Wednesday, June 29, 2011

And that's a wrap

I’m getting laid off on Friday, it looks like. Not sure of all the details, the paperwork is getting emailed to me. Things are complicated by me traveling back tomorrow and getting to Boston on Friday—the others who are getting laid off won’t be at work that day. So I’ll be in a sort of no-man’s land.

I feel mostly relieved. I won’t get into details and I won’t engage in snit-fittery but mostly yeah, I’m relieved.

Kent pointed out that my new sewing cabinet (that replaces the one that was ruined in the Great Water Episode of 2009) gets here Friday. Once we get back from our planned and mostly paid for vacation to England, I will have time to sew again. And that’s convenient because my niece just had her first child, a girl, yesterday. And I’ve hardly sewn anything for Eliot at all.

We already know how to budget, we are champs at that so I’m not freaked out about money. Plus I won’t be spending $100-$130 a week in gas plus $6.50 a day in tolls to get to Portsmouth PLUS holy cow I will not spend three hours of my day sitting on my butt in a car.

Maybe tomorrow I’ll be bummed. Right now I’m just kind of glad.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The School of Music

I stumbled across this link about the Navy School of Music; it covers not only the Navy's music history but also the Marines and Army. The Air Force and Coast Guard aren't included because they don't send their members to any of the joint schools. When I enlisted, the SOM was at Little Creek, VA and so was the amphibious warfare school. Talk about a contrast in military purpose! The course also lasted six months, although I was able to advance out.

The structure then included an incoming audition, an audition halfway through and a final audition, and they were scored on a four point scale. We also took ear training, theory and of course a lot of performance. I did OK on the incoming audition (took me years to get over audition nerves) but I blew the mid-term one out of the water. That qualified me to shave two months off my time there since I achieved higher than the required final score on that mid-term score. But I had to cram three months' worth of theory and ear training into four weeks plus prep and play that final audition.

Unlike a lot of my friends at the SOM, I had learned no theory before joining the Army. Ear training was not hard at all but the theory was all new to me. So it was a very busy last four weeks.

Reading over that article made me appreciate my time in service even more. It's kind of cool to think my military service connects me to Percy Grainger (Lincolnshire Posey, ah how fun you were to play) and Arthur Fiedler.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Kent majored in chemistry in college, which I’ve always thought was an odd choice for him—odd not because of his ability but more because I see his interests as being so much broader than one branch of science. But he picked chemistry.

The reason is kind of interesting to me. I am probably getting some of the details wrong but in high school, he wasn’t allowed into AP chemistry. When he tried to talk with the teacher to find out why she wouldn’t let him in, the bottom line was that she didn’t think he could do the work because he wasn’t simultaneously enrolled in an AP math class. So in a way, his degree was a great big ol’ Bronx cheer at her.

I’ve done similar things. I didn’t take the SAT or ACT before going to college myself. I was admitted because I was 29 so the Dean of Admissions just went ahead and admitted me. I even asked him about the SAT, and he said yeah sure it would be a good idea to take it. But I couldn’t see any value in spending four hours of my life plus whatever it cost then to find out I was great with words and less so with math. In fact the only downside was that I couldn’t get into the college Honors program until I’d taken some basic 101 classes. Even then, I wasn’t “supposed” to get in but I am very persistent. Once I got in one Honors class and aced it, all of a sudden I was in the program.

Sometimes I think being told no only spurs me on to greater efforts.

Edited to add: I completely forgot how my singing career got started—and it’s another case of being told no. Because I was an oboist, the high school choir teacher who also directed the musicals always wanted me to play in the pit orchestra. I did so my sophomore year, but two years later I really wanted to be in the musical. I was in our top choir and also in a couple of vocal ensembles that competed successfully at district and state competitions so I thought it was appropriate for me to audition. But afterwards, Mrs. Williams told me that she wouldn’t cast me in the musical because she wanted me to play in the pit orchestra again. That just didn’t sit well with me, so I went across town and played in our rival high school’s pit orchestra for their spring musical.

That led me to pursue singing throughout my Army career, at church and as a free lance singer for the next 15 or so years.

Yeah, that’s definitely a situation where being told no just made me more determined.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Jeanne was right

When I was a little girl, I’d pester my mother to put my hair in those foam curlers at night so the next day I would have curly hair. I'm sure it was a royal pain to roll a squirmy little girl's hair in curlers but she did it a few times. Then I’d toss and turn all night long because even though they were foam, those suckers still hurt my head. The next day she’d take them out and I’d have glorious ringlets, at least for a little while.

Over the years I’ve despised my hair. I’ve tried it long, short, permed, not permed and about everything in between. I believed that my hair was limp and fine and wouldn’t do a thing I wanted it to do. I’m here to say I was wrong.

My current hair stylist raves over my hair every single time I’m sitting in his chair. My hair, he tells me, is wonderfully obedient, it does everything he wants it to do. The funny thing is, he is right. I’ve finally figured out that my hair doesn’t need elaborate products or curling irons or anything else. It just needs a bit of volumizing spray (seriously the tiniest amount), a round brush and a blow dryer. And holy cow, I have a lot of hair that does exactly what it’s told to do.

So Jeanne, this is my official "you were right, I was wrong" post.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

So many things on my mind

And no time to write. I've begun the four weeks of insanity. This week is taken up with client workshops in Portsmouth which makes for long days. Last night I got home just in time to fall into bed.

I leave Sunday for Hawaii for the first graduation at the new program and also for the first cycle after action meeting. I think this is almost certainly the last trip.

I get back on Friday, leave again Tuesday night for England and a wedding. I get back from that on Sunday evening and leave for Seattle super early Monday morning. I'll be there through the following Sunday.

I keep thinking of things I want to write about on the way to work. Getting the writing done, however, is a different situation altogether.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Trip like I do

Pretty sure I mentioned in my blog about the sales clerk who told me very solemnly that cats see fairies. At the time I laughed silently but now I'm beginning to wonder, maybe she was right.

Last night Wally spent most of the night on the window ledge in our bedroom. That window looks out into a concrete well much like you’d see in a basement window. To see anything at all, you have to crane your neck and look up through the iron grating. Well Wally wasn’t looking up, he was looking out at a concrete wall almost all night long (he did come over for petting a couple of times).

This morning, Eddie joined him and they just stared out into the well, sort of like how I always pictured the Cat in the Hat kids stared outside waiting for their mother. Remember them? Sally and what was his name? I forget and it doesn’t matter anyway.

I even went and looked myself, but there was nothing out there. Unless my cats really do see fairies.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Remember the time

A friend’s daughter has just graduated from high school. I don’t know what she’s doing this summer before heading off to college in the fall, but I wonder if she's feeling the same sense of weird transition I did between high school and the next bit of my life.

Of course my next bit was basic training in the Army. As I recall, I left for basic in mid- to late July so I had almost two months to do not much of anything. I still worked at Burger Chef (apparently the chain was sold off to Hardee's and isn't around anymore), I hung out with my boyfriend, went to the pool and the lake a lot, and had enough time to think maybe I didn’t want to join the Army after all. SEMO still had an oboe scholarship they wanted to give me so I did look into breaking my contract but that got a big thumbs down from the Army. So off I went and I sometimes think how very different my life would have been if I’d gone to college straight out of high school instead. For one thing, I'd have flunked out because I still thought I was quite stupid back then. Anyway . . .

I wonder if others also felt strange in that last summer of mostly no responsibilities, just time to work a little, play a lot, get tan and hang out with friends. I didn’t much like high school, and I was not at all sad to leave Cape Girardeau, but that last summer was pretty cool.

Monday, June 13, 2011


The cats are putting out very powerful sleep vibrations today. It's all I can do to keep my eyes open and focus on the work I need to get done. But when I have 17 pounds of Eddie snoring/purring on my lap and Wally asleep on my desk and Chloe snoring in the background . . . well, it's hard to stay awake.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

It would take a miracle

And apparently we got one. The microwave that the Ferals were storing in our upstairs foyer for going on 18 months is now gone. Amazing.

Kent thinks—and I agree—that they waited until the foyer they do use was cleaned up from the reconstruction debris before deigning to remove their microwave from the other foyer. I don’t much care. I am just glad it’s gone because (a) that’s not a storage area, (b) it wasn’t clean and rodents can be a problem, and (c) it was trashy-ugly.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Mandatory fun

Do you have mandatory social events at work?

We do. And today’s my lucky day. We have a picnic at the company owner’s house from 2:30 to 5:30. I don’t know about you, but 2:30 isn’t lunch time and it’s sure not dinner time either. So basically I’ll be at this social event up here in New Hampshire which means my evening commute will start later than usual. That’s never a good thing on a Friday in Boston, especially a Friday with good weather.

Don't get me wrong. I like most of my co-workers just fine; I like Kent and the kitties and home even better.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Some like it hot

But I don’t. Not when I’m in a yoga class that is.

I got an all-you-can-eat pass to a local yoga studio—$90 for as many yoga classes as I care to take between Memorial Day and Labor Day. This studio indicates whether a class is warmer than usual by describing it as heated or hot (apparently hot is really hot and heated is just a little hot). It’s also relevant to mention that the studio is on the second floor with mostly windows along one side; the windows face the sun and only one tiny pane opens. I've gone to a couple of classes and I've enjoyed them a lot.

Last night I went to the 5:30 class and to my utter surprise not only was the AC not on, the teacher was not all that interested in turning on the overhead fans or the two teeny tiny window fans. She finally relented on the fans when someone essentially begged/ordered her to turn them on. Otherwise we had no ventilation and no cooling. It was unusually sunny and warm in Boston yesterday so the room was broiling hot.

I asked her after class if that was how she’d be running the class all summer. Hey it’s her class, she can do as she pleases. But I need to know because that was nausea-inducing heat to me and I don’t want to go back if that’s how she likes it. She didn’t really give a solid answer one way or the other, so in the interest of not hurling, I don’t think I’ll go to her class again.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


I asked Kent if he were sure these weren't weeds. He said no but that they were baby lettuce until proven otherwise.

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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

How to cool off

Sorry this isn’t about temperatures but about tempers, specifically my temper. I used to have a really hot temper and man that was exhausting. Fortunately time and age have helped me cool my jets a bit. While I’d love to say I’ve become quite saintly as I’ve gotten older, that’s just not the case. I think I’ve mostly run out of energy to get really steamed.

But there’s one exception and that’s the upstairs neighbors I call the Ferals. I’ve mentioned before the trouble he apparently has in parking straight in his spot (seriously there is NO shame in a 20 point turn in Boston, in fact that’s normal), and how he must wear steel clad boots because he’s so very loud and stompy when he walks around, and how he yells at his wife and kids all the time. Oh and let’s not forget the microwave that’s been languishing in our shared upstairs foyer for well over a year.

The Friday before Memorial Day, I parked my car and it was in fine shape. I know this because I regularly walk around my car. Yes, I’m weird, I walk around and check out my car and no, it’s not because the car is new. I just do that to make sure everything is OK. I did it with my CR-V too. So my car was A-OK Friday evening and then we flew to Kansas City for the weekend. Obviously the car stayed parked in its spot all three days and didn't go anywhere.

Tuesday when I got gas, I walked around and lo and behold I found a fairly serious scrape above the left front tire on the bumper. It’s a bad enough scrape that the bumper material is exposed and it will have to be repaired or else I’ll end up with rust. Plus it’s ugly.

Now that amount of damage couldn’t have been done without the other driver knowing he/she did the damage nor could it have been done by anyone not in the parking space to the left of me—the Ferals’ spot.

I had no note, no email, no nothing indicating that oops, sorry we damaged your car and here’s our phone number etc. Nope, not a word. You’d better believe I was steamed.

So for now, Kent and I have switched parking spaces. Now I park about a block away where I don’t have to see the Ferals' car and don’t have to wonder what the heck they are doing to do next. I’m still irate but at least it’s not cranking up my blood pressure.

So that's my anger management strategy. I am avoiding the source of the frustration.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Operation: Futility

That's what Kent calls our summer project; I should tell you that this project was his idea. I call it Operation: Crazy Optimist.

We came back from Kansas City very impressed with what my friend Kerry has done in her garden. In turn, Kent got inspired and while running errands Saturday without me, he bought seeds and small plants for a garden of our own. I’d show you a picture of the shelving he put up for the planter boxes but apparently my computer ate that picture.

Instead you get a picture of the tomato plant he also bought. Now, I am 95% sure we don’t have enough light for the poor thing to actually produce any fruit but what the heck—the plant cost maybe $5 and a lot of hope. We can spare both the money and the hope.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

On a mission

This week, I found a pair of shoes online to replace a pair of shoes ruined in the flood. The ruined shoes looked a little bit athletic without screaming tennis shoe, plus they didn’t have laces. I like that when I travel. Even though the shoes I found don't come in narrow, they've got a tab across the heel so I figured I'd be able to cinch it up so the shoe would stay on.

The reviews for the replacement shoes said to order a half size larger; I wear a 7 ½ or 8 depending on the shoe but these weren't available in an 8. Even with shoes that run short, I can frequently get away with a 7 ½ because my feet are narrow—it just depends on the toe box. So I took a chance and ordered them anyway.

Well the reviews were right. I love the shoes but they most definitely run short. Back they go and my hunt continues.

I've looked at Zappos and Endless and Amazon plus three or four stores here in Boston. Got any other online shoe sites you like?

Edited to add that when I check out the reviews on places like Zappos, I’m just appalled at what people tolerate in terms of shoes fitting. I'll read things like “I only had a couple of small blisters” or “they just hurt for the first few wearings.”

I completely reject that as being OK in my shoes. I’m not going to tolerate pain in my tops or pants and I sure won’t take it in my shoes. So even though shoe shopping is difficult for me, I just won’t settle for ill-fitting shoes—no matter how much the salesperson pouts at me.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Things I should do

But I don’t.

  • I don’t wash my face before I go to bed.
  • I don’t brush my hair.
  • I don’t put moisturizer on my face—hey I have oily skin so why would I add more?
  • I don’t take a multi-vitamin (although I do take vitamin D).
  • Nor do I take calcium or iron. I probably should take calcium.
  • I’m late on the regular doctor checkups by about three years.
  • I don’t go to the library. When I was a girl, I was always late returning the books and I’m scarred for life by the late fees and disapproving scowls.

I'm quite good at dentist check ups though. That should count for something.