By the Numbers

Let me tell you a little bit about my job. I work in one of Alabama’s prisons and my job is data entry. Basically all of the paperwork that’s generated through the institution comes to me to be scanned into a database so that it can be accessed by anyone in the state. Every institution has one or two people like me in their employ. And I know it sounds kind of boring and I thought it did before I actually started the job, but now that I’m over two years in, I can’t say that it is. I do really enjoy it. Weird, I know.

Now every inmate has their own unique identification number. That’s because we have so many inmates through the whole state and there are a lot of them that have the same name. Having a number makes it easier to bring up one specific inmate’s file and information. But that system can have draw backs, especially for someone in my position.

When I first started at my job, we had a database system where you would type in the inmate’s number in the search and it would bring up his name. You click on his name and it would bring up all of the stuff that had already been scanned in for him. It didn’t have his demographic details or a picture but at least it would display his name. But a year ago last Christmas, a new database system was implemented. Now you just see a number. Just the number.

With what I do, I do have direct interaction with any of the inmates. We do have a couple of that work in our office, but that’s really the extent of that. So I’m already kind of removed from them. But when they became numbers only in this database system, it became even more so. After a while, I started to feel odd about it. I mean, we do have a different database that does have their demographic details and picture and all that, but most of the time, I don’t need to use it.

So you may be wondering why I started feeling bad about this; after all they’re inmates in a prison and have done something to be put there. And of course you’re right. But they are also a human being, somebody’s baby, somebody else’s brother, father, uncle, etc. Even after what they’ve done to be incarcerated.

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that the database system is a bad thing. I don’t know anything about programming, so I can’t say with certainty, but I’m sure that something like that has to simplified so that it can be easy to use or not take up too much space. And I’m probably the only one out of all of the people that do what I do that feel like I do. It’s just weird to me that they’re mostly numbers on a screen to me. Just numbers.

Advertisements

Weather Weirdness

A couple of posts ago, I wrote about some severe winter weather going on my state. We had snow as far south as mid-state, which doesn’t happen very often. My area is just south of mid-state and we had a some ice, fears of frozen over roads (which didn’t happen) and possibilities of snow. Thankfully all we got was some ice patches where rain puddles stuck around and really cold weather for a few days.

A week later there was a shift. By the next weekend, we had weather so warm that we were in short sleeves again. I wouldn’t go so far as to say you could’ve worn shorts, but I’m sure that some people did. And it has stayed like that until just the last couple of days. Now we’re having cool nights, but still pretty warm days.

Honestly I can’t remember a time when the weather has been this fickle. Sure, the weather would warm up a little bit during the winter, but we would still need a coat or sweater. It’s just so drastic and strange this year.

A Day without a Computer

Computers have been around for a long time now. They had their start as the big, room-sized monsters and have shrunk over the years. Now we can carry them around in our pockets in the form of the smart phone. We use computers every day, coming to rely on them for many things and younger people don’t really remember a time without them. Hell, I barely remember that time myself and I’m in my late 30s!

So what do you do when you’re without a computer of any kind for a day? Or even half a day?!

Well I had to figure that out for myself on last Thursday. Our computers were down for about a half a day and, since the majority of my job revolves around the computer, I had to find other stuff to do…or end of being bored or dozing off.

So it got me thinking, if you’re at home and you don’t have your computer for smart phone for just half a day, what would you do?

Just like a lot of people, I play a few games on my phone and even will do so while I’m watching TV. I’ve gotten so used to it that it’s weird when I watch a movie and don’t play on my phone at the same time. I know it’s not really a great quality but I guess you could say I’m addicted….I’m not proud of it but it is what it is.

When my boyfriend and I are talking, we sometimes stumble onto something that neither of us knows details of or the specific definition of, so one of us will pull out our phone and look it up. I think this is one of the great things about having a “pocket computer.” In small ways, they help to increase our knowledge any moment of the day.

I have a certain fruit related kind of phone which has an app for e-books…which I have taken advantage of. It’s just pretty convenient to order a book on there instead of going to the book store (though I will be going back to paper books…I miss them a lot).

But then if it happened to you, if you were without a computer or a smart phone, what would you do?

Epiphany or Just a Final Decision?

I’ve had a weight problem for years, and I mean the majority of my life. And for years, I’ve wanted to lose weight and become healthier but there’s always been some excuse, or I’ll say, “I’ll start at the beginning of the month.” Recently I thought I’d start at the beginning of the year. That stipulation was mostly to make it easier for me to keep track of when I “started” because, honestly, my memory isn’t that good. There really was always an excuse.

 

The last couple of days, I’ve had it on my mind again, that I need to start eating more healthy meals than I already do and I need to start exercising. I am quite overweight and it’s just a huge problem (no pun intended). And I’ve realized that I don’t actually need that special start date; I just need to get started.

 

I’m tired of being overweight. I’m tired of paying more for clothes and even having problems finding clothing in my size. I’m tired of looking in the mirror and seeing all the rolls and the extra all over. And I’m tired of being diabetic.

 

Ok, I know that just because I start eating better and lose weight that I might not ever reverse my diabetes. I know that I’ll probably always have to take medication for it but I feel like there’s always a possibility that I could control my blood sugar with just my diet and exercise. At least I can have hope in that area.

 

Now I’ve heard it all before, that you should love yourself just the way you are, overweight body and all. I even follow a woman in Instagram that promotes body positivity. And sure, that’s a great idea, but what if you DON’T like what you see? I don’t want to be stick thin, just average and curvy.

 

So I decided that today is the day. Of course, I know I’ll have to start slow with exercising since I really haven’t done any in a long time, but at least I will be starting.

Winter is Here

Across the country, winter is now in full swing. Temperatures have dropped and snow is falling everywhere. And here in my state (Alabama) it’s no different.

This winter is been kind of weird. Thanksgiving, Christmas and New year’s weekend were all pretty warm…warm enough for short sleeves. Cold days have been sprinkled in here and there, but it hasn’t been very cold really. That’s not really all that unusual for us, though having it so warm on those holidays is.

This weekend, everything changed. Starting about mid-week last week, we started to hear that this weekend would see us having a winter storm. There were warnings that there would be snow and ice, and we were to be prepared for frigid temps.

Yesterday it rained all day. By mid-day to early afternoon, the temperature hadn’t gotten above 36C. I and a few of my coworkers left work early instead of waiting to drive home in the dark. We thought that it would probably be pretty icy on the roads by our regular quitting time. Honestly, a lot of Southerners do start acting and driving crazy when it gets icy and snowy, and I sure didn’t want to have to deal with that.

It’s become kind of a joke about Southerners and this kind of weather. It really is partly true. Since we don’t have a lot of experience with snow and ice, a lot of us just don’t know how to handle it. I mean, we get snow every 5-10 years…closer to the 10 year mark. Yes, some of us do freak out a bit.

Thankfully we don’t have to deal with that right now. When I got up this morning, the clouds were almost gone…the sun’s shining now. There’s not really even any ice on the ground and I think our weather forecast has us without any precipitation for the rest of the weekend.

But, man, is it cold!!

 

For the love of Cooking

I love to cook. I mean I really love it. For me, it’s like an art form, throwing things together and seeing the wonderful things that come out of it. I’ll be honest: the results aren’t always wonderful, but it’s always fun to see what happens.

And not only that, but when you cook your own food, you save money and it’s usually healthier. For these reasons, on Sundays, or as in this case Mondays, I’ll cook a meal that I’ll divide into lunches to take to work. Sometimes it’s simple stuff, though sometimes I do like the challenge of more complex recipes.

img_1028-2
The Ingredients
This week, I went with simple: steamed cabbage and sausage. That’s it, just a head of cabbage and a pound of mild sausage.

All you have to do is brown the sausage in a big pot, remove it once it’s done. Then add a little water to that pot and add the chopped cabbage. Once the cabbage is done, just mix the sausage back in with it.

Like I said, really simple.

 

 

img_1029-1
The Result
Now I’m sure you’ve heard of people making corned beef and cabbage, but I don’t really like corned beef, so I use the sausage.

See? That’s another thing I like about cooking your own food. You can customize a dish for your own tastes.

 

Happy New Year!

fireworks
Happy New Year!

Good morning and hello and welcome to my blog! I haven’t written in a long time and I thought it was about time to get back to it. The new year seemed like the perfect time to do that. It seems that I do a lot of these “I’ve been gone for a while and now I’m coming back” posts, and I always promise myself that I’ll get better at this. I do like to write, I like to have people read what I write and I do love that thrill when someone starts following my blog, but it’s always hard for me to actually get my posts done. I won’t promise that I’ll do better but I will do my best.

And that’s my resolution this year. You know, lots of people make new year resolutions, and not that many of them actually keep them. Now I’m sure there are people out there that are motivated and determined and YAY! for those people. Unfortunately there are also a lot of us that have really good intentions but just aren’t that good at keeping things going…like every time I promise that I’ll post a lot more here. This year I’m going to do something different, make a different kind of promise.

I’m going to do my best. At what, you ask? Well everything really. I’ll do my best to post to my blog here more often, I’ll do my best to eat more healthy meals, and I’ll do my best to exercise more.

With changing habits, it’s always best, I’m sure, to start small. Take small steps and just add to them as time goes on. Some one once told me that it takes three weeks of making yourself do something before it becomes a habit. I’m not sure how true that is or if it would work for everyone, but I’m going to try to find out.