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20th-Apr-2010 02:02 pm - In which I fall off the wagon...
Last week, I started my month of nights at work. I am now one long week through it, with only three more to go. Yay! But I'm already losing sight of the plans and goals that I had had prior to starting my month of nights, and I'm not sure how to motivate myself to get that back (hopefully, this might help...)

On May 2nd, I'm running a half-marathon. That's 13.2 miles, for those of you counting. So far, the farthest that I've been able to run has been a little over eight miles--and I'm okay with the cardio aspect, but my knees are NOT okay with the distance. I think that I am increasing my distance too quickly, as I've had this kind of knee pain before and it's always when I push myself to distances that I haven't worked up to running. So, I need to run more to get my body used to the greater distances, right? That was the conclusion that I had reached before I started night shift, and I had it all planned out--set the alarm for 8 a.m. every day so I don't get too used to sleeping in late, go to bed as soon as I get home from work, etc. And, well, I'm only one week in and I've already massively screwed that up :( It was almost noon when I woke up this morning--guess I got too used to sleeping through the alarm clock. And I haven't been running in a week. And I had jelly beans for lunch.

So I guess it's time to try to re-invigorate that drive and try again. This is the part that sucks--when you set goals, and you fail at them, and you have to convince yourself that the extra effort to try again is worth it in the end. So this afternoon, I'm going to clean up a bit and take some ibuprofen and then run around Zorinsky and see if I can't make something of this slob that I have become. Wish me luck.
28th-Feb-2010 04:35 pm - A kind of book review
I've been reading My Mistress's Sparrow is Dead for the past month or so. It is a collection of short stories, all dealing with love--not the typical kind, not what you think of when you think of love--and I guess also includes some allusion to sparrows at one point in each story (although they must be very well-hidden, because I haven't noticed one of them yet). I am about half done with the book--it's almost 600 pages--and just wanted to share a few of my favorites so far.

"The Dead" by James Joyce--as with the only other Joyce that I've read, this story was confusing and left much unresolved. Unlike the other Joyce that I've read, I liked this one because I could, at least on a base level, understand it. The story is about the night of a party, told through the eyes of Gabriel Conroy, a pretentious Irish man who is startled to learn, near the end of the story, that his wife once had a lover whom he had never before known about. The story of the dinner party is interesting in that it illustrates the personalities of a diverse group of characters, and the part that happens after is quite brief but, to me, very emotionally fulfilling. It reminds me that, although I am rather settled in a comfortable life now, there was a time in my life when everything was all emotion and passion and no certainty. We are never who we once thought we would be.

"Some Other, Better Otto" by Deborah Eisenberg--a relatively simple story about a gay man and his relationship with his family, and how that relationship impacts his relationship with his (at this point I'm not sure what to call him... "husband" comes to mind, with the exception of the actual marriage). It was a rather long story but I loved every bit of it and only wished that it would keep going.

"The Hitchhiking Game" by Milan Kundera--the story about a boyfriend and girlfriend who turn a fun road trip into a sadistic power trip that likely ruins their relationship forever. I was really disturbed to read this, but also think that it is a good thing to read, if you know what I mean. Kind of reminds you of the danger in the darkness.

"Mouche" by Guy de Maupassant--a group of friends spend their summers boating (at least I think that is how this works... throughout the story, I kept asking myself the Friends question, "how can these people afford this? Don't they have jobs?") and eventually include a promiscuous girl, who has sex with all of them, gets pregnant, and then miscarries. I think the reason that I liked this story so much was that so many of the assumptions made were so foreign to me (like, of course she would willingly have sex with all of them, and of course there wouldn't be any jealousy, and of course she would want to have the baby, and so on and so forth...) I wish this story had a sequel.

"The Moon in its Flight" by Gilbert Sorrentino--the story of two teenagers from different social classes who fall in love, remain in love, and yet live very different lives while continuing their affair over the years. Nothing I would ever condone in real life, but it makes for a good story.

"How to Be an Other Woman" by Lorrie Moore--the heart-breaking story of an extramarital affair, told from the perspective of the woman who falls in love with a married man. While the entire time I was wishing that she wouldn't do it, knowing that it would end badly, I couldn't help but feel just as wounded when things, well, ended badly. The dispassionate tone makes it even more emotional.

"Yours" by Mary Robison--such a sweet, short story. Kind of like a relationship summarized by a Hallmark greeting card, but well.

"The Bad Thing" by David Gates--the abuses of a pregnant alcoholic, trapped in suburbia. Except they're, like, modern, and artists. I can't say I really liked this story, but the tone (voice?) is really good and it stayed with m.

"Tonka" by Robert Musil--I just finished reading this story today and really, really enjoyed it. It is about an aristocratic boy who falls in love (kind of?) with a lower-class girl, she cheats of him, gets pregnant and contracts syphilis, and dies. And the whole while, he sort of naively believes in her dedication and innocence. Bizarre and thought-provoking.
6th-Feb-2010 04:38 am - Dear LiveJournal...
It's not personal, I swear it's not. But see, now there is Facebook, and, well, there are just a lot of people on Facebook who aren't on LiveJournal and Facebook is easier.

So since the last time I posted (at the end of December, so about a month and a half ago), we've gotten more snow, we've welcomed in a new year (I have noticed that you are aware of this), I jumped back on the workout bandwagon that I kept falling off of, Jon started a new long-term subbing job, and I signed up to run a half-marathon (which is keeping me incredibly busy, but I am feeling so good!)

I'll try to keep up with you better in the future, LJ, but I don't want to make too many promises. I mean, Facebook has an app, you know? Maybe if you had an app....

(Off to figure out if LiveJournal has an app, that would rock!)
Between going on nights, joining Facebook (again), and then beginning the vacation that never ends (except it ends at 6 a.m. on Wednesday morning, omg), I've been sort of off-kilter, and I'm sorry, LJ, I mostly just forgot about you. Nothing personal. Why are you taking offense?

Anyway, like I said, I worked my month of nights from late November through late December, ending just before Christmas. This was a pretty bad month of nights--I didn't retain any of my day-shiftedness, I got pretty bored and lonely basically doing nothing but working and sleeping on the days that I worked, and I only made it to the gym twice. Baaaad month. I just really didn't handle it very well--I knew that it would suck, but that there were things that I could do that would make it suck less, and I just didn't do those things, so it sucked a lot. Lesson learned (we'll see....) My last month of nights was easier because I kind of did those things. And, possibly, because it was summer instead of blizzard-central winter.

I came off my month from hell and went straight into hibernation mode. Seriously, I have never slept so much in my life, I have never not left the house so much in my life, I have never said "to hell with it" to the pile of dishes in the kitchen or the mess in the family room or the laundry.... And then there was the great blizzard of 2009 (The Great Blizzard of 2009? Does it deserve caps yet?), at which point I was pretty much snowed in for a few days, and then took the liberty of snowing myself in for a few more days. I'm pretty sure that I made it a full week without leaving the house, which I should probably be embarrassed about but I actually really enjoyed a lot, until I didn't anymore, and there was still snow and my car is short and, well, things got cranky. And by things, I mean me. And Jon. I love the man, but we were not meant to be locked up in the same house together, 24/7, for two weeks. I sleep in till noon, he's up at 8 a.m.; I spend the next eight hours trying to do productive things, while he spends those hours playing video games and watching t.v.; he's ready for bed at 10 p.m. and I am just hitting my peak production time. Oy.

He went out of the house for a few hours yesterday and I FINALLY tackled the family room. That room has been a pit since I went on nights and it's only gotten worse with both of us around 24/7 with plenty of motivation to mess it up but none to clean it. So I went to town, unpacking boxes that have sat in there since we moved in in July, putting away random crap that has shown up there, and then moving out everything but the couch and sweeping, mopping, dusting, and vacuuming until even the cats had determined my behavior to be "abnormal". And then I brought all of the furniture back into the room and rearranged it--one of those kinds of cleanings.

And then Jon came home. And heaven help me, if I do this kind of thing again, we just might not make it. Because he came home and he loved it. Was so impressed that I had taken the initiative and thought that it looked just great.

Then, he left his cell phone and netbook on a couple of side tables.

And didn't really see any reason why his laptop shouldn't live right next to the fireplace (although, in his defense, after I mentioned it once or twice, it disappeared. The other random things next to it are still there, though).

And ate some food and left the dirty plate on the coffee table while he watched some t.v.

*big sigh* Those of you who know me well realize that this is sort of like slowly pulling all of the hairs out of my head, one by one. It's excruciating, and I realize that to this degree, it's about 10% him and about 90% me, but it's all I can do to keep from literally following him around and picking up every little hair, crumb, or random object that he might not clean up himself. Because that room is my masterpiece, goddammit, and I want it to still be a masterpiece tomorrow. But seeing as how I have given up on my ideals, I am just hoping for a week or two, and I shall neglect all other responsibilities if it means that that family room stays "nice" until I get tired of it and don't care anymore.

So then I moved on to the study. It's looking much better... *twitch*

ETA: LiveJournal does not have a mood that adequately expresses my mood right now. Because you can bet your ass that I looked through every single one.
22nd-Dec-2009 04:05 pm - Revised Book Review
Most of you probably didn't see the original, but here's the complete version:

In the Time of the Butterflies In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I am really not sure how to rate this. This is a largely fictional account of the real lives of the four Mirabal sisters, who were underground revolutionary fighters against the Trujillo government in the Dominican Republic. It is incredibly well-written and fast-reading--but it's not true. The author states at the end that she grew up on the bigger-than-life fables of the Mirabal sisters, which she didn't want to write about (as they were unrealistic and not true), and since she couldn't find enough information to write the kind of biographies that she wanted to write, she instead wrote the story of their lives, based on some fact and a lot of her own imagination. And I just don't know how I feel about that.

I can say that the story was a fast, very engaging read, and I very well may never have heard of the Mirabal sisters if I hadn't randomly chosen this book from the library shelf, so there is that. But if you read this--and I would recommend it--read it carefully, and with a cautious mind.

View all my reviews >>
...but thank-you notes from our wedding (almost) one year ago are finally finished! Hurray!!!
2nd-Nov-2009 09:54 pm - Cover your ears!
Right now, Jon is in the room below me, playing Rock Band with his best friend. He does this a lot, and I'm cool with it.

Except this time, he's singing.

1st-Nov-2009 11:53 am - I just bought a new iPod!
It's the little things. I'm sure it will be worth the $130 that I just spent on it.

The old iPod, it's declining. For the second time this week, I plugged it into my computer and it froze (the iPod, not the computer). The iPod thinks that it is connected to the computer, so no matter what I do to it, it does not respond. The computer, on the other hand, has no idea that the iPod was ever there. This means that I have to wait for the iPod battery to drain enough that it shuts off (this takes a few hours), and then several more hours for it to charge up enough to be useable again. Boo.

I found this iPod nano refurbished and decided to buy it. It's smaller than my old iPod classic, holds less music and podcasts (but I've currently used only a fraction of the classic's capacity), and hopefully won't freeze and stop working on things like long car rides (due to the rotating disc inside the classic--the nano doesn't have this).

I probably won't get it in the mail until next week, but that's okay. The one that I have works well enough for now (or, rather, I've been dealing with this problem off and on for awhile, and am annoyed with but used to it). That should give me enough time to find a couple of armband holders for it (I'm upgrading to two--one for when I work out and get all sweaty, and another for when I am at home doing chores and possibly don't want to put something gross and sweaty on my nice clothes). The armbands at the iPod store are all about $30, which seems pretty pricey to me, especially since they all receive mediocre reviews. This style (color irrelevant) appears to get better reviews than the traditional fully-covered version, but I'm not sure if I would want to get something like that since I have taken my iPod out in the rain with me before and the full sleeve does provide some sort of protection. I wonder why this style gets such low reviews? Does the cover obstruct the view of those watching t.v. on their forearms? I'm most interested in this kind, which is currently out of stock (at least onlne) but looks good, is cheaper, and is from the same brand that made my awesome iPod classic armband (love that thing). I might swing by NFM in the next couple of days and see what they have to offer.

Buying a new iPod feels greeeeaaaat. Not horrible and full of money regret like I expected. Ahhhhhhh.
21st-Oct-2009 12:19 pm - Last Day Off
I have a to-do list that is half a page long and I'm hungry. Who wants to bet my to-do list won't get finished today???
11th-Oct-2009 01:26 pm - Once a sucker, always a sucker.
I'm not sure if I've ever mentioned this here before, but Jon is a total sucker for our cats. I may be their original "mommy", and they may come to me for comfort and for food since I've been here the longest, but Jon is constantly thinking of new ways to play with them, fun things for them to enjoy, ways in which they might be entertained, etc. And they may not realize it, but he is their biggest advocate, giving me sad faces when I want to kick one or the other off my lap, petting them when mommy's too "busy", and just generally treating them like the children that they think they are ;)

Therefore, I was only a little surprised to find that Jon had taken some of our most recent furniture acquisition and turned them into cat-style theater chairs, placed in such a way that the cats have an excellent view of the backyard, in such a way that no human may pass without a fair amount of trouble but at least the cats are happy:

Backyard Theater

You can see that Bessie is already taking advantage of her new seat, whereas Portia hadn't quite figured hers out yet :)

I would love to see more animal "accommodations" if anyone has them :)
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