Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Random: the Lilies Edition

I had an interesting technical problem at work this week. Starting on Monday, my monitor would spontaneously turn itself off. Black screen, pouf!

Except it wasn't actually off, because the lights on the front were still on. But if I powered the monitor off and on*, un-pouf, back in business. It happened a few times Monday morning, then more often until I decided I'd better ask IT about it.

*Trial and error taught me that. Turned out the mouse and keyboard still worked, I just couldn't tell.

I started to keep track of how often it happened, and Monday afternoon between 3 and 4:30, pouf happened twelve times.

Yesterday, thirty-one times. And today, from 8:30 until the guy brought a new monitor at 11:30, another dozen poufs. So weird!

He switched the monitor for another, and later reported that my old monitor did indeed pouf when set up at his desk, so it wasn't my imagination (not that I really thought it was). I wonder what caused that? Life's little mysteries.

**********
Netflix has given me increased faith in the Postal Service (which is probably misplaced, but there you are). If I can put a disk in the mail on Monday afternoon (4PM pickup), and the next disk is in my mail box on Wednesday? That is two kinds of impressive right there.

***********
I Used to Wear a Watch

In fact, I used to be almost fanatic about it, the kind of person who says they feel naked with one. After I got a cell phone, though (hello, 2002), I gradually wore it less and less. Now I bring one if I'm going on a plane, I try to remember one for going to the movies (for those hopefully rare "how long has this been going on, anyway?" features), and I have one clipped to my work bag (since the phone is sort of buried).

The other day, I realized what I miss most about wearing a wrist watch: the strap mark. Nothing like it for a "I know it's unhealthy, but anyway" tan indicator.

***********
You made it through the blathering! See the pretty lilies!




Tuesday, June 29, 2010

I Should Have Named This Blog "Random Items"

Though in a sense, I did

How can this only be Tuesday? I woke up this morning reluctantly, and I wanted to drag myself out of bed by saying, "At least it's Friday," but ha! Not even close.

After I blogged on Sunday, I got the vacuuming done, and something else that I could cross off the list but which escapes me at the moment, and as I was clearing up the kitchen I somehow managed to whack my thumb: you know, the right thumb, the one with the recurring tendinitis problem? The one that I just got treated two weeks ago? Yeah, that one, and I hit it hard. My level of coordination is a special thing.

Anyway, it didn't hit the site of the steroid shot on my wrist, and it hasn't caused that tendinitis kind of pain to return (thank you, thank you to the fates for that much), and in fact it doesn't hurt to move at all, but! (Of course there's a but.) I have a sore-to-the-touch, ever-so-slightly swollen spot at the base of my thumb*, which is kind of freaking me out. It doesn't hurt that much unless I brush it against something (which of course I manage to do frequently), but it's so worrying, that I could have made things worse, and I don't even know what I was doing when I hit it.

*Which, honestly, is so slightly swollen that I can only tell by comparing it closely to the other thumb. It's not even bruised-looking.

************
Some people at work use the stairs but I don't, despite the fact that normally I am a proponent of stairs (especially down) as an easy way to add exercise to the day. But the stairs at work creep me out.

For one thing, there are signs at each entrance that say they're for use in emergencies. Not only have I seen and heard people using them every day, but someone told me that yes, we can take them. However, that sign bothers law-abiding-me a little.

Even worse, though, is the stairs themselves. They're metal, and the sound echoes alarmingly with every step. They just don't sound (or feel) sturdy, and I'm sorry, but I'd rather take the elevator than take those stairs. It's a pity, but I'll get exercise another way.

************
One I finally left my oh-so-annoying last job, I tried hard not to think about it, and if something about it crossed my mind, I firmly banished it. A natural reaction, I think, since I was still so close to it. But now that I am a slight remove, I find that thinking about it, once in a while, is a good thing.

I was walking down the hall at work and something about the old job crossed my mind for no particular reason, and I smiled and thought, That's not my problem anymore. That task is no longer my problem, that person and his long-winded philosophy of the task is not my problem. I never have to talk to that other person again.

************
It's hard for me to associate eating raspberries with virtue. I try to bring fruit to lunch every day. I like apples, for instance. But I never have one because I find myself craving it, and I don't mmm as I bite into it. I pretty much eat it because it's fruit, and fruit is good for me.

Raspberries, though? Are delightful.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Random Mix: Claws, Quiz, Dentist

The last couple of times that I've tried to nab Miri to trim her claws, I have been quite spectacularly unsuccessful, as in blood and tears. In retrospect, I was forgetting the key to success in this challenging task: the scruff. I was trying to pin her down (note to self: THIS DOES NOT WORK), instead of lifting up (not actually lifting her off the ground by the scruff, but raising her front end slightly).

The lifting up, combined with a towel to blunt the wrath of the pointies, worked quite well last night. I had to stop clipping several times and re-apply the scruff clamp*, but she never got as worked up as before, thank heavens.

*Lacking the third hand that would allow me to keep a hand on her scruff while using two hands to clip. Zaphod would do a much better job at this, theoretically (though in practice, I can't see him bothering).

And boy, did she need it! It actually took longer than it usually would, because her claws were so long that I had to clip most of them more than once. She was not amused*, but never drew blood, and sadly, that is a measure of success in this task.

*In fact, she was bemused that several times, I kissed the top of her head (I couldn't help myself: when do I ever get the chance?). She looked up at me like she wanted to ask, "Have you forgotten who I am?"

Happily, she does not hold a grudge. She continues to be schizophrenically split between friendly and fleeing.

**************
I took an online quiz for the first time in a long time. I've mentioned before (here, here, and here, specifically) an author named Gail Carriger, and her books Soulless and Changeless* (with three sequels to come, ooh!). She came up with a quiz related to the books, and I had to find out if I was a vampire, werewolf, ghost, or soulless.

*Warning: don't read the blurb for the second book before you read the first book, and by all means don't read the blurb for the third until you finish the second book!

ccr's Result: Ghost
on quiz: Are you a Vampire, Werewolf, Ghost, or Soulless?


Ghost



You like to watch others, and you are careful in what you
say. People often find you turning up where they least expect it, and you
always seem to know more than you should. Sometimes, however, you may feel a
little invisible.



"All that her Herculean effort revealed was a hint of
wispy silver and a vaguely human form: Formerly Merriway. She was a polite
ghost, relatively young and well preserved, and still entirely sane."

Quiz MakerTake this quiz & get your result
Are you a Vampire, Werewolf, Ghost, or Soulless? ยป make test

Probably meaningless, but fun. They're good books! Haven't you read them yet?

**********
I had to miss my stitch and bitch tonight* for a dental cleaning, since Monday is the only night they're open late for tooth torment. The hygienist and I talked about how strange it is to be an adult and have to make yourself do things like go get your teeth cleaned, and pay for the privilege. Fortunately, nothing evil was discovered, and now I have my first appointment for 2011: I go back in January. Pretty funny to think about! Given that the temps were in the mid-90s today, January seems safely far away, and good riddance to it.

*I've missed a couple of weeks recently. Hopefully next week will be go. Having the ability to knit without pain return will be good!

My mouth feels kind of tender, though. Ow. Off to find something soft for dinner.

P.S. Don't forget to enter the 1000th-post venting contest, if you're so inclined! You have until next weekend, if you need to think about it first.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

My Weekend, by ccr

Saturday was my out-of-the-house-tasks day. I was out much of the day, and made eight stops overall:
  • The dry cleaners, to drop off a few things. They have a drive-through, which I did not use. I can see loving it if you have kids in the car, but otherwise? Yet someone was in it when I pulled up, and three more were using it as I left. I must be missing something. Unless it's just that Americans like to be in their cars?
  • Oreck to pick the vacuum up from servicing (just routine) and buy bags.
  • Trader Joe's for a few things. Sadly, the frozen pomegranate seeds are not in yet. But at least I didn't miss them!
  • After stopping at home to put away frozens and have a little lunch, I went to the Container Store, where I failed to find a commuting bag I loved. I was quite sure that I would find one, though I figured it might be more than I wanted to pay, but I am not willing to pay $49 (on sale) to compromise. I'll use what I have (which is close to okay, and was, I think, $12.99) and keep looking. I did buy a new shower organizer, whoa, the excitement is almost too much.
  • Wilson's for more peas. They're not as good as they were earlier in the season. Fresh pea season is so fleeting. I know that I wouldn't appreciate them as much if I could have perfect fresh peas any time, but still I wish I could.
  • Post Office to mail something. I love the 24-hour access machines, and not having to worry about getting there by a certain time. It kind of makes me want to mail a package at 3 AM, just because I can.
  • Kohl's. I wandered round and round, and looked at everything, and I found one little skort for $11.20, and bought a couple of bras on sale, but the big find was sneakers! That fit! And cost $28.99! Given that I tried on a pair Friday night that fit, and that I liked well enough, but that were $140 (one hundred and forty dollars!), I'm even more thrilled. And relieved. The old ones were really dead.
  • BJs, to start a 2-month trial membership with a coupon from the paper. I don't really need a membership in a warehouse store, for my household of one, not enough to pay $45 a year for it, but it'll be nice to "play at" shopping there this summer. And I can stock up on glucosamine.
Is it any wonder that I was tired when I finally got home? I watched The Blind Side while shelling and eating the peas: it was good, and so was the rest.

Today on the other hand was my in-the-house-tasks day. Laundry, laundry, and more laundry! Unload the dishwasher. Change the sheets. Pay bills. There must be more than that, surely, to make me this tired again? Well, there was a lot of laundry, and that means a lot of stairs, so perhaps that's why.

Now it's time to get dinner together (I'm trying this), and otherwise prepare for the coming week. We get next Monday off, since the 4th is a Sunday, so I'm looking ahead to a three-day weekend. What magic words!

Let's have a good week, shall we?

P.S. Don't forget to enter the 1000th-post venting contest, if you're so inclined! You have until next weekend, if you need to think about it first.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Guess What This Is?

When I was younger, I started a diary. I wrote earnest, angst-filled, teenager-y screeds about boys and concerts and school. As I got older, I wrote in the journal about work, and moving, and trips, and family. I was never a regular, every-day writer, but especially on trips (something about that airport air), I tended to write. Nothing earth-shattering, but feelings I wanted to get out, or details I wanted to remember.

Over the years, I've written in my journal less and less, and in the past four years, less still, because I tend to write things out here: what I'm thinking and feeling and doing, what the weather's like, the funny things I see. I still pick up the journal once in a while, if for some reason there's something I don't want to write about here, but that's rare, and generally I now blog instead of journaling. And somehow I have reached blog post number one thousand.

1000.
That's a big, round number, isn't it? In almost four years, that's about two of every three days (if my math is correct, which honestly is unlikely).

For that matter, four years in August! Seriously? I find that harder to believe than 1000 posts. I thought it was three, but I checked, and it was 2006 when I started. Freaky, man.

So in honor of the thousandth post, I want to ask you a question, and there may be prizes! (Do you like how I don't commit myself? Yarn, chocolate, who knows.)

The question is this:
Do you blog? Keep a journal or diary? Vent to a husband, wife, or best friend? How do you vent anger, share frustration, remember details, get yourself off that ledge, share joys and laughs: directly to a person, or via a page (paper or electronic)? Some of the above, all of the above, none of the above? Are you a ball of seething emotions waiting for a valve? Do you let it out at the person behind you in line at the grocery store? What's your method, and how well does it work for you?

Answer this week, and we'll see what happens next weekend...

Friday, June 25, 2010

Boston, Shoes, and other randomness

(Note: I must have been more tired last night than even I realized...I was sure I posted this! Oh well, a day late and a dollar short, story of my life...)

When this job came along, I was pleased to have the opportunity to work in Boston, since my previous jobs, by choice or by design, have always fallen in suburbia, and I wondered whether I would like it better or worse in the big city. The preliminary results are in: while there are both pluses and minuses to it (of course), I would rather not work in the city. I wouldn't turn down a great job opportunity just because it's in town, but I'd prefer to be driving again. Some specifics follow.

Public transit:
overall, meh.
  • I do enjoy the reading time, absolutely. (Or the knitting time, theoretically, though I haven't picked up the knitting again yet since getting the wrist treated.)
  • I actually appreciate the built-in exercise time (I lost 6 pounds in the first 5 weeks!).
  • But the crowding, being that close to my fellow humans (so many of them ... so close), and in summer yet. Claustrophobia, anyone? Why yes, here: party of one.
  • The waiting: for the bus, for the subway to come, for the subway to move (use all the doors... watch the doors ... all the way in ... get the bag in ... I can't close the doors until you move that bag).
  • The noise! Obviously more of a problem when I have a headache, but even when I don't. The people talking (on their phones half the time), the announcements, the screeching of the equipment: it's loud.
  • That bus schedule ... if I run late in the morning, my car is still there, but the bus goes. Who needs that stress? I end up hurrying and waiting most mornings (only missed it once so far).
  • Not being able to run errands on the way home is something I still miss. I don't really like going out again after I get home, but it's a lot to ask of a weekend to get through the whole list, and things aren't getting done.
  • As for carrying everything with me (lunch, book, purse stuff, snacks, shoes, umbrella, et-very-cetera), that got old fast, and has led to much experimenting with bags, not always successfully. I try to think of the hoisting and harching as part of the exercise regime, but ugh. I'd rather not, please.
To sum up: Give me my car, where I can't control traffic but I can control temperature, sound, and route, and carry far more than I would want to on foot.

The city: I like Boston, but I am not a city mouse.
  • I love looking at the architecture.
  • Today I met a friend in the Public Garden and we ate lunch together. Fun!
  • I hate to see the homeless people (I feel so bad about them, but I can't give to everyone every day, and how do you choose, how do you decide, the guilt...).
  • When you're a worker bee, the way tourists have of stopping suddenly in front of you, or strolling like they have all the time in the world (yes I'm jealous) is rather annoying. Meet road rage's younger cousin, sidewalk rage.
  • There's a lot of shopping temptation to resist.
  • Smokers hanging around building entrances kind of tick me off. Must you share that poison with me? I'll just hold my breath, shall I?
  • The necessary exercise to get from the T to the office is much less pleasant in the cold or rain, and I don't think I would like doing this in winter At All.
To sum up: It's a nice, nice place to visit...

***********
The IT people at work send out e-mails to announce scheduled maintenance on various servers and programs, as well as to announce any site-specific problems and then the resolution of same.

I understand the need, and even applaud it in theory. In practice, do I need to know that "x" will not be available from 6-7 AM on Sunday, or that Austin is experiencing connection problems? Not really.

But. I have received 48 such messages in 6 weeks.
**********
Random thought of the day: If I could have one totally trivial use of a time machine, I would go back to whoever said that computers would lead to a paperless society, and laugh in his face.
**********
Can we talk about shoes?


I got these shoes in May, before my interview, when I realized how sparse my "good shoe" options were (oh, that year of wearing jeans and sneakers to work...what an adjustment I am having!). I really like them: they're very comfortable for "nice" shoes, and I love the way they look.

But I had to get them re-heeled recently, and I was surprised that they wore down so soon. A month! Aren't Clarks supposed to be good quality? But the first week I worked, I wore only them, before making the switch to sneakers for getting to and from work, so perhaps all that walking outside was too much for them.


I also thought it was funny that they wore down on the outside edges instead of straight across, but the woman at the shoe repair place said that's typical. Learn something new every day, right? At least it's nice to know I don't walk funny; I kind of wondered.


I haven't had shoes re-heeled in many many years, but I was expecting the price to be around $5. Would you be surprised to learn that it cost $18? I was! Have you had that done recently? What did you pay?

I don't really love the look of sneaks with work clothes, but you can't beat them for comfort. Now that I'm walking home from the T most days, I need to wear something that's up to a couple of miles a day. I might be able to get hiking-type sandals that could handle that, but work shoes? Doubt it. I console myself that perhaps switching to the different height shoes gives my legs some variety of exercise. It could happen.

Given the heat of days like today (in the 90s this afternoon), sandals sound better and better. I looked at some a week or two ago, when I was sneaker shopping, but the ones I liked didn't come in wides, and what can I say, I need wides.

I do need new sneakers, like yesterday. I've been looking, I swear, but it's that wide factor again, plus the butt-ugly factor and the inflexible* factor as well as the they cost how much? factor. I feel like my needs are simple, but based on the results, maybe not.

*At this point, wearing blocks of cement on my feet might be easier, I swear...

Did you get all the way to the end? Thank you! Here, see the pretty my brother sent me. A Pacific lovely to go with my collection of Atlantic and Gulf lovelies.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Of Headaches and Other Irritants

I've had a minor headache for a couple of days now. The pain ranges from hmm, it barely hurts at all, maybe... knock on wood to the point where I grasp my head in both hands, in a vain hope that this will make the brain return to a state of fitting in the skull. I'm able to function at work well enough (I don't have to be at the very top of my game to catch "sceince"*), but one of my coping mechanisms is lost to me on this sort of day.

*no, really, actual example

When there are conversations all around, three people in a work-conversation over here (to judge by words like project and layout and client), a group in a possibly-not-so-work-related conversation over there (to judge by the giggles, anyway), all projecting their voices as if I needed to know, I usually put in the headphones, but if my head hurts, that's not a good idea. Meaning that I sit there thinking both "ow" and "oh shut up would you" in more or less equal measures.

Yes, though the job isn't bad, and is in fact far preferable to the last one, the workplace is not perfect (shocking, I know). Irritants within a short stone's-throw include:
  • The neighbor of frequent conference calls. She does have an office with a door, and she closes it, but the drone is still very audible.
  • The neighbor with a chronic cough. I don't know if it's smoking, allergies, or what, but she coughs. And coughs. All. Day. Long. This is my sixth week here, so it's not just a cold. I remind myself that it has to bother her more than it bothers me, but some days I wonder if that's possible.
  • A table with two printers and a fax machine, which between them run more often than not. And one of them sounds like a cell phone on mute, vibrating on a table. Mmrrrr-mmrrrr-mmrrrr!
  • A room of (presumably) elevator-related machinery, humming in various tones, up and down. Possibly also to blame for the periodic vibrations, as though an elephant was jogging by. It's disconcerting to be holding up a piece of paper and watch it flutter on its own.
On the other hand, I do appreciate that it's not cold at my desk. It's nice not have to layer up for work and un-layer to go out, over and over.

Then back on that other other hand, I miss having a coffee set-up, as I had got into the habit of having a cocoa-made-with-coffee most mornings. It's not even the taste I miss, so much as the start-the-day ritual.

Ah well, everything is more annoying with a headache. It's not bad right now; maybe it's going away. Cross your fingers, would you please? And have a good one, yourself.

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Monday, June 21, 2010

Small Amount of the Random

So I don't feel great tonight, but at least in this moment I feel better than I did an hour ago. Say it with me: the secret to happiness is low expectations.

It does mean that I don't have the energy for much here, but I want to show you at least some of the recent randomness my camera has captured.

Nature 1, Humans 0

Spring produces

Flowers never get old

Hard to argue

Perhaps tomorrow will be even better! Living with hope is good.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Short note

I had a little bit of a headache when I woke up this morning, so I took a pill for it. The headache went away, but I've felt off all day, a sort of headache hangover. I felt so bad I went to lie down earlier, slept for two hours, went to the bathroom, then slept for another hour. I basically never nap, so I know my systems are not right today. It will pass, but right now I'm not even sitting up at the desk, I'm leaning on it. I want to sleep long and well, and wake up to Sunday morning again.

So much for that list of things to do. At least Father's Day is almost gone by. The ads have been everywhere in the last few weeks (I got 18 e-mails since June 1 that mentioned FD in the subject line). Certainly before my dad died, I never thought much about how hard such holidays can be, but yikes. Dial back on the message, world.

This guy has been a big help. He likes to snuggle, and I like to have him.

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Thursday, June 17, 2010

Still Tired (I know, really)

So yes, I am very tired once again. However, in my supernatural intelligence, I think I know why.

Tuesday after work, when I got to the end of the T ride and was waiting for the bus, I was overcome with dislike for the idea of waiting ten or fifteen minutes to cram onto the bus like a sardine. My thumb/wrist hurt like blazes, and I just wanted to get away.

So I started walking. And let the bus pass me when it came, and walked the rest of the way home, just over a mile and a half. It was a beautiful day, and moving felt good.

And I did the same thing yesterday, and today. And I think that's why I'm more tired than usual.

Did I mention, too, that on Monday I wore one of the skirts I bought a few weeks ago that was a little too small at the time? I wore it this week because it fits now.

Hmm. Could there be some sort of relationship between these things?

Off to prepare for bed. Have a good one, y'all. (And maybe tomorrow I'll manage random pictures!)

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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Very very briefly

How did it get to be this hour already? I'm really tired and should start getting ready for bed, but I just wanted to tell you this: compared to yesterday, my hand/thumb/wrist wasn't at all painful today.

How little pain I had today, in fact, made me realize how much I was in yesterday*, which I don't remember from November. It was so hard to concentrate on work yesterday as waves of pain washed over me, and I tried not to whimper too loudly. Today was just mild discomfort. Whew, what an improvement.

*I kind of thought I was being a wimp, actually. But maybe not!

Tomorrow, pictures! Of ... random things! How will you stand the excitement?

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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Quick Ouch Update

This is going to be short (and probably not so sweet, honestly). The irony of the tendinitis treatment is that, in the short term, the steroid shot brings far more constant pain than the tendinitis itself does. Trying to do things with my right wrist can be painful, while trying to do things using only the left is slow and frustrating.

Here's a partial list of things that are difficult, awkward, slow, and/or painful to do one-handed (and lefty at that):
  • type
  • blow my nose
  • tie my shoes
  • use Chapstick
  • seal a zip-top bag
  • wash my hands
  • dry my hands
  • shelling peas (oh noooo!)
Yes, I got another steroid shot this morning. The shot itself, while very painful, was not as agonizing as the first one (when I wasn't sure I'd be able to hold still any longer), but the rest of the day has been, ah, well. Waves of pain and no comfortable position to be found. Not fun, shall we say. But if it makes the pain go away, it's worth it.

Eventually.

**********
Quick hockey note: does Chris Bourque ever look like his father!

(It's from an article about his team winning the Calder Cup, which is nice. Good hockey genes in this kid.)

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Monday, June 14, 2010

Hockey time draws to an end, again

Though I didn't write much about hockey after the debacle with the Bruins (if that wasn't an epic fail, I don't know what is), but I did watch a bit of the post-Boston-flameout hockey, and am now adjusting to the hockey-lite state of summer. (Eleven days to the draft! Hooray for the number two pick: thanks for sucking so thoroughly, Toronto.)

The NHL had a new commercial for the finals, which is pretty good:



Almost as good as the Cup Raise ad from a couple of years ago:



Goosebumps.

And man, can the anthem singer in Chicago belt it out. That man has some serious pipes.



This isn't from this year. He didn't sang the Canadian anthem this year, since it was two American teams in the finals. It's about time the NHL required the Canadian anthem before every game. Half the players in the league are Canadian. And it's Canada's game. Let's respect that.

Plus, it's a really good song.

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Sunday, June 13, 2010

Sunday Night. Yuh. Woo. Hoo.

Naturally enough, plenty of people have asked me recently how I like my new job. The answer is both simple and complex.

I like it so, so much better than the last one. The stress level is way down, the satisfaction level way up. Even for less money, it was a very good move for me.

That said, though, I'd love to not have to work for a living. If money wasn't a factor, I could be very happy unemployed, sleeping late and reading a lot and playing with the cats. Not having to be somewhere at certain predefined hours every day, five days a week, dressed nicely, getting along with others. It would be nice to go shopping during off hours, when the stores aren't so busy, or to stay up late just because I want to. The odds are that I'll have to work for many more years, but that doesn't mean I'll love doing it.

Not hating every minute is, however, a huge improvement. Just that there's a reason why I'm not answering these questions with enormous enthusiasm. Cheer, yes. Pleasure, certainly. Joy? Not really. Does that make sense to you?

I guess what I'm getting at is, much though the work sitch has improved, I still have the Sunday evening grumpies. But I don't wanna go to work in the morning!

On the other hand, I made cookies tonight (chocolate/butterscotch chip). They are yummy, and I'm bringing some to work tomorrow*. So there's good around, if I look.

*For a combined purpose of making friends there, and not eating them ALL myself, and gaining back the pounds I've chiseled off this year.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

All I am Saying

Give peas a chance!

It's that magical time of year: Wilson's has their own peas coming in. How many times can I go there this weekend?

The weather is distinctly substandard, but my personal forecast calls for showers of green. Mmm.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Weather Woes, or, Where Did Summer Go?

I wrote about the shopping I did recently, and how one main incentive was the hot weather. Just wearing slacks was too warm for walking around, in the 80s and even 90s, just 2 or 3 weeks ago.

Ahh, those were the days. It didn't hit 60 degrees today, and with the breeze and the rain it felt colder. Yesterday wasn't much better. I want the warm back.

Please?

It is "supposed" to get back into the 70s for the next week. Which is better than today. Just not as good as I want. So greedy! But I believe this is a factor in my grumps this week. I adjusted to the warm weather, I got used to it, and then it left me, shivering.

Nothing major has happened, just little grumpies, things I don't feel like writing about, but grumble grumble. I'm cold. Tonight, as I did last night, I'll be microwaving a flannel-rice heat pack to bring to bed, so my feet will thaw and let me get to sleep. I want to be sleeping without covers, not snuggling into them.

Glad you liked yesterday's cat pictures, too. The furball is meowping for me now, telling me it's bedtime, come on. And I'm coming.

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Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Because Cat Photos Are Good For What Ails Me*

*Crabbiness. First-world problems. Nothing, really

First off, let me say that if you've been waiting to wish my mother a happy birthday (and haven't we all, really?), today is the day, so go ahead!

Next: you know how something stupid can happen, and even while it's being annoying, you can see that it will be a funny story later?

I had an annoying evening, and it's not funny yet. Maybe by tomorrow it will be. Meanwhile, here are some cute cat photos to cheer me up.

You need a silent-er camera. You woke me. {stretch}

I will wash my toes, just like a normal cat...

What was that?!?

Kitty? What kitty? You don't see a kitty.

As relaxed as I'll ever be while you're around, ma'am.

If this is what it takes to make you relax, sleeping on your lap is a sacrifice I'm willing to make.

Must you exist at me?

Endlessly entertaining, these two.

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Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Questions, in Photos

I tried a new candy bar recently (cramps require chocolate), the Twix Java:


Mmm. The question is, why did they have to bring these in from Russia?


Other questions include: how do you squeeze OJ "delicately"?


Why doesn't she care that she's flashing the tramp-stamp to the world? (I may have answered my own question, there.)


Would you be inclined to buy a purse displayed on a headless, leg-less torso?


Do you see the bunny on the lawn?


Do you think he'd be this relaxed if the bunny was outside his window?


Feel free to answer any or all of these, or ask the questions that have been perplexing you of late.

Monday, June 07, 2010

I Am This Tired


Fine, just soooo tired. Ready to curl up on something soft and sleep for a few days.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Of shopping

Since I am watching my wallet these days, it feels a little funny for me to talk about the shopping I've been doing lately. However, as is often the case, there are reasons.

I started at my last job about a year and a half ago. The dress code was on the casual end of business casual, and it didn't take me long to realize that, while everyone didn't wear jeans, every day someone would be wearing jeans. I love jeans: they're comfortable and durable and require little from me as a garment. I wore jeans most of the time I was there.

And, in the 18 months I was there, Pan died; my dad died; Harold died. And I ate, and ate, and ate, buying larger jeans as necessary. And though I'm working on that, and making progress, by the time I started this job, I still did not fit into much of my existing business casual wardrobe (most tops are okay, but otherwise, no). So without wanting to throw a lot of money down, I needed to get a few things.

A factor in the search is that it's coming on to summer, I'm walking around mid-day most days, and with public transit being the sardine can it often is at rush hour, I sweat. I don't perspire, or glow: I drip. So I went looking for cotton, roughly knee-length skirts or dresses, which have been challenging to find in my size to say the least.

I started at Old Navy, and did find one, the purple one on the right. (I got the somewhat similar blue one at Target last night.) It gets the job done, I like it if not adore it, it was on clearance. Of course, that meant that they didn't have any other colors in my size, but it's a start.


Next stop, Salvation Army. I actually found two items that almost fit me, and I daringly paid a total of $7 for them, to wear once I shrink a little. Motivation!

Note: I did not buy this dress. I did, however ponder that a company felt the need to create it in the first place, and then wonder that someone ever bought it.


This skirt is a Talbot's item, simple and Spring-appropriate:


And this, actually a skort, is from LL Bean.


Both well made, which is nice, and showing no signs of wear. Presumably they were owner-fatigue donations. I've been there myself. Or perhaps size issues, one way or another. Makes no nevermind now.

Until they fit me, though, I'm not actually all that much better off than I was, so I went out again. I found this skirt at the Talbot's outlet for $17 (originally $69):


It has a nice flair. And this dress from the Appleseed's outlet next door, for $18 (was $58):


I was worried that it doesn't have much shape, but it actually looks nice on, I think. So many of the dresses in the larger sizes have less shape and appeal than flour sacks. It can be very discouraging. Appleseed's was new to me, and I found it an interesting mix of things that I liked, and things that made me think of stereotypical kindergarten teachers, or women belonging to religious cults. What is with all the ankle-length dresses and skirts out there?

For now, with these two and the Target one, I think I can face dressing nicely, and the attending commuting challenges, until I lose a bit more weight. So that's a comfort.

If not, perhaps, the kind of comfort promised by these socks:


If you were wondering, my feet did not feel particularly pampered. Perhaps I am over-sensitive. Or too literal.

And what's up with this? "Let's make one shirt to appeal to Bruins fans and Celtics fans!" WTF? No wonder it was marked down. (I did not buy it, no. No.)


This isn't quite in the shopping theme, but I bought some Greek yogurt at the store recently, having heard several people talking about how wonderful it was. After I ate this one today, I noticed the back of the package. I assume, tentatively, that it's a typo.


Since I can't image they meant to call their product zero percent authentic, can you?

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Work Notes, and a Question or Two

Rude or Not Rude?
As I walk around my new job, when I pass people in the halls, I look at them to see if they'll make eye contact, so I can smile or say hi. If they don't make eye contact, I assume they're thinking of something else, and go on my way untroubled.

Today I was walking along when a man came out of the men's room just down the hall. I looked at him to see if he was going to make eye contact, and he looked over me at the woman who was walking behind me and said, "Hi, Joanne." (And it turned out she was considerably shorter than I am, so trust me when I say, he looked over me.)

I don't mind if people don't make eye contact, but somehow ignoring me while greeting someone else bugged me. He could have nodded to me while talking to her and I would have been fine with that, but he acted as though I wasn't there: consciously ignoring me, which made it feel more personal than the looking-at-their-feet types.

What do you think: was he rude, or not rude?

**************

Because my new job is a temporary position, I am actually an employee not of the company where I work, but of an agency. And getting signed up with this agency has been maddening.

I started on May 17, but due to some snafu between my boss and them about the "requisition" they needed to start processing, I didn't actually hear from them until May 24. I had to access their website (which is a total PITA itself but that's neither here nor there) and download forms to send in to them--because of course they're not local, that would be too easy.

And though my first impulse was to scan and e-mail the documents, it seems the only scanner in my area at work (that anyone knows how to use, anyway) is a flat-bed hooked up to a computer, so you can put in a memory stick and get your scans. Um, PITA much for 20 pages? Also, memory stick? I had to ask for a ruler. I don't have scissors, a highlighter, or more than one pen. So I faxed, how old-school.

The e-mail I got told me to return one form within 24 hours (and I sent it on 5/25, check), and then listed the ten other forms to return within a week. Several are multi-page, one needs to be notarized, the usual fun. I got it all together, liaised with a notary, and faxed the pile in on 5/26.

On the following Monday, 5/31 (you know, the national holiday?), I got an e-mail that the form I faxed in on the preceding Tuesday, the "urgent" one, needed a correction (and that's my fault: I thought they filled out the whole top section, but they only filled out part of it). I re-sent it on Tuesday 6/1.

On 6/2, they asked me for another form, one that wasn't on the list to return. It's related to benefits, which I thought didn't need to be sent in at the same time (because, you know, they weren't on the list). She said I needed to send in this one form specific to Massachusetts. I looked at it and questioned her, since it seemed to me that it was for waiving benefits (something about the way it said, "You are completing this form because you have declined to participate..."). She said no, that's not what it meant (silly me).

So I read that form again, and it wants to know if I'm accepting the health insurance (yes), and what about the "Section 125 Cafeteria Plan"?

The what?

Maybe you know this, but I'd never heard of it. And though I asked the agency, they never explained what it is, or why there was no mention of it anywhere else in the paperwork. It's a flexible spending account. I had to ask Google. Jeez.

So anyway! Are you sick of this story yet? I sent in the form, and promptly got a call: your form says you want health insurance? Then you have to send in that paperwork now, please. Though that wasn't on the list, wasn't mentioned, and I'm not eligible for coverage until July. These people are not good communicators.

All this was before lunch, and I finally, finally got the e-mail with directions for logging in and putting in my hours so I'll get paid. It came ten minutes before I left for the day, but it came, and if you don't think I put in my hours for the last two weeks and submitted them before I left, well. I did. I want to get paid next week. This job is better than my last job in so many, many ways, but still, I won't do it for free.

Which makes me wonder: Would you do your job for free, if you didn't need money to live? Can you think of a job that you would do for free?

For me, off the top of my head, I would read books (that I wanted to read) and review them for free. I would knit (things that I wanted to knit) for free (tendinitis permitting, dammit). I would take pictures (of things I found interesting) for free. I would play with babies, and yes I even mean changing diapers and cleaning up and the messier side, for free. I can't think of much else, though.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

A Short Headache Note

I won't write long tonight, as I have a bit of a headache and want to turn the computer off. I had a bit of a headache yesterday, too (it's the hormones), but it bothers me very little.

You see, in all the month of May, there was only one day when I had enough of a headache to take a prescription pill for it. And that's because hormones are one of my main triggers, and stress is the other. For comparison's sake, let's look at the last few months.

In April, 3 days.
In March, 6 days.
In Feb, 6 days.
In Jan, 9 days.

The stress level seems to have gone down, doesn't it? Which is why I'm not too upset for a small ache now. I'll watch the start of the hockey game, then go to bed early, knowing this will pass.

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