Friday, February 14, 2014

So It's Been a While...

In a world where we share status in teeny snippets - writing more complex thoughts falls to the wayside, at least for me.  I didn't realize that it had been two years since I'd written a blog post, but indeed that seems to be what has happened.

And what a two years...  The new job isn't so new anymore - very soon I will be able to show off what my team and I have done.  It's just the beginning, of course, much more we want to do from here, but I know at least I have learned so much.  I'm happy with what we've done, and having fun thinking of the things we need to do next.

One son has graduated from college, another is about to, and a third has finally found the right college where he is finally thriving.  Another son has finished his Ph.D. and is now teaching at a relatively nearby college.  Kids are good, life is good.

Steve and I have walked across the Scottish Highlands - 80 miles.  We are healthy enough to survive that, and life is good.

We have a new puppy, and Woodstock is still my best buddy.  We love all our spaniels, and they make us smile every day.

The one cloud in my sky is dealing with the death of my mom in September.  I'm still surprised at how deeply that has affected me.  My dad died when I was thirteen, and foolishly I thought that because that was so awful, if my mother died after reaching a respectable old age (which she did, she was 86), that it wouldn't be as bad.  Well, I do continually surprise myself about how much of an idiot I can be...

One reason I hadn't blogged a lot is that my mom had found my blog.  That tension between mother and child - wanting to be independent and not having my mom know my every thought..  Children break free, mothers don't let go, it doesn't stop when you leave Sugar Mountain.  It's strange but true that I was comfortable with any anonymous reader out there seeing what I wrote, but having my mom read it made me uncomfortable.

My mom and I were close after my dad died.  It was just the two of us raising me.  It was hard to leave my mom all alone to go off to Boston for graduate school - but I desperately needed to, too.  I had to break free, be my own person, and I had to build that boundary.  And that boundary is now one of the things I regret the most now that she's gone.

Last night I was cleaning the kitchen counter, and I found the Valentine's Day card she sent me last year.  Somehow I don't think that find was accidental.  Happy Valentine's Day, Mom.  I miss you.


Thursday, January 26, 2012

Farewell to the Old Me

I'm a folkie, as far as music goes. And the Dar Williams song titled "Farewell to the Old Me" has been going through my head a lot lately. I have worked on Domino Designer since February of 1997, with the exception of a foray of a few years into Lotus Component Designer. Since that technology ultimately contributed to Domino Designer, it feels like a contiguous 15 year span of time on Designer. I have often called Designer my seventh child, and in many ways it is. I have watched it grow from a few menu items and some extra twisties in the navigator to an Eclipse based product of its own. I've built major pieces of it, and I've given presentations on Designer across the US and Europe. It's been an amazing ride and I have loved every minute of it.

But there comes a time when the baby is ready to go off to college, and mom is free to explore some new things. Designer is now in the capable hands of Dan O'Connor. I've taken a new job in in the ICS Connections organization, exploring some ideas that are really interesting, and where I will learn lots of new things. So while I am sad to leave Designer, I am very excited to be rebooting myself. I firmly believe that it's important to reinvent yourself now and then, and 15 years makes me well overdue for that. I feel energized and challenged, and this is a great way to begin a new year.

I know I'll keep watching Designer (parents never completely let go). I'm just working on a different part of IBM's social story, and am raising a new baby now :-)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Out of the Pink...

This month is of course breast cancer awareness month. Pink has been everywhere... Profile pictures, ribbons, etc. I have mixed emotions about this in the best of times - breast cancer is just one of many cancers, and I am uncomfortable with its more than equal airtime. Taking actions like changing the color of a profile picture, or posting a status "against" a particular cancer (is anyone for it?) just really doesn't make sense to me. I feel the same way about my "own" cancer - the one I survived (merkel cell carcinoma) - so I don't think it's a case of my picking "favorites."

The counter argument is of course the benefit of raising "awareness." For the past 32 days, I have been very aware, and the last thing I have wanted or needed to see is more pink and additional reminders. I have been through a scare; I found a red flag symptom at the end of September. I had a series of all the standard tests - none of which isolated the cause, or even indicated a problem. I've been on a roller coaster of fear/relief/fear/relief... Each time a test showed no problem, I thought I was in the clear, only to learn there was yet one more step to take.

This past Monday, I had a same day surgery that finally brought this cycle of fear to an end. I got the biopsy results a few hours ago - completely and totally benign. In contrast to the day I was diagnosed with MCC, which had a Shakespearean thunderstorm in December, today has a bright blue sky and peak autumn leaves. I have my life back again, except...

I need to remember how totally lucky and special each day is. Scares like this bring that home, but it is so easy to forget when things get back to "normal." Awareness... But for me, the awareness I need is not of all the bad things that might happen, but of all the good that happens every day.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

That problems view...

I recently heard from a user who said that it wasn't possible to filter the contents of the problems view, and realized that others may also not realize that this is configurable. If you click on the little arrow that is on the far right on the problems view's title bar, you get a drop down menu. If you choose "Configure contents" a dialog is shown, pictured below.


If you check off one or both of errors and warnings, and then for the Scope setting, choose "On any element in same project," the problems view will only show the errors and/or warnings that apply to the selected project. This is just standard Eclipse function, but is built right in to Domino Designer.

And of course another way to filter the errors out would be to just fix them :-)

Saturday, June 05, 2010

the firsts become lasts

Yesterday morning, as I have most mornings over the past 24 years, I woke a child up for school. Counting day care years, this has been my morning routine for 27 years. And I realized that it was the last time I'd do so... Our youngest had his last final in high school yesterday, and all that remains are things like graduation rehearsals (later in the day) and senior banquets, and of course, graduation.

He'll be off to college in the fall, and will have to depend on his alarm clock instead of mom. And I will have to rely on his alarm clock, too, to provide the safety net I've been for years...

But I recognize the punctuation mark here. I started having kids pretty young, so it's hard to remember when getting myself up in the morning was the sum of my morning responsibility. I'm returning to that state - a freedom long forgotten, one I wasn't even cogniscient of when last I had it! I can't say I'll miss the not-always-welcome receptions I got waking them up in the morning, but I don't yet know how it feels not to be needed.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

home is where the memories are

I'm headed home to Buffalo for the weekend in a couple of weeks, and started thinking about what I wanted to revisit (besides my mom!) and what I wanted to reconnect with in my home town.

There are a certain set of foods for which Buffalo is famous: Ted's Hot Dogs and Anderson's Roast Beef on Kummelweck, and of course I will be headed back to Boston with some Weber's horseradish mustard. But then I remembered a very special pub... One that my first boyfriend would bring me to, with old graffiti-covered wooden booths (I believe our initials are on them!), and delicious frozen drinks with "no filthy dairy products" in them (I don't know what WAS in them, that was a secret, but they were really special!) Last time I was there was probably well over 20 years ago, but the same bartender with the gravelly voice was there, with the same banter about "straw to the bottom of the glass" and the disparaging remarks about dairy products. I really wanted to go back... So I was very sad to discover in a google search that the Rendezvous is no more... And actually that the Rendezvous that I remember has been gone for a very long time.

So I'm headed "home" again soon, but the Buffalo I see will not be the Buffalo that exists today, but rather the one seen by the girl who sipped magical drinks with a boy, holding hands across a wooden booth.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Ireland's Bard

I am so sad to hear of Liam Clancy's passing. He was an amazing musician and a kind man.

Back when music was played on stereos that were French Provincial furniture with embedded record players, my father discovered the Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem's music. We had all their albums, and it was pretty much all I listened to in grammar school. When I was nine-ish, they played Kleinhan's Music Hall in Buffalo. Somehow, it was arranged that I was to meet the band (how is lost in the fuzzies of childhood). But Liam is the only one who came out to shake a little girl's hand, a hand that wasn't washed for days.

Their music connected me to my identity, my heritage. (And really annoyed my violin teacher when all I wanted to play was Rising of the Moon instead of the assigned etudes.)

The nine year old grew from the girl who wanted to marry Liam Clancy when she grew up to someone who still loves their music. My iPod plays his music today; he lives on in the music he loved and gave the world.

Goodnight sweet bard. Sing a tune tonight with my dad, please (if you can get him to sing, otherwise, just let him listen).