Friday, October 31, 2008

Thanks for the Confidence

As usual, I got quite a number of people telling me that my costume was great and not understanding why I didn't enter the costume contest again. What's really funny about that is half of them, after telling me my costume was great, had to ask what it was! As fabulous as my steampunk airship captain costume is, I'm not surprised that many didn't recognize it. Unless you're a reader of Girl Genus, the style might be beyond you! (One of my coworkers did say "Agatha would approve!" Go me!)

I knew this ensemble wouldn't be a costume winner, unless there was a judge or two who recognized it. Still, most people said I looked better than anyone else. There was one guy with a rock star costume, and I thought he was great. It would have been ok to lose to that, his costume looked like it took some effort and creativity. That's what I like to see. Still no word on who won.

Big to-do at the ministry tonight! Should be funner than ten things that are fun.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Not to be Outdone

Tomorrow is OBC's annual Halloween costume contest. Yesterday and today, a ton of my coworkers have been asking me how I plan to top The Phantom from last year. I still maintain that I'm not entering the contest (yes, I agree, I'm a sour sport when it comes to this), but I will wear the steampunk costume that I wore to last week's party. It came out great, if I say so myself. In fact, Liz* (one of the proprietors of the ministry I've been working with who threw last week's party) said I won the costume contest that they didn't have. I'll take it!

So, yes, coworkers, I will be wearing my costume. I'm not sure if the airship captain will best The Phantom, but I'll be wearing it just the same. And still not entering the contest. That's disappointment that I'm tired of getting. Even last year's write-in award isn't enough to sway this decision.

I'm sure I have a picture from last week, or I'll get one tomorrow to load for you.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


During the past two days that I've been off of work, (among other things) I've been playing Guild Wars. In the first campaign, called Prophecies, there is a vast, involved tutorial area. At the end, you go through a mission and end up in the bulk of the game, two years after the events in the tutorial. Once you go through the mission, there's no going back. Some people like to stay indefinitely in the tutorial. Yes, there is a limit as to how much your character can grow there, but you can easily farm for gold or coveted items like dyes. I created a character for the sole purpose of holding my earnings because there is no bank in this part of the game. Once you get to the main part of the game, you can get a bank that is connected to all characters on that account, across all campaigns, except for whoever is in the tutorial part.

So, I had a character in the Nightfall campaign who was in need of some extra cash since she's not strong enough yet to be making much herself. All I needed to do was get someone from the tutorial, armed with gold, to the next part of the game where they could access the bank and deposit some sharable funds. I created a character with the purpose of deleting it just for this run. I leveled him up so he was good and strong to get through the mission, then loaded him with lots of gold.

Now, this mission is in two parts. The first is a short PvP battle with an assigned group of four players against another group of four. Then, your group goes through the mission, kills the bad guy, and arrives two years into the future. It just so happened that last night, when I was ready to run through the mission to deliver my precious coinage, no other players were doing so. This means I had no one to group with or fight against. What happens then, you may ask. (Ok, probably only Fox is wondering at this point.) I was assigned three NPC henchmen! And since I was the only player, it skipped the PvP part (which I'm not fond of anyway). So, me and my three henchmen, each two levels below me, went through the mission, killed the bad guy, and there we were. It was great fun going through that part with henchmen, and not with other players who, I've found, often rush through it.

You can hire henchmen on your own in the later part of the game. I think I need to work with them more often. It's fun to have a group of NPCs around to kill things with you. I hope no one is around the next time I have to run that mission. It was fun! LDS called me a geek!

With pride!

Now that all of you, gentle blog readers, are going crazy with my game-talk (by the way, you can purchase a copy of your very own through my Lemonade Stand below, if you want to see what my fuss is about), let's talk about the weather. It's cold. Not snow cold, but cold. There's an outdoor event at the ministry I've been working with on Friday. It's going to be cold.

Phoenix and I are learning that our condo doesn't heat very well. The vents are at the tops of the walls, so heat is rising to the ceiling. This leaves us poor people on the floor quite chilly. We had the thermostat at 74° on Monday and were still wrapped in blankets. I thought, since we're on the top floor, that the heat from other condos would help keep ours warm. I guess they're too well insulated because that doesn't seem to be the case at all. And, there are no vents in the bathrooms. I get chills just thinking about it.

We're either going to have to bite the bullet and pay out the wazoo to heat up the place, or get some energy efficient space heaters so we can put the heat on the floor where it will do the most good. The latter seems to be the best idea. I'll stop by Target on Friday before I head down to the event to see what they have. I can't take too many more nights shivering under a foot of blankets.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Two Day Off

And, like yesterday, here's another of those days that I had to take off or lose PTO. That's alright with me. I did manage to get all the days I needed to not lose any PTO. I'll plan this out for next year at some point.

So, today, I've been catching up on my webcomics. Soon, I'll take out the recycling and play some Guild Wars, probably at the same time as watching a movie. I can multi-task!

Of course, I've also spent the morning shooing my roommate's cat from the dragons. She doesn't just watch them like Miss Luna does, she tries to get them. She won't succeed, but it worries my poor little lizards anyway.

In other news, I found a seller on e-Bay who has the frog clock that I inadvertently threw away. I can't afford it now. I hope it's still there by the time I get paid this week. I hope...I hope... I hope....

Monday, October 27, 2008

One Day Off

Since OBC suddenly forced all employees to take another five days off or lose that earned time, today is one of those days.

So far, I've spent it gaming, napping, and watching a movie with henna mud in my hair.

Good times!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Call Me Dolt

You know, scratch that. Maybe it's not such a foolish thing after all.

Years and years ago, someone gave me a gift for Christmas. It was a little frog and clock on a lily pad. Nothing special, really. I happen to be rather partial to frogs (this must come from working at Tall Toad at the Renaissance Festival) and it so happens that this friend who gave me this gift and I have gone our separate ways. I rarely thought much of it, really. It stayed in the box for years. I brought it with me when I moved out, and it's been sitting on my desk, keeping time in its little froggy way.

Tonight, I noticed it wasn't here.

Miss Luna has been knocking things off my desk for some time. I recently moved things around so that she wouldn't have things to knock off. I didn't move the clock. Sometime last week, I heard the distinctive clunk of something heavy falling into my metal trash can. I didn't find anything and took the trash out.

And there is no frog clock.

And I am very upset about this. The truth is, I didn't realize how important it was to me until I discovered that I must have thrown it out. I've searched every logical place and some illogical ones. Phoenix and her boyfriend searched too. It's not here.

So, I've been calling myself a fool all night for being so attached to a thing that, most days, I didn't even think about. But, maybe it's not so foolish after all. Maybe it was a silent reminder of my friend. The paths of our lives split for no catastrophic reason, just that they did, and sometimes it happens that way. But that tiny little clock made me smile, and think of my friend, and hope she's doing well where her life took her. Maybe it's not so foolish to have that reminder and miss it when it's gone. I won't forget my friend. I just don't have a trinket to help me remember anymore. I'm still upset about that, but I'm feeling less foolish for it. I know I'm sentimental. It's not such a bad thing.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Time to Party

I'm off to carve some pumpkins and have a spooky time! I'll get pictures.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Just Admit

Yes, I know, I owe you a week of posts. I'm going to just have to concede that they're not going to get up, because I didn't write any! My life is wonderfully busy right now, and that's why blogs haven't happened.

So, a recap.

Saturday was fun and chilly at faire. I had dinner with my dear friends Fox and Fae and dad, and that was my birthday dinner that the yummy Irish place. Those of you who know me know I like those smaller gatherings much better than a ton of people, so it was perfect. (Fox, I found my copy of that book, I have it here with me. You can have yours back, but thank you. And read it, I'll be expecting a discussion later.)

Sunday, the last day of faire was fun and chilly. We had yummy things to snack on all weekend: dolma, banana bread (mine!), goat cheese, sausage, and tasty chocolates. I haven't worked closing weeking in a while, so this was really fun for me. Though, it would have been nice to bring Gloria to the faire again. Alas, she did not get to go this year.

Let's see, Monday through today was pretty much work. I've been playing Guild Wars again (Oh, Fox! A vile of silver dye dropped the other day. Silver!), so that sometimes occupies my evenings. I had my annual eye exam yesterday and everything looks perfect. The yellow dye has been draining from my eyes all day, making people think I was in a fight or just really sick. As it happens, I've been fending off a cold for the past couple days as it is. It's on the out now. Whew!

So, tomorrow will be a fun day of pumpkin carving (I don't carve real pumpkins anymore, but I'm sure they'll let me in anyway) at the ministry house and then a fun costume party into the wee hours of the night.

And today, a coworker and I have been trading Red Dwarf quotes.

"No silicon heaven? Preposterous! Where would all the calculators go?"

Friday, October 17, 2008

Once More With Annoyance

I took my car back to the shop in the wee hours of the morning, annoyed that I had to do so at all. They better not charge me an arm and a leg.

This is the last weekend of the Renaissance Festival and, for the first time in a long time, I'm working both days. A big group from the ministry is supposed to come by on Saturday. Oh, and I've got to make some banana bread this evening to share with the Toadettes.

I worked a lot this year, it seems. It will be nice to have my weekends back again. And none too soon, there are tons of seasonal celebrations going on in the coming weekends.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Welcome Back

The COO of OBC sent an e-mail yesterday morning that I didn't get, being out of the office and all. That e-mail stated all the reasons why, effective immediately, we can only carry over forty hours of PTO instead of eighty like it's been for years. It's apparently some way to cut costs to the company.

Now, everyone is scrambling to fit in five more days off during a busy, holiday, and out-of-the-office-intensive time. I pulled it off with some random days over the next two months: a Tuesday here, a Thursday there.

They also came through and replaced all lights with superbright white tubes. They're probably more energy efficient lamps, as another way to cut costs, but I've got such a headache today! Someone should be coming up to take the lights out of the fixture right above me. I hope that will help.

At least there are only two days of this before the weekend!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Doing What I Want Today

If there is one day a year to do that, it's today.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Throw My Own Party

The auto shop didn't look at the check engine issue because Saturn is special. The indicator light doesn't just say "check engine," it says "service engine soon." It's the same thing, but the people in the shop thought it was something else, so they didn't look at it. I'm not ignorant about my car, people! If I say the "check engine" light is on, it's on! Look at it and tell me what it wants (probably an oxygen sensor). Since they didn't look at it, I have to bring it back, but I've been verbally promised a discount on the diagnostic fee because they didn't listen to me. That's fair enough, I suppose. A pain that I have to take it back. The break job ran me less than five hundred, at least this shop charges what they quote.

Between laundry, vacuuming, and cleaning the kitchen, I watched some movies while playing a video game. Yes, I owe you pictures, I know. I'll try to get them up tomorrow.

I managed to get a coupon for the Melting Pot, and there's one right up the road. I was trying to go tomorrow, but Phoenix wanted to go tonight. As it turns out, this place runs a "girl's night out" special every second Tuesday of the month, which is the traditional four-course Melting Pot meal for a mere thirty bucks a person. That's better than my coupon! My previous experiences with this place have been in large groups; it's really very different when it's just two people. I'm not overstuffed at all. We did to a little jog very late (by my standards) to make up for the extra calories. My Grandmother's birthday gift bought me this meal. Thanks, Grandmom!

The Full Hunter's Moon

If the Harvest Moon is not in October, this moon is known as the Hunter's Moon. Deer are prevalent during this time and easier to spot with the leaves falling and the fields reaped. This is a good time to stock up on meat for the coming winter months when food is more scarce.

Some friends of mine are expecting their second child, who will be my third godson. He is due early November, and his mother has been having a very rough pregnancy. She suffers from pre-eclampsia, which seems to have caused very painful heart palpitations and the occasional panic attack, among other things. My friends asked me for some help.

I started my ritual by casting my circle and lighting two candles. One was a deep blue for healing, peace, and tranquility for the mother and the other was a light baby boy blue that has the same properties but was used to represent her baby. As the candles burned, I sent calm to them both. I then filled them with Reiki by distance. Simple, but effective.

Now, one does not need to be a Reiki master to send healing energy, and one does not need an esbat to use Reiki. I used this night that is set aside for spell work to combine the two, the method of healing that I used before I was attuned to Reiki, and Reiki as well. I will also continue with Reiki until their son is born (and after, if they wish it). I have no doubt that I will have a healthy godson, even without my healing energy. Pre-eclampsia describes symptoms that can have a number of causes, so the healing sent in this ritual is really for calm and for peace. The condition does not necessarily mean that something is wrong, and the doctors are agreeing. I know she will have relief.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Some Troubles

Hedwig the car needs new front rotors and pads. The check engine light comes on for a few days, goes off for a few more, and comes back on again. I took the car to the shop this morning, took one of their free loaner cars so I could get back home, and they are fixing what ails my car.

Han was supposed to visit today, but something came up. That's life!

Yesterday's post is written and drafted, and I just need to get the pictures loaded. That will be today, tomorrow, or Wednesday.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Execution


I successfully went home with dad. He only had to work thirty minutes later than me and I used that time to water my plant and clean up my desk. However, it had been a while since we got a chance to chat, and he was busy telling me something when we should have been listening to the traffic report saying there was an accident on the bridge that we had to cross. Yes, I heard it and, no, I did not point it out. We both made a mistake here. We ended up spending two and a half of what ultimately turned out to be a three hour drive in Virginia, and about two of those hours was spent sitting on the same stretch of one mile roadway on the bridge approach. Bad decision made, and lived with. In other news, the lovely Phoenix procured tickets for us to see Jeff Dunham when he comes to the area in January. Yippie!

Fall trees


The little festival started at 1000. We figured (with the aid of various online mapping software) that it would take two hours and change to get to the festival just outside of Richmond. We left exactly when we wanted to (0800-ish), made unbelievably wonderful time down Route 301 South, and arrived just as it was beginning. We walked around, looked at the crafts for sale, pet the alpacas, bought a few things, and then sat for the last three hours or so with my brother and Moon at their table. They have a dog who offered some excitement for the day. It wasn't exactly boring, because we got to visit with our family.

After the festival, we headed back to my brother's place and the out to a very nice steakhouse for dinner. Stay back, the fried onion didn't stand a chance. We descended on that thing like we hadn't eaten in days! After that, we realized the hotel we were staying in was not the same hotel mom and I stayed in last time, and drove around a bit trying to find it.

More fall trees


It was a nice room, and mom was very pleased because it was just a block away from a Catholic church. I went with her to Mass, which I really haven't done since we were in England. The church was old and quaint, and had been expanded in an odd way that I can't really describe.

We visited with my brother again for a while before heading to the park, around 1130 or so. This is 105 miles at 35 mph. We stopped for lunch about twenty miles in. Somewhere near halfway through, the trek came to a halt as a helicopter landed in a field to transport a fallen hiker to some nearby hospital. It was about 1700 when we reached the end of the drive. No, we did not stop at every single overlook.


Then, we made it back to the office, I picked up my car, and here we are!

Parents discuss the view

Saturday, October 11, 2008


You are subtle as a window pane
Standing in my view
But I will wait for it to rain
So that I can see you
You call me up at night
When there's no light passing through
And you think that I don't understand
But I do.

We don't say everything that we should
So that we can say later
Oh, you misunderstood
I hold my cards
Up close to my chest
I say what I have to
And I hold back the rest

Someone you don't know
Is someone you don't know
Get a firm grip, girl
Before you let go.
For every hand extended
Another lies in wait
Keep your eye on that one

Dress down get out there
Pick a fight with the police
We will get it all on film
For the new release
Seems like everyone's an actor
Or they're an actor's best friend
I wonder what was wrong to begin with
That they should all have to pretend
We lost sight of everything
When we have to keep checking our backs
I think we should all just smile
Come clean and relax

If there's anything I've learned
All these years on my own
It's how to find my own way there
And how to find my own way back home

This was actually me starting to say I'll tell you about today and the whole weekend after I get home. But, the title I chose threw this song by the wonderfully talented Ani DiFranco into my head. So, keep your eye on that one.


Friday, October 10, 2008

The Plan

Here it is!

This afternoon, I'm leaving my car at work and riding home with dad. Some time tomorrow, we'll point ourselves towards Richmond and the Centerville Pumpkin Festival, where my sister-in-law will be selling some of her delightful creations. From there, we're not exactly sure what will happen.

We'll head back to my brother's place, check into our hotel, hang out with them for a bit, sleep, hang out with them some more, and take the beautiful Skyline Drive back to the office, where I will pick up my car and go home.

Doesn't that sound like fun? And the weather is supposed to be lovely. Yay!

Thursday, October 09, 2008


Boss² sent an e-mail to the entire department that overtime is now on a freeze. This means I still get paid for the overtime I've already worked this pay period, but we are all forbidden to get anymore.

So, I got to go home at the regular time and take a much-needed nap! Then, I played around with my computers instead of prepping for my weekend. Ah, well!

The absence of overtime makes tomorrow a little more problematic, but we'll get it working.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Calculations and Planning

I'm a planner. Anyone who knows me should know this. Some of you have experienced my need for plans first-hand (you know I'm first thinking of you, Fox!). It doesn't mean things can't happen last-minute (consider this year's day at King's Dominion or my first trip to Boise), but some things need to be planned. And, amid a busy schedule, they really need to be planned.

It's only Wednesday, and my thoughts are settling on this weekend. I will hold out and tell you about those plans tomorrow or Friday. After the weekend is also slightly plan-less, though I'm hoping a couple things might work out. I've already taken off the first three days of the week, and Hedwig the car has an appointment for new breaks on Monday. So, during this time, maybe Han can visit again. Or, maybe Phoenix and I can go hiking, or to Luray (which I'd really like to see again, it's been a while). If I can find someone to come along, I'd like to try to go to the Melting Pot, maybe Tuesday night or on my actual birthday. That one is just a thought.

I took a tiny bit of time last night to calculate how much PTO I have, how much I will get, how much I will use, and how much I will have left over by the end of the year. I need five more days off between now and then in order to not lose any PTO hours. So, I'm going to call Turtle tonight and see if she can foresee any days off she'll have in November or early December so I can take some time to visit her. Or, maybe she could even come visit me. That would be nice too. I haven't seen Turtle in ages, and we have such conflicting schedules that talking on the phone, or even IM, is difficult. I miss her.

The other day, Han told me that I was not an awful friend because I never talk to Turtle anymore. It's just scheduling conflicts. He's right, but I think part of it is that I take Turtle for granted. We can live a hundred miles apart, and I know our friendship won't change. It's a testament to the wonderful and special person that she is, and the strength of our long-established friendship. I have another friendship that's like that (she needs a name here, I think). I've talked about her before, I met her in fourth grade and quite a lot of vast distances haven’t dimmed our relationship over the years. She brought me this awesome deck of cards from her honeymoon in Iceland (if only I could read Icelandic!). Truly, I can do more to keep in touch with both of them and let them know how important they are to me.

So, Turtle will get a call tonight so we can work out a visit in the near future. She and I both have new places to live, so we do need to do some cross-visiting. If nothing else, I need that girl's address! I think I'm going to call that other friend too. I need her address as well. And I have some letters and thank-yous to write to my family. I have a lot to do tonight!

To top everything off, I've been officially pulled off of the overtime project that I've been working on since August to work on something for my own department, still in overtime. I'm not sure I'll get all my phone calls done today, but Turtle is at the top of the list.

Lots to do!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Wearing Thin

Not literally.

One of the things I hate most about working overtime is that I don't have the energy to exercise when I get home (not to mention that it tends to be rather late and it's not good to be exercising so close to going to bed). I am going to force myself on that elliptical tonight and tomorrow.

Friday, I head home with dad after work so we can visit my brother and sister-in-law for the weekend. We're hoping to take Skyline Drive on the way back to Northern Virginia. It should be fun!

Monday, October 06, 2008

Not Inept

Phoenix came home yesterday. She had a fun trip, saw many cool things, and brought me a neat leaf-shaped dish. We did a lot of talking about her trip and my exhausting weekend. There was a time last week when I was looking through some pictures and came across a photo of her I took when we went to see Wishful Drinking. When I saw that picture, I immediately thought that I missed my wonderful roommate. It was nice to have the place to myself, and I'm glad she's home.

In her rather hasty departure, Phoenix managed to leave behind three little, quickly-browning bananas. I looked through my collection of cookbooks for a yummy banana bread recipe (she's thrown away too many uneaten bananas) and came across one that called for that marvel of baking essentials, Bisquick. I got a box, whipped up the bread, called it yummy, and took half of it home to my parents on Friday night. Of course, I left a note for Phoenix telling her all the things I wouldn't be there to explain (like the pile of stuff on the floor by her dresser that Miss Luna just kept knocking off, and which eggs were boiled and which were fresh), and ordering her to have some of that tasty bread. Her bananas went to a good cause!

Tonight, I made chicken soup with dumplings. Talk about yummy! I'm going to try not to kill myself with Bisquick, of course, but it's fun to use, and easy and great for a kitchen amateur like me. My soup was so good I burnt my tongue on it. Twice. Oops!

So, overtime at work is continuing. They said "for the month of August." Anyone else remember that? It was supposed to be just August. Yeah, still working late daily. If I thought I was tired yesterday, I'm really tired today. I could only stand an hour extra of work. Yet, I still had energy to cook dinner.

And, I found the energy to load up my teeny tiny iPod, which is currently shuffling away. This thing is great.

I do feel a little bad because I didn't exercise. I'm just too tired. The only reason I'm awake right now is because the computer is running the weekly anti-virus scan and it takes forever on my 300 GB drive and I'll turn off the computer when it's done.

You know, that's silly! I'll wake up in the middle of the night anyway, because the sound of the computer will wake me. I can turn it off then. That's it. Goodnight!

Sunday, October 05, 2008


That is, if I were made of something that had threads, I'd be threadbare right now. I am so beyond tired. Because we were so busy yesterday, we were all worn out for today.

My beloved mother just couldn't wait and gave me birthday presents this morning. She got an awesome red fleece-like jacket and a teeny, tiny, adorably green, 1GB iPod Shuffle. My very first iPod! Not that I need an iPod or anything. But, it's so cute! And it's green! I'm too tired to mess with it tonight, though. That will be tomorrow's fun. Yay! Go, Mom!

Saturday, October 04, 2008

It Won't Sound Right

But we were biiiiiiiizzzzzzzzeeeeeeeeeeee!

We took in more moolah today than the entirety of last weekend. Huzzah for drunken Oktoberfest parties and perfect faire weather!

Friday, October 03, 2008

Quick Blog

I had something else to say, but the evening ran away with me.

Headin' home.

Workin' faire.

Catch ya later!

Thursday, October 02, 2008


Miss Luna has decided that my roommate's dresser is an interesting place, with many things she can knock over all through the night. Thankfully, she hasn't broken anything. She started at 0100, which means I've been awake since then. Add that work managed to finagle an extra hour out of me (even though it does not translate into overtime pay because of my days off earlier in the week). I can't explain why I'm not in bed yet.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Can't Say Enough

My dear TG had to have her dear dog Madison euthanized on Saturday. I always feel like I'm no help when people come to me with such news. Maybe I am. Maybe all the help she needs is to know that I understand. I think it's a kind of grief that only other pet owners can understand.

Someday, TG will recognize that she did everything she could with the knowledge she had. I know it's little consolation now. She loved Madison and will miss her. I hope she’ll find peace in that.