39 and Counting

I am now in my 40th ride around the sun. Technically my birthday was a few days ago, but I’m in the middle of the A to Z blog challenge, and didn’t want to bombard my readers with two posts in one day, so I’m posting on a challenge day off. I spent my birthday weekend indulging in a stay in the Lumber Baron Inn and doing all the things in Denver I never do anymore, since Boulder has me firmly in its gentle grasp.

I’m feeling fantastic in this, the last year of my thirties. Last year was everything I could have wanted, and I have no reason to believe that this year won’t be every bit as wonderful. To celebrate, I’d like to highlight what made my last year so enjoyable.

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A Not-So-Little Pat on the Back

This post is a brag because this is my blog and I’ll brag if I want to. Also, I post plenty of embarrassing or unflattering content about myself, so I don’t think anyone can fault me for publicly praising my accomplishments.

I am now a Senior Technical Writer at LogRhythm. I started less than two years ago having no “technical” technical writing experience, although I have a 16-year career related to controlled writing, editing, and language use in general, including creating IT certification courses. The first six months at this company were really rough for me. About 10 percent of that was my own sour puss attitude at the company I loved shutting down and being completely ungrateful for the amazing opportunity I walked into, but, honestly, 90 percent of it was the massive learning curve. Almost everyone I work with agrees that this is the most complicated product they have ever worked on. Not only was I going from a job in which I had total control over the development of a product that was firmly in my area of expertise to one in which I was in a reactionary position, dependent on the goals and management of others, but I also simply couldn’t understand the product. This was tough. I hate feeling useless and not being able to take initiative. Most jobs I’ve had required a one-month or so learning curve before I could show up to work confident in what I was doing and my ability to handle anything that came my way. This one was every bit of six months and still, 21 months later, plenty of issues come my way that I haven’t the foggiest idea how to start dealing with and that I feel quite intimidated by. Continue reading →

Primal Screams

Most days, the sun shines down on me. And that’s not just because I live in Boulder. I live a fairly easy life and whatever is difficult, is generally self-imposed. But once in a blood moon, everything goes horribly wrong.

Last Wednesday night, I had to catch a flight to Dallas. I’ve traveled enough over the last few years that I have my airport timing mastered so that I walk through security, take the train to my terminal, fill my water bottle, use the ladies room, buy an in-flight snack, and have just 5-10 minutes before boarding starts. I see no need to sit around the airport for an hour twiddling my thumbs. To adhere to my plan that night, I had to leave my house that night at 5:45. Everything was in place. The dog was already at his boarding facility, the dishes were done, my coat and shoes were on, and everything I needed was sitting in my suitcase. All I had to do was zip it.  Continue reading →

What Is It I Do Exactly?

I don’t know about you, readers, but it’s taken me years to really remember/know/understand what most of my friends do for a living. Some of them don’t really know what I do either. And hell, I dated someone for many years and never quite understood what he did. Probably that’s because he generally slept in until 10 am, surfed the internet all day, and then took people out for drinks and dinner, but there must have been some kind of work in there somewhere. The friends whose jobs I can actually describe well are friends who I’ve worked with or whose industries I’ve worked in.

Well, if you’re following my blog and wondering what it is I do, I write technical manuals. User guides, upgrade guides, installation guides, and all kinds of other technical content for a cyber security company. At least, that’s what I do in the current iteration of the full time employment phase of my life. In other iterations, I’ve been an ESL teacher, a localization/translation project coordinator, and the managing editor of an elearning company. So, I’ve always worked with language in some form or another. Continue reading →

Keep Your Nose Up

There are no spoilers in this post but there are spoilers in the links I’ve provided. Click at your own risk.

A few weeks ago, I watched the latest season of Black Mirror. Like all seasons after the epic first one, it had some episodes that blew me away (Hang the DJ) and some I could have done without (Metalhead). For me, the primary brilliance of Black Mirror lies in how close we are to every dystopian terror they depict becoming reality. Yes, some more than others, but the technologies highlighted in the episodes seem to me decades away or less, rather than the centuries implied by shows with long-distance space travel and flying cars. The kidnapping/ransom plot in the brilliant debut, The National Anthem, could easily happen tomorrow. And although I vow to always resist any attempt to implant surveillance technology in my body, there are millions out there willing to be early adopters, making many of the show’s other plot lines right at our fingertips. Some of the technologies probably are already in beta testing in a lab somewhere close to home. Since I was going to have nightmares anyway, I decided to rewatch some of favorites from other seasons, such as Nosedive from season three. Continue reading →

Life of a Rabbit, Revisited

On a very special day in second grade, an unexpected visitor came to our classroom and told us about his farm and the undoubtedly adorable little white rabbits he had for sale. I had to have one. After a serious discussion, which I barely comprehended, about the responsibility of owning a pet, my dad drove me to the farm that weekend. The rabbits were darling. I selected the whitest of white rabbits with the pinkest of pink noses and named him Snowball. It seemed the best possible name for such a rabbit.

Working side-by-side, my dad and I built a little hutch for Snowball that leaned up against the east side of the garage, protected from the wind and other horrors of the Buffalo, New York climate. The thought of my little rabbit living outside all alone saddened me. We also bought a harness and leash for him so he and I could hop and frolic together all over our lawn. Having a little creature all my own thrilled me. We also, foolishly, built a play area for Snowball out of chicken wire so he would have more room to kick out his bunny legs untethered to my overexcited eight-year-old self. I thought my bunny must be so excited about his new life. Continue reading →

You Are Who You Are

I didn’t make any resolutions for 2017 (other than my Year of Austerity project, which I’d say was about 85 percent successful and has already been extended into year two) but the one goal that is always in the back of my mind is to write more and potentially make something of myself as a creative writer someday. Like tens of thousands of other wannabe writers out there, I have a gut feeling that I could be a very successful writer, but I’m not putting in the effort required to make that happen. However, over the last few years, I have been increasing the amount of writing I do, and 2017 turned out to be a quite prolific year. Here are my writing accomplishments that I feel proud of. Continue reading →

That Time When…

…you spend an hour and half entering random search terms on the internet and posting on a half dozen What’s the Book? forums trying to find a book, whose title and author you have both forgotten, that you read somewhere between two and four years ago, and then suddenly you realize that you have this feature on your blog in which you track the books you’ve read and the missing book has been at your fingertips all along.

Happy Solstice!

My favorite day of the year has arrived. The sun is with us for a glorious 14 hours and 59 minutes today,  which is about 40 minutes fewer than it would be if those pesky mountains weren’t in the way. Or about 4 hours fewer than if I were in Homer, Alaska, as I was around this time 2 years ago. But it’s 2 hours longer than if I were in Managua, Nicaragua, as I was around this time 9 years ago. I think a lot about how much sunshine I can absorb in my lifetime.

In any case, I love this day. I celebrated by actually showing up at work before 9 AM. No, not really. Well, I did, and that was a miracle, but not the celebration. I spent this perfect morning in the park with my 60 pound lap dog.

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Check in Time: The Year of Austerity

Remember my New Year’s Resolution to stop buying things? Well, since I started my resolution on November 26, I’ve reached the halfway point. Hurray! Let’s see how I’ve done.

Here are the forbidden purchases (in no particular order). The original assessment is in italics and the update is in red. Continue reading →