Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Winter Blahs

I have been pretty busy lately. Well sort of busy. Busy for a person who suffers from seasonal depression.

My depression has taken on a different form this year. I doubt it could be considered a clinical depression as I am pretty sure I dont meet the criteria for it listed in the DSM-IV. But I certainly feel a lot different than I do in the summertime.

I am not living in a dark place sitting around listening to "I am a rock" while crying big goopy tears into my bowl of oatmeal. I am not having an internal debate about how to off myself and wondering if wanting to build a garage so I can sit in my running car counts as real suicidal ideation when obviously, I have no intention of building a garage anytime soon. In fact, quite the opposite. On days when I dont have anything to do, I really have found that I have been enjoying myself and I generally feel contented with myself and my life.

No, mostly this year, I am feeling kind of low energy. If I won the lottery right now, I would probably use my millions to quit my job so I could sit around in my pajamas all day watching movies. Yeah, this year it isnt so much darkness and despair but rather just a feeling of being overwhelmed. I feel overwhelmed by work. I feel overwhelmed by school. I feel overwhelmed by all of the little chores we all need to do just to get by. Even taking a shower has become a big deal for me (but dont worry, in the interest of social harmony, I am managing to struggle through).

Oh well. I guess it is a pretty normal state of mind for winter in Michigan. In two days though, it will be Groundhog's Day. All I can say is that little bugger had better NOT see his darn shadow this year!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

What is in a Name?

What some people know about me but others don’t is that Lynne is not my first name. My first name is Stephanie. People often ask me why I use Lynne and not Stephanie. That is because of my folks. My mother once said it was because she didnt think that Lynne Stephanie sounded as good as Stephanie Lynne It also had something to do with a church tradition of naming children after saints and apparently there is no Saint Lynne in the Russian Orthodox church. But whatever.

The interesting thing about using one’s middle name is that one notices how very geared our culture is towards using first names. At one point I tried to change my name with the Social Security people from Stephanie L Fremont to S. Lynne Fremont but their computer system at the time couldnt do a middle name. So what happened as far as they are concerned is that I changed my first name to just S. To them I am S L Fremont. No name, just initials. People often get confused when I sign my name S. Lynne even though my driver’s license says Stephanie Lynne. The Secretary of State doesnt allow one to use initials.

Anyways, I was thinking about this today because I had to go to class. School has me listed officially as Stephanie L since their system, like a lot of systems, is unable to handle S. Lynne And what that means is that every time I take a class, the teacher takes roll on the first day and I either have to correct them and say “No, please call me Lynne” or I just decide to be Stephanie for a while because it is easier. Anyways, this time I went with easier.

But it is weird because, of course, now everyone in the class calls me Stephanie and it is a lab class so I actually have to talk to people on a regular basis. Every time someone calls me Stephanie, it surprises me. And I also end up feeling kind of like some imposter or identity theif or something. I don’t think I am in danger of actually becoming friends with any of the folks in my class though and that is good because nothing is more awkward than telling someone, “Yeah, I know I told you my name was Stephanie but that was because I didnt think I would be around you long. You should start calling me Lynne now”

It does really get me thinking about names and the meanings and stereotypes our culture attaches to names. This is especially so since I don’t feel Stephanie particularly matches me. But for me to feel that way, it must mean that I have attached some stereotypes to the name. The truth is that I always think of Stephanies as being kind of perky and blond and maybe not too bright which isnt exactly me. It is funny because I know a few people named Stephanie who arent like that at all. I mean for heaven’s sake, *I* am named Stephanie and I am not like that. Oddly, I have no stereotypes about the name Lynne. Lynne is just my name and to me, it means ME.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Work Rant


I have had a really hard day at work today. Most of my day has been spent trying to clean a virus off of someone’s computer. I have failed. It sucks investing time into something and then having it not work out. I am going to build this person a new PC. I’ll transfer her files one by one over to my pc where I will make sure they aren’t infected and then put them onto the new pc. All of that will take me about an hour.

Anyhow, I am reminded of one of those clich├ęs you always here in the business world: “Don’t throw good money after bad.” In this case, it was my time. I spent hours working on this computer today. At any time, I could have decided to just re-image it. But I kept thinking, I’ve already put in 2 hours, it seems a shame to waste that two hours by giving up NOW. Of course the two hours was gone no matter what. So I ended up spending ANOTHER couple of hours trying to fix everything and in the end, I ended up wasting a pretty good chunk of time.

Oh well. I guess one day of bad time management wont hurt me but it is frustrating.

Oh and a pox on anyone who writes a computer virus or worm. They are evil.

Friday, January 19, 2007

The Future of this Blog

Sometimes, I am not really sure what I would like this blog to be.

When I first started it, I started it anonymously and used it pretty much the same way I would write in any journal I kept. I wrote a lot about how I felt about things and I didn’t worry about people I know reading it. People read it, of course. But it was strangers who were reading it. It was like having a private diary with feedback!

At some point though, I realized that keeping a blog could also be a useful tool for communicating with people I already know. It could be used in lieu of emails. It would allow people to catch up with me without requiring them to put in too much of an effort if they didn’t want to. Besides, I have always kind of believed the there is a bit of intimacy when one knows the minutia of another person’s life.

I made that change around 3 years ago, just as blogs were exploding in popularity. I got traffic. Boy! Did I get traffic. At the height of my blogs popularity, I think I had around 100 daily readers and another 100 who checked in at least once a week. I was all about that, let me tell you. I guess it would be fair to call me an attention whore ;).

For a while I kept up the more personal blog too until I learned why keeping two blogs which are mostly the same but one has additional tidbits leads the web savvy stalker types to find the personal blog. And that of course means having creepy people read one’s web log or in my case, one particular creepy person who probably knew where I lived or could easily find out!

So I stopped keeping the more personal blog and just have this one (mirrored at two sites for my reader’s convenience). But as it happens, the popularity of blogging in general and the popularity of my own blog as well as my interest in blogging have all kind of waned. So I don’t get the tons of attention although I still have a fair number of readers (and I appreciate all of you!). But I also don’t really need the attention in the way I did 3 years ago when I was in the middle of some serious drama with some other people and in the middle of a serious life crisis with myself.

So, I guess what I am saying is that I am not sure what the future of this blog will be. I might try to write every day even if I have nothing important to say. I might try to document things about my life for myself in case I ever get old and forget things (I have chosen to forget that when I read blog entries I wrote just a couple of years ago, I sometimes realize that I would have already forgotten whatever incident I wrote about if I hadn’t put it in the blog). I might try to write for others. I might abandon it altogether and go back to writing in a notebook kept by my bed. I simply don’t know.

Monday, January 15, 2007

An Icy Morning

Sometimes I wish that it were more standard for employers to give people federal holidays off. I was *really* wishing that as I braved all the ice this morning. My front steps were especially treacherous but I managed to get down them without killing myself. I managed to scrape all the ice off my car too even though that took forever. It was just thick enough to make the job difficult but wasn’t thick enough to make the job impossible. Ah well, I was late for work because of the weather but I guess that is just life. Nevertheless, the whole thing – the icy walk, the scraping, the white knuckle drive in, all of it – could have been avoided if only my company had the day off. See, it is all their fault!

Friday, January 12, 2007

It looks like I'll be using Public Transportation

I have had a somewhat busy week. I am taking a couple of classes at EMU. One of them is a biology class that I know is going to keep me pretty busy for a while. I cant say that the subject thrills me but once it is over, it will be over. I will never have to take another biology class ever again.

Anyhow, because I am taking this class, I found out about a few pretty cool things:

  • There is an AATA bus that goes from the Ypsilanti Transit Center to many different points on the EMU campus.
  • The bus runs frequently enough to actually be useful. It runs every 20 minutes.
  • The bus is free. All fares are paid by EMU (and they don’t check student IDs or anything so it really is a nice asset for the community)
  • The parking lot by the Ypsilanti Transit Center is free these days.

All in all, this means that I can either spend 20 minutes/half hour walking to the YTC (I walk slowly) and then take a 5 minute bus to my class or I can spend 5 minutes driving to the Ypsilanti Transit Center where I can park for free followed by a five minute bus ride to class. Not bad really even in cold weather. I noticed that the bus is very full.

Monday, January 08, 2007

The American Dream

I was thinking today about mainstream American culture. I was thinking specifically about our puritanical roots and how they influence us.

For instance, I have noticed that Americans seem to consider suffering to be a virtue. That the suffering somehow makes one deserve the good outcome. I was talking to someone recently about weight loss surgery and they expressed the opinion that weight loss surgery was cheating. Cheating? Why would anyone think that? Because someone doesnt deserve to be thin unless they can will themselves to diet and suffer? (Never mind that weight loss surgery is not walk in the park)

On the other hand, maybe it isnt so much suffering per se but more just plain old hard work. As in maybe someone would consider weight loss surgery to be cheating because they think that by doing that, a fat person avoids the hard work of dieting. The “work hard” ethic is certainly very American. The idea that most problems can be solved simply by hard work is pretty much The American Dream. Too Fat? Work hard and you will be thin. Poor? Work hard and you will raise yourself out of poverty. Bored/Lonely/Depressed? Work hard and you wont have time to be bored or lonely or depressed!

The converse of that, of course, is that people who are fat or poor or bored or lonely or depressed, etc are not hard workers. And that is where Americans get into a lot of trouble. We don’t want to admit that sometimes people can work hard and still not receive the expected benefits of hard work. We don’t want to admit that most of us, in this “land of opportunity” got most of our opportunities from our parents and the social class we were born into. We don’t want to admit that some people work hard but get nowhere because of discrimination or even just bad luck.

We don’t like it when fat people can diet and still be fat but apparently we also don’t like it that fat people can get thin without the hard work. We like to think that most rich people got that way because they are hard workers. We definitely don’t like to think that anyone could be poor in this country and be a hard worker.

Maybe someday we will change our thinking a little and begin to see that not every social problem can be solved by individual hard work. And maybe then we all work hard together to solve those very same problems.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Nancy Pelosi is sworn in as Speaker of the House

I am quite happy that a woman is finally top dog in the House of Representatives. I think that is great. It kind of reminds me of some t-shirts a lot of moms in my neighborhood wore when I was growing up that said “A woman’s place is in the House….and Senate” Yay women.

I had to laugh at some of the commentary I have heard about this business of Nancy Pelosi being sworn in because some people have suggested that this marks the end of discrimination against women in the political arena. Uh-huh. I figure that women are around 50% of the population of this country and I figure that there are nearly as many women who would like to be in Congress as there are men who would like to be in Congress so I figure that if there were no discrimination, Congress would be have between 45% and 55% female members. I don’t know exactly how many women are in Congress right now (and yes, I could find out but I am too lazy) but it is no where near 45%. I know that out of 540 members of the 109th Congress, only 82 were women. Now having around 15% of the Congress be female is an improvement over times past when the figure was pretty much 0%. But it also means that the fight for equality for women isn’t over. So Nancy Pelosi’s confirmation as Speaker is a milestone but really it is just one more (important) point on the journey.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Resolutions and Daydreams

I am not a big fan of resolutions. I seldom keep them. Usually they are just things that I think I should do rather than things I actually want to do. You know cos if I wanted to do them, there would be no need for a resolution. But ok. We all have things we need to do that we might not particularly want to do at the time and I guess my resolution will be to continue to do those things (like going to work and paying the bills) because I want other things (like a roof over my head and food to eat).

So what does 2007 hold for me. Hopefully no more pet deaths although everyone is pretty old so who knows? Maybe I will have a big midlife crisis this year and pack up and get the heck out of dodge. Probably not, though. Still the truth is that 2007 is bound to be a better year for me than 2006 and I plan to do everything I can to make sure that it is.

In truth it is hard to think of right now. I am in full on winter hibernation mode and all I want to do is to crawl into my house and watch movies. I am actually in the mood for a good snow storm but alas, there has hardly been any snow at all here this year. I am beginning to think that I might be able to get through a winter season without touching a snow shovel!

So tonight I will take my dog Brooke out for a good walk and I will daydream as I walk like I usually do. I will have conversations with long lost friends. I’ll plan a vacation or a dozen vacations. I’ll spend my millions that I am *sure* to win someday in the Lotto. I am not sure if it is winter depression or what but when I go on walks in the wintertime, I lose myself. Or find myself. I haven’t really figured that one out yet.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

New Year's Sillyness

I had a nice New Year's Eve. I went to my friend Heather's house for a small dinner party. It was delicious. All I can say is that it is good to go to dinner parties at the home of people who watch The Food Network. Bam!

This is a little meme I got from last year. A year in review sort of. It is the first sentence of the month. I like to think of it as an excercise in how very boring I am. Clearly first lines arent my strong point when it comes to writing :)

January - My big five day celebration of laziness and sloth has come to an end.

Febuary - My friend Kate takes pretty good pictures.

March - I haven’t really felt much like writing much lately. I don’t know why.

April - I had some very minor surgery on Friday to remove an abscess from my leg.

May - I had a mouse living in my kitchen.

June - If you had a neighborhood with a lot of teenagers causing a lot of trouble, what would you do?

July - My internet connection went down on Friday.

August - Whew. It is HOT! It is supposed to be 98F today.

September - I am going on vacation for a while so I don’t know how often I will get to post to the blog.

October - I just wanted to mention that I have placed a button near the bottom of this page to make it easier to subscribe to this blog using a favorite RSS feed reader, bloglines.

November - My friend Henry sent me this picture he drew recently.

December - It wasnt until after I took this silly test that I realized that I already knew I could pass eighth grade math because I already passed eighth grade math.