Friday, November 28, 2008

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Monday, November 17, 2008

Ella Pic O' Day

Here is Ella doing her Joe Cocker impersonation while while her mom smiles genuinely and I try to smile genuinely but fail.

Wait ... is that a tennis racket Baby Ella is holding?

Saturday, November 15, 2008

My Great American Software Manual

Total page count, including cover page, TOC, copyright page, appendices, index, etc.: 348

Total writers: 2 (me, and my trusty co-writer Eddie)

Total time spent writing: oh, about three months

We're not quite done (one is never done with a writing project), but we are so close. If you'll excuse me and let me lapse into cliches for a moment, I'm about to find my way of this black hole of manual-writing and can see the light at the end of the tunnel. (No jokes about oncoming trains, please. I'm too tired to get them.) (The jokes, not the trains.) There's a reason for cliches, you know. Times like these.

I put in 58 or 59 hours of work this week. Next week won't be so crazy.

I feel good. I'm happy with my index, and I have only a few things to do with my TOC before I'm happy with it, too. The manual is done. Oh, there will be last-minute changes to the software and last-minute realizations that we wrote things like (oh, horrors!) "This feature will be allows you to ..." or "to log in into to the program." But if we had to send this baby out into the world tomorrow, I would be OK with it. I would be more than OK. I am proud of this manual.

It's been a very tough, very focused, very good week at work. I've really enjoyed my job these last few months. I'm ready to move on to something else, and I won't miss this manual once it's published, but I can't deny having enjoyed the journey of writing it.

Funny to think that some folks believe we literature-loving English majors "sell out" by going into technical writing. I would have believed the same thing 20 years ago. What a misconception. Writing is an adventure and an opportunity to learn exciting new things, no matter what the topic, no matter who the audience. And tech writing just takes me into realms I never, ever would have explored if I'd been completely in charge of mapping my own adventure all along.

It doesn't matter to me that most people don't read manuals. Most people don't read, period. If I were to publish a novel, most people wouldn't read it either. I honestly don't care. I just love writing for the sake of writing, and it just tickles me to death that I get paid for it. If this manual helps a handful of people, gives them a better impression of my company's software, maybe results in a few dozen fewer support calls ... then, as far as I'm concerned, I've done my job.

Life is good. (I accidentally wrote "Lice is good" at first. Yes, it's time for me to tear myself away from the computer screen and do something productive, like play some Bach or pet the cats.)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

My Lovely, Sweet, Beautiful Niece

I am so in love with this child.


I've spent the last three days compiling a 14-page index for a 315-page document.

I've spent the last couple of minutes making this lovely sign (for blogging purposes, of course):

Now it's time to switch gears. For the next three days, I'll be proofreading a hard copy of said 315-page document.

I love my job.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

I Hope Y'all Aren't Getting Tired of Ella Pics

Every newborn needs a stuffed cow, so Hubster and I took on the important responsibility of providing Ella with her own very special stuffed cow this weekend.

Not surprisingly, Ella loves it.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

My New Profile Picture

I changed my profile picture. This is a photo of me with Baby Ella.

What a sweet, pretty baby Ella is!

Apostrophe Abuse

What a fun site this one is. Many thanks to y'all for posting the school board sign from "A Sort of Notebook"!

Monday, November 3, 2008

What Election?

Have I mentioned that Ella made her entrance into the world on Halloween? I have? Oh, sorry. Silly me, I'm repeating myself.

Have I mentioned that she is beautiful? And sweet? And that when she cries, her little mouth makes a perfect little "o"?

I have?

I went to visit Ella last night. Her parents (oh, yeah--my sister Mu and her husband Stu) brought her home, so I got to sit in Mu's living room and hold Ella while she slept. Then she woke up and started crying and I just sat there with a big, silly grin on my face.

I love this baby.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Putting Away Childish Things?

Most of our boxes are unpacked. Today I unpacked boxes that I haven't unpacked in years. These are the boxes that got stacked in the back of overstuffed closets, that were among the first to be loaded into storage, that have been taped shut, some of them, for years. These are my journals.

For the first time in my life (I think), I have a place (other than taped-up boxes) to store my journals. These notebooks date back to 1980 (when I was 10), though I didn't actually begin writing every single day until I was 13 or 14. And I haven't stopped.

I know this is probably navel-gazing. But I learned how to use the "macro" feature on Hubster's camera and think it's really cool to look at handwriting up close. Don't you?

As I read these few journal entries, part of me wants to laugh at myself. Some of them are funny. My penchant for hyperbole apparently goes back about a million years.

But this is also making me feel pensive. I've been wanting to sit and journal-write (or blog-write) for a long time, but I've been so busy with work. The thoughts that are coming out here aren't in quite the format I'd planned (not that I'd really planned anything), but here they are. And there will be more to come, I'm sure, the very next time I have a slow, lazy Sunday to myself.

I hope I get another one of these lazy days soon. I have a lot to write about. Notebooks and notebooks and notebooks full.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

The Most Perfect Little Miracles

Just look at those fingernails. Just look at those tiny, perfect little fingernails.

More photos here.

(Bear with me ... I know people have marveled at babies over the ages, and that they're really not a big deal, considering how people have babies every day, and that my experience here is nothing new, but I've hardly ever been around a tiny baby, and I've never been an aunt to a tiny baby before now.)

Blogging Elsewhere

Hi, Strangers! I've been blogging with my friend Anh over at Then a Gentle Whisper . Check it out!