Monday, December 29, 2008

day of change

i ran, i practiced yoga, i meal planned. grocery shopping happened in there somewhere and some other daily stuff. it was nice to be disconnected for most of the day. it isn't often that i allow myself. today it was just needed.

i restarted atkins today and am busy balancing my carb intake. i am a white flour and sugar fiend, so i'm pretty surprised at how really great i feel tonight. my family is happy because i have a plan and cooked an awesome pork chop dinner tonight. i'll check in at day three and see if it is still la-la land...

so dear hubby is playing wii baseball and i want to watch a movie and chat. i was wondering why he wanted me to stay down here with him and not go upstairs and watch tv in the quiet. it must have been the pork chops - a sure way to his heart.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

gram

well...

my grandmother has congestive heart failure, COPD, some kind of CO2 retention thing that makes givng her oxygen somewhat ineffective because she cant expell the CO2from her lungs- sort of a waiting to exhale thing - bronchitis, pneomonia, edemia, and lung disease...

she is not likely to be going home.

so if she makes it out of ICU this week she'll be moving down the hall to the cardiac therapy unit and from there to a home...

if not, well, there you go.

she is very disoriented from the medication, the sedation for the breathing tube (that did come out today because she needs to cough), and lack of oxygen for quite some time. she didnt know which way up her fork was supposed to go and she keeps asking my mom where sandy is (my mom is sandy). That is all freaky.

she didnt want to come to the hospital. my uncle had to make her come. and now this part.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Sunday Afternoon Football

since grade school i have liked football. i love to play flag football with the guys and had some really great times making memories in grade school, middle school, and high school/college (that is when i was technically still a high schooler going to college and some of the college guys would play too). particularly fun was this time of year when the the snow is out and it is more of a winter sport and an excellent reason to take out some aggression by flag/tag/tackle football in the yard.

kyle and i have always like to toss the ball around in our big yard in the summer and we bring the nerf with us to the beach when we chance to be there together - like on vacation up north. (i mean minnesota lake beaches; we don't go to southerly warm places.)

football in the snow is like an excellent sledding adventure or a really good snow ball fight where you come in after an hour or two with your face frozen, your hands stiff and your thighs and butt so cold it feels incredible to just get out of wet/frozen jeans and sit around in sweatpants getting warm and watching movies.

it was too cold at -5 with 30 to 40 mph winds today to play outside. (well, in my book) clearly the tailgaters have a different book! the four of us were so cold by the time we had walked the 4 blocks from our parking ramp to the dome that i'd already given up my scarf to the 4/12 footer and couldn't feel my cheeks or form a full smile.

it was so fun to head out and take the 4 1/2 footer on his first adventure to the metro dome. he was awed by the size and to think that we could have fit the entire population of our town into the dome 28 times! he spent quite a bit of time just looking around and gawking. well until the cheerleaders came out and he realized that grandpa's binoculars did have a purpose... he liked the spectacle of the game, the showmanship, the noise...

my dad and k (both fair weather fans, in my opinion) were disappointed but excited from the crowd rush at the game. we had 11th row seats on the 20 yard line. i was thinking they were 50 or 45 yard line, but this was way better. not only were the cheerleaders directly in front of us, we so a ton of field action because so much of the game struggle happened at this end of the field during both halves. the 45 would have been boring.

even though the vikes lost, it was still fun. (i am not heart broken. but i wouldn't have minded if they had won the division championship.) i think the typical vikings problem came into play - over confidence. i was reading some of the pre-game coverage on my bb while waiting for the game to start and there was just rampant over confidence. then they gave the ball up three times in a quarter...

the boy was very good. we ate lunch on the way down and shared a giant tub of popcorn about 4:30. we were out of the parking ramp by 7:30 and pulled over at a TGI Friday's on 394 and Louisiana. k and i have been to that one a number of times. i like the interior a lot more than most i have been in. it has 5 levels of floor each about 3 or 4 feet different from the one next to it and a great tin ceiling. 4 1/2 footer was such a grownup during dinner and all evening that it was kind of strange feeling. i'm so used to having to mind him so much and control the interaction to keep brotherly love from hurting either of them that it was very strange (in an exciting, new phase way) to just have a normal conversation with everyone at the table. the boy didn't compete for attention or try to be the center, he just participated in the conversation sometimes and other times just played bejeweled on my palm pilot and observed. my boy is growing up.

i was mentioning to kyle that we could have season tickets to the vikings and the wild if he stopped racing. he doesn't like the wild or watching hockey much (though he has been turning the game on for me lately and watching - i know how romantic!) i tried the well then we could have vikings tickets and season tickets to the hennepin theatre season. he did raise a considering eyebrow as if to think it over for 10 seconds and then said no. i know he was really considering that option with the theatre tickets - they had a reallllly excellent season planned for 08-09 and we didn't get them in time (well that very second that i got the email that they were on sale).

on the drive home, 4 1/2 footer fell asleep listening to his ipod and k and i listened to my dad tell stories. i don't know if that is what it is called other places, but my dad has led an absolutely amazing life and he has so many incredible stories to tell about growing up. i still haven't heard them all. i heard a new one tonight about the cooper rodeo family that was his neighbor in new mexico and how his friend david and he went to work for tuffy cooper and their friend rob to get roping time with real cattle. how they cleaned cattle waterers (just that story was funny) and then how my dad rescued one of the cattle whilst wearing only underwear, a cowboy hat, and his boots - well he had a lasso and a horse too.

i'll have to write up a post just on my dad. he's so heroic and real. he has lived a time in america when great change happened and has lived things that are extinct or not possible any longer - and lived - well he is an extrovert with a very present moment focus and spends his life living. you can tell i admire no one more.

people have occasionally had a hard time believing the things on my resume or the number of things that i've done in my life so far - it's nothing, a drop in the bucket, compared to the extraordinary happenings my dad has participated in. that is just cool.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Saturday

Well, big day for me.

i got up this morning and drove through snow for an hour to pick up the rest of my Christmas present order. I shopped for a whole to get the rest of the things on my list and then headed home. Although per usual for me, I lost my car and was looking quite silly pushing my cart through 6 inches of snow and wondering the parking lot... It took an hour and half to make it 35 miles home. I have stuff to bring into the house from the car yet.

When I got home at 11:30 the boys had been playing outside in the snow storm for a couple of hours. We had hot chocolate and Christmas cookies and then went through our chores very quickly. I made lunch and then when cleaning up, I was carrying one of my pans and a trivet stuck to the bottom of it. It fell off and dropped on my big toe. Which has turned purple and hurts and I think is broken. Crap - just in time for my 4 week whip into shape time.

I am sitting on the couch with the White Wonder keeping my legs warm, the ice pack is keeping my foot cold. the boys are making crafts and watching Dragonheart: the New Beginning. they will soon go and lay down for a little bit and rest while i bring in presents from the car.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

4 1/2 footer is photo crazy today

well, that's what i get for saying that i'm always behind the camera (where i like it). the 4 1/2 footer wanted to take pictures. i was laying on the floor with Friday the White Wonder (seen here). 4 1/2 footer got right down on the floor and took some decent pictures. these may be the last you'll ever see...

From OneGirlPainting

From OneGirlPainting

From OneGirlPainting

From OneGirlPainting

From OneGirlPainting

From OneGirlPainting

Also, i put one of us from saturday doing chores. we were washing and drying dishes when Kyle took our photo. my handsome boys.
From OneGirlPainting

weird night, all 'round

got caught in a traffic log jam in downtown st.paul and took me 2 hours to get about 10 miles. when i finally was able to get off the freeway to 'grab something to eat and turn back toward st.paul while i called for a hotel room' it took me 45 minutes to get up the exit, turn right, turn right, turn right, turn right, turn left and enter the freeway again. I was unable to pull into an arby's because of the crazy one-way streets... I did manage to pull off an hour later to get gas and successfully procure some essentials at target. (that's me... the indoor girl... i can make it through any blizzard unprepared - as long as there is an open target within a given radius... sigh)4 hours after leaving starting location, i ended backup within 1 block of there at a holiday inn express.

well, it wasn't as if i had anyone fun to spend the time with or any destination that i would have wanted to visit alone in downtown st.paul during these driving conditions... still, i could have logged in earlier and added code comments to my projects or converted some classes to c#...

instead i lazed around and took a shower and am sitting here with towel wrapped around my head and my gap socks on and a giant wool cardigan wrapped around me. good thing i wore that today and dressed like a little Nanook of the north. This sweater is meant to be like a belted jacket thing, but i got rid of the belt a long time ago. it is just an open cardigan that comes to my knees with this giant cowl collar; its a mottled sage green with heavy sleeves that i roll to make a deep cuff to go with the cowl.

hey that reminds me... you know, i keep a clothing journal. i hadn't really thought much about it except that i'm conscious about wearing the same thing too close together and was trying to get a handle on the matchy-matchy basics of my wardrobe compared to the more attention getting one-of-a-kinds. what prompted me to consider blogging about this was an unfortunate source - a chain email thing.

i didn't respond to the email, but it got me to thinking. i keep a lot of journals. it was never really consciously done; it more grew out of this feeling (of unidentified origin) where i need to write down ideas and feelings right when and where they happen. however, so of the journals break that principal a little bit as they are more like science or experiment journals that chemists and inventors maintain. i have a sketch journal that i take with me when i travel. i sketch in it things i see where i travel and i write little things in it reflecting what was going on at the time. i have a watercolor journal where i keep track of the watercolor techniques i try. i have a surface design on fabric journal where i have been recording all the creation steps and yet unexecuted ideas for silk paintings that i have done since 1993 (although that journal seemed full the last time i recorded something in it and remember wondering what i was going to use for the next book). i keep a weaving journal with all my notes about anything i've woven by hand on looms since 1993 and all my setup notes for my loom and patterns and pictures of projects and setups. i also keep photos in my silk painting/surface design journal.

i have an angry journal where i write out my angry. i don't read back in that one - too unhealthy. sometimes i just use loose leaf paper and throw it away afterwards. i have a sort of life journal which is really a moleskin sketch book that i just like the paper of so much that i write chronological general life stuff. that is next to my bed. also next to my bed is the clothing journal. that's right. i have a sketchbook that i keep notes on outfits and where i wore them. i have a sometime/maybe goal to pull this into a little photo catalog of the items in my closet so that i could just flip through photos of outfits from my own closet to pick out something to wear. and not every possible outfit would make the cut. just the ones that make be feel terrific. essentially, i want to eliminate all things from my wardrobe that i don't love to wear. starting with my work clothes and moving to my everyday clothes.

i want to start on this during my vacation. i have planned to go through and pull all the clothing donations together that i'd boxed up and put into our storage area, so i should do this at the same time. then i will be able to pull together a list of essential things that i'm missing to match with any orphaned items. for instance, i have this really great black, chiffon swing skirt with black embroidery on it; i just cannot seem to find the best top for it.

i wonder if there is any wardrobe planning software out there? where i could be keeping this more simply or with photos embedded? hmm... off i go to google. catcha later, gator!

oh i also keep an aspirations journal that i only look at once a year or so. it is amazing to look back at that thing!

Monday, December 15, 2008

home sweet home at 20 below zero

well, it has sure been terrific being home so much in the last few days. wednesday feels like ages ago instead of less than a week ago. i finished up some big deliverables, sliding in under the wire. in fantasy, like indiana jones reaching for his hat under the descending stone wall - so i'm watching that movie to congratulate myself. i'll post more the technical fanfare on the other site.

i have been home since thursday - and slept until 12:30 uninterrupted... and the memory still is comforting. kids christmas school program thrusday night. i spent friday with a bus load of kids and still have a headache from that, but my son was thrilled to have me there, so that makes it worth it.

saturday found us doing family chores in the morning - we were done by something like 11 o'clock with everything on the normal list. I went the extra several miles doing some of the things that i haven't gotten too in a long time from having to do enough to get by with working so much. i got the floors mopped, i got the bathroom bathtub de-ironed (we have hard water and even with the water softener it i hard to keep the iron at bay unless i am on top of it every week....

well suffice it to say that i was domestic goddess this weekend. i love to be goddess of something so it was satisfying. we had expected a house full of people on sunday, but by mid-day the weather had dropped 15 degrees and the rain turned freezing rain and then 40 mile per hour winds caused all of our guest to rightly remain home instead of venturing the many miles to our place. so we watched movies and ate birthday cake and played games.

by yesterday afternoon i was having a hard time believing that sunday had come and gone. i got to work from home today because the weather was still so bad i had to turn back while driving to work. it is a symptom of living in the middle of nowhere that the white-out conditions we get here from the blowing snow don't happen in the city.

i helped get the plow truck un-stuck this afternoon. realizing as i was huffing into the house that i am no longer really a farm-like girl. it was not fun. it was not an adventure. i don't like being out in the snow struggling with equipment. i would rather pay someone whom does snow removal for a living than being out there myself.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Thursday, December 11, 2008

perhaps adequate sleep makes a girl randy

i was up late last night but didn't have to get up for work this morning. i just slept until i woke up - which is generally sleeping until someone wakes me up at 6 or 6:30 on a weekend morning - but today i woke up slowing from a dream (weird dream) to a sunlit bedroom. of course i'm too blind without my glasses to read the digital clock across the room in the daylight, so found my wrist watch on the side table. 12:30 pm. wow. its been a long time since waking up peacefully at that hour. friday the white wonder greeted me.

i putzed around for a couple of hours pulling some of my task lists together into one place and starting what will be a lengthy process of going through all my 'inboxes' and getting them all to empty while i am on vacation.

i went down and gave blood, picked up some groceries, picked up the kids, and got ready to go to the 4 1/2 footer's Christmas program for school. that was fun and they started on time this year so we were done by 8pm. we came back to the house with my parents and had christmas cookies and milk and put the kids to bed.

now.... an evening of leisure. i find myself not always knowing what to do with leisure time. i pretty much feel like i should be doing something productive at all times that i'm awake. so i'm updating this while watching LOTR: Return of the King. Then I'll probably check the Wild's score online and do some reading. Tomorrow is a school field trip, then chores and christmas decorations to get the house ready for the boys birthday parties on Sunday.

I put in two days in the office and three days at symposium/training before christmas and then i'm off until the 19th of January...! I am starting to get my plan together for what i will accomplish while on vacation. i have already a sort of plan for some of the days - i'm committed to meditating an hour a day and have also decided to very seriously work on getting back in shape. i have the gym membership all warmed up and will be working out 2 hours a day and actually eating correctly. i have it in my head to loose 1o to 15 pounds in the next 6 weeks. time to just get serious about this and do it now that i will have the time to concentrate on me.

christmas cards and present wrapping will occupy me the evenings between now and christmas. and we've decided to do 12 days of christmas present giving so that the gifts for the kids can be spread out until christmas without a mountain of them on christmas. i'm as excited for opening the wii as kyle is. i hope the lightsabre dueling is good!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

5 Friggin Degrees

It was COLD this morning. I wore a skirt and no nylons to work and about froze myself by the time I walked the block to the door. Exposure! No more of that.

I have been working mercilessly or working myself mercilessly lately. I really want these languishing projects done and off of my plate. I also don't want to have my name be mud within several other organizations, so I'm going to deliver on this one - then slow the pace for a while.

I have had a HUGE urge to go ice skating the last week or so. I am bummed that I have zero time to catch up with some friends. I haven't scrapbooked in quite a while. I'm making due with a little bit or reading, massive amounts of ipod listening while programming, and Saturday nights programming and watching Doctor Who.

My oldest turned 8 today. Big fun with grandpa picking him up from school and taking the boys to open swimming at the pool; dinner out; and big Lego castle, troll, and armored knights set. He loved it and it was awesome to have some family time. The boys will be farmed out to grandma's house for the weekend.

Friday the white wonder (cat) has been lonely without the smelly dog. He's been walking around the house merrowing loudly for attention. He does this weird thing where he merrows like he has something super important to tell you until you follow him (he is kinda like a dog) where he walks back and forth making noise like "follow me, follow me!" until you follow him. Where does he lead you? to his food dish - which is not empty. He just wants to sit and eat his food while you watch him. odd. very odd.

I'm dragging tired from many consecutive nights of 4 hours of sleep or less. This is taking too long to type because I keep making mistakes and have to re-type it. Need sleep. Oi I am tired because I am thinking that "must ..... have sleep" sounded pretty cool if you say that like William Shattner as Capt. Kirk.

Friday, November 28, 2008

homage to Rosco

We lost Carter-kitty a while ago. A couple of Mondays ago I drove over (by complete accident!!) Monday the outside kitty. One Thanksgiving Eve, we found the basset hound got hit by a car out front of our place. He was lying on the highway looking unharmed (except that he was dead).

It must have been a car that hit him and perhaps threw him. His ribs were crushed and when we found him he was not breathing and did not have a pulse, but was still warm. The car tried to stop because there were terrible skid marks. Too bad they just drove off. Rosco was not supposed to be on the highway, of course.

He was just drawn to the road-kill smell...

Rosco came to us as a stray. He was 5 years old when we got him (he was abandoned with his tags still on) and we've had him for 4 years about or was it 5. We were always chaining him up and he was always figuring out how to muscle out of it. He also liked to eat the neighbor dog's food when he got loose and drag home road-kill.

He ate cat poop out of the garage litter box and dead things off the road. Last Christmas I thought he was going to die after he broke into the gift wrapping area and consumed 36 oz of dark chocolate.

When we got him, I thought it would be worth the hassle for the number of laughs this ugly, silly dog could bring our family. He did his job well.

well, the depressing part of the holiday season has begun

Some worker gets trampled because people in NYC are crazed to get their Wii Guitar Hero or electric kiddie truck for $88 bucks... sigh

i read the circulars last night. i like a good deal. but i don't like being touched by people or crowded areas. i have enough chaos in my life that fighting over the last 4GiB jump drive for $11 bucks is not my idea of success. i made my holiday shopping list, and it did include the Wii Guitar Hero deal with two guitars in the package - however naive i am, i didn't believe there would be any left within 15 minutes of any store opening so I stopped off at Target on my way into work this morning.

i spent an hour, including checkout, and didn't initially walk away with a Wii GH or the cordless phone set that i wanted. i even got somewhat distracted from my list and just decided that I'd had enough and left.

since i was the only one in the office today, don't ask, i was reviewing my Christmas shopping list over my break and decided that i could have it all done if i just went to Wal-lyWorld too. Good and bad idea.

It seemed very disorganized, but I did get several good deals on toys and some movies. Then swung back by Target to get the other things that I forgot and see if there were any decent games left in the Wii aisle and maybe it would be able to be walked through.

Score! Someone had just put back the or returned/restocked the GH game I wanted for Kyle and I got a Nerf game with Gun/controller for 13 bucks! Very nice and some great movies for the movie bucket this year. I mostly worked the electronics and media area.

I also bought a Dyson and this little EeePC. I love this! My hands are small enough that this is quite comfortable typing. and the price was cool with an additional 10% off card that I had. I got the one with the Linux OS and white. what the heck; take the plunge!

this little doll rocks and with Open Office i think it will go further than the fly pen to enhancing my productivity. i will be able to use the wireless connections in the conference rooms and pop this in my zipper ring binder and be ready for meetings and work sessions without having to drag my giant laptop around. and with thumb drives and mobile access to most of my stuff online, i should be able to keep my new inbox processing steps working better for me than by continuing to propagate the paper.

anyway, this was my Christmas present to myself from my dear husband who doesn't shop for me. how could he? i like gadgets and books - both things he doesn't have much exposure to. we got the Dyson because it had been on the shopping list of a while and i was just waiting for a good deal on it. we didn't have to spring for the animal version with only one indoor animal left now...

i will have to give the Wii to him next week. with my no-stress Christmas this year and more concentration on family, i think that i will propose a 12-days of Christmas present opening this year. one each for the kids every day for the 12 days of Christmas. this will spread out the presents more and make it less commercial for the kids.

I'm happy to be done shopping. (except for my parents) i have to write out Christmas cards and wrap presents and put up decorations. i made all my cards already and just need to write them out and address them. the cookies are ordered. the Christmas eve hosting has been handed off to my mom and the traditional Christmas day has been transitioned to a sister-in-law for this year. birthday cakes and cupcakes are ordered for the boys and for school treats. travel plans laid. this may be the most relaxing Christmas ever.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

i was ill and now i am not

i lost a week of my life. ?! WTF it just was gone in nursing sick child and then all four of us were sick. sweet sweet husband pulled a fast one and practically locked himself away downstairs in our bedroom and left me (throwing up as much as any one else) to tend to the puking boys above stairs. a little heat doth still rise from the crown of mine head whilst i think on it....

there went last week.

now, prior to last week, i was very nicely positioned to get a project done without working every evening and weekend. alas, it was not meant to be, and here i am trying to find 5 lost working days in my copious spare time.

and i find that i am to teach art again this Friday. has a been a whole month? it certainly doesn't seem like it.

i've been reading some. although i was too sick to read last week, i'm 3/4 through a storm of swords. i really like this series and the pov style and the excellent characters. some of the big plot pivots have a bit too much foreshadowing and are beginning to border on predictable. i hope that becomes less instead of more. i haven't read any spoilers and haven't searched or done any online anything relating to this series because i want it to be fresh. but i think i pretty much have the major plot points figured out. i'll see if i'm validated or surprised as i read on. i am just thankful that i haven't been reading these since the onset or i would be crazy with where-are-they!-fever over the next books.

i've also had a difficult time sleeping lately. since report training, i've had this killer head cold, chest cold, fever thing going. plus work stress, i suppose. some changes at home with daycare and school and the holidays approaching - we have so very very many events in december where all of our and other family birthdays and anniversaries are clumped with the standard holiday season plus deer hunting with black powder and kyle's mom moving, etc, etc...

oh, big week - i had to put another of our cats down on Tuesday morning. I ran over it only partly on Monday night last week and took it to the emergency vet. i thought maybe it was just a broken leg, but alas it was spinal and the poor thing had to be put down. (at least it, ironically named Monday, was on pain medication during the time they were determining the extent of the damage). second cat in such a short time. at least my Friday (yes, weird on the naming, perhaps) is still with me - its been what 16 or 17 years now - he's an old man!

well, i'm likely just letting that prospect of that long, cold winter, the loss of my friend, the loss of some pets, and the worries of life press a bit too close to my heart. my december focus to is start bringing myself back into balance, give myself some breathing room to regroup and relax - hopefully i can do that with the other obligations of the season or find ways to shift those obligations to the side this year.

next year may well be a first for me - i been considering a very selfish new year/next year. i need more 'me' in my life. more painting, more reading, more cooking, more one on one time with my boys. i am thinking less charitable work - sort of like a temporary suspension, less activities, less working. less chaos or at least less notice of chaos. more decluttering of life, house, and mind - sort of like finding ground zero after almost a year of neglecting so many common, ordinary things. i really take pleasure from the ordinary - it kind of energizes me. okay, next year will be 'An Ordinary Year.' it was an ordinary year... sounds nice. we'll see.

Friday, November 07, 2008

the summer has come to an end

everything was covered with a serene blanket of snow this morning. the corn was all bent over - heavy under the weight of the wet snow and looked more like bulrushes than corn stalks.

it was a long, ripe summer. that's come to an end.

as much as i've been resisting it, i guess, it truly is time to batten the hatches and prepare myself for the long, cold winter.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

work and toes

I've been working my bottom off again. I lost another 4 pounds this week. It's probably because I've kinda quit eating. No, really, it's not like on purpose or anything - I just forget. I've been working every waking minute and taking care of the boys when they're with me after school until bedtime.

I eat dinner with them, of course. And I guess I have eaten breakfast as I drive-thru McDonald's for coffee and a bun. Other than that I just have not been hungry and forget about it when I'm focused so wholly on what I need to accomplish by Tuesday. Well, really, by Monday morning, because I want to be DONE with this project before the last minute.

I also have not had time to grocery shop and neither has husband-dear who is also in his busy season and working 12 - 14 hour days. My parents took the boys last weekend and today which was super great.

Other news: Joe broke his big toe on Thursday night while we were carving pumpkins. His was done and he was sort of hanging on a snack bar stool. The stool tipped and came straight down on his big toe. Then he cried is 'real cry.' That doesn't happen much. Joe is not a crier. The toe tripled in size before my eyes and turned purple. I called the health line for our insurance because I wasn't sure if I should take him in. It looked really bad, but I had heard they don't do much for toes anyway.

However, it was a joint so they asked me to bring him in within 3 hours. We went right away. (Joe was totally done crying or acting like it hurt at all!?) The doc said it was broken, but not the important joint. Keep it elevated, iced, and rest. (Yeah, RIGHT!) Little dude doesn't even want Tylenol and hasn't stopped running up and down the hallway - I think he'll be fine.

The kids got double trick-r-treating on Friday. (We thought we'd have to carry Joe; we were wrong.) My dad took them to the mall in his town and then brought them home. We waited for hubby to get home and then all went out after dark. Kyle really wanted Joe to be Yoda, but I couldn't find a Yoda costume at the stores by us. (I would have liked to see Kyle dress up like Gwigon. [sp? dude, I'm too tired to google it!]) Sam went as Obi Wan with his light up lightsabre. Joe went as Buzz Lightyear. The blow-up wings really made an impression!

Well now we have all this candy that we won't eat. Why do we do this again?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

kids and painting

i taught art again last Friday. i have one more session scheduled next month. i have a great time. however, i am considering being more selfish with my time and actually taking days off of work within the work crunch of the current and coming months to paint - for myself. shocker.

i finished Game of Thrones and started on Clash of Kings. i was just checking things online when i came across this excellent watercolor.

i had planned to review it more than this, but time only permits my thoughts at finishing it: what's a legend without a she-wolf raising men or a dragon-mother that suckles a beast at her breast.

my mid-point reading of the foreshadowing was pretty close - 4 people vying for the throne.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

mixed bag: emeralds and starks

i was searching for some internet link to info about this 60's garage band that my dad was an alternate for in Hobbs, New Mexico when he was in high school. i have a cd of 8 tracks. i'll just have to post a couple tracks.

while i was searching for that i found this link. i listened. it was funny. it reminded me of my visit to the soviet union before the Berlin wall came down (yes, i am that old!) and all of the disco-techs. welcome rock and roll to the rest of the world, they are finally moving away from Elvis and disco into hair bands of the 80's. The Emeralds

that darn Ned Stark and his honorable-ness. going and giving that evil woman a heads up that he's turning her over. for goodness sake, doesn't he realize that she'll probably just have Robert killed while hunting?! they've killed off everyone else of import that figured it out or was close. of course she'll kill Robert and be queen. i wouldn't put it past her. Ned, Ned, Ned, you big stupid!

okay, and Catelyn... what was she thinking. let's just bring a Lannister into Arryn's fortress and show all the secrets from the inside. at least put a bag over the little man's head whilst bringing him in. he didn't arrange the killing, but i'm sure he won't just stand by and let the poor treatment by the creepy sister pass without payback. neurotic and whacked - i considered that perhaps she' done Jon Arryn in because he was going to farm the kid out. but i think Cersei admitted to having Jon killed. either way...

i'm thinking a hostage situation, death by hunting accident, and little Arya fighting off someone or defending her sister might be in the works...

okay, this is like a knights and ladies soap opera. "i do love my stories..." (you had to be there to get the inside joke. kyle's grandma used to watch guiding light every day...)

Monday, October 20, 2008

i went to bed with a Shins song in my head

i've been repeat listening to them all day and threw in a few others too. just found a new artist to explore. i think i like her a lot - and i need to try to do one of those looks with my hair. i haven't used hot rollers for a few weeks, but that smooth 40's vibe works.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

strange happy

it was a rough week that ended oddly. but i'm left feeling a strange sort of ... what? not really contentment. not really happy like yippee. i guess i'm feeling an okay-ness. better than the rough last week. winter might be coming, but so will spring.

time to pick up the brush and start painting life in full color again.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

rather consuming book

well, i was up to around page 400 this afternoon during kiddie nap time.

perhaps the big shadow of stone knight with an empty helm is the Mountain that Rides. i was trying to guess where so of these plot lines were leading...

wonder if...
  • all of the kings children are Cersei and her brothers. (there seems to be quite a lot of that going on this in the book. i never really thought of it past Egyptians.)
  • Jaime used Tyrion's dagger on purpose or with permission to frame up for Bran's murder or if Varys or Littlefinger are plotting to start a war.
  • Jon snow is Eddard's true born with some Targaryen which would put like 3 eighteen year-olds in contention for the throne if something happens to Robert
obviously, i'm done working for the evening and off to bed to read for an hour or so.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

starks and lannisters

i wonder if the king is the big dark and empty in the south?

i'm about 200+ pages in and am hooked. incredible writing - detailed, good flow, character building with lots of action, betrayal, honor, mystery, fantastic beasts, lords and ladies... i wonder if the excerpt i had read that sounded like animal dialog was dialog of direwolves? i wonder if the situation of the dragon princess will be entangled in the lions or the ice? i hope ice... with the exile of the northern man befriending them.

one does love an evil queen - what faerie tale would be complete without an evil witch to despise and plot against.

i'm loving this as much as tolkien.

ah, my reverie has lasted long enough. i seem to have walt's miserable cold, but have rested long enough. back to table value function and query-land. maybe if i spelled it quaerie-land it would seem more magical and mysterious...

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

dinner (and drinks) with mary

under the guise of shoe shopping we met for some light shopping and dinner and drinks. i think mary was a little disappointed that i didn't know some hot spots. but that's me. boring. we had a good visit for 3 hours or so. we visited a lot about our relationships.

it was fun. i had only planned to come back to the room and hammer out some tif queries. it was nice to be distracted and not work 24-7.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Shopping at MOA and Dinner

after a brain-day, i popped across the street the Mall of America for some retail-therapy... and to catch something for dinner. i ended up eating at Ruby Tuesdays - they have really good blackberry lemonade.

i picked up a few books at Barnes and Noble... i could do that anywhere, but i find myself in book stores at malls. i stopped into the Wild store and was comforted that they have Minnesota North Stars jerseys. the pink wild jerseys won't be in until Thursday, so hopefully i can stop back before i have to go home.

trip through Bloomingdale's. i really don't get the weird 80s layering and short jackets. i don't find this to be an attractive look for 99% percent of the female population. and the 1% that could look okay in it, well they look okay in anything so why dress down.

lots of cris-crossing bodice looks this fall. and bold colors and gold sparkly all over jeans (hello! be-dazzler YIKES!) the more i look around the more i think that i should become more serious about dropping another 15 pounds. women just look better leaner. perhaps i should actually run to drop a few instead of just running to relieve stress and getting a little thinner as a side benefit. something worth considering.

at one point, i stopped to adjust my grip on a bag and felt sort of like i was dizzy and then realized that i could feel the floor moving up and down - sort of pulsing as crowds moved along. weird feeling. time to leave MOA.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

bloomington for the week

i'm in bloomington for the week. after driving so much last time i was over here for product specific ssrs report and schema training, i averaged about 4 hours of sleep a night. this time i decided to stay over the week.

it was hectic getting everything ready this afternoon as i did laundry this morning and wrangled kids so that dear-husband could have some alone time in his garage. i had wanted to leave about 4pm so that i could get settled in, grab dinner, and work the evening. instead, i didn't get to bloomington until 9pm. so here i am coming off of some little working after getting settled in. nice desk and bright lamp. i remembered to bring a power strip so that i would have enough plug-ins without having to space devices throughout the room. i did forget my iPod, dang it! good thing that i accidentally brought my palm pilot so that i have some tunes this week.

sigh.

i'm looking at this list of deliverables for this project wondering how we're to accomplish this without my giving 200%.

i've planned to go out for dinner and drinks tomorrow night with my friend Nancy. i think our working group will also go out one night, but i don't think it will be 1/8th the fun it was last time. i have some tentative plans to go shoe shopping with Mary at MOA. Maybe i'll catch a movie... or maybe i'll just do yoga in my room and get 8 hours of sleep each night - novel idea!

Monday, October 06, 2008

buried alive?

some days it feels like it. i pulled the veil of work down over my head and have buried myself in it. i worked so much the last couple of weeks that i haven't even made time to run much. i went for a nice long hour tonight. i'm supposed to plug back in and work some more tonight, but i'm all blah feeling.

instead i am going to read the kids to sleep and take a long, long, hot, steamy shower and crawl into bed with the last few chapters of Brisingr.

i need to get back into the habit of going into work early and then leaving early so that i can make time to run before it's dark. i love this time of year and the crisp air.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

debate and bailey's

hack the debate...

my favorite comments - "I just woke up; who's the hot chick?!" and "I'm so glad I'm a canadian." Really?! Are you?!

crack open the baileys over ice and brisingr.

how many times can we save "maverick" ?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

the dip by Seth Godin - a review

  • quick read
  • good reminders
  • awesome quotes and one liners

his blog is interesting to read too.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

you're the key...

when it all hinges on your decision, your action, your acceptance or denial, you could at least allow yourself the humanity of making a mistake. it will be easier to decide on action if you just allow that you may make a mistake - and that the world will not explode and you will make it through.

you're already allowing yourself to walk the option you want. there's no purpose in making yourself feel guilty about that. if it ends up being the right thing for you, then more power to you. if not, then you can always find your way toward an abandoned path.

go, do, explore, find your way. i'll be right here celebrating you, no matter which way you travel.

Monday, September 22, 2008

i needed that run

running on adrenaline all day through lunch wore me out today. i needed that 4 mile run to just unwind. i pushed myself tonight and ran ran. i felt like a little steam engine just mechanically moving at a good clip and in-sync. it really felt good to just hammer out the long day. i went out for the 45 minutes before the kids went to bed and made it home in time to read to them for a half hour.

there is something physically fulfilling about the running off the mental energy and then slowing down to just spend time reading them to sleep. they go into sleep so peacefully when i read to them.

i am going to leave the work i brought home parked by the door. take a long, long hot shower. and tuck myself into bed early with a book to read myself to sleep.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

cowboy bebop - first impressions

okay, when someone says anime, i'll admit that i think sexy, nubile, mostly naked, girl cartoon characters with breast implants and long limbs that are disproportionate...

not so much here. limbs are still too long, but not overly sexy or weird.

i'm intrigued. i like how the main character is glib and talented. perhaps he's the best in the business, but something always gets in the way of him collecting. (so far anyway) i admire the pluck. the violence is more than i expected. and the language is funny - lots of "son of a bitches." there are some repeat minor characters that look like dried-up zombies that so far appear at the location of the central action scene bitching at each other.

spike (the cowboy) has a heart and a light-hearted whistle. so far he's accumulated a stray corgi and a spit-fire gambling chick.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

cowboy bebop

this came very highly recommended.

initially, i turned on the subtitles and was immediately confused by the audio commentary. it must be the genre - like Mystery Science Theater 3000 where you don't really watch it for Attack of the 50 Foot Woman or whatever - you watch it for the obtuse and funny commentary.

i turned that off. i figure, like mystery science theater 3000, this must be for those who have some idea of what is going to happen or have seen it a hundred times and who are now bored with it. i need to just watch it once without the commentary to just figure out what this is about....

cowboy bebop has like green hair, not unlike the joker, and everyone smokes. (hey, this is was made in Japan in 1998, and before the midwest's craze with removing smoking from every public space.)

..... back to watching ....

Friday, September 19, 2008

what did we do in art today?

i was so jazzed about the interaction... i forgot to describe what we did today!

depending on the class (because i was able to tailor it more to the age groups) we worked on review of last spring (straight lines, curvy lines, shading, outlining, drawing without looking, color layering, object layering), then the watercolors came out! we hadn't been able to work with them last year because the kids were just not ready and the distribution/cleanup for 50 kids with 10 minutes between classes was not possible...

so the oooo's and the aaaah's were pretty impressive. we were reminded that water, paint, paper is the order we needed to work in while in our school environment. we didn't put our fingers in the paint, and how to rinse and squeeze out our brushes.. then let the fun begin. we drew 'something that had a circle shape somewhere in it' and then filled it in with paint.

then we painted a background/backdrop for our 'something.' emphasising that backgrounds do not need to be perfect - in fact, many backgrounds look wonderful all messy and blurry because our eye's are busy looking at the 'something' that is most important. we got both pages done, lots of questions, lots of water and paint. both pages dried and all but the last class had time to cut out their 'something' and glue it to their background.

of course we talked about the meaning of terms like background, foreground, constraints (has to have a circle shape somewhere), drawing utensil, painting implements, ...

wow! so totally fun

and i'm here tonight reliving it a little as i blog about it and was surprised to check the date/time on my pc thinking that friday was wrong because today was saturday - it felt so fun that it must not be a work day... =)

day of teaching

teaching was incredible today! i am so energized by spending awesome quality time with these brilliant kids!

the image above is from one of my 4th grade students during last spring semester. it was during our 'continuous-line-without-looking-at-our-paper' drawing sessions. you can tell that the artist did peak during the timed session because of the breaks in line on the body sections. but i say 'who cares?! this rocks!' i am just blown away by this quality of work coming from such small folks! i've been in college classes with individuals (art majors) that couldn't pull something this concise together.

i think it has everything to do with inhibition. that is something that i feel is oober-important in working with anything artistic or creative. whether it is drawing, painting, music, programming or problem solving, we have to be open to all ideas. we have to be willing to try something. we have to be willing to start something before deciding if it is the right thing for us.

we work on this in class by remembering at the beginning of each class that we're all different. that being different is okay. that our art will not look like our neighbors' art. that we are doing art for ourselves. what we draw or how we work on today may have constraints to work within, but everything else is up to us.

i was very surprised at the start of the sessions last year how very tight so many of the kids minds were with regard to how to do something and how many kids seems afraid to start something. 'what do you mean drawn a straight line? should it be on the bottom of the page or on the side? do we start at the top or the bottom?' the beautiful thing is that you get to decide. where do you want to start? where do you want to end? how big or how small or how wide do you want the line to be? should you use a marker or a pencil or a crayon?

i think that this is very liberating for children. and it is very moving to what the transformation after working together. how much the kids and i look forward to our time together. how much more open they are to making their own choices when it comes to materials. it stirs up some powerful emotions for me to watch kids learning to take control of their choices and feel terrific and proud about what they've done.

at the end of each session we engage in a little critique. the idea at most levels is two fold - allow the rest of the class to see what the others were doing and to encourage appreciation for other people's effort (even when it doesn't look like ours or maybe it's 'not for us,' we can still clap and smile and encourage others).

this year we changed up the sessions from 2 classes of 50 kids to 5 sessions of 25 kids. and i am able to teach in the homerooms instead of the cafeteria. the acoustics are so much better, that just that improvement would be worth it. but the kids are in an environment where they are used to being, learning, and listening. it is also much easier for me to distribute supplies and give directions. i also really love that i get to spend more time at each table of 5. we get to talk and enjoy each other more this way.


Thursday, September 18, 2008

sitting here having a martini in your honor

perhaps Guinness would have been more appropriate...

i am here tonight near where we met. here where we became friends. i went to IKEA holding my breath and hoping/expecting to see your ghost by my car upon exiting.

instead, i am here watching twins and rays and some college football, eating a slice of vanilla bean cheesecake, drinking an espresso martini, and toasting to you, the little choices that we make, the winding road, the straight road, and all the life left to live.

studio work

i haven't carved out time to post about my whole studio re-org. and i'm slamming this post up before quickly running out the door of the office to my purpose seminar talk thing.

but i'm making progress. i have these neat display deals from IKEA that string up like a little metal wire and it has clips on it for display. i measured the one for my hallway and the one for the studio and realize that i need more pieces to make it work. unfortunately, i can see them online, but not purchase them online, so i have to drive all the way down to the IKEA store by the Mall of America tonight after my purpose session to get these 8 little pieces.

then i can mount them this weekend. i hope i can get there before it closes at 9pm. if not, i guess i'd swing by the MOA and do a little memory walking of my own. i haven't been to MOA in a long time. the last time i was there the walking number of people on a saturday made the floor sort of feel like it was moving up and down. quieter time tonight likely.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

okay. well not the most successful studio time i've ever had. the only 4 x 4 inches of salvageable 'color study' is this chunk. i'm being generous with the term salvageable.



toss in a couple of the painting area of my studio. i started that studio organization posting, where i can move these later and add the other sides of the room. but i'm actually tired enough to fall into bed now - mission accomplished.


oh, and this was just on my camera from earlier in the summer when the peonies were blooming. when i saw them i just knew i wanted to paint them - all those subtle pinks and whites and creams.


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

boot to the head!

okay, i have to pull back some kick-boxing moves. breathe in, breath out and jab. jab jab, left hook. breathe in, breath out and jab jab jab, right hook, breath in, breath out and front kick, pivot, side kick, side kick.

i am kicking my own ass over the sad pathetic that i am.

this will get easier with time. am i afraid of letting go of this and not torturing myself by holding so tightly? yes, sure. fear - definitely.

i wonder if i need to explore that? afraid of what exactly? am i afraid that all the things i loved about you weren't real if i don't try to keep them alive by remembering them daily? okay, sure. am i afraid that i am somehow not a faithful friend because i let go? definitely. am i afraid that i value you less by not obsessing over this loss? okay, yeah that too.

where does this get me? does it bring you back. nope. does it change the circumstances? or the reality? nope. do i choose to mope around about this or walk the talk of compassion to myself? (boot to the head is only metaphorically speaking) i'm going through a loss. i will keep walking forward and not back. (even if i need to lean on this blog to get my thoughts out where i can see them and say to myself - "this is ludicrous." "quit torturing yourself." "do what you set out to do; make something positive; remember, savor, respect it; don't turn it into some obsession." )

i am going to my studio to paint this out. do something positive with this consuming energy before it eats me alive.

remembering and excuses

over the weekend and this week, i have been remembering so many little details of my dear friend. i knew that on thursday night i would be especially feeling the loss. i booked myself into a purpose seminar session that evening to ensure that had something productive to do and would not go driving around wondering.

i've been working on a project that especially reminds me and that has been very distracting. i keep wanting to use the project as an excuse... an excuse to be bummed out and an excuse to encourage visits to my memories.

school conferences tonight, no daycare tomorrow afternoon, seminar on thursday, and teaching on friday. the week will be gone before i know it. i ruthlessly scheduled myself to the hilt this week to provide myself with an escape into activity and activity to keep my mind from wondering. *sigh* my mind is wondering anyway. and i am here logging that i wish i'd left an opportunity to walk down memory lane.

Monday, September 15, 2008

good run = my moving meditation

what a good run today. beautiful seventy-degree afternoon and a light cool breeze. sometimes when i'm running i look at the ground in front of me. it helps me to just focus on one foot in front of the other. my mind kind of blurs and i just concentrate on the movement. i don't look around, just breathe, form, movement.

other times during the run, i look around. i enjoy the late afternoon sun shining on the soy beans or corn in the fields. the way the dirt road stretches out in front of me - a road to anywhere. life is like that - some days i've got my nose pressed so close to the grind stone that i hardly notice who is walking by me in the hallway or if it is raining or sunny outside. so focused on the task at hand that i don't notice where i'm going with it or how time is flying by. other times, i can see [picture] the data structures, the dependencies, the inner connected systems all around me, and it is a beautiful thing to behold.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

what a weekend

the kids have been a lot loony today. running around, kicking the wall while supposed to be napping, throwing toys, whining... ey yi yi. you would never know that they were old enough to know better.

things have calmed down now. the four-n-a-half-footer is in the bathroom having a bubble bath. he oscillates between turd and fact encyclopedia - "mom, did you know that those tanks that divers use to breath underwater can run out of air? they can, you know." "yes, sweetie, that is why divers wear special dive watches so that they can know how much air they have left and when to swim to the surface..."

the four-footer (3 years junior to the four-n-a-half-footer) runs around screaming and waving his arms like a lunatic and pauses to hug me and say "mommy, i love you too."

*sigh*

art lessons starting again - yippee

my grade school teaching sessions start again this week. hurray! i am excited about working with the kids again. i volunteer teach at my sons' charter school. i started this last year and taught roughly every friday during january, february, march, and may.

at that time [in march], my teaching was abruptly interrupted (by some emergency tumor removal surgery - i am fine). now that i'm back to 100%, the staff has asked me to return. i love doing it but my 'real job' schedule is murderous this fall/winter so i cannot do it every week as i would like to do.

instead, i still get the opportunity to work with them one friday a month. the awesome thing about this round versus last time is that i will have single classrooms at a time - last time i had 80 kids in each of 2 classes at 45 minutes a pop. it was a little hard to plan for and the multi-ages of the kids made it sort of difficult to tailor the class.

this year i will get small classes of single age groups. i will have 6 classes to teach instead of 2, but it will be much easier to work with them. i think all the kids will benefit from this new arrangement. it will also allow me to take the whole day off instead of just the afternoon - so i will really be able to focus on them and be in the moment; instead of walking out of a rushed morning addressing server issues or whatever at work. i will have more time to catch up on my paper grading between classes too.

i like to scan in at least something from each session done by each child. at the end of the year or unit, i put together a slide show of their work.

i will dig up some of the work from last fall and post it. i was amazed at the quality of work from these small artists. so much of this is tied to the ability to let go of inhibitions and just try things. these little visionaries do great work!

this week we will spend 10 minutes at the beginning of class reviewing the techniques that we learned last year, and then free draw, and then re-visit the critique at the end. i was so surprised how well the kids critique. it is important to give appropriate and positive feedback to other artists and they did a great job last year participating and staying positive.

FotC

i watched the rest of the Flight of the Conchords first season tonight. i cannot believe there isn't a blog titled FlightOfTheConchordsFanBase! i almost registered it, but thought i better leave it for Mel - well maybe i should have looked for CrazyDogggz...

okay, i just went and looked - and there is a site at that address. it is not related to FotC, but funny none the less. http://crazydogggz.blogspot.com/ i read that and thought "Oh, my, that sounds like my boys! it really doesn't get any better... " *laughing* kyle's feedback: "a day in the life."

editor's notes

i've noticed some grammar corrections or other clean-up (and redaction) that i would like to make a run through the posts of the last month. if you're a RSS subscriber, sorry, you will probably see a small avalanche of posts that you're already seen, come over as new. please, just ignore them.

i did move some more sql stuff over on the other site, because it didn't seem to go here.

Friday, September 12, 2008

road trip

it seems now that i may need professional assistance on the reports i've finally carved out time to work on, the window of opportunity has closed. this is unfortunate, as i have the standards for the group to generate, the master project to mind, plus sql and ssrs reports to construct... but there is a group to form and motivate into helping me within my time constraints. so i guess i have every excuse to say i don't have time for a road trip.

career windfalls

it is pretty cool when you've been eyeing up a cool project and then you actually get assigned to it. that's definitely reason to celebrate and helps put some motivation back into jumping out of bed in the morning.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

quotes worth knowing... and keeping

i will be adding quotes on the main area to keep them fresh. i tend to come across a lot of things i like and find interesting or inspirational, because i read a lot. well that's typically how i come across them anyway. i'm sure you've got your own way of stumbling onto good ones.

These are organized with the earliest posting at the bottom.

"'Twas but to bless these hours of shade / That beauty and the mood were made; " - Thomas Moore

"Dear, I do not live to piss you off." - me

"Never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, under any conditions, will I give a vendor administrative rights to a server." - me

"You're Astonishing. How dare you waste it." - Seth Godin

"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." - Lao-tzu

"Conquering any difficulty always gives one a secret joy, for it means pushing back a boundary-line and adding to one's liberty." - henri frederic amiel

"The lesson is simple: If you've got as much as you've got, use it. Use it to become the best in the world, to change the game, to set the agenda for everyone else." - seth godin

"To be truly and wholly present even for the briefest moment is to be vulnerable..." -lin jensen

"Love must be free to flow and recede, flirt and retreat, and grow and rest in cycles as timeless as phases of the moon." - unknown author

"And even the lie was ... not without honor." - Eddard Stark, A Game of Thrones, GRRMartin

quotes and books

goodness, i am going to need a book list page and a quote page soon.

i just updated my book list this morning with all the little nuggets that i'd piled up in my to do list to add to it. holy! i just added 34 books to the list. i think it is safe to say reading as a life-long passion for me.

you know i wouldn't mind writing a book here or there. that is one of the reasons i didn't take a consulting job at a particularly good firm - the employment contract stated that anything i wrote like a book, article, etc at any time while i was employed there (whether on-the-clock or not) belonged to them. screw that.

as it is, enough of my ideas are thrown into the dog-pit for people to fight over. it's fine at work, because that is how problems are solved. if people contribute to an idea or bolt on their part, it doesn't matter whose it started out to be - collaborate, grow, fix, and improve. i'm free with that kind of idea-kumbiya.

admittedly, it bugs me when there was no collaboration and someone flat-out tells their supervisor that something you did was produced by them or was their idea when it is clearly in no way possible and even documented differently. ey-yi-yi. the desperation of some people knows no bounds.

outside of work, my thoughts are my own. don't get me wrong; i thrive on input and feedback as one thing leads to another. that is how organic, creative ideas take root and turn into something awesome. it is very exciting to come to a cool place and be able to look at someone and say, 'wow, that is really something! was my idea or yours?' when you can see an idea grow with attributes of both, the idea is better for it, you're better for it, the world is better for it.

ssrs project underway

on another front, i made extraordinary progress today - maybe i feel that way because this particular ssrs project has been difficult to initiate and move along because the model is complex and most of the report-writers are not SQL people.

huge decisions made and progress initiated. admittedly, i'm pushing some of it along because having naming standards (however minimal) and a project/folder structure, a master report project for our group reports will make the most sense.

i've got 25 tasks/next action steps to work on and a weekly conference call setup to keep progress moving... now if we could just get the requirements nailed down... we're working on that too. it should be an exciting fall.

primary elections are primarily over

well, so far so good. i'm home from primary elections support. i was on-hand to test out the new data import process that i am building for the elections data to be displayed on our web site. i did the design for the elections web site, but with the limited development time i get, i had to out-source the actual coding (fun part). well, one of the fun parts.

the other fun part has been getting this data out and parsing the ascii files it generates, and creating a whole data validation rule set around it, error handling with email notifications, and checkpoints throughout the import process.

i expected to have errors this dry run, because i was guessing at the parsing a little. but one character adjustment to one field and starting value adjustments for each of the fields after that and voila! the second try i was importing data right were i needed it.

i have some work left to complete and test the validation routines and throw in the extended stored procs to enable me to send SMTP email messages; so far, amazingly good. i thought i would be there all night tonight, but i was able to leave by 1 am and that included working on the validation after all of our data was received.

rock on!

Monday, September 08, 2008

i lost my keys and then found them in the darnedest place...

you know, when you lose something important, it can drive you sort of wild for a while as your mind just keeps coming back to the thing you can't find. you ask yourself, 'now where did i put that?' and your brain keeps showing you little visual vignettes of where it remembers seeing your keys before.

you stroll into the kitchen for a drink of water or any common thing; suddenly your brain pops up a mental picture of your keys sitting on the counter right in front of you - except you know full well that your keys haven't been there for at least a week... your brain's just trying to help you jog a little. this can become extremely irksome. if you're a visual beast like me, you run to the nearest location and check it. sometimes that leads you to think of other places your keys could be or what you were doing at the time you set your keys down over there...

my usual next step is to mount a full scale search of every crevice, pocket, shoe, bag, surface, cubby, pocket, and bin between the car, my door, and my desk. if i've failed to find my keys at this point, my next step is usually to abandon the idea of searching and just go back to boiler-plating it for a while. after a week of using up mental energy on such a pointless thing, i sucumb to having a new set made or a new key ordered.

at the point between letting go of the search and the arrival of the new key (or in one particular case a household move from one place to another), you find that key you lost. i found a key today. it wasn't to my car or house, but something vastly more important. i found the key to moving on from this loss and i know i'm going to be alright.

i'm done tipping my brain upside down and digging through the past. i'm going to be alright in my life and my work, my place and my conscience. i have a lot of work ahead of me to follow my purpose and define my true balance, but i just know i'm going to be able to do it.

the dip

i've been thinking about my newly defined purpose. this needs some refining and remodeling, but it is very close. i initiated a new blog last night to address the 'other half' of my life - programming. but i haven't put anything in there yet. maybe i like this one too much or maybe i'm hesitating because more and more i like the idea of bringing the two (professional and personal) back together and mixing them up. perhaps that is one way to help acheive a balance between them... so we'll see if that other makes the cut or gets cut.

here's my draft purpose:
My purpose is to re-ignite the fire of joy in others by helping individuals overcome obstacles and solve problems creatively with business application development and visual expression.

that deserves a pause.

go back up and re-read it. (don't create an endless loop... one re-read is enough.)

again, it is missing something or needs some editing, but it is closer than having none and it is very close to being right for me.

i have several books that i'm reading and will read (e.g. the 4 feet on my book shelf of to-be-read) and many, many, more books-in-waiting on my to read list. i was paging through The Dip by Seth Godin on the way to read from my current bedtime stack last night.

this goes along with my new purpose - here's a few lines from seth godin - priceless.

"You're Astonishing

"How dare you waste it.

"You and your organization have the power to change everything. To create remarkable products and services. To over deliver. To be the best in the world.

"How dare you squander that resource by spreading it too thin.

"How dare you settle for mediocre just because you're busy coping with too many things on your agenda, racing against the clock to get it all done.

"The lesson is simple: If you've got as much as you've got, use it. Use it to become the best in the world, to change the game, to set the agenda for everyone else."


Yes. Yes. Yes!

Sunday, September 07, 2008

some balance restored

i attended a purpose workshop on saturday. it was an event put on by the library and lead by elizabeth craig called 'working on purpose.'

i left with a toolbox full of ideas for breaking out of the numb phase i've been languishing in for a couple of weeks. through the day's activities, i was able to spot something probably obvious to others that i had been trying to bury - that i have an imbalance in the number of personal and supportive relationships in my life.

i attended to make progress in finding my purpose and professional and life goals. i wasn't looking toward my personal life. the small group i was paired with had some helpful balance insights. and like another person at my table, i sort of know this but whether i have balance in my life - though i know i should - is debatable. (there i am again on the fence.) it is not debatable. there is not enough personal balance. which is sort of hard for me, i guess, because i don't trust very easily.

the other thing that makes relationships and balance difficult for me is that what i do is so much part of who i am and how i identify myself; it is an isolated job of information work and i enjoy the solitary aspects of it as much as or more than i enjoy socializing. this is not tied to the job i have or the location i am in, it is just that i am a programmer just like i am an artist. i just am. i cannot imagine ever not doing this and being happy without it. i have always done it. (well since i was seven anyway.)

so i sort of answered my own questions about how to proceed in the job opportunities that are becoming more available (sort of shoved at me). something that was repeated by attendees at this workshop was that "just because you're good at something doesn't mean that you should always accept that others want you to do that."

so just recognizing that and being able to continue in the efforts to pull that back in toward where i want it to be. and not to feel apologetic about it. respectful, yes, but still protecting my own interests. so, some validation that what i've been doing to limit focus professionally and maintain some order there is where i want to go with it. also, it was nice to hear that others struggle with that as well. and i'm doing pretty well at drawing the line in the sand and defending it.

husband and i talked over some of the top seven items that i like to do for fun and discussed what his were. besides each other and the kids, we didn't have any other overlaps. frankly, he is not really interested in thinking about this stuff. he says he's just fine with where he is at, not dissatisfied, and not motivated to take stock or make changes. my rock. slow moving, powerful, grounded.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

but why do it then? (thank you)

so i asked a question and answered it in the same sentence. you did it because you were listening and felt compelled to comfort me. i'm sorry for falling apart so completely that compulsion caused you to reach out. and extremely, heart-wrenchingly grateful.

i had little hope that my blog was being read by anyone. and who could blame readers for turning away when i'm falling apart from the loss here online for anyone to see ~ pathetic in some sense and very therapeutic in another.

the earth truly has felt like a cold and dead place without my dear friend. doubt about what i was mourning had crept in. i turned a corner today. or turned a page.

i've been spammed

i cleaned out my junk mail folder this evening.
then i got all choked up.
then i got relieved and confused.
then i got a little pissed and all indignant.
then i cried.
i guess spam can do that to me.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

self compassion

i've sort of been mulling this topic over for several days and started this post a couple of different times since i read an article last week. i'm no professional writer and just couldn't seem to find the right words to express myself clearly on this topic...

so i'm just releasing this one into the abyss as it is. i read something else this early evening that i want to write about, but it wouldn't make sense without this post going first. (disclaimer: this probably sounds like crap, but who cares this is cyberspace and there's worse crap out there.)

9/1/2008 9:29pm

i happened to pick up an old copy of Tricycle magazine that i had lying around in my magazine rack by my reading chair. the issue is from 2006. each time i clean out the magazine rack it stays, because each time i pick up that particular issue, it seems i read something i didn't seem to notice before. (i swear i've read it cover-to-cover a couple of times.)

i found some wisdom in an article called: 'an ear to the ground' by lin jensen. i'm just going to quote a few paragraphs and then expound on it.

"It's possible to do good and equally possible to do harm, and so we're stuck with the necessity of choice and consequence. And no choice can ever be encompassing and conclusive because the moment is a movement and requires continual adaption and adjustment. We can faithfully adhere to a precept, and yet end up doing irreparable harm. We can never trace the ultimate consequence of our choices, but it's safe to conclude that whatever we decide to do will be fraught with certain error and fall short of the best intent. [...]

"Falling down is what we humans do. If we can acknowledge that fact, judgement softens and we allow the world to be as it is, forgiving ourselves and others for our humanity. The Buddha's First Noble Truth - that suffering exists - is, in itself, a permission to be human and not demand more of ourselves than we're capable of. Our compassion arises from our very fallibility, and love takes root in the soils of human error.

"Knowing that we're certain to make crucial mistakes from which suffering will follow, we seek moral redemption through sustained attention. We stay around to clean up the mess we've made. If we really want to keep the Buddha's house in order, we can't afford to hold anything of ourselves in reserve. To be truly and wholly present even for the briefest moment is to be vulnerable, for we have arrived at a point where the obstacle that fear constructs between ourselves and others dissolves. It is here that the heart is drawn out of hiding and the inherent sympathetic response called compassion arises. We cease seeking our own personal happiness at the expense of others, because we see that the suffering of others is our suffering as well, and we see that our happiness too is inseparable from that of others...."

first - wow. i am completely aghast at the follow of consciousness in that section. it expresses and validates and calms and comforts.

i have been wrestling with the definitions of love and loss in my life and still navigating that road. it is new place for me to be this entangled - well emotionally, well okay, no... i guess i am a generally passionate person when i care about something and i certainly do tend to analyze and re-analyze because i like to feel i have some understanding of what i care about. maybe it is that it happens for me more around projects, data, malleable non-human systems. i have 4 key men in my life (my boys, my husband, my dad) and 3 or 4 very close friends, a handful of friends that i socialize with and many many people that i know and converse with but wouldn't consider friends - i wouldn't open up to them or explain myself - i just don't feel like it is needed. so this whole losing someone close to me has been hard.

i want to understand the relationship and what was its meaning to me in order to understand myself better, learn from it, take something away, and selfishly preserve something positive from it... i have been going about it the wrong (?), no not wrong, just the best way that i could - and it has gotten me to this point. and here, where i am now, is finally starting to look like acceptance. acceptance. that sounds odd. i think that is a stage of the grieving process. anyway, i am more accepting this week of myself, my reactions, and the compassion that i feel. an acceptance that suffering does exist, choices need to be made, and that is the positive to take away.

so that brings me back to that i've been wondering over all the different kinds of love and how friendship is so powerful and the power to love outside ourselves is vital to humanity and all of the shapes of that and how it manifests itself... (far reaching, right.) but i think that in addition to caring for others close and distant, we don't nurture ourselves with as much respect as we should.

let's not lose sight of the compassion that we owe ourselves - to allow ourselves to make choices and mistakes... hopefully we're each allowing ourselves the capacity to be human - explore and find new paths, explore and re-assess, or explore and bring it back home.

i hope that my choices, if unintentionally hurtful to some, have been the best i could make in the moment. i hope that my willingness to have compassion toward myself and others makes me a better person.

"The Zen Buddhist does not ask what's right and wrong but rather, 'What am I to do at this moment?' She has no opinion to put forth. She has learned not to acquire answers, and so holds her question open wherever she goes."

there are only questions. the answers come only in what we can do in our now moment. live and be compassionate.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

intersections

i have crossed through a life intersection.

(was there a fender-bender? some days it seems so. maybe i escaped with my life and that's enough... *shrug* it seems somewhat vague yet - like whiplash - i may not know until some time afterwards.)

as i look back at the important people and decisions that i've met and made over the years, there are some that i think i could have gone either way on and still come back around to either the person i am today and/or the place i am today. there are others (some big and some small) that had i acted differently, or the context of my choice had been different, would have altered me or my situation significantly.

some days i'm on the fence over destiny and free will. perhaps i'm just too ambiguous for my own mind... but it seems to me that both could be intertwined. in some cases it doesn't matter, in others destiny is altered completely. perhaps it is not the end that matters, but what we do at life's intersections. you know, that whole its the journey not the destination thing... or a mix. ^_^

i feel altered. i feel changed. my choices make me who i am, but so does my perspective on those choices. full stop, this is not meant to sound like a philosophy essay.

oh heck, let's just call it like it is - all days i'm on the fence over destiny, free will, and many other topics. i try not to be 'a person of right or wrong.' (black and white, good vs. bad decisions - i try to be more of a context decision maker. e.g. Murder is bad, but if someone is attacking me, it would not be below consideration.)

Saturday, August 30, 2008

long hard week

it has been almost a week since i lost my dear friend.

i've been running a lot and listening to music. i have leaned on my understanding husband and tried to share this odd emptiness with a different friend...

i write a lot, and i drove around taking pictures of corn. (when i type it out, it sounds sort of wacky, but these are some awesome pictures!) i am working on a painting of a sunset. (when it is complete, i am going to do a corn series. i have had it rolling around in my head for a couple of years and now seems like the right time.)

*sigh* still... i am very out-of-sorts.