Sunday, July 04, 2010
Thank you to everyone who posted on my last blog. I really appreciate it.
Tonight I got the kids down at a reasonable time, then I went downstairs, half cleaned the kitchen, and continued to troubleshoot my computer. It crashed again sometime between when I left it last night and this morning. So this morning I picked out my new computer. I'd really rather not shell out the money right now, but at the same time I can't have a constantly crashing computer that crashes with no warning a few times a day.
BUT... I may have found a different cause of my issues. I've been having a problem downloading updates and patches. Many of them have been failing. I had thought it was a problem with a corrupted operating system. But as I mentioned, that's been reinstalled. Today I realized it's probably related to the HP Advisor software that is on my computer to help keep it healthy. I've never used it; it just annoys me. But apparently it had developed a corrupted executable that was preventing some key updates from downloading and installing. I uninstalled it and reinstalled. Some key updates that kept failing went through after that. At this point it hasn't crashed yet. We'll see if it does or doesn't. I think I've finally exhausted possibilities if this isn't it though. And I've found the computer I want at a local store, and at a price that's low enough to slightly more than negate the high sales tax we pay here in CA. And local means instantly in my possession, so the queen of buying things online may buy something in person this time. But, honestly, I just hope my computer is 'fixed' at this point. I don't really want to buy a new computer, regardless of how in love I am with the size of the memory and hard disk, and with the speed of the processor of what would be the new one.
Tonight at about 9:15, after leaving my computer to finish installing those updates I mentioned I found myself lying on the couch watching an episode of Drop Dead Diva that I'd started a few days go. Suddenly it dawned on me... this isn't me... I don't watch TV on the couch at night... I'm in the exercise room at this time each night. And tomorrow I won't get a chance to exercise since I'll be doing fireworks with the kids. I found myself starting to make excuses about how it was already too late, and how tired I was, and how maybe I should just go to bed. I felt how my shorts' waistband was feeling tight. That made me feel badly about myself and want to crawl into a hole (just a little bit). I said a few mean things to myself. Feeling that way about myself is not a motivator. It makes me want to give up. Being that self-derogatory isn't helpful.
Instead I got up, changed into my workout clothes, and hit the treadmill. Since I did pushups and pullups last night, tonight was just the treadmill. So I did just under 50 mins of incline walking while continuing to watch and finish that episode of Drop Dead Diva.
So while I'm not thrilled with my weight right now, at least I did something tonight that is good for me, is a reversal of the negative trend, and advances my goals instead of pushing me farther back from them. It's something.
Oh, and I got my platter back from the pottery place (I spent 3 hours painting a platter for my father last Friday. He grows orchids, so it was some orchids painted in a stained glass style. I love it. And I did the black lines in puffy paint, so it has some texture as you look at it and run your fingers over it. It's pretty cool.
Saturday, July 03, 2010
I continue to struggle. It's like I start to get a little traction and then I slip again. I haven't worked out more than 2 days in a row in months. And it's really starting to show. My waist is getting pudgy, my pants are getting tight. I'm losing strength, my weight is up, and I'm more tired than I was. I'm also kind of down.
I know how it started (family death, my own injuries, massive stress at work, all my standard stresses at home). And I get the fact that my response was pretty normal. But I also know that I refuse to let my weight go back up. I can't let myself become another person who fails to keep the weight off.
My weight has been bouncing in the 158-161 range for the last few weeks. Not good. Those 7-10 lbs up from my low are really visible and I can really feel them. As I was coming down the scale I remember how proud I was when I got into the 150s. I thought I was in my happy place. Now I realize that I've got serious pudge at this weight. About 151 with muscles is a great place for me to be. Lower would be fabulous, but 151 is a happy and healthy place.
I hate the fact that I've had to turn so inward on here. That's one of the reasons I've been so absent. That plus a genuine lack of time. I feel really badly about not being able to keep up with my buddies and provide support and comments on your pages. But these blogs have been really important to me, and I think they'd help me again with my attempt to continue on this journey and get back to where I was before.
So I'm going to come back and just accept that fact that for another couple months I'm just going to be selfish. I will make an effort to do at least two blogs a week, and I'll start from there. When life calms down I can reconnect with everyone.
David has been acting out again. He's been good the last couple days, but he's been hitting recently. But the teachers have commented that he seems to be on the verge of getting control of his impulses (developmentally, I mean). So there's hope. I'm also very seriously considering getting a referral from the kids' pediatrician for a good psychologist who could give me/us some solid plans and techniques for discipline. I've tried so many different things that don't seem to work long term. I'm concerned that I may not be sticking with one method long enough for the consistency to bear fruit. Mainly it's because I'm not positive what is the absolute best method to go with. I figure a professional could talk with us and with David and come up with what would be most effective for David. I just know that I'm at the point where I'd like some help.
My job continues to suck. The leads were recently handed a schedule from a proposal we had nothing to do with creating. And we were handed the hours and budget that we, likewise, had nothing to do with creating. And we were told to allocate resources and hours to this bare-bones schedule and get it baselined this week. The amount of work is significantly more than the amount of time available in which to get it done and the government is holding firm to the delivery date. After we all tried to create and merge our schedules, the leads all got together yesterday and today for 6 hours worth of schedule meetings wtih the leads and the key players (which I called because I recognized very early that I had reached a point where I could no longer move forward without knowing the intent of the proposal team and the other keads). At the end of yesterday we had -22 days of slack (we were 22 working days behind schedule before we even begin any work at all on this contract), at some point this morning we were at -51 days! Then by the end of today we were at -19 days. We're at the point where program management (who were all out on vacation this week) needs to make a call about how to modify our standard practices and procedures to get this work done on time. The developers need to be protected from all the noise and distractions of software documentation, reviews, etc. And the engineering leads aren't authorized to toss company and program policy out the window.
My company doesn't have Monday off, but since my kids' school is closed, I'm taking the day off anyway. The big meeting to decide how to more forward with the schedule is happening on Monday. I left information and instructions with one of my folks, and I'm going to try not to think about it. I deal with the fallout on Tuesday. On Monday I'm going to enjoy myself and possibly take the kids to the beach!
My military duty starts in about 2 weeks. And I can't wait! I called the school in Los Angeles (for the kids) today to confirm their first day on the 19th. Unfortunately, as I mentioned in my last blog, that won't be the end of this job I've been doing the last few months. I'll still be returning to it for one week full time, and then a few weeks part time after my predecessor returns part time. I'm glad this job provided me job security, but I don't know if I care.
We've had 8 rounds of layoffs and I hate what I'm doing. It's a pretty dark place these days. How bad would it be to be layed off and be forced into finding something else? I don't know the answer to that. So I'm just going to look at it this way: If I keep my job, I get to keep my paycheck. If I lose my job, I get the opportunity to find something that's a better fit for me. I had the perfect job for a while, but things started sliding out from under us and I haven't been doing that in almost 3 years. Even if I got paid less, that would be worth it if I could find something I enjoyed doing again.
Tomorrow I'm going to take the kids to the gym and swim laps. Tonight I did a 60 min incline walk, pushups, and pullups. I can feel how weak I've gotten. 3 pullups is a huge struggle and I can feel it on the very first one. 14 pushups with the Perfect Pushup handles is also a big struggle. So I've got a long way to go.
Oh, and my home computer keeps crashing. I may have narrowed it down to my USB hub. I've unplugged it and will see if the crashing continues. If it does, it's time for a new computer. I actually already paid a technician to trouble shoot and reinstall the operating system. He didn't definitively find the problem. So if it crashes one more time it's probably an internal hardware conflict and I'm going to just scrap it. I'm not going to throw any more money into trying to fix it when new computers cost barely more than what I paid the technician. So hopefully there will be no more crashing, or the money I've already paid will have been worthless. At least if it stops crashing I can tell myself that the efforts of the technician at least pointed me in the right direction for troubleshooting and fixing my computer myself.
But I'll be here.
Thursday, June 17, 2010
Here I sit in a really long and boring meeting. Iím here only because, as the systems engineering lead, it looks bad if Iím not. But the folks we have in DC briefing the slides for this meeting are our experts, so there wonít be any questions for me. And I already know the info since this is our status briefing to the customer.
At first I used the time to catch up on some stuff I need to have ready for tomorrow, but Iíve done as much as I can do away from my own desk. Suddenly it hit meÖ do a blog for SparkPeople! Iím sitting here with probably another 2 hours to go, so why not use it to do an update?
On the job front, I was really looking forward to my military duty this year in July because it meant I was done with this systems engineering lead position. The woman I've been filling in for would be back and I'd return to my normal (less stressful, and less frenetic) job. But I recently discovered I'll have to return to this job for a full week when I get back, and then she'll be part time for 2-3 weeks after she comes back. Arghh!!! Wanted. this. to. be. over. in. July!!!!! Can you tell I hate this job?
I returned from my stepmotherís memorial sick. I was sick for about a week. That extended the time frame in which I wasnít getting my workouts in. I realized that even though it wasnít something I could control, it was making it harder for me to get back in the swing of things with my workouts. And I need to make exercise an automatic habit again the way it has been for the last few years.
I have swum laps again the last couple weeks on Saturdays. I could really feel it in my arms that I havenít been doing that lately. Iíve got a slightly injured left shoulder that wasnít happy with that first swim session, but by the end of the session it was feeling better. Then last Saturday was better than the week before, so I think the swimming is helping fix whatever the shoulder issue is.
Iíve gotten on the treadmill for workouts the last two nights. I need to update my exercise counter here on SparkPeople, but I get so little time to post. But I need to make that a priorty. I begin to feel really disconnected from my support system if I donít make it on here.
My weight had gotten back up to a high of 158 (from a low of 151), with my recent more-consistent exercise bringing it back to 156.
I managed to get my exercise room turned into an exercise room and not a guest room/exercise room. Now the only stuff in there are my treadmill, TV, hand weights, pullup bar, exercise mat, and the futon folded up into a couch. Having the futon as a couch really opens up floor space for me to do my pushups.
Iíve been doing those on the Perfect Pushup handles which continue to suck! I had taken a long enough break from pushups that I started two nights ago on week 3, Day 1, Column 3 of the 100 Pushup Challenge. I was able to do all the sets, which was nice.
My #1 goal is to be more consistent with my exercise. My #2 goal is get my food under control and be more consistent with that too. Iím not going to focus on anything else right now because those are just so important. I havenít started running again yet. Iíve got time before my next Air Force Fitness Test (Sept), but not a lot. I want to start going back to yoga again on Sunday mornings since I think the stretching would help me not get injured again. When I start running again I want to do it right this time. No more upping the mileage too fast.
Letís seeÖ now that Iíve admitted to the deficiencies in my working out and eating, but have outlined my plans, letís move on to topical updates:
Bethís health is mostly good with occasional lapses in digestive symptoms, but overall she remains healthy, growing, and happy. She still has a bloated belly most of the time which belies her normal weight for her age and height. The removal of her tonsils has done wonders for her sleep. Itís fun to go into her room at night and listen to how quietly she breathes now. Her teachers have all commented on what a change it has brought to her personality. She much more cooperative and she takes naps at school better than she did. She still only naps about 3 out of every 5 days, but thatís better than it was. Iíve also noticed though that she tends to fall asleep about half an hour to an hour later than she did before Ė probably because the quality of her sleep is so much better now. But I can deal with that. Bedtime will remain what it has been because David seems to need as much sleep as I give him and how do you give the younger one a later bedtime? You canít.
The continuing saga of where Beth will go to school next yearÖ after registering Beth at the new school, I got a call from Bethís current preschool teacher. She had talked to the new headmistress about moving two of the preschoolers straight to kindergarten (skipping Pre-K) and wanted to have Beth do it too. I expressed concern about Bethís academic and social readiness for a move like that. She told me Beth was already doing some kindergarten-level work and was more than ready (socially too). But I still wasnít convinced. I decided that I wanted an assessment done before Iíd consider any other steps.
So I went to the new director and opened up completely about what had brought me to this pointÖ the disastrous year David had with the Pre-K teacher, our decision that no matter what - Beth would not have that teacher, talking to the previous director about it and being assured that the problem had been noticed and the teacher was going to be removed, my giving up on the topic when the previous director had been ousted since the new director wouldnít know any of the history and Iíd been unimpressed with how the regional director had handled the ousting and replacement process, and finally how both David and Beth were now registered with other programs starting in the fall. She now had had enough time to witness issues herself with the Pre-K teacher, and was also supportive of the idea of moving Beth to Kindergarten. I let her know I wasnít sold on that idea and I wanted an official readiness assessment done before Iíd consider it.
The assessment was done on Monday, and Beth passed with flying colors. Admittedly, I still wasnít sold. Since our discussion, the preschool teacher is being moved up to the Pre-K level for the fall. Iím not sure whatís going to happen with the current Pre-K teacher, but thatís none of my business at this point. So I was inclined to just keep Beth with the teacher we already love in Pre-K. But the good teacher is convinced Beth will be bored with the academics of Pre-K, and the Pre-K class size is larger (17-24) than the kindergarten class (max of 12).
So weíve decided to keep the kids where they are and Beth will go into kindergarten at the age of 4 (she just turned 4 in May). Sheíll have to do Kindergarten twice since our school district wonít allow kids to start first grade at 5 if their birthday is after the new year, which would be the case with Beth. But I donít really see a problem with that. We may just put her into the public school kindergarten next year since they have an advanced program available, so sheíd get a change of scenery for her second year of kindergarten. Itís going to be weird having Beth go into Kindergarten so close on the heels of David leaving it.
Beth is continuing to do her dance classes and she has a recital coming up in late July (unfortunately during my 2 weeks in Los Angeles for the Air Force which will cause fun logistics/commuting issues). I had to put her in full costume last night (including make-up!) for official recital photos. She loved it. She was thrilled that I actually let her put on lip gloss. When I signed her up for dance classes I had only envisioned weekly classesÖ not recitals, and costumes, and dress rehearsals (during the day on the workday!), and makeup. Ick. But sheís enjoying herself, so I guess itís worth it.
Iíve mentioned before that David really came a long way with his reading skills this year. He started the year behind because of the lack of learning in his Pre-K class. I discovered by the end of the year that he was reading at the 2nd grade level. So yay David! Way to go! Weíre both really proud of how far heís come, how much he flourished with a good teacher, and what a great (and enthusiastic) reader he has become. I remember the books I read in kindergarten (Ant and Bee books) and heís much farther than I was as a kid, and I was in the ďadvancedĒ class. Itís rather amazing what kids these days are asked to do.
Davidís behavior was much better by the end of the year. He still has patches of not listening, not doing what heís asked to do, etc., but theyíre fewer and farther between. So weíre happy about that too.
Last night David started Tae Kwon Do at the dance studio Beth goes to. He really loved it. He started out shy, but came out of his shell quickly and gave the teacher a hug at the end. He had a big grin on his face when he was braced and holding a mat while a 7 yr old was doing push kicks into him. He was really proud of himself every time he was able to keep from moving back.
Davidís school had a graduation ceremony for the Pre-Kíers and kindergarteners last week, complete with caps and gowns and little rolled up ďdiplomasĒ. I donít believe in graduations before your senior year of high school, but itís not like Iíd boycott it on principle. So Steve and I were there, and I will admit that David and his 3 classmates were quite cute in their caps and gowns (yes, with tassles that they moved from the left to the right at the end of the ceremony Ė good grief!) Anyway, David is really proud that heís now a first grader and heís looking forward to going to our public school for the first time in fall.
Steve is now officially flying out of St Louis, but he was out all last month on a military exercise in Hawaii, he tore a tendon in his pinky and has been out on ďsickĒ until now. Heís trying to get a waiver from the FAA to fly with a tiny splint on his pinky, but now heís about to go to another military exercise next week (heíll leave on Fatherís Day, poor guy.) So he hasnít had to actually go to St. Louis much at this point.
As I mentioned, my stepmother died early last month and we had her memorial over Memorial Day weekend. Since then Dad has really been getting back into the swing of things. My sister and I call him all the time, and itís great that heís actually not around a lot of the time since heís out doing things. Heíll be coming to Bethís recital in July, so Iíll see him that weekend. He has said heís going to be visiting a lot more often. Heís going to see my sister at a horse show back east at the end of this month. He has so many activities heís involved in, and a lot of great friends. Iím so glad. Heís doing better than could be reasonably expected for someone who lost the love of their life.
AlrightyÖ the meeting just concluded, so my blog does too.
Friday, May 21, 2010
So where do I start?
My stepmother's death has thrown me for a loop. That on top of the forced time off of exercise due to the running injuries, and my unhappiness at having to stop running (and miss my half marathon and 3 other races I'd already signed up for), and I've had a really difficult time getting myself back on track. Lately I've gotten my motivation back for a day or two, gotten my workouts in, and then I start allowing myself to make excuses for why I can't or won't work out that night. I've also been overeating. My weight is currently 157. That's up 6 lbs from 4 months ago. Wrong direction.
I've been working on the video slide show for my stepmother's memorial service (which will be the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend). I've spent way too many nights at the computer instead of working out. And while it's easy to make the excuse that this is a one-time thing and that it's okay to be skipping workouts since it's for my stepmother... that's not really true. It's a cop-out. I'm getting in 1-2 workouts a week right now, and I've started to feel tired lately. And I don't think it's sleep related. I think it's the lack of workouts.
Tonight I got on the treadmill and did pushups, pullups, and my ab workout. But I'm not claiming victory yet over myself. I'll claim victory in a week when I've actually stuck to it.
I'm doing the 100 pushup challenge again. But this time I'm doing it with a twist (literally). I'm doing it with the Perfect Pushup handles. I hate those things. They suck. They're bloody hard! I started in week 2 and tonight I finished the week 2, column 3, day 3 workout. In a couple days I start week 3. When I started this thing I said to myself... this is insanely difficult. There's no way I'd ever be able to do the full challenge with these handles. And I don't know if I'll get there or not. But have I learned nothing? Have I not learned by now that I can accomplish anything I put my mind to? Seriously! If I made this an absolute priority, and just stuck with it long enough, I know I could get there. I just don't know if I'm motivated enough to really go for it with these handles or not. But for now I'm just going to keep progressing with these workouts since they really are amazing workouts.
My pullups have taken a major hit due to my inactivity. I was doing 7 in December. Today I did 3,4,3. Not actually too bad since last week I couldn't get past 3.
Work is still hell. It will remain hell until I go out on military leave in the middle of July. And they just announced yet another round of layoffs coming this week or next. But the good news is that I don't expect this one to hit the engineers as much. It's mostly to shrink overhead, so it'll be the folks without contracts who will be shaved off the top. But along with everything else, it means that everyone at my company is sort of permanently nervous.
I realized today that I need to do 3 more days for the Air Force before June 10th or I won't get credit for the year for retirement purposes. I'm definitely not going to let that happen. So I'm working with Steve to figure out when I cas squeeze those in. It looks like I'll do a few days after Memorial Day weekend - like Friday the 4th then the 7th and 8th.
Steve is in Hawaii for a couple weeks. He'll get back the day I leave for the memorial. I think the plan is that he'll fly up the next day. My dad is doing really well, but he's incredibly sad right now. My dad's not the type to show it, but he and I are really close. It's funny... we talk in a business type way - not a lot of feelings, mosty about events and facts. It's just who the two of us are. But as a result, I can tell what's behind what we talk about. And this is hitting him hard. I'm concerned about him after the memorial. Right now he's arranging things, closing things out, finalizing details, etc. I think after the memorial all the activity and check lists will wind down and he'll wind up feeling things more. He's still going to be pretty busy - tha'ts just who my dad is. But he'd disengaged from a lot of what he was doing before to be able to take care of Lin full time. So it might take him a bit to ramp back up. And in that time is when he'll feel the emptiness.
I do think he's planning to come down to visit us after the memorial. I'm busy turning Steve's office/dumping ground into a guest room. I want to get our "guest room" out of the exercise room and off our bathroom wall! I rented a storage space to get everything out of Steve's old office immediately. This weekend I have a bunch of stuff to donate to get out of the house. And a lot of stuff to throw away and recycle. Things will be very busy for a very long time.
But all the busy-ness is helping me keep my mind off everything too. Now if I can just kick myself in the butt and get back on my workouts! I'll keep you posted...
Monday, May 03, 2010
Well, this one is going to be uncharacteristically short. I'm going to write this and then go watch TV and try not to think about it. Lin died tonight. My father called me around 8:30. It's over. She passed away quietly with no major pain, and in her sleep. She never became incontinent (a worry of hers.)
Yeah, as I reread this blog my eyes are blurring, so it's time to finish it, post it, and go avoid the topic for right now. I need my sleep, and I've got a hell of a week ahead of me. This doesn't make any of that any easier. I've got that feeling of realizing it's just not as important as all that. But regardless of what's just happened in my personal life, I've got to keep going as though my meetings, presentations, tasks, etc. are the most important things on Earth. Yeah right. Death - the great illuminator.
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