My Home

My Home

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Running Around

I spent the morning yesterday just doing basic cleanup, then headed over to Mom and Dad's. Mom took me to get the truck from the shop, and followed me home. Then we went to a mall to eat and I went to Sears and got some tool boxes. Mom suggested we take them back to my place since they fit in her van, but wouldn't fit well in the Jeep which was back at their place. So, back here and the pain of trying to get something in the house that is too bulky to just pick up. I really need to get at least one of the doors set up so that it is easy to get in here. Then, back to their place where I tried again to load pictures on the digital picture frames I got them for Christmas. I was unsuccessful. They are set up to use a memory care I guess, and only threw in loading the internal memory on them as a joke. Home again, with the smaller of the frames with me. I'll try today.

I left the toolboxes boxed in the small hall in front of the washer and dryer inside the back door. I was able to barely slide by. I heard the housemate doing laundry in the middle of the night when he came in from work. I'm not sure how he managed to get to the washer or dryer. Today I'll finish putting them together and continue sorting tools. It is difficult for me, seeing the unsorted mess of tools and pulling things out. I thought that it would be a good feeling, but all I feel is shame that I let them get so unorganized and overwhelmed at all the STUFF I have. Nice stuff, that should have been taken better care of.

I forgot the cat food, and they are on the last bits, so I will need to go get that. Of course, I get stuff that I need a pet store to find, which is back up by the mall. And, it's a good thing that I froze the bananas that I want to make banana bread out of because I also forgot to stop and get eggs. I do have my home made bean soup, and home made bread. I did get that far.

I stayed up past midnight playing a solitaire game on the laptop. As a result I am getting a later start today. Onward and upward...

Friday, December 26, 2008

Now It Begins

I have no more excuses. My 'round tuit it sitting right there. All the things I 'need to get done' are laying before me with no excuse for not getting done. Even going to Springer for New Years, which is the Southern Terminus of the Appalachian Trail. The weather is supposed to be warm and clear. I have the gear to camp out overnight. No excuses.

I cruised the website that shows houses for sale in Tennessee. I looked in the price range I want for this place. I need to get to work here. A lot of work. While I go back and forth on the probability of being downsized on January 9, the fact of the matter is that I need to get to work on the decluttering and remodeling of this place. That was the entire reason I bought here. While I look at gardening sites on the internet and think I might put out a garden next summer, the reality is that I may not be able to afford to stay here. I need to get busy.

Mom will take me to pick up the Toyota from the shop today. The cost to get it inspection worthy is $1179.00. There is all of my squeak room. I maybe shouldn't have taken off these two weeks, and kept them to be paid if/when I am downsized. Then again, I wanted this time off. Of course, if I'm going to have all the time off in the world soon... I wish I knew for sure. I would make planning easier.

My life is a lot like the weather. If I don't like it, I just need to stick around awhile and it changes.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Another Year Older

Yesterday was my birthday. I decided I was going to celebrate my 30th one. I got a lot of mileage out of my 29th birthday, celebrating it for a good 10 years. Who says you are required to celebrate one that has anything to do with how many years I've been on this earth? I did do a journal entry yesterday. My spell check didn't work quite right, and in the process I lost the entire entry. I walked away and decided I wasn't supposed to post on my birthday.

Actually, I had intended on posting when I got home from my Birthday party at Nancye and Bill's place. But, it was after midnight, and while I was on the computer I wasn't in a mood think after driving an hour in the rain. I made it home just fine, though. The party was just the way I like, small and fun. We drank Gluewein and ate, laughed at Nancye as she cooked, then ate up the shrimp and rice dish she made. Did I mention I had fun?

Now I enter the season where I make resolutions, list goals, and generally ponder what direction my life is taking, and what corrections I feel I may need to make, and how to go about doing so. I have a large pot of pinto beans cooking, and they look like they are actually going to come out the way I like them, with bean soup liquor just ready for some more things to make it into a hearty soup. I'll divide most of it out into freezer containers (it started out as 2lbs. of beans!), and add veggies and such to a nice small pot of the rest. I will make bread - in the bread machine - and have a from scratch meal later. Oops, I'm heading to my parents' place for dinner tonight and to do Christmas, so tomorrow I'll have my bean soup.

The needles needed to make the socks have been acquired, and one is started. Not a lot done on it yet. I do like my new hat that I knitted, but forgot it when I went out yesterday. NotLarry, the housemate, helped me rebuild the vacuum that had smoked and stopped working. My long hair was the culprit as usual. It gets wrapped around the roller and in the bearings and such. He took command of the issue as soon as I mentioned it. I had just 'put it on the list' and was ignoring it. I am re-inspired to organize my tools, although I was able to come up with the necessary ones while he was working on the vacuum.

I should get moving now. Just general cleaning today, and an evening with the left over Gluewein and Lebkuchen (spiced red wine and gingerbread cookies), with the middle of the day spent with my parents. Not a bad schedule.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Lazy

I didn't get a whole lot done yesterday. I decided to start knitting again. I was so emotionally depleted on Friday from thinking all day that I would be called in and be 'downsized' that while passing time till dinner with Bill and Nancye I stopped in Hobby Lobby. That is my candy store. I actually find things there that I like. Anyway, I had decided a few weeks ago to learn to knit socks. I've always been intimidated by turning a heel to make a sock, even though I consider myself a fairly experienced knitter. So, I went to the yarn aisle to look for a book with detailed instructions. Which I found. I also found another $60 worth of awesome yarn. I got some bamboo yarn in 'camo' that is sooo soft. I got a couple colors of 'fisherman wool' to try making the socks, oh and I got a cheap skein of yarn to actually use while I'm learning. When I got home I discovered that the sock instructions take 5(!) double pointed needles, not the standard (I thought) 4 that I had in each size imaginable. Since I wanted to (for once) follow instructions exactly, I put the sock on hold and started a hat using circular needles I already have. I'm enjoying knitting again as I knew I would.

This desire to knit again was reinforced by a blog (isn't everything I do lately influenced by someone else's blog?) written by a proclaimed Luddite (look it up if you don't know what that is) who says that what is wrong with pretty much everything is that no one 'makes' anything anymore. The economy is all service or management jobs. No one produces, creates, fabricates or otherwise 'makes' anything anymore. In the spirit of starting where I am, I am now making a cap, and will make some socks once I get the set of needles. To reinforce his observation, WalMart only carries a token display of needles. I will have to go to an actual yarn shop. This makes my happy, really. I want to support the smaller shops. And, the $60 worth of yarn may have been a cheap(er) preventative move to keep me from getting even more cool yarn when I'm in a shop dedicated to wooing knitters and crafters with awesome displays.

This morning at almost 6am, there was a hard thud, the house shook, and there was a tinkling of something breaking. I got up, pulled on sweats and went to the back door. A smallish tree had come down and hit the house. It was dark, so I couldn't tell what broke. I headed into the bedroom and got some shoes to investigate, and when I sat down on the couch to put them on, saw in the dim light that my grandmother's antique clock had fallen off the mantle. That was the 'broken' sounds I heard. It fell on the whirligig that I got in Germany that is my only Christmas decoration this year. I couldn't deal with it, so I gently picked it up and looked for a flat place to set it. The only place that wasn't piled high was a kitchen counter. It's a couple hours later now, and while I'm dressed I still haven't gone outside to inspect the fallen tree to see if the house itself sustained damage. From a cursory inspection earlier, it looks like nothing happened to the house.

Which brings me to my tasks for today. Besides seeing if any yarn shops are open today, I will dig into the piles of stuff and sort, clean, and put away. I kinda left things pulled out from my last vacation when I sorted. Now it's time to get rid of and repack.

Oh, the Toyota got put into the shop yesterday to be brought up to speed so I can get it inspected and new plates on it by the end of the year. They will call me with an estimate on Monday. I did spend a few hours with my Mom, who came and got me at the shop, and we ate and shopped and ran around a bit. I guess that counts.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

VACATION!!!

This is the first day of my 2 week vacation. I made it. So far I'm enjoying it. It is a bit after 8:30am, and I have had my first cup of coffee, cruised several of the journals I read, taken a shower and cleaned up, and my second cup of coffee is brewing. I had thought a bit about doing some traveling now that I have the Jeep, driving no where in particular with my hiking/camping gear. However, other issues have intruded.

At 3pm on Thursday, a broadcast email from our Project Manager at work notified us all that there will be a mandated reduction in personnel on January 9. No other information. Anything after that is all speculation. This was not a total surprise. Upper level folk have been taking positions on other contracts for a couple of months now. There has been a migration of people to the positions supporting combat troops down range. None of these people have been replaced with new hires. The writing has been there.

I had decided that I would just ride this train till it ran out of track. For one thing, it's not like I have pressing opportunities elsewhere. I am undecided if I want to look for another contract in military support. Another year at my nice salary would make a huge difference in my ability to take off and do whatever I want for awhile, but I am more or less ok now. With the notice given at work I have decided to stay home and get the things done that have needed doing for awhile now. The good part of this is that I tend to get comfortable. It takes something like staring unemployment in the eye again to light that fire under my butt to get me moving.

For the moment now, I have a warm house, affectionate cats who have food, water, and a nice mechanical litterbox, and pretty much everything I need to be healthy and happy. I am moving from a position of strength, and I am grateful for that.

Monday, December 15, 2008

What Doesn't Work... Me

I am sick. I spent all weekend sick, with acid stomach and a bad headache. I finally felt better Sunday afternoon, and woke up this morning feeling well. You know, the feeling of wow, nothing hurts for the first time in a few days! Went to work, and about 9:30am a wave of nausea swept over me. Nothing I did helped, so I came home. I slept all afternoon. So, now I feel ok, not great. I can't take more time off this week without running out of leave for the time I'm taking off the next two weeks. So, here's hoping that I can make it through the next 4 days.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

It Just Works

I spend all week reading blogs. I keep thinking in the mornings that I'll blog about the day that evening, and at night I think I'll wait until I am thinking clearly the next morning. When reading blogs I find that a few of them have patterns, or types of posts that they do on certain days of the week. Thinks like favorite tidbits, or posting a recipe on a specific day of the week, or a craft project. I am not so organized to have recipes or crafts going to do that on a regular basis.

Thinking about posting on a specific topic clicked while I was making muffins last weekend, though. I was thinking about how much I really like the silicon muffin cups I got, especially the ones that have clown feet attached to the bottom so they stand up. I was thinking how much I like it when something Just Works. As the week went on I thought about things more when they Just Worked. So, I'll see how many of those things I can remember.

First, the above mentioned silicon muffin cups. I got a set of 4 with the feet (Silly Feet? I forget) because they were mentioned in sarbar's posts of making muffins while hiking. Cooking on a backpacking stove requires that there is space below the muffin cup for boiling water. The feet do this automatically. Bring an inch of water to boil in the pot, put batter in muffin cup, set feet in water, add lid and cook. Fresh bread, something that is difficult to come by on the trail. I also picked up a set of 6 regular silicone muffin cups (minus feet). I put them on a baking sheet, using only as many as I need. No worries about the muffin pan having too many cups for the amount of batter or too few, no need to grease. Works well. No more than I cook I still like to have equipment that does it job well.

Another thing that Just Works is the 4WD on the Jeep. I put the Jeep into 4WD as I pull into my driveway. I plow through the permanent mud puddle with ease and I can stop and get started again if I want on the rutted out climb up the hill. No one has ever been able to get going again up the hill if the stopped with 2WD. I requires backing down the hill and starting again. So, I drive my driveway with confidence. Of course, the housemate, the neighbors who share the flat part of the driveway, my Mom, and friends all still have 2WD cars, so fixing the driveway is still on the list. It is just nice to have the 4WD available to me with just the shift of the gears. I also didn't realize how I tense up when it spits snow in the morning as I head (north) to work 40 miles up the interstate. Knowing I have the 4WD made me feel so much better.

There are more, and hopefully I'll blog about them as I come across them from now on. It's good to talk about things that go right. Something that could go in the list, but I'm waiting to give full approval till its in full use, is the new litter box. Since I got the two cats, litter cleaning is a daily chore. Ok, maybe it should have been before. I always used standard kitty litter before. When Nancye brought these guys to me she also gave me a container of clumping cat litter. For some reason I just never wanted to use it with Bazil. However, the clumping litter does go in the Just Works category. The down fall is that with these two cats the litter box is totally full in one day. When I travel the housemate isn't here every day. There are parts of the time he is gone for 3 days at a time. This would not work with the current setup.

I looked around for a self-cleaning litter box. Yes, there are a couple of styles. At least 3. One is really fancey, with special litter granules and you hook it to a water supply and a drain and it 'flushes' the granules with special cleaner a couple of times a day. I considered it, but the reviews said that it takes a half hour to flush and dry and can smell to high heaven while it is blow dried. Hmmmm.

I ended up buying a Litter Robot. It is a large tumbler. You put litter in the bottom of the round tumbler that is on its side on a pedestal and 7 minutes after the cat leaves a deposit and exits the litter box it rotates and screens the litter and dumps the deposits into a drawer in the pedestal. The contraption actually works as advertised. (Oh, I paid over $300 for it, that's how desperate I am for a working solution) Getting the cats to use it was my worry. The good news is that it is being used now. I still have the original open litter box sitting there, but I don't clean it as often. I also have the Robot turned off and start the cleaning cycle when the cats aren't around. I want them used to it before they see it rotate and freak out. So far, though, there is progress and if it does work for these guys it will be worth the price tag to me.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Another HF Video

The guys over at HammockForums.net are really getting into the innovation, not just of hammocks, but of videos, too. Here is one of our other Clown Laureate innovators. By the Way, we have several 'Clowns' over there...

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Looney Bird

I hang out at HammockForums.net because I use a camping hammock rather than a tent. On that forum are a bunch of funny, intelligent and generally good folks. There is a lot of DIY (Do It Yourself) or MYOG (Make Your Own Gear) type posts, and some of the cottage industry guys making hammock and camping gear for sale hang there, too. One of the newer cottage industries, Warbonnet, came out with a new design of hammock called the Black Bird. I like it - of course I got one - and it is a hit with most of us who have them.

One of the guys there is, among other things, a comic performer. Below is his review of the Warbonnet Blackbird hammock. Watch and laugh:

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Back to Work

The first day back went ok. Around 2pm I wanted badly to take a nap. All I was doing was sitting in class monitoring one of the newer guys as he gets evaluated. It can be boring sitting in on yet another of the classes that I myself teach. However, I do have the freedom this time to get up and leave for a few minutes if I just can't sit still. Several of the guys at work have volunteered to go downrange (Iraq or Afghanistan) as support people for our software. It is really good money for a year. These guys are mostly retired Army, so they are used to being deployed away from home so it's not quite the same as a family man who has never been gone for long stepping up to do this. The dynamics at work are changing, though, and it's difficult to see far ahead.

I may be going back to Germany in January. We would go in support of another team. Not sure how that works, if we two teams work independently, or if our team works mostly under the other team lead's direction. I will feel much more comfortable this time around. I need to study German road signs, and maybe some of the language in general.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving

I spent the afternoon at my parents' house. Last time I was there my Dad, who had been so excited that I was actually buying a new vehicle, was too weak to get into his electric scooter and go out to see the Jeep. Mom had said that since then he has just sat in his chair and slept except for eating. I figured that this was the final slide down. Today he was dressed and was excited to go out to see the Jeep finally. He is still weak, and his voice is soft and horse. But, today at least he was alert and seemed to enjoy the visit and meal that Mom cooked.

This morning I had a lazy time surfing the internet. I had noticed those maps that track where visitors are from on a lot of blogs, and I clicked a link. That explains why I now have a map on my blogs. I have 2 blogs that are identical. I have them for different reasons, and while I keep thinking I should drop at least one of them I keep using both. One is the link I tend to give out, and the other is to have an ID to post comments on others' sites. The map is only tracking one of the blogs I think, even though it is on both. If I find another map service that will let me have another map I'll give each blog it's own. The terms of service for this free map only allow one per person.

I am making progress slowly. I have enjoyed this week at home a lot. I needed the time to just sit and think.

Map


Visitor Map
Create your own visitor map!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Things I DID do

I was reading a new blog, and one of her rants was that folks spend waaay too much time bemoaning what they don't get done and not enough time and energy celebrating what they DO get done. Point made. This will be about what I have done the past couple of days.

I did buy the Jeep. It wasn't quite as smooth a process as I had hoped. For one thing, the salesman implied that the Jeep would be waiting for me when I got there even though it was from another dealer 'down the road'. Turns out, after Mom came and got me and we went all the way to Gallatin (should have read the address better...) that it was in Georgia and I had to sign the paperwork before they could get it sent up here. I could have done that the night before without bothering Mom. sigh. Well, paperwork signed, he called to get the Jeep, and it was already sold. I sat there. This was his problem to work out. He wandered by a few times asking about differnt color Jeeps, and yellow was the only one I turned down. He called and finangled. Finally, I ended up with a white Jeep. I think that the dealership didn't make as much money as the original one would have gotten them, but he kept to his original price quoted me. I got an ok deal, and drove the Jeep home that night after all.

I went running around Saturday getting more comfortable driving the Jeep. It's a 6 speed manual shift, and with 6 gears instead of 5 it shifts in odd places. Also, reverse has been interesting to find on a routine basis. I wanted a road trip, so called Nancye and invited myself up to their place to show off my new toy. For my efforts Nancye treated me to supper of home made vegetable soup. She called it 'simple' in that she apparently didn't spice it up as much as usual, but it really hit the spot for me. I don't get home made stuff much. More on that later...

Yesterday the weather looked to be the best it will be while I'm off work this week, so I got up early and headed over to the Great Smokey Mountains National Park to do a day hike. This was a tradition at one time that I did on Christmas Day. The weather had a habit of turning cold and snowing about then, and since I didn't have 4WD on my truck I couldn't get up to the trail head a few times. Now that I have a truck with 4WD, I took off. I got to the trail head a little after noon. There was snow, and I shifted into 4WD at one point, more just because I could than that I needed it. I realized just before Knoxville on the way over that I had forgotten my hiking poles, and had thought about getting some at a WalMart, but didn't take the time to stop. As I was walking to the trail from the parking lot I tripped over the curb in the snow and fell. I had enough padding on that it didn't hurt, except for my left hand, which I came down hard on. It didn't feel broken, but did hurt. I nursed it as I went up the trail.

I could tell immediately that I am way out of shape. My hiking boots didn't get much traction in the places that had hard-packed snow. I stopped every few minutes to rest, nurse my hand, moan and groan, and then give thanks that I was alone so that I could be as pitiful as I wanted and no one else needed to be inconvenienced. There was a lot of people on the trail, including small children. This wasn't some hard-core adventure experience. I decided that I'd hike an hour and take stock. I made it 45 minutes. Besides my hand, my lower GI was starting to cramp up and I was not having fun. I headed back down.

I made it to the Visitor's Center before the stomach cramps put me in an embarrassing situation, but just barely. I was in the restroom for quite a while. Feeling better, back at the truck I ate the other half of my sandwich I'd bought at the gas station on the way over, opened the gorp, and pulled out the water bottle I'd been drinking from. I decided to head to Cade's Cove since I haven't been there in about 10 years. After about a half hour, when I wasn't there yet, I turned around and decided that I was ready to head home after all. Just as I got back to the Visitor's Center, my cramps started again, and I rushed to the restroom. After that, I decided no more food until I was home to my own bathroom.

This morning, I slept in. I'm taking the week off from work, so I'm enjoying it. I am sore. Now my entire left arm is sore, which makes sense since I did come down hard on the entire arm. The soreness in my hand and arm don't keep me from doing anything, and I can obviously type just fine. I'm thinking that some Alieve will make this all better soon. Now to get back to working on the house. And, I will start taking better care of myself. Including cooking here at home. And getting out for more walks.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Vacation

I took today off work, and all of next week. I don't really have plans to go anywhere, I'm going to get stuff done around the house. I am having a bit of a lazy day so far. I slept in till 8am. I have started a bit to clear out the master bedroom of junk so I can eventually get started working on the drywall in there. I am down to large piles of tools and stuff, and large piles of luggage. I have both a tool fetish and a luggage fetish. It shows.

I need to get out of my sweats and into clothes and go down to the storage sheds. The first real order of business is to clean out and organize the storage shed, then start moving things I don't use regularly either down there or out of the house. That is the overall plan for this week.

Oh, I bought a Jeep Wrangler yesterday. At least, I did everything but look at it and sign the paperwork. I put in a bid for what I wanted on the internet to a local dealer, talked with a salesman on the phone to find the one that met my needs and price, and got approved for the financing. This afternoon Mom will come over and give me a ride to pick it up. I'm sure I'll have loads more to say about it later today.

Now, off to get dressed and venture out into the chilly world to clear out that shed.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Testing

Here's a fun video, to test embedding a video here.



If preview is correct, I succeeded. Enjoying this video is my ecology side showing.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Crossroads

Tonight I passed a crossroads in my life. Probably a small one in the grand scheme of things. Maybe not small. Only time will tell that. However, after making the decision, I felt a need to get some insight from someone who has known me long enough to give me a long range reflection. I called a good woman friend who has been extremely close to me in the past, who I've known for at least 25 years. She was in bed asleep, but her live-together boyfriend of the past 20 some years answered. I told him "I need someone to tell me I'm a selfish bitch, and who better than you?" He laughed, and quite willingly told me I'm a selfish bitch. Why no one better than him? He's my x-husband.

We talked about my situation, which was a relationship I just walked away from. He rather amazingly, or maybe not so amazingly all things considered, gave me some excellent things to think about. Nothing that really changed my mind, but some of the insight I needed. It reminded me why so long ago I had married him. I've never been sorry I married him, and I've also never been terribly sorry we divorced 2 years later. After some time to let the negative emotions die down, and when he started dating JoEllen who was a good friend of mine already, he and I got back to being friends. Friends is what we did best all along anyway.

So, on a night when I'm a bit pensive about yet again not making a relationship work I also am sitting in amazement about that other one that works so well even 30 years or so after that first night we sat talking over pizza and beer.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veteran's Day

Today is Veteran's Day. Since I work for a Military contractor, and most of my co-workers are former Military, I'm assuming that most will take today as a holiday. It was taken off the list of our days off this year, something that I found interesting. Instead we get 2 floating holidays to replace Veteran's Day and I think MLK Day. I guess you can choose to support the holiday you value.

I sought out this type of work because I felt that I should give something back. I was seeing so many people in the edges of my life who were either being deployed or had relatives or friends or someone who was being sent to war. The experience has given me even more mixed feelings about the way the Military handles people, and teaches people to treat each other.

I still have, and even more so now, the utmost respect for people who are serving, or have served in any branch of the Military. And today I say thank you.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Heaven

The cats are wonderful. Nancye brought them here last night. After a time to adjust in my large master bathroom, where I have the litterbox and their food, and after I saw them use the litterbox, they got free rein of the house. They have settled in well. They are inquisitive, but respectful. They slept with me most of the night in the waterbed, but haven't jumped into my lap yet like Bazil used to. One is very affectionate and one is the watch-cat for the domicile. They tend to be close together, and usually in the same room as me. So far, no obvious bad habits. Their poo does stink badly, but I hope that as they change over to the Science Diet food that will mellow some.

After the experience with Perl, I was nervous about how new cats would acclimate, but these guys were at home in an hour. Nancye took pictures of the cats, and me with the cats, this morning. When she sends me a picture I'll post it here to introduce them. They came to me as Ce Ce, a muted orange tabby, and Boots, a black and white who could be a younger brother to Bazil. I am pretty sure I'll change Boots to Mikki. Or maybe Miki. Hmmmm, I like the looks of Miki, so I'm thinking that they are now Ce Ce and Miki.

I have slept all day. I'm sure work tomorrow will be a bit of a chore, trying to stay awake. I will only finally make the time switch if I do, though. Not expecting to get a lot done this week while I get my sleep habits changed back around.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

I'm Home

I walked in the door around 6:30pm yesterday. I was in bed by 7:30. I did get up around 4:30am this morning, though. Right now, at 12:30, I'm ready to head back for a nap. Re-entry from a time zone +7 hours is going ok.

I called Nancye from Cincy while waiting for the flight from there which was my last leg home. She was driving home from Louisville. She immediately asked if I wanted 2 cats. Her sister had to go back into the hospital, and it was decided that her cats needed to find a new place to live. I immediately said yes. Even though I had decided, yet again, that I shouldn't get another pet right now. I had sat there and thought about how I was going home to an empty house. My conversations tended to include the phrase 'I don't even have to worry about what the cat thinks of (whatever plan I was talking about) now'. The empty house emotions won out, and I agreed to take the 2 14mo male cats. Neutered, declawed, inside cats. Nancye is on her way back to Louisville to get them for me today. She will be here this evening, probably.

I'm glad Nancye will be here tonight (if she does make it). I can show her the stuff I got in Germany. And, I can catch up on what has gone on while I was gone. And I can get to know my 2 new buddies. Oh, and I can show her my new Warbonnet Blackbird hammock. We will probably even put it up. I'm excited about the hammock, too.

Now, I'm going to take a nap.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

One day and a Wake Up

I packed tonight after work. Tomorrow we work a half day, then go running around just for fun. THEN WE GO HOME!!! I have enjoyed this trip. I will be glad to get home. Not really contradictory sentiments. At least to me.

Brenda, the woman here from Michigan, sat with us at dinner. She and I talked more later. I wish we had gotten more time together while I was here. It always happens at the end, people open up and do and say the things that would have improved the time had it all started earlier. She has her blog over at TravelPod. The link to her post about Bad Windsheim is here:
http://www.travelpod.com/travel-blog-entries/kitchenshrink/vicenza-2007/1224872460/tpod.html
She will most likely post more about the hotel. She does this all more justice than I have.

I loaded my pictures to my photobucket journal. I'll post the link when I get more of the pictures labeled. I also need some tutoring on how to post pictures here and not have them be so big. /me looks towards oddball and dagmar.

There is more to write, but I'm heading to bed instead. I have no great words about the election, or our new president-elect. I'm just glad the election is over and I won't have to hear much about it for another 3.5 years.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Ghosts?

Since we've been here a couple of the guys have heard noises in the night. Some nights worse than others. Last night was especially bad, waking them up from a dead sleep. They are in adjacent rooms, and neither of them could locate where the noise was coming from. It was described as moving furniture, creaks, and the most descriptive was a boomp-splish Jimmie used to describe it. After major discussion of it during breakfast, the hotel staff went searching. This hotel is an award winning restaurant. We dine on chef prepared specialties every evening. Carp is on the menu. It turns out that they keep them in a tank, a large, water-filled tank. Right below Jimmie and Travis' rooms. At night the carp jump up, hit the lid of the tank and fall back into the water. Apparently last night the chef left the window open to the room where the tank is, making the noise even louder. We were shown the source of the noise after dinner tonight. I'm guessing that when they get a new shipment is when the carp are loudest. At any rate, ghosts have now been eliminated as the problem.

Things are winding down. Not a lot to talk about. I am ready to head home. I will miss the food in a way. It will be good to get back to my own truck, and being able to come and go as I wish. Also, it will be nice to pick up a paper, or read a billboard and now what the heck it says.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I almost forgot

Mike, Charlie, other Indy folks: How did you enjoy the football game last night?

Ok, I don't follow football. Except when someone tells me we (Tennessee Titans) beat the Indianapolis Colts. Which we did last night.

smooches...

Wine with Dinner

The Merlot here is wonderful. This is your warning that I am again drunk.

At 8pm one of the churches here rings their bells for maybe a full minute. On Sunday morning at (maybe?) 9am or so (I forget...) one church started ringing, then about 10 seconds later a second church bell joined in. They both rang together for awhile, then the first one stopped, letting the second one finish alone for the 10 seconds they were off. I grew up in a small town that had a church, the one I attended, that rang it's bells to chime the time. I also worked at Indiana University, and the belltower there rang the quarter, half, and the time on the hour. It is funny that I realize while here how much I have missed hearing church bells.

Another way I know I am in Germany, or at least not at home in Tennessee: I went on Sunday to the open air museum as I mentioned. Before paying to go in, there was a building that had food signs outside. I wanted a cup of coffee, so I went inside. As usual I said I didn't speak German, and the woman understood basic English. My coffee came in a china cup with saucer. There was no place to sit down inside, so I said I'd sit outside on the bench. Not sure what the true protocol was, but I think I was not where I was supposed to be, maybe the employee break area? Anyway, she was polite about selling me the cup of coffee. Here, buying a cup of coffee is just that, once cup of coffee and no refills. And almost always in a china cup with saucer. So, while sitting outside in the sun on a Sunday morning drinking my cup of coffee, two men ride up on bicycles. One was at least my age, and in the US would have driven up in his newish SUV from the way he was dressed. But here he rode up on a modest bicycle and talked to the others on the benches as he parked his bike (in German, so I couldn't follow the conversation). Also there was an obviously spoiled small dog who wandered in and out of the door of the place selling food. One of the guys who rode up walked out with a very large bottle of beer. At a museum. On a Sunday morning. While in the museum, at one of the demonstrations of some kind of steam something or other (don't speak German or read it so have no idea what the demonstration was about) I noticed that the person giving the talk had his own large bottle of beer sitting near by.

My biggest frustration here continues to be my inability to read. It was especially frustrating at the museum. The English language guidebook I bought was out of date, and the buildings had apparently been renumbered so that most of it didn't go with where I thought I was at the time.

So far the German people have been very patient, tolerant, helpful and friendly. Usually someone around speaks English to some degree. My needs are simple, usually beginning and ending with 'Koffee?'

Sunday, October 26, 2008

I'm still here

It's now Sunday evening. I'll catch up with what I did this weekend in Germany. Saturday morning I slept in till around 9am, then went down for breakfast. I was afraid that I'd miss my one chance per day to have more or less unlimited coffee. I found the gang, and it was decided that after breakfast we would drive over to the next town, Rothenburg. It has a medieval village that at least 2 people had recommended we make time to visit. So, around 11am we met at the van and headed over.

We spent the day touring the village. I took lots of pictures. I even climbed the town tower. My legs about gave out on the way up. There is no way this would be allowed in the States, the climb out to the walkway was tight even for me. After lunch I went back to a shop I'd seen earlier and spent a lot of money getting period clothing. I even got a long dress with draping sleeves. I also got a couple of period shirts, one black and one white with a black vest. I got some other things at other shops, including the required beer steins. The next order of business was to go over to post and do laundry at a time when the laundromat would be empty. We planned well, as we were the only ones there. I guess no one else wanted to spend Saturday evening there.

This morning I started talking to a woman at breakfast who obviously spoke English when ordering. Turns out she is from Detroit, MI, and is here working on base for a few months as a civilian. After eating, I came up to the room and fooled around on the internet for awhile. Then I put on my hiking boots and went down to go for a walk. Jimmie and Mark were signing in for their rooms, so now the entire team is here. The guys wanted to head over to post, so I asked for directions from the staff here on where to walk. I was directed to the local outdoor museaum. I spent the entire day walking around it. It is over 100 buildings, mostly dwellings, that cover examples from the middle ages forward of typical homesteads from this area. I took lots of pictures.

I came back to the room, and took a nap. Then we met for supper downstairs, where I had a large dark beer with my food. I am looking forward to a hot shower and my soft bed.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Day 6

I'm not quite as tired tonight, but I don't have energy for a full report. Saturday I will catch up with everything. Nothing is really happening except the class I'm teaching, which is going well.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Day 5

I'm really, really tired tonight. Teaching all day has me whipped. Everything is going fine, I'm just not talktative. I'll write more either tomorrow, or worst case this weekend after I'm finished teaching.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Day 3

Today was definitely a work day. We checked out of the first hotel this morning after eating breakfast. Since the unit wasn't in till 9am we wandered around the post for a bit looking for coffee. On post they take US dollars. That was an issue for me the first day because I had packed away my US money. Today I was up on it, and was able to pay for the coffee and lunch later.

We worked late this evening to get the classroom computers all imaged for all three of the other classrooms. The publications - the booklets that follow our slide shows when we teach - are now in Frankfurt (Frankfort? I'm again drunk and don't remember...) and tomorrow the guys will drive over there to pick them up. This will take most of the day for them (and that would be if they knew where they were going in the first place...), and the rest of the classes start the next day. Hopefully they will get back in time tomorrow afternoon to finish setting up the other 3 classrooms. I start teaching my class tomorrow morning. I am all set up. It will be interesting to see if teaching an active duty unit is any different than the National Guard units I've had so far.

It was almost dark and starting to rain when we finally checked into the new hotel. It is very different than the first one. In some ways it is probably much more typicaly German. There is no elevator, and the rooms are on the second floor. The one guy who speaks very good English carried my heaviest bag up the stairs for me. He wanted to talk politics, mentioning that we would be away for our elections while on this trip, and who did I expect to win. He mentioned Mrs. Palin, saying that the German people find her comments 'interesting'. I muttered something to the effect that she is embarrassing. I didn't have euros handy to tip with and I hope I didn't offend him by not tipping. Roy and Travis brought my other 2 bags in from the van because it was starting to rain harder and they didn't want to wait on me to get back, getting wetter in the process. I managed to carry the second heaviest up the stairs, and Roy carried my rollaway up for me.

I will miss the restaurant at the other hotel. The guys like it here better. This is more common German cooking, I think. The waitress had to get a translation book to help us figure out the menu. I missed the small book that listed 4 courses, with only a choice between 2 main courses that the other place had. Here we have a set amount to 'spend' at dinner, which wasn't difficult to stay within. However, the food lacked the subtlety of the light sauces and such that the other hotel had. Oh, well. The first hotel was much more upscale in pretty much all ways, but this one is still very much above my usual fare in most ways. I do like the shower here better. No fridge in the room here like we had in the other hotel, but the closet is very large.

The inability to understand basic signage and such is beginning to wear on me. Constantly hoping that the locals will speak my language, and being basically helpless if they don't is also tiring. Being wary of driving is hard for me, not knowing basic road signage (like that some of the streets are one-way), and not being sure what foods are that are set in front of me at restaurants is also difficult. I think after 3 weeks I'll be ready for home.

I stuck to drinking beer tonight instead of wine. I'm still looped, but not quite so badly as the past 2 nights. Since I teach tomorrow I need to unpack now and try to smooth the wrinkles out of my dress clothes. Roy asked to 'borrow' an iron at the front desk after dinner and was informed 'tomorrow, the iron is already loaned out tonight'. Sigh.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Day 3

Once again I'm completely stuffed with an awesome dinner and half drunk from the wine. If anyone on the team goes hungry while here it is their own fault. Dinner is not to be rushed. It is at least a 2 hour affair. There have been 4 courses, and having several drinks sitting there is common. Water is ordered 'with gas or without?'. I prefer without gas. Marketing isn't big in the translations. I believe 'lukewarm slices of calve knuckle' was one on the menu last night - which I didn't order.

Today has continued my learning. I decided to use the public restroom here in the hotel after breakfast rather than come back to my room. I figured out the WC on the universal sign for male/female restrooms pointing down some stairs. When presented with either an 'H' or a 'D' door I had not a clue and had to ask. Turns out I am a 'D'. The flush mechanism so far has been a button. First push starts the flush, and sometimes a second stops the water. The faucet on post was the same, push to start the water and push again to turn it off. The toilets here at the hotel have a small button on top of the tank to flush. The ones on post have a large square plastic one on the wall behind the commode. It's the little things that give me pause here.

The time change caught up with me big time today. A bit before lunch I went on auto pilot, and while the lights stayed on, there wasn't really anyone home after that. I slept well last night, and most likely will again tonight. This hotel has been absolutely wonderful. The rooms are comfortable (if unusual in the details), and the food has been delightful. Service is above and beyond anything I've had in the States. We check out of here tomorrow morning and move to a different hotel in town. It will be interesting to see the differences.

I asked for and received a 'tour' of the wine cellar after dinner tonight. It was a single room, all stone. I asked the age of the building, and was told 600 years old, I believe.

Tomorrow starts the serious getting ready for class. The guys may need to drive up and get our publications, leaving me in charge of a detail of soldiers to move the equipment to the classrooms and start the imaging. Being in charge of soldiers sounds fun. The imaging not so much.

Time to float my wine soaked body off to bed.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

I'm here

The flight wasn't as bad as it could well have been. I didn't sleep, but there wasn't anything annoying going on the entire night. We pushed back to leave as the sun was setting in Cincy. The novelty of the large plane, and getting settled, and then the drinks, then the dinner service, cleanup and such took me to the start of the first mediocre movie. I have no desire to actually start watching movies after the two I 'watched' during the flight. In these days of paying for every little thing, I have to say I was impressed with this Delta flight. There was a pillow and blanket (wrapped in plastic) on my seat, they came around and handed out free ear plugs, cheap headphones to listen to the videos, and eye masks to get some sleep. Dinner was, well, food, and beverages were offered often enough that I didn't break into the bottled water I bought and brought on board.

We got into Frankfurt, Germany an hour before my itinerary said we would, around 9am. Gathering up with Roy and Travis put us back at the end of the line to get our passports stamped (no line at that point), and although there was a bit of a wait to get luggage, there was no inspections at customs. Roy got the rental car quickly - they have Avis, Hertz, Budget all lined up outside of baggage claim just like in the US - and we got the car. There was some delay as Roy figured out the diesel minivan. Then came the fun of trying to figure out the German road system. We had maps that our travel person, Amy, had emailed us. However, reality and the maps weren't even acquainted. We figured out what city we were headed more or less towards. After 3 loops of the airport interchanges (the guys said it's 2.2 cause we did a U-turn not once, but twice in the process) we headed out. During all of this I was giggling uncontrollably in the back seat. I was almost put out on the curb, since my giggling wasn't helping the guys keep what little composure they still had while trying to decipher the German road signs.

I collapsed into fitful napping while the guys got us to Bad Windsheim, where we are staying. We had to stop and ask directions, since the guys didn't like my suggestion - after consulting the map - that we needed to head into the maze of unmarked (on the map anyway) cobblestone paths towards the center of town. At my urging we stopped at a gas station after I assured Roy that the guys in Clarksville has told me 'everyone' here speaks English. Welllll.... that's apparently not quite true, but some guy took pity on us and lead us into the cobblestone maze to the hotel.

At this point, I am sitting here after a wonderful and very filling dinner. Roy and I spent about an hour wandering on foot to figure out how to get out and back in to the hotel tomorrow. I managed to get some euros, and have been way over tipping because it's easier for me right now to round up to the nearest 5 euro. A brief nap, then the wonderful dinner with an excellent wine. I've had only cat naps in the last 30 or so hours, and now about half a bottle of wine. I've spent 15 of the 50 euros that cost me $69 from the ATM machine next door (just logged into my account to check the cost) on pie and coffee earlier, and the wine and a bottle of water with dinner.

Next up is to figure out how to call my parents, post this, email some others, then shower and totally collapse.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Day 1 - Traveling

Nashville, TN 12:55pm

I made it to the airport, through security and have had a sit down lunch at a restaurant here in the airport. Loading for the flight to Cincy should start in about 10 or 15 minutes. I just decided that I really like this smaller laptop for just sitting around the airport. I'll have a 4 hour layover in Cincy, so I'm glad I'm still where my wireless internet card works. It won't work in Germany.

This has been a beautiful fall day here in Nashville. I was running around in a tshirt. I did grab my chambray shirt to wear over that for the trip since I think that where we are going will be cooler. I also have plenty of coats and sweaters with me. I was all packed, loaded, and wandering around the house even before I had planned to leave. Again, I would have enjoyed just staying at home today. I'm learning that I feel that way every time I'm getting ready to head out.

Well, there is activity starting around the gate, so I'm going to pack up and get ready.

Cincinnati 6pm EDT

I made it here, and have had a good time wandering around the stores along the concourse. I have been good and not spent any money, except way too much for food. I have a confirmed seat for the flight to Frankfort, Germany. Until a few minutes ago I had a 'seat request'. This is going to be a full flight, so I'm glad I was here when the gate agent opened up. I also have 2 bottles of water, and a sandwich to take on the plane. That way I hopefully won't get cranky waiting for the attendants to make their food/beverage runs. Roy and Travis are here now, back in the bar watching the football game. So far, so good on the trip. I'm having fun, and really starting to look forward to the next 3 weeks.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Germany, Here I Come

I am 90% packed at this point. My plane leave the airport at 1:30 pm tomorrow. I need to leave the house around 11 am or so. I figure I can stuff the last odds and ends into the luggage, and clean house, and load the truck and still have time to drink a few cups of coffee here at the house before leaving.

I am finally getting a bit excited. I guess it just hasn't been real to me till now. It still just seems like a normal fielding at this point, other than the fact that I'm leaving on a Saturday. I figure about 4 hours into the flight, when I'm almost half way, is when I'll start realizing how far away from home I'm traveling. That, and the fact that English will no longer be the primary language.

I'm really tired from all the planning and packing and lugging the stuff around. I'll sleep well tonight. I'm leaving a few things mid-plan here in town. I am narrowing down the kind of car I will probably buy. I found a 3 wheeled scooter I want to look at (probably won't get it...) as a possibility instead of a car. If I really like it but it seems impractical as primary transportation, I may get it along with a car. Things to ponder that I can't do anything about for 3 weeks.

As I've said, I am really making a pledge to update this journal on a daily basis while I'm gone. I'm not sure how quickly I'll get here once I'm in Germany, but once situated there is no reason not to post.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Pre Trip

In less than 48 hours I will be in the air on a plane on my way to Germany for 3 weeks with work. I am sitting here at home now, some things laid out to pack, pondering why I am not motivated to finish preparations. It occurred to me this afternoon that I should make myself blog every day of the trip as a test to see if I will keep up a trip journal when I am on the trail. At this point I can't say that I'm not doing anything to write about. Or rather, I should hope that spending 3 weeks in Germany will give me things I want to write about.

At the moment I would rather just crawl into the waterbed and nap. However, the only thing on my list for tonight is to sort out what I'm taking with me, and put it into the luggage. I'm taking a half day off tomorrow, but I want that time to spend around the house doing all those last minute things that I always end up trying to do while looking at my watch knowing that I need to get into the truck and head to the airport.

The good thing this time, well one thing among many, is that the house is pretty clean. I cleaned because Shiloh was here last weekend. Just a few minor things to do, and I can leave with a clear conscious this time. The housemate took his cat home. Perl just never really felt at home here. The housemate asked me how long I thought 'we' would be here, and that 'we' should just get a kitten for this house. I'm thinking that I do want another cat. When I home again I'll start looking into adopting another cat.

Well, no time like the present to start this packing...

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Off the Wagon

So, three days in a row, then 2 weeks till I post again. Consistency isn't a virtue of mine. I now have my new schedule for work. I leave for Germany in 2 weeks. I have mixed feelings about it. It will all be new this time, as I've never really been out of the country and I've not fielded an active duty Army unit. I keep telling myself that the National Guard units were a new thing for me when I started, and that I'll do fine. I'll also be traveling with the guys I know. In some ways I think it might be easier to travel alone, though. I only would have myself to keep track of, and my own expectations to meet. With the group I need to blend in somewhat, and I don't do that well.

I have been cleaning house. Shiloh is due here next weekend, and I've invited folks to come over to talk 'trail' with him. The place will be a total disaster again, but I have to start somewhere. I cleaned out a corner of the bathroom yesterday, and I'm working my way through stacks of paper in the living room. The kitchen is still somewhat clean, just need to mop the floor.

I'm going back to lists, like I did back in my FlyLady days. I also resurrected my filing system from Getting Things Done. Between the two, maybe I'll feel more in control.

Perl the cat still hates me. I'll give it awhile longer. After I get back from Germany we'll see if she will make up with me. I have too much else going on till I leave to concentrate on that issue for now. Housemate says she's fine when he's here. She just won't come anywhere near my end of the house. At least she's eating and drinking now.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

3 in a row

This is my third day in a row posting. Wow, I wasn't even trying for every day this time!

The hidden cat has been found. After the housemate brought Perl here to live temporarily, she disappeared. Neither of us could find her. I didn't think much when she didn't come out for me, but when she didn't show up for the housemate, I got concerned. Tonight I found her. When disturbed, she ran to the housemate's bedroom. I put a can of tuna (packed in water) out for her on his recommendation. I figure the tuna water will help if she's dehydrated. I also suggested he move her food and water down to his end of the house. Yes, I want her to come spend time in my lap, but I want her to feel safe first and foremost. She's petrified now. She doesn't have her friends (2 other cats, 3 dogs, 2 teenagers, etc.) here, and it's a strange place.

Bad day at work. I really, really hope that I get scheduled to go out again soon. While in the office I am trying to get my fellow IT folks to rally together and study for the Security+ certification. Not that I personally want it more than any other, but others do. It will count as a test for my MCSE if I end up upgrading my out-dated certs, so it's all good. Hopefully tomorrow I'll start finding resources to study. The boss has expressed that the company will reimburse for the test and maybe class/study materials. I just need to figure out my course, and what will motivate the others to join me and in so doing motivate me to actually finish.

My Dad is having a minor health issue, and Mom has another specialist doctor appointment tomorrow. It's a slow decline for both of them, and not much I can do to help. My Dad is in basically good health, just declining strength at 89 years old. Mom has several chronic health problems, but she can still get around and is also take care of my Dad so far. I just wait for the phone call that says something has happened.

Monday, September 15, 2008

A New Week

I got stuff done yesterday. My bedroom is back being a bedroom. Clean sheets on the bed, stuff pulled out of the corners, new pillows. The kitchen was clean, it has a few dirty dishes now that I'll clean up tonight. The laundry room floor, which was filthy, is now clean. Ironing done. I don't have to teach every day this week as I did last week. Hopefully I can get some more things done here in the evenings.

There is a borrowed cat here now named Perl. She is residing under the housemate's bed at the moment. He says that it will take her a couple of days to venture out for attention from me. She seems to be a nice, well-fed grey and white cat.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Lost Focus

It is really hitting me this morning how much I have lost my focus on what I want from this life. I lost it awhile ago. The hike has helped reel my attention back in towards what I want, but it is only one step. Ok, many actual steps once I start it, but in the grand scheme of things, it isn't the end product.

For some reason, cruising my blogs this morning I again clicked on one I hadn't read in quite awhile. Don't even remember when or why I clicked it. But something in it reminded me that I used to have an idea, not quite a plan. Since I have been at this job making the 'professional' money again, I haven't been terribly frugal. I didn't need to, I was still paying down the debt and enjoying myself and filling the holes that having no money for a few years had created. The sudden cost of the cat's illness started a domino effect on my finances, and I hadn't pulled in my spending quick enough. There are some repercussions, mostly in a lack of cushion fund right now. Instead of feeling deprived right now, I'm wondering where that pride I used to have with being able to do what I want on a low budget went. Anyone can plop down money. It takes creativity and some skill to go out and do cool things and not spend a lot.

This is also part of the 'when did I check my intellect at the door, and where the heck is that door that I left it?' feelings I'm getting when I read cool stuff and remember that at one time I would have already known that stuff exists. So, now that I have finally woken up again. What's next?

At the moment I'm a bit overwhelmed at how far off track I am. So, I'm at the 'one thing at a time' point. It's a 12-step thing, just keep doing the next right thing. Fly Lady (FlyLady.net, if it still is there) said she once cleaned out an entire room of junk by just dealing with one item a day.

And, I need to balance reading the blogs with actually doing things here in real life that I can write about in my own blog.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Various

First, a small rant. I went to WhiteBlaze.net, the hiking message board site, and scanned the topics being discuss as I usually do. Someone (who shall remain nameless, although he seems to think his purpose in life is to point out how stupid the rest of us are) said it is 9/11, did no one remember? Some others dutifully started talking about where they were and how it affected them when the buildings went down and neighbors/friends died. That part was interesting. However, apparently not enough folks posted, because there was a refrain in the thread about how it seemed that not many really cared. As if, only by posting on their thread on that message board could someone show any patriotism or remembrance. I read the thread. Yes, I knew what day it was and what happened 7 years ago. I didn't post, though, so I evidently didn't 'care'. Sigh. Guess I'm not one of the cool kids yet again.

Now, for something I read that I found kind of neat. I read various blogs on many different subjects. Sometimes I don't follow all the reasonings through lack of knowledge in that area or lack of caring (politics comes to mind here), but I do find individuals expressing themselves about something they care about usually has something interesting in there somewhere. Tonight I was wondering among some of the blogs that I bookmarked and haven't followed after first finding them. In one blog that has environmental issues as it's theme was a reference to a study done on "structures of participation". The study was done in an art museum, and showed the difference between having information about an exhibit either in text on a wall, audio in private headphones, or delivered via an activated loudspeaker increased or decreased interaction between individuals viewing the exhibit. The first two methods fostered little to no interaction among individuals in front of the exhibit, the last via the loudspeaker fostered longer interactions as the number of people listening increased. I like it that someone cares enough to worry about this type of thing. Actually design an interactive situation to increase involvement among the people involved. What a concept.

On a related note, I REALLY, REALLY need to get back into something, or some things, that make me think, take me beyond my day to day life. This is a really bad week at work. Gotta find something to light my fire mentally to remind me in an on-going manner that the world is truly big, awesome, interesting, and a generally cool place to hang out.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Wow

Sometimes we don't see what is right in front of us. I have been bored, unhappy, jaded. I was cruising my list of blogs that I watch and on Gary's blog at:

http://withinsight.blogspot.com/

He has a video from Ted Talks. It is truly amazing. A link to the video, and the lecturer who gave the talk is here:

http://technorati.com/videos/youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DhVimVzgtD6w

This guy is an amazing lecturer. He has amazing presentation software. I actually enjoyed and was excited about what is usually a dry and uninteresting topic that I would normally only listen to out of guilt. There is cools stuff out there. The world is larger than a boss who hates me, a house that always is messy and needs work, finances that are never quite enough money to feel comfortable about the future. There is cool stuff out there.

Ok, as a computer geek I was way impressed with the visuals. The ability to make the topic exciting was what amazed me. I may end up learning more about our world than I would have before just to listen to this guy and watch his presentations. The site that showcased this lecture is:

http://tedtalks.com/

Edited: I put the link to the entire lecture, I think the first one I listed was only the first third of it. It should be 20 minutes long, worth every minute to watch it in my opinion.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Another Push

The Universe is working very hard to light a fire under me. I hope that It doesn't take that comment literally... I now have evidence that I can't ignore that I have been invaded by mice. This is what prompted me to go find Bazil 10 or 11 years ago. The mice moved in when there was no cat. Today I will spend mouse-proofing my food and dishes, and the housemate has offered to bring one of his 3 cats, Perl, to live here for now. I like the idea of a borrowed cat. I still have the food and litter and litter box that were left when Bazil died. So, there will be a cat here again. Not sure when he will bring her, maybe latter this week. He says she is 'pushy' about wanting attention. I'm thinking that in a house with 2 teenage boys, 3 dogs and 3 cats she feels like she has to be to get any attention. For my part, I'll be glad to have a cat claim my lap again when I'm on the computer.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Home

I'm home again. I've spent the past hour and a half catching up on blogs that I didn't have bookmarked in the computer I took with me. Geez, who thought that balancing 4 computers (3 of them laptops, one of which is for work) would be so confusing. Time to make some more coffee and look around, get the luggage out of the truck, and get on with life around here.

I'll pull some of the pictures off the camera and phone that I took in Pendleton, OR and post at least one or two here later. It really was a pretty place in an understated kind of way. The fielding was fun, went well, and, other than loosing a (sigh) lot of money at the casino, was generally a good time.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Pendleton

I'm two weeks into this fielding. Everything is going fine. The area is nice. I described it to my Mom on the phone as a cross between Santa Fe and western Kansas. Rolling (very!) wheat fields, that have been harvested recently, and rolling valleys. A patchwork of washed out colors. Mountains all around. Did I mention the rolling hills? I am mostly done with my parts, only a few details left. The CSSAMO (tactical computer folks) here in Oregon were in my class, and a Sargent came back this week to help me and learn more how I build the system. He did a lot of the work. Those guys are in charge of keeping track of the equipment, and everything is labeled within an inch of it's life. This place will be one of the more ship-shape units when we leave next week.

Our trip to Ft. Lewis in the Seattle, WA area for next month was pulled, so this is the last scheduled fielding for this team. The new budget starts soon, so we are waiting to see what it brings. Everyone is saying 'this happens every year' but some (most) are a bit anxious. My hike again gives me some stability. I have been planning to leave here in a year and a half anyway, so while it would put a bit of a crimp in my plans to have the job disappear, it wouldn't be the end of the world.

Reconsidering that I'll be home in September is not all bad. The weather has cooled, so I should be able to get outside and work some on my yard. I should be able to get into sorting and getting rid of stuff. I should also be able to get out and hike some. I had planned on hiking a lot in October, my favorite month. So, in September I'll do some close hikes, and by October I'll maybe go over to North Georgia and hike some. Oh, and maybe I'll actually sew some of the hammock stuff that's been laying around.

There were some issues with the neighbors who moved back a few weeks ago. As I was leaving at 4am on Monday for my flight out I came across a 'body' in the driveway. Luckily the housemate was there, so I called him and he came down and investigated while I called 911. It was the young male (17 yo or so?) who had gotten drunk and passed out in the driveway, on the first day of school... This is pushing me to really reconsider selling the house. Now that the cat is gone, I really don't need a house and yard to take care of (ok, so the housemate does most of that now...), except that I don't have a clear vision of what I want to do instead. Once I figure that out, I'm on my way.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Ready, Set...

It's past my bedtime, and I need to get up at 3:30am. I am packed, I guess. The house is not nearly as clean as I had hoped. I am showered, and the bags are piled by the door, not loaded in the truck like I had wanted. The dishes aren't done. I'm hoping for some last minute inspiration in the morning. Right.

Tomorrow will be a long day. I am looking to the moment when I open the door to my hotel room, knowing that I have arrived. I'll enjoy that feeling for a few minutes, then start looking towards what I need to get done the next day.

It's funny, I've looked forward to these next two fieldings out in the Pacific Northwest. I've wanted the heat of summer to end. Now that I'm here, I don't really want to leave again. It's difficult to be both restless and also adverse to change.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Countdown

This is my last Saturday morning at home for awhile. I have unloaded the things out of the back of the truck that need to stay here, and loaded most of the trash to take to the dump in a bit. I have laundry started. I have sat down for some coffee.

Still on the agenda is, uhh, packing. I leave early, like a 6am flight, on Monday. I'm going to just see how difficult it will be to only have one 50lb suitcase. I will most likely end up with two, but with the airlines charging for even the first checked bag I'll give it a good attempt anyway. The company reimburses us for the baggage charges at least. I need to take recyclables (still haven't done that...) and then clean the kitchen and mop and clean the bathroom and go from there.

The temperature has broken a bit, which explains why I'm actually getting some things done, like unloading and loading the truck. I truly don't do anything when it's hot, inside or out. This is something I need to plan for every year, no projects in July or early August. I will only be home for 2 weeks in September, then off again. So, this weekend is really my time to make some progress. In the trash are some things that have been sitting around waiting for I'm not sure what for me to get rid of. I am cutting down a bit below the daily cleanup at least.

Phil is back at work, Shiloh is almost done with the trail. Things are winding down, or up, or at least changing. Just this morning I still looked around for the cat before closing a closet door. I sometimes still scooch over when sitting down in my chair so there will be room for him to jump up when he wanders over. While driving at lunch yesterday I was pondering what I need to get done before leaving town, and I had a moment of panic when I sensed that changes have been initiated that are now out of my control. At this point, though, there is nothing to do but continue on.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Animal-less

My first week without a four footed furry companion has passed. This is the first time since 1974 that I don't have either a dog or cat, and usually both. I have had most of my animals, and all of my cats, at least 10 years each. The cat I got as a kitten in '74, Cammy, lived to be 16. I already had gotten a kitten a couple of years before she died, named Peeko. When he had to be put down due to genetic health issues, I went a couple of months without a cat, although I had my dog Cindi. The mice started moving in, and I just plain wanted a cat again. I went to the humane society and found Bazil.

Now, my life is such that I'm not home enough to feel comfortable getting a new cat. I leave again August 11 for 3 weeks, home for 2 weeks, and gone again for 3 weeks. I don't want to bring a new cat home and then leave. Not enough time to bond, not enough time for the cat to be secure before I head out. Not sure what the next few years will bring. I'm taking it as it happens.

I started working on the baby afghan again for my co-worker. I had meant to finish it last weekend. After Bazil died I just didn't have the heart for much of anything. The goal is 30 rows each today and tomorrow, 10-12 each evening till it's done. I made my 12 rows last night.

It is depressing to me that the fluffs of cat hair that I swept up from corners and along walls last weekend have stayed clean all week. I think I know now why too clean houses depress me.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

End of an Era

In my quest to become the new me, I'm letting a lot of my past go, in that it is represented by the stuff that I acquired during those times. There is a lot to pare down. One thing I wasn't ready to let go of, though, just passed from my life. My cat, Bazil, died this morning around 10:30 am. He had been sick since Wednesday evening, at least that's when he got my attention about it. I took him to the vet on Thursday, spent $450+ getting tests and such done and was sent home with some antibiotic pills and told it was pneumonia and it might take 2-3 days for there to be an improvement. He got worse, his lungs filling up. The vet wanted a few hundred dollars more in tests because the xray had shown an enlarged heart. We decided to wait to cure the pneumonia first. His lungs kept filling with fluid, and he kept clearing them. I was up with him all night because he could lay with his head on my leg and it helped him breathe. In the end the fluid filled his lungs faster than he could get rid of it. I'm trying very hard not to coulda/shoulda/woulda and just know that I did the best I knew how.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Still the Same Changes

Things swung back around at work, and the week ended ok. I'm getting along with everyone again, even my boss. The 3 day weekend is almost over. I helped Mom get a new flat panel TV and also a flat screen computer monitor. I wanted to put money with what she had to pay some back presents I didn't get because I didn't know what to get. She wouldn't let me. I set everything up and left. That is basically all I accomplished this weekend.

I am still ongoing with sorting and getting rid of things around here. But it goes slowly. I just have no enthusiasm or energy. This is the same as every year around the middle of summer. It would be better if I was to go on a fielding this month as originally planned. I'll be here this month now, and gone in August instead. Oh, well.

Heard from Phil tonight. He's doing really well, and going back to work soon. I'm not sure he thought at the start of this that he would ever be back at work. So, as usual he's beating the odds. Even a cat only has 9 lives, so I hope he stops using them up so quickly as he has been the past couple of years.

Zak had come off the AT a couple of weeks ago, bored and not liking the northern sections nearly as much as he had the southern sections. He has now decided that he likes being back in civilization less, and is headed back to the trail next weekend. He and I will get together Tuesday evening downtown to hang out before he leaves.

And, that is pretty much all the news around here right now.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Living

While driving from work to a hiker get together that I organized (that overstates the fact that I was the one to post 'let's go eat pizza'), I was pondering the quote I posted yesterday. Specifically I wondered how I could 'live' right then, that day. I decided that for that day I was doing ok. I was leaving work feeling good about things. I've been learning SQL 2005 Express, playing more than seriously. I do seem to have more database experience than my co-workers in my group, so I feel like I can help further the general knowledge in this area. I was headed to see some friends and meet new ones. For once I got good marks on my 'living' score.

Today I left work feeling like shit. I apologized to a co-worker for mis-interpreting a situation and walking into his class. I thought they were pretty much done for the day and he was not in the room and the folks taking the class were just sitting around talking. I asked to use a machine one of them had built in the class to check out something. Turned out that the class was still going on, he had apparently just stepped out or they were on break or something. Anyway, he merely told me how upset he was I had done that and never acknowledged my comments of apology. Instead of feeling like I bring something to the group, I ended up feeling like I am a troublemaker. I really, really wish, I don't know what. I guess I wish I could learn to like this job. It has potential, and I make good money. I just end up pissed off more often than I feel good about it.

I'm not going to Iraq. The guy who gets all the good trips is going. I thought that because he's on a new contract that might free up this trip, but they are bringing him back to do this. I probably won't get any of the overseas trips anyway. Not the way the clique that is in power feels about me. Oh well.

In good news, I got an email from Phil, and he is doing ok after his surgery and they have downgraded the level of his cancer. Thank you God.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Quote

We are always getting ready to live, but never living.
—RALPHWALDO EMERSON, American essayist, 1803–82

And this is why I hang out on message boards such as WhiteBlaze.net. I was directed in a thread there to a PDF of quotes about wilderness. And I found a quote that speaks volumes to me. Pardon me while I get ready to finish reading these quotes about the wilderness (self directed sarcasm intended)

Sunday, June 22, 2008

At Home on Sunday

I made it home on Friday evening. Not a great flight, I'm glad it was a direct flight and only 2 hours. I had a sick headache until almost midnight. I will definitely take fewer things next time, less luggage.

I talked for an hour to Shiloh on Thursday. He was heading into Delaware Water Gap. I saw in his journal that he was diagnosed with Lyme's disease while in town. They gave him antibiotics and hope that catching it early he won't have any symptoms other than the rash. From the journals, it seems that when someone makes it that far on the trail, it is usually only injury or sickness that takes them off. I'm hoping that he will be fine and be able to continue towards Maine.

I unpacked and did laundry and did some more organizing yesterday. Today I'm concentrating on my bedroom, getting it clean. The cat is snuggled beside me in the chair while I'm on the computer. He's been there most of the time I've been home that I'm sitting down. I made bread in the bread machine last night. It turned out ok. I really want to use up all these 'ingredients' that I have stockpiled. I'll make spaghetti later, and maybe try dehydrating some of it. The focus for the next week will be gathering up some clothes to get rid of.

At the moment I'm supposed to be home for a month, then traveling for the next 2 months with a week or maybe two between the trips. If I go to Iraq I'll leave the end of July, if Oregon then the first week of August. I may find out which I do tomorrow or the next day.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

winding down

The day before the last day of the fielding. All is done in my part. I'm moving into transition, getting ready to leave and hand off everything here to the unit DBA.

Shiloh updated his journal, and for once - first time that I know of - he had cell signal and didn't call me. He posted that he's been thinking of his late wife all week. The first time on-line that he's posted about losing her. I hadn't really thought about how symbolic it is that he's hiking back to Maine, where the two of them lived for most of their 30 years together that ended last November. I feel him moving out of my life. I had encouraged him to deal with his feelings of loss, not just 'not think about it'. So, now he not only is doing that, but posting about it.

My good friend Phil had surgery on Tuesday. The second cancer surgery in a month, the first one to take out part of his lung. Ten years ago when we worked together and he smoked he would answer any suggestions that he quit with a grin and say 'I know what I'm gonna die of, you folks don't know what you'll die of, but at least I do.' I haven't reminded him of that statement. I call more often now. I haven't heard anything of how the surgery was. I'll try calling him next week, and hope he answers.

So, I'm here, doing the responsible thing while people I care about move away from me. There isn't anything I can do about losing either one.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

It was bound to happen

I know myself. When I have time on my hands and money, I end up spending the time spending the money. So, when I don't have money I spend time researching the things I wish I had money for. I had been looking at the Asus eeepc for a few weeks. I don't like lugging my D800 large laptop (that sounds like an oxymoron) around along with my necessary D630 work latptop. I like the size of the eeepc, but it is limited in function in many ways. I'm spoiled, being in IT, and while I don't do much, if any, gaming, I like my features. Looking forward to hiking in a few years, I wanted something that I could put into a backpack. I ended up comparing the features/weight of the eeepc to a D430 Dell. I am Dell certified, I know how to take a D430 apart and put it back together again. It has the features I wanted. It is only a pound heavier than the eeepc, and has 2G memory rather than 1G, a 100G hard drive rather than 20G solid state drive, comes with the DVD/CD combo drive that I'd have to order separately with the eeepc. It was maybe $400 more expensive. I ordered a D430 yesterday. So, there went the expense check from this trip. Or, the rest of the expense check, after the $200 for clothes for work and, uh, the $120 for the hammock setup I bought from a guy on Hammock Forums last week...

Today is about getting myself back up to speed, care wise. I need to wash my hair and lotion my skin, get on the treadmill, do laundry. Probably need to pass on a trip to the mall, no more money needs to be spent. I need to put together the box to send home so I'm not overweight with my luggage on Friday when I fly home. Hopefully I'll stay busy and not spend money.

I counted most of the big things I brought with me. I have way more than 100 things. I have 94 items of clothing alone. I have 10 pr of shoes (not 8 like I said before) in that, counting as 1 'thing' per pair. So, even before getting into toiletries, electronics and general stuff I brought I'm almost up to the 100 items some folks try for all of their possessions. And this is for a 3 week trip... sigh... I know I can cut down on some of the clothes. I am seeing what I do and don't wear. I have decided to buy one pair of pants and one top new each month while I'm working. I need to just get rid of a lot of my things that have been washed too much and/or I just don't wear anymore. I'm going to try for quality, not quantity.

Ok, off to take a shower.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Another Saturday

Another Saturday [morning] and I ain't got nobody.... nod to Cat Stevens and a reminder that I want to pick up a cd of his songs if they still exist.

Two days off in Houston. No transportation. There are restaurants and a WalMart in walking distance. And, I have this computer. Life could be worse. I got most of my work done for this fielding. Everything is built and I'm waiting on the unit IT guy to show me where to set it all up. I'm getting along with everyone this time.

This is when I wish I could have my sewing machine and hammock-making things here. I have uninterrupted time to actually make things. But, no materials.

Shiloh is working his way through PA. Phil is having surgery on Tuesday to take out the cancer in his thyroid. I'm here. Not much else going on. Nothing I can do for anyone else since I'm so far away from everyone. This travel is freeing in the way that 'freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose'. I wonder if those of us trying for a more free life are ready for that other side of the double edge sword.

I am feeling weighted down by the house and stuff again. I wonder why I have all that back there when I'm not there much anymore. I asked Shiloh last call if he has missed being 'home' any since he left to hike in March. He said he hadn't at all. I wonder how I'll do when I do finally cut the ties and am living out of my truck/backpack/rv or whatever I end up doing.

And so, I have checked most of my websites I follow, checked my email and now updated the journal. It's 8:45 am. I have most of the rest of 2 days left to fill. Welcome to freedom.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Assimilated

I continue to be assimilated. I went to an outlet mall yesterday after I got the servers built. I spent approximately $200 and bought 3 pair of shoes, 2 pair of socks and 3 pair of slacks. I got 2 pair of Tommy Hilfiger pants and one pair of dockers. The dockers were on a clearance rack, one of 3 pair in my size. They were the only non-jeans pants in the women's side of the... DOCKERS... outlet store. sigh. And I now own tommy Hilfinger clothing. Me. Double sigh. But, I did get things on sale (the pants were 50 percent off at least) and more or less what I was looking for. I got 3 pair of Naturalizer shoes. They are really winter shoes (hence the sale), but at least they should fit what everyone else thinks I should wear. If not, then at least I tried.

I will now need to send some things home in the mail or I'll be overweight again. I also need to inventory what I have with me now. On simpleliving.net there is a thread in the organizing section on picking a 'set' of clothes and only wearing those clothes for a month. Most women are settling on about 20 items. I'm pretty sure (actually I'm positive) that I have more than that. That site always has some kind of challenge going to make us think of just how much stuff we have and hang on to that requires storage space and energy to keep track of and such. Another theme there is '100 things' as one woman tries to keep her total possessions down to around 100 items. Size of living space is also talked about a lot. There is a website that shows people in Hong Kong who live in public housing that is a 10'X10' room or 100 square feet. So, of course now there is a thread on 100 things in 100 square feet.

These threads are good to make me look around at all the stuff I still have, and all the room I'm spread out in at home. So, here in the hotel room (which is larger than 10X10) I have a subset of my 'stuff'. I'll inventory it and count it, but I'm fairly sure I have more than 100 things with me. Hell, with my 3 new pair of shoes I have (counting a pair of shoes as 1 thing) 8 pair of shoes alone.

Today's list of things to do on my day off include laundry and walking on the treadmill. I have no excuse at all not to start working out. The major time and stress period of the fielding for me are over. So, I'll do laundry and then inventory my clothing and see just what I have brought along after all. Then I'll figure out things that I can send home so save the weight.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Houston

This is one of those relaxed times on a fielding. It's Saturday morning, and I don't have to go in to work. I will, because I want to be ahead of things. The person I most need to finish training is the only one who will be around, and that will be good. We can build the systems in a relaxed atmosphere, and I can explain more of it to him. The class went well, only 5 in the class this time. That is about the right number of students. All were older and took it seriously. A couple had deployed previously and had to learn a system by just having it handed to them. They really paid attention so that they will know what's going on when they deploy again.

I almost lost my voice. I am reacting strongly to something here, and it is mostly at night. By mid-day I don't have a sore throat and my voice, while still raspy and deep, is strong again. They moved me to a nicer room that has been renovated recently. Last night wasn't nearly as bad. I was almost ready to head to the ER again Thursday night. This time it is right across the street from the hotel at least. I do not want to live in a low-lying, flat, humid place like this for any length of time. This is one of the good things about all this traveling. I'm scratching off or moving down the list a few places I had wanted to visit previously.

I'm having a difficult time realizing that 'I' am currently a Silver member of the Marriott rewards club, and by the end of this fielding I'll be a Gold member. It doesn't get me a lot, other than maybe a free night at the Marriott on St. Thomas if and when I ever go back. Somehow getting elevated status at the Holiday Inn didn't hit me as being so weird.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Out Again

I'm in Houston, TX now. I'm not impressed so far. It has been an unfriendly town to me today. The airport is confusing, and not many folks there to ask how to find things. The hotel is not particularly friendly, and my room not only doesn't have a kitchen, there isn't even a fridge or microwave. This is bad, in that it means that even for a simple meal I'll have to eat out. Which mean unless I want the Burger King (I don't like BK), I'll have to coordinate a ride. Even keeping cokes in the room isn't an option. Sigh.

A funny from last week at work: A co-worker asked for a script file I had, and I reached into my pocket and pulled out the contents. I had a knife, my micro leatherman tool, 2 thumbdrives and a lipstick. He laughed and said I seemed to be prepared for anything.

I didn't want to leave home this time. I wanted to stay with my cat and sit and drink coffee. I got some things done while home this time, stuff donated, other stuff relocated to the shed. It is a bit (just a bit) less cluttered. But, I didn't want to leave. I have got to pay off the debt so I can stop HAVING to work at things I feel iffy about just to make big money. I keep running the numbers. If I was to keep my nose to the grindstone and stop spending money I don't need to, in a year and a half I'll have the CC debt paid. I could have the house paid off 5 or so years after that. If I choose to keep the house. That is good, but I don't really want to work 7 more years like this. Just gotta keep paying stuff down and getting rid of things I don't use or need.

A goal this trip is to walk on the treadmill at the hotel every day. Haven't done it yet today. It is still possible. I do remember that I said this year is the 'get into shape' year as I get ready to hike. In October is a decision point. I should decide by then if I want to keep the house long term or not. In the meantime, I am putting some money into it. First the appliances (paid with cash). Next is the driveway which needs a lot of attention. After that the cost of what needs to be done gets higher, and I really need to decide what my priorities are.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Journaling

I finally have some framework for what I think I want to accomplish before I leave. Good, since it is the 3rd day of the 3 day weekend. So, I start laundry and then put on shoes and go out to start bringing in the pieces of the second shelving unit. It's too heavy to bring in without unpacking it and just carrying the pieces in. On the second of what will take a dozen trips the nice overcast morning turned into a hard rain storm. So, I'm back on the computer.

I'm feeling somewhat bored with the journals I currently read, and bored with my own. So, I started going to some of the ones listed on Madcap Mum's journal sidebar. I went to 3, and all of them have not posted since the end of the year. That is 5 or 6 months. A couple of them even admitted defeat. One, a fourth, was pulled and not even available anymore. Is this journaling harder than it looks, as I've found? Or a phase that the internet and society have gone through that is waning? Did the people not find what they thought an on-line journal would provide, fill a need they thought they had, provide a solution to some set of problems that continued even after dutifully journaling?

I am seeing it in some of the hikers on the AT, too. The start of the hike begins with hope and promise and the newness, a chance to reinvent who and what they are. Then, after awhile it is just getting up every morning to eat a boring breakfast, find water, and walk. Always to walk. So, the talk stops being about what is seen on the trail, the people and places. It becomes the miles walked that day, and how many more to go, and when they might finish. Not across the board with every hiker. Some leave the trail because of injury, some family pressures, some boredom.

So, I'm feeling the restless boredom also. Things are going well. I'm in the middle with no new issues for now. This should be good. However, I'm feeling weighted down by the familiar. The shifting and sorting through the things that have been piled on corners brings up uneasy emotions. To get rid of? It seems like I'm turning my back on my past, but is that all bad? To keep? That seems stagnant, heavy.

The rain is slowing. I need to get up and get moving. My thoughts today seem as dark and gloomy as the weather.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Day 2

Yesterday I put together one of the shelving units. Understand, I've drooled over these things for years at Sam's. At $80 a set they were way out of my league. But they just look so SUBSTANTIAL and they have wheels on them! Obviously if I just had some of these my life would magically organize itself! Reality: they are a bitch to put together. The materials are solid and heavy, no problems with that. The method of attaching the shelves to the legs is awful. Cheap plastic sleeves that the shelf slides over and holds via friction. The idea is ok, the execution is where the issue is. The sleeves are 2 halves, and they didn't snap closed over the leg. So, when I lowered the (heavy!) shelf onto them, most of the time they popped off at least one of the 4 corners. I persevered and I have one unit built and loaded with my computer geegaws that have been packed in a corner of the living room.

Today I want to get out to the shed and clean it out and move a lot of the stuff in the living room pile out there. The first idea was to use the second set out there. Now I'm thinking I'll use it for the stuff remaining inside. Guess I make that decision as I get into the process.

Shiloh called last night. He's about 160 or so miles from half-way on the AT. He talks more about when he will finish than about the trail now. I'm taking notes that somewhere around Pearisburg, VA the experience of the trail seems to change. I think it's called the Virginia Blues.

I may update on my progress later this evening. Knowing I need to report here may keep me more on track today. Maybe.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Ok, Ok

I've been bad again about not updating this journal. I got home fine, and have had no re-occurrence of the chest pains. That was what was so weird about the pains, I've never had anything like that before, and haven't had any since (knocking on wood).

Since I've been home I went out and spent my 'tax rebate' and my expense check from the trip on new appliances for the house. I was tired of living with a hot plate to cook, and a dorm size fridge for the 2 of us. Sooo, Lowes got the majority of the money. I have nice, new kitchen appliances. A friend of Mom's was selling her new(ish) washer and dryer for cheap enough, so I bought them to replace my (still working sorta) set. I'm giving my old ones to a co-worker for her daughter who just got her own place and has a kid.

I bought some large, rolling shelving units last night at Sam's on the way home. I'm planning to have one in the house to organize all the crap... err, stuff I have piled in a corner in the living room, and one in one of the outdoor barns so I can move a bunch of the rest of the crap... err, cool stuff that doesn't need to be in the house at this point. That is the goal for this 3 day weekend.

I leave again a week from Monday, gone for 3 weeks, back for 2 weeks, and gone for 3 weeks yet again. I really want to leave a house that is clean and organized. Hope I make it. Oh, and I've paid off over $5K in credit card debt since the first of the year. Another year and a half, if I can keep the rest of my expenses low, and I should have it knocked out. However, if I have to get a new car, or many of the home improvements needed... I just keep paying as much as I can while backfilling on the stuff that I let go for so long from not having any money.