Experiments in the key of life

From an unapologetic middle aged gay

Christmas
ornament
ciddyguy
Had a great Christmas at my youngest sister's place. All told, a small bunch of us, my neice Ann, her friend Caroline, and Conner were with us, so just six of us Christmas Eve, and for Christmas dinner, we had 4 more join us. In this case, Betsy's former co-worker at an old job and now a very good friend and his 3 children were there for dinner.

A lovely time was had with standing rib roast being the piece de resistance. It was delicious as always.

Got some cool stuff and had a nice drive home as I have to work tomorrow.

All in all, a nice, low key time was had and I'm thankful for it.

Learning from your past
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ciddyguy

Susandennis wrote about a book she’s reading on her Kindle that is about Boomers, Gen Xers, and millennials growing up and looking back at expectations met and unmet.The gist was many people when they are young see many possibilities, but then realizing one day you realize you are no longer a young anything. The author, according to Susan seems to be looking back with a lot of regret (the author is in her 40’s).

Anyway, that got me thinking about that and my own life and I realize that not everyone learns from their mistakes made when younger, and keep making the same mistakes as they get older. Still others, like me are now wising up and leering from our mistakes now and making decisions that we could not have made years earlier. It comes from having lived life the hard way, through unemployment, loss of family, or in low paying jobs where you just barely make ends meet, but soon realize why, and work to get yourself OUT of said situation. That is my situation now, learning how to better manage my finances from mistakes I made earlier in life. Part of why is now I have to rely on ME to rectify that mistake, and with Mom gone (not an event I expected have happen when it did), but with her gone, I am left to rectify my OWN mistakes. This means I have been making even wiser choices with the options I have, or had before me to be where I am today, improving my credit score and all that.

What also saddens me are those who seem to feel they can’t change their situation, and I see this with at least one co-worker who feels he’s “too old” to change and has been with our employer for at least 9 years, if not longer than that. Today, he has a girlfriend, has child support, and makes the same amount I do in terms of the hourly pay, and I just don’t know HOW he does it, but he preservers, and yet, won’t do anything to make any changes in his life to better it financially. He’s I think 40 now, or close to it, by the way. He’s not the only one, lots of people feel they can’t change their situation, so don’t, and thus never seem to amount to much, except exist.

Anyway, I’ve come to the conclusion that if you want to affect change in your life, you gotta get off your butt and DO something about it or life, and opportunities will pass you by.

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Merry Christmas y'all!
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ciddyguy
tree 2012
My Christmas Tree from 2012



Merry Christmas y'all!

Hope this finds you all celebrating with friends and/or family tonight and tomorrow.

I have to work today, but will be getting off early most likely since that was the plan as of Monday. Tomorrow the site is closed, but reopens on Friday, and yes, I will be there too. The joys of working the type of job I have, and not getting my act together to get that day off in time. Oh well, it is what it is this year.

However, I make up for it next week when I get Tuesday and Wednesday off (and the site is again closed on NYD) but will be back again on Friday so a day-fer for me, not too bad.

Since I'll be heading straight down to Olympia to my youngest sister's place, I may not be online at all until Friday morning at the earliest.

So have a safe holiday!



Christmas Eve/Day planned and today planned
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ciddyguy
Awoke just shy of 6am and plopped down at the computer, after prepping the coffee pot that I never got last night then back into the bedroom to start up the computer while the pot did its thing.

Next thing I knew, it was almost 9am before getting the laundry going, then breakfast and then shuffling wet laundry to a dryer to finish its thing. Since then I've written the basis of a new post, received an email from Miranda at my company's Payroll dept, seems our paperless pay system for W4's isn't working right and I've had issues trying to update my W4 form, so printed up the form, filled it out, and signed it myself, and sent it back as an attachment to Miranda directly so she can process it, so I may get that today, or tomorrow. She'd replied to my last reply via the Payroll help email. The Paperless pay is via Talx, so not sure what's up there, but can't either change the form changeable boxes, or get Acrobat pro to connect via the link given, then can't sumit electronically so not sure what's up there. All I know is the reader in Firefox can't support editable forms, nor does the Acrobat reader, unless I activate the extensions plugin then it does, but can't connect either. Not sure if I need to use IE, which I DO have, though not opened it up to see, but no specifications on which browser to use, unless Internet Explorer is assumed to be used.

Anyway, it's resent with my signature, and today's date so we'll see what happens.

I also cleaned up a mountain of dishes and played an album I've not played in quite some time. Double Fantasy by John and Yoko (1980), and was the final album John would ever put out before he was assassinated by Mark David Chapman that Dec. The LP had just come out that October with (Just Like) Starting Over being played on the airwaves. The post I began is based on my memory of that fateful day when he was murdered, just outside the Dakota Apts where he and Yoko lived (she still has the place I think to this day).

Next is a quick shower and then head downtown to do a couple of quick errands before coming back home. This will be a short week as I work Monday through Wednesday (Christmas Eve), not sure if I'm off early that day, or not but will be heading straight down to Olympia Christmas Eve to where my youngest sister lives with her husband and be there for Christmas Day. Unfortunately, will have to work this Friday as I didn't get my act together in time to request that day off. Oh well. However, I DO have the 30-31 off but will be back at work on the 2nd of January however (Friday) so Monday and Friday are my work days that week. Not too bad.

So in the shower I go...

I think someone wants to play today, but...
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ciddyguy
I'm realizing I just don't have the energy to do much of anything today or I'd have been all over having him come down. Sadly, he lives in Bellingham, 2 hours to the north of here, and he'd have to clean up, drive down etc first, and it's now 12:10pm, and I've not showered or cleaned up the place either.

I just feel other than maybe snuggling and napping, I'm not going to be the best company today, sadly.

I do hope we can meet up soon though.

I hate it when stuff like this happens, but it is, what it is.

Otherwise, it's SO intriquing, but I know myself well enough to know that when I'm lagging energy, I don't do well in general, and a nap may help me there as I was up twice to pee overnight anyway so may not have had the most restful sleep to begin with, and add to that, the busy week I just went through. I know it doesn't help that I've been at this desk processing photos, reading stuff online, and writing isn't helping things either. :-)

So with that, time I hit the shower and get cleaned up.

A very quiet Saturday morning
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ciddyguy
Yes, especially after yesterday. It was a VERY busy day at work It was a constant go, go, go due to amount of packages that arrived by both UPS and FedEx Ground/Express - and the USPS, and some DHL, though usually not a lot there.

Anyway, add to that, wiggy software and 2 shipping stations going full tilt, we ere a little late getting out with packages and mail to our respective buildings. Add to that, one guy had to bow out late Thursday due to an emergency he'd not planned on, so we had to pitch in and do his building, the main one with 10 floors, the top floor being where the executives reside. We had to bring in our Field Service Rep from Switchboard where he was being trained to help out and it took I think 5 of us picking up a floor, or two to get all his stuff delivered, which was at least 3 runs by him alone if he were there.

This on top of doing MY building, metering the mail and doing some mystery mail, I was busy as well.

Good news was, I got paid, and my paycheck was larger than it had been (a bit more hours me thinks), so I was just OVER $800 for the pay period, how nice. I also paid back my credit card for the Century Link phone/DSL bill of $238 so that's good. I also contacted my company's payroll dept on my W4 as I wanted to change it. Well, problem there was the instructions I had been given didn't work. Essentially, I was to log into paperless pay, click on the update W4 button, and click begin, make the changes, and save, then submit electronically by using my password as my signature. Well, I can get the PDF file open, but can't make changes due to the PDF reader in Firefox not being able to edit forms (unsupported), then I opened Acrobat Pro, was able to make the changes, but could not save as it could not connect up with the link provided. That left me high and dry, so I then went to my desktop and got Acrobat reader, activated reader extensions, and was able to make the changes there, but no direct way to save and submit electronically to payroll. Argh!

Anyway, finally had to save to computer, to make an attachment of it and send via email and hoped it works. Part of the issue I may have been having was simply the changes I did in 2008 were saved, but never submitted, so did that, and that may have prevented me from making new changes. Even after I had submitted, so there may have been a delay before I can make new changes, or open a new session? Anyway, will see if I can make it work today by opening in Acrobat Reader.

Then once that was hopefully all done, I then headed out, with camera to get some photos of Christmas lights etc in the 'hood, and then go have dinner at a local Mexican place, La Caccina and Cantina on Broadway, then walked around some more before finally coming on home.

I was in bed by 9:30 as I was TIRED. This moring has been slow moving with reading posts online, processing photos from last night and got breakfast. It's now almost 11:30 and I've not showered or anything else but updating here.

I still need to get in touch with youngest sister to ensure plans for Christmas Eve/Day and I may go get something for them and their daughter who's living with them at the moment, something I can get locally in the city without having to GO anywhere major as I think this weekend will largely be recouperating from a busy work week.

Currently, it is raining lightly as a storm comes in this weekend, bringing in a new round of potential flooding in many rivers that feed off from the mountains. So a wet weekend for sure.

All this photography stuff is for a post I've been working on for my blog for over a week, trying to articulate my love for the holidays so maybe the photos will help? Who knows?

So that's that for a wet Saturday morning (so far).

Two busy days in a row
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ciddyguy
At work.

It's the holidays and yes, business ramps up about 10 days out from the big day itself as vendors and others try to send Christmas cards and/or gifts to various people at my site. Fortunately, not nearly as many as once used to be sent as our volumes are WAY less than they were eve 4 years ago, let alone nearly 7 years ago, my first Christmas there. I say, Thank God for that.

We are now being monitored from an expert from our employer to see where/how we can improve mail handling as there seems to be issues with whom we deliver mail to, that didn't exist before, at least in some departments. Add to that, a lack of timely info on moves, hires and fires so our system is constantly behind and thus we don't always know where one sits, and then we have to email to find all that out. Plus, some people that have been getting the buckets of mail are now getting fed up with all that, and stuff keeps changing on us and we don't really get communitated as to what to do. This on top of having to research and find out where to sent stuff without any specific department and/or person on the recipiant's address and at times it seems no one wants to deal with certain mail we are trying to deliver. so needless to say, it's a mess, and it slows us down in getting stuff to our clients in a timely bases.This is being paid by our client and I think it may help them to see just how WE function (or don't) due to a lack of clear communication from our client as to where some things should go to. It doesn't help when so called confidential mail, such as employment verification letters, garnishments etc have NO clue on them as to where they should go, and thus say confidential, so we MUST open them up to find out. Makes NO sense to me as to why others would do that and then send them off. So that really slowed us down yesterday as we had way more mail than today, and it was STILL a fair amount.

Last night, I was much more tired than I am tonight and thus crashed out to the TV for a bit, and STILL slept well last night.

The weather has been dry, thankfully, though by Friday, the rains are to return so I'll try to get out either tomorrow, or Thursday and get some new Christmas photos from the 'hood. For the next several days until the 25th, the weather looks largely wet and in the upper 40's to low 50's. Christmas Day will be mostly sunny and a high of 43F.

Cookie baking was great and am eating on the cookies I brought home for the holidays. Last night's meal consisted of fried eggs, grits, bacon and English muffins, delish. Tonight's meal consisted of a roasted Yukon Gold potatoe that I had, some brocolli, again, roasted and a Kobi Beef steak that  pan cooked in my cast iron skillet, and it was YUMMY, cooked it to rare, barely below 140F, and oh yum.

Simple, but had an air of elegance to it since the meat did set me back $6 for 6 Oz.Worth it I say.

Did pay the DSL/landline bill via credit card and I'll pay that portion off on Friday, as intended since they seemed to be antsy about getting my bill paid, or they cut off my DSL. I WAS a month behind, but not intentional though and just could not do so until the mid month paycheck dropped, which happens to be on the 19th this month or I'd have paid it off already.

Christmas Eve is kind of set. I had been rather OK with things if they didn't involve one of two of my 3 sisters for spending either Christmas Eve and/or Day. So now as it tentatively stands, I'll go visit my youngest sister in Olympia Christmas Eve/Day since I have to work the 26th due to my not being on the ball in seeing if I can get that day off this year, I won't be able to do Boxing Day, but my middle sister and I may try to get together to play during the remainder of the holidays. This cuts down on my driving to some extent, not that I mind doing that, but it helps that I won't be hauling ass down to Olympia from Bainbridge Island (1.5Hrs) to the south via SR3 and the peninsula and THEN having to drive north to Seattle after dinner on the same day.

So we'll see how that all shakes out in the next couple of days as far as how my Christmas Eve/Morning goes.

Overall, same, ol', same ol' for now.

Before I run off to my sister's...
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ciddyguy
Yesterday I mentioned that I wanted to check out the portfolio option with my blog, well, I'm not sure I want to use it. It's a private page, not shown as part of your menu/pages.

So I'll do it another way, that is, use a standard page and build it there, with a link to the PDF file itself perhaps, but I would want to set it up so it can't be copied or used elsewhere without my permission.

So that's what I'm a gonna do. Next up is quickly reburn the A Rock and Roll Christmas CD I rebuilt recently after having fixed a couple of tracks on Friday. Was going to reburn the CD last night, but never got that far.

This way, I will have it to listen to on my way to my sister's.

Another nice day in the works.
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ciddyguy
Awoke to fog this morning, but it's cleared out to clear skies for the most part and full on sun at 9:35am.

I have laundry drying as I type and put away all the clean dishes. Just need to deal with breakfast dishes, scrape the bacon grease out of the cast iron pan into the can I save it in, in the freezer for when I need to use a bit of it.

Today is cookie baking day at my oldest sister's place in Enumclaw. Need to be there by 12-12:30.

Last evening washed a mountain of dishes and cooked a delicious supper of homemade hash browns, using one large Yukon Gold potato cut into small cubes, cooked in the cast iron skillet with oil, adding a whole shallot, cut up bacon to brown and several cloves (about 4 cloves) that I chopped moderatly fine to add to, and it was all good, topped with 2 eggs cooked sunny side up.

Yesterday was a great day of errands and a nice trek downtown for a while. I did get to check out the new Surface Pro3 tablet from Microsoft and I think I want one. Reason is, it has a mini HDMI connection that with an adaptor cable, one can then convert to standard HDMI for connecting to HDMI monitors and TV's. It also has a full sized USB port, so media card readers, thumb drives etc can be connected directly to it, and you can buy a keyboard cover for it etc. Plus, it runs on the modern Core iSeries chips, ie, the Core i3, i5, and i7, but dang, they are pricey at $799 for the 64GB/Core i3 version that has only 4G of RAM, and go up from there for a 512GB drive and 8G of RAM core i7 for almost 2 grand, but these are really just super small full blown laptops so the price reflects that. It offers stuff that no other tablet can, like run real software, such as Photoshop, MS Office etc.

Anyway, that's all down the road as right now, I gotta a house to find and buy.

So with that, time I go check the laundry and if dry, fold it and bring it upstairs and then take care of the kitchen so I can get myself ready to leave as I'll need to be ON the road by 11-11:30am at the latest as it's almost 10 now...

What a difference a day makes
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ciddyguy
Yesterday, it was largely cloudy with light showers as the storm front continued to move out of the area. Today, however, is totally different. Oh it began on the cloudy side but only for a while. Now it's mostly clear skies and full on sun. Currently, it's 47F and mostly sunny. Tomorrow, sunny and 52 for the high. A nice day to be at my sister's for cookie baking, unlike many years where it's at least cloudy, if not rainy, or rain/snow mixed.

Just came back from doing errands, the bread store, and PFI, both in the SODO area of town.

I bought a few herbs I was about to run out of, Thyme, which had just a few pinches left, the Rosemary, while getting low still had plenty in the container, for now, and bought Marjaram, which I had none. I got Parm cheese and pasta, which has gone up BTW due to I think wheat prices and a damaged wheat crop.

In a few is go downtown for a short while and then come back, hitting the store on the way for mainly quarters so I can do laundry in the morning, along with whatever I decide to do for dinner, and get wine, of course.

Overall, not a bad day and while I've done very little this morning, getting the errands done was the main thing for today since I can't do them tomorrow as one, PFI isn't open on Sundays anyway, and two, I'll be in Enumclaw for the afternoon.

I've had my lunch/snack, which hit the spot so that's good.

One thing I did do was activate the portfolio feature on my blog and I'll work on that some tonight, something I've been thinking of doing for a while, and finally will be taking on that task, and burn the CD I fixed last night, but not until this evening however.
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