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I went over to feed the neighbor's cat today. He moved in about 3 years ago. I could date it pretty precisely if I could remember their son's birthday as he was born during the time they were moving. We had met our previous neighbors on the day we moved into our house. They asked if we would mind if some of their guests parked in front of our house for their son's first birthday party. We quickly agreed as we were going to be unloading exclusively on the far side of the house and in the backyard. Later, they had a second son and the first time they took him out to see the sunshine, I told them that I was pregnant with Sylvia. The two kids grew older and before I went back to the workforce, I watched their son while taking care of my daughter. I could not tell you how much time I spent in that house, but our new neighbors probably had to be living in that house for 6 months before they had spent as much time in it as I had. I took naps, I made food for the kids. I left my own daughter there when I started back to work part time. Our lives were so closely connected that it is hard to describe. During all of this time, I entered through the kitchen side door and the mom lamented that there was never enough light in the kitchen.

Fast forward to when these new neighbors are preparing to move into the house with the very pregnant soon-to-be mom. We did not actually see here very much before her little one was born. He was a tad on the early side, but it was no surprise to me just from the few times I saw her that they were both ready for this process to be over. In any case, dad-to-be was supervising the renovations which involved - removing the kitchen side door entirely and replacing it with a window and adding a full sliding glass door on one side to let in the light. It is everything she wanted and yet they rearranged things many times with their little side area and never hit upon it. I am sure if they ever had thought of it, the cost would have held them back.

Now on to today. They are out of town and I am coming over each day to feed their little cat. I try to give her a few scritchings while I'm there, but she's fussy and I've got stuff to do, etc etc. This time, I settled down at their enormous kitchen table. It seats *at least* 8 comfortably. It is phenomenal. The previous family moved out because they were bursting at the seams with 3 kids. And yet, as I stood as close as I could figure out to where the previous kitchen door had been... I could not help but think of the former life of this house. I like all of these people. The moms, the dads, all the kids. We have been incredibly lucky with our neighbors. I haven't even gotten to the neighbors on the other side and while our lives have not been so closely tied up in theirs, they have all been very nice people as well.

And if the movement of one kitchen door inspires such pondering, let us go just a little deeper.

Our entire neighborhood has just four floorplans. Some are reversed and the neighborhood is thirty years old, so the houses look quite different from one another. This house though resembling the others in many ways, has some odd differences. Among other things, its windows are not the original inefficient 12 light windows, nor are they the more energy efficient type that most people in the neighborhood are moving towards. There is also an odd driveway stub which leads into the sidewalk. The house itself is at an intersection, but it's not really lined up right for turning around.

As it turns out, 20 years ago or so, there was a tornado which swept through Raleigh and destroyed, among other things, our neighbors house. It was either taken down to the ground or close enough to it that the house had to be entirely rebuilt. No doubt, they used the old floor plan to save time and for that feeling of being restored. A few construction materials were different as time had passed, but the house is *almost* the same.

I've thought about writing one of those highly researched, low interest books about just this neighborhood. Now I wonder if I couldn't support it on just these two houses alone...
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Hola!

Welcome to the recently migrated account of LJ-Gardenwaltz. Will I post more here? Who knows?

Last straw

Mar. 3rd, 2011 01:27 pm
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There was a little invite on the top of my LJ screen to help people farm crops or some BS like that. Thank you, but no. I did not leave Facebook because of the farmville/mafia wars crap, but knowing that I would not have to wade through any of those messages made my decision easier. I am out of here. I have already set up an account on Dreamwidth under "Magicicada" and am in the process of importing my entries. Please let me know if a) you are on Dreamwidth so I can friend/subscribe to your posts there or b) you are not on Dreamwidth and I should come back here periodically to make sure you are still above ground.

If the "best way" to get ahold of you is Facebook, may I recommend that you reconsider your lifestyle choices.
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Eventually I will port over my livejournal er, journal, but for now, I am kind of enjoying the relative anonymity. Once upon a time, internet land, there was a vax system, and on this vax there were 3 nodes (plus another node for unix, but they were there really weird weirdos). One node was called maple and it was good, most of the time. When it wasn't good, there was oak which was.. ok, but people would only use it when maple was down or, well, maybe there was some technical reason for one class or another, but I don't remember any. And then, there was cedar. There was no reason in this world to use cedar. Once there had been, but cedar was the oldest and the slowest of the machines. Even when maple had crashed, oak was usually not so busy that people went to cedar. So why logon to cedar at all? why indeed? There was nobody there, but the electrons whistling down the corridors. And sometimes, even in the quiet days before the internet, that was nice. I miss the vax community and the playing around with process names[1] on maple, but there was nothing so zen as setting your process name and knowing with near, but not complete certainty, that no one would ever read it.



[1]um, really primitive maybe 12 character status names. There would be these waves that would ripple through the process names (maybe a whole 30 of them!) in which people would follow various themes.

...whoooosh

Feb. 8th, 2011 09:24 pm
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I have finally (after much gentle poking and prodding) set up a Dreamwidth account. Huzzah!

Good, now I've got the first always awkward post out of the way, I can move on.
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Loucheroo, you were right. I have non-allegic rhinitis. Since the scratch and blood tests came back I have been somewhat bitter about the world of medical science and its shortcomings. After talking with the doc, a lot of things make sense. Mostly, I feel justified to yell l TOLD YA SO a lot. Some examples:

Because I do not have a specific allergy, it is not the composition of the "stuff" but the size of the stuff.

1. I react to FREAKING DUST - NOT DUST MITES. I have never bought the dust mite theory and feel smug that in my particular case it is the dust itself. It also means that yes, I really do get sick when I dust. It is not my imagination, preciousness, or laziness. While it is theoretically possible that I could help myself with very frequent dusting before the levels got harmful, in practice this means that buying a super-duper whole house filter was a very good idea. We are also looking into hiring a pro.

2. Line 4 of the informative pamphlet states that one aggravator is, and I quote, ATMOSPHERIC CHANGES. I literally react to the weather. Yes, I am a vers libre poet, but I am also physically tied in to the weather.

3. Per the doc, STRONG SCENTS AND PERFUMES are also a problem. There is no use trying to figure out which element in particular is bothering me, it is the intensity level. In other words, stop bathing in the stuff lady (or occasionally gentleman), you are making me ill.

Also, the Nasonex did not help much, which was another factor discouraging me this past month. I am supposed to call the doc back in a week to tell him if medication B, Astepro, helps. I could call him now. This stuff helps a lot. It is amazing. I am wondering how my life will change after I get used to my head feeling this clear.

Another side effect of the non-allergicness - cats are ok. I was never going to give them up. In fact, one reason for pursuing allergy testing was to see if I could get shots so that I could be happier while living with cats. There will be no help from shots, but at the same time no need for them.

Must dash, I need to drive across town and back to be in the same physical space with a piece of paper and then buy some desks for my new office. More on that later.
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and am back. It is really as wonderful as they say, but also plenty expensive even with a fantastic deal. Still, no regrets - especially as my ship (really big late invoice) has finally come in. Of course now I have even more expenses that need to be matched up with it, but things are looking up.

The biggest side effect may be an obsession with craftsman furniture and the arts & crafts movement in general. I don't think that large slabs of solid wood ever get cheap, but I am going to do what I can. Also, I will require a shipment of mica and copper lamps.

more, perhaps less scattered, much later. We came home via the blue ridge parkway which involved a lot of downwards corkscrews. Parts of me are still spinning.
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  • Staying at a hotel on Times Square is pretty cool. 
  • I did take a bus tour, but didn't really see the Statue of Liberty.
  • NYC has nothing on Paris, sorry.
  • By my one sample, NYC taxi drivers earned their crazy driving reputation.
  • Landing at La Guardia is ohmigod there is nothing under me but water until you are less than 20 feet in the air.
  • Central Park does look cool, but I think a lot of this was because the rest of NYC is so lacking in greenery.
  • Greenwich village was the one place (that I saw - did not get north of Central Park) that looks like home.
  • The former WTC was in a very dense place which makes its absence even more impressive.
  • Less smog than Houston
  • The staff at the Marriott Marquis was unbelievably friendly and gracious.
  • If you are going to pay > $10 for a whiskey, you might as well pay $16 for Laphraoig. It was worth every penny. Take seriously the warning about the "peatiness." It was still very very good, but the smokiness is inescapable. The good (or bad part) was that the smoky flavor lingered for hours...mmmmm..... 
  • I actually spent far less than I expected on food, but there was no escape from the high costs of some things such as transport and wi-fi. I ended up just going without internet for the most part. There was no lack of things to do.
  • My random roommate from Peru turned out to be an awesome individual. The advertised ATA conference perk of making lifelong friends was not hype in the slightest.
  • I met translators from across the U.S. as well as Italy, New Caledonia, Greece, etc etc.
  • One really cool thing about NYC was hearing all kinds of languages spoken by people who weren't coming to the convention.
  • I think the NYC marathon is a cool thing, but I was really glad to get out of town before it started. 
Ok, that's more than 5 min, more later.
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Jeff: Is it ok if I rip the old, ugly plastic toothbrush holder off the wall?
Jenn (moi): Kill!
Jeff: I'll try not to...
Jenn: DESTROY!!!
Jeff: ...damage... nevermind

This message brought to you by the Committee for Decorum, Interior Decorating and DESTROYING IT WITH FIRE.
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Track 1
Johnny Cash & Willie Nelson in a live performance of Ghost Riders in the Sky
*talk talk talk*
Ghost Riders
*talk introducing a reggae song written by Willie Nelson? called "Worried Man," followed by the first few notes which segue smoothly into...

Track 2
Edelweiss by Julie Andrews

The tracks were stitched together so smoothly that I could not detect anything strange until I recognized the tune of Edelweiss, which was only one beat before Julie Andrews voice started singing.
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I am in the middle of watching a video which demonstrates new search options on Google. I am very impressed on the whole, but the Wonder Wheel... that would be Gopher. It is a lot prettier than Gopher and 1000 times more functional, but I feel like I have been flung back in time to the early 90's.
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Every car that I have owned has suffered in comparison to my first car, a '76 Plymouth Volaré, in one key way - a total lack of foglights. The Volaré ,aka Piglet[1], had these adorable little lights that my dad had added on to the front[2]. They were controlled by a switch that was underneath the floormat so it was a HIDDEN switch. My dad was also keen on explaining how inferior all vehicles without foglights were, and the utter foolishness of trying to use high beams in the fog. He is right. I have flicked on my high beams briefly, not to test this, but just to see it for myself. The fog gets brighter, but that is not terribly helpful. Foglights simply work. So why is it that a dinosaur of a vehicle is superior to nearly every car built today. Oh yes, you can buy foglights - if you are willing to pay for every other option imaginable to establish the proper "environment" for the foglights to flourish. Trust me. If foglights can coexist with an 8-track, they will survive without the accompaniment of "leather seats[3] with heated front seats" and "illuminated entry."

Thank you for reading. This rant has been sponsored by The Committee to Think Seriously About, But Probably Be Unable to Afford the 2010 Prius. (if you can afford a new car, I would highly recommend it because they look like very nice[4])


[1] Because it was smaller than my Dad's previous car, the Hog. All I remember about the Hog is that it was orange.

[2] I have checked, and this is apparently "just not done" anymore in favor of built in lights that would require some sort of metal/plastic cutting apparatus.

[3] Can I just mention that my current car has leather seats (unheated) and I STILL do not have foglights?

[4] Please insist on foglights so there will be used 2010 Prius' available with foglights around 2020.

priceless

Mar. 3rd, 2009 10:23 pm
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I am "researching" a French multiplayer roleplaying game for an article on virtual immersion. As I was reading the tutorial, I found a section on necessary Provençal phrases:


- Bonjour : Bontjorn
- Bonsoir : Bonsera
- Comment ça va ? : Coume vai ?
- Bien : Bén
- Merci : Mercé
- Messire : Senhor
- Madame : Dòna
- Marseille : Marselha
- Provence : Prouvènço
- Oui : Óc
- Non : Non
- Maire : Cónsol


I love this. It is layer upon layer of linguistic fun and I have not even really started playing yet.
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..or how I showed by ability to be snowed in gracefully.

Our coffee machine *thinks* that it can get away with not making coffee. The clock works, but nothing involving actually turning on and making coffee will happen. For bonus points, it snowed last night and navigation is ... questionable. I analyzed the situation. We have a basket of grounds and something to go into it. We have water, but it will not heat or go up into the grounds basket. Solution: I fired up the electric kettle and added in boiling water cup by cup. I consider this to be a nobel-worthy accomplishment before my first cup of coffee. I am now on an unprecedented third cup. I am not sure if this coffee is weaker, or if I am just reveling in my accomplishments.
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I cannot think why this woman was not invited to her sister's wedding. I think I should send my sister a nice note to thank her for not being a raving psychotic.
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I have felt embarrassed as a writer because I cannot find a way to explain the depth of my emotion to Obama's victory. However, in his inauguration speech there were a few phrases that may help to explain why I feel so invested in this administration:

1. "...all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness."

Did you see that? Did you notice the way that he dropped the word "men" instead of trying to expand the definition to "all men and women." This is central to what he has done the entire campaign. He is not making a bigger tent, he is rejecting the concept of a tent entirely.

2. "We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus — and non-believers."

I just about stood up and said A-MEN! when Obama mentioned non-believers. I understand belief and the strength that comes from it. I respect Obama's strong faith... but I do not share it. And while I may believe in something, I have no idea what it is. It is nice to be explicitly invited into the idea of what America really is.

And here is the point where once again, I find myself trying to explain something that I cannot put into words, and is probably too personal to really mean anything. I will say this. My support for Obama has nothing to do with his rock star or celebrity status (as much as I admit that the man can dance). He is suggesting a new style of governance that is so heart-stoppingly honest that I do not think that the Enrons and Haliburtons of the world have any hope of understanding it. I think that the terrorists will understand though, and they will know that they have lost. This is a style of fighting akin to martial arts where the attacker ends up defeating himself with his own strength. The hate is over.
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I never realized what a difference it would make to have a president that can dance.
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...just in case, I have a second journal with the same username, over at insanejournal. The interface is a bit sleazier, but it will do as an emergency shelter.
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The food was edible, even very tasty, but I am still proudest of the name:

Thanksgiving Fantasia Pie

0. Preheat oven to 350
1. Frozen pie crust (to fit the leftover theme. This is leftover from the factory.)
2. Leftover Green Bean Casserole (french friend onions and all)
3. Combine 1 & 2
4. Top with shredded carrots <- token new item
5. Add strips of leftover turkey (dark meat), previously removed from carcass (preferably by someone else).
6. Add some milk (wing it)
7. Mix an egg with a little bit more milk (still winging it)
8. Add to proto-pie
9. Add a small amount of italian bread crumbs in a feeble attempt to avoid burning turkey. (no aluminum foil in the house, lack of foresight to put turkey on the bottom. If you read all the directions, you could chose not to make this mistake, but that might remove the "fantasia")
10. bake for 15-20 minutes. Observe that feeble anti-burning measures were unsuccessful.
11. Add frozen biscuits to top (still technically leftovers as they were purchased for Tday)
12. Add strips of Asiago cheese (leftover from something!) to fill the gaps between biscuits
13. Bake another 20-25 minutes
14. Remove from oven, eat

Optional: Inform child that she cannot have more of the pie until she's eaten something other than the biscuit on top. Inform child that the adults are getting more pie (with biscuit on top) because we have no FOOD left, while she has plenty in her bowl. End of meal. No dessert. Early bath. (adults get ice cream and brownies after child is asleep because we tried some of everything and did not whine - shhhhh)
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Although some people in the U.S. may have lost love for France, France never gave up HOPE for US.

I think the meanings are fairly clear, but translations from upper left clockwise:
An American Dream
Going for Obama
84% of French happy for Obama
Hope presides
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