Archive for the ‘UpTake’ Category

princessI’ve listened to this song four times in the last two days. A rediscovered love (and here’s another one for your mix CD, Kim!).

I laughed at myself as I wrote this entry for UpTake. AS IF I could follow my own advice on that particular subject. Ha. Ha hah. Ha. On a related note, the lenses that I ordered from Pro Photo Rental for our vacation will be here tomorrow, even though I scheduled them for arrival next Tuesday. Four free days of fiddling around with optics makes Laura a happy photo geek!

We leave on vacation one week from today. It can’t come soon enough. You guys, I am SO BORED at work right now. There’s stuff to do, sure, but none of it is particularly challenging – you know, those “maintenance of business” tasks that you always put off until there is ABSOLUTELY nothing else to do. Got a bunch of those.

I’m reading Red Mars right now. I’m kind of treating it academically, like required reading for my English class. Getting through it because it’s one of those books that everyone should read at least once. And I AM enjoying it, though it’s a little tedious with all the millions of different descriptions for red sand dunes. I’m thinking I probably won’t read the sequels, though, Nebula and Hugo awards be darned.

We have mutant crickets in our house. Somehow they’re hooked up to eeny tiny amplifiers. Just TWO crickets – one hiding behind the TV in the living room, and one hiding in the pocket door in the bathroom – are sufficient to keep me up all night with their deafening roar. The damned cats aren’t doing their jobs. Weirdly, if I put my pillow over my head, I can’t hear the crickets anymore. I can still hear the fan, any noise the cats make, Calvin’s snoring… but I can’t hear the crickets. They must operate on some frequency that the pillow dampens.

Oh, speaking of hearing things at night, I think our house is haunted. I hear voices, like conversation between a man and a woman in another room, or a radio or TV left on, when I lay in bed at night. I feel like if I listen hard enough I can hear what’s being said. It’s probably a trick of the air passing between the A/C and the fan in our room, but you guys, I SWEAR, sometimes the voices are so clear. Calvin never hears them. And the cats do this thing where they’re both sitting near each other, minding their own business, and then suddenly and simultaneously look out into the dark, in the same direction. They see things we can’t see. But apparently I can hear them. It kind of weirds Calvin out, but it doesn’t bother me. Obviously if there IS a presence hanging around in our house (and I can’t imagine WHY they’d stay), it has never done anything mean to us.

Aaaaaand, that’s about as random an entry as any reader should be expected to suffer through!

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Observe, if you will:

Chandler, Arizona five-day weather forecast:
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1iconhellokittyToday, I have a happy. Jen’s laptop STB this morning, so she had to come into the office to have the IT guys replace it. Since she’s technically still an AcronymCo employee for two more months, they have to make sure she has a functional laptop with which to do her job hunting. I downright SQUEE’D when she popped into my cubicle. We went to lunch and got caught up on all the gossip, and we’ll be repeating that next week while I’m on vacation, a couple of days before I go visit Heather.

Speaking of Heather, she’s been periodically sending me, “EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!” text-squee’s as the date of my visit gets closer (a week from Thursday!). It’s seriously cute.

Speaking of travelling and texting and whatnot, I activated my Twitter device update functionality, so I can tweet from my cell phone. This is in an effort to keep all of you guys up to date on the shenanigans we’ll be getting up to, both in Indiana/Illinois and on our Epic Roadtrip this summer. I’ll be communicating from the road, so be sure to either check my Twitter feed periodically (that link up there, or in the left-hand frame of this blog), or “follow” me if you have Twitter.

Anticipate a lot of drunken tweeting. A. Lot.

Speaking of being drunk, I was. For most of last weekend.

There’s a rated G description of our weekend on UpTake if you want the “acceptable for polite company” version…

I got SERIOUSLY FUCKED UP at the beer festival, a condition that was helped along by the fact that we visited TWO BARS before we even got to the festival. We had some time to kill before the festival opened, and there were all these bars around, so…

Hello, lovers...

(I added some more pics to the set that I told you about on Sunday, by the way. And hover over the pics in this entry to see captions.)

Then we went to the actual beer festival, where we got sunburned and drunk at the same time…

Party People

And THEN, driving back down 89A to Sedona and our hotel room, Calvin stopped along the way to personally inspect a “sunshiny meadow”. And I was all Stumbleina and couldn’t make my feet work right and kept yelling, “Hold me up! Hold me up!” at Calvin as I grappled onto him and tried to get my balance (never happened) and he was all, “I can’t! I have to hold myself up!” And we crashed through the pretty ferns which turned out to be entwined with some sort of thorny plant and I cut my foot pretty bad and bled a lot but the whole thing was so damned funny that I laughed until my stomach hurt. All I could imagine was somebody observing us from up on the road, watching us crashing around and practically falling all over each other and laughing our asses off.

Calvin, log surfing.

And Calvin was all, “QUIT TAKING MY PICTURE!”

Quit it!

And then I took a picture of my feet because they weren’t working right and I needed evidence:

Mah uncooperative feet

And then, back on the road, I took, like, fifty of these kinds of shots:

Objects in mirror are drunker than they appear.

And a bunch of these out the sunroof:

Out the sunroof

And, oh, this unfortunate shot:

Buzzed?  Who, me?

And by the time we got to our hotel room I was REALLY ready for a nap.

An hour later we got up and out again, grabbed some dinner, and wandered around for a while looking for something to do. Which is how we ended up at Olde Sedona. Because of the aforementioned drunk-fest, I declined to drink any further that evening, so I got the happy opportunity to be the only sober person, watching a club full of not-sober people do their thang. We grabbed seats out on the patio, just off the bar and dance floor, and watched the antics of the crowd.

You guys. There was this woman that was making a total ass of herself. She was single, she was there by herself, she was desperate, and as the night wore on and the drinks were applied, she gained more and more chutzpah to start approaching any and all of the single men. Who did their best to avoid her, and exchanged “help me out, here” glances with each other when they did get trapped into conversation. Said conversation took place more and more inside the guy’s bubble space, with the leaning in and playfully smacking the arm and all that kind of crap. She even reached up and mussed one guy’s hair, and I saw him check an impulse to smack her hand. At one point she came out on yet another of her patrols of the patio, and three of the guys HID BEHIND A TREE together when they saw her coming. My hand to God.

Then she went back into the club and started writhing around on the floor. ON the floor. Like, on her back. We knew something was up because the attention of all the guys on the patio was suddenly arrested at the view through the doorway, and cell phones started coming out to take pictures and video. We couldn’t see from where we were, so I got up to go over and peek in. I walked back to our table and said to Calvin, “Well, I know what color undies she’s wearing.”

“I Kissed A Girl” came on, and of COURSE she had to find some chick on the dance floor to make it with. Then she started dancing with some poor schmuck in the club, at which point the guys on the patio figured it was safe to go back inside and refresh their drinks, now that her attention was on someone else.

We figured the show was over, then, so we headed out, too. On our way out the door we passed the woman, who had trapped some poor guy on crutches up against the wall outside the bathrooms. I said to Calvin, “Poor guy, he couldn’t hobble fast enough to get away!” To which he replied, “Predators always cull the weakest away from the herd.”

Anyway. Mad fun weekend. And, no hangover! That right there was a miracle.

In closing, I adore my husband.

Ready for our close-up

(Make your travel plans with UpTake!)

And now, the news.

Posted: June 19, 2009 in Arizona, bitching, UpTake, weekend

1iconcalvinkissgirlhandI have the CNN gadget on my Google homepage. Just now I glanced down and saw the headline, “Air France bodies had broken bones.” All I could think was, “Uhhhh, yeah? Their plane crashed, didn’t it?”

Also, the whole hype about President Obama killing a fucking fly just pisses me the hell off. He killed… a fly. A. Fly. How the hell is that newsworthy???

———-

I just finished another entry for Uptake. One of my better ones, I think, about the summers I used to spend as a kid on Sebago Lake. Go, read, enjoy.

GAAAAAH, I’m so fucking HOMESICK.

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In an act of spur-of-the-moment planning, Calvin called me from the road (he’s on his way “back down the hill” from Flagstaff – for the second time this week) and asked if I wanted to head up north tomorrow for an overnight getaway. Didn’t have to ask me twice – within a half hour I secured us a hotel room. Everything in Flagstaff (our true destination) was booked or exorbitantly priced – the Made in the Shade Beer Festival AND the Flagstaff Music Festival are in town, which is one of the reasons that we, too, want to head North – so we’re staying in Sedona. It’s only a quick jaunt via 89A and cheaper, for once. Like, for this weekend only.

Phoenix weather for tomorrow? A high of 103 and mostly sunny skies.

Flagstaff weather for tomorrow? A high of 74 and mostly sunny skies.

Which one would YOU choose? MAN, I wish we had a motorcycle trailer.

Look for pictures and entries early next week! I’m a hour away from getting the FLIP outta work, after one (hundred) hellish week(s). Tonight I’ll clean a bit, do some laundry, and pack an overnight bag. Probably get some shopping in, too, since we’re planning on having Michael and Marie (and their significant others) over for Father’s Day dinner on Sunday night – we’ll probably get home by two or three, and they’re coming over at six. I still don’t know what I’m cooking.

Feh. The details will work themselves out. Have a lovely weekend, everyone!

Hectic.

Posted: May 27, 2009 in Headspace, Journal, UpTake

unravelableStill here, just wicked busy. Layoffs at work have resulted in a “redistribution” of the workload among those of us who survived. I’ve been feeling way crummy for the last week, which has culminated in feeling downright faint and dizzy today. The feeling alternates between being fun and being annoying. Oz has taken to peeing all over the house so he’s going to the vet today to figure out what’s wrong with him, before Calvin kills him ’til he dies from it. Over the past week I’ve tried calling my sister, Calvin’s sister, my uncle, and a friend of ours who recently moved right down the street from us. None of them have returned my calls and I’m feeling decidedly unloved. Last night we had baked potatoes for dinner which sounds kind of boring until you realize that each one was topped with crumbled bacon, broccoli, butter, sour cream, cheese sauce, and chives. It was the most unhealthy baked potato I’ve ever had in my life, and I enjoyed every second of it.

There’s white noise where my brain used to be.

So, yeah. Business as usual. How are YOU?

(P.S. – there’s a few new entries up on UpTake: Visit Arizona State University, Arizona’s Kartchner Caverns, and a Wordless Wednesday pic of Prout’s Neck, Maine. Enjoy!)

White Noise

Posted: May 15, 2009 in UpTake, weekend

1iconhammerI’m going to take a break from the Internet for a few days. The Hammer falls on Monday – I have to go into work instead of telecommuting – so you’ll know as soon as I do, my doves. This weekend, in order to somewhat deal with this terrible waiting, I’m going to alternate between furiously cleaning the house, hiding under the covers, and getting plastered. There’s some options in there – I could clean while drinking. Or drink while hiding. The variables, they are endless. Well, okay, not endless. There’s, like, nine.

I was never any good at math.

In the meantime, I’ve posted a couple of entries at UpTake for your general amusement and education: Maine’s Fort Popham and Tis the season for Beer Festivals.

See ya on the flip. Laura out.

I want to fly away…

Posted: May 14, 2009 in Headspace, UpTake, vacation

firefliesLast night I dreamed that I could fly. I dreamed that I could just lift my palms up to the sky and my feet would float up off the ground. I dreamed that I knew the secret of this ability, and I shared it with my friends and my family. I basked in the joy on their faces – a reflection of what I’m sure they saw in my own expression.

I want to leave it all behind. I want to grab those people nearest and dearest to me and escape. I want to somehow turn off my brain – easier to do when not in the environment that causes it to work overtime in the first place. I have a flight fantasy.

I want to go somewhere that epitomizes peace. I want to sit on a lounge chair overlooking fields and trees and streams, and forget that there’s any such thing as a mortgage, or layoffs, or traffic. Even my beloved friend the Internet would be sacrificed on the altar of this kind of peace. No television, no radios, no phones. Just inner silence deepened by the sounds of breezes through the leaves, and sleepy chirps of birds settling for the evening.

I want to be still among fireflies and crickets and frogs singing in marshy grasses. I want my mind to be quiet for the first time in YEARS. I want to exhale the breath I’ve been holding in a long, long release. My soul is crying out for some nourishment. It’s been steadily depleted for so long that it has forgotten how to be whole.

I long for a lifestyle that supports this kind of peace. But even a handful of days would create a place in my mind to escape to, when the need arises. So that in the middle of my long and stressful days, I can cast my mind back to those treasured moments when there was just me, and the wind, and the earth spinning beneath me.

(This entry has been a submission to UpTake’s “Spa Girl Getaway” contest.)

(Edited to add: Hey! Anybody can enter, so get on over there and give it a shot!)

1iconsdancingfingersCri-zayzay day, my darlings! So this will be short, sweet, and to the point.

1. Calvin and I went to Sedona and Flagstaff on Saturday. I’ll write more when I can spare an hour, but for now I posted a bit about it on UpTake, and all of the pictures are among my May 2009 set, here. Just scroll past the Botanical Gardens pics. Or, you know, look at ’em again!

2. My laptop is blastedly overheated, and the fan runs CONSTANTLY. Is there any way to cool the thing down and get the fan to STFU without, like, submerging it in water? Before you ask, the fan itself is not dirty or blocked, and the output area is clear too.

3. Help me make a decision. For our epic road trip this summer, is it more logical to drive our own truck, which doesn’t get very good gas mileage, and requires premium gas; or should we spend the money to rent a car for ten days, that would probably get better mileage and we can use the cheap gas? Is it a wash? What do you think?

bugssteamtailOkay. I’m mostly set up at the desk in the bedroom. I gotta tell ya, life is much better on an HP w2207 monitor.

As previously reported, I was going to clean up Marie’s room and use it as a home office. I went upstairs to her room to assess the situation, and immediately came back down and started clearing up the desk in my bedroom. The whole carpet is going to have to replaced up there, is all I’m sayin’. Eight years of adolescent occupancy did a number on it. And I CAN’T work where my eye sees things that need to be (desperately) cleaned. Eventually, yes, I’ll tackle the two-days-worth of work to be done up there.

But it ain’t gonna be today, my gentle snowflakes.

Preparing the desk in the bedroom for work was a much smaller, easier task. It just required removing some clutter, dusting, fishing out the monitor cable, digging up the keyboard, and getting a power stick to plug my laptop into. I can’t use the keyboard yet because I need an adaptor so it can plug into my laptop’s USB port, so I’ve got my laptop cracked open and my hands wedged in there, while looking over my laptop at the monitor. It’s cumbersome, but temporary and easily remedied.

I have to plug into a power stick run across the far side of the bedroom to the desk, because there’s already two power sticks plugged into the outlet behind the desk, and all of the plugs are occupied. You should SEE the mess of cables back there (and dust, which has got me sneezing my fool head off). We have two CPU’s, random external computer speakers that never did work quite right, a scanner, a printer, the cable modem and the wireless router. Plus the aforementioned monitor, keyboard, and a mouse. OH, and a video camera. I positively ITCH to get back there, dig in, and not emerge until the unnecessary things are removed, the necessary things are neatly organized, and everything is wire-managed. But I have to wait for Calvin to get home. In talking to him on the phone this morning, the mere mention of the possibility of even thinking that I might start unplugging things sent him into a swivet. I mean, it’s not like I’m incapable of figuring out what goes where. But Sir must have Control of the Situation.

Which is fine. I get it. He’s got things going on with this whole workstation area that I’m not privy to. And he IS vastly superior at All Things Electronic. So I’ll let him do it. But it’ll bug me until it IS done. I’ll let the kitchen go to hell in a handbasket, I’ll let the laundry pile up until it rivals K2 (it’s on the bed behind me as we speak), but Heaven save me from a cluttered work area!

———-

Calvin and I went to the Desert Botanical Garden yesterday. We thoroughly enjoyed the Chihuly glass exhibit, and the Butterfly Pavilion. I wrote a post about it on Uptake, but I thought I’d share a few of my favorite pictures of the day with you all, here. Hover over the image for comments. Also, click on the photos for larger versions. Finally, the whole set can be seen here.

 

This one is my desktop image, right now.

Wish I knew the names of these butterflies.  I call this one, Fred.

Not sure if they're getting frisky with each other, or just the flower.

A couple of the Chihuly glass sculptures that were everywhere.

Some of the sculptures were a bit... much.

Red spears framed by saguaro.

For Heather!  A pretty purple... thing.

cactus blooms

I like to take shots looking up.

More looking up.

A boat in the middle of the desert.  I think the artist was going for irony.

More irony, this time with balls!

Just inside the entrance.

Pretty!  Happy!  Yellow!

Flames and barrel cacti.

There were moths as well as butterflies in the pavilion.

Cacti as far as the eye can see.  Why yes, we DO live in a desert.

The bloom of a prickly pear cactus.

If you look at the larger size, this little guy TOTALLY looks like he's eyeballing me.

Getting artsy with my bad self.

(Make your travel plans with UpTake!)

1iconlaughinlizardI am craving Taco Bell like you read about. A double-decker taco, and a chicken quesadilla. And a large Pepsi, because there’s just something about the fountain Pepsi at “our” Taco Bell that’s just perfect. They’ve got their mix down, they do. Not too sweet, not too fizzy, and crushed ice instead of cubes.

At the moment, I’m contenting myself with salt-n-vinegar kettle cooked Lay’s potato chips, but they’re hitting a different spot (read: my ass) than the spot that I want the Taco Bell to hit (read: my thighs). Mama’s hitting the drive-thru tonight!

———-

Woke up from a nap a few minutes ago. Cheeto gets the fuzzy end of the lollipop when I take a nap – I turn off the tank light closest to me (their tanks are next to my side of the bed) and close the blind of the window behind their tanks, to darken (it is too a word!) the room enough for me to sleep. Which puts him in a premature sleep cycle himself. Then I wake up, a half-hour or hour later, turn the light back on, open the blinds, and Cheeto blinks at me, all, “What the fuck, woman?”

It’s shameful that I let him talk to me like that.

———-

I’ve decided that it’s time to join the world of grown-ups, and stop working from home in my jammies with my laptop on my lapdesk, on my lap, on the couch.

In short, I need a home office. Which will in no way stop me from working in my jammies.

Marie’s vacant bedroom is suggesting itself to me. It’s away from the television, away from our bedroom, away from shiny distractions that distract with all the distracting. It has an adjacent bathroom. It’s bright and sunny in the daytime, and I can lock the cats out. One of these days (tomorrow, maybe? Monday?) I’ll get up there and clean and move furniture around and set myself up on the desk up there.

———-

We have the first disc of season one of Dexter from Netflix. I plan to drink copious amounts of rum (“Why is the rum gone?”) and watch a few episodes to decide if I want another show to obsess over. We got a bottle of Captain Morgan’s Private Stock last night, and intend to make hefty inroads through it.

(“But why is the rum gone?”)

———-

Made YET ANOTHER mix CD last night (we save ’em all, and they rival the number of regular CD’s we own), and drove around town with the windows down and the tunes UP. Jane hung out next to Shake That and Hey Pretty. Our mix CD’s frequently suffer from an identity crisis.

———-

If you had to choose, would you go see “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” tonight, or “I Love You, Man”?

———-

Calvin and I are going to take a short road trip tomorrow, to get more pictures and word fodder for an Uptake entry I have an idea for. In the meantime, I wrote this one today. In my jammies. On the couch. If you’re interested.