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Comics

I’ve mentioned before that I’ve never really gotten into reading comics, but that doesn’t mean I’m incapable of getting into it.  Or that I don’t want to try.  So I’ve been trying.  I just haven’t gone for the superhero stuff.  Instead, I’ve read (and liked) Chew (which has a pretty disgusting premise, but I really enjoyed it), Saga (which is fascinating), and The Wicked + The Divine (which I really liked).  Oh, and Ms. Marvel – okay, I lied.  One superhero comic, and it was really good.  Next up, aside from the second volumes of each of those (I’ve been reading them in graphic novel form, not weekly comic books), is Federal Bureau of Physics.

More reasons to visit our local comic book store!  Also, they recommend stuff.  Can’t complain.

Up, up, and away

Guys.  GUYS.  John flew a plane, and he LOVED it.  He got on the ground and wanted to go right back up again.  (This is how I feel about roller coasters.  Maybe I’d feel the same about flying planes, but it’s not my dream we’re talking about here.)  John has wanted to fly all his life, and the last time he had the opportunity to learn, we couldn’t afford it (even with the discounted military rate, since this was 2002, we were living in San Diego, and I was still in the Navy).  Now, with the lessened expenses and the schedule flexibility we’re looking forward to, he can finally do it.  He took an intro flight with an instructor a few weeks ago at a local small airport.  The instructor had him do everything except land the plane.  It was great, and I got to go along, so I’ve got pictures.

Preflight checklist!  I think he's checking the gas tank.

Preflight checklist! I think he’s checking the gas tank.

John pays close attention to the instructor before takeoff.

John pays close attention to the instructor before takeoff.

See John fly.

See John fly.

Fly, John, fly!

Fly, John, fly!

It was really cool, and I’m glad I got to go, too.  I’m not going to make it a habit – can you imagine me in the backseat of every single training flight?  It’s not like I can read, not in the backseat of a small plane.  So John will learn to fly, and I will…do whatever I do while he’s doing that.  Something.

Just say something already!

Trepidation has turned into impatience.  My HR person hasn’t told ANYone yet.  She wants to have a conversation with my boss first, then tell the CEO and CFO, and it seems that finding the time to have that first conversation is proving difficult.  COME ON ALREADY!  I don’t like secrets.  I’m trying to be above-board with everyone.

On the other hand, it’s Friday, it’s Molly’s first day, and the sun is shining.

On the edge of my seat

Trepidation is the word of the day.  Last Wednesday, I told the head of HR about our plans for working remotely (and gave her the mid-August date).  She’s excited for us (yay!), and she said she’d tell the CFO and the CEO.  Once I hear back from her (or them), I’ll know if they’re with me or against me (it’s an us vs. them world!), and I’ll be able to share what’s going on with everyone (at work – you guys already know).

I HAVE to wait for their response.  If they support me, I can tell my team I’ll be working remotely, and we can work through any difficulties that might come up.  If they say no, then the conversation with my team will be very different.  My HR person said I should know by the middle of this week (it’s performance review time, and everyone is very busy), so I’ve been sitting on this for days and I WANT TO KNOW NOW.  Tomorrow is the middle of the week.  Has she told them?  Do they know?  Every time I see them, I wonder.

I hate being left hanging.  HR is usually very good at getting back to me, so I can only assume they (CFO, CEO) don’t know yet.  Or they know, they’re thinking about it, and they haven’t told HR anything yet.  I’m going to ask her, of course.  I’m not the type to sit and wait, and it’s been four full business days, so I’m not being crazy-impatient.  Just normal-impatient.

Shout it from the rooftops

John and I decided a while ago that we need to embrace our geeky interests, so we’ve made an effort lately to find time for things like comic books and tabletop games.  (We were already doing just fine on keeping up with the TV shows and movies and stuff.)

I don’t read comics, really – I never got into it, and when I tried, I found that I didn’t take the stories in like I do when I’m reading books.  Not enough words and maybe I skim the pictures?  I’m not sure.  John does read comics, although not religiously.  He usually keeps track of some of the Superman and Batman titles, and he says the Civil War series (I don’t know if it’s the Avengers or just Captain America) is really good.  (That’s the series the next Captain America movie is supposed to be based on.)

Anyway, our local comic book shop closed in early December, so John was pretty happy to see a sign for a new one opening in our town.  We dropped by on Memorial Day to check it out.  Turns out the people who own it used to work at the one that closed, and the guy who was working that day recognized John, and we had a nice chat.  He mentioned that the store was going to have a booth at Awesome Con in DC the next weekend, and it’s possible that John and I both heard a record scratch.

A convention in DC?  The very next weekend?  We’ve been talking about going to a convention (comics, gaming, fantasy, SF – whatever) for a while.  With the house and the dogs and everything, there were always reasons not to, but hanging out with like-minded people celebrating the things we enjoy sounds like a really good time to us.  Now, with no house and no dogs, there was really no reason we couldn’t check out a convention we wouldn’t have to travel to.

As soon as we got home, we checked out the website, and guys.  Alex Kingston and ARTHUR DARVILL were going to be there.  Decision made.  We were going to see Rory!

John called dibs on wearing the angels have the phone box t-shirt.  We’re not about to be that couple who wears the same t-shirt, and I really wanted to wear mine, so we began negotiations.  John graciously gave in to me.

We only went for the day on Saturday (and we met Jess there to share in the geeky fun), so we didn’t get to do or see everything there was to do and see, but we saw enough to be happy.  The only thing we didn’t do that we were interested in was check out the tabletop gaming room.  Try out games, meet some people – we could have gone back on Sunday, but by the end of Saturday, we were pretty worn out.

We went to both Q&A panels (for Alex Kingston and Arthur Darvill), and they were great.  Charming, funny, entertaining – you’d think they were in show business or something!  Really, though, what is it about British actors?  Are they born funny?  Arthur Darvill’s panel was really really good.  I think I have a new celebrity crush.  We made friends in the line waiting to get in – Alicia and Matt have been to Awesome Con three years running.  Alicia was wearing a TARDIS dress.  (I totally want one.)  And there was this little boy (two years old, maybe – not older than three) dressed as the 11th doctor.  SO cute.

We spent the rest of the day wandering the exhibit hall, checking out all the booths (stores, stuff, artists), bought some stuff (comics, posters), and gawked at the celebrities signing autographs and talking to people.  There was too much to see in the two hours we had left, but with some rushing at the end (the place was closing and they were kicking us out), we managed to get up and down all of the aisles.

We want to do it again!

More excuses

In case you’re wondering, I have managed to finish my work things.  Yay for me.  But time for blogging I have not had.

Well.

Let’s be frank.  All of us.  We should all be frank.  Frank won’t mind.  He’s a generous guy.  While we’re all being frank, I’ll say this.  I probably have time to blog.  But if I blog, I won’t be reading.  And I want to read.  I would rather blog than work, but that’s not the greatest idea, not if I want work to continue to pay me, so I can’t blog while I’m at work.  Most days, I’ve been working a little later than I would prefer, so when I get home, I want to eat dinner and watch TV, and then I want to read and go to bed.  Somewhere in there, I talk to John (because, you know, I still like him).

I’m not crazy about this trend, but blogging has not been my priority.  Also, I don’t like using “blog” as a verb, so I’m going to stop doing that.

I want to want to write more.  I have notes and drafts and pictures and things.  They will all become posts.  Soon.  Really.  Because I like you. And I like it here.

Priorities

We had a good weekend (went to Awesome Con in DC on Saturday), and I want to tell you all about it, but I have to get work things done that are overdue and I’m a little anxious about them.  So I’m going to focus on that.

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.

Elementary school lunch

I brought my lunch to work Tuesday morning (PB&J and an apple), but then I got a better offer, so I left it in the fridge.  (When a friend tells you she has monumental news and can we please talk about it over lunch, you say yes.)  Wednesday, lunch was catered (as a thank you to the department for hard work on a software release).  My brown bag stayed in the fridge because make-your-own-burrito sounded pretty good (and was).  Thursday arrived, and with no better offers at hand, I pulled my packed lunch out of the fridge and went back to my desk.

Did you know bread could go stale in the fridge?  It seems kind of obvious, but I’d never considered it before today.  Even with lots of strawberry jelly, my poor sandwich had seen better days.  I ate it anyway (I was pretty hungry), but it was a pale imitation of the sandwich it could have been.  My apple – well, it was a lost cause.  50+ hours in a brown bag in the fridge had turned it into one big bruise.  Sad little thing.

When’s dinner?  I could eat.

Feeling feisty

I’m in all-out fight mode today, but I’m pretty sure no one has noticed (at work – John knows).  This is a good thing; the person in charge of customer service should never start fights, fight back, or even appear to be anything other than angelic.  Not exactly, of course, but I never lose my cool in front of my customers.  Never.

Repeat after me:

I am at peace. I am as one with the world!  I want to help everyone, even if one person just threw me under the bus.  Oops, I mean this person clearly needs my help and just didn’t know how to ask for it.  Let’s help him out!

Deep breaths.  Smile?  Yes, smile.  My friendly voice is back, and…into the fray I go!

(This is a good reason to continue the boxing workouts.)

My princess roots are showing

I found my new favorite fantasy dress.  I need it (NEED IT), and I need an opportunity to wear it.  Somebody win an Oscar, okay?  I’m wearing this on the red carpet.

dress1

dress2

Maybe without the sleeve trains.  Or make them detachable.  The rest of the pictures are here.

Hunting

Molly is apartment-hunting in DC!  This is going to be cool.  She’s looking in a lot of neighborhoods that were fairly shady 15 years ago, but have changed a lot since then.  I keep thinking we’ll have live vicariously through her, but no!  We can do that, too!  We ARE going to do that, too!  We’re going to move to cities we’re not familiar with, and rent apartments short-term in cool neighborhoods!  Even though I’m living and breathing this giant change, I keep forgetting that we are going to be able to do whatever we want.

Whatever we want!

The donut diet. It’ll catch on, right?

I would like to take a break from eating.  Too bad that’s not really an option.  I feel like all I’ve done for the last two weekends is EAT.  A LOT.  Good food, but too much of it.

Speaking of that, I had the BEST DONUT EVER yesterday.  I had every intention of skipping the donuts my boss brought in, but everyone was raving about them, so I caved. It was so worth it.  They came from Duck Donuts, a place I’d never heard of.  My boss said the line was out the door.  SO GOOD.

Maybe I should forego all food EXCEPT donuts.  Except THESE donuts.  Maybe at the same time I can do something about this ALL CAPS PROBLEM I seem to have developed today.

I am not trapped under something heavy

I’m still here!  I’m just always either out of town or working late or falling down tired.  And that means I don’t really have anything to say tonight.  (I’m sorry.)  (So why not stay off the internet?)  (Um.)  (I mean, really.)  (I don’t have an answer.)

Here’s a joke for you:

Two guys are driving down 5th Avenue in Manhattan when they come up to a red light. The guy driving slams the gas pedal and they go zooming past the red light. His friend looks at him and says, “Hey, you just went through a red light.” The guy driving says, “Don’t worry about it. My brother does it all the time.” So they keep driving and they come to a second red light. The guy driving slams on the gas pedal and zooms past another red light. His friend is pretty mad, looks at him and says, “Hey man, you just went through another red light. What the heck are you doing?” The guy driving tells his friend, “Don’t worry about it. My brother does this all the time.” They come to a third red light and the guy driving slams on the gas, zooming past the red light. His friend starts screaming at him, “What the heck? You’re going to get us killed! Pull over and let me out.” The guy driving screams back at him, “I’m telling you: don’t worry about it. My brother, he does it all the time.” So they keep driving and they come to a green light. The guy driving slams on the brakes. His friend looks at him and says, “Are you out of your mind? What the heck is wrong with you? You go flying past three red lights, almost getting us killed, and then you slam on the brakes when you have a green light?” The guy driving looks at his friend and says, “I had to stop; my brother might have been coming.”

I’m a loser, baby

Who knew that fake gambling could be fun?  I don’t like real gambling.  It’s too stressful.  You know you’re going to lose money, and even if you’ve set aside money you’re okay with losing, who wants to lose it?  Not fun.  But gambling with fake money is much more fun.  No stress, no stakes.  If you’re winning, hooray, and if you’re not, who cares?

This was for last night’s mandatory fun event for work, and I’m happy to say I actually had fun.  The dealers were super nice, answered all of my questions and taught me how to play various games (it won’t stick, but it was nice of them), I think they enjoyed themselves, too.  A couple of them told me it’s a relief to work an event with fake money because no one takes it seriously, no one’s losing real money, everyone has fun, and that means they can relax and have fun, too.  Yay for everyone having fun!

Now, I’m at work, and I have a headache, so I’m going to take something and try not to be super-annoyed with this one super-annoying client.

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.

The danger in picking the wrong book

I’m reading a book by an author I’ve read before (and liked).  I’m reading a book John really enjoyed.  I’m reading a book I’m enjoying, but I can’t seem to find the time to read it.  That is a sign that I’m not in the right head space for this book.  When I REALLY enjoy what I’m reading, I can’t put it down.*  I find the time to read.  I read when I should be going to sleep, when I’m making dinner, between commercials when we’re watching TV, at red lights in the car.  I started this book two weeks ago, and I’m only 30% in.  I like it, I really do.  I guess I’m just not in the mood.  But I’m NOT going to put it down.  I don’t give up that easily.

*I almost wrote “When I’m reading a book I can’t put down, I can’t put it down.”  Duh.

Out of service

John and I spent the weekend smack in the middle of Pennsylvania.  We went up for Molly’s graduation from Penn State and we had almost ZERO cell service the whole time.  It was really annoying.  Should we have expected it?  I’m not sure.  On the one hand, we were in the middle of nowhere.  Maybe it’s reasonable to expect limited service.  On the other hand, we were on Penn State’s ENORMOUS campus.  They have LOTS of students – how could they not have LOTS of cell towers?  Back to the first hand, though, we were there with thousands upon thousands of students AND their families.  Maybe we just couldn’t get our share of the network.  It sure seemed like everyone else could. As we left town (later than either of us wanted) Sunday afternoon, all of the texts and emails we’d missed all weekend came pouring in.  We felt so out of touch.

On the plus side, it was a beautiful weekend to find ourselves out in the middle of nowhere.  Lots trees, blue sky, mountains.  It was pretty.  I like pretty.  Also, I got to wear two of my favorite dresses, so I felt pretty, too.

Heart rate ramblings

The American Heart Association says that when you exercise, you should try to keep your heart rate between 50% and 85% of your maximum heart rate.  The easy way to get your maximum heart rate is to subtract your age from 220.  So my max heart rate is about 184 beats per minute.  85% of my max heart rate is 156 bpm.  My GPS watch came with a heart rate monitor, so I’m usually wearing that when I run.  Based on those guidelines, my warmup should keep me around 100 bpm, and I shouldn’t reach 156 until I’m working hard.  But that’s not how it works for me.  I reach 156 bpm with a light jog.  Running uphill, I hit 165-170.  Sprinting, 185 to 190.

So….am I stressing my heart?  About to die?  I don’t feel like I am.  At 156 bpm, I’m not even breathing hard.  I know those are guidelines, but should I be worried?  I’d been wondering about this for a while, and I finally remembered to ask my doctor about it while I was actually AT the doctor’s office.  (That almost never happens.)

Answer?  If I feel fine, I shouldn’t worry.  They really are just guidelines, and it’s okay if they don’t apply to me exactly right.  So, okay.  No worrying.  But I’m glad I finally asked about it.  I kept remembering that runner a few years ago in Colorado (?) who was running in the heat and had a heart attack and died.  No history of heart problems.  I wasn’t actually worrying about this.  Really.  I lost NO sleep about it.  I just wondered.  Now I don’t have to wonder.  And neither do you.

But I am curious about my resting heart rate.  Sitting here right now, my heart rate is 72 bpm.  You’re supposed to get your resting heart rate after you wake up in the morning, before you get out of bed.  For one thing, I never remember that.  For another, what about alarm clocks?  Does it only count if you wake up naturally?  If the alarm startles you awake, wouldn’t that mean your heart rate is somewhat elevated?  I haven’t checked it in years (either I don’t think about it at all, or I do, but not when I’ve just woken up), but the last time I remember checking, my resting heart rate was about 60 bpm.  I’m curious to see what it is now.  But that will require me to remember to check.  And I don’t have a morning without an alarm coming up for almost two weeks.  Maybe a little more.

Hey, I can collect social security!

As revenge for sending Mom and Dad to how-old.net, they sent me to a Can We Guess Your Age quiz on Buzzfeed.  No, they cannot guess my age.  Based on things I dislike, it thinks I’m 65 years old.  Maybe I’m 65 at heart.  I do like to have dinner early.