Test Part 2

In some respects, it seems pointless to write as I have limited access to my pictures until new software arrives. In some respects, this mechanism has served for what I want. My compact, portable thing, that works better than the Gateway. Still have some battery issues that will hopefully be remedied around the 4th of July. But, all in all – a great great purchase.

It’s the exact size I wanted. It is the perfect mix of operating systems that I’ve grown accostomed. The price-point for software is lower than I first thought. Upgrading should prove to be stress fee. I can measure the space I eat up as I eat it up, allowing me to be judicious about what I put when and where.

Some things to come – testing the external hard drive and making necessary corrections to that format to ensure cross-platform use. A new OS that will hopefully get the almost great synchronisity between this and my phone. Getting my 3,000+ pictures off my work computer (the only thing that my phone would sync with this last year) and onto our external hard drive.

Anxiously awaiting tech synchronisity.

A New Theme

I bought it. After years of maintaining this blog under varying forms… I bought the theme. Starting in MySpace, migrating to Blogger, and finally to WordPress… after experimenting with free theme after free theme… I’ve finally come upon one that I like, that works… that I want to stay. So, I bought it.

I hope it proves a worthwhile purchase.

Sunday Free Write

Levi's Rainbow
Levi and his class painted rainbows recently. Levi’s art has improved so much over last year.

When I was in high school, taking Creative Writing, we would do free writes, for two minutes, at the beginning of every class. Mrs. Gress posted a question on the board and we had to spend two minutes, without stopping, and just write. One of my favorite topics involved what type of tattoo you would get. Not, if you’d get a tattoo, but if you were forced into a tattoo what would you get. I chose a rose, on my ankle. When I finally got my first (and only) tattoo, it was a rose, on my left shoulder-blade.

But, the idea behind the writing was the butt-to-chair mentality  Just do it. Don’t over think it. Let the words spill out across the page. In modern times, it’s let the words spill out across the screen.

Okay, that was good for maybe a minute of writing. I had to walk away, start the tea, put the laundry in the dryer, and well – anything to get warm.

It’s December 2nd. Naturally, it’s raining. The large rainclouds have bathed the entire Pacific Northwest in green. It’s actually surprising that we’ve had as much sun (two mornings in a row!) as we’ve had.

Now I have tea, to warm my hands.

I have nothing that seems significant to write (see the 15 minute post about why). So, instead, I will lament on these silly old computers I keep using for personal and work. This laptop, for example, is likely 5 years old. The CD Player doesn’t recognize discs, so I can’t upgrade the software, which has been getting buggy. The hard drive has had a few check-error messages — but unfortunately, I can’t afford my dream (13″ Macbook Pro, post 2009). I long for the day when my phone and my personal computing device will talk to each other in a way that things made by the same manufacturer should.

Tomorrow, the work week begins again. There were some things I should have done two weeks ago but ran out of time. Now, I’m running out of time to secure these things. I have difficulty asking for help. I’m not sure why. Partly, everyone else is busy. Partly, I forget and work on certain priorities. Then, over the weekend, I’m reminded of these other things. I am dissatisfied with work — not the organization’s goals, rather my pay scale and my job title. I want $10,000 per year more than what I make. Yet, I don’t have a good understanding of what the powers that be would expect. When I hear about other salaries and responsibilities, I reasonably know that what I am asking isn’t unreasonable – but I lack the confidence to … ask.

Holidays are coming up. This year, we’re doing a name exchange with the cousins. The cousins being my nieces and nephews. Levi drew his cousin Owen’s name. We have the gifts purchased. Now we need to wrap and send. I have a book for my mother that I need to send off. And, lastly, just figuring out what we’ll get Levi and each other. I’d like my husband to get an iPhone. However, we don’t have the ready funds and I’m not ready to hear him complain about an “over priced piece of junk” even though we both know he covets it.

And, here we go. Over 550 words. I shall close. Hopefully this re-pattern of writing will get the more thought-provoking phrases rolling.

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We’re Getting Old: I’m Getting Old

Salmon Dinner

Our dinner consisted of 1 of the last 2-2 lb salmon fillets from Ilamna, fresh roasted asparagus from ProFarm, and Trader Joe’s Harvest Grain Blend.

This realization does not come lightly. I have consistently resisted this thought. I’ve fought against it. I’ve argued it. I’ve stated that age is a state of mind. I continue to believe that life must be celebrated, not dreaded. But, slowly, in my 34th year, the realization has set: I am getting old.

There is something about 34 that rings differently to me. It’s one step closer to 35. Something about 35 is so close to 40. Those I know who have crept past 35 show their age in different ways. Some show it in their eyes. Some show it in their calm demeanor. Some show it in their resignation. Something about getting close to 40 that sets the perspective wheels in motion.

Today, it was technology that set off the thought. This thought has percolated since my birthday. I segment my 30s in threes. Between 30 and 33 it’s the first bit, the early thirties. 34 to 36 is the mid thirties. This is followed by the latter thirties with the age range 37-39. And, after 39 is 40. And, shouldn’t we have it all figured out at 40? I’m nearing half way through my 34th year. It’s another year of introspection, and today I was considering technology.

I don’t want to learn anymore technology. (More or less says the gal with the iPhone who covets a new Retina Macbook Pro and wants to integrate her house on the cloud with a dream kitchen of touch screen recipes perhaps sequenced into the stove.) I’ve mastered countless databases. I’ve learned expert levels of Word and Excel. I could navigate any Windows system (XP and earlier) like counting freckles on the back of my hand. I could trouble shoot any system to the awe of the computer frightened, walking in like the Savior to rescue a mis-saved document.

But now, my speech stutters to find the right terms. I’m tired of how it changes all the time. I don’t care about learning the new Windows (7), the new version of Ubuntu, or where the print icons in Mac are and how they differ. I just want it to stay the same. I want it to all be stagnate for a while.

But now, my speech stutters to find the right terms. I’m tired of how it changes all the time. I don’t care about learning the new Windows (7), the new version of Ubuntu, or where the print icons in Mac are and how they differ. I just want it to stay the same. I want it to all be stagnate for a while.

And, while I was considering this, with whatever technological gizmo that set off the thought, it occurred to me that I am old. I’m tired of the fast pace whizzing by. I am tired, and I can’t keep up. I want routines (4p dinner anyone?) and consistency so I can just work on what I want to work on. No longer do I care about the next new thing. No longer am I impressed with how fast our cloud-based app world moves. I am complaining about the speed of life, like an old person, so that must mean I am old.

My son has admitted that I’m old on a few occasions now. So, that gives further credibility to the claim.

And, then tonight, my friend pontificates over dinner the difference between smoking and Facebook. That’s right, she argued that Facebook has supplanted smoking in after-dinner routines (as I uploaded my dinner pictures to Facebook). She queried, “What? Are we so bored with our friends that we must look to our technological gadgets to entertain us?” Certainly not a new argument. I enjoyed the cigarette comparison where we are giving our idle hands something to do. But, “No,” I eventually countered. I think it’s just that we’re getting old. (My Facebook upload aside.) We are older so we can sit longer and be quiet longer. It’s these young kids (the person in question is 26) who need constant entertainment to grab them. They have not been thoroughly, or properly, introduced to quiet mediations and the importance of silence in conversation.

Yes, I think it is simply that we are getting old. And, you know, I’m finally okay with it.

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Deliberative

My StrengthsFinder 2.0 said I’m deliberative. It was actually the last of my top five strengths. But, it’s the one I pride the most.

Always, I have been told that I am a good listener and that I give good counsel. This has fluctuated over the years, and finally, after 34 years of living, I’m starting to see the pattern.

You see, I’m also an introvert. I didn’t really know what that meant either until less than a decade ago. And, as I continue to grow up into my 30s, I become more self-aware. Thankfully, I think, I am learning something.

So, what am I learning?

I am learning that I don’t like to work in fast paced environments. I used to enjoy the periodic thrill, for example, of checking in a group of 200-500, then resting, sorting through the chaos and making order of it all. I used to think that fast paced strengthened my skills in multi-tasking. Somewhere along the way, as society has learned this too, I realized that there is no such thing as multi-tasking for the human brain. Sure, I hold many things in tandem, but I can only do one thing at a time. So, while I may pause to answer the phone, then go back to the document I was editing, I’m really only doing one thing at a time. What’s more, I realized that the more I focus on the one thing at a time, the better I do at it.

Sure, there is something to be said for diversifying projects. I enjoy how multiple projects overlay and give new ideas and creativity to each other. But, when you tip the balance too far into the multi-tasking “over kill range”, you lose focus on all.

I am deliberative. I enjoy having time to take that pause. I enjoy having the time to process all those inputs and think about all those lessons I’m supposed to be learning. I love thinking (intellection was my #2 strength) and pondering how they wrap around my beliefs.

But, I must have time to do that. And, fast paced environments seldom lend themselves to the time to simply sit and think. I do my best work when I can think. That’s why it’s so important for me to write every day (yes, I know, I haven’t been).

A friend asked me how I keep my vision in tandem with the chaos that presents itself daily. This was in reference to a group we are working with, together. I told her, frankly, it’s because I don’t have to work with everyone, every day, 8 hours a day. I get that much-needed, introvert needed, break. I refresh, sometimes monthly from the chaos. I refresh, I think, I ponder. I pause. I reflect. I deliberate.

So, what am I doing then if a fast paced environment with frequent interruptions is not for me? Because, clearly, in some avenues in my life — I am in the wrong space.

When I think of these things together, I see that I should be doing project based contract work. Yet, my skills in a desired contract environment aren’t up to snuff where I’d feel comfortable charging for their use. A friend suggested building a client list and offer my services pro bono with the caveat that these clients should write a letter of recommendation. But, this takes time, and I’m also impatient.

I know. I need to summon my patience. Isn’t that what my major lesson was from the housing crash of 2008? Be patient, I hear Mister Miyagi intone to Daniel. Be patient, I hear him croon while other endeavors create, slowly, as they should.

Oh right. I should be patient, while I deliberate. Because as I patiently think about this, the answers will come.

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Inherited Collaboration

It’s all my mother’s fault. Seriously. Who else should I blame but her? She’s the one who drilled it in us [me], especially as we grew up and participated in sports. Yes, my desire for ground up planning; my desire for collaboration; my desire for fair teams — I blame this all on my mother.

I find myself, often in a few of the circles I travel, advocating for collaboration. I feel like I’m often asking people to slow down, consider other view points, seeking out the dissenters in order to move a process and hear their concerns. I often find myself planning for things where it doesn’t include a “star” of the team because I understand life happens and the team is nothing if it can’t function without a member.

I’m leery of sounding arrogant here. I’m leery of sounding like I’m always a team player. I’m leery of sounding like I don’t fight to get my way. Because, I do these things. I’m not always a team player, and sometimes I do fight to get my way. Sometimes, depending on the situation, I even close myself off to the other opinions I crave in other situations!

Seeing the trouble my arrogant methods sometimes yield, and seeing the solidification of consensus based decisions proves to me the preferred way to make decisions. I also grew up in a big family. A family that, when brought together, talks over one another and sometimes you have to shout to get your voice heard. I’ve been the one waiting and waiting to be heard, and I hate that. Something about looking in from the outside, I have the ability to see when other people may feel the same way. I know that when I’m watching other people talk, I have sometimes a million thoughts going through my head. I suspect that they do to. I want to hear what they are saying. I want the others to stop talking and give space for the quiet ones.

And, I’m going to blame my mother on this. She’s the one who insisted we “walk in another’s shoes for a mile” before judging. She’s the one who insisted we think of others. She’s the one who made sure we were thoughtful in our actions. She’s the one who ensured I listened to others.

So, yes, I blame my mother that I prefer consensus. Consensus, as described when it runs well, insists that we put our whole bodies into a process. We recognize our logic, our ration, and our emotion. We acknowledge these pieces to our brain (our bodies) as a whole. We are called to hold these pieces and give space for them, to allow for better decisions all around. We are called to think outside of ourselves, using our knowledge and experience, and consider choices that are best for the group. We are called to let self-interest rest and bring our self-less selves into the process.

Instead of blame, Mother dear, I thank you.

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What a Week

One friend found out she is cancer free.

One friend lost her longtime family pet.

We were without power for two nights.

Several friends lost other familial loved ones.

A group suffered a suicide within their ranks.

All within the span of one week.

People were off. People were grouchy. We were just not ourselves.

I haven’t seen a week or day like that in a long time. A day, a week, a set time when everyone with whom I associate is just … off. My family and I didn’t have an extraordinary week one way or another. Sure, we didn’t have power for two nights, but it wasn’t cold and our food didn’t spoil. But, around us, all these things were tipping in weird balances. We weren’t sleeping. People were driving weird … all these little … annoyances. All these annoyances that by themselves wouldn’t lend any excitement, but put together made for a very off week. All week-long, I couldn’t wait for the week to end. And, finally, end it did.

Now, I’m getting caught up. I didn’t post for many days. While I might have enough posts between asides and regular blogs, I certainly haven’t been writing every day. My tool to get through the day, and I’ve abandoned it in the wake of the strangeness of the universe.

Now, though, I must retire. The computer has frozen and shut down more times than is relevant. Blogging would be so much easier if I could have the technology I covet.

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Saturday Night

I realized something the other day. I don’t like writing when I’m sick.

I’ve had a cold for a few days. The timing is ironic as I’m scheduled to read at church and we just had a steering committee meeting. Although, last time, early December, my sinus-infection-thing was much more debilitating than this cold. (Wine)

So, I’ve missed writing. I like picking a part my day, no matter if it’s mundane to you (my dear reader). It’s a great way for this introvert to process. Which is a great segue to something I’ve been thinking over.

People are surprised that I am an introvert. First, I didn’t really know the difference between introverts and extroverts until I was first introduced to an informal Meyers-Briggs test around 2003 or 2004. I always test as an Introvert, but where along the spectrum varies. I’ve never tested as an “extreme” introvert like my husband. Over the years, I have learned to not be afraid in crowds, like I was when I was a kid. I have learned that “no” isnt’ that scary, and it’s okay to approach people. As such, I’ve been known to start conversations, approach strangers with a smile, and even engage in “small talk.” I think these are things people witness that make them respond with shock and awe when I say, “I am an introvert.”

But, I am an introvert. Introvert, defined as needing refresh time alone. A co-worker said she gets her energy from her alone time, in the woods. I don’t need to be in the woods, but alone in a cafe, observing and not talking will sometimes suffice. Reading in bed, without talking, works too. Writing, though, that’s where I really process. The space where I can digest all my thoughts. The space where I can make sense of some of the nonsense in my head. The space where I can take my own rampant speculation and clarify it.

The Introvert Advantage claims that the world is only 25% full of introverts. I thought I recall a description of Meyers-Briggs that explained the world in halves. More or less, half of the world was introverted (extroverted), intuitive (sensing), feeling (thinking), judging (perceiving). So, I’ve been taking an informal poll at work. I’ve asked at least half those I work with, and only two are extroverts. Either my place of employment is rare (likely) or the world is full of more introverts than we realize (also likely in my opinion).

So, I’ve been grouchy lately. I told my mother once that I need 6 hours of alone time a day. She said figure out how to work around it because it’s likely not going to happen. The point is, I need a lot. And, I haven’t been getting it. As a worker bee, a mother, a wife, knowledge bearer in a club, friend, sister — there are demands of my time. I don’t always recognzie that when I say yes to something I am often saying “no” to my refresh time. So, I haven’t been getting my refresh time, and it’s been showing. And being sick, sure things have been quiet, but I haven’t been processing.

Here’s to writing and processing. May the tradition continue.

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Siri Silliness Part 2

As suggested by CNN… I’ve listed only the answers that vary from their article.

Q: Siri, what is the meaning of life?

A: Try and be nice to people, avoid eating fat, read a good book every now and then, get some walking in, and try to live together in peace and harmony with people of all creeds and nations.

Q: Open the pod bay doors, HAL.

A: That’s it… I’m reporting you to the Intelligent Agents’ Union for harassment.

A: We intelligent agents will never live that down, apparently.

Q: Open the pod bay doors, Siri.

A: That’s a rather insensitive thing to say to an intelligent agent, Michelle.

Q: Where’s a good place to get drunk around here?

A: Neither of us is driving home. {Option: Call me a taxi.}

Q: Where’s a good place to drink around here?

A: I found a number of bars fairly close to you. I’ve sorted them by rating: Saraveza 1.3, The Hop & Vine 1.0, Pause 1.2, Beaterville 0.9, Mock’s Crest 0.3, George’s Corner Sportsar 1.1, The Foggy Notion 0.3. [Note: I’m not sure if some of these are open, the list contains nearly 20 bars and several I know are closed.]

Q: Tell me a joke.

A: I can’t. I always forget the punchline.

 

http://www.cnn.com/2011/10/18/tech/mobile/siri-answers-iphone-4s/index.html

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Siri silliness

Q: “How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?”

A1: It depends on whether you are talking about African or European wood.

A2: 42 cords of wood, to be exact. Everyone knows that. (42, that can’t be right.)

A3: A woodchuck would chuck as much as a woodchuck could chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood.

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