Monday, December 29, 2008

New Year's Quiz

This wasn't my idea. Blame it on All & Sundry. Play along if you wish.

1. What did you do in 2008 that you’d never done before? Added a room to my house. I didn't do the work, but the stress was all mine.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year? Yes, and yes.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? Two of my WW friends became grandmothers for the first time. They are beating me in the Grandparent Race.

4. Did anyone close to you die? Sadly, yes.

5. What countries did you visit? Canada, for the final time without a passport.

6. What would you like to have in 2009 that you lacked in 2008? Confidence in my retirement accounts.

7. What dates from 2008 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? Election Day. Duh.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Showing up at work on a regular basis. You don't know how hard that is!

9. What was your biggest failure? We don't dwell on failures.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? No, but I gained ten pounds. That hurts!

11. What was the best thing you bought? The new room.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration? Hillary, as evidenced by her convention speech.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? Giuliani, as evidenced by his convention speech.

14. Where did most of your money go? The new room.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? The election.

16. What song will always remind you of 2008? I'm blanking on this one.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? same
b) thinner or fatter? fatter
c) richer or poorer? poorer (on paper)

18. What do you wish you’d done more of? Exercise.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of? Eating.

20. How did you spend Christmas? With family.

21. Did you fall in love in 2008? No.

22. What was your favorite TV program? NFL Football.

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? No hating allowed.

24. What was the best book you read? I'll say Lincoln Lawyer by Michael Connelly.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery? This would probably require that I listen to the radio, which I rarely do.

26. What did you want and get? The new room.

27. What did you want and not get? Sheep.

28. What was your favorite film of this year? This question assumes I watch movies in a timely manner. Looking through my Netflix history, I see I gave the following movies 5 stars: "Lars and the Real Girl" and "In the Valley of Elah".

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? We were on vacation at Giant City State Park when I turned 56. Not that it is any of your business.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? Being able to retire.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2008? Hand knits.

32. What kept you sane? Knitting and blogging and yoga.

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? I loved seeing photos of Hillary and Obama together and really wish they had found a way to be on the same ticket.

34. What political issue stirred you the most? Global warming. My heart breaks for the polar bears.

35. Who did you miss? My mom.

36. Who was the best new person you met? I'm going to say my yoga instructors. Because of them, I am stronger and more flexible and healthier (even if I am fatter).

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2008. The stock market is a lie.

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year. Damn, another song question.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Overheard at Work

Three co-workers walking down the hall.

C1: How old are you?
C2: I'm 39.
C1: I'm 38.
C3: I'm 39. And a half.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Wishes DO Come True

It's our turn for an ice storm. Work is not usually cancelled unless the city declares a weather emergency. The city did not do that today, but - miracle of miracles! - the office has no power. Theoretically, they could call any minute and say Back to work. But I'm not counting on it. Heh.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

What To-Do?

The other day I got a couple of miles from my house before I realized I had forgotten my glasses. I don't need them to drive, but I generally wear them all the time. How could I leave home without them? And what clued me in on their absence?

Today I forgot to wear a belt.

I used to have a small white board by the door that said, "Coffeemaker off - stove off - lights off. Vitamins, makeup, earrings." I should add to that "Belt? Glasses? Sweater? Teeth?" Yesterday I forgot to brush my teeth.

With my diminished short term memory, I've learned a few tricks. A sticky note in the car screams "Prednisone!" to remind me to stop at the vet for the dog's medication. "8:30 meeting" on the back of a used envelope next to the coffee maker gets me rushing in the morning. Before I exit the house, I make sure I am holding my keys in my hand, so leaving them by the recharging cell phone ensures I have both. But today I meant to recharge the phone in the car, and I forgot.

Enter the Moleskine notebook. I carry several of these in my purse, jotting down reminders and grocery lists and to-do items with abandon. List making has the additional bonus of giving me something to check off once the task is complete. Uncompleted tasks also nag, nag, nag.

Now, if I could only remember how to do my job.

I'm a software developer who has not developed any software in years. All that "code grinding" has been moved off-shore. Well, almost all of it. I am still responsible for an application that has not required any attention from me since we upgraded to XP. Therein lies the problem. The original development tool is not only defunct, it won't run under XP at all. The libraries we use from that development tool work just fine, but may not if we ever upgrade the operating system again. I procrastinated on rewriting the code because I kept expecting to be "made redundant" - i.e. job eliminated - but I haven't been, probably because I'm the "IT owner" of this application. I made the mistake of listing this task as a goal on my annual review for 2008, which means it should be done by now.

And it has been so long since I wrote any code that I don't remember how.


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Home Alone

Wednesday night is date night. Last night was yoga night, and thanks to the snowfall, it took me almost an hour to travel ten miles. I would have turned around but the northbound traffic was worse than my southbound traffic, and 45 minutes of yoga was better than no yoga. By the time I left the studio, the traffic had magically disappeared, and I glided easily home.

Ordinarily, traffic heading downtown in the evening is light, and at first I could not figure out why so many people were going my way. Then it dawned on me that there weren't more cars on the road, they were just going so slowly that traffic slid to a halt. Bearing this in mind, this morning I sent my SO an email, warning him off trying to make his way north tonight. He pooh-poohed me, and when I left work shortly after four and the roads were clear, I felt a little silly. But guess what? Even though he left early, he ran into the same problem, compounded by xmas shoppers who stayed home last night and are planning to stay home tomorrow night when the ice storm is supposed to hit. He gave up and went home.

So I'm already in my jammies and terry cloth robe. When I thought we would be eating out, my taste buds were primed for Chinese. When I discovered we were not eating out, my focus switched to popcorn, the single person's hot meal. I cook mine on the stove, but for some reason did not check the gas flame under the pot. The oil went up in smoke, literally. I hope that pan is not ruined; it's soaking in vinegar right now.

(It's things like these that make me worry about getting old. At what point should I not be allowed to cook for myself? Better to call Meals on Wheels.)

Plan B (or C?) was bacon and egg and toast. The bacon was left over from Thanksgiving (two slices went into the butternut squash soup), so I cooked it extra crispy to ward off food poisoning. There was only one egg, so I splurged on two pieces of toast and, since I was feeling a little sorry for myself by then, cinnamon sugar on the toast. And apple juice.

Between the vinegar and the bacon, the smell of burnt corn oil has almost faded from the kitchen. I'm nearing the end of both I Was Told There'd Be Cake and Planetwalker. (When did I start reading more than one book at a time?) There are bills to be paid, pets to groom, litter boxes to clean. Why, we're just having a grand time tonight.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Wind Advisory

I have family in New England, so when I read about the power outages Friday, I tried to call my dad. No answer. Not even the answering machine picked up. So I sent a text message to my brother. Hours later I find out that yes, neither of them have power, and a tree fell on my dad's new car.

I pictured my dad and stepmother huddling in their cold home, not even able to heat a cup of tea, not using their cell phone for fear of running down the battery, because that would be me. Saturday I tried their land line again, then gambled on the cell. Dad picked up on the second ring. They were at a Marriott near Boston, on their way out to do some xmas shopping, making lemonade out of lemons.

When I called Dad, I was about to do a little xmas shopping of my own. Let me say up front that I hate to shop, I detest malls, I'm not that wild about xmas and conspicuous consumption, the amount of crap that appears this time of year never ceases to amaze me, why do Americans think they are entitled to an extreme xmas, etc. In short, I come very close to being Scrooge personified. But I was looking for some unusual stocking stuffers, so my SO and I visited some alternative shopping sites. Instead of stocking stuffers, I wound up buying stuff for myself.

I have been looking for my fetish for a while now, scrutinizing ravens and coyotes and buffalo, but none ever spoke to me. But then I saw this llama at Friends of the Third World.

Hand carved from combarbalite, a kind of soapstone that is mined only in Combarbala, Chile, and standing about six inches tall and weighing in at 350 grams (that's over 12 oz.), he's a little hefty to be a fetish. But I picked him up and could not put him down.

Recently I have also decided I need to accessorize, so have been in the market for unusual necklaces. I found this one at Ten Thousand Villages.

Made in Vietnam of what I think are silk-wrapped beads, the color demanded I take the necklace home. I love looking at it, but am not sure what I can wear it with. I suppose it would make more sense to buy something for a particular outfit, but I'm new at this business of personal adornment. Where's my personal shopper when I need her?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

I Must Be Getting Old

One word. Syriana. Has anybody else seen this movie? Can they explain it to me? I tried, I really, really tried to follow all the story lines, knowing that at the end, they would lead to a significant conclusion. But everything just did not add up for me.

At the beginning of the movie, there was some explanatory dialog. And there was something about oil companies and covert operations and selling missiles. And there was this lawyer and these sheiks and the CIA and the CLI and the radical Muslims. And too many middle aged white guys - they all look alike to me.

Some of the characters I could keep track of, but their backstories were lost on me. Who was the older guy living with the lawyer? Were the scenes of George Clooney and his son supposed to mean something? What was the point of the Matt Damon character?

Ordinarily, I like movies that make me think, but this one just made my head hurt.

Monday, December 08, 2008

I said "Pickle" but they heard "Kid's meal"

Sunday afternoon I realized there was something wrong when my teeth started to ache. By this morning, the germs had crept into my inner ears and were heading south to my lungs, so I decided to stay home.

Library books were due, though, so I did muster the energy to drive 0.3 miles to the local branch, picking up a few more items while I was there. Then a quick swing by BK for supper, where my order was only slightly botched.

I used to get livid if my drive-thru order was not impeccably correct, but now I figure they got some money, I got some food, everybody should be relatively happy. Happiness is relative, anyway.

Saturday, December 06, 2008


Toni tagged me with the Six Things Meme. The problem is I have seen this meme on many other blogs, and I am afraid of embarrassing myself by tagging someone who has already posted this meme.

So I am going to break the chain and suggest another meme that I just made up. Play along and pass it along if you wish.

Using exactly six words, write the following:

Your memoir
Your epitaph

My memoir: It's a routine, not a rut!
My epitaph: I told you I was sick!

The idea for this meme came from Craig Wilson's column in USA Today, where he reviews Not Quite What I Was Planning.

Is this okay, Toni? Hope you play along!

Monday, December 01, 2008

Good news, bad news

The good news is I gained only two pounds over Thanksgiving weekend. The bad news is that is on top of the eight pounds I inexplicably gained this fall. Maybe my body is preparing for hibernation. If so, it is going to have to hibernate in a muumuu because my clothes are starting to cut off the circulation to my extremities.

I've often caught myself saying, "I'd do anything to lose weight!" Well, anything except eat less and exercise more.

Noelle mentioned this calorie counting website as a means for tracking food consumption. According to them, I should be consuming 1400 calories a day in order to lose a pound or two a week. Today I ate about 2000 calories. Hmmm.

That site also describes me as sedentary. I participate in a yoga class twice a week and feel much stronger and more flexible BUT. I also sit on my butt all day and then go home and sit on my butt some more.

This morning I decided to plan to do something about that, by printing out the Couch-to-5K Running Plan. They make it sound so easy, but I decided I should start with Week Zero - just walking.

So tonight, after driving home in my usual post-work stupor and reading the newspaper (more butt time) and taking the dog to the vet for her shots and deciding the weather was too inclement and eating supper (T-Day leftovers) and knitting a bit (on my butt) and reading a few blogs (on my butt), I got up off the couch and went for a brisk 30-minute walk around the neighborhood. In the snow. And the wind. And the dark.

We'll see how long that lasts.