It's Friday! It's Friday! It's Friday! I don't have big exciting plans, but it's Friday, and I can relax and unwind and that's all I care about!

I had intended to go to Shakespeare in the Park tomorrow evening, but I'm heading into town on Sunday and I don't want to drive it twice. I hate traffic. Hate it. So unless I get around to it next weekend, I'll probably miss out on SitP this year.
=(   <--- That's me pouting.

So my plans for tomorrow probably revolve around cleaning and touching the house up. My house feels grimy. What with all the window installs, the A/C, the foundation repair and exterminations going on lately, the house feels like it's covered with sawdust and dirt and grime (even though it's not actually that dirty... it's all perception). I'm feeling a little ambitious, so I think I might rent a carpet cleaner to clean my rugs and my loveseat tomorrow, and maybe repaint the hallway (with paint I already have) and/or get started on the vinyl trim around my windows (had to buy paint for the leaf guards so I may as well use it up, and since the trim doesn't exactly match the house...). It's not completely out of the realm of possibility that I'll trim some of the hedges outside and plant a few flowers now that the gutter is fixed and plants will actually grow.... it was pretty brutal to watch them get pounded by Niagra Falls every time it rained. Also need to put covers over the soffit vents, but I'm not going to do that just yet. And my houseguest is moving into her own place (not that I want to get rid of her, it was fun having a roomie), so I'll move my stuff back into the other closet. That should kill a day.

If not, I can always test pack for Scotland... I have way too much to pack this time and I probably need to pare down. It's going to be cold, and since I have no idea what a real winter is like, I've got coats and scarves and hats and gloves and sweaters and raincoats and long socks and fuzzy sleep pants... Now I'm starting to put a Halloween costume together and that's going to take up space, too. I need to leave room for the things I know I'm bringing back with me--important things like whisky and soap... twelve more weeks...!!!

It's been over two weeks since I last got a rejection... which feels pret-ty awesome if you care to know. The first round of rejections came quickly, I think they saw the word 'vampire' and simply didn't want to represent it, but I like to think that the remainder of my queries are being considered based on my writing rather than solely on the subject matter and that takes longer. Yep... I like to think that...

I also submitted a poem to Poetry magazine. What the hell, right? Why not? I may as well blanket the market and see who bites. And they pay. Money.

Also started planning my next dinner party. With all the home repairs out of the way I feel like celebrating a little. I like to cook, and dinner parties give me the opportunity to make things I wouldn't normally make for myself. This time I'm probably going to break out the horseradish escalloped potatoes... after reading about them over and over again as I edit the book, I'm craving them big time. And this time I have a mandolin so I can slice the potatoes uniformly... much easier than eyeing it and using a knife. I used to stress myself out but I think I've got the formula down now... make something that can be tossed into the oven, then I can relax and not be running around like a rabid clown when my guests arrive. I don't worry so much if the house is spotless anymore, I do what I can ahead of time to prepare and realize that no one is as hard on me as I am on myself... this may not be a big deal to most people, but the way I grew up, company = stress,and I'm bucking the system here!

Gonna go head to the piano and play for a bit. I've been doing pretty good on Rachmaninov's Prelude in C-Minor... first half... second half is a bear... two treble clefs, two bass clefs and I only have two hands... it's just not possible... (for me). My fingers remember where the notes are supposed to be, but if I try to read the music I screw myself up, and I'm waaaaaay out of practice. I go for long periods of time without ever touching the keyboard and then sit down and play almost every day and wonder why the hell I wasn't doing that all along. It's so relaxing. I hated learning to play, but once I got the notes down I began to love it, and when I started writing my own music I think that changed everything. I'm definitely glad my parents pushed the lessons... hated the recitals, and still won't play in front of most people, but I enjoy playing for myself.
 
 
I'm trying to blog every day, it's a little like a diary, except that there are certain things I can't or won't blog about... work... romance... where I live... because who knows who might read it, and those things are personal. Suffice it to say that it wasn't the best day and I worked out on the treadmill. Twice. I'm still a little upset, but I'm working on it.

Sorry this one was a bore. That'll happen sometimes.
 
 
A day off is not a day off when you're having your foundation repaired and you still have to be up and at 'em by 7:00 am, and you can't take a nap because of the jackhammers ripping apart your nice patio. Or the guy singing. The house is creaking... and it moves... it's scary... I keep watching the walls and windows, and I wonder about my a/c connections and pipes and ductwork...

So far no (apparent) damage from the fix (other than my patio). I keep watching the windows, because I have them opened a wee bit (to relieve the tension as suggested by the people who installed them) and I can see that the horizontal lines aren't quite parallel to each other. I'm assuming that will correct itself once the house is level. My already crappy floor still looks crappy. I keep thinking maybe I should just rip out the tile and put some of that concrete stain on it like I dreamt about one time... the glossy kind that gives it color but you can still see through it (like the black or cola versions on this page)  - then I can see cracks in my foundation really easily. I think it'd be really pretty actually. Right now I have crappy white tile that has a veneer on it because the previous owners went all out to flip this baby... (not)... it chips off and looks tacky.

Watched a couple of movies... Zack and Miri Make a Porno, pretty good, but very raunchy (you kind of expect that from the title though), and My Best Friend's Girl, also pretty good and very raunchy (but you kind of expect that from the big UNRATED VERSION stamp across the cover, and the fact that Dane Cook is in it). Made a baked potato for lunch, garlic hasselback potato to be precise, where you cut almost all the way through and fan the potato out with garlic slivers in between each slice and pour bacon grease over the top of it before you toss it into the oven. Pretty yummy. More satisfying than the frozen dinner I would have had for lunch if I'd been at work.

Well... hopefully they'll be finishing up in the next couple of hours (I bet they're ready to be done too... it looks pretty hot out there) and I can relax. I'm all tensed up until it's done and there's no water gushing from under my foundation.

Update: They're done and the crack in the grout is now almost invisible. Even more astounding is that some of the joint tape has almost straightened itself out... back to what it looked like before anyway... which was still crinkled in spots, but my inspector told me that is normal for houses this age (I don't know that I believe him now). The beam running along my living room ceiling is back in place. There was really only one door that didn't close, and it closes now (thank you to Greg for telling me to check that all the doors and locks worked before they filled in the holes). No cracks in my wall either. I'm pretty impressed. Broke, but impressed. Hopefully the patches in the concrete will be nearly invisible too... They got here a little after 7 o'clock this morning and they're leaving now (5:40). Long day... glad I don't have their jobs.
 
 
If you've ever wondered what it feels like to have bamboo shoved under your fingernails, I can now provide you with valuable information - it hurts like a motherfucker.

I have bamboo blinds in one of my rooms, and as I reached for the rope to raise them up, a piece of bamboo was sticking out just far enough that it was able to lodge itself under my fingernail. Imagine that. Through some weird twist of fate, my hand was at just the perfect angle to receive it. Another thing you should know about bamboo under your nails? Removal hurts almost as much as the insertion, and even after you remove it, it still stings.

Quite a bit.

For a while.

So I like to dress up for Halloween, and most years I attend a huge party that one of my friends throws, but this year I'll be in England (that's not disappointment you're sensing - don't get me wrong, I do look forward to the party and the Wooga... but party here... or party in England...). We'll be just under the Scottish border in Northumbria, at Chillingham Castle where we will spend the night... in a haunted castle... on Halloween... mm-hmm.

I was half-joking to my friends that we should dress up for the ghost tour. At this point it's gonna happen because now there's more than one of us who is excited at the prospect. It shouldn't come as a surprise that I will, probably, be dressed as a vampire... it's a pretty easy costume to don and I shouldn't scare too many people unless I get these contacts (which I'm seriously considering because they're cool... or maybe these). Anyway, I checked the Chillingham website because I was going to ask if people dress up, and I found out that they're having a bonfire and fireworks on Halloween night. AWESOME. So, a bonfire at a haunted castle on Halloween... how cool is that? It's pret-ty cool.

No... it's ridiculously cool.

BLOG COMMENTS:
Do I think that Britney is going to find love? I think the fact that she seems more together these days is a good sign. Do I think Lindsay Lohan is happy as a lesbian? I don't think Lindsay Lohan is happy, period. But since I don't know either of  them personally, eh... I could be mistaken.
 
 

This about sums it up:  "Christian, you may see me only as a drunken, vice-ridden gnome whose friends are just pimps and girls from the brothels. But I know about art and love, if only because I long for it with every fiber of my being." (from Moulin Rouge)

We all want love. We do. It's elusive sometimes, but like donkeys, we chase that apple. Sometimes we catch it and we find a worm, other times it's perfect.

Me? I'm addicted to it... in the form of reality tv. I love to watch dating shows. Last night was the finale of Daisy of Love and tonight I'm watching The Bachelorette. I have a knack for knowing who will be chosen... tonight it will be Ed (I knew even when he left that he was the right guy for Jilian... and then he came back). Last night I knew it would be London (ditto... although I don't think he's the right guy... that guy was 12-Pack).

In my own life, not so easy. My recent choices haven't been so good. But I've learned something from each of them, and I no longer want the guy that I chose over and over again - because that's exactly what I did; I repeated the same mistake. So I have a few scars, some of which I won't even realize I have until a situation comes along that reveals them to me, others of which are very obvious. I should be so incredibly jaded at this point, and I have definitely lost hope along the way, but it's like a boomerang and it always comes back to find me.

For now, I'm jealous of an entirely different kind of love... my cousin posted that she got tons of Eli kisses today... I haven't seen him in months... I'm not one of those people who loves all children, in general I'm not a kid person... I don't hate kids, I'm just don't go ga-ga over a kid because it's a kid. Eli though... he is super adorable. He's the kind of kid that makes me want to consider having one of my own someday... or maybe just taking a trip to see my family next year. Yeah... that's a much better idea!

And on that note... time to get ready for bed. I didn't get much sleep last night so I feel like a zombie... which means I'll stare up at the ceiling for several hours and wake up a zombie tomorrow, too!


P.S. They tried to throw me a curve ball, but I was right... it was Ed.

 
 

Watched Inkheart this afternoon. Basically the premise of the movie was that certain people can read the words of a story out loud and the story would become reality. It wasn't a life-changing movie but it got me thinking... left field, as usual... or as I like to say, my train of thought often gets derailed.

There's a theory floating around that we can write the story of our own lives, that what we believe is what comes into being... some call it the power of positive thinking but it goes by many names (like self-actualization... think Stuart Smalley's 'I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggonit - people like me'). I have to admit that, being the pessimist (or maybe realist) that I am, I have a bit of a problem with it, even though I'd really like to believe it. The big flaw is, we can't all get what we want (green lights and no traffic), it's just not possible. Sometimes that's because it's at cross purposes to what other people want, other times... well, you just can't - but a person can dream.

Mostly I think things work out because, if we really desire something, we put effort into making it happen, we create the opportunity. Sometimes maybe we're picking up a vibe, something that tells us, if only subconsciously like a gut feeling, that we're on the right track. I've learned that even if I think it's crazy, my gut is more often right than wrong, especially in certain areas of my life.

On the other hand, If we ignore our opportunities, or don't put the effort into them, they will pass us by. Sometimes we set ourselves up to fail.

I tend to take life as it comes... hope for the best, then stick my head in the sand and believe the worst won't happen to me. I believe that whatever is meant to happen will happen, and if you try to force it, it will backfire on you. I look for signs that I'm on the right track, like serendipity or something, just little things to keep me motivated or let me know it's time to back down. Maybe that means I put too much stock into insignificant gestures, or read too much into nuance, but that's who I am and will probably always be. I could apologize for it, but that would be insincere.

All in all, my life is pretty good, with little hiccups here and there; I can't let myself get bogged down by it or it would pull me under. I think you have to have a sense of humor, or life will bitch-slap you into submission.

Oh, and one funny little story ... turning the lemon (my house) into lemonade... I called my insurance company, it was too early for my local office to be open so I was connected to the national number... which basically means I was routed to India. I told the lady that I needed to know if my foundation was covered by my insurance policy. She asked if my question would be in regards to a homeowner's policy, an auto policy, or life insurance. Then I was connected to someone in the licensing department and that representative asked if I was talking about a single-family residence, or a mobile home... they were both really nice though...

 
 

Went on something of a tour today... I rode along with a friend who was house hunting (I don't know why, but I thought we were going to actually be going inside some of the houses... I figure I must be going daft because I also thought Shakespeare in the Park started this weekend, but it's next weekend... oy). Saw some neat houses, saw some crappy houses, saw lots of overpriced homes. All in all I realize that I must have expensive tastes... the ones I liked were about $300-500k... It's all about location I suppose, because they were smaller than my current home, and they were much older (part of what I liked about them, the older bungalow style).

In front of some homes were petrified dogs, in front of one was a metal cow wearing a yellow tu-tu. I can't get over how it's all laid out, it's not like a series of nice houses, it's a really nice house, next to a piece of crap, next to something passable, next to a business, next to new construction, gigantic house, tiny house, duplex, four-plex, apartments, condos... No rhyme or reason. I can tell you one thing - no matter how much I like a house, if it's next door to a house that's falling down or has crap all over the porch, I'm not going to buy it. I guess that means I'm not a city girl, but I already knew that. If I had my way, I'd be living in the country, or at least in a neighborhood with more space between the houses. For now, I exist in the 'burbs.

There were several homes with screened-in porches, and that's definitely something I would like to have someday. It was on my to-do list at this house, once upon a time. My grandparents have a screened-in patio and it's always nice to sit outside without being bothered by mosquitos or wasps. During the spring and fall I'd probably be out there most of the time.

All in all today put me in the mood to do something constructive, so I came home and finally touched up the couple of areas in my bathroom that I've been ignoring (changed the color in the bathroom and painted around a couple of things instead of removing them and doing it right... I was always going to get to it eventually, but now it's done).

By the way, if you want to see one of the worst movies ever made... Cabin by the Lake with Judd Nelson... I can't even explain why I watched it except that sometimes I need to see something incredibly mind numbingly stupid. He must have really needed that paycheck... When I lived in my last house, my roommate and I would sometimes stay home and watch what I called "bloody UPN Saturdays." The station was UPN, and all day long they seemed to play movies where people died. Fascinating stuff. And sometimes we had Saturday sundaes where we ate ice cream and piled on the syrups and sprinkles. It was cool, you should try it. Wednesday sundaes are even better.

 
 

I'm sure that most people are like, "Friday - woohoo! Time to hit the bars and have some fun!" And I'm all like, "Friday - woohoo!  I can go home and take a nap! Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz...." I don't know when old age hit, but at some point I guess it did, because lately I'm completely wiped out by the time Friday gets here... hell, I'm lucky to make it to ten o'clock without falling asleep on most Fridays.

Last night I watched the 100th episode of SYTYCD... one of my favorite shows if you haven't figured that out - and whereas yesterday made me cry, last night made me go 'wow.' Ramalama Bang Bang is the coolest damn thing I've ever seen (well, maybe not ever, because I don't remember the first time they aired it, but very cool). I couldn't find the video from last night with Wade Robson dancing, but I posted a version that is just as cool. The song itself is pretty interesting, I like the... drums (?) in the background... sounds twisted.

I've always loved to watch dance shows. I think it started with Solid Gold, and then Girls Just Want to Have Fun (cheesy or not, it's my favorite movie - ever). When it comes to SYTYCD, I'm kinda like Sarah Jessica Parker's character when she talks about D-TV... a total dork, wide-eyed with wonder, practically drooling. One of the things I love about SYTYCD is that even though they're competing against one another, the contestants seem to be supportive of each other... sort of gives me back my faith in humanity.

Somehow I didn't catch the Dancing with the Stars bug... I think the fact that 'celebrities' are dancing turns me off because I'd rather see people who aren't already famous get their turn. People who are already famous? They don't really need the help... although some of them do... just not with publicity. Also don't really care for Dance Your Ass Off... I feel like the judges are being condescending to the 'fat people' because they watch them dance and they have these 'oh those poor people, they're trying so hard' smiles on their faces.

Lately I've noticed a 'fat person' tv show trend like they're doing 'fat people' a favor by showcasing them, like it's a disability or something. It's not that I don't think people who are overweight deserve tv shows, it's just the way the shows are being marketed that isn't sitting well with me. I don't know how to express it except to say they act like people who are overweight are also pathetic, and they're not, unless they allow themselves to be.

And that More to Love show?  They act like the guy is doing these women a favor.  I'm sorry, but he's not exceptional, so stop acting like he's some kind of philanthropist. Even though they're large, some of those women are gorgeous. It's like they're telling people that they don't deserve to be loved unless they're a size 5 or something, and I know that they're trying to do the exact opposite, they're just going about it the wrong way.

That said - I love Ruby. Love her. I don't feel like she's being exploited like the other people are. I find her fascinating, and I think she's gorgeous. When she loses all the weight she's really going to be stunning, but it really doesn't matter, because her beauty comes from the inside. Anyway, I'm addicted to Ruby so I DVR it. (but don't trust my judgement, I also watch Daisy of Love - and I won't apologize for it, it's highly entertaining and there some nice male eye candy)

Well, time to sign off and watch The Lost Boys... Mmm... vampires... and Billy Wirth (if you don't recognize the name, he was the hot vampire with the long, dark hair who was always standing right next to Keifer Sutherland... the one who rarely said anything except for a couple of lines primarily consisting of 'dude')... even with bad 80's hair that boy is h-o-t, hot... but you should see him now... even better with age. Yum.

 
 

No... actually I don't... but sometimes I try anyway.

I seem to have turned into a big blubbery crybaby the older I've gotten... so many things (good and bad) can start up the waterworks that I almost hate to watch movies with people anymore. Which leads me to the subject of this post... last night's SYTYCD had this amazing number about breast cancer and it really got to me.

Cancer is something that has greatly impacted my family. I have said many times that unless I die in a freak accident, I will probably either die of cancer or heart problems. It's something that I try not to think about, knowing that I'll probably have to face it someday, if not in myself, in yet another member of my family, or a friend. Today I learned that a friend of mine may be dealing with a serious bout of cancer, so the video is especially timely. So I dedicate this to all the members of my family who have been taken down by the disease and anyone who has ever had to deal with it in their own lives, may you triumph over it and go on to live long and happy lives:

 
 

I had intended on a happy post yesterday and that obviously didn't happen... ah well, can't be upbeat all the time... I realize today that having no money must be the final piece in the puzzle that is being 'an artist'... so I'm there. I've made it! Yipee!

So without further adieu I will now regale you with the wonder that is Google Analytics. I just installed the tracking widget four days ago, so it'll wear off soon, but for now I am intrigued... blown away... astounded... by all the information that it provides. I can see how many unique visitors I get in a day (keeping in mind that you're all unique, seriously), how many are return visitors, which pages are accessed and for how long. I can see that you are in the US or abroad, who provides you with internet service, the operating system and web browser that was used, and if you found my website directly or were referred by another website (I like that I see that starting to happen). And... tsk tsk... some of you are logging on from work...  =)

A disclaimer - I know what you just read could sound a tad bit worrisome, but keep in mind that with all the information I get - I can't see who you are... so please don't feel like I'm spying on anyone because that would be creepy and I wouldn't even want to do that. The only way I'll know if you access my website is if you tell me by commenting on my blog or contact me via the contact form... and while I'm dying to know who you are and what you think, I wouldn't want to find out by spying on you (I've shown a couple of people what I see and they can vouch, your privacy, for the most part, is as safe as it apparently ever is on the web... something to think about though).

Just so you can see what I'm talking about, I'm posting a pic (albiet a very small pic... If you could read it, you could see that in four days I've had 54 visitors, 52 of whom are 'unique', one of whom was from Ireland (madainn mhath!), 52 hits were direct and 2 were from referring sites, and people accessed my blog (yea!), pics, and partial chapters.  I just think it's neat. I'm gushing. I'll stop now.

Picture
 

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