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cellophane
the story of an invisible girl
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Replaced the ball rod in my sink, and now the sink's drain stopper works again. Home improvement for the win!

Looking forward to visiting Chicago family for Easter.

"If you ever get to the point where it's hopeless and nothing more can be done, you've overlooked something." -Brian Owens

Today at the grocery, I bought a whole artichoke. Now how do I cook it?

How exciting... it used to be that most of my friends were allowed to get married here in Michigan, but not all of them. Now all of my friends are allowed enjoy what my sweetie and I are enjoying.

March 22nd is the appropriate date to take the Christmas lights down from the front of the house, right? (For the record, we haven't actually turned the lights ON since after the holidays. We aren't THAT tacky....but close.)

Do I know somebody who sells Origami Owl? Or who knows somebody (local) that does?

Today at work one of the managers saw that it was the International Day of Happiness, so she had T put on the dragon suit and carry a "Free Hugs" sign around the office. Several hugs were exchanged. He joined our 3pm stretch session and tried to do a Downward Dragon while we were doing yoga. He was going to try riding the giant tricycle, but his tail got in the way.

(It was also a very long day of coding and hard work, which made the Free Hugs moment even nicer. Does this sound appealing? Are you good with Java, JavaScript, and Agile development? Message me. Maybe next year you can be the one doing yoga in a dragon costume during your code break.)

Some nights, I stay up cashing in my bad luck
Some nights, I call it a draw
Some nights, I wish that my lips could build a castle
Some nights, I wish they'd just fall off

But I still wake up, I still see your ghost
Oh Lord, I'm still not sure what I stand for
What do I stand for? What do I stand for?
Most nights, I don't know anymore...

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I don't remember exactly how long ago I got my black leather gloves. I know they weren't the first - in fact they are probably my 3rd or maybe even 4th pair of black gloves. I like leather gloves for driving in during the winter, and they look good with both casual and dressy outfits.

I know they are at least 2 years old. I suspect they were new(ish) when this story began, 2 winters ago. I was wearing my black leather gloves every day, and it was the middle of winter. I remember one day when I was getting ready to leave work. I found a single glove in the pocket of my coat, but not two. I looked all over the office, in my bags, in my coat. Then I went to my car and looked there. No extra glove anywhere. I was fairly sure I'd had them in the morning, as I would have remembered driving to work without them. The steering wheel gets cold.

That night I looked everywhere at home, and still couldn't find my other glove. The next morning I wore different gloves, and looked everywhere as I retraced my steps from the day before. Not in the lobby, not in the stairwell, not in the hallway... I asked at the reception desk, and told all my coworkers about my missing glove. A fresh coat of snow had fallen sometime in the previous 24 hours, which made it unlikely that it would be found. If I'd dropped it in the parking lot, it was buried by now.

I remember standing with some coworkers, and we were all looking out the window at the parking lot. We actually saw a glove on a snow bank, but when I checked it out later I found it to be a knit glove not mine. Mine seemed gone for good.

Fast forward a week or two, and a thaw had come. I was leaving the office at the end of the day, and I happened to glance down in the parking lot. There was a dark and bedraggled-looking bit of cloth. I picked it up, and found that it was a leather glove - or at least once it had been a leather glove. It was stiff with caked-in salt, had been underneath the snow and ice, and had clearly been run over several times. However it looked like it had been about my size.

I took it home with me.

I washed it in the sink, not expecting much. I found that it was indeed black leather, and it did indeed match my other glove. I'd found my glove! After it dried, I washed it again. Much to my surprise, it came out just fine. The leather was soft and scuffed, but it didn't look any worse than my other well-worn glove.

I continued to wear those gloves for the rest of the year, then all of the following year.

Fast forward 2 years to this year, 2014. I was still wearing those same gloves, and they were quite thin by now. When winter hit in December with its full force, I would come home from work most days with numb and frozen fingers. My thin leather gloves were no match for the sub-arctic temperatures this winter was giving me. I asked for new gloves for Christmas.

I accidentally asked too many people for gloves, and ended up with 4 different pairs of gloves. I put the leather gloves in my backpack as spares, and started wearing my new gloves.

Fast forward to March 14th, today. The weather people had been predicting temperatures in the 40's for today, so when I left for work I didn't bring any of my new gloves. I thought that with temperatures that warm, I wouldn't need them!

As I drove to work this morning, I found myself wishing I'd brought gloves after all. The steering wheel was cold, and the temperature hadn't hit 40 yet. Then I remembered my spare gloves, and with one hand I dug into my backpack as I drove. I found my old gloves in the bottom of my pack, soft and supple, warm like old friends.

I put them on, and was amazed at how comfortable and cozy they felt. None of my new Christmas gloves had formed themselves to my hands yet like my old gloves had, even though they were warmer, and I found myself surprised by how much I'd missed these gloves. The temperature today was perfect for thin leather gloves, too.

That's why, this evening after work, I wore my old leather gloves when my sweetie and I went out to dinner. Going out to dinner proved to be difficult though. The first restaurant we visited had over an hour's wait. At the next restaurant, M dropped me off in the parking lot so I could run in and check the wait. It was also over an hour, so I hopped back into the car and we headed for restaurant #3. We were too hungry to wait for 70 to 90 minutes.

The third time was perfect, and we had a nice meal. As we got up to go, and I gathered my belongings though, I stopped. "What's wrong," M asked. "No gloves." I looked in my pockets, on the floor, everywhere - my gloves weren't with us. "That's okay, I must have left them in the car."

In the car, I found a single glove - sitting in the space between the seat and the door. Uh-oh. Not a good sign. We looked under the car, and around the parking lot, but there was no second glove to be found. "That's okay, it's no big deal."

We got in the car and drove off. M pointed out that the gloves had lived a good long life. I agreed, but then I thought about how happy I had been this morning to be reunited with them. I asked him, were we near the second restaurant? Of course, we had just passed it. He asked if I wanted him to turn around. "If it's not too much trouble...?"

I thought it over, and realized the most likely thing that could have happened was that I'd taken my gloves off in the car while looking on my phone for an alternate restaurant. When I'd jumped out of the car at the second restaurant, there was a chance that my gloves had still been sitting on my lap at that point. That would explain the single glove right by the door, and the missing second glove.

There was a chance that it would be in front of the second restaurant, or that somebody had turned it in there. It turned out to be a huge pain to turn around through all the traffic at that particular point in the road, but M did so anyway. "Maybe we need to get you clips," he suggested, "to attach your gloves to your jacket."

When we finally got back to the second restaurant, he dropped me off again while circling the parking lot. I crossed the driveway, avoiding the cars, when I saw it right in front of the curb. In traffic, quietly waiting for me, being run over. My glove.

I bent over and picked it up, startling a trio of men in business suits. I think they thought that perhaps I'd tripped or fallen, because who would bend over and pick up a dirty black rag in the middle of the driveway? They asked if I was okay, and I said, "Everything is great! I found my glove!" They hurried away from the weird girl picking up trash. I stood there waiting for M to finish circling, daintily clutching my wet and dirty prize in the tips of my fingers. Success!

Hopefully it will clean up just as well as it did the first time. I'm not sure if it was the left or the right glove that was lost and found two years ago, but clearly this pair of gloves - while it does like to go wandering sometimes - intends to stay a part of my life for a long time.

(You can see that the left one has been squashed very flat. It is also very wet and dirty, although I'm not sure that really shows in the photo.)
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I am applying for a manager position at work. I'm posting it here so I can remember if/when I applied....

It's weird, because I'm not certain I want the job. It'd be an exciting opportunity, but I'm a little nervous leaving my technical roots - although I'd still be doing development part of the time. To be honest, I applied for this same position in the fall. I was not chosen, and 2 other people were. I was bummed and annoyed that I wasn't selected, especially when one of those 2 people left the company a month ago.

I felt somewhat like I'd put myself out there. I thought they needed me, so I offered to help out and be a manager (even though I wasn't sure I wanted to be), and they rejected me. Then they went with somebody not as good, who didn't even stick around. It's like when the boy who dumped you ends up with a loser. I felt a little bit pleased and vindictive - but at the same I really do want my company to succeed. I like this company, and when it succeeds, I succeed.

So long story short, they put out requests for people to apply for management positions again. I thought it over, and I did not apply. I figured that I'd made them an offer once, and they'd rejected it. That was fine, but if they wanted me they'd need to tell me.

They D, the guy asking for applications, brought me into his office. He wondered why I hadn't applied. He was hoping that I had simple not realized that the deadline had already passed.

I explained that I said above, while trying to be polite about it. I explained that I figured they would ask me if they wanted me. D looked confused, and went hmmm. I said, "Is this sort of you asking me to?"

"Well, yes, somewhat," he said. "But only if you're comfortable with it. You can send me a resume even though the deadline has passed. Only if you want to."

So I thought it over. I got what I wanted: he asked me to apply. So I figured what the heck, and I sent in my resume again. There are three stages to the interview process. I've made it through Stage One, the second is tomorrow, and the last is next week. We shall see what happens next!!

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We are talking about going to Colorado this summer. A friend will be getting married, and we thought extending our stay for some hiking and fun would be a nice idea. Right now we're just in the dreaming stage of the vacation.

My hubbie wants to go fly fishing for a day. "Hmm," he said, tapping his lip. "What can I do with you while I'm fishing?"

"Is there a spa or something fun around?"

"There is a spa, but staying all day at a spa seems a big much."

"Because it would be too expensive? Too boring?"

"Well I just think you wouldn't have enough to fill your time. I mean, you get a pedicure, and a massage, and then...?"

"Well remember that one place we visited, that had natural hot springs with a swimming pool? That would be great. Or if they had a workout room, or dance classes, or yoga maybe? And I could have lunch... Some places give you a day pass to their facility. Or are there fun things to do nearby?"

"Hm, there's this one spa on a ranch."

"I could go horse-back riding!"

"Yes, they have that, and mountain biking, and zip lining, and hot air balloons."

"Oh! And I've always wanted to learn to hang glide." He looked up at me, a little startled and confused. "I mean, if they had hang gliding, that would be nice. You said hot air balloons, and I thought that was a little like hang gliding. I've always wanted to try it."

"Well I want to try hang gliding too."

"Okay maybe we'll do that one together. And maybe not in Colorado. But we should do it."
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I had an inefficient but pleasant day today. The short version is: M and I drove around 3 hours to get some flowers and pomegranates. But it was worth it!

The saga started because I had a desire for pomegranates last week. (Yes, somewhat irrational, but it made sense to my warped mind.) I didn't know where or IF they could be bought this time of year, but I checked the local grocery. No luck. M checked the local Trader Joe's, none there either. Then I emailed the Whole Foods in A2. They said they had some.

In the meantime, a couple of months ago I won a "flower of the month" certificate in a charity auction. My monthly flowers were supposed to start in January, but it was such a busy and snowy month, I never made it out there. The flower shop is, unfortunately, not all that convenient to my house. It's about 30 minutes away by car.

So finally today, the second Saturday in February, M and I both had a free day. Plus, the weather was fairly good (for February, at least). We decided to make a day of it, drive to the flower place, stopping at Whole Foods on the way, taking care of a couple other errands while we were at it.

Unfortunately the Whole Foods I had emailed was the opposite direction of the flower shop. But we figured: if one Whole Foods has pomegranates, surely all of them will have them - right?

Wrong.

We looked online and found a Whole Foods that was somewhat-on-the-way to the flower shop, or at least not as out-of-the-way as the one in A2. We drove there, and (as you can probably guess by now), there were no pomegranates. I was bummed, since we'd wasted all this time with no reward! We bought a few other items for other meals, then headed to the flower shop.

On the plus side, the shop was nice, and I like the flowers I retrieved. It will be fun heading out here once a month for fresh flowers - even though it's inconveniently far away.

After we left the flower shop M drove us alllll the way to A2. To be clear, the flower shop was about 30 minutes East of us, while A2 was about 30 minutes West of us. Plus we had already wasted another chunk of time going to the wrong Whole Foods first, which had already been somewhat out of the way.

On the other hand, it was a nice day for a drive, and I was with my sweetie. So it was not a complete loss by any stretch.

We got to A2, and traffic and parking were crazy. Probably because, as M pointed out, Michigan has been largely uninhabitable for all of January. Now that it was 25 degrees out, and the sun was poking out of the haze periodically, and it was only snowing just a tiny bit, people came swarming out of their homes to run errands and buy expensive produce.

Just like us.

I got frustrated with the mobs of people, but it was all made better when we found our goal. Pomegranates, a whole mound of them! Hooray! The prize made all the ridiculousness of our quest worth it.

We drove home victorious, and shared a pomegranate on arrival, the seeds bright red jewels busting on our tongues. Victory never tasted so sweet.
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A few people are posting on FB about abortion, since today is the anniversary of Roe vs Wade. It got me thinking about my own views on abortion, which are... complex.

I told my husband awhile ago that I am anti-abortion. He looked at me with surprise, and I elaborated, "But that is not the same as the political movement Pro Life."

Basically, I think it's a terrible idea, and I don't want one. I would discourage any friends from doing it to the best of my ability, but if I could not convince them, I would sadly support them. They are still my friends. Finally, I don't think it's any of the government's business. I suppose this officially makes me Pro Choice, but I don't feel pro-choice-with-capital letters. Pro choice feels dirty, and way too cavalier.

I like the bumper stickers that say "Choose Life." I think the debate should go away from legality and instead focus on what we can do to help these women who are at such desperate times in their lives. Provide them with as many viable options as possible, with abortion being available if nothing else is possible. We should also focus much more on preventing them from getting there in the first place (birth control).

Really what it comes down to is an agonizing wrench in my gut when I hear about an abortion, when there are so many people out there who long for children and cannot have them. I see people ranting on FB about "why force them to raise unwanted babies," and all I want to say is, "We're not, just give the baby to one of the many many couples out there who are desperate to adopt a baby, who want nothing more than to lavish it with love, sports equipment, music lessons, and good meals."

The issue breaks my heart. I wish there was some way to reallocate, and put all these unwanted babies into homes which want them. Or better still, but the unborn fetuses into bellies that want them. Wouldn't it be nice if it could be that easy?

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2014 began with a Rose Bowl win, which was very exciting for M and his friends. I, as a Spartan-in-law, was pleased, but not quite as ecstatic as my sweetie was. The joy of having something good happen to somebody you love, not actual joy in the game - if that makes sense. On the other hand, M bought 26 long-stemmed red roses for our Rose-Bowl-watching party. His friends canoodled him into it. He accidentally invited people over on New Year's Day without asking me first, that's why. So one friend said he should buy roses as penitence, since it's the Rose Bowl. Somebody else suggested a dozen would be a good number, then somebody else noted that it has been 26 years since the Spartans had last played in the Rose Bowl, so 26 would be a good number.

I enjoyed having 26 beautiful roses in the house - and they looked good in the victory photos!



After the new year, the winter made its presence known, and the temperature plummeted. It began with some beautiful snow though, and M and I went for a wonderful walk in the snow. There is nothing nicer than a walk through active weather, when you don't have anywhere in particular you have to be. (I was lucky in that I was able to work from home the following morning, rather than having to brave the weather and the nasty roads that Monday morning.)



After the weather came incredibly cold temperatures. I never saw less than -6 in my car, although it was colder than that at night, but with wind chill that was crazy cold. I made a video of a cup of hot water turning immediately into steam/snow when I threw it into the air.



It was so cold that it killed M's battery while it was parked outside his office. What would normally be a few-hour inconvenience turned into a three-day ordeal, because all of the tow trucks and service shops were swamped with more serious cases. Fortunately some coworkers were able to give him a few rides, so I only had to make the trip to Ann Arbor once to pick him up. Three days after it died, he was finally able to buy his car a new battery, and he was able to drive it home again. Sheesh!

"In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer."
--Albert Camus
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I thought I'd do one of those list posts I've seen floating around. I deleted questions I didn't feel like answering though... Happy 2014 world!

1. What did you do in 2013 that you'd never done before?
I did a Warrior Dash! I've been wanting to do one for a few years. M tried to talk me out of it, because he was afraid I could hurt my knee (more). I was certain I would be okay though, as long as I approached it as a fun challenge, not a race. I took my time with each obstacle and made sure I was doing them safely. I completed every single one, and had a blast doing so. I was so proud of myself when I finished!!

I also completed my Master's degree, but that was way back in the beginning of the year. 11 months ago! I'm amused to note that it was the Warrior Dash that first popped into my head while writing this, and I only remembered the Master's degree when I scrolled through my FB to remind me of the year's highlights.

2. Did you keep your new year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I didn't make any, at least that I can recall. This year I would like to use this journal more. I miss writing. That seems like a reasonable goal. By my count I only wrote a paltry 81 entries in the past 2 years. My goal for 2014 is to write more than 81 entries.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Not really. Well, a friend of mine had twins recently, but we aren't close enough that I've met them yet. I will fairly soon though.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
I attended 4 funerals. Both of M's uncles died, and 2 of my friends. Uncle Bob, in particular, was a hard loss. He was like a second father to M, plus he was the priest who married us. My friends were Melissa and Gary. Neither of them were close friends, but they were both good people whose company I enjoyed when we saw one another at cons and parties. Also my kitty died, Robin Hood.

5. What countries did you visit?
Spain and Canada. Spain was for our fabulous 12 day vacation in October. M and I have both been to Europe several times, but we'd never been there together. We decided that, for our first trip across the ocean together, we would go to a country that neither of us had ever been to before. That way we could discover it together. It was wonderful. Canada was for The Incredible Shrinking Librarian's wedding/Halloween party!

6. What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013?
A child... if God and biology are willing.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
We sold M's house and bought our Dream House together.

9. What was your biggest failure?
I applied for a couple of jobs in my current company and didn't get them. I'm not sure that I really wanted them though, so it wasn't a big deal.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
I'd say it was this house, this is a great house for parties and for hanging out with M!

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
My amazing husband has continued to be my rock throughout a very roller-coaster-y year.

14. Where did most of your money go?
I think the combination of selling M's house, buying this house, and moving in general.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Hmm, good memories from 2013:
Completed my master's thesis and graduated from Regis University with a CS MS degree
Bought a house
Mardigras wedding anniversary
Skiing up north and renting a cabin (with a hot tub) with our pals
Reunion at synchro nationals
Biking in Boston with Sis, Mike's Pastries
Dining outside on our own deck, looking at our woods
Celebrating 16 years of Robbie
Swimming in D's pool
Ice cream at Gurnsey
Karoke and kayaking with Cousin R, Lake Huron
Warrior Dash
Biking
Painting sunflowers with girlfriends
Canoeing on Rifle River
Spain
tricycle at work
My whole family all visiting our new house at once
K's wedding
Parades in Northville
Housewarming/birthday party, July 4th party, holiday party, Rose Bowl party
decorating the house with blue lights
buying a christmas tree that was too big
teaching computer science to 1st and 4th graders

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Writing. Biking.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Stressing.

20. How did you spend Christmas?
In Chicago. Christmas Eve was with the whole W family, including my niece and nephew. Christmas morning started out with just me and M in our hotel room, then walking to my mom's for waffles. More presents, and a nice walk going to visit Lake Michigan and the site of our proposal 4 years prior.

21. How did you spend New Year's?
Having dinner at Deadwood Grill, then going to D&B's to see friends. We tried to get home before the ball dropped, but didn't quite make it due to weather. We wished each other happy new year in the car, on 275, then exchanged proper kisses and toasts (with Polish wine, in our wedding toasting flutes) 10 minutes later.

24. What was the best book you read?
I didn't read very much. I'd like to read more this year.

28. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 29(ish). Also known as 42. It was on a sunday, and it was a mellow but very nice day. My sweetie made me dinner. I had a great party/housewarming the following saturday.

29. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2013?
hahahahaha

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Less loss. However I will say that all-in-all, 2013 was full of wonderful things.
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(paraphrased from memory, so I might have gotten some of it wrong)

Me: Do you have any idea what a "Duck Dynasty" is?
Him: It's a television show, it's about this hick family, only they're all really rich because the guy invented this special duck call, and he patented it.
Me: Oh. Is it imaginary, or reality television?
Him: I think it's real.
Me: Okay, kind of like, um, what's that show about the singer? He's like a heavy metal singer, only he has a show with his family?
Him: Ozzie Osbourne?
Me: Yeah, that's it, the Osbournes. Kind of like that?
Him: I haven't actually seen the show, but sure, kind of like that.
Me: So a duck whistle, huh? Why are they all over my FaceBook?
Him: Well the guy was interviewed in a magazine, and he said something anti-gay.
Me: Ohh, I see. So the duck doesn't like gay people?
Him: Something like that. And also, I think whoever runs their show canceled them or something, because of this.
Me: That makes more sense, I can see why there is a lot of kerfuffle. It's not just a duck whistle.
Him: No, some people are claiming his first amendment right were violated, some people are angry at him, some people are angry at the tv people, it's a big mess.
Me: Seems like it. It didn't look interesting enough to click on. I just I keep seeing these pictures scroll by, these people that look like, like, what's that band, the one with the beards?
Him: You mean ZZ Top?
Me: Yes! ZZ Top, the pictures look like ZZ Top.
Him: Sometimes it astounds me how little you know about popular culture.
Me: Well I get most of my news from FaceBook and social media. I figure if it's important, it will show up there.
Him: Maybe you should consider clicking on cnn.com every now and then.
Me: Can't you just tell me if there is something I need to know?
Him: I'll try....
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"When you come out of the storm you won't be the same person that walked in. That's what the storm is all about." -Haruki Murakami

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So I haven't read much this year. I've only recently started again. However I might as well write down the few books I remember reading.

4. The Appeal, by John Grishim - his books are always quick and interesting reads. "Vacation reading", I consider them. I enjoyed it. I was displeased by the ending, but won't go into why in case anyone else reads it.

3. Angelopolis, by Danielle Trussoni - I had to force myself through this book. I read it becomes I enjoyed Angelology, and this was its sequel. This one never captivated my attention. Read Angelology instead.

2. The Ocean at the End of the Lane, by Neil Gaiman - this book was a sad, confusing, beautiful fairy tale.

1. Crystal Rain, by Tobias Buckell - science fiction. I enjoyed it.

There may have been more before this, but if so I don't remember them yet....

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In July I did something I've wanted to do for years, but feared I couldn't. Something that people (my PPA, for example) thought would not be safe for knees like mine. But I did it, and best of all I had a blast doing it! I am a warrior!



Some people who compete in the warrior dash go charging through it, roaring like vikings. Some people run to be the fastest or the best. That's how they become warriors. Not me. I didn't even run; I walked the entire 5k. For me, becoming a warrior was just completing the course - proud and uninjured. I wore 2 knee braces, but I successfully achieved every obstacle. I climbed cargo nets, jumped over fire, crawled through mud, walked on beams over a water pit, swam, dragged myself out of the water, jumped over walls, and crawled under barbed wire.

It was fun! I'd totally do it again.



I even built an animated gif of my fire jump....



One cool thing I discovered at the Warrior Dash is that lots of people walk it. I thought I'd be left behind, but there were always people walking with/near me. Plus I was better on the obstacles than some of the walkers, so I passed a some folks there.

I took 787th place in my age range, out of 1053, and 7726 overall. Yay, 787th place medal!

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S. M. L.
6-29-70
7-6-99

A lifetime ago. I thought of him many times while I was packing and moving this Spring, unearthing many memories from many years ago. Everyone deserves to be remembered.
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I miss Robin. It's funny how all kinds of random things will make me think of him. Even something as simple as when we were at Target last night: M came up to me and said, with a sad look in his eye, "I just saw Multi-Cat litter boxes." Yeah, me too. We are a single cat household now.

Anyway that's a sad note, so I will switch to a funny story to end on. I was at a pool party with a bunch of friends, some of whom had children. The kids were playing in the pool, and the one little girl let out this god-awful shriek!!!! Just in play, but it was horrifying!

My girlfriend said, "Now Renniekins isn't going to want to have kids, now that she's heard you make that noise."

"I know," I said laughing, "I didn't even know they were capable of such sounds!"

Another girlfriend chimed in, "That's enough to make you stop ovulating."

"Yeah, I can picture all my little eggies, trying to swim back into the ovaries, elbowing their way up, calling, "let us back in!!!"

My husband added, "And then all the little swimmers will be wandering around going, "It's awfully quiet in here, where is everybody??"

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This evening we said goodbye to my lovingest kitty, Robin Hood. Also known as Robbie, Sir Robin, Mr. Hood, Mr. Obnoxious, and Monster.



Robbie was a good kitty, and he's been my friend since 1997 or so. That made him 16 or 17 on his passing today. Seventeen years is a good long life for a kitty - even though I find myself wishing for more. Robin was my friendly kitty. When the others would run and hide, and he stride up to any new guest in the house and greet them. If a person sat down, Robin would be right there on the person's lap, head-butting for scritches and attention. If a person walked near the kitchen, Robin would follow and loudly ask for treats.
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I generally describe myself as "non-confrontational". The interesting thing about this is: most people I work with would probably disagree. I think most people I'm friends with would agree though. I am shy with strangers, and I hate confrontation. In fact I have to laugh at myself, because I so desire to be liked -- when I interact with a waitress who seems annoyed, I tend to be extra nice and personable in order to make her like me.

But I digress. What I wanted to talk about was the fact that not many people at work consider me non-confrontational or shy. The thing is: in order to be good at my job I have to be a little bit aggressive and forward. It gets things done, and I like to get things done. I will do what it take to get things done; that's what makes me good.

That has expanded into a kind of boldness that I never would have thought possible. I have been learning to call people out when they do things wrong. It makes them better, and the work environment better. But it's hard, because I prefer it if everybody could just quietly get along! For example, today I actually uttered the following phase out loud:

"That was a really passive-aggressive thing to say. Was that really necessary?"

Talk about confrontation! I used to be the passive-aggressive one!

Even better than my boldness at calling somebody out was his response: "No, you're right. Thanks for pointing it out."

I nodded, said "You're welcome," and we continued to have a civil conversation. I think it even went fairly well. Nifty!

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renniekins
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As of last Friday, M and I now own just one house again. Hooray, we did it!



In fact, we are now renters, since we are still living in the house we just sold. We have 'occupancy' here until May 10th. We are also renting out the house we own to its previous owners. They have 'occupancy' until May 2nd. On May 2nd, we will start moving to our new house. May 6th is the Big Day, we have movers already scheduled to move all the big stuff. Then May 8th we will turn over our keys to the old house, and become official Northville residents, never to live in Ypsilanti again. Hooray again, Dream House here we come!

(Selling was a pain. We had to borrow money to do it, since we owed more than it was worth. But it will be worth it in the end, not to have to worry about it, and being able to move forward with our lives.)

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renniekins
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This week I assigned myself what I'm calling my "seven day purge".  I'm not following any particular plan or gimmick, but what I'm trying to do is break myself of a sugar addiction.  The word addiction seems extreme, and I feel a bit embarrassed to be using it, but honestly that's what it feels like.  For awhile now, I find myself eating more and more junk.  I crave it, I eat a little, and eating it makes me want to eat more.  I got to the point when eating anything, I'd want to end it with something sweet.  I felt out of control, and something had to stop.

So six days ago, on Monday, I began my purge.  I thought if I could quit cold turkey, maybe I could break that cycle.  Purge it out of my system, so it was no longer out of control.  I wasn't quite sure what rules to follow, but I settled a basic goal of "try to eat just meat, fruits, and vegetables".  I kept bread and pasta to a minimum, and I abstained from any of the "junk carbs" that I love so much: candy, cookies, granola, cereal, pretzels, chips, crackers, wine, chocolate, ice cream, etc.  I also followed a secondary rule: "try not to eat anything my great-great grandmother would not have recognized as food."

Surprisingly, I succeeded.  Here I am on day seven, and I feel that I essentially followed my goals.  I avoided all sweets and snacks.  There was free pizza at the office twice last week, and I didn't touch it.  Although I did go out to dinner a couple of times, I kept myself to semi-healthy meals without much in the way of bread or junk.  I brought lunch to work four out of the five days, filled with salads, veggies, fruit, soup, and stuff like that.  I managed to eat just what was in my lunch box every day and nothing else, which is usually a challenge for me.

I feel pretty good about myself.  It wasn't a diet precisely -- it was just a purge of sugar and junk carbs from my system.  At first, it was really really hard.  I felt so deprived and bummed.  Interestingly enough though, by saturday it wasn't too bad anymore.  I found when walking through the grocery store, when I saw a free sugar cookie sample, I was okay saying no.  My brain said, "Oooh, iced cookie, I LOVE those!"  But my stomach kinda shrugged and said, "I'm good."  I didn't crave anything, and I didn't feel particularly deprived.

The interesting thing is that mentally, emotionally, I still do feel deprived.  I dreamed about ice cream with fudge sauce and caramel two nights ago, so that's probably not a good sign.  However the cravings don't feel physical anymore, just mental.  Now I know that mental is a huge part of the game, and I haven't kicked this addiction.  But I'm amazed and thrilled that the physical sensation is reduced.

The tricky thing now is: what to do next?  My plan was seven days, under the simple theory that "I can do anything for just seven days."  Now that seven days have passed though, I'm not quite sure.  I'm afraid if I let myself have something, the cravings will just come right back.  That was always my experience in the past: eating junk made me crave more junk.

Can I go another seven days?  Can I at least go five days?  My goal is not to live the rest of my life junk-free, feeling deprived and never touching sweets again.  My goal is only to get to the point where I can enjoy a treat without it then controlling me.  But how to get there?  Today M and I went to the grocery store and bought a bunch of good foods.  Salads, fruits, veggies, juice, nice things for lunches.  I'm going to see how long I can keep it up, for starters, but I need to come up with a new plan.

One of the things that made the last seven days easy was because I KNEW it was JUST seven days.  I'm a goal-oriented person, and I don't think that classic AA goal of "one day at a time" is sufficient for me.   I suspect that what might work better is what I've heard some people do: "one and only one cheat day per week".  I think that's what I'll aim for next, but right now I'm nervous because I'm not sure I'm ready to let the sweets back in.  I'm not sure I can do moderation just yet, and I don't want to find myself back in the rising cycle I was in before I started.

I think right now my goal is: five more days.  I can do anything for just five days, that's no big deal, right?  Then at the end of five days, on friday, I'll reevaluate and decide what I want to do next.  I really really want to be healthier, and I want to have a realistic approach to food and weight.  I want to still enjoy treats sometimes too though!  I'm just still figuring out what that means.

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Last week M and I were watching an episode of Bones which involved a guy trying to invent time travel.  As a subplot, all of the characters were talking about what they would do if they could go back in time.  About 3/4 of the way through the show, I put it on pause, and asked M, "Have you decided?"
"What?"
"Have you decided, what you would do if you could go back in time?  I just figured mine out."
"No, I haven't even been thinking about it."
"Why not? What have you been doing?"
"Paying attention to the plot."
"Oh.  Well."
"So what would you do."
I blushed.  "It's a little mushy."
He laughed.  "That's okay."

"Well...  Remember back a few years ago, when I first met your mom?  She was showing me these photos, family vacation photos of that trip you and your family took across the country, when you visited all those national parks.  I was thinking, if I could go back in time, I'd arrange to accidentally meet you there.  Then I could meet your dad."  [His father passed away when M was 17, maybe 5 years or so after that trip.]  "Plus I could meet you as a boy, which would be kinda neat.  It wouldn't be hard, people strike up conversations with fellow travelers all the time.  I could just be traveling as a single person - nobody would recognize me or anything, of course.  I'd just be a friendly stranger.  I could happen to be on a similar schedule as you, and we could run into each other several times that way, and become familiar.  Have meals, conversations, that sort of thing.  It would be neat, to get to know your dad.

Then before I left, I would buy stock in Apple."
renniekins
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Today M told me that I hadn't posted to LJ since Christmas. "That can't be true," said I, "Can it?"

He assured me it was, unless I'd posted anything on a filter. So I looked this evening and he's right: I've posted nothing public since Christmas. In fact that only thing I've posted since then was a private New Year's post, counting my number of posts and comments for 2012. Which I never finished, so I never made it public.

Wow.

How did it get to be March already?

Let me see if I can recap the past couple of months.


  • On Dec 31, 2012, I turned in the final copy of my thesis.

  • On Jan 5, I got myself a present: a new FitDesk to help me exercise more!

  • Jan 6, M and I went cross-country skiing locally.

  • Jan 12, M's birthday, we want out to dinner and M got a lovely chicken hat.

  • Jan 14, I defended my Master's thesis and had it officially approved by the college. Woohoo!

  • Oh yeah, the week before that I also started my final class of my Master's degree. I will finish that this sunday (2 days from now).

  • On February 1st, 2013, I purchased Dream House. (M helped, of course, although according to the paperwork it's just mine.)

  • Also on that day, my new car rolled over 9999 miles.

  • I accidentally almost destroyed the kitchen by letting a pan of water boil dry, while working from home because I was afraid to drive in the snow.

  • Feb 12, we celebrated our TWO YEAR wedding anniversary!

  • To celebrate, I got bright red stripes put into my hair, and we had a MardiGras celebratory dinner, complete with cool masks.

  • Feb 22, we rented a condo Up North with 4 other couples, and enjoyed hottubbing and skiing, friendship and good food.

  • At the end of the month, we spent two weeks madly cleaning, packing, decluttering, and staging our house. We also sent our cats to Cat Camp, because...

  • On March 1st, we put our house on the market. We are trying to sell this house before we move into Dream House (which won't be until April, unfortunately).

  • I've also been working full-time of course during all that time, doing MathML and Accessibility, and presenting a keynote speech at our little in-office conference a couple of weeks ago.

  • I also agreed to help with the Mobile PowerSearch project, which is really interesting but I can barely find 4 hours a week for it. At least the 4 hours I do spend on it are fun ones!



There. Is that all? I've felt busier than that. Of course, I glossed over about a hundred details in each of those bullets, details that I would have loved to write in proper posts... but I've been too gosh-darn busy.

So why do I have time to post right now? Because I'm procrastinating from doing my schoolwork, of course. I only have 2 days left in this class, but I don't feel like putting my nose to the grindstone and finishing things up.

Of course, "I don't feel like it" is not a good enough excuse. So I suppose I should go do it anyway.

Before I do that though, here are a couple of good "me and M" super-short stories:

***
As we were finishing up at the gym, M said, "Time for a shower, I'm sweaty and gross!"
I said, "Me too, but I'm not gross, I'm a flower like always."
He added, "And of course you don't sweat, you glisten."
"Exactly, I'm a glistening flower."

***
As we were packing up our house, I was upstairs and M was downstairs. I called down to him, "I have a question for you!"
"Sure," he called up, "Go ahead."
"It's more of a looking-at-things sort of question."
"Can it wait? I'm in the middle of this."
"Actually, never mind. It's just that I'm about to make an executive decision--"
"Coming!!" ...and he came sprinting up the stairs.

about this journal
Welcome to my online journal! Who am I? Click the "about me" link above for some details. Sometimes silly, sometimes thoughtful, sometimes mundane, this is a reflection of my chaos. I hope you enjoy it.
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