Friday, August 22, 2008

Fay Update

Much to my relief, Fay didn't make quite the visit we thought she'd make earlier on this week, although she's hanging around the state forever and has been giving us days upon days of icky grey skies, misty rain, and wind. I can live with it, though.

However, my elder son was extremely disappointed the tropical storm's path veered away from us on Tuesday, as he's unburdened by worries about property damage, potential loss of life and limb, and all those other pesky adult details. He was all set with his flashlights and plans for when the power failed as it had back in the 2004 hurricane season.

As the day wore on and we didn't get much more than heavy wind and spitting rain, he became more and more frustrated. Finally I came out of the back of the house to find the entire family room dark, save for four flashlights set about the room, lighting up the ceiling.

"Sweetie? Uhm... what's going on?"

The response through gritted teeth, "I. Am having. A power outage. Mommy."

"I see. Well, that's nice. Enjoy your power outage!" as I ran to the computer stifling a bad case of the giggles.

Within five minutes, his younger brother (a.k.a. the Gum Zombie -- long story) was in front of me with his tale of woe:

"Mommy, he won't let me tuwn on any of the lights! And he's tuwned off the TV! I want to watch my cawtoons!"

"Okay honey, just go to my bedroom and you can have lights and TV there."

"Oh, GOOD!" and he scampered off gleefully.

Of course, when I went into my room later and saw the light on when it wasn't really needed I turned it off, which led to a round of "But you SAID I could have light!" "Oh you're right, sweetie... I'm sorry." and I flipped the light back on.

They're weird. I can't imagine where they get it from...

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Fay Update

Well, we've just started getting some weather bands from Tropical Storm Fay. We'll see how it goes. So far the storm appears to be moving farther east which is good for us.

If I make it through this without losing power I will be one happy camper.

Riding out the storm with Diet Coke. Opted out of boxwine as I'm not only in charge of two children but also my mother's geriatric chihuahua in addition to our Teddy and the two cats.

Hopefully the kids will leave me a can or two...

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Rezz Day

My two-year blogoversary was July 18th, and today is my first "Rezz Day" for Second Life. It's been a heckuva year.

I don't like looking at my posting for the past year and seeing how small the number is when compared to the previous year, but all things considered I'm still here. And I'm finally finding things to write about again.

I needed the break, to be honest.

I could have written more, I suppose, but the fact of the matter is that much of the past year was spent dealing with my divorce and its aftermath. This blog's primary purpose is for amusement, with some serious and/ or ranty junk thrown in here and there for good measure. Most of anything I wanted to write about was extremely ranty, and not very flattering toward my ex (well, duh... reminds me of my therapist saying I seemed very angry with my ex... for this I pay her $125/hour?). It was fairly all-consuming, and drained much of the creativity out of me for some months.

I have blog entries up at my other blog covering what I was dealing with during that time period. I've toyed with making it open access as most of the matters have been resolved more or less. But on the other hand, it hardly reflects well on my sons' father and is also admittedly rather one-sided in its perspective, so I've left it on "invitation only" status. Anyone is welcome to request an invitation, though. Just e-mail me at the g-mail address on my sidebar and I'll zap one off to you.

I've been lurking, albeit sporadically. This year brought a loss to the blogging community as Babs opted to close up shop. MonkeyGirl took a break (but is BACK!), AD's muse took a vacation but at least was hitchhiking on a back road and got picked up again. Medblog Addict is still as addicted as ever, and I'm awaiting the next doctor of the month (I think we're still at June?) with eager anticipation.

Some docs have entered the podcasting world, such as Dr. Anonymous. The llama-loving Dr. Rob is distractible as ever, much to my reading eyes' delight.

It's good to be back.


As for my first year in Second Life, well, it's been illuminating. I logged in to the grid like anyone else, and unlike many, I stayed. I'm still there, for that matter... I've just found more of a balance between Second Life and the rest of my interests. I'm now the assistant operations manager for Dublin in SL, which basically boils down to me herding DJs and handling occasional crises of smaller and larger proportions. The staff in Dublin is awesome, both hosts and DJs, and overall we have a great time. To anyone considering entering Second Life, I'd suggest going through the Dublin in SL portal. The natives are friendly (for the most part, unless you catch me before my coffee) and the virtual landscape in the three-sim area is amazing. Okay, I might be biased, but still...

Additionally, I'm an officer for Friendly Fire's group, and was able to meet Mack and Case earlier this year when they did a very rare non-virtual performance about 90 minutes from where I live. Anyone who's seen them play inworld knows the energy is amazing, but to see them performing in person is a mindblower. They love what they do and it truly shows. The adrenaline was pouring off the stage in waves, and I loved basking in the washover.

Problem was, I wasn't quite sure how to cheer without the sound effects I use in Second Life, so I had to settle for chair dancing and clapping like a maniac. "Yeehaw" might have crossed my lips a time or too, as might a "hoo" kind of noise.

And a bunch of the lunatics from both Dublin and the Friendly Fire set just threw me a "Rezz Day" party... bless their insane hearts :) I would have had this posted about 2 PM ET, but I've been being silly since then. And it was delightful. All of you (and you know who you are) ROCK!!!

I'm not going to complain. The blogoverse rocks and SL rocks. I'm so glad I've had the opportunity to meet all of you, in whatever format it's taken *hugs*

Yes, I'm occasionally a bit silly. But it was a great evening.

Effing Fay...

Oh yippie-skippie, it's hurricane season again. Fay's barreling down on the south coast of Florida, due to hit sometime Tuesday night. And of course the "cone of uncertainty" shows it hitting anywhere from the far south of our fair state up to shooting straight into Tampa Bay.

I live in the central portion of Florida, which you would think would mean that since we're inland hurricanes aren't such a worry. Well, I thought that until 2004 when Charlie, Frances, and Jeanne all criss-crossed the state and made direct freaking hits on my town. It was unbelievable.

We'll see if Tropical Storm Fay is going to organize herself better after she gets to water again. From what I can tell she's crossing over Cuba at the moment, so there's a fair stretch she'll have to gain strength and hit hurricane level.

Time to stock up on the box wine. Nothing says "get me through a hurricane" like Franzia.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Two Bite Brownies = Teh Evil

Note to Self:

When counting calories, going to Sam's Club (especially before dinner) is a Very Bad Idea.

Furthermore, complete refusal to look at the calorie listing on the two bite brownies you picked up "for the children" is just dumb.

People, just ONE of those so-called "two bite brownies" is 90 calories. That's N-I-N-E-T-Y. ARRRGH!!!!

I, of course, ate six. 540 calories, in brownies alone.

But damn they were good...

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

And Your Name Would Be...?

Since I'm the office manager/ secretary/ receptionist/ accounts receivable/ accounts payable/ go-fer/ light-duty janitor/ anything else they can come up with type of employee, one of the little things I get to do at work is answer the phone. This can be amusing when a sales person calls, particularly the copier supply sales folks. They call expecting to get some high school child who will just get them the model number from the front of the copier which will then enable them to be even more sneaky when they call back acting as if we have some sort of account with them for supplies, maintenance, etc.

Instead they get me.

"Good morning -- InsertRandomInitialsHere Architects!" Yes, I do sound this chipper. Without adequate caffeination it's a strain, but I manage.

"Yes, honey, could you please just get us the number from the front of your copier? That's called the model number, dear. We're just updating our files and need your current equipment listing," is the general cheerful response.

"What company are you calling from?"

"We're your toner supplier," as the tone markedly cools.

"I need the name of your company, please," as my uber-chipper voice slips into a lower register with shades of teacher-voice creeping in.


Well, it's either they slam down the phone (yes, they really DO slam it, without fail... it's ridiculous really), or I tell them "We have a local contract," and THEN they slam it down.

I'm not rude. I'm not even toying with them... although I could if the urge grabbed me. I don't know what goes on at their companies that makes them behave like preschoolers or drunken monkeys. Perhaps they have a quota of model numbers they have to collect, perhaps they're just told to make us regret refusing to give them the model number, but every single "copy supply" sales call, bar NONE, does this.

On another phone note, for those of you who call offices on a regular basis hoping to speak with someone beyond the reception desk, please identify yourself and state the nature of your business when you call. This avoids us playing the twenty-questions game as I try to determine if you're some sort of sales representative (no, you may not speak to him as he's on about twelve deadlines now), a client (he's on your deadline, of course you may speak to him), or a consultant (he needs to speak to you so he can make this deadline, we've been waiting to hear from you for ten days now).

If you speak to me daily or even weekly, this usually mitigates the need for you to state your business but for the love of Pete, folks, identify yourself. No, I don't care if I've known you for twenty years. Just. State. Your. Damn. Name.

It can even be quite casual:
"Hey Amanda, this is Mike, may I speak to [insert usual suspect's name here]?"
"Heya hon, this is Joe, is [yet another usual suspect's name] in?"
or one of my personal favorites,
"Good morning. This is Mr. Client Name. Is he awake yet?"

This just isn't that difficult. I speak to countless people in a week, and although I might know your voice on the phone from time to time, chances are the pitch and timbre of your voice are just similar enough to someone else's (father-son contractor companies, this especially means you) that the likelihood of me misidentifying you is still rather high.

My own mother identifies herself when she calls. And I'd say of all people calling, she has the voice I'm most likely to recognize.

So please use some simple phone ettiquette. It's either that or I'm going to rename all of you "Bob."

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Wha... huh?

Heya folks!

I know it's been awhile. I've been tied up with new puppydom (Teddy is doing marvelously and is right at 3 lbs. at the moment), the start of the school year (year-round here for one more school year), and well, the general basic facets of life. Combine that with a very small bit of a social life -- yes, I'm dating -- and other obligations and *poof!* you have a languishing blog.

The huge downside of this is that the quality of my writing now totally sucks. Urrrgh. Oh well, in time...
First up, at the moment my focus is my weight. Skip this part if you don't want a detailed analysis of what I've eaten over the past 48 hours or so.

I've mentioned previously that I lost a fairly significant amount of weight over the past couple of years (over 40 lbs.), and I've kept it off for the past year. I had a brief dip into the 140's toward the end of last year due life stress issues, but other than that it's pretty much stabilized right in the low 150's. Not bad, all things considered. According to just about everything I read I'm at a healthy weight for my height and bone structure (5'-7", small-medium frame), so that's all well and good.

However, I can also reasonably chop a few more pounds off my body and am attempting to do so at this time because a) my younger sister is getting married at the beginning of November up in New York City. I'm the Matron of Honor (or whatever the name is for the twice-divorced elder sister of the bride *eyeroll*), the most elderly of all the attendants, and the hell if I'm going to be waltzing down that aisle in my periwinkle bridesmaid's dress with a caboose the size of a small island nation; and b) the holiday season is fast approaching, and I will eat what I want to at the holiday gatherings, dammit.

Regarding the caboose comment: even though I'm a so-called "healthy weight", I am a classic pear shape. "Baby Got Back" is my theme song. I swear to you, I had pneumonia back when I was 16 years old which caused my weight to drop to 108 lbs. I was hollow-cheeked, flat-chested, and STILL I had this backside. So, erm... yeah, it's pretty non-negotiable.

However, the less I weigh the smaller it gets -- all things are proportional -- so I'll be working to slim down a bit more before that momentous occasion. By my calculations, I can lose from twelve to eighteen pounds by the wedding (and another 4-8 lbs by the holidays, depending on which specific holiday you're tracking) if I keep my average daily calorie intake around 1200.

Brutal? Yep. I'm a fan of food, quite frankly, and keeping my calories right around 1200 for me tends to look something like this:

Yes, I am this Type-A about it. This is my spreadsheet.

I know it's heavy on the cheese, processed foods, and you'll also notice there's some ice cream I sneaked in at the end of the day that pushed me over my total allowable calories by 65. But all in all, it isn't terrible. I have vegetables in there, protein... eh, it could be much worse.

Kind of like today's is much worse (and bear in mind, I haven't even had dinner yet):

So... erm... yeah. Doable, but brutal, especially when I decide on the deep-fried lunch option. At this point I have precisely 263 calories left to consume today, whereas yesterday prior to my departure from the office I still had 335 calories remaining.

The last column on the spreadsheet is my water consumption. Yesterday I had 3 32oz. cups of water. Today I'm at 4. I'm not sure if it's an increase in sodium from what I ate at lunch or what. I somehow doubt the sodium has caused my increased thirst, as the foods I'm eating even on a good day are processed to hell and back and already contain PLENTY of sodium. I'm also discounting the caffeine from the coffee today, since the one thing I don't tabulate on this spreadsheet is my Diet Coke intake.

Don't ask on that. You so do not want to know.

But anyway, the point to this is that today I'm sucking down water like a sponge whereas I didn't yesterday. I'm thirstier today. It could be due to the change in the food I've consumed, or it could just be my body deciding it liked yesterday's water, so it figures even more water today would be a fine idea.

Something else I'm tracking is that I skipped my snack this morning, then caved and went all crazy at lunch. I've only been charting this for two days so far, but experience has taught me that when I skip the mid-morning food, I tend to eat more at lunch. I need to watch that.

In other news, Sunday night my elder son ran up to me yelling, "Mommy! He broke a legal contract!" while pointing at his younger brother.

A legal contract? Let's see this...

Now bear in mind that all afternoon the boys had been very peacefully playing together with their stuffed dog toys. It was a bit strange as usually the elder isn't so interested in playing with the younger, but it wasn't totally out of the realm of normal behaviour, so I didn't think much about it beyond "oh, how sweet."

Fond, foolish mother that I am.

I was handed a piece of paper, the afore-referenced "contract", painstakingly hand-written by my elder son which said, in essence, that the younger child agreed if his older brother would play "puppies" with him during the afternoon, the younger would wrestle with the elder in the evening.

The five-year-old's refusal to wrestle his elder brother is what constituted the breach of contract.

It's also what kept the five-year-old out of trouble, because one thing the boys aren't allowed to do is wrestle. They've done it before, and it gets out of hand instantly... and they know this.

The nine-year-old, on the other hand, was so incredibly busted.

Lesson for the day, my dear son: never put proof of your planned misdeeds in writing.

(But dang, it was funny... heh)