Fire

Every time I see Dan, I am impressed by his motivation, his drive, to do more and be more and live life to the fullest. This time, though, it occurs to me that I have several friends and acquaintances with a similar drive. Every time I see you, you’re always excited about what you’re doing in life—otherwise, why would you be doing it, after all? You’re bubbling over, it seems, not just with untold stories, but with untold vibrance for your current passion.

Usually I can say, “You know who you are,” but in this case, I don’t think I can. I don’t think you can see yourselves this way, as a direct function of the selfless vibrancy you possess. But on the off-chance that you might know…

Where do you get your Fire?

When I was an adolescent and a teenager, and was a stolid churchgoer, I was told that the Light had to come from within—you couldn’t be like a wind-up toy, being motivated and then losing steam after a while. And that’s how I’ve always felt: some event motivates the shit out of me, be it a religious experience, a personal epiphany, a change of scenery, or energized companions—and after that, I feel the Fire. I devote all my free waking hours to The Cause… for a time. After a while, though, I lose my motivation.

Sometimes I think I’m too hard on myself, or that maybe I’m spreading myself too thin. There are so many things I’d love to devote so much time to: mellophone practice (OK, maybe not so much), candle-making, updating my various websites (including my horribly-neglected drumcorps alumni site), my houseplants, photography, not to mention exercising and taking some walks outside when the weather gets nice. But I can only be passionate about one or two of these things at a time, it seems, before all my oomph leaves me. The only thing I’ve managed to maintain for a long period of time is this diet I’ve been on for six months now, and that’s only because Aaron’s doing it, too, and it’s become almost second-nature to eat this way. (And because there’s nothing to cheat on in the house, which helps…)

So, what do I do? How do I get my Fire going without getting burnt out? I’ve wondered and tried for years, but it never quite happens. Any comments would be appreciated—except Aaron’s standard, “You’re overanalyzing things again…” 🙂

T-minus four days and counting

We have almost everything packed, the U-Haul is reserved, and Aaron’s picking up the key to the house on Friday. Time to let everybody know The Moving Day Schedule.

9:00am – Aaron picks up the U-Haul
9:30am – Moving commences as fellow movers arrive
after loading – Aaron and Diana take the crew out to lunch at Easystreet (our treat)
after lunch – Return to Grove Street and line up vehicles for the Schnuth Caravan up to Toledo
upon arrival – Unload at 4651 Ventura

Unfortunately, we’re not positive what time the whole operation will be over, but we’re guessing sometime in the mid- to late afternoon. So far, the moving crew looks like myself and Aaron, Kris Fries (and possibly his wife Kathy), Kris Heath, Mark Sheets, and Eric Fertel. Jason Garza may be making an appearance after lunch.

I’m kind of frustrated that I don’t have Dreamweaver for my Mac, and/or that I haven’t gotten myself a new power supply for the other computer yet. I have grand ideas for a slight redesign of “the details” page, but it would require that great search-and-replace function in Dreamweaver, so I wouldn’t have to open up every damn file in the whole site and see what styles everything was set at. For the web geeks: yes, I do have stylesheets set up, and yes, they are a linked file and not individually applied within the page. Yes, I will pretty much just be writing a new stylesheet and making new graphics. Still, though, I have become a creature of habit and I prefer my WYSIWYG program to hardcoding, despite the fact that I once prided myself on my ability to code HTML. (That was long before the days of Dreamweaver and its Adobe analog, however, back when WYSIWYG programs were awkward and clunky and required code-tweaking, anyway, to output properly.)

Anyway, as much as I enjoy my LiveJournal, I think I’m going to begin updating my actual page again, as soon as the PC is back up. I may keep the blog section on LJ, and just add updates to the page, though. I’m looking at, first, a new and cleaner design. Second, I’ll be updating long-unused sections, like the Reviews, Photos and Bio. Third, I’ll be adding new sections, like an Atkins Diet factsheet with reviews of low-carb foods and links to Schnuth-approved recipes.

All this… as soon as I get myself a new power supply.

I’m (kind of) a nerd…

42.857142857142854% of me is a huge nerd! How about you?

How disappointing. I am a “well-balanced nerd.” I even knew all the answers to the LOTR and the Star Trek questions. Hell, I even knew the Dune questions and the Asimov questions! It was the D&D that got me, though, I think.

Now I’ve given away too much of the test, and you won’t be surprized when you read the nerdy questions. Ah, well.

…Hey, wasn’t I going to clean my desk?

Dan!

Yesterday evening, Dan stopped by on his way from Cincinnati to Ann Arbor. Very cool. I don’t know why, exactly, but Dan makes me smile. He’s just got that kind of personality, I guess, where he makes everything seem exciting and invigorating. I like Dan.

We ended up having dinner at Easystreet, where Michelle from Madhatter was our waitress. She was in rare form, too, and talked up a storm. Dan wasn’t sure what to think of her… Come to think of it, neither was I, at that point. Anyway, Dan and I spent quite a while just sitting and talking after dinner. Afterward, we took a short walk (short because it was so f*&%ing cold out), and then stopped into Grounds For Thought, but decided against getting anything after staring at the menu board for a couple of minutes. Dan really wanted to see our new house in Toledo, so I Mapquested directions to my own damn house (how pathetic is that?), and I navigated while he drove. The trip was a little anticlimactic, but at least he kind of knows where our house is now. When we got back to BG, we came home and fired up the computer again so Dan could show me the scooter he wants to buy off of eBay. We talked for a while after that, and ended up crashing at 11:30 or so, which is waaay past Dan’s bedtime. 🙂

At some point during the evening, we were discussing actions vs. intentions, and how important it is to follow through on your promises, to have integrity, especially as you get older and (supposedly, theoretically) more responsible. Of course, he was talking about someone else, not me, but that sort of follow-up is one thing I’ve always struggled with. It goes hand-in-hand with procrastination (which I’m doing right now by posting this entry). I always have the best intentions, but I end up finding different or more pleasant things to do, rather than what I know I should do.

So, today I proclaimed to Aaron over e-mail that I am going to begin cleaning and packing my desk area. Anyone who hasn’t been to my apartment, let me explain: my desk is a disaster area. I write notes on scraps of paper, or I work with genealogy documents, or I read mail and open bills, or get reference books from the bookshelf. These items I then stack neatly on my very small desk real-estate. And on the defunct scanner. And next to my mouse. And on top of my tower. And on top of my other tower. And on top of my file box. And on top of my printer. And on top of my other printer, sitting underneath the desk. And, well, it’s a bunch of crap that I don’t want to throw away, but don’t know what to do with. So, this is no small feat to clean and pack. But I have committed myself to at least beginning to tackle this monstrosity tonight, and tackle it I must.

So, off I go.

Really.

…Have I started yet?

—Oh, by the way, before I go: My high school buddy Melody got accepted to BGSU as a Vocal Performance major! Wheeee! Congratulations, Mel! Now we’re going to hang out again on a regular basis, for the first time in years and years… damn, almost ten years it’s been since we really got to spend much quality time together. This is going to be cool… for both of us.

OK, now I’m really going to clean and pack. Really.

My Brain Hurts.

I have that weird feeling in my brain. The one that precludes either a stint of creative writing or a long intellectual conversation with Amy. I swear to God that I feel different in my brain when it feels like it wants to think. Aaron thinks I’m crazy.

Thing is, I don’t really have any pressing tales of fiction to tell, no poetry oozing from my fingers. I had contemplated busting out the Kay and strumming a few chords, but I don’t think that would do it for me. As for writing, I’m tired of writing simplistic me-disguised-as-hero stories. I’m also tired of reverting to my junior high days and writing soft porn (yes, ladeez and gents, Diana has a libido, frightening as that may be to you).

I wish I could be like Isaac Asimov (lofty, I know) and plunk out a decent short story in 20 minutes flat. Hell, I wish I could write a decent short story at all. —OK, maybe that one was pretty alright, but besides that… *shrug*

Maybe I just need to write more often, instead of maybe once every four months. Write fiction, I mean; I write in my LiveJournal (or, previously, my main blog) nearly every day. My eighth-grade English teacher once told me that, like a world-class athlete, a writer like me should practice every day.

Whoa. My intelligent train of thought was just completely derailed by Sir Mix-a-Lot making an appearance in my random mp3 playlist. My brain is now filled with images of a big black guy in shades dancing on a giant peach, surrounded by black chicks with much booty.

Happy Plants

There’s some flowering bushes in the backyard of our apartment here. Someone once told me it was called a Rose of Sharon, and a little online research proved her correct. Anyway, I decided when I first saw them bloom that I love those bushes, and I decided to attempt cuttings to take with me to the new house.

A couple of weeks ago (or maybe it was last week), I made probably almost two dozen cuttings of this plant, all of various thicknesses, about six to eight inches long apiece. I planted about ten of them in a big pot full of perlite—that white, styrofoamy, pebbley substance. I covered them with plastic to keep the moisture in, placed them by a not-too-drafty window, and I’ve been dutifully watering them every day.

I peeked through the plastic (wax paper, actually) today to see if anything was happening… and some of the twigs are growing buds! Little green leaf buds. How about that! They’re not dead… yet. We’ll see if they actually root in a couple of months.

Until then, I also have another bundle of cuttings lying dormant in the refrigerator, ready to be planted outside to attempt rooting a different way. One way or another, I’m going to have a Rose of Sharon. Oh, yes. It will be mine.

Moving Day

It has been decided. Moving Day is Sunday, March 21st. We have begun packing, we have reserved a U-Haul, and we have contacted the utility companies so we have the necessities of life when we arrive in Toledo.

It’s kinda damn cool.

So, the festivities will begin bright and early at 217 South Grove Street in Bowling Green, Ohio. We will pack the giant-size U-Haul with all our personal effects, then caravan up to 4651 Ventura Drive in Toledo, where the unloading will commence. All who assist will be welcome to partake in the traditional “Thank You For Helping Us Haul Our Shit” post-move meal, courtesy of the move-ees (that would be Aaron and myself).

For now, the challenge lies in getting everything packed and ready to go.

Landscaping and other randomness

I gave some more thought to landscaping the house today at work, and over lunch I drew our a couple plans for the front flower bed. I was thinking, for anyone into the whole HGTV-ish gardeny landscapey thing, that first we could hack down the overgrown bushes in the front to normal bush size. Then, I plan to mix some purple and some white flowering plants along with some white flowering ground cover, so as not to cover up the windows. I do have some ideas of flowers I’d like to use, like Lavender, Petunias, and Christmas Roses, among others that I haven’t decided on yet. The trick is going to be finding just the look I want, with flowers that like the shade, since it’s beneath an overhang on the north side of the house. I was also hoping to plant some stuff that blooms at different times, so there’ll always be some color out there… but that might be a little beyond my scope. Maybe I’ll save the rotating garden concept for when I tackle a backyard flower garden…

OK, girlie time is over. *whew*

The dude upstairs came home after I got back from my walk this evening (enjoying the weather), and proceeded to turn up his stereo. He doesn’t do it often, but it’s annoying when he does. So, I proceeded to fill my 5-CD changer with stuff—nothing too overbearing, though. Peter Gabriel’s latest, and Catherine Wheel’s last album, and 24 Gone (their only album), and Depeche Mode’s most recent album (I’m seeing a trend), and the Cure Acoustic Hits (which I think was their latest release, too. Weird). It’s turned up a little louder than I would normally keep it, but it’s by no means blasting. Just loud enough to drown out whatever music he decides to turn up every now and then.

That got me to thinking… I kind of miss college, but not really. I miss it in that pleasant nostalgic way, where the memories are fun to look back on (like radio wars, which is how my brain got from there to here). Not the kind of missing where I would want to do it again. Not like drumcorps.

Speaking of… I’ve been practicing more this week, when the upstairs dude isn’t home—more out of a need not to embarrass myself than to be considerate. 🙂 I’ve been getting better, and my relative pitch and pitch memory seems to be returning slowly but surely. The muscle memory is sort of there, but the endurance isn’t. I’ve been practing for about a half hour every day this week, doing a slow warm-up to try to rebuild my range (which wasn’t that stellar to begin with). After I warm up, I have about enough stamina and concentration to play through the warm-up tune once, the ballad twice, and to woodshed the march. Then I’m done, and I warm down with some pedal tones (reeeally low notes).

I’m also recalling why I stopped being a music major: I hate to practice. If I’m going to do this, though, I’ll have to crack down. Senior corps doesn’t coddle like Junior corps—and I can’t believe I can think of it like that now. It was so physically exhausting… but everything was planned out and served to you, from your rehearsals to your meals to your everything. Now, in senior corps, I’m going to have to practice on my own time, and hype for shows and parades on the weekends only. It’s a lot easier when it’s your entire life for three months. I hope I’ve still got what it takes. We’ll see.

And on a final note: On the front of my package of round Avery labels, the generic name on the pictured envelope is Tyler Durden.

“In the ear?! Why’d you have to hit me in the ear?”

Plants, candles, and other femininities

I’ve been feeling all house-y today. Thinking up what to put in an herb garden, what color scheme I want the front landscaping to have, all that sort of crap. I think I’ve decided on a purple and white thing, but we’ll see. I feel all girlie now. *girlie giggle*

Since I got the rest of my candle supplies, I’ve also been making candles again. Last night was a batch of nine chamomile tealights, and tonight was a batch of nine Drakkar Noir® tealights. Mmm… I’ve gotta splurge some holiday and buy Aaron some Drakkar. Mmm. —Ahem. Anyway, as I was saying, I’m planning to continue until I have sample tealights of all my in-stock fragrances, then ship a package to Sammie to see if she’ll promote me. I’m crossing my fingers, but not holding my breath.

I’m also planning to get myself a new power supply for the poor dormant Frankenstein PC, though that may not happen until we move. I don’t want pieces-parts being forwarded from here to there in the mail or getting misplaced in the move.

And speaking of the move… I tried to be all helpful today by starting to pack the VHS tapes we never watch. Unfortunately, I chose poorly and picked a large box to put most of them in, and it is WAAAY too heavy. So, I’m going to have to unpack the damn box and repack two smaller boxes. Plus another box for the remainder of our tapes. Not to mention our DVDs and CDs, which will be packed at a much later date.

So far, the moving crew appears to consist of myself and Aaron, Kris Fries, Mark, and Eric. We’ll see if we can rope Kris Heath into helping, although it may depend on whether Jamie’s out of town for her students’ Speech Rodeo or whatnot (she’s a high school English teacher and coach for the speech team), or if she’s willing to help us move, too. We’ll see. In any case, it looks like we’ll be able to round up enough bodies to help us cart our shit. Oh, yeah, and yay for U-Haul and giant trucks.

House-house!

Well, today was the long-awaited home closing in Toledo. 4651 Ventura is now ours, and we’re just waiting for the seller to call us and let us know when she’s vacated the premises. Transfer utilities, get the keys, find out when trash day is. Yeah.

The only hairy part of today’s closing was reconciling the electrical work we’d requested. See, the outlets in the kitchen and basement weren’t grounded, so that was the main thing we’d asked the owner to get done before closing. When we went through with Rebecca the realtor at 11am this morning for the final walkthrough, we discovered that the kitchen outlets had been fixed, but the downstairs outlets had been replaced with new two-prong outlets instead of wired for the pre-existing three-prong. WTF? When we got to the closing, we found that the seller’s electrician had only brought them up to code by eliminating the possibility of trying to plug in an applicance that needed grounding. I guess that makes some sort of sense… *shrug*

At any rate, our realtor stuck by her guns and made the seller and her realtor (and her electrician, via cell phone) realize that they hadn’t done what we asked. In the end, the seller cut us a check for the estimate on getting the job done right (which Rebecca had gotten faxed to her office while Aaron and I were enjoying a huge lunch at Charlie’s Coney Island).

So… we’re homeowners. Rock on.

FYI, the offer still stands, to anyone who will be in the Toledo or BG area in a few weeks when we move: if you help us move, we’ll buy you food. That seems to be the going rate for moving assistance amongst our group of friends. That, and future indebtedness to the next person who needs help with a move.

We spent a lot of the afternoon contemplating what our future weekend projects will be, including but not limited to:

  • Trimming Bushes
  • Cleaning Gutters
  • Replacing Downspouts
  • Raking Last Fall’s Leaves
  • Reseeding Sections of Lawn

And, of course, arranging and re-arranging our furniture. Especially since we’ll have to keep the downstairs bare of furnishings until we get the electrician in to fix his attempt at a quick-fix. Then we’ll be moving out desks and computers and bookshelves and musical instruments downstairs. Eventually we’ll get some new furniture, too, and put the old stuff down there for a lounging and reading area… but that’s still a ways away.

Long day. Busy day. Whew.

In other news, Aaron took the night off and we rented Lost In Translation. We’re still not sure what we thought of it. I think it accomplished what it set out to accomplish by leaving us feeling slightly disjointed. It’s worth a watch, especially if you’re into Japanese culture (Sheryl, have you seen it yet?), but I don’t plan to watch it again.