Computer window shopping

Went by the local laptop computer store after work, and they’ll be able to order the parts and replace my laptop keyboard. *Phew* That’s a relief. I also ordered 4x the memory I have now, so maybe in a week or so this will seem like a whole new computer. It’s much cheaper to fix and upgrade this laptop than to buy a new one, but I’ve been “window-shopping” online today too, so I have my comparison shopping list ready when I have enough money saved up to really actually buy a new one.

A dear friend of mine is also a master vocal coach, so my long-term plans are to give her the old laptop in trade for ongoing vocal lessons. All these years singing, and I’ve never had much formal training. So maybe it’s high time I work that into my priorities, if I dream of making my living singing someday. And I’ll have both a good computer for me for now and a good computer for trade later.

My co-worker Cheryl is just the funniest, cutest gal. She left a decorative, um, how do I describe it? electric-thing on my desk Friday afternoon. It’s one of those things when you plug it in and turn it on, generates a sort of “lightning” inside glass? This one is a spiral in green glass, which my boss decided is my “electric plant” like the ivy house-plants that everyone has up on top of their cubicles everywhere. I went and bought a power-strip over my lunch hour, and the best place to put the electricity glass spiral was up on top of my overhead shelves. So now there is dancing green electricity above where I work, which will probably make it easier to tell people how to find me in the cubicle maze that is our wing of the building. When Cheryl left it for me, she attached a note quoting a joke from the movie “Office Space” that “we have an 18 flair minimum around here!” I counted up the truly silly toys and “flair” around my office—I think I only have eleven actual toys, so I’ll need to bring some more from home soon. *grin*

And I got to be the benefactor for another co-worker, much like Cheryl gifting me the electric ivy. Craig has been using these broken headphones to listen to the radio, for months if not years, because “he likes how long the cord is.” So I picked up some new headphones, a headphone extension cord, and tied them up with ribbons and left them anonymously on his chair this afternoon. He was thrilled beyond words, nearly dancing around the cubicles with his new toys. His quote, “I don’t even have to wait for a commercial to go to the printer, because I can walk all the way down the hall with my headphones on now!” He’s like a little kid with a new toy today, which just thrills me to see. He even ceremoniously dumped the broken ones in the trash, which made me even happier.

I love my job!

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Recently Listened to: Tori Amos, “To Venus and Back” (Disc 1: Live and Orbiting)

Linguistic Fun

What a fun and full day! At church, today is Pentecost. Part of some traditions are to dress in Red and decorate in Red, to signify the “tongues of fire” reported to have descended on the heads of the apostles on the day we now call Pentecost. Also, “speaking in tongues” occured at this incident—where Jews of all different backgrounds and languages were in town for the Festival of Booths, and they heard the apostles all speaking in their native language. I suppose this was a cross between the Tower of Babel gone good and the earpieces at the United Nations.

To simulate the experience, our pastor asked the church email list if anyone was a speaker of a non-English language, to bring a copy of the 3rd scripture reading in that other language so we could have more than one language being spoken at once. Can I just say how much I love the internet? *hee hee* I had researched the Mandarin Chinese earlier in the week, since I studied that in college and could still read aloud if I had the Pinyin transliteration. I got carried away this morning and transcribed several languages, just in case there were others who might be free to read aloud in languages they may have studied in high school or college. And the Bible is one of the most translated works around, so it was easy to find English/Other translations online and just hand-write them before heading off to church. The one person I knew spoke Norwegian wasn’t there this morning, but we were able to have a reading that included (all at once) English, German, Latin, Spanish, French, Italian, and Mandarin Chinese. It was pretty wild—although I had to concentrate so hard on the tones that I really couldn’t hear anyone else while I was reciting the Chinese.

I dropped the car off again before church, for the squealing belt issue, and after church and lunch with Donna, the car was all repaired, all for free! It seems they’d only been tightening one belt, when it was a second belt that had been the problem all along. Every time I’d complained that it wasn’t fixed, they were perplexed because there was nothing wrong with the first belt. They were a little embarrassed to tell me they had been missing the second belt in their checks before, and they were happy to fix it for free. I love my car guys!

Oh, and I’m incredibly thankful to Dayle and Ken for having an extra PC keyboard in their Mac household, since my laptop is having massive keyboard issues. (sigh)

Let’s see, to round out my day—Donna and I spent a little time hanging out before chorus, chatting with the pastor, chatting about sign language, our personal learning goals, and how we’ll study together. Then when chorus got together for rehearsal, we spent most of the first hour talking about what we want out of the experience, where we want to go, and how we want to schedule things. We’re going to take some time off this summer, get together for two planning meetings, and start true rehearsals again this fall. We want to write a mission statement, work on recruiting singers from the community, and really organize ourselves. It’s hard to believe I may actually be co-directing a fledgling start-up Community Choir, but it sure looks like that’s what’s happening. It’s quite exciting, and I think I’m going to look into studying how to be a better conductor and how to hold effective warm-ups and rehearsals. Wow.

And to round out the evening—two of the ladies who helped start the chorus in the first place—they went out to dinner with me. We finally got to tell each other long stories about our backgrounds, college, employment, goals, relationships, stuff—it was really fun. Both of them are my Mom’s age, but we get along like a bunch of school chums, and I have a blast with them. It was nice to finally get to swap stories for hours on end, and I was just buzzing with energy by the end of the day. Of course, the nice thing was this made it easier to finish the long drive home. I’m really looking forward to launching this chorus with Susan and with Julia, more than ever before.

Good night folks! Time to get some sleep!

Always Buy Fresh Mozzarella

Sara Ann—Welcome to the family! The C-Section went well, and Petula returned my calls this morning while I was out for breakfast. (Hmm, I’m guessing on her spelling, we’ll find out if I’m right or if I’ll have to edit this entry later.)

I slept in at Dayle’s, after our late night watching TV, and then headed out for coffee and brunch. I got so wrapped up in all my errands that I never stopped for a true lunch, but we did have a lovely dinner together. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

I dropped the car off for an oil change, and with the hopes they might find and FINALLY fix the squeal coming from one of the belts on the car. Sadly, they needed me to come back again Sunday with the car, so that’ll have to wait for tomorrow. But while the car was getting the oil change, I browsed the mall, bought a medium-sized purse (yes, sometimes we need so many bags and purses because we just need one of every Goldilocks size!), and then browsed all those little hair-clip-and-accessory stores for silly little things to add to the purse. Gee, can you tell I just got paid and felt like being a little free with my money!? I can’t tell you enough how wonderful it is not to be biting my nails over every little penny any more. Just the freedom to buy a $5 trinket or three $3 trinkets without thinking that this translates into eating more frugally is an amazing place to be in again. Have I mentioned lately how much I love my job?

Afterwards I swung by my favorite—the bookstore. I could browse bookstores, stationery stores, and art supply stores every day as a hobby. And I can even be self-disciplines not to spend too much money, if I need to, which is a relief. But back to the story—Dayle mentioned earlier in the day that “Organizing from the Inside Out” was her “bible” of organization, and so I decided to pick up a copy for myself. I’d borrowed hers over breakfast and read nearly 1/3 of the book before going out for errands. It’s nice to read how many of my internal dialogues about organizing really are healthy and helpful ways to organize your life, so it’s a book to fill in some of the gaps in my own already home-grown style. I also bought the “Time Management from the Inside Out” book by the same author, which Dayle joked she hasn’t had *time* to read yet. I plan to give her a cliff-notes-summary based on my reading. *grin* And I finally picked up a PHP computer book, which should help me figure out this gallery photo album software to help my family assemble photo albums online to share with one another. My goal is to host the albums so that with all the new babies and life events, we can just upload the photos and send links rather than send huge photo files to everyone.

Then it was time to get food for our dinner, so I picked up some diet soda for both of us, fresh roma tomoatoes, fresh basil, fresh mozzarella, a huge hunk of fresh parmasean (because I saw it on Dayle’s shopping list on the fridge), and our favorite Trader Joe’s spread of cream cheese, pesto, and sun-dried tomatoes. She whipped up some chicken, chopped up some romaine, and threw together huge bowls of lettuce, basil, tomato, chicken, balsamic, and mozzarella. Of course, we almost completely demolished the dip during food prep, and finally polished it off with our salads. Oh, yum.

We finished watching several more episodes of “Young Blades” (a very silly sword-fighting show over on PAX) with lots of stops and starts and replaying while laughing and over analyzing the plot (or lack thereof) and the characters. If anyone *has* been watching YB, and can explain the episode with the “Invincible Sword” please drop me a line. I think it was a case of “Tru Calling” crossed with the end of season one of “Witch Blade” where time rewinds and the character gets to make a different choice, but I’m not fully convinced. Silly television, definitely.

Three-day weekends are a good idea

Oh. I just realized it’s Friday the Thirteenth. Happy 13th everyone.

Took the day off today, because it was Kelly’s (40th) birthday party. It’s a fair drive north from either my apartment or where I normally spend my weekends, so I took the whole day off to sleep in, wander the shops in search of a perfect card, maybe a small token gift (they asked for no gifts because basically she already has plenty of “things” in her life), and beat the traffic. Well, I mostly beat the traffic, but I spent way more time sleeping in and enjoying a leisurely day than I was expecting. Caught up on several hours of tv in the morning, over breakfast and coffee, and that’s a wonderful treat every now and then. Of course, another motivation is to watch everything stored on my TiVo so I can disconnect the old one and hook up the new one some time soon.

Oh! And they took Stefanie in for a C-section this morning, so I’m just waiting to hear back from Petula that everyone’s doing okay. I’ve left a couple of messages, but I’m sure she’s swamped with the family phone tree.

The drive was started to get backed up when I finally left the house, but I did get to enjoy the view of Pacific Coast Highway and find some relief from the heat of the inland freeways. Dropped off my things at Dayle’s before going up to Santa Barbara, where I was able to spend an hour browsing shops downtown. I miss being in Santa Barbara (my college town) and should probably find ways to visit more often. It has a real sense of “home” for me, even more than anywhere else. Of course, I just remember “I love my job, I love my job” and since I cannot commute 3-4 hours one-way, I remember that Santa Barbara is just a weekend-visit away.

Neither Dayle nor I was in much of a party mood at Kelly’s, but not for lack of a lovely party thrown by Richard. The food was yummy, Kelly was as adorable as ever, several friends/acquaintances I know from the Middle Eastern ensemble were there (including one of my former bellydance instructors), and had I been thinking I could have remembered to bring a swimsuit and enjoy the pool. But we still enjoyed the visit and had an easy drive home. A friend of Dayle’s writes for a show on PAX, and we watched one episode before finally passing out and getting some sleep. It’s going to be a lovely, lazy weekend, and I’m looking forward to it. Gee, I should have more three-day weekends.

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Recently Listened to: Tori Amos, “To Venus and Back” (Disc 1: Live and Orbiting)

Too smart, or just too young (thankfully)

I had to start a phone call with my college best friend, Kristin, this evening with “Are we just too smart, too well-educated, too organized, and too young for some of these financial workshops nowadays?”

Last week I took a little lunch-time seminar at work about 401(K) programs. It was *sssooooo* basic that I summed it up for my co-workers as 45 minutes to say (in a chippy excited voice): “You should invest! It’s good for you! And when you invest in a 401(k), you put your money in these little categories!” Ahem. Yes, dear, I know that. *sigh*

Today’s seminar I almost didn’t even sign up for, because the title slighly offended me: “What Every Woman Should Know” (about money or something). I thought there can’t possibly be something gender-specific about money that women need to know that men don’t need to know, or that men already know, or whatever. And I said as much to the instructors when I arrived. And after trying to have an open mind about the presentation, I still came to the conclusion at the end of the presentation that there was nothing gender-specific about the suggestions and instruction. This would be the financial advice I would give any friend.

Kristin helped me put in perspective. She and I are just, thankfully, from a new generation of women. We’ve both been through divorces, but neither of us went through the type of divorce where the woman has to suddenly be on her own for the first time, suddenly without income or retirement or savings, suddenly without her own personal credit, etc. Even the mom-figures in her life had it remarkably harder in their lives, because they’d all been married over twenty years, had nothing of their own, and struggled to be on their own right away.

So I suppose there still is a need for a seminar like this, but I’m not their target audience. And yet now that I think about it, there are some ways in which I had to buckle down and be *more* responsible than before, when I divorced, but not because my identity financially had been tied up with my husband, but just because I tossed off some of the laziness when I divorced, and I just started being responsible in the way I knew I should have been all along.

I very thankful to my Mom, for all those years she taught my sister and I how to be strong women. She rocks.

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Recently Listened to: Tori Amos, “To Venus and Back” (Disc 1: Live and Orbiting)