Friday, December 28, 2007

Would You Like Your Brain Fried With That?

We're in the final days of software CD testing. My brain is so fried, I can't decide if I should take a nap or rename myself Cracklin' Head.

I know. I should take a nap. A good three-week-long nap. But that's not an option.

So I guess I'll just be Cracklin' Head for a few more days.

I wrote a lovely poem this morning. It was actually an e-mail to the Hubster. He wanted to know if I would be home at a decent hour on New Year's Eve, or if I would have to work late. (He's already accepted that New Year's Day is a full work day for me.) So here's the poem I sent him. The subject line was "New Year's Eve".

so much depends

the newest CD

working like

before the old
year ends.

I know. I'm keeping the day job for now.

P.S. This is Blog Post #1700.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

'Twas the Pimple at Christmas

If product development at my company were a giant pimple, it would be all white and painful right now, sitting atop a juicy red bump on the tip end of a metaphorical nose, just bursting with pressure to ... burst.

Our ship date is next week. The software goes out. Things are humming and buzzing along around the office. Gotta get this done, gotta get that done, gotta check these files, gotta double-check those, gotta test, test, test, test, test, and test some more. It's crazy. I'm enjoying it, the same way I enjoy zits.

See, there's something tantalizing about a zit that's ready to pop. Such potential! Such anticipation! Such hope!

At the same time, it hurts and it's ugly, and I'm more than ready for things to get back to normal. We all are. Every last person at this company.

Until then, it's inflamed, red-rimmed, high-pressure business as usual for everyone.

Oh, we did get Christmas Eve and Christmas Day off. I had a very nice Christmas with the Hubster, my immediate family, and some of my sister's in-laws. It wasn't a particularly eventful holiday this year. Sadly, I didn't feel particularly spiritual. I think I was just so tired from work. And I was kind of sad that the long hours at work had prevented me from putting very much thought into gift-buying. (Gift-baking and gift-making were definitely out of the realm of possibility this year.) I didn't go to a single Christmas party or Christmas concert because of the work hours and resulting lack of energy. I was wrapping presents the morning of December 24, and we never did get around to mailing out the half-finished Christmas cards Hubster had bought earlier this month.

But I did get to have three wonderful days off with the Hubster. And, even though I would like to have put more thought into gift-buying, I did manage to find gifts I was happy with, and that the recipients seemed happy with. And, thanks to this job that kept me so pre-occupied, I was able to buy the gifts I wanted without worrying that we would have to survive on peppermints and Boy Scout popcorn until the next paycheck.

Yesterday we spent the day at my parents' place in North Carolina, having fun, eating gumbo, exchanging presents, and watching old home videos from the 1960s and 1970s (8-mm video) through the early 1990s (Betamax camera). Much laughter ensued from those videos. The husbands got to see embarrassing footage of my sister and me from the mid-1980s. Oh, joy. Somehow I managed to have short hair AND big hair in the 80s. All at the same time. Amazing.

If I had more energy--or more time (the pressure in the metaphorical zit is ever-building)--I would write more. But writing takes so much effort (at least the way I do it), and right now I'm channeling that energy into Project Pimple at work. And I'm actually enjoying the high-pressure atmosphere--despite its relative disadvantages.

Yes, as exciting as it's been, I'm ready for development season to end. I'm ready to move on to a new season, a new phase--a new zit in the dermis of software development.

I'll let you know when this one's popped.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Nose to Grindstone

Today I woke up and thought, "It's December 20. Hmm. That's an important day. Why is it an important day?"

I knew it was my sister Rebecca's birthday, and that made it an important day. But I knew there was something else ... some other reason that made December 20 an important day.

I'd like to say that I thought about it for hours, but I didn't. I got to work. Nose to grindstone. Gliding through the wonderful world of help files. (We tech writers do that kind of thing.)

Then, at some point this afternoon, I remembered why December 20 is so important:

It's the day I finished my thru-hike.

Well, duh.

Methinks I am working too hard.

The good news is ... the crazy development season is almost over! My life will soon return to some semblance of normalcy, and I'll then be able to catch up on the 1,000+ non-spam e-mails in my personal mailbox!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Darwin's a Creationist NOW!!

Has something happened that I haven't heard about?

Why did I just see a truck with a sign that had this bold declaration written across the tailgate in big, red letters?

I didn't get to ask the driver, who was tooling his way down the main street of our little Bible-Belt town.

I thought Darwin was too dead to become a creationist. Or anything new, for that matter.

Or maybe the truck driver's name is Darwin, and he (Darwin the truckdriver) is indeed a creationist, and it's a kind of play on words, a kind of joke.

Any ideas, other than that I should start carrying a camera in order to post the occasional odd sight of the day?

Sunday, December 16, 2007

The Third Half

Note: I wrote this on Sunday morning, shortly before our internet connection went out again.

This morning we had snow flurries, and with the wind chill it felt like 18 degrees.

I ran six miles. I'm in training. Again. This six-miler was the first "long run" of training. Long days at the sedentary job have taken their toll on me, and a six-miler was plenty long enough for me.

My third half-marathon will be the ING Georgia race, March 30, 2008. Somehow I am going to manage to get my runs in ... despite the challenge my work hours promise to bring.

Anybody want to join me in training? You can check out my training log here, or click the training log in the right-hand column of this blog.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Quick Note

Glub, glub, glub ...

I'm coming up from the dark, shadowy depths of the work vortex to let my dear friends, the few who still read this blog, know that I am indeed alive and well. Here's the latest ...

PIANO: Conover the piano and I got along famously. Now someone needs to buy our house so we can afford Conover.

I've begun working on a new Prelude and Fugue from the Well-Tempered Clavier, Vol. 1. This time I'm in Bb-major. Quite a change from the C#-major piece I've been loving for ... yes, two years.

I'm also starting a series of short pieces by Shostakovich, "Seven Dolls' Dances."

WORK: I'm working 55+ hours a week these days. Starting Dec. 31, the work hours diminish a bit, to 54 hours a week--60 if you include lunch piano practice hour. Yup. 10 hours a day, six days a week. Plus the two-hour-a-day commute.

Someone needs to buy our house. The house we want is within walking distance of my cubicle-away-from-home.

Oops ... need to go to a meeting. Such is life these days. Heading back down to the murky depths now ... glub, glub, glub ...

Saturday, December 8, 2007

New Friend

I'm meeting a new friend today. His name is Conover. Here's what he looks like:

I hope he likes me.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Papers: Signed

We signed the papers. We're buying a house.

Most likely.

Someone has to buy our house first.

If you know of anyone looking to buy a summer home in the Smoky Mountains, our house is on the market.

I complain about the cat-hair-covered carpets, but it's really a pretty nice house. Here's our kitchen.

If you know of anyone who's looking for a summer home in the Smoky Mountains with a pretty red kitchen, our house is on the market. Somebody please buy it.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

House News

Hubster and I made an offer on the new house. The owners said, "Are you kidding us? Why don't we just donate the house to you?"

No, they didn't say that. But they did say, "Hmm ... we're not going below "X" amount. Take it or leave it."

To be honest, their price was a very fair price. So we said, "OK, we'll offer that "X" amount below which you will not go."

And they said, "OK."

Then we said, "If we can sell our house, the one with the messy, mismatched bed and the two cats, we'll be more than happy to buy your house for that price we said we'd buy it for."

So ... now begins the wait, and at a time where home sales are at an unprecedented lull and we're supposedly heading into an economic recession.

Fortunately, people are still buying in our neck of the woods.

I hope someone buys our house soon, even after they realize that the cats don't come with it.

Forget the Wish List

All I want for Christmas is my old music back.

The trunk of my car leaked the other night--for the first time since I had it fixed two summers ago.

I had about $300 worth of piano music in the trunk. Chopin Etudes, my beloved Well Tempered Clavier Vol. 1, Schubert complete impromptus and moments musicaux, Chopin preludes, Chopin nocturnes, Bach two- and three-part inventions, Liszt transcriptions (a $40 purchase), my new Shostakovich piece, two books of Rachmaninoff preludes, Moszkowski etudes, and several collections of piano pieces, one of which I bought in England in 1990 and has been my one of my favorite piano books ever since. Oh, and a brand-new collection of Beethoven bagatelles that I just got from Hutchins & Rea last week, along with the Schubert collection.

Everything is soaked. Apparently a rather large puddle formed in the trunk, just where I'd left the bag full of music.

Oh, and my piano assignment book and my journal were soaked as well.

See, we needed to "de-clutter" our house. Piano music is kind of cluttery-looking, so I put it all in the trunk. I also hadn't taken my music out from when I had a lesson Saturday afternoon. So there was a lot of music in my car. I was going to put it all back--or organize it somehow--after the realtor came to take his fabulous pictures (see blog post below).

Last night Hub and I tried the hairdryer, the oven, and the roaring fire he'd built in the fireplace, but the pages just got more and more warped.

The pencil marks--fingering notes, other notes to myself, Deborah's notes, the notes of piano teachers going back to 1983, etc.,--are all but invisible.

How does one replace that kind of stuff?

I'm sad today. Granted, there are people whose entire houses flood, who lose everything in floods, including pianos, cats, photos, family heirlooms, and even family members. All I had was a leaky trunk, and all I lost were some books and some notes. I really don't have a lot to complain about in the great scheme of things.

But I'm still sad. Many of those music books and I go back a long way.

Not Quite the Selling Point I'd Imagined ...

So, our house was listed today. The realtor managed to get the ugliest picture imaginable of the ugly bedroom furniture we bought because it was a liquidation sale and we were poor and sleep-deprived and desperate at the time. And the cats, much as I love 'em, do not belong in a realtor's listing for a house.

And that sweet Hubster that I adore ... I kind of wish he'd straightened up the sheets and blanket on the bed before he left for work. And put the mismatched pillows under the blanket.

Oh, my. It's been one of those days, and it's only 8:35 a.m. I'm having one of those laughing-because-otherwise-I'd-cry mornings.

At least it's good to know that the cats keep our spots in the bed warm for us all day.

Blogging Elsewhere

Hi, Strangers! I've been blogging with my friend Anh over at Then a Gentle Whisper . Check it out!