Tuesday, August 31, 2010

It's That Time of Year...

I've commenced my yearly re-reading of the Harry Potter series. This is, of course, partly because I simply love the books, and also partly to prep for the release of the first half of the seventh book's screen adaptation. I will also be watching all six DVDs before it opens.

My love for this series has no end. Every time I re-read them, they surprise me again and again. It's easy to forget Rowling's superb attention to detail and all of the little silly things that seem insignificant at the time you read about them but come back several books later to be really important. The characters are marvelous--three-dimensional, human--and Rowling catches the angst of the teen years superbly. I could go on for hours.

This time, I'm reading my British set of the books. Yes, yes...I own two sets of the Harry Potter series. I have the US editions in hardback, with their marvelous illustrations, and I have the British editions with their British spellings and different cover art. Words like "bogey" in the British books were replaced with "booger" for American audiences, but otherwise, the stories are the same.

It's also that time for Grey's Anatomy. Season 7 starts in three weeks and I've got six previous seasons to watch. I do this every year in anticipation (I started watching on-and-off in season three and have watched religiously since season 4) and I absolutely love them. Some seasons are better than others, and really, the show was in its top form in seasons 1 and 2, but I still love the drama and the romance and the absurdity.

Something about reading Harry Potter and watching Grey's screams "Fall!!" to me. I'm ready for much cooler weather and plenty of hot tea, curled up on my couch with my furbabies in warm pajamas. Bring it on!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Save Me, San Francisco

I had two purposes for going to San Francisco today:

  1. I really, really needed to get out of town for a day, and away from the all-too-addictive Internet.
  2. I needed to get some pictures of myself holding a California flag in front of some San Francisco icons.
A gal at the Keane fan forum got a brilliant idea to collect flags from all over the world from Keane fans. She's going to sew them all together and give the finished product to the guys of Keane, along with a scrapbook of the fans with the flag. I asked if I could contribute my state flag, and she said that was an awesome idea--and I appear to be the only California fan who wants to be part of it, so I have my flag, I've signed it, and now I'm just getting pics of it (next up: in front of the state capitol in Sacramento) before I mail it off to Germany.

Anyway, on my way into the city, I pulled off the Bay Bridge onto Treasure Island on a whim, thinking a pic with the San Francisco skyline would be cool.

I took a few pics of the skyline and bay before getting back in my car (it was chilly!) and heading into the city itself.

Once in the city, I began the tedious process of getting across it to the Presidio, a task involving dodging jaywalkers, tourists who shouldn't be driving, and delivery trucks parked in the right-hand lane while someone attempting a left turn is in the left-hand lane.

Along the way, I found myself at many red lights, taking pics through my winshield.

Big hill!!

Finally, I made it to the Presidio and found my way to Crissy Field, where I could get some great Golden Gate Bridge shots, and some views back at the fabulous city skyline.

After this, I ended up in Golden Gate Park (despite planning my route from the Presidio to the park, I managed to get loss TWICE--a special talent of mine--but I did end up making it in one piece).

I had intended to go to the Impressionist exhibit at the deYoung Museum (on loan from the fabulous Musee d'Orsay in Paris) but the museum is closed on Mondays. So I had some miso soup and cookies in the Japanese Tea Garden.

I wanted to beat rush hour traffic out of the city and going through Pleasanton/Livermore on 580, so I left after my small lunch. I am proud to report that for the first time EVER, I did not get lost while finding my way back to the Bay Bridge. GO MEG!!


I got two more shots through the windshield while at stoplights. (Note: I never take pics while the car is moving--always at a stop.)

That's City Hall straight ahead.

It was a lovely afternoon out, and I achieved my goal of beating the stir-crazies and getting my flag pictures.

Monday Music: Mt. Desolation

Okay, okay, so two of the guys involved in Mt. Desolation come from Keane. They've put together this side project to explore a more folk-country-blues side to themselves. Their first album comes out this fall, and I'm looknig forward to it. Here's "State Of Our Affairs."

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Minor Annoyances

Neither incident that I'm about to write about is really worth posting a whole blog about. However, this cartooning thing is kind of fun, in that they're supposed to absolutely suck.

Annoyance #1: Use your INDOOR voice!

As usual, I headed over to PetCo at 10:00 this morning to clean cat cages for AFC. And also as usual, I had at least one loud, obnoxious child with a clueless parent on hand to make my job harder.

Look, I get it. Kids love animals, and yes, it is kind of cute when they see the animal and make the sound the animal makes. However, there's a difference between a sweet kid softly saying, "meee-owwwoo!" and the monster child this morning that was saying,


Mom, in the mean time, smiled indulgently as the meeeeooowwwwoooo kitties in question hid wherever they could.

To a cat, people are giants. Even little mini-people, like the 4-6 year-old in question today, appear huge to a small feline. So while this kid's mom was thinking, "Awww, how cute, my baby knows her animal sounds!" the cats were thinking, "EEEKK!!! Get me OUTTA HERE!!!"

Meg is simply thinking, "Wonder if anyone would buy it if I 'accidentally' fling the contents of this litterbox on the kid?"

Annoyance #2: Green light, bozo!!

On the way home from PetCo, I was driving down my street. I was a mile or two from home and ready to shower and then have a spot of lunch. I stopped a red light, the third car back, and watched with passing interest as a car just ahead of me in the left-turn lane (I was in the straight-ahead lane) had a hand poke out, waving at the car that was stopped directly in front of me.

The person driving the car in front of me stuck his hand out and then they proceeded to have a conversation--as the light turned green. The first car was off on its way, and the bozo in front of me was still chatting. One impatient honk from me was all it took, but Bozo did look a little annoyed to have his conversation interrupted. He wanted to talk!

Save it for Facebook, dude. Or email. Or cell phones. Or Twitter. But don't block a lady on her way home.

Glamour Girl

A rare glimpse into my life on a Sunday morning. It's 9:30. In half an hour I will be at PetCo, cleaning cat cages. For now, however, I am in blue pajama pants with sea otters, starfish and seaweed all over them, and a green cotton top that only kinda-sorta goes with the pants. White ankle socks, ratty old white headband keeping my bedhead somewhat tamed. Breakfast was a smoothie (frozen strawberries, pine-orange juice, vanilla-flavored protein supplement and flax seeds).

There are celebs who pay big bucks to be this glamorous.

Friday, August 27, 2010

To Add Insult To Injury

My graphing calculator, that I've been hauling around since 1995, is officially dead. I tried new batteries, but alas, it's beyond help.

When Adulthood Really, Really SUCKS.

I had a job interview this morning, at a charter middle school in San Jose.

The job? Ideal. Small class sizes, kids who chose music as an elective, who want to learn an instrument. Nice school, well-maintained.

The interview? I rocked it. The principal actually told me I had a great interview. There are only four candidates for the job. My chances seem good.

So, what's the catch?

Well, if I get the job, I'd have to start on Monday. Yes, as in Monday, August 30th.

And...San Jose. I don't know much about it, except that it's in the heart of the (in)famous Silicon Valley. Its an extension of the San Francisco Bay Area, and therefore, expensive. Cost of livingis outrageous there--and the teacher salaries do reflect that. At my current place on the pay scale, I'd be making something like $10,000-$12,000 MORE each year. But I'd also be paying a lot more in rent, and I'd probably have to commute longer, in worse traffic.

And something else bothered me.

The principal brought up my non-reelect. That, in itself, doesn't bother me. It happened, it sucks, but it certainly doesn't define who I am as a teacher. But it was interesting hearing this man praise my interviewing schools and then completely trashing my former school district and the place I call home.

"Stockton is strange."

"Stockton is a joke."

Yes, sir, and Stockton is my home!!

And while there is one particular principal who will never be on my Christmas card list and an HR director who doesn't know his ass from his elbow, and the school board is nuttier than a fruitcake, and there is no end in sight to the superintendent woes...well, SUSD wasn't such a terrible place to work. I was happy there, except for one school for one year, because of one person.

And if you've been keeping up with this blog, you know that I am excited about Chorale, and Mozart, and possibilities.

At this point in the day--nearing six o'clock and still no word from the district--there's probably no need for me to even worry. The longer I go without hearing from the district, the more likely it is they decided to hire someone else.

It doesn't stop a family famous for worrying from doing what they do best.

I worry enough to drive myself insane, but then you have to factor in the parental units, who worry even more.

In a one-hour period this afternoon, I had four--FOUR--different phone conversations with a parent/both parents about this whole thing. Mom, bless her, is remarkably preach-free, just reminding me to listen to my gut, consider all angles, and do what I think is best.

Dad, bless him, is frantically trying to put all of his little ducks back in a tidy row. I am picturing him in my mind, buzzing around the house like a low-flying helicopter, unable to land but just hovering as he worries. Is San Jose too far? Too expensive? To unsafe? Too much traffic? Who will move Meg? Who will pay for it? How? Why? What? When?


Needless to say, the conversations have been exhausting.

The fourth call (from Mom) came right after I spoke to my friend Katie. Turns out, our friend Lisa has stage 1 cancer (some kind of glandular cancer). A 32-year-old mother of three that I've known since elementary school. Yes, stage 1 is the best possible time for cancer to be found, and yes, there are so many advances in treatments. But Jesus, cancer is so fucking scary.

So when Mom called, my immediate reaction was, "I shouldn't ever tell you guys ANYTHING."

"Megan, I'm just trying to make peace between  you and Dad. Don't blame me." Of course, I immediately felt bad and apologized. I told her about Lisa, and I told her about wanting a salary again, and benefits, and spending money. I told her about my misgivings, and not wanting to leave Stockton, and how after a months-long stance of, "If you get a job and have to move, you need to do it" from Dad, this sudden case of, "San Jose? But--but--San Jose?!" is giving me whiplash.

It didn't take long for the waterworks to start.

Adulthood has so many perks, and tonight, I'm going to take advantage of a few. I'm going to have a glass of wine, and watch a movie in MY living room.

But adulthood can suck, too--decisions are not always easy, and sometimes, you have to make one that seems wrong, but might actually be right.

That is, if I'm even offered the job.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Itsy Bitsy Spider

There was nothing "itsy bitsy" about it!! That thing was bloomin' HUGE!

This morning, I got up as I have many other mornings and wandered, first thing, into the bathroom, as I always do. I was sleepily brushing my hair out of my eyes when I looked up and... EEEEEKKK!!!!

I kid you not, that spider was enormous, and black, and blood-thirsty...and climbing up the wall of my otherwise-clean shower.

I sprayed some hairspray on the sucker to stun it, then debated how to go in for the final kill. In the end, I decided to grab the lid to a cardboard file box in my 2nd bedroom and knock it off the wall of the shower onto the lid. The lid was big enough that the spider need not get anywhere my hand.

I flicked the box lid towards the toilet, and as planned, the spider fell into the water.

I immediately flushed the toilet, and watched as the spider went down, down, down. A few minutes later, I needed to use the loo, and you can bet that I checked the inside of that toilet--even lifting the seat up and checking underneath--just in case that beast could swim. Thankfully, it was all clear.

Your "Awwww" For Today

A couple days ago, I caught Millie and Harley holding paws on the couch.

Sometimes they even clean each others heads and faces.

And sometimes they do their own thing. Harley, obviously, had too much sun in his face or something.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Harmonica Man

This is a lovely story my dad sent me in an email yesterday, about a man in Chimacum, Washington, who brings the joy of music to children in his community. Chimacum is just a few miles from the town of Port Ludlow, where I lived in 2005-2006, and is also the community in which I taught 6th grade choir that year. I never heard of this man, and I don't know any of the kids in the video. It's a great story.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Back In Business

Ahh, Chorale.

When we got to that last concert in May, I was, to be honest, ready for the summer break. Those first few Monday nights without rehearsal were glorious. But now we're at the end of August, and I'm ready for Fall and all that comes with it--crisper air, turning leaves, soup...and, of course, a new Chorale season.

I arrived at tonight's Summer Sing an hour early, so excited was I to see everyone. And, I admit it, I wanted what I've come to think of as my personal spot--very end of the front row. Meg's Spot. "I'm sorta claustrophobic," I always tell people with a self-deprecating grin. It's true--don't crowd me in or I might start getting a wee bit pushy and panicky on you.

Anyway, a friend needed some advice so I spent most of that hour before rehearsal on the phone, outside. When I came back in, I found that my purse and choir bag had been moved over.


Oooohhhh-kay. Fine. Well, two sopranos were hustling into the pew where I'd left my things, making it pretty much impossible to reclaim my spot. So I took a seat in the pew behind them (normally we rehearse in the hall, in chairs, but tonight was special so we were in the actual church) and sat down.

About five minutes before rehearsal was to start, Costume Lady came in, and insisted I scoot over so she could sit down.

Costume Lady and I have had our run-ins ("You have white on your shoes!!"), but in reality, I love her to pieces. She's 81, with flaming red hair and personality to match. I love CL and she's been one of my biggest cheerleaders with my weight loss. But sometimes, she really is a snot.

I looked at the girl next to me (we'll call her New Girl, because I don't know her). She apologized and said, "I'm saving this spot for a friend." I turned to tell CL this, and CL responded with an impatient, "We can all fit!" and the biggest, fakest smile ever.

Not wanting to start an argument so close to the start of the rehearsal, I scooted over until I was almost sitting on New Girl's lap. Nice. CL sat down--half on my lap, half on the hard wooden edge of the pew--and said, "There! This is fine."

This is not fine.

I sat there for about thirty seconds, feeling irrationally angry and ready to scream. I sighed, rolled my eyes, and said, "Know what? I'll move." I got up and huffed my way across the aisle to the next pew, a much poorer spot than where'd I'd started an HOUR BEFORE EVERYONE ELSE GOT THERE, and sat down, feeling just a little bit put-upon.

The rehearsal went very well. Our new director is demanding, but in the most agreeable way. She pulls beautiful singing out of us and makes it look so easy. The Mozart is going to be a joy to sing--such an amazing piece of music and I'm so happy to have this opportunity.

And in the end, I'm not really all that put out by CL and other seat-stealers. It's part of what I love about being in Chorale. We're musicians--we fuss, we argue, we laugh, and at the end of the day, we make incredible music.

Besides, CL apologized at the end of the evening for being (her words!!), "a bitch." It was quite gracious of her, considering I've never apologized for having white on my shoes at my first Chorale concert, almost two years ago.

Getting My Mozart On

One of the perks of unemployment is, obviously, that I get to stay in Stockton. And in Stockton Chorale. This makes me happy, as we are performing Mozart's oh-so-famous Requiem this fall and I've never had the opportunity to do so before.

Tonight is the first-ever Summer Sing--an evening designed for anyone to come out and sing--members and non-members alike. People who are interested in being in the Chorale can come for a preview, to get a feel for how rehearsals are run and such. People who are already members (like Yours Truly) can get a better idea what our new conductor, Dr. Magen Solomon, is like, and also get a head-start on the Mozart for this fall.

I'm so excited to go back to singing again (beyond, you know, what I do in the shower and car).

Monday, August 23, 2010

A Doodle of a Birthday

Where the time goes, I have no idea.

Today is the unofficial, best-guess, who knows? birthday of one Harley Dude. Using this as my marker, he's two years old.

It's been quite an adventure, ever since that December 2008 day when the Loudest Purr on the Block came to live here with Millie and I. There has been no shortage of cuddles, purrs, exasperated shouts of "HARLEEEEEEY!!" and all of the accompanying madness that comes with raising 13 pounds of orange chaos.

I wouldn't trade one minute of it.

Of course, now that he's turning two, I do rather hope that the hyperactive, overeating teenage boy will settle into a sedate and cuddly mancat...but something tells me we've got a few years of craziness yet to come before my Doodlebug settles into true adulthood. Until then, I will endure being jumped on, attacked, run across (always when sleeping or about to sleep, of course), and treated as a teething ring. I will shell out money for a ton of cat food to keep my Big Boy fat and happy (he's actually not fat--he's just Big. With a capital "B"). In return I will be cuddled and purred at, and followed into the bathroom by my Potty Putty at every opportunity.

Happy Birthday, Harley Dude! Here's to many more happy, healthy birthdays in your forever home.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Simple Pleasures

I have a lot of time on my hands these days, and not a whole lot of money. What's a girl to do to keep from going insane from boredom? Well, I've been finding pleasure in the simple things, in a little bit of a simpler life. Here are some of the things I've been doing to scale back, save money, and have something to do besides sitting in front of my computer waiting for emails and Facebook activity. Because really, a girl could drive herself bananas.

1. Food

Hey, I've gotta eat, right? And eat healthily. I've also got to keep the grocery bills to a minimum, so I've been getting creative. There is something satisfying in the act of being creative in the kitchen--both in terms of health and in finances.

Lunch is cheese--I buy the cheap blocks and cut it myself (cue "cutting the cheese jokes in 5, 4, 3...)--with crackers, half an apple, a bunch of grapes and a couple of hard-boiled eggs. It doesn't sound like much, but it's filling and delicious.

I've stopped buying the bags of salad and spinach and I'm simply buying the much cheaper bunches, washing them myself, and using them up. A bag of pre-washed spinach at my market is $3.49. If I buy a bunch that I have to wash and cut up myself, it's $1.49, and there's more to it. I bought some today to make spinach and asparagus quiche, and some homemade spinach and artichoke dip.

Taking the time to wash and prep food gives me something productive to do, and it makes me think about what I'm eating and how much I'm putting in my mouth each day. I save money, and I keep up with my healthy eating goals.

2. Snail Mail

I had to buy a bunch of stamps the other day. Every two weeks I have to mail a form back to EDD to keep claiming my unemployment checks. The nearest outgoing mailbox to my apartment is just next to my grocery store (on the way to the gym) so I've gotten in the habit of taking my mail there as I walk to the gym in the morning. I love having a bunch of letters to put in the box--I've always loved sending and receiving snail mail, and I'm getting back in the habit of sending notes and cards again. Postcards for my brother (he collects, and I just finally found some Stockton cards!), letters and cards to friends, etc. So if I have your address, be on the lookout for snail mail.

There's something so lovely and personal about getting a card or letter. My friend Maayan was so pleased to get a thank-you note from me (hey, she got Richard's autograph for me!!) because it came with a Visa bill. Obviously, she needed a pick-me-up.

I even enjoy the process of addressing an envelope, and putting the stamp on just so.

3. Creativity

I got some stamps out today and made a card for a friend. It wasn't anything overly fancy, but it felt good to make something. I've taken a week or so off from my scrapbooking, and I think I'll get that out again soon. It makes me happy to be creative and make pretty things. Maybe I'll even make some cards to sell on Etsy.

4. Volunteering

My work with Animal Friends Connection is a godsend. I still clean cages at PetCo every Sunday morning, and I've even taken to offering to fill in for people who can't make their normal cleaning times. I know that it's just a little thing, but it's helping people who are helping the cats. And I get to cuddle the little sweeties who need some affection and attention.

Fostering the Peanuts gang was wonderful, of course, and I fully expect to see them soon, once they're all spayed and neutered. They'll be so big now, and I can't wait to see if Charlie Brown is still sweet, Lucy still sassy and talkative, Snoopy still the leader of the pack, and Linus still a little shy.

In other volunteer opportunities, I have been asked (begged, even) to come help out in the classroom of a lady who is in Chorale with me. She teaches 5th grade, and would love to have me in to tutor some of her kids. I worked with her husband at one of my school sites last year, and he told her I was very good with the kids. Her principal (also involved with Chorale) told me other teachers at the school would be happy to have some help, too. It would keep me working with kids, it would get me out of the apartment, and I could probably get an excellent letter of recommendation out of doing it. Win-win, for sure.

5. Blogging

I've been a little lax this last week--just not much to blog about. I go through ups and downs of blogging. Some weeks I can hardly stop, and I churn out a dozen posts in a few days, and others, I'm a dry well, looking for inspiration.

6. Movies

Obviously, it's too expensive to go to just any movie at the cinema (but Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows? I'll be there WITH BELLS ON. Count on it!). And part of me wondered if I could justify paying $20 a month for my Blockbuster membership.

I can. For $20 a month I can rent unlimited movies online, have them mailed to my home, and mail them back without paying any postage. This afternoon, I watched Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn in "The African Queen," which I'd never seen. It was marvelous.

7. Chorale

Chorale had a fundraiser last night. For $25, we had tons of hors d'ouvers and wine while listening to a jazz singer and her backing trio. She was a little flat (I was not the only person to say this) but I was surrounded by some of the wonderful people from Chorale, who I hadn't seen since May.

On Tuesday, we are having our first-ever Summer Sing--it's an informal night for old members to come start learning the music for this fall, and for people who are curious about Chorale to come see what its about. Our season will start in earnest right after Labor Day, and I can hardly wait. After the long summer off, I'm ready to dust off my vocal cords (I sing at home all the time, but not in my very high voice) and get my Mozart on. We're doing his famous Requiem this fall with the symphony, and it promises to be amazing. We're also welcoming our new artistic director, Magen Solomon (great name, even if she mixed up her vowels, eh?). She's amazing--an excellent communicator and vocal instructor from what I've seen so far.

So Chorale will be a much-needed outlet this year. I'm just happy that I get to have a third year with them.

8. Keane

Whenever I go through transitions in life, I tend to develop obsessions. It's a pattern. When I left college, it was NASCAR. This summer, it's definitely Keane. Though I've been absolutely loving their music for over a year now.

So yes, there are silly blog posts like the one down yonder using song titles, and I spend perhaps a bit more time than I should reading the forum at their official web page. I've also taken up writing Keane Haiku on Twitter--some of my Keane friends and I are having a ton of fun with that. It's another creative outlet--I love word play.

Some of my best so far:

9. Tea. Lots and lots of tea.

I've been drinking so much tea lately, I'm surpised I haven't floated away.

What I'm loving about this strange cool summer we're having is that I can drink hot tea and not sweat it out five minutes later. I've taken to drinking a small pot with my lunch each afternoon. When it is warm enough outside that I need my air conditioner, hot tea is actually very nice.

10. Creative Spending

Thanks to birthday money and my most recent unemployment checks, I overpaid a few bills, have plenty for September rent, and have a little stashed away in savings. If I'm frugal at the grocery store, and keep my trips there to once a week (with maybe one other trip to pick up fresh apples and such), then I can keep my spending to a minimum. I walk to the gym and run my errands all together to save gas--and Rosie Pro is very good with gas economy.

I find I have enough left over to buy the little necessary things and keep that money in savings untouched. I'm also finding that I can live without "stuff" and be happy buying used books (I have a ton of credit at one place, and they don't even charge you the sales tax. Free books!). I really ought to get a library card, too.

I look for sales, use coupons when I can, and limit myself to necessary stuff only. I find that "living simply" comes easy and isn't too hard on me.

So, you see, I'm managing. I'm actually quite at peace with being unemployed, and figure that if I volunteer at my Chorale friend's school, it will look great on my resume as I continue applying for jobs. There are still music jobs cropping up on Ed-Join from time to time, so all hope for employment is not lost. But with so many people applying for every job, there is a very real chance that I won't find something this school year. I may as well make the best of it, right?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

She Opens Her Eyes

I'm sure my family and friends think I'm Better Than This. But since May, when school let out and I found myself out of a job, instead of running around like,  "She Has No Time, ya'll!!" I'm finding that I am Staring At the Ceiling, looking for ways to stay entertained. Call Me What You Like, I can take it.

It's not all bad. Aside from lack of funds for traveling to the Atlantic and stuff, there's Nothing In My Way. As for why I lost my job, my motto is "Put It Behind You." On A Day Like Today, it's easy to feel like my life almost has Perfect Symmetry, despite being unemployed.

(Besides, I was hardly a Happy Soldier at my last job.)

I could sit around like a Broken Toy, wonder, Again and Again, if I'm going to Bend and Break and getting all Bedshaped with depression. Hell no! That sounds like A Bad Dream.

No, I'm feeling Closer Now to being able to just Let It Slide. I don't feel Snowed Under, because I have time on my hands to do some of the stuff I've been wanting to do. It's in times like these in life that you have to keep Your Eyes Open for opportunities. I can never know what might Fly To Me. I've decided that This Is the Last Time I'll piss and moan about being unemployed.

I'm definitely feeling like there's Clear Skies and Sunshine in my life. I don't feel like Love Is the End, or that The Lovers Are Losing, probably because I've been talking to a guy from OKCupid recently and I'm feeling optimistic about my dating prospects. He's probably not The Frog Prince, and I'm finally at that place where I can date without getting so emotionally attached that I feel like Something In Me Was Dying when things don't work out, or find myself wailing, "But why? He Used To Be A Lovely Boy." At least I'm getting some nice attention from the guys at this site, not screaming at my computer, "You Don't See Me!"

If I could Stop For A Minute, or go Back In Time, and Try Again to change the way things have turned out in 2010, I wouldn't. Everybody's Changing, and that's okay. I don't need a Crystal Ball to know that by Early Winter, I'll be in a good routine.

I know what you must be thinking: "Oh, Meg, You Haven't Told Me Anything. I already knew that you're hanging in there, and that you're a huge dork of a Keane fan, using as many song titles as you can in one blog post and linking each one to a video on YouTube." You're thinking that Maybe I Can Change, and get over this obsession. Sure I can.  But I Can't Stop Now...after such a crazy, hectic year so far, Is It Any Wonder that I am so obsessed with this band? They've helped me get through the anger and the Black Burning Heart and not once (thanks to Keane and working out) have I felt like I'm Spiralling or drowning in The Iron Sea. Maybe a little Under Pressure from time to time, but definitely never in a place where The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore.

Sometimes, I find that if you Pretend that You're Alone, you can do some Dirrtylicious dancing in your living room, or go in your mind to a place that's Somewhere Only We Know until it's Time to Go and be a responsible adult again. It helps to keep me sane to have my silly moments, like blogging a whole post of Keane songs. I'm sure people will be Rubbernecking, thinking, "We Might As Well Be Strangers, 'cause I do NOT understand this lady." Well, If that's The Way You Want It, so be it.

Aww, Leaving So Soon? I could probably go on and on To The End Of the Earth, but The Night Sky has come and I'm getting tired (and I need somewhere to begin...oh, great, now she's quoting lyrics).

That's All. Thanks for Playing Along with my Keane obsession. Enjoy the Silence now.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Goal Post: Thursday

That's IT! Going to bed tonight at 10:00. I got NOTHING done today, except some more eBay listings. I didn't even work out. So, here's my goal post for tomorrow:

Goals for Thursday:

  1. Breakfast: Protein Smoothie
  2. Two-mile run
  3. Gym: Stair Master, Lower Body RT
  4. Household
    1. Litter boxes (my cats are so patient)
    2. Run vacuum
    3. Straighten and organize
    4. Make bed (for a change)
    5. Take out garbage (at least it doesn't stink)
  5. Lunch: Fruit, cheese, eggs and crackers (yes, still)
  6. FINISH eBay listsings (I'm getting there!)
  7. Print and distribute music lesson fliers.
  8. Laundry--run one load to wash mud off of jeans (long story--no, I didn't fall)
If I can accomplish all of this, I'm doing well. I can accomplish all of this if I can get out of bed before 10:00. Good grief, I'm lazy.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Goal Post: Wednesday

Oy vey. So I'm doing okay meeting my goals, but I did get a little behind...I stayed up too late on Monday and got up late on Tuesday, making the whole day feel wasted, so I sat around watching Gwynyth Paltrow and Jeremy Northam in "Emma."

Goals for Wednesday:

  1. Breakfast: Protein Smoothie
  2. Run
  3. Gym: Lower body, Stair Master, maybe some basketball (if the court isn't too crowded).
  4. Finish listing stuff on eBay (got through my rubber stamps today and it took AGES! Tomorrow: books, DVDs, CDs, and that takes time because you have to enter ISBN or UPC codes).
  5. Lunch: Fruit, cheese, egg, crackers.
  6. Music lessons:
    1. Print fliers
    2. Distribute at area music stores
  7. Household:
    1. Wipe down bathroom sink, toilet.
    2. Litter boxes
    3. Run vacuum
I'm determined to stick to my schedule today!

Goal Post: Tuesday

Goals for Tuesday, August 17, 2010
  1. Breakfast: Protien Smoothie
  2. Workout
    1. Two-mile run
    2. Stair Master
    3. Upper body RT
  3. Household
    1. Scoop litter boxes
    2. Run vacuum cleaner around
    3. Take bag of stuff to Goodwill
  4. Job Search
    1. Check Ed-Join
    2. Cal Jobs
  5. Lunch: Fruit, cheese, crackers, egg
I think in the afternoon, I'll try to get creative. I've been meaning to set up a store on Etsy to sell cards and whatnot.

Monday, August 16, 2010

There Are Awesome People

A month or two before the Keane concert, I joined the forum on their official website. Well, I had "joined" ages ago, but it was just in May or June that I started posting. Almost immediately, I developed a rapport with a fellow 30-something Keane fan named Maayan. It got so I looked forward to bantering back and forth with her, as we hold many similar views on the band and seem to have a similar sense of humor.

She was the first to post the obligatory "OMG THAT'S AWESOME" post when I bragged to everyone about the infamous "I like your shirt" comment, and in the week leading up to her chance to see them live--in Brooklyn--I helped her to stay calm...somewhat.

Anyway, the day after her concert, she asked for my cell phone number, as she had a question for me. She let me know she didn't want to come off as Internet Stalker-ish, and I totally didn't take it that way.

What was her question?

"How would you like to have something signed 'To Meg' from Richard?"

I think my answer was something like this:

"OHMAHGAH!! SHITYEAH!!!" followed by maniacal giggling on my part and satisfied laughter on hers.

She had called to get my address so she could mail me the tour book (she had an extra freebie) she had Richard sign for me. See, in Oakland, I could have had him sign something but was really only interested in talking to him and getting a picture. I had no regrets about not getting an autograph, but I certainly wasn't going to let this opportunity pass me by.

Today, the autograph arrived, safe from New York. I actually giggled like a schoolgirl as I walked back to my apartment from the manager's office (wouldn't fit in my mailbox), ripping open the envelope and reading the sticky-note Maayan had attached ("La la la enjoy!") and reveling in this lovely gift from a lovely person--who really didn't have to think of some semi-stranger on the other side of the continent, but did anyway.

Whenever I get depressed thinking about some of the truly awful people in this world--the murderers, the thieves, the liars, the assholes--I remind myself that for every nasty person out there, there are more people like Maayan, and indeed, all of my other friends around the world, who more than make up for the baddies.

And I smile.

(Pardon the sweat and the red face and the running gear and the messy ponytail. I worked out this morning.)

Monday Music: K'Naan

K'Naan is a Somalian-Canadian musician who recently collaborated with Keane for two tracks on their EP Night Train. He is garnering some attention now because of his infectuous "Wavin' Flag," which was used as a theme song in the World Cup, I believe. I can't get enough of it. It has those strong beats and African rhythms, combined with an extremely catchy melody and uplifting lyrics. Combine all that with a beautifully-shot video (this is the Coca-Cola Celebration Mix) and you've got magic.

Goal Post: Monday

Goals for Monday, August 16, 2010
  1. Breakfast: Protein smoothie
  2. Work Out:
    1. Two-mile run
    2. Lower body RT at gym
    3. Swimming
  3. Music Lessons
    1. Design fliers
    2. Put ad in local paper
    3. Make information packet for prospective clients (prices, hours, policies, etc.)
  4. Lunch: Fruit, cheese, crackers, egg (it's satisfying, trust)
  5. eBay
    1. List all gazillion items I'm trying to sell.
  6. Job search
    1. Check Ed-Join
    2. Check CalJobs
  7. Clean cages at PetCo (evening, one-time sub job for someone who may or may not have covered my Sunday morning shift in the past).
  8. Dinner: Salad (lettuce, tomato, avocado, carrots, red bell pepper, cucumber, feta, vinegarette) and corn chowder.
If I accomplish all of this, I will allow myself some scrapbooking time. : )

Sunday, August 15, 2010


Okay, so the hardest thing about unemployment? Having too much time on my hands. Not only do I get bored beyond belief (which, if you're me, can lead to anxiety and depression, yay!), but I procrastinate. Well, according to my dad, I procrastinate anyway. But when you're staring down a whole week where your only obligation is to clean cat cages at PetCo on Monday night, well, it's easy to say, "I'll do [insert pressing matter] tomorrow." And the next day, it's easy to do that very procrastinating maneuver again.

So, in an attempt to keep myself on track, I'll be posting my daily goals this week. Please feel free to email me, call me, badger me on Facebook and Twitter, and, in general, bug me into doing this stuff. I may get cranky with you, but in the long run, I'll thank you for it.

Right, it's Sunday evening, so now I'm off to make a goal post (ha ha!) for each day of this week. It will include a menu because I've also been indulging my sweet tooth a little too much lately. I'll schedule each one to post early each day, so that by the time I get up (hopefully I can get off this stay-up-late-wake-up-late track I've been getting on) it's there to remind me.

Friday, August 13, 2010

My (BIRTHDAY) Week In Pictures

Oooh, a nice long Week in Pictures post for you...and it's been a while since I've done one, too.


On Monday afternoon, I drove up to Lodi to go to a used bookstore where I have some credit. I walked around the little downtown area getting some sign pics (which will all eventually end up on the sign blog, of course).


Tuesday was a cleaning day. I took the garbage out and before I could get a new bag in the bin, Harley had knocked it over and claimed it for his own use. That night, I had a one-woman (and two cats) slumber party on the couch.

No pics from Wednesday...


Thursday, of course, was my birthday. I didn't take a ton of pics, but I did get a few good ones. You see, Mom and I went to Safeway to get a birthday cake and some ice cream--and we got a flat tire. Dad had to come help us out (he's got this cool little gadget that reinflates the tire). We followed him to Firestone, and now Mom's van is good as new. It was quite an adventure, but I'm happy to report that both the cake and the ice cream came out unscathed (thanks to Mom's quick thinking--she has those special bags for frozen goods and put the ice cream in one).

I should probably be embarassed to admit this, but it's too funny not to share the conversation Mom and I had when we had cake and ice cream. Mom, you see, thinks that I should have asked Richard, Keane's drummer, to marry me when I met him after the Oakland gig. Last night, after I blew out the candles:

Mom: Did you make a wish?

Meg: Ooops. No, I forgot.

Mom: That's okay, I made one for you."

Meg: Let me guess, that I find a rich man to marry?

Before she could reply (I'm pretty sure it was affirmative)...

Meg: No, wait, that I find a RichARD to marry?

Mom just laughed at me.


Today, Mom and Dad indulged my need for a day trip. We took Highway 49 from Auburn to Placerville, where we walked around so I could get a bunch of cool pictures (I love old Gold Rush towns!). We had lunch at a place called Tortilla Flats, then headed back towards Lincoln, where tonight we've had leftover birthday cake.

On the way, we drove through Penryn, which has this great old post office building.

Big bridge:
Old, unused bridge over the river:
Finally, we reached Placerville, also known as "Old Hangtown" because it used to be the site of a big tree used for hangings.
We went in a candy store so that Dad could buy some salted licorice (ugh).
Mom and I love browsing in antique shops--I found these Snoopy toys (but didn't buy them--I'm trying to keep the collection under control!). Also loved the Beatles figure.
Placerville Hardware is the second-oldest hardware store west of the Mississippi River, apparently. It is one of those wonderful, eclectic hardware stores with stuff like mermaid aprons, square coffee cups, and Super Genie slippers, which are a perfect example of all that I love about this country--creativity, imagination, and an uncanny ability to create problems that people didn't even know they had. Ahh, capitalism.

Tortilla Flats had the cutest paintings down at sidewalk level:
Mom and Dad waiting for lunch...