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2002-09-13 - 10:49 a.m.

Funny things and Friday Five.

The Friday Five is first. Incidentally, The Scientist thinks my answers to the last Friday Five made me seem like a really impatient, high-strung person. Don't worry, I can veg on the couch with the best of them. But when I'm out and about, I want to do it quickly and efficiently. None of this lollygaging around for me.

1. What was/is your favorite subject in school? Why? English or anything writing-related. I liked it because I was good at it, but also because I love to read, I love words, and I had teachers who gave us interesting things to study.

2. Who was your favorite teacher? Why? I had a number of favorite teachers throughout the years. I think I was prone to getting student-teacher intellectual crushes. Not in a sexual way, just admiring how much they knew, how cool they were, how they inspired me. What a dork! Anyway, I had great elementary school teachers (Mary, Kathi, Gary, Mr. Kaputo) and even good junior high and high school teachers. But I guess the stand-out among them was Mr. Ash. Chuck. He was the best. He wasn't afraid of expressing his personal opinions and encouraged us to express ours. He use innovative teaching methods and we had fun in his class, but looking back I realize how much I learned at the same time. He sent me a postcard my freshman year in college. It was on my refrigerator for years and I still have it in a box somewhere.

3. What is your favorite memory of school? I'm not sure. The times we hiked around our school for nature projects. We saw a fox one time. Building a fire on the playground in 6th grade for a test. We had to build a fire (one that stayed burning) using only three matches, a little bit of plant fluff, and some sticks. On the playground. If you used up your matches before getting it going, you failed. I got an A. Going to junior prom my senior year in high school with my friend A. It was slightly controversial. Could two girls be each other's date or did they need to buy separate tickets? We used one ticket. I wore a white vintage prom dress, a 50s beaded necklace, fishnets, and Doc Marten boots, with a velvet suit jacket as a coat (complete with rhinestone lapel pin). A. wore a velvet tuxedo jacket, cut off army short-shorts, black thigh-highs, and Doc Marten boots. We thought we were so cool. Skipping school for quasi-legitimate reasons. One was a trip to the courthouse. We had to go when it was in session, which meant during the middle of a school day. We got to pick the day and drive ourselves, so my friend J. and I went down one afternoon, excused by our moms. We watched the court proceedings for a while (drunk and disorderly, traffic violations, nothing interesting) and then went to the mall that just happened to be a few blocks away. Another time J. and I (it wasn't always with her, I swear) went with some other people in a truck to move a sofa that someone was donating back to the school. It took just a little longer than it needed to (i.e., all afternoon). Hmmm, those are more anti-school memories.

4. What was your favorite recess game? Red-light, green-light. One person stood up by a wall and was the "traffic light." Everyone else was several yards away in a line side-by-side. The person at the front called green light and turned around to face the wall so their back was to the people in the line (the people in the line got to run forward when green light was called). The person at the front would whirl around calling "red light" and try to catch someone still moving. If you were caught, you were out. The winner was the person who made it to the front and touched the wall first (without getting caught). That person then got to be the stoplight. This was elementary school, can you tell? I also liked kick ball (not dodge ball--kick ball was like softball, but with a big rubber ball and no bat) and playing on the monkey bars and swings.

5. What did you hate most about school? Busy work. Anything that took up time, but seemed pointless. Pretty much anything to do with math (although economics wasn't so bad because there were people, human behavior, group dynamics, and psychology involved).


I joined FlyLady this week. Our apartment isn't out-of-control (or at least not all the time) but there are always little things that are left undone. I'd like a routine that helps me get things done, rather than put things off. Of course, today I've already failed by not immediately showering, doing my hair and makeup, putting on shoes, and shining my sink. But I did make the bed, as I have for the past three days (well, The Scientist did it yesterday). This morning, however, someone did not want to get out of bed. Here is the result.

the bed is made, but where's the cat?

Yes, more pictures of my cat. Somehow it's always just one of the cats. The other one's cute moments happen too quickly to catch on camera.

You can see our very colorful bedding in the picture. We painted the bedroom at our former apartment a darkish grey-green color (a few shades darker than what I call "Restoration Hardware green") and had a matching striped duvet cover with sheets in a cream and light green abstract/floral pattern. We still have all that now (well, minus the wall color--we're not bothering to paint in this apartment because the landlords are much more strict), but it's sitting on a shelf. I switched us over to a Caribbean-inspired bright colors thing. The quilt is reversible so we can play around with the colors. I'm not sure what we'll do when winter comes and we want to put the down duvet back on the bed. I'm thinking I may get a different duvet cover. The dark green was nice when our bedroom was small and cozy, but this bedroom is really large and needs something more intense.


We've made more progress on the wardrobe, but it doesn't show up in a picture. I think the next one you'll see will be of the finished project. The Scientist finished stripping the sides and top and I started the sanding last night. The first step is to take off the remaining patches of gunky funky stripper-and-paint mixed together. I use steel wool and clean water for this. Then I use the Mouse with a fairly rough sandpaper to get anything else off. I have to get the resulting dust off with a damp sponge. Finally, on the flat parts I'll use the Mouse with a fine-grained sandpaper and on the details sandpaper by hand. Then the sanding will be done and we can wash the whole thing down to get rid of any remaining dust and residue, put the primer coat on, and put the stain on (sanding in between coats). We are progressing, but it's slow. The Scientist really wants our kitchen back, and I agree. It's hard to cook dinner with a big mess right in the middle of everything.


This morning The Scientist came into the bedroom to tell me a funny story. It seems when he got up and fed the cats, he accidentally poured R.'s food into the water dish. No big deal--The Scientist dumped the water and soggy food into the kitchen sink, filled up the water dish again, and put new food in the food bowl. No problem. He went back to bed and when he got up to shower later, he was greeted with the sight of R.'s tail in the air, sticking out of the stink as he hungrily ate up the wet, soggy food in the sink drain. Weird cat.


To get a little meta for the first time, I spent some time this week cleaning out my bookmarks. I deleted a bunch of journals from my favorites, ones that I have spent time reading, but that just don't grab me anymore. I also came thisclose to deleting a journal I do appreciate from my list. The author wrote something I found really offensive, which is her prerogative, but she prefaced it by saying that no one was allowed to email her to respond to what she was about to say. Of course, some people did. She then angrily chastised people for writing, saying that she had stated clearly she didn't want any responses and what were those people doing responding to something she wrote in her journal for herself. There's a big gaping hole in that argument that really bothers me. She said something mean and purposefully incendiary in a public forum, a public journal, and the banned readers from commenting (which is impossible) and then bitched about it when they responded anyway. What did she expect? If she wanted to spew out venomous sentiments and get no response back, she should have done it at home in her private, non-online diary, not online in front of the world.

I think part of the unspoken contract that comes with writing online in a public place (as opposed to a password-protected private site) is that you open yourself up to public comments and reader feedback. Why else write online? Why not type up endless Word documents or write in a paper journal? This doesn't mean that someone has the right to stalk you or harass you, but if they want to email you and you have provided your email address, so be it. You don't have to read the responses, agree with the responses, or even respond to the responses, but the people reading your writing have every right to send something to you regarding it.

The author has since explained herself further in less angry, inflammatory words, but the whole thing left me repulsed. I don't want to only read things that I agree with, but I do want there to be a certain level of respect shown for the readers. Controversial writing will get a response, like it or not, and as a writer I think you should be aware of that and willing to deal with it.

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