Is LJ still a reasonable place to spend any time/effort? Is there anyone still here? Should I stay or should I just drift away into the ether?
I know it seems like I've dropped out of LJ-land, and I admit that I do come here a lot less often, but I have not died, I have not deleted my account, and I am still reading all your updates...only slower.

I will try to increase my activity here this year.  Don't give up on me!

Passwords

Jun. 7th, 2012 10:06 am
The latest password issue at LinkedIn has got me looking through all my passwords to make sure I'm not repeating anything, especially anything that I used at LinkedIn. I tend to use a few base words, and add numbers, or phrases and numbers to them, but, to be honest, it is getting difficult to keep track. I actually have a document where I keep my password list, although in the document, I use hints to tell myself which base word I am working from. I'm sure this is not secure enough. People have been talking about password management apps, but I don't even know what that means. I guess it's time to do some reading...

Meanwhile, I'll be putting the document in some semblance of order over the next few days. What do you guys use to keep track of all your passwords?
Back in September, after returning from my SiL's wedding, I found that there was a sticky residue in my hair that would not come out using shampoo. I figured it was from all the product they used styling my hair, and I asked some friends how to get rid of it. Baby shampoo was the recommendation of choice, so I ended up with a small bottle of Johnson's. It took several washings, but eventually it did the trick.

Over the past few months, I have had this same issue occurring sporadically, without the layers of gel and hairspray associated with Wedding Hair. The baby shampoo trick has sometimes worked, and sometimes...well...not.

Fast forward to last week, when Ang and I flew out to San Diego followed by a couple of days in Austin. During and after this trek, the hair just on the top of my head looked (and felt...ew!) as though it was stuck together with glue. Many washings with the baby shampoo did nothing. I ended up Googling "how do I wash this sticky residue out of my hair," and, lo and behold, found this group of women who have the same problem.

I realize that internet opinions are worth what you pay for them, but a surprising number of these women said that this had happened after using Clairol Perfect 10 colorant on their hair, which I also use. More interesting to me, however, was that many of them were not blaming the color itself, but the conditioner that comes with the color. My MiL actually gave me a bag of them when we were down there over xmas, since she uses the color but not the conditioner. The tube is conveniently sized, and so I have been taking it with me on trips to use as my daily conditioner. Hmmm, says I.

Luckily, I have easy access to a lab with some high powered optical microscopes, so I went into the lab and looked at some strands of hair. Initially, I compared a sticky strand to a non-sticky strand. It was hard to see any real difference, but the sticky strand looked like it might have some sort of clear residue. I decided it would be easier to see the material if I had multiple strands, and so I "collected a more significant sample" (read: pulled out a couple of strands that were stuck together). The evidence was there. The material was clear, viscous, and elastic. Probably a silicone or other oil, which is consistent with hair conditioner. (If I need more data, there's always the FTIR...)

With all of the guesses as to the cause of this issue on the web page, came a long list of suggestions as to what might help clean off the gunk. Some of the sufferers reported back after using these methods, and so I had some idea as to the relative success rates, if you are ready to believe the women writing to this site. With nothing to lose, I decided on trying (1) dishwashing liquid, (2) baking soda, and (3) vinegar.

The dishwashing liquid that was recommended was Dawn. The women figured it was safe, since animal rescuers use it to clean off oil-soaked birds and mammals after spills, and that sounded like reasonable logic to me. Sadly, when I got home I found that we only had Palmolive Oxy, so I took a risk and tried it. It seemed to get a little out, but not much. It was time to go shopping.

I returned home with Dawn (original scent), a new box of baking soda, and apple cider vinegar. (I had read something a few weeks ago about using ACV as a skin cleaner, and I figured two birds and all.) This morning I did a thorough washing with the Dawn, twice, in the affected area. I conditioned the ends of my hair afterwards (not with the Perfect 10 tube!), since Dawn will certainly strip away the "good" oils as well as the bad.

Holy crap.

I'd say the sticky stuff is about 95% gone. There is a little bit of stickiness left in one spot, but nothing even close to what was there earlier. Hooray for Dawn! I feel as grateful as a newly de-cruded penguin. When the Palmolive didn't do anything, I thought it was going to be a long hard road to find a cure, but Dawn saved the day. I think I may write to the company and thank them.

And now I will throw away the extra tubes of conditioner I have from Clairol.

Still Alive

Mar. 8th, 2012 11:44 am
I haven't been posting here, but I have continued to read and comment on my friends' posts.

Information on me (in case you were wondering):
  • My shoulder continues to pain me - for far too long.  PT is both helping and hurting, but I may be seeing a light at the end of a long painful tunnel.
  • Went to JCCC2 (with Angelo, Andy A, and Karen A) and had a great time.  The entertainment was great, but I would be happy just cruising around with those three.  :)  We sang Schoolhouse Rock at an open mic with just the four of us.  It's available on youtube.
  • Transitioning out of the tactical part of Job of Doom, but keeping the strategy stuff.  Taking on more of the science side of my job again will make me happy, and staying involved in the strategy section of JoD should keep my career on track.
  • Lager Rhythms has our first Texas Tour concert scheduled for March 31st in Austin.  We set up a Facebook Event that everyone here should have already seen.  If not, let me know and I'll send an invite!  Another concert is in development...
  • I received an MVP award for much of the JoD work I've done over the past year.  We get a trip to San Diego!
  • My brother's oldest cat has passed.  She was the first pet he ever had, a pure Russian Blue that he found wandering outside at work in 1994.  Since then he has had a number of cats, but Keiko just kept on trucking through them all.  He's pretty upset about it, as is my Mom.
  • Bought a new Miata.  This one is copper red mica and is named Molly.  The dealer bought Spike for a good price, and I believe they have already sold him to a good home, so I was happy.  Molly is speedy!
  • I appear to be back on track in my weight loss (ignoring the fact that I was just on a cruise...).  I am fitting back into smaller clothes, and my work pants are all a little too big in the waist now.  Yesterday I noticed that they had become too long as well, which is always amusing.
That's all for now.  I hope the title of the post has given you the same ear-worm it has given me.  :)
Today is the 14th anniversary of the saddest day of my life.

Lately I've been aggravated that I don't have him around to ask questions. Stupid questions, like "what was basic training like?" I only have one real story about my dad's military service, and I think I probably heard it about 12 times. In this story, he asked for permission to take a car (a jeep?) away on a trip, and his CO left him with a completely disassembled vehicle saying, "Sure - if you can put it back together, you can have it for your trip." He learned a lot about cars that day, and yes, he put the thing back together - in working order. I always felt as though he wanted to try the same thing with me some day, but he never got the chance. I know his time in the air force was when he met my mother, had a deviated septum fixed, and did a lot of flying around the country playing baseball. Probably not in that order.

My dad loved to tell stories. Over and over. We all knew his stories, and had to (got to?) listen to them repeated when new people came around who had not yet heard them. As you might expect, it eventually became a running joke. Now I want to hear those stories again, but I also want to ask more questions about his life. And there's no one left to ask. Both of his brothers are dead, as well as his parents, and no one else remembers anything from that time.

I don't have any letters from him. I don't have any recordings of his voice. Sometimes I look in the mirror and I see parts of him in my face, but less so as I lose weight (isn't that amusing?). I see him in my bad knees, my love of food, my desire to know how the world works, and my sarcastic sense of humor. But I miss those stories. All the ones I've heard... and especially the ones I haven't.


ETA: No hugs, please.
I just had my first full-body skin check with a dermatologist. I'm...getting up there in age, and, being a fair skinned redhead with a family history of skin cancer, well, it was past time.

The doctor was very thorough, which was good. She asked me about any areas that I am concerned about so she could check those first, and then went through the rest of the check. Surprisingly, she started with my scalp, which I guess could be a source of hidden nastiness, but everything looked fine. In fact everything looked fine. I have a few spots on my arms that have a slightly different texture, which are apparently called seborrheic keratosis. These are quite common in aging skin, and do not become cancer, so yay! She was actually very happy that I was so pale ("Pale is good!"), which I guess is code for I don't spend any time in the sun.

Considering my family history, she has recommended a yearly check, which I planned on anyway, so I guess we've added another summer time appointment to the list.

Speaking of family history, it's amazing to me how totally "not over it" I still am about Dad. I had to fill out the typical questionnaire about what I've had and what my family has had, and I teared up when I had to fill in "yes" for melanoma. In the exam room, the nurse asked me about that, who it was, whether they were still alive, and I explained the situation, in tears. When the doctor came in, she also asked me about that , and I cried again. (I'm crying now. WTF??) It's coming up on 14 years, for crying out loud (ha!), you would think I would have some freaking perspective by now.

Oh, well. Good news is my skin looks fine. I'll be continuing to monitor everything on an ongoing basis now, but hopefully if anything develops, I'll get it before it gets me.
Just really really busy...and now add sick to the list.

:p
I am in a meeting with a group of people and we are going through introductions. Each of us was asked to tell something "interesting" about ourselves. The team leader started off by telling us that, as a child, he was the voice of Schroeder in the Peanuts movies and TV specials.

I am unusually thrilled by this. :)
I've been taking a Tuesday evening yoga class at my company-provided workout facility. The classes they offer run for 8 weeks at a time. For the next 8 week session, the evening yoga instructor will be unavailable, so the woman who manages the facility will be teaching mat Pilates. I've never taken a Pilates class, but I'm going to try it out this evening and see if I want to sign up for the whole session.

Wish me luck!
I went to see a new orthopedic hand doctor yesterday (Nicholas Fiore for posterity, and, speaking of posterity, the last doctor was Kimberlea Staton -- yes I use this journal to help me document my healthcare). He didn't seem to think I needed to go back into a cast, at least he didn't suggest doing so, and even recommended that I spend more time out of the splint in order to avoid additional pain due to stiffness that comes with immobilization.

He has, however, put me on a stronger NSAID than I normally take, in order to knock out any inflammation that may be causing pain. I'll be on meloxicam for three weeks and then we will see how the joint is feeling. To be honest, it seems to have been getting a little better over the past week since I had made the appointment, so who knows whether the drug will really be the reason for the healing.

It sounds like I may need to be careful with my thumb for many more years, since it is now more easily injured and, when injured, any swelling causes joint pain that sort of feeds off of itself and increases the swelling. The good news is that the bones themselves look great, with no evidence of arthritis at all.

So, tentative good news, but we'll see how it pans out.
Lager Rhythms is planning for our next gig on Saturday, June 4th. It will be a House Concert in the Heights (part of Cortlandt Street House Concerts) -- more details coming as soon as they are available.
Ah, yes, well...after a month and a half of wrapping the thumb, and another four weeks of wearing the removable cast that was made for me last time this happened, it is time to see an actual medical professional. *sigh*

To be honest, I don't think the pain is getting any worse, but it really isn't getting any better either. This may, of course, be because I'm not being as diligent as I should about not using my freaking thumb, but apparently I'm going to need to have someone in authority tell me so. I'll be leaving to see my GP in 20 minutes.

Hopefully we will be able to identify and deal with the issue much more quickly this time, since I really need to have my thumb back in time to paddle down the Middle Fork this summer. However, I am mildly concerned that it only took 3.5 years for this issue to reoccur.

If I do have to get a hard cast again, I dread the fact that this time it's happening during the hot season, since last time I did this it was September and even then it was irritatingly hot...
[livejournal.com profile] drangelo is off on a business trip this week, and I am learning what he has to deal with when I'm gone. It's lonely!

Granted, I've been keeping myself pretty freaking busy, what with late night concalls, and having our back door/frame repaired, but all in all I have to say this is a lot less fun that having him around. Even when he spends a significant chunk of time hanging out with his boyfriend (hi, [livejournal.com profile] paracoon!), at least he still sleeps in the same bed with me. Apparently that's a big deal, because I'm just not happy in this bed all by myself. (No, please do not offer your services, thanks. Unless you're Natalie Portman. Hi, Natalie!)

Thankfully this is not the kind of trip that I usually take; he's in the US, which means calls are easier, and it's less than a week long. We're more than halfway through at this point, so yay!

Tomorrow night is rehearsal, so we will be sans the marvelous voice of the AngMan. But he gets back late Friday night, which means I will get a better night's sleep before the weekend.

All this to say -- I miss my husband.
Some of you may remember about three and a half years ago, the days of the Black Hand. Well, it looks like repetitive stress is my BFF, and apparently I use my right thumb more than I ought. (Oh, really? How much should I be using my right thumb?) The thumb is starting to hurt in just the same manner as before. This time, however, I am aware of the danger! ;)

So, in an effort to remain separate from, and superior to, the rest of the animal kingdom, I am working to avoid going back to a big black cast on my right hand. (Honestly, after the first day of "wow, I have my first cast," it was full of craptasticness to be without my dominant hand for four weeks.) Right now I am wrapping my thumb in a plastic bandage, which gives it some minor support, as well as reminding me to avoid using the digit. If this doesn't work, I still have the removable support brace that I can wear, which will really keep me from straining the joint.

Since I went for several weeks of continuing to damage myself last time, until the agony finally sent me to the doctor, I am hoping that this will be the smart way to handle the situation, and I will allow my joint to heal without having to shred my ligament first.

It's been a while since I've had a chance to write anything.  Once Owlcon was over I had a major job-related project (two, really) that took every spare second.  This is what has happened since the Con...

  • Still reorienting myself after last week's major brain dump. Two of the biggest performances I've had career-wise, and back to back at that. I'm watching the fallout even as we speak, and so far so good.
     
  • We decided to take a piece of last year's bonus and buy a grill. (Finally!) We had an old gas grill for years that had degraded to the point where we weren't comfortable using it, so we've been grill-less for several years now. A year or so ago I went shopping for grills and was stymied by the cost vs materials issue, so we ended up just not getting anything. When I got my bonus in December, we decided to designate a chunk as "let's do something we normally wouldn't do" money. It could have been a trip, or some sort of service, or a purchase, and we decided to go for the grill. It's a stainless steel Weber, which we wouldn't have bought otherwise, and it should arrive Saturday.
     
  • We also picked up a new phone, which means that we have a new answering machine message. Those of you who were sick of the old one can now enjoy Angelo's latest artistic endeavor. There are two handsets in this one, which helps me on the days when I have 9 hours of concalls and am working from home. Darned battery!
     
  • Over December break I did the bridesmaid thing with Megan and picked out a dress. The dress came last week, and now we need to find shoes and an undergarment before we can get the thing altered. It's a very rich navy color (almost sapphire), halter style top, with a mini train. I like it a lot. :)
     
  • While the trees were dormant, we decided to have an arborist come in and help us to make sure they weren't damaging the house. Having five live oaks on our little postage stamp of a piece of property is pretty ridiculous, but he gave them a significant pruning to make sure they wouldn't fight with each other, and we asked for a root barrier as well, to assuage my Durkon-like fears that they would destroy the foundation of the house some day. (In preparation for this we also had a foundation person come check the foundation, and all was well there too. Yay!) So, now the oaks look more like oaks; you can really see what they're going to look like when they're more mature, and it's pretty cool.




Ahhhhh

Jan. 5th, 2011 10:10 am
The alt-text for today's xkcd is MINE -- ALL MINE!!
This year the Lagers are returning to Lights in the Heights! It looks like the weather is going to be marvelous - clear and cold, so we would love to see you there. We will be on a porch that is a bit farther from the main drag than usual. This is good news, in a way, since it looks like we won't be near any really loud bands (or revving motorcycles), although you will have to walk more that usual to get to us.

We will be on the porch of 408 Omar this Saturday evening. Come see us!!

Grateful

Nov. 24th, 2010 12:30 pm
Tomorrow I will be giving thanks for all of YOU. Thank you for being there when I need an electronic shoulder to cry on/whine to/ask advice. You guys have made a tough year much easier to handle. I hope I have done the same for you.

Geekgasm

Nov. 24th, 2010 09:30 am
Whilst Randall is busy dealing with personal issues, he is getting a bit of help with xkcd. Today's comic was subbed by Bill Amend.

You're welcome.
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