Thursday, January 29, 2009

Quick update for my readers

I need to update my blog, but I don't have much time right rather than let it slide, I'll just put in some quick bullets to let you know what's going on!
  • Trip to Houston was wonderful. Thanks to Connie R and Tessa W for the cozy room & board!
  • Fell in love with Tessa's puppy, Monsieur Bichon Jacques (his real name is Jack)!
  • Enjoyed beyond words the Obama Inauguration ceremonies. I watched it with four lovely liberal women and three happy canines who were all thrilled to witness the event, even if it was through a television. (The canines are all liberals, too!)
  • Work is. And that's good.
  • My therapy sessions are getting pretty powerful. More on that some other time. Just know that it's a good thing, too!
  • It was delightful to see so many of my buddies in TX: Veronica, Liz D, Tessa, Connie R, Carmen E, Bruce E, Erin Z, Lin R, Deanna W, Verna D, Janis H, Sherri S, Cindy P, and Jim H. Not bad in 4 days. Sorry to have missed Barbara B, Corrine S, Deb S, and David B. Love to you all!
  • Loved the quick foray into Coldwater Creek! The Sugar Land, TX, mall is really upscale and quite lovely. Much different than it was when I left. I even drove by my old house to take a look. New folks (Waggoners) are taking good care of it!
  • It's been 4 years, going on 5, since I lived in Sugar Land
  • My dear friend Rick Martin, Cher's S.O. is having a tough time...please keep him in your prayers.
  • STC Spotlight Awards were held at the San Juan Capistrano train depot restaurant, Sarducci's, Saturday nite. I was keynoter, and it was great FUN! If you know anyone who does technical communication, please tell them to join the Society for Technical Communication. It really is worth the time, money, and effort. And, I know from many years of experience.
  • 2009 marks my 30th year as a member of STC.
  • The angel trumpets in my yard are blooming--even with the almost-frosty night-time temps! The evening brings out their scent and it is divine!
  • My kid turned 41 and my brother turned 50 this month. I'm still 60, but don't feel a day over 40!

Adieu and Adios for now,

Friday, January 16, 2009

Headed for Houston

FNSC Christmas Photo 2008

FNSC photo at Chinese restaurant in Sept 07

FNSC at Linda's Sugar Land house, March 2003

Well, I'm headed for Houston in the morning. I'm taking advantage of the 3-day weekend and cashing in a travel voucher that was about to expire. I miss my friends in Houston, so I hope to connect with several of them in the 4 days I'll be there. One of the things I miss most is Friday Night Supper Club (FNSC). Three good friends, back in the late 80s, began the tradition of meeting every Friday evening at various local restaurants for supper with their spouses (if one was available!). When I moved to Houston in 1990, I joined them. Today, the group still has two or three longtime, almost original members, but the other members are relatively new and one couple joined them after I moved to San Diego!

We jokingly talk about FNSC West when one of the members shows up in San Diego and we go to dinner together on Friday...another member has moved to the East Coast, and yep! They're FNSC East. One of the couples who began the tradition now lives in we have the North covered! And since the original group is still in the South, we are represented in all four directions of the country.

It's a great tradition and one that I've been threatening to begin here with a whole new group of folks. While I lived in Houston, I always looked forward to Friday nights. The folks in FNSC were my surrogate family and became close friends. And, although tonight is Friday, partially for me, and partially because one of the current members is having a birthday, we're having FNSC on Saturday. Tomorrow at 7 pm CST, I'll be sharing laughs and stories with dear friends.

It is a wonderful thing to do, and once you're part of FNSC, you're always part of FNSC. There are no dues, and the group is always interested in what and how you're doing. Each Christmas or special event, we gather for a group photo, and it's always a little bittersweet for me to get the photo these days and find myself not in the picture. The picture I've added to this entry is of all of us in 2003, the year before I moved back to San Diego. We were in my house and I had just completed having my house redecorated. The contingent that's now in Wisconsin was missing, but they were there in spirit, just as I usually am.

Tomorrow night, though, my spirit will have me for company.

Note: I happened upon a copy of Wired magazine today and was disappointed to find out that blogs are a thing of the past. Apparently, I'm about 5 years too late. Because blogs have been adopted by everyone from the White House to the club house and are being used by journalists and pundits, they've lost their ability to be fresh. Sigh. And, I was so pleased with myself for getting on the bandwagon!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Two in one day!

Yesterday, I was tagged by my daughter to write 25 random things on my Facebook page (I'd share the URL, but I don't know what it is. Guess you can search for me if you're a member.) So, in case you aren't a Facebook friend, here's my list of 25 random things:
  1. My first real job was typing deeds for the plots of land that folks were buried in!
  2. I lived in Morocco for 2.5 years when I was a kid.
  3. I was born in Brooklyn, NY.
  4. I was married for 9 years, but together with him for less than 3.
  5. Everyone thinks I'm German because of my last name; I'm Scottish.
  6. I once was part of a 2-person pit crew for a friend who was driving in the Baja 250.
  7. I bar-maided at "That Place Across the Street from the Sports Arena"; I even danced on the bar in those days. (a much skinnier me!)
  8. I graduated college when I was 31.
  9. I once thought I wanted to be a Unity minister.
  10. I was a docent at the Houston zoo.
  11. I was a ticket-seller and prop-master for the Old Town Theater.
  12. I used to hate my middle name, but now I like it:
  13. My middle name is Louise.
  14. I used to play the accordion--I still own two of them! (guess I haven't given up)
  15. I can speak French well enough to get by in France.
  16. I was president of a nonprofit international professional organization of 14,000 members.
  17. I was a Federal civil servant for 23 years.
  18. I was vice-president of a small consulting company for 3 years.
  19. I love critters and since I've been an adult, have always had a cat or dog or both.
  20. I got my first and only gun when I was 8: a 22 Winchester rifle.
  21. I was a pretty good shot.
  22. I can't swim.
  23. I hate olives.
  24. I lived in Houston for 14 years.
  25. Living in San Diego makes my heart sing.

RSS feeds, Wikis, and me

As a practicing (yup, still haven't perfected it!) technical communicator and a board member for the Society for Technical Communication (STC) , I sometimes fool myself into thinking that I have all the tools and tricks I need for my trade. NOT. The reason? I am majorly technologically challenged. Oh, I CAN learn, and when I'm interested, I DO learn, but I have to be interested.

This afternoon, I opened an email from the Society's Technical Editing SIG (special interest group), and saw that they are now publishing their newsletter and various other wonderful informational tidbits to a Wiki. Now, I know what a Wiki is, and I have used them, but I don't consider myself at ease with them.

Within one of the many excitingly INTERESTING and informative pages of the STC TE SIG's Wiki are two videos. One explains Wikis (Presto! I'm more comfy already.) and the other explains the details of and gives directions for using RSS feeds. What a find! It interested me enough to try it and I'm now subscribing to RSS feeds all over the place. I'm thrilled. (Of course, it takes a little moxie to admit in this blog that I didn't understand them before now.)

For those of you who might be as confused as I was, here's the link to the video prepared by Common Craft: RSS Feeds in Plain English. (I also recommend you look at their site for other really cool videos that explain new-fangled techni-gizmos: Common Craftshow. )

I knew that RSS feeds had been around for years, but I'm just now realizing how cool they are! (I liken it to my knowledge of Twitter. I've signed up, and I've used it once or twice, but only while being supervised by a technologically astute person. I haven't used it since! Heck, I don't even use text messages...OK, ok...I'm wandering off the path again... But I did see another video by Common Craft explaining Twitter! My ignorance may soon be a thing of the past!)

I now have a Google Reader account and am subscribing to RSS feeds. I am becoming more techo-agile every a result, my life will be richer, my hair will be blonder, my house will be cleaner, my dog will be smarter, and so on. Right? Unfortunately, no. It's likely that I will only scratch the surface of the tool. Basically, I'm the poster girl for using 20% of something and never understanding the wonders of the other 80%. Yet, I seem to be getting along just fine in my 20% technological world.

For instance, I have myriad features on my phone and digital camera that are wasting away from neglect. I learn what I need, and never learn the fun stuff that I might enjoy, but don't need. I guess I'm still of the generation that would rather watch an old movie or curl up with a mystery novel than play with technogadgets. However, no matter how I try to ignore it, this techno-wondrous world is part of my world. Believe it or not, except when I'm at work or with my 12-year old nephew, I fake it pretty well. In fact, I'm considered a technowhiz amongst my friends and neighbors! Pretty scary, huh? As Einstein once must have said, "it's all relative."

May you and your relatives Twitter, Wiki, and Wii with wonder.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

A Limerick for Linda

Happy and Healthy 2009!

So...what's my "theme" for 2009...drink more wine in '09? Perfect my whine in '09? Fill my stein in '09? shop at Hine (a local car seller) in '09?

Nope...none of the above work quite right. I finally got myself to a WeightWatchers meeting yesterday--after a 6-month hiatus. I had gained quite a bit of the weight I'd taken off when I was there last year, but not all of it! So, that in itself was a pleasant surprise...WW says that we don't "diet" we "live." And, that's the thing I must learn to and eat and move as though I want to live a long time (and I do) without pain and with unrestricted mobility. So, my decision (I refuse to say "resolution") is to use this year to find ME under all this excess mental and physical baggage. For '09, I will do all I can to be "fine" and focus on making the year "mine." So, I've created a personal limerick for the new year:

There once was a girl called L-O.
Who found her mind always on "go"
But she slowed in '09
So she could find peace of mind,
And make all that she could of L-O. heard it here! I'm on a mission to "just do it," "have it my way," "be all I can be," and "stop dieting and start living." Now, let's hope that my resolve lasts long enough for me to get some results... (My apologies to all the branded slogans I've used without citation!)

Happy New Life, everyone! I wish you all good things and may the prayers you have answered be the ones that will truly benefit you and your world. (And, it might not hurt to write yourself a personal limerick for the new year--this could be the next big craze! (pet rock, anyone?))

Love strong, laugh loud, and live long,

Linda O

Linda O
Glamorous Me