Sunday, May 29, 2011

Happy Memorial Day, from Mile High Pixie and a graveyard kitteh

This kitteh was hanging out in the shade in the St. Louis Graveyard #1 in New Orleans when we visited a few weeks ago. It seemed semi-feral; not afeared of us hoomanz, but not really into being snuggied (rly, sry, Miss Kitty). I snapped this photo and traipsed on to look at more dead people, which seems to be one of my hobbies when on vacation or out of town in any capacity.

I got back from presenting at an industry conference in NOLA to find that there was a lot to do before our user group meetings on the Uber MOB for Gestalt. So after only really about two days off (two were spent at the conference), I pulled a 7-day workweek and had some pretty decent meetings. That leaves us with one month to finish DDs for Uber MOB, which is going to be pretty damn tight.

But alas, 'tis Memorial Day weekend, when we remember and give thanks to all those who have given the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. So, I'm going to go to brunch, then to a Rockies game with Guy (where we shall see if his beloved Cardinals can get revenge for the 15-4 drubbing they received last night from the Rox), and then go home and hug my beloved Cardinals-loving veteran and thank him for being brave enough to join the armed forces in the first place. May you all enjoy a moment's rest and thanks this weekend!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

How much doing nothing is enough?

Just got back from a convention in New Orleans; the long weekend was not nearly long enough. I spent a couple of days at the convention, then a couple of days doodling around the French Quarter. It wasn't until the morning of the day we left that I really felt calm-ish. Looking for a bit of breakfast before our cemetery tour (details and photos to follow), we found a little sunlit cafe with fantastic breakfast biscuits and a wonderful cafe au lait. I sat in the sun indoors and sipped my coffee (spring in NOLA is reportedly the best time to visit, though I was a little chilly the whole weekend despite temps being in the high 70s). I realized that we'd (Guy and I) spent the last two days just wandering and looking, not having too much of a timetable, and it had been good. Would that the entire weekend had been that way--no convention involved (for me anyway), just wandering around and seeing what there was to see.

Guy commented that he felt we'd spent about the right amount of time on vacation--he hadn't done a lot, and this was just the right amount of do-nothing time. Frankly, I could have spent five days just wandering from shop to bookstore to cafe without batting and eye or getting bored. Guy, however, wants to go see and do stuff. Compare that to home, though: I'm constantly in motion, going and doing and cleaning and fixing and writing and tweaking stuff, and Guy watches sports and surfs the web and generally chills out. So, of course Guy's bored and I'm overstimulated when it comes to vacay activities. (Camping trips tend to be our best chance at balancing activities and rest/nothing time, and we do have a long trip to Yellowstone planned for the end of the summer.)

When I lamented about wanting more downtime, Guy commented "Well, you can do nothing at home for a lot cheaper." I shot back, "You can do nothing at home for cheaper; when I'm home, there's always something to clean or write or check or do." Upon mulling this over more, the obvious (and mildly-oversimplified) answer to the predicament is to get Guy to help me around the house more and spend more time chilling out at home. But would I even really rest if I had more free time, or would I fill it with yet more things to do? (e.g., now that Guy's swiffing the house, that gives me time to clean out the junk drawer!)

Either way, I hit the ground running with my hair on fire when I got back to work this week. We have a lot to do before our user group meetings next week, so looks like at least one day of my weekend will be spent doing something at work as opposed to something (or nothing) at home. At least kittehs were happy to see us when we got home.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Architect frantic, please stand by....

Trying to tie up a bunch of loose ends before I go out of town to an industry conference where I'm making a return engagement, meeting up with some folks, and eventually taking a break. Then it'll be back at it with a vengeance for an end-of-month deadline. I just have to hold on for six more days and then I can breathe. I'll try to post something decently interesting in the next week or so--hang tight, my tens of readers!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Man, I was creativer when I was younger

I was recently going through some stuff my Mom had given me from her house, and I found a few pieces of pink construction paper with some childhood drawings on it. I found myself laughing and blushing as I reviewed the drawings, some in pencil and some in crayon, marker, and colored pencil. I was amused, cheered, embarrassed, and a little bit in awe of what my eight- or nine-year-old self had come up with during a spare afternoon during one of Mom's custodial weekend visits.

Believe me, this isn't one of those "oh, remember how wonderful childhood was, how innocent and fantastic and how everything was so much better when we were kids" kinds of commentaries. Childhood tended to be pretty chaotic for me, between my dad trying to block Mom from seeing us or dragging her into court, or my sister Kitty and me trying to defend ourselves from the neighborhood girls that started the rumor that Kitty and I were "devil worshippers". Frankly, being an adult is fucking awesome, and I wouldn't trade it for any overly-romanticized view of childhood that the occasional nostalgia-waxing email forward tries to pawn off on its readers. But I found myself considering something while looking at the images that had tickled my brain recently in a quiet, non-architecturally-induced-panic-filled moment. I realized that, as a kid, I was pretty damn creative and bright.

I would make up stories that had sequels and soundtracks. I made up musical bands and singers, and I would write their entire album's songs and even sing a few of them (just the singles that were released, not the B-sides) out loud. I drew the band's members, and even some of the bands and singers I made up had feuds, and I think one of them lost their drummer to breast cancer after I entered high school. (That's the thing--even after I stopped actively engaging that part of my imagination, it would still return to me now and then, and I'd do a VH1-Where-Are-They-Now with those imaginary characters.) At Mom's house, my Lego set spread out over my room (and also into Kitty's room and down the hall when it suited us and in the basement when she had one), and I made up more characters to populate my own version of Legoland. My Barbies started their own rock group too, kind of a fancy-schmancy white-girl version of En Vogue. (Then, Kitty and I took the Barbies out in the yard and threw them up at the power lines that ran across our front yard, trying to zap them and make them melt. I never said we were normal children.)

I drew a great deal, but I never wrote much down, per se, as it always seemed like my mind went so much faster and farther than my hands could write. Those who have seen my handwriting can attest that writing (as opposed to typing) is a laborious task for me. But their names remain in my head like it's 1983: Botae, a multi-talented woman; her dad Oz, who looked like my mom's Dad in Michigan and was born super-old and nearly died at birth (about 29 years before I'd ever heard of Benjamin Button); Oz's dogs Junior and Bunior (okay, I wasn't that creative); and Mr. Invy, who was mayor of Legoland and somehow allowed Devo to move into the neighborhood and drive around in their red-and-black van, which my sister named "Devo-Machine" and would dead-pan narrate its thoughts and voice. (I'm actually laughing so hard I can't type as I think about her narrating the Devo-Machine. I can't express the utter hilarity of my 11-year old sister saying in a robotic tone "Devo-Machine is getting ang-gry, Devo Devo Devo.")

I didn't tell a lot of people about these characters, as I seemed to know/feel even as a child that imagination would be mocked. I kept my drawings to myself, mostly, although Kitty was really good about encouraging and adding onto my ideas ("If you're drawing clothes, then you should draw jewelry and shoes to go with the fashions, Pixie! And your store should sell neon shoelaces!"). So now, here in the light of day, who were your imaginary friends and creations? Tell me while I muster up the courage to post some of these pictures I drew.