Categotry Archives: journal

Journal posts for CaySwann

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Friends and Freeways (and Rain)

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I had a lovely time yesterday enduring Southern CA traffic (hmm, lovely?) for the benefit of getting to see friends at a business meeting for that historical club that I do. Now that I’m finally in a job with some flexibility, slightly further north than the last job, with more money, I can finally afford to go to the monthly business meetings and more fully participate in my northern group. Although I live about an hour and 20 minutes south of them, I still think of them as my “home.”

We even had a really large group head out for dinner afterwards (TGIFriday’s), and had a great time catching up, telling stories, and general mayhem and goodness. I missed this, and I’m glad it’s back in my life again. [And I had a scrumptious veggie grilled dish that I will have to remember to order again sometime.]

The drive home was mostly uneventful, although I have to laugh at myself when I find cute neighborhoods to catch a quick nap when I’m having trouble staying awake for the entire drive home. And I was fortunate to miss being out in the heavy rains, but I did get to see some amazingly beautiful lightning on the last leg of the trip. California doesn’t get nearly the lightning that I grew up with in Ohio, and I miss the lightning storms sometimes too.

This morning I also lucked out with the rain. It was pouring in sheets when I first parked my car at the office, and then just as suddenly as it started, it stopped as soon as I had my bags organized and ready to walk inside. I *did* forget to buy more soymilk for my latte at work, but I’ll survive.

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Supposedly I’ll get to finally move the bookcases, end tables, and coffee table from my Mom’s tonight. *AND* there’s supposed to be a last-minute almost-surprise Mother’s Day dinner at my step-sister’s house. So hopefully with the rental truck, the roomie, the siblings, the parental units, the traffic, and the rain… hopefully I’ll have an enjoyable afternoon and evening today. I’m a little nervous, but we’ll see what happens.

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Finally, a topic of some frustration and sadness. A dear friend of mine at work—her best friend died two weeks ago. He and his partner were together 27 years, three kids, several grandkids—and now they’re having problems putting together a memorial service because the local churches can’t get past the fact that they were a gay couple.

It’s sad and frustrating to see a source of comfort in their lives (the church) give them no comfort in their time of grief (in his death and now the family’s grieving process). Hopefully I’ve been able to hook her up with some loving and caring ministers in the gay churches in the area, to bring them love and comfort and blessing in this time of struggle and loss. But it saddens me to see her hurt by the loss of her best friend, and the family’s grief trying to find a spiritual celebration of his life.

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Recently Listened to: Tori Amos, “To Venus and Back” (Disc 1: Live and Orbiting)

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CA Wildflowers

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First, my Mom sent this amazing California wildflowers graphic to me at work today. I’ve put the original large file up on a separate webpage for you, in case you’d like to download it yourself. There’s three different file formats—JPG, BMP, and PNG. If you plan to save the photo for your Windows Desktop, you need the BMP version. But it’s huge, so it loads more slowly. If you just want to look at the larger picture, click on the one for the JPG version. It loads quickly and you can enjoy the original photo. It’s quite impressive, as you can see from this small thumbnail:


Click on the thumbnail to go see the larger links.

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Last night I got to see some old friends from my last job, sorta. You see, the last month or so before I left, there was a huge push to fix some problems on the contract. We started involving some other people across the country on phone conferences, and I made friends with a gal named Courtney. She and I hit it off well on the phone, and she was really bummed when I left the contract. She has family in Southern CA and she wished she could have met me someday when she was out visiting. Then LuAnn was hired after I left, and she and I have also hit it off really well since she came on the project. I’d met her in person one other time, over dinner and drinks on a Friday night, and we’d done some serious training over the phone and email to get her up to speed.

Well, Courtney was out in CA for both work and family-related things, and whined to LuAnn that she wished she could have met me after all. LuAnn rang me up, we all made dinner plans, and I went down to Benihana’s for dinner and drinks after work last night. Now, since I had a good 90 minute drive home, obviously I wasn’t drinking alcohol over dinner. But the restaurant was a block from Courtney’s hotel, so let’s say she had maybe a few more glasses of wine than typical for a work night.

Gee, I haven’t been around drunk people in a long while!

We had a great meal, and earlier the Happy Hour specials while we were waiting were great too—Wednesday Happy Hour sushi deal was three handrolls for only $5, so we had a Philadelphia roll, a Benihana special (crab, avocado, and veggies), and a Shrimp roll. Our chef was fun, although maybe not quite as flashy as some, and made the fried rice into a heart shape (for the Anniversary couple at the table) and then into Mickey Mouse (for the tourist Japanese folks at the table, and the Disneyland Anniversary this week). I had some very yummy chicken and shrimp, although next time I may get the scallops because they looked amazing.

Courtney’s husband hates mushrooms, so she kept saying she felt like she was cheating on him by eating mushrooms.

We finally had to convince her to let us drive her the block home to her hotel, but she relented after a little peer pressure. What is it about alcohol that makes people think they’re fine to drive? *she rolls her eyes*

So then I got home without incident, and I have some fun photos to send to both gals in memory of our spiffy dinner.

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Recently Listened to: Tori Amos, “To Venus and Back” (Disc 1: Live and Orbiting)

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Satellite Dizziness

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Although everyone else seemed to always use Mapquest for directions and maps, I had always been a fan of http://maps.yahoo.com. Lately I’ve become completely addicted to http://maps.google.com, and just this afternoon I noticed the Satellite imagery that goes with their maps.

I zoomed in on the house I grew up in, on my elementary school, my high school, my college dorm, my college apartment, my current apartment, and the house I shared with Dayle and Ken (you can see the pool!). I’m just astonished at the functionality. I’m dizzy with satellite imagery.

Plus I just love the slide-around-on-the-map way to move the maps in google. I’ll probably never use anyone else’s maps ever again.

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We had our quarterly “state of the business” meeting at work this morning, and I’m just thrilled to be part of a company that’s such a leader in their industry. It makes me think about ways I can keep improving as an individual member of the team, and to be here for a long time to come. It’s almost enough to make me consider this area of Southern CA my “permanent home” … although that’s going to take a lot of soul-searching. I’m still connected to my “old” county where I still go to church, see friends, pick up my mail, and all that. But I love where I work, and I still feel centrally located to much of what I go to. I just feel the tug of a good employer, and that’s a good thing.

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Recently Listened to: Kate Bush, “The Dreaming”
Tori Amos, “To Venus and Back” (Disc 1: Live and Orbiting)

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Boss said: Good Job!

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The boss looked over my files and liked them. Thought I did a great job of doing almost everything needed, had only a few edits, and wanted to make sure I felt proud of my accomplishment and that I wasn’t beating myself up at all for missing anything. Yippee me!

So now I have a short list of all the edits I need to throw in there today (didn’t get some of the appendix and intro data put together, but then again didn’t know it was required) and learned about another finishing step for posting the files to the shared drives, but all in all a good/great first project! Now I just wish I’d been through the Advanced class on this software, so that when I did the cut/paste from the advanced book I’d feel more comfortable that the materials were correct.

Another great thing about this job—lots of free food. I hadn’t had time to cook on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, or Monday so I’d come to work with just coffee and Balance bars yesterday morning. But after the classes have all eaten, the leftovers are free for the employees and yesterday was fajitas. So I not only had a yummy lunch, but I was able to wrap up some chicken, tortillas, and salad for dinner and make it through my marathon work evening without spending any money (or time away from my desk).

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Back on the topic of the moving truck fiasco, since I came in slightly late this morning, I’m pushing off the furniture reschedule to Thursday afternoon. Can I just say how much I really *Really* love this job? The boss also said it’s totally fine for me to leave early on Thursday to run up to my mom’s, rent the truck, and move furniture. And hopefully Geoff won’t be too exhausted from his 4 am shift at the Brewery to drive me up there to get the truck—especially since this directly helps him out, too. The more bookcases I get from my Mom, the less stuff I’ll have taking up space in the garage. Which means in another 3 weeks when he finally moves everything in from his house in Sacramento, he’ll have lots of space in the garage.

It’s funny having a boy roomie in the house again. It never really dawned on me how many boy roomies I’ve had lately, but I did live with two married couples, one right after the other, before getting this apartment with Mer and Mel. And Mel and I are always the out-and-about roomies, so I think having Geoff living there won’t take up any more people space since we almost never have all four of us home at the same time. And it’s so fun to see Geoff’s kitty cats peek around the corner when I’m home. They’re still a little skitish, but they’re settling in nicely and they are fun to be around. I’ve missed having kitties, and this is really nice.

Well, it’s almost free-food-for-leftover-lunch time, so time to see what’s in the kitchen. Later!

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Recently Listened to: Kate Bush, “The Dreaming”

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Whew! Big first project done!

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Well, it’s late, but a quick update before I crash. I’ve been at my new job for 5 weeks and 1 day (so it’s my sixth week here now, wow!) and I just finished turning in my first big project at work.

At my last job where I did courseware development, I spent four years and two months (to the day) writing training materials for a software company that made products for manufacturing companies. My new job is exactly the same—courseware developer at a software company that makes products for manufacturers. And they recently adopted using FrameMaker as their publishing software, which is what we used all those years at that old job. So in many ways, I was really lucky that I had the experience I did.

But at the same time, when you’re a new hire, there’s always a million other things you’re learning and being sent to for HR or orientation or training etc. So I really only had about a week to work on this new project, and it’s a pioneering project too, where it’s the first of its kind in a new training delivery method. So although there were examples, and former training materials to copy/paste, there was still plenty of “here, you can figure it out!” moments where I kind of had to make things up.

But I feel really good about getting close to having hit the mark. It felt awesome to turn in the “final files” at 10 pm and drive home. Of course, it was my first time to be at the office that late, so I was lucky I didn’t actually set off the alarms… they kick in at 10 pm unless you disarm them for two hours at a time, and I finally got up from my desk at 10:15. The little alarm pad was beeping discreetly in the hallway, so I hope I got the disarming sequence in without waking any of the facilities people for an actual alarm. I’m sure I’ll find out tomorrow.

G’night!

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Recently Listened to: Kate Bush, “The Dreaming”

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