The choo-choo I most often ride operates only once per twenty-four hours, which generally puts the New City arrival time at anywhere between 4:05 a.m. and 7:00 a.m. Traveling through the black void called "Ohio at night" is fine, as far as I'm concerned, since there is generally not much to see during the day anyway. Experience has taught me, however, that getting off the train in New City in the wee hours of the morning and then heading straight to work without any rest is physically possible but absolutely miserable, especially if one is unable to keep feeding on copious amounts of caffeine, sugar and adrenaline to keep momentum going.
And so it was that I had a weekend itinerary that looked somewhat like this: depart New City for Soy Capital on Friday night, and arrive Saturday morning. Sit in a car for an hour. Attend baby shower. Drive for an hour. Board train bound for New City on Saturday night, and arrive on Sunday morning. Deflect all homeless men asking if I want a taxi which they will provide for a small fee. Wait for the bus while attempting to keep all limbs relatively unfrozen. Deliver scathingly cynical looks at young college boys in order to discourage them (surprisingly easy to do when I have not slept, because I get cranky). Sit alone with an envious expression when their warm toasty bus comes first and I am alone in the 36 degree weather again. Get on bus. Go home, go to bed. The advantage to a timetable like this is that I only had to pack one set of clothes.
My presence was required back in the Soy, you see, for my eldest stepsister is having a baby. Since she is the first of our generation to do so, the future grandkid is already quite a Big Deal. The journey went off without a hitch, more or less, except for the part where I displayed my brilliant packing abilities by leaving my gift sitting on my bed in New City. I was saved by two things: I realized it before we got to the baby shower, and the train had only been an hour late, so there was still time to run to Barnes & Noble to snag a duplicate. The shower itself was a little strange, for reasons that I cannot go into here. I was rather relieved that my travel plans gave me an excuse to escape early.
I was baffled by how they invited fathers/husbands and then proceeded to segregate them in a separate room, but this confusion quickly became envy ... I would much rather have been in their shoes! There were, thank goodness, only three or four "baby games" that I found myself, as a female, obligated to play. The worst by far was having to identify the flavors of six different, unlabeled jars of baby food.
Me: Did you just write "gross" for #3!?
Mother: No, I wrote "gross," "grosser," and "grossest."
I was slightly disappointed to find that "putty," my best guess, was not correct for any of the six. Nor was "spackle." I had a sudden realization that child anger, frustration and power plays develop not later in life, but at the very stage when we shovel these strange substances down the throats of infants who are unable to defend themselves and tell us "that's disgusting."
I have some precarious piles in my room, mostly because I have no place to put that which they contain. I accidentally tipped one over on Friday, but it turned out to be a happy accident, for I found several items I had regarded as completely lost ... my long black cardigan, for example, and Rin's pseudo-obi and related in-progress-since-May-since-I-couldn't-f
Thanks to never ever doodling for more than five minutes at a time, the hair for this chick took me days. I was actually thinking of some being resembling a Vampire Hunter D-esque "dunpeal," but I got quite tired of explaining that to my coworkers (to whom D and his pointy-eared kin are completely unheard of), so I just called her "an elf for Halloween," which took a lot less effort. She looks better when I take my glasses off and lean back, which is probably not a good sign. I changed the orientation up for the icon because this angle reminded me of that creepy mask in "Perfect Blue," which I have not seen in years, but which, if memory serves me right, scared the hell out of earthphoenix and me.
[Edit: Don't know how I managed to forget this piece of news, but ... Ziti finally has the ZOMG GOLDEN AXE! This is actually good timing, too, for while Lenaburg was once Perfect, it is now no longer so, due to "too many trees." I have not altered the number of trees, but I have changed the type, so I am wondering if that upset the mysterious balance. Ziti, now armed with an unbreakable axe, will play the lumberjack ... though that role conflicts with her fruit magnate interests. How can she chop down a tree that produces fruit that sells for 500 bells apiece!?]