Thursday, March 30, 2006

One chicken, two chicker .... stop that!

Don't count your chickens before they're hatched. However ...

I think the interview went pretty well. The job ad that I saw did not mention that they were looking for someone with Windows certs. But, they were hoping to get someone with Windows certs. They didn't focus on that for very long though. I think I came off pretty strongly. I even offered up some well received security recommendations for some situations that came up off handedly. I won't go into details, but I think I scored quite a bit on at least one observation and one suggestion.

Now, here's hoping that no one else came off as well AND that they can afford me. They have a good sized IT staff, and the position reports directly to the CIO. So, it their salaries are at all competitive, it could work out just fine.

... three chicken, four chicken... STOP THAT! (grin)

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Me, Obsess?

OK. Today is the day. I took off from work to get myself in the right mind-set and to make final preparations for THE interview. I will definitely post tomorrow on how I felt it went.

I have been exercising somewhat regularly. I have gone back to using exercise bike to as dedicated fiction-reading time. That is a pretty good motivator for me.

As of this morning I am down THIRTY POUNDS since the beginning of the year. I am very pleased with myself on that front. My short term goal is to drop another nine pounds in the next month (before our vacation). While this may seem pretty ambitious, I will feel so much better about being lax with my diet on vacation if I can hit that milestone first.

Since I have been stressing about my current job, THE interview, school, my weight, my finances, and the price of tea in China (not really but you get the idea), I decided to treat myself to an "unwind day" tomorrow. I'll be spending the morning at a day spa getting a body wrap and a facial. Really looking forward to that. Unfortunately, I'll need to lose a bit of ground on the serenity front in the afternoon meeting a deadline for some school work. Still. Spahhhhhhhh.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Serious Study Weekend

My interview with the hospital is on Wednesday. I plan to spend the better part of this weekend prepping for it. I have a lot of reading materials on HIPAA. And, I need to take some policies and procedures that I've written for my current job and transform them into a shareable format (ie., no protected information can be revealed).

Several people from the office have offered to write me letters of recommendation. And, while I'm nervous about this interview, many of my friends have been VERY supportive. Thanks, folks!

I also applied for another health-related IT job on Friday morning before leaving for work. The recruiter contacted me within the hour!!! I am hoping to snag an interview out of that one once the hiring manager has reviewed my resume. While it would be a great opportunity, I'm looking at it as a "backup job" to the hospital position.

Come on Karma Fairies, help me out here. Don't you think I'm due after 5.5 years in my current (withholding all the negative adjectives) job?

Saturday, March 18, 2006

No guts, no glory

I'm prepping for an interview with a hospital in 10 days. The postion would be in charge of data privacy and security for the entire hospital, including creation of policies and training staff. This is exactly the job I went back to school for. However, I thought I'd have to go to school for two more years to be qualified. I'm kind of stressing about it. But, no guts - no glory.

Trying to look at the interview as an opportunity to see what such a job would actually require. On the other hand, I REALLY want the job. On the other other hand, it might be frightening to actually get it and have to live up to that responsibility. Plus, I'm pretty sure that the salary is going to be pretty pathetic, and I can't take that big of a pay cut right now. The plan was to take the cut in two years. Then again, jobs like these don't grow on trees in my neck of the woods. (Oh, and it's less than ten minutes from my house.)

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Child proof silliness

I'm sure we've all had at least one frustrating experience with a child-proof medicine cap. The joke is, "if you want to get into a child-proof bottle, just ask a child to open it for you." In point of fact, I know a number of kids that can easily open those things. It's a skill they pick up around age 5 or 6, I think.

Today, I was trying to open such a bottle. It contained lactase tablets, a necessity for those of us who can't ingest milk products without dire side effects. Since I didn't have my glasses on, I was having a hard time lining up the arrows on the cap and bottle. Then, out of the haze of my frustration, it occured to me. Why do lactase tablets need to be child-proofed? If a child were to get into a bottle and ingest all of them, what would happen to them? From what I've read online it's nearly impossible to "overdose" on an enzyme.

Maybe we should put child-proof tops on other things, like alcoholic beverages or high sugar breakfast cereals. Then again, as I joked earlier, most kids over the age of 6 can get into that packaging without a problem.

Maybe what we really needs is adult-proof packaging. What things is it ok for kids to have and not adults? OK, I'm back to the high sugar breakfast cereals for starters. How about anything high in sugar, fat, sodium, or cholesterol. Think about it: adult-proof bacon packaging!!! Adult-proof pickle jars.

What if it were suddenly ilegal for anyone over the age of 21 to buy food that was bad for you. Imagine going to the grocery store and trying to buy a half gallon of Starbucks Espresso Ice Cream. The cashier asks you for ID to prove that you are under 21. Or, anticipating this, you hand your child the money and the booty in the frozen food aisle and ask them to go purchase it for you.

When K and I went out for ice cream on Friday night, he remembered that I was both on a diet and lactose intollerant. As I started to eat my "no sugar added" treat, he suddenly looked at me very seriously and asked, "Are you allowed to have that?" I justified it with its low sugar content, and also noted that I'd taken some lactase before hand. He was somewhat satisfied, but he still gave me a bit of a disapproving glance.

Our kids always act like they know more than us. Wouldn't it be funny if they were the gatekeepers for our unhealthy consumptive habbits?

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Happy 25th!

Another reason to smile today: When I got on the scale this morning, I had officially dropped 25 pounds since the first of the year. That also means that I'm a third of the way to my goal. Hooray!

Rainy days make me smile

Mondays still suck, but I really love a rainy night (or a rainy day).

I was having a particularly loathsome day yesterday, and was sucked into doing work in the evening as well after an extremely annoying after hours call from my CEO. However, as I was crawling off to bed (nearly literally since I was exhausted) I heard the sound of thunder and rain pounding against the house. It made me smile. It also made me a little sad since I love to lay in bed and listen to the sounds of a storm. But, I knew that I would be unconscious within seconds of hitting the bed. And, I was.

So, this morning I got up and exercised (yeah me!). Did some more on my after hours work project, and hit the road for the office. It was still rainy and a little foggy. It was the kind of day that I love to enjoy from the comfort of my couch. I really do LOVE to sit at home alone in my sweats and enjoy a dreary day. I don't know what it is about rainy days that comfort and envelope me in a feeling of oneness with the universe.

After the extra hours that I've put in the last few days, my manager was surprised to see me in the office today. He thought I would have stayed home. Maybe I should have. But, I'm still devoted enough to my job and wedded to my professionalism that I wasn't the least bit inspired to declare a mental health day today.

Maybe it'll rain tomorrow too!

Saturday, March 11, 2006

A much-needed lost couple of days

Friday morning I woke up feeling nasty (no need to obsess about the ugly details). I spent 40 minutes having a discussion with myself over the pros and cons of going to work. I lost the argument, and went in. After being there for about two hours, I completed all the critical daily tasks and decided that I had put in a good effort and it was time to go.

So, I arrived home in time to change my clothes and spend most of the overcast day watching a Firefly marathon on the Science Fiction channel. I laid on the couch with one kitty or another. I wasn't much for eating, but I ate diet-appropriate food when I did. After K came home, we ran a couple of errands. After dinner, we went out for ice cream (I had the no-sugar-added variety).

Saturday, I opted not to go to my class in the morning. I lounged about the house some more. In the afternoon, we all went to the park and took a short walk to enjoy the unseasonably mild temperatures (low sixties, if a might windy). A few small projects got some work done on them in the afternoon. Then, Ben and I made an appearance at his office party.

On Sunday, I exercised, skipped church and did most of this week's school work.

This was exactly what I needed. I may be able to tolerate another couple of weeks of work without killing anyone. I am thinking about taking a planned day off in a couple of weeks though. I'm thinking of visiting a day spa.

I wasn't completely work-free this weekend. I have spent several hours assisting with a crisis that no one else perceived as a crisis. I suppose I still care enough to joust at the windmills. But, it is getting tiresome.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Not so bad, but the Tao is there.

So, the pound I gained when I checked my weight on Monday was gone this morning, and it took a friend with it. It's a good practice: go on a trip, take a friend along. I still plan on getting up early tomorrow for another stint on the exercise bike.

Last quarter, K brought home a MOST EXCELLENT report card. He earned A's in every subject. His school calls this 'high honors'. The accomplishment ended months of grounding for a plethora of infractions and poor decisions. Unfortunately, he came home with a problematic mid-quarter progress report yesterday. His old nemesis, "missing work", reared its ugly head. So, he is back in the dog house. We're all frustrated with this very familiar situation. So, B and I are trying to arrange a conference with one of the school counselors. Maybe they can offer up some new potential solutions to combat the "missing work" monster.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Better late than never? Part 2: The good

On the flip side of my last post are the current things that are making me smile.

B and I finally watched all the episodes of Firefly this weekend. We've been meaning to do that for months. What a great show! I feel like I need to write a personal appology to Joss Whedon for not supporting the show when it was originally on. I thought K would want to watch it with us since he was a big Angel and Buffy fan. He was initially not interested. However, I told him about some of the characters and plots, and now he's interested. I suspect he'll be absconding with the DVDs this weekend. We also have the movie, Serenity, which we'll probably watch Sunday night as a family.

To combat my guilt over the weight gain, I set the alarm for 30 minutes early this morning. And, I finally made my way down to my dingy unheated basement to commune with the exercise bike. I only rode for 20 minutes, but that was better than nothing. And, it felt pretty good. Hopefully, I can get back into the routine or riding a couple of mornings a week.

Better late than never? Part 1: The uglies

I haven't posted in a few days because I couldn't come up with anything positive to write about. After my last post I thought it would seem hypocritical to whine and moan. Unfortunately, that's where I still am.

I gained a pound this week. First time since I started the diet. I know exactly why, and I know I'll bounce back. However, it still sucks. So, to turn this particular frown upside down, I'll try to focus on the fact that I am still down twenty two pounds since the first of the year.

I haven't had any job interviews in a while, and I feel like the recruiters I am working with just aren't cutting in. They talk a good game, but their results stink. I am so amazingly under motivated at my current job. There are two things that keep me from calling in "sick". First, there's the fact that I'd just have to do all of that day's work the next day. Then, there's the fact that I'm trying not to miss any time that I don't have to so that I don't feel guilty for the time I plan to miss going out on interviews.

I guess it's not too bad. Only those two things are really irking me.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Life's a beach!

What is good in life? "To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of the women!" - Conan the Barbarian, 1982

OK. Maybe not. But, it is a great quote.

While it is easier to write about what is NOT good in my life, I thought it would be refreshing to spend a few minutes focusing on what IS good in my life.

The main things:

  • My spouse - who is patient and forgiving of me
  • My son - who is smart, courteous and upbeat
  • My cats - one of whom is sweet and the other who is silly

Things that make me smile:

  • Watching familiar movies over and over again
  • Listening to favorite tunes in the car and singing along, even though I sing horribly
  • Colorful skies during sunrise or sunset
  • The combination of a warm bed, a pain free back, and a good night's sleep (hard to obtain, making it all the more appreciated)
  • Quoting favorite movies with good friends
  • Soaking in a hot tub
  • Being able to make people laugh
  • Playing word games
  • Fresh salmon sushi that melts in your mouth
  • The sound of the surf on the beach

I need to remember all these things when transitory annoyances threaten to ruin my overall outlook. Good things and bad things happen in life. What's important is who you are at the core of your being. I am striving for that core to be a person with a positive outlook and a love of the wonders of life. That is my beach. The rest is just the surf that comes and goes and comes again.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Solar delays

One of the things I check in the morning is the Route 3 traffic status. This morning's report amused me because the situation has happened a lot lately. I just love that the traffic site has qualified the phenomenon:

Rte. 3 South (NH Line to I-495)
Slow traffic between Exit 35: Rte. 113 and Exit 31: Rte. 110. Pockets of congestion. Solar delays.

I admit, having the sun suddenly in my eyes can make me slow down. However, I have gotten used to which parts of my journey will be impacted by this issue during which times of day. I usually make sure that my sun glasses are on and that my sun visor is in place.

I just have to assume that most other drivers are amateurs who can't remember things from day to day. I come to expect a sea of tail lights near the "solar delay impact zones".

Any way. I've delayed the start of yet another wretched day at my current job long enough. I hope the "delay" has lessened the impact of the "solar delays".

New England mornings and car confessions

It has been so cold the last week or so, that I go start my car at least twenty minutes before I plan to leave. I am not really a morning person. So, having to wait for the car to warm up gives me the excuse I need to screw around on my computer before venturing off to the office (to screw around on the computer there).

In the morning, I typically read some of the headlines, check out the weather, look through my email for anything intriguing, put in a couple of turns on It's Your Turn, visit my friends' blogs, and maybe (like now) add something to my own blog.

Prior to this "screwing off", I usually pack my lunch. This involves cleaning and cutting up veggies, putting them in Ziploc bags, putting the bags in my messenger bag, and trying to insure that my nutty cat can't pull the bags out and run off with them while I'm not guarding my stuff. This last bit is no small feat, mind you. I can't tell you how many times I've started to eat lunch when I realized that I'm missing a Ziploc bag of something.

Sometimes, I'll take most of my stuff out to the car after I've made my lunch, just to avoid the potential thievery of parts of it. I am trying to get into the habit of bring an arm load of trash back in from the car to put in the kitchen trash can. My car is my sanctuary. I have at least fifty CDs tossed about the vehicle. Also, the passenger foot well behind the driver's seat is usually busting with trash. Typically, soda cans, water bottles, and Starbucks coffee cups.

My car is such a disorganized sty that I am embarrassed to have a non-family member ride in it. I don't go out to lunch much with people from the office. When I do, I always try to make sure that someone else is going to drive. My initial tactic is to say that I'm not sure how to get to the restaurant. If pressed I will usually confess that my car is an utter mess and that there really isn't room for more than one passenger (assuming that we're going in a group of three or more).

Note to self: This is silly. I need to clean the car out and keep it cleaner.