Tomorrow’s the big day

Filed under: — Aprille @ 2:31 pm

Hi, gang.

I don’t know if I’ll be able to update tomorrow, since I’m taking the day off work to move into my new house. I don’t know for sure if our Internet access will be ready tomorrow; what’s more, I may not have the energy to type.

Over the last couple of days I keep thinking about all the “lasts” that I’m doing at the Nins. (This is short for Peninsula, which is the name of the neighhorhood Denny’s apartment is in. It rhymes with prince.) This morning, we drove that particular route to work for the last time. On Sunday, we watched Desperate Housewives for the last time at the Nins. Tomorrow morning will be the last time I wake up there. Tonight will be the last time I fall asleep there, assuming I don’t incur any concussions during the move tomorrow.

Mostly I’m excited about the new place–a studio apartment is getting a leeeetle cramped for two people, even though most of my stuff was at my official home, Jamal and Alyssa’s house. Plus I’m looking forward to painting and redecorating. I’m a little sad about leaving the Nins, though. We had some good times there. We cooked some great dinners (which we ate off of boxes at first, before we got a table). We danced and sang to loud iTunes (especially “Willy Was a Whale” and “You Ain’t Going Nowhere”). That apartment is where Denny proposed to me, where I kept almost spilling my champagne because I kept turning my hand over to look at my ring. Good times.

Of course, it’s also where we watched election results. Here’s to hoping the new places brings better luck on the national level. I’ll post pictures soon (assuming I can find my camera in all the piles and boxes).


Laundry laundry laundry

Filed under: — Aprille @ 3:01 pm

I did what felt like 36 loads of laundry yesterday. Denny, for reasons unbeknownst to me, enjoys doing laundry. I always felt basically neutral about it until yesterday, when it got to be a real pain. I had to do so much because I cleaned out my closet at Jamal and Alyssa’s, and things really needed a freshening up. It’s damp and a bit moldy in there. Fortunately, not too many things were very moldy, but they had a musty odor to them, which is now mostly gone. I still need to have some things dry-cleaned, though. At DC’s suggestion, I think I’ll drop the dry-cleaning off before the move and pick it up after, so there’s less stuff to move all at once.

This takes a hint from the Public Library, which recently opened in a new space. For the time before the temporary closing, they let books be checked out for 6 weeks. That way when patrons returned the books after the reopening, they’d do the moving for the library staff. Sneaky stuff.

Boy, I’m feeling lethargic. It must be all the folding.

Tonight is the Best of No Shame selection meeting. I hope it doesn’t go too long. I don’t think it will, since we’re a small board right now and a generally agreeable one.


We built this city on tuuuuuuurkey

Filed under: — Aprille @ 11:39 pm

I ate so much turkey. Holy crap.

Thursday: we went to Albia to Denny’s family Thanksgiving. I ate turkey and potatoes and sweet potatoes and green beans and two kinds of corn and some fluffy desserts. I also played Pictionary with Denny’s cousins. However, the highlight of the day was when I was watching Denny’s 12-year-old cousin Matthew paying checkers. It was a special, Christmas themed set of checkers, in which the playing pieces were either Christmas trees or Santa heads. They were stackable for when a piece got kinged. At one point, Matthew decided to switch out his Christmas tree base for a Santa head and kinged it with a Christmas tree top. He then declared it a “Planta.” Hah! That kid rules.

Friday: we went to my parents house for another Thanksgiving, which my parents had thoughtfully rescheduled to accomodate our schedule. My dad fried one turkey and apple-smoked another, and they were both delicious. We ate and ate, then took a break by going to the movies (Napoleon Dynamite, which I liked), then came back and ate some more. Arg. I’m definitely jogging tomorrow.

Saturday: Hey, that’s today. We went to a baby shower in Des Moines in honor of Denny’s cousin and cousin-in-law, who just recently had a baby. Her name is Taylor and she is very cute and good natured. Then we came home and drank the rest of the margaritas that were in the fridge (well, it would be a pain to move a half-empty container of Cuervo Gold margarita mix). We watched Trading Spaces while we drank them. Now Denny is very enthusiastically cleaning the walls with a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. It’s very effective.

This is my world. And, what do you know, I’m really very happy. Who knew that margaritas and basic cable could be so fulfilling?


I thought of something nice

Filed under: — Aprille @ 12:27 pm

As it turns out, Denny and I are already married under Iowa law, due to a funny little technicality. Don’t wig out; the wedding is still on as scheduled and you didn’t miss it.

We went to the Farm Bureau Insurance office to arrange our homeowners’ insurance for the new house on Monday. My auto insurance is expiring at the end of the month anyway, so we both decided to switch all our insurance to this new company to get the multi-line discount. As we were getting the details worked out with the agent, he said that it was advantageous to list us as married, and he figured that being engaged and buying a house together was close enough. So, according to our insurance company, we are married (this is much less of a pain than State Farm, who wouldn’t give us multi-line discounts until the actual ceremony has taken place).

From the site http://usmarriages.com (hilariously listed under “alternative lifestyles”):

“The ‘traditional’ common law marriage is one which is entered into without formalities. This type of marriage is usually defined as the intent to be married combined with living together and holding one’s self out to the world as married. States which recognize the “traditional” form of common law marriage include (as of 1998) Alabama, Colorado, District of Columbia, Georgia, Idaho (only if before 1-1-96), Iowa, Kansas, Montana, Ohio (only if before 10-10-91), Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina and Texas.”

Intent to be married? Check.
Living together? Check.
Holding oneself (weird how it’s misspelled on the website…hm…) out to the world as married? Well, if representing oneself as married on a financially and legally binding document counts as “holding oneself out…as married,” then check.

Hah. I think I was even wearing black that day. If I had known it was going to be a special occasion, I would have made a veil out of a garbage bag or something.


Filed under: — Aprille @ 12:25 pm

I’m feeling all rumply-pumply. I’m not sure why. Nothing bad has happened. Several little things that normally wouldn’t bother me are making me feel irritable, though.

1. I had a nightmare last night about the FBI opening fire with machine guns on me and my coworkers, and I’m still kind of frazzled by it.
2. It was a nice blue-sky day yesterday for the first time in ages, and now it’s all grey and dumb and cold again.
3. I sent a link to a website to someone because I thought he would enjoy it, and all he said was, “I’ve already seen that.” Pleh. (P.S. Ken, this is not you. A similar thing happened with you today, but you were nice about it.)
4. I have a wedgie.
5. Certain people don’t know how to use the Track Changes function in Word. Am I actually supposed to side-by-side compare the version I sent her and the version she sent me to figure out where she made changes?
6. Somebody’s mad at me because her son was sick and I forgot to ask if he was better.
7. Moving is stressful.
8. A bunch of my clothes and other belongings got moldy in their basement storage. I hope washing or dry-cleaning takes care of that.
9. I don’t like all this negativity and I wish I weren’t spewing it. I will do my best to perk up and post a more positive post later.


So fresh and so clean, clean

Filed under: — Aprille @ 12:07 pm

News items:

1. DC and I bought a barely-used washer and dryer yesterday. We stopped by a consignment store looking for furniture, and we saw a few things we liked OK, but we didn’t buy any of them…except a relatively new washer and dryer. They look to be in great shape, and they were much cheaper than buying them new. We put them on layaway and will pick them up when we have the moving truck.

2. When we got home last night, the door was locked in a way that we don’t lock it (there are two locks: the doorknob lock and the deadbolt. We only ever lock the deadbolt. But the doorknob was locked). So apparently the landlord was in there again. *sigh* Just a little over a week and we never have to worry about that particular problem again.

3. I had a funny dream last night. I was back in junior high, and I was hanging out with my family and my friend Sarah Teas, who had a perm (unrelated detail, but it’s nice to know my subconscious dated her hair accurately). My brother, who was about 7 at the time, was sad because he was sure he was going to be little forever. I said to him, “I know it’s going to be hard for you to believe, but I have come from the future, and I can personally guarantee that you will grow up to be 6 feet tall and 250 pounds of solid muscle.” He seemed to be comforted by that.

4. I finally got around to making a favicon for this site (the little image to the left of the URL in your browser, assuming you are using a modern browser such as awesome Firefox (Side note: why has mozilla.org been so down/slow lately?). I don’t know why my favicon looks all rumply pumply, though. I’ll keep working on it.



Filed under: — Aprille @ 4:37 pm

Today, we got our homeowners’ and auto insurance squared away. Thanks to Denny’s fervent research, we got a good deal through Farm Bureau. We also went to the post office, where I sent a gift to my Secret Santa partner from The Women’s Room (an online discussion group I participate in) and we submitted change of address forms.

Oh, I did some work, too. After work we’re going to go running. One of these days we should start packing, too. Hm. Tomorrow, perhaps, or maybe even tonight I could go to Jamal and Alyssa’s and get stuff boxed up there. Fortunately I don’t have too much big stuff, just a lot of clothes and books and a few furniture items.

The good thing about buying a house is that we never have to move again if we don’t want to. Chances are we will, but it’s nice to know that not moving is an option.

I’m glad you’re enjoying the hilarious Italian song. I have lots more robot songs if you want them, Sadie. For a while there I was going to have a robot party, but I never did. Maybe I still will someday. Too much to think about right now, though.


Robots in music form

Filed under: — Aprille @ 1:02 pm

Sadie, I have a present for you.

UFO Robot (mp3, 2.65 Mb)


Something nice to say

Filed under: — Aprille @ 4:23 pm

And now, something pleasant.

Denny made a cute post in his blog about our ballroom dance class. Also, I got free pizza at work.

Slight rant ahead

Filed under: — Aprille @ 11:28 am

OK, so remember a while back when the young woman came over to check the apartment and I was suspicious that she’d been there before, without our knowledge? Well, now I’m fairly convinced that she has been there before, because she’s taking the apartment.

Here’s why I think that. To recap, I was home sick from work one day a week or two ago, and the landlord came by. I answered the door and told him I was sick, and he said he wouldn’t bother me then. This woman was standing next to him. I had the distinct impression that if no one had been home (which is the case 95% of the time during the day), they would have just come in.

Then a woman contacted Denny to set up a viewing. We tidied up and everything, and she came over. As I suspected, it was the same woman who was with the landlord that other time. What really confused me was the fact that she barely looked around at all. If I were considering renting a place, I’d check out the appliances, the closet space, the washer/dryer, etc. She didn’t do any of that. She only stuck her head in the bathroom when I specifically suggested that she do so.

I thought that she must have been there before and done those things. But, because it’s actually illegal for a landlord to do such a thing without giving the tenant 24 hours notice (not to mention rude), I gave him the benefit of the doubt. I thought maybe she already had a different place she liked better, and she was just visiting ours to humor the landlord (I think they work together).

But no! What makes it extra annoying is the fact that the only reason I can think of that she set up the cursory viewing was because the landlord told her to, to give us the impression that they were doing things by the book.

Hell, I wouldn’t even care if he showed her around when we weren’t there had he given us a call first, but it’s very bad form not to warn a person of such things. Grr. It’s a small thing, I know, but it’s just one more irritation from already irritating people. The landlord is the husband of our realtor, and they sort of share duties. If you’ve been reading this at all, you know how dissatisfied we’ve been with the realtor.

Fortunately, we’ll be done with them in less than two weeks, when we close on the new house. Whoo!


The internet defines me

Filed under: — Aprille @ 10:24 am

Check it! This is actually fairly accurate:

You Are the Reformer


You’re a responsible person – with a clear sense of right and wrong.

High standards are important to you, and you do everything to meet them.

You are your own worst critic, feeling ashamed if you’re not perfect.

You have the highest integrity, and people expect you to be fair.

What number are you?


Squash soup

Filed under: — Aprille @ 7:55 pm

Tonight I made the most wonderful soup I’ve ever had. It’s healthy, too; it’s low fat and packed with vitamins and beta carotene.

Here is how you make it:

2 acorn squash, about 1 pound each (halved and seeded)
a handful of peeled carrots (I used the baby carrots all washed and ready-to-use)
1 large yellow onion, peeled and cut into large chunks
1 bunch leeks (well washed, white and light green parts only)
24 oz chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg (fresh would have been great, I bet)
1 tsp curry powder
cayenne pepper
1/2 cup sour cream (I used fat free with great success)
a generous splash of real maple syrup (please, no fakey stuff. Hy-Vee Grands brand is good)
parsley oil (optional; see procedure below)

1. Heat oven to 450 F. Spray a glass baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Arrange squash, cut side down, in the dish. Pour in 1 cup of water. Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes. Add onion, leeks, and carrots. Cook for another 30 minutes or until squash and carrots are soft.

2. Let the squash cool a few minutes, then scrape the flesh away from the skin with a spoon. Discard the skin. Put squash flesh and other vegetables into a blender. Add broth, about a cup at a time, until it all blends together smoothly and all the broth is added. Pour through a strainer to filter out stringy or fibrous bits. You may need to press it through a bit; some fiber in the soup is fine.

*at this point, you can put the blender pitcher in the fridge and not worry about it for a couple of days*

3. Put strained mixture in a large saucepan. If it has been refrigerated, heat it up, whisking frequently. Once warm, whisk in spices and sour cream until it is well blended. Taste it; add as much salt as you desire. Taste it again and decide if you want it to be spicier (FYI, the answer is “yes”). Add cayenne, a sprinkle at a time, until it’s the right amount of hot for you.

4. Whisk in the maple syrup. Serve with a drizzle of parsley oil.

Parsley oil procedure:
Very finely mince a teaspoon or so of fresh parsley. In a small bowl, mix in a couple of teaspoons of olive oil. Mix thoroughly and let sit for at least 30 minutes before adding to the soup. Chili oil or the oil from a jar of sun-dried tomatoes would also be good.

Awfully fruity

Filed under: — Aprille @ 4:58 pm

Want to see a lovely photo?

I thought so.

Today my coworker P. got fake-mad at another coworker for saying that P. seemed like the kind of guy who would dry his own fruit. I have no idea how that conversation came about, because I walked in on it part-way through. But I think I’m sort of offended by the fact that P. took offense to the implication, even jokingly. I mean…what’s wrong with drying one’s own fruit? Is that gay or something? Too Martha Stewart-ish? I just think it’s frugal. I always wished my parents had a convection oven, because in the summer my mom’s cherry tree goes wild, and I wanted to make dried cherries.

On the other hand, when the time comes that I am offended by other people being offended by things, maybe it’s time to just chill the hell out.

Oh, also, I’m taking down the bridesmaid dress survey. I think I’ve gotten what I need to get out of it, and also I didn’t realize until I tried it on someone else’s computer that it was launching annoying pop-ups and advertising. I have pop-ups blocked, see, which is easy to do with the greatest browser in the world, Firefox.


Oh my lawdy

Filed under: — Aprille @ 3:37 pm

I just found out my friend Ruby’s sister Connie is having IDENTICAL TWIN BOYS. I knew she was pregnant, but I had no idea it was to that extent.

She’s due in late January/early February. Ruby’s got a baby shower planned for mid-January; I hope she’s still pregnant then. Of course, having a baby (or two babies) in attendance never ruined a baby shower.

Holy effing crap. I can’t hardly imagine.

I think I would be very nervous to have twins. I’d be afraid I’d lose one.

Regardless, my heartiest congratulations to Connie and Ed. I hope they name the babies Jacques and Hank. That would be funny.

In funny story news, Ken told me another good one about his six-year-old, Aaron. They are not a religious family, and the other day they were driving around a part of town that has a lot of churches in it. Aaron was curious about the stained glass, so Ken explained to him what it was. That led into a discussion about church buildings and their decorations and meanings.

Then Aaron wondered aloud, “Why do all the churches have those big lower-case T’s on them?”

That kid. He cracks me up.



Filed under: — Aprille @ 4:26 pm

For the person who didn’t believe me that frou-frou is a real word:


frou·frou also frou-frou: ( P ) Pronunciation Key (froo’-froo)

1. Fussy or showy dress or ornamentation.
2. A rustling sound, as of silk.

[French, of imitative origin.]

division of labor

Filed under: — Aprille @ 3:27 pm

So DC and I are doing this obligatory pre-marriage counseling thing (which is fine; I kind of wanted to do something like that anyway, and then my uncle, who is performing the ceremony, gave us the materials). The first step involved filling out this long survey about a variety of topics. The questions ranged from the silly (True or false: “I feel I am talented at many things”) to the genuinely useful (True or false: “My partner and I are satisfied with the division of chores in our household”).

To that end, Denny and I struck up a deal today. This evening, a woman is going to come by to look at the apartment that we will be vacating pretty soon. I abhor tidying. I also abhor being in the same room as Denny when he’s tidying (it makes me nervous and gives me painful flashbacks of tense childhood moments). Denny hates grocery shopping, and we’re almost out of food.

The deal: I will go grocery shopping if he will tidy the apartment.

I’m going to get the required groceries to make the following tasty dishes:

  • Baked snapper in tomato-orange sauce
  • Pork tenderloin with apples and sweet potatoes
  • Spicy Caribbean chicken

Depending on how they turn out, I may or may not post recipes.


Live from Minneapolis

Filed under: — Aprille @ 5:36 pm

Hi. I’m at John and Patty’s now. The concert last night was GREAT. Someone who went to the Wednesday night show said they played mostly Doolittle, and they did play a good chunk from that, but they also did some from Trompe le Monde and the Surfer Rosa/Come On, Pilgrim set, and Bossanova too. Oh, there were also some B-sides and covers. It was so great.

Today we went to Ikea, where Denny and I bought a coffee table and half a chair for the new house. Half a chair?, you ask. Well, we bought the frame (we’re calling it “the Kaspar” because our friend Kaspar loves that kind of chair), and we went to find the cushion, and they were out of both the colors we liked. So we’re going to try to get the cushion either online or make another trip up here some time. There were lots of nice things for very cheap at Ikea.

Our nice table:

Our nice chair, of which we only own half:


Pixies weekend

Filed under: — Aprille @ 10:41 am

Dear friends,

Did you know that the Pixies have been my #1 favorite band of all time for many years? The first time I ever heard a Pixies song was in eighth grade, probably around the year 1990. The first Pixies song I ever heard was “Gigantic,” which came on a mix tape that my pen-pal Justin sent me. His cool older brother worked at a radio station, so he always had access to the best material for mix tapes. Until that year, I had mostly been boogying to the likes of REM and Fine Young Cannibals, with a dash of They Might be Giants thrown in. But the Pixies opened my eyes.

Because my first exposure was to “Gigantic,” imagine my surprise when I picked up the album Bossanova at a used record store in Minneapolis. I had assumed that Kim Deal was the lead singer, but no! The hypertensive vocals of one Black Francis, aka Charles Thompson, aka Frank Black, smooshed out at me. I had assumed that their primary sound was jangly pop, but no! Joey Santiago’s dreamy surf guitar soothed my ears like shastasheen. Yes, Kim Deal and David Lovering were still around (David’s vaguely Nick Cave-ish voice droned on about Debbie Gibson), but BF and Joey were the ones that won my ears.

Over the years, I purchased what I believe is their entire catalogue, or close to it. Besides the major studio albums, I think I own all the B-sides, all the EPs, and all the compilation albums they contributed to (when I jog with the tune “I Can’t Forget” in my head, it’s the Pixies who are performing it there in my skull, not Leonard Cohen, bless his heart). When I saw vinyls of Surfer Rosa and Come On, Pilgrim for sale, I was [this close] to buying them, until Denny reminded me that a) I already own those albums, and b) I don’t own a turntable. I still want them.

When I heard the news of the Pixies’ demise in 1993, it is not exaggerating to say at least fourteen of my inner heart cells died. It had been my dream to see them live in concert, and it seemed my dream would never come true. Sure, I saw Frank Black and the Catholics (a later project of Charles Thompson’s) at Gabe’s in Iowa City a few years ago, and his fat, bald head was as glisteny with sweat as I could have dreamed, but it just wasn’t the same. I wanted to hear BF sing the line, “Rock me, Joe,” in the song “Monkey Gone to Heaven” and have Joey actually rock him. I was even willing to put up David’s doofiness and Kim’s helium voice, because they were all somehow less irritating when they were together.

But no! I always blamed Kim for the breakup, because her side project The Breeders gained some success immediately after the Pixies ended. I assumed she wanted to spend more time with The Breeders and heroin (rumors of wanton drug abuse by Kim and her sister Kelly abounded). In retrospect, Charles was surely as much to blame as Kim. Talent notwithstanding, I hear he’s a real jerk. Lord knows he didn’t seem to appreciate my rocking from the front row at Gabe’s.

So I resigned myself to the fact that I would never see them live.

Imagine my delight when, in this gentle year of 2004, they scheduled a reunion tour. I was afraid that due to their volatile temperments, they might fizzle out on the European leg of the tour. But apparently they didn’t, because they played a show last night in St. Paul, and they’d damned well better play one again tonight, because that’s when my tickets are for. They had scheduled one in Cedar Rapids, which would have been superfly, because how great would it be to see the Pixies twice on one tour? Really great, that’s how great. But unfortunately, they canceled that show, I believe due to weak ticket sales. Lameass Iowans. Luckily, I already had my Twin Cities tickets, so I just returned my CR tickets and hope-hope-hoped that they wouldn’t break up before the St. Paul show.

I’m heading up this afternoon. It’s kind of poetic that I’m seeing them in concert in the same city where I bought my first Pixies album.

Awwww yeah.


Ballroom dance

Filed under: — Aprille @ 5:10 pm

DC and I are taking ballroom dance, partly in preparation for the wedding and partly just because it’s fun. This is the second class we’ve taken through the Kirkwood Continuing Ed branch (the first was wine tasting), and it’s been good times all around. The class is made up of an interesting mix of people. It’s about half young people who are probably getting ready for their own weddings, and the other half is middle-aged people who apparentlyt are just looking for excuses to get out of the house.

One couple is funny because the woman is probably 2 feet shorter than the man. Seriously, she’s probably 4’6″ and he’s probably 6’6″. I saw them give each other a meaningful glance when the teacher described the basic dance position, then the alternative one for couples where there’s a major height difference.

On another note, King Toad is the best band in the world.


More bridesmaid dress crap

Filed under: — Aprille @ 1:20 pm

OK, I’m dumping #1 because nobody seemed to like it much, and also it doesn’t come in any colors I like. So that was a pretty easy decision.

Here’s one Emily found, and I love it. I’m crazy about Jim Hjelm; my original dream wedding dress was a Jim Hjelm, but it was out of my budget, and I found a similar one for a better deal. Fortunately, his bridesmaid gowns aren’t as expensive. Geez…in retrospect, I almost wish I’d gotten this gown in white for myself.

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