Sunday, January 30, 2022

where in the world

January 2022 is nearly in the rear view mirror, meaning we're that much closer to spring.  We got more snow and ice this week, but nothing like what the northeast got, so I'm not complaining!

I got these bug-eyed goggles to keep my face warm for bicycle riding during cold weather.  I've tried other solutions, including just freezing my face off, and finally gave in to the bug eyes.  They work. 

I think they're mainly meant for night skiing, but plenty of winter bicycle commuters sung their praises, so here we are... not that I've worn them for actual bicycling because there's currently too much snow and ice around for my taste.

But I do appreciate the tips and discussions from the commuter group I follow on facebook.  I know others like me who have facebook accounts they rarely update, but they keep them around for the groups.  And Marketplace.

So while I don't update my own facebook page, I do "check in" somewhat regularly.

On Friday, I learned via facebook that the oldest son of a friend of mine is missing.  Apparently, he "ran away".  Click [HERE] in the off chance it helps to find him.  

This is surprising to me since I've known the family to be very close, no issues with either of their two sons.  Jack is the oldest, and I met his mom through volunteering at the elementary school.  We had a couple of years of overlapping volunteer momming there as Jack is four years younger than Meego, our youngest.

The family also lived just around the corner from us when we lived in Colorado Springs.  Although I didn't know Jack much in recent years, when he was younger, he always struck me as a "good kid" - mature for his age, thoughtful, and responsible.  

I have no idea what precipitated his leaving and it's difficult to even fathom.  There've been no updates, although many shares on facebook.  I'm hoping he just needed some alone time to stew and will be in touch soon.  Or maybe social media will come through and lead to a reconciliation.

I might bash social media sometimes - the narcissism and false celebrity side of it.  But it's not all bad.

Friday, January 28, 2022

party and spice

My work friend - the one who gives me her too-small clothes?  Firstly, I'll give her a blog name.  She shall be known as Partygirl.

Partygirl actually gave herself that nickname one day when she selected nicknames for everyone at the workplace. I will note that, since that day, the nicknames rarely surface if at all.  Probably the most used is Boss "Grumpy Bear" because it suits him.  My bestowed nickname, by the way, is "Sporty Spice". 

Anyhoo, the workload had been relatively light at the beginning of this month before students returned to campus.  One day, Partygirl mentioned finding an email from an old boyfriend and subsequently catching up with him (Partygirl is married, no hanky-panky related to old boyfriend email), and I asked how old the found email was.

"From the beginning of time?", she guessed.

I didn't understand, and so she explained that she's been going through her personal email and cleaning out her inbox.  At that point she was down to about 5,000 items as she showed me her brimming inbox.


Yeah, she'd started with around 15,000 items,  so had made quite a dent.

Okay, I know plenty of people don't clean out their email inboxes.  I am not one of those people.  I strive to have my inboxes (I've more than one email, do you?) empty - the only things in there at any given time are items I need to either act on or delete.  I have a few folders for storing things I need to keep, but the inbox itself is typically clear.

My phone offers some sort of graphic when the gmail inbox is empty.  This is what it looks like now - a red flag raised above some cubbies?  

Note:  I took the screenshot, emailed it to myself to load into this blog post, then promptly deleted it from the inbox...

So I asked coworker Bu-chan (Japanophile) the state of his inbox.  Turns out he was also a non-deleter.  Thankfully, we do have a shared email for the office that is routinely sorted and cleared out.  *Whew*.

So I pondered.  Why do I empty my inbox?  Well, it's the same reason I organize my desk or my kitchen or my underwear drawer, right?  It makes things I need to find so much easier to find.  It's Marie Kondo for email.  Plus, I'm a clutterphobe since before Marie Kondo.  Electronic clutter is still clutter.  It's not OCD... It's not OCD... It's not OCD...

I've mentioned here that we've begun asking non-student customers of the testing center for proof of COVID vax or recent negative test.  The bouncing has been going quite smoothly - save for one suspected "'roid rager", but that's another story...  The process often goes something like this.

Me:  May I see your COVID vaccination card or negative test result?

Them:  Yep, I'll just pull it up on my phone

*proceeds to spend what feels like an hour swiping, typing, swiping, typing, swiping, typing, digging through their email or gallery to get the damn image up on the phone*

Me:  *inaudible*  omigod.

So I'm curious. 

Keeper or Deleter?


Linking up this week with Mama Kat for the prompt:
4. Write a blog post inspired by the word: curious

Sunday, January 23, 2022

mix tape

Hey, it's been a week!  Time for some reflection?

Firstly, I can say that I have had no more hives show up since last week's visit.  Maybe it was booster vax, maybe it was something else entirely.  Whatever, they haven't returned.

Speaking of returning, students started classes last week at the college where I work. Proof of full COVID vaccination or agreement to do weekly testing is required for on-campus classes and events this semester, thus making my job feel even more bouncer-like than before.

Most are easily compliant as they've had plenty of warning. A couple of non-student testers did refer to us as "communists", however.  We're thinking of designing a flag for ourselves.

We had us an ice storm here on Wednesday.  Strange thing for Colorado, and things were quite the mess for the day.  As I slip-slided my way across campus, a guy walked by wearing a pair of spikes over his shoes, and I was all,

"Damn, I have two pairs of those things.  Lotta good they're doing me inside the closet at home".  

Maybe the ice storm was to remind me of things forgotten over the summer?

And so far, the only bug I've caught is the tidying bug.  Ever notice how organizing and rearranging  often prompts the need for more organizing and rearranging?  I became frustrated that all our tools and such seemed to be distributed in about 4 or 5 different places, so we bought a tool chest to complement our little tool box and set to consolidating.  Ah, so much better.

I discovered that we have absolutely no shortage of tape.  Scotch tape, duct tape, electrical tape, plumbers tape, packing tape... Multiple rolls.  All now occupies an entire drawer.  Anyone need some tape?

That's my January so far:  messy weather, slow days at the bouncer station, a tidy house.  woohoo.

Sunday, January 16, 2022

under my skin

I'm thinking back to just prior to the winter break when I was looking forward to some down time to maybe spend more time in my sketchbooks, etc.  Well, I really didn't.  

But what I was really craving was some creative outlet as that's one thing rather lacking in my job.  There, I find myself somewhat hoping something goes "wrong", because then I need work on a solution and craft an incident report of some sort.  When things go smoothly, well, where's the fun?

But over the break, I did do a few little putzy projects around the house, prompted by us getting all new windows installed.  I changed my home office layout around a bit, and now I'm itching to paint.

Speaking of itching, I got that COVID booster on Thursday?  I started feeling kind of itchy yesterday.  This morning, these little friends showed up.  Yeah, they're hives.  

This is a patch on my lower inner thigh, but I had others on my abdomen and upper arms.  I left them alone, and they went away. 

Now, I'm not saying they are a result of my Pfizer booster.  Could just be coincidence.  I didn't experience hives from my first two hits.

Wolfgang got a Moderna booster several weeks ago, and he's been bothered by hives off and on ever since.  He learned that hives are pretty common with the Moderna shot.

So who knows?  I was out for a run this morning and started feeling itchy.  I noticed the hives when I de-clothed for a shower.  I will say that I have sometimes experienced itchiness and mild rash while running in cold weather before - for whatever weird reason.  Maybe the booster is an irrelevant coinky dink, despite it not being all that cold this morning.

Yesterday, the family got together for Chaco's recent birthday.  Had some šŸ”„Music City Hot ChickenšŸ”„, walked around Old Town, came back to the house and played a few rounds of "Pandemic - the Cure" board game.  

I'd never played Pandemic before, just lived in the real-life version.  

It's a good game = terrifying fun.  We managed to survive in one of those rounds.

Thursday, January 13, 2022

everything is nothing

I got a COVID booster today.  Scheduled it for about an hour before work (it was the only appointment available for today), got to the pharmacy a little early, efficiently received the shot, bought a sammich for later.  Now I'm at the college hanging out in the library with some time to kill before work.  

I'm wearing the sweater set my coworker handed down to me a couple months ago (1) because the inner layer is sleeveless, thus making for easy vaccination reception, and (2) because she's been throwing hints at me that say, "When you gone wear that sweater set I gave you?"

Her lament, when she bestowed me with the set, was that she'd hardly worn it, thinking she'd preserve it for special occasions (it's cashmere).  Then, she got too big for it and couldn't wear it if she'd wanted to. 

So, here I sit - special occasion being getting a vaccination before going into my very casual attire job.  

Earlier this week, the same coworker bestowed upon me a leather jacket under similar circumstance - she got too big for it.

Conversation went something like this:

Coworker (wearing new Christmas leather jacket):  I was looking at my old leather jacket this one replaced.  Do you want it?

Me:  Do I want a leather jacket??

Coworker:  Yes it's... *proceeds to describe it, but truth is, she had me at 'leather jacket'*

Me:  Is this a trick question?

After quibbling about payment, in the end, I got a new-to-me leather jacket.  Hardly worn.

Once again this coworker (she really needs a nickname...) had an accompanying story lesson based on true events.  It goes something like this:

There was an old woman who'd grown up poor.
Later in life, she was no longer poor.

She had a tired old purse she'd carried around for years.
Friends and family, near and far, gifted her several nice purses, satchels, totes.

She thanked the giver profusely every time she received another bag.
When she died, her family found her closet full of these nice things 
...still in the original packaging, unused.

Waiting for a special occasion.  That may never come.

Lesson:  I better wear the cashmere and leather, or coworker's gonna give me crap about it. 

Sunday, January 9, 2022

to feel all right okay

Back to work this week.  Nice to see my little team of coworkers (four of us plus a boss). Naturally, they were sympathetic about Hagrid's home.  Boss has a step-niece who was evacuated with her family, but their home was undamaged.  They weren't able to move back in yet since utilities were all turned off, but they've been back to look around.

They've got young kids who will have to be "prepared" before they return to what's left of  the neighborhood.  "Like another planet".

But we're back at the college for the new year.  Student's return for Spring semester on the 18th, so campus is pretty quiet.  

We've begun checking people's COVID status - fully vaccinated or recently testing negative - for access to the testing center.

I'm basically a bouncer.  Who'da thought?

We got a lot of snow, which has pulled us out of our drought for now.  We've entered the crusty yucky freeze-thaw-freeze-thaw-freeze phase from which Napolion likes to meditate.

He used to go outside each day and find things to kill or get in fights with.  Now he's strictly a housecat (not by his choice).  I wonder what he thinks as he sits on his window perch.  

Similarly meditative, y'know my young coworker friend, Malcolm, who died unexpectedly last year - he'd mentioned he liked to rap.  But whenever we asked him to lay some lyrics on us, he never would.  This week, I was led to a site where he'd uploaded some tracks.  Several tracks, actually.  More than 50 tracks over the span of about a year.  I had no idea he was so creatively prolific.

Now, I actually like some rap/ hip hop, which might surprise some.  There are also rap songs/ artists I can't stand.  I really like Malcolm's material.  And how nice to hear his voice again.

So 2022 has begun.  I don't have any resolutions, just the usual "get better".  Kaizen, yo?

Thursday, January 6, 2022

artificial friends and blood

Last week, we were on a red flag day for high fire danger... and we now know how that ended up.  Today, this is the current scene out  my home office window

Thank you for the thoughtful comments regarding my brother's loss of his home.  The burn area is similarly covered in snow, so it will be a while before any sifting/ cleanup will happen.  The fire  investigation has led to a "religious sect" that owns the property where the fire started.  Geez.

Hagrid and his wife are intelligent and resourceful people.  They'll get through this.  It won't happen overnight, but, baby steps.  

So now it feels like winter, and while the snow hampers things, nobody is complaining.  

I hear people refer to books as "great for a winter day" or "a fun summer read".  Do the seasons determine reading tastes?  I don't think they do mine.  What's a "beach read"?

I just finished Klara and the SunIt's set in some unidentified future where "AFs" (Artificial Friends) exist - mainly purchased as companions for adolescents. 

The story is told from the point of view of Klara - an AF to a teen girl named Josie who has some sort of illness.  
I thought the premise sounded interesting as Klara's artificial intelligence makes her very observant as she absorbs the world of Josie's relationships and culture.  

“At the same time, what was becoming clear to me was the extent to which humans, in their 
wish to escape loneliness, made maneuvers that were very complex and hard to fathom”

The author is Kazuo Ishiguro who is Japanese but grew up in England.  I've read other books by Japanese authors and this book feels much like those despite him being "English".  

It got a bit tedious and mundane at times, but the overall story was good and kind of creepy.  The ending felt dark and haunting, but appropriate for this story.  

Another book I'm currently revisiting is Bad Blood by John Carryrou which details the story of Elizabeth Holmes - found guilty this week of 4 counts of fraud - the founder and CEO of Theranos.

I read the book in early 2019 when I was rather riveted by this story.  Omigosh, the money, the LIES, the manipulation, the whistleblowers, the threats...  I just couldn't fathom what the hell she was thinking.  

Was/is she delusional?  A pathological liar?  A sociopath?  A scammer?  Really really clueless?  All of the above?

With her trial just wrapping up after many months, I've been listening to the "The Dropout" podcast.  

“The way Theranos is operating is like trying to build a bus while you’re 
driving the bus. Someone is going to get killed.”

In my past professional life, I was involved in new product development and product launches.  None of that work was for Silicon Valley startups, but still!  The way Elizabeth Holmes kept going on about what a life-changing product her blood analyzers were and where they were operating, thus getting billions of dollars in funding while the machines were repeatedly FAILING AT EVERYTHING just baffles me.  Did she think no one would notice??  

For those not following the story/ case, I won't bore with details.  And for those who are following, you already know.  Suffice to say, the story isn't over just because the jury reached the verdicts.

Linking up this week with Mama Kat for the prompt:
5. Book review time! What winter read has you snuggled in and turning pages?

Sunday, January 2, 2022

if you need someone to lean on

Brother Hagrid at what used to be his house:

About 8 inches of snow fell on the fire ravaged zone on Friday.  It's ironic that the high winds that ripped through on Thursday were the precursor to the storm system that brought the snow.  I'm so glad for that snow, otherwise the fire would've kept on burning for who knows how long and how many acres.  Thursday was (obviously) a red-flag day, so other fires could've started as well.

Chaco reported that his boss's house was also destroyed.  I'm sure other colleagues of his are in the same boat as many lived in neighborhoods along the fire's path.  

When my parents passed away, Hagrid and his wife took on the huge task of clearing out their home.  My parents weren't necessarily hoarders, but they had trouble getting rid of things.  Their home was always clean and tidy, though.  They just had a lot of crap.

In their later years, when I would visit, my mom often asked me what I wanted from their belongings.  I didn't really want anything and I also didn't want to talk about such things. 

When I was last at Hagrid's, I saw several furnishings and home goods from my parents' house - items they'd had for years, brought from the Philippines.  It's true, I didn't care to have them, plus, I don't have room for such things.  But it was  nice to see them and know that Hagrid had them.   

Now, I keep thinking of a conversation I had with my dad, not long before he died.  He was aware that he had too much "stuff" in that house.  But the task of weeding through it all was too large for him to want to think about.  He said something to the effect,

"I'd like to just set a match to it and shut the door", somewhat jokingly.

Aw, Dad.