May 23, 2003
Nine Things

ytd: 305.40

Nine "news" items of little or no interest to anyone -- except possibly my mother, if she's still reading, or that guy in Vancouver who always wants to know what I'm wearing -- cobbled together in a clumsy and wholly obvious attempt to fashion a legitimate journal entry out of thin air:

  • Thing #1: I'm on V-A-C-A-T-I-O-N.

    I requested this time off from The Dirt Company several months ago: a couple of extra days, book-ending either side of Memorial Day, turning it into a lovely six-day holiday *weekend.*

    Originally David and I were planning to use this weekend to go off on a romantic getaway ... possibly to Monterey or Sacramento, to ride bikes and sit in a jacuzzi and eat potato chips in bed ... but then finances and family obligations and work crap rendered the idea impossible, and now it's going to be more like a sitting-around-the-apartment, getting-caught-up-on-housework, goofing-around-on-the-Internet kind of 'vacation.'

    But that's OK. I still don't have to wear underwear for six days.

  • Thing #2: I survived my Annual Performance Review this week.

    I've really been sweating this year's Performance Review: not because I was afraid JoAnne wouldn't give me a mostly-glowing evaluation (she did), or because I was afraid I wouldn't be rewarded with a salary increase at the end of the ordeal (I was) ... but because I always sweat stuff like this. It's the principal's office all over again, and JoAnne knows it. In fact, she approached me late Wednesday afternoon and gave me a choice. "Do you want to get your review over with this afternoon," she asked, "or do you want to wait until you come back from vacation next week?"

    "That depends," I said. "Is it going to be good news or bad news?"

    She told me that it was going to be 'mostly good news' -- "There are a couple of things I need to go over with you," she said [uh oh] -- but other than that, there weren't likely to be any big surprises. So of course I opted to do the review right then and there -- why spoil a perfectly good six-day weekend, sweating over work-related nonsense? -- and we went into her office and closed the door and nailed the entire review in just under ten minutes.

    The good news is that I got my raise. A teeny-tiny, itsy-bitsy, going-to-need-a-microscope-to-see-it-on-the-paystub raise -- barely enough to cover the cost of our Saturday night pizza -- but it's still a raise. 

    The bad news, if there is any bad news, is that one of my co-workers has complained that I'm occasionally 'difficult to approach.' "On two occasions," JoAnne said, "he has come to me and said he's afraid to ask for your help because you look so stressed."  Naturally, she said, she wasn't permitted to tell me exactly who had complained. Naturally, I asked her to tell me anyway. And naturally, she broke down and admitted that it was The Main Nerdy Geotech Guy. I considered pointing out that most of these requests for 'help' come at 4:59 p.m., as I'm putting on my coat and heading out the door for home. I considered pointing out that I am probably no more or no less 'stressed' than anyone else in the office, but that since I'm sitting at the front desk, in front of God and everybody, I have nowhere to hide when the occasional *Boo Hoo Moment* blows through. I even considered pointing out that if they want someone perky and bubbly and happy-doodle-all-the-day, sitting at their front desk, a premenopausal forty-five year old woman with authority issues probably isn't their best bet.

    But in the end I merely said thank you for the raise, and I promised to try a little harder, and I got the heck out of her office and left for my vacation.

  • Thing #3: Could somebody please explain Ruben Studdard to me?

    I was a Kimberley Locke fan for most of the season: her smoky, elegant voice was the best thing about American Idol 2. When she got booted off the show, I easily switched my allegiance to Clay Aiken, who had that endearing Alfred E. Neumann goof factor going for him. But I've never really understood this whole Ruuuuuuuuuben phenomenon. He seems like a very pleasant, very sincere young man, with a nice mom and a modest amount of talent -- plus it's encouraging to see that the show isn't afraid to embrace the nonstereotypical performer as its 'idol' -- but vocally, I don't think that The Velvet Teddy Bear holds a candle to either Kimberley or Clay. Plus everything he sings sounds exactly the same to me. Does it seem that way to anybody else?

    Or am I just getting old?

    Don't answer that.

  • Thing #4: On the other hand ...

    ... that horrible Kirsten person didn't win "The Bachelor." There IS justice in the reality TV universe.

    (AND they've announced that they're bringing back Funny Bob -- the best thing about "The Bachelorette" -- to be the next "Bachelor." I've already submitted both of my daughters' names, e-mail addresses and vital statistics to ABC for consideration.)

  • Thing #6: I've been nominated for a Diarist Award for 'Most Romantic Entry' (for this)...

    ... which manages to be both flattering and ironic, since one of the entries I'm competing against is an entry I helped nominate. (And because the other nominee in this category wrote a lovely, lyrical entry about one of my favorite subjects in the world -- pre-nuptial jitters -- turning me into an instant and permanent fan.)

    The other irony here is that "Walking Across Plasma Fire" very nearly wound up on the trash heap, along with all the other aborted *FootNotes* entries that never seem to make it all the way out of my head and onto the Internet lately. I thought it was geeky and bloated and filled with entirely too many Star Trek references to make it palatable to the *FN* audience. (Cranky Denver Lady: "All you ever write about is Jean luc Picard!") So as honored as I am to be nominated -- and I really am, even after all this time -- I think I'm just as pleased to know that "Plasma" wasn't the big stinkeroo I was afraid it might be. Thank you for that little bit of validation.

    (And speaking of nominated entries ... if you haven't seen this one yet, I suggest you give it a read. And bring Kleenex with you. It's quite possibly the best thing I've ever read in an Internet journal, and it rips my guts out every time I re-re-re-read it.)

  • Thing #6: Attention all licensed automobile drivers in TicTac, Washington:

    My seventeen-year-old son is now one of you. Please drive with extra caution.

    (Unless you see him heading for Make-Out Point on a Friday night, with a teenage girl in a low-cut sweater sitting entirely too close to him in the front seat ... in which case, please run him off the road for me.)

  • Thing #7: It's a proven scientific fact: the chocolate chip cookie eaten at midnight -- standing alone in your kitchen, under cover of darkness, while your Dieting Partner/Significant Other snoozes in peaceful, trusting oblivion in the next room -- tastes better than the public cookie.

    I don't know why this is so. I only know that it is.

  • Thing #8: We've set our riding goal for 2003.

    Yes, I know: the year is half over already, and we're only now getting around to setting our riding goal for 2003. And yes, I know: I said I didn't want to have a riding goal this year, after last year's mammoth 2,002 in 2002 just about did me in. But the further we get into 2003 -- especially now that the rainy season appears to be over, and all of my weird physical maladies have disappeared, and we're back on the bikes on a semi-regular basis -- the more I realize that having a goal is more than just a motivation to get out of bed on the weekends or a gimmicky way of increasing hit counter stats.

    It's incredibly important to David. He's lost without his charts and his calculators.

    So, because I love him so much, and because what's important to him is important to me, I'm giving in and going along with the *new* goal for 2003, which is this: a sixty-mile ride, completed in one day, before the end of the summer, followed by an eighty-mile/one day ride before the end of the year. I know it's not as impressive-sounding a goal as last year -- it doesn't roll trippingly off the tongue, the way "Two thousand two in two thousand two" did -- but trust me when I tell you that it's going to be every bit as tough, and it's going to be every bit as painful, and I'm going to bitch and moan and cry and complain and threaten to quit every bit as much.

    And I'm going to be every bit as proud and relieved when the whole &%*# thing is over.

  • Thing #9: I'm on V-A-C-A-T-I-O-N redux.

    Although this time I'm talking about a vacation from *FootNotes.*

    I always feel guilty when I go off on one of these self-imposed journaling breaks of mine -- I barely write enough as it is, so how can I justify a hiatus? -- but every once in a while I've just got to shut things down and walk away and regroup for a little while, or else I start to hate it more than I love it. (And lately, it seems, hating it more than I love it is becoming a real issue.) So I'm going to take some time off, and I'm going to catch up on some of the non-*FootNotes*-related stuff in my life, and I'm going to give myself a chance to relax and goof off and recharge the ol' creative batteries before they poop out completely. Which is pretty much the point of any vacation.

    I don't know how long I'll be gone. I don't think it will be permanent. I'll try to send a postcard once in awhile. (Insert obligatory reminder to join the Notify List here.)

    In the meantime, though, thank you very much for reading *FootNotes* these past five years. It's been almost as much fun to write as it's been to live ... and I'm glad to know that you're out there, enjoying the ride along with me.

Have a great Memorial Day weekend, everybody! See you soon.

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~ nil bastardum carborundum ~

then again: maybe i'll just sit around in my pajamas
and watch "dr. phil" all day.