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Our apartment is only about 4 miles from (not) our house, but I shop at different stores (except Wegmans), go to different gas stations, different Starbucks, different Panera, take a completely different way to work…sometimes it feels like we moved much further away. I don’t see the people I used to see around, which makes perfect sense – they’re not our neighbors anymore.
I do still occasionally run into people we know, though. I went for a run after work yesterday and ran into a woman from our boxing class. I guess she lives in THIS part of town, and now that I do, too, it makes perfect sense to see her out and about. But it’s still not that far from where we lived before, so it seems insane to think we never crossed paths before. Outside of boxing.
Probably a whole third of the people I work with live in this town – how is it that I never see any of them around? Because really – I NEVER see anyone from work, and we’re all practically next door neighbors. Where are they all hiding? Maybe I’m oblivious to it. They see me coming and duck behind the nearest bush. It’s what I would do if I saw them first, so I can’t blame them if that’s what’s happening. People from work should stay at work (with very few exceptions).
Or I should hurry up and move away. Like, actually move away. Four miles is a tease.
Published April 22nd, 2015 at 6:40 pm by Zannah in cars with 4 comments
Hm. When I wrote the title, I’m pretty sure I had at least two narrow escapes in mind. Right now I can only thing of one (the near-accident from last Friday). Maybe it’ll come to me.
I took my car to the mechanic yesterday because the serpentine belt was making noise and I wanted to have the alignment checked. I mentioned my curb attack to the guy while he was checking out the car, told him I hit it pretty hard, but when I looked I didn’t see any obvious damage. After one look at the front driver’s side tire, he was like, “Oh no, lady, you did some damage.” There was a lump the size of a baseball on the sidewall of the tire. Apparently, that’s like a ticking time bomb. The tire was still holding air, but I guess that kind of swelling is just waiting to pop at the most inopportune time. So I got two new tires yesterday (and they fixed my alignment). We said goodbye to just under $400. I also got an estimate for $430 dollars to replace the belt, the idler pulley, and the tensioner (the noisy culprits) AND apparently I need to replace my rear brakes for only another $300. John looked up the belt parts – we can get those for $75. He’ll do that work. The brakes we might consider having them do. That’s much more annoying to do ourselves.
Car stuff is expensive. But we’ll live. More importantly, so will the car.
Maybe the other narrow escape was avoiding spending over $1000 on the car in one day? I’m not sure.
It’s that time again: time to pick a new book. But it’s bedtme and I’m sleepy, so I’m going to put it off until tomorrow. Which really means tomorrow after work. Why do I even want to put it off? I certainly don’t want to NOT read something.
I have made this complaint before. No more.
Hey, my company offered Molly the job she interviewed for, and she’s accepting it! That’ll be interesting. Good, but interesting. More to come as the story unfolds. Or however that goes.
You know what’s cool? My keyboard. It lights up. See?
Yeah, that’s a great picture. I’m on a roll tonight. I should definitely keep writing random stuff and then trailing off without any attempt to make it interesting. Yup. That’s what I should do.
Oh, wait! I know what I’m reading next. Finally, I have purpose! Energy renewed, off to start a new book. (Is this my process? Kind of irritating. Thanks for wading it through it!)
Published April 20th, 2015 at 7:34 pm by Zannah in cars with no comments
Wish my car good luck, please. It’s been making noises (squeaky belt kind of noises) for a couple of weeks, and then a kind of ticking sound started this morning, in time with the belt noise, and John decided that sounded like imminent failure. I’m not sure what’s about to fail, but I’m dropping the car off at the place tomorrow morning. I also want to have the alignment checked, since it feels off and my near-accident last Friday couldn’t have helped things. (Some guy swerved into my lane out of nowhere (and at high speed). I swerved violently up the curb and onto the median. There was a very loud noise when my tire hit the curb, but no obvious damage. The guy sped off – I’m not sure he even noticed he almost hit me.) I wonder if insurance will cover damage from avoiding an accident.
My run this morning was so great, it had to have been faked somehow. I’m pretty sure I was on a movie set. It was around 8:30 on a beautiful Saturday morning in spring. The sky was clear and brilliantly blue and the sun was shining. Everyone I passed answered my “Good morning!” or least waved or smiled back at me. My running playlist (which is huge and on perpetual shuffle so I’m always surprised) skewed heavily toward Dean Martin with Three Dog Night’s “Let Me Serenade You” to bring me to the finish line. The trees are still in bloom, and – I swear I’m not making this up – as I passed under a couple of cherry trees, a breeze picked up, and I ran through a cloud of tiny pink blossoms falling to the ground. The only things missing were chirping cartoon bird. I think I’ve seen this happen to Jennifer Garner. Minus the cartoon birds. I guess neither of us rate those.
I was going to post something deep, something meaningful, something that would change everyone’s perception of…something. I’m sure I was. It was all right there, right at my fingertips. But then John sent me a link to reddit. (The only thing more dangerous (in a losing time kind of way) than reddit is TV Tropes.) This particular thread is about getting songs stuck in your head, or having other people do it to you on purpose. Every redditor lists another song, and before you know it, reading the thread is like listening to a jukebox on absurd shuffle, where a toddler with ADD is in charge and you only get 10 seconds before the next song starts. But even with all that constantly-changing noise, you know what I keep coming back to?
Thing the first: I wasn’t able to leave work early enough to go for a run before dinner, but I did get out of the office to enjoy the weather a little bit. I had an appointment in the late morning (quick trim), so I headed out (running late) and rushed over. Got there just in time. It was fast, so I felt like I could take some time to myself before going back to the office. I walked over to Starbucks, picked up an iced chai latte, and sat on a bench with my book for about 15 minutes. It was SUCH a nice day. All the trees are still in bloom, I FINALLY saw lots of daffodils, the sky was blue and clear, and the air was warm-ish. I would have stayed a little longer, but a landscaping company showed up and started making a TON of noise. It got a lot less peaceful, so I headed back to work. Just as well, I guess.
Thing the second: My officemate has decided she’s getting too worked up over every little thing, so she’s going to let all those annoyances roll off. I’m supposed to help her remember that. It’ll help me remember it, too. Now we’re listening to soothing sounds on YouTube. All we need is a palm tree. (“I just wanna see some paaaalm trees.“)
Thing the third: my friend (and coworker) Stephanie asked me to check on something that hasn’t been working lately, and when we found that it IS working now, she sent this back to me in her emailed reply:
I’m sure it’s not new, but it was exactly what I needed to see, and now I laugh every time I look at it. (Did I high-five my screen? Yes. Yes, I did. And I might do it again right now.)
Update (8:08pm): I just found out today was National High Five Day. So many things are clearer now. Except why, exactly, we have a National High Five Day. Happy Random Holiday Day!
I don’t cook much (as most of you know), but for some reason, I feel like what I made tonight for dinner was more like real cooking than the other things I make for dinner. Patently ridiculous. I don’t consider salmon, brisket, pasta, stir fry, etc., real? I even include vegetables when I make those! Crazy.
Tonight’s meal wasn’t any harder. I diced onions and a bright orange bell pepper. Sauteed them in a pot with a little butter. Added canned red beans and garlic and pepper and a little salt (didn’t need the salt). Tossed in small pieces of already cooked andouille sausage. Steamed some rice. Threw it all in a bowl. It was good. Why does it feel more like cooking? Because it took more steps? Not any more than stir fried vegetables over rice. It wasn’t exactly healthy.
It was maybe a little satisfying to have it come together so nicely. But I didn’t enjoy it, no. I don’t like cooking. I do not.
Today was not a good day for getting anything complicated done. Or anything easy, if it took more than 30 seconds. I’m sure it would have been different if anything had been interesting or on my list of things I want to do. The music from Pirates of the Caribbean (the film score, not “Yo Ho (A Pirate’s Life For Me)”) was going through my brain (just that one snippet – dum dum de-de-dum-dum de-de-dum-dum de-de-dum), and I think that was part of the problem. Maybe if it were longer, I could have focused for longer on one thing. Instead, I’d get to the end of that one bar, decide I must be done with whatever I was doing, and move on to the next thing. Except I WASN’T done, and then I didn’t get through the next thing, either, and wouldn’t it be nice if I could just go home and read my book? I’m pretty certain I wouldn’t have had trouble focusing on my book.
On the other hand, I had plenty of bite-size tasks, and today was the perfect day to get those done.
We watched a LOT of TV yesterday (a LOT of TV), so to make up for it, we got up this morning, went out to breakfast at IHOP (John had a craving for pancakes – surprise!), went to Target and bought a coffee maker (we junked our old one when we moved), went to Wegmans for groceries for the next few days, went BACK to IHOP to retrieve the credit card I left behind, and were home again by about 11am. That’s about as much productivity as one Sunday can take, so we haven’t done much since then, but we feel pretty good about ourselves.
I’m just back from a run (the weather is perfect), so I’m ripping some CDs (this project is going to take a LONG time) while I cool down enough to get in the shower. Then, I imagine, more TV and dinner. Because we can!
I got home today (tonight) at 9:30. PM. It feels later, and I feel like I’ve been away a lot longer, and for some reason I feel greasy. I need a shower. I’m pretty sure that’s the humidity. Today was the first muggy day in months.
I’ve been awake since 5:15. I think it’s time to end that streak. I went from boxing to work to an early dinner with John, Molly, and their mom (Molly interviewed with my company this afternoon!), and then straight to meet up with my friends from our neighborhood for about an hour. We would have stayed out later, but the coffee place kicked us out* at 9, and they all have kids, so we scattered and went home. It was fun, and today was a pretty good day, but I’m ready to be sleeping. Shower, then sleep.
*I’d like to say they kicked us out because we were causing a ruckus, but I’d be lying. They closed. Hey – we closed that place DOWN. Four rowdy soccer moms and me.
I picked today to unsubscribe from all those marketing emails I get every day. Most were easy – I don’t need to get emails from FansEdge, an online store I ordered something from once and then promptly canceled the order. I suffered a pang or two over a couple (like Lucky Brand – love those jeans, but I’m not in the market right now. Unless they start to sell boot cut jeans that aren’t giant flared bellbottoms. I’m looking for actual boot cut jeans.). The one I really don’t understand is Lenovo. I keep getting emails from them. I bought my laptop from them in December (which is why I’m getting the emails, I know), but AFTER that, they immediately began sending me marketing emails about laptops. Guys, I JUST bought a laptop from you. I no longer need one. I’m not going to buy one. Back off!
This whole getting up at 5:15 every morning thing is wearing thin. I like working out in the morning MUCH more than doing it at night, but 5:15 is just SO EARLY. I’m 36 years old – I shouldn’t feel like I’m up past my bedtime at 9. It’s 8:34 right now, and I can feel the anxiety creeping in. I’d better start getting ready for bed so I can be falling sleep by 9 or a little after. I know I need about 8 hours every night, but worrying about not getting enough sleep doesn’t exactly help.
Good news, though: the end is in sight. We just have to make it to August. We’ll continue getting up this early most mornings as long as we live here and belong to this gym. The 6am class is the class we can get to before work, with the instructor we like, and the other people we know and like, so we’ll stick it out. Even if we’re working from home before then. We might not go that early EVERY day if we’re working from home, but instructor, people, etc. We’ll do it sometimes.
Once we’re really working from home, we’ll have more control over the work-day schedule. No commute? That’s sleep-in time! No office clothes or office people? The post-workout shower can wait a bit. More sleep-in time!
But speaking of sleeping, it’s 8:43 now, and I need to get ready for bed.
Published April 7th, 2015 at 6:52 pm by Zannah in books with 1 comments
Now that I’ve outed myself as a fangirl, I might as well list the books I’ve been reading lately that have been great. I’d say you could go check out my What I’ve Been Reading page, but I haven’t updated it in months, so there’s not much new to see. I should do that soon. For now, here are my latest favorites. I’ve been reading a lot of really good fiction. And speaking of fangirls, Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell is on that list. I’m working my way through all of her books.
Fangirl, Attachments, and Eleanor & Park, all by Rainbow Rowell – I think there’s only one more of hers that I haven’t read yet. I bought it a while ago. Am I saving it? Maybe. For what? I don’t know.
I’ve been having a lot of strange dreams since we moved into the apartment. Don’t worry – I’m not going to subject you to ANY details. Nobody cares about anyone else’s dreams. I barely care about my own. Just…they’ve been weird. I don’t think it’s the apartment’s fault. I suppose it could be, in a blameless kind of way. Lots of things are different.
John and I switched sides of the bed. Not for any particular reason. I mean, we had a reason. When we moved in, we put my dresser on one side of the bed and his on the other. His is much taller, and I like to be able to reach the top of mine, so we switched so I could be next to my dresser. Also, I’m on the side next to the bathroom (important).
Our bedroom window faces southwest instead of north, so the light is different, even with the blinds closed.
Our window faces out onto a parking lot (fancy!) instead of a street, so it’s lit completely differently (and so the light coming in is different, even with the blinds closed).
We live in an apartment complex, not a neighborhood with houses, so the nighttime noises are different. Nothing is particularly loud. In fact, it might even be quieter since we don’t have teenagers across the street anymore.
On top of the weird dreams (and possibly not unrelated, now that I think about it), our apartment seems to hold on to kitchen smells for a very long time. We’ve been cooking a lot lately (yay for being grown-ups!), but not everything stinks up the apartment. We noticed it with roast beef a couple of weeks ago (and with something else I can’t remember). The whole place smelled like roast beef (STRONGLY of roast beef) for at least two days. I’m afraid yesterday’s brisket is going to linger the same way. It’s been warm enough to leave windows open, so I hope that’ll help. We left the windows open all day yesterday while it was cooking, and we opened them again when we left for work, but we were practically assaulted by it when we came back in from boxing this morning. John’s towel smells like brisket. I did laundry yesterday – do the clean clothes smell like brisket? I’ve been in the apartment for most of the last 24 hours – do I smell like brisket? Oh, god. (My officemate says I don’t smell like brisket. At least, not from a normal distance away. I didn’t make her get up close and smell me.)
At least we’re not being subjected to BAD smells, no trash or raw fish or anything like that. But why can’t the apartment hold on to lighter, more pleasant smells, like the cookies I made weekend before last? I like brisket and roast beef (and whatever the third thing was) very much, but once dinner is over, I don’t want to smell them anymore. I think I’d rather enjoy smelling cookies all the time. Or toast. I love the smell of toast.
We spent several hours this morning and early afternoon watching the rest of season 3 of Downton Abbey while the tantalizing smells of a brisket cooking drove us mildly insane. The brisket just came out of the oven, but the potatoes aren’t ready (John’s in charge of those). I’m SO hungry. I will attempt to distract myself with the best science fiction and fantasy short stories from 2007 and our ongoing CD-ripping project. Wish me luck.
I mentioned the other day (last week?) that I loved Amy Bai’s Sword SO much that I emailed her to tell her about it. (Seriously, I really REALLY liked it, and I’m really REALLY glad she’s working on the sequel.) Then I started following her on Twitter (I follow a handful of authors I like on Twitter – they’re fun). Then she emailed me back and was super nice. (Or maybe she emailed me back and then I started following her on Twitter – can’t remember, doesn’t matter.) AND THEN, she started following ME on Twitter. I am not cool enough for this. But I’m trying to act like I am. No public squeals of delight. I’m pretty sure the neighbors didn’t hear me.
Luckily, Jess has upped her game on Twitter, and I’ve taken that as a dare to do the same. Why be on Twitter if I’m not going to use it? All I do is follow a bunch of people hoping to be amused. Boring for anyone following me, including myself (not that there are many of those (which is okay)). So let’s be less boring (at least to me and Jess).
Small dilemma: I was going to start tweeting about the books I’ve been reading that I’ve really liked, but having Amy Bai follow me on Twitter (have I mentioned that Amy Bai is following me on Twitter now?) makes me hesitate (because hers is one of the books I would tweet about). Does it look self-serving? Like, “Look at me! I liked your book! I’m telling the world, and it’s only coincidence that I didn’t tell the world until after you started following me and would see it (wink, wink)!” Except that I told you guys before she was following me (but she doesn’t know that), and I told HER before she was following me (she’s following me!), and since I’ve already told you, why even tweet about it? I don’t want to look like I’m sucking up or starved for attention. Or a stalker.
Overthinking this? Probably.
Definitely. Authors are people who like other people for the same reasons everyone else does, and being nice to people is appreciated (usually) and my insecurities are having a field day. Just relax already.
Remember how yesterday I was going to leave work early and enjoy some sunshine? Yeah…I shouldn’t have said it out loud. The universe didn’t take it well.
“Oh, you want to leave early? You’re a little frustrated with work? Looking forward to some nice spring weather? Need a break? Oh, ha ha ha. That’s so cute. Tee hee. That you should have such aspirations – oh, it’s too much. Really. Pardon me while I wipe away tears of hilarity. Oh, ha. Hum. Hee. YOU WILL BE PUNISHED.”
A three hour conference call began at 3pm. I left work at 6:30. I might need to placate the universe somehow. I’m sorry! I didn’t mean to offend!
Update: It JUST occurred to me that yesterday was April Fool’s Day. Was this a cosmic joke?