Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Housing Hunting

I met with the first potential roommate this evening at the house where she and another girl rent rooms. It's right by the West Falls Church Metro station, very convenient to grocery shopping and a CVS. But...the room ceiling was not more than 6' high at its peak, with two minature closets (the doors came up to my mid-chest), and throughout was a pervasive "old-house" funk of mildew and rotting vegetation. Clean, and the girl seemed nice enough, but a bit stereotypically programmer-geekish, somewhat socially awkward. All this for a mere $600 a month, in addition to utilities. So, no real savings over my current location, for worse accommodations and sinus issues. I'm supposed to meet the next couple of potential housemates on Mother's Day--the house looks younger, and though it is far from a Metro station, it might be worth it. No cheaper, though.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Birthday Pictures

Princess Rita waits for us to sing "Happy Birthday."

Making a wish and blowing out her "5" candle--the pink cake was a Disney princess cake like the others, but Brad destroyed it before the party.

Little Boy Blue [Icing] feeds his pet bunny.

Brad on the backyard playground.

Sunday, April 18, 2010


I haven't posted adorable niece and nephew pictures yet this visit to the ocean state because Brad is in a stage where he prefers not to wear pants (or drawers, either). He was wearing only a t-shirt this morning when he informed me that I was a dragon and that he was going to kill me with his sword (a piece of cardboard). He slew me several times before breakfast. Yesterday before supper, we tossed a baseball back and forth for at least half an hour in the living room (poor Rita was curled up with a headache on the couch--she claimed she'd eaten too many sweets, and that was the reason she didn't feel well). Brad's got a great throwing arm, but before he's ready for the major leagues he needs to add a few more pieces of clothing (all he had on was a Red Sox shirt) and the ability to catch the ball, too.

Rita liked her birthday presents--her Portuguese grandparents gave her Disney princess stuff, her parents bought her a bike, and her Georgia great-grandparents sent her Bible story books (she's already written a thank-you note to them--I may have to mail it for her since my sister doesn't have any stamps). I gave her a crown, a necklace, and a set of Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House books (which was one of the presents I got on my fifth birthday, so I figured I'd continue the tradition). They had the local family party for her yesterday, before I arrived, but we sang "Happy Birthday" to her again today after church (today being her actual fifth birthday) and had more cake. Brad ended up wearing a good deal of it: he had blue icing coating his entire face. He looked like a smurf. I did get a couple of (fully-clothed) pictures of him, blue and communing with Fahrenheit the rabbit.

Fahrenheit now has the run of a third of the basement--he's cordoned off into an 8'x8' area by a baby fence, which the children can go around in order to hang out with him. He's got a fair amount of personality for a rodent, and seems to enjoy the petting. Rita and Brad love him, and love to feed him, which explains why an old-world relative of my brother-in-law offered to trade a baby bunny for him--he wanted to cook the plump little fellow. My sister's no rabbit-lover, but she was properly horrified at the suggestion. Fahrenheit need have no fear of the roasting pan. And when the weather's warmer, he'll be let out into the back yard occasionally for fresh air and sunshine. No other pet rabbit ever had it so good.

Friday, April 16, 2010


My hazard lights are blinking away while I wait for three audiobooks to download onto my laptop. We've no Internet access at home, so I've come over to the Courthouse parking lot to log on to the free county wireless network from inside my car. I'm going to be scanning ILL books tonight before packing up for taking the train to Rhode Island tomorrow, and I figured I'd finish Pete Earley's Comrade J while conducting this mindless but necessary task.

I'm also waiting to see what my housing situation will be: as I am an independent contractor for both the Bethesda gallery and the estate sales business, I have no "proof of employment" which, under the circumstances of my pittance salary, would be insufficient to assure the property owners from whom Susan and I rent that I would be able to afford the apartment (she's gone to significant lengths to determine that I can, indeed, take over the lease when it expires at the end of the month, but only if I meet the income qualifications). Thus, my parents would have to co-sign on the lease, given my general poverty, and they are not excited about this. Of course, they are not aflutter about my moving home, either.

I applied for another job today, but am increasingly pessimistic. I HATE being the unemployed maiden aunt of Victorian fame--the pinched spinster, living meagerly off the grudging generosity of her long-suffering family. Before you know it, I'll be taking up knitting and wearing my grey hair in a bun. Like I am today. AARGH! It's happening already!!!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Weird Dating

For some reason the previous post was dated as Wednesday (when I actually began composing it) and not Friday or Saturday (when it was actually published).

I've submitted my quintet of Personal Narratives, and will simply wait to hear whether I am called for an interview by the Foreign Service people. They say I should get the word by mid-June.

Need to get home and get to sleep, as the housekeeping guy who sees to the History Department is already here (it's 1:25 AM) and I actually have to work in Bethesda tomorrow! Maybe I'll have a little ice cream before bed...

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Publication Re-Attempted

I worked for 13.5 straight hours Tuesday, and from 5 Thursday afternoon until 1 AM Friday morning setting up for this weekend's Potomac, MD, estate sale. There is a Bedermeier (sp?--I don't have time to Google it!) sofa and a signed Erte print, but there is also a vast amount of stuff from HomeGoods. At least it is all clean, which is a HUGE improvement over the last sale, where I went home every evening with dishpan hands, having scrubbed and dusted most of the day. Next week'll be an apartment of an Iranian woman with an assortment of handknotted Persian rugs and sterling silver picture frames. I also found a nice diamond pendant in her jewelry box, so there's to be a special set-up for jewelry. I talked to my boss about fulltime employment, but she's kind of overwhelmed with taxes right now and not thinking about further incorporation.

I'm supposed to meet with an editor from Oxford University Press on Monday--she's been invited by the history department to speak to us graduate students, and I'm hoping that I can interest her in the Two Motherlands manuscript, not to mention my in-progress work about Pirogov. The Grisha story has thus far aroused no excitement agent-wise, but I am hoping that my sister-in-law will agree to illustrate it, and the two of us can see it into print as a team.

Anita is at the market today without me--her Armenian best friend is helping her with the table, and since I'm working at the store in Bethesda beginning at 11, I dropped off our tables and displays early this morning and left them to it. It's sunny, but quite chilly, and I hope they do well for both of us. I'm into keys right now--the Potomac estate sale had a bunch of luggage keys left over which I begged jewelry components and am turning into charms on necklaces and earrings.

The memorial event (it wasn't a service though it was MC'd by a Jesuit and one of the people who spoke was Georgetown's campus rabbi) for Professor Richard Stites was yesterday afternoon. "He lives on in our memories and in his academic work" was the only everlasting life mentioned by the successive speakers. I went to only the last half, because I'd confused the time and thought it started at 4 rather than 3. Good stories, laughter, tears, followed by an outdoor catered reception with a full bar. The reception started off with vodka shots in Stites' honor. Very Russian. I did one (my first and last of my lifetime). Just dump it over your tonsils without tasting it, and feel like you've swallowed a gulp of lighter fluid. Waiters circulated with gourmet hors d'oeurves, and there were little chocolate-dipped cheesecakes on popsicle sticks. A lone table with a vodka shot topped by a piece of brown bread was set aside for Stites.

A cute vegetarian Russianist told me that I reminded him of a quote from Lord of the Rings: "Kyp is never late, she arrives precisely when she means to; Kyp is never gone, she is exactly where she wants to be." He fusses whenever he sees me, that I've been missing for ages. There's usually alcohol involved at these moments of reunion (Russianist gatherings!), so maybe the fumes make him sentimental.

Saturday, April 03, 2010


I was explaining my fondness for chick-flicks to Dex on our walk yesterday, and I said that though I might appear to have a hard, crusty exterior, I was really soft inside. "Like a bug!" he said, brightly. I looked at him. "You know," he explained, "They have that hard carapace and then are all liquid and mushy inside."

Later, he told me that the first time he met me I was wearing a white shirt, black skirt, black stockings and black shoes--that I looked good. "Like a cartoon character," he explained. "Like Goofy at the beach." I feel soooo flattered.

This would explain why Dex and I are friends, I guess. I told him (for the umpteenth time) that he ought to marry me, and he blushed reliably and bridled, perhaps mentally visualizing a Disney version of Franz Kafka meets Bride of Frankenstein.