31 March 2016
29 March 2016
The State Department and Pentagon are ordering the families of U.S. diplomats and military personnel to leave posts in southern Turkey due to security fears
27 March 2016
Today is a day for me to rest and relax and do things that I have wanted to all week long. I busted my ass all week on the job and I am nearly at the end of my rope right now. I know that all of my efforts aren't in vain, but there are times when the end game just seems so far away from me that I start to work too hard and think that will get me there quicker. This is always a dangerous time for me. It generally means that I truly need some time off work and away from the everyday routine.
There was some pleasant news last night. I reconnected with a girl I grew up with. We went to school together but it has been years since we spoke to one another. After some initial texting through FaceBook messenger, she called me. I am glad to report that we spoke for over an hour, and I know how much better I felt afterwards, I hope that the feeling was mutual on her part.
I have decided that the 16,000 steps are not happening today. I spent the afternoon being quiet here at home until Hal (person) arrived after work. We are ordering pizza for the evening and are staying right here. Since Hal (person) has tomorrow off work, we will get out then. I am content with my decision to take a day away from everything that I normally deal with because I need the time for recovery and relaxation more than anything else right now.
Hal the Cat is relaxing next to me as I write this. He is perfectly content with his life and I need to follow that example more often with my own life. There are plenty of opportunities to do everything, but very few in which we can just live.
As evening settles in and we have had our pizza for dinner, I am growing very tired. We were listening to some Jazz until Hal's brother called him. As Hal (person) went to the other room to take the call, I decided to write some more before I get too tired to go on. I am going to take a nice hot shower in a few minutes and will probably end up in bed very early tonight. I want to feel totally rested for tomorrow since Hal (person) and I will have the entire day together at last!
23 March 2016
20 March 2016
17 March 2016
March Madness officially starts today. I am fortunate enough to work from home and can tune in to the games when they start at lunchtime. I will be paying attention to early games,but Kentucky doesn't play until nearly 2200 this evening. I truly hate late games, but at least this gives me the reason to stay up and interested in the late games.
Today is also St. Patrick's Day but I will be foregoing the green beer in order to enjoy the basketball. I did remember to wear something green for today so I am safe from the old pinching thing unless Hal (person) feels frisky today.
Today and tomorrow should be rather slow at work. I am ahead of things once again and that really helps. I plan to take some time this weekend to go over the 5 Choices book that I finally received today. I am going to try to implement the lessons into my daily life and career as much as I can. I need more control over the clutter and noise in my life when it comes to work. Getting ahead of things is not the same as properly managing them on a daily basis. There are days that I feel completely exhausted by the end of the day, and I am tired of that.
Speaking of tired, I slept last night, but woke up this morning feeling completely exhausted before the workday even begins. This isn't the way I wanted to start the day, but there is nothing I can do about it right now except to muscle through it.
I have managed to get through until lunchtime without too much difficulty. The games have started and I am keeping track of them as I work and attend meetings this afternoon. I suspect that the afternoon will be relatively quiet. It also gives me time to work with a pleasant distraction for a few minutes each hour.
I am also planning out the evening. For once, I will be the one that will NOT be interested in going anywhere after work due to the games this evening. I will still get all my steps in today and that will be finished by the time the Kentucky game starts late this evening. I will probably order something for delivery as dinner this evening.
Right now I am enduring the last meeting that I have been roped into for today. Sadly, there are people who love the sound of their own voice during conference calls, and they think that everyone else loves hearing them as well. This is NEVER the case! Once it is over with, my day resumes with normal work until 1730. I am looking forward to the end of this day here at work.
I did place my Amazon order today to get the 5 Choices book from Franklin Covey. I am currently taking the course through my company, but they were unable to procure enough of the books in time. I will use the book in the future, so I consider it a good investment. Until the book arrives, I will make do with printouts provided from the company.
At least the meetings are over with for today. I will take a few minutes to get more steps in before quitting time and dinner. This is the worst time of the day, that nebulous time in the late afternoon when nothing is going on and motivation is sliding.
I managed to get through the day at work. Dinner is still under consideration because I don't want to spend a lot of money so I might throw something together here at home since the weekend is coming up soon.
It looks like we will go to the store to get some cat food after work since we don’t want The Stooges to go hungry. Perhaps I will get something from Subway to bring home for the evening. I am waiting for Hal (person) to get through with his shower so we can head out in just a few minutes. The workday is finally over with, and I am tremendously glad about that. The basketball games continue and I am waiting anxiously for the Kentucky game late this evening.
16 March 2016
I happened to walk out onto the balcony early this evening to smoke a cigarette and noticed this sunset.
I immediately rushed to grab my iPhone so I could snap this picture. I am very pleased with how well it turned out. It is just another example of how Life happens when we least expect it if only we take the time to appreciate it.
14 March 2016
Today has been a day for both rest and for getting things done around here. This morning, I went to my Chiropractor for my monthly visit and I feel tremendously better as a result. After that, and the trip back home, I rested for awhile. Hal (person) had gone into DC to celebrate a friend's birthday over lunch, so I had some time to myself for the afternoon.
I decided that I am taking a break from the 16,000 steps today as my back adjusts to feeling normal once again. I will start the routine up again tomorrow. I feel so relaxed this evening, I hope to get to bed early and have a great night of sleep. My writing will get into high gear again by tomorrow, I am sure.
11 March 2016
As March Madness has already begun with the conference tournaments this week, I always find myself wondering what can be done to improve the event. I don’t want to tinker too much with success because this is a wonderful time of the year, but I do have a few suggestions.
Every year, we get arguments that Team A should be in the NCAA tournament even though they finished with an awful record in their conference. They played in a tough league is always the response when trying to justify including them, but I think that one of the first things I would do is to make a rule that:
Only a team with a winning conference record (the more winning the better) would be considered for an at-large bid to the NCAA. If a team enters their conference tournament, then those games should be counted in their conference record and that should determine their eligibility. Of course if a team with a losing conference record can WIN their conference tournament then they deserve that automatic bid. But I am tired of seeing a team go 9-9 in conference and then complain that they played a tough schedule and should get the benefit of a doubt. The way I see it is that yes, they played in a tough conference, and they proved that they weren’t that good. Sit down and try again next year.
This idea would open the NCAA tournament up to more of the so-called mid-majors. I believe that in a game like basketball, where 1-2 players can make a huge difference, that a winning record should count for something. The mid-majors don’t play the toughest schedules, but they don’t have the resources and the money that the major programs do. Why should a team from the ACC, Big 12, Big Ten, PAC 12 or SEC get rewarded for mediocrity when they DO have those advantages and fail to utilize them properly?
Of course, the always dreaded option would be to open the tournament to all Division I schools. The conference tournaments would determine seeding and one additional weekend would be required. I understand the objections to this, I only present it as another alternative to get more fresh blood into the tournament in the first place.
A more draconian option would be to return to only conference champions participating in the tournament, This is what things were like before TV money sent everyone into a frenzy. Each conference would have the option of how to determine their champion. Some would select their regular-season champion, others would still hold conference tournaments. For conferences that chose tournaments, their regular-season champion would run the risk of missing the NCAA if they do not win that conference tournament, but that would be the rule when the season started, and the coaches and players would know that.
I think that the first option is the one that causes the least harm to March Madness. I wish that it would be studied by the NCAA as an option. A mid-major that wins 25 games deserves, in my opinion, an NCAA bid over a team that goes 19-13 or 18-12 and 9-9 in conference regardless of what conference they play in.
10 March 2016
I have survived another day at work that included multiple interruptions to the normal schedule, and as a result, I really don't feel that I accomplished as much as I would have liked today. I will see what Friday has in store for me, and do my best to make tomorrow a good day.
Right now there are no plans for the evening. Hal (person) has become more of a homebody over the last few months. There is nothing wrong with him, he is just struggling to pay off his bills as quickly as possible so I don’t blame him for it. I do wish that he would want to at least go out occasionally when I want to. I consider it just another part of being in a long-term (16+ years) relationship. Things will even out in the long term, so I won’t worry about it.
If we do stay at home, I will simply write some more as I watch college basketball. There are a few things that I would like to go and look at, but they will be there whenever I get the chance, those things will always be there. Not spending any money is a good thing when I think about it. I often talk about how lucky I am, and learning to take the little things like this in stride is all just a part of the game as far as I am concerned.
I took a nice walk after work while Hal (person) was occupied on the phone with one of his sisters or cousins, or somebody. It does get a bit disconcerting at times, but we do have all day together since I work from home, and we each need some time for ourselves. Since I don’t have family that I stay in touch with, I write and listen to music as well as watching sports on TV if there is anything interesting on. Thankfully, this is March and there is plenty of basketball to occupy my time right now.
I completed my steps for today and will take a shower soon before heading to bed. I am looking forward to tomorrow and getting back to a more normal routine at work. Not to mention that once tomorrow at work is over with, that I have a 3-day weekend to look forward to!
09 March 2016
I have made it through the halfway point in another week. When Monday began, I wasn’t sure if I was going to make it or not. I tried implementing some of the things I learned from the 5 Choices seminar I have been attending, and I must say that it couldn’t have come at a better time. I was constantly reminding other people of my priorities when they came to me with various stages of self-imagined emergencies, expecting me to drop what I was doing to help them. I will definitely be using the lessons learned in the future. Next week, I will plan things out once again and then deal with other items as they arise if I have the time.
Today is my early day, and once again, it could not have come at a better time for me. I am planning a quick trip to the grocery store after work and then coming home to make dinner and enjoy the evening. There is no pressing personal event that needs my immediate attention so I can relax and watch some college basketball action this evening and try to do some more writing.
08 March 2016
The first thing that I really need to do is to take the first 30 minutes or so on Monday morning and figure out what I have to accomplish during the week and allocate enough time to make sure I can get the top priorities done. Then I can assign time for other tasks that don't have a major impending deadline during the week. Once I have that figured out I have to distribute that time around all of the meetings that I'm required to attend.
All of this planning usually pays off. It gives me the chance to get ahead of things as well. I have begun the 5 Choices class offered through the company I work for, and I am finding that I am already using quite a few of their recommendations while not utilizing others. I need to take the time to fully incorporate the lessons into my daily work routine on order to be more effective and productive. This will require some reorganizing of my routine, but it will pay off in the long term. The first thing that I really need to do is to take that 30 minutes and make the most of it as I start my week. I already know that planning prevents crisis management later on, I just need to be more effective at making my planning and priorities known to others on the team.
Today is the first time I will have taken the extra care in my approach to Monday at work. I predict that there will be a few minor things that I fail to account forn this time, but I will take note of them and make sure that I do not let them sneak up on me in the future. I see the 5 Choices course as a useful tool to help me do even better. As long as I keep that outlook, things will be fine. If I let myself get drawn away from proper planning, I will soon find myself struggling at times when it is truly un-necessary.
06 March 2016
05 March 2016
The week is over with at last. It has been much busier than I expected, but in a good way. I received a Microsoft Surface Pro 4 from my company as a replacement for my old laptop and I am extremely pleased with how it performs. Although I am an Apple fan, I can still appreciate a nice machine like the SP4, and it does give me reason to wonder why Apple chose to go with the iPad Pro design rather than an attempt to duplicate the iMac in a more portable version like the SP4.
Perhaps that is the next thing that Apple will work on. When I compare the SP4 to the iPad Pro, I must admit that the SP4 is the better alternative right now. The pricing is better to have something that is actually a real computer rather than an enlarged iPad. Perhaps if Apple were to introduce something like the SP4, that includes full OS X rather than iOS it would even the playing field. I feel as if Apple missed the boat on this so far by producing nothing more than an extremely large iPad. Right now, the only advantage the iPad Pro has over the SP4 is LTE connectivity.
Form factor is something that is important, but not a deal breaker for me. The iPad Pro is definitely the nicer alternative when it comes to the device itself, it is slim whereas the SP4 feels rather buy, but this is because the SP4 packs most of the features of a desktop into a small package. Once again, it seems that Apple has misread things about this aspect of portable computing. I would accept a bulkier iPad Pro if it duplicated my iMac rather than just being an extremely large iPad.
The SP4 handles well, I love the backlit keyboard and the stability that the kickstand offers. The keyboard for the SP4 is wonderful and honestly I have not seen or tried the keyboard for the iPad Pro because I haven’t been to an Apple store recently. I cannot understand why Apple neglected to include a trackpad with their iPad Pro keyboard cover.
Another nice feature is not just the stylus for the SP4, but the fact that it mounts to the side of the unit magnetically, whereas the stylus for the iPad Pro apparently has no way to attach for storage, and apparently there is no way to attach it to the keyboard either. To me, this is a serious flaw with the packaging of the iPad Pro.
Having said all that, I still prefer the Apple OS, whether it is OS X or iOS, over Windows. That factor alone is the main reason that I would not immediately purchase an SP4 for myselfI have to use Windows at work, but I don’t want to use it for my own personal equipment, at least not yet. I have invested so much into Apple through the years that I really don’t want to have to change things now.
I am sure that I will be watching the new MacBook series that is supposed to be released sometime this Spring. That would definitely have my attention. Until then, I am happy with the iMac and the Chromebook. My iPad isn’t a real blogging tool due to the lack of a keyboard that doesn’t triple the weight and bulkiness of the iPad. I usually keep looking for something nice for the iPad, and if Apple was smart they would introduce a line of keyboard covers for their entire line of iPads.
I seriously doubt that any of these things will happen in the near future. Until then, I am happy with my iMac and my Chromebook to get me through the day here when I am not at work. I would rather have the money in my pocket than flowing out for something that isn’t really necessary right now.
04 March 2016
Today I am returning to a somewhat more normal sense of existence at work and home. A combination of events really threw my timing off yesterday and I was just not in the mood to sit and write at the end of the day.
The first thing that happened was my normal Wednesday trip to the client’s office for our weekly meeting. This proceeded without incident and I was able to get away from there and head back home to get lunch and continue with my workday. Then I was notified that the new company computer, a Microsoft Surface Pro 4 (SP4) had finally been delivered to the apartment office. I rushed over to pick it up and brought it back and immediately set it up.
Of course, the best laid plans of corporate IT fell apart. There were connectivity issues and my email profile was nowhere to be found on the new machine. For the rest of the afternoon, I was still working from the old laptop while struggling to get things set up correctly on the SP4. I began a notebook for IT detailing the issues I encountered because there will be several other people in various locations that also receive the SP4 as their upgrade.
Between phone calls and normal meetings and IT help, I was really spent by the end of the day. Then I had to take the Beetle back for the emissions inspection that was not done when I took the Beetle in on 20 February. Luckily, the VW dealer didn’t charge me for that. I decided that I needed a drink more than I needed to write for the first time in forever, so I enjoyed a few cold adult beverages and vegged for the evening and went to bed early.
On to today, the SP4 has had another issue or two, but I have been able to resolve them myself. I actually like the device although cloud storage is something that will take some getting used to. The old laptop was up and running for my weekly meeting that I lead this morning, next time I will run it from the SP4. Luckily, there is a 5-week period of evaluation after which we can either accept the SP$ permanently or request something else. As of today, I am definitely going to keep the SP4 and clear up room on my desk. I think that tomorrow I will take the old laptop off my desk and use it only when necessary. This will be a huge step forward.
As I sit through another conference call, I am finally able to sit back and re-evaluate things. This is the time when I feel the need to write more. I am not really required to present any inputs on these calls, so I can let myself enjoy a little bit of freedom as I listen in and take notes for my own reference later.
I am happy with the way that things are working out this week, even with the extra chaos of yesterday thrown in. I know that I am making progress on my goals at work, and I am ready to do even more as I adjust to new circumstances.
After work is over with, I will get some more walking in. I have done my Ab-Carver Pro each morning this week and am glad to report that the initial soreness has worn off. This means that my plan is working and that I will keep to the plan for the rest of the week through Sunday. On Monday, I will increase my reps and make that the baseline for next week. They key is to take the time to do this right in order to avoid discouragement, and it is working.
I am sure that we will have a quiet evening with the exception of one trip to the grocery store after work. I want to spend some time with Hal (person) and The Stooges this evening to close out what has so far been a great day.