In Which The Balance Works Out Pretty Well

24 July 2003

The good things and the bad things are maintaining some kind of balance, but luckily for me it's a balance that favors the good things, on the whole.

On the bad list: Timprov is even more allergic to California than I am. I think he may be contagious. I hope I don't develop his severe California allergy for my birthday, and I hope he gets over it by then, too. (Okay, okay, so it's probably a cold. A cold triggered by allergies to California, though! I'm sure of it!)

Good: I feel much better after my visit to Dr. Bill yesterday. He kept saying things like, "Wow, that's really bad." Which is not the best sign in the world, but it's over now. I spent much of the day being dizzy, woozy, queasy...what is it about the terminal "zee" sound that goes with so many words that indicate bodily unpleasantness? Anyway, I felt worse after seeing Dr. Bill than before, but in a way that allowed for improvement throughout the day. And I did improve. I didn't get a lot of stuff done, but I felt better in time to cook for Wendy and have fun with her here, so that was good timing.

Also on the good list: the new baked peaches. I think I'd mess with the recipe a bit -- big surprise there, me messing with a recipe -- especially including a bit of nutmeg and maybe some cinnamon or something. The substitution biscuits I bought in lieu of Amaretti were fine, and I now know that I could substitute other things (like Nilla Wafers) and not have any adverse effect). The almond extract substitution (for Amaretto) was also fine. (If we had already moved, I'd just buy a bottle of Amaretto, but I don't want to move the stuff. And we've already discussed how we don't drink enough to get rid of booze. Numerous times, in fact.) The peaches were tarter and firmer than I expected, which was pleasant; they didn't have that syrupy feel that a lot of peach desserts have. (Which makes sense, since I used fresh peaches and nothing syrupy in filling.)

I did have to shake my head at myself, though: I made company chicken, which dirties most of the bowls in the house, so then I had to come up with a dessert that took prep work and had to be made at the same time. Couldn't just serve ice cream or make a pan of bars, nooo! Had to make sure that everything was dirty by the time I was done! (There are leftover peaches. They're worth it.)

Also good: I talked to our mortgage guy at Edina Realty yesterday. I really like the phrase "our mortgage guy," and "our mortgage guy at Edina Realty" is even better. (He's at the affiliated mortgage firm, not actually Edina Realty. But same building.) This guy rocks. His accent was so thick you could cut it with a knife, and his sister was a geo major from my class at Gustavus. We played Gustie Bingo. He was a slice of home in that phone call, and it made me happy. Also, the preapproval is for up to twice what I was looking at. Eep. Heehee. Eep. I had heard they'd approve loans on way more than you actually could reasonably afford, but that's...a lot. A really lot. We won't be buying a house for that much, obviously. It's just funny to have people willing to deal with us and that much money in conjunction. (I kept saying things like, "Who do they think we are?")

Then Mark and I were discussing his budget for my birthday present before he went out to finish buying it, and I started saying, loudly, "But you don't have to spend all of it! You don't have to go up to the maximum!" And Timprov thought we were talking about the mortgage, and laughed and laughed.

I just added "folding chairs" to the list of things we would want to have in our new house. I really think we will, but also I like the list. I like looking at the list. Adding things to it. Deleting things. The new house list makes me happy. When we actually know what house it is, I'm sure the list will have lots more stuff on it. In the meantime, we do what we can.

Ooh, also a good thing: the recall! Circuses to go with our bread! And we'll leave before we have to deal with any consequences that might arise. (Seriously, I'm not thrilled with Gray Davis. I wasn't thrilled with any of the gubernatorial choices last go-round -- C.J. got the whole spiel when we were home in Minnesota around the time of the election, about how everybody sucked and how refreshing Minnesota politics were and so on. But they're a circus, too, just a different circus. The key to enjoying politics, I think, is knowing that you're going to be unhappy with the results and mostly making your peace with your own quixotic political behavior. At least, that's my key. You can have your own key if you want a different one.) (My old advisor was making fun of me for living in a state that might consider electing Dah Ahnuld. Strong words from a man who had Governor "The Body" for four years.)

Bad thing: I tried to phone for an appointment to try on a bridesmaid dress for Michelle and Scott's wedding in a local bridal salon. The elderly Eastern European lady there laughed at me. (Harumph!) She told me they didn't have any 4s, ever; they only had 10s to 14s, ever, and I might as well not plan on being able to try anything on at their store. But I could look at the dress (in the wrong color) in person, she said. Golly, thanks. The stores I called in Concord and Livermore didn't laugh at me but were no more helpful than the elderly Eastern European scoffer. So I'm not sure what we'll do about this -- Michelle will figure out what she wants me to do and then I'll do it, generally, but I'm not sure what her options are.

There was really no call for that lady to laugh, though. I see the sense in small stores only carrying the three most common sizes American women wear, figuring that the odds are that some bridesmaid in a group will wear one of those three sizes. But that doesn't make me laughable.

I'm not sure whether it counts as good or bad that I have another book idea. It's a short and fun one, but on the other hand -- gah! Another book idea! Well, it's one that looks ready to stay put for awhile, which is good, because the research -- you know what? At some point, I'm just going to either own or know where to check out all the English-language books on Finland. And then all my research will be easy, because if I don't have it at my fingertips or know where to get it, it just won't be available. At that point, of course, I will probably decide that it's time to hie my butt up to the U to start learning Finnish.

The crazy thing is, most of my books aren't even set in Finland at all. So I'm going to have to go through at least part of this procedure again. Over and over again. Far-future SF and wholly other-world fantasy are looking more and more appealing. And I do have several ideas that fit that category. But most of my books are going to require research. Sigh. Well, our library will continue to be interesting, there's that at least.

While I was recovering from my visit to Dr. Bill, mostly I read juvenile fantasies, which was a good choice, I think. I enjoyed them. The Ogre Downstairs was more domestic than numinous -- yes, I read this and have been pondering it -- but that's not a bad thing, necessarily. For me. Alan Garner's Elidor reminded me a fair bit of the Narnia books, even though the four children's genders were switched up (Susan and Lucy were both boys, and Edmund was a girl -- Peter was still a boy, though, and they were all recognizably the same), and they spent more time in our world than in the other one. It was interesting stuff, though, and I'll seek out more Garner. Now I'm into Peter Dickinson's A Bone from a Dry Sea, and enjoying it a good deal. I started reading him as "Mr. Robin [McKinley]," but he's worth it in his own right. It's nice to know she has taste.

So all that's pretty firmly on the good side. Oh, and also on the good side: more birthday cards and presents, some of them mysterious! Rah. They're sitting over by the CD rack, arrayed so that I can squint and poke at them. Birthday birthday. Wheee.

Somehow we ended up with no scone-making fruit in the house. I could use dried apricots, but I was hoping for something a bit more inspiring than that. And I have a movie to return. I think these two things will combine for a grocery/movie run. It'll be a thrill. Then: more short story work, I think. I've removed "Make Me a Match" from the list for this week: it might be a good idea to get another story out to Oceans of the Mind, since they bought the last one I wrote for a theme issue of theirs, but it's just not that much of a priority right now. I'm not as excited about this particular story. And I have other things that are more important to me than making the deadline for every anthology or theme issue there is out there -- other stories that are more important than that story, other projects, other foci. Removing one thing from the list won't make me a totally relaxed person, but it does seem like an exercise in perspective right now. I've also moved some of the items to other weeks. I keep telling myself that it's not admitting defeat, it's enjoying my life more. Maybe I should enlist other people to tell me that, too, but for the moment, it seems to be working well enough. There's room in my day to make scones and work on "Gilding the Dandelion" and maybe watch a movie. There's more room than that, even. And it'll be good.

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