House stuff: Lots of house stuff.
I got the last piece of furniture for the living room today. I wanted it in a different color than what was in the showroom, so it took a few months. I have it now, and it's lovely: a large, round, swivel chair covered in fuzzy micro-suede. I fell in love with it the first time I saw it in the showroom and have been wanting it in my house ever since. I rearranged the living room today to fit it in today, cleaned up a bunch of random clutter, and hung a noren that I picked up a while ago on the wall. For the first time since I moved (four years ago *sweatdrop*) the living room feels right. It's not completely finished (I'm looking to move one piece of furniture, and I want more things on the walls), but it ... I guess it finally feels like it's mine. It's settled. I don't always look at it and have a list rattling in the back of my head of things that will be changing at some point. I walk by and I'm pleased by how it looks, and feel like I really am at home.
In other home related news, painting. Going on and coming off. I've got a new paint stripper that's really doing the job of clearing the paint in the master bedroom. I may yet get it stripped and primed before the good weather runs out. Not so sure about getting it repainted before winter, though. I take too long to make up my mind on colors.
Meanwhile, outside I think I've finally settled on a color scheme and am committing to getting the exterior painted this year. There's paint peeling on the garage and I'd prefer not to have the exposed wood be exposed through another winter. I've also finally committed to taking the patio cover off. It looks like it should be easy enough, and I've never liked it. It blocks the light and makes the kitchen a pit of darkness, and I just stack junk under it. I need to let it go and move forward with making the yard somewhere I want to hang out in.
The back fence may or may not get replaced this year. At first I'd decided to just do it -- it's not in good shape and I've been wanting it taller since day one. (I can see straight into the bedroom of the house behind mine. Not really something I'm enjoying.) Doing it now makes sense, since I don't have any landscaping along that fence that I care about keeping. So I figured, okay, sell some stock and use that to finance the fence. I'm celebrating my one year anniversary with the company this week so I've got a stock grant vesting in a month. Then stocks crashed and I'm feeling less cuddly about selling any right now, so I figured the fence would have to wait another year. I even came up with a clever plan for a temporary solution to the problem. Then all of a sudden today my aunt says she wants to help me pay for the fence. Now, history says there's 50-50 odds that she's just saying it and not actually going to go through with it, so we shall see. If it works out, it will be very cool to get that done so next spring I can concentrate on getting the garden where I want it and not have to worry about timing (and expense) for the fence.
Speaking of garden, I saw a really awesome yard today. They managed to put in a stroll garden in a space that was, oh, about 7 feet by 14 feet, maybe less. Inspirational.
Other homely things... I've taken up sewing. Quilting and related handwork projects. Currently I'm working on a wall hanging for my aunt in honor of her recent wedding. Hopefully I can get it done in the next few weeks so I can give it to her and her new husband only a month late. *sweatdrop* Related to that I've taken up sashiko, which is a Japanese quilting art. It's so simple and mindless I find it very relaxing, and have plans for many, many projects using that. Heck, as long as they don't decide that quilting needles are a deadly weapon it would be something nice to do for my next plane flight. (I'd say you could put someone's eye out with that, only, really, pencils are sharper. But there's no telling what weird bug the Powers That Be will get up their butt this time.) Depending on how successful I get at this, Christmas presents in the future may include handmade stuffs. Which seems kind of a cool option to me.
As I mentioned above, this week is my official one-year anniversary with my current company. (I worked three months as a contractor, so I've actually been there longer.) It's been a very long year. I wish I could say that I love it as much now as I did a year ago, but, well, it's been difficult this year. Starting around January they pulled me away from the stuff I enjoyed working on and have had me going through a series of stuff that I haven't liked that much. Back in April I got moved into another department and am now doing analysis work. For a while it felt like I'd started a completely new job, since I got moved away from everyone I knew in the company and was given a completely different set of job responsibilities. (Not even ones that, in my opinion, I'm particularly good at. Feh.) Starting with the new quarter things are steadily getting better. The job's changed around yet again (still in the same group, finally starting to actually do the job for the group I got moved into), and we've moved back down to the first floor, practically back where I started. (My group's taken over the space that yuusada's group used to be in.) Moving's made a world of difference. For starters, after I moved down all my friends on the first floor dropped by to say hi and welcome me back, which was a wonderful, sparkly, "I feel loved!" experience. I get smiles and nods from friends all the time now, and crack random jokes with coworkers again. On top of that, I'm finally getting to talk to some of the people in my new group now. Before I was off in an area that, as soon as I moved in, everyone else moved out. Suck. Most of the group was either two stories down, or over in an area that I didn't have a lot of reason to go over into -- particularly since I wasn't doing the same job as the folks in that group. Now I do stuff to contribute to the group, and I actually see my teammates daily. I've been chatting with one of them a lot recently and have found that she's really cool. It's a vast improvement over where things were a month ago. I'm still planning on working toward moving out of the group, but that's more because I don't feel like I was quite done being a system administrator and want to head back into a more technical area rather than because the job varies between highly irritating and gruesomely boring. (Which is what it's been doing from April to mid-July. Not fun.)
All that's not to say that I don't still really like the company. I'm regularly impressed by how many really smart people work there, and I feel very privileged to be rubbing elbows with them. I just need to finish sorting things out so that I'll get back to happily responding "I love it!" when people ask me how the job is. "Eh, it's okay" is better than some places I've been at -- but I really miss loving what I do.
The last thing that I've been up to lately is seriously hitting the gym. After the last Japan trip I decided that I'm really sick of the Large American Butt (tm) not fitting in tiny Japanese bus seats (not to mention getting tired of hauling all the excess me up steep Japanese hillsides) and have been working on getting rid of excess poundage. This... is not a rapid process, I'm finding. I'd sort of hoped to be a bit further along by now, though I guess it takes what it takes. But it sort of frustrates me that it takes so much time. I've now committed to hitting the gym for an hour every weekday, which means that I'm getting in to work about 7 AM so I can get my hour in and still leave work at what I consider to be a reasonable hour -- somewhere between 5 and 6. But no matter how you look at it, it's an hour off my evening every single weekday. Add in working on the project for my aunt and some paint stripping, and I end up with not a lot of free time. Alas. I keep telling myself that it's just for a year, and then I can drop down into maintenance mode and have a little more free time.
Looking back I can't believe how much has changed in my life in the past year. Just at home, I've replaced the living room furniture, the 'frige, the microwave, my cell phone, my laptop. (And then I wonder why I'm feeling broke...?) I've changed hobbies, my work duties, who I spend most of my time hanging out with. It's all good, but I'm starting to wish that things would slow down a bit so I can just kick back and enjoy it all. Though I've also come to learn that the only way I have the time to kick back and enjoy is if I take it. Free time doesn't just present itself -- or at least it doesn't to me. Maybe some folks are lucky enough to have it just show up, but I'm certainly not them.
And I did mention in all that how much I like this new chair, yes? It's mighty comfy.