Thursday, March 29, 2007

Thursday Thirteen

1. Spring Break! Yay!

2. Although, I'm not sure about the "break" part: I have two papers to write, two symposiums to plan, and an apartment to move. Not to mention my regular classwork.

3. But it is definitely spring! Mid-50s. Rainy, but I don't mind.

4. And I am getting a little bit of a break. I'm heading off to Baraboo, WI, and Devil's Lake State Park for the weekend. Rowen and I are going to sleep in, go hiking, watch television, and go to bed early without having to worry about a noisy neighbor and her psycho boyfriend.

5. I bought two sewing books: Sew What! Skirts and Lotta Jansdotter's Simple Sewing.

6. I still haven't committed to buying a sewing machine, though.

7. Because exactly what I need is another hobby that I don't have time for.

8. I've decided to go to language school for the summer. IF I can rent this apartment and IF I get accepted to the language institute. I probably won't have to rent out the condo for the summer; between the deposit I'll get back from this place and my freelance work, I should have enough to cover the mortgage for two months.

9. I almost spelled "accepted" as "excepted." Perhaps I should be going to an English language institute this summer!

10. I had my walk through on the condo today. I still love the place!

11. Six days until closing! And I know that I said that same thing two days ago, but the closing got pushed back because of a delay with the mortgage.

12. Whatever will I blog about when I don't have a noisy neighbor with a psycho boyfriend?!

13. I got the first issue of the new Buffy comic. It arrived a week ago, and I've been too busy to even open it. And, yes, I know I'm a geek.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Wicked Funny Wednesday

Yay for Spring Break! I'm done with classes for almost two full weeks. Yay!

Enjoy your Wednesday with a couple of fun videos:

And check out the Paper Source Craft Lady. I just about peed myself watching her "instructions" on making craft letters.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The Never-Ending Story of the Horrible, Terrible, No-Good Neighbors

It's been a while since I last posted about the horrible, terrible, no-good neighbors. But not for lack of things to write about. The problems continue and the situation has gotten much worse in the past few weeks.

To recap for those who are new to my blog or who aren't nearly as obsessed with my life as I am:

I started having noisy neighbor problems the very first week that I moved into this apartment. I tried to deal with it maturely and directly by knocking on the door and politely asking them to keep it down. That worked for a few weeks, but I got tired of getting out of bed several times during the week to knock on doors. So I complained to the landlord, who said, "Not my problem. Call the police."

I really didn't want to get the police involved. They have better things to do than deal with noise complaints, and I didn't want to create a bigger problem with the neighbors.

But the situation went from bad to worse, particularly with the girl directly above me. She started having louder and more frequent parties, and she became less responsive when I knocked on the door. I tried the landlord again, who still refused to intervene.

In the meantime, I had gone months without a solid night's sleep.

So I started calling the police.

Now, I try to be a reasonable person and I do try to compromise. I don't complain about noise before 11 p.m. on weeknights and 1 a.m. on the weekends. I bought some ear plugs and a white noise machine to try to block some of the unavoidable and less offensive noise. But I don't think I'm being unreasonable to expect that I can be asleep between the hours of 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. during the week or by 1 a.m. on the weekends. I really don't think that is asking too much.

The girl upstairs disagrees. Vehemently. Several times a week, I face the same scenario: Around 9 or 10 p.m., she puts on loud music while she gets ready to go out. She leaves shortly afterward, and the music goes off. Annoying, but I can deal. BUT . . . she then comes back between 1 a.m. and 2 a.m., with friends in tow. They very loudly make their way from the front door (which is directly across from my bedroom door) to the upstairs, where they crank up the music and stomp around. Not even my ear plugs and white noise machine can block out their racket.

Tired of dragging myself out of bed and upstairs to deal with an increasingly uncompromising neighbor, I turned to the Broom Stick Tap. The universal signal for Keep It Down. I would tap loudly three times on my ceiling. Often it worked, sometimes it didn't. When it didn't work, I would wait a few minutes, repeat, wait, and then call the police as a last resort.

All totalled, I've probably called the police a half dozen times to make a complaint about this one particular neighbor. I'm not sure how many times they have actually responded because I generally don't leave my name or phone number when I make the complaint.

Now, for the latest news:

This Saturday, it was the usual routine. At 1.15 a.m., she returned with a herd of friends, turned up the music, and stomped around. I tapped. Nothing happened. So I called the police.

Let me pause in complaining about my neighbor to complain about the two people I dealt with at the Madison Police Department that night. Generally, when I make a complaint, the people are weary and uninterested but polite. They take down the address, ask if I want someone to follow up with me (which I always decline), and say that someone will be out as soon as they can. This particular time, the woman was unbelievably rude: She demanded my apartment number, name, and phone number and hung up on me when I said I'd rather not give that information. I waited 45 minutes, during which time the noise just got louder, so I called back to check whether someone was actually coming. The second call was answered by a man who was also very rude and mocked me for making the complaint. Asshole.

Anyway, this time a police officer did show up---she rang my doorbell because I had been bullied into giving my apartment number---and hearing the noise from the hallway, she went up to deal with it. Now, I suspect that the girl got busted for more than a noise complaint because the officer was up there for a lot longer than it takes to say, "Keep the noise down." In any case, I later found out that she got a substantial fine ($170). Needless to say, she was not pleased with me. And about five minutes after the officer left, she let me know how displeased she was by stomping hard enough on her floor to rattle the dishes in my kitchen. Repeatedly. She then spent the next two hours stomping around, slamming doors, and doing anything she could short of restarting the party to be absolutely annoying. It was well past 4 a.m. before I got to sleep.

Sunday night was uneventful. But Monday night is one of her favorite party nights. And so, at 1.30 a.m., I'm woken up by shouting, loud music, and stomping. I pull out the broom stick and bang it against the ceiling. The music goes off. Yay. But . . .

A minute later, someone starts pounding (not knocking, pounding) on my door. I ignore it, hoping the person will have been satisfied with the pounding and go away. No such luck. More pounding. And then a man shouting at me to open the door. Rowen is going crazy, growling and barking (good dog!), and to keep the whole building from being woken up, I answer the door. The girl had sent her boyfriend down to confront (read: intimidate/threaten) me. He starts getting belligerent and insisting that I explain "exactly how loud the music can be" and yelling at me for calling the cops on Saturday. I respond, rather impressively calmly, that if the tenant has something she wants to discuss, she can come by at a reasonable hour and talk to me about it herself. I then close the door on him. The music comes back on, but at a more reasonable volume, and I put in my ear plugs.

But by then I was so angry and annoyed that sleep was not coming soon. Between the continued noise, the anger, and the discomfort of the ear plugs, I again didn't get to sleep until well past 4 a.m.

I wound up taking a sick day from classes today because the stress and sleep deprivation have wrecked me.

Six days until closing. Those days can't go by fast enough.

Friday, March 23, 2007


What Kind of Knitter Are You?

You appear to be a Knitting Adventurer. You are through those knitting growing pains and feeling more adventurous. You can follow a standard pattern if it's not too complicated and know where to go to get help. Maybe you've started to experiment with different fibers and you might be eyeing a book with a cool technique you've never tried. Perhaps you prefer to stick to other people's patterns but you are trying to challenge yourself more. Regardless of your preference, you are continually trying to grow as a knitter, and as well you should since your non-knitting friends are probably dropping some serious hints, these days.
Take this quiz!

Quizilla |

| Make A Quiz | More Quizzes | Grab Code

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Dear Aunt Bloggy . . .

So I was going to do a Tuesday Twelve, and even had prewritten a few items in my head throughout the day (including a witty-yet-scathing commentary on the state of grammar among undergraduates). But instead I'll conduct a poll. Here's the issue:

Several months ago, I started thinking about my summer plans. And I was thinking that I really ought to do something useful with my summer, like get an internship or study a language that I'll need for my fieldwork. So I applied for some stuff, including a grant for a summer language institute.

I got the grant.

Which is . . . Yay! But also, oh. Because in the time between applying for the grant and getting the grant, I went and bought a condo. Or, more specifically, my parents refinanced their own home to buy a condo that I'll be living in (and paying rent, of course).

So now I'm very conflicted. I didn't think that I had much hope of getting the grant, so I had kind of put the idea out of my head. And I was actually looking forward to a few months of not having such an intensive study schedule. I could maybe start on the pile of books that I want to read about my specific interest areas, while enjoying some downtime to fix up my new place, play with Rowen, get back to running, finish up some of the many works-in-progress that are lurking in my craft piles, maybe even pull out one of the many writing projects that have been gathering dust. I would have to have a job, of course. But I'd have a little more flexibility and free time.

And there's the issue of the condo. The language institute isn't in Madison. So I'd either have to find a way to pay two rents this summer (housing at the institute and rent on the condo) or find someone to rent the condo for the summer. I'm still trying to find a subletter for my current apartment. And I really want to be the one to break in the condo. Because it was a renovated conversion, everything is all shiny and new. I want to get to enjoy the shiny newness---not hand it over to someone else.

Plus, I had applied to study one particular language that my own university doesn't offer. I had also indicated an alternate language on the application. The summer institute isn't offering the language I wanted to study, so the grant is for the alternate language. The alternate language is offered during the academic year at my university (and I actually also got the same grant for the academic year to study that language---so big YAY on that!).

So I could turn down the summer grant and just start my language courses in the fall.

But . . . There's always a "but." I'm afraid that if I turn down the grant for this summer, I might hurt my chances of getting funding from this same source in the future. With funding so scarce, I can't afford to alienate any options. And getting a head start on language study would be useful.

Although it's not my first choice for a language, it is a language that would useful for me to learn. And I am planning to study it in the fall. If I started it over the summer, I could maybe actually gain some proficiency before getting into the field.

Plus, I don't have a job lined up for the summer yet. I have a couple of possibilities that have come up (including possible part-time job helping my advisor finish preparing her book manuscript, which I'd actually really love to do because I'm interested in the topic and I love editing), but nothing is firm. The grant is guaranteed funding for my coursework and living expenses for two months.

So I'm not sure what to do. Any advice?

Wednesday, March 07, 2007


I have been in such a foul mood the past week.

And I know much of it has to do with me being a judgmental, perfectionist control freak with a keen eye for the errors of others and a conviction that everyone should meet my impossibly high standards.

I know I should take a deep breath and let it go. I know it is all stuff I can't control---other people's choices and values and actions. And those choices and values are different than my own. I keep trying to remind myself that they aren't necessarily worse, but just different.

But knowing I should let it go and actually being able to let go are two very different things.

I'm an INTJ, through and through. I like rules, order, and action. And lately I've had to deal with a lot of people who prefer exceptions, disorder, and talk. Things for which I have very little patience.

So I'm beyond cranky. I'm just plain ol' bitchy this week. And did I mention that I'm borderline obsessive? So I'm dwelling on all this, which is making it hard to concentrate on the work I have to get done. Which is putting me in an even worse mood, because I'm falling further and further behind by spending all my time obsessing and complaining about how irresponsible and annoying other people are.

Again. I should let it go. Easy to say. Not so easy to do.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Tuesday Twelve

1. So you remember when I felt like an ingrateful snob a couple weeks ago? And you know how when you are talking about someone in not the nicest way, you always worry that they are going to suddenly appear right behind you? A classmate and I were griping about another classmate, who suddenly appeared right next to us. Yikes! Now I just feel like a bitch. I'm not sure how much of the conversation he heard, but I'm feeling awful about it. He's not a bad guy, just a little verbose and socially unaware sometimes. Gah!

2. Although I did resist the urge to attack someone with my knitting needles today. Not the same person.

3. I, however, did not resist the urge to publicly reprimand that person.

4. So it's probably my karma coming back to me that I had bad Chinese food for dinner.

5. I've been reading The Friday Night Knitting Club. I'm having a hard time getting into it, perhaps because I'm only able to read a bit here and there, and with so many characters and story lines, I'm getting a little lost.

6. Also, I completely overidentify with the character Darwin.

7. I, however, did tear through the first volume of Alias (not related to the television show). The fact that it is a collection of comic books probably helped with the speed.

8. In looking up the links for those two books, I found at least a half dozen other books that I want to read. Top of the list: Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult.

9. In the past month, three people whom I knew in DC and haven't heard from in a while have gotten in touch with me. One of them I hadn't spoken to in nearly 8 years.

10. 31 days from tomorrow is Moving Day!

11. Three weeks until Spring Break. Thank goodness. Not that it will be much of a break considering that I'll be spending it writing a paper, preparing for two symposiums, catching up on school reading, and moving to my condo.

12. Ten weeks until the end of the term! Not that I don't still love grad school, but I just never seem to be able to take a breath. I've been in survival mode since the first week of the term. I'm looking forward to when I'm done with the "requirements" and can enjoy doing my own research. If I ever figure out what the research will be.

Thursday, March 01, 2007


I have a condo!

Only one more month of me bitching about my neighbors. Or, well, these neighbors.

I'll post photos soon.