Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Decision made

Well, all my work on the redo of the Breast Cancer project was in vain. I gave the person it was made for the choice between the two, the first simple version and the second linen and silk version, and she chose the first version. I'm still gonna give her both of them, but only get the first one framed for her (since framing cost a fortune...if this wasn't such a weird shape, I'd just frame it myself like I always have before, but this will require the professional touch).

I'm not too terribly bummed, because, like I said in previous posts, it was a learning experience with the linen and the silk thread, but at the same time, ugh. It cost an absolute fortune getting the thread and the material together (as well as the time it took ordering it from different vendors because the color wasn't right). The money spent on the redo would more than pay for the framing. I've spent months avoiding this puppy like the plaque because I didn't want to work on it, putting me majorly behind on my "real" projects, and when I did work on it, I ended up frogging more than I ever have in my whole life because I wasn't paying close enough attention.

So why do I keep doing projects for others? Every time I finish one I say "never again", but I always end up doing it again. Yes, I know I didn't have to redo the Breast Cancer project in the first place and I could have left it the way it was. I was so unhappy with the original, it wasn't up to my standards and I knew I could do better, and in the end, I did do much better, but apparently, the recipient disagreed. Should I be offended at that, or am I just looking for excuses to be mad? (which is not out of character for me...I like something and I expect the rest of the world to agree). Maybe I'm a lot more bummed than I thought I was.

This reminds me of the projects I did for people when they got married/had a kid, which is now probably sitting in most of their attics (or worse, "got lost in a move"...yeah, I've actually been told that...at least lie to me and say you preserved it as a treasured family heirloom!). One project in particular always causes the burr in my side to act up - I was actually asked to stitch a Noah's Ark project (because their baby's room was Noah themed). I spend forever picking the right design, spent her entire pregnancy working on it, framed it for her, the works (besides the fact I'm not really religious and I always seem to get wrangled into doing religious projects). Her daughter is now 13 or 14 and I asked her about a year ago what ever happened to that project. Her answer? "Oh, I have no clue what we did with that thing". Yes, those were her exact words. After I managed to pick my jaw off the floor (which doesn't happen to me often), my exact words back can't be repeated in polite company!

I think I need to say "never again" and mean it. No matter who asks or how important it may be to them...I'm going to just give into my Asper side and say it will be all about me from now on!!

Soapbox dismount...but not without a bit of hurt pride this time 'round!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

About time!

First off...I completely forgot my TUSAL for the month of November! So, to get it out of the way, here's my Ort jar sitting on my favorite piece I brought back from this Disney trip, my Cinderella Castle Big Fig:
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Next up...I have done it! I have finished The Ribbon Topiary (for the second time!):
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I'm still not sure if it's better than the much simpler (and much cheaper) original. I've learned a ton of lessons from both of them (mostly that I ain't ever gonna touch silk thread again unless I absolutely have to!):
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But here is the piece de'resistance of this weekend...I've started working on my little Highland girl again!! As a reminder, here is where I left off:
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And here is this weekend's progress:
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The fun part of stitching now versus the last time I left off was the added bonus of Zachary's clingyness that started when I got back from Disney...he won't leave my side (not that I'm complaining). But it's a bit difficult to manage a magnifying light, scroll bars, and a lap stand with a pup in my lap. Here is the view underneath the lap stand:
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And that's about it (although it's a ton!). Now that I'm back on track stitching-wise, hopefully it will help channel my inner Christmas Grinch this year (although I highly doubt it, the Grinch is a strong force that won't be denied!).

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Updates (or lack thereof)

I am a horrible blogger, a horrible stitcher, and a horrible friend (or at least it seems that way lately!). I have been holed up in my house just vegging. Post-Disney Depression still lives large in me.

But I do have a major rant. Since starting my new position, I've been super busy with cleaning up everything and getting everything back on track (my predecessors didn't have the time and very important things got left on the side of the road, some for several years). Plus, the added "bonus" (torture is more like it) of covering my old job when the transcriptionist is off (my punishment this week and part of next) on top of my real duties.

One of my big new projects has been setting up the billing office with new computers (10 in all). The process started out very smoothly, until I hit the first major snag, one computer was infected with a virus that copied over to the new computer. Easily enough fixed, but I started being more careful and started scanning the old ones first (which I probably should have been doing in the first place).

Everyone else turned out pretty much ok (well fixable), but one old computer was so infected, I have no clue how it was still running! I have NEVER seen a computer so infected and I've been working on computers for family and friends for a very long time (even more infected than the person who regularly surfs porn, and theirs is usually pretty bad). 17 virus, 56 trojans and more pups and tracking cookies than I care to mention (although they are usually side effects of browsing anyway, but they should be cleaned upon occasion...well over 15,000 is just too friggin much!).

How do you manage to get into such nasty stuff at work? I have regularly throughout the years removed toolbar after toolbar and "coupon-this" and "coupon-that" from this particular terminal, but they always get put back on, no matter how much this person gets told to stop it. I have no power in that arena, it's up to the billing manager.

Why don't people who spend their entire workday working on computers know more about them than they do? They can do enough to get through their job, but other than that, they are computer illiterate. It should be a requirement that anyone who works on a computer at least has the basic knowledge to know what is safe and what is not and what to download and what to not and when to open and email and when to not and even how to clean up their own machine. You don't drive a car without a license, why not have to take a "computer test" to make sure you're computer literate enough to operate one?

Granted, even the most diligent of people sometimes get viruses (I haven't ever, but it is a possibility and I'm always prepared for it). I personally have had my email hacked a couple times throughout the years, but again, that happens to the best of us. I don't limit my internet browsing at work...I don't do anything at work that I don't do at home and I'm always safe, so again I ask, what in Hades could this person have been doing to get so infected? Are they secretly coming up on the weekends to surf porn?

We have new virus software that has a control panel, and my answer was to jack up the security settings so high, they can't do any damage. But after the first day and receiving dozens of calls because they can't get here or do this, I dropped it back down until I can put in a list of safe sites, but until that moment comes, how much damage will be done? At the same time, these are adults...they shouldn't have to have their computers "child-proofed"!! And the person in question is managerial level as it is (which means they should know better than anybody).

I've actually stepped away from that particular computer for the past couple of days...I just can't bring myself to face it. Those computers are old (running XP) and slower than Christmas (one person's takes a full 17 minutes to go from boot to a fully loaded user). It took over 6 hours just to run one scan and one scan is never enough to remove all the viruses. I will probably just end up copying their files over one at a time instead of transferring them all to prevent further infection (yet another reason I can't face it).

The person in question isn't too worried that they are so infected...I saw this person Christmas shopping online just yesterday (yeah, on a computer loaded with viruses, let's put in our credit card numbers, shall we? Stupid much?).

OK, I'm gonna soapbox dismount now...but this issue is not over, not by a long shot! If I have it my way, no one (well, no one but me...it is a Woot-off this week after all) will be doing anything on their computers but working!! Nor will their be no phone charging, iPod playing, USB drive usage...basically, my inner Grinch is about to be all up in this place!!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

A different kind of blog

Throughout my post-Disney depression, I always end up reading more...the only form of escape I can get in my tiny little world. And as the good little Janeite that I am, I always turn to my favorite author to get me through. But you can only read her books and watch the movies and adaptations so many times.

I do love a good Jane-inspired novel as well as the real thing. Not so much the "continuations" or the period-inspired (and I really don't like the Jane as a vampire or Jane as a private eye kind of novels). It's the the modern re-tellings or the inspired by's that get me. And there is nothing better than the modern characters that get stuck back in Austen days and interact with Austen characters! I also like the historical references about the period as well as Jane herself.

But have you ever tried to find one of these on Amazon? One never knows what to look under. You find one you like and look up the author to see if they have written more or read the recommendations for others, but it's still pretty limited. It's not like you can search for Austen fan fiction...fan fiction is still a negative term in a lot of literary circles, even if that is what it is.

Here's where the Austenprose blog comes into play. They review upcoming Jane-inspired novels, interview the authors, and even have written Jane fiction themselves! My Jane library has grown exponentially since I've been reading it. I don't get to look at it very often, but every time I do, my Amazon wish list gets longer overnight!

The latest batch of books I picked up are modern "teen" versions of the Austens, written by Jenni James, called the Jane Austen Diaries, starting with Pride and Popularity, then Northanger Alibi, and the newest being Persuaded. I've only made it through the first one, but I really loved it and I'm really looking forward to Persuaded (since we all know Persuasion is my favorite).

I have been, on more than one occasion, been inspired to write my own Jane Austen adaptation, but considering my writing skills, it would just be stupid to try. Besides, my bestie Kate is a fabulous writer and I could never compare to half her talent, so I'll leave the writing to her!

But if you're a Janeite, or even just love good books and are looking for something new, head over to the Austenprose blog and start looking!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Imperial Restaurant - R.I.P.

Rarely in life do you find that "perfect" restaurant. Imperial was mine. I've been going there as long as I can remember. I knew the staff very well and they knew me. They had been with me through college, through marriage, through divorce, through jobs, through illnesses...basically, just through life. They knew my family and friends and we all ate there together. The chef would see me coming and smile really big and just say, "Mongolian Beef!". He would always make sure there was plenty and it was fresh just for me.

It wasn't a popular place in town, mostly because many years ago when it first opened, it was different...not your typical McDonald's type Chinese. People went once, hated it, and never went back. But, like any restaurant, it went through changes and got much better over time. I tried to change people's opinion and did managed to make a few converts over the years, but never enough to keep them busy.

It was the only Chinese restaurant in town that not only dominated the dishes with meat, but didn't charge you extra if you got only meat from the buffet (and I'm all about the cow!). They knew how to brew oolong right (a huge compliment from a tea snob). And most importantly, their fortune cookies were never stale (and how many of us have had to put up with stale cookies?).

I knew the owner was retiring, but we had high hopes that someone would just continue as ever (as did the employees). He didn't want to sell, he wanted to just lease it out, with business remaining the same. Alas, apparently it wasn't meant to be. I had planned on stopping by tonight and picking up a take away, but got the shock of my life when it was void of it's former glory and was nothing but a hollowed out shell!

So what do we do now? There is no place in town that even comes close. No place that I will ever be able to go into by myself to either get take away or to even sit at a table and enjoy a meal. A place were the wonderful people who work there ask me about my day, about my head, even about my Mother and actually care when I tell them. And I really don't mind when they sit at my table with me just to chat. A place where Tony and I can go and just enjoy ourselves, spending twenty minutes eating and three hours just talking, and not have to worry about getting run off.

I'm trying to look to the positive side, it gives us a chance to find a new favorite place, but I don't want a new favorite place! I want my old one back!!

Imperial Restaurant, Cindy, Gracie, Peter and gang we'll miss you!