Data Entry Day

I have been entering data into my beloved database for the last 4 hours straight!



I type fairly fast, about 85wpm last time I was tested (at 100% accuracy). I highly enjoy working on computers, however---my wrists are killing me.

My median nerve, which controls a huge percentage of my hand, is quite unhappy today. It aches on a good day, but on days where I'm entering data all day-it's bad. My fingers feel like they are being tightened.

I went to physical therapy for it about 18 months ago and my wrists were both feeling much better. It was time-consuming, about 75 minutes twice a week, and not free (though I made friends with the physical therapist and he wrote off a portion of it!). It was very enjoyable and after two months, they were like nearly-new wrists and WONDERFUL. I wear a wrist brace when I am typing for long stretches, like today for instance, but it doesn't curb the pain, it just keeps it from getting to be intolerable.

I will use the heating pad tonight and try and curb the pain a bit...it would be great to have a wrist rub though...I suppose some vicodin might help curb all my aches and pains but I'd prefer to avoid that as long as I can.

It will be a sad night tonight! When will they come up with wrist transplants??

Smoke this....


This past weekend, I was at the local bar with a friend and started talking to this guy who had been alone for the past hour. We were making bets on whether or not he was staying at the hotel next door, as the previous two times that we went to the bar, we only met guys from the hotel. So I start talking to the guy and find out he recently moved up here from North Carolina, he does some kind of job that is not engineering, but kinda in that field, and he loves to snowboard. Over the course of the first few minutes I spoke to him, he was not smoking, but holding a cigarette. The bar is loud-very loud, and I was having to lean in towards him to talk/listen. Finally, I just asked if I could see his cigarette and motioned towards his hand, as if I might want to share with him....He, of course, offered it and I promptly dropped it in the drink glass I had just finished, and then continued the conversation as if nothing had just happened.

[insert shocking pause]

He just stared at me for a moment and then at his cigarette smoldering on ice. He appeared a bit taken aback and then told me that he's 30-something years old and doesn't really need me to look after his health for him.
Sometimes I think I'm too bold and I don't know how it doesn't get me in trouble. I explained to him that he hadn't been smoking it and I wanted to talk to him but couldn't with it smoldering near me and that I would gladly leave and he could light up again if he wanted. He said no, it's okay...but next time just warn him. He gave me his number ten minutes later and then called me to say he was glad to have met me (whatever the 30 minute conversation meant to him..).

Point being---how is it that I haven't gotten in to some fight at some point is beyond me. I don't think that I'm "all that" and I don't believe that all girls should be treated like Princesses. I am aware of what I have to offer and I think that I'm a really great person to hang out with, and as such, people should be happy when I deem them worthy of a few moment's of my time....ha--kidding of course!! I don't know why I think I have the right to intrude on that mans cigarette after only talking for a few minutes. I had no idea if our conversation would have gone on longer and I have no idea if he was on his last cigarette and freaked out about not having money to buy more until payday. He could have been a crazy man who just stopped by the bar for a drink before continuing on his killing spree. He turned out to be just a good ole Southern boy (though he did say the F-word TWICE) and all alone in a new city.

I gave him the nickname Carolina and he seems okay. But he smokes, and as such, is not someone I can hang out with often, if at all.

Smoking is gross. I don't understand why more people don't get it.

Praise the Lord





Russell's Teapot is my site of the day!
I stumbled upon this site this morning. It has some wonderful information about religion. He has some funny comics, like the one above. Some of the info is presented in an inspirational poster type format, like this (which I think is hilarious):


I verified that this was the real passage, not just a joke--and really is straight from the bible:
1Ti 2:11 Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.
1Ti 2:12 But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.
1Ti 2:13 For Adam was first formed, then Eve.

People follow this?? WOMEN follow this???

Save the Children

Children shouldn't die!!

Another of the kids who we make cards for has died. I think that's only the third one in the last 13 months, out of 39 very ill kids-we've only had 3 that have died. That's three more than should have. All three died of leukemia.


Donovan is the most recent. I had a volunteer group of 18 people who showed up ten days ago to make cards for Donovan and two others. I have the cards in my car to be mailed...but now I have about 30 cards that will never be used. Even my son seemed taken aback by this death, though he hadn't so much the others (in the past, he reminded me that I KNEW they were terminally ill..so I shouldn't be so hurt). This most recent group had fawned over how cute Donovan was. It was too soon to lose him!

It's sad whenever one of the kids dies, but this was a two-year old. He was adorable and so young. And we JUST made cards for him. He deserved more time. His family deserved to have more time with him.

It really makes me appreciate how fortunate I am that my son is healthy (for the most part). I feel foolish for being angry at him for not hanging up his sweatshirt now....at least I GET the chance to teach him the importance of putting stuff away (even though he seems to be a SLOW learner about this particular matter!). I can not imagine what Donovan's parents have gone through, with the illness itself as well as the actual death of their baby boy.


When I was in a really horrible situation, I used to repeat to myself: That which doesn't kill us makes us stronger. Donovan's parents must be superheroes.





One More Day!

I'm working on a couple PowerPoint presentations for a national conference my boss is attending...I've had no time to do anything but work today. It's been awhile since I've worked non-stop for 8 hours straight...this is a nice change for me. It'll all be better tomorrow when "she" is gone and I can get back to doing whatever it is I normally do. Though if it were up to me, I would work on PowerPoint slides all day-I love it. I think I might even love it more than I love my database.


I agreed to lead a volunteer project tonight on the opposite side of town just after work today. I don't volunteer on weekdays, it's just too much with work and the kid and schoolwork and housework. It'll be a mad dash after work to go volunteer and then rush back home to spend less than two hours with the kid. He's going to go work out with his Big Brother tonight so he'll be busy until I get home anyway, which is great-no guilt for me about him staying home alone.

I worked out at the gym the last two nights in a row. I love it, I wish I could go every night, but I am afraid my knees wouldn't like it. I'm hoping to start running again this summer so I'm keeping pretty cautious right now.

My wrists have been really bothering me lately. I miss my nightly wrist rubs!!

It's been almost a full year since I've left the state. I want to travel..



I need to get back to PowerPoint land for now though. Nothing exciting or new to see here.

Bored?

I want a skinny male friend, with a video camera, who does quirky things like make these types of videos.

IT'S FLICKY! - video powered by Metacafe

Link of the Day

THIS is amazing...

and

THIS made me want to cry.

Snow Day

My drive to work today:













From the roof of the four-story building where I work. There are very few things I can say I like about this building. The view is one of its' best aspects.










There is a conference room on half of the fourth floor (through that odd little opening), but it doesn't actually look out on much. Someone keeps a nice large birdfeeder there that attracts a lot of squirrels and during our monthly admin meeting up there, we see a squirrel or two tittering about and it's usually the best part of that meeting.


















The reason I love Tuesdays better than any other day:





WRAP DAY!!

Grumpy



I am such a girl today. Some days, it just seems as if nothing is good in the world. I could list off a long list of things that are bothering me today...but I don't have time for that. I could be here all day making that list. That would make me more grumpy.


I wish I was here:

Poor Parenting

Some people have no idea how to parent. I don't claim to be the best parent in the world, but there comes a point when parents must look at their kids and think...wow, I really did go wrong here...and then they should take action to do something different.


I think I am pretty fortunate with my son, in that he is pretty easy to parent about 90% of the time. I know he has his faults and quirky "issues," but overall, he's a good kid. He does his homework each day, up until this last semester he got straight A's with very little effort on my part to push that along. He helps out around the house when I ask. He is a good kid for the most part. I adore him-he's wonderful. Can't keep his room clean....but still wonderful.


Parenting is hard. It really is. Seriously. It's the hardest thing ever....and it never ends. Once you give birth-you're on this really hard mission the rest of your life to help this person you created become a good human being. Not just for your own sanity while they live at home, but for everyone around him/her in the future. Sometimes it's scary seeing how other people are raising their children--they are the people your child is growing up with...scary..like any of the people on this show:


I wonder if someday the family will look back at this video and realize how ridiculous it all was.

No time to blog today...training all afternoon!

Books Books Books

Finished the last book!! It was a two-day book, which means it was either really good or I didn't work and my son was gone. It was a good book: Eye Contact by Cammie McGovern. I'd recommend it for a book lover. It was an easy read, well-written. I like that the author switched between characters when writing, I think pieces of the story would have been lost if it was only told from one point of view.

New book last night though---Amy and Isabelle. It's starting off slow, but that might be partially due to me being so tired from staying up so late to finish Eye Contact the night before.



The Jimmy Carter book about Palestine is next on my list, I think.

Job Hunting....

sucks.


I'm so tired of interviewing. I think I've interviewed for 10 different jobs in the last year. That's a LOT. I know people who have been looking for a job for a full year and have only had a couple interviews. But really, ten interviews and no job?? I don't think it's me-I just think I wasn't the right one for the jobs that I was applying for...so maybe I should be more selective about what I apply for. I get great feedback both directly and via word-of-mouth about my interviews, so at least I can say that the way I interview is not holding me back...I just have to be patient. I know the right job will come along.

My dream job will involve:

Database work
Creating powerpoint slides or presentations of some sort
Manipulating numbers/data
Giving presentations or being in front of a group for some reason
Event planning of some sort (not always, but a few times a year at least)
Having a lot of contact with a variety of people
My own office
Having a good amount of responsibility
No micromanaging supervisors
Working in a job that makes a difference
Flexible hours
Great pay
Amazing benefits
A little travel now and then
Yearly bonuses
Obvious appreciation by those I work with/for



Is that so much to ask for??

Good Karma for All


I'm not Buddhist, but I somewhat believe in karma; I do believe that doing good things will lead to good things happening to you - it is logical to believe that if you help others, that they might help others, who might help others, etc, until someone is helping you...so the good deed you do might come around in a circle to where it began.

My son mentioned 'good karma' last month when we standing in line outside a particular electronics store at 7:45am, with 50-60 other people hoping to be given a ticket to buy the Nintendo Wii. We were told they had 40 tickets to give out. By our count, there were 38 people in front of us (each person only gets one ticket). We watched the store employee handing out the tickets at 8:30am, slowly making his way towards us, the pile of tickets getting smaller and smaller. We started to think that maybe we miscalculated our count...and sure enough, we watched as he gave out the last ticket to someone two spaces in line ahead of us. You could feel the sadness in my sons body as we watched the 40 people in front of us smiling and laughing and walking back to their cars, their tickets secure in their hand, oblivious to the frustration of the other 20 people who walked away empty-handed (the tickets are given out two hours before the store opens).

We just stood around for a bit, watching everyone walk away, talking about how close we were...when a car pulled up to us. It was a woman and her two sons who I had very briefly talked to while counting heads in line just after we got there. She asked if we got a ticket and then said that her sons each got one and decided they would just share and she had an extra ticket if we wanted it. My son was instantly on Cloud 9 and, after thanking them repeatedly, we headed back to our car, oblivious to all around us. My son turned to me with the biggest smile possible and said, "This is because of your good karma!!"

We had recently been looking at the number of volunteer hours we've logged throughout 2006. As a 13 year old, he did really well, I think, with 30 hours. That's an average of over 2 hours a month. From talking with the parents of his friends, I've never heard of any of the other kids volunteering ever, much less on a regular basis. (I invited a few of them to volunteer with us before and have gotten a very unenthusiastic response). I logged 99 hours for the year. Between us we donated 123 hours of manpower towards various causes. And THAT led to the good karma that led to my son being a ticket-holder for a Wii....or so we like to think!

Back in 1996, I was in the midst of moving to college. I was moving across the state on my own with a four-year old and two cats. The car was absolutely packed, the trunk barely closed, the back seat full-complete with pillows stored in the back window, the cats had a small kitty box on the floor, my son had stuff by his feet..it was a FULL carload. As we're almost halfway through our journey across the state, the car starts to shake. At first, just the slightest amount that I assumed was the road. I changed lanes on the freeway, and the shaking got worse, not better. I got back in the right lane and slowed down a bit, but this only caused the shaking to get still a bit worse.


I kept getting slower and slower, knowing there was a rest stop ahead. The shaking got worse and worse so that by the time I drove the mile or so down the freeway, I was on the side of the road with hazards on, creeping along. I actually pulled over and checked for a flat, but there was none.

I got to the rest stop and did what comes naturally--popped the hood and went out to look for...something. My car knowledge is probably higher than most girls. My dad has worked on cars my whole life and I've never had a problem getting dirty..but diagnosing most engine problems is beyond my scope of knowledge. Next step in my crisis management, call dad. My dad's response was--it's your tire, not your engine. He told me to get the jack out, go around the car and jack up each side and give each tire a spin. He was pretty certain that I would see something wrong with one of them...however, I was still stuck at the point where he told me to get my jack out. Did I mention I was moving?? The trunk was F.U.L.L.

So--back to the car, close the hood, pop the trunk. Continue staring. Not exaggerating--FULL trunk!!

Meanwhile, I have a four-year old with me, not content to sit in the stuffy car with the scared and crying cats, not content to stay right next to me while I try to appear as if nothing is seriously wrong, though I had my doubts at that moment.

The rest stop had a "free coffee" stand run by some VFW group or some such group. One of the men from the group was smoking nearby and watched me go from the open hood to the phone to the trunk and then stare mindlessly at the over-flowing amount of goods between me and my jack/spare tire. He came over and started talking about the problem and then he walked around the car, took a minute to rub his hand around each tire and then pointed out that there was a huge bubble on the inside of one wheel. He then took a minute to tell me a few horror stories about tires that burst and how lucky I was that it didn't explode on the freeway. This wonderful man, probably in his late 60's, went to his own car, got the jack and proceeded to take the tire off. The conversation while he was doing all this moved to why is my car so full, where am I going to college, if I was married, did I have family nearby...and then he said, "I have a son who lives at the next exit-I'm going to run to his shop and take care of this. Just sit tight with your little one." And then he left.

On a side note, just after I met my new friend, a car full of teenagers pulled up in the rest stop and my son went running over to them. It was four boys I knew from the business I shared my ex-husband the year before, they were regulars and knew us well. They were on their way home from some camping trip and actually stayed at the rest stop until I was on my way again, keeping the four-year old occupied, playing tag and ball with him while I tended to the car problem! These were TEENAGERS. Being nice. For NO reason!! I love it.


My new older friend came back with a nice and new shiny tire for my car. He came back and put it on my car before I even noticed he was there...and told me that his son owns a tire store in the small town down the road and to consider this an early college graduation gift. He wished me good luck in college and with my son and refused to take any payment of any kind.

How does that happen that you find someone so willing to help you, so selfless, so compassionate, just when you are most in need? Is that a coincidence or fate? I have had a number of people in the last year who have asked me why I volunteer so much...and this is exactly the reason. People have helped me, I need to help others. I don't ever think about making atones for all the help I've received, I just know first-hand the feeling I had when this stranger not only took the time to help me (it was about 2.5 hours out of his day), but he involved his son (who had to go open the shop on a Sunday afternoon) and his wallet (tires aren't free). I want to provide others with that same feeling of having someone help them in their time of need, when they think they are alone in the world and nothing will ever go right for them...I want to be a difference in the life of someone for no reason other than it's the right thing to do.

The world would be an amazing place if everyone felt the need to help other people for no reason other than kindness!

Book Life

I finished Rise and Shine by Anna Quindlen. It was okay, a fluff book, nothing too exciting.

I just started Eye Contact by Cammie McGovern. It's a story about an autistic child who witnesses a murder; Everyone is waiting for his unpredictable brain to reveal information about the crime and his mother is just trying to survive with her child, who regressed back into a shell of what he once was.

Reading stories about sick or disabled kids is something I try to avoid and I'm not sure how this one got on my book list. Though they make me highly appreciative of how lucky I am that my son is healthy (for the most part) and developmentally on target, stories (real or otherwise) about children hit too close to home and they can be emotionally draining. When I read a book, I don't want to emotionally exhaust myself, it leaves me susceptible to sadness when I put the book down.

I have another book I picked up from the library this weekend: Amy and Isabelle by Elizabeth Strout. It's about a mother-daughter relationship and also appears to be a bit of a sad story. We'll see...

I need to get back to reading nonfiction and actually walk away with something productive after spending two or three days reading a book. I should start working on my list of things I want to learn about for the year...maybe tomorrow.

Just about lunch time - I'm going to sit at my desk and read for an hour; wearing headphones to drown out my officemates continuous conversation she is having with herself. Thank Buddha for noise-cancelling headphones!! They work wonders when you don't want to hear someone 6 feet away from you talking to her email.

TGIF!!

Today ends a bit of a crazy week. It was only a four-day work week, but it felt like a lot more.
My head has been swamped at work with my database. I LOVE databases. I like things that have a very clear reason for why it's doing something, even if I don't quite understand the clear reason-I know there IS one.

Humans on the other hand...are mysterious creatures. They say one thing and mean something else. They feel something when they shouldn't. They are rarely "clear" about anything.

I have two wonderfully descriptive 900-page manuals that tell me exactly how to manipulate my Filemaker Pro database. It's easy--if I want to import xml data from an online form (which I do) and have no idea how (which I somewhat still do not), I can turn to pages 57-58 for an explanation of importing, pages 75-79 for a description of using forms that utilize xml data, pages 354-355 for setting up the xml data to be imported, etc....I can move things and shape things and graph things and manipulate data to whatever my needs might be. Databases are WONDERFUL things. They just make sense. They are logical. They follow a certain order of rules.

HUMANS are ridiculously unstable, unpredictable, illogical creatures. I'm not sure I like them that much somedays...

Love (ing the song of the day)



I really love this Mike Park song.

...and how often do we use the word "love" when we really mean "have strong feelings for" but not necessarily mean "I live and breathe for this." I think I say the word love quite frequently, but I'm concerned now that my meaning of the word is convoluted.


Websters gives me this definition:

love (lŭv)
n.

1. A deep, tender, ineffable feeling of affection and solicitude toward a person, such as that arising from kinship, recognition of attractive qualities, or a sense of underlying oneness.
2. A feeling of intense desire and attraction toward a person with whom one is disposed to make a pair; the emotion of sex and romance.
3.
1. Sexual passion.
2. Sexual intercourse.
3. A love affair.
4. A strong predilection or enthusiasm: a love of language.
5. The object of such an enthusiasm: The outdoors is her greatest love.
4. An intense emotional attachment, as for a pet or treasured object.
5. A person who is the object of deep or intense affection or attraction; beloved. Often used as a term of endearment.
6. An expression of one's affection: Send him my love.
7.
1. A strong predilection or enthusiasm: a love of language.
2. The object of such an enthusiasm: The outdoors is her greatest love.


The english language is a bit ridiculous when you think about it-this one word means SO many things! If I tell my best friend I love him, I could mean all of the above or just one specific one.

My cousin in high school told his then-girlfriend that he "loved her like a dog," to which we were all appalled, but I think that he was doing her a favor really. He wasn't leading her on to believe that he loved her with all his heart and would do anything for her, but rather, he loved her with great affection, like you would a pet. He explained it very logically and clearly that he did have an intense feeling for her and he did cherish her friendship and would miss her terribly if she were not around, but he could find another female to fill that void, like you would get another pet to take the place of your beloved mutt that dies. He felt that to say "I love you" to a woman, it should be from a deep, underlying feeling that you can not live without someone and you would die for them if need be. So he loved her like a dog. I actually found out about it from seeing a card he sent her for Valentines Day, which he signed:
"I love you (like a dog)."

All the times that I have said I love you to someone or about something, I am sure that it has been interpreted a certain way, but how do I know that it is interpreted the way I mean it to be? If I say I love something, do I need to clarify? Obviously, when I say I love Mike Park's music, I don't mean that I love it like a pet, I love it because I have great enthusiasm for it. But what about when I tell a boyfriend I love him? Does he understand that I mean "a feeling of intense desire" and not "A deep, tender, ineffable feeling of affection and solicitude toward a person, such as that arising from kinship, recognition of attractive qualities, or a sense of underlying oneness?" Do I need to clarify each time and let him know "I love you like a dog?" (I don't really have a strong affection for dogs though, so that wouldn't mean much!). Love is a tricky word.

Things I love:
My family
Cats (most especially mine)
A select group of friends
Broccoli (not too hard, not mushy-soft)
Massages
Reading
Vicodin (ha!)
and....
Mike Park's music

Finally!!!

I have a book!!!

It feels like I've been missing something for the last few weeks, as if I've been forgetting to do something important. I have been keeping busy with new friends and the holidays and late nights and too many extra-curricular activities that I've somehow been neglectful of my reading needs. I was excited to start a new book last night, but, as usual, I stayed up too late reading. And, as usual, I woke up wondering if I could call in sick and stay in bed and read this book all day:

Happy blahblah

Everyone takes this day to reflect on the past year and look ahead to the new year. I'm going to give it a couple days and then do my reflecting. I feel like I'm still in recovery mode from the weekend! Here's some photos from our life overseas. My son and I talked the other day about how you don't appreciate the life you are living until you look back on it from "another" life. The life we are living right now is infinitely different than the life we lived in 2001, living in another country. Maybe not better-just different.

Walking to the english school in Munmak, Korea.






(This is a famous tree in our town - it's over a hundred years old and they are quite proud of it. I took this without realizing there are some men sleeping under it-just laying down on some wood!)


The old part of our Korean town.


Hiking near our home.




View from our Korean town.


The canal in Fukuoka, Japan.


Tiki-style advertisements for the local fish restaurant, promoting your good health if you eat here..




Shrine in Japan.






Fukuoka, Japan


Old fishing boat at the Korean Folk Village.


More at the Folk Village





Part of the path on Chiak mountain in Korea




A shrine at Chiakson.





Famous old, old, old tree in Seoul.

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