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Well, well, what’s been up… Hah, quite a bit, really. I’m starting to get over my winter blahs, thanks to the weather having been so nice lately and the days getting longer. Moreover, I’ve imposed upon myself several projects to change things up a bit so I won’t be so bored, grumpy, dull, and frustrated.

It’s been very warm of late. I have ridden home without a jacket or sweater several times in the last couple of weeks. I started clearing out my flower beds last week and I started a bunch of seeds in old strawberry boxes in my back porch. Spring’s getting ready to get here, so I am getting ready for it to get here, too. One sure sign I’m getting over my case of the blahs is that I am being more interested in clothing and creating unique outfits again. Whenever I am depressed, I don’t give half of a rip about what I’m wearing and aim for the easiest, most comfortable, and inconspicuous clothes, but when I’ve got more pepper in me, I have fun with putting together outfits in my own style. My “fashion points,” such as they are, are usually contrasts in texture and print, subtle repetitions using accessories, and often bright colors. I like symmetry, usually, but I also like to mix genres, kind of, like wearing a tailored jacket with a loose, flouncy skirt. In fact, today, I did just that. I wore a brown-tan-and-black herringbone tweed blazer over a leopard-print V-neck top, a brown ultrasuede skirt with two ruffles around the hem, and brown herringbone-weave tights. The usual combat boots apply. I stuck a little suede daisy barrette in the left side of my hair. It’s a little weird, but not too outlandish for work.

I show signs of spring fever, and this happens every year, by wanting to dig up the yard and wanting to paint the house. I’m deep in the throes of both. I’m actually starting on the bathroom painting project now. I’ve settled on a color scheme. I’m doing lavender on the walls and bright white for the trim, and I think I am going to paint some little flowers on the corners of the medicine cabinet frame. I got paint samples from a couple of different places, and I’ve settled on one from Ace Hardware. I was going to go with one from Sherwin Williams, but I found one I liked better at Ace, which is closer to my house, anyhow. Also, the Ace paint is about $2 cheaper, so bonus for me. I’ll probably go with Sherwin Williams for the living room, however. I have plans for doing something fairly fancy out there and using one of their texture glazes.

I’m also planning to re-arrange the living room and dining room in a fairly substantial manner. It’s been basically the same set-up since we moved into the house in ’03, so the time is ripe for a change of indoor scenery. Photos will follow after the work is accomplished

As far as the garden is concerned, I am extending my front-yard flowerbeds some more, because their current configuration was too difficult to mow around. I’ve also continued on my campaign to kill off the shrubbery at the front of the house. Some misguided soul found fit to plant red-barberry bushes on the north side of a very small house, and quite frankly, whatever impulse guided such actions was a very faulty one. These bushes grow like weeds, yet owing to the shade and dampness of their location, they always look scraggly. Moreover, they are viciously prickly and literally a pain to trim. I’ve every intention of replacing those prickly, straggly, hideous bushes with something better suited to a shady, dampish environment, namely ferns. I want to do a combination of Cinnamon Stick ferns and Maiden Hair ferns, as I think it would be a pleasant contrast and be well suited to the location. The light, lacy Maiden Hair ferns will be striking in variation with the darker, heavier-looking Cinnamon Stick ferns. That space in front of the porch will be ideal for ferns. Already it is home to a fair amount of moss, and I think this will look very pretty.

Oh, and don’t talk to me about Hostas, because I have an irrational hatred of them. For some reason I just loathe Hostas, and I’m not a huge fan of Hollyhocks, generally speaking. They just harbor too many bugs. Seriously, I always see Hostas and Hollyhocks looking all ragged and ratty, with some sort of munchy bugs running around in and on them, wreaking havoc. Hostas are pretty much slug-bait, and I can’t be having with anything that encourages the presence and activities of slugs. *barf*

Other than making a complete disaster area of my house and yard, I’ve been plenty busy. I’ve got a wedding dress commission I’ve started on, I’ve got a pair of pants and a skirt for myself to work on, and I have been spending my evenings doing beadwork and watching vapid cartoons (Dragonball Z), whilst drinking a glass of beer.

Oh yeah, and biking more than just to work and back. In fact I raced in an alleykat this past weekend, and the week after that, there’s some sort of MS150 expo that I am going to go check out, since I am planning to ride in the MS150 this year. Whoot & stuff. The Alleykat was a relay race, and Christi and I teamed up. I was having a particularly bad brain day, and took off in the wrong direction. I did the course backwards, in essence, but I convinced the checkpoints to sign off for me, and since our team name was “Very Contrary,” it seemed fitting. We won the booby prize, which actually turned out to be quite nice. She got a small messenger bag and I got a rack “trunk” which I can use on the Schwinn. The weather didn’t co-operate with the racers at all. It rained most of the day on Saturday, and when the race began, at 4:00, it had begun cooling off significantly. By the time both sets of teams had completed their loops, it was really freakin’ cold out there, and we were all damp, sweaty, and clammy, and a bunch of guys who had been thinking PBR at the beginning of the race were talking longingly of coffee and hot chocolate! In fact, as it almost invariably happens when hanging around with other bike fiends, we got to talking about food in general, and since we were all peckish to begin with, it didn’t help matters in the least.

In other news, I finally bucked up and went and talked to a career counselor and did some testing. I also talked to a couple of professors at UMKC about some crack-headed ideas I had for a graduate study project. Interdiciplinary (Literature, History) with emphasis on Victorian popular and material culture—representations of fashion in media (magazines, books, newspapers, and advertising) and the development of character archetypes and stereotypes, especially “bad girls.” I know, frivolous, goofy, full-o-bull, and totally me. Two of the three professors I spoke with were really enthusiastic about my ideas, and didn’t seem to think that my MA in Medieval Studies would hold me back any. I’ll be doing some MA coursework at UMKC, any which way, with more foundation in Victorian studies, and also to kind of get my academic sea-legs back.

I missed the deadline to apply to the MA program for Fall ’06, but I can still take a couple of classes as a “community student,” and any credits I earn as a community student will come with me when I enroll properly. I can take up to 12 hours, but I think I will probably only take 6 at the time, because I’ll still be working full-time with the City.

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