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April 30, 2004

two family dinners, two eyebrows raising

So... while I was up in the Great North Woods, (or along the Great North Shore, if you like...) I was able to enjoy a family dinner (at a restaurant, unfortunately) twice. Once at the Salt Bay Cafe (which, by the way, has GREAT vegetarian fare compared to most I've seen), and once at the Damariscotta River Grill, which had excellent scallops, and the best lamb I have ever tasted, believe it or not.

Dinner conversation among my family seems to segment a great deal, and with a big party, that's normal. At the first dinner, which my parents attended, my parents and my Florida uncle talked extensively at one end of the table, and my Maine aunt and Connecticut uncle and aunt were conversing at my end of the table. I got LOTS of questions about the house, and what it was like, and where was it, and all that good stuff... and my aunt looked at me and said "did you buy it alone?" -- to which, of course, I responded, "No... my roommate from my last place and I went in together. It was just more cost effective, and we'd lived together for several years, so we each knew the other was trustworthy."

I got a HUGE raised eyebrowed smirk from my Maine aunt for that. I shot back an evil "don't you dare question me" look. She knows, and I know she knows, and that's all. My parents love me, and they love Nala, so that's that. Who cares what the aunt thinks.

Well, the next night, at dinner, the topics were more along the lines of "what's up with the cousins who aren't here." Inquisitive Maine aunt asked Florida uncle about one of his sons, "Does he have a girlfriend?" The answer was a quick "Nope."

"Does he have a boyfriend?" she then asked.

"I wouldn't doubt it, but I haven't seen him." he replied. It was all I could do NOT to spit out my scallops.

So then, when I was in Boston, and telling my friend Chad about it, I realized, "You know, it makes sense as to why he rarely ever shows up to family gatherings, and why he's never had a girlfriend that any of us remembers..."

Could there be two or more of us in our generation? That would certainly be interesting, wouldn't it?

April 29, 2004

oy. argh.

so... $60 in overdrafts. fun.

apparently, no big yank... they only waived half because the telephone banker was pretty vague in what he told me, when they replayed the tape.

so, i still say f-you bank 1. at least I'm at positive $30 today, and I get paid tomorrow.

I just have to pay attention to my bills for awhile till the new autopays kick in.

more fun with banks

So, I got hit with $120 in overdraft fees, putting me AGAIN in the hole. What the hell. I called the bank, and they said they could easily waive at least half of the fees, but would have to talk to a manager to get the rest off of there.

Fun. Not cool though.

They're supposed to call me back within the next few minutes.

And then I have a meeting with my boss-lady.

April 28, 2004

automated payments

so... both the utilities i use bank 1 to pay also have their own autopay services, for free. so today, i signed up.

so long, automated payment fees! so long, crappy bank 1 service!

bank 1 is screwed up

So, you know, you can have your bank send out checks to pay your monthly bills automatically, right?

Well, I do that for cable, electric, and rent. And it has served me very well. BUT, in March, they changed their policy, and I almost didnt notice.

Until this month.

I am still -$250. Why, you might ask? Because they changed the way it works. They take the money out now, before it's due, in order to guarantee to your bill collectors that the check won't bounce. So, I started this morning at -$750, and moved money to cover it... at least a little.

So now, every other one of my debit transactions will bounce. FUCK YOU BANK 1.

It doesnt matter if the places I pay monthly cashed the check or not, the money is gone, and therefore, my account is negative (and I'll get charged for that, daily), and $30 for every item over the amount, plus $30 for every item from the banks of everyone it's bouncing to. FUCK YOU BANK 1.

"Changing the way you do business" indeed.


April 27, 2004

i'm back

5 days without Internet access or cell phone signal SUCKS ASS, let me tell you. I couldn't communicate and it was HELL.

But, it was also good, and refreshing to be so disconnected, although I nearly gave myself an ulcer worrying about how work was doing while I was gone.

I got to see my grandmother. And my aunts and uncles. And a couple cousins and their families too.

Everyone here has been asking me how it went, so I'll tell you. It simply went. I can't say it went well, and I can't say it went shitty (because it was far from that). Saying goodbye is hard, and moreso when the person you're saying goodbye to doesnt think it is goodbye.

So, I'm ok. I've come close to crying twice. It's not so bad.

And, I got a trunk-load of booty. No pun intended. We now have a super-duper new HEPA canister vacuum. And a few photos, some funky aluminum tumblers, a 1925 wall hanging about "Friendship". Oh, and the title to my grandfather's first Beetle, with his signature at the bottom (along with photos of the car), and my grandmother's certificate to teach in NH.

I also came back with some more info on my great aunt Margaret. Apparently she danced on Broadway for 2 years in the late 1920s or early 1930s.

Among the things that my parents brought back for me are: family recipes, my grandmother's junior high and high school diplomas (1924 and 1926, respectively), a teaching award, a service award from her high school, a set of HEAVY wine goblets (nobody is certain of their origin), some potholders made by my great-grandmother, more photos, the Morris chair, a set of silverware, and some other miscellany.

I can't wait to get the photo scanned in of my grandmother as a baby, being held by her grandmother and great-grandfather, with her mother close-by.

Oh, and by the way, work has totally sucked ass today, too. Three server problems, and everybody asking what the status of their projects are. Wow. Go figure -- I havent done anything since I LEFT A WEEK AGO, dumbasses.

April 22, 2004

8 hours of rain

I'm in syracuse. Can't wait to leave

April 21, 2004

almost ready

forgot the cooler. damn.

got all the electronics. and the clothes. got the quarters for the turnpike. got the music. got the atlas. the car is full of gas.

need the phone numbers. need the mapquest directions. need the hotel info.

still got a ton of stuff to work on here at work.

April 19, 2004


well, if it still exists, and if i end up in Beantown visiting Chad, there's a good chance I might get to visit Boston Beer Works, home of the finest summertime ales I have ever tasted (blueberry and watermelon. not in the same ale.)

Gotta head to Target after work and try to get a phone charger!


reminder to self

I have to pack tonight, too. And vacuum the car (maybe) and throw the emergency kit back in it, and make some cds/mp3 cds for the road...

Of course, it will be raining, so no vacuuming.

Gotta try to get a car charger for the phone(s) too.


Booked a hotel for the half-way point of my trip... Syracuse, NY. $29.75 + tax. Don't laugh... my workplace is good for something... I mean, discounts on hotels and rental cars rock.

April 18, 2004

hey, mother nature, lay off the crack!

my god. 30 degrees to 80 degrees in 2 weeks? welcome to the extremes of April in Ohio.

Not that I'm complaining, but the plant life around here now has no CLUE what's going on. Our magnolia has bloomed and shed already.

What the hell.

Ok, I'm sunburnt, tired, but I do feel like I actually DID something today.

April 16, 2004

obkb... plans are in place

Talked to Annalisa, and it turns out she's going to be an aunt soon, so she very probably will be here in Ohio next weekend... I emailed Chad, hoping he'll be around. Two more friends to talk to, too. Frances and Sooz. Woohoo.

lawn and gardens cost money

Ok, so this is a note to remind myself how much I've spent thus far: a flat of pansies, a 2.5 foot Japanese maple, two extra-large pots, one small bag of weed-n-feed, MULCH, a few seeds, two bags of gladiola bulbs. $242. Holy crap. $92 was mulch.

sister mary, quite contrary

HA! So, I guess no news is good news when it comes to my family.

I sent my cousin a congrats on his wife's pregnancy. The rotten thing is, his mom (my aunt) has stomach cancer, but I didn't want to mention that. Is that wrong? I mean, I'm trying to focus on the good instead of the might-be-deadly. His sister is also preggers, again.

His dad is the one coordinating this mess of cleaning out Gram's apartment.

Talk about a horribly strange month for my uncle. Guess what? You're going to be a grandfather again, twice in September! Oh, and by the way, your mom's belongings have to be disposed of, because she's never going home. And, your wife has cancer. Oh, and happy birthday too.

What the hell. We're all getting old.

I keep messing up the ages of my mom and her siblings... if I finally got it right, their ages are 58, 62, 64, and 66.

My cousins on that side are all varied, but the youngest is 22. The oldest, if I remember right, is 44, which is ultimately strange to me. He can't be that old.

My first cousins once removed (the cousin's kids) are between 18 months and somewhere in high school. Tommy has got to be a teenager by now, Ashley is probably a senior, and Emma is about 7 or 8. Z is only 18 months or so.

I know, I went on a tangent...

While I'm at it, I might as well think about the other side...

My dad is 60, his oldest brother would've been 66, and the other brother is somewhere in between. My cousins there lie somewhere between the ages of 47 and 26. And the 19 first cousins once removed... or more, since that count was ages ago... range in age from COLLEGE to ... well, I think 10ish, judging by photos. Those guys were good at procreating. Each of my dad's brothers had lots of kids... 5 or 6 apiece, and it seemed like most of them also had large broods, usually of 3 or more.

It scares me that some of those kids are now in college. *shudder* Thankfully, I dont even know most of their names, or faces, so if I ran into them, I wouldn't know.

April 15, 2004

the trip...

So, I have the motel room booked. At the Pioneer, on Route 1, between Wiscasset and Damariscotta.

I love it up there. It's so beautiful.

My parents are staying there too. A mere 10 minutes away from Gram and the apartment we might empty.

I was hoping to get away and see J-Go for a beer or something, just to do something else other than sit in my room and sulk after seeing my grandmother. But, he's out of town.

Maybe I can go see Annalisa in Lowell and Chad in Boston on my way back. But that's me being hopeful.

I still havent decided whether to start driving Wednesday after work, or all day on Thursday would be a better choice. I can get to Syracuse by not-too-late if I leave after work Wednesday, and then make Thursday a much more enjoyable day, arriving that night in time for dinner. Dinner? I mean micro-meals, or local fare. My parents are going to be eating out of grocery stores.

There seems to be some concern that Nala isn't going along. I didn't ask him to. I mean, this trip is for me to say goodbye, and with other crazy family there, I don't want him to have to deal with it. Sure, it would be nice to have the company, and the support, but I won't ask him to do this now, when I know I probably will need him more later in the year. Besides, he can't drop everything and run. And he probably needs the time alone.

There is also the concern that I am going alone. Who, exactly, would I ask to ride with me to BFE in Maine for a few days, on the spur of the moment, where they know no one, and there's nothing to do but maybe shop? Hm. I couldn't think of anyone.

And, yes, I'm driving MY CAR. The one I just had in for service. It has to go many many miles. But, the good news is, it was just serviced, and I'm taking the route which puts me on a more populated path. And I'll have both cell phones. I'm trying to be optimistic.

I need to call Annalisa and email Chad.

April 14, 2004

strange days

so, i'm sitting here, blogging, waiting to go into a meeting with my boss. it's perf0rmance eval time... and here i am.

that's not to say i'm slacking. I'm also on the phone with Adobe.

and I found out this morning that I'm no longer actively seeking retail clients. this kind of makes me happy. I can work on internal projects more efficiently now.

April 13, 2004

six little known factoids

via J-go

1) I once was a runway model. Yes, it was stupid.
2) My high school principal and his cohorts decided I was evil. I got suspended for being a suspect (to them) in some horrible things in my hometown.
3) I went to a Genesis concert, even though I think Phil Collins sucks ass.
4) I was once a mediocre jazz saxophonist. I have never since loosened up that much. And I havent played in 8 years or so.
5) I once had a 5-way, with my ex, his ex (another of my ex's), his ex, and a guy named Steve. It wasn't very good. Only once was a 3-way any good, but that's another story.
6) My family is scattered to the winds, which is very different than 25 years ago, when we had family Christmases.

between stuff

I'm muttering:

  1. Boxing:: Punch
  2. Lewis:: Joe
  3. Bodyguard:: Protection
  4. Burnout:: ME
  5. Cruising:: for a Bruising
  6. Easter:: Bunny (bock-bock)
  7. AA:: Battery
  8. Research:: Paper
  9. Redemption:: in a Blog
  10. Snickers:: doesn't satisfy

April 12, 2004


So sad I missed this!

In the very first sketch, before the opening credits, Jackson did a bull's-eye impression of national security adviser Condoleezza Rice testifying, as she did last week, before the commission investigating the 9/11 tragedy. Outfitted with prosthetic teeth that helped with the flashing of a coldly faked smile, Jackson as Rice rehearsed for her testimony with a sinister and snakelike Vice President Cheney, played by master impressionist Darrell Hammond.

God bless you, SNL... and Tom Shales at the Post, for giving a play by play on this weekend's episode.

Yesterday, I went to Lowe's

Yesterday, I went to Lowe's and got gardening supplies, a small cutleaf Japanese maple, and some bulbs. Of course after coming home and researching them, I found out how maintenance-heavy they could be. What I got were calachortus and Tigridia pavonia. I'm thinking of taking them back (they are unopened). I mean, that's $12 I could spend on things that I already know how to grow...

I also got 20 (yes 20) MORE bags of mulch, and I'm not certain that will finish the job. Funny, eh? 40 bags of mulch and I'm not certain it will finish the job.

I also priced storm windows. Fun, let me tell you, at an average of $40 apiece (some are custom). And, I did laundry. And, I put out MOST of the new solar lights... they look good. Really good.

It's my turn to cook tonight, of course. I do have a couple recipes in mind. I might just have time to finish laundry and some other small tasks, too. I just wish there were more hours in the day.

Reminder to self: tax refile, and check sent for P.H.

And... I got my vacation approved today. Woohoo!

April 10, 2004

back to maine.

so, I've decided to go. or to try to go. i've put in for vacation on the 22nd-26th, and I'm going to save up for gas money. It should be around $120, if I did the math right, for the round trip.

I'm making a list of items that I could either use or want for sentimental value.

The Morris chair tops the list. Since I'm driving, I could ask for the food processor and the canister vac. And a couple of the small blender jars. I might even be able to bring back some other stuff.

April 8, 2004

cleaning house

So, today, I received 9 emails from my uncle with photos more or less detailing the contents of my grandmother's apartment for the dividing amongst all of us children and grandchildren in hopes that we can each find some meaningful item with which to remember her.

Let me say, there ain't much left to pick from.

I probably shouldn't make assumptions, but looking around in those photos I see some things that are practical, but which hold no memories or sentimental value (like smaller blender jars, cast iron grill pans, a food processor, or mini-chopper) and there are things that I assume are already spoken for, but I would remember her by.

The most valuable to me is also probably the most valuable to anyone. It's a Morris Chair built by my grandfather. It was his favorite chair, and and is still her favorite, and has seen probably 40+ years of use. My mom often spoke of this chair before I had even been to Maine to see it... I know it holds great value in her eyes, too.

The second and third most sentimental items to me are the glass candy dishes given to her and her sister by her grandmother (from Scotland), and any one of the awards given to her as a teacher. Again, these hold sentimental value (and in the case of the candy dishes, probably great monetary value). I think I would stick to the awards, since I am a bit of a clutz and could see easily breaking a candy dish worth a couple thousand dollars.

Next would be the antique cabinet that the dishes and awards are in now, and then the high-backed rocking chair, and an OLD antique armoire, which reminds me more of her frugality. It's pretty, but plain.

She did have this AWESOME bed that was really simple, dark wood... probably matched the armoire. I wonder if my grandfather built that as well... he was a carpenter and cabinetmaker. But, it's gone.

I love my grandmother very much, and I would like to have SOMEthing to remember her by. She was a simple woman, and didn't keep much that wasnt of any practical value. I dont remember anything striking from any of her various homes throughout the years... if there was, it is long since gone.

My memories are mostly of visiting her, and listening to her stories, not of any one thing in her house. Since I saw her so rarely, I never remembered much from any given residence. The Morris chair and the rocker were always there.

Perhaps nobody would want the family histories she had collected... those are mostly in hardback form...

And she did like the Beatles. I remember she had quite a collection of cassettes.

There were no special dishes (I remember no dishes at all, save from her last apartment, and those were new). There were no special pots or pans or serving dishes. No special wall ornaments, no Christmas ornaments (I was never there for Christmas after I was about 5 years old). No special tablecloths or other linens.

Unfortunately for me, the new house came a great many years after she had rid herself of most of the warehouses of antique furnishings. She had moved a half-dozen times, into smaller and smaller apartments, and ended up giving a great deal to charity and to my closer cousins.

[sigh] I have to print this all out for my mom.

April 6, 2004

bad student

So, I cant go to class today. My coworker who is also in the class is out in a meeting.

On the good side, my car will be here in < 2 hours!

April 5, 2004

muttering. late.

  1. Condemn:: house
  2. Promiscuous:: me, circa 1996
  3. Pro-life:: pro-choice
  4. Mona Lisa:: art
  5. Crown:: jewel
  6. Mumble:: always
  7. Hack:: sign
  8. Diet:: cola
  9. Introduction:: conclusion
  10. Latin America:: hot

monday monday

so busy here, but you know, it's nothing. i can deal with this. it's an annoyance.

meetings start in 25 minutes, and last till 4. happy Monday!

April 2, 2004

stupid people

... piss me off.


i'm not angry... i'm just exasperated. or something.

April 1, 2004

kick ass... i was right

Former Huntress Ashley Scott is in the new Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson flick Walking Tall as a super-hot blonde.

We were watching tv last night when I heard her voice... and then had to remember who it was... she kinda looked like... Helena Kyle. Yeah. It had to be. AND IT WAS!!! KICK ASS!

In other news, the new Doctor Who, Christopher Eccleston, I just realized yesterday, is in a couple movies I have seen (The Others, Shallow Grave), along with one I hope to see soon -- 28 Days Later.