Monday, January 31, 2011

Our New Friend Agasu and His Minions

This weekend, Spousal Unit and I went to the Samaritan House fundraiser dinner, at the United World College. It looks like a Southwestern Hogwarts.


It was an exciting evening, thanks to my friends' offer of free tickets to the event. We didn't discover until we got there (sneaking - in heels - around the cranky security guy who wanted to see tickets we'd never heard of) that one of them is president of the Samaritan House. We felt a bit sheepish.

Along with a delicious meal of mozz and tomato salad, pumpkin curry soup, and chocolate-drizzled biscotti, there was amazing music performed by students from around the world. Peruvian drumming, an African choir (which can be hired for events!), plus Nepalese and swing dance.

Oh yeah, and the silent auction.

We've never participated in a silent auction before. Some part of me has always been wary of seeing lots of shiny things, bidding on them, and then finding out you need to sell an arm and a leg on the black market because, whoops, you've accidentally won everything.

Clearly, I don't know how this is supposed to work. Good thing I'm too wary to carry through on freakish over-bidding.

We put down bids for several way awesome things, including a gorgeous carved necklace and beaded earrings which we didn't win.

Here's what we did win:


We named him Agasu, after a character in American Gods by Neil Gaiman. In the book, Agasu is captured in Africa, brought to America as a slave, and eventually helps win freedom for a plantation in the Carribean.

This hand-carved ebony statue comes from Zambia, where ebony is very rare. Spousal Unit talked to one of the students about the statue, and for the rest of the auction, several students stood right next to it, cleverly blocking other bidders. (But don't tell them that.)

We also won this Japanese fan, coquettishly demonstrated by Spousal Unit:


And this Japanese shawl:


But that's not all, folks! We also won this tapestry from Guatemala, featuring birds of paradise:




Saying that we "won" these things feels wrong, because we did pay for them; we just paid much less than we would have outside of a silent auction setting. The money we paid will help the Samaritan House greatly, and that makes me happy, too.


Though I can't say I'm disappointed in Agasu's choice of friends.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Our Vows

Our wedding vows, adapted from Ingrid Michaelson's "The Way I Am."

Soon-to-be-Spousal-Unit:
If you fall, I will catch you
You need help writing, I'll get a pen
Cuz I love the way you jump on the bed to wake me
And you take me the way I am

Me:
If you fall, I will catch you
You need a spark, I'll be your muse
Cuz I love the way you grumble every morning
And you take me the way I am

Soon-to-be-Spousal-Unit:
If you are sullen, I'll give you laughter
You're sad or hurt, I'll share your pain
Cuz I love the way you take things to heart
And you take me the way I am

Me:
The Cubs are losing; I'll ease your pain
The world is dark; I'll show you stars
Cuz I love the way all things in you run deeply
And you take me the way I am

Soon-to-be-Spousal-Unit:
If you are chilly, I'll be your sweater [Note: He accidentally said 'sweaty' instead. Way cute.]
You get too worried, I'll rub your back
Cuz I love the way you're cold, but love the snow
And you take me the way I am

Me:
If you are fevered, here, take my cold hands
You want to grow, I'll help you spread your roots
Cuz I love the way you sing to me off key
And you take me the way I am

Soon-to-be-Spousal-Unit:
If you have a hard day in richer times, I'll take you out for tofu
And if we should have little, I'll make lasagna instead
Cuz I'll love you more each day of our lives
And I'll take you the way you are

Me:
If you lose your hair in richer times, I will buy you Rogaine
And if we should have little, I'll knit you hats instead
Cuz I'll love you more each day of our lives
And I'll take you the way you are

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Books I Want to Buy This Week: Eve Ensler and Slow Cooking

All books for these segments are not necessarily books I am going to buy. They are books that really, really appeal to me and I really, really want them. But I usually haven't the spare moneys, especially now that we're saving up to move. (Pictures are not mine.)


I am an Emotional Creature, by Eve Ensler, author of The Vagina Monologues. This book, in the same style, is a collection of letters, poems, and stories of girls around the world. This is the kind of book I want in my home so that when women or girls browse the shelves, they can find something to make them more courageous. (No, people don't really browse my shelves that often. But part of that is because there are so few people in this state.)



The Simple Little Vegan Slow Cooker, by Michelle Rivera. 1) Most of the recipes don't call for weird things. 2) SLOW COOKERS ARE MINI GODS. 3) It's $9.99.

Yes, you may look forward to other odd combinations like this in the future.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Mushroom Toss

So, ah...

Last night I was making delicious sweet and sour stir fry for dinner. I chopped various veggies into oblivion as Spousal Unit lounged on the couch, shooting at odd-looking creatures on the TV screen. As I was chopping, he paused his game long enough to yell, "I'm hungry! I need a mushroom, STAT!"

I did what I usually do in that case: I grabbed the food and threw it at him (he inspires such desires in me). It was a single sliced mushroom, thrown overhand across the counter and into the living room, in what was sure to be a misfire.

Instead, it landed perfectly in his mouth. Seriously. You'll just have to trust me on this.

It was like witnessing the end of all warfare on Earth, successfully interpreting dolphin language, and being the first to make contact with an intelligent alien life form. All at once. We were shocked and amazed. We celebrated. There was pie and confetti.

Awesome! you might say. But no. Let me explain why our terribly low standards make this a rather awful thing indeed.

About two and a half weeks ago, we got hitched. We've been together for six years, so it was a long time coming, but it was still incredibly awesome and exciting.

Prior to the marriage, Spousal Unit created a new pasta sauce (it tasted like meat, but had none in it). We're newly minted vegetarians, so this was a great breakthrough in cooking technology for us. This was the most exciting thing to happen to us before the wedding.

Post-wedding, the Perfect Mushroom Toss has been the most exciting thing to happen to us so far. Are we doomed, as a couple, to forever having the lamest Exciting Moments in the world? Probably. Let's look at our history:


  • The most exciting piece of furniture we've purchased was our $40 couch from the Salvation Army.
  • The most exciting meal of the week (for me) is pasta, because I don't have to make it.
  • The most exciting place we've been since the wedding was a restaurant called The Hat.

We're doomed. I don't mind if our entire future together is incredibly boring, but I still think we're doomed to the most boring exciting moments ever.

The next one will probably involve belly button lint.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Ladies and Gentlemen: The Condom Hat


It's not just for dicks anymore.


And yes, that is a Kokopelli patch, just to make it even more phallic.

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Name Fairy

About a year ago, my coworker and I were visited by The Name Fairy.

I work at a magically delicious bookstore, much like Lucky Charms in that books are also a form of crack. It's in the middle of nowhere.

Well, not quite.

Just down the street from my store is the fun-and-perky mental hospital's day office, for those who no longer need four padded walls, but could still use bumpers when bowling, if you get my drift. This makes my walk to work very interesting. Sometimes the work day is too interesting. Especially in winter, when it's cold and the former patients decide to see what's up in all the downtown shops.

Most of them are perfectly nice people, and very interesting to boot. The Man in Black, named for the character in Stephen King's Dark Tower series, dresses in a black trench coat and floppy black cowboy hat. He is very open about his schizophrenia and likes to talk about how much he hates Nazis. Hop (nickname only slightly changed) is older and rather quiet - his favorite pastime, that I can tell, is taking naps on our couch. And muttering to himself. Stinky Cheese Man is pretty self-explanatory.

About a year ago, a new one came to town.

We didn't know, at first, that he was from down the street. He seemed like a Typical Local Customer - wanted to buy books, but had no money and was fresh out of good bartering items (like signed first editions of famous literature). Coworker Greta and I were in the children's section, in the back, far away from actual grown-ups. There's even a wall separating the two, so adults don't have to worry about catching the contagious "enjoyment of life" disease. We may have been playing make-believe that we weren't working.

And Typical Local Customer came up to us.

Greta was about to amble up front, but he stopped her. "I know you," he said.

She froze and gave me a look of how-the-hell-does-this-guy-know-me. Odd, I thought to myself. She's in high school and this 40-year-old knows her? Maybe he's a teacher she just doesn't remember.

"You do?" she asked tentatively.

"Yes. Your name is Hoptina."

The look on his face was rather serious as he said this, with only a faint smile. He rocked back and forth from one foot to the other. That was the last sign I needed - this man was not the most colorful Fruit Loop in the box. He was the loopiest.

Greta and I looked at each other, trying desperately not to break out laughing. Our lips quivered. Her eyes screamed OH GOD WHO IS THIS NUTJOB. "My name's Greta," she corrected.

"No, it's Hoptinna!" he insisted, and listed three different spellings of the "name," in case we were unsure of which version he meant.

Oh. Okay. Thank you. Now we understand. That Hoptinna. Yes, have a good day, sir. And he walked out, to the front of the store.

Three. Two. One. Mount St. Giggles exploded. No corner of the children's section was safe from the attack. They spewed on EVERYTHING. But wait! He came back again. "Here, I'll show you."

Please do, sir.

"It's spelled like this-" scribble scribble "-or like this-" scribble "or like this." scribble scribble.


Submitted for your approval, the three spellings were: Hoptinna, Hoptina, Hoptyna. Later, I looked up each of these spellings, and found exactly what I'd suspected. Translated from the Indo-European root, these three spellings all mean the same thing: crazy.

But he wasn't done.

"I know your grandma," he said, looking at me.

I froze, an antelope caught in the high beams of a Crazy Train, bearing down at unreasonably high speeds.

"Your name is Joanna Campbell. Your grandma's name is Sharon." He wrote the next (much less crazy) name below the alternate spellings of Greta's delightful new pseudonym.

(Her name is Mary Ann. She's 1300 miles away.)

He left us with awesome new names (if we ever need to get out of the country fast, we won't have to think twice about what name to give), and the business card he scribbled them on. Apparently some of the crazy also rubbed off on me, because I kept that card, and I swear to God I saw it sometime in the last three days.

And now I can't find it.

And I've torn the apartment asunder in my desperate search.

I bet that's just how The Name Fairy got started.
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