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?

Mystery solved

I figured it out!  No, I don’t have a baby chest-burster lost in my skull (thanks, Michelle, for the image – that’ll linger).  I rode today, and when I ride, I wear a helmet.  When I wear a helmet, I put my hair in a ponytail, and the helmet goes on over the base of the ponytail.  Some days I don’t get the placement just right, and midway through my lesson I become aware of this painful pressure in one spot near the base of my skull.  I forget about it as soon as I take the helmet off, relieving the pressure, but apparently that 45 minutes or so of pressure leaves a lasting sensitive spot.  That must have happened last Friday.  I don’t remember that specifically, but I definitely remember that pain from other lessons, so I’m willing to go with this theory.  My odds of survival are better with this theory.

I got the placement of my ponytail right today – no pain, no fear of aliens.  Well, no pain.

When WebMD just doesn’t cut it

The back of my head, at the base, has been sensitive to the touch in one spot for a few days.  I haven’t fallen or smacked my head on the wall or a low ceiling or a car recently (I have to say “recently” – those are all things I have done in the last year).  Not that I remember, anyway.

I guess this is the beginning of the end.  The aliens that burrowed into my brain and have been hiding for years are close to breaking out.  Although why they’d choose to come out the back of my head instead of through my ears or nose like any self-respecting gross killer parasite, I don’t know.  I’m expecting an explosion of bone and brain so, you know, keep your distance if you want to remain unspattered.  I wouldn’t want to be responsible for ruining your favorite outfit.

This is my way of helping others make a difference

I did a thing I haven’t told you about yet, but I can tell you about it now because it’s live.  It’s live and it’s out there and, like, real people can see it, and you know?  It’s pretty cool.

So.

At the first rally I went to at the courthouse, maybe five or six weeks ago, I met a woman who was taking email addresses for the local chapter of NOW.  They had just started up, didn’t even have their officers selected, and they were looking for members.  I went to the monthly meeting four weeks ago, and before I knew it, I had volunteered to be their tech person.

So.

In the last month, I have worked with the president of the chapter (the woman who was taking email addresses – more on her some other time) to create and manage the official website of the South Willamette Valley chapter of the National Organization for Women.

I really should just upload the official logo. Instead, this is a picture I took of a banner with the official logo. Please don’t let this affect your opinion of my technical skills.

I am the web master, I am a member of the PR team, and I am a member of the Budget and Finance committee (because, like Mom, I sometimes have a hard time saying no to things).

So.

The website is live as of today (www.swvnow.org), the March monthly meeting is tomorrow night (Monday), and the plan is to tell everyone about it then even though it still has a couple of placeholders.  Don’t tell me if you hate it, do tell me if something is wrong with it, and no, I’m not fishing for compliments.  In fact, let’s just stop talking about it.

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.

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.

Piece of cake

I was a literal child, and I am a literal adult.*  When my Dove Promise wrapper tells me to build a bridge with chocolate, I immediately wonder what would happen on a hot day when the chocolate starts to melt.  That’s the image that comes to mind even as my brain interprets the message correctly.  And then my brain smacks me on the nose and says, “IT’S A METAPHORICAL BRIDGE.”  It’s a sickness, and it happens to me several times a week.

  1. Read something.
  2. See literal image of the thing.
  3. Correctly interpret the metaphor.
  4. Smack for being idiotic.

It’s quick and all internal (usually), which saves me a lot of embarrassment, but it makes the widespread misuse of the word “literally” a real problem for me.  I don’t have to argue the case against using “literally” when you mean “figuratively” here.  I know you all agree with me.  I don’t know if you always imagine whatever the figurative thing is as a literal thing when someone says something like, “My brain literally exploded.”

You probably do, right?  I’m not alone in this?  I’m sure I’m not alone in this.  I’ll admit to other oddball tendencies, but this is a universal thing among the grammatically correct.  Yes?  Yes.

*In keeping with the theme, I can’t help but point out that yes, I literally was a child, and now I’m literally an adult.  I’m itching to change that sentence.

Zzzzzzzzzzz

I get up early every day, and I’m tired first thing in the morning, but I usually get over it pretty quickly.  Today was not like that.  John drove Molly back to Portland last night, spent the night there, and drove back this morning after dropping her off at the airport.  I didn’t go because I had stupidly scheduled a ton of meetings (two with customers) for this morning, and I couldn’t reschedule them at the last minute (and one was at 5:30am).  Instead, I stayed home, stayed up later than I should have, woke up at 2am, woke up at 4am, woke up at 4:36am, and then stayed awake until my alarm went off at 5.  Then I snoozed for 10 minutes because of course I did.  I have been fighting yawns and heavy eyelids all day.  I rescheduled my riding lesson because I don’t think I could stay on in this condition, and I think I’m going to skip yoga because no one wants to hear me snore when they’re supposed to be finding their breath in the first five minutes of class.

The only thing that’s keeping me going right now is that it’s nice out for the first time in days and I want to run.  It might be more like crawling, but at least I’ll get some sunshine.  Then I can go to bed.

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!

Can’t brain today

Staring blankly at the screen is not going to make an idea appear.  It’s like watching a pot, and MAN that was a hard one for me to think up.  First sentence written, second sentence totally blocked.  I got stuck on the pot adjective.  It’s like watching what KIND of pot?  What describes the pot?  This is a saying – “like watching a _____ pot” – what’s the missing word?

Oh, right.

A watched pot.  Totally screwed up that idiom.  (You’re an idiom.  Your MOM’S an idiom.)  I think maybe I need some sleep.  6am felt earlier today than usual, and work felt more overwhelming, and I went to yoga for the first time in a week, and I could feel it, and 6am is going to come even earlier tomorrow, so I’m out.  Me and my watched pot are going to bed.

Goal achieved

I got up this morning, trying not to think too hard about my actual age, and set ONE goal for the day.

I WILL ONLY EAT SWEET THINGS TODAY.

Breakfast: I went to Allan Bros (the local coffee place about six blocks from the house with the view of the prison) and had a French Toast latte and a giant eclair.  I mean, this thing was enormous.  It was about 3/4 the length of my forearm.  I read my book, I messed around on my laptop, and I went home in time to gather up John and head for lunch.

Lunch: We went to Mom’s Pies and had a slice of pie each.  Me: berry medley (blueberries, blackberries, raspberries).  John: apple.  They were out of ice cream, which was a little disappointing, but the pies were really good.  We got there just in time – the owner is closing the store in a few weeks in favor of his wholesale business.  He said we can buy them frozen to bake at home from a couple of local grocery stores so we won’t be completely bereft.

Dinner: Cake.  John baked me a cake (yellow cake, chocolate frosting), and that’s what I ate for dinner.   With a glass of milk, of course.  It was delicious.

All sugar, all day.  Happy birthday to me!

The lovers, the dreamers, and me

It started to rain in the middle of my run today, but the sun kept shining, and I looked to my left to see the BEST double rainbow.

I stopped to watch until it started to fade away.  Would have been perfect if the interstate wasn’t rumbling immediately to my left.  I need to find the time to get away from civilization sometimes.

Customers think they can get away with anything

THREE-DAY WEEKEND IS HERE and I am very happy about it.  I got yelled at by two different clients on Friday, like with actual yelling, and I need a good long break.  The first time was around 7am my time, and with a client I’ve never talked to before.  Apparently, this is how she communicates.  I think she’s from New Jersey.  She wasn’t actually mad, or least wasn’t really yelling AT us – it wasn’t personal.  It was still unpleasant.  The second time was just before noon my time, and it was somewhat personal and it was totally uncalled for and thank everything that is good in the world that Harry (one of our VPs) was on the phone and did not take ANY of that crap from the customer.  It was wonderful, and he’s my hero.  And later, he congratulated me on remaining calm and reasonable throughout the call.  I would like to have him in every client meeting forever and ever, amen.

So. Work is done, I get three days off, AND Monday is my birthday, AND we’re in Portland today for a comic con, and I plan to enjoy every minute of this weekend.

I’m going to jump all the jumps

After I recovered from my fall yesterday, back on Tigger, back in charge, right back into cantering, it was time to jump.  We did this thing I’ve never heard of* called gymnastic jumping.  It’s lining up a bunch of jumps together, and it’s meant to help me focus on my jumping form.  There are probably other reasons for it, too, but that’s the one Wendy told me about.  So she set up the jumps in two long lines.  The first time, there were only two jumps, one stride in between.  Horse goes over the first jump, takes one stride, goes over the second, and then we come back around and do it again.  Then she added a third, another stride away, then a fourth.  The fifth jump was four or five strides past the fourth.  That’s the top row in the sophisticated diagram below.

Not to scale, duh.

All of that went pretty smoothly, 1-foot jumps, way fun.  We took turns running through it, Daisy and Dobby first, then me and Tigger.  There was one incident…Wendy set me and Tigger up to go through that set of jumps after Daisy and Dobby, but Tigger could still see Dobby at the far end, and since we’ve already learned that Tigger wants to be near Dobby all the time, you can probably imagine the speed at which we barreled through that set.  It was exhilarating and scary and fun and TOO FAST FOR ME, especially since it happened maybe 10 minutes after I fell off.  We adjusted so that Dobby was well out of eyesight before Tigger lined up for the jumps for the rest of the lesson.  That helped.

Oh, and then Daisy, wunderkind, jumped that set on Dobby with her arms held straight out from her sides.  Like she was flying.  It was AMAZING.

I did not try that.

Then we switched to the second line of jumps (the bottom line in that diagram), and in addition to setting up the jumps in a close row, Wendy raised two of them to 2’3″.  TWO OF THEM (the ones with the double x).  I’ve jumped that high twice only, in one lesson weeks ago, and it was a single jump.  Like before Christmas, so months ago, really.  It was SO COOL.  Exhilarating again, but in a less scary way.  I can’t wait to do more of that.

So, yeah. My lesson was exciting.  I’m curious to find out how afraid I’ll be of getting back on Tigger next week.  Right now I feel okay, but when I’m standing in front of him, knowing how he gets, knowing that I can fall off, will I be scared?

*It’s safe to say that nearly everything I’m learning is a thing I’ve never heard of.  Even if I’ve heard of it (dressage, for example), I probably don’t really know what it means or what it is, and I certainly don’t know how to do it.

I got it over with

Well, today was exciting.

I shared my riding lesson today with Daisy, which was helpful for me in a couple of ways and a bit of a hindrance in just one.  She’s the 14-year-old I’ve mentioned before.  Having Daisy ride with me teaches me about sharing the arena, riding etiquette, and other small things I won’t pick up riding alone.  Watching Daisy ride shows me what I can look forward to doing as I get better.  It’s actually Daisy’s horse that causes the one hindrance.  She rides Dobby, who shares a pasture with Tigger, and who Tigger always wants to be with.  So if we’re trotting around the arena, Tigger trots faster to keep up.  If we’re cantering around the arena, Tigger canters faster to keep up.  Tigger is pretty lazy most days, so faster is usually what I want, but I DON’T want to deal with the traffic jam that will occur when Tigger tries to run up Dobby’s butt.  So that part was a little stressful.  Manageable, thanks to Daisy’s experience (she peeled off to cross the arena the one time we got really close), and I learned from it, but still a bit stressful.

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before, but Tigger can be…difficult sometimes.  Willful.  And I’m still learning to assert my will when that happens.  Today, we were cantering around the edges of the arena, after I’d managed to put some distance between us and Daisy and Dobby, and I lost the stirrup on my left side.  It happens occasionally, and Wendy swears it happens to everyone.  Usually, it happens to me while we’re trotting, and I’m enough in control that I can either get it back or slow Tigger down and get it back while we’re walking.  Today, while cantering, not so much.  So I lost my left stirrup, we were going faster than usual, I started to lose my balance a bit because my seat isn’t steady without that stirrup, and Tigger decided he didn’t want to stay on the edges of the arena anymore.  When he does that (it’s his preferred method of acting out – going where he wants), I’m supposed to yank hard on the rein in the opposite direction.  Well, two things: first, I’m not good at the yank hard thing because I don’t want to hurt him, and second, I wasn’t secure enough in the saddle to have any leverage.  I pulled instead of yanked, and I pulled again, and I got him to slow to a trot mostly, but he was in the middle of the arena, so I concentrated on steering him around the jumps.  I was still trying to regain control of the steering, of course, but the last thing I wanted to do was go over a jump with one foot just dangling.  I was totally failing to regain control of Tigger, and Wendy headed my way and reached for his bridle.  He jerked sideways and spun around, and I didn’t go with him.  It’s like he stepped to the side out from under me.  I’d say falling was about 10% my decision – there was a point where I was like, “well, I’m going to fall.  Go with it,” which I think helped my landing.  I fell off to the right, just sort of leaned over and out, and I landed on the meaty part of my right thigh and hip.  It was jarring, but otherwise didn’t really hurt.  Tigger ran away, I got up, and Wendy caught him and corrected him, and before I knew it, she had him back at the mounting block and I got back on the horse.  (I’m sorry – I had to say it.)  I was still shaking a little, but I got over it, and after a few steps walking, I got him to canter again and it was all over.

My first ever fall off a horse is behind me, and it wasn’t so bad.  And that wasn’t the only exciting part of the lesson!  But I’m exhausted, so come back tomorrow for the conclusion to our tale.