Sunday, December 31, 2006

Out With the Old

Welcome to the last day of 2006. It's amazing, how fast the years go by, especially since I'm out of school.

So, I didn't accomplish all the things I wanted to last year. But as long as life keeps going, I'll keep having a shot at it. If nothing else, I am slowly traveling along the trail to my own independence (and I mean in terms of where I live and being able to afford it not being at home with mom and dad). This is a process and I have a time-frame to strive for. If nothing else, I put myself on this track and it does seem to be the right direction.

One day, I will be able to leave all of this behind me and still retain a sense of security.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

BOOM!!!

Today started out pretty normally. Some last-minute shopping for Monday's New Year's dinner, taking advantage of special after-Christmas coupons, with a little bit of talk about dead presidents and the weather.

But our quiet pizza dinner was punctuated by loud and regularly occurring booms. So, we know they're calling for rain tomorrow, but it's too early to have fireworks. But that sure is what it sounded like. My dad and I went outside to investigate the house-jarring sounds. As soon as we recognized they were coming from the West, we knew what it was. Gerald Ford had landed at Andrews Air Force Base for his final tour of Washington. What we heard what his 21 gun salute.

It was kind of surreal. I know nothing about Ford's presidency other than his then unpopular pardon of Nixon. If for nothing else, he is deserving of honor for that. His staff was against him to the man, but he did it anyway. He new in his heart it was what the country needed. In hindsight, the country knew that too.

The TV went on, and we watched the happenings taking place maybe five miles away, moments ago. I think we should all hope to leave this incarnation that way. Surrounded by people who respect us for the decisions we had to make. The arrival ceremony was somber but not mournful. This was about honor. How strange it is that so few people ever come close to attaining it.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Let's See....

Today, I'm going to have happy things to report.

I will report that my voice is coming back (friggin' cold), that I've got the energy to exercise again, that it is in fact not going to rain on Sunday night, and that I get to leave work at 1130.

Doesn't that sound like a good day? Well, that's what I say today will be! Let's see....

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Not Much Better

I ended up going home early yesterday, and sleeping a lot. I still feel pretty crappy, but a little better than yesterday. I have to be at work today and tomorrow because acting supervisor is out, and I won't get paid for the holiday if I'm not here.

I would like to be in bed.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Yucky

That's how I feel today. I probably should have stayed home. I guess I'm stubborn that way.

It's only 0900. It feels like it should be 1400 or something. *moan*

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

For What It's Worth

Christmas songs have been playing through my head all day, I even had The Nutcracker in the car on my way to work. But for some reason, this song popped in my head while I was trying to think up a title for today's blog. I happen to like it, but I have no idea why it's there today.

Almost half of my day has gone by and I just want to crawl back into bed. I think I'm getting a cold, which didn't make for a great holiday weekend anyway, but I do feel a tad miserable today.

It's nothing incapacitating, and I don't have a fever or anything like that (at least, not one worth mentioning to any health service professional). I'll just stuff myself with Airborne and Zicam and lots of water, which I actually haven't touched yet, and get better.

I haven't exercised in about a week. That's what I really hate about not feeling well, I don't feel like doing things that I know are good for me. Then again, I don't want to strain myself or any of that.

I don't think I go to bed early enough. 2100 or so is not enough. Especially with my wake-up-twenty-times-a-night sleeping pattern. I haven't been wanting to wake up early to exercise anyway, regardless of not feeling 100%. So, maybe I should try to be in bed by 2000. Yeah... I can try....

Is it time to go home yet? Oh, and hey! The Nutcracker got back in my head too!

Monday, December 25, 2006

We Wish You A Day of Nothing

For that's what today was. For me, it's a free day off of work. Actually, if they had offered, I probably would have gone in to work.

But I'll take a free day off. I spent the morning finishing part one of the back door. It looks pretty good. I need to make some shapes to do the other door, though, as we've seen, it's going to take a good 4+ hours to complete.

Then we watched some movies and had cheese fondue and salad for dinner. What a great way to spend a day. My mom likes her new pink golf bag, dad needs to check the size on the spray skirt, and I got a pretty ring (with pearls and all of our favorite gemstones) and a shiny new GPS to play with in the kayaks.

It was too rainy and yucky out to play with any of our new toys today. I guess there's always the weekend. And I can take the GPS to work and try to learn how to track my route. Sounds like fun, doesn't it?!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Oh Joy

Today was our Christmas (Eve) dinner. My brother and his wife came up from Harrisonburg (which is like 150 miles from my home, far, but not too far) and they were driving back Christmas day so we had to do the family thing tonight. It was a little odd, because they left early in the evening to go to church, and I've always considered my brother agnostic. They were going to the church they were married in, so I guess they were going to be with her family.

Anyway, I didn't get any of the direct "why are you not married" stuff I was dreading. I got it all indirectly. Everyone was saying how glad they were that my brother and his wife have each other, how good they are together, how they work so well together, how their life together is going well, yadda yadda yadda.

Don't get me wrong, I love my sister-in-law. She's a wonderful person, nice and artistic (we were in the same violin class in middle school) she's good to my brother, and frankly, she is very good for him. So, yes, my family is right. I'm also very glad they have each other. With the car accident that nearly killed them both a couple years ago, my brother being out of work, the surgery to help his shoulder, taking the job in Harrisonburg. They needed each other too.

BUT DO I HAVE TO HEAR ABOUT IT ALL NIGHT?!?!?!? Like it doesn't make me think that I'm the one who isn't going anywhere?

Alas, I still love my family, my brother, my s-i-l. I know they all mean well. And I'm still taking my friend to the holiday office party. She's already got her dress. Now I need to pick something out.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Last Day

I hate shopping on this day. The two or three days before Christmas are always awful. I refuse to go near a store of any kind on Christmas Eve, and the day before that is about just as bad.

But we had to go. I needed some jeans since my last pair got a mysterious tear in an irreparable location. We also needed some last minute things for dinner and a gift for my grandmother that included food items. We went all over the place, to Annapolis in the early morning and then to Waldorf later. That's a long way, really, my home is somewhere in the middle and both towns are 20-some miles from home in opposite directions. It wouldn't have been so bad if Trader Joe's opened before 9 am. Say, 0800 when we got there.

We managed to avoid mall traffic in both towns by either getting there early, or going around it altogether. This time of year is just not fun for shopping!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Now's the Time

This was going to be yesterday's rant!

Commercial holidays - I hate them. Except Halloween, but that's a different kind of holiday. I'm talking about the ones that occur between the end of November to about halfway through February. You know what I mean, the gathering-with-family and couples-only holidays. There's nothing like getting together with your family to remind you why you live apart. And I can't even take comfort in that last bit.

Don't get me wrong, I love my family. I enjoy spending holiday time with them. What I don't enjoy are the "Why are you not married" tones in everything they do around me. I can't do anything with the lot of them without it coming up at least once. I'm the failure in my generation. The only one who went to college, and the only one who still lives with Mom and Dad while 30 starts to rear it's ugly aging head.

Christmas time is the worst of it. Because what I don't get from my relatives I get from the advertising industry. Every commercial break, there's at least one "Diamonds are Forever" ad. And if it's not diamonds, it's a couple exchanging neatly wrapped shiny packages in front of a blazing fire, the picture of domestic bliss. It's all about what to get your honey or your kids or your in-laws. And why do you think I go with gift cards? Because it's a quick stop in the grocery store or the gas mart and all my shopping is done, without the endless sales tables piled high with things to buy your S.O.

Wait, New Years is pretty bad too. Whatever gathering, shindig, or hootenanny I go to will have me surrounded by happily coupled people who know they'll have a guaranteed smoochy when the ball drops. This leaves little single me rocking on my heels failing miserably to will time to pass faster for the crowd of two-headed monsters to detach. Sure, I get hugs, but that's secondary. I'm the afterthought, the one who gets told "you'll find someone this year" with pity-filled post-smooch voices. This is why I prefer the Twilight Zone Marathon on the SciFi Channel.

January has OBC's annual a-month-after-the-holiday-for-more-free-beer party. This is kind of fun, because I get to see the CEO drunk every year, and I was welcomed to be there even before I started working here. But everyone is allowed to bring a guest, and everyone is expected to be introduced to the person who owns the arm that you've got the hold of death on. Who do I bring? My friend, who happens to be both female and not my S.O. This creates new problems for me, because I have to explain to people who are expecting current or future domestic partners that it's perfectly ok for single adult females to take advantage of dancing and free beer and gambling with fake money. The difference this year is that my friend will get to tell me all about her new boyfriend over dinner and/or blackjack.
And speaking of the office, I also get the short end of the stick because I don't have to go out of town to visit in-laws, or take a week off while the kids are not in school. Coupled and kid-toting folks get holiday vacation priority. Leaving us single unattached and unburdened peeps to pick up the slack. Oh joy.

Do I even have to talk about February? Fluffy bears holding fluffier pink hearts, boxes full of chocolate covered calories, more diamonds. The day when if you're not coupled, you're not alive. Thank goodness this isn't a dinner with the fam kind of holiday, or I'd never hear the end of it. Crawling under a rock wouldn't save me from this most wretched day. What was I thinking? Christmas has nothing on this holiday.

It doesn't stop there, because then we have the fertility festivals, a plethora of coupling ceremony anniversaries, and then, inevitably, more diamonds. And I haven't even touched on the people who want to set me up with the stranger they sat next to on the airplane. Yup, there's nothing like the holiday season to make you hate your life.

It's ok, it's almost time for Probe 7, Over and Out.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

A Different Tune

I was going to rant about something today, but I've decided to say

A VERY HAPPY YULE TO YOU!!

instead. The rant can wait.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Anything But Work

Please!!

Ok, maybe not anything, but you know what I mean.

I was feeling like this yesterday afternoon. And today I had to be at work at 5am (my dad had to update something). I actually felt pretty good and mostly awake today. Go figure. It was probably the peppermint coffee I had this morning....

The United States Postal Service is stupid. Apparently, they can deliver a package whenever they please, whether you pay for 2-3 day shipping or not. And it doesn't matter if it's shipped two weeks before Christmas or not. I don't care if I can't consider it lost until it's been 14 business days, I want it to get there! Fortunately for them, it arrived yesterday (THANK YOU, YE GODS!), or I would have had to go to the local USPS office and verbally take out my frustrations on the poor sap behind the counter. You want to know what was in that box? Update to my website coming soon™ (after the recipients open it, of course)!

And I'm sure you want to know how my toy kitty is working out. It works well. There's just something about being in a car for 3 hours trying to get home that's better with a cat (even a toy one) on your lap. A real live one would be better, no argument there, but this works.

Sorry, everyone! No one is getting a holiday card from me this year. I could not for the life of me get my printer to cooperate. It kept printing starting at the bottom of the image, ignoring all the white space that I had to keep the 4-fold card straight. I don't know why it was doing that, it sure was annoying. For the record, here's this year's holiday image that didn't print correctly!



And here's my new kitty companion, Frisky, who doesn't seem to mind the 50 mile commute. (Showing here with the real kitty, Callie, watching Miss Luna creep up on her.)


Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The Tragic Hero

So, I was sitting with my parents at a meal the other day, and we started talking about Harry Potter. My mother was talking about the movies, I was talking about the books (and how I plan to take off work and stay inside and not talk to anyone until I'm done reading it, lest someone tell me the ending like someone did for the last book.)

We inevitably started talking about the much-discussed eager-fan speculation: will the beloved boy wizard meet his end with the end of the series?

If you haven't read all of the current Harry Potter books and plan to, stop reading now and come back after you have done so, spoilers will follow, suddenly and without any other warning.

One of Rowling's reasons for killing Sirius Black, that also applied to the death of Albus Dumbledore, was that (note this is probably misquoted) 'people need to die.' Sure, maybe they do. Death is a part of life, after all. And Rowling's world does exist within *most* of the current laws of physics and biology. (Magic notwithstanding, but we all know magic has its own laws.)

Harry is a tragic hero. He's talked about it himself. He will either win, and therefore be a murderer, or he will lose, and therefore die. This looks a lot like lose/lose. Harry is a good guy, so Rowling needs to ask if he would be able to live with himself having killed someone, even the evil Voldemort. But he has killed someone before (remember Professor Quirrell?) and seemed to be alright with that. My, what a dilemma! (He's also already killed a piece of Voldemorte, he's already on his way.)

You'll notice I'm not answering the 'will Harry die' question. I, of course, do not want him to. I think Harry is a wonderful character, he's gotten children and adults to read, and often read together. I think he needs to live because of hope. People need to have hope, they need to believe that someone more extraordinary than Joe Public fights for what is right and comes out triumphant in the end, all the struggle was worth it for the success. What a dark world it would be if all the fighting did not bring the good people out on top.

But on the other hand, Harry is a good guy. He's going to his final show-down knowing he will have to kill someone. Would Harry, as we know him, want life after that? Has he had enough time to square with the reality of what he is expected to do? Will he make the ultimate sacrifice for Wizards and Witches everywhere?

Unlike The Matrix, which ended the only way that series could, I do believe there could be life after death for Harry. Harry could do the service to the magical world that he is expected to do and be ok. Then my mother thought this one up; it doesn't have to be the end if Harry dies either. People have been putting protections and enchantments on Harry since his birth. There's bound to be something that could protect/save/resurrect him if the final battles goes ill. I'm not sure if I agree with this particular train of thought, but there's a possibility.

The thing is, there are really two options here. Harry wins and we all live happily ever after, or Harry wins but dies in the process. The third option, that Harry dies and Voldemort lives is unfathomable. Then what would be the point? An elaborate and well-loved series where evil wins the day? Rowling may find herself reprising Stephen King's Misery if she's not careful.

I think us fans are going to continue to talk about it until the last book comes out and we all find out what happens. Just remember, I'm not going to converse with any person in any way whatsoever from that moment until I'm done reading.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Elsewhere

All you people who spend your days working for other people know about those days when you just don't want to be at your desk (office, store, whathaveyou). Heck, I'm willing to bet even you working for yourself people feel that way sometimes.

Maybe it's the unusual Spring-like weather, the beautiful sunny day and me without a window, that I have a handful of craft projects I'd rather be doing, or that I just installed a ton of awesome content for Poser.

Yeah, it's probably Poser and how much I want to play with my new toys (and find out why the lion's mane is white and green striped). It's easy to go broke getting content for Poser (the best models can be found at daz3d.com, if you want to know), and just wait until the new version of Vue comes out. This new content that I just installed are actually things I've purchased (mostly with vouchers) and downloaded but just never set up to use, with a few new things bought in the mix (like the new Victoria figure, which is really impressive). It's like Christmas before Christmas.

But, alas! I have to be at work, and I can't design my Yule cards and play with the Shroomcastle and Giant Chess set and drool over all the things that I can't wait to get more vouchers so that I can have them (like more clothing for V4, and the clothing converter, some hair, the Oriental scenery, the Melinnium Horse and Dragon. You know, simple things). I wonder if DAZ does gift certificates? I think I need to start asking for those. You know, all the nifty things in my webstore are a result of those two programs, Poser and Vue.

I think I'm still a novice in the world of 3d digital art, and there's a lot about my expensive programs that I don't know how to do, but I love them anyway. I love creating with them, and figuring out how to make the programs do what I see in my head. Yeah, I want to be home playing with my computer.

By the way, support your struggling artist! The link to the store is on your right -->

The better I get with the software, the more neat things you'll see there!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Even Closer to Done

I had this great idea for a gift for my mother, and my dad was going to help me with it. We had a chance to go to the store to get it today, and I think we managed to successfully conceal it in the car even with mom there. It's not really a big secret, she knows what she's getting because I asked her if she wanted one and needed some specs from her, but I got to pick the color!

I also changed my mind about what to give my aunt and my grandmother, so I got supplies to make them something else. I was going to paint each of them a wooden cross, but inspiration to paint just wasn't coming. I've recently started painting glass (the kind that makes it look like stained glass) so I'm going to make each of them a jar that could be used for flowers or candles or whatever. This is a fun kind of paint, I even have permission from mom to do the backdoor. Should be fun. And with all this warm weather we've been having, I don't have to wait!

While the glass paint needs a little time to dry, I have one scarf to finish (and eventually get in the mail) and then I'm done and done.

So, while we were out yesterday in the last Sunday shopping rush (yuck), my parents and I also found time to run to the movies and see Eragon. It was ok, having not read the books before seeing the film. I did feel like it was rushed, we didn't have a lot of time to get to know and care about the characters (and I really feel they didn't have enough time to get to know and care about each other). But what can you expect from an 1 hour, 40 minute film? Visually, it was very well done. There was very nice scenery, and the dragon was very very well integrated (she was oh so cute as a baby!).

The books are on my list of things to read, and will probably serve to fill in all those things that the film didn't take the time to do. Otherwise, it was good. If you like dragons, go see it.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

No Last Minutes Here

Ok, so I really don't like the hustle and bustle that is this time of year. Everyone is hurrying here and there, so bent on getting that special gift for that special someone that everyone else just gets in their way. The spirit of giving makes them blind to the fact that it should apply to everyone, not just friends and family. The longer they wait, the worse it gets. Have you ever noticed how this time of year just brings out the worst in people?

I vowed this weekend to finish whatever residual shopping I had to do so that I don't need to go anywhere near a shopping center of any kind in the coming week.

This weekend isn't exactly the last minute, but it's pretty close. To that I will admit. But all I had left (that wasn't waiting to be made) was something for mom and something for dad. Well, the store didn't have the something for dad, so I had to order it online. I hope it gets here on time! Really, on time is late Spring, so no worries there.

Then I just need to finish a scarf and what I am making for my aunt and grandmother, and I still have mom's gift to get, but then I'm all done. It's nice to be all done! Mostly.

And shopping wasn't too crazy today, though we didn't get to Trader Joe's (probably a good thing since that's over by the mall).

Friday, December 15, 2006

Soul's Worth

I enjoy Christmas music. Not the jazzed-up, modernized stuff, but the traditional carols or instrumentals thereof that you might hear at midnight Mass.

Those who know me well might think it strange that I do. But I have my reasons, and you can bet that I'm here to share them with you.

The first is simply fond memories. I have so many of the late nap on Christmas Eve before we woke up to go to the 2330 Mass. My parents were in the church choir, you see, and they always sang these beautiful songs before Mass started at midnight. I love that choir, I loved sitting in the loft with them, listening to the beautiful music and longing for the day when I'd be old enough to sing with them. Now that I think about it, I could have been singing with them all along, after all I had been singing with the school chorus since I was quite young. Anyway, I did love listening to them throughout the year. (I did get to sing with some of them about a year ago, I blogged about it then, check the archives.) Dottie and Joe would sing O Holy Night, Barbara sang Mary's Boychild, and I just loved it when all the voices came together for Carol of the Bells. I think the Christmas program was special mostly because the Mass was at a special time.

I also love testaments of faith. I was near in tears when I went to Notre Dame five years ago. That people can love their gods so much to be willing to build a temple to them knowing full well they would not live to see it completed is an amazing thing to me. It's the same with music, though in a different sense. People are so strong in their faith that they create some truly beautiful sounds as a tribute to that faith. I think it is something to be honored. And when you hear someone performing it with the same amount of passion, even if the words are not a part of your faith, you can still be moved by them.

It's just one little part of the Human Condition.


PS: this is my 300th blog post! Woohoo!!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Experimental

So, did everyone catch the Geminids last night? It's a good time to see them because of the moon phase. There was too much light pollution for my dad and I to see much, but there were a handful streaking across the sky. There should still be some to see tonight; look to the East around 2100, the radiant is the constellation Gemini (which should appear to the left of Orion if you're in the Northern Hemisphere). Happy gazing!

I'm trying a few things today.

First, I mentioned that I don't use my spiffy new prayer beads every morning, but I'd like to. I've been staying up late and sleeping in a lot lately, so I don't have much extra time in the morning anyway. Today, since I wasn't driving to work (I carpool with my dad, remember), I took my beads with me in the car and recited my affirmations for the day on the way to work. I feel pretty good today. Maybe there is hope for starting every day with something positive.

The other thing I'm trying is going to sound silly and maybe even a little childish, but it's worth a try. Since my days at work tend to be highly stressful, the first thing I want to do when I get off is hug one of my sweet kitties. (This urge for some feline comfort does happen every day.) The thing is, I have to wait 1.75 to 2 hours before I can do this, and sometimes my tricksy little kitties like to run from me (it's actually a little chasing game that we do, but Miss Luna always wants to chase when I just want to hug her) so my urge to pat them a little goes unappeased. So today, I brought a little stuffed animal kitty with me, so that I may pet it on the way home and unwind a little from my day before I have to chase and be chased by the real kitties in my life when I get home.

So, you're all probably laughing right now, and that's fine. Have you ever noticed that things that you loved from your childhood have this incredibly huge power to de-stress you? When I've had really bad days, I'll read to my cats some of my favorite stories from when I was a child. My sweet babies usually purr away while I'm reading, and then we sleep through the night. Also, coloring with crayons has the same calming effect. With all of this knowledge, why wouldn't a stuffed animal do the same thing? Yeah, keep laughing, but when I get home all calm and successfully leaving work at work, you won't be laughing anymore.

And now that I've said all of that, here's today work rant.

Yesterday, one of my coworkers was out because her daughter was ill. I have to back up one of the (very important) things that she does daily, so I need to know when she won't be here. Yes, sometimes people don't know until they don't show up, but at that point someone should have told me. It wasn't until 1000, when I said to WAM, "I guess she's not coming in. It'd be nice if someone would tell me these things" and proceeded to do the work she was not here to do. WAM simply agreed and went on working. Apparently, an e-mail was sent to my little group at 0702, but our acting supervisor (who also wasn't here yesterday or today) misspelled my name and so it never got to me. But wouldn't you think, if you were an intelligent and logical person, that if someone was complaining about something important that they should have been told and was not, and you knew because you had the e-mail, wouldn't you have said something like, "but there was an e-mail, didn't you get it?"?!?!?!?!? But we all know that WAM is neither intelligent nor logical. I do hope I get a chance to ask WAM why the e-mail wasn't mentioned, because it makes me look like I'm just complaining, when I really did have a reason to.


Oh, there are other things happening at OBC that are upsetting my little department greatly, but I sure don't feel like going into them now. Methinks it's time for a one-on-one with my acting supervisor.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Your Call Will Not Be Answered Anytime Soon

OBC has a lot of telephone lines: one for each full service FI, two for all the other FIs, one for sales, one for payments, two for merchant issues, among others.

One of those Merchant lines goes direct to my department. When I first started working here, no one answered it, nor the voice mail box attached to it. A few months into my employment, they decided that I should answer the voice mails. A few months after that, I said that there would be less voice mails if someone actually answered the line. They agreed, and assigned a team which included me to answer. For reasons unknown, everyone eventually dropped out of answering, but the bosses would always yell at me if the phone wasn't getting answered.

For most of my 3+ years of employment here it has been like this. Me and occasionally one other would answer all the calls, and I would also still answer the voice mails. Eventually, the one other person who answered with me started just signing on when I was at lunch. Frankly, the volume is so much that we can't do anything else if we're taking calls (and don't forget me and the voice mails).

With the lack of an Adolf in my department, Boss² and the Acting Adolf decided that we needed more people on the phone. Huzzah! They took me off the voice mail (thankyouthankyouthankyou!) but I still had to answer incoming calls. The person on the voice mail does not.

Now, there are only 5 people in my group. First they wanted 4 of us on the phone (sans the VM answerer), then someone decided that they had too much work to do to be bothered with it. Then someone decided that WAM had important things to do and could only be on in the afternoon. So, now we're back to me, and the person who was on when I went to lunch.

Speaking of lunch, and here's the source of today's rant, I get a 30 minute break. It's a good deal, it means I can sit in going-home traffic 30 minutes earlier. WAM tends to take lunch around the same time I do, but gets an hour. Sometime during that time when both WAM and I were at lunch, Boss² (who is "working" off-site today) called the line to see if we were on it. The person who was not at lunch was on the line, in the middle of a call, actually. So, Boss² gets all upset because no one answered.

As I am walking back to my desk from my lunch one of my coworkers told me that Boss² tried to call but couldn't get through. "I was at lunch," I said. Then the three of us who are supposed to be on the phone get an e-mail from the only supervisor left in the department (not my supervisor, mind you) saying that Boss² couldn't get through and we all needed to sign on right away. I said the same thing, I would have been on, but was at lunch. Then WAM came back and said the same thing. And the other person got off the phone and said they were on a call and so couldn't take another one. Then the person who answers the VM said the volume has not been bad at all, so it's not like we're way behind.

None of us believe that our phone line is that dire that we need to be on it 24/7 (or we'd be staffed 24/7, right?) and with 2.5 of us taking calls all day, the VM volume isn't bad and could stand to take a few while people are at lunch.

My point, the source of today's migraine, is that I've been virtually the only one on the **** phone for about 3 years and now, when I was at lunch, is when they decide to ********* about it not being answered. I guess I'm supposed to send an e-mail to the group whenever I get up from my desk so everyone will know that I won't be there to take a call.

Forget place of employment, hello elementary school.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Truth Be Told

You know, I think variety is what keeps people liking their jobs. Here, they've given me some other work to do because my regular stuff is all done, and I'm ok doing it. I don't have an urge to sit around on the internet or anything like that (though it would still be nice). It's not so bad that I'm doing something different today. Actually, I'm doing something different of the entry-level variety, but still. Not so bad.

And speaking of truth, a friend of mine sent me an awesome quote from Benjamin Disraeli this morning. "Never apologize for showing feeling. When you do so, you apologize for truth."

Well, I'm still not the happiest OBC worker around. I do wish I was home with my sweet kitties who seemed to like the company yesterday.

We have had Miss Luna for 2 years. It was a cold November when we first spotted a stray black kitty. I was very concerned about it, so started leaving cat food on the porch. One night, before I went to bed, I opened the door to see if anything was there, and a short-haired little black kitty was eating away. He looked up at me and backed away a little. He had white paws and a cute little white chin.

I didn't want him out in the world in Winter, so I set up the garage door to shut at the push of a button and put the food in there. I gradually moved it back further and further into the garage. I saw him in there once, and he ran out before I could hit the button. I saw him in there again, but there was something wrong with the door, and it bounced back open when I hit the button. But the food kept getting eaten.

On Thursday, December 9th 2004, my mother called me as I was driving home. "I caught the kitten!" she said. She told me she just peaked in there and saw its little ears and hit the button and the light came on and the door came down and the kitten was frantic. So, I went in to the garage to say hello (this probably wasn't such a good idea, there's so much junk in there!). The kitten was sitting on top of a barrel by the garage door watching me. When it saw that I saw it, it climbed up the door and sat on the roll track. Guess what? This was not the same kitten I had seen! This kitten was long-haired, and had a white crescent on her nose. Her fur was all matted and wiry.

She was the tiniest kitten I ever saw (that wasn't newborn, that is). She fit herself into a small space that I can't even describe, but we did manage to get her out of it and into a cage to go to the vet. Thankfully, our doctor pronounced her disease-free, and 6 months old! (judging by her size, everyone guessed something more like 6 weeks.) We moved her from the garage to my brother's closet. Then eventually to the room. Soon, she had run of the whole house.

This was the first truly wild feline I have ever come across. I worked with her several times a day; holding her and petting her and letting her get to know me. As she got comfortable, I stopped using gloves when I handled her, and she started taking care of herself. Her fur got all silky and soft, and she hasn't had a knot since.

That little cat is a little terror now. She claimed the house as her own, much to Callie's dismay. She runs for cover whenever strangers are around. She still plays like a kitten, and can be oh so sweet when she wants to be.

And what of that first kitten I saw? I had seen him about the neighborhood every now and again. But sadly, he met his end on the road about a month ago. I felt bad because I didn't save him. But relieved, because that could have been my sweet little Miss Luna.

Oh, now I really wish I was home hugging my kitties!

Monday, December 11, 2006

A Day Off

And what a fantastic day it was. I finished a project. um...well... other than laundry, that project was all I really wanted to do today, and it did take all day. But anyway, I did exactly what I wanted to do with my day off.

We were looking at temperatures in the 60's today. What happened to December? I know I shouldn't ask, we'll get the ice we always get soon enough. But it was just as beautiful today as it was yesterday, and even warmer.

So, remember when I talked about this strange whim to make prayer beads? Here they are!

I've been trying to use them every morning (that doesn't work most mornings, though). I tend to just repeat the Reiki principals and add an affirmation or two for the day. I have more beads to make more sets, I don't know what I'm going to do with them, actually, but I just might keep putting them together anyway. I used 27 beads (a division of the 108 in standard prayer bead sets) and one to join (making 28 total beads, which is common among non-denominational prayer beads). Yeah, it was an odd impulse, but I did it anyway!

So there you have it! My day. And I have to go back to work tomorrow. Oh, joy.


Sunday, December 10, 2006

Frozen Bay

Sorry I'm without pictures.

My aunt took my parents and I to brunch in Chesapeake Beach today. We used to go here all the time, and this is the same place where we sometimes have Thanksgiving dinner. For the record, the food here is better than any brunch I've ever been to. I'll actually eat the pot-o-scrambled-eggs, the grits were not runny, and the cream chipped beef was more beef and less cream. Perfect. The cooks of the brunch we go to monthly in Annapolis can learn a few things here.

But anyway, the bay was frozen. Parts of it were. When my brother and I were young, the area in front (or is that really the back? More on the side, maybe) of the Rod'n'Reel Restaurant was beach. There were a couple jetties of rock that we could walk out on, and there were always sharks teeth to find. Now, there's a hotel, docks, breakers, and no sharks teeth. The beach has silted in so much that some of the spiffy new docks are unusable. This little area, between the rock jetties and behind the breakers, was all ice this morning. The gulls were standing on the water. They were really cute when they landed on it; all of them would slide a little bit on the ice. And the sky was so clear, we could see the islands on the Eastern shore. Almost clear enough for my $4000 eyes to count trees. Mmmmmmm....

It's kind of sad to see the development that Chesapeake Beach has endured over the years. Maybe that's why we stopped coming so often. Don't you sometimes wish people would just stop building? Like all the forests that are turning into half a million dollar houses that would cost about that much a month just to heat or cool. And my aunt, who used to have a cottage at Plum Point (have you ever seen the film Patriot Games? We passed that house to get to her cottage), said that flood insurance is near impossible to get. What's the point of building and living there in these expensive houses if it can all be washed away so easily?

Well, it's also near impossible to hold on to something you once loved when the world makes it go away.

The purpose of today's writing was not to get all nostalgic, but to say that today was a beautiful day, I got to hear the waves, and then I came home, finished a doll, and did a lot of knitting. Time slowed down a little today. It doesn't do that very often.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Saturday of Nothings

As in, nothing really eventful happened today.

My mother and I went shopping, mostly for groceries and yarn for gifts and things. I probably shouldn't have, but I did buy a ring to replace the platinum and Tanzanite one that I lost years ago (it was a gift from my mother, so I needed another). This new one isn't set in platinum, 14 k white gold instead, but has much more brilliant Tanzanite and bigger diamonds (also with a larger sticker price). Really, I'm sure that once I've replaced my old ring, it will turn up. So I have an ulterior motive. And before you start yelling at me for spending money I shouldn't be spending, it was on sale, more than half off. So, here's to the reappearance of a special keepsake.

Fox and I were going to go riding tomorrow, but poor Fox has a cold. Feel better soon, Fox! We'll try out that new place some day.

Yeah, that's about all I can say for today. Cheers!

Friday, December 08, 2006

It Took me Four Days to Hitchhike from Saginaw

There's a major AT&T/SBC/Ameritech processing center in Saginaw Michigan, and every time I see it in OBC's lovely database, the above line from Simon & Garfunkel jumps into my head.

I happen to like that song, so it's mostly ok.

I actually did 45 minutes on my elliptical last night. I crawled into bed, but it wasn't so bad. There's nothing like feeling like you're actually doing something good for yourself.

By the way, I know some of you are also trying to make healthier choices in life so I'm going to give you a tip. I am by no means an authority, but I have found something that works for me. Keep an exercise journal. In it, you can write the date, periodically record your weight and measurements, and right down what you did as far as physical activity. For example, my entry for last night will show that I worked on the elliptical on level 1 in the evening, and records how many minutes, the distance, and calories burned from the machine's read-out. Somedays, I'll have an AM entry (like 25 minutes on the Pilates machine) and a PM entry (like 15 minutes on the elliptical and the stats).

Keeping a journal kind of keeps me moving, as in "I really need to work out, I haven't updated my journal in two days." And you can also use it to track your progress, like how your weight and measurements might change week to week.

Anyway, just a thought.

Counting the cars on the New Jersey Turnpike, they've all come to look for America.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Today is a Day

Here's one of those days where I don't know what to write.

I know way back when I started this blog I wanted a safe place to rant about work. Recently work has been so dreadful that I don't even want to rant. They're treading on a thin line right now. Things have gone so out of control that I could walk out at any second. Except there's that little thing about bills to pay and houses to someday buy and the need to be making money to do it and all.

I'm off on Monday, I only need to get through one more day.

Here's a question: if my job makes me so miserable, and has done for some time, why don't I even attempt to find another one?

Maybe it's because change is sometimes not worth the effort. Almost any job falls under the shit job category anyway. (Good gracious, I just swore again!)
Maybe it's because job hunting is hard.
Maybe it's because I plan to move away from the area soon (not soon enough) and so don't want to start something new that I'll just be leaving in a few months.
Maybe. Who really knows.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Something I Haven't Done in a While

I didn't go to any non-work related website during work today.

I know *gasp*

I never used to navigate to other sites when I first got the job an actually enjoyed what I was doing. Alas, things at OBC started to suck and I had to find other ways to keep my brain stimulated. Since I still had to work, playing around on the internet was the next best thing to what I really wanted to do. And now that I'm window-less, it's even more necessary.

So, what did this little experiment do? I got up from my desk less (this is not a good thing, I barely get up from my desk anyway). And my eyes burned more. My attempt at early bed might have to work tonight. Oh, and you, fair readers, had to wait longer for my update.

Don't expect it to last, it was just something to try. Until they start yelling at all of us, they can't single me out, so I'm not worried. If they give me the window back, I may have less need of the internet. But, the way I've been going lately (Boss² seems to be in a bah humbug mood) they probably won't do any favors for me.

All I can say is: the sooner I relocate, the better. And I've got a lot of catching up to do!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Not Much Better

I'm much more calm about the arriving to work on time thing though. I was still late today, because I didn't plan for scraping the frost off the windshield, but I still feel better. I also got a new idea about the room project and spent last night when I couldn't sleep making sets of prayer beads.

I'm not entirely sure why I decided to make sets of prayer beads, really. I saw the little wooden beads in the store and that's what I wanted to do with them. There's no rhyme or reason to my beads, so I may have to alter them a little when I get home (as far as number of beads, I mean. I suppose no set number is what non-denominational beads are about, but they still don't make much sense. I'll think about it!). I string them on colored hemp with a pretty porecelin bead and a cotton tassel. They are really cute. I made three last night. The moon is still full, so it won't make much of a difference in my intent even if I have to adjust them. But still, what, exactly, was my intent?

I've been knitting like a mad fool! I still have three scarves to finish. And I have one more doll project to finish (that should probably be done soon, actually). And I think I need to add another scarf. Well, one thing I can say for the cold Winter months. It's a good time to stay inside and be crafty!

Recently, my mom and I have been creating to the soothing sounds of Buffy the Vampire Slayer on DVD. The early seasons were the best. We're somewhere in the middle of Season 2 right now. What else are we supposed to do with all our tv shows on that strange Winter sabbaticle?

And, I'm thinking of cutting my hair when the weather gets warmer. What do you think?

Did anyone else notice that I didn't elaborate on why today is not much better than yesterday? Talking about crafts is a de-stresser, I think!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Only One Reason to Like Mondays

And that's because I was born on one.

I spent the morning bitching at my dad (oh, my stars, did I just swear in the printed word??) because we can never leave the house on time. "On time" to me, by the way, is 0545. That should be enough time to get to the office before my official start time of 0700 and give us time to deal with whatever problems we have along the way.
We never leave the house at 0545. We come downstairs from dressing at that time and still need to get tea or water, gather lunch and breakfast, find coats, bags, and badges, and then get out the door. This can usually be by 0558 or after 0600. Leaving at this time will make me late. Period. If something happens on the road (like an accident in our way or something) I will be later.

Maybe dad doesn't care about what time we show up at work, but I care. They can and will fire me for it. Dad is on salary, so it doesn't seem to matter what time he shows up. They're not going to give me any leeway despite the fact that I've got 50 miles to go to get to them, so I need to get to them on time.

Now, I know this seems like I'm ragging on dad, but I can't be ready by 0545 most days either. I've got some reasons for this, but they're going to sound like excuses so there's really no point in saying them. I suppose the truth somewhere in there is that I'm not that excited about my job to care to do what I need to get there on time. But on the other hand, I also need a job and this seems to be as good as it gets.

Today, I insisted we didn't have time for tea (we didn't) nor to wash my travel mug (that had coffee in it on Saturday and I hadn't washed it yet) for water. I feel like we left the house angry at each other (additionally, I was angry at me) and feeling rushed. The time? 0558. Late.

I didn't fume over it, 0558 should be plenty of time to get to work with a couple minutes to spare. The moon was bright and beautiful and full, and I was well on my way to arriving before 0700.

Then there was a crash. At Route 66 and the Beltway in Virginia (I get off of the Beltway at 66 to get to work). The road was closed, and backed up for 5 miles of barely moving. We decided to go around it. I was going to be late, but thinking it may not be so bad.
Then there was a crash. At Route 28 and Walney Road in Virginia (I get off of 66 at 28 and turn onto Walney Road). We forgot about it and so could not go around. All this adds up to 30 minutes of lateness.

Maybe we would have bypassed all the trouble if we left at 0545, maybe not. Maybe we would have had enough extra time to deal with all the people who seem to have forgotten how to drive, maybe not. But, despite my efforts this morning, I was late. I suppose the lesson could be that it doesn't help to be angry, especially when the powers that be were ensuring that I be late. But that lesson isn't really going to save my job.

So, tonight, we're going to try something. We're going to try to go to bed at 2030 instead of 2100. We're going to try to actually get up at 0415 instead of lying in bed until 0500. We're going to try to be ready and downstairs by 0530. We're going to try to be out the door by 0545. And we're going to leave without dad if he's not ready.

Every month, the people who are never late get on a special list and get a certificate good for 1 hour of PTO. I used to make it all the time, and since we moved to this building, I've made it only once. I wanted so much to do it this month. How's that to start off being late on the first day?

Ye gods, how I hate this place.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Breakfast Time

Our monthly brunch with the RenFaire group was today. It was cold, and I didn't wear enough coat, but our friends live about a mile out of Annapolis, so we parked at their place and walked to the city. There's my exercise for the day!

My mom and I were going to buy some hats, but they didn't really have a color that I liked. We'll just have to check back.

It was much colder for our walk back than it was for our walk there. I guess that means it's going to start to feel like December (if anyone wants to know, we've been in the 70's for the past few days).

By the way, I didn't make it to the Luminaria yesterday because of a crippling migraine. They always seem to happen when I want to do something. I'll just have to post last year's pictures.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Big Shopping Day

Well, kind of. My mother and I have coupons for Chico's that need to be used. (The only time we ever shop a Chico's is with coupons. Their stuff is great, but way out of my regular budget.) We will also get to run by Trader Joe's and the fabric store. I'm actually in the market for some yarn instead of fabric though. I believe my lunch group here at work will be getting nice soft warm scarves from me this year.

That's the plan, shopping! And then home in time to go to the Luminaria at Sharpsburg with my dad.

Oh, and I don't need to specifically exercise today. Shopping is exercise enough.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Not Exactly Slacking

I didn't exercise yesterday evening, nor this morning. I have a good reason though: a big black back of trash and another of clothes to give away. I got in cleaning mode yesterday and I just couldn't stop.

This is a good thing, though. People wonder how I live in my room. Heck, I wonder how I live in my room. That's another of those things that I want to fix about my life. Don't get too excited, this process is probably going to take months. But if I can do a little a day, it won't be so bad. I'll do some more clothes dumping this evening. And I'm going to take the room by sections so I'm not looking at the big picture but just a bit at a time.

And soon there will be enough time in my day to do everything. Well, one can hope.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

No Work and All Play

Today was OBC's annual Health and Services Fair and Early Holiday Shopping day. This is always a fun shindig, that keeps us away from our desks for hours. Ok, maybe I shouldn't have taken all three hours, but it's a lot of stuff to see.

The H&S part involves companies that comprise of some of our benefits and employee perks. We can learn about changes to our dental plan and a first-year-only deal with our new company chiropractor. Shopping stuff is usually jewelry, cosmetics, and Christmas things. On occasion, local businesses like a nearby lasik center or spa will be there. This year they had free cholesterol screening (my good cholesterol is a little low, my body mass index is not so bad, and I've got an estimated 39 lbs of body fat, but I knew that part). Each table has a raffle, and OBC has its own raffle. My dad won a raffle for a free 30 minute Reiki session. He never cashed in on it, though.

Well, I didn't do a lot of work today because of this company-sponsored event (that they can't really get mad a me for attending, but I probably should have been more mindful of the time). Maybe I'll make up for it tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Turn It Off

Here's a new point of annoyance!

We all know how annoying it can be when people talk on their cell phone in public places. How about this: I was waiting at the dentist's office today and someone decided to start playing Bejeweled on his cell phone in the standing-room-only waiting room. I know it was Bejeweled because I have played it myself and know the sounds it makes.

So, just as annoying as people talking on their cell phones with no regard to the people around them, people should really turn their sound off if they want to play a game in a public area too.

I have games on my Pocket PC and my cell phone. I also occasionally carry my Game Boy around when I go out. But I always always always make sure the sound is off. I don't want to subject people to the sound of my games any more than the sound of me talking on a cell phone. It's just polite.

Of course, right now, they're listening to me type away on my tiny little Pocket PC keyboard. But that's something they will just have to deal with!

By the Way

Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Like a Magnet

Why do I attract these people?

WAM was off on Friday and yesterday. It was oh so nice without them here. I knew the instant WAM returned to the office, they would insist on telling me all about the wonderful long holiday weekend. Joy.

I was right, by the way, though so far I've been able to shake off most of it. I cleared my throat and WAM says "You sound almost as bad as I do!" Um, no. Coughing is not always an indicator of illness. A lot of people cough in the morning. I happen to be one of those who doesn't, so I made one little sound today and and suddenly WAM is trying to one-up how sick we are (for the record, not sick here!). WAM went on to say how much I should expect to hear them cough today. Who cares!

THEN! Then WAM pipes up and says they will be in training for a new application today. I'm not a senior rep nor a supervisor, I don't need to know when WAM has a meeting, and I don't care. Oh, but wait, that's not the half of it. I'm in that same training class this morning.

Shoot me now. Please.

Monday, November 27, 2006

What Light Through Yonder Window

Well, I wouldn't know.

I did ask Boss² if I can move into Adolf's now empty cube by the window. I could almost see thought process, like I was some small distance away from being told, "Sure, I don't have a problem with that!"

Alas, no, that was not the answer. But there is hope! Boss² said that we will have to move some people around to fit another group (WHERE???) and so they will have to think about it and get back to me.

I can accept that. I did say that I feel I work better with the outside light nearby. And I wasn't told no, just I don't know. That's ok. I have faith. There's no reason, really, why I can't have the window, unless they move my group out of this area altogether. That will be an adventure.

There is one more open window cube in our little area, but I don't want that one. It's right next to Boss²'s desk! No, thank you, I'd rather stay here and dream of windows.

It's only a matter of time until I can look out into the world once more. I know it.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Shape Up

I'm tired of being fat.

Before you start screaming your protests (you know who you are) let me give you some perspective. I have talked about this before.

When I started working at OBC, I went from a healthy 125 lbs to a not so nice 143 lbs in less than a month. It was the desk job, I wasn't getting nearly as much exercise as I did working retail. I didn't like that at all, so I got up early every day to do 15-30 minutes of exercise before work. I worked myself down to a happy 112 lbs in three months. And kept it that way until nearly two years ago.

So, two years ago today, I weighted 112 lbs, and wore a size 6 or 8. I was happy, I felt healthy, and the clothes I had fit me well.

I'm not going to go into what happened to make me stop exercising, but I did stop. And very fast, my weight climbed from 112 lbs to a choking 152 lbs. And no matter how much work I did or did not do, I could not get it to budge. Good-bye size 8, hello size 12. I've been reluctant to buy new clothes, because someday, those 12's will be too big. But right now, that means I've out-grown almost everything I own. Why, oh why, did I not get my brother's metabolism?

But that's ok! Today, I took a step towards being at a comfortable size. I bought my very own elliptical machine. If you've never seen one of these suckers, they're really nice. It's like a stair climber/cross-country skier machine all in one. The motion is fluid so it's not hard on your joints, and it gets your heart rate up in a few minutes.

See, we've got a lot of exercise machines and devices (I love my Bean!), but not a one of them is good for the cardio workouts that experts say is key to losing weight. I know the equipment I have is doing the job it was intended to do, building muscle, because I can feel them. Underneath those inches of fat are some good strong muscles. They're just all covered up by globs of fat right now.

I'm going to stick with my routine in the morning, and I'm going to add at least 45 minutes on my new elliptical when I get home from work. I'm not expecting to see 112 lbs again (trust me, I've got too much weight up top and that's not where I tend to lose it) but it sure would be nice to get back in the 120's by the time beach days come back around.

And while I'm at it, I'm not obsessed with size or what that scale reads or even how I look. My focus here is how I feel. When my gut folds over my jeans when I sit, that doesn't feel nice. When I can lift a 50 lbs kayak over my head an on to the car, that feels great.

Here's to your health!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Colors and Calcite

So, I've been saying it's been 14 years since I've been to Luray Caverns in Virginia. My mother said it was more like 20 years. I remembered quite a bit, and more came to me as we walked through the tour. It's really something amazing.

My friend was in awe the whole time. Every now and then, he would point to something and ask me to take a picture, like this one of Titania's veil, formed mostly of calcium carbonite, or calcite. It was amazing, the rock looked all smooth and fluid. If you've never held a piece of calcite, it has it's own texture that doesn't feel like the rock that minerals are at all. These caverns were full of these minerals and others.

Many parts of the caverns are still growing. It's so amazing how the slow drip of water can move rock. Of course, I took more pictures than this one (many didn't come out as well as I had hoped because of the low light) and I'll get them up on my website soon™.

And it's not very far from home at all! Posted by Picasa

Friday, November 24, 2006

Oh, I'm so Bored

This has got to be one of the worst days to be at work. I might have slept better if the neighbor's party ended before 0200. I didn't even get up to exercise this morning. Hardly anyone is here. And to top it off, my coffee was un-awakening. (is that a word?)

Traffic was great though! I love these days where most of the people are off and we can leave the house 20 minutes late and still make it to the office on time. By the way, we almost always leave 10 minutes late, so we really delayed leaving for another 10 minutes. But the time we usually leave the house is not soon enough to get me to work on time, but for some reason, I can't get my dad (and myself some days) to move any faster. Which sucks, because they can and will fire me if I'm late too much. But not today! There was no backup to get to the Beltway, no backup to the Wilson Bridge, and no slowing at Braddock Road (and we have no idea why we do that anyway). I wish every day was like today, as far as traffic.

I'm going to ask for the window seat when Boss² comes back on Tuesday. Maybe I can get most of my things packed up today so it will be a quick and easy move. I hope she agrees. Not being in view of the outside world really drives me crazy. I might be working better today if I had it (because, clearly, I'm not doing a whole lot of work right now!).

Tomorrow, my friend and I (the same one with whom I went to the beach and the amusement park this summer) will be going to Luray Caverns. This should be a beautiful time of year to be in the Shenendoah Valley region of Virginia. My family used to go every year for our Labor Day vacation, but we haven't been since I was 12 or so, when my dad started working at OBC and we started spending that weekend at the 'company party' in Lewes Delaware.

Lewes is a nice little beach town, but now the company is so big that all employees and their families don't fit in the CEO's beach house anymore. We never reinstated our Luray tradition, so it's been more than a decade since I've been there. I still remember some of it. My friend has never been, so it should be a great day trip.

Did I mention how much I'm not getting done?

At least I've got a good tomorrow to look forward to!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Food Food Food!

I spent the morning baking a cheesecake so that all the poor people in my office who have to go to work will have something to look forward to. This is actually quite a feat, my cheesecake takes 3 hours in the oven. At least the turkey was pre-cooked!

This year, we didn't go to the Rod'N'Reel Club on the Chesapeake like we have done for several years past. It wouldn't have been a nice day for it, it was all gloomy and rainy, though I did miss it a little. Instead, we bought the complete dinner from the supermarket, brought it to my grandmother's house and got busy nuking away while the turkey re-heated in the oven for a couple hours. There were nine of us, and our kayaking buddies were able to join us this year, which was very nice. Even so, I don't know what we're going to do with all this food!

Turkey sandwiches are the best, though.

And if anyone wants to know, I left the office at 1400 yesterday, made one stop along the way for about an hour or so, and got home by 1800. All in all, the drive home was doubled in time than usual. Holiday traffic + rain = no fun!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The Great Escape

If traffic around DC is bad every day, it's going to be positively horrid this afternoon. Not only will we have the regular commuters going home (me!), we'll also have get-out-of-town traffic, coming-to-visit traffic, just-passing-through traffic, and rain! AUGH!

A spokesperson for AAA said on the radio this morning a statistical number of people (that I have forgotten) will be traveling 50 miles or more from home this holiday weekend. I travel 50 miles every day! The traffic reports were mostly feeling sorry for the through travelers (who have no idea what traffic is like here). While I also feel for them, only one person said he was really sympathetic to the commuters who are just trying to get home after work.

This is the biggest travel day of the year, they say. I just want to give you, fair readers, a little advice. Particularly for this day, but it really applies to holidays across the board, don't come to Washington. Spare yourself and me some headache. No one wants to start off a vacation going 10 miles an hour for in a three hour back up. And no one wants to be sitting in that mess just trying to get home from a hard, pre-holiday day at work either. Stay away! Stay home! Go to the middle of nowhere! Whatever! Just don't come here! You won't be happy, I won't be happy!

Ok, other than hellish traffic, there are some pretty cool things to see here. And we never seem to have an off-season. Do come visit us some day. Just not for a holiday.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

A Whole Lotta - What?

When a garbage can is ridiculously feline, another chess board over a wedding dress graduates from a highly paid carpet tack. Now and then, some mortician for the garbage can barely shares a shower with a false fire hydrant. When an orbiting buzzard trembles, a wheelbarrow hides. Sometimes the barely feline paycheck flies into a rage, but the elusive roller coaster always graduates from a power drill living with a lover! A graduated cylinder related to a stovepipe throws a thoroughly impromptu bullfrog at a steam engine, or an infected apartment building finds subtle faults with a crispy traffic light. Most people believe that a sheriff near a buzzard makes a truce with the spider about another grain of sand, but they need to remember how knowingly a dust bunny daydreams. The lover defined by another hole puncher secretly finds subtle faults with a psychotic sheriff. The familiar vacuum cleaner negotiates a prenuptial agreement with the green dust bunny. Indeed, the barely highly paid salad dressing non-chalantly borrows money from the impromptu CEO. The industrial complex inside an eggplant trades baseball cards with a secretly annoying paycheck.

If you're not opening your spam e-mail (and you shouldn't be), you've probably never seen this before. Yes, this is the text from a spam e-mail I recently received. The gobblygook is there in an attempt to bypass any given spam filter, I get this mental image of all these crazy things happening when I read through it. Of course, you should never open any links contained in an untrusted e-mail, but I had to copy this text. For some reason, it reminds me of a line from a Tori Amos song, Space Dog, "There's Colonel DirtyFishyDishcloth. He'll distract her good don't worry so."

Yeah, it's probably best if you don't ask how my day is going.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Get a Load of This

You all remember the first Adolf, who went on to bigger and better things and was replaced by a new Adolf? I have just learned, through my highly placed contact within OBC that the new Adolf has been terminated!

I've got no juicy tidbits for this, just a confirmation that it is so, from someone who's job it is to know such things. This is surprising and unexpected. I don't know if it was Adolf's decision or if it was an order by the higher ups.

I and several others of my department have been noticing a lot of things lately that Adolf had been doing. Other than being very demanding and doing unnecessary things, Adolf also seemed to have a lot of PTO, had a lot of days off, and would regularly leave early. We don't really know the details, but it seems I will be Adolf-less for a while.

The particulars of the situation are irrelevant, there is only one important question. Can I have my window back?

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Yike!

I feel like I've been all over the place this weekend.

There was the half of day wasted sitting around the dealership (wipers seem to be working though, so I can't complain much!). Then there was today; Target, Jo Ann's, and the supermarket for those last minute holiday things. Then it was home to put everything away and then over to my grandmother's to drop something off and pick something up, then back home.

Shopping is exhaustive! And I didn't even get anything super fun, only some clothes, a new sewing basket, and some yarn. I think all of my co-worker buddies can expect scarves from me this year. Most of the people on my gift list will probably get a gift card.

I used to not like them, gift cards. I try to be thoughtful with I give something to someone. But it recently occurred to me that sometimes a gift card is thoughtful. One of my friends, for example, has a long list of anime that she wants to buy. I have a copy of that list, but I never know what someone else may get her or what she may get herself. But, if I know she likes to get her anime from Best Buy, I can get her a gift card, then she can pick out the one she is most excited to have. It's win/win, really. I don't give her something she has to return (we all know how much of a pain that is!) and she can pick out exactly what she wants. Cash or cards, sometimes the best way to go.

Of course, if you tell me something specific that you want, then I don't need a card. My dad wants a spray skirt for his kayak. That's easy! We just have to tromp on over to EMS and get one.

I really enjoy this time of year, four major holidays in just over three months. Of course, I'm talking about Celtic New Year, Thanksgiving, Yule, and Gregorian New Year. If you go to the right places, you can be reminded that there really are good people in the world. I'm watching the food donation and Toys for Tots boxes fill up here at the office. It's a wonderful thing. It's sad though that we, as people, can't keep this kindness up all year. But it's a simple kind of comfort to know it exists.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

No Sleeping In

Oh, how I would have loved to have slept in today. I could have stayed up a lot later last night. And when my alarm was going off, I was so comfortable in my bed, I didn't want to get up at all.

But poor Hedwig was sick! (ok, I know it's been awhile, but Hedwig is my car, the purple Saturn, in case you forgot.) Last winter, it was cold, as winter is want to be. And sometimes it was so cold there was ice. And sometimes the ice was on the windshield of my car. And sometimes the presence of that ice would cause the windshield wipers to freeze to the windshield. And since the de-icing spray does not spray before the wipers start to go, the driver's side wiper doesn't go, because it is frozen to the windshield. This caused the wiper to not go even when there is no ice to hold it down. Or, sometimes it would go, but slower and out of step and get caught on the passenger side wiper. And this is the house that Jack built.

I've had my regular mechanic order a part and 'fix' it, but it happened again. Two rain storms ago, the wipers tripped over each other so bad that they got stuck in an X position across my windshield. You can see that this is not a good thing, and very not good since the cold winter is approaching and I will need wipers I can rely on.

So I got up bright and early on a Saturday to bring my little car to the dealer. I always dread going to the dealer because everything is more expensive. But I packed up my laptop and my pocket PC and my mp3 player, and got there promptly at 0809 to give them my keys and tell them to fix the wipers.

Three hours and $85 later, they were done. The motor unit was fine, it just needed a little adjustment. Honestly, this is what I was hoping for. I was expecting they were going to need some expensive part and the whole thing would cost $300 or more to fix and I would be there for 5 hours, but hoping it was just a little adjustment and everything would be back to neat. Go dealer!

They actually make it very nice. There's coffee and donuts and WiFi and desks and TV and comfy chairs, and all the new models of Saturns to look at. The folding keyboard on my pocket PC drew a lot of attention. I barely noticed the 3 hours I spent there, but that's really because I brought plenty to keep me occupied. Then dad came up and we went to lunch and here I am.

Still wishing I could have slept in, but very glad that the dealer says my car is fine. I can't really test it because it's not raining, but I will be armed this winter with a nice can of de-icer. I will spray those wipers down before I try to move them! HaHa!

By the way, I don't think I said this last month:

NO MORE CAR PAYMENT!! YAHOO!! MY CAR IS MINE!! MUAHAHAHA!!

No nap for me, it's time to go shopping!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Update in a Nutshell

Well, OBC doesn't have me on any official job. I seem to be everyone's back up. This is funny because the two people who perform the two main functions I'm backing up were both off earlier this week. Sorry, I can't do both, one or the other! At least they understood that part.

However, one of the people I back-up has been off for more than a week. She'll be back on Tuesday. Come Tuesday, I have no idea what I'm supposed to be doing again. One of the things they gave me to do, I can't complete. I have asked for help and haven't gotten any. It's just not going to get done. The other thing they gave me to do is not enough to keep me occupied all day. It is really hard to do this, I don't work this way.

Adolf, who stole my window seat, is right now busy laughing because a bird just hit the window. I don't think I have to remind you, fair readers, how not humorous that is to me.

It occurs to me that I was having a fine day until I sat down to write this and really thought about my work situation at OBC. Blogging is not supposed to be depressing! In that case, I'll stop there. Alas, I didn't even get to the crap they're pulling about giving people time off. Another time, then.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Get Ready For It

For those of you who were with me on myblogsite, you will recall that I had an update for you every day. I made the switch to Blogspot and poof! you hardly ever hear from me.

Well, in celebration of my one year here on Blogspot, (are you ready for this?) I am going to update every day!!

Rah! Cheer! Woohoo!

Now, before any of you, fair readers, think that I'm going to fail miserably like I did when I first moved to this site, I want you to keep in mind that there will be days when I never touch the computer. This is nothing new, and when that happened on myblogsite, I just posted several updates at once. I have the prerogative to do that, so don't come by every day and start yelling that you haven't seen an update in a while. (you know who you are =) )

This is my anniversary celebration. No matter how boring my life is, you will know about it! Even if the only thing I have to say is what was on the Origami calendar for the day, you will have something! (for the record, it's part one of a modular star. Yesterday's was pretty neat, it was a retractable telescope, though it did have a bit of a design flaw.)

Also, that private blogspot I was talking about the other day has been started. It's not restricted yet, so if you want to check out the humble beginnings, have a look at The Secret Bookcase.

Happy Blogspot Anniversary!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Hello Labels!

Some of you may recall the 'label' feature of my old blog site. I only had weekends labeled, but you could sort by the weekends if you liked and only check out those posts.

Blogger has been making some changes, and (aside from moving completely to Google) labels is one of them! This time, I'll get everything; weekends, RenFest, kayaking, baseball, and anything else I can think of.

Remember how long it took me to save my archive from the old blog site? Yeah, the labels will take a bit of time, but soon you will be able to sort by some of my most talked about subjects. Oh, the joys of blogging!

In other news, there is also a 'private' blog feature available. I mentioned this before while on that other blog site, and I think I'll give it a try again. What does this mean to you, gentle reader? Simply put, I'll talk about things that I don't want my parents to read.

Kidding! (or am I?)

Seriously, what I wanted to do with private blog space on the old site hasn't changed. I'm a writer, you see, but I don't want to post the stories I write for just anyone in the world to see. I'm thinking more about protecting my intellectual property here, and also that I'm very protective of my writing and don't share it with just anyone.

So, if you're interested in reading a story or two that you may not understand, you'll have to ask me for permission to view my private blog, which I will accept or decline as I see fit. You do not have to have a blogger account through Google to view a private blog, but if you don't, your access will be restricted to two weeks at a time (you would need a new invitation from me every two weeks to continue access as a guest, which I may get tired of providing after a while). If you wish constant and unending access, get ye a Google account. Don't worry, they're free.

With that said, there is no private blog of mine yet. I will be sure to keep you updated as that gets going. Labels are incoming, get ready to sort to your heart's content.

This is the first time changes to my blog service were actually something I was excited about (since the last time, changes meant "pay us or leave.") For those of you who drop by and want a blog of your own, Blogger is still free. I'll high-tail it outta here when they start wanting money. (Mind you, it's not because I don't believe the service is worth paying for, I just don't have the money to buy blog space!)

How much can I ramble on about the changes to my blog service? This much! Cheers!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Samhain

I really loathe costume contests.

After the release of Star Wars Episode I, the local ballpark had a SW-themed costume day and contest. I spent an hour and a half painting my friend up like Darth Maul (she looked real good) for the contest. She lost to someone who bought or rented an Obi-Wan costume.

For my last year of college, I entered the on-campus apartment costume contest as Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, complete with ruby slippers on which I spent 19 hours gluing red sequins. I lost to someone who bought or rented a Scream costume.

For a Halloween dinner theater and costume contest the following year, I painted my hair white and my skin blue to be a Dark Elf of EverQuest fame. I lost to a man who bought or rented a nun costume.

Office costume contests all ended the same way. Do you see the trend? The people who put no effort into their costumes always win before the people who are creative and create their costumes. Last year at the office, I did a Wicked Witch of the East costume (with black and white striped socks and my homemade ruby slippers). I wasn't planning on entering, but I was suckered into it. I lost to WAM, of all people.

This year, I slaved over my costume. I bought a pattern, and spent a month putting the thing ogether. I was not going to be suckered again. It was a good thing too, because this year we had someone in a very nice, very expensive Darth Vader suit. But it amazes me how so many people were mad at me for not entering. "You looked great, you could have won" they said. No, what wins in the costume contest world is the flimsy crap you get from the Jo Schmoe Halloween Superstore. Not the people who have a needle and thread and know how to use it. "There's always next year." Right, like I'm going to be bamboozled again.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Gimme a Break

There is a crazy person at my office. I have probably spoken of this individual before. We're going to say WAM is the name (if you want to know, it stands for Whack-A-Mole, and that's another story).

WAM is crazy. In a serious, probably undiagnosed, medical way. Dementia or schizophrenia or something.

WAM attempted to get me in trouble. Recently, myself and one of the coworkers I regularly eat lunch with have noticed that WAM has been clocking out, but continues to work through her lunch break. My coworker took great concern with this, and told WAM that she was going to tell Boss² if she didn't stop. (I understand her concern, mainly because she's giving the company an hour of her time everyday that will never be repaid to her, but there are other reasons for not liking this practice.)

In any event, coworker and WAM had a tiffle over it. Last Thursday, my coworker was out with a cold, and WAM came to me to say how glad she was that she wasn't here to bother her about her lunch. I responded that I happen to agree with her position. After some talk, WAM huffed back to her desk mumbling about all the important people she talked to who agree with her (including the vice president) and that it's none of my business.

HELLO?! YOU BROUGHT IT UP!! IF YOU DON'T WANT MY OPINION, DON'T TALK TO ME!!!

She was so upset about it, she told Adolf on Friday (I happened to be off that day). So Adolf asked me about it this morning, and I told Adolf exactly what happened; how my coworker decided to make it a personal mission, and how WAM approached me with the story on Thursday. It was actually nice to have this short one-on-one with my new supervisor, because I also voiced how many of us have a hard time dealing with WAM and some of the things she says or e-mails to us (like all the wrestlers who constantly hold matches over her, and her close personal friendship with George Lucas). My supervisor admirably said to bring any such e-mail communication to Adolf's attention, who can let WAM know it is distracting to our work. Adolf did seem to understand her conversation dominating, always-has-to-have-the-last-word tendencies.

No, I'm not in any trouble, but I may snap at WAM if she tries to talk to me again. And then the whole thing will start%

Friday, October 27, 2006

For Dan, the Master Joiner

The Village of Revel Grove has darkened. We will forever miss your skill, your light, and your smile.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Once There Was a Tree....

There is a tree in front of my home. It has been there longer than I have been alive, moved from the back yard to the front by my parents when they bought the house. Sometime in my early years, I moved into the room at the front of the house, so I could see this tree outside my window.

It is a Silver Maple, the first tree I ever climbed. It cradled me in its branches, and played with me when none of the other kids would. It was a spaceship and a castle, an airplane and a tree house. It kept my secrets and told me the weather. It was my friend.

For years, my mother has been wanting to have it cut down. It's too close to the house and the roots may damage the foundation. I understand the reasons, I hear it's a common thing with Maple trees, but I don't have to like it. My father and I fought it for as long as we could, but mom hired someone and he's coming to kill my tree today. I've asked for him to save me some wood. It's such a beautiful life, and I can't help but feel that a very dear friend is leaving me.

I had a shirt that was its exact color of leaves in the spring, perfect for hiding. The underside was silvery, and I could always tell when a storm was coming when the tree turned the silver sides of its leaves to the wind. I have some of its leaves from a decade ago, when my tree was the focus of a biology project. In it's youth, the bark was silver gray and smooth. I took a rubbing of the bark on Monday. Did you know when the bark of a Maple puckers, like it's weight is heavy on it, it's a sign of a well-aged and established tree? I have a little piece of its bark too.

I thought I would have more time.

It's out of my hands now. When I come home from work today, it won't be there, just a pile of sawdust where my tree once stood. We're going to put a Cherry Blossom in its place, my second favorite kind of tree. And I will get to work sealing my wood so it won't crack as it dries.

I am not too old to love a tree.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Another Busy Day

Not as busy as Pirate weekend, granted, but busy enough.

I forgot to try to fix the sewing machine. Maybe later!

Today, mom and I went shopping and then are just sitting around with our new Harvest Moon DS games.

It rained today, but the sun was shining brightly. There was a rainbow, the third I’ve seen in 4 days (the double rainbow on Thursday counts as two!). Pretty!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

One More Year

But who’s counting?

Happy birthday, Mom!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

One Pooped Pirate

The end of Pirate weekend almost made up for those two days that I didn’t work. I love it when the day’s bonus is more than the day’s base wage! But that also means I’m really REALLY tired!

No, I didn’t get my shirt done. Of the four patterns I bought, I picked the hardest one to start out on! I did make a little vest from one of my patterns this morning, but I was defeated by the gods of Sears Kenmore, and had to do the important parts by hand and leave the hem unfinished. It looked just fine for a pirate costume, and I have a new, end-of-faire goal for the first shirt (granted we can fix the sewing machine by then!).

By the way, after the first week of October, any references to Adolf the supervisor will indicate a different person. Current Adolf is leaving, and will be replaced by a new one, who I’m not any more excited about having as a supervisor.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Saturday, September 16, 2006

No Va, Again

Once again, the faire suffered a rain-out. I’m not sure why, actually. The sun was shining quite brightly when I got the call that it was raining and they didn’t need me to work, a difference of 20 miles or so.

But it’s alright. I got some sewing patterns and I want to learn how to use them. I don’t sew with patterns, you see, especially when I’m making doll clothes. I’m more of a “lay doll on fabric, visualize, cut, sew, hope it works” kind of sewer. This method does work, and I’ve made costumes without paper patterns before as well. I think for me, though, it would be easier if I knew how to follow a pattern. I’ve picked out a shirt and I hope it will be ready by Pirate weekend next week!

Wish me luck!

Monday, September 11, 2006

Five Years, Just Like Yesterday

I'm sure everyone has a story of where they were and what they were doing as the news unfolded five years ago.

I know exactly where I was, at home in bed. It was my day off, and the only thing I really needed to do was a 4 hour guide shift on EverQuest. It was sometime around 1000 when the phone rang and woke me up. It was my mother, calling from work. This first thing she asked was if my father had left for work yet. There was urgency in her voice. He had already left, and mom told me to turn on the news, she said something about planes crashing and they think it was deliberate and then we lost the cell signal. I obeyed, and saw the source of her urgency. A plume of black smoke rising from the Pentagon. My dad drives by that building on his way to work, and he would have been passing it around the time the guided plane-shaped missile hit. I could not reach dad via his cell phone, so I started my shift and would try again later.

Through the morning, I was watching the news, and trying to focus on my job. Everyone called me that day, I guess everyone knew I would be home; out of state family, friends who were at work, everyone except dad. I even heard from my brother who was on business in Seattle (the one person I didn't expect to hear from, actually, but I really wanted to because I wasn't sure if his return flight was 9/11 or 9/12), and a friend who worked at the State Department telling me they were sending everyone home. The people who were not focused on EverQuest were in the chat room discussing the news.

I watched it all on the news that day, cameras pointing at the Towers as they fell, the shocked disbelief in the voices of the people reporting it, and my heart broke. They said they had grounded all flights, and they had. The sound of planes are pretty common in my area, there are three major airports nearby, and Andrew's Air Force Base is just over the hill. The air was still and eerie, even the birds were not singing.

I got in touch with my dad sometime in the afternoon, oblivious to the fact that people might be worried about him. He was safely at work. My mom came home early, and we decided we had both seen and heard enough of news. Dad turned it back on when he got home, and mom and I spent the evening with tea and Independence Day on the VCR. My poor brother was stuck in Seattle for a week, he had to stay with his client because the hotel needed his room.

I worked at the Maryland Renaissance Festival that weekend. For all the people who called the office and complained that we were even open, there were as many calling to thank us for it. We were ordered to remove anything that would be considered even remotely American patriotic. If you sold costumes, your sales were high. People needed the escape, they needed to get away and to immerse in some place and time that wasn't the Washington DC suburbs in September 2001. It was the same thing at the movie theater where I was working. And EverQuest saw a spike in players online. Maybe it's human nature to deal with something unbelievable by not being there.

I didn't know any of the thousands of people who lost their lives that day in New York, Pennsylvania, and DC. But, in truth, I knew every last one of them. They were neighbors and friends, brothers and sisters, husbands and wives, fathers, mothers, uncles, aunts, cousins. We passed on the street, and greeted each other like strangers in a drug store. The energy of the world cried that day. It cried like the skies over DC are crying now. We all lost a part of us that day.

I listened to the news on my way to work this morning, as I do every morning as a commute necessity. The top story was the memory of people. Everyone talking about where they were an what they were doing that blue-skyed day when we all lost such a large part of our human family. I cried with the sky on my way in. There is nothing better I can do with this day than to go through it as I normally would. People fought and died, and are fighting still, for my ability to do so.

I have no poetic words of comfort for those who are still wondering why. I have nothing great or remarkable to say about the events going on in the memory of so many voices senselessly silenced. Only the sound of my heart breaking, if a heart can break twice, because I have chosen to not shut out the sadness of memory that is permeating this day. Sometimes, there are things you have to feel. Sometimes you have to let it in, lest you lose touch with what really matters. What really matters to you? I know my answer.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Life’s a Beach

I went to Ocean City Maryland yesterday, for the first time in years! I went with a good friend and coworker, who also needed to spend some time on the beach.

The weather was beautiful. Sunny, no clouds, 77 degrees, nice cool constant breeze. My friend had a little nap on the beach while I stopped all the nasty kids from throwing sand at the poor horseshoe crab. People were bringing it out of the water every time it tried to run back in. I’d had enough and told them to leave it alone and it finally ran back into the ocean. Stupid kids….

Mean kids aside, it was so nice to be there, even if we were only there for about 6 hours. My friend said he hadn’t seen me that relaxed ever (true!). Then the whole way home, we were complaining that we didn’t have enough money to live by the ocean. *sigh*

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Money Time

Yesterday was a far cry from Saturday. It was not rainy, only a little overcast, and decently not too hot or cold. This means people! Which is great, because I was supposed to work on Monday, and so I did!

There's really not much to report about the day, except I think the hornet got me 3 times in that area on my hip, I've got one big spot and two little ones. That thing wasted no time! I'm coating the area with topical Benadryl, that's not doing any more than the homeopathic StingStop, or Lavender and Tea Tree Essential Oil. Basically, it itches a lot and is very tender, and nothing helps.

But I managed to get a $2 tip out of it. A bee flew by while I was selling hats to a couple, and I froze, and then we got to talking about our respective most recent sting experience. And then he told me to keep half his change. How nice!

One of the benefits of recent rain is no dust! The RenFaire site is notorious for being very very dusty (given that the roads are dirt and all). You can see it floating through the streets and blanketing people and products sometimes. Not so today! Thankfully. It was only slightly muddy. The happiest of mediums!

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Good Call

With the passing through of Ernesto, I thought all the rain and extra run-off would fill up our kayak waters nicely. Some obstacles might be gone or underwater, new ones might appear. I really really wanted to hit that area of the Patuxent River where we have to climb over logs and walk through shallows. I was hoping to get as far as the last log that impeded our progress and see if it was easier to get over.

Dad managed to get sick, so mom (reluctantly) and Fox and I went out. At the landing, there is a floating dock, anchored to a wooden dock on the shore. We can drive right up to the wooden dock and unload our yaks, then park the car up the hill and head out. Usually. Today, the water was so high, the wooden dock and surrounding shore was underwater! The floating dock was floating, and the current in the river was swift. It wasn't exactly as I had expected (I didn't expect to have to launch from the road!) but I was so excited! I knew it was going to be great. We got started just after 1130 or so.

There really wasn't a good place to stop along the way because the current was so swift. We had to go off the current river into the flood planes (which wasn't hard to do right now). I expect what we saw today was some semblance of the rivers former glory, it used to be a mighty force before it silted in considerably. We even had to go off the river to get around a new obstacle. There was a tree in our way, we could paddle under it, but the current was very swift and not worth the effort it would take to get through.

In no time (about an hour, actually), we were at the old Queen Anne Bridge. This bridge has been blocked off to traffic for years and usually stands a good 5 or 6 feet above the water. It should also be noted that we passed the first log we usually had to climb over some way back, unnoticable beneath the high waters. So, the bridge was not 5 or 6 feet above the river. The river rose right up to meet it, so much so that Fox tied off his kayak and got out onto the bridge! This was a little discouraging because it was practically impassable (without a lot of unnecessary exertion), so we didn't make it to the other log today. One day, I will make it to that log, and over it, and to the bridge across Central Avenue. This is my goal! I will do it!

Both of my kayaking companions had a lot of fun today. I'm so glad! I was really looking forward to seeing the river like that. Next time we get a big storm, I'm going to hit Mattaponi Creek to see what that looks like. It took us and hour and 15 or 20 minutes to get up to the bridge (with breaks and all) and only 15-20 minutes to get back to the dock in that swift current. What a ride!

By the way, it looks like that little stinging bastard got me twice on my hip. It itches like crazy today!

Saturday, September 02, 2006

YEOWCH!

Tropical Storm Ernesto hit my area yesterday. It brought some wind and rain, and caused a lot of fallen trees and branches and power lines. This means that RenFaire grounds on Saturday were without power (no food, no credit cards, no telephones, no ATMs, all the modern things hidden within the replica 16th century village). And nothing keeps crowds away from Faire more than rain.

No crowds of people buying things means sales are down. Sales being down means shops can't pay their workers. Shops being unable to pay their workers means those workers don't work. Yup, I was scheduled to work today, but did not because of the lack of people, caused by the abundance of rain. That's alright, I got to wander around the Faire with a friend. Or two.

Sometime during our wanderings, I felt something in my skirt, like a loose string or something. It went away and I didn't think much of it until I felt it again, about an hour later. This time, something was crawling. I thought it might have been a spider or an ant (please, not a bee!!), and I might have gotten it out of my skirt that time. We looked at another shop and then I felt a dull sting sensation on the back of my thigh. I guess that little bug, whatever it was, bites! The more I walked, the more it bothered me. We went back to the shop where my dad works (who was off today) because they have a dressing room with a mirror, and I took a lantern in with me to inspect that spot that hurt. It was red and painful, and then I found the culprit. It was a stripped, flying, stinging vespid of some kind, and it got me again in the hip before I knocked the bugger away.

At least with bees, they have the courtesy of dying after they sting you. This was not a bee, but something else. It crawled away. The manager of the booth I ended up in is allergic to yellow jackets, so she wasted no time dashing off to first aid. I haven't been stung in years, so I didn't know how I would react, but I did know I was allergic to bees. So, I was admittedly in a panic at that point, that little thing hurt! EMTs came, tested me for some kind of reaction, gave me a topical analgesic and an ice pack, and told me to come by if I should start feeling tingly, dizzy, or nauseous. I didn't, the ice pack helped. I couldn't walk for too long, or sit still for too long, and I was nervous about what else might be in my skirt for the rest of the day.

We came back by that booth (it's a common hang out spot for us), and one of the workers announced, "Hey, that thing that got you was a hornet!" "Did it reappear?" asked I. "Look at this!" he said, and showed me a mug with a little bald-faced hornet swimming around the cider at the bottom of the mug. My friend yelled at it, and we let it swim around there for a bit before someone squished him good. And I wasn't sorry for it.

When you think of a sting, you think it's only a little thing. I'm getting shots of pain up my back, down my leg, across the front of my hips. I never want to be stung again! Ouch!!