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My 10th LJ Anniversary

It's hard to believe that the last time I posted an entry here was 4 years ago, but I haven't abandoned LJ, and I still want to come back to write regularly someday. 

My 6th LJ Anniversary

I started on Sunday, 6/25, 2006.  My employer blocked LJ about three years ago, which has decreased my usage significantly.  I only log in about once a month now, but I'm still here, and still have no desire to join Facebook. It's always good to see the old friends who are still holding on here!

BTW: I'm not going to the convention this year.


 MSPlusAdvancedC1C2Total by Caller
Bill Eyler  1  3 3  7
Daryl Murphy     1 1
Dayle Hodge  2 3   5
Deborah Caroll-Jones   3   3
Harlan Kerr   1   1
John Herriot 1     1
John Marshall   3 4  7
JR. St. Jean 3  4   7
Michael Kellogg  3 5  7 15
Michael Maltenfort   2   2
Vic Ceder   3 3 7 13
Zip's substitute 1     1
Total by Level 6 5 27 10 15 63

I also danced the whole three hours of Country/Western Dance, 1 tip at the Trail-in Dance, 3 tips at the Trail-out Dance, 2 tips at the GCA School Dance, and I was a checker for GCA School for two days.

Chart first, words later.

Happy New Year!

It’s a warm but dark day here in Atlanta. The temperature is in the pleasant 60+, but we’ve had sporadic showers all morning. I’m sitting through the third one right now. 

Although I didn’t do any shopping in December, I started the year 2011 with two online purchases this morning. I bought a pair of rain shoes on Amazon. When I was living in China, everyone there had a pair of rain boots. It’s hard to believe that I’ve lived in Atlanta for 19 years without them. But as much rain as we have here, it rarely happens while I’m commuting. After I moved to Decatur in March 2009, I’ve been walking a lot more, and I’ve experienced enough discomfort in my feet and damage to my shoes to finally decide that I really need a pair of rain shoes now.

I also paid for a half-year subscription for the Economist magazine. I don’t remember when I discovered this magazine, but I’ve always enjoyed reading it ever since. Of course I can read it for free in the library or a bookstore, but I feel that it is a too difficult commitment to go somewhere to read an entire issue in one sitting on a weekly basis, so it’s worth the cost of getting a portable copy and taking it with me wherever I go. I know that the more issues I subscribe at once, the cheaper it is per issue, but I want to try it for only six-months first to see if I can really stick to the reading.

The earliest possible dance weekend that I’ve planned for is AACE in June. We will start another 10-K preparation on Monday and file at the end of February. During this time I won’t be able to take any weekdays off, and we’ll be working overtime on most days. Even though I can fly to Importers on a Saturday morning and come back on Sunday night, I’d rather take it easy and get enough rest on weekends. 

Hotlanta Squares will not have a fly-in this year, but we will have our 10-year anniversary dance two weeks from today, with Anne and Tim Marriner calling. In February Roger Loney will call for our Valentine Dance. In March I have the annual Peach State Dance weekend to look forward to.  I will work on the first quarter 10-Q from April 1st to May 10th, and after that I will have my first real slow period at work. 

A Normal Week

Last Saturday night I left 3-Legged Cowboy by midnight, and since I danced so much that night, I had to take a shower after I got home. It was 1 a.m. when I went to bed. I got up at 8:50 on Sunday morning, but still finished my food shopping before 10:30 a.m.

I probably shouldn’t have had a large latte around 5 p.m. on Sunday, because I didn’t sleep well on Sunday night and then lingered in bed until 7:37 a.m. on Monday morning. I missed the 8 a.m. train even after running several blocks. But since I normally leave myself half hour for breakfast, I still walked into office on time. 

The rest of the week went well. From Tuesday to Friday, I woke up before the alarm, caught the 8 a.m. train, and felt comfortable for the rest of the day. Nowadays I usually start feeling sleepy by 10:30-ish, so I finish whatever I’m doing by 11-ish, and then soak my feet in hot water for 30 minutes (it’s a family tradition) while reading a book, and then go to bed before midnight. A good night of sleep and a light and relaxing breakfast really makes a lot of difference.

I did not take any days off this week. On Friday I was the only person in Financial Reporting. I bought my breakfast at Café MoMo as usual (they only cooked half of their usual portions), but since there was hardly anyone in the food court, I decided to eat it at work. Well the walk to my office with food and coffee in hands, plus my purse and a coat, was not very pleasant, and eating at my desk was not as relaxing as in the food court, even though I was the only person in on this side of the floor, so now I know better. It was a day without distraction, and I finished updating two large and very tedious Excel worksheets, plus some other misc. I also ordered a copy of my credit report and everything on it looks good.  It occurred to me that I still need to complete at least 20 hours of continuing professional education before year-end, so I purchased five four-credit hour online courses from Gleim. All of them are personal tax courses. I printed the 80 pages of course outline to use on the weekend, and then left work at 4 p.m.

Like most years, I didn’t do any shopping for Christmas. Actually I haven’t been in a mall in the past 18 months and I don’t miss it at all. I did give my friend Alan a present at his Christmas party tonight, because I happened to spot something interesting when I walked through the neighborhood CVS one day last month. I wrapped it up last night using some gift paper my landlord left in the attic. 

My housemate was out of town and I’m feeding his cat. The cat only comes out eating while I’m not around. I have a quiet house all for myself. I finished one of the tax courses last night. It was basically a 40-multiple choice online quiz with open book, since I’ve printed the outline. This morning I got up at 8:15 a.m. I’ve stopped using alarm on weekends, since by now I’ve gotten used to not staying in bed for too long after I wake up. I finished another course this morning, walked to Starbucks for a latte. It was cold and cloudy but not windy, so I enjoyed a refreshing walk outside while sipping my latte. I finished another course around noon, ate a light lunch, read a few pages of a Chinese novel, and then went to Alan’s annual Christmas party. 

Most of the regular attendees are square dancers. The number is a little low – about 30 people, probably because of the weather. The meal is usually much lighter than the one on Thanksgiving. I had a bowl of chili, a slice of bread, a little bit of banana pudding and some ham. My strategy for eating ham is that I let everyone else get their slices first, and then I trim the little pieces of leftovers near the center bone. Those are the reddest, most tender and juiciest parts. People also left earlier because they were worrying about the snow. Yes it’s snowing outside! Although the snow “drops” is melting almost as soon as they hit the ground, I think there are enough to be called “measurable”, so this is the first time Atlanta had a Christmas with measurable snow in 153 years! 

So it’s been a quiet and relaxing week. I’m not tired, stressed or stuffed, and I’m ready to go out dancing at 3LC at this moment. Merry Christmas to you all!

Another day without an entry

This is another day that I didn’t write a real LJ post. But I replied three comments; can they substitute for one post?

Just like Sunday night, I have planned to write about the dance workshop I attended at 3LC on Saturday. But when I think about writing a dancing-related journal my mind starts to wonder about dancing in general, and then I can’t help but start searching dance videos and music on YouTube, and then my time runs out.

Unresolved 2/10 Petaluma C4 sequence #1

This is another short and quick Monday night post. 

I'm stuck with this Vic Ceder sequence from the Feb. 2010 Petaluma weekend.  If you have the recording, it's in the middle of Tip #27.

Sides pass the sea
PIECEWISE YOYO single scoot and trade
inside triangle 2/3 exchange the triangle
triple cast
3/4 exchange the diamond
6 x 2 acey duecy
inroll to a wave and roll
YOYO cast a net
end girls ripple 3 & 1/2

At this point I have a Bat/Rigger with heads as a couple and have their left shoulders towards the center, and sides in the center box holding right hands.  I don't know how to do a Crackle from here.  The rest of the sequence is:

crackle and circle 1/4
all 8 diamond recycle
release <center diamond drop in and weave>
offset waves scatter scoot
center 4 mix, others anchor the boys for a trade, and roll

Something about Facebook

I found an interesting article about Facebook that might entertain some of the FB users here.


So too much self-absorption can ruin your social life on FB? I guess this is why we still need LJ. A journal is all about self-absorption, right?

Not much else to report this week. For another five days in a row, I got up within 10 minutes after my alarm went off, and walked into the MARTA station before the 8 a.m. train arrived. On several mornings I actually woke up before the alarm. It’s been a very cold week here, on Tuesday the temperature dropped to single digit. But after putting on two layers of pants and socks, I wasn’t afraid of walking out. This morning I got up at 8:07. It rained in the morning and it’s still a little wet outside, so I’ll just head straight to 3LC and skip Whole Foods for another day.  I'm curious to see how I will feel tomorrow morning since I'll be dancing at 3LC tonight.  But I know I can't get up too late, becuase I'm completely running out of food, and the farmers market will be packed after 10:30 a.m.


T’s the biggest reward of the year

My company is partnering with Virgin HealthMiles to piggyback on their Bahamas Quest Challenge, which they’ll award one lucky winner with a trip for two to the Bahamas and five runners up with an iPod Nano.

During the 20 day challenge period starting on December 15, we earn one entry to the drawing for each day we walk at least 7,000 steps.  I don’t know how many participants will there be because it sounds like that more than one company is involved. 

In addition, my company will give out bonus points during the challenge period. The highest reward is 2,500 points for 170,000 steps. That’ only average to 8,500 a day. In addition to the bonus points, we will also be entered into my company’s drawing for various gift cards in the amounts from $25 to $500. We earn one entry for each day we walk 7,000 steps, or two entries for 12,000 steps. 

So the maximize my chance of winning, I should walk 12,000 steps every day, which is my normal volume anyway. 

*I had wireless connection problem from 8:30 to 10 p.m. last night, but I did finish the journal in Word, so I will backdate it to yesterday.


Walking, Walking...

I mentioned earlier this year that I signed up for the Virgin Health Mile program my company offered. At first I wasn’t very enthusiastic about it, and procrastinated for over a month before I finally activated my pedometer and logged on to the VHM website for the first time. I often forgot to wear the pedometer in the morning and sometimes wondered if it was worth the daily trouble to earn the maximum reward of $200 a year. And then I lost the pedometer in the Hilton during the IAGSDC convention. I put it down in a restroom and forgot to put it back on. Nobody turned it in.

So I was just ready to give up, but in August my Dear Employer offered us a ten-day discount period to replace a lost pedometer for $15 (we get our first one for free, but each additional one normally cost $25). At the same time, the maximum annual reward was increased to $500. That was enough to draw me back. I did the math and figured out that there was no way I could earn the full $500 by my anniversary date on April 8th, because I have wasted too much time earlier this year, but a total of $350 is very attainable. Here’s how the programs works:

Each day: I can earn 20 points for walking less than 7,000 steps, or 60 points for more than 7,000 steps, or 80 points for more than 12,000 steps. I can write two activity journals in the website for 10 points each. The journal points are really freebies because mostly I just need to select dates, time and activity from drop-down boxes. The maximum points I can earn in one day is 100, so there’s no economic benefit for walking more than $12,000 steps a day. This is very easy for me to achieve. I’m one of the few Atlanta residents who don’t use a car to get to work, because I live and work just a few blocks from a MARTA station. My daily commute is at least 5,000 steps, and my walk to the food court during lunch time is another 1,000 steps. If I just stop by at the Decatur library on my way home, I’ve got my 7,000 steps already.

Each week: I earn 20 points simply by logging on to the VHM website.

Each month: I earn 200 points by entering my improved fitness measurements in the website. I can also participate in a monthly challenge and earn an extra 150 to 250 points, such as the “walk more than X steps during the Thanksgiving week Turkey Trail Challenge”. 

Every year: I earn extra points for doing an online fitness assessment and signing a no-smoking agreement.

Here’s how the rewards accumulate: For the first 5,999 points I just get a free pedometer (the lost one). At 6,000 points I climb to Level 2 and earn $75. I reached L2 in September and the money was automatically transferred to my Health Savings Account a few days later. At 12,000 points I climb to Level 3 and get another $125. I earned it before Thanksgiving. The next two levels will take much longer time to reach. I will need to accumulate another 12,000 points to get another $150, which will take me a little less than four months. After that I will run out of time, because my points will be reset to zero on my anniversary date.

Right now I’m participating in another special challenge that offers the biggest reward for the year. I’ll write about it tomorrow. It’s time for bed. Good night.