Autumn, work, and airplanes

September 23rd, 2013 | Posted by Mush in Love & Marriage | Work - (0 Comments)

In which I wore a coat to work this morning. RIP, summer.

That huge tree in the neighbor’s yard has begun dropping horse chestnuts into the alley by the bushel, it’s darker earlier every night, and we had our equinox on Saturday: it must be fall.

Horse chestnuts

I really need to get some working lights on my bike since it’s going to start being dark all the time.

I’ve decided that if one hasn’t gotten into a box in over five years, she probably doesn’t need any of the contents. So now I’m going through the dozen boxes I brought with me — and put in the attic when I arrived here in October of 2007 and have ignored ever since — and basically donating everything that isn’t actual garbage or a family photo album. (I still want to scan the albums. They’re so bulky and nobody really displays stuff like that any more.) I went through three boxes over the weekend and kept nothing but a couple of paperbacks and a stack of photos that belong to my ex-husband and which I’ll mail back to him.

Applied for an additional position at the paper; have a second meeting about it tomorrow. Might end up working full-time again through virtually no fault of my own! I love working part-time, I really do, but there’s nothing wrong with extra income. And I really do enjoy working in the newsroom; the people are great, the vibe is great, and it’s only a couple more hours each day.

Last Friday my boss walked up to each of us in turn to tell us what our remaining vacation hours for the year were; I was pleased and shocked to learn I have 33 hours to use up before the end of the year. Once I get my vacation dates approved I’m going to book a flight so I can spend a week with LDBF, who is the best thing ever.

I could go on and on about how wonderful he is, but people generally don’t care about new couple stuff. (My friend Embo usually responds with something along the lines of, “Eww! Barf!” when I say cute shit about him.) Suffice it to say he and I still talk every single night and both feel as if we have yet to uncover in one another anything we don’t like. We have a great deal in common, are very compatible, and would probably already be shacked up by now if we didn’t live so far apart. It’s wonderful to be in love, but it’s kind of a bitch having to do it over the internet. Thank God for Skype so I can look at his face, at least.

I’m going to go do the dishes and then maybe take a decadent autumn afternoon nap. I can do that shit as long as I’m still working only part-time!

In which the e-BF is now the LDBF (long distance boyfriend).

I’m sure I cannot express to you how much fun I had with LDBF this weekend, but I’m’a try.

Thursday I left work at one and caught a cab to ALW. Was nervous as fuck. Sat in the lobby and waited for his plane to land; saw him walk in the door and thought, “Wow. That dude’s tall.” Got his attention, we hugged, went to the Hertz counter to pick up the rental car.

Drove to Marcy’s. Had a few rounds. Kept touching him because he was THERE, IN REAL LIFE, OMFG WOW. Dropped his stuff off at the house, introduced him to G’ma and my brother. There was a storm and the power went out. Went over to the Wendover-Briggs patio and ate Thai food and drank adult beverages in the dark. Went home, chatted with G’ma in the dark. Went to bed. May or may not have done one or two adult things in the dark. Snuck up to my own room about four o’clock in the morning and passed out for a few hours.

Got up happy as a clam and packed a picnic lunch. Woke the man up, got cuddled for awhile. We took off about one o’clock and took the scenic route to Soap Lake. Had a picnic at Lyons Ferry, visited Palouse Falls and saw some yellow-bellied marmots.


Soap Lake is kind of a sad little burnt-out town with a lake in it. We stayed in room 14 at Notaras. Had a soak in the jacuzzi. Went to Ephrata for Mexican food (in keeping with the lodge room theme, of course). Hung out alone together in real life. Did a lot of grinning and gazing. Passed out at a fairly reasonable hour. There was much snuggling.

Saturday we had a leisurely drive to Grand Coulee. Ate a bunch of sunflower seeds in the car. Saw Dry Falls and Banks Lake. Got to town too early to check in to our hotel so wasted a little time at a casino. He played slots and turned $20 into $40; we drank the winnings.


Checked in, went out and ate Chinese food. Saw the dam’s laser light show cuddled in the dark on a picnic bench. Went back to the hotel, drank a bottle of champagne and soaked in the jacuzzi tub. Sat on the balcony and giggled.

Went out for brunch in the morning, then checked out at eleven. Visted the Grand Coulee Dam visitor’s center. Wandered around outside. Went shopping. Eventually went to Sunbanks Resort to check out the festival. Went back into town and ate lunch at a taco wagon.


Sunbanks Blues Festival

Played a set with Coyote Kings from 4-5. Great crowd! I had expected it to be in the low 70′s so the gig clothes I brought were entirely too warm; signed a few CDs after the set. Changed into a skirt and t-shirt in the car and then we took off.

Arrived back in Walla Walla about nine o’clock. We decided to watch a movie but ended up just cuddling and talking instead until we passed out.

Monday morning we just sat around and spent every single second together that we could; left for the airport a little after twelve-thirty. Dropped off the rental car, got his boarding pass. He went through TSA into the fishbowl. I called a taxi and we sat with a glass wall between us texting each other.

I got into my cab about one thirty and had the driver drop me off at Starbucks on 1st & Main. Went inside, ordered an iced coffee, and nearly broke into tears realizing that he was just then boarding his flight and was leaving.

The man is wonderful. We get along fantastically. He’s kind and generous and hilarious and smart. I miss him terribly and will probably wear the t-shirt he left me until it falls apart.

So now I’m in love with this big tall fuzzy nerd who lives two thousand miles away. We’re either going to have to get bored of each other real soon, or someone’s gonna have to move real far.

Moral: getting mauled by an adorable bearded dude from the Midwest is awesome.

In which there are essentially four aspects to my life these days: gigging, the e-BF, wine, and my awesome day job.

My uncle Dangerous is in town. Yesterday afternoon I got abducted by him and my aunt and my brother and two dogs and mercilessly dragged to Marcy’s for “lunch,” which was in actual fact not lunch as much as a lot of drinking and hollering and Morgan family fun.


After a few hours of that, I trundled my tipsy ass off to bed for a disco nap. Woke up, spent a little time gazing and making kissy-faces at the cute e-BF via Skype (he sent me an HD cam as a gift to himself, so we basically leave Skype running all the time now) and horking down a bean tostada with slices of a perfectly ripe avocado. At nine, I biked down to Sapolil to do a set with Coyote Kings at a benefit for a local musician with leukemia. Dan and James were there. I sang and danced and drank and had fun. Got home a little after midnight.

Tried to call the e-BF to say good night and discovered my phone was off. Paid my bill, called him for half a minute, passed out.

The e-BF will be here in two weeks. We have a little mini-vacation planned up in the Grand Coulee Dam area. I’m very excited! Crazy lodge with weirdly themed rooms! Laser light show! Tour of the dam! Sunbanks blues festival! The adorable e-BF in real life!

I’m madly in love with the creature and cannot wait to hang out with him in person. Who knows. If it goes well maybe I’ll move to Minneapolis or something. That’d be a good mid-life crisis, right? Move two thousand miles back to the Midwest and take up with a doting younger man? Because God knows I have no interest in owning a sports car.

The band is playing Poverty Bay blues & brews tomorrow so it’ll be TEN HOURS IN THE VAN just to do an hour-long show. I’m always stoked to do the actual set, of course, but I’m really getting sick of driving. We played Big Sky in Montana a couple of weeks ago and that was another long day of driving. In September we’re in Spokane and Electric City as well as twice in the Tricities… so. Much. Driving. Ugh.

I love singing and I like the money, but honestly I’m really ready for gig season to be over. Not that it’s ever really over, but it does slow down a lot in the autumn. Sometimes you just want to stay the fuck home and do nothing all weekend for a month or two.

Perimenopausal acne is bullshit. Fuck hormones. Seriously. I’ll be 45 next month. I have absolutely no idea how I got this old, and having zits again like I did in my teens is just utter bullocks.

I had sushi for lunch today. Happy roll (smoked salmon, cream cheese, jalapeno), edamame, miso soup. It was delicious.

The longer I work at the paper the more I like it. The personalities in the newsroom are great, the challenge of building pages every day is engaging without being frustrating, and overall I just really like it there. Apparently I just have a certain thing for dying industries!

Parmesan-leek ‘chowder’

July 29th, 2013 | Posted by Mush in Food | Recipes - (0 Comments)

In which there’s a soup recipe that freezes really well!

I made this soup a couple weeks ago and froze some of it. Friday I pulled some out of the freezer; Saturday I re-heated it and ate it and it was brilliant! I love this soup! It satisfies that “I really want a creamy chowder but I don’t want flour or potatoes” issue one has when one goes off refined carbs.

Not all soups freeze well, either. Some, especially those with dairy, separate and end up being really gross after a stint in the ol’ freezer, but this one holds up wonderfully.

Parmesan-leek 'chowder' (w/goat cheese-hummus lettuce wraps)

Parmesan-leek ‘chowder’


butter (2 T.)
olive oil (~2 T.)
leeks (2, halved, washed and chopped)
broth (5 c.)
cauliflower (1 head, chopped)
36% heavy cream (~1 c.)
basil (~1/2 tsp., dried)
parmesan cheese (1/4 c., grated)
salt and pepper (to taste)


1 – Sautee leeks in butter and oil until tender.
2 – Add broth and cauliflower. Add basil.
3 – Cover and simmer until veggies are soft.
4 – Remove from heat. Add cream, stir; add parmesan and stir well until it’s incorporated — making sure to do so off heat so the soup doesn’t separate.
5 – Cool until it can be handled; puree in batches in a food processor or blender until fairly smooth.
6 – Add salt and pepper to taste.

Variation: Add one clove minced garlic to the sautee phase and omit the basil.
Variation: The parmesan may be replaced with gruyere.

Other than containing some fat, this soup doesn’t really do much nutritionally. You’ll want to enjoy it with some serious protein!

Broken stuff + love

July 25th, 2013 | Posted by Mush in Gadgets | Love | Weather - (1 Comments)

In which I break a couple of things and the long-distance relationship is great.

Yesterday, my 31 day-old phone died. Just up and goddamned failed, right in the middle of the afternoon. Six months ago, I probably wouldn’t have cared much about being phoneless for a day or three, but now my phone is my main source of communication with the Internet boyfriend so it really bummed me out.

In all my years of carrying various cell phones, I’ve never dropped nor broken nor drowned a phone, so I suppose it’s my turn for a catastrophic phone failure. The thing turns on but won’t boot, and it won’t turn off unless the battery is pulled. It occasionally boots into its version of BIOS or sometimes into a dialog that asks if I really want to install a non-standard operating system package, but other than that it’s just the blue TrackPhone screen. My brother looked at it and agreed: it’s fucking DEAD.

I need to get out to Walmart to exchange it; G’ma said she’d haul me out there this or tomorrow afternoon. I can’t find the receipt but I hope they replace it anyway.

The day before yesterday I went out to the garage to hop on my bike and ride over to the store, but I discovered the front tire was completely flat. I aired it up — having a compressor fucking rocks — but it was pretty low yesterday morning. I dropped it at the shop after work.

Today, after making the newspaper, I trudged over there in the heat to pick it up but they hadn’t gotten to it yet. So I had to walk home in the heat. Again.

Internet boyfriend is coming to visit in September. Soooo excited I could absolutely pop.

We’re smitten with each other. We spent ten hours in video chat last Sunday (not contiguous; there were trips to kitchens and stores and such, and I took a nap) and never got bored of looking at each other. This is par for the course. We text, we IM, we call, we video chat, we email. Constantly. The only time we’re out of touch is work and gigs, and even then we still text every few hours. I think we both agree it’s fortunate nobody else has to put up with us — well, except the NSA — because we’re in that really cutesy phase only charming if you’re in it.

He has a beard but it turns out there are dimples under there. DIMPLES. Y’all know how I feel about dimples.

Last night on Skype with him I spent a solid hour just crying with laughter. (He’s systematically destroying my refined left coast humor with his pedantic Midwestern humor. It’s a travesty. I cannot believe the shit I’ll laugh at if he says it.) I adore him. He also hits everything on the fairly negative and bitchy list I wrote a few years ago except for being a devotee part; interestingly enough Amma gave me double prasad at one of my darshans this year and I sent the extra to him; interestingly enough he’s keeping it in his freezer because he considers it sacred.

“Eat the chocolate, nerd, that’s what it’s for.”

“Oh, I will. But not now, bitch!”

My life is almost unbearably pleasant.

June 18th, 2013 | Posted by Mush in Life | Work - (7 Comments)

In which I finally post! I really don’t know what my problem is; I mean I have all this free time and everything, I just never blog anymore. Also: I use the phrase “fucking awesome” far too many times in this post.

This is what’s great about my new job: there’s actual work to do. This is also what’s great about my new job: the fucking phone never rings.

My desk

Holy shit, but I was awfully bored at the last place. Morons calling me up all the time asking the same impossibly stupid questions over and over, no systems to administer, no hope of training or promotion. I had been really excited when they had offered me the job and that bitchin’ title a couple of years ago, but it just ended up being first tier technical support all over again only in an office instead of a cubicle. I didn’t get to learn a bunch of cool server crap and I didn’t get to do fun projects, only tedious ones like moving websites. There was too much free time and yet I always felt harried because I had to be in the queue all the time and talk to people.

I do miss being able to tell people I’m in IT, but my new job actually suits me better. I roll in there at eight o’clock in the morning and I have things to do! I produce things every day, and they’re tangible: pages in the goddamned actual real life treeware newspaper! I do a sports/weather page every day; I do the Business page every day; I do A2 every day. On Fridays, I do three pages for the Sunday paper. And usually before I’ve even left the newsroom at one o’clock, I have a physical copy of an actual newspaper in my hand.

There’s enough work to keep one focused and busy but not so much one feels overwhelmed. The other people in the newsroom — the reporters and copy editors and editors and photographers and interns — are all awesome. The police scanner is always on, and amusing more often than you’d expect. The gossip is fantastic. The long stretches of silence while everyone writes or edits or paginates are lovely.

The newsroom is like a cross between a library and a university and everyone in there is basically some form of nerd or another. It’s fucking awesome.

And it’s part-time. And it pays more than my last job did; I went from having a title and getting paid shit to being an entry-level newbie who makes almost as much in 25 hours a week as I used to make in 40.

Which means I get home a little after one each afternoon and I’m not even looking for another job. (I would probably volunteer at Helpline again, but they moved way the hell across town so it wouldn’t be convenient.) I’ve been doing one little domestic project each afternoon: catch up on filing. Go through dresser drawers. Clean out closet. Donate things to Goodwill. I feel relaxed and calm and organized.

I’ve begun to read again. I’m growing an avocado tree on the kitchen windowsill. I do my nails every week. I’m cooking a lot. I feel like I have plenty of time. It’s awesome.

Sometimes I just come home, change out of my office clothes, and go get drunk on my friend’s patio. And since she works part-time too, I can do that and still be home and in bed way before ten. Talk about decadent.

There’s also this wonderful e-boyfriend. I met this guy online; it’s my first internet relationship (which is actually pretty strange, considering how long I’ve been online and the sheer number of hours I’ve spent each week dicking around on the internet in the past decade and a half). We’ve been talking on the phone every night for months and we’re now at the (apparently common) sending-each-other-crap-in-the-mail phase. He’s fucking awesome: articulate, good natured, educated, employed, hilarious, and not a goddamned stoner. I can’t wait to meet him in person, but he lives halfway across the country and with the new job and everything that wouldn’t be until August at the very earliest.

He’s twelve years younger than I am, but I don’t give a fuck because he’s nice. Not to mention that the majority of single men in the age bracket more appropriate to me are single because they want 22-year-old models for girlfriends or are raging alcoholics or only marginally employable. The benefit of 30-something males is that that’s the age they decide they wanna settle down if they’re going to, and I’m basically only interested in settling down. Dating and screwing around are fine, I suppose, but I’ve basically already experienced nearly every permutation and most of the time it’s either shallow or neurotic. I think I learned from that crush last year that I was — am — finally ready to consider a real relationship again, but it really needs to be real.

Gig season is picking up. The band will be all over the northwest this summer, playing festivals and bars in three states. The latest album is doing well and has gotten some really good reviews. Our drummer is still threatening to move away, but he’s been doing that for years.

I still ride a bike everywhere and I pretty much have thighs of steel. My hair is long and I really need to get a cut and color. I’m going to go throw a load of laundry in and make some sugar-free chocolate fudge pudding. It looks like it might rain. Life is good fucking awesome.


May 29th, 2013 | Posted by Mush in Blurbs - (3 Comments)

In which I haven’t posted in a month!

I’m alive, I love my new job, my trip to Seattle to see Amma was wonderful.

Someday I’ll write a real post. I promise.

This is what I did today.

April 24th, 2013 | Posted by Mush in Life - (1 Comments)

In which there is a running list.

6:02 wake up for no god damned reason
7:19 wake up for no god damned reason
8:10 turn off alarm, get out of bed
8:11 search ‘copy edit test’
8:32 shower
9:00 eat a mushroom, asparagus, and cheddar omelet
9:15 leave the house
9:48 take copy editing test at the U-B
10:49 say “Yeah, I’ve been over it three times already anyway.”
11:03 reply to texts while sitting in Starbucks with a grande dark roast coffee
11:18 search for ‘ap stylebook’
11:59 change into fleece drawstring pants in bedroom
12:02 go to Loney’s
12:58 put groceries away
1:11 IRC
1:22 search ‘sardine recipe’, find this
1:45 cook and eat a really bizarre meal (ingredients were butter, garlic, mushroom, blackeye peas, cream, parmesan, avocado, and chives)
1:55 blog
2:01 make the bed
2:05 drink cold, leftover coffee
2:15 surf more recipes
2:35 job hunt fuck around online some more, FB chat with Mel
4:33 wake up from catnap with actual cat
4:36 put some lentils on to cook
4:48 fold laundry
5:05 take lentils off, eat some
5:15 go visit the wendover-briggs machine

free time.

April 19th, 2013 | Posted by Mush in Domestic Goddess - (2 Comments)

In which unemployment continues apace.

I got laid off three and a half weeks ago. I have no idea how it’s been three and a half weeks already, but it has.

I’ve been catching up on little projects, like throwing shit out and/or taking it to Goodwill and getting all the laundry done and folded and put away and the drawers and closet divested of any garment I haven’t worn in at least two years and cleaning unused products out of that little stand I store them in and in general getting rid of shit.

I’ve been sleeping 10 hours every night and it is GLORIOUS. God, how I love not waking up to an alarm.

I’ve applied for a grand total of exactly one jobs I’m interested in, and it’s part-time and probably pays a buck an hour over minimum wage. Having to have two part-time jobs would be very difficult for me because of scheduling around gigs, and to be honest if I had to choose between gigging and some part-time job, gigging would win.

I have yet to receive my first unemployment deposit, so I’m pretty much broke. Luckily I have gigs this weekend so I won’t starve or — even worse — have to go without cheap wine.

It’s currently 51F and raining outside. The daffodils and lilacs are blooming. I fucking love the weather in this town. Sorry if you’re one of those poor bastards with a foot of snow in your yard.

My Sprint contract is finally up so I’ve decided to switch to a pay-as-you go carrier instead. I bought a phone off eBay but, for some mysterious reason, it won’t work here and I have to return it. Dumbest thing I’ve ever heard of, really: I could activate it with a Portland zip code then come here to visit and it would work, but they can’t activate it here due to — I assume — roaming and contractural shit with the local tower owners. I guess Sprint gets yet another month of overpayment from me.

I wonder what it is about telephony that makes all phone companies, be they wired or wireless, turn into greedy bastards with shit customer service and massive overcharges. I mean, when I signed up they told me it would be $65 a month; it’s actually $82. That’s $82 a month for unlimited everything which I have never used but which I am required to pay for because of my choice of handset. Why didn’t they just tell me that in the first place? I’ll tell you: because they know I would have walked out and gone to Walmart and bought a TracPhone instead. Fuck subsidizing your network, Sprint. Get lean, you fuckers, don’t overcharge me. I barely even use your fucking network, and also fuck you for advertising ‘unlimited data’ when we all know you throttle like a motherfucker.

For the very first time in my life I left filing my taxes until the 15th. I owed $91 and I’m unemployed so I just didn’t want to pay it. I’m half-convinced the 1099 I received from Telcentris is a mistake (I really don’t think I contracted for them in 2012, but the laptop that has my timesheets and invoices on it is dead) and I couldn’t be arsed to spend hours trying to call them and dispute it and have it canceled. On the other hand, I might have invoiced them in 2011 but received a final check in 2012… eh, it’s ninety bucks. It ultimately doesn’t matter.

Free time, though, is awesome. You get to everything. You can pluck your eyebrows and take baths. You can organize shit that you’ve left sitting because it really isn’t that important and you’re more interested in fucking off when you’re not at work than you are in checking off that tiny little box. You make your bed every morning. You do your friend’s dishes when she’s out of town for the weekend and you’ve gone over to feed the cat. You finish all those books that have been sitting on your Kindle for a year.

Well, I gotta get motivated. Gotta send this cute little cell phone back and figure out what I can take to eat at the gig later. Have a great weekend, y’all.


March 30th, 2013 | Posted by Mush in Work - (4 Comments)

In which I’m totally outta there and it hasn’t even been four days.

For some reason I got my final pay (56 hours regular, 40 vacation, and 30 severance) direct deposited almost immediately. Today my final pay stub came in the mail. My ex-employer has contacted me exactly only once to ask a question.

Wow. I guess my job really was superfluous. Either that or I left everything so well-organized that it’s totally… nah. I’m superfluous. Fucking awesome.

I need to get married and stay home and cook or something, because fuck this professional shit. I’m never going to find a part-engineering/part-data center/part-support gig ever, ever again. Such jobs don’t exist because the small ISP no longer exists. There are a couple of point-to-point wireless companies around here but I’m no longer interested in climbing ladders and towers to adjust radios after wind storms. (I mean five, ten years ago I would have been into it, but not now.) Not that either of them would be hiring anyway; they’re shrinking just like everybody else.

I’m only barely qualified to work IT at a school or hospital. I could certainly learn it all, but they generally want a couple years of managing Exchange servers and tweaking Active Directory and I haven’t had the misfortune of having to do that.

I don’t mind waitressing or working at a grocery store deli in theory, but I’m not terribly keen on standing all day or being utterly and totally trained on everything there is to know in under four weeks. I may look for some kind of office-y desk job; maybe there’s some industrial office that needs a bookkeeper/receptionist who doesn’t mind the occasional filthy joke.

Do you know I got an email only a few months ago telling me that my WorkSource account was about to expire? I had been gainfully employed for over a year so I let it go. Ugh! Now I have to rebuild my entire profile from scratch, and believe you me their data entry interface is a fucking tedious mess. Christ but resumes are a bother.

This morning I searched the JobSource website for all open jobs in Walla Walla. There are a grand total of eight. EIGHT JOBS. IN THE ENTIRE TOWN*. One of them is for a mobile phlebotomist; obviously not qualified for that. The other is RN; nope, I’m sure not a nurse. Couple of food service jobs, a trucking job… and one office job: it’s in a real estate office, and it’s a baby tier office chick position updating web sites and social media accounts and — insult to injury – it pays more than my last job did. UPLOADING PICTURES OF HOUSES AND RUNNING A FACEBOOK PAGE PAYS MORE THAN HAVING ROOT ON AN MX SERVER.

Ugh. I’m going to end up being that lady at the end of the aisle at the grocery store passing out samples of sugar-laden meatballs or some shit. Ugh!

I got bored of resume-building and went and did my taxes. I owe $91 dollars because I got a 1099-MISC from Telcentris (even though I’m really pretty sure I haven’t invoiced them since 2011 because I was working full-time at BMI all through 2012). Ugh. Ugh ugh UGH. So I either pursue a 1099 correction, or I pay the taxes, or I just leave it off my return and hope no one notices. Christ, 2013, WTF is wrong with you?

* Actually, that was a browser error – there were more like 80 after I refreshed. But I’m still not qualified for most of them because WHY DIDN’T I GO TO NURSING SCHOOL WHY WHY WHY.