Prom Night

Silly Pre-Prom Picture


We launched TeenBot off to his senior prom tonight. That was one of the day’s three main events and definitely the most photogenic. The other two highlights were bleaching the bejeezus out of the shower and drafting my first post as a Featured Contributor on GovLoop.

On the latter point, it has been six years or so since the last time I wrote anything for an actual publication. I hope that I will get the hang of it again quickly, seeing as how I’m supposed to produce one post each week for the next couple of months. I also hope I’ll figure out how “focus keywords” and “SEO titles” work (unless, of course, the nice editors at GovLoop wind up taking care of all that).

On the former, I will spare you the before and after pictures. My landlord’s interior maintenance is maybe not the best thing about where we live.


Side Hustle

After several months’ drought, I got some business at my side hustle. This naturally leads to blogging instead of writing for the gig that pays. Good job, me!

(Muppet Labs is now reporting that over-consumption of Easter candy can lead to sudden drops in energy levels.)

Dino Spouse and I left work early today – using precious leave hours – to meet with the Army Reserves recruiter who has been encouraging Podrostok to consider enlisting after graduation. Said recruiter wound up calling us 20 minutes before the scheduled meeting time to tell us he would be 45 minutes late, then failed to materialize at the newly appointed hour. And so on until I called him 20 minutes after he didn’t show. Upshot being (a) grr and (b) now we have rescheduled to Friday evening.

It turns out that my employer is actually going to send me on more business travel, this time to Denver in the summer. And thus I learned that Casa Bonita of “South Park” fame is actually a real place! If only they had a theme hotel to go with it…


Recent social media quiz thingies suggest that I am a mere 47% psychopath, not at all a sociopath, and most like Hades (if I were to be a Disney villain, which is the only way I’d really want admission to the Disney pantheon except as a character on Phinneas and Ferb or Gravity Falls). I am kind of disappointed about the sociopath thing, but since they’re good at feigning normalcy it stands to reason.

This morning I woke up at 430 and could not get back to sleep. I was sorely tempted to play Ms. Pac-Man but I made myself work out, make coffee for myself and Dino Spouse, and pursue gainful activities online instead. Poor Dino Spouse! His beloved Verismo instant espresso doodad exploded on Monday and now he is reduced to drinking mere cafe au lait instead of his favored latte. He really loved that machine. Every time I am tempted to jone on his bougie tastes, I remind myself that the most cherished material gift my husband has ever given me is my beloved electric pencil sharpener. We all have our fetish objects.

Speaking of fetish objects, my idea of gainful activity this morning (other than the grocery order, that is) is blogging.  Every morning I find articles online (about work or depression or the Left or which Disney Villain I am) and set them aside in hopes that I will find time to write about them and thereby expand my lands. Every evening I close the open browser windows* with a sigh. Venting about being depressed helped me perk up a little. I love having a personal diary for those moments when I need to just break sh*t, but writing for an audience satisfies me creatively. I mean, I spent hours yesterday studying the Code of Federal Regulations for waivers to solve a bureaucratic problem. It spoke to me, people. Its structure was illuminated like that of some awesome geometric proof. I really need a creative outlet. The last thing you need In Ur Takses is me hallucinating and raving about the Federal Travel Regulations from atop a (by DC standards) high-rise. Bureaucrates stylites, y’all.

No one comments on my blog except for the pingbacks I get in linking to my own posts, spambots, and this one nice young person in India, whom I wish success in developing the dream web app that will break down my grocery lists and tell me which things to buy at which local stores to maximize my cost savings each week. But I see that I have followers. Hi, followers! I have added a new page just for you!

Pro Tip

Answering all political commentary from one’s visiting parents with “Property is theft” is a great conversation stopper. I don’t know why this didn’t occur to me ages ago. The Protosaurs have returned their grandsons to us after a 10-day visit. They are now regaining consciousness in my living room (the grandparents, not the boys), and I have retreated to the basement to work on my latest writing commission.

(I do performance appraisal narrative drafts for people who hate touting their own accomplishments. I do this for free on the inside* all the time, and now word of mouth has brought me my first paying client for this service. Make that my first repeat paying client for the service, since this is the second time I’ve done work for her.)

(You know what works great for paid writing gigs? Getting the hell off of WordPress and drafting the paid work instead of blogging about it to the brave souls who still look here vainly for posts. If any of you other than spambots are actually going to the site and reading instead of waiting for posts to pop up in your RSS feeds or e-mail, I’m betting that none of you are coming here looking for my efforts at self-promotion.)

*By which I mean coworkers and friends within my workplace. Check out the disclaimers for more details.

Collateral Duties

Sitting in a car for hours at a time is painful and boring. Sitting in a car for hours at a time and covering the same stretch of I-95 in Northern Virgina repeatedly is painful, boring, and maddening. Spending a Friday evening and a Saturday as Teen Taxi after a full work week is … well, it does not bring out the best in me. Let’s just say that I have seen more of Potomac Mills and environs than I ever want to see again.

Lesson learned: when TeenBot asks me if I can give his friend a ride to another friend’s house, I need to ask “In which city?” before answering.

Other lesson learned: when I tell TeenBot he can hang out for a little while at the mall, I need to make it clear that “a little while” does not equal “enough time to watch a feature film.” (On the bright side, I now know that “The Fault In Our Stars” will not suck when Mouse inevitably asks to see it after reading the novel.)

Today’s project is writing a federal resume and application statements for A Paying Customer. I love paying customers. I’d rather write people’s memoirs and love letters, mind, but helping people apply for federal jobs appears to be something I’m good at. It brings in some pin money for orthopedic shoes and unexpected runs to and from Woodbridge. Contact me to find out more about my rates and track record.




I launched this blog to combine my impulse for self-expression with an exercise in Building My Personal Brand on the off chance that some nice government agency or company in my native Michigan might want to hire me.* So far, I’m encountering two problems with this.

  1. My creative impulse has been pretty weak and somewhat stymied by the requirements of actual, you know, life.
  2. The  phrase “personal branding” brings to mind the process of branding livestock. I have no chattel to brand, and it’s illegal for me to singe my initials into people without their consent. Or so I am given to understand. So what exactly am I supposed to do?

As far as I can figure, this “personal branding” business is a specific form of self-presentation that’s supposed to provide a sense of one’s personality (or chosen professional persona)  along with the usual proofs of professional competence. Alas, I am not 100% certain which aspects of my personality I ought to be sharing and which are best hidden in an attic somewhere. Perhaps it would be more efficient to simply post the results of all my internet personality quizzes here than to create an executive bio. Who needs a Myers-Briggs type (INTP, BTW) when you can show off your Disney Princess (Belle), your Muppet (varies between Gonzo and Dr. Bunsen Honeydew), or your spirit animal (lizard)?

* Have some disclaimers with that! Nothing I say here constitutes an active search for outside employment by Uncle Sam’s lights. But I do want to relocate to the Mitten after my oldest kid finishes high school.

(On the other hand, why bother moving back to Michigan when it’s #$%@! snowing in the DC area at the end of March? What next, Win Schuler’s Bar Scheeze?)

(Please let there be Win Schuler’s Bar Scheeze.)