Journal Entry: September 15, 2009

Yesterday sucked.

I mean, actually, I had a pretty pleasant chat with Julie, and one with N–, too. That was nice. And I got a call from B– that was news-packed, and at least half of it was good! That was nice.

But really I wasted most of the day (and significant parts of each of those conversations) feeling sick about my class today. I’ve got to get over that.

On the drive home from work, I cranked up some inspirational music, and made plans to work out when I got home. AB wanted to play with her daddy, though, and that wasn’t something I could turn down. So we talked and read a book and watched TV for a while.

Then D– brought over leftover brisket from last Saturday’s birthday party. T– made up some homemade mashed potatoes for a side, and it was a phenomenal dinner. After that I moved to the couch and played WoW for three hours, hoping to distract myself. It didn’t really work, but I got a lot done in WoW. We also watched a new Leverage and a new Psych, both of which were great.

Then around ten D– went home, and I went to the office to do a little more prep work for my class. I spent about half an hour on that, then headed to bed.

And lay there. And did not fall asleep. My mind was racing, fixated on class and everything that could go wrong.

So after about half an hour of that I jumped up and went back to the office. I read through all my students’ business letters again, I watched Gail Nash’s online lecture on document layout and design again, I reworked my class notes extensively, and I prepped some exercise materials for class today. All told, it was well after midnight when I went back to bed.

And lay there. And did not fall asleep. I wasn’t really worried by that point — over the course of that last hour in the office, I’d completely worked through every minute of today’s class, and I knew I was thoroughly prepared. I’d go so far as to say scripted. But I couldn’t stop thinking about it — about which words to put with certain ideas, which ideas to cut if I ran out of time, and which ones to abbreviate, what sections of the discussion could (and should) be moved around and where, whether I’d captured all the necessary changes to the syllabus, and how to get that information across clearly.

Not just that, but I also found myself cutting material from today’s lecture and moving it forward to future lectures, and when I was working on how to adapt that material to the other lecture’s topic, I started working on those lectures, building them up. It was all useful work, but not at one thirty in the morning.

By that point, I wasn’t worrying about today’s class anymore. I was just wishing I could go ahead and give the class so I could get on with my life. Instead, I kept on obsessing.

I knew it, too. I kept trying to put it away, to stop thinking about it, and I kept failing at that. At two o’clock, AB cried out in her sleep and I went to check on her, thinking she’d woken up. At three, frustrated, I sat up in bed just to see how late it really was, and then lay back down. My alarm went off at seven, and I was already awake, but I got up and turned it off and went back to bed. Not to sleep, just to get a few more minutes of rest. Soon enough AB came to jump on the bed, and T– was getting ready to leave for a doctor’s appointment, and I was late enough for work that I couldn’t justify waiting any longer. So I got up, and I went to work.

I’ll let you guess what I’ve been thinking about all morning.

Other than that, though, it’s just things and stuff.

Journal Entry: September 14, 2009

Friday night T–‘s parents came in from Wichita, and after unloading the newly refurbished dining table and chairs that John had brought down, we took them out to dinner at Mama Roja (of course). It was delicious. Other than that, it was just WoW.

Saturday around noon we went to Mayfair Church of Christ for D–‘s grandma’s birthday party. It was about forty people, mostly D–‘s family, and only a couple people I knew, but for some reason (and completely unexpectedly) that place hit my social anxiety something awful. We were there for two hours. The brisket was good.

Afterward we went home, and brought my niece Lola with us. We watched her for a couple hours, then when my sister came to pick her up, T– and her family went up to Hobby Lobby for some fabric shopping.

John and I had talked about going out to Buffalo Wild Wings for dinner to catch the OU game (since it was only showing on pay per view), but I still felt bad from the afternoon’s activity so I stayed home and made us all chili instead. Then I played WoW for the rest of the night while John watched the race and the rest of us watched an episode of Lie to Me.

Sunday morning I skipped church, and spent some time coming up with a list of adjectives to describe little Alexander. That…didn’t turn out to be useful. I had fun with it, though.

T– made barbecue sandwiches for lunch, then she and her parents headed to my sister’s place for a baby shower while my brother-in-law brought his two girls over to play. They watched Word World with AB while Jeff and I talked for an hour or so. Then I took AB up to the shower.

Now, T– had told me she wasn’t expecting much of a turnout at the shower, since all of my family had all canceled and several of the ladies from church had said they wouldn’t be there. So I was somewhat astonished to walk into my sister’s house and find it packed full of people.

They had brought so many gifts, and while I was there the guests read out blessings for Alexander and T– and me, that they’d written earlier. That was precious.

Afterward, we came home and said goodbyes to T–‘s parents, then I played WoW and waited for D– to become available. He called around six, and we both headed up to Edmond to watch the Cowboys game with K– and N–.

It was an excellent game. I left at half time so I could watch some of the game with T– (who’d been too exhausted to go with me). We enjoyed that so much that we watched the end of the Bears / Packers game, too.

Sort of an erratic weekend, and exhausting, but a lot of fun. And, y’know, the Cowboys won. Awesome.

Other than that, it’s just things and stuff.

Journal Entry: September 11, 2009

Yesterday morning we woke up to a little scare. T– was having trouble with her stomach and pain in her lower back, and at bleary-eyed seven in the morning, it seemed a little too much like labor pains. So she curled up on the bed trying to find a comfortable position, and I called my boss and told him I’d be out for a while — a couple of hours or a couple of days, depending how things turned out.

Things turned out to be a stomach bug, but it incapacitated T– pretty bad for the day. I hung around the house long enough to see her feeling a little better, and then drove AB out to the babysitter’s so T– could take the day off. Then I went from there to work, and shortly after I got in, I got a call from T– saying she was really starting to feel better. By noon, we were sure there was nothing to worry about.

Still, a tense morning.

Then in the afternoon I got home from work and locked myself in the office to put finishing touches on my class lecture. I’m still wrestling with technical issues, since last week, but I got the podcast recorded and saved, at least, and I’ll post it to the website sometime this afternoon. I was able to get them a text tutorial on time, though, and I’ve already had a couple students finish and submit their assignment (due next Tuesday) based off the material there.

I gave up on the podcast at 6:30, because I had social writing plans for the evening, and I hadn’t eaten dinner yet. I gulped down some chicken fried rice that T– made (which was delicious), and finished it just before D– showed up to give me a ride to Full Circle.

When we got there, we found the coffee shop packed. At first we assumed it was a book signing, but several people were wearing name tags, and as we lingered in the other room we heard frequent bursts of applause. That doesn’t sound like any book signing I’ve been to. Probably some sort of…I don’t know, corporate event.

Anyway, it was a nuisance, but we found reading chairs elsewhere in the bookstore, and D– spent his time working on a project for the weekend, and I spent mine working on Ghost Targets: Restraint. In the first fifteen minutes I filled two pages of my scribblebook (or about 500 words), and I turned to D– and said, “I just doubled my word count for the week.” That was more a sad commentary on my week than a boast about my productivity.

Before the night was over, though, I had two thousand words, and was well into chapter eight. That’s a boast. It was a great night, and I’m climbing into the part of the novel that I’m really excited about, so I expect it to get a little easier from here on out.

We got back to the house at 10:00, and T– had the Steelers game on, so D– hung around to see how that turned out. It was a tense game (and just fun to be watching real NFL football again, even if it wasn’t one of my teams). Definitely a good time.

That took us past eleven o’clock, though, and then when I stopped in the office to check my email before bed, I had a message about my podcast and realized what I’d done wrong earlier in the afternoon. So I stayed up for another hour wrestling with that, fixed my earlier error (re-recording the whole lecture in the process), and then discovered I still didn’t know how to make it available to my students.

So, as I said earlier, that remains unresolved. And I was up late last night, and the RDO I should’ve had today got split so I could have time off for my Tuesday classes. So I’m at work, and tired, and ready to be home.

Other than that, it’s just things and stuff.

Journal Entry: September 10, 2009

Yesterday was relatively quiet — at least, the way my life goes now. A year ago, yesterday’s events would have seemed positively newsworthy.

Anyway, I had a busy day at work, I wrote 600 words on Restraint over my lunch break, I got a call from my mom and we talked about teaching, I wrote a detailed blog post about Tuesday’s experience, I played some WoW, and then I mixed up some of my famous salsa to go with the fantastic quesadillas T– made for dinner.

And all of that was before D– showed up with his own copy of the new The Beatles: Rock Band. We got the instruments set up, figured out how T– and D– could both do vocals (and me playing Ringo front and center), and then we played that for two hours. Then AB went to bed to sleep, T– went to bed to read, and D– sang all his favorite songs while I logged back into WoW to play a couple battlegrounds before bed.

Other than that, it’s just things and stuff.

Journal Entry: September 9, 2009

Last week, before my first day of class, I mistook a respiratory virus for anxiety.

This week, there was no mistake. Anxiety shut me down. I didn’t sleep Monday night, and I didn’t eat anything yesterday until hours after the class. It was a miserable experience.

Also, as anxiety tends to be, it proved irrational and unfounded. My class went really well, but I’ll wait to go into real detail in a separate post. The good news is that, after exhausting my prepared comments within the first fifteen minutes of class last week (and panicking about it afterward), I managed to run out of time yesterday. And, even better, the (significant amount of) material I had to skip works perfectly in next week’s lecture, too.

Anyway, I took the afternoon off yesterday, and it proved to be a good thing. I went home for lunch and instead spent forty minutes lying on the bed in a dark room, trying to calm down. Then I packed up my laptop, hugged AB goodbye, and drove up to the school.

Class went really well, and afterward I headed to the offices to report as much to Cami, and found her speaking with Peggy Gipson — my creative writing teacher when I was at OC, and easily one of my mentors. Apart from emails, though, we hadn’t spoken since I got back from Tulsa, so we dismissed Cami and I took a seat in Peggy’s office, and we caught up. For more than an hour. It was awesome.

I got home around 3:30, and T– asked me to watch AB while she went grocery shopping. We watched part of a Sesame Street, then I suggested we got play outside and while AB played on her slide and climbed on her house, I mowed the back lawn. AB behaved really well for me while I did that, so when I finished I pushed her in her swing for a while.

We were still doing that when T– got home, so she took over for me and I went around front to finish mowing. It was almost three weeks of growth, after the Velezes’ visit two weeks ago and my sickness this last weekend, so the front yard especially was a lot of effort, but we’ve got guests coming in for a baby shower this weekend, and it needed to be done.

Once that was finished I grabbed a quick shower, and it was already six o’clock. T– told me her friend Becca was coming over, and I owed Becca a character design worksheet (that I’d discussed at one of our earlier writing groups), so I spent half an hour searching through my old high school Creative Writing notebooks, but it was nowhere to be found. I settled for copying her a Dungeons and Dragons character record sheet, and a copy of the custom ones D– and I made up for our fantasy project.

Then I emerged from the office for a much-needed dinner, which consisted of some Dominos pizza I paid for out of my allowance (because I’d had a rough day, and I deserved a treat). I just finished eating before Becca showed up with her two boys, and we talked shop for half an hour or so, going over some sticking points in her novel as she rushes toward its climax. Once she felt more comfortable with that, I left her to talk with T–, and went to play WoW.

That took the rest of my night, but it wasn’t really as much night as I’d hoped for it to have. Maybe two hours, and then I was in bed so I could make it to work on time this morning.

Other than that, it’s just things and stuff.

Journal Entry: September 8, 2009

In my blog post last Friday I went into great detail concerning a slow-build head cold I’d spent a week developing, but then never really talked about it. I talked about how I confused it with social anxiety for a couple days, but never said how I knew that was a misdiagnosis.

I knew by Thursday, though. It hit me hard on Thursday, and then kept me home from work on Friday. I went in in the morning to pick up my school laptop that I’d left behind on Thursday, and then went back in for a short teleconference in the afternoon, but apart from that I stayed home and convalesced.

Between medication and lots of rest, I felt up to going over to K– and N–‘s for dinner Friday night. We had hotdogs and watched the last preseason Cowboys game. It was entertaining, but mostly just left us wanting the regular season to start.

Saturday morning I watched AB while T– went shopping. Just before she got home, I got a phone call from a guy selling a $2,500 camera on eBay letting me know I’d won and asking me about shipping and payment arrangements.

This entire phone call came as a complete shock to me, of course, and I got to spend the rest of the morning dealing with eBay’s fraud department and getting my account re-secured. Turns out somebody had figured out my login credentials and made purchases in excess of eleven thousand dollars. Luckily (hah!) the check card associated with the account was stolen when we were robbed last December, so it had been canceled and no money changed hands.

Then around eleven T– went out again to go shopping with my little sister, and took AB with her that time, because I headed up to Vintage coffeehouse for some social writing with Courtney before T– planned to be home. Between worry over the eBay thing and a growing fuzziness from my lingering cold, I didn’t actually get any writing done. I chatted with Courtney and ate a remarkable turkey sandwich, and then begged off early and headed home.

I deteriorated from there, so when six o’clock rolled around and we were supposed to head out for some OU football at K– and N–‘s place, I decided I just couldn’t handle it. I called and offered my apologies, and then went to my room and took a nap. T– went over to hang out at my sister’s place and scrapbook, and I eventually woke up to grab some dinner and play some WoW. From what I heard, it was probably a more pleasant experience than watching the game would have been.

I wasn’t up terribly late Saturday night, even with the mid-evening nap, but I still managed to sleep through church Sunday for no other reason than that I forgot to set an alarm on my clock. I was up and dressed when T– got out of service, though, and we went to Taco Cabana with D– and my sister’s family for lunch. Then I took AB home for a nap and T– went over to my sister’s place for more scrapbooking and some maternity photos.

AB woke up a couple hours before T– got home, but we entertained ourselves with books and puzzles and counting poker chips. Then I spent most of the evening worrying about my class on Tuesday and playing WoW.

T– picked up some Chinese takeout for us for dinner, and after AB went to bed we spent a couple mostly-depressing hours watching Sunshine Cleaning. It’s got a happy ending, but it takes a pretty miserable path to get there. It’s like Uncorked for girls. Anyway, after that T– headed to bed, but I stayed up and watched I Love You, Man to cleanse the palate.

Monday morning we woke up early for a date! D– came over to watch AB, and T– and I grabbed some breakfast at Sonic before heading up to the mall for All About Steve at 10:05. The movie was…fascinating. It was good. It was Joe Dirt for girls. We had fun.

Then we stopped by Sears on the way to the car, and ended up buying my birthday present from T– a little bit early. She got me new shoes and a new watch (both badly needed), and I walked out of there looking dapper.

We picked up D– and AB for lunch at Chilis, then T– dropped D– and me at Best Buy to pick up some XBox games on sale while she ran to my sister’s place to drop off some stuff. Turned out there was no sale, though, so D– and I ended up wandering the aisles aimlessly until T– got back. It wasn’t too long, though.

After that D– went home, and AB went down for a nap. I settled in to play some WoW, and T– took advantage of my babysitting to go do some grocery shopping. She got back just as AB woke up, and we all watched TV for a couple hours. AB watched Nick Jr. videos on T– laptop, and T– and I watched a homemade marathon of season 4 of Newsradio.

T– heated up a frozen pizza for dinner, and other than that our evening looked exactly like our afternoon. At nine AB went to bed, and then I put away the computer and T– and I watched a Leverage. As soon as that was done I headed to bed, sick with anxiety over class tomorrow.

Which is to say, today. I’ve over the cold, but not the anxiety. It shouldn’t last much longer than five hours, though. So at least there’s that.

Other than that, it’s just things and stuff.

Journal Entry: September 4, 2009

Big week for me, so yeah I should have been posting regularly. But, then, it was a big week for me, so I had other stuff to do.

Starting with getting sick.

(Yes, I already did Sunday, just bear with me.)

Sunday morning I woke up with the sniffles and a severe, sinus-related headache — harkening back to the Sunday only two weeks before, when I went through the same thing. That one was short-lived, though….

This one has lingered. And grown.

So, yeah, Monday morning I woke up feeling pretty out-of-it and miserable, but I just assumed (with my big first day of school looming) that it was a social anxiety thing. Every now and then I’d stop and think, “Wait, this feels more like a head cold than an anxiety attack,” but then I’d just call myself silly because, after all, I had a big terrifying Event looming. Of course it was anxiety!

I went to work Monday, and then got home to an empty house because T– had AB at the grocery store with her. D– came over, and T– brought a pizza home with her, and we all had a pleasant dinner. Then T– took AB to go shopping with my little sister, and D– drove me up to Full Circle Bookstore for social writing.

It was just the two of us this time, and we both got a lot done. We wrote about a thousand words each, in two hours at the coffee shop, then headed down to the restaurant for an hour of good conversation. I got home a little after ten, and went straight to bed.

Tuesday morning I went in to work, and spent most of my time there answering coworkers who started conversations with, “Today’s the big day, huh? Are you ready?” And my answer was always, “Sure I’m ready! I’ve been doing this for seven years. All I have to do is show up, and start talking. I’ll fill an hour like that!”

Noon rolled around, and I headed home. I took the afternoon off, so I wouldn’t have to rush hither and thither on my first day of classes. Had lunch with T– and AB, grabbed my laptop, and headed up to the school. I’ll tell you all about my first class session in a separate post.

In brief, though, it didn’t go well. And, on top of all that, I was sick. I still suspected at the time that it was a response to the stress of the day, but that certainly didn’t lessen after class was over. I drove home, desperately glad I wasn’t supposed to go back to work, and crashed on the couch, and did nothing else for the rest of the day. I did watch AB while T– went grocery shopping, but that consisted mostly of stretching out on the couch, one arm over my eyes, and half-heartedly saying, “Don’t make a mess” while she watched TV and played with her puzzles.

Wednesday morning I woke up early and went to work, then slipped out halfway through the morning to see my doctor for my annual physical. I haven’t gotten any of the lab results back yet, but for the most part everything’s good. He’s got me back on Benicar for my blood pressure, but even that is much better than it was a year ago. He said if I can get my diastolic down by ten points, I can probably go off it altogether. So that’s my six-month goal.

Anyway, after that I went right back to work. Mid-afternoon I was chatting with T– and asked her about dinner plans and she reminded me that she was going out with Becca, and I was watching AB. So that was that.

I got home, and she left, and AB and I played in the living room for an hour or so before D– showed up. Then the three of us ran up to Taco Bueno to grab some dinner. Afterward AB crawled up next to me on the couch while I was poking around on Facebook, and she jabbed a finger at the screen, at my little profile photo, and said, “That’s you, Daddy!”

And I said, “It is!” and opened the photo up larger so she could see it. Then she started looking through all the little thumbnails on the screen, trying to spot people she recognized, and we played that game for fifteen minutes or so.

When she got bored of that, I set her up on T–‘s laptop watching really, really old episodes of Sesame Street, and D– and I played WoW. That carried us through to AB’s bedtime.

Then D– left and T– and I watched some Lie to Me, and then it was tomorrow.

My Tuesday-Thursday class is what we’re calling a “hybrid online course,” which means we’re meeting in class on Tuesdays, and then on Thursdays the students go to the school’s e-classroom website and watch a recorded lecture, get an assignment, and work on that over the weekend. Next Tuesday when we meet for class, we’ll go over the assignment before I launch into my lecture.

Anyway, that meant I didn’t have to go out to the school on Thursday, but I did have to get the online lecture put together. That…didn’t end up happening, for technical reasons. I posted the assignment, and I put together a heavily-illustrated tutorial (How to Write a Business Letter) that I made available, and I sent them an email saying, “Sorry, but I’m having technical problems so your lecture won’t be available until tomorrow. If you’re in a hurry to get started, check out the tutorial posted online.”

Not the best way to get started. In the process, though, I came up with a really great process for developing my online lectures. I was able to convert the illustrations in my tutorial directly into PowerPoint slides for the lecture, and use the text as a script for my voiceover. That lets me develop the lecture to my strengths (that is, tech writing), produce a useful lecture, and also have a well-made tutorial document left over when I’m done. That seems like a good thing all around.

Anyway, I took care of that yesterday, finishing it up in the early evening. T– made sloppy joes for dinner, I played WoW, and after AB went to bed we watched the last episode of Lie to Me. It was intense.

Other than that, it’s just things and stuff.

Journal Entry: August 31, 2009

Two days behind, and a busy weekend to cover, so brace yourselves.

Wednesday night we had dinner at Taco Bueno, with my sister’s family, K– and N–, and D–. The girls ran amok, we ate cheap Mexican food, and we discussed idle frustrations. Then, in perfect consensus, we all decided not to go to church.

I spent the evening in the office, scanning paperwork to throw away and rearranging the closet so I could store some crates and file folders that had been sitting out next to my desk ever since we swapped the office and the nursery.

That took all night, but it left me with the cleanest-looking office I’ve had in forever, which is something we did in anticipation of guests living there for a weekend.

Thursday I took a late lunch, planning for it to be a little bit of a long one, because I had a training session out at OC for using their online classroom tool, Blackboard. When I double-checked the schedule, though (after I’d left work and gone home to pick up my laptop), I discovered the class was an hour later than I’d thought. So I called in to work, had lunch with T– at T. G. I. Friday’s, and then spent a leisurely afternoon up at the university.

D– brought us dinner — Buffalo Wild Wings — then he headed home relatively early to work on a project for his mom, and T– and I spent the evening watching TV shows.

Friday was my RDO, so Friday morning when T– woke up early to run the garage sale again, I stayed in bed. I finally got up just in time to go grab some Little Caesar’s for lunch. I took AB up there with me, and then we ate together while T– was still manning the sales position outside. A few minutes before one she finally closed the sale down and came in to eat, and I headed out for a haircut.

When I got back home AB was taking a nap, so T– and I took the opportunity to work out in the garage, cleaning and rearranging all the stuff that had been used for the sale so that we could park both cars in the garage again. Then I brought my XBox and laptop out of the office (in anticipation of it being occupied for the weekend), and played some Magic while T– napped, and then switched to WoW on my laptop when AB woke up and needed the TV.

The thing about WoW…after being out of the game for six month, none of my characters are specced anymore. “Specced,” in this sense, means I haven’t spent the skill points acquired through the leveling process to customize them (choosing from among the talents that make your characters the most powerful). It’s a complicated process, and an unspecced character is essentially worthless. I’ve got three characters at 80 (maximum level), and unspecced they’re about as tough as 70s. The point of all this is that I logged into WoW Friday night, and discovered that I couldn’t really play it. To get my specs right would require literally hours of research into the newest changes to the skill trees and the most effective ways to spec to fit my playstyle. I looked around some, I logged in each of my characters just to see where they were, and then I spent about half an hour mining. That’s like logging into WoW to do chores.

So that was sobering and disappointing, after a week I’d spent gradually getting more and more excited about playing WoW again. It was not indicative of my evening, though.

T– made some fantastic barbecue chicken sandwiches for dinner. We watched some Lie to Me, and then just after we put AB to bed at nine, Julie and Carlos got in from Topeka!

Julie had a boxful of youth group photos (which I just realized I never actually looked through! Ack!), so she and T– went through those and commented while I chatted with Carlos. They’d also brought with them a couple bottles of wine from their recent trip to Napa, and we managed to empty both of those Friday night.

We got a late start, and though T– went to bed relatively early (albeit after midnight), the rest of us were up talking until after four.

Saturday morning T– got up early and discovered some of the veggies she’d bought for her special brunch dish had frozen in their drawer, so she had to go buy replacements. She took AB with her, ran up to Homeland, did some shopping, and got back to the house before any of the rest of us woke up. Then she made a goat cheese tart which tempted Carlos and Julie enough to wake them up, but I slept right through it. By all accounts, it was incredible.

I got up around noon, then ran up to McDonalds to grab some lunch for AB and me. I know, so tragic. The chicken sandwich was good, the fries weren’t. AB really enjoyed the Lego race car that came with her Happy Meal, though.

Then she went down for a nap, and T– and Julie went out in the back yard to shoot some cute maternity photos, and I showed off the XBox Magic game to Carlos. Or…used it to bore Carlos. Whatever.

When AB woke up, we all packed into the car and headed up to Guthrie for our big photoshoot. Julie’s in the process of becoming a professional photographer (although that “in the process” bit is something you’d have a hard time believing from the quality of her work), and the excuse we’d all used for their trip was to have her come shoot some maternity photos of T– and some profile photos of me for my website.

T– had recently found an old trainyard in Guthrie with some old, abandoned-looking buildings nearby that she thought might work as a good backdrop. When we got there, Julie fell instantly in love. She took three hundred photos of the three of us in just a couple hours. The settings were great, the lighting was good, and AB was remarkably cooperative. She and I finally started getting restless as the afternoon wore on, though, and between the two of us we convinced T– to take a dinner break.

We headed back to town, and took our guests to our new favorite restaurant — Mama Roja on the lake! So, yeah, that’s three times in nine days. What of it? It was fabulous, and everyone left happy.

Julie was able to point out to us the perfect lighting for photography that occurs just around dusk. That is, she was able to point it out through the window next to our booth, because there’d been something of a wait to be seated. So we watched the sun set, and didn’t get any more shots on Saturday night.

As soon as we got back to the house, Julie pulled out her laptop and got started editing. While she did that, we played them an episode of Lie to Me, and then T– regretfully admitted she was too tired to stay up, and she headed to bed.

Carlos and I spent a while talking band stuff, writing stuff, and whatnot. Then we broke into the scotch he’d brought along, and ended up sitting out on the porch sipping scotch and smoking cigars for several hours. Julie put away the laptop for a while to join us. We talked some about old times (as we’d done pretty much constantly up until that point), and then Carlos asked casually if I ever wrote any lyrics.

That became a proposition. He’s just started playing bass in a new band, and they perform only original stuff, but they don’t have a lot of songs written yet, so he was wondering if I would supply some material. By utter coincidence, I’ve been thinking much recently about trying my hand at writing songs again. So we talked about what sort of stuff he’s looking for and what sort of stuff I can do, and then I brought my laptop out on the porch and he showed me some videos of bands he’s been in and I showed him some of my best (and worst) material. When all was said and done, we both ended up incredibly excited about the opportunity to work together.

Then it got cold, and the laptop battery died, and Julie felt the itch to get back to work, so we went back inside. I put on Uncorked (or At Satchem Farm), which neither of them had seen, and fell in love with that movie all over again. Carlos was impressed with the guitar work.

It was after two when the movie ended and we went to bed. An improvement on the night before, but nothing approaching reasonable.

Sunday morning T– and AB went to church, but the rest of us slept through it.

We were all awake by the time she got home, though. She started working on lunch — her famous Tuscan chicken ring — and I ran up to the grocery store to grab some soda. By the time I got back, food was on the table.

We ate, and then we had plans to watch Nacho Libre (which our guests had never seen), but while we were waiting for T– to load the dishwasher I turned on the Rifftrax version of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, just so Julie and Carlos could see how funny it was, and then by common consent we ended up watching all of that.

By the time that was done, Julie was finished with her marathon editing session, and we got to check out the photos on the TV. So good! You can see a bunch of them on T–‘s Facebook album. Julie will also do a blog post on her portfolio site sometime soon, and of course I’ll provide a link when that happens.

Anyway, we watched a slideshow of all 83 pictures (to a terribly appropriate soundtrack by Sting), and then T– decided to show Julie how Smugmug works (using my sister’s site as an example), so I put on the Cowboys preseason game from Saturday night and watched Romo tear up San Francisco.

I’m so ready for football season.

Around six we started decorating our French bread pizzas for dinner, and as soon as we were done eating we performed a quick costume change, and then headed back out to the lake for another photoshoot — this one in the prime dusk light. It went really well, and I think AB adored getting to spend so much time outside this weekend. It shows in all her smiles.

After that we drove back home and said lots of goodbyes, then Julie and Carlos got on the road back to Topeka, T– and I crashed on the couches, and we watched Psych and Leverage and Lie to Me while I tried to play WoW again. This time I focused on my Warlock, specced him on guesses (but I know my Warlock best, so they were probably pretty good guesses), and actually had a lot of fun. I ran a couple dungeons, checked out the new castle-defense battleground (way cool), and then picked up where I’d left off in questing. In that last, I remembered just how great the storyline is in Northrend (the most recent expansion), and I got excited about playing again all over again.

I finally tore myself out of that as midnight crept close, and I lay in bed for another hour before I fell asleep. This morning came too soon, and work with it, but even with the weird hours and the packed schedule, it was an awesome weekend. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Other than that, it’s just things and stuff.

Journal Entry: August 26, 2009

Yesterday we had an appointment to go out to a Wells Fargo office on Northwest Expressway and MacArthur to talk about refinancing a couple of our loans that are in a bad way. We’d arranged that appointment last week sometime, when the loan agent cold-called me, and then she called back yesterday morning confirm.

The appointment was for 5:30, so I left work at 4:30, drove half an hour home, picked up T– and AB, drove half an hour out to the Wells Fargo office, and learned that when she’d run the numbers on the loan (presumably right after our phone call last week), she’d found that we weren’t really qualified for anything that would be useful for us. So, in other words, we’d wasted our time. She tried to sell us a new credit card, we said no, and drove half an hour home.

So my evening started at 6:00. I did get a free can of Diet Dr Pepper out of it, though.

We had leftovers for dinner, and I began the process of surrendering my life back to the monster that is World of Warcraft (which is to say, I started copying 12 gigs of data to my new laptop). Then while that ran, I played with AB and read her a couple books.

After she went to bed, we watched Lie to Me. Then we went to bed. It wasn’t much of a night. I had fun playing with AB, though.

Other than that, it’s just things and stuff.

Journal Entry: August 25, 2009

Shortly after I got home from work yesterday, I was trying to into our bedroom when Pastis felt a sudden, urgent need to get out of it, and she sprinted across my feet to achieve that goal. I had no shoes on, and she had her claws out, and now the big toe on my right foot is shredded.

That, however, is neither here nor there. I had a great night in spite of it.

I took T– and AB out to dinner at Mama Roja again, and this time we shared the enchilada platter and tried out their complimentary-but-you-have-to-ask-for-it avocado salsa, and both proved delicious.

Then afterward T– dropped me off at 50 Penn Place for our social writing. I took a seat in the Full Circle Bookstore coffee shop, and got about four hundred words written before D– showed up. We talked some, and he got started on his short story, and I got back to writing, and got maybe another hundred done before Courtney showed up at eight.

I’m working on a conversation now where both parties come to it thinking they know what the other party is thinking, and both are wrong. I write way too many of those conversations into my stories, and they take a lot of work to get right. Over the course of three hours writing last night, I think I got six hundred words total.

We had some great conversation, though. We talked about the different roles of fantasy and science fiction, about genre conventions in general and the paltry number of authentic plots in specific. Also, D– suggested rewriting the original Star Wars trilogy as a fantasy series, and we realized it would be the most boring fantasy series in the history of the world.

They kicked us out of Full Circle at nine, so we moved down to the Belle Isle restaurant to carry on our conversation, but they kicked us out of there at ten. We were still talking all the way to the parking lot.

Other than that, it’s just things and stuff.