Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 Year in Review, Now Enriched with 2012 Goals! Part of a balanced diet!

As I look back on the year almost completely behind us, I can't believe what a change from January.  Diagnosed with health issues, way over-stressed from my job, frustrated because my creative outlets were stymied.  That was a lot of negative to manage through.


But manage I did, and I thought I'd take a few minutes to enumerate the positives from the year just past.   You see, I have a tendency to get so wrapped up in what needs to be done, that I forget to mark the accomplishments of what did get done.


So here we go, the top 10 accomplishments of the year!


10.  Took a few lunch breaks and used my vacation time. 
This would seem like a no-brainer to most people, but I have a long-standing habit of eating my lunch at my desk and working straight through.  With the job switch, I had a little more flexibility to go for walks, and/or take actual breaks.  I had also managed to rack up a goodly amount of banked vacation over the last few years and I took some quality time for me.


9.  Changed to a less-stressful job.
I'm not a person who particularly relishes change, nor do I necessarily manage it well.  However, things came to a head this past year when I absolutely needed to make changes for health reasons.  Specifically, reducing the 140 mile round trip drive I was making daily for work.  I was able to make that happen by May and within days Mr. Eggshells could see and hear a positive difference in me.


8.  Socialized
This likely seems odd to many out there in the interwebs, and it's possible that there are a few out there who think I'm an extrovert.  Fooled ya!  I actually have a social anxiety disorder which means that groups of more than 3 or 4 are too much.  Bracing myself for social activities not only takes a huge amount of my energy (which due to #9 above was often in limited quantity), but it takes me a long time to rejuvenate it afterwards.  So this year Mr. Eggshells (similarly of the cave troll ilk) and I decided that we'd make a concerted effort to socialize on a regular basis.  With people.  Outside of the house.  (We survived it, too, go figure!  :P)


7.  Found the House Rhythm
With schedules resembling chaotic whirlwinds over the last few years, managing house stuff has also been fractious at best.  Add into the fact that we keep doing renovations and reorganizing, keeping everything going has often been a full time job.  That neither Mr. Eggshells or I really had time to do.  No more!  I completely attribute this to excellent thyroid medication and 2 hours less on the road, but we've been able to keep a routine going for the last few months where we can not only finish projects, but also keep the day to day stuff working.  I know, right?!  Crazy.


6.  Fixed Those Pesky Health Issues
Oh, they're not gone completely, but I made great strides in the past year.  Re-balancing my thyroid made a world of difference to my energy level (from non-existent to actually being able to function).  As well I headed off a pre-diabetic condition and made my doctor very happy.  Made me pretty happy too for that matter.


5.  Supported People Around Me
I don't think about this too much, because it's really just who I am as a person.  But I think it's important for me to acknowledge that my connecting with others around me has been an important part of my year.  Some have been long-term friends, others have been far-flung family, and yet others near strangers on the internet.  I tried to make a special effort to 'be present' for people when they had a need - be it a kind word at the right time, a joke to make them smile, or a listening ear when their world was imploding.  I hope that my efforts helped, even just a little bit.


4.  Asked for Help from Others
This isn't an easy thing for me to do, but like #5 above, it's important to acknowledge.  I've tried to reach out whenever I've needed help with something, and to accept what people want to do for me at face value, without trying to pay them back or make it 'even'.  This, whether it's a minor (or major) issue, or just taking me out to get a cup of coffee.  Because I've come to realize that just as it's natural for me to do things for other people without expecting anything in return, other people can and do feel the same way.  And just like I'd want people to let me do that, I should let them.


3.  Writing 
I started writing again!  After many years of creative writing abstinence, the drought has ended.  Obviously, the blog has been a part of it, but I also participated in NaNoWriMo, a month-long writing extravaganza.  Not only did it give me a sense of what I could accomplish, it has also helped me understand how to incorporate writing as part of my regular life.  


2.  Crafts
I've always got projects going but rarely have I had the time or inclination to work on them or finish them.  This year I set small goals and achieved most of them.  In addition to the feeling of accomplishment, having a creative outlet did wonders for my mental health.  


1.  Treated Myself As I Treat Others
Like a lot of people are to themselves, I am my harshest critic.  I'm also a perfectionist, often having unrealistic expectations of myself.  (Mr. Eggshells kindly reminds me that I don't realize I'm overdoing something until I've overdone it.)  That said, this year I tried very hard to be non-judgmental of myself in terms of perceived failures. Instead, I took a step back and asked myself how I would respond to someone else who didn't succeed at "x, y, or z" in the way they wanted.  The result was that instead of wearing myself down with negative self-talk, I took it all as a lesson learned and moved on. 


Now, it's your turn.  Leave a comment and name at least 1 thing that you are proud of doing/achieving this year.  :)


As for 2012, I don't do resolutions because the concept just seems way too formal for the likes of me.  But I do have a couple of goals that I will continue to work on, and they're basically in the same vein as the things I did this year.  


I would like to wish you all out there a Happy New Year and hope that 2012 brings you love, joy, and peace.  I also want to thank you all for your friendship, and for the time you take to drop by and read my little slice of life here.  


All the best for 2012!!!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Bed Dynamic

As anyone who has shared a bed long-term knows, there is a definite dynamic that occurs between the sharing parties.  Whether it's a sibling or a spouse-type,  there's always a period of staking your claim, settling in, and finally coming to terms with the resulting balance of power.  And blanket stealing.  


It's kind of like politics but hopefully with fewer politicians and bi-partisan tendencies.


Big surprise to no one, being a high-anxiety type gal, sleeping for me is a hit-and-miss affair.  I can remember at around age 8 having a discussion with my elementary school counselor about how to curb insomniac tendencies - oddly enough, despite it being in the 70's he did not advocate having a couple of shots before bed.  ;)  Through my parent's divorce and living on my own, I never quite found my sleep groove, but managed well enough.  Plus the fact that I was young and carefree and spending tons of time partying.  After I moved out, my Mom's house was always the place where I could sleep, so when I'd visit I'd get some catch up.  After she passed away, sleep was again at a premium.


Until I got married, where, after a period of adjustment, I now sleep the best I ever have in my life.  At least as far as I can remember, which may not be saying much considering my recent post. Of course, I still have routine early morning wake-ups and the like, but nothing like in years past.  The downside is that now that I operate with sleep, when I do have insomnia it's hard as heck to function while tired.  There's always gotta be a catch, right?


As a result of my years of insomnia, I've developed a few bedtime rituals that are specifically designed to help me not feed the anxiety and to assuage the OCDemon (especially after midnight).   I won't go into all of them because y'all might think I'm crazy(ier than I really am would like you to believe).


Being comfortable during sleep is pretty much the primary way to not only get to sleep, but to stay asleep (which is my personal brand of insomnia).  A big part of this for me means regulating temperature, and keeping the blankets in a relative amount of order to help with that temperature thingy (cuz you know, waking up with no covers affects temperature).  Which becomes more important when sharing, because you not only want to stay asleep, but you want your partner to stay asleep too.  (I'm really just talking to my partner here, and reminding him how bad it is if I don't stay asleep.  Bad for him, that is.)


Let me start this portion of my post by saying that I love Mr. Eggshells very very much.  He does everything he can to make my life easier, often times in spite of himself  - which he will readily admit so I'm not being a cow here.  ;)
Mr. Eggshells is a good sleeper for the most part, and has this really freaking annoying ability to fall asleep moments after his head hits the pillow if that's what he so chooses.  I guess maybe I'm too ornery or stubborn or something, because I never listen to myself when I tell myself to go to sleep.  (Fortunately for him, he also goes to sleep when I tell him to.  Of course, the alternative to doing that is to go outside and sleep under his truck, so really it's a win-win when he just listens.)


The other amazing trait he has, of which I'm completely in awe, is his singular ability to completely demolish neatly arranged bedding in nanoseconds.  


No, that is not an exaggeration either.  NANOSECONDS.  


For those of you who are not geeks (which makes me wonder really how you got to this blog) and who do not know...a nanosecond is one billionth of a second.  Which is really really really small, and in terms of time, well, it would be like if you blinked but really fast.  Like so fast you couldn't even see it.  Not that you can see your own blink but this is the type of blink you wouldn't be able to see on someone else.  It would look like they're just staring at you, but they weren't - they blinked.  Unless they're messing with you, and not blinking but saying they are.  In which case, you should kick them really hard in the shin.


But I digress.  (And if it wasn't obvious, I kind of got lost in my own metaphor there, but I won't tell anyone if you don't!)


At bedtime, we get the bedding straightened out (because, no, I do not make the bed in the morning, since science says that it's healthier to air out the bedding - don't blame me, blame SCIENCE for my messy bed).  I get into bed, cats start looking for treats and/or cuddles (routine-based life forms after my own heart!), and finally Mr. Eggshells gets into bed.  From the nanosecond his hand touches the blankets to draw them back, they are demolished. What were neat layers of covering are now in complete disarray, the bottom sheet is coming out and his pillows are up a tree or something.  (My pillows are safe because I make sure I'm in bed first and my head holds them down...and so far he has not managed to include my head as part of the disarray.)


The first time it happened, I was sure it was contrived.  While he claimed innocence, I have to admit I just couldn't see how he managed it.  And then one night I watched it happen.  One second the bedding was as we'd set it, and the next, KA-POW!!!  Bed 'splodey!


But you know, I can't even be upset - I'm too impressed.  It truly is a thing of beauty - how amazingly awesome Mr. is at this particular art form (because you know it has to be a goddess-given talent).  Me and OCDemon can only laud the power of his creativity in complete destruction and thank our lucky stars he has limited access to gunpowder and TNT.


And I guess, cultivating talents are an important part of life.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Wait, what?

A co-worker recently reminded me about a box that I'd received and put in a specific location.  I had no (zero, nil, zip, nada) recollection of any box, or activity around a box.  But my handwriting was on the box, meaning that at some point it was in my possession, or at the very least, in my stream of consciousness.

Disconcerting!


Several years ago, during a heavy cycle of grief, I had almost constant memory lapses.  From what I understand it's pretty common, as one weathers the physical, emotional, and mental shock of loss.  


The thing is, you can't really let it get to you; it's really the brain's way of helping you through the crappy stuff.  Even my tendency to be a perfectionist was waylaid by my utter inability to give a rip about whether or not I did something or forgot to do something.  (And by perfectionist I mean rabid OCD, but that's just between you 'n me.)


I found that the disconnect is typically harmless...my personal go-to behavior was to buy books.  The same books.  Over and over and over again.  I'd find duplicate, triplicate, quadruplicate copies of the same book in my house, often in the same bag from the same store (they made great gifts!).


I've known people with grief brain who put things in the wrong place or forgot to do things they'd been doing daily for dozens of years.  Completely understandable, but also why it's more like a fugue state then simple memory loss.  Your brain isn't even remotely involved in the present here and now; it's like someone else is operating the controls, and you may or may not be watching them while they do it.


Which is why at this point in my life where I'm not grieving - where I'm actually happy and relatively well-adjusted - it's so confusing to me that it seems to be happening to me again.  Oh, there are a variety of minor stressful things I'm working through right now, but in this case, I think it's more a matter of NOT being completely stressed out.  Like the lack of stress *is* the stress.  


Now how messed up is that?


Having changed jobs my overall stress level is so reduced that I'm finding it a little hard to gear down from the years of ramp up.  Which makes sense, since chemically your brain/body doesn't distinguish between distress and eustress.  From this, one could assume that a change in either type of stimulation can have an effect on behavior.  


I know that there's a certain amount of learned behavior when it comes to coping with stress, and if I recall my 20-years-ago Psych class, there are bio-chemical markers that are actually patterned in the brain when those learnings take place.   It would make sense that the process of changing those behaviors or un-learning specific coping mechanisms would also change the bio-chemical markers.  Or at the very least disrupt them.


All this because I keep forgetting stuff.  Is it any wonder, with all that random "stuff" in my head?  


For my next trick, I'm planning on going off caffeine.  I expect my brain will completely melt, while at the same time analyzing it to death.



Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Making of a Writer

At the beginning of November I posted about joining Nanowrimo, touted as "30 days of literary abandon."  And while I've been writing since about age 7, I had never in my entire life sat down to a specific goal with a set deadline when it came to writing.

I wasn't entirely sure it would work.  Granted, I know about the value of project management - I wouldn't have been in the business of it for 20 years if I didn't.  Maybe it's because I do it for work that I never thought about applying it to my creative endeavors.  Or maybe I was just trying to keep the two separate.

In any case, I'm not sure if it matters so much to break it down.  What I do know is that between the muse and I, we dominated those 50,000 words.  What hits home even more forcefully to me is that those 50,000 words were managed while life went on.    That despite having zero prepped when I started, being sick, recovering from a minor accident, and taking time for a much needed Lord of the Rings marathon.  (Truly, mandatory!)

Since finishing (or winning, as they like to call it, and hey, who am I to argue?!), I've taken a wee break from writing.  Oddly enough, the pattern has been set - I've felt like something was missing the last couple of days.  Like when I haven't finished reading a book and it's nagging at me to go read.  Only it's my book.  And it's calling me to finish.

It's a good feeling, all the way around.


Sunday, November 20, 2011

Swagbucks Link

I've been using this website for almost a year now...this is a place where you can earn Swagbucks (SB) for doing various things you'd normally do online (i.e. searching, watching videos, etc.), as well as redeeming extra SB when you print manufacturer's coupons via their site and redeem them at the store (it's like getting bonuses twice - you get the coupon value at the store and then credit with SB!).  


I've been redeeming my SB for handy things such as Amazon.com gift cards.  :)  I don't put a huge amount of focused time into it, just what I would normally do out there in the interwebs (it's been super-awesome while doing research on my fledgling novel).


I added the link at the side so other people can do it too!   Plus, as an added bonus to me (LOL), if you use my link to get there, I get a referral bonus.  

Sunday, November 13, 2011

By request...

an excerpt of the novel - the rough prologue to be exact.  :)


**********



The sound was always first.


Long before she felt the familiar throb, came the faint, high-pitched keening.  There was no other word for it, as if all the grief and pain in the universe was focused in one place at one time.  As the knifelike cacophony grew in slow, deafening volume, the pulse would begin.  Rhythmic, nauseating, it felt good and bad all at the same time.  Like a drug in her veins, winding through her system.  Knowing how bad it would feel later but not wanting, or being able to stop, because despite the bad, it felt just too incredible.


But stop it did, eventually, and although it didn't always end well, the ride had a comforting familiarity.  After all this time, the one thing she knew was that out of all the unexpected in her world this at least had a predictable outcome.  At least thus far it had anyway, she thought wryly, noting that she was getting better at managing to concentrate in the epicenter of the shrieking torment raging around her.  


There was always him.  She knew he'd be there, somewhere, either shortly before or soon after.  She knew of others who were forever alone in this experience, existence drawn with a wicked blade and torn as easily as a piece of paper.  She didn't dwell too long on those unfortunate souls, for it was long past the time when she could do anything for them.  Except hope that she didn't suffer the same fate.


Shuddering from the thought as much as from the external forces on her skin, she took one last look around the familiar space.  A thought streaked through her mind and she hastily took a few steps forward into the room.  With nerves jangling, and with the knowledge that she was mere seconds away, she reached into the bedside table and recovered the one object she knew she'd need.  That done and time winding down, her eyes alighted on the picture by the bed.  A brief smile was all the time she had, even as she braced for the inevitable.  Taking a deep breath, she surrendered herself to what she knew came next. 


And it did, as it always did.

Keep Breathing

Mini-update - have been out of commission with the flu and then recovering from a minor burn to the face (I know, right?).  Then I started my novel over.  It's working MUCH better now but as a result, I'm pretty much Writing Gurl for the rest of the month (I don't even get a cape, dangit!).


However, to tide you lovelies over for a bit, here's a little mellow out Zen for you.  :)


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


Found this idea on Youtube and just had to share.


First, go to http://www.rainymood.com/


In a second tab, open this video and hit play:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fORAPkfVV_A

Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Do NOT Google THAT!

I work with some very awesome people, who make the frustrations of the day much fewer and make sure we have plenty of laughs along the way.  In fact, these were the first friends I made here in the U.S and they made the transition that much easier.  (Did I ever thank y'all for that?  If not, THANKS!)


One woman in particular worked very closely with me on my first-ever project and in a wonderful turn of events, we're again working together on a project for the same client (albeit in different roles from 6 years ago).  We're going to call her Cookie, which is my nickname for her from a long ago conversation on stripper names (!), and it's extremely apropos in this conversation.  Cookie works from her home office in another state.


There are several project activities for which I'm responsible, that require me to have information such as owner/landlord's name, the location's tax/parcel number, and a street address.  Which can be problematic when you're working on a parcel that hasn't been assigned a street address by the jurisdiction.


The following is excerpted from a Skype conversation between Cookie and myself, in which we attempt to find the street address.  I've added some additional dialogue in a different color in the text.  Names are changed to protect the not so innocent.


**Warning...subject matter and language may not be safe for work unless you work someplace cool...**


Me:  Yo Cookie.  You there?


Cookie:  Yes.


Me: [Site name] Another address issue. Don't be mad.


Cookie:  LOL  I don't know the address yet, it's a new site.


Me: Right, so am I using the Third Addition, Blk 36 thingy (*yes that's the technical term*), or just put as pending?


Cookie:  Do they want the "closest address"?


Me: I don't know what they want, other than my tracker updated.


Cookie:  LOL  Who's asking?


Me: [Client department, name and job title]  I have no direct relationship with them and [Client project manager] says he wants all contact through him.


Cookie:  Ok, does [Client PM] remember that this is a new site and that we have no actual address yet?  I'm just asking because sometimes he forgets.  I will get him closest address.


Me: Are we re-submitting the candidate documents?  (This will sometimes confirm the address, or at least buy us some time.)


Cookie: Ummmmmm no.  They just moved it to a different lot.  This is difficult.


Me: Dang.  Okay.  How about I use [old address #1] and just note that it will change?


Cookie:  Oh yes, if you have the parcel address, perfect.  Parcel 18?


Me: No.  I have [parcel #] (A really long ass number higher than "18")


Cookie:  No.  I'll get you a new one.


Me: Okay.


Cookie:  hahaha...no address on file for the parcel


Me:  Of course.  I'll just put no address assigned.  If they want something more later we can go into detail.


Cookie:  Wait, there is a strip club next door.  Let me try that address.


Me:  I'm not putting that in my tracker.


Cookie:  OMG.  It comes up with 8008135


Me: Are you seriously putting strip club in a Google search?  OMG


Cookie:  (that is BOOBIES in #)  tee hee


Me: Yes, I know.  You're so 12.


Cookie:  I totally am.  But so are you.  ;)  Well, you may be 13...a little more mature.


At this point I should point out that I stepped away to my co-worker to get him to Skype "8008135" to Cookie using his Skype account.



CADMonkey: (finger)  (This is an emoticon of a smiley face flipping the bird.)

CADMonkey: 8008135

Cookie:  ROFL  How is it that you "know" what it types?  hahahaha  Now if I"m reading this correctly, you are saying "fuck boobies"...that is a little raunchy for even me.  Geez.

CADMonkey: haha 

Cookie:  So do you know the address of the strip club?  Or do we need to talk to [other co-workers]?

CADMonkey: [Co-worker] took some pics of the sign.

Cookie: We need 'em.  Does it say 100 men for each woman, we have them all here...come on in?

CADMonkey: Nope.  Just a neon sign of a naked cowgirl.  Trying to find it, I'll send.




Me:  I am mature.  Which is why I told CADMonkey to Skype you.  But not with the finger.  He did that on his own.


Cookie:  So still trying to find you the closest address.  (Some back and forth on the site particulars.)


Cookie:  Ummmm OMG.  So I found the name of the club.  Typed it in on Google.  And ended up at some porn site.  OMG  Can't they just give me the address?


Me:  I so told you not to do that.  You are killing me here.


Cookie:  And the address is on Hyder street.  Hide her.  Get it?  HAHAHAHAH I am 12!


Me:  hahaha, CADMonkey's laughing at you too.


Cookie: Thank god my kids weren't behind me.  Seriously.


Me: Well yeah.  Spiffy parenting, that.  I TOLD you not to go there.  There are just some things you DON'T Google.  EVER.


Cookie:  Now my daughter wants to know why I was looking up strip clubs.


Me: I don't doubt it, she's your child.


Cookie:  She won't believe anything I tell her.


Between us we manage to convince her daughter that this is a legitimate business activity.  She says she believes us.  I love kids.  ;)


Cookie: Well, anyway.  The address is on Hyder but it won't be the way we enter. From behind.  ROFL  Get it?


Me: OMG I had just gotten myself under control again.


Cookie: I just made myself laugh so hard she came running to read.  I wouldn't let her.


Me: I guess not!


We finish sorting out the address and Cookie re-iterates that I should make sure the client understands it's temporary.  Because....


Cookie:  Because he will forget.  And then I will have to explain why my daughter had to find me looking at porn.  During the mid-day.


Me:  LOL


Cookie:  xxxx is the strip club address.  WHOOOO HOOOOO  Oh nevermind, again that is Hyder.


Me:  You are nuts.  You know you're not AT the strip club, right?




Moral of this story:  Don't Google strip clubs while at work.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Holiday Mail for Heroes

Okay folks, it's that time of year again. Please take a moment to click through to my fellow blogger's post about HOLIDAY MAIL FOR HEROES (troops overseas). The cost of a stamp or two and you can make a service person's holiday season. They do a lot for us, please do this for them.

Holiday mail for Heroes at Housewise



Wednesday, November 2, 2011

NaNoWriMo

In a chance of fate or, what I choose to believe, the deliberate dragging of my muse by my hair (dang, just noticed I need to dye it again), yesterday I was reminded of the existence of NaNoWriMo.  Which stands for National Novel Writing Month.  With a goal of 50,000 words (standard novel size) the challenge is to write a novel between November 1st and 30th.  

From what I can tell it started in 1999 and I think I knew about it around 2003 or 2004.  But had promptly forgotten about until someone posted their day total yesterday on Facebook.

Within a few minutes I had joined and committed to the challenge.  Or I was committed.  Or should be.  Or something.

Because to reach the word goal, it's about 1700 words a day.  1700.words.a.day.  

There is a forum for writers in my area, and this may end up harvesting some of the writer's group types I'm needing longer-term.  I'm kind of excited to have a goal and one that is relatively attainable.    Since I woke up at 3 am with novel percolating, it seemed only natural to get up and start writing.  So I did.

Did I mention 1700 words a day?  

I'm already exhausted.

1700 words.  That string together to make sense.  What have I done???

I'm currently at just over 3000 words.  Oh.my.god.  I haven't written that much in one stretch in, like, ever.  

Yes, I'm crazy.  But it's a good crazy.

Friday, October 28, 2011

He told me no.

Well the honeymoon's over.  We had a good run, but that's it.


Since pretty much all three of my readers know my husband, they know that he worships the ground I walk on.  While simultaneously plotting devious ways of ascending to the post of ultimate commander of the universe.  Of course, he's very brilliant so plotting doesn't take up much mental capacity, so the balance of his time is spent just fostering a environment of weird.  In which I am also living.


However, the one constant in my universe is that boobies trump all and as a result I don't get told no.  Ever.


Oh, I get asked nicely to wait on some things.  I am involved in discussions where my argument doesn't end up being chosen as the winner.  But the flat-out "no"?  Just doesn't happen.  


Until Wednesday.  When I was unceremoniously told that NO we could not have pancakes for dinner, because he really wanted grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup.  


No dialogue.  No pros and cons.  Just no.


I know this is just the beginning.  He'll use no on other occasions I'm sure.  And then where will it end?  No place good, that's for sure.


I'm just going to have to get a boob augment.  Hopefully that will weight things in my favor again (get it?).




ETA:  I did get pancakes the next day.  So he's not a total monster.  But really!  Waiting!!!





Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Crafty!

I dabble in crafts.  Which is to say, I'd love to spend a lot more time doing them but I think beads, threads, cross-stitch patterns, jewelry findings, glue gun, and yarn would probably be obvious at work.  As being not work-related.    


I recently took a glass fusion class and it was a lot of fun (of course, part of that was likely the company of my galpal and also the fact that I took the afternoon off work!).  The pieces came out pretty good for a first try and I thought I'd blog-brag.  (Plus I wanted to write something today but I'm brain dead and this is mostly pictures.  SCORE!)




Swirled dish







Dragonfly Suncatcher



Pendant


There's another pendant piece but I cannot for the life of me get a decent picture of it.  Will probably have to string it and wear it to have a picture.

I'm really pleased with the way they turned out.  Now we just need to move so I can be closer to the studio and make things more often.  Plus, they have a free-martini-and-play-with-glass-evening every week.  What's not to like?







Tuesday, October 25, 2011

You know you live with a geek if...

  • You understand that "weird" is relative.  (And they can be disowned.)
  • For any given situation there is a Star Wars quote that applies.
  • For any given situation where a Star Wars quote doesn't really apply, there is a Star Trek quote that will.
  • Graphic novels are really just comic books.  (But don't ever call them that out loud.)
  • A Pez dispenser collection is an inexpensive and viable way to get your geek on.
  • You can threaten to withhold marital favors legally in a game of Dungeons and Dragons.
  • If you do apply the above, you can also be rightfully accused of metagaming.
  • You're very sad because you know what metagaming is.
  • Posting an XKCD comic on your blog should really have been more traumatizing than it was.
  • You have to admit you don't always understand the XKCD comic because its slanted for math and science.
  • You then have to admit you understand more of the XKCD math and science comics than you're really comfortable admitting.
  • You had to veto the Periodic Table shower curtain because you just knew there'd end up being tests.  In the morning.  While you showered.
  • Any song in the known universe can be conjured at will for parody amusement.
  • 99.99% of the time that song parody will include a lyric about bacon.
  • Subsequently, 100% of the time you will tend to sing the bacon lyric rather than the real lyric.
  • You know which of the Star Trek actors have also released musical recordings.
  • You own those musical recordings.
  • You have a phone app for Magic the Gathering.
  • You also have a software program installed for keeping an inventory of your Magic the Gathering cards.
  • You realize you have an inordinate amount of Magic the Gathering cards.
  • That realization doesn't stop you from buying more.
  • Action and/or superhero figures are acceptable gifts for romantic occasions.
  • Unicornszombies and plush toys are also acceptable gifts for romantic occasions.
  • You know ALL the references in the Geek and Gamer girls song.  And you're supposedly not the geek in the household.
  • You know all the words to the Geek and Gamer girls song.
  • You post the song on your blog.


Saturday, October 22, 2011

Science

Try Science
Not copyright infringement...
just one more reason they rock!
http://xkcd.com/
The time to consider the effects of dropping Alka Seltzer cold medicine tabs into a cup of carbonated lemon water was probably before actually doing it.  Fortunately for me, it appears that I am once again a mistress at science (!), for the carbonation did not exponentially increase (all over my desk).


Speaking of Science, it has come to my attention that I've retained just enough information from my high school Science classes to be able to be incorrect in any given situation.  This is the value of education, folks.

Life and Times

In May I switched jobs at my workplace, primarily in order to be able to work at the field office closer to my home, rather than the corporate office a fair distance away.  (It's still 40 miles' drive but at least I can commute with Mr. Eggshells now.)  As a result, this is the first year in the last four that I haven't been involved in 4th quarter/year end accounting activities at my workplace.  


I have to admit it's a little confusing to be able to take time off at the end of the month if I'd like, or even take time off anywhere in the fourth quarter.  But what's really perplexing is my complete inability to figure out what part of the month I'm in.


Not that it matters...I don't need to know that anymore.  Which is a concept even harder to wrap my head around (ooh, see I have layers!).


This morning I'm clipping coupons and thinking about time.  Mr. Eggshells and I have just come out of a very busy social month (which for us cave-troll types essentially means more than one activity).  This week alone we had four events!  We promised ourselves a day at home today and the freedom to just do whatever takes our fancy.  Now I'm thinking about the day ahead and wondering not how to fill it, but how I can get everything done that I want.  This falls into a familiar theme for me...wanting to know everything and do everything.  Picking and choosing a specific path is really not my forte.  (Which is a really nice way of saying I suspect that I have adult ADHD, except I'm rarely acting like an adult so I'm not sure if that's not a lie.  Sorry.)


Of course, this is the cry of anyone working full-time (and I suspect, even part-time but since I've never really dabbled in that I cannot say for sure).  Unless of course your job is tester of kiddie ball-rooms or silly string that is.  Then your day is likely really cool, and possibly messy.


What this really boils down to is that all those adults who said that time would go by really quickly when you're past your youth were right.  Which kinda sucks.  Because now I'm that adult.


I said nothing about being responsible in any of the above.  I win!


ETA:  OMG I used you're and your in the same sentence!  Correctly!  (Unlike earlier this week when I didn't.  *facepalm*)

Friday, October 14, 2011

iPhone...no, really, I do

My mobile phone was gasping its last digital bytes on Monday.  It had started the death throes on the weekend, randomly changing my theme, tones, and dramatically shutting itself off during my conversations.  Which is different from the usual non-dramatically shutting itself off during my conversations...I can't explain how, but trust me, there's a difference.  By Monday morning, pressing the "Menu" button resulted in exactly...nothing.  Obviously destined to be a paperweight, it was time to look at something new.


Then came the decision-making...was it time for a Smartphone?  We'd been oddly resistant to getting those.  Maybe it's because neither of us lives by our phone, and the most common usage we had was talking to each other during the long commutes.  Since we can do that phoneless now, it's really just for emergencies and the random calls/chats from friends.  We barely text and even the flip phones we've been using had music capability that we just didn't use.


The pro side of the decision included having access to maps/GPS while out and about and the occasional advantage of checking prices on the interwebs.


The clincher was that the iPhone 4S was being released on Friday (today) and the iPhone 3G was free.  SOLD!  We trundled off to the local AT&T Store


At this point I must divulge that something odd happens to us every time we are in this particular store.  I'm not sure if it's because it's usually after a long day of work, or if it's just the ambiance of a lot of townsfolk amidst the cornucopia of technology.  Whatever the case, we run the schtick very well, the banter flowing freely between us and the hapless salesperson struggling to either keep us in line or not pee him/herself from laughter (usually the latter). 


It started when he asked how I used my phone.  Somehow my answer of "to make phone calls" was shocking in this modern day and age, because I was then grilled as to whether or not I listened to music (no), emailed (no), surfed the web (no), yadda yadda.  I then confessed that while I could take pictures, I couldn't find them afterward and that I had call waiting but could never figure out how to take an incoming call while on another one.  Pretty much what I could do was dial the phone, hang it up and play with the volume.


He then asked the most embarrassing question ever.  "What do you do for work?"  (It didn't help that Mr. Eggshells started laughing at the question...he knew what was coming.)


Here was where I had to admit that I worked as a Project Coordinator.  For a company that worked almost exclusively with wireless phone carriers.  For several years now.  Which was preceded by almost fifteen years working in the wireline (regular telephone) industry.


None of this means I would necessarily know how to operate a phone, but honestly...being in the industry for 20 years, and having opposable thumbs, should at least provide the understanding of the basics.


All good salespeople need to school their responses so as not to offend potential sales.  This situation was no different, since he couldn't have any idea how self-deprecating I am or that I don't offer information about myself that could be used to mock me without being prepared for the mock.  He did very well with not responding to that.


But then, I wasn't quite finished.


"I'm also the IT Help Desk."


He couldn't manage to keep the look of incredulity off his face.   I figured in for a penny, in for a pound.  "I'm one of the three most technical people in my company.  I can fix computers and troubleshoot network issues.  I am an expert in Microsoft Office and an above-average user in most other software.  I administrate the project database.  But I cannot for the life of me work a mobile phone."


By now Mr. Eggshells had his hand over his mouth so he didn't scare anyone with his hooting.  The sales guy had no idea how to respond to this, so I told him it's okay to laugh.  Because it is - fortunately I don't feel the need to be defined by my ability to use a phone (thank goodness!).


Phone Bliss
So I am now the happy owner of an iPhone.  I can find my photos, download apps, and make calls.  I've already used the map to get us places and I don't have to think about any of it.  Of course, I haven't figured out a few things, but that's what my husband the manual is for, right?


Which was maybe the problem all along.  I have to know so much in so many other areas of my life, the phone was the straw that tipped the scales (ooh, look at that mixed metaphor there!).  

Breast Cancer Awareness done right!

This makes me happy I have an iPhone now.  


The girls just need a little TLC. (NSFW)

Car Conversations Round Deux

Earlier this month I blogged about the car conversation with my husband, and alluded to the fact that it was only one of many.  This morning's was rather amusing, and makes us sound kinda smart, so I thought I'd share. 

Me:  For the party tomorrow night, we only need to bring beer.  And I want to bring a hostess gift, like flowers.

Him:  Or a live skunk.

Me:  No.  I do shopping, you do logistics.  I'm not shopping for a live skunk.  Actually I think I might change shopping to procurement.

Him:  So I'd have to fill out forms in triplicate...I'd get a skunk from someone.

Me:  No, all the forms come to me.  They can be in duplicate, in tripulate.  Wait, tripulate?  Okay in whatever math levels we'll take them to.  All mine.

Him:  Capulet, Montague...

Me:  Exactly.  I'm just not procuring a live skunk.  Or a dead one before you go there.

Him:  What?  Not a dead one either?

**********

In other randomness, yesterday one of my co-workers called me a Metal Goddess.  As in Heavy Metal music.  If my sister were still talking to me and heard this story, she'd laugh until she threw up.  

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The New Roasting Pan

A few years ago, we had Mr. Eggshells' snowbird parents in the area for the summer.  As they had picked up their tent stakes about 3 months after we married, and lived 8 hours away in the first place, we hadn't spent all that much time together prior to this.

Mr. Eggshells had grown up in a rural area, on ranch acreage that had once held livestock, and the nearest town populating at almost 3000 people.  Conversely, I grew up in the multicultural, decidedly urban, and hugely populated Greater Vancouver area in Canada.  Needless to say, we have slightly differing perspectives on life, and greatly different experiences with flora and fauna.



The parental units had been helping us with yard work (read:  doing it for us), since we had crazy schedules and commutes.  I was working from home on this beautiful sunny summer day and so the three of us had been chatting on and off as my day and theirs allowed.  They had spent most of their day outside in the yard, coming in later as they'd finished working.


Around 5 pm I decided to put a load of laundry in the washer, which is located in the garage.  Basket in arms, I descended the two steps into the garage.  As I went to turn the corner to reach the laundry area, I froze at the sight in front of me...a giant humongous rat.  Of course, I did the only reasonable thing, which was scream, drop the laundry and run into the house to call my husband.  (Yes, folks, 40 years of women's liberation completely destroyed in one second by a rodent.)


While on the phone, hysterically telling my husband we have big, giant, mutant rats invading our home, I walk into our family room where the parents are relaxing.  Hearing me, Dad leaps up to go investigate (note, also raised in a rural setting). Mr. Eggshells is still trying to calm me down and understand the gibberish while navigating the freeway, and he asks me to wait a moment while he gets the driving settled down.  During this interval, Mom (note, also raised on a ranch) quietly asks me if I'm sure it's not a squirrel.


The question stops me dead, thoroughly indignant and I reply,  "Of course not!  I know the difference between a rat and a squirrel.  Squirrels have bushy tails." 


While she's laughing, I head back to the garage and resume my histrionics while watching Dad trying to find the offending creature.  He's wielding a broom and poking into the dark recesses of every potential rodent hiding spot. My husband, not realizing what has gone before, now asks me if it wasn't a squirrel I saw.


"What is it with you people?  No, it's not a squirrel.  They have bushy tails.  I know I wasn't raised on a farm but they have squirrels in the city.  THIS IS NOT A SQUIRREL."


"Okay, okay.  I'll pick up some D-Con on my way home.  It'll be fine, I promise."


"I'm not doing laundry until that thing's gone!"


"It's okay, just let me get home.  I'll take care of it."


At this point, Dad confirms that he can find nothing in the garage that shouldn't be there.  Mr. Eggshells arrives home, and they do another search.  By now, I'm sure they all think I've just imagined it, or that it somehow escaped.  


About a week later I'm driving home and Mr. Eggshells calls me.  


"I believe you."



"Excellent, do I get any context?  Or is this just a general all-purpose belief?"


"I believe that you saw what you thought was a giant rat."


I can already feel the terror rising when I ask, "What I thought was a rat?  What do you mean?  What's going on?"


"It's okay I've taken care of it."


"TAKEN CARE OF WHAT?"


"What you saw was a juvenile 'possum."


"A WHAT?  HOW DO YOU KNOW THIS?  DID YOU SEE IT?"


At this point, I need to digress a little in the story and mention that we'd hosted the parents to a steak barbecue the weekend before.  Unfortunately, our grill had run out of propane before the steaks were done.  So we finished them in the oven, in our roasting pan.  We'd left the pan to soak in the laundry tub and, like we often do, forgot that it was there.


"Well, yes.  But I've totally taken care of it."


"You need to tell me NOW what's going on."


"Okay."  Deep sigh.  "I had to look it up on the web to be sure, but it looks like a juvenile possum.  I found it in the roasting pan."


"The roasting pan?  Oh, in the laundry tub?"


It's just waiting to get me.
"Yes, it was dead.   I think it drowned."


Now I'm feeling ill, and kind of bad for the poor creature, but not enough to not be glad that it wasn't still roaming around my garage waiting to lunge at me.


"Okay.  Well at least I wasn't seeing things.  So you've gotten rid of the remains?"

"Yes.  And the roasting pan.  I considered just cleaning it up and not telling you but thought that might be bad."



"YES.  Yes, that would be very bad.  Good husband.  Good good husband."


"Yes, I thought it was best."


"Thank you!  Yes, that is definitely best.  So that's a huge relief.  No more animals that shouldn't be around here!"


The next day, the parents stopped by as we were on our way out - to get a new roasting pan.  


"See?  I TOLD you I wasn't seeing things.  And that it wasn't a squirrel."


Dad got the last word...


"The rest of the possum family must be around your yard somewhere."


Mom starts laughing as I stare at him dumbfounded and Mr. tries to steer me away.




Possum tail


Squirrel tail