C'est un blague.

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  • Saturday, May 31, 2008

    Oooh nooooo!

    My cluster map is scheduled to be archived on June 14th... which means all my red dots will disappear. Like a teenager who has suddenly discovered acne medicine.

    I'll miss my dots. How am I ever going to get someone from Iceland to visit my blog again???



    Tagged in perpetuity?

    Scooter writes that he has tagged me in perpetuity for all memes he posts. I just wanna know, does this mean we're going steady? If so, where's my ring?

    He then posted a meme, which wasn't too interesting (sorry, Scooter), so like all fickle partners in perpetuity, I'm skipping it. But then he posted another one, which is right up my ally... so here goes.

    Craft Meme - pass it along to anyone you know who has ever crafted, attempted to craft, or been the victim of a driveby crafting.

    Do you knit?
    Not really. I can do the very basics, but I have never finished anything. So I dabble at knitting, but not with any great regularity or success.

    Do you sew?
    Again, sorta. I know how to do the basics and have made simple costumes and clothes in the past, but I can't do anything fancy. I have decided that I might like to learn for real, though. I even put a sewing machine on my wedding registry. It's definitely the most "domestic" thing on there... right next to the Wii.

    Don't look it up. Don't. Look. It. Up. If you're reading this on someone else's blog, do this part mentally before continuing on. Define the following terms, and when you're done, put the answers at the very bottom of this meme: tatting, flocking, kerf and selvedge - make up a definition if you don't know. Add a crafting term you think is uncommon, but which you know, to the list for others to define.
    Okay, see below.

    What's your favorite craft store?
    Michael's, AC Moore or any number of online stores. I don't have favorites, but these are ones I frequent.

    Do you have a crafting hobby that is not knitting or sewing (what)?
    I used to do pottery, evidence of which is strewn around my house and those of family members. Also, I have taken clases in fused glass jewelry-making and stained glass window-making. I have painted flower pots, made paper, refinished furniture (as in stripped them and restained but also re-upholstered), made simple beaded jewelry (mostly earrings and necklaces)... hmmm, what else? Let me look around my house for a sec, and I may come up with more.

    Have you ever latch hooked anything? Is it still on display somewhere?
    Yes. And no. I never finished the panda rug that I started in about 3rd grade.

    Doll crafting. Why do they do it?
    'Cuz they're purty? My grandma does that.

    What was your favorite craft hobby as a child?

    Do you admit to crafting, or do you call it something else (like DIY)?
    Absolutely. I think it's a genetic thing. My mom did it. My grandmother (father's mother) all but made an industry out of it. My dad did the male version of it -- home projects that take large machines. I've even gotten SM to do some crafty stuff, and crafty just ain't his style.

    List everything you've tried from a crafting perspective.
    I don't think I can. It was be a very long list. The stuff I listed above... some woodworking. Painting (poorly). Needlepoint and some embroidery. Leatherwork (made a bag, and still have a large piece of uncut leather upstairs). Soap-making. Does photography count or is that more art than craft? I'm sure there's more because I like doing this kinda stuff. [Adding later, I've also made pine cone wreaths, pillows, and done some woodworking...]

    Ever been injured while crafting?
    Probably. Especially when working with glass. Them little shards are mighty pointy and painful when they jab ya'.

    Has anything you've crafted been displayed at a state fair, regional fair, county fair, 4-H meeting, or similar event?
    Does my mother's fridge count? No? Then, I'd have to answer probably not.

    Have you ever worn anything you bought at a crafting fair? (or anything someone bought you at a crafting fair)?
    Sure. Jewelry. Knit or woven items.

    What's the most interesting thing you've ever crafted?
    Interesting to me or others? Hard to say. Perhaps some of the jewelry?

    Have you ever sold your crafts?

    Have you given your crafts to others?
    Oh yea. My stuff is all over. Mostly the pottery 'cuz that was actually not too bad. [And pine cone wreaths -- I made a bunch one year for Christmas.]

    If you could instantly gain a crafting ability what would it be?
    Carving. And possibly sewing.

    And what would you make?

    For whom?
    Me, of course.

    Do you have a relative who has crafted something that's considered a family (or personal) treasure?
    Oh yea. My grandmother has made Japanese dolls, ripped paper pictures (another traditional Japanese art, chigirie), and a bunch of other Japanese traditional arts/crafts which I cannot really describe and don't even know the Japanese names. She has also painted. We have an abstract painting she made in the 1950s hanging in our livingroom. My mom used to silkscreen all of our Christmas cards for years. She would design and print them. I have to say, they were really amazing. In fact, she has done pretty much every kind of craft under the sun: ceramics, dried flower pictures, flower-arranging, candle-making, paper mache, sculpting, painting, sewing, crocheting... you name it. She was a crafting maniac (not so much anymore) -- and really very good at all of it. SM's stepmother is a quilter, and I bet we get one for an anniversary or something. My mom used to sew (she made her own wedding dress and that of my aunt, too), but I don't have any clothes she made because I stopped wearing them when polyester knit when out of style. SM's grandfather also made him a bookcase. My grandmother made my mother a wood box for her silverware. I told her I want it when she no longer needs it. There may be more. Like I said, many people in my family are really crafty, but only as a hobby.

    Before you look, how many pictures do you suspect are listed by Google related to the craft of sock monkeys?
    Where did you come up with that question, Scooter? And why?

    Explain your personal, presumably ad hoc, opinion about people who virtually craft in virtual worlds (like World of Warcraft)? Is it crafting?
    No. I am not even sure what that is, but if it's virtual, it's not crafting.

    You're trapped in Bill Murray's Groundhog Day. What crafting skill would you refuse to learn despite having infinite time to learn it?
    Cross-stitch. Too much work and painstaking attention for very little progress. I mean, it takes hours to produce a few inches. I'm not patient enough for that. I need more bang for my buck. I need greater demonstrable results for my effort. That's why I like stuff like pottery. You can see what you make fairly quickly.

    1. tatting - it has something to do with needlework, but I don't know what.
    2. flocking - isn't that what seagulls do?
    3. kerf - what a group of Smurfs are called... ya' like "a pride of lions; a gaggle of geese; a kerf of Smurfs".
    4. selvedge - the state of self-imposed servitude you feel because you must complete a craft project that you've started.

    And here's my addition:
    5. crewelwork - something my mother used to do when I was a child (true statement).

    I tag all of my crafty blogger friends --like Zuska... I know there are more of you out there!

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    Thursday, May 29, 2008

    I was amused and appalled...

    And I really hope that I don't end up with a story to add to this list..!

    One of my favorites?
    Another egregious money story started in a Las Vegas wedding chapel. The bride and groom decided to go it alone and didn't invite any guests. Then the bride's cousin decided to get married. A friend of the cousin was throwing her a bridal shower. So how did the bride who had no guests at her wedding respond? Since she never had a bridal shower, she suggested that everyone at her cousin's shower bring a gift for her, too.
    Tacky, tacky.

    But sadly, I heard a story that can top all of those... Stop me if I've blogged about this before because I don't remember.

    Well, either way, here goes... A colleague told me about a long-ago friend of hers who got married here in the DC-metro area, which is far from her hometown on the other side of the country, but very close her to fiance's in Montgomery County. Fiance's family kinda took over the planning of the wedding and wouldn't let the bride be involved at all. Check that. She got to invite her family and pick out her wedding dress. I think that was it.

    It wasn't that she didn't want to plan her wedding or found it too hard being so far from her family and support system. The groom's family would. not. let. her. be. involved. Scary, eh?

    So, the planning went along, and the day of the big event arrived. Just before the nuptials, the groom's father pulled the groom aside and showed him a ledger. In that ledger was every dime the family had spent on the groom, meticulously recorded from pretty much the moment he was born. All of his clothing costs, tuition and other educational expenses, and, of course, the wedding, among other things.

    Father dearest then went on to inform HIS SON that he expected him to pay back every single cent. Father dearest's rationale was that he had sacrificed all his life for his son, and now that his son was independent, he expected him to support him through retirement for the rest of his life. Yup, basically, Father dearest had banked on his son as an investment to draw out as a pension. Father dearest had even devised a payment schedule.

    And he told him this, right before his wedding.

    And, of course, groom immediately told bride who promptly burst into tears, right before the wedding.

    What would you do? I mean, after throwing up from disgust?

    From what I understand, they did get married and they are paying Father Dearest back, despite the incredible hardship it was placed on them.

    I can't say that that would have been my choice. Fortunately for me, I won't be faced with that one. Nor, hopefully, some listed in the article I linked to above.

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    Wednesday, May 28, 2008

    And this outta TCM? Wow, whodda thunk it?

    TCM examines how films portray Asians, so reports the Denver Post.

    "Race and Hollywood: Asian Images in Film" runs Tuesday and Thursday nights at 6 on TCM, beginning June 3 with silent films. "The Cheat," from 1915, starring Sessue Hayakawa, the first Asian-American film star, begins the 35- film lineup.

    I'd check my local listings, but sadly, I think TCM is one of the premium channels which we don't get.


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    If CNN says so, then it must be true... right?

    There seem to be physiological explanations why men and women act differently, or so says this article on CNN.

    Actually, it mostly read true to me.


    Tuesday, May 27, 2008

    Because I haven't memed in a while.

    This is from Scooter, who didn't tag me or anyone specifically. Just everyone generally. Like sneezing into a crowd and spreading germs indiscriminately.

    Or something like that.

    Seven random facts leading to tag seven others. Kinda like a pyramid scheme. Like Scooter, I shall not tag anyone specifically because, frankly, I doubt that I have seven readers.

    So here are seven random, supposedly previously undisclosed facts about moi. And, oh, I almost forgot... Scooter wants factoid number 7 to be somehow related to the number 7. Okie doke.

    1. My left leg, left foot, left boob but right hand are bigger than their equivalent parts on the other side. (How's that for random, Scooter?)

    2. The first rock concert I ever went to was the Police. I was in junior high school and went because my friend's older brother got tickets.

    3. I have driven a car in the United States, Canada, Japan and Jordan.

    4. I like Coke but not Pepsi.

    5. I can say swear words in Arabic.

    6. If I had more money than I needed -- and I mean excessively extra cash -- I would buy a few antique cars. And by that, I am not referring to my beautiful and soon to be classic 1988 Toyota Corolla GTS. I just love the old Ford Model Ts (and other similar vintage cars), the classic Thunderbirds, cars with fins, etc. Oooh, would that be fun.

    7. I got my ears pierced when I was seven, but only after begging my mom to let me get them done.

    And there ya' have it.


    Why is it that...

    most Americans, particularly those in the DC-metro area, view the bicycle as a hobby, recreational activity or sport rather than a mode of transportation?

    Japan, China, Europe, places where either the car or the gas is all but unaffordable all use the ol' two-wheeler to get around. We don't. Maybe it's time we started thinking of the bike that way.

    I'm jest sayin'.


    Friday, May 23, 2008

    The sad, sad truth.

    I took the Gidgester out for a walk yesterday, and since it was a gorgeous night and I was wearing my running shoes and sweats, I decided to jog a few blocks with her to see if she'd be a good "running" buddy (ha! like I actually ever run!). I decided to go only a few blocks because I wasn't sporting a sports bra, and lemme tell you, I need all the help I can get to defy gravity.

    As it turns out, the boob jiggle factor (or in my case, bounce factor) -- gosh, how many hits am I going to get because of that content? -- was not the problem. Of course, I could have used a bra with better "strap-em-in/lash-em-down" strength, but it wasn't too, too bad. I had assumed they would cause problems, but they didn't. Which isn't to say I didn't have problems. Jiggle problems. With other parts.

    No, not my ass.

    It turns out that my love handles jiggle when I jog. I never really thought about whether I had them, but I guess I do. Because they were jiggling, bouncing, and generally making their presence known as I tried to jog along.


    It was slightly uncomfortable, physically. The realization was even more psychologically uncomfortable -- because if my boobs, which are one of my larger assets, didn't cause a bounce problem but my love handles did, well, hell, how big are they anyway? Jeez.

    Do they make bras for love handles? Ya' know, I'm not even sure I want to know the answer to that.

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    Why oh why oh why???

    Why do I have the song from Yentl going through my head?

    Give me back Indiana Jones!

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    I have joined the ranks

    of those who feel slightly too old to be on Facebook but are anyway. I also have a Friendster account and one on Plaxo (which is more like an online address book). I think I may have registered on MySpace too, but if so, it was to peruse rather than use the site. I definitely don't have any content up there.

    I know that employers often check these sites when interviewing job applicants. I know this because my current office did, and they found me, as well as other candidates they were considering. They even told me that they dinked a candidate because his MySpace/Facebook page undermined his credibility, and they couldn't take him seriously after seeing his pictures. Oops.

    Even though I have these accounts, I don't actually maintain a huge online presence. This blog, which is hopefully googlenymous, and those sites, which can only be accessed by friends or those in my network. Of course, there is plenty out there about me from previous jobs -- public statements, accomplishments, etc. -- but nothing inappropriate or unprofessional. I make it a habit to google myself periodically to see what is out there. And if I ever decide to look for another job, I will definitely make sure that my networking pages are private. Not that there's anything embarassing on them -- because, like I said, I am just slightly (wink, wink) too old but way too uncool for it all.


    Thursday, May 22, 2008

    New York Times Sunday Magazine cover article...

    About blogging and privacy and what happened when it became more than a hobby and more than a career.

    Read it. Interesting stuff.

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    Wednesday, May 21, 2008

    For your compulsive pleasure...

    Having made repeat appearances over the course of the past week and currently running through my head: the theme from Indiana Jones.

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    The 2008 Great Beer Run

    As in, folks from across the country have agreed (at least preliminarily) to haul cases of Fat Tire over miles of highway for my wedding reception. One is schlepping da' stuff from Iowa, a mere 843 miles, but the other is hauling case from Minnesota, 1106 miles. I don't know how much either car will in reality be able to carry, but anything is more than what I have now, which is nothing. So I'm immensely grateful. THANK YOU.

    And I guess this all means that the beer is going to be among the farthest-travelled for the reception. Heh.

    Remember, shhhh! It's a surprise for SM!

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    Tuesday, May 20, 2008

    The Pudge Report

    + 2 pounds. 17 TG.



    Monday, May 19, 2008

    Monday morning haiku

    Showers everyday.
    If not rain, then it's pollen.
    Both make me grumpy.


    Sunday, May 18, 2008

    Most insulting response yet.

    So we're having our engagement BBQ next weekend. My college roommate could not make the wedding. She was so disappointed (I guess because she had been waiting that long for me to get legal) that she said that she would definitely want to come to any other event we were organizing around the wedding -- an engagement party or shower, if we were having one.

    I hadn't even considered having an engagement party.

    But we wanted to see her and celebrate with her, so we decided to do an engagement BBQ. We chose the long Memorial Day weekend, which meant a bunch of local folks who were skipping town for the weekend would not make it, but it also meant that out-of-towners could.

    So that's next weekend.

    We're still getting RSVPs as folks make up their minds and their schedules. The most insulting response I've gotten so far to our invitation? Someone who may not be able to attend because she may have to clean out her father's storage unit. No, it's not a definite plan that's she's already committed to. Nothing like that. It's just something that she may be doing that day.

    I guess because she had nothing better to do, like, say, attend an engagement BBQ? Jeez.


    Thursday, May 15, 2008

    Woo, woo, woo, woo, woo California!

    The WaPo reports... The California Supreme Court overturned a ban on same-sex marriages Thursday, potentially creating the second state in the nation to allow same-sex couples to wed.


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    Hey, do I know you?

    No? Well, in that case, can you bring me several cases of Fat Tire?

    Yes, I am reaching out to any and all in my quest for the Tubby Tube. So far, I have spoken to a coupla' folks who may be able to help with my special delivery... neither of whom I have ever met.

    Ahh, the kindness of strangers.

    Maybe beer is bonding that way?

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    I couldn't agree more.

    I have always believed that we as a country still accept sexism while reviling racism. Sexism is still the "soft" prejudice that we can get away with. We may eschew both -isms, but our collective actions and tolerance levels speak louder than words. Sexist jokes are funny but racist jokes are not. And I am also guilty of this, laughing at a joke based in sexism.

    But, as sad as I am that engaged in such behavior, I admit it. And won't make the mistake again. Permitting it is the same as promoting it. With that admission, I must agree with Marie Cocco's op-ed in the Post today. I have been disgusted, just disgusted at the blatant sexism that has not only been permitted in this campaign but also promoted by the media.


    If you don't like Hillary because of her politics or policy positions or her smarts or her perceived fakeness or even because of her religion, that's fine and fair -- so long as you are using the same standards to assess the other candidates. Judge the men on their politics, policy positions, smarts, sincerely and/or religion too.

    If, however, you don't like Hillary because you think she's a bitch or shrill or too ambitious or because she somehow let down women everywhere by not dumping Bill and her marriage during the Lewinsky scandal, then you are judging her against a prejudiced standard. Men can't be "bitches", and when is the last time you heard a man called out for being "too ambitious"? (And what exactly do those things have to do with being President anyway?) That's just sexist.

    And if you're okay with that, then fine. But at least admit it.


    Wanted: Fat Tire

    As in the beer. I want it. Well, actually SM wants it. I want it for SM. For our wedding reception. It's his absolute favorite beer. I mean F-A-V-E, fave.

    Sadly for us and thousands of other Fat Tire fans, the New Belgium Brewery in Colorado does not distribute Fat Tire to the East Coast. We cannot get it. No how, no way. And we can't order it from the brewery directly. The closest state that sells is Illinois, a mere 12 hour drive from here. Other options include New Mexico, Arizona, Texas, Montana, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Wyoming, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Iowa, and Minnesota.


    Not very helpful.

    I want to buy many many cases of Fat Tire for SM for a surprise at the reception. Even though I have friends and contacts in the above states, I am thwarted by the cost of shipping (because beer is heavy, man!), as well as potential entanglements because of state alcohol laws regarding shipping. I am actually considering a 12-hour road trip just to buy beer.

    That's kinda funny. 40 years old and taking a 12-hour road trip just to buy beer. Heh.

    But I'm considering it so that I can get it for SM for the wedding. Because he loves it that much, and I want to surprise him. I don't know when I'll be able to do it though because I still have to actually plan the wedding. Maybe over the 4th of July weekend? Who knows.

    So, does anyone have any good suggestions for how to get Fat Tire to the East Coast? Or, anyone planning a road trip to DC or anywhere near DC (I'll meet you!) before August 9th and would like to fill their trunk with Fat Tire for me and my future hubby?

    Otherwise, we may have to serve a lesser beer at the reception. ::gasp!::

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    Wednesday, May 14, 2008

    I know you're jealous...

    I actually used the term "bootstrap" in a motion today referring to opposing counsel's improper attempt to include an argument on the merits in a procedural motion.



    The Pudge Report

    Okay, I admit it. I completely and deliberately blew off my weigh-in yesterday. I knew it was due, and I didn't wanna do it. I had had a bad week in terms of eating and feeling good about myself, and I thought the number would be bad news. I was a chicken.

    But then I gave myself a good, stern talking to. I reminded myself that accountability was as important in the process as the weight loss. Without accountability, I would never be able to take and keep off the weight. It has been my lack of accountability that gave me the space to gain the weight in the first (second, third, fourth and fifth) place(s). If I don't own up to the consequences of my eating and non-exercising habits, well, then, I might as well officially give up because that is what I would in essence be doing anyway.

    So I got on the scale this morning.

    Officially, I'm at 15.5 TG, which is -29 pounds. And back in the right direction. I still have yet to break and stay over the -30 mark (I've broken it but reverted back). I still have the goal of ten or fifteen more pounds by August. But then again, I've been saying that since January. So much for my accountability on that front, eh?

    Now that the weather is mostly better, I need to put up or shut up, not give up.


    Monday, May 12, 2008

    Well, hell.

    The Post Office is screwing with my life, again. Goddammit.

    Did you know that first class postage went up by one cent today? I sure as hell didn't.

    Okay, aside from the extra penny it will cost you to mail stuff, not such a big deal, right?

    Um, wrong. It is a big deal when you're in the middle of sending out wedding invitations to approximately one hundred and sixty guests.

    Okay (you're thinking). All you need to do is buy the one cent stamp to add to the envelope. No biggie.

    Um, yeah... if it were only that simple. What about all of those invitations that I've already sent with the response cards with now-the-wrong-return-postage? Do you think everyone is going to know to add a penny stamp?

    Oh yeah, there is that.

    And if not, will my friends and family be smart enough to put their return addresses on the reply card such that when there isn't enough postage, the card will be returned to them for the one penny more?

    I see your point.

    Or, is it more likely that all of those reply cards, without the proper postage, will end up in the dead letter file (for lack of a return address) or will (if I'm lucky) be delivered to me, postage due?

    You're screwed, man.

    So not only do I need to get more stamps for the invitations and reply cards that I still need to send (which isn't many), but now I'm gonna have to worry whether or not my friends and relatives are smart enough to add the extra postage to the reply.

    Yeah, not counting on that.


    The guvment is messin' wit' my weddin', yo!

    Yeah, you're definitely screwed.

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    Monday morning haiku

    Why today just sucks:
    It’s Monday. Cold rain. Wet shoes.
    And fed-up with work.

    That's my mood. You may not want to come near me or I could snap at you or growl or just generally grump in your direction.

    (Aren't I just lovely? Grrr....)


    Thursday, May 08, 2008

    Learning English and Japanese from my Peruvian colleague.

    So a colleague of mine asked me this morning if I knew the etymology of the word "tycoon." I didn't, so he explained.

    "Tycoon" comes from the Japanese word "taikun" (which is pronounced similarly to tycoon), meaning essentially "big man". The Japanese characters are 大君 (たいくん, taikun), a title for the shogun.

    Kewl, eh?

    He learned it because his kid's school included it as part of their lessons/announcements/PSAs to celebrate Asian Pacific American heritage month.

    I was impressed.

    I told him about "honcho" (as in "head honcho"), but that was the best I could do. I think a tycoon bests a honcho any day.

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    Tuesday, May 06, 2008

    The Pudge Report

    Stasis. 16.5 # TG.

    Considering how poorly I ate this week, I'm okay with that.

    (Notice this looping refrain? I need to break outta this.)


    Monday, May 05, 2008


    Based on my entries of late, you would think that my brain is solely focused on wedding stuff.

    If only.

    Then I'd be done with everything I need to do for the wedding. Oh well.

    It's just that the rest of the stuff going on in my life isn't even interesting to me, so how could they possibly be blog-worthy? They just aren't.

    Um, let's see... what else? I'm not travelling at all this month, which makes me incredibly happy. In June, I'm off to NYC for a day. July involves a trip to Salt Lake City. August may be San Francisco again, if I decide to go. That's about it. And no, none of those are honeymoon or even mini-moon trips, although I may take SM to SF with me because that trip is the weekend after our wedding.

    See? There just ain't anything interesting going on over here.

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    The ring is ready.

    I had my grandmother's band (the platinum one with the little diamonds) resized... well, I took it in at the end of January to a friend of my grandmother's who is a jeweler (yes, my grandmother essentially has her own personal jeweler -- that there tells you a whole lot about her) to have it resized.

    She told me it might take several weeks/a month to do, and I told her we weren't in any rush (back in January).

    But I never heard back from her.

    Being that it's May, I thought that maybe I should follow-up on this. So I called her last week. But I didn't hear back from her.

    I started having all sorts of horror stories run through my head -- that she lost it, etc. Ugh, I don't know who that would be the worst for -- me, my grandmother or the jeweler.

    Actually, I know my grandmother would be disappointed, but at this point in her widowhood, 44 years after my grandfather died, she still speaks unkindly of him. I'm thinking that she doesn't put much sentimental value in the ring.

    Me? I haven't had time to invest sentimental value in the ring, other than as an heirloom. But given my grandmother's loving memories of my grandfather (who died before I was born), well, I haven't invested too much sentiment in the ring. Heck, I haven't even worn it yet because my grandmother's finger was a size 5. HA! NOTHING on me is a size 5.

    So, I have to say, that if something had happened to the ring, I think the jeweler would have been the most devastated. After all, it is the ring of one of her old friends and long-term customers.

    But I finally did talk to her today, and yes, she has it. It's all done. I can pick it up any time this week.

    I'm actually pretty excited about getting it and trying it on with my rock. The two rings won't match at all, other than both of them being made from platinum. The designs are oh, so different, and they are different widths. But I'm sure they'll look okay together. After all, since when have I cared about anything matching?

    Next, SM's ring.

    He doesn't want a thick band. And most men's bands are quite thick. He wants something on the order of 4 mm, which is about half the width of most bands on the market.

    And I want him to incorporate the infinity design on the ring (ya' know, in keeping with the 8.8.8 thing). But he doesn't want anything too fancy or obvious or gaudy or noticeable.

    So, we're special-ordering his ring. It will fit all of our specifications, and kewl, it will be made of aerospace quality titanium, which is fun because SM's background is in aerospace engineering.

    Here is the ring -- but imagine it without the coloring in the etching (it will be plain) and in a narrow width.

    So, our rings will be vastly different. Originally, SM had wanted them to match, but I think it's better that we each have something that has meaning to us (other than because, duh, they're our wedding bands).

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    Monday morning haiku

    Ideas swarm my brain...
    None of them five, seven, five.
    No haiku today.


    Saturday, May 03, 2008

    What a gorgeous day!

    SM spent the afternoon working on the yard, mowing the lawn, weeding, etc.

    I, on the other hand, failed to even get outside... heck, I failed to get out of my pajamas or my robe.



    Can I just say...?

    Both SM and I own property other than our house. I have a studio downtown, and he has a 3BR, 2BA place not far from here. We have both been renting them since we bought this house a year ago.

    Which means that our tenants' leases just came up for renewal.

    My tenant was, well, not a problem, but he definitely needed hand-holding. He literally did not know how to change the lightbulb in one fixture. Unreal. When I offered him a second year lease, he decided he didn't want it because his plans were up in the air but asked instead for a one-month extension. Which I gave him. Then he asked for a month-to-month tenancy through Thanksgiving. I said "No." The market for my apartment is largely students, and hell no was I going to agree to try and rent it right before the winter holidays. When I told him I couldn't offer him less than a year lease, he decided to sign for a year.

    Yeah, I know he'll still probably move out in the winter, but this way, he's on the hook for at least finding a suitable replacement or until the new year when it's more likely I'll find someone else.

    SM, on the hand, has three tenants. Two have been fine. One, however, is the biggest heinous bitch I've ever encountered in my entire life.

    Okay, maybe not the biggest, but she just might be. She has been demanding, rude, confrontational, threatening and all-together entirely unpleasant. She's one of those people whose life may be a decade shorter just because of all of the negative energy she spews. Bleh. Just dealing with her makes SM queasy (because he's so non-confrontational), and she pisses me off infinitely. We accepted her as the roommate to the person we knew (and liked). Boy, are we regretting that decision! I wish I could broadcast all over the internet what a truly horrible, nasty, awful bitch she is. I wish I could warn everyone out there not to ever deal with her, if possible.

    Alas, no.

    But, I'm sure she knows by now that if she ever puts SM down as a reference, SM will communicate why he would never ever rent to her again, if he had the option.

    The one thing that gives me glee is that she keeps trying to hit us over the head with stuff like "on the advise of counsel, I stipulate..." Yeah, whatever. You can stipulate whatever you want, but it means nothing. And it sure as hell doesn't scare us. We know what the code says, and we're right. You're wrong, heinous bitch and I can't wait to rub it in your face!

    Yes, she just has that effect on me.

    (Scooter, I know you've have horrible tenants -- can you give me a horror story or advice on how to deal with this awful woman?)

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    One more ring story.

    Because that last one wasn't long enough? (If you haven't read it, the next post below, read it before continuing with this one -- it's long, but it's the context.)

    Well, actually, this is a story about SM's family. SM grew up with one brother and his parents in New England. His mother, sadly, died of cancer at the very young age of 51, seventeen years ago. SM's father remarried some years later.

    So when SM and I decided to get hitched, I asked him if his dad might still have any of his mom's jewelry. I wanted something to represent her in the wedding. So she would be there too.

    SM, of course, had no clue about his mom's jewelry, let alone what happened to it. But he knew why I wanted something and agreed to ask his dad about it.

    So he called his dad to ask. His dad didn't say much, but later he sent this email to SM:
    When your Mom and I got married, we could not afford an engagement ring.

    Years later when I was working for [XYZ company] and life was good, she decided that she wanted a "rock". She did not care if it was flawed, she just wanted a big ring. (I still have that ring.)

    In time she did not like that the flaws were so easily apparent to the naked eye and clearly we could afford something better, so we got her a new ring. I think that it is sometimes called a dinner ring. It is very pretty and looks to be of good quality.

    You can have either ring.

    One of her diamond earrings was lost when the ambulance took her to the hospital just before she died. The insurance company replaced it but I gave one of the earrings to [SM's brother] and the other to [stepmother] (I had it re-set and [stepmother] does not know that it came from your Mom).

    I gave her pearl earrings to [her mother, SM's grandmother]. I have no idea what happened to them.

    [SM's mother's sister] asked for your Mom's charm bracelet. This was the toughest of all her possessions for me to part with. The charms had real sentimental meaning not only to your Mom but to me as well. Perhaps you could ask [the aunt] if she still values it. If not, maybe that would be something that she would pass on to you.

    I also have your Mom's Hummel and Balik collections. I have thought that at some time I would hand out one per kid at Christmas time. This is not anything that would appear on Antiques Roadshow, but you might appreciate the sentimental value in them.

    Let me know what you think.

    Thanks [SM], for allowing me to remember all this. Sometimes I miss your Mom a lot. This is one of those times. Whenever we had a big deal going on (like vacations and big events or purchases) she would just feel it and be in the groove and get it organized and make it work. Your wedding would be a wonderful event for her.
    Isn't that amazing? I hope SM inherited that self-awareness and sensitivity.

    Anyway, so SM and I discussed it. I asked him if he remembered the second ring, but he couldn't picture it. He thought it was shaped like a flower.

    I told him quite frankly that a flower-shaped ring wasn't something I'd pick, but the point of this was to have something of her. My taste wasn't the issue or the central concern. I also told SM that I thought it might be nice if we let his younger brother (who has trouble with money-management issues) have the engagement "rock". I already have my rock and don't need another; plus, it's likely that the younger brother, when the time comes, will not be able to afford a diamond engagement ring. While I probably would prefer a solitaire over a flower-shaped design, I thought it much more important to pass the engagement ring to the brother. So, sight-unseen, we decided to accept the second ring. Which we did. And SM's dad will bring it down when he visits later this month.

    I'm really pleased that I'll have these very important women represented during the wedding.

    I was even more pleased when I saw this picture of the second ring.

    Not only am I fortunate to have this heirloom symbol to represent SM's mother, but I'm also lucky that I actually think it's quite nice.

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    Friday, May 02, 2008

    Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue...

    Folks who know me also know that I don't feel bound by tradition, although I can be a sentimental fool. I get sappy and tear up at the silliest things.

    And this is totally spilling over to our wedding. It's definitely not traditional. No big white dress. No bouquet or flowers. No bridal party. No aisle, nor giving anyone away. I think our invitations definitely showed that we were doing this our own way.

    But I'm not giving up every tradition. I got a big old bling ring. We are both going to have wedding bands. We'll see about the vows. And I did decide to do the "something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue" (and a penny in your shoe -- betcha' didn't know that was part of it!) thing. Okay, no penny, but the rest, yes.

    And I've also decided that I am going to honor the women in my life with the four "somethings"... The old is the wedding band that my grandmother is giving me for the ceremony. It was hers from her wedding on March 8, 1936. It's a very narrow platinum band with several very small diamonds (which are barely visible). It's very old-fashioned looking and not something that I would have chosen were I to buy it new, but its value isn't just the metal and stones in the ring. I am getting a family heirloom, and I love that. I also note that my grandmother gave it to me. I am not the oldest of her grandchildren, nor the first to get hitched (my brother as well as a female cousin have been there, done that). I know that she is giving it to me because of tradition. I think part of it is that I am the oldest granddaughter and part of it is that she wants to keep the ring in the family (which is why my brother didn't get it; she didn't want to risk that he would get divorced and the wife would keep it). Maybe she also knows that I am the most likely out of all of her grandchildren to actually appreciate it as an heirloom. So that represents my paternal grandmother.

    I asked my stepmother to come up with the "something new", which is kinda appropriate because she's the "newest" of the women. She bought me a necklace that should go with my dress and gave it to me for my birthday. I don't remember the name of the stone, but it's a light orange with gold spacers. I think it will match the flowers in the kimono.

    The "something borrowed" will come from my mother. She doesn't have a lotta jewelry or stuff that would work with my wedding dress, so I think I'm going to borrow a pearl pin from her and wear it in my hair. That seems the most likely thing to wear since I already have a necklace, and none of the earrings she has would go with that necklace (unless I wore pearls, which I don't really want to do). Besides, she does have a "favorite" pin, so I think I would like something that she is fond of. I think. I haven't yet decided, but this is how I'm thinking now.

    The "something blue" is an aquamarine ring that my maternal grandmother gave me years ago. It was one of the most precious things she owned. Yeah, my grandparents were among the working poor, so they didn't have many luxury items. In fact, their house was pretty spartan. Amazing to think of the contrast between my two grandmothers. One had a platinum wedding band with several small diamonds in it. The other had a very, very plain band of some inexpensive material. Polar opposites in so many ways.

    But I digress. This is a story about the four "somethings" -- and specifically about that aquamarine ring that I'm going to wear.

    Anyway, the aquamarine ring was given to me many years ago, while my grandmother was still sentient. Grandma gave away her three pieces of nice jewelry to her three granddaughters. One asked for and got her wedding band. I got the aquamarine ring because we were both born in March (our birthstone). My other cousin got the pearl necklace that my aunts/uncles/mother bought her when they were adults. I think I really got the best of the three. Not because of the market value or size of the ring, but because my grandmother really held it to be precious to her -- and because of the story behind it. The really cool part about this ring is the story behind it. Essentially it was a bribe.

    Ya' see, when my grandmother was young -- early teens -- she and her older sister were sent off to Detroit (from western Pennsylvania, not too far from Pittsburgh) to work. It was very common for young girls to go work in factories like that back in the 20s. Especially girls from farms, as my grandmother and her sister were. They were sent off to earn extra money to send home. Anyway, while they were living in Detroit, the sister met a guy. They dated, and the guy eventually proposed to her sister. With a diamond ring. Sounds good, right?


    'Cuz the newly-engaged sister also had a steady boyfriend at home. I don't know for sure, but she might have been hedging her bets with a back-up plan and man in case the boyfriend at home didn't come through with a proposal. Or maybe not. Maybe she was just lonely and looking for company, thinking the boyfriend at home would never find out. Yeah, that's always good for trouble. And she knew it.

    So, sister with fiance and boyfriend was kinda double-dipping. When they (sister and my grandmother) went home for a visit, apparently the boyfriend had missed her so much that he too proposed.

    Now sister had two rings and two fiances.

    What's a girl gonna do with two rings and two fiances?

    Well, when my grandmother and her sister returned to Detroit, the sister decided to break it off with fiance #1 because she really wanted to marry the boyfriend at home. Poor fiance #1. I'm sure he never saw it coming. After all, he had no idea about the boyfriend at home. But I doubt she told him the real reason for the breaking off the engagement. But, break it she did. And his heart. The poor guy was so distraught that he wouldn't take the ring back. A diamond ring. In the 1920s, no less. Who could afford not to take the ring back? But he didn't.

    So, what's a girl gonna do with two rings and only one fiance?

    Remember, the boyfriend at home (now sole fiance) didn't know about the newly ex-fiance. He had no idea and probably wouldn't have been terribly pleased to hear about her playing the field while she was off in Detroit. And since sister really did want to marry this guy and was not going to run the risk of him finding out, she had to make sure no one would tell.

    Well, there were only three people that really knew about the second (well, chronologically the first) fiance: the fiance, the sister and my grandmother.

    The heart-broken ex-fiance wasn't telling. He was gone for sure. The sister wasn't telling her new fiance (steady boyfriend at home). That just left my grandmother.

    As I said, the sister really wanted to marry this guy, and she wasn't taking any chances that someone might spoil her plans. But how to ensure that my grandmother wouldn't blab?

    A bribe, of course.

    The sister took my grandmother and the diamond ring from the first fiance to a jewelry store. There, the sister traded in the diamond for two smaller, less expensive rings. One modest one was for herself. A keepsake, perhaps, from her short but memorable engagement? Who knows? The second was the bribe for my grandmother to buy her silence: an aquamarine ring (her birthstone).

    I guess my grandmother didn't blab because her sister did marry that guy. And grandma kept that ring. I never saw her wear it, ever. I think she thought it was too precious and nice to risk losing it by wearing it (that's the way she was). Or maybe it was too showy. Or maybe, as her hands aged and her knuckles swelled from the ravages of arthritis, she just couldn't put it on anymore. I don't know.

    But I do know that one night, while we were sitting in her dining room in the mid-late 1990s, she told me this story. About how her sister phenagled two engagement rings and then traded one in to dispose of the evidence and buy her silence about how the sister came to possess the ring (or its trade-in). And then grandma gave me, her one granddaughter who was also born in March, that lovely ring with its fantastic family history.

    And that's the blue I am wearing for my wedding. A blue aquamarine ring from my now-deceased grandmother. It's lovely, but its sentimental value to me is much greater than its market value. I loved my grandmother. I love the ring, and I love the story of how it came into our family.

    So there's my "something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue." The women who have shaped my life.

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    Thursday, May 01, 2008

    Happy Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

    May is heritage month for Asian Pacific Americans. Celebrate by learning something new about APA history.

    And also use it as an excuse to eat some sushi or kimchee or dim sum or pad thai or ... crap, now I'm hungry.


    Oh shit.

    I'm starting to get RSVPs back for the wedding reception. People who were invited out of courtesy and not expected to come are in fact coming.

    Oh chit.

    That throws my estimate off completely. I'm thinking I'm going to have to cut work folks from the invitation list.

    What do you do when more people RSVP "yes" to your reception than you actually have space for? E-gads.


    Got this email from a Japanese friend of mine.

    This is what she wrote, verbatim.
    So my cousin got married last weekend. Her brother sang a "send-off" song titled "to my sister" at the wedding. Apparently it was very emotional moment -- he cried as he sang.

    You know how Japanese people don't show emotion. But my uncle and aunt (their parents) could not help it, and they cried also as my cousin sang.

    My cousin the bride, however, did not lose her focus. And given what I see here, she chose the right partner.

    I'm so proud!
    Bah ha ha ha!

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