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The past few months have been some of the most frustrating of my life. A combination of carpal tunnel and severe tendinitis have severely reduced the functionality of my hands. This is not a new problem, but rather an old one that has not improved over time.

I was diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome four years ago, when it was at its worst. I was given a series of tests to ensure the problem was in fact carpal tunnel syndrome; I failed each with flying colors, in record time. The specialist I saw made a set of custom splints, which I was told to wear as often as possible and especially to bed. This, largely, solved the problems I was having with carpal tunnel syndrome. The next battle, the one I’m still having today, was with tendinitis.

Tendinitis is a much less severe problem; it is the sort of issue that goes away if you rest long enough. Unlike carpal tunnel syndrome, it will frequently heal on its own. Unfortunately, my particular case has been severe enough that it has only continued to grow worse over time. I have seen a total of four doctors and two specialists; each has told me to exercise frequently and “stop doing the things that caused this.” It is now at a point at which using a computer at all outside of normal business hours (during which I do not have a choice) causes my performance to deteriorate the following day.

It goes without saying that this has resulted in extreme changes to my normal life. I used to spend my off hours primarily online chit chatting with friends from afar via IRC, AOL Instant Messenger, Google talk and e-mail while working on projects such as websites or WordPress plug-ins. Instead, I now spend my time watching movies and cooking when my husband or roommates are available to help me lift pots and pans. I just recently picked up a copy of DragonDictate, which is how I am writing this post.

These recent setbacks have made me look more closely at what I really want out of a career. My profile on many social networking sites has a bio which reads “a web developer who always wanted to be a psychologist.” That isn’t actually a joke; I legitimately have always wanted to be a psychologist, I sort of fell into the IT thing in web development and design had always been something of a hobby of mine. I haven’t really looked into going back to school because it seemed like such a very difficult thing to do. It also didn’t seem terribly necessary. I enjoy web development and design a great deal.

The sudden and dramatic realization that I would no longer be able to ride this career to the end of my days provides a sort of urgency not previously present. Quite suddenly, the prospect of going back to school seems less difficult than the prospect of attempting to continue working this career for the rest of my life. I looked up psychology programs in the San Francisco Bay Area and found that a local school which my roommate attends, DeAnza College, offers a two-year psychology course, the transcripts of which are fully transferable to the Pacific School of Psychology; they have a master’s and doctorate program. Tuition is affordable (enough), it’s very close to where I live… Really, the only question remaining is whether or not my hands will last long enough to complete the course.

I would like to apologize wholeheartedly for being unable to keep up with the requests made of my WordPress plug-in, the “Anyfeed Slideshow,” or the Apple Mail.app UUID reader. There are many projects with which I am involved that I will need to retract from, should this continue to grow worse.

I will continue to look at this from as optimistic a point of view as possible, with the intent of finding a permanent solution to this problem; be it the transition to a new career, or cyborg limbs (for which I pine greatly). I sincerely appreciate the well wishes and support that I have received from my dear friends. Thank you all. Without you, this would feel like the end of my life.

7 Comments Written by in Life at 7:43 pm

Every year around this time, those of us fortunate enough to have steady stable employment submit our 1040s to the IRS to collect a refund for taxes we’ve paid more than our share of. This year, mine was rather a bit larger than usual thanks to the Making Work Pay tax credit. I was reflecting on the subject of what I had spent previous years’ tax returns on and came to an amusing discovery: Almost every tax return I’ve received since I moved to California in 2006 has been applied to a vehicle purchase. Let’s review.

2007: White 1987 Toyota Supra Targa Turbo (Sold in 2009)
 

2008: White 2007 Toyota RAV4 Sport V6 4WD
 

2009: Red 1990 Kawasaki Concours (presently smashed and being repaired)
 

Now it’s 2011, and I’m about to receive the biggest tax return I’ve ever received. Do I have my eyes on a new(er) toy? Of course I do! …but there’s also a whole laundry list of things that I’ve been putting off in wait for funding. Things like proper riding gear, new tires for the RAV4 and a credit card that isn’t going to pay itself off.

So this year, I’ll be good. Despite the pressing urge to do otherwise. I think.

2 Comments Written by in Life at 8:49 am

Jan 24 2011 Cityscape Photography

Since I’ve been old enough to appreciate photography, cityscape photography has always been one of my absolute favorites. I love architecture and the contrast large buildings provide against your standard fare of houses and supermarkets. There’s just something about it that screams civilization! If you were lost in the jungles of Africa, thus searching for other people and happened upon a village of huts, you have succeeded. If you should instead see a skyscraper not far from where you are, however, you’ve won the lottery!

As one would imagine, growing up in small town Mankato, Minnesota didn’t leave many opportunities for cityscape photography; at least in the scales I’ve found more interesting. When I learned my close friends Aaron and Michelle had secured a top floor suite at a downtown San Jose hotel, I practically begged them to let me in with my camera! As convenience would have it, the windows in their room opened, and one was missing the security latch that limited how far open the window could slide. How perfect is that! As a result, I took a panorama and a night shot (I would have done a night panorama, but sadly forgot to bring my tripod); both are below.

Here’s to hoping more opportunities like this one arrise in the future! Many thanks go out to Aaron and Michelle for providing the opportunity!

No Comments Written by in Life at 6:37 am

Good evening, internet! Today is December 20th: A day of no particular consequence for some, but for me, today is the beginning of my holiday vacation. I don’t have to go back to work for a full 7 days; a desperately needed break from the monotony of recent projects at work. This holiday season will be spent with my loving husband, our room mate Sammy, who has been living with us for all of the 3 years she’s lived in California, and two of my closest friends; One all the way from Indiana!

When we moved into our home some 8 months ago, we were splitting a much larger house into two; and as such, we split furniture up between the two groups. We ended up with a couch and a coffee table, which made our living room look rather sparse!


A quick panorama taken shortly after moving in

We had always talked about buying a beanbag chair or two to fill up the space; The larger ones which seat more then one person. Since our livingroom tends to be chilling room anyway, it felt like appropriate furniture for the task. Lovesac has a store at the mall nearest to our home, so we headed over to see what they wanted for one.

$400 is not a reasonable price for a bean bag chair. Incredible. I was figuring on at least half that! We found another company, Sumo, that made bean bag chairs with slightly more reasonable prices; about $100 less then Lovesac on average, but still a bit too steep for what seemed reasonable to my roomies and I.

We saw bean bag chairs sitting outside of a Mancini’s Sleepworld and decided to check them out. The very helpful and friendly salesperson pointed us over to a group of ginormous1 beanbag chairs for a very reasonable $129. We bought the only one they had, and traveled to their other San Jose store to pick up a second. We could only fit one in the car at a time! It was so cool!

Now we have them home, and they take up that massive empty space. I think once the Giftmas tree is taken down, they might even look more like they belong there. Here’s to hoping!

As you can see by the picture, our Giftmas tree’s lights are half dead; This happens every year around this time. Every year before we’ve tried to find more lights to replace the dead set, but in every attempt we find that every store is sold out of the lights we want. So instead, this is the last Giftmas in which we’ll be using these lights. Next year we’ll get out early and pick up some colored lights instead2; So sayith my husband!

Happy Holidays everyone!

1: It is so totally cool that Webster put this word in their dictionary.
2: HA! Us? Proactive about a holiday? That’ll be the day. :D
2 Comments Written by in Amusing,Life at 6:48 pm

Yesterday was Halloween, where in this part of the world, kids dress up in crazy costumes before their parents send them off to walk around in dark neighborhoods in search of strangers who will give them candy. Halloween is in my opinion the greatest upheaval of our society’s control by fear. I love it!

The past 4 years I’ve lived in the Bay Area, our houses have almost never gotten any trick-or-treaters. Our first house had one the first year, but none the subsequent 3, our second was previously a halfway house, so no one would go near it. Our new house, however, is this cozy place on a cul-de-sac, and many of our neighbors have kids. I was totally excited, and bought a truck load of candy in giant mix bags for the occasion.

The problem, however, with buying giant mix bags of candy is they have a few of the really awesome things, and a ton of Tootsie Rolls. Most would agree that Tootsie Rolls are pretty tasty, but when every place you stop hands them out in their mix, you end up with a pumpkin half full of the things. I have never once met someone that liked Tootsie Rolls that much.

Well, one of my room mates had the bright idea of picking out every single one of the tootsie rolls from our mixes and putting them in a separate bowl. When each kid showed up to demand candy, we would ask them “Do you like Tootsie Rolls?” The night was almost over before we finally had a zombie admit excitedly, “I LOVE Tootsie Rolls!” We dumped the entire bowl into his bag, filling it nearly to the top, to the cheers of his friends.

I don’t know exactly why, but living in a home where trick-or-treaters come in abundance makes me content. It makes my home feel more like a home.

5 Comments Written by in Amusing,Life at 8:05 am

While I have not yet posted the remaining photos from the trip (why are the last ones always the most difficult to move off the camera?), I wanted to share a photo of the results of the hair cut I received while in Minnesota. He lopped off almost 4 inches! I feel so free!

In other exciting news, the office is presently undergoing renovations.  The entire IT department is being more or less overlooked, but they’re going to re-paint and carpet our area, so it’s not all bad.  The problem is, we have no storage room!  So while the phone guys were re-wiring our server room, we had to remove all of our stuff from it.  Guess who’s office became the new storage facility!

That’s my chair on the lower left there.  It has been challenging, concentrating while the sounds of construction workers ripping up carpet and knocking down walls surround us, but we’re enduring!  How nice that the Agents were relocated to another office during the construction.  I work entirely from a laptop, and thanks to a now broken chair that we’re awaiting a replacement for, I have taken the liberty of relocating myself to the home office for half days.

Our department isn’t the only one being shuffled about:  The Accounting department is having their carpet replaced and walls painted today and they have a great deal more heavy stuff to relocate then we do.  Thankfully for them, they have a storage room which holds most of it.

I sometimes dream of working for a company that actually cares about it’s IT department.  Ours is so frequently treated like nothing more than a debilitating disease which attacks profit.  …and steals candy from little children.  Oh, also a handy scapegoat.

No Comments Written by in Life at 7:56 am