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.