(no subject)

Feb. 26th, 2009 10:00 pm
spiffikins: (Default)
So my housemate is officially moving back to her mom's - she drove down Saturday morning and came back this evening. Her mom is in good spirits, but isn't really able to be on her feet for long at all - so housemate is doing *everything* - laundry, cleaning, cooking, errands, changing bandages, driving mom to doctors and appointments.

Housemate figured out right away that someone needs to be there with her mom, so she called our landlord Sunday to give notice. Our landlord is a friend of mine and she's being very cool and not making housemate pay rent for March even though she didn't give 30 days notice.

I've put up an ad on craigslist - there are a TON of rooms available for rent right now - it's crazy. Over 150 ads have been posted since Sunday morning when I posted mine, so now I'll have to be posting it every day or so just to keep it visible.

My desktop at home was overheating again over the weekend - I have a monitor tool that sits on the desktop and tells me the temperature of the CPU - when I turned on the box it would start at 65C and just go up - it hit 75C and I'd frantically fan a large notebook at the box (I have the side of the case off to try to let the heat dissipate a bit) and the temp would go back down to the high 60s. Then it would jump up to 88...and then the machine would turn itself off.

Monday I brought home a can of compressed air from the office and pulled the machine up and cleaned it out thoroughly with the air and just using my finger to get the dust out of the heat sink. I also brought it up off the floor, and put it up on a box. It's better, the temps sit around 39C-49C, but if I run Windows Media Player to play music, it can jump up to 72 really quickly. All the fans are running, but if I recall correctly, this is a Prescott chip, and they're apparently known to "run hot" and I probably need to doing something with the heat sink and new silver paste stuff (which I don't know how to do) - but my friend says that given this isn't the first time the machine has gone on an overheating cycle, I've probably damaged the chip and motherboard at this point...so I'm not sure how much money/time I want to put into this 4 year old box.

I have been planning to buy a new laptop and use that as my primary machine - but I missed out on a really good price in December or January and nothing else has come up with the specs I want, for the same price point. The closest in specs that I found was $1100 and this weird bronze/chrome snakeskin pattern...ugh. Hopefully I can keep the desktop running for a while yet until I find something I like.

Yesterday a bunch of coworkers and I all gathered at the local bar to meet up with G. who was laid off a few months ago. I wasn't excited to go, because I don't like bars as hangout spots - they're rarely set up to actually sit down and have a conversation with more than one or two people at a time - so a group of 8 or 10 people can't actually all hang out easily. I've kept in contact with G., so I also felt like I didn't need to necessarily take up any of the time he could be spending with people he hadn't seen in a few months - but at the same time, I thought he might be upset if I didn't show up.

I ordered a drink because I figured I might as well - someone suggested a Tequila Sunrise - it was alright, but I can take or leave alcohol - I was trying to figure out the last time I had anything other than a half glass of wine with dinner - probably over 10 years ago now, might even be closer to 15. Not sure if it was the liquor, but I ended up feeling really sort of out of it, and left after about an hour - had dinner, and felt really, really tired - ended up going to sleep by 9pm.

Plan for the weekend: figure out how to get everything but the furniture up off the floor of my room, so that I can see about having my landlord take a swipe at the carpet in my room while she has the hallway and the other bedroom done after Housemate moves out.
My housemate is awesome - she's lived here now just over 18 months or so, and, while I knew it wouldn't last forever, I thought I still had at least another 3-4 months before she would likely be moving out. She finished her schooling in September, and has been looking for work in her field, but had decided to stick it out till June at her current job (which she hates) because the economy wasn't making it easy to find new work.

However, this week, her mom landed in the hospital, ended up having a portion of her foot amputated, and nearly died because a small infection in her toe wouldn't heal, and nearly became septic. Her mom's blood sugar was over 400 (normal is somewhere around 110?) and the doctors confirmed what her daughters had suspected, which was that mom is diabetic and *not* taking proper care of herself.

So my housemate drove down to southern california this weekend to figure out what to do - and just called my landlord to say that she's moving back home with her mom to help out. Her mom has hyperbaric treatments every weekday for the next 2 months - but the nearest facility is an hour and a half away - 1.5 hours to get there, 2 hour treatment, 1.5 hours back - crazy.

My housemate told me that she's pretty sure that her mom would just not go, just like she ignored the infected wound in her toe that landed her in the hospital...so she feels that she needs to go home and make sure that her mom deals with stuff instead of ignoring it.

So yeah...I can totally relate, what with the looming spectre of my mom's health issues, and while I think it's completely unfair that she has to give up her life and do this, I can understand exactly why she feels it's necessary and there's just stuff you do, because it's family.

But at the same time - and here's me whining about me - dammit, I hate finding a housemate!

Oh well. C'est la vie.

(no subject)

Feb. 11th, 2009 10:03 pm
spiffikins: (Default)
okay I'm a bit freaked out - I open up LJ tonight, and 3 of the first dozen posts are about people having fire alarms go off - what's going on???

(no subject)

Feb. 11th, 2009 09:09 pm
spiffikins: (Default)
High School Meme )
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[Error: unknown template qotd]

I consider myself a practical realist :)

I'm surrounded by managers who are dedicated optimists, wearing rose-coloured glasses - so I definitely come off as a pessimist around them - but it's more that I want to at least raise *all* the possible consequences of an action, and think through all the options, before making a decision :)

In my company, it's my *job* to identify the problems with new ideas - and then do them anyway :D

end of week

Jan. 30th, 2009 10:23 pm
spiffikins: (Default)
weird week - today I didn't get to spend more than an hour, tops, at my desk - spent most of the day being pulled hither and yon by minions and random folk who Needed Things Immediately. Managed to solve all problems, solve all problems and/or get the appropriate people working on them, soothe jangled nerves, act as a security blanket, *and* get my bug fixed by 5pm.

coding stuff )

Tonight, I met up with some friends and had some wine - good end to the week!
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A few years ago, my youngest brother was visiting me, and as we were driving somewhere, I asked him to read the street signs while we passed them, as I wasn't sure exactly how to get where we were going.

He wasn't able to do it - he would see a sign with the word "Figaro" on it, and what would come out was "Finster". The first time, I just looked at him and said "um, *Figaro*" and he replied "sorry, Figaro". But it kept happening. So I started asking him to read signs on building and storefronts. More often than not, if it was an unfamiliar company name, he would just say a word that started with the same letter.

Eventually he got frustrated, and we moved on to another topic. But it bugged me, because my brother is *not* illiterate - reading is one of his favourite things to do, and when he was in grade 2, he was reading at a grade 7 level - his vocabulary is astounding even now. He has ADHD and has been diagnosed with Asperger's so school was hard for him - I basically figured somewhere along the line he was never taught how to sound out new words - and it's true his spelling is atrocious.

Talking to my mom tonight, I mentioned this - and she told me that she's the same way - unless someone tells her how to say the word when she is reading it, she can't figure out how to say it. And when she's writing, a lot of the time, there will be words she knows and wants to use, but she has no idea how to spell them - not even well enough to get a spell checker to figure it out.

I've always assumed that "not being able to spell" was something that just meant you forgot how to spell a word here and there - not that literally, there are words for which you know the definition, and use in daily conversation, that you cannot spell.

For my mom and my brother, they literally cannot spell all of the words they know and use in conversation.

This is a whole new concept to me - aside from a handful of words where I don't always remember if there are 2 L's or one, or if its an S or a C - I can spell every word I know, and can make a reasonable attempt at pronouncing a word I've never seen before. I assumed everyone was like that - if you know a word, it means you know how to spell it.

I'm apparently wrong.

My mom reminded me - for years in our house, she would talk about "Canoe Reeves" - the actor. And when she was telling me about how she was out of "Skidoo puzzles" - we laughed, because she knows that's not right, but these are words she'd only ever seen written, and hadn't connected them to the verbal sound.

If you're reading this - how do you learn words?
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(no subject)

Jan. 22nd, 2009 07:37 pm
spiffikins: (Default)
this week has been exhausting for some reason...I'm burnt!

Monday - we lost the T1 at the office around noon, and I spent the rest of the day playing "call the verizon people to get updates and try to jostle the ticket along". Determined that despite the fact that we send *verizon* oodles of money every month for the T1 line, the physical hardware and lines in our area are owned and maintained by AT&T - so verizon spent most of the day trying to coordinate with AT&T playing the "not our fault, is your fault" game. Also spent the morning fixing bugs in my code, and the afternoon, when I ran out of "things I can do without internets" was spent archiving mssql databases - something that is has been on the list for... four years...but really wasn't a priority.

Tuesday - still no internets, and I have a dentist appointment. Dentist appointment was ok - a chunk of the grafted bone in my gum from the implant several years ago, apparently *broke off* and was working its way out of my body. He verified it was indeed a broken off piece and offered me two options - let him stab me with a needle, freeze me and pull it out or I could go home and worry at it like a loose tooth, and it would come out on its own. He gave me a month to work on it, and if it wasn't out by then, he would freeze me and do it. I had it out by lunch time. The only reason I didn't get it out over the weekend when I first noticed it, was that I was freaked out and not sure I was supposed to *touch* it. T1 came back while I was at the dentist.

Tuesday evening, I spent a good chunk of time on the phone with my boss who is in Japan at a customer site. Debugging and troubleshooting over the phone with translations! Till 11:30pm! fun!

Wednesday - don't really remember. there was a dev meeting... Oh! I tried all afternoon to get to the results of the troubleshooting from Japan, and had just begun, at 3pm, when my boss called to say "so why didn't it work?". I told him that there was nothing obviously misconfigured, so my only theory was to do all the things he had done in Japan over the course of the whole day, in the next hour, on our Windows 2003 server - which is to say, install apache, java, 2 tomcats as services and use *his* config files to determine why loadbalancing wasn't working. Went through that whole process, and found we had a single extra line in one config file that apparently doesn't work with the older version of tomcat they are using (which is why I had to install everything identical to the customer in japan). Figured that out, and spent the next 40 minutes trying to get a tool to do a java threaddump in windows - none of the free ones seemed to work with the configuration they have, so found a trial version of a commercial tool.

Wednesday evening - more troubleshooting - this time I set up a webex meeting and took remote control to fix the problems instead of trying to work through my boss and the japanese customers.

Thursday - who knows, I give up - finally was able to reproduce the 2 remaining bugs that QA kept giving back to me, insisting that they kept happening - turns out that if you send an email from gmail's web interface, the email contains nested multiparts. I didn't handle that right - now I do.

Tomorrow? Apparently I have to try to get ahold of verizon to renegotiate our T1 pricing and get a quote on a bonded T1 - my boss is tired of us all whining that the office internet is too slow. Not sure why it's now in my job description...nor why it's suddenly a higher priority than anything else on my list...but that's why he writes the cheques.

Want weekend.
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(no subject)

Jan. 20th, 2009 09:14 pm
spiffikins: (Default)
Hundred Things Meme
I got this from [livejournal.com profile] 1_mad_squirrel

The things in bold are the things I've done. If you want, copy it and change it to reflect your life.

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland
8. Climbed a mountain - a small one :)
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sung a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France - disappointing, actually
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitchhiked
23. Taken a sick day when you're not ill
24. Built a snow fort - tried to - didn't have enough snow
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run - in elementary school
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo's David - NOT disappointing at all!
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted - well, a caricature done in sharpies
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theatre
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies - well, Girl Guide cookies, in Canada
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi concentration camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten caviar - not a fan!
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone's life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous - depends on your definition of "famous" - I've met musicians that I consider cool :)
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee
100. Read an entire book in one day - I've read more than one book in one day
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(no subject)

Jan. 19th, 2009 09:54 pm
spiffikins: (Default)
I went tonight to set Tivo to record Obama's inauguration speech tomorrow morning, since I'll be at the dentist.

When I searched for "Obama", Tivo found 3 programs titled "Obama Inauguration Speech Coverage" - on the local new station, and TWO other channels - MTV and MTV2

A tiny glimmer of hope for the future....

(no subject)

Jan. 11th, 2009 09:22 pm
spiffikins: (Default)
37 things meme )
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(no subject)

Jan. 4th, 2009 12:50 pm
spiffikins: (Default)
Places I slept last year (2008) meme.


1. home
2. mom's house (a bunch of nights - did a lot of visiting this year)
3. Kamloops, BC (one night)
4. San Diego, CA (a bunch of nights - spent over a month in San Diego last year, all told)

Not terribly exciting :)
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I have many things I meant to write up, but never got around to them, and then *did* write up a long post, and lost it while I was at my mom's house.

Following up my post from before Christmas - on the topic of company Christmas parties - I count myself lucky that I look forward to spending time outside of work with my co-workers and bosses - at this time of year, I hear/read of many people who feel obligated to attend their company party, and don't enjoy it at all - and I'm fortunate that I'm not in that position.

With respect to vacationing at home - even my mom admits that my brother and I really shouldn't come home for as long as we did - we get bored because we have nothing to do. This, of course, was exacerbated this year by the Great Snowfall of 2008, but in general, I always talk myself into staying 7-10 days when I really should only go home for 3-5 days at a time.

Even with all of the bad weather and horrible airport delays reported - both my outbound and inbound flights were on time! I had no delays, did not end up stuck in lengthy lines or even have much trouble getting to the airport. My poor mother ended up parking in a foot of snow at the Vancouver airport to pick me up, and trekking cross country through unplowed drifts - the first thing she said to me when she got to the terminal was "we have to find a *different* way back to the car". We did, and the roads back to her house weren't bad - Vancouver got a lot more snow in the first dump that we did - our road was clear up until the 23rd, when we got 10 inches overnight. The morning of the 24th was a scary concept, given that I had to go pick up my brother at the airport on the 25th.

Per usual, Sat, my Polish "brother" (he has no siblings, and he was good friends with one of my brothers in high school, so we "adopted" him) was a flake, and his suggestion was that my brother "take a cab" from the airport - that would have cost probably 200$ - assuming he could even find one who would agree! His next theory was that he could go in to Vancouver, but he'd have to come to our place to get my mom's car - since the whole reason we wanted him to go, was that we weren't sure we could get my mom's car *out* of the cul-de-sac, that wasn't a useful idea either :)

But, I shovelled the snow, we got the neighbour to drive back and forth on it with his SUV, and my mom used her ninja snow-driving skillz honed by growing up in Saskatchewan, and after only 40 minutes we made it the FORTY FEET between where I shovelled and where the snow plow had gone by on the crescent outside our cul-de-sac.

Honestly, it might have been easier for me to just shovel the cul-de-sac :)

Was supposed to try to meet up with my friend in Richmond, after failing to do so in November when I was last home. Unfortunately, she had a major water problem - 2 floors above her, the sprinkler system broke and water was coming in her walk-in closet. That was on the 29th, she finally got someone out on the 2nd to get fans and dehumidifiers in place to dry her out - they were understaffed over the holidays, but it looks like things are moving along now.

The downside of being in Canada for Christmas is that I missed out on the Boxing Day sales at Target :) I wanted to pick up some more ornaments - I did get a bunch of the flat silver metal snowflakes on sale for 30% off before Christmas, but I was going to pick up a few more if they had any left. Boxing Week sales in Canada were meh this year - no good ornaments at Zellers, Walmart, London Drugs or any of the other places I checked. Seriously - Zellers had a whole WALL of *pink* ornaments with *feathers* and *pearls*. And everyone had a ton of cheap ornaments covered in glitter - I'm not a fan of the glitter.

I did stop by Target on the way home Wednesday from the airport, since I was on that side of the hill - no more snowflakes, but I did find 5-6 boxes of glass icicles on for 75% off - score! I also picked up a container of metal Christmas cookie cutters, which has all the key ones - candy cane, gingerbread man and woman, star, tree and bell. In addition it has a snowflake, holly leaf, reindeer, mitten, snowman, angel, sleigh, santa hat, wreath, gift box, and ornament - all for $3. Strings of lights for $0.49, plus I got 3 packs of blue replacement bulbs ($0.12 each) which I will use to fix the string of lights that I bought this year - it is blue and white lights, but there are 2 white lights for each blue light, and I find it to "white" - so I will replace a bunch of the white bulbs next year and tone it down.

Work was *quiet* during vacation - no crises, no panic - just a couple of minor things to keep up with. It was very nice!

I am ready to go back to work though - if only to keep me out of the stores - I'm *done* shopping for bargains now - time to save save save.

I started feeling sick on Tuesday and it developed into a full-fledged cold complete with nasty-sounding cough and a stuffed nose. So I didn't go into work on Friday - I napped instead. Hopefully by Monday the worst will have passed and I'll feel better.

I bought a ton of veggies and chicken and am planning on taking lunch to work again - I do much better at saving money and eating better when I take food to work. I bought chicken breasts on sale for $1.88 a pound, and cooked them in the crockpot today with a half bottle of salsa - pulled it all apart and now I have delicious, moist chicken to put on salads, or wrap in tortillas with some veggies and cheese.

As for resolutions? I need to cook more and eat out less. I am going to keep a journal of what I eat - it definitely keeps me on track for making healthier choices - haven't decided yet if I'm going to do it on paper, the way I did it before, or if I'll do it on lj with filters, as it's seriously boring :) I might set up a different journal on the south beach forum, but that's two places to go read and post in...so we'll see.

My other resolution is the same as last year - work less, take better care of me - I did *better* this year - I took a lot more time off, and went home a lot. But I still have a ways to go, although it's harder now, since we have fewer people to share the work, but I need to keep at it.

(no subject)

Dec. 30th, 2008 01:02 am
spiffikins: (Default)
A link for me to read later -
http://www.gofreelance.com

(no subject)

Dec. 25th, 2008 12:02 am
spiffikins: (Default)
oh winter. you really shouldn't have. really.

trapped in a winter wonderland - over a foot of snow overnight here. this generally means that we're stuck for 3-4 days until the snowplow goes over every single street in town at least three times, including the street at the end of our cul-de-sac, before finally deigning to take a cursory sweep through our circle.

the neighbours have an SUV, and he made it out into the middle, and escaped - but of course he didn't make any trails remotely near our driveway. I shovelled out a pathway for my mom's car this afternoon - our driveway is long and very wide - you could easily park a dozen midsize cars on our driveway.

now that the snow has stopped falling, I went back out tonight and shoveled the *street* - another driveway-length out till I met up with the tire tracks that had been made by the neighbour.

this gives us a fighting chance tomorrow of escaping the cul-de-sac and venturing out into the Rest of the World in order to pick up my brother from the airport in Vanouver.

maybe.

we shall see - Vancouver apparently got even *more* snow than we did, and are possibly less equipped to deal with it.

it's supposed to start raining tomorrow evening or friday morning - at which point the snow will be come 50x heavier - it was actually not that bad today -cold enough that the snow was light and fluffy and not saturated with water(the normal condition around here).

though I believe very little of what the weather people say - the theory is that tomorrow is supposed to be sunny, and then it's supposed to warm up and rain for the rest of the year. which is a good thing, as I do need to fly back to california on the 31st.

despite my travel fears, I had a smooth transit from SFO to YVR - apparently flights leaving vancouver were the ones being delayed - flights arriving were doing okay.

because my brother travels tomorrow, we're not having our big turkey dinner until friday - assuming he makes it home tomorrow :) if we can't escape the snow prison, he'll stay with friends in vancouver and we'll play it by ear and see when we can get him.

of course, now that I've shovelled the street, the snowplow will come around tonight :)

I'd be okay with that.
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What a difference a year makes - last year, we flew all the remote people into town for a week of training and meetings, culminating in a big party in a private room in a restaurant in town. Everyone got an itouch from the company and we all drank and ate and had a grand time!

This year, in light of the fact that we laid off 1/3 of the company a couple of months ago, and are counting our pennies to keep the remaining folks, it was determined that it would be in bad taste to have any extravagant party this year. So the CEO decided to host a modest get together at his house - there was lots of food, some nice wine, and the gift from the company was a gift card to Starbucks :)

It's the thought that counts, and it's very much appreciated to be able to spend time together outside of work, and to have an enjoyable evening. It's also good to be able to meet the spouses of my coworkers - although, it's sort of sad that we only usually see some of them once a year

Dinner was mexican - beans, rice, tortillas and tons of chicken and pork to make your own burritos. Afterwards, the hostess was bemoaning the fact that she "has an entire pig" in her oven - we barely made a dent in the masses of food provided by the caterers. There were about 20 of us, and they had told the restaurant they wanted food for 15 people or so - and we probably only ate about 1/4 of it - sooo much food.

I made out like a bandit - I have a ziploc freezer bag full of pulled pork - just divine!

I have more to write, but I'm tired now :)
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(no subject)

Dec. 11th, 2008 09:14 pm
spiffikins: (Default)
must. not. quit. my job.

it's really fucking frustrating to be made *responsible* for something, but not have the right components to do it right, *and* have other people just declare that such-and-such a thing must happen, when you've spent the last couple of years trying to convey the fact that the whole damn thing is held together with twine and chewing gum, and *that* thing? that's gonna take the whole fucker down.

but of course nobody believes that it's as fragile as you claim, because you manage to keep the sucker running and limping along.

but there's times, like today, when I can't see any way to win - all roads lead to disaster, no matter what I do.

and those are the times when I am *this* fucking close to walking out the door and not looking back.
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(no subject)

Nov. 30th, 2008 07:32 pm
spiffikins: (Default)
Holy mini-vacation!

I *like* this 4 day weekend thing - definitely something I want to do more often.

4 whole days of not working, not thinking of work, not talking to co-workers - that never happens.

I feel sooo relaxed right now - I'm even ready to face the world tomorrow.

crazy.
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(no subject)

Nov. 30th, 2008 07:26 pm
spiffikins: (Default)
stolen from angstpuppy!

meme )
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In so many ways, I am blessed

let me count the ways )

Life is pretty darn good.

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