jianantonic: (Seahorse)
I've felt pretty crappy most of the day. But good things are happening. Let's focus on that:

Emily is coming to visit this weekend! We have awesome things planned! It's going to be a blast!
Kayaking and crafternoon on Saturday, for anyone local who wants to join. And piano bar on Friday night. :)

I'm going kayaking tomorrow with Nick. I think this might be my next expensive obsession. The place where we rented kayaks last week was actually totally reasonable, but if I'm doing it 2x a week all summer...I should buy my own damn kayak. Except I'd also have to buy a way to mount it on my car and then not be a lazy fucker, and these things are hard for me.

A short sale of mine that has been pending for six months finally got bank acceptance and there is a closing date! I'll get paid! A tiny commission, but still. Excited to close that one!

A friend of mine just won a major WSOP event. This is awesome for him and super exciting. At the same time, I'm really bad at being purely happy for people when they're crazy successful. I wish I was crazy successful. But I don't try as hard as most of those people, so there's that...I guess I don't want it *that* badly. Still, jealous. But it's awesome for him and he's a good guy so I am happy for him. Just wish we were closer friends so I could be part of his celebration posse :P (He's a bridge player who went to college in Portland and played here back then. I played a couple of national events with him back in the day. And I've actually played a lot with his dad, too. But haven't been close with many bridge people since I basically quit playing in 2014...another reason it's bittersweet.)

I have a really cute kitten.

McKenzie and I had a sentimental/sweet discussion over email and I didn't cry.

Falcon Ridge is only a month (and change) away.

Lucy is at camp and I just sent her a letter and I think it will make her happy to read it :)

I had a carpet guy come to my house yesterday and give me an estimate for new carpet upstairs. I'm adulting. (Toby is helping.)

I've been working on a crafty project for a few weeks now and I'm almost finished and I'm really happy with how it's coming together. Photos when I'm done.

Archer got renewed for several more seasons. I hope they keep making that show forever.
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
Things are mostly really good right now and I've been feeling awesome for the last few weeks. I don't have any major new issues contributing to my depression, and the things that were really weighing me down have subsided quite a bit -- real estate is moving again, my finances are in order (thanks to help from my parents), my fitness is improving, and I'm really just enjoying myself a lot. And of course there's that crazy kitten. He's a burst of joy, too.

I've gotten into a few new board games lately. My two favorite new ones are Istanbul and Quadropolis. Both like medium-level think/strategy games, but still pretty light for Euro-style. Toby also recently taught me backgammon, and we've been playing several games a day. Games are good :)

I'm doing a lot of substitute trivia hosting this month, so I'll see a little bump in the cash flow from that. I've been Ubering a few days a week for a few hours at a time, and my Airbnb room is pretty constantly rented. The last few years, I've had interns rent it for whole summers, but this year it's just been a string of short-term rentals. More money in the long run, because they're not getting discounts for longer rentals, but more work for me, doing laundry and changing the bed every day. No biggie, though. It's helping me keep the house (somewhat) clean, so there's that!

I continue to feel just disgustingly good about my relationship with Toby, and I'm pretty happy most of the time.

Sleep is still a problem -- I'm not doing well following the guidelines my doctor gave me, and that leads me to ignore them, and nothing improves. My own fault, I know. But as with all my other health changes this year, I've had to be ready, and I guess I'm just not ready to make big changes to these particular habits. It will come in time, though. I'm not letting it bother me much :)

Cleopatrick has been trying to sneak out more and more -- he's still confined mainly to my bedroom, with the closet and bathroom doors closed as well. For some reason, he LOVES going in the bathroom, and will sprint in there in a hurry as soon as someone opens the door. But there's nothing in there that he does, really. He just likes to see the places he usually doesn't get to see, I guess. Same with the closet. But he's pretty good about coming out when we dangle a toy or something to lure him so we can close the doors again. He's also made a handful of escape attempts out of the bedroom door, so we decided we'd try letting him out on supervised leave for a bit and see how he handles the rest of the house. Turns out when he's allowed, he's terrified. I picked him up on Saturday and as soon as we were past the threshhold of the doorway, he started freaking out. I thought he'd calm down when I brought him downstairs and he could see that everything was okay, but he totally lost it. As soon as I put him down, he raced back to the bedroom. Toby tried the same thing with similar results the next day. But that makes it easy for us. If he wants to stay in the bedroom, I don't have to worry about my jigsaw puzzles or craft table or the cat escaping out the front door. Works for me. I imagine he will want a larger range eventually, though.

One last happy thing...or, like, 80% of it, or something? One of my close friends just entered her second trimester of pregnancy. She's told most of her friends, but I guess it's still not public knowledge, so I'm not naming names yet, but the pregnancy is healthy and I'll have another niece or nephew in a few months. Of course I am thrilled about this, and will write more on the topic when I get the green light to gush freely. 
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
I touched a squirrel for the first time today! I'm definitely over-excited about this, but for a girl who grew up in a neighborhood called Squirrel Ridge, it was a special moment. I definitely chased my share of squirrels as a kid, and I totally believed that if I was nice to them and sang a little bit and held out my hands, they'd warm up to me and come be my friends just like in all those Disney movies. (Disney lies.)

McKenzie and I hiked up to the top of Spencer Butte in Eugene this morning, and at the top, I noticed a squirrel. A really fat one. Someone had spilled quite a pile of sunflower seeds on the ground, and this squirrel was making his or her way to the mother lode. We made eye contact, and I noticed that the rodent seemed rather at peace with the idea of sharing space with me, so I inched closer. I didn't sing, but I totally did the Disney princess hand reach thing, and when s/he didn't back away, I went for it.

Now I know, because I was raised a country girl, that any wild animal that isn't fucking petrified of humans probably has rabies, so even though I was all about making friends, I wasn't going to push my luck. I stroked his or her back for a while while s/he munched on some sunflower seeds, and that was enough of a thrill that I've been seriously giddy about it all day.

Simple pleasures, y'all.

jianantonic: (Seahorse)
Yesterday, I was having a Facebook chat with a friend...someone I only know through another friend, and have actually never met, but we have had a few conversations and I really like this person a lot. We share a passion for social justice and for poop humor. I'm glad we were introduced. At the end of our chat yesterday, he said this to me: "you are a good person. thank you for being a good person." It's simple, but it meant so much to me. I wasn't fishing for it and it's incredibly touching to know that this near-stranger has this impression of me.

I'm fairly confident that all my friends know that I value them and think they are good people. I'm pretty confident that most of my friends feel similarly about me. Still, it's nice to hear.

LJ friends, I think you are good people. I'm glad I know you. 
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
I went to Chipotle tonight to grab dinner on my way home, wearing my Virginia Tech sweatshirt.  When I got to the register to pay, the guy in front of me waved me off and said he'd buy my dinner.  "Because you're a Hokie.  Merry Christmas!"  Turns out his son was class of '07 :)  That made my day.  I called my parents to tell them about it, and it made their day, too.  

I love that I'm a part of these communities -- Virginia Tech and Portland -- where the people care about one another and are just so flippin' friendly.  Now, what should I do to make a stranger's day tomorrow?
jianantonic: (Default)
Today was largely uneventful for me, but at the same time so full of good things!

It was my first day back at the office in a week due to a schedule switcharoo last week, and I was good 'n' busy all day long, which I like.  The most stressful part of my workday is boredom.  I love that about it.  Also, we have a new adjuster, so I'm not the new kid anymore.  Not that I mind or that the hazing was too bad or anything.  It's just cool to grow up in the company a little bit.

Then at the end of the day, things cooled down enough that I had just a few minutes to kill -- not enough time to get into too much trouble, but enough time to surf Craigslist for bass clarinets.  McKenzie says that I'm noticeably better at clarinet already after just a week of reteaching myself, and I'm so enthusiastic about it.  Sethy's enthusiasm for his new sax habit is quite contagious, and since the majority of my musical skill lies with the woodwinds, I figure my best shot at a decent jam session with some of my favorite musicians is to hone those skills.  Anyway, I always played bass clarinet in school, and I like the sound a lot better (deeper, more resonant), but bass clarinet parts in bands and orchestras tend to be on the boring side.  Not that I'm joining any orchestras or anything.  The fingering is exactly the same, it's just the blowing that's different (too easy, let it slide), so there's nothing stopping me from playing fun clarinet music on a bass clarinet...except the whole not owning a bass clarinet thing.

Bass clarinets aren't exactly common, either, so it's not like I can just find one at a garage sale.  Even Craigslist offers slim pickins, so I figured I'd save up for a little while and maybe buy a nice used one the next time I have a few thousand dollars laying around, and until then I'll keep working with the clarinet.  But with my few minutes to spare this afternoon, I pulled up Craigslist Portland...then looked at the Charlottesville one, just to see...turns out, a recently-graduated student is leaving town and doesn't want to take her instruments with her.  She has both a clarinet and a bass, and she's unloading them at a truly bargain basement price.  I pounced, and hit Facebook to enlist a Virginian friend or relative to make the deal for me.  Then, my sister-in-law Rachel saw my post and sent me a text saying not to buy one, she will give me her dad's.  Holy shit!

Backstory -- Rachel grew up in Brooklyn and went to LaGuardia High School for the Performing Arts.  The Fame high school.  She was in Jennifer Aniston's class.  Anyway, her performance art was clarinet.  Her dad passed away a long time ago (20 years or more, I believe), and I didn't know that he was a musician at all, but apparently he was quite a gifted one, and he took up bass clarinet late in life.  He left it to Rachel, his clarinet-playing daughter, but she doesn't really use it, and so when she saw that I was jonesing for one, she realized where it would have a good home.  I am SO HONORED.  She says it hasn't been played in at least 15 years and will need some work probably, but she is going to bring it to Charlottesville next week, and I'll have my mom take it to a local shop for a tuneup.  Yay!

Still, I don't know the condition of this bass for sure, and I do know that there's a good deal to be had on one in Waynesboro, so I'm still going to buy that one if it checks out okay.  My uncle is going to look at it for me tomorrow or Friday.  He's a musician, so I trust he'll make a good call on it.  If it happens that I end up with two playable instruments, I'll give the one that's not a family heirloom to Shanon, because she also played bass clarinet in school, and I'll make her play duets with me.  I'm so excited!

Rachel also told me that she ran into Paul McCartney at lunch today.  They were eating at the same restaurant, and when Paul and his son were leaving, they walked by Rachel's table and he said "Hello," then peeked in Bess's stroller and said "She's beautiful.  I was admiring her before."  Paul McCartney thinks my niece is beautiful!  It's quite silly I know, but I'm completely starstruck-from-afar.  When I heard this story, I promptly looked up all the Beatles sheet music I could find for clarinet and dedicated tonight's practice to Paul.  And Bess.  Heh.  (Seth -- a lot of their stuff is musically pretty simple.  You and me, woodwind Beatles cover show at Falcon Ridge next year?  Everyone else sings?)

Then, just when I thought I'd met my quota for happy in one day, I got a message from the abovementioned Seth, who is in Philly right now with our good friend and fellow Shantytowner, Tony, telling me that he just witnessed Tony's purchase of a plane ticket to Portland next month.  I'm gonna have my first Shanty visitor!  You guys.  I cannot contain the happy.  
jianantonic: (Default)
Yesterday was a very good day.

After work, I met a guy in a parking lot and bought a clarinet from him.  It's a Buffet Crampon, which was recommended by my former band teacher.  It's one of their more basic models, not the $6000 ferrari of clarinets that they offer at their top end, but it's a good one for learning, and we'll see if I stick with it now that I've decided to go for it.  I played in middle school, but actually switched to bass clarinet after one year, which is the same fingering, just a larger instrument, so the breathing is different.  And I haven't played that since I was 14, either.  So it's been more than half my life since I've practiced this thing, but it's the only instrument I was ever really good at, so I figured it would be a good place to start if I want to bring more music into my life.  Anyway, I'm liking it so far.  It's coming back to me easier than I thought it would in some ways, and harder in others.  For instance, my fingers still remember exactly what to do.  I just had to review the notes and fingerings a little bit and then I had it all.  Reading music and putting my fingers in the right place at the right time is no problem.  The breathing and actual noise production is another story, though.  I know how it's done.  I know what I'm supposed to do, and I know it will eventually come more naturally to me.  But right now it's fucking hard.  I'm not honking and squawking too much, it's just that I can't hold a note for a very long time, and I get winded and my cheeks get sore pretty fast.  I know that will go away, so I'm just going to keep at it and trust that it will get easier with practice.  Today I made it all the way through the entire chromatic scale.  There's a limited number of notes you can play on a clarinet -- three octaves, I think?  Maybe more?  Low E to high F, I believe.  Anyway, I played the whole scale and hit all the notes.  My fingers just remembered how to do it, and I managed to hold a breath long enough to get them all out in one puff.  That feels like an accomplishment.  I ordered some books online, so I'll have a more structured study path when they arrive.  But googling "learn to play clarinet" is working out well enough so far.

After my clarinet rendezvous, I met up with Z and our realtor to look at more houses.  We lost our third bid, which is basically becoming the norm for us.  This market is just so frustrating right now, it's crazy.  But we made another offer last night, and GUESS WHAT?  We fucking got it!  Huzzah!  It's a short sale and may take a while, and who knows what more can still go wrong, but we are in first position and barring something spectacularly unusual, this house is ours for the buying.  That said, because it's a short sale and who the fuck knows, we're going to keep looking while we wait, but we're probably going to be moving into this one in a few months.  And there was much rejoicing.
Things I love about this condo:
It has a garage
It has two master suites
It has a great view in a pretty neighborhood
It's significantly cheaper than renting
It's close to lots of trails and green space, and closer to work (by bike)
Things I don't love about it:
It's not on the MAX line, and the walk score kinda sucks
The neighborhood is really hilly -- since I plan to bike everywhere, I imagine this will suck for a while, but like the clarinet, I'll get used to the challenge and soon it won't feel like a challenge at all anymore.  I hope.
It doesn't have much extra space.  It's got more than enough space for the things we have, but I'm not sure it'll have room for a seahorse tank.  That said, it's one of the largest condos we've seen in this price range.  I'll find a place for those seahorses.

When I get back from San Francisco this weekend, we're going to bike over there and loiter in the neighborhood a bit to get a feel for it.  With the short sale, it's really easy to back out of the contract if we decide we've changed our minds, which is why I don't feel too bad about writing offers right after we see a place -- to even have a chance at the contract, that's pretty much what you have to do anyway.  Shoot first, think later.  Luckily, we have time to think now that the contract is ours.  But I feel pretty good about it.  Unless we see something better (and score a contract on it as well), this is the place we'll buy.  

I leave for SF in the morning for my WW leader training.  I had my second session with my coach tonight to practice leading meetings and whatnot, and it went really well.  She had a lot of praise for me and I'm feeling good about getting in front of the group now.  It won't be long!

The WW people booked my flight for me, which was a little trickier than it had to be.  Since my email is still under Meg Massie (because I have always used Massie as a writer), it was hard to explain to them that my name is actually Margaret Myers.  They originally booked the ticket under Margaret Massie-Myers, but when I told them my last name isn't hyphenated, they changed it to Margaret Massiemyers.  Yeah, because that's a real name that people have.  So I'm unable to link my frequent flier account to my ticket online, and can't snatch up the sweet sweet exit row seat because it doesn't recognize me as elite.  Hopefully it'll still be available when I check in tomorrow morning at the airport.  Heh.  It's just a short flight, though, so no biggie anyway...
jianantonic: (Default)
I spent yesterday evening at Shanon's place, hanging out with my little nephew.  He's ten days old now!  I really do think of him as family, and it's so cool that I will see him grow up, literally from the day he was born.  We had just put him on the changing table and were reaching for the diaper when he let out the most explosive shart that ever there was.  Thank goodness we weren't five seconds ahead of ourselves, or we would've had a baby shit shower.  But as a near miss, it was pretty funny.  

I'm going to South Africa in six weeks with one of my favorite people in the whole wide world, and we are going to have an amazing time.

Sometime shortly after my return, I will welcome two new nieces.  One is an actual daughter-of-a-sibling, and the other is the daughter of one of my closest cousins, which I know makes her my first cousin once-removed, but Aunt Meg sounds so much nicer than First Cousin Once-Removed Meg, so I'm calling her my niece and that's that.  Some of my other cousins' kids call me Aunt Meg also, and I really like that, so I will be Cupcake's aunt.  That is her name while in utero.  No idea what Rachel and WT will name their baby, but I hope to be there for the blessed event, or at least very shortly thereafter.  It's not like we can predict it, so I don't have a flight yet, but I am going to jump a plane the minute my brother gives me the green light, so, yay, two months away from another niece! 

The office don't-call-it-Christmas party is this weekend, and it's formal, and I have a pretty new dress.  Purple, of course.  And I spent all of $24 on it because H&M is the sparkle fantastic.

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Meg

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