Thursday, July 29, 2010


I've said all this before, but I think it was put better this time in this way - from a post today on a writig board, where someone asked what gives with people dismissing others' livings as "only a (fill-in-the-blank: stay at home mom, whatever the peon)":

It has a fair amount to do with culturally ingrained snobbery, and - not to be more strident than I usually am, but frankly - gender.

I myself am a secretary. That's the word I choose to use, though other people find it 'demeaning'. I say that secretary is an office which has been around for over half a millennium, and the word wasn't ruined until the past two generations, when jokes about lecherous bosses and brainless twinkies in heels became synonymous. Me, I find Administrative Assistant a fairly weak substitute, but at the end of the day I really don't care about my title. Give me my projects, I will manage them (that's really what it is, but I don't feel any need to be called a PM either), shut up and pay me.

My new title is Senior Administration Specialist, which simultaneously pleases and cracks me so completely up. I mean, wow, someone felt defensive. Heh.

People almost invariably marvel that I am "okay" with "just" being a secretary. I had to explain to one of my recent-ex coworkers, so horrified when our company laid me off that he was forwarding listings for Other Positions I Could Aspire To, that honey, I'm an admin, that's no accident, I've been at it 25 years, and thank you so much but that's not second best - and IT'S NOT AN ACCIDENT. It's not because I never knew I could "do better" and it's a decision, not incidentally, made by that very same intelligence this person was praising so fulsomely.

Not every company is like my previous employer, entirely unaware that a person can simultaneously be intelligent AND an Admin. Good grief, I'm even ambitious, though where it came from I can hardly tell you.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Promising Sky

An hour of this:

and not a drop of rain to show for it.

Beautiful, though. That is blessing enough (along with the wind, and the drop to 92 degrees!)

Saturday, July 24, 2010


Vehicle thermometer reading today: 109. I took a one-minute drive to the drugstore (even if I wanted to, it wouldn't have been a walking errand; there was too much to carry to save on gas), and the key, after being in the ignition for that period, was so hot it felt like it had been outside for an hour. The seatbelt tab and steering wheel were terribly hot. The air was so heavy in my throat it tempted my gag reflex.

Black leather seats are quite something, days like this.

Speaking of Blather

An age and vanity post is hardly overdue, but I did have an amusing moment at the new job day before yesterday.

At almost four days in the new office, I'm hardly a novelty anymore, but there is still a lot of getting-to-know-you stuff lying before us. One of the women in the group reminds me a good deal of a friend I had at my job in the mid-nineties; the requisite funny and brash woman in the office I have occasionally been myself. The one I knew before was right around my age, and filled my head with stock phrases such as "What is the DEAL, Pickle???" and "naked aborigine" (referring, actually only the one time - so not so much a stock phrase, as such - to her husband), and essentially being, you know - brash. And funny. She was D. So for ease of nonidentification, we can call the new girl D2.

D2 and I were talking briefly, when she said something about how young I was. I blinked for a moment and asked her how old she thinks I am, because she was clearly off; her response was somewhere in the twenties. I explained the truth of the matter, and she blew out a "no WAY" and commentary on how certainly *that* was not fair of me. "I never would have guessed!"

D2's buddy walked around the corner, and she paused long enough to get "How old do you think Diane is!?" This answer came in at a believable thirty-five. When corrected, she looked up at me sardonically and laughingly uttered the word for a feminine hound (not offensively).

I realize I've long played this game; since even my actual late twenties, people have found me younger-looking than I am. Because this began somewhat early, I have to say - cultural conditioning to the contrary, and years of unexamined amusement about it aside - I don't, as such, find the supposition of my youth in itself a point of flattery. I know it's meant as such; and the effect has become pronounced enough that I absolutely use it to my advantage (the game above? not my first time at the rodeo, by a long shot). I'm fairly certain that there is at least some cognitive dissonance between the resume I present and the face I have to go with it, at times. I'm also aware of the advantages certain aspects of my appearance confer, and I ruthlessly exploit that. My obsession with costuming and personal-appearance deployment doesn't fall short in the professional department. In periods of unemployment, it goes into overdrive.

In its own terms, though, and in myself, the fact of my pleasure in my own age, and the extent of effort it took me to gain its experience, render "you look young" a compliment only by virtue of the fact that it's meant as such rather than by its actual content. "You are beautiful" is something I take, from E or perhaps from my ex, with the full force and power intended. But not looking forty-two is more an accident than an end. I use it, but I didn't particularly make this happen. Yeah, I haven't been in the sun since 1986, as I joke - but that hasn't been the matter of "oh, I must preserve my youth!" so much as the function of a girl who doesn't like to go outside. Yeah, I'm conceited as can be - and I use the accident of my appearance - but I take little real credit for the causes, nor anything beyond clothing, makeup and hairstyling. Apart from covering my white hair until there comes to be enough of it I'll flaunt it fully, I don't style myself for "youth" so much as what I like - and feel is flattering. Extreme youth isn't a look I strive for, and in fact I stay away from things that might "really" signify me as part of a generation I'm not in. I don't adopt current fads and trends; in fact, I stay well away from anything which might appear as if I were trying to look young.

For that matter, I wasn't all that much into trends when I *was* young(er) - and that is probably some part of the supposed magic. The state of my skin is only one piece of the equation; anothe is the state of my style. Because I never got addicted to clue-catcher bangs and spiral perms, I don't bear some of the badges of my own generation, and THAT is a major factor in not looking my age, too. I'm not branded by the fashions of the eighties, and that is one signifier of age-appearance.

No small aspect of the "compliment" that a woman doesn't look her age (it's always women - isn't it?) lies in a woman's lack of shoulder pads, Swatch watches, pleated jeans, add-a-bead necklaces, and L. A. Gear sneakers with multiple neon shoe laces.

And so we have the secret: because I was un-hip back in the day, I'm not locked in that day. Nerdliness is next to youthfulness, or something of the kind.

Not caring about my apparent youth of course goes hand in hand with the conceit that I am fabulous no matter the number of years I've been so. And I do know I need to not play the silly game; it's insufferable, even to me. But it still does *interest* me - both the importance people ascribe to the disparity, and the virtue even I subscribe to in participating so in these compliments.


When I was young, and far beyond its bearability for the recipient, I burdened my brother with my idolization.

We were a scrapping pair. He wrangled with me, I whined endlessly at him; by the time I began developing crushes on his friends, it was all too much - though he still took a few years before he told me to take my sibling-idealized worship and stuff it. A healthy thing, all told - and overdue for my naivete', probably. Hagiographizing someone makes for a poor relationship with them, and is not flattering nor a good service to give them.

Unfortunate for him, then, I've experienced a bit of a resurgence of the old "wow my big brother is *amazing*"-ness, reading his blog of late. The guy's a better writer than I am; evocative, intelligent, emotional, and powerful. I can tell a good story, but Bro can create such economical *effect*.

Economy: not my strong suit.

Also - ack, so jealous!

He writes of things that actually matter, too; in contrast to my mindless bibbling. As the fifth grade teacher we each had in succession would joke of her easily-distractable students ("hello, it's me"), I tend toward an awful lot of "LOOK! YON TREE!" I come up with a variety of good scraps, but I waste a lot of verbiage and unnecessary thought-dumping along the way.

Obviously, I'm not changing that tendency. Even here.

But it is such a pleasure to have a really great writer to read.

Friday, July 23, 2010


Almost two weeks since the injury, and that initial healing still holds, but I do find that elevation and the pressure bandage still provide great benefit.

Last night I had a dream in which I took off the latter, and my mom was with me. My foot was covered in fresh blood. She nodded knowingly, explaining the pressure bandage had caused the swelling to "vomit" a blood aneurysm from my ankle.

Yeah, my dreams are pretty weird stuff.

Foot's okay, though - even if I am perniciously headachey after my first week at the new job. I don't even have the "shin spints" thing going on anymore.

So ... yeah.

Thursday, July 22, 2010


My ankle, healing so nicely while I was unemployed, has suffered just a little over the course of this week. Though there's no actual pain (I don't qualify anything I have to touch to make it hurt as pain; for that, the hurt has to express itself spontaneously), the tenderness is fairly strong stuff - and, of course, I haven't been able to elevate the thing. Yesterday when I left work, my ankles definitely didn't match, and today though the swelling isn't so bad, the touch is definitely a ginger sort of sore-thing.

Of course, I've been dressing for work, and before anyone goes all "women shouldn't have to wear heels, they are torture devices" and all that jazz, be it understood: I'm not wearing skyscrapers, here, and again the bones are a non-issue. The *soft* tissue would swell just as much in flats, with the lack of elevation and pressure bandaging.

Still, I do have the milder cousin of a sort of shin-splints situation, readjusting to dress shoes after four months in sandals and sneakers. As long as I've been a wearer of pumps, it's interesting to me how quickly my muscles apparently changed their relative length; and now the stretch to the altered posture is funny. Again, not painful, but one notices a sensation.

But at bottom, I'm glad to be back out of the house. Whatever the wardrobe, the job is promising (still not realizing; as I have yet to gain a computer! - but, with luck, tomorrow ...). It will be a pleasure to be able to actually provide the service I've been hired for, and to really begin learning, with the tools of the job in place.

Today began one piece of that process. I ordered computer, cube, and phone for a new employee-to-be. It's not a bad procedure, I understood it (more than many electronic "prossa-seez" have to say for themselves!), and there'll be seven more tomorrow. And so: practice begins.

Off and running.

And now off to go upstairs, and change out of my work clothes into better running shoes. Dogs still need walkin', after all. And the evening lies before me ...


Three new rejections this week remind me that I did indeed put querying on hold for a minute while I got ready for a new job, and now I am almost a full week into said job. Today's pass was from the second request for a partial, so one needs must light the fire once again.

Yesterday's was actually quite nice; I queried Sharon Kay Penman's agency, but they haven't picked up historicals for some time now (except for that one ... by the woman who *worked* for them for eight years!). The agent I contacted, though, was personal and generous, and is also going to be at the upcoming Conference I attend every year. She encouraged me to speak with her, which I appreciated - as much as a professional writer as as a person who prefers niceness over snobbitude.

I went to the Con website and asked them to change my ranking of preferences of agents/editors I'd like to try to get five minutes with to the editor instead.

And the editor's first noted area of focus is historical fiction.

As I thought in that time when I was asking for *more* rejections, so it has come to pass - I'm getting them, and finding it not disappointing but reassuring that at least I'm being seen at all. Not everyone likes my singing, but at least it's audible outside my ears.

Time to find the right audience, though. No more kitchen project; time to get seriously querying.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Poor Edit

Above the floor buttons in the elevators at work is a plaque saying DO NOT PANIC, with some instructions regarding stuck eleveator syndrome. I feel I will spend my tenure in this building *tsk-tsk*'ing every day at this horrendous rewrite to one of Douglas Adams' most famous phrases.

Don't is a perfectly cromulent word. This version is a little authoritarian by comparison.

As would be no surprise: I like Adams so much better.

Good writing in elevators is so hard to find. Le sigh!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

I Like ...

... having a job and not blogging so much anymore.

Happy me!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Reasons to Ignore Silly Internet "Tools"

Apparently, I write like William Shakespeare.

And now the tool I really need is a posterior smoke removal system. Sheesh.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Giggly As A Schoolgirl

I have finally scrubbed my kitchen and put away almost all the project supplies. My goodness, the place really does look pretty great. I still need to clean the stove, and the floors need Swiffing upstairs and down, but the house is shaping up - and that kitchen is looking GREAT!

The new light fixture turns out not to have a switch, and is not (at least currently ... pardon the pun ...) connected to the mystery switch on my wall. In looking at the old fixture, I should be able to install the old chain-pull, I think; but ideally I'd love to find a way to have this light speak with that switch which seems to have nothing to do. That might be a project for another day - and even the chain pull isn't going to pull my attention for a couple days yet. I've just had too much for now, and with work on Monday, I want to focus on something other than the refining details of this already overlong project!

It's lovely to have the house (getting) clean again, and in a couple hours both it and I will be pretty and fresh, and I can't wait. It will be such a lovely day tomorrow, to get up and have a bright, tidy house with a new kitchen to putter around in - and then Monday, I am just so excited to go off for my first day at the new job, then come home to such a wonderful place.


My nerves have gone haywire, to be sure, over this past couple of days. But I am optimistic the weekend - and the new week - will at least be good times.

Even with the inevitable first-day-on-a-new-job sleep deprivation and migraine headache. I am thinking (especially for this job): worth every bit of the minor/pernicious discomforts.


Friday, July 16, 2010


Go me, I've completed the painting on the cabinets. Tomorrow, my next-door neighbor will hold the doors so I can screw them back on, and I will finally be able to CLEAN THIS HOUSE and really see what the new kitchen looks like - and ENJOY it Sunday, before going back to work.

I also got the old shelving brackets re-installed ... buying something new will have to wait, for now. I couldn't stand the bald wall anymore, and in any case I needed the shelf space and organization.

I had little motivation at eight o'clock, but I've gotten most of what I planned *done*, which is such a relief.

And now - Saturday, and massive housecleaning!

Um. Whee.


That Bugs and Daffy clip just has SO MUCH of what I love about Looney Tunes.

Love it.

Eight Days

G'lawd, I'm still working on this kitchen. The tear-down for priming began last THURSDAY, y'all. Holy smokes.

I put it off as long as I could today, but I am BACK in my painting clothes, and really getting tired of this whole kitchen painting business. Tonight, I have to do the bodies of the upper cabinets, and two of the four doors (first set - last night). Thing is, ultra-white over "dinge" requires multiple coats to cover very well (even still I am seeing brush-stroke-age; gaaaahhh). Golden yellow over dinge was a single-coat miracle; the color value was the same. (At night, it's actually hard to see a color at all between the two shades.) So I'm not ending on as easy a task as I'd have hoped. Figures.

Today was my last weekday of fake-ation before work begins, and I STILL have a rather great deal of work to do.

My bottom-line requirement is that I should be able to clean house tomorrow. In order to do that, the cabinets all need to have their doors, and the shelves need to be re-installed (and re-loaded). Add to this that I want to touch-up my hair, and it's a long evening I have before me.


Also, I hate myself for being one of those total toolboxes coming up with yet another permutation on the word vacation. To quote Daffy Duck:

"I demand that you shoot me now!"



Well, I'm finally getting to new switchplates and socket covers. Even with the six for $13 deal on the latter, I spent $70 on those and a pendant light fixture and its shade today. Then groceries. Then gas. Then lunch. Which I'm not even eating, though I have a headache and am exhausted. Sometimes, when you wait too long for a bite, you get to the point you no longer even want one, even when you've taken the trouble to get one. Life's funny.

Thursday, July 15, 2010


Headache. I didn't know how much the paint was smelling up the joint until I actually left the house today for lunch, and came back home. YEESH.

In other news, I did a reconnaissance run through the office park where my new employer intends to keep me, and found the joint quite easily. Yay! I'll report to their downtown building first thing on Monday, but after HR is done with me, it's out to my new neck of the woods, and - yep - I am pretty excited.

Tomorrow's my last day of "vacation" - and I hope tonight will be my last night painting, apart from the little detail-y stuff my high standards won't allow to stay a dab messy. Laughably, I half wish I could do the job nekkid, rather than putting on those nasty old painting clothes again ... but, of course, exposed windows and bright lights inside would make that a bad idea (and the neighbors and passing traffic have done nothing to deserve such an assault!). Boo, hiss; but at least those clothes are seeing their last days of trudging re-use.

And for now, a short period to relax, a little nosh from the Mediterranean Bakery for dinner, and even some dessert: the macaroons finally called to me loudly enough I answered yes at long last.

Now off to love on my little Lolly and whirl a little in the paint fumes ..


So I've mentioned my ex many times on here, and make a bit of an overwrought point of not being nasty about him, because indulging in vitriol toward somene once loved seems to me a very strange way to spend one's energy. I do *understand* it, mind you. But it's nothing I really participate in myself.

More to the point, Beloved Ex is a good man. The reasons we're not together are that we had no goals together, and truly, as trite as it is to say, love really isn't enough. I held tight to him because he was a good man, and those were no thicker on the ground in the 80s, when we met, than they are now. But that isn't enough either.

And I wasn't, myself, the most excellent of women when I was twenty-five. So there's that.

BE actually did say of me, once, "Every man should have an amazing car and an amazing woman. I figure the woman's been had" ... so he's for the car, of course. But it was a remarkable thing to say, all things considered.

One of the things I mention about BE from time to time is that he was a rockstar. To put a finer point on that: BE was perhaps the best front man I ever saw.

Yeah, a little bias - sure. But I'd put him up against any other performer and bet on his talents. He was an incredibly dynamic lead singer/guitarist/bass player. His voice was great, of course, but he also really knew how to work his band, his music, and his crowds.

This was a guy who, day-to-day, came off like a bit of a doofus. He was polite to girls, didn't curse much and often apologized if he did, wasn't a heavy drinker, didn't smoke, held doors for people, had a distinctive, wide-eyed "aw shucks" corn-fed midwestern boy way about him. Rudeness astounded him, and crudeness always left him confused. More than once, being the "groupie" for his band, he witnessed the behavior of other guys toward me when he wasn't right with me, and was always dismayed and surprised at people's behavior.

He made very silly jokes, and did horrible cartoon voices and occasional poor impressions of Sean Connery and Cornelius (from Planet of the Apes).

Then he would get on stage.

The commitment he showed on stage was like nothing I have ever seen. Our musician friends called him "The Opie-ola of Rock and Rolla" - and that was accurate. But the moment he was doing his job on stage, he was wildness in black pants. Urgent, super foxy, primal, incredibly passionate.

I remember knowing women who knew nothing of him but what they saw onstage, and assumed I must be, um, worn out twenty-four/seven by such a relentlessly foxy rock god.

I also remember knowing women who knew him through me, and who, when they did come to see him onstage, literally gaped in slack-jawed amazement that THAT GUY was ... this creature! This sweating, writhing, leaping, looming skin full of charisma and power! This guy, who could easily have given Robert Plant a run for his prodigious money.

In this way, BE and I were actually most alike. In BE's case, the transition was distinct and twofold, a brilliantly limned division of labor between "aw shucks" and the pounding force he was on stage. In my case, probably less formed back then, but definitely present, the shifting woman - one moment, a hair-in-the-eyes suburban hausfrau; another moment, a frustrated student; another moment, the girl with the band; and so on, and so on. I think my own permutations are wider ranging now, and perhaps more sophisticated, but it has always been my joy: I contain multitudes.

So did BE.

It wasn't for him, any more than it is for me, a matter of pretense or affectation. It's merely a sublime ability to suit one's context.

My dad raised his children, as his dad had before him, to be able to conduct ourselves with any person, in any situation. It fostered our facility to be engaged by all sorts of different people.

It fostered, for me, an ability to present myself in all sorts of different situations, too. Calibration. Modulation. Consideration. Deployment.

BE did the same, instinctively.


As "aw shucks" as he appeared, it must be said of BE that he has always embodied the concept of manliness in my mind. Apart from being a good looking one, he had a mellow disposition I think even my brother wouldn't argue at my comparing a bit to our dad. The essence of a "man", in my mind, is someone who first and foremost has control over himself and can handle what life has to give - or throw at - him. BE had this. He also just phsyically had those things I think of as quintessentially manly, big hands, a physical warmth, a solidity and reliablility. Good voice. Height. And natural generosity.

To this day, I can turn to BE and he not only is willing to "be there" for me no matter what, but his innate sympathy for people always comes through. He wanted to be able to honor my father at his memorial service, and he wanted to be there for me in that time of loss - but after he got on the road, his car handed him other plans. How many men would go to the funeral of their ex father-in-law, or care for their ex in such a loss?

He and I have shared mostly a friendship by phone and email, but the solidity of our relationship makes me forget it's been eight years now since I last saw his face. Distance and time aren't the point; the friendship is a living thing, and always there. We've talked about the people we've dated, we've talked about family and work, we've talked about frustration and fear and the economy, and it is a great honor to me that I seem to have as much to give him as he does me. If a fine man like that respects me, I must be something worthwhile. I feel this of all my friends.

I wish, sometimes, I could properly convey everything I really mean when I talk about my ex husband. So many of the people in my life don't know what he is; I feel just saying "my ex" is almost a disservice to the man.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Yellow Matter

Mom came by today to show my stepfather some of what we'd done, and to see what I'd gone on to do yesterday and this morning. She suggested at one point, I should do the golden color on the upper cabinets as well as the lower.

Having completed the lower cabinets: yeah - nope. I wasn't really considering adding more of it; it was meant as the minor key to the red/white. But having all the area done I'd originally planned, I look at the result, and think - doing the whole cabinet area with the gold would be TOO MUCH of it. I like the color, but it's possible to like within limited proportions of course. I like basil, but have learned that a pasta dish *entirely* based on pesto is far, far too much of an otherwise good thing. Likewise, the third part of my color scheme.

I won't be able to completely finish today, because of the drying time for oil paint alone. Until each door and drawer are dry, I can't put their hardware back on, nor restore them to their places. So there is NO SPACE to work, to do anything more right now!

Fortunately, the remainder consists of the three large upper cabinets. There are some details I want to go back and re-do (edging, and two spots on the wall where color has gotten on the white), but that is small stuff and less a part of the major project than a sideline refinement after the main work is completed.

So once the upper cabinets are painted, I'm treating myself to a trip through my local range of antique stores, and a trip to Lowe's. That pendant light fixture I saw the other day, and three electrical and switch covers in brushed nickel. I may also look at shelving for the stove-side wall, but that will all depend on mood and time.

By tomorrow, anyway, I should be able to clean up the kitchen. And - more importantly - clean up myself ... wear clean CLOTHES ... and enjoy a day not devoted to home improvement labor.



So the kitchen painting project begun last Friday continues (and continues ... and continues ...). Mom was able to give a couple hours help that day, and did come over for a good haul on Monday, but otherwise the work has been up to me.

The fact that I chose to use white and red slowed progress, as edging two such contrasting colors is of course pretty hard work, but even apart from that part of things (now largely over), the job just keeps multiplying on itself - and projects like this always go so slowly when you're doing them on your own. (Never mind how long it takes for oil paint to DRY. Yikes.)

In any case, the red and white are almost entirely done, and I've moved on to the color burst, the golden yellow color I'm painting the lover cabinets - i.e., the ones which would show the most dirt if I painted them white, and the ones which will thus take the most scrubbing; and which are thus getting oil instead of latex.

The red, white, and gold are really working; I couldn't be happier with the way the reality is bearing out, after long consideration of "what I'd do" if only I could redecorate. Better still, the oil is working with a single coat; I'm certainly delighted with that. Once this part is done, I think the rest will look much easier - and, of course, so much cleaner and more - mid-century! - modern.

Between the sprained ankle, and the wearing the SAME painting clothes for - what - five days on end now (ew, gross), the job is wearing thin. But at least the results are gratifying.

If I can finish the work by tomorrow, I'm definitely celebrating by dressing like a human on Friday, and taking myself out for something fun.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Okay, I think the parallel lines here are actually two separate impact wounds - I had thought they showed the tread of a step, but I think it's actually *BAM! BAM!* two bounces on my way tumbling down the stairs.

Scariest thing about these photos - they actually washed-out the coloration of the bruising. In reality, it was BLACK last night when I took these. Far worse looking than the pictures have captured.


Monday, July 12, 2010


So on Saturday night, I got myself cuted up and went down the stairs to sally forth and go see my friend V and her husband W to celebrate V's birthday. We'd decided to hit the retro diner for a nosh and a giggle, and so of course I took the dark blue bag (now stink-free) out on the town.

I got halfway down the steps via the usual mechanics. It was those last five steps - they were a lulu. My left heel caught on the tip of the tread, and that was it for me. It was a good way to fall, and the first rush was fairly intense pain, followed within thirty seconds or less by a more generalized numbness. I landed on my knee (and that was the second knee-bashing I've had this week ... for I am CLUMSY and graceless), but it was that left ankle that took the beating. (Not for the first time; it often seems to be my left foot I've kinked and knocked around!) My leg had folded up under me, so my ankle took the weight of my body right on the edge of a stair. I can see the outline of the step perfectly clearly.

I soldiered on for my friend, and was okay; not even limping. It was sore, but you deal, don't you.

Sunday, I was having to not-quite-limp but definitely favoring the thing, and spent a good long time at the paint shop with the super nice guys there, and then a somewhat shorter time at the grocery. Home again, and off and running with the red paint.

Ohh, it looks so fresh and great. The old red was a bit dull to begin with, and had aged significantly of course - so this is a shot of new, of energy, of vigor and - yes, I know this is a dorky word choice - promise. It's teasing me about how great everything will look once it comes together.

I've moved slowly with the first actual painting (three days IN to the "painting" project!), but I'm going to be happy. The ultra-white is so clean - I've done a little of that too - but the red is alive. And the ankle is actually hurting worse today than it did yesterday.

Oops. Yeah: no. I didn't keep it elevated. I didn't wrap it, no.

So I elevated and wrapped last night. This has harnessed the swelling pretty well, and in fact even reversed some bruising.

I'm back out of the pressure bandage today, but will try to be good and take breaks and at least lift the thing. We'll see how it goes. Because it hurts most to the *touch*.

Well, anyway. Mom's coming over in an hour or so, and we'll be back off to arguing fine points of detailing and process (she's *really* into primer; which is so thick and nasty to work with, it is leaving a surface about as smooth as STUCCO to paint on - which, for my money [literally] is a dadgum no go). But anyway. It should at least go faster, having someone to work with.

And she might even say "poor old Diane - how is your ankle?" and be my nice mommy. Hee.

Saturday, July 10, 2010


Okay, so I have spent most of my life in fear of the Mom Syndrome, wherein my mother has a purse for every season and many within each season for different types of outfits, purposes, and moods. She shifts things from bag to bag with such frequency and vigor that it's inevitable, spending time with my mom, to end up hearing "where IS that credit card" - or coupon, or antacid, or cell phone, or glasses, or what have you.

The constancy of the misplacement of necessities instilled in me a half-a-lifelong puzzlement at the peculiarity of changing purses in the first place. Why bother? Get a good bag in black, of enough style it can be used with a suit, and little enough detail, that it can go with jeans too, and you're in business. Periodically take out one credit card, a compact, and a comb to put in a teeny bag for Saturday nights out - and buy a cheap little one for that. You're set. Two purses for a lifetime.

Over a year ago, the current Target naugahide number began to suffer strap deterioration. The body of the bag was fine, in perfectly dandy condition - but the strap was beginning to crack, and at its moorings, a thread was betraying its non-genunine-leather composition. HORRORS, cried my mother, and mentioned it whenever I saw her.

Around December, I began looking at purses on eBay. I had taken to heart the state of the PVC, and felt, okay, maybe quality might be worth a buck for its relative duration of service.

I looked at literally thousands of bags. I looked for a long time. I knew my style preferences, but honed and refined them. I learned what I cared about in terms of shape and particulars. I'm currently on the unfashionable side of my affinities in appearance (I loathe "slouch", "hobo", "tote", and otherwise giant, short-strapped, or heavily be-chained and decorated purses). The (not actually all that current, but unfortunately still retail-dominant) trend for bags you can't put over your shoulder - and therefore must lose an arm to carrying, rendering you a crook-elbowed fashion monstrosity with a bumper constantly waggling and encumbering you and everyone near you leaves me speechless. The interest in advertising brands, and the gaudiness of brass accoutrements, likewise.

After about a month of shoping, I found a beatifully sleek Italian leather bag by - of all makers (their recent lines are about as ugly as all the descriptors above GET) - I Santi. It's trim, its strap is just long enough to make it a shoulder bag without the thing banging around on my behind all the time, it's got one single small silver detail, and it's black croc-embossed (genuine) leather. I got it for like $35 - quite the deal, considering the prices on purses, specifically on I Santis. It's large enough to carry my wallet, no small feat, and yet still slim and extremely chic. It has proven a practical tool, and I've been extremely happy with it. My sister-in-law, no slave to fads, even commented on how nice looking a purse it is. I figure, something that doesn't call attention to itself by way of gobs of goldtone chains, but still gets good notice like that - and which, as noted, is a useful and easy daily carryall - wins every cent of its purchase price.

So I scored.

Since spending that much time immersed in the consideration of purses, and augmented with the memory of an adorable little red vintage bag an author friend of mine had at the last Writers' Conference, I have been considering my one-bag-except-for-Saturdays lifestyle position.

And I have bought three little vintage purses now.

One is another classic purse I will put into rotation with the black purse, for frequent use. It's a brown box purse, came today in the mail, and turns out to be in unbelievable condition. Apart from the smoke smell inside (currently remediating upstairs in the guestroom), it looks brand new. It will coordinate well with my brown and autumn-colored wardrobers, and I couldn't be more pleased (well, okay, except for the smell).

The other two are a suede-lined dark blue patent with one goldtone clasp ... and the princess of my new collection. The aqua grandma purse.

Turquoise patent, this box purse is very long, with short straps (yes, I considered and got one of those elbow-crooking purses!), and - again, as with both others - looks as if it has never ever been used. This one was flawless, odors included, and I got it because (a) I LOVE turquoise - or aqua, as seems almost like a vintage word to me, and is exactly the right name for this color - and (b) I wanted a COLOR purse, something to perk up spring and summer dresses, to go with my brighter shoes, to be a bit of a "statement" accessory.

I first carried this bag the other day, going to New Employer to pick up my drugscreen paperwork and get fingerprinted. Two people admired it.

I carried it today, going for a haircut. The senior stylist, a guy (who I think finds me intriguing, heh), complimented it immediately. The new stylist I was going to complimented it, and chatted about bags a little. The owner, they directed her to look at it when she came out from the back room.

My little new purse was every bit the Statement Handbag, even more than I'd ever suspected purse-dom might have in store. I really didn't know how people "get" about bags. Even having gotten this way about them myself, apparently!

So I have myself a spankin' new I-got-a-new-job celebratory wardrobe of purses, and mom couldn't be happier. I am hilariously amused, and a new kitchen's in the making too.

THIS is a fun pre-new-job vacation.

And now, thanks to a miserable night's (lack of) sleep - I must go briefly nap off all of this whirling excitement. Whew!

Dead Ends

Time for a haircut in about 45 minutes. None too soon, either.

One more to-do before the first day on the new job. And on the way home: to shop for a little bit of paint and maybe some spackle.

Mmm. Spackle.


Friday, July 9, 2010


I have two recent feedbacks on my eBay rating, which have the item I bought marked as PRIVATE. This kind of cracks me up, because of course most auctions are viewable, so it looks like I've bought some sort of deep, dark, secret thing.

I bought a pair of like eighteen and twelve dollar dresses from a seller. One was silver, to be sure, but even that is knee length, and certainly more disco than (morally) scandalous.

I can hear you sniggering, big brother. Shesh, you. I meant it's modest.


Anyway - the thing is, the seller actually sells a lot of dresses to, as they term them, "CD gals". Cross dressers (and a variety of other nonchromosomally girlie girls).

If I can sell to my endearing "Pansy", I can buy where she might buy too.

I'm one of the lucky gals. It's no secret from anyone the chromosomes and hormones I'm sporting.

And, typing this post, I finally did what I've been meaning to do for a little while now, and looked up her eBay ID to see if she'd gone dormant. I was worried about her.

Still eBaying her little heart out. So a tiny cheer for my buddy Pansy. You GO girl!

Yeah, It's Not Every Day ...

... a middle-aged woman hears her (continent) mom say, "Hand me my diaper, will you?"

What ... ?? My mom saved the cloth diapers from when my bro and I were babies. They really do make remarkably good working rags. For painting kitchens, and things like that.

"So. Fumes getting to you there, Di?"

"Yeah, kinda'lilbitmaybe."


That Kitchen Is HUGE!

Well, the priming is done. It's only one step, but not bad for less'n three hours' work.

Mice and Me

I had planned to do some work this morning, but not get all grubby before it was time to go to the paint store with my mom.

She's still not here.

I've scrubbed the same portion of ceiling (about 25% of the entire job - ugh) five times now.

I am pretty gross.

Ah, well ...


Ahh, kitchen refurbishment. It makes you sing.

You must realize
Paint (chips) gets in your eyes


My kitchen, before the cleanup began:

(In the distance, in that second shot there: the back of Miles O'Brien's uniform. Heh.)

Advice to My Nieces

Make your heart a great gift to give, when you want to love someone.

Make sure they have as good a one, and give it back to you.

And Here Begynneth ...

... the scraping of the windowsills.

Cleanup went well yesterday, scrubbing down dingy old walls and cabinets in prep to paint the kitchen. I even finally got behind the fridge and cleaned back there as well, and swabbed about two-thirds of the ceiling. This morning, of course, light of day mercilessly shows how poor a tool a Swiffer is for cleaning oil-based gloss ceilings, even with a dose of Spic and Span. Results make the untouched part of the job look practically pristine, with a smooth shellac of years of cooking-vapor nice and even across its expanse - while the "cleaned" portion is smeary and disappointing in the extreme.


But so it goes, and so it goeth.

Mom's been delayed, a trip to go buy a new grill with my stepfather (this task has been pending for months now, but apparently today suddenly it became The Urgent Business of the Day - so she has had to put *our* plans off ...). She called a few minutes ago, and they had not even left the house yet.

She has hopes to be over here around noon. I'm optimistically figuring one, at best.

And so on.

So I pulled out my paint supplies (goodly and plentiful, actually), and this tells me we have enough drop-cloth-ery to paint an entire house without moving one dropper ... but that, along with the paint we'll need to buy, some masking tape wouldn't go amiss.

In the meantime: my high-quality scraper I didn't even know I had. This thing is deluxe - and I was expecting putty knives. So finding *that* was a happy thing.

Ten-forty-four hours, and I'm dooping around the kitchen, listening to DS9 Season Two still. We're up to the Maquis. Good, fun stuff.

... and counting ...

Thursday, July 8, 2010


Well, the rest of the kitchen is a disaster of appliances and displacements - but the WALLS are lookin' good.

Tomorrow: we paint. Woo!

Morbid ... ? Smarty-Pants? Who Cares?

So Mr. X joked with me today, that I've probably got my outfit already picked for the first day at work. Call that snarky, but the man does know a little about me anyway.

In fact, the one outfit I've thought of is probably going to be the winner. It's a stretchy navy dress which is very sleek looking (amazing with my giant gold necklaces), but comfortable.

And it's the dress I was feeling SO awfully flossy in the day they laid me off.

I figure, that dress deserves better.

And, from what I have seen at the downtown location of my new employer (this won't be my eventual home, but I'll report downtown day 1), it is appropriate.

Have I mentioned the surprising population of very nice looking young women I've noticed on my visits so far? I'm genuinely concerned they forgot their glasses the day they hired me; but maybe us middle-aged divas are located at the other office ...

Better and Better

The rain has come. I have hope that this will be actual, real rain; I drove through it an hour ago, but found the homefront dry. There was wonderful thunder as I got out of the car, but it wasn't very dark yet, and there was no rain forthcoming for some time.

It has just started. Great gawps of noisy rain - not noisy wind and not even noisy thunder. The thunder has been low, steady - unobtrusive. But the rain is making itself heard, making the sky just a little bit greyer now. It ha come.

I hope it doesn't leave in the hurry it's been in for the few appearances we've seen in the past three months or so. We need the rain. This is welcome rain, too; it's not nasty, it's temperate. It's easy and streaky.


And in the time I've written this post, it's stopped once again already. I hope that's just a spell, just an ebb between the clouds.

The ground beneath the maples isn't even slick with water yet.


Please ...

House and Home

Before I start the new job, mom and I are embarking on a project - to paint my kitchen at long, long last. This morning, I've started to redeploy a few objects in there. What furniture there is has to be moved, the cookbook-shelves emptied and taken down, the pictures on the walls removed, the things on top of the fridge and some other miscellany put out of the way. Later on, I'll go for the cleaning solution we'll use to scrub down the walls (the place has been cooked in for thirty or forty years since the last time it got redecorated!), and the paint.

I'm listening to Deep Space 9 DVDs and digging in to a new project. Very cool, and I'm excited to see the new kitchen. My body could use the labor, and my heart and brain welcome the diversion, the to-do's.

Time for a new coat of paint. It's a hard time, change being what it is - but a good one.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


I keep having some "thing" in my knee which doesn't qualify as pain - but, as a twinge goes, it's unnecessarily assertive. Stop it, knee.

Stupid knee.

Klingon Poetry Jam

Suitable for my main character, this one ...

So honor the valiant who die 'neath your sword,
But pity the warrior who slays all his foes.

Too Rich for My BLOOD

Oh, this is very, very funny. A blogger breaks down the passion of the girl in Twilight for the vampire in Twilight, including his preternaturally sexy BREATH.

Very nicely done.


I've reported for fingerprinting and drug screen paperwork, run some errands, done the drug screen itself, and returned home on a ludicrously hot afternoon. Start date should be the 19th, so mom and I are conspiring about kitchen painting.

Some bird keeps bumping (not terribly hard, but still) into my window. It must look nice and cool inside where the shade is. Poor, hot old birdbrain.

And now, to enjoy some more of my brand new Deep Space Nine season 2 DVDs. Season two is very enjoyable, and not *merely* because it features the lovely and talented (and delicious voice of) Mr. Frank Langella. It's entertaining in several other ways, too.

Not least of which is the delightfully creepy Mr. John Glover. Papa Luthor! Yay!

Invincible Summer

Yesterday, it hit 105.6 degrees in the shade outside my mom and stepfather's house.

It's some HOT, y'all.

The title today comes from Camus ... In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer. --Albert Camus (1913-1960) While not precisely apropos, the phrase certainly has a resonance right now.

Anyone in doubt of global warming, please form a line to the left, where you are cordially invited to jump in a lake.

Of fire.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

To the Nines

Was online today discussing with other writers what they would like to/think they "should" wear for a meeting with an agent. It was interesting how reverse-snobby some people are about those who might choose to treat a meeting of this sort as if it were (*GASP!*) a professional meeting. Not that agents actually care; but the sense from one or two, at least, was that anyone not prepared to wear their cowboy hat, or revolver, or schmoopy fairy outfit, or sclubby slob wear was somehow actually not quite right (serious!) as a writer. To which I say: it's possible to have more than one gear, people. Good grief.

Anyway - my contribution. I liked it enough to replicate it (yes, with edits - dur) here.

One of the things I have hated most about unemployment is the unending parade of "dog walking pants" I have been wearing every day. I worked for about a decade and a half in financial services and other executive offices, and I have missed the opportunity to dress professionally very much. Those who dismiss professional dress are entitled to their opinions, but ... not to determining *mine*. Wearing suits and good clothing doesn't diminish my writing, nor cheapen my intellect somehow as a sellout. I like them, but I am much more than professional clothes; nor does my writing doesn't require me to costume myself as if I were one of my own characters, or as "An Author", or anything else. If I had a formal meeting with an agent, I'd simply feel most comfortable in heels and hose. That's ME. But it doesn't make me some sort of empty-headed dilettante - nor does it make me self-conscious, more concerned with appearance than content, nor some kind of wannabe hoping a good blazer will do for me what my hard work and talent can't

For ME, a suit happens to have a sense of occasion about it. That feels good to ME.

Here's the thing. I loathe and despise the idea of dressing the same way all the time. The number of people who express the desire to do exactly that, and by those who simply DO it, flat-out floors me. Doesn't matter which type people go for; any type, with no variation at all, is a deadly bore. Women who are made up all the time, men who can't get out of the (way oversized) Dockers and golf shirts, goth kids who NEVER put down the eyeliner - I don't discriminate based on genre; I'm astounded at *any* of these people's dedication to genre dressing. I like to be a bit of a vixen on a Saturday night, a sleek professional on weekday mornings; I also revel in being the middle-aged suburban hausfrau I undeniably am in my down time, with my dog.

I'd be bored out of my mind being any one of those things ALL THE TIME, forever, amen. My consideration of dressing for any occasion - agent meetings or anything else - is born of how much more interesting it is not to be the same old visual bore all the time. I clean up well, as they say. So I like to do it.

More to the point, it really is amazing how much more comfortable those dog-walking pants are after I've spent my day out in the world with actual human people, working for a living, put together to the nines ... and finally getting to come home and peel off all the accoutrements of professional battle. At the same time, jeans or what have you just AREN'T that comfortable if you wear them all the time; no matter the venue, whatever the dress code is. I've worn jeans to work. I've been unemployed for even longer stretches than this most recent stint. I swear by my heels and business clothes. I have lived, lately, for the opportunity to dress for church.

For the record, all of my agent meetings so far have taken place at my annual Conference. For this two-full-day occasion, I generally wear slinky black pants and some sort of bold colored tee, and oxford shoes for comfort. I've gotten two requests for reads thus casually dressed (out of, I think, four agent meetings conducted there ... this doesn't count the agent my very first year who passed on to a colleague of hers a partial of something which was hardly even a WIP at the time, nor ever became one).

Anyway - the point is: I know a suit is not ALWAYS the thing. But dang if I wouldn't treat a potential "getting agented" for real meeting as a more professional situation. And bloody love it.


Okay, NOW I have an offer letter.

Now I believe it, and am getting excited!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Apropos of Nothing

I don't understand women who get into committed relationships based on their goals for themselves, rather than on the particular man they commit to. Yet this seems a terrifyingly common methodology.


Sunday, July 4, 2010

Dream Job - Literally?

The offer letter didn't come on Friday; the staffing manager was off for vacation (she actually called me from home, kids in the background, to give me the offer) - so I should not be worried, I'm sure. But until the thing is in front of me; until I have signed and returned it, I'm going to keep feeling this whole thing is just a cruel hallucination.

I feel like I am holding my breath. And if you've read much, that is not a positive sensation for me.

*On tenterhooks until Tuesday morning*


I'm having a sip of the wine of celebration. When I lost the last job, one of the people I worked with was stirred to come by one day with a goodbye present, they objected so to the layoffs. The present consisted of three bottles of rather lovely wine. I have shared, of course; as drinking wine all on one's own is (a) a little much - particularly for someone as prone to headaches as I get! - and (b) a little melancholy, at that. My neighbors have helped toast to my good hopes; and tonight, we toasted to my better luck; with my "unemployment wine". It seemed quite right.

And mellow and delicious.

*On the last glass*

The evening was very nice; five of us, and the three dogs between us (well behaved, no less, even with the holiday sounds here and there). We shared tender shredded barbeque, good talk, and a soft evening. I have great neighbors, and am grateful and blessed. They were so sweet and full of congratulations.

It may not have been explosive, but it has been a great Independence Day, nonetheless.

I always think of the one seven years ago, and still ache for how hard it was on someone I hold so dear. I remember that one, and the one after that, when we were together and did the whole big BANG-BANG Fourth of July thing, down by some big water. The first was painful. The second: we had no idea then it would be our last (for some time yet ...). The Fourth may be more fraught than Valentine's Day, in my heart. I pray every year.

And this year, I'll sip a silent sip in remembrance and other feelings.

Friday, July 2, 2010


Well, I may not quite believe in the offer ... BUT ... I certainly didn't do my job slog today. In fact, I had a happy little interlude, deleting all the bookmarks for job hunting from my Favorites list. So much cleaner looking.

I may yet go back to those sites where I've applied in the past, to delete my profiles and even withdraw outstanding apps less than, say, two weeks old.

But still, it was nice to finally be able to get to that little task.

Even if I STILL can't believe I got the call.


I still can't believe I got the offer, and the fact that I haven't got the offer letter in hand (well, in electronig inbox, anyway) doesn't dispel the sensation. But it seems to me like they called me today. It seems to me they made a nice offer - and then discussed some specific things about me the managers are specifically and particularly excited about. It seems to me that means I can start work with a confidence in the direction I need to take, and the apparent implication that I was actually the runaway favorite candidate for this.

It seems all very true, and all very good, and like a huge piece of good news on a gloriously beautiful day, on a holiday weekend.

It seems wonderful.

I still can't believe it, though.

Then Again

I could be wrong.

Better still, I could be employed.


Thursday, July 1, 2010

Mein Kopf Tut Mir Veh

So as I was doing that stuff you do between the phone interview at home, and the getting dressed to go interview in person, I puttered about the house a bit this morning. Amongst other puttering, I flossed my teeth. Squatted down to discard the floss under the sink, and found a small piece of trash next to the wastebasket; so reached over for that, and put it all in. Stood up.

Took a steel corner of the medicine cabinet to the forehead.

Well, that hurts.

I bled. Wah, wah, poor little baby girl me.

But it was a tongue-biter, one of those moments you just go "of COURSE, not that I had a job interview or anything today" and glare at the poor dog. You know, and dab for a while, daring the bleeding to just keep on one minute more. Gah.

As to that: it is true what they say. Head wounds do bleed, even little minor ones, more than you expect. Oiks.

Fortunately: bangs.

Unfortunately, though: I keep forgetting it's there, and touching the bruise accidentally.



If I'm honest, I don't think I'm going to get an offer. Not because I don't think I presented well today, or because my skill set isn't right on, or because there was any particular vibe either over the phone or once I went in for the site interviews. I just don't get a "lucky" sense here, for whatever reason. Not that I have that sort of thing generally, with interviews - or don't, that I can think of - but something about this speed I've been so impressed with seems to me almost "directed", if that makes any sense.

When the SVP told me this morning that I was the final candidate - and today it's only been two weeks since the LISTING even went up! - I just suddenly felt like a string was cut. Like my kite was let go. It just seems (a) too good to be true, and (b) far too "easy" to end in a get at this point.

I'm rightly confident in my abilities, my ability to present them in an interview, and my quality as an employee. I'm very interested in this potential employer. Maybe I'm more defeated than I realize.

But I don't think so.

I just don't believe this can possibly go as well as this would have to, for an offer to be a real likelihood here. I am good, but I'm not so d*mned good employers can detect it at this rate of speed, and act on it so fast.

No, it just seems to me that they did the legal requirement, with interviews, and someone else is in the wings for this role.

I will be disappointed, if I hear it's not mine.

But I would be positively stunned to hear that it could be.



Holy aching frijoles.

I want this job.

One Down

Okay, telephone interview done. I think it went well, but I never do feel like I make as good a remote impression as I do in person, and there is always an element of discomfort with the impersonality of contact like this. I did like the executive, and he's the senior member of the team I'm speaking with, and certainly the fit seems like it could be good.

Surprisingly, as fast as they have moved so far, I am the *last* candidate they're speaking with. And a decision should be made TOMORROW. Wow.

I don't know whether to shift my pointless obsessing from the question of "are they so enthusiastic about me they shifted from phone to in-person interviews?" to "are they able to move so fast because there is an internal candidate already, and going external is an exercise in lip service?" Eh, probably best not to pointlessly obsess at all, right? The good news in this context is that this employer has moved so fast I don't have as much TIME for the fretfulness, so its more just a pointless diversion than a genuinely engaging emotional state.

It's nice to see a place moving this quickly. Even if it's all just going through the motions and I have no real chance, at least there won't be some prolonged period of uncertainty.

Two to go now: 2:30 and 3:30 this afternoon. Still not time to go upstairs and get suited up yet.