=NVL(Number,24)

Started new
My novel number
It is error
– The latest #spampoetry

Toward the end of July, I had a work week with three 24 hour days in it.  It’s not like I’m not predisposed to insomnia anyway and haven’t worked those kind of hours before1,2, but this time was different, because I’d promised I wouldn’t do that anymore, and it took me to the end of that third day to realize that I hadn’t even felt a pang of self-preservation. Nope. None. There was work to do that needed to be done, and I was there to do it, and…

It was ridiculous. I wasn’t saving lives or putting out fires or keeping the streets safe or trying to make the world a better place through sweat, patience or holding the line against the darkness. At best, I was helping get people into jobs, or keep the ones they had.

At worst?  Well. For a while, my work hours had been compressing my life to the edges of the day:  I was staying up late to get homework done, or getting up very early to handle household chores and basic self-care3.  It was manageable. For a while.  Then my work started eating those hours, too, and the hours I’d ordinarily spend sleeping.

Which was insane, but I didn’t really notice it until @bhoneydew drew my attention to it. I went huh, he’s right, and around then was when I promised I wouldn’t work any 24 hour days unless it was necessary.

Like I said earlier, I wasn’t doing anything strictly necessary.

So, I gave my two weeks’ notice. I did consider negotiating an hours cap for my role, but the nature of the business made that impractical: sales and business development waits for no one, even sanity.

I quit. I’m back in school. I have an unexpected opportunity to get some hands-on experience with big data, which is something I honestly enjoy working with — in a purposeful manner, not just because I stumbled into it years ago.

I do stay up late sometimes, but it’s no later than 2:00 am, and it’s because I’m working on homework or something like this blog post. I sleep well when I go, and I remember my dreams when I wake up. Food tastes like food again.

I think this will work. We’ll see, won’t we? Who knows, I might even finish that sweater this year.


1I was on call during a lot of days while I worked the graveyard shift for Altavista during 99-2000, and overall so sleep-deprived that when I got the phone call inviting me to come interview for Lucent, it took me three days to realize that I hadn’t talked to someone from Genentech. I’ve been told my in-person interview at Lucent (this at three in the afternoon after I’d worked double shifts for a week straight while also planning a wedding) was hilarious: I was clearly asleep, but able to answer every question I was asked. I don’t remember more than pieces of that day:  the dull grey carpet, the rectangle of sunlight on the conference room table and the white and green hedges out in front of the building that smelled like Ivory soap and gardenia.

2Other than a brief glorious period of three long naps a day, the Monster barely slept until he was seven.  Ergo, I barely slept until he was seven.

3Ironically, I took better care of myself when I was traveling. Being forced to be out of the house meant I showered every day, instead of just the days when I was able to make it to the gym. I tried very hard not to give up on that, even during periods when scheduling became a nightmare. I don’t eat when I’m stressed. Going to the gym forced me to eat even when everything tasted like sawdust.

Summer Armadillos

An ouroboros is cathexic by nature.

By nature, an ouroboros is cathexic.

Cathexic by nature is an ouroboros.

An ouroboros is cathexic by nature…

Repeat until there are no more margaritas.

Margaritas are finite, but delicious.

(8.25.2017)

I’ll explain later. At least most of it. It’s all good, even the stuff I can’t talk about.

Ninety Percent Thresholds

I still haven’t finished the sweater. To be honest, I haven’t worked on it at all. I was going to during the last two episodes of The Expanse, but I was so fried when I watched them that I didn’t need anything to do with my hands. American Gods debuted recently, so maybe I’ll get the sweater done when I get around to watching the episodes.

If that doesn’t work out, there’s always hope that it’ll happen during Suits or Killjoys — assuming I manage to watch the new seasons when they come on. To be honest, it’s rare that I watch more than one season of a series, and not unusual that I stop watching one right before it gets to a season ending cliffhanger. Pretty sure that would have happened with Season One of House of Cards if @bhoneydew and I hadn’t just binged it one weekend while we were sick.

I haven’t seen any episodes after that, even though I enjoyed House of Cards very much. I just can’t get myself in the right frame of mind to invest the time.

I’m still not sure what’s happening with my Goodreads reading challenge. Despite everything that’s going on1, I’m still way ahead of the curve. If I succeed in my devious Mother’s Day plan to read all day (after I finish my homework) and not look at anything work-related, I may even finish it!

1I’ve been working 50-hourish weeks for the past three weeks, while juggling my night class, Momming and this weird new peace with eating right and working out. Sadly, the good sleep habit I’ve been trying to cultivate did go right out the window — notice when I’m working on this? — but I’ve been cranky about that instead of just resigned2 so there’s hope for me yet.

2I haven’t been working on any creative projects. Seriously, the time I’d ordinarily put to that, I’ve been trying to put toward household foo. It’s not that I’m avoiding creative projects, it’s just that the household foo needs to be dealt with. It’ll get better. Eventually.

My Year of Bread and Air (and Stuck)

“Insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting different results.”

-Albert Einstein (likely misattributed).

I baked a lot of bread this year.  One or two loaves a week (three loaves a week on a few occasions), even the week of Mom’s funeral and the subsequent weeks of family-related and work travel.

I have been on planes this year more than I have any other year of my life — but there has still been bread in the house, each homemade loaf a little (and occasionally quite a bit1) different, even those weeks I’ve had all the ingredients I needed on hand and the last thing I wanted to do was experiment.

The bread did run out during a couple of those business trips, which inspired @bhoneydew to capture all the scrawled-on-butter-stained-printout hacks I’d made to the basic recipe I started with and bake a couple of loaves himself. Both of them came out differently than any of mine, and different from each other, even though he followed the same steps each time.

And … this is the paragraph where I was stuck for two weeks (I started writing this blog post on my birthday). It was a unique sort of stuck for me: until December 19th, it was a stare-at-a-page-and-no-words-come-out stuck as opposed to a write-ten-paragraphs-think-they’re-messed-up-and-delete-them-all-before-anyone-else-sees-them stuck. Though since this isn’t the first time this has happened this past year, I guess I should stop calling it ‘unique’. I should just call it ‘2016’s stuck’, and hope the year doesn’t forget it in the house when it heads out the door in a couple of weeks, especially if the door smacks it on the butt so hard that it falls down the front steps, because that should so happen.

My chirpy ambitiousness about being able to do NaNoWriMo and a massive work project and finish a networking class all in the same November timeframe? Yeah, that was me trying to flip off 2016 before it’d turned its back. I should know better, I really should, but I did get the two most important things on that list done, so there’s that. The bread still happened.


1The first time I used the “Proof/Warm” setting on our oven to proof a loaf, I didn’t notice that the temperature read “Hot” instead of “Brd”. This killed most of the yeast and made for a very dense brick o’ bread.

Wash On Monday … Or Something

It’s a month(ish) later, on another Holiday Monday, and I’m doing laundry. Don’t even try to look surprised. At least the weekend wasn’t a frame-for-frame reshoot of Labor Day Weekend:  while I did go out of town for work last Monday through Wednesday, and I pulled a work-related all-nighter on Thursday, I didn’t do…

Okay, at least I didn’t do as much questioning of life choices this weekend, and I didn’t at all have to hide from people I care about so I wouldn’t have to fight the urge to scream at them. I even left the house for reasons other than going to the airport or a grocery store or to take the Monster somewhere.  Yes, really!  Despite the weekend rain, I succeeded in participating in the charity walk I signed up for all the way back in August, and as a nice bonus, was able to drag @bhoneydew and the Monster along with me.

Of course, we did have doughnuts after that.

It also was for a good cause.  Or something.

Random Notes:

  • In week three of the Networking class.  My first exam’s on Wednesday. Things are going about as well as I was expecting from a refresher-must-once-again-officially-prove-that-I-know-this-stuff course.
  • Dropped the systems biology Coursera course after getting into Week Two and realizing, yep, I need to spend some quality time with my old biochemistry textbooks before I can get back into this stuff. Quality time, yes, I can schedule that! I am already almost done with this year’s Goodreads Challenge, and I am so proud of myself that it’s ridiculous. Just don’t ask me how low I set this year’s bar, okay?
  • Signed up for NaNoWriMo again this year, because :masochism:. Or my armadillo life is getting to me and I want to feel like part of a community again without, you know, having to put on war paint or pants. The officially sited reason is that I do have a personal writing project I want to work on in addition to the stuff I get paid to write, and NaNo gives me a great excuse. Or something.
  • Speaking of pants, I’ve become mildly addicted to LuLaRoe leggings. If only they had pockets…

 

 

 

 

 

Laundry

…exactly when the universe tends to decide to drop more Bright Shiny Objects into my life. Or Dark Spiky Objects, because it’s 2016, and I am beginning to think that as a planet we’ve hit a cloud of them like we haven’t seen since, oh, maybe 1968.

-from Points on a Woogedy Timeline.

As soon as I posted last week’s blog post, I learned that Gene Wilder died. Forget that I predicted anything outside my own little universe. And that universe? Yeah, it’s predictable, but only in its unpredictability.

I’m writing this blog post on Monday like I’d intended, longhand, in a notebook I have sitting on top of the dryer while I’m putting away laundry. Today’s exchange rate is ten pieces of put away laundry for each paragraph — and why am I not just putting away the laundry, then writing the blog post? Or writing the blog post, then putting away the laundry? Don’t I know that multitasking is the new Bad for You?

Of course I do.

I’m using laundry as cover. It’s a holiday, and everyone’s here, and the work project that kept me up until 1:00 AM each night since Thursday is done, and laundry needs to be done and this blog post doesn’t1, and I really don’t want to be even more antisocial-except-for-all-those-interruptions-that-kept-happening-until-everybody-else-went-to-bed, but I also kind of want to, because I’m crispy around the edges and more unhappy with the universe than I want to be, and if I’m noticing my own foul mood, I imagine it’s pretty bad, so it’s better I’m just not around people until it’s sorted.

Fortunately, there’s laundry. There’s always laundry.

Nobody here can argue that laundry doesn’t need to be done, because it always does. It’s not been suggested that the laundry should be someone else’s problem to deal with, because I’m not being paid enough to deal with laundry, and that my time is too valuable to waste doing it.

I don’t even suggest that to myself.

So, laundry makes good cover. Are you working again, Shai? No. I’m doing laundry.

And, yeah … also writing a blog post, because my brain is too fried to go work on that Coursera stuff I couldn’t touch this past week, in part due to a Dark Spiky Object that ate about twelve hours of otherwise uninterrupted time that I could have used for something else.  Not that work project, no, because that came up after the DSO incident.


1

You now NEED OnPage SEO.

-more #spamadvice from a mailbot whose owner doesn’t actually read this blog. My blog posts do not need to be fluffed, filled and promoted, because I don’t earn money from them. I just need to take them out of the dryer right away and hang them up, else they’ll be a pile of wrinkles and have to go back through the washer again, because ironing? Screw that. I don’t have that kind of time.

2This week was the first time I was hired for a gig that turned out to be a scam. The scammers executing it managed to keep their ugly covered until I was in Day #2 of a “training session”, and yeah, that did rattle me. Oh, sure, not enough to keep me quiet (even though I didn’t lose anything other than my time); I went directly to the fraud department of the legitimate corporation the scammers had been claiming to represent behind identities stolen from people who did in fact work for that corporation. It was … aggravating. I do have better things to do. Like laundry.

Freaking laundry.

Points on a Woogedy Timeline

Woogedy (woo-geddy) was a word I grew up hearing1; [x] is woogedy or woogedy [x] translates to “[x] will progress or is progressing, but the progression will be/is neither in a direct nor predictable manner”, comme ça:

curvy-road-ahead-sign-01

Having woogedy in my vocabulary made it possible for me to understand one of my Most Favorite Short Stories Ever (Alfred Bester’s “Galatea Galante”) as soon as I accidentally read it as a young’n2, without needing to know what the heck a Drunkard’s Walk was.

So, this week?  Woogedy life is woogedy. I’ve made it to Week #3 of that Coursera course, yep, Week #3 and there’s only four. Only four, so I am so close to finishing it that I can almost taste it … which is exactly when the universe tends to decide to drop more Bright Shiny Objects into my life. Or Dark Spiky Objects, because it’s 2016, and I am beginning to think that as a planet we’ve hit a cloud of them like we haven’t seen since, oh, maybe 1968.

History books strongly suggest (to me, anyway) that year also sucked. I can’t say much of it was my fault, since I wasn’t born until that December. Nor can I take much credit for our going to the moon the following year, even though I’ve been told I was genuinely fascinated by all the news about space … as opposed to just staring into space so intently that I look blurry in almost all of my candid baby pictures.3

We did go to the moon in 1969, though. We also managed to get through the Cold War without blowing ourselves up, so we didn’t terminally screw things back then — and  though we’ve had as many setbacks as we’ve had successes, there are still signs that as a whole, we’re still growing and learning more about our universe, despite some of us being hellbent on keeping us locked in windowless dark basements listening to the mice chewing the insulation while telling ourselves they’re all Godzillas.

And I’m rambling … because I’m also woogedy. I sat down to bang this out in an hour, and while it’s probably been about an hour of writing on this, there have been many, many Do Now Objects between when I sat down and now, and probably there will be many more before I finish this.

Today is the Monster’s first day of Middle School. He got up, got dressed, ate most of his breakfast, then noticed that we hadn’t taken out the garbage and recycling yet, so he wandered away from his breakfast and took care of that before getting on the bus.  When I was eleven, I wouldn’t have wandered away from shoving breakfast in my face before school to take out the garbage, no matter how necessary it was to get done.

So, I got some sun in my eyes, and got all misty about The Monster’s not being where I expected him to be, but still growing and learning, and being exactly where he needs to be on his woogedy.4

We’ll be okay. The rest of 2016 will probably find new ways to suck, but we will be okay. Eventually. Overall, we are still better than we were.

Except for the laundry.

Freaking laundry.

1 I did some quick prepost research to see if woogedy was a genuine word, or just one lifted from (what is becoming increasingly apparent and a little uncomfortable making) my family’s invented dialect … which, yes, I’ve spread to my husband and son, and good grief, maybe that’s how language starts in the first place. Woogedy was apparently used in a kid’s cartoon series called Rocket Power starting back in the very late ’90s. I’ve never seen the series — as a semi-grown person then with not a lot of time I wanted to spend watching television, I was only following this obscure cult cartoon called The West Wing. I’m sure you’ve never heard of it. [INSERT APPROPRIATE EMOJI HERE]

2While I’d repeatedly read every science reference book I could get my hands on by that point5, I wasn’t introduced to science fiction until 1980, when Tara Thompson, one of my middle school classmates, got stuck with my name for the classroom gift exchange. She had no clue what to get me, but knew I liked books and I liked science, so she gave me Terry Carr’s The Best Science Fiction of the Year #9, which probably wasn’t appropriate reading for a just-turned-twelve year old but heck, since it wasn’t a romance novel6, my grandmother and mother didn’t mind, and that’s what mattered.

3The Monster inherited this trait.

4The Monster is more even-keeled than I was at eleven, and more cheerful than @bhoneydew was at the same age, and is still more of an athlete than both his parents will ever be, unless we snap and start doing Ironmans (which he’d want to do too, and be better at it than both of us, so vicious cycle).

5If I didn’t understand things then, I just kept reading them until I could make them make sense, and honestly, that hasn’t changed all that much now that I’m a little further along on the grownup trajectory. We do have Google now, which does make that process faster.

6I was reading those, too, just when they weren’t looking — especially the ones they’d thought they’d hidden under the dryer in the bathroom.