Monday, November 09, 2009

The Story of the Birthday Roadkill

My 35th birthday was Saturday, and as usually happens among my friends, we celebrate by going out for sushi. J and E and lil Lil arrived at the apartment first, but V wasn't far behind. As soon as I close the door behind V, she says, "You know how they say that it's the thought that counts? That really applies here." Turns out she made some sort of rich, fat-packed chocolate-brownie/cookie dessert squares for me. She took them out to the car, along with her coat in case she needed it (she didn't), set the nummies on the roof of the car and fished out her keys to unlock the door. Then she slid into the car and started off.

Somewhere between her condo and my apartment, she heard a couple mysterious thumps. She didn't realize what it was until she got to the apartment complex that I just moved into. She had left my chocolate nummies on the roof of her car, and the directions to my new place were on a sticky note attached to them!

Luckily, she remembered my building number and some sketchy directions, so she made it there for sushi. I guess she was able to find the doomed desserts the next morning, completely flattened at the edge of the road.

When I came into work this morning, sitting on my office desk were four dessert squares that V hadn't originally wrapped up the night before. (They're like finger sandwiches but with cookies for the bread and fudge for the meat. I think she's trying to kill me.) The note on top of the nummies said "NOT ROADKILL."

It's the thought that counts.


Thursday, November 05, 2009

Generic Update Title about Being Really Busy

I haven't posted in quite a while because I've been so godawful busy. And stressed.

The last week of October was particularly packed for me. During the course of that week, I moved to a new apartment. It's a bit cheaper, and it's a lot closer to where my kids live and go to school. Moving there has cut 10 minutes a day off my usual morning drive to take them to school, which I'm hoping will help clear up some of my financial difficulties.

So I spent most of my free time that week packing stuff up and moving it. I got the last of my stuff moved on Halloween and turned my keys in with time to spare — though I realized the next day that I forgot to empty out the freezer at the old place. Not much of a loss, though: months-old half-empty bags of frozen tilapia and broccoli. I did have two relatively recent servings of ground turkey that I left behind, though.

Friday night, the IWS had its Halloween concert. Since I do the group's programs, as well as a lot of other stuff, concerts in general can be pretty stressful. This one was moreso for three reasons:

  1. We played The Sorcerer's Apprentice. I haven't had my ass so thoroughly kicked by a piece of music in quite a while. Essentially playing the violin part on a clarinet is normally a horrid experience, but this was one of the worst. (Not that it wasn't a good transcription; it was just so damned hard!)
  2. We were supposed to come in costume. I fretted (waaaaay too much) over my costume since the end of September. I originally thought of dressing as a cubicle, but in the end, I took my mother's old bee outfit and paired it with a sword, shield, and crown. That's right, I was a Bee King. But not just any king! I was Bee Arthur. (I have to stop being so obscure with my costume. Nobody recognized it right away, and when I told them the pun, I got a mix of laughter, rolled eyes, and disgust. Two years ago, very few people even recognized that I was dressed as Ned Flanders. Next year, I'm just wearing a white T-shirt with the words "Obscure Fictional Character" written on the front.)
  3. I had to create a PowerPoint presentation to be shown while the band played Barry Kopetz's The Raven. Our concert was in part billed as a commemoration of Edgar Allan Poe's 200th birthday. We had an actress from Cabaret Poe (which I know nothing about) come in and enact the poem before we played. For the presentation, I was lucky that Gustav Doré had created a series of engravings to illustrate "The Raven," so I could just use those. If the recording of our performance is any good, I'll eventually put the two together, turn it into a movie, and then post it online.

All this on top of my usual nine-to-five job, some freelance copy editing, and going with my kids to see the Headless Horseman at Conner Prairie. Things are finally calming down, though.

My "next big thing" is that I'm making my way through Beginning XML, Third Edition, from Wrox Press. (Full disclosure: I work for Wrox Press's parent company.) I'm trying to learn XML for a number of reasons — number one is just because it's there. I'm hoping that, eventually, I'll be able to put together a small XML program that'll let people track Google Sidewiki comments on their Web sites (I'll probably write more about Sidewiki later), but I won't consider my efforts a failure if I never make it that far. I'm learning XML mostly for fun and to boost my overall skill set.