Just barely

I wasn’t sure if I’d make it, but look!  It’s not midnight yet.  So here’s today’s post.  We’re in Pittsburgh for the weekend to see Emily get her Masters in Speech Pathology.  The drive was okay, but mostly in the dark, which is not my favorite way to do it.  I’m completely worn out and sleeping in (past seven, anyway) is not an option.  So I’m off.

But wait! I almost forgot.  As I drove out of DC this afternoon, I watched Marine One land on the south lawn of the White House.  SO cool.  Maybe it wasn’t Marine One at the time, but it was probably about to be.  Everyone on Constitution just then, in cars and on the sidewalks, was staring in the same direction.  🙂  You don’t get to watch a helicopter land at the White House every day.

My goodness, grad school is expensive

Yeah, I know.  Not news.  But still, I need to look into this more.  And I don’t mean that in an investigative reporting/blow off the lid of this thing way.  Though maybe I should.  I just looked at online masters programs with costs of almost $1000 per credit hour.  How ridiculous is that?  Hang on, I just did the math for undergrad.  Hmm.  All told, it cost almost $850 a credit hour for me at GW.  The skyrocketing tuition hikes since I left put the cost per credit hour (assuming 18 credits a semester) at almost $1400 now.  Unbelievable.  So maybe grad school is a steal.  It’s just now I have to pay for it.  Well, that’s depressing math.

On that note, I’m going to bed.

Puppies make everything better

Check out this adorable picture.  Roxy used to ask to be picked up when she was a puppy, and I miss that a little.  It’s probably just as well she got too big (and grew out of it – thank goodness.  I don’t need a 55-pound dog asking to be picked up.), or I’d carry her everywhere and she’d be fatter than ever.

Today is the last day of class (for this week).  It sort of feels like summer’s coming, like it’s the end of the school year.  Everyone’s getting a little antsy, but more relaxed at the same time, so it’s kinda fun.  And yet, it’s only the end for them.  Not so much for me.  I’m here again tomorrow, and then I start a new class next week.  Same thing, different day.  They go back to work, so I guess it’s not really all that great for them, either.  I’m trying to enjoy the day, and mostly I’m able to, but then I remember how many more times I have do it.

And then I look at adorable pictures of puppies, and I’m ready to pick back up after lunch.  🙂  (Too cutesy?  Too bad.)

“Now you drive around front and startle people with your ability to talk.”

After yesterday’s post, I can hardly skip a day, but (enter fake French accent) my muse, she is gone.

Of course, then I went and read Curiosity’s post from today, and now I feel like a slacker (a little).  She has actual reasons to not post.  I do not.

So maybe I’ll stick with a disjointed, kind of random post.  John loves me, and I know this for sure because he always warns me before he opens and closes the ironing board (it makes a horrible screeching sound that I cannot stand).

Did you know I could command the Internet?  Okay, not the whole Internet.  And not command, really, so much as influence.  In a tiny way.  ‘Cause one very nice lady wanted to make sure I had something to read today, apparently.  🙂  (Did I mention it’s all about me?*  Of course it is.)

Last link, ’cause it’s late, and I should be asleep: Today’s XKCD comic.  Tomorrow, I’m going to interpret everything John says as code.

*Clarification: “..it’s all about me” refers to my universe, not Token Blogger‘s post.

Famous relatives and abandoned blogs

Okay, okay.  I accept that what happened to me yesterday morning was a panic attack, and I’ll call the doctor in the morning.

TV, anyone?

I love the theme song for Treme (on HBO).  John and I haven’t decided if we want to keep watching it, but we had to watch the first two episodes.  Required viewing in this family.  Why?  Check out the concierge in the second episode.  She’s related to ME!  How cool is that?  The concierge in question (who Steve Zahn waved at!) is my soon-to-be-famous sister-in-law.  So, you know, kind of related to me.  Close enough.

Candy, I thought you were great.  Even though we were watching for you, we were caught by surprise when you did appear, and then there was much squealing and pausing and rewinding and rewatching.  (I’ll take credit for most, if not all, of the squealing.)  We couldn’t possibly delete the episode from our DVR, of course.  We’ll have to show it to everyone who comes over.  And we started with Jess on Saturday night.  So for the next…I don’t know how long, everyone who enters the house will have to watch Candy’s scene in Treme.  🙂  You think I’m kidding?  Just wait.

Go visit Curiosity. She’s listing her priorities for life (and making fun of Victoria’s Secret models).  Who can resist?

You know what bugs me?  (In a little way, not a big way.)  Finding a blog I like, and then realizing they don’t update every day.  And it’s not just that they don’t update every day (’cause that’s okay.  People are allowed to lead busy lives and do other things and NOT update the blog every single day.  Yes, you have my permission.), but then they don’t update every few days, and then it’s been a week, and then two months.  It’s so disappointing!  I bookmarked you because I liked you!  I liked to read you!  And then you abandoned me.  How could you?  *sob*  (Mom, I’m not talking about you, since I talk to you every day, and you tell me the things you would blog about.  I feel up to date on you.  But if I didn’t actually know you, and I found your blog some other way, then yes, I’d be talking about you.  (Was that too harsh?  I didn’t mean to be harsh.))  I have five or six blogs bookmarked that fall in this category, and since I already don’t have the time read all the blogs I bookmark (but I really want to), I may have to clear those few out.

Power of suggestion?

I mentioned last night that I felt vaguely anxious about today.  I didn’t have any reason to be worried, and there was nothing about today that was any different than any of the last two Mondays.  Maybe I shouldn’t have talked about it, ’cause this morning was weird. I didn’t have any trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, and I got close to seven hours, I think.  Not too bad.  I needed to leave a little early to fill up the car, but that wasn’t a problem, and I didn’t eat as much breakfast as usual.  Maybe a third of my tea, and just a small bowl of cereal instead of my usual piece of toast with peanut butter (out of peanut butter).  I had a hard time staying alert on the drive, so I resorted to yelling at myself and making loud noises.  Strange, I know, but effective.  You’re not going to fall asleep at the wheel mid-yell.  I was starving after I set up for the morning, so I went to the coffee place in the food court and got a small chai latte and a bagel.  I had time to eat the whole bagel before class, but I only drank maybe a third (probably less) of the chai.  I’m mentioning this in such detail to point out that I don’t think I was either over-caffeinated or under-nourished when I started class.


In the minutes before class and up to about mid-morning (so…more than two hours, closer to three), my heart was not exactly racing, but beating faster than normal, my hands were shaking, and I had to fight to keep my voice from sounding scared.  I have NO IDEA what was going on.  I’m fine now, and I was fine by lunch, but what?  What was that?  I didn’t even feel particularly anxious while all that was going on.  I had all the physical symptoms of anxiety without any of the unease.

I mentioned it to John when he called me on his way from work, and he thought maybe it was lack of sleep catching up with me.  Could be.  Whatever it was, I’ve resolved not to worry about it unless it happens again.

Tonight, ravioli with Wegman’s delicious vodka blush sauce (the one in the bag.  John’s mom is totally right.  The one in the bag is SO much better than the one in the jar.).

The weather doesn’t always cooperate

We’ve been watching the weather all day, looking forward to the thunderstorms, but the forecast kept pushing them later and later.  It would have been nice to stay in while thunder boomed today.  Now they’re not supposed to start until after ten.  And since that’s past my bedtime, it looks like I’ll miss them.

All of a sudden, I’m nervous about tomorrow.  I don’t know why; tomorrow shouldn’t be any different than the last two Mondays.  I have everything I need, and in fact, most of it is already in the car, so I’m not even in danger of leaving anything crucial at home.  I don’t like this sense of general anxiety.  Makes me nervous.  ( 🙂 )  I might try some sort of meditation to get to sleep.

I feel good

(Na na na na na)  I have been checking things off my list left and right.  I ran (check), and while it wasn’t easy (since it was the first time since after work on Tuesday), it felt good to do it.  It threatened to rain the whole time, but mostly held off until I got back.  When I left the house, it was just starting, so I decided to only do two miles.  After the first mile, it had slowed to just a couple of raindrops here and there, so I figured I could get away with four miles before the downpour started.  At the end of the second mile, I had to the make the five-mile decision, and since the rain had stopped altogether by then, I decided to chance it.  At the end of the next mile (the one that made my four-mile run a five-mile run), I looked to the west, decided that the low grey clouds didn’t look that threatening, and took a left to add the one additional mile that extended my run to six miles.  As I came up the hill towards the house, those scattered raindrops began to band together, but within ten minutes, that fizzled out, too.  Those clouds were all talk.

I did some light cleaning (check), went to the library (picked up a P.G. Wodehouse book to listen to) (check), went to the bank to deposit an expense check (check), went to the office for about 15 minutes (check), went to the pharmacy (not on my list, so no check), and made a quick stop at Wegman’s to pick up an easy dinner.  The real grocery shopping can happen tomorrow.  Oh, yeah, I’m doing laundry, too.

See how productive I can be?

You can never have too many guitars

“Zannah, why haven’t you gotten me a Les Paul?”

“Clearly, I don’t love you enough.”

We watch a lot of TV.  Not as many movies, but we’ve seen a few lately.  We watched Broadcast News last weekend.  Both of us confused it with Network (another one we haven’t seen), and we didn’t figure out that we were thinking of an entirely different movie until Broadcast News was over.  Where was the rant?  Oh, right.  Wrong movie.  We watched Some Kind of Wonderful tonight, but I was a little disappointed by it.  I’m not sure what I was expecting.

List for this weekend:

  • Run
  • Clean
  • Groceries
  • Swing by the office to drop this week’s evaluations off and make some copies (Yes, I peeked, and yes, they were nice to me again.  🙂  Thankfully.)
  • Make sure Jess is okay after Chuck gets on the plane (he’ll be gone for three months)
  • Library (to get a new book to listen to during my commute)
  • Bank

Roxy (who’s doing well, thanks for asking) just gave me a look that said she wished we’d just go to bed already.  Don’t we know we’re keeping her up?

*Edited to add the last two items on my list.  I remembered them this morning.

I’m sorry, I spaced out again.

I can’t concentrate.  Not happening.  The band is rehearsing (Roxy’s fine – no more seizures today), I was trying to do a couple of things to be ready for work tomorrow, but those are going to have to wait (I’ll get in early tomorrow and do them), I’m trying to watch TV (Fringe – I’m like three episodes behind.  Speaking of TV, or movies – actresses, anyway – there’s a woman in my class this week who looks dead on like a very young (pre-Grease young) Stockard Channing.  She’s SO cute, it’s almost irritating.  Why can’t I be that cute?)), and I can barely keep a thought in my head long enough to write it down.  I certainly can’t write a coherent sentence (as I found out after re-reading that one).  I’m not even sure I can call that a style choice.  It’s just messy.  And not coherent.  Which I already said.


My lack of concentration led me to stalk the Internet, and I’m sorry, Bloggess, but I think you need to move in next door to me.  Yesterday’s post made me howl.  (With laughter, not pain.  In case that needed to be explained.  Shouldn’t by now.  In fact, your assumption whenever I mention the Bloggess should be that I’ve fallen out of my chair from laughing so hard.)

I’m going to put the computer down and try to finish this episode of Fringe.  Then?  Bed.

Good idea, Mom

You know how sometimes you have a problem (major, minor, whatever – in my case, very minor) and it has a very simple solution, but you just can’t see it?  I was talking to Mom and Dad on my way home from DC yesterday, and I mentioned that I kicked off my shoes as soon as I got in the car to give my feet a break.  Unfortunately, that meant I was driving barefoot, which is 1) never comfortable in the best of times, and yesterday wasn’t the best of times, and 2) possibly not legal in DC and Virginia.  Mom suggested I keep a pair of sandals in the car to switch to on my home.  Of course!  Brilliant and simple.  So this morning, I threw my comfy flip-flops (the cushy ones) in the car, and I drove home in comfort.  Great idea, Mom!  Makes me want to smack myself in the head a little bit for not thinking of it myself.

Just a little.

My goal was to be in bed by nine.  It’s 9:15.  So, um, good night.

Donating for lazy people (like me!)

You know what I love?  Charities that pick up from your doorstep.  Since we moved to this house, we get regular calls from AMVETS, Purple Heart, and the National Children’s Center (NCC) telling us they’ll be in our neighborhood on a certain day and asking if we have anything to donate.  I ALWAYS say yes, and then when they call with a reminder the day before, I spend that night (sometimes the next morning before work) scrambling to find things to donate.  It’s never hard (okay, sometimes it’s hard), and I love it because it forces me to reevaluate everything in the house.  Especially the closet.  (Also, you know, it’s good to donate.  If you want to be all altruistic and stuff.)  The only time it becomes a problem is when I say yes to both Purple Heart and NCC and then realize they’re coming by on consecutive days.  So I had to make sure I had least two bags’ worth of stuff, so I could put one bag out this morning for Purple Heart and another one out tomorrow morning for NCC.

If you’re interested in something totally unrelated, you should check out I Am Bossy.  Have you been watching Bossy’s (no) book tour across the country?  She’s crazy.  And funny.  (I overuse the word “hilarious”.  I’m aware of this.)  And she’s met Jenny (The Bloggess) twice, I think.  I think that would be awesome.

Better late than never

One week ago today, John and I got up ridiculously early (for a Sunday morning) (no, 5:20 is always ridiculously early) in order to get to DC (via metro) so he could run in the Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run.  His training had completely derailed, since we had three feet of snow clogging all the paths and streets, and then when it finally melted, he got sick, he was working late, he had schoolwork – everything came together to make it hard for him to be ready.  He ran the Army Ten-Miler about three and a half years ago, but he hadn’t hit that distance since then.  And since he didn’t feel prepared, he was half-convinced the sweeper bus was going to pick up and take him out the race.  He had to keep up a 14-minute mile pace to avoid being picked up.  He knew (and I definitely knew) he’d do better than that, but that didn’t stop him from being nervous.

We go to the metro at Dunn Loring and got on the train.  Everyone who got on that train, at every stop, was a runner.  (They’re the only ones crazy enough to be going to DC that early.)  By the time we got into the district, the train was packed, and we all got off at the Smithsonian stop.  I wish I’d had my camera out because I looked back over my shoulder as we rode the escalator up and saw that the platform next to the train was one solid mass of people.  It looked really cool, but since I was part of that mass, I couldn’t get into my bag.  (I was playing sherpa, so I had the backpack to hold all sweatshirts, towels, water, etc.)

We followed the crowd from the metro to the grounds around the Washington Monument.  The race started in waves, so they didn’t expect all 15,000 people to be at the starting line at once.  The first wave was scheduled to go at 7:40, with the last wave at 8:00.  John was in the red wave, which I think was the second one.  All John had to do was pin on his number and go.  Of course, we’d just commuted in for more than an hour, so John (and every other runner) needed to find a port-a-potty.  Fortunately, there were tons of them.  Unfortunately, probably 7500 other runners had the same urge.  We joined one of the REALLY long lines and started to worry.  It didn’t look like it’d be possible for him to make it to the front of the line before the last wave started.  (It didn’t matter which wave he joined, so missing his wave wasn’t part of the worry.)

We waited in line for a while, and then he sent me off to find any alternatives.  I ran across 14th Street (near the starting line) and found another row of port-a-potties with NO LINES.  I raced back to John, waved him out of his line, and sent him running in that direction.  Feeling much better, he found me again as the next to last wave was starting, and we got him in the crowd.  And it was a crowd.  SO many people.  They were sent off, but they were packed in so tightly that they all walked for another few minutes.  So I walked along with them, outside the railing.

The crowd of runners (only one wave, I think)

John in that crowd. The race has started, but nobody's running yet.

There they go.

I found a great spot along the rail right by the finish line (I was already there when  I look that last picture), so, along with some other very enthusiastic spectators, I shouted myself hoarse cheering on the finishers.  Long before John came in, Erik and Margaret joined me at the finish line, bringing much-needed caffeine.  We cheered John across the line, and then headed for our meetup point.  Here’s Erik, convinced he can spot John in the sea of people:

And here’s John, triumphant and sweaty.  He finished almost four minutes faster than his last 10-miler time.

From there, we hopped the metro out to Ballston to have a yummy brunch with Erik and Margaret at Whitlow’s, and then we went home, where both of us collapsed of exhaustion, even though only one of us deserved the rest.  🙂  Go John!

Look what we did!

By we, of course, I mean mostly John.  After mowing the lawn (John), some light weeding (me), dog poop scooping (me), and then tying up a sagging bush (blame the three feet of snow that sat on top of it for a month) with neon yellow string (mostly John), John decided that today was the day to somehow attach these extra pieces of latticework (or trellis?  not sure what you’d call it) to the corner of the deck.  In the morning, we’ll have a little shade.  I haven’t figured out what to do about late afternoon.  I took pictures!  I forgot to take a before picture, but here’s one when we were two-thirds of the way done.

Actually, here’s a before picture, no trellis yet, with John hard at work doing…something.  On a ladder.

And here’s the finished product.  From the yard…

…and from the deck.

Since I had my camera out, I figured I’d take some pictures of the yard when it’s at its best.  And the dogs.  So here’s most of the backyard, with my flower bed in need of mulching.  Maybe next weekend.

Here’s the rose bush that’s trying to take over the deck.

Technically, that’s two rose bushes.  Here are few pictures of the dogs taking advantage of the shade.

It’s breezy and the wind chimes are…chiming, I guess, and we could hear them clearly if the windows were open, but did you see how high the pollen count was today?  My car is covered, and even though I was outside most of the day, there’s no way I’m letting clouds of pollen get into the house.

Most of the day got away from us, but all the chores are done (minus the grocery shopping) and John asked for two hours to himself so he can concentrate on his project for school before we settle in with dinner and maybe a movie.   He’ll have to spend much of tomorrow on his project, too, but at least he’ll have done something today, and he won’t have to worry about the lawn and stuff.  And tomorrow morning, we can catch up on the four hours of Lost we have saved on the DVR.  Hopefully, the rest of my weekend will include nothing more taxing than a morning run tomorrow, catching up on TV, lots of Internet time (I have to get my fix in on the weekends, now that I know what my weeks at work look like), a trip to Wegman’s (hardly a chore), and some play time outside with the dogs.  Maybe at the dog park.

For now, I need a shower.  And comfy clothes.  And I’m in for the night.  Oh, one more thing for tomorrow – set up a couple of lunch dates with a couple of friends.

I have priorities, really I do

And they don’t include working after I get home on a Friday evening for several hours.  But I promised myself I wasn’t going to talk about that.  Instead, I’ll mention that Roxy got so excited about the pieces of lamb fat she was going to get that she repeatedly walked herself into the narrow dead end between the arm of the couch and the wall.  Head first.  She doesn’t like to back up, so she’d stand there, tongue out, tail wagging, with her nose just barely over the arm, until I nudged her backwards with my hand on her chest.  Like three times.

John is in the office pretending he’s Brian May, and I’m pretending I have time to check some of my favorite sites before my eyes close.  We don’t have any plans this weekend (other than the usual light house cleaning, lawn mowing, grocery shopping, and something (I know there was something else I wanted to do, but did I write it down?  Say it with me.  No!)), so I hope to run and relax.  And relaxing had better include catching up with my favorite online people.  Also my new favorites, thanks to a recent thread at the Dooce Community and, of course, Spoke’s Blog Love series (first day here).

Before I go to bed, this is for Mom, Sandwich Stealer (not that one), Jess, and other people I could name but will not.  Today.  Just you wait.

I think the point of mentioning my priorities in the title was so I could say I still have mine, and I think they’re in the right order, but I need to work a lot harder at figuring out how to make them happen every day.  Or most days.  I feel a bit overwhelmed, and not by anything bad, but by not being able to make time for all those little things I like to do.  But I will.  I will figure it out.

Stop talking about work!

I was convinced for most of the morning that my students were going to give me terrible evaluations.  Things kept going wrong in class today.  We had some technical problems I’d never encountered before, so even though I tried to handle it well, I felt like I came across like I didn’t know what I was doing, and then some students thought they followed my directions (they didn’t), and when they didn’t end up where I said they would, again, I’m afraid it looked like I steered them in the wrong direction.  And after THAT, they were all in the right place, the same place for once, and a button that has always appeared (and that they have to press to continue) wasn’t there. All before lunch.  But it was getting close to lunch, so I called it technical difficulties, said I’d check with my team to see if they were working on something, and sent them to eat early.  I sent a HELP email, found out there is a bug, got a workaround, and by the time they got back from lunch, we were ready to move past it.  I don’t think I fully recovered from that during the afternoon, but I peeked at the evaluations after they all left, and everyone said really nice things.  No mention of how incompetent how I felt or how frazzled I thought I looked.

What?  Don’t judge me.  Of COURSE I peeked.  Like you wouldn’t.

Yesterday, one of the guys in the class came up to me during a break to tell me how relieved he is about the system and how confident he feels about being able to use it.  He used an older version of it at another agency and hated it, so he wasn’t all that positive about having to use it here.  But he said the training was good, this version was much improved over the other one, and he liked my teaching.  He taught English in Kenya while he was in the Peace Corps, apparently.  Nice guy.  (Of course I think so.  He complimented me!  (I am that shallow.))

And I need to stop talking about work.  Let’s pretend I don’t have to work.  Gee, I have an awful lot of free time…

Writer’s block?

Is it really writer’s block if you’re so drained you can’t come up with any thoughts?  Probably not.  I’m sure I could think of something if I’d taken a nap today or something.  Seriously, thinking is hard.

I’m several days late posting pictures from the 10-miler, and I’m almost too lazy to get the camera off the island and plug it in.  Wait – I am exactly that amount of lazy.  I remembered I’m running linux, not windows, and I haven’t tried to connect my camera since that change.  Now don’t get the wrong impression – I’m not afraid of troubleshooting any technical problems that might come along (where troubleshooting = appealing to Google for help and then asking for John’s help if I’m still stumped), but I don’t have the energy to face those as-yet-hypothetical problems.  Have I mentioned I’m worn out?  On the plus side, my new shoes are working out.  The balls of my feet feel a little sore at the end of the day, but it’s the kind of sore that will go away as I get used to the shoes.  No pain in my poor pinched toes like with the last pair.

I’m bad at endings.

(See what I did there?)

Mid-morning excitement

So I’m teaching this training class today when the fire alarm starts flashing and we hear a garbled and crackling announcement come out of speakers we didn’t even notice were in the ceiling.  No idea what the announcement kept repeating, but we came to the conclusion that we should probably evacuate the building.  We joined all the other people streaming up the stairs (the class is held on the lowest basement level), but no one knew what was going on.  The security guards on the main level said only the alarms on the basement levels were going off and no one in the rest of the building had any idea what was going on.  They determined it was a false alarm pretty quickly (or so we heard) and we all went back inside, but the whole experience makes me a wonder a little.  I can only assume someone somewhere was taking it seriously, but I haven’t seen any evidence of that.  Nuclear summit, anyone?  Federal building?

I remembered one other reason I don’t want to make metro my primary way of getting to work: I can’t read on the train anymore!  How horrible is that?  I discovered that I get a little carsick on the metro (train-sick?  Motion-sick doesn’t sound right.  Nauseous will do, but that’s a little strong for how I felt.) even while not reading on Sunday, when we took the metro to and from DC for the race (but that could have been ’cause I’d hardly eaten.  Maybe I was hungry).  Then yesterday, I tried to read in the morning and found I couldn’t.  I tried again on the way home (Persistent, right?  Well, it’s important!), but I could only read when the train was stopped.  So if I can’t read, where’s the advantage of letting someone else drive?  Sure, I can’t read in the car, but I have books on CD.  And yes, I could download those books to mp3 and use my headphones, but that takes work.  And lest we forget, I’m lazy.  And super tired when I get home from work.  I’m barely able to make dinner.  I didn’t mean to start whining.  Not that much, anyway.