Hump day!

It’s my virtual Friday. I have a conference tomorrow, which is almost like not being at work, and then a vacation day Friday. Of course I feel sort of bowled over by the amount of work I have today, but it’s all good, right? (nod to my CIO – that’s his catchphrase and he’s proving to me that hearing something enough times makes it feel true even if it doesn’t actually become true).

Today is the first day I made a smoothie in my brand-new smoothie maker. We went and bought one of these at Walmart last night, despite my shuddery dislike of all things Walmart. I was tired, and Target is all the way on the other end of town, okay? So I made up my typical smoothie, or the current typical one anyway. If you’re curious, it’s been a scoop of vanilla protein powder, a cup of unsweetened vanilla almond milk, a cup of low fat vanilla Greek yogurt, and a cup of frozen fruit (current selection is the cherry-berry-blend from Giant). Well. The new cups are just not that big. And I made a bit of a mess, because my how-much-more-will-it-hold eye is quite inaccurate. Tomorrow I think I’ll try it with 1/2 cup of yogurt.

While I was drinking my still very delicious if rather messy breakfast, I discovered two quite interesting things on Facebook. I don’t spend a ton of time on there anymore, I sort of check in once a week or so. I treat it like I treat Twitter, basically. Jump on if I have something to share, but mostly try to consume chunks when I don’t have enough time to get into my current book but have too much time for something like daydreaming. So anyway!

The first very interesting thing was a message from an old friend with whom I had a falling out almost four years ago. I think maybe we have been un-friends longer now than we were friends, but that has no effect at all on how much I’ve missed her. She’s a pretty awesome person in general, and she really hurt me there at the end, and then this out of the blue missive. I started replying but realized I couldn’t just reel something off like it was nothing because it is so much more to me than nothing. I asked Wayne what he thought about it and he suggested I sit on it. Sitting I am. Hopefully I will compose something worthy of what we shared but not too weird and pushy and not too push-over-y, and compose it soon, because if nothing else she deserves my answer.

The second thing was less shattering but still interesting. My sister, who seems to be a different person now than she was a year or two ago (not my story, not sharing it), posted an update that said she’s glad she doesn’t look like all she’s been through. Wow, did that resonate. And it set my brain scurrying off on a list of what I’ve been through, and what I’ve done to others, because I am far from blameless in my personal drama. Are any of us, really? But still. My mind took me in a curious direction, and brought a few thoughts to the fore. For example:

  • I told someone recently that I write every day, and didn’t realize when I said it that I was lying. I stopped writing every day some time ago, but did it for so long that it still feels like it’s part of me. I felt a twang of guilt for this unintentional lie, and then I got out one of the journals Wayne gave me for our first (paper!) anniversary and I wrote and it felt good.
  • I thought about the fact that I now spend more time with non-readers than I do with readers (the former friend was a reader). Part of what attracted me to Husband One and Husband Two was that they read some, more than most men do. Wayne is not a reader. I don’t think he’s read the book I wrote, and I’m his wife. He reads news articles and sometimes he reads my blog posts, but he’s not anything like the type of reader I am. And you know what? He’s making me think that being a reader is really not as important as I thought it was. Readers hurt me, and he does not. Thanks for tossing yet another long-held belief on its head, dear and darling husband.

Thinking big thoughts in the morning is sort of fun, you know? I bet, though, that the “it’s all good” guy, and my actual boss, would prefer me to do work rather than think, so to work it is.

Happy VF, everyone!


It’s in the can

The first real week of the new job, that is. I found it extraordinarily frustrating. I spent many years doing the same work and now, at the ripe old age of 45, I have changed track, albeit just slightly. I’m still in IT but my role is definitely not that of a sysadmin. I am still not entirely sure what’s expected of me – we had a massive emergency crop up on Wednesday that kept the team on their toes for the rest of the week. It could have been really bad but instead I got a chance to see them in action and I must say I am more than impressed. They churned and burned and did a massive amount of work (work that should not have been necessary) in a short period of time, despite an obvious lack of appreciation from some quarters.

I had scheduled a sit-down with the people above me and lay out what is expected of me both in a day to day sort of manner and what they would like to see changed. I want a feel for where they see the priorities so I know where to put my focus. That meeting got delayed in favor of all-hands-on-deck, though, and then I was sort of bowled over by all of the other things that kept cropping up. It seems that purchasing computers and peripherals for the campus is one of my duties. This is a process that lacks a process, so to speak. There is no documentation, there is no real supply of spares or of equipment that can be transferred from our cost center to another. The lack of a process means that I am juggling requests and quotes, trying to prioritize, and spending far more time than I should on the whole thing. I can see that I am looking at purchasing taking at least half of my time until it’s all fixed, and that might take months. And it’s such a hot mess now, it’s hard to know where to start.

The next couple weeks will be dedicated to a major, campus-wide project and the answers to what is expected of me and how I am to organize and prioritize will not be answered until after that. Meanwhile I will become more and more lost. The campus has not been notified of the changes that have been made so things that should go to me go to the person I replaced, which is itself causing problems. I don’t know why that piece was forgotten but it is yet another bit of this experience that is frustrating me and making things harder than they have to be.

But I was told by one of the members of my new team that he was impressed with something I did. I got another team member to smile and talk about something other than the things that make her angry. I met some new people, shook hands with them, made them laugh (or at least smile). These tiny blessings make the struggle almost worth it. They make me believe that I can  do this, that I will  do this.

Plus, I put an owl on it, and called it art. Just saying.

Meanwhile, on the home front, our newest family member Bunny Foofoo is settling in to a life of overturning his litter box at 2 AM and harassing Noel, the kitty. One of the old, copper pipes that feed the upstairs bathroom burst and caused my sweet Wayne all sorts of stress and heartache (I am so glad he’s a worker and just jumped right in and started fixing things). The pipe has altered our remodeling timeline and we are both list makers and planners so timeline altering is not something either of us likes. This, too, shall pass though. As does everything else.

I’ve started knitting a baby afghan for Baby Girl C, Wayne’s second granddaughter. I’m so excited about the idea of a wee baby girl. Her mom-to-be just found out this week that she is, indeed, a girl (we sort of figured that she would be, considering that her mom is one of five sisters and her only cousin is a girl). It’s the only yarn-like thing I’m working on because it’s insanely hot and all I want to do is drink wine spritzers and read Chick Lit. Everything else will be hibernating for now, and I am cool with that. It’s a phase, and it will also pass. 🙂

Book wise, besides the aforementioned Chick Lit, I accidentally stumbled across some not bad good books recently:

  • If I Stay by Gayle Foreman (YA) A girl is in a car with her family when they’re in a terrible accident. She has to decide if she’s going to stay (i.e., live). It was quite readable and may have made me cry, a little bit.
  • Let’s Be Frank by Brea Brown (Chick Lit) The male protagonist, Nate, a nurse in a pediatrics practice and a lover of well-crafted chick lit, poses as an author named Frank at the behest of his domineering girlfriend. She wants to publish books as a man and finds Nate to have the perfect look. It’s very well-written and funny.
  • The Not So Secret Emails of Coco Pinchard by Robert Bryndza (Chick Lit) British author Coco Pinchard is a hot mess and I want to go out for a beer with her. She makes every mistake under the sun and makes you want nothing to be on the receiving end of one of her emails. Brit-chick-lit rocks. This one made me laugh out loud more than once and I might read it again,  it was so funny
  • Stray by Andrea K. Host (YA, Touchstone Book 1). This one I’ll be doing a full review on at some point, but as a synopsis: a Australian girl Cassandra Devlin who steps through something akin to a wormhole and finds herself in a strange, new world.

Right now I am reading a time-traveling book that I don’t love but that isn’t too bad. I’m trying to talk myself into spending the money to buy the second and third books in the series the Touchstone series. I guess since the first one was an e-library-book, I’ll buy them on Kindle – that way I won’t stress the imbalance of seeing books 2 and 3 on the bookshelf without a book 1.

Reading what I’ve written, it sounds like I’m insanely busy, especially when you take into account that the new job is demanding that I work a lot more hours than I have been recently. And then I remembered that we are also bike riding regularly, around 60 miles a week most weeks. I’d like to step that up but it’s hot and I can’t seem to get any more hours out of a day. Wayne registered us for this year’s Seagull Century earlier this week, though, so I have to ride regularly or I won’t be ready. Maybe I should sleep less, or something.

Until next time….


…when a middle aged woman’s heart turns to mush, apparently.

I am feeling introspective and am not setting out on this little writing journey with plans to talk books or yarn. Either or both may come up, but my brain is really elsewhere.

I feel as if I am always busy, but when I actually think about it, I spend hours immersed in books (okay that was fast) and while reading is more than fundamental, it lacks a certain feel of activity. Unless I am reading in a sauna, which I don’t think would be a great idea for either paper or electronic books, reading tends to be a sweat-free sport. And it produces nothing that is physically recognizable or practically useful. In other words, it could be a great waste of time.

At the same time, I am finding myself nearing addiction to random Facebook games. How on earth does this happen to me? How do I let myself waste hours in what is really useless and non-productive? I worry about this often. I would be better off watching television, which I really don’t do, not much at any rate. Maybe an hour or two a week and always with a project in hand being actively worked, so that time is not wasted. But the stupid games? Stupid. Useless. And I am not sure how to stop doing it. And I must, like now, for my own peace of mind among a host of other reasons, like my kitchen floor and my lonely iron and the front stoop that is home to a bazillion helicopters, those lovely gifts from our friends the maple trees.

So how do I do it? I’m not ready to ax Facebook altogether, it is an easy way to keep up with my family. I am not fond of talking on the phone at all, I prefer a lack of noise, typically, and therefore love electronic communication. I also really love looking at people’s babies and kittens and puppies. Do I figure out some other method of communication (can you still buy stationery sets?) and just delete my Facebook? I think instead that I am going to try something a little more surgically precise – blocking and removing games. As they come up, I’ll block them. And if that doesn’t work, I’ll have to move on to something bigger and bolder. Perhaps I can convince my mom and friends to go to MySpace, where the temptation will be much lower. Does MySpace even still exist?

If I remember (note the bit about the mush brain, above), I’ll follow up and let you know if this little excision works. If it does, I will get a whole lot more reading done. Or maybe I should just plan to read again in October.

Speaking of reading, which I do, a lot, there are two nearly-finished books calling my name. The windows are open, birds are singing outside, the ceiling fan is stirring the air. My little living room is (mostly) clean and my books are close at hand, so what am I waiting for?

Until next time… play a round for me!

Everything’s coming up sevens

I love to find patterns in things. I enjoy counting things, sorting things, matching things up. I bet I was a super terrific kindergarten student.

In my daily life, my love of counting makes tracking my diet and exercise pretty easy. I don’t miss a day, ever. Or at least not since I started. I love the statistics that come from all of that tracking, too. When I get that email telling me how many miles I moved last week, I get a little SQUEE of joy. When I look at my weight chart steadily trending downward, I get an even bigger SQUEE of joy. Sometimes, I find, though, that all of this counting and tracking and paying attention leads to some odd coincidences.

My current coincidence is the number seven.

The first occurrence of Freaky Seven happened a few weeks ago. Wayne is in the process of recreating a car. He says he’s rebuilding it but it’s getting cleaned and painted, taken apart and put back together, tested and tweaked. It’s a totally fascinating process to observe and nothing I would ever want to do, but still something I find extraordinarily impressive. Anyway! We decided to drive it from here to Seaford one afternoon (destination: beer store). It chugged along wonderfully. As we were pulling into the parking lot, I happened to notice one of those bank clocks that show the temperature. It was 77.7 degrees. I pointed that out to him and he said “watch, something good is going to happen.”

When we finished our shopping and came back out, the car wouldn’t start. He putzed around a bit and then we got a jump. That process made us about 5 minutes later than we would have been. As we were driving through Laurel, we saw the remains of a horrible accident. Judging by the emergency vehicles on the scene – only state troopers – it was very obvious that the accident had happened about five minutes earlier. We would have been there. We could very well have been the car whose passenger side door was pressed against the driver’s right arm. Coincidence, I’m sure, but odd nonetheless.

And yes, I realize it was also 77.7 degrees for the guy who was hit, but I bet he didn’t see it on the bank sign!

Second case in point: I have one of my best exercise weeks ever. I feel amazing. I actually rode 11 miles the other day on tires that were down more than half their rated PSI. Not on purpose, of course! Yeah it was super hard to do but I did it. I am growing a hard candy shell. Tough as nails and all that jazz. I feel a little better all the time, but something about this past week was above and beyond for me. I wish I could quantify it or explain it but words fail me. Suffice it to say it was awesome.

I got my weekly progress email from MapMyRun this morning and of course – 77.7 miles last week. Of course my best week ever as far as getting the miles in and feeling great about it would be 77.7 miles. I’ve had weeks with more miles, but they exhausted me or made me a grump-a-saurus. This one? Not at all. I am still sort of riding high (pun intended and really bad, sorry) on the high of getting my best overall mile per hour bike time yesterday. Air is a magical thing, isn’t it?

So what’s the point? Good question. I suppose it comes down to two things. First, I can find coincidences in anything and that might be my super power. Second, I obviously have some deep-seated and odd superstitions going on to burden the poor number seven with being the harbinger of my good luck.

Of course I know there is no such thing as luck and there are no lucky numbers. Life is chaos. I miss being in accidents every day and there’s almost never a seven thing going on. I have great weeks where I’m strong and lose weight and move 64 or 82 miles. It doesn’t mean anything at all. But… I scheduled a civil wedding for us on a day that we just happened to be off work. The date? 7/7. Hopefully there is something to this lucky seven stuff. Not that we need luck. We’re pretty close to perfect for each other. But since this is Number Three for me, I’ll take all the help I can get.

Just another Tuesday

If this were a podcast, I would be recording Episode 0, in which I tell everyone about me and what to expect from my blog. I think I shall do the same thing here.

My name is Karen. I am forty-four years old, twice divorced, engaged to a wonderful man named Wayne. We live in a sweet little house in Maryland with our spoiled cat, Noel. Between us, we have seven children, and it seems that one of them is always staying with us. Currently it is my daughter K. Wayne’s youngest, who lives with her mom, is on a visitation cycle so we see her pretty often, too. The rest come and go as adult children tend to do.

I work in the IT department at a local University. So does Wayne. But we work at different schools, which makes things more interesting. I am a Windows Systems Administrator, which basically means I am a generalist who does stuff on Windows servers. I dabble in Windows, MS SQL, Exchange, IIS, and a slew of applications that allow me to administer the Windows servers and that allow the University to function.

I have a plateful of hobbies. I read copiously. I write, not well but with great joy. I knit, crochet, sew, cross stitch, and embroider. I’ve dabbled in jewelry and lace making, refinishing furniture, gardening. I love to bake but am always dieting, or watching what I eat if you will, so baking has become an exercise in making things that taste like chocolate healthier.

When it comes to this blog, I plan to talk about my crazy fun life. I would like to share some of my writing, occasionally rant about things like poor customer service and welfare fraud (two of my biggest pet peeves), talk about interesting and cool tech stuff that is probably only interesting and cool to nerds, and occasionally discuss crafting. I suspect the most common theme will be life. Because it’s awesome.

Today, I:

  • Worked out
  • Updated tickets
  • Wrote documentation
  • Forgot about my to-do list
  • Cast on Multnomah
  • Did two rows on the blanket I am making for Baby Emily
  • Went to three doctor’s appointments
  • Ate pork and asparagus that Wayne cooked
  • Counted calories
  • Drank wine

Before I go to sleep, I will:

  • Pack tomorrow’s lunch
  • Read at least a chapter of my current book (The Book Thief)
  • Brush my teeth with prescription strength toothpaste (I have braces)
  • Snuggle with Wayne
  • Pray, which happens a lot more often than I let on

I’m happy to be blogging again. We shall see how it goes from here.