I haven’t met any singing mice. Yet.

The wildlife in Oregon is straight out of a cartoon.  John and I both get distracted by squirrels peering in our office windows during the day, that damn turkey keeps showing up on our front porch like it wants to come in, and today I saw a gray squirrel and fat red robin having a conversation on top of a tree stump in the park.  I wasn’t fast enough to get a picture.  I saw them, they looked at me, I swear I heard “Cheese it, it’s the fuzz!”, and then the squirrel scampered off.  The robin stuck around and gave me the evil eye as I ran past.  Maybe slightly more Adult Swim than Disney Channel.

How is this STILL a problem for me?!?

I just don’t get it.  We have lived in Oregon, on the west coast, in the Pacific time zone, for ten months now, and I STILL get thrown by the time zone difference with the east coast.  STILL.  Like, it just happened, just now, not 30 seconds ago.

I’m sitting at my work laptop, which I deliberately keep on eastern time because it’s helpful during the work day.  I don’t usually write from here, but it was on, and I’m lazy.  I’m also TIRED, which is why, when I glanced at the clock on the corner and it said 11:55pm, I thought to myself, No wonder I’m tired.  It’s MIDNIGHT.  What am I still doing up?  Yeah, NO.  It’s 9pm.  It’s not that late.  I have plenty of reasons to be tired – I’ve been up since 5:45, I haven’t been getting enough sleep lately, and I think I’m getting sick again – but it being midnight is not one of them.  BECAUSE IT’S NOT MIDNIGHT.

Me and the Flash

Today was a really good day for a run, and I took full advantage.  It was my first run in a week (last week’s concert and travel plans got in the way), and even though I ran the same distance (3.7 miles – I’m slowly getting my distance back up) as last Monday, today I ran it SO much faster.  I can identify four things that were different today:

  1. The weather was PERFECT: mid to upper 50s and overcast.  Last week was pretty cold.  Right about 55 degrees is my favorite temperature for running.  I would have been happy with some sunshine, but it wasn’t necessary.
  2. I had two cups of Yorkshire tea before my run, so I was fully caffeinated.  I usually run in the mid-afternoon, long after any caffeine I’ve had has worn off.
  3. I was wearing my new sports bra.
  4. I was wearing my favorite running pants.

Honestly, I think the bra and pants are what made the difference.  Of course, then I went on a nearly 5-mile walk with John and OH MY GOD I ACHE.  What the hell?  We were walking.  I feel old.

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?

A day in the big city (don’t laugh)

I don’t know if you know this, but Portland is cool, and we need to spend more time there.  We had the whole day to play, but it was cold and raining ice pellets, so walking around wasn’t really an option.  I mean, we still stayed all day (we got home just a few minutes ago, a little after 10), but we drove from place to place and dashed from store to store.  We had brunch at Gravy, which was SO GOOD, and then we went to this synthesizer store so John could play with all the toys, and then we went to a used music store so John could try out other toys, and then we went BACK to the synth store so John could buy the toys he was playing with earlier, then a quick stop at a comic book shop, the Doc Martens store (the original one!) where John found shoes that actually fit (!), Athleta for me (where I tried on everything in the store, of course), and POWELL’S.

And then we came home.  I could sleep for days.

Rock star

I didn’t post yesterday, but I had a very good reason, Person Who Is Berating Me For Not Posting Yesterday For Some Reason: I was at a really, super good, fanTAStic show in Portland last night, and most of our day and night was spent working, driving, dancing and singing, and then driving again, leaving no room for blogging.

Sorry, Person Who Is Berating Me For Not Posting Yesterday For Some Reason.  But I’m here today, and I’m going to tell you all about it!

Last night was a perfect example of “Hey, we don’t have any responsibilities except work so we should take this opportunity.  No excuses.”  (We sometimes have to remind ourselves.)

I don’t even know what order to tell this in.  Chronological?  Best to worst?  How about I start with “what am I talking about” and “how did this come about”, huh?

What I am Talking About:

Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls played a club in Portland last night (Tuesday night) and WE WENT.  We missed him last time he was in Portland – by the time we found out about the show, it was sold out.

How This Came About:

It was a very lucky stroke of wonderful timing.  I follow this actor we like, Timothy Omundson, on Twitter, and on Sunday, he tweeted about seeing Frank Turner in LA.  That made me think hey, if he’s on tour, maybe he’s coming near us, so I checked and OHMYGOD HE’S COMING TO PORTLAND IN TWO DAYS, followed by OHMYGOD TICKETS ARE AVAILABLE AND WOW THEY’RE CHEAP!  Clearly, I bought the tickets.  (Our struggle with “but it’s in Portland and it’ll be a really late night and then we’ll have to get up really early and work the next day” was short-lived.)

Side note: I tweeted at Timothy Omundson about it (as a reply to his tweet) and he responded!  Squee!

Okay, now I’m going with best to worst:

  • BEST – In the middle of a song, the second opening act (which was very good – more coming up) asked the crowd for a guitarist and they picked John, largely due our proximity to the stage and my nutso jumping and pointing.  It also helped that he’s tall.  So John, our very own John, went up on stage with a touring band during a real rock show, and played for a minute or so with the band.  It was so great and I HAVE VIDEO.  I did my best to hold the camera still.  Please forgive my screaming at 1:27 and 2:01.  Yes, the singer is talking about Betsy DeVos.

  • Frank Turner was freakin’ amazing – there was screaming and dancing and singing along and they played all of my favorite songs of theirs minus one and I will go to his shows any time he tours anywhere near us.
  • The second opening act was this Canadian band, The Arkells, who are our awesome new band to love (and emulate because oh yeah, John’s in a band again and they’ve entered a contest and they had a gig a couple of weeks ago and they have another one next weekend and I’ll tell you all about that in a few days).  That’s who pulled John on stage, and they were a really great surprise.
  • The first opening act was this acoustic singer-songwriter guy from England, Will Varley – funny jokes, good songs, and we bought all his CDs after the show (because we’re suddenly very conscious of supporting smaller acts now that, oh yeah, John’s in a band again and they’ve entered a contest and they had a gig a couple of weeks ago and they have another one next weekend and I’ll tell you all about that in a few days).
  • There was crowd-surfing!  It was limited, but I don’t think I’ve ever been to a show with crowd-surfing before.  Frank Turner met a barista earlier in the day, and she came to the show, so he pulled her on stage and got her to crowd-surf with specific directions to the crowd.  We had to get her to the back so she could high-five the person running the merchandise table, detour to the bar, and then come back along the other side to the stage.  We helped her get back on the stage at the end.  And then, during one of the encore songs, Frank crowd-surfed himself, WHILE SINGING, and we helped.  He was sweaty.  But I touched sweaty Frank Turner!
  • Our drive to Portland was fun on its own.  We binged Frank Turner songs and brainstormed ideas for John’s band (because oh yeah, John’s in a band again and they’ve entered a contest and they had a gig a couple of weeks ago and they have another one next weekend and I’ll tell you all about that in a few days).
  • Late as it was (we hit the road at midnight), the drive home was kinda fun, too.  We stuck to the decades stations on Sirius and had a sing-along to stay awake.
  • We ate at a southern BBQ place for dinner before the show which was…not bad.  Total hipster restaurant, from the menu to the diners.  At one table, there was a bearded guy wearing a black button down shirt and a matching black wool beanie on his head.  At the very next table, there was a bearded guy wearing a gray button down shirt and a matching gray wool beanie on his head.  I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP.  The second guy had a toddler wearing a lumberjack flannel shirt.
  • WORST: Getting up this morning was not easy.  I got 4, maybe 4 and a half hours of sleep before I had to get up and work.  John didn’t have any morning meetings, so he slept longer.

There’s probably more, but I think I’m out of words.  For now.  Until tomorrow!  I hope.  If I have time.  Because there’s more cool stuff happening tomorrow.

Huh. I can tell the exhaustion is setting in ’cause I can’t seem to stop.  Stop.  STOP.

So much no

I try to keep this blog free of real things that bother me.  I mean, I certainly complain about stuff, but I don’t get into serious issues.  I don’t plan to, either.  I spend all day reading the news and talking about the god-awful things that are going on, and the last thing I want to do is write about them.

I’m angry, I’m sad, and I’m scared, and I DON’T want to talk about it.  I want to hide and wake up from this terrible dream.

I won’t hide, and I will do something.  I donated to the ACLU, I’ll be donating to other organizations, I’m calling my congresspeople daily, and I’ll continue to go to protests and otherwise get involved locally.  I’m thinking about other things I can do.

In the meantime, I want to stay light here.  It’s a nice distraction, but there are days I just can’t.

Like today.  I just can’t.

Protest

Right about noon today, I glanced out the window and saw two women walk by with cardboard signs.  One said something about diversity (I don’t remember exactly what).  I couldn’t see the other one.

“Hey, John, did you hear anything about a protest today?”  “No.”  I had already checked to see if the Eugene airport is international (it’s not).  Google to the rescue!

The rally was at the federal courthouse (same place the Women’s March started), and we were already planning to head that way on our walk to lunch, so we checked it out.

LOTS of people.  Maybe 1000?  Maybe more.  Signs, chanting, someone with a bullhorn in the front, immigrants telling stories, and a guy with a competing bullhorn in the back leading more chanting.  It was heartening.

(My favorite sign this time just said “This is bullshit.”)

Maybe rallies and protests will be a regular thing now.  I want the momentum to keep up.  I wish it didn’t have to.

Highly unlikely

For about a day, I seriously considered doing this challenge: sending something in the mail to someone every day during the month of February.  It can be a note, a letter, a postcard, or whatever, as long as it goes in the mail.  I went so far as planning to shop this weekend to buy supplies like stamps and postcards.

But then, I remembered that we don’t have a mailbox.  We have a mail slot next to the front door and no way to put mail out for pickup here at the house.

I think it’s a really nice idea, but I am LAZY.  There is no way I’m going to go outside and walk to the nearest mailbox (which I think is six blocks away) every single day of FEBRUARY, a month that always has the WORST weather.

If I remember, I’ll try it out next time we live somewhere with a mailbox.  Or maybe here, but when the weather is nicer.

It’s a little weird to talk about books in a grocery store

I told you about reading that book club book in a handful of hours so I could be ready to talk about it with a room full of strangers I only found out existed the day before, but then I didn’t actually tell you about that room full of strangers who possibly only began to exist when I walked in the door.  (Who’s to say?)

They meet in a meeting room on the upper floor of a fancy grocery store, and when I walked in there were about a dozen women of various ages (mostly old-ish) sitting around a big table in the middle of the room.  There were a couple other people at other tables, but I figured I’d found my group.  Plus there were a bunch of books on the table.  So, being my father’s daughter, I walked over and said, “Judging by the pile of books, am I right in assuming this is the book club?”  They didn’t kick me out.  Can’t trust their judgment.

This is a group of Very Serious Readers.  Most enjoyed the book, thought it was a nice book to read over the holidays, but they also almost unanimously dismissed it in some way as a pile of fluff.  They read Literary Fiction for Very Serious Readers, or so it seems.  Or maybe it’s mostly Depressing Fiction for Very Serious Readers.  (I think it’s fair to say that those two categories overlap.)

Maybe I’m wrong (I’m probably wrong).  Maybe I’m jumping to conclusions (I’m definitely jumping to conclusions).  They were all very nice, certainly.  Maybe three of them were younger than me, but over 30.  And in great contrast to my last book club, they’re not one big group of friends.  There are probably a couple of pairs of friends, but the rest appear to be strangers who found each other online with the express purpose of starting a book club.  They (we) met in a public place, talked about the book, decided on the next month’s book, and got out, all in about an hour.  (It was great.)  No stress about house-cleaning, or buying enough wine for 15, or planning food because they’re all coming to your house to judge YOUR BOOK which most of them DIDN’T READ, no, I’m not still defensive about the one time I hosted book club, why do you ask?

Not it

No jury duty today!  On the one hand, I’m happy because I don’t have to disrupt my life for it.  (Where “disrupt” means what?  Not work for the day?  I probably could have handled that.)  On the other hand, I’ve never done it, and I might enjoy it.  I’ve never even gone to the courthouse to possibly get chosen for one.  I’ve only been summoned twice, and both times I’ve found out the night before that I don’t have to go.  Maybe next time.  I do think it’s a little weird that I got one summons in VA over the course of 12 years and then got my OR summons in less than a year.

I did decide to put my “I can’t focus on work” minutes to learning ukulele chords instead of playing sudoku online.  If I just do that for a few minutes every day, I might actually be able to play a song without fumbling through chord changes one of these days.  I will consider that a major accomplishment.  The next step will be singing and playing at the same time (!).

Doing it during the work day, using time I wasn’t working anyway (everyone needs a break!), makes me happy.  Banjos might sound happier than ukuleles, but I think it’s a close race.

I refuse to let it get to me

I feel like people have been asking me questions I can’t answer for the last two days.  At work, I mean, not personally.  That’s not to say that I’m capable of answering every question ANYone asks me, but the lack of answers at work (and the expectation that I would know the answers or that it’s my responsibility to find them out) is weighing on me.  (The feeling of helplessness about the world is part of it, I’m sure.)

Last night’s yoga class was good, totally unlike the one the night before.  This one was more active, more challenging.  It kept my brain focused on my form (and on not falling over).  Today I didn’t get to do yoga, but I did ride, and for that hour or so, again, I was focused on what I was doing (and not falling off).  I had to deal with a stubborn horse who didn’t want to get caught, and then didn’t want to slow down when I asked, and then didn’t want to go in the direction I wanted to go in.  It was good – I learned more about how to be the boss when the horse decides he knows better – and it took me out of myself.

And then I got home, found out I don’t have jury duty tomorrow, watched the end of Broadchurch season two, and sat down to a blank computer screen with no idea what I was going to write and no ideas.

And now I’m here.  Less depressing tomorrow?  Sure!

Do something else

Things I should be doing:

  1. Working, because that’s what I get paid to do and it’s the middle of the day (or it was when I wrote this).

Things I should be doing that will make me feel better:

  1. Looking for a new job.
  2. Reading my book. Sadly, this one doesn’t belong on this list right now.  Reading this particular book does NOT make me feel better.  It’s depressing, which is sometimes okay (memoir, sucky childhood), but it’s also not written very well.  I should probably put it down.
  3. Re-learning how to play my ukulele.
  4. Taking a walk.

More harm than good

Today’s yoga class was terrible.  Maybe I should rephrase that.  I was terrible in today’s yoga class.  It was a relax and restore class, which mostly involved lying down and breathing, and I sucked at it. It’s not like I haven’t had plenty of practice lately.  I’ve gone to seven yoga classes in the last twelve days, and each one has been really great except for today’s.

I couldn’t get comfortable.  I was always aware of some muscle strain or of the side of my foot pressing too hard into the mat, and I couldn’t turn my brain off.  I’m hungry, I have to pee, ooh there’s a train, I’m cold, I’m hot, that guy over there is breathing really loudly, I don’t see the point of doing tree pose while lying down, how do people sit cross-legged for this long, I hope no one heard my stomach grumble just now, seriously why is that guy vocalizing his exhale?

I actually considered leaving about halfway through because I didn’t feel like I was getting anything out of it, and in fact, it was stressing me out a bit.

I’m counting on this being a fluke and getting my yoga groove back next time I go.

Women’s March

Over 7,000 people marched in Eugene today, me and John and Christina included, in solidarity with people all over the country and the world. There was chanting (“This is what democracy looks like” and “My body, my choice, her body, her choice” and others), a drumline, lots of signs, and a ton of rain.  Supposedly there were speakers, too, but we didn’t see or hear any of them.  Just a lot of friendly people walking together, bumping into each other and apologizing constantly.  No violence, no threats, no crime. (Okay, the newspaper said there was one graffiti incident.)

I don’t have anything profound to say here, not least because it would be in violation of my mission statement.  I’m just glad we went.

NOPE

No.  Uh uh.  Not gonna do it.

Look, a puppy cam! Gosh, they’re cute. But now they’re napping.

Ooh! Donkey cam! That’s fun, but they’re not really doing anything.

Holy shit, penguin cam!

Maybe today’s not so bad after all.  For those of you not into live-streaming animals, have some random adorable pictures from the internet instead:

You’re welcome.

Moving on up

Guys, I jumped over 2 feet today! Well, the horse did, but I stayed on! Things are progressing on that front.

The jump looked like this, but not as fancy (there’s not much fancy at this place):

I have no idea if Tigger and I look like that horse and girl. We probably don’t look that cool. And actually, that might be higher than 2 feet, so you know? I probably don’t look anything like that.

I got a glimpse of my future today, too. I shared my lesson with Daisy, a 14-year-old who has been riding for half her life. (I don’t think becoming a 14-year-old is in my future.) We were basically doing the same things, but she was doing them better, faster, and then Wendy had her jump the same course WITHOUT STIRRUPS. What kind of leg muscles do you have to have to canter a course of eight 2-feet jumps without anything to brace your feet?

Someday.

Utter nonsense

Dove Promises: cute little bites of chocolate with messages hidden for you inside the wrappers. Usually, I like the messages. “Why not?” “Build a bridge…with chocolate.” “Ignore the clock.” At worst, they’re dumb. (At best, they’re dumb, but I take amusement where I can get it.)

Today, though, I read one that went too far.

“Read the last page first.”

What? Why? What kind of monster would do that? Do you watch the end of movies first? Watch the series finale of a show with no context? Listen to the last 10 seconds of a song and then go back to the beginning?  You’re probably the type of person who finds all of your hidden birthday presents before they’re wrapped, steals candy from babies, and reads spoilers for movies and shows and SHARES THEM WITH OTHERS.

Not cool, bro.