Wednesday, December 16, 2009

"You sit on a throne of lies!"

I watched the movie "Elf" last night. I'd forgotten how much I love it. Of course, if the phone rings at work today I'll be super tempted to say, "Buddy the elf, what's your favorite color?"
My friend Casey and his boyfriend started a knitting circle, and the first meeting was last night. I went to that, which was really fun. It was at a local coffee shop, just a few blocks from my apartment, where my friend Lucy works. So in that respect, it was actually perfect because it's a place I know and love, where I'm almost guaranteed to run into at least one person I know, and even when the temperature is below zero the walk is kinda pleasant. (Yes, walking can be pleasant even when it's cold.) Mike, Casey's boyfriend, showed me how to do a new pattern, although I'll have to wait to try it out because I still need to finish the scarf I'm working on, and then the matching hat.
Since there are only so many people I know who would want/need a homemade scarf (and most of them I've already given something to) I've decided to start making them for local charities. There's so much need everywhere, but winters are so long and so dangerously cold up here that it's important to have good quality, warm things. I got in touch with the professor of the anthropology class I took last fall to ask which charities around here will need things. I don't really have anything to donate yet, but just knowing that I can and will, and now where to donate, feels great. And as I get better at knitting, I can start making things like socks and mittens.
I only have one project that I want to knit for myself. A scarf and matching hat in colors I already have. And I don't feel bad about this because I've only kept two things for myself that I've ever made, and I've been crocheting since I was ten. (The knitting is a really recent thing, because I realized I could do more with knitting, and it makes a tighter and therefore warmer weave.)
This week at work we're giving out free cookies, coffee, tea and hot chocolate because of finals. For the past two weeks all of the students have been walking around with hunted, frantic, or dazed looks, and I'm constantly overhearing, "Man, I've only gotten six hours of sleep this whole week." Ouch. I'm glad the coffee and cookies are helping. And I keep reminding people that it will all be over with in a couple of days.
I'm so excited to go home. As in, so excited that I can't really listen to much of the Christmas music I love because it makes me ache to be home. I did get to go Christmas caroling with friends, though. We went around to the family housing and student apartments to spread a little Christmas joy. It was so much fun. And cold! The night we chose was down around -15, so we had to duck into one of the dorms for a bathroom break and warm up. I did a duet with my friend Mitch, though. We sang "Baby it's Cold Outside". He's such a good singer, and he'd been wanting to do that one with someone all night. So I agreed to sing it with him and we hammed it up. So fun.
Then, on Sunday, Shane and I had a small holiday potluck with friends. That made me really happy, seeing everyone hanging out and talking. It was also the last thing I really get to do with Spencer before he leaves for Scotland. He'll be in Soldotna until he leaves in early February, but I won't get to see him. I think it will be a great experience for him, though. In a lot of ways I wish I had gone on exchange somewhere, but it would have cost too much and I didn't want to go somewhere without Shane. Oh well. My brother was telling me about a program that allows people to go to places like France to teach English. Maybe I'll do that at some point. Hopefully I'll do that.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

"Bringing home more dog than we came with."

Ahh, Thanksgiving weekend was exactly what we needed! It was so relaxing. I kind of feel like I did nothing but eat, which makes me feel a bit fat, but it was fun. We went bowling, we went to BJ's to play darts (twice), and I started knitting a scarf for Shane. Spencer knits, too, and Sally so we all went to JoAnn's together to get yarn and supplies. Shane is still biking to school and work, and obviously it's quite chilly out most of the time. (Not right now, though! Chinook winds, heck yeah! It's been around +30 degrees for the past two days!) Anyway, he was saying that his neck gets really cold, so he wants an orange and black scarf. So I'm making one. When completed, this will be my first successful knitting project. Usually I start knitting and end up thinking, "Crocheting is easier," and quitting. But I finally learned how to purl, so it's a bit more interesting now. I'll post pics when I'm done. The only mistake is one dropped stitch near the bottom, which I didn't notice until I was too far along to go back. Shane pointed to it and said, "What, I don't deserve a perfect scarf?" I told him, "It's a dropped stitch of love." We've been teasing each other about it ever since. "Oh yeah? When this spot is frostbitten because of that dropped stitch, I don't know if it's love I'll be feeling."
Also, one of my friends and former co-workers is forming a knitting circle with his boyfriend and he invited me. Mostly it will be people that Mike (the boyfriend) works with, who are all deaf. But Casey's a really, really good knitter so he invited me along. I'm excited. They won't start meeting until the 15th, though, and after that I go home for 2 1/2 weeks, then I'll be super busy next semester.
I figured out my classes! I'm going to take two that work toward the paralegal degree, just to see if I like it. One is online but the other is on Monday nights for three hours. Plus, I'm going to take beginning ballet. I love ballet, but haven't taken a class since I was little. When I saw it offered here, I had to do it. So that will be basically a lunch hour thing, and I'll have to work an hour longer three days a week. (I'm thinking that on Monday nights I'll be away from home from 7:30-9:00--yuck.) Plus, there's always Symphony on Tuesday nights and I was asked (and accepted) to do the FLOT (Fairbanks Light Opera Theater) production of "Sweeney Todd". I'll be getting paid for it, too! Not much, but enough to help out with some of the expenses for my brother's wedding next summer. I have a lot to look forward to, if it all doesn't drive me insane.
This is concert week, and I'm so excited. I always love our concerts, but the week leading up to it is always crazy because we have two extra three-hour rehearsals on Friday night and Saturday afternoon. But I don't mind this time because it's the holiday concert! I love Christmas music. As well as classics like "White Christmas" and "Hallelujah Chorus", we're doing most of "The Nutcracker"!! (This was another inspiring factor for taking that ballet class next semester.) It's so much fun. So fun! We're doing this with the Choir of the North and a children's choir. My friend Mitch is in Choir of the North, so it was fun to see him at rehearsal last night. He's one of the few people I know who loves Christmas and Christmas music as much as I do. We were both grinning away and having a blast. I always leave rehearsal feeling numb and energized all at once, because the music gets me really happy and excited but some of it is really hard, and three hours of practice is very draining.
Mitch invited me to go Christmas caroling with some other people, so we're going to do that in two weeks. I think that same weekend Shane and I are going to have a holiday potluck with friends, since we don't get to celebrate either Thanksgiving or Christmas with them. His parents sent us home not only with leftovers, but with a 10-pound turkey and a ham as well so we need to cook those up anyway. What better way to do it than with lots of friends to share it with? I'll also make home-made rolls and a dessert.
Is it any wonder I love this season?
One final word on Thanksgiving, the blog title is because we brought Pepper down to Soldotna with us and she got soooooooo spoiled. She ate nothing but turkey, bacon and moose meat. On Monday morning I gave her her regular little bit of kibble for breakfast and she was so excited, wagging her tail, until I put the bowl down and she saw what was in it. Slowly her tail stopped, she looked at me, then back at the bowl. Finally she sat down and started arf-ing at it quietly. "You are not what I want. Turn into turkey. Do it!" So funny. She finally ate it, but it was quite the production to let me know that she wasn't happy about it.
Ooh, and we saw a caribou on the way down to Soldotna! I was listing in my head the animals I've seen since moving up here, that I haven't (or wouldn't) see wild anywhere else: moose, caribou, beavers, river otters, bears and foxes. This is excluding all the birds (like eagles) and rabbits that I've seen, since I can see those in WA. I just think it's cool that I get to see these animals in the wild, rather than a zoo. Most of the time I see them running along or across the road. And most of the time they get a, "What the that a...?" reaction out of me, because I'm just not expecting them. (Who expects to see four river otters running across a fairly major road at 2 a.m.?)
I hope everyone else is having as happy and wonderful a holiday season as mine is starting out to be!

Monday, November 16, 2009

"Gonorrhea! That would have been amazing!"

We played Scattergories the other night with friends. Neither Shane nor I had played it before, but it was really fun. Someone rolls a die covered in letters, and whichever letter comes up is the one you use for that round. Each person has (the same) twelve categories and a minute to come up with twelve fitting words or terms starting with the letter. For one round, the letter was G. Most of the categories were really difficult, but one of them was "Things you hide". I thought of my answer and started giggling, thinking that no one else was sick enough to come up with the same thing (thereby canceling out any points I'd get). Well, apparently Shane is, and was of a similar mindset. When it got around to everyone saying their answers for that category, I said my answer and Shane immediately said, "Shit!" and threw down his pencil. Our fabulous answer? Grandparents. Since then we'll randomly look at each other and say, "Grandparents! Ugh!" As in, we came up with the same ridiculous answer! But it was so funny that Shane later called his brother and posed him the question of what would he have answered. All I heard was, "Gonorrhea! That would have been amazing!" Wow. Go Spencer.
One of the other answers that Shane thought of later (and would sound really bad out of context, even with a written explanation) goes back to last weekend, when we went to the Marlin and the game of the evening was Bad Pick-Up Lines. Everyone involved in the game had to, by the end of the evening, go up to someone and use a bad pick-up line on them. Of course, we fully expected that someone would get slapped (no one did, amazingly) and didn't expect at all that it almost led to one date, because the girl started laughing and talked to our friend for almost twenty minutes. Anyway, the lines included, "Hey, my socks are having a party. Do your pants want to come down?" And the classic, "Are you from heaven? 'Cuz you've got great cans." Some of them don't bear repeating, because those were probably the mildest ones. It was really funny.
I have a giant bruise on my hand from broomball. Like, this one is epic. Luckily, nothing was broken this time. But it gave me the impetus to find my padded gloves. It was swollen for about two days.
This past weekend was so relaxing, though. Friday night, no one wanted to go out. So Shane and I have been watching "Battlestar Galactica", and that was fun. I was also working on a Christmas present. And now I'm working on making a sweater for my dog. Shane keeps telling me that he's ashamed of me, for doing this to her. But she really needs one. Her hair is still short, and she's a small dog. In Alaska. She got really cold on our walks this weekend (we're in our first cold snap of the year--it's -18 right now) and I just felt bad for her. About halfway through the sweater (which is black, to blend in with her hair so she's not ashamed in front of the other dogs) I asked Shane, "Wouldn't it be cool if I could crochet flames along the sides?" He stopped what he was doing and just stared at me. He finally said, "I hate you so much right now." Ha! It would be amazing, and he knows it. But I don't think I can do it. Oh well.
Ok, gym time. Blech. I sometimes think that it's silly to go to the gym in winter. Standing outside in the cold burns lots of calories. Plus, in the cold, by the time I get there my legs are sore from walking through the snow and, again, the cold. But I've set my motivation and my goal to my brother's wedding next summer, so I'll keep trudging there. And I have volleyball afterward, so at least it will end with something fun.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

"I'm too used to getting humped from behind."

Halloween, of course, rocked. The party at the Pub was so much fun and we got to hang out with so many of our friends. For a lot of them, it actually ended up being quality time, too. The music wasn't too loud, the crowd wasn't standing room only, and only one in our group of friends got too drunk. Of course, that meant that his roommate and another friend that was carpooling with them had to leave by about 11:00, but that just left me and Shane with plenty of time to hang out with other people that we don't hang out with as much. Like Mitch, who was also very drunk but very funny with it. And the costumes were amazing this year. A group of guys dressed up as Tetris pieces, which was a very cool and creative costume. They must have been so awkward, but I'm sure it was worth it. I got a couple of pictures of them dancing. I dressed up like a pirate (with Hannah, who was only there for a short time because she had to work at the underage dance) and Shane recycled his costume from 80's night, calling himself That One Gay Guy from The Village People. (And yes, the joke is that they were all gay.)
At the end of the evening, because our ride home had already had to leave (see the above anecdote), we ended up walking home. Shane really wasn't looking forward to it because, thinking we'd have a ride, he hadn't brought a coat. I had my nice winter coat, but bare legs between my knee-length short pants and ankle boots. And the temperature was zero. Literally. Luckily, it's only about a fifteen minute walk home, and because I insisted that we jog part of the way we made it in about five. As soon as we got home I grabbed blankets and we wrapped ourselves up while I made hot chocolate. I had been exhausted and falling asleep before we left (three hours of symphony rehearsal will do that to a person) but the walk home woke me up. We ended up staying up to watch "The Orphan", which really wasn't worth it. I wouldn't even call it a renter. "Gothika", on the other hand, we watched with James and Lucy on Friday night and that was pretty good. Because of these movies, and all the good conversation both nights, I had two nights in a row where I stayed up until 4:00. And since weekends are for doing chores, a lot of the time, I got up before eleven both days. (I was on a time crunch.)
The other major thing this weekend was the Symphony concert. This entails three hours of rehearsal on both Friday night and Saturday afternoon the two days before the concert, and is both a lot of work and a lot of fun. The concert went very well, too, although I didn't play my best. Even though it wasn't nearly my worst, either, I can't help but know I should have done better rather than just be happy that the concert as a whole went so well. And I know that if I hadn't been so tired, I would have played better. Oh well. I did laugh at myself because in the first movement of the concerto we played (with pianist Ilya Yakuschev) the last page is split in half so that it can be turned easily during five measures of rest, since the end just goes without rest. Well, I forgot to turn the page in the rest so I when I realized that and turned it, I got lost and spent the last part of the movement pretending. Whoops.
I listen to Pandora pretty much the whole day at work (at least until my free amount each month runs out) and lately I've been listening to my Irish rock station non-stop. I love it. I just put in Flogging Molly as a band I love, and have yet to hear a song I don't like. So many of them are so rousing, too, that it makes me want to get and do something, like dance and shout or run or travel or anything but sit at my desk. I end up jiggling my leg and shifting, antsy until my walk home. Shane and I are still trying to figure out if there's any way we could get to Scotland for spring break to visit his brother on exchange. But Shane has run into some money troubles, so I don't know if we can. This month I paid his portion of the rent, which is really paying for part of his ticket to come down to Seattle over New Year's. (The only way I could persuade that proud, hard-headed boy to accept even that help was because I said he wouldn't be going anywhere other than Soldotna if he wasn't with me, and because for the first time ever I want to spend New Year's with him, so it's worth it to me.) The only reason I had to pay his rent, though, is because of all his expenses over the last couple of months, like paying for school out of pocket (which was around $500 after the tuition waiver). Not only that, but because of budget cuts the University is seriously looking into where money is going. His department was told that students aren't allowed to work on weekends anymore because there's "not enough oversight". (Utterly stupid-he's a student assistant C, which is the grade that isn't supposed to need much oversight, and it's never been a problem before.) So there goes about half of the 20 hours per week that he can work. He's thinking about getting another job, but this one was so flexible and pays the highest for student jobs, especially after he got the little raise this summer. But he got his permanent fund dividend ($1308 this year) so that will help a lot.
I'm kind of pissed that the University is doing this to him. How much more difficult do they want to make it to be a student? They've sent out several letters explaining budgetary stuff to staff, among them the rather contradictory statements that they're raising tuition next year (5% for undergrads, 10% for grads) but giving student workers a $1 per hour pay bump across the board. I just think it's funny to take with one hand and give a little less with the other while patting yourself on the back for doing something so nice.
That has actually been one of the most interesting parts of my job, is finding about all of the background stuff like budgets. Especially in the library, when the budget is by necessity so big (journals aren't cheap, and cost more per year than all of the staff and faculty combined) and it's all broken down by different departments and then into separate funds for different needs.
I'm so glad I put on my flannel lined Carharts this morning, although it's warmed up to +12. It was -10 or so this morning, and I wasn't sure if it would be another day like yesterday, when I waited at the bus stop for over 15 minutes because of a car accident. And to think, waiting in the cold is still more convenient than owning a car around here!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

"Shop around all you want, you'll never find a better penis than this one."

"We saw a play about pedophilia on our date." That was my comment when we came out of the theater, and it was perfectly true. Shane laughed. It was a good play, don't get me wrong. It was called "How I Learned to Drive", about a girl and her (unrelated) uncle, who starts molesting her when she's eleven. She's looking back in time and talking about it, with little scenes about what actually happened. Some of it was a little disturbing to watch, not because they did so much but because of what it was supposed to represent. Two of my friends were doing important behind-the-scenes roles: Fiona (Fiona!!) was doing the stage managing and Adam did the sets. So we went in part to support them. Then we went to an early dinner at (where else?) Pad Thai. I actually got something that wasn't curry. I think Shane was shocked. This is only the second time in nearly three years that we've gone there and I've gotten something other than curry. Oh, and the usual waiter wasn't there. We clearly don't go there enough anymore because the lady today was new and didn't realize that we know what we're doing. (She admonished us to really stir the tea, or it would be too sweet. I was already stirring it.) Or what we usually order. (The other lady comes out, sees us, and says, "Oh, hi! Same thing?")
It's been a good weekend, though. Yesterday we went to James' parents' house because they're out of town, and also have a sauna and hot tub. James and his sister (and Lucy, of course) had invited people over to enjoy a spa evening and for dinner. So relaxing, and just what everyone needed, I think. So many of us have been sick (I took 1 1/2 sick days this past week) that it felt amazing. Not quite as good as when it's -30, like it was last time we did this, but still great. And being under freezing, it was cool enough that coming out of the sauna, people would stand and stare at the stars for ten or so minutes, cooling off. Did I mention that his parents live waaaay out there? The Northern Lights didn't pop out until we were leaving, but they did make an appearance and I got to admire them in the car. Anyway, we jumped in the sauna after Ruth and her friends, then outside, then back in the sauna, and then into the hot tub. (Is that one word or two?) I was so relaxed that I let my legs float because it just seemed like too much effort to keep them down. And for a little bit, I used Shane's legs as an anchor. It was great. After one more excursion into the sauna, we were done for and went inside to chat. One of Ruth's friends brought over ready-to-eat cheesecake filling, graham crackers and cherry topping. That actually makes an amazing little dessert, to just smear the cheesecake stuff on the crackers and put a couple cherries on top. I had two graham halves, then looked at the nutrition label on the tub of cheesecake to stop myself from eating any more. (12 grams of fat per serving!) Such a good evening.
As I write, my kitty is dedicatedly knocking everything off my desk that he can touch his little paws to. Tonight he's finally given up on being good and has once again decided to see what he can get away with.
Also, my dog is getting horrendously fat. I know it's my fault (until yesterday, it had been a week since she last got a walk), but it's getting harder to walk her so much. Not only is it colder (not too cold, but since she got a haircut two weeks ago, I'm concerned it might be cold for her) but the sun is setting early now. Which makes walking during the week problematic. I have to go right after work or we miss our chance. I thought moving into a neighborhood would make it easier, but there are no streetlights. I know it's a good neighborhood, but I still don't trust it. There could be moose out there! And then there are the stories, like one from this summer, about a guy in Soldotna who went on a walk with his dogs and had to kill a charging bear with a .45 pistol he just happened to be carrying.... But we got two good romps around the University field in this weekend. I love being able to let go of the leash and knowing that she'll come to me when I call.
Ok, I have to go start laundry. My gym clothes stink. I can't decide if that's truly a bad thing, because it means I've been working out a lot. Or that I need more gym clothes, so that I don't have to keep wearing the same ones over and over.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

"Go, Speed Racer!"

Last night was rather perfect, for a Saturday night unexpectedly spent doing nothing much. Shane got home from playing nerd games at a friends' house and said, "I really, really don't feel well." He had a fever and said he ached all over. He also warned me, "I've been kinda surly today, so if I say something mean, I really don't mean it. I just don't feel good." He was quite pleasant, for the most part, and the few things he did say that got on my nerves were meant to be jokes. (And he apologized immediately, saying that I was an absolute angel to take care of him. Girlfriend points, oh yes.) He finally took a nap and I turned on Speed Racer, keeping one ear on Shane. He was talking in his sleep earlier this week and it made me laugh so hard. At the time, it took me a few minutes to figure out what was going on because his eyes were open and he was staring at me. He kept saying, "You need to build another path." Me: "Huh? What are you talking about?" Him: "*Sigh* You need at least six more squares of path to get to me." Me: "Hon, I asked you about dinner. What are you talking about?" Him: "I know what you're talking about. Gosh, you're so stupid if you can't get this. We can only harvest once. The zombies will get to us." Me: "Um, are you sleeping?" Him: "No! Stupid. The zombies will come and get us. You need to build a path." About this point he got up, stumbled to the bed (he'd been sleeping in his computer chair) and fell down, snoring almost immediately. I lost it and had to run into the kitchen so I wouldn't wake him up with my laughing. I told him all about it when he finally did wake up later on. I'm guessing his dream was a mix of FarmVille and Zombieland. So funny. Even him calling me stupid for not getting it. Apparently he won't take any change of subject when he's dreaming about zombies.
So, yeah. We stayed in all night last night. And it was fun. About halfway through Speed Racer I paused it to talk on the phone with my best friend. That surprised us both by being almost a 2-hour conversation, but it was a good one. And we needed it. It's been too long since we really got to talk, uninterrupted, that way.
I've made a bunch of juice and we have tons of leftovers in the fridge, just in case I get sick as well. Although, Shane says he's feeling much better today. His fever seems to have gone away and he's not sore anymore. He's still not great, but way better. I think it helps that he slept until about 3:30 this afternoon, too. I don't know how he can stand doing that. But he has both broomball (he's the captain of the team) and soccer playoffs tonight. I'm going to cheer him on for broomball, since they've got the early game (10:30) and it's against his little brother's team.
I keep feeling like there's just not enough time in the day for everything. The apartment is a mess and, honestly, it's kind of falling apart. The house was built in the sixties, and some of it hasn't been changed since then. Like the oven. When I was on the phone last night I was baking bread and the handle for the oven came off when I went to open it. When I told my roommate he said that the handle to open one of the windows in his room had broken yesterday. Luckily, the window is closed, but if he opened it he would need to close it from outside. This is added to all of our daily mess and the stuff that just never quite seems to get cleaned up. I have neither the time nor the energy lately to really want to do anything about it. Maybe I'm just lazy with the changing of the seasons. Or now that there's stuff for me to do again, I'm choosing fun things over keeping the house clean. Probably that. Oh well.
I have been making time for the gym, though. And I feel so much better because of it. And I made sure to take my dog on long walks this weekend, with plenty of running-in-the-fields time. (We go to one of the fields on campus and I drop the leash so that she can run where she pleases.) I watched her sniffing around the long grass on the sledding hill (still sadly bereft of snow, although it's finally getting colder) and thought, wow. This is what she was bred to do. She actually probably would have made a great hunting dog if I'd been inclined to train her that way. She kept coming back to me, though, and I finally told her, "Silly dog! All this time and space to run and you're sticking by my side? Go play!" It took a lot of urging to get her to budge from my side for more than thirty seconds.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

"With our powers combined we call...Plaptain Planet!"

This weekend has gone by way too quickly. It's so sad to me how soon after starting my new job that I almost constantly feel like I need a vacation. There have even been times when I wished I'd get sick because that would give me the perfect excuse to stay home all day and sleep. Working sucks. I can almost sympathize with the wife in the show "Glee" who says, "I'm just not built to work five days a week." Does it get any easier?
Anyway, Friday night was pretty chill. We went to Value Village with a bunch of people to get costumes for our Saturday night adventures, then had a few friends over here to play a card game called "Killer Bunnies". (Really fun--it's all about screwing everyone else over, and the winner is pretty random.) I tried to stay up a little late, but by midnight my eyes were closing.
I ended up waking up at 8:30 the next morning, thinking about my stupid Facebook Farmville game. I've been playing that way too much lately, mostly to counteract the boredom I've been feeling at work. Plus, Shane's started playing it and we've made it into a little contest. Although I think we're playing for different reasons: he's trying to level up faster than me and get more mastery levels, while I'm trying to get at least as many mastery levels and focusing more on the ribbons. It's pretty amusing.
Anyway, I tried to go back to sleep and was only partially successful. The kitty came to snuggle with me, though, and that was nice. He's in a very affectionate mood lately.
So I was super tired most of the day. I had to bike over to a friend's house where Shane and the guys were going to play games so that I could get Hannah's car from Spencer (this gets very convoluted, sorry) so that I could take the dog to the groomer's. I was late, then Spencer was even later, so I had to race around getting the dog and then going to the groomers.
As soon as I got back home, Lucy called. She was in a mood to bake so she came over with some ingredients and set to work. I flipped through a magazine she'd brought over and made some Amish friendship bread (didn't turn out that great, I'll try a different recipe next time). Finally, I had to go get the dog but Lucy's pie was still in the oven so she stayed here to watch over that while I went to get the dog. Instead of just dropping the dog off at home and going to get Spencer, I ended up mentioning how tired I was to Lucy and taking a quick nap when she left. By the time I woke up I had two texts from Spencer and he'd called, asking politely when I was going to bring the car back. He and Hannah wanted to go out for food. So I raced back over there, then biked home again and took Pepper for a walk. (She gets quite needy...okay, she's needy all the time, but especially after going to the vet or the groomer.)
Shane called me because he, Adam, Galloway and Dustin wanted to know about going out to dinner. We went to Tubby's BBQ, a total hole-in-the-wall place that was surprisingly good. Adam said the pork was kinda dry, and since he's a chef he explained what they should have done differently, but everyone else loved theirs.
And then came the main event: we all separated to get ready for 80's karaoke. I made my hair as big as I could (which, it turns out, is not very big) and wore a plaid mini-skirt over knee-length leggings with a plain black shirt. If I could have found some, I would totally have worn lacy half-gloves for the Madonna look. Oh well. Shane wore ripped jeans, one of my white shirts (so that it would be nice and tight), a denim vest and aviators. Hot. We looked totally hot. And most of our friends at the Pub were dressed up as well. We sang so much. Journey, Queen, Michael Jackson, "Land Down Under"....good times. Shane and Mitch did a fantastic version of "You've Lost that Lovin' Feelin'", starting with the whole "Top Gun" spiel about, "I think she's lost that feeling, Goose." It was such a fun evening. Capping it all off, we got to watch Chris be totally wasted and try to dance with a girl who obviously didn't want to dance with him. Hilarious. At the end of the evening we were taking a bunch of pictures with each other's cameras. (Casey, Galloway and I had all brought cameras.) Got some good pictures. And randomly, some drunk native guy came over to our table and sat down with us. He was being weird. Shane and Galloway left really quickly. I got a few great pictures with that guy looking totally pleased and oblivious while Casey and Shanti are making WTF faces. He ended up licking Shanti's ear. Licking it! Shanti ran off and that guy turned to me, and said something about me smiling. I got fed up and said something about going to find Shane so that we could leave, then just went to the bathroom. By the time I got back he was gone. Adam said he and Casey just started ignoring him and he left. Weird guy. He'd been table dancing earlier in the evening. And not in a funny way, in a kinda creepy, I'm-too-drunk way.
Yeah. Today we went to see "Zombieland", which is also hilarious. Then I went to the gym to obey Rule #1: Cardio. I'm too sedentary in my job and it's starting to show, so I'm trying to get to the gym several days a week. Yesterday was a bust, but I felt good about it today! I'll be sure to get to volleyball early tomorrow so that I can work out beforehand. Or after, if we have the early game. And then broomball at night! Woo-hoo!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

"Don't stop believin', hold on to that feelin'."

The most bizarre incident happened to me on Thursday night. Shane and I went to the Pub on campus the other night They had a wine tasting hosted by our upstairs neighbor, which friends were going to, so we hung out. Bruce, the neighbor, is an alcohol distributor and is allergic to alcohol (yeah, he knows how odd that is) and he's the one who gives us free beer and such, which Shane took to softball all summer and I've been using to make beer bread. Anyway, it was very informative and fun, and afterward we decided to stay until it was time to go to Shane's broomball game. Toward the end of the evening, I had to pee and went to the bathroom. Now, I've pretty much stopped carrying a purse except for special occasions because I hate keeping track of it. So I carry my important cards in my back pocket. Well, apparently the pockets on my pants were too small, because when I pulled them up, the cards fell into the toilet. I was standing there, staring at it and rapidly trying to think of what to do. Obviously, sticking my hand into a public toilet full of my urine was my last choice. I was wondering if the Pub staff would have something I could fish them out with when the toilet took even that option away from me by auto-flushing. I saw my life literally go down the toilet. My credit and debit cards, my driver's license, and my University ID. I panicked and ran out of the bathroom, which happens to be right next to the front door where two Pub girls were checking ID's. I quickly explained and asked, "What do I do?!" One of them told me, "Oh, gosh, honey, there's nothing we can do. They're gone." So I ran back into the bathroom to see if any had floated back out. Nothing. In a total daze, I went back to our table and told Shane, "You'll never guess what just happened to me." He, of course, started laughing as soon as I told him. "You'll be able to laugh about this soon, too. I'm sorry. That really does suck." So I had to call and cancel my credit and debit cards when we got home, just in case they show up and someone's desperate enough to grab them. (Hey, it's a University.) How do these things happen to me?
Luckily, the only one that will be kind of a pain to replace is my driver's license, because my car still isn't running so I'm not sure how I'll get over there to replace it.
I tried starting my car today and it made a weird thumping noise, which can't be good, and when I got out there was a slight burning smell. I'm not pleased. When I called my dad he said, "Wow, you just have the worst luck with cars." Thanks, Dad.
I started watching the show "Glee", which is fantastic. I loved it from the first moment they played Journey.
Other than this, there hasn't been much going on. Work is still boring, although my boss has finally been able to start buying some books so it will pick up just a little bit soon. Our book budget is only $15,000 which sounds like a lot, but really isn't in terms of textbooks. One set of three reference books she was hoping to get the newest edition of costs almost $1300. So not going to happen. Poor Anne has been second-guessing all of her book choices, wanting to be sure they're the right and most useful books for our library. I don't envy her that job.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

"When you love 'em, they drive you crazy because they know they can."

So much has happened this last week, and yet so little that I'm not sure what to say, really. I was invited by my brother's fiance to be one of her bridesmaids, which I'm really excited about. Not only have I never gotten to do that before, but it kind of makes the wedding seem more real. Now it's not just something that I have to get to, it's something that I get to plan for and be a part of. It's going to be really fun, I can tell.
It was also the first time I've ever spoken to said fiance, so that was cool too. She said she wanted to ask me in person, but that's kind of tough since we live so far apart. We'll meet each other at Christmas but she didn't want to wait that long to ask me.
It's been snowing here the last couple of days, but it's not really sticking. I'm not really a fan of this in-between weather because it just makes everything wet. I don't like wet. I'd rather get the first real snowfall of the year out of the way. It's much easier to dress for because then I'll know I can definitely pull out my boots. I'd feel a little silly doing it now when there's no snow.
I started catching the bus this last week in preparation for snow, too. It was sleeting last Tuesday, and when I was going home I discovered that the brakes on my bike don't work so well when they're frozen. They moved just fine, but couldn't grip the metal. That's kind of scary to discover when going downhill at a fast clip with a car behind. Especially when there's a roundabout at the bottom. I had to make a really sharp turn, and luckily didn't crash. But I decided to put the bike away for the winter. And the bus is really nice. I was so nervous the first day (I've never caught a bus in Fairbanks before), but it stops two blocks away from my apartment and drops me off right across the street from my building. Even better: the University got a grant that makes the buses free for anyone affiliated with the U. All I have to do is show my University card and I don't have to pay. Yay! I hope the grant holds out at least as long as I'm working here.
I've also been trying to figure out car stuff, too, though. I don't want a car so that I can start driving to work, but it's nice to have reliable transportation for the winter around here. Especially for those days when I'll have appointments away from campus, like for the dentist and the eye doctor. (BTW, saw the eye doctor on Friday, which was really nice. Yay, insurance!) Plus, when it's -50, will I really want to hang around for the bus? Even with a full set of longjohns on, it's cold to stand in weather like that. I could do what Brad does and just take vacation time and stay home when it's that cold, but I don't really want to have that as my main plan. I think, though, I'll probably just try to get my car running and use that through this winter so that I can build up some savings before buying a car, which would be another used one, anyway, but one that's, you know, newer than 16 years old.
On the other hand, if I bought one before Thanksgiving, we wouldn't have to rent another vehicle to get down to Shane's parents' house....
Last night was Starvation Gulch. So much fun, but it felt colder this year. Maybe the fires weren't as big? Groups of people go around town for weeks before this event begging or stealing pallets from businesses, gathering the giant cable spools if they can find them, and just generally getting wood that is great for a bonfire. Then, the day of, they build structures with them and at 10:00 that night, they get doused in gasoline and lit on fire. The fire department's bonfire this year was just a tower of pallets, but with a wooden replica of a fire truck and ladder that also caught on fire. The engineering department's had a tree on top that was supposed to be part of a catapult. I didn't hear if it was successful or not. I thought I saw something, but I was in the crowd and not able to see the fire very well. The one fraternity on campus made one in the shape of a boat that said "Tradition", which is kind of lame because of what they did. Years and years ago, the campus went dry. (Was this in the sixties or seventies?) Anyway, someone encased a beer can in concrete and wrote on it, "Here lies tradition." So it's the tradition stone, which traditionally makes an appearance at Starvation Gulch (it's hidden the rest of the year) and there's a big chase with people trying to steal it. Very fun, especially since the thing weighs hundreds of pounds and you need a truck just to cart it around. Well, the frat has it now and they only brought it to the fire for about ten minutes before the fires were even lit. People were pissed about this, because that's going against the tradition of trying to lure people into stealing it. The girl they stole it from is a friend of mine who graduated in May, as well, so she was fine passing the stone along to someone else. But, she said, she was tempted to go steal it back from them since they weren't doing it properly.
Yeah. Really it's just a big chance to celebrate, see friends you haven't seen all summer, and enjoy the beginning of the winter. Because it always snows for Starvation Gulch. I enjoyed it.
The other big thing that happened this past week feels kind of funny to just say. My dad had heart surgery to correct a collapsed artery. They put a stent in, and he says he's feeling much better. Which is the point. It's just weird because my parents, while they are definitely Old People in some ways, I really don't think of them as being old or having old people health problems. I told my dad that he at least has to live to be as old as my grandfather (who is nearing 90, despite what doctors have said in the past about how long he has to live) and my dad said, "Don't worry, your mom and I have plans for our hundredth wedding anniversary. We're going dancing." That would put them both at 121. I approve, as long as they can still dance. If my dad ever gets to be more machine than man (as he jokingly assured us he isn't yet), I'm pulling the plug. = )

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

"Put a little Blaine in it!"

They didn't get a moose. Oh well. We still have some moose meat in the freezer, so hopefully we won't run out by next hunting season.
And Shane is home! I called around 6:00 to see when he'd be home, and he said at least two hours. I bugged him to see if he was bringing home pizza from The Moose's Tooth (great pizza, and he and James were talking about stopping there for weeks before this trip). He wouldn't give me a straight answer, so I figured he was and I just had a piece of toast instead of dinner. Then, from about 8:00 onwards, I kept running to the window whenever a big truck drove onto our street. That animals knew that something was up and were very on edge. The kitten finally camped out on the table by the window, whereas Pepper jumped up every time I did to run to the window. Shane had warned me that they might end up going straight to our volleyball game, so his return was actually a surprise to me. I'd given up and gone to get changed when I heard the door open. Of course I ran out and tackled him. It even took a few minutes for him to give me my dinner--not pizza, something better. A Jersey Sub. Yum. I had just enough time to eat half of it and for us to catch up really quickly before we raced off to volleyball. Where we lost both games. But we scored in the double digits both games, and that's certainly a plus for our team. We're so bad, and it's so funny.
It was sleeting today while I was at work. And they still haven't turned on the heat in my building because of the renovations. My boss called and they said Friday. Friday! The weather report calls for sleet and snow all week and they want to wait until friggin' Friday to heat the building that was cold when it was 90 degrees outside this summer? Grr! We've been freezing.
We've been working on cleaning up some of the cataloging stuff, which confused Shane when I tried to explain all of it and would probably be boring to read about. But the short of it is, we've actually had some work to do so it's not so boring. This afternoon actually passed pretty quickly, so I was pleased.
None of the snow has stuck yet, but I'm thinking that tomorrow I should start trying to catch the bus. The biggest problem is, I don't actually know where the bus stop on my road is. I should look that up, but last time I tried the website wasn't really clear. Oh well. Trial and error it is.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

"There you go, that's for you darling."

We made pie for dinner. Cherry pie. Lucy didn't know how to make pie, and that was one of the things she wanted to do this weekend so we did. And then I didn't feel like making an actual dinner (what's the fun in cooking just for myself? Lucy didn't want food either) so we just had pie for dinner. Ruth, Lucy's sister-in-law, came over for pie as well. We watched the movie "Chocolat" (and promptly wished we'd made something chocolate for dinner instead) and had our pie.
I also managed to dig up my potatoes this morning. Yay! While I was doing it, I thought that maybe I should re-name this weekend as the hunter-gatherer weekend. I got a decent amount of potatoes, though, considering the fact that I only planted I think fifteen plants. And next year I'll have the whole garden plot to myself, I think, so I can plant more. It's cool, though, because I did red and blue potatoes. The red ones produced more and bigger potatoes, so I'll concentrate on those next year. But the blue ones make great chips so Shane will be happy.
I was also thinking, while digging up the potatoes (it's like a surprise, not knowing how many you'll get or how big they'll be!) how crazy it would be to do that and wonder if you'd have enough to feed your family through the winter. Can you imagine? I have so much respect for the pioneers. That would have been so tough.
I also gathered my tiny carrots, since there is a snow advisory out for this week. (Starvation Gulch is next weekend, and it always snows, at the latest, the night of Starvation Gulch so this is fully expected.) I do mean tiny carrots, too. I told my mom they were one- to two-bite carrots. But tiny carrots is better than no carrots. And if the guys get a moose, we can celebrate next weekend with a moose roast with my vegetables. (Actually, we'll probably do that anyway.)
And I haven't heard yet if they got a moose today. They didn't yesterday. Shane called me to ask if I was all right (different story, hold on) and said they saw plenty of cows with babies, but no legal moose yet. I'm hoping the silence today is because of all the hard work in cutting up the moose meat. (No, it's not callous. Moose live as well as any animal could expect, and hunting them is better than slaughter houses.)
Anyway, yesterday Lucy and I went for our 15 mile bike ride around Farmer's Loop. We were going to start going swimming, but decided that it would be better to bike while we can and move into the (indoor) pool when it gets too cold and snowy to bike. Since we had to stop biking earlier this summer due to smoke, and then Lucy getting married and all that entailed, this is the first time in about 2 months that we've been able to do this ride. Neither of us remembered it being as difficult as it is. The whole first eight miles is in a generally uphill direction, until finally there's one giant downhill that's so much fun and it gets way easier from there on out.
After the bike ride we watched "Cold Mountain" (so sad), then went grocery shopping and finally went back to my place to watch more chick flicks. ("Moonstruck"--so bad, I kept having to remind Lucy that it's from the 80's, because "what's with the hair??!"--and "Confessions of a Shopaholic".) I also made plum jam, for which I'm rather proud of myself. I've never made jam by myself, and haven't made it at all since about middle school, maybe earlier. I was slightly injured, though, because I had to sterilize the jars and when I was trying to get them out, boiling hot water splashed up and hit the right side of my face around my eye. Not fun. I had to ice my eyelid and cheek for most of the evening after that. It's better today, though, just slightly tender and hardly red at all. And now I have jam! I kind of feel like a hausfrau with my accomplishments for the weekend: dug up potatoes and carrots; made bread; made jam. But it was fun. I have no idea if the jam will be good at all, but I'll give some to Hannah and to Lucy if it is. (Hannah couldn't come over for pie today because she had massive amounts of homework, plus work tonight.)
Now if only I could get my animals to stop pouting because Shane is gone, all would be well.
Actually, when Shane comes back, then all will be well. I have bizarre dreams when he's not around. Like the one that woke me up yesterday morning in which he nearly got arrested for car theft and I stole toilet paper from someone who wanted to charge me $10.50 to use a bathroom. This morning was much better because I don't remember what dream woke me up, but once I woke up it was nice to snuggle with the dog. And then the kitty came in to purr at me and allow me to pet him and I got to just lie there, very content. I wish every morning could be like that.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

"You shat on my music!"

Lucy and I kicked off our Weekend Without Boys (they're off moose hunting until Monday) tonight by watching "27 Dresses". And loving it. What else we have planned for the weekend: tomorrow night I'm cheating by playing softball with guys; Saturday we're going for a bike ride (since we still can) and then watching girl movies the rest of the day; Sunday we're making plum jam, pies with Hannah, and probably watching more movies. Oh, and at some point this weekend I want to harvest my potatoes.
Lucy also found out two days ago that she can officially work in the U.S. again. Yay! She's looked so much happier. And she doesn't even have to job hunt, because the guy who owned the coffee shop she worked at told her that he'd keep a place for her. So as soon as they can work her into the schedule she'll be going to work.
I am hating work lately. It's boring, and I feel like I'm wasting my time. Part of it is because the people before me and Katherine apparently did NOTHING (literally, I've been told that several of them did nothing but watch T.V. shows online) and part of it is because of budget cuts, so we don't have as many journals to check in or as many books to add to the collection. *sigh* At least it's given me time to catch up on The Daily Show and The Colbert Report. Even that couldn't keep me entertained, although they were very funny.
And the animals, or at least one of them, have/has started pooing on things. It's hard to tell which one. I actually think it might be Zap because a) Pepper has started ringing the bells to be let out, b) there's not much poo in the litter box and c) after I discovered poo on my music tonight, Zap tried to scratch the carpet to cover it up. I'm really not happy about this development.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

"My couch pulls out, but I don't."

Yep, it was Trivia night again. Only it wasn't as fun this week, because I can't stand the guy who was running it. He's just egotistical and conceited. He'll ask general knowledge questions, but give the wrong answer. One of his questions tonight was something like, "Who was the eighth president of our nation?" The answer he gave was George Washington, based on I don't know what, but his wording was supposed to be the hint. Also, half of his questions are about Scotland because his family is Scottish, but they'll be stupid questions! "What symbol is on my family's coat of arms?" One of my favorites of all time was when he asked, "Which of these animals have I NOT eaten?" Yeah, those kinds of questions are bullshit, as far as I'm concerned. Luckily, Donald will be back to lead next week (I heart Donald!) and after that there will be the Symphony to keep me busy on Tuesday nights.
Speaking of which, despite my good intentions, I have only practiced once since our last rehearsal. !!!! It was a good practice, but, you know, these things take time.
I finally got a new battery for my car this last weekend. I biked over to a parts store nearby and when the girl at the counter saw what I was buying she said, "Wait, you didn't walk here, did you?" I said, "No, I biked." She gave me rather a funny look for that one, but I thought it was easy enough to strap the battery to the thingy (yes, thingy) on the back of my bike and get it home. It was heavy, but that didn't take long to get used to.
And now I have a running car for the first time since June! Sort of! A couple of times when I've gone out to start it, it hasn't actually started. Both times Shane has started it, it's been perfect. He keeps asking me what I'm doing wrong when I start it, and I'm wondering how it's possible to start a car wrong. We almost had an actual argument about this the other night. But the two times I've driven it, it's seemed a little funny and jumpy to me, so I really don't think it's something I'm doing. Probably it's just because it's been sitting there for three months, it's low on oil, and I should probably top off the gas tank just to be sure. On the plus side, I don't have to rely on it this winter for work. I was planning to walk over to campus and take the shuttle, but that fell through because of budget cuts and them taking away the only convenient bus routes. So I can catch a city bus. The downside to this is that I have to get up about 20 minutes earlier, and I am so not looking forward to it. I have a hard enough time getting out the door as it is. And I don't think Shane realizes that I was content to let my car be dead all summer because that forces me to bike, or use public transport. When my car runs, it's easy to be lazy. I'll just have to keep reminding myself that I'm saving over $400 by not buying a parking pass for campus, not to mention all that gas money.
Shane and I have been talking lately about what we'll do if our roommate doesn't want to keep living with us after the lease is up in Feb. He really doesn't seem to enjoy the pets that much. When we took off for the fair that weekend, I don't think he paid attention to them beyond giving Pepper some food. (Zap had plenty of food, and I asked Lucy to come over to let Pepper out.) The response: Zap used the bathtub as a litter box all weekend. Which pissed Chris off. And I can understand that, they're not his pets. But we still have to think about what we're going to do. He certainly makes enough (in the military) to live on his own, someplace more convenient to where he works (about 45 minutes away from here), and I wouldn't be surprised. He's been acting pretty oddly for the past few months, never coming out with us on weekends or anything. Actually, he doesn't really go out with anyone. He locks himself in his room and talks to his long-distance pseudo-girlfriend. Someone asked if he's depressed, and I don't think so, but I've been trying to keep an eye on him anyway.
The other big news is that Shane's computer had a meltdown. Isn't it lucky that I have a new one? Which he has basically commandeered? With my permission, but still. He's changed things around! That's why it's been so long since I've posted, I haven't really had the use of my computer. And it would still feel weird to me to spend work time blogging. Even though we have nothing else to do. I went to the Chancellor's Convocation today, and loved that it took about two hours. He had some really good things to say, too, about the goals for the University. I guess the theme for this year is sustainability. One of Shane's coworkers got to talk about her project in the greenhouses, growing vegetables for the eateries on campus, which is very cool. And one professor who spoke talked about how we're on the forefront of things like global warming. I really liked one thing he had to say: that the earth has always changed, and so we can't make our planning for the future static. We have to be adaptable to what will be, not what we want it to be. And we need to change our actions so that things change in good ways, which is why a lot of the research done on campus is so important because all of the fields of study are being integrated so that knowledge can be put to practical application. I think that's cool.
And speaking of practical application, the Borough has decided that they're going to impose a 5 cent bag tax on all plastic bags given out by companies making over 1 million/year. I actually think it's pretty cool, and am hoping that this will make me remember to bring my reusable bags more often. The money will go to fund recycling programs in the area.
Anyway, on the way back up to the office (after getting some of the free Hot Licks ice cream, of course; flavor: Nanook Nosh) I checked my mail. Shane had told me that his mom was sending me a thank you card, but he wasn't sure what for. Turns out, it's basically a thank you to me for dating him, and putting up with him. I laughed so hard. She even put in an Old Navy gift card so that I can buy something "frivolous". When I got home, of course I showed Shane. He read it and said, "Wow, thanks Mom. Glad I've got your vote of confidence." But he laughed.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

"They're just for convenience. Like hookers."

Yes, all of the blog titles are either from conversations I've had recently or are relevant to what's been happening in my life. How sad is that?
Pub Trivia started up again! And our team (Revenge of the Nerd Herd) rocked this week. We beat the next closest team by 20 points, which is especially great because usually people only win by a few points. Spencer and Hannah came with a bunch of their friends (so excited to be 21 now) to make their own team. It was a funny atmosphere, though, because we were the only one of last year's regular teams to show up, so no one else quite got our jokes. Donald was running Trivia, and we had spent an entire random evening last spring shouting, "Happy birthday, Donald!" every time we saw him, even got the band to sing "Happy Birthday" to him, and it wasn't his birthday. So one team named themselves Happy Birthday Donald, and no one else but our team got the joke. Maybe they're all too young. It's been really funny to see all the newbies, because they look so young and so excited by their new privileges. Spencer, the econ major, can't seem to wrap his head around the fact that the Pub isn't a for-profit venture but simply a safe place for people to hang out and drink if they wish to. (They had free root beer for Trivia!) All of the money they make goes to pay wages, buy more alcohol (no hard liquor), or pay for bands to play--Gangly Moose and Sweatin' Honey, hell yes!
For only the second time this summer, I missed Shane's softball game last night. Lucy and I went swimming instead, which was fun. The pool was super crowded, but Lucy reminded me, "Three weeks from now, it'll be empty. Everyone starts off strong before they get too busy." I think we're going to try to go swimming every Wednesday.
But because I missed softball, I missed Shane getting his chin split open. He called me after the second game (apparently they all played like trash and I didn't miss anything else) to tell me what had happened. It's a two inch gash right along his chin from a ball that bounced funny and just missed hitting him in the mouth. When I asked if he was going to get stitches he said, "No, we're going to the movie '9'. But if Mitch can find his stuff, he might stitch me up." Mitch is not a doctor. Mitch is going to be a doctor, but Mitch is not a doctor yet. Sometimes Shane tries my patience. And actually, having Mitch stitch him up would be better than what's happened instead, which is Shane just taping his chin closed because "you're not getting a doctor or a needle anywhere near my face". Apparently Mitch couldn't find his suture kit or whatever he was going to use. *Sigh*
I ended up mostly waiting up for Shane last night. I think I fell asleep about 20 minutes before he got home, on his side of the bed so that he'd have to wake me up and I could see the damage he'd done to himself. It doesn't look too bad, and he did have a scar there anyway. But I would feel better if he'd gotten stitched up.
Because I stayed up late, I was exhausted this morning and stopped at the Wood Center to get tea on my way to work. A friend held the bus for me, so I didn't miss my usual one, but we were later getting to my building than usual. Apparently my boss was late, too, and someone was waiting when she got there. I was only six minutes late, so she couldn't have been more than three or four minutes late, but it was enough that Katherine and I were reminded during our meeting today that we all need to be on time because otherwise we'll have patrons waiting and we don't want that. Am I allowed to be irritated by this? I'm biking further in the mornings now because the U changed the schedule of buses, making the only convenient buses run at very inconvenient times. She knows this, and also knows that I usually get to work before she does. So why am I getting scolded?
Other than that, work has just been work. I'm finding ways to stay busy, but not as busy as I'd like. I'm actually kind of worried that this job is going to put me into a pattern of doing nothing but busy work and wasting time, because there really isn't enough to do. I hope these habits don't stick, because I don't actually like wasting time. I know I should be thankful that I have a decent job (although I am starting to realize how little I get paid; it's a lot for me, but in the overall scheme of things it's not that much) but I wish we were busier. And we won't be busier until the economy recovers, which means we'll get more grant money and more donations.
The leaves are very definitely starting to fall and the air is a bit chillier today. I hope this doesn't mean that our Indian summer is over, but it probably is. In the last week the leaves have gone from slightly yellowish to falling off. Blink and you'll miss a Fairbanks autumn. They're gorgeous while they last, though. And at least the cooler weather means the bugs will be dying off soon. The gnats were horrible this year.

Monday, September 7, 2009

"Chainsaw fight!"

We had such a great weekend. Not to brag or anything, but it was fantastic. We roadtripped down to Palmer to the state fair with Shane's family. The ride down was great and fairly uneventful. We were in the motor home, so I got to learn how to play cribbage on the way down. It's actually a pretty fun game. Out of five matches, after I picked up the game, I whooped Shane twice. Once I beat him before he'd even made the turn, which made me feel pretty good.
We also got to see Denali on the way down. Not only was the mountain out in all of its glory, it was a gorgeous day. We're getting a bit of an Indian summer here, so the weather has been warm and the skies have been clear while the trees turn golden and orange. Which they do in about two days around here. So naturally I got plenty of pictures of the mountain. This is the first time since moving up here that I've really been able to see it like that. And who doesn't want to say they've seen the highest peak in North America?
When we got to Palmer that night, we were all quite tired. I don't know what it is about sitting all day that takes it out of you, but it really does. And since we'd had ready access to food all day, I wasn't particularly hungry. (Not that I ate too much, but at that point I was just done eating. Saving up for the fair.) After Shane and Steve ate (I still cannot believe how much they ate, and Shane had been eating pretty much all day) we got out the motorcycles and cruised around looking for a video store. We finally had to stop at Safeway to look in the phone book. There was a cork board right next to the pay phone with a bunch of ads and stuff, and one was for black and white cocker spaniel puppies. Shane and I stared at those pictures for so long, joking about going to get one. We both kind of wished to, but it just wasn't going to happen. So we finally found a video store and everyone agreed on a movie. "Duplicity".
When we took it back to the motor home we made up the beds. Shane and I grabbed the one Spencer had claimed for him and Hannah (it's about eight inches wider) because it had better sight of the TV. Spencer and Hannah had driven all the way to Anchorage to see the Lion King, so when they got back we told them we'd give them the big bed the next night.
After the movie turned off, the guys each took about three seconds to fall asleep. (Give or take a few.) I took only slightly longer, but poor Hannah couldn't sleep because of Shane's snoring. The next morning she told me, "I don't know how you can sleep through that!" She ended up going back to the motor home in the middle of the day to take a nap.
But we got up pretty early and, considering that there were six people, we didn't take too long to get to the fair. Sally, Steve, Shane and I rode the motorcycles while Spencer and Hannah walked. (They could have taken her car, but decided they'd rather walk.) The first order of business was to get coffee and tea for those who wished it. I was confused by the "spiced chai" they had at the coffee stand (isn't that the point of chai? to be spicy?) but it was really good. Several times during the day I said that I wanted to get more, but there was so much other good fair food that I never did. I did try rhubarb lemonade, though, at the Alaska Grown stand. That was quite delicious. Spencer said he wanted a 10,000 calorie day and just might have succeeded. (He's a skinny 21-year-old, don't worry. Eating like that won't kill him yet.) I don't think I was ever really not full all day, but it was so good! And not all of it was bad. I had two veggie gyros, not deep-fried.
We only went on a few rides, but they were fun. Except the Gravitron. Four of us went on that (Shane, Spencer, Tony, and me) and when we got off we all felt dizzy and nauseous. Shane and I came to the same conclusion: not as fun as it had been when we were younger.
We spent most of the day just walking around. The guys went to play mini golf so we girls went to go look at the livestock. Before we left Hannah said, "Whoever wins between Spencer and Shane gets the big bed." Shane took the bet, even though Spencer golfs all the time, because what did he have to lose? Poor Hannah thought she was betting on a sure thing and it turns out Shane kicked Spencer's butt. It was hilarious. And of course, Shane rubbed it in that night. "Hey Spencer, how does that small bed feel again? What? You don't get to stretch out like this?"
The livestock was neat. There was a pregnant cow, who was absolutely enormous and looked incredibly uncomfortable lying there with her stomach moving as the calf did. We all made some sort of comment to her, about how she had our respect. I mean, even if/when I have a kid someday, it's not going to come out with hooves and it won't be as proportionately as large as a calf is.
There was also a 950 pound pig who had given birth to ten piglets during the fair. They were so cute! I love watching litters of things, the way they all sleep tangled up and when they wake up to eat they stomp all over each other. So funny.
We went to a woodsman show, which was corny but entertaining. The jokes were scripted, but the skills were real and that was the fun part. That and when they wanted to settle a supposed argument about one guy stealing another's girlfriend the announcer said, "Oh we'll have to settle this the good old-fashioned way." The "wronged" guy said, "All right. Chainsaw fight!" The idea of that was thoroughly amusing. When they did the climb up the two posts, one of the guys got a 2/3 lead, and the other guy still won. Some guy in front of us said, "Holy crap, he's like a spider monkey!"
Finally, in the evening, we went to the Sluice Box (the beer tent) to see Hobo Jim playing. He's the Alaska State Bard, and he's incredible to watch. Really funny and fun. I love seeing him perform.
The perfect ending to the perfect day, however, was our romantic ferris wheel ride. I dragged Shane (with much protesting) away from Hobo Jim to go get on the ferris wheel before the fair closed. We ran to the bathrooms first, and while we were in there Shane watched some four-year-old kid pull the fire alarm. (His dad had been washing his hands and saying, "Don't you do that. Don't you touch that. Dammit!") Great start to our romantic ride, right? It gets better. We waited in line for two full rides, and finally got on. Now, I'm terrified of ferris wheels simply because they don't feel that stable to me. So Shane was making fun of me for this, a lot. And rocking the car, and just generally being a pain in the butt so I was wondering why I had ever thought it would be a good idea. But I wanted a picture of the fair all lit up at night, and I got it. Beautiful. And the moon was up, making it even prettier.
The real fun was when we were about to get off. Somebody threw up, and then threw up on the operator when he was getting off. So the operator ran off to the bathroom and the guy who replaced him obviously had no clue what to do. So we went around, and stopped, and went around some more, and waited more.... It took about half an hour to get off the ride. And we were freezing! Now matter how pretty the day is, it's still autumn in Alaska and the temperature was probably only in the forties. So it was so cold, and Shane's parents were waiting for us (not only did they have my helmet for the motorcycle, but Shane only has a permit so he has to be within a certain distance of a licensed motorcycle driver), and we really just wanted to get off. We were laughing so hard at our horrible luck, because it was so awful.
On the ride home today, there was one moment that did seem like the perfect ending to the weekend that I'd been looking for. I was tired on the ride, but not sleepy, so I laid down in the back seat with my head on Shane's thigh. We had good music playing, and I could feel the sunshine on my face, and Shane was running his fingers through my hair, and it just felt like everything was right. It was a great weekend.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

"Even my henchmen think I'm crazy, so I can see why you would too."

As early as it is, autumn seems to be in full swing around here. I came to the conclusion last year that Alaska forces people to live in a squirrely kind of way. Everyone up here has a "get-it-while-you-can" attitude, because for so much of the year it's either not possible to get something or it's just too expensive. So I've started my yearly stockpile of goods. Blueberries have actually been in season so I've bought several flats of them at the grocery store. After eating our fill (and making ourselves sick) I've frozen the rest. I've also been freezing as much of my zucchini as possible so that we don't have to pay the outlandish prices for these during the winter. Shane's family will be here this week and they'll bring up more fish and rhubarb for us, which is a little more exciting to me than by rights it should be. Oh well. I think that next summer I want to try canning things, and I may at some point look into how to make cheese. (I've heard that soft cheeses are actually really easy.)
Because of the new season, things are actually gearing up around here. Fairbanks is a true college town, with a large portion of the city depending in some way on the University. Classes start this coming week and students are showing up. At my library, we're going to have to gear up to register new patrons and deal with plenty of questions. Plus, I'll have to start taking a lunch so the portion of my day spent away from home will be an hour longer. I feel bad for my animals because they get really bored in my apartment. At least they have each other. They might ignore each other when we're home, but if I surprise them when I come home they're almost always snuggled up with each other.
The new semester also means that my guy's little brother will be crashing on our couch at least a few nights a week. He'll pay a small amount of rent and help out with utilities and food and chores. And he's a really sweet guy, so it'll be very fun to have him around. I'm looking forward to it.
The guys are planning a moose hunting trip for sometime in late September. Shane invited me, but I told him to go have a guys' weekend. He looked a little relieved, and that amused me. I really hope they get something, both because the meat would be fantastic and because I know it would make them really happy.
I'm going to stay up way too late tonight because the U's gym is having an all-nighter, which includes broomball. Since we haven't gotten to play in over four months, we'll all be rusty but it will be so much fun! I'm excited for it. I enjoy winter, and broomball seems to be the icing on the cake. I've missed it. Say what you will about how long and cold winters are around here. We've found ways to make them enjoyable.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

"Can you get STDs from a vampire?"

It's been months since I kept a blog or a diary or something, and I missed it. So, this.
Where to start, though? It's been such an up-and-down year. Mostly up, and I don't want to dwell on the down.
I moved out of the dry cabin in Febuary, and I actually miss it sometimes. Mostly when it's my turn to clean the bathroom, but at other times too. I have to remind myself how hard it was in January when the temperature outside was -50 for over a week and the cabin's heater couldn't even keep the inside temp to +60 because it was so poorly insulated. Shane was gone, too, which didn't help. The dog and I huddled under blankets for warmth and there were several nights that I cried myself to sleep. When it's that cold and almost constantly dark, everything seems pretty hopeless.
But now that we're in a nice, warm apartment (with running water!) I can remember the good things about the cabin. And as much as I like my roommate, I did very much enjoy that Shane and I had our own place. The only downside to our current place is that we don't have as much room or as much alone time. Oh well. I remind myself that we now have a dishwasher and I feel better again.
I graduated in May, which was exciting. I was so happy to have (most of) my family here for about a week. My brothers crashed in my living room and we all had a blast. I had a hard time coming up with family-friendly things to do in town, which amused me. But my parents enjoyed driving around and seeing what had changed in the 21 years since they moved away.
I found out soon after graduation that I got a job. A good job. It's actually, at least in my mind, my first grown-up job with benefits and all. Now that the newness has worn off, though, I'm a little disappointed. There's not so much for me to do right now (I get the feeling they're not used to people working as quickly as I habitually do) so I've been doing a lot of busy work, like making spreadsheets of different data about the library. I'm hoping it all picks up a lot when the new semester starts in a couple of weeks.
There have been some amazing moments this summer, though. I went to Hawaii in June for a wedding and that was incredible. If you've never been, go to the island of Kauai. It was gorgeous. There are chickens and cats running free all over the island. (The chickens were brought in originally for cock fighting, while the cats were brought in to try to control the rats that were brought in by whaling ships. None of them has any natural predators on the island.) On the island we got to go ziplining (I can't believe I've never done that before!) and skydiving, which I've wanted to do for years. It was amazing. For weeks afterward, whenever I thought about it, I got the sensation in my chest that I had when we jumped out of the plane. (My first thought was, "No! Wait! Put me back! I don't want to anymore!") When I told my mom about it, she shocked me by saying that she always thought it would be fun. I would never have guessed that about her. So I told her that one day we'll go skydiving together. I think that would be great.
So there you have it. My year up to this point.