Libby Says...

 
 
Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009 Author: Libby Ingrassia
Persona: Personal and Professional Time: 11:34:22 AM
Comments? Add / Read (0) Location: between appointments

When I started Notesgirl.com, my goal was to market my book(s), participate in the Lotus community, and use it as a jumping off point for my contract work. Since then, I've been in various careers, in multiple fields, but I've kept my Notesgirl persona. Actually, I'm not sure persona is the right word - a persona implies that it's not the real me, and it is - there was a long-ago conversation with vowe and others that convinced me (if I needed convincing) that being as genuine as possible online as I am in person is the right thing.

But as I've grown and changed, I've changed the content here to fit more what's appropriate for what's going on at one time. Right now, for example, I'm writing my little fingers off for a few clients and job hunting and enjoying being a newlywed and worrying about a multitude of personal issues. In the past, I might've written about those personal issues - when I was confident that my employer and I had a meeting of the minds about personal blogging versus my professional duties. When your primary job is job hunting, however, you look at blogging completely differently. If I were looking only in one field, I might try to spend more time writing pertinent content for the site. Since my search is more broad, I have to look at the site as a potential early impression (yes, I know I need to revamp the color/layout). I hope that people will read what I write and see a person they're interested in working with. I hope to have them see me - the real, genuine person - and want to work with that person.

But thinking of various interviews and conversations the past weeks, I have to consider: what if my admission of problems and issues - among other blog entries of course - comes across the wrong way? Should I keep those personal preoccupations to myself? Does it help anyone, myself included, to write about them here? When I had a specific place in a community, my occasional forays into writing about my personal life were a way of keeping my personal connection to a community that has been wonderful to me. Most of the readers of my blog knew me in real life, and actually cared when something was on my mind. When some others have posted about their problems and processes, we have felt as though we were not alone, and understood ourselves and our friends better (thanks Duff, and others). Of course, when I write, my  thoughts become more clear, so I write at least partially to help me work through things (and just writing a diary doesn't work the same way - we think differently when we we write knowing there's a potential audience),

So, the questions are on my mind at the moment: who reads notesgirl.com, what are they (you) interested in, for whom do I blog - myself or my readers, when does my blog help me and when does it hurt, how do I best balance all the things I'm interested in writing and thinking about with what readers might be interested in reading and with a changing professional life... All of you who blog and write for public consumption have dealt with these issues in one way or another - and some of you have changed what you share over time, as I have. I don't think I have a conclusion right now, but thanks for letting me think aloud with you.

And for a few personal tidbits:
  • Happy four-month-iversary to my nice husband, who has been taking excellent care of me and making all kinds of happy memories.
  • Happy birthday (recently belated or upcoming) to Julie and Margo and Jessie and Rob and Guy and Popop.
  • Registered for the Houston half-marathon - just snuck in before it sold out. Must get serious about the running again.
  • Can't wait for the finances to ease a bit - I miss yoga classes. I think I'm going to try to add teaching some yoga to my repertoire if I can find the right spot.
  • Thank you for all the folks who kept up with me while Philip and I were in Orlando for the shuttle launch - it was fun chatting and twittering and facebooking with you.
  • Deep and abiding thanks to those of you who support me and help me and care about me whether I'm going through good things or challenges. My circle of friends and acquaintances is something I cherish.

 

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Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009 Author: Libby Ingrassia
Congratulations, General Busy-ness, Annoyances... Time: 04:04:26 PM
Comments? Add / Read (0) Location: between appointments

Realized just how uncommunicative I've been on the blog of late, so I'm dropping a quick multi-tasking post off between appointments today.

Under the Congratulations banner:
My friends Cindy, Dave, and Audrey added a new little Sunshine to their family yesterday. It took Cindy less time to have the baby than it did for me to drive to the hospital to visit them. A reminder of how lucky I am not to have to drive in Houston rush hour very often. Yay! for the Claytons!

My friends Warren and Kitty walked 26.2 miles at night for breast cancer research. Wow. I'm a half-marathoner, but the combination of at night, in bras, and the entire mileage makes me so proud of their accomplishment!

Congratulations to anyone who was part of the class of 1989. Philip and I went to my 20th high school reunion last weekend... I'm not exactly sure what to say or think about it - I'm still processing. Loved running into some folks I hadn't seen in a long time. So many of them are doing great things and look wonderful. I'm hoping to keep in touch with some of them going forward. I'm always grateful to my friend Julie - she's been with me through everything (since 4th grade). Besides being a wonderful friend, she always helps me keep my life in perspective.

Happy Birthday to my friend Chris! I'm hoping to visit you in SF in October as usual, but I'm thinking about you today!

General Busy-ness:
Someone commented that jobless or unemployed don't have a very inspired ring. I agree - thanks Gaelyn, for the reminder to look at things as opportunities and to have my speech and writing support that. I'm considering myself a freelancer for the moment (or that's what I answered when folks asked at the reunion). That doesn't mean I'm not looking for more permanent work - I am, and actively - but I'm trying to see myself as being in process rather than anything more...negative. Thanks for those who have wished me well, given me hints or tips, and other supportive activities. To those who might be waiting on something from me, I'm back in the saddle and working on it.

My friends Margo and Ange bought me a Clutter-fairy workshop a couple of weeks ago and Ange and I have been spending time together de-cluttering our houses since then. Way too much clutter. It feels good to work on it, though, and it's much easier with a friend. Thumbs up.

Haven't been going to yoga (saving $$), but am doing some at home. I'm thinking it's time to find someplace to take my yoga style to a studio and see if I can add it to my freelancing life.

Annoyances:
Had some Blackberry/Sprint difficulties of late. Not sure what the problem is, but I need to make a trip to the Sprint store to see if they can help me troubleshoot. One hint: definitely leave a message if you call, as my call log is among the things not working correctly.

Tried to see the shuttle launch, but they had to postpone it. After my husband, and his parents, and I drove from Houston to Florida. Four days driving (to and from) for one day of being disappointed and tired. Don't get me wrong, I'd rather they postpone and fix and problems, but it was a lot of driving for what we got. The in-laws are planning to fly out for the July 11 reschedule; Philip and I have to decide if it's in the budget for us.

I'm sure there's more, as there's a lot going on, but for now, I'm off to another appointment. Wishing peaceful, happy, healthy, good things to all of you out there.

 

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Tuesday, May 5th, 2009 Author: Libby Ingrassia
SNAPPS Quickr Templates Time: 12:00:59 PM
Comments? Add / Read (0) Location: Overland Park, KS

I'm doing a small contract writing gig for my friends at SNAPPS, writing some end-user documentation for their awesome Quickr Templates.

I know from talking to many of you that you're using these templates in production. I'd love to hear how your end users are interacting with these templates, what you're doing with them. Of course, I'd also love to hear if your end users had any questions in their use of these templates - that way I can address those use cases specifically when creating the documentation. Comment here or drop me a Twitter DM or an email...

 

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Saturday, April 25th, 2009 Author: Libby Ingrassia
Out of Control Time: 12:02:17 AM
Comments? Add / Read (0) Location: rushing toward a deadline

I could say that my mom taught me that if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all. That might convince you.

Or I could blame my newlywed status.

The truth? My life has just been a little bit out of control since January.

I moved my mom to California in December...and moved her stuff out of her house in Van in January.
My sister-in-law was living with us for a while. Love her. Having another adult in a small townhome? It's a good thing we get along really, really well. As it is, now that she's gone, I miss her.
I got laid off. Immediately following Lotusphere. Fascinating!
I took a part time gig teaching a community college class - with an immediate turn around. Great in terms of helping a friend and feeling like I'm not completely unemployed. I'm applying for 3-5 jobs per week to keep my unemployment benefits, but there aren't as many jobs on the rolls as I might like. So, I took a few contract gigs in there - which I'm loving. Of course, I've been trying to keep my productivity on those where it should be...
Then my mom, who had moved to CA in December was in the hospital - necessitating a quick trip to CA... And another move for my poor mom.
I fell down a flight of stairs. Into a fire-ant bed. The week of the wedding.
And then there was this lovely wedding. We kept it pretty small (see: no job) and did a LOT ourselves (of course, when I say "ourselves," I mean I did a little, my sister in law and her mom did a TON, and I ran a bunch of errands and made lots of decisions). Then we had this gorgeous, beautiful, extremely fun and personal (I still promise a whole blog post about this) wedding.

Whew. Should be enough right? Oh, there's more. But let's move on.

My moods have been a little up and down, but in general, I'm feeling surprisingly positive. Maybe it's that I keep telling my kids about Rule #6 (don't take yourself so goshdarn seriously!) and that lets me laugh at myself and my life when I need to. Maybe it's the vows Philip and I used in our wedding, which focused on gratitude and the four Buddhist immeasurable elements of love: Love, Compassion, Joy and Equanimity. So, I'm grateful to all my friends and family who never cease to amaze me, the contacts who've helped me get some contract work, the social network of friends who always have a kind and uplifting word, and my dear husband, who is the most supportive, compassionate, generous person I know.

For now, I'll think about possibilities, finish work for an impending deadline, and see where tomorrow leads.

 

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Monday, February 2nd, 2009 Author: Libby Ingrassia
Telling the Story Time: 02:25:22 PM
Comments? Add / Read (5) Location: Coffee Groundz

Well, I'm only on day 3 of being unemployed after being laid off and I've already learned a few things.
  • To be able to do anything to change my status and life, I have to get beyond the sad. That's not to say that I'm not allowed to be sad about what is, after all, a horrendously stressful and painful experience. I do, however, have to find ways to put that sadness in a place that lets me function around it. It's not the easiest thing - despite the timely opportunity to hear Maestro Zander speak a few weeks ago. Still, I'm working on it.
  • I did that "functioning around the sad" much better the last time I got laid off. I'm pretty sure that it was easier for two (or maybe three) main reasons. First, I had just sold my house and therefore had both a large amount of cash in savings, something I do not have now, and no worries that I was going to lose my house, a huge fear for me at the moment. Second, it happened right in the middle of my divorce. I was so in my own head right then with grief and working so hard on dealing with all the issues that caused my divorce that it was just part of the depression and got dealt with along with the rest of the depression. I was already going to a therapist - I just added one more topic of conversation. Now, on the other hand, I'm in the process of what should be one of the happiest things in a person's life - getting married - and so the dichotomy in my emotions makes the sadness and fear more shocking and troubling. Finally, I didn't feel that so many people were competing with me for the jobs (and there were more jobs) because we weren't quite in as deep a recession as we are now.
  • That brings me to my next thought: my greatest strengths are also great weaknesses in some ways. I have had some amazing experiences in my varied career, but if a hiring manager is looking for a single, specific set of characteristics or skills, my CV looks a little scattered. I've been a writer, an editor, a teacher, a trainer, a consultant, a marketer, a manager, a project and product manager.... All of those jobs can be summed up by saying that my best skills are in writing, editing, teaching, and technology. I am at my best when working with, and helping to support, a team, group, or community. Now the challenge is to help employers (and myself) see how those skills fit in their narrowly construed job descriptions in a way that makes me feel successful and makes them feel they're getting more than their money's worth.
  • Finally, I know how important it is to look at the things for which we're grateful. I'm incredibly grateful for all of my family, friends, and acquaintances. So many people have had words of sympathy, strength, or help for me over the past few days and it's truly life-affirming to look around and see how many people CARE. There are a lot of things wrong with the world, and plenty of hard things in my life, but it's inspiring to see how many amazing people there are in my circle. Thank you. I will think of you in my daily meditations and wish positive things for you.

Since I know I'm not alone in being laid off and looking for the next path for the career (and the way to pay the mortgage and expenses), I've decided that one tool for me to use for my own benefit that might also help others is to blog about the process here. It doesn't mean that I've necessarily got words of wisdom to help other folks through - I'm struggling plenty. It's more that by talking about what I'm feeling and doing, perhaps I'll continue to find ways to cope, and perhaps by talking together, we can all learn some things about our careers and the world in which we work.

I wasn't able to get much done on Friday or over the weekend. I decided to give myself a break, let myself have some grieving time and some time to wallow in the panic (including eating an entire box of Peeps and a bag of Milano cookies covered in Nutella, thank you very much). My friend Julie got me out of the house today with her kind offer to buy me lunch, which then got me recognizing that being in the house all the time an be counterproductive. So, I've taken myself off to a coffeeshop where, for the $4 investment, I've got Wifi and noise and have to sit up and focus.

With my focus, I'm making lists. I've started cancelling things I don't need, from maid service, to the BlackBerry enterprise service from Sprint, to my landline at the house. I'm making lists of place I want to try to apply or people to whom I want to send email. I'm brainstorming job options that aren't in my primary path that might bring in some income while I'm waiting for the right full-time opportunity. Who knows, maybe these brainstorming lists will be the right thing!

In any case, if you're in the same boat and are worried about finding a job or your finances, I'm wishing you the best of luck and if you think there's a way I can help you, I'm happy to do so. I'm a great editor (she said modestly), and while I'm planning to have someone look at my CV (because only a fool uses herself as her only editor), I'm happy to look over yours (I have low hourly rates and am willing to work on trades). Or maybe you'd like to talk about whether an online presence will help or hinder your job search (or maybe you've got advice for my online presence). Truly though, I'm interested in making contact and doing what I can to help.

 

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Thursday, January 29th, 2009 Author: Libby Ingrassia
How Fascinating! Time: 08:12:35 AM
Comments? Add / Read (8) Location: focusing on the possibilities

Speaking of fascinating turns of events... Well, it looks like the economy is not going to sustain my current gig. So, I'm job hunting. The folks at WorkFlow are Good Folks and I wish them all the best. I'm sure we'll continue our association in various ways.

For now, I'm off to reconsider my wedding plans, think about my best skills, and contact everyone I know to see what their advice might be. If you have advice (or jobs!), please leave a comment or drop me an email/Skype/Sametime/IM/call. I'd love to hear from you.

I must say, it's harder to look at the radiating possibilities just now when what I'm feeling in my gut is the downward spiral, but on the other hand, thinking about this turn of events as just that... new possibilities is all I've got at the moment, so there you go.

 

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Wednesday, January 28th, 2009 Author: Libby Ingrassia
Radiating Possibility Time: 03:25:00 AM
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I wear a ring on my thumb that says "Freedom" on one side and "True Bliss" on the other side. I purchased this ring following my divorce as part of the process of determining where I should go from there. While I wear the ring every day (or almost), I realized recently that I'd started to let the meaning behind it drift; in at least some areas of my life, I was no longer searching for the things that truly give me bliss and I was feeling trapped instead of free. Even in the things that make me happiest, I was losing the joy and instead seeing the stress and frustration and negativity.

WellAfter the closing session at Lotusphere, where Benjamin Zander gave his inspiring talk on radiating possibility, one thing is clear.
That.Won't.Do.

So I'm rededicating myself to finding bliss and possibility in the moment and feeling the freedom to make healthy, joy-inspiring choices.

For all the mistakes and bad choices I've made up to this point: How Fascinating! :-) Let's see what I can learn today.

 

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Friday, January 16th, 2009 Author: Libby Ingrassia
Lotus Positions for Lotus Geeks Time: 11:41:04 AM
Comments? Add / Read (1) Location: wheezing and sneezing

So, I've been lurking and hiding for the last month or so - it was a month full of moves, illness, and other crap... I'm finally over most of it (one or two more moves in the next weeks) and starting the serious packing and final prepping for Lotusphere. (Take my advice - don't even ask about Wedding planning. The wedding is still on, I'm still happy about it, and it's in 2 months, but there's nothing planned, so I don't really want to discuss it.)

I've just posted about some of my Lotusphere activities at the WorkFlow Studios' site, but there are two special sessions that I want to highlight this year.

First, the brand-new Lotus Positions for Lotus Geeks yoga class that I'll be doing each morning out by the Dolphin pool. I wrote at length about this new class for the LotusUserGroup.org newsletter this week. Here are some highlights from the article - please join me each morning by the Dolphin pool at 7 am!

If you're anything like me, you usually run around Lotusphere tired and in pain most of the week, after overdoing it on the first day or two. You then stumble through the week and go home sick and ready to collapse. You may make resolutions before the show, saying you won't stay out too late, won't drink too much, and absolutely will NOT get sick this year. Ummhmm. I've been there.

This year, I have a new solution, and one that will let you take home new skills to put to use immediately (that's the holy grail of session promises, right?). For the first time, we're offering Lotus Positions for Lotus Geeks: geek-friendly yoga down by the Dolphin poolside, every morning from 7:00 am to 7:50 am.
{...}
The idea may be a little bit outside of the norm, but let me make a few points. First, I know from reading your blogs and listening to your tweets that many of you are doing "get in shape" types of things, such as those of you who will be showing off your push-up prowess at the show. Yoga fits right in to this - an opportunity to connect with the community while keeping up your commitment to fitness - no easy task at a conference. Second, while you may think that you need special clothes, special equipment, or to already be fit or flexible, I'm here to tell you that it just isn't so. Come dressed however you like (although those in skirts and heels will have to do a modified version of some of the activities). It would make the most sense to come in something a little bit loose and comfortable, but jeans and a t-shirt will do fine. As for equipment - if you were to bring a towel or an extra t-shirt as props, it would make some things easy and fun, but the truth is that if we're going to do yoga that you can do wearing whatever you like, we're not going to be using a lot of props. That said, if you have a yoga mat (because you already do yoga) and would like to bring it, you may feel more at home. And for those of you worried that yoga requires you to be fit or flexible already...see the previous comments that you can do these poses wearing your normal clothes if you like. So, how contortionist do you really think we can get? That's not to say I couldn't do some headstands or splits or various other pretzel poses... but those aren't really what our geek bodies need to start out with.
{...}
When I leave a yoga class, I feel tall, graceful, and happy. Since I'm neither of the first two, physically speaking, there must be something about the class itself that engenders this feeling. So I challenge all of you to take at least one morning off from the BoFs to join me at the Dolphin pool and learn a new skill that will make you feel great.


The other cool new events I get to be involved with are the Nerd Girls: Making Geek Chic roundtable and BoF sessions. Both Mary Beth Raven and Gab Davis have blogged about their involvement, and a group of us did a podcast with Chris Miller of IDoNotes fame. At this session, the panelists will tell their stories, answer some questions, and generally talk about why Nerd Girls are so valuable to the community and how Nerd Girls can get where they want to go in technology. I can't wait to learn from some of these incredibly successful technologists.

I'm off to finish prepping for my sessions, packing, steaming myself to get my head cleared, and other assorted activities. See you in Orlando!

 

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Monday, December 1st, 2008 Author: Libby Ingrassia
BP206: Health Check Time: 08:52:34 PM
Comments? Add / Read (0) Location: in the cold house, with all the windows open

I haven't done this in a while... I'm in the process of writing a Lotusphere session! My colleague Tom and I were accepted to speak in the best practices track at Lotusphere 2009. We're working quite madly on our slides for this week's deadline on the following session:

Health Check: How's Your IBM Lotus Domino Environment?
Whether there's concern about poor Lotus Notes performance, you inherit an environment, or you're a new administrator wanting confidence in your choices, this session is for you. A health check that follows an organized method for auditing the servers, including the Lotus Domino Directory, server configuration, and security, can lead to consolidations, upgrades, and improvements to performance, security, and manageability of your environment. Want Lotus Notes to be loved and you cast as the hero(ine)? Take home a checklist to guide your own audits, best practice settings, and configurations to compare with what you find. We'll help you prioritize issues based on urgency and complexity to keep Lotus Notes and Lotus Domino running smoothly and serving the business.

If any of you have questions, thoughts, comments, or suggestions leading into this session, I'd love to hear them. What do you look for during a health check? What do you find is the most overlooked issue? Let us know and we'll include it!

It's possible that there will be a few other fun things that I'll be participating in during the show, but I'm not quite ready to announce those yet. Still I'm excited to be back to the show this year!

 

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Friday, November 21st, 2008 Author: Libby Ingrassia
Tab closing 11/21 Time: 04:00:00 PM
Comments? Add / Read (1) Location: closing browser tabs

Closing some tabs to start the weekend out with a fresh Firefox:
  • IdoNotes reminds us that we can get a discount on "gap" sales of Lotus software -- get Sametime or Quickr licenses for customers with Notes, for example. See Chris' post, but looks like you need to engage your IBM team to get this pricing for customers.
  • If you know anyone with dyslexia or other reading disabilities and you're struggling through the process of trying to understand it, I Speak of Dreams regularly has posts that explains and discusses these disabilities. I learn a lot about how to think and talk about a problem that's close to my family. This most recent post explains how dyslexia is a biological problem, not just poor teaching. She also has some great posts about how people learn that I use(d) as a teacher.
  • Via EdBrill.com - Apple roadshows for enterprise users. Not sure if I qualify as a decision maker, but as a new(ish) Mac user, I'm interested.
  • At PcMag.com, the Telecommuter's tech toolbox. I've been a telecommuter for a majority of my career and agree with the categories they put on the list. I'm not always in agreement about the software - some of which isn't necessary once you're in an enterprise that uses Lotus software. Still, an IM client (or three, in my case), meeting tools, remote control software, phone following, and backup tools are must-haves. I'm considering trying out their concall suggestion but don't need their document collaboration - I've got Quickr. :-) Do you have telecommuter/home office "musts"?
  • Twilight. My mom gave me the first two books and I let them sit. For a long time. Then I needed something light and all my kids were reading them, so I read them. And got sucked in. I get all the criticism of the books and the characters. And I also get the pure enjoyment and escape of the story. The Park Bench (a blog I've come to love) has some comments on why she's letting the Twilight train pass her by. I'm going to see the movie with some girlfriends over the weekend and have read all of Stephenie Meyers' books (including The Host, a book she wrote expressly for adults instead of the YA/Adult crossover market) - I enjoyed all of them, while acknowledging that I enjoyed them on the level of light, zoom-through entertainment.
  • Mmm. And because I have to admit to some girly shopping genes and a deep and abiding fondness for MaryJanes, I love these - a pretty great deal from Target. (I know I got this link from someone I read, but I left the Target window open and not the bloglines window from whence it came... so if this is you - thanks! and Sorry...)
Image:Tab closing 11/21

 

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Thursday, November 20th, 2008 Author: Libby Ingrassia
One of the best gifts I’ve ever given myself... Time: 12:00:00 PM
Comments? Add / Read (1) Location: trying to resist the siren call of books

Well, since the gift-giving season is almost upon us (and because my good friend Jonvon asked so nicely), I thought I'd blog about my Kindle. Right before ILUG this year, I thought I might be doing more travel in 2008 and beyond than I'd been doing for a few years, and I decided to give myself a lovely graduation gift, so I started looking at electronic books. Warren has a Sony e-Reader that he'd let me paw at Lotusphere, and I liked it, but he was already having to jump through some hoops to get books, so that seemed like a bit of a negative to me. The Kindle had been out for a while, but I was leary of spending almost $400 without touching it for myself.

Still. I figured if I bought it and hated it, I could return it, so I went for it.

Wow. I have been overjoyed with this purchase. As my poor long-suffering fiance comments - he's a Kindle-widow. I try to tell him he's a book-widow, but... Well, those of you who know me at all, know that I LOVE to read. When doing almost anything else for fun, I always have to ask myself, "But, would I rather be reading?" (Hence, my picking up and putting down all knitting and stitching type projects, stamping, jewelry-making, and other other cool hobbies that many of my friends do!). The Kindle, therefore, has made my travel life much easier - I no longer have to put 3, 4, or more books in my carry-on and my suitcase just to see me through a couple of plane flights. Instead, I pack one paperback or magazine for take-offs and landings... and my Kindle, with its over 120 books on it currently.

But let's get to the nitty gritty of this review - details!

Kindle is available exclusively from Amazon.com and the current price is US$359. It comes with USB capability, so you can upload books, text files, MP3 files, PDFs, and etc. to your Kindle from your computer. I've never used my USB cable. Instead, I take advantage of the proprietarily named Whispernet. When I turn on the wireless access, I can connect to the Web (very minimalist surfing capabilities - I'd rather use my phone's browser most of the time)... and to the Amazon Kindle Store. The Kindle store (neither via browser nor via Kindle)is not great for browsing, although you can search by genre, and the Amazon recommendation engine is at work. On the other hand, if you know what you want to buy -- in under 3 minutes, you can find, purchase, and have downloaded the next book in that series you're reading, the new book by that author, or whatever you're looking for. Your Kindle is tied to your Amazon account, so your credit card on file is automatically charged (which can be dangerous if you're not paying attention to how many books you're buying), but the speed and ease of delivery made me a chain reader for a while when I first got my device!

Kindle books are less expensive than most of what you'll buy for a paper book, although just in the last few weeks, the prices have gone way up. For the longest time, I didn't find any books - including those brand-new hardcover bestsellers - that were selling for more than $9.99. Most paperbacks were more like $5.99 or around there. The last hardcover I bought, however, was more. Still, a quick glance through the front page of the Kindle store at Amazon shows that only three or four books on the first few pages were more than that $9.99 standard -- new hardcovers for $11.99 and $14.99. Searching from high-to-low on price shows that there are some multi-thousand dollar text and reference books available, but if you're talking your every day fiction and non-fiction that you might pick up in the airport bookstore -- you'll pay between $5-$10.

One of the things that most concerned me when I considered picking up the Kindle was book availability. I do read many of those airport books, but I also like literature, science fiction, fantasy, historical fiction... You get the idea. I didn't want to invest in this and realize I couldn't get the books I wanted! There are currently around 200,000 books available for the Kindle from the Amazon store, about 85,000 of which are fiction. I have been a little disappointed at not finding some books I truly wanted to read on the Kindle, but the selection of books they do have is pretty good. I'm not going to kid you - it's one of my wish-list items that more books in the genres I like most would be available, but I've also found many new authors through trying what I found on my Kindle. I've liked being able to download a sample. It's about a chapter or two of the book (from the beginning) that lets you get a pretty decent page test in before you buy. Once you buy, you do have one quick chance to return (oops, I clicked the wrong one type of thing), but after that, the book is yours. No sharing (or so the rules say - I haven't tried it). It's easy to store books on the Kindle - I think I had almost 80 or 90 before I started wondering what my space was like. I bought an SD card and slid it in the back and feel like I can go on forever now. You can also delete books and redownload from your Amazon account or computer.

Battery life is great. Right up until you spend a lot of time with the wireless turned on. Wireless use really whacks the battery life, but since I'm mostly using it to buy and download a book, it doesn't impact me too much. I've gone for a long weekend with fairly heavy book reading with no need to recharge. If I don't turn on the wireless, I've gone almost a week, in fact. The joys of the electronic paper, where the battery power is only being used to turn the pages. Related to this is the backlighting and readability. There is no backlight. This keeps the battery life long and the readability high. Have you noticed that when you try to read on a computer, your eyes get tired? A lot of this is the backlighting. Kindle has none, which means that you can read just fine in bright sunlight (out by the pool, where you can't read a laptop mostly) and in any other normal lighting. I did buy an LED booklight to take for night-time flights, when the overhead light doesn't always do enough, but that's more about me getting old than it is about the Kindle, I think. I find the Kindle very easy to read. Easier in fact than some paper books, as I can up the font size at any time when I'm feeling tired or have been reading too long. Maybe that's a bad thing, but the ability to choose from about 6 font sizes on the fly makes readability pretty good. Screen is clear and electronic ink is so much like reading a printed book that almost everyone I show it to does a double take just on that aspect.

My biggest issues with the Kindle have been around how to hold the darn thing. Where the hands in the image are holding it always seems awkward to me and doesn't really work for the lying in bed reading. I often hold it where the left thumb is, but I use my my index and middle fingers (one on each side of the device), with my thumb supporting the bottom. Sometimes I use the top area to hold it. If you try to hold on the left or right wide areas, you'll see that you'd be hitting the buttons that you use to turn the pages. Which means that sometimes, you accidentally turn a page when you don't mean to do so. Not that big a deal, but...
Image:One of the best gifts I’ve ever given myself...Image:One of the best gifts I’ve ever given myself...
Okay, a few more complaints and then we'll wrap it up.
  • The "Back" button (NOT to be confused with the previous page button) does not act in a predictable way. Now, this is coming from someone who prides herself on knowing how to figure out technology and how things work. Sometimes the back button takes you to your book list, sometimes to a previous pages, sometimes to someplace totally unexpected. Either make it predictable or kill it.
  • The book list... hmm, it works well enough when you have only a few books or magazines, but not so well after that. I've got about 27 JD Robb books on the Kindle. If I try to sort by author to find them all, well, some are catalogued with periods between the initials, some with spaces, some with no spaces, some with last name first... So they don't all show up in the same place. If I try to sort by Most Recent, well, it means the most recently touched book - either what you've just been reading, what you downloaded, or what your friend opened while you were showing off your Kindle. While the search works wonderfully, the organization should be improved so the books I've got are easier to sort. They should also have a folder or categorization system so that I can put all my JD Robb books, all my Michael Moorcock books, etc, in their own folders.
  • Now, that issue with the cataloging - where the names aren't standardized. I suspect part of the problem there is the electronic production process. I've noticed that there are a lot of errors (small ones, to be sure) in the electronic books that don't seem to be as prevalent in the paper books. Things like "skirt" for "shirt" or homonyms or other small typo/transcription errors sneak in. They bug me because of my editorial eye and my persnickety nature, and throw me out of the story.
  • Charging for blogs? Okay, so they're delivered more like a magazine or newspaper and it's only the "A Listers" but not worth it for me.

Bottom line, if you are a ready who travels, this is absolutely a must-have. If you need to cut down on the number of paper books you're trying to to store in your house - again, awesome. It will never completely replace paper books for me, even though I believe in trying to live a greener life - I just love books. However, I've bought more Kindle books than paper books in the almost 6 months I've had my Kindle and look forward to the improvements that will invariably come in selection and technology to improve it. If you want to ask anything about a Kindle, just drop me a note or a comment. If you want to try before you buy, I know Amazon has a way to do that, but I'm also happy to show you mine whenever you like.

 

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Friday, October 31st, 2008 Author: Libby Ingrassia
Lotus Collaboration Summit in SA/DFW Next Week Time: 09:56:14 AM
Comments? Add / Read (0) Location: planning mode

My company, WorkFlow Studios, is hosting two Lotus Collaboration Summit events in San Antonio and Dallas next week. The event offers an opportunity to learn about the Lotus collaboration strategy and technology, network with customers, partners, and IBMers, and have a lovely catered meal. Please join us if you're in San Antonio (November 4) or the Dallas-Fort Worth area (November 6).  Full event details, including session abstracts are available at the WorkFlow Studios' Lotus Collaboration Summit page.

 

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Thursday, October 30th, 2008 Author: Libby Ingrassia
Eunoia and Elections Time: 12:22:50 PM
Comments? Add / Read (2) Location: closing tabs

This is mostly a closing links kind of post - been sent a few good ones the past day or two...

Eunoia is apparently the shortest word in English that uses all 5 vowels; it is also the title of a book that the BBC mentioned today (thanks for the link, Richard). In the book, the author writes fiction wherein he uses only one vowel per chapter. Funky, crazy... but also kind of interesting for those language or poetry geeks among us. While the writing is fiction, because of the only one vowel at a time limitation, the excerpts come out feeling much more like poetry to me. I found A and U painful, E and I lyrical, and O, well, sort of... rotund. :-) And while I've found it on Amazon (published in 2001?!), I much prefer the cover shown in the BBC page... Maybe one of my UK pals can help me out with that.

Next up, a moment of politics. Election day is, after all, next Tuesday, although Philip and I have already voted. This comes to me via my friend Allison who says she shamelessly stole it from Bill in Portland, Maine (Daily Kos):

   Closing Appeals

        Dear America,

        Mine.

        Mine mine mine.

        Me Me Me Me Me Me Me!

        Mine mine mine mine mine. Mine. Mine. Mine. Mine!

        In conclusion: Fear fear fear fear. Very scary fear!

        Sincerely,

        The Republican Party

        P.S. If you liked Joseph McCarthy, you’ll love us!

    -

        Dear America,

        We.

        Us. We. Together. Americans. United States.

        Hope compassion equality inclusiveness competence.

        Brains common sense community respect hard work accountability.

        Action change responsibility. More viewpoints, smarter solutions.

        In conclusion: Yes we can.

        Sincerely,

        The Democratic Party.

        P.S. Vote.


I know that not everyone who reads my blog has my political leanings or is even from the States, and I know also that this is biased, and simplified, and generalized, and satirized. But it made me laugh and Philip channel his inner goblin bringing it to life, so... Vote!

 

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Friday, October 17th, 2008 Author: Libby Ingrassia
SF, Half Marathon, and more Time: 12:31:45 PM
Comments? Add / Read (1) Location: dashing around finishing last tasks and packing

Well, I've been busy traveling for the past little while, with short trips to Dallas and Nashville over the past two weeks. Nashville was great - I enjoyed making some new friends and connections, catching up with some from the "old days," and getting the skinny on WebSphere Portal and the accelerators. While I didn't stay for the entire week, I did learn some things that we'll be putting into play soon. I'm looking forward to adding some additional portal work to what we do at WFS.

Now I'm getting ready to head out on another trip - to California! I'm visiting my college friends in San Francisco and running a half marathon. Okay, let's be honest. I'm not going to actually run this one, as my training has been crap. Instead, this one will be a run/walk with the emphasis on walk. I can do that for this event, as they're pretty generous about the time limits. I can't, however, do that for the next half marathon I've got scheduled - in Houston, in January, right before I head out to Lotusphere, as they're much more strict (training in Houston is much easier in the winter, though!).

Still, even when I haven't gotten fully trained, I'm glad to be doing half marathons. I started running during a very sad, painful time in my life, and it was the one healthy thing I was doing for myself at the time. It continues to be a time when I can either have a nice talk with a friend or with Philip, or it can also be a great time for some silent meditation - time NOT to think - just to be. My yoga studio has been closed for the past 2 months, and meditating at home hasn't been working extremely successfully for me, but when I run or walk, I get it. So, I'll run/walk/meditate through my half marathon on Sunday and come back to Houston ready to train much more actively for the next one.

Then I'll head down to southern California to visit my Oma for her birthday. I hope to be as full of life...well, even now, as she is in her 90s. I won't be taking off from work completely, as I've got plenty to do to get ready for the Lotus Collaboration Summit that we're hosting in San Antonio and Dallas (if you're in town, sign up and spread the word!). Still, a short trip with Philip will be relaxing, giving us some time to talk and plan for the future, and will be a chance to see some of the folks I care about.

 

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Thursday, October 2nd, 2008 Author: Libby Ingrassia
Teaching End User Notes Class: Lessons Learned Time: 08:30:56 AM
Comments? Add / Read (1) Location: in my new chair

I spent Monday and Tuesday of this week teaching a class in Dallas. It was an end user Notes class. To be honest, it's been probably 10 years since I've last taught an end user Notes class (or maybe more). It was a great experience, although more tiring than I remembered. Here are a few things I learned or discovered while teaching this class...
  • My students were, for the most part, existing Notes users who were preparing for a move to 8. There were so many things that I taught in this class that are NOT new to 8, but they didn't know them. This isn't a new realization on my part (Ed and I used to talk about this in our Selling Notes Internally session), but it became clear once again how vital end user training (of some sort - it doesn't have to be instructor-led) gives users the ability to get value from a company's software investment. We got behind on our courseware because the students had so many questions - business processes that weren't working for them because they didn't understand how they worked in the software. So, once again, let's remember that Notes investments can be protected by ensuring that our users know how to do what they want to do... and know what features Notes offers that let them do things they might not even have thought of doing! Here are some specific examples of questions they needed an answer to...
    • Is there a time limit on recalling messages? Yes, there is a time limit on recalling messages. This is a server setting, so the administrator has control over it. The default is 14 days.
    • Where are preferences like spelling stored, especially in cases of a shared mail file? Preferences that you'd find under User Preferences...Spell Check are stored in the user's notes.ini file, so they would be individual to each user. Preferences found under User Preferences...Mail  are stored in the mail file and are the same across all users and replicas of the mail file. You can find out even more details at this link: http://www-01.ibm.com/support/docview.wss?rs=475&uid=swg21283416
    • How does hyperlinking on Notes documents work? By default anything with a URL (including protocol) should work fine. If not, check two things. First, make sure the user preference is set to Make URLs into Hotspots (File...User Preferences...Basic Notes Client Config...Additional Options). Second, check the Web Browser preference to be sure you know what browser is supposed to launch when you click a URL link.
        * Default trash interval is also a user preference. The default is 48 hours.
  • I really still like to teach. When I left high school teaching to come back to the technology world, I was clearly burned out on teaching (well, burned out, period, thanks to two years of working and grad school and etc), but what I realized as I helped students in this class is that I'm not done with the vocation. I also realized how different classroom teaching in a public school is from teaching technology - different hours (a one hour course, repeated 6-8 times per day) versus an 8-hour course. My voice was gone by the time I was done Tuesday. Teaching different aspects of a single topic - deeper focus, rather than the across the board focus high school teaching required. Not sure what that means for me going forward other than I plan to get my CLI active again so I can do some teaching when it fits in to my other duties. ;-)
You probably already knew the little tidbits of technical tips that I added to this, but to me the more important truth is that education is a superb sales and marketing tool - teaching can be, and often is, evangelism. So think about who you're learning from, and who you want your clients, customers, and managers learning from.

 

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Thursday, September 25th, 2008 Author: Libby Ingrassia
Word of the Day Time: 02:22:41 PM
Comments? Add / Read (1) Location: on a quite late lunch break

Today's Word of the Day from Dictionary.com is
edify: to instruct and improve.


Seems particularly appropriate as so many folks (including me and mine) are rushing to get Lotusphere abstracts submitted before tomorrow's deadline. It's also one of those words I use in my personal story: it's what I (flatter myself that I) do. Whether I'm writing, speaking, or leading an actual class, I want to edify.

Do you have a word that you use in your personal story to describe yourself?

 

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Tuesday, September 23rd, 2008 Author: Libby Ingrassia
Hurricanes, Writing LS Abstracts, and Closing Tabs Time: 12:10:30 PM
Comments? Add / Read (0) Location: home office

I know, I know,  you're never supposed to apologize for a blog absence. I won't. I'll just say that I've missed writing here, and hearing from you, although Twitter has helped me through. i've got a lot of making up to do - cleaning up the site, updating it a bit, and being more regular about my content production again.

Thanks to many of you who checked in on me during Hurricane Ike. (And to Rocky, who also posted to let you know I was ok...) The hurricane itself didn't damage my house or hurt me. In fact, once the power went off, I slept through most of the worst of the wind and rain. When I got up the next morning, the streets were flooded and the wind was still pushing the trees over, but it felt like the storm was winding down. What has been scary and sobering, on the other hand, has been the aftermath. People tend to pay attention to the destructive force and the moment when the storm is hitting, worried about friends and family who might be hurt while nature does its worst. What has hurt Houston, and those of us who live here, even more, however, is the strange half-city we're living in now. When I drive to the post office or the grocery store, it takes more than twice as long as normal, because most of the street lights still have no power or are no longer standing. Of course, there's always the chance that I won't actually be able to conduct whatever business I had in mind, as many stores and restaurants are still without power and are closed. Gas stations are mostly open, but gas is more expensive and at least two stations near me were mostly destroyed by the wind. They won't be open for a while. Grocery stores are scary places - busy (still with people buying ice and other non-perishables), but not quite normal. Driving down the streets in most neighborhoods shows stop and street signs down, street and stop lights dangling from their wires, and a hedge of browning branching and leaves all along the sidewalks where people have piled them in preparation for the debris haulers. Houses and offices still have boarded up windows. Trees are uprooted. Rooftoops are covered with the blue plastic the city distributed to those who lost roofs or had roof damage. The world goes on, but this city is still limping as kids start to go back to school and folks start back to work. I spent last week in Dallas, because my power was out until Friday. I have both power and internet back now, but I'm still one of the lucky ones. Many of my friends are still without. Many of you have been willing to donate in the past - the Red Cross is still operating shelters all over south Texas and can still use donations to help those folks who were not as lucky as I've been.

In any case, I've been working hard. Most of you know that I came back to the Lotus biz - I've been to ILUG and CU, as well as a few one-day local conferences, with my new company WorkFlow Studios. I'm going to be working on their marketing and communications, as well as some training, strategy, and consulting when appropriate. I can't promise never to leave again, but it's nice to be back. One of my current big jobs is working on Lotusphere session abstracts for my colleagues, so I've been writing those for the past week or so. I've read Rocky and Ed's advice and am excited to once again be part of it all. Hope Mac remembers his old editor when selecting sessions (wink). Of course, I've got some beliefs of my own on what makes a good abstract - good writing, concrete descriptions of what the attendees get from the session, limited jargon...

I've got some Firefox tabs to close, but that will hav to wait. I got a little carried away with my comments about Ike and now I need to get a quick bite to eat before moving on to another set of abstracts and some other meetings.

 

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Friday, July 18th, 2008 Author: Libby Ingrassia
Some Giggly Media Bits Time: 01:42:34 PM
Comments? Add / Read (1) Location: lunch break

So, I linked to a few of these in Twitter over the last week or so, but I thought I'd put some of my recent media giggles here for your viewing pleasure. Please enjoy.

First up, via the LJ of a friend, we have a Fred Rogers-inspired ad for the Sci-Fi Channel's Eureka. If you like science fiction and you aren't watching Eureka, well, I don't get it. It's cute and funny and witty. Eureka is returning to Sci-Fi for its third season on July 29. [I'm trying to embed the link but if doesn't work correctly, the video-ad is on the main Eureka page on the right.]

Next we have Joss Whedon's Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog. The first two acts of this musical are up, starring Nathan Fillion and Neil Patrick Harris. Each act is about 13 minutes long and well worth it, but be careful - you may find yourself rewatching and humming. After Act III goes up on the 19th, the whole thing stays up until the 20th... after which it goes away. It's also available to download from iTunes and there's a promised DVD.

Turning to a slightly more technical angle on the geekiness, Binary Tree has filmed a comedy short explaining the value of migrating with their tools. It is pretty funny, even if a bit over the top. And finally, fans of Mary Beth Raven or Symphony might want to see this short from Lotus: stop feeding the machine! I have to say, I was just getting used to using Symphony on my ThinkPad when I got the new MacBookPro... I wish I could be using Symphony there, too. :-(

 

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Wednesday, July 16th, 2008 Author: Libby Ingrassia
Did You Know... Time: 01:07:01 PM
Comments? Add / Read (3) Location: Home office

That your friendly neighborhood Notesgirl is back in the biz? The Lotus biz, that is. Some of you I saw at ILUG or you've seen me on Twitter or LinkedIn or elsewhere and you probably heard the news there, but for those of you who hadn't yet heard.... When I finished my master's at Rice, I decided it was time to come back to the fold. So, I've left high school teaching and I'm working for WorkFlow Studios as their VP of Marketing and Communications -- doing marketing, PR, probably some training and consulting thrown in for good measure. I'll be working on events, the website, some whitepapers and case studies, and more.

In some ways, it was a tough decision - leaving KIPP was not without its sadness and I had lots of good opportunities on the table when I decided to leave KIPP, both in teaching and elsewhere. In other ways, I've known Lance and the WFS folks for a long time and they're Good FolksTM, so working with them as my way to come back to the IBM Software world made sense.

I've been a little quiet here while I worked out my job changing situations, but now the hope is that I'll be back to blogging - and, I hope, saying interesting things, more regularly. I'll also be making the rounds of the events, and offering my writing and speaking services as I find appropriate times, ways, and places to do so. I've already had one or two requests for a new certification something - not sure if a book is in the cards, but we'll see. I need to update my certifications (I have been completely away from the business for 2 years, after all), so it may make a lot of sense for me to do some certification writing. You can also expect to see me doing some gadget reviews and commentary as I continue my unexpectedly passionate love affair with my new Kindle and attempt to fall in love with my new MacBookPro. The blog will, of course, continue to share yoga, dancing, running, and other commentary as well. I feel as though I've been dead or asleep for at least the past two years (that's what grad school and a full time teaching job will do to you), and I'm trying to figure out all the things I need and want to do now that I'm alive again.

 

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Sunday, March 23rd, 2008 Author: Libby Ingrassia
Web of Deception, Chapter 5: Grimalkin Time: 06:50:34 PM
Comments? Add / Read (4) Location: in the kitchen

NOTE: This is a continuation of the "Web Of Deception" round-robin story. If you're late to the party, please start with Chapter 1 on Ben's site and go from there. You can also follow the RSS feed hosted at http://www.andthentheboilerburst.com/WebOfDeception.rss.


After dinner that night, Callie examined Mike’s leg again. He had calmed down from the afternoon's excitement, and didn't seem to think much of Callie's story about the strange little man in the garden. She wasn't sure whether to be pleased or upset that he dismissed even Dufay's sneaking down the driveway. On the one hand, it meant Mike wouldn't get in her way – he was just as enamored and blind as he'd been from the start. On the other hand, it might've been nice to have some help for a change.

Still, he'd been getting progressively cranky all afternoon and when she put her hand on his leg she understood why – his leg was burning with fever. What had seemed like mere scratches that afternoon were deeper than they had looked at first and the wounds had not closed at all, but were still oozing slightly. She shook her head, worried and wondering, fingering the piece of black wool that she still had in her pocket.

"Callie, it really hurts," Mike muttered. "Do you think we should go to a doctor after all?"

"Well, if we can find one who can help, maybe we should," Callie replied, washing his leg with witch hazel. She was thinking quickly now and wondering how to try something without completely freaking Mike out. "Why don't you let me finish bandaging this and I'll go to the pharmacy to see if that strange Mr. Dufay can recommend a clinic nearby. You just rest here, drink your beer, and read your book, er, Schmoops." As she spoke, she turned slightly away from Mike's gaze and pulled the wool scrap from her pocket. Reaching down to pat him reassuringly on the leg with one hand, she let the wool fall onto his leg with the other, leaning forward to kiss him and block it from his view.

"Well, that sounds ok – although maybe you should ask him what he was doing in the yard and running off like that. You're no just trying to get me drunk to take advantage of me, are you?" he teased in reply, pulling her down to deepen the kiss. "You're sure you can find the way on your own?"

"There's not enough beer in the house get you inebriated, my wee laddie," Callie laughed back at him, lapsing in the soft burr she spoke with when she wasn't paying attention. She frowned at the piece of wool, which had looked fragile and had now shriveled even smaller, and lightened in color, turning grey while she watched. Smiling grimly at the one, tiny healed spot on his leg, she nonchalantly scooped the wool up with one hand, kissed Mike again, and promised to bring him another pint before she left. "I just have to find a few things from one of my boxes, first, and I'll make sure you're doing alright before I go."

She pulled her black sweater out of a box in the back bedroom, and, looking furtively around, although she knew Mike was still on the sofa, she also pulled out a blue velvet pouch, and sniffed to make sure its contents were still fresh enough. "They'll do, if they must," she grumbled to herself, "but I really have to get a garden started here soon. I got out of that city just in time."

Pocketing the pouch and slipping the sweater into her knitted bag, she picked up her keys and dropped a fresh pint off next to her sleeping husband. "Oh, aye, you'll sleep for a wee while, then, won't you? The healing will do that, and just as well; you won't worry if I'm gone for a while."

Quietly, Callie slipped out of the house and, grateful that the recent equinox meant that the days were long enough that it was still light out, walked down the path toward town. Slipping her sweater on and keeping one hand in her pocket, she whistled a peculiar tune and, although she appeared to be paying no attention to her surroundings, listened intently for noise in the brush. "I know you're out there, grimalkin," Callie whispered to herself.

"Of course I'm out here." The cat was riding the woman's shoulders, looking for all the world like a very old, very filthy, witches' familiar. "But knowing how to call me doesn't change anything. For you or that bloody fool fence post you live with."

"Are you sure of that, then?"

Startled, JC thought fiercely to himself, "Damn certain I'm sure. You smell like them, you sound like them, you look like them. I don't trust you. You can't be her and you can't help. You'll only be in the way." What he said was: "He won't heal." Then he started to jump off her shoulder. He found his claws stuck in the webbing of the coarse black sweater she wore and started hissing and cursing. "Damn you, you...fae, witch, whatever the hell you are... I..."

"Not so fast, grimalkin." Callie almost purred at the snarling cat who was hissing and spitting, back raised with the instinctive anger of a cat, although she guessed he'd prefer to be yelling at her in his own form. "I won't hurt you now, grimalkin, unless you make me."

"What do you mean 'now'? And stop calling me grimalkin. You called me, I'm here. My name's JC; not grimalkin. I'm warning you, stop arseing around with me before I get really mad."

"Well, now that you've told me your name, why don't you tell me why you attacked Mike, and why you're here – with all those others." Silence, and then more hissing came from her shoulder. She fingered the now fragile piece of wool. "Perhaps you'll also tell me why that fool Dufay is providing Web to that little... what is he anyway? And why in Mab's name are you going around as a cat?"

"Hrmph. Say 'in Loki's name' instead and you'll be closer to the mark. Bastard was trying to help Freya – she needed a new cat to pull her coach after one had an accident. I suspect Loki caused the accident and was trying to cover it up, but either way, I'd been a bleeding idiot and trusted him after...well, never mind. So, here I am. Stuck working for them. Of course, you could tell me how you managed to even smell different." The cat grumped a bit, hissed, and tried again to either claw her or retract his claws. Sniffing, JC said, "I know you've got some."

"I do. Can you handle it?" Suddenly standing straighter, she said quietly, "Someone else is out there, but I can't tell who. Can you?" There was no noise from woods – not even birdsong or the sound of the brook – as she sniffed the air, continuing to walk toward town.

"Hm. If you'd let me free I could go check, you know. I guess it is a bit too silent, but it's not Dufay; he said he was going to –." The cat broke off, moaning and growling low in its throat. "It's her..."


A few notes: A grimalkin is a cat - but not a completely normal feline: it's usually old and evil-looking, grey, and associated with demons, witches, or fae. Freya is a Norse goddess, associated with fertility, sensuality, and love, who is often also connected with elves and faeries. She is reputed to drive a carriage that is pulled by two large cats. Loki is a Norse god - most often a shape-shifter who likes to play pranks of varying degrees of cruelty.

I now pass the torch or baton or whatever it is, somewhat the worse for use, to the extremely talented
John Vaughan, aka Jonvon, with the somewhat evil request that he include the word epigamic in his installment, despite the fact that the Notes dictionary doesn't recognize it as a word.

 

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