Monthly Archives: April 2014

Random Happiness

January 31, 2014

  • I know you’re probably getting tired of hearing this, but snowshoeing is making me happy!  The weather was rather abysmal this week.  It was bitterly cold for several days.  On Tuesday, my fingers were numb and I’d barely made it out of the parking lot.  This made me happy on Wednesday when my fingers didn’t get numb until half-way to work.  Needless to say, my mom and I did not snowshoe many days this week.  But we went out today and absolutely smoked the west side of Markin Glen Park.  We did a mile in 20 minutes.  And we’re talking trudging through two feet of snow in some places.  (Contrary to what we are led to believe, snowshoes do not enable one to walk on top of the snow.  One still sinks pretty far.)  We even climbed up about two-thirds of what was once intended to be the toboggan run.  And it was a blast!
  • The Olympics are starting soon.  And my family is celebrating as we know how.  My parents just bought a new TV, so they once again will be able to watch things on air.  Maybe even the Super Bowl on Sunday.  Or not.  But the Olympics, definitely.  And when Stephanie is next on Jeopardy!  And I’ve ordered one to be shipped to my Meijer’s.  Just waiting for the text that it’s in.  I should have it before the Olympics start next Friday.
  • The following comedy of errors that I posted on my Facebook page:

1. Fax has run out of toner.
2. Fax is so old that proper cartridge isn’t listed in supply book.
3. Email IT to find out what cartridge should be ordered.
4. Email IT asking why we haven’t heard yet what cartridge should be ordered.
5. Hear back from IT that the question had been answered but I hadn’t been copied. Sorry, thought I’d gotten the email with the answer. Here’s what to order.
6. Order the cartidge.
7. Wait two days for cartridge to be delivered.
8. Gleefully run down to storeroom to get cartridge so that we can print the pages and pages of faxes that were received while we were out of toner.
9. Install cartridge.
10. Try to close door. Door won’t close.
11. Fax gives message of “no cartridge installed”.
12. Get one of the Daves to come and magic the machine.
13. Discover that, despite the fact the machine that made the company says this cartridge is compatible with this machine, it is NOT, in fact, compatible.
14. Pack up new cartridge to return.
15. Look down where boss has squirreled away 20 reams of paper.
16. See box with cartridge in it. That must have been ordered 6 or 7 years ago. And has been sitting there all week. While we were waiting for a response from IT. And for the new cartridge to arrive. And my boss was whining about our machine being out of toner.
Long story short (too late!): Our fax has toner again.

  • I’ve just discovered Duolingo.  This is like Rosetta Stone, only free.  I own the Italian 1 & 2 of Rosetta Stone.  It was bloody expensive.  And Duolingo is incredibly similar.  And free.  Did I mention that it’s free?  So being me, I’m refreshing my Italian, French, and Spanish.  And I’ve started learning Portuguese.  I might give up on the Portuguese if it gets too confusing.  After all, I took Spanish independent study in high school with a teacher who spoke French fluently, so we communicated in French (which I started taking three semesters before I started taking Spanish), and my French got really good.  And then I went to Italy and forgot almost all of my Spanish.  I swear when I do try to speak Spanish, I still have an Italian accent.  Anyway, it’s fun, and I’ve always enjoyed studying languages.  Highly recommend it if you’re looking.  Currently, there’s just French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, and German, but they’re working on new languages.  And it’s free, so check it out.

P.S. Happy birthday to my big brother, Matt!  He’s the best big brother a girl could ask for.  I love that one of the reasons Sofia’s death made you sad is that you felt like you should have been able to protect me.  After all, that’s what big brothers do.  And even if you can’t always keep me from being hurt, I love knowing that you would do anything to protect me if you could.

P.P.S.  Sorry if I made you cry.  That first P.S. started off as a happy thing that came out a tad bittersweet.


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The Sky Is a Hazy Shade of Winter

January 27, 2014

It’s still winter here.  And it’s another bitterly cold day.  Another day that everyone closed.  Another day that all of us who work at WMed can point out that we don’t actually work for WMU.  If we worked for WMU, we could have stayed home where it was warm.  Okay, my office was perfectly warm.  Getting there, on the other hand, not so much.

Someone else had walked down the path from my building to my carport.  And it wasn’t the rabbit.  (I’m hoping the rabbit stayed snug in its warren.)  Unfortunately for me, this trailblazer was, well, tall.  So I could almost walk in their footsteps without falling down, but from time to time, they were just too far apart.  And then I reached the spot where the snow had drifted.  It was definitely over two feet deep, well up my thigh.  Nearly crotch-height, to be honest.

And when I got to my car, I needed to shovel the snow that had been plowed in front of it.  And it was so windy that the carport had offered minimal protection overnight.  Yes, I needed to clean off my car.

And the roads were terrible, of course.  And the other drivers were idiots.  They were going too fast and driving too close for the conditions.  Visibility was minimal due to the blowing snow.  But what really pissed me off on the commute was this.  It was 6:45am.  You know who’s on the road at 6:45am?  Commuters.  People who drive this route Every Single Day.  And yet, when I got to a major intersection multiple drivers suddenly realized they were in the wrong lane.  One even crossed from the left lane across the right lane to get to the right-hand-turn lane.  It was as if they thought the snow had magically changed the number of lanes.  Yes, I was very happy to be behind all of these people so that I could keep an eye out for more idiotic moves.

But the lot at work was mostly plowed, and I appear to have parked someplace that other people thought seemed reasonable.  I was the first car, so I got to set the standard.

The plan for after work was that I would go to my parents’ for dinner because it’s far too cold to go out snowshoeing today.  When I left my office, multiple friends had posted on Facebook about how bad the roads were, so I opted to just come home instead.  The sidewalks have been cleared.  On my way in, I paused near the deepest drift to lean my leg against it so that there would be a line of snow I could measure.  That line measured 24”.  Two feet.

Work was okay.  I kept busy trying to get the schedule/brochure/references/bios/database set up for the DD Conference.  (I really could have used about five monitors on my computer today.)

And I played the dead baby card.  I have this speaker who keeps emailing me to complain about how she thought she was supposed to be presenting, but she doesn’t see her name on the schedule, so could I please confirm.  And I keep writing back to explain that the schedule hasn’t been published yet.  If she’s looking at anything online, it’s from 2013, which is why it says “2013” in the name and on the front page and everyplace the date is mentioned.  And I explain that I was on an extended leave this fall, so we’re behind on finalizing the schedule, but she is slated to present.  Got another email from her today.  It was written very snippily about how there must have been a miscommunication because she thought she was supposed to present but she’s not on the schedule (again, it clearly says 2013), so she needs to know if she should keep working on her presentation.  And it was just one too many times to hear this complaint.  I’m stressed enough as it is.  You want to know why there’s not a schedule?  Fine.  I’ll tell you why.  But be warned that you’re going to feel about a half an inch tall when I’m done.  I wrote back “I was on an extended leave this fall following the stillbirth of my daughter.”

In case you’re wondering, I haven’t heard back from her yet.  I think maybe, just maybe, she read my reply this time.

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Some Say Happiness…

January 24, 2014

What’s making me happy this week?  Well…

  1. There’s this rabbit that lives somewhere near my building.  Frequently, when I go to work in the morning, the only other living creature who seems to have been up is this rabbit.  I haven’t seen the rabbit itself since winter, but I see its tracks Every Single Morning.  And what really amuses me is that it hops down the sidewalk.  Its tracks aren’t going across the sidewalk and onto the grass.  No.  It follows the path.  What can I say?  It amuses me!
  2. I now own all of the Helen Wells Cherry Ames books.  I’m still missing a handful of the Julie Tatham books, but as they’re out of print, Kazoo Books has had to work a bit harder to track down affordable copies for me.  But they left me a voicemail yesterday, and I stopped by the store on my way home from work today, and I now have every single Helen Wells book in my possession.  I’m looking forward to starting to reread the series from the beginning.  (And my mom is, too.  She can’t remember when she last read them, so each time I finish one, I’ll pass it along to her.  And this way, if she reads something that reminds her of her mom, she can let me know.)
  3. My parents’ Wii Fit.  It’s been really cold this week.  We’re talking school-closed-because-of-wind cold.  My mom and I went for a walk on Wednesday.  We think that was a bad idea.  That was the only day this week that we went out for a walk.  We’ve spent a lot of time playing on their Wii.  But what’s specifically making me happy is the Bird Bull’s-Eye game.  It is ridiculously silly game.  You flap your arms and fly from target to target.  I have had so much fun playing that game this week!  I’ve enjoyed it almost as much as my beloved ski jump.
  4. My daddy is the best daddy in the whole world.  (Okay, you will see one aspect of this story at which another daddy might try to claim the title…)  I really should have bought gas on my way home after we celebrated his birthday on Monday.  But I didn’t feel like stopping.  So I was going to buy gas on my way home from work on Tuesday, but then my mom and I decided that it was too cold to play outside, and it wasn’t until I was in the far left lane that I realized I should have stopped at the gas station on the right corner on my way to their house.  So I asked my daddy to check Gas Buddy for me.  And it looked like prices were starting to go up.  So I asked him if I gave him my credit card, would he be willing to take my car and fill it up for me.  And he did!  And not only that, the price had gone up at the first station he planned to take it to, so he went to a different station (the one that I’d been in the wrong lane to use).  And, yes, by the time I left their house, prices had jumped almost 20 cents!  See.  My daddy is the best daddy in the whole world!
  5. And, of course, I’m so happy that Sherlock is back.  How happy am I?  Um, I kind of watched it twice on Monday.  Soooo…. Yeah.  It’s a pretty brilliant show.  You should watch it.  Even if you already do watch it, you should probably go and watch it again.  Definitely happy-making!

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I Do Love Winter. I Do Love Winter. I Do Love Winter.

January 22, 2014

If I repeat it often enough, I’ll remember that it’s true.  I mean, I really do love winter.  But, man, is it cold!  Yesterday, it was cold enough that my mom and I decided that we should forego snowshoeing.  I went to my parents’ for dinner, and we played on the Wii instead of them coming here and us going outside.  We probably should have done the same thing today.  After a very cold walk today, my mom and I are thinking we should do a repeat of yesterday tomorrow.

I’m feeling kind of stuck right now.  I don’t know what it is.  And it’s weird because I also feel like January is passing far too quickly.  I don’t know how we already got as far into the month as we have.  (Okay, the month starting mid-week, followed by two snow days, working from home, and a paid holiday, I kind of know where the days have gone.)  So maybe it’s not so much that I’m feeling stuck as that I feel like the calendar is moving faster than I am.  I’m the Red Queen, only I’m not running fast enough.

I want to take a step back so that I can breathe, but there’s so much that needs to be done, both at work and at home.  I know it will all be fine.  I know everything that needs to be done will get done.  I just wish it didn’t feel like so much was happening at once.

Fortunately, my boss is back from vacation.  And his top priority is getting our staffing shortage corrected by the end of the month.  And that will be a great relief to me because one of the reasons I’m drowning is that I have too much work to manage alone.  Fingers crossed that he’ll be successful!

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The Last Holiday

January 20, 2014

Okay, not really.  But the span of time between MLK and Memorial Day is incredibly long.  Our paid holidays are Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, and MLK.  Every 6-8 weeks, we get a paid holiday.  And then there’s this ginormous gap from January 20 (or thereabouts) to May 30 (or thereabouts).  It sometimes feels interminable.  The fact that the DD Conference occurs during this span makes it difficult for me to take any extended length of PTO, so if I do take a vacation, it always occurs during the same span of time that we have regular paid holidays.

It’s been okay for the last holiday until Memorial Day.  I put off doing my laundry, so I did that this morning.  And it’s my dad’s birthday, so we went snowshoeing on the trail and then out to lunch to celebrate.

It’s little things right now.  I’ll be okay and then I’ll just find myself crying.  Or the lump will return to my throat.  Or the nauseating pit will settle in my stomach.  I have a lot of friends who are pregnant right now.  Or who’ve just had babies.  My sponsor tells me that she still feels jealous of them, too, so I know that it’s okay that I feel that way.  But that doesn’t mean I like it.

And seeing the babies and toddlers when we were out at lunch…  As the hostess was showing us to our table, I just knew she was going to seat us at the booth next to the one with the high chair.  And I was right.  And my mom started to sit with her back to the high chair.  And I said, “Please let me sit on that side.”  And she did.  And I know she knew why.  And I’m sure I was a bit distracted throughout the meal.

And to keep with it being a rough year on my friends (at least those who aren’t going on and on about being pregnant or giving birth – which is perfectly to be expected – I’m just jealous of them), a friend just posted that his father has died.  Admittedly, he’s about ten years older than me, but he still isn’t that old.  His father wasn’t that much older than mine, in the whole scheme of things.

I’m tired of all the death and funerals.  And I’m tired of all the births.  I’d like to just go into stasis for a while.  No changes.  No arrivals and no departures.  Let’s just close the airport while we all regain our footing.

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January 17, 2014

I know that yesterday I said I’d felt rather blah this week, but it really hasn’t been all bad.  Good thing I’ve been keeping track of what’s making me happy this week.  Thinking about it makes me say that this week has actually been okay.

  1. lolmythesis.  OMG.  LOL.  And I don’t use LOL lightly.  I regularly laugh out loud as I read these posts.  Thus far, I think my favorite is this one from January 10:  The only way we’ll really know anything about how scribes learned to write and copy is by building a time machine, but that is beyond the scope of this project. (Medieval Studies, The University of Leeds.)
  2. Kazoo Books is in the process of completing my Cherry Ames collection.  I picked up eight books after work on Tuesday and they’ve ordered six more and are searching for affordable copies of the rest.
  3. I got the new cover for my iPad.  It is everything I hoped it would be and then some.  It included a keyboard, and I already have a keyboard, so I wasn’t terribly thrilled at winding up with two.  Yeah… this is a nice keyboard.  And while it is removable, it fits so nicely and is so light that I haven’t bothered to take it out.  Which means I have a keyboard whenever I need one.  Posting on Facebook?  No problem!  Texting my mom?  Easy as pie!  Adding events to my planner?  A breeze!  I was feeling a little empty-handed having switched to using my iPad as my planner.  This cover is everything I’d look for in a planner cover.  I feel much better now.
  4. I know you’re probably getting sick of hearing about this (especially since you’ll read this post in April), but snowshoeing is making me happy!  It had warmed up.  (Mid-January thaw, anyone?)  So the snow had melted some.  But it started snowing again a couple of days ago, and my mom and I went out on the KRVT today.  There was wonderful powder.  We were pleased to see ski tracks, so we weren’t the first people to enjoy that stretch of the trail.  And it was just so beautiful.  The snow and the trees and the air.  I had missed snowshoeing the past several days.  It was glorious to be back at it.  (We rocked today, too.  Did a mile in 20 minutes, including some decent hills.)
  5. Friends old and new.  (One is silver and the other’s gold…)  And this week, especially some old friends.  I mean friends I haven’t seen in years.  And I love how with true friends like these we could go for a decade without seeing each other and feel like we saw each other yesterday.  (Okay, Facebook may have something to do with that…)  Clare had an open house, and we realized that the last time we saw each other, we were protesting the invasion of Iraq.  That would be before we invaded Iraq.  But we have been friends for so long that it didn’t matter.  I love that relationships like this exist.

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January 16, 2014

This week has just been…  Blah, I guess is the right word for it.  I don’t know if it’s the stress from work.  (Which is total stressing me out because my DD Committee did NOTHING while I was on leave.  I don’t care that they admit it freely.  It still leaves us MONTHS behind.)  Or the fact that Sofia would have been four months old.  Or what.  I do know Paula is having a rough day, too.  (Her son would have been four months old today.)

Or maybe it’s the news.  Even feel good stories have that bit about the little girl dancing or, you know, whatever, and all I can think is that my little girl never got the chance.  And then I start crying.

I have been thinking, however, about the Victorian mores on mourning.  And while I think mourning and grieving are two different things, they were onto something.  Today, the DSM-V doesn’t even consider grief as a reason not to diagnose a patient with depression.  I could be clinically diagnosed as depressed because I’ve been sad for more than six weeks.  But we know why I’m sad.  I’m sad because my daughter died.  I’m sad because I’m grieving.  Doesn’t matter.  In the Victorian era, I’d still be wearing full-mourning garb.  It hasn’t been six months yet.  And then I’d still be in mourning, albeit half-mourning.  It was expected that people would grieve for several months following the death of a loved one.

This is not to say that the Victorian mores on mourning weren’t oppressive.  But we’ve become so afraid of sorrow that today’s mores on mourning are oppressive in the opposite direction.  It’s no longer okay to still be sad after six months.  It’s no longer okay to still be grieving.  (I’m speaking, of course, of society in general.  I think that most friends would say that it’s okay to still be grieving.  But those who don’t know a person who is grieving will respond with a “why aren’t you better yet?”)

Where did this come from?  I’m afraid to say Downton Abbey.  Or more specifically, the costuming.  Mary is in mourning this season.  Or rather, she is now in half-mourning.  And while, as I already said, mourning and grieving are two different things, we really need to stop being afraid of either of those processes.  Yes, this week has been kind of blah, but that’s simply because I’m human.

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