Well, January Was Interesting …

I might ordinarily say, “gosh, I can’t believe it’s been a month since my last blog post,” except this time that little introductory spiel would be a big fat lie. I haven’t posted because I’ve been so busy and so behind that I even took a day off, yesterday, just to unbury from the mandatory stuff. Like laundry.
Tidbits, in no particular order:

  • Work has been insanely busy.  I’ve been responsible for the technical training for two new analysts we hired at the beginning of the month, in addition to launching a new project related to inpatient readmissions analytics. I co-recorded an ICD-10 webinar for the National Association for Healthcare Quality, to be released this month, and have been up to my eyeballs as the president-elect of the Michigan Association for Healthcare Quality. The MAHQ P-E is responsible for conference planning, so … yeah, this is my busy time, including setting the date/venue for the conference and adopting a theme. And on top of it, I was at work until roughly 9 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday to sit behind the glass for four focus groups related to diabetes self-management. Today’s public service announcement: You do NOT want to get diabetes. So drop the cupcake and head to the gym before it’s too late. Seriously.
  • I am now an RCIA sponsor. A friend of mine wants to join the Catholic Church, so I’m his sponsor. He selected St. Robert of Newminster as his home parish. The team there has been quite engaging. I had been poking my head in at the Cathedral, since I live a scant 10-minute walk away, but the experience at St. Robert ironically makes me more eager to return to St. Anthony after my tour of duty ends during the Easter season.
  • My social calendar has been full-to-overflowing. With the monthly write-in and cigar night, plus a day of podcasting and the infamous Game Night, plus the Vice Lounge best-year-yet retreat, in addition to RCIA meetings and one-off cups of coffee with friends, my schedule has been full. Which is good — it’s always nice to stay connected with people — but also bad, insofar as my time available to myself for my own goals has pretty much plummeted to zero.
  • My 2014 travel schedule is getting fuller. This month, I have the Detroit/Windsor/Toledo casino trip with Tony and Roux. In March, it’s a two-day healthcare-quality state-leaders convention in Chicago, as well as a Vegas trip that’s already paid for. I’m confirmed for another Isle Royale trip in May, then Europe in July, Boston in August, Nashville in September, Vegas again in October, and potentially a road trip to Florida in early December.
  • The snow has been fun. Although people have been kvetching about the below-normal temperatures and above-average snowfall — we’re officially at 80.2″ for the season as of today, with much more predicted for the coming week; we had 66″ last season and average 71.6″ — the benefits of having a 4-wheel-drive vehicle are apparent and I haven’t really had much trouble with the weather. I’m actually enjoying it. I like strong seasonal variation, which remains one of the distinct charms of Michigan. Especially when shoveling is the landlord’s job. But really … where else can you go from having 18″ of snow and wind chills of minus 20 in the winter, to summer swells of 100-degree days at 95 percent relative humidity? And don’t forget those perfect spring and autumn days of temps in the upper 60s with clear skies and low humidity and abundant wildlife sans mammals that can eat you or insects that can sting you to death.
  • I ordered scuba gear last week. I’m getting an Aqua Lung Dimension i3 BCD, an Apeks XTX-50 regulator, an alternate air source that’s optimized for the i3’s low-profile design, a standard pressure gauge with compass plus a Suunto Zoop computer, an Aqua Lung Alu Trio 3 light and a roomy dive bag. I also ordered a dive skin separately online. Everything should be delivered by Friday, and I’ve also booked both a scuba refresher course plus a specialty course through the dive shop. Andy, the owner of Moby’s, has been awesome to work with.
  • … So I’m fully equipped! The dive gear finishes the acquisition of my sporting gear. I am already fully geared out for backcountry hiking and for kayaking, and now I’ve got diving done, too. Yay. I’m looking forward to this summer. I’ve got at least one significant hiking trip planned, and I already know I can get my friend Jen to go diving with me (better yet, her husband can come and we can needle our friend Tawnya to take the plunge), and I’m pretty sure I can get Tony to go kayaking with me. So yay.
  • The novel is progressing. I’ve tweaked through Chapter 4, but still don’t like how the chapter looks. I haven’t gotten as much done as I wanted in January — too many other things have popped up — but I’m still plugging away at it. The Write On! gang has offered nice comments to aid with revisions.
  • I bought a telephoto lens for my camera. The Nikon 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED IF AF-S VR Nikkor arrived last week and plugs in nicely with my Nikon D3100. The camera body isn’t exactly a top-of-the-line model, but it works for my relative level of amateurism. I’ve done some trial shots to make sure the new lens works as it should, so my SD card is filling with at-a-distance close-ups of cats behaving badly, but I look forward to the chance to take the new lens for a spin outside. I might have to coax my friend Melanie to take me out on a photo shoot if I promise to buy her lunch.
  • The cats continue to change behavior patterns. Which is funny, really. Lately, Fifi has been sleeping with me. She wants to curl up under my right arm about 20 minutes after I go to bed, and she stays there for an hour or so. Prior to last week, the cats never slept on my bed at all, ever. What’s with the change? Heck if I know.
  • I had to replace the starter in my Jimmy. On the 10th, the beast wouldn’t start. Had to have it towed, and it was out of commission for four days. The cost of repair, plus inspection, plus an oil change, plus the towing, plus daily cab fare to/from work clocked in at just under $1k. Expensive, but the Jimmy has treated me well and has been a heck of a steal, all things considered.

I shall redouble my efforts to post more consistently. If I can find the time.

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