March 2011

I really like books.  I’ve been going on a book rampage lately, going to the library weekly and checking out 4 books at a go.  It’s great fun but it doesn’t lend well to writing.  I’m trying my darnedest not to give a summary of all the books I’ve read, but I just love them so much!  The Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia Wrede are one of my favorite series.  She writes characters that play typical roles, or are born into them, but that don’t want to do what is expected just because it’s expected.  A princess volunteers to work for a dragon because it’ll be interesting (and better than marriage to some traditional prince), a witch doesn’t hunch over and cackle because she’s short so she needs to use all her height, and cackling hurts her throat.  Plus, she has too many cats.  They’re all such great fun!  I want to be friends with them all, I want them to teach me to make cherries jubilee and magic.  Also I’d like a fireproofing spell.  It just seems like it’d come in handy, don’t you think?

Another series is the Alexia Tarabotti Series by Gail Carriger.  It’s steampunk, so it’s a combination of Victorian times and dress with steampowered machinery, dirigibles, and parasols that turn into machine guns.  Well, maybe not machine guns.  But it combines all the propriety and manners of Victorian society and smushes it with oil and gears and cogs and wheels, just a bit of magic, and in the case of these books, vampires, werewolves, and ghosts.  I laughed aloud many a time while reading these, and was most unhappy to note there are more coming out – unhappy because that means I will have to wait.  Dearest Amy, authoress extraordinaire, has reviewed these books Here and she did a right fine job of it, too.

Now if you’ll excuse me (and you’d better) I have book 2 to finish.


Amy: Dear distracting things, Stop Distracting ME!!!

me: dear amy, thanks but no. We would be shirking our duties if we stopped distracting you.




me: Dear Amy, once again thanks but no. We’re in a closed, committed relationship. You’re very flattering, though. We’ll call you if we’re ever single.


Amy: Dear things, Goodbye I’ve just recieved a restraining order against you. Hope you enjoy that 500 feet.


me: we’re excited with our new space. We can use our fireworks and sparklers now! And ribbon-dancing and gymnastics. Enjoy focusing!



Amy: Dear Jenna, Voice of the Things, You are coming close to being so annoying that I ignore you for a week. Just thought I’d give you waring.


me: Dear Amy,
Speaking on behalf of Distracting Things, I would like to inform you that the restraining order won’t be necessary. We have a friend in Canada we’ll be visiting for the foreseeable future.
All the best,
Jenna and Things

I would like to report that I had a good Monday yesterday.  This is noteworthy because the three weeks previous were all ghastly.  Three weeks ago Monday, I came in to work to a damning email thread that made me feel bad and scalp-prickly.  That was eventually adjusted and made better.  The next week, I came in to another email about an object sent through the USPS that ended up getting torn out of its protective envelope and lost.  It was client information, too.  And all the post office could tell me was, I don’t know.  Apparently they have a lost and found, but there’s no way to track where the envelope went (from my office to another town less than 30 miles away) or what machine mutilated it.  So that was me making a dumb choice.  Oops!  Last week was fine until the end of the day when a renter for my boss’ rental property a state away called and asked where the keys were.  Yeah, I didn’t have any paperwork about them and didn’t ship the information they needed.  I ran around like crazy, trying to find a way to get them a set of keys so they could, I don’t know, go inside and have somewhere to sleep?  It took about thirty phone calls, 3 bajillion profanities, 2 panic attacks/nervous breakdowns, and 1 actually helpful person to fix the situation.  I was on the phone figuring things out until about 8pm.

Yesterday, I came into work.  I worked.  I had energy for the first day since the time change.  I kept working.  I got stuff done.  I looked up and suddenly it was 4:20pm.  I kept working, and eventually Nick came to pick me up.  Nothing exploded, no one blamed me for anything, and I didn’t feel like crying while I felt my blood pressure spike.  I never realized I could actually identify that particular phenomenon, but when your head suddenly feels very large and full, and your eyes feel tight, and your hearing starts to tunnel, and your scalp prickles, I feel safe saying that’s your blood pressure hiking right up.

Yesterday was a good day, though.

In the stairwell out my door and down a few, there resides or resided (I’m not sure yet) the Mother of All Spiders.  I’m sure she is just a plain garden spider, however, she was flippin massive.  She gave the end of my pinkie a run for its money, I’ll tell you that right now.  I decided she was female, and I almost named her Shelob after the gigantic nasty spider in Return of the King by Tolkien but that really skeeved me out.  Anyway, she resided in the cement-tile crevice above the door I use every morning and evening to get to the car – from the stairwell to the parking lot under the building.  Every morning and evening, I would say hello to her.  I believed that unflinching manners and kindness would keep her from dropping on my head at inopportune times – that is to say, at any time.  This went on for a couple of weeks, I’d look up and say hello to her OctoMajesty as I went to the car in the morning, and on my way in at night I’d step to the side through the door and say hello again.

Everything changed about four days ago.  She was not in her place when I came home one day.  She had moved about ten feet along the left-hand wall, and it did take me a few tense moments, casting about frantically, to find her.  I greeted her like usual, and gave her space as I went up the stairs.  The next day was kind of bad.  I didn’t see her at all as I came through the door at 5.  I looked at her old place, I looked at her new, I didn’t see a thing.  I looked and looked, up and down and all around.  then i saw it.  I saw Her OctoMajesty on the floor, rather hunched up.  I skipped the pleasantries and skittered past without screeching.  That was a major  triumph, as my screechometer was twitching.  Today I walked down the last flight of stairs with great trepidation, eyes darting thither and yon, trying to locate her before I stepped into her lair.  I didn’t see her at all and had to feel that scalp-itching horror of not knowing where a huge spider is in the room.  My spine tingled.  My hiney cringed.  I feared the worst.

Sadly, today after work, the worst was confirmed.  Her Ladyship, Her OctoMajesty, Her Madamness, was found dead on the floor all folded in on Herself at 5:17pm, Thursday, March 17th 2011.  Happy St. Patrick’s Day, my friends.

I’ve been watching Toddlers & Tiaras lately, on and off.  It’s the most awfully wonderful thing I’ve ever seen, and after one episode all I could do was call my friend who has an almost 1 year-old girl and beg her to put the child into pageants.  Because it would be awesome!  I almost popped out a kid right quick so I could go on the pageant circuit and get on the show.  I could wrangle a loud unhappy child, all the while claiming that “she likes it, she likes it!”  Yesss I would rock at that.  Also I would make dresses myself and they would be ghastly.  No, that would be my fledgling brand name: Ghastly.  Stamped all over the child.  Yessss.

I don’t know why I’m bothering to try to write when I can’t think of anything to say.  However, I do need to write down the fact that I made dinner today.  It took me two tries, 43 profanities, 2 chicken breasts, a bag of frozen broccoli, and a small mental breakdown.  I finished making dinner just before 9pm.  I might not have the timing down on this yet.

This email conversation-bit needs a touch of backstory.  Ginger Ninja and I email at work and share recipes if we find marvelous ones, and the recipe in question is for chicken noodle stir fry with mixed vegetables.  The recipe notes that your local market should have pre-packaged mixed vegetables, and if not they should have a salad bar to help you put together your own mix.  I’ve never read a more condescending recipe, that was also so delicious-sounding.

GN: Also, here’s the recipe I randomly mentioned when we were talking.  I haven’t tried it yet, but it looks tasty!

Me: Ummm that’s a delicious looking recipe.  I sure hope my local market has a salad bar, because I don’t know how to mix and match vegetables.  Do they grow on trees?  Where do I find them?  How can I identify them in the wild without help?  Do I need to set traps?

GN: well, the zucchini are long and green and can be found grazing in the grasslands in herds, as opposed to the cucumbers which are more solitary and hide in the jungle ground cover.  Bell peppers tend to segregate themselves by color (green, red and yellow are the most common), but every once in a while you will see the rare cross-breed, usually orange.  They tend to live in warm, humid climates.  Carrots and celery are both very common and can be found in the wild or domesticated as house-pets.  While they are both long and thin, carrots are orange with a leafy green top and celery is pale green and grows in bunches.  When trapping such creatures, it is best to lay a simple snare with some sort of bait.  Your local garden store or nursery can recommend a plant food suitable for your needs.  As far as choosing which to trap for that recipe, I would use zucchini or that yellow squash, baby corns ‘cause I love them, water chestnuts and carrots and celery ‘cause my husband will suffer through them and he needs some sort of crunchy things in his diet, mushrooms, maybe sweet onion (not potato), and red bell pepper (but you don’t like those, right?).  I think pretty much anything could go with a peanut sauce.

When I got that reply of hers I laughed till I cried.

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