Fun with Chemistry

When I was a kid, I had a home chemistry kit. I don't remember doing anything with it other than making a mess, but…well…I had it.

Now, instead of a cute kit, I have a pool. During the summer, a pool is a recreational device. The rest of the time, it's the grown up version of a home chemistry kit.

Today, we spent $95 on: Calcium Hardener, Alkalinity Booster, Dry Acid, Algaecide, and a very cool brush with a 10 foot pole. This is in addition to the tub of chlorine we already have, and the bags of SHOCK! which are stored across the room from the chlorine, even though Shock! is chlorine, because they're different kinds of chlorine.

Used properly, this array of white powdery stuff will kill the algae in my pool so I can vaccum it away, change the bacteria count, hardness, ph balance and surface tension of the pool water, to keep it crystal clear and swimmable, and give me stuff to put in the cute little blue shed in my yard.

Alternatively, I could poison people, or build a bomb (that part's easy. If you mix Shock! and regular chlorine, the explosion is way cool).

I bought all this, and was even given a really nice chem lesson from the folks at The Poolyard (they're cheaper, and more knowledgable than Leslie Pools, by the way).

And over the next three days, I'll be reclaiming my pool.

On my wishlist for summer:
-A toy sailboat, preferably a racing schooner, to stay in the pool when there are no ppl
-An oval or rectangular patio table, with chairs
-Pool toys.

Oh, right.
We also went to OSH, which is my favorite non book/clothes/stationery store in life. I bought a scuffle hoe to replace the scuffle hoe Fuzzy threw away when we moved. Scuffle hoes are my friends.

Eight Years

Sometimes, when I want to be snarky and don't care if I'm considered insane, I tell people that Fuzzy and I met on another planet. Most people just look at me, smile, nod, and back away slowly, when I say that.

I've made it a point not to talk about MUSH very much in this journal. Because while MUSHing is one of my hobbies, it's hardly all that I do, or all that I am. But I did meet Fuzzy on ShardsMUSH in 1994, and so, in a sense, we did meet on another planet.

The first time we ever met face to face was in November, 1994, and to this day, I consider him the only good thing that has ever happened to me in November. It's usually such a bleak month for me – everyone in my family dies in November, and my 11th Month Curse has spread to Fuzzy's family as well — his grandmother died in November, the last winter we were in South Dakota. (1997, I guess). But then he walked through my gate on a sunny November afternoon, and proposed to me later that night, and November hasn't been so bad, since then.

Today is our eighth anniversary. And while it hasn't always been easy – we fight, we retreat inside ourselves, we bitch about each other to our respective friends – it's mostly been pretty good. We've survived two cross-country moves, several job changes, one abortion, one miscarriage, and a dog with epilepsy. We've gone through several cars, too many houses, and enough computers to fill a data center without help.

He doesn't always get a long with my liberal, radical, secular humanist, ex-patriot parents. I don't always get along with his conservative, Christian, mid-Western family. But we've found common ground, and we've managed to mostly retain our individuality, within the constrains of marriage.

There are times, of course, being the type-A person that I am, that I wish we had separate apartments, because there's never enough me-space.

There are times when I remember being seven or eight and swearing I would NEVER get married EVER, because marriage is OLD FASHIONED and WEIRD.

There are times when I wish I could go away for a few months and live in a cabin on a beach and just write, and not see /anyone/ except the person whose sole job would be delivering espresso every morning.

But also there are nights like tonight, when there was a glass swan-vase with a rosebud in it waiting on the seat when he met me at work, and a card, and another card, and more roses waiting on my computer desk.

And there are the nights when I'm feeling bitchy and horrible and cruel and he just gives me chocolate and says, “You're PMSing, you'll feel better in the morning.”

Or the nights when I wake up screaming, from nightmares leftover from childhood, and he just holds me till I fall asleep.

Or the times he calls me from the grocery store eight times to make sure he picks EXACTLY the right brand of toothpaste/shampoo/tuna fish/whatever.

And mostly, there's eight years (so far) of love and laughter and learning to understand each other.

Fuzzy, I love you.

Easily Amused.

Tag line from a client's company's website:
“Take control of your cloning scene.”
Yes, I know, they really do gene therapy and stuff like that, but I still think the line is funny.

I also find it amusing that the folks in the office across from us are using a computer (Dell) as a doorstop. Literally.

Random Ramblings

Last night, I got my wish, and we got a blustery storm, which was fine, except that at 3:36 this morning, something woke me. I couldn't figure out what it was, at first, and then realization dawned: The power had flickered off, and come back on.

This happened again a few minutes later, and then it went off completely at 4:30. Fuzzy grumbled at me, when I told him to call PG&E, stating they would already know. I pointed out that at 4:30 in the morning, precious few people in our neighborhood would be awake to know if they had power or not. So he called, and guess what? PG&E didn't know.

The power was back on within 90 minutes, but I'm so used to white noise – our ceiling fan, my chant cd, that I can't sleep when it's totally still and quiet. So it was a restless night for me, and when I finally did drift off I kept having bizarre nightmares about cell phones and fans and other perfectly ordinary things.

I didn't wake til eleven-thirty, and I spent the morning – my fiscal morning – puttering around the house, idly chatting with folks online, reading a book called “Pen Pals” about women in prison. (Fiction, and quite good. Really.) Eventually, I went to have my eyebrows waxed, and then to buy flowers.

May I just say again that I love Bunches? They always have very cool cut flowers, and their specials are amazing – a dozen irises for $1.50, today, and a bunch of red and fuschia poppies for $5.00 (well two bunches, for $5.00 each). So I have new flowers in my house and I can't help but smile.

Fuzzy met me after my flower purchases, and we had dinner at Yankee Pier. I /still/ love their clam chowder. This time I wasn't horribly hungry so I had a bowl of steamed mussels cooked in beer, and Andouille sausage. Yum! (Fuzzy had…steak.)

After dinner, we zoomed over to our storage unit, making it inside with 13 minutes before closing. We retrieved eight boxes of books, which I get to unpack, since Fuzzy did all the heavy lifting. (Besides, if he does it, they'll just get stuck on the shelves, not put in order.)

Starbucks on the way home, for my daily macchiato fix, and now we're home and the house is cozy, and the dogs are sleeping off their dinner (turkey necks).

I love lazy Saturdays!

Advice Sought

This entry is locked down pretty tightly, because it's about someone we all know. I hereby ask you NOT to relay any of this to . If you can't agree to that, please read no further.
So, here's the thing. I'm tickled to death that he came to work for us. He's doing a great job for the most part, and I know it's really frustrating and boring sometimes, but it won't be forever. Really.

However, there are two issues I need to talk to him about, that I'm not sure how to approach.

The first is that he needs to spend less time playing on the net during work hours, and more time working. Yes, I know he sometimes doesn't have huge amounts of work, but even when there's not a lot on his desk, there's stuff people would happily hand off to him. The guys in my office, however, don't know how to say, “Yo, Jeremy, stop playing and help with this.”

The second is that his moodiness is coming across as meanness to the boys, and I need to gently tell him to tone it down. We all have moods, we all get frustrated by stuff, but we're all stressed enough without dramatics. I'm fairly certain he doesn't MEAN to give that impression, but he's not yet familiar enough that the guys can tell when he's being facetious or not.

On another note, one of the guys we both work with told me that the rest of them wouldn't tell me this, because they're afraid of me. So I have to deal with that, despite my amusement that anyone could be afraid of…me.

*Please* help?


Another survey – stolen from Nrrd @ OD this time.

1. What religion do you follow?
Culturally, Italian Catholic with all the guilt, drama and pasta that implies. In practice, I'm not one for organized religion – I find that the politics that get brought in really bother me.
2. What religion were you raised as?
See above. And throw in some Unitarian Universalism and Secular Humanism for good measure.
3. Do you believe that forgiveness is a religious property, or a human property?
4. Do you believe in magic?
Wasn't it Clarke who said that any technology sufficiently advanced is indistinguishable from magic? My believes tend to be of that nature, but I'm open to possibilities.
5. What was the last promise you broke?
Intentionally? None.
6. Have you ever said the words to a prayer and not meant it?
Does saying 'grace' around a table count? Then, yes.
7. Do you believe that anyone could be perfect?
No. Anyway, flaws are sexy, and make us real.

1. Did you get everything you wanted over the last holiday season?
I've never been disappointed in that regard.
2. Regarding your future, what is the best thing you could hope for?
3. Do you let yourself get your hopes up for something even if you know that there is a large chance of failure?
Sometimes. Not with anything life-threatening.
4. Have you ever bought a lottery ticket?
5. Do you gamble?
On the rare occasions when we've been driving through Reno or Vegas, I've blown the leftover laundry money on slot machines, and I like informal poker games.
6. Have you ever had something called off on account of bad weather, but then gone ahead and done it anyway?
Yes. Just changed the venue.

1. What causes do you support?
Financially? Food banks, pro-choice organizations, Amnesty International, and animal rescue.
2. What groups have you given money or time to?
I used to get up every Saturday at 5 AM to do Clinic Defense – escorting patients and doctors past anti-choice demonstrators and into clinics safely. I've done benefits for BACORR and contributed to the Walk for Choice.
3. Have you ever worked in a soup kitchen or done another kind of outreach for the homeless?
4. Would you ever consider joining the Peace Corps, Amnesty International, or another travel-inherent worldwide charity group?
I spent a summer in Costa Rica when I was much younger, with Earth Stewards. But we were send home early because of a cholera epidemic. It was fun, but I'm not much for roughing it.
5. Do you give money to the homeless on the street?
6. Have you ever helped out a friend with basic needs, like rent or food?
7. What's the greatest extent you've gone to help a friend in need?
I've had friends stay with me when they needed safe havens.

1. What are you most afraid of?
2. What did you do today that was really brave?
Today? I posted something in a semi-private journal last night that was kind of naked. It was technically after midnight.
3. Who is your favorite superhero, and why?
Superman. Anyone who can do what he does and never get a run in his tights is a man to be reckoned with.
4. Would you put your life in danger to rescue someone?
I'm honestly not certain. I'd like to hope so.
5. If you were to face the Wizard, would you want more courage, more brains, or more heart?
6. Have you ever gotten stage fright?
7. Do you consider yourself to be a leader or a follower?
Both. Neither. It's situational.

1. Have you ever been summoned for jury duty?
Yes, summoned to be a possible jurist. But never called.
2. If they reinstated the draft (for both sexes), would you go, or would find some way out of it?
As I'm over thirty, this really wouldn't affect me at all.
3. Do you support capital punishment (the death penalty)?
Not generally, no.
4. Do you believe that Dubya is rightfully President of the USA?
What I believe in this matter changes nothing.
5. What was your favorite media circus trial?
Heidi Fleiss.
6. Have you ever written a letter to a politician?

1. What do you have the hardest time moderating yourself on?
2. Do you collect anything?
Hats, stationery, treasure boxes, and electronics.
3. Are you addicted to anything?
4. Have you ever put anything on layaway or used an installment plan?
5. What's your preferred method of paying for things?
Debit card, because it forces me to budget.
6. Tell us one thing you wish you hadn't let yourself do:
The time I dyed my hair black. Ugh. I nearly melted it getting the color out.
7. Do you feel that you obsess over things?

1. Who is the wisest person you know?
& @ LJ and Truffle & Max @ OD
2. Have you ever participated in a vigil?
3. Do you take advice when it's given?
4. What area are you wisest in?
I have no idea. I don't think I am, really.
5. Do you drive defensively?
I hate driving.
6. Have you ever had unprotected sex outside of marriage?
Yes, but I've been married for eight years, so it was in the dark and distant past.
7. What did you learn today?
Zanotto's makes good sushi.

This should surprise no one

(Stolen from )

Green – You believe that small economic units
should control the goods, and that the
government should be permissive of
“victimless crimes,” respectful of
civil liberties and very strict towards big
business. You also believe in either a
socialist tax structure or more power to local
communities. You think that environmental
policies should be written into law. Your
historical role model is Ralf Nader.

Which political sterotype are you?
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Rites of Spring

The season may not officially change for another week or so, but I declared it Spring the other day, when I noticed that the pigeons had returned.

Last year, you see, there was a mated pair of pigeons who made their nest, not in the shelter of a tree, but on the fire-extinguisher box outside the women's restroom at my office. They're not that weird black-purple slightly greasy-looking color of conventional street pigeons, either, but all over ash and mist grey. Almost like dark doves.

They came back the other day, and I was happy to see them, to watch them watch me as I entered the restroom. Those bird-eyes don't miss a thing.

Yesterday morning, though, our admin assistant, Jon, found the bloodied carcass of the male, lying on the ground in front of our door. One of the stray cats had eviscerated the poor creature.

Mama Bird is still sitting in her nest, and I imagine her waiting for her lost mate, and worrying about the eggs she's carrying. I'm over the top, I know, but she seems so fragile and small without him.

Today, in another declaration of Spring, and because I didn't have any clean socks that matched my oufit, I wore sandals.

I think Mama Bird noticed :)

Empty Nest

So, Isabelle left Monday morning for her uncle's in San Diego, and Martina leaves tomorrow to go back to Des Moines. When she got here, she told us she was the Oreo Queen, so I'm sending her home with a package of those purple cream oreos that got me hooked on.

As guests go, the girls were pretty cool. I feel bad that we didn't have more time to spend with them, but I'm glad they didn't need constant attention, too. Isabelle was a blast to have around – funny, sweet, she would fit in with the rest of my friends just perfectly. Martina's quieter, but she's also younger, and hasn't travelled as much. I think she's got a thing going with my sister-in-law's 19-year-old stepson, as well.

They left a ton of Lindt chocolate bars as a thank-you gift, so if anyone wants to share, please, please say so.