Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Lessons in Life...

"Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned." -- Bodhidharma

Anyone that knows me gets that I am not that deep.  However, I saw this quote posted and I stopped to think about it.  It made me realize that no matter how old I am or what I have gone through in life, I still have a lot to learn.

It caused me to reflect on the relationships I have in life.  While Facebook shows I have close to 500 friends, reality is that so very few actually reach out to me personally.  Those are people I know from elementary, middle, and high school, as well as relatives.  I also have some friends I have remained in contact with throughout college and work.  What do a majority of them all have in common:  They never really reach out to me to get together for lunch, dinner, a shopping trip, attend a new movie, and etc.  I am usually the one that reaches out to them.

I am not very close to any of my relatives due to my family always living far away from their own families.  I do have a cousin that lives in the area with his family, but for the most part, he never makes an effort to reach out to ask me over for dinner or what have you. Again, I am the one that reaches out to them.  Of course, they are always busy and that is how it is, right?

This year, I realized something about one friend, but it came too late.  When I was really frustrated and needed someone to vent, I learned that person was no longer there for me.  It hurt and the words still sting.  However, as I looked back upon it, I realized, I was getting pushed away and I should have seen that.  I thought best was to wrap up my loose endings with the friendship and let it go.  I still hear the words in my head and it hurts, but you have to respect that and move along.

A month ago, I found myself worried that I would have a job.  Every year, the company goes through a "cutting" of the staff.  In the past, I had felt confidence that my job was okay.  This year, not so much.  

I reached out to another friend who had gone through this herself.  Every time she went through this, she would reach out to me going on about how she needed her job and her fears.  I would take her out to dinner, listen, and try to remind her how appreciated she was in her job and that it was not possible to dispose of her.  Each time, her job was saved.

I reached out to this person to get some support and felt nothing but a cold end.  "Well, that is too bad."  "Sorry to hear that."  "Let me know what happens on that - I need to go so I can watch such and such show."

Wow...here, I had been there for her.  We went out to dinner a couple of times, but even after that, I felt no real compassion for my situation.  Now, I do not hear from her, so I figure I have the "disease" - She was on the list to be removed - stay away or you might get removed.

Again, I was deeply hurt.  

I never wish harm on anyone and know I am no saint or perfect.  I usually get along fine alone because it is what it is.  I do have some close friends and I appreciate their friendship.  Just that sometimes, it is hard being alone.  I tell myself, "You know, there are some people in this world who simply could not exist if they had to live as you do.  You make it work where they cannot.  It is what makes you stronger."  

That means, I go out to eat without fear of being alone.  I will go to the movies alone.  I will do what I want - alone.  Would I like for others to join me?  Sure, but if I really want it, I will do it alone.

So, how does that quote fit into all of this?  For all I can do, I cannot make people like me or want to be with me.  I have to learn not to be upset with them because it is what it is.  Forgive myself and learn to move on with life.  However, never forget how someone made me feel because someone else out there is probably feeling the same thing.  Just learn to be better.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

YouTube Content Creators Representing Dallas...

So, on some level, this is probably out of my demographic.  Yet, I am a single woman and I love makeup.  There is no denying that fact.  I was not born and raised in the DFW area, but I have come to call this place home.

I have spent a good amount of time watching various videos on YouTube.  Long enough to form an opinion about a few of the creators.  One in particular really gets under my skin, so much so that I had to unsubscribe.  She lives in the DFW area, but man, she does nothing but complain about how Dallas does not have this or that.

This lady is much younger than me, has kids, and on the search for that elusive "Prince Charming."  When she goes out, she takes the viewers out to swanky places in Dallas that are prime "seen and been seen places."  On the flip side, she will go on and on about how she is not happy here.  For all the swank, she never goes out of her way to really find the cool hole-in-the-wall places.  Not even sure she made it to the State Fair, which in itself, is a pretty interesting thing to do this time of the year.

She has had good fortune on obtaining an invitation to be part of a team that is developing makeup for one of the beauty companies in the area.  However, when watching the team introduction, she mentioned that she was from her hometown, living in Dallas.  *sigh*

I get being homesick.  Most people go through all of that - I had more than my fair share of it when I was a young child.  However, you spend your time wanting to be wined and dined, but never get out to see the things that the city and surrounding communities have to offer.  I find that so sad because there is Bishop Arts, Deep Ellum, Plano, Frisco, The Colony, Fort Worth, Grapevine/Southlake, Lewisville, Denton, and so many other places that are full of so much art, culture, and activities.

I would love to find someone who was her age and really showing off the various places in the area.  I would like to see this young woman get out of her shell and honestly become friends with more people.  Perhaps, that would help her get better adjusted and see the city for the good that it has.  Not just can it at every corner because it not like "home."

Remember:  "You're not in Kansas, anymore."

Monday, October 9, 2017

Possible New Hobbies Coming Together...

Taking a quick break from my normal day.  I have played around with creating a YouTube channel specifically for keeping myself accountable for working on weight loss.  Also, I wanted to make it a bit more interesting by either using it to go over various make up products that I have or trying new looks.  Not really expecting much from it, but I thought it might be fun understanding how to create and edit content.

I really did not want to have to spend a whole lot of money to start.  I have a camera that my father bought me for my birthday in 2012.  It is a Nikon J1 - it has the ability to film in HD, but it is not quite a fancy as some of the cameras I see other content creators have.  Still, start with what I already have and build on that.  No sense in spending a lot of money on equipment and such, then not really getting into it.

I know I am missing a few pieces on my camera.  I purchased two batteries and two battery chargers.  I have some extra ones that did not work lying around the apartment.  However, the last two, I am taking back to Best Buy to get that off my credit card.  I think I need to look for a tripod and ring light, but I will work on getting the best lighting as I can before going down that path.

This will also enable to me to put my MacBook Pro to some good use.  I purchased that computer and rarely use it.  I have been in the process of switching my iTunes library to be stored on the Mac, than the PC.  When I got my current Dell system, I had upgraded to using an iPhone and had a headache just getting the phone set up and so forth.  I figure it would be easier to store everything on the Mac.

I charged a battery the other day and got the J1 out to play around with it.  The camera does make some really clear videos.  I just need to set up some books or something as my tripod.  Hope to clear out a cubby hole that the apartment has set up between my bedroom and walk-in closet.  From there, I would do filming.  Planning to move out the videos and store my makeup palettes and such in the DVD cases that would be sitting behind me.  Nothing fancy, but everyone has to have a start.

Will let you know when all of that comes together and I finally upload my first video.  Next, I would like to buy a guitar and learn how to play it.  I saw a very awesome advertisement from Fender where you can buy on-line lessons.  That would be extremely cool to use.

Time to head back to my regular work day.  This is getting pretty exciting.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Life's Crazy Twists and Turns...

It has been quite awhile since my last post, disregarding my Apple Airpods review.  Life always seems to throw curve balls.  Sometimes, I may think about posting something, but think better for it.  I feel that with freedom of speech also comes great responsibility, especially in recent days.  Being misunderstood or misinterpreted can very well lead one into a hell that was never intended.

Health-wise - My left knee has had several issues.  During the whole master bathroom tub replacement debacle, I started experiencing a great deal of pain.  Come to find out I had bursitis.  I got a cortisone shot in that knee, but I still deal with pain.  Some days are better than others, but it is just another monkey on my back.

I tried to go to 24 Hour Fitness to get some help, but that turned into another headache.  I made the mistake of paying for personal trainer sessions.  The problem - I was trying to go in early in the morning, say 8 AM.  Well, that turned into a huge mistake because I was constantly having to be on calls about that time in the morning.  If I tried to go for after 5 PM, this trainer was not available.  Maybe, I need to work on looking for another trainer.

Trying to decide if I should change primary care physicians, again.  My last one moved away and I decided to go with another doctor in the group.  Unfortunately, the last time I tried to see this doctor, I waited over an hour to be seen and dealt with a grumpy nurse's aide.  I was frustrated and angry.  I did not have time for this during the middle of the day and what made the situation worse was that no one made an effort to say that the doctor was running behind schedule.  I left completely pissed off.  The next day, the counselor told me that I was justified in being upset.  Not sure why I feel this way, but I feel like I am supposed to be ashamed of walking out like that.  However, why?  I was not being treated properly and it is my time being wasted; not their time.

My work area is undergoing constant upheaval and sometimes, I am not sure if we are coming or going.  I try to make sense of it all, but how can you?  Being on the low end, you just have to watch what changes take place and see what falls out.  It is pretty nerve wrecking.

Grieving over lost friendships - sometimes, I have to realize that maybe those relationships really were not meant to be.  I will leave it to the other side to decide if they want to continue and in what capacity.  What I would like may not be what someone else wants and I have to understand.  I have a few close friends that I can lean/rely on and I will continue to appreciate those relationships and let those people know I do.

Caring for myself - I have not been doing well in this area.  I feel that I succumb quite a bit to just crawling back into bed as my mother used to do.  Most of that is related to the constant back and knee pain I experience.  Could be depression, but I do try to fight it as much as I can.  Trying harder to walk more with Bo - as much as I can withstand.  I will walk a good 10 minutes or more, then look for a place to sit to relieve some of the pain.  Once I feel better, I get back up and walk more.  This way, I spend more time with Bo and talk with him in a positive tone so that we both are smiling and having a good time.

At this point, I feel that the shots in my back are useless.  Maybe the only cure is just dependent upon weight loss.  I simply have to get out of the rut I find myself and work harder on turning my life around from where I am.  While it is a scary proposition, maybe I need to look at possibly vlogging for me to get some accountability as well as seeing a change.  Even when I lost 120 lbs in 1996-1997, I still saw a very overweight person in the mirror.  I never felt that I got anywhere, even though the numbers showed differently.  

Also, I have to build a tougher exterior to prevent the pain of abuse from others.  I get angry at people who say mean, nasty things, yet they hide behind their computer screens.  No videos - nothing.  It is so easy to sit behind the computer screen and say nasty things.  It is hard to invoke change within one's self and when I see someone trying hard, I would rather hear encouragement, rather than breaking down the spirit.

That brings me to the "damned if you do and damned if you don't" situations.  If you are overweight, people discriminate against you and say awful things because they feel that they can.  If you lose weight, same people make the similar nasty comments.  You simply cannot win.  I finally had to come to the conclusion - if people make nasty comments, just delete them.  If those people complain, they need to look within themselves.  I need help; I need support.  I do not need someone bringing my day down with their useless abuse.  Making a change within one's self is never an easy task - it takes time and work.  That is what I am trying to do.

So, with that, I will continue to blog from time to time, but look out for my channel.  I am not gorgeous or even beautiful, but I am a person.  I have a heart and feelings.

Techno Joy - Apple's Airpods!

While I am one of those crazy technology freaks, I do have my limitations.  I do not purchase a new computer every year.  I do not get the latest iPhone, unless mine breaks down - and it is not because I physically broke it.  However, I have always had the "Dennis the Menance" addiction to "playing with technology".  My latest find has been the Apple Airpods.

The Airpods came out about the same time as the iPhone 7 and 7 plus.  With the advertisements, I thought that the new phone came with the new wireless ear buds.  Alas, that was not to be the case.  A new wired headset was made available, but not the Airpods.

In May, I purchased the Apple Airpods.  Currently, I own the following Apple products:

iPhone 7
iPod Touch - 2
iPod Nano - Several
iPad - 3rd Generation (Probably about to be made obsolete at some point)
iPod Mini
iPod - 3 - ranging from 1st generation (It still works but has to remain connected) to a 160 GB that I need to setup
MacBook Pro

For the most part, the Apple AirPods connected immediately to both my iPhone 7, iPad 3, and both iPod Touches.  The AirPods will not connect to any of my iPod Nano devices, which is a bummer, but I am good with that.

The Apple AirPods allow the following:

Two hours of talk time
Three hours of listening time
Case allows up to 3 to 4 AirPod recharges
Can charge both case and AirPods when connected with the Lightening connect
Can double tap the AirPod to connect/disconnect from a phone call

In the past, I tried using the popular LG headset that I had seen people wearing for the past 3-4 years.  When I used it, I felt like I was being choked.  To make matters worse, the model I had did not work well with my iPhone.  I ended up returning the device to Best Buy.

With the airpods, I am really thrilled to use them.  I have no "wires" restricting or getting getting in the way.  I feel comfortable wearing them and have not incurred any serious connection issues.  I am rather bummed with the short life span, but I tell myself - every great product has to have a starting point.  As more people discover the airpods, I am sure Apple will do more with enhancing the listening and talk time.  One of the main reasons I still have a Plantronics earbud - the talk time on my current Plantronics is about 6 to 7 hours.

I have learned how to use Siri to make phone calls and such using the airpods.  I also love how I can easily connect the airpods to my MacBook Pro computer.

Those of you who love exercise would enjoy the airpods for your running/jogging/walking routines.  The only time I have had any issues with the airpods falling out was when I was pulling a shirt over my head to either remove or wear.  The airpods fit snugly in my ears and are comfortable for me.  If you are not used to how the current Apple wired ear phones fit, you may not enjoy the airpods.

Curious about how much battery life you have left with both the airpods and the case?  Very easy - make sure your phone is close to the airpods case, then lift the lid.  A screen for the airpods will appear and show you how much battery life is left in the case and each airpod.  You can also go to the "main" first screen where you have a "Search" entry, scroll down to look for the "Batteries" widget - you will see the battery level there as well.

Overall, I am really enjoying my experience with the airpods.  Friends that have called me while I was wearing the airpods say that the sound quality is better than the wired earphones and the Plantronics ear piece.  I always get good clarity with the airpods.  Heck, I loved the airpods so much that I bought my father a set for Father's Day.  I really love wearing/using the airpods - it has brought my listening and iPhone experience to a new level.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Time Out to Reset...

For the past few months, I have been "knocked" about for quite awhile.  If I blogged, I never published my thoughts because of my approach and ruthless "just getting it out of my system."  You know - the things you would love to say, but rather than press "Send" on that scathing email, you press the "Delete" key.  I was hurt, upset, stressed, and angry.  I have calmed down, but that is due to taking a different attitude. 

During the chaos, I found myself just going into the same vicious circle:  Getting up, working, and going to bed.  I was emotionally paralyzed.  So, one of the things I did was work on cutting myself off from people.  Now, that sounds harsh, but the reason for doing that was to simply make myself really view some of the situations that had occurred and make decisions about how to deal.  

Life is not all positive with sun shining and flowers blooming.  Life is real and stuff happens.  Plans are changed, people change, and the world changes.  It is what it is.

With that in place, I started looking at what I can do to define my own happiness.  Examining my "real" needs.  I designed a 3 year plan to work on obtaining something I want for Bo and myself.  Right now, I am struggling a bit with some decisions I have made, but I know that it is all for the best.  It is what I have to do for me.  Not what people have some perception of what they think it should be for me.

Health wise, I have some obstacles preventing me from doing things I like to do.  It is always something, so I simply put on the "smile" on my face and crack on with life.  I have my meltdowns and you know what, I am allowed.  My feelings and thoughts matter - maybe not to you, but they do for me.  I am just not reaching out to anyone anymore.  No one wants to hear it and I get that.  

So, I am taking some time off for myself.  Making an effort to try to "reset" myself and move into some better behaviors.  I think everyone needs that opportunity to scrutinize what is going on and see what they can do to better their situation.  This is my time to do that.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Life and the Daily Drama...

My life, for the past several months, has had more drama than I really ever cared to have.  Sure, we all want excitement in our lives - it is what makes us feel alive - a part of the world.  But for heaven's sake, can someone lay off of me for awhile?!

At work, there is the yearly upheaval.  Not sure if other companies do it, but I am sure they do.  Reorganization of groups and resources to better achieve goals created by upper management.  While it should not cause a lot of stress, it actually does because people become unsure of who they are reporting and expectations.  We all try to carry on, there is that time you must adjust with the change and learn how to work with someone else.  You have to take time to really understand their methodology and expectations.  

My group is also working on doing a product upgrade.  Our application is an "out of box" product and we create custom code to enhance the application for our needs.  For one aspect of the application, it has been several years since the last upgrade.  Therefore, that makes the upgrade a bit difficult.  So many changes in the base application and trying to determine what works and what would have to be readjusted.

What I have not been happy with has been the rather unclear path to do this upgrade.  I have not been part of all discussions, so that left me at a disadvantage to understand what steps were taken.  That has caused me a lot of heartburn because others have an expectation that I know what, how, and why things are done for the upgrade.  Yet, I do not.  I even express "I do not know".  It is that point where when you have heard for your lifetime that it is okay to say you do not know, but realize that no one believes that or accepts it. You can tell that by how they continue to badger you.

I asked for help from one side and was stone-walled and the other group continued to dog pile on me.  I would work 14-16 hours to try to resolve issues, but when you are "walking in the dark", you tend to fall and hurt yourself.  This was me.

I finally stopped that.  I had to.  I did not quit work.  I just stopped beating on myself.  These people have to get over themselves because bottom line:  They know just as much as I do - nothing.

There is a battle that I do not wish to be a part of - I simply wish to do my job and crack on with it.  I do not care about how many employees report to me.  I do not care what my peers think.  I care for getting the work done and doing a good job.  If the business is happy, then I am happy.  

The political posturing disturbs me to no end.  Recently, I got dragged into another similar mess.  I heard both sides of the story and was not leaning on any particular side.  I simply looked at the facts and said that it does not matter if this other company made us look bad - our company pays them to do whatever we ask and they ask no questions.  They do not care about the customer experience, but we should.  

Apartment drama is about to cause me ulcers.  Decluttering is not the issue - I am doing what I can as I can.  Making progress.  My recent derailment is my master bathroom.  A month or so ago, I noticed cracking in the tub.  I tried to do what I could about it, but I figured it was time to move into the second bathroom and contact the apartment maintenance to repair the tub.  The tub is a fiberglass/plastic garden tub.  I have always felt a certain amount of "give" every time I stepped into the tub, but I had never really been in such a tub.  Therefore, I was not sure if that was normal or not.  The second bathroom tub is a nice porcelain tub - basically, I would have to exert some massive force to break it.

Before I could open a ticket with the maintenance, someone from the complex was knocking on my door two weeks ago.  The gentleman asked me if I had experienced any leaking with my washer.  I said no, but allowed him inside to check.  He validated all was dry, so I mentioned that the tub was cracked.  I showed him that as well.

Apparently, the neighbor's garage is experiencing leakage from the ceiling.  So, the maintenance guy got his boss.  His boss acted like a jerk.  He went on about having to epoxy the tub and paint it, but I had to basically gut the bathroom.  He left and came back with someone else to look at the tub regarding the epoxy and painting.  I ended up having to spend two nights at Aloft due to the fumes of the epoxy and paint.  These guys left my apartment wide open while I was out and never made a point to call me to let me know when I could come back into the apartment.  I am already annoyed.

Last week, I am still nervous about taking a shower in that bathroom, but I go ahead.  I had one before taking my father out for dinner last Wednesday and another that Friday.  On Friday, the tub bottom felt weird, but I thought maybe it was due to the epoxy.  I looked down and saw the cracks and even more cracks.  I hopped out of the tub, dried off, pulled back the rubber mat to examine closely and sure enough, cracking was still there and was now going up the sides of the tub.

Well, no point in cleaning the bathroom.  I decided it was time to clear the space back out and I would contact them regarding the tub and ask to get the smoke alarms in the living room repaired.  Before I could do anything, the maintenance head was back at my door.

"It's leaking again!"  I said - Yes, I noticed that the tub was cracking and was about to contact you about that.  He marched right into the apartment and headed straight for the bathroom.  He looks at the tub and says "What cracks?"  I said, let me get into the tub and I will show you.  I get in the tub, pull back the tub mat and you could see the cracks and those leading up the side of the tub.  

The maintenance head had shown up on Wednesday and I had my last bath on Friday - gross I know, but I was trying to work, get stuff out of the way, and get the second bathroom ready for my use.  So, I asked the maintenance guy when was the last time the neighbor noticed a leak.  It was Friday.  I said - Okay - I have not showered in the bathroom since that time and probably won't ever after this.  I will shower in the second bathroom because the tub is sturdier and there are no cracks.

Thursday morning, I take a shower in my second bathroom's tub at 9:30 AM, so I can see my counselor.  The only thing I do in the master bath is use the toilet and brush my teeth.  I have not washed any laundry or done any dishes because I am scared to do it.  (That is just damn sad, too.)

Yesterday morning, knock on my door.  Maintenance man - in a pissed off tone to me - "You took a shower in that bathtub after I told you not to do it!  Neighbor says that there is a leak again and she is really mad."

He went past me, up the stairs yelling at me and I am telling him that I did not take a shower in the master bathroom tub.  I am upset, pissed, and humiliated.  Why is this happening to me when I did nothing?  He marched right into the master bathroom and looked at the tub.  I was livid at that point.

"Would you like for me to not use any bathroom in my apartment?  Does the neighbor wish for me to move? When did she even notice the leak again?!"

Apparently, she noticed the leak again on Thursday night.  I said - Well, as you can see, the damn tub is bone dry - I DID NOT TAKE A SHOWER IN A CRACKED TUB!  I am tired of this barging into my apartment and accusing me of something so outrageous! I have only used the toilet and the sink.

Maintenance guy starts looking at everything else, then he decides the seal on the toilet is bad.  At this point, I realize the guy has no freaking clue, but it is okay to lean on me.  He tells me not to use the master bathroom at all; only use the second bathroom.

He walks out and I feel humiliated.  I start crying because I was accused of something I did not do.  I started getting angry when I thought about the whole ordeal and his saying it was the toilet.  He has no freaking clue!  If it was the toilet, then shouldn't the neighbor be complaining about leaking ALL OF THE TIME?!  I mean, I used the master bathroom toilet all the time when I need to go!  It is absurd!  He would rather bust up my apartment rather than do the sensible thing and open up where the leak is in the neighbor's garage and validate that the leak is truly coming from my area.  It could very well be the pipes and nothing to do with the bathroom at all.  I am not saying not to replace the tub, but freaking think smart - he is going to have to repair the garage ceiling anyway.

I went to the leasing office and talked with the manager about the situation.  I told her what had transpired.  I do not care that my apartment looks like hell right now.  I have physical limitations, but I am working on that.  However, the apartment stuff is not what is causing this issue.  I do not appreciate the maintenance head coming into my apartment and accusing me of something I did not do.  I am a 50 year old single woman.  I do not hold wild parties, I pay my rent on time, I work with people around me, I keep to myself, and I make sure I do not disturb others.  I would hope to be considered an ideal tenant.  The fact remains, the maintenance lead should have handled the situation better - I could care less if the neighbor is pissed.  I did not make this happen and I am trying what I can, but I live in this apartment.  If you keep restricting what I can do, the complex needs to help relocate me elsewhere and quit this mess.

Last night, I was simply paralyzed from the incident.  I tried to move past it, but it kept upsetting me.  Everything I wanted to do, I worried - would I piss off the neighbor and get into trouble?  Can I even do a load of laundry?  Can I even really use my second bathroom?

This morning, I said "Fuck him, the neighbor, and the complex.  I have things I need to get done in this apartment and if involves using water, then by God, I am doing it!"  This is flat out ridiculous.  

Yeah, I know - buy a house, but again, you have to deal with similar issues.  Might not be maintenance people, but you have to pay someone out of pocket to fix those issues.  Then, deal with half-ass work done.  Same here.

My counselor reminds me that I have dealt with a lot of stress - more than anyone should have to manage in such a short time.  Losing Chloe, dealing with the health issues, the D&C, the mess with people wanting me to get a gastric sleeve, and the lingering grief with my mom's death among all of it.  It all piles on and as my ob-gyn put to me, "Girl, no one is giving you a single break, are they?"  She is right.  They are not.