August 2010


Rainy days are delightful if they’re the exception.  I find myself wanting fuzzy blankets, sipping tea, getting more and more inexplicably melancholy.  Ah, rain.  And then I get to drive home in the rain, and go twenty miles per hour under the speed limit because people in OREGON don’t remember how to drive in the rain.  Beautiful.

I suggested going out to sushi this afternoon and Nikolai was totally up for it!  This is a big deal because all through our entire 1y 10m dating life I suggested going out to sushi but he said no on the grounds that there was this one place downtown that was . . . I don’t know, magical?  So that outing had been put off for that entire time.  After five months of marriage, I suggested it again and he finally caved, probably because he was hungry and the sushi place runs ridiculously good deals – max price of $1.50 per plate.  They run on a little conveyor belt thinger, and I pretty much love it.  We went, he ate some, and developed preferences.  Well, today we went again!  He even ate actual rolls, not just tempura!  Granted, none of those rolls involved raw meat, but I’m just glad he’ll go to sushi with me.  He can learn the delicate flavors of salmon and tuna later.  Right now, he likes California rolls, Philadelphia rolls, tempura, and Vegas rolls.  He even likes wasabi and ginger, and that is just enough for me.

Nikolai and I have been toying with the idea of finding a church for months now.  Neither of us have regularly attended one since before our relationship started.  We talk about it, search google maps for churches in our area, discuss how we ought to go as we eat pancakes and bacon at 11 on Sundays, in our pajamas.  We make lovely plans late Saturday night, drowsing into sleep talking about where to go in the morning.  It’s been fun.  We discuss a lot of pros and cons to going, different theologies, doctrines, practices, interpersonal issues, etc., but my one big reason for going is: Potlucks.  If you grew up in a potlucking church, you are among the luckiest bastards on earth.  If you did not, I’m so, so sorry.  Church ladies know potlucks.  They know casseroles.  They know jell-o salads, cookies, pies, pasta salads, fried chicken, baked beans.  It all comes in an 8×10 pyrex pan, and it will all blow your mind.  The food combinations. . . the strings of ingredients. . . look, if weird combinations like mayo in chocolate cake upset you, try the casserole/salad/jell-o concoction before you inquire.  Then, when you’re deeply in love with the flavor, you won’t be as freaked out by what’s in it.

I myself have only a small selection of casseroles in my head.  I can freestyle pasta salad quite easily, but I leave the jell-o to the masters.  Mistresses?  Whatever.  I can do pizza spaghetti casserole, sausage and celery casserole, and chicken and broccoli casserole.  Variations on all of these are relatively simple, and the results are delicious and wonderful.  They’ll make you find religion.  Well, maybe you found them because of religion.  I won’t fight it.  But I have made a casserole today.  Not for church, but for a potlucky thing a friend is throwing together.  I am making sausage ‘n’ celery casserole.  It’s baking now.  mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

Nikolai saw signs for a garage sale on his way home from work, so we walked over once he’d had a chance to change and rub my shoulders and neck.  They hurt.  I chuckled to myself as we walked, because for about three blocks in a row he kept insisting that it wouldn’t be much further, it’s just up here, just around the corner.  He didn’t actually know where it was; he saw a sign on the nearest main road.  It turns out it was a little more than a garage sale, the man putting it on had recently helped his brother into a retirement home after the brother had lost his wife.  They were clearing out the house, selling it and the car.  Instead of having fun looking at all the stuff, I got caught up in nostalgia and melancholia of the two lives that were being wrapped up and sold off.  A lot of the little knickknacks reminded me of my grandmother, the drinking glass sets with the painted on flowers and patterns, the glass pie pans, copper molds, wooden-handled knives, glass canisters, cookie and candy tins.  I found myself tiptoeing through this house, touching things lightly with my first two fingers, and whispering my thoughts aloud to Nikolai.  We moved slowly and carefully.  We found a couple gag gifts, a lemon zester, a funnel, and a book.  We paid $2.25.  As we walked away, Nick noticed my somber mood and inquired/cuddled me about it.  I mentioned the triggered memories of my grandmother.  Then he kicked into soothing mode, “Yeah, we’ll have to go through all that.  Well, you will.  I don’t have too.  All my grandparents are dead.”

Isn’t he comforting?  I informed him that I actually liked my grandparents and would be sad if they were gone, thank you very much.  And then we came home.  Good story, no?  Happy weekend!

I had one tab open on my browser all day.  It was the digital job application for an health club that has an LMT opening.  Yay, right?  Yay. . . .

I promised Nick I’d apply for three days in a row, and this morning I finally got up the courage.  Or maybe I got up the indifference.  I detest applying for jobs, because I feel judged.  Well, it’s because I am.  It makes my soul shrink within me to be turned down, and I prefer to avoid the whole process to keep myself safe from being told I am average, mediocre, and not what they need.  My biggest, hugest, most ginormousest fear is being not good enough.  Not good enough as a wife, not good enough at knitting, at running, at being skinny, at gardening, at cooking, at reading, at being smart, I do not want to know I’m not special.

Anyway, I applied.  I opened the page at around 10 am today, and I am proud to say I hit submit just fifteen minutes ago, at 7:45ish pm.  See, I had most of the application done by 11am, but then, then, I accidentally clicked a button on the toolbar(?) at the top of my browser and navigated away.  I screamed.   I hit “back”.   I saw that nothing had saved.  I screamed some more.  I called Betna.  She didn’t answer.  I left her a nice message full of profanity and quavery voice.  After that, I decided to fill out some of the basic information again and then go lie down with a book.  I just couldn’t handle the idea of writing out my strengths and weaknesses and lists of my duties at current and previous jobs and addresses and identifying three references that were neither friends nor relatives (huh?).  I did a little more after my book nap.  I did a little more after I got out of the shower.  I did a little more after my sister got here, and then I did nothing until I got home from shopping with her.  Nick had two friends over, so I did a little more.

Then I made dinner!  It went okay, but one of the bits flopped open with great violence and attitude and spread its guts everywhere.  I let out yet another string of contextually nonsensical profanities.  Everything’s fine, dinner went quite deliciously, except I didn’t put jalapeños in it.  After dinner, I was still keyed up because 1) the friends hadn’t left yet, even though I had prepared, made, and eaten dinner with only Nikolai (and seriously guys, dinner when you’re not invited is not something you stick around for if you can help it) and 2) that stupid quesadilla messed itself up!  Nikolai unplugged something at the back of his computer, and then said in the most disturbing, slow motion voice ever (maybe I’m the only one that heard the slow-mo?), “The internet’s gonna reset.”  Whereupon I lost what little sanity and control I had.  I smiled, hyperventilated, almost punched a cabinet, sobbed, and shouted.  Well, I spoke very meanly in an intense fashion, so I might as well have used less words and more volume.  It’s an inverse formula like that.  I then said rude things, gender-specific rude things, and stomped off to the bedroom with my beer.  Nikolai came in later and we talked and I calmed down, friend1 left, and I left the room, finished the application, hit submit.  Eventually friend2 left as well.

I hate job applications.

After work yesterday I trekked out into the deep darks of the opposite direction of home.  I went to visit Aunt Dawna (Hi!) so she could teach me knitting.  Instead of teaching me, she tried to pawn me off on the internet.  She wanted me to see these lovely, wonderful websites that have how-to videos and written instructions.  Well, she should have checked the rainbow-print of the contract she made with me for Christmas (or was it my birthday?) last year.  There’s a perfectly clear promise to teach me how to knit until I know or until one of us dies. That doesn’t include just handing me a laptop with videos, Dawna.  That means you show me with your own hands!  It’s the Rules of Life.

Ahem.

I also got to see Uncle Kebin and their four boys, Tallboy, Blue Eyes, Spiderman, and Ham-o.  I teased them all mercilessly, and cuddled them without remorse.  After all, they have no sisters.  Since I’m pretty much a mini of their mom, and my own mother has mistaken me for my aunt when seen across a room, we’ve all reached a consensus that I’m actually my aunt’s child.  That makes me her boys’ big sister, and big sisters are built to torment.

Tallboy is tall, tan, and bulking up for probably yet another growth spurt.  He is a study in brown: brown eyes, brown hair, brown skin.  He tans the best of the entire family.  It is rude and irritating.  He reminds me of my older sister, of my cousin that is the oldest in his family, and of a person with severe control issues.  We played Apples to Apples once, and he protested that the winning red card didn’t match the green card, because it didn’t logically define it.  Well, I can’t remember what the cards said, but I must say in similar situations, yes my dear boy, supermodels are aerodynamic.  And furthermore, I will continue to choose the winner when it is my turn based off of what answer appealed to me most.  Logic does not enter into it.  Neither do proper definitions.

Blue Eyes is second-born, and as such I feel a kinship with him.  Also he is fair-skinned, blondish, and *gasp* blue-eyed.  I discovered a genetic quirk in our extended family – the second born is light-skinned, light-haired, and light-eyed.  I’d say blond and blue, but my blond left me at 9 years old and another cousin has hazelly eyes, but we’re all fair.  Blue Eyes is all arms and bony legs.  The kid unfolded from the couch halfway through my visit and I burst out, “Whoa there, Gangles!”  His mother and father cracked up, and he had to go look up gangles in the dictionary.  He’s competing with Tallboy for that particular nickname.

Spiderman is boy #3, and he bears a striking resemblance to his eldest brother; he’s brownly monochromatic.  Also, he loves Spiderman.  And climbing on things, jumping off them, climbing from one thing to another, wrestling his father, brothers, myself, and pronouncing words with a “w” instead of and “r”.  Spidewman.  Dinnew.  Bweakfast.  I don’t like to wead.  He has a great smile, and always wants to know that he is being paid attention.

Ham-o is the baby.  Don’t call him that, though.  He is . . .he is identical to his father at that age.  And the age before that, and before that, back to birth.  He’s a little clone.  I know, because I’ve seen pictures.  He’s not fully fair like Blue Eyes, but more of a mix between fair and monochrome like his other brothers.  The most interested in being close to people that visit, the most crooked smile, the most devious grin,  and the most heartbreaking sob, Ham-o rattled through about 5 names to get to mine to tell me something, names including Mommy, Gramma, and the names of my mother and older sister.  I knew what he meant, so I answered to all of them.  He still corrected himself until he had the right name.  He used to pronounce my name with a “d”.  I was Denna.  Grandma was Dwamma.  Sometimes he still does that, and it makes me contemplate legally changing my name to Denna so he won’t stop anymore.

The oldest one is getting facial hair.  Well, facial fuzz.  He has a mustache-shadow.  And his voice is deeper.  I don’t like it, so I decided to share some lovely anecdotes from his babyhood because I was there, and because I could.  Blue Eyes, now taller than me (and telling me over and over), attempted mustache growth.  Except his hair is blonde, so it was more like a lip halo.  Also his voice broke repeatedly, and so I told him about the time when he was a baby that he drooled into my sister’s mouth.  Ahhhh, I feel better.  My boys are back in their places – childhood.

I know how to purl now!  Look out world, no sweater can hold me!

hmmm.  I think that sounded wrong, somehow.

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