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October 20, 2002
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four years ago
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Time to Myself, "Spirited Away", and Rubio's Fish Tacos

I can't believe it. I got time completely to myself today. What was best was that Isabel said, "Good! You should do that!" John hadn't been negative about it, but he hadn't been terribly positive, either. It had bothered me a little, but Isabel was whole-hearted in her approval when we broached the subject this morning. The four of them went off to church and I was left, happily, with the whole house, a list of shopping errands that needed doing, and a bunch of things I really wanted to do.

I didn't get to many of the things I'd kept for myself. I really didn't want to sit down for hours and update my journal. But I did take a few minutes and got all the plastic things I wanted to put together for my Chinese calligraphy. The plastic sleeve on the guide works wonders! I'm so glad I thought of that. The full-sheet guide didn't work so well for the characters I was studying. I wanted to split every character into nine equal fields, basically put a hash mark on top of each so that I could see what was supposed to be centered, what was supposed to be to each side or further up or further down. It's a great way to see where elements of the character really are, rather than were I think they are in my head.

It's mildly embarrassing to not be able to brush write my name gracefully. I was having some problems with graceful proportions with my generation name. My personal name I actually have fun writing, and my family name, Li, is easy as heck. It was the generation name that I was having proportional problems with and as soon as I actually put a hash over it it became perfectly obvious what the problem was. What I was thinking was the vertical center of the character was actually the bottom third base of it. So mine were basically sitting on stilts instead of resting comfortably on their base.

As soon as I actually saw that, my writing of the character got significantly better, so quickly. Wow.

I also found out what I was doing wrong with a different character, in that I got the stroke order wrong. Stroke order, in Chinese, isn't just a fetish with order and detail, what it really does is allow the writer to proportion things correctly, relative to the strokes that have already been laid down. It's important to put the elements inside a box first, not just because it's a rule, but because it allows the box to be closed and finished in proportion to the elements within it. It's important to do the finishing strokes last as they can cover mistakes or the ends of the previous strokes so that they all fit together nicely. And there are quite a few characters that look entirely wrong if they're written in the wrong order. Add the fact that one is working in wet ink, and the order gets to be pretty important.

I like that. But then I've always loved fiddly bits.

When I'd half filled a page with characters I was interested in writing, I then put everything neatly away (mostly so Jet couldn't get at anything... it's far more important now to keep things neat and clean than it ever has been in my life). And then I found out that I didn't have a key for the car that they left me. Oops. John had borrowed it earlier to give his parents a key for the car they could drive. His key didn't work all that well. Finally, I dug through the junk drawer, found three sets of Land Rover keys, and finally went out and tried all three of them. Two sets were even Range Rover keys, and finally the last set was the correct one. Whew.

Then I got my adventure!!

I went to Wal-Mart! Yeah. I know. It's so typically American... but I needed a pair of jeans that are comfortable for me as I am now, which is pre-menstrually bloated, post-pregnancy, and really unhappy with anything that binds at all. It's well past time I got over believing that I have to fit into the jeans I wore in college to be worth anything. It certainly helped my ego to look around the clothing department and find all these women who were MUCH larger than I was. Then I realized that I was in the big section, and I blinked mildly at a pair of jeans that I could just wrap around myself completely. Whew.

So I wandered into the regular clothing area and cheerfully tried on a couple dozen pairs of jeans looking for the most comfortable one to take home. I found a nice, soft, pre-washed pair for just ten dollars! Wow. Okay, whatever I might curse Wal-Mart for being, they certainly have the best prices.

I also went to look at the Wall of Pens. After my time this morning with my calligraphy, I realized that the guides I was drawing on the plastic were too wide and the lines were actually obliterating my characters. I thought it might be nice to find a translucent color dry marker instead of the fairly opaque black I had at home. So I got to stare at the Wall of Pens to find a single, color, dry marker or overhead marker. I couldn't find either. I did find a whole lot of cool, new pens that I probably didn't really need, but my pen-soul lusted after them. Hee. I was very proud of myself when I didn't buy the eight pack of dry markers, the half a dozen neon highlighters, or any of the wonderful gel, rollerball, or glitter pens.

It helped knowing that I have a Pendemonium shipment coming to me. Hee.

I just bought my pants and then headed to Safeway. It was an extraordinarily experience to be able to shop without having to constantly wonder where Jet was, what he was doing, and how he was being entertained, or not. I was able to find the dates John couldn't. I was able to get two whole chickens, as they were only thirty-nine cents a pound!! I also got random other stuff that I wanted to get when I could just stroll through the store instead of running pell-mell after John and Jet... It was so utterly better. I will probably have to ask to do the shopping again sometime next week.

I then hit the Cheese Importers, and, there, I did indulge a little beyond the fresh mozzarella that John asked that I buy. I got plenty of that. I also bought myself a small bar of applewood smoked goat cheese, half a dozen mild tamales, a tube of Italian tomato paste, a bite-sized Picasso chocolate bar, and an organic Chocolove 61% bar. I admire the 70+ percentage dark bars, but for smooth eating I like something just a bit less intense and this was for the movie this afternoon. It was also nice to be able to further the Cause of Organics while indulging myself as well.


Then I got home. Everyone was sitting down to eat lunch. Jet was happily munching away at things. It was really cool. I got to put away all the groceries and stuff, and then dug around in the refrigerator for more leftovers. There was the polenta casserole that really needed eating, so I added some cheese and green tomatillo salsa and nuked it until it steamed and then ate it.

It was so odd and actually okay to be back in amid the chaos of so many people. Jet was happy as a clam and running around happily and doing stuff. So I went upstairs and did some work related stuff on the computer, to get it ready to take to Ray tomorrow. I also played a little Angband, and then, when folks said that Jet looked like he wanted to nap, I went down, nursed him and he went right to sleep.

John and George tore out and replaced a rotting, tearing, badly made liner to our bay window. They worked hard at it while Jet was asleep, and at ten 'til four, they cleaned up and John gave me a ten minute warning. At four we were out the door, headed towards the Westminster 24 to see Spirited Away

We both love Miyazaki, but given some of the previews, and knowing how some of his work might look to a toddler, we thought it a much better idea to see this without Jet. It was a good things we did, too, I think. There were actually a surprising number of small kids in the theater. Okay. I was glad that there was even a surprising number of people in the theater, too. With it being out this long, I was surprised to see that the theater was nearly full for a Sunday Matinee. I'm very glad of it, as I really do hope that this movie does really well for Disney, as they did a far, far superior job on the dub, this time, than they did on My Neighbor Totoro.

I hear that John Lassiter is to praise for the good dub. I'm very glad he took it to do. As it didn't have the 'this is *SO* wrong' elements that I felt with the Totoro dub. They completely lost the toddler learning language elements of Mai's dialog in the dub. I also heard that they had released both a dubbed and a subbed version, but it really was too much to expect a Denver 24 multiplex to have the subbed version. I was very glad that the dub was good enough to not get in the way of my enjoyment of the movie.

And I really did enjoy it. Immensely. John loved it as well, and we were both very glad that we hadn't brought Jet when nearly the whole toddler section in the theater broke out wailing at various intervals. It would have been far too much for him, so the PG rating was a good guideline for us. It'll be something we have to be careful about and at least research before taking Jet to see it. For us, though, it was that lovely blend of magic, artists' detail, intriguing characters, a plot with honor, and a good example of how there must be rules for the truly powerful elements of a story. We both loved how much it is a Japanese movie, and how it was still understandable even without the cultural background to know exactly what everything in it was.

We burbled together, happily, about it while eating at Rubio's Fish Tacos right there in the movie plaza. We also talked about it during our stop at Albertson's. With Cathie probably coming sometime during the week, and Paul, Jan and Marina arriving sometime on Friday, we were probably going to go through a whole lot more bagels than we'd already been going through. So we stopped there just to get King Arthur high protein flour, and while we shopped we talked about the movie and how much it delighted us and so on all the way home.

When we stepped in the door, we saw Jet running and laughing with George close behind and both of them had circular, neon colored stickers stuck to their faces, ears, noses, cheeks, and hair. Jet had gotten into his stickers again and was placing them everywhere. Hee. We got a good picture or three of the two of them together with their decorations, and it was cool. They played and played while John and I made bagels. John made half of them into green chile bagels, and I shaped them all and set them on a sheet to rise in the fridge. I think I could actually fit twice as many on the sheet, as they don't really need that much room for the overnight fermentation.

That'll be good when there are enough people we really should be making two batches.

Afterwards, John changed Jet while George and Isabel went downstairs. John stayed a while, but then it looked like Jet really wanted to play with him instead of going to sleep. So John went upstairs and worked for a while. Jet didn't see which direction he went so he just wandered around, crying for him for a little while. Then Isabel came upstairs, looking for her book, and she thought Jet was crying about the pens, rather than about the other people. Of course, Jet saw her go down into the basement, and he threw himself at the door, trying, with all his might, to open it. He tried for fifteen minutes before finally giving up.

I had to give him a warm bottle, first, which he just hugged, before he'd settle down enough to nurse and finally go to sleep... whew...

It's still a full moon. Jet was up four times last night, so I'm expecting him to be up a lot tonight. It's easier with other people in the house to look after him when he wakes up. I'm very glad he's going through his multi-ups now, when we have the help. Whew. I can hope he'll go back to the one a nights when this is all through, as it is usually a matter of a week or two..

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