summer reading

So Of Course I Come Here Just to be Depressing...

...not really on purpose, but here we are anyway (and after all this time of not posting, too).  Sorry about that.

Anyway.  I'm in one of those phases of work right now where there are multiple important time-sensitive things happening all at the same time.  Consequently, I spend most of my work day in Crisis Mode just trying to juggle all the big balls and not be crushed under the weight of them as they fall down on my head.

Naturally, since I really need my technology tools to work for me at the top of their game, all day long I look at little blue spinning wheels of death and "Not Responding" messages.   Gaaah!

During one moment of frustration, I did something I do a lot to help myself from picking up my hard drive and doing my damndest to throw it out the window:  I made the enormous mistake of checking the news.

I then compounded that mistake by about a billion by clicking on a link about the Victoria Marten murder.  If you don't know the case and you are really sensitive to child abuse situations, I encourage you to just offer up some prayers for Victoria and leave it at that.

I just...I can't stop agonizing about it.  Right after my daughter was born there was a really bad case locally that was in the news for awhile.  I'll just say that a terrible child abuse story + post-partum hormones made for many moments of abject depression on my part.  Here I was in the first flush of motherhood experiencing those "I will kill ANYONE who harms a hair on this child's head" emotions for the first time and I just couldn't comprehend how it was even possible for a person to go from those intense protective feelings to a place where the notion of harming your own kid could even enter the realm of reality.  Clearly, it's possible to harm your own child on purpose since it happens so damned often, but I couldn't then (and still can't now, really) grasp how that journey happens.  All I can surmise is that those connected, protective feelings never arrive in the first place.

So that case that happened all those years ago has stuck with me all these years.  (That little girl would be about 25 now, had she survived, and likely entering a phase of life where she'd either gone through years of counseling to find any self-worth and was just now on the verge of turning a corner to a fulfilling life, or she'd long since had given up any hope or thought of trying to live an average sort of life and was addicted to at least one substance to help her cope with it all.  Life trajectories really seem to narrow down to a small handful of options for children who have suffered so severely.)  Anyway.  I've known that, obviously, there will continue to be awful people and therefore other kids are suffering every single day from similar (or worse) situations.  But I've learned that I'm one of those people who takes on all of the weight of all of the horrible things I hear about and can't figure out how to get rid of a single ounce of it.  Therefore, the best bet for my sanity is to try to avoid hearing it in the first place.  I really admire those people who can be effective in life's worst situations and find a way to release the valve and let go of some of the terrible, gut-wrenching things they've seen.  I'm not one of them.  Sometimes things sneak in; sometimes my horrible curiosity about awful things brings them on board.  Generally, though, I try to learn just enough to be of some use in the event I encounter such badness in person, but not so much as to make me have to take myself out of the office for 30 minutes to cry, then walk around for another 60 minutes to try to stop thinking about it, and then spend another 30 minutes to try to write away some of the bad feeling (like is happening today).

I'm not quite sure yet if this case is going to be as profoundly disturbing to me personally in the way that the earlier one was, but I do know I won't be sleeping tonight.

As a related thought to all of this, I've been thinking for awhile that there is something like an epidemic in relation to the vast numbers of men who are sexually attracted to children.  It seems to be a problem that has exploded exponentially as the internet became a true global phenomenon.  (I won't go into my thoughts and assumptions about why that's happened as I'm sure there's actual science out there that could reveal the why with concrete facts).  My point is that it seems like there is a male sexual impulse towards pedophilia that is engrained in a far bigger percentage of the population than I realized.  As someone who knows this brand of awful exists, but has to avoid reality as much as possible just to be able to function, I'm wondering how much society has, and is willing to, examine this.  It's hard to think about, I know.  It's hard to be rational about, I know.  But we have to, no question.  What is happening or can happen to effectively address the males who find children sexually attractive?  Though a punitive approach is certainly satisfying to think about, I don't think it will help solve the problem.  But what will?

It seems like this is the kind of thing where an educated and engaged society can make a difference, e.g. how to recognize signs of abuse or abusers, what to do if you have suspicions, how to be sure something is being done once you report it, how our tax rates do or don't affect the chronically not-enough-money-for-more-staff protective services departments, how can males who recognize the impulse in themselves get non-judgmental help so as to never act on them, etc.  Sadly, I can't think of a single person I've talked to who has had either suspicions or proof of abuse of some kind who felt like their concerns were adequately addressed by law enforcement.  It's heartbreaking to think about: literally EVERYONE I know who has attempted to do something for a child has been made to work damn hard to be heard if they weren't rebuffed altogether.  When multiplied by all of the people who have tried and all of the other people who don't keep pushing because they have to work so damned hard, it becomes a bit less amazing to realize why the sheer number of abused kids is staggering while even the full reality of the numbers is unknown.

Well.  I can't think of a single positive or uplifting thing to end this post, so I'm just going to stop here.  It helped me a teeny-tiny bit to blather.  I'm still crying for Victoria Marten and the utter torment she suffered, but at least now I might be able to try to care a little about someone's business question.  Someone I work with used to have a life or death kind of job and his perspective on the business world helps me sometimes when I'm super stressed and overloaded with work.  His attitude is that he had the life or death job and 1) it puts a lot of things in perspective when you've had that experience and 2) it makes it easier to not allow your stress emotions to fully engage for phases like I'm experiencing now when you realize what we do isn't life or death.  So maybe I do have one small positive thing I can take from clicking that fateful link today: yes, work is a real challenge right now, but this kind of challenge is infinitely preferable to me than the life or death kinds so I'll resolve to be thankful that my typical day at work doesn't involve crying for 30 minutes, walking for 60 more, and writing for another 30 (then starting to cry all over again).
summer reading

(no subject)

You know, some days it makes me weary to be an American. It seems like lately, those days are getting closer and closer together.
summer reading

It's the Same Old Story (This Post Brought to You by the Paranthesis)

I saw the 'invite your friends back to LiveJournal' thing recently and had to laugh about it a little bit, because I'm obviously the target audience for that one.  I didn't realize that it's been nearly a year since I last posted, and I was terrible at keeping current before that, so - erm - hello, how have you been?

I have been (mostly) keeping up with reading the stuff you've been posting even if I haven't commented or returned the favor of giving you back something to read.  In other words, I remain one of the dreaded internet vampires who take, take, take and never give in return.   ::Sigh::  If it makes you feel any better, life in general has been sucking from me like a half-starved vampire.  (I seem to wake up every morning feeling like a phone that's been plugged in to charge for several hours, yet only attains about 23% of its charging capacity.)

So I wouldn't say this is an excuse, exactly, more along the lines of a *reason*, but mostly I haven't posted because I always figure "who wants to read a bunch of negative stuff all of the time?"  

To wit, since 2015 ticked over life has included:

  1. Our water heater dying (which was expensive)

  2. My car dying (even more expensive)

  3. My daughter having surgery then following it up with an ear infection and a sinus infection (now we're talking medical bill level expensive) (she's healing well, so that's the good news)

  4. My husband going through two separate depressive (or possibly manic-depressive) episodes so severe that he's been suicidal (mutiply the medical bill level expensive times ouch and add in - or perhaps deduct is the better word - the salary my husband isn't making while he works through things and you'll get the general idea).  Some days I swear he has felt every emotion a human can feel in the course of an hour, then cycled through to feel them all over again the next hour, all day long.

  5. Work being out-of-control crazy when it was supposed to be calm (at least that hasn't been expensive) plus my former boss who still works for my company being, and here's the nicest way I can put it, a complete and total, unprofessional, unrelenting, bullying, egoistical, maniacal asshole

  6. Classes at the gym have not been all that inspiring lately so the main thing I do to relieve stress hasn't really been there for me - and I miss it (and this gym is kind of expensive)

  7. To complete my tale of woe, I can't attend any shows in the upcoming U2 tour (because of the expense of having to travel to get to see them) and it's kind of breaking my heart to miss a tour for the first time since 1987.

Yes, I do realize those last two things aren't terribly important in the grand scheme of things.  It's just that...when you can't do things you love and get some joy out of life to help balance out the negative stuff, it seems to amplify the effect of the negative stuff.

In other words, 2015 thus far has tested my resolve to remain among the employed, housed, washed, fed, and cleanly dressed because buying a one-way ticket to Hawaii and starting a life of homelessness has sounded quite tempting from time to time.  Recently reading The Glass Castle ( (<--sorry, can't get the stinking link to work correctly) has helped me grit my teeth and roll with the punches thanks to that infinitely useful thing we can tell ourselves, "My life could be a lot worse".  I find it helpful to see examples of living through "a lot worse".

Also, there's wine.  I find wine also helps with living through "a lot worse".
summer reading

Some Days I Can't Even...

I awoke approximately 15 minutes behind schedule this morning. I looked at my alarm and realized that instead of hitting snooze, like I usually do, I had turned the alarm off. I was thankful I had at least re-awoke with time enough to not be too rushed for leaving for work.

I gave my thanks too soon because some mischievous god decided to stir the pot a bit more and...

  • I opened the refrigerator and the breakfast smoothie I made last night (to save time this morning) fell out of the refrigerator. The glass shattered and the smoothie went EVERYWHERE: floor, inside of the refrigerator, inside of more nooks and crannies than I even realized existed in the refrigerator, walls, ceiling, my hair, my name it, it was there.

  • I got ready for work and was only a few minutes behind schedule for leaving at my typical time when an eyelash got on my right eye and would not come out. By the time I got it out, I was definitely late for work.

  • I saw a penny next to my car and thought while picking it up, "Oh good, I could use some good luck!" I turned on the rinse cycle to get some tree sap off of my windscreen and found that a couple of pine needles were under one wiper, leaving 2 definitive streaks on the driver side of the screen, and the sprayer is not working on the passenger side so that half of the screen is a blurry, sticky mess.

  • I arrived to work and saw some things had developed Friday afternoon without me. For one of them, A SITUATION WHICH WOULD NOT EXIST HAD MY BOSS WARNED ME ABOUT IT, I had an email from him saying, "Next time keep me in the loop so I know what's happening, ok?"  I walked into a situation thinking I was doing one thing - a typical thing I do all of the time - then it changed and turned out to be something completely different.  HAD I KNOWN FROM MY BOSS WHAT IT *REALLY* WAS (he knew about it a week before me!), I never would have been involved.  Grrr!!!

I had a really great week-end, but things took a turn in a completely different direction this morning, that's for sure.  I guess some days you're the schadenfreuder and some days you're the schadenfreudee and today's just my turn to be the "ee".  Ugh!
summer reading

Holiday Happenings and Other Rambling Stuff

• Can I just say, “Salespeople: aaaarrrrggghhh!” and have you nod your head in agreement? I can? Great, thanks!
• I’m sure it’s the same in a lot of other parts of the United States so we’re not all that special, but in the Pacific Northwest the Memorial Day week-end is the generally accepted and “official” start of camping season. It’s such a popular thing to do that many people take Friday off because they have to arrive at their campground of choice on Thursday to secure a spot for the week-end (we have a mix of reservation only and first come-first served campgrounds in Oregon). Thanks to the popularity of camping over the long week-end, bottled water is already priced higher and more scarce than it would be in the middle of winter. Adding an E. coli scare to the mix, as happened in Portland starting last Friday, pretty much means Zombie Apocalypse-levels of bottled water scarcity. On the plus side, just like camping does, the E. coli ridiculousness helped me appreciate the fact that normal for me includes clean, great-tasting and easy-to-access water. It’s a blessing that a lot of people don’t enjoy. Still, I was not too thrilled that we had yet another pollutant scare for our water supply. (I don’t know if our recent experience means we just didn’t test water before recent years or if there’s an actual increase in incidents. Either option is scary to contemplate.)
• Since everyone around here knows that Memorial Day = rush to go camping and hence scarce employee counts at offices all over the state, I was doubly annoyed to get a call from a local lawyer’s office at 4:15 on Friday afternoon about something they had been working on for 2 weeks, but which they suddenly considered so urgent they wanted to get it done by the end of the day. I was annoyed because 1) 4:15. On a Friday. Before a major holiday. For something that hadn’t been urgent for 2 weeks, but they decided was urgent that day. and 2) they were completely shocked, SHOCKED I tell you, that a colleague who would have wanted to have input into this issue was off for the day and unavailable until after the holiday. They were a bit pushy about it and all I could think was the equivalent of, “?!?!?!” Know your audience, dude. Know your audience.
• After much chore doing and errand-running and family funning and dog walking, I enjoyed the Memorial Day holiday (if “enjoy” is the right word – that’s an arguable word selection) by engaging in a tv binge of the series Apocalypse: The Second World War on the Smithsonian channel. Seven hours – six on the war, one about how they created the series – of never-before-seen footage taken during WWII from all over the world. Beyond the obvious things which I found amazing about it, such as the fact that the creators viewed over 600 hours of film that had never been seen on television (implying there’s many more hours of unseen film out there in archives around the world), was that the program was six hours long and barely scratched the surface. It was more like an illustrated timeline of events (with not much focus on the Pacific arena), and even a basic overview like that took six hours to accomplish. From a distance of 70 years I find it completely understandable for people to say, “Enough, already!” about things having to do with WWII. But, it was just so enormous, I can’t help but remain fascinated by it. Plus saddened that there are so many analogous situations ongoing in the world today. As my husband and I discussed, it really can feel overwhelming to realize that things such as the genocides in Rwanda and Darfur are as possible now as they were then, and for pretty much the same reasons. I fully expect militarized aggression to accelerate all over the world as climate change progresses and natural resources become scarcer in already borderline places. (It’s no wonder things like reality tv are so popular – we have to escape the madness somehow!)
• Semi-related question: has there ever been a 12 month period in the history of mankind when there hasn’t been a war at some place on the planet? (Or even, say, from the Victorian age to now when international communications developed enough for us to know what was happening in other places.)
• I was really, really, REALLY unhappy when I saw a commercial by a shampoo company (which I assume is running on national television) with not one, but TWO rogue apostrophes. Its and it’s aren’t the same thing. ‘60s and 60’s aren’t the same thing. (To name two recent nationally published examples). I know YOU know this, but dang, it really gets me that even national ads – where one would assume accuracy would be desirable – apparently don’t have proof readers any more. (/end grammar grumping.)
• On a more cheerful note, I’m cautiously celebrating approximately 6 weeks of breaking my caffeine addiction. Awhile back I saw a headline about a famous actress who had “accidentally” lost weight thanks to changing her diet. “Riiiiiight”, I thought, “’accidentally’. I’m not buying that bridge!” However, I decided to jump on the “accidental change”, or more accurately, “fortuitous change”, idea when I had that bout of ‘flu back in April. Since I had already been through the caffeine withdrawals, I figured there was no harm in keeping the streak going since the hardest part was already over. I have had the odd bit of caffeine now and again, but the morning-to-early-afternoon ritual of multiple cups of tea (and/or coffee) each and every day are gone. I have noticed that I don’t seem to have the same energy dips and spikes that I had before (they still come, but not to the same degree…I’d estimate their strength is 25% or less of what they used to be), so that’s a plus. On the other hand, I do miss the taste and the ritual of it. I read a National Geographic article about Darjeeling tea (by Andrew McCarthy – how did that happen?) and I wanted tea SO MUCH at that moment. Not for the caffeine, but for the beauty of it, the flavor of it, the joy of watching the hot water and the tea marry together until the perfect and lovely shade of golden tea-brown arrives, the small nervous moment of wondering if the steeping time was just right so that the tea is strong, but not bitter, and that ineffable something that a hot beverage provides that a cold beverage doesn’t which is utterly crucial to me when it’s cold outside... Obviously, I need to get going with finding some good decaffeinated alternatives. This is the longest I’ve gone without regular, daily doses of caffeine since high school, which blows my mind if I really think about it, so I’m mostly just trying to keep this low-key for myself and quietly go about retaining this new status.
summer reading

Let's Jump on this Bandwagon

The meme on Crucial Movies that help explain who you are got me thinking. And not just in that way of finding it interesting what is crucial for others or the commonalities among people as respects choice of movies.

Growing up, my family didn’t go to movies. My parents had grown up during the Depression, so it was just part of who they were to be extremely conservative when it came to spending money on entertainment. In fact, the first and only movie I saw in a theater with my mom happened when I was in college. Consequently, it affected a lot of things, including how I saw the way popular culture is shaped by movies. My childhood was smack in the middle of the first three Star Wars movies coming out and it’s no understatement to say they were ENORMOUSLY popular with my peers. Talk about a pop culture explosion! Though I didn’t actually see them at the time, they were so ubiquitous that it was pretty much impossible to not know many things about them. Hence I was in a position to see just how far a popular movie can leak into everyday life even when a person doesn’t see the movie in question.

One outcome of looking from the outside in is that for me a big part of what makes a movie crucial to me is how much of the experience-in-common thing is at work. From referencing things from a movie to explain your own experiences to using a popular catch phrase, I think there’s quite a lot to the notion that the more widely known a movie, the greater the chances of it being considered crucial to many people – including me. (Yet, for all that, my favoritest, most crucialest movie of all time isn’t all that popular, so go figure.)

Anyway, having said all of that, here’s the list I can think of today (roughly in order of the sequence of when I saw them):
Charlotte’s Web: likely the first movie I ever saw. I still remember going to the drive-in with my birth mom and talking to her about the story and the voice actors on the drive home.
The Wizard of Oz & The Sound of Music: as someone who could only see movies that were broadcast on regular tv growing up, I’d say it’s almost impossible for these two (which were shown every year) to not be crucial, somehow. And they undoubtedly fed into my secret love for musicals.
Indiana Jones – Raiders of the Lost Ark: the first big pop culture movie I saw fresh and in the moment. I joined the queue around the block with a group of friends to see the first two Indiana Jones movies and it was a blast to be a part of that communal experience. They also gave me an appreciation for the swashbuckling hero type, which I don’t think I had thought much about before Indy.
The Breakfast Club: this is one of those I wanted to dislike, but couldn’t. It just caught too many truisms about being a teen-ager, and since it came out when I was a teen-ager, it sort of snuck in there and became important somehow.
A Room with a View: this is the first movie I ever completely and totally, 100% and then some, fell into and didn’t want to come out of. I wanted to live in that world, smell those smells, have those clothes and Helena Bonham-Carter’s hair, know those people for real, get a Baedecker and go to that pensione, and live those lives. In fact, there’s one moment (a little bucolic shot when the story moves back to England) where I felt like I was home every time I saw it. I loved the humor and the social commentary and the locations and the costumes and the actors and the music. I saw this movie too many times to count at a little independent theatre. It was so popular that it ran for at least a year straight with showings every week at that location (I’m pretty sure it was more like 2-3 years, but I was off at college and not paying attention). There was even a little tv in the lobby playing highlights from the movie on a loop (the kissing scene in the field, Cecil’s fight with a bee while carrying a teacup and saucer, “Fifteen shillings and five shillings make one pound!”, George’s proposal to Lucy) so you could be entertained while awaiting the next showing. I loved going by myself and half paying attention to the other people in the room and their reactions to various scenes. I also coerced a number of people into going to see it with me. And of course thereafter read all of E.M. Forster’s books (conveniently located next to C.S. Forester’s at the main Portland library) and saw many Merchant-Ivory productions and checked in purposefully on many of the actors’ careers over the years (easy enough given who they are – what a cast!) In other words, if I had to choose only *one* crucial movie, this would be it.
Psycho: this was one of those experiences where I saw the movie so long after it had joined popular consciousness that it was almost like an anti-climax. But once I set aside my knowledge of the gajillions of ways this movie influenced a billion-trillion stories that followed, I came to appreciate it for itself. Anyway, this movie touches on some of the things I’m eternally fascinated with (plot twists, the psychology behind human behavior, well-told murder mysteries, etc.), hence its crucial-ness. Of course, this movie’s influence also comes into play every damn time I take a shower when I’m home alone. Every. Damned. Time.
E.T.: Still one of my favorite movie-going experiences. Everyone in my party of viewers was sniffling into a salty, buttery, popcorn-encrusted napkin by the end.
Planes, Trains & Automobiles: It’s kind of a perfect movie, I think, and endlessly quotable. But it’s the humor that makes it so important to me, obviously – so many different kinds and all of it so well done.
Star Wars: I didn’t see it until I was in my 20s, so it had a lot to live up to by then. By that time, the special effects were not *quite* as special as they had been back in the day, the sets and costumes were demonstrably of the “shoestring budget” type, I already knew that stories set in space could be just as human as any other kind, and the settings, characters, and plot was mostly already known to me. But it followed the classic hero-journey story in such a fun way, and played around with the low-budget things so as to make them part of the story’s strength, and didn’t take itself too seriously, and used that Saturday-morning-serial-story thing to such great advantage, that I couldn’t help but fall for it. My husband and I happily re-watched The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi on May 4th and we’re not ashamed to say it!

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summer reading

Tra La La, Just Skipping Through...

Not much happening in the land of fiveandfour beyond the usual hamster-on-a-wheel routine.

We're well into the typical Pacific Northwest spring medley of sunshine, rain, sun breaks, more rain, warm one minute, cold the next, and allergies, allergies, allergies.

I stopped at a local grocery on the way in to work this morning, a time when - in theory - the shelves are the most well-stocked since the store had all night to fix things, and found the section for allergy medications half destroyed. Plus the prices were higher than they were a month ago (grrr!).

Had a lovely visit with family on Easter Sunday, though I felt about three minutes away from going into nap mode for most of the day. I'm finally starting to feel back to normal after last week's 'flu and plan to try exercise tonight. Man, the 'flu does take it out of you! While visiting with the family, there was a suggestion of us making an extra stop to visit my husband's grandmother, who is 93 years old and fighting her own health issues. All I could think was, "Seeing me is the last thing she needs right now!" - though the odds of me still being contagious were quite low, I didn't want to take a chance of passing things on to her. Plus again, there was my nap imperative. We ended up getting home relatively early and I used a great deal of will to keep myself awake until 7:15 pm. Why, yes, I *do* know how to rock a holiday!

I've been in a reading slump for a few weeks, but I'm not too concerned about it yet. I seem to go through one most springs. I can never really figure out why they seem to come on at this time of year in particular, because you'd think that cold, rainy days would be motivating as respects hanging out under a blanket with a book. I dunno, as we like to say in business, "it is what it is", so I've learned to just go with it. At some inexplicable time - say, when the sun is finally out and the weather is perfect for outdoor pursuits - I'm sure my yen for reading will return. Meanwhile, I'll just add to my TBR stack in a desultory manner.

All right, I guess it's time for this hamster to get back on her wheel. Now, if only I could get someone to bring me some treats to make this run more bearable...
summer reading

Well, That Came Out of Nowhere

I had a glorious day last Saturday. There was lots of lovely sun, and visits to a couple of wineries with friends, and a stop at Oregon's only 5-star resort, and only a little imbibing during the early part of the day since I had to drive home at the end of the evening.

Thus it was a real shock to wake up Sunday and feel like death might be a mercy. There was fever, chills, full-body aches, skin so sensitive that even a little air movement hurt, weakness so bad I could barely lift a glass of water, and a burning and churning in my stomache that was downright painful.

I was utterly flattened. And a bit shocked, truth be told, to have gotten the 'flu now...I thought the season was over and I was safe.

Monday morning I could barely mumble out the words, "I can't work" before flopping back down into bed.

By Tuesday, I was at a stage where I could at least moan and groan about the unfairness of it all that I had to suffer with no medicine - prior to that, I was so sick that it never occurred to me that *anything* could help.

I still felt like something a rat would reject from a refuse pile yesterday, but worked for a good bad chunk of the day anyway because...well, you know, the world would stop turning and all western commerce would come to an end if I didn't move some paper from Point A to Point B (or so some people I work with believe).

The rat might consider me a better bet today. I'm still not "good", by any means, but at least I might regret death today.

Thank goodness for the Glove and Boots channel on YouTube. Re-watching some classic Mario and Fafa helped get me through moments when I felt so bad I wasn't even up to reading.
summer reading

And If You Buy This I've Also Got a Bridge I Can Sell You

While awaiting the convening of a family meeting, I showered, did the make up routine, blew my hair dry (which I HATE to do - I probably do it about 5 times a year), then put on comfortable clothes so I could clean the dishes and the bathroom floor with intent to change into better clothes once those chores were done.

The family meeting commenced while I was still in the comfy clothes. At the end of the family meeting my husband said, "Well, go have a shower then we can..."

I interrupted, "I already had a shower. I have make up on. I BLEW DRY MY HAIR. Can you not tell?"

My husband, possibly sensing an inescapable morass was one mis-step away, replied, "Well, I always say you don't need any of that stuff. You always look great to me."

summer reading

Sad and Sorry Tenth-Hearted (as opposed to Half-Hearted) Version of a Monday Pep Talk

Had a lovely week-end. Not weather-wise, but as respects feeling good and getting a lot accomplished.

Next week-end is already kind of planned out with not a lot of free time for hanging around at home, so I wanted to get through a few Spring Cleaning chores this past week-end. And I did.

One of them was to clean up the barbeque grill because the time of outdoor cooking is almost nigh. It's kind of weird that my family seems to do nearly all of our outdoor grilling during the warmer times of year because the grill is located on a patio that's easy enough to access any time. (We did barbeque our turkey one Thanksgiving and it was one of the best turkeys I've ever eaten, so you'd think that would be motivation enough.) However, I guess when you take into account the not-fun aspects of monitoring your food while standing in the pouring rain, it's probably not all that weird after all. I know there are a bajillion things on the internet about cleaning the grates and I'll need to do that (last) bit next. I'd say I got through over half of my spring cleaning chores, so a nice bit of work is done even if I do need to tackle the windows still, which always looms large in my mind as an enormous pain in the rear of a task that inevitably gets left until last.

I felt really terrific all week-end, with lots of energy and an unquenchable desire to Go Go Go. In contrast, today I feel like I've been drugged, and even after having twice the amount of caffeine I normally drink, I feel as little above unconscious as it's possible to be. I slept fine last night and even had relatively good dreams that involved catching two men who were working together as serial killers AND avoiding a going-in-between-a-momma-bear-and-a-cub scenario. How are those things even connected? I don't know. All I know is they were the dreams I had just before waking up. An hour and a half late. Eeep. You'd think the "no way, it can't be that late!" jolt of adrenaline would be enough to get me up immediately, but no, I stared at the ceiling in a daze for ten whole minutes before the thought of moving even occurred to me. That of course spun my whole morning routine on its head, but despite waking super late and feeling like I was sleep-walking through a strong current of water that was flowing in the opposite direction, I still managed to leave just a few minutes late for work.

I can't figure out if this seemingly inescapable lethargy is all a mental thing and I'd be feeling as peppy as can be were I on a tropical beach somewhere or if it's a semi-legitimate spring cleaning hangover and I'd want a nap even in the most pleasant of circumstances.

Blergh. Mondays. Oh well, can't avoid 'em - so Onwards and Upwards. Or at least, up off my seat and onwards towards the tea dispenser. (<--Sadly, that is the best I can do as respects a pep talk right now.)