Thursday, November 30, 2006

No Work and All Play

Today was OBC's annual Health and Services Fair and Early Holiday Shopping day. This is always a fun shindig, that keeps us away from our desks for hours. Ok, maybe I shouldn't have taken all three hours, but it's a lot of stuff to see.

The H&S part involves companies that comprise of some of our benefits and employee perks. We can learn about changes to our dental plan and a first-year-only deal with our new company chiropractor. Shopping stuff is usually jewelry, cosmetics, and Christmas things. On occasion, local businesses like a nearby lasik center or spa will be there. This year they had free cholesterol screening (my good cholesterol is a little low, my body mass index is not so bad, and I've got an estimated 39 lbs of body fat, but I knew that part). Each table has a raffle, and OBC has its own raffle. My dad won a raffle for a free 30 minute Reiki session. He never cashed in on it, though.

Well, I didn't do a lot of work today because of this company-sponsored event (that they can't really get mad a me for attending, but I probably should have been more mindful of the time). Maybe I'll make up for it tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Turn It Off

Here's a new point of annoyance!

We all know how annoying it can be when people talk on their cell phone in public places. How about this: I was waiting at the dentist's office today and someone decided to start playing Bejeweled on his cell phone in the standing-room-only waiting room. I know it was Bejeweled because I have played it myself and know the sounds it makes.

So, just as annoying as people talking on their cell phones with no regard to the people around them, people should really turn their sound off if they want to play a game in a public area too.

I have games on my Pocket PC and my cell phone. I also occasionally carry my Game Boy around when I go out. But I always always always make sure the sound is off. I don't want to subject people to the sound of my games any more than the sound of me talking on a cell phone. It's just polite.

Of course, right now, they're listening to me type away on my tiny little Pocket PC keyboard. But that's something they will just have to deal with!

By the Way

Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Like a Magnet

Why do I attract these people?

WAM was off on Friday and yesterday. It was oh so nice without them here. I knew the instant WAM returned to the office, they would insist on telling me all about the wonderful long holiday weekend. Joy.

I was right, by the way, though so far I've been able to shake off most of it. I cleared my throat and WAM says "You sound almost as bad as I do!" Um, no. Coughing is not always an indicator of illness. A lot of people cough in the morning. I happen to be one of those who doesn't, so I made one little sound today and and suddenly WAM is trying to one-up how sick we are (for the record, not sick here!). WAM went on to say how much I should expect to hear them cough today. Who cares!

THEN! Then WAM pipes up and says they will be in training for a new application today. I'm not a senior rep nor a supervisor, I don't need to know when WAM has a meeting, and I don't care. Oh, but wait, that's not the half of it. I'm in that same training class this morning.

Shoot me now. Please.

Monday, November 27, 2006

What Light Through Yonder Window

Well, I wouldn't know.

I did ask Boss² if I can move into Adolf's now empty cube by the window. I could almost see thought process, like I was some small distance away from being told, "Sure, I don't have a problem with that!"

Alas, no, that was not the answer. But there is hope! Boss² said that we will have to move some people around to fit another group (WHERE???) and so they will have to think about it and get back to me.

I can accept that. I did say that I feel I work better with the outside light nearby. And I wasn't told no, just I don't know. That's ok. I have faith. There's no reason, really, why I can't have the window, unless they move my group out of this area altogether. That will be an adventure.

There is one more open window cube in our little area, but I don't want that one. It's right next to Boss²'s desk! No, thank you, I'd rather stay here and dream of windows.

It's only a matter of time until I can look out into the world once more. I know it.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Shape Up

I'm tired of being fat.

Before you start screaming your protests (you know who you are) let me give you some perspective. I have talked about this before.

When I started working at OBC, I went from a healthy 125 lbs to a not so nice 143 lbs in less than a month. It was the desk job, I wasn't getting nearly as much exercise as I did working retail. I didn't like that at all, so I got up early every day to do 15-30 minutes of exercise before work. I worked myself down to a happy 112 lbs in three months. And kept it that way until nearly two years ago.

So, two years ago today, I weighted 112 lbs, and wore a size 6 or 8. I was happy, I felt healthy, and the clothes I had fit me well.

I'm not going to go into what happened to make me stop exercising, but I did stop. And very fast, my weight climbed from 112 lbs to a choking 152 lbs. And no matter how much work I did or did not do, I could not get it to budge. Good-bye size 8, hello size 12. I've been reluctant to buy new clothes, because someday, those 12's will be too big. But right now, that means I've out-grown almost everything I own. Why, oh why, did I not get my brother's metabolism?

But that's ok! Today, I took a step towards being at a comfortable size. I bought my very own elliptical machine. If you've never seen one of these suckers, they're really nice. It's like a stair climber/cross-country skier machine all in one. The motion is fluid so it's not hard on your joints, and it gets your heart rate up in a few minutes.

See, we've got a lot of exercise machines and devices (I love my Bean!), but not a one of them is good for the cardio workouts that experts say is key to losing weight. I know the equipment I have is doing the job it was intended to do, building muscle, because I can feel them. Underneath those inches of fat are some good strong muscles. They're just all covered up by globs of fat right now.

I'm going to stick with my routine in the morning, and I'm going to add at least 45 minutes on my new elliptical when I get home from work. I'm not expecting to see 112 lbs again (trust me, I've got too much weight up top and that's not where I tend to lose it) but it sure would be nice to get back in the 120's by the time beach days come back around.

And while I'm at it, I'm not obsessed with size or what that scale reads or even how I look. My focus here is how I feel. When my gut folds over my jeans when I sit, that doesn't feel nice. When I can lift a 50 lbs kayak over my head an on to the car, that feels great.

Here's to your health!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Colors and Calcite

So, I've been saying it's been 14 years since I've been to Luray Caverns in Virginia. My mother said it was more like 20 years. I remembered quite a bit, and more came to me as we walked through the tour. It's really something amazing.

My friend was in awe the whole time. Every now and then, he would point to something and ask me to take a picture, like this one of Titania's veil, formed mostly of calcium carbonite, or calcite. It was amazing, the rock looked all smooth and fluid. If you've never held a piece of calcite, it has it's own texture that doesn't feel like the rock that minerals are at all. These caverns were full of these minerals and others.

Many parts of the caverns are still growing. It's so amazing how the slow drip of water can move rock. Of course, I took more pictures than this one (many didn't come out as well as I had hoped because of the low light) and I'll get them up on my website soon™.

And it's not very far from home at all! Posted by Picasa

Friday, November 24, 2006

Oh, I'm so Bored

This has got to be one of the worst days to be at work. I might have slept better if the neighbor's party ended before 0200. I didn't even get up to exercise this morning. Hardly anyone is here. And to top it off, my coffee was un-awakening. (is that a word?)

Traffic was great though! I love these days where most of the people are off and we can leave the house 20 minutes late and still make it to the office on time. By the way, we almost always leave 10 minutes late, so we really delayed leaving for another 10 minutes. But the time we usually leave the house is not soon enough to get me to work on time, but for some reason, I can't get my dad (and myself some days) to move any faster. Which sucks, because they can and will fire me if I'm late too much. But not today! There was no backup to get to the Beltway, no backup to the Wilson Bridge, and no slowing at Braddock Road (and we have no idea why we do that anyway). I wish every day was like today, as far as traffic.

I'm going to ask for the window seat when Boss² comes back on Tuesday. Maybe I can get most of my things packed up today so it will be a quick and easy move. I hope she agrees. Not being in view of the outside world really drives me crazy. I might be working better today if I had it (because, clearly, I'm not doing a whole lot of work right now!).

Tomorrow, my friend and I (the same one with whom I went to the beach and the amusement park this summer) will be going to Luray Caverns. This should be a beautiful time of year to be in the Shenendoah Valley region of Virginia. My family used to go every year for our Labor Day vacation, but we haven't been since I was 12 or so, when my dad started working at OBC and we started spending that weekend at the 'company party' in Lewes Delaware.

Lewes is a nice little beach town, but now the company is so big that all employees and their families don't fit in the CEO's beach house anymore. We never reinstated our Luray tradition, so it's been more than a decade since I've been there. I still remember some of it. My friend has never been, so it should be a great day trip.

Did I mention how much I'm not getting done?

At least I've got a good tomorrow to look forward to!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Food Food Food!

I spent the morning baking a cheesecake so that all the poor people in my office who have to go to work will have something to look forward to. This is actually quite a feat, my cheesecake takes 3 hours in the oven. At least the turkey was pre-cooked!

This year, we didn't go to the Rod'N'Reel Club on the Chesapeake like we have done for several years past. It wouldn't have been a nice day for it, it was all gloomy and rainy, though I did miss it a little. Instead, we bought the complete dinner from the supermarket, brought it to my grandmother's house and got busy nuking away while the turkey re-heated in the oven for a couple hours. There were nine of us, and our kayaking buddies were able to join us this year, which was very nice. Even so, I don't know what we're going to do with all this food!

Turkey sandwiches are the best, though.

And if anyone wants to know, I left the office at 1400 yesterday, made one stop along the way for about an hour or so, and got home by 1800. All in all, the drive home was doubled in time than usual. Holiday traffic + rain = no fun!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The Great Escape

If traffic around DC is bad every day, it's going to be positively horrid this afternoon. Not only will we have the regular commuters going home (me!), we'll also have get-out-of-town traffic, coming-to-visit traffic, just-passing-through traffic, and rain! AUGH!

A spokesperson for AAA said on the radio this morning a statistical number of people (that I have forgotten) will be traveling 50 miles or more from home this holiday weekend. I travel 50 miles every day! The traffic reports were mostly feeling sorry for the through travelers (who have no idea what traffic is like here). While I also feel for them, only one person said he was really sympathetic to the commuters who are just trying to get home after work.

This is the biggest travel day of the year, they say. I just want to give you, fair readers, a little advice. Particularly for this day, but it really applies to holidays across the board, don't come to Washington. Spare yourself and me some headache. No one wants to start off a vacation going 10 miles an hour for in a three hour back up. And no one wants to be sitting in that mess just trying to get home from a hard, pre-holiday day at work either. Stay away! Stay home! Go to the middle of nowhere! Whatever! Just don't come here! You won't be happy, I won't be happy!

Ok, other than hellish traffic, there are some pretty cool things to see here. And we never seem to have an off-season. Do come visit us some day. Just not for a holiday.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

A Whole Lotta - What?

When a garbage can is ridiculously feline, another chess board over a wedding dress graduates from a highly paid carpet tack. Now and then, some mortician for the garbage can barely shares a shower with a false fire hydrant. When an orbiting buzzard trembles, a wheelbarrow hides. Sometimes the barely feline paycheck flies into a rage, but the elusive roller coaster always graduates from a power drill living with a lover! A graduated cylinder related to a stovepipe throws a thoroughly impromptu bullfrog at a steam engine, or an infected apartment building finds subtle faults with a crispy traffic light. Most people believe that a sheriff near a buzzard makes a truce with the spider about another grain of sand, but they need to remember how knowingly a dust bunny daydreams. The lover defined by another hole puncher secretly finds subtle faults with a psychotic sheriff. The familiar vacuum cleaner negotiates a prenuptial agreement with the green dust bunny. Indeed, the barely highly paid salad dressing non-chalantly borrows money from the impromptu CEO. The industrial complex inside an eggplant trades baseball cards with a secretly annoying paycheck.

If you're not opening your spam e-mail (and you shouldn't be), you've probably never seen this before. Yes, this is the text from a spam e-mail I recently received. The gobblygook is there in an attempt to bypass any given spam filter, I get this mental image of all these crazy things happening when I read through it. Of course, you should never open any links contained in an untrusted e-mail, but I had to copy this text. For some reason, it reminds me of a line from a Tori Amos song, Space Dog, "There's Colonel DirtyFishyDishcloth. He'll distract her good don't worry so."

Yeah, it's probably best if you don't ask how my day is going.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Get a Load of This

You all remember the first Adolf, who went on to bigger and better things and was replaced by a new Adolf? I have just learned, through my highly placed contact within OBC that the new Adolf has been terminated!

I've got no juicy tidbits for this, just a confirmation that it is so, from someone who's job it is to know such things. This is surprising and unexpected. I don't know if it was Adolf's decision or if it was an order by the higher ups.

I and several others of my department have been noticing a lot of things lately that Adolf had been doing. Other than being very demanding and doing unnecessary things, Adolf also seemed to have a lot of PTO, had a lot of days off, and would regularly leave early. We don't really know the details, but it seems I will be Adolf-less for a while.

The particulars of the situation are irrelevant, there is only one important question. Can I have my window back?

Sunday, November 19, 2006


I feel like I've been all over the place this weekend.

There was the half of day wasted sitting around the dealership (wipers seem to be working though, so I can't complain much!). Then there was today; Target, Jo Ann's, and the supermarket for those last minute holiday things. Then it was home to put everything away and then over to my grandmother's to drop something off and pick something up, then back home.

Shopping is exhaustive! And I didn't even get anything super fun, only some clothes, a new sewing basket, and some yarn. I think all of my co-worker buddies can expect scarves from me this year. Most of the people on my gift list will probably get a gift card.

I used to not like them, gift cards. I try to be thoughtful with I give something to someone. But it recently occurred to me that sometimes a gift card is thoughtful. One of my friends, for example, has a long list of anime that she wants to buy. I have a copy of that list, but I never know what someone else may get her or what she may get herself. But, if I know she likes to get her anime from Best Buy, I can get her a gift card, then she can pick out the one she is most excited to have. It's win/win, really. I don't give her something she has to return (we all know how much of a pain that is!) and she can pick out exactly what she wants. Cash or cards, sometimes the best way to go.

Of course, if you tell me something specific that you want, then I don't need a card. My dad wants a spray skirt for his kayak. That's easy! We just have to tromp on over to EMS and get one.

I really enjoy this time of year, four major holidays in just over three months. Of course, I'm talking about Celtic New Year, Thanksgiving, Yule, and Gregorian New Year. If you go to the right places, you can be reminded that there really are good people in the world. I'm watching the food donation and Toys for Tots boxes fill up here at the office. It's a wonderful thing. It's sad though that we, as people, can't keep this kindness up all year. But it's a simple kind of comfort to know it exists.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

No Sleeping In

Oh, how I would have loved to have slept in today. I could have stayed up a lot later last night. And when my alarm was going off, I was so comfortable in my bed, I didn't want to get up at all.

But poor Hedwig was sick! (ok, I know it's been awhile, but Hedwig is my car, the purple Saturn, in case you forgot.) Last winter, it was cold, as winter is want to be. And sometimes it was so cold there was ice. And sometimes the ice was on the windshield of my car. And sometimes the presence of that ice would cause the windshield wipers to freeze to the windshield. And since the de-icing spray does not spray before the wipers start to go, the driver's side wiper doesn't go, because it is frozen to the windshield. This caused the wiper to not go even when there is no ice to hold it down. Or, sometimes it would go, but slower and out of step and get caught on the passenger side wiper. And this is the house that Jack built.

I've had my regular mechanic order a part and 'fix' it, but it happened again. Two rain storms ago, the wipers tripped over each other so bad that they got stuck in an X position across my windshield. You can see that this is not a good thing, and very not good since the cold winter is approaching and I will need wipers I can rely on.

So I got up bright and early on a Saturday to bring my little car to the dealer. I always dread going to the dealer because everything is more expensive. But I packed up my laptop and my pocket PC and my mp3 player, and got there promptly at 0809 to give them my keys and tell them to fix the wipers.

Three hours and $85 later, they were done. The motor unit was fine, it just needed a little adjustment. Honestly, this is what I was hoping for. I was expecting they were going to need some expensive part and the whole thing would cost $300 or more to fix and I would be there for 5 hours, but hoping it was just a little adjustment and everything would be back to neat. Go dealer!

They actually make it very nice. There's coffee and donuts and WiFi and desks and TV and comfy chairs, and all the new models of Saturns to look at. The folding keyboard on my pocket PC drew a lot of attention. I barely noticed the 3 hours I spent there, but that's really because I brought plenty to keep me occupied. Then dad came up and we went to lunch and here I am.

Still wishing I could have slept in, but very glad that the dealer says my car is fine. I can't really test it because it's not raining, but I will be armed this winter with a nice can of de-icer. I will spray those wipers down before I try to move them! HaHa!

By the way, I don't think I said this last month:


No nap for me, it's time to go shopping!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Update in a Nutshell

Well, OBC doesn't have me on any official job. I seem to be everyone's back up. This is funny because the two people who perform the two main functions I'm backing up were both off earlier this week. Sorry, I can't do both, one or the other! At least they understood that part.

However, one of the people I back-up has been off for more than a week. She'll be back on Tuesday. Come Tuesday, I have no idea what I'm supposed to be doing again. One of the things they gave me to do, I can't complete. I have asked for help and haven't gotten any. It's just not going to get done. The other thing they gave me to do is not enough to keep me occupied all day. It is really hard to do this, I don't work this way.

Adolf, who stole my window seat, is right now busy laughing because a bird just hit the window. I don't think I have to remind you, fair readers, how not humorous that is to me.

It occurs to me that I was having a fine day until I sat down to write this and really thought about my work situation at OBC. Blogging is not supposed to be depressing! In that case, I'll stop there. Alas, I didn't even get to the crap they're pulling about giving people time off. Another time, then.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Get Ready For It

For those of you who were with me on myblogsite, you will recall that I had an update for you every day. I made the switch to Blogspot and poof! you hardly ever hear from me.

Well, in celebration of my one year here on Blogspot, (are you ready for this?) I am going to update every day!!

Rah! Cheer! Woohoo!

Now, before any of you, fair readers, think that I'm going to fail miserably like I did when I first moved to this site, I want you to keep in mind that there will be days when I never touch the computer. This is nothing new, and when that happened on myblogsite, I just posted several updates at once. I have the prerogative to do that, so don't come by every day and start yelling that you haven't seen an update in a while. (you know who you are =) )

This is my anniversary celebration. No matter how boring my life is, you will know about it! Even if the only thing I have to say is what was on the Origami calendar for the day, you will have something! (for the record, it's part one of a modular star. Yesterday's was pretty neat, it was a retractable telescope, though it did have a bit of a design flaw.)

Also, that private blogspot I was talking about the other day has been started. It's not restricted yet, so if you want to check out the humble beginnings, have a look at The Secret Bookcase.

Happy Blogspot Anniversary!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Hello Labels!

Some of you may recall the 'label' feature of my old blog site. I only had weekends labeled, but you could sort by the weekends if you liked and only check out those posts.

Blogger has been making some changes, and (aside from moving completely to Google) labels is one of them! This time, I'll get everything; weekends, RenFest, kayaking, baseball, and anything else I can think of.

Remember how long it took me to save my archive from the old blog site? Yeah, the labels will take a bit of time, but soon you will be able to sort by some of my most talked about subjects. Oh, the joys of blogging!

In other news, there is also a 'private' blog feature available. I mentioned this before while on that other blog site, and I think I'll give it a try again. What does this mean to you, gentle reader? Simply put, I'll talk about things that I don't want my parents to read.

Kidding! (or am I?)

Seriously, what I wanted to do with private blog space on the old site hasn't changed. I'm a writer, you see, but I don't want to post the stories I write for just anyone in the world to see. I'm thinking more about protecting my intellectual property here, and also that I'm very protective of my writing and don't share it with just anyone.

So, if you're interested in reading a story or two that you may not understand, you'll have to ask me for permission to view my private blog, which I will accept or decline as I see fit. You do not have to have a blogger account through Google to view a private blog, but if you don't, your access will be restricted to two weeks at a time (you would need a new invitation from me every two weeks to continue access as a guest, which I may get tired of providing after a while). If you wish constant and unending access, get ye a Google account. Don't worry, they're free.

With that said, there is no private blog of mine yet. I will be sure to keep you updated as that gets going. Labels are incoming, get ready to sort to your heart's content.

This is the first time changes to my blog service were actually something I was excited about (since the last time, changes meant "pay us or leave.") For those of you who drop by and want a blog of your own, Blogger is still free. I'll high-tail it outta here when they start wanting money. (Mind you, it's not because I don't believe the service is worth paying for, I just don't have the money to buy blog space!)

How much can I ramble on about the changes to my blog service? This much! Cheers!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006