Saturday, August 31, 2013

Trying to Get Over the Muck and Writing...

Two weeks ago, I worked an all night release.  I got to bed at 4:00 AM, then was back up for more work by 8 AM.  At that point, I had a sore throat.

I finally got free of the sore throat by Tuesday, but was carrying around a runny nose, congestion, and a nasty cough.  My ailments were not getting much better as the days went by and I had another work release to do the next weekend as well as on-call.

I tried to see the doctor, but each time, my doctor's office was always booked.  Finally, on Wednesday, I headed to CareNow.  I was tired of waiting and feeling badly.  The doctor there determined I had an upper respiratory infection.  I worked from home the rest of the week and tried to rest as much as I could.  Unfortunately, that was not going to happen as each application seem to need an emergency code push just about every night, so that meant late nights each day.

Today, I tried to rest as much as I could.  I did have to run the dogs outside, but in generally, both dogs were happy to stay in bed with me while I tried to get some rest.

My blood sugar last week was off the charts, but this week, the numbers are much lower.  Most are under 170 - generally, hovering around 130.  To be honest, I am quite happy about that.

Last night, before going to bed, I tried working on writing an book.  I thought I would give writing a book a shot simply to get some of these ideas out of my head.  I feel like I have something to say and I need to get it out of my system.  It is more about the "story" than anything else.  Maybe, writing will help me think more clearly or help me emotionally - get out those emotions I have been holding.

I only got one chapter done last night, but it felt good to get all of that out on the iPad.  I had a lot of emotion running through my mind.  Maybe this is the right therapy for me, like Watson in Sherlock.  In Sherlock, John Watson's therapist suggests that he create a blog and write.  Granted, Watson writes about his adventures with Sherlock, but the writing helps him with the issues he has from the war.  I have not been in a war, but I think writing may help in a constructive way.

I would like to congratulate RandomCathy for her new book, The Vegan Teen Cookbook.  I am very excited for her and if you are interested in checking it out, here is the link:

Taking a Page from the Old Days...

When I moved to Texas, one of the AM radio stations would play old radio show classics.  My parents and I would turn off the TV and listen to the shows on the radio.  Listening to the old shows, it would allow my imagination to run wild.  Like reading a book, you used your imagination to mold the characters and scenery.

Back in 2004, I became a fan of James Purefoy after watching his performance in Vanity Fair.  I noticed that he was doing a radio show for the BBC 4 today.  Luckily, my Logitech Squeezebox system allowed me to access the BBC radio stations, so while I rested in bed, I listened to the radio show.

I spend a lot of time listening to "talk radio" of one form or fashion.  Most of the time, it is for the background noise while I work.  One way to keep myself up to date on the current events, just listening to the radio.  I moved over to internet radio a couple of years ago.  I have had some issues with streaming from time to time, but in general, I have been pretty happy with it.

I wish there were more radio shows like this here in the US.  I know that there are audio books, but this is so much different.  Audio books have maybe two or three readers, but with a radio show, it adds a bit more.

If you are interesting in trying it out, here is a link to the replay of The Sporting Life:

Saturday, August 24, 2013

No Rest for the Wicked...

For the past week, I have been trying to figure out what exactly I have done wrong.  Last weekend, I had an overnight code push to help perform.  I spent most of the day and night working on that.  I finally got to bet at 4 AM, only to be woken up at 4:30 AM from someone calling if they could turn on the scheduler.

When I finally woke, about 3.5 hours later, I had the worst sore throat.  I am a complete baby when it comes to that.  Also, the evil stuffy head/nose combo rides right behind it.  I have no time for that.  I suppose none of that matters - No matter what I did to avoid all of this mess came barreling down on me by Monday.

Sore throat has diminished considerably by this point.  However, I still have the hacking cough and stuffy nose that cannot decide if it should stop up and drip, or consistently have me running for the tissue get all of that gunk out of it.  I hate this.  I am miserable and I have another code push to work again this weekend.  Oh, the cherry on the top - I have to do on-call duty this week.

Therefore - my statement - No rest for the wicked.  What in the world did I do for this?  I laugh at the bad luck I am experiencing.  But, it is a little discouraging.  No one wants to work or clean or cook when they are sick.  Myself, I would rather just lie in bed and try to sleep off this mess.  Unfortunately, "LIFE" won't let me.

A few weeks ago, I applied for a new position within the company.  One that I would hope would reduce the amount of responsibilities (and stress) I have.  I feel that the job would add another feather into my cap to learn about the warehouse and how it works.  The new position would be working in the development and QA areas.  That suits me just fine.  My problem is that certain people are trying to instill doubt that this is a good move for me.  Others have said that it would be a good choice.  I learn this aspect of the company, should I decide to leave, there are plenty of jobs out in the world for this sort of work.

The opportunity to reduce the amount of responsibility and learn something new is scary, even nerve-wrecking.  However, I really want this.  I want this job for the opportunity to learn something new as well as as a fresh start.  Learn something from the ground up - take the things I know and mold them for use here and forget about other stuff that do not apply.  Understand how this area of the company "lives".  My current "living" environment has become just too intrusive. 

Just let me go - no hard feelings - this is about me and what I needed to do to fix my current situation.  I cannot depend on the promises of others that take forever to come to life.  I had to do something now.  It just bothers me that one would try to make me feel bad for making this choice.

God's message to me today:

Today, we believe God wants you to know that ...

it's time to start living in the present.

Letting go of the past is not easy, especially if you have wounds that have never properly healed. But, the past is past and living there may be preventing you from fully experiencing the present. Likewise fear of what may be looming around the corner can also prevent you from fully enjoying the present. Live in the moment and look forward to eternity with God, now that's a great present.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

The Work/Home Life Balance...

As I have gotten older, I have come to realize how important the Work/Home life balance is.  At work, a series of recorded lectures are provided to the employees to view.  One such lecture talks about the "Work/Home Life Balance."  The speaker discussed how important it was to create that balance, but in the end, the message was that you cannot be good in both.  If you plan to succeed at work, then your home life will not be successful.

Sad, isn't it?  However, it is so true.

If I spend all of my time doing the work stuff that everyone wants, I never have any "me" time.  I cannot go to the movies, plan a vacation, or even return back to school.  My life revolves around work and it's demands.

I thought for a long time about the "Work/Home Life Balance" and decided I really needed more "me" time.  I sought out a position that would reduce the amount of responsibilities and provide me with the "me" time I need.  Now, I am being questioned if that is what I really want?

I think we all want to be very successful in our jobs and home lives.  When it comes right down to it, when one side is over taking the other, you have to make a choice.   I spent many years working really hard.  I made a lot of sacrifices, but saw very little return.  I fought a hard struggle with caring for a dying family member and trying to maintain the work needed with a high profile project.  In the end, I lost that family member and got nothing out of the work I did.

Thursday night, I pointed this scenario out to a dear friend.  I remember saying I know it is God's test, but what was I to learn about or from it?  As I sit here, writing, I think that what I was supposed to learn from that is how life is so short.  You have to enjoy the time you have and do the things that make you happy.  If you keep doing what people expect all of the time, you do not get any satisfaction from that.  Therefore, your return on investment is little to nothing.  You cannot spend your life on those situations where the return on effort is less than what you put into it.

As I struggle with others doubting my choice, I really wish that they could see my view.  Understand the sacrifices I made and got nothing in return for the efforts. 

Then, again, it would probably do no good.  It is what it is.  I wish to move on and what I lose in responsibilities, I will gain in "me" time and happiness.  It really is time that I start concentrating on "me."  I do not want to wake up and find out I am too late.

Manners - Do They Still Exist...

I will probably have multiple posts as I have so many thoughts running through my mind today.  However, this particular subject came to my mind last night during dinner.

Since it was Friday night, a co-worker/friend wanted to go to Red, Hot, and Blue for dinner.  When we got there, we were seated and the waitress took our drink orders.  As my friend began discussing her son's new job, she noticed a man in a wheelchair coming into the restaurant.  Now, she probably would not had much thought on the subject matter, but in this case, the situation was rather odd.  The woman he was with was sitting in his lap while he wheeled himself around to the table.  He was basically doing a "wheelie" as he rolled past our table.  I thought - "Okay - whatever floats your boat."

Once the couple got seated into their booth, he was all over her.  My unfortunate problem - the couple was right in my view.  I would try to look away, but they were RIGHT THERE!  I felt like I should be in the seedy part of town watching some lurid floor show. 

When the manager talked to them about the behavior, the man started to get pretty belligerent.  The manager never raised his voice, but the man started getting louder and louder.  Finally, the couple left the restaurant with the man screaming that he was going to report the manager to the head office.

As I was taking my friend back to her house, she started talking about "manners."  In my opinion, society has lost a certain amount of "manners."  I am not sure why other than simple laziness or cultural changes.  However, simple public displays of affection, like holding hands, peck on the cheek, or even a small kiss on the lips is acceptable.  Full on groping?  Take that back to the hotel room next door, won't you? 

The incident made having dinner last night VERY uncomfortable.  I realize that this couple probably did not care.  Moreover, the act of being watched or causing a stir could have been exactly what they wanted to achieve.  Still, in the realm of manners, the couple had no consideration for others. 

Of course, I have my issues with manners.  I try to make sure I say and do the right things.  From time to time, I tend to stick my foot in my mouth or completely lose what manners my mother attempted to instill in me.

My friend from dinner has her own issues as well.  I am not sure what to really say to her without offending her.  On the other hand, some thought has gone into reducing the amount of time I spend with her.  She is nice, but some of the things that she has done/said tends to irritate me.  For example, Tuesday night, we tried Quaker Steak and Lube restaurant.  I overate a bit, but I really wanted to try the soft pretzels, some wings, and burger.  So, I got an appetizer with a few pretzels and 6 wings.  I had a burger for dinner. 

When the waiter came to give us our bill, he was about to give us the after dinner treat - Strawberry Twizzlers.  I thought this was cool.  Before the waiter could put the Twizzlers down on the table, my friend, immediately with a stern voice, "You can take those.  We do not need them as we are both diabetics."

The Friday night before this, we visited Half Shells for dinner.  I had the mahi-mahi dish with green beans and Parmesan potatoes.  While I was eating my dinner, my friend reached over with her fork and started eating my potatoes.  Also, we had the chocolate cake for dessert.

I have some major issues with that.  If you do not want the Twizzler, just leave it on the table and do not say anything.  Considering that the Twizzlers are individually wrapped, the waiter could have picked them back up for another time.  Also, my being a diabetic is my personal issue/struggle.  It is not others responsibility to make sure I eat right.  That information should not be offered as an excuse for anything.  It is totally different when I ask about substitutions - that is my way of choosing how/what I eat.

It is one thing to sample each other's food, but it is quite different if you keep digging into the other person's plate.  I just wanted to be clear on that because if someone offers you to try something, that is different.  In last Friday's scenario, I never offered the potatoes.  Might have been rude of me, but then again, she never offered anything off of her plate for me to try.  Honestly, there was nothing on her plate I wanted to try. 

As I said, I am not without sin.  I know my manners are in the toilet.  I never seem to get the "Thank You" notes out as I should or offer to do something in return for someone else.  I figure this may be a good time for me to pick up a book on manners and try a bit harder.  The simple act of trying might be a positive thing for someone else.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Land of Confusion...

Life in General:

The past few weeks just feel like a complete blur.  I have been experiencing some of my darkest moments - it has been quite some time since my last round of such.  At work, my situation is at its bleakest - I have made some mistakes in handling things.  I admit there are areas for improvement, but right now, there is a fear of some major backlash.  I am trying to face those issues as much as I can.  I do feel that communication breakdowns between teams has been a major factor, but no one ever resolves those.

Another organization within the same tower I am in sent out a "feeler" for new job opportunities.  Subject line was "Looking for a Change?"  I went for it - what did I have to lose?  I got the particulars and saw I met most of the requirements.  I talked to the lead on Thursday and he sounded very excited that I would be a good fit for his team.  I won't know anything until next week, maybe.

During this same time, I had to deal with an argument with my manager, impending half year appraisal, and the announcement of a 5% decrease in the workforce.  I thought long and hard about the things I really wanted to do.  The "pros" for the new job - no on-call, little to no production support, handling only development and QA environments, manage code control differently, and learn warehouse management.  The "cons" would be - no more virtualization/cloud (where I need to be aligned according to the Sr. VP), and no more opportunities for development - not much there to do from what I learned.

It is very conflicting.  I had hoped another manager would have an open spot.  I have worked with him and very excited about the new opportunities his team is taking.  Also, there is no on-call duty there as well. 

What is really my main objective?  I want my "life" back.  I am facing "50" soon and I would like to go back and complete my degree.  I realize that there may be no ROI on that, but for me, it would be the feeling of accomplishment. I also want to be able to take a trip when I want - be free to go off somewhere with no contact with the work world.  And lastly and most importantly, take care of myself for a change.  Get out and do the walking that needs to be done.  Find some activity that brings me joy or makes me feel better.


Yesterday was a pretty good day for me, blood sugar wise.  Most of the day, my numbers hovered around 94 to 138.  That is quite the accomplishment, but I ended up messing that up by having a pretzel that night.  This morning, my blood sugar was up to 264.  Well, the soft pretzel is out of the house.  LOL  Horribly sad when bread is like crack to your system.

As for my weight, well, I am sitting around 301, which is better than the 309 a few weeks ago.  Negative in this sense is a good thing.  I am still trying to reach my goal of 10,000 steps a day.  It is difficult most days because I have to sit at my desk a lot.  I am going to start putting in an alert on my phone to remind me to get up every hour and walk a bit.  Also, when doing housework, I try to be inefficient in that I have to walk a lot to get things.  That way, I get extra steps into my routine.  I feel fairly certain that if I walk 5 miles a day, that would make a huge difference in my life.  My "Americanized" Kiwi computer pal in CA has upped his goal to 20,000 steps a day.  Now, he is still a soft drink and staunchly confirmed "choco-holic" and "cheese-aholic".  Those items he absolutely refuses to give up for anything, but he has lost quite a bit of weight.  I am proud of him for that.  Now, I need to see some change in my life as well.


Seems like this place never gets much done to it.  I tried yesterday, but one little dog, Chloe, had to have her attention.  It is true - the sofa has been piled up again and my goals today are:

  • Clear the clutter off the sofa, vacuum it, and freshen it up.
  • Do the same to the bed and pillows
  • Gather trash, old magazines, and boxes and throw them out
  • Put away laundry and keep that managed, no matter what.
I bought a Kindle book (my new "crack"), 31 Days to a Clean and Organized Home.  I am sure a lot of my depression and negativity has to be due to the loads of clutter here.  If I can managed to get some of this under control, I would think my whole outlook would be much better.

Spending Fast:

While flipping through 31 Days to a Clean and Organized Home, I found some truths that really hit home.  I am very guilty of having multiple things simply because I could not find the original item.  That has happened to me so many times.  I am sure as I clear out stuff here, I will find a lot of stuff.  At the same time, I need to start a "spending fast".  I realized I have overspent considerably this year and I need to cut down the credit card bills.  I want to be able to take a trip to Europe next year.  I have thought long and hard about this one and it is something that I really, REALLY want to do.  I need to create my "life list" and put down a lot of these things I want to do and see how to achieve them.

Trying New Things:

I started drinking Powerade Zero.  I am due for my colonoscopy in a month and I need to find some drink to put back the electrolytes that I will be expending for that prep.  Also, finding something that will fulfill getting that water intake without being a diet soda.  So far, most of the flavors have been pretty good.  I am not a huge fan of the orange drink, but I love the fruit punch.  Unfortunately, I cannot drink that flavor during prep because it is red.  Still, it is nice to get something that is flavorful and may not be so bad for me.

iPad apps - I found several programming apps on the App Store and downloaded them for creating a learning plan for myself.  These are pretty cool.  I am also going to try out a project management software tool.

Computer Software - Where I work, you have to keep track of where your time is spent on various projects.  While installing Fedora Core 14 Linux operating system, one of the cool installation was a program called "Task Coach" (  It is truly an amazing tool.  You can download the app for free for Mac, Windows, and Linux.  You can also get the app in the iTunes App Store for free as well.  I just create a task, put in the project management tracking ID, then every time I work on that project, I click on the clock to get it running.  When I am done, I click on the clock to show the end time.  At the end of the week, I just get the total time and put it into our system  for the week.  The software also has other bells and whistles for things like percentage done, notes, and etc.  Well worth the free investment.

Today's Message From God:

Today, we believe God wants you to know that ...

your kindness makes a difference.

Even if it is a very tiny act of goodness and you think no one notices, God notices. Always remember that one little act of kindness can tilt the balance of an entire situation. One little act of kindness can ripple out in countless ways that you many never know about.