A Tale for your Tuesday

Fact:  In the last six months of 2012, no one by the name of Rebbecka Murphy had died.  Publicly anyway.  She’d tried searching just “Re* Murphy”, in case her mother’s inability to spell had dogged her one last time, but that hadn’t turned up anything, either.  She’d even spent most of the night paging through search results for Murphy nationwide in the past six months, on the off chance that Cal had died, too, and the circling, penurious vultures he called children had combined their obituaries.  That had come up empty as well.

She frowned, a terrifying expession that had it had a sound would have been described as stentorian, and which seemed vaguely annoyed at having to settle for simply ‘thunderous.’ The libarian backed away slowly, the words drying on her tongue before she could even form the polite, and probably ineffective request she had practiced for the last several minutes that Rebecka allow the next person in line use the computer.  There were several banks of them – Rebecka had sniffed at the fact that there were more computer desks in the fancy new  library than shelves – but there was just the one that had the minor defect in wiring and ineffable being-ness that allowed the only vaguely corporeal presences of the recently deceased to operate it.

The place was lousy with them, too, slouching and sagging about the place, the mystical improbability of their gothic existence entirely at odds with the heavy-handed Danish Modern aesthetic that the place had been assaulted with.  Concrete and brushed nickel everywhere you looked.  Rebecka shuddered, wondering off-handedly if she’d given money to abet in the perpetration of this particular architectural monument to bland disinterest.  She glanced out the window.  The place hadn’t been named after her.  It seemed a pretty safe bet her conscience could rest easy on that score.

Narrowing her eyes, she stood, walking toward the window with a disinterested wave to the wilting librarian.  She knew that there had to be an obituary before the estate could be dissolved.  She had very carefully written it into the will.  In order for the lawyer – and wasn’t she going to miss that little bedwarmer now that her bones were cold –  to release any funds to the slavering gold-diggers her husband had saddled her with from his first marriage, they had to produce proof that the obituary had been published, exactly as she had written it, in daily newspapers in each of the cities they lived in, at least one of which had to have circulation of over 100,000.  And yet nothing had been published.  Slowly, grimly, she began to smile.  The wretched little ingrates would have none of it, then, and every cent would go to the Titus T Alba Fund for the Preservation of Famous Authorial Typewriter Ribbons and Assassinated Politician’s Spittoons.

She turned, finally deigning to acknowledge the tunnel of white light that had been following her around for several days now, sickly sweet voices cooing gooily after her from the beyond, raddled with the faint windchime-tinkling of celestial static.  “Well, let’s have it then,” she demanded impatiently.  The light seemed to spasm, surprised at having been noticed at all.  She rolled her eyes and shook her head.  “You’ve been hanging about for days.  Haven’t given me a moment’s peace what with your ridiculous lux eternam nonsense.  I can’t go back, so you can’t back out now.  Let’s get this little farce over with.”  Squaring her shoulders, she started marching forward.  The light shrank back a little, not the first being to be daunted by her grim singularity of purpose.  Shuddering for a moment, it pressed itself forward, trembling and trepidatious, and Rebecka Ignatia Alba Murphy marched on through to the afterlife.

*            *            *            *            *            *            *            *             *

[Possibly] To be continued.


Friday Five, Sausage Edition

  1. I caught up on my HBR queueueueue (she knew how to start spelling it, but not how to stop.)  I think there might be one of you out there that looks at my google reader starred items, and probably stopped looking because it’s been about 80% Harvard Business Review.  That’s because in the past three days, I’ve caught up on about 90+ entries.  It’s actually a really interesting – and totally non-nauseating! – source of business news / info / trends.  I recommend it, actually.  Many posts are applicable to more than just their primary subject, talk about the personal as well as the personnel, and some don’t read like business articles at all.
  2. Apropos of the VP debate, which I did not watch, but read the twitter feed while it was going on: an excellent post which I’ve seen referenced on Facebook, but I finally got around to reading through metafilter, about the difference between opinion and argument.  A difference that a lot more people need to learn, really.  Some of us (me) need to be reminded of it occasionally, as well: I am in charge of finding reasons why I am right, no one else. 
  3. Also through metafilter, GLOSS: an online resource for “lessons [that] are developed for independent learners to provide them with the learning/teaching tools for improving their foreign language skills.” The language selection is actually quite impressive – all the usual suspects with others like Pashto, Urdu, Punjabi and Hausa as well.  Time to polish up my German skills, and learn some French, too. 
  4. Two blogs that I’ve recently added to my list:   Study Hacks (through Wandering Scientist, but I think it might also have ben mentioned elsewhere, maybe Gretchen Rubin) but I started reading back through it for posts like this.  Number two: Raptitude This piece, posted to metafilter I believe, lured me in.  This piece made me stay for coffee.
  5. The office manager in my building is totes going to make one of these using all first gen (i.e., Keaton) sets.  Just a reminder that nerds are awesome.
  6. And a bonus: if you use dates as file identifiers, like many of my projects do, you probably (should*) use the (YY)YYMMDD format.  If you do that for today, you’ll notice something that  think is nifty that everyone else probably really doesn’t care much about: 20121012.  Twenty-twelve-ten-ty-twelve.   Yes, I am easily amused.

*This keeps things like correspondence, which I generate in massive quantities, and deposit tickets, which I also produce rather prolifically, together by date in chronological order.  So you don’t have April-August-December-February-January-July-June, or worse, January-October-November-December-February.  When you produce a LOT of these files, these things matter.

Also, I did this today. I will NOT tell you how long it ook me to figre out how to take a pictureof my phone case with my phone Just send coffee.

While Waiting

I am in waiting limbo, and I do not like it, Sam-I-Am.

I have deemed it unlikely that I will hear back from UofM about the most recent interview, which makes me sad, but I have waited, and now I would like tobe done with waiting.  So, another round of applying and job-hunting, because the rats-on-a-sinking-ship phenomenon has worked it’s way through the ‘meh’ people, and is starting in on the people I-really-like-and-who-make-coming-to-work-bearable.  To that end, I have joined LinkedIn.  I’ve even joined groups.  Sadly, I apparently missed a presentation at WCC called “The Reluctant Networker,’ which might have been helpful.  At least I could say that I went to a presentation named after me.

I have not yet heard from Wayne State, and while it is likely, though not entirely certain, that I will be accepted, I am waiting.  My official GRE scores were 166 Verbal, 158 Quantitative, and 5 written.  (For those who want to know, that’s 96th percentile, 74th, and 94th? maybe 92nd, can’t remember, respectively.)  The only thing that isn’t appearing on my app status page is my OCC transcript, which should have been sent ages ago, and I really don’t want to have to track it down.  I’m sort of hoping they decide it’s not vital pre-admission-decision but, theoretically, they will let me know.

Money is still stupid.  I am inching closer to balance, but it is a tricksy beast.  Hence why I would like UofM to quit lollygaging and hire me now, please.  I learned recently that compared to industry averages for my position, I am very nearly criminally underpaid.  Which I knew, kind of, but it’s nice to have back up.  The fact that I am doing the industry a disservice, however, makes me a little testy about it.  I really need to get better at negotiating for my own value.

Work is.  I am trying to work on new approaches and such, but the frustration is such that it’s hard to gain traction on project delineation, let alone execution.  I still have no VP, which on the one hand means little oversight, but on the other means little to no opportunity to define new working parameters or methods.  My Director has been agitating for me to receive training on our database, but I am reluctant to incur the cost given my intent to leave, especially since the database we use is not super-prevalent.  Instead I am going to work on my SQL skills, I think.  I have the book, now I just need to do the work.  Small things, you know.

I am unsurprised, though no less miffed, by the arrival of Cold.  My attempts to ignore it do not appear to be discouraging it any.  I may have to give in and start wearing at the very least my fleece, and definitely gloves.  Maybe see if I still have some toe-sock-fingerless-gloves I can wear at work.  Especially since I have the dog with me 3-4 days a week.  It’s gotten so even walking at lunchtime is a glove-requiring activity.


Enjoy The Process

I know that I had a Thing to write about when I went to wordpress, but that Thing has fled, chased away by the stupidly large number of steps it takes to get to the dedicated to posting page on WordPress  I don’t like the quick post pages.  I am high maintenance like that.  I don’t have a shortcut or bookmark for it, either.  I’m low-planning like that.  Or perhaps it would be more true to say that I am low-execution like that.   Which, while more accurate, makes it sound rather as if I only murder a few people, now and then, so perhaps we’ll ignore the fact that I can plan from here to kingdom come, and execute very little of that.

Which has more or less to do with today’s post title, which is a mantra I have to remind myself of every so often.  I was reminded of it today, quite helpfully, by this post over here.  It iscertainly something I am excessively guilty of doing, and tes in to an email I was writing this morning.  By looking only at the carrot, we can occasionally walk off a cliff, if we’re not careful.  Which is actually not what the articl says, but is sort of an “in addition to” stream-of-consciousness type thing that occurred to me while I was typing.

I think part of the problem today is that I did not sleep all that terribly well last night.  I had very weird dreams that involved a book that required deaths to make it work.  Plus several other assorted oddities that I managed to forget some time between stumbling sleep-drunkenly into the bathroom, where I wondered why the lights wouldn’t turn on when I pulled paper ff the roll, and my morning chai.  It’s normally morning tea, but I ran out of PG Tips, and I have a hard time justifying the massive mug of tea every day when it costs $10 for 100 grams.  But chai I seem to have coming out of my ears, at the moment, so it is a more than acceptable substitute, for the time being.

Today is Thursday, about which there is nothing terribly noteworthy.  There is a good chance I will have the apartment to myself this evening, which is actally quite glorious.  So, I lied.  There is something noteworthy about Thursdays – I can wander around the apartment in sweatpants and a showgirl giant feather fan headdress and none of you will be the wiser.  Unless, of course, I tell you all about the massive cae of whiplash I’d probably give myself trying to get to the bathroom, so maybe I’ll nix the headdress.  I can’t imagine it will make me a better video game player, anyway, which is what I am most likely to spend my evening doing.

I am currently sharing my office with a cocker spaniel.  I have to take her back to her owner soon, but for the moment, she is looking quite attractive, being all golden and floofy on the green carpet.  She needs a good trim/brushing/shaving, though.  Once she’s gotten that, I shall perhaps post a picture of her.   She has a goofy grin, and she makes pig noises when she’s excited.  I can only take photographs of one of those traits.

I could tell you about the current state of the wonders of my modern medicine, but I am feeling as if I will be less than witty if I start talking about that, so I’ll shelve that as an Idea For A Future Post (That May Or May Not Actually Happen.)

Wednesday What’s-es

It’s Wednesday!  What’s the Wonder Hamster…

Listening to:  Random soft-rock.  It’s what plays on the radio the receptionist has.  It’s better than nothing, but not a lot.  In the car it’s a toss up between DJ Shadow/things to listen that make traffic congestion bearable and things I can sing along to.  Which I seem to have less and less of – the more I sing, the more my range is shifting back upwards.  or something.  Who knows.

Eating: Better.  Salads are more daily, at the moment, breakfast more substantial.  Also, a lot of fiber lately, for various reasons that are far too boring to talk about.

Drinking: Tea, coffee, water water water.  Which is good.  It’s getting to the point that I’ll switch from hot tea in the mornings to milk coffee.  Not quite yet, but soon.

Reading: All the same stuff as last week, but also The Power of Habit, by Duhigg.  Which I actually quite recommend.  It’s very interesting, especially if you’re trying to break old habits or start new ones.   I’m in the section that talks about corporate habits, at this point, which is also good.

Watching: Still Supernatural.  Though I did finally get around to watching The Man From Earth recently, which was recommended a very long time ago by the Iowa folks.  Not bad, really.  Nothing stellar, but it’s sort of a shallow intro course in a lot of different academic fields packed into two hours with a story draped around it in a not-unconvincing manner.  I’m really not trying to damn it with faint praise, really.  It’s just sort of middle of the road.  Not a bad use of your netflix time, if you’ve got it.

Wearing: The usual work uniform, dress pants and a dress shirt, neither of which fit very well anymore.  Eventually, I’ll buy some new clothes, but right now I A) don’t really feel like it, and B) don’t have the money for it.  Which gets me off the hook 😉

Writing: Blog posts, does that count?  Everything else sits in its folders, mocking me, right now.  I need to read something.  I have the ideas, just not the words.  Blargle.

Thinking:   Right now, a lot about money.  Getting it, using it, stewarding it, that sort of thing.  I once read somewhere – probably Motley Fool, or something similar – that our social reluctance to talk about money is the root of many of our individual money problems.  That’s as may be, but I still squirm writing about it.

Feeling:  Sleepy, a little turned inside out.  I’m trying to adjust my seep schedule to allow for morning workouts, but it is not the easiest thing, going to bed while there’s still light out.  Luckily for me (?) Midsummer is coming soon, and the days will get shorter, and eventually I’ll complain about the flip side.  There is comfort in these traditions.  For me, anyway.

Wanting:  A nap, or better coffee.

Needing: To stop procrastinating on a lot of things.  Resume, job search, grad school stuff.  One thing at a time, right?  Start at the easiest, and work your way through.

Enjoying: My ability to make Trader Joe’s tiny little bags of dark chocolate covered toffee last a very long time.  Yes, folks, I am one of those people.  With chocolate, at least.  You should have seen me earlier with the bag of dried peach slices, though.  Gotta eat ’em all.  Yep, that’s me.  Insatiable fruit girl.  Wild, I know.

And, the weather:  Hell, I don’t know.   I work in a windowless closet, and had a lunch-and-learn phone conference on my lunch hour.  It seemed cold when I dragged my carcass over to the gym this morning, and my make up isn’t smudging too terribly.  This means it’s likely relatively cool and low humidity, like the weather report predicted this morning.  How’d I do?

It’s Too Damn Early for Titles

If ONLY my coffee were this awesome. Now I want to go to Ugly Mug.

Not that it’s actually early.  It’s quarter after nine, actually, and I’m working my way through my morning coffee.  I just got up (all virtuous and stuff) at 5:15 this morning to go work out.  Which didn’t quite, erm, work out the way I’d intended, but I did get a good walk out of it.

Note to self: email the apartment manager about why the resident’s gym won’t open at 5:30 in the morning.  Maybe I need to bring it coffee.

This weekend was… a mixed bag, really.  Sunday was okay, nothing exciting.  Went to mom’s, did laundry.  Bought some groceries so that neither the cats nor the husband will starve.  I’ve almost gotten to the point with the laundry backlog that I’m doing laundry that we actually wear.  I think there’s one load of towels, and then I’m caught up to regular washing.  Hardly the stuff of legends, but considering how much laundry I’ve done in the past month, it sounds practically like heaven.

No, the big snafu was Saturday.  A very good friend of mine was having her pinning ceremony, after having finished nursing school.  I haven’t seen her in a while, and she is one of my very favorite people on the planet.  She was a big part of my wedding, and I only get to see her a few times a year, thanks to the price of gas.  Which I thought I had allowed for, but…  There was a snafu with our gas card, and we weren’t going to have enough to get out to the ceremony, down to the party, back again, and still do things like work.  Add to that the fact that we got held up in a disgustingly heinous traffic jam around Lansing which was going to make us late, and that Cariad started feeling kind of crappy once we hit Grand Ledge, and I made the call to turn around.

 Given that Cariad spent the first twenty minutes after we got home curled around the toilet bowl, it was absolutely the right call to have made.  But it still sucks, because this is an event in her life that I would have like to have participated in.  I know she had an amazing day, and I am unreservedly happy that she did.  I’m just bummed that I missed it.

Wednesday What’s-es

Stolen whole hog from Dianne Sylvan, who does this on Tuesdays.  This is sort of an effort to post more often.  We shall see how it works.

It’s Wednesday!  What I am..

This has nothing to dow ith anything in this post. It is simply nice to look at.

Listening to:  It’s been a toss-up lately between NPR and mindless dance-y radio.  I generally listen to as much NPR as I can stand before I start getting depressed, then hunt around until I find something with a bass-drum that would like to take over for your heart muscles, if you please.

Eating: Absolute and utter crap, really.  My motivation to cook has been sapped, lately, so it’s been a lot of cheap crap.  Which I really should stop, since it’s making me feel sludgy.  The once every day or so salad doesn’t really atone for all the other sins of eating lazily.

Drinking: Soda, again.  I’d pretty much given it up, but it crept in with the other crap.  Need more water.

ReadingThe Renaissance Soul, by Margaret Lobenstine, which is self-helpy, but in a good way.  Also, I’m still chipping away at Dune.  I like the story, but the writing gets to me a little, so it’s slow going.

Watching: I’m up to season three of Supernatural.  Mostly I watch it on weekends when no one else is up, or on Thursdays, when I’m home alone.  Which is why it takes a while to get through.

Wearing: Make-up, actually, more often than not.  Not really sure why, but it’s been what I’ve been doing, and I’m happy with it, so I’m not going to mess with what works.

Writing: Not a whole lot.  I’m gaining traction in some pieces, but stuck in others.  I think I need to finish Dune, and find another fiction book that gets me a little more jazzed about writing.  See, Dune gets me interested in the story, but not the mechanics.  I kind of need to be excited about both to be writing.

Thinking:   A lot about What To Do (Job Edition) and What To Do (Education Edition.)  The big question is whether I should find a new job now, or wait until I make the decision about school (MBA?  Libnrary Science?  Don’t go back at all?), and then look, because I don’t want to work 9 months for someone and then have to look for work all over again to fit around school.  On the one hand, things are less than ideal at work, at the moment, but they are tolerable.  On the other hand, I’ve made this mistake before, of waiting, and I don’t want this to be a mistake as well.  So, really, it boils down to waah, I don’t know, so I don’t want to commit, yet.  Which is a recurring theme in my life that I maybe need to look at.

Feeling:  Better than this time last year, or even 6 months ago.  The wonders of modern medicine, and all that.  But I’m having trouble concentrating, feeling sort of listless, and sleeping for crap, which means I *really* need to get back to working out on a regular basis.

Wanting:  A little more dressing on this salad.  It’s so hard to get the right amount, sometimes.

Needing: To relax.  I’m not very good at relaxing. Most of my ideas for relaxing end up with me falling asleep, which is not bad, but it doesn’t seem to do much for my stress level.

Enjoying: Social downtime between Big Social Things.  Weekend before last we had guests, which was wonderful, and this coming weekend we’re going to a grad type thing, which will be wonderful.  My poor little introverted soul, however, needs the intervening down time, so I’m enjoying it by being kind of anti social, really.  No offense to anyone I might be ignoring, I hope.

And, the weather:  Sort of normal, which is odd, given how crazy the beginning of spring was.  Generally clear-ish, dry, warm-ish.  Which doesn’t much change the fact that it’s 65 in my office, so I’m a little cold, but I’d rather be cold than overheated