Wednesday, December 28, 2016

At Years End

It's been a long and strange year.

I worked way too much. We had what amounted to being the perfect storm at work. We had three major projects, all on tight timelines, all with hard deadlines, all driven by external forces. I had the lead role on one of the projects and a key secondary role on another. Between the two of them but they ate much of the year.  The level of work stress was nearly unbearable. But, here it is the end of the year, the last of the projects is coming to a close, and it looks like I'm going to make it.

That workload had cascading affects into my personal life. One of the things that lives in the nature of what I do, project management, is that a lot of it is intellectual work. You spend a lot of time thinking about what is going on. You cannot turn off that level of thought, that depth, that complexity. Even when you're not working your brain keeps working. Sometimes consciously and sometimes unconsciously.

That is where the cascade begins. You start to shave off the corners of your life one tiny sliver at a time. You skip dinner here. You skip coffee there. You miss first this get together of your friends and then that one. Before you know it you're so show map resembles a small town more than an urban Metropolis. That's where I found myself about three quarters into the year. It wasn't a pleasant place to be.

Now, I'm in eternal optimist and I'm basically a happy person. Neither one of those core traits changes. Even through the tough times I'm a happy optimist. But that level of readjustment in social contacts does have its impacts and I felt them.

In addition to them this year had several other key social hits that took a toll. I won't enumerate them here mostly because of my rule about taking other peoples business onto the street. Don't do it.

So I'm kind of stumbling out of the year in a state of borderline exhaustion. But that optimist in me is looking forward to the coming year. Perfect storms only happen rarely so work wise the coming year should be far more graceful. I've spent the last week contemplating what different actions I'm going to take next year and I've got a good rough sketch of what I need to do. Wish me luck.

May all beings know happiness and be free from suffering.

Sent from my iPhone

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

An Oblivion Evening

Well, it was a so-so day today at the office.  There were a few too many meetings and I burned out about mid-way through the day.  Somethings were accomplished, some were not and tomorrow we get to go through the whole dance again! 

I've spent a quiet evening here tonight, mostly watching Oblivion (Tom Cruise, Olga Kurylenko) from the DVR, which I captured off of FX on the DVR.  It's an entertaining movie - it's basically "only Tom Cruise can save the world from Tom Cruise", which cracks me up to no end.  I am a little tired tonight since I didn't sleep long enough last night and had a slow and choppy start to the morning.

On the plus side I was able to sleep a solid six hours and sleep on my side for the first time in just a little over three weeks.  The sprain under my ribs has mostly healed and there is only a bit of residual discomfort.  It took about as long as such things to take to heal and I should be back to 100% by the end of the week.  I think I made it through the entire day today without taking an Ibuprofen, though I will probably take one tonight just to make sure I sleep comfortably.

I finally picked a window for my vacation - November 12th through the 18th.  I will make the travel arrangements tomorrow and see what it all shapes up as.  I am planning on going to South Dakota for five or six days - I wanted to hold the last weekend in reserve so I can get back to California and enjoy a bit of staycation.  So, on that note, I am going to wrap it up and curl up with a book.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Ending Monday

It was a steadily busy day at the Evil Corporation. I got some things done and on some days some things are the best you can ask for.  I wrapped up work a little while and watched the middle of the Two Towers while waiting for Lucifer to come on.  I really enjoy the TV series Lucifer, great entertainment, funny and filled with beautiful people.  I give it two thumbs up.

A Cool And Windy Morning

It's a cool morning with a brisk wind from the south here in this part of California. It's the sort of wind that seems to be promising rain but according to the weather app on my iPhone there isn't any expected until tonight.  Wouldn't be the first time that a weather forecast was wrong though.

As I've been healing from the incostal sprain that I wrote about earlier I hit a milestone last night.  It was the first night that I was able to sleep on my side.  I am naturally a side sleeper so it was nice. I feel like I've gotten my first good night sleep in three weeks.  There was some discomfort but nothing major and certainly not enough to prevent me from dropping off into dreamland pretty smoothly.

It's a full work week ahead of me, a five day week.  I have mentioned before that we work a 9/80 schedule with every other Friday off.  Last Friday was my day off so I am just wrapping up a three day weekend.  It was a good weekend, very slow, very easy and very relaxing.

I went out and saw "Keeping Up With The Joneses" down at AMC 14 in Saratoga Sunday afternoon.  It was light and entertaining, with a great little cast.  I wouldn't run out at see it, but if you're looking for a pleasant bit of time at an enjoyable movie then it is worth it.

I'm not really ready to take up the work mantle yet, but that is partly why I am sitting here drinking a cup of coffee and trying to ease deliberately into the day. 

I haven't watched the Walking Dead yet, though I may watch it soon enough.  Sadly, I think the series jumped the shark last year and I just couldn't work any enthusiasm up for it's return. They drug out the appearance of Negan so long and then they didn't deliver in the last episode - and that was enough to lose me.  I was a fairly loyal fan, but they stretched that out.  It will be curious to see how this season goes over all.

My nephew, whom I live with, watched it last night and spent part of the morning telling me what happened.  It was okay and not a spoiler because, like I mentioned above, the series kind of lost me last year.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Sprained Intercostal Muscle

Okay - let me tell you the story of my injury.

A little over two weeks ago I was looking at a clean weekend and so my plan was to dedicate some serious hours to fall cleaning.  Saturday started out fine.  I moved some furniture around, emptied a few things out, then started the lovely task of shampooing the carpet.  I bought a new carpet cleaner (lighter and stronger) and I was definitely impressed with the results.  I had finished about two thirds of the carpet, opened all the doors and windows to let it dry, then headed outside to take a walk.

I must have had some residual soap on my shoes.  I turned out the door and started down the steps and BOOM down I went.  As I recall my left foot shot out first and my right foot was perched on the edge of the stair.  When I shifted my weight (all in the blink of an eye) to the right foot - zoom out it went.  I had a hold of the guardrail, but I still went down fairly hard.

As I fell, because of the grip on the handrail, I twisted to the left.  I am still not sure of the choreography of the fall since it happened so quickly.  I ended up about a third of the way down the stairs, sitting with my back to the wall.  I got right up and I knew that I had whacked myself pretty good - both due to the twisting and the impact on that stairs to my butt.

Nothing was broken, but it was all sore.  As Saturday progressed into Sunday it got stiffer, it tightened up and began to intermittently spasm. Monday and Tuesday were the worst.  As long as I was sitting down, as long as I was not moving, I was fine.  But any torso movement ran the risk of touching off a wicked muscle spasm in my left intercostal muscles, under the rib cage, at about the height of the kidneys.

I was moving very slow and very cautiously, but the slightest twist, often without warning and the spasm would very nearly send me to my knees.  I figured out how to lie down - I would place a stack of pillows against the wall, then kind of sit, leaning back against the pillows, then gradually slide down until I was laying flat on my back.  It was a pretty involved process, but it worked.

Getting out of bed was a whole other story.  Normally, I roll to the right and sit up.  Rolling triggered a muscle spasm. Sitting up triggered a muscle spasm.  Monday and Tuesday were horrible days.  I could get up by rolling over onto my right side, firmly grabbing the edge of the bed, and slowly pushing myself up. It was a painful event wracked by spasm after spasm until I would finally manage to get upright.

It was a fairly rough week.  Once I was up and moving I was okay and sitting in the Lazy Boy chair was fine.  A couple of nights I slept at least part of the night in the sitting position in the chair in the living room.  A little over two weeks have passed since the injury and I am doing well.  There is still some residual soreness, but thank heaven the spasms are gone. I can pretty cleanly get in and out of bed.

About the only thing I can't do is sleep on my side - and I am normally a side-sleeper.  I am getting tired of sleeping on my back. I do not sleep as well or as deeply as I do on my side. I snore - I am sure I'm raising the roof because sometimes I wake up and my entire mouth is dried out. I am up to the point where I can sleep a solid six hours or so, which is sufficient, but I am still looking forward to getting a good nights sleep,

So, in closing, let me just say - sprained intercostal muscles are no fun! Be prepared to sleep like a vampire - flat on your back with your arms crossed.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Relaxing and Reading

I can see it has been a long time since I've written here. 

Let me tell you a little bit about the day.  It has been a pretty good weekend, which I have spent mostly in just relaxing as best I can.  It wasn't particularly productive, but sometimes the best weekends are not.

I woke this morning to a gentle California rain - our first of the year - and it was very nice.  It rained off and on through out the day so it made it perfect for a low key kind of day.  I woke up about four AM, then napped a bit before heading out and having breakfast with Tyrone and Bob - our usual routine.  After breakfast we dropped Tyrone off and then stopped at home depot so Bob could get some potting soil.  He bought a trio of Peace Lilies for his house yesterday and underestimated the amount he needed for three pots.  I picked up a new indoor/outdoor temperature thing for the apartment.  My old one finally gave up the ghost.

From there, I circled home.  I stopped at Rite Aid and picked up some odds and ends for the week ahead before scurrying back into shelter as waves of rain passed through.  It was not a hard rain, just a slow constant soft rain.  I spent the afternoon watching some television - The Revenant, then taking an hour long nap.  An early dinner was a cheeseburger at Five Guys, then home to watch a couple of episodes of Expedition Unknown before settling in for the Simpsons.  I am going to go to bed early tonight to read myself to sleep, which I haven't done in a while.

So, on that note, let me wrap it up for the night here and get on with the relaxing and reading part.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Project Madness

So much for my resolution to get out here and post more!  I picked a bad time to return to trying and posting regularly. Things at work are extremely busy (even at this moment I am way behind the curve).  I've been working sixty plus hour weeks and it is taking it's toll.  I did manage to get some recovery done over the weekend by taking a pair of long naps (three or four hours) each day and making the effort to just simply relax.

It helped, but Monday is always a trying day and I ran out of motivation about six hours into the day. I've got about sixteen interrelated projects running right now, all in support of a much larger project.  No project in and of itself is that vexing, it is just the sheer volume.  One of the challenges we face is trying to hit a constantly moving target - as an organization we struggle to get requirements locked down and have to constantly redesign as we move.  It makes for agility, but as a company we're not appropriately staffed or managed for that level of agility.  It is primarily the fault of upper management, who is rather clueless on what is required to integrate software platforms.

Well, I must have needed that little vent.  Outside of work everything is going well enough - granted it is because there isn't a lot of "outside of work" right now. Each day I make some small headway in personal things, so it counts.

All of this has me contemplating retirement sooner rather than later.  I was just daydreaming of sitting on a porch somewhere in South Dakota and sipping a cold beer.  It would be nice to have control of my days again.  Of course, the way it works, once I get through the project madness and things fall back into some semblance of normality that urge to retire will recede somewhat.  Realistically speaking I'd like to keep working for a year or two more to build up my cash cushion for unexpected events.  Income wise, I could go now, and I do have a cash cushion. I'd just like for it to be a little more cushiony!

I keep thinking about starting a new blog, a little more focused then this one.  It's an idea that I have been toying with for a while.  I reckon I will keep toying with it.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

An Evening Watching The Bastards Battle

It was a very lazy Sunday which was appreciated after the busy Saturday. I met Tyrone for breakfast, then we swung by Fry's Electronics so he could pick up some DVDs. After that we drop the coffee table off at the donation center. I circled home from there and just pretty much spent a lazy day relaxing.

I watched the latest episode of Penny Dreadful, napped, read a bit, popped out to Stevens Creek Surplus and picked up a couple pairs of pants. Then Tom and I got take out chicken and watched the most recent episode of Game of Thrones – Battle of the Bastards. It is just such an awesome show.

The rest of the evening is going to be simple and I'm going to wind it down quietly.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Simplicity on Saturday

You would think, given how long I've been at it, that I don't have much left to do in terms of simplicity. You would be wrong. I swear to God that there must be some kind of quantum vortex in my apartment. The more stuff I get rid of the more stuff appears.

I met Bob for breakfast (Blackstone Eggs Benedict) and the circled home looking forward to a simple day. Then, I made a fateful mistake. Since my nephew Tom was out for the day I thought I'd go into the spare bedroom where he stays and open the windows all the way to get a good breeze blowing through the whole apartment. It was like an episode of "Destination Unknown".

Now, to be fair, it wasn't all his stuff - part of it was mine, because I'd used the spare room for storage and as kind of a junk catcher. Twelve 30 gallon trash bags later and I'd pretty ruthlessly purged a whole lot of stuff. There was some stuff I did keep, mostly piled on the couch right now, small things of assorted value. The rest of its gone now.

One of the things that dawned on me as I was tackling the formidable task was this. Since Tom moved in with me I've really only gone into the spare bedroom a couple of times, usually to retrieve a specific item or two. Almost everything in there has completely failed the six month test. Almost everything in there can and should go, destined for the trash bin or the donation bin. Most of it (except the books) are not even worthy of the donation bin.

Fortunately I like cleaning. I find it to be very zen. The path to simplicity is also very zen. So you can chalk today up as a very zen day. Twelve bags of zen.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Friday's Quick Note

It has been a very busy week at work. I'm in the middle of user acceptance testing on a block release and planning a very major project. That has resulted in some long days. I'm hoping today is quiet and productive.

Other than that things are going fairly well. We had a couple of very cool days, which was very nice. Got a little bit of heat coming back in over the weekend but it will be perfect summer weather. I definitely need to get out and do something. There are a set of exhibits up at the Cantor Art Museum in Stanford. I think I'll head up there over the weekend and check them out.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

A Good Solid Day

Today was a productive unproductive day at work. What do I mean by that? I didn't really get anything accomplished but I did manage to move some things forward. I've been trying to focus this week on getting my arms around everything that needs to be done. To that and I've been diving into the details and figuring out or making sure that we have everything that needs to be down on the table. What bites you in project management generally tend to be the things you don't know about. They tend to be small details I just got rolled over as the bigger picture was painted.

On the personal side it was a pretty good day. Nothing exciting. Nothing fantastic. Just a good solid day.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Some Forward Movement

I'm almost finished with figuring out and documenting one of the critical path processes on a project at work so I thought I'd take a breather and write an entry here. It doesn't pull me out of the woods, but it is a good step forward.  I am focused on trying to get out of the woods this week - and if not out of the woods then at least to a place where I can see the end of the woods. All in all the day hasn't been the most productive, but it has been productive enough that I really don't have anything to complain about.

Other than that, it has been a very nice day here.  The weather is warm, but only into the low eighties, so I have no space to complain there.  The air conditioner is doing a great job of keeping the living room nice and cool and the bedroom is only slightly muggy.  The new fan I've got does a great job of keeping the air circulating, so good in fact that I might scrap my old fan and get a new one of the type.

Tom made a run to pick up lunch, so that was nice, though I may question his choice of places to go. (Tom is my adult nephew who lives with me due to medical issues.)

It is a little later in the day then I thought it was, so I'm going to pivot back over and finish up the item I am working on in a few minutes and then, once that is finished and sent off, I am going to call it an end to the working day.  I also made some progress in cleaning and minimizing the living room this morning, while on teleconferences.

I was used to living alone for a long time, which is really nice since the only messes are your own.  Since Tom moved in it's been a bit of a struggle to find a new happy medium.  Adding people to any living space isn't simple addition, it is more along the lines of multiplication, at least when it comes to the incidental things that get left laying about and new to be picked up or put away if you're trying to keep a clean flat surface run in place.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

A Better Sunday

Today was a better day than yesterday. Yesterday was a rough one. I had a good enough time but that heat was kind of brutal. It was hotter on Friday but Saturday was far more muggy. Sleep was almost impossible. I tossed and turned through the whole night and probably only got about 4 or 5 hours of real sleep.

I did have a nice lunch on Saturday. I met Don at Molly Maguire's over in Santana Row. I had a chorizo omelette which was excellent. All in all it was a very pleasant lunch. But, the heat descended, and the rest of the day was just unpleasant.

Today's heat only climbed up into the mid 80s. The air conditioner was able to fend it off. I had breakfast with Bob at the Hickory pit, then ran my morning errands and got my grocery shopping done and was home by noon. I spent the rest of the day inside, in the air conditioning, just relaxing and enjoying the day.

I got my bills paid. I had picked up a new fan at Orchard Supply Hardware and I got that set up. With two fans running I'm able to get better circulation through the apartment and I'm hoping he pulls the evening temperature down enough for a comfortable night sleep. It is cooling off rapidly now.

I've got a lot of work ahead of me this week and I really need to get focused and knock things off. I've been struggling in that area in part due to many interruptions. One of the things that happens at work that vexes me all the time is we have a tendency to set up the project schedule at a level that's doable and then pour other projects on top of it which eat up the time and pull the focus away. If there was one change I could make in the work environment with a magic wand I would grant us the ability to lock the schedule. Then I would jump on my flying pig and zoom around the room. Both are about as likely to happen.

So, here's hoping for a good night sleep and a good week ahead.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

A Little Too Work Busy

Work has been very busy and when it gets like that it causes me to shave the edges off my personal life.  I don't always like that, but I do the benefits that come from work (income, etc.).  I can't complain in that arena, so I work.

It has been hot here this week, so in the evenings I've been binge watching Penny Dreadful and am now officially caught up with this season.

Other than that, life is moving smoothly and easily.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The Water Diviner

Okay, I've got a good recommendation for a movie I passed on in the theatres because the marketing campaign just wasn't compelling enough for me to put it on my list. Then, I recorded it on the DVR, but didn't watch it for a couple of weeks because I was curious, but not curious enough to make some dedicated time for it.

The movie is "The Water Diviner" with Russell Crowe and Olga Kurylenko.  It is a great little movie.  An excellent and understated performance by Russell Crowe and of course, Ms. Kurylenko is as beautiful and charming as ever.  The basic plot is a man travels to Turkey in the aftermath of WWI to find the remains of his three sons who were killed at Gallipolli.

I'm not going to tell you much more because it would give away too much of the plot and too much of what happens during the course of the movie - but I will tell you that it is definitely worth watching.  It is tender and heartfelt through and through.

Another Brick In The Wall

I'm still working on getting back into the habit of writing a little something here every day.  It's been busy at work, very busy, and we're in what amounts to be a very insane cycle and I'm worried about whether or not two of my projects are going to get configured in time.  One's my fault and the other one is just, I think, a bit too much work for the configuration specialist with all that is going on.  Otherwise though, my work mood is good and I'm actually going to pivot back over to my work computer and put another couple of bricks in the wall.

I went out to Holder's for dinner tonight - corned beef hash, two eggs over easy, hash browns and Swedish pancakes.  Very simple, very tasty.  Tonight, I think I am going to settle in and watch a movie and try to get to sleep early because I've got a meeting at the crack of dawn.  I am also going to make a call to the folks to check up on them.  My sister told me today that my step-dad took a tumble but that he was not injured, so I thought it would be a good idea to check up on them.  I tried calling them earlier in the day but there was no answer - but that appears to be because I call them while they were out for lunch.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

So, This Is Tuesday

I thought I would start the morning writing an entry here as I work to get back into the habit of writing on a daily basis.  My work meeting schedule is pretty light today so I'm hoping for a productive day, all in all.

I had a good Sunday - breakfast at Denny's and then stopped to visit with Bob and Kai for a while. They were both doing well.  After that I circled home and spent a fairly lazy afternoon doing next to nothing.

Monday was typical work chaos. I didn't really accomplish anything, but I did manage to go to a couple of meetings, listen in on a couple of teleconference and keep the email flood down to a small rush.  Monday evening I spent watching the latest episode of "Fear the Walking Dead" and reading articles on Flipboard, then a call with TR, and finally curling up in bed to read "Central Station", a new SciFi novel I've been working my way through. 

I got a good night sleep and woke up this morning with a head stuffed from allergies.  I am going to try and hammer my way through the email backlog (which is sitting at about 40 or so) and work some on the conversion reports I'm overdue on.  The main thing I want to say at the end of the day is that I was able to get my arms firmly around the projects I've got rolling.

We've got a pretty powerful weakness in our approach to work.  Basically, at a very high level, a project has certain key steps.  Discovery, Requirements, Coding, Systems Test, User Test, Deployment. 

Our main customer can not seem to get the requirements portion down and so more often than not we go into coding with our customers still working on figuring out exactly what it is they want to do.  Previously our upper management did a bad job of getting requirements locked down.  We're still struggling in that area - because of the internal politics of corporations, we just can't get to requirements lock.  The new management is doing a better job, but there is still a lot of way to go there.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Just Morning

Well, I haven't been able to get out here and write as much as I would like too.  I realize it is a habit that I have to slip back into and that will take a little bit of time.

Work has been busy, but not too bad, all in all.

It is a quiet Saturday and I think I am going to go out and get some breakfast and then catch a movie.  Last weekend was my relaxed weekend and this weekend I am going to try to get some things knocked off the to do list, so, perhaps a little later in the day I'll log on and let everyone know how it went.


A fairly good morning.  My friend Bob was not up for breakfast this morning (radiation had his stomach upset) so I went down to Holder's and had some hash and eggs.  From there, over to have the Jeep detailed, then stopped to get a haircut.  Big line at the barber shop and I didn't feel like waiting, so I headed over to AMC 14 and saw "The Nice Guys" with Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling.  It was very entertaining, definitely recommend it if you want to have a good laugh.  Followed that with a stop at Five Guy's in Westgate West for a burger, then home in the California rain. The day continues to be very nice, all in all.


Popped back out to donate my old Sony to Goodwill and have an early dinner for Kung Pao Shrimp at Tsing Tao in Campbell.  Still a rainy and dreary day out there.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Just A Thursday Morning Note

So far the day has been good.  I am paused right now at work listening to a teleconference and kind of mentally mapping out the rest of the day.  I've got a series of meetings that run through noon, then the rest of the day should be open.  I am still a bit behind the curve, but I think I am going to be able to close that curve today.

I was up at 5:00 AM again which seems to be working for me.  I don't have that feeling that a cat is dragging me into the day by the scruff of my neck.  Might be I drank enough coffee, but I think it is more about being on the proper sleep rhythm that works for me.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

This Was Wednesday In A Beautiful World

A better day than yesterday, but only marginally. I've got some serious catching up to do at work and I'm not making any headway. I'm going to take another run at it tomorrow and work towards a better resolution.

I was missing TR something fierce today, but that's the way it goes I reckon. All things transform in time. Each ending is a new beginning and life continues its magical flow.

I'm trying to live a month of conscious consumption. It's an approach where you don't buy any new things. (You still get to do regular shopping for perishable items like groceries, etc.). So far, so good, but I'm only four days in.

I'm also trying to reset my body clock so I get up at 5:00 am, so I can get a little bit of a jump on the day. Worked pretty good this morning, but then I lost two hours in conversation with Tom. I encourage him to talk when he feels like opening up about things.

Now, I've curled up in bed and the plan is too read myself to sleep. Goodnight beautiful denizens of a beautiful world.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

A Quick Note

Well, it was a singularly unproductive day that I couldn't afford. I'm going to have to play catchup tomorrow. I've got a slew of tasks I have to knock off. We'll see if I can stay focused through the day and actually accomplish anything.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Simplification and 100 Things

I've been on a journey toward simplifying my lifestyle through a minimalist approach to living for quite a while now, close to five years.  It has been an interesting and rewarding journey.  It has also been a battle with the tide of possessions that ebbs and flows.  In the last couple of months I've made some good headway, in part through a trick I picked up somewhere.

I call it 100 Things.

It works like this.  On my smartphone I keep a list of every task I do during my free time.  Everything I consider and carefully store.  Everything thing I clean.  Everything I donate, give away or simply through away.  When I've done a hundred things, I zero the list out and start over. For me, the act of recording and counting the steps I'm taking also inspires me to continue to take them, just like a Fitbit for Simplicity.

I tend to break it down into groups of 10.  That seems to work the best for me. As I go through the evening and weekend, I try and put ten more things on the list. I'm not always successful.  On a weekend day I can sometimes get around 30 a day.  The internal reward, for me, comes in watching the process unfold, watching the objects flow out.

I generally only record objects of significant size (bigger than a breadbasket) and tasks that take more than a few minutes.  If I need the extra motivation I may go down to smaller objects and shorter spans of time, but I usually don't.

If you are struggling with simplification it might be a trick worth trying for you.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Weekend Review

It was a good three day weekend. I had a clean Friday off and spent it in relaxing and cleaning/minimizing and in a late afternoon conversation with James. Saturday I had breakfast with Bob, then went to Art Ala Carte in Mountain View with Pierre & Helen. Sunday I had breakfast with Tyrone, then home for more cleaning/minimizing, binge watched Fear The Walking Dead, then episode 2 of Game of Thrones. TR has company for the week, so I'll mostly have the week to myself.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Monday Always Makes It

Monday always makes it, sooner or later. 

Last week was pretty busy, work-wise, and this week is promising more of the same.  The weekend was fairly nice.  Saturday was productive around the apartment and out running errands.  I got all my marketing done and managed to slip out and see "Huntsman: Winters War" at AMC 14.  It is not a life changing movie, but it was enjoyable.  It has an excellent cast and it was visually very pretty, which made up for the rather simplistic plot.  What I would call a great little popcorn movie.  Besides, if you cast Emily Blunt, Charlize Theron, and Jessica Chastain in anything - well, you'll pretty much guarantee I am going to see that one.

Sunday was pleasant as well - breakfast with Bob and Tyrone, then a trip to CVS with Bob so he could get a blood pressure cuff.  Bob is doing okay, all things considered.  Tyrone is Tyrone. After I ran a couple of errands I circled back and had lunch with Rick over at the Orchard City Kitchen, which is a little upscale for my tastes, borderline pretentious - but the food was excellent and the clientele was amusing, so I have to say I kind of liked the place.

Sunday evening was the return of Game of Thrones, which I was eagerly awaiting.  TR extended her trip through the weekend, so she should be home from NYC later today. Oh, and I didn't mention this but I went out and bought a new mattress - a Serta Elegant Plush, which is great.  It was delivered early last week and I have to say I've slept like a baby in the intervening days.  I've also got a pair of cast iron plants on order from Summerwinds Nursery to add a bit more greenery to the apartment. They were supposed to arrive at the end of last week, but they haven't made it yet.  The nursery is going to give me a call when they get in.  I'm going to double entry today, because there is something that I wanted to talk about in a little more detail on it's own and not bury it down in another post.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Wearing Cranky Pants Tonight


That was a hard spin through cranky.

Been a busy two weeks. The week before I went to Minnesota for a work conference. This weeks been busy helping to scope out an ill-formed project that has the cart well ahead of the donkey.

A productive week, but a bit on the long side. TR is on work travel this week, so I've missed her and probably overcompensated by working too much. One more work day ahead, but I've got enough hours it will be a light day.

Tonight I knocked off work at four, then had a light and unsatisfactory dinner. I tried to take a short nap and couldn't due to assorted interruptions, both inside and outside, resulting in my crawling out of the nap and donning my cranky pants.

I had a second dinner - well, more of a snack, a bowl of soup. That helped. From there I went outside and wandered up and down the sidewalk picking up trash. That helped.

I often find that if I do something not focused on me, like picking up the flotsam and jetsam of the neighborhood it helps put me in a better mood. It helped. Though now my allergies have me sneezing.

So, the plan tonight is to watch a little something on the TV, then curl up and read myself to sleep. It should help me break through the cranky.

Friday, April 8, 2016

A Contemplative Evening

It's been a contemplative evening following a busy and analytical day. What does a contemplative evening look like here? Right now it's quiet (no TV, no music, just incidental sounds), soft light, the scent of rain and a bowl of miso soup. I may read a bit later or perhaps watch a movie. But for now it's just quiet simple contemplation to let the pendulum of my brain swing back from being so deeply analytical today.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Life Always Moves

Life always moves.

That's one of the amazing things about it. It is like a river constantly flowing from the source to the sea. We are carried with it.

Today was an indifferent day at the office. We discovered a configuration flaw in a recent project. Nothing major, just irksome. We will recover quick enough. The root cause was a misunderstanding in a requirement. It was a single one and a simple one but it was enough for us to pull the piece of software from production.

It illustrates one of the problems of communication. Though people can affirm they understand something we have no real way of knowing that they did. At some point it all comes down to trust. For myself I would rather extend that trust over and over than exist in a world without it. Even if the end result is bumps and bruises.

Life always moves. If you keep that in mind then the troubles and incidents of life - whether they are in your working life or in your personal life are revealed for what they are. Simply incidents. Simply troubles. We keep moving. We move over them, around them and sometimes through them.

Life always moves and we always move.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Tuesday's Start

It's a bright and beautiful Tuesday morning here in California. The bird symphony is in full song, the sky is blue and it's crisp and cool outside.  I started the work day with a morning meeting regarding feedback from some business research.  It's interesting, but I am not sure it's actionable - or at least not actionable by our current team constellation.

The weekend was nice and I took Monday off as an extra vacation day.  I am getting ready to start the project run for the June release, so I thought starting with a long weekend was a most excellent approach.  My plan for the day is to try and get things lined up so I know the path ahead. I find that is I start a project from a firm foundation it's far easier to make a smooth run of it.

I made a good dent in my ongoing efforts to minimize my life-style, but I have some room to go. Part of that particular journey is the ability to part with "stuff".  I did read a good little rule of thumb last week that I have been carrying with me.  The writer recommended that you use three categories to define the items that you choose to keep.  Need it. Use it. Love it.  It's a pretty good little toolset.

(Original Photo - California Poppies)

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The Return

Well, when I set this aside for a while due to being incredibly busy in my personal and professional life I never imagined it would be a year plus before I came back.  Welcome back me!

Most of the craziness was in my professional life.  I had seven major projects coordinating the work between four different vendors and it pretty much ate all my free time.  By the time I reached the end of the day I was simply exhausted.  A whole ton of personal stuff got set aside and I am still just recovering from it, trying to work my way back to some resemblance of a rhythm or routine.

I am looking forward to getting back into the habit of writing here regularly!  Today has been a pretty quiet day.  I'm already a quarter into the new year and I have a much more reasonable four or five major projects, which is closer to my capacity (and still have a life).

I even managed to get out of town and go down to LA over the weekend for a sort of mini-vacation.