Wednesday, May 30, 2007

key change

Not much time for blogging lately, it seems. Lots to do, lots to do — and more to come, if the seeds I generated yesterday bear fruit.

Now, if the people I’ve already done work for would just pay up . . .

Truly excellent news on the job front: After months of patience and persistence, Sister-san has landed a terrific new gig! WOO! I don’t want to give too much away, so let’s just say the number of U of MN employees in the family has doubled. After an initial interview last week, they invited her back to meet the dean today, who offered her the job on the spot. Not bad, eh? It sounds like a true fit with her interests and abilities, which is nothing less than she deserves.

Now, if they could just finish selling their house in Phoenix . . .

On a sad note, it looks like the fifth member of Signature Sound Quartet, pianist Roy Webb, has left the group. Family concerns, blah blah blah. I wonder if the notoriously lousy pay southern gospel touring acts pull down was a factor at all. Webb will be tough to replace, being both an excellent musician and a mildly funny comic foil to the lead singer. (Actually, based on what little I’ve seen, Roy passes for hilarious in that genre. So sad.)

Now, if a certain other sg group would spit out that a cappella album I’ve been hearing about . . .

On a high note, I’m collecting estimates for the reroofing of Sensational Acres. I haven’t had any disasters yet, and I don’t want to, so I’m being proactive about it. Today’s first estimator quoted me a lower figure than I’d been expecting to hear — one I can actually afford. This might actually be doable! But I’ll see what the other three have to say before I schedule any work.

Now, about those outstanding paychecks . . .

On a geek note, I learned yesterday that I could run all my RSS feeds through Google Reader, thereby putting even more of my eggs in the Google basket. Nothing against Bloglines, which has served me faithfully for years, but the Reader interface is prettier to look at and easier to use, I can add a Reader summary to my Google home page, and I found a notifier that actually works. Bloglines has a slick import/export feature, so I was able to export all my existing feeds to Reader without having to rebuild them.

Now, if Google would just come up with a to-do list tool . . .

This is what passes for excitement at my house.


Saturday, May 26, 2007

word up

Word of the day: snorkel.

Reason: fun to say.


Thursday, May 24, 2007


Just finished watching the season 3 finale of Lost. Wow. Is anyone else as utterly and completely OVER Dr. Jack Flaming Shepard as I am?


Tuesday, May 22, 2007

hot fuzz

One of the great pleasures of my current lifestyle is that I can dash off to a matinee on a weekday if I feel like it, so yesterday, I did. And one of the great pleasures of seeing a matinee, other than devouring a smuggled-in sandwich in the dark, is seeing a movie that is a complete delight.

Hot Fuzz is such a movie. It's sort of Lethal Weapon meets an Agatha Christie mystery, and it's just about the best thing I've seen all year. Buddy cop action (and inaction), a quaint English village, an ex-James Bond, a hedgehog, some spectacular gore — Hot Fuzz has it all. And be forewarned, no cliche escapes unscathed. All 8 people in the theater guffawed out loud numerous times.

Star Simon Pegg may just be my second-favorite British actor (after new 007 Daniel Craig). This movie was worth more than the price of admission — something I don't believe I've ever said before — and I will buy it as soon as it comes out on DVD. Can't wait for the extras.


Sunday, May 20, 2007

good company

Today was a spiffy day. I awoke to a cool, fresh morning, lounged a bit, and still managed to exhaust the Internet by 8:45. So I showered and grabbed a book — a paperback from Sister-san that fits neatly into my new purse along with my reading glasses — and took myself to Perkins for breakfast. I’ve found that 9:30 is about the latest you can show up and still beat the after-church crowd, and I just squeaked in. Biscuits and gravy and meat, oh my!

[And by the way: Thank you, Twin Cities, for smoke-free restaurants. I remember the bad old days of having to wade through the cancer section to get to the “nonsmoking” section, which was usually tarry from secondhand clouds anyway. It’s not as if I ever went to Perkins for health food, but at least now I get to choose my poison rather than being forced to inhale someone else’s excrement. (Yes, excrement. The lungs are part of the excretory system. Look it up.) So again, thank you.]

Anyway. I came home and did some proofreading, cleaned the kitchen and bathroom with Grey’s Anatomy playing in the background, then finished the proofreading. Then I started my own company.

Although I’ve had the forms for weeks, today I finally filled out and mailed in my Articles of Organization (which means that as far as the Secretary of State is concerned, I’m organized) and my Certificate of Assumed Name (I assumed I’d use my own name). When the checks are cashed and the registration officialized, I will be the proud sole proprietor of Kimberly Husband, LLC. Hooray for me! Just in time to file self-employment taxes. Or maybe not, if it’s an LLC. I’ve got a call in to my tax advisor.

On the bright side: I have a company credit card. Can I use it to pay my taxes?

Seriously, though, I’m proud of owning my own business, even if it is just a wee mom-and-pop shop without the pop or the shop — and come to think of it, I’m not a mom, either. But my mom and pop managed to create a very fine life for our family with their shop, so I have an excellent model to follow.

I’d carry on about that at some length, but evening birds are twittering outside, and I can smell my late-blooming lilac on the breeze. I need to go out and inhale. Great things await.


Saturday, May 19, 2007

grey area

I've been watching Grey's Anatomy on DVD. Three episodes in, this question arises:

When does this show get good?

Seriously. Between all the medical cliches, dramatic cliches, and musical montage cliches, I don't see anything innovative.


Thursday, May 17, 2007

just a few

A few things


A few days ago I received a handful of Moxy Fruvous discs from a faraway blogfriend. Wish I could have seen them in concert, just once. Spicy! She’s getting a double handful of Rockapella in return. And don’t EVEN bust my chops for bootlegging; since I lost money on the deal (postage), I can hardly be accused of profiteering. Just bringing another fansheep into the fold.

On the small screen, Heroes just keeps getting better. I’m going to watch this week’s ep in about 20 minutes. Gotta make popcorn — and shut the windows so the neighbors don’t hear me yelling HOLY CRAP WHAT JUST HAPPENED?! I love Hiro. I totally do. He’s cute and funny and handy with a sword. That pretty much does it for me.


Yesterday I rode my trusty 21-speed steed Johndenver to the grocery store for fresh fruit, streamers flying. Felt great. Came back and did a heap of work and asked for more. Oh, and I did a load of laundry, too, in the middle of the day, because I had time. Now that’s livin’.

On Monday I spent some rare facetime on campus at the offices of Online U, one of my many contract jobs. I hadn’t been there an hour before the whole staff received an e-mail announcing that the president of the university had resigned, effective immediately, no reason given. The rest of the morning was given over to the official debriefing — the touchyfeeliest meeting I’ve attended since junior high church camp and no that’s not a compliment! — and speculation. But the afternoon was productive. Still: oy!

Update: A new president has already been named, so I guess the departing one’s departure wasn’t that sudden after all. Only the announcement was.

On a much larger campus nearby, the nice ladies at the U of M, my largest yet worst-paying client, want me to work more more more. Like, they’d like to have me on-site 32 hours a week, and they want me to apply for a full-time position that they hope to add in the fall because I’d have a “very good chance wink wink” of getting it. They’ve been hinting and I’ve been demurring for weeks now, but Tuesday was the straight-out conversation. I said no.

Did you hear that? I said no. And it felt oh so good.

No to full-time or near-full-time work. No to the prospect of benefits. Why? Because I don’t need it. The commute is too big a pain, the pay rate too low, and the fun factor too low for me to desire the position. So I turned them down. I said I could take on maybe 10 more hours a week IF I could do the work at home, but anything else . . . no. So we’ll see what they say to that.

Update: They said yes, more or less, so it looks like I’ll be picking up about another day’s worth of at-home hours per week. Plus, I’m being given some online courses of my own to update and stuff. I am on my way to becoming a course developer.

Is it time to stop dredging the ‘Net for more freelance projects?


Remember that classic psych experiment that showed how rats will exhaust themselves pressing a lever if they’re rewarded on a random basis because they think the next try might just be a winner? www.icanhascheezburger.com is like that. Most of the entries are meh, but the occasional knee-slapper keeps me coming back.

On the big screen: remind me to see Hot Fuzz. Sounds dandy.

Getting blasted with the past

I’ve officially RSVPed in the affirmative for my 20th high school reunion. What should I take for my contribution to the potluck picnic? Besides booze? Seriously. Hummus?


Tuesday, May 15, 2007

not a lot

"I’ll say this for the quantity of pubic hair in the bathtub: it’s not a lot."

— James Lileks, trying to give a hotel room the benefit of the doubt.

And that, my friends, is why I'm willing to read every word of his blogs about What I Did on My Summer Vacation, which includes a trip to DisneyWorld. See The Bleat for details.


Sunday, May 13, 2007

weekend haiku

laptop on the deck
playing Casino Royale
you wish you were me


Friday, May 11, 2007

Halfway to Santa Claus

My birthday is always filled with fun and good wishes, but this one was particularly excellent. Maybe that’s because it’s lasted a couple weeks so far, and it ain’t over yet.

First of all, my crabapple tree blossomed the first week of May, as it always does. I like to think of that as a birthday bouquet from my late Dad. That’s just the sort of thing he’d do.

Then, Mom was here the whole week before my birthday. Aside from her unfortunate run-in with gravity in my driveway, we had a fine time. We expanded our shopping horizons and ate at places we’d never visited before, including a new Chinese restaurant, a Jamaican food stand at the Global Market, and, um, Chuck E. Cheese’s. Well, we had to scout the place in case we want to take CNE there sometime, right? And I won enough tickets playing the video games to buy each of us a plastic bracelet and a Tootsie Roll, both of which could probably beat Chuck’s pizza in a taste test.

By the end of last week, birthday wishes had begun to arrive via mail and e-mail. Earlier this week, friends I hadn’t talked with in a while just happened to contact me, too. Nice surprises, guys. Thanks! Plus, I found a great deal on a video I wanted on Amazon.com, and it arrived on my birthday. So did a card from Mother Media.

A box from Sister-san showed up the day before b-day, so I saved it to open the next morning. And it contained CAKE! Well, not cake precisely, but a whole pan of homemade chocolate-caramel bars, uncut and sealed in plastic wrap. They are fantastic and only half gone so far. And as if that weren’t enough, the box also contained a novel, music, and a card handcrafted by CNE. BEST SISTER-SAN EVER!! THANK YOU!!

Continuing with the food theme, friends treated me to both tea & chocolate and lunch. I also received a book I had intended to buy for myself on the way home — I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence by Amy Sedaris — using the 15% off coupon my good buddy Border’s Books had sent me. The recipes are good, the food photography is better, and the writing is priceless. I have to read it with a damp rag handy for when I snort ginger ale through my nose.

I e-mailed felicitations to the godfather of a cappella, with whom I share this auspicious birthday, and received greetings in return — the same four-word message as last year, in fact. Love ya, Sean.

Then today, large men tromped through my house delivering more gifts. First came the electrician, who installed two new outlets in my home office, one in the guest room, and one outside the back door. My laptop is currently plugged into that one. No more power strips! Huzzah!

After yet another lunch with a friend, I returned to greet the furniture guys, who brought me the new office setup Mother Media so graciously gave me. BEST MOM EVER!! THANK YOU!! The main piece is an armoire with a drop-leaf/pull-out desk inside, plus ample shelving. I can close the doors on the whole thing, and on the accompanying storage cabinet, when the office is being used as a bedroom for a visiting CNE.

To test the new setup, the office will indeed host CNE this weekend, and her parents will get to plug their alarm clock into the new outlet in the guest bedroom. I get to have them here for some post-birthday revels, and I’ll also be able to give Sister-san her Mother’s Day gift in person. Win-win-win.

Well, my guests will arrive any minute, so I’m off to make last-minute preparations and finally eat supper. Thank you to all!


Monday, May 07, 2007


Once upon a Monday dreary, I woke up, no longer weary, and it was so unlike a corporate Monday that I nearly wept with relief. I went out onto my deck and jumped rope for 20 minutes in a light drizzle — part of my radical plan to exercise occasionally — then came in for an unhurried shower, a sit-down breakfast, and a leisurely stroll through my e-mail and favorite websites.

In about half an hour, I will start on the work of the day. By then, I won't have to pretend I'm awake. At no time will I have to pretend to look busy in case the boss is watching; I have plenty to do, and I just applied for more online. I will not pretend to be someone else, someone agreeable, in makeup or business casual costume. I will not have to sit in meetings pretending they mean something, and I will not have to pretend that a boss's ideas make sense. I will not have to pretend I'm not humming Moxy Fruvous's jazzy "Kick in the Ass" every time certain coworkers walk by.

I will not have to pretend anything.

I've been waiting my whole life for this. You have no idea. I remember as far back as first grade, pretending not to be bored out of my mind while waiting for the rest of the class to finish their worksheets; pretending I didn't know answers because I was tired of being called on; pretending I was riding a horse, not a desk, through my daily nonadventures. In that sense, school really did prepare me for the real working world to come, and no thank you very much.

I'm incredibly lucky I've found a way out of that box. It did take a kick in the ass for me to find my happy place, but I did, and I give thanks every day for my good fortune. It's not just fake-smile polite thanks, either. I'm talking on-my-knees gratitude here. No pretending. Nevermore.


Friday, May 04, 2007

The Employment Chronicles, Chapter 22

My credit card is paid off, I have two paychecks in my purse to deposit, two more due today, and another overdue. Projects awaiting my attention include a website update, a newsletter to proofread, a trio of newsletters to write, some course materials to proof and test, a few more magazine pages to copy edit, and an interview to conduct if the subject would just return my calls. Oh, and my half-time and quarter-time jobs to attend to as well.

The Unemployment Chronicles are officially FINISHED.


Thursday, May 03, 2007

lol Trek

Does anybody out there know anything about the alleged web craze lolcats? I don't. I'm going to have to look it up?

Meanwhile, whatever lolcats is, when blended with one of my favorite Star Trek episodes, it yields lol Trek. Super funny even if you don't know lolcats — but you do need some Trekkage. Please click. u can has laf party.

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