July 31, 2000
I am the nostalgia queen, and I have an odd memory for dates. This combines to make me insufferable at times. What is it today, you might ask cautiously? Well, today is Bob's birthday. Who's Bob? Bob was the most serious relationship I had in high school. We met while we were both working at McDonalds for the summer. We started dating as the result of a prank, really. A very "Much Ado About Nothing" sort of situation. One of our co-workers kept coming up to me and going, "Bob really likes you, you know." He was trying to embarrass me. Wait. No, if memory serves, he actually said something more like "Bob's got the hots for you." Meanwhile, the same co-worker was telling Bob pretty much the same thing about me. It wasn't long before we were dating.
It was one of those very sweet cases of first love, one that ultimately ended because of parental pressure (on his side) due to a difference in our religions. (He was Mormon, I wasn't, and showed no signs of converting.) We dated for almost my entire senior year, though, breaking up just a few weeks before I graduated.
The last time I spoke to him that summer was on his birthday. He was dating someone else by then, a nice, parentally-approved Mormon girl, but I called him on his birthday for two reasons, partly to wish him a happy birthday, and partly because I'd just received some horrible news and wanted to talk to someone who knew me and knew the situation. Essentially, that was the day I learned that my father had pnuemonia and likely only had a few days to live. Bob had helped me through several crises around my dad during the nine months we dated, including one evening when I got so upset and panicked that he ended up coming over and just holding me while I cried. I thought he might understand.
Unfortunately I called when his new girlfriend was around, so all I got was a cold, impersonal "I'm sorry to hear that". I remember how that made the hurt that much worse, how betrayed I felt. Of course, the fact that I was still not over him and was more than a touch jealous might have been involved there too.
Geh. Nostalgia sucks. I'm remembering how much guilt I had over that relationship ending. Part of me still feels like it was my fault. I mean, it was a doomed relationship. Obviously. The religion issue just wasn't going to go away, period. I still wonder though, what might have happened...
The last time I saw him was in 1992, about a year after I'd gotten married. It was a Saturday and I was working as a bank teller. His little brother came in and spotted me. He didn't say a word, just finished his business with another teller and left. About forty-five minutes later, Bob came in, obviously freshly-showered (damp hair and all) and wearing a shirt and tie -- on a Saturday. I remember being oddly touched. I also remember being touched at how disappointed he looked to find out that I was married. About that time, Gary came to pick me up, fresh (or not so fresh) from his job in a machine shop. So, I introduced my freshly-scrubbed ex-boyfriend to my grimy, sweaty, stinky husband. Can you say 'awkward'? But it wasn't awkward for long, because as soon as Bob figured out who Gary was, he mumbled something about having to go and beelined it out of the bank.
Of course, given how the marriage turned out, my mom's comment was that she wished I'd stayed with Bob. Last I heard, he went to BYU. I wonder where he is now...
July 30, 2000
Hail, Hail, the Gang's All (Mostly) Here
Today was a wonderful Sunday. While I didn't make it to church as I keep saying I'm going to, I did have a nice, quiet morning. That was why I didn't go, actually. I was awake and could have gotten ready, but the calm, orderly (!) quiet of my apartment was too appealing, so I hung around here. I baked some nut bread for breakfast and watched a movie -- Blade. So much for the quiet, eh? After that I did some last minute house-straightening, because my old gaming group was coming over.
I missed these guys. Back when I first moved to Ann Arbor, in 1995, I was living with a fellow SCAdian named Sharon, and we shared the same group of friends, all also in the SCA. We did everything together. The lot of us danced and sang and played roleplaying games. If someone ever got an idea of something fun to do, they'd call around and invite everyone else. It's the only other time (aside from college) where I've had a gang of friends.
They were my first gaming group. We had one campaign that lasted for several years, and did several others as well. About the time I moved in with Hollingsworth, I sort of drifted away from the SCA, but we still gamed for a while. Then, as I started to get into Changeling, I got frustrated with the extremely combat oriented game we were playing, so I drifted from that as well.
Now that I'm back in the area, and getting back involved with the SCA, I wanted to catch up with these guys too. And, as it turns out, the group had hit a lull and was looking for something to jump start them again. So, we got together today to figure out what we want to do. I'd say about two-thirds of the group was around, including me, Mark, Kevin, Magda (who I hadn't seen in years!) and yes, Hollingsworth. We batted some character ideas around, went to dinner, and figured out pretty much what we're doing -- sort of. For all practical intents and purposes, Kevin and I and who knows who else are all co-GMing a campaign set in the world we've played in for so many years.
They're giving me pretty much free rein to determine the faerie culture and society and are letting me run amok with them. The silly fools! *insert cackle here* It sounds like each of the GMs will have their own areas of society to focus on, and whenever the story crosses from one to the area, tag team! I think it'll be fun. It'll keep me on my toes for sure. While I'll have sessions where I've planned stuff out, there's no telling when the story might cross into my territory, and I'll have to come up with stuff spur of the moment.
I think the greatest thing was that the group dynamic hasn't changed much. I think I'm a little more active, mostly because I'm more experienced (and therefore more comfortable) as a gamer, but that's about it. I was worried about things being awkward between Hollingsworth and I, but I don't think they were, really. It was a little strange, seeing someone I used to be so close to from such a distance, but it wasn't awkward. I kept wanting to ask him all these personal questions, but I didn't feel like they were appropriate. I felt a little weird asking him where he lived, much less if he was still with his girlfriend or where he was working now.
What was oddest of all was that some things between he and I didn't seem like they'd changed, although I knew they had. At one point, we ended up sitting next to each other, and I had to stop and remind myself not to do silly flirty things like poke him in the side or touch his arm. Discovering that I'm still at least marginally attracted to him was the only disconcerting part of the day, but I think I kept that to myself. Until now, of course, when I've written it and posted it for all the world to see. Heh.
July 29, 2000
Change of Plans
Well, as evidenced by the fact that I'm sitting here writing this, I didn't get to go to the LARP tonight. I'm pissed. I got up this morning and ran out to do some errands. On the way home, my car started making some weird noises. So I thought maybe I could get it checked out before I started on the trip, as I was going to be driving four or five hours. No dice.
So after calling around, I decided to be safe rather than sorry, and stayed home. I've driven the car around town today, and it's still making the noise, but it seems okay. I hate this. I feel like I did the 'responsible' thing, but at the same time, I think I was being over-cautious. I feel like I was very stodgy about the whole thing, but honestly, I don't have enough extra money lying around for a big emergency expense. Well no. That's not completely accurate. I do have some extra money lying around, and I'd hate like hell to have another setback that would eat up the extra and put me in the hole again. Maybe that is stodgy of me.
But on the other hand, a stodgy person wouldn't have bought what I did last night. Yes, that's a dress in that picture. Yes, it's leopard print. As I've told several people, it breaks every single fashion rule I have. It's sleeveless. (I hate my upper arms, usually.) It clings. (I mean, really clings.) It's... well... leopard print! But as soon as I put it on, I had to have it. My first thought was it would make a great costume, but I'm starting to see other possibilities as well. Doesn't every self-respecting single girl need at least one good 'trashy' dress?
Don't get me wrong. It's not utterly tasteless. It doesn't show any more of me than a very very modest bathing suit would. In fact, it shows less, because it's nearly floor-length. Even if the rest of the world thinks I look like a rhino in it, I like it. It's comfortable. It makes me feel just a little bit bad, and that's a good thing.
It also makes me feel defiant. Screw those people who think someone who's fat should only wear baggy clothes. What's the point in that? To hide the fact that they're fat? Wearing something baggy is not going to hide my size. All it does is hide the curves that are there, even if they are outsized and occasionally convex where modern fashion sense says they should be concave.
So, we'll see. I'm going to start looking for a chance to wear this thing.
July 28, 2000
I declare myself officially brain dead today. I started to write this entry an hour ago, and completely forgot. I sat staring at webpages and not comprehending what I was reading for an hour instead.
In case you missed it, I finished the manuscript last night. Well, this morning, to be more accurate. I emailed the files off to the editor at 5:30 am. I'm not really nervous, because well, at this point there's not much I can do to fix any mistakes I made before the editor sees it. Although, when I woke up this morning, I realized I'd spent most of the night dreaming about proofreading. I'm serious. I dreamed that I was going back through my manuscript and found all these horrible errors that I'd forgotten to correct before sending it in.
Okay. So maybe I'm a little nervous. I've made it a point not to look at the manuscript file at all today. At this point, I don't want to see the mistakes that are in there. I feel like I'm back in school turning papers in. I mean, it's not like she's going to grade me down for typos or misspellings or anything, right?
Overall, I'm really proud of it. I know it's far longer than it was supposed to be, and I know there are mistakes. But I learned so much while writing this. I can see an improvement in my writing for sure. Ironically, I think most of that improvement came from editing my stuff and Brand's.
Eric, the eternal pragmatist, upon hearing about the finished manuscript, said, "Congratulations. What are you working on next?" I have no idea. There's a chance of me doing some more articles for Girlie Style, and I want to look into some other webzines as well. And well... with one book under my belt, part of my mind is insisting that I could do a novel...
(I hear you all screaming, "Oh god no, she'll never shut up about that!")
July 27, 2000
Scenes from a Search Engine
So... I'm looking over my website statistics (I seem to have picked up a lot of new readers, um, hi and welcome!) last night, and I took a look at what people are searching for on my site. Some of it was, erm, interesting. I found myself guessing which entries folks were looking for, and why. Here are some of my thoughts:
selkie: Searched for 7 times. Since I think the search looks at the URL as well... I'd imagine the resulting list is really extensive. And that reminds me, I should get going on the selkie mythology section I've been planning...
till human voices wake us: Searched for 3 times. Someone remembered my domain and not the journal URL, I suppose.
different human voices: 2 searches. I know I've talked about singing before, but I honestly have no idea. None.
foam finger maker: One search. They could only have been looking for this entry. I just don't know why. My kudos to the Bud Light advertising folks aside, I didn't think it was that interesting an entry. What do I know?
kindred: the embrace: One search. Oh god. Word's gotten out that I actually kinda liked that show, hasn't it? I'm so ashamed.
my dad said be an actor my son but be a comical one: One search. The quote is from "Make 'Em Laugh" from Singin' in the Rain, and I could have sworn I've used it as a quote at least once. The search didn't turn up anything though, when I checked it.
hermaphrodite human: One search. Wow, um. I don't know what to say about this one. That's kind of like last month's recurring search on "my boobs". For the record, neither search turns up anything. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.
The article I wrote for Girlie Style is up! Go, go read! And read the other articles while you're there. It's some pretty good stuff. Then write to Chickclick and tell them how much you adore me and how they should give me huge amounts of money to write! Or not, whichever. :-)
July 26, 2000
D-Day: Two Days
I finished my last chapter last night. I was very pleased at how it turned out. Of the three stories I wrote for this book, I think three of them are extremely good, and the fourth solid if not earthshattering. The worst of the four was the hardest to write. The characters just weren't talking to me. I could tell when I was writing that it wasn't as good as the others. The last one though, the one I finished last night, I knew it was good. I told Brand just as I was finishing it, "I nailed it. I knew it when I was writing it."
I feel very conceited writing that. It may be that my editor will disagree with me completely and hate everything we're sending her. I don't know. I can't argue too loudly with that feeling of having nailed it though. It's difficult to describe. It was just this rush of utter confidence that made me go "YES!" after I wrote the last sentence. It's that same confidence that makes me want to send bits and excerpts to everyone I know and say, "Look! Look what I did! Isn't that cool? I did that!" Fortunately, I've managed to control that urge a little.
I did send one of the stories to my Changeling group, the very first one I wrote. The story itself deals with a family that belongs to essentially a guild of geisha, although the main character is much closer to a prostitute than a geisha. When Dawn read it, she admitted that she kept stopping and thinking, "Lisa wrote this?" Unfortunately, she wasn't thinking that because of how awesome my writing was, it was more the subject matter. I don't know why, but that just made me grin. I mean, it's not like I wrote anything pornographic, or even necessarily erotic. Since all of the characters in the story took the main character's profession for granted, it was all very matter-of-fact. Still, it made me grin when Dawn commented that reading another author writing about a similar subject wouldn't even make her think twice, but since it was me, someone she's known since I was thirteen, it threw her. Of course, now I'm worried about what my mom will think.
I got Max groomed yesterday. I have a stressed out, neurotic kitty. I'm afraid leaving him at the vet's all day was a bad idea. On the positive side, however, he smells wonderful and looks and feels much more like his old self. Now if he would just stop losing his fur...
So. I'm apparently going to Indiana this weekend for James' Vampire LARP. Of course, we haven't crossed paths at all this week so I haven't verified any last-minute details or anything. I still have no idea what my character is going to wear or what she'll act like, and that makes me nervous. I feel like I'm about to open in a play and I haven't learned my lines. Which, honestly, is not too far off from what the situation is. Gack. I just realized my character doesn't even have a name yet. Well. I have a bit of work to do, I see.
July 25, 2000
I'm still trying to get used to this early schedule thing. I talked to my supervisor today and this is pretty much what my schedule is going to be. Nine to six four days a week, and eleven to eight on the fifth day. I can deal with that. It takes away my last excuse for not having more a social life. (And thank you to Jo for reaffirming that fact. ;-) She said, "Oh no! You lost your excuse!")
That said, I did in fact go the SCA meeting last night. It was pretty neat; a mixture of things I remembered and things that have changed, as well as a mixture of old faces and new. It was nice to be remembered. I got lots of hugs and lots of "Lisa! Long time no see!" in tones that said "we missed you!" rather than "where the hell have you been?" Music and dance practices are both still on Thursdays, but I can't go this week, despite telling people I would. It's not an excuse. With the manuscript due on Friday morning, I'm probably going to be doing last minute stuff on it Thursday night. Next week though, definitely.
It felt really good to be out and doing things. Even the sizable (for me at least) walk from the parking lot to the campus building where the meeting was felt good. And dance... god. I'm a little scared about that. When I was involved before I was also teaching preschool, so between walking and running around all day and dancing once or twice a week, I was still fat, but in good shape. I mean good shape. Pulse around 60, blood pressure around 110/70, and I could dance literally for ten hours at a stretch (well, with pauses between dances and stops for water and such). Now I'm just fat. Before I had a sense of confidence in my body. I felt graceful, and I wasn't worried about any sort of injuries. Now I'm half-afraid I'm going to trip over my own feet and break bits of myself. I know dance is going to be tough to start with. I'm just hoping that the same insane love I had for it before will return and that love will give me the determination to stay with it through the tough bits, and help me get back to where I was.
Oy, and garb. I need garb. My old stuff, for the most part, either reeks of cat pee (thanks Max) or doesn't fit anymore. I may have an outfit left, but I'm not certain. Time to dig out the sewing machine and see if I remember how to do that again too! If I can just remember how to make a tunic...
Oh yeah, and I've got to redesign the Changeling site, update and add some things to the Gamer Geek webring site, eventually finish doing the CSS on this site, maybe redesign this site (heh heh, I actually typed 'shite' the first time... Freudian slip?), work on a novel, etc, etc... next time I complain about being bored, somebody smack me?
July 24, 2000
I'm Too Silly For It To Be A Monday
Heh. I found out that KT's stepdad was in Last of the Mohicans. Had a line or two, apparently. Now I need to go watch for him. Those nutty historical reenactors... oh wait. That would be the pot calling the kettle black, wouldn't it?
Speaking of that. There's an SCA meeting tonight, methinks. Since my work schedule has shifted, I really should go. It'd be nice to see everyone again, and I've been saying I was going to get involved again ever since I moved last October. Hrm... there is in fact a meeting, and I could make it. Pardon me while I kick myself in the butt to get over the whole shyness 'what if nobody likes me anymore' issue.
I never said I was sensible.
Of course, if I were sensible, I probably wouldn't be so keen on being a member of the SCA.
Oh, I haven't mentioned it yet, but I wrote an article on women and gaming for the webzine Girlie Style. Last I checked it wasn't up yet, but the editor says it should be up by Thursday. I'll post a direct URL once I get my hands on one. I was very pleased with how it turned out. I joked to Tribe 8's editor (who gave me some awesome quotes to use in the article, by the way), "All this while working on the book too. Now I really feel like a freelancer."
It's not a bad feeling at all. I know I couldn't solely make my living from it though. Even if I did get enough work to pay my bills, the instability of it would drive me mad. I need to know that I can count on a paycheck every week (or month, in my case). Still... this working to pay the bills and writing to make myself happy thing is working out quite well so far. I'm definitely going to look into writing more articles for the web.
Hi, I'm Lisa. I'm a freelance writer.
Heh. Just trying it on for size. I think it fits. I'll take it!
July 23, 2000
Last of the Mohicans
I'm a little irked at myself today. I'd meant to go to church this morning, and I completely forgot in my desire to sleep in. This might sound odd, but I took a religion quiz online, where it asks what you believe, then tells you which religion best fits your beliefs. Not terribly surprising, I came up as a Unitarian Universalist. It's a religion I've looked at before, and after taking the quiz I looked into it further. I'm interested in learning more. I just need to get my butt out of bed on Sunday mornings and go to the church here in town.
Aside from sleeping in, I did some writing earlier and then watched Last of the Mohicans. I think I only saw it once in the theatres, but I remembered liking it very much. My thought while watching it was that it was a movie with something for everyone: Daniel Day Lewis in wet buckskin, Madeline Stowe in wet linen, lots of violence... what else do you want?
Seriously though, I don't think I cried at any point while watching it the first time, but I do remember leaving the theatre feeling as if I'd been walloped between the eyebrows. There's one scene that always gives me chills. The heroes, hiding in a cave behind a waterfall, learn that they're about to be discovered. Hoping to avoid a fight, Hawkeye is forced to leave Cora behind. With the sound of roaring water all around, she tells him to go, that even if she dies, part of her will live on through him. He grabs her by the shoulders, and shouts over the sound of the water, "You be strong, you survive... You stay alive, no matter what occurs! I will find you. No matter how long it takes, no matter how far, I will find you." The sheer intensity behind those words just absolutely melts my poor little romantic heart.
The Last of the Mohicans does a lot of communicating without dialogue. Lewis and Stowe spend a lot of time gazing at each other, all aching dark eyes and floating long dark hair (for that matter, the characters Uncas and Alice do the same thing). That sort of thing always kills me. Anyway, after he says those lines, Cora doesn't nod, she just... looks at him. Utter trust. No matter how far away the Huron take her, no matter what they do to her, she believes Hawkeye when he says he'll find her. So he leaps dramatically through the waterfall and Cora gets captured.
I realized while watching that today... I don't trust like that. If I had been in Cora's place, I would have begged for an even stronger reassurance, and even then I would have been somehow certain that Hawkeye would forget me, or would fail. Part of me doesn't trust the people I love. Not completely. If someone says they'll call, I fret over whether or not they will, until they do. If for some reason they don't, I'm never surprised.
I can't make sense of it. I trust people with my heart, with every single emotion I have, but I don't trust them to ultimately do what they say they'll do. I can't figure out if it's because of my own esteem issues or something else entirely. Part of it goes back to being married, I think. I honestly couldn't trust Gary to do what he told me he'd do. Anything from getting a job to cleaning up the kitchen, I knew that if I didn't remind him, it wouldn't get done. Hollingsworth had some of the same problems. He'd tell me he'd do something, usually something minor, and then wouldn't do it. Little things. Always little things. And they added up.
So if my life were in jeopardy, and the man I loved told me he'd find me, he'd rescue me... part of me would be very doubtful. I'd make a terrible movie heroine.
July 22, 2000
DSL and Chocolate
Well, I finished one chapter last night. One left to write, and then the main part of the book is done. Yay me!
Other than that, it's been a fairly unproductive weekend so far. I did some housecleaning today, took a very very long nap, and baked some brownies which I can smell right now and it's driving me nuts. I may not wait until they cool off to eat one. Heh. You know, looking at the list of things I did, I think I was more productive than I realized. The thing is, I'd planned to write today, and obviously that didn't happen.
Oh yeah. And I got a new toy today too:
My DSL was installed today. Good lord. I downloaded an MP3 in less time that it would have taken to listen to the song. I downloaded a 35 MB movie in less than fifteen minutes (why yes, it was the X-Men trailer, you gotta problem with that?). I think there are a few setting issues I haven't worked out yet, but overall everything works fine. And yes, I'm geeky enough that I took a picture of my modem.
Of course, now that I've seen the trailer again, I'm seriously tempted to go see the movie for a third time. I shouldn't though, not this weekend. I still have too much writing to do. Maybe I'll go see it to celebrate finishing my first draft. That could work. I have a feeling everybody will be happy when I turn the darn thing in, just so I'll shut up about it. But no... then you'll get to hear all about the editing process! :-)
I'm thinking I may need to break down and buy some new tires this week. I'm going to Indiana on Saturday because James is starting a Vampire LARP -- that's Live Action Roleplaying, for the uninitiated. It should be fun, and may very well become a regular thing, if the drive doesn't end up killing me. LARP is... well, even more like acting than ordinary roleplaying. Instead of sitting around in somebody's living room playing your character and describing what they do, you actually get up and do it.
Of course, as a result I had to work on a character that I could physically play without stretching believability too far. No Jake or Marisol characters for this game. So I'll be playing a very artistically-minded vampire (Clan Toreador, if you know the game) who was born sometime around 1600. In her mortal lifetime and even after she became a vampire, she was an extremely sought-after model, modeling for the likes of Peter Paul Rubens (known for his paintings of 'full-figured' women, of course!) among others. She spent much of the intervening time unconscious, and has only been awake in the modern-day for a few years at most. She hasn't quite grasped just how much standards of beauty have changed, and sees herself as the same prima donna she always was. Of course, that level of confidence goes a long way towards making her more appealing to others, so she is alluring still. I'm really looking forward to playing her. Of course, I don't have quite a prima donna wardrobe, so I might have to get creative with my closet.
Ok. I can't stand it. I'm going to get a brownie.
July 21, 2000
I Do Miss Acting Though...
Well the good news is I'm not nearly as cranky today as I was last night. The bad news is that I think I've got a couple people irritated at me this morning from my cranky crap last night. I may have some crow to eat when the California contigent starts logging on this afternoon. I hate when I do that. I hate knowing that I'm being unfair or unreasonable or out-of-bounds and then doing it anyway. It's this roiling, purple-yellow feeling in the pit of my stomach that tells me I'm being a shit but doesn't tell me how to stop it.
So, public apologies to Josh and Brand, with private ones to follow when I talk to you guys.
I got some good book news today (well, good depending on your point of view). I mentioned yesterday that we were running out of room. Brand and I discussed possibly having to cut an entire story. On the one hand, that's good, because I haven't started actually writing one of the stories yet. But really, it's bad, because it messes with the rest of the book. Trimming all stories to fit the extra one in wouldn't work either -- too much to trim. So I emailed my editor last night. This morning I get a blessed response: trim what we can, send it all in, they may be able to fit it. So, while we get a few thousand extra words to toy with, that means I have a few thousand extra words to write. ;-) Ah well. Dawn's ditching me this weekend just cause her husband's coming home from Mexico on Saturday (jeez, can you believe her? *grin*), so I'll have plenty of time to write.
I'm not exactly tired today, but I'm drowsy. Getting up two hours early each day seems to be catching up with me. I'm at that level of busyness where I always have something to do, but I'm not at the point where I feel so overwhelmed that everything seems hopeless. It's not a bad place to be, but I'd like a break I think. Maybe after I get this draft turned in. My whole world (and hence, this journal) revolves around this book right now, in case you missed that fact. I'm trying to figure out what I'm going to do next. As tempting as it is to stick around and keep writing for Tribe 8, I think I should push myself and start trying to sell to some more conventional fantasy markets. I mean, I know I'll write for T8 again. There are several projects coming up that I'm sure I'll be working on, but I don't think I should focus on that again right away.
And that makes me nervous. There's a sort of thought distortion I learned about in therapy, I forget what it's called, but it's the idea that how things are now is how they'll always be, i.e., 'I'm depressed and miserable now, therefore I'll always be depressed and miserable.' I do that. I do variations of that as well. If I'm single (like I am currently, yes), I become convinced that I'll always be single and I'll never have another significant other ever again. After one of the plays I was in ended, I'd be convinced that I'd never get cast in a role that good again. (Okay, so I haven't acted onstage in seven years. That one's holding true so far.) You see where I'm going with this? Part of me is terrified that this book, this editor liking my writing, is all a great big fluke and that I'll never ever get published anywhere else, and in fact, that I may never get published anywhere again.
It's silly. I know it is. And I think the best way to combat that fear is to start working on a mainstream story (or hell, a novel -- now that I know that I have the stamina to write a book) as soon as possible. Get back on the horse before I get afraid to ride it again. 'Cause nothing will get published if I don't write it and submit it.
Mo is finally in Brazil. She's spending six months down there for her job. She's been very very excited about this since she first found out about it. While she's down there (and hopefully after, but that's just my wishful thinking) she's started keeping a sort of mini-journal called Living in Expatria. She'll have to change the name after she gets back of course, but that's okay. So go! Go read about the Toronto girl lost in the wilds of Sao Paulo!
July 20, 2000
Well, I might have some company this weekend. Jason got sent on an unexpected business trip (well maybe not unexpected, but definitely last-minute) so Dawn emailed me about maybe getting together this weekend. Of course, as I'm getting DSL installed this Saturday and what with the book deadline and all I'll need to do some writing this weekend, so I imagine she'll come out to see me. It'll be fun. I hope she can, actually, so we can do girly slumber party stuff like watch chick flicks and gossip and whatever else girly-girls do when they get together. I think we established yesterday that I'm not a girly-girl. Or, alternately, we can play video games and go see X-Men again.
But really, I am planning to write this weekend! I'm planning to have one story finished by tomorrow and hopefully I'll finish the second one over the weekend. That'll give us all next week to polish and format everything exactly as the editor wants it. I'm a little worried. Minus the two stories I'm working on, and minus Brand's chapter the manuscript stands at about 15,000 words. Our limit was 25,000. I was so worried about having enough to say and here we are running out of room! Bear with me until next Friday, folks.
I started out having a 'nobody loves me, everybody hates me, I think I'll eat some worms' sort of day. One of my coworkers is a touch miffed at me for something that I'm refusing to acknowledge or take responsibility for. Since my shift was different this week, I made sure everyone knew I'd be willing to work their late shift if they wanted. One girl was all huffy and said, "Well, I'm sure Dave [our supervisor, he's on vacation this week] set the schedule that way for a reason, I don't think it's a good idea to keep changing it." So I said fine and retracted my offer. Well then it turned out that today, on her late day, it looked like she was going to have a doctor's appointment in the evening, so she said, "Oh, maybe I can switch after all." However, the appointment never got made, so I came in at 9 today as scheduled. She was here already. She said, "Didn't I switch with you?" I replied, "Well, you mentioned you might have that appointment, but then I never heard anything else about it..." She got snippy again and said, "That's fine." I sort of shrugged and said (I'm so evil), "Well, I just thought it would be better to stick to Dave's schedule, since he must have set it up that way for a reason..."
Granted, that was kinda mean of me, but I've been feeling very much like everyone's scapegoat lately and I'm a little tired of it. She's still bitching about working late, I can hear her on the phone. I'm tempted to say, "You know, if you want me to stay late, all you have to do is ask..." (Which she hasn't done yet.) However, my schedule got changed with no warning for this week, and that change may end up being a permanent one. I can deal, but it's making me less inclined to be generous in terms of offering my time.
We've hit another wave of everyone in the department interviewing for positions elsewhere in the company again. I'm finding myself hoping everyone gets their positions so they're gone from here. And I find myself again wondering why I don't apply for another position here. The answer's obvious, of course. I don't want another position. I'm just dealing with the same old self-consciousness issue, aware that I've been in the reception area for longer than any sane person would want to be. Worried that people will think that I'm here because I can't do any better rather than by choice.
And irritated when former receptionists come give me attitude about how much better they are than me now that they're in Customer Service or wherever. Feh.
July 19, 2000
... Baby, One More Time (And I'll Wring Your Neck)
I feel so amazingly talented today! As I was getting out of the car this morning, I managed to spill both breakfast and lunch on my new dress on only its second wearing. Lunch is leftover Chinese from last night, carried in its handy little cardboard container. As I lifted it from the seat and across my body, it dripped all over my skirt. I hurriedly grabbed a napkin to catch the drips and started to get out of the car to wipe away the worst of the spill. As I did so, I managed to spill some of my cappuchino on my skirt as well. I really felt like a winner, let me tell you. Fortunately, the skirt is as polyester as hell, so it should wash out easily. Yes, this is the infamous 11 dollar dress.
I'm falling out of touch with this whole girl thing. I don't wear dresses nearly as often as I used to. Part of that is because I don't shave and I hate hate HATE wearing pantyhose. (I don't care if you're shocked or offended by my hairy self. I didn't put the hair there to begin with. ;-)) I almost never wear makeup, although I'm quite good at applying it. What's the point? You put it on in the morning, spend most of the day worrying about what state it's fallen into, then take it off at night. If I wear it now, it's either a very special occasion or for a costume. I've never been one to do my nails. I let them do whatever they're going to do, only trimming for hangnails and the like. Jewelry? Once in a while. I rarely wear earrings because I'm on the phone all day, but I'll sometimes wear a necklace and I've started wearing my emerald ring again. It was a Valentine's gift (1998?) from Hollingsworth. I stopped wearing it because I lost it, then started again because I found it and I like it very much. Of course, I picked it out. Like I said, I don't make a very good girl.
A word of advice. If you should, by some chance, call the company I work for, do not, I repeat do not get snippy with me when the person you want is unavailable and then proceed to put me on hold for ten minutes and force me to listen to Britney Spears and Terence Trent D'Arby. Most especially do not do it when I'm alone and have all three lines backed up. Do not do it. I'll be forced to kill you, and there's not a jury in the world (a jury of receptionists at least) that would convict me. At the very least I'll have to reciprocate and put you on hold and make you listen to our space-age nifty-cool version of the Axel F theme over and over and over until you finally kill yourself.
In case you missed it, it's been a hectic couple of days. I finally got my book contract in the mail, so I can really and truly say that I'm under contract to write a book for Dream Pod 9. However, the first draft of my manuscript is due next Friday, the 28th. There are two stories left to finish, and the last chapter for Brand to write and then it's done. Why yes. Yes I am feeling a bit of a time crunch here. How'd you guess? We'll make it though. I know what I'll be doing all weekend. I'm going to really try to keep up with daily updates though. I know it's sort of fallen by the wayside.
July 17, 2000
"Somebody's Got a Case of the Mondays!"
Yes, yes, I'm alive. I ended up going out to Dawn and Jason's house on Saturday rather than on Sunday. As per usual, we inundated ourselves with movies. Let's see... we watched Office Space, which I'd never seen before. Dear god. I work with those people. All of them. Then I pushed The Pirate Movie on them to pay them back for making me watch things like The Waterboy. ;-) Hrm... oh yeah, Jason's little brother Adam came over about then, and we watched The Avengers, which I had also never seen before. I'm finding that general opinion of this movie was that it sucked, but I thought it was a lot of fun. Extremely British, at least to my American eyes.
The next morning we ended up stumbling across Dudley Do-Right, which was funny after we'd had a discussion about whether or not Brendan Frasier could play a geek (as in the previews for Bedazzled). I'd only ever seen him in The Mummy, so I had my doubts. Dudley got mentioned. I have to admit, it was a pretty funny movie. It's odd, there are some movies that probably suck if you watch them by yourself, but are a lot of fun if you watch them with a group. That's kind of tough as I usually end up going to movies and renting movies by myself.
Finally Alex and Heidi got there with Joshua, and Heidi took off to run errands, since she does game with us, but she doesn't play in my game. We had a great time. Or, I did at least. I think this game was the best so far of the new story I'm running. The one very very painful moment: Dawn's character Jenny has a minor allergy to animal dander. At one point, there were four satyrs around, Ed (Jason's character), and three NPCs, Kip, Rhiannon and Allegra. Satyrs being half-goat, there was much animal dander. Dawn commented that Jenny was probably off in a corner sneezing. Alex grinned maliciously and said, "No, she should be fine. She's got Allegra with her!" The groaning quickly subsided into innuendo -- after we threw things at Alex, of course. (For those who haven't seen the commercials, Allegra is also the name of an allergy medication.)
I spent most of the game (and in fact most of the afternoon) with Joshua on my lap. He's about six months old now, and has tons of personality. That and the fact that he reached for me when he saw me, well... my day was made. However, by the end of the day I had a serious case of mommy-itis. I don't do this often. I don't often look at my life and compare it to my friends here in the area, the vast majority of whom are married and either have kids or are trying to have kids. Yesterday it was hard though. Like I said in email last night, it's not so much that I'm afraid of being alone now, it's that I'm afraid I'm always going to be alone. I heard my biological clock ticking for the first time last night, and it wasn't pretty.
I'm doing mostly okay. I'm still a little down, but I'm getting better. My frame of mind is a little weird.
July 14, 2000
I broke my streak! Argh! ah well. I honestly did think about writing an entry yesterday, but faced with missing a day or putting up something that was either untrue or stupid, I decided it was better to miss a day. It's been quite a week. Old problems rearing their heads again, which I haven't been writing about here, as usual. I'm fairly certain my dosage of Zoloft needs to be increased, but of course, I have to wait for the doctor to agree with me on that one.
(Warning: You're about to learn of another potential/erstwhile geeky obsession of Lisa's. Comics. It hasn't happened yet, friends and neighbors -- except for the short-lived Aria, but it could.)
Now, lest I begin to sound like a raving fangrrl here, I saw X-Men today. I've never read the comic, but I did watch the TV series that Fox ran a few years back with fair regularity. And enough of my friends are into the comics that I know a good part of the backstory. But I still wasn't terribly psyched about the movie until I saw the preview back when I saw Titan AE. Then I was psyched about the movie.
To put it briefly, it more than lived up to my expectations. I went in expecting a decent summer action/adventure movie, and got that, plus a little extra. The casting, based on what little I know of the comic, was better than I expected. I missed Storm's melodramatic, cheesy incantations when she'd use her powers though. Halle Berry was just too... calm, too quiet. Patrick Stewart was absolutely perfect, of course. There's just nobody else that could have played Professor X. I remember back when news first got out that they were doing an X-Men movie, Hollingsworth and I debated casting. We both fell down on the job, except for Stewart. We both wanted someone like Glen Danzig for Wolverine, because he's short, bulky, and grumpy. Unfortunately, he's also not an actor.
See, Wolvie was always my favorite X-Man. I don't know why. He's grouchy, hairy, stinky (more than likely), violent and he's got more hangups than all of my RPG characters put together. But I liked him. He got the good lines, and it was neat to see him occasionally hint at the maybe-sensitive male hiding in there somewhere over Storm or Jean Grey or whoever.
In that sense, the movie did not let me down. Not only was Wolverine pretty much the focus character, but he was the same grumpy, growly, violent yet adorable Wolvie I'd come to know and love. And well, I was chatting with KT earlier, and she put it best when she said, "[Hugh Jackman] was almost too sexy to play Wolverine." Yours truly, my friends, was not complaining. Not in the least. Once in a great while, his native Australian accent crept out, but that's forgivable.
Overall, it was a blast of a movie. Maybe about fifteen or twenty minutes too short. And after the setup they gave themselves, I want the sequel out next summer, damn it!
Now. The previews... those were something else altogether. There were three: Bedazzled, The Nutty Professor 2, and Castaway.
Bedazzled looked potentially amusing, what with Brendan Frasier as a geek and Elizabeth Hurley as Satan, but the trick is going to be making me believe Brendan Frasier is a geek, especially after The Mummy. The boy's just too cute and a little too well-built to pull it off, I think. I almost didn't want to write anything at all about The Nutty Professor 2. Garbage. Absolute garbage. While the packed theatre rolled around laughing to the preview (which included jokes about penises, farts, toothless oral sex and naked old ladies in addition to the requisite fat jokes), I sat there feeling somewhat ill. Don't get me wrong, I can deal with gross-out humor to an extent, but if the preview makes me feel squirmy and icky? No thank you.
And then there's Castaway, a movie starring Tom Hanks and Helen Hunt and coming out in time for Christmas. Tommy Boy is apparently a Federal Express employee whose plane crashes, making him a (you guessed it!) castaway on a deserted island. How do we know he's a Fed Ex employee? Because the first minute of the preview has the Fed Ex logo displayed in as many places and ways as possible. I think the movie should be retitled: Fed Ex: When It Absolutely Positively Has to Get There Overnight, You Damn Well Better Hope It Isn't On Tom Hanks' Plane, or How to Make and Sell Your Own 90 Minute Commercial.
And that's my trip to the movies.
July 12, 2000
Oh, I'm busily hatching stories, I am, I am. It was pointed out to me last night that I have two weeks (well, less than that now) to finish two stories, so I need to get going. Truthfully, I'm a little nervous. I've never had a deadline like this before, and with moving and everything, it really set me back. I'm so glad that two of the four stories are done already! I'll need to read back over all the notes and outlines I made, and try to remember what exactly I was going for with the last two.
And then there's my Changeling game. I'm back in the saddle on that one too. We're playing this weekend, and I've got my basic story idea down. That old feeling is back, the one that made running Changeling so intoxicating to begin with. I want this story to be a good one. The fire's back, but I don't know how to direct it, exactly. My confidence got a little shaken when the beginning of my new story didn't go quite as well as I wanted it to. But now I think I'm back. The question is just finding the time and the drive to sit down and really plot this out. I've got the same skittishness on that as I do working on my book.
Which, in all honesty, is probably why I'm sitting here writing about writing rather than actually writing. Which is also, honestly, why I should get off my butt and go write something.
July 11, 2000
And here you thought I was going to break my streak. Ha!
Honestly though, it's been a rather bleah couple of days. I had a neat conversation with KT last night about our respective games. The stuff she's got planned for her games sounds like a lot of fun. Of course, I'm back to actively planning for mine again, as it sounds like we're playing Changeling this weekend. I got a flash of inspiration for how to tie the plots and subplots together for this next session.
And then I talked to Brand.
I finally heard details about a plot he's had in mind for a year now. He told me the entire story, or at least the main points. By the time he was finished, I was in awe, and crying. He has this amazing knack for coming up with stories that take your character, the character you've come to love and identify with on at least some level, and just shredding her, leaving only the elemental fragments of her personality, leaving you to put them back together. It sounds horrible, and it is, in a way, but it's extremely satisfying as well. The conversation went something like this:
Me: *boohooing* I hate you! You're bad!
Brand: *cackling gleefully* I am. I like making women cry. [He's done this to countless people he's GMed for, mostly females.]
Me: No, that's not what's so bad, what's bad is that you make them want you to make them cry!
Basically, he put one of my characters (Caitlin to be exact) in a position where she, the character who'd never loved anyone for most of her life, who was tough and hard and a force of nature, was dying and pleading with her killer to spare the baby she'd been protecting. The baby was the orphaned child of the only two people Caitlin had loved. How Caitlin ended up in that position is a long, long story, but that mental image was enough. I could see how she would end up in that position, could envision the scene, and that's it all took. I lost it.
I have already established that I cry at the drop of a hat, right? That and I'm Miss Hormonal this week.
All I can say, is that if you've ever cried reading a book or watching a movie, then take that experience and amplify it to the point where you can feel the main characters' emotions, and you'll understand what I'm talking about.
July 10, 2000
I'm retreating to my old bookworm-ish self once more. I started reading another book today, which brings the total of books I'm currently reading up to three. Right now I'm reading The Sunne in Splendour by Sharon Kay Penman, which was a birthday present from Brand. He's the one who introduced me to her historical fiction, and I can't get enough of it. She's brilliant. The Sunne in Splendour is her book about Richard III, the real one, not Shakespeare's evil, hunchbacked villain. I also finally broke down and reordered The Talisman by Stephen King and Peter Straub. I got a copy of it a long time ago for Christmas, probably about the time it came out. I read it and re-read it until my copy completely fell apart. I think it was my first hint that Stephen King was capable of writing something that wasn't strictly straightforward horror. It was one of those books that stayed with me for months after I read it the first time. The characters hung around my head like old friends. Periodically I'd find myself wondering what happened to them after the book was finished. Finally, I'm poking my way back through The Complete Idiot's Guide to Philosophy... by.... erm, lemme go check, Jay Stevenson and Marcia Ian. That one's part of my longstanding attempt to educate myself despite not being in school.
It's funny. When I was a kid, I never read more than one book at a time. I couldn't stand it. I don't know why. It wasn't exactly that I got confused or anything, I mean, I'm certainly able to keep plots and characters straight. I just didn't do it. Even now, when I read more than one book at a time, it's usually a case of starting one book, losing track of the book (or wanting to read something when the book isn't handy) so I start another book. That's what happened with the Complete Idiot's Guide. I wanted to read, but hadn't found Sunne in Splendour in my unpacking yet. And then, of course, my order of Talisman arrived today, so I had to dive in and start reading it. So, what will probably happen is that I'll blaze my way through The Talisman, then go back to The Sunne in Splendour, then pick up the Complete Idiot's Guide again.
I've always been a reader. I used to get in trouble with my mom on Saturday mornings. She'd send me into my room to clean it, then come check on me. There'd I'd be, sitting in the middle of my messy room, reading something that caught my interest. Mom also never understood how I could read a book more than once, or see a movie more than once. I couldn't explain at the time, that it's like revisiting old friends. In other cases, as I'm discovering now, the writing itself is so perfect, so lyrical, that it needs rereading, just to marvel at the construction the way a craftsman might marvel at the lines of a well-built chair. I find myself stopping to marvel that a particular phrase or scene actually came from someone's mind, an ordinary mortal mind. Some people might say that's poor writing, because it momentarily bumps you out of the story, but not me. I'm of the belief that writing and story both hold equal importance. If I get momentarily distracted from your plot, awestricken by the originality and aptness of a metaphor, I don't consider that a bad thing at all.
(Of course, the most delightful thing is have that same sort of feeling when reading over some of your own writing. It's an amazing experience, to be impressed as a reader by something you've written yourself.)
I think I need to go curl up with one of my new books now.
July 09, 2000
Come from the Heart
When I was a young girl, my daddy told me
A lesson he learned, it was a long time ago
If you want to have someone to hold onto
You're gonna have to learn to let go
You got to sing like you don't need the money
Love like you'll never get hurt
You got to dance like nobody's watchin'
It's gotta come from heart if you want it to work
Now here is the one thing I keep forgettin'
When everything is falling apart
In life as in love, you know I need to remember
There's such a thing as tryin' too hard
You got to sing like you don't need the money
Love like you'll never get hurt
You got to dance, dance, dance like nobody's watchin'
It's gotta come from the heart if you want it to work
When I was in college in Nashville, I grew rather fond of country music. Not surprising, in a city where you can't throw a rock without hitting a country music artist, budding or legendary. My favorite, without a doubt, was Kathy Mattea. With that great low voice of hers, she was incredibly easy for me to sing along with, on top of having some very listenable songs. I pulled the tape out recently and started listening to it after several years. I discovered that I like it as much as I did then.
Emotionally, I'm not a halfway sort of person. When I'm enthusiastic about a person or an issue or... anything... I can't keep it hidden. Gaming, for example. I try not to bore non-gamers to tears with details of my gaming exploits. However, it's something I am extremely enthusiastic about, and I find myself blathering on anyway. The whole time I'll be thinking "God, Lisa, you're such a geek, they don't care about that, shut up!" but I can't.
I'm the same way about people. When I love someone, I do it unreservedly and completely. My heart's on my sleeve, I can't shut up about how I feel, and the other person is given far too much power to effect my life. When it's a mutual thing, it's breathtaking. When it's unrequited... well... there aren't words. It's utterly devastating. Again, I'll be talking to or about the person, and be thinking, "God, Lisa, shut up!" And I never can.
I've been told I lead with my heart. I do. Very often, it hurts like hell. Hearts are not tough organs designed for constant exposure and abuse from the careless and uncaring outside world. With enough hurt, most people either stop leading with their hearts, or develop emotional calluses and 'toughen up'. And then there are those of us that do neither. Time and time again, we lead with that battered heart, we dive in, often without checking the water's depth. We never check to see what we're getting into.
We don't look before we leap.
I wouldn't trade it for anything. It makes me what I am. Call it naivete` if you will, but that's not entirely accurate. I'm not naive. I know that living and loving the way I do will often lead to me getting hurt. That's the price I pay for being true to who I am, and the rewards are often so worth it. I want to live my life with the passion to howl at the moon, to fall madly in love against my better judgement, to flirt and sing and make faces at babies. To walk in the rain without an umbrella, to defy convention, to avoid doing something just because it's 'sensible'. To "act in accordance with the dictates of my heart, and chance the consequences."
To be who and what I am without apology or regret. Without worrying what the neighbors will say. What my family will say. Even what my friends will say. I don't always manage it. It's tough, especially for someone who's as much a people pleaser as I am.
How does the song tie into that? It's my reminder. On two levels. First, it's a reminder to live exuberantly, passionately, honestly. But it's also a reminder "that there's such a thing as trying too hard", and that I'm "gonna have to learn to let go". Those aren't a bad set of lessons for a little three-minute country ditty.
July 08, 2000
Summertime in Ann Arbor
All things considered, not a bad Saturday at all. Mom and I went over to get the last of my things from the trailer and to do that whole moving out cleaning thing. It didn't take us that long, and we were back at my apartment having lunch by 2:30. After lunch, we unpacked the car and mom went home. I sorta flopped and vegged for a while. I was up too late last night and up too early this morning.
Dinner last night was wonderful. We went to a place in Ann Arbor called The Real Seafood Company, and it was fabulous. If you're ever in Ann Arbor, it's right on Main Street. I highly recommend it. From the time we parked the car and walked the couple blocks to the restaurant, to the time we got back in the car, I lost track of the times I said, "I really missed Ann Arbor!" Jo and Eric were probably tired of hearing me say it, but it's true. I can't explain it. There's just something about the town. I've never loved a place this much before. It manages to have a sort of small town feel, and yet larger city attractions. It's very artsy and liberal. It does have a tendency to cater to a yuppie-ish sort of mentality in a way, but not overly so. Or rather, not so exclusively that the more hippie-ish among us can't enjoy it too.
I'm just bummed out that I practically missed my most favorite Ann Arbor summer event: Ann Arbor Summer Festival. The best part of it is what's called Top of the Park. Every night for several weeks, they fill the top of an underground parking structure with food and art booths, then line the huge center area with folding chairs. On weeknights, there's free live music of every kind imaginable until about ten, then they show a movie against the huge wall of the structure. On weekends, there's just live music until the wee hours. Aside from vending, it's all free. The infamous summer of 1995 I lived about three blocks from that structure. We spent almost every night there, just hanging out and enjoying the music and the movies and the people watching. One of my fondest memories of that summer is sitting and watching Grease with several hundred people, with the entire audience singing along.
And... looking at the calendar, tomorrow's the last night. I could go, I suppose, but I doubt I'll be back from gaming in time. Ah well, there's always next year. Besides, there's no shortage of nifty free musical events in Ann Arbor. That's one of its many charms.
Right now I'm feeling like there's plenty of Ann Arbor summer left. And I'm feeling like I want to make sure to take advantage of it.
July 07, 2000
Happy Birthday to Me! (Okay, Okay, and Brand Too)
So far I've had "Happy Birthday" sung to me once, I've been fed brownies and Oreos, and I got a nifty card. Not bad at all. And several coworkers told me I didn't look twenty-eight. Also not bad at all. Don't get me wrong, I'm not hung up on the whole age thing, no matter how much I gripe about it. I have been noticing some signs of aging over the last year or so, but it's not that big of a deal. Of course, talk to me in two years, when I turn 30, and I might change my tune.
My mom was my age when she had me. That strikes me as odd. (Of course, my mom might strike me as I've just advertised how old she is, but hey...) I don't know why. I mean, thinking of my mom at 28... I wonder what she was like. She wasn't nearly as flaky as I am, I'm sure. She'd been married and settled for a good 7 or 8 years. Family legend says that after I was born, the doctor looked at my mom and said, "Now do you believe that you were pregnant?"
That's a story in and of itself. My mom and dad got married in 1964, and I wasn't born for another eight years. From what I gather, those eight years were difficult in some ways, with several miscarriages and 'false pregnancies'. At one point my parents considered adopting a cousin, whose mom was single. Several times Mom was told she was pregnant, but she never carried to term. Finally, in winter 1971, she found out she was pregnant again, and laughed at the doctor. She gained maybe three pounds during her pregnancy -- and I weighed four when I was born. We've talked about it some, and she says she thinks she sort of subconsciously denied being pregnant, because she didn't want to get her hopes up again. It feels kinda neat, being the realization of somebody's hopes.
Birthdays were always neat when I was a kid. Aside from being the stereotypical spoiled only child, my cousin Sheri's birthday is the 9th, so we always got to celebrate together, usually on the 8th. If I had a scanner, I'd scan in one of the zillions of pictures I have of one of mine and Sheri's birthday parties. The one that springs to mind right away was when I was 2 and Sheri was 5. The picture is of the two of us sitting at my little toy kitchen table out in the backyard, each with our own little birthday cake. Mine as a big candle in the shape of a 2, and Sheri's is in the shape of a 5. There we sat, grinning at the camera. We may both have our tongues stuck out, I can't remember. Every picture of me and Sheri until I was about seven is of the two of us sticking our tongues out at the camera. Anyway, Sheri is sunbrowned with long brown hair, and I'm pale with long golden curls. Yes, it's true! I had adorable Nellie Olson curls and big blue eyes, until I was about 4. Then I had short brown hair and I kept getting mistaken for a boy.
Anyway, that picture is one of my favorites. I miss my birthdays with my cousin.
This promises to be a very very busy weekend. Tonight I'm going out to dinner with Jo and Eric, tomorrow mom and I are finishing the last of the moving stuff at the old place, and Sunday I'm gaming with the Changeling group, although we're not playing Changeling. Oh yeah. Sometime in there I should probably finish unpacking my apartment.
July 06, 2000
It's a Conspiracy, I Tell You!
Oy. It's been one of those days. As if the cranky customers haven't been bad enough, several cranky coworkers have gotten together to make it one of those days. Examples:
I get a call from a customer service rep regarding daily reports (a.k.a. the tree-killing reams of paper that print everyday that almost no one reads). "Yeah," he says, "can you guys deliver those earlier in the day? I heard the print out first thing in the morning." I should mention that his reports print out about five feet from his desk, and every morning someone in his department brings them down to our department, so we can take them back up there in the afternoon. I politely informed him of that fact. He sounded surprised, said he'd look for his own report in the morning, and hung up.
During the front desk receptionist's lunch hour, her calls forward to us -- unless someone within the company dials '0'. Those calls just sort of go into limbo. It's something we've addressed, but no one's done anything to change the phone system. So around 12:15, someone from development comes storming up to my desk full of righteous indignation: "Don't you people answer the phones up here?!" I looked up from my three ringing phone lines and politely said, "Yes, we do." "Well, I called three times and no one answered!" Once I ascertained that she was calling the front desk, I carefully explained the correct procedure to her and sent her on her way. I managed not to smack her.
Later that afternoon, while calls were still coming fast and furious (emphasis on "furious"), another customer service rep called over to transfer a customer to support. It turned out that he didn't need to transfer it to me at all, but that he could have taken the message himself. I took the message, and asked him to tell the customer that support would call him back. Fairly typical procedure, to save the customer from being transferred unnecessarily to extra people. "You want me to tell them that?" "Yes, please." "Even though you're the receptionist." "Yup," I said cheerfully. "Thanks!" And then I hung up. Apparently I asked him to do something beneath him while dodging out of my own job. Because, you know, we were just slacking off over here today, what with only doing one of the 'a call every minute' sort of day again.
And now I just got told in an extremely sarcastic manner, "You've been a real help, I'm glad you're answering the phones," from someone who didn't know who they needed to speak to in a 500+ person company. As most of the company is closed at this time of day, I wasn't able to provide much help. Life will go on, but damn. Some days I feel proud of myself for not having gone postal on people.
Did I mention I have a project due tomorrow? If I don't stay late today, I'll be working overtime on my birthday.
July 05, 2000
Birthdays and Birthday Suits
So. I'm staring my 28th birthday in the face. It's coming up two days from now, on the 7th. No big plans as of yet, although I think I'm going to dinner with my folks sometime this weekend and I've dropped the big obvious hint at work already. Birthdays just aren't that big of a deal anymore. I can't remember the last time I had a birthday party.
Oh wait. Yes I can. 1995. I was heavily into the SCA at the time, and threw an SCA-themed party at a local park. Everyone showed up at the park in medieval garb, and we ate and danced and just generally had a good time, then we headed off to go see First Knight -- still in garb. The movie was profoundly disappointing on so many levels, but at least we had fun picking it apart. That was also the summer I had the unfortunate and unwise pseudo-relationship with a young man named Kurt. The biggest attraction he held for me was that he was interested in me. Not, I repeat, not the best basis for a relationship.
Of course, that was also the summer I went to Pennsic, which I've already written about extensively. I still wonder what happened to Taran, the dashing and debonair Scotsman I met while swimming. He complimented my eyes, which was quite remarkable for the situation, but that's another story altogether. (The story? Oh, okay. Mom, don't read this part. Hee.) Pennsic has two swimming holes. The 'family' swimming hole is just your basic swimming spot. The 'classic' swimming hole is clothing very much optional. I didn't have a suit so I spent most of the week skinny-dipping. Ah, my wild, impetuous youth! ;-)
To my surprise, it wasn't a big grope- or ogle-fest, just a bunch of people swimming, doing what people do when they're swimming, like playing with beach balls and the like. I was with two of my friends at the time, Jen and Magda. Jen in particular was tremendously amused that I'd gotten a compliment on my eyes while I was, well, naked. "Your eyes?! He is a gentleman!" When the three of us ran into him later that night up at the 'barn' (a central meeting place -- there was medieval dancing there every night), he failed to recognize us and uttered the infamous line, "You look different with your clothes on!"
He asked me to dance and neither of us danced with anyone else for the next four days, practically. That was back when I was in really good shape and could dance for days without breaking a sweat. We also spent a lot of time sitting around talking (and flirting, of course), and just generally hung out. Alas, he was from Washington State, and he had a girlfriend. And really, Hollingsworth and I were pretty much dating at the time, just not exclusively.
See, that's what I need. A summer fling. Something light-hearted, vaguely romantic, but not serious or heavy or angsty.
And preferably something that doesn't require me to be naked in order to meet someone.
July 04, 2000
Happy Independence Day! I've spent mine being, well, independent, I suppose. And making a few changes to the journal, structure-wise. Most of the changes are more invisible than visible, so unless you make a habit of studying my code, you won't see much difference. And I fixed a few broken links. If I missed any, or broke anything new, please let me know.
Max was being decidedly cute earlier, so I grabbed the camera. This is turning into a definite cat journal, i know. But look at him! Actually, it's been a little interesting/weird to see some of his personality changes since he's come home. He's more obsessed with table food. Before he never paid much attention to what I was eating, mostly because he knew he wasn't going to get any. I'm wondering if scrounging in garbage changed that, or if the guy who took care of him for that week fed him table scraps. Speaking of scrounging in the garbage, I'm about to get a squirt bottle again, as that's another new Max habit. Feh.
I was reminded last night why I should never go grocery shopping on an empty stomach. What was supposed to be a quick trip to the store to get garbage bags and dish detergent turned into a full-fledged shopping trip, complete with list. I don't know what's gotten into me, but lately I've been seriously craving fresh fruit and vegetables. Not that I'm complaining, mind you. So I now have an enormous bowl of fruit salad sitting in my refrigerator, along with lots of other salad fixings. But, lest you start to think I've gone all healthy on you, I should mention that breakfast today was a cheese omelet, sausage and an English muffin. In other words, I broke in the new kitchen this morning. Yum! I'm a damn good cook. I should do it more often.
I also now have a phone. When the Ameritech rep told me yesterday that someone might be out today, I didn't think much about it, until last night. Suffice to say I was rather skeptical that someone might actually come out to my house on a holiday, just to fix my phone. I got a pleasant surprise at about 12:30 when there was a knock at my door. I'm back to one phone line until the 13th, though, so if you try to call me (assuming you have my phone number, of course) you're very likely to get a busy signal.
I'm debating the rest of my afternoon. A nap is sounding quite tempting, but I should also do some more unpacking. And I'm tempted to go see a movie as well. Ah, the possibilities are endless!
July 03, 2000
Have You Considered Valium?
I had odd dreams all night last night. It wasn't terribly restful. I kept dreaming that someone was breaking into my apartment. In fact, at one point I sat up in bed and opened my eyes and saw someone standing over me. I jumped and made a sound that would have been a scream if I'd had any air in my lungs -- then I blinked and saw that it was a trick of the shadows. If I recall correctly, I had similar dreams after I moved into the mobile home. I think it's just a weird reaction of my mind to moving in general.
I'm happy to report that I'm not moving like an 85 year old woman today, unlike yesterday morning. I've regressed to her 60 year old daughter today. Yesterday I was so stiff when I got up that I could barely stand upright without whimpering. Everything hurt. This, too, I remember from the last time I moved. Imagine how much more miserable I'd've been if I'd actually carried anything! I know, I know. I'm a horrible baby, and I need to get far more active.
I had a brilliant idea at work today. I'm tempted to ask management if we can implement it. You see, when people call in to our 800 number, very often they end up on hold at some point or another. Currently, we play awful music and tell them what number caller they are. (Or they press 0 and come talk to me, of course.) I think, as a service to our customers, we should come up with various public service announcements for them to listen to while on hold. I reached this conclusion after listening to about four overly stressed-out accountants in a row. The PSAs would say things like, "Life would be better if you cut down on the caffeine" or even "Have you considered Valium?" Aside from lifestyle ideas, we could also include meditative exercises such as: "Will this software problem really matter in five years?" or "Imagine yourself walking along a cool, moonlit beach. Ahead of you is a bonfire. You find yourself carrying your computer. Take a deep breath, and visualize yourself tossing the computer onto the bonfire. Now hang up and call back after the computer is a melted piece of plastic rubbish."
Well it made me feel better anyway.
My big plans for the holiday include... unpacking! Actually, it'll be kinda nice to just spend the day hanging around the house. I should even have a phone line. After spending about an hour being on hold and transferred all over the state of Michigan, the phone company agreed to have a service person come out today or tomorrow. Tomorrow? I'll be amazed if someone actually comes out tomorrow. If there's an update tomorrow, you'll know that someone made it out.
July 02, 2000
Ok, so I didn't quite sleep for twenty hours, but it was a near thing. I've spent most of today either sleeping or lying around the house. Unpacking? What's that? I slept for a good ten hours last night, and then took another two hour nap today. And for all that, I can tell it won't be long before I'm off to bed again.
So what did I do today? Well, I read (Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone, for the second time) and I bugged maintenance to come fix my refrigerator (it turned out it just hadn't been plugged in), and I went out to visit my mom again. I gathered they spent most of the day recuperating as well. We sat around and talked and scarfed on leftovers -- well, I did, at least -- and just generally hung out for a bit while my stepfather took a nap. Since my phone still isn't working, I hopped online briefly to pass word along to my notify list and to a few friends that my online presence is going to be rather scarce until I get my phone.
That's a whole story in and of itself. Suffice to say, the phone company is going to get a major yelling at tomorrow morning. My line was supposed to be installed last Friday, on the 23rd. As I hadn't taken possession of the apartment yet, I'd arranged everything with the complex and with the phone company. No problem. Installation person comes to install the line, goes to the office, gets the key, does the work inside my apartment. Except whoever it was didn't bother to do that, so while I have phone service, it isn't connected in the apartment. Grrr! I wasn't pleased about that at all.
The apartment itself I'm quite pleased with, however. It is, as I've mentioned, quite small, about half the size of the mobile home. However, it's big enough for me and Max. And for the most part, it's big enough for all of my stuff, although I was joking with my mom earlier tonight that I can't get any more books because I don't have room for another bookcase. My building itself was very quiet last night. I consider that to be a good sign. I mean, if it's quiet on the Saturday night of a holiday weekend, it's probably not a big party building. What else... oh, I have an air conditioner, which is fantastic as the temperatures continue to climb around here. The windows are very good sized. For a sublevel apartment, I get an amazing amount of light. Also a good thing. I'll have pictures up as soon as I restore some semblance of order around here. At the rate I'm going now, expect the pictures around Christmas some time. ;-)
For now, I think I'm off to hang up my shower curtain and stretch out for the night again.
July 01, 2000
A Moving Experience
So, I moved today. I got up at 5:30 am, and finished packing, then collapsed at about 10:00 am to await the movers. They showed up at about 10:30. By 1:30, they were driving away in their empty truck and leaving me to my new apartment. I so recommend moving with a mover. After they left, I ran to get lunch, then sort of collapsed again for about an hour or so. Dawn and Jason were coming over at some point, so we could go out to Whitmore Lake to my mom's house for the city firework display.
They got here about 4:30, and they came bearing gifts! Upon hearing that I was moving back to the Ann Arbor area, there was some concern that I might be moving to a rather rough neighborhood. To gauge that, they asked, "For a housewarming gift, what would be more appropriate, potpourri or a shotgun?" So when they handed me the gift bag, Jason commented that I'd said potpourri, so... I didn't open it right away, too intent on showing off my apartment. Finally, when we sat down (about two minutes later -- it's a small apartment), Jason said, "Hey! You didn't open it at all..." Rather abashed, I opened it, to discover that the little potpourri basket was tied around the neck of an absolutely adorable stuffed seal. (And if you don't know why that's an appropriate gift, go here then take a peek at my domain name.) Needless to say, I was delighted. Of course, she's already been named Jake.
I've taken a lot of pictures of the lake just behind my parents' house, but I think the one above is probably the best. My mom apparently thought so too, because after seeing it, she declared that she wanted a printed copy for her desk, and proceeded to take my camera around and show the display to anyone who'd look. Because the fireworks were being shot off over the lake, the gathering turned into a party. Of course, aside from my stepsisters and Dawn and Jason I didn't really know any of the other guests. But it all turned out well. Dawn and Jason and I wandered around the yard, going to splash at the end of the dock, sitting on the lawn under huge willow trees, stuffing ourselves with the truly amazing array of food my mom had pulled together. A word on the food. When my mom told me about their planned get-together, she said that we should bring what we wanted to drink, but that she'd have 'snack food'. My mom's definition of 'snack food' fits my definition of 'meal'. There were meatballs and cold shrimp and tons of vegetables and fruit salad and various dips, hot and cold. In short, enough to feed an army. It was wonderful. After the sun had gone down, and we were all sprawled on blankets and lawnchairs waiting for the fireworks to begin, I told my mom, "This week has been so stressful, this has been the perfect way to end it." And it was.
I don't know what was more fun, the fireworks display by the professionals, or all of the amateurs around the lake. Some of the amateurs were damned good. There was the neighbor to the left of us, who had some pretty spectacular (although almost assuredly illegal) fireworks. Then, however, there was the neighbor to the right of us, who only seemed interested in making as much noise as possible. My ears were ringing from the loud booms all night. After all was said and done, Jason gestured towards the water and said, "Here we have Whitmore Lake" then gestured toward the right-hand neighbors "and here we have Wit-less Lake!" Between Jason and one of my parents' friends who kept exclaiming, "Oh, that's my favorite!" after seemingly every single firework, we were kept well-amused. By the end of the show, everybody was teasing her, saying it unison with her.
I realized that was the longest I've spent continuously outside in I don't know how long. It was nice. I don't do enough outside parties and the like. Like I said, after the stressed-out, harried, hurry-up week I had getting ready to move, it was unbelievably wonderful to just sit around and eat and talk and laugh with a few of my friends and family.
Of course, looking around at the chaos node my apartment is, now comes the fun part: unpacking. But that can wait until tomorrow. I think I'm going to go sleep for the next twenty hours or so.