Putting the fun in chores! Or something less stupid.

The only way I know of to make doing the dishes fun is to play loud music and sing along.  Dancing is optional, but encouraged.  Drunkenness is encouraged but not always practical and often not necessary.  We do a lot of dishes now that we’ve downsized our kitchen.  We run out of clean dishes to use before we have enough dirty ones to fill the dishwasher, so we rarely use it.  We never used the one in Annapolis, and we’ve used the one here once.  We didn’t use the one in the apartment in Ashburn, either, so that’s….one dishwasher cycle in two years.  Because wow – two years next week is when we moved out of our house.

Anyway, dishes.  I prefer to wash than to dry, and I don’t mind the washing because really, how hard is it to wash two plates, two forks, and two glasses?  Plus music.  Music makes the world go round!

Can’t brain today

Staring blankly at the screen is not going to make an idea appear.  It’s like watching a pot, and MAN that was a hard one for me to think up.  First sentence written, second sentence totally blocked.  I got stuck on the pot adjective.  It’s like watching what KIND of pot?  What describes the pot?  This is a saying – “like watching a _____ pot” – what’s the missing word?

Oh, right.

A watched pot.  Totally screwed up that idiom.  (You’re an idiom.  Your MOM’S an idiom.)  I think maybe I need some sleep.  6am felt earlier today than usual, and work felt more overwhelming, and I went to yoga for the first time in a week, and I could feel it, and 6am is going to come even earlier tomorrow, so I’m out.  Me and my watched pot are going to bed.

Goal achieved

I got up this morning, trying not to think too hard about my actual age, and set ONE goal for the day.

I WILL ONLY EAT SWEET THINGS TODAY.

Breakfast: I went to Allan Bros (the local coffee place about six blocks from the house with the view of the prison) and had a French Toast latte and a giant eclair.  I mean, this thing was enormous.  It was about 3/4 the length of my forearm.  I read my book, I messed around on my laptop, and I went home in time to gather up John and head for lunch.

Lunch: We went to Mom’s Pies and had a slice of pie each.  Me: berry medley (blueberries, blackberries, raspberries).  John: apple.  They were out of ice cream, which was a little disappointing, but the pies were really good.  We got there just in time – the owner is closing the store in a few weeks in favor of his wholesale business.  He said we can buy them frozen to bake at home from a couple of local grocery stores so we won’t be completely bereft.

Dinner: Cake.  John baked me a cake (yellow cake, chocolate frosting), and that’s what I ate for dinner.   With a glass of milk, of course.  It was delicious.

All sugar, all day.  Happy birthday to me!

The lovers, the dreamers, and me

It started to rain in the middle of my run today, but the sun kept shining, and I looked to my left to see the BEST double rainbow.

I stopped to watch until it started to fade away.  Would have been perfect if the interstate wasn’t rumbling immediately to my left.  I need to find the time to get away from civilization sometimes.

Customers think they can get away with anything

THREE-DAY WEEKEND IS HERE and I am very happy about it.  I got yelled at by two different clients on Friday, like with actual yelling, and I need a good long break.  The first time was around 7am my time, and with a client I’ve never talked to before.  Apparently, this is how she communicates.  I think she’s from New Jersey.  She wasn’t actually mad, or least wasn’t really yelling AT us – it wasn’t personal.  It was still unpleasant.  The second time was just before noon my time, and it was somewhat personal and it was totally uncalled for and thank everything that is good in the world that Harry (one of our VPs) was on the phone and did not take ANY of that crap from the customer.  It was wonderful, and he’s my hero.  And later, he congratulated me on remaining calm and reasonable throughout the call.  I would like to have him in every client meeting forever and ever, amen.

So. Work is done, I get three days off, AND Monday is my birthday, AND we’re in Portland today for a comic con, and I plan to enjoy every minute of this weekend.

I’m going to jump all the jumps

After I recovered from my fall yesterday, back on Tigger, back in charge, right back into cantering, it was time to jump.  We did this thing I’ve never heard of* called gymnastic jumping.  It’s lining up a bunch of jumps together, and it’s meant to help me focus on my jumping form.  There are probably other reasons for it, too, but that’s the one Wendy told me about.  So she set up the jumps in two long lines.  The first time, there were only two jumps, one stride in between.  Horse goes over the first jump, takes one stride, goes over the second, and then we come back around and do it again.  Then she added a third, another stride away, then a fourth.  The fifth jump was four or five strides past the fourth.  That’s the top row in the sophisticated diagram below.

Not to scale, duh.

All of that went pretty smoothly, 1-foot jumps, way fun.  We took turns running through it, Daisy and Dobby first, then me and Tigger.  There was one incident…Wendy set me and Tigger up to go through that set of jumps after Daisy and Dobby, but Tigger could still see Dobby at the far end, and since we’ve already learned that Tigger wants to be near Dobby all the time, you can probably imagine the speed at which we barreled through that set.  It was exhilarating and scary and fun and TOO FAST FOR ME, especially since it happened maybe 10 minutes after I fell off.  We adjusted so that Dobby was well out of eyesight before Tigger lined up for the jumps for the rest of the lesson.  That helped.

Oh, and then Daisy, wunderkind, jumped that set on Dobby with her arms held straight out from her sides.  Like she was flying.  It was AMAZING.

I did not try that.

Then we switched to the second line of jumps (the bottom line in that diagram), and in addition to setting up the jumps in a close row, Wendy raised two of them to 2’3″.  TWO OF THEM (the ones with the double x).  I’ve jumped that high twice only, in one lesson weeks ago, and it was a single jump.  Like before Christmas, so months ago, really.  It was SO COOL.  Exhilarating again, but in a less scary way.  I can’t wait to do more of that.

So, yeah. My lesson was exciting.  I’m curious to find out how afraid I’ll be of getting back on Tigger next week.  Right now I feel okay, but when I’m standing in front of him, knowing how he gets, knowing that I can fall off, will I be scared?

*It’s safe to say that nearly everything I’m learning is a thing I’ve never heard of.  Even if I’ve heard of it (dressage, for example), I probably don’t really know what it means or what it is, and I certainly don’t know how to do it.

I got it over with

Well, today was exciting.

I shared my riding lesson today with Daisy, which was helpful for me in a couple of ways and a bit of a hindrance in just one.  She’s the 14-year-old I’ve mentioned before.  Having Daisy ride with me teaches me about sharing the arena, riding etiquette, and other small things I won’t pick up riding alone.  Watching Daisy ride shows me what I can look forward to doing as I get better.  It’s actually Daisy’s horse that causes the one hindrance.  She rides Dobby, who shares a pasture with Tigger, and who Tigger always wants to be with.  So if we’re trotting around the arena, Tigger trots faster to keep up.  If we’re cantering around the arena, Tigger canters faster to keep up.  Tigger is pretty lazy most days, so faster is usually what I want, but I DON’T want to deal with the traffic jam that will occur when Tigger tries to run up Dobby’s butt.  So that part was a little stressful.  Manageable, thanks to Daisy’s experience (she peeled off to cross the arena the one time we got really close), and I learned from it, but still a bit stressful.

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before, but Tigger can be…difficult sometimes.  Willful.  And I’m still learning to assert my will when that happens.  Today, we were cantering around the edges of the arena, after I’d managed to put some distance between us and Daisy and Dobby, and I lost the stirrup on my left side.  It happens occasionally, and Wendy swears it happens to everyone.  Usually, it happens to me while we’re trotting, and I’m enough in control that I can either get it back or slow Tigger down and get it back while we’re walking.  Today, while cantering, not so much.  So I lost my left stirrup, we were going faster than usual, I started to lose my balance a bit because my seat isn’t steady without that stirrup, and Tigger decided he didn’t want to stay on the edges of the arena anymore.  When he does that (it’s his preferred method of acting out – going where he wants), I’m supposed to yank hard on the rein in the opposite direction.  Well, two things: first, I’m not good at the yank hard thing because I don’t want to hurt him, and second, I wasn’t secure enough in the saddle to have any leverage.  I pulled instead of yanked, and I pulled again, and I got him to slow to a trot mostly, but he was in the middle of the arena, so I concentrated on steering him around the jumps.  I was still trying to regain control of the steering, of course, but the last thing I wanted to do was go over a jump with one foot just dangling.  I was totally failing to regain control of Tigger, and Wendy headed my way and reached for his bridle.  He jerked sideways and spun around, and I didn’t go with him.  It’s like he stepped to the side out from under me.  I’d say falling was about 10% my decision – there was a point where I was like, “well, I’m going to fall.  Go with it,” which I think helped my landing.  I fell off to the right, just sort of leaned over and out, and I landed on the meaty part of my right thigh and hip.  It was jarring, but otherwise didn’t really hurt.  Tigger ran away, I got up, and Wendy caught him and corrected him, and before I knew it, she had him back at the mounting block and I got back on the horse.  (I’m sorry – I had to say it.)  I was still shaking a little, but I got over it, and after a few steps walking, I got him to canter again and it was all over.

My first ever fall off a horse is behind me, and it wasn’t so bad.  And that wasn’t the only exciting part of the lesson!  But I’m exhausted, so come back tomorrow for the conclusion to our tale.

Stop! Thief!

So….yesterday sucked, as I mentioned yesterday.  Because that’s when it sucked.  Yesterday.

Let’s just say it’s a darn good thing I check my gmail account EVERY SINGLE TIME I see an email come in.

  • At 10:34am yesterday, I got an email from my bank with the subject “Password Reset Confirmation”.
  • At 10:35am yesterday, I got an email from my bank with the subject “Credit Card PIN Change”.
  • At 10:36am yesterday, I got an email from my bank with the subject “TRAVEL NOTIFICATION CONFIRMATION”.

At 10:34, 10:35, and 10:36am yesterday, I was NOT logged in to my bank account, and I did NOT change my password, change my credit card PIN, or log a travel notification.  I did immediately call the bank, but I wasn’t quite fast enough.

Somehow, a thief in Fullerton, CA figured out my bank account password and then immediately used the cash advance feature on my credit card to steal $400.  That happened before I called the bank.  Once I called, the bank froze everything – the credit cards, the debit cards, the accounts, my access to online banking, bill pay – everything.  Like, it’s one thing when your credit card gets stolen, but this person LOGGED IN TO MY ACCOUNT.  They could see EVERYTHING WE’VE GOT.

We got lucky.  There were no withdrawals from any of our checking or savings accounts, and we had the bank close them all and open new ones with the transferred funds, so even if the thief got our account numbers, they’re useless now.  And of course my password and username are new.  And we’ll get the $400 back.

But UGH.  Hours on the phone with the bank, verifying transactions, checking balances, closing accounts.  And how on earth did the thief manage to log in?  I’m a little freaked out.  I’ve already changed most of our passwords, but in the meantime, we don’t have access to our money.  No active credit cards, no active debit cards or ATM cards.  It’s a good thing I went to the grocery store on Sunday because we’re living on the cash we have in the house, and you know what?  That’s not much.  New cards should arrive tomorrow, so this is short term, but I don’t like it.  We should probably have a credit card with another institution.  I’ll think about that tomorrow.  Right now I have to make sure all the doors and windows are locked.

Ten sentences, no substance

Hi.  Today sucked.  Story tomorrow.  Tonight: shower, then bed.  Possibly no stop for reading, even.  That’s how much I want to be sleeping.

(We’re both okay, everyone we know is okay.  Today’s suckiness is under control.  It’s just sucky and, well, inconvenient.  Took an okay day down the tubes.)

Winter is SO long (whine whine whine)

I’ve forgotten what jacket weather feels like.  Yeah, yeah, I know that sounds like a melodramatic plea from midwinter, especially since it hasn’t been that cold out here.  But I was walking home from yoga tonight wearing my winter coat, and I realized I couldn’t actually remember that in-between weather feeling.  I can imagine feeling cold (I don’t have to imagine it, but I can), and I can remember feeling hot, but that temperature where adding a jacket is enough to feel comfortable?  No, I can’t remember it and I can’t even really imagine it.  Failure on my part, I’m sure.

Where is spring?  When will it get here?  And stay?  When will I want to wear a jacket instead of a coat?  That’s all I really want.

Challenge

I went to the library today, and now I have six books to read in three weeks.  Can I do it?

Don’t be ridiculous.  Of course I can do it.  Have you met me?  I can do that with both hands tied behind my back.

Now please go away

I am out of sorts.  There’s no good reason for it – I just can’t decide what I want.  No, it’s more like I have reasons not to do what I want, and I’m going to stick to them, and because sticking to them is annoying me (because I’m not doing what I want), I want to stick to them MORE because I shouldn’t be swayed just because the things I decided are annoying to me right this second.  I am not at the mercy of my whims!  Or my mood.

I’m going to scramble some eggs and read my book until the band starts rehearsing and then I’ll put on headphones and switch to a movie and it will be nice and relaxing.  BECAUSE I SAID SO.

And I am in charge.

(I think I should hurry the eggs up.  I might be hangry.)

WD-40 may be needed

I love my new sports bra.  Maybe it’s a weird thing to love, but it’s great.  Super comfortable, looks good.  The style is racerback, and in the very middle, right between my shoulder blades, there’s a little plastic ring where all the straps attach.  I didn’t notice the ring before, I can’t feel it at all, but I know it’s there NOW because of today’s yoga class.

The room was very quiet.  There was soothing music playing, and the instructor’s voice was low.  I settled into tabletop and then drew my shoulder blades together and lowered into cow pose.

Creak.

I pushed back into cat pose.

Creak.

Cow pose.

Creak.

Cat pose.

Creak.

Every time I flexed my shoulder blades out or in, the straps on that plastic ring creaked.  Reach up for triangle.  Creak.  Reach forward for warrior III.  Creak.

I’d like to think no one could hear, like no one is aware of the sound of your breathing except yourself (unless you’re that exceptionally loud breather dude), but no…I’m pretty sure the constant creaking was audible at least to the person next to me.  I hope she was able to tune it out and focus.

You’re gonna make it after all

I am a goddamn wizard.  CELEBRATE ME.

Today, I was driving home from my riding lesson in the rain, and the windshield wiper came loose.  Driver’s side, naturally.  The wiper was wiggling all over the place in the wind and the rain and NOT doing its job of keeping the windshield clear.  I pulled over, of course, stepped out into the rain, of course, and tried to figure out how on earth I could fix this.  I’ve never replaced a windshield wiper, but I know they’re replaceable.  At first glance, I thought there might be a piece missing, but I spent the next five minutes (in the rain) switching from one side of the car to the other, inspecting the working wiper and then fiddling with the broken one, and FINALLY I figured out how to snap it in place.

I PERSISTED.

I got back in the car, turned the wipers on, and gazed on my handiwork.  Which appeared to be upside down.  Or at least bent in a weird direction.  But it worked!  It wiped rain away.

I got back on the road and got on the interstate to go home.  Not five minutes later, still on the highway, the wiper came loose again and wiggled and waggled all over the place.  I pulled over on the side of the highway, still in the rain, keeping my distance from the trucks hurtling toward me, and fiddled with it again.  I tried to put it on the other way, since it had looked upside down before, but I couldn’t figure out how to attach it that way.  Maybe it was just bent.  I managed to click it into place, still possibly upside down, but firmly attached, and got back on my way.

I AM WOMAN.  HEAR ME ROAR.

I roared with the intermittent wiper speed a little slower than I was comfortable with considering the amount of rain coming down, but I made it home without having to fix it again.

BECAUSE I FIXED IT.  Without a manual or Google or anything.  BOW DOWN TO ME, PEONS.  I humbly accept your adulation.

I haven’t met any singing mice. Yet.

The wildlife in Oregon is straight out of a cartoon.  John and I both get distracted by squirrels peering in our office windows during the day, that damn turkey keeps showing up on our front porch like it wants to come in, and today I saw a gray squirrel and fat red robin having a conversation on top of a tree stump in the park.  I wasn’t fast enough to get a picture.  I saw them, they looked at me, I swear I heard “Cheese it, it’s the fuzz!”, and then the squirrel scampered off.  The robin stuck around and gave me the evil eye as I ran past.  Maybe slightly more Adult Swim than Disney Channel.

How is this STILL a problem for me?!?

I just don’t get it.  We have lived in Oregon, on the west coast, in the Pacific time zone, for ten months now, and I STILL get thrown by the time zone difference with the east coast.  STILL.  Like, it just happened, just now, not 30 seconds ago.

I’m sitting at my work laptop, which I deliberately keep on eastern time because it’s helpful during the work day.  I don’t usually write from here, but it was on, and I’m lazy.  I’m also TIRED, which is why, when I glanced at the clock on the corner and it said 11:55pm, I thought to myself, No wonder I’m tired.  It’s MIDNIGHT.  What am I still doing up?  Yeah, NO.  It’s 9pm.  It’s not that late.  I have plenty of reasons to be tired – I’ve been up since 5:45, I haven’t been getting enough sleep lately, and I think I’m getting sick again – but it being midnight is not one of them.  BECAUSE IT’S NOT MIDNIGHT.

Me and the Flash

Today was a really good day for a run, and I took full advantage.  It was my first run in a week (last week’s concert and travel plans got in the way), and even though I ran the same distance (3.7 miles – I’m slowly getting my distance back up) as last Monday, today I ran it SO much faster.  I can identify four things that were different today:

  1. The weather was PERFECT: mid to upper 50s and overcast.  Last week was pretty cold.  Right about 55 degrees is my favorite temperature for running.  I would have been happy with some sunshine, but it wasn’t necessary.
  2. I had two cups of Yorkshire tea before my run, so I was fully caffeinated.  I usually run in the mid-afternoon, long after any caffeine I’ve had has worn off.
  3. I was wearing my new sports bra.
  4. I was wearing my favorite running pants.

Honestly, I think the bra and pants are what made the difference.  Of course, then I went on a nearly 5-mile walk with John and OH MY GOD I ACHE.  What the hell?  We were walking.  I feel old.

I could tour as Sting’s backup singer

The Sting show Thursday night was…okay.  I might go so far as to say it was pretty good.  He sounded great, and his opening act (The Last Bandoleros, a high-energy Tex-Mex rock band from San Antonio) was really good, but the energy of the crowd was off.  Mostly non-existent, really, and that affected how I felt about the night.  The people on either side of us sat like lumps in their seats the WHOLE TIME.  No clapping, no singing along, and they were hardly alone.  If they were enjoying themselves, I couldn’t tell.  Why come at all?

That was disappointing, but Sting wasn’t.  He stuck to his rock stuff, heavy on Police hits (but he didn’t play “Every Little Thing She Does is Magic”, sadly), and we were pretty happy with it.  He did change up the typical concert format in a way that I think more big-name bands should do.

At 8pm, right when the tickets said the show would start, the lights went down and Sting came out on stage.  It was maybe the second most excited the crowd got that night (first most excited was during his detour to Bill Withers’ “Ain’t No Sunshine” in the middle of “Roxanne”).  He came out, said hello, and essentially warmed up the crowd for the Last Bandoleros by playing a song from his new album.  He sang backup on the last song they played, introduced his son (who looks and sounds JUST LIKE HIM), and then when it was time for Sting and his band to get started, his son and all of the Last Bandoleros sang backup for him the entire rest of the show.  They looked like they were having such a good time, better than a lot of the crowd.  Even the people standing in the floor section weren’t moving.  What is wrong with people?