Not quite a weekend, but not quite a vacation, either.

After a long and unfortunately tiring week, I limped my way home after work to be greeted by Lyssa and Laurelinde, who had been kind enough to put dinner together. Lyssa's been on a jerk chicken kick lately, not that I'm complaining, it's one of her best dishes, and often just what I need after dealing with.. well.. work. Afterward we packed up the leftovers and set about gathering clothing and laundry, for we'd be vacationing (sort of) at Laurelinde's place for the weekend.

You see, there's something that you need to know about the apartment complex that Lyssa and I live in: They gouge you on laundry. $1.75us for a single load of laundry in either the washer or dryer adds up when one's amount of laundry is frequently in excess of twelve loads.

I'm a clothes horse, in case you haven't figured that out. I donated a lawn trash bag full of stuff to Goodwill back in December and I still have enough clothing that I can go a month between washes without re-wearing anything.

At any rate, when Lyssa and I really do have to do laundry, it is inordinately expensive, doubly so when one of the washers decides to cut out about halfway through the wash cycle and not inform anyone, which means re-washing the clothes to get the soap out of them. Laurelinde was kind enough to offer to us her basement and washer/dryer combo, so the three of us shoveled most of our wardrobes into the TARDIS after dinner, and we set out for Maryland.

One of the things that Lyssa and I have been trying to accomplish for a while was to walk out of our lives for a weekend, go off someplace, and do... stuff. Nothing in particular, no plans, no agendas. The three of us wanted to take a weekend to do artistic-type stuff, what with Lyssa painting, Laurelinde drawing, and my doing a lot of writing lately for a project or two on the side, in addition to studying for class, a not insignificant task because the weekly readings are often in the neighborhood of 200 pages, plus homework and practice sets. So this gave us a chance to hole up and do our respective things undisturbed for hours on end. It's a little like a vacation because no one can find you easily. Now, I'd like to say that I was up until all hours of the night scribbling away in one of my notebooks or working on one of the projects that I really need to release v2.0 of, but in fact after we got to Laurelinde's place and unloaded the car, I fell sound asleep in one of the spare bedrooms around 2230 EST5EDT (I'm told) and slept clear through until 1030 EST5EDT the next morning. It seemed that my body was more concerned about getting sleep than it was about writing another couple of pages for the mailing journal project. At any rate, I really needed the sleep, and got up the next morning feeling quite good about life in general, albeit a mite peckish. After getting ourselves going, we headed out to University Park, Maryland to visit one of our old haunts from before we moved to Virginia, Plato's Diner on route 1.

There is some comfort in the fact that Plato's hasn't changed appreciably. Their food is still fairly good for a diner, and you can still get a cup of coffee and a gyro with a smile, even when the place is full of starving college students. After lunch, however, the three of us scrubbed our plans to wander around a bit and returned home to sit around and let lunch digest. Lyssa had to switch out a couple of loads of laundry to prevent the cats from getting to them because there is an on-going turf war in their basement at this time. I went back to reading and later on packed away forty pages or so of homework. I wasn't upstairs so I'm not sure of what Lyssa and Laurelinde were working on, but I do know that Lyssa made considerable progress on her painting. All in all, the afternoon was quiet, uneventful, and more or less productive for all concerned.

Later that evening (around 2100 EST5EDT or so) found the three of us in the mood for dinner and driving in to Rockville to go to P.F. Chang's, which is a chain Chinese restaurant that stands head and shoulders above most anything you can get in Virginia (and possibly parts of Maryland, I'm not sure yet). It's on the up-scale side, with corresponding prices, but if you're looking for a new twist on old favorites, this is the place to go. We wound up splitting the dim sum appetizer platter and then split off for our separate dishes. I must say, finding orange chicken isn't easy down here - in fact, P.F. Chang's is the only place I know of that makes it, but it's wonderful, and I advise that you try it if the opportunity arises. Before being seated, however, we killed some time next door at Borders nosing stacks we haven't looked at before (mostly because we couldn't find anything and had to hunt for the escalator to the second floor).

Once again after returning home, I had just enough in me to check my e-mail one last time, and then sacked out for the next nine hours or so to finish catching up on my sleep. I'd bought a couple of books while we were hour (when killing time at Borders, how can one not?) that wound up going untouched until the next day over breakfast. Lyssa and I had a fast breakfast of eggs and toast and then set about packing up all of our laundry and hauling it out to the TARDIS to haul back home. The weekend had come to an end all too soon, and we set course for home by way of Trader Joe's to stock up on groceries for the week. After unpacking, unloading, and putting everything away we went back to working on our projects: Lyssa read more and I worked on my homework for class this week. There was a quick jaunt to the drugstore to pick up a few things that we'd forgotten (like laundry detergent and quarters) but we shortly got back to the hard work of screwing around and accomplishing little of anything.

Sometimes you just have to sit on your ass and listen to your hair grow if you're going to stay sane.

I've alluded a couple of times to having homework and studying to do, and some of you are probably wondering why, even though I'm coming up on five years of being out of school. The answer is that the company I work for has asked me to be certified as a CISSP so that they can put me on projects for clients that require this certification. Moreover, some of these clients require that certified personnel not only are CISSPs, but have taken classes for this certification and not just read a book and taken the exam. This means that I'm in class one evening a week, with homework on top of reading one or two hundred pages every week. This is one of the reasons that I've not had time to post lately - time's been short, and much of my energy has gone toward professional-type stuff.