You are viewing katehaney


Recent Entries

You are viewing the most recent 10 entries

January 4th, 2014

07:34 pm: in which I'm not delighted by a book
I've mentioned that I'm not reading as much, though that's misleading. I still read, just not books and magazines. I have stacks of each that I just don't get around to. But I received a new stack of books for Christmas and I want to read each of them so very much and I didn't want to pile them on top of one of the other stacks so I started light.


The new (?) Catherine Coulter FBI thriller/romance. They're silly. They're predictable. They're fast reads. And there's a bit of smut thrown in, and that's always good. Perfect choice!

But this?


Takes place in Washington DC in the winter. There are piles of snow.*


And everyone just keeps on going, no mention of how unusual the piles of snow are or how challenging driving is.** Even the protagonist, who drives a Porsche.***

:eye roll:

And then... THEN.

Someone's ring tone is the Pina Colada Song. Fine, OK, bad taste, whatever.

BUT... BUT...

by Jimmy Buffett.****

It's almost as bad as Nora Roberts referring to the hard-edged street rock...

of John Cougar Mellencamp.

Fuck me. I'm going back to online fanfic. At least those authors know how to use Google. And their reliance on spellcheck tends to be amusing (um, no, I doubt he was lying prostate after being piston-whipped... unless it's far more metaphorical than I expect from fanfic).

* Average annual snowfall in this subtropical climate: 15.5". There's 2 feet of snow from one storm in the book.
** DC drivers are awful and cannot cope with snow. Everything shuts down in a storm. And they consider any snow at all a storm.
*** I know a couple of people with Porsches in New England. They put those babies away for the winter and don't take them out again until after spring thaw. Because they're, y'know, expensive 'n' stuff. And have rear-wheel drive.
**** Granted, the title sounds like something Jimmy Buffett would sing. But Rupert Holmes wrote the Pina Colada Song (Escape). Jimmy Buffett wrote Margaritaville. Different drink altogether.

Current Mood: crabby

July 7th, 2013

06:12 pm: negligence
I wish this blog were the only thing I've been neglected. Sadly, it's not.

I've also been neglecting my family and friends, our house and yard, nutrition, and workouts.

I'm still adjusting to the new job. Especially the new new job, which I've only had for two weeks. I've been trying to offload the old job, with reasonable but incomplete success, and have been working long hours to try to compensate. And have neglected my new group in the process (the common denominator in "opportunities" feedback I've received has been that I'm not sufficiently available).


Wednesday was a low point. I worked an 11-hour day that ended with the aforementioned feedback. I screwed something up that I would've been quite diligent about if I'd known it was a possibility (so I don't blame myself for screwing up, but I do blame myself for not knowing). I fed Peter and Teddy some kind of takeout for dinner (burritos, maybe?). I stayed up too late reading schmoopy Sherlock fanfic because my attention span is too short for books and I need some schmoopy.

I'm getting maybe 6 hours of sleep a night because it's freakin' summer (I hate freakin' summer) and it's too hot and it's light out for far too long and grouch, grouch, grouch.

I am going to try to blog more often, because it helps some.

In the meantime, I hope all is well with all of you. Lemme know what's up, eh?

* * * * *

I'll be re-posting from an inside-work blog (with notes) in a private post shortly, just to keep everything in one place.

Current Location: Longmeadow
Current Mood: crankycranky
Tags: , ,

June 14th, 2013

06:34 pm: Teddy gets his first major punishment*
Teddy wanted to stop at a friend's house after school. Peter reluctantly agreed, telling him he needed to be home at 5.

When Teddy still hadn't returned at 5:15, Peter went to get him. Teddy put on his bike helmet, went to his bike, and Peter started heading home.

Teddy did not follow.

Peter called to him. Teddy did not follow.

I got home from work just as Peter got home without Teddy. We ate dinner, then I walked over to get Teddy (it was now almost 6), who had his helmet off. His bike was on the other side of the yard; he and his friends were skateboarding and playing baseball.

Teddy gets no Minecraft and no playdates this weekend. And I found out that he also stayed up until after 9 last night, reading, when I'd sent him to bed at 8. So he will not be allowed to go to a movie the night after school is out (though he has the potential for earning that back in the next 10 days).


He's a good kid. He's a great kid. But he's developed a sneaky streak lately that I don't like. He usually stays within the letter of the rules, but he's exploiting loopholes (he knows "no more Minecraft today" means "no more screen time," then he goes to a friend's house and watches TV there, though he doesn't play Minecraft).

He knows he disappointed us, and is very upset about it. He believes his punishment is "completely deserved." He plans to work hard at being good this weekend.

I sure do hope this sneaky stuff is a short phase.

* That I remember.

Current Location: Longmeadow
Current Mood: disappointeddisappointed

June 8th, 2013

07:10 am: Childhood memory

I have the first meeting with my new team this week. As an icebreaker, I'm going to ask each person to recall a quick childhood memory. I haven't decided mine yet--I get the luxury of mulling it over, which the others won't. But as I was thinking about it, this came to mind...

I was at Camp Takodah, a summer camp where my parents worked when I was a kid. It was a special day--games day or carnival or something. I don't remember what they called it. In any case, they had a dunking station. There was no booth; there was a chair or a bench where the dunkee would sit, under a tree. There was a bucket of water rigged to a target of some kind. When you hit the target, the bucket would dump on the dunkee.

Counselor after counselor took his turn (it was boys' month at camp). He'd walk up wearing his bathing suit, drop his towel nearby, sit and grin and, eventually, get drenched.

Until my Dad. My memory is of him strolling up wearing a suit and carrying a newspaper, sitting down as if delighted to have found a place to read his paper. He'd spread the paper out and read while kids lined up for the joy of administering a bucket of shock.

I'm sure I've remembered some of the details wrong (and hope Mum or Dad will correct me), but I know that experience shaped me, both in my appreciation of my Dad and in my sense of humor.

My Dad does love a good story and he loves creating fun experiences for others (for kids, especially). And I still most appreciate humor that includes a really, really good straight man who's a really, really good sport.


June 5th, 2013

07:46 pm: Short, way-overdue book updates
Louise Bates Ames' Your Eight-Year-Old: Lively and Outgoing was not as helpful as some of her previous books (most notably Your Three-Year-Old: Friend or Enemy), but was still fairly interesting, despite the outdated notions of gender roles. I did find the section on sensitivity to criticism quite accurate. I was irked to see the old crap about meso/ecto/endomorphs recycled. I'm sure there's some kernel of truth to it, but I've mostly seen it used to make sweeping generalizations about kids, which I Do Not Like.

I missed Maya Banks' Hidden Away somehow (I've read the rest of her KGI series). Not bad. Reasonably interesting characters. Good sex. Cool locations in this one. I'll read it again.

Erick Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee's Race Against the Machine is a skinny little thing about "how the digital revolution is accelerating innovation, driving productivity, and irreversibly transforming employment and the economy." Interesting. Thought-provoking. Not necessarily helpful.

I read "Richard Castle's" Storm Front and Frozen Heat and enjoyed both as the low-brow pulp fiction they are. It's interesting to see them wrap in the references from the TV show. I do wish the books were a bit, well, better. As my Dad would say, they're enjoyable (Dad doesn't specify by whom, y'see).

I got Rachel Hawthorne's Suite Dreams from OSJL for cheap. It's a silly little romance, but it's sweet and short and a bit different (college students, for one thing, which is relatively rare in the genre). I'll look for the author again.

Jonathan Kellerman's Guilt, the latest Alex Delaware novel, is a fine addition to the oeuvre. Alex isn't mooning over Robin, the French bulldog is being cute, Milo isn't too disgusting, the mystery is reasonably mysterious. Good stuff.

Patrick Lencioni's The Five Dysfunctions of a Team is marvelous. It's told as a parable, which I love. The dysfunctions are absence of trust, fear of conflict, lack of commitment, avoidance of accountability, and inattention to results. Highly recommend.

Liz Maverick, Kimberly Dean, and Lynn LaFleur wrote the stories in If This Bed Could Talk, but none is very good. The jacket promises "deliciously wicked," but it lies. :sigh: Oh well. It was $1.50 at OSJL, so I can hardly complain.

Patricia Ryan Madson's Improv Wisdom is a new take on business books. I don't agree with the whole thing ("don't prepare"? nope, not gonna do it), but there is some real wisdom in there: say yes, just show up, start anywhere, be average, pay attention, face the facts, stay on course, make mistakes... It's an easy, entertaining, quick read. Highly recommend.

Carole Mortimer's The Billionaire's Marriage Bargain is one of the worst books I've ever read, even by Harlequin standards. Bad writing. Many! Exclamation! Points! Completely unsympathetic characters. Stupid plot. Hardly any sex, and what there is of it isn't interesting. Waste of paper and time. Dammit.

I re-read Lydia Netzer's Shine Shine Shine, having forgotten it the last time I went to write it up here. I don't know how I forgot, as it's terrific. It's about a bald woman, her space-traveling husband, and her autistic son. Events transpire. Funny and warm and interesting and (I would have thought) unforgettable. Great book.

John Sanford's Silken Prey, the latest Lucas Davenport, is good stuff. There isn't enough Weather to fully satisfy me, but the murder plot is fairly interesting and there's a nice little red herring too.

I've never been a big fan of Nicolas Sparks. His stories tend toward the schmaltzy and implausible, and they're often released in expensive trade paperbacks. I don't regret the $6 I paid for Safe Haven, I suppose, though I really ought to get his out of the library. This one's about a woman who moves away from her abusive husband. She finds True Love, of course, because that's what Sparks does. Meh. OK if you're in the right mood.

Velma Wallis' Two Old Women (an Alaskan legend of betrayal, courage, and survival) is a wonderful little story about, yes, two old women. They're left behind by their people because they're feeble and perceived as worthless, and the triumph in the end. I wonder if I would have appreciated it as much before I got my AARP card?

David Weber's A Rising Thunder is the latest in the Honor Harrington series and is, frankly, a bit of a yawn. Not enough relationships or treecats, too much politics and spaceships. When I read it again, I'll skip the boring bits.

Current Location: Longmeadow
Current Mood: goodgood

May 29th, 2013

05:46 am: rules are easier to teach than nuance (rambling rant)
And 8-year-olds may not be the best audience for nuance.

But still.

Teddy's huge pile of homework (mostly work he hadn't completed in class, which has never been an issue before but I'm feeling Teh Guilt because it's a recent issue probably because I'm working at an office for the first time in his memory and he's adjusting :breathe: ) included one sheet with four sample sentences to which commas were supposed to be added as needed.

Each sentence was two independent clauses joined by a conjunction.

The rule given was that you must always insert a comma before the coordinating conjunction in a sentence with two independent clauses (slightly dumbed down for second-graders).

This is, of course, bullshit.

All right, so it turns out it's not entirely bullshit.

I tried to explain it to Teddy, dumbing it down too much myself by saying, more or less, "in these sentences, you can use a comma before the ones with 'but'; putting it in before the ones with 'and' is stupid and wrong."*

The sentences were things like "I went to the store and I got bread." Really, really short and simple sentences. You could've said all four of them with one long-ish breath.

And while punctuation isn't just to create pauses in speech, one reasonable rule of thumb is not to introduce a pause that feels awkward. It should be a sign that Something's Off.

So Teddy put commas in the sentences with "but" and no commas in the ones with "and." And I wrote a note to his teacher (whom I love) saying that I was concerned he was learning rules that are incorrect. And she sent it back saying it was correct and she didn't know where he got the idea it wasn't (that would be from me, which I thought was obvious?).

Appalled, I looked it up in a bunch of reference books, which I should've done in the first place, as my note would have been more, er, nuanced.

Even more appalled, I found that she's right. Sort of.

I'm very, very rarely wrong about grammar (English major, couple of decades of experience as an editor, etc.). I do not argue points of which I'm not certain.

But I was and I did. SORT OF.**

My argument (still) is that
- Using a comma before the "and" between two short, independent clauses is unnecessary.
- Using a comma before the "but" between two short, independent clauses reinforces the change in tone (and the resulting pause) created by the negating conjunction.
- Using a comma before the "so" (and "because" if you argue for its being a coordinating conjunction in some cases, which is a contentious but valid argument) reinforces the logical (not grammatical) dependency between the clauses.***
- Using a comma before any conjunction between two long, independent clauses is often nuts, because most sentences long enough to need punctuation ought to have a semi-colon without the conjunction or should be broken into two sentences, because who the hell wants to have to diagram a fricking sentence when all you wanted to do was fricking read? So while it might be grammatically correct, you really ought to re-write the damned thing anyway.

However, I will concede that his teacher was right to teach a rule that 8-year-olds can follow, even if it is fundamentally flawed.****


* The correct version of this should have been "...because it's stupid, though technically right," I suppose. Dammit. And what I should have said (and eventually did say) was "Mommy was wrong about this and it's a lot more subtle than it seems. We'll talk about that when you're a little older." I expected these conversations on, y'know, sex and religion and money and politics. I did not expect them on grammar. I've been stupid longer than I thought.

** I'm not so good at the being wrong.

*** One of the issues with the simplified rule is that any editor would use a semi-colon or two sentences instead of a comma before a "so" used to mean "in addition to" (as in "I'm an idiot; so are you"). The one I'm talking about here is the "so" that means "thus" (as in "we were in town anyway, so we picked up the mail").

**** That she clearly believes it, through and through, disappoints me but is not altogether surprising. She's been teaching second grade for a long time; grammatical subtlety is probably too much to wish for.

Current Mood: crankycranky
Tags: ,

May 23rd, 2013

06:13 am: Comprehensively
We were supposed to go out to dinner last night. Teddy had a dentist appointment, so Peter had the car. They picked me up at work, and we were going to go someplace new.

But as I settled into the driver's seat, Teddy complained that he didn't feel well and said he didn't want to go out. Not even to McDonald's. So we knew he was sick.

And he was. Comprehensively.

(I stole that descriptor [as relates to vomiting] from Willie Garvin in Silver Mistress, one of my favorite Modesty Blaise books.)

We're pretty sure he's not actually sick, but of course he has to stay home from school anyway.

Because That's The Rule.

May 12th, 2013

01:53 pm: Missed my blogiversary
But since it was yesterday, I think I'm still within the grace period.

So. 8 years. Yeah. Or yeah!

I'm glad I did this. I know I'll continue to be glad of continuing it, as long as I, y'know, continue. It's been a commitment mostly honored in the breach in recent months. Oops.

Teddy's great, Longmeadow's great, new job is getting more great. All is well.

And it's Mother's Day! I'm celebrating by sneezing, hacking, and trying not to fall asleep. And helping Teddy as little as possible with his egg-drop project.* Later, I'm going to pay some bills. Because I lead a wild and crazy life.

* Because it's his project, not mine. Not because I'm lazy and sniffly. F'rrealz.

Current Location: Longmeadow, MA
Current Mood: okayokay

May 5th, 2013

03:11 pm: lots of new stuff
Despite my good intentions, I'm still not posting as often as I'd like. Oops!

I'm adjusting to the new job, the new schedule, and the new lifestyle.

The job isn't quite what I'd thought, but I think it'll work out just fine anyway. I'm managing more people than I thought I would be (fortunately, that's the part of the job I was most looking forward to). The department and company are more in flux than I'd anticipated, but that means there will be even more opportunities than I'd hoped for to effect change.

So it's good, just different.

My peers are fabulous. My team is solid. The company is great.

But ironing? I don't like ironing. And when I want to look professional, or at least not like a slob, I don't want to be all wrinkly.

Wearing shoes all day isn't great, either. I'm going to need to find better socks. There's a lot of walking; the main building is huge and I work with people in other buildings as well. Walking is good, as long as I have the right shoes and socks and allow sufficient time between meetings (~15 minutes, just to get from one to the next).

So I'm adjusting. Just not exactly to the things or in the ways I'd expected.

* * * * *

On an extremely happy note, I finally got my unemployment money. It took almost 3 months! Egads.

Current Location: Longmeadow
Current Mood: goodgood

April 20th, 2013

06:35 pm: no excuses
{not writing about Boston yet - too raw... maybe later [maybe not]}

Y'know, I thought I'd be blogging all the time 'cause I wasn't working.

Not so much.

I start my new job on Monday. I had a lovely chat with my new boss yesterday and am all the more excited about starting. I won't be posting much about it here, 'cause I like to keep the work stuff separate, but I'm sure I'll be dropping a hint or two over time. Some parts of the new job are radically different from what I've been doing (moving to a large, successful company; working onsite; having to wear adult-type clothes), some are a natural step forward (managing at a higher level with larger budgets), some are kinda sideways (back in IT instead of R&D), some continuing what I've been doing for a while (managing geeks, working on change initiatives). So it'll be interesting to see how it all plays out.

Part of why I haven't posted here is because it felt risky and painful to write about all the turmoil and writing about the actual job search would be, y'know, stupid. But mostly I just got out of the habit, which is also, y'know, stupid. I miss the LJ community and I wish we were all posting more... preferably starting with the rest of you. I'm selfish that way.

I also moved into a muuuuch sloooower gear after I got the job. I've kept up with job applications, because DUA requires it*, but have been much less diligent about networking (except for following up with previous contacts). So instead of having a few calls or interviews a day, I've had a few a week... and none the past week except catching up with friends (mostly work friends, but friends nonetheless), which I don't really count.

And of course this past week was just so horrible in so many ways that conversations focused elsewhere.

The past month has felt much more like vacation, which is lovely. I haven't accomplished much, which is less lovely but perhaps necessary to that feeling of vacation. And I'm getting kinda bored, which is quite wonderful. I'm not looking forward to getting up early and having less freedom and flexibility, but I'm definitely excited about having new and interesting stuff to do.

All in all, I'm extraordinarily fortunate to have financial security (especially given that I still haven't received any unemployment checks, though I got my approval within 10 days of applying), to have found a really good job quite quickly, and most especially to have the support of my wonderful family and friends through the whole ordeal.

Many, many thanks to you all!

* and in truth I'm a bit paranoid that The Job will somehow fall through and I don't want to have to start all over.

Current Location: Longmeadow, MA
Current Mood: excited, but nervous
Powered by