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Below are the 15 most recent journal entries recorded in Marian's LiveJournal:

Monday, July 15th, 2002
1:28 pm
Trains, Planes, and Automobiles - well just trains
Sunday I held a "train foo" in Gwynn's Falls/Leakin Park.

The Chesapeake and Alleghany Live Steam Miniature Railroad Club has maintained a track and roundhouse in the park for almost 20 years. On the second Sunday of each month, weather permitting, the public can ride the trains for free. (Donations accepted.)

I used to enjoy the trains as a child, but around age 10 or 12 I stopped going. Last year, during my graduation party, I found out that the trains were running and hiked up the hill with a friend and her kids to show them where the trains were. I was planning to hike back down the hill after this. Instead, I stayed and rode the trains. And rode the trains. And rode the trains again.

They are even more fun as an adult. As a child, it is like an amusement park ride, albeit a slow one without any gravity defying curves. As an adult, I can appreciate the craftsmanship and the skill that goes in to making these miniatures. I can gawk at the hunched over engineer feeding dime sized pieces of coal into the boiler of his pufferbelly. *toot* *toot*

Because I am going to be going away to China, and I will have no more opportunities to ride the trains before I left, I scheduled a party. Not a party party. RSVPs not required. We aren't providing any food, tables, chairs, or napkins. Just show up and ride the trains with me.

As I said to one friend, I plan to enjoy myself with the trains. If my friends show up I will enjoy myself with my friends and the trains. If my friends don't show up, then gosh darn it, I will -still- enjoy myself.

And enjoy myself, I did.

Having friends around did make it better, of course. I would wish that the day had been sunnier, and that more of my friends had come, but the weather was cool and on a day like this one did not have to compete with dozens of children for places in line. I think I preferred it this way.

-
1:26 pm
Another new message
Maybe one which will be followed by a third new message ... these being discrete and seperate topics.

I am going back to not writing in the journal until at least Wednesday because I am going to be away from keyboard. On Wednesday I will forget to write in the journal, and by Friday I plan to be trying this "write at least one entry a day" thing again.

I predict that I will fail sometime around the beginning of August, but this is okay because I will be going to Pennsic and will, again, be away from keyboard.

-
1:24 pm
I knew this would happen
Didn't I say at the very beginning, oh so not very long ago, that I am not very good at keeping journals?

Well, I'm not.

Even with a deliberate effort on my part to write on a daily basis, I believe I haven't written in well over a week ... maybe even two weeks.

Interesting things have happened during that time period.
Boring things have happened during that time period as well.

What hasn't happened at all was journal writing.

-M
Monday, July 1st, 2002
7:24 pm
Buck teeth and a double chin
It has been a couple of days since I wrote in this journal. I didn't have access to a computer during that time period.

Later on this evening, I'll write an entry about where I was and what I did.

For now, "Buck Teeth and a Double Chin" also known as "My Passport has Arrived."

I'm really quite impressed at how terrible I look in my passport photo.

I have a mild overbite, and in rare conditions (usually deliberate attempts to make stupid faces, or when my mouth is gaping open) I can manage to make a double chin.

But my passport photo not only has all the usual qualities of a identy photo (such as the drugged out pinpoint pupils of having been flashbulbed five times in the past minute) but it also manages to give me buck teeth and a double chin.

From the nose up, I look like me on a bad day. I don't remember it being a particularly bad day, but obviously it must have been. My eyes are a bit sunken with sleep shadows beneath them. My cheeks are a bit puffy like when I am having an allergy attack. And my hair is messy!

I remember sitting in the parking lot of the photo place for 20 minutes while I brushed my hair, I realize it is an uncontrollable mass of floof when I dry brush it but (not having photos) I didn't realize it was that bad. I hereby vow to be more careful when brushing my hair.

Ay yi yi!

On the up side - I have very lovely eyebrows and no visible pimples
Friday, June 28th, 2002
3:45 am
It's a beautiful day
There is a song sung by Freddie Mercury that has in it somewhere the lyrics "It's a beautiful day" where he holds the notes for a very long time ... coming out as "Eeeeeeeett'ssss a BEW ta fullllllllllll DAY." Just that phrase of that song has been running through my head, since, on the way to lunch today, my mom commented "It's a beautiful day."

Of course, I can't remember any other part of the song.

We started out clothes shopping. I got a lovely sundress with machine done crewel flowers on it. There were a lot of other things at that store that might have fit me but they have that nasty chain embroidery that pulls loose so easily and ravels away so quickly once it has pulled loose. My boobs are too big for someone with shoulders my size. Nothing in normal sizes fits me. And, I'm sorry, I may be fat, but at 230 pounds I am not a size 4x.

After the clothes shopping we went to Borders Books in Towson. I got two books on how to cook Chinese food and a book on culture shock and China. There weren't any Berlitz Chinese guides, and none of the myriad travel guides I looked through had anything on the city I am going to. If you are reading this, and you happen to know anything about Shijiazhuang that I probably ought to know, tell me.

As we were leaving (before paying) we passed a section that was specifically travel journals. Quite reasonably priced for hard bound blank books. But they were all chintzy with nasty paper, though one of them was quite proud of being acid free.

As we were leaving (after paying) mom noticed a section that was all journals. Even though I am keeping an online journal (and doing pretty well at it so far) the idea of having a nice paper journal appeals to me. So I went and browsed the shelves. One of the coolest had faux handmade paper (the stuff with the specks in it) and leather covers that were stamped with celtic knotwork. However, I refuse to pay $50 for an empty book.

The one which I have decided I am going to get (but didn't because I had already payed) has a reproduction of a Chinese watercolor on the covers ... complete with the ubiquitous red ink stamps that most Asian artwork has as cataloging. The paper is nice, not great, but nice. I'd guess it has some cotton in it, but not a whole lot. Pleasant to touch, but not something I would spent a great deal of time deliberately touching ... (Like Tangent's copy of The Three Books of the Potters Art).

The journal I have decided to purchase has no spine. Instead the quartos of paper are sewn together in a normal fashion (looks like hemp thread) and then attached to the covers which are boards. (I don't remember the exact method of attachment to the covers.) Usually this area has a piece of paper glued to it, and then a piece of cloth (or leather) bound tightly over the top. Something I especially like is that it has a distinctive look, even on the shelf, so I'll be able to know what book it is.

Onwards to lunch at Holy Frijoles.

Then helping the motorist.

Then Bennigans for my interview.

Which didn't happen because the people who set me up for a second interview are at a different Bennigans. When I kept saying "But I'm sure the man who interviewed me on Monday was named David, are you positive you have no Davids there" they ought to have said, "oh, that is the other local franchise, which is in fact owned by the same people who own us, David is their general manager." Okay, this is expecting a lot, but given that the kitchen manager at the Bennigans I am trying to get a job at knew that the Chris I was talking about is the general manager at the Snowden River Parkway Bennigans I don't think I am too too out of line in wishing this were so.

So I get given Ty's name and phone number and told to call after 5pm.

I walk across the street to the McDonalds where my mom is whiling away the time that I am supposed to be in an interview. This street crossing thing really impresses her, cause the street is 8 lanes wide. However, there is a median strip, and red lights, and drivers tend to be less likely to hit you when you are staring them in the face.

On to the Goodwill, where I get myself a very cool lace top, and a free size ankle length skirt with bells. I like skirts with bells.

I call Ty from Bennigans after 5pm and go in for an interview around 8pm.

I decide to wear my new sundress which surprises the hell out of my dad, who is used to me wearing ankle length skirts. I don't think I have worn a skirt shorter than calf length since at least Darkover (November) and probably Balticon before last (Memorial Day 2001). When standing still, this dress ends 1 1/2 inches above my knees.

Of course, this interview is supposed to be a two person interview (Ty and David) but David doesn't work Thursday nights. So Ty interviews me, takes notes, and says that he'll compare notes with David tomorrow and call me around 5:30pm to update me.

I've got my fingers crossed.

-
2:56 am
"Praise Jesus"
I suppose I could call this journal entry "pay it forward" it "helping someone with car trouble," but "Praise Jesus" seemed most appropriate.

To those of you who know me this probably seems a bit strange. I am someone who, at the very least, is highly unlikely to utter the phrase "Praise Jesus." Except in situations like this, where I am quoting someone. And the stranger I helped today, said it so many times in such a reverent and thankful tone, that it is how I am remembering him.

Details of my lovely day with my mom are in another entry. Given the way LiveJournal threads entries, although I haven't written it yet, you will probably read that one first.

We were on our way from lunch and headed for Bennigans and the Goodwill. It is hot, and humid, and the weather is overall really nasty. I've spent nearly my entire life in Baltimore and rarely have I felt such a need to spend so much time retreating from the weather and hiding behind an air conditioner.

If you are a Balt'morean, we were on Northern Parkway, going away from ColdSpring Lane ... near the new police station.

An older car is stopped in our lane with the lights blinking. There is an older black man rummaging in the trunk.

Mom attempts to change lanes, but instead ends up stopped half in and half out of traffic right next to the man. He looks at me, I look at my mom. She nods slightly. I turn around and open the door. "Tell him we'll take him to the nearest gas station" she says, at the same time he starts to say something slightly incoherent about not having any cash on him and being willing to pay us back if we'd buy him a gallon of gas ... ramble ramble ramble ramble ... "I live just a few blocks from here" he says in there somewhere.

We offer to take him home.

He gets in the car.

We start to drive off.

"I'd really like to thank you folks, I didn't know what I was going to do at all. Praise Jesus."
and then an awkward pause on his part as he finishes the name of his lord, "oh sorry you being Jews and all, don't mean to offend or anything."

I look at my mom. My mom looks at me. I don't usually believe in telepathy but it is obvious that both of us are thinking the same thing "How does he know we are Jews?" Once upon a time I had a necklace with a star of David on it. I haven't seen it most of a decade. There are no religious bumper stickers on or in the car. We aren't the kind of people to carry prayer books about with us and if we were we wouldn't leave them in the car.

We let him off and he thanks us ... a lot ... says he'll pay if we'll wait just wait here. "No, pay it forward. Help a stranded motorist when you get the chance." "Praise Jesus. I already do that sort of thing." He thanks us a bit more, somewhere in the rambling mentioning how he knew he wasn't going to have been able to walk in this heat, and with that hill and his prosthetic leg. "Praise Jesus for you coming along and helping me when I needed it."

On our way we go.

"I wonder how many people drove by him?"
"I don't want to think about it mom, it'll make me depressed. He's got to be at least 70 years old."
"Sad thing is, if he were 20, I wouldn't have done it."
"If he were 20 you wouldn't have needed to do it."
"True"

We had a pretty lengthy conversation after this about paying it forward, and karma, and the belief in karma. I like to think, whether or not karma exists, that if I help enough stranded motorists, that those people will go out and help others, and that there will be a larger pool of people out there willing to help stranded motorists some day when I need a ride.

It turns out a Sol Levinson and Brothers prayer pamphlet crept into the car at my great Aunt's funeral and was hiding on the floor. That's how he knew we were Jews.

-
Thursday, June 27th, 2002
12:25 am
subject?
I met a reasonably nice fellow a few months back.

And we did "going out on a date" things which was kind of cool.

Other than the multi hour snuggle and kiss fest at the party where I met him, there really weren't any sparks for me even though he was just glowing over me.

I've been chicken shit about emailing and finally telling him that this isn't going to work. I knew he'd realized it by the time I actually sent this email cause he'd given up emailing me.

His telling me in response to my email "oh yeah, the lack of interest was mutual" so it is okay that I didn't email him is a load of bullcrap.

I saw his face light up when he came to pick me up and I could see him before he could see me.

Humans are such weird animals. I'm offering to be friends with him and he's pushing me away cause I don't want to do the girlfriend thing with him.

.
.
.
.
.
long pause
.
.
.
.
.

Am I so spoiled by Mike?
12:15 am
As it happens (the Wednesday edition) :)
Ahh lets see what has happened today ...

I woke up at a ridiculously normal time to get to Johns' Hopkins for a plastic surgery consult. They'll be able to do the necessary scanning sorts of things before I leave but any surgery would have to be put off until next year.

Karen S. is still my case manager, even if I haven't seen her at any of a large number of past visits.

I don't care much for the blond woman who has subbed in for her at appointments. She's nice and pleasant and smiles a lot but doesn't really seem to have much of a personality beyond smiling a lot.

The older woman was really really nice, much nicer than Karen (not that Karen isn't nice if Karen is reading this or even if she isn't :) ... people who share the same opinions I have on the universe are obviously smart and wonderful people.

This woman is okay, talkative in a good way, skillful at questioning. She managed to do the near impossible, which is make me willingly tell the whole megilah of how I got injured (in detail) and what has been done to me since then (in detail).

After the plastic surgery consult we went out to lunch, and my mom and I got into a fight with my dad. He was being a jerk. Totally disrespectful and bitchy and all sorts of things and no obvious reason. Not that we were being our most pleasant.

Followed by snowballs.
Ahh, snowballs.
A true Maryland delicacy.
(For those not in the know they are crushed ice in a cup with flavored syrup.)

And home.

Where I called in and got scheduled for a second interview at Bennigans. This is good, a job of any kind is good, even if that job be a waitressing type job.

Bill SomethingOrTheOtherNameStartsWithTheLetterB's book on the Appalachian Trail called "A Walk in the Woods" is a very yummy book if a bit depressing at times.

I'm really tired for this time of the night, something about waking up at a normal time.
Tuesday, June 25th, 2002
1:23 am
ouch ouch ouch ouch ouch ouch ouch
I barely walked half a mile today.

I didn't spend very much time standing still either.

BUT MY LEG HURTS LIKE HELL.

The bony spot between the two screw sites, nearer the ankle than the knee ... feels like someone is pounding on it with small hammers from the inside. I know nerve damage exists and I know that nerves don't neccesarily tell the correct information but I swear it feels like a two or three inch long section of bone.

Then up where the rod comes close to the surface of the bone (near the knee) there is a dull throbbing.

And why the fuck does my hip hurt
Monday, June 24th, 2002
11:19 pm
Desperation
I have applied for a job as a waitress at Bennigan's.

And I went trolling through the mall for other places to fill out forms.

This is not what I want to do with my Bachelor's degree.

The interview with the manager at Bennigan's went well enough, though he seemed more interested in the program I was going to go to China with and how I hurt my leg than in whether or not I have skills that might be useful in being a first time waitress. Then again he might have just been chatty, and as my boyfriend often says "well you are awfully cute."

Ho hum

I went home afterwards, napped a bit, started rereading "Dead Until Dark" (the nice thing about mysteries is that you have to read them twice, once just to read, once knowing whodunit and to see if the author did it right.) Good book. Seems a bit derivative of the Laurell K Hamilton, Anita Blake (Vampire Executioner) story. A werewolf and a vampire competing for the attention of a very special mortal with a murder mystery going on in the background and an encounter with vampire politics.

Not so deriviative as to be bad or anything, like taking the same basic concept and making something totally different out of it. Sort of like cuskynoles.

I am especially fond of the retarded vampire
2:58 am
Pointless day
Today was a totally pointless day.

I did absolutely nothing productive.

And I hated it!

I like this whole life of leisure thing but I am getting sick and tired of leeching off my parents.

And as my first real job approaches me (starting at the end of August) the chances of even a part time summer job recede.

At 21 and 23 they shouldn't have to be supporting both me and my brother but I do love them for it. (Well, I love them for a lot of reasons, cause they are pretty cool people.)

Tomorrow I take a lung test and go hunting the elusive job. The desperation point has officially hit "mall" and "waitressing."

-
Sunday, June 23rd, 2002
3:42 am
Getting into the habit
Of writing in my journal.

I have never kept a journal for much longer than a few weeks if that. I have come across a dozen or more childhood journals and diaries that I was given to write in. They contain one or two real entries and then shorter and shorter entries until they peter out into messages like "Dear Diary, sorry I forgot to write for the last two weeks." And eventually no entries at all.

I sent email to my first boyfriend nearly every day. When he stopped responding completely and I could no longer write to him, one of the things I missed was having a sounding board for my feelings and thoughts of the day. Writing to no one at all was a complete bust, it didn' t have the same feel. And writing messages that were theoretically to him but that I didn't actually intend to send always turned into speculative rambles about the nature of my former relationship. They were never about things I did that very day. And having a way to constantly write about things I did that very day was nice.

So I started a journal.

And like every childhood journal that had preceeded it, the journal of my college days slowly got shorter and shorter messages until it got no messages at all.

I am really hoping that I will manage to continue to keep this journal updated.

I know a lot of people are going to want progress reports on what's goin' on while I'm in China.

And keeping a journal with periodic updates seems the best way to do that.

...

Today was the BSFS picnic (Baltimore Science Fiction Society).

While I was there I read Robert Aspirin's new MYTH book.

And I drank too much caffeinated soda, which is why I am up at 3:48 am.

And I had a good time.

BLAH!!!!

How is it I can write interesting sounding things (at least to me) when I am being introspective about the habit of writing, but when actually trying to write about something which was interesting (really) it comes out like an elementary school student's essay "What I did on my Summer vacation"?

Perhaps it will come with practice?

-
3:32 am
Relationships
DISCLAIMER - If you don't want to know a fairly detailed analysis of my relationship structure, or if you will bother me about this when you next see me in person do not read any further. If you read further and then insist on bothering me about this in person, I will not be happy, and when I am done, you will not be happy.

This is cut and pasted from a post I made to alt.polyamory.

> What I'm trying to figure out is, how do you know if you are poly? I've
> many a friend who are poly, of course many monogamous, and some who do
> the swing thing, others who do the cheating thing. ME? right now I'm
> 100% single.

My first boyfriend was the first guy who showed interest in me for whom I had any corresponding interest. I'm not proud of it, but I don't know if the first six months of that relationship were monogamous. Once upon a time I assumed they were. (ass)(u)(me).

It seemed as soon as I met a guy who was interested in me I kept meeting others, probably because I wasn't as socially insecure. But even if I might be interested I wasn't interested cause that wouldn't be nice. I didn't ask him for his opinion on this or even on the level of seriousness of our relationship.

I think maybe I fell in love with the idea of my then boyfriend but I don't know if I ever really fell in love with him.

Approximately four or five months after we began a long distance relationship he suggested that I ought to date other people in addition to him. He gave reasons some logical, some spurious, all pretty much unremembered at this point except for the remarks on my sex drive and my wearing him out.

Some weeks later, and some three weeks since I'd seen him (ref: sex drive), I met a handsome fellow who was interested in me and who I thought was interesting. Group silliness ensued and somehow a kiss happened. And then many more kisses happened. And then some things that I won't discuss in public happened. Contact info was exchanged and the first thing I did when I got home was call my boyfriend and tell him all about it.

And he didn't disapprove.

Not only did he not appear to disapprove he seemed pleased.

So I continued this relationship. And I fell in love with this new guy (though I didn't know it then). And then for reasons unapparent at the time (and senseless still) my boyfriend chose not to spend time with me when we were in the same geographical space and I had the option to spend time with him. The new guy and the friends who had come along into my life with his existence kept me from being too badly hurt over it.

And I fell more in love with this new guy. And because his approval for an open relationship was explicit as well as implicit and had been fairly thoroughly discussed, I kept an eye and an ear open for other possible relationships though I didn't try very hard. Most nearly all of these possibles didn't meet my new sets of standards ... standards which in some ways were unreasonable expectations.

Currently I have a few long distance quasi relationships out there, and my new guy who is hardly new anymore even if he is still bright and shiny but mostly my polyness has been expressed by my being happy at his being happy in other relationships and by my dealing with unhappiness is ways other than demanding she go away.

> I'm not sure where I like on the poly-curve, and I'm very curious how
> people have determinied this for themselves, and what I should think
> about to try to get an answer.

When my new guy came along, I found out about the term polyamory. I looked it up and fiat declared myself poly because I was in an honest multi partner relationship.

Would I be happy just being in a couple? I don't know. Nor, so long as I have my sweetie, do I have any intention of trying to find out.

-
Thursday, June 20th, 2002
11:35 pm
Second Message - Szechuan
I'm going to be teaching English in China.

I'm very excited about this.

The planning is already snowballing into a Major Affair.

I'll be in Shijiazhuang, Hebei--the city formerly known as Szechuan before the method of transliterating was changed. I have nothing against insisting that one's placenames actually be pronounced correctly, but oh how I long for these places to be spelled as once they were spelled. I can remember Szechuan. But Shijiazhuang is tongue tying my brain. I'm sure it will come to me soon.

If people have suggestions, information, or help, about teaching English in China, it will be appreciated
11:33 pm
First Message
I'm here. After lots of people telling me about this place for years.

I started out on deadjournal cause I was impatient and didn't want to wait until a code showed up in my inbox. I'll maintain two journals I thought.

But deadjournal ate my first message and I spent 10 minutes writing that message.

So, I'll maintain one journal, and I'll maintain it at a site that doesn't have a reputation for eating messages.
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