Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Back again

Goodness, you all have been prolific while I've been busy and away from the land of blogs! I had 80+ blog posts to read in bloglines, and have only whittled it down to 48.

Things have been harried, and I was away for almost four days, in New York. Where I visited the lovely friends, ate cupcakes, saw the great work-related exhibition, and had a Starbucks employee try to scald me with boiling water when he got all attitudinal because he couldn't hear what I was saying...it was all delightful (except that last, which was just shocking...And yes, it really happened.)

And on Friday morning before I left for New York I took my highway test, and passed. The guy said my driving was "not bad." It is interesting (and ridiculous) how all of a sudden I feel 100 times more confident. I could do it (and my previous class of license allowed me to) before receiving the state's permanent blessing at that test. Why wasn't that enough for me? Anyway, now I feel better about driving on the highway. That is a good thing.

And I've come back to the final push on the course readers (I finished the copying today - hurrah!) and packing yet again. I leave this housesit a week from today, and need to put the rest of the things I have here (the case full of books, some random kitchen stuff, lots of office papers, some clothes) in my storage space. Next week the big moving van will come to load my stuff up to take it on the long trek to Scary City (expenses completely paid by New Uni, thank goodness). I will follow two weeks later. This is me winding down my life here, then.

On that note, a question...Do any of you blogfriends have a service to recommend with which I could download a "book-on-tape" (er, you know what I mean) into my ipod? My father and I are doing this very long trek to get to Scary City - our Happy 65th Birthday road trip - and I thought that listening to one novel might be a good way to pass the time aside from music and chatting. I don't know anything about what exists. If you do, please let me know!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Driving worries

Tell me, friends, when is this whole driving thing going to get less terrifying?

I live in a province where you get licensed in stages. Because I've lived most of my live in a big city where a car isn't necessary, I am a cyclist to get around, mostly, with secondary reliance on public transit and walking. I didn't learn to drive until after I turned 30 - somebody (well, R.) thought it would be a good idea to give me driving lessons for this big b-day. (??) Anyway, yes, so I learned - very nervously, I might add - and I passed the first test a year ago. Did some driving on trips last summer - mostly highway driving far from the city, which was okay. Then didn't drive once for eight months - there is no car, you see. And now, on Friday, I am taking the final stage test, which will give me a full license. This is otherwise known as the Highway Test. (Although the terror of various sorts of parking will be tested once again, as well. ) (Another note: I am obviously a masochist, and perhaps also a Giant Dumbass. The place I am moving to doesn't have this graduated licensing thing, and I could just get a full license there without ever doing this test in Home City. I wanted it to make me into a better driver, though - to prove to myself before I take to various freeways that I am worthy of the road...)

So over the last six weeks, I've been taking my third round of in-car lessons, with a focus on in-city freeway driving. Merging onto the freeway stood out as the most terrifying task of driving, for me. Hell, anything to do with freeways in this big city - freeways which people say are about as bad as it gets - scares the pants off me. But I've been doing it, though not without a few scares and screams. My instructor says I'm fine, that my only real problem is my nervousness, which could cause me to make a mistake.

Certainly, in yesterday's time in the car, my nerves were shot. There were cowboys out on those roads to a degree I've never seen. Weaving and speeding and cutting me off time after time -- such reckless driving. And it's supposed to be just par for the course. I'm supposed to get used to this. And this day of recklessness comes in the wake of much-publicized terrible deaths - this very week - on the same freeways on which I am practicing, because of highway racing by 20-year-old guys. (When I hear stories like this - about people racing at 180 kms/hour - I get quickly reacquainted with my mostly suppressed violent tendencies. I want to strangle this people with my bare hands....) But this is apparently a common occurrence round these parts.

I now understand where road rage comes from (or some versions of it, at least). Fear. Yesterday I was screaming profanities at many of the reckless drivers who were scaring me, causing my instructor to laugh at me incredulously, I guess because I am generally so mild-mannered. I used to be highly intolerant of R's Extreme road rage, but now that I know where it comes from, I have more sympathy.

I guess I am just worried about all of this. It makes me want to thrown in the towel. I don't plan to own a car. I plan on having this skill so that I can drive on trips, and so that I can rent a car about every 3-4 weekends, get out of town to explore the region, do some car-requiring errands. But I don't know if this is enough driving to make me ever feel comfortable with it. It is clear to me that this is a skill that takes practice - that it doesn't take much of an investment of time to make you feel infinitely more comfortable. But only driving once or twice a month? I don't know if that's enough...I do wonder if all this money and time spent on this is a waste of time. I also wonder if it's safe, if I'm safe. If others are safe from me! My instructor seems to think so, but oy, I'm not sure.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Longed-for vacations

I have had a mostly lovely day, visiting with my friend Kim - delicious brunch and then wandering, the latter of which produced a new skirt and necklace. And then a long run tonight. Some tedious course reader work threaded through there. And really, it is sick-hot and humid so, mostly-loveliness or not, my thoughts turn - as they often have been doing lately, during the ongoing course reader debacle - to adventures in other (maybe less hot and humid) places.

The places I've been longing for, these last two months? Which have, for the moment, supplanted my longstanding dream trips to place I've never been?

1. Chicago. Around the end of the school year, I began to dream of Chicago. Enough that I investigated the possibility of spending a long weekend there by myself, just wandering. (Could not afford.) I went there once, with R, for a conference about a year and a half ago. (She often tagged along on my conferences so we could make a holiday of it.) I was absolutely, completely dazzled and enchanted by it. The only other city that's caught me aesthetically like that - unbalancing me, exhilarating me - is Lyon, where I lived for a bit. I have a very vivid memory of standing in an uncharacteristically hot November sun, at some point both among and distant from the skyscrapers, and feeling the kind of sheer glee I almost never feel in adulthood. And I was so taken with the residential neighbourhoods, too, that I even briefly thought of making a concerted effort to get a job there...So, yes, I'd like to lose myself among the skyscrapers right about now...Hmmm...perhaps will try to go there at December break...

2. Walking Holiday in Yorkshire. The contentedly lonesome in me wants this a lot right now. To walk by myself along centuries-old ways. I've spent a fair bit of time in Yorkshire, and it feels like a home for some small part of me. I have a frozen image of a sunlit May afternoon there, too. I'm not sure how it is both frozen and free of nostalgia, that memory, but it is, somehow. Perhaps that is what I like about the place - time always seems to stop when I am there, but it isn't that I lose sight of the now. I suppose it is a contemplative place for me, that's what it is. Yes, that would be nice right now, what with all the relationship figuring I'm trying to do.

I have a little plan to do some research overseas for a couple-few weeks next May, and perhaps I shall try to tack on to the end of it a few days of walking somewhere in England, if not in Yorkshire. Would that it were not almost a year away.

But there is New York this weekend, and that will be grand. And visiting a friend in Vermont coming up in a few weeks. It is not as if I am lacking in places to visit. Just, it is funny what geographies we long for, and when.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Friday recipe blogging: Blackberry margaritas

I just improvised this as a post-dinner Friday night cocktail, and drank it while I sat outside on the deck, with the sun going down, reading the Lonely Planet for my new soon-to-be home region - a gift from a friend at the farewell barbecue the other night. Lovely. I had a box of the most gorgeous, plump, sweet blackberries, and I wanted a drink, dammit - it being Friday night and all. So this was what I made, remembering that I'd enjoyed blackberry cocktails before and basing it on a classic margarita recipe...It was delicious!


A...bunch of blackberries (I dunno, I used maybe 15-18)
1 full shot glass of tequila
3/4 ounce of triple sec
Juice from three limes

Blend it in the blender, with a few ice cubes. Yummy!
It was quite tart, though that was very refreshing...those with a major sweet tooth might prefer to add a bit of sugar or simple syrup!

Tomorrow night, margaritas with the organic local strawberries I have been gorging on this week...

Rapacious vets?

How widespread do we think greedy vets are?

I ask because I think I went to a very greedy veterinary clinic on Wednesday after Mr. K had his accident. I would rather have taken him to our usual, loved and trusted vet. But that clinic is on the other side of the city from where I am living at the moment. And I was taking care of my friends' big dog that day, and couldn't fathom what to do with her while I bundled a bleeding Mr. K into a taxi. So I figured I'd walk to the nearest vet clinic, at which my friend A says she had a positive experience recently. I had to go to another vet as a walk-in before, when Mr. K was bitten two summers ago and my vet was on vacation, and that had worked out fine.

I am used to my own vet clinic and sweet vet, who spends much of each visit delighted by and giggling at Mr. K, and feeds him about a dozen treats on a given appointment.* The other staff, the vet techs, are equally enthusiastic and loving to every animal in there. The care is always exemplary. Though the clinic is very small and modest, it's very well-respected. They sent us a condolence card when I called them to let them know our previous dog had died after being run over (not on our watch but in the care of R's mother - what a nightmare). They have links to tiny, local animal advocacy groups. The clinic feels like a labour of love. I am sometimes not charged for services, there.

This new one I went to on Wednesday? I wasn't feeling the love. What I was feeling was a money-grab. First of all, the doctor didn't seem all that thrilled with Mr. K. I know, I know, he's not there to be fawned over - but the guy just felt dismissive. Of a dog with an injury, no less, bleeding onto the floor. Then, when I was paying a deposit, the receptionist/vet tech started talking up the place to me, sounding like some kind of professional seller. Telling me to look up the place on the web to find out more about their services, spelling out the web address, etc. I'd been very clear that I was treating this as an emergency visit, that I have a regular vet. And more importantly, I think of this as a service, not a for-profit enterprise. (Obviously, there is a blurry to non-existent line between these two ways of looking at it, for vet clinics...)

Then the vet phoned me twice that afternoon to tell me about other "health problems" he'd discovered on Mr. K, which would conveniently require me to buy products to fix them. This was dubious to me. One of the alleged problems was an eye infection. This dog and the previous one have a history of eye problems, so I damn well schooled in what infected eyes look like, by now. He doesn't have an infection! Yes, his eyes were very red when he arrived, but that was from the stress of the ordeal. They're just fine, their normal pale pink, now. And why, if he has this chronic gum disease, has my own vet never said so, even though he always examines Mr. K's gums, including quite recently? It just seems as if I was being cajoled into buying products he doesn't need. Yuck - I find that sickening.

When we went to pick up Mr. K at dinnertime, both R and I just had a bad taste in our mouths. The staff didn't feel friendly. They didn't feel like animal people. Their way of handling Mr. K was, again, dismissive. There were also some puppies and kittens for adoption in cages in the corner, which I had thought was heartning. But R went to say hi to the puppy and saw that they were charging $500 for it!!! So this vet clinic is making a profit from finding homes for stray animals? You've got to be kidding. Finally, when I looked at the bill, I saw that on the bottom corner, it said, "Mr. K is due for shots, checkup, etc. in September 2007." They've just kind of claimed him as a client. Yuck, yuck, yuck.

I've had animals for most of my life, including as an adult dealing with vet clinics on my own - and for many years before I encountered my current, wonderful vet. I've never encountered this kind of ethic before, though I've heard intimations of it. How widespread is this kind of thing? Do people really become vets to make lots of money??? It seems grotesque to me.

*The reason I chose this vet is because he was the vet of an old girlfriend. Once, that GF's cat was very, very ill. She was at the clinic fighting for her life. The clinic, of course, is closed on Sundays - and the cat couldn't be left alone. So the vet took her home with him for the weekend, and brought her on a family outing to a provincial park on the Sunday. She came in a little carrier, they carried her with them, and she got to be let out to sit in the sun in the grass while they picnicked. I love this man. And the cat pulled through, in the end!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Dog and life updates

Mr. K is doing well. (Ex?-)GF (hell, let's call her R, because that's annoying to write...) and I picked him up from the vet yesterday evening at about 6. R had rented a car so that we could ferry him from the vet. There was a barbecue, erm, in my honour, at a close friend's house...She's leaving for the summer soon, to see her significant other across the ocean, and so this was the last time I could see her. (Let's not face that sadness, shall we?) She is a friend with whom I did The Activity, so it was the whole Activity gang and another couple of close friends related to it, as a kind of early farewell. Poor, woozy Mr. K came with. Probably inappropriate, to take him to a party after this crazy day, but I figured he'd just pass out on a blanket in the corner of the lovely, little, walled-in urban jungle of a backyard. Which he did, but not before peeing woozily all over the flagstones a few feet away from us while we ate. And crashing into many things with his cone, which we soon took off...(We keep a strict eye on him - he doesn't worry at the wound, and we put the cone on when we go out, should he get any wound-chewing ideas in his head...)

We've given him inordinate amounts of love, and he's going to be just fine. The stitched-up wound is large and angry-looking, and positively Frankenstein-esque, but he's adjusting to it. We were able to go out on a walk today...he's limping a little, and more tired than usual, but overall he's amazingly well. He's just an overgrown lap dog - being a doted-on invalid suits him well.


Notice the "we" above? Oh yes, I've spent most of the week with R - she's stayed over here every night but one. Today, she had gotten the day off to take care of Mr. K (not really necessary...I didn't quite understand why...she said it was so she could help me practice driving in the rental car). And we spent an unexpected holiday in the city. Walking Mr. K, going for lunch on a patio, and practicing my driving in the rental car, with Mr. K zonked in the back seat. (I still suck ass - to use a term dear to R - at parallel parking...hell, at any parking...and am generally nervous...And am facing my highway test next week...)

So that when she was getting ready to leave, I was sad and whiny (not unlike a spoiled dog, a character I am quite familiar with). "Why don't you live here?" I grumped faux-angrily (and irrationally)? It's hard to spend this much time together, in a way. Because spending a lot of time together - doing mundane things, like driving around and dog crisis management - is so familiar to us from having lived together for years. We just kind of melt into our routines (minus the griping and unhappiness) and it's jarring to intervene in that, by being apart. But I think it's right. We still don't know what we're going to do about us. We don't know whether it makes sense to try again, very long-distance. She's optimistic. I'm cautious. Expect a post about this soon.

Sadly, I am not in New York. But I'm very happy that I cancelled the trip to stay with Mr. K. And I was able to rebook this air miles ticket for next weekend. It won't be quite such an ideal trip for a couple of reasons - but at least I will get to see my dear Susan and the work-related exhibition, which I am so dying to see!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Annual summer dog trauma

As seems to happen every summer, this morning Mr. K was bitten. He is now at the animal hospital, where he is having surgery -- many stitches put into his poor little haunch. He was bitten in the park this morning, where I had taken him and a friend's dog, whom I'm looking after for a day or two.

The dog who bit him was one of about six dogs who were with a walker I've met before and was just in the middle of chatting with, when it happened. It was a freak accident, not really an attack. All the dogs were hanging out in the shade, trying to stay cool. Mr. K ambled slowly up to some dog lying under a picnic table and the dog snarled at him, causing Mr. K to jump about 20 feet backwards, as is his wont when he is startled. He sort of landed on another dog who was lying there and was, in turn, startled. And bit him, I guess. It is a wide-open wound, quite bloody.

I walked him to a nearby vet - the closest one, but one I've never been to. Mr. K was visibly in distress, and this was compounded by the heat. I suspect he was in some mild shock. He tried to lie down on random lawns as we walked - I had to coax him to keep moving. Poor, poor little guy. Then we got to the vet and the vet put a cone on him and led him into a cage, to wait for a few hours before being put under. I have to say, that part broke me down. I had a little cry in the waiting room, once I realized he would be put in a cage. Seeing him all docile - he didn't fight the cone, he didn't pull when being led away from me toward the cage room - was a little freaky. It is so unlike him that it was clear he is not doing well.

So I'm just waiting. I shall soon bring my friends' dog back to their place, and then come home to wait some more, until the vet phones to say he can be picked up. The poor muffin.

I'm also waiting to hear back from the owner of the dog who bit him. The walker has put the two of us in touch, and I would like to ask him for half the very expensive vet bill. That seems reasonable, to me. If it were the other way around, I'd want to pay half.

I've cancelled my trip to New York...I didn't feel right about leaving, since ex-GF has to work and I can't stand the thought of Mr. K being left alone for the first couple of days of this, all coned up...I was able to keep the ticket, and may reschedule for next weekend.

So there you go.

And here is a picture of a peaceful Mr. K. Let's hope that he feels like this over the next few days...

Ack, course readers

Oof, I feel swamped. This isn't supposed to happen in the summer.

And the thing is, what I feel swamped by is not research. That, at least, would feel productive. Instead, I am swamped by the task of creating the course readers for my two fall courses.

Damn me for not using textbooks, really. In fact, in one of the courses, I'm using three texts in addition to the course reader, but the bulk of the material will be in the reader. It is ever so. This is the fourth June in which I have been consumed by doing course readers. In 2004, I had a little assistantship with my PhD supervisor, and I did some course design and course reader organizing for her. Then, for the next three summers, I've been doing my own readers for my own (multiple) new courses. When will it ever end??? I suppose when I'm established enough to have a paid grad student assistant to do stuff like this...Or when I decide that I can teach an entire course with a textbook (which will be when hell freezes over).

It's all the nitpicking...filling out this copyright template that has to list the ISBN and the number of pages in the work...and when I don't have the book in front of me, trying to track down that information online through a university library. (Yesterday, I was using Duke, just for the hell of it.) Then it all has to be photocopied, or printed out from online if it's a journal article. I am sososososo sick of this.

In fact, I had a brief dinner the other night with my favourite student from this past year, who is moving to Home City, and even suggested that I hire her to do some of this work...Even though I'm jobless this month (my contract at Dream Uni ended May 31, and my new appointment doesn't start until July 1), I'd pay to have some help with this!! The worst part is, the course I've just finished doing (save for the bloody photocopying) is the easy one. The other one is going to be an infinitely more complicated task. And there's this crazy deadline. Sigh...That's the thing that's stressing me out the most, actually - deadline stress is giving me fits...


So that's where I'm at. The good news is that tomorrow morning I'm leaving for New York for four days. Well, I stay in Cold Spring, on the Hudson, while I'm there - with my lovely friends Susan and Charlie - but I will be in the city on Thursday and Friday. I planned this trip because there is an exhibition on right now about exactly what I am working on in the first bit of my book project!!! So exciting. And also to see Susan before I move far away. It shall be lovely - I shall see inspiring project-related things, walk around and eat yummy food a lot, have martinis with Susan...If only I could forget about the course readers, all would be well...

Friday, June 08, 2007

Movement and intellectual inspiration

I was inspired by a great post over at Squadratomagico's, about creative process in the circus she is part of, to say something I've been thinking about lately. She writes, "One of the most fruitful juxtapositions in my life is the fact that I work within a very stringent professional discipline, and play with a no-rules, no-standards performance group." What I've been thinking about is related, in my mind...

I'm in the middle of working on course design - I've been doing it on and off for the last couple of weeks. I've had moments of being quite stuck with one course, because, well, it just seems to be a very odd course. But it's been in spaces involving movement that I've had the major insights that have shifted my thinking around how to organize it.

A few weeks ago, I went to a dance performance - the teenaged daughter of friends of mine is in an arts high school, and I went to see their year-end show. It was stunning, considering that it was the work of high school students. Sitting there, watching their interpretation of The Rite of Spring (eek - my friend was one of the raped women), I made the breakthrough in thinking about this course that allowed me to at least begin designing it.

And yesterday, while I was out on a run, I had this rapidfire chain of insights that allowed me to shift its burgeoning organization and to hammer out, today, a structure I'm happier with.

I think back to my first theory course, as an undergrad, and to the first paper I wrote as the nascent theorist that I was...it was based on an insight I had while swimming (my preferred mode of exercise, back then). And it was about swimming.

It seems so clear that intellectual creativity - and it is intellectual creativity that is involved in course design - is entwined, for me at least, with the possibility represented by movement. Not very original, I know, but it's been striking me lately...


The first apartment of the two I looked at on Monday was owned by a man about my age, named "Robert". It was a floor in his house. I was in the rather hideous apartment for approximately five minutes. Our sole exchange about anything other than the apartment consisted of this: Robert knew I was a professor, and asked me what my discipline was. I told him, he said, "cool" and told me his sister is also a new professor. I left. I called him back later that night to tell him I'd found another place. That conversation lasted about 20 seconds. End of story.

So today, I find in my email inbox a message from "Robert". I was very confused upon seeing the name...Who was Robert, I wondered. Upon opening it, I discovered that it was Robert from Scary City. WTF, I thought. This is what it said:

Hey Hilaire,

I guess you were enroute back [in your direction] yesterday... How was your visit?

I finally got the place rented after laying down the law with the current occupants -- clean up, or else!

I am intrigued by your field of study, and would like to elucidate some theories of my own... over coffee when you're back in town?

Off to [Place] for the week, and hopefully some great conditions for kite boarding...

Have a great week,


Ew. Can I just say? Who the hell does this guy think he is? That is so incredibly forward and creepy. You don't just go emailing random people you've met for five minutes, in a totally unrelated context, asking for dates. At least not like this, with this kind of entirely familiar tone. I don't even remember giving him my email address so I can't figure out how he got it. Oh wait, yes, I do - I had prepared sheets with my contact info and a million references, because this was seeming to be such a difficult housing search that I was trying to look ultra-professional. Anyway. Still. That's not to be used for this. And he remembers what day I was leaving. Yuck. He wants to "elucidate his theories" over a cup of coffee? Can I barf?? Nice cover, buddy. And kiteboarding...oooh, sexay!! Can I feel your big muscles??

Ugh -- it just gives me the creeps.

I forwarded the email to ex?-GF, with my wtf? commentary and this is what she suggested I reply...(See why she's irresistible?):

"Hi Robert. I was quite suprised to receive your email as I don't remember giving you my address. So much for privacy, eh? (LOL). I'm glad you finally got your place rented. I found a place where I think I'll feel quite at home; I'll be especially happy when my girlfriend visits. She's coming out in August to compete in the national "ultimate fighting"championships. After her bouts she loves a good cup of joe, so perhaps the 3 of us can go for coffee when she's here?"

Tee hee.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Housing success!

I found a place to live!! It is the top floor of a house. And it is lovely and airy and light-filled and has a very deep, lounge-y, triangular bathtub and a long balcony that is suspiciously like my dream balcony, and a huge, beautiful backyard with willow trees and a creek at the end. When the person agreed to give it to me - on the spot, without checking references or anything - I was so excited and shocked I kind of lost my mind. I couldn't even concentrate enough to write out a cheque. I can't tell you what a relief this is. Not to have to look at the stupid newspapers/local website/craigslist/etc. ever again. Hurrah!!

And I am staying with my new colleague - the chair of the committee that hired me - and it is just so lovely and comfortable. They're my kind of people, this couple, bringing me home after the house viewing all excited for me, opening up a bottle of sparkling wine to celebrate. We got tipsy and talked honestly and I feel as if I have a true friend here.

And today after my flight got in I was at the university on my steep learning curve about procedures and IT things and who knows what else. Including my Unit Chair basically instructing me to apply for one of the major SSHRC grants in October. Not the little ones...the huge multi-year ones. Good god. I guess I have a new project to add to my summer to-do list!!!

But I can do anything - including a major SSHRC proposal -because of my lovely new home!!!

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Random bullets of damn...

That is, damn, I wish I could find the time to blog properly about some substantive issues that I've been thinking about, especially coming off Congress. But I seem to be swamped with yard care/course design/apartment-hunting/shagging-my-ex-GF responsibilities.

So how about some bullets?

- Last night, went to the film Once. Goodness, what a lovely film. I just loved it. I am not usually a fan of the musical -- but this one, oof. It was just pure pleasure. I urge you to see it, if you are fan of loveliness. The woman in it, Marketa Irglova, is so compelling, I felt as if I could watch her forever. And I loved the music, and will buy the soundtrack.

- I think ex-Gf and I may as well call ourselves GFs again. We are spending an awful lot of time together. It is just lovely. There is much more to say about that, but it will have to wait. Let's just say that there's a lot to think about. A lot.

- I ate delicious cheese this weekend - Pierre Robert. Mmm...

- On Friday I made the largest, most adult purchases I have ever made...new furniture. I bought this sofa and this chair (which is bizarrely, insanely the most comfortable chair I've ever sat in, I think) both in a colour called new leaf green, microfibre, with some very bold and textured accent pillows in brown with leaf-greenish accents. I had been waiting for my tax return to come so that I could go shopping for these things I'd had my heart set on since last November. They will be delivered to my new home in Scary City at the end of July. I shall buy the rest of the things I need - including a bed - at IKEA.

- I have clearly been wanting to build a nest, since I went crazy on Ebay and bought two antique tablecloths, some antique linen napkins, and a really bizarre embroidered table runner from the 20s, with royal blue satin roosters and dragons on it. (?) I don't usually think much about table linens; I don't know what came over me.

- Oh, yes, the nesting desire. But there is still no home to roost in. I cannot believe the bad luck I am still having with this housing search. I am leaving for Scary City tomorrow, and have only managed to set up two housing viewings. Since for the most part, nobody calls me back! There was supposed to be a third, tomorrow afternoon - a place I was really interested in - but I got a call last night saying that, too, had already been rented. What the hell? I don't get it. I feel as if someone is trying to tell me something, now that I've had five places fall through, and nobody deigning to even phone me back.

So I'm worried that I'm going to have to settle for a place I don't really like. For instance, one of the two places I'm looking at is a basement. (I wouldn't have called, but the ad conveniently didn't mention that, and it didn't become apparent to me until our conversation was nearly over!) And I am already starting to call about places with carpeting - that was my one no-no. I hate carpeting. But I am feeling desperate, so off I go to call the carpet-having landlords. Very big sigh. I really wanted this housing search to work out well -- I'm so unhappy about moving to this city, I really wanted to be able to find a place I could comfortably call home. It seems like that may have been too tall an order.

So yes, off tomorrow. Please send good housing vibes my way!!