The last few days have been very busy, but not at all in a bad way. I got our passports (Miranda has the cutest passport I've ever seen!), bought every little thing I anticipate needing during our trip, became the head of "neighborhood beautification" for the Seabrook home owner's association, did a lot all around the house, and had lunch with my mom twice. Kat, aka Triple_Phoenix, helped me clean the house to a point that I don't feel like I'm going to lose my mind, which was a huge relief. I still need to clean up the lovely nail polish art the cats created especially for me all over the bathroom floor, walls, vanity, and bathtub, but if it must that can wait until I get back, because it's not getting any drier.


A Life Less Plastic: Pitfalls )

So, that's it, really. It's amazing how much time so few things can take up, but I guess that's just relativity for you. I'm looking forward to the dream Magick meet-up tomorrow and then to departing Tuesday afternoon!
enduringplum: (Nothings)
( May. 5th, 2009 10:51 am)
The May Day picnic, although we held it on the third of May due to the time constraints of different schedules and modern life, was a lot of fun and I really enjoyed the ritual; it had been a very long time since I'd participated in a ritual with other Pagans, so it was deeply fulfilling to share that experience with them and to call a corner again, especially since it was the South. Being with other Pagans, specifically those of Lamplight Circle who are down-to-earth, friendly, open-minded, and just really authentic, kind people inspires me to be more true to myself and my ideal practice as a Pagan, which hasn't been something I've been able to do easily since Katrina. Maybe I've been feeling more bitterness than I realized.

Yesterday was a difficult day with Miranda, so I was feeling exhausted and overwhelmed by the time my friends arrived to play Rifts. I tried to temper my bitchiness and I think I succeeded to a point; fun was still had by all, so it was worth it to have them over despite the house being an utter disaster and being so tired. Rachael, my sister-in-law, drove everyone home, bless her heart, and I was asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow, less than ten minutes after everyone had gone home at nearly two in the morning. I should write my notes up in my gaming LJ to keep track of our sessions, because the plot just keeps getting more and more convoluted the longer G, our game master, graciously lets our characters live.

I'm going to a free ceramics class for adults sponsored by NORD, which I found out about through Pat Jolly, a longtime family friend. I've been wanting to get back in to ceramics for quite a while now, so I'm looking forward to it. I don't think the class will be running for very long, just a month, but I'm sure I can get something out of it or at least discover if I'd really like to delve deeper in to clay.

My washing machine is mildewy and I followed the recommended cleaning procedure to no avail. The next step is to take the bottom front panel off and see if I can clean out the filter, which may be caked in mildew. It's very frustrating, because I have to wash every load a couple times and if I forget it in the washer for even two hours the clothes pick up the mildew smell again.
enduringplum: (Cinderella)
( Feb. 5th, 2009 04:46 pm)
1. get dressed to shoes every morning <- harder than it may seem!

2. write a page every day <- this is a work in progress and I'm doing fairly well with it; next month I should make it specifically "write a journal page, page of fiction, or complete a writing exercise everyday"

3. practice yoga twice weekly <- I want to work up slowly to having a daily practice again, but finding the time and making the space are proving to be the biggest obstacles.

4.begin untangling Delgado financial mess <- this will probably take more than a month to complete, but it's got to be done

5. continue making a place for everything and keeping everything in its place <- extremely important for my sanity, especially if Doug ever makes it down here; I'm making good progress on this, so it's just a matter of gradually improving as I go along

6. finish an incomplete knit project <- I've got a bunch of these lying around that I began when I was pregnant

7. get to bed by eleven-thirty every night <- I often stay up looooong after Miranda and Carl have fallen asleep to "finally get things done," as I'm sure many other mothers do, but it's got to stop.

8. put Miranda down for a nap every day <- I don't believe in letting babies "cry it out," so this one is contingent on her mood

Other Things or Oh My God... It's Full of Links )

I'm extremely pleased that Carlos Mencia was removed from Orpheus. I still hurt when I think about Hurricane Katrina and the lingering effects and I remember watching the episode of his terribad show when it first aired, while I was still without a home and still wondering what had become of my loved ones, so I don't want him participating in one of the greatest cultural experiences New Orleans has to offer, at least not in such a prestigious position.

More of Miranda's Little, Constant Changes )
Aside from binging on Oreo cookies, I had a pretty good, quiet day. The Oreos binge was also quiet, but now I'm feeling disgustingly full of cookies; I don't often eat sugary, processed foods, especially since I began trying-to-conceive and then became pregnant, but I went a little bit crazy with it tonight.

I worked on my mom's sewing machine yesterday while I was at her house doing our laundry and that went well, aside from some difficulty I had with the bobbin; I was loading it incorrectly and trying to use the machine like that was tearing up my fabric and locking the machine up, but it was just a small piece of cloth and my mom showed me what I had done wrong.

I stopped by the Marigny Brasserie for the end of The Pfister Sisters' set and stood in for Debbie for the last half hour, so she could take off early and bring her kids to the mini festival at the park on Dauphine Street. I dropped her pay off to her afterwards and ran in to a lady I took Tai Ji after Hurricane Katrina, while I was living with the Hackett's and then while we were in the FEMA trailer. She was there selling her beautiful knitting and we talked about her work and Tai Ji, which she is still studying at the Liu Institute. She took up Tai Ji in an effort to save her hands from carpal tunnel syndrome, since she knits for a living, and she feels that it's helping a great deal and she's really enjoying it - in fact, she's also taking Kung Fu now! Her work is great and she's able to support herself solely on her knitting income, which I really admire. Check out Lauren Thomas' work if you have the chance! For her online catalog, you can e-mail her at handknitstyles (at) hotmail (dot) com, but you can also see her at the local New Orleans' art markets and exhibited at local galleries.
We haven't had a truly dark and stormy night in a while, but hoping for that sort of thing makes me worry that I might help a big, bad hurricane brew up; a little Cat 1 or 2, I can handle, but I worry about anything bigger, especially since some of our flood walls were "repaired" with newspaper... Thanks to the Corps of Engineers for that.

I finished another quilt block by hand this afternoon. It came out much more accurately than my last block, which was just slightly smaller than it should have been because I made (what I imagine) are typical beginner's mistakes. Today I sewed one of my Log Cabin block pieces on the wrong way, but that only took a few minutes with a seam ripper and my needle and thread to fix.

I was going to go to my knitting group (NOLA Stitch N Bitch), but I was just too tired after dinner to trust myself to drive; I miss seeing my group, so I really need to make the extra effort to see them next week. Since I'm staying in, I'm going to go ahead and scrub the ferrets' cage tonight instead of waiting 'til tomorrow, then cut out the rest of my quilt blocks. I may piece some more together, but if I'm too tired I'll just do them on my mom's machine when I pay her a visit tomorrow, then I can get to the sashing and I'll be nearly finished!

I'm going to make a tote bag as my second project, but I'm going to add a simple applique design to what I will consider the front of the bag, so that I can practice that technique. I plan to use three different batiks.

I feel guilty for staying indoors so much, because Conrad seems so bored. He really needs more exercise, but the heat and sunny weather has been extremely hard on me lately, so I haven't been able to walk him, even in the evenings. I don't feel comfortable walking around our neighborhood at night, although I don't necessarily feel like I would be in danger, so Conrad just hasn't had enough to do with himself. I have to vacuum the pool tomorrow and re-balance the chemicals (since it rained tonight), so we'll get to spend some time outdoors in the morning (Conrad won't stay outside without me for longer than twenty to forty minutes and follows me from room to room even when we're in the house together), but I will be in long sleeves, a baseball cap, and covered in sun block, and I'll only work on the pool for as long as it's in the shade; I've had a very bad case of red cheeks this week, including raised, flat bumps that are not acne and which have always been brought on by exposure to heat and/or bright sunlight since I was a teenager. I need to remember to clip his toe nails tomorrow, too.

The ferrets are having an excellent time playing in their new fortress in the hallway, which is the shipping box the crib bedding was in. They're all healthy and seem as happy as ever, but Orbit is having some thinning of the hair on the tip of his tail, so I need to bring him to the vet to have him checked out for adrenal gland disease. Because of his advanced age, I would not be surprised if he has developed it.
enduringplum: (Default)
( Apr. 3rd, 2008 09:52 am)
Well, it looks like the calls our friends put in to the Water Board did the trick, because when Carl tried to pay previous balance they were suddenly unable to find any previous balance; in New Orleans, it really is all about who you know. I feel better having the water in our name, because I was constantly worried that the seller would get pissed off about getting a bill in the mail or that our water would get shut off; I shouldn't have worried about that one, considering the fact that they charged us for service for two years at an address without water without ever receiving a payment. Ridiculous, but the situation's been resolved, so I'm happy.

Our refrigerator arrived and our stove should be here in the next few days. We still have to actually select and buy a washer and dryer, but I'm tired of looking so I think I'm just going to go with the cheap and easy all-in-one stacked model. Our sofa and bed frame were delivered a couple days ago; it's very nice not sleeping on the floor!

The pool is warming up a bit and I think I may attempt getting in after I vacuum it. I really need to skim the surface as well, because it's got specks of oak tree pollen floating all over it. In fact, all I pull out of the filter every other day are gigantic wads of soaking wet oak tree pollen, but it's gotten better this week.

All of our neighbors are very nice so far and have made sure to introduce themselves when they see us, which is wonderful, because it really helps us feel at home and comfortable in the neighborhood.

Pregnancy )

Carl is thinking he probably won't go to Dubai; he just doesn't think he can stand to miss the first two years of his first child's life, which I understand and appreciate. Shaw may also have something available for him with comparable pay as near as Baton Rouge.
enduringplum: (Blush)
( Mar. 26th, 2008 09:47 am)
We moved in most of our things on Saturday, with a lot of help from Mischa and Germaine (I can't thank you enough, gentlemen!). We still have a couple pieces of furniture to move and quite a few boxes that are still in storage, but mainly we just need to move all our hanging clothes from my parents' house.

We got television service Monday, internet yesterday, and we ordered our stove and refrigerator last night. Now all we need to do is pick out the right washer and dryer and it'll really feel a lot more like our home! The 'frige should be here Thursday and the stove will arrive in about ten days.

We're having some ridiculous issues with the New Orleans Sewerage and Water Board. Although I canceled our water service at Wilton in either late October or early to mid-November in 2005, the S&WB does not believe I ever canceled service and continued to bill us for water service at Wilton until February of this year, which racked up a more than 700 dollar water bill for us. Obviously, we can't afford to pay that and they won't give us water service until we either pay it or complete litigation with them; how they would like us to get water service in between now and the completion of any litigation is beyond me and they offered no solutions. It's this kind of thing that makes people dislike Orleans Parish.

Pregnancy and Life In General )

Our pregnancy isn't a big secret anymore, since I'm less than a week to my second trimester, so everyone should feel free to discuss it with anyone else. Complete strangers will be lucky if they get away from me without having to talk about it! Although I will not thrust creepy ultrasound pictures upon anyone who does not ask to see them.
enduringplum: (Psychedella)
( Mar. 20th, 2008 11:09 am)
We're closing on the house tonight!

That means we'll be moving this Saturday, so I hope all our big, strapping friends will be ready and willing by ten on Saturday morning. I will gladly provide the necessary pizza and beer.

On Sunday I plan to seal the grout in the kitchen and dining room floors, so anyone who would like to help out with that tedious job is welcome to show up Sunday morning or give me a call if you need a ride. Again, I'll provide the pizza and other related junk food.
Well, we had our inspection and there were, unfortunately, some problems. The only major issue is that a few of the breakers are not wired properly, which could cause power surges, and the two tiny bed rooms do not have any power running to them whatsoever - no lights, no electricity to any of the (many) outlets. Otherwise there were just some minor issues we can fix ourselves or just let slide: the pool light is out, there's a slight gap between the toe boards and the floor, there's a few deep scratches on the wood laminate (which we will eventually replace, anyway) in the living room, the screens on the eaves needs to be replaced, and the pressure gauge on the pool pump needs to be replaced. Hopefully, the electrician who did the wiring for the house will honor his work and repair what was not up-to-code, but even if he won't, if they'll give us a few thousand dollars off I know a very reliable electrician who will give us a good price (his wonderful wife sings with my mom's band).

Of course, the seller could say "Screw it" and refuse to lower the price or fix the electrical issue, in which case we'll have to withdraw our offer. I'm hoping that won't happen and I don't anticipate it happening with a problem that big, but you never can tell.

I didn't take any pictures of the two tiny bedrooms, because they're just smaller versions of the "master" bedroom. Oh, there's also a little one car garage in the back that hasn't been mold remediated yet, but I didn't take any pictures of it because it's nothing spectacular and we'll probably just use it for pool supply storage.

House Pictures - Kinda Large )

It's pretty weird to think that we might actually have our own home again soon. In fact, it's feeling downright surreal and I'm having some trouble wrapping my mind around the concept; we've been homeless for such a long time now and it's strange to think about a new home when we lived at our house on Wilton Drive for so little time.
enduringplum: (Psychedella)
( Feb. 28th, 2008 05:40 pm)
We offered, they counter-offered, we accepted. We just may have a home of our own!

I'm going to try to get the inspections done tomorrow; if nothing is amiss, we could close on Saturday.

For this house, we WILL be having a house warming - furniture or no furniture! BYO chair.
enduringplum: (Gush)
( Jan. 29th, 2008 11:28 pm)
Don't feel quite like they're working properly, well... I should say they are working differently, because I never really feel like my mind functions "normally." I need to paint so much it's making me feel funny.

We're torn between making an offer on the house on Cohn Street and the one on Joliet Street. Each has its pros and cons, both need work; one is in a somewhat better location, the other is much larger with a big corner lot. At this point, we're still looking all over town, but these are the only ones that are even a possibility for us.
We had our Road Home Program closing today and the money should be transferred in to our bank account in three weeks or less. I won't feel safe until we've bought a house with it, but progress is always encouraging.

My Follistim should arrive tomorrow and I take my first injection on the thirtieth, followed by additional injections on the following two days, then I go in for an ultrasound and blood work.

I tried learning crochet last night and I was pleased to see that the basics are very easy, although I'm not quite sure I was joining the links correctly after I moved on from creating the basic crochet chain.
I've made my appointment with The Special Man. I'll be seeing him at ten-thirty in the morning on October thirtieth, which I feel is an auspicious date and time; I feel there's something very special about seeing him on that day, when the veils between worlds are at their thinnest, the day before Samhain, which is a very transformative day.

The cost of the initial appointment is a bit painful, at two hundred dollars, but as Leela would say, "You gotta do what you gotta do." It most bothers me that I have no idea what the following treatments will cost or if every visit will cost us a cool two hundred dollars; I don't think that will be the case, but I suppose it's possible.

My mom did raise the point that I am technically homeless, so I should bring that up to see if they're able to offer me any discounts. At the same time, because this is a fertility specialist, I don't know if I want to bring up our tenuous living arrangements because then he may not feel I'm ready to begin treatment with him, which is far from the truth; people just so often misunderstand.

On a different note, we've found a house on which we plan to make an offer. It needs a ton of work, but it's on a great block in a good neighborhood that had minimal flooding and no flooding in any of the homes. This week we're trying to get the estimates for the work we'll need done on the house and pursuing state bond money, for which we are eligible.
enduringplum: (Heart Rending)
( Aug. 17th, 2007 02:57 pm)
My chest feels like there's a lump of wood just inside it, somewhere amongst my heart and lungs, making me fearful of taking a deep breath. It's all because there's a damnable STORM out there, looming, making its way steadily to the Gulf. I feel like crying because I feel so completely helpless and I'm afraid that it may just be a completely worthless investment to buy a home in New Orleans; I believe global warming is a problem to which humans are actively contributing and I feel that without the serious sort of storm surge/flood protection that can be found in Holland, New Orleans just won't survive very much longer.

Things Don't Always End the Way We Want )
It's becoming very clear that in whatever house Carl and I find ourselves, it's probably going to need a lot of work. I don't mind that, because I enjoy the creative process and working with my hands, and I know I will find it deeply satisfying to basically create my own home from scratch.

Two of the houses that interest us most would have to be redone from top to bottom. One is a former corner store in the Bywater, not far from the Poland Street wharf, and the other is a historic New Orleans cottage in the Irish Channel, three blocks from Magazine Street. I would enjoy living in either neighborhood and since high school it's been a dream of mine to live in a former corner store. Unfortunately, the corner store would require more work and the sellers are asking a little too much for it considering all the work we'd have to put in to it. The house in the Irish Channel neighborhood is more reasonably priced and would also be a smaller project, both because of its smaller size and because the sellers began some renovations on it before the storm. Neither house flooded and seem to be in their present state due to years of neglect - not an uncommon phenomenon here in NOLA.

Whenever we buy a house and begin renovating, I will need to become a clever scavenger. We're going to be working on a very limited budget, so I'll have to consider just about anything I can refurbish. At least Katrina will have made scavenging for building materials a little easier, although I certainly won't be ripping anything out of anyone else's flooded-out house! Our copper pipes were stolen, so I'm not about to violate anyone else in that way.

The necessity to scavenge is a good thing, in a way, partly because I don't want a huge amount of new things complicating my life. If I could, I'd build myself kitchen cabinets out of disgusting, old, discarded shipping pallets, but I don't have that expertise. Of course, I don't want to bring just any junk in to my life; I just want to reuse as much as possible.

Obviously, there are limits to what can be recycled and reused when it comes to home renovations and home decorating, but it's done frequently; that's house thrift and antique stores evolved. I always have enjoyed trips to the junkyard, thrift stores, and swap meets, so eighteen months (or more) of that shouldn't kill me, especially not when the end goal is the completion of my own beautiful home.
enduringplum: (Geisha)
( Jul. 8th, 2007 01:25 pm)
I haven't had to confine all my personal belongings to one room since I was eighteen, because I moved out and enjoyed it thoroughly when I was nineteen. Now, however, the things we brought with us to my parents' house has to remain confined to our small bedroom; I'm not sure of the exact dimensions, but I know it's less than thirteen by thirteen feet. What little furniture we have fits surprisingly well in to this bedroom: our computer hutch, office chair, dresser, and nightstands are all squeezed in efficiently with just a few inches (sometimes less) of clearance between, and if I angle the TV (which is set on the dresser) just right I can even still play some Wii tennis while standing at the foot of the bed. I do have to walk over Conrad's bed to get to the door, but I scoot it under our bed during the day and he pulls it out himself at night.

I do still have a few partially full paper bags of our belongings in the hallway right outside our door, but eventually I'll purge those, too.

If nothing else, this experience has taught me how unimportant and really what a burden material things are. They restrict one's freedom more than just physically, but also psychologically and spiritually. To move physically, we must carefully pack and label all our little objects and ensure they reach our shared destination and, if they don't, that becomes a problem in which we become invested emotionally.

I'm liking things less and less, but I still have so many!

I think I finally understand why my boss at Borders didn't celebrate Christmas. It's just a holiday where a bunch of people spend money they could apply better elsewhere in their lives to buy other people things they usually don't want or need. I'm not to a point in my life where I can stop celebrating Christmas/Yule, but I would like to celebrate it less commercially now. I'm not especially inclined to make people home made gifts and, honestly, my knitting is still not really good enough that anyone would want me to knit them anything, but I think I can come up with something; if I ever get a working soap kitchen set up, I would be thrilled to inundate all my loved ones with home made soaps year round, whether they like it or not! At least if they didn't want the soap, they could re-gift it or use it to wash their dogs.

I also realize that I still have a serious problem when it comes to books. I love books! I love books of all sorts: hard backs, trade paper backs, mass markets; sci-fi, fantasy, classic literature, non-fiction, children's books, table top RPG guides, just name it! Lately the books of which I've collected the most are table top RPG guides, because I can get them so cheaply (and sometimes for free) at DragonCon, but the truth is that I will probably never even get around to reading, let alone playing, most of the ones I bought last year. I've already enjoyed some of them, like the guide for the diceless Chronicles of Amber roleplaying system, but I'm never going to read all of the Ars Magica supplements I have in storage right now. Otherwise I've been very good about not buying books and going to the library instead. There will be books I owned before the storm that I will consciously seek out and replace, but it will be a much more limited collection than what I owned before, because owning a ton of books on Wicca won't make me any more Wiccan or enlightened than I am, and owning a ton of sci-fi or fantasy novels won't make me any more geeky or interesting than I am - they will only burden me with their being there and being unenjoyed by others.

As for my huge collection of Ars Magica supplements, I must choose to either read them or part with them. When we get in to a house and I unpack them I must promise myself to either read them within six months, or try to sell them on eBay. To my friends: this is something you must remind me of if I seem lackadaisical on the issue!

Like most people, I tend to try to define myself through my possessions to a certain extent, which is odd because that's not something I really do through my appearance since Hurricane Katrina and which would probably be more constructive, although not much more, because it would require the acquisition of more clothes. I think for me to be really happy, I must define myself not through my outward appearance, my relationships, or through my possessions, but through my creativity. It is time for me to begin enriching myself again.

From all of this and from Carl's example I am learning steadiness, too, which has never been my talent, and it will help me from going too far with my creative impulses and leading myself too far out of balance. Despite everything that happened after the storm, including my uncontrollable spiral in to a very deep depression, he has remained constant, just plodding ahead steadily and making sure what needed to get done got done, while I grasped at whatever little threads of hope I could. Some of that grabbing resulted in good things, like the documentary in which we took part, but for the most part I could not find anything solid enough to grab onto and pull myself up; that is a process that is still gradually happening and I feel like, while I am still struggling with Post-Katrina life, I am finally beginning to see the light and find my feet again. Coming home has been a part of this, too.
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