OMG Pat Rothfuss!

Yesterday I attended a reading, Q&A, and signing with one of my current favorite writers, Pat Rothfuss, author of the Kingkiller Chronicles. (Squeeeee! I do not often “squee,” but….squeeeee!) It was a great time. First of all, it was at my favorite local library, the Roseville library, which was awesome. Secondly, a few of my friends from Fest (namely, former Hardtack Jack members Jon and Chris, and Chris’s wife Rae) were also attending. I went to a thing! With people I know! From Fest!

There were several cool things that happened, aside from the fact that it was a reading/Q&A/signing with one of my current favorite writers. The first thing that was cool was that Pat came out about 20 minutes before he was scheduled to talk. Holding a stack of index cards, he announced that he wasn’t “officially here yet,” but that we’d be doing some Q&A, and that he realizes that “some people might be introverts.” So he passed out the index cards, for those who might want to ask a question but not shout it out in front of 300 people (and there were about 300 people there). I didn’t have a question, but I was so impressed that he addressed the introversion question head on, and took steps specifically to make the event introvert-friendly! Much appreciated, Pat!

The second cool thing that happened was that one of the questions he read was “What are your favorite words and what words do you dislike?” The word he liked was “incarnadine,” which is indeed a lovely word. But the really cool part was that the word he doesn’t like was “utilize.” He basically said it’s a synonym for “use,” and the only reason to say “utilize” instead of “use” is to sound smart/important/fancy. Ha! This was awesome because I had this conversation with someone just the other day and had come to the same conclusion. Awesome. I told him this while he was signing by book, and he seemed genuinely amused and impressed that we’d had this same thought process, which was cool.

Another cool (but sort of weird) thing that happened was this: When I entered the library and got in line to buy my copy of The Name of the Wind (having previously only owned it on Kindle), I started talking to the woman behind me. We continued talking as we went to sit down, so naturally we sat down together (also next to Chris and Rae). She told her her kids’ uncle was coming to meet her. When he showed up, his kids were with him, and I recognized his daughter right away, and subsequently, him– they used to live 2 houses down from me. Small world!

The reading and Q&A was a cool thing, too. Aside from the content itself, it was a great social activity for an introvert. I got there and chatted with like-minded people (okay, mostly people I already knew, but not entirely) for a while. We had a built-in topic of conversation. Then, we all sat together and listened to Pat read and answer questions. Then we all talked again while in line. A socially acceptable hour-long break from talking at a social activity! Fantastic!

Social Life

I have been quite the social butterfly this weekend. Last night, I went to karaoke with Karlie, Amy, and hostess Jaime. It’s always a fun time, though I felt especially off my game last night because of globus, PLUS there were lots of singers there, and most of them were really good, so I felt even worse in comparison. 😀 But that’s fine, it is always fun! Sleep-wise, it was nice that it was on a Friday night– usually Jaime hosts karaoke on Thursdays– but actually I think I prefer the Thursday nights. Fewer people, higher ratio of people I know to strangers, and generally more mediocre singers like myself than stellar voices like on Friday. 🙂

Today I had plans to go to a Geeks Who Drink themed pub quiz, and the theme was… Star Trek!!! Awesome! It was a great time. My awesome sister-in-law came to babysit (since the quiz started before the spouse got home from work), I put on my red shirt and communicator badge (my Jadzia Dax uniform, I discovered, doesn’t fit as well post-baby), and headed out to the Chatterbox Pub in St Paul, which also just happens to be one of my favorite watering holes, in my very own St Paul. Good times! There I met up with my friend Natasha and our other teammates, whom I didn’t know before (except one by sight from Fest), but who were all very nice people. My brother and sister-in-law were playing as well in Vegas. Wish we could have all played together, but alas. My team did rock, though. We called our team the “Spock Stars.” There were some hard questions. Some of them I knew, some I did not but others did, and some, none of us did. After the first 3 rounds, we had only got 2 wrong and were in 3rd place, but by the end we ended up in 6th place (out of 14 teams). But, as one person put it, we won, because we were hanging out together having fun! And it was a very fun time indeed.

Tonight I was invited to go to the Rocky Horror Picture Show with some Festies, but decided to decline because the show doesn’t start until 11, and sine the spouse is on day shift, I have to be up when the baby wakes up (usually between 6-7am). But it would have been a good time I’m sure!

Tomorrow I have plans to meet my BFF Kelly and her son (my godson), who is about 6 months older than my son. We’re gonna let the boys have a little play date and catch up.

So many social activities for this introvert! It helps that Friday I worked from home, so I had some good, solid alone time while the kiddo was at daycare. Yes, I was working, but I was still alone, and that is very refreshing. There were even a good couple hours of complete silence around me, except the sound of my work on the computer, while the dogs were napping. Lovely!

Also, as it turns out, I realized that recently I’ve been hanging out with Festies outside of Fest. Like socially, not just at Fest-related things like band or Terp practice. This is the first time I can really say that, and it’s kind of cool.

2013 in Review

I’ve seen several posts on Facebook about how terrible 2013 was for many people. I’m very sorry for everyone who had a rough year… but mine has been great! 2012 was more difficult for me, and I guess the first half of 2013 was a bit trying as well, but oeverall, the good definitely outweighs the bad.

January

On New Year’s Day, I turned 32. At that time I was undergoing fertility testing after 2+ years of trying to get pregnant with no luck. This was not very enjoyable. Fertility testing is painful, both physically and emotionally.

A good thing that happened in January was that we got the band together! I’d been wanting to try to form this group since Fest of 2012, and in January it finally came together, and I’m very happy it did!

February

In February we had our first practices with the band, and Rob and I took a trip to Mexico.

Being romanced by a pirate in Mexico

Being romanced by a pirate in Mexico

March

In March, Rob had a surgery that was designed to improve our fertility. I was pretty optimistic about the success of the surgery, but it was also difficult because it definitely was not guaranteed to help, and both of our doctors were already implying that IVF might be our best hope, which made it difficult to maintain my optimism. I was so proud of Rob though– he underwent the surgery very willingly and without any complaint.

In March my BFF also revealed to me that she was pregnant. Although I was of course really happy for her, I couldn’t help feeling simultaneously sad for myself– a most unpleasant state of affairs.

April

In April, we adopted our second dog, Gilly. I’m happy to report that things are still going great with him! Trip was jealous at first of his new little brother, and he still gets jealous over toys and cuddle time with us, but every day they are becoming more and more like a pack. They haven’t quite reached the point where they will cuddle together, but Trip will now tolerate Gilly being right next to him on the couch. He also gives Gilly kisses on the nose, which is pretty sweet. We’re still working with Gilly on his mouthing and jumping, but overall he’s a pretty well-behaved pup, and he is only 2, so he’s still a young thing.
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A Day in the Life of an Introvert

This is an account of a fictional but pretty typical day.

7:40 am: 

I stop for coffee on my way to work. Since I stop there frequently, I know the baristas.  At least, I know them by sight, and they know me (and my drink order!)– as far as I know they don’t know my name. I walk in and see that it’s the dark-haired girl making drinks. I only know her name because randomly they wore name tags for a couple of days. The dark-haired girl’s name tag read “emily.” I like her–she’s nice.

But do I rejoice that I will get to talk to her? Nope! Instead, all kinds of thoughts are running through my mind: When should I say hello– right when I see her? She looks busy. Should I say my drink order at the register, or do I assume that they remember it when I hand them my reusable mug?

I overhear another patron asking emily about her vacation. Do they know each other outside of the patron-barista relationship? How, in interactions that last a few minutes a day, did they get to the point where they know about each other’s lives? I don’t know how to do that– I can make conversation, but it’s restricted to the niceties and talk about the weather. Which, granted, in Minnesota is actually an interesting topic, but still.

At any rate, I have cordial but superficial interactions with the dude and the dark-haired girl as I go about getting my coffee. They make excellent coffee, which is an introvert’s best friend.

8:15 am:

I get to work and get settled in, and open up my email. There it is: a message from Auto Forward, with the subject line “Fwd: (612.XXX.XXXX) 01:18 Voice Message.” It’s a voicemail. Oh, crap on a cracker, I think as I put in my headphones to listen to it. As I listen, I evaluate whether I can justifiably respond by email instead of calling the person back. Maybe the caller will leave an email address in their message, thereby giving me permission to respond by email. No such luck. Or, maybe it’s one of my students, who has questions that require web links or attachments?  Nope, it’s a parent–strike two. Even worse, they don’t specify their questions in their message– it’s just “I have some questions about the Montpellier program.” So there’s no chance I can just call and hopefully leave the answers on their voicemail. No, there is simply no way around it– I am going to have to have a phone conversation.

As I pick up the phone and dial the number, I can feel my heartbeat speed up and my body temperature rise. Why! I know I will have the answers, and more often than not, the parents I speak to on the phone are pleasant and thank me for answering their questions. This is the case today– the mother I speak to tells me I’ve been very helpful and thanks me for my time. There’s no rational reason to be nervous, but there’s just something about this method of communication that causes me stress. It’s infuriating.

Thanksgiving 2012

I didn’t really post anything Thanksgiving-related on Thanksgiving. This is because the status update thing on Facebook specifically asked, “What are you thankful for?” and everyone, like sheep, posted that they were thankful for friends, family, health, blah blah blah. I have no doubt that most people did it with the best of intentions, but it felt a little hollow and forced to me, so I refrained. But I am thankful for many things, which I will now enumerate:

Love
Dogs
My dog, in particular
Coffee
Chocolate
Friends
Family
The internet
Star Trek
Good health
A steady, decently-paying job that I mostly enjoy

Insurance that covers infertility treatment

Sunshine

Water
Air
My bed
Blankets
Warm clothes in the winter
Music
Poetry
Laughter
Fest
Emoticons
Travel
My house
President Obama
Blue states
And more

Thanksgiving was a bit weird this year. Thanksgiving day itself was fine; my spouse worked first shift (6:30am-2:30pm), for which he earned quadruple time and a paid day off on Friday, so that was cool. I had some “I time” in the morning and early afternoon, which I always appreciate. Then we went out to my parents’ house (just a 45 minute drive) for Thanksgiving dinner, which is typically very low key, as it’s usually just my spouse and I and my parents. This year was no different. And I was mainly over the cold that had been plaguing me for the last week and a half, and my spouse was on the upswing as well. Dinner was good, it was awesome hanging out with my parents, everything was fine. I also talked to my brother on the phone for a good while (which, for us, is probably like 15 minutes ).

Ireland

Friday, Nov 2:

Arrived in Dublin early, around 7:30am. Called the bank. Got some cash and breakfast. Got the bus to Belfast at 9:20. Texted G on the bus. Arrived in Belfast around 11:45 (a bit late) and G was there waiting. We went for a coffee right away at Costas, sat at a low table near the wall in round leather(ish) chairs. Chatted easily for a good while, then went to the Travelodge to drop off my luggage. Wandered around a bit, then met his family (dad, mom, and sister) for the bus tour of Belfast. Made the mistake of sitting on the open top, and holy crap it was cold! The bus tour took us past the place where Titanic was built, into Shankill and Falls Roads to see the murals, past Queen’s U. After the bus tour we were all freezing so we went into a pub, called Whites I think, that supposedly dates from 1630.  We had dinner there and then went to the Crown pub, very old Victorian pub that has a bunch of tiny rooms. Later that night another pub, McHugh’s, which is situated in the oldest building in Belfast, coincidentally right across the street from where G’s brother  lives. G was staying there, while his brother was away in Prague. After his family headed home, G walked me back to the Travelodge and then walked back to the apartment.

Saturday, Nov 3:

G met me at the hotel in the morning and we went to Costas again, sat at the same table for coffee and breakfast. Then we met the rest of the family and headed out to tour the North Coast. Saw the ruin of Dunluce castle, Bushmills distillery  (tour, whiskey taste, and lunch) and then the Giant’s Causeway. His family took care of all my tickets and food. I felt bad but they wouldn’t let me pay for anything. And after awhile, trying to insist just seemed awkward, so I didn’t. That evening we went for coffee at a tiny place along the seaside where supposedly they had filmed parts of Game of Thrones, drove around the area a bit, through Ballymoney where they live, through Portrush where G works, and then to Coleraine for dinner. Then the family drove G and me back to Belfast (about an hour drive). We had a nightcap at McHugh’s and then G escorted me in a taxi back to Travelodge. I had a hell of a time sleeping Saturday night because the bar across the street was very noisy, and also I think jet lag got me a bit, so I decided to check to see if I could get Roswell on Netflix over there. And I could! So I watched an ep of that and finally slept, probably around 2.


Dunluce Castle


Bushmills Distillery! Interesting tour and whiskey sample at the end!


Giant’s Causeway

G at Giant’s Causeway

Maid of Honor Toast

It’s my best friend’s wedding reception tonight, and I have been procrastinating on writing my wedding toast for her. I finally wrote it this morning at work. I hope it’s good. I think it is.

K and I have known each other for twenty-five years, and have been best friends for nearly that long. Growing up, we sent countless hours together doing art, playing Barbies, going to Camp Coffee after school, talking about boys (and later girls), writing in notebooks to each other, traveling together, and even being roommates for awhile. In fact, during our time as roommates, we discovered the term “hetero life mate,” which Urban Dictionary defines as “best friends who are so close they know they will never part” or “someone of the same sex who you hang out with enough to consider your life mate…but not in a gay way.” We decided it described our relationship perfectly. It makes no matter that my hetero life mate turned out not to be hetero.

But as many of us know, friendships evolve as we grow older, and jobs, spouses, families, and other such adult obligations can make it difficult to spend as much time with our friends as we did when we were younger. There have been times that I have not been able to be there for K when she needed someone, but during the last couple of years, I’ve watched D help K through some difficult times, and I know that she’s well cared for.

So D, thank you for being such a wonderful partner to my best friend. K, I am so happy that you’ve found your true love. You’ll always be my best friend and hetero life mate, but I’m very happy to share you with your non-hetero life mate and lovely new wife. I wish you an eternity of love and happiness together. Congratulations.