Long day today. Exhausted. Got a bunch of maps at AAA and K planned us yet another alternative route in case the weather is bad, which it looks like it will be. K posted the exciting details on our site: http://karenandlori.com/2011/03/19/stormy-weather/
Me and K spent the past week in Baltimore and Florida and had a great time. We want to move to Baltimore, but we can’t. It sucks. We decided we wanted to move a few weeks before the economy crashed. Things looked pretty good for us then. Now we are stuck here for what could be a long time.
We both love Oakland and the Bay Area, but it is time to go. About 5 years ago, we visited Baltimore and came home thinking about moving there to help out K’s folks with stuff that they have a hard time doing, but that would be easy for us to do. They told us we shouldn’t move because of them, and we didn’t. In the 5 years since, we have accumulated many more reasons to move there and fewer reasons to stay.
I have 2 beautiful nieces now that I didn’t have then, Hannah (3) and Abilgail (10 months). I want to see them grow up. I want to know them. I would also like to see the rest of my family more often. Even though they are in Florida, I would still see them way more often than I do now. Florida is a long drive or short plane ride away from Baltimore. Even if I am having a hard time traveling, I could get there. When my grandma was sick and moved to Florida to be closer to family, I wanted to see her so bad. I wanted it worse than anything, but I couldn’t get there. Then she died. I missed my chance forever. If I had lived in Baltimore then, I could have gotten there, maybe even several times. I never want anything like that to happen again.
K has lots of great friends in Baltimore that she has known for many years. For some reason I find it really easy to be with them and always have a lot of fun when we visit. It is very rare that I am that comfortable around people, especially groups of people. I have a couple of friends there too, including Kim who I have known for 25 years and would love to live near again. I spend most of my time here alone. Mostly by choice, but it would be nice to know that other options are available once in a while. There are options here too, but I am never organized enough to make plans and can not predict when my brain will cooperate. I suppose that will be the same wherever I am. Too bad.
Many things have to happen before we can leave. K has to take the national social work test and find a job, we need to figure out what to do with our house especially if selling it is not a viable option, and we need to do it all in a way that we end up with enough money to move and not get totally screwed if our unsold house goes without tenants for a month or more. This would be a good time to win Lotto.
It is hard to be here now. My new medicine combo is making some things much better than before, like traveling, but other things are worse again. I am very tired. My head is louder. It is easier to get out of the house than before, but only when my head is quiet. Otherwise, it is harder. Not sure I will ever find the magic combo of drugs/doses/whatever. Glad to have ones that help as much as they do though. I hope we can get out of here before too long. I don’t know if things will be different there, but there is only one way to find out. It will be very sad to leave our house. We both love it a lot. Wish we could move it across country.
Mon 9/22/08 10:46am
On the plane from Baltimore to Oakland, stop in Denver. Had lots of fun in Baltimore. We went to an overnight birthday party for a couple of K’s friends that were turning 40 and had a great time. I really like K’s Maryland people. I am strangely comfortable around them. They remind me of people from Buffalo. The party went all night. At some point, I got tired of people and went to read in the living room. Most of the people were outside. I was happy that I had a book I could read. Got a Robert Ludlum book at the airport. The Ambler Warning. It’s a fast reader that does not require a full attention span. Other people started coming in and reading too after a while. I thought that was pretty funny. There were some books on the coffee table. K kept bringing people over to say hi and hang out for little bits of time. That was fun too. Little spurts of party.
The next day was fun too. Lots of people had slept over and others came back in the morning. After the party, we went to Kim’s place and then out for a drink. On the way home, she gave us a great tour of her neighborhood. I love tours with stories and she know a lot about her neighborhood. It was great to get to see her again after such a short time.
The first night we went to a restaurant/bar that a couple of K’s friends are opening soon. The place was amazing! Huge. They were building most things themselves, including booths and other assorted furniture from old church pews. It was fun to hang out there. Can’t wait to go back when it is open. We also helped K’s folks with their new fiber optic tv system. It was nice to be able to do that. Some stuff that is very hard for them is very easy for us. K will help them some more tomorrow. She is not coming home until Thursday.
I am looking forward to being home. Have work to do. Server was down for a while yesterday. Of course it has to happen when I am out of town. Got stuck in a loop and was overloading the CPU. A reboot fixed it, but today I got an email that the main hard drive partition might be dying and needs to be repaired or replaced. The server will need to be down for 1-4 hours. Crap. I told the techs to monitor it and reboot if it goes down again, but to wait until 3am US eastern time to take it down. I think it will affect the least amount of people at that time. Update: It did not go down again and is repaired now.
I met with the business consultant again before I left. New plan is to meet twice a month for 2 months, 2 hours each time. We covered a lot of ground in 2 hours. Got the basics of a contract written for my next project. Should be able to easily adapt it for other projects. We spoke some about pricing and how I need to raise mine and also about some other ideas I have that will bring in some steady income.
I am trying a new system of tracking hours. Only got to try it once before I left, but it actually worked. I was reading an article by David Seah that described a system where you set a timer to go off every 15 minutes and then fill in ovals on a piece of paper to track what you are doing when the timer goes off. I don’t do well with paper systems and the online version was alpha and not quite my style, so I combined some programs that I already had to do a similar thing. I set up a spreadsheet in Numbers with a sheet for each project, then set a calendar alarm to open up a 15 minute repeating timer in Alarm Clock Pro every weekday morning at 8am. The timer is set to make the spreadsheet pop up every 15 minutes. When it pops up, I just check a box for the project I am working on. The spreadsheet keeps track of how many hours I have worked on each project for each month by counting the checkboxes and dividing by 4 to get time in hours.
Turbulence. Hate it. The lady who was sitting next to me at the beginning of the flight kindly gave up her seat to another lady with a baby. She got free drinks for doing it. I usually don’t like being near kids on planes because they are loud, but I don’t mind it so much at the moment. Cute kid. Nice mom. Some screaming when they first got settled, but quiet now. My ears are clogged anyway. Enough writing for now.
Thu 9/25/08 3:54am
I never did get around to posting that. It is nice to be home. K is coming home tomorrow. I can’t wait to see her 🙂 We both have a little time off before going back to work. I am hoping to use the time to do some business stuff that I hardly ever have time to do. Today I set up an online project management system to make it easier to communicate and share files with clients. It is very similar to Basecamp, only open source, free, prettier, and hosted on my own server. Currently, I am using it to manage my hosting affililate program project. The affiliate system is ready to go, but still needs a couple of web pages, graphics for banner ads, and text ad copy. I am also thinking of starting a newsletter to send to clients and other interested people every few months. I would like to announce the launch of the affiliate program in the first one. Hopefully I can get that done this week because I have a big project starting soon.
It is 4:06am. I think I should go to sleep. Jetlag.
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.
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.
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 🙂
I am in Seattle now, in the atrium of our hotel. K has a social work conference here that started yesterday and ends today.
Me and K went to Ottawa for Passover this year to visit K’s family. Lorena came too and their folks met us there. We stayed with Heather and Bruce, K and L’s cousins, and their children Adam and Max. Their other cousins Mark and Tina, and their 2 daughters, Leah and Omi, came from Toronto and stayed there too. It was a full house! K and L’s folks stayed with Rob and Ros who live nearby. Rob is K’s mom’s brother. Got all that?
Karen and I just got back from New Orleans. We were there for 5 days to visit Blanca and celebrate Mardi Gras. It was so nice to see B and Dexter and to meet Sebastian, B’s cat that she got from the rescue shelter. I have always been curious about New Orleans and about Mardi Gras. Both me and K were not prepared for what we found there.
Saturday was K’s birthday 🙂 We went to the Russian River to celebrate and got home today. It was so great. Fun, relaxing, magical. We got massages that rocked. Seriously deep tissue! I don’t really like those kinds of massages when someone is barely touching you. It feels like a tease to me. Just enough to remind me where all the sore spots are, but not enough to make them feel any better. Not with Ed. He even got my hip to stop hurting during the massage. Unfortunately, it hurt like a mofo afterwards. Still, I’d do it again. Karen got a shiatsu massage, which looked equally as magical, judging by the smile on her face when she was done.
We went to a pretty fun but not very well attended halloween party at Fab with Lorena and Tess on Saturday night. There was dancing and a drag show that was pretty good except for the volume being way too loud during the second half. My favorite part was the good and evil Dolly routine where there were two Dolly Partons, one the good angel Dolly and one the bad angel Dolly. They were arguing back and forth through a medley of lip synced Dolly tunes. Never enough Dolly 🙂 Dolly Dolly Dolly.
Yesterday we walked around town and got some presents for people and a book for K and a finger puppet monster for me. At night we watched ‘The Princess Bride’ which I had never seen before. It was excellent. We also drank a little mini bottle of champagne we got at Korbel that afternoon. Nice 🙂
This morning we walked around Armstrong Woods. I love that place so much. It is so beautiful and magical. I especially like going there with K. It was perfect weather for a walk in the woods. Cool, but not too cold. There was mist coming from some of the trees that added to the magicalness. The colors were so bright and everything was glistening and covered with dew. Everything so green and brown. No other colors except for an occasional purple flower, and if you’re lucky, a yellow banana slug. No sounds besides from birds and one woodpecker. It is such a nice change from the rest of the world. Happy birthday K!
Me and K went to NY to celebrate my mom and dad’s 40th wedding anniversary 🙂 It was so nice that we could all be together to honor the occasion. M & D stayed at the St. Regis, and me n K stayed in Queens with Brian and Sarah and Atticus, their very sweet and big and fuzzy cat.