Bump in the night

It’s hard to see in the dark: a true story.

The light switch for the stairs is at the top of the stairs.  The door to our bedroom is not by the stairs.  The door to our room is closed because it’s the only room with A/C.

Tonight, just a few minutes ago, I stood at the top of the stairs, hand on the light switch, eyes locked on the doorknob.  I turned off the light and walked the four steps to the door with my hand reaching out for the doorknob.

I missed.  I didn’t miss the door – I found the door with my forehead, bending forward to find the doorknob.  I’m pretty sure the doorknob moved out of the way.

Applying life lessons

Michelle supplied actual wisdom to this website in her comment on my post the other day, and I have decided to apply it to my life.  Life is too short to read books that don’t grab me, so I just won’t.  I did finish my NOW book club book (it was good, it was interesting, I didn’t love it), but the very next book I was supposed to read was for my other book club: Our Souls at Night, by Kent Haruf.  The blurb wasn’t interesting to me, and the Kindle version was $11.99.  The library had it, but it was out and there was a waiting list (and book club meets in less than a week).  Was it worth $11.99 to me if I might quit after 50 pages?  Not really.  But I joined the book club to talk about books with other readers, and if they introduce me to good books I wouldn’t ordinarily pick out for myself, that’s a good thing, right?  I would feel a little guilty going to a book club meeting without having finished the book we’re talking about, but a) that doesn’t make my opinion less valid (why didn’t I like it?), and b) no one says I have to go that month.

I took my dilemma to John.  Given these circumstances what would he do?  He would find a free download of the book or otherwise look for a cheaper way to get it, that’s what he’d do.  Smart, although not officially condoned by me.  Without going into any specifics (ahem), I did get a copy of it, and I started it with every intention of giving it 50 pages (or in this case, since it’s digital and I know the paper version is only around 200 pages, giving it 20 or 25%) before putting it down.

Who is surprised that I was hooked by the third page?

I’d rather melt than freeze, just not while I’m sleeping

Hi.  It’s hot.  Okay, it’s not THAT hot (the high today was 87), but it’s the hottest it’s been so far this year.  It felt great during the day.  This afternoon I sat in the backyard reading in the sun…and then I could feel the beginnings of a sunburn so I moved to the shade and it felt like HEAVEN.  It was great.  I’m complaining NOW because it’s 8 o’clock at night, and it’s 80 degrees downstairs and 83 degrees upstairs.  This house does not have air conditioning.  (Because, you know, like, Oregon?  Doesn’t get hot in the summer?  Like, except for that one time last year.  And, like, that one time the year before, and like, that month it was over 90 every day for 30 days, but like, naw, man.  It doesn’t get hot here.)  John carried the portable A/C we bought last May, and we just set it up in our bedroom.  Hopefully it’ll be cool enough in there by the time we go to bed.

It’s still hot downstairs, and I am downstairs.

Also, I’m full.  You know how you want to be good so you order a salad but it’s one of those big entree salads and it’s really good so you eat the whole thing and then you feel terrible because it wasn’t the healthy thing to do?

Also, I’m staring out the window instead of reading my book.

Also, it’s Monday.

New life plan

The other day, I added 36 books to my to-read list in Amazon in the space of half an hour because of two articles on Tor.com, both about space opera novels and series.  My list has 427 books on it, and that doesn’t include the books already on my Kindle that I haven’t read or the books I own that are in storage that I haven’t read or the subsequent books in all the serieseses I’ve started and haven’t finished yet OR the ones I haven’t heard of yet that I want to read.

I am not going to live long enough to read all these books, am I?  I need to quit my job and spend all my free time reading.  That’s feasible, right?

The two articles:

From Dark to Dark: Yes, Women Have Always Written Space Opera

Explore the Cosmos in 10 Classic Space Opera Universes


The pressure’s on

I’m reading too slowly this week.  I need to finish my current book and then read Negroland by Margo Jefferson for the new SWV NOW book club meeting next Thursday, and as soon as I finish Negroland, I have to read Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf for my other book club meeting the following Tuesday.  I don’t have time to write to you.  I must read!

I hate to say I don’t want to read, but neither of those books excites me.  And now I feel like a bad person.   This is good for me!  Expands my horizons!  Personal growth!  “Someone is staring at you in Personal Growth.”  Aw, Carrie Fisher.

I can’t find that clip on YouTube, but you know what?  I shouldn’t be looking for it.  I have to read!

He grew up okay

Memory associations are weird.  When I came home from dinner with Christina tonight, John was watching the end of a Law & Order: SVU episode.  It was about pedophilia at a boarding school (aren’t they all?), and this guy was on it.

John asked me if I thought he looked familiar, and I was like, yeah, he was the TA in Road Trip.  (This was not a good movie.  If you haven’t seen it, don’t bother.)  So I looked him up on IMDB, and yes, I was right, he WAS the TA in Road Trip, but why was THAT my association when I SHOULD have recognized him as Daryl from Adventures in Babysitting?  I’ve seen that movie WAY more times and it’s a million times less embarrassing to reference Adventures in Babysitting than Road Trip.

Stupid brain.

My unsolicited ad for Johnson Berry Farm

The first time I ever went to Seattle was in February 2003, on a 3-day liberty call when my ship was on its way to Alaska.  It was cold, but crystal clear – no rain.  I don’t remember all of the details of that trip (I mean, it was 14 years ago), but I remember going to Pike Place Market and the Space Needle, I remember the crab legs (more on those another day), and I remember Johnson Berry Farm.  They’ve got a table in the market, selling jam and preserves, and they hand out free samples.  I don’t remember exactly what I tried that day, but they had these pepper jellies that were SO GOOD.  So good that when I found out a coworker was going to Seattle for work in 2010, I asked her to find them and bring some back to me.  Of course, I couldn’t remember the name of the farm, but I figured she could find them.  She DID find them, and she didn’t bring me anything, but the name got me to their website and I ordered some.  That was 7 years ago.

This past Saturday morning, John and I wandered the entire multi-story market, sticking our heads in just about every store (and buying books in 3 out of 4 bookstores – I’m almost all set for book club the rest of the summer), and then I stopped dead in front of the Johnson Berry Farm table.  All that build-up and I had COMPLETELY forgotten about them.  At no time while planning this trip or walking through the market did I think to myself, “Hey, remember those pepper jellies you really liked?  They’re here and you should get some.”  Nope.  Didn’t even cross my mind.  I was so surprised and SO HAPPY.  And I gotta tell you – they’re still really really good.  We bought three: two types of blackberry and (this is my favorite one EVER) raspberry habanero jam.  They have all kinds and they have LOTS of spicy ones.  Go!  Order!  Enjoy!

Johnson Berry Farm

The Netherlands have got nothing on Seattle

We’re home and back on wifi, but I don’t have the energy to give you the details of our trip tonight.  However, I will deliver pictures of the belated Mother’s Day tulips* that FILLED the market this weekend.

*I typed “tupils”.  I need to remember that.  Speaking of tupils, there’s a farm in Oregon that has a festival every year, but we missed it.  Christina invited me to go the last weekend, but I already had plans.  Sad me.

Disposable Income

I finally figured out the level of rich I’m aiming for.  I don’t need a big house or fancy cars, but I want a staff.  I’ll pay them well, of course – I want them to be happy and comfortable, too.

  • I want a personal shopper/stylist/tailor.  One person who can do it all or three people or whatever – the end result is a closet full of tailored clothes that look great on me.  If the person also does hair and make-up, bonus.
  • I want a personal trainer/nutritionist to help me with my workouts and my diet.  Help me be healthy!
  • I want a personal chef.  I don’t like to cook (or shop for groceries), and someone is going to have to prepare the nutritious meals my nutritionist says I should eat.

All of those titles start with “personal”.  Maybe that goes without saying when my premise is that I have a staff of people to help me out.

John reminded me that I also want a gardener. YES!  I want a gardener.  And of course, this staff would be OURS not mine.  Of course.  I can share.

Even a stopped clock…

Had a lesson today, and something felt weird as we went over the first jump in a course.  I dropped my right rein right before we went over, let it dangle and reached for Tigger’s mane (to hold on), and then gathered the reins up in time to go over the second jump.  The rest of the course was great, and as I finished it, Wendy asked me why I muttered “that was terrible” right after the first jump.  I told her it was because I dropped the rein, but Wendy said I did exactly the right thing.  Something didn’t feel right, but we were committed to the jump, so rather than pulling tight on Tigger, I trusted him to take us over.  According to Wendy, I have the instincts of a great rider.  According to me, it was a total accident.  (It was a total accident – I’m pretty sure I fumbled the reins.)  But now that I know, I’ll try to do it on purpose next time.  Next time something is weird, I mean, not next time I ride.  But I think you knew that.

So then Wendy showed me this video, and I don’t feel as bad about it.

Of course, I only had one low jump to deal with, and I did NOT take it with my arms out to the side like that.

Pick a little, talk a little

After rubbing several layers of skin off on one spot on my right calf during Tuesday’s riding lesson (a spot I discovered hours later when hot water hit it in the shower and I shrieked in pain), I have decided it is finally time to shop for real riding clothes.  I need full seat breeches, a helmet of my own, and real riding boots.  I will probably get paddock boots, actually, and half chaps, instead of tall riding boots, since that’s what was recommended to me by two different people (Wendy being one of them).  Still, the half chaps will protect my calves.

Wendy suggested I go to this farm store to check out sizes for pants and boots and then order them online, but I finally went out there this afternoon and they had NOTHING.  They had a whole section for clothes and shoes, but it was all western.  No riding boots, just cowboy boots, and no breeches.  No chaps of any kind.  I tried another similar store, but they didn’t have anything, either, so now I have to shop online.

BUT wait!  Complaining about shopping online is not why I’m here tonight.  The shopping trip wasn’t a total bust because the first farm store had baby chickens!  Tanks and tanks of baby chickens!  I only took a picture of the bin with the fluffy yellow chicks, but they had all kinds and they were making adorable cheeping noises and IT WAS SO CUTE I didn’t want to leave.

But I did leave, and I’m glad I did (WITHOUT taking home any baby chicks) because the next store had harnesses.  For your chickens.

So you can walk your chicken on a leash, I guess?  Or maybe go bungee jumping with her?  They came in pink, red, and blue – all colors to suit your chicken-harnessing needs!

My life is richer for knowing people take their chickens on walks.


I heard Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game” on the radio today.  I’ve always liked the song (video at the end, if you need it), but since that one Friends episode, I can’t help but laugh when he does his signature vocal move.

I like the way she laughs at him.

Also, I’m totally jealous of his eyebrow raise. I can’t do that.

Here’s the song.  If you’re familiar with it, you know what I’m talking about.  If you’re not, he does it on the chorus, first time at 0:52 in the video.

Cream cheese is the BEST

I went to a potluck Sunday afternoon, but up until Saturday, I was a complete loss as to what to bring.  I would normally aim for dessert, or cheese and crackers, or chips and salsa, but people had already claimed those (and LOTS of people were bringing dessert).  I wanted to bring real food and somehow still avoid any real cooking.  Guess what’s helpful when you find yourself in this kind of predicament?  GOOGLE.  Who knew?

So I googled “potluck ideas” and I landed on this Appetizer Tortilla Pinwheels thing.  Guys, these are SO GOOD.  Cream cheese, sour cream, cheese, green chiles, scallions, a little garlic, all wrapped in a tortilla and sliced into bite-size pieces – HEAVEN.  I left out the olives (because gross) and doubled the cheese (because duh), and I want to eat them all day, every day.

But aside from this delicious discovery, I don’t like potlucks.  Too much pressure.  Like, if you end up having to take your food back home, you failed.  Plus you end up tasting other people’s mystery dishes (because nothing is EVER labeled) and what if you got something awful you can’t finish and it turns out you’re sitting next to the person who made it?  Better choke it all down – you never know who you might offend.  And I live in Eugene, which means that fully a third of the dishes were vegan.  Non-dairy cheese is NOT CHEESE, PEOPLE.

I get a little teary on Derby Day

I have just had the BEST afternoon.  To start, it’s a beautiful spring day.  John is in the recording studio with his band, hopefully having a good time.  I went for a run right after he left.  Temps were in the low 50s, and I did a respectable distance at a respectable pace.  Lovely scenery, which I was able to enjoy because I wasn’t pushing myself, and I found purple flowers blooming and I was listening to a fascinating podcast – all good.   I came home and made tortilla pinwheels for tomorrow’s SWV NOW potluck: cream cheese, sour cream, shredded cheese, green chiles, green onions, and a little garlic.  SO GOOD.  And so done and ready for tomorrow.

Run: good, chore: done.  Let’s not forget it’s Derby Day, so after I showered, I went to Steelhead to watch the race. They had NBC coverage on half the TVs, but they told me they only turn the sound up for Oregon Ducks games, so I left.  Next stop was a sports bar a couple of blocks away that I’ve never been to.  It was practically empty, and the bartender changed the channel to the Derby on four or five TVs and turned the sound up, and I was happy.

They were out of mint, so I ordered champagne.  Corey said I should go fancy and order a French 75, but this place was decidedly not fancy.  I didn’t chance it.

Me and my champagne

I had a wonderful time watching the race while texting with Mel and Corey (and Christine by proxy).  My horse (McCraken, chosen because he was the prettiest) didn’t win, but that’s true every year.

Text conversation with John:

Me: My horse did not win.

Him: To be fair, Tigger wasn’t in the race.

I left the bar after the lady with the antenna on her helmet interviewed the winning jockey while riding alongside and cut through 5th Street Market with a vague idea of buying myself a rose from Rhythm and Blooms.  They didn’t have any roses (out – I’m sure they have roses), so I kept walking and hey, there was a wine tasting table set up. Wine tastings always appeal to me, but especially after two glasses of champagne, so I stopped, tried the wine, LOVED the zinfandel (which I bought), and had a nice conversation about running with the woman in charge of the tasting.

It’s still a beautiful day, and when John gets home, we’re going to take a leisurely bike ride so I can show him the purple flowers I found.  Then dinner.

Please use your inside voice

What is it with people being loud in public spaces?  I’ve written about loud yoga breathers and sighers before.  Today, it was a girl in the gym, grunting like crazy while lifting weights and then WOO-ing and breathing loudly and heavily when she switched to the treadmill to run.  I’m happy for her – she’s pushing herself hard and she seems to be enjoying it – but I couldn’t help but notice it and compare it to my own behavior.  I spend a lot of time trying to make sure I’m not bothering anyone.  I don’t want to notice other people most of the time, and I don’t want them to notice me.  I assume that other people want the same thing, but maybe I’m wrong.  Maybe these loud people want to be noticed, or maybe, and possibly more likely, they just don’t care.

But what’s that about?  Is it carelessness?  Callousness?  “I don’t care about other people being comfortable, so I’m going to be loud and take up space.”  Or is it self-confidence?  “I am me, and I need to make these sounds and be obtrusive, and I’m not hurting anyone, and it’s okay with me if other people do the same thing.”  She certainly wasn’t keeping me from my workout, and while it was a little distracting, it’s not like I need total silence to get anything done.

I sound like I’m complaining, but I’m really not.  Yoga, talking through a movie, being loud in a library – those are different.  Those are quiet spaces for everyone.  When you’re at the gym, outside, in a store, at a mall, be loud, whatever.  I’ll notice, and I may judge (in my head only), but I don’t really care.  What’s to be bothered about?  I just don’t understand it.  I’m trying to think of times I’m cool with being loud in public.

  • Roller coasters.  I will scream my head off, on purpose, on a roller coaster.
  • Concerts.*  I sing and shout and WOO and whatever.

Honestly, I can’t think of any other public space where I’m comfortable just being LOUD and not trying to consider others.  I’m not trying to say I’m super-considerate of others all the time.  I’m just aware that other people are around, and I feel like I act that way.  Most of the time.  I have accidentally hit people while gesturing.  I’m not so good at noticing when people are close behind me.  So maybe I gesture loudly and I should just shut up now because I’m just like that girl in the gym.  We are one.

*Of the rock variety, of course.  Can you imagine?  “WOOO! Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 in G major, BWV 1048: Allegro! WOOOOOO!!!”

Here is where I’m spending my time

For Dad:

That’s Tigger, up there.  Stubborn pony who’s almost a horse (he’s just under 14.2 hands).  And just below here, that’s me and Tigger after my lesson on Sunday.  No joke, he is licking my t-shirt.  I don’t know why.

Down there is Tigger in his muddy blanket.  This is from last Tuesday, I think.

This is Dobby, Tigger’s frenemy.  Another pony.

And this is Willow, the first pony I rode.  She does NOT like to jump, so Wendy switched me to Tigger when I got to that point.  I should have gotten a picture of her in her winter coat.  She looked like a goat, with a beard.

Wendy has plenty of horses (not just ponies), but I don’t know them very well.

These next few pictures are from Sunday (a beautiful day, obviously).  Random pic of the farm plus some of the outdoor arena.

And here’s the indoor arena.

My last three lessons have been GREAT.  I rode with someone (Robin on Casino) on Tuesday (a week ago), and even Wendy pointed out that I had a great lesson WITH someone.  I jumped the biggest jump I’ve ever jumped, and I handled Tigger’s minor tantrums well.

Then I rode with someone else on Sunday (Kelly on Mac) and alone today, and even though I felt weird on Sunday (I kept holding my arms wrong and Tigger’s head felt further away than usual (like I was taller?) – I blame the allergy medicine), both lessons were good and I’ve gotten a lot more comfortable.  Of course, I should expect to see big improvements if I ride three times a week, but I can’t really afford that.

Anyway, this is the biggest jump I’ve jumped so far.  Wendy says I’ve jumped that high (2’3″), but this one is set up like a pyramid and is 2’6″ wide.  I haven’t jumped wide before, and it was really really cool.

This is what I normally jump.  Or the Xs you can see in the outdoor arena.  Jumping is so cool.

And, for atmosphere, this is the view past the indoor arena on a stormy day.  John says it looks like Scotland.

I don’t want to do anything except read

Despite going through a phase these last two weeks of skipping meetings and avoiding people (not avoiding individuals – more like avoiding group interactions and expectations), I went to the monthly NOW meeting.  It was a helpful reminder that, oh yeah, I like these people.  They’re fun and interesting and understanding about feeling overwhelmed by obligations.  They didn’t need anything from me and I could just go and be and be helpful and useful, even if it’s just helping someone load her car with donations.

So that was good, and maybe it’ll make me more likely to go to the next thing.  Which is Sunday afternoon.  And I need all the help I can get when it comes to doing ANYthing on a Sunday afternoon.  Being sick takes everything out of me.  Even now, when I’m starting to feel better, I still want to be lazy.  And then I feel bad about being lazy.  And then I get annoyed because, damn it, I’m allowed to be lazy for a week.  And then I’m grumpy.  I might be a toddler masquerading as an adult.  Don’t tell work.


I cannot be trusted.  I didn’t keep any of my promises about horse pictures.  Turns out I have demanding readers.  However, I DID go back out there yesterday (a sunny day!) where I took a few more pictures.  Having the pictures is a big step towards posting the pictures.  Really.  Although there still aren’t any of me riding or jumping.  That requires bringing a photographer along with me, and that hasn’t happened yet.

Everyone (Dad), take a deep breath.  The pictures will be uploaded.  Put some positive vibes out in the universe today!  The sun was up when my alarm went off and the sky is blue and I feel better.  Now I have to work.