Tuesday, September 27, 2011


So... Workcrazy continues apace. The less said about it, the better, but trust me, if I were to say some things about it, it would probably involve a lot of four-letter words, especially when I got around to talking about the customer. Long story short: I'm expecting to put in some extra hours again this week. Which doesn't begin to clear the ridiculous mound of paperwork I've got piled up.

Alex's teacher told Matt that he hadn't had much appetite at breakfast and lunch yesterday, and Alex himself complained to us of a sore throat. Shortly before dinner, Matt got out the flashlight and thought he might have seen some white at the back of Alex's throat, and he was definitely running a low-grade fever. So Matt's got him today and is taking him to the doctor later, but if we've got strep in the house, all bets are off.

Oh and also? I've got a persistent cough going that I probably caught from Alex (who probably caught it from Jess, as near as we can figure) that comes with a similarly persistent headache. Which is making the whole work thing just a little more fun. And by "fun" I mean "not fun at all".

(Anyone want to take a guess at how "working extra hours this week" combines with "sickness in the house"? Anyone? ... That's right: Not well at all!)

I got two text messages from my document person at 4 this morning letting me know that she expected to be late getting in. If she was up at 4, I can well understand that... except that she doesn't appear to have put the document she was working on out on the LAN where I can get to it, and it's due to go out today. So if she doesn't answer her phone by lunchtime, I guess I'll be starting it over from scratch. You know, along with the workcrazy stuff.

...And now it's two hours later and I've just realized that I never hit the Publish button on this. Because, you know. Workcrazy.

Friday, September 23, 2011


That post title is "tard" as in the Southern pronunciation of the word "tired", not an abbreviation of "retarded." 'Cause I'm an insensitive jerk sometimes, but not quite that much of an insensitive jerk.

I was at work for 16 hours yesterday. From 7:30 in the morning until 11:30 at night. Not counting lunchtime, when I ran out to Target to pick up a few things, or at about 8:30 in the evening, when I ran over to Subway to pick up some dinner. (Yes, I got cookies. I am neither proud nor ashamed of that.)

So I'm a little brain-dead this morning. But let's talk about the good stuff!

Have I mentioned lately how awesome my husband is? 'Cause he's very patiently done well more than the lion's share of housework and kid-watching while I was stuck at work last weekend and then in Roanoke for a day and a half, and then he took the kids to school yesterday and today and did all the childcare last night and even brought them by the office so I could get hugs and kisses... Matt is just awesome.

KT is walking in the Susan J. Kommen Walk For a Cure in Washington, DC this weekend! That's 60 miles of walking in three days, to raise money for breast cancer awareness and research. She's amazing.

I got new glasses! They're both subtle and quirky and perfectly me, and I love them even more than I love my old black-and-white frames from a couple of years ago. Love? Love. I'd post a picture, but with the whole 16-hours-of-work thing I didn't get a shower last night and I'm not feeling terribly photogenic.

And to continue with the shallow theme of accessories, I'm wearing a new skirt! It's called a Magic Wrap skirt (though I didn't buy it from that store, I bought it from this store while I was at the Roanoke Pride) and -- in theory -- there's 90 different ways to wear it. But the colors are absolutely gorgeous, and I got it for less than $30, so even if there was only the one way to wear it, I'd be happy. Because it's gorgeous. And because it's silk, so it feels nice. (I could use a can of anti-static spray, though.)

And I'm hoping for a good weekend! That's a good thing, right?!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Digging Trenches

So today should be a treat. Work stuff, work stuff, details not only boring but unimportant to anyone but me, and the long and short of it is that I expect to be spending a significant portion of my day with nothing to do, but then having to work late.

So... yay for that. Only, y'know. Not.

Hoping for a good weekend. Birthday party at Braz and Adin's on Saturday that includes a bounce-house (hope that doesn't get rained out) and at some point I need to run down to Sam's Club. Hoping to grab some downtime as well, since last weekend had its fun moments but wasn't exactly restful.

But first I have to get through today and tomorrow. Y'all keep your fingers crossed for me, okay?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

I'm Back!

Sorry I didn't post anything yesterday -- I got back from my trip to Roanoke and immediately found myself hip-deep in work, including four software components that had to be delivered yesterday, one of them before noon. So I skipped my entire morning ritual (including breakfast) and got right to work.

But I've put up a post on the writing blog about the festival, and there are pictures at flickr!

Tomorrow, a more normal post, I promise. Maybe. Hopefully. *eyes the ridiculous stack of deliveries left to go for this week...*

Friday, September 16, 2011

Get What Ya Need

Lately, Penny's been particularly enjoying what she calls "my" oatmeal, which is oatmeal I make from quick-cooking oats and I add all the flavorings and sweetener myself, instead of relying on instant oatmeal packets. (I have a particular blend of spices I use, plus sometimes I throw in some PB2 for protein. I've given some thought to trying steel-cut oats, about which I've heard many good things, but they require much longer to prepare, and also are not readily available at my grocery store, both of which are kind of deal breakers.)

I eat oatmeal darned near every day -- it's fairly quick and easy to make, and I get a lot of long-term hunger satisfaction for the number of calories in it. If I eat a quarter-cup (dry measure, makes about a cup when cooked) of oatmeal for breakfast, then I'm good for a solid four hours afterward. I'm thinking of just bringing a container of oatmeal and my spices and stuff to the office so I can have it for afternoon snacks, too, because it's so satisfying for me.

Anyway, Penny's been eating it lately, because the way I make it, it's got at least 10 fewer carbs per bowl than even the "lower sugar" packaged stuff that I'd been buying for the kids, which means she can also have yogurt. I don't mind her doing this -- as I said, it's pretty easy to make, and I'm all about her internalizing lessons about making smarter food choices.

But it does mean that my oatmeal gets used up a little faster than usual, and this week, it worked out that there wasn't enough for me to have it for breakfast today.

Today is looking kind of sucky anyway -- I'm in charge of printing and boxing a proposal, but I don't yet have most of the pieces I need, and I don't know when I will get them, which means I may well be here until only the gods know when tonight. Also, I found out last night that the novel I'd spent Wednesday night proofreading and feeling good about...? Yeah, the file got corrupted, so now it won't open at all. I have to do it all over again.

So I was going to shrug the oatmeal thing off as yet another part of this crappy day and just have a lot of coffee for breakfast.

But when I dropped Alex off at daycare, the assistant director said, "Have some breakfast!" and handed me a little white paper bag. On the side of the bag is a label with the school's logo that reads: "Working Parent Day - Hope this helps you have a great day." Inside the bag is a banana, an apple muffin, and a package of granola bars.

Like the song says: you don't always get what you want. But sometimes, you get what you need.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Positive Planning

My brain sort of melted while I was pregnant with Penny. All the stuff that I used to keep in my head -- schedules, to-do lists, phone numbers, all of it -- it went away. I don't know if it was the pregnancy hormones and then the whole infant-care-sleep-deprivation thing, or simple aging, or what, but these days, I can't remember anything unless it's written down.

"You should totally come over Saturday, we're having a cookout and fireworks!" "Wow, sounds great, we'll definitely be there!" ... "Hey, what happened Saturday? Didn't see you all day!" "Saturday? Were we supposed to come over?"

Okay, I don't think I've ever actually missed something quite that exciting, but some variation on this has happened to me far too often in the last five years. If you don't send it to me in an email, or watch me enter it into my calendar, then there's a better than even chance that I'm not only going to forget to write it down and thus fail to be present, but not even remember it when you bring it up later.

I've been coping with the use of lots of note-taking devices. Matt and I maintain a set of Google Calendar shared calendars to keep track of appointments and parties and birthdays and anniversaries and school stuff. I also keep a calendar that helps me track things that aren't really our plans but which might affect our plans, like which weekends Braz has custody of his kids and when my parents are going to be out of town. We also have a paper calendar at home that's largely used for tracking when to change out Penny's insulin and which weeks we're supposed to write a check for the cleaning service.

I keep my day planner at work for keeping track of work tasks. Every time someone gives me something to do, I write it down, even if I'm going to do it immediately, because later in the week, I'm going to need to write a status report, and if it's not a crossed off item in my day planner, then I will more than likely have no memory of ever having done it. I maintain a separate "personal" to-do list that mostly stays tucked in my day planner, but when there are things I can only do at home, I email them to myself.

Whenever I get an email, if it requires any kind of action or response from me, then I leave it in my inbox until that action or response is complete. (If it's important, I'll leave it marked as unread, and if I think I might accidentally file it, I drop a category or star on it to make it easier to search.) It leads to a messy inbox, but I've tried systems where you move emails to an "action" folder, and I forget to go look at them. So, inbox it is. (Right at this moment, my work inbox has 15 items in it, and my personal email has 10. The oldest item goes back to April. Though after that, the oldest item only dates back to the beginning of August. I'm beginning to think I should just write off the April one entirely.)

It's an elaborate system, but it (mostly) keeps me chugging along.

But sometimes, it gets a little depressing, looking at this huge long list of items to do, and it feels like I never seem to get all that much done.

So yesterday I made up a new list. It was my list just for yesterday, and the tasks I really wanted to get done. Some of them were work tasks, some of them were personal. I included some goof-off reward time in there to help give me incentives (especially for the big stack of paperwork I'd been pretending I couldn't see for the better part of three weeks).

Then I hunkered down and did it.

I didn't finish everything on the list -- stuff came up to interrupt, as stuff always does -- but I did make enough progress to feel like yesterday was productive without being crazy. And I tried to keep the list short and realistic, so looking at it wasn't so daunting; I looked at it and thought, Okay, I can this. One task, and then I can go check Twitter or Google Reader. And then I did the task, and checked the interwebs, and then I did another task, and eventually the day was done.

It worked pretty well. I'm going to try it again today (5 things on the list, some big, some small), and we'll see how it goes. I'm feeling good about it for now, anyway, and that's all that really matters.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

That Kind Of Morning

Didn't post yesterday because Penny had a doctor appointment square in the middle of the morning. It went well enough; they checked height and weight and blood pressure (all good, or at least good enough) and the nurse confirmed that Penny has grown almost three centimeters in the last three months, and we talked to the endocrinologist and he said it looked like we were doing fine, and then we went down so she could give up a vial of blood to the vampires, and then we were done. But it was two full hours completely gone out of my morning. I hate that; I never do seem to feel caught up.

This morning has been growly and irritable, though I swear I don't know why. I wrote over 500 words last night and went to bed before 11 and slept relatively well. It must have been a little disturbing for the kids; usually it's me rescuing them from Matt's bad moods, not the other way around, but apparently this morning he was the one with the patience and I was the one who was ready to throw things at every turn.


Alex's daycare has begun a new pre-preschool program in his classroom which I like very much, because Alex is so obviously ready to be mentally challenged. Each week, the class focuses on a different number, letter, shape, and color. On Friday last week, they sent home four photocopied worksheets, one for each. (Last week it was the number 1, the letter S, the circle, and red.)

Alex had no interest in them until I said they were "kind of like Penny's homework" and that sold him. Now, he can't get enough. The "1" worksheet was easy -- trace the lines and then free-draw some more number 1s in the provided space. A 1 is easy to draw, and he whipped right through it. The "S" is much trickier; he did pretty well at the tracing portion, but couldn't quite put it together for a free-draw. (I didn't press; he's got years to get this down, and there are first graders who still have some trouble with "S".) He whipped through the circles, and then on the back of the sheet, he drew a huge circle (well, sort of a circle, anyway) -- so I showed him how two more circles could make eyes, and a third circle in the middle was a nose, and he drew a curved smile and... voila! A face! That may well be Alex's first recognizable art. Then I gave him a red crayon so he could color in the pictures of red things on the color worksheet, and he did surprisingly well at staying in the lines.

He didn't do them all in one session, but it seemed like every time he had a few minutes free, he asked if he could do "his homework", and he'd climb up into his chair and I'd let him pick which worksheet he wanted to do, and I'd get him a crayon and stay nearby to help him out. He's gone over all the "1"s three or four times, and the "S" sheet at least twice, and I think the backs of all the pages have big smiley faces on them.

This morning, as we were getting our stuff together, he asked if he could do some homework, and I had to tell him no, that we were about to leave. But that I would make some new worksheets and bring them home for him, and that made him incredibly cheerful and happy. Which, I have to say, did a lot for my own mood. There's nothing like having a kid be enthusiastic about learning things to make a parent happy.


You know what else makes a parent happy? When your kid is interested in the same things as you. I'm missing a book out of the Little House set, so while we wait for it (I ordered it through the school's Scholastic program so they'll get some extra books out of the deal as well) I started her on the first Harry Potter book.

I wasn't sure if it would be a little too old for her, but... she loves it. Loves. It. And this weekend, she and Ray and a few other kids on our street were running around brandishing sticks and pretending to be characters from the Harry Potter universe. "I made up my own character to be," Penny told me.

It made me think of when I was a kid, running around with my friends and playing Star Wars.

And it made me happy.

Friday, September 9, 2011


The less said about my work day yesterday, the better, honestly. Let's just go with "crazy" and "frustrating" and leave it there, shall we?

But I went home to (entirely by coincidence) a pre-made dinner that I'd prepped the night before (garlic chicken and potatoes -- delicious, but I think next time I need to use a mix of cuts, because the breast-only meat got pretty dry) and then the kids were good and I got to read to Penny from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone for most of half an hour (she is loving the book, which makes me really happy! -- I've promised when we finish each book, she'll be allowed to watch the associated movie) and then after the kids were in bed I settled into my chair in the bedroom and lit a couple of scented candles. I wrote a little bit, and then I just sat and read and listened to the thunderstorm rolling by outside the window.

It was the perfect calm, relaxing, enjoyable antidote to the crazy/frustrating of the day.

Here's hoping today is much less crazy/frustrating, and that the weekend has plenty of opportunities to administer antidotes of all sorts.

Here's hoping your weekend is exactly as wonderful as you're hoping it will be.

Thursday, September 8, 2011


I arrived at work and was immediately up to my eyebrows in a task that I've never done before involving lots of military regulations (which are worse than civil law for obfuscation and referencing other documents) and filling out, apparently, some thirty-odd forms with details that I don't know where they come from...

Also, there are seven more documents due out this week, and a meeting with the school tomorrow, and I've got three novels that have to be proofed by the end of the month, and an out-of-town trip in a week and a half that I need to find a hotel for, and several appointments to make and attend, and...

In short, I'm stupidly busy and frustrated nearly to the point of tears and I can't post anything here today. Or, possibly, tomorrow. I'm sorry.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Long Time Comin'

Man, I haven't updated here in forever.

Well, ten days. Which is practically forever in the blogging world, even for rinky-dink nothing daily-rambling blogs like mine. What's happened since then...?

Let's see. We had Hurricane Irene blow through on August 27th (Saturday) -- we had no serious damage to the house or yard, but we did lose power around 2pm on Saturday and didn't get it back until Wednesday night, which only improves over our power loss with Hurricane Isabel by one day. "I" hurricanes have it in for us, I guess.

We made it through the days without power mostly by hanging out over at Braz and Adin's house -- they didn't have power for a few days, either, but they have a working grill, so at least we were able to eat. We cleaned out the fridge and freezer and took everything over to their place on Sunday afternoon for the mother of all barbecues. We eventually lost pretty much everything in the 'fridge, but on the bright side, it gave me an excuse to completely disassemble all the shelves and stuff and wash it all thoroughly. Matt and I were back to work by Tuesday (which let us recharge our various iDevices -- my office looked like a little Apple Store for a bit, there!), but the kids' daycare was without power at least as long as we were, so we managed the best we could; they spent some time with me at work, some time at home with Matt, and my parents took them a couple of times.

Last Thursday -- the very day after the power came back -- we took Penny to her back-to-school orientation. Matt, working as a WatchDOGS dad all last year, had met all the third-grade teachers and made his quiet wishlist concerning which teachers he particularly hoped Penny would (or wouldn't) get. The good news is that she didn't get the one teacher he was especially unimpressed with. The bad news is that she didn't get the teacher who was #1 on his list. The official news is that... they had a lot of rearrangement and turnover, so Penny wound up with a teacher who's brand new. So... we'll see, I guess.

Friday, my official boss came down from DC to do a meet-and-greet with me and go over some stuff. I was expecting it to take all day, but we were done well before lunch. Which I guess was good, but he's pushing a bunch of initiatives and training my way, so I expect I'm about to get a deal busier. Whee.

We had a pretty quiet weekend -- Penny had a sleepover with Jess Friday night, and then we went to a family party of Adin's at her place on Saturday, and then Sunday had dinner with my family to celebrate my mom's and brother's birthdays. Yesterday, being a holiday here in the U.S., we spent mostly over at Braz and Adin's again, though the kids were cranky and out of sorts, which resulted in the grownups being much the same. And since today is a school day, we had to get home early last night to get everyone to bed on time.

School drop-off went fine this morning, though I anticipate some whining from Penny tomorrow when I institute the new "drop-off, not walk-in" policy. But given that the school is suggesting we nudge her toward riding the bus next year (or at a minimum, the year after), I'm not caving. I only walked her in this morning because there was so much stuff to carry in.

In other news, Torquere Press has offered me a position as an editor (a step up from the proofreading job with them that I've had for about a year), which I find ridiculously exciting. I'm also proofing three novels at the moment, plus planning a trip to Roanoke in two weeks for a GLBT Pride event where I'll meet up with a couple of fellow authors/editors to hawk TQ's wares. (I'm still juggling the travel schedule for that -- it's a 4-hour drive, one way, so I'd really rather not do it all in one day... but it's on a Sunday, which means waiting to come home the next day may be problematic.)

...I think that gets us all caught up. How've you all been, these last couple of weeks or so?