I did it! I did it! I did it!
This is my fourth NaNoWriMo attempt and by far my hardest journey.
I am braindead but happy. Celebration begins tomorrow...!
I did it! I did it! I did it!
This is my fourth NaNoWriMo attempt and by far my hardest journey.
I am braindead but happy. Celebration begins tomorrow...!
Was listening to the radio on the way to work yesterday and the two deejays, one man, one woman, were discussing the work holiday party they had just attended.
The man told the woman how nice she looked. He said it with a bit of surprise. This was chalked up to the fact that since they work the morning show and go to work so early in the morning, she rarely "does it up", opting for easy and comfortable.
The female deejay, who is teetering on the edge of forty, launched into a hilarious diatribe about everything it takes for a woman to get it together to go out to a nice event.
She said something to all the ladies listening about "remember how back in the day all you needed was a bottle of Love's Baby Soft and a Bonnie Bell lip smacker to get started on your day. Oh, and maybe some mascara."
And this, of course, hit a nerve with me.
Hit a nerve hard, actually, as yesterday evening I had a way overdue appointment with my hairdresser to get all the grays covered. And they are many.
I remember when a box of color had never touched this head.
I remember when I never even had to wash my face at the end of the day. Zits? They were not a problem.
How is it that I have more acne in my late thirties than I did in my teens? Does that seem right to you? Don’t answer that.
The lady dj went on to talk about how in order to go out to the party, she had to spackle over all the skin issues, then cover up the cover up cream.
And the hair, oh the hair is a whole other project.
I remember back in the day when I would brush my hair, and it would lay nice. I put no spray, gel, mousse, shaping wax, pomade, or anything else into it.
And I rarely ever wore makeup. I didn't need it. My dewy fresh skin and peaches and cream cheeks were enough.
When, exactly, did the skin around my eyes get…crepe-ish? This I do not enjoy.
Ah well, I won't go silently into that good night.
I'll fight with the help of my color goddess of a hairdresser, a wand of cover up crème, skin renewing lotion and the help of darn good lighting!
I won't begin to talk about the "foundation" garments I have to sling shot into to be able to put on a nice dress. It isn't pretty.
That's another post for another day. Or was another post on another day.
Meanwhile, wishing all out there a Happy Turkey Day! I'm going to attend a pot luck at work, get fattened up like a Butterball, and leave work early.
All in, not a bad day.
I am ridiculously excited because, on the advice of a couple coworkers, I've found a different route to take to work. It's actually a few miles longer in distance, but since traffic rolls and no stop-go, stop-go, it actually shaves 10 to 15 minutes off my commute.
TEN TO FIFTEEN MINUTES! That means that over the course of a week, I could get around two extra hours with my sweetie. Or sleeping. Or fast asleep next to my sweetie. All good options!
I've got the drive down to about 25 minutes each way, now. Commute to the old job was 45 to 50 minutes each way.
THIS is a victory for sanity!
An open letter to my vehicular friend.
Today as I was driving you to work, I noticed you making an odd and rather unpleasant sound.
I'd like to attribute it to the early morning, because I know that you, like your owner, are not a fan of the cold morning hours.
But it would appear that this isn't just a hazard of winter chill, because later in the day, when it was warm, you still made that sound.
Which means you have to go see our friend Tony, the trusty mechanic who has carefully protected and maintained you for all of your life.
But it's more than that. Today, my checkbook lays open before you, at your mercy.
Please, please don't crap out on me. I need you.
Sure, you're almost eight years old, but remember the good times?
Remember how I purchased you in late 2001, the last wisp of the model year…the October right after the tragic September 11th when no one was buying cars?
You were the last (and best) of two remaining old model year cars. The end of an era too, as you are the last of your kind, they don't make you anymore.
Remember how you were the only car the dealer had sold that month? We giggled together at the rockin' deal I was able to negotiate so I could take you home?
Though almost eight years old now, you've been without a car payment for four years. And this is the heart of the issue, dear, sweet vehicle.
You see, times are a little rough. The economy is pretty bad, you know? I mean, hey, gas prices have improved, so that's something. But Mr. Jones has stolen all my money. Ok, not all, but a good portion, and your humble owner is starting to freak out.
To be fair, so far, I've managed to keep a good job with a regular paycheck. And yes, I *could* swing $300 to $500 a month to make payments on a new, shiny car.
But I don't want to.
That $300 to $500 a month could be better spent on things like food, you know, and uh, necessities of life.
Or, and here's a fun thought, that $300 to $500 a month could be put in savings in an attempt to rebuild my sagging nest egg.
But these plans, this hope for the future depends on you.
Please, please keep it together. I'm going to take you to be fixed, yes. And I'm even willing to spend a little cash to get that done. But that means you have to help me back. You have to stay solid for a while after the repair.
If you start nickel and diming, or really five-hundred and thousanding me, I'm going to have to reconsider whether you are still a valuable part of the family.
I need you to continue to be the reliable, dependable vehicle you are.
Give me a couple more years, ok? Let me see if I can get my financial feet back under me and we'll talk about retiring you to a nice life where you can wander the pastures and eat all the motor oil you'd like. But for now, I need you to stay solid and light on the pocketbook.
Plus, The Good Man says he doesn't believe an American made car can go 100,000 miles. I think we can prove him wrong (only 15k to go!).
I believe in you, fabulous Jeep, now you have to believe in me too!
Not my actual hoopty, but a sibling of....
Yes, I just said bluuurp. And I meant it.
One thing about my new employer, they feed people. Maybe that's the plan, keep people complacent by filling them up with food. I was warned to watch out for the "freshman fifteen" at this place.
Tuesday lunch was a delicate and perfectly prepared steak topped with a skewer of shrimp. Followed by the fudgiest piece of cake ever. I couldn’t even finish it!
Today at lunch we were treated to a full Thanksgiving spread. The works, turkey, stuffing, green beans, mash taters, gravy, punkin' pie, and warm apple cider.
I think tomorrow at lunch I'm going to find this company gym I've been hearing about.
Meanwhile, I need a nap.
This is the first of many turkey meals to come in the following weeks. Can you believe it's already Thanksgiving? Where does the time run off to?
Photo by way of Fire in my Kitchen.
Oh yes, I am.
See....soooomehow, in the course of a series of interviews, a fairly well crafted resume and a bunch of conversations, I've managed to convince the procurement organization of a well respected Fortune 500 corporation to award me the title of Senior Manager complete with an office (with a window that has a really nice view) and a fairly robust staff of minons to do my bidding.
Me. The goofball from New Mexico. The kid who, once upon a time, had to be taken to the doctor because I got a piñon nut stuck up my nose.
For some reason they actually think I might be.....good.
Damn. I convinced them. Now what?
I'm pretty sure I'm a fraud.
Day 3, the rubber is, you know, sort of starting to meet the road.
Can I shove another piñon nut up my nose and sidestep this responsibility?
No, probably not. Guess I better just keep showing up and trying to make good on who they seem to think I am.
Abject fear. Whatta rush.
Brain at capacity.
Hoping to resurface soon.
I come home from work exhausted.
Not a NaNo word has been written in a couple days. I go from being caught up to falling behind...again. *sigh*
I got an office today. An actual office with a door and a pretty nice view out of the window.
And I get to use a Mac!
A little bit of familiar in days filled with the vastly unfamiliar.
Met all of my direct reports today. They don't seem too upset or hostile about my appearance. We'll see how this goes.
Meanwhile, I'm still the new kid at school but so far I've made a few friends, so maybe this won't be so bad.
Meanwhile, pardon me while I go try to keep my overtaxed brain from leaping from my noggin.
I plan to sleep profoundly tonight.
I remember, lo these many years ago, one year when it was time to return to school, my mom packed up all the supplies she'd bought from the teacher's list of requirements into a brown paper grocery bag. Then she sat me, dressed in my new school clothes, next to the bag on the carved wooden bench near the front door and took a picture.
It was a "first day of school" photo.
I searched high and low in all my photo albums for this photo to scan and post today, but sadly I could not find it (it's there, but just didn't dig far enough). I did, however, find my first communion photo, taken seated on that same bench in a fluffy white dress and little veil, but figured the effect was just not the same.
The reason for me recalling both that day and that photograph, is that today, I started my new job at a brand new company. And I felt as nervous and jittery as I did in second grade wondering if I would like the place, if the other kids would like me back, and if I was doomed to eating lunch all by myself for the duration.
Day One of the new place was not so bad. My mind is a bit blown with all the information handed out during the day. I'm working for a company that is smaller, less high profile, but more important to the "greater good". I work for a company filled with PhD scientist types. Brilliant folks, all sharp as a whip and it takes work for me to keep up.
It's a lot like my old employer in a lot of ways (most of them good). It's also very different in a lot of ways.
But none of that matters. What matters is I spent nine and a half years at my last job. I'd built up friends, confidants, and credibility. I knew where the bodies and the land mines were buried. People knew me, knew I would do a good job, and trusted me.
Today, people don't know me from Adam and I have zero credibility. All that must be built, and it's a long process.
I have to learn the names of new and strange (and let's face it, rather geeky) executives. I have to learn a bit of biology and a skosh of chemistry to keep up with the conversations. I have to be able to speak clinically about some big hairy scary human diseases, which is going to be a tough change for my sensitive soul.
But mainly, I have to survive. I need this job. Mr. Jones keeps stealing my money and while I was feeling ok about things a few weeks back, I've finally succumbed to the fear and horror this economy has sent our way. I like feeling comfortable about my financial situation and loathe worrying over something as ridiculous as money.
And yes, I'm quite grateful to have a good job in these troubled times.
I did make a friend today. She was very nice and agreed to be my "new hire" pal. I have a new hire pal from the old place. He and I are still friends and celebrated every work anniversary by saying to each other, "god, you still work here?" I expect the same from my new friend.
Tomorrow I'm plunged into the icy waters of my new team. I met a couple ladies today who will by my direct reports and they eyed me suspiciously, but were friendly enough.
Hopefully no one will steal my lunch money and someone will let me sit at the table with them at noontime.
And hopefully someone will tell me how to find my way to the bathroom. That's essential.
Tuesday is going to be a really long day.
To New Mexico's own Governor Bill Richardson!
Have an extra biscochito today, big guy, you've earned it!
Not to be confused with arithmancy, the art of divination using numbers.
No, I'm talking romance here...and, uh, numbers.
You see, I have a sweet, fatty love.
No, not The Good Man. It's rude that you thought that. :)
No, my love is creamy, and delicious. And the best topping Mexican food ever met.
I'm talking the fantastic invention that is...Sour Cream.
Oh sweet love.
And here's where the numbers come in...did you know that if you took a spoon out of the drawer and used it to eat an entire Costco three pound tub of sweet, delicious sour cream, you'd only be out 2,700 calories?
45 servings times 60 calories a serving.
I mean...not so bad, right?
I believe this is the type of post that, when read by the good man, he will remark, "I can't believe you blogged about that."
Believe it, Cute Boy.
I paid two dollars and thirty-three cents a gallon for gas today!
I almost wept! Given that gas was touching five dolla' a gallon not that long ago, this was AMAZING!
Ok, to be fair, there was a forty-five cent surcharge for using my debit card at the pump. But that's ok. On twelve total gallons, that brings my price to two dolla' and thirty-six cents a gallon!
I procured this petrol while out running errands. I have enjoyed going out to stores on quiet weekdays rather than busy weekends.
I'm actually not seeing a slow up in spending. I'm guessing the economy might be doing ok, people are still spending with reckless abandon.
I personally provided my own "stimulus package" to the economy by spending WAY too much money over the past couple days.
Retail therapy always cheers me up!
In other news....from the retail front lines...why are leg warmers back? I was at Target and they had a full rack of leg warmers. They also had also neon colored baby doll socks (perfect for wearing with your patent leather stiletto heels).
When exactly did my HIGH SCHOOL years return to fashion? Look, I wore the rhinestones and vintage clothes and armfulls of black rubber bracelets back in the day. Sure, I was into it.
But looking back on my own personal fashion...well. It is best left in the past.
But no, Target sees fit to return it to me.
Clearly I've lost my mind. But that's ok, I never really had it gripped all that tight to begin with.
And that's oooookay.
In the midst of traveling and changing jobs and the upcoming holiday season, I have decided, once more this year, to participate in National Novel Writing Month, or as we in the know call it, NaNoWriMo or just NaNo.
This will be my fourth year to attempt the death defying feat of writing 50,000 words in thirty calendar days.
I have tried and succeeded each time. Each year has been its own odyssey into learning about myself, about how I write and about scooting that internal editor over to the side and just putting down the words.
This year is looking a little...shaky.
I wasn't as fired up about my story idea as I've been in past years. And I've learned when you are lost in the abyss at about 25,000 words, a really good, fun, story idea helps you climb through.
So that's worrisome.
Last year I got a late start but ended up finishing in fifteen stupid whirlwind days. Who does that? 50,000 words in fifteen days?
Ah, the occasional benefits of being rampantly OCD!
This year, I got a late start, and despite having a killer six thousand word day yesterday, the fire just isn't in my belly.
And that worries me.
Ah well, too soon to get really concerned. There are still 19ish days left in this race. A marathon, not a sprint.
If you want to follow my progress, I've put a handy dandy little widget over on the left sidebar so you can follow me along. Today I'm at about 12k words. Still many, many left to go.
All good thoughts and voices of support are welcome!
So endeth the thesaurus list.
Today, I am a slacker (sluggard?).
Today, I join the great masses of the unemployed.
Ne'er do well.
Thankfully, my shirker ways will end in exactly one week when I begin my new job and a whole new adventure.
I spent nine and a half years toiling for my former employer, and it was with a heavy heart that I left on Friday.
But ultimately, though painful, it was the right decision.
Next Monday I start with a company that is consistently in the top ten "best places to work". We'll see in the coming months whether or not I agree with that assessment, eh?
But for today, I'm a layabout. And I like it. Maybe a little too much.
You may recall from a post a while back that I use my secret agent 007 stealth first name when I order coffee and they ask for a name to write on the cup.
My secret agent name is Lucy. I use that name because it's:
1) easy to pronounce
2) easy to spell
3) heard clearly over the whooosh whooosh sounds of an espresso machine
I copied this from a friend (who has my same real first name), even borrowing her own made up nom de bebida, because of the ease of use.
Until this past week at the Honolulu airport.
They asked my name. I said Lucy. They nodded and wrote the name. I got my beverage and it wasn't until I was on the plane that I noticed.
You can't make this stuff up.
Yesterday at 1:15pm local time, as I was boarding a plane in Honolulu, CNN was reporting that "the polls in the east will be closing soon".
When I got off the plane in Oakland, The Good Man told me it was a done deal, Obama was president.
That sort of blows the ol' brain pan!
I'm still wrapping my mind around the fact that it's over, it wasn't a dream, and a new day has begun.
And you wouldn't believe me if I told you.
So I'll have to prove it in photographs.
I was shopping the book store at the Kona airport, looking for something to occupy me on the five and a half hour flight.
When my eyes fell upon this:
What is this, you say? Yes, someone actually took the time to translate the new testament into Hawaiian pidgin english.
Dats some supa spesho spirit right der!
I had a day today that defies all possible words.
Started out with a road trip down south of Kona to the very end southernmost of the Big Island of Hawaii.
My destination was Punalu'u Black Sand Beach.
I had stumbled across this gem online while looking for actual beaches. Kona is the newest of the islands and as such, doesn't have fabulous sand beaches. It has stunning lava coastline, but no happy sandy beach to lay about and catch some sun...or even walk on and put your toes in the water.
So not only is Punalu'u an actual sandy beach complete with watery toes....it comes with sea turtles!
Yes, actual sea turtles!
I was lucky enough to see five today on the small stretch of sand that comprises this amazing, glorious, gorgeous beach.
Then, after I'd spent several hours with the turtles, full of a turtle induced I, I decided to move on to the Volcanos National Park.
Both Kilauea and Mauna Loa were visible and AMAZING.
I took about three hundred photos today, and I'm sorting them out. The volcanos put a muted light haze on the day which my photographer friends will know is KILLER light for taking photos.
So here's a few to start, more to come:
All photos by Karen Fayeth
A personal high holy day for me.
I think I got deeply into the spirit last night dressed up as Frida.
It is a thoughtful day, remembering my loved ones who have moved on to the next journey.
I'm in a hotel room in Hawaii, so hard to celebrate properly, but I'll make do.
I'm working on a make-shift ofrenda. If it comes out I'll post a photo.
Mostly, just a reminder to remember those closest to you, both here and beyond.