Wednesday, October 03, 2018

Installs and Stagnation

The trouble with being a wanna-be geek is that trying to rebuild my websites is WORK. And because it’s work the motivation to get it done isn’t always there. Tonight though I had a brief spurt of “let’s get it done” and logged in.

Well, tried to log in. It’s been so many months since I last logged in that I first had to cycle through a few domains to remember where the latest installation of Expression Engine is housed. Nerd people problems, having more than one domain to keep up with. Anyway, found it, logged in and thought again how it’s about time that EE has automatic upgrades. Well, almost automatic. I still have to hit the update link; still, better than before, which is part of the reason why I’m struggling with the task. I have two very old installs still in use that I’ve neglected and which are requiring a fresh start.

An hour later and I figured out the slideshow. :D Okay, to be fair, part of that time was also spent selecting photos and getting them ready to post. Gotta say, not terribly impressed with the image functions in EE. I think there are modules one can buy but, yeah, that won’t be happening.

Whenever I jump back into the web stuff I remember why I enjoy it so much but also how frustrating it is for me. If I were better at it I probably wouldn’t let so many months go in between attempts.

I’m gonna go do a little reading now. I restarted The Brothers Karamazov. I tried to pick up where I’d left off a few years ago but was having a hard time getting back into it so back to page one I went. I’m finding the reading to be going much better this time so who knows, maybe this is the year that both that book and the websites are taken off the To Do list. Wouldn’t that be something?


Monday, August 27, 2018

Love is Love

photo of heart embroidery

photo of heart embroidery

It’s funny what you can do when you’re avoiding doing something else.

As I was sitting there, thinking about this thing that I should be doing, I looked around and noticed that things had piled up on the coffee table, the stack of mail was starting to lean and so I thought, “Well, here is something I can accomplish.” So I grabbed the stack of mail, retrieved the few pieces that actually mattered, set the rest on the recycle pile and then I moved on to the other things. I bought this cloth frame (let’s call it that although I’m not sure that’s the actual name for it) more than a year ago. It was on sale and the price was so low that even though I had no idea what I’d use it for it seemed crazy to not buy it. Today I looked at it and thought, “Maybe an outline of a heart for a quick ‘art piece’.”

After I’d back stitched a heart I stared at it and decided it was too minimalist to be anything so I decided to fill it in. Having never done embroidery before, I have no idea if the technique was anything “good” but it covered the area needed but it was still not enough. From somewhere I decided I would do a series of hearts of stacked hearts in Pride colors. That plan got switched out part way because the wooden frame would have made that a little hard to accomplish and several hours later, here we are.

It’s rough and part of me is okay with that; part of me wishes I was better at this. But that’s vanity talking, right? I just admitted that I’ve never embroidered anything so why would I think my first time, with no real preparation or study, would be anything but rough? Crazy.

That aside, still have to tackle the thing I was procrastinating on. But it’s past midnight now so that won’t be happening tonight.


Wednesday, August 01, 2018

It’s the Waiting, Stupid

I had a call with the social worker today; she asked me how things were going, if there had been any notable changes, how I’m handling the waiting.

Things are fine, I said. During the informational session the group was told that the adoption process could take as little as a few months or go on for a couple of years. All along I’ve been thinking it would take 2 years so that I’ve been waiting for seven months doesn’t trouble me. Tricks, they’re not just for kids. “It’s only been 7 months. I still have a year and a half to go!” It helps.

Where it doesn’t help, however, is in the job situation. It’s a fine enough job but it doesn’t keep the brain engaged like I would like. The old job - that was something else towards the end. The stress and anxiety proved to be too much for me to handle; that said, I felt a certain amount of satisfaction about the responsibility that I’d worked up to, the autonomy I had to make decisions, to lead a team. Leaving that and taking the job I did, it was a conscious choice, it was a necessary break. But I also knew that the slower pace would soon go from being a blessing to a bit of a chore and sure enough, here I am.

It’s hard though, to think about searching for something more because when (if? when.) I have a child, being able to leave work at work, not having to worry that I’m leaving things undone because I’m focusing on raising a child, not having to think about work on the weekends, all of that will be not just welcomed but necessary. So this is where the waiting is hard. If I were pregnant there would be a clear timeline - “In 9 months I’ll need the flexibility! I can deal with the slow pace for a little while longer.”

So right now I just don’t know. Is it 3 months, 9 months, 18? A lot of time is spent at work; it’s hard to go from day to day when I feel like I’m operating at 50%.

But, as I said to the social worker, if this is my biggest problem then I’m doing okay.

I said to a friend recently, “it’s a privileged position to be in, to expect a job to give us fulfillment. It’s a luxury.” I need to remember that. So many people don’t get the opportunity to be troubled by sometimes being bored at work, they’re so busy just getting by. So, yes, it’s an embarrassment to complain. Definitely have to remember that.

0 comment(s) | Filed under: Adoption | Dailies

Friday, July 20, 2018

Is Fat a Four Letter Word?

Were you ever skinny, the eight year old asked.

The brain is a wondrous thing isn’t it? As soon as she asked that question I thought back to what it was like being a chubby child in a culture that places so much value in thinness, in a culture where your nickname is “la gorda” (fat girl) and you can’t complain because it’s said with love! And even when it isn’t, if it really bothered you you’d do something about it. 

Where it doesn’t matter how nice your are or what good you do because those accomplishments will be brushed aside with pity and sadness as some supposedly well meaning aunt pats you on the arm and asks why you don’t take better care of yourself and warns you that you won’t find a man to love you if you’re fat. A culture and world where people treat gaining weight as one of the worst things that can happen to a person. A family where so many of the stories told about you seem to focus on the fatness.

I thought these things as I was clapping my hands and bopping around as we were waiting for the little girl’s father to take her home. I thought these things as I looked at her little chubby face, waiting for my response. I thought these things as I remembered hearing her 6 year old sister called “la flaquita” (the little thin one) and how her choices aren’t questioned as much as her older sister’s. I thought back to a week ago when, during a lesson, I asked the 6 year old for an example of a criticism. She quickly said to me, “You’re fat.” It starts so young, this judgement of our bodies. 

I think I have a good sense of what this little girl’s life is like and how she is made to feel.

I thought these things in the span of nano seconds and then I replied with an upbeat “nope!”

She smiled and hugged me as she said, “we’re the same!”

I hope we’re not. I hope she gets to grow up feeling better about herself. I hope she grows up knowing every day that the number on the scale doesn’t and shouldn’t at all dictate how she lives her life. I hope that if at some point she decides her chubbiness is something to work on she does it for herself and not because being thin will magically make things better because I gotta tell you I know some unhappy thin people.

If I had the opportunity to be in this little girl’s life for a longer period of time I’d probably have other lessons for her, other messages but in that moment I decided the best thing I could do for her was pretend that being fat has never bothered me.

3 comment(s) | Filed under: Dailies

Monday, June 25, 2018

Reading Requires Muscles, Too

I used to be a voracious reader. I used to run through two, three books a week. While I know there are others that read faster, for me, that was a nice clip. Although I can’t pinpoint when that habit slowed down, in my head, despite evidence to the contrary, I’m still a reader. However, right now I think I’m more of a “thinking about reading” type of person. Given my extensive collection of books - I say that but, really, I only own about 800 or so books; a number that I don’t really think merits the use of the word extensive but I have been told that I have very little perspective on the matter so I allow others to influence my vocabulary here. But back to my point, I do believe I had one. While I have all these books, these last few years they feel more like art, or a security blanket. I love the look of my books being out on the shelves. I feel better just by looking at them. Better, that is, when I push down the good amount of guilt I feel at not reading more.

2018 Reading Challenge

Every year I log into Goodreads and set my reading challenge. Every year, despite seeing the small number of books I actually read the year before, I set a goal of 20+ books. And around this time of the year I start to realize that unless I start calling in sick to work and read nonstop day and night I simply will not meet the challenge. It’s quite annoying really. So, in the last month I’ve been reminding myself that reading is brain exercise and that I need to just practice my reading habit again.

Currently Reading number

I’ve not set anything as ambitious as reading a number of pages each day but I have set a goal of not starting new books so that I can work through the 58 “currently reading” titles on my Goodreads aptly named “currently reading” virtual bookshelf. If i buckled down and simply read these books that are in various stages of completeness, reaching my goal would be a cinch.

Of all the books I have started, I decided I’d try to finish Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot - partly because I saw the movie and liked the story, partly because I read better when I’m physically holding a book and, honestly, it also just seemed like an easier read than some of the others on the list.

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot book cover

WTF reading progress

I started the book in May of 2016, May 15th to be exact. You gotta love stats, right? 10% of the book was read in 2016, when I bought the book. Another 5% read in 2017. All of 2017, wow. And here I am, set to finish, finally, in 2018. You know, as bad as my memory is, it’s a good thing I have a relatively good memory for what happens in books otherwise each book would have so many restarts!

It’s a bit sad that I’m so excited about finishing a book but, hey, every little bit helps is the motto for this, and pretty much everything else in my life at the moment so I’ll take it.


Friday, June 15, 2018

History is Made by the Historians

I’ve never been able to keep a diary, or, as the grown ups like to call them, a journal.

I’ve wanted to, that I know. I wouldn’t be able to tell you how many times I tried or how old I was when I bought the first diary but in the recesses of my mind, the poor beleaguered thing that my memory can often be, I have fuzzy visions of small, square, fat little notebooks, with delicate locks which, really, were only for show. I would crease the spines, date the page and write in my imperfectly messy round script the very important happenings that a little girl thinks to record. Each time I did this for a day, maybe two, perhaps a week but slowly, the blandness of my days would devour any desire to write. Of course, as I type that I stifle a cynical chuckle because, if you’ve read me for long enough, or if you know me well enough then you know that my childhood, well into my early teens, was full of chaos. But in between the cyclones of dysfunction, there was school, and then home, and then school and then home, and on and on.

Is it any wonder I quickly put aside the blank pages in favor of already full pages of stories from much more creative people than me, and chose to get lost in those stories?

Still, here I am at 45 years of age and I still have this wish that I had shelves - or probably more likely, boxes tucked away in some closet, of fat, little notebooks that graduated to more mature, grown up vehicles that stored my words.

Partly because my memory, as mentioned above, and on many entries previously, isn’t great. As recently as today I shared as much with a coworker - shortly after confessing that I sometimes forget words. Not names for that is a common enough thing but every day, common, simple words. Like ambulance, for example. Why this particular loss of memory should so stick with me I cannot say but I still distinctly remember, funnily enough, being in the car, driving to who knows where but I was doing something I often do - crafting a story, an entry. And I got to a point where I needed to think of the thing that takes you to the hospital. The vehicle with the flashing lights - no, not a police car, not a fire truck, that thing, damn it. The rest of the story went by the wayside as I struggled to pull that simple little thing from the brain only to come back with confusion and, okay, I’ll write it since I’m here, fear. When these moments happen there is always fear. “That isn’t good,” the coworker said, about the loss of memory. “I know,” I said. “But at this point, I’m dealing with about 25 years of poor sleep habits, chronic sleep deprivation and that’s gotta have taken a toll.”

But before this entry gets away from me and we go merrily down the path of a game I (and many others, I believe) like to play called “Is this a tumor? It’s not a tumor!” let me quickly go back to the point of this.

Our day to day matters. We may think not but it does. We’re not famous so who’ll care what we were doing, thinking, feeling on that Monday in May in 1995? Maybe no one else but ourselves but that’s enough. I truly believe that.

I was speaking with a new colleague a couple of weeks ago and she shared with me that with every new job she keeps a journal her first year on the job. Then, in the second year, she’ll go back and look at all the things she’s learned, the accomplishments, and, yes, even the “mistakes” so that she can assess how far she’s progressed, feel good about the things she did well and improve on the things she didn’t. I appreciate that level of introspection, of the constant learning and the desire for personal growth. I love that she recognizes the power of journaling.

A week ago, while listening to a new podcast (Making Oprah), well, new to me as it ran a couple of years ago, Oprah was asked what she was thinking and feeling when she got the opportunity to start her show. She didn’t have to rely on memory; she simply went to her journal for that year, that fateful day of and read her entry. It wasn’t earth shattering. It’s not as if she forecasted the empire she would build but just the sheer ability to say, “Here, let me turn to that page and tell you exactly what I wrote that day” - that moment is powerful to me.

And maybe that’s my vanity. Maybe that’s my ego. The belief that my words matter but I think it’s checked somewhat by the fact that I’m not saying my journal would matter to anyone else. It’s not as if I think my ramblings will do anything but maybe mildly entertain me in my old age. But I do think, in an age when facts and truths are being rewritten on a nearly hourly basis, maybe each of us writing down our own stories, our own histories, is a small step to keeping things on an even keel.

Or maybe it’s just me liking the sound of the keys as I type into the abyss. Only time will tell.

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Sunday, June 03, 2018

Fahrenheit 451

According to Goodreads I am currently reading more than 40 books. I just can’t seem to find a reading groove. Though I suppose I shouldn’t say that as if it’s a new problem. This book, though, I think this has a decent chance of being finished. The first five pages went quick. Plus, it’s only 146 pages so how daunting could it be. If the reading muscles are out of shape it’s probably a good strategy to pick shorter books rather than the 800 page behemoths that don’t do much except cause me such silly guilt.


Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Powerless

I’ve been reading Overeaters Anonymous lately. If you know me at all, or have been following me online, you know some things about me. One, I’m fat. Have been pretty much all of my life. If you’ve had the good fortune to hang out with me, you know I’m ridiculously picky about what I eat. To the point that a few people - though they’ve been polite enough not to say it but I’ve gotten pretty good at reading minds - have wondered how I can be fat when I don’t seem to enjoy food much.

Well, it’s the emotions, stupid, as the saying goes. Somewhere along the way, a long long time ago, I learned food made the feelings disappear for a while. The problem is that the effects wouldn’t last long but for the brief moment when I was eating whatever tasty thing I had gotten my hands on, I could focus on that. On the tiny moment of feeling happy, in control. But the mind is a weird, curious thing, you know. Because pretty much the second I was done eating, the feelings of disgust, embarrassment, self-hate would kick in. So why, why, why have I spent decades doing this to myself?

i often say that we work our habits for a reason, good or bad, they do something for us. Human beings are creatures of habit, of selfishness. We like doing things that get us something, even the bad things. I’m a reasonably smart person but despite the time I’ve put into thinking about this problem ... of all the bad moments, the humiliations, the loneliness, disappointments - really any negative emotion fits here - that being fat has caused me, I can’t think of any positives that warrant decades of working such bad habits.

I read a book a few weeks ago, Feast: True Love in and out of the Kitchen, where the author writes about her epic binges.
Cover of Feast by Hanna Howard

In her bingeing habits, I saw parts of myself. From that book, I can’t remember why now, but I went online to look at the Overeaters Anonymous program. I even looked to see if there are meetings in the area. I need to do something; I’m unsure of what I need, so I thought maybe this would be something. But, and I know I’m not the first person to go down this rabbit hole, all of the mentions of God in the steps are just such a deterrent. I have a problem with food. I don’t have a problem saying that. I’ve been saying that for a while now. But to start reaching out to god for help, when for all intents and purposes I’ve been an atheist since my pre-teens, man, that’s a hard pill to swallow. And I know, I’ve seen enough TV shows and movies that it’s supposed to be god as I understand him, but even that little disclaimer or workaround does nothing for me.

So I don’t know where that leaves me. I’m working through the OA books, I’m writing this which isn’t all that fun but I figure it might be something. I’m sharing with a couple of friends the stuff I’m eating and feeling in an attempt to stop hiding from myself. In terms of the theory of change, I’m probably solidly in the contemplation phase. Well, maybe moving more towards determination.

Stages of Change model

I like routine, I like habits. So creating structure and setting up my environment to facilitate the implementation of these new habits seems like a good place to start. The rest, well, who knows. One day at a time, right? Isn’t that the way this is supposed to work?

 


Monday, April 23, 2018

I was promised fame and fortune

I wasn’t, really, but the title popped into my head and I went with it.

Here is how my brain works sometimes.

Random question pops into my head.

Do I still own vain-girl.com? Remember the time when it was turned into a porn site and a friend thought to ask you if you were running it?

Instead of logging into godaddy to check, I click on over to whois.com because, this way I can both check to see if I own it again and what info is being shown if I do.

Once there, I type vain-girl.com in the wrong search box and I’m told it’s taken (okay, by whom? Me??) and do I want to buy vain-baby.com. Oooh. I do want vain-baby.com! How funny is that?!? But what would I use it for? Don’t be a goofball. You’ve spent the last year unloading unnecessary domains. Do not add another one.

Remember when, back in the 90s, people bought a crapton of simple domains in the hopes that some company would come along and want to pay a bazillion dollars for petrock.com (wait, hold on. Let’s check something. Yep, it’s actually a website selling pet rocks. Isn’t life grand?)? I never did fall into that trap but I did at one point own about 20+ domains simply because they were funny and I hated the thought of someone else owning them. Which is why I CANNOT get the idea of owning vain-baby out of my head now. Of course, with as many times as I’ve typed that now, it’ll get pulled into some search engine, some magical internet stuff will happen and the domain will be gone simply because it’s showed up three times in the last hour or something. I mean, I’m not really sure how the internet works except if I throw money at it sometimes boxes show up on my doorstep with clothes that I don’t need.

I’m sensing a theme here.

In other news, my budgeting habits need some reinforcing so this week is supposed to be a “DO NOT SPEND MONEY YOU DON’T HAVE ON THINGS YOU DO NOT NEED” week. I was doing okay until mid-day when I decided I needed a Coke. Grand scheme of things, spending a $1.25 isn’t awful and I have half of it left over for tomorrow, which is YUMMY, I know, right? Still. Baby steps. Damn it. There’s the B word again. Back to other news, this is also supposed to be “DON’T EAT STUFF YOU’RE NOT SUPPOSED TO BE EATING” week. Which, let’s face it, with my weight issues is really “DON’T EAT STUFF YOU’RE NOT SUPPOSED TO BE EATING” life but let’s not get bogged down on details. Today was kind of okay on that front. Not great but I did get out for a walk during lunch so all in all, this Monday was better than last Monday and some weeks that’s all a girl can ask for.

1 comment(s) | Filed under: Dailies

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Would that it twere so simple

My main website hasn’t been updated since 2006. A fact that astonishes me. When I first started blogging, everything (the blog, my photos, the weekly game), lived at the lunanina domain. And then the blog became a place where I could work some things out and I no longer felt comfortable having it at a place where people who actually interacted with me on a regular basis in “real life” could get to it. And so I moved it to its own domain - and while the blog domain has changed throughout the years, the separation of the main site and the blog continued. Which clearly resulted in a lack of interest in maintaining multiple sites. Even though, behind the scenes, I put in a lot of effort to be able to maintain everything under one content management system(ExpressionEngine) installation.

And then even the blog was abandoned. The only consistent thing being updated was the game; although I’m not sure why since I don’t think many people use it still as a writing prompt. When I decided two years ago to restart the blog I considered using a blogging platform that required minimal effort from me to install. I looked at a couple but ultimately I decided to stick with EE. I’d missed a couple of upgrades and since the original installation was throwing occasional errors, I figured it was a good time to go with the latest version and maybe that would be the thing that would get me back into the coding game, amateurish as it is for me. Best laid plans and all that as the saying goes. I barely blogged, I didn’t upgrade the main site and I was having to use two different installations to maintain things. Two years later, here I am again.

A couple of weeks ago I received an email that EE had been upgraded yet again, to version 4. I was in a geeky mood one day and tried to upgrade my install only to get a bunch of error messages. Well, crap, I thought.

And once again I considered changing applications. I once again looked at other options, I even installed one (granted, one is a very short list but given that I’m not a real programmer, only pretend to be one in my head, installing even one application can be WORK). When I thought about having to learn something completely from scratch though, I just got tired at the thought of it. So I decided to once again stick with EE. Not really the rousing endorsement I’m sure the company is looking for.

This means, though that I am now using 3 applications to maintain my sites. One for the old, main site. One for this current blog. And the latest and greatest version that I’m slowing trying to build to meet my needs. I wish I were smarter about all of this stuff because it would make for easier going (I would hope) but it’s slowly coming back to me why I ever got interested in this stuff to being with. It feeds my geeky, nerdy side. As annoyed as I can get when something doesn’t work and I have to spend long minutes (sometimes hours) noodling through problems, searching for solutions on the interwebs, the feeling I get when I’m made something work is pretty great.

I had visions of doing a complete rehaul, design and site code but that may be a bit more than I can tackle at the moment so I’ve decided to focus on just the bones of the place and deal with the looks later. Lowered expectations, my friends, it’s the true key to happiness.

 

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