Friday, February 12, 2016

Bitty Bits of Blather - All Over the Place

Look what I am bringing you!! Bitty Bits of Blather, which I haven't done is a boat load of time.

Can you have a boat load of time? Hmmmm.

At any rate, I am currently sitting in a hotel room, wrapped up in the bedspread and trying not to think about what might be ON the bed spread and if they have even washed the bedspread. The room is alternately just right and freezing, depending on where you are sitting. I have my feet propped up on the coffee table which puts the toes right in line with the A/C blowing, so I am wrapped up. Just what you want when visiting be cold.
Blather that is way better than watching a political debate.

Yes, we are traveling in Arizona at the moment. HHBL is speaking at a conference for the next day or so. I will actually be holed up in the hotel room today, cranking out work. I generally don't like to spend an entire day in a hotel room. It isn't a terrible hotel room but it isn't the Ritz either. Yes, I know what a Ritz Carelton hotel room is like cuz I have stayed in several. THAT is a story all by itself. Let me tell you that a RItz Carleton, especially up on the "Club Floor" is an experience like no other. Can you say, "Cookies all day long"? Can you say, "A room with TWO king sized beds and a balcony where, if you sleep with the doors open, you can hear the ocean waves clear as day". Can you say, "You can only get up to the floor if you have a special key for the elevator".

This hotel is not like that hotel.

But it will be fine for the next three nights.

Current Music Obsession: The Tenors

Oh my goodness. Why did I not know. How could I have missed. I have to back up a minute. I think sometime back I told you that one of my goals is to have played all of the music that I have in iTunes at least once. To have a "1" in the Times Played column. I have A LOT of music and so this is a big undertaking. But, I also work in an open office environment which means that at least some point during the day I have my earphone in so that I can concentrate on work and not hear the phone calls and conversations. So when that happens I open up iTunes, switch to the "Songs" view and look for music that doesn't have a number of any kind in the "Plays" column. That is how I came last week to be listening through an album (did I just date myself?) called "The Canadian Tenors" by The Tenors. I THINK that this particular album is one that came from my dad, it sounds like something that he would have liked, but I cannot be sure. The one thing that I do know is that I didn't buy it. I didn't even make it through all the songs before I went and purchased two more albums worth.

Total musical obsession.
You can thank me later.

A bit more on the FitBit. I both hate and love the thing. I hate the fact that it just hangs out on my wrist and waits for me to do something. I know it's there. It knows that I know. We have a stalemate at times. It is that silent yet nagging reminder that it is half way through my day and I only have 4000 steps to my name. It is that small knocking in the back of my brain that says, "Pssssst, you have been sitting at your desk for two hours. Get up off your big fat bahookie and take a walk."

I hate that whispering voice.

But I also love my FitBit for some of the same reasons. It reminds me that I have been sitting on my big fat bahookie for two hours (and sometimes more if I am really dialed in at work) and I need to get up and move. There is that happy little buzzing on my wrist when I hit 10,000 steps. I make my steps 5 days out of 7 and if I don't make it I don't sweat about it. 10,000 steps is a goal but not concrete daily thing.

And there is the fact that my resting heart rate has gone WAY down.

I guess we will stick together for awhile.

Winter has finally arrived in the Frozen Northeast Ohio......and we managed to avoid it by flying out the morning of the falling snow.

It is a tough job but someone has to do it.

This also means that I will now obsessively check the weather for what things will be like on the day that we fly back. I try not to worry about this because, in the wise words of the Russian spy in Bridge of Spies, "Would it help?" No, it won't help.

But you know me, I have to have something to worry about.

We have re-upped for the yearly Poultry CSA with Brunty Farms. They have gotten big enough that they can offer some different options as far as how many chickens and egg dozens you sign up for. 20 chickens is a bit too many for us, although we do love and eat a fair amount of chicken. So, I signed up for less chickens per month......

And I committed to half a pig. I KNOW! What the heck am I thinking. 

Oh I know what I was thinking. The thought of all that sausage and bacon and chops and roasts and other parts just overwhelmed me and I said yes before I could talk myself out of it. I can be fairly certain that we will not eat THAT much pork over the course of a year but we will see. There aren't too many things that are more yummy than pork on the grill in the summer.

I will keep you posted as to how it goes. We will get the pork in either Spring or Fall but I am not sure wish. I am so excited. 

Knitting Update. I know that you are dying for that.

It will be a long time before I knit another Baby Blanket, unless of course, that a grandchild arrives. NOT that I am putting pressure mind you. I knit three of them (baby blankets not grandchildren) in the space of 8 weeks and I don't think I can do another one for a while. They are pretty much "no think"  knitting as I watch TV or read, it is just that it was miles and miles and miles of Stockinette or Garter stitch or some combination. Mile and miles and miles. But new babies or soon to be new babies do need blankets and so....I was a baby blanket knitting fool.

Traveling means that I am knitting socks. I have a tradition that when I am sitting on the plane I start a new pair of socks. Since I am doing my second annual Mystery Sock Yarn project I don't actually know what I am going to unwrap until I actually open the paper bag. Knit Picks Felici in the colorway Wizard. Squee!! Obviously I knew that was one of the skeins that I wound up in December but I just love Felici. The stripes are so happy. I will be putting in afterthought heels in black and toes in black. Thankfully I had some black yarn that was hanging around in my sock knitting box bag.


When I get back from AZ I have yarn wound up to start another sweater. I have great sweater urges these days. Who wouldn't want to wear a war wool sweater that you have knit yourself.

There are several UFOs (unfinished objects) that I need to work on but I look at them and go, "Meh" so I am thinking that they are still going to be sitting in the UFO bin for a while longer. I will get to them eventually.

And then there is the never ending sock yarn blanket that I would really like to finish some time this year.....or decade. Why do I take on these projects?

Usually this last one is a bunch of Instagram photos. However, I am using my work computer so I don't have access to my personal Dropbox so you are out of luck. I will leave you with a picture that I took this morning of a fellow in the apartment across the way from our hotel, who was very happily taking his morning toke before going off to work.

Who would ever see him out on his own balcony indulging in his morning "pick me up" before going off to work.

Who indeed.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

This Thing is NOT the Boss of Me.

I bought myself a little "gift" last month. I wasn't going to buy this thing that many other people already have. I hate doing what the crowd does. I don't like going with the general flow. I choose to be an outlier. That must be why I have gray hair that you can take from me only when you can pry it from my cold, dead follicles.


Off topic. Getting back on topic.

So, I have been to three different doctors in the past 2 months to check up on and look at and scope out various things. I went to see Dr. O'Brien about the lump that is on my left arm, right below the elbow. It has been there for, oh heck I have no idea how long. It is in a weird place and I just didn't notice it. But when I the doc I went. He looked at it, wiggled it a bit and said, "It's just a lipoma. If you were a member of my family I would just tell you to leave it alone."

OK. I am good with that. I have named him Reginald. He has been asking for an Instagram account of his own but I have resisted.....for the moment. HOWEVER, now that Instagram will let me toggle between up to 5 different accounts I might have to rethink this.

Then there was the Colonoscopy. No need to discuss that further, you can read all about the colonic antics on that blog post.

Then there was the quick and precise gynecological exam with Dr. B. 

Dr. B: How have you been?

Me: Fine. Can't complain.

Dr. B: Strip down and lets see what's what. No uterus. Check! No cervix. Check! Still have knobbly boobs. Check! Here is your order for a mammogram. I am moving to Florida. See one of my colleagues when you come in next year.

Dr. B is a woman of few words.

The mammogram doesn't need to be described either. I know I have a blog post about mammograms in general but I can't find it at the moment and my "Gigantic Excel Spreadsheet of ALL the Blog Posts" isn't done yet. Let it just be said that if men had to have the equivalent of a mammogram on their peckers then someone would come up with a less painful mammogram. I'm jusyin'. I will also say that I "failed" that mammogram and there was all the, "Oh you have to now have the more extensive mammogram because we don't have your old films and we don't like that thing that we are seeing." And the, "We called University for the old films and they don't have them and don't know you." To which I replied, "I will call them and we will see." Which I did and low and behold they DID have the old films which they sent to Cleveland Clinic where the radiologist promptly looked at them and said, "Nah, she doesn't need further tests. Her breast have always been this weird and knobbly."

The common thread through all of this little medical journey weight and my blood pressure. My weight is my weight and I am not telling you what it is and no I will not EVER diet again. My blood pressure was....elevated. Some of that has to do with the fact that when you come at me with a blood pressure cuff my BP shoots up just to be contrary. Darn BP. And some of it was not for that reason.

That is what it took for me to buy a FitBit. The fact that my blood pressure wasn't just a bit on the higher range. It was high. And I hate taking pills. And I don't like medication. And when someone tells me that I HAVE to take medication I become so non-compliant. Hey Mom, I bet you never knew that I took myself off of the Prednisone and Anadrol when I was so sick in High School, LOOOOOOONG before the docs said to taper down.

SO non-compliant. Well, all except for if I have a bladder infection. THEN I am compliant to a fault.

But when all of the medical sites that talk about what to do about elevated blood pressure tell you that upping your exercise might help....I finally had to listen. I cut down on the amount of coffee, or actually just switched to half caff and got to walking. AND lifting weights. I know, that one is still funny to me. Believe me when I tell you that I am a noodlearmed 90 pound weakling when it comes to the weight machines. But I still do them. And I am managing, not every day but most days, to get my ten thousand steps in. It usually entails being on the treadmill at 6a for 30 minutes and then another 30 minute walk when I am at work. For about the first three days I also wore it at night so that it could record my sleep. However, I have put the kabosh on that because I really don't need for it to tell me that I slept poorly and dreamed about folding stacks of tissue paper and exploding composting toilets.

That happens to everyone right? If I actually told you what some of my dreams are about you would run screaming.

But on SUNDAY I don't wear the thing because......


On Sunday that is. Every other day of the week it is kicking my big fat bahookie.

Monday, February 8, 2016

I Journal So Others Might Live.

This shelf holds 18 years of journals.

I journal (and knit) so that others might live. No really, I do.

These are not diaries, let us be clear. I might write down the mundane things that happen in a day but I write them in much greater detail than the three lines that are generally afforded to someone who buys a 5 year diary. There just isn't enough space in a 5 year diary for me. I like to use ALL the words. My mother and her mother before her kept diaries. 5 year diaries that were/are often stretched to 7 years, depending on whether days can be added above or below the slots printed on the page. An Iowa nature of frugality and use it upedness cannot be overcome by a mere 5 years prescribed to a diary. For the life of me, although I have seen the diaries and I know that it can be done, I don't see HOW the Meemster (my partental unit) manages to so accurately and succinctly convey her day in just three lines.

Like I said, I like to use ALL the words. 

I also like to paste in ticket stubs and odd pieces of paper that mean something and cards that people send me and the programs from summer nights at Blossom and wedding programs and odds and ends of things. 

And I like to write. 

No, I probably should say that I NEED to write. I started journaling 18 years ago when I was going through a particularly rocky point in my life. I had to find an outlet for all of the things. I had unsuccessfully kept a diary at various times in my life but they would just drift to the side of life after a period of time. Just another project started and failed. Three lines a day was all that I needed to do and I couldn't manage it. Those diaries sat there and mocked me.

And then I saw "The English Patient." What does that movie have to do with journaling you might be asking yourself. Well I will tell you. The character played by Ralph Fiennes has a diary of sorts, one that his nurse reads. It has maps and pages of importance stuck in it and things pasted in it and words written and it was his life. And I knew I wanted just that thing. I needed it in some way that I couldn't even define for myself. I just knew. I went out the next day and bought just a basic small note binder and started writing and pasting and stuff. I hadn't really thought through the whole why am I writing and what am I writing part. I just knew that all the words had to be mine.

I am a person who tends to internalize things. It has always been something I have struggled with. My feelings are hurt over something or someone has done something that really cheezes me off and my natural "bent" is to internalize those feelings. Sometimes that isn't a problem. And sometimes it is.  I have learned to ask myself, when faced with an issue that raises my BP, "Is that a hill that I want to die on?" Most of the time it isn't. I can work out the whole, "hill I want to die on" thing by writing it out, as if in conversation with myself and the other person. Sometimes that is all it takes to know that, nope, not going to throw myself into battle over this thing. I have written it out and I am moving on. If journaling about it doesn't solve that dilemma of to speak or not to speak....then I speak.

At other times the whole internalizing things can be a big problem. You can internalize the things that bother you for only so long and then......

KABOOOOOOOOOOOM! My head blows off and my mouth opens and bad lava juju comes out. Words cannot be taken back. Or just as likely I will KABOOOOOOM internally and then my brain goes FRRRRRRRRRRRITZ and it isn't good. I get to a point and I can feel myself spiraling down into the bad day where everything is bad and blue and no one likes me and HHBL hates me and has done this "thing" deliberately, even though I KNOW that isn't true. When those times come I know I haven't journaled enough. It is much, much better to express these things through the modem of my fingers writing on virtual paper rather than just letting words fly from my mouth. That is much better for everyone in my life. 

It may sound nuts but I actually do the writing portion of my journaling in Evernote. So awesome is Evernote.

Never leave me Evernote. Never, ever, ever.

I write daily, or at least I try to. At the end of the month I print the pages out, cut them into individual days and paste them into the journal for the year. Yes, I am perfectly aware that I could just keep all of that in Evernote and never actually print it out. No, I am not going to change how I do this. I like the way I journal. PFFFFFFT!

I am open and honest, always, in my journal. If you cannot be honest with yourself then what is the point of the thing. If HHBL and I have a disagreement, yes that does happen, I journal it. But I also journal the resolution. That is only fair. I journal my prayers. I journal my hopes. I journal my disappointments. 

I journal it all.

And I am going to keep on journaling until I can't do it any more. When I am gone the progeny can read them or burn them or send them to the Smithsonian with a nice note from me. I can, with all honesty, say that these 18 journals have helped stay sane.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

"Oh No" Is Not What You Want To Hear

Email. The bane of our technology obsessed world.
We all have emails. Many of us have multiple email addresses. I do and I am sure you do too. Right?


At last count I have 6 email addresses. Well, 5 really since the Yahoo email address has pretty much been abandoned like an orphan step-child. But that means that I STILL have 4 other active email accounts. There is the personal one, there is the gmail one, there is the photography business one, and there are 2 work emails. That is 5right? So, the work emails has always been on Exchange. I love Exchange. I delete an email on my work computer or my phone and it is deleted everywhere. No need for double work. Double work which, with the way my other emails were set up was a constant thing. Most of the time I keep up with my personal email on my phone or iPad. I am out of the house three days or more a week and I often don't have time to turn on my desk top and clean out emails. That is a job for Saturday, if I get to it. Consequently I have often felt like I was doing double duty with emails. Exchange will clear all of that up.

By the way, a word on Exchange. When I started working for HHBL I was assigned 2 work emails. I set them up on phone and iPad and work laptop and was ready to go. I checked email on my phone and deleted things there that I knew I would need but figured that they would just be on my computer where I wanted them. I mean, that is the way that all of my other emails work so that must be the way this email works. If you are reading this and you use Exchange you know where I am going with this.

No one explained to me that Exchange integrates all the devices and when you delete an email on goes away on all. I can tell you that it wasn't a long time before I figured that out but it was a really unhappy few moments when I went looking for an important email and it was no longer there. Thank goodness I am not overly obsessive about cleaning out my Deleted folder. 

Now back to our blather.

The only emails that we had on Exchange were the work ones, until this weekend that is. I am not going to give you all of the explanations about why we were moving emails from a "Pop!" system to Exchange. I am not even sure that I just described it correctly. HHBL explained it to me but.....lets just say that GoDaddy doesn't want to play with "Pop!" anymore and likes Office 365 much better and so we switched.

Oh these teenage internet romances!

Anywho, HHBL switched his various emails over and then it was my turn.

Emails were switched over to Exchange on the GoDaddy site. Am I getting this right? Who knows. It sounds about right. All I know is that once that happened I no longer could get emails on my computer in the basement or my phone or iPad because they were set up for the whole "POP!" thing. But HHBL confirmed that the emails were there if we looked on the website so it was obvious that the conversion had taken place. Then it was on to the next thing. 

Make sure that all of the emails that I currently had in Outlook were backed up somewhere. We won't talk about how many emails that REALLY is until later. Check!

Make sure that my inbox is empty. Check!

Push, pull, click, click...........

And the wheels just came right off the old switcheroo bus.

Is there anything more annoying and crazy producing than watching that little annoying wheel thing spin round and round and round, telling you that it is working and working and working and then....Ding! Up comes a dialog box telling you that, nope, not going to work. I tried not to hover over the process, or ask too many questions, or make suggestions that would have no basis in fact or knowledge. I just sat on the stairs and waited to be called. A call to GoDaddy produced the results that my Outlook was a version(2007) that wasn't even supported any longer. It has been kicked to the curb, given a few dollars and told to find another home. AND, of course, there was no way to upgrade to 2010. SO it was to the 2016 version of Outlook that we turned. Downloaded that and got things going.

Or not, as the case may be. Oh the new version of Outlook was hot to trot, waiting for emails. It was just that nothing was working. No emails. Just dialog boxes that gave unhappy news. It might as well have been a foreign language for all I could decipher what it was saying. Thank goodness for HHBL, my hunky IT guy. More typing and clicking ensued. And then I heard a phrase that strikes fear into the heart of anyone who is trying to do something on the computer.

Sharp inhalation of breath. Head in hands as he looks at the screen and softly says, "Oh no."

Oh no what??? What do you mean by, "Oh No?" Perhaps Oh No I forgot to send that email? Or, Oh no she cooked liver for dinner. Or, Oh No the Browns have decided to keep Johnny Manziel. Oh no WHAT?????

I come from a medical background where the words "Oh no" are followed by phrases like, "Call a code." Or, "hand me that clamp." Or, "retract this so that I can get at that bleeder."

Oh no is not a good phrase.

In a nutshell, the new Outlook, which was by then getting fresh emails (which was good), didn't know where to find all of my old emails (which was very bad.) I have a lot of saved emails. I mean, you never know when you might need the email from our Real Estate agent from the FIRST time that we tried to sell OCK, ummmmmmmm, sometime around 2011. OK, so I probably should have cleaned those emails out. But it was the emails from family and friends and my dad that meant a bit more to me. And there are all those emails that deal with the Wedding Coordinator things that are going on this year. And all of the Blog Comment emails.

Oh no was not good.

Another phone call to GoDaddy ensued. And by the way folks, it was now almost 8:30p on a Sunday night and HHBL had been dealing with this little issue for 3+ hours. Did I tell you that he is the most wonderful and fabulous and hunky IT guy in the world?

And hunky.
During all of this I just sat on the stairs and tried not to jump up and look over his shoulder. I read, or tried to. I spent some time doing what I always do when I am nervous or upset, I cleaned and straightened stuff. A LOT of things got straightened.

By 9p it looked like most, but not all of the issues had been worked out, at least to the point that Outlook had located the old emails and was displaying new emails and I heaved a sigh of relief, and resignation that my task on Tuesday, that would be today, is to go through ALL of the old emails and maybe delete some of them and move the emails that I need to keep over to Exchange.

Hi, I'm Debbie and I am an email hoarder.
Did I tell you that I love HHBL very much and that he is a hunky steely eyed IT guy.