Friday, August 29, 2003

I think this past week has been the "wallowing in self pity" phase of Matt's absence. Though I've not exactly been moping about with my lower lip dragging on the floor, I had pretzels and two bowls of ice-cream for dinner on Wednesday, and I haven't tidied up the apartment, or tackled my filing box full of unfiled papers, or written out my recipes onto index cards...or any part of my grand plans for being super efficient and making up for a few months of borderline organizational laziness. Instead I've been sitting around watching my leg hair grow.

(It's rather fascinating actually: I have random bald patches on my shins, rectangular bald patches, maybe the result of super-efficient waxing.)

I did better last night, I had some pizza and only one bowl of ice-cream for dinner, and I didn't eat the whole pizza, I had the appropriate portion size (so I could cancel out my virtuousness by eating ice-cream afterwards). So what if I washed it down with two hard lemonades... I've been completely alcohol free since Matt left, and it's a lot better than having a whole bottle of wine to myself. I certainly hadn't expected how much my alcohol consumption would go up when we lived together, but I can't entirely blame our cohabitation, there have been festive gatherings and many private causes for celebration since the beginning of June.

So, tonight I will not turn on the TV and vegitate, I'll crank up the stereo and work from one end of the living room to the other, transforming the little chaotic heaps of papers, discarded jackets and sweaters, and various pieces of debris from Pennsylvania, into neat stacks of debris. Preferably not stacked on the floor. I may even put away some of the stacks, it depends on how much into the tidying thing I end up getting.

After that I may even have a bath, a proper bath. It's a pity rental apartment bathrooms are so box-like. It's much more relaxing soaking in a tub in a room with a window, and some colour on the walls. If I were to decide to blow off the security deposit, the bathroom is the first place I'd want to paint.

This weekend will be busy, which is good, it'll keep me distracted. Tomorrow starts with waffles at my place, followed by a drive out to Potrero War. There I'll get to see Dawid, and talk to Peldyn about my garb for the handfasting. Mostly that'll just be me picking a fabric from the swatches and getting measured. I already know I want it to be green, preferably hunter green, I just hope she has a nice shade.

Sunday I'll be hanging out all day with Lori and Glen, there will be volleyball at the beach (the beach!), and a lot of sitting about talking and drinking. Monday is undecided, there is a remote chance I'll be driving up to Pasadena to look at tiaras, but more likely I'll be watching The Two Towers on DVD with Bob, and maybe going to try on wedding dresses just for the hell of it.

Maybe next week I'll turn into the super efficient reorganizing machine I had envisioned. Next week will be the approach of Matt's return, that'll spur me into more action than inaction. At the very least I'll wax my legs, and possibly even my car too. No, not using the same products.

Thursday, August 28, 2003

It's all Bob's fault. Though I suppose I have only myself to blame for entering all the screen-names I can remember having used.

What Is Your Battle Cry?

Striding through the tarmac, cutting down all who dare stand in the way using a bladed baseball bat, cometh PainfullyFluffy! And she gives a gutteral grunt:

"I'm going to hack into your brain, and type FORMAT C: !!"

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What Is Your Battle Cry?

Zang! Who is that, striding over the fields! It is Ashenfaerie, hands clutching a mighty sword! And with a booming howl, her voice cometh:

"I'm going to brutalize you so painfully, your screams will shatter lightbulbs world-wide!!"

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What Is Your Battle Cry?

Zang! Who is that, sprinting across the mini-mall parking lot! It is Argantfae, hands clutching buzzsaw hand extensions! She howls gutterally:

"I'm going to pound you harder than God thought possible, and roll you in creamy neugut!!!"

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What Is Your Battle Cry?

Prowling across the tarmac, brandishing buzzsaw hand extensions, cometh Argantlowen! And she gives a mighty grunt:

"I'm seriously going to punch you until you smell like barbeque!!"

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Wednesday, August 20, 2003

Matt leaves for Japan on Friday morning. He'll be gone two weeks, two weekends apart as he counts it. One of which will be taken up by travelling and working for him.

This weekend I'm distracting myself by going up to LA to visit Granny, and then I have to work for about 4 or 5 hours on Sunday afternoon. This kinda sucks, but it's distraction from an empty apartment, and it also makes up for my going out of town during the critical grant application crunch time. Besides mimicking Matt's schedule of travelling on Friday and Saturday, followed by setting up the classroom on Sunday.

I don't think the weekends are going to be so bad, you can go do stuff on weekends, it's the mornings and evenings that will feel very empty. Grrrr, must stop being whiney.

Hurry up September 6th, I can distract myself from him going away by looking forwardto his return.

Saturday, August 16, 2003

We're both beginning to realise that maybe we need to point out to those we've announced "We're getting handfasted" to, that this also translates as "We're engaged". Even the ones who know that handfasting is an alternative form of wedding ceremony don't seem to carry this knowledge through to mentally connecting it with other weddingy things. Two people haven't responded at all to the egreeting announcing our intent to be handfasted next August, one of whom probably has no idea what the word means. Monica was grossly dissappointed when I told her that although it's going to be different, there won't be any sacrificing of pigs and smearing each other with blood.

Meanwhile, I wonder how long it will take Aunt Pat to notice the ring when I go up to LA next weekend? It feels somewhat odd to announce an engagement, we've both felt ourselves on the path to marriage for a while, the only main difference now is there's a ring. Nevertheless we will have to call around the important family members and announce our intentions, deflecting any inquiries as to when, where and how.

Friday, August 15, 2003

The Diamond Debacle

The title comes from a comment Matt made last night when we were standing in Zales [>] ruling out rings because they didn't cost enough...

Yes you did read that correctly. No, we weren't targeting the one month's income (or two month's, or whatever it is) rule for an engagement ring, we were trying to make use of a token he had from a previous relationship. About 6 years ago, he had just arrived in San Diego, was stationed on a boat at the 32nd St Base, and planning a future union with a girl he'd met in A-School, who was stationed elsewhere. So he bought a wedding set, a diamond ring and an "enhancer" to nest around it and act as a wedding band. Life intervened, the engagment ring never met it's intended wearer, and Matt was left stuck with a very non liquid asset of $1100 in a teeny little jewelry box.

We got the idea of attepting to trade it in somehow for a ring for me, both of us thinking that Zales would offer us some percentage of the original value of the set. Nope. Zales' buy-back policy is very explicit: they will buy back any diamond purchase for the original price paid (not including taxes)...but only if this amount is used towards a purchase at least double the value of the trade in. It also has to be a single item, one ring, one necklace, one set of earrings, not a bunch of stuff adding up to the magic number. Meaning, to trade in this set, he'd have to shell out an additional grand, and I'd be walking around with two thousand dollars on my finger.

I understand that for many women this would not be a problem. "Hurrah, he has no choice but to get me that trillion-cut 1/2 carat platinum number I've had my eye on since I turned 16!" I am most emphatically not that girl. I like sparkly things, but I don't have any fondness for large pricetags. Nor do I want an expensive gift from someone who didn't want to spend that amount of money. To be honest, when it seemed that the only way he'd be able to reclaim the value of the ring set was to spend (waste) an additional thousand, I felt sick. It seemed so unfair that he couldn't redeem it's value and rid himself of an unhappy memento. Not to mention the completely shallow fact that I want a sapphire, dammit, not a plain (but immensely sparkly) solitaire diamond, and sapphires are nowhere near as costly, and are not generally set with large diamonds to bump up the price.

Have I ever mentioned that I am not fond of fine jewelry shopping [>]?

Then inspiration struck: the solitaire and enhancer were seperate items, they didn't come as a set. So why not trade in the less expensive part and worry about reselling the solitaire elswhere? This took the target pricetag down from approximately $2,000 to just under $400, and returned our collective blood pressures and heart rates so somewhere around normal.

I had already narrowed my selection to three rings, one I eliminated immediately because it looked too dinky on my hand, and besides, at $199 it was nowhere near the $400 benchmark we had to meet. This left two rings, which Matt and I had already had a hard time choosing between aesthetically, one had three ceylon sapphires in a row, with teeny round diamonds between them, it looked well proportioned on my hand and was exceedingly sparkly due to the alternation between blue and bright white faceted stones. Pricetag: $299. The other had a significantly larger single ceylon sapphire, with three small round diamond on either side, also well proportioned for my hand and exceedingly sparkly, though it flashed less when I moved my hand side to side. Pricetag: $399.

This brings us to point at which I started this narritive. "Well...I think I prefer that one very slightly, but it just doesn't cost I suppose we'll go for the $399 one?" Not something I thought I'd ever hear myself say, especially not in a jewelry store.

Problem solved. I've got my sapphire (I have no idea how I got so fixated on a sapphire, I must have been a gem-hoarding pirate in a past life), Matt has offloaded part of the uncomfortable reminder of a past relationship, and Zales sucked an additional $200 out of a customer.

The Winning Candidate [>] is beautiful, I don't get to wear it today and sparkle at my coworkers because Matt is going to give it to me properly on our date tonight. Wonderful timing we have, we've managed to arrange things so that he can present my engagement ring to me on the romantic evening I planned as an early birthday event for him!

We are going to try selling the leftover solitaire on eBay, if anyone's in the market for an engagement ring it's square cut, 0.24 carats, set in a 14k yellow gold size 4 band... Offers around $800 please. We're willing to bargain, but only if you buy us dinner first.

Wednesday, August 13, 2003

Home again, home again jiggety-jig.

I've had my blog up for over two years now, quite a lot has changed in that time. It's odd to look back and remember how unhappy I was then, or perhaps troubled would be a better word. Knowing I'm still fundamentally the same person, but still so different, the largest difference seems to be that I'm more firm in my decisions now, stronger in my convictions. I don't go back on resolutions that I make to myself.

The return to work is going fairly smoothly, I took a sick day yesterday to allow my stuffed ears to attempt to return to normal, it worked pretty well.

Now I must go plate some neurons.

Sunday, August 03, 2003

In the face of planning a handfasting, my handfasting in fact, I'm beginning to realise that not only do I know nothing about planning an event with many people, and food, and a ceremony in the middle of it...but my only ideas so far about the actual ritual are that I like the idea of a headband with silver flowers in it, and I think I'd kind of like to be wearing a green dress.

I'm in trouble.

Most couples opt for a generic ceremony in their families chosen faith, or a courthouse, so the words spoken to cement their relationship are already mostly decided for them. Easy, but boring. We don't like boring, so we've decided to chose our own path and make a joining ritual that's entirely personal to us, not just personal vows, but an entire ceremony. We're pagans, and we evidently like to challenge ourselves. No familial expectations to work around, no worries about shocking grandma by invoking the elementals. Grandma isn't invited.

It's fantastic, and terrifying, I have so much to learn before we can even start working for real on the wordings for the ritual.

The other most unusual thing about this "wedding" is that it isn't about the certificate. In fact, legality isn't coming into it at all. We're doing this because we want to make a pledge to each other, and we want to do it our way. We are purposefully omitting the paperwork in fact. The legally binding version will come later, and Grandma will be invited to that one, so it'll be somewhat watered down in order to accomodate the catholic/baptist/atheist/agnostic/sceptic audience that is our family.

I just felt a pang of guilt that my parents are being left out of this. Even though they wouldn't really understand all of it, they'd still probably appreciate seeing something so important to me. I hope I'm not copping out by taking the easier route of keeping this to myself and promising that they'll be part of it all when we come to repeat the performance with full paperwork.

Anyway. There is going to be a lot of growing plans and wedding-related babble coming up. Along with my steep learning curve on the process of building a ritual all our own. Wish me luck!

Lord and Lady watch over us, keep us wise in our actions and kind in our words.

Friday, August 01, 2003

Fresh Brain In Refrigerator

Oh goody! Just when I was wondering what I was going to have for lunch. Though I think I've made the "quick, I need to get Eliezer some mustard for that brain" joke often enough that Dianne and Aline might decide to stuff me into the -80C freezer if I try it again. Maybe not, I seem to have taken up the role of Chandler Bing in our lab.

The boys in the next room play pranks on people and maybe even deposit a banana skin or two under your windshield wiper, I make the sarcastic comments. Eliezer asks for the key to the methamphetamine cupboard because it's nearly the weekend...and it took me a few minutes to realise he was pulling my leg.

It's crunch time right now in the land of Experimental Neuropathology. At least in our little section of the kingdom it is: it's grant submission time. This is where Dianne sends off a bunch of preliminary data, and a short dissertaiton on the data, to the people with the greenbacks. In this case the NIH, which is the real ca-ching kind of funding. So Dianne is going crosseyed writing the grant and editing figures, and I'm praying all the last minute backup experiments go smoothly so we have a good comprehensive set of data points.

After Monday evening, pray is all I will be able to do to help them out, since Matt and I are leaving for PA at about 6am on Tuesday morning. I keep thinking of details of treatment for the three cell lines we have in culture that only I know about, and I'd better write them down somewhere so I don't come home to a bunch of mutated "stressed" endothelial cells with wierdo morphological traits that weren't there when I left. I'm torn between being glad I'm out of the pressure fora week, and feeling like a deserter. I know we've got most of the data already lined up, we're on schedule, because I gave a couple of months warning of my absence.

This is a big turnaround from my previous job, I had a constant feeling of need to escape from there, largely because I wasn't kept in the loop as to what we were doing and why, it was assumed either that I knew already, or that I didn't need to know. Even when we're pulling out all the stops here we still find the time to go out for a lab lunch, followed by a couple of hours at the Nordstrom bosses are still nice people when under pressure. This is a rare thing.

I want to stick around here, I like the feeling of being intellectually involved in my work, and I'm hoping that I may even be able to do a Master's in this field. Some day. Right now I have more immediate things to think about, like how not to melt in the PA humidity, and the new project Matt and I began formulating a few days ago. We're planning a handfasting this time next year.