31 December, 2008

Out With This One

Category: Annoyances,BC,Body,Geek,Habits,Health,Lists — Moose @ 3:28 pm

In many, many ways this past year stunk on ice (the break up and my foot injury being the most notable). As many others are, I’m hoping that 2009 will be a better one for me and for those I know and love.

I’m working on an Uberlist now for 2009. I didn’t do one the past two years, after doing them the 2 or so years prior to that, and I think I miss the structure it imposed upon me, to think about where I wanted to go and what I wanted to do. Having something written just helps, so I’m at it again. Hopefully it’ll be complete by the weekend and I’ll get it up once it’s done.

Until then, have a safe and happy new year.

29 December, 2008

In Re Vacations

Category: Family,Finance,Leisure,Work — Moose @ 2:49 pm

I thought I’d expand some on the vacation thing and why this is such an unusual occurrence for me.

Growing up, we never took vacations. I can remember a grand total of two that we did when I was a kid (outside of summer camp) – a trip to Disney World when I turned seven, and a month on the road in an RV going to and from New Mexico. In both cases the travel was combined personal and business travel for Dad. The Orlando trip was actually to attend a convention he was going to for work (which happened to coincide with our two birthdays in early October), and the trip to NM was one week getting to Albuquerque, a week in Albuquerque for a convention for Dad (while Mom, my brother and I took day trips around the state), a week at the big boy scout camp in northern NM so my parents could take adult leader training while I hiked the trails and my brother did cub scount stuff, and a week to get home (that was also the trip when Mom finally quit smoking for good).

But that’s really it, again, outside of summer camp with the scouts. We just weren’t a vacation-going family. Not entirely sure why, but we just didn’t take them.

Add to that, once I got out and started working (at the total exclusion of school, that is), I was an intern with a low salary and a crushing amount of student loan debt. Even after paying on these beasts for a decade now, and paying off a couple of them entirely, I still have six figures worth of education debt that I have to service each month. So when I did get out of school, there wasn’t really any excess cash there that was available for “frivolous” things like vacations. Plus the first couple years as a fed they don’t give you a ton of annual leave (until you hit your 3rd year anniversary, where it goes up considerably), so there wasn’t a lot of that available, either. Leave got used to go see relatives for the usual holiday obligations, or on needed errands around town. But going to see relatives is a poor substitute for a vacation (no offense, Mom & Dad!).

Then factor in that I’ve made a nice little niche practice out of doing appropriations law, which is good in that I’m necessary enough to be fairly layoff-proof, but at the same time it means they’re reluctant to let me go for long periods of time because no one else at work does this type of law, so if I’m not there, they tend to stumble hard. This is why I’m not travelling for the inauguration – the closest thing I have to a backup at work will be out on maternity leave sometime close to the inauguration (she’s “due” the day before), so my supervisors had something of a panic attack when I suggested I didn’t want to be here.

Now I’m finally in a place in terms of leave availability (I’m carrying over 80 hours into 2009, plus what I’ll earn over the year) and cash availability (those loans are still there, but are a much smaller percentage of my monthly income, thanks to directed spending on the more expensive ones, and a steady stream of promotions) that I feel like I can take a real, honest-to-heavens vacation. So I am, finally.

Which is all background on why I’m going to be gushing about this for some time to come, and why my planned trip in June/July is so unusual for me. I still can’t quite believe that work gave me over two full weeks of leave at one time; I think I managed to catch my supervisor in the holiday mood with the request and before she had a chance to think about all the “might-be-happenings” while I’m gone (and I fully intend to ignore the work blackberry during this period).

Note to my Parental Units

Category: Family,Friends,Leisure — Moose @ 1:31 am

Dear Parental Units,

I’m taking a real, honest-to-heavens vacation in 2009, leave done been requested & approved, so I’m set. I will be gone & out of touch from 19 June 2009 to 5 July 2009. I think, outside of going to Ironman Canada with JT in 1999, that this is the first actual non-me-doing-a-race-or-other-family-related vacation that I’ve taken ever. So, just letting y’all know that I’ll be out of touch for those 2+ weeks for planning purposes.


28 December, 2008

A Quick Visit

Category: Drinks,Food,Friends,Home,Leisure,Neighbors,Queer,Weather — Moose @ 6:08 am

Got the boys on their way just now. A quick, but fun visit with them.

When they were on their way here yesterday I asked Kelrick which cuisine he’d like, and got back an enthusiastic “Indian!” in response. Dragged them up to Adams Morgan and one of my favorite restaurants, Jyoti, where we all managed to quickly inhale a good appetizer sampler and the three dishes we ordered. Kel couldn’t stop raving about how much he loved the food – seems it’s difficult a) to find good Indian food in Houston and b) to get suthunuhs to go eat it when you can find it. So that was a lot of fun.

Next we wandered through Dupont and past the 17th St strip to Halo where we were confronted with the frou-frou drink menu from heck, compounded by the bar tender from heck (there was a modicum of attitude there, which his cheekbones, while impressive, did not warrant). Kenny and I ended up getting the blueberry lemonade, which was something of a production (they crush the lemon and blueberries in the glass in front of you), but which was very tasty and sweet. Kel had a blueberry vodka and 7. Thankfully for all involved there was couch space, which we grabbed, and as the alcohol took hold we slowly started commenting to each other on the crowd (I so love being gay just for that little bit of gay cattiness among friends). Brian and Fredo showed up after a bit, with a couple friends, and a little more talking was done, but the three of us were starting to feel a bit worn out by that point, so we got our 2-4-1 special refills and once those were done relinquished the couch to the other boys and caught a cab back to my place.

The plan this morning was for a 5:30 wake up, but a car alarm at quarter to 5 killed that, and when they heard me wander up to the bathroom shortly thereafter they went ahead and started breaking down the spare bed. Got ’em set in the moving van, and they’re off. I’m debating going back to bed, but it’s so warm outside that the apartment is a bit uncomfortable for sleep (and the downstairs neighbor must have been smoking cigarettes – had to light a candle in the bedroom this morning to try and kill the odor; yuck, but at least it wasn’t pot). Cooling the place down first with some cracked windows, then we’ll see about more sleep.

27 December, 2008

Lamp Failure

Category: Drinks,Friends,Stuff — Moose @ 5:16 pm

Yay, the arc lamp came in (from my order at the beginning of the month). Boo, the connector for the shade (on the arc) was completely crushed in transit. The base and shade (differently boxed) were fine, thankfully. Will have to drag it back tomorrow to the store and hope they either have a replacement in the back or that they can order a replacement piece quickly. I’d drag it back tonight but I’m waiting for Kelrick & Kenny to arrive now – they texted a bit ago and weren’t too far away.

Went out last night to JR’s, had fun seeing folks, chatting and what not. In a change of pace I had bourbon for the first time in forever (I’ve been sticking to wine & beer of late), and wasn’t too painful today from it. Met a couple boys as well, got some numbers. We’ll see how that works.

And there comes Kelrick, so I need to zip.

25 December, 2008

Training sock

Category: Knitting,Pics — Moose @ 7:02 pm

And this is how it starts….

Training Sock


Category: Literature,Silliness — Moose @ 2:43 am

Wishing you all a Happy Hogswatch.

23 December, 2008

Updates at the Holidays

I find it amusing that I’ve avoided holiday music all year (since I don’t really shop in malls or big retails stores), but couldn’t escape it tonight while eating at a local Chinese restaurant.

A last minute surge in knitting yesterday paid off – all the projects I needed done by the holiday are now done. Hopefully my secretary at work will enjoy the fingerless gloves I made for her. (You can see them here and here) Sadly, my next big project will be a shedir cap for a co-worker of mine who has an advanced case of uterine cancer (stage 3c). We’re not sure when she’ll start the chemo, but it won’t be long. Picked up yarn for it on Saturday, a couple of colors (she only specified “anything but pink”).

Health update: The foot is still improving slowly, but is definitely better than it has been. Still not up for running, but not nearly as painful as it had been. The PA is completely healed again, no pain whatsoever. Huzzah – no more 2 am rude awakenings.

Date from heck on Wednesday of this past week. One of those “why do I bother with this whole thing?” kind of dates. Yuck. Leering at me over dinner? Oy.

My family neglected to give me my brother’s new address, so their present (a nice check) will be late. Oh well. My parents, on the other hand, are a bit more tech-savvy, so their wish lists were updated with the addy for the RV park where they are in Florida.

Started the planning process for next year’s newbie program for the tri club. Good group of volunteers, and I think this is going to go well.

Nice night with friends planned for tomorrow, and a quiet two days after that. Hosting Kelrick and his bf Kenny at some point in there on their way up to NYC. Will be good to see Kelrick, and meet Kenny.

Work approved the two weeks off in late June/early July, so I’m set to go to Comrades this next year. Dean has thoughtfully offered his services as host in the periods around when I’m supposed to be at the retreat, so I will be spending time on either side of it in the Bay area, with lots of time to catch up with folks there.

15 December, 2008

Can I Have A Do-Over?

Category: Annoyances,Commuting,Food,Health,Sleep,Swimming,Work — Moose @ 9:31 pm

Took a sleep aid last night, and for the first time had a bad reaction to it. Woke up groggy this morning, went in late, and by noon I hadn’t really woken up, despite coffee, so I went home and napped. Oh, and while on the way to work I managed to leave my badge at home, so I returned to get it rather than go through the rigmarole that work inflicts upon you when you forget it. Nothing like walking back and forth to Metro twice. Totally not my day today.

Once I got up, I did go swim this evening, doing a mile once all was said and done. Felt good to get moving again, and I think it worked the last of the stuff out of my system. What a mess. Won’t be using that again any time soon, which is a shame, because it had worked okay before.

On an unrelated note, if clementines were more readily available, I’d eat more fruit on a regular basis. Love those things, was happy to see them at Safeway on the way home from the pool.

14 December, 2008

Long Week

Category: Body,Club,Exercise,Friends,Habits,Piercing,Site,Triathlon — Moose @ 10:59 pm

With two or three more exceptions, I believe I’ve made it through my obligations for the holiday party season. This past week was a constant stream of events, and while I loved each of them in turn, in the aggregate it was a bit overwhelming. Several days I had 2 events in a day, and while tried to pace myself for eating, it wasn’t easy. Add to that the fact that so much of the food at this time of the year has dairy in it and I end up eating far too much that either has dairy in it, or far too much “sometimes” food because I know it doesn’t have dairy in it. Either way isn’t the best way to nosh.

But, back to the grind tomorrow, including time in the pool after work before heading out to dinner with a friend to celebrate the end of his semester. Two of the events this week were with the club, and they and one of the parties which seemed to be all skinny little 20-somethings served as due notice that, being able to run or not, I have to get back to regular training now. In the first place, I have signed up for races, and it would be good to be prepped for at least two of the sports (and, hey, if all else fails, maybe I can do a “aquavelo” IM – where you do the swim and bike but not the run portions of an iron-distance race). And I’m trying to plan out a weight routine, using Strength Training for Triathletes, which I’m finding to be pretty informative and useful.

The piercing is better than it was with the old jewelry, but still a trifle sore at times. Nothing like waking up at 2 am and wondering if you’d feel better at that immediate moment if you were more of a masochist.

Upgraded WordPress this evening, finally. I think I was 3-4 versions behind the most current. They’ve managed to make upgrading the plug-ins pretty darned painless, and it’s a shame they can’t do the same with the site files themselves. In comparison, even though it really doesn’t take that long, it seems to take an eternity. They’re a victim of their own success there. Cross-posting seems to be working just fine, which is a relief (other versions have broken it). All in all I’m impressed with the latest interface, it’s much nicer than previous ones, but not overly complicated.

And with that, it’s time to crash here.