Back on track. At least halfway.

Okay, I think I’m done slacking off here.  I’ll try to go back to regularly posting something.  Maybe not daily, but more than once a week.  I’ll keep the job hunt details out of it.  Except for this one: John just completed his first day of work at his new job!  He spent less than one week unemployed, which is just crazy.  And fantastic.  I believe it went well, but I couldn’t get the details because his phone was about to die.  I’ll get them when he gets home.

I had a very nice, friendly, no-worries-about-unemployment day.  I got up early with John (who was heading off to WORK!), shot off some job hunt-related emails, and headed to the zoo with Margaret.  It was a bit chilly (and windy), and I think we spent more time on the metro and Connecticut Ave trying to get TO the zoo than actually in it, but it was more about hanging out anyway.  Besides, we saw the animals we really wanted to see (cheetahs, pandas, lions, tigers, panda bears, seals, gorillas, etc).  No elephants (too cold for them to be outside, and the elephant house is closed), we never found the  giraffes (though we didn’t look very hard), and we walked right out of the reptile house after we saw the scary spiked lizard with the triangle-shaped head in the first exhibit.  And it was a beautiful sunny day.

We parted at the metro to go on separate lunch dates: Margaret with an old friend, and, well, same for me.  I went to Crystal City to have lunch with Erik.  By the time we were done (after a visit to Starbucks – post-lunch coffee was a good idea), Erik could legitimately leave work, so we got on the metro and rode back to Ballston together so he could go home and I could pick up my car and get home to rescue the dogs.  Which I did.

Anyway, good day.  Not sure what’s on for dinner tonight, but champagne is definitely on the menu.

Suddenly unemployed

And not really sure what happened.  Both of us.  So, you know, no income whatsoever.  Just happened today, and we’re still reeling.  On the one hand, we’re both looking forward.  A business is a business, and I’m sure this was a business decision on their part.  I think.  I mean, they didn’t give us any reason to think otherwise.  Either way, we’re on our own and that’s okay.  Starting Monday, finding a job becomes our full time job (unless someone can come up with the perfect business we could start), and we have people to call.  Hopefully, this won’t last long.  It’s a sucky economy, yes, but this area hasn’t been hit as hard (or so I hear).  I’ll stay positive until I get shot down.  Then I may start to panic.  Worry has already set in (of course), but it’s manageable.

I have it. It’s mine.

Unfortunately, reading at work is not encouraged.

Hey, if you guys aren’t reading Roger Ebert’s blog (Roger Ebert’s Journal), you’re missing out.  He posts every four days or so.  This one hit close to home.  In a good way.  I’ve also been looking for new blogs to read.  I found a few that look promising, but I’m waiting a few days (and looking through the archives) before deciding if I want to stay with any of them.

I was having a small crisis of confidence about posting on other blogs (Am I saying something insightful or just making noise?  Will they think I’m stupid?), but I just got over it.  I wish all fears were that easy to get over.

Other priorities. Well, priority.

Tonight is about finishing my book so I can run out and buy my new book on my way to work tomorrow morning.  Which may not be the best idea, since I’ll spend all day really wishing I could be reading.  And you know, I just need to have it tomorrow.  (Because I do.  I just…do.)  I don’t necessarily need to start reading it immediately.  Which means I don’t necessarily have to finish this book tonight.  I don’t want to rush through it or anything.  Necessarily.  🙂  (Good word.  Fun to say.)

Hm.  I think I just talked myself out of the need to finish it tonight.  Which isn’t to say I won’t spend all evening reading – now I’m repeating myself.  No pressure!

One more day, please

I really needed today.  Yesterday was a very good day, but it was pretty tiring.  The weather let us down early on (it wasn’t raining), so we got up as planned and went to Wolf Trap for the hardest 5K ever.  Seriously, half of it was uphill, including the second half of the first mile and the very last part of the race.  We had to run uphill to the finish line!  That’s just mean.  But it was good and it felt great to be done with it.  We headed home to finish the cleaning we’d started Friday night.  John’s parents and one of his sisters arrived around 1pm, maybe a little later, to spend the day and celebrate John’s birthday.  They brought food (his mom makes the greatest chicken parmesan), cake, and presents, and we had a really good time.  It’s just that whenever we have people in the house, we’re not totally relaxed.  We’re on, and being on for that long takes a lot out of us.  They left around 9:30 or so, we did a little more cleaning up, and that was it.  The house looks great, though (no clutter on the island or the kitchen counters!), and we’re going to really make an effort to keep it that way.  We say that every time, but we’ve made it one day so far and everything still looks good.  We took the extra desk out of the dining room (put it in the basement), so there’s more space there.  Which we’ll need, of course, because we want a new (bigger) dining room table.  Before Thanksgiving, if possible.  We’re looking at a minimum of nine people this Thanksgiving, with the possibility of up to four more.

Anyway, today was kind of a lazy day.  We started with a walk, to stretch out our aching calves.  We took the dogs and went to the store before breakfast.  (We were out of eggs.)  After breakfast, John started working on his midterm.  Aside from a break to go get his hair cut, he’s been working on it all day.  He’s about halfway done.  I cleaned up the yard, did a lot of laundry, and read.

I’d like another day off before going back to work, but I just can’t have everything, can I?

Trains. And khakis.

It’s completely dark outside, but I can hear the buzz of a lawn mower next door.  Who mows their lawn in the dark?  My neighbor, he of the electric lawn mower and really long extension cord.  He is, again, mowing in khakis.  What is it with people doing active things (running a 5K, mowing a lawn) in khakis lately?  Do people do it all the time and I just don’t notice it much?  I mean, run (or mow) in whatever you’re comfortable in, by all means, but I will still point and laugh (if only in my head so I can appear nicer than I am).  I can’t imagine what would cause me to make the decision to run a race in khakis.  Well, that’s not true.  I have an imagination, and I know how to use it.  I’d do it if someone paid me enough (and if I still get to wear running shoes), I’d do it if khakis were the only clothes available to me (I’d rather run wearing khaki pants than no pants.), I’d do it if someone were threatening my life (or anyone’s, really) if I didn’t.  But I would expect people to be puzzled by it.  This train of thought has gone on long enough.

Where did my free time go?

You know what’s been driving me a little crazy the last couple of days?  Not having enough time to read my book (so I can be done with it and ready for the new one next Tuesday).  Solution?  This is all I’m posting tonight.  I’m off to read my book.

P.S. My new job is going fine.  I’m in training, and my new office-mate is great.

Happy Birthday, John! And good luck!

Happy birthday to you,

Happy birthday to you,

Happy birthday, dear John,

Happy birthday to you!

Today is John’s birthday (in case you couldn’t tell), and, sadly, he has to give a presentation in class today.  But he’s ready, and it’ll be great (repeat that with a Scottish accent, please), and when he comes home, we’ll have a yummy birthday dinner and an ice cream cake.  Hopefully, his present will be there when I get home.

Good luck with your presentation!

A very movie weekend

This weekend was all about the movies.  I watched Babe, Get Smart, The Women, and The Philadelphia Story.  I loved BabeGet Smart was okay, but not as funny as it should have been.  The Women was not good.  It was watchable, but only just.  I liked The Philadelphia Story (Katherine Hepburn looked fantastic), but I prefer High Society. Even though High Society went so far as to steal whole lines of dialogue from the original.  Actually, I think the comparison made me enjoy The Philadelphia Story all the more.

The rain is gone and it’s early on a sunny Monday morning.  Time for breakfast, and then I’m off to my first day on my new job!

Stay focused!

This weekend is not starting so well, exercise-wise.  Yesterday, I didn’t run because it was raining when we got up.  This morning, John looked out the window and said it wasn’t raining, so we got up and put on running clothes.  He didn’t lie to me; he’s just blind.  It was raining steadily, and has been since we got up.  I don’t have any schedule restraints today, so I’m just going to stay in these clothes and wait (hope) for the rain to let up.  But it’s not looking good.  And we’re about to have breakfast.  I’ve already sabotaged a healthy eating day by buying Entenmann’s glazed pop’ems (and planning on Indian food while John is at his gig tonight).  On the other hand, there are exercise-type things I can do inside, so if it gets to late afternoon with no let-up, I’ll switch to one of my aerobics DVDs and then do resistance exercises.  And probably other things.  I will!

One day to go

One more day and then I’ll be working on a new contract at work.  My current project has caused me nothing but headaches (which is a shame, because I like that kind of work, but this one guy is pushing all my buttons and I can’t wait to stop having to deal with him), so I’m really looking forward to moving on.

I started reading Slaughterhouse 5 the other day.  It’s weird, and I put it down.  I might go back to it (I’m still carrying it around with me), but I’ve started and finished another Rosamunde Pilcher book (Snow in April) since then, and I just started Thornyhold (Mary Stewart) today.  So I’m not in any hurry.

Speaking of Rosamunde Pilcher, I still really enjoy her books, but I’m starting to rank them now.  I’ve read six of them.  Three were really good (Coming Home, September, and The Shell Seekers) and the other three ranged from so-so (still entertaining but not good) to pretty good.  Just in case anyone is thinking of trying them.

Running in khakis (not me) and babysitting

I completely forgot to mention the guy who ran in this past weekend’s 5K wearing long khaki pants and a plaid, short-sleeved button-down shirt.  I’m annoyed to admit that, even dressed like that, he passed me.  Easily and early.  I mentioned it to John after the race (he didn’t see the guy), and he reminded me that we’d seen a bunch of kids dressed in costumes.  This was an adult, but he did look very Forrest Gump-ish, so maybe it was a costume.  Either way, it was strange.  And now that I think about it, I remember seeing another runner in khakis back in that Falls Church 5K last spring.  Maybe it was the same guy.  Except I’m pretty sure I was faster than the guy in Falls Church.

I had a good time babysitting Colin last night.  Christina and Will went to a concert, and I got to play with the baby.  Who, for the first time ever, warmed up to me almost immediately.  He was almost snuggly at times!  We played with his matchbox cars and watched Kung Fu Panda.  He snacked a bit, showed me all his books, and went to bed easily.  He was asleep by 7:30 and Christina and Will got home around eleven, so I spent the rest of the evening watching random TV (early episodes of Scrubs and then a bunch of episodes of South Park) and reading.  I was really tired, but I resisted napping ’cause I wanted to be able to fall asleep easily once I got home.  Falling asleep was not a problem.  Getting up to run was not so easy, but I managed.  Just not early, so I didn’t run far.

Really nice weekend

I’m so happy this three-day weekend worked out so nicely.

Saturday morning, John and I got up a little before seven to go run a 5K in Reston.  It was the 1st Annual Anthen Great Pumpkin 5K, starting and ending in Reston Town Center.  We had perfect running weather; the temperature was about 60, it was overcast (so no sun to make it hotter), and while it was pretty windy at first, the wind died down once the race started.  There were about 2000 runners registered, and we started in about the first third of the pack.  Neither one of us really felt ready for this, so we weren’t really worrying about our race times.  I would have been thrilled just to run the whole thing (I didn’t), but even that wasn’t going to bother me.  Have I mentioned that I’ve been trying to take all the stress out of running?  I’m running to lose weight, and when I’m not worrying about how fast I’m going or how far I’m running (before I have to walk for a while), I enjoy it.  So I’ve decided to view these 5Ks as extra workouts with a whole bunch of strangers.  Anyway, I figured I’d run the first mile for sure and then see what happened.  My time at the first mile marker was 9:42, and I gave myself permission to walk whenever I felt like I needed to.  But I wanted to see if I could at least make it to the water station at the halfway point.  I’d just slow down a bit, since I did the first mile a little faster than I expected.  A half-mile later, I had a couple of gulps of water (most of it was on my shirt) and we were heading downhill, so I figured I’d at least run to the bottom of the hill, still trying to consciously slow my pace down.  I was in no hurry.  And then it flattened out and I realized I must be close to the end of the second mile, so I decided to try not to walk until after the second mile.  I managed that, but not much further.  My time for the second mile was 9:37, which I just don’t get.  I was deliberately slowing down during that mile, wasn’t I?  Doesn’t matter much, though, ’cause I was ready to walk.  For the third mile, I walked a little, jogged a little, walked a little, jogged a little, and then I jogged the last tenth to the finish line.  Final race time: 32:11.  I’m okay with that.

From the race, John and I went to breakfast at this new diner in Ashburn.  It’s on 7, over by the big church, and it’s pretty good.  We’ll be back to check out the rest of the menu.  John spent the rest of the afternoon playing his guitar, and I went to Babies-R-Us to shop for Amanda’s baby shower.  John had rehearsal at Lloyd’s place starting at 6, so I ordered Indian food and watched Untraceable.  It was okay.  Not good, but watchable.  I like Diane Lane.  I think she looks like a normal person.  A beautiful normal person.

Sunday, we slept in a little and had a leisurely breakfast (eggs, toast, banana nut muffins, tea), and then I walked the dogs (long walk) while John mowed the lawn.  Then we rushed a little to get ready to go to the baby shower.  Because Amanda and Greg are having a baby!  Yay!  Lisa, Greg’s sister, hosted the party at her apartment building in DC, and she did a great job.  It wasn’t a particularly girly shower (which everyone appreciated), and John and I won the fill-in-the-blank nursery rhyme game!  (That sounds girly, but really, it wasn’t.  And the food was great.  Not sure why I’m in parentheses for this.)

This morning, we got up and ran, and then after breakfast, John sat down for some serious studying and I went to run errands.  I went to Wegman’s, rushed home to put the brisket in the oven (so it won’t be ridiculously late when we have dinner), and then went back out to buy new running shoes and firewood (Wegman’s didn’t have any).  John built a fire and now we’re both on the couch in the family room.  It’s very cozy.  John has his textbook and I have my laptop (which I will soon be trading in for my book), and in a little while (because dinner won’t be ready until 7:30 and I’m feeling a bit peckish) we’ll probably have some cheese and wine.

That’s enough typing.  Time for reading!

I like Gary Sinise

I don’t have a lot to say today.  I overreacted a couple of times (in the privacy of the house and then my office, and I only vented to John and Christina), about the same guy, but two different things, and I don’t want to talk about it anymore.  But it’s uppermost in my mind (’cause I’m still really annoyed), so I’m having a hard time thinking of other things to write about.  There are lots of random, half-finished thoughts rattling around in my head, but nothing worth writing an essay about.  Not that I write essays.  Want a sample?  Okay.

The band is rehearsing.  I’m in the bedroom, which is right next to the vent that carries sound awfully well up from the basement.  They’re playing “In a Little While”, by U2, and I thought, “We should really consider sound-proofing the basement when we get around to finishing it.  Of course, that probably won’t help with the vent issue, so maybe it’s not worth it.”  They just switched to “Santeria”.

There’s a spider who keeps spinning a really big web from the lamppost by the driveway to the big bush on the other side of the front porch steps.  It’s been there for almost a week now, and it keeps coming back even though I destroy the web almost every day.  Give up already!  Maybe more than a week.  And maybe it’s not the same spider.  But it’s freaking me out.  I look carefully every day now, ’cause Saturday morning I walked right into it and screamed a little before dropping everything I was carrying.  I ran back inside and made John check my hair and my back to make sure the spider wasn’t on me.  That still makes me shudder.  Stupid spider.  There was another big one closer to the front door, but I drowned it in Raid.

I wish I hadn’t thought of that.  Now I have to check the bed (a la Sound of Music).

Quick, think happy thoughts (with no bugs in them)!  Ooh, I think I’ll give CSI: NY a try.  (I’m hoping to see Gary Sinise.  I like him.)  There he is!

Long way to the point. If that is the point.

I finished reading Old Man’s War, by John Scalzi, this morning.  That’s the second book of his I’ve read, and I’ve really liked them both.  Original, entertaining, light, funny – all good things for science fiction.

We had a good weekend, but any rest I earned was used up Monday morning.  And there may not have been that much rest, now that I think about it.  John’s band practiced until late (well, after ten, I think) Friday night, and I got up and hit the road relatively early Saturday morning to drive to Annapolis to hang out with Jess and Chuck (which was exactly what I needed – Jess and I had a yummy lunch, sitting outside in perfect weather, and then we picked up Chuck and hung out for a few more hours.  Very relaxing and fun.).

Tip: From now on, if I need to get to the other side of DC, I will be taking the south side of the beltway.  Not a single slow-down the whole way.  That has NEVER happened to me going around the north side.  I’m sure traffic sucks in rush hour, but it sucks everywhere then.

Anyway, I got home Saturday evening, John and I had a quick dinner, and then the band came back over for more rehearsal.  I went back upstairs, watched some more TV on Hulu, and read until I fell asleep.  They didn’t quit until around midnight.

Sunday, we slept in, got bagels for breakfast, and lounged around for a while.  I did get done what I needed to do, though: laundry and grocery shopping.  Oh, and I took the dogs to the new dog park in Leesburg.

Fascinating, I know.

Monday morning came WAY too early.  I had to get up at 5am.  I was ready on time, but Mark was late (he was supposed to pick me up at 6), and then he drove right by the house.  That’s not his fault, though, since it was still really dark and the porch light doesn’t illuminate the house number.  I saw a car go by slowly, so I called his cell phone and went outside.  We got downtown with plenty of time to spare and went to Cosi for coffee, which I managed to spill on my knee (it was iced, thankfully).  I was wearing a dark suit, so it wasn’t really obvious.  But that reminds me – I should take that suit to be dry cleaned.  And figure out what I’m wearing for the next meeting Friday morning.  But this meeting first.  Aside from being so early (and both of us stifling yawns the whole time), the meeting went fine.  We had two hours and we managed to cover everything.  And then the guy said he had another hour.  We managed to fill it, but we were reaching by the end.  Back to the office by 11:30, and I was wiped out.  I could barely keep my eyes open the rest of the day (and I was at work until 6pm because John had to stay until then), and I had to ask John to drive home.

My point, I suppose, is that I’m tired.  I ran today, and John wants to get to bed early (’cause he’s tired, too), and I’ll run tomorrow, and all of that should help me feel rested….I hope.

Stir fry tonight!

(Does this feel disjointed to anyone?  Uneven, perhaps?)

Still slacking

I meant to post today (and here I am), but this won’t be all that substantial.  I’ll get into the weekend and stuff tomorrow.  (Promise.)  Not that there’s a lot of exciting stuff, but at least there’s something.  I was SO tired today and I didn’t get to go home early like I was hoping (since my day officially started at 6am – the commute counts).

Anyway, I’m going to watch some TV with John and then fall asleep.  Riley is being especially clingy tonight.  He tried to get in my lap earlier.

Ew.  And he just drooled on my leg.  Not so cute anymore.