, and I'm covered with sweat and throwing things away left and right. And less happy about moving than I ever was, but I'm trying to look on the bright side. Moving into the new apartment will be really easy since it's on the first floor; the moving guys can move stuff in quickly, and I can park at the patio doors and bring non-boxed things in too, without them blocking me as they carry my couch up the staircaise. In fact, my landlord has said they may be able to give me keys and do the check-in sometime Tuesday, so I don't have to keep the movers waiting Wednesday morning. In that case, I can pack my car with non-boxed movables Tuesday, unload once I have the keys, and have part of my move done before the movers even come! That sure didn't happen when I was moving 3 hours away...

I must have been working hard. I'm chugging tomato juice like it's water. (Trying to clear out the fridge, you know...the really weird looking guava drink is next. Then the Mug root beer I got for free somewhere.) My plan is to do one hour at a time, then take sizable rests; if I'm exhausted I'm more likely to do things like drop boxes on my toes, get a cut somewhere (I still don't know where that 1-inch slash on my right forearm came from, just that it happened while I was packing last year), or get dehydrated. But I did pretty well tonight. I may hang out on the computer for another hour or so, then do another half-hour and call it an evening.

In news from the various events that happened this weekend, my friend and fellow bard Alexandre from Castel Rouge has been put on vigil for the Order of the Pelican, something that's long past due in my opinion. Knowing Castel Rouge, I'm sure he's been overlooked for so long because there are such stellar examples of all the peerages there, that people's standards for such recommendations are unusually high. Tarrach and Fina know him, though, and have for a long time. I'm sure this was a no-brainer for them.

Also, my friend Janvier from Falcon's Keep has won a prestigious rapier tourney at ARRG. I always knew he was good! Speaking of ARRG, my goal at the end of all this moving %@&# is to go to Wednesday night social at Irish Waters and get to hear Eithni and Josceline and all the fencer dudes talk about what went on at ARRG this year. Every year that event is just a story factory. I helped Eithni draft an Italian gown last weekend, and lent her one of my Peacock Designs chemises with the WOOOOOOO woofy sleeves, and I SOOO want to see a picture of her in the outfit. I'll have to ask if any pictures were taken.

In other news, I updated my Books page recently, bringing it up to March. I think I was a little tough on Extra life. Drew, I didn't mean it to sound like I hated the book. I enjoyed it while I was reading it. I count five more books needing reviews to bring me up to the end of May. Maybe I'll do those reviews tomorrow while I rest off the inevitable sweat of packing.

I have a new obsession that I'm trying to squelch, because I can't satisfy it anytime soon: I want a bird. I mean, besides Colleen. Some people have heard me talk indecisively about perhaps getting a parakeet, but here's what I really want: http://www.littletweet.com/parrotlets_greenrump.html.

Yes folks, I covet a four-inch-long green parrot. (And no, it's NOT just because I took Colleen to see The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill last weekend. How did I get a small black loon stuffed animal into a movie, you ask? Same way I got her into American Players Theatre last summer. Put her in a tote bag along with other stuff I might need, and bring her out to sit next to me once the lights went down.) Parrotlets are quiet--no screaming--and can learn to talk if you work with them. They interact with you, like parrots, and are affectionate if tame. I would probably buy a hand-raised baby from a breeder, since they're not readily available from pet stores or a shelter. A good breeder hand-tames them and teaches them "step up" and basic stuff like that.

I guess I'm mostly into the idea that this would be a "little friend" like Colleen, only animate. Something to care for and talk to and cuddle with (apparently they love cuddling). Five years ago I wouldn't have thought I'd have this sort of maternal instinct. Oddly, I think Colleen has brought it out in me. Bet you anything Owen didn't intend that when he gave her to me...!

Other option: get married and have a baby. Uh, yeah. If it were that simple, I'd have done it by now.

In any case, getting a bird is only a pipe dream for right now; the new apartment's lease specifies no pets of any kind. Probably the rental managers would shrug off a goldfish or even a hamster, but if they come in to check something one day while I'm at work, there's no way they wouldn't notice with some dismay a bird in a cage flinging seeds everywhere and probably smelling slightly bird-y. And despite the fact that parrotlets are supposed to be very quiet, the new apartment is supposed to have extra-thick walls, and the woman above my apartment is supposed to be extremely nice, no one can guarantee that my bird wouldn't be just loud enough for my neighbor to call the managers and complain. So, until I have a house, or move into an apartment that allows birds, no birdie for me.

(I also think this sounds like a neat bird: http://www.centralpets.com/animals/birds/parrots/prt6018.html. Or lovebirds: http://www.parrotparrot.com/lovebirds/. I was so nuts the other day that I dropped by Petsmart after work. They had two lutino peachfaced lovebirds, one very ruffled and plucked-looking and one healthy-looking, but both responsive to me. Then there was a Fischer's lovebird that was very quiet. The lutinos screeched. This is perhaps not the bird for me. But the cuteness...my lord, the cuteness...)

All right, no more obsessing on-blog. I'll take this obsession offline and only my parents and my Internet connection have to deal with it.

Mom's birthday was Thursday (my mother is 60! Hard to believe.); we went to the White Horse Inn last night for dinner to celebrate. I didn't find it very inspiring. I had my sweet sixteen party there and loved it. Their menu has become more pretentious over time, but the quality of the food has diminished. For example, I had a cup of celery root and caramelized apple soup, which arrived looking like gray applesauce in a bowl and smelling foul. The taste was something like fermented turnips pureed with apple cider vinegar and a whole bunch of apple pie spice thrown in as if to cover up the chef's mistakes. I sent it back and told the waitress, "Interesting idea, poorly executed." Would have liked to stay for one of their legendary desserts, but mom had received a cake in the mail from a relative, so we went home and had some of that. It was only okay.

You know, I will not feel quite right in any way until I am moved.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005
Greetings from the Barony of Bjornsborg in the Kingdom of Ansteorra
Or, How to leave your profession...veeeeery sloooooowly

I suppose I should say, sub-profession. I'm still a librarian. It's just that I'm at MLA in San Antonio and now I feel all energized about medical librarianship, like I always do at MLA--except I'm no longer a medical librarian. Shewt...

San Antonio itself is very nice, if a bit warm (~80's since I got here yesterday evening). My normal modus operandi when I get to a new city is to just start walking, and I did that last night. I guess I didn't realize the Alamo was sitting there right downtown, surrounded by wax museums and t-shirt shops. Tonight: shopping at Rivercenter, dinner somewhere, then a ride on the river.

(There's a guy standing next to me at this Internet kiosk who is keeping track of his spot on the webpage he's reading by pointing at the screen with his finger. Apparently human-computer interaction specialists have not yet solved the problem of the person with bifocals attempting to read a large, high-res computer screen.)

I have been doing MLA stuff too: the obligatory CAPHIS business meeting at 7 this morning (the main reason I'm here, since I'm the outgoing CAPHIS Secretary), the Leiter Lecture with Joycelyn Elders speaking this morning, and a program session on international information access efforts this afternoon. I figured I ought to try to get at least part of my moneys' worth. The one-day fee for non-MLA-members is $235; yes, I paid, instead of just sneaking in for the meeting and then leaving. The deciding factor was that the registration booth was still open when I got here last night; if it hadn't been, I might have just snuck in knowing there would be no opportunity to register before this morning's meeting. But let's be frank: I wanted the tote bag. MLA has the world's best conference tote bags. And I am fine with considering it my contribution to MLA, which is a fine, fine organization, which happens to be providing my internet access right at this very moment.

So anyway...

It's just plain weird being here when I am no longer doing medical librarianship. Someday I may again, but I think it's more likely that I'll continue to take what's available in Madison, and what's available in Madison doesn't currently include anything in medical or consumer health librarianship. I'm very lucky to work at Reference & Loan where I enjoy my co-workers, can do the work, and have very little pressure put on me, but it doesn't use any of my medical library experience. It also doesn't put me in charge of a) a collection or b) interacting with patrons, which are my main two fun things in this profession.

Hey, it was my decision to leave Gundersen Lutheran. I take responsibility for that. But there are things I would have brought with me if I could...


Big party tonight, but they were out of tickets when I registered last night. It's also at La Villita, a small arts/shopping village which reminds me of Old Town San Diego more than anything else. I was there today over the noon hour, and I think I won't be missing much tonight except the networking opportunities--which I can take advantage of in Wisconsin, electronically and otherwise, if I manage to get off my butt and pursue them.

I did see Peg Allen, though, who looks great and is as scattered and full of ideas as usual, and who says I should talk to someone at work about sending me out to do BadgerLink training for an NLM grant currently going on in northeastern WI. Hmmm...I'll think about it. My main objection would be professional value: I'd be doing educational workshops but paid no more than I make for interlibrary loan tasks. This devalues the work I'd be doing. I would almost be more interested in taking some days off and going up as a consultant to do workshops, but I don't get the feeling this particular grant has a lot of money for that sort of thing.

Anyway...it's just plain odd to be here. To be here at the end of the conference when people are going home, to miss all the good stuff at the beginning (and ALL of the CAPHIS programming, sadly, though I heard it went well), to be stepping down from the CAPHIS board (though my replacement isn't here, so I still took minutes this morning), and to have planned so little for this trip, it's all very disorienting, like I woke up Tuesday morning in someone else's life. I'm trying to regard it as a brief vacation. And it's been fun. But in a way, I'd rather be at home working and packing.

Crown Tourney last weekend: very fun and also a little weird, for various reasons, but the Northshield Choir did very well in rehearsal (learning "England, be glad" in just over an hour--not too shabby!), the feast food was pretty good, and the companionship was excellent. Raito and Aesa won the tourney--another Jararvellir reign. And a chance for me to produce many little pieces of kumihimo as tokens!

(Hmmm, I just finished an entry on Kumihimo for Baroness Eithni's A&S Encyclopedia a couple of weeks ago. I should really shift the basic handout to another filename, work up the encyclopedia entry and rename it kumihimo.htm, and link to the basic handout. This is a note-to-self for that.)

I'll be home Thursday evening, having breakfast with Sarra Friday morning, and doing Italian gown drafting with Eithni Friday night...and then this weekend, serious packing, and a walk or two, to keep up my exercise level from all the walking I'm doing here in San Antonio. That's the plan, anyway.

Thursday, May 05, 2005
Phoenix, land of lemons
Or, Mom has been assimilated

Last Friday on the way to Scottsdale, AZ, to visit my maternal grandfather, my parents and I were on our way to our gate in the Minneapolis airport. We walked past a poster from some nature-based nonprofit company, with a large wood duck on it. I reached automatically for Colleen to show her the duck--and as I did, my mom, who couldn't have seen me do that, said, "Colleen, look, a duck..."

Dad and I both looked at her in amazement. She may be developing a relationship with her entirely fictional grand-loon. I wouldn't have thought it could happen.

The time in Scottsdale was nice; the ambient temperature was usually 65-75 and the sky, brilliantly sunny. That part, I liked (Madison had snow, I hear, while we were gone). Scottsdale itself mystifies me. As a desert community it just doesn't look like what I'm used to a community looking like. Also, we obviously aren't seeing the seedier side of Phoenix when we're there; everywhere we go, there are posh mini-malls, large corporate headquarters buildings (they're updating the Coldstone Creamery World Headquarters, near the airport), beautifully landscaped yards and what must be very expensive grass to keep alive, and hotels and resorts of the type I'll never be able to afford. Even the modest Residence Inn we usually stay at there is in a price range I associate with downtown Chicago. (Thank goodness for M&D's generosity in paying for it all.)

Saturday morning we left Mom with Papa and went to an upscale mall. I didn't get much; a summer party dress on sale (bought before realizing that both of the weddings I'm going to this summer are in-garb affairs), and some chocolates for mom. I went into See's to pick them out, and told the woman behind the counter, "We've left my mom with my grandpa who never stops talking. I need to get her some chocolate to make it up to her." She offered a half-pound assortment, and I responded, "Well...we're sorry, but we're not that sorry." I bought her four of her favorites and left it that.

Everywhere we drove, I saw fruiting citrus trees--lemons, limes, oranges, and grapefruits. I guess they're in season; probably the last time Ellen & I visited, for my cousin's bar mitzvah, they weren't in fruit. I developed a yen to pick a lemon. Unfortunately people seem to know how valuable these trees are, and normally keep them in fenced areas. And when we'd see one that wasn't, Dad wasn't about to stop the car so I could pick something that I could just as easily buy at the supermarket in Madison. Oh well...it's not like it's the last time I'll be visiting Phoenix.

We went to a wonderful, vast buffet dinner at a local country club. I freaked out my two teenage male cousins by giving them my SCA cards. (Might as well use them--they'll be obsolete once I move in a few weeks.) Max, who's about 16, seems a bit of a geek like me--we talked about the HGTG movie which was coming out that weekend--and said he thought the whole thing sounded fun. Jack is 13 and a comedian, and seemed just confounded into hilarity by the idea that THAT many people get dressed up in funny clothes and hit each other with sticks, every weekend, all over the world. He asked what I thought was an astute question: "What kind of complicated administrative structure must an organization like that have?" I was about to tell him about the BoD and SCA, Inc. and Kingdom officers and local officers, but we got distracted when Papa came back announcing that there were mini-creme-brulees on the dessert buffet. Hey, those kids have their priorities in the right place. I informed them they were part of the Kingdom of Atenveldt, and that's all the recruiting I think I'll do, until they go to college.

I was very glad to get back to Madison. Since I got the eviction letter (I know, technically I'm not being evicted, just having my month-to-month lease terminated so they can sell my apartment as a condo, but that doesn't make the situation any easier) I am sporadically going into packing mode, where I'll just grab a box and start filling it with books. Once the books are all packed, packing mode gets more complex, often involving stepstools and large amounts of wadded-up newspaper padding.

Do I have a place to live yet? Yes, at Wynwood Court. I just don't know precisely which apartment will be mine yet. I saw a lovely 1st-floor one, whose main drawback was that it's the first apartment as soon as you turn into the parking lot--hence, its view is basically of cars going in and out of the parking lot. Also I prefer upstairs for safety reasons. So I asked if any 2nd floor units were available.

To my suprise, the very nice property manager said she had two female neighbors in 2nd floor apartments looking for roommates, and she'd be happy to introduce them. She thought, assuming they agreed to move in together, she could get them to vacate one by June 1. I was amazed that she'd offer to do this, but apparently the neighbors already knew each other and thought the idea wasn't bad. They are supposed to give a yes or a no tomorrow. Also my rental application has already gone through; I'm assuming they would have called to cancel my lease-signing appointment Tuesday if I had been rejected.

So: I'll know tomorrow whether I get a 1st or 2nd floor apt., and Tuesday morning I'll sign a lease. I'm very pleased with these apartments. Of course I don't need the fireplace, but the in-apartment laundry will be great to have again, and the kitchen is soooo nice and roomy! The 2nd floor apartments even have a little nook off the living room where I can put my storage shelves. Cross your fingers that the two neighbors get along great.

This weekend: taking a local newbie to Novices' Day in Rokeclif, then running back Sunday morning to help with a garb-making workshop at May Day. (It's supposed to be warm and possibly stormy. We'll have a shelter at Olin Park, at least.) Lady Alex and I are supposed to be doing the morning 45-minute talk on what the SCA is and how it's structured; we have both, sadly, let this go until the last minute, and now we're playing phone tag and there's no time to write up anything new anyway. Luckily Baroness Eithni sent me her notes from when she used to put on the Jararvellir Newcomers' Dinner every year. That should give us a place to start.

Wish I had a weekend off. I'm tired this week.

HGTG movie spoiler warning: This review says pretty much how I felt about the movie. I won't say I didn't enjoy it, just that the moments that worked well were so few and far between, that I felt a little cheated. There was so much to work with; how did they end up with this? The reviewer makes the very smart point that just because Douglas Adams a) wrote something into the screenplay with his own pen or b) invented it as an "Adams-sanctioned" new addition for the movie, doesn't mean it was the right thing to do, or that it's remotely effective in the movie. Adams was a brilliant dialogue-writer. That's what he did well. As a screenplay writer, he was...a brilliant dialogue-writer, with more limits placed on his dialogue than usual. So his involvement doesn't guarantee or excuse anything.

If you can't stand to think you're exposing yourself to spoiler info, see the short non-spoiler version by the same guy at http://www.planetmagrathea.com/shortreview.html.

This morning I went to the ENT to have my tonsils looked at. The doctor did a quick look in my throat, and launched into a monologue about tonsil surgery. He believes it'd do my airway some good. I believe that too, but am not sure I want to go through surgery just for that. So I'm going to think about it. I totally embarrassed myself by asking if he'd do the procedure, or if he'd call in a surgeon, and he responded, "ENTs ARE surgeons." (This after I had told him I was a medical librarian, so it probably seemed to him that I should have known.) I am sure he wouldn't take revenge in surgery, though. ;)

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