As an exercise to the reader imagine this story with all the genders binarily flipped

Hi. I’m taking a memoir writing class now. Before I started, I did that before school excitement thing. Would I like the teacher? Who would be there? Would they be nice? CAN I HAVE A FRIEND is my eternal yawning void, we-all-die-alone question I ask myself in any new situation. I predicted it would be mostly women, and probably older ones who had Done Some Shit and wanted to write it down. Interesting women!

I was pretty much correct. There’s a couple of younger women, but mostly it’s 40s and up. When I look around and see just women in a room a nice word floats across the marquee of my brain just like Vonnegut’s Wayne Hoobler and his “fairyland”: LADYSPACE.

Then there was one dude, maybe late 20s, who walked in kind of last-minute and it was fine. I don’t care, I thought. I will allow this, gavel bang. But! I am not going to censor myself, I said.

I hate that I have to tell myself not to censor myself, but I really didn’t care that he was there. On the first day we had to introduce ourselves and say something about why we took this class or what we wanted to write about if we knew.

“I used to be in tech and now I’m in construction,” I said. “So I’ve gone from microaggressions to macroaggressions.” I cannot say anything about myself without self-protective attempts at humor. “I’ve mostly worked with men throughout my career and now I work with, like, ninety-nine percent men.”

One of the older women interrupted me to remind me there was a man in the room. Caution.

“Well, he knows how men are, he is one,” I said.

“Yeah,” he said, and laughed.

“There’s good ones and bad ones everywhere, just like women,” I said and I moved on.

Later I was in my friend’s kitchen while her husband cooked us dinner and I told them about my first day of class.

“In conclusion,” I said, waggling my negroni for emphasis, “it is important to consider the feelings of men in the room, even if there is just one man,” I said. “I’m allowed to say these things, though.” I pointed at my friend’s husband, who was seasoning chicken. “You can take it, right? You guys are always telling us how tough you are.” He sighed and my friend and I laughed.

The next week there was a late arrival: another man. LADYSPACE was looking a little more like dude jetsam in a ladysea. This one was a sixty-something white guy. I did an ability check and decided to rely on my +2 alienating pink hair and sat down next to a woman I found interesting last week.

“Hey I’m SJ,” I said. “Remind me of your name please?”

Since there was only the three of us in this room, it was quiet and he decided to insert himself.

“I’m Greg! I wasn’t here last week.” We said our hellos. I managed to ask her if she’d been writing a lot in the last week before class started but not much else.

Today I was early again and new friend was there along with Greg. My people, the earlybird club.

Greg told a story related to our reading on memory, scene, and place about working in Germany when he was younger and romanticizing it later, but then returning and remembering all the bad things, like how he was worked like a slave and how hard it was.

“Hmm, that reminds me of childbirth,” I said. “I love to think about the good parts of when my girls were little but if I suddenly landed in a maternity ward I’d probably start screaming and never stop.”

“I can’t relate to that at all!” Greg said.

Later in class we did a little quick writing on scene setting and I volunteered to read the few paragraphs I’d barfed out. I got some good feedback and questions from the teacher and other people in class. We heard a couple more pieces and then class was over.

It was one of those little moments that I love–that moment when you know you’re starting to like the teacher and she’s not in a huge hurry to leave, and the other students who have somewhere to be start filtering out. The talk slides from class mode into conversation, just people who have been sharing ideas and have their creative pumps primed.

There was a small break in the discussion and I slipped out, conscious of not being that person who goes from some some last-minute pleasantries to trapping the teacher there while she glances at the clock, realizing that she is now doing unpaid work.

Greg tagged along after me on the way out. “I wanted to say something about when you were reading,” he said. “Oh shoot, I forgot my coat.” I waited for him, even though I didn’t really want to. Maybe something I can use will come out of this. It’s good to be open to other perspectives, I told myself.

He had remained silent after I read, which surprised me a little, because I was prepared to hear his opinion then. He has an opinion on everything we discuss in class. Here it comes, I thought, as I held the door for him.

“I was thinking to myself that I was getting distracted because I was thinking about everything else we had talked about in class,” he said.

“Oh,” I said. “There’s a lot going on.”

“Yeah, I actually didn’t hear anything you read at all. I was thinking I probably should have paid attention. But I didn’t hear one word!”

[What color is this lampshade? I am not sure but it’s…covered in something viscous and dark:]

Did. Did this motherfucker just stop me from leaving class and going on my merry way to tell me he hadn’t listen to what I’d read at all? OF COURSE HE HAD.

“Oh well,” I said. “I have children so I’m pretty used to being ignored when I speak. Have a good week!”

I slipped into the bathroom before he could say another word.

“Shee, you guys are so unhip it’s a wonder your bums don’t fall off.”


School happened again a couple of weeks ago, as it does five times a year. Three weeks post-surgery, but I knew there was no way I could make it up. It was the second part of the architectural unit, and now we’re done with that. I was super dreading it because the first part of architecture week was pretty hard, and also it’s miserable being indoors with a bunch of guys who smell like flowers and cigarette smoke.

We usually start with a classroom test, but this time we started in the shop, a refresher on what we’d done for the first part of architecture. I made another piece of coping (the cap that protects the top of a parapet) and it was frankly terrible. For my coping final last time, I got a D on it. This time I got a C. I can do better, but I didn’t. I knew the measurements were off, but the big machines that we use to cut and bend metal were kicking my ass. I showed my teacher my light duty/surgery letter, and he said, “You’re on your own with that one.”

Morale was feeling extra poop-scented, because one of our classmates left at the beginning of the week for a job at Boeing with a major pay cut. We attend classes with the same people every time. We have each other’s phone numbers. I’ve started a homework group at my house that involves, “let’s get this done together and then have some damn dinner and yak.”

I’m smart; those who can’t, network. I think I’ll have a new high of 4-5 people over next month. I like these people so much. Our teachers marvel at how well we all get along and help each other. I hear about their jobs, their babies, their dying relatives. I catch them up on my life. When we get stressed out in the shop we yell lines from Silence of the Lambs at each other. I play Clarice.


This is the time when people start getting weeded out who can’t make it through the apprenticeship for whatever reason. I heard a teacher make a comment that they don’t even tell us the “secrets” of the union and our trade until next year, the third year, for this reason. Please please don’t let there be Xenu at the end of this tunnel. I can’t take it.

Making coping was a new low for me. I was worried about how the week would go because I knew our next task was to take what little we knew about mitering and cover a small house in metal so it would, in theory, shed and repel water. We split up into groups and I jumped into flashing. We made the supports that held other people’s parts, as well as the finishing touches that would cover roof seams and corners. I did the math for our group since we had to calculate measurements and square feet of material used, as well as turn in sketches for the drafting test on Friday.

I lobbied for an all black house with a death star theme, but some people wanted silver. Adding silver turned out to be a great idea. In my head I was thinking about Disaster Area’s all-black ship from The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, but I figured no one would know what that was. Developing burnout motifs to decorate the house with kept the teacher busy, so he was happy (he encouraged us to make use of the burn table).

We almost ran out of time on Friday, but finished it with about five minutes to spare. The teacher bumped our grade because we all rallied around the guy who did an extremely elaborate dormer and helped him finish. It was like the British Bake-off but probably more swearing and screws flying everywhere. Less ice cream cake chucked in the trash.

The week followed a sharp uphill trajectory after Monday. I aced a quiz, and then got near-perfect scores on my Friday math (missed one) and 100 on my drafting. I have been averaging Bs, respectable, but barely limping through, miserable with being cooped up indoors and struggling to remember basic math stuff.

What changed? Repetition with the math certainly helps. We’re at that phase now where we’re building on what we’re learning. First year was triangle basics–critical, but pretty easy. Now we’re expected to apply triangles to things like the house project and more complicated math.

The other piece that’s helping is pain reduction and medication. I’m already doing so much better with daily pain levels post-hysterectomy and leg vein procedure. Strudel and I went to see a mast cell specialist in Oregon in late March and he prescribed some asthma medication and a rescue inhaler for me. It’s helping at work and school. Moringa and other flavinoids seem to be helping a lot as well–I have fewer hives now.

The one thing that’s still hard and exhausting is work. They threw me on harder stuff last week and I hit the wall and left before lunch on Friday. I thought I could handle it but it was too fast paced and heavy, and I started feeling pain in my lower abdomen, and making a lot of dumb mistakes. My body’s been dumping the fluid I accumulated post-surgery as well (I gained ten pounds almost instantly after surgery and my body’s been “puffy,” not just in my stomach area). I woke up a couple of days last week with my face visibly swollen, which was weird, and now have been peeing a lot. I’ve been sleeping A LOT. But overall I’m glad to be back to work. I’m going to push to be back on true light duty next week.


Around New Year’s I get reflective about what I’m doing and what I want to be doing. I’ve been thinking about starting a podcast for a long time, so I finally did. My friend Debbie and I are recapping the old TV show Roseanne. It’s called Queen for a Damn Day.

Kind of like when I was running the Victorian blog, it’s giving me a way to fuel one of my hobbies, as well as a closer collaboration with an old friend. I like that I’m more up on what she’s doing and thinking, rather than just peering through social media and talking too infrequently. She’s a very creative person who likes to develop ideas like I do. Our viewpoints are similar, but not identical, so while we are enjoying talking about feminism, class issues, sitcom history, the show, 80s fashions, and our dogs, we’re coming at things from different angles.

We’re mostly keeping politics out of it, even though I KNOW I KNOW there’s a LOT of issues with Roseanne Barr and politics. Debbie and I get a big heaping helping of that elsewhere so we’re trying to provide a respite from that for others to some extent.

It’s conversational and evolving over time. We’re discussing season 1 and season 10 concurrently, and will just keep going with it until we don’t want to anymore. Her husband pointed out that 10+ seasons could mean 4 years if we did them weekly, but right now we’re aiming for putting out three a week, which will go faster.

This is probably a small selection of the Venn diagram of people who still read this blog (hi!), like Roseanne still, and like podcasts, but I thought I’d let you know what I’m up to and that I’m not dead fro the neck up. There’s no ads (as usual I am a completely apathetic about monetizing myself outside of my, you know, actual job) and it’s available off our site to stream or DL or at almost any podcast spigot. We’re on twitter: @QFADDpod. I like to warn people that we are over-enthusiastic amateurs, so hopefully the production values will improve over time as we learn more.

I also like to tell people we’re the best Roseanne podcast out there. No matter that we are the only one out there. Happy spring.

Further adventures in getting my shit together


Now that it is winter, a small brown hawk (or hawks) is visiting our yard and scaring the shit out of the chickens. I came home on Wednesday to do a quick Thanksgiving grocery/flowers drop off and bounce back out to a doctor’s appointment when I realized there were two chickens hiding under my porch shoe rack (very weird), but none of the other chickens were in evidence.

our lackluster decorating this year

I forgot the girls went downtown to have lunch with Pete, so no one had been home for a couple of hours. I called the chickens how I do when I want to feed them scraps and there was no movement. I have a pariah chicken that hides in the coop most of the time and I found her, so that made three of the eight. Then I saw the girls and Pete walking down the street from the bus stop and I asked them what was up. Nothing, they said, the chickens were there when they left.

I had to go but the girls said they would look around the neighborhood in case they had jumped over the fence. As it turns out, within an hour Franny was able to find them all in the yard, very very silently socked in to small crevices and under thick hedges. The good news is that they are bin Laden-level hide and seek experts, but the bad news is that if they hide like that and we don’t find them, they are likely to get picked off by a raccoon that night.

I suspect this is the same kind of hawk that struck Death Ray dead last winter, but Pete and I finally saw it recently. He saw it swooping into the yard and we saw it later being chased by crows. It’s too little to actually carry a chicken off.

This is weirdly frustrating. Could you at least eat what you terrify?


We had a very quiet Thanksgiving. I dithered on the menu until I ended up in the realm of completely traditional and boring and I was very okay with that. I butterflied and spatchcocked the turkey again this year. Apparently I did this last year and have ZERO memory of it. I do remember the car crash and that an entertaining was a Herculean effort due to feeling generally shitty and being depressed. Whee.

another year, another turkey. But, it was delicious again.

This year I super enjoyed myself for no real reason. Everything came together very easily and I didn’t make a schedule in five minute increments like I usually do, and I didn’t forget anything. I think I was also less interested in over-the-top food weirdness like I usually am. I’m starting to feel like I can direct my energy where it counts now, and save it sometimes when it doesn’t.

We had garden pumpkins saved from summer and I baked them for pie, like I sometimes do. I’m sure there’s a ton of traditional pumpkin pie recipes out there that don’t contain evaporated or sweetened milk but I didn’t feel like hunting one down. I took a peep in the Joy and found something called Pumpkin Chiffon Pie. It called for a custard, egg whites, and gelatin as a thickener/fluffiner, and it was nice and light without being at all rubbery. I had the last piece for breakfast Friday morning.

What I REALLY was looking forward to was the Gilmore Girls revival that dropped on Friday. I had a little party with the girls, my sister, and a friend, all of whom are superfans. I don’t have a ton to say about the show here. I think you have to accept Amy Sherman Paladino products for what they are. As many recappers and reviewers have pointed out when the show was on the air, it had plotholes ahoy as well as time and other logic problems. That pattern wasn’t really resolved in the revival. I was happy to spend more time with the characters and we all laughed and cried.

I made a Gilmore-inspired buffet and my guests hung through the first two episodes, which was three hours of viewing. I made pizza, Chinese food, a cake, and Pete made The Rory, which is a very pink cocktail that Emily had concocted for Rory’s 21st birthday. I made some deviled eggs benedict, as a nod to Emily’s fancy parties but also the episode where Lorelai and Rory devil egged Jess’s car. Franny made whoopie pies because they are chocolatey and marshmallowy and good.

My sister captured the “before” better than I did because I was buzzing around finishing things up, but I did get an after.


For the first time ever, I seem to be able to successfully use list/task software consistently and well. I’ve always kept a calendar, and I kept a datebook while I was in school so I could turn things in on time, but other than that I was a little random and would struggle.

During my decline and fall in the corporate world, I tried kanban-ing and task listing and bullet diary-ing and anything I could think of to make sure things didn’t fall through the cracks. I would also spend time reading the bon mots of productivity gurus and then being annoyed by them and hating them and then hating myself. Then I realized I wasn’t always using my apps consistently or even remembering to update or even open them. Pretty disheartening. But now I find that if it goes on my task list, it gets done, if not day of, then the next day.

I’m using Epic Win at the moment. It’s simple, but good for me for recurring tasks (monthly dog and cat flea treatment) as well as daily ones like flossing. Yes, my task list includes flossing, something I often forgot or put off. Some day I hope it will be so ingrained I can take it off again.

I include one-offs on my task list as well. I decided today would be the day I would clean off my rain lamp so I can consign it.

I enjoyed owning a rain lamp for a short time until I realized that oily surface = dust nightmare, and it always smells like a melted crayon when I run it. Also, in the summer when it gets above 80 the oil starts to evaporate and leaves specks on the wall, table, pictures, the statuette in the lamp, and so on.

I told myself that if I cleaned it and made sure it was running well, and consigned it, I could begin the process of looking for a TV lamp. A few months ago I found the book mentioned in this article about the history of TV lamps. I thought it would be fun to replace the rain lamp with one. Just a little spot of tacky decorative light on the credenza and a lot less maintenance.

But anything like this was an uphill battle a couple of months ago. Please excuse this terrible metaphor, but I felt like much of my life was spent paying off blackmailers rather than going to the hideout and kneecapping the source of the problem. I had a lot of inertia going. I was sad my lamp was dusty and partly clogged, and making a mess on the wall in the hot part of the summer, but didn’t have the energy or organization to deal with it. My list kept getting longer and longer. Today it rolled up on my to-do list, I found that motivation lever and dealt with it in less than an hour. It’s still very weird and something I’m trying to get used to.


Last week I had trade school for the first time. It was a mix of classroom time with basic math review (area, radius, fractions, decimals, etc), OSHA training, and some shop time. I found the shop time the most challenging because I knew what kind of metal bends or folds I wanted to produce, but not always which machines did what and how to use them.

We had to make a useless duct, which was kind of a nightmare on the first go round and turned out very poorly!

My teacher said, “Write your name on your duct!” but I was embarrassed so hedged a little.

By the time Friday rolled around I passed the written test since math, history, vocab, and so on is not my hurdle. I was nervous about the final shop project since all we had was a spec sheet, but it finally clicked. I finished last, but I did fine and finished well within the time limit.

On one hand school was WAY easier to sit still, pay attention, and focus on, than it was from first grade through grad school. On the other, I was not ready for the feeling of being back to something I haven’t done in over ten years. Fortunately it’s only a week at a time and they really want you to succeed.

This week I talked to a cool journeywoman who was doing trimble work on my jobsite for a couple of days. She remembered me from the women’s meeting in October. I told her about my shop challenges and she said, “Oh yeah, I remember that. I’ve told them how hard that is for shop newbies!” She said she was organizing some shop time for the women’s committee to come in and build small objects like toolboxes for outreach programs in high schools. She told me that is a great time to come into the shop and take pictures of the machines with a note about what they do as reference for later. GREAT IDEA.

Work’s going well. Life’s going pretty well. Drugs have been like a switch going on in my life. There’s a daily “FLICK” when they kick in and my thoughts get orderly and calm, but even when they wear off (by midmorning) my mood still stays pretty good over the course of 24 hours until I take another one. After they wear off, though, I feel my brain getting skippy and sludgy again, which makes me bored and grumpy. I’m working out what a second midday dose will look like.

My doctor wants to put me on something really low dose and reasonable for a second dose so I can get to sleep at night, which I think is a good idea, since I treasure my restful, unanxious sleep now. I have an interesting reaction with these drugs. I’ve discovered I can take speed and immediately go to sleep if I need or want a nap. WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME. I don’t think it’s going to interfere with my sleep. What fucks up my sleep is not being on drugs and being out of work. I used to need to be exhausted, like utterly destroyed to stay asleep or fall back to sleep after I’d snapped awake at 2 or 3 a.m. But ideally I do need my brain happy and my body at least tired.

me unmedicated

I’m still not pushing myself super hard to take on big projects or new hobbies or even get back to writing…yet. I want to motor along for a while until being happy and getting things done feels normal and not novel.


It actually has to be some dog stairs

I keep realizing I’m not capturing things from this summer in anything resembling a timely fashion. This was my final project in shop class. When I get paid I will carpet them. I’m feeling…berber. EH? These are going at the foot of the bed when they’re done so the spaniels don’t have to go all DB Cooper on me every time they have to go pee.

In case you have a sharp eye, you will see the jigsaw hole I cut was wonky. I was down to the last five minutes of time! Whoops. I am also reminded that I need to get rid of my liquor decanters, since we don’t really drink brown liquor anymore.

Todd Chavez has displaced their old home. My new hobby of aquarium-keeping has replaced the old hobby of despair and malnutrition. Anyone need some cut crystal decanters? Also, don’t get me wrong. I still like some wine or vodka sometimes, which seems pretty safe as long as I don’t go for the super cheap stuff.

P. got soap on himself while doing the dishes, and then stripped off, and THEN went out to give the bees a little fall snack of heavy syrup. Naturally he just threw his beecoat on. He thinks he has invented Topless Beekeeping and wants me to start the website. N-O. But I had to snap him.

“Har har,” he said, as I papped him.

So here’s me and my face, which will be 38 in a couple of weeks. WHAT HOW DID THAT HAPPEN.

For fun, here is me ten years ago, at 27:

On this day in history I went to the electrician’s union and took the math and reading test. Reading test–very easy, of course, and I was the first one finished. Algebra test–I dunno! I think I got a majority of them. But ENOUGH? I will let you know in two weeks. I am allowed to call then and inquire about results. I think a letter will be coming and there are interviews next month and in December.

There were three ladies in the room, out of maybe 60 people, and one of them sat next to me. Which was cool. She started talking about her kids immediately, which was also nice. I like people who are like that, though we were told this summer to keep being a mother a secret. She was going for limited energy, which is stuff like data comm and alarm systems. I’m signed up for indoor wireman, which pays very well but I will not be swinging from cherry pickers at 2 a.m. in a power outage. I didn’t get a chance to speak to the other lady.

I saw the new members of the Ladies Hammer Club filing into the building, which is housed with the electrical union. They looked harassed and tired in their exercise clothes and I wanted to talk to them but they looked so serious, which is the same as I was.

Here are some things I was told this summer.

1. “There is one ‘hen’ per jobsite, so watch out. Wait no, not really. But actually yeah kind of.” What we should watch out for, I am not sure.

2. “If there is a gossipy man on the site and he is trying to bend your ear, you will be the one fired for being the distraction, not him, so get rid of him ASAP.”

3. “Your pants are all too tight.” To be fair, that day most of us were wearing pants that were too tight. I pulled a page out of the Americorps workers’ books, who usually showed up to Habitat for Humanity in the those really stretchy lady jeans that are more like denim-colored leggings but do not cross the line into jeggings. Boy howdy are those nice to work in, though. What I finally ended up doing was buying enormous bib overalls. ZOOP! Gender vanish!

4. “This one guy wouldn’t leave me alone about my hair when it was down this summer, so I had to you know, corner him, and deal with him privately.” There followed meaningful jaw-clenching. I imagine this guy’s remains are entombed in a column of the new 520 somewhere. “Now I wear it up every day even though it’s brittle (sigh).”

5. “Sometimes guys will whine that they are special and should have a key to the female portajohns for some weird reason. HELL. NO.”

6. “DO NOT date on the job site. Whatever you do, don’t marry an ironworker. Don’t ask me how I know that.”

7. “Females.” I am no longer a woman, chick, lady, or girl, but a female. Females can be trouble, but the union needs females, so that’s lucky for me. Females cannot expect special treatment on a jobsite. They have to work harder and faster. Don’t let that 26-year-old white knight lift things for you. Help females out when you can, but look out and know a lot of them will try to stick the knife in your back.


9. “What is the sounds of two turtles fucking?” ?? BONK *Get bonked hard with riddler’s hard hat*

I am going downtown to work tomorrow until Xmas, thank god, shoveling consumer goods into the maw of capitalist desire. I mean, I’ll be doing marketing again. More number-crunchy and less copywritey this time. HOORAY MONEY. And waiting for that call. That call for the scrappy, oldish, last chance, eight-of-nine-lives female to go to work. C’mon, phone. Do your ring thing.

Snore Club

The No 1 Ladies Hammer Agency

Today Morgan and the girls and I went downtown to buy spices. I went a little apeshit (nigella AND sumac) and Morgan went more practical. She’s getting into vegetables too, and that means SPICES. I suggested a field trip since we both have the day off. Everywhere we went people talked to us like we were tourists, of course, since it is high tourist season here.

A young guy with those nice evil “v” eyebrows at Pike Place made me feel a mango.

“FEEL this mango.”

“Okay,” I said, giving it a halfhearted pat like you would to a guinea pig recovering from mange. I was not going to be roped in to his bullshit.

“How was that, EH? EH?”

“It was okay.”

“Listen to this one!” he said about me, as if I was being clever.

“I’ve felt a lot of mangoes.” I just wanted to get my lettuce and to GTFO.

Someone else at a pawn shop asked us if we were tourists as well, of course. I am still on my mission to find those rapper name plate necklaces from the 80s. Where did they go?

“Were they melted down or what?” I asked the clerk behind the counter. He was quite rotund and looked sweaty even in the cool AC.

“That’s what I would do with them,” he said. I didn’t expect him to know or anything.

“Remember when we had lunch at that one place with Mom and some sketchy dudes wanted to pay for our lunch and you got mad?” my sister asked me. That sounded like me.

“Man, no,” I said. “I am such a jerk.”

“Well, it was really shady. Who does that! Mom was all delighted and you were all HELL NO.” I have taken the adage about free lunches to heart, I think.

I had to say that I actually had completely forgotten about it, and it only sounded vaguely familiar. I have blocked a lot of stuff that happened with our mother in my 20s out, and I think that might have been the very beginning of my memory really going sideways. I just have no interest in storing those memories I guess. It’s funny, though, that it was another time when our mother was taking things one way and I was demonstrating a completely different set of behavior and values. Morgan came down on my side.

I bought the girls slushy apple cider and was assured that it was 100% apple cider before I paid. I helped Strudel get her lid on and some slush dripped onto my fingers, maybe half a teaspoon. I licked it off without thinking about it. Strudel drank the whole thing down happily, as did her sister. I started feeling funny about an hour after we arrived home–what I call “balloon head on a string.”

“How are you feeling, Strudel?” I asked.

“Urgh. Bad. My stomach hurts and I’m spacey.” Shit. Franny is feeling unwell too. I think corn is the most likely suspect right now. I am sad to be corned this weekend. This is hard to write and I have found countless typos and poor grammar. I am sure I will leave some in.

I quick pickled a bunch of asparagus recently.

I’m not crazy about it so I haven’t tasted it. I am told it is “less Victorian than usual,” which probably means I backed off on the allspice a bit.

Edith is on a reducing program on the vet’s advice. About six months ago our vet said she was getting into the chubby zone. Not dangerous, but a good time to stop feeding her pecans, her favorite.

It may be hard to see here, but she has a bit of loose skin now.

Strudel is having a good summer of mostly boredom, and hanging with a friend who just moved a few blocks closer. She came into my bedroom and told me that she’s “a tween now.” Followed up with, “I’m going to go paint my toenails.” She is off to Celiac sleepaway camp at the beginning of August.

You may ask yourself, “What is this idiotic posing?” I started my class this week (Monday) and today is a holiday, thank god. I got my protective gear and boots right away. I think I am ready to apply for my chosen trade but I am keeping an open mind about the others we’re exploring, in case I want to apply for them too. I don’t want to be more specific because I am a tiny bit superstitious about counting chickens.

It’s nice to be back in class. I don’t want to be an eternal student, but I am ready to learn something new, which is what a trade is in the beginning. I am kind of thinking of it as paid collage.


I’m enjoying getting to know the ladies in my group. There’s youngsters and I think there’s a couple older than me. I don’t say much because I mostly just want to listen. They all have incredible stories about what they’ve done. Women with records (Our teacher: “Trades don’t care.”), women who are currently in shelters, past homelessness, women who live with their parents with their children, women with past lives in many other careers and jobs. There’s stories about dire warehouse jobs, wage theft, being pushed around by corporations, and life-changing motorcycle accidents. There’s even a Microsoft refugee with two children close to my age and of course talking to her was very familiar.

During the OSHA class, the teacher started doing some L&I payroll tax shit on the whiteboard that involved simple calculations.

“Who has a calculator?” she asked. I started doing them in my head and calling out the answers before the person with a calculator on her phone could get an answer. “Who’s good at math?” the teacher said, turning around to see who was answering. I raised my hand. No one has ever said that to me before.

So far I’ve gotten an OSHA 10 cert, first aid/CPR, and practice doing mock interviewing. I think I’m the only one who doesn’t hate interviewing. I’m just used to 1-5 hour loops, not 15 minutes, which is what I have to make a pitch to the committees I’ll be facing this fall when I graduate. There’s going to be math, but it’s easier than what I’ve done so far on my own. Some of it’s amazing and some of it’s kind of time filling. We literally run stairs almost every day, and it’s killing me, carrying this twenty-pounds-extra caboose. I’m doing really well, though, and losing at least a pound a week. I’m looking forward to job site visits and shop days (I’m going to build a bench).

Sometimes I want to not pay attention in class and just interview all the women all day, students and the guest teachers, and find out about their histories and lives. We keep being asked “why I’m here” and I want to say “because I got sick and almost died and when I could walk again I found out I could run and do math.” This is weird, so instead I say Career Change and I Like Math.

I wired this today and they all work, just some of the bulbs are burned out. These are the original ceiling light fixtures from the rec room downstairs. P. has implanted them into the wall and we will panel around them and put the brass and frosted glass covers back on, and then they will be ~arty vintage mood lighting~. My idea.

Volunteer Kid Hassler For Hire

Wow! My kid’s teacher just asked me to give a book talk for her class. Apparently some of the kids have been mistreating books lately, and she wants a librarian to come in and impress the importance of books upon them. I guess all the real librarians were busy! Ha!

Anyway, Companion and I talked a little and he gave me some ideas for activities. I think I am going to start with a game where each kid gets a piece of paper with a skilled job and a job description on it. The scenario is that they all live spread out in an area, and the plague sweeps through and some of them die, taking their knowledge with them. Lo, the recipe for cement and the secrets of midwifery are lost. In this way I am going to try to show the importance of collected information in an easily-accessible format.

I am just brainstorming at this point, but I think this could be fun. I have been offering my skills to that school for years. I’m really glad the new teacher finally sees me as a tappable resource.

Monkey Science!

“So, um, does anyone have questions about this model?”

The professor was lecturing about a paper he’d written, always an awkward situation, because if you think the ideas are ass you can’t say as much. We shifted around and waited for the break.

“Let’s talk about future models, then, okay? We have to keep working on reference service theory, or we won’t be able to teach this at a university level, right? Ha, ha.”


Later, at the coffee cart:

Me: Dude, did you hear what he said about theories? That’s supposed to remain unspoken.

Friend: Yeah.

Me: I’m turning him in. He’s giving away the game.

Friend: I know it.

Monkey science! Must…escape…graduate…school.

In Other News

Crazy snaps to Miel, who just popped sprog and is being alarmingly understated about the whole thing. I flailed around like a wounded howler monkey in my first few weeks, like Dooce was. I wish more geniouses in this world would have children.

Off the Wig

So, things are more or less better now, except for this explosion of ass zits I got from three days of stress, drinking, and wearing synthetic fibers. Since I am thong-addicted, of course my poor ass was totally unprotected from the ubiquitous Spandex that appears in every pair of fancy modern trousers. My honey-baked ham probably looks like one of those gnarly non-slip bathmats from the 1970’s. I don’t care…I’m back to cotton pantses now, and I will be cleared up in a few days.

I don’t have too much to say about the PhD interviews, except what I spewed off in my audioblog the other night. I played it back before I posted it to see if I was intelligible, and I realized? that I was walking and stressed out? so all my sentences? Ended as questions. I can only hope I sounded that articulate? and intelligent? and angry? During my interviews.

It was the stuff I expected: why do you want to get a PhD in information science? What are some projects you�d like to work on for your dissertation? What is information science? There was this awful three-parter question that I had to take notes on to answer cohesively. It went pretty well…I even got the committee to laugh a few times. One of my fellow student-spies told me she walked by the interview room while another one was going on, and they had left the door open. She said it was extremely solemn in there and that the committee chair’s eyes were all glazed over, so at least I was a breath of fresh air.

I hope personality and charisma counts for something. My stiffy fellow applicants had all these skills and accomplishments under their belts, but man, I can sure work a room.

They are having the second round of PhD interviews for the other half of the applicants, mostly international students, at the end of this month, and then they are sending out letters posthaste. Stay tuned!