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Omg, I did that thing again where I forgot that I had a blog for, like, a month and change. True story: life here has been all over the map.

For starters, I’m still looking for a job – either a second job or a job with more hours – while working part time at a place that’s only going to be around until the end of the year,* and it’s a bit exhausting.** I’m doing some freelance page layout, and still working on selling my art, which totally is helping make the ends come together, but I would really like a bit more security. That aside, household finances are still afloat, even if there’s been some belt-tightening and credit card using involved. Also, I’ve been dealing with an AS flare-up for the last few weeks, which is also exhausting, but finally starting to ease, thank goodness.***

On the lighter side of things, my head has been better than it has been in months. It turns out that not constantly worrying about people being crappy to me at work is pretty osm. Who knew, right? While not being stressed out about that, I’ve managed to get some pretty cool stuff in progress –

Like the  zillion little seedlings in my sun room! The garden is ready to go, and Dearest Will and Our Man Cub were kind enough to rake out the yards and ready them up over the weekend. And on Saturday I went with  Man Cub to the DPW and we filled the cat litter buckets (we’d saved up since autumn) with compost – last year the tomatoes didn’t really get enough sun, and so didn’t ripen well; this year we’re planting them in buckets so we can move them around and find the best spot for them. We thought we would plant this weekend, but it’s still sorta chilly here and there’s a chance of flurries predicted for Tuesday (whut). So we have cucumbers, peas, peppers, squash, melon, and greens in the window, all ready to go into the ground this coming weekend.† And beets! And carrots!

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So after 22 months at the temp job, I was unceremoniously released with no reason furnished. Maybe they just didn’t want to pay the agency’s fees anymore, who knows. So I packed up. That’s what you do with temp jobs, you pack up and don’t ask questions, and then you call the agency.  Within a few hours I had another part-time temp job (not related to my agency), and was answering the email to HR. Also, I came home that afternoon to a note that I had been accepted as an instructor for a night-life class next month. And I had a high school fiction workshop to lead for the next day. I am grateful – I got out of a job I kinda hated, and I had some things lined up, as well as a few days off to manage my emotions and re-do our family budget. The Universe, clearly, is taking good care of me.

So I re-did the family budget, and we’re going to be ok, but it’s going to be super tight until I get some things rolling. The new job has fewer hours than the last job (many fewer, unfortunately), and pays less, but it’s a steady little something, so I’m thrilled. Also, it gives me time to look for another job. While I’m shifting through Monster and Craigslist, tho’, I thought this might be a good time to put out into the Universe and to you, dear reader, some of the things that I’m good at. For example:

♦ I lay out a brilliant chapbook. I can make your poetry gorgeous and ready to sell at readings. I do these at very reasonable rates,* and at the end can either send you a ready-to-print pdf, or assemble and package them up for you in pretty paper so it feels like Christmas when you receive them. I can also lay out a newsletter, set up post- and greeting cards, posters, flyers, cd packages, and other pretty paper things. You can check out my services here.

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Valentine’s Day is so weird.

Despite the fact that I love a handful of romantic type things,* I don’t actively pursue a lot of that noise.** For example, I respect LARP, but I don’t do LARP. I don’t wear makeup or get bananas about looking glamorous. I love dragons, but I don’t collect dragon-y stuff. Most of my gardening is of the perennially green or fruiting variety. I do not own a cloak. Basically this: I’m pretty practical. I’ve actually been told*** that I do not have a romantic bone in my body. While I disagree with that statement, I can probably say with some surety that I could count the romantic bones I do have in my body on the fingers of one hand. And so Valentine’s Day is weird to me – all that Hallmark-y pressure!

Dearest Will is totally ok with this (which is probably why we’ve managed to last together, natch). Every time I try to live up to the Valentine’s Day romantic stuff, we end up with a belly full of overcooked steak and a card that I agonized over in Target and still don’t feel right about. So instead, Dearest Will and I have begun to take the holiday as an excuse to do frivolous shopping.† Well, mark the date, sister: this year was the Best Shopping Trip Since the First Time We Visited IKEA.††

I read about Seed to Stem online a couple weeks ago, and nearly peed. And then I realized that it’s really close by, and I got stupid excited – plants, stones, taxidermy? Yes, yes, yes! But that really just doesn’t say enough about the place.

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Oh, November, how full you have been!

The biggest part of the month, of course, has been the annual gathering of the family at our place for Thanksgiving. As a blended family that isn’t terrifically religious, it was fairly easy to split up the holidays when Will Dearest and I got hitched – his family would get Christmas, and my family would get Thanksgiving. When my brother lived in FL, it made the most sense for our little household to get our bags packed and head down for a long weekend, and we’d all share a dinner together there. But then my brother moved up here, found the love of his life, and they had kids, and travel became a little less simple across the board. Now it’s much easier for our parents to fly up here and our auntie in NJ to drive up. Also there are perks to this arrangement – when my family comes into town, it means that Will’s family, who are all local, can join us too. It’s a mighty bit of something, a table for 18 (when all the kids are accounted for), and I’m pleased to make it.

The nicest thing about this year was that the cousins are all in the same age range, and all pretty much out of the parallel play dynamic. So there were four of them, and they were all able to really sort of meet each other this year. And by “meet,” I mean to say, run around the open-layout apartment, squealing at each other and giggling their little heads off. They had so much fun, I’m tempted to set up a play date for all four of them at our house again.

This beautiful sort of coming together is the highlight of autumn for me. I look forward to it, really, from August*, when I start the planning. I really like looking across the big tables that we set up in the living room/office, and looking at everyone together over the meal. I love that things have worked out so everyone is together, when we’re a little scattered and living our own separate stuff all the rest of the year.

So coming back together has been a big part of things this month. Can we talk poetry for a minute? Because it’s happened there for me, too.

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Do you know about Doublebunny Press? I’m not actually sure if I’ve ever mentioned it here, to be honest >.>

Doublebunny is a little bitty press that I run, doing some design work and book and cd covers*.  For the most part, it’s a layout service, and I do some chapbook and poster work here and there, but there’s also my favorite part of the press, the annual winter holidays card. You might have noticed I’ve been light on posting – I’ve been working hard on this year’s cards!

Much to my delight, this year’s card has penguins!

Doublebunny Press is pleased to offer our limited edition 2012 Winter Holiday Card, with collage work by Sou MacMillan! (Click the image  to see it in better detail). I’ll be making less than 500, but they’re a lovely kind of limited edition: 5″x6.5, and printed in glossy ink on heavy paper. With a matching envelope, natch. They can be purchased them in packs of 20 from Apple Batiks’ Etsy store. The link for ordering is right here =)

Doublebunny Press
PO Box 3094
Worcester, MA 01613

Feel free to poke around the Doublebunny Press site – there’s all sorts of fun things in there, including a big page of collage illustrations. The store isn’t yet up and running, because I’m trying to decide if it’s going to be easier to just seel prints in the Apple Batiks Etsy shop, start a Doublebunny Etsy, or run the Paypal buttons right into the site. As soon as I get a handle on that, um, I’m let everyone know =)

*And used to put out a nifty poetry magazine through, called Omnivore.

Ok, so sometimes I wake up and coffee and toast just won’t do it for me, and all I want is something savory and spicy. Oftentimes it’s soup – dog knows I love a big bowl of soupy noodles* like nobody’s business. Sometimes it’s scrambled eggs with sriracha that I crave. Hell, sometimes I just grab the jar of kimchi out of the fridge door and eat it with my fingers on the kitchen floor while Our Man Cub gets ready for school and I wait for the shower to free up. But sometimes I prefer something a little more gut-sticking. If there’s leftover rice, hello, it’s time to break out the frying pan and the kimchi. This recipe is simple, uses leftovers, and makes the belly a happy, warm thing.

Kimchi Riceserves 2

2c leftover (cooked) rice
Kimchi** – any kind, and as much as you like, depending on how much heat you like in breakfast
2 eggs, beaten with 1Tbsp cold water
1Tbsp oil
1/4c frozen peas or edamame
2 green onions, chopped

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So my sister-in-law can knit some stuff. Like, for reals, she can knit up a storm, and not just scarves* – stuffed animals, children’s clothing, wrist warmies, socks, even. So when she got a job at Worcester’s newest yarn store, Knitscape, that was no big surprise, right?

Well! I went to the very first open house (they just opened, like this week), and the store was some kind of lovely surprise, let me tell you! As someone who’s been doing all her primary yarn shopping for the last decade at the craft shops,** this was a super yummy treat.

It’s a small store, but it’s packed with shelves of all kinds of yarn that I’m already thinking up delicious projects for – everything from everyday synthetics, to cotton suitable for socks, to alpaca, to the fluff that you felt up into little animals fun shapes. I totally have my eye on some jewel-tone gradated rainbow business that I could not stop touching (so soft!) that’s just inside of my save-up bracket (I will SO be spoiling myself with a scarf around my birthday, I do believe). In addition to the yummy yummy yarn, there were also the bits and bobs that one might want for a textile project: hand-made buttons and closures, fine needles, and fancy stitch holders.***
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Dude, I totally went to high school during the mid-eighties. That would be the age of TCB Yogurt and ICBY yogurt. Which is to say, that would be the era that I learned to despise the frozen treat – which is really sad, because just a few years before, in middle school, I stumbled across a little store in Princeton, NJ called Häagen-Dazs, and holy carp, that business left a delightful impression on my eighth grade, dress-code-skirt-wearing, pre-teen, sticker-collecting, being. This is a long way of saying that I’ve never liked frozen yogurt  – sour-ish business with a texture like grainy soft serve ice cream (which I don’t like either*), and vaguely stale toppings that may or may not have been around since the store’s grand opening.**

So when the ladies of my writing group proposed a few weeks ago that we meet up at this new frozen yogurt place for our regular Monday thang, oh, how I cringed.*** I screwed up my resolve, and went out the door with intent to be social, sit in air conditioning, and be Good Company. And when Zoe said something about salted caramel flavor being very yummy, I figured to be game, and ordered a little one (with bananas and peanuts, because hello, bananas, and also because crushed peanuts are freaking yummy, and can make pretty much any frozen treat just that little bit better, right?) and sat down at the party table with the ladies.

And like that, I am a convert.

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I WILL (verily, I MUST!) teach one of our cats to sing Led Zepplin songs* like this cat:

Hello, I am seriously impressed.

Also, Photobucket is having some maintenance. Which is to say, there is bloggy goodness in chute for you, but it has no pictures, and that is too sad to publish like that. More soon!

*Incidentally, I found this video while searching for a good version of the viking cats singing Immigrant Song – this after I was trying to get the oldest cat to actually, you know, sing with me in the kitchen while I shrieked sang the AHHHHHH-AHHHHH-AHH! part. It was a little bit successful – I sang the AHHHHHH-AHHHHH-AHH!, and he stared at me for a second, and then went, AWOW.  Progress \o/

Should I begin with the part where I found out yesterday that I’d been overpaying on a bill for fourteen years?* Or the part where last summer I paid the rent amount to the cable provider by accident? Or the October when we didn’t have to make a car payment because I’d accidentally overpaid on it the entire year before? Or should I focus instead on the part where I have a stack of medical bills that I can’t fathom how to work the budget to pay for? Or maybe the inevitable last week of every month where I put off Man Cub’s allowance until the coming Monday and scrape quarters out of the maneki neko to cover a pack of cigarettes while trying to figure out when I’ll next be able to buy ink for the printer?

I don’t open my bank statements if a poke into our on-line banking will do.  I don’t open the statements from Man Cub’s college fund account more than once or twice a year because the market’s been awful and I’m afraid of what I might find.** I have a text alert set up with the bank so that I know when the balance on the account dips below $200 so that I know when to panic properly. Once a month I pay the bills and the rent, and I feel like a grownup – a very broke grownup, but a grownup nonetheless. Then I talk to my brother, who works for Fidelity, and I feel like a kid who has to fill out paperwork once a week so the temp agency will send me my allowance.

The money is weird.

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June 2021