Monday, January 25, 2010

Co-op Purgatory

I've been with my Federal Government agency for just over three weeks now, and I have to confess that I am bored stiff.

I suppose I had a bit of an epiphany at some point in time, while I was staring at my monitor, waiting for something to happen. I want a job where the next move is obvious, where the work-flow is continual. Where I don't have to sit there staring at the monitor waiting for some event to bring purpose to my life. Where I don't have to meaninglessly occupy a chair for 8 hours if the job can only be done in 2.

Granted, I don't yet have the knowledge I need to be an effective member of the team. My boss has flatly told me that it's not my job to be efficient, it's my job to learn. It's an awkward position for a Type-A OCD gal like me... do or do not, there is no try. Not being able to give my full potential is galling to me. I know I'll get there, but oooooooh, the learning curve!

It doesn't help that my current reading material is "The Four Hour Work-Week" by Timothy Ferris. He's telling me to work smarter, not harder; that advice does me no good whatsoever in co-op purgatory. I must abide.

I know by the time these four months are done, I will be Queen of my little UNIX domain and I will know enough to be able to complete most, if not all, tasks with ease. It's just the learning curve that irks me. We wants it now!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Another Type of Reveal... Yours!

It's late in the day, but heck, it's still the 14th. Won't you play my silly game and drop me a quick hello when you read this post, whenever that may be?

graphic by Aimee

Monday, January 11, 2010

The Big Reveal

Back in October, a dear friend's illness was revealed. I'm never good with these situations... beyond support and well-wishes and prayers as applicable, there's not really much one can *do*, and that drives me wild. If you're in town, you can take her to medical appointments and make dinners... when you're an hour and a half away, not so much. I'm a do-er. I wanted to DO something.

So I did. When the going gets tough, the tough get knitting. Having been a part of two separate hug blanket projects, I knew what to do. I started trawling Velda's blog comments, emailing everyone I could find and asking them if they could knit or crochet or wanted to try to learn real quick. I got in touch with Tammy, who put me in touch with a pile of Velda's friends from the cross-stitch boards. Emails flowed in, and eventually, so did the funkiest, sparkliest collection of purple squares you've ever seen.

I knit like a fiend through November, as did my dear friend Lisa. She'd never met Velda, but any friend of mine was a friend of hers and she cranked out about 9 lovely crochet squares before I could turn around. I encouraged my youngest step-daughter, who was one of V's day-care kids, into practicing her knitting for her beloved friend, and another square (mostly!) was born. Another family friend and knitter saw my step-daughter's knitting, heard the explanation, and immediately hit the needles hard, adding two more lovely squares as a show of support and love for a woman she'd never met. That's what knitters do when there's nothing else we can do.

I sat on the floor of my sewing room and seamed all those pieces together during breaks in exam week. Somehow, through complete chance, I had enough squares to make a blanket the size I desired. Somehow, also through chance and love and fate, all the squares look like they were meant to be a part of this whole.

Finished Hug Blanket

It was Jan 2 by the time my husband and I could arrange to make our annual Xmas pilgrimage to go visit Velda and family.

Hubby's smirking. He knows what's coming...

This is the closest V got to crying over the gift... which was very surprising! :)

I know she's not admiring my shoddy seaming...

Now that's what a hug is all about.


All the women who schemed with me behind the scenes to make this happen... thank you so much. It would not have happened without you, and means infinitely more to both myself and Velda that you chose to be a part of this.

PS... isn't she gorgeous, Moon Boots and all?! :)

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Signs of Life!

It's a week into the New Year and this is my first post in quite some time, but I won't waste time with a summary of 2009. Or perhaps I will, but it will be short and sweet: study, homework, coding and exams, repeated endlessly in any order. I worked my tail off but it's been more than worth it; finding a career that I love this much is it's own reward. Apparently I'm good at it, too, at least academically. Despite the trials of the last semester, during which I had my doubts if I could make it through intact and sane, I pulled off a high A average and managed my third consecutive semester on the Dean's List. I dream now of graduating with honours...

2010 brings two co-op terms and my final semester of college in Sept. I'm in my first week of my first coop right now, in a slick, shiny, sexy Federal agency in the heart of downtown. (I am in no way being facetious when I say "sexy" and Federal gov't in the same sentence... this place is super-hip.) I have been hired in the capacity of a UNIX system administrator; something that no doubt would cause my UNIX prof to double over in glee... while I did very well in his class, I bitch and moaned continuously through it and failed to see how it was relevant to the Real World. It appears my education is about to begin.

One thing that delights me about the vocation I have chosen is how everything is interconnected. In school, the classes are distinct... Perl, UNIX, Java, SQL, System Design. They seemed in school like separate disciplines that really didn't have many connections. Here, I am learning that I was very wrong. Everything is connected. I may administer UNIX systems but I use PHP and Perl whilst doing so, and am supporting Java development and Oracle databases in the process. The system design principles underlay the continuous upgrades and migrations of the entire IT department. It's a thing of beauty and I expect to receive practical experience in so much more than just UNIX admin in my time here.

My only complaint at this point in time is time itself... from my relaxed student hours and a period of utter hedonism over the Xmas holidays, getting up at oh-dark-thirty is an extremely painful jolt to the system. I get home, have a quick nap and am still utterly exhausted and dream of bedtime. I expect I will acclimatize shortly but right now it's all exhaustion, all the time.