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Summer of 2010

I posted a long story about my Summer of 2010 on my Blogger blog.  Usually I post exactly the same thing in both Blogger and LJ, but it was just such a rough time, I pooped out before I could post it here.  If you really want to read up on my summer that was mostly spent moving and in very bad work/life *UN*balance, read here:  http://orangeupdate.blogspot.com/2010/08/summer-hell-at-work-moving-new-gig-at.html   Oh and there's a report on Pennsic in there too.

Now for current life...

I'm tired most of the time, worried about work all the time, and now I'm actually exercising some of the time.  I broke down and got a gym membership at a gym that happens to sit right in between my office and my apartment in Alexandria.  No excuses for not going.  But I was thinking of my beloved Kelly a lot last night as I took my first yoga class at the gym.  I was certainly the most fat, inflexible, unbalanced person in the room, but I tell ya I *did* do my breathing, did *not* hurt myself, and I got through the whole class!  My goals now will be situated somewhere between the beautiful bending tree that was our instructor and the cream puff blob I am today.  progress will be made.  Damnit.

I also got to attend a dinner and conference for the Women In Defense professional association this week!  It was amazing!  One of the panels had 2 Admirals and one TWO star General...that were women!!  There are apparently only about 30 Generals in our US Army and about the same number of Admirals... and we got three of them to come talk to us about how to be amazing!  It was very inspiring.

I also got to see my beloved old boss Tamera!  She's the one that believed in me and moved me from Indy out here to DC five years ago.  It was so damn awesome to see her again.  Very heartwarming and inspiring.  Reminded me that the jerks I see every day that make me feel like I'm useless and worthless are just jerks and it's my job to just not buy into the message.  What's that quote from Eleanor Roosevelt?   "No one can make you feel bad about yourself without your permission."  Was it ER?  If anyone wants to correct me, there's a comment box at the bottom of this post.

AW, my job with APAN continues, my love for http://movebeyondgreen.com The Sustainability Community of Interest continues although I don't get to do billable work for them anymore, and my year of wedding planning has taken off like a rocket. 

Wish me luck.

I'm alive

I’m alive. I have no work/life balance. Scott and I moved me into my new little studio apartment near my DC (Crystal City) office a month ago. It’s been rough because I’m trying to move into this little space in the bits of “free” time I have after work. Weekends are in Raleigh with my honey and the kitty and that’s very good stuff. We’re also trying to move me into the Raleigh house, and that’s rough because we’re merging two fully loaded households of mature people who have been on their own for a long time. We’re getting rid of lots of stuff, storing lots of stuff till we can go through it, and spending most of our weekend time cleaning, moving, sorting, and trying to dig through boxes to find the crap we need. 

Work is also very hard. I’m thrilled about my web page project (http://movebeyondgreen.com – please go click on it and make a comment!) but the money left on the contract for it has dwindled down to a trickle. And competition within my office for billable hours has become very difficult. Very intense. Doesn’t make for an easy time during the day that makes for a nice few hours in the evening to sort through moving boxes.

So, Scott and I are spending every free minute trying to organize our lives. This means I’m very out of contact with anyone besides him and my mother (who’s contracted for an hour phone call once a week). Even my sister has to make a phone date with me two weeks ahead of time. So, I apologize to my dear dear friends for not being in touch, and I promise I’ll reach out again as soon as Scott and I get settled in this new weekly-commuter lifestyle.

Wish us luck.

I am so sickeningly proud of myself...  After sweating bullets yesterday evening, my beloved fiance gave me a suggestion this morning that served as the last puzzle piece to completely fixing my beloved MBG blog!  No shit, there I was, a fledgling webmaster facing my first complete hack from an actual hacker attack, on a Sunday evening with no support from my Booz Allen team in sight.  My normally reliable hosting service, Network Solutions, had no actual solution since it wasn't really their failing, but they were doing their best to keep us panicking users pointed to updated and applicable forums.

Fast forward to this morning, after trying everything suggested by the forums, my honey comes into my home office and says "Try looking at the password here..." and lo and behold!  That was the golden key of salvation!  Passwords were changed, wp-config files were updated, databases were reconnected, and peace and prosperity once again spread throughout the land.

So, go forth yee masses of intellectuals and environmentalists and budget balancers and forward thinkers to the realm of http://movebeyondgreen.com and see the glory for yourselves!  And please do add a comment!  Let me practice my newly minted comment monitoring skills!

All hackers must be put to death

Apparently someone's just too evil to live.  If anyone has any experience cleaning up the Wordpress hack from this past week, please let me know.  This is the guidance I'm currently following: http://techcocktail.com/home/2010/04/08/wordpress-hacked-virus-cloaks-search-engines/
I'd love any help anyone has to offer.  Call or email using personal data you already have.
My current project in my professional life will save the planet.  I’m not kidding.  My team has created http://movebeyondgreen.com  for our client, the Army Environmental Policy Institute, to create a sustainability community of interest online.  If you want to offer volunteer help, you can do tthree things:  1) click on the site, 2) forward our URL to your networks, and  3) suggest URLs to online resources that help leaders of large organizations actually find solutions to balancing environmental impact with their shrinking budgets and the needs of their people.  Email the project directly via info at movebeyondgreen dot com.

My company is Booz Allen Hamilton, and I’m proud of the efforts the firm is making to reduce our environmental impact.  My client is the Army Environmental Policy Institute, and I’m proud to work for people who have dedicated their lives to supporting both our military and our planet.  This is not a place for loud activism, but rather thoughtful, informed, long term planning.  This is a place where we can do hard work and get down to business.


Forward as appropriate.

It's official! Scott and I are engaged!

As you may have heard from other sources because I’m just pathetic about keeping my personal communications up to date…

Scott and I are officially, publicly, undeniably engaged!

Yep, the official ceremonial ritual of stating publicly that we are now engaged to be married, complete with a diamond ring being publicly stationed on my left ring finger, video recording of the event, plenty of joyful tears, and a toast with non alcoholic bubbly apple juice has occurred. On March 6, in the company of a good many of my loved ones including my sister, Scott declared his worthiness and I agreed with him. A perfectly awesome ring of white gold holding onto a fantastically orange diamond was placed onto my left ring finger and a beautiful pendant of white gold holding a blue sapphire was hung on Scott’s neck (with his own hand made lucet cord).

Yes, we’ve been planning this for months. Not the specific plan, but we’ve been figuring out between us how and when we want to publicly declare the agreement we’ve come to in very small incremental steps over a long long time. There was no single particular moment when one of us asked the other one if they wanted to get married. There were a good many deep, serious conversations (many of which took place at Panera Bread over lunch after Weight Watchers meetings), and over time we came to know that we both wanted to spend the rest of our time here on earth as partners. We started designing these two rings a few months ago, and I honestly don’t remember when. Since I’ve been moving since early November, I apparently have forgotten some details like when we first went to Goldworks Jewlers and consulted with our SCA fencer friend Charlotte who works at the store. Scott wanted to fly in the face of the traditional and defy the modern wedding industry by claiming his desire to also get an awesome piece of sacred jewelry. He didn’t want to have another ring compete with his eventual wedding band, so he went with a pendant modeled after another gold and ruby one in the store. It’s quite awesome.

So, we’ve been moving me into his house, attempting to merge two fully outfitted households, morphing me into a weekly DC commuter, and also designing rings and redefining our life management methods to work for two. Also, I’ve long owed my aunt and uncle in Cincinnati a visit, in person, with my car, to help deal with my late grandmother’s belongings. And since I’ve been working on the Annual Report to Congress which has a very *very* strict deadline schedule of final drafts due in late February, I decided to plan my trip to see my aunt and uncle immediately after those deadlines. It also just happens that early March is when my favorite SCA music and dance event in Cincinnati is usually held, so it was pretty easy to visit my aunt and uncle on either side of that event’s weekend. So, I planned to head out to Cincinnati on March 5, attend Ceilidh in the College of St. Joan of the (Questionable) Barony of Flaming Gryphon, visit my aunt and uncle, and hopefully my sister in there too.

Fast forward to the day (I honestly forget when it was) Scott and I put in the final order for our rings. We went to dinner at Scott’s favorite diner, and I said “We should do something special when we pick up the rings. It just seems so anti-climactic to just pick them up and then call our parents to say we’re officially engaged.” So, we batted around a whole bunch of ideas, and I have to say that my sweetie is a hell of a romantic. He suggested three beautiful places where we could have a special dinner and overnight away from all the normal life crap. I will likely dig up those discarded suggestions for some kind of celebration later – maybe when we finally get me unpacked? Anyway, they were beautiful, but I still felt kindof not excited. So, down I went into deep thought and consideration. After much meditation, journaling, and sweating, I managed to identify that the important thing here was that I wanted to share this ritual moment with my loved ones in *addition* to him. (Me = Hard Wired Extrovert.) Now, I never expected that Scott would want to drive the 10 hours cross-country into the boring Midwest just to hang out with my peeps. But call me lucky – my honey thought it would be just great to go on the road trip with me, hang with my people, and make our engagement announcement there!

So, Ceilidh = Musica Subterranea = evening of fun with loved ones including my sister = opportune moment to make an announcement when the band takes a break!

Now, I have to take a moment to shower praise and adoration upon my sweetie honey baby. I did ask him to think of what to say as this announcement on his own. I wanted to be surprised by one thing that we didn’t plan ahead of time. He was, as you may predict, sweating it because he’s not usually excited about solo performing outside of a bardic circle. But I tell ya… my baby is the most amazing poetical, romantical, sweetie gooshie boo boo there ever was. He made a speech that outlined why he was a worthy candidate for sharing a life with me. He listed a kind of “Hercules 12 labors” list of ways he’s supported me in the past 2.5 years, and I was crying long before he finished. I can’t remember all of it (I do have it on video tape), but the qualifications he listed included:

• hauling Musica Subterranea gear from one end of Pennsic to the other

• hauling i Marvini from one end of Pennsic to the other

• heralding the approach of the Fool’s Parade three years running (he also keeps water bottles for me and keeps me hydrated the whole way!)

• he helped me cope with the death of my kitty Bonkers as I helped him with the death of his kitty Lafayette

• he survived being snowed in with my parents and me in my tiny apartment during the blizzard of December 09 without a problem

And somewhere in there I just cried and couldn’t hear what he was saying. But there were a good many more excellent examples of how he’s been there for me like a husband should, and he “invited” me to join him in a life together. He presented the ring (which I had not seen yet), and I was actually completely speechless. I don’t remember who put the ring on my finger, but I put the pendant on him, and there were many tears and kisses.

I thank Paula/Abigail for videotaping, and my dear friend and drummer Phil for getting some good pictures. You can see Phil’s awesome work on his flikr page: http://www.flickr.com/photos/master-phillip/sets/72157623504319151 and I suggest you look around at his awesome collections! Also thanks go to my dear friends Jason and Allegra for holding my cello and helping get the juice distributed. And I have to also thank my awesome sister for helping Scott set the stage. I am ridiculously blessed.

Naturally, my aunt and uncle were thrilled, and my aunt waved her magic Photoshop wand and made up some kick ass engagement announcements for us! Her Photoshop skills are quite extraordinary, and I’ll post her beautiful creation up here if I can figure out how.

So, that’s the story, I’m up way too late, and I’ve got to get this posted so I can get to sleep.
Snow in DC

I escaped the snowpocalypse by a hair. I drove down to DC on Friday the 5th, and I did actually stay at the office later than I should have. That's my workaholic monkey making trouble again. It took 9 hours to make the normally 5 hour drive from DC to Raleigh, but that's because I and the other nuts on the road were traveling at 25 mph all the way down I95. Safe but slow. And wet. But Scott was waiting for me when I got home, and I enjoyed by beautiful new bed.

I worked from home all last week and yesterday too. I learned that I have a really hard time balancing work and life when I'm working at home. Every day last week I would sit down at the computer and obsess over my work until late at night. Galahad the cat got more physical activity than I did. I got a lot done, but my body didn't appreciate the treatment. I forced myself to take a walk in the evening on Friday, but I've got to do better when working from home in the future.

I came back to DC this morning, and there are still mountains of snow on the sides of the road. Parking is an even more precious commodity now. I'm going back to Raleigh on Thursday night, and I'll pray that more of this stuff melts over the weekend.

Professional Blogging:

I'm loving Wordpress! And Wordpress THEMES! I picked "Thesis" as my theme because it's the most flexible one I could find. I'm loving this gig!

Unpacking in Raleigh:
The moving in and unpacking part is still slow as molasses. Between working a full time job, trying to invest some time in taking care of my body with rest and exercise, and driving, the energy I have for unpacking is minimal. I really didn't accomplish anything the whole week I was down there. *sigh*

Scott and I went to our first SCA event since September! It was a viking event called Ymir, I think after a Norse god of snow or something. I really thought it was going to be snowed out completely since most of Atlantia was genuinely under many feet of snow, but a good 300+ people came! It was a great site with heated cabins and flush toilets and a great kitchen. I ran the dancing, and had a lovely time. Just like riding a bike. And I met some really fun young people from college groups just trying to get dancing going. It felt really good to be able to give them advice and feel like I knew what I was talking about.

I also actually competed in a performing arts competition! I arrived on site about half an hour before it started, and Rose (the organizer) asked me to come. I had brought *nothing* with me, so I grabbed a pair of socks. A little brainstorming and searching the wooded environment for props later, I performed a recreation of what it could be like to be a viking snowed in with your family and your kids need entertainment. One of my big white socks became Sven the Viking who told tall tales about how he fought off enemy hordes - played by two other bards in the audience. A good time was had by all, and I patted myself on the back for having enough improv to pull something out of my ass at a moment's notice.

Visit to Cincinnati:

Yes - I'm coming out that way on March 5th for a week, and Scott's coming with me for the first half. I haven't got a schedule yet. Stay tuned.
Moving in with Scott is a slow, painful process, but I can tell it's getting better. We've made at least some progress every weekend. We both suffer from bad habits around keeping too much *stuff*, and it's dramatically obvious right now. Scott's been in his house for 14 years, and no matter who you are there will be accumulation of stuff over 14 years. I've had the &&$&^*&)_(%$&^ blessing of two major moves in the past 4 years to "help" me cull out the unnecessary *stuff*, but I tell ya it's still hellishly hard. As hard as I tried, I still couldn't avoid labeling a box "Misc Stuff" this time. I found that box again this weekend. I still can't come up with a name for it.

This reminds me of a lesson I got on the subject of being a "victim" once while camping with my egroup. (Stay with me now... it will become relevant I promise.) Read moreCollapse )

For a grand finale, I'll announce that I'm coming back to the Midwest for a visit! I owe my aunt and uncle in Cincinnati some quality time, so I'll be headed out there the second week of March. Email me if you want details.

PS: In two weeks, I'll be leading dancing at Ymir! Anyone in Atlantia who is willing to be a gentle audience for my first time back in the saddle of Dance Mistressing in over 4 years should come!

October 2009 to January 2010

October 2009 through January 2010
Lots more behind this cutCollapse )
So, at the moment, I’m feeling the first hints of being able to breathe. I’m doing a hell of a lot of emotional work *and* physical work, but the worst is now over. Now, Scott and I have to try to merge our two households into one and figure out how to really live with each other. After 16 years of serious independence, this merge is a lot of work for me. But he’s worth it. :)