Monday, December 2nd, 2002
When I moved in this house four years ago, I was so excited to have a working fireplace, and one of the first things I did was order a cord of wood. I figured I'd have fires every night and that a cord wouldn't last very long. It was nice to have wood that winter because we did get a lot of snow and I was actually snowed in a couple days. (That was when I only had a Miata.) But having fires in the fireplace of a new house must be like couples having sex. After a while the frequency diminishes.

Still this fall I realized I was down to wood enough for only a few fires. I put off buying wood since I've been in school but my mother gave me some money to buy wood and I was off for Thanksgiving through today so I called and ordered some. Now I've got enough wood to last the winter. Or maybe longer.
Friday, December 6th, 2002
Fall quarter is over at Wright State, and Dr. Pruett, the professor for whom I work as a TA, took me and the other COM101 TA's to lunch to celebrate. We went to his country club, Sycamore Creek. I don't think I'd ever pay to join a country club, but it was nice, especially the view of the snow over the trees and golf course. And we got to sit next to the fireplace, which of course is nice (see below).

In case you're wondering who's who in the picture (click on it for a bigger version), from left to right we are Dr. Pruett, Katie, Jessica M., me, Jessica W., and Julia.

Thursday, December 12th, 2002

Last month my mother's boyfriend started to repair some of my plumbing problems, necessitating making some holes in my ceilings. This week he's been working on repairing the drywall and is almost done. As you can see, my living room ceiling, my kitchen ceiling and my front bedroom ceiling all look much better, even before being painted. (The front bedroom ceiling wasn't related to a plumbing problem but to a leak in the roof.)

When I moved into this house, I painted the walls but didn't bother with the ceilings because they weren't that bad and who looks at ceilings that closely anyway? Well now of course I need to paint the ceilings because even if people don't usually look at ceilings, they do look at ceilings with anomalies such as holes or patches. Of course if you're going to paint the walls and the ceiling, you paint the ceiling first so you don't care about splattering the walls. Since I'm doing it backwards (and much later), I've put up plastic to protect my fancy walls.

One last part of the project is the cold water handle in my bathtub faucet leaks. We don't know how to get it apart to tighten or replace the nut or whatever's inside it. It's a Kohler. Any ideas?
Wednesday, December 18th, 2002
Yay, my ceilings downstairs are all painted and bright and new and smooth! Aren't they pretty?

Now that painting downstairs is done and most of the drywall dust is vacuumed up, I can finally put up my Christmas decorations, not that I'm going to go overboard. Basically I'm pretty lazy, and although I had a live tree the first two years I lived here, the next year I got an artificial one with pre-strung lights. And rather than take it completely apart after its first Christmas, I took off the ornaments and brought the tree in three big pieces, bottom, middle and top, to the basement. That made for pretty easy setup the next year, except that after that first year I could never get the lights plugged back together properly. The same is true this year -- the very bottom lights light, as do the lights on top, but there's a middle section that doesn't, and I have an extra plug. I played with it for a while again this year but I resolved it the same was as I did last year, by plugging a couple sections into an extra extension cord instead of getting all the sections connected together in proper sequence.

All of this playing on the floor with lights and taking pictures of ceilings intrigued my cat, as you can see.

In case you're still wondering, you need a special tool to get Kohler faucets apart.
Friday, December 20th, 2002
My church has dinner groups, different sets of people who meet in each other's homes for dinner to get to know one another better and to have a good time. Each person or couple hosts once, and after a cycle, you get a new group so you can meet new people. Today was my turn to host my group.

Dinner doesn't have to be fancy, but I was lucky enough that my friend Derek was willing to help. He planned the menu, went grocery shopping with me and did most of the cooking (I was the sous chef).

Everything turned out pretty well, and everyone was happy. We took the customary group picture, as you can see to the left. In the first row are Paul, Juli and Amy; behind them are Derek, John holding Gideon Luke, Dan, Mike and me. Today was Gideon's one month birthday; he's Mike and Dan's new son and got along splendidly with John (ask John and Paul if they're going to have kids). If you click on the group pic and look at the larger version, you'll notice that we didn't take advantage of digital techology and carefully proof the pic. If we had, we'd have taken another with Dan's eyes open. However, we had played around with technology earlier in the evening and recorded a short movie, which shows everyone having a good time.

We missed Jean, who is also part of our group but couldn't come as she was home recuperating from surgery.
Sunday, December 29th, 2002
If you read about my dinner party last week, you'll remember my friend Derek. Well last night he was going to have a quiet evening one on one with his friend Cory, but I finagled myself an invitation to come along. We also managed to get Cory's friend Nathan invited to participate in the festivities. When Derek came to pick me up, he had a surprise for me, my very own shrinkydink rainbow cat ornament, made by his own hand!

We met Cory and Nathan at Cory's house and took some pictures. (Cory's tree was pretty, Nathan was camera-shy, and we noticed a note from Cory's sister.) But before the evening got under way, things went terribly awry because of a battle of wills over who was driving and who was riding with whom. So it ended up that Derek and I went bar hopping alone.

We'd already been to Taco Bell for a snack while waiting on Cory and Nathan, and we headed next to Frickers for some wings. Then we went to bars Derek hadn't been to, starting with Up on Main, a lesbian bar I'd never been to either (at least not since it was Upper Krust). It was nice enough, and there were one or two other men there, but we felt the need for some country, so we headed back downtown to DJ's Saloon. There we heard some loud drunks, and Derek got invited to play some pool. Derek kept telling me he sucked at pool but he managed to win this game.

As fun as DJ's was, it was a little loud for our tastes so we headed on over to Right Corner, which is much more relaxed, with drunks that manage to stay quiet and friendly. But then Derek got cocky and wanted to play pool with me! I managed to win one game but only because Derek snatched up the 8 ball out of the way of the ball I was shooting into the pocket.

After Derek beat me again at pool, we sat down for another drink, and we met the friendly people next to us, including Gary, who, like Nathan earlier, didn't want his picture taken either, but it's easier to take someone's picture if he's been drinking.

Finally we called it a night. Derek, sloppy drunk that he is, lay down on the sidewalk on Third Street to take a nap, but after taking his picture for posterity, I managed to get him up and walking again.
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