Friday, December 29, 2006

Sentimental

I was looking at our website, figuring out what needs fixing (suggestions welcome, by the way) before things get so crazy I don't have time for it. The website links in the Blogs tab need updating - so many people don't really look at their sites once they're married. I like ours, and hope we'll keep using it - I enjoy fiddling with it, and I love how it makes it easier to have a central place where people can find out about your life. I don't link it from this site because the people who need to know about it already do, and others have no business with it. Look at those save the dates and nifty invitations, people.

Anyway, it made me all sentimental, happening across the well-hidden Alter Egos page, and the explanation of the site. My Turkish colleague was right - women do lose their good sense when they marry.

Ordinary Day

Someone is subversively playing "I'm a believer" over the intercom, the corridors are empty, the fire alarm is not working and generally everything indicates that today is the last work day before the new year.

I just had lunch with someone who put their bible study book across from my book - Pratchett and Gaiman's Good Omens. It's a wonder that nothing burst into flame.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Stupid

An entirely non-scientific IQ test tells me that my IQ is 135, which if of course nonsense, but oh well, I was feeling stupid lately, and it made me think.

Last year when I was feeling much smarter, I took the same test and scored 115, which sounded right and confirmed that I am fairly average and besides, I never did believe in IQ tests and in fact rather remember being bored halfway and leaving when I took it in highschool.

I am tired and dazed, and why am taking test while working anyway?
135
My, what shameless for-profit liars they are.

Not a good sign

Those of you who know me a well will know that I can be a little (and only a little) paranoid, particularly when it comes to health issues. It seems that I am a bit of a hypochondriac, simply because I have very hard time telling apart "real" symptoms and things that are stress- or otherwise psychologically caused. Part of the reason for this is that my reactions to stress vary greatly, and my body will cunningly con me every time. When I ended up in the ER in Hungary at four in the morning with excruciating pain, they ran every test they had on me and found nothing. Does this mean I am crazy? Does it mean that they were stupid? Probably neither, but the fact is that in their book I was perfectly healthy*.

When returned to Belgium earlier this year I got a mystery rash that persisted for weeks. Doctor didn't see any reason for it, I had all sorts of fears about it, but in the end it just went away.

I had fairly serious burns earlier this year, and in the ER was almost relieved to have something obvious and clearly diagnosable and treatable.

And now here I am, with yet more paranoia and anxiety. It becomes harder and harder to get rid of, as I find out about the fallibility of tests, doctors and other exorcists. Oh well, at least this piece of anxiety doesn't involve me having any horrible diseases.

*which did not stop them from keeping me in the hospital for days, in spite of my protest

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Drive thru

I already knew, I guess, that Christmas in the US is a strange thing. Yesterday, however, my experience thereof reached new heights as the Spouse & I were driving through some new and (for me) unexplored part of the city on the way to dinner*.

There was a drive thru nativity at one of the churches on the way. Tragically enough, we did not have time to visit this particular celebration of the birth of the Saviour (what with being on our way). And I guess that time is of the essence, as people get a quick religious fix on their way home? I tell you, soon they will have drive thru blessings for the religiously distressed, a quick stop between grocery shopping and picking the kids up after football practice.

* With, as it happens, Drek and his Sainted Fiancee, whom you will know from his erratic semi-serious blog.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Classical

I am listening to exceedingly happy classical music - the piece is one with which I am really infatuated. That is good thing, since it is supposed to be our wedding processional. Sometimes making decisions isn't so bad. Today has been a pretty busy day, and things aren't exactly slowing down, but yes, this is mostly the fun stuff.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Mi mi mi

Shoes. I bought shoes today, and talked to a DJ and saw yet another florist.

Weddings are weird, but I think ours will be fun. You know what? We're even sort of on schedule with stuff. It's amazing.

And I am very pleased with the shoes.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Things you never thought you would be doing

There is a long list of things I never thought I would be doing, one of which is reading the bible with the Spouse on a Tuesday morning.

Why are we reading the bible? Well, church wedding, and there you go - we're trying to select a reading for the service. We met with the minister yesterday, and she seems entirely nice and reasonable.

A minister. It is odd that there is this minister wo will do our wedding. All this God-ness. It's odd. Still, it is a church, so such things are to be expected.

Time to pick that reading, then.

Long

It has been too long.

This is not entirely surprising what with Christmas and work and travel and weddings. We're in Florida now, which means we are in the middle of arrangements, and it's busy; but it also means that we are away from the usual stress for a bit. It is good to have some headspace for the wedding again. It's nice to be able to devote some energy to it, not just sheer force of will.

We're making headway, invitations are sent, and basically things are on track. It's nice to think about the little things, the creative things, the fun things about getting married - music, flowers, cake of course. Special touches.

Life is good. Little threats loom, but there, I won't worry about it now. Life is good. I am tired, and well-fed, and watching The Constant Gardener. I should focus on that. More blogging later.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

I am the rulingest

Some time ago I told you all that I am something of a glorified secretary. This still holds true - I do the filing, invoices, figure out people's expense notes. I am, however, now particularly glorified. Not only have I been promised business cards, the ultimate outward demonstration of a stash of Professional Goddess points, but I have been given an extra title, a much fancier one than my main one. Moreover, I am now in charge of the relationship with one of the biggest players in the field we work in, and have talked them into* visiting us and lending us stuff.

I rule.

*I admit that they did not take much convincing, but I still impressed my boss, who already has an opinion of me that is much higher than any of my modest talents warrant. Not that I am complaining.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

In the head

This is a really interesting story - a bit creepy though, and while I know that we have come a long way since the lobotomy, it still makes me shudder. Still, a development worth keeping an eye on.

Nothing much

Today is a busy busy day so I'll keep this short - besides there is not much to say. My dad has left for home, sadly. At the end of the week the Spouse and I are heading to milder climates for Christmas and wedding stuff. Florists. Cake. It'll be good to have a bit more time to spend on all of that. Meanwhile there is of course frantic Christmas shopping.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Most of the time

These last fews posts have really gotten me thinking about forgiveness. I once asked my sister's then-boyfriend which was better, to forgive or to forget (in line with my questions about what to do when Armageddon comes, and my questions requiring a response on a scale from 1 to 10). He said it was better to forget, because who can truly forgive when the offence is remembered. At the time I thought that that was a pretty sensible.

Recently, I have come to remember another thing which pertains to forgiveness - I think the quote is from Anita Brookner, and it runs something like this: "Once a thing is known, it can never be unknown, it can only be forgotten". While this may seem like like a marginal difference, I feel that forgetting always has the potential of remembering. And if and when you remember, and if you have not forgiven, aren't you back where you started?

I make the above point because this happens to me all the time. For long stretches of time I will forget offences against me and things I am angry about; in fact I have been know to forget the topic of an argument during the argument itself. This in itself is fine - resentfulness is all about having a good memory, and I'd rather do without. However. Sometimes I am reminded of some old insult, and I need nothing more than that spark to be as angry about it as I ever was before.

Sometimes I think I have an anger management problem. I will get really quite angry about things, at people, and then, like a narcoleptic going to sleep, I will forget. Like a gas stove burner or a light switch. This is odd. As such, I have come to accept that sometime soon I will have to start curbing my anger, and start thinking about it and dealing with it, rather than bursting into flame. Bursting into flame can be very useful, if you do it well and politely, but in everyday life I don't want to be the person who gets grumpy and nasty every time my husband forgets something, or every time someone overlooks a small courtesy. As you can imagine, both of these things happen frequently.

You know, I used to think I had some big underlying blaze of anger; but maybe I don't. Maybe I am just petulant, and used to getting my way, simply because I asked nicely. Maybe I should just learn to put things aside a little, let go for a moment. Relax. Yes. I am trying hard, and I need to learn quickly. I remember this poem from Tanis MacDonald, a Canadian poet I once came across, where she talks about how with love, you should starts small and persist. Learn to love a piece of toast, and watch it congeal. And still love it. I think this is how I need to learn to forgive - in bits and pieces, starting with the dirty kitchen floor.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

See, I'm all emotional now

Sometimes things just kind of catch you unawares.

I just got some pictures from a friend's wedding. She's an old friend, and a good one, and I miss having her around. They looked so happy, and it made me so happy to see them. It's good to see a good love celebrated, it's good to see it when people's faces light up. I was sad to miss the wedding, because it was such a great reason to throw a party, such a lovely thing to witness.

She wrote to me and told me all of the things that I needed to hear (see, it's always an advantage to have people around who remember what you were actually like when you were fifteen). She of course also guessed who I was talking about.

The whole thing reminded me of why I am bothering with this wedding, and it reminded me of how cool my friends are. How come we always remember and forget the wrong things?

Mind you, I should probably tell her about that. And about Dr. Evil.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

It begs the question

It takes a lot for me to be angry with anyone for longer than five minutes. I am just not the type. I don't have the stamina. All the same, every once in a while it happens. Not often, of course; once every six or seven years perhaps. When that happens, when I get angry with someone, it takes me a very, very, long time to forgive, or better still, forget.

It would be good to forget.

I think of that song -
"Don't waste your time on jealousy; sometimes you're ahead, sometimes you're behind. The race is long, and in the end, it's only with yourself.
Remember compliments you receive, forget the insults; if you succeed in doing this, tell me how.
Keep your old love letters, throw away your old bank statements."
But the fact is today I was reminded of someone I used to know, a friend of mine from before. Someone whom I called my friend, and who never was - oh when I was sillier, and clumsier, and a teenager. People do thoughtless things at that age, and I should know that, and leave it at that. The truth then, is that I threw away his few letters then - not love letters - and am glad that I did. They meant nothing. I still have the bank statements.

Today I was reminded of this faux friend (very much in the way of faux fur) and it was a happy thought - I was reminded of him and tempted to send him an article he would be interested in. I don't have his email of course, why would I need it? And so I googled him, and found someone who may or may not be him, and I was envious and angry; this person who might be the one I was so angry with for so long seemed to be doing so well.

These are the times when I wish I were a christian, because the human spirit resists letting go, resists forgiveness. Was it that I wanted the things he (maybe) has? Heavens, I don't even know what that would be, exactly. No. Of course not. I am quite happy here. But his achievements looked so much better than mine, and it becomes hard to tell whether it arouses my ambition, or only my envy. The two are hard to untangle.

You see, right now, I am a somewhat glorified secretary. Does that mean I don't enjoy my job? Well of course not. I like my job, I like like the team, and I love all the techie stuff I get involved in. Moreover I am starting out in the sector I wanted to be in, the sector for which I gave up my silly dreams of academia and my corporate years. I sincerely believe that the work being done in this very building is more valuable than anything I would have done at a university. What's more, I believe that my particular job is more useful to society than anything I could have done at a university. Don't get me wrong, I am not generalising to all university activity, but my being a PhD student at some university, digging into, say, the works of Lord Alfred Douglas just wasn't going to change the world much. Give me demonstrating technology that will drastically impact people's lives any day of the week.

When I interviewed for this job, the interviewer noted that I would be well suited for a PhD programme. I don't agree - I think I have neither the academic skills nor the persistence for it. He pointed out that taking this job was a choice, and it is one I made fairly easily at the time. Bloom where you're planted, people here say, and so I bloom, here in this city and in this building. For now I just want to be good at what I do, learn more, and be a good spouse. I work hard at that one, because the silly notion of someone being the best thing that ever happened to you...well I think it applies here. Whenever I look at someone else, and being human only, I do, it only ever reminds of how much better I have it, how much harder it would be to be with anyone else. Oh, I expect I will not always feel so, but as long as I remember, most of the time...

Have I convinced myself now?

Mostly, I think. It is hard to try not to want to look glamourous all the time, but I am happy, and what's more, if said faux friend is an academic now, I almost certainly earn more money.

You see, forgiveness and charity have almost reached me, but not quite.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Not all

I am tempted to write about wheelchairs today, because there was a really sad wheelchair in my day today. At the time, there was a cranky 92-year-old in said wheelchair and there was nothing I could do to make her feel any better.

It is not my job to make anyone feel better, but it helps.

Since I left the corporate world, I am now, so everyone keeps reminding me, in the business of changing people's lives. For the better. I enjoy that part of things almost as much as I enjoy the part of my job that involves me playing with expensive gadgets and talking to inventors.

Lately, I have heard so many inspirational stories, seen so many people with inspirational lives, that it becomes easy to forget that some people's stories aren't inspirational, only long hard struggles to keep what they must inevitably lose. Like time. There is so much work being done on knocking down the walls that people face here; but some walls just can't be broken down.

Friday, December 01, 2006

South paw

For the record, I am indeed left-handed. And I doubt that any of you will fully read this, which is a shame. It is a splendid piece of oratory. Ok - I'll give you a teaser then:

"Supersensitive? Quibbling? Not on your life. Left-handers, arise! You have nothing to lose but your chains. They probably don't fit you anyway, being made for the right-handed."

Oh, and it is about much more important stuff, but hell, it's funny too.