For at least the second time, ice dams on our roof have caused leaks in the first-floor kitchen (and I suspect the second-floor master bedroom, too).

We have a slate roof, and a roof rake, and obviously these are not sufficient.

Anyone have particular experiences or recommendations to share?

Multiple unmistakable ones, as she laid across my lap and we played peekaboo.

It's times like these that keep us from exposing her on a hillside. (Today's been fine, but the night was a bit . . . awake.)

In other news, our thermostat (1) thought it was 5 degrees warmer than it actually is, which (2) was still 2 degrees under the setpoint. Running the setpoint way up produced heat, but until it fully warms up SteelyKid is in her playgym in a silly hat and wrapped in two blankets, while I eat a belated lunch. (And here I thought I just felt cold because I got a flu shot today. She was all warm and cozy, but she was asleep across my stomach.) It did this yesterday too, so I suspect a new thermostat is in our future . . .

Our home renovation project is now done, done, done. The contractor installed the cabinet doors yesterday (sooner than we expected) and did a last little thing outside today. I should probably have waited for daylight, but I couldn't resist taking pictures tonight once I'd finished (some of) the other things I needed to do:

Pictures! )

Life update

Jun. 4th, 2008 09:01 pm

I've been pretty scarce lately because I've been busy and haven't had a lot of spare brain capacity, what with Chad being away for most of last week, travel for a baby shower last weekend, and work. But today I had an oral argument, the prep for which had been consuming a lot of that brain capacity, and so I'm letting myself relax a bit now.

Thus, admire our almost-completed library!

two pictures )

Okay, yeah, it's still an empty rectangle, but it's an empty rectangle that's been painted and has carpet and windows. Next week, it should have bookshelves/cabinets, and then it will be really finished. Tomorrow we're going to order blinds for those enormous west-facing windows and a desk for Chad (his existing one won't fit). His desk at the front, mine at the back, and shelving on the two long walls: it's going to be great. (I'm especially looking forward to—geek alert!—setting up the desks with some variant of better cord management, for both safety and aesthetics.)

Except, of course, to move my existing desk downstairs, I have to clean out the mountains of crap around it now. And then we have to move all the hardcovers downstairs to the new shelves, and move the china from the basement to the new cabinets. And shuffle the paperbacks out of the ex-spare room to other upstairs rooms. And move the furniture from the ex-spare room to Chad's ex-office. And set up the crib in the ex-spare room and unpack all the baby paraphernalia (after the new dresser and night stand, which we will also order tomorrow, come in).

And start and finish the third cross-stitched dragon (finished the second last night, yay). And do more learning about childbirth and infant care. And pick actual names for FutureBaby. And go to Chad's college reunion this weekend. And do whatever beta-reading Chad would like on the rewrites for his book. And maybe finish the three books I'm in the middle of. And, oh yeah, write the several briefs that are due this month.

Whee!

quick pregnancy update )

And now, to write baby shower thank-you cards.

It was a nice cool cloudy day when I got home from work, and I actually had some energy for a change, so I went and attacked that triffid in the backyard.

(Actual gardeners probably don't want to look at these pictures.)

four pictures )

This weekend I have contributed to the household by hacking back a set of overgrown shrubs in the backyard (and marking for Imminent Death a vicious triffid that snuck up on me; as soon as I get a pair of gloves, it is gone) and stuffing some high-density foam into the squooshed-by-use couch cushions.

This, however, is pretty much the extent of my abilities when it comes to gardening and upholstery. Thus, I ask LJ:

  1. What can we plant in our backyard (pictures over on Chad's blog) as grass-replacement ground cover? Requirements:
    • Thrive in Zone 5 in basically constant shade, under sugar maples and one enormous oak tree, in soil that's not obviously sandy or clay-like but doesn't drain particularly well (possibly because it's pretty tight-packed at the moment).
    • Safe for FutureBaby.
    • No maintenance except maybe seasonal trimming.
    • Not going to take over the neighbors' lawns if we turn our backs.

    Of the things suggested at Chad's so far, I like the idea of moss, and hate the idea of gravel or pavement. Vinca sounds too invasive, and hosta apparently requires a good deal of water. Other suggestions?

  2. If I wanted to walk into a store and buy ready-to-sit-on rocking chair cushions, do I want a furniture store? A department store? Something else?

    (Yes, I know I can get them online, but I'd like to sit on them first.)

Thanks, all.

Chad's put up a post with day-by-day pictures of the garage remodeling. Note the enormous frickin' hole in the front, where two egress-sized windows will going. (The contractors are just coming in and out through that each day, and bypassing the actual doors completely.)

The rest of the house is to the left in these pictures. A new door into the living room has been cut just out of frame in the front (as seen from the living room). A door to the outside on the right, also just out of frame, has been removed; there's a picture on Flickr of the nice job they did matching the siding (cedar, apparently—who knew?).

And if you want to see the existing door into the kitchen (roughly where these pictures are taken from), plus the dog and doggie dialogue, Chad's got that too.

Went to a wedding this weekend of a couple who have the best how-they-met story I know. Shortly after my friend met her now-husband, she told the story of how she was going on a cruise for a cousin's wedding, and was asked to room with a friend of the family: yeah, it would be awkward to room with a strange guy, but it wasn't a fixup, they just couldn't get the numbers to even up any other way, and did she mind? Well, they hit it off immediately, and as I said, ended up married.

Found at the wedding that this was not actually the whole story. The cousin's now-wife had dreamed that they'd put the two of them into a room on the cruise together and they'd fall in love and get married—despite the fact that they'd never met, lived on opposite sides of the country, and so forth. And they did, and they did. (I presume, but do not know, that the whole story was not told until after they got engaged, because talk about pressure!)

(And wow am I failing to do this justice, thanks to that whole sleep-deprivation thing. Insert funny faces and hand-waving liberally for effect.)

In other news, construction has started here at Chateau Steelypips. In three days, the garage walls have been stripped down to the studs, the front and side doors have been removed, and something-or-other has been done to the floor. (Chad's been taking daily pictures, which will go up on Flickr eventually.) They may be cutting out the door into the living room as soon as Wednesday, which initially seemed early to me considering that the project is projected to take about four weeks, but I guess you'd want to do all the structural stuff first. Yay, library!

(Two funny things about the construction. First, the contractor discovered that local code for new construction includes an egress window in each room (possibly, each ground floor room, but we're not sure). Said window must be fifty-seven inches tall—which is a door, basically, except that we really didn't want an exterior door in that room (taking space away from the bookshelves!). We decided to put two big windows in the front, stuck together, and maybe get Chad a desk instead of a table so that passers-by aren't looking at his knees . . .

(Second, when the contractor stopped by to drop off the permit, he asked Chad, "Have you ever dealt with the town building inspectors?" Chad said he hadn't, because our only prior permit was all done on paper. The contractor said, in tones of amazement, "They're so nice." Which is not at all where we expected that conversation to go.)

And Chad has another dog physics dialogue up, this time about relative motion, in which Emmy demands, "Why do they call relativity 'relativity?' Why not something cooler, like Superfast Timeslowing Squirrelcatching Dynamics?" It is premature of me to hope that relativity can be the sequel to Bunnies Made of Cheese: The Book, but I'm hoping anyway. (No official title or publication date yet; we'll certainly let you all know as soon as we do.)

Finally, U.S. folks: From now through May 19, you can join the National Marrow Donor Program Registry for free (apparently the cost of tissue typing is not always covered). Registering doesn't commit you to do anything and involves just a cheek swab. Non-whites are especially needed, but I hope everyone will consider it.

We spent Tuesday through Friday in D.C.; I was there for a workshop (which was great), and Chad came with to make it a bit of a vacation. He wrote up the cultural part of the trip over at his blog—visiting the Sackler & Freer Museums, wandering the mall, and going to the Zoo. He also has a picture of the imperturbable mandarin ducks, and will be posting a few more. (When I have time, I'll go through my museum pictures and the rest of the zoo pictures and put them up, but I took a lot, so it won't be for a while. That's really the revolutionary thing about digital cameras, I think, the number of pictures you can take conveniently.)

Anyway, great trip, even though my brain refused to get out of post-vacation mode yesterday when I could really have used it.

In other news, we've picked a contractor to turn our garage into a library/office, thereby allowing us to use the current spare bedroom as a nursery and Chad's current office as a new spare bedroom. Floor-to-ceiling bookcases on two walls! And I've been feeling fetal movement for the last couple weeks, which is reassuring though occasionally weird—I never expected anything that feels like a water cooler sounds when it's refilling: "blurp, blurp." We have daycare visits and a fetal echocardiogram scheduled for this week.

Some more discussion sparked by those culturally-appropriating fake memoirs: [livejournal.com profile] rachelmanija on Memoir, Fiction, and Truth, and [livejournal.com profile] rushthatspeaks on Memoir and Honesty.

And some more links behind the cut, mostly food and cute:

links dump )

We saw comedian Stephen Wright perform here in Albany two weeks ago. Since I bought our tickets at the last minute, we ended up in orchestra seats, fifth row, which made more of a difference than I would have expected. (The man does, actually, smile on occasion.) The structure of the show alternated between strings of apparently-random one-liners ("A friend of mine has a trophy wife . . . but apparently it wasn't first place."), and longer stories with one-liners hung on them as ornamentation, such as a long surreal tale that started with his parrot making long-distance calls and ended with a truck full of seatbelts crashing into a police car. We enjoyed ourselves, and I may look into some of his recorded performances.

In general household news, we got the inside of our new windows painted . . . something like four years after they were installed. And this week, I got a bad haircut—that people keep telling me they like, which makes it even more annoying!—and had our shower literally fall apart on me, the slide bar coming off the wall. But there was also a lot of house stuff accomplished and good food and the Giants & Patriots winning, so on the whole I'm feeling pretty good to end the week.

A selection of recent-ish delicious links:

Read more... )

Finally, the first disc of the anime Now and Then, Here and There turns remarkably unpleasant and stupid after a, well, unremarkable opening episode. This is something recommended to Chad, not me, but absent convincing reasons to the contrary, I won't be watching any more even if Chad Netflixs the other two discs.

Last weekend, I got most of my Christmas shopping done and saw Rent (ridiculously long post on that forthcoming). (We still have to see the new Harry Potter movie, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, and so forth, but I figured that they'd be in theaters a lot longer than Rent.) I finished the rest of my shopping today, then went into work and cleared up a bunch of stuff while checking the Patriots-Bills score online (go, Pats, even if the Bills aren't very good).

Yesterday, we went to our first event of the season, a Physics Department party. That was fun, and started and ended early, so we got home in time to decorate the tree we'd bought earlier in the day. It looks lovely, even if Chad was disappointed by my refusal to follow his family tradition of examining every tree in the lot minutely and agonizing over them (actually, it occurs to me that they treat trees the way I treat, say, shoes, or suits). I was minorly disappointed that all the baked mac & cheese we brought got eaten—I'd been hoping for leftovers—but I am flattered (also, there were a lot of kids there, and it's a very safe food for them. Have to remember that for the future.).

In household news, our roof has been fixed. Actually it was mostly fixed before we even noticed—this is what happens when you come home in the dark, you don't see the new roof until the next morning. We'll have to get the plaster in the entryway repaired too, but that can wait until after the holidays.

I also made peposa in the crockpot last week, a good winter dish; the recipe and notes follow. peppery beef stew )

In DVDs, we watched the first two discs of Samurai Champloo. Surprisingly, I'm enjoying this a lot; I had basically no expectations, unlike Cowboy Bebop, and so far the tone is more consistent too. It is silly, with just enough seriousness to keep it from floating away; the snark amuses me, and you know I love Jin. (The first disc was somewhat distracting; I don't know if any of the voice actors are actually the same as Cowboy Bebop, but I kept hearing them as such. This passed fairly quickly.)

Oh, and the preview on disc one for the Saiyuki Reload anime was absolutely hilairious. It was just a sequence of character poses, without (I think) a single word of dialogue; I can't imagine that it would sell a single person on it who didn't already know the story. Well, I'd heard the anime was terrible anyway, and that preview certainly didn't make me doubt that opinion.

We're also watching season one of HBO's The Wire, which is well-done but not entirely my kind of thing. However, so far there have been two great scenes that entirely justify the series' existence, the chess explanation from the drug dealer to the pawns low-level flunkies ("the king, he stay the king"), and the working of a cold murder scene conducted solely in variants of "fuck."

Finally, I don't think I actually want an Avenging Unicorn, but the idea really amuses me.

Over the entryway, at least, so it could be worse.

Bucket down, tarp down, finding a non-flaky roofer who can deal with slate roofs on the list of things to do today.

Damn it.

Quickie post to update on the last week and a half, because Friday morning we're going to San Francisco, returning late Tuesday with probably no Internet access in-between.

Chad put up a corner of stockade fence last week, replacing the ugly chickenwire that had been keeping the dog in the yard in that area, and hopefully giving her less visual stimulation to bark at in the process. We were more than a little surprised to find, through a note on our door from the building inspector, that we were supposed to get a permit to put up the fence. I dropped off our application this morning and don't anticipate it will be a problem.

In other domestic-ish news, [livejournal.com profile] lbmango came over mid-week to test-drive my Prius and stayed a while to chat. And a number of the summer research students in the Physics came over for, of course, Spiedies and chocolate-chip cookies. Other than that, last week was work work work.

This week has been work work work too, but in-between was a rather busy weekend. Friday night I drove out to Massachusetts for a bridal shower Saturday afternoon. The shower was very nice, though the only people I particularly knew were the bride-to-be and her immediate family. The favors included a plant—okay, I'm told bamboo is basically unkillable, but I still think giving live things out as gifts is a bad idea, especially at a shower, because I'd take it as an obscure ill-omen on the marriage if I did manage to kill the thing. (I have a black thumb. I couldn't even take care of silk plants as a kid.)

Sunday we went to see John Mayer at SPAC (the Saratoga Performing Arts Center). We had lawn seats and arrived half-way through the second opening act, because I was trying to get some work done that afternoon. (That was Maroon Five, the "Harder to Breathe" group. The lead singer has deeply annoying stage patter.) It was actually very relaxing being so far in the back; we spread out the blanket, I laid down and tried to remember my constellations, the music was at a bearable volume for me, and we felt we could chat occasionally, not strain to see the stage, that kind of thing. (Okay, there were the stoned Fran Dreschers behind us, but they came and went.) It's not like one goes to see Mayer for the stage show, at least not if one is over 15. He is, by the way, a better guitarist than I'd expected; he did a Clapton cover and while he's not Clapton, he didn't suck either. He also did all the radio hits before the encore, so by the time we left (during the last song of the encore), getting out of the park was a breeze.

Dog tip of the week: if someone says hey, your dog is running around loose and could you please call it because our dog feels very threatened by other dogs, well, please at least try to appear that you care. Your dog might be the nicest thing in the world, but our dog doesn't know that and might growl, bare her teeth, or worse under the perceived harassment.

(A big dog running full-tilt at you, after you thought you'd gotten safely past, is quite the scary sight. Fortunately my "you will obey me" voice at full volume caused the dog to retreat, but that's just not the kind of adrenaline I need.)

Random bits:

  • This comic is exactly how I feel about text-adventure games.
  • [livejournal.com profile] deleting_my_lj is a good idea.
  • Chad and I have both been playing with our iPods; he's blogged his random thoughts, and separately I've been thinking about really, really small musical genres, to wit:
    • Lesbian country songs sung by a man.
    • Football ballads.
    • Songs addressed to a cat.
    • Songs from the point of view of a cat.

    I told Chad the first two of these and it only took him a moment to identify the bands I'd put in a playlist. Anyone else want to take a stab at it, or have their own suggestions?

Oh, and "you really must see X in the San Francisco area" comments are welcomed.

No platelet donation tonight; they won't do platelets if you're under 150 pounds, unless you have a really unusually high platelet count, which I apparently do not. So I did plasma instead. I was initially dubious about this because for me whole blood donation leads to pounding empty veins and the rare faint, but they swapped me about 400 ml of saline for 650 ml of plasma (I imagine they don't straight swaps, or give saline for whole blood donors, for reasons of proportions?). That was actually the only unpleasant part, as room temperature saline is much colder than blood, obviously; otherwise, I had one hand free to read my book [*], watched the machine in interest, and feel much less empty-veined than after donating whole blood. Takes a little longer, alas, but I think it's a good trade.

[*] I'm two books into what's probably going to be a binge on Laurie King's Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes books, and wondering distractedly if I've found a new subgenre, novels that can be blamed on Gaudy Night. Miss Grimsley's Oxford Career, A Monstrous Regiment of Women, what else?

Unfortunately I happen to feel dreadful, just because of extreme lack of sleep, not because of donating. Work is still Work, but I squeezed in a bit of socializing this weekend with a dinner visit to some friends of Chad's over the Massachusetts border, and will steal an overnight visit to my parents' this weekend. And now I'm going to bed before we lose power again for another 30 seconds and I nearly doze off waiting for the laptop to boot back up.

(Oh, but warm weather for a part of the weekend, and several hours outside with no bug bites. Yay, working bug-trap-thing.)

Sleepy tired cranky week. Chad had a lot of late nights, so the doggie was pining away, which she does in a remarkably demanding way. Things got better Friday and Saturday, though Sunday I was back to a brain full of molasses.

In house news, our lawn service came and fertilized and killed dandelions and stuff. And Chad put up some speakers in the backyard, so when the weather gets nice again we can have convenient music.

I really need to exercise more restraint when gift-shopping. Last week I bought gifts for "Administrative Professionals Day." At the Lindt store, I bought for my paralegal, a box of truffles; for the department secretary at Chad's work, a spring-themed truffle thing—and for myself, a bag of raspberry truffles (limited time, apparently, and oh my goodness are they good). At a little fair-trade gift shop, I bought for my secretary, a pretty picture frame—and for myself, a terracotta cat, now sitting on my desk looking silly; and an apple carved out of what I think is alabaster, which looks like puffy white clouds drifting across a pale-yellow luminscent sky, now sitting on my desk looking beautiful and symbolic. Okay, the cat was two bucks, but still.

Though I didn't buy myself anything extra when I sent off two boxes of books for soldiers last week. details )

Right. Link-dump and then back to work.

Spring! The trees haven't leafed out yet, but it was 60-ish this weekend and we got a lot of yard work done. The everyellow and the spiky red triffid in front have been replaced by a dwarf burning bush (looking more like a stick at the moment, hopefully it grows fast) and some white Mediterranean heather. In the back, we put down grass seed again on the side (we're giving up on the back until the fall), this time with biodegradable protective matting. It would be really nice if this worked. I also set up our Christmas present from my folks, a gadget to trap biting insects. The placement may need fine-tuning, as something took a good chunk out of my neck this afternoon while I was reading the latest Dortmunder, but it's definitely catching some insects (you can see them caught on the sticky paper. Take that, bugs!).

The doggie was very pleased to be outside so much this weekend. She even hung out in the front yard with Chad (tied on a long leash to a tree), which she usually doesn't get to do because it's not fenced. If only she wouldn't insist on eating clumps of topsoil . . .

I also got my hair cut yesterday, hooray. The bad cut had gotten positively unbearable, so I walked into the first place I came to on upper Union Street on the theory that as long as it was shorter, it would be an improvement. I think I like this cut, but I have to live with it a bit; it's much more shaped, with the very bottom considerably thinner than usual. We also had dinner out last night, a Mexican place in downtown Albany, which was nice though I ate far too much.

I even got some reading done this weekend, though the book log won't be updated tonight because I have Work. It's going to be a bad couple of weeks for Work, alas, so I really ought to go check on the laundry and then get to it.

I finally steeled myself to double-check our New York State income tax returns tonight, being quite surprised to see that it was the 12th today (somehow I'd thought I had more time). I'd struggled through the damn things a few weeks ago, and thought we owed New York a fair amount of money, so I was in no hurry to write that check. Well, I will never again do our taxes without a paper copy of the instructions in front of me: in going back and forth between the PDF instructions, the PDF form, and the Excel file with my calculations, I somehow overlooked that the standard NY deduction is actually larger than our itemized deduction. We still owe New York money, mind, but I'd much rather owe four dollars than four hundred.

Suddenly I'm in a much better mood.

Last week I had emergency duty at work, meaning if anything came in with a short fuse, it was mine. Got off very lightly: there was one potential situation involving medical consent, which would have been very interesting in a messy kind of way, but fortunately it appears to have been resolved without the need for legal intervention. Otherwise I slogged through mounds of uninspiring paperwork and fought to stay awake. I hate the transition to Daylight Saving Time, even as I like the effect.

Being a blah week, we saw a silly movie and had dinner out Saturday night. Hellboy was pretty well what I expected, though somehow I missed that the menace was Lovecraftian in nature. Ugh. I have not dreamt of Cthulhus, however, so I suppose no harm was done. The ending doesn't hold up when thought about, but I enjoyed the characters a lot and didn't much object to the story while it was on the screen.

Trailers: Spider-Man 2 looks really good. I, Robot looks really, really dreadful. Something less Asimov-like I can hardly imagine; it's beyond me why they even bothered to keep the title.

We took a day trip down to Chad's parents yesterday for Easter. It's a little over four hours round-trip, meaning that if we leave the dog at home, we can spent just barely more time visiting than in transit. (We can't bring the dog with because she goes insane being in the same zip code as R.D., Chad's parents' Labrador Retriever.) It was a nice visit, but we were pretty well wiped from the travel, so last night we just loafed around watching Nero Wolfe episodes on DVD. ("Disguise for Murder"? Would have been much more interesting with a more straightforward motive.) It's really a pity that the role of Saul Panzer was miscast for the series proper; in the Golden Spiders movie, the role was played by the actor who plays Lon Cohen in the series, and he was a much better Saul. (Note to self: the second season remains discounted through the end of June. Order it later.)

In house news, we had some lawn-care companies come by and give estimates. It was cheaper than we'd expected, so we're going to have a local company do fertilizing and weed-killing and all that, and then in the fall have them aerate and seed the back, which is patchy and rock-hard when dry and a veritable swamp when damp. I love our backyard, so I'm really looking forward to getting it into a nice, low-maintenance, liveable state.

Not much to say for two weeks, really. Last weekend, we did yardwork for the first time this year, including sowing rather a lot of grass seed. Of course, this Thursday, it poured buckets, resulting in a little stream going into the neighbors' yard across the planted area. We still had standing water in the yard as of this afternoon. We want to get more grass to help with the drainage, but because we have no drainage the grass seed gets washed away . . . . Chad did spot some mesh to go over new grass seed, and if this lot doesn't take, we'll give that a try.

We also browsed some garden shops. We've pretty well decided to replace the horrible everyellow [*] in front of the bay window with a dwarf burning bush, and the spiky red triffid next to the front path with heather. We'd like a couple bushes or dwarf trees (~6') to put between the patio and the neighbors' yard, as the former owner's roses refused to bloom and have been dug up; some azaleas looked promising, but we haven't made a decision yet. Of course it's supposed to snow tonight, so there's no rush to decide.

[*] It's like a small conical evergreen, except a sickly yellow. As it's been yellow since we moved in, I have to assume that it doesn't actually have a horrible fatal disease.

In other yard news, the power company finally came to trim the trees along the back line of the yard. We'll have to see how it looks when it leafs in, but it's likely that we no longer own a piece of darkest Mordor.

Yesterday we went on a housework binge. Look, the tops of the counters and tables are now visible! I'm absurdly happy about this, but we'll see how long we stick to the plan of keeping them clear. Then we went to a joint birthday party for our cousins Z. (now four) and C. (now two). We got them books, of course; Z. got Diary of a Wombat, which is the cutest thing ever, and C. got a small board-book version of There's a Wocket in My Pocket!. We had a lovely time—played with Z., talked with family, watched the kids get sidetracked from opening more presents by playing with the presents they'd already opened, admired their new playhouse (and swatted away the mosquitos that are ALREADY OUT!).

And right now I am waiting for the laundry to be done and resolutely ignoring the New York State income tax forms that need to be double-checked. We owe the state money anyway, so they don't need to go out tomorrow. (We're getting a healthy chunk of change back from the federal government, so those are going out tomorrow—and I'm annoyed at myself for not doing them much sooner—as is a form changing the amount of money I have withheld from my check.)

Oh, and new dog game: take one of these toys. Stick some bone-shaped biscuits in the holes. Give to the dog. Watch her chew the protruding bits off, at which point the rest falls into the interior and she freaks out trying to get at them.

Boggling literary link of the week: the original draft of Barry Hughart's Bridge of Birds is online (under "Features"). Much of the plot is the same, except the first-person narrator is the nineteen-year-old . . . Master Li.

Like I said, boggling.

I never really caught up on my sleep from the dog being sick and the prior stressful week, so this week was very sleepy at work—a lot of cleaning up minor (but necessary) tasks, trying to get back in gear. (I had a nightmare this week where I was doing the same bench trial that ended last Friday, and it was going just as badly, but in front of a packed courtroom. I didn't realize it was still bothering me . . . ) My general blah-ness was exacerbated by the weather, which abruptly took a turn into late fall. I hadn't yet built in "time to scrape frost off my car" into my morning schedule . . .

The dog is recovering well from her infection. We let her out of the kitchen on Wednesday and she was most excited.

We had a very weird day yesterday. Friday night, I answered the phone and was informed that we'd been selected for a free carpet cleaning. After determining that it was an attempt to sell us a vacuum cleaner, but that it was nevertheless a free carpet cleaning, I said okay. It was a very long process—almost three hours, I should have asked about the length—and the salesperson was obviously new, young, and nervous, so I felt really bad that there was just no way that we were going to spend $1400 on a vacuum cleaning system at the moment (if ever), no matter how nice (it was a Kirby). So I went between guilt and pleasure at having a clean carpet afterwards—until I was distracted by finding previously-elusive house stuff: glass fireplace doors, off-the-shelf and therefore not $700; and a towel rack and shelf unit for the bathroom.

Of course, in the middle of the shopping, we got rear-ended at a stopped light. It wasn't the guy's fault—it was very slippery, just before then we'd locked up our brakes to avoid hitting the cop stopped in front of us. The car got dented (the other guy's was worse), and we have slight headaches/sore necks today, but no real harm done.

Very weird day, ended on another weird note with the DVD of A Mighty Wind, the latest mockumentary by Christopher Guest. I only laughed out loud twice, I believe, but I don't regret the 90 minutes spent on it. They are really astonishingly deadpan.

Today Chad's folks left their dog with a neighbor and came up for dinner, which was nice. Emmy was thrilled to meet more people who give her toys and treats. They commented on how quiet and calm a dog she is, at least compared to their young, purebred, field-line Labrador Retriever . . . We also determined that Chad and I really do have zero-sum football karma, as the Pats pulled it out over the Titans, against my expectations, at least, and the Giants lost their field-goal kicker and the game against the Dolphins. (Also, go Red Sox!)

I did get a bit of reading done this week, finishing Endless Nights and reading Paladin of Souls, which on first gulp is very good indeed but deserves a slower digestion, which it will get this week because Albacon is next weekend. Indeed, I should go and do that.

Wednesday, our first full day back from vacation, we had the exterior house painting finished and more bookcases (the last, we don't have any more room) delivered. Work had been pretty quiet while I was away. Other than that, mostly everything else notable about the week was dog stuff. )

Oh, by the way: if a recipe for sauce calls for an egg yolk, do not use an whole egg because you misremembered the recipe. They're really not equivalent. This hard-won lesson is brought to you by our overly-sticky alfredo from Saturday night.

Entertainment this week: the DVD of The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. cut for papersky )

May 2017

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