21 February 2009

Snug and Warm

Winter is having what I hope is its last hurrah - we're supposed to get five to eight inches of snow before the day is out. Unlike earlier in the season, I am supremely unconcerned.

Why? One, because it's the weekend, and two, because I don't have to go anywhere. Sure, I have the usual weekend chores, but once those are done I'm free to put on my onesie, snuggle up with the cat and my laptop, have a nice cuppa, and watch the snow fall.

18 February 2009

Must've Been Something I Ate

I must be getting old. Gray hairs, crow's feet, and now - horror of horrors - a vulnerable tummy. In my younger years I could eat anything, the spicier and the weirder the better, and not feel any effects. Until now.

Last Sunday, my husband took me out for a late lunch/early supper at a local bistro. My salad wasn't great - the lettuce was slightly wilted, and comprised mostly of large, watery stem pieces. But, being hungry, I ate it anyway.

I didn't regret that decision until four hours later, when I was doubled over with the worst cramps I'd ever experienced. Oh, swell...Valentine's Day weekend, and I get food poisoning!

I've been beset by this malady in the past (note to self: avoid all shellfish), but always managed to bounce back fairly quickly. Not this time. I was laid out flat for a day and a half. I knew I was in the clear when I woke up this morning with a pancake craving. Carbs...give me carbs!

Bleah. I'm learning the hard way that my insides aren't made of cast iron as much as I'd like them to be. From now on I'll have to be more careful about my menu choices. Salads? Right out. Shellfish? Ditto.

Like my husband says, no one ever heard of getting food poisoning from a Twinkie.

15 February 2009

Whew. Glad That's Over.

And by that, I mean our yearly visit to a major tax preparation company.

My husband regards these visits with about as much joy as he would a root canal, sans anesthetic. Never mind that he has as much as possible taken out of his paycheck - he always thinks we're going to get socked by the Feds. So until we get to the tax office (and get through the return process) he's anxious, grumpy, and depressed. Me, I try to refrain from telling him not to worry (he hates that) while remaining positive and upbeat so he will stop telling me he wants to throw himself under the nearest bus. Needless to say, it's stressful for both of us.

Well, despite having serious onion breath from lunch, our tax guy this year was quite friendly and competent. And at the end of our half hour session he had good news. Very good news. I thought my husband was going to melt into a puddle right then and there. I just sat there, squeezed his hand, and tried to hide my "I told you so" grin.

So no playing in traffic for us, at least for another year.

12 February 2009

Mood Changers - What Makes You Happy?

Last night I had nightmares about my ex. Violent nightmares - the kind that leave you stunned and a little sick to your stomach when you wake up. Needless to say, I didn't get much sleep, and was more than a little on the grumpy side when I finally dragged myself out of bed.

I schlumped through my usual morning routine - fed the cat, read e-mail, had a cup of tea, kissed husband good bye as he left for work, then showered and got ready for work...and realized I was having a good hair day. I mean, a really good hair day. For some reason that perked me right up, and instead of having my breakfast in front of the computer as is my wont, I decided to watch the episode of Top Chef I'd recorded from last night.

As a foodie, I tend to enjoy this show, but hadn't really gotten into this season until this episode. Fabio, the utterly charming Italian chef, broke the little finger on his left hand and still managed to pull off a win. I actually got a little teary-eyed. It was awesome.

By the time I walked out the door for work, I felt great, the gloom from my nightmares completely dispelled.

What about you? What lifts your mood when you're down? What makes you happy?

10 February 2009

Fun With Characters

I've realized that the reason I've been having difficulties with my new story is that I don't yet know my characters well enough to write about them. I'm not sure why; I didn't have this problem with my last book. But somewhere between then and now I lost that character-finding spark, so I'm doing my best to find it again.

It seems to be working. Yesterday at work I took ten minutes during lunch to start thinking about my newest hero and heroine, and how their family life/developmental years shaped who they are. I ended up taking copious notes and coming to a couple of startling revelations about these people.

I still have more work to do before I start writing in earnest, but I'm pleased by the progress I've made so far. I'm even more pleased by the revelation that I'm having fun - something I haven't associated with my writing in years.

It'll be interesting to see how all of this shakes out.

07 February 2009

Tears, Laughter, and Totally Awesome News

My boss called me into her office first thing in the morning yesterday. Given what had happened the day before (see previous post), I thought for sure I was in the soup, either for my conflict with BCIIHB or for my oversight error. So, stomach churning, I put on a brave face and went in to meet with her.

And she promptly PROMOTED ME!!!

Yep! I got an upgrade to my job title, a lovely raise which will take effect on Monday, *plus* the promise of another merit increase raise in April due to my kick-ass performance last year.

Score! And what'd I do?

I stared at my boss for a moment, slack jawed, then inexplicably got teary-eyed. My boss was a little bewildered (I believe her words were, "Do you always react to good news like this?"), but after I'd explained about the week I'd had, and that I thought I was in trouble, and that I was terribly worried about messing up a good thing, she understood. She even offered to help me with my problems, but I assured her that I needed to find a way to take care of this personality clash on my own; if I wasn't successful, only then would I take her up on her offer. She seemed pleased by this, and didn't argue the point.

After a few moments my tears gave way to giddiness, especially when my boss called in a couple of the other department supervisors and shared the good news with them. Sporting ear-to-ear grins, they promptly congratulated me and said it was "about damn time."

The official announcement will go out to the rest of the department first thing next week, but in the meantime I had to squee to my husband, who made sure he had a lovely dinner waiting for me when I got home.

Just had to share.

06 February 2009

You Can't Fix Stupid

I've been going a little crazy at work this week, all because of my boundaryless, clueless, inept, insecure, hygienically-challenged bitch of a co-worker. We're in the middle of what's been euphemistically called a "knowledge transfer experiment": for three cycles of two weeks at a time, certain members of the department switch desks in order to "shake things up" and see if we as a group learn anything new from having a new set of cube-neighbors. BCIIHB, who previously sat in another room (and thus her crazy was contained), has been sitting kitty-corner from me for the last two weeks. And I'm just about ready to snap.

In addition to butting in to conversations, eavesdropping, prying into things on your desk, making inane comments, and trying to act like she's our manager (she's not), she laughs at the dumbest things...and keeps laughing. She never shuts up. She might as well take a cheese grater to my nerves.

The kicker came yesterday. She thought she found a problem (it wasn't, but she was making it out to be the next sinking of the Titanic), and in the course of trying to locate similar items in my work, I realized that I'd made a mistake. Not a big one, as mistakes go, but something I should have caught. I made some toss-off comment, the self-depricating kind intended to generate empathy, and BCIIHB started laughing like it's the funniest thing in the world. I stared at her a moment, gobsmacked. She laughed harder, and I realized she wasn't laughing with me - she was laughing AT me. I gave her my patented Stare of Death. She kept laughing. At this point, I started to get tunnel vision - not good. The last time that happened (in college), I almost got into a brawl. So I quickly looked away, excused myself, and took off to inform a manager of my error. The fact that I came so close to losing it entirely left me shaken.

Very few people have this effect on me. Yes, I have a temper, but rarely do I let it slip its leash. In venting to my husband last night, he gave me some valuable words to live by: you can't fix stupid. I shouldn't let BCIIHB get to me, because she's just a dumb animal. She is what she is; I cannot change it, I cannot fix it, and therefore I should just let it be.

Truer words were never spoken.

03 February 2009

The Yays Have It

Lots going on of late. Here's the Reader's Digest version:

1.) My hours at work have changed. My special project is over, but instead of going back to 20 hours/week, my boss found a way to bump me to 32 hours/week. My raise/promotion hasn't kicked in yet, however, so I'll be taking a pay cut till it does. In the meantime, I'm now working longer hours on certain days of the week, but shorter hours on others, which means I'll actually have time to write on those afternoons. Yay!

2.) My husband got me a laptop for my birthday. Also yay! Since I've got an hour for lunch at work, I've been taking it in with me so I can write after I've eaten. Did two pages yesterday in half an hour. More yay!

3.) I've picked up on a story idea I started back in November and am running with it. Taking a cue from my dear friend Carrie on character development, I've "cast" the two major leads and selected photos of them that evoke my hero and heroine. Very effective. Yay!

4.) The boundaryless idiot to whom I had to deliver a verbal smackdown last year is no longer working as a contractor for my company! Very relieved yay!!

Okay, so, I sound like a cheerleader. 'Bout bloody damn time. Now where'd I put those pom-pons?