Sunday, August 15, 2010

Home Construction Photos

There were several years when I was growing up that were very very lean times. My Dad was working 3 or 4 jobs, and my Mom was working one and taking care of us kids. I know my Dad had to ask my Grandfather for loans a couple of times so they could make the house payment.

My parents worked their hind ends off to provide for the family, and I am forever grateful. I am also forever terrified that something will happen and I will find myself in financial distress. This is why I have been quite smart about saving money in myriad ways. Still, whenever I purchase anything...and I mean ANYTHING...whether it be a $1.25 soda or a $200 printer, I always think to myself, 'I shouldn't be buying this.'

And so, while I'm delighted and excited to be building my first home, I am equally (or even moreso) scared to death. It's a huge responsibility, and I have no one with whom to share the financial burden. I'm sure it is perfectly normal to feel this way, right?

Here are some photos I took yesterday when I drove by to check the progress. They've just begun work. I am scheduled to close on November 4th. We'll see if that actually happens.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Some Like it Hot!

This is where I wish I were this past weekend. I took this photo in March of 2007 on a hill overlooking Estes Park, Colorado. It was chilly but not cold, and I was surrounded by good friends.

This weekend I was also surrounded by good friends, but we were enduring a brutal full weekend rehearsal under the hot Texas sun. It was about 125 degrees on the field and even hotter in the aluminum stands where our Visual Caption Head was positioned.

On Saturday alone I drank 2 gallons of water and almost a gallon of gatorade during our 9am to 7pm rehearsal. It was hot, it was hard, and I conquered it! Sunday was much easier and maybe a couple degrees cooler, plus an occasional cloud would cross the sun, and it felt like it cooled off 20 degrees during those times.

Playing is not hard; marching is not hard; not breathing regularly is not hard; and the heat is not hard. But when you combine all that together, it's hard! It is physically and mentally demanding, and those of us who march drum corps like that it is difficult. We are pushed to our limits and beyond.

We have a performance on Friday and another on Monday, both in the Dallas area, and it's going to be hot hot hot with our full uniforms on. It's good that it was so hot this past weekend so that we could get somewhat acclimated to it.

After this heat, Minnesota and Rochester, NY will be a breeze.

Monday, July 05, 2010

My 4th of July

Individually, I performed very well yesterday...really, really well, actually. As a group, we had a few shaky spots, but we were playing for an audience comprised of mostly blue hairs, so they didn't know the difference anyway.

It was just the hornline and percussion, because you can't really toss flags or rifles in a concert hall full of people, so the color guard didn't perform with us.

After arriving at 8am, we warmed up, rehearsed for a while, then met up with the orchestra and rehearsed the national anthem a couple times. We had our own green room, with our name on the doors and all that. We felt rather important.

For lunch a lot of us went across the street to a Spanish Tapas restaurant where we had a lovely yet pricey lunch. Then we rehearsed some more, got in full uniform, and went upstairs to wait backstage until it was our time to go on. We had rehearsed in the hall earlier that day, but there were fewer lights on the audience now, so it was almost impossible to see our conductor who was positioned in an aisle. Those of us in front clued in to the fact that those behind us probably couldn't see, so a couple of us bobbed our horns up and down slightly on 'one' and 'three' to help them out.

We were on the very front edge of the stage...literally less than 2 feet from the edge, so we all felt a little exposed. But I like to perform for others, so I quickly felt comfortable.

We had some timing issues between brass, percussion, and conductor, but we held it together and did decently well as a group. I nailed my solos and duets, which I am always very relieved about. I only fracked 2 or 3 notes the whole time and played very well.

After our on stage performance, we went back down to our green room, chilled for a few minutes, then went back up and outside to play for the concertgoers as they were leaving. We circled it up in the shade of a couple trees and played a few things with our Brass/Visual Caption head in the center. If you've ever stood in front of a hornline that is entirely bell-front instruments, you know what loud can be. This was loud. We only have 20 horns, but we produce a LOT of sound.

We then arced it up to face the crowd and played several tunes again from our performance. People were clapping and cheering and having a great time. Someone even asked if he had a CD for sale.

Someone I marched with either in college or in drum corps came up to me while we were outside our greenroom to say hi. She looked so very familiar, but I still don't know exactly were I know her from. It was neat to talk to her for a minute, and we chatted again after the performance. I always feel bad when I can't remember people, because they always seem to remember me.

I did have a lady come up to me afterwards and tell me that she was a horn player and that I was very good. I thanked her, and then several of my corps mates said, "no, she's great!" I have some truly great friends in this corps...gotta love 'em.

After everything was done, and uniforms were off and loaded on the truck, several of us chilled in the parking garage, drinking home brew, water, gatorade, etc. Then we decided to go out to dinner, so we drove to Macaroni Grill where we ate, drank, laughed, and generally had a fabulous time.

This particular Macaroni Grill is in a mall parking lot, and the mall was having fireworks, so we went outside to watch the show. The parking lot was 100% full because of everyone coming out to watch the fireworks, so we drank some more on the porch of the restaurant for over an hour, waiting for traffic to free up.

It was probably the best 4th of July I've ever had.

Right now there are fireworks going off in Fair Park, and I can hear them from where I sit typing this. Tomorrow I jump back into work mode, but I'll always remember this weekend. It was magical in its own kind of slice of life way.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

We're Performing with a Symphony

On Sunday, July 4th, my drum corps is performing with a local symphony at the Eisemann Center in Richardson, TX.

My corps' website is here, which also has a link to the Plano Symphony website.

We are all looking forward to it, because it is great exposure for our corps, is a professional gig, and will be INDOORS!!!! I can't tell you how happy that last part makes me.

We will be performing the Star Spangled Banner with the symphony and the chorus to start off the concert, and at some point (I don't know the entire run of show yet) we will do our performance of 4 or 5 songs, the symphony will perform, and at the very end of the concert while people are leaving, we are going to line the aisles and play again. We will be in full uniform but without shakos and plumes (hats). Any time we get to perform indoors without shakos is a big win. It's bloomin' hot outside!

Today I told my family about the performance and they seemed interested, so maybe they'll come. It's kind of far for them to drive there - over an hour - so we'll see.

We had rehearsal yesterday, and I drank over 150 ounces of water and Gatorade, it was that hot. That's a lot of fluids.

On Friday I have an appointment at the design studio for the house I'm having built. I will get lots of information to wade through, so I'll share some of it here. I also have rehearsal on Saturday and that rehearsal and performance on Sunday, so I'll be quite busy this weekend.

But the good news is that I'm in town this entire week. I don't go out of town again until a week from Wednesday, so I can cook my meals and eat real food, and maybe even visit some friends and do normal people activities in the evenings. Wow!

I get my company car on Tuesday FINALLY!!!, and am excited about not having to put more miles on mine, which is now at 103,000 miles in 4 1/2 years.

That's all my excitement for now. I hope each of you has a fabulous week.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Ahhh, Drum Corps

This is me tooting my own horn, so to speak. The picture on the left was taken at a park in/near Rochester, NY at a rehearsal during DCA World Championships over Labor Day weekend in 2009. The picture on the right was taken some time in June, July, or August of 2009 at one of the rehearsals. Rehearsal is tough on the body and rough on the clothes, so I have just a handful of T-shirts and shorts dedicated to this purpose. I have found that Adidas shoes fit my feet better than any other brand, so I'll stick with them forever, I suppose.

We're entering the high season for drum corps, when there is a rehearsal almost every weekend between now and Labor Day. Some are just Saturday rehearsals; some are Saturday and Sunday.

Two Saturdays from now, we have a performance in Austin, where all the active Drum Corps in Texas perform their show (standstill performance as opposed to marching + playing) on the steps of the state capitol. The performance is free to attend and has a family/friend feel. People bring their blankets and coolers and enjoy the evening of great music. There are a handful of Junior Corps in Texas, but we are the only remaining active competing All-Age Drum Corps. Corps fold all the time because it is an expensive prospect to keep one running.

Just to clarify, the singular and the plural are both spelled 'corps'. When you're talking about one, you pronounce it 'core'. When you're talking about more than one, you pronounce it 'cores'. I just thought I'd put that in there in case anyone was wondering.

I'm particularly excited about this Austin performance (which is called Texas Drum Corps Preview) because I now know how it goes. What I mean is that I know what to expect. Last year was my first year, so everything was new to me, and I had to learn where to meet for rehearsal at all these performances, what was allowed and not allowed, the timing and cadence of things, where to book a hotel, etc. It's amazing how much mental energy it takes to absorb entirely new situations.

If any pics are taken that I have access to, I will post them. I have to cut this post short, because I need to do a few things before I leave for Tulsa in the early morning.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Does This "SOLD" Sign Make Me Look Fat?

Yes, this is my new home site. After much initialing and signing and providing of all my financial documents, I am now the proud owner of this patch of dirt. It was 98 degrees outside today with nary a cloud in the sky, so the community's pool is going to be very appealing to me in the next few months.

Don't you like my kicks? (kicks are shoes, in case you didn't know)

Even though today is Saturday, the mortgage guy at the bank and I spoke for about 35 minutes. He looked at the documents the home salesperson scanned and emailed over to him. I gave him some more information about my salary, other accounts, etc., and he checked my credit score as well. He told me that I would absolutely be approved for the loan based, and that the official certificate would be forthcoming. He is going to tell KB Home to proceed with the home during their builders meeting on Monday.

I've worked hard and smart and handled my finances conservatively and intelligently during my entire life, so I expect to be rewarded now with a fantastic interest rate and every other perk or advantage that is possible. I'm sorry if that sounds snooty, I just feel like it's time for me to get the bonuses that the responsible people of this country should receive.

The incentives include a washer, dryer, refrigerator, microwave above the stove, and $5,000 in free upgrades. Anyone want to go shopping at the design center with me?

The home won't be ready until October or November, due to it taking 6-8 weeks to get a building permit in Fort Worth (lots of construction going on in that town right now), and houses that are already in the queue to be built, so I won't have to buy a lawn mower or have a huge financial outlay for yard type things right now.

I already posted this same pic on Facebook, and I will tell my family tomorrow. They know I've been looking for a place to build and haven't been happy with anything I've seen, but I think they'll be surprised that I moved so quickly on this property/community. I just saw it for the first time 8 days ago, but I knew immediately it was the right place for me. And just a note about that...I have learned to follow my gut/instincts on things like this. It's an 'I'll know it when I see it' type of thing.

Now I'm off to watch Season 2 of 24 on DVD for the rest of the night. Toodles.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Building a House

I finally found where I want to build my home. It's in far north Fort Worth in an area that is new development with lots of different builders. There are gas stations, grocery stores, clothing stores, etc. all nearby. It has very easy access to I-35 (about 3.3 miles away), and it's within 25 minutes of my parents' and sisters' homes. I will have easy access to all my Texas stores, and it's a straight shot up to Oklahoma City and my 5 stores in and around that area. It will take me a bit longer to get to Tulsa, Arkansas, and Missouri, but everything is a trade-off, I suppose.

I have selected the floor plan that works best for me. It's 1,737 square feet, which is outrageous for one person, considering I grew up in a home that was smaller and had 5 people plus a cat living there. But I'll have 3 bedrooms plus a den for my home office. This will give me a master bedroom for me, a guest bedroom for whomever, and a third room to use as a library or music room or whatever I want.

I'm going back on Saturday to see if I can get (negotiate) the builder to pay all my closing costs, throw in a refrigerator as well as give me lots of money for the 'design center'.

I checked my credit report tonight through Equifax, and it all looks good - no strange things that I don't recognize. Everything that can be green is green, and no red flags or statements saying I was ever overdue on anything. I'm sure you all know that you can get your credit report free each year through the 3 credit reporting companies. Then I paid $7.95 to check my credit score. I don't mind sharing that it is in the highest bracket, so I should be able to get a great interest rate.

I'm bad about throwing my paperwork everywhere at home, so I need to get copies of certain things pulled together for when it reaches that point.

The entire process is interesting but also extremely scary. It's a huge commitment to pay a mortgage that is significantly more than my current rent. But I'm about to pay my car off by the end of the year, and the mortgage will be less than my rent + car currently is.


Saturday, May 22, 2010

Pulled Over Again

Oklahoma Highway Patrol likes me. Actually, they like to pull me over and give me warnings on yellow paper that I stuff into my glove box.

About 10 days ago I was pulled over driving from my store in Rogers, Arkansas home to Dallas. This drive takes about 5 1/2 hours, and a huge portion of it is through Oklahoma on I-40 and US 69.

I was cruising along, dancing to Michael Buble's latest CD, Crazy Love, when the trooper pulled me over. I was perplexed, I was astounded, I, for once, wasn't speeding, not one iota. I had no idea why I was being pulled over. The trooper came to the passenger side, and I lowered that window.

"I just wanted to see if you were tired or getting sleepy," he said, "Maybe texting even. You crossed the center line a couple of times a ways back." This was news to me, considering I was alert and fine, just driving along. I told him my company had just instituted a policy against distracted driving and showed him that my cell phones were in their cases and not in my hands. He saw my bluetooth device and believed me. I told him I felt fine and wasn't aware of crossing the center line. He asked to see my driver's license, then gave it back to me and walked back to his car. He wrote me a warning, and let me go. He was very friendly to me, apologetic even.

I still don't think I had crossed the center line, but was pulled over because of the color of my car, which everyone in Oklahoma thinks is pro-UT (University of Texas), when the state is very much an OU (University of Oklahoma) territory. I bought the tangerine metallic car because it was bright and vital and different. Ultimately, it doesn't matter why I bought it. If someone doesn't like the color of my car, they can just be glad they don't have an orange car and shut up about it.

I can't wait for my company car to be built and delivered. It's a black Ford Fusion and won't draw any attention to itself in Oklahoma or anywhere else. It will also be more difficult to find in a parking lot, but I think I can live with that.

Today I took a 4 hour nap, and I'm about to go to sleep again. I don't get enough rest during the week, and today I had no planned obligations, so I did nothing whatsoever but eat, sleep, play on the computer, and watch part of Texas Ranch House on DVD again. I haven't had a day like that in a long time, and I sorely needed it.

I'm tired and going to bed now. Goodnight.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Wedding

The rehearsal dinner was Friday night at my parents' house. Dad grilled chicken and brats (I hate brats but the chicken was tasty), and people chatted and mingled a much as you can mingle in a not-so-huge house with 19 people in it.

After everyone ate, the programs were passed around. The wedding theme was that of a theatre production. The invitation looked like a Playbill, and the program had the complete format of a Playbill. All the people involved in the wedding had a photo and a short bio included. I submitted a photo of my mellophone and Octopookie (because I hate having my picture taken and subsequently don't have any) and a tongue-in-cheek bio (because no one really cares about the facts). Everyone else had the same idea about the bio, so they were fun and humorous to read. Big check-plus on this.

Then the agenda for the entire day was passed out, and on the front page was the 'cast' list with everyone's duties listed. This is where the bullshit began this weekend. Without any advance notice whatsoever, I was unwillingly assigned 3 additional duties. I say additional because I was already in charge of the live fish for the centerpieces. My older sister was also assigned additional duties. In fact, about 10 people were assigned additional duties that they didn't know about or agree to ahead of time. This pissed me off to no end, and we bitched about it at length (my older sister and I). You don't just make assumptions and dictate to people what they will be doing for you with less than one day's notice. You plan ahead of time who is going to do these things and ask for participation well in advance. I would have told her she needed to get some of her other friends to do these things. Trust me, there were plenty of other people available to delegate things out to.

On top of all this, the meeting time for pictures at the venue was changed to an hour earlier than what it previously was. My hair/makeup appointment had been made 2 months ago, and was going to make me late for the new time. Aggravating.

I ponied up the money to stay in a hotel near the theatre (wedding venue) and 'cast party' location in downtown Fort Worth. This was well worth the $250 it cost me, because I was a mile from the theatre and a couple blocks from the pub where the party was going to take place, instead of being 45 minutes away.

On Saturday morning I went to PetsMart to buy the fish for the centerpieces, and the lady wouldn't sell me any goldfish, telling me they would die without aeration. This is crap, but I just bought 15 female bettas and drove to the theatre. I didn't know where the heck this building was, because it's in the arts district where a ton of buildings take up several blocks. I parked in a garage and asked a security guard where the theatre was. He directed me to the Omni Theatre, and as I was opening the doors to it, I dropped the bags of fish. The tops popped off of several containers, and I had to scoop 2 fishies off the ground and put them into another container because theirs had broken. There was water all over the floor. No one in the Omni could tell me where the theatre was, and I was livid....absolutely livid.

I called my Dad and he gave me directions. I was walking down the road with 4 wet bags of containers of live fish in my hands, hoping I didn't drop them again. I finally found the theatre and proceeded to clean the glass vases and the rocks, add and treat the water, and pour in the fish.

Then I ran to the salon to get my hair and makeup done. It turned out fine, but wasn't finished until 1pm. I still hadn't eaten at all and was very very hungry. I stopped by McDonald's on the way back to the hotel and got some lunch. Then I tore up to my hotel room, put on my pretty purple dress and everything that I needed to go with it, and made my way back to the theatre.

By this time the parking lots were completely full, and I had to wait in a 10 minute queue to get into the parking garage. At least I knew where the theatre was from having been there in the morning, or it would have been another half hour before I actually got there.

I looked great. I mean really really, even. And I never ever ever think I look great, so that's really saying something. My dress was a simple Calvin Klein purple dress I got at Nordstrom's. The hem comes down to just above the knees, and it has wide straps at the top, but no sleeves. I wore a white sweater shrug with it, a silver necklace, silver sandals, and a cute beaded silver purse I got at Dillard's. My hair was big, not Texas lady hair big, but I told the hair stylist to do whatever she wanted, so that's what she did.

All the women told me I looked fantastic, and I think they actually meant it. I usually dress so simply and don't spend a ton of time on hair and makeup, so to see me dressed up was a big deal. The men didn't say anything, but they're men. Whatever.

We finished off the pictures then headed inside. The day was a rather humid, but was bright and sunny and not too hot at all. It was rather comfortable, and I was very pleased at this. I forgot to mention that I finally broke down and had my nails done in a French manicure before the rehearsal dinner on Friday. I was able to do my own toenails with a kit I bought, but I couldn't seem to do my fingernails acceptably. They are already chipping, but I'm using the kit to touch them up each day in hopes that they'll last longer. The white really chips off easily. I'll just repaint them clear or some neutral color when the repair job starts looking hackneyed.

So I had to take on my additional duties of encouraging everyone to sign the guest book, then encourage them to sign the picture frame which was in the other room, and also take cards and gifts and put them in the other room. I did not want to do these things. I wanted to mingle and talk and take full advantage of the situation to meet new people (single men) during the one time in the surrounding 5 years that I was looking cute and hot, with strappy sandals and a pretty purple dress on.

It was a packed house (100-120 or so). There were people there from her high school days, work, Scuba diving hobby, church where my family goes (and I most certainly do not), family on both sides, and friends from the pub.

The ceremony was short, and their vows (they had written their own) were sweet, loving, romantic, beautiful, and made everyone tear up. My sister was so happy, and it was wonderful to see her that way. This sounds so silly, but I had no idea how much she loved this guy until the wedding. They've been together for a long time, but I never really thought about it before. And it was clear that he loves her more than anything, too.

The reception took place in the same room. There was a spread appropriate for the occasion; the chocolate covered strawberries were deeeee-licous! The champagne was tasty, and the cake was adorable. It was an aquatic them of sorts, to go along with their Scuba hobby. My sister's Maid of Honor sculpted and painted the topper (turtle, heart, leaves, so cute). After the cutting of the cake, my older sister and I had to perform another last minute duty....cut the cake. I am very fast at cutting a wedding cake. I firmly believe people are hungry and want some cake NOW! So, I do it quickly, slap those slices on a place, and have someone hand it to people quickly. This cake was very moist and didn't survive the transfer from cake server to plate very well, but we did the best we could. The sides of the tiers of the cake were covered in what was made to look like the blue/green mosaic tiles of a very nice swimming pool. It was very original and very pretty.

After a while of mingling and all that, various toasts, etc., it was time for the B&G to depart and head to the pub where the cast party was being held. An announcement was made for folks to take the centerpieces home, and I ran around trying to pimp or pawn off the centerpieces to the wedding guests so that I wouldn't have to flush the fish. Then I went around and had to give information to a few people on how to care for the fish. In hindsight, having a small instruction card would have been helpful.

I mostly missed the B&G leaving because I was ensuring that all the centerpieces had a home (they did, Yay!) Then I helped clean up a little and finally got went to get my car out of the garage and go to the hotel to change.

On Thursday night when I packed for this, I somehow threw together this amazing outfit for the cast party. I am really a fashion and accessory-challenged individual, but this seemed to fall into place. I wore some light colored jeans that are cute and have a nice cut to the legs that make them seem a bit fancy. I had a dark rose colored tank, over which I wore a shiny pale-pale-pink button-up shirt (unbuttoned, of course), tied a long scarf with those same colors plus a little metallic thread action around my waist, left on my silver necklace, and added a doubled-up long beaded necklace in all those colors. I continued to wear my silver sandals. Again, I thought I looked darn good.

Because I was late leaving the theatre and went to the hotel to change and took my time, I was a bit late arriving to the pub. There was a simple catered dinner there, and I enjoyed my time playing with my nephew and talking to friends. Most everyone left by 10pm, but I stayed to talk to a couple of my new friends that I made through my sister.

I was feeling pretty down by the end of the day. I was exhausted (still am), and even though I looked hot, nothing had come of it. What's the point of getting all dolled up if the men aren't going to notice and do something? It turns out there weren't many single men there at all, so perhaps that's one of the reasons.

My sister was still radiant up until the very end, and I am very happy for her. The day went off without a hitch (though I was telling everyone after the fact my funny fish-on-the-floor story).

And yes, you guessed it...the Guy brought a date. I'm so stupid and should have just forced myself to stop thinking and hoping a couple of months ago. He never said I looked nice; he is alternatingly nice to me at one time and oddly distant at another. For example, he said if he had known I was going to stay in the hotel he would have offered to let me stay at his house instead (he lives very close to all the festivities). How on earth can you tell one girl that and then bring another to the wedding? Even if we were supposed to be 'just friends', he knows I like him, and wouldn't that seem odd and inappropriate? We are definitely not meant to be together in any capacity, even for a fun romp. It's not like I've even been pursuing him for a while now, but I just feel so mad and so stupid. I will now and going forward somehow change my brain to think of him as a friend, acquaintance, anything but a potential guy I could date. Easier said than done, but I will find a way; I have lots and lots of practice at this, as I'm sure everyone does, because everyone in the world has gone through this many times in their lives.

So that's pretty much it. I finally left the pub and went to the hotel and slept fitfully. Early this morning I had a dream where I was yelling at the Guy, telling him every little instance of when I thought he'd done me wrong. Geez, that is not healthy. I need to drop the anger fast. I'm back home now, of course, and I'm supposed to go see a musical tonight, but I'm just so exhausted that I'm going to skip it. I already bought the ticket, but more naps and relaxation are worth the $50 I'll lose on that ticket.

It was a very tiring, emotional, and draining weekend, and I wasn't even the one to get married! Now, I am going to go get some food (none in the house), and take another nap or three.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A Frustration

There is a new policy at work that just rolled out. I support it, but I'm going to have a hard time with it. It is perfectly rational, logical, and with peoples' best interests at heart, but it's also going to interfere with my ability to perform my job effectively.

Starting immediately we can no longer receive (read) or send (write) text messages while driving. Now, actual texting has been disabled on our blackberries since before I got my current position, but the word 'text' refers to anything written. I email all the time while driving. And I mean all the time. I can spend 18-20 hours a week driving between all my stores if I do the Grand Tour, and around 12 hours a week driving if I do a 'regular' week. Flying would not solve the problem, as there are 2-hour driving intervals between my markets.

We also must use hands-free devices for cell calls while driving. No problem on this, as I have a bluetooth thing that I bought a few months ago and didn't like, but I will use it and learn to like it with no major issue.

The problem is that now I will have to spend more time on my laptop while I'm in a store, reading and responding to emails, instead of spending time with the people. I won't be able to make optimal use of my travel time, and that bothers me.

I'm not one for breaking the rules, and so I won't. I'm just concerned about how it's going to make me unable to respond quickly to things in a written format. Sure, people can still call me if they need something urgent, but my quick access and very fast responses to my team's emails will be dead as the dodo.

On the upside, maybe they will look more for the answers to the questions themselves instead of relying on me so much. So perhaps they will gain some independence and growth from this.

Monday, May 03, 2010

So Much Things, So Many Stuff

My younger sister's wedding is May 15. It is a fabulous and happy time, and I can't wait for it all to be over. I think you all can relate. How her wedding is ending up costing me around $1,000, I'll never be able to figure out how, but it is. Between buying my dress, underthings, purse, shoes, getting hair and makeup done, probably getting manicure and pedicure (for the first time in my life), hotel rooms, bridal shower gifts, the fish (she wants fish in vases on the reception tables, and so fish is what she shall have), paying to have my parents' house cleaned for the rehearsal dinner, and on and on and on, it is very expensive to be a sister-of-the-bride. My other sister is experiencing the same thing. I am the middle of 3 sisters, and it is the youngest who is getting married.

I still take issue with the fact that they registered. She is 32 and he is 39; they've been living together for a couple of years, and yet guests are obligated to purchase a gift for them. I just think that's wrong. If they were just starting out in life, sure. But he's been married before, and they have already bought a house together. I just think it would be more appropriate to ask that donations to a particular organization be made in lieu of gifts. But, I may be alone in that opinion. I tend to be harsh in some situations and judge others by what I think is right, not by all the possibilities that exist.

I'm battling many feelings over this wedding. I'm happy for them, I'm sad for no reason. I am excited about the wedding and reception and party and meeting some new people, and I am angry and feel sorry for myself because it looks like the Guy might possibly be bringing a date, and it's not me. I personally think that is very bad form...bringing a date to my sister's wedding when I told him I liked him. I should just get over it completely since lately he's given me no indication of ever wanting to pursue anything. I should listen to Urbie. She's right every time about these things. But nothing is set in stone yet regarding that. I guess I'll find out in 2 weeks time what choice he made. And I have to confess I think I am jealous over the wedding. I am now the leftover one, the one no one wants. The one who is smart and talented and successful, but whom no man wants to date. In other words, I feel like shit. I feel sorry for myself, and I am terrified I am going to bawl at the wedding because of my selfishness. I just need to get a grip and focus on all the great parts of my life and not worry about that one thing. Easier said than done. I could really use some advice here, with the wedding part of things, even if it's just to tell me to shut up and buck up little camper.

I am eating a Potbelly Uptown salad, and it is tasty. I think I am gaining a taste for bleu cheese, though I used to hate it. Funny, that. Their chicken noodle soup tastes odd, but their sandwiches are fantastic.

Jimmy Johns also has fantastic sandwiches. I love their #12 on whole wheat. Get is sometime if you can. It has so many delicious tastes in one sandwich..mmm. Get their jalapeno chips, too.

My house hunting is not going well. It's not really going at all. I do have one Saturday in May that I can use to house hunt. All my other days are filled with work or other obligations. Crazy. I'm around people all the time now, except for when I'm driving to my stores, and I'm still having to adjust to not having any 'me' time.

Drum corps is going great. Our music is amazing, with really exciting mellophone parts that are a blast to learn and play.

Lots more is going on, but I need to work on my personal to-do list. Catch ya later. I'll try not to let another month+ pass without posting again.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Hooray for Vacation

On Friday night I met some new people and some recently formed friends at my sister's house. She and her fiance hosted a grilling/Wii Rock Band party. SO MUCH FUN!!! I loved playing Rock Band. I was great on bass, drums, and vocals. I didn't get to play the guitar parts at all. A great time was had by all.

After 5 hours of sleep I got up and went to drum corps rehearsal yesterday. It was so very very windy that when we were doing our visual block outside, we couldn't march backwards in straight lines because the wind kept pushing us around. Sad but funny.

The visual caption head, who is the US champion brisket smoker, make smoked brisket and smoked turkey for us for lunch. There was only so much to go around, and apparently some of the teenagers took several helpings (the rest of us had one helping). The guy who made the meal didn't even get to eat any of it because the little piggies took all of it and took all the beverages, too. He was telling us this happened last night at dinner after rehearsal, how he got up at 4am to get everything together to bring, then he didn't get to eat anything for 14 hours because people were taking several helpings. Several others also didn't get to eat because of this. So, at the dinner table I posted a comment on the Facebook wall of the kid that was named, saying that I heard he had taken 5 helpings of food and that I felt he needed to buy lunch for the other guy. I read what I wrote to the entire table full of people, we all felt it was appropriate for someone so greedy to be publicly called out on it, so I posted it.

Well, this morning I wake up to a message from this guy's mom, who does a lot of volunteer work for the corps. She was hopping mad that I dared correct her kid in public. I understand her being mad, because I'm sure both she and the kid are embarrassed, but I stand by what I said and the forum I chose to say it in. It's drum corps, baby, and you get called out it you do stupid greedy stuff that negatively affects people.

I completely understand why she thinks what I did was out of line, but she said she would make amends to the brisket man, which is a better ending that what would have happened had any of us tried to talk to her in person. She told me I needed to speak directly to her if I have a problem with her kids' behavior, but what she doesn't see is that we've done so in the past, and nothing has been corrected. At least the public posting is getting the desired result.

So she can be mad at me all she wants and stomp around and tell me it's not my job to correct her kids. I disagree. I'm not going to run find anyone's mommy if I see or hear about them doing something that is harming someone else or depriving someone else. I'm going to address it in a manner that I know will get some results. If others are too chicken to do that, then I'll play the 'bad guy'. Teachers correct kids publicly all the time, our drum corps instructors correct people all the time, the corps members correct people on their behavior all the time, and it's obvious that kids respond to what is posted on Facebook. I feel I chose correctly.

Discuss.....I already have assumptions on what the moms in the group will say, but I'd like to see if I am right about what you're thinking.

I'm going camping in a little bit. I'm not sure if I'll have cell phone coverage out there, but if I do I'll try to keep up with things here.

Hooray for camping!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Dog the Bounty Hunter at 4 of my stores

Apparently WalMart cancelled all of the events they had scheduled with Dog the Bounty Hunter, so I ended up with 4 events with him in my district this week. Two were on Tuesday and two were on Wednesday. Two of the events we only had 2 or 3 days' notice to handle. That's a verrrrry short turnaround time.

I was at the events in Rogers, AR and Tulsa, OK, and there were hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people at each.

His wife is a prima donna drama queen who needs to decide either to stfu and follow book signing etiquette, or never get off the tour bus.

Dog himself was very gracious and engaging with the fans. He stayed at every event until he met each person and everyone got their book signed. He was doing radio interviews in the morning, then events at noon, 4pm and 8/9pm each day, so I appreciate that he stayed at each venue until every last person was taken care of.

The crowd was so diverse that it surprised me. There were people of all ages, economic groups, cultures, and so on. I would have to say that a large portion of them were from the underprivileged class. Most of them had probably never seen the inside of a bookstore, so the entire experience is something they'll remember for a long time.

I need to get some work done now.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

One Week til Vacation

And I can't wait!

Last vacation I ended up working, on conference calls, or being interviewed every day, so I'm looking forward to this one. On Friday night I'm going to my sister's house where she is hosting a Rock Band gathering. I've never played before, but I know I'll be good at it, so therefore it will be fun.

Saturday I have rehearsal, then Sunday after the family Sunday dinner I am driving to a state park to go camping for a few days. I am going to turn off my Blackberry and not crack open my laptop while on this vacation. I need to truly be away and unwired for a while.

I'm sick again...I probably never really fully recovered from the flu thing last week. On Thursday night I noticed I was coughing, but it was different from a normal cough. It reminded me of how I coughed when I had pneumonia a couple of years ago, so I made a mental note to watch it. Friday was a tiring day between getting up at 5am, all the driving I did (though the weather was gorgeous) and the store visits and the visit to the pub afterward.

I slept horribly Friday night because I was coughing all night and running a fever. I was staying at a friend's house, which I usually do after we go to the pub, because it's quite a drive back to my apartment, and he lives so close. No hanky panky happening, folks...sorry.

Saturday I drove home and took a multi-hour nap. When I got up I was still running a fever. I can always tell because my skin looks great. It doesn't have that shiny skin oil look, and I don't feel dirty like I do after sleeping and waking up. I also know exactly what 'fever and chills' feels like. So, I chilled for a while, took my temp, it said 100 degrees, so I decided to go to the doc in a box.

They told me it was allergy-driven but that I also probably had something viral. They gave me prescriptions for Nasonex for the allergies and some hard core cough medication with hydrocodone. I took the hydrocodone last night and expected to be knocked on my ass, but that didn't happen. I couldn't tell any effect with it. I still coughed throughout the night, though it certainly wasn't as bad as Friday night. I don't want to be taking a so-called powerful drug if it's not going to help me, so I'll have to re-evaluate daily to see if I actually need to take it.

So, now I'm up and at 'em. I still have a fever, though it's not as high as it got last night (101 at its highest), and I feel decent except for when I cough. My head is completely clear, and while I don't feel particularly energetic, I am looking forward to getting a lot of things done today.

I hope you all have happy Sundays.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

I Was So Sick

I was so horridly horribly sick on Thursday. I'm still getting over it. I was touring stores with my boss this week. I started feeling extremely tired and needing to sleep when I was driving us from Tulsa to Rogers, AR (2 hours). That evening I had to close down my computer in the hotel room and go to bed. I just couldn't stay awake any more.

Then it all hit me about 2am, and I was so so sick. Somehow, probably because I was out of my mind, I got up, showered, dressed, packed, and went downstairs at 7am Thursday morning. I told my boss I was sick. He told me to go check back in to the hotel and stay until I felt better. He would rent a car and continue the store visits without me. He told me to keep him posted on how I was doing. I'm sure I looked like death warmed over. Poor guy. I grabbed some toast and a Sprite on the way back up to my room, and I stayed there in agony all day, barely able to take care of myself.

It's scary to be that sick and be alone. I started thinking that some people ought to know where I am in case I fell unconscious and dropped off the face of the earth, and the only thing I could think of was to post something on Facebook. I know that sounds ridiculous now, but it made perfect sense to my fever-addled brain then. Then I thought I'd call my Dad to see if he could come fly to Arkansas the next day and drive me home if I wasn't better. So I did both, I called Dad and I posted something on Facebook. So ridiculous. But at least now I knew there were a lot of people out there who could somehow help me if I needed it.

On Friday morning I still felt wretched, but compared to Thursday I felt fantastic...everything is relative. I started to drive myself home, but should have waited a bit for the Gatorade to even me out, because I was having some problems thinking straight. After a while, I was feeling better, and I finally made it home.

This morning I'm still very weak and I hurt all over, but I no longer have a fever, so I'm going to try to go to rehearsal today. We're not marching outside yet, so rehearsal is not that demanding except for visual (marching) basics. It hurts to play my horn because I pulled every muscle in my torso on Thursday, but I think I can suck it up and just deal with it. Plus, I get severely pissed when others miss rehearsal when they're 'not feeling well', so I figure I need to show up so they will stfu and get to rehearsal every time.

I gotta go now and get ready. Have a good Saturday.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Off I Go Again

I'm leaving in a few minutes to go to Tulsa. One of my stores has their inventory tonight, and I really need to be at this one in particular.

Then my boss flies in to OKC on Tuesday and I take him on the grand tour of my Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Missouri stores. Hopefully I'll make it home late Thursday night and make a short day of it on Friday (short means 8 hours).

Things are going really really well in my position. With our changes at the highest levels, my job is, dare I say it, easier than it was 3 months ago, even with double the store count.

I'm exhausted still, though, and I cannot wait til my vacation starts in 3 weeks. Even at home on the weekends I'm going to bed at 10pm and waking up at 7:30 or 8am.

The housing development I looked at yesterday was fine. The pool and lazy river area were small, and I didn't see the hours of operation posted there, so I need to go back during a time when their sales office is open. It's about a mile from a lake, so I could buy a kayak and and jet ski or two (maybe even a boat!) and invite friends to frolic in the lake with me. The houses look fantastic from the outside. It's amazing that I can get a house with real brick and stone built in Ft. Worth but would pay tens of thousands of dollars more were I to build that anywhere near Dallas.

But it is looking less and less like I'll get my own pool. Very sad. If that is the saddest thing in my life right now, I am one fortunate lady!

I'm starting to get concerned over what to wear to my sister's wedding in May. I know, May is far off, but it'll be here soon. I would like to wear a dress, but I am really not comfortable in heels, and I'm fat, so I would need something that would still look nice. I could wear flowing pants, but it seems like I should wear a dress. And the wedding is formal, even though it is at 3pm. My sister says the ceremony will last about 10 minutes, then we're all going to the pub for the reception. So I need something that will translate well to both.

I'm sure I'm overthinking it. Any suggestions?

Friday, March 05, 2010

Them Darn Barn Swallows

I spent a portion of my day dealing with barn swallows...or rather dealing with how to deal with them. Barn swallows nested over the doorways and in the eaves of one of my Oklahoma stores last year.

The birds are protected by state law, and once they start building their nest, you cannot touch it, knock it down, or do anything to the nest (or the birds) until they leave the nests in the Autumn. In the meantime they shit everywhere and make a mess.

So, we're taking some measures to prevent the birds from nesting in the first place. Fascinating stuff, I tell ya.

In other news: I don't get to see Guy this week. He's working Thurs Fri (tonight) Sat this week and I'm off to Oklahoma Sunday afternoon through Friday, so maybe we can meet up a week from today if I'm back in town early and he doesn't work. We seem to do a lot of sitting around and watching movies and going to the pub. This is all fine and dandy, but it's getting to be Springtime (finally!) and I want to get outside and do some things, so next time we meet up, if it's daytime, I'm going to suggest we go do something outside.

House Stuff: Tomorrow I'm going to check out a new housing development near Eagle Mountain Lake north of Ft. Worth. It's only 20-ish minutes or so from downtown FW, and the homes are much less expensive than the exact same floor plans just 10 minutes from there. Plus, the property taxes will be less because it's a different school district. I know it sounds crazy, but I thin it will actually be less expensive and take less of my time to have a new home built than try to house hunt. I might even be willing to overlook the pool thing, because one will be in the community. I'd damn well better be able to swim at 6am and midnight if I want too, though. I still really really really want my own pool and hot tub, but I'm learning that building one would be about $40,000. I can't do that on top of buying a house. So, either I find an existing home with pool, or I build in a planned community.

I'm taking a week of vacation the last week of March/first few days of April. I did not get any rest during my vacation at the end of January because I worked every day due to big company changes. I need to go camping for a few days and be completely unreachable via blackberry or laptop.

That's all for now.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Simple Taxes

Not married, no kids, no house....yet. So it took me 10 minutes to do my taxes online just now. I'd forgotten that I had changed my withholding to 1 this year, so my refund is not as big as in the past, but at least I had all that money instead of the government using my money for a whole year and not paying me interest on it.

I made chili last night but realized I forgot to get crushed tomatoes at the store, so it's a bit soupy. Still tastes good, though.

Tomorrow I'm off to Tulsa again until Friday. It's only a 4 hour drive, but there are a lot of little towns to go through, and that bugs me to have to break my cruise. The upside to all this driving is that I get mileage until my company car gets all set up. I'm told we use the Ford Fusion now. Anyone have any opinions on it? I really disliked the Chrysler 300 that I used this past year. I had to give that one back to its original owner/borrower when she came back to her position. I'm hoping the Ford Fusion is much better.

In the land of Guy, things are going very very slowly. Too slowly, but oh well.

That's all for now.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

My Big News

My big news, as you've probably already guessed, is that I am now officially a full district manager. I found out two Fridays ago but couldn't say anything until this past Tuesday.

I was going to post it earlier, but my laptop wasn't cooperating at my hotels this week, and I haven't been home this weekend until now.

So, there it is.

And now I'm finally going to buy a house, somewhere in north Ft. Worth.

Please give me all your advice on buying a home. I bought 2 books but haven't had a chance to read much yet. I want a house with a pool.

Monday, February 22, 2010

I Still Can't Say Nuthin'

Maybe tomorrow evening I can say somethin'.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

I Can't Tell You Nothin'

But I can tell you somethin' on Monday.

Let that simmer for a bit.

In other news, after over 3 months of bad allergies, I'm finally going to go to the doctor to see if they can help me. My allergies are far worse when I'm in Oklahoma, but they're pretty bad here, too. I had the same problem last year, so whatever is growing or floating around in Winter is not my friend.

The power has been off and on this morning. I have no idea why, as there is no weather issue. I need to hop in the shower and get about my day. I don't have anything pressing to do today other than clean, go to doctor, clean, relax, clean, do a small bit of work, clean, and maybe do some cleaning.


Monday, February 08, 2010


My plan at work this week was to visit my stores in Arkansas, Springfield, MO, and Tulsa. My GM in Rogers warned me against trying to travel there tomorrow, so I heeded his advice. It's a gorgeous drive, but it's also very hilly and mountainous at various points, and I don't want to get stranded on a state highway, or worse, slide off the side of a mountain. He says there is lots of snow and ice on the roads.

So, I cancelled those hotel reservations and switched my tour to include the central Oklahoma stores instead. I do hate to make those last minute changes to my stores and my peeps, but it cannot be helped. Amazingly, it actually works out better for me. I have rehearsal on Saturday, so this shorter tour will make me less tired going into the weekend.

Usually I plan for what is best for my stores and the business needs, and just suck it up if it's difficult for me; I'm glad it worked out in my favor. And so, some small good thing comes of a big inconvenience.

I went to the grocery store tonight, fully intending to just buy some hearty soup and bread. I passed by the meat counter and saw that King crab legs were only $8.99/lb. I bought 4 of them and had them steamed with Old Bay seasoning. They were WONDERFUL! I love crab, num num, num. King crab, while more prickly, has tons more meat on it than snow crab. I dipped it in some melted butter and had big plenty for dinner.

I have a crack in my windshield. It's getting bigger and splintering off, but several people tell me that it's perfectly safe to drive that way...even the tech at the car dealership. I'll get it replaced if it gets too crazy. I never saw the initial crack, because it's way down at the base of the windshield in the area that is covered by the windshield wipers.

I gave the company car back to my former boss last week, so I'm using my personal car for work. I get paid mileage, but it does take a few weeks for the mileage checks to come in the mail. If/when I get the regular DM position, I will get a company car for reals...I'm told we now get Ford Fusions. It's got to be better than the Chrysler 300...anything is better than that car.

My car has a bit over 80,000 miles on it and is still going strong. I do a lot of highway driving, which doesn't hurt the car nearly as much as city traffic, so it probably has the equivalent of 30,000 city miles, or less. I think I have 11 payments on it, then it's all mine!

I'm waiting for a load of laundry to dry so I can pack a couple pairs of dress pants and get to bed. I'm exhausted! The Superbowl was a great game to watch yesterday. I actually found it very interesting, and I thought the pace of the game was good. But I didn't get enough sleep afterward.

That's all for now....

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Still in Limbo

My 4th interview has been rescheduled 4 times and is now slated to happen sometime this week, though I don't yet know when.

We need to get this wrapped up and an offer extended to me pretty quickly, here. My store count almost doubled, so I expect to be taken care of.

Not much else new going on. Things are still fine in the land of Guy. He's moving really really slowly, which I'm fine with. I learned to play canasta last night at his house with my sister and her fiance'. Guy and I thoroughly whipped them. I like card games...always have.

My life is full, and I'm loving it. I feel like I'm blossoming as a human being, and this is good.

And now I'm off to Guy's house for a Superbowl party, trivia, and grilling. It will be a lovely day.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Wheat Puffs Look Like Giraffe Skin

Just sayin.....

I have 2 final interviews tomorrow for this position I want. Well, I already have it...but the interviews are to keep it permanently. I admit I'm nervous about one of them. I need to go and prepare some more in a little bit.

Not much else is happening. I've been perusing the internet to find homes for sale in Forth Worth. If I get the job I want to buy a house and move there, since 4 of my stores will be there. You can get a house for $20-30k less in FW than you can in Dallas. Apartments are also much cheaper. Compared to Dallas, there is no traffic in FW, and the people are nicer. I enjoy all the fun stuff Dallas has to offer, but let's be honest here...Dallas is only 30-55 minutes away, depending on where you live in FW. Driving to get to a function is no big deal.

Anyway...I expect to be very high and excited and relieved after my interviews tomorrow. That's usually how things work with me.

I'll post something tomorrow night if I can. Any good thoughts, wishes, etc., are very much appreciated. Though, if you have to choose between sending good thoughts and wishes to someone who is ill or down on their luck or has a serious problem that needs help, or me...well, I certainly don't expect you to spend your thoughts and wishes on me.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

The End of Vacation

I have to go to bed in 60 minutes, at which time my vacation will officially be over. I worked about 4 hours today getting caught up on some reports and my email, so ack...I'm not rested at all.

To answer Urban's questions: Our PTO year ends today, so all my vacation days for 2009 are now gone. I didn't use any personal time this year, and in Texas, you lose what you don't use. Nothing rolls over for salaried people like it does in CA.

I cannot remember exactly what I wrote in my last post, so forgive me if I repeat things. Game night ended up not happening, but everyone met at the local watering hole that they call their bar. It actually is a nice Irish pub that feels good, not at all like a meat market or a club. My sister's friends love me (of course!), because I can be quite charming when I want to be and have the energy to be. Everyone had gotten there an hour or two before me because I was trying to run some errands in Dallas, and this bar is in downtown Ft. Worth. They were very kind to wait for me to order in some food.

Guy was there, and I amused myself by propping those cardboard coasters up against his arms on the table, in between his fingers, and on the top of his head. He tolerated it very well and looked adorable. I found that I really like this pear cider the bar has. I'm not a beer fan, and I'm happy to find something on tap that I can enjoy.

One of my sister's friends showed some interest in my drum corps activities, so I used my new phone (which I had just gotten 2 hours prior and didn't have the slightest idea how to use) to try and find some video examples of what it means to be in drum corps.

The group has so many inside jokes that I didn't find 80% of what they were laughing at to be funny. I'm sure I'll get up to speed sooner or later. I played darts for the very first time ever. I lost against Guy, and I lost against my sister, but I wasn't too terribly far behind them.

My new pals are interested in what I do for work, and they ask me some questions which I answer. But I have to say how wonderful it is to be around another group of people who don't want to talk shop. So now I have my work friends, my drum corps friends, Guy, and this new group of people. While all this is keeping me incredibly busy, I think it's wonderful for my mental health and self-esteem and all that good stuff.

I need to get going because I'm going to have a loooong day at work tomorrow. I need to build my new district, which hopefully will be mine for reals. I have 2 more interviews on Tuesday and will have a final answer by the end of the week. Keep your fingers crossed for me! If this happens then I get to move back to Ft. Worth where all my family is, finally build/buy a house, and really become a grown up!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Less Vacation, More Work

I was on conference calls on Tuesday, had 5 more on Wednesday, had 2 interviews on Thursday, and on and on and on. I've gotten very little vacationing done in between the full workweek I've had. It's frustrating, but necessary...and maybe I'll be given a couple of days of vacation next week to compensate.

At work we realigned the regions and districts, and I applied to be permanent DM of a district that covers the Ft. Worth stores, all of Oklahoma including 4 Waldenbooks stores, Arkansas, and a couple stores in Missouri including one Waldenbooks. This is very exciting, because if I get this position I will be an actual permanent real DM, not just an Interim DM. I interviewed with 2 people yesterday and will be interviewing 2 more times on Tuesday. I will have a final answer by the end of next week.

I haven't gotten any of the cleaning and tidying done that I wanted to. I plan on doing some today. I was able to run a couple of my errands, and today I need to get my hair cut and go get a new phone. I want one with a full keyboard that is easily used to text.

I've watched a lot of movies with Guy the past couple of days. I'm just letting things be for now, and so is he, so it's a no pressure situation. That is very refreshing. A group of us are supposed to meet at his house this evening for game night. I love love love love love playing games, be it board games, logic puzzles, Wii games, jigsaw puzzles, or anything else like that. My sister and her fiance will be there, and perhaps other people too. I don't really know how their game night works. I'm really looking forward to it.

I have 3 days of vacation left, and I plan to make the most of them. So...I'd better get crackin'!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Vacation Days 2, 3, and 4

Day 2 was Saturday
I had rehearsal until 5pm. It was lovely, honestly because only 1 of the brass techs were there. I'm not fond of our sectional time lately, unless I am running it. We mellophones got new parts to our opener...more notes, kinda difficult in a couple spots...very cool. The solo in Unforgettable went well for me. It's in 12/8 time, and I was struggling with some of the rhythms a couple weeks ago, so I lived and slept with the music and have it down and sounded great on all run throughs, except, of course, the last one which we recorded. The range on the solo is very high and my chops were giving out by the end of the day.

After rehearsal a big group of us went to have dinner at Good Eats. It is really the only nearby restaurant to our rehearsal site that is a sit-down kind of place. They always mess up our checks and take forever with our orders, but it's a small town, so I guess there is nothing to be done.

I came home and did some work then went to sleep.

Day 3 was Sunday
I did some work and then went to my parents' house for lunch. During lunch my cell phone went crazy with lots of text messages dropping in. It seems that every text from the prior 2 days was being delivered all at once. Guy had been apparently trying to contact me about meeting up with him. So, I called Guy to assure him I hadn't been ignoring him and to explain the text debacle. Then I made my way to his house where he showed me around and we relaxed with a nice bottle of wine. Guy bought the house from his grandfather and had it remodeled. There is a real working well on the property, which I think is super-cool. The house was built in '46. Guy drew up a design of how he wanted the house to be, and he had it built/remodeled to be that way. I really like it and think he and his contractors did a fabulous job.

After a while, the two of us met up with my sister and her fiance' to grab a bite to eat and make our way to one of their favorite pubs. I had a fabulous time! I got to meet two other friends of theirs, including the lady who is my sister's matron of honor. I adored these new friends, and they liked me as well. We all really enjoyed ourselves. I drank way too much, but I wasn't driving so I didn't care. My sister and her matron of honor and I all cried when my sister was retelling how she burst into tears when she found just-the-right wedding dress a couple of weeks earlier. I know I'm going to cry at her wedding...I just know I will....ack...

The men were very good not to laugh at us. We cry over weddings, and that's just all there is to it. Everyone except Guy and I had to work the next morning, so we all left.

Day 4 was Monday
I slept a lot yesterday; it was fantastic! I barely did any work at all because a few conference calls that I needed to be on were cancelled. Yay! I have been invited to game night on Friday at Guy's house, and I volunteered to either cook dinner for everyone or bring in some food. I feel that Guy shouldn't always have to pay for everything for me. I watched several episodes of Smallville season 7, which has gone a bit wacky. It's been so long since I watched any episodes that I think I missed some, or maybe even an entire season. I took a long long nap. I finally went to bed at 2am and slept until 8 this morning.

I can't wait til Friday.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Vacation Day 1

Well, I was up and at my laptop at 7am this morning. I was then on the phone with my team (one at a time) until about 1:30pm. Then more email and reports, then finally I got out of the apartment around 2:30 to run get some lunch and go to the grocery store.

I have rehearsal tomorrow and I need to practice and also continue working on the music I'm transcribing. I really need to put myself to bed no later than 10pm, because I've been getting just a few hours sleep each night this week. I have to get up at 6am to get ready and drive the hour to rehearsal...ok, it's more like 50 minutes because I speed like crazy. No one is on the roads at 7am Saturday morning!

Whenever I go to Oklahoma, my allergies get really really bad and I get terribly congested and icky and all that, so I never sleep well even when I take the proper medication. Next week I need to go back to the doctor and tell them that the stuff isn't working, plus I've run out of it.

In the L.O.G. (remember this stands for land of Guy) things are going fine. We've been communicating back and forth a bit each day. We're going to 'hang out with the gang' Sunday afternoon. I'm assuming the 'gang' means my younger sister and her fiance', but I don't know who else is in the gang. Guy is the best friend and best man of my younger sister's fiance', so that brings a whole new perspective to things. I only see my younger sister in the we're-all- eating-Sunday-lunch-at-the-parents'-house setting, where we don't necessarily act the same as we would around just friends or even coworkers. We'll see how that works out.

Ok, off I go. I also need to think about what I want for dinner tonight. Maybe just cereal...maybe tacos. So many choices now that I have some food in the house!

Monday, January 18, 2010

I Can Taste the Vacation in the Air

My vacation begins Friday, and I am so very ready for it. I have off Friday through the next Saturday...maybe the next Sunday. It all depends on what happens to me in my position. If I am still an Interim DM or an Area Manager or something along those lines, then I will need to go to Tulsa again to oversee a project a week from Saturday. If I am slated to return to my store as a GM, then I won't have to go to Tulsa, and I can have off until a week from Monday.

It is a bit disconcerting to not know my future. I'll have a job, I'm just not sure what I'll be doing. We are working with a lot of unknowns, and I can respect that. It's not as if there is a clear path to be trodden and someone is just dragging their truly is unknown in what capacity I will be used. And until that is known, my future is not known. Ok, enough work stuff.

Things are still promising in the Land of Guy or (LOG)...hahaha. He texted me tonight, apparently while I was pumping gas into the company car, and I missed the text. I'm more tied to my work phone, so I often go long periods of time without ever thinking about, much less looking at, my personal cell phone. So, through no mal-intention of any kind, he had to wait over an hour for me to get back to him. From all the magazine articles and such that I have read throughout the years, this is not necessarily a bad thing. I don't want to appear too available, but the the truth is I like the Guy and don't want to play any evil games with him.

So, he asked me out to a movie, dinner, and to meet some friends at a pub tomorrow night. I wish I could go, but I'm leaving for Tulsa (yes, again) in the morning and won't be back until Thursday evening. Then he works, so perhaps we'll meet up sometime early next week. Sigh...too long to wait!

On the drum corps front...I started writing down the parts for a new song for the mellophones. I'm taking the GLEE tv show version of Journey's Don't Stop Believin' and working it out for mellophones. It's such a great arrangement. I'm also finding that is not that hard to figure out how to transcribe it. It takes several times of listening to it and playing it on my horn, piece by piece, but it's not what I would call hard. So much of pop/rock is repetitive rhythms and simple melodies.

It's going to be great fun to play it on least play as much as I'm able to get on paper. I've already got about 30 seconds of the song, but the parts are all about to change when I hit the chorus, so that will take some doing to get that worked out.

I'm such a geek. I love it. I'm a silly girl having a lot of fun when and with whom I can. What's so wrong in that?

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Heat Wave

I was laughing at myself this week because I was running around Tulsa without a jacket on when the temp was 45 degrees. Everything is relative; it had been so cold there the past couple of weeks that 45 degrees felt comfortable. The ice and snow are melting quickly, and it's nice not to don a coat every day. Dirty ice and snow is so ugly that I'll be glad when it's all melted away...and it's not even my town.

On the music side of things: I am going to arrange another few pieces of music for my mellophones. The next one is going to be an arrangement of "Don't Stop Believing" by Journey, but I'll be using the Glee soundtrack version to base my arrangement upon. I've never watched Glee, but the soundtrack is great. Actually, it's volume 1. Volume 2 is now out, but I haven't bought that one yet.

I need to get a move on today. I slept in til 9:30 wow! And I've been dawdling since then. I start my vacation this coming Friday, but I have a feeling I will be working during most of it.

Monday, January 11, 2010

A Quivering Mass

At rehearsal on Saturday we worked a bit on balance. We did some pliee's while in second position with our hands in a horns up position (make your right hand in a fist, cover it with your left hand, hold your arms at a 90 degree triangle apex about 8 inches in front of your face). This really does help with balance. It also greatly strengthens your legs and lower back.

The problem is that I have a lot of weight to move up and down. A lot. I am not a person to do things halfway or make excuses if it hurts, so I did all the pliee's or however it's spelled. I did them allllll the way down and allllll the way back up. It was not easy and it hurt, but that's ok.

But I could tell I was going to be in trouble when my muscles wouldn't stop quivering the rest of the day. And when I got up on Sunday morning, I was in agony. I really must have ripped the muscles in my thighs terribly, because it is still very difficult to walk. I have to go down stairs backwards because my thigh won't support my body weight if I go down front ways. And when I walk my legs like to buckle, so I have to sort of prance to get them to go approximately where I need them to go.

Alleve does not help, so I'm just not worrying about taking anything. It serves me right to suffer. Perhaps it will be good motivation to lose a bit of bulk and do more strength training exercises before next rehearsal. But man, I can't even turn over in bed without it being a big ordeal, and getting out of a car or standing up after sitting is excruciating.

Even so, it's still funny to me, and I have to laugh at myself as I prance around. Another funny part to it is that I was making sure during rehearsal to hold my horn up longer than we were asked to in order to help build those muscles back up. It's not natural to hold something like that, and it requires quite a bit of strength, even though my horn is only 3 or 4 pounds.

If you want to see what it feels like, take 4 cans out of your pantry, or something that weighs 3 or 4 pounds and hold it about 8-12 inches in front of your face with both arms making a 90 degree angle like an upside down V (only wider than that). Make sure you're not leaning back and that your arms and elbows are away from your body. It's not the most natural position to hold something like that, and it quickly feels odd. Now hold it for a couple of minutes and see how tedious it can be. And after that, support all the weight with your left hand, so that your right hand is free to play your instrument (your cans of food) and help balance the instrument.

So, the show is about 12 minutes long. Now we don't have our horns up that entire time. They come up and down throughout the show as we do visuals, start and end songs, etc., but when the horns are up, then need to be up, so it takes time to develop the strength to do that.

So, anyway......I was consciously working on my upper body strength and worried how that was going (I was fine...holding my horn longer than anyone else was) when all along I should have been worried about my poor quivering thighs.

As soon as they recover, I'm going to begin some leg exercises so that I don't go through this again in 2 weeks at the next rehearsal. See? I can learn my lesson.....occasionally.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Rehearsal Tomorrow

So, I finished up the song I wrote for the mellophones. It has two parts, and I even wrote words. We'll see how it's received tomorrow. I hope everyone 'plays' along. ha ha ha!

I need to get in bed. It's frikkin cold here, but it was colder in Tulsa earlier today...8 degrees with a -3 wind chill. That's just stupid cold for these parts. I'm glad I bought an actual real winter coat last year before going to Michigan. It certainly came in handy today.

After rehearsal, everyone has been invited to the home of the same gentleman who has hosted the past two parties I've attended. He's such a sweetheart, and I'm looking forward to the entire day tomorrow, though I do need to get up really early and should be putting myself to bed right now.

Things are still good in the land of Guy, I think. He's busy working overnights at a hospital, so we haven't had a chance to talk again, but I'm certain we'll be able to meet up again soon. I must say I'm rather enjoying being silly about this. So very unlike me, and yet I wear it well, I think.....


Sunday, January 03, 2010

Very Odd Indeed

A very odd exchange happened today leading up to my being asked out for drinks via text message. That's a new one for me...via text...we'll see how it goes. We're meeting tomorrow night. Maybe we won't actually speak to each other, we'll just text each other while sitting at the bar or across each other at a table. That would be a slow conversation, indeed, considering my personal cell phone is not conducive to quick texting.

I have a very busy week this week, so I'm not into playing games or messing with people's minds.

That makes me sound like I'm normally into playing games and messing with people's minds. Does that make me sound mysterious?

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Randomly Generated Post of Whim

Hello to all. Very long time, no post. This will be rather erratic because, well, because I don't want to spend the mental energy to really have a point and create thoughts and assign words to those thoughts in order to make a case for something, explain something in full detail, or anything else. So, here goes:

Drum Corps: I am mellophone section leader again this year. We've already had Open House and two full-day rehearsals. After the Open House in November we had the Banquet for the 2009 corps. I received the Member of the Year award. I was very flattered. I had a great time. The next rehearsal is a week from today. I'm doing what I can to keep my mellophones engaged and excited to be a part of things. I made little gift bags for them for the rehearsal before Christmas, and I wrote a mellophone theme song for us to play at next rehearsal. Of course, I haven't told the corps what I've done, I've just been posting on Facebook and the corps forums that I have a fantastic and amazing surprise for the mellophones. I'm all in to creating suspense and anticipation and all that jazz. The song even has words and two parts. I've never written a song before, so this is either going to be a great success or a grand flop.

Facebook: I've been on facebook for about 10 months or so. I have found many friends from high school and college whom I've never been able to track down before. I also keep in touch with a lot of work colleagues, drum corps pals, and yes, I even have accepted as 'friends' some people who I don't even know first hand. Why I do this, I don't know. If you want to add me as a friend, find me under Jenny Horn. My profile picture is currently a small waterfall at a Japanese Garden, so you can find me amongst all the other me(s). And you know, some of the people who certainly went to school with me are ones I don't even remember. My class only had about 500 or so, so you'd think I'd at least recognize them. It seems like 90% of my high school and college friends are married with kids. That's a huge percentage. I wonder if they're ever jealous of us single folk. I wonder if single folk are ever jealous of the married with kids folk. I wouldn't mind being married at some point, but I am most certainly not having kids.

Chess in Concert: The DVD and CD of a performance of Chess at Royal Albert Hall was released last summer. I loved it when I watched it then, and I'm still loving it. I have it playing in the other room right now. This performance has Adam Paschal, Idina Menzel, and Josh Groban. Don't know what Chess is? Google it as Chess in Concert.

Work: I'm still an Interim District Manager, at least through January. I worked every single day from Thanksgiving through Christmas, which was extremely tiring because, of course, there is no such thing as an 8-hour work day. It's been challenging work, using more and different skills than being a GM. I don't know when or what will happen after January. No one has any answers right now. They hope to have them in a couple of weeks. We'll see what happens.

The Holidays: Thanksgiving was a bust. My younger insisted on hosting at her house. She and her fiance bought an old, tiny, two-bedroom house, and it was cramped and uncomfortable for the 16 people who were there. There were not enough places for people to sit and eat or to gather and chat afterward. They fried a turkey, which I was excited to taste, but something didn't work right, because it was rather dry. And I really don't like my extended family, so I just left. Christmas was just an interruption to my one day off in a month. New Year's Eve was fine. I went to my older sister's house and played Wii sports with my nephew. My arms are still sore! Then I went to a party at a drum corps pal's home. I lost my wallet and was desperate to find it. It finally ended up being at my sister's house between the cushions of her couch. Thank Goodness!

And then last night I fell asleep at 6:30pm on the couch watching an episode of Stargate: Atlantis on DVD. I moved myself to my bed and proceeded to sleep for 15 hours. I guess I was tired.

It's now 4:34pm and I haven't yet showered. I did clean up the kitchen, which was a huge chore. I have tomorrow off as well, and no plans other than to grocery shop and clean my terribly affected apartment between practicing my mellophone and watching DVDs.

That's all for now. It wore me out to write this.