naturedance: my foot, in my boot, on Mount Rainier (reflective)
First, a bit of personal stuff...

My hands/wrists/arms/shoulders are throwing a fit because I've been on the computers too much lately and one of them has a keyboard that messes with me, so this entry's formatting is not up to my usual standard, sorry.

(edited to add: work ordered another minikeyboard for me for that computer earlier in the week, and it just arrived. Bliss! For the record, I now depend on BenQ Desksaver keyboards on all of my PCs; regular keyboards with tall keys spaced wider _hurt_. I've also switched to using more comfy trackball thingies rather than mice with Evil Scroll Wheels, for the same reason.)

Grad school class is going OK, though I'm really tired and buzzwords bend my brain. I've got lots to type up about the books and articles we've been reading, though, and I hope to do so as part of my studying this weekend for the midterm next week.

I bought myself a new 12" Mac laptop. It rocks. I'm still getting the hang of it, but I do love it so far.

Work is crazy and busy but I'm hanging in there, as usual.

And here's what I spent my lunch hour reading...

Wil Wheaton mentioned on his blog at a potentially interesting site called Digg. He also has a really great story about running around his front yard like a loon because it's his birthday. As always, Wil rocks.

Wil's post led me both to and to photos of a release of ten thousand superballs boinging their way down a San Francisco street.

That led me to an interesting photo storage site.

The science links page at Digg led me to the BBC's really cool section about exploring Mars.
Lake of frozen water:
Possibly found the crashed polar lander:
Rover missions extended:

Other interesting stuff on LJ:

"Don't be smart."

Language creation stuff -

Nation-state simulator program/game -

That reminds me... I stumbled across a neat tutorial for making planet images using Photoshop a while back...

Explaining outdated technology to children... "In the old days. Were you black and white?"

Using cell phone data to track behavior...

Baen's online fiction library...

Microsoft unveils new version of its operating system, "Vista" ...the running joke resulting from this seems to be "We are assured that the new name is not an acronym for Viruses, Infections, Spyware, Trojans and Adware. No, no, no, no, no, it's really not."

Think one person can't change the world? Read a little bit about one woman who was instrumental in starting what have now become LGBT Pride celebrations every year around the world, at

Back to work now...
naturedance: Caltech GeoChem BS, former ITS staffer, and member of Blacker Hovse (techer geek)
(snarls at hotel internet connection, again)

I've been in Atlanta this week attending LISA 2004.

I was really sick the first part of the week, and so didn't get as much out of the early tutorials as I'd hoped. But the past two days have been really, really good. I found myself needing different things from this LISA than I needed from the two previous ones I've attended a few years back, but the past two days gave me much of what I was seeking.

Insurmountable nontechnical problems don't seem so overwhelming at the moment. I have some new tools and some plans for dealing with them, and that feels really, really good. I'm glad I came.

I think I managed to convey my respect for [ profile] yesthattom without fangirling. Possibly.

It was great to see Mike C. and [ profile] rowan_redbeard again.

Room service will deliver a nice selection of breads, crackers and chicken soup. This is a good thing. 24-hour high speed internet access in the hotel room is great, especially if it actually works consistently. Also? Glass-sided elevators in a 48+ story open atrium are Evil, especially if one is already motion-sick.

LISA 2005 will be held in San Diego. I will attend.

And now I need to have some lunch and give some family friends in the area a call to see if I can't manage to meet them for dinner. They haven't seen me in decades.

(post this time dammit!)
naturedance: my foot, in my boot, on Mount Rainier (Default)
Very foggy this morning. Guess autumn is here!

Bless chicken broth with brown rice, cinnamon oatmeal with big plump raisins, hot Tang (I make it really, really strong), and basic pasta and tomato sauce. And microwaveable hot packs, and cold packs I keep stashed in the freezer. Also Naked Juice's Immunity line of drinks. I've been indulging in those from the Broad Cafe almost every workday morning, either the Power-C or the Well-Being, which is my favorite so far of all their drinks I've tried. It really made a difference this year. I've had more energy and been less sick, even though I worked just about every new student event on the schedule and have roughly a zillion projects going on.

These wonderful students returning to classes (and staff and faculty returning from vacation) are not just the future of Caltech and of science, they're also disease vectors. ;-) Doesn't matter which cold they bring with them when they return to campus from wherever they've been... I always manifest it in sinusitis.

But I am feeling sooooooooooo much better today.

My cat is doing better, too. I've learned how to give her insulin injections and she's already slightly more active and just... perkier. She was pretty chatty this morning for the first time in a week and a half, and her visits to the litterbox are decreasing to a more sensible level. I've got to remember to stop and pick up more litter on the way home this afternoon.

Here is a good online guide for folks whose pets have just been diagnosed with diabetes. For the record, I've spent the following so far on Oci's diagnosis and treatment:

$32 vet office visit
$17 urinalysis
$82 complete blood work panel (apparently her liver and kidneys are working a little too hard, but the creatinine and other indicator levels should come down as we get her blood sugar under control - glucose levels were above 500... I find it humorous that she, too, has high cholesterol)
$40 bottle of insulin, should last us for 2 months
$ 4 10-pack of syringes, should last us a little over a month

- about a week busy at work and worrying about when I'd be able to get her in to see the vet
- a weekend fretting once I spent a day at home and realized how lethargic she'd gotten and how much water she was drinking
- a day being a bit overwhelmed once the diagnosis was made from the urine test but before the bloodwork results were in so we could start figuring out what insulin levels to start her on
- two trips to the vet office

I adore my vets' office. Parkview Pet Clinic in Glendale is great, and both of the vets there are marvelous. The needles are really tiny, and if these first three times are any indication, Oci barely even feels it when I give her an injection. When I was dozing yesterday she hopped up on the bed to just check on me, the first time she's done that in a while. I'm so glad she's feeling better. If she needs insulin for the rest of her life, that's OK. Some cats are diabetic for a while and somehow recover from it; others stay diabetic for years.

I love my little critter dearly... but even Mom agrees that one of Oci's middle names has to be Troublesome. Ocelette Troublesome Shakal. )

naturedance: my foot, in my boot, on Mount Rainier (Default)
Dude! Dude! Water! From the sky!

I actually got hit by a couple of raindrops this morning!

Actual weather! In Pasadena!



Campus sure smells interesting when the plants get all damp.

And now back to work. Boy, howdy, is this time of year crazy.
naturedance: my foot, in my boot, on Mount Rainier (skyward)
I find myself wanting to record this somewhere where I and others can see it. I'm not really sure why. *shrug*

How I spent my summer )

And suddenly it's September 5th.

I need to eat right and take my vitamins and otherwise prepare for the sinus infection which I know will slam into me soon. It happens every time the students come back from everywhere on the planet and bring back new bugs to campus... I get a sinus infection. Doesn't matter if everyone else has a stomach bug, bronchitis, or whatever; for me, whatever the bugs are, I get a sinus infection. I've learned to mitigate the effects over the years. I've written down what works and what doesn't, and I need to take my own advice... I did know what I was talking about when I wrote it down! And I hate being sick, because it means I don't get to do things. Being sick is unplanned downtime, and it sucks. Exhausting myself or overexerting myself sometimes results in unplanned downtime, too, and that sucks... when I remember to schedule some downtime for myself, I'm a much happier camper. I go out of balance, like anyone does, and have to re-center myself occasionally, but it sneaks up on me unawares sometimes and that's annoying. I'm getting better about it, but I think it's an ongoing process.

Sometimes I feel like an axle, or a linchpin, or a nucleus. I have all these things spinning around me in irregular and sometimes amazing orbits, and as long as I can keep my own gyroscope balanced, as long as I can keep my own forces evening each other out, all of those things zooming around me can keep doing all their amazing things. In some ways, I go out of balance without all those orbits going on around me. But if I falter, if the center doesn't hold, all sorts of hell break loose all at once. And because I expect myself to be so capable, able to keep so many juggling balls in the air at once, when things go wrong, it's a whole lot of things that go wrong, and it feels like even more because of my own expectations.

It's funny. People at work probably only see me as a perfectionistic hermit sometimes. I don't show them even half of the orbits going on around me, and I don't want to share any more than that. My home life and my work life need to be separated in some ways for me to be me. A lot of my co-workers and former co-workers seem to have an extensive social life with people they know from work, and I used to participate in that somewhat. I'd like to a little bit now, but I can't seem to find a balance point; I topple into that social scene completely, or topple out of it completely. Still other co-workers don't socialize together outside of work, and I think that choice also colors how they are seen in the professional setting. I'm going to have to think about that some more over the coming months, I suspect.

I've been doing more writing lately. Trips do that to me, and nature-related ones especially. I've been less decisive than usual about sharing my personal writings online, and I think I'm finally just going to post things and have done with it. If you think my poetry sucks, just skim right by it, OK?

But first, I must foray out to the Montrose Farmers Market. Mmmm.
naturedance: my foot, in my boot, on Mount Rainier (Default)
Work was a bit crazy this week, especially Tuesday and Wednesday, because our lead sysadmin/developer is on vacation. It was (so far) better than this time last year, but Tuesday was really disheartening and my pessimism reared up. Last year was so, so bad. This year (so far) has just been busy. It takes me and one of the other sysadmins an hour or two to figure out things that the vacationing sysadmin could probably do in fifteen minutes, you know? But at least we're figuring things out. And the documentation is better now than it has been in the past. I've been working late to keep up with my own tasks, but I've stayed mostly on top of them. Just means I'm tired, and real life stuff has had to be put on hold because I'm at work, or too exhausted when I get home. I suppose if I were a different person I'd just let the work stuff slide...

That reminds me, I need to doublecheck that all of the documentation for what I do at work is up to date before I take some long weekends over the next few months.

Last weekend I put in a container garden on our balcony. I already had flowers and succulents on our front walk, and I cleaned them up and weeded them and topped off the pots with good potting soil. The marigolds look nice, a good counterpoint to the older Martha Washington and the other geraniums.

The balcony garden has cilantro, chives, lemon grass, spearmint, basil, oregano, something like nine or ten different kinds of peppers, and four pots of tomatoes. I cheated a bit and bought one big plant with green tomatoes already half-ripe.

Starting so late in the season seems strange, but the plants seem to be doing OK. The big plant was looking unhappy on Thursday evening, so I moved it to the front walk temporarily so it could get more sun. I think the east-facing balcony will get enough sun during normal days, but most days this week were overcast in the mornings, so they didn't get enough light. I think it's happier now. If the days are clearer, I'll move it back to the balcony.

Mom and Dad sent me an article link a bit ago... Dietary Supplements Relieve Migraines. Because some of my headaches are "simply" allergy and/or sinus headaches, and some are allergy-or-sinus-triggered migraines, I'm still figuring out what helps best. Natural foods, enough exercise, enough rest and not too much stress seems to be the best prescription for everything...

Roommate and I enjoyed the first harvest from our balcony garden last night at dinner... fresh chives and spearmint garnish for our onion/mushroom/beef broth soup. Quite tasty!

Hmmm... what else is going on? Lots, of course.. oh, Wil's new book Just A Geek is out!! :-) Yay!

Also, I spotted this on my friendslist thanks to [ profile] sigje: her friend [ profile] adaintum is doing the San Francisco Avon Walk For Breast Cancer. Even if you can't donate right now, you can leave an encouraging comment for her here.
naturedance: my foot, in my boot, on Mount Rainier (bright dreams nasa)
Lots of errand-running and tidying and more settling-in at the apartment to do, but... ahhhhhhhh...

I'm still annoyed somewhat with my allergies, but other than really dry eyes, and a headache first thing when I wake up until I've been vertical for a bit, the Claritin has them under control. And I'm not uncontrollably drowsy now. Yay.

The mollies had another little batch of baby fish, but two of them didn't make it. Cripes. I cleaned the tank's glass and filter and they all look much happier. I need to do a full water change real soon now, and start marking them on the calendar so I can remember to do them regularly since the move craziness is settling.

Reminder to self about work: the last oddments of the two user access charts, for groups and for shells, must be done ASAP. I came close, but didn't quite finish them last week. And then I need to finish the mindterm docs, rather than having them abysmally half-done.

I keep telling myself that I'm making headway, but it's easy to forget progress when items drop off a lengthy to-do list -- out of sight, out of mind.

Oh, while I'm thinking about it... congratulations to the Cassini-Huygens team! This is just so darned awesome...
naturedance: my foot, in my boot, on Mount Rainier (Default)
I've been having a low-level headache for the past few days, and I'd thought I was coming down with something, specifically a sinus infection or something causing one, but now I'm more convinced it's "just" allergies, since a tablet of Tylenol Allergy/Sinus helped cut the headache last night after my usual heat pack and hot steamy shower didn't help the day before. So I went ahead and started a full dosage of Claritin this morning.

Let me state for those of you who don't know this about me that most meds hit me like a ton of bricks. Falling from a very great height. No, I'm really serious. Even though I'm pretty much average height and weight, though slightly small-boned, meds seem to affect me in weird ways and more strongly than most people in most cases.

Most allergy meds, at full strength, either make me jumpy and hyper, or jumpy and sleepy, or just sleepy. To the tune of sleeping for a day and a half kind of sleepy. "Daytime non-drowsy formula", my fanny. I end up chopping a lot of pills in half before I take them. Considering how muzzy I feel just at the moment, I probably should have started myself on a half-tablet of the Claritin this morning, but at least my skull doesn't feel quite so pressurized now.

I think I'll find some nice webpages to work on rather than trying to do anything that requires root access on the Unix servers. :-)

*pause to blow nose* Which reminds me, I need to stop at the store on my way home and buy more Kleenex.

Once I've been on the dosage of Claritin for a few days, I'll be OK. It's just going onto it that's such a speed bump for my system. And Claritin is the one that affects me the least while still mostly solving the allergy problem. Stuff and bother.

*mental gear shift*

I love my Sentra. That little car (and the near-identical one I had before it which got smushed back in fall 1997 when I was trying to turn in to the DMV parking lot and a big SUV' driver behind me was on his cell phone) has been just wonderful. Good gas mileage, comfy seats, very dependable, fairly affordable parts and maintenance since I go to Taijohn Auto in Alhambra (I can't recommend him enough, he's an angel and a wizard disguised as a mechanic)... and if I didn't know better I'd say that it can haul things bigger than itself inside itself.

Really, I've fit more crap into this car at various points... last evening it was three bakers/garden rack shelfey thingies from OSH. Another customer bought one, and she and her husband and their daughter had to leave it sticking halfway diagonally out of the trunk of their big 'ol Grand Marquis. I wonder how many miles to the gallon such behemoth beasts get? Heh. Heh heh. But when I pulled my li'l Sentra up to pick up the racks the Roommate and I bought (two rectangular ones and one quarter-circle), I just popped the back seats down and the boxes slid right into the trunk/back seat. Perfect fit.

We managed to get them unloaded and up to the apartment with only my one slightly-dented knuckle as casualties, and they're just perfect for where we wanted them.

I love my car.

And also I love the office foldy cart thingie we bought when we first moved in to get heavy stuff up from the underground parking and across to our place. It did come in handy again last evening. See? Woman the Tool User!

Oh, and I love my Makita. A modern independent lady should never be without a powerful cordless drill. Especially living in a earthquake-prone area where one should secure tall bookshelves and such. :-)

A few random links from my flist:
[ profile] src points out a post by an animal shelter/rescuer with some hard truths about pets. Also, a collection of posts and communities which could be collectively called Ways To Survive This Sucky Economy.

[ profile] fusion_reaction links to an update about the situation from Wired.
naturedance: my foot, in my boot, on Mount Rainier (path less traveled)
I returned from a wonderful weeklong vacation last night, and just finished dealing with the backlog of work-related email that accumulated while I was away. There are still about ten messages I need to do something about, but the rest are sorted, filed, deleted, etc. That was a lot of email.

After lunch, tickets and voicemails. Then back to regularly-scheduled projects. Whee!

Must remember not to overdo things on my wrist and shoulder, especially since carrying luggages yesterday. Must remember to drink enough water and get enough rest, because the change in altitude and humidity and temperature will fubar my sinuses if I'm not careful.

Spending a few extra hours in the Denver airport yesterday probably won't help them much, either (hello, dry thin mile-high air), but that was OK... because the first flight from Indianapolis to Denver was late arriving in Indy due to a technical problem, the airline had to put me on a later flight out of Denver because we got there after my flight had left. The later flight to Burbank was so full, they had to put me in first class. Aw, shucks. ;-)

I love foldy headrests! The real glass was nice for my apple juice, but the foldy headrest made my evening. I slept rather soundly most of the way to Burbank.

Boeing 737s are much more comfortable than small jets made by CanadaAir, and if my recent experiences are any indication, even CanadaAir jets which seem new from the interiors have quite a few glitches which cause delays. The bathrooms are also too small for the average human. I don't know how anyone larger than I am (in any dimension) fits into them, much less uses them. I'm close to average weight for American women, and I'm just over 5'5" tall. I understand about cost-cutting measures, but there are some lines that just shouldn't be crossed.


May. 7th, 2004 12:11 pm
naturedance: my foot, in my boot, on Mount Rainier (bountiful harvest)
Been a long week. It's going to be good to relax and cocoon some more this weekend.

My arm and wrist seem to be doing a bit better. I'm back to doing more of my stretches (more gently than usual) and my new Thera exerciser thingies are pretty nice. I'm using the yellow one for now, and I played with the red one with my left hand yesterday. It's squooshie and nicely addictive, although there is a reminder on the exercise instructions not to use the ball "to fatigue". Now if I can just keep from sleeping on my neck wrong...

My cat is doing a bit better... she's still sneezing a little, but she's better than before. This makes me happy.


May. 3rd, 2004 10:50 pm
naturedance: my foot, in my boot, on Mount Rainier (cascade)
I think I finally have to admit that all of the recent home fixing and heavy stuff moving, coupled with a lot of time on computers at home and at work, neither of which is terribly ergonomic, has finally caught up with me. There are drawbacks to being a workaholic, both at work and at home. Also, carrying a heavy purse on one shoulder is stupid, especially if it's the arm you use to mouse with. :-P I slept funny on my right arm last night, and it's been letting me know it's severely unhappy with me all day long.

I am going to have to be more careful about repetitive stress on my right arm, and I'm going to ditch my favorite purse for a while. Grumph... but owwww is a bad feeling.


Today was the worst it's been in the past two years or so, and I've had a couple flareups during that time which were pretty annoying. Today I coughed up money for two different trackball-type replacements for my mice, and I'm ordering some specific squooshie exercise balls that a friend recommended. Hopefully switching between the different mice and trackballs will help. I've also still been doing the stretching exercises another friend/co-worker taught me, although when I'm having a flareup I only do the stretches gently and don't do any of the strenthening ones. My new computer setup at home is better than my old one, but is still not great. I'm going to see if I can adjust my chair differently, and if not, I may end up getting a new chair, too.

If I fall further behind on my email or whatnot I'm apologizing in advance. As it is, I'm rather distressed about work. Bother.

I think I kind of like one of the new trackball things, though. That's a surprise; I usually hate the darned things. But it's got enough buttons that I can do a lot of the things I usually would use the trackball or move the entire mouse to do, so it's kind of neat.

The only other thing wrong lately is my cat... she's still sort of under the weather. I'm going to keep an eye on her, but I think she was better today than she was yesterday. If that's not the case tomorrow another vet office may be in the plan. Poor beastling.

Other than those worries and the arm annoyance, things are really good. I just needed to vent a bit about these two things, and now I feel better. :-)
naturedance: my foot, in my boot, on Mount Rainier (skyward)
Yeah, I'm quoting from the movie Dogma. Azrael was a character, wasn't he? In any case, he's rather right... especially today in Los Angeles, air conditioning is absolutely heavenly.

I rescued all of my plants from the old apartment's porch, and there are still odds and ends enough inside for maybe one or two more carloads, a goodly chunk of which is destined for the Salvation Army or Goodwill, but it is all bundled and ready. I got all the heavy scrubbing done today, too. I may want to mop the floor one last time, but if I don't get to that, it's no crisis.

But boyohboyohboy was that apartment turning into a cooker by the time I left. I didn't think I'd be there very long, so it wasn't really worth it to turn on the window AC in the bedroom if I was scrubbing in the kitchen... and the sunshades are currently rolled up and tied under the west awnings, so there's nothing to diminish the blaze of the afternoon sun all along that wall. Bleh!

I'm so thrilled that my biggest requirement for our new apartment was met when we chose this place: central air. With a thermostat and an air filter built in and everything. :-)

I haven't had much trouble with my sinuses ever since we buttoned up the windows and turned it on, either, though this afternoon I could feel allergies or something trying to get me, either from the outside air at the old place or the dust inside before I went rather crazy with the vaccuum cleaner. There's a reason the German verb for that is "to dust-suck".

I hope the plants adjust to the move OK. The irises seem to be OK, but the Christmas cacti don't like our balcony... too much direct morning sun, I suspect. Unless I shade them somehow they're not going to live here. They really miss my old office window, before I moved from the second floor at work to the basement and brought them home.

I checked my work email for the first time since Wednesday night this evening. This four day minivacation thing was a brilliant idea.

I've been needing to wear two layered shirts the past few weeks because of both the temperature change from morning to daytime, and because of the AC in the building at work... and the white graphicsy shirt would match under my blue knit overshirt... yeah, I think I may just go ahead and wear one of the Bowie t-shirts to work tomorrow morning.

*big grin* Yes, the concerts were fabulous.

Over the coming weeks I may type up and share some of my Deep Thoughts about the experience here. For now, let me just say that if an artist inspires you, really inspires you, it's very intense and differently-nuanced to see them perform live in contrast to listening to their music on CD (or tape, or vinyl...) -- if you have the chance, take it, seize it. Go see them, and see if you see a slightly differently perspective on yourself or the world around you than you did before... reflected, refracted, magnified, as part of a larger view through their art.

I remember going to a John Denver concert when I was little with my parents. It was wonderful. I have very clear memories of the whole audience singing along, and he did the entire concert, in Indianapolis' Market Square Arena which was huge, alone... just him and a stool and a microphone and his guitar and a glass of water. For some of the songs I think there maybe might have been a bit of background music or percussion piped in, but most of the concert was just him, alone or with all of us singing along. It was amazing.

And sometime before or after that, I remember seeing Mary Travers performing outdoors somewhere... maybe at Penrod one year? I don't remember if Peter or Paul were with her, but I remember watching her, rather enrapt in it... and even at that age I was analyzing things. It struck me at the time that no matter what else changed over the years, her joy in her music, the way her voice wrapped itself around the words, and the way her hair moved as she sang did not diminish. I don't think I'll ever forget that little piece of wisdom, and no matter how many different times I learn it it's still a fresh and new idea... joy transcends time.

And now that I think of it... for that matter, if a painter or a photographer inspires you, and you have the chance to buy or see the fancy art books, the exhibits, the originals rather than prints... do it. Just do it.

*happy sigh*
naturedance: my foot, in my boot, on Mount Rainier (reflective)
I'm kind of sore from shoving boxes around and unpacking, but I did manage to locate the dining room table last evening. It really was under all that! :-)

Peg-lok shelving is very modular and very wonderful. The dining room now has a shelfey thing similar to the setup I built in the Montrose apartment. That means that the table linens will be easily accessible, and we'll be able to sit down and eat like civilized people. Amazing. I feel like a grownup and everything.

Well, sort of. ;-)

Today I'm taking it easy a bit this morning (mmm, tea!) and then heading to my old apartment to rescue the rest of my potted plants from the porch and pick up the last of the oddments... and then one last quick cleaning of that place, and I'll be done with it.

I'm still really pleased that the checklists and planning and organization of the past few months has been working... we've managed to do an absolutely amazing amount in the past few weeks, and the new apartment really feels like home, already. I only have a few more boxes left to unpack, and the last of the tall shelves to secure to the walls at the top (yeah, SoCal folks have to do that sort of thing), and then the next tasks on the checklist are all paperwork and beaurocracy: address changes and new checks printed and that sort of thing.

One part of me is kind of hoping that I can manage to maintain this level of productivity balanced with restful downtimes after all of the move stuff is taken care of... Another part of me is kind of concerned that it's been such a high that I'm going to find a low and get down and rather depressed once there's nothing so critical to do.

But I have lots and lots of projects that I've been meaning to do for years that I now have space and motivation to get to, plus some exciting new ones, and a home which feels like a home to do them in... and I have a bunch of system administration books that I never finished reading after the last SAGE-USENIX LISA conference I attended, which I really should read because I don't want to limit myself to narrower and narrower roles at work...

Lots to think about. Yep. But I'm doing OK. No, better than OK. I'm not as euphoric as I have been at various points over the past week or so, but at the same time, I feel like I've banked the hot embers of that sort of fire at my internal hearth. I'd like to think that, anyway. Quite a few people over the years have expressed concern that when I throw myself into something, anything, with such intensity that I shine like a beacon, I might lose myself (maybe like a moth or something, fluttering into a candle?) or burn myself out.

So far, thinking back, I believe the only times that I've turned into a depressed, miserably cooling charred pile of ashes has been when I mistakenly tried to toss myself into something which I felt I ought to have been doing, rather than something I was thrilled to be doing. See, expectations can be a real pain in the arse, even when they're your own.

I (and people who know me) should have figured out by now that I'm too responsible and too perfectionistic to be thrilled to be doing anything dangerous or harmful to myself or others, so we should all just stop worrying and follow our bliss. Thanks, Joseph Campbell...

Whatever shiny new thing which has caught my attention at any given point is helping me to learn more about myself and my world, and I'll still be me, maybe with more clarity than I had before, and likely with more developed facets of both my personality and perception of the world around me. Yeah, yeah, the chameleon can do plaid, and she enjoys changing colors when the mood strikes. She's still the same chameleon she's ever been... sometimes more so. And this brings joy and creativity and insight which she's more than happy to share, in various ways.

I'm actually more concerned that I need more expertise in banking the fire. I should have been worrying about that, rather than worrying about how hotly or brightly the flame was burning, really. That's a big concept for me... a shift in how I think about my fascinations and hobbies and passions and inspirations.

Keeping, fostering, tending inspiration and energy and creativity and enthusiasm is a much better goal than trying to be tentative enough to be modulated and monotonic all the time. I wish I had a better way of saying that, but there it is, for now, at least.

Gosh, this has gotten rather more personal than most of the other entries in this journal. I guess I'm comfortable with that. I'm typing this up for me, and it feels OK to share it.

It's sometimes a little daunting to realize that public websites really are public, but it's more daunting to realize that some people don't understand what would possess this generation to share so much of ourselves online. See, I can't explain it any more than I can explain any other cultural phenomenon I'm too close to. I just know that for me, putting personal websites and journals online is OK, better than OK, and it helps me understand myself and for others to understand me. Human connection is a precious thing, and understanding even more so.

Off to rescue my plants now... because green growing things are wonderful. :-)
naturedance: my foot, in my boot, on Mount Rainier (cascade)
My roommate and I have been struggling to get our landline phone service and our DSL service working at home for the past two weeks. It's been an adventure, and getting her computer on the air was like pulling teeth. But we've got progress today... my computer is now on the air and working. Of course, that means that hers is not.

We're going to get a router and make the next attempt to get both computers on the air at once sometime in the next day or so. Whee!

But right now, it's time to eat something, and to tackle the steadily-dwindling pile of boxes in the dining room. I know there's a nice table under there somewhere.

I'm really glad I decided to give myself a four day weekend this weekend. I'll post more about that later... I have had an absolutely wonderful two days and life is just utterly, simply, marvelously, incredibly good.
naturedance: my foot, in my boot, on Mount Rainier (cascade)
The unpacking continues at my new apartment, and although I'm rather tired and there are muscles I didn't even know I had protesting rather noisily this morning, I'm happy. I'm looking forward to my upcoming mini-vacation (really a long weekend) to spend organizing and rearranging things.

The drive to work yesterday was much the same as Monday; quite a pleasant surprise. Today I was feeling vaguely sickly (mostly sinus-related, gee thanks dust and pollen, though staying up late probably didn't help) so I was moving slowly this morning until I made a pot of Tidal Wave tea at home. I should make a whole entry about the wonder of teas...

Anyway, leaving home at 9:50 got me to work by 10:15. Traffic was moving well all along my route, to the point that on the downhill along the 134 in Eagle Rock everyone who didn't brake was suddenly speeding (more than usual) just by coasting. I'm starting to figure out which lanes have fewer silly mergey people, which makes me even happier about my commute.

Got an onion bagel and cream cheese at Broad Cafe this morning. I'm still on a funky four meals a day schedule, and hope to reset that this weekend, when I'll stop doing my Pioneer Woman impersonation and there won't be any more real work to do associated with the move. In the mean time I'll just enjoy the home-made chicken and lentil soup I brought for lunch. :-9

I got caught up on work email before making this LJ post, so now I'm off to deal with trouble tickets and then back up recently-deactivated former-student accounts. Whee, the everyday work of a sysadmin! I feel all organized and productive today.

I think I like this new lifestyle thingie. Oh! That reminds me, I should make a post about my new high-efficiency washing machine, too. :-)

Yeah. This is me, happy. I like it.
naturedance: my foot, in my boot, on Mount Rainier (bountiful harvest)
I'm exhausted. Moving is just darned tiring. But 95% of my things are at the new place thanks to Big Burly Guys With A Huge Truck and a couple car trips for the really fragile items and/or security-sensitive papers. Yes, this includes the cat and the aquarium (and the orange mollies in it), all of which are still getting used to their new digs. My problematical sinuses are recovering from all of the dust kicked up at the old apartment and from the boxes... Friday was miserable, sneezy and headachey.

I'm catching up on my work email from Friday afternoon and waiting for the chai tea to kick in before I do anything requiring admin access to the servers, because while I'm awake enough to drive, all of the packing and shifting boxes around and unpacking has made my hands rather sore and uncoordinated this morning, so I want to type rather more deliberately before pressing [enter], you know?

Mmmm, chai.

I was listening to KNX 1070 this morning for traffic reports (for the record, leaving Burbank at 8:20am via the 5 and then the 134 to Pasadena got me to campus by 8:45am this morning, with only two blurbs of slowing: right after getting on the 5 and as the 5/134 interchange merges into the 134 in the left lanes). They had a little mini-report about how single women have the most trouble of any demographic saving for retirement.

As I usually say to "news"... DUH.

Let me break this down a bit, for anyone who's missed this sort of information: 1) On average, women make less money than men. 2) On average, women live longer than men. 3) Being single is one of the most ineconomical of the possible lifestyle choices, especially if you live alone. I'm not even going to go into issues of single parenting... the first three items alone make for pretty simple math. Women are also less likely to have pensions, and more likely to develop chronic (and expensive) medical conditions during our longer old age.

The radio station interviewed a woman from the Women's Institute for a Secure Retirement. Their website is and it has information and strategies. Of course, everything has to be shortened for radio, so she gave the URL and said (I'm paraphrasing), be aware of retirement issues early, and get rid of debt.

That's good advice for anyone.

Looking at their main page, where the top five reasons women have such trouble saving for retirement are listed... I have to say I'm thankful for my life. I have a good college degree (which is nearly paid for), I have a good job (which I'm going to get back to now that the caffeine and sugar from my chai tea is kicking in -- yes, it has milk too and at least that's good for me), I have a retirement plan and thanks to my recent move into a great apartment with a fabulous roommate, I'm getting even more control over my budget, my finances and my financial planning.

Yeah, it's a good day. Back to work!
naturedance: Caltech GeoChem BS, former ITS staffer, and member of Blacker Hovse (techer geek)
In general, things are going OK. :-)

The ginko trees on campus are a gorgeous shade of yellow, and are dumping their leaves into a fluttery carpet all around themselves. It's beautiful. And some white roses are blossoming over near Broad Cafe.

And, walking across campus, one can overhear fragments of conversations... two guys constantly interrupting each other as they walk...

"...yes, but if we just put a more powerful laser into it, that wouldn't be an issue..."

I had trouble keeping a straight face. *helpless mirth* Geeks!
naturedance: my foot, in my boot, on Mount Rainier (bountiful harvest)
Descanso Gardens is one of my favorite places. I had a lovely, not-work weekend.
naturedance: my foot, in my boot, on Mount Rainier (spring dawning)
Southern California is such a strange place sometimes. Today was just gorgeous weather, but just about everyone at the office is sneezing intermittently. I guess it's allergy season.

Sometimes every day here feels like it's the same as the day before, weatherwise, and for those of us who expect weather to be changeable, that's a bit disorienting.

Sometimes it feels like you're living the same day, over and over.

When that's a good day, it's great. When that's a bad day, or you realize that although you've been living all these individual days but not reaching any closer to long-term goals, that can be disheartening.

That's why I celebrate the passage of time... marking the seasons, marking holidays, paying attention to the plants around me as they go through their own strange California growth cycles.

An interesting quote from my desktop calendar:

Learn what you are and be such.
-- Pindar

Hmm. There's a lot to ponder, right there.
naturedance: my foot, in my boot, on Mount Rainier (winter wonderland)
There's nothing quite like curling up under a heap of blankets and quilts and comforters on a cold winter's night, with a purring sleepy cat making a nest in the comforters at your feet.

Of course, there's also nothing like being forced onto the edge of your bed by said cat, who decided sometime in the middle of the night that the very very center of the bed was the warmest place to be...


I still haven't mailed the rest of my holiday cards, but cocooning just had to be done these past few weeks. I feel a bit like I'm struggling to wake up from hibernation, trying to wake to the wonder of life. But one cannot wake if one hasn't slept.

Anyone wishing an interesting read... go here for a lovely webified version of John Greenleaf Whittier's Snow-Bound: A Winter Idyll.

And for everyone else, here are online links to two of my favorite winter-themed paintings, both by Andrew Wyeth... Crescent and Last Light. Note that there are strict copyright things associated with these images... but aren't they beautiful?

Happy winter!

February 2017

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