Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Samhain!

Samhain is a complicated festival; there is much going on. It's the final harvest: the fields are barren of grain and fruit and the animals that cannot be sustained through the winter are slaughtered for their meat. This is considered the New Year by many Wiccans. It is one of two times a year when the veil between the world of the living and the world of spirits is the thinnest. Both can cross over it easily during this time. In the nature symbolism, the Lord has reached the end of his time and dies. Without his light, the winter days are cold and short.

Since the veil between worlds is thin, communication with spirits of those who have passed in the previous year are common. This also makes it an excellent night for divination.

On this night, with the passing of the previous year, I commune with the people who have left this incarnation before me, and with my guides who may have special messages for me. I also do some form of divination, this year will be tarot cards, to get a feel for the coming year. The last part of my ritual involves giving to the Crone the things that I do not wish to carry with me into the new year.

My Samhain ritual changes only slightly from year to year. I'll tell you all about it starting tomorrow.

(And for those of you in the southern hemisphere, Happy Beltaine to you!)

Happy Halloween!

I did not allow myself to be bamboozled into the annual OBC costume contest again this year. There were some pretty slim pickings as far as good costumes, and many people thought I would have won for sure. Of course, I get told that every year and I've never won a single costume contest.

I did, however, win the People's Choice contest. That's the one where people write down who they thought had the best costume. I guess a lot of people thought it was me, even though I didn't enter the contest. That's an accomplishment, right?

And because I know you want to know, here I am! Brought to you by my cell phone:

Clothing was bought and dyed, everything else had to be put together, sewn, molded, and glued. I'm quite happy with how it turned out. And a few people knew who I was. A couple who were closer to my generation did not. I expected that.

It should be a fun evening! I do so love this holiday.

Happy Halloween! Happy Samhain! Get out there and have a little fun, people!

For Family

Happy Anniversary, my dear brother and your fabulous wife!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Am I Wrong?

This morning, I gave Lady Vox and Lord Nagafen a couple crickets, and watched with glee as they stalked and pounced on their probably terrified breakfast. Yeah, I feel a little bad for the crickets, but anoles busy hunting are really cute! And it's their nature. A lot of people at the faire mentioned how they would like some little lizards too, but didn't like the idea of feeding them live bugs. That's what they eat; it's the way of the world. The only difference is that I must provide it to them. I have a little tub of crickets, and I think I rightly honor them for their part in the life cycle. I did feel just a little wrong that I was so happily cheering on Lord Nagafen and he struggled to catch the last one. I hope that was a yummy cricket!

I thought I had more to say this morning.

My favorite holiday is tomorrow! I put some finishing touches on my costume last night, and I think there's one more last minute piece I want to add that I'll do this evening. I'm still not going to enter the costume contest. I imagine I'll get a lot of "what are you"s with this; it doesn't matter that The Phantom comic strip and stories are read by thousands of people in many countries across the globe. It's not currently running in any of the local newspapers (that I know of) as it is. Washington kinda sucks sometimes!

I guess that's all I have for you today!

Monday, October 29, 2007


Lady Vox and Lord Nagafen! (I admit this would be much more dramatic if I had a picture for you, but I'm afraid it's too dark and the flash would upset them. Maybe this weekend....)

I didn't expect to get two, but they were a pair and this was the male I really wanted. He kept watching me every time I walked by. I've still got some work to do on their little home, but they are where they will live in a nice big tank. It was nice to get a tank big enough for the two of them at the same time, and they might even breed! I bet it's very different than breeding beta fish. I'm very excited to have them.

My brother and I had a pair when we were little. They were not too hard to take care of, as I recall, and I think they both lived for several years. My brother would remember, though. I know that his was named Alf and mine was Confetti. Not sure why I thought of that!

As for these two, I know you want to ask, so I'll tell you in anticipation. Their names come from EverQuest (surprise). Lady Vox is a big blue ice dragon in the frozen Permafrost Keep. Her forbidden consort is Lord Nagafen, the red fire dragon of the Lavastorm Mountains. (They can't be together because dragons of different colors are not allowed to mate, by the laws of dragon kind, because their offspring would be too powerful. Or something like that.) These were the first two major raid encounters in EverQuest.

Yesterday was a very long day. We got up early, made the long drive to PA, spent an exhausting day shopping (I bought a couple little things, and my dragons, and a really pretty ring), then made the long drive home. I'm pretty tired today!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Ah, To Have a Day

We didn't get to hike because it was pouring this morning. If it was not pouring where the trails were, it would have been muddy and yucky anyway. The rain did clear out by the early afternoon. We can hear the grass growing. I hope the Powers That Be sends that water to the other areas that really need it. And that's an end to our record-setting drought.

My mother and I drove my aunt to the airport and picked up some dry cleaning. Other than that, it was a rather restful day. We learned that my brother did settle on the house; they actually came by to pick stuff up while we were at the airport. I'm so happy for my brother.

Tomorrow is going to be a long day. We're going to use our pre-bought tickets and head up to the PA Renaissance Faire. We have to leave early to get me back home at a decent hour, but I think we can manage. I'm seriously considering a baby dragon again. I know I've talked about them before: there's a shop that sells actual live anoles and their little habitats. I've been thinking about them all week. And I know where to get crickets for its food. My mother and I think I can keep it in the room where I have my computer. It won't be too hard to clear a space and keep the door shut to keep baby dragon-eating Miss Luna out. I'm still thinking about it. We'll see!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Longer Weekends

Don't we all want those? Though, quite honestly, I would have much preferred being at work yesterday.

I had to appear in court. A month or so ago, I got my first ever speeding ticket. All I can say is that I just wasn't paying attention at the time, but I suddenly had a fear of points and a raise in my insurance costs.

So, I went to court. That turned out to be a debacle in itself. According to the map site, I should have been able to make it there in forty five minutes. Considering the rain and the morning rush hour traffic, I left the house two hours before my scheduled time. Ask me how long it took to get there, a distance that would have taken three quarters of an hour in normal conditions. Don't worry, I'll tell you. Two and a half hours. An hour and a half of that was sitting in the traffic heading towards the Wilson Bridge. It didn't help that there was no sign for the courthouse, or directing people where to park, from the main road that shared it's name with the courthouse address.

Seriously, if you're going to 123 Main Street, wouldn't you expect some sign when you arrived that you were actually there? If you were going to 123 Main Street, wouldn't you expect there to be some direction that tells you where you can access the building if it wasn't actually accessible from Main Street. Virginia is a cruel and twisted place.

As it turned out, the judge didn't arrive until about 1000, so even though I was supposed to be there at 0900 and was late, it didn't matter. It further didn't matter because my name didn't get called until about noon. And it further further didn't matter because this court doesn't deal with points at all. If I had known that, I would have paid the fine and not bothered. The ordeal was not worth the $20 it saved me in fines.

Don't get me wrong, I am not afraid to accept responsibility when I did actually do something I should not have been doing. I can't contest the charge, but it was a one-time lapse. Which is why I was hoping they would be nice to me for it. I've been very careful to make sure it hasn't happened again- and it hasn't.

There are better ways to spend a day.

My mother and I both had off of work today. I was originally hoping to have an appointment, but that didn't work out. We decided to get some things done instead.

My vehicle registration was up for renewal, and this was a good time to get my mother's name off the title of my car. This was another fiasco. Apparently, the documents from the loan company that were covered in big bold "PAID" stamps and sentences reading "there is no lien on your car" were not enough to prove to the DMV that there was no lien on my car. We had to call the loan company (the loan, in my mother's name but paid by me, having been paid off for a year) and have them fax a letter to the DMV stating that there was no lien on my car. That took an hour, so we hopped over to the mall to cancel a charge card and do a little bit of shopping, then dropped off some winter coats for dry cleaning, and back to the long last-Friday-of-the-month lines at the DMV. Thankfully, the fax did come through and everything is back to neat.

Incidentally, my ticket from yesterday was a cheaper fee than the registration renewal and transferring of title. But I have spiffy new plates that require a nominal annual fee that will go to the Chesapeake Bay Trust. How cool is that?

The people at work were jealous of my two days off. I told them they could have them both, I'd rather not have to do any of it. Depending on what the rain does, tomorrow might actually be restful. For a time.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

There Must Be a Better Way to Make History

On August 6th of 1945, the United States dropped the first atomic bomb to be used in warfare on the largest city of Japan's largest island. About a mile away, there lived a little two year old girl named Sasaki Sadako. Nine years later, Sadako got sick. A few months after that, she was hospitalized with leukemia, an effect of the radiation from the bomb, and given a year to live, at most.

During her hospital stay, she learned of a Japanese legend: the Gods would look with favor upon a person who could fold one thousand origami cranes and grant them a wish. Sadako wanted to get well, so she started folding. She folded medicine wrappers and paper from other patients get well gifts while she was in the hospital. She folded one thousand three hundred cranes before her death, this day in 1955.

Today, the legend of the wish granted to the folder of one thousand cranes lives on. School children all over the world fold cranes and send them to Sadako's memorial in Hiroshima. The collective wish of these children is peace. At the foot of her statue, the plaque reads, "This is our cry. This is our prayer. Peace in the world."

Folding one thousand cranes is no small task. It's more challenging than I thought it would be. But I set myself this goal, and I will not restart. I will fold until I'm done. While peace in this very troubled world is an admirable goal, I must admit that my wish will be my own.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Rain Did Happen

And people were falling off the road left and right because we've all forgotten how to drive in it. I won't know until later if it was enough to make up the deficit we're in. Every little bit helps.

It was rather funny. I woke up in the wee hours of the morning wondering what that strange sound I was hearing actually was. Rain! It's been so long, I had forgotten how it sounds!

Adolf is being a bum, but there's little I can do about it. I'm off tomorrow and Friday, though, so I only have to worry about work for the rest of today. That's nice!

Except work is a pain and a half right now.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

They're Calling for Rain Again

Let's hope it comes this time. There is already a statewide emergency and a ban on open fires in Virginia (during the time when lots of people burn leaves) and numerous counties enacting water use restrictions. Parts of the area are looking at fourteen inches of rain deficit. The one inch we got last week didn't help much.

Now, with all the fires in California, local weather reports begin with what we need to prevent that from happening here. The simple answer is: rain. And lots of it, but not all at once. And we also need people to stop throwing their lit cigarettes out car windows. Idiots.

As for those poor people in California, my heart aches for them. I've been thinking about what I would do if I had to evacuate my home, and what I would bring. Some things are just not important, like my vast and most beloved collection of dolls. My CPU would be on the list of things to take, as well as a few photo albums. Then I think, how much time do they have when they're told to get out? Do you get a day to choose which parts of your life require saving? An hour? No time at all? And then, where do they go? Where would we go if we had to leave? This is a rather dangerous area to be in, with our proximity to the Capital and major military air base. We have to think about these things anyway. But it's different if we're fleeing because of an attack versus fleeing because of a powerful force of nature.

Is it ironic that parts of the East and West are starving for rain and poor New Orleans has too much of it? I hope Nature is kind and provides us all some relief soon.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Comes then Goes

I've been thinking a lot about things lately. About my past experiences and the people I knew who are no longer a part of my life. These thoughts led to others, that led to people and experiences, and one person who I'm going to call Brenda.

Brenda was my best friend. We lived on the same street and were the same age and went to the same school. I had one older brother and she had two. Our parents were friends, and they often traded babysitting.

As so many good things must come to an end, we hit a few bumps in our friendship road and I don't know where she is now. But that's not why I'm thinking about her.

Among my random thoughts, I remembered the things we did together. I really remembered that we had been in the same school through eighth grade, but we were never in the same class (schools weren't that big). I always wanted to have a class with her. I was overjoyed when I had the same lunch period with her, but it was never a class. Eight years in the same building with her and it never happened. And I just never understood why.

There is a why, though. and it kind of just hit me, though I've always known it. Brenda was learning challenged, and we would never be in the same class because of it. She read far more books than I. I do remember one time she was 'showing off' and read an entire paper she had written in the reflection of the mirror. I thought it was the coolest thing, and taught myself how to do that too! That's right, faithful blog readers, being able to read backwards and upside down and all that jazz was a skill that I wanted. (For the record, I have difficulty writing that way, but I can read rather well.)

The challenged kids got their own special class. I never thought about it. I always just figured it was the luck of the draw that we were never in the same class. Brenda wasn't different to me, she was my friend, and she could do everything I could do and I never for a second thought that she was any different than anyone else.

Maybe the world was better then; when people were young and hadn't been taught to treat others differently than how they would want to be treated. Sure, children can be very cruel when it comes to differences, but I think that is a learned response. It has to be; my instincts told me that Brenda was just like me. I didn't learn of her unusual skills and think less of her. I thought more of her, actually.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Needs and Not

Yesterday, my aunt who lives in Utah arrived for a short visit. Mom and I went over to my grandmother's to say hello and have some dinner. It's always nice to see her. Maybe I'll get a chance to visit her someday.

Before our family gathering, we had some running around to do. This included picking up things of necessity from Target, which included some unnecessary things (like candy!), lunch at the Macaroni Grill, and then the delectable world of Trader Joe's. We don't get to Trader Joe's very often, but it's one of the few places where we can get excited about groceries. It's really their yummy coffee that does that.

Yeah, that's all I can say about my day today!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Me and Gloria

I took Gloria to the Faire today. I was going to buy her some shoes and a little hat, and possibly look at a chemise, but that wasn't so important.

She spent the day sitting on my basket. A few people stopped to talk to us while we were walking in, and I made sure Gloria knew that was going to happen all day. We met Fox at the gate, who had with him a choice of two Tall Toad hats that Fae doesn't wear anymore. Though her dress is mostly green, Gloria took our advice and went with the blue hat that brought out the color of her eyes. (Fox, you never told me how much you want for that, and I forgot to ask!) Then it was a quick stop to pick up something for my mother, drop it off at dad's booth, and grab some lunch. More people stopped to talk to us and take pictures with us. Then we went to the shoe store, Medieval Moccasins, so she could get a pair just like mine. The owner knew at a glance that she would wear a size four. After that, it was down to Tall Toad to show off her hat and shoes. And more stopping for pictures. We went by the booth where Fox has been working, Lloyd Studios, and the lovely proprietress gifted Gloria with a little dagger of her very own. After that, we went back to dad's booth for a length of leather cord to tie as a belt, and then off to Unicorn Clothiers for that chemise that she now had to have. Fox had to work a couple hours, so Gloria and I caught a couple shows and did a little shopping and stopped for more pictures before going back to pick him up. We stopped for more pictures (Gloria was really being a trooper about that, she wasn't getting annoyed at all), double checked dinner plans, and then planted in the pub for Pub Sing. Gloria had a great day, and she was so tired she slept in the car while the rest of us had dinner.

Sorry if that picture up there is a little blurry! People seem to have a hard time keeping still for the amount of time one must be still while using my camera. We didn't get a picture of Gloria's dagger or chemise, but I'll be sure to show you once I get it all straightened out and properly fit and all that.

I knew this would be a hard day, because I knew my arm would be in the same position all day, and I knew I'd get more ventriloquist practice than I do in a general week. But it was great practice for me, and a whole lot of fun. At about 1730, I had to switch arms. Gloria complained every time someone called her a puppet or a dummy. We also found out she's ticklish on her feet. The lady at the shoe store first picked up a size three before the gent who worked there said it would be a four, then broke down laughing because he had just "sized a dummy." He had to go to the back room to calm down! The lady was worried about getting the shoes on the matched feet, and tried not to tie them too tight. Gloria squirmed quite a bit, and even snatched her foot away. The things they do that we don't expect! At the end of that, the gent came back out and said he had been having not a very nice day until we came in. That made all three of us feel good (you know, Gloria and Fox and me). Adults tended to be more receptive, which surprised me a little. There was one lady who pulled me aside and asked me to speak to her young son. There is a performer there who has a sheep puppet by the name of Juliette. He is not a ventriloquist and doesn't even try. I was happy to run into him, though, so Juliette and Gloria had a nice little conversation. I hope I can bring her again sometime, but I know there once was a patron who came with a monkey puppet and the Faire powers that be asked him not to bring it again. I'm not worried, the first trip was to buy Gloria things, the second will be next year and to show off her garb to the wonderful shop people who helped with it. And if anyone asks, I really am an employee and have a pass to prove it.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Before the Day's Coffee

I started this morning by reading a nice article about quantum physics. You didn't think I was so intellectual, didja?

So, if the Many Worlds Theory is correct, there's another universe where I've already died, where I was never even born, and even one where I have no reason to make appointments with doctors. I would that were this one.

I think the Many Worlds Theory (the idea that the universe copies itself with every choice everyone ever makes and plays out all possible outcomes, independent of the original) is hard for a spiritual being to grasp. That's why it's a scientific theory, I suppose, because we all should know that ne'er the two shall meet when it comes to faith and science.

I do believe in the theories of multiple universes and dimensions, but I also believe I have a soul. I think that makes me a paradox. I can't explain what happens when choices are made and the universe splits itself from that point. Is my soul copied too? Am I still one soul? Are those other worlds clones of this one? Am I the one in the clone universe?

I don't have those answers, indeed no one does. The Many Worlds Theory is just a theory, and the basis of faith is equally immeasurable and unprovable by current methods. I think the fact that we, as scientific beings, can even come up with and test the plausibility of such concepts is a testament to the awesome power of our minds. The Many Worlds Theory is part of what makes Quantum Leap and Sliders the wonderful bits of creative entertainment that they are. Proof or truth may always escape us, but we know our minds can come up with amazing things regardless of what turns out to be fact.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

They're Talking About Rain

It has been a record-tying drought. If we don't get rain by the end of today, it will be a record-breaking drought. The last time this area had a drought like this was 1985. Lawns are brown and cars are dirty amidst many water use restrictions.

It is pretty gloomy out there today, but there has been no sign of even a drop. They're saying, if not today, tomorrow has a good chance of bringing us some measurable rain. It won't be enough to save the trees. The usually colorful, tourist-drawing foliage has gone from green directly to brown (if it changes from green at all in this unseasonable heat).

Even with so many people out of touch with the world around them, Nature and her blessings are still very much a necessity.

And here's hoping for a drop or two to get us out of this!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Results are In

The dealer didn't even look at my car yesterday. This was quite a point of annoyance. But I did get a call today, and they said it's all fixed and will only cost me less than $500 (A little less than half of the range I was given). They were also quick to tell me that I ended up saving about $900 because I did not need an entirely new transmission. That helps. A little.

So, I worked through my lunch yesterday in anticipation of leaving early to pick up my car. This means I already have the extra thirty minutes to leave at 1500 today to make it to the dealer in time to pick up my car. I regret that this will have to go on the credit card, but it won't be there too long.

My costume is coming along. I may even finish in time for Day of Wrong. If not, certainly in time for Halloween.

I am extremely tired today. I've been fretting about my car and something else that I'm not going to talk about here. Maybe with the car taken care of, things will improve.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Ready, and Back Out! Or Not.

I did not want to spend my birthday like this. When I say "like this," I mean sitting in a parking space at the AC Moore being unable to move because my car won't go into reverse. I had to give her the old Fred Flintstone trick. You can laugh, I'm sure if someone was around they would have found it funny too. Of course, if someone was around, I would have asked them to help me!

Hedwig had only a slight hesitation moving forward, but could not move back at all. Unless I was on an incline, like my driveway. So, you know it's bad when reverse acts as neutral.

I took Hedwig to my mechanic hoping they could at least point me in the right direction to getting this fixed. They don't do transmissions, but assured me that the dealer would be my best bet since they most likely would not insist that I need a new one. That's good, because I'm not completely sure my car is worth a new transmission that would cost one fourth the price I paid for the thing.

Yes, I got to sleep in on my birthday like I wanted. And yes, I did get the dye I wanted. And yes, my fabric came out the most perfect shade of purple. But I would have loved to do all of that without the car issues. There's nothing I can do about it, though. Hopefully the dealer will call me soon and tell me exactly how much it will cost to fix. I have to leave early today to make it down there in time to get it. Everyone say rah with me now. "Rah."

Monday, October 15, 2007

Let's Talk About the Weather

And how incredibly perfect it is for my birthday!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Airyn's Big Birthday Weekend Bash, Part 2

I'm afraid I have no pictures from today. I didn't take any on my camera! (Fox, how did we miss that?)

Dad and I actually arrived early enough to see the opening ceremony, which featured the king entering the village on a horse. That was pretty neat. We got a quick bite and met up with Fae, who was able to join us for the whole day, not just the evening. Yay! Dad found the king and he and his court sang me a birthday song. I got sang to by the king! Go me!

Then we located Fox and headed to the Globe Theatre to spend the morning. Two years ago, the faire started doing an entire production of something Shakespeare, and I really like that they've started doing it. The first year was the Scottish Play, last year was my favorite, A Midsummer Night's Dream, and this year the feature is As You Like It. This isn't one of Shakespeare's better known comedies, I guess, and that may be why it didn't draw a bigger crowd (where the previous two would be considered full house). That's a shame because, even if you know nothing about the play, the presentation of it was just wonderful.

After that, we had lunch and did some shopping then saw another show and did some more shopping and then saw the show that I'm glad I didn't miss. There is a wire walking show and his last show of the day is always the best. He was yelling at me because I botched one of his jokes. He does a sword juggling bit and people usually don't clap when he starts, and he makes a joke about it. But I like him, so I started clapping. And every time he tried to restart, even without me clapping, everyone took the hint and started clapping, so he couldn't do his "you're not clapping joke." I would say oops, but I think it's rather funny. At the end, he walked the tight rope in high heels. That was really impressive.

After all this fun, six other booth employees joined dad and Fox and Fae and I at Outback for dinner.

I do so enjoy being able to spend special time with my friends (even the new ones). One of these days, I'll get ALL my friends together. I know that's going to be a feat!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Airyn's Big Birthday Weekend Bash, Part 1

In keeping with my father's and my thirteen year tradition, we went to the Maryland Renaissance Festival to celebrate my birthday. This started out as the day that we went to the faire, and ended up being an entire weekend where we both make sure we're not working so as to see shows and do some shopping and call it fun! This is the one time during the course of the year where we get to dress in finery, and not the middle class merchant attire that we must wear when working.

The weekend starts with me getting my hair braided.

I can usually do pretty neat things with my hair on my own, but it's nice to get something more complex done for me! I told the braider to make the bun low enough so I can still wear my hat. She said she made is as low as she could, but it wasn't enough. Oh well! I had to buy a new hat.

Fox joined us in the morning, and my friend Turtle came up from Richmond, what a great present! We did a little shopping and saw a couple comedy shows. I didn't feel rushed today, which is quite a great feeling.

After faire, Fae joined us at this wonderful Irish place called the Killarney House for dinner. Yes, I strayed from my diet a little, but I knew I would! I've got some stories about this place, but I'll save them for another time.

Tomorrow: take two!

Friday, October 12, 2007

A Little Bit of Excess

Yesterday, I talked about doing a lot of folding lately. Animals in cool paper, a ton of lucky stars. I love origami. While I was working on an uncooperative computer program last night, I did some more folding. I folded a nice orange and black Halloween spider for me.

I brought my spider to work to set it next to my pumpkin and started talking to my coworker about how complicated a model it is (and it is rather complicated) and how I occasionally will fold models I like in really small paper. My coworker asked if I had done the spider tiny, and I told him I didn't think I could.

Then I saw the challenge! And here it is! (Sorry it's fuzzy, it was my cell camera.)

Who needs to work when you can fold tiny spiders? Halfway through, I started to shake, because I knew I was going to fold it successfully. And now, there are five tiny spiders, and I've got one more to do. And to really boggle your mind, I did it without looking at instructions.

Did I mention that I really enjoy origami?

Thursday, October 11, 2007

I Didn't Want To Do It

Because, you know, I'm supposed to be saving. But I had to! They are only making 250, and for all we know, I could be the 251st fan of The Phantom. Then I would have been very, very upset.

I'm talking about this. I placed my order for the gun belt (drool) and the Colts (drool more). The rings can wait. I have a Good Mark already, and a Skull ring that I made. But the other two are limited. LIMITED!!!

This year, I'm going to make a Phantom costume. I haven't made a costume in a long time, and I think it's time. And since The Phantom doesn't have nearly the limelight as Spiderman or Batman, it will be impossible to buy a costume. That's ok. I've got some pieces on order, and I'm prepared to dye and sew. Weee!!

I spent more time than I should have last night folding. I folded a dinosaur with some cool patterned paper, and another dinosaur. A coworker wanted an elephant in elephant patterned paper, and I ran out of elephant patterned paper, so I folded him a cool tiger stripped spider instead.

My skills won't improve if I don't keep folding, right?

I hope my cool Phantom gear gets here soon!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Jobs and Things

So, who's noticed I've been talking a lot about work lately? I know you all have, and I'm sorry. Work has been so busy that it's all I've got to talk about.

If you want to know, I had my annual eye exam yesterday and the surgeon said everything was perfect. (Fox, did you stop looking into that?) I haven't been riding for a long while, but we plan to do it today. It's been hotter than Hell here. I think of my friend Willow every time I see a butterfly (why is that, Willow?) and a pretty white one just flew by my window.

Ok, this is kind of funny.

Sometime during the Summer, I looked at a lot of ventriloquist websites. During those random searches, I found this awesome device; a stand that attaches at waist so a ventriloquist and walk around with their buddy on a little platform with them (also freeing up a hand because the other doesn't have to be used to hold our friends up). Cool, huh? Well, when I found it months ago, I didn't make note of it. So, yesterday, I decided I might actually want to buy it, and I tried every word combination I could think of to locate it. It just wasn't happening. I searched all morning, and though I could accurately describe the thing for the search engine, none of the words I chose were what the actual website used. I got very frustrated, and went to lunch and an after-lunch meeting thoroughly annoyed. I am the Queen of Dig, I can find anything!

I told one of my coworkers about it and why I was thoroughly frustrated when I returned from my meeting and decided to search again. This time, I didn't try to describe the thing, I tried the most likely term that I used when I accidentally ran across it the first time. Wouldn't you know, it was on the first website that came up! Yes, my previous searches did bring up that website, I just didn't look close enough to see it there (because I was so certain that my search terms would bring me right to it, I think). I really am the Queen of Dig, and I really can find anything if it's out there to be found. Sometimes, I guess I just need to get out of my own way!

Don't worry, I copied the link and the name of the site and e-mailed it to myself, so I'll be sure to find it if/when I decide to buy it.

Work is still busy and pretty much all I have to talk about. It took me two hours this morning to work two e-mails, and one of them is not yet complete.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

"Let me confirm that."

During the course of my work today, I had to call a company to verify a payment address. They had one of those automated phone answering systems (don't we all hate those?) where you speak your responses. "Say 'main menu' for the main menu." "Say 'payment locations' to hear payment locations."

Unfortunately, payment locations only told me where one could go to make a payment in person, and I need the payment address. There wasn't an option for that, so I follow further instructions by saying "representative" to get to a representative. The system wants an account number, I'm looking at over a thousand customers. I repeat "representative."

System: "Sorry, I didn't understand that."

Me (angrily): "Rep-re-sen-ta-tive!!"

System: "Sorry, I didn't understand that."

Me (calmly): "Representative."

System: "Sorry, I still didn't understand that."

Me (annoyed): "That's because you're stupid!"

System: "Let me confirm that."

I thought I was going to die, I was laughing so hard! I relayed the exchange to my nearby coworkers who also thought it was pretty funny! (For the record, I called back and got through to someone who had the information I needed.)

That's not the funniest phone system I've ever heard. I remember calling one company who had a long list of menu options. "For account information, press 1. For our fax number, press 2. To change your service, press 3." and so on. Towards the end of the message, it said, "To end this call, please hang up. To speak to a customer service representative, please hang up." Yeah, that one had me laughing for a while to. I took a chance and hit 0, and had a good laugh with the rep who answered when I told him what the message said to do.

Oh, my days!

Monday, October 08, 2007

Work, Work, Work!

Federal holidays are usually nice. Traffic actually moves when lots of people don't go do work. OBC was open today, but many people were off.

We use this as a catch-up day. It's a great day to catch up on work that may be falling behind, because all the things we do that have deadlines (related to when the mail gets sent, or when payments are made) do not happen on holidays such as these. There are no payments, banks are closed. And there is no mail, USPS is closed.

So, I got to hammer away at my eighty-job inbox with complete and total disregard to my usual 1500 deadline on certain jobs. This means less hopping around from job to job, and less phone calls coming in because people think we're closed today. It makes my work more streamlined.

I actually got quite a lot done, almost eighty jobs. That means some fifty came in during the course of the day. Tomorrow will be back to the same old; daily deadlines apply today.

With all the work I did, though, I feel rather burnt out. Yeah, I'm still not sleeping very well, and
I have a lot of unexpected expenses this month that occupy a lot of my thoughts. Maybe that's it.

Tomorrow, I can work nice and slow again, and no one will notice (truly, Adolf has no idea how much work I am capable of doing in a day. That's a very good thing since he expects less than that of me). And my anti-virus scan has started and everything is running slow (I have a ginormous drive). That's about how I feel today. At least there is also some accomplishment there.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

You Know You're in a Drought When...

...there is not a single day where the MD Renaissance Festival was rained-out. Yes, I know we still have two more weekends to go, but usually there is at least one day (one year, there were a ton of days) where the rain is so bad that I get told not to come in because of the low crowds it brings.

Not a single rain day this year. The land is parched and you can tell.

Today was a very hot and humid day. I chose the wrong thing to wear, and spent the day incredibly uncomfortable. I hope next weekend will be a little cooler, because I intend to wear my court dress, which is rather heavy and works better in cooler weather. They are talking rain for Tuesday. We'll see!

If nothing else, the heat of today has left me exhausted. I hope that means I'll sleep well!

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Party Time!

Congratulations, Jill and Greg!

The third an final wedding of my wedding obligations this year was also very nice. I've learned a little about what it takes for me to enjoy myself at a wedding. It take me liking at least one of the main two people involved. That may seem obvious. The thing is, I enjoyed this wedding. The ceremony was nice and short and the pastor was funny. Then the reception had good food, I was sat with a group of people who all knew the bride's sister (my good friend Turtle) so we had something in common to talk about, and there was music you could dance to.

They're really a great couple, and I'm sure they will spend many long years as happy together as they were today.

Don't mistake me, I still don't like weddings. But I do like that I've been able to go to three of them and not feel like I was being tortured, and actually have a good time and well wishes for the newly coupled.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Oh, This Lovely Weekend

I get to see Pat's house today, finally! Pat moved in before I left for Idaho, and we simply haven't had a chance to get together since. I'm really excited to see the place, and I'm also going to re-explore the possibility of getting one myself. I don't think I can afford Pat's community, but there are some in my area that should have a more affordable land lease. I so badly want to move out.

Last weekend, my mother and I had to return my grandmother's car. We visited for a bit, then went over to see her friend, who is so close to us she is like a grandmother herself to my brother and I. We call her aunt; blood relations or not, she is family. I know she enjoyed our impromptu visit, but she did leave me a little annoyed. I had mentioned how expensive things were and how very hard it is for me to even consider moving out, and she asked why I wanted to. She's been widowed for years, and living on her own, so I suppose she just doesn't understand that sometimes it's good to be alone. It's also very hard to ask a boyfriend (or boyfriend potential) over to watch a movie knowing my dad will be playing WoW in the next room. My aunt was yelling at me! She yelled at me for wanting to live on my own, and for wanting to get married and have children. But it's perfectly alright, and good for him, that my brother is married. I am not going to be living with my parents until they retire and sell the house from under me.

So, I'll have a look at Pat's house today, and I'll want one of my own. And another coworker is having a house built, and I want one of my own. If I could find one I can afford, I'd even settle for an apartment at this point.

My mother read an article recently that talked about Idaho being the fastest developing state currently. She said despite recent layoffs, they're actually in a worker shortage. Then she said that maybe I could find a job first and then find a place to live. Wait, is my mother encouraging me to move to Idaho? I think she's starting to think that it's not so bad, because she wants to retire to Colorado, and her sister lives in Utah. All relatively nearby places, I guess. My mother also suggests I should hold off getting a modular home like Pat's, because they are trying to introduce legislation that builders who build five and six and seven and eight hundred thousand dollar homes need to also build homes that are actually affordable. So, maybe by my move out goal date, they will be building $100,000 homes here? Yeah, I don't hold much hope for that either. Someday, I will get out on my own.

Tomorrow is wedding number 3. I hope it's as nice as the first two I went to this season. And that should be all the weddings I have to endure for a while. One can only hope. Sunday is my last day of working for the faire season. You'd be right if you noticed I haven't worked much. I guess that means the booth is well staffed. There is no rain in sight, it's going to be very dusty.

Oh, and guess what? Welcome to my 600th blog post!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Dreams of Dogs

Last night, I dreamt of Buttons.

Buttons was our dog. He was a pure bred Toy Poodle, mostly white with a little patch of peach on his back. I remember getting off the school bus to find my brother, who had stayed home sick, running up to me screaming, "We got a dog!" Naturally, I didn't believe him.

Sure enough, I walked down the street to my house where I met my mother and a then-nameless little Poodle puppy. Mom had some shopping to do that day, you see, and took my ill brother with her. My brother wanted to go into the pet store, and my mother said ok, "but we're just looking." Apparently my mother's definition of "just looking" is "buy the dog you like."

Last night, I dreamt that Buttons had gotten out of our yard (which the tiny little guy sometimes did do) and my brother and I were walking around the neighborhood looking for him. Down one street, we heard him barking on the next street over. We walked around to that street, and there he was in somebody's yard, very happy that we had found him. The people who had him said he just showed up there, but they were going to keep him if no one came for him.

Then I woke up remembering my doggie, and wishing I could hug him again.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Websites and Publishing and Things

I've been working on my websites this evening. It has become quite the (usually) relaxing way to leave my work day behind me. I haven't been riding my bike at all this week, but I also breathed in a lot of dust on Saturday and am not really up to it. I don't think it will be another cold, and it better not turn into another cold. I had a cold for the previous wedding, and the last wedding I have to go to is this weekend. Not another cold!!

So, I figured out how to publish in FrontPage with FTP, and it actually works. Go me! I didn't add anything to my main site today, but don't worry. I will get all my images back up some day.

I know this entry seems like a whole lot of nothing, and for that I do apologize, faithful blog readers. I've mentioned how I haven't been sleeping well, and I'm going to try to make up for it by going to bed now. Good night!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Sometimes You Feel Like a... Dolt

Ok, I'm not a total dolt, I'm learning. It's true that I was complaining about FrontPage's limitations without actually going in to FrontPage to see if what I need to do is possible. I was basing my information on the (usually rather thorough) FAQ of my webhost, that includes specific instructions on how to upload sites using three specific popular site building programs. The only one where FTP how-to's were not written was for FrontPage, which led me to deduce it wasn't possible (or at least not apparent).

I did some searching and found some other information, and it looks like it totally is possible. And I know where to find the information I need to do it. Now, I would like to go home and open up that program and put it to work! It probably won't be for another day or two yet, as I finish up some things and tweak others to get the site ready. Microsoft still doesn't play with the other kids, though. He's over swinging on the monkey bars while the rest of us play hopscotch, and he wants us to come and watch him swing on the monkey bars. Think about it. And laugh. I haven't had any coffee yet.

Tonight should be a good night. I don't plan to do anything special. I have no idea when dad is getting home, and I know mom is planning to go golfing. This means I should have a nice solo ride, and maybe even some time to myself in the house (to work on my sites some more). Despite my total lack of sleeping and that I've been really stressed out for the past few weeks, I'm having a pretty good day. I'm excited that things seem to be working, at least!

And I managed to get some coffee!

Monday, October 01, 2007


I wish I could find that Sherman's Lagoon comic strip and scan it for you....

I was really hoping to come here today and announce "Go look at my cool website, made with my snazzy new program!" Alas, no. It's been one thing after another trying to get all FTP things set just right to publish the thing. Even as I type this, I'm trying for the third time to get this stuff up. (Before any of you laugh, remember I'm a total FTP rookie.) It's going to be cool when it's up though!

I've also learned, among setting up an FTP connection, that Microsoft, and so many things Microsoft, just doesn't play with the other kids. I can create and publish my websites with FrontPage, or I can create and publish my websites with any other site developing software, but I can't use FrontPage for one site and something else for the other. That's because Microsoft has to be special, and doesn't use FTP to publish sites. And in order to publish with FrontPage, I have to have a special setting at my host. And I can't have this special setting and FTP set up at the same time. GAH!

This is extra annoying because Fusion works so much better for my picture-heavy site, and FrontPage works so much better for my text-heavy site (particularly because so much of it is already built in FrontPage and re-designing it in Fusion would be a pain and a dozen). If anyone has a simple solution to this problem, I'd love to hear it. (What I'd really love to hear is that I can indeed publish with FrontPage using FTP, and I just missed it somewhere.)

Ok...File transfer is complete. That's what it says....


Ok, I see some tweaking is in order, but it's up and I'm happy! Go click on my website link to the right --> and let me know what you think! Be gentle, I'm still learning.

And working out the technical dilemma with the other site.....