Today didn’t turn out so well.

Far from being early to work, I didn’t even make it on time. I woke up plenty early, but because it was very warm last night, I woke up with a pounding headache. That’s never a good omen.

Then the traffic was slow. I don’t get it. During rush hour, people are at least attempting to go the speed limit when they can. But after rush hour, everyone just tools along, spread out across every freaking lane so that you can’t pass, going 5mph under the speed limit.

I remembered when I finally got on the road that I have a meeting on Monday mornings, and I barely made it on time to that. Then I totally spaced out another meeting this afternoon, and went to lunch and didn’t get back until the meeting was half over. Oops!

I had a bunch of crap I needed to do today, and I mostly got through it all, but it didn’t leave any time to work on my big project, which is starting to fall behind again.

Oh well, tomorrow is another day.

Published in: on November 2, 2015 at 10:27 PM  Leave a Comment  

So busy…can’t catch up…

I’m not complaining (much). I’d rather be busy than have nothing to do. But it does get frustrating to have more problems crop up, just as you feel like you’re about to get a handle on the old items so you can start on the new stuff before it turns old, too.

Besides, when I’m up to my eyeballs in work, I don’t have time to goof off on the Internet. :P

I had a significant birthday a few weeks ago (the big 5-0, w00t!), and I’d planned to use that date, not as a “fresh start” or anything that drastic, but just as a milestone to start working on some things I’ve let slide.

I was going to start going in to work at 8:30 instead of 9:00, so that I don’t have to stay until 6:00. (The traffic at 9:00 sucks!) I managed it once. I don’t do mornings very well. I’m hoping that the time change this weekend will make it a little easier to get moving. I’m also trying not to stay up as late.

I wanted to make a fresh start with my financial record-keeping on Quicken. I haven’t balanced my checkbook in 6 months, and I haven’t reconciled my credit card in a couple of years. That didn’t start out so well, either. Instead of tediously typing in all my receipts, I was going to download transactions from the credit card and bank websites. But I couldn’t figure out how to start fresh without having to catch up the reconciliations. I gave up when I saw that it named all the transactions “Downloaded from…” Not very helpful.

It occurred to me a few months ago that I used to spend hours on the computer messing around with my writing. There would always be some plot or storyline in my brain that I was either actively working on or thinking about. But for the last few years, I haven’t been doing that. I could blame it on the malaise brought on by the stress of dealing with mom, but that’s really not the biggest reason. I’ve been wasting too much time on Facebook or on my silly Kindle app games. I haven’t had spectacular success with this goal either. But NaNoWriMo starts Sunday, and while I don’t think I have 50,000 words in me at this point, I thought it might be impetus to get myself to write at least a little bit every day.

We did at least get Mom’s house sold. My sister decided to go ahead and spend some money to fix it up a little bit, and that took a while. But we finally put it on the market in September and had three offers before the week was out. It was an odd feeling to turn over the keys to our childhood home to strangers, but it’s a relief to have it out of our hair. It’s especially nice not to have to drive across town a couple times a week to water grass and check on things.

I had entertained the thought of buying the house and living there myself, but that didn’t last long. It would have made the work commute longer, for one thing. Mom never treated us as adults, and being in the house, even with it vacant, made me feel like I was a child again. I ultimately felt it would be better to be grown up and move on. Besides, there are too many ladies in that neighborhood who knew us as kids, who would no doubt try to “mother” us. And I couldn’t face it. LOL!

Published in: on October 30, 2015 at 5:21 PM  Comments (7)  

Motivation only goes so far.

It’s getting to the part of the day where my “want to work” starts running out. And unfortunately, I have two hours left.

We’ve moved back to the Tech Center office from Lakewood, which has cut my commute to 15 minutes down from 40, but I’m still dragging around in the morning and not getting to work on time. I think I’m sleeping okay the first part of the night, but then I wake up too early and don’t really sleep well the rest of the night because it’s already starting to get light. So then at my real getting up time, I’m sleepy and draggy. Maybe curtains over the window shade would help.

In other news, however, I am apparently in pretty good health. Ha! We have this new wellness program at work, which will have some implications for our health insurance coverage choices, but I’m not sure what that means yet. We had to do a health questionnaire, which scored me at 70% (good – probably only because I don’t smoke or drink, because I couldn’t say much good about my eating habits). We also got screenings yesterday for stuff like BP, BMI, glucose level, and cholesterol, and I was within the good range for all, except that my blood pressure was a little high.

I signed up for a consultation on healthy eating, and I’m also participating in a walking challenge. That should be the easiest because I used to be pretty consistent about walking 10,000 steps a day. I’ve just been lazy the last 3 or 4 years. With the weather so nice, I’ve been either walking to lunch or taking a walk in the park across the street in the afternoon. And so far (only the first weekend in), I have been good at making myself walk at home to get to 10,000.

We’re still working on getting mom’s house ready to sell. We decided to go ahead and fix it up a bit before putting it on the market, so we had the hardwood floors sanded and stained, the kitchen floor re-tiled, and the bathroom totally redone. It looks really cute. Too bad it’s way smaller than our current place and 10 miles in the wrong direction from work.

Plus, I don’t think I’d be comfortable with all the nosy neighbors who knew us as kids. :P

They’ve also announced that the jury has come to a verdict in the Aurora theater shooting. Guilty, guilty, guilty! (As if there was really any question…)

Published in: on July 16, 2015 at 4:50 PM  Comments (9)  

What I Did This Weekend

by TreeSweater

(This is like one of those essays you always had to write in September when school started again.)

I spent the weekend in Los Angeles, California so that I could attend The One Last Party, put on by

This was my first trip to California. Unfamiliar vegetation – the trees, mostly – gave the place a sort of sci fi vibe. There were two kinds of what I guess were both palm trees, but one was taller with a skinny trunk, and the other was squattier with a thicker, hairy trunk. It was also a lot muggier there.

Hollywood was unimpressive, to be honest. To start with, I don’t watch TV and I hardly ever go to movies, so there isn’t really anything about Hollywood that interests me. I expected something more exotic and glittery, but it didn’t feel particularly different than the grubbier parts of Denver. Except that it was bigger. And grubbier.

I did go find Hollywood Boulevard, but there wasn’t much to see. They were putting up all the grandstands and stuff for the Oscars on Sunday, so you couldn’t even get to part of it. I found a few stars, although I had heard ahead of time that Peter Jackson’s star was under one of the grandstands, so I didn’t even look for that one.

I felt they had “jumped the shark” when they gave a star to Orlando Bloom a couple years ago, but after seeing some of the older recipients, it became obvious that the shark was well and truly jumped long before ol’ Orly came along. (The Smurfs? Really?? And the Munchkins???)

I didn’t do much sightseeing. I was there only a couple days and I wasn’t interested enough to brave public transport to look for anything out of walking distance. I did find a cool residential neighborhood behind and up the hill from the hotel. All stucco, plus all the weird plants and flowers – that sci fi vibe again. And it was an extremely steep, winding hill, to the point where, about halfway up, you have to lean forward and march.

The Party was fun, too. Everyone was dressed all fancy, either in evening dress or costumes. There were some amazing costumes – a Smaug with actual wings, a couple of fantastic Thorin Oakenshields (at least one of whom was a woman), a dead ringer for Elrond, lots of very hobbity hobbits. And some female dwarves (not just women dressed as dwarves, but dressed as female dwarves.)

The catered meal was yummy and the entertainment was fun. Emerald Rose, a Celtic band, was first and they were pretty lively. The California Dreamers were the main entertainment – the mostly 60s cover/Mamas and Papas tribute band that William Kircher (Bifur) and his wife started (I think).

I was a little disappointed that more celebrities didn’t attend (I was secretly hoping to see at least Richard Armitage and Graham McTavish), but we did get Bruce Hopkins (Gamling), John Bell (Bain), Sala Baker (Sauron/various Orcs), Mark Ordesky (Executive Producer LOTR), and Royd Tolkien (ROTK/DOS uncredited roles/JRRT’s great-grandson). Plus the Happy Hobbits, the Button Lady, and various other folks.

I took some photos of the guests and the performers, but they’re pretty crappy. My iPhone really doesn’t take good photos from that far away, but by that time, my shoes were off and I wasn’t about to put them back on to get closer for photos.

This link has way better photos:

Published in: on February 27, 2015 at 10:26 AM  Comments (11)  
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And the day started out so well…


Yep, those are my feet.

And I didn’t notice until I got to work (a 40-minute drive), so these are going to be my feet aaaall day!

We had a “skiff” of snow yesterday – at least 6 inches worth – so I knew I was going to need extra time to scrape off my car. We were running around last evening, so we’d already swept the worst of the snow off, so I just needed five more minutes for the overnight frost. The point is, I remembered *and* and got up early, too.

Most of the street lights were in my favor, too, except for a couple that I always have to sit through. The rest were either green or just turning green as I got to the intersection. That’s unheard of. Thankfully, the roads were dry, and I didn’t have too many slowpokes pull in front of me. So I was actually a couple minutes early to the office. That’s also unheard of.

Then, as I was walking to my cube, I looked at my shoes…


Some good news, though. See the brown pants in the photo? I haven’t been able to wear those since I started having tummy troubles because they’re a snug fit and that made me feel sick. Well, they’re still snug, but the last few days I have been able to wear snugger stuff and it’s not making me queasy! Yay! That means there are a couple things in my closet that I don’t have to get rid of, thinking I’d never wear them again.

Granted, these are stretchy, and the couple pairs of jeans I’m reclaiming are custom-fit. So the off-the-rack size 10 stuff probably will still have to go, not because they make me sick, but because they simply don’t go around me anymore.

But still…

Published in: on February 2, 2015 at 10:37 AM  Comments (5)  
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Missing Categories?

BTW, with the new post interface, has anyone else noticed that your list of categories is incomplete? Mine stops at around the letter “G.”

Published in: on January 26, 2015 at 11:07 AM  Leave a Comment  

I need a new title for my blog.

It doesn’t really qualify as “new” anymore. And the only place I really use “TreeSweater” anymore is on Twitter. And that only because it’s the account name. Although I do still have a tree wearing a sweater as my avatar here. Hmm…

It has been extremely slow at work for several weeks now, and it’s excruciating. They don’t want us billing to overhead too much, but there is no billable work to be done. And I don’t want to keep pissing away my PTO, because then I won’t have any when I need it later.

And I will need it later. I’m going to Los Angeles in February for “The One Last Party”!

Some of you may be familiar with It’s the Tolkien website and forum that I have been chatting on since 1999, when they first started talking up the LOTR movies. TORn (as it’s affectionately known) is not officially affiliated with the filmmakers or the studio, but they have always had an “in” for interviews and stuff. And they’ve had other events that the film people have attended and been supportive of.

Anyway, since there won’t be any more movies after the Hobbit films, they decided to have one last big bash. And since this is the first time I’ve had the leisure to do something like this, I decided to go!

It’s a “formal” event, and I don’t have any occasion for formal clothes, so I have to decide if I want to spend money on an outfit that I’ll probably never wear again, or if I just want to try to fake something up with what I have in my closet. I guess if I got a formal-ish dress, I could make a point to wear it to things like company Christmas parties, although I haven’t bothered with them much lately, either.

I also have to figure out how the heck you dress in California in February. I’ve never been there at any time of year, so I’ll completely be a fish out of water. (Not that it’s easy to know how to dress in Colorado, either. It’s supposed to be nearly 70 today. And it’s the middle of winter, for pete’s sake!)

I’m really looking forward to the party, though. Some of the actors have promised to try to be there, so I can get my fangirl on! (Thorin and Dwalin…oh my!) And this is the first “vacation” I’ve taken in years.

I’ll try to get over my photo-phobia and take lots of pictures, but I feel self-conscious and intrusive taking photos, so I don’t promise anything. :P

Published in: on January 26, 2015 at 11:04 AM  Comments (7)  
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Merry Christmas Eve, everyone!

I’m at work today. We get two days off for Christmas, which is usually Christmas Eve and Christmas day, but since Christmas is Thursday this year, they’re giving us the long weekend, and we’ll be off Friday instead.

This is going to be our first Christmas without either parent. It’ll be different. It’s nice not to be obliged to go spend time with people you don’t particularly enjoy being around. But still…

No need to rehash all that now. My sister bought a couple ham steaks and some side dishes and an apple pie, and we’re just going to have a pajama day at home. Messing around on Lord of the Rings Online, or something.

I may not literally spend the day in my pjs. And if the weather is nice-ish, I may get out for a walk, so that I don’t spend the entire weekend sitting on my rear. But it’ll be a quiet day, and that’ll be nice.

Speaking of work, one of my goals this year was to complete my Project Administrator certification. I was supposed to complete it by October 5, but that didn’t happen. I didn’t realize until too late that there was a live course I needed to attend, and I’d just missed the last one before my deadline.

Anyway, I took the course later in October, and tried my certification exam for the first time about a month ago. It requires 70% to pass, and I got 63%. Ugh! I can swear that some of the questions were from modules I didn’t take, so it didn’t seem really fair.

But I’d taken screen caps of all my answers, so I did some research on the ones I wasn’t sure of and tried again this morning.

On my second attempt, I got 69.69%. Augh!

One more rummage through the questions, and on my third attempt I got 72.72%!


Have a lovely holiday, everyone, whatever you celebrate! (Or not!)

Published in: on December 24, 2014 at 1:08 PM  Comments (4)  
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Hobbit review (Here be spoilers)

I posted this on Facebook, and I thought I’d post it here, too.

Some (spoilery) thoughts about the last Hobbit movie.

Remember, I said spoilery.


You have been warned.

1. I hated Galadriel at Dol Guldur. She is too powerful. Sure she has a magic ring. But she is still Just. An. Elf. Gandalf and Saruman are Maiar. They are practically gods. And Gandalf seemed to have his magic ring, too. So there is no way in heck that Galadriel should have been the most powerful person there. Besides, if it was that easy to run Sauron out of Dol Guldur, then why couldn’t all the magic ring wearers just go gang up on Mordor and do it again? I loved Saruman opening up a can of whoop-ass on the Nazgul, though!

2. I thought they portrayed Thorin’s madness/gold sickness quite well. I’ve heard criticism that making it seem like a “disease” he couldn’t control undermined the impact of his eventual repentance and redemption, but I didn’t see it that way. And Richard Armitage hit it out of the park.

3. Tauriel…just no. It’s bad enough that she’s really only there to be the love interest of a male character, but in the third film, they destroy any pretense of her being a strong female role model for girls by having her be the distraction that leads directly to Kili’s death. What exactly is “girl-empowering” about a female character who ultimately still needs a man (both of them) to come rescue her in the end?

4. Legolas’ CGI stunts are still crap.

5. There were plot holes galore! Why did Beorn get a sum total of about 4 seconds of screen time? Who became King Under the Mountain after Thorin’s death? Does Bard become the King over Dale and Laketown, or is his “royalty” limited to a few sarcastic asides from Alfrid? What was the random scene with the somber music and people taking their hats off all about? Did Thranduil get his jewels back? If Arathorn’s son–known as Strider in the wild–could become a great man, why did they portray him as such a weenie in LOTR? Even after he became King? And why can’t Legolas go back home (and who cares)?

6. Balin and Dwalin were wonderful, especially in the scenes where Balin is mourning Thorin’s descent into madness, and where Dwalin is confronting Thorin for hiding in the Mountain and not going out to fight.

7. Thorin’s death scene was fantastic. Out of the park again, with another home run by Bilbo sobbing in anguish at the death of his friend. But it was completely spoiled by an immediate cut to Tauriel blubbing over Kili’s dead body. This movie is about the hobbit, dammit. Not the freaking elves!

8. Alfrid’s scenes were silly and over-the-top, but they didn’t clang as much as some other scenes did.

9. For the first time in a PJ Middle-earth film, there were no farts, no belches, no snot, no dick jokes, nothing off-color at all, that I can think of.

10. The 3D seemed almost like an afterthought. A couple places where furniture in the foreground swings in to view as the camera pans. Falling rocks looking up at Legolas’ ridiculous fight with Bolg on the fallen tower. And Thorin’s sword as he stalks toward Azog. And that was pretty much the 3D.

I can’t think of anything else right now. But my sister wants to see it again, so maybe I’ll think of more later.

Published in: on December 21, 2014 at 6:06 PM  Comments (2)  
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Oh the joys of home ownership…

Okay, I suck at this daily blogging thing.

Maybe I’ll try to do a post-a-day in January…

I’m sitting at home this afternoon, because I had to meet the furnace repair guy. On Saturday we noticed that it wasn’t pushing out warm air, and when you turned the thermostat up, you didn’t hear the tick noise of it striking.

Since we’ve wanted a programmable thermostat anyway, we tried simply replacing the old thermostat, but it still wasn’t warm. So we broke down and called the company that installed the furnace back in 2009 and had them send someone out to look.

I was impressed, first of all, that he was so prompt. When I talked to their dispatcher this morning, she’d said it might be 1:00 or after, and that he would call about 30 minutes before to let me know he was on the way. So I gave her my cell phone number and told her I’d be home by 1:00.

At 12:58, he called to verify the address and said he was on the way.

It was a quick and easy fix – the igniter had burned out – and he was in and out within an hour. It cost $428, but we have warm air!

I swear these plumbers and electricians are getting younger every year, though. This guy looked about 20 years old. Or maybe I’m just getting old…

Published in: on December 15, 2014 at 2:42 PM  Comments (3)  
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