Expanding my knowledgebase to include car shopping has been pushed off to another time. It was decided that if I was going to get a car, I should buy my dad's 16-year-old Lexus, and they would purchase a newer used car for him. So the car that Bonner Hoffman across the street sold to my mom and dad when he moved into a retirement village is going to be mine after Thanksgiving, which means I have approximately 3 weeks to figure out how car insurance works. Well... really less than one, because I'm going to Singapore on Friday.

There is no way I can do NaNoWriMo this year. I thought briefly about being masochistic, but... it's just a bad idea. Nothing says your novel-in-a-month has to happen during November, though. So possibly... later. Yes. Later. Plot plot plot...

I've got a SLOBs summary blog post to write for the week, since I ran straight to the TOS presentation for FSOSS right after the last one. I'd sequestered myself in a nook with lockers right next to the classroom the TOS session was going to be in, and ran in beaming with my laptop open, triumphant over what we'd been able to accomplish at the meeting (we have a way to make decisions! more about that later) and that happy energy buoyed me - perhaps a bit too much - throughout the whole TOS session. I was literally bouncing off the walls, burning off steam as a whiteboard scribe because I literally could not simultaneously sit down and shut up (I could do one at a time, but not both, and I figured I might as well try to do something useful with the hyper).

And then I have work to do. Boy, do I have work to do! Yay!

I took a pretty decent chunk of time this weekend as time for myself - I needed space to just kind of... walk alone. Not so much decompress as walk alone. I really am an introvert, and get most of my recharge time in late at night when I'm the only person up, but I needed a little more - and it's different, being by yourself in daylight than at 2am. It's weird to have people think I'm not an introvert, that I'm not shy... I am, tremendously, on both counts. Guess I've gotten better at hiding that with practice, though. That's good.

One of the indicators  that makes me realize I really, really trust a friend is that I can be tired around them. It's not that I decide to trust them and go click, okay, I can be tired. Not consciously. It's that I'll at some point go wait... I'm tired! and I'm showing it! in front of a person! and then that's something that will make me realize how much I trust that person.

Saturday morning when my parents went to Mass, I stayed in bed until they'd gone, then drove out to the church's back lot and walked around the soccer field rewiring my brain. Just talking to myself and digesting some conversations from Toronto and saying some things out loud and kicking around a lost, dilapidated tetherball that'd come loose from its moorings and noting that I may still be a little bit too good at locking down emotions. Useful skill to have, but it'd also be nice to be able to turn it off at times. Saturday morning was the closest that I've come to crying in a long, long time. It was good for me. Perhaps someday I'll be able to write it down more; right now it's not really in coherent-English-sentence form, but... I'm glad to see the person that I'm growing into. Never thought I'd be this way, heading in this direction. I'm glad for it.

Sunday morning I went to breakfast with Megan, the daughter of my dad's best friend. We're the same age and have known each other since we were little kids. She and her dad are like the hounds of heaven for me, literally. There's some poem about how the hound of heaven never stops chasing you down - and it's not a bad pursuit, it's a pursuit you want even if you've got to run away from it a while, maybe it's like the feeling of being courted by someone (or in my case, some field, some work) you know you're going to end up loving. It's always there for you to go back to, it's always there to take you home when you decide that, okay, maybe you've been prodigal long enough. It's not that clear-cut or that simple, but I'm trying to somehow write circles 'round the thing I mean, since I can't figure out a way to get at it directly.

So Megan and I talked a long while about what it's like to feel like you're called to do something that makes sense in your heart but not your head - for me the relatively recent triumph was saying yes, I'm not going to be an engineer the way most people in my field define it, I'm not going for grad school in that direction, I feel a call towards the field of... learning. Education, teaching - but in the way I'm doing it now, not necessarily in the formal classroom sense. Her call is different and a lot harder than mine. How when your heart says yes and when your brain says you're insane, you find a way to listen to your heart; how that sounds stupid but it doesn't really. What it feels like to be doing something and feel like something's passing through you, that this is what you were meant to do. How it really is remarkable how patient your vocation is, how it will wait until you're ready, how sometimes you have to hold off a little while to grow in a certain direction, how you have to fill some shoes first for a while before you can step into the shoes you're meant to fill next.

And after that (and church, because it was Sunday and I was home) I needed time to think. So I went off because the roads are sunny and empty and there's a (carbon-guzzling, sorry world) part of me that does enjoy an empty road, a sunny fall, a long drive to... in my defense, I did go pick up some things that I needed, like a set of earbuds and a pocket amp for my bass. And I drove and I thought and I walked around and I tested out the slightly-rewired-brain-ness I'd worked to put in place on Saturday morning and found out that, yeah, it still chokes me up a little. Bloody defense mechanisms; if I could get past 'em more, I'd be able to teach myself things faster.

I need to make sure that I take time this week - and in Singapore, as best I can - to walk and think and be alone, because I'm going to get precious little of that in the Philippines, and I'm going to get precious little of that when I'm at my parents' for Thanksgiving, and FUDCon is so soon afterwards... whatever reserves I build up in the next 5-10 days have to last me until mid-December (where I'll have a week to recharge alone before the holidays hit). It's a luxury to be able to know and plot out your alone-time in advance, and it's something I'm not used to, so I plan on taking advantage of it. I'm actually tempted to, once Sebastian flies back to Germany post-FUDCon, wave goodbye to my aunt and her family for a couple days and drive out west to the Berkshires and spend my time alternating between working and walking in the (freezing, at that time of year) woods.

I love walking around strange cities in the middle of the night, by myself. I know it's weird - pointless, right? No map, no game plan, no agenda -   but it feels good to me. Did that in Toronto when I went up to the CN tower. Did that in DC when I biked around the monuments after dinner at Kramer & Afterwords. Did that... every time I've gone somewhere and could do it, I've done it. Every city in Australia and New Zealand I stopped in during last winter's LCA trip, I wandered. Even in the Philippines, when I could sneak away and pace the... even the shopping mall. (Maybe that's why I got so good at slipping away as a kid - that and books. It's how I could create that space I needed.)

I'm glad I'm able to do this; I hate to think what my effectiveness would be like if I had to be at the same desk from 9-5 each day. (Wait, I already know from very early internship experiences... the answer is "terrible, and I stay late to work from 5pm-1am in order to get in a shift where I can actually roam around and be somewhat effective." That was a fun summer, but I will never do that again.) I wonder how this works when one has an actual family to come home to. ("Dear, can you pick up the kids from school and feed them for the next two weeks? I'm going to Florida to think.") (Yeah. No, I can't do that.)

Got a lot of stuff to do today; got to make sure I'm going to be fine to do it. Naptime now - got in at 2am, woke up at 5 - and then meeting, and then I think I'm going to bike into town and surround myself by people bustling through a museum while I work. Things going around me that I'm not a part of - it's a sort of immersion that I need once in a while.

Yallrighty. Got my rambling out. Naptime.