LoriB.me

Rambling On…

if $brain >= $fried ? ramble : $code; — 12/01/2007

if $brain >= $fried ? ramble : $code;

I am too busy. I suck at being busy. It is my worst thing and it always ends badly. I am not sure how to not be busy. It is a vicious cycle. As soon as I start feeling better, I want to do things. All the things that I can’t do when I am sick. I want to work. I want to play. Sometimes, I even want to see people.

I was sick for so long. First a year of bad meds and then cat scratch fever. I was lucky that the meds thing got straightened out before the CSF, but it is only very recently that I can enjoy it. Suddenly, I find myself feeling great! I still get tired and confused, but that is ok. It is part of how I am. After such a long time of not being able to do things that I wanted to, I feel like it is a race for time to do them now that I am feeling good. I would love to think it will always be like this, but the truth is that it is not and never has been.

The thing is, I think it could be like this most of the time if I didn’t have stress. I know that is impossible, but it would be possible to have much less stress. Only problem with that is I would be stuck not doing anything I want to do again. I am stressed by working. I am stressed by traveling. I am stressed by being around people. My brain gets overloaded and bad things happen. I get sick. The screaming in my head that is kept in the background by the meds gets louder. My brain shuts down. I twitch like crazy. I become miserable and useless.

I have no idea what to do about this. I want to work so badly. I love what I do. It is like being paid for doing puzzles and arts and crafts. When I code, my brain is in a happy place. Everything makes sense. It has to. As an added bonus, I get to take that code and turn it into a (hopefully) beautiful thing to look at. I am not a graphic artist by any means, so even the art part is like a puzzle. I combine graphic art made by actual artists, with photoshop skills and an eye for detail, and create an entirely new thing that never existed before. What’s not to love?

I was wanting to go to Florida to see my niece Hannah and the rest of my family for a whole year, but couldn’t because of being too sick. Then all of a sudden, I was okay to travel. It is a rare and beautiful thing. There was no way I wasn’t going to Florida. The trip (airplane, etc.) went pretty well thanks to Dramamine and, as always, being with Karen made everything better and more fun. Being in Florida was even okay. I love my family, but I hate Florida. I can’t deal with the hot and humid weather. We completely lucked out with that. Not insanely hot or humid. Last time I was there, I couldn’t even stand to be outside for more than a minute. Got instantly exhausted and dizzy.

It was really great to see my family. Hannah is beyond the legal limits of cute. It was so nice to get to know her better and see her sweet smile. I really loved getting to see her with my brother, sister-in-law, and parents too. They are a family. I am so glad they live so close to each other. Sometimes it is hard living so far away. Sometimes I wish Florida was in Nevada. My cousin Eric was there too. It is always nice to see him and my aunt Wilma and uncle Pat too. Sarah’s (sister-in-law) family was there too. It was nice to see them too. So nice, that we brought her sister Sam back with us. She will be going to acupuncture school in Berkeley starting in January and has been staying with us this past week. She magically found a great place to live in Berkeley on her fist try and will be moving in today.

Bad Apples

Haven’t had enough rambling yet? Then on to the saga of the bad imacs. Me, my dad, and my brother all got new aluminum imacs last month. 2 out of 3 of them were duds. There was a problem with the ATI graphics cards. The whole computer was unstable because of it. Black screens, blue screens, strange graphics, freezing, etc. Windows X 10.5? There has been a firmware update for the graphics cards released that appears to fix the problem for most, if not all, people. Thankfully, my brother’s was fine from the start. Both me and my dad returned our computers and got brand new replacements. All is good now.

The new imac came with Leopard and now that it works, I have been loving it! The screen is huge! Not only is it 24″, but I have been using Spaces, a new feature of Leopard where you can have several “desktops” and easily switch between them. For example I can have photoshop open in one desktop, giving it the entire screen to itself, mail and safari open in another, Firefox and BBedit in another, etc.

Time Machine is totally cool too. I can’t even believe how easy it is to back up. You plug in the external drive and the mac asks if you want to use it for Time Machine. You click ‘yes’. That is it. Your hard drive is being backed up every hour and saving daily, weekly, and monthly backups for as far back in time as the drive will allow. When it gets full, it asks if you would like it to delete the oldest backups to make room. Unbelievable! I will still make daily clones as soon as super duper is Leopard ready, but Time Machine offers a different kind of backup that is easier to use, automatic, and frequent.

Just a few more things to ramble about before I go…

K – I am so very proud of K! She has been saving the world as always. In recognition of her hard work, she has gotten a promotion at work and is now a supervisor, which is the direction she has been wanting to go. Congratulations K! It makes me happy to know that people will have an opportunity to learn from her and benefit from her years of experience.

WarcrackShikibee has joined a new guild and is about to ding level 50.

Rehab – I am meeting with someone once a week who will help me research if there are jobs available where I can do contract work from home or with a very flexible schedule. I would really like that. Freelancing is great because I set my own hours and don’t have to answer to anyone except my clients, but I work all the time and barely make any money.

If I did contracted work instead, someone else would be dealing with the clients, setting the prices, and all of the other business related things that I can not do. Even splitting the money with an agency or other company, it is very likely that I would make more money than I do now. I hope something like that could work out. I was hoping that I could keep my current clients and stop taking new freelance jobs if there were contract jobs available instead.

WordPress 2.3 Update – This one went much more smoothly than the last two. I wish there was a way to manage tags, but from what I understand, the dev team is waiting to find out what people want rather than starting with a ton of features that people may or may not use and then having to change them later. I am looking forward to 2.4 and the new admin changes.

Joomla 1.5 – I am working on a new client site with Joomla 1.5 RC3. It has been very stable and the code is MUCH cleaner than before. I love the new templating system and look forward to its final release and the updated extensions that will follow. If you are planning to integrate any kind of forums into your site, stay with 1.0.x for now.

phpBB3 – Love it! Tons of improvements over phpBB2. Current release is RC8. This update has been a long time in the making. I am hoping that converting from older version will not be total hell.

I have finally run out of things to ramble about for now 🙂

OS X Keyboard Shortcuts — 11/06/2007

OS X Keyboard Shortcuts

cmd: Command Key key | shift: Shift Key key | opt: Option Key key | ctrl: Control Key key

ShortcutDescription
 General
cmd-WClose Window (does not quit program)
cmd-QQuit Program
cmd-CCopy
cmd-XCut
cmd-VPaste
cmd-NNew Document / New Window
cmd-OOpen File
cmd-SSave
shift-cmd-SSave As…
cmd-PPrint
cmd-ZUndo
shift-cmd-ZRedo
cmd-ASelect All
cmd-FFind
cmd-GFind Next
shift-cmd-GFind Previous
cmd-, (cmd-comma)Preferences
cmd-HHide – hides current program
shift-cmd-HHide Others – hides all other programs
cmd-+Make Text Bigger
cmd–Make Text Smaller
cmd-0 (cmd-zero)Revert to original text size
cmd-?Help
cmd-MMinimize Window to the Dock
ctrl-opt-cmd-8Reverse Window Colors
  
 For Text Editing (i.e. Pages, Word)
cmd-BBold
cmd-UUnderline
cmd-IItalic
cmd-TShow Fonts Panel
shift-cmd-CShow Colors Panel
  
 Finder (Including Desktop)
cmd-IGet Info
shift-cmd-NCreate New Folder
  
 Browsers
cmd-RReload Page in Safari or Firefox
F5Reload Page in Firefox
cmd-[ or cmd- ←Back in Browser
cmd-] or cmd- →Forward in Browser
cmd-DAdd bookmark in browser
cmd-TNew Tab in Safari or Firefox

Does anyone else have any favorite mac keyboard shortcuts?

Recap — 10/21/2007

Recap

Things have been slowly getting back to normal (whatever that is). Both lumps are a lot smaller and I am not so tired anymore. I have even been able to work some.

A nightmare has come and gone. My body and brain have been to all sorts of new places. Most of them sucked.

I don’t have cancer.

I feel a need to make a bulleted list. I love bulleted lists.

Timeline

  • Beginning of September – Start having bad pain in my right shoulder and arm.
  • Notice a lump about the size of a pea above my collarbone.
  • Go to the clinic the next day. Get chest x-rays and blood tests. Doc thinks he feels another lump in my breast and tells me to schedule a mammogram and ultrasound. It is my first mammogram. I am 40. Good timing.
  • Start having fever and night sweats. Very weak. Can’t stay awake. Pain everywhere. Lump is the size of a marble. There is another lump in my armpit.
  • Fever gets higher. Call clinic. They tell me to go to emergency room. Get more blood tests and IV fluids.
  • Me and K go back to clinic to get test results. Doc is grim. Lump is the size of a 25¢ gumball. Looks like lymphoma. WTF?
  • Schedule a biopsy. Doc marks priority as urgent. I am panicked. K is in hell. My folks come to visit from Florida.
  • I am completely terrified of surgery. Biopsy is my first time in an operating room since I was born. I choose the option for local anesthetic. I am way too freaked out to be totally put under with a breathing tube. I would rather feel the knife.
  • Turns out I don’t feel anything. Surgery goes fine. Pain comes later. Still, not so bad.
  • Doc finds a second lump in my armpit during surgery. Receive a letter from Summit saying they want to do a second mammogram.
  • My folks come. K does everything. We wait for results. They are late. I am on the edge of panic for a whole week. Breathing takes effort.
  • The doc finally calls.

    “Do you want good news or good news?”, “Good news please.”, “It’s cat scratch disease!”, “No way!”, “Yes. That’s why the test results took so long. We did extra tests to be sure.”, “Thank you. Thank you very much!”.

  • Me, K, my mom, and my dad all cry. It is the best thing ever.

It was a crazy roller coaster for all of us. For the rest of my family and some other close people too. I learn things. Some things I already know are reinforced. Some things I think I know… I don’t know them at all.

Things

  • Karen is the best partner in the whole world. I can count on her always. She will take care of me. I will take care of her. We are a team.
  • My family is there for me too. When I can only think the worst, I realize that I want to be with them. If my life was to end too soon, I don’t want to travel the world. I want to be with K. I want to be with the rest of my family. It is primal.
  • My friends are there for me. Sometimes, I have no idea why. I am more thankful for this than I can ever tell them. Thank you TC, D, Nancy, Susan, and everyone else who babysat me, sent emails, left comments, thought good thoughts, prayed, sent good energy, distracted me, etc.
  • I want to believe there is a god. Even though I strongly identify as Jewish, I lean towards agnosticism. How can anyone know something like that? But I find myself praying and being thankful that other people are praying too. I still wonder, but it doesn’t matter. I don’t think I can ever believe that god is some giant old white guy wearing a dress and living in the clouds, but I feel something. God? Energy of the universe? Something my brain is creating to keep me sane? I don’t know, but it feels like a miracle. The odds of cat scratch fever were low. It is finally a good time to fall into that small percentage of people who are different.
Relief: The Photo — 09/24/2007

Relief: The Photo

I am tired and weak and and I’ve never been happier 🙂

Relief

K took this picture yesterday at the Greek Theater where we were seeing Phil Lesh and Friends. I was too tired to even sit up for most of the show, but I had a great time anyway laying on the grass and listening.

Cat Scratch Fever! — 09/21/2007

Cat Scratch Fever!

I am going to be OK. I have cat scratch fever! Not lymphoma! I am so happy. Still in shock a little. My parents and Karen were all here when I got the good news. We had a happy cryfest. I am so happy. Did I mention that? Thanks to everybody for everything! Antibiotics will fix me. I have never been so happy to have a disease in my life. I have no words for the kind of relief that everyone here is feeling right now. Thanks again to everybody for your support and kind words and good wishes and company!

on the edge of panic — 09/11/2007

on the edge of panic

i have been on the edge of panic for nearly 2 weeks now. ever since i noticed the first lump. there are things that help. sometimes ativan, but I like to leave that as a last resort because so many thing are going on in my body, it is already hard to keep them straight.

distractions help. warcrack has been great when i can play it. writing is helping right now. people have been staying with me every day. i am lucky to have people that care about me like that. I don’t always completely understand why they do, considering that i am antisocial and often suck at returning emails. phone calls are even worse. my parents are coming on sunday. k is there for me always. i don’t know why i get to be this lucky, but i have never been more thankful for it than i am now.

i called the clinic the night i found the lump. Or maybe K did. The triage nurse decided I was worthy to see a doctor and said to come in the next day. The appt. was at 10am. They told me to come at 9:45.

While I was walking over there, I was thinking about what i would want to do if i found out something really bad. i believe that no matter how hard you try to think positively, it is impossible to keep your mind from going to the worst places. First i thought amsterdam w/k, but then got suddenly panicked. no. it is too far away. i want to be with the rest of my family too.

I got there at 9:45 and waited until 10:45 to see a doctor for 5 minutes. He sent me to get some chest x-rays and said to come right back and he would see me again. I got back with my x-rays and waited another half hour. The doc says, “I don’t read these very often, but it looks normal to me.” Thanks doc. He comes back with a nurse to give me a breast exam. He thinks he feels another lump there but is not sure so schedules blood tests and a mammogram and tells me to come back in 2 weeks.

I was too freaked out to wait at the clinic for the appointments and told the receptionist to call me.

i leave. cry. call k. k cries. k comes home.
we are both very very scared. sorry k. always something isn’t it?

had a fever for a while and had to go to the ER and get IV and more blood tests. all blood tests have been normal so far. mammogram was good too. Apparently normal blood tests are a bad thing because they are ruling out other possible causes.

K came with me to the doc to get test results and that is when he told us that he thinks I most likely have lymphoma as mentioned in the previous post. I started writing this post on the day I first went to the clinic, but then was not able to look at it again until now. There is still a chance it is not something terrible. We are all hoping for cat scratch fever which has amazingly similar symptoms to lymphoma.

The doc told us that the first lump would be removed at the biopsy, which was supposed to be tomorrow. It now appears that tomorrow’s appointment is only a consultation with the doc who will be doing the biopsy. Today, I was supposed to get a blood smear, but they had to call the doc with questions about the test and it was over half an hour and they still hadn’t heard back and they kept saying it would be soon or that i was next, but kept calling other names. I wasn’t feeling very well. Completely exhausted and starting to panic. Finally I couldn’t handle being there any more and left with my friend Nancy who had kindly taken me to the appointment and is now in the other room while I am trying to sleep which is proving to be impossible.

This is crazy. Too crazy. I can manage not to completely panic most of the time, to have a very positive attitude some of the time, to get distracted a bunch of the time, but i don’t really know how to stop this edge of panic thing. last time it happened, i took ativan and it worked. i will probably end up taking one soon if writing doesn’t work. it has helped to not be alone. susan came over all day yesterday. tc came at night and susan decided to stay too. k took tomorrow and friday off. nancy is here now. tc is coming back on thursday and maybe tess too. d is coming over on sunday. my folks are coming on sunday night. lorena is helping us to decode medical speak and giving us good questions to ask at the consultation tomorrow. thanks everybody.

Whatever this turns out to be, I will fight it. It is what I do and what I have always done. It is my way.

Thanks to everyone who has left such nice comments and sent emails and have been coming over to babysit me while all this is going on. i appreciate it more than i can say even if i don’t respond individually. i am kind of low on energy at the moment.

I will still have hope that it is a really bad virus or cat scratch fever. Just because the doc was so glum doesn’t necessarily mean he is right. His face and his attitude made me way more scared than I think I otherwise would have been, but after reading around on the internet (not my best idea), I may have ended up just as freaked out anyway. I am thankful for his honesty even if it is making it harder to think positively. I suppose that will make my cat scratch fever diagnosis all the more sweet.

lump — 09/07/2007

lump

I am terrified. There is a big lump in my neck above my collarbone and another in my armpit. Will get a biopsy on wednesday. doc thinks it is most likely lymphoma. i don’t know what to do.

Too Many Things — 08/21/2007

Too Many Things

I am starting to wonder if it is possible for me to really have a “normal” life. Things are so much better than before and my meds are finally working again, but even though I can do so many more things now, I am realizing that my limits and tolerance are still pretty low.

Things that have been very hard or impossible to do for the past year:

  • Reading
  • Working
  • Doing martial arts
  • Leaving the house
  • Playing warcrack
  • Being around people
  • Traveling

Almost all of those things are easier now, but I still can’t do that many of them without getting overwhelmed. When I get overwhelmed, I can’t think and when I can’t think, I am back to not being able to do anything anymore. It is occurring to me that this will not change. I am not sure why I keep thinking that it will. Things have always been this way as long as I can remember, no matter what meds I am taking and how well they are working.

The things that are hardest sometimes change from one med to the next, but there is never a time when I can really do things like other people can. It can be argued that there are things that I can do better than a lot of people can and I am very lucky for that, but no matter how much I have learned to appreciate my ‘different’ brain, there is still a part of me that is very jealous of how easy it is for most people to do things that completely wear me out or that I can not do at all. I wish I didn’t feel like that, but it is hard not to.

I wish I could be around people without getting confused and exhausted trying to figure out what to do, what to say, when to say it, all while paying attention to and remembering what is going on around me and what everyone else is saying, and how everything everyone is saying relates to the things that other people are saying. People do this every minute of every day as though it was not complicated at all. I don’t understand. I can’t understand. I hate not understanding.

I want to work. I have to work because we need money. We have a house and 4 cats and I have an expensive computer habit to pay for. I love what I do, but don’t even have any idea if I am making money, losing money, or breaking even. I want to do martial arts, but am still finding it too hard to be around people doing something so intense. I keep trying to think of other ways and places to do it, but I can’t think of a way to do it without other people. I wish it was like in the old days where some kind Sensei would take me under their wing and I would wash their car for them. Mr. Miyagi, where are you?

If I work all day, or even worse, try to work all day and don’t get anything done, then I can’t even get out of the house. If I don’t get out of the house, I can’t think. If I can’t think, I can’t do anything. It is a vicious cycle that repeats forever in some form or other.

Lately, there are so many things going on and it is getting harder and harder to do any of them. It is not the meds this time. It is just my brain being itself. I don’t know what to do. I don’t know how to have less things. There are work things and house things and cat things and travel things and people things and non-work website things and computer things and all of the other random things that seem to pop up every day.

I can work, but it is very hard to concentrate. I have been able to read a little. I have been able to get out of the house much better, but it has been getting harder and harder as there are more and more things. I get too confused. I can’t do anything in the house and can’t leave it. Sucks.

It is not all bad. One very fun thing has been teaching Karen to play warcrack. She is on a 10 day trial account and we have been wandering Azeroth together as a gnome mage (K) and a dwarf rogue (me). I think we are level 7. It is fun to play with K. Today she sent me a funny description of how she described what playing is like to a friend of hers:

“I draw the enemies out by frostballing them, then I fireball them while Lori is stabbing them and then she beats them to death.”

Good clean fun 🙂

New iMacs — 08/07/2007

New iMacs

iMac 2007

Before I start, I have to say that I hate the ad slogan for the new iMacs, which is “You can’t be too thin. Or too powerful.” I felt like puking the moment I saw it.

At Apple headquarters in Cupertino today, Steve Jobs announced a new line of iMacs, or at least differently designed imacs of the same line. They are made of aluminum and glass. Interesting looking. I am generally a fan of shiny things, but I really love the look of the white imacs. Why did they have to put that huge black border around the new displays? I’m not too fond of the big black apple logo either.

There does not appear to be a 17″ offering this time around. There are two 20-inch configurations and one 24-inch configuration. The new iMacs will still run on Intel Core 2 Duo processors and will now hold up to 4GB of RAM. There are still only two RAM slots, so prior planning of RAM needs should done if you don’t want to end up with an unused 1GB SO-DIMM or two.

Prices run from $1,199 to $1,799 for the 2GHz and 2.4GHz models. There is a 2.8GHz Intel Core 2 Extreme processor available on configure-to-order imacs. Hard drives sizes are 250GB for the 2.0GHz imac and 320GB for the 2.4GHz 20 and 24-inch models. 500GB, 750GB, and 1TB drives are available on configure-to-order models.

The new displays are glossy widescreen TFT active-matrix LCDs. The keyboard has been redesigned to match the new look and has a few special function keys added for convenience. The new version of iLife (iLife ’08) was also announced today and a copy is included with all new imacs.

Wordcamp 2007 — 07/27/2007

Wordcamp 2007

I have been so busy this week that I haven’t had time to write about wordcamp. Lots of work these days and then on Wednesday, I got my 2 top wisdom teeth pulled. K came with me (thank you K!) and we had to wait for an hour in the waiting room, and then what seemed like forever in the dentist room. I cried. I have a hard time going to the dentist. After almost two hours of waiting, the dentist pulled my teeth in about 5 minutes. I didn’t feel a thing, but the noise was pretty sick. It doesn’t hurt too bad as long as I take tylenol and don’t eat food that requires chewing.

This weekend, I went to Wordcamp 2007 in San Francisco. It was even better than last year. Surrounded by wordpress geeks. In some ways, I like it better than macworld. There are not too many things that I like better than macworld. Wordcamp is smaller and more focused. Lucky for me, it is focused on some of my favorite things.
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