I’m Tired, Y’all.

I am fine until Thursday afternoon, when my soul hits the wall, sick of the job and hating life, having already spent 40 hours with my ass in front of that desk. I’d be fine with a 4 day work week. We’ve already proven that working from home hasn’t affected productivity, so let’s take the next step? The job remains joyless, but twice a month I have a satisfying thunk of fairly decent money into my account, and after years of barely in survival mode, that’s nice.

Random updates: It’s the first day of Fall, thank you Universe. We don’t do “fall” in Florida, but we do have a subtle shift in humidity and rain, and it’s staarrtiinngg! I could feel it! It was 91 today (I know, but it’s better than 97) but the humidity has backed off just a tad, and it really did feel so much better.

So, September is already nearly over. I haven’t been to my Happy Place in months! I have two – TWO – parks booked this weekend, Animal Kingdom on Saturday and Epcot on Sunday. Not sure if I’ll keep both, but I’m polite and will cancel if I change my mind. (Don’t book park reservations and not use them people, you don’t know whose expensive once in a lifetime vacation you are screwing over with your thoughtlessness.)

And then next weekend is: Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, or MNSSHP as we call it in the In Crowd. I’ve never done this before and I’m taking advantage of actually not living hand to mouth for now on splurges like this. I need to watch Hocus Pocus again so I’m refreshed on the Sanderson Sisters, as they are the stars of the party stage show. I am not wearing a costume because I am a grown-ass adult and too tired to put one together, but I do have a cute themed t-shirt, “Salem Apothecary” with a black cat on gray, because I’m a grown-ass adult but not a total party pooper. You don’t have to “dress up” for these parties, but the hardcore Disney fans love to wear themed outfits. I have that t-shirt and black shorts. That’s my costume. The Kid may dress up. We will eat festive treats and score tons of candy and watch shows and parades and ride rides, and it will be like a spa day for normal people, we will leave refreshed!

I’m so ready to retire. Less than 900 days now.

Back soon with actual content and photos and stuff.

Okay, I’m sorry.

I’m sick of apologizing for not keeping this sorry-ass neglected blog updated, but life gets in the way. Sorry again.

Work is still not fun but very busy. Retirement countdown is underway, but it would be really handy if I won a lottery of some sort ::nudge nudge Universe:: to move the date up a fair chunk. It doesn’t have to be a huge jackpot, just enough to make up from losing everything to my late husband’s cancer/the 2008 housing crash/my brain aneurysm/another employer going under. There has been Financial Drama out of my control, and if the Universe could just do me a solid, I’d catch up to where I need to be. I’m not looking for millions, less than a a million would refill everything I’ve lost. Anyway…

I’m a WW watchers dropout. Not because I don’t want to continue to get healthy, but I just didn’t get their points system and I was not losing weight. My employer has a link to a free plan and I also rejoined MyFitnessPal, which works with the free plan from my company.

My daughter swears by MyFitnessPal, but last time I tried it it wasn’t so easy to navigate. That has been upgraded mightily, and now I like it. That, plus the weekly online meetings from my free work plan has given me a practical direction I wasn’t getting from WW.

Insert usual disclaimers here, I’m not getting compensated by either company, because I really do suck at blogging.

ANYHOO, yeah, apparently TX and FL are in a weird competition for Most Evil Governor. (You’re both fucking awful.) That shit about sending asylum seeking refugees to Martha’s Vineyard and DC didn’t turn out quite as they’d hoped. Apparently they may have actually done a federal crime right there and it blew up in their faces anyway, because Martha’s Vineyard and DC are both full of highly educated, compassionate liberals who 1) got pissed; 2) took care of those poor souls treated as a political stunt; and 3) let everybody know what happened. Oopsie!

GOTV in numbers too big for Republicans to ratfuck. It’s now or never.

Long Time No Catch-Up. Again.

Life is fine. Work is tiring, that’s all, and I’m actively trying to get my ass out of my desk chair and do Other Things, and sadly, this tiny backwater blog is still a random online journal and gets pushed to the back of the to-do list. So.

I’ve read/listened to a lot of books lately, and am currently getting through The Ink Black Heart in audio format. A lot of reviewers of the Audible version have said that it’s hard to follow the online conversations in audio format, because it’s read as “@blahblah” to “@otherblah” and people who weren’t around in the early days online chatting on the interwebs (I mean, like back in the 90s, not when this story is set) struggled to follow. I am not having that issue because I actually was managing forums when we typed on black screens and used primitive commands, so my mind’s eye can follow the conversations without much trouble. Text would probably annoy me more, because it’s a lot of online chat and I can “hear” it faster than I could read it.

I AM having trouble keeping up with the enormous cast of characters, which is finally getting whittled down in the last three hours. And really, we are now FIVE FUCKING YEARS into Robin and Strike pretending they don’t love each other and both are afraid to “make the first move”? FIVE YEARS!! If that is not resolved in the next three hours, I may be done with this series. It’s now a weird, frustrating romance novel where literally every other character assumes they’re a couple, but they’re all, “Oh noes, we’ll ruin our working relationship!” Oy.

OTOH, I can entirely and enthusiastically recommend Beartown. I know, you’re thinking I lost my mind, I’m recommending a book about HOCKEY? It’s not. Well, it is, but it’s not. If you’ve never read Fredrik Backman, he’s just amazing. I discovered him when I stumbled on A Man Called Ove. That was another book that sounded so weird in the description, but so many people raved about it decided to give it a shot, and OMG, it was sad and funny and warm and had all the feels.

Beartown is like that, so don’t be put off by the description of the trials and travails of a small town hockey team in the woods. I do not give a damn about hockey. I have never watched an entire hockey game. Hockey is the backdrop for the story but the characters are well developed and it’s absolutely amazing. It’s the first book in a series, and I’m absolutely in for the next two. (I listened to this on Audible and the reader was fantastic, so if you’re an audiobook type, go for it.)

And, well…(there may have been wine involved) I’ve booked a cruise for next February, on the Disney Wish! I am ridiculously excited about it! It’s just a quick weekend trip to the Bahamas, 3 nights, a day in Nassau and a day at Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay, but as we are all first time cruisers, this seems like a good way to get our cruise feet wet, so to speak. It’ll be me, my daughter, and The Swimmer, and I am perhaps unnaturally excited about it. We haven’t told the kid yet.

This came about after a random conversation with my daughter when I said I’ve always wanted to do a cruise to Alaska. I still do, but as none of us have ever been on a cruise, perhaps that was a bit of a stretch for the first time on a ship? So we talked about that weeks ago, and then when I collected The Kid after school on Friday, she said her friends have all been on cruises and she wants to go on a cruise. She had no idea that her mom and I had been “wine-planning” it, then sobered up. So, serendipity.

So, Friday evening I floated the idea of a weekend trip, and started looking at options via Disney. Yeah, I KNOW there are lots of other, often cheaper, cruises to the Bahamas, but we would be two cruise newbies with an 11 year old with us, and yeah, sometimes cruises can be a bit sketch. Captains Mickey and Minnie run a tight ship. As my daughter put it, even her non-Disney-crazed friends who love cruises rave about Disney’s cruises, and as another sign, a former colleague emailed me out of the blue the week before last to tell me that she and her husband had just done a cruise on the Wish and we had to do it. So, yeah, the Universe doesn’t have to hit me in the head that many times.

It has triggered a waterfall of other good things, seriously.

I’ve been slacking and unmotivated about WW, exercise, and general “self care.” I’m not really DEPRESSED, I’ve just been blah. Unmotivated, unenthusiastic. It’s fine to say, “I really want to lose weight and get in shape” etc., but I need a goal and I work best on a deadline, and now I have one.

Just scheduling this little cruise has given me a kick in the ass and a goal to shoot for. I haven’t bought a bathing suit in 10 years. I did still have an old one that I stuffed myself into for our Animal Kingdom Lodge weekend in June, but yeah, I’ve definitely neglected that aspect of life. My life shrank in the last two-three years. I work from home, I keep my home clean and pleasant, I read, but my life is so small and boring that a weekend in the Bahamas (which, remember, I live in FL, so this is a weekend trip people who live here do all the damn time) for me is a BFD.

Now I have a GOAL. I will have a new swimsuit for the first time in a decade! And more important than the size of the new swimsuit, I want to be in shape to do the fun stuff. I want to learn to snorkel at nearly 65! I’m not sure what other things we’ll do in Nassau, we’ll book those in November, but there will be shipboard adventures and all sorts of good stuff. I will be fit and ready to go all in.

We haven’t told The Kid yet. It’s going to be her Christmas surprise. Her mom will get her a new swimsuit and shorts and such for Christmas, and then they’ll come to my house where she’ll get a new rolling suitcase of her own, and when she opens it, there will be a picture of the Disney Wish.

This is going to be FUN!

Brief Update.

The Former Dancer a/k/a The Kid is now officially The Swimmer. She went to swim tryouts, made the team, then AFTER her mother signed her up and paid money, said she wasn’t sure she really wanted to do it.

She’s having Dance Withdrawal, which is totally understandable. Her mom said, “Well, I asked you last week after tryouts and said you were in, so I signed you up. You have to stick it out until the first meet. After that you can change your mind.”

After practice tonight she said she had fun and her mom was right. I am all in on supporting this, and I’ll outfit her with swimsuits and caps and whatever else she needs, because I foresee needing multiple swim bags for mom’s, dad’s, and grandma’s when she forgot to pack her stuff. Trust me, this is WAAY cheaper than one competition dance, and no false eyelashes involved.

I swear, disengaging from dance is a bit like coming out of a cult. She’s still friends with some of the girls in the cult, but she is also spending time with friends from school, and she’ll make new friends on the swim team, and it won’t take up every afternoon and weekend of her young life and also most of her parents’ discretionary income. She may still want to dance in the future, but for now, it’s time for a break to try other things. Grandma’s happy about this.

We are having our second round of thunderstorms for the day at the moment. They were lucky to get swim practice in between. The Atlantic is heating up late this year, but we are far from done with hurricane season. While the northern part of the country is ready for pumpkin spice season, we are just hitting Oh Shit Season.

Summer is Over.

It’s still hot AF and we are having storms/a power outage that knocked me off the internets for a bit, so forgive my silences here. But summer is over, the kids are back in school.

So far ::crosses fingers:: the school year is off to a good start. The Kid loves her teachers, has friends in her class, all is well in her world. I’m doing before and after school, which basically means she eats cereal and I drop her at the top of the street to walk the rest of the way to school, drop off takes about 7 minutes. At the end of the day she sometimes walks, sometimes needs a ride. Today I expected her to walk, and she texted me for a ride less than halfway because it was HOT. No shit, kid. Again, it took less than ten minutes to fetch her and remind her that we’ve been telling her it’s crazy hot and she can walk when it cools off.

I’m glad to be working from home and can accommodate this, she’s really no bother at all. She’s a tween, she does her homework and gets on her phone until one of her parents picks her up. I’m in my office working. I just have to stock things like Cap’n Crunch Peanut Butter and real milk and chocolate chip cookies; it’s all good.

Do I have comments on the current events? I’ll just say Shit’s Getting Real, and I’m so here for it. And everybody owes Merrick Garland an apology – the DOJ has only one shot at capturing this many-tentacled criminal enterprise, and he’s been methodically taking it one tentacle at a time, but the pieces are coming together, and remarkably few people are willing to do time for Donald. The flippity-flipping has commenced.

Meanwhile, don’t get distracted by the circus, and don’t think that this country is 50-50 D-R, or anything close. Republicans are 28% of registered voters. That’s all. Why then, do they have an outsized influence in our elections? They’ve been playing a long game for decades, getting into local offices where they can influence how voting works, and how to play the Electoral College to their advantage. But that can be overcome by voting in numbers too big to ratfuck.

The biggest chunk of our “electorate” is people who don’t vote, and this year voter registrations are way up and are skewing younger and far more Democratic from all the reporting I’ve seen. GOTV. GOTV. Talk to people you may know who are concerned and feeling helpless, remind them they are not. Donate to candidates. Phone bank or knock doors if you have the mental bandwith, write Postcards to Voters from home, even a few a week is a small thing to make a difference.

We can fix a lot if enough of the apathetic, apolitical, “both sides are the same” types realize they are citizens and have a voice. And both sides are NOT the SAME. We have reached the point where it’s democracy v. fascism, and sitting on the fence is a vote for fascists. It’s really that clear now.

It’s still storming like crazy here. It’s so cute when people from Ohio tell people on the Disney Facebook boards that “It rains at three o’clock for about 20 minutes, don’t worry about it!” It’s been going hard for two hours now, buckets of rain, lightning, flickering power – that’s the New Normal.

Oh, and HOW ‘BOUT THAT JOE BIDEN?? He has a 50-50 (48-50 if we are real about the two problem children on “our side”) Senate, yet he’s managed to push through (with the skilled, experienced leadership of Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi) so many huge, truly life changing, life improving chunks of good legislation, the biggest steps in decades on climate change, infrastructure, all sorts of good things that will actually make life better for Americans. Dark Brandon is on the job, baby!

So, that was another lousy SEO and no cool photos blog update. I’ll learn to blog properly one of these days, it’s only been 20 years.

Buckle Up, 5th Grade Is Upon Us!

And, by virtue of working from home and being right down the street from the school, it looks like I’ll be before and after school care for The Kid.

The school offers before and after care, but the spaces are still limited. Perhaps you’ve heard about our record low unemployment numbers lately? Yeah, so that means that there really aren’t a ton of qualified people clamoring to work part time for shit money in the county schools’ before and after care programs. And private slots are equally hard to come by for the same reasons.

She’s going into 5th grade and really is mature enough to walk home and not get into trouble in the hour between when she gets there and when her mom gets home, BUT, this is Florida, and the heat and the storms around 3 p.m. are epic.

So, I work from home about a mile from the school, and I can mostly flex my hours as needed. So it was kind of a no-brainer that the kid could walk to school from my place, and also a no-brainer that I’ll give her a lift for a chunk of it and she can meet up with friends and do the last leg with them. I can be at my desk by 8:30. Same drill in the afternoon, she can walk toward me and I’ll snag her along the way and save her from heatstroke.

She really wants to be a walker, but I’m guessing two days of walking will cure her of that. I walk this neighborhood regularly very early in the morning before the real heat, and though Florida is flat compared to places with real hills, the road to her school is a steady, subtle uphill grade. I know this because I’ve been walking it daily lately. Add a huge, heavy backpack on her 90 lb. back and that walk will get old fast. Maybe in the winter it’ll be fun, but maybe by then she’ll have a slot in the before and after program.

So, tomorrow is Meet the Teacher, and once again I’ll be Ubering her to the school so she can lead me around and do her social thing. Wednesday the school year begins. I think it will be fine.

Sad, Neglected Blog.

Sorry about that. No drama, except surrounding my daughter’s car, which simultaneously need a new battery AND a new starter in the space of a month. We had planned our mutual birthday lunch at Art Smith’s and the day of, when I’d already taken the day off, my daughter ran a “quick errand” early in the morning, and her car would not start. Four hours later it was dragged to a nearby shop and was diagnosed with a dead starter. Starter replaced, yay! We had to cancel our lunch reservation and I burned a day off as an unpaid Uber getting her and her kid to their various destinations. We could not get another reservation for weeks, because yes, it’s that kind of place.

I finally scored one for last Thursday, so I took a half day Thursday and also Friday off, because fuck it, I have vacation days again.

Lunch was lovely. We ordered a bunch of appetizers and desserts. Our waiter was so ridiculously handsome, we decided he was waiting tables until a slot as a Disney Prince opens up in the parks. He also had a delightful but un-placeable accent – Italian-ish? My daughter suggested a Hallmark Movie with him as a hot exchange student as an alternative. He’s just filling time waiting tables, for sure, but he was a pleasant and very competent waiter. (Sorry, I’ll never be the kind of blogger who accosts a busy waiter for a picture for my blog.)

Desserts: I ordered the summer version of my beloved Shine Cake – the summer version is lemon and poppyseed with blueberry compote and ice cream. It was delicious. My daughter ordered the chocolate pecan pie. It also was delicious.

The Kid got the doughnuts. I know, doughnuts? But these are freshly made mini-doughnuts with powdered sugar and some sort of golden syrup for dipping. Apparently they are amazing, though her mother and I will never know. When her mom asked for a bite, The Kid hunched over the basket and growled like a dog. Apparently they are very, very good.

After we ate, The Kid (next nickname TBD) asked for a trip to Basin. I was already planning a stop there for shower bombs, so her wish was granted. We made the short but very, very hot slog from the restaurant to the store.

That store just smells so amazing! You walk in and take a deep breath, and have an uncontrollable urge to spend money. (Especially after a couple of moonshine margaritas at the aforementioned restaurant.) I got my bath bombs and The Kid filled a small bottle of bubble bath, and we wandered and sniffed things and decided what to get on our next visit. My daughter got a slice of the cute hedgehog soap for her kitchen sink. And of course it’s at Disney, so there’s a ton of handmade soaps for every character and Florida specific things like sea turtles and just everything you ever desired in bar soap form, and the staff is so nice and helpful and patient, it’s worth a visit.

It was INSANELY hot. Yes, I know it’s Florida, I’ve only been here over 40 years, but my car in the shade of the Disney Springs parking garage was 109 degrees on the dashboard thermometer when I returned to it. That’s 109 in the shade. That’s…extreme, even for here. I have a reservation for Epcot for Sunday, but the odds are 50-50 that I’ll keep it. We are in the “even the most crazy Disney addicts think twice” stage of the year.

I promise another update about things that are not Disney this weekend. I’m actually making progress on the life improvement stuff.

Life Improvement Plans.

I’ve been giving myself a pity party lately. I spend my days in my home office staring into monitors, doing tedious and technical work that is slowly, slowly, killing my soul.

Did I tell you what my granddaughter said while she was here in June? She wandered into my home office bored, and I decided to briefly explain my job to her. I made it seem interesting, I kept it really brief and light. She looked, listened, and said, “This is not good for you.” It was such a blunt, serious statement I was taken aback. All I could say was, “I know kid, but I need the money.”

It’s SO HOT I cannot even psych myself to go to my Happy Place. I may do Epcot next weekend, if we aren’t under threat of severe thunderstorms AGAIN. I have, after so many years of visiting the parks, finally assembled the summer Disney Parks wardrobe of my dreams: cool and comfortable as is possible under those conditions, age appropriate, where have these clothes been all my life? Apparently in obscure corners of Amazon, because that’s where I found all the components.

I still haven’t started that Disney blog I’ve been threatening, and I should be focused on that, but focus has been sorely lacking lately. More on that in a bit.

I very much like my new paycheck, but don’t like the new job much. My previous position, which I also didn’t like much but now seems much more engaging in hindsight, is still open. They had a FOURTH person lined up for it and that person too bailed the day before they were to start. The job market is like this now, a qualified person has many options, and my former contractor position apparently is not very appealing. Qualified people don’t have to settle for contracting now. If only upper management understood this….

But anyway, back to my topic. I am rolling with the weather and life in general, but I have identified a few things I can do that will help my body and my attitude, starting now.

I’ve drifted away into moderate anxiety and mild depression, not in a big, OMG I really do need meds way, but in that vague, “I’m far from my best and I know it” way. I’ve been analyzing what changed in my life over the last couple of years, and yeah, I fell off the walking wagon, the yoga wagon, and – the easiest and least sweaty – the meditation wagon.

Why? I don’t know! Once my schedule changes even a bit, all the habits just fall away and I have to make a conscious effort to get back on track. I have been making only a half-assed effort and of course, getting half-assed results.

I’m a huge audiobook fan. I listen to variety of genres and get them from many sources, but Audible Plus had an included (you don’t have to spend a credit) 3 hour book that I clicked on on a whim: How to Train Your Mind. I have been feeling frustrated about my job and my job performance and clicked on it on a whim, and damn, this was just the kind of no bullshit reinforcement of what I already know about the benefits of meditation.

I listened while cleaning the house today. It is so no woo-woo, evidence-based, practical, it reminded me that when I meditated for 10 minutes every morning, my life really was objectively better. Why did I stop? It was comforting to hear that the author has quit for days or weeks at a time too, only to realize how life changed for the worse.

So, from now until Labor Day I am doing a meditation experiment. I will meditate for 10 minutes every day before work. I will work hard to get 10k steps a day. I will get off my ass and do at least a few minutes of yoga.

Back to the basics that I know will work.

We Are Almost Done With Summer

The summer heat will last until Halloween, I’m just talking about school time off. Classes start again in a few weeks. At least we did a weekend at AKL. There was that.

So, today was The Dancer’s Last Competition. Not for the year, but forever. She’s ready to give it up and try other things, like swimming and softball.

I was sort of hoping she’d go out of this big national competition with another championship jacket, winning overall for the group dances that have racked up awards all year.

Don’t ask me how they define National Competition, but teams from other states competed today. Dance is a weird commercial “sport.”

I watched on livestream from my personal computer while at work.”Watch” is overstating it, I had the livestream on over my shoulder on my personal desk while working, listening with half an ear until I heard her dance called, then I rolled my chair to my personal computer setup.

Somehow, despite their dances winning all year and scoring the highest at regional, when they performed it at the national the next day, and even I could see they were flawless, dramatic, had tons of lifts and aerials and amazing coordination, they were totally on it, they brought their A game…it didn’t win anything.

Another dance from her (former) studio somehow won, and there was some sketchy shit about that team competing on that level against their own “teammates”, and I won’t put the details out here, but sketchy shit went down at the studio to make that happen. They pitted dances against each other, and one of the two (my favorite) that should have made the finals did not, and one that shouldn’t have been in that group somehow was in that group and won, and confirmed my long-held belief that it’s all bullshit.

I texted my daughter, “Well fuck that.” My daughter’s response was “Good riddance (studio).”

So, anyway, The Former Dancer will go on to be The Swimmer or other athlete, without the false eyelashes and costumes and obscene competition fees. She says she’s ready and didn’t walk away mad. She seems to be done with it, and we are all supporting her in pursuing other interests.

As I told her, it’s just not fair to her that her mom put her into dance for fun at 2.5 because she needed to burn off energy, and by 5 she got drafted for the little kid team and then she was sucked into that life and never had time for anything else, and she’s almost 11. She had to choose between Girl Scouts and dance team because there wasn’t time for both. All of this while still a straight A student in elementary school. Her mom was never a Dance Mom, she was always reluctantly making her kid happy because she truly loved it, until the last couple of years when the politics became so obvious a ten year old could see it.

Anyway, she’s talked about karate and already loves swim team, and would like to try softball and take piano lessons, and, and…I’m glad she will finally have time to be a normal kid, with one or two activities, and not live at a dance studio when she’s not at school. She’s breaking out of dance prison, and I’m here for it.

Those years of dance were not wasted. Her discipline, her physical conditioning, OMG she’s solid muscle and insanely fit and coordinated and will take that into her next accomplishments, but it’s time for new things.

We only have a couple of weeks of summer left. School starts here in early August. I’ve rescheduled our lunch at Homecomin’ for before the grind begins again for them. My grind never quits.

I Spent Some Money on Amazon Prime Day.

I’ve been contemplating a new coffeemaker for a while. I had been using a very basic Mr. Coffee, but it didn’t hold up well. It got loud and spluttery and the coffee wasn’t all that hot. I also waste a lot of coffee, because I don’t drink coffee all day and that pot wasn’t good about keeping it warm anyway, I’d end up throwing out at least a portion of whatever amount I’d brewed.

I’ve had a Keurig in the past (like, over a decade ago) and after it finally died I went back to a regular coffeemaker, because it was cheaper. Lately I’d been thinking of getting another one, after using the basic single serve version in the room during our Animal Kingdom Lodge weekend.

I’d been comparing versions online, because now there’s a zillion variations, and had settled on this one. Yesterday morning it popped up on Prime Day for over 50% off! That made it a no-brainer. I used it for the first time this morning and the coffee was actually hotter than my old Mr. Coffee’s output. It takes up very little of my limited counter space too.

I’m sharing this just in case any of my many tens of readers have been considering a Keurig, because that really is a deal and it’s still available today.

Disclosure: I’m an Amazon Associate, so if anyone buys anything I’ve shared I get a small commission. (Obviously I’m really bad at this and will never be an influencer.) Anyway it’s a great price and I’m very happy with it.