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Lis and I, I mean.

'Cause, for one thing, you've got that "kinda goofy-looking-but-kinda-cute guy" with "stunningly drop-dead gorgeous woman" thing going on.

And then . . .

Well, so, Lis and I are having breakfast. And she looks at the bottle of metheglin between us. And she asks for a glass.

I look at her, look at the bottle, glance over to the cabinet with the glasses, which is marginally closer to her than it is to me, and I roll my eyes. She says, "Fine," and walks over to the cabinet.

She gets the most ridiculous huge glass she can -- a stemmed, footed, and handled Irish coffee mug -- attempts to pull the cork out, managing it only on the fifth try, pours herself a tiny little drop into the bottom of the ridiculous glass, then jams the cork far enough into the bottle that it will likely need tools to get it out.

And, no, she didn't do any of that on purpose to show why I should have just gotten it for her.

You know the sort of old sitcom thing where the husband is left at home to cook, and the whole kitchen blows up in a slapstick humorous way? In several Tracy/Hepburn movies, the same thing happens when SHE tries to take over the cooking from HIM, since HE'S the one who's competent in home-making stuff.

And that's true of us, too.
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. . . and by "I've been working on my resume," I mean, "Lis has been working on my resume for me."

I was out all day today with [livejournal.com profile] temima, and when Lis came home, she showed me what she'd come up with.

She'd re-organized my resume into a tri-fold brochure, and showed me the mock-up. It's still got "Lorem ipsum" for some of the text and "Insert picture here" boxes and so forth . . .

I looked at it, and I said, ". . . "

Then I tried again and said ". . . g. . . g. . . "

Then I tried once again to express what I was thinking, and I said, "Extreme compliment referencing your amazing design skills and the awesomeness of this mock-up."

Lis is awesome.
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I stood under a chuppa, and I said the following things to Lis:

I pledge myself to you -- body, mind, and spirit. I promise to respect, honor, and cherish you. I promise to listen to you and be trustworthy towards you. I promise to be honest with you. I promise to support you physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

I promise to stand by you and to back you up. I promise never to shame you. When we fight, I promise to fight fair.
I pledge that, as of this day, I shall put us as a couple, and any children that we have, above all else. I pledge that our family will be my primary concern. And I pledge to provide a Jewish household for our family.

In all things, I promise to be your equal and opposite -- the other half of our now-mended soul that was split at the beginning of time and is only today being made whole.

Without you, I am not complete.


Every year at this time, I look back at these promises, and try to check how I'm doing, and what needs work. Obviously, a lot of this, Lis needs to grade me on, but I need to check myself against these things, too.

It's too obvious to need to be said, but it nonetheless needs to be said: making those vows was the best thing I ever did.

I think I do well with the first two sentences: I AM pledged to Lis, and I do think that I respect, honor, and cherish her. I listen to her, and it's sometimes difficult -- when I screw up and hurt her, she has to tell me, and I get defensive. It's something I work on, and I think I do pretty well, actually listening, understanding, and incorporating what she says, even if I'm feeling defensive. Being trustworthy I'm also doing better at. When I was seriously depressed, I would find myself lying, saying that I was doing better than I was. . . "Of COURSE I made those phone calls. But, um . . . nobody was in." I've stopped that.

And being honest with Lis is, in some ways, the counterpart to listening -- I'm responsible to tell Lis if I think there's a problem. And I think I'm doing fairly well at that, too.

I do well supporting Lis emotionally and spiritually, but I need to be bringing in more money to be keeping up my part of the "supporting physically" part.

We have decided that the "standing by you and back you up" part DOES allow me to, in private, tell Lis when I think she's wrong in a conflict -- that's part of the "being honest" part. But I CANNOT, and do not, cut her down in public by telling her she's in the wrong, unless both parties ask me to be a judge. And that is also part of the "never shame you" part.

I've screwed that one up occasionally. I have put Lis on the spot where she's ended up looking bad -- it's always accidental, but it's something I watch out for and try to do better.

"Fighting fair" is hard. It is so difficult to not pull in outside topics when we're arguing about ONE thing. "Yeah, I failed to do X, but there was this one time that I was doing something completely unrelated and something totally unrelated to that happened and you were wrong back THEN." When I'm fighting, I want to win, and that means that I want to prove that I'm right and that Lis is wrong.

But I do it. It's hard. But I manage it mostly. If I have a problem, it's that I tend to sit there and just take it in like a lump in arguments rather than fighting back, until I figure out something I can yell about that I think is actually RELEVANT to the problem. It ALSO means that I have to 'fess up when something IS my fault, and that sucks. So, given the level of difficulty of this vow, I think I do DAMN well.

We don't have any children, but I do prioritize Lis above everything else. I think I've got that one nailed.

Providing a Jewish household . . . I don't know how well I do about that. We don't do Shabbos dinners; we don't go to shul very often. We do keep kosher within the house. I think that's an area on which I really need to work.

I also need to be doing more in order to be a proper opposite half to Lis. My depression is largely under control, but in order to be a proper other half to Lis, I need to be taking on more. She does more than half the work in this relationship -- she brings in the money AND does some things around the house. If I did a better job maintaining the house, if I maintained the house to the standard which Lis deserves, we'd be a lot closer to managing this equality. OR if I worked more OUT of the house and brought in more money, that could ALSO be a way to manage equality.

The trick here, the important part of this vow, is to be a person that Lis can, and does respect.

These vows require me to be a good enough, competent enough, and skilled enough person to match up to Lis. And that's a pretty high bar. But she's worth it.
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So now she's chilling out with a Queen concert on DVD, a bowl of soup, and an Orangina with Pimm's in it. I think her brain will be okay soon.
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I'm WEEKS behind on things I want to blog. I haven't talked about the Boston Wine Expo, or Hebrew school two weeks ago, or all sorts of stuff. But let me just mention a couple of things.

Lis found out about a one-night class in the history of the cocktail, held at BU. Jackson Cannon, the head bartender and bar manager of Eastern Standard, the restaurant in the Commonwealth Hotel in Kenmore Square, was holding an evening seminar in which he would talk about the history and development of the cocktail, and make four historically significant cocktails for us, and explain why they were significant.

It was a FANTASTIC class. Mr Cannon is fun, engaging, and a total cocktail geek. The drinks, naturally, were delicious -- a Whiskey Smash (lemons, mint, simple syrup, whiskey, and shaved ice), a Sazerac (absinthe or substitute such as Pastis, rye, simple syrup, and Peychaud's Bitters), a flip of some sort (a drink with egg white to help it get all foamy and nice), and a sparkling wine cocktail that Cannon developed himself.

We had such fun at the class that we felt we had to go to the bar and have more fun, which we did on Wednesday.

We had a little food (I had the Offal of the Day, which was a tongue sandwich, which was cooked well enough to make it so tender that it avoided the texture problems of a lot of tongue, and Lis had the bone marrow on toast), and a bunch of drinks. They were all good, but one which I want to mention specifically is the Jack Rose, made with applejack, lemon juice, and grenadine (they make their own grenadine, which is wonderful stuff). Jackson is one of the people who started the cocktail renaissance in Boston, and he and a couple of the other guys in the "movement" used to live together. One of the first things which they did was decide to perfect the Jack Rose cocktail -- they tried different proportions, brands, garnishes, and so forth. The three of them started calling themselves "The Jack Rose Society", and it's still one of their favorite drinks. And I can see why. The thing is gee-ee-doubleyew-dee GEWD.

Anyway, at the bar, we were seated next to a gentleman who's been living at the hotel for a few weeks, and will be there for several more months. He's a gaffer on a movie that they're filming in Boston, and we were having a lot of fun talking. At one point, he mentioned just how gorgeous Lis is. Actually, he mentioned that at several points. And, of course, he was right.

I agreed, and I told him that Lis had not only a great ass, but a brain to match. He thought that, yes, those sounded like qualities of a perfect woman.

Anyway, the Eastern Standard bar is a lot of fun, although clearly on the upscale expensive side, at ten bucks a cocktail. However, those are cocktails all with fresh ingredients and top-quality liquors and liqueurs (or "spirits" and "elixirs", as Jackson calls them), made with skill and however much time it takes to make them right. I'd love to go back, but I'd want to go with more people, so we could order more different drinks and share them around.

Anyone interested?
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But you all know that.

She sent me the most wonderful flower arrangement for Valentine's Day. It's in a black cubical vase, and it's got half a dozen red roses, and white flowers, and green leafy things, and it's gorgeous, and Lis sent it to me.
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So, Lis and I got press tix to a one-woman show about Shakespearian actresses on the American stage from the Civil War to the present, about which I'll write a review in a bit.

The info we got suggested to us that it would be at the Huntington Theater. When we got there, fifteen minutes before curtain, the theater was dark, and, when we looked at the poster for the show, it listed a venue halfway across town.

There were two other rather confused people standing in front of the theater, too. So, since they'd taken the T, we offered them a ride.

The short of it is that I dropped Lis, the bartender from Grafton Street Pub, and the reviewer for the Russian-language newspapers off in time for the show, halfway across town, and I was only a minute late or so after parking the car. I ended up seated in the balcony, rather than with Lis, but it was fine.

So, because of our bad luck in getting bad information about where the show was, we met two nifty people, and got all of us to the show on time.
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She has just invented the Chambord egg cream.
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1. "You know, you really ought to be practicing your Blue Blazer for ten or fifteen minutes every day. So why don't you start doing that?"

(The Blue Blazer is a flaming drink, poured from one cup to another in a stream of blue fire. My wife is INSTRUCTING me to play with alcohol and fire every day.)

2. "Reading this biography of Jerry Thomas is making me want something to drink. What are you going to make me?"

(My wife reads biographies of famous historical bartenders. Then makes me re-create historical drinks for her to drink.)

3. "That drink was really good. Now I need curry fries."

(My wife needs curry fries after drinking. For those in the Commonwealth, this means chips, with HP Mild Indian Curry Sauce.)
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I hand't posted about this earlier, because I was kind of hoping that we'd solve the -1. . .

So, the Friday before Christmas, that is, the 21st, was Lis's work's Festivus party. (See, they decided that "holiday party" was a lame term, because you need to be celebrating A holiday, not just the CONCEPT of "holiday", but they didn't want to do a Christmas party, because of all the non-Christians, and a "Christmas/Hannukah/Yule/Kwanza/Saturnalia/Whatever Party" is just too confusing. So they did a Festivus party instead. I don't think they did the Feats of Strength or the Airing of Grievances, but they DID set up mini-golf throughout the entire office, and have a Yankee Swap. They also had a potluck.

As you may expect, it is usually my job to prepare things for Lis to bring to work potlucks. Oh, if I don't want to do it, she is perfectly capable of making very yummy things on her own (she makes a mean Kahlua fudge, and she's been known to make baklava), but it's normally my job. Naturally, I want to make sure that Lis looks good when I make potluck treats for her. If I'm short on time, I can make my Chocolate Dream Pie, which is really good, and very easy, but if I've got the time, I'd much rather make a cheesecake. Because I make an AMAZING cheesecake.

A couple years back, Lis bought me a truly top-of-the-line springform pan for cheesecake-baking. It has a glass base with a metal rim which is carefully machined to fit exactly into the springform sides, which are made of some sort of high-tech material, and coated with Teflon. It's a really good springform pan -- doesn't leak at all, releases easily, and easy to wash.

I sent Lis off to work with the cheesecake, on the base of the springform pan, since that's the point of springform pan bases -- you serve the item on them.

The cheesecake was a huge hit. None of it was left.

Neither was the base of the pan. Someone must have thrown it out. How someone throws out a heavy tempered glass disk, I don't know. I mean, it doesn't LOOK like trash. But it's gone.

So I'm going to have to replace my best springform pan.

The thing is -- as annoyed as I am about the loss of the pan, that's overshadowed by my happiness that Lis's co-workers loved the cheesecake so much.
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This morning, while I was driving Lis to work, she said, apropos of nothing, ". . . there's ANOTHER reason to hate Bud Selig."

IAN: What? What is?
LIS: Well, you know what George W. Bush's life ambition was, right?
IAN: To own the Texas Rangers?
LIS: No, he DID that. He wanted to be commissioner of baseball. If George W. Bush was commissioner of baseball, think how much less trouble the world would be in!
IAN: Lis, if George W. Bush was commissioner of baseball, Barry Bonds would have destroyed Tokyo by now.
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So, on Saturday, we took our friend Akiva Fox out to lunch, partially to say thank you to him for getting us the tickets, to the Marlowe plays, partially because Mom gave us money to take Akiva out to lunch, and mainly because we wanted to see him.

He's the literary associate for the Shakespeare Theater Company of Washington DC, which is a fantastic job for someone who's only in his twenties. I mean, the pay -- it's a theater job AND an academic job, so you can imagine just how wealthy he is, but it's a job which is winning him the respect of large chunks of both the academic and theater communities, because He's Just That Good. The whole Marlowe symposium that Lis went to -- and, in fact, the whole idea of opening the new theater building of the Shakespeare Theater Company with Marlowe productions -- that's HIS idea and his baby.

So, anyway, Lis and Akiva and I are at lunch, and Lis and Akiva are talking about how they wish someone would just do the legwork and figure out who ELSE was 21 years old and at Corpus Christi College in 1585. See if you can't get a complete list of how many candidates there are, see if you can't find any information about them. See who else might be the subject of the picture that people like to present as the portrait of Marlowe.

I looked at them, and said, "You realize, of course, that the two of you are both as qualified to do this as anyone else on the planet. And, pretty much the other people on the planet who are qualified to do it -- at least one of you is on a first-name basis with all the other people who could."
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I can lead off by mentioning Lis. Every day I see her and wonder how I managed to be lucky enough to end up with her.

And I am also thankful for all the rest of my friends -- all of you reading this (those of you I know in person, and those of you I know only through LiveJournal, too) -- those of you I've known for years, either online or meatspace, and those of you I've only met, meatspace or online, recently.

I'm thankful for my family. I'm one of a relatively few people I know without any family-conflict issues. Again, I don't know how I lucked out to be born into my family, but I'm thankful for it. That is why our family tends to adopt people into it -- a few of you are my siblings simply because my mother and father adopted you. My parents are like that -- if you have a rocky relationship with your own parents, or if you have a GOOD relationship with your parents, but they're too far away for you to see very often, or if you have a good relationship with your parents and you see them a lot but you want MORE parents, too, my parents will take you in and give you love.

And the rest of my family is similar. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins: everyone in my family is honorable, caring, clever, and decent. I don't know how I lucked out to be born into this family.

And then, Lis's family, too -- I managed to marry one of the only OTHER people I know whose whole family is honorable, caring, clever, and decent. I am as thankful for my in-laws as for the part of the family into which I was born.

I am thankful that we appear to have found a medication which controls my Depression, and is allowing me to restructure my life to be effective and productive. I am thankful that I am now in the process of making that restructuring, and that I feel like I am making some progress toward it.

I am thankful that we have a house, for which we paid a reasonable price, and which allows us to have rental income. I am thankful that we rent to good people who I like having as neighbors -- [livejournal.com profile] marquisedea and her boyfriend Josh upstairs, and [livejournal.com profile] vonbeck downstairs. I am thankful that our house is warm and dry, and comfortable. I am thankful that I have a kitchen in which I can cook, and that we have bookshelves full of books. I am thankful that we have plenty of warm, comfortable, and reasonably-good looking clothing to wear, warm jackets, shoes that keep our feet dry.

I am thankful that we have a washing machine and dryer so we don't have to go to the laundromat -- it makes life a lot easier. I'm thankful that we have a dishwasher. I'm thankful for our standing mixer, our electric kettle, our rice cooker, our Henkel's and Wusthoff knives. I'm thankful for our refrigerator, and our pantry, full of food.
Read more... )
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LIS and IAN have just come in from outside, where they have spend the past hour up on ladders, cutting tree branches that could threaten phone wires.

Both LIS and IAN are afraid of heights, but have done good work, and are proud of themselves. IAN has just downed two shots of shlivovitz to steady his acrophobia nerves; LIS is drinking an (alcoholic) cider, 'cause she deserves one.

LIS: Are you coming in the bedroom to lie down? 'Cause I just spread out my stuff all over the bed.
IAN: Naw; I just came in to say hi to you. I'm going to go to my computer and see if I can type, two shots of shlivovitz drunk.
LIS: That's a good idea. You should blunk drog. Um. I mean drunk blog.
IAN: Did you do that on purpose?
LIS: . . . no.
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While we were driving through Salem, Lis and I saw a sign saying, "Hood: The Official Milk of Halloween."

I started musing out loud. "How does that work? In order for something to be an 'official' something, there has to be an officer or an office certifying it to be official. Halloween doesn't have an official in charge of it!"

I thought for a bit more. "Unless it's Jack Skellington. Which I guess would make sense since . . . "

And Lis and I said in unison, "Milk builds strong bones!"

Okay, maybe you had to be there. But I thought it was cute.
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Lis and I were talking a while back that you could make the Gunpowder Plot into a pretty decent season of a historical version of 24. To fit into the format, you'd have to do some time-compression, fitting events that actually took place over several days into one day, and probably even sticking a couple of even earlier events into the time-line (although I'd start the season with the tunnel under the Houses of Parlament already finished, and having them finish loading the barrels of gunpowder in the first episode.

Also, I don't know what you'd name the main character.

However, "Bauer" is a German surname which seems to mean "peasant farmer" of a particular status. An English surname with approximately the same meaning is "Bond."

Just sayin'.
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So, yesterday, I was telling Lis that I had to try to get the bathroom cleaned up, and said that I’d have to do some tub scrubbing.\

Lis said, “Tub scrubbing?” And then she started singing:

“I wash it down / But it gets dunked up again / I’m never gonna / Get it clean. . . “
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So, we've set up a Chore Wars account for us.

LIS: Well, I WOULD help you with the laundry, but I don't want to poach your XP.
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So, [livejournal.com profile] papersky is developing an award to present to [livejournal.com profile] james_nicoll, at her upcoming book-release-party-cum-con, Farthingcon. For various reasons, ranging from "James Nicoll is a cool guy and deserves and award" to "to annoy the annoying Wikipedia editors." Which, naturally, are both good reasons to give James Nicoll an award.

So, Lis and I were talking. . .

IAN: Do you suppose Jo Walton has actually designed the James Nicoll award yet?
LIS: We could mention that we know someone ([livejournal.com profile] sunspiral) who designed and built Hugo bases. What do you think an award for James Nicoll should look like?
IAN: I think it should have pointy bits all over it.
LIS: And a big lens!
IAN: Maybe a lighter stuck in there somewhere.
LIS: And catnip.

Seriously, though, we were thinking that Nerf might be a better route to go. Do we know anyone who does casting of foam rubber?

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