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Feb. 7th, 2012

I made a new rule for myself today. Every time I catch myself thinking that I am too fat, I have to drop to the floor and do situps and pushups. Over time, this will mean I either lose flab and gain muscle, or else condition myself out of thinking about it. Or possibly both.

Today I did 11 situps and 10 pushups. 5 at a time is about all my muscles and lung capacity can handle at the moment. This will also increase over time.

This may not be any more successful than any of the other ways I've attempted to add exercise to my lifestyle, but it's at least worth a try.

fanfic recommendation

HP fanfic rec:

For Hogwarts: a Regency Gamble

Hermione/Severus, about 4 years post-war, ignores Snape's death and the epilogue but otherwise fairly consistent with the events of DH. Characterizations vary, naturally.

Hogwarts is in financial trouble and a team from the Ministry - headed by Hermione - recommends a fundraiser, namely a Regency Week, since the castle's such an ideal site and the period is so popular.

The Regency period has been dear to me for many years, and finding a well-written modern Regency romance is a delight, especially with my favorite fanfic pairing.


Dec. 20th, 2011

I will not be having an Open House this year (it's not my house). However, if you are in the area and have nothing to do on Christmas Day, let me know.


It must have been 15 years ago when nemo_wistar named me Chief Coverer of Asses for how hard I'd worked during and after Medfest that year, and had me elected secretary for the organization the following year.

I've been a secretary and an ass-coverer ever since. One of the reasons I shy away from official titles and responsibilities is that I do my best work when I'm free to step in at the last minute to do whatever's necessary. That's one of the realities of life, whether it's working in an office or running an event or planning a wedding: things are going to go wrong at the last minute. Things are going to come up that were forgotten. People are going to have life happen to them and be unable to do what they promised. And the show must go on. So it's vital to know who can be relied on to pitch in and make things happen.

As far as I'm concerned, recognition is not merely unimportant but a sign that I didn't do a good enough job. My role is to make things run smoothly, and keep other people looking good. So anyone who isn't directly involved should never know there was anything for me to do at all. Whoever I'm working for knows what I do, and that's what matters.

Anyway, I invoked the title of Coverer of Asses in the course of conversation tonight, which is why I'm thinking of this.

Oct. 28th, 2011

Tonight was my going-away party. My boss took me out to dinner at a nice restaurant in town, and invited some of the women who used to work with us. It was fun. He's been so supportive and encouraging, despite the chaos and hardship that's about to overtake him when I'm gone. That's probably the thing that makes me feel the best about what I'm about to do -- and also what makes me feel the worst. I've always described the office as being like family. Now it's like I'm leaving the nest for the first time. Sort of like when I left for college, except for less yelling and sulking.

It's still not quite real. My head's all full of what I need to get done in the next week at the office. This project and that, wrapping up that case, writing lists and procedures, and labeling every pile in the office. I need to remember to take my pen, and the shelf.

I'm also thinking about what needs to get packed and moved and all. Most of it was done in August, but I had about a carload and a half of stuff still here for the last two months. About half of that is getting moved tomorrow. So I've been thinking about what fits best how, what I'll need in the next week, and so on.

Although next Friday is my last day of work, I'm not even certain yet on which day I'll finish moving. I don't know whether I have plans for next weekend. If I'm doing the... thing, then I'll be there Friday and Saturday nights, come back here on Sunday night and move on Monday. If not, then I'll most likely move out on Saturday. It doesn't matter, of course, it's not as if I'm getting kicked out of here, but it's unusual for me to not have everything set in stone by this point.

And that's on purpose. I'm trying to learn to be flexible, to accept uncertainty as well as change. Might as well try it with my own life, with things that are under control and that I can make alternate plans for. Baby steps toward adventure.

I just wish I could remember where I packed my slippers. I'm afraid they may be in storage, and I wanted them. They're not with the rest of my shoes.
Also, I have gone ahead and registered for Arisia, despite having no idea what my future will bring. It's probably overly optimistic to think I might find a job that starts before then anyway. And if I do, that will be a pleasant sort of problem to have to resolve. More likely, I'll have nothing better to do.

What's interesting is that I want to use the word optimistic both for the possibility of having a new job before mid-January, and also for the possibility that there will be nothing to interfere with traveling to Boston mid-January. So much of what might be is something lovely to look forward to. I'm not used to that feeling, but I'm enjoying it.

Sep. 15th, 2011

Work begins to be a bit peculiar. Joe's telling people around town that I'm leaving. I've had several conversations this week that started with "Why are you leaving us?" It's gratifying to know I'm appreciated. I wish I could get letters of recommendation from all of them! But it's sad too. And also disconcerting; I haven't been telling anyone, so I'm always surprised when someone knows. I don't mind, of course. I wasn't going to say anything until we had a new person in place, but that's for Joe's benefit, so it's up to him what he wants to disclose.

It's also strange to be screening the resumes for my own job. When I've done this before, it was for someone to work with. It doesn't matter if this person works well with me, they just need to be able to replace me. The parts that aren't institutional knowledge, anyway. The top two candidates are coming in for interviews tomorrow afternoon. One of them isn't working, and if she's the right fit then she could start as soon as Monday. That's a daunting thought. I've appropriated all three desks, since I've been doing all three jobs. At least that one's going to be the easiest to clean up. I might spend some time at the office this weekend, whichever day I'm not at Maker Faire, however.

All of this is not before time. I don't have a firm end date yet, but I've been saying end of October. The 28th is a Friday and the end of a pay period, so it seems most natural. That's only six weeks away. If it takes a little longer for him to find someone or if there's more needed -- in my opinion, not his -- I'm willing to give him an additional two weeks, to November 11. That's as far as I'll go, though. I have commitments starting partway through the week after.

Eight weeks at very most. It's going to fly. I'll blink and that will be it. (Also, the weeping angel will eat me.)


You must answer three questions:

Do you need this in the next year?
Do you need this in the next two months?
Do you need this in the next two weeks?

AAAAAAaaaaaaaughhh! *thud*
I'm pleased with Verizon Wireless. This is not something I say often. You may recall that a couple months back, after unusually high text usage (30), I was contacted by the company to try to sell me a plan. They failed, since not one of their plans was cheaper than what I'd spent paying per message. If they'd had a $5 plan, I would have taken it, but they couldn't offer me that.

Yesterday, I got an email offering me a $5 text plan, for 250 texts per month, plus half the cost for any overage. I endorse this proposal! So I went to the website to sign up. To my great delight, they will also now let me drop the $5 per month data plan I was required to take when I bought the phone, even though I have no intention of using data on it. Not even sure what you could do with it. So now for the same price, I can get something I might use instead of something I will never use. And it didn't force me into a contract, so if I want to change carriers after I move, I'm still free to do so.

So, as of the start of my next billing cycle -- Wednesday next week -- I shall now be much more receptive to text conversations.

Aug. 2nd, 2011

Well, heck.

I have only one episode left of Doctor Who on Netflix. I've been going slowly to make them last longer. But I know the second half of the current season is starting soon (end of the month) and I figured that they'd replay the first half before then. Which they are, one randomly this Friday and the rest of them a week from Saturday. All well and good, excellent plan, get caught up and then figure out how to get the new ones.

Except I just discovered that Cablevision doesn't carry BBC America.


...however, it does seem to be on Amazon video. So maybe I'll try that.
Finally finished my re-read of A Storm of Swords. It turns out that the reason I've been off on parts of the timeline is that I really remembered very little of the book. Not so surprising. The first three I'd read at least twice each and also listened to as audiobooks. Storm I had read just the once, and that when it was new.

And now I can move on to A Dance with Dragons.


Jul. 21st, 2011

Procrastination Girl has finally emailed the movers she used last time to ask questions about this time.


Please, let all the answers be yes.


Independence Day

I was going to write all about July 4ths in my past. But it turns out I did the abbreviated version of it back in 2005. Thank goodness for tagging, so I can catch some of my repetitiveness. Instead, just tonight:

On Route 78 eastbound, about five miles west of the border between Pennsylvania and New Jersey, there's a ridge that looks down over a valley. It's great scenery, even if it is built up suburbs. The same view in the south or west would be gorgeous.

I crested that ridge at about 9:30 tonight. At least half a dozen separate fireworks displays were visible around that valley, maybe more. If I'd been in the right lane, I might have pulled over just to watch for a while. Instead, I kept going, past a few towns whose fireworks go off right over the highway.

This is what America is really about. Colorful explosives. :-) But seriously, it's not just about the big cities. It's the things that happen in the small towns as well. Fireworks and parades, a belief that there are some basic truths and freedoms. We argue about the details, and just about everything else, but even that right to argue and to choose is not something all humans can count on. The US may be screwed up, but it's still better than many of the alternatives.

Happy Independence Day, all.


Writer's Block: Fairest one of all

What is something you would never want to change about yourself?

My sense of humor. I can find humor in just about anything. Sometimes that's all that makes life bearable. However, if you can laugh at something, then you can live with it.

Sure, sometimes I giggle at inappropriate times. I use humor defensively. And sometimes (often) I have to explain why something's funny to me. But I'm OK with all of that.
*counts to ten*

*deep breath*

My life is good. The assholes are temporary.

My blood pressure doesn't need elevating any further.

Crazy landlady is only my problem for another 62 days, plus however long it takes to fight her for the security deposit. The fact that she started the fight today? Not a good sign.

As for the angry not-even-a-client, I understand why he's angry but yelling at me doesn't help.

ETA: It's not working. Tell me you love me, please? I need some not-angry.


Collected thoughts

-- Last weekend, I spent a day at the Celtic Fling at the PA Ren Faire with hughcasey and elionwyr. It was wonderful to close my eyes and relax and let the music wash over and around and through me. Also, I got to see some of the caber tossing, which I've wanted to see for quite some time.

-- Tuesday morning my ironing board attacked me and cut the top of my thumb. Ow, dammit. Somebody should come kiss it and make it better. I've never had that happen before, and now I'm going to be wary every time I move the darned thing. Also, I realized that my box of bandaids is the same box that moved out of North Street with me five years ago. They still stick just fine, but the paper covers practically fall off as soon as they're touched. I'm thinking this is a sign that what's left should not get packed, just replaced at the next location.

-- One of the things that annoys me in grocery stores is when they rearrange the shelves and stick other products in the places of things that sell out to make them look more full. I know there's marketing theory behind it. But what it means to me is that I have to undo that work to see whether that's what happened, or whether some customer put things back in the wrong place, and the product I want might still be there behind one or two of the wrong item. I would really prefer to be able to look, see I'm out of luck, and move on.

-- I finally kicked myself hard this morning and scheduled the two things I've been avoiding, service for my car (Friday) and a haircut (morning of the 16th). It's odd that I was having such difficulty getting these done. It's not like they're things I haven't been doing for years. I think my anxiety has been channeled into those things, since I'm being darned careful it doesn't stop me from making the big changes I've got coming up. I suppose it could be worse.


Jumping Off a Cliff

Tonight I told my boss I was leaving. Not just that I was going home; I tell him that every night. Tonight I also told him I would be leaving his employ.

The short version is: My lease is up at the end of August, my roommate is moving in with his fiance, and I really can't afford to live on my own around here on what I earn. All things considered, this seems like a good time to pull up stakes and move to somewhere with a lower cost of living, and closer to more of my friends and more of the activities I've gotten involved with.

So here's my plan. By the end of August, all my furniture and most of my possessions will move into storage. I will move in with local friends for two months. At the end of October, I will leave my job. November is for vacation. I plan to travel and visit for the entire month, more or less. I have a few stops in mind already, but if you want me to come see you, let me know before I set my itinerary. In December, I will move in with friends in PA and start looking for a new job.

-- In both cases, the friends in question are on board with the plan. I'm withholding names, but they can feel free to identify themselves. Besides, if you know them, you know who it'll be anyway, and if you don't know them it doesn't matter.

-- Why give my boss more than four months notice? Well, I've been there close to twelve years (the anniversary is in October, which is one of the reasons I'm planning to stay until then). I'm also the only employee. It takes time to hire, and a LOT of time to train someone to be good. Trying to transmit the amount of institutional knowledge that lives in my brain could take a couple of YEARS, not just months. By leaving, I'm choosing to do what's best for me. By giving him this much time, I'm making the best possible effort to avoid damage to the business when I go. That's the only way I can live with myself. And he does appreciate it.

-- Am I aware that December is a bad time to find a job? Sure. I fully expect it to take at least several months to find something. I have savings. But it's not a bad time to *start* looking.

This is terrifying. I don't do well with change, and this is changing a great number of things in my life all at once. It feels like jumping off a cliff, without knowing what's at the bottom or even how far away the bottom might be. But I have a plan, which I've run by a number of people. I have enough savings to carry me for a little while. And I have wonderful, amazingly supportive friends and family who will help me get by, in body and in spirit.

I wasn't planning to tell Joe tonight, when I'm looking at a weekend home alone cleaning the house. I was planning to make it next week, and then flee to somewhere else with something to distract me. But in the last couple of days, doubt and anxiety were creeping up on me and I started second-guessing the whole thing. By the end of this weekend, I might have talked myself out of it. So, now I'm committed to the jump.

I'm excited about all the potential of my future. I'm also nervous, and terrified. But this is going to be a good thing.

(crossposted to Facebook)

Jun. 14th, 2011

I hate the idea that I'm about to make myself one of those women who keeps boxes of clothing in sizes she isn't but might be again some day. But I hate it less than the idea of spending the money to replace my wardrobe every time my weight fluctuates.

I'm still getting rid of a lot of things I'm never going to wear again no matter what size I am. Many of which were either gifts from my mother, or laundry-day garments. Or dress pants I hated, because pants almost never look right on me.


Deja vu

So, a few weeks ago at Steampunk World's Fair, I was told, "You're about to see something alarming. Don't be alarmed." This was followed by the paramedics wheeling out Jesus on a gurney -- an excellent prank for the day of the purported Rapture.

This morning in church, we were told, "You're about to hear an alarm. Don't be alarmed." I couldn't resist speculating about what kind of prank might follow that. Especially as today was Pentecost. However, as it was a Unitarian church, the joke potential remained unrealized.

I'm very proud of Jemmie, my newest godson. He was not the child who puked all over the altar. Nor was he the one who looked at the water and told the priest "No thank you" and hid her face. He was sweet and well-behaved through both the service and the party, despite missing his nap. His big brother behaved pretty well too, for a four-year-old.

And I got lots of baby snuggle time. Happy Steph.

Catching up

I keep thinking I'm going to write full-length posts for some of the things I've been doing, but it's just not happening. So, then, here's the essence of it:

Where I've beenCollapse )

Where I'm goingCollapse )

and other random stuffCollapse )

Fuzzy Nation by John Scalzi

So, that'd be A, with the bonus that it was a short enough book that I finished at 12:30 and will have time to sleep.

I was incorrect in my description. It was a world and characters entirely different from the ones I knew, but the main character has the same name. The plot is... "related" is perhaps the best word. The theme is the same and the culminating sequence is remarkably similar given the differences leading up to it.

I strongly recommend Fuzzy Nation by John Scalzi. Thus, no spoilers provided at all. I'll be seeking out some of Scalzi's other work.

I also recommend the original, Little Fuzzy by H. Beam Piper. It was published in 1962, so it may be a little dated, although I think it holds up pretty well.


May. 10th, 2011

I have just downloaded to my Kindle a newly published book by an author I've never read but who has been recommended to me many times, about a world and characters I grew up loving.

The Kindle and I are going to bed together now.

I predict that one of the following will occur: a) it will be the best thing ever and I will read it straight through and get almost no sleep tonight; b) it will be terribly horribly wrong and I will be sad I didn't wait a year to get a paperback I could throw across the room; or c) I will fall asleep in ten minutes and repeat this attempt tomorrow night.

Hoping for A. Betting on C.


Apr. 29th, 2011

I did not get up early enough to watch the British royal wedding. Somehow I doubt that the newlyweds will have noticed my absence.

I remember getting up to watch when his parents got married. I don't really remember the wedding itself, just waiting with my mom and grandmother for it to start. I checked the dates on that, and it turns out that it's among my earliest memories. It's funny which things stick.

Americans are so proud of the system we have, of the history of the revolution and of the ability to get rid of anyone. And yet so many of us still are fascinated by monarchy and nobility. Equality, no one's better than anyone else, the triumph of mediocrity -- but maybe some day I will grow up and marry a prince. The Commonwealth realms ended up with a pretty good deal. They get to keep the symbolism of the monarchy, while mostly handling things on their own. We just borrow.