Riley loves me, this I know

Who can resist those beautiful brown eyes?

He’s reminding me that I should be paying attention to him who adores me and not so much to the computer.  I’ll be right there, Doggy-dog.

I love Tom and Lorenzo.  They make fun of people in the most delightful way.

That appears to be all I have to say today.  Oh, wait.

This week, from an I-was-better-about-doing-the-things-I-need-to-be-doing perspective, has been much better than last week.  Last week was all about keeping weird and stupid hours, not getting enough sleep, eating like a piggy little pig, and NOT EXERCISING AT ALL.  All week.  I didn’t feel so hot when I got to last weekend.  I felt downright disgusting.  And very very tired.  So I’ve been better this week.  Not perfect, no, but better.  About that stuff.  I haven’t pigged out (as much), I’ve done some sort of exercise every day since Sunday, and I’ve been getting closer to eight hours of sleep every night.  This week was MUCH worse for work, though.  But I’m not going to talk about that.  (I vented to Jess on my way home today, so I feel a little better.  Thanks, Jess!)

The other thing I feel better about?  Calculus.  I got my midterm grade back over the weekend.  I got a B.  That’ll do.  I thought I did better than that, but considering…everything, I can be happy with it.  I take my final next week.  I turned in my last quiz twenty minutes ago, so the final is all that’s left.  That feels good, but so does knowing I can still handle calculus.  After all this time.

Now what do I get to do?  Clean.  Clean like crazy, like the wind, like I’ve never cleaned before.  Because the house is a WRECK.  It looks like a tornado came through.  See for yourself:

This is what happens when we don't pick up the clutter for a couple of weeks. We just keep shoving it to the side.

Note the calculus paraphernalia and the books stacked all over the dining room table (because the giant annual used book sale I LOVE was last weekend and we just HAD to leave work early on Friday to go before they closed at 7pm that night because we were out of town the rest of the weekend) and the toilet paper, giant bottle of ibuprofen, and tons of mail scattered on the island.  And that’s just this room.

I know where I’m starting, though.  All those new books need to be shelved, and before they can be shelved, they have to be catalogued.  Hey, it’s gotta be done.  I might as well be the one to do it.

I don’t think I’d be good at that

I’ve been thinking about stories a lot, at least partly because I’m in the midst of wanting to read my Dresden Files books nonstop, at the expense of EVERYTHING else.  Like to the point where I’m more than happy to get stuck in a left turn lane with a red arrow because I’ll have an extra long time to read before the light changes again.  (Yes, I read at stop lights.  I swear I don’t read while the car is moving.)  Yesterday, I sat in the car in the parking lot for a few extra minutes when I got to work  to read a couple more pages.  I did the same thing in my driveway when I got home.  (Which makes no sense.  Why not go inside and read?  I was HOME.)  Are they that good?  Well, I enjoy them very much.  They’re sometimes dark, but lightweight at the same time, and they move. Lots of action.  I care about the characters.  (After nine books (more, but that’s how many I’ve read so far), I’d better.)

I’d like to tell you a story like that.  Of course, you may not want me to.  I’m not good at stories.  I can’t even tell a joke.  (Seriously, I’ll forget how it goes midway through, and once I remember, I’ll start laughing so hard I ruin it for everyone else.  And then I’ll screw up the punchline.  Every joke, every time.)  But I’d tell you a story anyway.  I’d even make one up for you, but I can guarantee it’ll be not good.  It’ll ramble (dear god, it will ramble), it’ll try too hard to be funny (and it will fail at that), and it will be full of plot holes.  Plot holes so wide you could march a platoon of elephants through them.  Like the elephants in The Jungle Book.  (Love the elephants in that movie.)  So I’m okay reading other people’s stories.  WAY more than okay.  I get less of an itch to write my own stories than I occasionally have to do musical theater, play in an orchestra, or be the drummer (or singer, or both) in a band.  What’s the phrase that means you had a dream you never followed?  Or maybe you followed it and failed.  Or maybe you tried, but were brutally shut out.  There’s a phrase for this.

Seriously, what is it?

It’s not unfettered ambition, it’s not untapped potential, it’s not a dream unrealized…maybe that’s it.  But it doesn’t feel quite right.  Something like that.  Regardless, that’s not what this is.  I’m happy to leave the novel-writing to others.  As long as they let me read.

(A dream deferred?  That’s a poem, so probably not.)

Dreaming big or maybe dreaming cozy. Or dreaming austere. But I’d probably decorate towards cozy.

I don’t know what made me think of it today, but I found myself googling converted barns and I found this site.  Oh my god.  Converted barns all over Europe.  Like, for instance, this one.  How cool would that be?  In a similar vein, I think living in a converted church (like friends of Mom’s who I couldn’t name if you put a gun to my head), would be awesomesauce.  (I saw one the other day at Desire to Inspire.)  (That site makes me happy and sad and wistful and jealous all at the same time.)

Why can’t we be crazy rich?  I’d do good things with my money, I promise!  With all my free time and much of my money, I’d pay extra taxes and volunteer at hospitals and give blood all the time and start foundations to help the homeless  and the starving and the dyslexic and the diseased.  And on the side, I’d live in really cool houses and travel a lot.  Angelina Jolie does it.  I totally would.

That was not my point when I started.  I’d like to live in a converted barn.  And I’d raise my hypothetical, non-existent kids in a barn.  Because that would be awesome.

Either mean it when you shake my hand or don’t shake my hand at all.

My oral surgeon has a terrible handshake.  Totally limp, only held on to my fingers (and just barely)…very off-putting.  He’s the one who reached out to shake hands with me when I left after this morning’s follow-up, not the other way around.  If he didn’t want to, why make the effort?  I wouldn’t have noticed.  Anyway, I was thinking about it and I’ve heard things (possibly only on TV, which makes them suspect) that lead me to believe surgeons are very careful about their hands.  If they hurt their hands (broke a bone, sprained a wrist, etc), they wouldn’t be able to surgerize, so that makes some sense.  And if that’s the case, I get why a handshake could be somewhat scary.  There are plenty of brawny, macho, out-to-prove-some-kind-of-irrelevant-and-stupid-point people out there who think a handshake is an opportunity to squeeze your hand so hard your bones scrape together.  But if that’s your fear, if your livelihood depends on NOT letting someone else hurt your hand, even accidentally, why would you shake hands with your patients?  I think it’s socially acceptable not to.  Especially if the alternative is a limp handshake.  Wave or something.  Nod your head and say goodbye.  I hereby give you permission to NOT shake my hand.  It’s creepy.

Way behind

I’m behind on posting, behind on reading, behind on news…behind on the internet in general.  I have a draft I started during the day on Friday, but I got sidetracked that evening (big book sale – woo!) and didn’t post, and then Saturday we left early (after dropping our dead microwave off at a local high school for recycling) for PA so we could be there for John’s grandfather’s birthday party.  I didn’t bring my computer, so I was actually without internet (I’m not counting my phone ’cause I didn’t use it) from Saturday morning until now (we just got home).  Crazy, I know.  And it seems like a ton happened.  That may not be true, but it feels like it is.

My plan for this week is to get back on track.  I felt awful all last week (too much (and too rich) food, NO exercise, not enough sleep).  I slept pretty well, and long enough, last night, ran a couple of miles this morning, and managed to eat normal amounts of food today (okay, maybe six blueberry pancakes isn’t really normal, but I hardly had anything after that), so I feel like I’ve made a good start.  Short term goal (really short term): get a normal night’s sleep tonight and run tomorrow morning.

Uno, Dos, Tres, Catorce!

Baltimore is not close.  Not during rush hour.  Not in the middle of the week.  Did we go and have a really good time (once we got there)?  Of course we did.  We saw U2.  How could that not be a good time?  It’s gotta be one of the longest tours ever, though.  We saw them almost two years ago – same album, same tour.  This show might have been better than that one, though.  They still had the whole crowd singing “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”, and that was still awesome (maybe a little awesome-er), and they still have the weird alien monster/spaceship stage set thingy.

Our seats were as far away from the stage as you could get and still be in the stadium.  I could barely pick each band member out on the stage.  Good thing the alien overlords brought giant screens with them.  It sounded incredible, though.  I love when I can feel the drums and bass in my chest and under my feet.

I liked how they did “Beautiful Day” this time around.  The giant screen showed pictures of Earth from space, and Bono said they were dedicating the song to Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, and then the camera switched to a video of her husband, the astronaut, while he was actually out in space about a month ago.  He introduced the song with floaty cue cards (normal cue cards, but he was in space, so on with the floating), and then Bono started singing and it was really cool (I like that song a lot).  During the part near the end (“See the world in green and blue, see China right in front of you…”), Bono was singing those lines under Mr. Congresswoman Astronaut Mission Commander’s spoken version.  I liked it.

Later, I don’t remember during which song, the alien invader shot beams of light into space.  I can only assume it was contacting the mothership.  We’ll have to keep an eye on the skies for a little while.

They played for about two hours, and it took us another hour or so to get back to the car, and then we waited for almost 20 minutes in the drive-thru of the worst McDonald’s in Maryland just to get some fries and caffeine so we’d make it back home.  Otherwise, the trip home was pretty easy, relatively quick, and we were asleep by 2:30.  And up at 8.  I’m TIRED.  I don’t do the middle of the night well anymore.

John, looking a little like Jack Nicholson here, does his best to hide his frustration at the traffic.

Every picture I tried to take once it got dark came out really bad, so there’s no point sharing them.  We ran into a guy I knew in college (he was in ROTC with me) while standing in the Will Call line to get our tickets.  We were never really friends, just acquaintances, and this is the second time we’ve run into each other in three or four years.  Once at the mall in Tysons, and once in Baltimore.  Neither of us lives anywhere near either of those places.  Maybe the universe is telling us we should be friends.  That would be easier if we’d exchanged any information at all.  Not something I’ll lose any sleep over.  I don’t have any sleep to lose.

It was a good concert, we had a good time, and I’m glad we went.  Even if I do have circles under my eyes so dark they could be mistaken for that black paint they put on football players to cut down on the glare.  (That’s why they do that, right?  Not to look scarier?)  I’m putting Baltimore up there with FedEx Field on the list of places I won’t go for a concert unless it’s for someone REALLY good.  The traffic, the parking, the whole tedious hassle of getting there and back – it’s got to be worth it.  I think U2 was worth it.  Ask me again in a few days, after I’ve slept.

No, it was worth it.  Not because it was U2.  I like doing something.  With John.  This was a 10-hour round trip, nonstop time with John on our way to and from seeing one of his favorite bands of all time.  I’d do it again.  But I’ll plan to take the next day off work.


There’s probably an HOA regulation against it (or a county ordinance or an actual law or something), but sometimes I think it would be kinda convenient if we could lug everything out of the basement and burn it in the backyard.  Except the washer and dryer.  And the dog crates.  And the drum sets, amps, guitars, studio equipment, and other musical paraphernalia.  And the books.  Everything else, though – who needs it?  It’s not stuff we use often, if ever, and we’ve already combed through it looking for stuff to donate, so why are we still holding on to it?  Some it is paper – things that should be filed and held onto for a while.  I started that project over a year ago; I’d like to finish it some day.  We have an exercise bike I don’t use – I could easily get rid of that.  John has a weight bench, but he uses that sometimes.  What else?  I really don’t know.  But there’s a lot of crap down there.

In other news, I have no news because I still haven’t gotten my midterm grade and I decided not to bug my professor because why?  I don’t know.  I just decided not to bug him.  It hasn’t even been a week since I took the test.  I can be patient.  For a couple more days.

I’m considering cutting out caffeine.  Cutting back certainly.  Possibly cutting it out altogether.  I’ve been drinking too much of the stuff lately.  Today alone: 1 cup of tea with breakfast at home, 1 cup of coffee mid-morning at work, and another cup mid-afternoon.   TOO MUCH.  I don’t know if I can start tomorrow, though.  I’ve got an 8am meeting downtown, so I’ll need something or I’ll fall asleep on the way in.  And Thursday I’ll be exhausted from Wednesday’s very late night….I’ll start Friday.  You believe me, right?  How is it that I got through four years in the Navy without a coffee habit only to be beaten by a regular 9-5 job?  Hm.  The answer may be in the question.

Paging Quality Control. Come in, Quality Control. Hello? Who’s in charge of Quality Control around here?

Let’s try this free association/stream-of-consciousness thing again.  Damn, it’s hard to spell consciousness.  How much can I write with few interruptions in 12 minutes?  Tonight I won’t get much (if any) studying done unless I read statistics while I eat dinner or before I fall asleep.  That’s maybe not a good idea (reading statistics before bed) ’cause I might not retain any of it.  It’s Monday, and Monday means Muscle Blast class followed by Kukuwa.  Unless it’s last week, when Monday meant cleaning out Roxy’s crate and then giving her a bath (SOMEbody had an accident).  And I skipped Muscle Blast last Wednesday because I was studying for the midterm.  I’ll miss class this Wednesday because John and I will be on our way to Baltimore for the U2 concert.  Because, oh yeah, we bought last minute tickets for the U2 concert in Baltimore on Wednesday night.  Terrible seats, but it’ll be cool to see them.  Even if it is the exact same tour we saw them on a year and a half ago.  Have I mentioned I haven’t gotten my midterm grade back yet?  I could have sworn that the instructor said he’d get them back to us before the last withdrawal date.  The last withdrawal date was yesterday.  No midterm grade.  I HAVE TO KNOW.  Driving me crazy with all the not-knowing.  I could email him and ask, but I don’t want to bug him.  Today.  I’ll email tomorrow.  I’m not a stalker.  I’m just needy.  Like my dog, who has decided to live under the dining room table from now on.  I don’t know why, but lately, if you’re looking for Riley, he can be found under the dining room table.  Thought you should know.

Night and day

Statistics quiz is done.  God, that was easy.  (It covered chapters 1 and 2 in Elementary Statistics.  I don’t know why the easy part surprised me.  It probably gets harder from here.)  Back to calculus I go.

Accident prone

I should not be allowed in the kitchen.  It was the site of my fall the other week, and now I’ve gone and sliced my finger instead of the tomato while making a caprese salad.  On top of that, a Jason Mraz song has been going through my head most of the day, and while that’s okay occasionally (depending on the day), it hasn’t been okay today. Stop already with the scatting. I’m not in the mood. I have two quizzes to take, and your silly lyrics are not helping. Now go away, Mr. Mraz.

Well, that’s over

Midterm’s done.  I’ll let you know how it went (it took me almost two and a half hours) when I find out my grade.

The band is rehearsing for the first time in weeks, if not months, and the classical music I’m listening to isn’t loud enough to drown out the bass line two floors below me.  I might need noise-canceling headphones.  Tonight, statistics is on the menu.  Because, oh yeah, right, I forgot.  I’m taking statistics, too.  And I have a quiz due Sunday.  So I should start reading.  I can’t get away with not juggling two classes anymore.

Blah blah school and stuff.  Not what I want to write about.  Oh, I remember.  I heard this on the radio on the way home from the test and liked it.

Grace Potter and The Nocturnals – “Paris (Ooh La La)”

Google disconnect

First, I had no idea a lunar eclipse was going on right at this moment.  (You can’t see it from the US, unfortunately.)  I went to Google, saw the Doodle, and clicked on it to get the links.

Gotta love the Doodle

Apparently, there’s a lunar eclipse happening.  It might be over now.  But one link in particular jumped out at me.

Let’s look at that a little closer.

The moon is going to turn black and explode?!?  When?  Today?  HOLY SHIT!  (I may be exaggerating my reaction.)  I clicked the link and was sent to the Wikipedia article.  It doesn’t mention the moon exploding even once.

Where did that blurb come from?  How did it get there?  Is anyone going to investigate this irresponsible misuse of Google?  The Internet has run amok!

Update: Google is fixed.  Please return to your regular programming.

Update again:  Apparently, it was a Wikipedia prank from earlier today.  Wikipedia fixed it, but it was still in Google’s cache for a while.

The clock is ticking

Work is getting in the way of studying.  And time is flying when I do study, so I’m not getting as far in the material as I plan to each time I sit down.  Stress-stress-stress, panic-panic-panic.  I need a few more hours.  Which probably means I’m not going to the gym tonight.  🙁  On the one hand, I’m not thinking about anything else when I’m working out, so I could use it to clear my head, as a break from studying.  But a) I don’t think I’ll really need a break (math is fun! and also, the midterm is tomorrow – who has time for a break?), and 2) I don’t think I’ll be able to stop thinking about it.  I mean, I figured out where I went wrong on the last problem in my latest quiz while I was in the shower this morning.  Not exactly the place for studying.  Why would I think I could escape it (or really want to, with the midterm looming so close) at the gym?

I’ll make myself a deal (’cause I really would like to exercise today): if I do nothing but study from the minute I get home and I make it through section 12.4 by 6, I can go.  If I don’t make it that far, I can’t.  I’ll run before work tomorrow morning either way.

Not so good with plants

I’m not a gardener.  I like to look at them, love green lawns and pretty flower beds, but I’m not all that interested in doing the work to make them look that way.  I’m not very good at keeping plants alive.  So at work, I don’t try.  I bought a fake plant from IKEA to add some color to my very gray desk.

My little cubicle has terrible lighting.

It’s cute, I like it, and I keep getting compliments on it.  From people who think it’s real!  Maybe I don’t work with the sharpest tools in the shed.  You might not be able to tell from the picture, but this plant looks as fake as fake plants can look.  Very shiny plastic.  People are dumb.

Speaking of dumb, I saw the weirdest thing a couple of weeks ago on my way home from work.  I was coming off an exit ramp onto a major road, and I saw a group of 20 or 30 people spread out in the grass on the side of the road, all pointing radar/speed guns at the cars coming down the ramp and around the corner.  Were they making a statement?  (“You’re going too fast!”)  They didn’t have any signs.  Doing a study?  Nobody seemed to be writing anything down, but maybe those speed gun things save data.  Training to be state troopers or deputy sheriffs?  (We don’t have police in my county – I live in an unincorporated town.)  Maybe it was performance art.  Whatever they were doing, I wish I’d been able to get a picture of it.

Things I’m anxious about today

I woke up this morning a little crazy with anxiety.  The worst thing about it is that I woke up with a list of all the things I should be doing on a loop in my head, and then I froze.  I could have gotten up right then to get started on the list, but did I?  No, I stayed in bed.  Because I could put off all the hard things.  I do that all the time (procrastinate).   Of course, that gives me less time overall to get everything done, so all it really does is ratchet up the anxiety a little more.  Not exactly helpful behavior.

Instead, let’s a play a game (courtesy of Mom) called “What’s the worst that could happen?”

Anxiety Causing Thing #1: Quiz #4 for vector calculus and the midterm I have to take on Thursday

What’s the worst that could happen?  Well, I could get all the answers wrong on my quiz, but that doesn’t affect my grade (just makes my professor think I’m an idiot), so there isn’t anything to worry about there.  Of course, my performance on my quizzes is an indicator of my performance on the midterm, so if I don’t do well on my quizzes, I may not do well on my midterm.  And I could fail my midterm.  So what if I do?  I won’t have a very good grade in my calculus class.  That would be a blow to my ego (something I could survive), and it may put me on the road to failing this class.  What if I fail the class?  I’m taking it online at a community college because I need the prereq for grad school.  If I fail it, I’m out approximately $350.  If I fail it, I can retake it later.  Will I fail it?  Probably not.  I may not get an A.  I may not even get a B.  But I probably won’t fail.  I submitted my quiz this morning (confident that I got three out of four right), so that’s out of my hands, and I still have today, tomorrow, Wednesday, and part of Thursday to study for the midterm.  Breathe deep.

Anxiety Causing Thing #2: Work

What’s the worst that could happen?  I could get fired.  Or laid off.  Or whatever.  That could happen, but there’s nothing I can do about it (and there’s no immediate indication that it’s coming), so that’s not what’s making me edgy.  There’s nothing specific about work that’s bothering me.  No major deadlines, no one is asking me to do anything I’m not capable of, I don’t have any issues with any coworkers.  I just don’t like it.  I don’t want to come here every day.  (I know, whine whine whine, most people don’t actually like going to work.)  I want to do something with flexible hours where I can work from home and have more time for me.  The math that’s stressing me out is the first step in that direction, so this is more of a low-level, back-burner, always-bugging-me sort of thing that every once in a while jumps up and says, “Hey!  Loser!  Worry about me!”

Anxiety Causing Thing #3: Army Ten-Miler

Did I tell you about this?  A few weeks ago, John registered to run in the Army Ten-Miler this October, and I caved to the very mild peer pressure and registered with him.  So what’s the worst that could happen?  I’ll be so slow that the bus that picks up the slowpokes who aren’t going to finish in the required time will pick me up.  Humiliating.  I have 17 weeks to train for it.  I had more, but I didn’t use them.  I can’t procrastinate on this one, so every day I don’t start this training plan gets under my skin, and I didn’t run today.  Well, I kinda did.  I sprinted around the block (up the hills) a couple of times with the dogs this morning.  My math anxiety trumped my race anxiety this morning – I spent the extra time on my quiz.  (SuzRocks sent me a link to a half-marathon training plan.  I figure if I’m capable of running a half-marathon by the time I finish training, ten miles should seem easy.  Ish.  I just need to start the &^$* training plan.)

There are other things that bug me (there are always other things), but those are the three I woke up with this morning.  Peace, serenity, lots of gym time tonight, some studying…I’ve got it under control.

Happy thoughts!

An ice cream flavor I wouldn’t order

Tonight I tried to fight the overwhelming taste of garlic with too-sweet, not very good wine, and it didn’t work out.  My tongue feels coated with something awful and I’m considering gargling salt water to scrape it clean.  I tried Listerine.  Didn’t work.  I ended up breathing minty garlic, and god, that’s gross.  Every once in a while I hear myself say there’s no such thing as too much garlic, but that’s just not true.

At least I won’t have to worry about vampires tonight.  ‘Cause you know how often I worry about vampires.  It’s nice to have a night off from that.  Of all the things that stress me out, vampires are at the top of my list.  Next to worrying about puppies not getting enough love and whether or not the New Directions will win Nationals next year.

Lack of objectivity

Hi.  My name is Zannah, and I’m a Les Mis-aholic.  Kind of.  (Whoops.  Failed already.)  I’ve seen the show five times I can think of off-hand (possibly six), and I never get tired of it.  On my way to work this morning, I heard on the radio that it’ll be at the Kennedy Center for the whole month of October.  I want to go!  I won’t make John go this time.  He’s gone twice (once when we were in college, and once a couple of summers ago (he bought me the tickets for Christmas – made me cry)), and he was underwhelmed both times.  The question becomes (once I decide it’s worth $100 to me (it totally is, but I can’t be objective about whether or not that’s a ridiculous sum of money)) do I go alone?  Silly question.  Of course I’d go alone.  But maybe I don’t have to….are my friends (the local ones, anyway) cuckoo for Les Mis-flavored Cocoa Puffs?

I forgot how I get when I’m in school

Today was a good day.  (I should grade every day.  Good or bad.  Today good, yesterday bad.  Me Tarzan, you Jane.)  Work was meh, but I came home early today to be here for our spring A/C maintenance, and I really liked the HVAC guy.  Chatting turned what probably would have been a 30-minute visit into an hour and a half, but who cares?  He’ll get overtime.  On top of that, I’m two-thirds of the way through my third quiz.  Unfortunately, I still have another quiz to complete before I can take the midterm, which has to be taken no later than June 19th, which happens to be a Sunday, which really means I have to take it by Friday, June 17th, so I’m aiming for Thursday, June 16th.  (And I’m a little nervous about it, which may explain the previous sentence.)  Let’s ignore that I used to be good at calculus.  My problem is that I don’t remember basic theorems and trig identities and tricks I used to have memorized.  Twelve years ago.  When I last took a calculus class.  Not remembering isn’t a problem when I’m doing homework and quizzes – I have the internet.  They’re open book.  My midterm?  Not so much.  No calculator, no computer, no help.  Just my memory.  My faulty, holey, Swiss cheese memory that’s full of gaps.

I just came off an online Q&A with the professor.  He’s not long-winded, really, but he spends so much time messing with the technology he’s using (some of which is very cool) that these things take forEVER.  But I feel a little better about the class.  For now.  Until panic sets in again.  Probably early to mid next week.