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Drove [ profile] onnakitty to the dentist this morning for her oral surgery. Five teeth gone, temporary bridge-thingy done, and (maybe?) posts for future implants put in. She was drugged to the eyeballs when she was done, and was biting down on gauze on both sides of her mouth, so conversation was difficult. Her solution was to intersperse such bits of ASL as she remembered (most of which I don't remember) with made-up emphatic gestures. It was like playing charades with a drunk on the verge of blacking out: amusing and frustrating in turns.

She seemed better (albeit sleepy from painkillers) a couple of hours later when [personal profile] shadowbat and I finally headed home from her place, leaving her to the tender mercies of her fiance and her roommate, both of whom are off work sick today.
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Apparently the college I'd been doing my distance education program through is closing down. I haven't been checking in regularly and I missed most of the lead-up to this. I really have no one to blame but myself; I should have been done with the program by now, but I let life interfere and now I'm out the tuition for the full B.S./M.S./N.D. program. *sigh*

I could probably transfer some of my existing credits (two semesters short of my B.S.) to another institution, but I'm already tens of thousands of dollars in the hole and I have neither the money nor the drive to do so.

I guess I'll just consider it an idiot tax and a sharp reminder of why procrastination is such a problem.
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I haven't really been on DW/LJ in an age. Yesterday, though, I had to connect with a friend with whom I'd lost touch, and the easiest way was a PM on LJ, so when I'd done that I started reading through my old entries, remembering what things had been like back in 2003, when I started this journal.

Wow, things have really changed. *g*

Anyway, I don't know that I can promise to keep up with journaling in the future any more than I have in the past, but I figured I'd post here and get it on the record:

I'm happy.

I'm happy with my smart, beautiful, kind, generous, sometimes pain-in-my-butt kids. I'm happy with my life. I'm happy with where I'm living. I'm happy with the new friends I've made and the old ones who've been here all along. And while I can't officially speak for [ profile] onnakitty and [ profile] shadowbat, they seem pretty happy, too.

I can't say that everything is roses (or perhaps some other metaphor to which I am not allergic *g*) all the time. For instance, not a day goes by that I don't think about why our lives have changed so drastically in the last few years; I suspect that's going to be true for the rest of my life. And to say that it doesn't make me angry anymore would be a lie, because it does — every single time I think about it. Angry on behalf of my kids, and angry on my own behalf. There's a whole lot of other negative emotions tied up in there, too, and I suspect that I'll be untangling those for a hell of a long time.

But the other 99.99999% of the time? I'm happy.

I sincerely hope you can say the same.
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Yesterday we spent the afternoon at Kew, which was absolutely gorgeous. The weather was occasionally overcast and cool enough not to be uncomfortable, but warm enough to allow us to enjoy ourselves. As has been par for the course the past couple of weeks, [ profile] shadowbat was hungry when we got there*, so we stopped and got sandwiches right off. He tried my chicken tikka sandwich and didn't care for it, but ate his own tuna salad sandwich happily.

We went through the three main glass houses and strolled around the rest of the gardens, chatting and having a wonderful time. I finally know what a monkey puzzle tree looks like (very odd, in case you're curious), and have seen the various plants from which coffee, macadamia nuts, and other interesting foods are harvested.

Once we were back at [ profile] mandragora1's place, I made dinner (macaroni and cheese from scratch, which could have been better; I think I added the cheese when the white sauce was still too hot, so the texture wasn't as creamy as I like) and we watched Stardust which was a lot of fun.

Today is a barbecue at a friend's, and it's rainy and overcast but I don't mind at all. I'd been getting tired of the heat and sun of Denver and the weather at the moment reminds me a lot of Seattle. Being driven about in London traffic, though, is like nothing I've ever experienced before; it's kind of like chaos theory in motion. *g*

* For those who don't know, he just hit a growth spurt and has been eating constantly. He's put on probably 15 pounds in the last couple of weeks and has outgrown all of his jeans, which sent me scrambling through thrift stores in Colorado before we left.
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Sitting in the airport in Denver, waiting for our flight to Heathrow to board, and a large group--a family, or maybe two--arrive at the gate. If they hadn't been speaking, I'd have taken them for Colorado natives...or maybe their shiny new cowboy boots and hats would have given them away. I think they're Italian, though I haven't been able to catch more than a word or two in the low murmur of their conversation.

One of them--a twenty-something man in a Rocky Mountain National Park tee-shirt--is handing out marshmallows to the rest like some exotic treat, and that strikes me as the oddest thing yet.

It's always the little, mundane things that you discover you've been taking for granted, isn't it? Marshmallows. Who knew?

[written Thursday, August 21]
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I know I've been quiet already, but it's going to get more so--including via email, for those of you who communicate with me that way. [ profile] shadowbat and I are getting ready for our trip, and so I'm copying all of my Outlook settings over to my laptop and won't be checking email regularly for quite a while. I'll try to update LJ as we go, but I'm kind of hoping we'll be busy and/or exhausted. *g*
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Hi. My name is Katya, and I'm an alt-aholic.

Or so my son tells me, every time he watches me create a new character on WoW. I have...well, let's just say "a lot of characters" and leave it at that...across half a dozen RP servers. I'm probably nearing my account limit (which, for those who don't know, is fifty characters), and I guess I'm going to have to start deleting the less interesting ones at some point to make room for the new. Some I created to play with friends, others just because I wanted to experiment with a particular class, and still others because I was curious about the economics and social culture of various servers.

I'm not the only one who finds the phenomenon of WoW fascinating, either. In two weeks, there's going to be a scientific conference to be held inside WoW: Convergence of the Real and the Virtual. It makes me think of Henry Jenkins, and his academic forays into Second Life. [ profile] shadowbat and I will be attending, though it's still up in the air which toon I'll be attending with. So many choices!

The one thing I haven't done to date is create a character on a PvP server. I always say that I'm allergic to PvP, which is partly true; I can't imagine playing in an atmosphere where I can't focus on questing and leveling because I always have to keep my eyes open for some opposite-faction jerk who has nothing better to do than go around ganking low-levels. I'm finding, though, that I actually enjoy PvP in the very clearly delineated environment of a battleground. [ profile] shadowbat and spent the last couple of months doing Warsong Gulch and Arathi Basin with our level-39 characters, both for fun and to get some PvP gear, and I mostly had a good time. I still think, though, that the constant underlying stress of leveling on a PvP realm would be more than I could deal with, though maybe someday I'll try on an RP-PvP realm.

Because I'm an alt-aholic. :-)
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It's snowing. In Seattle. In April.

I just.... What?!

It's not just a few flakes, either. It's, like, half an inch to an inch of accumulation at the moment, and it's still going.

I'm pretty sure this kind of thing is why I left Colorado. Obviously I've been cursed or something. I'll bet if I were to move to Hawaii, it'd snow there, too. Anyone want to pay me to move to Hawaii?

Anyone want to pay me not to move to Hawaii? ;-)
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[ profile] shadowbat was scheduled to take the WASL (Washington Assessment of Student Learning) yesterday and today, and I completely spaced it yesterday...until I got an email last night from his teaching liaison, who said she hoped everything was okay with us. Why yes, it's fine, other than me being STUPID. :-)

Anyway, my morning was spent at Starbucks and my afternoon at the testing venue, "borrowing" wireless. Even though [ profile] shadowbat was scheduled for two days worth of testing, it appears that he's going to finish it up today, which is a massive lack of surprise to me. I remember standardized testing. I particularly remember that I had to bring two new books with me every day because I finished so early that just one wouldn't do. In the boyo's case, he's been making up tests instead of reading when he finishes early, and has managed to make up yesterday's math already and is apparently nearly through with reading, as well.

I'm totally filing this away to use against him the next time he announces that he's obviously stupid.
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Yesterday was my son's twelfth birthday, and as is our tradition I let him pick how he wanted to spend the day. It'll probably be unsurprising to those of you who know him to hear that he chose to play World of Warcraft with J and me. The birthday meal was Thai—he loves yellow curry—and instead of cake, he asked for a lemon pie for dessert. I think the day was a success, considering that he's still asleep.

He's not quite a teenager yet, but he is one in most of the ways that matter: he's been coping with acne and mood swings, and his outlook on life is considerably more mature than it was a year ago. He still hates having to do schoolwork, but he buckles down and does it with a minimum of complaint, which is a huge step forward. And while he hasn't started evincing any interest in dating, I'm sure that'll come in time. Not that I'm eager to deal with all that entails, mind you; I have my hands full with his older sister's romantic trials and tribulations. ;-)

Speaking of S, she's done a lot of growing up recently, too. She just took on a weekend food-service job to supplement her current thirty-hour-a-week retail gig, and she's been amazingly responsible this last year. She's gone to work every day (and on time, I think) come hell or high water, which is certainly more than I can say for myself at her age. In an effort to give her some idea of what life as a grown-up is like, I put her in charge of our rent when we moved; J and I pay our portions to her and she writes the check to the landlord every month, which means she's ultimately responsible for all the money being there. She's stepped up and dealt with it with a minimum of fuss, and there hasn't been a problem in nearly a year, so go her!

Today is a day of mostly rest, as we're going to hold Yule vigil tonight, sitting up all night and tending a fire to ensure the return of daylight after the longest night of the year.

I may nap for a bit; I'm still worn out from K's birthday celebration and I had a short night because I wanted to be up to see when S gave J her Yule gift—a package that was ringing even as J was trying to open it. :-) Short version of the story: after we moved, J bought a new, snazzy cellphone, which was subsequently stolen (probably by some unsavory people who hang out where J works). She's been using S's old phone for a month or so, but the reason it's S's old phone is that it was on its last legs, so that's not an ideal solution. Unbeknownst to J, S and some of J's other friends have been plotting, and last night S picked up a new phone—identical to J's stolen one—as a Yule gift from them all. It was a great surprise, but it was incredibly difficult to keep a straight face last night when J discovered that her phone wasn't working. "Gee, must be because S went in to the Verizon store and had them fix what was wrong with hers. Maybe they messed up your number in the process. We'll have to see about getting that fixed tomorrow."
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As part of an effort to get my life back on track—or, rather, to get it on the track that I want it to be on—my kids and I recently moved (back) to the Pacific Northwest. It's good to be here, even though there are some aspects of the situation that make it feel incredibly surreal. I'm really happy, though, with the progress I'm making in getting settled here. Our cars are legally licensed, as am I, and most of the unpacking is done.

Part of the plan was to try to revert to healthier eating habits, too, and yesterday I found a local farm that participates in an organic "weekly box of produce" co-op. Years ago we'd belonged to a similar co-op in Denver, but the selection went downhill and then the little greengrocer that offered it went out of business. Our first box pick-up here is next Thursday, and from the online listing it looks like it's going to be both a nice variety and a decent quantity of produce.

Dinner: mulligatawny, spinach salad with hot bacon dressing

Destiny is no matter of chance. It is a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.
—William Jennings Bryan
double_mischief: (wine)
Name / Kind of Wine: Amelie Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot
Producer / Importer: Mankas Hills Vineyards
Vintage Year: 2004
Price: promotional bottle
Overall Rating: 6
Comments: Not bad, but it's a little delicate for what I like in a red. Not as robust or full-flavored as I prefer. The flavor is good, but subtle.
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Today I received (no fewer than six times) an email continaing the following text: )

In short, please stop purporting to speak for me, because you're making me look bad and that makes me cranky.
double_mischief: (wine)
Name / Kind of Wine: Roza Riesling
Producer / Importer: Silver Lake Winery, Columbia Valley (Zillah, WA)
Vintage Year: 2005
Price: $9.99 (on sale; regularly $12.99?)
Color, Aroma, Flavor, etc.: Lavish peach, melon, and apricot flavors. Great floral aroma with a perfect balance of sweet fruit and bracing acidity.
Overall Rating: 10
Serving Suggestions: As an aperitif or with a lightly sweetened dessert. The perfect picnic wine.
Comments: This is fabulous. The fruity flavors come through very clearly, and the wine almost bursts on your tongue.
double_mischief: (wine)
Name / Kind of Wine: Riesling Kabinett
Producer / Importer: Schmitt Söhne
Vintage Year: 2004
Price: $8.99
Color, Aroma, Flavor, etc.: Crisp and lively on the palate.
Overall Rating: 7
Serving Suggestions: Mild cheeses, salads, shellfish and poultry.
Comments: Sweet and fairly delicate. A decent kabinett.
double_mischief: (wine)
Name / Kind of Wine: Niersteiner Spiegelberg – Riesling Kabinett
Producer / Importer: Julius Clauss Winery (Weingut Josef Friederich), Rheinhessen (Zell, Germany)
Vintage Year: 2005
Price: $15.50
Color, Aroma, Flavor, etc.: Medium-bodied white featuring pale yellow hues, a bright nose of peach and pear, with a refreshing finish.
Overall Rating: 9
Serving Suggestions: Well chillled. As an aperitif or with light salads and shellfish.
Comments: The perfect white for me, it's sweet and light and has a low alcohol content (7% to 8%).
double_mischief: (wine)
Name / Kind of Wine: Cabernet Sauvignon
Producer / Importer: Chiñigue Vineyards, Ilata Valley (Santiago, Chile)
Vintage Year: 2004
Price: $13.99
Color, Aroma, Flavor, etc.: Aromas of pepper, cinnamon and caramel with a touch of warm oak. Smooth tannins, layers of fruit along with an ideal balance; long and lasting finish.
Overall Rating: 5
Serving Suggestions: Room temperature and open for at least 1 hour. Steak, sausage and burgers.
Comments: A little thin and light. Smooth, but without much body. Possibly better if left to breathe longer.
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