Musing when I should be focused

Take action.  Take it where?  Why is that the phrase?  What are you taking?  I’m doing an action.  I’m performing an action.  I’m not taking anything when I act.  Unless I’m taking something from you?  If I take an action, am I preventing you from taking it?  In some cases, sure.  In others, most, not in the least.  So why is that the phrase?  Google is not so helpful this time.

Don’t bring me down

Let’s play a game:

Optimistic or Naive?

1. I ordered a t-shirt.  The tracking information indicates it’ll arrive by 8pm today.  Do I think it will?  Of course I do!

A. Optimistic?
B. Naive?

2. I ordered mouse pads from Amazon.  They’re being shipped by a company from China.  They never arrived.  I contacted the seller, and they responded immediately and said they would ship again.  Do I think I’ll get those mouse pads?  Of course I do!

A. Optimistic?
B. Naive?

3. I travel plenty.  For the most part, my plans take off and arrive on time, I don’t miss connections, and my luggage arrives with me.  Do I think that will continue to happen for me?  Sure I do!

A. Optimistic?
B. Naive?

4. Earlier this week, the forecast showed pretty constant rain through the end of Friday.  Today’s forecast shows rain today, but sunshine and a high of 60 degrees for tomorrow (Friday).

Do I  think the weather will be nice tomorrow?  Yes.  Yes, I do!

A. Optimistic?
B. Naive?

The mighty motormouth

I couldn’t make myself stop talking today.  (Yeah, yeah, you’re a bunch of comedians.)

I talked the ears off people in my work meetings, I asked a ton of questions during my riding lesson, and I kept up a constant stream of chatter directed at Tigger when Wendy wasn’t handy.  I’m usually self-conscious about talking to the horse, which is why the nonstop babbling caught my attention.  I talked to him while catching him, walking him to the stable, grooming him, walking him to the arena, while cooling him off and walking him back to the stable and feeding him treats.  He didn’t toss me today, so I hope that means he appreciated the attention.

It’s more likely I wore him down so much he didn’t have the energy to shake me loose.

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!

Deep thoughts on Christmas Eve

Molly’s t-shirt says “BILLIEVE”.  I don’t know why.  I don’t know what it’s supposed to mean.  I think it’s “BILLIEVE” instead of “BELIEVE”, and not “BILLI-EVE”, like some sort of conflation of two names, but both options are equally nonsensical to me, so it could go either way.  I’m also pretty sure it’s a Penn State shirt, but that doesn’t get me any closer to what it means.  If it’s a Penn State shirt, then it’s probably sports-related, probably football-related, and there’s probably a coach or a quarterback or whatever whose name is Bill.

Eh. I could Google it.  I could ask Molly.  I don’t care that much, but I am interested in finding out just how long I can stare quizzically at Molly before she finally asks me what the hell is going on.

Some level of talent is necessary

I’ve had voice actors on the brain and in my ears with all the fiction podcasts I listen to, and I noticed the other day that some of these voice actors SUCK at laughing.  On Wolf 359, which I love, only ONE of the actors is any good at making his character’s laughter sound real.  Thankfully, he plays two characters.  When the others laugh, it’s painfully obvious that it’s fake, and one of them is so bad I almost can’t listen.  It’s just as well that that guy plays a minor character AND he’s an uber-bad guy, so I only feel a little bad for not liking him.

I’m judging them for their bad fake laughter, but it’s not like I could do any better.  I don’t think I could be a voice actor.  I feel strange just reading things out loud.  I don’t do voices or accents, although I’d like to, not that either of those are requirements for voice actors.  I suppose I’d get better if I practiced.

I could never be an actor at all, I think.  I mean, the biggest obstacle is that I can’t act.  I can’t say I’ve tried much, but I pretty much suck at it.  And I get weird when someone points a video camera at me.  (Weird in still photos, sure, but WEIRDER on video.)  Not on purpose – I just can’t help it.  Again, though, I imagine practice would help.

Batteries included, but how can you tell if it’s dying?

A few weeks ago we bought a cute little waterproof bluetooth speaker so we could listen to music in the shower or while doing dishes or wherever without using headphones or dealing with crappy phone speakers.  Good purchase!  It sounds good, it’s cute and little (as mentioned above), and it’s called the Oontz Angle.  Worth it for the amusement I get out of the name alone.  Its battery is rechargeable via USB, and it’s all-around wonderful except for one minor thing: there’s no battery life indicator.

When it arrived, we couldn’t tell if it had been charged.  Most electronics need to be charged before their first use, but when we turned it on, it worked immediately.  And with almost daily use (not more than an hour a day, but still), it ran for nearly six weeks before it died.  Of course, it died mid-shower (my shower, naturally), and I had no warning.  If I’d known it was low, I would have plugged the poor thing in.  Maybe a warning light?  Where blinking means “Plug me in, please”?  But really, that’s the only complaint I have about it.

I just don’t get why

I was only disappointed by one thing at Disney World – we missed the Main Street Electrical Parade.  They don’t do it every night anymore (and they didn’t do it the nights we were at the Magic Kingdom), and they’re moving it to only Disneyland after October 9th this year (thank you, Brian, for breaking the news to us).  There’s a Fantasyland parade they do every day at 3pm, but it’s not the same.  First of all, it’s at 3pm.  Second of all, it’s mostly princesses and not much else (from what I remember, anyway).  I mean, I liked it, and the mechanical Maleficent-as-dragon is pretty darn cool, but nothing can replace the Main Street Electrical Parade.

Oh no!  I just looked it up, and it’s only going to Disneyland for a “limited-time encore engagement.”  What the hell, Disney?  You can’t retire that parade!  Maybe there’s a petition I can sign.

Disney convenience

If you stay at a Disney resort, they send you a Magic Band (which I have already shown you) that acts as your park ticket, your room key, and your FastPass (skipping long lines for rides), and if you link your credit card to it (and a PIN), you can use it to pay for EVERYTHING.  (If you don’t stay at a resort, you can still buy one and use it the same way.)  It was incredibly convenient, and it meant we could really pare down what we had to carry.  It’s making me reconsider services like Google Wallet and Apple Pay.  There are still security concerns, and I’d always have to have my phone, but I always DO have my phone.  Obviously, there are still places that don’t use those services, so I couldn’t use it all the time, but I’m willing to bet it’ll become more and more common, just like it’s more and more common for even street vendors to take credit cards.  It’s something I’m thinking about, anyway.

Dog fix needed

Our bike ride this afternoon took us past the dog park.  It’s a really big dog park, and there were a lot of dogs playing and looking happy.  We watched for a few minutes, trying not to be those weirdos who lurk outside dog parks without dogs.  I missed our puppies, but was mostly happy to watch all those dogs play.  I’ve toyed with the idea of volunteering at an animal shelter before, and I’m toying with it now.  I’m not Mom – I can be trusted not to come home with a new pet.  But will it make me feel better, knowing I’m helping out homeless animals, giving them love and attention and helping them get adopted?  Or will it make me feel worse to come home every time, NOT having adopted a new pet (a new dog, let’s be honest here), knowing I’m not rescuing them and giving them all a loving home?  Because really – now is not the time for us to get a dog.  We’re not ready emotionally.  We’re a week away from three years since Roxy’s death, and about a year and a half from Riley’s. We both have dreams about one or both of them fairly regularly, which is kind of nice.  They’re not sad dreams – they’re matter of fact (we’re doing something and oh hey, one of the dogs is with us), and it’s kind of like saying hello.  For me, crying about them is not a thing of the past.  On top of that, our travel plans make it complicated, so it’s not an option.

But anyway, volunteering at an animal shelter – good thing for me?  Bad thing?  I should probably try it and see.

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.

I can hear the chapel bells chime

Our apartment is directly across the street from the Naval Academy and just a little bit down the block from the Naval Academy chapel, where midshipmen get on the longest wait lists EVER to get married.  I have yet to see a wedding there, but I rarely go on the yard.  My view of the chapel is the back view, pretty much.  But I can hear it!  Bells chime on the quarter hour from 8am to 8pm daily.  Sometimes I can tune them out, sometimes every quarter hour shoves me through the day.  Most of the time I don’t mind them.  What I’m not crazy about are the songs.  At noon every day, after the bells ring the hour, they play “Eternal Father, Strong to Save”, and at 6pm every day, they play…something.  I think it varies, and it’s not always recognizable.  Sometimes it’s not even recognizable as a melody.  Tonight, though, it was “Amazing Grace”.  I think.  I’m pretty sure.

The Naval Academy website has a page for the chapel but NOTHING about the bells.  I found a 16-year-old article in the Washington Post about them, so now I know that they’re not rung by people (they’re digitized), I’m right about the Navy Hymn at noon every day, and apparently a hymn is selected at random from a database at 6pm every day.  Although it also says that the organ was going to be hooked up eventually, so maybe eventually came during the last 16 years and some person on the organ is responsible for the 6pm hymns that don’t sound like anything melodic.  I choose to believe that.

We’re about to trade constant bell-ringing for train chugging and whistles.  Which will we prefer?

Too many anthologies

It seems I’ve been reading a lot of short story collections lately (over the last year), and I’ve noticed a common thread – I put a lot of them down without finishing all the stories. It happens more with collections from different authors – just when I find a story I like, it’s over, and I have to shift gears for a new voice and a new story. When I read an anthology by the same author, I don’t have this problem. Same voice, I guess? Maybe the next time I pick up a collection, I should space the stories out. Read a story, switch to a novel, read another story, read another novel. That’s an actual plan that I will follow. Good idea, me!

Everything is a risk

*Continued from previous post.

Aren’t we (the collective we) always taking our lives in our hands?  Aren’t our lives always in our own hands, in one sense or another?  Every little thing we do has a risk associated with it, but we choose to do those things despite the risks (and, of course, we mitigate those risks where we can).

  • We got on a plane to fly across the country.  The plane could have crashed for any number of reasons.
  • Speaking of flying, John is learning to pilot small planes.  He’s not experienced, and even with an instructor there with him, he could crash.
  • I ate a sandwich – I could have choked on it.
  • I went down into the basement to get the laundry – I could have fallen down the stairs.
  • I went for a run – I could have had a heart attack or been hit by a car or been pushed over the rail of the bridge.
  • I went outside to meet Jess for coffee – I could have had a satellite fall on my head.  A rabid dog could have bitten me.  A rabid squirrel could have bitten me.
  • I let a stranger make me coffee (well, I paid her to make me coffee) – the lady at the coffee shop could have poisoned me (although that would be bad for business).
  • I washed dishes in the sink – the electrical cable from the electric kettle could fall into the running water and electrocute me.

Afraid as I am that The Big One will hit the Pacific Northwest while we’re there, I don’t think I can let that stop me from going.  That feels like the first step towards hiding in my room, curtains drawn, locking myself in and the rest of the world out.

To Facebook or not to Facebook

I am considering setting up a Facebook account.  I had one a long time ago, but I canceled it after only a couple of years because I NEVER used it.  NEVER as in not once did I post a status.  I had a profile picture, and I friended people, but that’s about it.  Then they changed the privacy settings, and I figured I’d just get out.  And I think this was around 2007.  Maybe 2009.  Hey, it was 2010!  (Damn, I was kind of funny in 2010.  Wonder what happened?)  Now, with all the moving around, I’ve gotten a lot of requests (some outright demands) that I get on Facebook.

I’m considering it.

I still probably wouldn’t use it much.  I’m on Twitter (@zannah42), and as of today, I’m on Instagram (also zannah42 – is there a symbol for Instagram?), although that’s going to be a little-used account, I would imagine.  I don’t take many pictures.  And (most-used), I’m HERE.  What would I post on Facebook that I wouldn’t post here first (or possibly on Twitter)?  I don’t really see the point, but for people being able to track me down and connect, maybe it’s worth it.

But that raises another interesting question.  (Well, it’s interesting to me.)  Should I link to my blog on my Facebook page (assuming I set one up)?  I know that all you people know who I am in real life, but technically, I am anonymous here.  I’ve never used my full name, never my last name, never the last names of my family members.  I’ve never given out my address or posted a picture that included my house number or even mentioned the name of the town we owned that house in for nearly 10 years.  NOW I’m fine with saying we live in Annapolis (for now), but I’m still not using my full name or giving out my address.  Someone would have to work at it (not that hard, but it would take a little effort) to find out who I really am if they stumbled across me here accidentally.  I am not a public figure.  But Facebook is not anonymous. I would have to use my real name.  And if I post a link to my blog on a Facebook account with my information in it, then I will stop being anonymous here.

Then again, what does that really mean?  What do I post that anyone out there couldn’t read?  I don’t go into details about work.  Once in a while, I talk about finding another job, but who doesn’t?  Besides, I haven’t yet.  (I’m not even looking.)  I have plenty of good reasons to stick with the one I have.  Being afraid of getting fired because of something I write here is not how I want to live.  I don’t discuss huge personal details.  I don’t say bad things about other people (not that could get me in trouble with anyone I know, anyway).

Of course, if I don’t link to my blog on my as-of-yet-hypothetical Facebook page, will I feel compelled to update there, too?  [Thinks about it for 2 seconds.]  No.  That is not going to be a problem.  So then it will be a basically unused page, there for people to find me if they want to.  But if I link to my blog, then it will be an unused page with a link to my blog.  Why link to my blog?  To drive traffic here?  As if people will really come find me on Facebook (a big if, aside from the people who have been asking me about it) and then say, “Oh, I wonder what she’s really thinking?”  Not likely.  So…I have not come to any conclusions.  Help!

Back to practical matters (if I decide to do it): do I have to have a personal FB account?  Or can I set one up that’s for me and John?  (There is NO way he’s creating an account under his name.)  I think if I set up a Facebook page for us, I still have to have a personal account to manage it.  Google isn’t really helping me out here.

Someone tell me how to make hats work!

How does one become a hat person?  I like hats. I like to try them on.  I like to buy them.  I think I look pretty okay in hats.  But I own three hats (of the non-baseball cap, non-winter kind), and I NEVER wear them.  Even when I think, “Hm, I could wear a hat with this outfit,” I NEVER choose to wear the hat.  A big reason why is because I’ll have hat hair.  I already suffer from lack of volume.  Wearing a hat makes it SO much worse (and adds a big dent all the way around my head).  How to hat people avoid hat hair?  Do they have perfect hair that doesn’t flatten down or show weird ridges where the hat hits the head?  Is there a trick?  Do they just never take their hats off?

Maybe I’ll figure it out this fall.  I’ll try it.  Maybe.  If I don’t, my hats are going away.  Why move with hats I don’t wear?

Am I too impatient?

Scenario: You have an apartment for rent.

You showed it to prospective tenants (very nice people, the PERFECT tenants) at 9:30 Saturday morning.  You needed to meet them early because you were hosting a party that afternoon and evening, and you needed time to prepare.  Your perfect prospective tenants were happy to meet you that early (they’re very understanding).  They were enthusiastic about the apartment, promised to get back to you within a couple of days, and wished you well with your party.  They only took up 15 minutes of your time.

After a productive day of apartment-hunting, your perfect prospective tenants sent an email at 9:30 Sunday morning (a civilized hour) requesting an application because they would like to rent your lovely apartment that suits their needs perfectly.

Question: How long do you wait to email them back?

It is now Monday morning, and your perfect prospective tenants have not heard a peep from you.  They really want your apartment, but they also found a very nice one on the other side of the bay that would do the trick (although without the total lifestyle change they’re looking for).  They can’t leave THOSE possible landlords hanging too long, but they don’t want to shut that opportunity down because what if this apartment falls through?  They won’t know if you don’t respond.

Do your perfect prospective tenants become less perfect if they call you or send you a follow-up email?  They’re aware you had a party Saturday night and houseguests that might not have left until late Sunday.  They don’t want to be inconsiderate or pushy.  How soon is too soon?

Update: I called her, and she was very nice.  She lost track of yesterday, never checked her email, and she was just reading my message to her now.  She said she’d send over the application within the half-hour.  So once I have that, I can let our other possible place go.  Yay!

Too quiet

I’m probably going to regret even thinking this, but this week has been quiet at work.  A little too quiet.  Like trouble is brewing somewhere, and it’s going to hit us hard soon.  Now that I’ve thought it, it’s probably going to come true.

That’s both pessimistic (in this particular case) and incredibly arrogant of me to believe that things will happen because I think them into being.  But you know, as far as I can tell, nothing is real if I don’t think of it.  You’re all constructs of my imagination, believed into being to keep me company.  The sandwich I had for lunch today (which was really good, by the way – hummus, cucumbers, artichoke hearts, and roasted red peppers) was imaginary, made for me by imaginary Potbelly employees.  I just had a conversation about my imaginary job with my imaginary coworker in my imaginary office.  Where am I, really?  What am I?  Who am I?

I just watched a YouTube video of a rabbit defending her babies from a very large snake (and winning).  That is not something I would have thought to imagine.  Existential crisis averted!  You may all consider yourselves real.

Who can you trust?

The weather people continue to lie to me.  We were supposed to get thunderstorms today.  We even saw really threatening (and cool-looking) clouds to the west.  But we got zero rain and no more than two rumblings of thunder.  Tomorrow’s temperatures were supposed to drop to the 60s (in contrast to the high 80s and low 90s of the last few days), but the forecast now shows more of the same high temps.  Why do the weather people insist on all these lies?  Do they think it’s fun?  Taunting us, teasing us, and then snatching the things we look forward to away?  Mean.  More importantly, why do I keep believing the forecasts?  Some people just never learn.

Sometimes you feel like a nut

(Now I want an Almond Joy.)

A friend at work asked me what kind of degrees my interns usually have (or are working on).  Most of them (I’m including interviewees, too) are IT-related, but I’m considering hiring a guy with a sociology degree and a minor in religious studies.  I told my friend that; his response was to tell me I shouldn’t hire another religious nut. (He was clearly joking – no need to be outraged on anyone’s behalf.)

“Having a minor in religious studies does not make him a religious nut.  Wait.  “Another” religious nut?”

“Yeah, like yourself.”

“How, exactly, am I a religious nut?”

“You don’t celebrate Christmas.  Or decorate.”

“I’m an atheist.”

“My point!”

“Are you kidding me?  That might make me an anti-religious nut.  But I’m not militant or anything.”

“I didn’t say you were militant.  Just a nut.”

It was a ridiculous conversation, but there you have it.  I am a nut.