Sunday, March 30, 2003

Graham's coming to visit!!!!!! Hooray!!!!!! I'm very excited, can you tell? :) He's coming up the weekend of April 11-14, for the Jez Lowe concert on Friday night, the contra dance on Saturday, and general fun, music and merriment in between and all around. Yay!!!

It's been a lovely weekend, and for once it felt longer than two days. I spent the early afternoon today helping our friend Phil pick up a desk from the Salvation Army and taking it back to his house, then meeting Hugo at a coffee shop and sitting outside chatting for a while. It wasn't quite as sunny as yesterday was, but it was still very warm and lovely outside. I just got back from taking Hugo to the airport for another four days in San Jose. We got sent through the vehicle inspection line, where the guy asked if I'd ever been through a vehicle inspection before, looked into the back of the truck through the window and then told us to go all the way back around and get in traffic again. Which put us in exactly the wrong lane for the departure drop-off, with nothing to stop the security people from pulling us over again. But they didn't, and he got there in time. So now I have the apartment to myself again for a few days, which is kind of nice in its own way.

I can't wait for Graham to come visit!!!!! :)

Saturday, March 29, 2003

What a gloriously gorgeous day! The whole day has just been one big happy. Yes, that’s exactly what I mean. :) It’s been beautiful and warm and sunny (shorts and tank top weather, believe it or not, after the rain we’ve been having this week), the cherry trees are beautiful and blossoming, the flowers are blooming, and it’s just beautiful. We’ve had the front door open almost all day it’s been so nice out. We walked to Swagat this afternoon for an Indian buffet lunch, and walked back by way of the hospital’s "Healing Garden," seeing and smelling all of the lovely flowers and herbs and happy things. I spent a good part of the afternoon sitting on the porch in the sunshine writing a few letters, helping Kirsty write a story about a giant and a kitten, and listening to Hugo play the mandolin on the steps.

Oh, and I’ve been playing the mandolin as well! Hugo was starting to teach me "Blue Eyed Stranger" before breakfast, but it necessarily turned into basic mandolin anatomy and technique. I’ve been doodling around with it a bit more this evening, and figured out how to play the tune to Badbe Bean Setting, one of my favorite morris dances – a very energetic stick dance. It’s fun and exciting to pick out tunes, but my fingers hurt! :P I’ve been thinking more and more recently that I really need to learn how to play an instrument, so that when I’m not dancing at morris practice or at gigs, I can still participate by playing. And my choices are basically either the pennywhistle of Graham’s that I’ve had in my desk drawer for about three years now, or one of Hugo’s mandolins. I am also babysitting DeMara’s guitar for her, but that’s not such a good morris instrument, and besides, my small hands don’t work too well for the larger neck. :P I’ve been thinking about trying the pennywhistle out again, but I’m feeling more in a mandolin mood, so I’m going with that for now. I just hope the mood lasts through the painful period of growing calluses! :P

So life is good in Lacey-Land, though I haven’t blogged for some time to tell everybody about it. I have had a great week of Spring Break, even though I’ve mostly celebrated my vacation by working full-time. It’s been sooooo nice to come home in the evenings and not have to do homework, and not have to spend the weekend studying or feeling like I should be studying. And, funny enough, it hasn’t felt like there’s been anything missing. :P I’m not exactly looking forward to school starting again next week (on the first of April, but unfortunately not April Fool’s), but at least it’s only one class. And yoga! Yay! I’ve been looking forward to getting some more exercise. I think I’ll bring my bike out of the basement tomorrow and see if it’s still working, and maybe start biking to work if the weather keeps being nice.

Oh, and I passed both of my classes last quarter. That’s about all there is to say about that, other than thank goodness that’s over. :}

Beautiful beautiful day! I hope everybody’s Saturday was as wonderful as mine. :)

Sunday, March 23, 2003

Here's hoping for safe, relaxing, and uneventful plane rides for Tina traveling to Berlin today. Have a wonderful time, Tina!!!

Saturday, March 22, 2003

Huzzah for Renegade Rose! Our first-ever gig was quite successful -- everybody looked great in the newly-sewn kit (I finished mine in the pub before the gig, after sewing patches all the way there on the MAX), the weather was nice enough to dance outside -- we even brought out a rainbow with our first dance! The audience loved the dancing, and they even put some actual money into the urinal that our Greenman hobby Roger was carrying around for a donation tin (don't ask). All in all, it ran pretty smoothly and I was very proud of everybody, especially our brand-new-to-morris dancers Beverly and Linda. Huzzah to everybody!
Oh, and HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DEMARA!!! Congratulations on finally making it to 21! (You've waited 21 years for this, it had better be good.... )
What's black and white and red all over? Renegade Rose kit! :P Hugo and I were up until almost 2:00 this morning sewing baldricks and armbands and knickers, oh my. I still have some hand-sewing to do this morning, attaching patches to the baldrics (and I really wish I had a thimble!), but I can do that on the MAX if I don't get it done before I have to leave. Hugo's over there already, getting ready for the Bridgetown dancing slot at 11:30, so I'm just going to take the bus and the MAX out there to meet people at 2:00 to get ready and practice for the RR slot. A nice long train ride, so I should have time to finish the sewing I have left (crossing fingers here). And if not, well, I'm bringing a box of safety pins. :) By the way, my new sewing machine works fabulously! I even remembered how to do the stretch stitch that the woman in the sewing shop showed me, so I sewed my elastic armbands and they still stretch! I was proud of myself for that one. :P

Anyway, gotta go get to work!

Wednesday, March 19, 2003

HOORAY!!!! Exams are over! And I never have to take another math class as long as I live! (If I've passed this one, that is....)

And now I have a lovely relaxing week with nothing to do!

......... Yeah, right. But no homework, at least. :)

Thanks for all the well-wishes from everybody; they were definitely appreciated. I definitely did better on the physics exam than the diff eq, but as Hugo said, that's no surprise. And I'm glad that one was first, because I felt better going into the second one... five minutes later. Ugh to back-to-back finals. But they're over! That's the theme for the evening. :)

Now it's time to unpack my brand-new sewing machine and make some armbands and baldricks and knee-britches for Saturday's gig!

Monday, March 17, 2003

It's another "Guess what I bought today!" day. So guess what I bought! Well, actually, it was a partial trade, partial purchase. As I might have mentioned before, my poor little Singer sewing machine has not been in good shape -- well, okay, it's been completely broken since before Christmas. Well, Hugo was kind enough to take it into the shop for me last week, where they arrived at a not-very-pleasant conclusion as to servicing needed and the cost thereof. So I went in today to check it out and hear the full story and consider my options. Turned out that the best option was actually to get a new sewing machine altogether, so I did! It's a Pfaff, so I'll have to adapt to a different make, but it won't be so bad, because I used Pfaffs quite frequently when I worked in the costume shop at Stanford last year. They showed me how to use it, gave me the whole thing with a carrying case, some bobbins, a few spools of thread, and several leather needles (since I told them I'd be sewing on leather), and gave it to me for half price plus the trade of my old kaput Singer. I feel bad about giving up that old sewing machine, because I've always been fond of it, but at this point it wouldn't have been worth it to fix it, and now I have a new machine with all sorts of warranties that should last me a good long while. Yay! And just in time to frantically sew some kit items for Saturday's gig! :}

I'm off to pick up Renegade Rose patches from Lev downtown, then get the ribbons and baldrics from Marti. I told everybody that I'd be here tonight so they could come by and pick theirs up so they can work on them, because otherwise we wouldn't get them handed out until Thursday night, which is a bit close to the gig for my comfort. So off I go to catch a bus!

Sunday, March 16, 2003

Guess what I bought today -- plane tickets! Hooray! I'm flying down for Big Dance! Of course, that's not until May, but it's still exciting. Yay! And I finally signed up for the Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan thing, so I get miles every time I do practically anything -- including about 1500 for the combination of signing up and reserving tickets for the first time as a member. :)

Lots of stuph has happened since last time I blogged, which was yonks ago, I know. I had my last lectures in both of my classes last week, and now I have to study for the finals -- both on Wednesday, Physics from 2-4, Diff Eq from 4-6. Ugh. I hate back-to-back exams. At least they're only 2 hours, though, instead of the 3 that I'm used to at Stanford. Small comfort. :{ Hugo is down in San Jose from now until after my finals are over, though, so I have two and a half days of slightly less distraction in which to study.

Work has been rather insanely busy lately. We're working on a bunch of new label styles that have to have everything ready to go up on the website before the ads about them come out in another week and a half. Aren't deadlines wonderful? And there was a little article on our company on (apparently very big in NY), which generated an enormous number of orders, so business is going to be booming next week on top of working on new styles. Fun. Oh, yeah, and there is no longer a women's toilet on our floor at work. I came in one day last week and Diana told me, "By the way, we don't have a toilet today." I thought she just meant it was out of order again (it does that a lot) but, no, apparently she meant exactly what she said, because they'd taken the whole thing out to do something or other with it. They put a sign up telling us to use other bathrooms on other floors. But Diana got clever and made a little sign that says "Woman CAUTION In Here" (like the (Automatic CAUTION Door signs) -- so now we just use the men's bathroom and stick that on the door. Their bathroom is nicer anyway -- it has two toilets (and a urinal, of course, but the women's only has one toilet), is painted, has pretty handle-taps and even a fake flower in a vase on the counter -- not fair! :}

Yesterday was Hugo's birthday (Happy Belated Birthday!). He was out for part of the afternoon, then came home and asked if I wanted to go out with him, because he'd finally found something to trade in his electric classical guitar and amp for. I, of course, said yes, and so I went with him to pick up his birthday present to himself -- a gorgeous and wonderfully loud acoustic mandolin. It's really nice. He also got a three-instrument stand for various guitars and mandolins, so we can shove the cases under the futon and get them out of the way. Yay for new musical toys! We went to dinner at The Chart House, a fancy-schmancy restaurant on the top of a hill with a beautiful view of the Portland city lights. The food was lovely (I forget how much I like spinach! :P) and it was a gorgeous evening so the view was lovely (it's been raining here for the last several days, so that part was a bit iffy. Rather than drive, we took a couple of buses and walked up the hill to the restaurant, which was very pleasant. We laughed at the valet parking and were very proud of ourselves for getting there so nicely on public transportation.

Speaking of public transportation, my wonderful friend Phil has just secured me extremely cheap public transportation for the next six months. He, like Hugo, works at IBM, and they have special transportation deals for their employees. The way public transit works here in Portland is a system of buses, light-rail trains, and streetcars collectively called "Tri Met." So a transit pass works for any of the three, and transfers work from one to the other as well. Regular monthly Tri Met passes cost $56, or $45 for student-subsidized passes. But Phil picked up the pass allocated to him by IBM and gave it to me because he doesn't use public transportation. It's a little sticker that goes on the back of my i.d. card, good through August. And how much did it cost? $26! Thank you, Phil!

Oh, and just in case I don't blog tomorrow, here's wishing a very happy 21st birthday to Jonathan! And good luck to all the Stanford folk who are taking finals this week. It's almost Spring break!

Saturday, March 08, 2003

Hmmm, not a very happy Saturday. It's been one of those days where I woke up in an icky blue mood and just haven't been able to shake it all day. I got up around noon (yes, I'm lazy -- we also stayed up until after 1:00 watching DVDs last night), took a shower, and basically spent the entire remainder of the day working on my taxes. Now that's a mood-lifter. The good news is, they're all done -- federal, California, and Oregon -- and I'm getting refunds! Quite substantial ones from Fed and OR. For CA I theoretically owe them $2.36, but since I didn't make enough money to be taxed, they should refund that and the other $6.50 that was withheld -- ooh, goody! :} It feels good to have those over and done with.

My next un-fun task that I'm not looking forward to very much is that of reviewing my health insurance plan to see if there's somebody I can get to refer me to a sports doctor or somebody to help me figure out what's wrong with my knee. I'm staying home from the contra dance tonight because of it, which especially sucks because it's a special dance -- the band is so big they have to hold it at the big PSU ballroom (where the English Country Ball was in November). What is this band? you may ask, and how big is it? They're called the Portland MegaBand, and I believe the membership totals somewhere around 75 musicians -- which is why they can't hold the dance on the basketball court at the community center! I was joking about tonight, saying that they were going to have to put the band out on the dance floor and have everybody dance up on the stage. :P I'm really bummed that I can't go, but I hope it's fun for everybody else.

Time to go eat some dinner and start looking through my health insurance policy. Oh joy.

Thursday, March 06, 2003

Oh, I forgot to write -- I got a cool (read: geek) book at the PCC library book sale yesterday. They've had this thing on for quite some time now, just a small rack of books off in the corner that nobody ever looks at as far as I can tell. I finally went to browse it yesterday, and ended up buying one of the first books I saw. It's just geeky enough to have the possibility of being extremely useful (either that or it will be completely useless). It's called "MATHEMATICAL TABLES from HANDBOOK of CHEMISTRY&PHYSICS", copyright 1964. It's a little hardcover jam-packed full of tiny-print tables and formulas and all sorts of mathematical jibberish, along with some things I might actually use, like the trig identities I knew really well in highschool but can't seem to remember now, and logarithms and Laplace transforms and that sort of thing. All in one convenient little volume. Yes, I'm officially a geek. :P

Hugo just told me that he's been downloading "Doctor Who" episodes on his PC, so it might be fun to watch some of those again. Wow, that's been a while! He also got "The Neverending Story," so that'll be fun to see again. :)

That's about it. Time to get ready for morris practice!
Well, our internet connection is down so this won’t get posted tonight, but I wanted to write anyway.

I took Pa’s advice (from quite some time ago) and went into the career center at PCC between classes this afternoon. They have a bunch of big books on specific careers and things like that lying around, which can be very helpful…. if you know exactly what you want to do. It was rather daunting. I didn’t spend much time looking at those, but I did make an appointment to take a couple of career assessment tests on Monday afternoon. It’s probably along the lines of the questionnaires that we did in highschool that give you choices of careers such as "tree farmer" or "fish hatcher" or "phlebotomist," but I thought I’d give it a try anyway and see what it came up with.

We had a group quiz in Diff Eq this evening, one of those matching things where you have to match some parameters with a phase portrait with a time graph and then justify your choices (for a forced harmonic oscillator, if that means anything to you). Part C of the quiz was something like "Provide a poetic description of the motion of each of the masses." We had pretty much done that in our justification section, but we decided to be poetic anyway, and wrote a limerick:

A mass on a spring with no friction
Was whacked by a man on a mission.
The mass oscillated,
Our brains all gyrated,
And then we described its position!

Pretty bad, huh? We were very proud of it, though. :P

I made cookies this evening, and have started hemming and hawing over the hewing and hemming of my black pants into knee britches for RR kit. I’ve had these things for so long, and just haven’t done them because I haven’t figured out how I want to do them. Well, that and my sewing machine is currently sitting in the basement, broken. Poor thing. It’ll be a miracle if we all manage to get kit together before the gig.

On another happy note, I got a letter from Cristie today! Yay for cousins. She sent me another picture from the Hallowe’en party I went to last year, where she, all of her housemates and I all dressed up as a boy/girlscout troup, complete with den mother (that was Mike.) It was very silly. It was good to hear from her. We should get together again some time soon. It’s funny, last time we saw each other we were remarking on how funny it was that all of our family were so excited that I was moving up to Portland because I’d be closer to Cristie and could see each other all the time. And the funnier thing is that we have seen each other more in the last six months than we have in the last couple of years, even though we live three hours apart now and we used to live 40 minutes apart! Funny how things work. :P

Okay, I think that’s enough for now. Back to the knickers. :P

Monday, March 03, 2003

Well, I guess there’s some truth to the theory of "third time’s the charm." Registration for spring quarter opened this morning, and I was actually allowed to register for what I wanted without the whole runaround of prerequisite overrides or professor approval or any of that! Huzzah! I’m only taking one academic class next quarter – another physics class, the last I have to take. I’m also signed up for a yoga class on Tuesday evenings, from 5:30 – 7:00, close enough for me to walk there after work. I’m very excited about that; it’ll be nice to get some more stretching and yoga back into my life on a regular basis. Unfortunately, it doesn’t start until April. Sigh.

I went to the contra dance on Saturday for the first time in a long time. My ankle was just fine, but my knee started up again, which tells me it may be time to start thinking about how important it really is for me to do contra, since that seems to be the problem. When I wasn’t doing contra for a few weeks, my knee was fine for running and morris, but it started hurting about the third dance in, so I’m pretty sure that contra is the culprit. Darnit!

I had a nice productive afternoon in the PSU library yesterday, and got all of my differential equations homework done for today. Now I just have to work on my physics and the rest of diff eq for Wednesday. Does it ever end? Yeah, March 19. I can’t wait.

Saturday, March 01, 2003

It's daffodil season! We went for a run this morning and saw tons and tons of daffodils in peoples' yards, and along the sidewalk. And the cherry trees are all pink with blossoms. And the weather is absolutely gorgeous. It's all very happy. It was a lovely run. I wrapped my ankle and it was just fine the whole way. Even though I haven't run for a couple of weeks, I didn't feel like I was killing myself; it was very nice, and quite encouraging.

Hugo and I watched "Ice Age" last night -- absolutely hilarious! It has one of the best intros to any movie I've ever seen, and there were funny bits throughout the whole thing. If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend it if you're in the mood for some laughs.

Not much out of the ordinary to report for now. I went to Bridgetown practice on Wednesday night, just to watch. Boy, do they have a different energy then Renegade Rose! It's pretty amazing. RR practice Thursday night went alright, though I didn't dance much. We're going to have a bit of a push to get all of our kit ready by the March 22nd gig -- especially since we haven't even ordered the shirts yet! Roger, who used to be the Bridgetown hobby (a really cool troll -- very appropriate for a city with far too many bridges) has offered to be our hobby, and we've decided on a Greenman. I think it'll be really cool. Everybody was saying he should have a rose on his costume somewhere, for connection to Renegade Rose. My suggestion was one of those clown boutonniers that squirts at you -- I thought that would be great for summer gigs. :)

I've got tons of homework to do this weekend, so I'd better get started. I'm looking forward to this quarter being over. Both of my finals are on the same day (March 19), which isn't very fun. I'm just hoping they're not scheduled for the same time! I'll be glad to only be taking one class next quarter. I might actually have a tiny bit of something resembling free time! But probably not. :P