Well, you'll never guess what I've been up to. It's been over seven months since I've been here, and there's so much to tell you but I've so little time these days.

The landlord for my restaurant intends to tear the building down and put up a sparkling (energy-efficient) brand-spankin'-new building that'll house a drive-through bank. Hey, the new structure will be far more energy-efficient than this old '70s building. And I've found another restaurant -- an Italian restaurant in Hartford, Connecticut -- that I can actually buy and own instead of just rent.

So don't assume I'm all emotional or anything like that. I'm amazingly free of the feelings of loss and grief I thought I'd have. It's important for me to keep focused on what I'm gonna do with the new project.

Sooner or later I'm gonna come back here and write some stuff. I visited today 'cause I was doodling around on the Inter-web and duh! saw something that reminded me of y'all. But now I've got to go have dinner. So I'll see you soon and wish you all the best in the mean-time.

Argh. So, they freed up some money for tech upgrades on the ship. What do they give us? They replace some 1280x1024 IPS monitors, with some 1366x768 TN panels. Yuck.

"Oh, but they're widescreen," they say.

Derp.

So, now we've downgraded. And wasted money besides. Couldn't they have given us some non-crappy switches? Or maybe at least some keyboards that don't feel like stabbing your fingers into stale marshmallows. (Yes, I have a keyboard that doesn't suck around. Well, two. A Model M and a Sun Type 7, but...)

Now, there's something I'd pay good money for - a true ultimate keyboard. Give me a wide, featureful layout like the Sun Type 5/6/7 or the Northgate Omnikey Ultra, with either IBM-style buckling springs or Cherry MX Blue keyswitches, a Cherry smart card reader, a 4-port USB hub and maybe an SD card slot. We can dispense with the zany Internet keys and other frippery, though. I wonder what it'd cost to get one made? Probably a prohibitively large amount.

In other news - moving house in two weeks. 150% more space, better internet service, nicer neighborhood, only slightly more expensive. I'm excited! Only issue is that moving furniture is going to suck, with my knee all fucked up.

Got the MRI results back - severely torn meniscus on the left, some kind of trouble on the right but since they weren't specifically looking at it, they didn't get good images, evidently. Get to see the ortho doc in a month (really? Why the long wait, guys?), almost certainly going to need surgery. That, at least, will get me off the iron bathtub for a little while.

I may be approaching that age at which one realizes that one doesn't really know everything (or everything that's important) about all there's to know.

I imagine that everyone has things they would rather not think about, subjects that make them uncomfortable or things they've said and done in the past that they wish would never resurface. While I work towards dealing with some of those issues I want to touch briefly on some of the positive things in my new life. First would have to be my job. Going to work is usually fun for me. For those of you who don't know this I am part of a newly created Inside Sales Department. On my first day we were given a list of over three thousand house accounts that had one thing in common. They were all down from where they had been last year.

Initially my job was to determine why these accounts were down. We weren't instructed to try and turn them around specifically but the theory was some of these accounts were malingering because they had never had a sales rep calling to check in on them. While the program is still new we have had some great success stories. My boss always tells us that our goal is to see if we can get everyone to invest in one more pair of shoes. That's all she wants, it seems like a very small thing but if you take the four thousand accounts we now have and multiply that times the price of a pair of shoes you can see that her plan will generate growth.

Goals need to be attainable. My boss realizes this, she tells us we are doing a great job and for once I don't need to hear that because I can go into our accounting software, look at the date I started calling some of my accounts and prove that my job is valid. One account in particular has been a good performer for me. Last year they would have been down, a $12,000 order at the end of the year pushed them above 2009 sales figures. They ended the year on an up note with final sales of just over $70K.

This year they are on track to double that, I have accounts that have already done more this year than they did all last year. That's rewarding to see and gratifying to know that I had a part in helping turn people around. Sometimes there is a legitimate reason that an account is down. People quit, people go on maternity leave, staff members die and retire and natural disasters such as fires and floods can wipe out even the strongest account. I think one of the things that makes me good at my job is I think it is fun to try and flip accounts.

I like the challenge of working with the worst and turning them into some of the top performers. One man I spoke with told me he didn't care for our lab work citing our toe fillers as being of a lesser quality than one of my competitors. After speaking with him I wrote him a letter, I sent him an e-mail and gave him some special pricing on a patient who was paying cash for a pair of work boots and custom inserts. That deal went through and I was beginning to think that was a one time thing but I kept watching the account. I let them know I was there for them and I sent them two boxes of cookies with some really good granola.

Last week that account sent in more than $1200 worth of lab orders and when I left yesterday there were five orders sitting in their pending file. One of my coworkers is designing a report that will graph the accounts we've been working with. Seeing the trends graphed out is really cool because you see the downward slide, the initial contact date and if you've truly flipped an account the upward trend and growth curve is amazing.

While work has been going well things have been up and down at home. I know I should focus on the foods I can have however it seems like I am still in the process of discovering new allergies and intolerances. Citrus fruits and chocolate were two of my latest. Quinoa is touted as a wholesome gluten free grain, nothing says I can't eat it but the last time I ate it I started not feeling well almost immediately.

Having to make virtually everything I eat takes time, it requires planning and I get really frustrated when I buy things, make them and find out later that my body can't handle it. It wastes my time and money, I get physically ill and it doesn't seem fair that I'm the one getting sick when all around me are people eating garbage. Food is designed to build your body up. I know that but being constantly bombarded by food type items makes it difficult to stay on the straight and narrow path.

Beets, citrus, chocolate, corn, dairy, gluten, kale, legumes, nightshades, oats, potatoes, rice, shellfish, soy, these are all foods on my Do Not Consume list. Almost every gluten free flour has some sort of corn, bean, soy, rice or potato in it. I don't know why my body rejects so many things. I've gotten into trouble because I don't eat enough starchy carbs but my body does not like grains and from my point of view I would rather give them up than deal with the pain.

This summer I was in pretty decent shape. Because I have peripheral neuropathy exercise and eating well is more important for me than for most people. Although I am not diabetic I share some of the same complications they do. I could easily lose fingers or toes and it is one thing to write about toe fillers and another to think that one day I could be wearing one. My circulation is poor but I don't look sick so people get confused by my fanatacism. I feel as if they could be me for a day they would understand things from my point of view a little bit better.

The other night I stayed up late talking to a friend of mine. I ordered a new book and thought about some of the things we discussed. I don't like writing about things that are upsetting to me for many reasons. My oldest daughter can be a very difficult child. She's a lot like I am, according to others, my children are still young girls however every day they are edging closer to becoming young women. Modeling good behavior is the role of parents however that is also hard to do at all times. I'm tired, I'm not well in many ways and I have a short temper especially when I see her making some of the exact same mistakes I made at that age.

My youngest daughter is sensitive and high strung. At least once a day she cries about something. Sometimes she didn't get up as early as she wanted to. A shirt that she wanted to wear might be in the wash or making a lunch might seem like too large of an obstacle for her to overcome. Whining is annoying, I hate listening to it and I think it is abnormal that my daughter is crying so frequently over things that seem minor to me. My husband thinks this is normal behaviour and something she will have to outgrow or deal with.

Since I have been sick for years I was home with my children but not in a complete way. When you are unwell you are unable to fulfil many of your responsibilities and that includes your ability to parent well. Someone once told me that I have my children because I am the right mother for them. I have a plan in my head, I have things I want my children to be able to do and I think school does a good job of educating children and a moderately poor job of preparing them for the rest of their lives. I hate the fact that my children play on the computer and watch TV more than I think they should.

To say that I have food issues is understating things however I believe that I know more about nutrition than most people outside of the food allergy and sensitivity network. Every day I see and hear things that make me want to send people to health care providers. I want to tell people that being tired, feeling bloated, achy and generally crappy can be signs of a much larger issue and even if you don't have underlying health concerns in many cases the quality of your life can be dramatically improved. The problem is no one believes what I have to say or if they do they don't think that what I'm observing is really important.

At work I am good at my job because I can recognize patterns and trends. If I do something that breeds success I would be foolish not to try to replicate that same scenario. I have an account that I do not believe in because they are not even trying. When people tell me there is no money in shoes I can show them otherwise however they have to trust that I know how to help and they have to put forth whatever effort they can to get more out of their programs. I invest a lot of time and effort into growing my book of business.

Outside sales people have taken at least three of my accounts. In all those cases no one was willing to stand up for me and my accounts. That frustrates me because I know I am doing things that the outside sales people aren't. I can go back to reports and prove that accounts are better off because of me and I can often pinpoint the exact day things turned around. I can do the same thing with people on an individual level but I have no medical degree and in many cases no credibility. Maybe I should dismiss others but I just know that if they felt better they would be able to lead richer fuller lives.

So if I have all these great answers why don't I start applying them to my own life? In many cases I have. Currently I weigh about a hundred and eleven pounds. I could drop more if I started going to the gym and working out. Laziness is a factor I need to overcome but another part of it is it will take several seconds after I stand up for my blood pressure to stabilize. Sometimes I push my body too hard, other times not hard enough. Balance is an old concept that I am working on improving. Neither too little nor too much of any one thing, more of the good, less of the bad and you have a formula for success.

I don't always have the answers to everything however I am usually curious enough to keep researching when the answers I get to things don't work for me. Life is a journey that can end when you least expect it to. Lately I've had fun reworking an old writeup. It was interesting for me to evaluate where I have been and where I am going because I tend to write about things that are flavoring my life and being able to expand my characters is good for me. That's pretty much it for now. Eat well, get enough rest and exercise, if there is something you want to change start thinking of ways to do it incrementally because that can and does work. So long for now.

jess

Okay, I didn't address many of the things I wanted to but this is a start.

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