No Context For You -December 03

This is what you get when you have a post planned with some neat photos you stumbled across the other day – only to find at the very last second (at least I thought to double check, it would have been soooooo embarrassing!) that you had already posted these about five months ago.

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Sweet dreams!

(The really good news is that, all of a sudden without having changed anything and having long ago given up on having the time or the effort to actually solve the problem, I now can upload pictures again in one of the two WordPress site’s browser apps. It’s progress, even if it is dark and unknowable magic at work.)

(The bad news is that WordPress is down? Why can’t I post this?)

(Ten minutes later – still trying to break the curse of the pissed off alien who thinks I stole his soul by taking his picture…)

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Benefits Review Needed

Who’s in charge of this website? Where’s the HR department?

How many sick days do I get, and is that for both physical and mental illness?

Does OSHA know about this?

Is this like “Catch 22”?

There was supposed to be creativity here, a refuge from the hum-drum life, a daily affirmation that I was still human and not just a drone from a bad Matrix fanfic. I know that not every day can be a game winner, but jeez louise!

Sorry, I’m ranting.

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PT-19 Innerds

If you have hung around here, you’ve seen pictures before of our PT-19 trainer.IMG_7523 croppedI even got to fly in her once.File Oct 24, 20 58 39Now she’s down for maintenance. Those of you who have only flown in modern airliners only know of planes that are build like flying tanks. These older planes were highly reliable (they’re still flying after 80 years or more) but they were built to be light and not particularly tanklike.file-dec-01-23-10-55-smallThe wings come off for servicing, which is not a big deal. But as you can see here…file-dec-01-23-13-03-small…the body of the plane is just a structure of tubing.file-dec-01-23-19-45-smallAs much fun as it might be to sit in that seat and go flying like this…file-dec-01-23-20-22-small…most people are more comfortable with the fabric skin back on the outside after the maintenance is done.file-dec-01-23-20-42-smallIt’s probably a little bit more aerodynamic like that.file-dec-01-23-21-08-smallBut when you’re sitting in there flying for the first time, you realize that this is no 747. Despite that, she flys like a beauty! One of these days I hope to fly her as a pilot and not just a passenger.

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One Year

A year ago today I re-entered the ranks of the gainfully employed after being out of work for two years and forty-five weeks. To be given the opportunity to contribute and make a living again after being at one employer for so long (strike one), being my age (strike two), and having been out of work for so long (strong three) was a wonderful thing and it would be hard to overstate my gratitude.

On the other hand, it seems that I’m holding my own and pulling my weight, and then some. With the magnitude of the changes I was expecting there was a sliver of doubt that I could still make the grade (see strikes one, two, and three above). There have been days when I’ve been exhausted and a few where I’ve been a bit down on myself and frustrated (gee, I’ll bet some of that comes through in these daily brain regurgitations!) but despite that things are better now than they were a year ago, both for me and for the Habitat for Humanity affiliate where I’m the Director of Finance.

A little thing went a long way to making my day today. I got a card from our CEO, a simple little congratulations for making through the first year. An acknowledgement of the anniversary, a bit of praise.

If you think that’s not that big of a deal, consider that at my previous employer no one from the President and Vice-President down to the executive secretary ever acknowledged any kind of work anniversary. Not one year, not five years, not ten years, not twenty years, not twenty-five years. Forget about the proverbial gold watch for twenty-five years – no one knew and no one cared.

There are a lot of reasons that this job is so much better than that one. I like the job and the company goals more, I like that we’re actually making a difference in people’s lives, people who need the help. (We build houses for low-income military veterans.) I like all of the people I work with. The commute is much, much shorter — if you don’t think that’s a big deal, come and drive around in LA traffic for a few morning rush hours. I now have people to work with who I can truly trust to be teammates, people that I can count on to get things done, help me when I need it, and ask for my help when they need it.

The fact that we take the time to set up a calendar to give out a card on work anniversaries is small, but very important. It makes a huge difference.

Here’s to the next year and to all the years beyond!

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Some Days You’re Just Grumpy

There might be so many reasons.

Maybe that fish last night was a little bit spicy, or the broccoli was making you a bit gassy. Maybe that had you feeling punkish all night, leading to a lousy night’s sleep.

Maybe there’s an anniversary coming up that you thought would be a cause for celebration, but you’re just not feeling the joy. Or maybe it’s the other way around, you’ve got something going on that you can’t put your finger on and that’s putting off from the celebration.

Maybe you’re feeling overwhelmed.

Maybe you’re feeling under appreciated.

Maybe you miss someone. Maybe someone’s showing up in your head at night and you don’t understand what they’re trying to tell you or why they can’t still be there when you wake up.

Maybe you saw or heard or read something that got stuck down in your subconscious like a burr that wiggles its way deep under your collar on your back. You can’t quite remember what it was or why it bothered you, but you know something’s not quite right.

(You hope that it’s not because you’re a closet asshole. You HATE people like that. Although being that guy and not realizing it would definitely qualify as a burr in the subconscious.)

But you can’t act grumpy at work, because it’s not their fault and it’s not their problem. You shouldn’t act grumpy at home, because, well, the same.

So you put on some good tunes, try to get some work done, maybe try to write a rambling piece on your website, keep smiling, keep putting one foot in front of another, and hope that tonight you either get some sleep or some answers.

Maybe tomorrow won’t be a day you’re just grumpy.

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Sunday Sunset From Up In A Tree

While putting up Christmas lights yesterday, I took a peek at what was turning out to be a pretty neat looking sunset. My apologies if some of the pictures aren’t perfectly composed – I was shooting off balance with one hand, holding onto a creaking tree branch with one hand, and holding onto the ladder in an attempt to not break every bone in my body with the other hand.

Good thing that the ground was soft and mushy after a couple of days of rain! (Ask me how I know…)

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Christmas Lights – November 27th

Weekend One of the 2016 Christmas Lights Frenzy is in the books. Thanks to The Younger Daughter’s help on Friday (the addition of an extra set of hands is far more than exponential in the amount accomplished) and several hours way too high on a ladder today, we’ve made a pretty good start to this year’s madness.

file-nov-27-22-35-19-smallAgain with the possibility (probability?) that this will be our last Christmas in this house after twenty-six years here, I’m trying to max out our display.file-nov-27-22-34-49-smallOne issue we have is some large changes in the foliage which is the support and substrate for so many of the lights. A huge chunk of the birch tree is gone from a wind storm a month or so ago, and the tall evergreens just to the left of the garage door went away when the enormous sewer project went in. (For comparison, here’s a picture from last year.)file-nov-27-22-34-22Just playing with the iPhone, but if you click on this image and blow it way up on the screen, you can juuuuuuust pick out the seven bright stars in Orion that make up the shoulders, feet, and belt.

Which gives me an idea to try for later…

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