Book sale and working late on a Friday again – poor dogs

What was I doing last Friday? Ah, yes. Working late. What am I doing today (also Friday)?  Working late.  For a short week, it sure did last a long time.  Today was busy again, the good kind, but I’m done now.  I’m ready to go.  John is not.  So maybe I should say I’m AT work late.  At least it is Friday, and I can sleep in tomorrow and be lazy for two days and figure out how and when we can see our friends next.  Now that classes have started, I’ll have to take John’s homework and study load into account.  Of course, I don’t always have bring him.  But I like that we have friends.  It’s not just my friends or his friends.

Oh!  Exciting!  The Ashburn Library Book Sale is this weekend!  Well, now I’m happy about that.  They sell their books for $2 or less.  I missed it last year (this is not the big Loudoun County sale – that’s in June, and it didn’t happen last year), so I am definitely going this weekend.   Ooh, I should print my book list.  Yes, I keep a list of books I run across on websites and in reviews that look interesting to me.  And then I never have it when I’m going to a bookstore or a sale or even Amazon.  Silly me.  Except that this sale won’t be organized at all, except maybe by genre, so my list may not help me at all.

Head in the clouds

Every time I run down this one little hill, just before the corner, it’s almost easy.  Effortless.  I’m not aware of the work my legs, my lungs, my arms are doing.  It only lasts for about 30 seconds, but that’s the feeling I reach for every time I run.  And on this particular stretch of sidewalk, it always catches me by surprise.  I don’t realize I’m in that perfect place until I round the corner and all of a sudden there’s a slight rise and it feels like work again.  I just don’t know how to get to that place on purpose (and it’s not just about going downhill – other hills don’t feel like that).  I only even know I was there after the feeling is gone.  It’s almost…sad when I realize I’ve just wrenched myself out of my perfect running headspace.  I try to remember what I was thinking, so maybe I can get lost whatever daydream it was, but I’ve never been able to get it back once it’s gone.


I watch Fringe, and it just started up again yesterday.  I think the guy who plays the scientist’s son (whose name I can never remember) is deliberately trying to be a charming younger George Clooney.  He’s only sometimes successful.  Can’t think of his name.  I keep thinking of Jonathan Taylor Thomas, but I know that’s not right.  Got it.  Joshua Jackson.  From Dawson’s Creek.  And I didn’t even have to resort to IMDB!

Wonderfully busy

Okay, “wonderfully busy” may be a little much. I had a very busy day at work, and it was a nice kind of busy. I should save “wonderfully busy” for a day I spent doing things I enjoy. I was usefully busy today. That’s better.

We had to be at work early this morning, and then he left for his first class, so I was actually able to leave shortly after four today.  I got home before the sun went down!  It was nice to go to work and drive home with the sun up.

I don’t really have a lot to say today.  I need to get over that.  Mom made fun of me the other day for reading Dragonquest again.  What’s to make fun of?  Okay, there’s plenty if I leave it wide open, but she was saying I’ve read it a million times, so why read it again?  My answer?  I’m not just reading that book again, Mom.  I’m reading the whole series again.  🙂  Where’s the fun in owning books if you’re not going to reread them?  And I have two additional reasons for wanting to reread this particular series:

  1. It’s been years since the last time I picked up a Pern book, so I’m due a refresher.
  2. I’ve had a hard time getting really involved in what I’ve been reading lately.  I mean involved to the point of hoping to get stuck at stoplights so I can read while the light is red.  (I don’t read while the car is moving, I promise.)
  3. (Okay, I have three reasons.)  I love these books.

Happy Inauguration Day!

I will be watching as much of the inauguration as I can from my computer at work today.  (It helps that my second monitor is a 19-inch.  Oh, and that I have a second monitor, so I can still work from my first one.)  I keep hearing snippets of “Beautiful Day” (U2) and “Brand New Day” (Sting) in my head, and if I let myself listen to them (still in my head), I will cry.  Happy tears.

Update (just after 11am): It doesn’t feel inevitable yet.  I’m watching MSNBC (CNN was doing stories I didn’t care about, and MSNBC has been pretty tightly focused), watching everyone arrive, listening to the USMC band (I wonder if Heather is playing today), and I’m getting more and more wound up.  Tense.

Dick Cheney is in a wheelchair today, reportedly because he strained his back lifting boxes.  I’m supposed to believe he actually lifted a box?  Please.

Update (11:20am): Awesome.  The Clintons got lots of applause when they came out.  The senior Bushes did not.  Of course, the crowd does lean Democratic.  Just a bit.  🙂

Gotta say, I’m not all that crazy about the color of Michelle Obama’s dress.  She wears it well, of course (she wears everything well) – I just don’t like the color.  Ooh, and the gloves are worse.  The color of the dress looks better when compared to those UGLY gloves.

Update (noon): Go Joe!  It’s kinda weird that for a few minutes we have a new Vice President and an old President.  And Aretha was great, as expected.  Loved her hat. 🙂

Update (12:05): I kinda love that President Obama (how cool is that?!?) needed a little help with the Oath of Office.

Update (12:12): “We will restore science to its rightful place.”  Damn right.

Update (12:25): “We will extend a hand, if you are willing to unclench your fist.”  Man, I missed the end of the speech.  That’s what I get for coming to work today, I guess.  Work got in the way.  But hey, they’ll rebroadcast this a million times today, and I can watch it in HD at home later.

It’s a beautiful day.  And I can’t stop smiling.

Wonderful snowy morning

I hate being cold, but I love being snuggled up inside when it’s snowing outside.  I got to spend part of my afternoon curled up on the couch under a blanket, with one of my favorite books and a mug of hot chocolate, while I watched snow drift down out the window.  It’s not snowing anymore, and we didn’t get very much (and it’s starting to melt away already), but I just like to see it come down.  Unfortunately, I don’t get to spend the entire day inside.  The grocery store beckons.

Two more movies

I forgot to mention yesterday that we finally watched The Golden Compass.  I read the books a while back (maybe a year or two ago) and loved them.  The movie is…okay.  Fun.  But it misses so much of the story.  It really couldn’t help but be disappointing, I think.  The most jarring part of the movie, though, was the ending.  The movie ended before the book did.  That may have been a good choice for the movie.  I remember being surprised and a little dissatisfied with the ending of the book.  (It helped that I already had the next book, of course.)  The ending of the first book goes very well with the beginning of the second, so, if they’re planning a second movie, it kind of makes sense to put it there.  Anyway, I wasn’t expecting it to end where it did (the movie).  So that was a little weird.

Today, we went out to the movies to see Last Chance Harvey (Emma Thompson and Dustin Hoffman).  It was a really nice movie.  And I LOVE Emma Thompson.  No crying (although I did tear up once – no, twice).  It’s set in London, and John spent the entire movie working out how we can move there.  The current plan is for him to pursue his doctorate there.  I need to work out how I can be friends with Emma Thompson.  🙂

Bad movie

I saw Twilight (the movie) today with Christina.  Didn’t like it very much.  And I really didn’t like the actor who played the male lead.  I ended up agreeing with John’s assessment (from the previews only); his portrayal made me want to punch him in the face.  I’m not even sure if I want to punch the actor or the character.  Maybe both.  Either way, I didn’t think the movie was very well done.  I don’t think it stands on its own.  And the more of the series I read (I’m on the third book now), the less I like the characters.  The climax of each book (well, twice now in the first two books) keeps me on the edge of my seat, but once the action is over, I go back to being really annoyed by the characters.

John and I went to Bob Evans (down on the farm) for breakfast this morning, where I was overwhelmed by a swimming pool-sized bowl of sausage gravy.  I may have nightmares about it.

Working for the weekend

Why do Fridays always have to be so busy? We were at work before 8 o’clock this morning (John had the morning shift), and we were hoping to have everything done so we could leave closer to four. You know, after eight hours of work (we generally don’t take lunch breaks). But no. John’s shift was fairly busy, so he couldn’t do his regular work, and of course everyone interrupted him all day (because he knows everything here and everyone needs his help), which delayed his work even more. And a couple of extra things got dropped in his lap at the (somewhat) last minute this afternoon. Poor John, so in demand. I don’t blame him. It’s not his fault he’s always willing to drop what he’s doing to help his coworkers. (Wait – yes it is! But I like that about him.) It’s just a shame we don’t get paid overtime, since we put in a ten-hour day today.

Surprisingly, this ten-hour day did not drag. I wasn’t having a good time, but I didn’t stare at the clock. Much.

Three-day weekend! Woohoo! Lots of nothing (and a couple of somethings) planned.

Update: The worst part about working more than ten hours is that we left the dogs locked up for almost 12.  Poor things.  They raced for the backyard.

Mostly John Cusack

I am drawing a complete blank.  Which makes me chuckle a little.  (It’s a line from Grosse Point Blank, a movie I love.)  But it doesn’t really give me anything to write about.  Unless I write about John Cusack movies.  Most of which I love.  I wasn’t crazy about High Fidelity, though.  I liked the supporting characters, but Cusack’s character bugged me.  The book didn’t do much for me, either.  John really likes both.  I think he prefers the book (safe guess).  It’s by Nick Hornby, who wrote About A Boy (I’ve seen the movie – painful to watch (that poor kid), but good – but I haven’t read the book).  Recently, though, John Cusack has done some not-so-good movies.  Must Love Dogs was pretty bad, and I tried pretty hard to like it (I like Diane Lane, and Captain Von Trapp was in it!).  Martian Child wasn’t bad, but it was a transparent tearjerker.  I’m not saying I didn’t like it.  🙂  I’m just saying it wasn’t a great movie.  So maybe it was an exaggeration to say that I love most John Cusack movies.  I’ll rephrase to say that I will watch and enjoy almost any movie that he is in.  And I love that Joan Cusack is usually cast with him.  I really like watching the two of them together.  Do I really need to mention Say AnythingPushing Tin, Being John Malkovich, Serendipity…I’m not going to list all of his movies.  And I haven’t seen them all.  Maybe I should make that a priority.  And I want to see Identity again.  That’s one that should reveal more during the second viewing.

In other news, Twilight is pretty entertaining.  I’m almost halfway done with it, and I will almost certainly want to finish the series.  At the moment, though, i don’t see this as being something I’ll want/need to reread.

Dentist, sleeping in, and a new book

I went back to the dentist today, where he checked out my teeth and gums and told me that I should keep up whatever I’m doing ’cause everything looks good.  (!)  I’m pretty sure I have never heard that from a dentist before.  Yay for me!

I think our bed is just too comfortable.  I make irrational decisions while trying to rationalize going back to sleep.  This morning, my plan was to get up at the normal time (6:30), run, and get to work by 9 o’clock so I could minimize the number of vacation hours I would have to take for my trip to the dentist.  The alarm went off, and I got up and dressed for running.  The light was on (John was going to get up and run, too) and I even had my shoes on, when I turned to John and said, “You know, I don’t really have to go to work before my dentist appointment.  No one expects me until after noon.  We could go back to bed for another hour…”  He agreed before I even finished my sentence, and I was in bed with the light off within five seconds.  It was SO nice to sleep for another hour.  And because my appointment wasn’t until eleven, I still had time to run.  Too bad I can’t do that every morning.

I finished my book (Red Seas Under Red Skies) this morning over breakfast.  The author has only written two books so far (this was the second in the series), but I really like them.  And now I’ve started Twilight.  We’ll see what all the fuss is about.  Megan (who is slightly obsessed, by her own admission) let me borrow the first book.  Every adult I’ve talked to who has read them has said they’re impossible to put down, and at least three of them are people who have recommended books that I have really enjoyed.  I’ll let you know.

Identity theft? Or just theft?

Work was okay today.  The morning went by fairly quickly, and then my phone shift practically flew by.  (It was busy.)  The only exciting part was bad, though.  Around 12:30, I got an email from my bank saying they think my account has some unauthorized activity.  I checked it out, and sure enough, there’s more than $130 of iTunes charges, all in the last couple of days.  We don’t use iTunes.  I called the bank (fraud department), and they told me that all the activity was from the number on my check card, not John’s.  We think it may have gotten out when I gave the number over the phone to the pizza place.  They shut down that card number immediately, of course, and I shredded my card.  I’ll go to the bank tomorrow to get a temporary card and order the real replacement.  In the meantime, we’re watching the accounts to make sure nothing else happens.

In other news, I’m watching Law and Order.  I haven’t seen any episodes in the last season or two, but in the old(er) ones, there are two actresses I can’t stand.  I don’t like to watch the blond ADA who ends up getting dismissed/fired.  Her voice is annoying and she’s a bad actress.  We just saw her in an episode of The Mentalist.  She was a little better, but I still don’t like her.  And the female detective who partners with Jesse Martin for a while tries too hard to act tough.  (She used to be on Rescue Me.)  It’s laughable and annoying and distracting.

Confirming a suspicion I had.

I went to Old Navy today to buy jeans.  For some reason, with jeans that are the same style, same cut, same size, the darker colors are bigger than the lighter colors.  I’d noticed it in passing before, but had never really checked it out.  I’ve been wearing the darker colors (darker blues instead of faded ones), and when I tried those on today, I’m the next size down!  Woo!  And I decided to try the lighter colors, since I’ve been wearing dark jeans for months and months.  Well.  The light blue jeans that should be identical to the dark ones are substantially smaller.  Can’t wear them.  I suppose I could get them in the size I was wearing before today, but then I wouldn’t be able to say I’m down a size.  🙂  And I really want to be able to say that.  And it’s true, for the dark jeans.  Yay!

The pizza was REALLY good.

Today got away from us a bit.  Got up this morning, not too early.  Went to the Virginia Tech bookstore in Falls Church with John.  And then we went to Joe and Megan’s for lunch.  That’s when the day disappeared.  In a good way.  Joe and John disappeared into the dining room and Megan and I camped out in the living room.  And before we knew it, it was after 5 o’clock.  We left them to get their evening going and headed home.  Sushi for dinner.  Yum.

We really didn’t do anything exciting today.  Hope you don’t mind.  And rather than babble online, I’m going to try to get into my book.  I’ve had a really hard time letting go of everything and just reading lately.  I’ll give it another try.

And I thought today would be better…

I woke up this morning determined to have a good day. I ran, I did other exercises, and when I was done, I felt great. I even told John that. “I feel great,” I said.

The morning went by just fine. We looked at our options for getting to NC for my birthday. Did some work. We had a staff meeting that went okay. And when I went to give the weakest member of our team some helpful hints, I found out he had completely dropped the ball for five hours.  Annoying, but not the end of the world.  I helped him wade through the work.  And then we had another meeting.  That started more than half an hour late.  And went more than an hour longer than scheduled.  The meeting itself was okay (we got some stuff done), but it ended abruptly when our boss got a phone call on her cell, left the room to take it, and never came back.  I could work where I was, so I did, and after about ten minutes John and Ross went to find out if she was coming back.  She wasn’t.  The meeting was over, apparently.  And it was about 5:15.  Because we’d been in there so long (the meeting was only supposed to go to 4), John had a lot of work to do, so we weren’t able to leave until almost seven.  We vented about the idiot who dropped the ball and our boss on the way home.  And we’ve decided we won’t talk about work again until Monday.  Except for tomorrow, when we meet with Joe and fill him in on the gossip.  But that’s it.

It doesn’t sound like a lot when I put it that way, but I’m leaving out all the frustrating, crazy-making details.  It took a lot out of me.

John has a rum and coke, I have a glass of wine, and a pizza is on the way.  Oh, this pizza.  I hope it’s as good as it sounds.  Tomato sauce, spinach, roasted garlic, artichoke hearts, roasted red peppers, grilled chicken, mozzarella, romano, and feta (only on John’s half).  Maybe this pizza will turn my day around at the last minute.  It’s a large burden to place on a pizza, but I think it can handle it.


John and I were listening to the BBC Newshour this morning on our way to work.  A news story led off with,

“As you know, reporting in Sri Lanka is notoriously difficult.”

That statement alone, from the British newsreader (and when I replay it in my head now, I hear John Cleese), was enough to make us start giggling.  (If you need me to explain just why we thought that was funny, ask me in the comments.)  Next, the announcer said something like (I don’t remember the exact statistic, except that it was high), “one in ten members of the media have been shot and killed in recent months.” And then the opening statement became the understatement of the week.  It is rather difficult to report when you’re dead.  And, because we’re not totally heartless, it became a little less funny.

There is nothing special about Wednesdays.

Feel free to disagree.

Yesterday went by at a breakneck pace.  Today, not so much.  We slept in until 7:30 this morning, listening to the rain.  Should have gotten up for Yoga Booty Ballet.  Didn’t.  Got out the door in plenty of time to make my 9:30 conference call at work.  Plodded through the rest of the day.

If anyone needs proof of how lazy we both are, here you go: we haven’t done the laundry I’ve been promising to do since the weekend (we still have clean clothes, so desperation hasn’t driven us to it yet) AND – this is the big one – our Christmas tree is still up.

While cooking our tortellini for dinner this evening, I noticed that it smelled like wet dog.  Has this ever happened to anyone?  It didn’t taste like wet dog.  ‘Tis a mystery.

Bad Day

Not the worst day ever, but not a good one either. Had to be downtown by 9am this morning (I wasn’t really needed until 10, but being early would be helpful.), so I left the house at 7:30. Ran into a little bit of traffic on the toll road, but nothing huge. I remembered while on the toll road that I couldn’t take 66 in like I planned because it’s HOV only until 9am. So I got on the beltway to take the GW Parkway. Not a problem. The GW Parkway was fine, too, until it came to an abrupt halt at 123. I don’t mind sitting in traffic, but I do mind being late. At 8:45 I called my boss, since the woman I was meeting downtown didn’t respond to my email asking for her cell phone number until I was in the car this morning. Not helpful. My boss contacted the lady, so she knew I was stuck in traffic. So I didn’t fret anymore about being late. And I got there by 9:30. Two hours to go 36 miles.

I found my way to the training room I would be spending the day in and said hello to the woman I was meeting.  Let’s just call her Space Cadet.  She’s completely scatter-brained, and everything she touches falls to pieces.  And that includes me, apparently.  My purpose today was to be on hand to help the testers whenever they ran into something they either didn’t understand or they thought might be a defect.  And that part of the day was fine.  I headed off some user-error issues before they could blow up and handled some actual defects with the system.  Not a problem.  My frustration came from my internet connection, mostly.  I’m not allowed to connect to the LAN because my computer does not belong to them.  I had a wireless modem, but the signal was awful.  And inconsistent.  I could connect, but then I couldn’t get anywhere, or I could go to one site, but not check my work email…and not being able to check my work email, or rather send any work email, was the biggest problem.  So I took my laptop out to a lounge area in the hallway, both to try to get a better signal (through the window) and to call my boss to get her opinion on a potential enhancement to the system.  I got her answer and then tried to send an email with an attachment, necessary for a meeting that was going to start in about 15 minutes.  I managed to send the email, but when Space Cadet opened it, we realized I had sent an older version of the attachment.  And then I couldn’t connect to my email.  Again.  I could connect on a local computer, but I couldn’t transfer the file from my laptop to that computer.  The local computer wouldn’t recognize my thumb drive.  We were able to have the meeting using the older attachment anyway (I just described the changes over the phone), but we were delayed and Space Cadet was really flustered.  (The delay was mostly her not understanding that I could just talk about the missing parts of the attachment because I had the updated document right there in front me.)

The meeting was over by 12:30, which was about when I was planning on heading back to the office.  Space Cadet had one other tester scheduled for 2-4pm, but no one expected me to stick around that late.  That tester, naturally, walked in right then and asked if it would be okay for her to start now, rather than wait until 2.  Space Cadet said she had meetings until 2 or 2:30 and then asked me if I could stay and help the tester if she needed any help.  I agreed because I really didn’t have any reason not to.  I got some stuff done during that almost two hours on a local computer, but I couldn’t check my personal email there (blocked websites).  I tried my luck with the connection on my laptop and was able to check my Yahoo mail.  Thank goodness I did.  I had an email from Dad telling me that the building security people called them.  They have my phone at the front desk.  I hadn’t even missed it!  Apparently, I left it in the hallway around noon when I was trying to send that email before the meeting.  And there’s no telling if I would have noticed it was gone before I left for the day.  So I ran to the security desk and the very nice ladies there gave me my phone.

I really didn’t have it together today.  I tried to leave without my coat, too.  Then I had to sign out at the same security desk and the ladies told me it’s a good thing I have my head screwed on tight, ’cause I probably would have left that somewhere, too.  Too true.

I got stuck in traffic a little on my way back to the office, and then work was nonstop until I left at 6.  All in all, it was a very long day.  Oh, and I didn’t have lunch until around 3:30, when I finally got back to the office.  Somehow, I wasn’t starving.  But lack of food may have added to my crankiness this afternoon.  And now I’m home, and I’m going to have a very boring (but very healthy) dinner of steamed vegetables over rice.  And a glass of wine.  🙂