Wednesday, November 20, 2013

A Surprise Affection

I was out to dinner tonight and the topic turned to love and affection. I mentioned that with relationships that where I am the instigating party, it usually happens that the notion of a relationship initially takes me by surprise.

To this, my dinner companion displayed a very skeptical face (rather like the image above) and asked me to explain. I gathered my thoughts and took a breath... and realized I probably couldn't. Trying to describe the inner workings of a person's mind to another is an exercise in futility or ridicule, not unlike trying to explain why a nightmare was scary. Something is lost in the translation.

But I tried my best. I told her that the moment I realize is usually when I make a decision differently than I would have if I wasn't attracted. That my feelings catch me off guard, because I do something in a completely foreign way. It is enough to cause my brain to jolt and try to figure out why the response is different.

And then the thunderbolt hits. And I realize I've been there for no small amount of time.


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

A Bonus Holiday

I was in St. Louis this last weekend, visiting my parents. Shortly after I arrived, my mom let me know that we'd be having Thanksgiving dinner on Sunday, because we're taking a family road trip to visit grandparents on Actual Thanksgiving. Most likely, the dinner on the Actual day will be in a restaurant. And because my entire family is slightly old-fashioned, we like the work and preparation that goes into a holiday feast. So we did one early.

And I kind of like it.

This last three or four months of the year is my favorite. The addition of a fake-real holiday at the beginning of November has helped restore some balance throughout. Since Halloween has lost much of its charm, having an early November fancy dinner helps balance out the late-November dinner, and the late December dinner.

Plus, it gives a fancy family-oriented meal that doesn't immediately need to be followed by Christmas decorations and a complete change of music in the household. Not that I don't love Christmas music! But it has its season.

So this weekend, we had a family dinner with my parents, my two brothers, and my sister-in-law. We laughed and misjudged assembly times, we tried new foods and old favorites, and generally had a blast. That's all I really want from a holiday, even if the day isn't an Actual holiday.

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Comments about Comments

You may or may not notice, but I have switched over the comments for this blog to the system that is integrated with Google+. This change has several benefits for me (and possibly you who comment), but at least two drawbacks.

A Milestone - 800 posts

I think that's Ohio?
Looking at the stats for my blog this morning, I noticed that yesterday's entry was the eight-hundredth individual piece I've published on this blog. This comes a bit ahead of the eighth anniversary of my first entry this coming February. (Technically, that means this post, covered in 800s, is the 801st post.)

I've impressed myself, but I also feel an urge to quash that feeling. Being impressed is for things like climbing mountains or earning awards. The only thing I do a lot of is tap keys and click the mouse. Even I don't consider wrestling with word choices or struggling with similes to be impressive.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

The Arithmetic of Life

Three weeks ago, I received this card in the mail. In case I'd forgotten that whole ordeal from the first of October, Blue Cross wanted to remind me that they were still thinking about me. And while they were thinking, they were weighing their options. And... what does it say? "ensuring that I receive the benefits to which I am entitled." One of those vaguely unsettling pieces of corporate horror which so often factor into our daily lives.

Seeing this card made me panic: did I still have one of those terrible insurance plans where you're supposed to get "pre-approved" for emergency room visits? I didn't even think about that on the day (relive details from my mid-October entry). Was that my big GOTCHA?

After my diagnosis of nothing-wrong-that-wasn't-already-wrong, I threw up my hands and pleaded with the medicine gods to be merciful. I'll pay what charges I need to, since I've been given a largely clean bill of health. The charges that result from that... well, I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.

Today, I collected a letter from my mailbox from Blue Cross. And I realized that not only could I hear rushing water, I was standing on the planks already.

Sleeping in a King-Size Bed

I suppose the title sounds like a euphemism ("he sleeps in a king-size bed, if you know what I mean"), but it's not: over the weekend, I stayed in a hotel room with a king-size bed. I don't think this is the first time for me, but it's certainly the one of the very few times (and the only one I can remember). At home, I sleep in a full bed, so a king mattress is both taller and wider than my own.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Nothing more or less than a cat video

Three minutes of me finally making friends with my house guest. This was well before I had to chase her out from under my bed with a stick when it was time for her to leave.


A homesick visitor

I have a guest in my house for the next few hours. She's a cat.


Last night, I was contacted by a friend who needed to temporarily evict one of her two cats. Her landlord was coming over today to do some work, and as far as he is concerned, she only has one cat. Her second cat would have doubled her pet allowance from 300 to 600, which she didn't care to do.

So I have a visitor. It's one of the two cats I had a few weeks ago when my friend left on vacation, but this time there's only one of them. She (the cat) is not thrilled. When I first got her out of her carrier last night, she was very chummy and eager to be on the bed with me, which I enjoy as one of the perks of cat-owning.

But by 3:30 this morning, she was calling out into the darkness of my apartment, hoping there was some other cat nearby who could come out to play. This continued for hours, while I felt like a massive heel. I could call the cat's name, she'd raise her tail and jump up onto the bed, purring contentedly as I rubbed her head. But soon enough, she'd remember and hop down and start yelling again.



By the time I had awoken fully and gone into the bathroom to shower, she and I weren't on speaking terms. The sound of the bathroom fan and water running made her alter her pitch and frequency to even-more-pathetic levels. I thought about evicting her from the bathroom, but I know that closing a door between you and a cat only makes that door the biggest imposition in life: a task that the cat will set all of its brainpower against, if given the opportunity.

But since I returned from the grocery store at lunch time, I have seen and heard nothing from the cat. I don't know where she is, but I assume she'll just stay there quietly until I return from teaching lessons tonight. There's food and fresh water out, so she just needs to hang on a bit longer, before tonight's joyful reunion with her cat friend, beloved owner, and familiar sights and smells.

Sunday, November 03, 2013

A Brusque No-Busking

This weekend was the 11th annual U.S. Open brass band competition in St. Charles, Illinois. As the Fountain City brass band, we competed and took first place for the third year in a row and the sixth year out of the last seven.

What was not expected - especially for me - was that my brass quintet decided to compete in the Busker's competition that runs as a companion to the main stage competition. In between performances by the full bands, the time as people are shuffled and chairs are moved is filled by small ensembles playing in one corner of the stage. A hat is passed through the audience for a free-will donation. An anonymous judge is somewhere in the hall, and whichever group is picked as the winner is awarded the contents of the hat.

When the other members originally approached me to ask if I wanted to compete, I gave a quick denial. The Open is not my favorite playing opportunity in our concert year - not because of anything about the contest site or organizers, but because I don't care for the "entertainment" aspect of the show. I have been informed over the years that this is a perfectly normal contest type in Britain, but that hasn't ever made me more inclined to view it favorably. I enjoy going, but I maintain a certain distance from the proceedings. Getting more involved by competing in something that is EVEN MORE focused on being entertaining isn't my idea of a good time.

But by the time all of the other members were now going to be playing members of Fountain City, I acquiesced to the second request. Still not particularly thrilled, but not wanting to be a complete party-pooper, I agreed to compete. After all, what else am I doing that day?

And we won.

Blogging for November

I saw on some site that there was a challenge to write blog entries each day in November, as a sort of low-impact version of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). I thought it was a good idea, but I just started off this month with a brass band competition and no laptop. So I'll try to catch back up and get on track, just for the giggles.

Some of the directives may be taken from some sites that have daily writing starters to get the ideas flowing. I tend to write on and on about even trivial or super-detailed matters, so this month will probably be a combination of usual entries and some things that may have a shorter average length. Of course, it all depends on how I find the subject for the day.

I've been wanting to write more, but I've been traveling a lot lately, and that tends to put things on the back burner. I have the ability to use mobile devices to publish entries, but typing for long periods of time on tiny keyboards gives me anger issues.

This year, I've almost written more entries than in the previous two years (2011 and 2012) combined. I didn't realize my output had fallen so far, especially from the glorious banner year that was 2006, where I somehow put out 190 entries.

Hopefully, this month will even the scores a very tiny bit.