A moment of reflection

I had another frustrating run-in with a coworker, and as I walked to CVS, I mapped out an imaginary conversation with her where I tried to find a way for us to get past this stupid thing we keep butting heads about, and I got angrier and angrier because I feel like she’s taking this personally and getting emotional about it and that’s why we’re not able to work through it –

And then I realized how angry was getting and maybe I’m taking it personally.  Of course, the part I’m taking personally is her reaction to my very reasonable request for her opinion on something because it feels like a personal attack, but still.  It’s work.  It’s not personal.  Or maybe it is for her, but that’s not my problem, and it doesn’t have to be for me.

It’s work.  It’s not my life.


BUT I’M GOING TO THE OFFICE FOR THE NEXT TWO DAYS AND I’LL HAVE TO WORK WITH HER IN PERSON!

 

Mortality

A Twitter friend and occasional pen pal died yesterday.  It was sudden – he was fine the day before Thanksgiving but then that night, his family rushed him to the hospital.  He’d had a brain aneurysm.  After several surgeries over the course of the weekend, the doctors determined that too much brain tissue had died for him to survive, even with another surgery.  His wife took him off the ventilator Sunday afternoon.

He was unconscious the whole time.  She didn’t even get to talk to him again.  He was around my age, had two kids.

I only knew him through Twitter and a couple of postcards – he was funny, supportive, and kind.  I feel awful for his wife and kids, and I’m trying to help in small ways.

I keep crying, but I know my emotional response is not about him.  It’s not about his family.  (I’d be a better person if it were.)  It’s about my fear.  There were no warnings.  This could happen to anyone.  What if it had happened to John? She didn’t even get to talk to him again.  I think about what his wife is going through and I break down again, and then I feel guilty about it because it’s not about me.  It didn’t happen to me.  And I’m so glad it didn’t happen to me, and whoops there goes the guilt again.

I’ll be fine.  I’ll do what I can to help his wife and family be fine.  And tomorrow I’ll go back to our regular inane programming.

Who are the people in your neighborhood?

I met our mailman today.  Well, I waylaid him.  Once I saw that his truck was parked outside (he always parks his truck on the opposite side of the street from our house and then walks the block delivering the mail), I spent much of my afternoon peering up and down the street trying to find him so I could meet him at our door.

We keep getting other people’s mail.  I don’t mean previous tenants – I mean people whose addresses are not even on our street.  We try to return it, or in some cases, deliver it ourselves, but now I’m worried that we’re not getting all of our mail.  We have no guarantee that whoever IS getting it is making any effort to get it to us.  They might just be throwing it away!

I wasn’t going to accuse him of anything.  I just wanted to hand him the three pieces of mail we got yesterday for someone on the next block over (different street) so he could deliver it correctly, so I lurked by the windows, and I STILL almost missed him.

He is the nicest man!  Super chatty, a bit too much of a sharer, but very nice and quite happy I gave him the mail so he could redeliver it.  Turns out he was off yesterday, and he has been correcting delivery mistakes all day long.  I guess yesterday’s substitute isn’t very good at his job.  I didn’t tell him about the other times we’ve gotten the wrong mail – it didn’t seem like a good time because it turns out he was off yesterday because he was recovering from Monday’s colonoscopy, which he woke up during but was unable to alert the doctors, so he could feel it, and THEN when he woke up yesterday, the left side of his face was droopy and basically paralyzed.  Turns out he has Bell’s palsy, which he had once on the OTHER side of his face about seven years ago, and it’ll get better over the next few weeks.

His name is Ed.  He has a white brushy walrus-type mustache, and I like him.

Thanks, but no thanks

I had my free session with a personal trainer tonight, and, uh, yeah.  I won’t be doing that again.  The workout was fine, but she totally ignored my requests about what I wanted her to show me.  When we were done, she gave me the hard sell to work with her regularly, in the MOST annoying way.  Maybe this works on your other clients, lady, but I CAN meet my goals without your help, and I can certainly do it for less than $400 a month.  You don’t know me.  Don’t assume I need outside motivation just because I’m taking advantage of a free session.

I’ve been home for an hour and a half, and I’m still super irritated.  Must let go.

Breathe in.

Breathe out.

Breathe in.

Oh hell, I’ll probably see her at the gym again sometime.

Breathe out.

Maybe she doesn’t come in early in the morning.  She didn’t look familiar.

Breathe in.

I really don’t want to have to keep telling her no.

Breathe out.

The pushy personal trainer can shove it.

Breathe in.

Breathe out.

All better.

Let’s be honest – my mood was already fine

It’s a rainy, kind of dank, dark day, but two things just happened that brightened my mood.  First, I got this ridiculous, totally incomprehensible email from a customer:

“It looks like we do not have production turned on. So I need to get your metadata chicken figure production”

Total autocorrect fail, and it’s making me laugh.  Metadata Chicken Figure is the name of my new band.

I responded with, “I can provide my metadata chicken figure production, but not until I receive your grounded sailboat muppet configuration.  I’ll need to make sure they match.”  (No, I didn’t.  But Grounded Sailboat Muppet is the name of my autobiography.)

THEN I saw this picture on Tom and Lorenzo.  It’s the hipsteriest hipster picture that ever hipstered.

Let us count the hipster ways…I get to 7 without even trying.  I am amused.

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!