Monday, April 28, 2008

No class

Here's the room designated for my new noon T'ai Chi class. Notice how
it's full of furniture? And empty of students? Yeah. I am not amused.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

April is the cruelest month

Thursday, April 24, 2008



Wednesday, April 23, 2008

complete this sentence

Complete this sentence:

It's been four years since I . . .


Tuesday, April 22, 2008

super Tuesday

Today I'm grateful for a number of things, including:

  • the two clients who have referred me to their friends. One of these referrals has already resulted in a new project. Thanks, ladies!
  • my new T'ai Chi students at the government center, who all showed up for class with checks in hand. All of them. It's a miracle!
  • being done with the toughest magazine fact-checking task for another month
  • Sprite, for making sure I did not toil alone. Reaching around her bulk to get to my keyboard does slow me down a bit, which is a nice reminder to not be in such a rush. It's also a good reminder to run the lint brush over the couch before company comes.
  • the friends who are coming to visit tomorrow, because they motivated me to clean house today
  • Comet with Bleach and the Swiffer dusting wand, which made the job a little easier
  • the lovely breeze blowing the Comet smell out the windows
  • being able to pay my quarterly taxes on time
  • ice cream


Monday, April 21, 2008

warm & fuzzy

At this very moment, I'm grateful for my first butterfly sighting of the season. I always think of butterflies as Dad dropping by to check on me.

I'm also grateful for weather nice enough that I'm working on my deck, and that Warren is energetically hunting birds in the back yard, and that Sprite is tolerating her forced outdoor time reasonably well.

I will be doubly, triply, quadruply grateful in a week or two when the volunteer project I've been working on is finished.


Friday, April 18, 2008

Lunch of champions!

Hey. It's Friday and I'm working at home. Why shouldn't I?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Bad Apostrophe Chronicles

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

call & answer

One of my regular freelance projects involves interviewing a homebuilder each month for a magazine. The interviews themselves are easy, since the magazine supplies the questions. All I have to do is write down what the builders say — or, better yet, e-mail them the questions and edit the responses they send back.

The hard part of this job is finding builders to interview. For instance, between yesterday and today, I made 29 phone calls. Nearly all of these were follow-up calls to people I’d contacted twice before and hadn’t heard back from — discourteous of them, but entirely usual.

My efforts resulted in conversations with numerous answering machines and about five actual people, one of them a teenager so snide and sullen that if her Dad does call me back, I’ll say something about her ‘tude, and I don’t care if it costs me an interview.

Only one of those five people was an actual builder rather than an assistant. That builder agreed to do the Q&A and asked me to e-mail him the questions. Sadly, I have no faith he’ll actually fill out the form and send it back, as I’ve been burned on this arrangement several times. (I am, in fact, currently trying to get back in touch with a guy who eagerly agreed to do this six weeks ago and hasn’t replied since.)

One of the assistants said her boss might have time to talk to me later today while he’s on the road, and if so, he’ll call me back.

So out of 29 phone calls, I got one yes and one maybe, with no guarantee of follow-through. OY! But I am grateful for the glimmers of hope these possibilities provide.

In other news, my birthday is next month. If you feel like giving me a gift, what I want is an interesting and/or beautiful mug, with or without saucer, for my morning tea.


Sunday, April 13, 2008

hulu's on first

Q: It's the 21st century. Where's my online, on-demand streaming video?
A: Check out Hulu.com.

Q: What's on there? Anything good?
A: A little bit of everything—TV shows ranging from The Alfred Hitchcock Hour and Emergency! to Numb3rs and The Office. There's about 100 movies, too, including Monty Python's Meaning of Life.

Q: Really! Is it free?
A: Yes.

Q: Are there commercials? Cuz you know how I hate commercials.
A: Yes, there are a commercials, but far fewer than on broadcast TV, and you can still mute them.

Q: OK, but how's the video quality? Better than YouTube or worse than YouTube?
A: Hulu is better than YouTube like Picard is better than Kirk: Crisper, clearer, more mature, higher-tech, and with a lot less drunken debauchery.

Q: Er ... Do I need special hardware or software?
A: Nope, just a high-speed Internet connection.

Q: Not bad! Is there anything else cool about Hulu?
A: You can subscribe to RSS feeds that let you know when a new episode or clip from your favorite show has been posted.

Q: But only if you're a huge geek, right?
A: Yes, that is correct.

Q: Wow. Free, low-commercial TV and movies on demand. Aren't you grateful this service finally exists?
A: You betcha.

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Friday, April 11, 2008


Yesterday I was grateful for:

  • Remember The Milk, a free online to-do list you can use by itself or integrate with calendars, e-mail, and other applications
  • Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story
  • Diet Coke with Lime, which I shouldn't drink because of the Nutrasweet, but I had one yesterday for the caffeine anyway
  • the fleece hat, gloves, and scarf I got for Christmas

Today I'm grateful for:

  • telecommuting
  • central heat
  • knowing Mother Media is coming to visit soon
  • my iPod surviving a tumble off the elliptical machine at the gym
  • grapes
  • having a check to deposit

The weather outside is totally blucky right now, so I'm glad I have plenty of work to do here in my home office and plenty of amusements lined up for later. I'm seriously considering making this a stay-in weekend.


Wednesday, April 09, 2008

soap dish

Once upon a time last week, my former boss Claire called to tell me about a job opening that might interest me. It did, so I made an appointment to meet with the client. We met yesterday, and while the full-time position was not a match for me, we discussed the possibility of me doing some freelance work for them.

Since the job was still open, I contacted a networking buddy, Kim K, I thought might be interested. She said, "My friend Deb used to work there. Wanna talk to her?" So I called Deb, and she gave me some very useful information about the organization.

Then I asked what Deb was doing these days, and she said she'd just applied for a job at a place I used to work, reporting to my ex-boss (not Claire). So I in turn hooked her up with Kim T, who still works at that place with that boss and can give Deb the inside scoop.

And then I backtracked to Kim K and Amy, the mutual friend who introduced us, and Claire, and told them the whole story. It's a small, small world.

Today I'm grateful for:
  • networking
  • cell phones


Tuesday, April 08, 2008

getting the drop on it

Today I'm grateful for:

  • Claire connecting me with a potential new client
  • the potential client turning into an actual client
  • smart friends
  • dropping my candy in the coffee shop. When I knelt to retrieve it from under the table, I found someone's cell phone.
  • free wi-fi in the coffee shop; I'm there now.


Monday, April 07, 2008

putting the CUSS in customer service

Today I had to deal with some bullshit that put the cuss in customer service. Rather than rant at length about it, I'll summarize by saying BULLSHIT once more, with feeling. And if you were wondering whether to buy the Dictate software application from MacSpeech . . . don't.

Aside from that, today was a good day. I got a decent amount of work done despite the technical difficulties, taught my last T'ai Chi class at the HP St. Paul Clinic—nice ladies, but I'm not going to miss the drive—and had a good teaching session this evening. That was with one of my favorite newer students, a young man whose untidy black hair makes him the college version of Harry Potter. Plus, I got a paycheck in the mail. I love it when the week starts out with positive cash flow.

From today forward, every post will contain at least one statement of gratitude.

Today I'm grateful for:

  • Warren's good appetite
  • Sprite's aggressive purr
  • my fun students
  • that paycheck
  • all the software that does work
  • the friend who flattered me by asking my advice


Thursday, April 03, 2008

Bare feet. Green grass. Can it be ... ?

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

get back there

If you could go back in time and give your younger self three key pieces of advice, what would they be? How old would you want your younger self to be when you deliver them?


the pits

With warmer weather approaching, I thought now would be a good time to upgrade my antiperspirant/deodorant. On the advice of several friends and a convincing commercial, I purchased Gillette's "clinical strength" product. And . . .

IT SUCKS! The "antiperspirant" did not even survive a single round of T'ai Chi; I was damp by the end of the second section of the form. Nor has it survived half a morning of sitting quietly at a computer. It's keeping my underarms about as dry as a garden hose would. The only good thing I can say about it is that I don't stink (yet).

Verdict: Don't waste your money.


Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Sweet Home Ala . . . whut?!

Finnish new wavers The Leningrad Cowboys and the Red Army Chorus teamed up to perform this rousing rendition of Sweet Home Alabama. Enjoy the fashions — especially the hair!