Monday, January 31, 2011

Examine THIS.

I wasn't going to post today, because I had an appointment for a routine checkup with my ear/nose/throat guy this morning. It was supposed to be a routine five-minute exam.

But when I'd been sitting in the waiting room for nearly an hour past my scheduled appointment time and I got up to find out why, I was told it was because the doctor had just come back from being on vacation and was running behind because he was double-booked.

And that just made me madder. I mean, I don't begrudge the man his vacation. And the time they were running late because he'd had to do emergency surgery that morning, that was understandable. But who the fuck decided that double-booking was a good idea? How does that even make sense? Are they often sitting around, twiddling their thumbs and thinking, "Boy, I bet we could handle twice as many patients as this!" I'm thinking, given how crowded the waiting room is on a day-to-day basis, probably not.

Especially not in the winter, when their younger patients are picking up colds and developing ear and sinus infections, right?

Argh. And if I'd come in an hour late and missed the appointment, they'd have sent me home and charged me for it anyway.

It's not like this is the only doctor who does this to me, either. Gods, our pediatrician always runs at least half an hour behind schedule, if not more. My OB/GYN usually gets me into the exam room close to on-time, but then I sit there for a good twenty minutes (wearing nothing but a paper napkin and socks -- it's a hot look; watch the Paris and Milan runways for it soon!) before the doctor comes in. (Kudos are due for my chiropractor, who not only almost never makes me wait, but keeps coffee and cookies in the waiting room for those rare occasions when I do get stuck out there.)

When I stomped back to my seat, too pissed off to continue reading, my brain started to put together a measurement plan, for the purposes of -- and this is how I know I've well and truly drunk the QA Kool-Aid -- causal analysis and process improvement. It got pretty detailed, there in my head: how long do patients usually sit in the waiting room past their appointment time? How long between when they're brought to an exam room and when they see the doctor? How much time does the doctor spend with them?

And other questions: Are patients informed of unusual delays and given a chance to reschedule? (They knew when I checked in that they were running more than an hour behind schedule. If they'd told me that right off, I might've rescheduled for another day, which would've reduced my level of irritation and helped their schedule deficit. But by the time an hour had passed, I'd invested way too much in it to reschedule.) How much does the doctor like to chat? (My GP loves to just shoot the breeze -- he's got a fantastic "bedside" manner, but it results in lousy waiting times.) How much flex time is built into the schedule to handle drop-in appointments and emergency calls? And how does the office handle especially long delays?

I swear, part of me wants to quit my job and become a process improvement consultant for doctors' offices. I couldn't possibly make things any worse.

Thursday, January 27, 2011


Matt and the kids brought me flowers last night. No particular reason; they (well, Matt, really) just decided that it would be nice to do.

Penny picked them out -- a dozen white roses -- and the florist wrapped them in two six-stem bundles so each of the kids could bring me one. They're beautiful.

And so are the flowers.


After I'd put the roses in a vase, Penny scavenged the ribbons they'd been wrapped with. From the white one, she made me a "crown" -- a headband, basically, that she decorated with some crystal-looking, rainbow-colored, flower-shaped stickers. Wearing it made me look like a flower child reject from the 60s.


Not sure if there'll be a post tomorrow; Penny has the day off from school for a teacher workday, and she'll be with me in the morning, when I usually write these. We'll see, but I make no promises.


My dad isn't much for actual correspondence, but he likes to send me funny emails. The two he sent me last night were actually funny enough to make me giggle out loud, so I'm sharing one of them:
I recently picked a new primary care doctor. After two visits and exhaustive lab tests, he said I was doing 'fairly well' for my age. (I just turned sixty-something.)

A little concerned about that comment, I couldn't resist asking him, "Do you think I'll live to be 80?"

He asked, "Do you smoke tobacco, or drink beer, wine or hard liquor?"

"Oh no," I replied. "I'm not doing drugs, either!"

Then he asked, "Do you eat rib-eye steaks and barbecued ribs?"

I said, "Not much... my former doctor said that all red meat is very unhealthy!"

"Do you spend a lot of time in the sun, like playing golf, boating, sailing, hiking, or bicycling?"

"No, I don't," I said.

He asked, "Do you gamble, drive fast cars, or have lots of sex?"

"No," I said.

He looked at me and said, "Then, why do you even give a shit?"

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


I have two stories churning in my head right now. One of them is for the Scum email game, and the other is a story loosely based on Scum characters (let's just call it alternate universe Scum). They're both pretty compelling for me, but they're stretching in different directions, so it's both interesting and slightly painful to (for instance) watch Dawn1 react to the knowledge that his best friend betrayed him at the same time that Dawn2 is worrying over whether he's damaging his relationship with his best friend.

(The two versions of the best friend are so different I couldn't even stand to give them the same name. Dawn2 gets a new name as well, eventually, but they start out more or less similarly.)

At any rate, these two plots are consuming my brain. Any time I'm not actively thinking about something else, one or the other plot percolates to the surface and starts showing off its twists and turns and possibilities. I need to write some of it all down before it starts leaking out my ear.

So, naturally, I have book club tonight. And this and that and the other thing.

I understand why professional writers go to remote locations and completely unhook from the grid for weeks on end in order to get their writing done.

But maybe all the churning will be good for the stories. Turn them into sweet, rich butter.

I can hope.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


I seem to have gotten over the obsessive WoW streak in my head. I've only played a couple of times in the last week, and neither of those were particularly long sessions. It helps that I got my main character up to the max level again, and it helps that my other primary character just got to the part of the game I enjoy least. I've seen most (though by no means all) of the new stuff, and while there are still some things I think will be fun to try, none of it is really pressing.

So last night, after putting the kids to bed and taking my shower, I sat down and thought, "I should log into WoW... Who do I want to play tonight?" and realized the answer was... I really didn't. And as soon as it starts to feel like a chore, then it's something I'm really not interested in. So I didn't log in.

Instead, I opened up the story I've been working on lately and tried to work on that. I started working on a scene in which the protagonist is on his way to meet his girlfriend's parents for the first time, and it was dragging. Oh my lord, was it dragging. It was, in fact, feeling like a chore.

Only a couple of hundred words in, I backed up to re-read what I'd done and realized that I was telling instead of showing. I didn't want to write this summary. I wanted to write the scene with the girlfriend that I had been trying to summarize.

I hadn't planned to write the scene with the girlfriend. She's not going to be a long-term character in the story. (In fact, they're going to part ways shortly after the meeting with the parents.) But I wanted to write that scene.

Idiot, I told myself. This isn't a story under contract. Write what you want to write. If it doesn't work, you can trim it out later.

So I backed up and started writing the scene with the girlfriend. I worked in the exposition I'd been trying to slide into the later scene, and it was much less awkward. I managed to reveal some things about my protagonist's character much more subtly than I could've gotten across any other way. And best of all, it was fun. The girl was fun, and their relationship was fun, and I threw out nearly 1000 words without even really trying. And now, when that relationship crumbles, it will actually hurt.

I need to learn to shut up and listen to myself more often. Sometimes, when something feels like a chore, it's because I'm doing it the wrong way.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Modern Medicine

Yeah, so. Sickies.

My doctor didn't even check me for strep; she heard that Matt had been diagnosed with it and put me on antibiotics immediately. For whatever it's worth, they seem to be working.

Then the next day I wound up taking Alex to the doctor, and he had it, too, along with a case of impetigo. He got antibiotics and an antibiotic cream to put on his nose and lip.

And then Friday night and Saturday morning, Penny was complaining that her throat hurt, too, so Matt took her to the Urgent Care, and now she's on antibiotics.

WHEE! A whole house on antibiotics. Mornings are a hoot.

On the plus side, it was a really nice weekend. We hung out with Braz and Adin and kids, and I threw my Arbonne party. (Though I screwed up and accidentally closed my show without ordering my hostess benefits so I... just don't get them. WTF, Arbonne? Can't even let my consultant place that as a separate order? Seriously, however good their products may be, their hostess/rewards system is entirely too convoluted and needs to be seriously reworked.) And I made a really lovely dinner last night -- roasted winter vegetables and teriyaki pork tenderloin. I've got a serious love on for roasted parsnips right now, especially tossed in with carrots and sweet potatoes. The only downside is that they take a solid hour to roast, so I can only make them on weekends.

This week isn't likely to be any less disrupted, either -- Penny has half-days at school Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, and then she's got Friday off. I'll be picking her up on Wednesday, and possibly bringing her with me to work Friday morning. Which means I need to figure out how to rearrange my gym schedule, because I really need to get back on the wagon with that -- I'm about a pound and a half from having to re-join Weight Watchers.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


Matt started getting a sore throat on Sunday, and was fairly miserable Sunday night. He felt somewhat better yesterday, and went to bed early with the hope of feeling even better today. When I went to bed last night, he was burning up with fever. This morning, his skin was cool, but he told me he felt much worse. He planned to stay home and call his doctor to find out if he'd picked up strep throat from Adin, or just acquired some variety of Con Crud.

I woke up this morning with a sore throat. So I guess whatever Matt's doctor tells him, I'm in for a rough few days. The only bright spot is knowing that my doctor has, in the past, called in antibiotics for me sight-unseen on the report that I have a diagnosed case of strep already in the house, so if that's what it turns out to be, maybe I can skip that step.

On the plus side, all of this week's deliverables are due out today, which means that once I get through today, I'm pretty much in the clear to get sick and either take time off or work from home.

Also on the plus side: the kids have so far avoided whatever it is. I hope they continue to do so. At least until Matt or I are feeling better; taking care of sick kids is especially miserable when you're sick yourself.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Pros and Cons

So this past weekend was MarsCon, and it went almost insanely well.

Penny had her swimming lesson on Saturday morning, so while she and Matt went to the Y, I took Alex over to the con and got myself registered with a day pass, and I got him a badge and lanyard to wear as well, mostly just so I could put a "If lost, please call..." note on it.

We wandered around for a bit, and stopped in the Con Suite for a little snack. Alex was enchanted by the MarsCon aliens; every time he saw one, he'd spend the next ten minutes pretending to be an alien, which is to say he'd walk around stiff-legged saying "Mineh mineh mineh!" It was adorable.

Then I herded him down to the main programming room where we found a "fair" in progress, which is to say they'd set up about a dozen large tables and had a bunch of different groups showing off their stuff. One table was doing "explosive" science -- if Penny had been able to come that early, I think she'd have gotten a kick out of it -- and there was a video and Q&A going on with the CNU Quidditch team, and lots of other stuff. On one side of the room was a big area dedicated to the local Lego fan club -- they had a long buffet table covered with their creations, and then they had a round table covered with loose bricks for anyone to play with. And there was a big blanket on the floor also covered with free-for-all bricks. So Alex and I sat on the floor and played with Legos for probably a good half-hour or more.

While we were doing that, the local Humane Society chapter came in with some dogs and cats up for adoption for people to play with and pet. Alex gravitated toward the kittens, and when Matt and Penny caught up with us a bit later, Penny lost her mind over the dogs.

Then Penny sat down at one of the craft tables and made a mask -- they had dozens of plastic domino masks and all kinds of paint and glitter and ribbons and stuff to decorate them with. Some of the kids at the table were making really elaborate and beautiful things. I wish I'd thought to take a picture.

Then I took her up to the Con Suite where Matt and Alex had already headed to get lunch. We met up with KT and Kevin and Jess, and sat in the hallway to eat and talk. Just as we were finishing up, Braz sent me a text message to let me know that he and Adin were in the area shopping, and did we want them to swing by and pick up the kids? Well, sure! So I took Penny down to the dealer's room so she could pick out a toy, and by the time she'd picked something out, Braz and Adin and crew were there; we all stood around in the lobby and talked for a bit, and then handed the kids over to Braz and Adin.

And then Matt and I were on our own. At the con. It was wonderful. (Yes, Matt and I are geeky enough that being at a con together without the kids counts as a date.) We chatted with KT a bit more (she was standing in the line to get stuff signed by Jim Butcher, the con's guest of honor) and then went into the dealer's room to look at stuff. Without the kids along, we were able to actually, you know... look at stuff. Examine things without having to be interrupted every thirty seconds. I wound up getting corralled by the leather fashion lady who exclaimed that she had a couple of pieces I just had to try on... and without the kids along, hey, why not?

At one point, a friend wandered by and I said, "Hey, Greg, what do you think? Like it?" Greg said, "If I liked it any more, Matt would punch me." And then KT came over and I showed her the one I was leaning toward, and she said, "Do you still have that skirt you made back in college? It would look fantastic with that!" And well... yes, I do still have that skirt, and she was right, they would go perfectly together. So, um. I bought a corset.

A couple of things in particular make me very squee about it: the front buttons are hand-cast pewter on a steampunk theme (steampunk is the big fashion rage amongst the geek set right now) but are loose-set on screws so I can change them out with something completely different if I want, which makes the thing lots more versatile. And those buttons fasten with... hair bidgies. No, I'm not joking. And it's perfect. They're just the right size, can be color-coordinated to match the other clothes, and provide enough elasticity to keep the costume comfortable.

Now I need to plan on going to more cons, just so I can wear it.

We also tried one of the leather lady's jackets on Matt, and I must say he looked quite dashing in it. We got someone to take a picture of us together, but that was on Matt's camera, so I don't have a link to share yet.

After that, we split up so I could go to a discussion/Q&A panel on science fiction and romance, which turned out to be very interesting as well. And definitely not something I could've sat through with the kids in tow. I even talked to the panel authors a little afterward about marketing and giveaways and such.

Speaking of romance marketing, I took a bunch of leaflets for Of One Mind along with me and left a few on every flat surface where I thought people might pick them up -- on the table outside the elevator, outside the con suite, in the con suite, etc. Matt told me later that KT had told him she'd seen someone reading it and exclaiming that they thought it sounded fantastic and they were going to have to buy it! So yay for marketing, and I hope that person wasn't the only one!

After that, Matt and I went to the big Q&A session for Jim Butcher. I've only read a couple of his books (his big claim to fame is the Harry Dresden series, and while I mostly enjoyed the couple I read, I'm not that much into urban paranormal or detective stories, which is what they are) but he was a really entertaining speaker, so it was a fun panel to watch.

After that, we decided to head home. KT and Kevin and Jess came with us, and Braz and Adin brought the kids over shortly afterward, and all of us sat around and chatted, and then we got Chinese takeout for dinner and sat around talking for a while longer.

After KT and Kevin and Jess headed home and we got the kids put to bed, the plan was for us to game with Braz and Adin, but it never quite gelled. It's been a couple of months since we'd all just sat and talked, so that's what we wound up doing. Which was fine, as that was fun, too.

The next morning, Matt took Penny back over to the con for some kids' activities. (I stayed home with Alex on the theory that there really wasn't that much to draw a 3-year-old's attention, and there were chores to be done anyway.) They met back up with KT and Kevin and Jess, so they wound up staying until after 2 and having a grand time.

And then after Alex woke up from his nap, we went down to my parents' to celebrate my dad's birthday. I made two pies (key lime and peanut butter) and everyone liked both, and Dad was happy with his present. Since Matt and the kids have today off from school and work, we stayed a bit longer than usual after dinner, and I'm really glad we did -- both kids wound up in a pillow fight with my dad and my brother, and while John and the kids obviously were enjoying themselves, and Matt and Sam and Mom and I had a grand time sitting on the sidelines (mostly) and watching it, I think the real winner there, in terms of sheer enjoyment, was my dad. That pillow fight was probably the best birthday present ever. (Though I'm quite certain he slept Very Well last night, after all that.)

So we really had a fantastic weekend. The only fly in the ointment was that Matt started to develop a sore throat on Sunday, so he's at least got a case of the Con Crud, if not the strep throat that Adin was battling last week. So he's probably in for a rough day today, alas. But the weekend... the weekend was awesome.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Photo Woe

I've been a pretty loyal Apple/Mac customer for ten years now. Their stuff Just Works.

Except for when it doesn't.

I acquired a copy of iPhoto '11, and installed it with a great deal of glee. I let it convert my library, shunting everything into a single massive package file, and then it started scanning my pictures for faces. Awesome! That was going to take a while, so I left it overnight.

The next morning... it had crashed. Oops. Oh, well. I started it back up, and it promptly crashed again. And again. And again.

I poked around online for help. I opened the package file and deleted portions of the database to no avail. I downloaded a separate utility application and had it rebuild my entire library. That chewed up another 20 GB of my hard drive (glad I'd cleared out some space recently!) and I left it sitting for yet another night. When I got up the next morning, the rebuild log file told me it had encountered something like 400 critical errors, but had finally got the job done.

And sure enough, there was my photo library. Finally. I started going through the "Faces" it had recognized and labeling them. Except that only 1 tag of every five was a face at all. And the ones I closed out as not-faces didn't stay gone. iPhoto wouldn't let them go.

Well, whatever, I didn't need face-tagging, really. I went into the main photo album and started playing with stuff. I couldn't get it to display photo keywords on the main thumbnail screen. And when I tried to add a face tag to one picture, the interface was ridiculously clunky. And broken. It wouldn't let me move or re-size the tags, and wouldn't let me delete them once they'd been created. I thought maybe the system had gotten its memory scrambled -- that happens sometimes -- so I shut it down and went to work.

When I got home last night, I fired it back up to see if I could get it to work properly. iPhoto's main screen loaded, and then I was treated to the Spinning Beach Ball of Death. Better still, it locked up my entire system instead of just the one application. I had to do a hard-reboot. Well, maybe the memory was just screwy from all the rebuilding. I tried again.

Same result. iPhoto was Not Loading, and whatever it was doing while it was Not Loading, it was also locking up my whole computer.

Argh. So I gave up and deleted it. I deleted iPhoto '11, and the rebuilt library, and then I plugged in my backup drive and fired up Time Machine and went back to a backup from about a week ago and restored my old, unconverted library, and my old version of iPhoto that doesn't have face tagging but which, you know, actually works. That took all of about 45 minutes to do -- and 10 minutes of that was doing the delete of the rebuilt library package.

iPhoto '11? Pretty much crap, at least on my machine (though I'm willing to entertain the notion that it was crap because my machine is a few years old). Time Machine, now... That's some software that Just Works. I've only needed it a handful of times, but on those occasions, it's done exactly what I wanted it to do, exactly the way I wanted it to do it. I love my Time Machine.

Thursday, January 13, 2011


I've started running a plot for the MeadeHall. Well, for the Scum, and not really on the actual MeadeHall, since that's pretty much defunct any more.

But this is a plot I've been making notes for in the back of my head for going on four years, now. The focus of the plot has completely changed multiple times, and the catalyst character's entire personality has been rewritten a couple of times. But from the moment I'd started planning Dusk's death, I knew it wasn't real, that he'd come back.

It's only been running a couple of days, so we're still into the opening scene. Still, I'm enjoying it immensely. My characters are all awake in my head -- WIDE awake -- and not just talking, but ranting and raving and stamping their feet all over my brain. It's distracting, but it feels good, too. I haven't had vocal occupants for a while. I can only hope this will help my writing, as well.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Yep, I skipped yesterday. Why? Because our wimp of a school district gave us a 2-hour delay for what amounted to approximately seven snowflakes in my back yard. Their automated system called us at 5:20 to tell us about it, too, so we slept in an extra half-hour, and the rest of the morning was slightly crazy, including me having Penny with me at work.

So, yeah. I skipped. I also ate some cake at a co-worker's post-baby shower/welcome back party. I'm just a rebel, I am.

And in other news, it's finally been announced that there's going to be a Verizon iPhone! Yay! So now I know what I'm doing with my Christmas money, as soon as it's released. And yes, I am tempted to take the day off from work so I can get up early and go stand in line. Though February will not be nearly as pleasant for that as July was. So we'll see. I've waited this long; I can probably stand to wait a little longer. Also, I need to decide whether I want the 16G or 32G model. (Much as my technophile's heart wants the 32, I've only once had a problem with wanting more space on my 8G phone, so I'm not sure the extra 16G is worth the extra $200. Not when I've got my iPad.)

Monday, January 10, 2011

Looking Forward

Good weekend: check. I didn't get enough sleep, but that's pretty much a constant, and partly my own fault anyway. We hung out with Braz and Adin and company Friday and Sunday evenings, and spent Saturday lounging around the house and marveling at the freakish weather which was bright and sunny one minute, and snowing furiously the next, and then back to bright and sunny... Weird.

Also, Penny started back up with her swimming lessons, and Matt said she did really well. I begin to have hope that she'll be able to pass her minimum swimming test before we go to Cancun this summer.

Now it's back to the grind, and though Mondays are always a little crazy and weird, the rest of the week promises to be relatively calm and cool, and I'm positively looking forward to the back half of the week. I have an appointment on Thursday for a massage (to use a gift card that Matt gave me for Christmas) and then this weekend is MarsCon!

MarsCon used to be a tiny little relax-a-con, just a sort of geeky wind-down from the holidays -- mostly just a hot tub party, an art room, a dealer's room, and the best Con Suite (that's the food/snacks room, for the uninitiated) in the universe. But since SciCon died, MarsCon has been growing to take its place, and this year has all kinds of demonstrations and panels and events.

I took the kids last year for a couple of hours, and didn't get to do very much that I wanted to do, though I had fun watching them do their stuff. This year, Matt will not be working (will not, do you hear me, Murphy?!) and Braz and Adin have cheerfully agreed to take the kids for Saturday afternoon, so Matt and I will be able to both expose the kids to nerd culture and spend some time wandering on our own. Double bonus score!

I'm ridiculously excited about it -- I even downloaded the entire schedule of programming and events, and folded in the kids' events on the same schedule, just so I could see what I want to do and what I think the kids would enjoy. Naturally, because this is how these things go, lots of the panels I'm interested in are overlapping, and so are several of the things I think Penny would enjoy, and some of the stuff I want to take Penny to is in conflict with her swimming lesson. Grr. Oh, well, we'll figure it out.

Mostly, I need to figure out if I'm excited enough by the Friday evening and/or Sunday morning programming to pay for weekend passes, or if we're just going to get day passes for Saturday, or what.

And then Saturday night, we're gaming with Braz and Adin, which is also muchly to be looked forward to.

And then Sunday evening, we're having dinner with my parents to celebrate my dad's birthday!

I know it's Monday, but bring on the weekend!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Taking A Chance

Penny was whining about school again this morning. I tried to head it off by reminding her that her best school friend, Gillian, is in her class, and if she didn't go to school, she wouldn't see her friend nearly as often.

"When can I have a play date with Gillian?" Penny asked, tacking into the wind.

"I don't know, honey. I have to talk to her mom first. But," I continued, struck with inspiration, "if you can go a whole week without complaining about school, we'll invite her over for a sleepover."

It's a pretty safe bet, on several levels. Penny going a whole week without whining about school isn't terribly likely. And even if she manages it, Gillian is a quiet, shy girl who isn't likely to be a terribly difficult guest.

(Though they say it's the quiet ones who are the most dangerous. Check out this picture I took at the 2nd grade concert last night. Gillian is the girl next to Penny. The one with the smirk. She may be quiet and shy now, but in a few years... Well, we'll see.)

The concert went well, by the way. The kids sang 5 songs, and Alex was well-behaved for all of them (though a trifle squirmy in the fifteen minutes beforehand), and it was all quite adorable. The fake snow at the end, when they were singing "Let It Snow" was a fun surprise.

Thursday, January 6, 2011


Usually, the drive from Alex's daycare back to Penny's school takes a smidge less than 20 minutes, depending on how I catch the traffic lights or if someone is driving extra-special slow on Rochambeau. This morning, the drive took nearly 35 minutes.

As I left the daycare, we passed the morning coal train, but I didn't get quite far enough ahead, because the railroad crossing arm was just dropping just as I approached it. So I did a U-turn in the middle of the road and went for the slightly longer route that has an overpass over the railroad tracks.

I caught every. Single. Traffic light.

But the train was still lumbering along as I got to the overpass, so despite the frustration of those lights, it still beat waiting on the train. (Those coal trains are both slow and long.)

I continued to catch every single possible traffic light, but when I got past the Wal-Mart and the Great Wolf Lodge, I could see Rochambeau was clear ahead of me. I settled in at 60 and smacked the cruise control.

As we came up on Airport Road -- nearly to the end -- there was a police car parked across the lane. This is a two-lane road, mind, so he was essentially blocking the whole lane. As I came closer, he waved for me to turn onto Airport.

I didn't want to turn onto Airport. But, apparently, I had no choice. I went down Airport long enough to turn around, then went back to Rochambeau and headed back up whence we had come so I could get on the interstate instead. Naturally, I got stuck for a while on Rochambeau behind a church van lumbering along at 40mph.

Once I'd made it to the interstate, I realized I probably should've just taken Airport and gone through the middle of town, but given my luck with traffic lights this morning, the interstate seemed the lesser evil. Anyway, if I'd done that, I wouldn't have seen the 3-vehicle pileup in front of the high school that was the reason they were blocking the road.

I continued to catch every. Single. Traffic light, but we made it to Penny's school with two whole minutes to spare before they rang the late bell, and I was only about ten or twelve minutes late to work (and I doubt anyone actually noticed).

It's weird, how much frustration a simple ten or fifteen minute delay can generate, isn't it? Maybe it's just me. I freely admit to being a little bit obsessive about my schedule and my time, the way other people can be obsessive about money or stuff. But I don't think I'm the only one. The term "road rage" wasn't coined just for me, after all. There's something weird that happens to our brains when we're driving -- like if we're not making the best possible time, we're losing the championship or something, even when it's utterly and ultimately unimportant. Why is that? Why does travel do that to us?

I don't have any answers. All I have are questions. Questions, and a body that's still keyed up from frustration-induced adrenaline, and a vague sense that I have to hurry, now, even though logically I know there's more than enough time to do what I need to do today.

People are weird.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


Penny got home from school yesterday, shed her backpack and got out her homework, and then promptly threw up.

She threw up again three or four more times before midnight, so we decided to keep her home today. But Matt and I both have tasks to do today that absolutely require our presence in the office, so... she's at work with me, at least until I get this software delivery done. After that, I can work from home.

We left the bathroom light on for her last night, in case she needed to make a dash for it, which seems like the obvious thing to do, but that meant the light was shining directly on my face all night, and every time I turned over, I woke up.

So today I'm feeling tired and headachey, and I'm not sure if that's from lack of sleep or because I'm coming down with something, myself. So hieing myself home as soon as I can seems like a good plan. Just in case, y'know?

And now, a few words from Penny:

Hi I am sick.Are you a little sick?

Come on, software review. Hurry up. I want to go home...

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Sock It To Me!

About a week before Christmas, tired of ending each evening with frozen toes, I offered Matt a rather broad and heavy hint that I'd like to find some warm, fuzzy slipper socks in my stocking.

Matt, never one for half-measures (and never one to go out shopping when all of the Internet is laid out before him) delivered instead a gift certificate to Joy of Socks.

It meant I had to wait an extra ten days for my slipper socks, but I got to pick out several other fun pairs, as well, so it was worth the wait. They finally arrived yesterday, and my toes were toasty warm last night, right up to bedtime! And today, I've got pretty geometric flower designs peeking out from under my pant cuffs.

Yay, socks! Yay, Matt!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Circle the Wagons

I'm back! Let there be rejoicing and... um. You know. Stuff.

I've kind of fallen off the wagon, these last few months, and fallen so hard I can barely even see the wagon any more as I sit, coughing, in the dust behind it. Which wagon?

Well... yes.

Blogging. Going to the gym. My morning exercise. My eating habits. Writing. Scrapbooking. Decluttering.

All of it fell through, either slowly over the last several months, or quickly in the face of other temptations. I could offer excuses (some more valid than others) or I could just acknowledge my failures and make some kind of plan for moving forward.

So. I'm back to blogging on work days, even if it's just a paragraph or two, or even just a picture. My writing blog needs a post at least weekly, too.

I'm back on the diet, more or less. (I'm currently attempting the "eat reasonably" plan rather than the "obsessively track every bite" one. We'll give it a couple of weeks and see if I'm making progress or if I really need the discipline of obsessively tracking.) I hauled myself out of bed at 6:08 this morning to let the Wii scold me for my neglect, and I intend to go to the gym at lunchtime.

I need to carve out some writing time, as well -- and use it as time to actually write, not just poke listlessly at an assortment of half-started ideas. I haven't figured that one out yet, but I'll get there.

But now... I'm back to work, and I have a meeting to go to. Have a picture from our New Year celebration, and click on it to go to my flickr page and see the rest of them.

Happy New Year! What wagons are you hoping to catch back up to this year?