REPORT A PROBLEM
Could it be? NSF has asked us to correct an oddity in our proposal's budget document. They wouldn't ask that if they weren't intending to fund the project, would they? The idea first came about four years ago, that maybe we had something that would interest NSF, and became a stretch goal for us. Could it really be that this third time's a charm? That would make my record four out of four for 2016... and five out of six in the last two years. That record really ought to be worth something of substance in the next review cycle.
Asset tracking. What a concept. Too bad we don't anything real in place at work. We do work, we create stuff, collect other stuff from various places and organizations. And then that stuff is orphaned and disappears when the person who was using it leaves the company. Because it wasn't on the network and the PC gets reimaged, or we need to store less (backups take too long, need room for new projects, whatever!) so information is deleted. If we could just reuse and repurpose data and code across projects the way we do with our proposal language and powerpoints.
Swatching. It is a meditative state for me. Constructive playtime. Understanding what works and what doesn't with that particular yarn. Taking infinite possibilities and culling it down to some definite probabilities. It is much easier to consider creative options for a non-infinite set. Recently, I've discovered it is interesting to see the reaction of others to the same swatch. Some like it looser, some like the back of the swatch. The diversity in reaction is kind of amazing. But it really drives home it is all about personal preference - there is no single right or wrong way to knit.
Even a bad fashion exhibit can provide food for thought. There were graceful gowns that instilled an impossible longing, such as a delicate flapper dress of lace, lame and soutache - and the inevitable panniers of a French court presentation gown. Granted, haute couture in this century is no longer concerned with wearable fashion, but constructs of feathers, cotton, ribbons, PVC, Polyamide, acrylic, leather don't resemble clothing so much as exoskeletons. Most astonishing to me was the Lagerfeld / Chanel wedding ensemble: the centerpiece of the exhibit, but the side seams don't match up but are off by 1/4". Mon Dieu!
One of the things I enjoyed most about living in Bonn was the movie theaters - they served ice cream, unheard of stateside at that time. In addition to the 'regular' theaters, one that played mostly American releases (I went there when I was homesick) and another that played art-house type films like Koyannisqatsi. And I discovered one of my favorite films - Der Himmel uber Berlin, known here as Wings of Desire. I don't know what prompted me to see it (Matthias?), but its beautiful and atmospheric story of angels listening to people's thoughts in divided Berlin still haunts me.
The 17th century house we looked at five years ago is finally getting love. All the funding is finally lined up, essential supplies located, so the restoration from the outside in is about to begin. One the one hand, I'm so glad that it will be preserved for the future. I am also terrified at the prospect of it being rented out. I don't have a problem with modern wiring, and cable service. I'm curious what the will do with the kitchen, and the top floor - will it become a master retreat? But bummed they haven't shared the project timeline.
I am in shock. It makes no sense that I could somehow take out such a colorful little bag and not get it back into my laptop bag. But there it is - either at the posh lunch or while re-jiggering my luggage outside the security gate at BWI, I lost my knitting project bag. That had a nearly completed shawl, of merino/cashmere yarn in my favorite colors. Hours of effort, down the tubes. I've never misplaced my knitting before, and to have actually lost it? I am beginning to think BWI is cursed: irst my phone, now this.
I really am a Virgo - the lame god of mythology. As a child, I sprained ankles on a yearly basis; the right ankle was surgically reconstructed long ago. I've had bursitis in both hips, sciatic pain, lower back surgery, and recently have been ignoring a wee problem in my left knee. Perhaps in response to that knee, today something excruciating is happening in my left ankle and foot. I can't ignore it as I can barely walk. By the end of the day I cannot even sit with it down, I must prop it up. What fresh hell is this?
I feel great relief that everyone finally agrees that there is no point in us pursuing this proposal. I, and others, can breathe again. The proposal involves a lot of technology we don't know, massively incomplete requirements and a client who is always late in disclosing key information. This would be a project with a very short timeline. All together, a recipe for disaster. As the customer is adamant that the work be on time, on budget and feature complete, we are not the shop to do this project. The customer accepts the news graciously, seeming to appreciate our honesty.
An introspective dreamer who wanted to write. Who listened and danced to Peter Murphy and lurked in the shadows of the City, before everything went Disney. He was planning to go back to school in order to find a career that would pay the bills as an adult. He feared becoming a working stiff at a dull job, because he was good with facts and figures. I wondered if he'd ever break free from real predictability. Nope. Twenty years on, according to the inter-dweebz, he's a litigation and patent attorney working in the chemical/life sciences big business industries.
A gentle day today, staying off the offending foot as much as possible. The highlight of the day was getting the remaining seams done on the summer sweater that has been hanging around as a work-in-progress since 2011. Before we bought the house. I still need to find a needle that will go through the button shanks and attach the buttons, but tomorrow I can soak the cardigan and hopefully wear it on Friday. The knitting isn't up to my current standard, but in the interest of moving on and up, I have made my peace with it.
I did a lot more than planting the Chatsworth strawberry seedlings and supervising anything else. Goaded into planting everything today, I am now in agony, beyond just the foot that has shooting pains in it; a muscle in my back is quite loudly unhappy. I should have known how this would unfold and just walked away when I had had enough. Any recovery my foot made yesterday is gone. After baking in the sun, and then being beat around by high winds and rain I pray that those strawberry seedlings that I've been nurturing for three months, survive and flourish.
Davenport. Wyoming. Anamosa. Maquoketa. Dubuque. Muscatine. Des Moines. Cedar Rapids. Keokuk. Ottumwa. Place names from my childhood, although I've only been to one or two of them. My father's side of the family was from Iowa. Even growing up in a city with an Indian place name, I was intrigued by these exotic names. I was certain they were interesting landscapes and places. If you've ever been there, you know that Iowa is flat, the towns are comparatively small and quiet. We always visited during summers, which were hot with very little shade. Iowa always disappointed me as a child.
I am collecting books and titles to read. I have several books that I've not yet read, despite sitting on my shelves for six months. I want to read more, but there is limited time in the evening, when I prefer to read. Yet most of the time I stay up as late downstairs with G rather than go upstairs for an evening of reading in bed. Which is really my favorite thing. It is so simple, but for me, an evening reading in bed is like a vacation. Now that the bed is so comfortable. . . I will read more.
Today was the first swim of the season and the water was already (?) a balmy 77. The weather has been uneven the last two weeks: 80 for a day, then back down to barely 70 but the water is definitely heating back up faster this year. No serious exercise or laps today, just bobbing around on the noodles, moving my foot through the water, doing circles with my arms. An hour earlier, it would have been much warmer, but I'd have been in the sun. I am not ready to pack on sunscreen for the sake of my evening exercise.
I hate my new work computer. It is has already been replaced once, due to massive hardware (read: wiring) issues. And now, the replacement device has collapsed under the "weight" of my usual office applications, sans any large documents. To be honest, I was extremely disappointed with the physical reality: a noticeably smaller keyboard, no buttons for wireless adapter and sound, the power adapter is quite large and heavy. Now this slow leak of death and complete paralysis. On top of the loss of large parts of my calendar, likely data synch corruption attributable to the constant shifting between devices.
For years, I've avoided being outside for both fear of sunburn and of sunscreen. My skin cannot tolerate the chemicals in most sunscreens, particularly if it is really warm. This year I finally turned to that great instrument of research, Google, and spent an afternoon reading; prickly heat seems to be part of my problem. I found a layman's guide to chemical naming, then an article that reviewed 15 or so new products. I was able to buy only 4 from vendors I already frequented. Skin tests indicated no obvious problems; today was the first trial run - success at last!
After my recent post about not reading. . . I stayed up quite late reading last night, to finish a book. Not a particularly good book, rather a disappointment, to be honest. Now I can return to the science fiction book that I've been puzzling over this last week. I'd like to be able to stay up one night and finish that one in one long pull, but that would be a true marathon read. What I really need to do is figure out how to read and knit at the same time. I don't understand how others manage the physical arrangement.
I have been trying to figure out what I want the next iteration in my professional life to look like. I don't really want to teach, so there's really no point in getting another degree, but I think there's something around curriculum development and outreach, or evangelizing that really speaks to me. Many years ago I noted that I was a bad salesperson but a great evangelist. I think that is in part why customers love me, as TPTB at work have both said. Although why TPTB seem puzzled as they say it still irks me. Experience really does matter.
Solstice. Summer. The shortest night of the year. This is when I should be staying up all night, drinking may wine with strawberries, lounging outside as the longest day slides past, dancing under the full moon (seriously!) at midnight. Instead, I get a lovely reminder of human frailty and mortality - mine. Arthritis. The ankle/foot problem that has been plaguing me for two weeks is arthritis. I had no idea it was so painful; I can barely walk at times. I need to get serious about healing - without having to go through the injection therapy route that the doctor described.
Four years ago after a multi-year search, we bought the house. We've done a lot of work both before and after we moved in: opened up the house for better flow, refinished wood floors, added ceiling fans. We had air conditioning installed. And of course, we rebuilt the pool, piece at a time - twice. We changed the front landscape the first time by design. And landscaped the back, with fence. We rebuilt the pool AGAIN and the front and back landscapes a second time after a devastating summer storm last year. We're still trying to make it truly ours.
Webinars are a crap shoot. The title and abstract are often misleading. The presenters are sometimes ill-prepared, ill-at ease, a poor presenter, or unorganized - sometimes all of the above. That was today - a waste of time. I really hate it when I don't learn anything in a webinar - when there's no real new information, no case studies, no references to cite, nothing of interest. I am trapped at my desk, bound by the headset because I'm now in a shared office. The saving grace is that it didn't cost me or the company anything other than my time.
High school prom seems to have gotten out of hand. In the "village" where I work, there is an official "pre-prom" event in the Main Street harbor park. They actually shut down one of the two parking lots in the downtown area --during the business day-- sweep the parking lot clean and it becomes the "arrival area". Party busses and limos converge in the congested downtown streets to disgorge kids who then walk down a literal red-carpet laid down on the cement walkway that's lined with swaths of white tulle, to take prom photos at the waterfront gazebo.
The world seems ablaze with the news that the UK has voted to leave the European Union, although by a narrow margin. I did not have a strong opinion one way or the other (not my country, not my union) but it never appeared to me as through the UK had ever been a full member: it never adopted the Euro. The sharp divides in the vote - London & Scotland vs every else, old vs young - suggest that even though the vote is over, the debate and discord will continue for a long while, and possibly spread to other EU members.
Britain's vote to leave the EU is causing much gnashing of teeth on all sides. I find myself thinking about it not in the current, post-WWII economic and political perspective, but thinking of all those centuries where Britain stood against continental Europe. The fact that Britain was separate enough to survive and wage war war against Hitler and Mussolini. And thinking about a possible future world, where national borders no longer define community or belonging, but are one component in a richly woven tapestry of The Individual. Where what you choose is more important than where you come from.
Joe's pub. Pierce. July. I want to go. But it's a Thursday night, right after getting back from a split-week of vacation. It is almost certainly not going to happen. That vacation, knit camp? I have no clue what to bring. The luggage I bought turns out to be big enough to hide a body - too big. There's really only so much yarn and books and shoes and sweaters you can bring for four days. I'm not really excited about knit camp. I have low expectations. But it is time away, and knitting, and maybe it will surprise me.
I've been a list maker all of my life. It is a discipline - not the list itself, but the process: focused thought, identification of options, decisions about what goes on the list. For years, the process centered on those decisions - how to prioritize the many things on any given list. Lately, however, my lists are primarily of the "what to do" variety, and the real challenge is in remembering all the options themselves. Technology can help track the many things, but checking them off electronically really lacks the satisfaction I find in drawing a line through the item on paper.
Making professional connections is rarely this easy. But today I found a like-minded someone, a professor at a good university, who understands the complications of the field, the issues with teaching it, and trying to develop the profession. It is gratifying, as two years ago, I'd all but given up hope on the academic community. The change is happening slowly, or maybe we're finding each other slowly -- the only speed academia seems to understand. But there are some real prospects, not just for the project we discussed, but another project we already have. And potential to develop new projects.
I feel I am never going to get the paper written at this point. My month of "no worries, nothing to do" at the office has been anything but nothing to do. Interns require constant care and feeding. The problem-child customer requires constant attention, putting out fires, re-working of proposals, suckeing entire days out of my schedule this month. But the paper.. it would put ideas out there that have been mine for years, describe work that has been developing for seven years, and put us -- no, me -- at the leading edge of the conversation. Must. Write. It.
I am tired of babysitting. Taking care of the children. That's really what it feels like. I want to be with other self-sufficient, self-driven adults, who see what needs to be done and just do it. I don't care if they have difficult personalities, just do the job - do it right, preferrably the first time! Next summer, I don't want to deal with interns - unless they're grad students who are going to be head-down in research. This year I'll probably have to train another newbie at the office. And then they can handle the interns next year!
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