grinninfoole: (strangelove)
I'm at the Hyatt in Morristown, NJ this weekend, taking part in a really fun gaming convention, as I have done several times in the past. Today is an interesting day for me, slightly melancholy but also happy and grateful, as it's ten years to the day since millari and I tied the knot. Of course, we untied it last year, but we're still very close and she had planned to come down to the con with me, until she bowed out because of work pressure. It's too bad, but I'm proud of her for recognizing that she couldn't make it work and not blowing up her life trying anyway.

I've had some unexpected downtime here, as a couple of events I offered to run didn't fire, but they were scheduled at the last minute, and I did take the opportunity to swim yesterday afternoon (430 meters in the hotel pool), at least. I've played a couple of D&D adventurer's league adventures, which have been OK but not compelling. I'm not sure if it's just the hit or miss quality of the writing (because they can't all be excellent) in comparison to the stories they had for LFR back in 4th edition, or if it's just that I don't love this paladin the way that I loved the wizard I played in those games, but I do find myself missing the chance to play Omen of Halruaa. Also, it does distract from the story when one is riding herd on three twelve year olds. :)

But I quite enjoyed the Agents of SHIELD LARP (which I had to play in as I already have the badge). It let me scratch the itch of 'doing the thing no one else is doing', because I signed up for the Networking division, which basically meant that my job was to be the fixer for everyone else. And literally no one else had opted for that, choosing mostly field ops, Intel, tech, and medical. There were about 40 other players, so the story was big enough that I did not have a clear picture of what was happening, which is the part of live action gaming that most throws me compared to table top. This was the debut session, and it looks like there will be more at future cons, so I look forward to doing this again. I wonder if they'll make anything of the fact that character-me was born in Wakanda?

I also tried out Trail of Cthulhu, which was very simple to play (though I gather not to run) and appealingly tragic and weird. I played an antiques dealer whose college student son had disappeared two years before, supposedly while somehow at a house that had burned down in the 1890s. Driving home one afternoon, I suddenly saw the old house on Hill Street, standing where it no longer was, so I stopped and went in. There, I met a PI who claimed to be hired by my long-dead wife, a young girl who claimed to be the stillborn daughter my wife had died to bring into the world, and a woman who confidently asserted that it was all fine because she was only dreaming. We slowly uncovered a twisting mystery of alternate histories in which I was dead, or a hopeless drunk, or a single father, until we finally tracked down my long lost son, only to discover that he was, indeed, long lost, and that his body was only a vessel for a consciousness that was jumping across alternate realities. Some other NPCs claimed that it was a monster, a worm that was slowly eating through all reality, but for me, it all came down to whether or not I thought that I could reclaim my son from the thing that looked out from his eyes, or if I could only avenge him. I went with option B, after the girl playing the daughter I never had convinced me that now that we knew what had happened to Francis, it was time to move on. As I said, appealingly tragic and weird. It reminded of that shortlived TV series starring Jason Isaacs, Awake.

And now, I have to run and eat before I run my 4th edition D&D adventure, the Dreadful Davenport of Dolorous Doom, in which our party of murder hobos must haul a wizard's accursed sofa across town to the dump.
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1) This coming Saturday will be the second Paint & Pixel Festival.  I've managed to arrange programming this year, which is good, but I still feel like I did a slap-dash job, and kind of guilty about it.  Peggy continues to impress with her passion and capability. 

We're hosting comics workshops for kids at the store as part of the build up to the show.  Colin, the education guy, has done a great job setting these up and running them.  Peggy also sponsored a couple of movie nights at Popcorn Noir, the next of which is the Muppet Movie on Thursday..... which will conflict with my Deadlands game.  aargh!

Oh, and there's a filk band performing in the Mythos on Monday at 7, which could conflict with dinner plans!  double argh!

2) On columbus day, M and I went to NYC, met with the Ladies of Brattleboro for dinner at the Green Table, and then went to see Sleep No More, which is an extraordinary experience in immersive theater.  One is given a mask & enjoined not to speak, and for up to 3 hours one wonders around inside a warehouse of four or five stories where a troop of interpretive dancers performs something inspired by Macbeth.  One can explore the trappings of the set as much as one wishes, or follow performers around or hang out in the lounge.  It's a choose your own adventure style of show, though only as an observer.   I wound up following one stunning beautiful woman around for a while, and wound up getting whisked into a locked room for a short private performance that, while a scripted part of the show, was quite intimate and moving.  Which, if you are thinking of something sexual, is completely wrong--yet it felt like everything you would fantasize about.  A great experience which was well worth the cost.  I plan to go back at some point.

3) My mom is still in a rehab hospital, still in real pain, but I think getting better.  I hope.  Dad is still slipping away a bit at a time.

4) I drove back to Andover last night, couldn't sleep, and watched the Matrix Reloaded on demand.  It's better than I recalled.  The talky scenes make more sense when I can process the sometimes ornate and philosophical dialog, and some of the WTF plot twists actual do make some logical sense.  The biggest weakness that remains, for me, are the pointless action scenes.  The first Matrix was good in part because all the fight scenes served the story, developed character, and looked cool.  In Reloaded, there a couple of set pieces that just take up time. If the Wachowskis had done more with them, they'd have greatly improved the movie.  (Three examples: the introductory fight with Seraph--what does tussling with Neo for two minutes tell him, or us, that we don't know?; then. the  big fight scene with a crowd of Agent Smiths drags on; and the fight with the Merovingian's goons in his foyer is designed to waste Neo's time, but must it waste ours?  What's the point of another display of kung fu?  Are these guys really as challenging as the huge crowd of Agent Smiths?)  On the whole, I stick by some of my earlier criticisms, but I have to upgrade my rating of the film.

5) Sometimes I'm fine, and sometimes the depression gets to me.  I need to spend more time with friends.  I clearly need that.

6) Had an interesting talk with Morlock about making changes in my life. He pointed out that I'm still struggling with some of the same questions that bugged me years ago.  Maybe, he suggested, I need new questions.  hmmmmmmmmmmm.

7) 2013 must be the year I learn to budget.  Just because my desires have heretofore not exceeded my means, doesn't mean those means are inexhaustible. I must get the hang of identifying priorities, choosing amongst them, and then setting aside the others while resisting impulsive spending.  Good grief!
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I have sore throat, so I'm loafing as much as possible today. The great storm which apparently socked the hell out of south and mid-Atlantic states left the merest dusting of snow here, after I went to some trouble to secure studded tires for Skull Jr. Typical. :)

X-mas is bearing down, but I am mostly ready. I have gifts for friends and loved ones (mostly), and I got a tree yesterday (which we shall trim this evening), and we've hung stockings (monster stockings which I got at my store), and the Team has sent many X-mas cards, and gotten together with friends and swapped pressies... it's been nice, this year. I much prefer the holiday season when I have my act together.

Mami y Papi will visit for Xmas eve, we'll dash out to Andover to see my family on the day itself, and then back home for a little household cheer on Boxing Day. M will be going to Germany, getting to know a new friend, over New Year's. I'll be looking for something to do on the 31st, but I am, apparently, cool enough to have been invited to TWO parties on New Year's Day. If possible, I shall go to both.

Xmas is my favorite holiday, but it is so precisely because of the secular nonsense that's built up around it. I'm not a Christian (and even if I were, the holiday doesn't really have anything to do with Josh from Nazareth) and I find the insistence of some, who claim that they are, on grounding any celebration in what they value quite tedious. I'm basically an atheist, and content to be so, and Christmas doesn't have to mean any more to me than 'that time when we put up lights, and decorate conifers, and swap gifts, and shop wildly, and send cards, and feast with family and friends'.

On a related note, we have had a nice Xmas rush bump in business at work, so it looks like we'll finish 2009 in the black, if only slightly. I shall be 40 in a few months, and I foresee the need to disrupt myself from my comfortable rut, but the rut does appear to run on towards the horizon.

Creatively, I'm still running a D&D 3.5 game using the Midnight setting. It's so much more work than designing stuff for 4th, but the setting requires the clunky lack of balance that 4th edition was specifically designed to fix, so what the hell. And I have a great group of players. Who knows how much longer it will last, but I have a couple of plot hooks to throw out at them, and then I expect the players to drive things to a thrilling conclusion. And then, we'll see. Perhaps the writing will come again, if I can accept that muse seems more sub-creative and transformative than path-breaking in its proclivities.

This weekend is also a good one for watching cool TV shows. Dr. Who Waters Of Mars premiered in the US last night, and it was terrific. There are two episodes of Dollhouse waiting my viewing as that plunges towards its finale, as two installments of Venture Brothers season 4 (which has been very satisfying). Also, M and I are making our way through Babylon 5, and we're at the half-way point of Season 3, having just seen Severed Dreams and Ceremonies Of Light & Dark. Oh, man, the show was so good.

Oh, and a couple of weeks ago, I happened to watch the pilot of the comedy/drama Chuck, and simply loved it. I watched the next four episodes, and this first impression was confirmed. Light, frothy, charming fun, with pretty people, Jayne from Firefly, good humor, and an actual plot arc bubbling away underneath. It'd be cooler if there were any people of color in it (besides Tony Todd in a minor part), but otherwise I recommend it.

ETA: I have been poking through older entries, and I stumbled across this post about the war in Afghanistan. I now take back what I wrote about the Bushies not fucking that up.
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Two great family interactions I'd like to memorialize before bed.

Last Monday, M and I went out to Andover to visit and make supper.  My cousin (not sure what alias to give her) was visiting for a couple of days between a summer internship and a flight home before the fall semester.  I hadn't seen her in four or five years.  I was nervous that I'd be really dull to her, or that she'd be kind of hip, popular girl who never liked me when I was a lad.  (I had no basis for this fear, other than my cousin has the looks to be one of said girls, and my own insecurities.)  Happily, we got along swimmingly.  My cousin was delightfully smart, chatty, and even geeky.  (I wish she'd told me more about her studies, though.)  She also laughed nervously a lot, though, and I hope that was just about staying alone for a couple of days with unkown quantity relatives, which might have been agonizing for all she knew.  She's really cool, and I hope she's more comfortable in more familiar venues.  I really hope that we will see her again soon.

This weekend, my mom came out for an extended visit.  I picked her up on Friday, drove her out here, and we had supper at the home of MAMEd and family.  Little Caitlin was charming as always, and it was a great, relaxing visit.  Afterwards, we chatted and watched two episodes of Mad Men, which I have decided I quite like.  The rampant sexism of the period weirdly fascinates more than it repels.

Saturday we went to the house warming party of Sundart, Anzovin, and [profile] space_craft , and got to see lots of cool people.  Supper at Mulino's, followed by more Mad Men.

Today was PARTY for mom's birthday, a low key affair with a few of my friends whom I know Mom likes, plus my brother and dad.  (Not all of my friends whom Mom likes, but I didn't want to overwhelm either of my parents.)  Special shout to [ profile] sydneycat  for playing raconteur while the Team made sandwiches and finished up the party spread.  Thanks, as well, to another friend for home-made carrot cake!

Mom had a good time, and I'm so glad that she got to go out and have some fun on this adventure.

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Here's another reason I'm glad I married Millari: she's like walking prozac.  Seriously, it's like this calming influence radiates 5 squares from her.  Tonight I got home a bit late, hungry (and thus crabby) and I wanted only to come inside, eat some food, and maybe finish a BSG fic I have been noodling at all summer.  Because new comics day is tomorrow, I decided to clear some crap out of my minivan.  Somehow, the right cargo door comes off the top track!  The sliding piece just came out, which should not be possible.  After several attempts to get the door back on track, I give up, storm inside, slam things around pointlessly, and seethe.

Then M comes home.

Instantly, I'm calmer, and she goes and fetches tools and lights and we try and figure out what to do.   We try a couple of things, which don't work.  She makes me promise not to get angry, or swear, or break stuff, and to accept that, in all likelihood, we can't fix the door. 

So, after one last attempt, which fails, I give in, acknowledge her wisdom, and pack it in.  Except, just because, I try to shut the door one last time, and it lurches closed.

Maybe she smoothed out the car's mood, too.

All right.  It's late.  Bed.
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It's been two years since I legally teamed up with Millari.  They've been pretty good ones, too.  I have, more than once, lamented in this journal that I haven't been progressing in life, growing as a person.  Taking a moment now to look at what I have done, and not what I blame myself for not doing, I have come a long way from a passive, self-loathing, person with no life goals or plans, to a person with some actual ambitions, and the drive to accomplish them.  I have a rewarding marriage, a nice house, a good job, two cats, and good friends.  Of late, I have even been writing creatively, and it's been exciting (the retreat to Noble View kick-started things) and i finally, finally, started going around to local schools and inquiring about job openings and such.  It looks like there are real possibilities, that might pay well, too.  I'm excited about the idea of making more money than we spend.

In all of this, millari has been my partner, my ally, my critic, my audience, and my biggest fan.  If I believed in a personal deity, I would thank Him/Her/It for bringing us together.

In the short term:

Tonight, we dine at Chez Albert.  Tomorrow, an old friend comes to visit from abroad.  Sometime in August, we'll take a vacation together.

For now, Joyeux Anniversaire, ma copine!

Ah, July.

Aug. 3rd, 2006 06:50 pm
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July was quite a month for me.  After my wedding and the hullabaloo of Connecticon (at which the store did really well), there was Secretive's wedding on Long Island.  Well, actually, there was a nice evening with friends and seeing Margaret Cho, who was pretty funny, though she did some material I had seen her do before, so I wasn't as amused as I was the first time I saw her.  God she's cute, though.  Then, there was a fun evening of gaming on Bastille Day, and Secretive was able to join us, perhaps for the last time.  Then, on the 15th, Secretive, MAMEd, and M's ex (for whom I can't think of an appropriately cool adjective) went to Fenway to catch a golden moment for the Red Sox.  Curt Schilling pitched masterfully, Big Papi hit a triple (he's not a fast runner), the weather was clear and temperate and the evening was just beautiful.  It was the one good evening, and the one good game the Sox played, that weekend.

The day after that, my parents threw a wedding reception for M and me.  It was a lovely evening in their backyard, with a lot of their friends and family that we couldn't invite to our wedding in attendance.  I had a nice time, chatting with people I hadn't seen in years, and feeling comfortably grownup, in a new way, talking with all these much older adults as an equal (that became the unofficial theme of the evening for me--recognizing, and being recognized as, a married responsible adult in his mid-thirties.)  We received some lovely gifts and a tidy amount of money, enough that I felt a bit uncomfortable.  (Not quite enough to cover the costs of our wedding, but still, I'm touched by their generosity.)

(OMG, there's a rabbit sniffing at the bushes on our back deck right now.  It's so beautiful!  oh, it's gone.  Sorry, Feisty, you snooze, you lose.  And, just now, the AC has switched off for the first time today.  I guess the heat is breaking.)

So, Secretive's wedding...  really, this should be a post all its own, but here goes:

Millari stayed up really late the night before we drove down on Thursday the 20th, clearing her decks of work so she could go.  I stayed up in solidarity.  Ugh.  There was a rehearsal and dinner that night, starting at 5pm.  (I was to do one of the readings, from Walt Whitman's Song of the Open Road, so I needed to be there.)  We left later than we had planned (as is usual for us), getting on the road at 2 PM.  Millari drove, and made very good time.  We got down to New York, over the Throg's Neck Bridge and onto the LIE by 4:30.  We were about 15 minutes from the hotel when Secretive called, asked where we were, and when I told him we were approaching exit 36, told me to take that exit.  So, we did.

He directed us to a Barnes and Noble, and told us to wait there for him to pass by on his way to the rehearsal, so that we would all be more or less on time.  So, we did.  (While this was going on, G called from Tucson, and asked me to agree to be Z's back-up guardian in case she and F should both die in the next few years.  This sparked a big talk about children for M and me, which we're still having, really.  Anyway, we told G and F yes eventually.  But this is demanding some real attention during all of the following.)

The B&N was on a busy road, with two-way traffic, along a dense commercial strip.  In order to join Secretive's motorcade of people he was leading to the rehearsal, we would have to make a left turn across both lines of traffic, in and out of a busy multi-store driveway. So, we started driving down this road shortly before the caravan arrived, driving slowly (and pissing off many New Yorkers) so they could pass us.  After five nerve-wracking minutes, we managed to swerve in and join the others.  At which point things got worse.  Secretive is a terrible driver to follow.  He drives too fast, he guns through red lights, and generally drives like the Masshole he is.  The four cars following him became widely strung out.  Millari, because of years of practice following her dad around strange places around the world,  was up to the challenge, but the others got periodically lost.  After half an hour, though, it became clear that the basic problem was that Secretive was also lost.  In fact, it seems that he had never been to the church before and had only the vaguest idea where it was.  We were seriously discussing bailing on the whole affair and heading to the hotel when someone told him where to go and we made it to the chapel an hour late.

The building itself was charming, with huge windows looking out on lush, tall trees.  The rehearsal was pretty quick for an elaborate to do.  Then, we went to a upscale Italian restaurant owned by the bride's sister for a tasty dinner.  While there, I got to chat for awhile with Veritas (whom I think I have mentioned under that alias before.  He spent some time a few years ago trying to retrofit the OverPower CCG before abandonning that to develop his own CCG.   It will be debuting this fall, with previews available at GenCon, from his company, Veritas Games.)

We then went on to the hotel, the Inn at Fox Hollow, owned by the bride's uncles, which was an upscale place.  Our room, which was comped, was a suite featuring a kitchen with full fridge and stove, a couch and easy chairs, plush bathrobes, a comfy bed, and wifi.  (See their website here: ;

Millari is home, so I'll post about the wedding itself later.
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For M and I, the day began oversleeping meeting my friend Joke (who had also arrived very late Saturday night) for breakfast at Sylvester's, which was as good as always, though I was so full from the previous night that I could barely eat my waffle.  This was the first time I'd seen him in 8 years (since his wedding) and Millari had never met him before, so we ran over time because I wanted them to have a little time to get go to know each other...and I wanted to show off the store, too.

We got back to the house after folks had started to arrive, but I guess it worked out OK.  I actually had to go and lie down for a bit, because I felt queasy.  Then, there was an amusing hour or so wherein people would exhort M and me to go and get dressed, that it was our day and we should stop doing things, and then two minutes later would come and ask us where something was or what we wanted folks to do about something or other. 

Eventually, I put on my expensive new tux (a Canali, which I bought at Yale Genton and had tailored by the folks at Cassandra Holden's shop--thanks [profile] sydneycat for the recommendation) and Millari put on her gorgeous (and super cheap--she spent as much on two dresses as I did on shoes for this shindig) green dress, and did her makeup, and finally everyone was here (except for one of M's dear friends, who came down sick at the last minute, alas) and then...

Well, then everyone gathered in the garden, and Millari, my brother the Best Man, and I went out of the bedroom onto our deck where Karen Cadieux (from the Easthampton mayor's office and who served admirably as a our JP) awaited us.  Our friends and family started cheering and clapping as soon as we opened the curtain. 

Karen read a lovely preamble that she had brought with her, and then M read me the vows she'd written at 3 AM that morning.  They were beautiful, and made me cry, and she'll posting them in her LJ (link TBA).  Then, I read her mine, which were as follows:

Michelle, there are many reasons why I love you.  I love how you laugh and smile.  I love how you hold me.  I love how you look when you are intent upon something and you don’t notice me looking.  I love your sense of adventure.  I love the joy we share in stories.  I love the stories we create together.  I love the way that you encourage and inspire me to choose the life that I want.  I love the way that you light candles instead of cursing the darkness.

For all these reasons, I am going to promise you now in front of our friends and family what I have already promised you.  I promise to put our relationship before everything else in my life.  I promise to be your friend, partner and lover for all the days remaining to me.  I promise to be a husband to you, a son to German and Martha, and brother to Gabe and Alana. 

Then, I ad libbed something like the following: I give you this ring, as a constant reminder of our love, and that we are a team.

Then, everyone cheered.

Then, we sat, and ate the delicious food that we and friends and family had made, and drank lots of tasty drinks, and had the scrumptious cake made for us at the Henion Bakery (which we served with ice cream from Herrell's--thanks to [personal profile] omnia_mutanturand [profile] wandelrust for picking those up for us, and cooking, and helping arrange the jewelry, too) and danced.  A dog from somewhere nearby got loose and crashed the wedding, in a totally charming 'hi, I'm friendly and I'd really like some food' kind of way.

To be honest, it was lovely, but I don't remember it very well, because it was a little overwhelming.  Like Feisty, I spent some time hiding in my room because I was having too much fun.   Many people wrote lovely comments in our memory book, and we got many thoughtful gifts, too.

The party went late into the night, with some folks going to hotel to change and then coming back to help us eat some of the hoard of leftovers.  And then, GFZ and Joke had to leave so they could catch their very early flights.  We stumbled into bed.

Monday, we slept late, tidied up a bit, though Mami, Papi and others apparently spent hours doing most of it on Sunday.  I'm so grateful to them for doing all that work so we didn't have to.  Then, Rob, M and I drove to Boston, put him on Virgin Atlantic flight 12 and sent him home.  I slept for a good part of the drive, I think, and I'm really glad that they kept right on having a great time without me.  I'm glad that they have a bond apart from knowing me.  (For that matter, one of the nicest things about the wedding experience was hearing from everyone how much they liked meeting everyone else, and what lovely friends and family we had.  Which is true, but I always fret about folks not getting along, so it was such a relief that they did, and that everyone had fun.)

M and I took advantage of being in the city to stroll on the Common for a bit, and then had dinner at the Bhindi Bazaar, which is right at the end of Newbury street on Mass Ave, which I guess was our little honeymoon.  Then home to collapse into bed again.  Today, we rose late, and  have spent the past four hours posting all of this. 

And now, we're married.  Thank you to everyone for help, good wishes, gifts, and love.
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(Can I pick exciting titles or what?)

[personal profile] millari and I worked very hard getting ready for our wedding last week.  She did the hardest stuff, I think, arranging the food and music, and doing the lion's share of creating the table decorations.  I took the lead on travel arrangements, finding a JP and legal paperwork, managing the guest list and invitations, and the rehearsal dinner.  I did also do a lot of puttering around the house, cleaning, hauling, yard work type stuff. We made most of the big decisions together.  Overall, it was a team effort, and I'm very satisfired with how it all turned out.

In fact, we did such a good job of arranging things in advance that we actually had time for some fun last week.  The previous weekend, Lefty graciously covered my Saturday evening shift while MAMEd, Crafty, Millari, [personal profile] wolfy and my brother shanghaied me to a murder mystery dinner theater in Boston.  The theater was mediocre but the food was quite tasty, and I really appreciated the thoughtfulness of it all, so hooray for my friends.  (As an aside, I hope MAMEd knows how much I value his friendship and all that he, Crafty and their kids have done to help us with the wedding.  It seems astonishing that, at first, I had thought that Crafty didn't like or approve of me.)

So, Sunday was mow the lawn, run the errands, make the table decorations, pick gifts for the registries, make sure we invited everyone we could fit for the rehearsal dinner (even taking advantage of some late arrivals by friends and family to include some folks we just couldn't invite to the wedding for lack of space, there were still folks we couldn't invite.  Oh, so frustrating.) 

Monday, I worked as usual.  Tuesday, I took delivery of the new futon and took apart my old platform bed (which is now for sale, and I should advertise it somewhere).  Wednesday, after an enormous shipment of new comics at the store,  M and I moved her drums to the basement and then did other stuff I can't recall, and then drove out to M's father's restaurant in Newton where we met my friend Rob, who had flown in from London.  Papi and Mami were there eating when we arrived, and offered a wonderful welcome to our friend when he joined us.  (He'd never had good Mexican food before, so I think he enjoyed it.  I indulged in the Pollo a la Pimienta--so creamy, so good...)

Thursday was a visit to the Science Museum, seeing old favorites like the atom smasher/lightning show, and enjoying the nifty exhibit on pattern recognition and perception and a 3D movie with images from Mars taken by the Spirit and Opportunity rovers.  The blurb does not, in any way, convey how moving it is to listen to the scientists from NASA talk about their work and then see some of it in 3D.  It brought tears to my eyes and helped me recall why I ever wanted to study science and its history.  If you get the chance, see this show.  ([personal profile] gfish I'm thinking of you in particular.)  Then, we went to see Jade Moran and picked up our wedding rings.  Mine is a broad rose gold band with a leaf and vine design and an inset cabochon cut jade (perhaps not the swankiest stone, but I wanted a rich green color, and something durable.)  The tiara wasn't quite done, but she dropped that off on Saturday, so Millari wore it (and looked wonderful) on the day.  Pictures of it will be on the site someday.)

Thursday evening we rushed back home so we could see our hometown fireworks.  Only, I somehow read the date as 2006 when it was actually 2002.  But, we had a lovely late night snack at the Sierra Grill (too new for a website), and ran into N & J, and had a lovely chat with them.  (I should add that the week before, they had taken us to the Iron Horse to see a great show by the band Devotchka.  I recommend them.)  Friday, we did more getting the place ready for a big party stuff, like hauling lots of trash, and finally setting up my old futon (which M has stained a lovely chestnut color) on the front porch.  Friday night [personal profile] fuschia came over to help with the party favors, and then there was dinner at India Palace and ice cream at Herrell's, followed by food coma back at the house and finally getting to see Dalek and then showing off some Venture Brothers.  (Second season is growing on me.)

Saturday, things started to come together in that snowball-rolling-down-hill sort of way.  Taylor rental dropped off the tent, tables, plates, cutlery and such.  Papi and Mami showed up with a serving dishes, wine glasses, sangria, beer, wine, food (chiles in nogada!), and then spent hours setting it up for us, effectively catering our wedding for us (and the yankee in me really appreciates how much money this saved us).  I spent much of the day answering the phone and the door (everyone asked me if I was nervous yet), stole a few moments to write my vows, and then Rob and I went out and bought champagne, got horchata from La Veracruzana, borrowed tables from the store (thanks, Lefty), and did more stuff I can't even recall.  Then, we went to the rehearsal dinner at the Tavern On The Hill, which was a marvelous feast.  (It's all good food, but I particularly recommend the Equinox Farm salad for the delicious novelty of vanilla salad dressing.)

Many friends and family were there, but I was especially pleased to see my uncle from Hawaii.  In years past, there have been some awkward moments, but this past weekend was just wonderful, as he was funny and charming, but also helpful, loving and thoughtful.  (Actually, he may not have changed at all. It might just have been me all along.)  Anyway, I'm so glad he flew out to join us.  (He brought leis for my mom, for Mami, and for Millari, which added an unlooked for element of grace and charm to the event.)

The dinner started at 7pm, and at 10:30 I dashed out of there to drive down to Bradley airport to pick up G,F&Z from Tucson.  I took them out for a late dinner at the diner and a little time together, then a quick tour of the house, a browse of the shelves at Modern Myths so I could buy some manga for Z, then finally to the hotel.  It was lovely to see them, and I'm sorry that their big move only allowed them to be here for 36 hours. 

And then came Sunday.
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Home inspection happened yesterday. It went well. I highly recommend the man we used, Gordon Tibbetts, to anyone in the area who needs a home inspector. His website is here:

The house itself has some issues and we have to explore how serious they are and how much they will cost to fix, but I remain optimistic. And we have 9 days to negotiate the Purchase and Sale agreement.
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It has been quite a while since I last posted. There's a lot on my mind, so I shall just throw stuff at the screen and see what sticks.

1) I'm annoyed with FA because I have been surcharged for an auto accident she was in in February. Now I am facing a significant increase in my insurance premium because of it. I'm very upset, not least because, even though we aren't friends anymore, she may have actively lied and said I was driving when I wasn't even in the car. I hope that this is not true, and that this is simply a mistake by the insurance company and/or the Merit Rating Board. I would like to think better of her.

EDIT: Happily,it is simply a bureaucratic mistake. As I wrote, we aren't friends anymore, but I'm pleased to validate FA's honorable behavior.

2) I have done little on my school work the past couple of weeks. I have had the time, but not the motivation. I find it difficult because, even though this is a project for which I pick the topic in a program in which I chose to be, it still feels somehow imposed upon me. I am not 'owning' this work, so I resist focusing my energies upon it. Which is rather distant prose, I notice. Basically, I don't feel like I'm doing this for me or for MY reasons, but for somene else's. It reminds me of my childhood experiences of grown-ups telling me that I wasn't living up to my potential, which always seemed to mean that I wasn't doing what they wanted me to do as well as they wanted me to do it. These feelings don't fit the facts of my current, adult sitaution, however. I chose to go back for the MA, and the point of the project on which I am stuck is to define for myself what I would like to do and start to do that, in my own way. It is as free of the imposed expectations of others as any situation I shall ever find in my adult life, short of sitting around doing nothing all day (which, as it happens, is how I have been wasting all too much of my time, recently).

3) I really appreciate Sydneycat. Not only is she helping me with some of my comps prep burden, she is also one of the few friends who has paid back money borrowed from me. (Also deserving praise in this respect are Millari and JR.)

4) Last Sunday we had the first session of what I hope shall be a long and fruitful new D&D game set on the Cloth. Lefty and Millari were the only ones who could actually make it, but we all had a good time (though having Lefty xp whore at me after stonewalling me so much in his game seemed irritatingly unfair.) Next time, a fuller PC roster and a bit of a mystery.

5) My brother turns 40 this weekend. It hurts me that he seems so unhappy in his life, though when I spoke with him on my last visit, I asked him if he was living the life he wanted to live, and he said 'pretty much'. I hope so. M suggested that what he really wanted for his birthday was more time with me, so I shall take her suggestion and offer him a vacation together. We last took one about 5 years ago in Montreal, which was pretty fun.

6) My mom seems to have finally physically recovered from her cancer surgeries, and the doctors have found no signs of metastasis or recurrence. She's still so tired all the time, and my dad's inability to deal with his own emotions seems to be exhausting. I wish I could do more to help.

7) Currently, far too much of my life is funded by my parents. This will change soon, and I am wondering what I will cut out. Clearly, a lot comics will have to go, but beyond that, I may well drop one or both of the therapies I do, because while I get a lot out of both, I don't want to do anything which I don't pay for myself. This will mean earning more money, of course, but I'll burn that bridge when I get to it.

8) Millari really is wonderful.
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I am pressed because it's nearly July and I still have much to do on my research project. It's so easy to find other things to do, that I have not made nearly enough progress. Yet, to be fair, I have made some. I now know more or less what I am trying to do, and I think I can churn something out of it. I don't know if it will be very good, but with work it may well be good enough. All I need to do is get this done and retake the American science comp and I'm finished. Closer, closer....

Millari and I are slowly and steadily getting better at living together, and despite the occasional personal crisis for either of us, I am very happy, and I think she is, too.

I'm looking forward to getting the research out of the way, because then I can make time for many things that I have been putting off for awhile, including:

--finishing unpacking our things and arranging our home to our satisfaction.

--visiting my family. My mom called today, and she said, with a hint of tears in her voice, that she missed me. I need to go home soon. And, she needs to come visit.

--play OverPower. Unimportant, but fun.

--design NPCs, setting details, and adventures for the new D&D game I shall start running in September. And, maybe, prep another one to run at the store, perhaps on Friday nights when Jim's game isn't running. I think I can set up a campaign in the Southlands of the Cloth with a pleasing mix of old-school dungeon crawling and a lot of the politics, role-playing and macro-scale plot that I enjoy.

--Call folks out of town or state that I want to speak to at length, especially Justin, Gwyn, Fletch, Fran, Shawn, and Ronnie & Amy.

--plan and research for our upcoming trip to Europe. The main impetus is a reunion with some of the other people who were part of the Kenyon Exeter program in 1990-91. I haven't seen any of them in seven years, and I'm worried that they'll all decide that I'm lame and that they hate me, but they're special people and I wish I was close to them as I used to be. Of course, the reason I haven't been so good about staying in touch as I was a few years ago is that I am no longer so painfully lonely. I realized this when I read a letter I sent to someone years ago that got returned, and it was difficult to read because it seemed so needy. For this, I must thank my good friends here in Western MA, some of whom no longer want to talk to me, so I shan't mention names except to single out Millari for especial appreciation.

--Life goals, medium and long term. Medium: once I have the MA, I want to get a job and support myself. Talking with Jim, there may be a possibility of more hours at the store, which is very exciting, though it depends on our continued sales growth, which is definitely counting chickens early. If that proves unworkable, I'll have to explore other options. I'd like to work 25-35 hours a week, which would leave me enough time for a Long term goal: writing. I have ideas for novels and essays (and even a couple of documentary films, for what that's worth), and they may all suck, but if I don't ever confront my fear of failure and inadequacy and try, I'll never be really happy with my life.

Cool thing I have to mention:
I did well on my job performance review last week. I must credit Jim for his patience and help with my punctuality issues. I have gotten a lot better about timeliness and it no longer feels like a huge effort to be on time for things. (Credit for this also goes to Dr. Lange and my Tuesday therapy group for calling me on this a lot, and, for that matter, to Filthyassistant for her frustrated efforts over the years.)

Oh, I forgot to mention the other cool things about going to Europe: 1) we shall visit Michelle's old friend Arnaud in Toulouse. I hope to get to see the cathedral at Chartres on the way, and spend a day in Carcassone! (I'm interested in the Albigensian Crusade.) 2) I hope to see my friend Rob Shearman, a wonderfully nice, hugely talented, incredibly smart and, last I saw him, modest play/screen writer. He's working on the new Dr. Who show, which means that at least some of it will be really, really good.

Check out these links for more info on Rob and his work:

Hmm. Somewhere, I have copies of a lot of playscripts Rob wrote back in the late 80s and early 90s. I should check them out again, and then see how much he squirms when I bring them up. :)

Unimportant matters:
I have become a regular follower of the LJ life of a woman in Chicago who writes for the Onion. Check out [ profile] rollick for a more interesting blog than this one.

And, finally, cool LJ name spotted at random: amorousuroboros

That's all for now. Hope all my friends (and any other readers) are prosperous and healthy.


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July 2017



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