Tuesday, December 11, 2007



I missed the first class in my series of eight lessons but I took the second class and was just fine. I've taken quite a few swing dance classes with the same instructors and I know a lot of the material. I was hoping that I'd be familiar with the material from first class and I was. I was relaxed and easy. I practiced my "smile at everyone" technique and everyone was very friendly. It's easy and it works.

The male-to-female ratio was perfect but the nerd quotient was high. Very high. I had a good time but left early. I was still tired from staying home sick most of the previous week. I'm looking forward to the next lesson.


Sue me, I skipped ushering. There's only so much a body can do.


On Thursday, I went to my volunteer gig (reading to kids) after the second day of my conference. I had to plan the evening's activities, which I found a bit overwhelming in conception. However, the execution went rather well. We had fewer kids than last time, so fewer disruptions. We knew all the kids from last time, which meant everyone was more comfortable. The kids liked the books and the activity. I learned: I can plan an arts and crafts activity. My main principle: keep it simple, stupid. It worked.

After the volunteering, I hightailed it to Arlington to watch football with Pele and her boyfriend. No offense, Pele, but I know why the BF doesn't have people over more often—that place is a mess! However, I didn't care because the tv was HUGE and the couch was comfortable. Pele even ordered dinner for me! And the BF picked it up! He can keep that place as messy as he likes and it won't bother me one bit.

Finally, finally, the Redskins won. It was a relief. Pele told the BF that I'm a mega fan. He is a long time fan himself. I demurred and saying that following a team faithfully for one season does not make a mega fan. (Though I actually watched quite a few games last year.) He was amused. Me too.

No sale

On Friday, I was too lazy to go to the blogger happy hour—or was I too drunk? Probably both. I was also invited to a cocktail party at a neighbor's house. This was, in fact, a "sales" party at TR's house, organized by his wife. For the first part of the evening, TR was out with the kids and we ladies ate and drank and then listened to a sales pitch for high-end skin care products. I'm sure the products were all excellent but I just couldn't deal with it (i.e., buy anything). When TR eventually joined us, then retired to the kitchen to wash dishes, I followed him. We talked about work and football. A lot about football. TR asked my opinion about football. Bizarre.

Aside: I've been thinking a lot about the meaning of sport and why so many of us are attached to watching. First, I think it signals an ability to identify with something outside of oneself and the desire to be part of something larger than oneself. It's foolish, sure, but deeply meaningful. Second, it is about the best source of small talk ever! Yay sports!

Humorous epilogue: guess who spent $100 on high end skin care products at L'Occitane en Provence on Monday? (Shampoo, conditioner, toner, body wash and a present for Mom.) My usual source for such products (with the exception of the present) is the drug store and very occasionally the hair salon. I am a paradox.


On Saturday, I ended up with two party invites. One to the "party of mystery" and another from a work acquaintance. I spent most of the day hanging around the house slowly cleaning, knitting and watching dvds. I picked up my Seattle friend, Amanda, and her fiancé up from the airport around 7pm and took them home. We hung out for a while, but, as planned, I left for my parties around 9pm. (My exchange with Amanda about this went something like this:
Me: I feel bad taking you home and then just leaving you there.
Amanda: What, you don't trust us alone at your place?
Me: No! I feel like a bad host.
Amanda: Don't be silly.)

I drove to Arlington, to the work-acquaintance party. I was flying solo, but that was fine since I knew people where I was going. Upon arrival, I was greeted with a party of five (including me). Work friends, Nina, Danielle and Deirdre and the host, Bill, were the only other guests. I can't explain why, but I stayed there for the rest of the evening. I get along great with Bill, well with Danielle and so-so with Nina and Deirdre. Yet, Nina is my actual friend from this group. I can explain, but it's tiresome. I had a sufficiently entertaining time. Then I went home.


On Sunday morning, I took Amanda and her fiancĂ© to Arlington (popular place!) to meet Amanda's brother for brunch. I joined them and it was fun. It's been years since I've seen Amanda's brother and I got to meet his kids too. After brunch and a little shopping, we parted ways. I let Amanda borrow the car for a couple days since she is also visiting friends in Baltimore and Annapolis. She'll come back to my place tonight—we're going to dinner. Hope she's enjoying driving the camper. Heh.


This week is busy too. Last night, I went to a staged-reading of my playwright friend's newest play. Great, just as expected. Tonight, Amanda is staying with me. Tomorrow, I bake brownies. Thursday, I will probably skip a happy hour. Friday is our office party, at TR's place, which means a short day. Saturday, I drive to PA for a memorial service. Sunday, I drive home. Blah. I'm tired already.

Last week, as I mentioned, I sat in a conference for two days. I found it interesting and useful. About halfway through the second day, though, I started to fade. I started doodling and writing. I put my mind to an idea for a novel. Somehow, the background of a power point presentation is conducive to creativity. Perhaps it's because it doesn't insistently demand my attention like television.

What's great is that I came up with what might be a reasonable structure for a novel I would enjoy writing. It will be heavily (mostly) autobiographical, but it will be presented as fiction. That way I can fill in where I can't remember the actual events and dialog and I can drop/combine/create characters as needed. Plus, I have a gimmick. I've already written some unknown proportion of the novel via the blog, though the blog will not be part of the novel.

The real question is: when am I going to write this novel? And, I suppose, do I really want to write this novel? It used to be that when I got home, I set myself up with the computer and typed away while I watched tv. Now, I combine knitting with my tv watching and do very little writing at home or on the weekends. The knitting is deeply satisfying. The process is pleasurable and having something to show for it is awesome.

Have I traded the blog hobby for a knitting hobby? Perhaps. But, well, I'd like to think that I now have two awesome hobbies. Before, I could count reading and movies as hobbies, but they don't require the same amount of input, and don't result in the same level of satisfaction. (I guess you could classify my recreational sports activities as hobbies too, but they have a vastly different purpose.)

It's all a question of priorities. If the novel is the highest priority, then less time should be devoted to tv and knitting. I still have some thinking to do about this.

Of course, work is still phenomenally slow, which means if I were a tiny bit more efficient, a great deal of writing could be done at the office. It's possible that this is exactly how I wrote my dissertation. Don't quote me. (Dissertating also included many weekends and late nights at the office. It included very little time working from home.)

Off to the next event!

Grateful for: opportunities and inspiration.

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