Dec 22, 2009

bad habits

Posted by Mary |

I think most people have habits. Hobbies, if you will. Little things that they do when they need to pass some time. Me? When I'm bored, I like to count the letters in words. If I'm really bored, I'll break the word down into smaller segments and try to think of other words which contain those same segments of letters.

My dad's timepass, apparently, is going to the hospital. Case in point: He took Monday off from work and was running some errands when he started feeling unwell, so he went to the hospital in Norwich. He managed to score twice in one day, because they said he'd had a heart attack and transferred him to Yale. Sigh. I just came back from Connecticut. I think he's trying to trick me into returning again.

Dec 19, 2009

cold weather plans

Posted by Mary |

It's -30ish today. I'm packing up The Boarder and we're going to the hot springs.

Dec 17, 2009

now we're getting seasonal

Posted by Mary |

One of my coworkers showed up at part of the dance workshops last weekend. Given that he is a good Latin dancer and I still struggle with the concept of letting someone else be in charge, I decided to try to get him to come to an Argentine tango milonga on Tuesday. Success! He showed up and once again attempted to break my brain.

Some of my readers may not know this, but I have a slightly dominant personality. Therefore it is a constant struggle for me to dance socially. I don't mean grinding in a club. a) I don't go to clubs. b) If I did, I could control the dancing in that situation. My struggle is in letting go and allowing someone else to determine how we will move. It's harder than it seems. I can't seem to stop counting the beat and trying to finish the moves for my partner.

Since no good deed goes unpunished, I had to wake up at 5 this morning. When I flew to Portland, Liz picked me up at 5:15 to get me to the airport for my morning flight. It turns out that she was taking the same flight on her way to Baltimore, so it fell to me to return the favor. But when life hands you lemons, you get your ass to the gym extra early. Thus I hit the SRC at 6 a.m., got a long workout in and still got to work much earlier than normal.

The extra time I log today will offset the time necessary to bring in a heated dish for tomorrow's potluck and gift exchange. I'm veering away from desserts for once and bringing in a whole bunch of bacon-y goodness. Also, I am bringing the worst gift known to man. I expect folks to fight over it.

Dec 11, 2009

heard in the car

Posted by Mary |

Dammit. I keep forgetting they put in a handicapped parking spot.
I mean,bully for the handicapped, but what about me?

--I'm going to hell anyway,
might as well be offensive along the way

Dec 10, 2009

super genius of the world

Posted by Mary |

I approached the issue of my broken auto start just like I would approach a computer that is acting up. I disconnected the battery, then reconnected it. Hallelujah, the auto start is receiving a signal. It seems to have gotten itself into valet mode, which I need to switch, but it is working once again.

This weekend is going to be busy. I have two days of Latin ballroom dance workshops starting Friday evening. A friend also requested I attend her birthday dinner Friday night and then go to a bar. I might try to meet her at the bar when I am done dancing, but I've got another 5 hours of workshops on Saturday. Saturday night is the birthday celebration of one of my closest friends, Rachel. Also happening Saturday: the first Clucking Blossom fundraiser (featuring Thought Trade and Work), the last Paper Scissors show for a while, and a friend's boyfriend is playing at the Mecca (ew - to the bar, not to him). So many choices!

woe is me

Posted by Mary |

File this under Life Is Never Easy.

I returned to Fairbanks and to a car with a dead headlight. That wasn't a problem, as I simply bought a new bulb. However, while under the hood to replace the bulb, I accidentally knocked the tiny little wire spring that holds the bulb in place down into the engine compartment where I could not see it or reach it. I called a few salvage yards, but nobody had anything close to my car for parts. (Side note: Really? No newer Subarus in Fairbanks? Very odd.) I gave up and decided I would pay full price to get the part straight from Subaru.

Did you know that Subaru doesn't sell that wire spring? Nope, you've got to buy the entire headlight assembly, to the tune of about $200. All this for, essentially, a bent paperclip. And because of the way the headlight is seated in its socket, the standby solution of duct tape won't work.

Balls to that. I turned up the heat in my garage and got to work systematically removing items from my engine compartment until I could reach my arm in far enough to root around. Lo and behold, I got the spring back out. After putting the new bulb in and putting everything back together, the car started up just fine.

Except. There's always an except.

Except my autostart no longer seems to work. At first I assumed it was the remote battery, as my 2-way remote eats lithium batteries like nobody's business. But the one-way remote isn't working either. So I tried re-syncing the autostart and the remotes. Nope. This isn't the first time I've disconnected the battery. (Last winter I kept the battery inside by the woodstove for several days while waiting for my car to thaw enough to start. It was a long streak of -40 weather.)

So the plan is to take my car to the shop on Friday to have them see if something got knocked loose. I plan to root around under the hood a little more after work and see if I can find the issue and fix it myself. For now, I'll have to manually start it and use my keys to lock and unlock. Just like a commoner would. I miss my autostart already...

Dec 7, 2009

read in an e-mail

Posted by Mary |

If you can not stand it any longer and want to
track the status of your order every other minute,
you can login to your account settings page by going to ...

--E-mail from a company

They know me so well...

Dec 6, 2009

season's greetings

Posted by Mary |

Dear Mother: This is the closest I will get to Christmas decorations.

The new range has been ordered. And thus the kitchen renovations will begin. When I bought the house, I knew it would need some functional improvements, but also a few aesthetic improvements. And the first major aesthetic project I want to tackle is the kitchen. Step one is the new range, since the old one is a bit haunted and unclear on how to maintain a consistent temperature. Fun fact: It is almost impossible to get an electric coil range. People are all about the smooth surface these days. I can't repair a broken burner on a smooth surface, so I had to get the range I wanted special ordered. It will be here in 6-8 weeks.

Now for the catch-up: I went to Portland for the Supercomputing Conference. Got there a few days early to visit with Joanna, John and Sofia. They have a lovely new house in the northeast part of the city. I transitioned to my downtown hotel after a few days and got a-conferencing. Although SC may not sound like fun to the layperson, I had a great time! I'm somewhat isolated in Alaska, so it was a chance to meet a lot of people I'd only dealt with over the phone or by e-mail as well as visit with a lot of different companies and learn a hell of a lot more about the world of supercomputing. Of course, there were parties and such to attend, which made the trip even more fun. By the end of the week, I was far more versed about our systems at ARSC and able to answer more questions in the booth.

After SC came the big surprise trip to Connecticut. My parents weren't expecting me, but rearranged their schedules when I showed up. I managed to hit up two Indian grocery stores and buy some new clothes. My family has always switched Thanksgiving hosting with an aunt and uncle in New York, so this year we were off to Long Island for the holiday. That gave me a chance to see my cousin Abbie. The last time I saw her was October 2003 at her wedding, and now she has two sons. After much visiting and quality time with the family, it was back in the air. I had a long layover and a change of airlines in Portland, so I stored my luggage and hopped a train downtown to buy gin and doughnuts, as one will. Back at the airport, I repacked everything to fit the booze and pastries in my bags, then checked the luggage through to Fairbanks and got back on some planes.

My parents have two somewhat antisocial cats. You can look at them, and maybe touch one of them, but they don't really cuddle. Therefore, it was with great relief that I returned to Nibbles. She was somewhat frantic after my absence and promptly laid down on my head to sleep. On Friday I managed to book some time with Tom, so we got pizza and went to the theater to see 2012. Lots of stuff blew up - yay! He is leaving for a quick trip to see his family and then is off to Central America with his girlfriend for a bit, so I wanted to hang out before he left. This afternoon, I had brunch with Gary, who had gone to Texas for the holiday. Seeing him is always a bit of relief - like everything is back to normal. We hatched plans for some New Year's Eve debauchery and are debating a trip to Anchorage in the spring as well.