31 January 2014

Last day of January

Today is Friday, January 31st. This year has been flying by, at least it seems that way to me. The daily agenda has altered due to some people being unable to get to work in other parts of the country and that means that my normal Friday conference call that I host has been canceled. I got all the briefing information sent to everyone first thing this morning and they can review it when they get to work on Monday morning.

There are still things to do here at the office as the weekend approaches. It feels good to have the time I would normally have dedicated to the conference call to help take care of things. I will be here until the normal quitting time. I brought my lunch today so I won't have to get out. One of the coworkers has threatened to come over to the office around lunchtime. I say threatened because he is notorious for never arriving at all. The loose atmosphere is something that I am thankful for. It gives me time to take care of things that would probably fall through the cracks at a normal office.

I just got home from work a few minutes ago. The traffic was incredibly heavy for a Friday afternoon. The warm weather must have caused an outbreak of Spring Fever around here since most people work later hours than I do. Not that I'm complaining. It finally feels wonderful outside this afternoon. Since Hal has said that he is tired this afternoon, we will be staying home. Perhaps we will order some dinner. Tomorrow I have plenty of errands to run that will keep me busy while Hal is at work. I think that staying home is the right decision for us now.


January 30

This has been a rather unusual day for me. Things were much busier than normal at work this morning. I also had to travel to the client's office to do some weekly work at their location and I am leaving here early for a doctor's appointment this afternoon. It feels good to have gotten ahead of things and to be fully prepared for tomorrow.

My evening plans aren't that exciting. Once I leave the doctor's office I am going home and planning to relax and take things easy. I am sure that Hal won't have anything that he wants to do this evening, so I am planning to spend time with him and The Stooges and listen to some music.

With tomorrow being Friday, there is always the outside chance of something going on tomorrow evening. There is nothing like the party that I went to last Friday that I have been made aware of and I generally don't like to alter plans at the last minute, even if those plans are to do nothing! Since the weather is supposed to be considerably warmer tomorrow I hope to get more walking in. This cold weather has really cut into my 10K step daily goal. Looks like it will be time to catch up on that and get back on track.

It is hard to believe that tomorrow is the last day of January already. 2014 has flown by so far! That is good since it means that we are getting closer to Spring and to my closing out some long-term debts. Each month I get just a little closer to being finished. It will feel good to send off the February payments since I know that by Summer I will be done with this stuff. That remains my main focus right now. I am waiting to get my tax refund so I can stash that money away with the exception of a few items that need attention. The money that I save will be directed towards the cost of moving later this year. Hal and I have decided that it is time to find a new place that better suits our needs.

I am stopping for now since I have to get things closed down here and leave for my appointment.

I was so relaxed when I got home that I forgot to post this note until Friday morning :)

29 January 2014

January 29

Yesterday was a day full of news stories that were both predictable and incredible. The President delivered his State of the Union address, there was/is a huge mess in Atlanta, and UK lost.

The State of the Union was something that I missed since I went to bed early. I have not been surprised at the level of hatred coming from RWNJ after the speech however. I am so disgusted with RWNJ and the entire Republican Party that has nothing better to offer us than simple and barely disguised racism as their opposition to the President. The lack of respect due to the office is truly amazing. Not even GWB had this level of hatred directed at him. My sincere hope is that the RWNJ and their Republican allies are all voted out this November.

The situation in Atlanta was rather humorous at first, but as the evening wore on, it became clear that something serious had gone wrong there. Atlanta is not accustomed to dealing with snow, and I understand that. WHat amazed me was the lack of preparedness shown by the city and the residents after knowing that there was a storm on the way. Here in DC, they often go ahead and cancel things on the prediction of a major snow event to prevent the traffic nightmares that happened in Atlanta. I have been stuck in one of the "commutes from Hell" that resulted from everyone hitting the road at the same time and preventing road crews from doing their jobs. I feel terrible for those people stranded for hours in traffic, but one has to question the decision-making that allowed schools to open at all yesterday, and more importantly, the decision to close everything at the same time. That closing decision released everyone onto the roads at the same time. I imagine that this would be a disaster if there were no road problems due to weather, yesterday was just the perfect storm.

Finally, UK lost a game at LSU last night. UK cannot seem to get their heads out on the road. I never believed the hype that surrounded this team before the season started. Right now I look like a genius because of that decision. The Wildcats lack that killer instinct to put away a team with less talent. They also cannot overcome the obstacles of playing on the road. The SEC is NOT a tough conference this year. With the exception of Florida, the rest of the teams are mediocre at best. Losses like last night hurt UK's chances at a high seed for March Madness. At this point, I think that UK will be lucky to survive the first weekend of March Madness.

28 January 2014

January 28

Another cold morning in the DMV. For those of you not familiar with that acronym, it stands for the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia. Since it is January and that means Winter, cold weather is something that is not a total surprise. The thing is that since our weather was so mild that this cold snap does seem especially brutal. The forecast is for it to begin to moderate by next week.

I got over 8 hours of sleep last night, mainly because I forced myself to go to bed after a nice hot shower before 9pm. As much as I dislike giving up time with Hal and The Stooges, I know that I am better off going to bed and getting more rest because I feel better every day after doing so. I am seriously debating altering my work schedule later this year if we move closer to where we both work. That will cut down on the commuting time and make the decision somewhat easier. Arriving at work early means I avoid the real rush hour traffic here and leaving early accomplishes the same thing.

Just after 0900 now and the flood of email has begun to arrive. Looks like this will be yet another busy day around here. No reason to complain because it does keep me employed.

Finally home after another busy day. I am going to relax and get to bed early this evening, like I promised myself. Perhaps I will be able to start writing about some other topics soon.

27 January 2014

January 27

As I am home relaxing after a busier than normal Monday at the office, I am making certain that I do get something written down for the day. I was so busy at work that I really didn’t have time to go through the news of the day. Therefore, I will keep this post short and sweet.

I saw the coworker who threw the retirement party on Friday night as he retired from the military reserves. I recalled my evening spent avoiding one of his psycho chick friends, and he found that rather amusing. That isn’t exactly the word that I would have used, but at least it is all over with. If I had been set up with the psycho, my friend would never enjoy seeing his children graduate high school!

I am hoping to get a good night’s rest. The weather has begun to cool down and by tomorrow it will be ridiculously cold once again. The forecast for tomorrow morning is calling for wind chills below zero. Not what I was hoping for, but I have to deal with it nevertheless. I am planning to listen to some music before going to bed early tonight, and so I wish everyone a good night and a great Tuesday.

26 January 2014

RWNJ Stupidity

Why is it that the first cold snap of the winter brings out all the RWNJ Climate Change deniers? Years of average temperatures rising mean nothing to RWNJ.

The same RWNJ also ignore the facts and historical patterns when confronted with more than 30k Americans killed by guns each year, so it must mean that they are just stupid fucks!

January 26

I am starting this Sunday morning feeling great for a change. After my bout of insomnia on Thursday and Friday, I finally slept for over 10 hours last night. I wish that there was some secret that I could uncover to allow me to sleep for at least 8 hours each night, but until then I will just have to make do.

For this day I have a few errands to take care of while Hal is at work. This evening is a dinner with friends to celebrate our anniversary (January 6th) and my birthday (January 20th) because neither Hal or I want people constantly spending money for these events. It has become a tradition for our friends to wait until both events have passed and then we all get together. It will be a great evening, but not a late one. I still have be up at 0500 tomorrow morning for work.

I will take care of the errands and come back home to relax before we head out to dinner. I might go and drool over some tech toys while I am out, but I won't be spending any money, that I can promise.

I am not sure how much time I will have to write later, and I wanted to keep my streak of daily writing intact for my 50th year. I hope that I will add something later, but I am posting this just in case :)

25 January 2014

How many more shooting tragedies?

Today there was a shooting at a mall in Columbia, Maryland. 3 people are dead. There was another shooting at South Carolina State University as well  that happened yesterday. How many more incidents like this must we endure before we get serious about gun control in this country?

I am tired of the NRA owning politicians and preventing debate on this issue.

I am tired of RWNJ arguing that only guns protect us from government tyranny.

I am tired of hearing that the solution to these tragedies is for more people to have more guns. The emotional knee-jerk reaction that has proven to be the most deadly is the delusion it is always the wrong time to discuss this issue immediately after a tragedy with no timeline ever established. This is nothing more than a tactic to keep the issue out of the public realm as much as possible. The thought to discuss gun control immediately after a tragedy is the normal response, and not some over-reaction.

I am tired of the belief that the right to own a gun supersedes the right to not have to live in fear of the next mass shooting.

I am tired of the numbness that seems to have become the normal response to these tragedies.

I am tired of the fact that a tragedy doesn't rate coverage unless the body count is high.

I am tired of the mentality that our kids have to go through drills covering tragedies like this because we are too cowardly to address the real problems.

I am tired of people profiting from these tragedies by marketing "protective training" and "survival skills" books who crawl out of the woodwork to flap their lips on TV news when a tragedy happens.

I am tired of the glamorization of these tragedies.

I am tired of these tragedies being referred to as "incidents".

I am tired of hearing about people being "neutralized".

I am tired of these tragedies being covered only when they occur in affluent areas, as if the poor do not matter.

I am tired of the NRA and Ted Nugent and their hateful and insane shit.

I am tired that I even have to write this post!

Last Night's Party

I mentioned in a post yesterday about my friend/coworker and his retirement party as he leaves the Navy Reserves. I attended out of respect for him, and to prevent any issues ever being raised about my not attending. I have to admit that the party was much more relaxed than I had expected it to be. I actually had a great time there with the exception of the psycho chick that tried to attach herself to me.

I was minding my own business, yes I was, and this woman managed to shoehorn her way next to me as I was at the open bar. She asked me if I saw some other guy nearby at the bar chatting with another woman. I said yes I saw them, and then she proceeded to unload with all her story about how the guy had dumped her. Obviously this woman was a lot drunker than I ever got last night. I had her tailing me throughout the party, constantly telling me her life story even though I did not want to hear any of it. When I tried to physically separate from her, she started crying and of course everyone thought that I had done or said something to upset her. Oh, I was very tempted to do so, but I held my tongue through the disapproving glances that I was getting from other people.

Eventually I managed to escape her attention to sneak out for a smoke. Just as I was beginning to relax, she showed up asking for a cigarette! I went back inside the bar to find my coworker and ask him just who the hell this woman was. He told me that she played on his softball team, and that she had “issues”. I told him that she was a psycho and that I was preparing to leave the party because I could not get a moment’s peace with her trailing me. My friend’s wife eventually managed to steer the psycho away from me. After that I had a much better time, made some new friends, and several of us were preparing to head to another bar to keep our own little private party going. I was shocked to find out that one of the girls in this group had invited the psycho to come along with us because the girls felt sorry for her. Bad sign that signaled the end of the night. Psycho would not leave the bar we were at because she found someone’s cell phone and insisted that she had to find the owner. We all told her to leave the phone at the bar and to alert the staff and that they would take care of it. The group of 6 people could not convince her to leave the phone alone and that it was the owner of the phone that should be worried.

After 15 minutes of assorted efforts to get psycho to leave with the group, I finally had to announce that I was leaving for home. I would have enjoyed more time with the new friends, but I was completely sick of dealing with the psycho. I think that next time I am out like that I will just be rude and unpleasant towards any woman who wants to dump her life issues onto me. I could have dealt with the group including her at another location, provided that they kept her in line. Now we will never know. I respect that everyone, myself included, wanted to make sure that psycho got home safely and would not be driving, but there is a point where you obviously have to realize that you cannot help everyone and must move on.

24 January 2014

January 24

Insomnia really sucks. I woke up at 3am and was never able to get back to sleep. I still feel fine here at the office, but I know that at some point later today that the wall will come crashing down on me and I will need to sleep or force myself to stay awake. I wish that there was some method of controlling this malady, but I have yet to find it.

I am at the office early, as usual, and have gotten things ready for my meeting later today. I am supposed to attend a friend's military retirement party this evening, that will probably happen because I don't want to deal with the unpleasantness that will follow if I cancel at the last minute. Honestly, I am not really looking forward to it because of the types of people that will be there. Even though I also served in the military, I find that I just don't have that much in common with the people that will be present this evening. Probably the fact that I was enlisted and this friend is an officer has a lot to do with all this. Whereas an enlisted retirement party is nothing formal, this event should have been staged by Spielberg! The amount of time and money that will be invested in all of this is truly staggering, but from all I understand, not that unusual amongst the officer class.

The main thing that will make me go is the free booze and food as well as the relief that I will not have to deal with the attitude if I failed to attend. Remarkably I still have a job to do here today although the actual retirement ceremony will take place late this morning. I already had to make it quite clear that I was unable to attend the ceremony, and to deal with the resulting disapproval of my friend and his officer buddies, both active and retired. I will find solace in alcohol at the party this evening, and I will try to avoid any conversations that involve politics. This will be rather difficult since the people that will be there are all of the RWNJ persuasion. So long as I have a drink or food in my mouth I can get by with nodding and avoiding any real interaction with these people.

As one can tell, I am not really looking forward to this evening at all. It is a necessity that I deal with the friend since he is also a co-worker. Were it not for that, I would have found a plausible excuse to avoid the party in the first place. The booze had better not be watered down at the party!

23 January 2014

January 23rd

I honestly think that short workweeks are the worst because people always try to cram their supposed 5-day week into the shortened timeframe. This week has certainly lived down to the lowest expectations.

Tomorrow will be Friday, and i will do my best to calm things down. I am going to a friend's military retirement celebration tomorrow evening so I will not allow myself to get wrapped up in other peoples' problems at the office.

22 January 2014

January 22nd

It is really cold this morning! I was out the door and made it to work on-time today but I don't expect much to happen since the Federal Government is on a 2-hour delay. That is fine with me because it means that I can catch up with things that happened yesterday on my day off.

I always find it amazing how much stuff flows into my email on days that I have publicly stated are days that I will NOT be in the office. Apparently, this means that no one reads the notifications that I send out regarding schedule changes. This comes as no great shock to me.

I am expecting to have the office to myself for most, if not all, of the day here. The normal meeting with the client should be cancelled for this morning. If not, I will just have them dial me in remotely. It is too cold outside right now to stand around waiting on a bus if I don't really have to.

I did manage to get a good night of sleep last night. For this I am grateful and I hope to repeat that this evening.

 I did go to the client's office today after all. Getting there and back was an adventure due to the snow-and-ice-covered sidewalks. The cold made waiting for the bus rather miserable both ways.

It is now just after 5pm and I am home and just finished dinner. I am looking forward to a quiet evening and hopefully, a good night of sleep as well.

January 21st Part 2

Sorry I was unable to post last night

As the snow begins to fall here in Alexandria, Hal and I are all set. We did get out to BJs for some necessities and were very surprised to find that the place was not crowded at all. That allowed us to get back here before the light snow started. There is plenty of food here, including Hal's wonderful spaghetti so we will be fine for the rest of the day.

The snow is clearly visible from the windows here on the 17th floor but it seems to be hanging off to the North and West of us by a few miles. Right now there are only light flurries in the air and the ground is not covered as of 1000 this morning.

Nearly noon and the snow has really picked up in intensity around here. This is supposedly what we have been threatened with since yesterday. Luckily, everything is ready here. I managed to get a covered parking spot when we came back from BJs earlier this morning so I will not have to clean the Beetle off tomorrow morning, or whenever I go back to work. It is hard to believe that yesterday we were at 60 degrees here. I would rather have the 60 degrees!

It is now nearly 2100 and there is no more than 3 inches of snow on the ground. I will see what the conditions are like in the morning before deciding whether or not to go to work.

21 January 2014

January 21st and the threat of snow

Today has started with me sleeping in for an extra 3 hours this morning. When I woke up, Hal told me that we needed to make a trip to BJs and Safeway since there is supposed to be significant snow on the way later today. Luckily, I already had today off work so this will be the only trip out for us. As of 0940 there is still no snow here in Alexandria.

It remains to be seen when the snow will start, or how much we will get. If things get bad, I will just let work know that I will be taking tomorrow off as well :-) 

20 January 2014

My Birthday wrap-up

My birthday started with a true surprise. Since both Hal and I have been saving money in order to pay off bills, I wasn't expecting much. Actually the only thing that I had asked for from Hal was to make some of his awesome spaghetti for my birthday. He made that on Sunday night.

This morning I awoke to find a birthday card on the bedside table. It made me feel awesome as I awoke to realize that I had turned 50 at some point overnight. I found Hal in the living room and we talked for awhile about plans for the day. Hal then got up and returned with a gift bag. I was stunned and thanked him before I even touched the bag.

I removed the packing paper meche and was totally stunned to find a SOL Republic Deck Bluetooth speaker. I am not a person who expects big or expensive gifts. I was speechless as I saw the speaker. Hal could tell that I was incredibly surprised and very pleased.


I managed to get the speaker put of the box with my hands shaking and got it connected to my iPod via Bluetooth.  It sounded wonderful, and I immediately began helping Hal to sync his devices to the speaker as well. Hal mentioned that he could tell how completely surprised I was, and that is an understatement!

We went out around lunchtime and Hal bought lynch for me at Buffalo Wild Wings. Again, I don't expect people to spend a great deal on me. It is the thought that counts. After lunch we wandered through Potomac Mills and I almost managed to get away without buying anything. However, one item caught my eye and I splurged on myself.


I know that there aren't many Royals fans around the DMV, so I appreciate the color and the uniqueness of something like this.

As we started home, we heard on the radio that we are supposed to be in for a significant snowstorm tomorrow. I already had taken Tuesday off to enjoy my special time for one more day so I am not worried about the weather tomorrow. As I close out this blog for today, I can say that this has been the most wonderful birthday ever!

My 50th birthday

Today I turn 50 years young. I cannot say that I feel any different than I did yesterday, or the day before and I suppose that is a good thing since I feel great :) It is a time to look back, and to look forward for me. I am going to try and keep a daily blog during the next year since this is a special occasion.

The first interesting item  about me is the link that I have with Dr. Martin Luther King. Today we celebrate his birthday, although he was actually born on January 15th. I was born in 1964 and my Mother wanted me to be born on my father’s birthday which is also January 20th. My original due date was to have been January 15th, 1964 but my Mom managed to hold me back from the world until January 20th. A tenuous link, but one that I have always found rather inspiring.

The day should be interesting around here. Since it is a Federal Holiday, I have today off. I also took the liberty of taking tomorrow off from work as well since this is a special occasion. Not sure exactly what plans there are, but Hal and I will have a wonderful day together nevertheless. As I set off on this journey through my 50th year, I hope that I can maintain this blog, and that it will be both interesting and entertaining to the readers.

Let’s have a great day everyone!

16 January 2014

Friday Eve

For many years I have referred to Thursday as Friday Eve. It is just a small thing that helps me to get through the week. At times like this I really need the encouragement! Luckily, I will have a four-day weekend starting after work tomorrow since Monday will be a holiday and I am also taking Tuesday off as well.

Things are going well, I am looking forward to my birthday celebration on Monday, and that is the main reason that I took next Tuesday off from work. I am sure that I will need some time to recover from things! I am looking forward to this year since I will eliminate a few bills that have been hounding me for years. By July, I will have the first and largest one taken care of, and the smaller bill will be eliminated before the end of the year. When I look back at the last 5+ years, it seemed that I would never reach this point in my struggle, but perseverance has paid off and I am nearly done.

Once those two hurdles are cleared I will be able to relax and enjoy life more. Although there are still things that need to be paid off they are not as pressing as the ones I am nearly through with. The concept of an actual vacation seems possible later this year, definitely next year. I will be making no real changes to my lifestyle as a result of this. I have learned to make do with less and that is something that I will continue to practice.

15 January 2014

Another Wednesday

As I sit here at the office after catching up on all of the emails that the morning usually presents me with, I am finally able to take a short break and relax.

The morning commute was an adventure through the thick fog. Luckily I get to work early and there wasn't much traffic. I am glad that I was not in the mess that started about 30 minutes after I arrived, when everyone else hit the roads. The fog has finally lifted, at least around the office in NE Alexandria and hopefully we will see the sun at some point later today.

Last night, I watched the 1st half of the Kentucky vs Arkansas game and I had a feeling that UK was going to lose. I went to bed without watching the 2nd half and UK ended up losing in overtime by 2 points. The blah feeling that I have about UK this year stems from the impression that these talented freshmen cannot manage to find the inner desire to win a close game in a hostile environment. This is a trait that comes with maturity, and right now the 'Cats are sorely lacking in that department. UK is just not mentally tough enough and with the constant turnover in personnel, I doubt that this will change anytime soon. Keep in mind that I am NOT a coach, I cannot discern talent and predict the future.

My goals for today are to get through this day at the office, and to go home and rest this evening. I need to get as much sleep as I can. I do get tired more quickly as I get older after all. Once this week is over, I will have 4 days off and I want to be able to enjoy that time without sleeping all of it away.

14 January 2014

Countdown is on

The countdown is on. In less than 1 week, I will officially be 50 years old. I am not sure how to handle this news. I don't really feel like I will be 50. The number itself holds no special dread for me. I feel fine and look at this upcoming birthday as an accidental result of my birth and nothing else. I suppose that it has to happen sometime, so I might as well get it over with.

Turning 50 means a birthday celebration organized by friends. As usual, the get-together will not actually happen ON my birthday, but at the closest convenient point on a weekend immediately before or after my birthday. It looks like this year it will happen on the weekend after, and that is fine with me. This also means the obligatory gag gifts and such that normally go along with entering a new decade. I don't mind the attention, and the good-natured barbs don't really hurt at all. I am just glad that I have friends who feel like celebrating an occasion like this with me and Hal. The only limit that I place on things like this is the amount of money that they will throw down on the event. I am not a selfish person by nature and I don't see the need for friends to get all extravagant with plans for the day. The best birthday celebration I have had over the last 12 years was one that was delayed by bad weather. When things were finally rearranged, the birthday dinner ended up at Golden Corral! While some of the people thought that this was not the proper place for a birthday dinner, I reminded them that it was their presence, and not presents, that made the time special. The fact that the dinner wasn't overpriced was a bonus to them since mine was gratis anyway.

I guess that I am rather strange in this way. I have often remarked that a potluck dinner at the apartment would be just as joyful for me on my birthday as going out. Sadly, I don't think that I can trust that many of my friends to prepare anything edible in their own kitchens to bring to the potluck! I just am not that much of a materialistic person, and I don't feel the need for people to spend a large amount of money on me. As long as the celebration isn't terribly expensive for them I will be very happy.

As I said earlier, I don't feel any sense of dread as my 50th birthday approaches. I suppose that it is natural to think back and wonder how I might have done some things differently, but that usually doesn't last with me very long. The past is the past. Decisions were made that brought me to the point where I am today, and no amount of wishing will change any of it. The key to happiness is learning to keep moving forward from the place that you are now.

Tuesdays

Tuesdays have to be the worst days of the week. Monday gets it's fair share of abuse for ruining the weekend. Tuesday has the nerve to come along and remind us even further that the last weekend is completely over with the next weekend still too far away to contemplate. Tuesday gets the leftover crap from Monday when no one really wants to get their week started in the first place. This gives Tuesday the distinction of very nearly qualifying as Monday Part II.

06 January 2014

The cold has arrived in the DMV

I just took a break here at the office and immediately noticed the change in the weather when I stepped outside. THe temperature was nearly 50 when I came to work at just after 6am this morning. Now, the temperature has dropped to 40 degrees, but the wind has really picked up from the North and the cold air that has plagued the middle of the country is arriving here in the DC area. This is the leading edge of the cold air that will drive our temperature down to single digits by tomorrow morning.

So far, this has been a mild winter around here, so the arrival of this cold air is really a shock. I feel for those who are without shelter in weather like this, and I hope that those people are able to get to shelter before the really frigid air hits. The same goes for animals especially for pets that should not be left outside in weather like this. If you have a pet that you care about, then that pet should be inside with you where it is warm.

Let's watch out for each other and hope that the cold air will move out just as quickly as it has moved in.