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Name: Justine
Location: Annapolis, Maryland, United States

Justine, is a little bit more than you'd expect. This is where you are supposed to put your "elevator speech". What you'd say if you were in the elevator with somebody you wanted to connect with. I don't have an "elevator speech". If I ran smack-dab into one of my "heroes" I'd just have to smile and be polite and keep my yipper shut and that's probably for the best anyway!

Monday, December 31, 2007
Another Old Anxiety
Well skippity doo dah, it's New Year's Eve.

It's better than 50 degrees outside and I just went for a walk around the almost empty parking lot here at work.

Just like Christmas, I'm still in the wicked world of contracting so I will put in my full 8 hours.

Please understand I complain in jest. At the end of last March I left a job with a firm I had been with for 19 years. My performance evaluations had been "exceeds" and I was considered the "go to gal" for technical matters. Oh and did I mention I was also a supervisor, so I had minions to control?

I sprung from that job to one as a basic level contractor. No management duties, no project leads, basically somebody who can breathe and type at the same time. I got a 13,000 dollar raise. Yes 1083 dollars more per month to be responsible for less, work a straight 40 hours a week, have a window office, and park in front of the door. Oh and did I mention that the folks here are nice? We get along so well that they've given me a peer award just to say so!

Oh and I get to work flex time. I come in between 8:30 and 10:00 a.m. At the old job, on my last day, my manager pitched a fit because I was leaving 15 minutes early.

Did I mention that when I left the last job it was driving rain outside that day? Or did I mention that I sang and danced in the puddles all the way to my car? "Singing In The Rain" has had better renditions but none ever made me happier.

It's been a rip roaring year. This year I've:

Bought my first house.
Changed jobs after 19 years.
Moved after 8 years in the same place.
Lost a four legged friend of 17 years.
Sorted 3/4 through 3 housefulls of stuff
Bought my first pinball machine.
Established my own art studio in the house.
Won NanoWrimo (Aka wrote 50K words in November)
Handled maintaining my Mom in assisted living
Kept my mom's house in Florida on the market.
Almost died from anemia.
Reunited with a beloved teacher.
Founded an former co-workers alumni group.
Watched my mother struggle with Alzheimers and remained sane.
Commited myself to returning to Taos in late summer of 2008
to reunite with the group that saved my life in 2000.

Through it all I figure this blog has had one reader. That's you Cuz. Thanks for being there!
Monday, December 24, 2007
Let's Light This Candle
Reading. Reading. Reading.

Reading IBM DB2 for ZOS tuning manuals is about as exciting as counting the hairs on a dogs ass.

The "Group By" clause allows for aggragate functions. But only under specific circumstances. Do not bother to memorize these circumstances, you can not. They are basedo n the phase of the moon and the julian date. Just code the damn code and wait and see if it blows up.

It's Christmas Eve day. It's Monday. It's Sunny and warm for this time of year.

I am now a member of the "contracting" set so I get to work a full 8 hours today. Money talks, everything else walks. My former cohorts were released from work today at noon.

BUT if I don't take time off for December and January, not only will I bank some leave for next years vacation but I will also earn five hundred bucks. For some insane reason I am thinking of taking that money and buying a friend a plane ticket so she can come back east and visit me and her family. Also so she can stay at my house while I have work done, and she can help me unpack the straggler boxes.

The organizer is more expensive, less personable, and probably works harder than she and I can together.

Do not ask me where this wacky idea came from. But for some reason I feel I have to do it.

So I am at work. I am sitting in the broiling sun in front of a fan and it's December. The Christmas Heebie Geebie's have arrived. They start out with a pervading sense of loss. That strange recounting of those who have passed away not only this year but in all the years since the last magical childhood Christmas.

Secondly the emptiness creeps in. The emptiness of the house. The stack of things still to toss or donate or put away. The fact that Christmas comes with a crushing list of things to do and drag in and out of storage. This year I splurged and put up a ceramic tree.

The third part of the Heebie Geebie's fell upon me like a wolf. I got the wild idea that I should go gung ho on Christmas. I bought presents, wrapped gifts, bought ingredients for baking. Ieven serioulsy considered cooking Christmas dinner. I've tacked expectations on myself until I don't want to think about it.

Part four of the Heebie Geebie's have arrived. I just don't give a rat's ass. Let's light this candle. Let's get this stupid thing over with.

Mom won't know it's Christmas. She's going to want to go out to eat. I have a ham and goodies at the house. When I pick her up she will throw a fit until I take her out to eat. We'll go to Number 1 Chinese, because it's open. She won't remember why I order her Moo Goo Gai Pan and spring rolls. She doesn't remember why she likes them.

Who knows if this will be our last Christmas together?

I don't even know what I got for her in my Christmas stash.

This Christmas will be just another December Tuesday in a long dark downhill spiral that has to change for the better at some point.

This time tomorrow we'll be eating Chinese. Then I'll take mom back to her assisted living and go home and sleep until it's over.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Get Your Torch Burning!
Well freaky darlings. (If there is anyone left who reads this.) It has been a long hard fall. From before Halloween until now has been a long dark time.

Our sweet Missy Dog passed away from us in October. She was almost seventeen years old.

Mom is not doing all that well since she doesn't have a puppy doggie to take care of daily.

I just about checked myself out permanently by not going to the doctor sooner when I was having asthma troubles. Turned out it wasn't astma but a low red cell count coupled with serious anemia.

I'm on the mend now but still tired a lot of the time.

Still working on pulling through and weeding out all the stuff in the house. Almost have another car load of stuff to donate to the Salvation Army and Maltese Rescue. I'm hoping the Maltese rescue will come and pick the stuff up.

I have a rack of ugly glassware in my sites for donation next.

If all goes well in February or March I'm having a friend form the west coast come and stay for a while. She has generously volunteered to help me pushthrough more crappola.

Once this is done my stuff, mom's stuff, Missy's stuff, Aunt Ann's stuff, and grandmom's stuff will all be sorted through and taken care of. That will be the end of all the estate stuff. So I won't have to do it again.

In the attic lurks stuff that went up there a few months ago. But that will have to wait for purging until the spring.

Hope you and yours are having a good Holiday Season.

Right now I'm just waiting to get through it.

My favorite holiday distractions are watching "Hotel Babylon" and "Torchwood" on BBC America. Torchwood is a spin off of Doctor Who and the lead is Captain Jack Harkness. Jack is helping protect the earth from intruding aliens and their technology. He's gorgeous to look at and his character will do anything with anyone! Makes for interesting television.

Hotel Babylon is a 'back of house' look at running a hotel. The concierge is the best scamp in town.

Cuddles and Stay Warm!

Thursday, December 06, 2007
Ok,It's Thursday. It's supposed to be optimistic and sunny.

People left me alone last night and I baked my cookies and played with my computer. But this morning I'm back to wanting to run away.

I want to drop it all where it sits and drive away to the west.

I don't want to do this job I've signed up for. I don't want to do anything. Just sit quietly until I'm ready to move on.

I'm exhausted. Several years of running two households and moving two households and sorting through 100 years of other people's stuff has left me exhausted.

Oh and by the way respiratory infection just to keep things perky.

Oh no funny observations today dear reader. Just a overhwhelming divine discontent. Ovewhelming, all encompassing, shattering, life destroying discontent.
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
Ok I'm calling out the vampire detective
Ok, I've just had enough. Enough foolishness. Enough going through packing boxes. Enough having too much stuff. Enough foolishness with dumb, stupid, government red tape.

I am in no mood for being collateral damage because two beauracrats can't walk across the hall and talk to each other. That is not a "can't" situation.

Brining back my mother's scrambled synapses is pretty much a can't situation for mortal humans.

Teaching two programmers to read a chart by talking to somebody not in your department and hopelessly tearing the fabric of the space time red tape continuim is not climbing mount Everest in flip flops and a posing pouch!

So, fair warning. The next bozo that starts with this business on me is getting the detective vampire. He's going to drag them off, drain their blood, munch on their giblets, and toss them in the bay.


I'm here to kill you for Vixx?
This is the vampire detective who is going to do the deed for me.

So, let's get this straight. I'm going home tonight. People will avoid my car and not do me any harm. Then I am going to make my oatmeal, raisin, pecan cookies. I am going to sit in the comfy warm house, watch my vampire detective program, and eat my cookies.