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.

 

0 comment(s) | Filed under: Techy

Wednesday, April 04, 2018

There must be away to turn this into a marketable skill

One day last week a coworker said to me, “you’re so good and fast at finding stuff.” This was after she mentioned a story she’d seen from Oprah on 60 Minutes (?) which she thought might interest me. In less than a minute I’d found the Oprah piece and the corresponding study and articles. Now, this isn’t terribly impressive as anything Oprah related is bound to be pretty easy to find but this is just another moment when my web search skills have been complimented. And I take a weird satisfaction in being able to hunt information down. I must have been a research librarian in a past life.

I mention this because I finally found something that I’ve been looking for for a while now. Not diligently mind you. Off and on when bored. I can’t even tell you why this has stuck in my head. Maybe it’s just that it proved to be so elusive and I can be stubborn. But today, I finally put in the right search terms and I found this sci-fi book I read in the 80s. Given how simple the terms were I’m amazed that it’s taken me years to track it down. (dudes. YEARS. If I dedicated this amount of focus to creating a new energy source I’m sure I’d be a gazillionaire by now. FACT.)

That this became a task for me is a mystery given that I don’t really have much interest in rereading the book. I do feel as if I should after the amount of time I’ve spent searching online for it. For now it’s enough to be able to say, “Yes! That’s the cover I remember!”

The Visitors cover

2 comment(s) | Filed under: Dailies

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

I Think I’m Supposed to Hate Facebook

Now, hating Facebook isn’t a new thing. Hating Facebook is actually a requirement both for the people who use it and those that don’t it seems like. “It’s intrusive, it’s annoying, it enables people to share about all the stuff that no one gives one damn about!” Sheesh. Don’t you know? Well, now there’s even more of a reason to hate it. It allowed people the ability to use data in bad ways. I’m pretty sure I’m supposed to care about that, to have feelings, strong ones.

But, truly, the only feelings I have about it all is passive guilt. Because, yes, I’m not living under a rock so I’m aware of what’s going on. I’ve seen a few folks delete their accounts or talk about deleting their accounts so it makes me think that I should be indignant about this. That I should care about the breach and on some level I suppose I do. I do wonder how all these words we’re putting out into the great void, all the data we share is used, for us, against us.

I can’t quite seem to build up the proper level of ire, however. Which doesn’t at all translate to a great love of the social networking site either. Over the last year, perhaps two, I seem to be using it less. Or I share fewer things anyway. I still log in every day to see what folks are sharing. I hit the react “button” more often than I comment but I still get a sense of staying connected. People rail about that false sense of engagement and I understand it. I don’t confuse that superficial level of interactions with real, meaningful connections. But we may be at a point where we can’t turn back. I’ve tried in the last month or so to text friends more often and it sometimes feels a bit like pulling teeth. It’s hard to say if that’s a sign of the times or just a sign that, as an introvert, I tend to be friends with introverts. And we’re not exactly known for our mad communication habits.

More than anything else, I appreciate the ability to stay connected to family in El Salvador. For that alone I can’t really contemplate shutting the account down. I could join the chorus and rail against the machine but for better or worse this is the medium that is easier for my extended family to use so here we are.

I have been thinking for a while now though that I probably need to get into the habit of not using Facebook/Twitter/Google as a shortcut to signing into other websites. If I’m taking anything away from all of this is that there is such as a thing as being too connected.

In conclusion, I wish people went back to blogging. And I miss dynamic blogrolls. My, how very 2003.

2 comment(s) | Filed under: Dailies

Monday, March 19, 2018

Is this thing on?

I’m a procrastinator. I always have been. I probably always will be. I have no trouble remembering late nights sitting on the closet floor, furiously typing away trying to finish a paper that was due the following day, the brain feverishly jumping from one point to the other, the words falling in line. Why the closet, you ask? Well, that’s not really the point of this story but I’ll grant you that that’s a curious point to skip over. No real mystery, I’m sorry to say. When you share a room with your younger sibling and you don’t want to be a rude MFer by keeping that sibling up because you couldn’t do your homework at a reasonable hour, you type in the closet.

I said to my father once that I got my procrastinating habits from him. He denied it. He didn’t deny being a procrastinator himself. Just that, wait for it - he hadn’t gotten around to passing that on to me yet. I groaned and laughed, equal parts amused and annoyed that I’d set him up with such an easy joke.


I do better at work. I have to. Funny thing, if you don’t do what you’re asked and told at work, it sometimes can have a negative impact on pay day. And I like getting paid. On my personal time? Even when it’s something I say/think/feel I want? It’s still tough. And it’s still tough after several decades of knowing that the feeling I get when I’m in the zone, as good as that feeling may be, it doesn’t last. That rush of near genius doesn’t at all make up for the days, weeks of dread that I make myself feel. After I’m done doing whatever thing needs doing, there’s a sense of relief, a lightening of the load, and un-tensing of the shoulders but neither the relief nor the dread are enough to make me change my ways. Mind you, not everything gets pushed down the road. I also don’t want to give the impression that nothing ever gets done but usually the things that make me drag my feet are the things that also require mental and emotional effort. Which makes sense I suppose.

I finished recording the video that will be used in the parent profile for the adoption last week, after putting it off for a bit (we’re going to go with a bit because I don’t necessarily want to share how long I took. Not yet anyway). This past weekend was the first weekend in several where I didn’t go into it thinking, “I HAVE GOT to do this tomorrow.” And then Saturday went and Sunday went and I spent the week annoyed and anxious I hadn’t done it. So there was this feeling of endless possibility this weekend. Of relief. Mixed with sincere hope that what I put on the camera will convince someone that I will make a good mother to her child. But I don’t let myself think too much about that because that is what it is and either it works or it doesn’t.

So instead I went to the movies on Saturday and saw Love, Simon which was lovely and sweet. On the way home I saw a sign on a local library that announced another book sale. “Hmm,” I thought. Because I have all these books on my crowded bookshelves and because I’m on some kind of budget, buying books isn’t really a thing I do much of anymore.

But, a library book sale, that’s no trouble at all! I thought. Plus, because I don’t really buy books anymore and because I don’t read as fast as I used to, I also don’t have many books to donate these days. So, it’s a win-win-win I told myself. I get cheap books to read, which I can donate AND (yes, here’s the third win) if I walk the mile and a half to the library I get some serious steps in!

Because I’m a better excuse maker and justifier than mathematician I neglected to consider how much more work the 1.5 mile walk back would be while carrying a bag full of books. But anything worth having is worth sweating for a little bit is what I’m supposed to say here, I think.

With 50 looming around the bend I find myself marveling at the fact that 50 and me will soon be something that goes together. So I say to myself that I should probably start behaving like a grown up, even if I don’t always feel like one. Which is a funny thing to think since if you ask my mother she’ll tell you I’ve been 80 years old since I was born. I’ve long said that I’m layered like an onion so I shouldn’t find it so hard to feel both too young to be this old and too old to be this young.

While I ponder that, I’ll try to write more and also get through some of these books. 

 

2 comment(s) | Filed under: Dailies

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Hope is a four letter word

The home study is almost done. I had the last of the three visits with the social worker almost two weeks ago. Friends have shared with me that they’ve spoken with her and that she seems to like me. Which is nice; obviously it’s a good sign when the person writing a report that can put a halt to the entire proceedings seems to think you’d make a good parent.

Now that I’m closer to actually starting the placement process I’m experiencing moments of hope and excitement. But, because this can be a long process, I keep pushing those feelings back. I keep thinking, “there are a ton of positive, good adoption stories. Why couldn’t one of those be yours?” And I think about the odds, which makes me wish I had been better at math. That’s not really how it works, though is it? There’s no amount of logic that will make this go faster, that will ensure that if and when I get a child that I get to keep the child. When you spend your whole life hoping for the best but planning (and expecting) the worst, allowing the seed of hope to flower is a dangerous, potentially painful thing.

Still, all those words aside, I ordered this today.

Elmo and Big Bird cross stitch birth announcement

Throughout the years I’ve stitched a number of birth announcements for other people. This would be the first time I’ve made one that I intend to keep. In the past, dong something like this has taken up to a year and since this process can take up to 2 years, I clearly may have more than enough time. I always say that I’m not superstitious but there is a part of me that worries this might be jinxing things. Still, after doing birth announcements for friends’ babies, I can’t imagine not having one for my own and once I have a child there’s no way I’ll have the time (or energy). It’s essentially now or never. I’ll just have to make sure I manage the feelings. That there will be feelings is a given. I just have to make sure I let the good ones have equal or more time than the scary, anxious ones.


Thursday, November 16, 2017

Burn it down, my witches

As soon as I heard Samatha Bee say this today I just knew I had to stitch it so I spent some time this evening gridding it out. I considered changing it to “my bitches” but decided it was best left alone.

Little tip, when doing something like this, it goes better and faster if one can spell the really difficult words like “down” for example.

Ah well. It’s a good thing I’m cute.

Burn it down my witches cross stitch pattern

Cross stitch pattern

0 comment(s) | Filed under: Creative | Stitching

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Writober 10.11.17: Small Comforts

Maybe if he’d shouted the words at her she could have brushed them off, blamed it on stress or the low level anger that he always felt after his team lost at a home game.

But he said them so matter of factly, like a stranger telling you the time or commenting about the heavy rains.

“You really,” he said, looking past her shoulder, “are an uncaring bitch.”

She looked behind her to make sure there wasn’t someone standing there. And then she sighed. “I’m really not,” she replied. “I just don’t care about you anymore.”

“Why?”

Maybe she should have ignored the question like she had at least a dozen times before but it was time. Pretending wasn’t even worth the effort anymore. For a while she thought that maybe if she cloaked herself in an air of happiness that somehow it would seep through her pores. Instead she went to bed feeling slightly nauseated and awoke hoping he’d be gone.

She still loved him and that was saddest of all. She just couldn’t be the carrier of his dreams anymore.

“Well?”

“There isn’t a point to a list, is there?” she asked as she leaned forward and grazed his cheek with her chapped lips. “I lied. I care about you. Just not in the way you need and I’m tired. I’m going to bed. Tomorrow I’ll pack. Or you’ll pack. I don’t know.”

He stared after her for a while and then he turned the volume back up on the TV. “so that’s it,” he thought. It had actually lasted longer that he’d figured. A small comfort but he was in the mood to be comforted by even that.

0 comment(s) | Filed under: Writing | Fiction

Friday, October 06, 2017

Writober 10.6.17: Love, period.

“SO LONG, AIM. FOR YEARS, FOR MILLIONS, YOU WERE THE INTERNET”

That’s Wired’s headline about the imminent demise of AIM. I still remember fondly AIM’s ability to search its database of users by age, location, gender, interests, etc.

I’ve always had trouble sleeping and there was a time when I used to scroll through numerous west coast AIM profiles looking for people to chat with in the late hours of the night.

“Which do you like better,” I asked one evening, “ICQ or AIM?” That geeky question started a relationship that would go on to last eight years, cause an epic heartbreak, and have such an impact on my life that even a decade later I still occasionally experience soft, surprising aftershocks.

But that day I was just killing time before heading off to one of my evening classes. We joked about nonsense, talked about roller coasters (I have no idea why) and after I told him I was auditioning him for a potential “pen pal” he asked how he was doing. “Good so far but we’ll see what your application looks like.” When he humored the silliness I knew I’d found a good one.

Catching the time I told him I needed to go. “Thank you for chatting with me!” I typed and signed off.

A long while later, after he’d become my best friend and something more that I was afraid to name, during our first visit, he told me the thank you made him want to keep chatting with me.

“Really?” I asked. “Why?”

“Nobody is that polite online and I liked the exclamation point.”

I laughed. Manners and punctuation. The key to all great love affairs. Or at least, memorable connections.

0 comment(s) | Filed under: Writing

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Wherever I go, there I am

There’s a reason I chose to focus my work around children and families. Were I a stronger and braver person I would have done what I said I would do - focus on child abuse prevention. But somewhere along the way, without consciously making a decision, I changed my mind. Perhaps because I know my limitations. Or maybe it’s just that, without an advanced degree doing direct work with such a vulnerable population didn’t seem advisable. Regardless, even working in the broader issues that impact children and families I still find myself. I’ve been doing this for more than 20 years now and it still surprises me to see myself in the work.

Not literally, obviously. That level of fame or infamy is not mine to attain but as I read today about the signs of eating disorders in young people, there I was. I read down the list, mentally adding check marks to the things that applied. I’m not a hypochondriac who imagines she has every symptom she reads about so I think I do a good job of being objective.

We all come at life’s experiences with baggage, don’t we? There may be people who say that baggage should be stowed in a deep locker at a train station, the key lost and the things forgotten. But I don’t know how to compartmentalize like that. I am who I am because of who I have been and who I was. That is neither a bad or good thing. it just is. Neutral until it can’t be. And so, I know my weaknesses, the fault lines. I sense the scars but don’t dwell on them. I recognize the limitations and try as much as I can to not let them bind me.

Still,

seeing the words. seeing the recommendations for how to address the risk factors. listening as the trainers go on about how to appropriately reach out to a young person in need

It makes me sad.

Not for the person I am today because as an adult, my choices, good or bad, my action or inactions are mine and mine alone.

But it makes me sad for the girl I used to be. The one who could have used someone quietly asking, “Are you okay?” but who never heard those words.

I am who I am because of who I was. And yet, in these moments I wonder, Who could I have been?

0 comment(s) | Filed under: Dailies

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Fire, it’s apparently a thing

It’s late (10 p.m.) and it’s a “school night” as they say and I need to be at work earlier than usual so despite having this desire to dive into a longer post about my relationship with food I think I’ll - wait for it - table that for now. I’d say I’m sorry about that except I don’t want to lie to you. Had to be done. But back to the food. For now, I’ll just share that after four years of not having a kitchen to myself it’s nice to be able to make my own messes without feeling self conscious about my lack of cooking skills. The ex-roommates were great in a myriad of ways, including their very fancy and enviable cooking skills. So cooking there never felt all that comfortable for me.

And the photo above should give you a sense of why. I tend to overcook pretty much 90% of what I make. I can follow a recipe okay but once it’s time to pull the thing off the heat, out of the oven, that’s where things fall a part a bit. You’d think, with the advent of timers, that the guesswork would be minimal. But I get distracted or I underestimate how long I can let something sit while I finish that page in a book, that last paragraph in an article or wait until I can come to a good spot in the show to hit pause.

But, whether it’s a desire to get a handle on the weight (again, always) or a wish to live like a “grown up” (which apparently in my head means not burning things. Hey, it’s the attainable goals) or the knowledge that hopefully one day in the not so distant future I’ll be cooking for a little person, I have this idea that this year will be the year that I master cooking. And by master it, I mean finding simple recipes that are idiot proof enough for me to build a nice repertoire of things I can pull together without feeling like I’m preparing for an advanced calculus final.

We’ll see how that goes. If nothing else, it’ll give me content for the blog. Because, you have your choice of blogs where people post photos of all the beautiful dishes they create but where can you go to make yourself feel better about the fact that you had dry cereal for dinner for the third night in a row? Don’t act like you don’t. This truth thing has to flow both ways, you know.


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