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March 2004

March 31st, 2004 — 5:26pm

Mar 31 — Henry got home with his little 3/4-size electric bass tonight! He loves it so. Lisa bought him a little bass amp, too, with a headphone jack so he can practice while others are sleeping. He played for ages before bed. He has a little notebook of tab that we’ve printed out, lots of Rush and lots of They Might Be Giants. He likes “She was a Hotel Detective” a lot — nice bassline.

Mar 30 — Drove Henry down to SD so he can spend a couple days with Matthew. They have plans to go to Morris practice and I think sweet Lisa wants to buy Henry a little electric bass! He’s been wanting one for a while, and the desire increased a lot after he got to play her bass at her party a couple weeks ago. He and Dan played guitars before bedtime last night, and Henry was so happy to learn some new Rush riffs. He also expressed a desire to learn all the words to “Natural Science” so I printed out the lyrics for him, and after he went to bed he listened to the song and sang along for ages.

Mar 28 — A nice Sunday. I slept until 10:00, which is late enough to be called “sleeping in” and early enough to leave me hours and hours of daytime to spend doing fun things. So I knitted my last sweater sleeve (I think I have about 10 more rows before it’s finished, so I can probably finish after dinner) and I sat on the balcony to play some more Final Fantasy, and I fiddled around on my computers, and I cooked a nice breakfast for Dan, and in the afternoon we took another walk around the lake! It was quite warm today — in the mid-80s I think. Here’s the cutest photo ever: cattray.jpg

Mar 27 — This afternoon Dan asked me if there was anywhere I wanted to go (we’d all been hanging around the house all day) and then he suggested a walk at Guajome park! So we got ready and drove over there, it’s only 10 minutes away, and had a lovely walk while the sun was going down. It’s been raining a bit lately, so the park is green and the lake is wet and there was that good wet-plant smell everywhere. It was so peaceful and pleasant. We walked on a nice flat trail near the lake, so I wouldn’t get worn out, and climbed a little hill at the end. There was a bench at the top with a pretty view. Here’s a photo of us :) It was a perfectly lovely little outing and I was so happy that Dan had the idea. It meant a lot to me that he thought of something that I’d enjoy so much, and that he went out of his way to make it pleasant and fun for me.

I received my purse-swap purse today! I love it. Thank you so much, Photogirl! She made me a nice large messenger-style “jordy bag” (if that doesn’t mean anything to you, you’re not a regular reader) of a jaunty red-and-black plaid with a padded lining. I think I’ll use it as my new knitting bag — it’s a lot nicer than the plastic shopping bag I’m using now!

This evening, after dinner, we snuggled up on the couch and watched the last two episodes of The Sopranos on my iBook. I think this season is better than last season (so far). They’ve introduced some new characters to liven things up a bit (well, an awful lot of the old characters have ended up dead over the years, heh). Thank goodness for those big Italian families… it’s not hard to believe in a few extra cousins and uncles showing up. I’m worried about Adrianne. Will the FBI let her just run away and protect her if the family starts suspecting that something’s fishy?

Mar 26 — I re-did the i-cord edging on the bottom of my sweater, using a needle 3 sizes smaller, to see if that would control the curling at all. And it was a success! It barely curls at all now, and I think with proper blocking it will be just fine.

Final Fantasy Tactics Advance update: I have an Illusionist now, Travis. She was my original White Mage, who also has extensive Black Mage abilities. An Illusionist is very useful — she learns by using the same “rod” weapons as a Black Mage, but her spells attempt to damage to ALL the enemies on the battleground! So far they do 20-25 damage, with a few misses here and there. They cost a lot of mana (32, I believe) so you’ll want to make sure your Mage has a high MP count before she learns the job, and that she can perform some other lower-mana abilities too. My Blue Mage has learned Life Drain and Bomb, and is also improving his White Magic. As soon as my other white/black mage, Dominick, learns a few more useful skills I’ll switch him back to Beastmaster and that should help the Blue Mage a bit.

Mar 25 — Here’s a very fun geek quiz! How did you score? I got “37.47535% — Major Geek”

Mar 24 — Paid the bills, worked on the bikestore website. Dan suggested I install Bluefish, an opensource HTML (etc) editor. It’s nice! Works on my Debian box and my iBook, has nice syntax highlighting, and seems very customizable. Um, then I taught a bunch of students and came home. I read some more of a Junie B. Jones book to Henry for bedtime — I really enjoy reading those. We made a recording of “Boss of Lunch” yesterday and now we’re half-way through “First Grader at Last”. My iBook is perfect for making audiobooks. I just take it in his room every night at story time, then use Sound Studio to record my reading, and then when we finish a book (or have a cd-worth of reading saved up) I use Toast to burn the .aiffs to cd. Then I use lame to convert them to mp3 for storage. Henry’s got quite a collection of home-made audiobooks :) Oh! He’s getting very confident about his own reading lately. It’s nice to walk past his room and see his nose buried in a book. He was asking me questions about how to make websites, and I told him I have a good book about making websites (the O’Reilly book) and he asked if we could take it with us to read at Sally’s house while I was teaching! I think he might actually have tried to read it for a few minutes, too :) I was just glad to know that he gets the concept of taking a book with you for enjoyment, and also learning something you want to know from a book.

Mar 23 — Hmm Tuesday… Knitted my sweater during karate and got most of the way down the first sleeve, whew! Maybe be able to finish that sleeve tomorrow. Oh! I read the best book today. “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time” by Mark Haddon. I started it last night and finished it today. It was an amazing book, and I suggest everyone go find a copy and read it. The narrator is a fifteen-year-old boy who has something like autism, and the author does a wonderful job of showing how he sees and experiences the world around him. It was the most compelling thing I’ve read in a long long time, maybe ever. Here’s a good interview with the author which doesn’t give away anything significant about the plot (I don’t think).

Mar 21 — We slept late, and then Dan went with me down to SD to pick up Henry, but we went early enough to go to Balboa Park for a while. We went to the Aerospace Museum, which was great. I haven’t been there in a couple of years, and Dan had never been at all! We had fun walking around and loooking at planes and things together. It felt like a mini-vacation! And then we picked up Henry and came home. Now I’m going to sit around on the couch and play FF:TA for a while. I need to train a new White Monk and see if my Thief can become a Ninja yet, and give new equipment to some other people. And then slay some monsters :)

Mar 20 — Saturday. Got Henry ready for his weekend with Matthew, and then, once they were off, I worked on my purse-swap purse for hours and hours. It’s so cool — I kind of want to keep it :) My swap buddy listed red and black as her favorite colors, so maybe I’ll make another for her with some red plaid fabric I have hanging around, and keep the green one for myself. Lucky our names both start with “K”.

I made my favorite dinner, a sort of chunky vegetable sauce with rotelli, mmmmm. Here’s how you make it: Chop up about a third of a red onion and a couple of garlic cloves, more or less depending on your taste. Start them cooking in some oil in a large, deep skillet or a stockpot. Peel and dice an eggplant, chop a green (or red or yellow) bell pepper, and a couple of zuchinni. When the oinion is partly cooked, dump the other veggies in the pan, drizzle some more oil over them, add some salt and pepper, and cover. Cook over medium heat, and stir frequently. You don’t want anything to burn. Wash and chop half a bundle of fresh spinach. When the veggies in the pan are tender (not mushy!) add half a 28-oz can of roma tomatoes, choppped or crushed (I buy the whole ones and just rip them apart into the pan) and also half the juice from the can. Stir it all around, and then put the spinach on top and cover. In a minute or two, the spinach will wilt and you can stir it in. It’s all done once it gets hot, although if it’s too wet you can cook it uncovered for a while longer to reduce the juice a bit. Serve over rotelli, hot or cold. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

Mar 18 — Kinda tired and PMSsy today but I still managed to be nice to everyone, I think. Henry wanted to play FF:TA on his emulator, so I got him started, he played through the half-hour intro, and then when he finally got to the world map and tried to save, the emulator screen went black. So then we started over, thinking he could use emu save states instead of game save slots, got through the unavoidable half-hour intro again, then when we went to the “party” screen the emu went black again. Ultra-frustrating. So we found a different emulator (visual boy, I think), and I sat there hitting the “A” button and reading, to get him through the intro. Then we got to the first fight with the two bangaa, and he took over, and then accidentally hit “load” instead of “save” and had to start over again. Why oh why did they not make the intro optional??? Well, he’s finally gotten into the real game and is doing well and having fun. It is a great game, depsite my complaints here.

I’m part of a handbag swap on and I got info about my swap partner today! Can hardly wait to start sewing.

Tonight I knitted and watched “The Odd Couple”. Funny, funny movie.

Mar 17 — Worked on sweater sleeves, taught many piano students, did laundry etc. Practiced my banjo in the evening! I still have three tunes memorized. I really need to memorize some more. I haven’t felt well enough to have practicing energy in so long, I lost my callousses (sp?).

Mar 16 — Last night Kirsten came over to watch African Queen (1951, Hepburn & Bogart). Ahhhhhh real actors. I finished knitting the hood of my sweater and grafted the top together while we watched, and today I sewed in the zipper. Now all I have to do is finish the sleeves, woohoo! The i-cord edge isn’t holding the stockinette as flat as I hoped… It’s what the pattern called for though, so we’ll see if blocking helps.

FF:TA — My fencer has learned Piercethrough and is working on Stinger. My fighter has learned Air Render and is learning Backdraft (first time I used it, she did 72 damage woooo!) I turned the Beastmaster into a Black Mage, and am planning to turn my tough-as-nails Black Mage into a Time Mage soon. Considering taking one of the three White Monks and turning him into a Templar or Warrior.

Mar 15 — Monday. First, went to Dr. Tsai for more accupuncture and new packets of herbs for my medicinal tea. He says I’m doing well. And I certainly am feeling a lot better lately — whether from methimazole or accupuncture or herbs, I don’t know — probably all three. Oh I dropped Austin at the library for a while while I was at my appointment. Then I was home for a while and did laundry and cooking and stuff, and then it was off to teach Jonathan (we had a nice discussion of FF:TA before his lesson) then to the dojo for Henry’s karate class, then back to Sal’s to teach Kathryn.

When I stand outside the dojo, waiting for class to start and playing on the gameboy, I usually attract a crowd of small boys — they seem astonished and pleased to see a grownup playing a gameboy game. And we always discuss the game :) Everyone who knows FF:TA always says something like “Oh man that’s the BEST GAME!” And I agree with them. Hmm, I don’t think I ever linked to any info about it… Here you go: Final Fantasy: Tactics Advance. It’s sooooooo much fun. It’s difficult at first but there are lots of guides online. I was lucky to have Dan to advise me and and get me started. When he first started playing, I’d watch over his shoulder for a bit but it looked pretty dull. But then, after a while, I saw that it might be fun after all. And I’m so glad I tried it.

Mar 13 — A pleasant Saturday. Slept in a bit, played a ton of FF:TA, worked on the bike store website, worked on my Flash book, did laundry, etc. In the evening Dan invited me to take a little walk on the beach! It was so lovely. We walked down the boardwalk in Carlsbad, and it didn’t even tire me out very much. And then I made a delicious pasta and vegetables thing for dinner, yum, and then played some more FF:TA. It’s a great game, boy oh boy.

Mar 12 — This afternoon Henry went to the Kenyons’ house to play, and then he got to be Senpei (senior student helper) while Michelle taught the little kids! He was so proud and happy. I had to teach a piano student in the afternoon but I got to the dojo in time to watch most of the class. He said afterwards that being Senpei was one of the most fun things he’s ever done! His own karate class was next, and he was chosen to demonstrate a stretch — he’s one of the most flexible children in class. I’m so proud of that little boy. Then, since there was a plan for him and Sally and Matthew to drive up to a mountain on Saturday to play in the snow, Henry and I drove around looking for snow boots for him. It was fun. No one had any snow boots — it was all summer sandals! But then, after four or five fruitless stops, we thought of trying a sporting- goods store, and we found ONE pair of Henry-size snow boots, nice rubber ones with a drawstring at the top and a removable wool liner. And they were on sale for only $15! Score! So then he was all set to play in the snow and I dropped him at Sal’s to spend the night and get an early start.

Mar 10 — Got up early in case Danny could come do some work on the Acura, but the part wasn’t in yet. H and I went down to the train station to pick up Austin, but one of his trains had been late and he’d missed a connecting train, so Dan got him later in the afternoon. So we stopped by the fabric store on the way home to exchange a too-short zipper for one of the right length for the front of my sweater.. I’m having peculiar wrist pain and can’t knit at all grrrrrrrrrrr. Also I’m laying off the videogames in case that’ll help. Taught lots of piano students all afternoon, and when I came home there were three nice fellows and an Eriberto’s veggie burrito waiting for me! Henry showed me a new videogame and then I put him to bed. Then we watched the new Sopranos episode. Time for bed, the end.

Mar 09 — Woke up early feeling good and did a lot of stuff! Cleaned bathrooms, mopped floors, cleaned kitchen counters well, vacuumed entire apartment (even the ceiling fan, with Dan’s help), cut the guys’ hair, took Henry to the pool, played a few more missions in FF: Tactics Advance, taught a student, etc. When I got home in the early evening we all went outside. Henry and I walked around the perimeter of the complex, I blowing bubbles and he attacking them with his new sword, and Dan rode his bike around. And then we all went down to the Fed-Ex depot to pick up a package that didn’t get delivered, and then we came home and I cooked various dinners for everyone. And then after H went to bed, Dan and I watched last Sunday’s Malcolm, which was pretty good. Nice day, and boy oh boy was it nice to actually feel good for a change. Whoa here’s a neat link:

Mar 08 — Even hotter today, mid 80s. My day was thus: Wake up, shower, doctor, lab, groceries, home, put food away, cook food, eat food, cook more food, email/irc for a while, take H to karate, home, more food, clean up, bedtime for H, tv with Dan, prepare for bed, write blog. A very nice day. I felt well and had lots of energy all day! Took the GBASP to Karate and played FF:Tactics some more, beat two missions and lost a third. We watched the new Arrested Development tonight — very funny! Wonderful show. Everyone should watch it.

Mar 07 — Hot today, high 70s. M picked up H for the day in the morning, and I knitted and knitted all day. Watched a great old movie, “A Thousand Clowns”, which Wastrel recommended and I remember my parents talking about too. It was very very good — fine acting and writing all through it.

In the evening I went to pick up H from Temecula and it was quite a traffic ordeal. I took 76 over to 15, but when I got there it turned out that 15 northbound was _completely_ closed at the Pala on-ramp because of a serious accident. Looking south, to the right of the overpass, I could see a sea of headlights just sitting there. To the north, I could see the flashing emergency lights all the way across the freeway quite close to the overpass, and then north of that, _nothing_, no tail-lights at all. Eerie as hell. I called Dan to ask him to check what was up — I couldn’t tell if it was just an accident, or if there was some serious scary reason why no one would be allowed into Temecula or something. He checked a traffic website and said it was an accident and that the freeway should be open again to the north. I got trapped on eastbound Pala Road, which is narrow and twisty, and drove for more than 20 minutes before I could find a place to turn around and go back west into Fallbrook, hoping to go through Fallbrook and hop on the 15 north of the accident. Well, everyone else was doing the same thing… so by the time the long slow line of us got back to the 15 on-ramp, the accident had been cleared and northbound was slow but moving. Whew. Glad I didn’t take 78 and get on the freeway way south of the accident!

I finally got to Temecula, collected the child, and we headed back to O’side. We stopped for food on the way, yumyum. In’n’Out for Dan and Eriberto’s for Henry and me! I had possibly the best veggie burrito ever. At night Dan taught me how to play Final Fantasy: Tactics Advance on the gameboy. I’ve watched him play quite a bit, and at first it looked boring but then I saw that it might be fun! It’s just different from the type of game I usually enjoy. I played through the intro (yawn, I hate long game intros) and then did a couple of the first missions and it was quite fun! Looking forward to playing some more later on.

Mar 06 — Henry’s with us today, so I took him to the morning Karate class, and then when we got home we cleaned up the balcony. We swept away the cobwebs and leaves and things, and then planted nasturtium seeds in some of the empty pots. Henry really enjoyed mixing the mud and planting the seeds. He found an old bottle of bubble mix out there, from two birthdays ago, maybe, and spent hours blowing bubbles, after we were finished, and I sat out there and read my Flash book.

After Dan got up, we loaded their bikes in the car and went to Guajome, where I sat and read and knitted while the guys rode around the lake. It was a perfectly lovely day — not hot, not cold. There were lots of big happy family picnics in the park, too. Quite jolly. Oh I read a lot more Hobbit to H today, enough to make another cd. I think that’s the 6th. We started chapter 14 tonight, the one where Smaug attacks Esgaroth!

Mar 05 — I’ve been working in my Flash book a lot. I’ve done the first three chapters — not only doing their examples and exercises, but tinkering with the new information on my own. Tonight I learned about symbols and did some fun things with them. This afternoon I took Henry to Karate and worked on my sweater some more — I’ve finished the waist decreases and have started the increases. Tonight Dan and I played FF:CC some more — lots of fun! My character is getting quite strong. I had someone craft me a mythril helmet tonight, and that improved my defense a lot.

Mar 04 — Henry’s feeling completely fine today. He’s got his Boy Powers back, yay! Here’s a very funny short film: Nutri-Grain Commercial. I feel GREAT! Go ahead, hit me! Lol. I knitted my red sweater the entire time during Henry’s gymnastics class and made a lot of progress.

Mar 03 — Lots to catch up on, here. First of all, there’s a new post on the android’s library which you should read. Also, my beautiful cousin Chloe has her picture up on rockola’s website! Scroll down to the “Valentine’s Day 2004” picture — she’s on the left in front.

I voted on Tuesday. Did you? We had the new touch-screen computer voting thingies. I do not approve. I want the old punch-cards back. It was so much fun punching that stylus through the card, and, as Dan pointed out, with that method we received the stub off our own personal voting ticket as proof that we had voted. The computer thingy gives you no proof whatsoever. Computers aren’t always better, people. You can’t hack a punch card.

Today I had my first appointment with Dr. Tsai, an accupuncture and Chinese herb doctor. He’s a calm, quiet, soft-spoken man and I felt completely comfortable in his office, which is a nice change from the panic I feel when I see the MDs. I really enjoyed the accupuncture treatment! I felt only a small “thwack” when the needles were inserted, and then a sort of warm feeling. I had 25 needles in me, in various places from feet and shins to scalp, and I think I was only aware of about 7 of them while I rested for 20 minutes. The ones in my ears were most noticable, and felt like those old clamp-on earrings. Afterward I felt very relaxed and calm and rested. Quite nice. He sent me home with bags of herbs to brew into a foul-tasting tea which I must drink three times a day. They’re not what I think of when I think of herbs, but are more like a mixture of dried flowers, sticks, roots, seed-pods, and maybe even some bark! Interesting.

I took a trip to the library on Tuesday, also. I owed $8, ouch, from when I was sick and just plain forgot about returning my books. I got an enormously thick biography of FDR, and a book on Flash MX, which so far is excellent. I’ve worked through the first two chapters. It’s well-written, well- organized, and slightly humorous — always a good thing in a computer book. I know and understand far more about Flash already than I ever have, even though I’ve previously worked through several tutorials. I just can’t remember things unless I understand WHY, and this book tells WHY.

Mar 02 — So tired. I didn’t go to bed particularly late last night, but this morning when I got up I was just so sleepy, Henry and I fell asleep on the couch for a couple hours. He’s a lot better today.

Mar 01 — Poor Henry is sick again. I lay around with him all day on the couch, and we entertained him with FF:CC and tv and reading. I was up in the night with him a lot, so I’m really tired today.

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