Turning 30

May. 28th, 2015 01:08 pm
oceantheorem: (be careful pretending)
So, I have lots of things I want to say, but I'll separate them. First up, a recap of my 30th birthday and celebratory trip to Kentucky!

It turns out Kentucky is an AWESOME place to vacation. Who knew?

So, so many pictures... )

...and I've literally had this tab open on my laptop for over a week now, and have only gotten through the beginning of day 2 of our 6-day trip, so I'm going to stop here, post this, and probably never finish the recap.

So here's the quick version: The Kentucky Horse Park was awesome. We spent two days there. Elena was bored out of her mind, but my mom and I loved it. We saw retired Derby winners, big draft horses, and about a dozen examples of rare breeds of horse from around the world (got to pet some of those!). We then spent two days at Mammoth Cave, which was incredible and very educational, and we got to go on an Introduction to Caving tour that let us crawl over and under and through rocks, which Elena loved. Otherwise she was fairly poorly behaved and had problems listening to instructions, but on the crawling tour she was great. On our very last day we drove back to Louisville and actually visited Churchill Downs, including their museum, and went on a walking tour of the track. We got lunch there and ordered mint juleps (yum!!!) and something disgusting called Benedictine (note that if you forget what this is called, searching Google for "Kentucky green spread food" will get the answer for you on the first hit).

Overall the trip was lovely, and I had some wonderful conversations with my mom, which I may or may not go into in a later update. Elena is... difficult for me to relate to? Is that a diplomatic way of saying things? I have a really hard time with her. I feel very guilty about this but I don't think it's alterable.

I was really glad to come home to Chris.
oceantheorem: (crazy but ok)
We've moved into an apartment we're calling Shoebox Palace. Some of you  may have seen pictures of it on Google+; it is very very small and very very expensive, but we actually love it. It gets tons of sunlight, and the vaulted ceiling gives us acres of wallspace for our extremely nerdy art (cutaway pictures of Firefly, posters of the Ladies of Firefly, umpteen framed dragon art pieces, a horrible parody of Wil Wheaton and Felicia Day, etc), so we are now once again surrounded by things that make us feel at home. The living area is actually pretty spacious, and who needs a dining area anyway? We don't miss having one. A dishwasher would be nice, as would our own washer/dryer, but you can't have everything, right?

There is a little market about a block away. The safest way to get there is to avoid the main road to our right and instead go down the dark alleyway through the center of the block. I am not even kidding. I am pretty sure that if I walk along the big road by myself I will get raped. By contrast, the alley is populated by people who are probably homeless and maybe a little crazy, but not one of them has tried to talk to me or touch me, which is in sharp contrast to the big road. Anyway, the market itself is fabulous. It is half produce section and one third meat section, and everything they sell is incredibly cheap. Avocados are three for $1. Plantains are $0.79/lb. A giant bundle of cilantro is $0.79. I've made two batches of guacamole in the last week (WHOEVER GAVE US THE CUISINART, I DON'T KNOW WHO YOU ARE BUT I LOVE YOU), and each time it's lasted for a couple days and has cost under $2. This is wonderful considering Jim has still not received a paycheck.

He at least has a job, and has been working since we got back from Dragon*Con (which was amazing, just like last year, and we already have our tickets for next year), but his company is incredibly disorganized and tends not to know where he is, or what cargo he's picking up, or whether the clients he's dealing with are actually open (hint, if it's a Sunday, they probably aren't. good job, company.). I am beginning to fear that they are going to come out and claim that Jim was never actually hired, and thus not pay him a single cent. Or worse, pay him for the last three weeks and the entire thing will be like $300.  Uuuuuggghh.

My dad is trying to get a housing voucher from the VA to live in San Francisco, so he's been around a lot lately, which has been really good. He is incredibly insecure, so I've been trying to reassure him that I do love him and that the distance I keep from him is because I'm married and just moved and got a new job and omg my life is busy. But Jim suggested we have my dad over for dinner, so we did on Saturday, and it was awesome. It went really well, and they are getting along just fine, and it was an enjoyable evening. I look forward to doing that again and forming a normal bond with my dad. Plus, he wants to teach both Jim and me everything he knows about leatherworking, which will be AWESOME. My dad uses his leather skills mostly to make belts and guitar straps and stuff for other people, mainly things with like football logos or mustang heads or whatever on them. Jim and I will use these skills to make leather armor and costume steampunk gear. We are excited.

I got to see my mom a couple weekends ago for the Reno Balloon Races, which was fun. We took my little sister (now 6.5yo), who had never been before. She was more interested in going to look for frogs in the pond than she was in the hot air balloons. Seriously, this child and I have nothing in common. She's a bright kid though, so that's good. And seeing my mom was awesome. I'm hoping to entice her over to the city to go to operas and plays and stuff - as soon as Jim starts getting a paycheck and we can afford to do that kind of thing.

I've been playing an online writing game. I think the technical description is "play-by-post online role-playing game". It started in February and has really been picking up lately; I just finished running a giant event that seems to have brought back some inactive people and drawn in some new ones, which is awesome. The world we play in is mostly based off the Dragonriders of Pern series, with some Dune influence thrown in. It's been cool to work on writing lately; it's a hobby I've had for ages but haven't been able to indulge in much in the last half-decade or so. I still don't think I'll do NaNoWriMo again, as I have no lingering desire to write a novel, but I AM really enjoying spending a lot of my free time writing little scenes with the handful of characters I've created.

We went to a Ren Faire last weekend. I got my hair braided. It was awesome.

All in all, things are much much much MUCH better than they were in August. I'd say we're very nearly settled now, and I might even be re-developing a fondness for San Francisco, though I'm wary now. City, you have burned me, and you must earn my renewed affection!
oceantheorem: (yay omg yay kermit)
 Good things are coming up! I'm starting to get excited.

I finally booked plane tickets to go see my mom in May. My original plan was to call her, like, Thursday while she was at work (the Thursday before Mother's Day - and my birthday) and ask her what her Mother's Day plans were. When she said "nothing" or "just hanging out" I was gonna reply, "Aw, that's too bad. I wish we could go out to dinner or something." And then she'd come home and I'd be IN THE KITCHEN and we'd go out to dinner and it would be totally awesome.

You know, planning surprises is REALLY HARD. So she knows about the visit now, but I'm going for a nice long five-day visit, and we both have the opportunity to make sure we get all those days off work, so we'll have plenty of time to spend hanging out together. I haven't seen her in a year and half, which is absurd and totally unacceptable, so I'm really really looking forward to this visit.

There's a bunch of other stuff on the horizon for this summer. First off is a casual get-together with House Cup friends in June - people from around Michigan and some of the connecting states are going to meet up for an afternoon potluck type thing. I've met most of the people who are coming, so it will be a nice chance to chat with some friends I don't see often.

July gets really crazy. Or, the third weekend in July is crazy. The Michigan Brewer's Guild Beer Festival is on the 22nd and 23rd, and I've been looking forward to it since LAST July. I've been to the festival the last two years, and it's just awesome. It's such a fun gathering, and there are hundreds of different beers to taste. The atmosphere is fabulous, and the company is even better.  This year, sadly, Jim's sister is getting married that Saturday, so we won't be able to spend the whole day there, but I do plan on taking most of that Friday off work so we can spend all of Friday at the festival.

August looks clear at the moment, except for maybe a fiber festival on the other side of the state...

The first weekend of September is going to be the highlight of the summer this year. I've been talked into attending DragonCon in Atlanta. There are several House Cuppers (Slytherins, actually) who live there, and my House Cup friend from San Francisco is going to be meeting up with them down there too, so it was really inevitable that they'd talk me into going. Plus, James Marsters, Felicia Day, and Anne McCaffrey will be there. It's a huge convention for nerds. It's going to be four days of epic drunken House Cup nerdery.

In the meantime, the sun is slowly returning to these parts. It's making me cheerier and giving me more and more energy. I feel less like sitting in the dark in my apartment and hiding from the world, and more like MAKING things and DOING things and SEEING people and GOING places. I need to start channeling all that energy somewhere (and I miss living in California, where I remember this energy being so much more powerful...).

This evening I started working on a costume for our Friday night gaming group. One of our members just had a baby (and was our DM, and is not going to be attending for the forseeable future), so we've switched to a new campaign for the next several weeks. I'm playing a witch, the kind who lives in a secluded hut and has branches in her hair and is a little crazy but makes the most effective potions you've ever tasted.  So I scored some free glass test tubes from work and spent this evening brewing up the perfect potion. I settled on water, butter, xanthan gum, and food coloring.  Then I had to figure out how to cap the tubes, which was a bit more of a challenge, but wax-soaked cut-up-sweater-squares glued and then tied on seem to have done the trick. None of them are leaking yet!

Now I just need a stuffed weasel (on its way overnight from amazon.com!) and a black skirt I can shred and tie branches into...
oceantheorem: (I am volatile chemistry)
Teal strip!
"There is no wealth but life." --John Ruskin, Unto the Last


Mother's Day is in two weeks. Does anyone have any good ideas? My mom has been super-amazing lately, and I want to do something really nice for her. Last year Mother's Day was the day before my birthday, so I sent her flowers on both days. I dunno if I want to do that again; but she ended up being in Santa Cruz to surprise me, so she didn't get the flowers until afterwards anyway. Thoughts? Suggestions?

O to still be at the age when a handprint in clay was a good gift...


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