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This year is the 25th anniversary of my high school graduation, which does not mentally feel possible. High school was not the best time of my life (though I do remember being very concerned because some people I worked with told me that it was, and I was worried about what the rest of my life was going to be like if this was the best). I was bullied/teased/tormented in high school, but it was actually better than my junior high/grade school days, if for no other reason than that the class size was 10x larger. I was the pariah of my class in grade school and junior high, and we had a total of something like 30 kids in my class, so you saw all the same people every day. In high school there were more than 300 kids in my class, and so even though there were more jerks around, they were also spreading around their jerkiness to more people.

A few years ago, a gal from my junior high attempted to put together a gathering for all the folks from our 8th grade class. I ignored her facebook friend request and RSVP'd "no" the instant I got the invitation. I told a friend of mine this and he told me that it was messed up that I was still angry about something that happened so long ago, and that I should just get over it because I wasn't the same person I was in junior high and neither were they. He said it was a sign I was holding on to the past and I should really learn to let it go.

I had a lot of feelings about this that I attempted to explain to him, but at the end of the day, it comes down to this - there are a lot of things I could be doing with my saturday evening, so why on earth would I choose to spend it in an uncomfortable situation with people I don't have any interest in seeing and spending time with? For this same reason, I won't be going to a high school reunion, if we have one. I know some people reconnect with folks from high school at reunions, but I'm actually still in touch with just about everyone that I'm interested in being in touch with.

Also this http://waitbutwhy.com/2015/12/the-tail-end.html kinda laid things out in a way that makes me feel even more strongly about not not wasting my time at things I don't want to do (now if I could figure out how to not have to work anymore... ;)).

In a semi-related note, a friend of mine who has young kids knows about my history being bullied and asked me what I would have wanted my parents to do about it when I was a kid. The truth is... what I wanted more than anything from them was to be believed/understood. My parents had both been wildly popular all through their youth, and when I told them kids at school teased me, they would always say things like 'boys only tease you because they *like* you' and 'girls only tease you because they're jealous' and even as a kid I would think 'maybe that's true for some people but that's definitely *not* what's happening here.' I didn't even really want them to talk to the school, because I felt sure that it was something that would backfire and make things even worse for me. I just wanted my parents to believe me that it wasn't cute or fun or a sign that people liked me or were jealous of me. Of course, if they *had* understood and believed me, they would have wanted to talk to the school and/or my teacher or maybe even the parents of the other kids. I don't know what the answer is for everyone, but for me, having a home environment where I felt believed would have made a big difference for me.
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They've been doing something with the roof at work for 3 weeks now. Every Monday when I come in and it's still going on, I sigh. I don't actually know what our roof looks like, but it seems like it was covered with lots of rocks. I don't know anything about industrial roofs but at a previous job I was up on the roof one time and it was covered with rocks. I don't know why.

Anyway, the first week and a half, they were vacuuming the rocks off the roof. This meant that it sounded like a 747 was idling over the building all day (with brief breaks). This was followed by a week and a half of banging and drilling sounds. One day when I was off it rained, and when I came in the next day there were garbage cans and 'caution wet floor' signs everywhere (my colleague cheerfully said 'well at least it's not raining inside today!). They're still working on it now, now there's a low-level hum and banging. It leads to a low-level headache. The idling 747 sound was worse though, and that whole time I had a terrible cough I couldn't shake. I thought it might be allergies but since it started right when they did and went away right around the time that they stopped, I can't help but think it's related. How long can it take to fix the roof?

As I was getting ready to leave the house this morning, I thought I caught a whiff of dead body smell. I'm a little worried that the cat might have killed a mouse and left it somewhere that we can't see it. I didn't have time to investigate this morning so I'll see what I can find when I get home. Then when I was almost at work, I smelled something that smelled like an electrical fire. I was driving through an industrial area so I don't really know if it was something out there or if something is wrong with the car, but again no time to really investigate. It only lasted for a minute or so, so I'm hopeful it wasn't the car, but at least I'll have a fresh sniffer if I go out there for lunch and see if there's a smell in the car.

priorities

May. 3rd, 2016 12:01 pm
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They're always saying that no one ever says "I wish I spent more time in the office" on their deathbed. They say most people say they wish they had spent more time with family and friends. I wonder... is this going to eventually become "no one ever says 'I wish I'd spent more time online/on my phone' on their deathbed"?

In some ways the office/online piece is tied together - many people are expected to not only be reachable off-hours, but are expected to respond to emails and calls nights and weekends and sometimes even while they're on vacation. And everyone has different stuff going on in their life and different priorities. When I was in college, I spent a lot of time online, and especially my second year in school, I really regretted at the end of the year that I didn't spend more time with my real life friends (I transferred to a different school and all of my friends there were either graduating or also transferring. I truly wish I had spent more time with them in person while I could.). I feel like I didn't get as much out of that year as I could have. At my next school I had to leave my room to get online so I often ran into friends on campus, but at my first school we all had computers in our rooms.

These days, I play a variety of games casually, and in most of the games, I play with or against people who play a lot more than I do. I always wonder what to say to folks when they ask why I don't play more, without coming across as being jerky or judgemental. The real reason is - there are too many better (to me) ways I want to spend my time (typically what I say is "I'm just a casual player" or "Too much other stuff going on to play more"). It's fun to play but if I have to choose between it and spending time with my sweetheart or my niece, it's not what I'm going to do. Also I have work and school and homework that have to be done (though many times I would rather do just about anything other than homework), not to mention books to read and friends to spend time with. And I know that many people have met great friends through online gaming, and playing together is a great way to stay in touch. I don't mean it sound like I'm saying that I have better ways to use my time AND SO DO YOU SO WHY ARE YOU WASTING YOUR TIME ON THIS STUPID GAME - what I mean is that if I were to make a list of all the things *I* enjoy doing, these games would be on the list, but there's a ton of stuff that's above them. Maybe if Zen played the same games I did and we could play together it might shift something up. We do often spend some time in the evening or on weekends snuggled up together on the couch with both of us on our kindles reading or playing games. But if we're having a serious conversation, or if we go out to dinner or something, we don't bring out our devices (except occasionally to look something up to settle a disagreement, or to see what movies showtimes are available). Same thing when we're out with family or friends. We instituted a rule for our game nights that we will stay off our phones unless we're between games or on a break (we take occasional breaks so people can potty/get more food/smoke/etc). Some folks have kids and so they have to be reachable in case something happens, but there's a difference between occasionally messaging back about the kids and spending half the evening scrolling through facebook.
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My dad has Lewy Body Disease, which is basically a combination of Parkinsons and Alzheimers. I donate to the Lewy Body association, but the Alzheimer's Association has a lot more activities. One of their activities this year is called "The Longest Day". It's held on June 20th (the summer solstice). Teams are encouraged to pick an activity (or multiple activities) to honor their loved one and others dealing with Alzheimer's. Some teams are doing stuff together, some are doing things separately. Since it's on a Monday, I took the day off work and am trying to decide what I'm going to do. A few of my relatives have done the 5k walk with me but this is... different. :) So when we were kids my dad would take us to the zoo and stuff like that, so I was thinking about taking a trip to the zoo (probably with my niece) and maybe a movie or something later on in the day, and some reading - basically, I want to do stuff that my dad used to enjoy but can't anymore. I'd love to make it a full day of stuff. I'm trying to decide if I should try to plan a "shared" activity in case any of my local family/friends would like to participate. Maybe the trip to the zoo or something. If I *really* wanted to live like my dad used to I would go to work and spend an hour on the way there and back and sit on the couch being crabby when I got home. ;)

One of my friends at work has a birthday on Wednesday. She's one of those people who is always doing sweet things for people and is very supportive and caring. She's also been having a really rough time at work for the past year or so, where she's getting very little support from her boss, they keep piling more stuff on her, there's virtually zero positive feedback from anyone, etc. Also, she's had a couple of deaths in her immediate family over the past couple of years, including her mom and her brother. She's always been the cheerleader, she puts together group stuff (such as the "cheer station" in december - she sets up a table in the common area and gets people to sign up to bring treats to share every day), she always goes to events that other departments put together... she's just a truly nice person and one of the people who makes work a better place to be. We're taking her to lunch today. I also ordered 4 boxes of her favorite cookies (they don't have them at the store anywhere around here anymore but I can get them online), which I'm going to give to her tomorrow, and I ordered flowers to arrive on Wednesday. I'm trying to come up with something else to do for Thursday and Friday to give her the best week possible. I can't decide what. She doesn't really care for sweets (except for these particular cookies), she doesn't drink alcohol. She does enjoy tea and socializing. I was thinking about maybe asking people to bring in treats to share and invite her to a fake meeting so she can come in and be surprised... but sometimes getting people to participate is tricky, even if they really intend to, and it would be worse to have a big room booked and only 3 people show up. Maybe a big birthday card and pass it around? It's not a milestone birthday, I just know she's been feeling unappreciated for a while and I want to do something special for her.
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I find it very interesting when someone wins the lottery and announces that they're going to continue to work. To be perfectly honest with myself, I think if I won enough money in the lottery that I would never have to work again... I probably wouldn't. Of course, that's easy to say, after a few years I would probably get bored. Maybe. I've known plenty of folks who don't work (and in this case I'm using the word "work" to define something that you do that you are getting paid to do) for a variety of reasons - some who physically can't work, some who stay home with their kids (or grandkids - and kids are definitely work even though you don't get paid for them), I even used to know a gal whose husband made enough money that she didn't have to work and so she didn't (they did plan to have kids but at the time they didn't have any).

So if you *could* work, but you didn't *have to* work... would you? If you had enough in the bank that you could live comfortably for the rest of your life, would you choose to work anyway?

This kind of came up because of a couple of things at work. One was that a gal who works here told me that her first boss here left because apparently she won multiple millions in the lottery, but a couple years later she was back to working. Also, I had a conversation with a gal here who is leaving and taking a demotion just so she won't have to work here anymore. We were talking about our parents and what they thought they were going to do when they retired. She said her dad got sick and died unexpectedly just before he was going to retire, and my dad was already sick when he retired at 65, and now at 72 is fully bedbound. My friend at work retired at 65 and three years later she passed away. You can't actually live every day like it's your last, but it's incredibly depressing to think about working and working and working and working and then finally getting to retirement and just dying (or being really sick) instead of getting to enjoy it. My mom, who has always been in the 'save as much as you can' camp recently told me I should go ahead and get the stuff I want instead of waiting for it (I mentioned in conversation that I think I'd like to get a sectional eventually and she was all ready to come over and help me measure for it).

I feel like there are enough books and movies and places go to and things to do that I could easily keep myself happily entertained for a very long time. Maybe I would hate it or get bored or something, I don't know, I just don't feel like I'd really miss working.
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Yesterday I took the plastic off the windows and opened up a few of them to get a nice breeze in here. I had opened the curtains and without the windows open, it shot up to 85 degrees in the house, so that definitely helped. Spring is the time of year when I play a game I call "is that an inside noise or an outside noise?" I don't know if just something about our neighborhood (maybe the park and baseball field?) that makes everything seem louder, or maybe it's just because we're not far from the sidewalk (or maybe I'm just used to sounds being muffled in the winter with the windows closed and sealed up and the furnace running and whatnot), but I spend a lot of time thinking 'was that an inside noise or an outside noise?' The one benefit of the cat is that I can sometimes convince myself that even if it's an inside noise, it's just something the cat is doing. Of course, that doesn't help when I think I hear a noise in the other room and I think "hm, probably the cat" and then look over and see the cat lounging on the back of the couch. I frequently use sound to figure out if something is happening with the house - for example, it's how I figured out we had a slab leak. I don't think my hearing is particularly good, I think I'm just tuned in to the sounds of the house. But already in the last day there have been several instances where I was unsure if Iw as hearing something inside or outside.

Spring also means 'trees and plants of every kind will attack you with bukkake and attempt to kill you.' so I'd better make sure I'm all stocked up on allergy meds and kleenex.

Almost forgot to add... Zen had a weird experience yesterday. He was out on the porch smoking and a guy kind of came jogging up on the sidewalk and asked him where the tracks were (we live a few blocks from the train station). Zen gave him directions and the guy thanked him. A little later, Zen went to run errands and saw a car a few blocks from us (opposite direction from the tracks) where a car had driven up onto someone's lawn and got stuck on the retaining wall. The same guy who had asked him for directions was there talking to the cops. We spent a lot of time speculating on what the heck happened.
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I haven't created any new playlists for myself in a long time and I thought I would go through and find some things for some different tunes than what I've been listening to lately. I sorted my full song list by title when looking for something specific, and when I was in the "I'm" section, just reading the song titles without thinking about the songs themselves made me giggle. I especially love the way some of them pair up ;)

I'm a Believer
I'm a Boy
I'm a Man
I'm a Wheel
I'm Coming to Get You
I'm Dying
I'm Just Fine
I'm Low On Gas and You Need a Jacket
I'm Not An Angel
I'm Not In Love
I'm Not Over
I'm On Fire
I'm Onto You
I'm So Sick
I'm Sorry
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My 3 1/2 year old niece was watching tv at my parents house the other day while I was there visiting. At one point she turned to me and said "really auntie? a talking dog? REALLY?"

Her tone was just killing me, but I also love that she's unwilling to suspend her disbelief about talking dogs, but pigs that talk and walk on their hind legs and live in houses are no problem at all.

Silly :D

Mar. 24th, 2016 12:50 pm
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When holidays come around, one of my colleagues often brings in little decorations that she shares with the rest of us. Among her offerings this year were some cardboard cutouts of bunnies. As people hung them up in their cube windows in pairs, I thought it would be funny if those bunnies were to multiply. So I took a few bunnies and photocopied them at 50% size on colored paper. Monday night while Zen was at school, I cut them out and had a nice little stack. I brought them in on Tuesday and started carrying a few with me anytime I left my desk to go get water or go to the bathroom or go to a meeting or whatever. Whenever I passed a desk that had bunnies up and the person wasn't there, I would tuck a couple of baby bunnies next to it and keep going.

By yesterday evening most folks had 8 - 10 baby bunnies in their windows, and I hadn't heard anyone say anything about it. I was feeling a little disappointed because I was thinking no one had even noticed. I'm off tomorrow so I was going to put all the rest of them out today on my lunch break. A couple hours ago, one of my colleagues said "have you noticed that our bunnies have been multiplying? Like bunnies?" Trying to keep a straight face, I said "oh really?" Another colleague walked up and said "It's you, isn't it!" I admitted that it was. They told me it was a huge mystery, and apparently while I was in a meeting yesterday they were discussing it and trying to guess who was doing it. One gal wasn't in the know yet, so the remainder of the bunnies are now in her window :D

Hmm.

Mar. 23rd, 2016 12:31 pm
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In our office, they recently built two new pairs of cubes. They are tucked away at the ends of an existing set of cubes, they are near the windows and are very nice (well, as nice as cubes can be). My closest friend at work is also my current cube neighbor. Yesterday my boss emailed me that he wanted to discuss moving me to one of the new window cubes. One set is near his office and he's already moved one person into it, and... I would prefer to not be next to her. The other set is nice, well off the beaten path, which is very helpful (I'm currently on the main drag and have people stopping by to ask me something "really quick" all the time). I told my friend that my boss was thinking about moving me to one of the new cubes, and she told me she had asked to be moved to the other set with a new employee that she's going to be working closely with, but they told her they would let her know and then moved the new employee into an existing area. She said "I guess 'we'll let you know' is short for 'we'll let you know when we've given that cube to someone else.'" I wanted to talk to him about it, about his thoughts, why he wanted to move me, which cube in particular he was thinking of, etc. I had told my friend I didn't particularly want to move, because I was assuming he wanted to move me to the set near his office. I also have a ton of paperwork on my desk, contracts that need to be documented and filed because the person who was supposed to be helping me with it went out on medical leave and then ended up not coming back, and I've been so busy with my big projects that it's fallen by the wayside. I was concerned one of his reasons to want to move me was to get the messy desk out of the obvious line of sight (I'm not a tidy person even at the best of times, but this is worse than usual).

I was finally able to snag my boss for a brief conversation about the move. It turns out he wanted to move me to the window cube in the "nicer" area (not the set near his office, which was a surprise to me). He basically said I don't have to move if I really don't want to, but he thinks it would be helpful for me to be off the beaten path, plus it's nice and near the window and he wanted me to be in a nice space. I said OK. He told me to set up the move with IT and get moved in the next week or two, and that was that.

And then I got back to my desk and started to feel guilty about my friend. She's been getting screwed over a lot for the past few years, and she's been feeling really left out and forgotten. There was a big project she worked on a couple of years ago, and they decided to make some changes to it recently and they didn't even include her in the discussions. They changed her position a few years ago and have really given her very little support. Meanwhile, they created a department she had been hoping would be created for years, and now she's not included in it because of her new role. So now I'm feeling like I'm just one more suck in the suckyness that is work for her now. Am I being a big jerk taking the cube? I feel like a jerk. I haven't told her yet.
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the purchasing gal is back! Hooray! She gifted me a walking dead monopoly game, which was sweet (and also a relief that she didn't get me the same thing she got me last time ;)). I have to meet with my boss this morning because they recently built some new cubes at work and he emailed that he was thinking about moving me to one of them, so I want to get some more information before I agree to anything.

I start school next week! I missed the orientation due to work and a misunderstanding about the end time of the event, but I found out I can go get the stuff I need on campus, so I should be good. I read the syllabus and I need to get started on my pre-work. It's a Database management class, so I have to come up with a proposal for a project. I'm going to talk to our IT director to see if he has any ideas (and to see if I can get access to maybe a test version of our data warehouse for practice). I've built a couple of access databases for work projects but I'm not an IT person and I'm a little concerned that it might end up being over my head. I won't really know until I start working on it though.

Zen and I are going to my brother's for Easter Brunch (we're cooking) and his sister's for easter... lunch? dinner? I'm not sure. Zen will be making his wonderful egg bake for brunch and his famous cheesecake for the lunch/dinner. I found an awesome looking cake I'm going to try to make for our brunch and I'll also make pancakes and maybe french toast. I love french toast but I never have the right bread for it, so when I make it, it's often not as good as I'd like.

Last night I was exhausted. Zen said he thought it was the relief from the pressure lifting from the stress of trying to do both jobs for 8 weeks. I knew it was time for bed because I was doing my nighttime routine in the bathroom (contacts, washing face, brushing and flossing, etc) and I had taken off my pants and left them close to the door. Out of the corner of my eye as I was brushing my teeth, I saw something dark and got startled/scared. Then I realized I had just been scared... by my own pants. Yeah, time for bed.
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So finally we had a little bit of spare time to catch up on some of our TV shows and we decided on Doctor Who. We watched episode 3 on demand, no problem. But episode 4 had to be purchased to watch it. The particularly weird thing is, every single episode from this season is available to watch on demand for free - except episode 4. I checked it again today in the hopes that it was just a fluke but no, it's still set up that way. What the heck?

hair

Mar. 9th, 2016 11:44 am
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When people say "your hair looks so nice today! Did you do something different with it? I really like it!"

The truthful answer, every single time, is "I haven't washed it in 3 days."

Apparently greasy unwashed hair looks good on me?

Life

Mar. 8th, 2016 07:23 am
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I've been thinking about life and growing up and meaning a lot lately. I'll put this behind a cut for length. Read more... )
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I got a raise yesterday, hooray! I actually wasn't sure if we would be getting raises this year since they changed a lot of our benefits last year and gave us larger raises to sort of "make up for it" (even though it was really a net loss for almost all of us). I got slightly more than the average bump this year partially based on the fact that they are changing me from hourly to salaried. It's really only surprising they didn't change me before (I'm a project manager), and I don't get paid for a *ton* of overtime, but during my busy times I have racked some time up. Times like this always remind me of the not-so-good old days at my first post-college job where my pay was very low. When you're struggling to get by, and they excitedly tell you that they were able to get you a 3% raise, and you do the math or get your next paycheck and realize you're now bringing home a whopping extra $30 a month, it feels like it's never going to get better. If I could give my younger self advice, I would have told myself to negotiate a higher starting salary - even a couple thousand would have made a huge difference, since those 3% raises, depending on your starting salary, can take years to bump you up a couple thousand). I also would have started looking for other jobs once I had a couple of years of good experience under my belt. Even if I never found anything, it would have kept my interviewing skills sharp and kept me on top of what types of skills employers were looking for.

On an unrelated note, yesterday Zen and I were talking about marriage proposals. He was telling me he had read an article that said that proposals were silly and outdated. I said I'd still like one ;) But we got into a discussion about people talking about proposing and saying "I sure hope he/she says yes!" Maybe I'm just a weirdo but I feel like if you're not pretty darn sure that the person will say yes, maybe you shouldn't be asking. Maybe it's just something to say when you're feeling nervous/excited about asking? Do people not talk about this stuff?
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Technically this is like grad school light - all you really have to prove to get in is that you have your bachelor's degree. I'm going to a school that has a masters certificate option. This means I can take 4 classes in my chosen area and get a certificate, and then if I decide I want to go ahead and get my master's degree, I have to do the full application with letters of recommendation and the test results and all that jazz. I'm going into Business Analytics. I'm currently a project manager, and I'm more interested in the data and business analyst side of things so I'm working to get more education in that direction. I'm nervous and dreading group work. But right now I have to decide what I'm going to do about books.

I got my Bachelor's degree in 1996 so things have changed a lot since then. Back in the day, you'd go to your local bookstore, sigh in crushing defeat as you ended up spending $650 on books for the semester, and at the end of the year, if they were actually buying back the books you used, you might get $30 if you were really lucky. Now I have options. I need a book called Modern Database Management. My options are: 1. buy the physical book (used) (~$160 - 180) 2. buy the electronic/kindle version of the book (~$150) 3. rent the physical book (~$90) or 4. rent the electronic/kindle version of the book (~$100). While I've taken some courses as an adult, most either had fairly cheap books or used handouts that we got in class. This is the first time I've had the option to go electronic. I don't highlight in my books (typically I'll take notes, but I don't find highlighting useful) so that side of it doesn't really matter to me.

I didn't think I would ever enjoy reading books on an electronic device, but I actually read on my kindle a lot now and really like it. I download library books all the time and it's so wonderful.

Speaking of libraries, the physical book is available through my local library system, but loans are only good for three weeks, and you can renew it once for an additional 3 weeks. It's not at my physical library, so theoretically, if no one else put a hold on it, I could keep it out for 6 weeks, return it, and try to borrow it again before the next class meeting (this would work best if we had a holiday in the middle, but I don't know of any Wednesday holidays coming between now and June ;)). However, worst case scenario is that someone else puts a hold on it and I have to return it in 3 weeks (and then scramble to buy/rent/etc).

Any thoughts? Tips? Suggestions? Ideas? Something I haven't thought of? My sister is in school and she typically buys the physical book and then resells it on Amazon for a bit less than whatever the going price is. One semester she actually made money on a book. I'm not sure I'm ambitious enough to do that though.

Crazy days

Feb. 24th, 2016 08:35 pm
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I've been sick for about the last week and a half. Today was the first day I was finally starting to feel OK again. Things have also been a little crazy.

Work has been incredibly rough. I'm not only doing someone else's job, I'm also up against a deadline for a project I'm working on that has three execs in charge of it, all of whom want different things and have changed the specs of what they want/need multiple times. Also, there's a project I'm tangentially involved in, and the person who's supposed to be running it came to me this morning telling me that I'm the project manager and we're supposed to be going live with this first section of it by the end of the month and no one knows what's going on with the project. I scheduled a meeting with his boss and the rest of the team, because, excuse me? No, this is *not* my project, and I sure as hell don't have time to run it. In 2 - 4 more weeks when the gal I'm covering for finally comes back maybe I can pick it up if needed, but definitely not now. And even though I've been miserably sick, I've had to keep coming to work to get stuff done.

Friday there were high winds and our roof got damaged. Zen called me to come home. When I got there, he and our neighbor got up on the roof and fixed it. I was amazed. It was a horrible and frightening thing but what a relief to have it taken care of so quickly. Zen cooked us dinner that night and brought a pan over to the neighbors to thank them for the help. Tonight when they brought the pan back, I was in my footie pajamas with my makeup half rubbed off, so... keeping it classy. :)

I spent all of last weekend resting and pushing fluids, and we finished watching The Leftovers. Now just need to get back to Doctor Who, we're weeks and weeks behind. Today our work Walking Dead group met for lunch and that was fun too.

Feeling extra grateful for Zen... Repairing the roof, cooking for us and bringing a dish to the neighbors, getting me medication and taking care of me... he's always so loving and supportive, and I try to make sure he knows every day how important he is to me. I never thought I could have a wonderful, loving partnership, and it fills my heart every day.
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We had to put down one of Zen's cats recently. I didn't really believe that "cat person" and "dog person" were real things until I lived with his cats (my first experience living with cats) and discovered that even though I petted them, fed them, played with them, took care of them, etc, I just had no loving feelings for them whatsoever. His cats are a mom and baby - she showed up on his doorstep pregnant, and he found homes for all her kittens but one (and this was 7 or 8 years ago so he's not a kitten anymore). The mom is very sweet and loving and cuddly, the baby loves me one minute and is hissing and swatting at me the next. The mom had been sick for a while, so rather than let her continue to suffer, we took her to be put down. It turned out I was more attached to her than I thought, I cried the whole way to the vet (and her crying in her carrier in the back seat just made it worse) and the whole way home, and we mourned her together. So now it's just the baby cat left. Due to my allergies, we won't be getting any more pets, so it feels a little weird.

We also got a new (well, new to us) car last week. Zen has been driving a 20+year old Buick for a while now and it's been in the shop on and off for the past three weeks. Finally the shop called him and told him that the part it needs is no longer manufactured, and it's proprietary so it's not like you can use a similar part from other cars, so they couldn't fix it. Zen is working (3 days/week), going to school (2 days/week), and going to his internship (4 days/week) so no vehicle was not an option. We did a quickie search and went to check out a 2013 Chevy Spark at a dealer near us. The plan was that we would get Zen a new(ish) car. He liked it, it was in our price range, and we ended up getting it. A couple days later, he told me it had technology he was never going to use (he doesn't even have a smartphone) so he suggested that he buy my old car from me, I take the new car, and then once he's done with school/internships/etc and gets a job in his field (hopefully this summer) and I decide I want a new car, he'll take over the Spark and I can go get whatever I want. So now I'm doing basically an extended test drive of the Spark. The thing is... had I gone in with the expectation that the new car was going to be *my* car, this is probably not the car I would have chosen. And actually, it's likely I would have wanted to buy a new car, which would have cost a LOT more, so it's kind of a yay and a boo. It's a decent little car, and I will use most of the technology the car has, but there's one thing missing that really irks me. It has no CD player. This is one of the first cars that didn't even have a CD player as an option. I only care because I usually spend my commute listening to books on cd that I get from the library. There's a USB port, but it considers both my phone and my kindle to be unsupported devices. I'm considering finding a usb powered CD player that I can hook up to the port and maybe somehow attach to be within reach. I guess the other option would be to rip the disks and put them on my ipod or a flash drive, but I don't really want to do that. So I'm still trying to decide what to do about that.

This weekend we hosted game night at our house for the first time ever. It is only thanks to Zen that my house looks like human beings live here and not a legion of rabid raccoons. Anyway, one of my friends brought his long-time girlfriend, and that didn't go so well. She actively dislikes one of the other gals in our group, and I have yet to see her do any activity that she didn't seem to hate. She insists on coming to various types of get-togethers, and then spends the whole time complaining and/or apologizing (e.g. insisting on coming out with us when we were going dancing and then refusing to dance, insisting on going with to play pool and then refusing to play, insisting she doesn't care where we go eat and then complaining there's nothing on the menu she likes and then has a half hour long argument with someone about why it's impossible for her to eat healthy, etc). We are an extremely laid back group, most of the games we play are easy, and we're pretty lax about enforcing rules. We play stuff like telestrations, the game of things, catchphrase, cards against humanity, wits and wagers, say anything, etc. Mostly we just laugh and have fun. Some of us love to play scrabble and other word games, but we don't play that type of stuff on game night (unless the only attendees are the ones who enjoy it) because not everyone enjoys word games and no one enjoys losing by 300 points. Even though she's come several times and we play a lot of the same games or games that are very similar, she complained every game that the rules were "too complicated" and she couldn't understand them, she complained that someone's long answer that she had to read out loud was "making something that was supposed to be fun into something that was really stressful", and randomly commented that she was sorry that she was "too stupid" to get this game/play this game/know what the answer was. No matter how many times we helped her, reassured her, or told her she was NOT stupid, she never even cracked a smile, and continued to complain and apologize. She looked pissed off the whole time she was there. She also snapped on the gal that she dislikes, and that gal was so upset she almost walked out of the party. Fortunately, they had to leave early, and it was much more relaxed after they left. I don't really understand why she insists on coming to do stuff that she seems to actively dislike. Her boyfriend told one of our mutual friends later that evening that he thought she'd be OK at the party, but clearly he was wrong, and promised not to bring her again. I feel bad about it, because I know how rotten it feels to have a partner that your friends dislike.
sleepybadger: (Default)
As an adult, Valentine's Day is a holiday I never really cared about one way or the other. Grade school/high school was different, as it was always a painful popularity contest. But I'm 100% in favor of finding ways to show people in your life that you care about them, and if this is an excuse to do it, that's awesome.

My issue with the day is that it turns so often into such a painful time for some folks. And really, this is not just a Valentines Day problem. It's true for all kinds of holidays. It's certainly an easy one to lash out at. For folks who are single and sad about it, it can heighten those feelings of loneliness. For folks who are in a relationship, it can put a lot of pressure and expectation into play, and potentially disappointment if expectations are not met.

For me, I wish everyone love and happiness, in all of its many many forms. I hope you feel peaceful and thankful for the love you do have in your life, even if you are searching for something different. I hope that if you're in a romantic relationship, your love is demonstrated and celebrated every day. I hope you can take a few minutes to take stock of the people in your life and reach out to anyone you think might be having a particularly hard holiday.

And don't forget, if you love candy, it will be on clearance Monday morning.
sleepybadger: (Default)
I'm covering for a colleague at work who will be out for two months due to surgery.

When she's only out for a few days or a couple weeks, I can do a smaller percentage of her job, but with her out for this long, I have to do most of the stuff that she does.

With her stuff plus my other stuff, my boss asked me to write up a schedule for about how many hours per week I would work on my various projects. In trying to estimate how long it would take me to do stuff, I decided to ask her how long she thought it would take me. She thought about it and estimated that it would take me around 4 hours. A week. She actually broke it down by days ("well maybe 1 hour mondays and thursdays and half an hour or so the other days"). My immediate thought was "you are out of your damn mind." My second thought was "wait, does this mean you can finish most of your work in 4 hours a week?" I more than tripled it to 15 hours based on my previous experience doing stuff for her. As it turns out, that was a gross underestimation too. I'm spending about 80% of my time doing her job, and I'm not even totally caught up. Now, of course, to be fair, I'm also not as experienced as she is, it takes me longer to get stuff done, I have to look stuff up that she might not need to, etc. But still. I can't even begin to grasp the concept that she thought I could get all her stuff done in 5 hours a week. Just... no.

Also got to deal with ongoing car drama this morning. Zen's car wouldn't start even though it just got out of the shop (after being there on and off for 2 weeks). He talked about dropping his classes and his internship and taking them again in the summer. This was very depressing. He's *so close* to being done. But he's doing a ton of driving and none of it is nearby, and without a reliable car, it's going to be a problem. So I called for a tow truck and the tow truck driver was actually able to get the car started and said it was flooded, but that it didn't sound right even after it was warmed up. I agreed and I ended up having him tow it anyway because timingwise I couldn't work out a better way to do it (if I drove it I was going to have to walk home, and I needed to get to work too). I drove my car to Zen's work so he could use it to get to his internship tonight and had a rental company come pick me up, so I'm driving a rental car. I don't know if my steering wheel is just massive or something, but the Elantra I'm driving has a steering wheel that feels so small I feel like I'm driving a toy car. It's very weird. The tow truck driver thought that it might just need a tune up.
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