Saturday, May 29, 2010

Let's talk about WEATHER!

There was something from yesterday, something I meant to say, something....


This would be my (very deep) opening to yesterday's post. Then yesterday went and vanished. I've warned you about this happening on Fridays, right? Right.

Today, official weekend opening of summer, brought some great summer weather. Warm, warmer than expected -- ah, it's the humidity! Then greying, but still warm, til skies went all grey. Then rumbling -- thunder! Few raindrops ... downpour. Excellent. Then water ceasing. Now, I see sun peering down. Tomorrow? High 80s, I believe. Yay, Boston summer!

And that's your weather report.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Wish me will

I've talked about Steven Pressfield here before, right? Pretty sure I have. Pretty sure I exhorted all y'all to go buy The War of Art post-haste (so, didja, huh??). The man ... he knows some serious, important shit, that's all.

Fortunately for me and the world that's paying attention, he also blogs, about military and war stuff (tribes is his thing, but I confess to not reading that stuff -- yet), but he also does a Writing Wednesday series where every (guess when??) he writes along the same theme as The War of Art. He also has another more sporadic Creative Process series that already looks interesting.
Before I forget, if nothing else, check it out: You can link to his other stuff from there.

He blows me away. Like, he regularly brings me to tears, not in a gushy way, but in a goosebumpy-I-am-staring-into-the-face-of-Truth-and-I-better-sit-up-and-take-notice kind of way.

So I'm really, really trying to.

I'm not gonna say much more because he says it better than I ever could. Just, dang.

This week's post was titled Do It Anyway. He's got a point.

My takehome, that might sound embarrassingly obvious (i.e., stupid) is that while I'm trying to do this build-a-business/support-myself-freelancing thing is to ... do my work first.

I mean, I'm still gonna row at (slightly after) crack of dawn because that's when the coached session is (or whatever other morning workout I may have outside my time control), but that's only a few mornings a week, and this rule can apply fluidly all around that.

See, the thing is, it's really easy to do everything else first, then ease into work. Except, you can see where this is going, right? Sometimes, that takes way too long. Not if I have a project to work on, that's no problem. But when it comes to MY stuff -- you know, things like, oh, writing my website content and getting the site up so my networking can go that much further and I can be that much more visible.... Yeah. Suddenly, my, true, in-need-of-cleaning home becomes a screaming imperative to do so immediately. Or something else that must be done but ... at the expense of my work? Not anymore.

Of course, the terrifying thing is that I'm saying this before, you know, the three of you, which makes it all the more real. Also, this new experiment will be easy to do at first, I know it. It was today. It's in a few weeks, somewhere in there, it'll become hellishly hard. Or maybe tomorrow, who knows.

Shaping patterns, habits -- really, it's building on his last week's post, doing what he calls "training the will." So simple, so genius. Wish me luck. Wish me will.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The rowing download

Somehow, in yesterday's post, I forgot to muse about rowing. And, there was plenty for my brain to chew on. Was a tough morning in kind of an interesting, new way.

And, wouldn't you know, it's bedtime-past.... But still, some things must be done.

So, Tuesdays are somewhat "pieces" day -- well, more than somewhat, they are. And Wise Coach Jeff will say things like "not outright racing" ... but you put competitive rowers (forgive the oxymoron) alongside each other, what do you think will happen??

Usually I feel like I'll mentally "give" first -- any kind of racing mindset in a single is quite new for me, and when water's choppy, as basin water always is, that gets me every time. But Tuesday, it felt like my body was all outta whack -- tense, stressed, not flowing, not feeling it. Perhaps my mind was being ultra sneaky and hiding it as my body. But it felt different. Not good different, but different. So, I worked on good mental attitude (it does get tiring, but what else can I do?).

The workout was four 8-minute pieces; we were supposed to be bumping up ratings every time, sometimes halfway through the piece. My body was having none of anything above a 24 (strokes per minute) and sometimes not even that. So, challenging. I was fighting the impending feeling of just feeling lame & slow, starting way ahead of everyone else (and they would catch me), and trying to keep working on the same damn basic shit that is so hard and will make me better.

The third piece seemed to get a little better -- the first few minutes of it were great, actually, then I hit the Bermuda Triangle of always-crap water before the Mass Ave bridge. Yeah.

Then it was time for the last piece -- supposedly at a 26, then up to 28. Ha. I was trying, trying, trying to just push myself, have a good piece, without even remotely worrying about the rating -- saw I was at a 22 at one point, so 4 strokes/minute lower than the others (a lot). Coming up on the Mass Ave bridge, I felt a story shaping in my head, about just how humbling rowing was (this is true), how much I had left to learn (also true), how it kicked my ass today ... and then I realized I was giving myself instructions there, and the piece wasn't over yet, and fuck no!

So, I pulled it together (nearly nailing adorable little goslings stupidly hanging out under the bridge and having foreign tourists yell at me from above for the near-miss), and I will say -- I had an awesome last minute! I just went for it, passed two other people who are faster than me, saw a 27 1/2 at one point -- and I must also note the water had flattened. I can row in good water! I can! It's the bad stuff....

Anyway, life lessons there, so much yet to learn, why I'll forever love rowing -- because it can and will forever kick my ass -- but not every time, every minute....

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

God laughs

For so many reasons.

Most recently, I just glanced down the list of post titles and saw "The Weekender: It's Winter. The end." posted a mere ... twoish weeks ago? Today, it was supposed to hit 90. And it's still plenty toasty in my closed-up-with-what-was-cool-morning-air home. Ah, Boston, how do I love you? Let me count the ways.

But how I originally thought of the title was from last night.

I walk in to do my reading/recording ... and I get the Bible textbook again! For real. Geez, people.... I mean, it's kinda funny, even I get that (and you who know me are undoubtedly getting your year's worth of entertainment here) -- sure, make the heathen read Bible stuff! At least it's textbook and not the Bible itself ... can you imagine??

It actually reminded me of my very brief flirtation with church/Christianity when I was a kid and social pressures were starting to exert and I was the odd one out on the religion front. So I decided I was going to read the Bible. The whole thing. Can't remember how far I got (no way past Exodus, if even that far), but man ... oh man....

So last night, my Bible textbook chapter was about Revelations. Cheery stuff. My main complaint is all the damn hard-to-pronounce names -- who named these people?? Plus the names of the Roman emperors thrown in ... dang. Let's see ... Dom ... no, it's already left my head. But I had to go look up the pronunciation.

So, yeah, god laughs, right there. Made me think of a line I just read in Dark Tower, a reference to how when god wants to laugh, he listens to someone saying never. OK, that was a terrible paraphrasing, but would take to long to find the real deal.


On the work front ... I got a very nice turndown from one of the part-time positions -- the kind that winds up making you feel good, you know? The person said I was a good fit for the position, but that they were actually looking for someone in Chicago (oops), but she'd keep my resume on file in case....

Went to an editorial freelance meting tonight that was ... exceedingly odd. And awkward. In the basement of a library in the suburbs of Arlington, guess that should've been a tipoff, but it didn't hit me til I spent an hour fighting traffic to get there ... "hey, I wonder why the Boston-area meeting is here, that's weird...." Indeed. Was a lovely library, I'll say that.

I'm off to find some cool air for sleeping....

Monday, May 24, 2010

Monday catchup

Yes, it's a catchup kind'a day.

First, a bit of an outcomes/"whatever happened with that?" accounting....
  • My parking ticket (for parking in front of my home in broad daylight with plenty of other parking around) was dismissed. Yay, City of Brookline! Of course, the Hearing Officer (different department than the Seeing and Speaking one, apparently) also cryptically wrote, in all caps, "APPLY FOR RESIDENTIAL PERMIT," which is fascinating (not quite to weather level, but close) b/c I thought Brookline didn't have residential parking....
  • And, it appears, appears State of Cal isn't going to make me pay for taxes from four years ago when I didn't live there, so that's a relief.
  • Unfortunately, Travelers does continue to suck as an insurer and is not going to refund me any of the terrible-horrible-v-bad-day sewer money I spent. grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr
Camping was successful, wonderful, divine! We found a wonderful spot in Western Mass and totally want to go back. Apparently so does the rest of the world, doesn't sound like there are many spots left for the rest of summer. But we got to canoe our gear into our site! !! ! Supreme awesomeness. And my former doubles partner and I discovered the challenges of paddling together in a straight line (come to think of it, we never did try to row a pair together, did we?). But it was fun learning. Bottom-line solution was to put me in back 'cause I got no problem slacking and not rowing in the interest of rowing in a straight line....

More bottom-line learnings:
  • When given a map, be sure to ask about the scale of it! We paddled many more miles than needed ... still all in the name of fun, but pretty funny.
  • Also, men wearing STAFF shirts do not have all the answers:
    Friend (politely calling to man in said shirt, fishing): Excuse me, do you know where Campsite 31 is?
    STAFF-shirt man: No, sorry, I sure don't.
    Me: laughing hysterically b/c of the sheer ridiculousness of it all . .. we'd been paddling around looking for our site for...? maybe an hour or more at this point? Good times.

And, I made that joke about a bear eating us? (If you're getting anxious, I'll cut to the punchline and tell you we weren't eaten by bears.) Turns out bears do make visits to this place and to our site in particular b/c it's the most remote.

I wasn't thrilled at the news. But we decided to keep all food & fragranced items in the car, so I then felt better. And, we were only visited by Stealth Bears, my v favorite kind....

Also, Whole Foods' Large Roasted Corn (capitalization theirs) is muy delicious. Can't stop eating. Essentially cornnuts. But w a clearer name. And, Trader Joe's trail mix kicks Whole Foods' trail mix' ass. Up and down a mountain. Twice. In case you were wondering. And, I'm going to start a petition to ban raisins from trail mix.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Squirrel party on the trash can!

I mean, it is Friday, why not be celebratory about it?!

The squirrels in my yard sure are. Came up the driveway after this morning's great asskicking workout to find 3 of them chillin' on and around the trash cans. Surprised at least one of them wasn't smoking. Party down, send your squirrels on over (not really).

Also, wherever relevant/whenever it dawns on me, I'm going to start a list of Sucio's Scarys b/c, one never knows, there might be a pattern here, there might just be key information for all of us.

Today's item on Sucio's Scarys List: lip gloss, clear w/ glitter, candy-smelling scary! (note, on a person, not a tube of it. that would just be silly.)

I was going to try to re-create a list of all the prior Scarys, but I fear I wouldn't do him, or them, adequate justice, so I'll just compile as I go. Past Scarys are bound to be Current and even Future.

Last thing, on this Friday, I advocate dessert before dinner. Perhaps frozen yogurt with hot fudge, followed by something Mexican? Just an idea.

Happy Weekending, y'all. I'm'a goin' CAMPING!!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The boy + bad-water chronicles

As in, two separate chronicles, combined would be a little too much for me!

First, the boy ... yesterday was the last reading-together day of the year. He was in rare form -- almost as good as the day with the pet bee. (pause to polish off delicious strawberries, reaching for chocolate soymilk)

First of all, he was practically bouncing off the ground (like a tigger) when he came up to me ... this has never occurred before. As ever, he circled the bookcart with great fascination, and I indulgently let him, b/c how can I blame him, even tho it makes the school coordinator tense.

Finally, I round him up, and we head for the classroom. He's carrying a McDonald's bag, also a first, so we're both sorta excited about that (true, me mostly excited by his energy/mood). He tears down the hallway, reads a sign on the wall in the process, and we discuss rainboots -- he's wearing his cool firefighter ones, I say I have black shiny rainboots (I omit the part about how they remind me of dominiatrix wear) but am foolishly not wearing them today, so then he asks to see my shoes, and I show him. It's pretty endearing/funny.

He zips into the classroom and sits down, pulls out the McDonald's lunch. He's really quite excited about it. Never have I seen someone eat so many french fries at once. I take a moment to point out that it's the last reading day and talk about how we can continue next year, if he wants to, and that I'm going to come back either way. I don't want to pressure him or anything but he says something to indicate he wants to continue next year. So that's encouraging. Whether it happens or not is another story, but I'm cool either way -- don't want him to continue if he's not into it or would rather have a different reader. Then I talk about the party next week, and finally he points at the books. I get his point.

Start reading -- the chapter book. The thing is, it's really a high-level book for a first-grader. I mean, the word "melee" is in there! He tells me his older brother is reading them too, so that's a clue. So I read for a few pages, then he makes a gesture, and I get that he's done with it. I kinda anticipated this, so I brought along two other picture books, one pretty simple that I know he could read, because I have a sneaking suspicion....

Sure enough, he reads it to me. There are only a few lines per page, but he's a good reader -- "artist" throws him, but he gets through "handsome couple" without a problem. Impressive! There's a full-page letter from the author on the back page that I want to read, but he's having none of it.

Think it was after this book that he, with a big smile, displaying adorable tiny teeth (do all kids have such adorable, tiny teeth? I've never noticed), says something that for the life of me I can't get. Not only does the kid not talk much, but he is sorta hard to understand when he does. He keeps saying something that sounds like "Danny" or "Dan" ... I'm completely perplexed, until I finally figure out he's saying "done." Aha! So I ask, done with reading or with these books or with me? Naturally, he says done with me, but with a smile. So I laugh and tell him that's cool, but he's got 5 more minutes and needs to stay in his seat, then I'll leave. So he gets up and grabs a book (If You Give a Mouse a Cookie ... adorable), and he lets me read that. Then it's the last-minute warning and he's dashing for the carpet so as to be first. He's always first to the carpet.

So, I rate all that as a success, given the mysterious, unknowable world and lives of first-grade boys.

As for bad water ... ugggghhhhhhhhhh. Man. This'll be short b/c I got my ass so thoroughly kicked by deadlifts last night, I need to be asleep and have things yet remaining on my list.

Upshot: it wasn't really windy today, so I thought conditions would be fine, and they weren't so bad, but....

But they still went from sorta to relatively to really quite sucky from BU boathouse to Mass Ave bridge to Longfellow, respectively. It was a technique day, so we were at lighter pressure and lower stroke rating, so that sorta made it easier, and yet....

It was steadily getting worse the closer we got to Mass Ave bridge and it was my most-hated conditions -- the one where the water is choppy and grabs at your blade, trying to tip you. Every so often, it manages to grab your blade, and my heart stops, thinking I'm about to flip. Not that flipping is like so majorly bad, not like I'm gonna die (that's only in December and March). But it's something I'm pretty set on avoiding, so it does bad things for my heart.

Anyway, as we're getting near Longfellow, I'm hitting the point where it kinda just makes me want to cry. It's seriously. Not. Fun. And, nothing to be done for it. So I toil on, my coach saying encouraging things and reminding me of the technique flaws that emerge when I'm freaked/tired/sick of battling bad water. We stop to spin not much later, and he, encouragingly (he's like the nicest coach in the world, seriously) says that I'm doing better/rowing better in it. I hear it, but it somehow doesn't change anything for me. I say it just makes me want to cry. He suggests maybe it's no longer the bawling kind of crying? I could see this being true.

I dunno. I know my technique will ever continue to improve, and the worse the water I row in (oh, deep sigh), the better other conditions will feel ... but I feel like ... there's something. Something I'm not getting or that's not clicking. Some facet of mental toughness that's yet unrevealed. I'm not actually so sure I'll get it. I doubt I'll ever feel good rowing in water like this. But I'm stubborn enough to keep going, regardless.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Friends with talents

Drizzly grey morning here. Cozy. Gatos curled up into little (or not-so-little, in Sucio's case) balls of fur, noses tucked in, butt to butt alongside me. It's sort of adorable, but of course there was a minor catfight this morning to keep things balanced. Ah, power dynamics.

So, I should back up and talk about the coolest parts of this weekend before I forget them. Not that they are forgettable, just that my brain, oh, it's distractable -- hey, what's that shiny thing ove....

Saturday was the second and unfortunately final performance (well, for the now) of this very interesting and cool collaboration of dance, music and rap/spoken word/singing. Anna Myer, the mastermind behind it, called it a "rap opera," but we weren't so sure we agreed with that. I think we came up with "rap ballet" (right, guys?). The rap/poetry was powerful stuff, with some amazing dancing in there.

But, from an entirely unbiased perspective, I can say the most amazing and powerful part was when my friend (oh yes, I'm totally calling you out), Sam Martinborough, sang. Here, check out his website, in fact. I can factually say he just about blew the roof off the church with the too-short solo he got. Because I can see you think I'm biased, I can smugly say the other super-fun part was hanging around a little bit afterward and hearing everyone come up to him and say the same thing.

His mind-blowing part came at the end when singers magically popped up in the aisles of the church, each singing a piece of Amazing Grace (yes, love that one), ending with all on stage, singing together. All the singers were good, but no one came close to him. My favorite comment came from a woman who came up to him after, looked him up and down, and said, "Where does that come from?" He's not what you would call a big guy (well, physically), but his voice is that of a towering giant's.

The other cool weekend culture was getting to see some of Jessamyn's large-scale outdoors/travel photography at an exhibit as part of Newton Open Studios. That latter link will give you a small-scale taste; I loved the triptych she used on the postcard. Equally amazing were the other photos that were actually photo collages -- but you couldn't really tell that they were. It was super cool -- she (OK, I don't know photography technology so I'm playing fast & furious with words here) spliced together pieces of images from a bunch of different negatives, but what you see is one seamless picture. My thought looking at it was how crazy it was that it looked like reality, yet wasn't. Or, was a new, altered reality, so a different kind of reality, perhaps. But not a reality you could go to the actual place and see. Crazycool.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The tale of the blood-smeared oar

In other words, the mark of a good row!

The grossness of this was too great for me to pass up sharing, so here goes....

I have a scab on my right middle finger from left oar handle bumpage, so naturally every time I row, I open the scab up, dig a little deeper in. Pretty, right? So today, at the end of the row (gorgeous water, no wind, hallelujah! I can actually somewhat row when the conditions all cooperate!), I notice my knuckle looks pretty well bloodied. That's cool, nothing out of the ordinary for a rower, right? Well, until the rower figures out how to get her left hand away a wee bit faster.

So I put Pepper away, wipe her down, cover her up (matching Barney royal-purple cover, yep), put my oars away, and as I do so, I look up and see something on one of the handles. I squint up at it, it's long and brown, so I figure it's a leaf squashed against the handle. Slightly weird, but so be it. Then the thought flickers, Wouldn't it be cool if that were blood? (Note: I'm being entirely honest with you, dear readers, I admit it's a slightly ridiculous thought to have, but that's the one I had.) I'm about to walk away when the urge to check becomes irresistible, mostly because it's unbelievable.

So I grab the oar out of the rack, tilt it down so I can see the handle and realize ... it's blood. It was simultaneously so gross and cool ... trust me, it was. So then I had to share it, of course. I mean, wouldn't you? So I wander around the boat bays until I find Ed, talking to another rower, and I'm like, "You've got to see this," and I show them my bloody knuckle then show them the oar handle, but Ed, admittedly mid-conversation, doesn't get the connection, so he frowns and rubs the handle and says, "What IS it?" and I, already feeling bad he's touching it, say "blood," at which point, he yanks his hand back and goes, "ewwwww."

That's the story of the blood-smeared oar.

Most remarkable, naturally, is how I can make a reasonably long story out of much of nothing. You're quite welcome.

And, a weather note, how can I resist? This weekend, I got some park sitting time! Love the park sitting. Some reading in the sunlight, ahhh. Well, partial sunlight, clothed body parts in sun, head in shade. It was lovely. And, with the nice weather, OK, rainy and chillier today, true, but with the coming nice weather, I'm going to do some camping! Have a trusty camping sidekick, so it'll be all kinds of fun. Unless we get eaten by bears. But we won't.

Oh yeah, a mousing update, for you following that enthralling story ... the whole one of you! There were definitely sounds of possible Sucio hunting last night, which woke me up, and I felt bad all over again, but come on, Poor Dumb Little Mouse! I keep giving you chances, but you gotta be able to get yourself out! So I surrendered, wasn't about to round up and lock the cats in jail again. No body parts or entrails this morning, so I dunno. And, to prove I have small degrees of classiness, I'm not going to tell you my debatable theory of well-did-he-eat-the-mouse? Really, I'm not. I guarantee you're grateful, even if you don't know it.

Monday, May 17, 2010

The Weekender: There was mousing

Weekend highlights!

Adventures in mousing
In which me and the gatos spent some quality time in a small jail (AKA, the bedroom) together to give the little mouse a chance to escape. Look, I felt bad for him.

Here's how it went down:
I got home Saturday evening for what was supposed to be a quick "grab the puzzle [puzzles are VERY useful to have on hand for Saturday night adventures, in case you somehow didn't know this] and some food supplies" that very quickly turned into a pause at the front door b/c, look, there are the adorable gatos, being adorable, which quickly moved to my friend saying "what are they up to?" to then me very quickly realizing they weren't playing, they were in hunt mode, ohno ohno, to next advancing a few steps into the room, to then spying with horror a little grey lump in the corner of the room (Me: "Is there something in the corner? ohmygod ohmygod" Friend: "No, no, nothing there" Me: "Ohno ohno, there is, ohmygod") to Willa spotting the little lump and attacking, and the poor little mouse running for cover behind a rock (it's a different story why I have a rock in my living room, but rest assured, it's a very pretty one) and me shoving Sucio -- actually, what am I saying, I'm sure he ran for it, so me hovering behind Willa saying effective things like "No, Willa! Willa, no!" as Willa completely ignored me, in full huntress mode.

So I finally, bravely grab Willa, toss her in the bedroom with Sucio, close the doors. Then I run into the kitchen, where I've got a back door, open it, vainly hope the mouse will just run out the door. Meantime, Poor Little Mouse is huddled in another corner, my friend stamps, trying to get him to move, and the Poor Little Thing jumps like 2 feet straight vertical and runs into this pantry thing in the kitchen.

Friend suggests the cats might be just the thing to solve the problem, so I have to clarify that I'm worried about the MOUSE, plus, the one thing I despise about cats is how they torment their prey and I want none of that on my watch, PLUS the last thing I want is mouse entrails all over the house ... or on my pillow ... or in a pile next to the bed that I'd step into first thing in the morning. You know it would happen.

As I write this, Sucio is alternately staring me in the face, looking very contented with himself and half-lying on me, purring away. Willa's on the other side, on the beloved blue blanket (note, the same blanket that caused BOTH gatos to curl up next to each other yesterday! it has magic powers), with her head on the little catnip pillow. I kid you not. I've totally lost my place here in gato adorableness. That and a pear.

Okaaaay ... so, yeah, the Poor Mouse. I felt bad for him. Although, I have to admit, I was vexed with him -- I mean, of all the units in the building, why go into the ONE with cats?? Really, dude, that's a Darwin award right there. But I still felt bad. So, after a little debate, I decided to carry on w the original mission, leave the cats in bedroom jail (w food & water & open [screened] windows, so not a terrible jail, no one call SPCA), leave the back door open a little (it doesn't open to the outside, for all the readers worried about my safety & sanity right now), and keep the cats in bedroom jail with me all night. And I very explicitly told the mouse all this before leaving, told him this would be his chance, to run for it, stay away and tell all his friends the drill. So that's what I did.

Gatos were glad to get out of jail the next morning and I haven't seen him, so I'm hoping, hoping he took off ... and isn't eating my appliance tubing, like one of the neighbors. I mean, they ate her tubing, she didn't eat my tubing ... far as I know ... 'cause that would be real weird.

OK, I had no idea the mouse adventure would take that long to tell. There were actually a few cooler adventures, but I've gotta start my day here, so those will have to wait.

OK, I will mention this one b/c it's short: I got a care package from my mom -- I love care packages from my mom. They often have that wonderful combo of randomness, usefulness and glamour. Take note: one electric toothbrush, including two new replacement brush-head-things; two sweaters I inherited (this is supreme awesomeness -- I have a great sweater collection thanks to getting such inheritances -- OK, Willa is now snoring. Which made Sucio purr. Adorableness!), one of them is even stripey [back to sweaters here, people] -- stripey! like a tigger! the other a lovely dark green that Willa promptly laid on to make her own, courtesy of shedded white catfur; AND, last items, stay w me here, a makeup bag with a few of the free gifts you get w purchase and some lipstick inheritances -- this is also how I've gotten a few favorite lipsticks, and if the colors don't work, I didn't spend any money. Only thing it lacked was chocolate, but I've certainly gotten some amazing chocolate care packages as well, so no complaints. OK, the end.

Friday, May 14, 2010

That Friday fade

... think it hits me fairly frequently, which is why the Friday post sometimes fades away as well. Might wind up trading it for a Saturday one or lump it in with The Weekender, we shall see.

Given the fade, not much energy here, but can offer a small workfront update. As freelancers have pointed out to me, the freelancing game is a lot easier, a lot more secure, probably a lot more enjoyable when you have some kind of anchor income coming in -- something part-time, might not be anything giant or exciting, but some sort of steady income you know will be coming in.

As I got closer to smaller bank account balances, this logic is beginning to make a lot of sense to me. It doesn't change the dream or plan; I'm loving the freelancing and think it's viable, there's plenty of work out there, it's just finding it, and for a lot of reasons, that's tough to do -- doable, but not easy. As a side note, as money gets lower, I speculate there may be an inverse relationship to the amount of braveness and leaps forward out of my comfort zone to find clients. Oh, fun. But the point is, it takes time. And, having some kind of X monthly or whatever-increment of known income would ease some of the scary, while still keeping the dream, wonderful lifestyle, and plan alive.

So, I'm beginning to scout out part-time possibilities. Found an interesting one at MGH so applied for that today. Did some reaching out to a few MGH peoples I know; we'll see what-all that-all yields.

So, yeah, there it is. This doesn't strike me as deeply exciting or entertaining or a great story or even terribly interesting to you who are my beloved readers, but guess it's a little insight into the evolution of the income plan ... which is one of the intended points of this blog. It's just, you know, so much more fun to, I mean, I just adore talking about the weather (weather!) and general Boston craziness and for-real crazy guys on the street and the random wonderfulness of life and rowing and ... you know. But, work stuff today. I'll allow that's valid, too.

Good Friday night, all, happy happy weekending!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Just this

I was walking down the street yesterday, on my v important faxing errand (see yesterday post if you're deeply mystified and intrigued) and passed this older gentleman, white hair, white stubble and glasses, who, upon seeing me, broke into a wide, beaming smile, waved his hand in the air and said, in the tones of one passing on the gladdest tidings to a dear friend, "Evening is coming, evening is coming," and broke into a spontaneous, excited laugh, a laugh of complicity.

I, mid-stride, turned my head toward him, instinctively smiling, but puzzled, and said something like, "Oh. Yes, it is."

I mean, he had a point.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

From grey to light

It's a grey Wednesday. I'm currently engaged in perhaps the greyest chore imaginable -- sitting on hold -- 31 minutes and counting -- with the CA tax board. Bleakly grey, not even pretty or shiny grey.

And, in a sign of my ever-growing popularity with the CA tax board, they've decided I should've filed 2007 taxes with them, too. Wrong! I'll bet you a basket of bunnies w/ no birth control the 2008 notice is just around the corner. I try not to hate, I do. I'm just not always successful.

What else can I tell you? Today was trash day, you're right, a pretty exciting day around here, but it was pretty tame. Neighbors actually took the cans out, so musta been their annual turn. Squirrels have been more mellow, but they're still around, so who knows if the poor Squished Squirrel was really Trash Squirrel....

Met w the grantwriter -- she took ME to lunch, how sweet & awesome was that?? Had this simply amazing sweet potato/jack/red onion/avocado/poppy-yogurt-something sandwich on delectable Hi-Rise bread. Was great to meet with her, left me with a sense that there's plenty of work out there, but I have an awful lot to learn. And, a limited bank account, thus time, in which to learn it. Hm. But, she gave me some great resources and reinforced my v high-tech sketch of a business plan: meet the people. Keep meeting the people. Find the clients amongst them.

OK. I am duty bound to tell you that amidst the grey and the greyest of tasks, there can still be hope. Dang. After a ... only 37-min wait, I talked to a human at the CA tax board and ... I'm afraid to say this out loud, but it seems like we clarified what was a misunderstanding ... that happened to look like tax evasion. My mom's Cal PO box ... my Mass address ... a jointly owned Cal property that I own a sliver of ... my own mortgage for my Mass place ... y'know, tax evasion! The scarily potentially easily achieved deal is that ... I just have to fax my Mass tax returns to Cal for those two years. Huh. Not exciting to anyone but me, but it means I actually get to KEEP the first good chunk of money I EARNED freelancing so I gotta say, it's a happy day, y'all. That, and I'm making website progress! Aiming to get at least a skeleton up next week. Gulp! I'll post a link. Then you hafta visit it. And say nice things. You hafta. OK, I gots some papers to fax!!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Income, you say?

Oh, maybe it's time for another (boringish?) work update? Truly, I don't think what I'm doing is boring, but since a large amount of what I'm doing is trying to figure out what I'm doing and make it happen on the freelance writing/editing front ... I figure it's somewhat limited interest, and I suppose I only want to flail so much in public. I mean, more than I already do.

Met with a new copyeditor last week and it was a little refreshing to have someone else seek the informational interview rather than me for a change! Of course, a lot of what we wound up talking about was freelancing, so see paragraph above....

Am having lunch with a grantwriter tomorrow, looking forward to that. Lots of grants pieces/potentials blowing in the wind as of late, and I think it's a great realm to have experience. Compared to marketing-y and communications-y projects that I like but somehow feel squishy, grantwriting seems very clear, concrete. It's not all I want to do, but it would be nice to have that be an ongoing piece of what I do. I think.

Otherwise, it's me working away on whatever projects pop up from friends/folks I know/new contacts, time to start pitching the veterans article (I really do love article writing), ever trying to continually reach out and network, figure out where the people are I need to connect with, learn from other freelancers, get the website finished (finally made content progress, now to rescue the site itself from a bit of limbo so I can upload), find new ways to make myself more visible, meet more people, repeat, repeat.... So simple, but certainly not easy.

I think I need some more tea.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Me & the Bible

'cause we go together like (crossed fingers) that.

Show up to read at Recording for Blind & Dyslexic, and what book do I pull out? Not the actual Bible, that would've been an awesome topper. No, but ... OK, I already forgot the name but it was essentially a textbook ON the Bible.

Go ahead. Finish your laughter. No, no, I'll wait. All you who know me, get it out now, otherwise you'll be guffawing and chortling your whole way through.

I think my starting exclamation was dear god. And, since I was raised a heathen and know jack about the Bible apart from what I've picked up along the way (central to Christianity, you say? hmmmmmm, fascinating), I don't know JACK of the names and all. So my swears progressed to dramatically more blasphemous. And then, quoting the verses right? Uhhhhhhhh. And the abbreviations?? Don't get me started on abbreviations! WHAT does "cf." mean?? What? TELL ME, someone!

Anyway, I made it through. That's all the story I got in me today....

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Weekender: It's winter. The end.

I really was just going to leave it at that, but b/c I love weather so much, how could I not at least briefly elaborate?

Yesterday, it rained. And thundered! Thunder! Think I saw a flash of lightening. Yes, I did b/c it was right after a clap of thunder and I had to get out of my car and was afraid of being electrocuted. I wasn't. But, not a picnic day, just not. Even an indoor one. So, we'll let the weather call the raincheck date there.

This morning, Sucio'd taken up his post by the radiator and when I investigated, sure enough, it was on. 40s out, frost advisory. Highs of 50s, maybe low 60s all week.

There was something else, but I dunno. The Weekender, ladies and gentlemen.

Oh -- I had a nightmare I had to/was supposed to leave Boston! [Secret side note: Elle, think it was inspired by our conversation.] Think I'd run out of money (a seriously bad dream) and I was going to temporarily go back to California, had made all the arrangements, then just couldn't leave. Was gonna camp in my yard or something, I dunno. But, funny how strong a place takes hold, right? Of course, I also dreamed I was interviewing an entertaining set of twins and I had absolutely no idea which was which.

Friday, May 7, 2010


Guess what today is, y'all??

Oh, gave it away in the title, did I?

But YES, it's my 5-year Bostonversary! Five whole years. In bed this morning, I was remembering the cross-country drive with my two cats, my dad and his dog in his car, pulling a trailer of my stuff.

The Oak Square Y in Brighton was one of my first sights of my new home. Was pretty darn exciting. And Atsuya, one of my unmet-til-arriving roommates, was the first to welcome me. It was grey and drizzly, in the 50s. Feels both near and far away timewise.

My today began well with an early wakeup, getting to watch the sky lighten, the first bird waking up. I even got syncopated purring from the flanking gatos, first alternate purring, then in unison. I was v tempted to spend the day in bed, so adorable are they, but then I got hungry. You know, priorities.

I shall attempt to celebrate with a picnic tomorrow. Naturally, New England weather isn't looking to cooperate -- rain and thunderstorms all day? No matter, my living room floor is almost the same as a park.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Oh, the bed, it awaits

Coherence, it is low. Should be a fun post.

What was I saying?

More windy rowing today. Oh, yay. But, but, not as bad as last week. Sadly, not so much due to skill increase but simply that wind and water weren't as bad. Tho Mass Ave still sucked. Think I have a new nemesis in that bridge. There's the always-crazy patch of water right before it, even if the conditions are fine, it's a like a mini Bermuda right there, I swear. Amelia's gonna pop up any day. But there's also inevitably wind whipping around under the bridge, swirling the water all up. Grrrr.

Oh -- crazy thing, launching in the wind, the water was no fun around the boathouse, but we headed down through the BU bridge "just to peek" (as in, see how crappy it was) in the basin, and -- crazy, the water totally flattened. I mean, for a bit. But it was amazing for that bit. Then its terrible face emerged at Mass Ave.

But what I realized was, it's not so very much the wind that I hate, altho I'm just fine with no wind, it's choppy water, specifically, the sneaky little wavelets that rear up, grab your blade (and it's always just one of them), and hold on, so in an adrenaline-rush-to-toes you know you're gonna flip. This is what always makes me stop and swear. Sometimes pant. Or whatever survival calls for.

So, it's good to know precisely what you hate, I maintain.

The good part about launching in scary-for-me conditions was I decided I was akin to a superhero just for the launch, and I didn't really have to do anything else -- wouldn't worry about ratings or pressure or hell, even the day's drills, could just bob around in the waves and feel triumphant. And stay upright. I'm really getting how much I need to practice in wind and crap water, so am grateful for anything I come up with to ease the way. And triply grateful when the conditions ease a bit.

Plus, it kinda makes everything else in life seem easy. Or easier. How bad can finding paying clients be, really, I survived crap basin water today. How bad can the layers of bureaucracy be we sometimes have to wade through, I didn't flip today.... Things like that.

I also feel like for near the first time in all my time rowing -- 10 years this summer! -- I'm starting to get inklings (inklings) of competitive feelings in a 1x (hey, I spent lotsa time in big sweep boats). My main concern in a 1x has always been simply to stay upright and to figure all the 5 million little pieces out. But I've spent so much time slogging through all that, it's like it's starting to flow a little. We shall see, I always pretty much figured I'd want to race in a 1x someday, just didn't know when the day would come. Still don't, but it's getting closer.

I'm pretty sure I had other thoughts, but I'm also pretty sure my brain just flipped out the lights and crawled into bed. So I'm like a headless chicken here, typing away. Impressive, right?

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The painting of the blue (or, summertime)

I never managed to post those early signs-o-spring photos I took or to finish marveling at how things were turning green everywhere and how there are leaves on all the trees before it suddenly became days of 80 degrees ... hi, summer?

So, I turn to signs o summer:
  • Summer walks -- beginning with the inaugural multi-mile/hour walk through the city in flipflops on a warm summer night. Walking across the Mass Ave bridge, warm wind blowing, city lights shining, I shook my head and sighed at the wonder of it all, just like I do every time I cross that bridge at night.
  • Summer storms! They're starting! The day will start with sun, then suddenly turn a dark stormy grey, trees will begin whipping outside, and yeah, I get all excited. Haven't seen thunder AND lightning as of yet, but it's coming, I know it.
  • Then there was the recent (relevant) utterance I was requested to include here: You know it's summer when the toilet's sweating. Seriously. I wasn't trying to be remotely funny when I said it, it's a fact of humid summer life. Or, as I like to say/think: it's tropical, y'all!
  • Painted toenails -- also known as ... the painting of the blue (as in, favorite polish color). But with serious runner-up props I have to say -- my lifting coach this morning had her toenails the exact, I mean, precise (dyed to match??), shade of lovely light springy green as her flipflops. It was a marvel. Since I'm lagging on the painting o the blue, in spite of warmth & flipflop appearances, I am the same shade as her toenails with envy. BUT WAIT: In a breaking-news update ... due to the inspiration of a networking meeting in sandals (not a rule for the meeting or anything, altho that would be cool) ... THE TOENAILS HAVE THEIR FIRST COAT O BLUE. Yes!
  • And, flies -- surely a sign o summer, right? But really, it's just an excuse to report that Brave Sucio went fly hunting this morning in the window ledge ... and then ran away. I think the fly scared him. I love him so.

And, hey, it's Cinco de Mayo! Sheesh, you know you're not W Coasting anymore when no one around you knows/comments on this fact.... Someone in CA, drink a Corona for me, please, with extra (well-cut) lime!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

It's a list thang

Cool things from my mini dusky stroll tonight:
  • A pair o ducks, he-duck and she-duck, waddling through the park's grass (not the nearby water, just out for a stroll on the grass)
  • Tulips! Tulips. Growing out of the ground. The Californian in me marvels yet. One eyecatcher: white tulips with blood-red streaks.
  • The most amazing post-storm near-dusk lighting. Can't describe.
Things on my couch:
  • Me
  • Hence, my laptop
  • Gato 1
  • Gato 2
  • 2 pillows, oops, I mean 3. 2 match.
  • A blue blanket adored by said gatos
  • A white blanket I've kept from the gatos. So far.
Annoyances (the petty ones)
  • The length of my hair in back
  • That I can't remember the other, more interesting thing I was going to write about
  • That a river of dark chocolate has yet to materialize in my backyard
Work-type thoughts
  • I keep forgetting to give more frequent updates, don't I? One of the purported purposes of this here blog.
  • Why do I forget to give more frequent updates? Sometimes they don't feel so interesting. Sometimes I forget I haven't been talking about it. Sometimes, it's just all so in my head, it's hard to untangle, or it just wants to stay in my head for the moment.
  • What else? Had a little run of grant-y things. Kinda cool. Not sure what paying project comes next -- vague possibilities not-yet materialized.
  • Meeting a few folks in the next few weeks, so that's always good.
  • Immediate focus: website. Get it done. Done enough. Just a start. Get it up.
Words I can't type without typos (naturally, words I type all the time)
  • About
  • Sometimes
  • Course
  • (there are more currently conveniently eluding my grasp)

Monday, May 3, 2010

The Weekender: Requiem for a squirrel ... not to mention our clean water supply ... and Louisiana wildlife

Well, geez, that's a large requiem. I thought one for the squished squirrel in my driveway was bad enough, and suddenly, it exponentially expanded. Bad stuff.

I came home from boxing Saturday afternoon, parked in my spot behind the house, and was walking down the driveway when I saw, not just a dead squirrel, but a dramatically dead squirrel -- on its back (sorry, no clue if it was Mr or Ms Squirrel), spreadeagle. I kid you not. It was v sad. And, worst of all, I was afraid I'd been the one to hit it. Well, maybe that's not worst of all, certainly not from the squirrel's perspective. But it made me feel extra bad. I didn't see it coming down the driveway. But I didn't feel any kind of a thump. I dunno. Poor squirrel. Complicating matters, he also might've been our Trashcan Squirrel. I'd been meaning to write about him (OK, or her -- Unknown-Gender Squirrel of the Trashcan). I'll see what happens with trash this week and keep you updated, fear not.

And, clean drinking water -- geez! Won't spend too many words here because you can get plenty of them in the news. But, of course, TV-less here, I don't find out til the next morning when I'm reading the paper, drinking, yes, my bottle of tapwater. Ahhhh! It's OK, I seem to be surviving without any ill effects. Save my arms. But that's not related to the water supply. See below. The main pieces here are that I think the city somehow should've sent me a text, although I logically get they probably didn't have my number. But still. A more valid annoyance is that (online arm of Boston Globe) sends me news alerts via email, but somehow, somehow, this didn't rise to a news alert? Really?

So, spent lots of time boiling water and storing it in every bottle and pot and bowl I own. And, discovering boiled water tastes terrible. Who knew? Can't figure out what to do with dishwashing scenario. On a serious note, of course it reminds me of how stunningly good we have it, because there are millions of people on this planet who have this as their lifelong reality, and plenty more who have no running water, let alone a convenient gas stove to boil it on, let alone all the others who have no water at all. And yes, I do still want to know when my drinkable water will be back; I'm already tired of the "days, not weeks" proclamations I keep hearing in the news. Thanks, guys, way to be specific. I guess "we don't know" sounds too scary?

Sucio just let out a stretch-squeak. Awesome sound effect. If only I could embed audio files. Well, and I had the noise in an audio file.

And Louisiana, dang. I really don't have adequate words there. Just ... dear god. When will we learn? Ever?

And, and I have this residual pull-up problem that is killing me! Every time I straighten my arms, it feels like when you straighten a limb after having it folded for many hours - that exact achey feeling. It actually happens when I bend my arms, too. So it's tricky. Do I walk around with perfectly straight arms all the time, like a robot? Or just keep them bent, but live in fear, knowing there will be a straightening moment that hurts in direct proportion to how long it's been bent? It's a problem. Delayed onset muscle soreness, the very, very best kind. Yes, undoubtedly I should go do more pull-ups. No, I'm not really going to do that. The day's workouts will have to suffice.