Saturday, May 31, 2008
Life has been really surreal (surreally real?) since The Hubster left for his hike. For one thing, I seem to have become a walking embodiment of Murphy's Law. For another, I have been either commuting/working or working on the house ... and nothing else. Oh, except running. I've definitely been getting my miles in. The daily workout has been a true respite from work-related and house-related stress.
I haven't played piano or written anything. Haven't even journaled, other than for a few half-hearted, half-page tries here and there. I've been unbelievably busy at work (which is a good thing, I think) and haven't been over to the church to practice piano in over a month.
So, I haven't really been my "normal self" for almost two months now. The good news: my heart rate and blood pressure are both just moseying slowly and comfortably along, so the chronic stress hasn't had any measurable effect on my physical health. The mental health is pretty good, too, come to think of it. More good news: I really love my job. My one-year anniversary of working at this company is next week, and I've only worked for one other company where, after a year of employment, I still looked forward to going to work every day.
I have the opportunity to edit another book this summer, and I'm going to be looking at some sample chapters, a synopsis, and the proposal tonight. I've read through all of them several times, but I haven't had a chance to really buckle down and focus on them. So I'm going to do that now.
Life is good.
He has pictures posted from San Diego ...
to Campo (the southern terminus of the PCT) ...
to the Mojave Desert.
All in all, they cover something like 600+ miles of hiking.
Thursday, May 29, 2008
Am I lucky or what?
I mean, look at those calves. Seriously. Blow up the picture and look at the calves.
I am married to those calves.
Sometimes I just shake my head with pleased disbelief at my good fortune.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
And now I'm going to have to wait until tomorrow to get back to that project. Today is the one day this week that I have no meetings scheduled, and today is the day that I ...
- take Hideaway to the vet (again ... poor girl)
- get a fire permit from my friendly fire station and burn a bunch of brush and old boards
- borrow a truck and take things to the dump, which is almost to the Tennessee state line (grr ...)
- jump-start Hubster's car and take it to AutoZone for a new battery while my neighbor follows me just in case the car dies en route
- ship stuff to Hubster (including cookies that I plan to make at some point today)
- make banana bread for the nice man at the local garden store who let me take all of the plants I had picked out even though I had forgotten my checkbook and said, "No problem. You can just come back and pay later on."
There are several other things I really need to do, but they're a bit TMI. I hated to e-mail my boss yesterday to tell her I couldn't come to work (I really did! I was looking foward to getting back to my project.), but today would have been a slow day at work, and it definitely won't be a slow day at home.
Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
Crime and Punishment
One Hundred Years of Solitude
Life of Pi: A novel
The Name of the Rose
Pride and Prejudice
The Tale of Two Cities
The Brothers Karamazov
Guns, Germs, and Steel
War and Peace
The Time Traveler's Wife
The Blind Assassin
The Kite Runner
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
Reading Lolita in Tehran
Memoirs of a Geisha
Wicked: The life and times of the wicked witch of the West
The Canterbury Tales
The Historian : a novel
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Love in the Time of Cholera
Brave New World
The Count of Monte Cristo
A Clockwork Orange
The Once and Future King
The Grapes of Wrath
The Poisonwood Bible
Angels & Demons
The Satanic Verses
Sense and Sensibility
The Picture of Dorian Gray
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
To the Lighthouse
Tess of the D'Urbervilles
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
The Sound and the Fury
Angela's Ashes: A memoir
The God of Small Things
A People's History of the United States : 1492-present
A Confederacy of Dunces
A Short History of Nearly Everything
The Unbearable Lightness of Being
The Scarlet Letter
Eats, Shoots & Leaves
The Mists of Avalon
Oryx and Crake
Collapse: How societies choose to fail or succeed
The Catcher in the Rye
On the Road
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Freakonomics: A rogue economist explores the hidden side of everything
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An inquiry into values
In Cold Blood: A true account of a multiple murder and its consequences
I found this little meme on Terminal Degree, one of my favorite music prof sites.
Monday, May 26, 2008
As you can see, we had a woodpile with an unsightly blue tarp covering it ... or sort of covering it. Here's another view, just so you can get the full impression of its ugliness:
(You would think the beautiful mountains in the background would outweigh the ugliness of the junky-looking woodpile. You would think.)
I gave away all the wood to Johnny the Carpet Guy, and that left me with a big, empty space. So yesterday I dug out the remnants of the evil vine that was living there, and laid out some compost. You can see it in the photo from yesterday's post.
Today, I planted stuff. It was really kind of a pain because, beneath that pretty soil is all the gravel that's supposed to be covering my driveway. Why is it all over there? No idea. I guess the area was originally supposed to be driveway, but nobody ever parked that close to the fence, so the stones are still there.
Were still there. My aching back can attest to that. But, without further ado, here are some pictures of the new garden:
The area to the left of the garden is still an eyesore. I know what I'd like to do with it, but it would cost me about $50, and I have given the local garden stores, along with Lowe's, enough money for the year.
Anyway, I mulched everything because my friend Lite Shoe said the sun can burn soil if it's not protected by mulch. I also re-mulched the garden that Mrs. Gwen and I worked on:
As you can see, I bought far too many petunias at the garden store yesterday, so I planted a few of them in this garden. And put some in the pots we had out there.
Now I need to find myself a truck so I can haul a bunch of stuff to the dump tomorrow.
Sunday, May 25, 2008
It nearly pulled down a large tree. It pulled down several shrubs. It is a hateful, hateful vine. It is a wicked, evil vine.
Slowly, year after year, I have fought the vine. And I have weakened it. I have never defeated it, but it had at least ceased to strangle small plants. Its leaves were browning and frayed, thanks to frequent sprayings with (gasp!) Roundup. So I really hadn't thought about the vine in a while.
Recently I gave away all of our firewood. What was left was a nice little stretch of land next to our driveway. "What a nice little stretch of land!" I thought. "It's perfect for a little flower garden! And I can hide the ugly fence!"
So I went to the garden place and bought lots of flowers and some plants for the garden. My plan was to spend Memorial Day weekend sprucing up that spot.
So I took Charlie, my tiller, and began to till the soil. That's when I hit ... the vine. The hateful, vengeful vine. And it wasn't just the vine; it was the vine's woody stump.
Make that two. The vine had two woody stumps. That I could find.
Charlie Tiller was thrown aside. In came the big guns: Saul Shovel, Lucabrasi Lopper, Willie Wood-splitter, and even Portia Pickaxe. I picked up Clytemnestra Clippers for good measure.
It was a valiant battle. The hideous vine fought with everything it had. But I refused to give up. I gave blood, sweat, and tears (just ask my mom) to the effort.
In fact, as I took a break to sit on the deck and boo-hoo that no big, strong Hubster was here to help me, the Hubster himself called to tell me what a beautiful day it was as he climbed a mountain and looked over the Mojave Desert. I was very proud of myself that I did not throw the cell phone across the yard.
After a couple of hours, I managed to wrench both vine-trunks from the ground. Success!
I tried in vain to hold both vine stumps up for my victory photo, as if they were fish I had caught, but the bigger one was too heavy.
But I whupped 'em both. I'm planting my garden tomorrow. (You can see the bed in the background. I had already filled in the holes by the time I took the photo.)
Saturday, May 24, 2008
I need to clean my roof, fix the gutters, cut down some trees, repair (or replace) the fence for good, pressure-wash the parking area and deck, treat the deck, etc.--all stuff the Hubster has been saying he would do for the past year, but never got around to doing. And now people are not even considering our house and I think its rotten curb appeal is a big reason. And I don't have the physical strength to do half of this stuff.
I had to fix closet doors this morning. I don't even know how to fix closet doors. I don't know how I fixed them. But I jiggled them a bit, cursed and tantrumed when they fell out of their grooves, somehow managed to replace them without splintering or otherwise hurting myself, and ... voila ... I could open them again. So, they're fixed.
I'm in a really bad mood. Hubster just called. Talk about bad timing. I love him more than anything, but I really am not in the mood to talk to him and hear about his wonderful hike and the beautiful views and all the fun he's having right now.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Yes, that is our new carpet.
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Welp, I lost Dream House #2 yesterday. Thank you, Shirley the House, for not having sold yet, despite all my best efforts.
I really hope my evaluation goes well this afternoon. It will be my first-ever annual evaluation since coming to work at this company. Hard to believe I've been here almost a year.
I truly could use a nice, employee-morale-affirming boost after yesterday's disappointment of losing the house.
Sunday, May 18, 2008
It was 5:30 a.m. He was very tired, but very excited and happy.
His pack was all packed up and ready to go.
He's since bought a new, ultralight pack from Gossamer Gear.
Here he is, buying two cups of coffee for our last coffee together for, oh, five months or so.
How do I miss him? Let me count the ways ... just give me a minute to look up the HTML code for superscript characters ...
Saturday, May 17, 2008
OK, so the whole thing is an eyesore, but the worst part is the non-fence from when the pizza delivery guy hit it five years ago and nearly drove into our kitchen. See the non-fence there, at the far-right of the picture?
So I pulled some old fence parts from our front yard (hidden in trees so no one could see them anyway) and brought them up to the eyesore. And then I went and bought a posthole digger. And then I Googled "how to use a posthole digger" and ended up here.
Once my introductory postholing class was over, I went outside and got to work.
And I dug my first posthole. Ever.
Then I dug a second posthole ever and went to put the horizontal fence parts in ... and my second posthole was just a wee bit too close to the first one. So I had to fill it all in with the dirt and dig my third posthole. Ever.
And then I had to connect them. This is very difficult to do with rotted fence parts, but I managed.
I'm not blind ... I am well aware that it's still an eyesore. We still have a bit of non-fence there. But hopefully it's a tiny bit less of an eyesore than it was before. And at least it might deter pizza guys from plowing into our kitchen after dark.
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Monday, May 12, 2008
Saturday, May 10, 2008
And here it is now:
You can't really see the impatiens and the petunias, but they're there.
Actually, this picture was taken a couple of weeks ago. The flowers are a lot bigger and more plentiful now.
Friday, May 9, 2008
I'll be looking at the house on Monday--the same day we drop our price on this one. Praying that things will work out smoothly. Being a sole homeowner and living an hour away from home while trying to sell it has really begun to wear on me.
I just got word today! Please help me celebrate.
My one-and-only book "The Ordinary Adventurer" (Jerelyn Press) is a national semi-finalist for an IPPY Award!
That is, the 12th Annual Independent Publisher Book Awards.
This year's awards announcement event in Los Angeles during BookExpo is set for Friday, May 29th ... [and] the gold, silver and bronze medalists will be chosen from the six "semi-finalists and announced May 21st.
The book made it into the final cut for the "Travel Essay" category. Given the preponderance of university presses (Yale?!), I wasn't anticipating much action.
It's been a long, long road, but I'm glad I went ahead and did it.
Yep. You and the rest of us. I did a bit of research and found the following info on past IPPY award winners:
- The Millionaire Next Door, 1997 winner, went on to sell over 2.5 million copies .
- Southern Settings, 1997 cookbook winner, continues to have strong sales today.
- After winning its IPPY award, Fit to Cook: Why "Waist" Time in the Kitchen? had 187,000 copies bought by a major pharmaceutical comopany for a promotional campaign.
- Matthew Sharpe's The Sleeping Father won the Fiction award in 2004 and was a TODAY Show Book Club winner. In addition, it was noted in the New York Times and Publishers Weekly. It's also popular in reading groups.
Wouldn't it be so cool if our own Jan Leitschuh won an IPPY award? She'd get a medal and everything!
Mrs. Gwen wanted to see some pictures of Shirley's new carpet. Here you go, Mrs. Gwen.
Here is George in his new room with his new beige carpet (George is on the far right):
Here is the Little Goosey, posing on the loveseat and enjoying the new beige carpet:
Here are our new beige stairs:
And since you were wondering, here is the Bewitching Blue sunroom with the Impetuous door (I took the picture last night, so the lighting isn't so great):
I've been taking pictures like a wild woman. And I am bewitched by Bewitching Blue.
Thursday, May 8, 2008
See, we didn't want to put the albums in storage, so we lined them up on the floor of the closet so they'd be out of the way. And the carpet guys needed to put carpeting in the closet. So the album collection took up temporary residence in the bathroom.
Hub's beloved albums are now back on the closet floor. All lined up. In alphabetical order, Hubster-style. (I won't begin to try to figure out his logic when it comes to alphabetizing.)
I miss him.
1. I get to bathe in a clean bathtub. And wash my clothes at my convenience. In my own washing machine. Not so the PCT hikers.
2. I have soft, beautiful, pain-free feet. OK, so one out of three isn't bad. But I do have pain-free feet. Really. Not so the PCT hikers.
Boy, I sure am glad I'm here and not out there.
Oh, who am I kidding. Nasty, stinky old clothes, gross water, and disgusting blisters are all just part of the adventure.
(The bathtub/washing maching pic is from Slider's journal. The blister belongs to my one and only.)
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
Monday, May 5, 2008
You can read his latest entry here.
One of his hiking partners, Slider, recently posted a bunch of photos from the trail here. Sadly, the Hubster is only in a few of them, but Slider did get some good scenery pics.
Sunday, May 4, 2008
Seriously ... today was the last day that I really put heart and soul into "staging" this house. Tomorrow the new carpet is being installed. Tuesday the realtor is coming to take all new pictures. Also on Tuesday afternoon ... we drop our price. Slightly.
This house is so much nicer than it was when we put it on the market.
Today, I painted the sunroom and it is beautiful. I also painted the front door. It was originally white and full of smudges and dirt, and now it's a pretty moss green. I painted four coats because I like painting lots of coats and I had plenty of paint.
I also cleaned the fireplace. It only made sense. I mean, if there is one day in a lifetime that's the best day to clean the fireplace, I would think it would be the day before you get new carpet installed.
Outside, my petunias are thriving. My impatiens are recovering from the freeze last week and starting to look happy and blushy again. The hostas are going crazy. The ferns are downright joyous-looking.
I feel like such a happy little homemaker. How happy I would be in that 110-year-old farmhouse.
OK, I'll stop thinking about the farmhouse. Hubster passionately does not want the farmhouse. I love Hubster. We will not get the farmhouse. (This is one of those "pick your battles" situations.) But I still want the farmhouse.
I'm looking forward to the time when I don't have to paint or clean anything, and can spend the weekend writing and playing piano
Maybe we'll get an offer this week.
Yesterday I got the paint stuff, caulked like a madwoman (sunroom and bathroom), weeded, got Hubster's car washed, inspected, and oil-changed, taped up the sunroom in anticipation of the paint job, ran three miles, and did about two hours worth of tech-writing work for my job. (I'm not supposed to work at home, but I'm organizing an intranet-type website, and it was just too much fun to hold off on until Monday.)
OK. Once the room is painted ... I'm balancing the checkbook. If I have any money left in the rapidly dwindling home-improvement budget, I'm going to get some more flowers for the new garden. A garden by the front door works wonders. My little old heart leaps up every time I pull into my driveway and see all those pretty flowers.
Now I'm having strange urges to go to junk stores and find cheap stuff I can spray paint, magically transforming it into Nice Stuff That Looks Good In My House.
My house. The hope is that it won't be my house much longer. But now I want the 110-year-old farmhouse even more. My soul pines for the 110-year-old farmhouse. Alas, the Hubster wanteth it not. Woe is me. I. Woe art I. What Ev Er.
This is what it means to lollygag. I guess this is also what it means to "stay busy" while Hubster is gone. Time to go paint.
Saturday, May 3, 2008
Friday, May 2, 2008
I have to miss work Monday because of this stupid house.
I hate this house.
I don't enjoy HGTV-type stuff. Some people like gardening and decorating and all that. I can do it, but it's not the way I want to spend what little spare time I have.
Since I'm stuck at home, I'm going to try to get the following things done:
- Cover up my Impetuous door with Lime Rickey green
- fix the fence
- move a few more things to storage
I'm really missing that sweet old Hubster today.