Friday, January 29, 2010


I have a co-worker who has school-aged kids. The kids bring home all sorts of exotic germs, which my co-worker then brings to work to share with me. So today I am home fighting a cold. Symptoms so far: congested lungs, earache, headache, sore throat, fatigue. I thought about gutting it out and going to work anyway - showered and dressed and everything - since all I do is sit in a chair all day, but just the thought of climbing the stairs to my cubicle wore me out. Anyway, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

The more I learn about the project I am newly supporting, the less it appears I will have to do. It's a slick app with a finite set of requirements, a clean interface, plenty of functionality. My job is to support the released versions, but there are three more releases due out this year, so any problems that crop up will probably be fixed in one of the subsequent releases. And then, after the final release, support will segue to another department. So, what is it I am supposed to be doing here? I don't know, but everyone seems happy that I am on board to do it. Corporate IT - gotta love it.

Regarding the previously blogged about coat search, I did return to Kohl's to look over the men's coats, but I had the same problem there that I have with women's clothes: by the time they are on sale, my size is so picked over as to be non-existent. Is everyone in this city the same size as me, even the men? Hard to believe, but it's true.

In other random information, I think my dog's dreams and my dreams are starting to intersect. The other night I dreamed that she kept peeing in the house, and when we got up in the morning, the dog wanted out before eating. Unheard of.

Reading: Finished Anne Tyler's latest, Noah's Compass. Working on Trauma Farm. Maybe if I get energetic about it, reviews may be forthcoming. Or not. The short version is, thumbs up on both.

Movies: Watched "The Band's Visit". Thumbs up here, too. Now I have "The Thin Man". Yes, that movie. One of my fb friends has been watching them, which reminded me of how much I enjoyed them. So why not? Beats Mel Gibson.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Take your golf ball to work

My right heel still hurts, off and on, from the plantar fasciitis. My SO's daughter suggested rolling a golf ball around with my foot, so that is what I do at work when it is bothering me. At home, I use one of the dog's toy balls, a nubby thing that won't slide on the carpet. Hopefully, it will continue to improve because the latest health news says, it doesn't matter how healthy you eat or how much you exercise if you sit on your butt all day long. So now I am making a point of getting out of my chair at least once an hour at work. We'll pretend that is not affecting my productivity.

Speaking of work, this week I heard the final nail in my career coffin driven home. The short version is, I no longer do software development, since that has all been outsourced. Now I am doing product support, which is more like business analysis. Instead of writing code, I get to study the requirements and research defects and validate modifications, all those things I HATE. The only worse thing would be code reviews. Right now I am at the "study the requirements" stage, which is really difficult for me because I keep dozing off. I don't know how BAs do it. The software developers are in Riga. Maybe I will have to go visit.

What else is new? I broke down and bought some jeans. The only ones I had that I could still fit into were growing a crotch hole, and it was just a matter of time before they became indecent.

An aside: There is something about entering a clothing store that just makes me lose heart. I don't know if it is the plethora of unflattering choices or the fact I have the fashion sense of a doorknob or what, but it is all I can do to not run out of there in tears.

Anyway, I bought these jeans at Kohl's. They are Lee's. They are incredibly LONG. After washing, they are better but still too long. Maybe "boot cut" now means you are supposed to wear them with stiletto heels. They have some Spandex in them but don't feel like they have Spandex, if you know what I mean. Very comfy. But long.

While I was there, I also looked for simple, inexpensive tops to wear with my pj bottoms. I have looked for these multiple times in multiple stores. They don't exist, at least in the women's department, unless you want something that looks too stupid to wear even to bed. At Target, I had purchased some long sleeved T's in the men's department, but despite being 100% cotton, they were unwearable. They must have left the bolls in the cotton when they created the cloth. I gave them to the Goodwill; was that wrong? Anyway, at Kohl's I picked up a couple of waffle shirts from Men's Underwear. They are soft and warm and comfy!

I am in need of a new winter coat, too. I tried Dick's, where I discovered those nice insulated coats with a brand name I can't remember (North Country? North Face? North Something. Or maybe I am thinking of Columbia) are EXPENSIVE! So I looked for women's coats at Kohl's. I looked and I looked and I looked. They had a gazillion men's coats, but I could not find the women's. I finally asked someone - the coats were behind the bathing suits. There were not very many to choose from, they each weighed about ten pounds, and they were so puffy I could not get my arms in the sleeves. FAIL. But my SO purchased his coat at Kohl's last year, for a song, so I plan to return and check out the men's coats. And pick up more of those waffle shirts.

In other attempts to spend money, I have been trying to upgrade my DSL to FIOS (FIber OpticS). The Verizon website is a nightmare to navigate, but I also find all the deals they offer to be confusing. Brand new customers get the best deals, of course, but I doubt it would pay to discontinue my existing service long enough to become a new customer. I used to get an offer from them almost everyday in the mail. The offers trailed off during xmas, but they are starting to arrive again. I'm trying not to get obsessed with getting the best deal, but I would really like a free Netbook when I sign up. My SO bought one and it is so CUTE!

What else is new? Not much. Same-o same-o. Plan to spend the day making a butt dent on the couch while I watch football and knit. Sounds like a plan. Go Colts!

Saturday, January 09, 2010


I'm having a difficult time summoning any enthusiasm for cross country skiing this morning. The snow is lovely, just perfect in fact, but it is NINE FREAKIN' DEGREES OUT! Never mind that skiing always warms me up, just the idea of being out in it is daunting. It's cold enough INside the house, let alone OUTside.

The only "resolutions" I came up with this year were to practice yoga every other day, and walk on the days in between. My goal was (notice past tense - heh) to do one or the other every day and not substitute other activities for either. I haven't done too badly, but again, this cold weather is difficult to overcome. And now I have plantar fasciitis.

The good news is I found out that my weight problem may not be from eating too much, but from sleeping too little. Someone somewhere did a little study (and if I weren't so lazy, I would look up the facts here), asking a group of women to change nothing about their lifestyle except to get at least 7.5 hours of sleep a night. After six weeks, every one of those women lost weight, between 6 and 15 pounds, I think. I know I eat more when I am tired, so this makes perfect sense to me.

More good news (depending on how you look at it) is the discovery that the calorie counts on packaged foods and restaurant menus are frequently off, and are allowed to be off by up to 20%. (Again, too lazy to find the article, but it's online somewhere, so Google it, folks.) And the errors always seem to be calorie counts that are less than they are in reality. Why is this good news? It explains how I can count calories and still not lose weight. I'm drifting away from packaged foods and restaurant dining more and more these days, anyway, and now I have added reason to.

Hmm. It's 15 degrees now. I'm running out of excuses.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

How I spent my xmas vacation

I can't believe I have to go to work tomorrow. I've been on vacation since Dec. 23, and that week I worked from home quite a bit, so it feels like I have been away from the office forever. As usual, I started my hiatus with a laundry list of Things To Do, and some were accomplished but most weren't because they were things I really didn't want to do, so why should I spend my vacation doing them? Today I will probably try to cram some of those chores in; even if I don't want to do them, they really need to be done.

Yesterday I got dressed for the first time in days. Wore a bra and everything. Not that I have been lounging around in pjs or (worse) cooking naked. Sweat or yoga pants, a sports bra mostly for nipple protection, and sneakers have been my uniform. Once dressed, I actually drove out of town on an errand to the middle of nowhere. I'm not a total hermit.

When I have an extended staycation like the past ten days, I try to pretend that I am retired, but the paradigm doesn't really shift. I can't make any long term commitments or completely abandon my sleeping schedule or let everything go to hell if I want. I do a lot of thinking, though, which sometimes is a good thing but sometimes not.

One thing I have been contemplating is what to do about this blog. Lately it has degenerated into movie reviews and whines about work. I have two readers who are not spambots. I maintain two other personal blogs, one about knitting and one about my home and garden, and I sorta maintain blogs for two non-profits, which should be enough but it's not. I can't decide what to do, though, so I guess I will do nothing. For now.

Friday, January 01, 2010

1000 Journals

“It's more important to do something personal than to do something important. That's what I think now.” — 1000 Journals

My SO and I watched this documentary last night. In a nutshell, a graphic designer who calls himself SomeGuy took one thousand blank books, added artwork to the covers, stamped the inside with instructions - keep for two weeks, add whatever you want, pass it on, send it back when it is full - and launched them into the world. His goal was to spark our innate creativity, that fresh way we looked at the world when we were young. "1000 Journals" contains interviews with some of the contributors and how the project impacted their lives. No one was "saved" but everyone gave something and gained something from participating. According to the website FAQ, only one has come back, but in the movie, I think more like two dozen did. There was talk about a museum exhibit - not sure if that ever happened - and a book about the project was published and obviously this movie was made. Oh, and another project, 1001 Journals, came into being.

While I was intrigued by the idea and entertained by the movie, I'm not sure what to think about it all. I am one of those many adults who would not answer "YES" if asked whether I were an artist. In the not so distant past, I tried to keep a journal like these, something that contained more than my daily whine, but could not sustain any interest in it. But now that I am approaching the end of my 50's (GAH!), my interest in this sort of thing is increasing, not as an expression of creativity but as an exploration of my inner life, the real me, whoever that may be.

In the era of the Internet, keeping a journal of any sort on paper seems like an anachronism, but then how to explain the popularity of scrapbooking? In A Year of Cats and Dogs, the protagonist complains about how life has no plot. Maybe journals and scrapbooks and photo albums are our attempts to capture events and apply a storyline of some sort to our existence.

1000 Journals