Sunday, April 30, 2006


That's what today turned out to be, thanks to the rain. We started with the laundry; we bring it down right away when we work out in the morning. We were done with that by about noon. I have to confess that Laundry Day is a sore test of our marriage: we... we... we throw our clothes at each other. Sometimes we even hit each other, although Eugene has a better success rate at that than I do. Hopefully this won't require us to seek counseling, because the laughter ought to be therapy enough.

After we finished the laundry, we ran a few errands at the mall, then cured our protein deficiency with a Sam's Club run. By the time we finished bagging pork chops, chicken breasts, ground turkey, steak, salmon, catfish, and probably some other types of meat that I'm forgetting about, our freezer was quite packed. But we won't have to shop like that for a while. I also picked up something for work while we were out. I did some editing on Lennon's Line earlier, but that was it. Time for me to stop procrastinating and get some more work done. But before I go, I'll post a picture of the roses Eugene gave me on Friday. They opened up rather amazingly.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Dinner Last Night

I'm sure by now everyone is wondering what Eugene made me for dinner last night. At long last, I can reveal the answer: surf and turf, specifically steak and crab legs. I haven't had crab legs since my company's Christmas dinner, so they were a welcome treat. The only problem was we didn't have crackers (or whatever they're called) to open them, so the best we could do was cut them open with kitchen shears. A bit of a pain, but still worth it. The sides were potatoes and peas, washed down with wine. For dessert we had berries, though we were so full we waited a while before having them. At least I got a chance to chat with Sue in the meantime. Dinner wound up being later than normal, and since we were both so full, it's a good thing we didn't make plans to go anywhere. So it was a quiet day, but as long as I got to spend it with my husband, I'm happy.

For the rest of today, I need to pick up the rest of the wedding pictures (I'm sure Russ is thinking, "It's about time!"), finish my chores, and hopefully get some writing done. Sue told me she's going to revise her latest chapter, so I won't crit it on OWW. Perhaps if I come up with some ideas she might be able to use, I'll e-mail them to her. My mother-in-law is treating us for dinner tonight; afterwards, Eugene and I might hang out at a bookstore so I can write there.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Rampant Hedonism

As Russ pointed out, today's my birthday. What better way to celebrate than by indulging myself? I have to admit my facial yesterday was part writing reward, part birthday present. I also treated myself foodwise. Last night, I baked a special breakfast bread: orange dough (with real mandarin oranges mixed in) with white chocolate chips, dried apricots, and chopped walnuts. It was so moist it was like eating cake! We also had strawberries on the side. For lunch, I had rotini with my own custom cheese sauce; it's one of my favorites. The company I work for brought in an Oreo ice cream cake. (The smokers were gone for the day, so we wound up using a flint and a Bunsen burner to light the candles.) And tonight Eugene's going to cook dinner for me when he comes home. He won't tell me what's on the menu, but he showed me berries of various types, which I presume are dessert. As long as he doesn't try to serve me an eggplant-and-tomato casserole for the main course, I'm sure it'll be good.

I've also been indulging some of my other senses: I've been listening to my favorite Beatles songs, wearing my favorite scent, starting a new book, and wearing some nice jewelry. Perhaps these are small treats, not to compared to going out to the bars and getting drunk. That's just not my style, and if you're reading this entry expecting that, you'll be disappointed. I get more pleasure out of what I do than out of drinking anyway.

Eugene just called to tell me he'll be home in a few minutes, so I'll sign off for the evening so I can spend it with him.

Thursday, April 27, 2006


Well, there hasn't been another deer sighting since the one on Monday. The most interesting animal story I have besides that one is the sparrow who wants to nest in our grill. He first showed up last year, singing from our balcony as if it was his. He even figured out how to squeeze inside our closed grill and started building a nest. We evicted him by taking out the twigs and leaving the grill open. Unfortunately, he came back again this year. We have a grill cover this year, and even though it keeps blowing off whenever there's wind, it has helped keep him out. But he still perches on the grill and tells the world it's his. How can I explain to him we don't accept seeds from subletters?

Anyway, during the writing marathon, I promised myself that if I made all four of my weekly goals, I would treat myself to a facial. I got a few of them at a spa last year before the wedding, and between that and the skin care products I used at home, I thought my skin looked better than it had before. So I went in today to prettify myself. The spa facial is more involved than the ones I do at home. It involves cleaning, steaming, masks, heat/lotion treatment for your hands, pore extractions, massage, and probably some other steps I've forgotten. Although the pore extractions can be uncomfortable, the whole process is a relaxing experience. In fact, the person who gave me a facial scolded me a bit for not relaxing enough! Afterwards, I wound up buying several skin care products she recommended. They're pricey, but I did make the ones I bought last year last for several months. I wouldn't do this too often, but perhaps I can manage to go a couple of times a year. My skin does feel softer and looks more even now.

I got home later than I expected from the spa, and between baking breakfast bed for tomorrow, cooking dinner, checking out the Internet, and writing a crit, I haven't done any writing of my own. Let's see what I can get done before I go to bed in a half hour....

Monday, April 24, 2006

The Muse Is Back!

I just wrote over 500 words in one of my stories. I don't think I've done that since the writing marathon last month, so that's a good accomplishment. Of course, I'm only halfway through critting Sue's latest chapter, and I have two other stories that feel neglected. Maybe I have time to work on one of them yet tonight, though I also want to sneak in some time playing one of Yahoo!'s latest games.

Doe, A Deer...

A female deer.
As I was setting up an experiment, my boss told me to "Come see." He and a couple of my co-workers were gathered around the receptionist's window. Outside was a deer browsing on the shrubs. There's a green belt behind our building, but I think this is the first time we've seen a deer here, especially during the day. She had her "good side" towards us, and something seemed wrong about it--too dark. My co-workers speculated she had been hit by a car. I went back a short while later to see if she was still there, and she was standing in the shadow of our building. That's when I took the picture shown here. I used my cellphone, which is why the quality is so poor. She limped as she walked, and she licked her wound (on the other side). Although you can't see it too well in this picture, she had some bare spots on her coat as well. One of my co-workers said something about reporting her to Animal Control. There was no sign of her the next time I checked, but I suspect she just wandered away on her own. Who knows if she'll recover or not; I just don't want to encounter her or one of her relatives as I'm driving home from work.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Eating Eugene's Eggplant

Today, Eugene and I resumed House Search 2006. We went to four open houses. One of them was a nice house and in our price range, but the location would have been bad for Eugene's commute. Two of them were out of our price range (though we didn't realize that when we stopped), and the other one, a townhome, was too small. Sigh. Guess we have to keep looking, though the Chicago area isn't the easiest place to find an affordable home. At least we're not on one of the coasts.

Afterwards, we stopped for dinner at Maggiano's, since we had a gift card. I had chicken and spinach manicotti, while Eugene had eggplant Parmesan. I've only had eggplant once and didn't like it (the consistency was too much like tomatoes, which I also don't like, though I have no problem with tomato sauce as long as it's not chunky). Ever since then, Eugene's been teasing me about it. Today I decided to be brave and try some of his. Perhaps the sauce and cheese helped, because it wasn't too bad. At least, the texture didn't remind me of tomatoes this time. Eugene was very impressed, though he now wants to put me on a 12-Step Eggplant Program. That's only fair if he tries something he doesn't like, like split pea soup.

OK, now let's see if I can get some writing done for once. I haven't done much this month, so I guess that compensates for the writing marathon I participated in in March.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Things I've Missed

Between my laptop being on the fritz earlier this month and our Internet being down for a few days, I haven't been blogging as much as usual. I figure this would be a good time to mention some thing I meant to blog about earlier:

Writing--I haven't said much about this lately. My main project at the moment is editing Lennon's Line. I've also been meaning to start over with Day of All Seasons and post the original version on OWW. I haven't been happy with the rewrite. I haven't decided if I should post the synopsis or the chapters; at this point, it probably would make more sense just to do the chapters. I'm sure that novel will be in for a major overall once I get a stack of crits on it. But the most important writing-related event this month is that the anthology with my story was supposed to go to the publisher on Monday. I didn't get a confirmation from the editor; perhaps he didn't get all of the author bios he asked for and had to postpone the submission. Hopefully all will go well, but I have no idea how long it will take for the publisher to decide on the book. Better distract myself in the meantime with my current projects.

Walking--A couple of weeks ago, I bought a cheap pedometer and started wearing it to work. I think I probably do more walking at work than the typical office person, since I'm not at a desk all day and move around the lab a lot. Some days I got close to or exceeded 10,000 steps a day, particularly if I wore the pedometer while working out on the treadmill. Other days I was a couple thousand off. I haven't worn it for a few days because I got some funny readouts (possibly from a low battery). At least the pedometer made me more conscious of how much I was moving.

Links--I just joined a blogring for members of one of my message boards. It's a small ring so far, but hopefully it will grow and bring some new visitors here. I should look for more of them; I'd like to join some writing-specific ones. I wonder if there's one for the OWW? I look at Sue's blog on LiveJournal, but it seems that a lot of OWW people also use that site. Sometimes I think I should have used that too, but it's more fun catching up with my college friends over here.

Random Zobmondo questions--These have come up when we play the game on our lunch hour. The wording might not be exact, but I'll try to get as close as I remember. Remember, if you answer, you must pick a choice; "Neither" is not an option.

If you were the last fertile person on Earth (I presume they mean the last fertile member of your gender), would you distribute your seed freely to all who ask, or would you pick and choose to improve the human race?

Would you rather travel back in time one million years or forward in time one million years?

If you were in a car accident, would you rather save your spouse or your child?

That's enough for now, I think.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Happy Birthday, Russ!

Tomorrow is Russ's (of Don't Think Twice fame) birthday. I met Russ about the same time I met Eugene: during my sophomore year of college. I'd met Eugene's roommate Pat through a class the previous year, and through him I got to meet Eugene, Russ, and several other people we're still friends with. Although I hung out with the whole group playing games on the weekends, I got to know Eugene by planning a surprise birthday party with him for Russ and Pat. (The best part of the surprise is that it was a month before Russ's birthday.) Since Russ indirectly helped Eugene and I get together, it's appropriate that he did us the honor of standing up in our wedding.

Some of the best memories I have from college are of hanging out with Eugene, Russ, and the rest of our gang: Uno games until 2:00 in the morning, various other card and role-playing games, going to the Nitty Gritty for Russ's 21st birthday (even though I was still a week shy of legal age myself), a summer road trip down to Chicago, eating fresh donuts from the bakery on Randall in the middle of the night, a Fourth of July picnic in the park where Oz brought his cat Zoey...the list could go on and on. I'm glad that we kept up our friendship since then. When I was in D.C. for my NCI internship, Russ was in New York City. He came down one weekend to visit, so we went to Arlington National Cemetery and a couple of other tourist places together. We've managed to get together with Russ and our other Madisonian friends several times; Sara (Sara with No H) hosts a reunion party every year around Thanksgiving. We also drove up to Minneapolis a couple of years ago to visit Russ.

If you've been following Russ's blog, you know he's a hard-working man and is a talented artist. He's also a kind, patient guy who's fun to be with, as you can tell by all the friends who visit his blog. Russ, both Eugene and I wish you a very happy birthday. We may be getting older, but at least we're getting older together!

And now here are a few words from my better half:

I'm not so sure about the better half. Anyway, it just seems like it was yesterday when we first met. I believe I was in the dorm room when you, Pat, and Oz came back from working out at the SERF. To borrow some song lyrics, "Oh what a long and strange trip it's been."

Anyway, let's take you on trip down memory lane. I'm sure you remember the surprise birthday party that Sandra mentioned above. Well, here are a couple of photos to jog that memory of yours.

Can you name everyone in this picture? I don't remember the name of the young lady in the red shirt, though.

I can't remember what gift you opened up in this picture, but Brian is not impressed.

The birthday celebrants under the table eating their birthday cake.

The next five pictures need some explaining. Freshman year, we threw a surprise birthday party for my roommate Pat. We reached a point in the party where we found clothesline in the closet and Pat just happened to be sitting in a chair. Well, we decided to tie Pat to the chair and decorate him. We even lifted him into the elevator and showed him off to everyone in the dorm until he was declared a fire hazard by one of the housefellows.

Anyway, when Russ realized that the party was for him too, the first thing he looked for was any kind of rope. Naturally, we said there wasn't any around, but he was very wary for a while. After eating cake and all of that jazz, we had them sit down and open their gifts. We slowly congregated around Russ while he was sitting down and looking at one of his gifts. On someone's signal, we pretty much jumped him. Boy, did you give us a fight. We had a person on each leg, Pat sitting down on your lap, and Paul placing a bear hug on you.

My, my, my. If it wasn't for Paul, the next couple of photos would not have been taken...

Aw, smile Russ. It's your birthday.

You make a wonderful... I have no idea.

The Med Scholars revel in their triumph.

This is a picture of the Gang during a visit to the Art Institute of Chicago. This was during the Summer of 1990?

This picture was taken in our friend Ed's apartment that I was subleting one summer. Ed was a sword and knife collector. Russ made a sketch of the Jim Morrison face on the flag in the background. He decided to make a boatload of xerox copies and place them everywhere (bathroom, shower, medicine cabinet, kitchen cabinet, etc.) We took a few liberties with the blade weapons and posed for this picture.

Russ, there were more pictures that we thought about posting, but we'll send you those later. I hope that you enjoyed your trip down memory lane. You are a fun and down-to-Earth guy. In all seriousness, you are a man of great character, work ethic and integrity. I am honored to call you my friend and to have you stand up in our wedding. I hope that you have a wonderful birthday and that there are many more to come.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

It's Alive!

Our Internet, that is. We just installed our new modem and are online. It's so nice to have things back to normal around here. Or did I just jinx myself? Cue ominous music....

Down Time

Our Internet connection at home hasn't worked since Monday night. (bring up image of Munch's Screamer) This meant I had to do the Dreaded Technical Support Call--a few times, as a matter of fact. There may be a problem in our phone line, but the latest tech I talked to thought there might be a problem with our modem as well. So we went to CompUSA tonight and bought a new one. We haven't installed it yet; I'm blogging from Barnes and Noble while Eugene works on genealogy. Hopefully everything will be up and running by tomorrow. I have a special tribute/trip down Memory Lane planned for Russ. (I could do one for my friend Jen, whose birthday is today, but since she doesn't have a computer or use the Internet, it would be pointless.) In the meantime, I should finish critting Sue's chapters and then get back to editing Lennon's Line.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Drive and Eat

It seems that's all we did today as we celebrated Easter with both families. First Eugene and I drove up to Wisconsin to have lunch with my parents. It was pretty windy; I had to keep both hands on the wheel to keep the car in the lane. Heidi was happy to see us as usual, but she didn't insist on playing as much as she normally does. Either she was distracted by the weather (a storm passed through), or she's getting old like the rest of us. We had lamb for lunch, so I brought along a spinach and feta bread that was supposed to go well with it. Mom gave me a couple of early birthday presents: a silver Imagine pendant and a Beatles T-shirt. I guess she knows my tastes pretty well. ;) We hung around longer than we meant to due to the storm; even so, we wound up driving into it on the way back. We had dinner with Eugene's family at his aunt's house; they served ham, soup, and several traditional Filipino dishes. I watched a movie with Eugene's cousins while he gathered data about the family history. We got home around 8:00 and headed straight for our computers. I'm still not done with my crit of Sue's latest chapter, but I did a few other things as well.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Getting Better All The Time

My laptop is fixed. I had a little scare when I brought it home, as I had trouble connecting to the Internet. But once I repaired the connection, everything was fine. I just had a backlog of things to enter.

I did have some issues with my car's tire, so I'm going to replace it. Better safe than stranded somewhere. Sear didn't have the tire in stock, so I had to order it. It should be in next week.

I haven't been sick again, which is always good.

We've had some great weather the last couple of days. Even I've been wearing shorts, and it's got to be really warm before I, an avowed thermophile, do that.

Eugene and I are going to his parents' house for dinner with the relatives, so I should get a couple of things done before we leave.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Checking In

I need to turn the computer over to Eugene soon, so this will be brief. I didn't have much chance to post recently, so I haven't mentioned that I tangoed at work the other day. We were playing Zobmondo, as mentioned in a previous post, and I drew a card that challenged me to dance solo. I couldn't remember the music (you'd think I would after hearing the same songs at every lesson), and I was wearing the wrong shoes, but I still impressed my co-workers.

I'm waiting to get my computer back from CompUSA before I continue writing Key. In the meantime, I've been editing Lennon's Line, changing the first section from first person to third. It's more complicated than just changing the pronouns; when I have a chance, I think I'll write up something about it. Maybe I'll be brave and post it to the OWW mailing list.

There's probably more to tell, but that can wait for another night.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Home Sick

As if April hasn't already been the cruelest month.... It's sunny and nearly 70ºF today, and I spent a good chunk of it in bed shivering. I had some troubles with my digestive system this morning, but I thought I was over it when I went to work. I wasn't. I ran to the bathroom several times in the first hour, convinced I was going to vomit. Finally I decided I'd be better off at home and asked my boss for sick time. He was a bit aghast at first, saying "You're not? You're not?" a few times. I told him I wasn't. (Pregnant, that is.) I worried I would throw up on the way home, but I didn't. I huddled in the bathroom for a while, but after a while I went to bed. My temp was low, and I was shivering unless I stayed under the covers. I drowsed for a bit, but I felt well enough to read, so I finished a book. (The last time I was sick, I didn't even feel up for that.) I was lightheaded when I got up, and my stomach was a bit unsteady after I had some soup, but I think the worst is over for now. It might have been just a stomach bug; if so, I hope Eugene doesn't get it.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Flat Friday

This afternoon, one of my co-workers came to me and told me someone had reported my car had a flat tire. Sure enough, when I went outside to check, it was flat. This had happened to me last year, shortly before the wedding, when some new buildings were going up in the area where I work. I did what I did last year: I borrowed a pump from my boss, inflated the tire, and drove to Sears after work to have them patch the tire. As I did last year, I even got a haircut while I waited (though I skipped highlights this time). Unfortunately, things didn't so as smoothly this time. The technician couldn't find the leak at first, but they checked all my tires again and finally realized the patch itself was the source. They fixed it for free, but they told me if it happened again, I would need a new tire. Now if I could only get someone to fix my laptop; hopefully I can get someone to look at it soon to figure out if anything else needs to be done to it besides replace the motherboard. Eugene and I will both be a lot happier once I'm back on my own computer.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Would You Rather....

Listen to me talk about my still-nonfunctional laptop, or hear about the game we played at work today? OK, that's not a true Zobmondo question, but at least it serves to introduce this post. Russ and Sara may remember this game; Eugene and I brought it to the annual Thanksgiving dinner a couple of years ago. If you're not familiar with it, this games poses dilemnas to the players, who then have to choose one of the options presented to them. I brought this into work today, since we've been playing Uno so long we could discuss it on our resumes. It was a little hard to play, since we were short a person (the game calls for at least four people), but we made it work. The biggest problem with playing at work are the Challenges (tasks you must complete to advance a level). Some of them aren't work-appropriate, and some of my co-workers struggle to find alternatives. But the game does make lunch fly by. And no, no one has chosen to pick his or her nose yet. (Brian, are you reading this?)

In other news, I have a replacement motherboard for my poor laptop; now I just need to find someone to put it in. I can add memory, but this is more complicated and not something I want to try at home. Eugene and I are still sharing his computer, so I'm just keeping up with crits on OWW. Hopefully someday I'll have time to work on my own projects; I was lucky today to find a few minutes to edit Lennon's Line. This really hasn't been my month so far....

Sunday, April 02, 2006

April Fool's Is On Me

In case anyone needs proof that I'm a complete klutz, I spilled water on my laptop yesterday. I had a glass of water near my computer, and I fumbled my grip as I picked it up. As I tried to blot off and remove the water, my laptop went out. I had to go somewhere, so I let it dry until I got back. At first I thought I'd lucked out, as I was able to turn my laptop on and surf the Net. Unfortunately, that only lasted for 10-15 minutes until my laptop died and stayed off. To make matters worse, I hadn't purchased an extended warranty last year. I called Dell anyway and, after figuring out I'd fried the motherboard (no surprise there), ordered a new one. That'll be a painful lesson to me: keep the drinks farther away from the electronics no matter how hydrophillic I am. I should get the motherboard by the end of the week. If I can't install it on my own or with Dell's help, I'll see if my dad can do it. In the meantime, Eugene and I will share his computer. I probably won't get as much done, but I think I need a break anyway.

Yesterday wasn't a good day for our tango dance instructor either. We missed the final class last Sunday when we saw Colin and Brad, so we made it up with a private session at her home. That went well; we may go dancing with the instructors and another couple from the class some weekend. Since she has two cats and has been too busy to bring them to a vet, Eugene made a house call after the lesson. One of the cats freaked out (we think he thought Eugene was someone else) and scratched our instructor. It was a long scratch, but fortunately it wasn't deep. She took it in stride, though.

OK, time to pull out the flash drive and check my files. I think I backed up last week, so I shouldn't have lost too much.

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