Before CLH comes in here and tells me that using my laptop in bed is bad for the machine, and before the guilt for not posting dissipates into "awww, eff it", here are some things I have been up to lately, in no particular order. Consider this my long-winded Facebook status update. And no, i still don't have a Facebook account.

Here goes:

Crossword puzzles. Thanks to CLH's awesome birthday gift and to Will Shortz's humongous brain, I have been doing one a day. The New York Times has a very smart thing going with their online puzzle subscription. I have a fear bordering on hypochondriasis of Alzheimer's. I read somewhere (I CAN'T REMEMBER WHERE. NOW DO YOU SEE?) that keeping the brain limber via mental exercise is a good way to prevent Alzheimer's. And since keeping track of 12 clients and their appointments and memorizing at least three passwords for each of those clients, as well as the passwords for my own set of books and the password for my phone, my computer, and several other devices that need to know my mother's maiden name to operate WASN'T ENOUGH, I have prescribed myself a steady diet of crossword puzzles for the next 365 days, at least.

I bought this phone (you remember when I made the leap, don't you?) mostly because my clients, having updated THEIR phones, were now contacting me via text about our appointments, and well, the telegraph office was too far away by rickshaw, and I needed a way to stay in touch that wasn't so... y'know, 1981. I also wanted a way to take quick, cheap pictures of stuff I saw out in the world that seemed blogworthy. Like the time the supermarket near my house was visible from space because of the giant wall of PUMPKINS it had built around its front entrance. Or the time that guy left his dog in the front seat of his car while he ran in to buy a taco from the Mexican place and the dog looked he was leaned back in the seat smoking a cigarette. Of course, as soon as i bought the phone, I forgot all about that plan and used it to just to call people. How Plebian of me. Now that i have a few spare moments to myself every day (tax season is mercifully behind me now), I can get back to the ridiculous in life and start taking pictures of the really important things in life, like menu typos and puddles of water shaped like Gorbachev's birthmark. Here is a recent one:

Crocuses have a way of being so heavy with metaphor for me they practically bend over with the weight of it. They're somewhat whimsical, somewhat oblivious to anything but the great ball of gas in the sky (which is why i feel such kinship with them). They get the tiniest glimpse of the sun in freezing cold February and they're all "WHAT? I WANTED TO COME OUT, ALRIGHT?"

I went back to Jersey recently to attend a wedding. It happened to fall on the weekend of my brother's 30th birthday. I threw him a little party (which he thanked me profusely for with ribcage-crushing hugs).

Nothing says "Happy 30th!" like a little plastic bull fornicating with an oversized carrot made of sugar and butter. That's just how we roll in my family. Heavy drinking and karaoke followed.

I have been working, working, working. Nonstop. Weekends. Weekdays. All the time. My work schedule has FINALLY slowed down now that the federal deadlines have come and gone. Now I just have to work on filling jump drives and mailing them off to various CPAs so they can do their part of the work. It's almost odd (and, frankly, sad) that i don't know what to do with all this spare time. It's like i have a normal life now or something. I'm looking forward to catching up on reading, hemming some pants, and baking bread. Y'know. The sexy, glamorous things in life.

A good friend recently gave me a sourdough starter to bake bread with.... and that little jar intimidates the hell out of me. I mean, I've lived with pets that have required less care than that blob of yeast. I'm scared of killing it. It doesn't make any sense. It's twenty freakin' cents worth of flour, FREE tap water, and a recycled peanut butter jar. If i kill it, so WHAT? Just start over, right? Well, I'm having some guilt over the houseplants i recently froze in our laundry room. We call the laundry room the "meat locker" for obvious reasons. You could hang a side of beef in there and it would keep for the next ten years it's so damned cold. The guy who built this house opted for the "keep the kids on their toes by not insulating their bedrooms" package, so the laundry room is always a crisp 29 degrees or so. It's definitely not a place to put tropical plants. In the summer, plenty of sunshine gets through the windows. But, in the winter, the only thing that gets in is eighteen degree air. I got lazy and didn't move the plants to a warmer location before I went on vacation and so they offed themselves when the first snow hit. I've had some of them for YEARS. I was so MAD at myself (and at CLH who kept asking over and over again if maybe I had "just forgotten to water them". I later apologized for clawing out his throat). So, now I'm afraid of killing even bacteria. I'm going to feed the starter tomorrow morning and, if all goes well, start baking bread tomorrow night.

My car *almost* got stolen a month after our house got broken into. I say almost because the thieves got so far as breaking the steering column and stickin' her in reverse. Then they figured out the steering column was locked, so they couldn't turn the wheel after they'd backed out of the driveway. And that's why they left my car, after they'd scraped the side of the neighbor's parked car with it, parked in my neighbor's hedgerow. That's right: i said "IN". Those idiots drove it right into the hedge, got out, and left it idling there for nearly two hours. My roommate was the one who found the car when we came home from work and came in and told me about it. I am lucky to have my car back after only $50 in repairs. I still think it was the David Byrne that was playing at top volume when they started the car that scared them away.

We're moving out!! CLH and I have had enough of commuting and having major appliances stolen, so we're moving back in to the city proper in the next few months here. I cannot wait. My sister gave us these beautiful owl-shaped salt and pepper shakers for Christmas, and I swear, I am planning to decorate our new home around those two lumps of ceramic.

So, that's the less than complete recap. I've really got to exercise my writing muscles more often. I've got a bet going with a friend that I can't complete a whole chapter of a book before month's end... and I intend to win. So far, I have an outline. It's something, at least. I'm hoping to share some of the more thought provoking things I've scribbled in the notebooks stashed throughout my life soon.

If I can't, maybe I'll just post pictures of dogs and assorted members of the squash family.