November 27, 1999



Hi there. I'm back. Miss me?

There've been some changes since last we spoke. Some of them are obvious, like the changes to the design of these pages. How 'bout that misstep in the last entry? That actually went over pretty well with y'all, judging by the e-mail you sent, but one person hit the nail on the head when they observed that the whole horizontal line graphic thing is a little too "done." Right-o, into the trash with that idea and on to come up with something else.

A few of you also felt that last design was a little too dark and oppressive, so you must be loving this one. Hey, at least this one has a few actual colors in it. White is too a color! Okay, will you accept that it's not as muddy looking? All right, then.

[Ed. note: Never mind. I took the white out and now it's muddy looking again. Oops.]

[Ed.'s Ed. note: The white's back again. We're being very indecisive over here.]

Anyway, changes. (Apparently I'm still in the business of sidetracking myself.) There've been a few changes around the house, too. Nothing major, just birthdays and new purchases, that sort of thing, but worth mentioning nonetheless.

Beth and I both had birthdays. She ticked over into a larger number than she's comfortable with, while I ticked over into a smaller number than I'd thought was coming, which I was comfortable with. My birthday passed in relative silence and obscurity, which is how I like it, but we had a big party for Beth's -- something like 40 guests and two hired-for-the-night menservants.

It was our first party here in the new house we've lived in for more than a year, so one might say it was overdue. Everyone seemed to have a good time, nothing was broken, we even got to use the backyard firepit we can't find the gas turn-on valve for -- we just loaded it up with firewood and burned that. I think this one would have to go into the "success" column.

The Amayas came and gave Beth a lovely telescoping fork so she can eat off other peoples' plates with ease. Nancy and Igor came and gave Beth a T-shirt that said "I got this shirt when I turned 40. I hate this shirt." Too funny. My friend X came but left early in a homosexual panic after one of our show tune-loving guests made his interest in him very known. Old friends from Beth's past came, coworkers, even my mom. It was a full house and Zoe was there too, acting like the party was hers, holding court in her long, flowing purple Princess dress and light-up high-heel shoes until nearly midnight. My daughter, my wife: party girls.

When we haven't been partying, we've been purchasing. After about three years of unrealistically hoping someone would give me a laptop for my birthday or Christmas or in a fit of insanity, I finally ran out and bought one for myself when nobody else did. It cost me a pretty chunk of change but it was about half what it would have cost if I'd gone retail. So now I have an expensive portable computer that has been really excellent for setting up next to my desktop to play Solitaire on. (Mental note: get outta the damned house. And bring the laptop.)

Then, bargain hunter that I am, I ran out and bought a new camera. Because, you know, I already bought a camera just a few months ago. But that one wasn't autofocus. And it wasn't programmable. And it wasn't... Well, hell, it wasn't a Canon A2E, which I've been drooling over since the moment I first saw Steve's. So I ran out and bought one just like his. Which means that now I'm having to run out and buy lenses for it too. Because, you know, one good purchase deserves five others. Hey, at least now you know what to get me for Christmas: lenses -- a 20mm, a 100-400mm IS zoom and a 50mm 1.0, all of them Canon USM L models, if you please. (Stop laughing, Steve.)

I haven't been the only profligate one around here, though. Beth's been burning a hole in her credit card too. There's this sewing machine out there, see, that makes quilting easier than cutting soft butter with a hot knife. Apparently you drop the machine off at the fabric store and it selects all the fabrics for you and then makes the quilt while you're up the street having a lattè. You come back later and pick up the machine and finished quilt. The whole process takes about an hour.

Well, Beth's drooled over this machine ever since she first started quilting. She just had a birthday and, like me with the laptop, nobody got it for her. So she got it for herself -- sort of. Her dad helped out on the price and I helped out on the eBay bidding (thanks to me she outbid herself by $25), and now she's just days away from having a full-auto sewing/quilting/textile manipulating machine.

So, how's this been for a return entry? I've covered birthdays and purchases and holidays, oh my! I think I ought to wrap it up right here. You know, quit while I'm behind.

What, I forgot to talk about holidays? I can't, I don't have time right now. I have to go outside to hang our Christmas lights. 'Tis the season, ya know. Maybe next time.