Authors, authors, everywhere

I met ANOTHER actual published author today.  I met her months ago, actually, but I found out she’s an author today.  She works (or maybe volunteers for riding time?) at the farm, so I see her once or twice a week.  We exchange hellos, we know each other’s name, but we haven’t said more than a few words to each other before today.  She seems shy.  Today, she was walking with me as I took Tigger to the indoor arena, and she mentioned going somewhere for book research.  Book research?  I pounced.  A little.  Nicely.

Turns out she wrote three historical romance novels for Harlequin in the early 2000s, at least one of which did pretty darn well.  She said she’s had writer’s block for a decade (writing stopped being fun and became stressful instead), and she wants to branch out of romance.

Anyway, I’m super curious, and I will be reading the first of her books soon.  By Tuesday, I expect to have a signed copy of Beauchamp Besieged by Elaine Knighton.  Exciting!

Please use your inside voice

What is it with people being loud in public spaces?  I’ve written about loud yoga breathers and sighers before.  Today, it was a girl in the gym, grunting like crazy while lifting weights and then WOO-ing and breathing loudly and heavily when she switched to the treadmill to run.  I’m happy for her – she’s pushing herself hard and she seems to be enjoying it – but I couldn’t help but notice it and compare it to my own behavior.  I spend a lot of time trying to make sure I’m not bothering anyone.  I don’t want to notice other people most of the time, and I don’t want them to notice me.  I assume that other people want the same thing, but maybe I’m wrong.  Maybe these loud people want to be noticed, or maybe, and possibly more likely, they just don’t care.

But what’s that about?  Is it carelessness?  Callousness?  “I don’t care about other people being comfortable, so I’m going to be loud and take up space.”  Or is it self-confidence?  “I am me, and I need to make these sounds and be obtrusive, and I’m not hurting anyone, and it’s okay with me if other people do the same thing.”  She certainly wasn’t keeping me from my workout, and while it was a little distracting, it’s not like I need total silence to get anything done.

I sound like I’m complaining, but I’m really not.  Yoga, talking through a movie, being loud in a library – those are different.  Those are quiet spaces for everyone.  When you’re at the gym, outside, in a store, at a mall, be loud, whatever.  I’ll notice, and I may judge (in my head only), but I don’t really care.  What’s to be bothered about?  I just don’t understand it.  I’m trying to think of times I’m cool with being loud in public.

  • Roller coasters.  I will scream my head off, on purpose, on a roller coaster.
  • Concerts.*  I sing and shout and WOO and whatever.

Honestly, I can’t think of any other public space where I’m comfortable just being LOUD and not trying to consider others.  I’m not trying to say I’m super-considerate of others all the time.  I’m just aware that other people are around, and I feel like I act that way.  Most of the time.  I have accidentally hit people while gesturing.  I’m not so good at noticing when people are close behind me.  So maybe I gesture loudly and I should just shut up now because I’m just like that girl in the gym.  We are one.

*Of the rock variety, of course.  Can you imagine?  “WOOO! Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 in G major, BWV 1048: Allegro! WOOOOOO!!!”

Hush please

You know the noise you make when you’re relieved and you sigh?  Or maybe you feel refreshed and you sigh audibly?  Vocally.  You know?

DON’T DO IT IN YOGA CLASS.

And that other noise you make when you stretch really long first thing in the morning or after sitting in one position too long?  A sort of pleased moan or groan?

DON’T DO IT IN YOGA CLASS.

I’m thrilled that you’re enjoying yourself, and I agree, yoga DOES feel good, BUT KEEP IT TO YOURSELF, PLEASE.  This is my quiet time.  Except for the instructor’s guidance, I can pretend I’m all alone.  Your happy noises make that difficult.

That is all.

Two surprises

Something happened to me that has never happened to me before in Eugene, and has only rarely happened to me in other places we’ve lived.

I saw someone I know out in the wild.

And on top of that, she came over to me first!  My facial person was just leaving the dog park, and she saw me stretching, so she came over to say hi.  And I met her dog.  I’ve said this before, but I almost NEVER run into people I know when I’m just out, and in a year, I’ve never seen anyone I know in Eugene.  I suppose that could be because I hardly know anyone in Eugene, so the odds are against it.  But it was nice!  And only mildly awkward!

So that was surprise #1.  Surprise #2 was this gadget I saw on my way home, one whose inventor was BRILLIANT and should win prizes.

Look, Ma, no training wheels!  The dad was riding slowly ahead on his bike, the little kid was teetering along on his, and the mom was walking behind the kid, ready to grab the handle (which she did a couple of times).

I never liked training wheels.  Too unsteady.  And this is way handier than grabbing the back of the seat, right?  So yeah, I am overcome by the brilliance of this simple idea.

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?

Read like the wind

I saw a flyer today for a book club called Eugene Book Talk that meets once a month.  The flyer was old (the books were for October and November), but I’ve read one of them (The Snow Child) and liked it, so that’s a good sign.  On impulse, I emailed them right then and there, and the person running the account (no name except for the name of the book club) responded right away. S/He said they’re still active, and since they couldn’t meet in December, they’re meeting this Tuesday to discuss The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry.

I looked it up, downloaded the sample, enjoyed the first couple of pages, and now I have a mission.  I put aside the book I’m in the middle of (again – I put it aside for Temeraire book 8 when the library e-book became available), and now I have 49.5 hours (from right now) to read the whole thing.

It’s a good thing I don’t have to work tomorrow.  If it’s interesting enough, I think I’ll make it.  THEN we’ll see how I feel about joining a book club again.

Making friends

Today, I played a short game of tag with an 8-year-old who guessed I was 44.

I beat him.

Of course, I mean that I took no pity on him during this game of tag and outraced him handily even though he kept trying to live on the gravel pile that was home base.

His second guess at my age was 29 (27? upper 20s), and his third guess was 19, so he either realized his mistake at guessing 44 in the first place and was trying to fix it the best way he knew how or he’s just really really bad at guessing.

Last week, we discussed dogs.  Maybe next week I’ll get his name.

Flash mob!

Apparently, Thriller flash mobs the Saturday before Halloween are a thing, and they’re a thing in Eugene.  We saw them two Saturdays ago when we were out for Will’s birthday, and they’re gathering people to do it on October 29th.  It was a lot of fun to watch that night, and it looks like it would be a lot of fun to join.  The night we saw them, there was no doubt that I was going to join them.  (I was quite enthusiastic.)  Now…well, I get lazy.  They’re practicing in the evenings once a week, and I would have to leave the house…  Who wants to leave the house at night?  So, I’m lazy.  This week.  Maybe next week.

Things I don’t understand

I don’t know a lot of things, obviously, and that will always be the case because who can ever know everything?  But I think that if I learn something, or someone explains something to me, I’m capable of understanding it.  I feel like that should be true of EVERYTHING.  I’m intelligent and curious.  Tell me, and I’ll understand.

There are exceptions.

Things/actions I don’t understand:

  • People who wear make-up to work out
  • People who wear perfume/cologne to work out
  • People who don’t wave/nod/smile/say good morning back
  • Acquiring a taste for something
  • People who cut in line (there are some exceptions, but they require explanations and politeness)
  • Dog-walkers who don’t clean up after their dogs
  • Drivers who don’t use their turn signals

This may be Part 1 of an ongoing series, but for now, those are the big ones.

Companies suck

I am SO irritated right now.  We chose Mayflower as our moving company for three reasons, in order:

  1. They were the cheapest.
  2. Their delivery window was 7 to 14 days after they pick up our stuff, not 5 to 25 days like the other two companies we spoke to.
  3. They told us we could get the no-earlier-than delivery date moved out to give us more time to get there.

We were counting on that third point to give us at least an extra day.  The sales guy told us we could do that, and when I talked to our move coordinator on Monday (Tuesday?), she told us we could do that.  I thought it was all settled.  I sent her an email last night to confirm that our delivery window would be 8-14 days instead of 7-14 days.

She called me this morning, confused and not sure what I was talking about.  I reminded her of our conversation earlier in the week, when we discussed our preferred delivery date.  Today, she told me that she can make those notes, but she has no control over that.  She can tell me that, based on the weather, she’s pretty sure the driver won’t arrive on the 7th day, so we should be fine.

THAT IS NOT THE SAME THING.

Basically, the preferred arrival date thing is bullshit.  It was bullshit when the sales guy told us, and it was bullshit when I discussed it with our coordinator on Monday or Tuesday, and it’s bullshit now.

Yes, we probably would have chosen Mayflower for reasons 1 and 2 (and possibly just for reason 1), but COME ON!  We had multiple conversations with our sales dude about it.  What if we were counting on having 10 days to get there?

I voiced my anger and then got over it.  Well, I stopped taking it out on her.  I’m not over it.  Partly over it.  I will also be calling my sales guy.

This is bullshit.

Somewhat eventful

My outside time in Annapolis was interesting today.  Mildly interesting.  Could be considered interesting if you cock your head to the side and squint.

When I’m running and I come up even with someone who’s coming from the other direction, I acknowledge them.  Sometimes I smile, sometimes I wave, sometimes I nod or say good morning, but I always acknowledge them.  Seems rude not to.  And when I do something, I expect some kind of acknowledgement back.  It seems rude to ignore me.  It doesn’t have to be the same.  You don’t have to wave back if I wave. Just nod.  It’s fine.  It’s similar to getting the little wave from the drive of the car you just let turn in front of you or merge into your lane.

In Ashburn, maybe half the people I passed waved (or whatevered) back.  In Annapolis, it’s been better – maybe 75% acknowledge me back.  Most days.  There was one day, maybe last week, that I must have passed 20 runners and only THREE of them smiled back at me.  Bad day.

Today, I have no idea how many people I passed, but one of the very first was this woman running towards me, and she had the friendliest face.  Her smile was genuine and really nice, and I got the impression that she just really likes people.  It was nice and it helped.  I wish I could have told her that, but it would have been weird to turn around and chase after her.

Then I tripped over a traffic cone and almost fell into traffic.  Annapolis sidewalks are pretty narrow, and when the city puts up signs about parking or road closures, they block the whole width the sidewalk and go out into the street a little.  I was trying to go around it and stay near the traffic cones so I wouldn’t end up in traffic, but I guess I got too close.  And of course there were cars coming.  I didn’t fall (it was close), and my desperate arm-swinging shifted me back towards the sidewalk, so it all worked out.  The driver of the car I almost fell in front of probably thought I was having a seizure, but there’s nothing I can do about that.

Then later, I was driving down a narrow street with cars parked along one side and barely enough room for my car to fit, and a family was walking down the sidewalk toward me, and this woman was walking in the road.  Not partly on the curb and partly on the street, not near the curb, just IN the street.  She didn’t seem worried that I was driving her way and might hit her.  I mean, I didn’t, and I wouldn’t, but still.  Don’t walk in the street when there are cars driving AT you!

Sandwiches are the universal cure

This morning:

Jess mentioned the other day that it’s amazing how quickly she can go from “Today’s a pretty good day” to “I hate everyone and everything” some days, and some days, I’m right there with her.  Today, at least, I have identified a trigger: it’s laundry.  Not just laundry, though – I’ve been doing laundry for years, and it doesn’t automatically put me in a bad mood.  No, it’s laundry HERE, in THIS apartment, with THIS gross basement and machines that don’t drain correctly (the utility sink that the machines drain into has dirt in it – DRY dirt – even after two loads of MY laundry have drained), and with our messy upstairs neighbor who is doing his best to live on his own, but needs additional help.  I’ll cut him all the slack he needs, but that doesn’t mean that what he does (or doesn’t do) doesn’t affect MY mood.

Messy neighbor definition: we have mice (or something) in the attic because he leaves open soda cans and pizza all over his apartment (according to our landlady).  In the laundry room today, there are two full loads of his clothes on the (gross) folding table, most likely put there by the downstairs neighbor who needed the dryers.  Don’t know how long they’ve been there or how long they’ll be there.

I’m going for a run.  Maybe I won’t hate everyone when I get back.

This afternoon:

Better.  Not great, but better.  Running is good, running is helpful, AND I ate a sandwich, which probably has a LOT to do with it.  (I typed “AND I hate a sandwich” and fixed it SO fast.  That is not true.  That will never be true.  I love sandwiches.  Rumors about sandwich-hating are hurtful and must be dealt with immediately.  Without delay.  Posthaste.  Now.)

Yes, I’m feeling better.

Kids these days

Apparently, millenials don’t eat cereal because they can’t be bothered to put the bowl in the dishwasher.  Seriously.  I don’t eat a lot of cereal, either, but that’s because the cereal I want to eat (Cocoa Puffs, Golden Grahams, etc) is SO bad for me.  (It might not be that bad in normal serving sizes, but I don’t eat Cocoa Puffs in normal serving sizes.)  It’s definitely not about the dishes, and that’s coming from a person who doesn’t even use a dishwasher anymore.  We figured that since we only have a set of 4 dishes (4 bowls, 4 plates, 4 spoons, etc.), we’ll just wash our dishes by hand.  If we waited to fill a dishwasher, we’d run out of dishes and it STILL wouldn’t be full.

Of course, I’m not a millenial, so that article doesn’t apply to me, but come ON!  Wash a bowl.

Have I ever sounded older and grumpier than I do right now?  Get off my lawn!

This one guy

There’s this one guy in Annapolis who runs every day – okay, there are plenty of people who run every day.  And for all I know, this guy doesn’t run every day, but he runs every day I do, so I’m making an assumption.

So there’s this one guy who, every time I see him running, is wearing ONLY a speedo.  Well, and shoes.  The cold doesn’t seem to bother him.  Maybe he stays in when it’s in the single digits, but I’ve seen him out running when it’s 18 degrees.  It’s possible he puts clothes on to run when it’s colder, but I wouldn’t recognize him, so I wouldn’t know.

I just don’t understand 1) how it’s comfortable to run only in underwear, basically, and 2) why you’d want to.  Oh, and 3) how is he not freezing his you-know-whats off?

I guess Olympic runners run in what is basically performance underwear, but he is not an Olympic athlete.  Did he lose a bet?  Must run in only a speedo for, what, a year?  Really, I can’t think of any other plausible reason to do it.

Edible

My team sent me an Edible Arrangements bouquet for my birthday!  IMG_20160216_205506

Fresh fruit, some it chocolate-covered – SO good.  And somehow, they managed to time the delivery with our weekly conference call.  Probably dumb luck, but it was a very nice surprise.  They’re very sweet.  I may not like my job, but I sure do like my team.

The invasion was inevitable

These last few days have been the coldest days of the winter so far.  Before New Year’s Eve, that wouldn’t have been saying much, but this week has been actually, objectively cold.  I wouldn’t keep harping on that – oh, who am I kidding?  Of course I’ll keep harping on that – but I’m bringing it up this time because I keep seeing people out in this frigid weather who are NOT dressed appropriately and who don’t seem to be particularly cold.  The other evening, I was driving back from the grocery store, and I noticed a woman standing outside a Dunkin Donuts on her cell phone in a short-sleeved t-shirt.  Does she not feel cold the way us mortals do?  She wasn’t shivering.  She was just standing there.  Maybe she was angry with the person on the phone, and her anger was keeping her warm.  Then yesterday, I was running (and freezing) at lunchtime, and I saw a woman out walking wearing just a thin cardigan.  She didn’t appear to be cold or uncomfortable.  Maybe she’s from Canada and sneers at the puny humans who shiver in single-digit temperatures.

Maybe I’m just a wimp who gets cold easily, but I’m not alone!  Everyone else stuck outside was either dressed for it (I saw one enviable person wearing a parka with a fur-trimmed hood) or clearly in a hurry to get someplace warm.  Maybe they’ve evolved.  Maybe they’re aliens.

The squee is strong with this one

Holy shit, guys.  This is small potatoes to lots of people (LOTS of people), but this is the biggest thing that’s ever happened to me on the internet, and I need to tell you about it.  Saturday afternoon, about 3pm, I tweeted this.

omaluvtweet

We bought a copy of The Bloggess’s second book, Furiously Happy (which was really good, by the way), for Tania for Christmas, and we found that $5 bill with the note attached inside.  It’s really sweet (and a great idea), and it’s the kind of thing you tweet, you know?  I included The Bloggess in the tweet because we found it in her book, and I thought she’d appreciate it.  Didn’t think anything else of it.

Then John and I went out for an early dinner with a friend of his from high school.  I didn’t look at my phone until we got back to the apartment, around 8pm.  That tweet was re-tweeted and replied to by The Bloggess, and it blew up (in a good way).

bloggessretweet

My phone buzzed pretty constantly for about 24 hours, as people saw, liked, and retweeted that tweet.  It was SO weird.  I texted Jess  in the middle of it: “What in the hell is happening to me on Twitter?” and she said, succinctly, “The Bloggess is happening to you.”

Then I tweeted this, which is still pretty much true:

overwhelmed

I got a bunch of nice replies and retweets to the original tweet, and then I heard from the woman who was responsible for it, which was really cool.  A few more people are following me,  I’m following a few more people, the lady whose idea this was gets more exposure – everyone wins.

THEN, the next day (Sunday), I checked The Bloggess’s website (as I do regularly) and check this out!

wrapup

She put me in her weekly wrap-up!  That’s a link directly to my tweet!  So, you know, that’s cool.

Don’t worry – I won’t let it go to my head.

I prefer to remember the times I spend alive and awake

I’ve been hearing lately that the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving is the booziest night of the year.  That seemed really odd to me (isn’t New Year’s Eve the booziest?), and maybe it’s not empirically true (is that a thing you can say?), but apparently, it’s enough of a thing to have its own rather charming really off-putting name: Blackout Wednesday.

John and I are about to brave the wilds of downtown Annapolis to find dinner.  Wish us luck dodging the overeager drinkers!  (It’s early yet – we’re probably safe.)

I want to ride a bike, too!

There’s this local radio commercial out right now that I cannot stand.  It’s for LASIK (or some variation of laser eye surgery), so I get what they’re trying to do, but it puts my back up.  It goes something like this:

It’s summer!  Time to go to the beach, go to the pool, go golfing, etc.!  Unless you’re one of the unfortunates who wear glasses or contacts, of course.  (Cue muted trumpet wah-wah-wah.)

I wish I were kidding about the muted trumpet.  I don’t get offended easily, and maybe “offended” isn’t the right word, but my immediate reaction to this commercial (knee-jerk and both times I’ve heard it) is to yell not-nice things at the radio (with accompanying rude gestures).  It’s like they can only imagine three options:

  1. People who wear glasses or contacts can’t go (aren’t allowed?) to the beach, pool, golfing, etc.
  2. People who wear glasses or contacts can go to those places, but they won’t (can’t?) enjoy themselves.
  3. People who wear glasses or contacts can go to those places, but they have to leave their prescription eyewear at home, so they won’t be able to see anything and thus won’t be able to enjoy themselves.

This commercial does NOT inspire me to run out and fix my eyes.  And if I were considering it, I wouldn’t choose them.  It reminds me a little bit of those tampon commercials that assume women wearing pads can’t do normal, everyday activities, except I think those were kind of funny.