31 October 2010

Sixth Year Stretch

I met my husband at a Halloween party six years ago. This is what I looked like then:


I don't have any pictures of Shawn from that era. But he was, as he is, cute as anything.

NaBloPoMo starts tomorrow. Yikes. Better get my writing face on. Until tomorrow ...

29 October 2010

Scheduling

I drove/rode more than 600 miles around the state this week for meetings.



And I survived. I took more than 60 pages of notes. And have more meetings and travel to come in November. I hope I can make it through ... AND with NaBloPoMo how will I keep up?

I also found out a meeting in Mississippi is set for the Monday of Thanksgiving, when I planned to be in California. I can't sort everything out until this Monday, but an already packed travel month just got a lot more complicated. No matter what I do I'm going to feel awful. And the week of my birthday.

Pre-worrying won't get me anywhere, so hopefully I can get some rest this weekend and be a little less emotional when I'm not so exhausted!

27 October 2010

Spinning Hands

I'm a rule follower. Part of me wishes I were more flexible -- or looked out for number one a bit more. What I'm thinking of is the way I work. Basically I consider my 8:30-5 to belong to my employer (minus a half hour for lunch if I can manage). BUT I allow my employer to have MORE of my time if they want it. They pay me for that time and technically I can take unpaid leave later, but still I feel like I can't go in an hour late after coming home at 10 every night after these meetings. Even a coworker commented on it -- that I don't have to go in so early after late nights. I don't think I can let myself relax!

Tomorrow will be the last meeting, and my plans to go to New Orleans on Friday for a meeting didn't pan out -- so I will have a relaxing, regular work day in jeans on Friday. And work hours 52-60 or something like that. I've already worked nearly 40 hours and it's only Wednesday. More than 80 hours for the two week period because there was overtime LAST week because of a field trip. Here are some photos:



Looks very similar to the previous field trip shots -- same hat and glasses -- but different type of boat. This was a bay boat I think. And a different photographer. If he ever finds this blog and requests credit then I'll give it to him. :)

26 October 2010

Brain Dead

Am working almost non-stop this week. Basically four 13-hour days. Last night, after the first one, I managed to lock my car and apartment keys inside my office. Thankfully I have a husband who brought me his car key and who let me in to the apartment when I finally got home (at about 10:45 p.m.). Am going to do my best to keep it a little bit more together today. Just wanted to issue that quick missive. Carry on!

24 October 2010

Bugs

On my field trip on Thursday we were in marsh, which means gnats apparently. I'm learning a lot about my new state ... and I have the bites to prove it. Of course my body is whacked out and reacts in a delayed fashion. Seriously still finding hives or welts now and flipping out about potential bed bugs. Shawn has checked the bed, we've washed all the sheets and thankfully nothing. If they are bed bug bites I probably got them in the hotel. But probably a better bet that it was the gnats, since I checked the hotel bed before I went to sleep!

The field trip was OK. Certainly better than I expected. I worried about sea sickness, but I didn't take bug spray! Like I said, I'm learning... Anyway, the beauty of the water and expansive skies never fails to amaze me. Just like when we were out on our cruise, I was blown away by the beauty of sea and sky. There was a time when it was loud on the boat and no one was near me as we skipped along the water so I sang a little bit of Awesome God.

My photos were pretty lame, but the videographer got some good stuff AND we saw dolphins! Apparently they follow the boats.


I'll add the videographer's photos of me soon. I have so many posts going in my head but will have next to no time this week to write. IF I were smart I would have pre-written some this weekend. Maybe next weekend ... although starting next Monday, Nov. 1 I'll have to make a post a day no matter what!

Flibbertigibbet

Ever heard that word? Was an answer to a Mensa puzzle this weekend on our calendar. Shawn had fun calling Owen a flibbertigibbet (silly, flighty person). Maybe it will replace doofenschmirtz in our vocabulary?!

(Owen, Beth and my mom were visiting this weekend. It was fall break.)

Shawn bought a mini pumpkin at the grocery store a few weeks ago, and I used a Sharpie to give it a scary face. In practicing with my new work camera (Canon Rebel, what?!) I got this picture. And it makes the pumpkin look better, oranger (more orange?) than it is in real life. (Although it's pretty cute in real life too.)

So during this weekend's visit I practiced with the camera using my favorite model -- Owen Max! He is not as obliging as he was when he was a baby, but the camera can get action shots even when he was running around. So that was pretty cool. I'll load those and detail our adventures in a separate post (gotta get my count up!).

For now I need to scoot to the gym, then back to continue laundry and then dive into some side project work. Not enough days in the week or hours in the days ...

20 October 2010

Complainer

GRETNA, La.--From a hotel outside of New Orleans, greetings interwebs. I'm traveling for work; what else is new? Full day of work, then nearly 2-hour drive. Tomorrow early going out to capture video. Will consider linking to the video from here. Definitely from Facebook (it's obvious I have a FB page, but I haven't exactly advertised my blog among my colleagues).

I wish the hotel I'm in had stationery. I would send a letter to Shawn's grandma, who lives in Gretna, Va. Oh fun times. I'll just have to tell her that I was thinking about her. This post is proof.

Besides work I'm looking forward to my family visiting for their fall break. We'll try to sneak a peek at Mike the Tiger, take a wander around campus and probably scope out some neighborhoods. Maybe a trip over the bridge -- or even a ferry ride? Who knows what wonders await us this weekend.

17 October 2010

Mall of Louisiana

I am up one new skirt and new jacket, and I had a lovely time with new friends who invited me to join them for an afternoon at the mall. Feels pretty weird, in a good way, given my hermit-like existence in New York ... ha!

In my work life I am forced to be more social. I use the telephone constantly (shudder), and social tendencies are bleeding over into my non-work life. I actually chatted with the guy who gave me my UPS package on Saturday -- something I would never have done in New York. My conversations with the doormen always felt stilted.

The package, by the way, contained custom frames for my OSU and UMD diplomas (yeah, only a few years behind on those). BOTH are screwed up, so I have to go through the hassle of sending them back. What was I thinking? Michaels is having a sale on framing so I think I'll go there if I can find time this week. It's so far away though, so probably not ... unless I can work that into my family's trip-to-the-Red-Stick that's happening this coming weekend.

Shopping with non-relatives made me think back to when the last time I would have done that ... probably with my friend Megan in college. We'd load up into one of our cars (for some reason I mostly remember her driving the big Suburban) and heading to Tulsa. Her favorite store was Arden B -- and I couldn't wear most things in the store because of the tiny sizes or afford any of it because of my cheapness. We would have fun though.

And I had fun today, although I'm worn out and boy, are my feet tired. This mall is big and nice. And I can't wait to tackle it again! Maybe I'll get crazy and be the initiator of an outing sometime. Baby steps in socializing. Baby steps!

16 October 2010

Read: The Bedwetter

The Bedwetter: Stories of Courage, Redemption, and Pee The Bedwetter: Stories of Courage, Redemption, and Pee
by Sarah Silverman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Saw this on the shelf at the library and picked it up. I'm glad I did. I like reading about other people's lives. My question about this one is -- why does Sarah Silverman never truly mention her relationship with Jimmy Kimmel? He's got a photo in the book, the break up is mentioned in a caption and the F***ing Matt Damon video she made for his show is also mentioned (she won an Emmy for it). I thought she was so personal and complete in exploring/detailing her childhood and young adult life, but she left out some of the juiciest stuff about her life as a celebrity.

My favorite line, I think, was when she was describing her depression and it wasn't about levity, poop jokes, etc. ...
"What does it feel like?" It was the first time I was prompted to articulate it. I thought about it, then said, "I feel homesick." That still feels like the most accurate description -- I felt homesick, but I was home.
I also probably like her because Silverman looks so much like Silvermari. 

Read: Getting Things Done

Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free ProductivityGetting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity
by David Allen
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Written in 2001, Allen's book contains funny techno references (Palm - ha), but the advice still stands, although clearly ways to implement in new media that weren't available upon publication.

I know this book started a lot of great thinking and productivity tricks ... the 43 folders idea especially (31 daily plus 12 monthly), which I stumbled across several years ago but never actually implemented. I think I just don't want to increase the amount of paper I encounter. I try to keep everything online. I do like the idea of getting to inbox zero, which again I think started in this book. But I use my inbox as my "@action" folder that Allen recommends creating. IF I moved the items currently in my (work) inbox to a similar folder before acting on them and archiving then yeah, I probably could rock that.

A lot of his advice is common sense, but he's so positive and it's presented in such a way that it seems to make even more sense than if I'd thought of it myself.

When I was reading it I still was struggling with my roles at work. (I still am, but it's a different struggle.) I wrote on an index card: I may muddle through in my job, not have clearly defined roles or responsibilities, but I can certainly apply GTD to my non-job projects and be more efficient there.

I don't know that I'll ever FULLY implement the GTD program, but I will certainly take tricks from the book and continue to apply and refine them. I think I'll start @Phone, @Waiting For and @Computer lists ... anything I can do to get things off my mind and onto paper is great. The insomnia is back ... even though exhausted I can lie in bed for hours thinking about work and what needs to be done/what email I should write/phone call I should make/etc.

There's a part in the book about other people's systems ... and how there is no way to control them. And that's hard for me to deal with. Other people not staying on top of their e-mail, so my messages get lost and/or ignored. So that puts additional work on me to remind others to do their job/respond to me. I'm getting more adept at the phone, but calls take so much more time -- for both people.

Will continue to ponder this and maybe write additional posts on how partially applying GTD to my work and home projects turns out.

15 October 2010

Before and During

Today, October 15, 2010, marks one year of South Beach diet and regular exercise. Like I mentioned before, I've lost just over 50 pounds. And I thought I'd show some before and during photos (I'm not done trying to work on my body and better myself). The befores are a little embarrassing, and I didn't take any in October when I started -- I didn't want to jinx things and really didn't think I'd find success. It's amazing.

Shawn said he didn't ever remember me looking like that. There are some others from this trip where I look even worse -- no make up and near/at my heaviest ... July 2009

Photo by Owen ... boob-a-licious, also July 2009

Clearly shows the physical issues...July 2009 (but how cute is Bubba? he's growing up so fast!)

October 14, 2010. A self-portrait w/ timer option on the camera. Nothing too revealing -- and can see that my life is still a mess with all the junk around me. But don't I look happier or something? My face is certainly thinner and feels more "me." And I feel a lot better. Pounds and pounds to go. 
Happy Weekend!

13 October 2010

Pretend Adulthood

Back from the business trip ... worked 16 hours yesterday with all the travel and late meeting, and 10 hours today with return travel. I am worn out and battled a fierce daylong headache after lack of food and water during the long stretch of work and meeting. I didn't get the headache completely licked until after a latte and Excedrin this morning. And there are many more trips to come ...

The room I stayed in was unbelievably gorgeous. The best part was the view of the Gulf of Mexico. Of course I was never in my room when it was daylight, so I didn't get a picture. I worked until past 10 last night and left this morning pre-7 (good thing too because of the traffic).

I took a picture from the airplane to have something to illustrate this post. Maybe my coworker will share some view photos -- she was on a higher floor and was at the hotel a couple days early. I didn't remember Galveston being so lovely when I was there for our high school graduation trip!

I am such an adult ... and it partly feels phony. I have made many air flights and train trips on my own, but this was the first time I rented a car, drove myself somewhere in that unfamiliar car and didn't get confused or lost. I managed myself, including getting back to the airport and battling 2 hours of Houston traffic -- yikes. I wonder if other 20-somethings feel like they're faking their way through life. I guess fake it until you make it.

I'm still going that route with my job. Who knows if I really know what I'm doing. Half the time maybe yes, half the time definitely no. And I'm kind of twisted. I left early today -- 4:30, when 3 would have marked 8 hours -- and I still felt guilty, like I was skipping or doing something wrong.

I'm over it, and the extra half hour for reading and lounging on the couch has perked me up ... but I'm still looking forward to a long deep sleep tonight. Hope your night is as restful as I expect mine to be.

11 October 2010

Stay at Home Wife

Holiday ... Celebrate ...


It's Columbus Day, which means I have the day off (being a federal employee-ish and all). Shawn doesn't ... the university takes this and other holidays as the week between Christmas and New Year's Day. I think I'd prefer that ... but having a random day off is nice.

I spent the day doing domestic chores -- laundry, errands, vacuuming, etc. I'm not sure I could do this all day every day, although add a baby or two to the mix and I think I could handle it just fine. Dreaming, dreaming ... Wishing, wishing ... stay tuned.

One of my errands was to get a library card. SUCCESS! And I checked out a couple books, so I feel like an official citizen, even more so than when I got my driver's license and registered to vote (which I still need to actually do ... I didn't participate in the Oct. 2 primaries).

The main library is so '70s (as I'm sure they all are), but it had a good vibe and was obviously very popular. I'm not sure if it's always so busy or if the holiday gave it more traffic.

The young adult section has a couple cardboard cutouts -- one of Robert Pattinson (will he ever leave me be?!) and the other of Spock -- Leonard Nimoy! I was kind of bummed I didn't have my camera ... maybe next time.

Another cool feature is that all the Louisiana books are sectioned together, which makes browsing for fiction and non-fiction about my new home easier. Will aim to digest at least a bit of that -- and I've started with a couple recommendations I got via comment a while back. Will add them to GoodReads after I finish them.

The only drag -- the library is kind of far away. Took at least 20 minutes to get there, and I can imagine it would take longer if I were going after work (meaning this is probably going to be a weekend-only errand) ... maybe there is a closer branch. I know you'll be waiting on bated breath for updates ...

10 October 2010

Read: White Teeth

White TeethWhite Teeth by Zadie Smith
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Liked the intricacies, but got lost a few times (or bored) with the characters and story lines. Got a little preachy in places and sometimes made me feel stupid in others, which might have been the point.

I bought it in a used book store in New York, upping its cool factor for me ... and it's a book I'd been meaning to read for a while, as it generated a ton of buzz when it came out (~10 years ago?). I think the author is still on the scene, just landing a plum reviewing job or something. Not up on my literary gossip I guess.

View all my reviews

09 October 2010

SilverMari Responds: Reader Questions

I have had a couple question comments on recent posts that I thought I'd elevate the answers to a post of its own. (I never remember to check back on posts I've commented on anyway.) Just because I could respond to these readers directly via e-mail, why not eek out another post ... and maybe someone else was wondering too!
An airboat? Is that the thing that Marlon Perkins would use to cruise through the Everglades? LOL
Yes - the airboat (wikipedia link) is the kind of thing they use in the Everglades. Apparently they can tip over quite easily. They didn't tell me that until we were safely back at the car. But I was glad to be wearing a PFD (personal flotation device -- or life jacket) even without that bit of information!

I had to look up the Marlin Perkins reference (wikipedia link), TV host of Wild Kingdom. Sounds like he would have used an airboat during the filming, so the answer is yes to that part of the question too!
Whatever happened to "Sage" anyway???
Not sure what prompted this, since the post it was left on didn't include a mention of Sage, although I have certainly been thinking of her in my current job and maybe had written about her on another post. And one of my coworkers reminds me of her a lot in mannerisms.

I'm not sure what happened to Sage, my graduate school roommate. Our relationship exploded, primarily due to my failure as a roommate (I had to find someone willing to deal with the crazy ... lucky Shawn). I don't think we've spoken since just after I moved out in 2006 -- on the phone to resolve getting the bedroom I vacated painted. She blocked me on Facebook, made her blog private, etc. I respect that our relationship is severed, although maybe we'll run into each other again someday and can mend old wounds.
And how is it that Shawn always looks so good?
This is a tougher nut to crack. Shawn looks so good in part because we love him so much and also because he's photogenic and has good, youthful genes. I took about 3 pictures of him with the griddle (mostly due to my fiddling with the flash), so it definitely isn't a factor of taking a load of pictures and choosing the best one.

I love comments ... never met a blogger who doesn't ... so ask away.

Dillards: Oversell

Took a field trip to the mall today. I've really been needing some black work pants. The wardrobe I'd built up is mostly too big for me now, especially where work pants are concerned.

So, we went to the "bad" mall because it has a Dillards where the second floor is entirely clearance. Not exactly what I expected. I guess it was just too overwhelming and looked more like that store that took over Walls in Cache Road Square ca. my high school years. I forget what it was called, but basically a low-rent Marshall's or Ross -- if you can imagine.

The regular part of Dillards was too posh for me and the clearance wasn't posh enough (or something). Maybe if I'd been better rested or more energetic I could have found some good stuff. What I saw was mostly not my size and all smooshed together. Other people there were having a great time though, so maybe I'll give it another chance down the line. Shoes were a bust, as there was only one pair of 11s, and I didn't really think I needed a pair of shiny silver stripper heels. Although thinking now, silvermari... Anyway, next time we're going to try the "good" mall and see how that goes.

I did manage to get a pair of black pants at Macy's, and Shawn found a few more polo shirts. We're slowly building his teaching wardrobe ... and running out of hangers in the process. Maybe something for a Wal-Mart or Target list.

On the wardrobe-getting-too-big for me front, I haven't had much change in weight since moving. I've kept up with the exercise at the new gym, mostly because of its convenience, but have been less careful in my food choices. In total I've lost just over 50 pounds in one year (started in earnest on Oct. 15, 2009). I have 5-10 more pounds to lose to get into the "overweight" category of the BMI chart. I know it isn't 100% accurate because I have considerable muscle mass, but still have a long row to hoe to get to "normal" or "healthy" (about 50 lbs. more). Maybe I'll write more about the experience on the actual anniversary of starting the diet/exercise regiment. Or maybe I'll save it for a November nablopomo post. Stay tuned ...

07 October 2010

Driven

I did a defensive driving online course for work. It took several hours, so I did it over three days. It actually taught me a lot ... and I definitely look at things differently while I'm driving. What I half wish is that I didn't have to drive! It's a scary world out there and people are insane!

05 October 2010

Pancake

Chef Shawn on the griddle on Saturday cooking up some pancakes for us to enjoy. You can see in the background that our cooking accoutrement has gotten a bit out of hand. Loving it though.

Still have reservations on the work front, but I'm plowing through as best I can. And we'll see how everything turns out.

The weather has been comfortable, sunny and dry. Things I wasn't expecting. But I'll take it. Just trying to roll with the punches.

Nothing much to update. Blogging is going down the tubes for me. Hopefully I'll get a kick start of inspiration soon.

01 October 2010

10 for Ten?

It's October 2010, or 10-10. Under the Sycamore, a photography blog I have in my reader, is posting 10 for 10 in October. I could do that from time to time. What would be great would be posting a top 10 list every day (or bottom 10!). I have a list at work going of grammatical errors I hate. I probably have at least 10. Hrm.

Eye twitching, work stressing, sleep needing girl up in here.

In November I'll be doing Nablopomo again. In October the theme is PLAY. They do post prompts every work day, but I can't commit to 31 posts in a row plus 30 in a row. So I think I'll stick with just blogging when I can in October ... what would be better is if I only blogged when I had something to say. Then I'd never blog!

Bazinga!