Sunday, March 23, 2008


I didn't leave the house today, or at least not yet, and I don't anticipating leaving it now, even though the sun is still shining at nearly 6:00 p.m.

I spent most of the day making jewelry, photographing it, and posting it in my Etsy shop. I tend to do the jewelry making in binges. Maybe it has to do with having to get all the stuff out, although I usually leave most of it out on my desk. Still, it's easier when I get into a rhythm of selecting the beads, putting them on the headpins and laying them all out, then getting out the tools and trimming the wires, bending the loops, putting them on the earwires, etc.

Today I branched out a little and made a couple of bracelets. I made a memory wire bracelet for my sister for Christmas, and she really liked it. I wasn't sure about it, but she liked the fact that it just winds around your arm, and you don't have to mess with trying to fasten a clasp. So I got out a big dish of pink and black and white lampwork beads that I bought awhile back, and made two bracelets, with matching earrings.

Now it's 10:00, and I didn't leave the house, except to help Bob carry the trash out.

Oh, I just remembered -- I did go out -- just long enough to take a picture of the daffodils. It's Spring!

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Sunday, March 16, 2008


Along with the new office, and my new office, I have new responsibilities at work. I'm still doing some development, but more and more of my job is shifting toward scheduling and traffic, ensuring that work keeps moving through the office, and that deadlines are met.

I'm in a lot of meetings, both internal planning meetings, meeting with staff to go over workload and due dates, and meeting with clients. I'd gotten pretty good at keeping my calendar online, on Apple's iCal. I have a .Mac subscription, so everything I enter on any of my computers--the eMac, the iBook, and the iMac at work--is synced up, so no matter where I am, I can see my current calendar.

But more and more, I'm not at my desk. I'm walking around, talking to people, sitting in on meetings, holding impromptu meetings all over the office. I'm not in my office all that much. I'd considered taking the laptop in so that I could have my current calendar available, but that wasn't really a good solution, either.

I still use the Palm, but not as much. I depend on it more for recordkeeping--the checkbook register, passwords, account numbers, prescription numbers, that kind of thing. When my job started changing, I started carrying around a big graph pad, writing down everything--meeting notes, due dates, lists of projects and lists of people--trying to figure out a good system for keeping track of everything that I suddenly need to keep track of.

I can't say that that system was exactly a failure--I haven't missed any important deadlines, I don't think, and nothing has really fallen through the cracks--but I wasn't feeling very much in control. I had pages and pages of notes, but no way to organize them, and no real way to find anything. It was great for free-association, but not so great if I ever needed to refer to anything again.

So I made a spur-of-the-moment decision yesterday while I was out. I bought a new Franklin planner. I have a long history of using Daytimers and planners. I love them, but I've never really stuck with one long-term. They're (mostly) big and heavy and a pain to carry around, and frankly, I've never really needed one all that much. I would use one for awhile, then get tired of carrying it around, and stop. But now I think I can finally, really, justify it.

The Palm is good, and I like it for some things, but there's just something satisfying about paper. Both have their disadvantages, of course. The paper planner can be lost; if the Palm is lost, it can be (mostly) reconstructed, as long as the sync is up to date. But there's also something about writing things down--sometimes just the act of writing them imprints them on your brain somehow. It's different than typing.

So anyway, I went to the Franklin Covey store on Saturday. I picked out this binder:

It's a gorgeous soft leather, ivory, the Classic size (approximately 5x8, I think), with a slight metallic sheen.

Inside, there are lots of pockets and slots:

I picked out the "Blooms" filler. I didn't intend to get anything so girly--and I've had the "Blooms" set before--but there wasn't anything else that had the layout that I wanted. Or, at least, there wasn't anything else that I saw or that was appropriate (obviously, even if the ESPN one, for instance, had the right layout, I wasn't going to choose that).

I got the two pages per day version. On the left, there's a Daily Task List ("to-do list"), and an Appointment Schedule. There's also a spot called Daily Tracker -- I'm not sure yet what I'll use that for. The right-hand side is completely open, for Daily Notes. In the back are pages for addresses and phone numbers. I spent a really happy couple of hours setting it all up, putting in appointments and notes.

I'm really happy with it. It's something of an indulgence, but one that I think I an justify as a necessary business expense. It makes me feel more in control, and sometimes, just feeling in control helps. I'm enjoying the job, and I think this will enhance it. And if nothing else, I'll look good doing it.

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Spontaneous Healing

I'd noticed that my brakes had begun squeaking a little. It didn't happen all the time; I'd notice it more when I first left the house and came to a stop sign, or when I left the office. So I was thinking (hoping) that maybe it had to do with them being cold. It didn't seem to do it when I was on the highway, for instance, and had to slow down. But I knew I should get them looked at, but I was putting it off because it's such a pain.

Then last night I was on the way home, listening to an audio book, and when the CD changer switched from one CD to the next one, the CD changer died. It wouldn't come on, wouldn't eject the CDs that were in it; it displayed a "CD Error" message, or said, "Initializing."

I thought maybe it would reset after I turned off the engine, like a computer, but no, nothing. I tried it when I got home, in the garage, and I tried it again this morning, but it still wouldn't work. I was really bummed -- not only do I love listening to audio books and music, if I don't have the CD player, I listen to NPR, which is great most of the time, but lately it's nothing but politics and war, and while I know that's all important news, it doesn't really start my day off very well.

So when I got in to work, I looked through my warranty papers, and the CD changer was covered, but brakes weren't. But oh well, not really something you can just let go. So I called the dealership and made an appointment to take it in on Thursday morning--they don't have an on-site stereo/CD repair guy, they have someone who only comes in for a few hours a week, and his day there was Thursday. I also made a reservation for a rental car, intending to go there on my way to work Thursday, drop off the car, pick up the rental, go to work, then pick it up on Friday morning.

So toward the end of the day, Kurt was in my office, and I was telling him about having to take the car in. He's pretty automotive-repair savvy--he works on his own car, and he has a couple of motorcycles that he takes apart and puts back together a couple of times a year, I think.

He asked me how many miles I had on the car, and I said I think around 32,000, and he said he really didn't think that my brakes could be bad with just that many miles. He said he thought they were probably just dirty--that they sometimes "glaze," and that if they were really bad, they wouldn't just squeak, they'd squeal.

He said what he thought I should do is get on the highway, get up some speed so the brakes heat up, then really tromp on the brakes, i.e., not baby them the way I've been doing, but really give them a workout. We left togther, and he got down and looked at my car, and said that I have plenty of brake pad, that while he couldn't see the inside pads, the outside ones looked perfectly fine.

So I did what he said that tonight, and while I don't know that they won't still squeak at the stop signs, I did feel better, because if they were really bad, I'm sure they would have complained, and they didn't.

Oh, and as I was driving out of the parking lot, my CD player miraculously, spontaneously healed itself.

So I get to call the dealership in the morning and cancel my appointment. And I should probably buy Kurt a drink or something for saving me potentially hundreds of dollars, because you know if you take a car into a dealership, they're going to fine something wrong, even if they have to really search.

We have two floors at work--the third and fourth in this building--and there's a metal circular staircase connecting the two floors. Simon and Jojo refused to use it, it wasn't even in their vocabulary. I don't think it ever really registered that it was something they could go up, or down. When Dave needed to bring them upstairs, like for our long Monday morning staff meetings, he'd bring them up in the freight elevator.

But today Cello brought in his dog, Sunny, and Jojo really likes her. Sunny was up on four, and Jojo just spontaneously ran up the stairs to see Sunny. We all stood around amazed. Then she ran down, then back up, then back down . . . So proud of herself! Simon just sat at the foot of the stairs and looked up -- no way he's doing that! We all praised her and told her what a smart dog she was. It was really fun to see her discover something like that.

Even though it's full dark when I get up now, it's wonderful to be able to leave the office while the sun is still shining. It was in the 60's today, and I opened up my office windows, and it was so nice. When I got home I told Bob how amazing it is that I feel SO much better, so much happier, when the weather turns. He said that it wasn't amazing to him, that he's known it for decades. But I guess it always surprises me a little what a big difference it makes.

When I got home, he had a Bloody Mary waiting for me, and he had cooked asparagus and fish, and I changed my clothes, and sat down and had a lovely dinner, and it was just so nice. I keep meaning to mention these little fish things that I buy -- they're called Oven Poppers, and I buy them at Target. They're usually around $5.99 a box -- I have one for dinner, and then take the other one for lunch the next day. They're really good. Tonight I had Crab Stuffed Sole. The Sole with Spinach and Cheese is wonderful, too, and the Cod Au Gratin, although I haven't seen that in the store lately. They have salmon, too, but I wasn't crazy about it the one time I tried it, so I've stuck to white fish.

Ooh, now that I'm looking at the site, I see that they have "Club Pack Products." I should see if the wholesale club carries them.

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Monday, March 10, 2008

An award

I just got an email saying that the Phantom Stallion site that I designed won a Silver Addy from the Advertising Association of Northern Nevada. Pretty cool.

Oh, and Jennifer Stumpf has an article in Belle Armoire Jewelry this month.

It's always fun to go into the bookstore and see books by clients of mine. I was at Borders over the weekend, and saw new releases by Sari Robins, Susan Wiggs, Bertrice Small, Melody Carlson and Barbara Bretton, all of whose sites I designed and built.

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Saturday, March 01, 2008

Quiet day

Bob went down to the lake this weekend with a friend, so it's just the kitties and me. The weather was amazing today -- very much like spring. I tried to wash the car, but the carwash was too busy, and I didn't want to wait. I'll try again tomorrow, although I heard that it may rain. In which case, I'll just drive around, and be glad I didn't pay for a carwash!

I had a nice day. I slept late, then, when I woke up, I read for awhile in bed. When the cats started walking on me, I got up and fed them, had a bagel and orange juice, then spent some time working on the computer. For lunch I had a frozen chicken caesar pizza which I'd doctored up with artichoke hearts and extra cheese, then I took a two hour nap.

When I woke up -- again -- it was a little after 4:00. I needed to go to the library to pick something up, and they close at 5:00 on Saturdays and this branch isn't open on Sunday, so I rushed around and washed my face and got dressed, and made it to the library by 4:30. I picked up my books, looked around a little and got a couple of DVDs, went to the grocery store for a few things, then got a concrete (vanilla custard, bananas and chocolate chips), and came home.

Tonight I'll probably read some more, maybe play a game on the computer for awhile, maybe watch a little television. I'm not really hungry, but later I'll either eat the leftover pizza from lunch or make spaghetti or something.

Just a lovely, quiet day. My favorite kind.

I put some new jewelry up in the Etsy shop tonight, and I have a few more pieces that I need to photograph tomorrow.

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