Tuesday, November 27, 2007

If All Goes According to Plan ...

... we'll have made an offer on New House by the end of the week.

It's 10:30 p.m. I need to be up in 7 hours because I have to be at work early-shirley.

I'm ready for the crazy work season to be over. I miss Jeanette, Robert, Deborah, Sherry, Rob, Luci, George, Joan, Jan, Brent, Shelley, and my three friends named Linda.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Random Thoughts You Didn't Ask For

Hello there, little blogfriends out there in the cyber world. I'm reporting live from Cube Heaven, my windowless little three-walled piece of paradise. Oh, I guess I do have windows, if you capitalize the dubya and put "Microsoft" in front of it.

I actually have a few moments of idleness at work today--a rather welcome situation, considering the 50-hour-average workweeks of the past month. So, friends, I'm going to tell you all the random things that have been going on in my mind this week.

Random Thought #1: I'm a big, fat pig. Yes, that sentence has been going through my mind quite a lot lately. It's all the fault of my blue jeans, which are hugging me a bit tighter than usual. Nothing like tight jeans to make one feel like a whale in a wetsuit. Alas, I'm facing up to the reality that Thanksgiving + nibbling on chocolate all day + having a sedentary job = tighter jeans. And I'm running four miles this afternoon. And picking up more happy pills this evening. (I ran out on Saturday.)

Random Thought #2: I think we're going to make an offer on a house, but not on the old farmhouse I wanted (and continue to want). Although the Hubster and I are filthy rich in love, happiness, and cat dander, we are very poor in finances. Actually, we're not doing too bad, but we're not raking in enough to buy and care for a 110-year-old farmhouse, no matter how much charm it has. Oh, well. One of these days. So we're thinking about making an offer on a house I'll call New House. See Random Thought #11, below.

Random Thought #3: Remember piano? I tried to quit, but Deborah wouldn't let me. I'm going to start a new prelude and fugue. I don't know which one yet. I think I'm going to do C-minor from WTC I. It's supposed to be easier (relatively speaking) than the others, and it regularly assigned to students who are really to tackle their first prelude and fugue. This one will be my second. After two years of C#-major, however, I am ready for something a wee bit more manageable.

Random Thought #4: I've also graduated from "Elfe" and the Liszt. What shall I learn next? I'm not sure. I'm thinking about a Schubert impromptu. And the Shostakovich will be a good "intermediate piece" piece. I'm going to wait on starting the Haydn sonata, mainly because I only have a couple of hours a week to practice as it is, and I need more time if I'm going to work on a big piece like the Haydn. (Not that the Bach P&F isn't big ... I've just found that it's just easier to practice Bach in 15- and 20-minute intervals.)

Random Thought #5: Lil Goosey, Lil Goosey, Lil Lee-Lee Lil Goosey, she's the greatest lil ole Hideaway calico cat in the whole wide world. Go, Goosey!

Random Thought #6: Thanksgiving was nice.

Random Thought #7: That half-marathon I was thinking about running on Dec. 8? Not gonna happen. No way, no how. November has been brutal, work-wise, and December won't be much better (though it will be a little better, according to the old-timers in my department). Good runs have been few and far-between.

Random Thought #8: I haven't been to church since the split. It's not that I haven't wanted to go ... OK, so it is that I haven't wanted to go. The reasons have much more to do with general fatigue from long work hours than anything else. Really.

Random Thought #9: I decided to, once and for all, read the whole Bible. I started about a month and a half ago, maybe? I'm in Job. I'm reading from cover to cover and I've made it to Job. I love Job. I'm glad to finally be getting into the more poetical books.

Random Thought #10: Usually when people ask me what I want for Christmas, I say "nothing, really. Really. Nothing." And I mean it. This year I made an online wish list. Sometimes I wish I hadn't because most of it is stuff I don't really need.

Random Thought #11: I have a certain ambivalence about the house we're thinking about making an offer on. It's a very nice house, just a few years old, and has a top-of-the-line kitchen. I think of my 110-year-old farmhouse and think, "Home." I think of the New House and the phrase "inane trappings of modern life" keeps coming into my head. Is a gas-log fireplace an inane trapping? An automatic garage-door opener? A jacuzzi? Am I just being a Luddite wanna-be? Why does this somehow feel wrong? Why does it feel not wrong to buy a 110-year-old farmhouse that costs more money than the New House, and then to spend gobs of money on books? I am a very confused product of American culture.

Is that an oxymoron?

Am I a moron?

Don't answer that.

Random Thought #12: Well, you asked for it. No, you didn't ask for it. You did not request a run-down of my recent ramblings. You did not ask for alliteration, either. Bidding you buh-bye until next time ...

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Two Updates in Two Days!

Could I be on a roll? Alas, the only reason I have time to blog is because I haven't gone running the last couple of mornings. My killer headache hasn't gone away yet, despite Goody's Headache Powder and sleeping on a heating pad (part of the headache feels kind of like a really painful crick in my neck).

Hubster and I looked at the big ole farmhouse near the A.T. yesterday. I fell in love. Absolutely in love. I have never walked into an unfamiliar house and felt like it was my house I was entering. This one was different.

And folks, they even had a piano where I would have put the piano. They had Walker Percy books on the bookshelves, just like me. One bookcase was even full of old, worn notebooks. I have a bookcase full of old, worn notebooks.

I was ooh-ing and aah-ing the whole time. The house includes an artist's studio that would work very nicely as a place where hikers could stay. Plus, there are lots of great tentsites in case anyone wanted to set up their tent.

And the house is so warm and inviting and cozy! It has purple shutters! It has a back porch with a swing! It even has a small, weirdly shaped room that is the perfect writing nook.

This house has everything.

Except an air conditioner. And a closet for the main bedroom. But there are ceiling fans in every room, and Mrs. Gwen has the perfect old wardrobe that would go perfectly in this house. And I wouldn't be surprised if this house had a secret passage to Narnia. Though when I asked, the realtor assured me that it's not haunted.

Unfortunately, while I was imagining something of a mix between The Sunnybank Inn and The Cabin in Maine, with something out of C.S. Lewis or L.M. Montgomery, Hub was taking note of all the stuff that would require work, like gutters. (Can someone say "work-for-stay for A.T. hikers?" Duh!) And he doesn't like that it doesn't have an air conditioner. And he thinks the kitchen is too small (even though it's much bigger than the one we have now). And he thinks it's too expensive. It's in that range of, "We can afford it, but it's going to be a stretch ... and if we're going to pay more for something, we don't want a money pit/fixer-upper on our hands."

So we're going to look at it again this weekend (I'm going to take Mrs. Gwen along and try to get her on my side), along with a few other houses that are less expensive.

Wish me luck.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

I've Missed Me, Too

I got two e-mails and a blog comment yesterday from people saying they've missed me and my blog. How sweet. Thank you, friends. Y'all aren't the only ones. I miss myself. I haven't had time (or the will) to blog, write e-mails, write creative stuff, or even read very much. I wake up, I work out, I go to work, I practice piano at lunch, I stay at work until 7:30 or so, and I come home. That's pretty much life these days.

No, I'm not Depressed. (Yay!) I won't lie--I've had a low-grade depression thing going on for a couple of weeks, as well as a migraine that kept me home from work last Friday--but the job, aside from the long hours and the commute, isn't at all stressful. It's easy, in the way that tech writing jobs are easy for professional tech writers. It's fun. It's like a game. I have no complaints about the job itself.

Except for the fact that I can't access my personal e-mail because Gmail is blocked. Grr. So I check e-mail for two minutes at 5 a.m., and for about 8 minutes before I fall asleep at 9:30. Which is why no one but no one has heard a peep from me in weeks.

Peep.

There you go!

So, here's the latest news, for anyone who is wondering:

1) Hub and I are thinking about buying a big ole farmhouse near the Appalachian Trail. Coincidentally, it's also about 12 minutes from my place of employment.

2) Warning: This one is a TMI topic: Last week I had reason to believe that Hub and I were pregnant (we're not, nor we were planning to become so). I went through three pregnancy tests in two days. Those pregnancy tests are like M&Ms, or cupcakes--I think, "OK, I'm just going to take one, and that's all, no more until tomorrow or the next day or the next ..." And thing I know, those three-for-the-price-of-two-$16-plastic-pee-sticks are gone.

3) I've made a really good friend at work! Her anagram is Broccoli Warpath Gal, which is fitting because she is very determined to eat right, exercise, etc. Kinda like me.

4) I've graduated, so to speak, from the Bach and Liszt pieces I've been working on forever. I also graduated from the Schumann short piece. But I'm going to keep playing 'em for the rest of the year and wait until January to start Beethoven, Shostakovich, Schubert, and ... you guessed it ... Bach. Except for the Bach, I'll be working on short, not-so-difficult pieces because that's all my schedule allows for these days.

5) Hubster is doing great. His beard is all full and mountain-man-like. I love it when he adopts the Grizzly Adams look.

I hope we can get that old farmhouse. A grand piano would fit nicely there, and the non-commute to work will allow for more writing time.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Random Things

I just inhaled a bag of peanut M&Ms. Good thing I'm running 28 miles this week, including a 10-miler tomorrow.

I've been listening to Dvorak lately.

I forced myself to practice Liszt at lunch. How did I do this? Against my will, I left all of the Bach music at my desk and brought only the Liszt. I love the Liszt, but I'm so ready to move on to something new.

I write as if I've been practicing all along. Truth is, I've practiced slightly more than I've blogged in the past month. Work is crazy and I'm putting in lots of hours ... but life is good because all this overtime is going to help fund my Christmas shopping and Hubster's hike.

What? I didn't tell you about Hubster's hike? He'll be thru-hiking the Pacific Crest Trail this summer. I'll visit him and hike with him, but mostly I'll be writing and editing stuff in order to fund the house-note payments.

I'm able to check personal e-mails maybe twice a week, and usually at 8 p.m., which is my bedtime, so I haven't written back to anyone in ages.

What else, what else ...

Not a whole lot. Just wanted a short break from the grindstone. Back to work for me!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Bad Metaphors

I haven't written in ages. I haven't played piano. I haven't read. I've eaten, slept, breathed, and pooped software documentation. I'm exhausted. And my imagination-starved brain keeps coming up with bad metaphors to describe the situation.

If the little mazes and fissures in my brain were hiking trails, they would be all overgrown and nearly impassable.

If my brain were bread, it would be all green and moldy.

I just want to sit and write for a few hours. Or a few days. Doing so would be akin to cleaning out several months' worth of packed-in dirt under my fingernails. (This metaphor is particularly bad. I am a chronic nail-biter and my fingernails never, ever grow long enough to actually store dirt.)

OK. So maybe it would be akin to flossing all the gunk from between one's teeth after not flossing for five months. Ah, that one is better. Flossing is one of my preferred writing-procrastination activities.

I've been at my new job for exactly five months now. I can hardly believe how much I've learned. While my creative/literary brain has been collecting mold and dirt and tooth gradue, my logical, student-who-loves-to-learn-new-stuff brain has been running along as smoothly as a high-scoring game of Pac-Man. Waka-waka-waka. I've been gobbling up little morsels of knowledge about topics I never dreamed I would want to learn about.

I met two deadlines last week--deadlines for projects I'd started on back in June. New projects await me when I head back to the office on Monday, but I definitely have a "clean slate" feeling right now.

A clean slate. Freshly flossed teeth. My bathtub after being attacked with Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. I'm ready to do some real writing.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Friday Night

Friends, I am so unbelievably tired. I've put in 51 hours at work since Monday, and I'm going to work a full day tomorrow. But all this work hasn't been in vain:

- The manual is happily at the printers, despite a last-minute cross-referencing emergency yesterday morning that took a couple of hours to fix.

- The deadline for my other big project is tomorrow. Which means I get to work slightly more normal hours next week.

- Overtime can be a very good thing.

Fortunately, "crunch time" at this company is October through February. For the rest of the year, things are pretty laid back. And I really like this job--both the work itself, and the people I work with. I have a good boss, too.

It's Friday night barely 8:00 and I'm exhausted. Have a good weekend, everyone!