Jan 22 2019

The flaming hair

Category: MiscellaneousIuliana @ 2:53

Most of my life I’ve had long hair. Long, light-brown hair. It got a little darker after thirty years of age, but right about that time white hairs appeared as well. I really don’t care for them that much, but there is not enough of them to make my hair look silver, it’s just enough of them to make my hair look… well… not dark. So I’ve started coloring my hair to a flaming auburn shade. I did not want blonde, because it was too much of a contrast with my dark eyebrows.

I’ve had my hair flaming auburn since 2016 and I’ve been coloring my roots every 4-5weeks. Apparently I managed to find the best  shade ever, because I keep receiving compliments about it. First, it felt weird to have people complimenting my fake color. But I kinda’ started feeling proud of being able to dye my own hair and doing such a good job. If people would compliment my real color, they wouldn’t be really complimenting me, but my genetic inheritance.  I did not work for that, I had no contribution. It’s the same thing when people compliment the color of your eyes. Sure, they are beautiful, but nature made them like that. You had little contribution. But when people compliment the way you look in a dress or your shoes, that is a compliment to a decision you made, to an action you did and the consequence that was good enough that caught somebody’s eye.

As for my hair, except for its color, I am doing other changes lately. I started washing it less. Why? Well, the story is not really short. I started washing my hair every two days when I hit puberty. I had a little bit of acne and a lot of dandruff, so I was washing it and scrubbing my scalp like crazy. It was also getting oily quite often. So since 1997 I washed my hair every two days. And for all these years it has been my routine. Until I started questioning it. My best friend and mother of my godson noticed that her children did not really need their hair washed that much. And that made me think, why do we adults do it so often? Well I was doing it during puberty for obvious reasons. Then I was washing it because of routine, or because I was out a lot and apparently a lot of dust got caught in my hair. I was also washing it because I was going to the gym or to the pool, so I felt the need to.

But I’m not doing that anymore, at least not now, when it is cold outside and I am still recovering from a sprained knee. I mostly stay inside my home and go to work by car, where again I stay inside. Yoga does not make me sweat so much, so there is no reason to wash it. So here I am after twenty years or so of washing my hair every two days, I am now washing it once a week. And my hair still looks fabulous and I’m getting compliments for it.

I have no doubt once I’ll be able to do serious sports again, I’ll have to change this routine, but until then, I am reducing my spending on shampoo and gas while my hair looks amazing. And since I’ve mentioned sports, I’m seeing a physiotherapist and apparently my knee is quite well, the muscles around it are atrophied and that is why it hurts. So, all I have to do now, is … work out and all will be well. :D

Also … I  know I haven’t been writing for a while. I am sorry, but I am working like crazy on some side projects. After this tumultuous period is done, I promise to make it up to you.

Stay safe, stay happy!

Jan 14 2019

Bloody insomnia

Category: MiscellaneousIuliana @ 2:37

When people tell me I look tired, and I justify it by telling them I have insomnia, the following question is about the things that keep me awake at night. I’m probably not the only insomniac that is being guilt-tricked into justifying their insomnia. If I knew what keeps me up at night it would not keep me up for long, because I would find a solution for it. If there would be a clear reason for my insomnia, that reason would probably be of a personal nature, so I will not answer the question anyway. So why ask?

Honestly I wish my insomnia had a cause that it is easier to identify and treat. Unfortunately it doesn’t. I go to bed at 12 am or 1 am every night and I close my eyes, sometimes I meditate and sometimes it works, I actually fall asleep and wake up rested. Unfortunately it doesn’t always work. And when it doesn’t it’s brutal. Because I end up not sleeping at all, or falling asleep at 4 or 5 am which still makes me feel and look like a train wreck. And the irony is , when I manage to fall asleep at those crazy hours I have the weirdest dreams. A few days ago I dreamed that a friend of mine was mugged and I set on a mission to punish the muggers, the cops that let them go, prosecutors, the judge, everyone. And when the alarm rang in the morning, my first thought in the dream was: No, I can’t wake up now; I still have a few of them to punish! And by punish, I mean torture and beating people to an inch of their lives; also the fights scenes would make a very awesome action movie.

So here I am preparing to go to bed, and although I’ve only slept about two hours the previous night, I do not feel asleep yet. Last night I managed to fall asleep at 4 am. I went to bet as 12 am. As I was staying in my bed, eyes closed, trying no to move to trick my brain into entering sleep mode, I realized is not going to happen. So I changed my position in bed a few times. Then I started getting annoyed because I couldn’t sleep and I had some plans for Sunday that required me to be fully functional. And once I enter the annoyance loop there is little chance I will be able to sleep. Because I keep cursing my brains that does not want to enter sleep mode, I probably get anxious because the plans for the next day might need to be delayed or their outcome becomes unpredictable because of me not operating at my full capacity.

I’ve been fighting insomnia for years. Until now I managed to function decently with it. I was even brave enough at time to try to use the sleepless nights into making something productive. (Now you know how I had time to write technical books while having a full time job.) But as I’m getting older I am starting to get worried. And I might just be paranoid here, but to me it seems as I make more mistakes, I have more lapsus moments, replace words with other words in my phrases, that definitely do not fit or pronounce them backwards.

Don’t know what else to write here. Fellow insomniacs, I understand your pain. You do not need to justify your insomnia to anyone. But seek treatment if the situation persists. That’s what I’m going to do pretty soon.

Stay safe, stay happy and sleep well!

Jan 04 2019

Is there a country where the health system is not a mess?

Category: English posts,Miscellaneous,PersonalIuliana @ 1:37

…because if there is, and you know which it is, just share the secret with me, because I want to move there. Anyway, this blog entry is a rant against the UK health system, so at this point you might be interested in reading something else while having your coffee.

I mentioned a few entries ago that I have sprained my knee while playing football. Because I was still able to drive and walk I postponed going to a doctor, especially since I just moved to a new country and I did not have a family doctor yet. The knee was swollen for a bit, but then the swelling started going down and I could put my weight on my knee, it did not feel unstable or anything really worrisome, so I just paused all challenging physical activities to give it time to fix itself.

Continue reading “Is there a country where the health system is not a mess?”

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Dec 31 2018

It’s been a good year

Category: Miscellaneous,PersonalIuliana @ 3:54

I started the year with a loner retreat to my favorite spa in Brasov. I continued with a visit to Valea Oltului.

In February I’ve travelled twice to Ramnicu Valcea, to meet some more childhood friends.

Then in march, I went to Edinburgh for my interview and after that I flew to London to celebrate my new job. I baptised my first godson in April, then flew to Stockholm for a few days of relaxation. I then started packing to move to Edinburgh and took a break to fly to Barcelona for my first Spring IO conference. At the end of May I left Romania for Scotland. I think I’ve made the best decision of my life.

In June I participated to my first Codefest, in July I continued enjoying my homelife while decorating the house I rented. In August my dearest childhood friend came visiting and I’ve met the guys from Foil Arms & Hog.  In September I kept enjoying my homelife and Friday evening company boardgames and finished my fourth book. In October I kept walking everywhere in Edinburgh and took amazing pictures. I also went to Glasgow for a Three Days Grace concert. In November, my cousin visited, I met Daniel Sloss and sprained my knee while playing football.  Also, a dear friend from Sibiu visited and I drove him to my favorite places around here. He gifted me a steampunk hat, still not sure where I can wear that.

And December, what could be said about December? I’ve re-visited Annecy(yes with a sprained knee). I’ve won Codefest with a carpool application. I’ve participated to the Christmas eating competition and lost. I’ve spent  Christmas with a very nice male friend. I’ve been to the Christmas market and had cheese fondue in a bun and drank mulled cider. And bought myself a jar of Moonshine. And my cat seems to like the Christmas tree.

Eastern Europe is going back to communism, Trump is president and global warming made Scotland feel hot. But, nevertheless all is well with the world.

Thank you for still reading me, I know I’m not doing such a good job entertaining you lately. I wish you all the best and a Happy New Year!

And my blog is slowly taking over the UK. :D

Stay safe, stay happy!

Dec 26 2018

The Annecy Experience

Category: MiscellaneousIuliana @ 19:23

After moving to the UK I haven’t strayed too far from my Edinburgh, because here I did not know or trust anybody to leve my cat with. So obviously I could not be gone more than 24 hours from my home. But I had to do it sometime so when I found a very cheap ticket to Annecy, France I just got the ticket, got the hotel and started looking for a pet sitter. Thankfully I had a colleague that had a cat as well and when he left on vacation for two weeks he tested a new pet sitter which turned out to be amazing so he recommended her to me as well. And she is indeed amazing and my cat loves her.  So there I was, money – check,  holiday taken from work – check, pet sitter-check. I was ready for my three days of fun in Annecy.

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Dec 23 2018

Your duty is to try

Category: Miscellaneous,PersonalIuliana @ 14:36

As you’ve probably figured out by now, from what you’ve read here, my family is the typical broken family, with people scattered all around the world, all of them trying to detach from their past so they can start new and do better, because if you do not want to get cancer the smartest way is to move farther away from the power plant. Don’t stop reading, this will not be a sad blog entry, I promise!  From time to time members of my family do manage to meet after years of not seeing one another and is fascinating for me to discover the people they have become.

I have a cousin that has become a wonderful strong woman that is hell bent on fixing this family through acceptance and communication.

I have a cousin that is torn between his duty to a small part of family that raised him up and gave him a career and the girl he loves that happens to live in a city  too far away from where his life is build so nicely.

I have an uncle that is learning how to live at fifty four, because more than half of his life he spent taking care of his parents in a place that kept him isolated from the real world. And he is the guy I want to talk about. Because he found a type of wisdom in his simple life and his duties that people rarely do. And I consider myself lucky to know him and to be able  learn from him. He got dealt a bad hand, but he did his best and at some point in my life, I decided he deserves more and I set up to help him live the rest of his life the best way possible. I won’t tell you his full life story, I will just list here a few things that I know about him that are really impressive to me.

He quit smoking after thirty years of this nasty habit. He was stressed by the fact he did not have much money and I guess he was thinking about quitting for a while, but one morning he woke up, burned the rest of cigarettes in the house and decided he won’t smoke from that day on. He just acknowledged that smoking is a toxic and costly habit, that he did could not afford anymore and he quit, just like that. It was not easy to break a habit like that, because he went through rehab alone, not in a specialized center, there were no nicotine patches, no other dugs to soothe him. He was living in the country side so he worked the field, drank a lot of water, went to sleep when he felt sick with headaches or feeling nauseous and in two weeks the nicotine was out of his system and he never smoke again.

He was convinced to leave his job and move to the country side by his parents, well his mother basically, because she was the head of the family. She told him he should move back close to family because there is money to be made in agriculture, that they had land to work that could produce a lot of crop that could be sold, but they were old and needed help. And for some reason he believed it and  gave it a try. And here and there there were little successes. He made enough money to buy a horse – that was a nice and gentle horse by the way, I’ve met him, it was love at first neigh – working the fields became easier for a while. He bought himself a motor bike and he taught himself how to ride it, but never got a license, because he never got too far out of the village on it anyway.

He tried getting married, but after getting his heart broken by his last fiancé, he gave up on the idea altogether. He said that his life is miserable and he had nothing but misery to offer, and who would want that? Years after I found out from another cousin he confides these stuff in, that he was in love when he was younger with somebody that went on and married somebody else and he never got over her. Apparently after he restarted his life, he met her again and she was divorced and they are starting something –  so life finds a way.

When his parents started to get too old and needed care, his life started going down the drain. People in my family judged him for drinking now and then. Because the expectation was for him to become an alcoholic like his father, so if he even got tipsy, the hate would flow. But during one visit I talked to him and told him about my university experience and how I drank to forget, to detach myself from a life I did not like, from the me I did not like. The conclusion was that if alcohol is the curtain we put between us and the part of us we do not like, but it is not the solution. If you don’t like yourself and the life you have you have to stop hiding from it, you have to stay awake and find ways to change it all. And I saw his face lit up. For the first time he was not judged, he was not considered a despicable drunk like his father, somebody saw him exactly as he was, a man in a difficult position, a life that was not satisfying to him and a person he did not like. He had accepted the fact that he won’t have a life of his own until his parents died and he accepted the duty to care for them until that moment. There was no way for him to fight it or run away from the responsibility that he realized he took upon himself when he decided to move back in with them.  So he graciously accepted it and fulfilled that duty the best he could. Sure he drank one too many now and then, but he wasn’t and most probably he will never be an alcoholic.

Last year, February his mother died. His father was long gone. I’ve have visited him before and noticed this guy never smiled and  I realised he was plagued by the family disease of bad teeth. So I offered him the opportunity to get his teeth fixed. Told him to go, ask a doctor for an estimate and the money will be wired into his account. The next time I saw him he had a smile that he could light up a room. You probably have no idea that smiling makes you look at least ten years younger. I did not know it either. Now you know why I look so well for my age. :)

Long story short, he fixed his teeth, and since the whole thing costed half as estimated, with the rest of the money, he got him self a new set of clothes and a ticket to Italy. And the rest is a happy story, how he got a job and he is amazed by how much his work is valued and how beautiful Italy is. He has plans to visit the whole country and take in all the beauty Italy has to offer, but he is putting money aside to pay me back and build a self-sustaining clean energy house one day. And when he came back to Romania on vacation, he asked out the woman he loved, because now he was confident that one day he might have something else to offer than misery.

One of the most important thing I heard him say and got stuck in my head and probably gave me a little nudge here and there to try absurd things, is that as a human being you have the duty to try. Of course at the time he was talking about girls, he was quite young then and hadn’t totally given up the idea.

So no matter how ridiculous is something, how absurd, how unreachable,  if you really want it, it is your duty to try. So if there is something to take from this entry, this is it.

Stay safe, stay happy!

Dec 17 2018

Lucky digits 0 and 1

Category: MiscellaneousIuliana @ 23:13

I work in software development. When I was little I had a serious inclination to Math. My talent almost died during high school because of the lack of a proper mentor. During college, I struggled a little to pass my Math exams. And programming started getting serious quite late for lack of a personal computer. And although I wanted to be a writer or a doctor, here I am a Software Engineer, designing, validating and implementing solutions that will make the job easier for other people. And more than that, I am a technical author and currently, I am making the plan for my fifth technical book.

Reading all that you might think I’m lying, because I can’t possibly have that much time, to have a full-time job and write books. Or you might call me a workaholic. You might laugh at me and say I have no life.

But it’s really not like that. Here’s the catch: I’m not working because of some abnormal psychological compulsion. I’m working because this is my passion. Designing, validating, implementing solutions and improving existing ones is my passion. Sharing my knowledge with the world, explaining my view of things and motivating others to learn and be curious is also my passion. I find satisfaction in every issue implemented properly, in every “Evrika” moment of the people I train, in every “thank you” email I receive for my books and sources.

There is a saying that loving what you do makes work not feel like work. And I love what I do. I feel the same satisfaction for my small victories, that some other people feel when they ran an extra kilometer, lost another kilogram, bought another car, etc. And it is not only about that. I have fun doing all this.

What can be better than building a legacy while also having fun?

And now back to the title, anything in IT is reduced to a collection of bits, each of them with values of 0 or 1. So considering that everything achieved until now did not even exist as an option about 20 years ago, I could say that 0 and 1 are my lucky digits. :D

Stay safe, stay happy!