The IHOP was probably not the best place to meet Ned, since she's a vegetarian and the menu didn't offer many vegetarian options at all. It was also more expensive than either Ned or I were expecting (neither of us having ever eaten at an IHOP before - unless you count the fact that I ate there with Susan on Friday after Ned had canceled, in addition to eating there on Sunday when Ned was there). But the company was great! It turned out that Lynda has previously worked as both a teacher and an editor, so Susan and I both had plenty to talk about with her, despite never having even heard of her before we met her. We also talked about the plenty of other topics. Ned wanted to know what we thought of Obama and the smear campaign claiming that he's Muslim (which is predicated on the offensive unstated assumption that Muslims are not qualified to be president). I wanted to know whether anything about the United States has surprised Ned. She said she's only been in the most liberal parts of it and therefore finds all Americans to be wonderful so far, but she has been surprised by how biased CNN and our other mass media news sources are.
Anyway, we had a great time. Then Susan and I watched the Monarchs win, and we each went back to our respective homes.
Earlier events in the weekend included acquiring new fish. I discovered on Saturday that the plecostomus, which was the only non-convict fish that hadn't been murdered by her convict fish, was missing from the fish tank. It's odd that it was missing; the convict fish had left dead bodies lying around after all their previous murders, but we never found a body this time. Anyway, on Sunday afternoon I went to buy a new plecostomus (they help keep the tank clean; without one, algae was starting to develop). I found a plecostomus that was already in the same tank as a bunch of convict fish at the pet store, and decided I should buy that one so that I wouldn't be subjecting it to company any more unpleasant than it already had. Then I noticed that there was one other species also in the same tank as the convict fish - some Nicaraguan cichlids. There were many other tanks containing fish that I had read online were theoretically compatible with convict fish, but I couldn't bring myself to actually subject any fish to such unpleasant company unless they already had such unpleasant company to begin with. So I decided to buy the Nicaraguan cichlids, which I had not heard described as being compatible with convict fish, but which were visibly alive in the convict fish tank at the pet store.
Susan's biggest convict fish is a little bigger than any of the ones in the pet store, though, and he seems to be harassing the Nicaraguan cichlids quite a bit so far. I hope the Nicaraguan cichlids don't kill the baby convict fish or get killed by the daddy convict fish.
I think it was also on Saturday that Susan finally managed to induce her next-door neighbor Jessica to fill out the voter registration form I had picked up for her a week earlier. We figure that if every same-sex couple in California can persuade one person to vote against the state constitutional amendment in November that would make same-sex marriages illegal again, we can preserve our right to get legally married - so we've picked Jessica as our person to persuade. She doesn't need any persuading about same-sex marriages being good, but she needs a lot of persuading to actually go vote about anything, ever. So Susan bribed her by inviting her over for dinner with us on the condition that she fill out the voter registration form. It worked; Jessica came over for dinner and filled out the voter registration form. I will stamp it and mail it in, and then in November, Susan is going to make sure Jessica actually votes.
Also on Saturday, Susan expressed a desire to go to the Mendocino Hotel (on the northern California coast). This led to what was by our standards (we being quite an un-argumentative couple) a fairly heated argument. Which is to say that it was perfectly polite but still rather emotional. The argument was over our differing standards of living. To me, a hotel is never a destination in itself but rather a place it's occasionally necessary to stay overnight when visiting a different destination, and staying at one is always an extravagance, normally indulged in less than once a year. To Susan, a hotel can be a destination in itself, and one should stay in hotels at least four times per year. Also, for her the major appeal of hotels is the idea of having people serve her, providing room service and food at her command. For me, having strangers serve me (or even having them anywhere around me) is a nuisance to be endured for the sake of whatever the non-hotel-related destination is. At the Mendocino Hotel, ocean views and other nature scenery would be a sufficient enticement to make the hotel stay worthwhile for me, but Susan kept trying to persuade me that I should want to go there for the hotel itself, which did not work and which instead made the whole trip sound unnecessarily unappealing to me.
Really it was probably very bad form for me to argue over this specific hotel trip, since she pointed out that her birthday is coming up and the trip could be a birthday present for her. But she didn't suggest that it should be a birthday present until after I resisted her other reasons for going. Anyway, we are going! Next weekend we are going to the Mendocino Hotel. There will be beautiful expanses of Pacific Ocean across the street from the hotel, and beautiful redwood forests to pass through on the way to and from the hotel, and beautiful nature scenery all around. And these things will make it worthwhile to put up with having strangers provide room service and food.
Oh, and our tenth lunar revolution (ten-month anniversary) was on Thursday. I still owe her a poem for it. But yay for ten months! Is ten months really supposed to be this easy and fun and not hard work at all?