Monthly Archives: August 2008

It’s One of those Days

At the train stop this morning, Metro employees were handing out newsletters about upcoming service cuts that will occur if additional funding is not received for 2009.

I was so incensed over the cuts, I stepped onto the wrong train. After the Forest Park stop, I realized I was headed to the airport. Fortunately, the Loop stop isn’t a far walk from the university, and I hopped on a #2 bus. If service cuts are put into place, the #2 bus won’t come along so conveniently.

Porkchop and I are going to the Mizzou-Illinois battle of the bands tonight. We’re taking the #93 to it. If service cuts occur, the #93 will no longer exist. This particular bus route had nearly 150,000 riders during July.

WTF? No trains after 8:00 PM? Reduced train service during peak and non-peak times? Reduced service on the #70 (which had over 360,000 riders in July)?

I’m SO angry. And will be sure to attend one of the Metro info meetings.

Anyway, check out the possible changes yourself here.

I’m also angry about McCain’s VP pick. I think it’s so lovely that Governor Palin is a member of Feminists for Life. What a gross misnomer.

Blech, blech, blech.

But, overall I’m in a good mood! It’s Friday!

No More Restless Nights

Furniture usually doesn’t make me so excited, but I cannot freaking wait for the new mattress to be delivered today.

(Update: Apparently our chest of drawers is on backorder. No one told me! So they will deliver it for freaking free next week. In the meantime, Porkchop’s clothes are strewn about in laundry baskets.)

Furniture is boring, so here are a few maybe less boring things…

Porkchop’s Birthday
Was fun! Amanda has supposedly drafted a blog post about it, so I won’t steal her thunder. I will merely list activities that occurred: lunch at Stellina’s Pasta Cafe, a movie, ice cream making, present-opening, dinner at Onesto, a baseball game the following night.

Here is Porkchop contemplating her 29th year as she opens presents:

The Weekend
Was good! In a twisted, cleaning-is-a-good-thing way. I spent most of the day clearing out and cleaning the kitchen and cleaning the upstairs bathroom. Carry a mini fridge to the basement by myself? No problem! Scrub the tub with lemon and borax? Allow me!

Saturday was all cleaning (and yoga), so I made Saturday night a sit-and-knit and eat popcorn (and break a spice bottle full of nutritional yeast on the clean kitchen floor) night. Yeah, remember how I used to knit?? It’s back! Yay!

I toiled some more on the never-ending interlocking balloons scarf. Seriously, this is becoming the scarf from hell, but I love the pattern and yarn, so I continue. Slowly.

To lighten things up, I started knitting a log cabin blanket. Hopefully, this will clear out my yarn scraps. Here it is:

Sunday was another work day. After taking Porkchop to work, I went to the garden and cleared out the non-producing tomato plants (so sad! I can’t wait for next summer when I can monitor my plants every day and control the soil amendments). I also planted a new row of lettuce, one of radishes, and a half row of brussel sprouts.

At the garden, I also mourned the death of a baby butternut squash. Some Thing cut the squash vine in half! There are a few squash buds left, and I dearly hope they mature. Since our watermelon vines didn’t do anything, and the cantaloupe flowers haven’t developed into little fruits, all of my vine hopes rest on this one butternut squash. *sigh*

The rest of Sunday was a blur – yoga, a little bit of time at the Festival of Nations, back to pick up Porkchop…and I don’t remember what else.

Oh Look
It’s already Wednesday. Seven more hours until the Fair Shares pickup! Also, I might even make Wednesday night knitting!

Excitement – our mini Wisconsin trip is nearly only a week away! On the Friday after Labor Day, we’re driving up to Milwaukee to see Porkchop’s friend Patrick before he says adios and moves to Argentina for a year. A side-trip to Madison is promised. So we hope to see our Madison friends! And stop by Lakeside Fibers.

More excitement – my Microsoft Certified Application Specialist Study Guide just arrived, and I couldn’t wait to start reading it! Why, yes, I lead a boring life.

Finally, you should see the stuff Keetah has been carrying up the stairs! She is such the little helper! She totes things upstairs late at night and then meows and meows until we get out of bed and check out our presents. This is what she has brought up so far:

I can only hope she soon starts unpacking boxes and hanging prints.

BIG DAY

Happy Birthday to Porkchop!!

29!!

Awesome!!

***
P-chop picks me up from work at 12:30 for birthday activities such as lunch and catching an afternoon movie.

In the meantime, I’m doing the following:

  • Admiring how much nicer my shirt looks since we purchased a new washer. I thought this particular shirt was just getting old and worn, but our new washer makes it look almost new. Oh, and when I write “new washer,” I mean “refurbished washer purchased from an un-air-conditioned discount appliance warehouse in freaking Barnhart.”
  • Trimming my ear hair (discreetly, in my office, and hoping I don’t cut my ears). I don’t know about y’all, but my ear hair is starting to grow freakishly long. I’m sure my ears will soon start to resemble my dad’s in terms of ear hair. Which reminds me of an amusing story. My bald dad recently purchased supplements from GNC that would purportedly cause his hair to grow back. My dad has been bald since his mid-20’s, and he hates it, so of course he bought these questionable supplements. Well, would you believe that the supplements worked?! That is, they worked on his ear hair and his arm hair! Now he has these crazy coarse hairs growing from his ears and arms!

That is all.

And You Must Love Us

So…I was just checking out David Sedaris’s tour schedule and cursing people who live in New England because of his upcoming numerous readings scheduled for that area. Simultaneously, I was trying to plan a mid-week trip to Madison in October to catch him. And then I kind of gave up, because I doubt that will happen.

I was grumbling about why David Sedaris must obviously hate St. Louis when I looked at Sarah Vowell’s tour schedule. Look who’s coming here on October 29!!

Yay! We love you, Sara Vowell!

Minor Ramblings

I spent a lot of time driving around this weekend, and that makes me very sad. I hate spending time driving around the city, getting angry at people on the highway, and getting pissed off while waiting at lights with long lines.

Also, I often get driving anxiety and get a little dizzy and can’t breathe.

****

Amanda’s dad had a stent put it in on Friday, so he and Amanda’s mom each stayed with us at the end of the week (but on different nights).

We made a great dinner Friday night with the flank steak and a tomato jam-type concoction. I also made a yummy blueberry buckle with berries from Amanda’s mom. Amanda followed this up with a hearty breakfast on Saturday using items from Fair Shares: pancakes, the best sausage I’ve ever had, and eggs.

Also, on Saturday, I finally purchased our new bed and bedroom furniture. The bad news is that it won’t be delivered until Wednesday of NEXT week. I am so sick of my mattress, it makes me want to cry. Only 9 more nights on it.

On Sunday, I made more good things with Fair Shares items: a Thai cucumber and peanut salad, and a peanut curry with butternut squash.

It is only Monday, and I can’t wait for the weekend again. I also can’t wait for this Wednesday because I’m finally getting this mess that some might call “hair” cut. It is so long and awful right now.

You know what else is depressing? I’m trying to work out a menu for a conference in November, and I’ve found that there is no way I can stay within the proposed food budget of $11,000. Isn’t that insane? $11,000 would pay off all of my credit card and student loan debts, and there would be money to spare. But it won’t cover food for a stinking conference? This world is so wrong.

But, a Good Thing
Yesterday Amanda said that she wants to make peanut butter cookies this week for a co-worker. I pondered, what would peanut butter cookies be like with chocolate chips? We had these exact cookies today at our school’s coffee shop. From Companion! Yum!

Also, last week I was complaining to a co-worker about how I find a particular staff member quite unresponsive and unprofessional and generally hard to work with. The next day found an email stating that said person had left to “pursue other opportunities effective immediately.”

And Another Good Thing
Thursday is Amanda’s birthday. She will be a very old 29.

More Food Things

In addition to the CSA and our regular menu planning at home, my life is revolving around food this week.

Since yesterday afternoon, I’ve been perusing the catering menu for the Chase Park Plaza…trying to decide what to order for a conference in November.

Today, a co-worker treated a few of us to lunch at the U-City Grill. It does serve breakfast diner food, but it is also a Korean diner. I had the bibimbob, which was pretty good. Maybe I’ll try the hash browns next time!

An hour ago, a co-worker and I went to the university catering tasting, which is always a big fancy affair with items like duck, lamb, trout, shrimp, other tasty things, and an open bar. Also, we were given a big jar to fill up with candy on the way out the door. The candy is for Amanda. Because I’m apparently a junk food enabler.

Tomorrow night is a staff/faculty dinner, which I didn’t want to go to, but my supervisor says I should. The food had better be good because I normally don’t enjoy such functions.

All for now!

Oh wait! And this morning was the monthly birthday celebration, so there was fruit and cake to start the day (but I only had fruit).

Breaking Records

While people in the Olympics are breaking all sorts of world records, Amanda and I are breaking records like Most Time Ever Required to Unpack and Fastest Growing Grass Ever and Most Edging Needed Ever.

Amanda and her younger brother like to team up to compete for Most Pop Tarts Eaten in 24 Hours Ever. Meanwhile, their dad has broken Most Soda Consumed in 3 Hours Ever. All together, they dominate in Most Junk “Food” Ever Consumed in Our House.

But, seriously, could the Olympics be at a more inconvenient time? I’m trying to unpack things, but I get caught up in swimming and synchronized diving and gymnastics. Last night, my heart broke for Alicia Sacramone! Poor thing!

Currently, Amanda is in love with Michael Phelps…which kind of weirds me out. But, whatever floats your swimming fins, you know.

Before getting sucked into the Olympics last night, I edged for an hour and a half. And I only completed half of our rather short walkway in the back yard. Before edging, the sidewalk was only 6 inches wide. After edging is completed, it will be regular width.

During edging, I learned that a lot of insects live in our yard. For example, ants had apparently established an egg laying ground on part of the overgrown sidewalk. When I pulled back the dirt and grass from that part, thousands of eggs were exposed, and the ants went flipping nuts. While it was impressive to see the ants get to work and move the eggs, I was little weirded out by it.

Sorry, ants, but that’s the sidewalk!

Also, a squirrel destroyed my potted tomato plant. But that’s okay because I had already harvested all of its tomatoes. And now I know what I will be up against next year.

Also, I found two little moth larvae near my sweaters, and moth fear has struck me! Currently, my woolen items are residing in the freezer.

Tonight is my CSA pickup, and it looks great! I also ordered some flank steak. We will eat well this week!

A Beautiful Day

When you step out of the house at 7:28 to catch your bus, you get to enjoy the cool morning breezes.

This morning was NICE, especially after the heat earlier this week.

(Although, I must say, it was MUCH hotter in Arkansas…made the heat here look like nothing).

I arrived on campus at 8 am (inadvertently, as I’m still working out my morning bus time), and was happy to have time to grab a chai and a bagel at the library cafe.

During lunch, I went for a walk to enjoy more of this beautiful weather.

I contemplated entering the new university center and finding the office of someone who transferred to a new position a couple of weeks ago. Seeing all of the construction barriers and people in hardhats, I decided against it. Since I didn’t know where the heck I would be going, I didn’t want to appear foolish and/or get hit with some sort of construction item.

As I was walking back in the direction of my building, I heard someone yell my name. It was the exact person I wanted to find!

Sometimes, things work out perfectly.

Now I know where his office is, and the new center officially opens next week…so it looks like I’ll take a walk again later.

This Weekend
I’m building up tomorrow so much, I hope it doesn’t disappoint.

Amanda is off tomorrow, and we have plans, plans, plans. There are lots of house things to do, I want (no, NEED) to go to the garden, Cherokee Street is beckoning with aguas frescas and other treats, and we want to look at bedroom furniture. Also, other things. I made a list on the bus this morning.

Speaking of busses, I’m loving bus 11. After the 70 zoo, I’m thankful for a mellow evening ride on a bus that is never more than half full. I’m also enjoying the new scenery. After the first day on the bus, my neck was sore from whipping around, looking at the different buildings and businesses. I still catch my commuter buddy on the evening train, and we reminisce about old times on the Grand 70. However, save for my commuter buddy, I don’t miss it at all!

Have a super weekend!

Enough with the Bullshit, Please

I am so glad it is August, as I am ready to retire from this god forsaken summer.

(Please make this autumn arrive speedily and make it not suck.)

While sitting in my dad’s hospital room last week (he was discharged this past Thursday, by the way), I used YogaToday’s Adi Amar’s phrase “let go of that which does not serve you” to let go of headaches, shoulder aches, foot spasms, and eye spasms. (I am secretly in love with Adi, but not so secretly now. My new goal is to go to Jackson Hole and take a class with her.)

Currently, I’m trying to let go of the dizziness, neckache, and stomach weirdness that has been plaguing me since noon today.

I think most of it is exhaustion. And it’s hard to let go of exhaustion when it’s all you have left.

On Positive Notes
My dad has not hiccupped since the morning of Friday, August 1! That was only nearly 10 days of hiccups!

My poor dad.

I stayed through the week and took him home Thursday afternoon. He was moved out of the ICU on Tuesday, and an endoscopy showed that his bleeding wasn’t from an old ulcer. Instead, it was extreme esophagitis caused by acid reflux.

My dad was on Protonix twice a day anyway. Now he has promised to quit coffee.

He better keep his promise.

His Protonix drip in the hospital allowed his esophagus to heal enough so that muscle relaxers stopped the hiccups. He’s slowly spacing out his muscle relaxer doses in the hopes of being able to discontinue it without hiccupping.

My dad was also hallucinating in the hospital. While funny, it also made me cry.

I also cried from all of the hospital sadness. Like sponges we soaked up everyone’s tales of grief and lamented the deaths around us.

I was most affected by the two elderly brothers who witnessed their other brother die the day after he was moved out of the ICU. We saw the gentleman move out of the ICU, and he died as my dad was settling into his regular room just across the hall. The brothers must have been in their late 70s, and there is nothing quite as unsettling as watching little old men sob their hearts out. Wearing their best farmer overalls, they reminded me of my grandpa and his friends so much, I felt like I knew them and I wanted to take their hands and hug them.

My mom was most affected by the woman whose husband had been on life support for the past 3 weeks. They were about to disconnect him, but his son’s arrival (to say a last goodbye) was met with so much improvement, they decided to hold off on the disconnection.

The House
On a more upbeat note, Amanda and her younger brother (who is living with us for a while) moved all of our crap to the new house!

The amount of stuff to put away has overwhelmed me.

So Instead I Cooked
Well, I’ve unpacked a lot so far, but I also cooked some yummy stuff. Sunday evening, I used my new cookbooks to make an eggplant gratin and a pasta dish with ground lamb and a Greek-style tomato sauce. On Monday, I made chocolate chip-zucchini cookies, and helped Amanda make tortellini with her favorite red pepper-tomato sauce.

For dinner tonight, Amanda bought me some chicken noodle soup and even warmed it up for me.

This neckache has me feeling super-grumpy, but I’m trying to let go of the grumpiness too.

I have to assist at a conference tomorrow. I really just want to stay home and lie curled up in bed.

Woe is me and woe to this summer of discontent.